Digdoug - Episode 22

Digdoug - Episode 22

“If you‘re not gonna stay here,” Dove had said to him, “then there‘s something I should give you before you go.”

Digdoug followed her back to her vardo. At her insistence, he reluctantly climbed up the little steps and ducked inside. The shutters were open, letting in some daylight, but Dove kept the curtains drawn. It smelled close and musty. There was barely room in here for two people to stand.

She stooped and reached beneath the small bunk where he had first woken up as a barbarian. From under the mattress she pulled out a little teakwood box, and unlocked it with a tiny steel key from her hatband.

The lid blocked his view of the contents, but she took out one small silver object that he recognized immediately. She closed the box and locked it, replacing it beneath her mattress.

“This is pretty dear to me,” Dove said, standing and holding the ring out in the palm of her hand. “But I bet it means even more to you. So take it.”

Numbly, Digdoug plucked King Posbrake‘s signet ring from her hand and examined the insignia: six little squares in two rows of three, the center-top one depressed downward. It was Homekey‘s seal, carved in intaglio.

“He...gave you this?” he asked, shaking his head.

“To show it to anyone who tried to stop me from dragging you through the portal,” said Dove, nodding slowly. “To show them I was on a Royal mission. I was gonna bring it back to him right after I got you fixed up, but, uhm...you know.”

Digdoug held it up and stared at it. The finger this ring belonged on...didn‘t exist anymore. He couldn‘t fathom it. The distinctly stylized but orderly pattern of six little squares in this ring was all that remained of Posbrake‘s extraordinary mind. Not the city, not the side he‘d built... Erfworld had lost something grand. The world had lost a Ruler who could have changed things for good.

“It isn‘t fair,” he whispered.

“Nothing‘s fair,” said Dove. It had the sound of a rote, reflexive response. Maybe it was a Carnymancer axiom or something.

Digdoug stared at the ring for a few seconds longer, then closed his hand around it. He lacked a pouch or a pocket in his trousers. Feeling sheepish, he placed the ring on his right ring finger, and turned away toward the door without a word.

“You‘re gonna find that out, out there, Digdoug,” said Dove.

He stopped and looked back at her. “What d‘you mean?”

“I mean it‘s tough. All over,” she said. “You‘ll...probably do okay as a Dirtamancer, but you won‘t like ‘em.” She shook her head at him, slowly, knowingly. “You really won‘t. You‘d be better off stayin‘ around here.”

“I won‘t like what?”

“The other Dirtamancers,” she said, making a face. “They‘re creeps.”

Digdoug frowned. “That‘s what people say about Carnymancers.”

“Carnies are all right,” said Dove. “We take care of our own. You know, unless you‘re completely hopeless. The Dirtamancers here ain‘t like that.” She shrugged. “You‘ll see, I guess. You don‘t trust me, and I can‘t make you, so you‘ll have to go find out for yourself. Good luck, hon. I wish you well.”

He stepped away from her and put his hand on the doorknob, but he did not turn it. Instead, he rubbed the tip of his thumb over the ring‘s metal edge, sensing the composition of pure silver alloyed with eight percent copper. The King really was gone. A part of Digdoug's mind kept trying to recall his orders, thinking that he should be getting home. His every instinct was to be Loyal. But to whom? Digdoug belonged to nobody now.

Before long, the sun would set. Did he ever want to see it rise again? How was he supposed to live now? What would be the purpose of it? “Why would I stay here, Dove?” he said with his face to the door. “Why would you even think I‘d do that? I‘m not a Carny.”

“It‘s a big tent,” said Dove. “We got losers of all kinds around here.”

He blew air out of his nose. “Thanks.”

She stepped up behind him. He was ready to turn the doorknob and leave if she touched him again, but she didn‘t. “I‘m teasin‘. But it‘s true. D‘you know how I make most of my upkeep, Digdoug?”

He kept his face to the door. “Hiring out, I guess.”

“Huh! Please. Nobody hires Carnies. The gig with Homekey was like...Titanic luck or something. Work like that never comes along! And still I blew it, disband me.”

