they lunched at a small eating-house nearthe brass bridge, with the luggage nestling under the table. the food and wine, both far superior to rincewindâ€™s normal fare, did much to relaxhim. things werenâ€™t going to be too bad, he decided. a bit of invention and some quick thinking,that was all that was needed. twoflower seemed to be thinking too.
looking reflectively into his wine cup he said, â€œtavern fights are pretty commonaround here, i expect?â€ â€œoh, fairly.â€ â€œno doubt fixtures and fittings get damaged?â€ â€œfixtâ€”oh, i see. you mean like benches and whatnot. yes, i suppose so.â€ â€œthat must be upsetting for the innkeepers.â€ â€œiâ€™ve never really thought about it.
i suppose it must be one of the risks of the job.â€ twoflower regarded him thoughtfully. â€œi might be able to help there.â€ he said. â€œrisks are my business. i say, this food is a bit greasy, isnâ€™t it?â€ â€œyou did say you wanted to try some typicalmorporkean food,â€ said
rincewind. â€œwhat was that about risks?â€ â€œoh, i know all about risks. theyâ€™re my business.â€ â€œi thought thatâ€™s what you said. i didnâ€™t believe it the first time either.â€ â€œoh, i donâ€™t take risks. about the most exciting thing that happenedto me was knocking some ink over.
i assess risks. day after day. do you know what the odds are against a house catching firein the red triangle district of des pelargic? five hundred and thirty-eight to one. i calculated that,â€ he added with a trace of pride. â€œwhatâ€”â€ rincewind tried to suppressa burpâ€“ â€œwhat for?
â€˜scuse me.â€ he helped himself to some more wine â€œforâ€”â€ twoflower paused. â€œi canâ€™t say it in trob, i donâ€™t thinkthe betrobi have a word for it. in our language we call itâ€”â€ he said acollection of outlandish syllables. â€œinn-sewer-ants,â€ repeated rincewind.
â€œthatâ€™s a funny word. wossit mean?â€ â€œwell suppose you have a ship loaded with,say, gold bars. it might run into storms or be taken by pirates. you donâ€™t want that to happen, so you take out an ensewer-ants-polly-sea. i work out the odds of the cargo being lost, based on weather and piracy records for thelast twenty years, then i add on
a bit, then you pay me some money based onthose oddsâ€”â€ â€œâ€”and the bitâ€”â€ rincewind said, wagglinga finger solemnly. â€œthen, if the cargo is lost, i reimburseyou.â€ â€œreeburs?â€ â€œpay you the value of your cargo,â€ saidtwoflower patiently. â€œoh i get it. itâ€™s like a bet, right?â€ â€œa wager? in a way, i suppose.â€
â€œand you make money at this inn-sewer-ants?â€ â€œit offers a return on investment, certainly.â€ wrapped in the warm yellow glow of the wine,rincewind tried to think of inn-sewer-ants in circle sea terms. â€œi donâ€™t think i unnerstanâ€™ this inn-sewer-ants,â€he said firmly, idly watching the world spin by, â€œmagic now. magic i unnerstanâ€™.â€ twoflower grinned.
â€œmagic is one thing, and reflected-sound-of-underground- spirits is another, he said.â€ â€œwhah?â€ â€œwhat?â€ â€œthat funny word you used,â€ said rincewindimpatiently. â€œreflected-sound-of-underground-spirits? â€œnever heard of it.â€ twoflower tried to explain. rincewind tried to understand.
in the long afternoon they toured the cityturnwise of the river. twoflower led the way, with the strange picture-boxslung on a strap round his neck, rincewind trailed behind, whimpering at intervalsand checking to see that his head was still there. a few others followed, too. in a city where public executions, duels, fights, magical feuds andstrange events regularly punctuated the daily round the inhabitantshad brought the profession of
interested bystander to a peak of perfection. they were, to a man, highly skilled yawpers. in any case, twoflower was delightedly takingpicture after picture of people engaged in what he describedas typical activities, and since a quarter-rhinu would subsequently changehands â€œfor their troubleâ€ a tail of bemused and happy nouveux-riches wassoon following him in case this madman exploded in a shower of gold. at the temple of the seven-handed sek a hastyconvocation of priests and
ritual heart-transplant artisans agreed thatthe hundred-span high statue of sek was altogether too holy to be made intoa magic picture, but a payment of two rhinu left them astoundedly agreeingthat perhaps he wasnâ€™t as holy as all that. a prolonged session at the whore pits produceda number of colourful and instructive pictures, a number of which rincewindconcealed about his person for detailed perusal in private. as the fumes cleared from his brain he began to speculate seriously as to how theiconograph worked.
even a failed wizard knew that some substances were sensitiveto light. perhaps the glass plates were treated by some arcane processthat froze the light, that passed through them: or something like that, anyway. rincewind often suspected that there was something, somewhere, that was betterthan magic. he was usually disappointed.
however, he soon took every opportunity tooperate the box. twoflower was only too pleased to allow this, since thatenabled the little man to appear in his own pictures. it was at this point that rincewind noticedsomething strange. possession of the box conferred a kind ofpower on the wielder which was that anyone, confronted with thehypnotic glass eye, would submissively obey the most peremptory ordersabout stance and expression.
it was while he was thus engaged in the plazaof broken moons that disaster struck. twoflower had posed alongside a bewilderedcharm-seller, his crowd of new-found admirers watching him with interestin case he did something humorously lunatic. rincewind got down on one knee, the betterto arrange the picture, and pressed the enchanted lever. the box said, â€œitâ€™s no good. iâ€™ve run out of pink.â€
a hitherto unnoticed door opened in frontof his eyes. a small, green and hideously warty humanoid figure leaned out,pointed at a colour-encrusted palette in one clawed hand, and screamed athim. â€œno pink, see?â€ screeched the homunculus. â€œno good you going on pressing the leverwhen thereâ€™s no pink, is there?
