Eden the Rogue, Chapter Ten: Eden's Redemption


“Come, yon frost-rimed behemoths! Snapping, snowy death! I will stand and fight! The peoples’ cheers bring me courage! … Actually, that’s a lie. This ring brings me courage.” Eden looked upon the ring that decorated his finger warmly, the sapphire set in it glowing gently, “It really takes the edge off this cold!”


Eden’s progress continued. The sky was clearer than it was on his first ascent of Carn Dûm, allowing him to see further up the mountain as he progressed. Thanks to this, he could take in the bizarre lightshow that was taking place near the mountains peak – both shafts of light and unnatural shadows burst from the side of the mountain every now and then. Eden felt a strange sense of déjà vu.


“This was where I found that fire drake,” Thought Eden, “I sure could go for another one of those right now. It kept me toasty… in extreme pain, but toasty.”


On a whim, Eden visited the cairn he had constructed for Melna, only to find it had gone. Her body had vanished, and the stones he had piled up were scattered across the ground. “There are two possibilities…” Eden considered, “Either there’s an unhinged ghoul running around the area now, or more likely… a dragon got hungry.” Eden thought upon this possibility for a moment, “I can only hope the knives she had on her person gave it some serious indigestion. Being eaten by a dragon can’t be very pleasant…”

“Indeed…” Came the deep, sonorous voice from behind Eden. Once again whirling around in a storm of knife-thrusts, Eden eventually looked down to see a large stone head. Its eyes, wrought of polished obsidian orbs, rolled up to look at him blankly.

“Good morrow, young master,” Spoke the head, its voice both ponderous and courteous, “Have you seen my master about? His name is Gunadek.”

“Gunadek? Ahh, you must be his golem… or at least, part of his golem.”


“I’m afraid he’s left. He went through a recall portal… should I take you to it?”

The head sighed, shaking back and forth in an approximation of sadness, “No need. I have come to believe that Gunadek has no great love for me. Did you know that, when I had my body, he didn’t even see fit to array me with a tree trunk?”

“Tree trunk?”

“You don’t know? In golem circles, it is the height of disrespect for an alchemist to deny their golem an uprooted tree to use upon its enemies…”

“That’s a… shame?” Eden shrugged, experiencing a deficit of empathy, “I suppose if you want a tree trunk, you could use the one I took from Bill. It should be in Bree.”

The golem’s eyes shone, “Truly? A great kindness, young master, thank you. I shall travel there now…”

“Won’t you need assistance?” Eden began to ask, but the head was already rolling away under its own power, rapidly becoming covered in snow as it headed down the mountain.


The terrain around Eden was becoming familiar; he was fast approaching his proving grounds. He heard the grunts of the giants and the snarls of the dragons up ahead. Granted, you can always hear these things anywhere on Carn Dûm, but it still caused him to move with great reluctance and caution.

Eden attempted to calm himself, “Think rationally. This time, I’ll be ready. This time, I won’t have some cretinous warrior to babysit, Mandos rest his munched-down soul. Just let your instincts take you, Eden… and flurry. I admit, I don’t like the idea of putting my life in someone else’s hands, even if that someone else’s hands is just me with my brain switched off, but -- WHAA!”

An explosion rang from the top of the mountain. Staring around in panic, initially believing Carn Dûm was a recently awoken volcano, Eden looked up to see a trail of smoke that ran from the top of the mountain to the firmament above him. A star had struck the peak of the mountain! Just what was going on up there?!

“Varda, you butterfingers!” He yelled skywards.


It was almost a comfort to see what he had expected to see the entire time he trekked up the mountain. The horde remained. At its front, a chieftain of the snow giants sat atop his cold drake steed. “Little munchkin,” Boomed the giant, “You return to --”

“Munchkin?!” Snapped Eden, offended, “I’m not even using shops! How can I be a munchkin?!”

“I meant munchkin as in little, not metagaming parlance. Are you going to let me finish?”

