Apr 22, 2012

T is for...


“It's time,” Sean chuckled, rolling a set of dice from behind the dungeon master screen. “The party is divided, the end is nigh!”

“I don't like it when the GM gets that look in his eye,” I ventured, trying to peek around the cardboard barrier. “I've had that look in my eye, it never ends well for the party.”

“He's already rolling for something and throwing out the cheesy phrases,” Tony said incredulously. “We haven't even started yet.”

“Wait, this is all wrong!” Steph exclaimed from the kitchen. “You're out of diet Coke!” I winced. That practically took our barbarian out of the game.

“He's planned for everything,” Michelle muttered as Sean began cackling madly, furiously scribbling down something on his note sheet.

“I've got extra dice.” Erin shook her head sadly, no doubt privy to what her husband had planned for the game. “I think we're going to need them.”

“I'd just like to ask one question,” Pip scowled around the tavern. I thought I had been doing rather well. The other players had all stopped grinning and nudging each other every time my turn came around.

“I, too, am rather surprised, mistress Pip.” I carefully laid a coin down and slid it to the middle of the table. “Bluffing is not nearly as difficult as you made it out to be.”

“No, Glitch,” she rose, pacing toward our opponents. “It's something else, more like...”

“When we began, the probability of a positive outcome fell sharply, however it seems that I have 'gotten the knack' of this just in time. Now, if you could play your-”

“They're frozen.” The Tiefling squinted at the man across from me, waving her hand in front of his face. She shrugged and calmly began scooping up the money piled in front of them, eyes darting around the room. She froze, drawing in a sudden breath. “By the Hedgehog, do you know who that is?”

I scanned the room, sensors returning an odd mishmash of data. “Indeed, mistress Pip, that is a human in stasis.” I frowned. The readings weren't making any sense, unless...

“That's Nathaniel Harkness.” Pip's voice was almost reverent as she walked toward the man frozen mid-laugh. “He's the most famous artificer bounty hunter on the continent.” She glanced around nervously, then slowly opened the gadget-laden pack at his feet.

“It would appear that some sort of temporal anomaly has occurred. In fact...” I set the scanner range to maximum, switching processing power from my prevarication fabrication engine. “It would seem as though the entirety of the city has fallen into a bubble of slowed time.”

“So why isn't it affecting us?” Pip rummaged through the pockets of the frozen artificer, examining an eye-piece he was wearing critically.

“There is a residual energy signature around our bodies.” I frowned, checking through my archives. “It matches the energy burst from the strange orb we found in the kruthik lair.”

“What?” Pip demanded, looking up sharply from where she had been trying to finagle an ornate rifle free from the bounty hunter's grip. “Um,” she looked around the room, sighing heavily. “I guess we should go find the others now, huh?”

“There is an eighty nine point seven two percent chance that this is related to the nameless god in some way,” I confirmed.

“By the quills,” she cursed softly, casting a mournful look at the equipment still on the man's person.

“It is all right, mistrees Pip.” I gently placed a consoling hand on her shoulder. “I'm sure something like this will happen again.”

“You're a terrible liar, Glitch,” she responded bitterly. “Well, come on, we better go find out what's wrong with time. Maybe if we hurry, we can get back before it wears off.”

All artwork is (c) Michelle Corbelli.  Do not copy or reproduce.

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