if you wanted pink you shouldnâ€™t of tookall those pictures of young ladies, should you? itâ€™s monochrome from now on, friend. alright?â€ â€œalright. yeah, sure,â€ said rincewind. in one dim corner of the little box he thought he could see an easle, and a tinyunmade bed. he hoped he
couldnâ€™t. â€œso long as thatâ€™s understood,â€ saidthe imp, and shut the door. rincewind thought he could hear the muffled sound ofgrumbling and the scrape of a stool being dragged across the floor. â€œtwoflowerâ€”â€ he began, and looked up. twoflower had vanished. as rincewind stared at the crowd, with sensationsof prickly horror traveling up his spine, therecame a gentle prod in the small
of his back. â€œturn without haste,â€ said a voice likeblack silk. â€œor kiss your kidneys goodbye.â€ the crowd watched with interest. it was turning out to be quite a good day. rincewind turned slowly, feeling the pointof the sword scrape along his ribs. at the other end of the blade he recognizedstren withelâ€”thief, cruel
swordsman, disgruntled contender for the titleof worst man in the world. â€œhi,â€ he said weakly. a few yards away he noticed a couple of unsympathetic men raising the lid of the luggage and pointingexcitedly at the bags of gold. withel smiled. it made an unnerving effect on his scar-crossedface. â€œi know you,â€ he said. â€œa gutter wizard.
what is that thing?â€ rincewind became aware that the lid of theluggage was trembling slightly, although there was no wind. and he was still holding the picture-box. â€œthis? it makes pictures,â€ he said brightly. â€œhey. just hold that smile, will you?â€ he backed away quickly and pointed the box.
for a moment withel hesitated. â€œwhat? he said. â€œthatâ€™s fine, hold it just like thatâ€¦â€said rincewind. the thief paused, then growled and swung hissword back. there was a snap, and a duet of horrible screamsrincewind did not glance around for fear of the terrible things hemight see, and by the time withel looked for him again he was on the other sideof the plaza and still accelerating. the albatross descended in wide, slow sweepsthat ended in an undignified
flurry of feathers and a thump as it landedheavily on its platform in the patricianâ€™s bird garden. the custodian of the birds, dozing in thesun and hardly expecting a long- distance message so soon after this morningâ€™sarrival, jerked to his feet and looked up. a few moments later he was scuttling throughthe palaceâ€™s corridors holding the message capsule andâ€”owingto carelessness brought on by surpriseâ€”sucking at the nasty beak woundon the back of his hand rincewind pounded down an alley, paying noheed to the screams of rage
coming from the picture box and cleared ahigh wall with his frayed robe flapping around him like the feathers of adishevelled jackdaw. he landed in the forecourt of a carpet shop, scatteringthe merchandise and customers dived through its rear exit trailing apologies,skidded down another alley and stopped, teetering dangerously, just ashe was about to plunge unthinkingly into the ankh. there are said to be some mystic riversâ€”onedrop of which can steal a manâ€™s life away.
after its turbid passage through the twincities the ankh could have been one of them. in the distance the cries of rage took ona shrill note of terror. looked around desperately for a boat, or ahandhold up the sheer walls on either side of him. he was trapped. unbidden, the spell welled up in his mind. it was perhaps untrue to say that he had learned it; it had learned him.
the episode had led to his expulsion from unseen university, because, for a bet,he had dared to open the pages of the last remaining copy of the creatorsown grimoire, the octavo, while the university librarian was otherwise engaged.. the spell had leapt out of the page and instantly burrowed deeply intohis mind, from whence even the combined talents of the faculty of medicinehad been unable to coax it. precisely which one it was they were alsounable to ascertain, except that it was one of the eight basic spells thatwere intricately interwoven with
the very fabric of time and space itself. since then it had been showing a worryingtendency, when rincewind was feeling rundown or especially threatened,to try to get itself said. he clenched his teeth together but the firstsyllable forced itself around the corner of his mouth. his left hand raised involuntarily and, asthe magical force whirled him round, began to give offoctarine sparksâ€¦ the luggage hurtled around the corner, itsseveral hundred knees moving like
pistons. rincewind gaped. the spell died, unsaid. the box didnâ€™t appear to be hampered in any way by the ornamental rugdraped roguishly over it, nor by the thief hanging by one arm from the lid. it was in a very real sense, a dead weight. further along the lid were the remains oftwo fingers, owner
unknown. the luggage halted a few feet from the wizardand, after a moment, retracted its legs. it had no eyes that rincewind could see, buthe was never the less sure that it was staring at him. expectantly. â€œshoo,â€ he said weakly. it didnâ€™t budge, but the lid creaked open,releasing the dead thief.
rincewind remembered about the gold. presumably the box had to have a master. in the absence of twoflower, had it adopted him? the tide was turning and he could see debrisdrifting downstream in the yellow afternoon light towards the river gate,a mere hundred yards downstream. it was the work of a moment to let the deadthief join them. even if it was found later it would hardlycause comment.
and the sharks in the ankh were used to solid, regular meals. rincewind watched the body drift away, andconsidered his next move. the luggage would probably float. all he had to do was wait until dusk, andthen go out with the tide. there were plenty of wild places downstreamwhere he could wade ashore, and thenâ€”well, if thepatrician really had sent out word
about him then a change of clothing and ashave should take care of that. in any case, there were other lands and he hada facility for languages. let him but get to chimera or gonim or ecalponand half a dozen armies couldnâ€™t bring him back. and thenâ€”wealth, comfort, securityâ€¦ there was, of course, the problem of twoflower. rincewind allowed himself a momentâ€™s sadness.
