The Lord of Tricks

By Ricky Temple

As Des Ruses was reeking this chaos in Dunselhelm Castle, a distance away an earlier victim of his 'merriment' was also in peril.

"Help! Ohhh someone Help me please!" Sidriss yelled in panic as the magical flood that Des Ruses had caused in her and her father's 'laboratory hut', which Des Ruse had trapped her in also via magic, continued to rise. Sidriss was by now having to tread water to keep herself from slipping beneath the flood water. "Oh dear, Oh dear!" she fretted "I...I have to do something...but what?" she frantically tried to think of something she could do.

"Oh I know...that new spell I just acquired. Ohhhh but what if it goes wrong, it could just make the situation worse." She looked around the room, the furniture of which was now submerged under the ever rising water. "I have to chance it" she decided and began to cast the spell.

"Spell casting! B...U...B...B...L...E!"

Once the spell had been full cast there was a fizz of magic in the air. For a moment it looked like the spell may have failed as the fizzing began to fade without anything having happened, but then the fizzing suddenly intensified again and with an audible pop an air bubble formed around Sidriss's head. She smiled broadly "It Worked, It Worked, It Worked!" she cried gleefully "Oh father will be so pleased...Oh I hope he comes back soon...this spell will only do so much to protect me from this flood and it still rising."

Meanwhile there were no small victories to be had as yet in Dunselhelm Castle. Tregaurd was still constrained by Des Ruses's holding spell, Pickle was still being 'put to the rack, by means of vines pulling his arms and legs in four different directions and Daisy was still battling to stop a vicious Anaconda snake from wrapping it's deadly coils around her body and squeezing the life out of her.

Overseeing all this chaos and mayhem was Des Ruses himself with a maniacal grin on his face.

Tregaurd meanwhile infuriated at Des Ruses intrusion into his Castle, how he had treated him and enraged at his torture of his two young companions. Was trying to harness these emotions ad well as gathering all his psychic strength and force of will in order to make one last all-out attempt to overpower and break Des Ruses holding spell, just as he had done to similar spells put on him in the past by the likes of Mildread and Mogdread.

Back in her hut Sidriss had all but given up hope that she would be found and rescued before she was swallowed up by the rising water. Which was now almost up to the ceiling, all that was visible of Sidriss above the water was her head still enveloped in her magic air bubble but it was starting to fade.

"Oh dear, oh dear" she said softly to herself, a single tear running down her face. Just then, just as she was giving up hope she felt a tingling sensation pass over her body someone was using high magic near by, then there was a flash of light in one of the windows and she heard a familiar voice outside "Handsome Revalartu" her father Hordriss the Confuser had returned.

He attempted to open the door which of course, due to Des Ruses's magic, refused to open. "How odd" he mused before calling out "Sidriss. Sidriss my child are you in there?" "Oh, Oh yes, Yes father I am and please get me out of here! Something has gone just dreadfully wrong with my potion and now the whole room is filling up with water and the door and windows won't open!"

Informed of the situation Hordriss acted immediately he stepped back and called out "APERI!" the Latin for open. Des Ruses's magic, being that he was only a warlock, was no match for the magic of a mage like Hordriss and the door flew open. All the water came rushing out in a surging torrent that carried Sidriss out with it. The poor young sorceress was tossed and turned by the fast flowing water before it finally deposited her in a dizzy, gasping and soaking heap a few feet away from the hut.

"Sidriss! Sidriss my dear child are you alright? Speak to me." Hordriss said as he rushed to her side. Sidriss spluttered and coughed up water but she managed to weakly say "Yes father," "What has happened here my child?" Hordriss asked. "I don't know but I must have done something really terribly wrong in my potion mixing. Water just started gushing from my mixing cauldron and the doors and windows became wedged shut." Hordriss frowned slightly

"An incorrect mixture of ingredients might have caused the flood...but to spell lock the doors as well? Where you using any incantations in conjunction with your mixing child?" Sidriss shuck her head "No father." Hordriss's frown deepened he stood up and walked over to the hut and inspected the door.

"Let us...just see" he mused and began to run a hand over the door, he could still feel the magical residue that clung to the door due to the magic used upon it he could sense his own magic quite strongly, as would be expected as he had only just cast the spell a few moments ago...however he could also sense another type of magical residue underneath his. "Hmmm well...high warlock magic...level 5 One would say."

He then went inside the hut, the cauldron was still spewing out water. Hordriss raised an eyebrow and walked over to it. He eyed it suspiciously "Hmmmm...One wonders." Hordriss cleared his throat...

"DIS-SPELL! D...O...O...L...F"

Almost instantaneously the water cessed gushing forth from the cauldron "Just as One had suspected!" Hordriss said, anger clear in his voice. "What is it father?" a now recovered but still soaking wet Sidriss said as she came into the hut. Hordriss turned and looked at her. "You my child are not to blame for what has occurred her. Some vile fool has been playing, what I believe is termed a practical joke upon you and when One finds out who the perpetrator of said same sick joke One will most certainly address the balance."