“… Fine.”

“Little munchkin!” The giant boomed again, regaining his train of thought, “You return to us? Your cowardly flight caused us great mirth before, but the time for laughter is over. You will not leave our sacred mountain alive!”

After a moment’s pause, Eden raised his finger at the giant, “I’ve got one word for you.”

“Oh? And what is that?”

“Well, actually its five words, strung together, and shouted at the top of my lungs.”





The orcish warband was in high spirits, singing joyful songs of slaughter as they clumped through the plains of Rohan. Only one of their number wore a scowl, the blood mage Burzra. Elbowing the band’s captain, Ukruk, roughly in the stomach (the traditional orcish way to get attention), he growled, “While I delighted in the destruction we caused…”


“… and while the screams of those we crushed bring me much joy…”


“… I still question why our pride should bow to those… filthy wizards! They are puny, they hide behind their illusions, they sit in their towers. You would have us return to an age like Sauron’s, orcs becoming mere minions once again?”

Ukruk glared at Burzra, but in truth he partially agreed with his words; it was just the fact that orcs glare pretty much constantly, “I understand your concerns, but worry not. I know more of the wizards’ plan than they realise. The fools. They are not our masters, but they shall bring back our real master. Our only master.”

“You mean…?!”

“Do you remember the golden days? A massive dungeon, over a hundred levels deep? Our pathetic enemies only having a scant eight buildings to support them? Tricking Lagduf into attacking level twenty adventurers by telling him they’re only level two? Well, with the return of our master, our golden age shall return again. The wizards shall be crushed by him, their blood his wine, their bones his trophies, their spines his charm bracelets! With this staff, his great return is only --”

“Foes!” One of the band’s scouts had spotted a group waiting in ambush up ahead. Burzra and Ukruk ceased their conversation, drawing their weapons.

Night was falling, and the warband could only make out the silhouettes of the party ahead of them. Roughly twenty dark figures blocked the orcs’ path, but the simple fact that they had not attacked instantly led the orcs to believe them to be cowards.

“Adventurers!” Ukruk cackled, “There are no narrow corridors to hide in here! Your scrolls of phase door are useless in this grand wilderness! Bear witness to your death… I am Ukruk!”

The figures offered no response at first, watching the orcs intently, but eventually they parted, allowing a single one of their number to walk towards Ukruk. As the figure came into the light of the warband’s lanterns, the blood drained from Ukruk’s face.

The man before them wore priceless armour of gold and black marble, a cape dark as pitch drawn about him. He held the gleaming, engraved greatsword in his hand as if it was light as a feather. His hair was pure black and perfectly-groomed, and his sneering face had the pale complexion of the dead.

“Who are you?!” Ukruk snarled.

“Who am I? Why… I am the Master, and you shall obey me!”


“Yes! Victory fanfare!” Eden mockingly slapped the head of one of the bald snow giant’s bodies in time with his singing, “♪ Ba-ba-ba-ba baa baa ba ba-baa…! ♫”

 Level 22!
 +1 Dexterity
 +2 Cunning
 +1 Weapon Combat
 +1 Backstab

“And to the victor, the spoils, it seems…” Eden’s eyes had alighted on a wand, almost invisible under the blanket of snow. Taking it up, Eden was surprised to find out that it felt remarkably warm, despite its burial. He read the small, filigreed inscription on the side of the wand.

“Gwai’s Burninator…” Eden thought to himself, “A quality bit of foe-scorching gear, I’m sure! Now all I need is Edge’s Chronocannon and Susramanian’s Fun-Alchemy Gift Set and I’ll have the entire collection!”


Eden approached the summit, both the supposed lair of Rantha and recent recipient of a great big starfall. The area was eerily quiet – it appeared that Eden had all but broken the strength of the snow giants on the previous level. It was funny, but the strange lights and shadows he had seen at the peak of Carn Dûm were slightly familiar. He had seen them somewhere before… in the Old Forest, maybe…?