â€œit could be worse,â€ he said by way offarewell. â€œit could be me.â€ it was when he tried to move that he foundhis robe was caught on some obstruction. by craning his neck he found that the edgeof it was being gripped firmly by the luggageâ€™s lid. â€œah, gorphal,â€ said the patrician pleasantly. come in. sit down.
can i press you to a candied starfish?â€ â€œi am yours to command, master,â€ saidthe old man calmly. â€œsave, perhaps, in the matter of preserved echinoderms.â€ the patrician shrugged, and indicated thescroll on the table. â€œread that,â€ he said. gorphal picked up the parchment and raisedone eyebrow slightly when he saw the familiar ideograms of the golden empire.
he read in silence for perhaps a minute, and then turned the scroll overto examine minutely the seal on the obverse. â€œyou are famed as a student of empire affairs,â€said the patrician. â€œcan you explain this?â€ â€œknowledge in the matter of the empire liesless in noting particular events than in studying a certain cast of mind,â€said the old diplomat. â€œthe
message is curious, yes, but not surprising.â€ â€œthis morning the emperor instructed,â€the patrician allowed himself the luxury of a scowl, â€œinstructed me, gorphal,to protect this twoflower person. now it seems i must have him killed. you donâ€™t find that surprising?â€ â€œno. the emperor is no more than a boy.
he is idealistic. keen. a god to his people. whereas this afternoonâ€™s letter is, unlessi am very much mistaken, from nine turning mirrors, the grand vizier. he has grown old in the service of several emperors. he regards them as a necessary but tiresomeingredient
in the successful running of the empire. he does not like things out of place. the empire was not built by allowing thingsto get out of place. that is his view.â€ â€œi begin to seeâ€”â€ said the patrician. â€œquite so.â€ gorphal smiled into his beard.
â€œthis tourist is a thing that is out of place. after acceding to his masterâ€™s wishes nineturning mirrors would, i am quite sure, make his own arrangementswith a view to ensuring that one wanderer would not be allowed toreturn home bringing, perhaps, the disease of dissatisfaction. the empire likes people to stay where it puts them. so much more convenient, then, if this twoflower disappears for good
in the barbarian lands. meaning here, master.â€ â€œand your advice?â€ said the patrician. gorphal shrugged. â€œmerely that you should do nothing. matters will undoubtedly resolve themselves. however,â€ he scratched an ear thoughtfully,â€œperhaps the assassinsâ€™ guildâ€¦?â€
â€œah yes,â€ said the patrician. â€œthe assassins guild. who is their president at the moment?â€ â€œzlorf flannelfoot, master.â€ â€œhave a word with him, will you?â€ â€œquite so, master.â€ the patrician nodded. it was all rather a relief.
he agreed with nine turning mirrorsâ€”life was difficult enough;people ought to stay where they were put. brilliant constellations shone down on thediscworld. one by one the traders shuttered their shops. one by one the gonophs, thieves, finewirers,whores, illusionists, backsliders and second-storeymen awoke and breakfasted. wizards went about their polydimensional affairs.
tonight saw the conjunction of two powerful planets, and alreadythe air over the magical quarter was hazy with early spells. â€œlook,â€ said rincewind, â€œthis isnâ€™tgetting us anywhere.â€ he inched sideways. the luggage followed faithfully, lid halfopen and menacing. rincewind briefly considered making a desperateleap to safety. the lid
smacked in anticipation. in any case, he told himself with sinkingheart, the damn thing would only follow him again. it had that dogged look about it. even if he managed to get to a horse, he hada nasty suspicion that it would follow him at its own pace. endlessly. swimming rivers and oceans.
gaining slowly every night, while he had tostop to sleep. and then one day, in some exotic city and years hence, heâ€™dhear the sound of hundreds of tiny feet accelerating down the road behind himâ€¦ â€œyouâ€™ve got the wrong man!â€ he moaned.â€œitâ€™s not my fault! i didnâ€™t kidnap him!â€ the box moved forward slightly. now there was just a narrow strip of greasy
jetty between rincewindâ€™s heels and theriver. a flash of precognition told him that the box would be able to swim fasterthan he could. he tried not to imagine what it would be like to drown inthe ankh. â€œit wonâ€™t stop until you give in, youknow,â€ said a small voice conversationally. rincewind looked down at the iconograph, stillhanging around his neck. its
trapdoor was open and the homunculus was leaningagainst the trap, smoking a pipe and watching the proceedings with amusement. â€œiâ€™ll take you in with me, at least,â€said rincewind through gritted teeth. the imp took the pipe out of his mouth. â€œwhat did you say?â€ he said. â€œi said iâ€™ll take you in with me, dammit!â€ â€œsuit yourself.â€ the imp tapped the side of the box meaningfully. â€œweâ€™ll see
who sinks first.â€ the luggage yawned, and moved forward a fractionof an inch. â€œoh all right,â€ said rincewind irritably. â€œbut youâ€™ll have to give me time to think.â€ the luggage backed off slowly. rincewind edged his way back onto reasonably safe land and sat down with his back againsta wall. across the river the
lights of ankh city glowed. â€œyouâ€™re a wizard,â€ said the pictureimp. â€œyouâ€™ll think of some way to find him.â€ â€œnot much of a wizard, iâ€™m afraid.â€ â€œyou can just jump down on everyone andturn them into worms,â€ the imp added encouragingly, ignoring his last remark. turning to animals is an eighth level spell. i never even completed my
training. i only know one spell.â€ â€œwell, thatâ€™ll do.â€ â€œi doubt it,â€ said rincewind hopelessly â€œwhat does it do, then?â€ â€œcanâ€™t tell you. donâ€™t really want to talk about it. but frankly,â€ he sighed, â€œno spells are much good.
it takes three months to commit even a simple one to memory, and then once youâ€™veused it, pow itâ€™s gone. thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so stupid about the whole magic thing,you know. you spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virginsappear in your bedroom, and then youâ€™re so poisoned by quicksilver fumesand half-blind from reading old grimoires that you canâ€™t remember what happensnext.â€ â€œi never thought of it like that,â€ saidthe imp.