He could feel her breath on his neck, but she kept apart from him. “Then how?” he asked, as she obviously wanted him to.

“I manage people. I find gigs for casters, and I take a cut. Oh sure, I do shows sometimes. Run a card table sometimes, loan out the hat... But mostly, I hustle. A lot of us do that,” she said. “Usually it‘s on a per-gig basis. But you know Doc Sassafras? He‘s signed up with me long-term. He never hasta worry about his upkeep. I find him work, or I get his potions and scrolls sold to buyers. I could hustle for you, too. You wouldn‘t ever need to worry.”

He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, still touching and sensing the signet ring on his finger. “You‘d find me work?”

“I could find you a lot of Dirtamancy work, Digdoug.”

“And I‘d get paid?”

“Yeah. Of course you would. You wouldn‘t ever need to–”

“Like Charlie?” he said, finally turning around to face her. She looked taken aback. “Like that? Just do some good, honest work for you like Charlie did? And you‘d take your cut?”

She shook her head. “Hey I‘m not responsible for what other deals Charlescomm made in that battle. I told you, I‘m mad as a Marbit about it.”

Digdoug scowled. “You knew what he was like.”

“Yeah.” Dove looked him in the eyes. “I blew it; I said that. I shouldn‘t-a trusted him. But I also know what you‘re like. And you wouldn‘t screw over my client like that. So if I‘m not gonna find work for Charlie any more, then I sure could use your help makin‘ up the difference.”

“Right,” he said skeptically. “You‘re not going to work for Charlie any more?”

She looked away, considering. A bitter look crossed her face. “Not unless I have to,” she said.

He pressed his lips together tightly, considering her. Everything he knew about what had happened to his side came from Dove‘s own mouth. He wanted to believe her. And simultaneously, he wanted to blame her for everything, slam the door of her vardo, and never see her again.

Everything‘s a show, Digdoug. What did that really mean?

He raised up his hand and looked at the ring. Had King Posbrake really given her his signet, or did she steal it? Or maybe it was a copy; she could have passed it to a Dittomancer or a Dollamancer in the Magic Kingdom while he slept. Or maybe Charlie pulled it from Posbrake‘s body and gave it to her as a souvenir of an inside job well done...

“Would you work against him?” he asked her, quietly.

Her brown eyes widened. “What‘d‘ya mean?”

“If he destroyed Homekey,” said the Dirtamancer, his voice low and serious, “then I guess I want to destroy him back.”

He weighed this brand new idea in his head: to find out what really happened to his side, and then make whoever did it pay. Maybe that was Dove, or Prince Creen, or King Minus, but probably it was Charlie. He nodded to himself. It was a purpose. It felt right. “Will you help me?”

Dove closed her eyes and sighed through her nose, her shoulders slumping. She shook her head sadly. “Digdoug. Hon... You don‘t know what you‘re saying.”

“Yes I do.”

“No. You don‘t,” she said, her brow furrowing. “You have literally no idea. No army is gonna take down Charlie. No side could. Look, I appreciate the idea of gettin‘ back at someone, okay? But no. You just don‘t even know.”

Digdoug squared his jaw and nodded at her. “So you won‘t help.”

“No, I won‘t ‘help!‘ That‘s not help!” She tilted her head. “C‘mon. You don‘t make an enemy outa him, trust me. He never loses.”

He studied her face, but he never could tell what he was seeing there. How much was Stagemancy, and how much did she really mean? Everything? Anything? All he knew for certain was that he was going to have to start somewhere else.

“Thank you for the ring, Dove,” he said. He reached behind and opened the door, pivoting and stepping out into the afternoon sunshine. “Goodbye.”

“Don‘t do it, Digdoug. I‘m serious,” she said behind him, as he descended the steps into the grass. “He‘ll end you faster than that bottle of Skidreau‘s would.” He didn‘t look back.

“At least be careful! Digdoug, keep your mouth shut! Okay?”

