In the morning, Skeeve wakes up and heads over to the observatory at the top of the Mage’s Guild. The black cloud still clings to the northern horizon. It is a bit larger today, and can be seen by the humans without the aid of the telescope. The town is buzzing with news of this. Commoners look nervously into the sky.
Back at the inn, the others are surprised to see Eomer is back. He was nowhere to be found yesterday, and they spend some time telling him about the black cloud and the fight with the general the night before. Eomer reveals that he spent all of the previous day looking for Norvus.
A group of officials arrives at the inn to meet with the party. The officials inform them that they have been summoned to meet with the Queen! They do not need to go right away. Instead, they are to present themselves at the front gate of the Citadel when ready and they will be granted entry. Once there, they will be instructed further.
It does make the story seem a bit flat when I do this, but when turning a five-hour session into a narritive, you have to take whatever shortcuts you can find.
They decide to tie up some other loose ends before heading for the Citadel.
Eomer wants to see if he can find Chronicler Norvus. Yesterday, while his companions were busy getting arrested and getting into a fight with General Tarvis, he was working his way through the underside of the city, looking for traces of the exile. After a lot of information-gathering, bribing, eavesdropping, and brawling, he’s managed to get the name and address of someone who might know where Norvus is.
He’s now on the southern side of town, far from the city center. The dark spires of the Citadel in the distance peer at him over the ramshackle houses and smelly taverns that make up this part of the city. He follows the narrow, meandering streets to his destination. As he stands outside of the tiny squat house of uneven wood, he wonders how anyone in this part of town could have the slighest idea of where to find someone like Norvus, who was a wealthy nobleman until a few months ago. It’s hard to imagine he’d be living here.
Eomer knocks on the door. After a few moments, a barrel-shaped woman pulles the door open and eyes him with suspicion. Her proportions are such that if she were just a bit shorter she could be mistaken for a dwarf. She’s wearing tattered apron and seems to be dusted with a coat of flour.
This place is seeming less and less likely, but Eomer has to follow through at this point, “Excuse me ma’am… is Levim here?”
She nods wearily, as if expecting this. She draws in a deep breath and then lets loose with an unexpected cry that shakes the tiny house, “LEVIM!”
A young boy, barefoot and shirtless, dashes into the room. Before he can say anything his mother explains, “You’ve a guest. But don’t be takin’ all day. You’ve got a delivery te make.” With she she waddles back into the kitchen. The smell of freshly baked bread covers the more pungent odors for a few moments.
The boy turns his gaze over to Eomer, “Sir?”
“I’m looking for a man named Norvus.”
The boy scratches his nose and looks at him warily, “Are you a guard?”
Eomer raises an eyebrow. He looks about as much like a guard as he does an orc, “Do I look like a guard to you?”
“I’m not supposed to take you there if you’re a guard.”
Eomer nods, “I’m not a guard.”
The boy grins, “Okay. I’ll take you there.” With that, he takes a basket of bread from the table and hangs it over one arm, “Let’s go.”
He leads Eomer further south, closer to the city walls. The boy takes every concievable shortcut, crawling over fences and cutting through yards in a way that only a child can do without embarassment. They cut through a small pig farm and find themselves back on the street proper. They followthis until it ends at a massive wooden gate, which has been nailed shut. This was obviously a side entrance to the city in lighter days, and has now been permanantly closed. However, the ground in front of the door seems a little well-worn, suggesting that the gate still sees some use somehow.
The boy pushes on the bottom of the door. The huge timbers that make up the door have come loose and can swing forward a bit, creating a gap that is easily useable by a ten-year-old, but is a bit tight for Eomer. By the time Eomer has wiggled through, he can see the boy is following a well-traveled dirt path up the side of a hill. Eomer jogs after him.
A twenty minute walk takes him to the top of the hill where a modest farmhouse is waiting for them. While this was clearly a full-fledged farm in days past, the fields have been fallow for many years. The barn stands empty. There is no livestock to be seen. The house is clean and tidy. A single thread of smoke rises from the chimney.
Eomer and Levim stroll up to the door way and knock.
“Mister Norvus?”, Levim calls out.
A voice from inside answers, “Ah yes. Come in boy!”
“Um. Okay”, the kid looks at Eomer and then back at the door. He can sense that he’s missing some element of protocol by taking a stranger into someone else’s house uninvited, but he doesn’t really know how this should be done. With a shrug he pushes the door open and enters. Eomer follows.
The inside is just as neat as the exterior. The two of them pass through the entry room and into the kitchen where a man in a white robe is looking out the window. He turns to greet Levim, and is alarmed when his eyes fall on Eomer. He eyes dart around, looking for weapons within arms’ reach. He grabs a bread knife and holds it between them, “Stand back!”
Even allegedly smart people can make life-changing blunders that seem very, very obvious in retrospect.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?
The Game That Ruined Me
Be careful what you learn with your muscle-memory, because it will be very hard to un-learn it.
id Software Coding Style
When the source code for Doom 3 was released, we got a look at some of the style conventions used by the developers. Here I analyze this style and explain what it all means.
The product of fandom run unchecked, this novel began as a short story and grew into something of a cult hit.