â€œhey, lookâ€”this is all wrong. when twoflower said theyâ€™d got better kindof magic in the empire i thoughtâ€“ i thoughtâ€¦â€ the imp looked at him expectantly. rincewind cursed to himself. â€œwell, if you must know, i thought he didnâ€™tmean magic. not as such.â€ â€œwhat else is there, then?â€ rincewind began to feel really wretched.
â€œi donâ€™t know,â€ he said. â€œa better way of doing things, i suppose. something with a bit of sense in it. harnessingâ€”harnessing the lightning, orsomething.â€ the imp gave him a kind but pitying look. â€œlightning is the spears hurled by the thundergiants when they fight,â€ it said gently, â€œestablished meteorologicalfact. you canâ€™t harness it.â€
â€œi know,â€ said rincewind miserably. thatâ€™s the flaw in the argument, of course.â€ the imp nodded. and disappeared into the depths of the iconograph. a few moments later rincewind smelled bacon frying. he waited until his stomach couldnâ€™t stand the strain any more, andrapped on the box.
the imp reappeared. â€œiâ€™ve been thinking about what you said,â€it said even before rincewind could open his mouth. â€œand even if you could get a harness onit, how could you get it to pull a cart?â€ â€œwhat the hell are you talking about?â€ â€œlightning. it just goes up and down.
â€œyouâ€™d want it to go along, not up and down. anyway, itâ€™d probably burn through the harness.â€ â€œi donâ€™t care about the lightning! how can i think on an empty stomach?â€ â€œeat something, then. thatâ€™s logic.â€ â€œhow? every time i move that damn box flexes itshinges at me!â€
the luggage, on cue, gaped widely. â€œsee?â€ â€œitâ€™s not trying to bite you,â€ saidthe imp. â€œthereâ€™s food in there. youâ€™re no use to it starved.â€ rincewind peered into the dark recesses ofthe luggage. there were indeed, among the chaos of boxes and bags of gold,several bottles and packages in
oiled paper. he gave a cynical laugh, mooched around theabandoned jetty until he found a piece of wood about the rightlength, wedged it as politely as possible in the gap between the lid andthe box, and pulled out one of the flat packages. it held biscuits that turned out to be ashard as diamond-wood. â€œbloody hell,â€ he muttered, nursing histeeth. â€œcaptain eightpantherâ€™s travellersâ€™digestives, them,â€ said the imp from the
doorway to his box, â€œsaved many a life atsea, they have.â€ â€œoh, sure. do you use them as a raft, or just throw themto the sharks and sort of watch them sink? whatâ€™s in the bottles? poison?â€ â€œwater.â€ â€œbut thereâ€™s water everywhere! whyâ€™d he want to bring water?â€
â€œtrust.â€ â€œtrust?â€ â€œyes. thatâ€™s what he didnâ€™t, the water here. see?â€ rincewind opened a bottle. the liquid inside might have been water. it had a flat, empty flavour, with no trace of life.
â€œneither taste nor smell.â€ he grumbled the luggage gave a little creak,attracting his attention. with a lazy air of calculated menace it shut itslid slowly, grinding rincewindâ€™s impromptu wedge like a dry loaf. â€œall right, all right,â€ he said. â€œiâ€™m thinking.â€ ymorâ€™s headquarters were in the leaningtower at the junction of rime street
and frost alley. at midnight the solitary guard leaning inthe shadows looked up at the conjoining planets and wonderedidly what change in his fortunes they might herald. there was the faintest of sounds, as of agnat yawning. the guard glanced down the deserted street,and now caught the glimmer of moonlight on something lying in the mud afew yards away. he picked it up. the lunar light gleamed on gold, and his intakeof breath was almost loud
enough to echo down the alleyway. there was a slight sound again, and anothercoin rolled into the gutter on the other side of the street. by the time he had picked it up there wasanother one, a little way off and still spinning. gold was, he remembered, said to be formedfrom the crystallized light of stars. until now he had never believed it to be true, that something as heavy as gold could fallnaturally from the sky.
as he drew level with the opposite alley mouthsome more fell. it was still in its bag, there was an awful lot of it,and rincewind brought it down heavily onto his head. when the guard came to he found himself lookingup into the wild-eyed face of a wizard, who was menacing his throat witha sword. in the darkness too, something was gripping his leg. it was the disconcerting sort of grip thatsuggested that the gripper could
grip a whole lot harder, if he wanted to. â€œwhere is he, the rich foreigner?â€ hissedthe wizard. â€œquickly!â€ â€œwhatâ€™s holding my leg?â€ said the man,with a note of terror in his voice. he tried to wriggle free. the pressure increased â€œyou wouldnâ€™t want to know,â€ said rincewind â€œpay attention, please. whereâ€™s the foreigner?â€
â€œnot here. theyâ€™ve got him at broadmanâ€™s place.â€ â€œeveryoneâ€™s looking for him! youâ€™re rincewind arenâ€™t you? the boxâ€”the box that bites people onononoâ€¦ pleasssseâ€¦â€ rincewind had gone. the guard felt the unseen leg-gripper releasehisâ€”or, as he was beginning to fear, itâ€™sâ€”hold.
