Welcome to this online fiction site! Here you can read the short stories inspired by the game "Baldur's Gate II - The Shadows of Amn." This is unofficial site and it is not associated by any means with Interplay, Bioware or TSR Inc. No material from this site can be reproduced for any commercial use and any noncommercial use must be authorized by Laufey.
Rearing on its hind legs the ancient red dragon opened its mouth, preparing to exhale a cloud of deadly fire. Its wings were huge enough to blot out the sky, and certainly the tiny knight beneath it who was waving his sword ineffectually. His face had taken on a strange green colour and he was obviously in some distress. At least one would have to assume this, judging from the words that had been written right next to him and which read: 'O crapp, O crapp, i'm really toast this time'. An arrow pointed to the knight's head, and next to it some other writing said: 'Sir Doofus, the stoopidest knight in the world'. Surrounding him were plenty of dead people on the ground, all of them with rather stunned looks on their faces.
Edwin Odesseiron, aged six-and-a-half, considered his masterpiece carefully. This was the best one yet. The stupid knight looked properly scared, the dragon looked fearsome and impressive as anything, and he had even got the wings right. However, he wasn't entirely certain whether that was really the way to spell 'crap'. Frowning he chewed on the quill, squinting at the offending word as he tried to make up his mind. So oblivious was he to his surroundings that he failed to notice the ominous shadow of his tutor until it fell across his drawing. Then a pair of fingers caught his ear in a steady grip that made him gasp with pain and surprise.
"Enjoying ourselves, aren't we, master Edwin?", his tutor asked sarcastically. "Perhaps you would be so good as to share the fruit of your labours with your poor ignorant teacher, hmmm?" Vadrak Dekaras, the Odesseirons' tutor, was technically a houseslave. Technically Edwin should have been able to tell him to go something nasty to himself with the black cane he always carried around with him. But 'technically' didn't mean very much when the teacher himself was staring down at him, the look in his eyes much the same stare as that of the dragon in the drawing when deciding whether to roast the knight or simply eat him raw. The tutor was tall and lean, and the long black cloak he always wore made him resemble a giant crow. A pair of dark and unblinking eyes, a pale face and a protruding pointed nose added to the image.
"Ah, I was just ", Edwin tried, falling silent again as the teacher picked the drawing up, studying it with an emotionless face, particularly the dead man in a black cloak who was lying decapitated on the ground beneath the dragon's left hind foot. Though the size of the nose was highly exaggerated the face was still recognisable. Edwin winced as his tutor raised a single eyebrow.
"Creative", Dekaras said. "Very creative. However, I seem to remember telling you to spend this past hour preparing an essay on the ten most common uses of the Fireball spell. While using it to broil paladins is certainly one of them, I fail to find the rest of your homework. Did the dragon eat it, by any chance? Please do tell."
"Well I was going to finish it. After I was done."
"I see. Since the tasks I set for you obviously bore you, perhaps we should try something else, young master. Something to - tax - your budding intellect a trifle more, I think." Dekaras started pacing slowly back and forth across the opulent red carpet, his hands on his back. Edwin rubbed his aching ear as unobtrusively as he could. The teacher had the hint of a smile on his lips. Not a good sign.
"List all the known kinds of golems!", Dekaras suddenly snapped, whirling around to face his young charge.
Edwin gulped. "Er Flesh Golems?", he managed.
"Don't ask me, boy. Tell me. Now continue."
"Stone Golems. Clay Golems. And and "
Edwin's thoughts spun furiously inside his head. His eyes wildly scanned the room as if the answer to the question might lie buried among the luxurious velvet pillows on the couch or hidden inside the priceless elven vase on the table. Try as he might, the mysteries of golemkind eluded him. Pouting, he crossed his arms across his chest and gave the teacher a furious glare.
"I don't remember", he muttered.
"Speak up, boy, don't mumble. Now repeat yourself."
"I don't remember", Edwin said again, dark eyes mutinous.
"You don't remember." Dekaras' voice sounded almost sad at the idea of his pupil's failure. "How very regretful. Tell me then, young Master Edwin, how you ever intend to become a Wizard until you start paying some serious attention to your studies? I would be much obliged if you could enlighten me on this point since it would mean your father letting me retire. Do go on."
"Maybe I don't want to be a Wizard!", the boy snapped. "Not if it means having to go on doing homework for the rest of my life. It's dull, and it's boring, and I'm not allowed to do any real magic anyway, just preparation and quizzes. I hate it. Everyone just says I'm not old enough and won't even let me try."
Dekaras sighed. "Boy, this is Thay", he said, thoughtfully fingering his cane. "The Red Wizards rule supreme here, and your own parents rank among their number. Your uncle Homen is even the Tharchion of Surthay, a very powerful man. The magic is your birthright. Your parents will never let you give that up, and when you grow older you won't want to. What would you become if not a Wizard, hmmm? A nobleman, rich but always at the beck and call of the Wizards? A common laborer? A slave? Those are the choices available in Thay, more or less. Please let me know when you've made up your mind. I'm sure you'd at least be worth something at the slave market if that is truly what you wish. Is it?"