"Ooooh" Sidriss said nodding "That would explain the laughter I heard then." "Laughter?" Hordriss asked "Yes, a really strange and distinctive laugh. It sounded like the person was either insane or demon possessed...actually no it sounded like they were both when I think about it, it was a very twisted, malicious and sick sounding laugh." Hordriss got a worried look on his face.

"But it couldn't be...he's in another realm" "Who's in another realm father?" Sidriss asked "Oh another realm! That reminds me, Tregaurd called looking for you. It seems he and his assistants at Dunselhelm detected a...what did he call it...oh yes and energy anomaly this morning, at the Castle of Doom. He said it was like someone or something magical was trying to enter the realm."

"Karaskaram!" Hordriss exclaimed "It IS him! That sick, twisted fiend! That also explains the talk One had heard about town about strange happenings and misfortune attending people this day." "Who father?" Sidriss asked but Hordriss had a question for her "Sidriss this is important. How long between Tregaurd contacting you and the attack upon you? Pray try to be as accurate to the timings as you can."

Sidriss thought hard "It can't have been more then four or five minute's father. But who do you think..." Hordriss cut her off "Then there's a good chance he heard the conversation and knows that his arrival was noticed...which means Tregaurd may be in serious trouble! Come Sidriss we must go to Dunselhelm Castle immediately! But we will need something to combat him with...and One thinks he has just what we need." Hordriss went over to a cabinet in the hut and removed something which he placed in his robes. "One prays he is wrong but fears he is not! However if we play our cards right we can overcome our foe."

"But father! Oh father! Will you please tell me who you think it is that's behind all this?" Hordriss looked at her as he made ready to cast a teleport spell. "Seigneur Des Ruses, Sidriss. The Trickster Warlock one of the most twisted and sadistic miscreants that has ever darkened this plain of existence and we must confront and stop him my child, before anyone else falls victim to his sick and malicious pranks." Sidriss bit her bottom lip but nodded "I understand father" Hordriss nodded he then cast the spell and he and Sidriss disappeared in a flash of magic energy which began heading at great speed towards Dunselhelm castle.

At Dunselhelm Castle Des Ruses was growing board of watching Pickle and Daisy being tortured by his magical creations "Ahhh Oh Me, Oh My but the amusement is wearing thin...so I think I'll take my leave of you three."

He smirked at the still spell bound Tregaurd "You can enjoy the final acts of this 'performance' on your own Dungeon Master" he said mockingly and made ready to teleport. Knowing if Des Ruses left he would have no hope of saving Daisy & Pickle Tregaurd made his final assault on the Des Ruses holding spell attacking it with all the psychic strength and force of will he possessed.

At first it didn't seem to he having any effect but then he felt his body began to untense. Slowly Tregaurd managed to shake of the spells effect and with great determination he rose from his chair to address Des Ruses.

"Des Ruses Cease at ONCE!" Des Ruses look round in amazement "Well...you've managed to overcome my spell. My congratulations" he said sarcastically "But I really dislike 'hecklers' interrupting my performances...it really burns me up!"

Des Ruses conjured up a fireball in his left hand and threw it at Tregaurd. The Dungeon Master just managed to dodge out of the way and it struck the back wall of the antechamber. Des Ruses conjured up another and again hurled it in Tregaurd's direction, again Tregaurd managed to dodge it while doing so the Dungeon Master formed a hurriedly thought out plan.

When yet another fireball was launch at him from Des Ruses Tregaurd again dodged but made as if he stumbled and fell to the floor just in front of Daisy who was still desperately fighting the Anaconda. Des Ruses grinned evilly "Now your final curtain falls Dungeon Master." He let fly with another fireball, but Tregaurd quickly moved again and to Des Ruses shock and horror it hit the Anaconda.

"Goblin Blood!" he yelled in frustration as his two magical creations cancelled each other out, the fireball evaporating into thin air and the Anaconda turning back into the Quest Mace. Daisy gasped for air as she was freed from the deadly serpent's coils. "Daisy! Help Pickle!" Tregaurd shouted Daisy made to go aid Pickle who was still being stretched by the vines "No!" Des Ruses said and raised his hands to cast another spell but before he could he was struck in the side of the leg by the Quest Mace, Tregaurd had got hold of it and had swung it and though it had only been a glancing blow it had been enough to distract the twisted trickster and it allowed Daisy just enough time to get over to Pickle pick up the dropped sword and hack away the vines holding him.

"Now" Tregaurd said "You're out numbered Des Ruses. I suggest you surrender and withdraw unless you wish to pay the price of defeat?" Pickle and Daisy got behind Tregaurd. Des Ruses stared hard at them, so intense was this stand-off that no one noticed the brief flash of light out in the corridor.

Suddenly Des Ruses broke into a manic grin and laughed "HaHaHaHaHa! You think you can defeat me that's the best joke of all! I don't play by your rules Dungeon Master for this is not your game we are playing but mine and here is round 2! Seeing as how you doges heat Tregaurd lets see how you and your friends deal with flames that freeze!" Des Ruses flung his arms up and a wall of blue fire erupted in front of him and began advancing on Tregaurd and his companions.