Eden wheeled around, almost slipping and tumbling back down the mountain on seeing the woman behind him, “Beturin?!”

“Beturin?” The anorithil cocked her head in confusion, “How do you know my sister? I’m Salareyavea.”

“You’re Beturin’s sister?” Eden said in shock, “Beturin has a sister? A twin sister?!” Salareyavea nodded. Eden was momentarily stunned – he didn’t feel that cold anymore, he realised. “My name’s Eden,” He introduced himself, “What’s an anorithil like you doing up a mountain like this?” Realising how his question could be interpreted, he hastily added, “T-That wasn’t a come-on, I seriously would like to know what the heck you’re doing here.”

“What else? Hunting Rantha,” Salareyavea cast a hand to the mountain path behind her, “That celestial slap on the wrist I gave him just now has him on the run. Now I’ve just got to finish the job.”

“Nice, nice,” Eden nodded, “I don’t suppose, if you do kill him… I could borrow the head?”

Salareyavea shrugged, “Why not?” The pair walked down the mountain path together, “You said your name’s Eden, right?”


“Beturin told me about you a little.”

“Oh, really?” Eden grinned, “Did she tell you about our battle against Old Man Willow? Or how I escorted her to her recall portal safely?”

“She told me how you stabbed her.”

Eden’s face fell, “Ah… yes…”

Salareyavea smiled, “Kidding. She did tell me the rest. You’re pretty brave for a rogue, aren’t ya? She said that when that big tree came at you, all you did was start screaming and flailing your daggers everywhere and--”

Rantha came from nowhere. In an instant, Salareyavea’s head had been bitten clean off, her decapitated body slumping to the ground. The great wyrm turned its head towards Eden, the icicles around its maw dripping with blood, and shrieked.

Eden didn’t move as the blast of frost hit him. Having withstood Rantha’s assault with stoicism enough to make Gunadek jealous, he quietly unsheathed his knives.

“As an enemy…” (stab) “… you should know…” (stab) “… that the one thing…” (stab-stab) “… you shouldn’t do…” (stab-stab-stab) “… is press an adventurer’s berserk button!” (stab-stab-stab-stab-stab-stab-stab-stab!)

“It just never ends well.”

Stumbling and faltering under Eden’s barrage, Rantha only gave a low whine as the final strike from Eden’s flurry knocked him off his reptilian claws and backwards, leaving him to plummet into the depths of one of the mountain’s chasms. Eden heard a dull squelch as Rantha’s body was impaled upon a huge, rocky stalagmite at the chasm’s bottom.

Before leaving, Eden constructed a second cairn for Salareyavea. This time, he wrapped her body in enough poison vines to poison a small continent – any dragons who tried to pull the same trick on her as they did on Melna would be in for a very nasty surprise.


“Look, guys… we have to talk.”

Eden sat, bare-footed, at the base of Carn Dûm. Eden’s Guile lay on the ground before him. “Up on Carn Dûm, in Rantha’s hoard… I don’t know how to say this… I found some better shoes.”

Eden’s Guile remained silent.

“I-It’s not like I’ll forget you,” Eden soothed as he tugged on the Frost Treads, “I’ll keep you in my inventory, keep you polished…”

Eden’s Guile remained silent.

Eden attempted to cheer his inanimate footwear up, “And hey! Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be able to wear you and these Frost Treads! Like… say… maybe centaurs will be unlocked someday!” Eden spoke to nobody imparticular, “Will there be centaurs?”

Although Eden didn’t hear it, and couldn’t possibly comprehend it if he did, Eru rumbled, “What do you think, you great fool?”

“Still,” Eden continued, getting to his feet, “At least be happy for me. Now I’m sure to be allowed in Angolwen, now I have the… head… of…”

Rantha’s head was still attached to its body, at the bottom of a chasm several hundred feet deep at the top of Carn Dûm.


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