He stepped around someone else‘s vardo and out onto the wagon-rutted main road. Dove didn‘t shout anything else to him, and she didn‘t follow.

The warm, organic air was filled with the musical voices of Carnies calling out their shows and wares. Two men in suspenders were juggling knives back and forth across his path. He smiled and walked right between them. It seemed like the thing to do.

Unlike in Portal Park, there were painted signs all over the Carnyvale, advertising “patent” potions for sale, games of chance, and whatever entertainment “FERAL BEASTS of TERROR,” “ASTONISHING PHYSICAL FEATS” and “FORBIDDEN DESIRES” might imply. Pitchmen called out to him as he passed along, but he managed to shrug and plead poverty to all of them.

As he entered the shade of the forest at the edge of the Carnyvale, though, he heard a man speak to him. Unlike the frantic barking of the showmen, this voice was serene.

“There is a man who has lost everything.”

Digdoug turned his head. A fair-skinned man in a black cape was sitting on a stump by the roadside, with his head crowned in an enormous red turban. He looked Digdoug in the eye. “He should have his fortune told.”

Digdoug smiled awkwardly. “I don‘t have any money, sorry.”

“You will,” the man smiled back, raising an eyebrow. The fellow‘s raiment was ridiculously showy, but his manner was almost shy. He did not rise from the tree stump. “You could pay me back someday, Dirtamancer. Or I could make you a trade.”

“I don‘t have anything to trade, either,” said Digdoug, frowning slightly. “How did you know I‘m a Dirtamancer?”

The man looked straight up, where the bulge of his great red turban overhung his eyes. It was brocaded in gold thread with glass “gems,” and an enormous white feather poked out of the top. He ducked his head very slightly and pointed at the headwear, by way of an answer.

“I see,” said Digdoug. “Well...I don‘t think so. I mean, I just paid off one debt. And I need to see about my upkeep tomorrow. Do you know where the Dirtamancers gather?”

“The Magnificent Carniac knows many things!” said the man, suddenly raising his voice. “Let me see your palm, sir.”

Digdoug shrugged, and held out his left hand.

“Other one!” said Carniac. “Dominant hand. Thank you,” he said, as Digdoug proffered his right.

Carniac traced over the lines on Digdoug‘s palm with his thumb. “Hm. Yes. Your first turn as a barbarian, is it not?”

“That‘s right. My side just–”

“Your side just fell,” said the man. “To foul treachery. A mercenary. A double cross. Brother against brother. Very grim, yes. But your King knew all along. This was his story, not yours, you see. And he knew his play was a tragedy. Don‘t lose hope, free Dirtamancer. Your story begins now. You seek revenge?"

Digdoug blinked. "Yes."

"That is good," nodded the man. "But first, seek your path. This is a nice ring...”

Digdoug was amazed at how much Carniac could tell about him from his palm. But at the mention of the ring, he pulled his hand away. “I won‘t trade it, if that‘s what you‘re after,” he said.

Carniac nodded thoughtfully. “That was a Ruler‘s ring,” he said.

“Yes. It was.”

Carniac nodded his head once, closing his eyes with a kind of grave finality. “It will be again.”

Digdoug raised an eyebrow. “Um...what?”

“Your fortune is told. Dirtamancers live in the south, at the Dirtamansion.” He pointed up the road. “It‘s underground. You have to dig to get in. I‘ll take that bottle for payment.”

“Sorry? Oh.” Digdoug took the bottle of tonic out from his waistband. He looked at it, then shrugged and held it out to the man. “You sure?” he said. “Someone told me this stuff was cheap poison.”

“It may be cheap,” said Carniac, taking the flask gratefully, “but I suppose it‘s worth a fortune.”