then, as he tried to pull himself to his feet, something big and heavy and squarecannoned into him out of the dark and plunged off after the wizard. something with hundreds of tiny feet. with only his home-made phrase book to helphim twoflower was trying to explain the mysteries of in-sour-ants to broadman. the fat innkeeper was listening intently, his little black eyesglittering. from the other end of
the table ymor watched with mild amusement,occasionally feeding one of his ravens with scraps from his plate. beside him withel paced up and down. â€œyou fret too much,â€ said ymor, withouttaking his eyes from the two men opposite him. â€œi can feel it, stren. who would dare attack us here? and the gutter wizard will come.
heâ€™s too much of a coward not to. and heâ€™ll try to bargain. and we shall have him. and the gold. and the chest.â€ withelâ€™s one eye glared, and he made a fistinto the palm of a black-gloved hand. â€œwho would have thought there was so muchsapient pearwood in the whole of
the disc?â€ he said. â€œhow could we have known?â€ â€œyou fret too much, stren. iâ€™m sure you can do better this time,â€said ymor pleasantly. the lieutenant snorted in disgust, and strodeoff around the room to bully his men. ymor carried on watching the tourist. it was strange, but the little man didnâ€™tseem to realise the seriousness of
his position. ymor had on several occasions seen him lookaround the room with an expression of deep satisfaction hehad also been talking for ages to broadman and ymer had seen a piece of paperchange hands and broadman had given the foreigner some coins. it was strange. when broadman got up and waddled past ymerâ€™s chair the thiefmastersarm shot out like a steel spring and grabbed the fat man by his apron.
â€œwhat was that all about, friend?â€ askedymor quietly. â€œn-nothing, ymor. just private business, like.â€ â€œthere are no secrets between friends, broadman.â€ â€œyar. well, iâ€™m not sure about it myself, really. itâ€™s a sort of bet, see?â€ said the innkeeper nervously â€œinn-sewer-ants,itâ€™s called. itâ€™s like a bet
that the broken drum wonâ€™t get burned down.â€ ymor held the manâ€™s gaze until broadmantwitched in fear and embarrassment. then the thiefmaster laughed. â€œthis worm-eaten old tinder pile?â€ hesaid. â€œthe man must be mad! â€œ â€œyes, but mad with money. he says now heâ€™s got theâ€”canâ€™t rememberthe word, begins with a p, itâ€™s what you might callthe stake moneyâ€“ the people he
works for in the agatean empire will pay up. if the broken drum burns down. not that i hope it does. burn down. the broken drum, i mean. i mean, itâ€™s like a home to me, is the drumâ€¦â€ â€œnot entirely stupid, are you?â€ said ymor,and pushed the innkeeper away. the door slammed back on its hinges and thuddedinto the wall.
â€œhey, thatâ€™s my door. â€œ screamed broadman. then he realised who was standing at the top of the steps, and ducked behindthe table a mere shaving of time before a short black dart sped across theroom and thunked into the woodwork. ymor moved his hand carefully, and pouredout another flagon of beer. â€œwonâ€™t you join me, zlorf?â€ he saidlevelly. â€œand put that sword away, stren.
zlorf flannelfoot is our friend â€œ the president of the assassinsâ€™ guild spunhis short blowgun dexterously and slotted it into its holster in one smoothmovement. â€œstren!â€ said ymor. the black-clad thief hissed, and sheathedhis sword. but he kept his hand on the hilt, and his eyes on the assassin. that wasnâ€™t easy. promotion in the assassins guild was by competitive
examination, the practical being the mostimportantâ€”indeed, the onlyâ€”part. thus zlorfâ€™s broad, honest face was a welterof scar tissue, the result of many a close encounter. it probably hadnâ€™t been all that good-lookingin any caseâ€“ it was said that zlorf had chosena profession in which dark hoods, cloaks and nocturnal prowlings figured largelybecause there was a day- fearing trollish streak in his parentage. people who said this in earshot of zlorf tended to carry their ears home in theirhats.
he strolled down the stairs, followed by anumber of assassins. when he was directly in front of ymor he said: â€œiâ€™vecome for the tourist.â€ â€œis it any of your business, zlorf?â€ gringo, urmondâ€”take him.â€ two of the assassins stepped forward. then stren was in front of them, his sword appearing to materialise an inch fromtheir throats without having to pass through the intervening air.
â€œpossibly i could only kill one of you,â€he murmured, â€œbut i suggest you ask yourselves which one?â€ â€œlook up, zlorf,â€ said ymor. a row of yellow, baleful eyes looked downfrom the darkness among the rafters. â€œone step more and youâ€™ll leave here withfewer eyeballs than you came with,â€ said the thiefmaster. â€œso sit down and have a drink, zlorf, andletâ€™s talk about this sensibly.
i thought we had an agreement. you donâ€™t robâ€“ i donâ€™t kill. not for payment, that is,â€ he added aftera pause. zlorf took the proffered beer. â€œso?â€ he said. â€œiâ€™ll kill him. then you rob him. is he that funny looking
one over there?â€ â€œyes.â€ zlorf stared at twoflower, who grinned athim. he shrugged. he seldom wasted time wondering why peoplewanted other people dead. it was just a living. â€œwho is your client, may i ask?â€ saidymor. zlorf held up a hand.