"No", Edwin said sullenly. "I guess I'll be a Wizard then."
"How very gratifying. And now, back to the problem at hand. Since you seem to feel that your lessons don't prepare you satisfactorily for real life, maybe we should change our strategy." The tutor started writing something on a piece of parchment, then handed it over to his pupil. It was a list of basic spells, such as an apprentice wizard might be familiar with when first setting out on his own.
"You are now a young Red Wizard", Dekaras said as he sat down at the table, studying his student's puzzled expression. "These are your spells, your only aid to survival. Junior wizards don't own powerful robes or magical staffs. Their magic is their sole means of defence. Use it properly and survive. Use it sloppily and die. You are standing in front of a dark cave. Fabulous treasure awaits you inside. What do you do?"
Edwin just stared at his tutor, suspecting the man had gone mad.
"If you dawdle you risk getting eaten by the Dire Wolf that has just caught your scent", Dekaras said, leaning back in his chair. "Now. What do you do?"
"I go inside, I guess", Edwin said.
Dekaras nodded. "Inside the cave you are greeted by a hideous roar", he went on. "A clumsy creature, roughly in the shape of a man, lumbers towards you, obviously intending to kill you." He paused, giving the boy an expectant look.
Edwin hesitated a moment. He was beginning to get caught up in the game and really wanted to show off. Rubbing his nose he tried his best to remember his lessons. "What does its surface look like?", he asked.
"The surface is a reddish mass of flesh and sinew", Dekaras went on, giving his pupil an approving glance.
"Then it's a Flesh Golem!", Edwin exclaimed triumphantly. "And now I cast a spell!"
"As you wish. Which spell do you cast?"
Edwin thought again. Flesh Golems. What did he remember about Flesh Golems? Other than the fact that they were highly resistant to magic like all golems. But in that case, how could he kill it? Unless "That one!", he said, pointing at the spell chart.
"Very good", Dekaras said. "A Spider Spawn. Before we continue, please explain your reasoning."
"Magic won't work on the golem, and I can't fight it myself. I need a friend to help me."
"I see. Any reason why you chose the spider and not the ogre of the other summoning spell?"
"Flesh Golems can't stand poison", Edwin explained, almost bouncing up and down on his chair in his eagerness to explain. "It makes them all dizzy and sick, and they can't fight back."
"Very good", Dekaras admitted. "It seems a rudiment of learning has managed to get stuck inside your cerebrum after all. Knowing what spell to cast and when to cast it is vital to a Wizard. Now, let us see how your strategy works, shall we?" The teacher produced a pair of ivory dice, juggling them nonchalantly. "If you get over a ten, then the spider bites the golem. If not, then both you and your little pet get squished. Go on. Toss them."
Edwin eagerly threw the dice, hardly daring to look. When he did, he crowed with delight. "I win!", he shouted. "It's a twelve! I win! Nyah, nyah, nasty golem! You're so dead. Is there any treasure? Is it really expensive?"
Dekaras frowned. "There is an oaken chest against the wall", he said, "and it looks very heavy." He held up a warning finger. "However", he said with a malevolent smile, "before you have the time to look through it a pair of hobgoblins step through an opening further back in the cave. It would seem that the noise of your previous battle has attracted some unwanted attention."
"Hey!", Edwin shouted in outrage. "That's not fair!"
"Fair?", Dekaras said in surprise. "Whoever said adventuring was fair? You are the Wizard. But I am the Master of the Dungeon, and my rule is supreme. Now, make up your mind as to your next action. Those hobgoblins look extremely hungry."
The game went on for hours, and fortune came and went. After dying a shameful death more than once, Edwin's current wizard had actually managed to get halfway through the dungeon and had acquired a Staff of Striking, a pair of magical bracers and a Ring of Invisibility. Pieces of parchment littered the room, covered with notes on various monsters and the types of spells that would or would not work against them. Information that the boy had previously been unable to digest he now knew by heart. Eventually Dekaras told him that he should go get changed and join his parents for dinner. The boy gathered his notes and hurried out the door, no doubt hatching yet another strategy for dealing with the orc shaman that had just killed him for the fourth time, even as he went.
"Oh, before you leave", Dekaras called out. "The proper spelling of 'crap' is with only one p. I thought you might like to know that. Please write the word down a hundred times with the proper spelling before tomorrow morning."
An exasperated groan was the only audible reply, though Dekaras strongly suspected the lad was saving some nasty comment for the privacy of his own room.
Vadrak Dekaras smiled to himself as he tidied up the school
room. Before he put out the candle he picked up the forgotten drawing once
again. "Vadrak, old boy", he said to the decapitated little figure
beneath the dragon. "Guess we did it again. We'll make that boy a wizard
yet. I suppose the old lessons still hold true. If a battle seems impossible
to win, then consider changing your strategy." His stomach grumbled.
"Oh, yes", he said somewhat ruefully. "And don't get so caught
up in winning the game that you risk starving to death."
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Last modified on February 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by Laufey. All rights reserved.