The Ballad of the Hamster (Part Three)

Day 85. 146,058 words. Had a monstrously good weekend and the end of the final story is glimmering in the distance.


Bloodraven, Part I

Wiping his brow even though he wasn’t really sweaty or particularly tired, Hamster II stepped out of the musty cave and looked around. The Blood Moor was as lame as he remembered. Barry, Barry and Barry followed, sniggering and waving an assortment of weapons. His single skeleton had become, somehow, three skeletons, and they were more powerful than before. Somehow Hamster II’s crappy stick had learned how to raise more than one skeleton at a time. He wondered if maybe that annoyingly tough Corpsefire zombie had done something to it.

“Well,” he said to nobody in particular, “that was easy.”

“Yeah,” Barry laughed. “Yeah yeah, yeah it was, let’s do it again, wanna do it again?”

“The countdown was pretty weird,” Hamster II added, “but in the end it made things easier. And I deserve that.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Barry agreed. “Yeah you do, let’s kill some guys.”

“Yeah, let’s,” agreed Barry.

“I wouldn’t have known how many more hedgehogs there were, if there hadn’t been a counter,” Hamster II straightened his armour. It was excessively gay-looking armour, but it had been quite helpful in his fight against the Irritating Little Red Guys who frequented the Den of Evil. They’d been quite tough, and extremely annoying – they’d been led by a shaman who brought all the dead ones back to life and made them fight again. As far as Hamster II was concerned, that was cheating. Nobody should be allowed to bring dead guys back to fight for them except Hamster II.

The Barrys had thought it was fun.

“Let’s go find some more guys.”

“No, we’ll go back to camp,” Hamster II decided. “Now that we’ve killed those stupid red guys for them, they might be grateful enough to give me more than one lousy gold piece for my stick. Then I can buy Warriv’s wagon, and get the fuck out of here. They have to do something for me, after what I did for them. Surely that’s the way it works.”

The Barrys weren’t very helpful about that. Of course they agreed, but they’d agree with anything he said if it meant they could persecute small red arthropods. Hamster II was quietly confident. An organisation full of idiots like Charsi and Flavie, seemingly incapable of dealing with a cave filled with annoying red guys and a zombie called Corpsefire, were clearly desperate. He’d been their last hope, and that would give him some serious bargaining power. And if that failed, he’d still have threats. He’d defeated the terrifying Little Red Guys and the Annoying Cold Zombie. He was the Hero of the Den of Evil. He was the Scourge of the Little Hedgehogs Who Went Ffp. If the Rogues couldn’t defeat any of the above, they’d be completely screwed if he decided to wand them to death.

The alarming fact that Barry, Barry and probably Barry as well, refused consistently to attack the Rogues … well, that was just a minor setback.

So Hamster II and his chortling minions made their way back to the Rogue Encampment, to something that missed “Hero’s Welcome” by quite a long way.

“You have cleansed the Den of Evil,” said Akara, whose name still reminded him of a Japanese car, even though he wasn’t entirely sure what a Japanese car was. He still had alarming gaps in his memory. In fact, about the only things he could remember were the Moor, the Den, and the only slightly more preferable Encampment. “Well done.”

“Wasn’t it just?” Hamster II said bluntly. “Look, I want-”

“You should go and talk to Kashya,” Akara interrupted.

“I don’t want to talk to Kashya, I want to talk to you,” Hamster II said. “That way, I can be your problem. And I want to be your problem.”

“You really should-”

“Buy my wand.”

“I’ll give you one gold piece for it.”

“Give me ten.”

“One.”

“Five.”

“One.”

“Damn you.”

Hamster II walked away, trailed by his giggling, club-waving skeletons. He crossed the yard, grumbling, and stopped in front of the ridiculously porno-armoured bulk of a Rogue soldier woman. Her name  tag said Kashya.

“Would you like to buy this wand?”

“My Rogue scouts have reported an abomination in the Monastery graveyard!”

Hamster II sighed. “Please, ignore everything I have to say, and tell me all about it.”

“Blood Raven, one of our finest captains in the battle against Diablo at Tristram, has been corrupted by Andariel. She can be found in the Monastery graveyard raising dead Rogues as zombies.”

“And you want me to kill her?”

“You must!”

Hamster II ticked items off on his fingers. “Who is Diablo, where is Tristram, who is Andariel and what, exactly, is wrong with raising the dead?” Hamster II asked, aware of Barry, Barry and Barry standing around him. They were clattering. “And what’s an abomination?”

“Kill her!”

“Am I like, the Rogue Encampment bitch?” Hamster II raged. “Why can’t you do these things yourselves? Why am I … always … called on to…” he trailed off.

Zombies. An enemy group who hated the Rogues and had zombies.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll be happy to help you.”

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