END OF PART ONE

Recent posts... (See full thread)
Beeskee wrote:
Heir doesn't carry over between forced captures or conversions, that makes no sense as "heir" is very much a specific-side thing. (Edit: It might xfer on willingness from both sides and all units involved, like a political marriage RL) The only special case is decrypted which is just from Parson being extra careful by saying "or may do X, we don't know" - I doubt it carries over even with decrypted. He could have said "or flowers may sprout out of Ossomer's butt when Slately croaks, we don't know." :D

For TV, there's no point in removing heir status from Caesar, it essentially costs like 150-175k and if nothing else Benjamin would chew poor Don's ear off. :D Caesar didn't take the retirement offer so he can't be put to pasture. Even if he did, he's sorely needed both to train the new level 1 warlord and protect him or her, a unit which takes 60 turns to pop, as well as for his chief warlord bonus unless Don has a bunch more level tens up his fat butt. Transylvito is down a bunch of warlords, troops, cities, shmuckers, and everything else right now. Don can't afford to put anyone to pasture.

And I covered CW because it was funny. My original reply was way ot from yours anyway, it was more of an aside not a direct reply. :D

Vinny might make a good heir. :D

Again, you miss my point. It would cost 150-175k to promote another unit to heir. It would cost nothing to strip Caesar of his heirship, if such a thing were possible. Which it isn't.

That was my point. The only way to make Caesar not the next in line, is to have another heir. I don't care about the motives for or against doing so, because it's irrelevant. It can't be done.

As for Caesar's fate after the heir pops, I think you are gravely mistaken. Don isn't gonna want him anywhere near the heir.

1. If the heir croaks, Caesar is back on top, and we know from Olive that "mistakes" can happen.
2. Caesar is charismatic, respected, and powerful. You don't want to make your heir take lessons from that guy.
3. This is more of just a general point. It doesn't matter that Caesar turned down Don's retirement offer. Don can order him to maintain the level 2 city, and then Caesar either has to comply, revolt, or disband.

As a final note, Vinny would not make a good heir, because he is Noble, not Royal. He might make a good ruler, but he wouldn't make a suitable one for Don's requirements.
And you misunderstand me, I was referring to the promotion cost, not meaning that there would be a cost to remove heir status. :D

As far as what will happen in the comic, nobody really knows except Rob, we'll all find out. I don't know if (and again, didn't mean) Don will want Caesar squished up against the new heir 24/whatever, but likely at least in the same hex for the bonus, and lots of training runs to get the new heir leveled up if he's going to be a warlord/warrior heir. Obviously if Don plans for the new heir to be a stay-at-home heir who never levels, then obviously never mind the leveling and training, it would only apply if the heir was going to be active. I don't think Don specified either way. And the new heir might have their own opinion.
Beeskee wrote:
And you misunderstand me, I was referring to the promotion cost, not meaning that there would be a cost to remove heir status. :D

As far as what will happen in the comic, nobody really knows except Rob, we'll all find out. I don't know if (and again, didn't mean) Don will want Caesar squished up against the new heir 24/whatever, but likely at least in the same hex for the bonus, and lots of training runs to get the new heir leveled up if he's going to be a warlord/warrior heir. Obviously if Don plans for the new heir to be a stay-at-home heir who never levels, then obviously never mind the leveling and training, it would only apply if the heir was going to be active. I don't think Don specified either way. And the new heir might have their own opinion.

I understood what you were referring to. I just don't see why, as I wasn't talking about promotion.
Do we know that there can only be 1 heir at a time?
wih wrote:
Do we know that there can only be 1 heir at a time?


In fact we know the opposite. It was stated that Trammenis was popped not as heir and that it was unusual. Ansom was older and heir. And Ossomer was younger, and heir.
Lipkin wrote:
Vinny would not make a good heir, because he is Noble, not Royal.


Please explain how exactly nobles are not royal.
OneHugeTuck wrote:
Lipkin wrote:
Vinny would not make a good heir, because he is Noble, not Royal.


Please explain how exactly nobles are not royal.

Nobles pop to a Royal side, outside of the capital. Royals pop in the capital of a royal side.