â€œplease!â€ he protested. â€œprofessional etiquette.â€ â€œof course. by the wayâ€”â€ â€œyes?â€ â€œi believe i have a couple of guards outsideâ€”â€ â€œhad.â€ â€œand some others in the doorway across thestreetâ€”â€ â€œformerly.â€
â€œand two bowmen on the roof.â€ a flicker of doubt passed across zlorfâ€™sface, like the last shaft of sunlight over a badly ploughed field. the door flew open, badly damaging the assassin who was standing beside it. â€œstop doing that!â€ shrieked broadman,from under his table. zlorf and ymor stared up at the figure onthe threshold. it was short, fat and richly dressed.
very richly dressed. there were a number of tall, big shapes looming behind it. very big, threatening shapes. â€œwhoâ€™s that?â€ said zlorf. â€œi know him,â€ said ymor. â€œhis nameâ€™s rerpf. he runs the groaning platter tavern down by brass bridge.
strenâ€”remove him.â€ rerpf held up a beringed hand. stren withel hesitated halfway to the dooras several very large trolls ducked under thedoorway and stood on either side of the fat man, blinking in the light. muscles the size of melons bulged in forearms like flour sacks. each troll held a double-headed axe. between
thumb and forefinger. broadman erupted from cover, his face suffusedwith rage. â€œout!â€ he screamed. â€œget those trolls out of here!â€ no-one moved. the room was suddenly quiet. broadman looked around quickly. it began to dawn on him just what he had
said, and to whom. a whimper escaped from his lips, glad to befree. reached the doorway to his cellars just asone of the trolls, with a lazy flick of one ham-sized hand, sent his axewhirling across the room. the slam of the door and its subsequent splitting asthe axe hit it merged into one sound. â€œbloody hell!â€ exclaimed zlorf flannelfoot.
â€œwhat do you want?â€ said ymor. â€œi am here on behalf of the guild of merchantsand traders,â€ said rerpf evenly. â€œto protect our interests, you might say. meaning the little man.â€ ymor wrinkled his brows. â€œiâ€™m sorry,â€ he said. â€œi thought i heard you say the guild ofmerchants?â€ â€œand traders,â€ agreed rerpf.
behind him now, in addition to more trolls, were several humans that ymor vaguely recognized. he had seen them, maybe, behind counters and bars. shadowy figures, usuallyâ€”easily ignored,easily forgotten. at the back of his mind a bad feeling beganto grow. he thought about how it might be to be, say, a fox confrontedwith an angry sheep.
a sheep, moreover, that could afford to employwolves. â€œhow long has thisâ€”guildâ€”been in existence,may i ask?â€ he said. â€œsince this afternoon,â€ said rerpf. â€œiâ€™m viceguildmaster in charge of tourism, you know.â€ â€œwhat is this tourism of which you speak?â€ â€œuhâ€”we are not quite sureâ€¦â€ said rerpf. an old bearded man poked his head
over the guildmasterâ€™s shoulder and cackled,â€œspeaking on behalf of the winesellers of morpork, tourism means businesssee?â€ â€œwell?â€ said ymor coldly. â€œwell,â€ said rerpf, â€œweâ€™re protectingour interests, like i said.â€ â€œthieves out, thieves out!â€ cackled his elderly companion. several others took up the chant. zlorf grinned. â€œand assassins,â€ chantedthe old man.
zlorf growled. â€œstands to reason,â€ said rerpf. â€œpeople robbing and murdering all over the place, what sort of impression are visitorsgoing to take away? you come all the way to see our fine city with its manypoints of historical and civic interest, also many quaint customs, and youwake up dead in some back alley or as it might be floating down the ankh,how are you going to tell all your friends what a great time youâ€™re having?
letâ€™s face it, youâ€™ve got to move with the times.â€ zlorf and ymor met each otherâ€™s gaze. â€œwe have, have we?â€ said ymor. â€œthen let us move, brother,â€ agreed zlorf. in one movement he brought his blowgun to his mouth and sent a dart hissingtowards the nearest troll. it spun around, hurling its axe, which whirredover the assassinâ€™s head and
buried itself in a luckless thief behind him. rerpf ducked, allowing a troll behind himto raise its huge iron crossbow and fire a spear-length quarrel into the nearestassassin. that was the startâ€¦ it has been remarked before that those whoare sensitive to radiations in the far octarineâ€”the eighth colour, thepigment of the imaginationâ€”can see things that others cannot. thus it was that rincewind, hurrying throughthe crowded, flare-lit evening
bazaars of morpork. with the luggage trundling behind him, jostleda tall dark figure, turned to deliver a few suitablecurses, and beheld death. it had to be death. no-one else went around with empty eye socketsand, of course, the scythe over one shoulder was anotherclue. as rincewind stared in horror a courting couple, laughing at someprivate joke, walked straight through the apparition without appearing tonotice it.
death, insofar as it was possible in a facewith no movable features, looked surprised. rincewind? death said, in tones as deep and heavy asthe slamming of leaden doors, far underground. â€œum,â€ said rincewind, trying to back awayfrom that eyeless stare. but why are you here? (boom, boom went crypt lids, in the worm-haunted fastnesses under old mountainsâ€¦)
â€œum, why not?â€ said rincewind. â€œanyway, iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve got lots todo, so if youâ€™ll justâ€”â€ i was surprised that you jostled me, rincewind. for i have an appointment with thee this very night. â€œoh no, notâ€”â€ of course, whatâ€™s so bloody vexing aboutthe whole business is that i was expecting to meet thee in pseudopolis.