"Back" Tregaurd said "Back quickly don't let it touch you that's blue fire it freezes anything it touches and its just as deadly as regular fire." The three began backing away from the advancing wall of blue flames.

"As One feared" Hordriss said softly as he and Sidriss watched from a concealed view point out in the corridor "It is that devil Seigneur Des Ruses" "We've got to help them!" Sidriss said. Hordriss nodded "One quite agrees Sidriss and One has a plan." He took the object he had taken from the hut out of his robes "Here my child take this" he passed it to Sidriss, it was a large playing card "What's this?" Sidriss said "An enchanted playing card...when One gives the signal Sidriss...play the card." Sidriss didn't really understand what her father had in mind but she nodded all the same "Yes father."

Hordriss stood up strait and walked into the Antechamber Des Ruses had not noticed him yet "DISPERGIMMINI!" Hordriss commanded using the Latin word for disperse as a magic incantation and instantly the blue fire evaporated. Des Ruses turned round and broke into a gleeful and malicious smirk "Well, well, Oh Me, Oh My...if it isn't the Great Hordriss The Confuser how nice to see you again." He bowed mockingly to Hordriss "Did your darling daughter enjoy the performance I arranged for her?"

Hordriss bristled at this "She almost drowned thanks to you. One has come to address the balance" Des Ruse smiled "Well then...have at thee!" He sent a fireball sailing in Hordriss's direction. Hordriss raised his hand and blocked the ball before sending one in Des Ruses direction. Des Ruses blocked Hordriss's fireball and sent another of his own towards Hordriss and again Hordriss blocked and answered with one of his own this kept going on.

"What are they doing?" Daisy said "There having a Wizard battle" Pickle said in disbelief "Hardly what I would have expected from Hordriss when he wants to get even with someone...what he up to Master." "I don't know Pickle but I'm sure we'll find out."

Hordriss & Des Ruses kept exchanging fireballs then once Hordriss was sure Des Ruses was solo focused on their battle her called out "NOW SIDRISS!"

Sidriss rushed into the Antechamber and flung the card on the floor. "A joker card!" Daisy said in shock Tregaurd & Pickle smirked they knew what was going on Des Ruses meanwhile suddenly looked very worried. There was a flash of magic energy and the figure of Motley the Jester appeared in the antechamber

"Quickly he jumps into Action" Motley said "Flexes his might mussels" Motley flexed his left arm "Cor what a body says I and prepares himself for deadly combat. Hello Dungeon Master, Hordriss, Sid, Pickle Miss Daisy. Thanks for dealing me into what ever game this is...so...where's the opposition?"

"Behind you Motley!" Sidriss called pointing towards Des Ruses. Daisy blinked "A jester...we're sending a jester against a warlock!" "Yes Miss Daisy" Hordriss said as Motley swung round and looked at Des Ruses the jester broke in a huge grin

"Oooooh Its a trickster is it. Aye up there painted features broken any mirrors lately?" Daisy gasped "He'll get himself killed!" "I think not Daisy look" Tregaurd said pointing Daisy looked and to her amazement Des Ruses was backing away from Motley in fear

"No, no, no, no, no, no Get it away from me!" he cried clutching at his chest, pain clear in his voice "Mercy, mercy!" Daisy stared open mouthed, even Motley looked a little confused, he'd never had this effect on anyone before. "What's happening" Hordriss smiled "Des Ruses has a severer aversion to the representatives of true humour and fun. In fact so strong is it that to be in this closer proximity to one of them causes him actual physical pain." Motley grinned at this revelation "oh really! Well in that case ongaurd you vile Trickster you!" he held his jesters stick like a sword and he began to advance on Des Ruses

"Well serves him right!" Daisy said Des Ruses cried in agony and backed up against a wall he had nowhere else to go to keep away from the every advancing Motley. "Des Ruses if you agree to withdraw One will call of the jester!" Hordriss said "I agree, I agree" Des Ruses yelled "just get him away from me!" Hordriss smiled "Master Motley step back from him." Motley smiled and stepped back.

Des Ruses took a few deep breaths then glared at Hordriss and the others "You'll all pay for this! I'll be back you've only won one hand, the game and performance still continues and the next winning hand will be mine!" Before anyone could stop him he teleported away, "Well good riddance to bad rubbish!" Pickle said "and I hope that's the last we see of him!" Daisy added "Hmmmmm I wouldn't be so sure that" Tregaurd said.

"One concurs Dungeon Master" Hordriss said "Des Ruses isn't one to take defeat with good grace and One can still sense his presence so he hasn't left the realm itself so One feels that as he said this was merely the first hand in a what may prove to be a long game between The Powers That Be & Des Ruses."

Tregaurd nodded "At least now we know our new foe and some of his weaknesses so we can be prepared for any future confrontations that may occur between us."

Motley smiled "Well you know what they say though Dungeon Master…you can only play the joker once and get away with it in any game." Treguard nodded "Yes true enough Motley…we'll have to think up some other methods of combating Des Ruses I just hope we will have time to do so before his 'performance' resumes.

Far away in the remote Bruin area a sinister figure slinked away into one of the small caves within the rocks of bruin to recuperate and to plot and plan his revenge...