Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Diablo. What a shock.

Episode 5: Swords and Ice Magic

"I'm cold," whined Morrighan.

Ravenwing rolled her eyes, and reminded herself to count to ten. She counted to ten several times.

"I thought you'd like Harrogath. It's a change from the eternal flames of damnation!"

Morrighan sniffed. "I don't care. I'm cold, and some of the baddies are resistant to my nifty cold staff. That's very inconvenient."

"We could look for reinforcement. Let's stop by Malah's."

"Let's go the other way. If Cain sees us, he'll say something pompous about not saving the world fast enough. Twit."

Malah's was warm, cozy, and filled with local barbarian types, attractive only at a distance. Closer in, the smell of permanent sweat, dried minion blood, raw bearskins, and fermented goat's milk took their toll on the whole hot manly thing.

"The clinging smell of piss in the corners doesn't help, either," commented Morrighan. "Men are animals."

"Not like us," Ravenwing agreed. "Ale's good, though."

They drank a while in companionable silence, and then Morrighan looked past Ravenwing at the newbie making his entrance at the doorway.

"Well, hello, handsome!" she muttered.

Ravenwing turned, and saw the Necromancer Lucius, pale of hair, fair of face, and disdainful of expression.

Morrighan was, deplorably, making eyes at him. Ravenwing shuddered, and saw that Lucius was headed over to their table, one brow elegantly raised. How do they do it? she wondered, remembering that other fellow, the Paladin Spock. They could use some of that otherworld mojo.

"Ladies," Lucius purred. Ravenwing growled a greeting, and kicked Morrighan under the table. Business first, after all.

Morrighan leaned forward confidentially, forgetting that her armor covered all the cleavage. "We're planning a little foray into the Worldstone Keep, Lucius. Interested?"

"You have, I take it, already completed your adventures in the Halls of Pain?" asked Lucius.

"Oh yes, pain all gone, and baddies gone too."

"Pity," mused Lucius, with a hint of sulkiness. "I was so looking forward to the Halls of Pain."

Ravenwing snorted, and it was her turn to be kicked. Morrighan smiled sweetly for the Necromancer. "The loot at the quest's end will be tremendous, and the prestige from completing the quest might go far to rehabilitating you back in your own world."

Lucius, at his most silken, queried, "Are you saying you would forgo being the Duo of Doom?"

Morrighan smiled dreamily, "In order to become the Trio of Terror."

Ravenwing felt the ale go up her nose. "Trio of Tripe—Ouch!" She rubbed her ankle, and resigned herself to the inevitable.

Ravenwing later admitted that Lucius, his lovely handmaid Itonya, and his party of skeletal mages and the Fire Golem really made a difference at the end of the trail. They had heard that Baal was tough, but they never gave him an opportunity to display toughness. He was zapped with creepily astounding speed, the angel made the usual doleful remarks about their inadequacy, and there was quite a sound and light show at the end. Morrighan was showing off, telling Lucius she had seen something similar at Luxor, and Lucius was chatting quite amiably, ignoring Tyrael, and trying to be dignified while picking up gold pieces off the known universe's ugliest carpet.

It was all something of a letdown. So they had saved the world again. So what? Drinks on the house at Malah's? More pats on the back from that layabout Cain? Lucius thought he'd be allowed to return to his own world, but seemed unenthusiastic.

"They'll probably give me a desk job at the Ministry."

"But what else is there to do?" asked Ravenwing.

Lucius smirked, and gave an elegant shrug. "We could go do it all over again."

Morrighan, horrified, said, "But—that would be, like---HELL!"


Thanks to all! (Including Fritz Leiber!)