â€œbut thatâ€™s five hundred miles away!â€ you donâ€™t have to tell me, the whole systemâ€™sgot screwed up again. i can see that. look thereâ€™s no chance of youâ€”? rincewind backed away, hands spread protectivelyin front of him. the dried fish salesman on a nearby stall watched thismadman with interest. i could lend you a very fast horse.
it wonâ€™t hurt a bit. â€œno!â€ rincewind turned and ran. death watched him go and shrugged bitterly. sod you, then, death said. he turned, and noticed the fish salesman. snarl death reached out a bony finger andstopped the manâ€™s heart, but he didnâ€™t take much pride in it. then death remembered what was due to happenlater that night.
it would not be true to say that death smiled, becausein any case his features were perforce frozen in a calcareous grin. but he hummed a little tune, cheery as a plague pit, and pausing only to extractthe life from a passing mayfly, and one-ninth of the lives from a cat coweringunder the fish stall (all cats can see into the octarine)â€”death turnedon his heel and set off towards the broken drum. short street, morpork, is in fact one of thelongest in the city.
filigree street crosses its turnwise end in the mannerof the crosspiece of a t, and the broken drum is so placed that it looksdown the full length of the street. at the furthermost end of short street a darkoblong rose on hundreds of tiny legs, and started to run. at first it moved at no more than a lumbering trot, but by the time it was halfway up thestreet it was moving arrow-fastâ€¦ a darker shadow inched its way along one ofthe walls of the drum, a few
yards from the two trolls who were guardingthe door. rincewind was sweating. if they heard the faint clinking of the specially-preparedbags at his beltâ€¦ one of the trolls tapped his colleague onthe shoulder, producing a noise like two pebbles being knocked together. he pointed down the starlit streetâ€¦ rincewind darted from his hiding place, turned,and hurled his burden
through the drumâ€™s nearest window. withel saw it arrive. the bag arced across the room, turning slowlyin the air, and burst on the edge of a table. a moment later gold coins were rolling across the floor, spinning, glittering. the room was suddenly silent, save for thetiny noises of gold and the whimpers of the wounded. with a curse withel despatched the assassinhe had
been fighting. â€œitâ€™s a trick!â€ he screamed. â€œno-one move!â€ three score men and a dozen trolls froze inmid-grope. then, for the third time, the door burst open. two trolls hurried through it, slammed it behind them dropped the heavybar across it and fled down the stairs. outside there was a sudden crescendo of runningfeet.
and, for the last time, the door opened. in fact it exploded, the great wooden barbeing hurled far across the room and the frame itselfgiving way. door and frame landed on a table, which flew into splinters. it was then that the frozen fighters noticed that there was somethingelse in the pile of wood. it was a
box, shaking itself madly to free itself ofthe smashed timber around it. rincewind appeared in the ruined doorway hurlinganother of his gold grenades. it smashed into a wall, showering coins. down in the cellar broadman looked up, mutteredto himself, and carried on with his work. his entire spindlewinterâ€™s supply of candleshad already been strewn on the floor, mixed with his storeof kindling wood. now he was
attacking a barrel of lamp oil. â€œinn-sewer-antsâ€ he muttered. oil gushed out and swirled around his feet. withel stormed across the floor, his facea mask of rage. rincewind took careful aim and caught the thief full in thechest with a bag of gold. but now ymor was shouting, and pointing an accusingfinger.
a raven swooped down from its perch in the rafters and dived atthe wizard, talons open and gleaming. it didnâ€™t make it. at about the halfway point the luggage leaptfrom its bed of splinters, gaped briefly in mid-air, andsnapped shut. it landed lightly. rincewind saw its lid open again, slightly. just far
enough for a tongue, large as a palm leaf,red as mahogany, to lick up a few errant feathers. at the same moment the giant candlewheel fellfrom the ceiling, plunging the room into gloom. rincewind, coiling himself like a spring,gave a standing jump and grasped a beam, swinging himselfup into the relative safety of the roof with a strength that amazed him. â€œexciting, isnâ€™t it?â€ said a voice byhis ear. down below, thieves, assassins, trolls andmerchants all realised at about
the same moment that they were in a room madetreacherous of foothold by gold coins and containing something, amongthe suddenly menacing shapes in the semi-darkness, that was absolutely horrible. as one they made for the door, but had two dozen different recollectionsof its exact position. high above the chaos rincewind stared at twoflower. â€œdid you cut the lights down?â€ he hissed. â€œhow come youâ€™re up here?â€ â€œi thought iâ€™d better not get in everyoneâ€™swayâ€”â€
rincewind considered this. there didnâ€™t seem to be much he could say. twoflower added: â€œa real brawl! better than anything iâ€™d imagined! do you think i ought to thank them? or did you arrange it? â€œ rincewind looked at him blankly.
â€œi think we ought to be getting down now,â€he said hollowly. â€œeveryoneâ€™s gone.â€ he dragged twoflower across the littered floorand up the steps. they burst out into the tail end of the night. there were still a few stars but the moon was down, and there was a faint greyglow to rimward. most important, the street was empty.
rincewind sniffed. â€œcan you smell oil?â€ he said. then withel stepped out of the shadows andtripped him up. at the top of the cellar steps broadman kneltdown and fumbled in his tinderbox. it turned out to be damp. â€œiâ€™ll kill that bloody cat,â€ he muttered,and groped for the spare box that was normally on the ledge by the door. it was missing.
broadman said a bad word. a lighted taper appeared in mid-air, rightbeside him. here, take this. â€œthanks,â€ said broadman. donâ€™t mention it. broadman went to throw the taper down thesteps. his hand paused in mid-air. he looked at the taper, his brow furrowing.