Also, both Nobles and Royals have to be commanders. Stanley was a lowly pikeman, and thus was not royal or noble, despite popping to a royal side.
arbo wrote:
[garbage]
For one, someone who is entitled never says they are, by very definition of the concept. So good luck finding that particular statement. Secondly, I never called him entitled, because you are correct that he thinks his life kinda sucks...which actually illustrates his naivete and spoiled nature even further. He lives a safe life at the capital, hardly ever seeing combat, having all his meals paid for, and still complains, even before Parson does stuff. Then suddenly, when Parson actually involves him in the killing, he gets all angsty and even more upset. Suddenly he's furious about killing...when hundreds of turns of killing is the very thing that has given him a comfortable life, given him the freedom to make all those MK friends and riches.

Think of it in very simple terms: start of story, we have Sizemore annoyed that he is treated poorly. End of story, we have Sizemore upset about killing. And the only thing that has actually changed between points A & B is that he had to become personally involved. It's honestly that basic. He was even angsty before Parson went into the MK, so we don't even have to unpack that baggage.

However, I've figured out a major possible reason for our disconnect (beyond your potential inability to appreciate the story as a large plot rather than bites), which si this: I'm NOT calling Sizemore a mean/nasty guy. I genuinely believe that he WANTS to do well. But he has lived a sheltered, spoiled life by Erfworld unit standards, and this has led to a very selfish worldview that he isn't conscious of. And that is why looking at his word-for-word statements is bound to confuse you. When someone is delusional (as Sizemore is), you don't take their words at face value, instead you compare their actions to the realities. And when you do that, the situation is painfully clear: Sizemore is (by Erfworld standards) an incredibly fortunate unit, yet at no point in the story is he happy. That is the textbook definition of a spoiled brat.
Hey man, thanks for replying. I really appreciate that.

0beron wrote:

(rant)


Trying to appreciate the story as a large plot is fine, but when it comes to character development, it becomes personal and subjective. Sometimes we even fall prey to selective memory, remembering only the part of a scene that spoke stronger to our feelings about a character. That’s why I was asking for evidence. Are there scenes, dialogue, to illustrate the character’s personality? Bring them on. But it’s difficult. It will always be easier to argue about what the Arkenhammer can or cannot do. It’s objective, we can just look at all the scenes it was ever used. But even if we look at all scenes where Sizemore did or said something, it’s subjective, so for some he will always be the The Scrappy and for others he will be The Woobie. Let’s leave it at that. It’s just that I think all the clues were there that the Story was at least trying hard to build him as a Woobie, and it makes the Story worse to think otherwise. But I understand no one likes a whiner, in the comic or in the forums.

If I can say what I think is the major reason for our disconnect, it would be the very definition of selfish. I always thought that, if you are selfish, you think only of yourself and forgets about others, placing your own needs before anyone else’s. This is clearly not Sizemore. There are at least a dozen scenes where he cares about people, reaches out, lends a helping hand, offers more than he’s asked for, and feels bad for killing even in self-defense. This does not only mean he wants to do well, that he’s not mean and nasty. This means literally he is unselfish. He shows as much concern for others as for himself. So what is the definition of selfish you’re following in this discussion?

I agree he’s lived a safe and sheltered life, but not that it was a spoiled life by Erfworld unit standards -- that’s the standard life for Erfworld casters! Apart from Healomancers and Croakamancers and Olive, most casters we’ve seen stay in cities all the time doing mostly non-battle related work. It would be an overgeneralization to say it makes them all spoiled. Staying away from the harshness of war is part of Erfworld’s caster culture, it does not make them incredibly fortunate units, and it does not make Sizemore more or less self-centered than them. His only sin was finding out he personally dislikes harming others and suffering an emotional breakdown for it. Perhaps he was meant to be a Florist but popped as a Dirtamancer instead?

Anyway I hate the Court of FAQ, too.
Hi folks,


I have no idea whether this is the right place or this (having never posted before), but I love reading Erfworld enough that I wanted to let the team know about a tiny typo in Dig Doug Episode 22:

"It felt right[.] “Will you help me?”"

There's a missing period after "right" in the snippet above.


Hope this finds its way to the team,
Dylan