The Enemy Dice
A tavern, and a gambling hall, it was taken over by Claudius Fat-Hand, a veteran of the "Weekend War". He renamed and turned the nondescript filthy den into a large popular establishment, noted for its honesty to the players, and no tolerance on cheating. Claudius saw to that, and could be seen every day running the business, and talking to customers, liked by many as he was a jovial man. Sadly, he died too soon, barely reaching his forties.
The mourning family sold their share to one Frankus Banner, an old war buddy of Claudius, and partner. He quickly assured all players that high standards will be upheld here, in memory of the founder. For him personally, it is less a matter of honour, than the best way to earn money, but he is a fine guy, liked, though not loved as Claudius. And game went on as it is wont to, for a whole year.
And now are suddenly the luckiest gamblers dieing. Accidents, you say?
During one of the many lulls in combat, Claudius happened upon a wounded enemy soldier, that played dice with himself. Curious, he talked with the man for some length, and even asked him for a game. The stranger denied, and explained him the power of the two little things. Seeing that he would die anyway, he offered him the dice, asking only for a proper burial.
Claudius obliged to a dying man’s request, and took the dice as a luck token. Considering them an oddity, he told few people of it, and they were abandoned among some documents after his untimely death. Frankus on his part never really believed the story, and put them aside; where it is, he doesn’t remember anymore. It seems they have at least joined the other dice in the game.
The dice are touched by fate. One of them plays the game better, the other plays it worse. Throwing them a few times, you can quickly find which is the ‘good’ and ‘bad’. But you cannot cheat fate: if you want to play them, you must play them together. Otherwise, whatever luck or misfortune befell you due to playing only one die, will be balanced by the universe in a short order. If players feel they have bad luck, they quickly change the dice, and often also the table, or clothes. But if they are lucky… why stop? Why not keep playing on, while you are winning great money? The more you win, the more you will loose in the end.
One lucky player was ambushed by thieves and so badly beaten, that he expired a few days later. Another was killed by a panicked horse, and a falling marble statue of a little gargoyle ended the life of the third. All might have been accidents.
What is happening?
1. It is Fate - the dice are indeed in the game, and they need to be recovered quickly, before more gamblers are killed, or someone seizes them. Good luck with hundreds of different playing utensils! If they are ever found… what to do with them?
2. Inheritance - the younger son of Claudius was against the sale, but didn’t have much say back then. Now, with a few friends of the shadier kind, he feels good enough to take over his legacy. The first death was an accident, the rest he arranged to undermine the current owner’s credibility.
3. My precious - a disgruntled employee, one of the croupiers, is getting sick of it all. Frankus, quite friendly to the outside, is very harsh to all employers, unlike Claudius this man remembers with fondness. With such a start, he began to despise all the gamblers and the whole job. Then he got his hands on the dice he heard about, and has been fascinated ever since. And sometimes, he takes a die ‘on a ride’, to see what happens to those that play it.
The heroes may be called upon by one of the player’s families; the family of Claudius that would like to know more; or even Frankus himself who needs to know more, or he can close the shop. Depending on who employs them for what reason, they could learn of the dice immediately - or much later. Some more deaths may happen until then.
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? Responses (7)-7
Inspired by Wulfhere's idea (or should I say challenge?), the title comes actually from Strolen. Kudos to both of them.
Now, come in, you all must be dieing to play a nice little game.
I love the cursed dice and the fact that the two dice balance each other. I think the most touching part was the part where the history of the dice were revealed, being the possession of a mortally wounded enemy soldier.
Why, thank you!
(Of course, it is not known what the real origin of the pair is. That may stay forever a secret. :) )
Well done indeed, especially option 3.
Good stuff Manfred!
A good plot-starter and filler.
Good one manfred. I enjoyed option #3 as well. You know what this needs? A "Dice" freetext. I'll slap one on.