then he turned around and held the taper up to illuminate the scene. it didnâ€™t shed much light, but it did give the darkness a shapeâ€¦ â€œoh, noâ€ he breathed. but yes, said death. rincewind rolled. for a moment he thought withel was going tospit him where he lay. but it
was worse than that. he was waiting for him to get up. â€œi see you have a sword, wizard,â€ he saidquietly. â€œi suggest you rise, and we shall see how well you use it.â€ rincewind stood up as slowly as he dared, and drew from his belt the short sword hehad taken from the guard a few hours and a hundred years ago. it was a short blunt affair compared to
withel â€˜s hair-thin rapier. â€œbut i donâ€™t know how to use a sword,â€he wailed. â€œgood.â€ â€œyou know that wizards canâ€™t be killedby edged weapons?â€ said rincewind desperately. withel smiled coldly. â€œso i have heard,â€ he said. â€œi look forward to putting it to the test.â€
he lunged. rincewind caught the thrust by sheer luck, jerked his hand away in shock,deflected the second stroke by coincidence, and took the third one throughhis robe at heart-height. there was a clink. withelâ€™s snarl of triumph died in his throat. he drew the sword out and prodded again at the wizard, who was rigidwith terror and guilt. there was
another clink, and gold coins began to dropout of the hem of the wizardâ€™s robe. â€œso you bleed gold, do you?â€ hissed withel. â€œbut have you got gold concealed in that raggedy beard, you littleâ€”â€ as his sword went back for his final sweepthe sullen glow that had been growing in the doorway of the broken drumflickered, dimmed, and erupted into a roaring fireball that sent the wallsbillowing outward and carried
the roof a hundred feet into the air beforebursting through it, in a gout of red-hot tiles. withel stared at the boiling flames, unnerved. and rincewind leapt. ducked under the thiefâ€™s sword arm and broughthis own blade around in an arc so incompetently misjudged that it hitthe man flat-first and jolted out of the wizardâ€™s hand. sparks and droplets of flaming oil raineddown as withel reached out with both gauntleted handsand grabbed rincewindâ€™s neck,
forcing him down. â€œyou did this!â€ he screamed. â€œyou and your box of trickery. his thumb found rincewindâ€™s windpipe. this is it, the wizard thought. wherever iâ€™m going, it canâ€™t be worsethan hereâ€¦ â€œexcuse me,â€ said twoflower. rincewind felt the grip lessen. and now withel was slowly getting up, a look
of absolute hatred on his face. a glowing ember landed on the wizard. he brushed it off hurriedly, and scrambled to his feet. twoflower was behind withel, holding the manâ€™sown needle-sharp sword with the point restingin the small of the thiefâ€™s back. rincewindâ€™s eyes narrowed. he reached into his robe, then withdrew hishand bunched into a fist.
â€œdonâ€™t move,â€ he said. â€œam i doing this right?â€ asked twofloweranxiously. â€œhe says heâ€™ll skewer your liver if youmove,â€ rincewind translated freely. â€œi doubt it,â€ said withel. â€œbet?â€ as withel tensed himself to turn on the touristrincewind lashed out and caught the thief on the jaw. withel stared at him in amazement for a moment,
and then quietly toppled into the mud. the wizard uncurled his stinging fist andthe roll of gold coins slipped between his throbbing fingers. he looked down at the recumbent thief. â€œgood grief,â€ he gasped. he looked up and yelled as another ember landedon his neck. flames were racing along the rooftops on the other sideof the street. all around him
people were hurling possessions from windowsand dragging horses from smoking stables. another explosion in the white-hot volcanothat was the drum sent a whole marble mantelpiece scythingoverhead. â€œthe widdershin gateâ€™s the nearest!â€ rincewind shouted above the crackle of collapsing rafters. â€œcome on!â€ he grabbed twoflowerâ€™s reluctant arm anddragged him down the street.
â€œmy luggage!â€ â€œblast your luggage. stay here much longer and youâ€™ll go whereyou donâ€™t need luggage. come on!â€ screamed rincewind. they jogged on through the crowd of frightenedpeople leaving the area, while the wizard took great mouthfuls of cooldawn air. something was puzzling him.
â€œiâ€™m sure all the candles went out,â€he said. â€œso how did the drum catch fire?â€ â€œi donâ€™t know,â€ moaned twoflower. â€œitâ€™s terrible, rincewind. we were getting along so well, too.â€ rincewind stopped in astonishment, so thatanother refugee cannoned into him and spun away with an oath.
â€œgetting on?â€ â€œyes, a great bunch of fellows, i thoughtlanguage was a bit of a problem, but they were so keen for me to join theirparty, they just wouldnâ€™t take no for an answerâ€”really friendly people, ithoughtâ€¦â€ rincewind started to correct him, then realisedhe didnâ€™t know how to begin. â€œitâ€™ll be a blow for old broadman,â€twoflower continued. â€œstill, he was wise. iâ€™ve still got the rhinu he paid as hisfirst premium.â€
rincewind didnâ€™t know the meaning of theword premium, but his mind was working fast. â€œyou inn-sewered the drum?â€ he said. â€œyou bet broadman it wouldnâ€™t catch â€œoh yes. standard valuation. two hundred rhinu, why do you ask?â€ rincewind turned and stared at the flamesracing towards them, and wondered how much of ankh morpork could be bought fortwo hundred rhinu.
quite a large piece, he decided. only not now, not the way those flames weremovingâ€¦ he glanced down at the tourist. â€œyouâ€”â€ he began, and searched his memoryfor the worst word in the trob tongue; the happy little betrobi didnâ€™treally know how to swear properly. â€œyou,â€ he repeated. another hurrying figure bumped into him, narrowly missing him with the blade over its shoulder.
rincewindâ€™s tortured temper exploded. â€œyou little (such a one who, while wearinga copper nose ring, stands in a footbath atop mount raruaruaha during a heavythunderstorm and shouts that alohura, goddess of lightning, has the facialfeatures of a diseased uloruaha root!)â€ just doing my job, said the figure, stalkingoff. every word fell as heavily as slabs of marble;moreover, rincewind was certain that he was the only one who heardthem.
he grabbed twoflower again. â€œletâ€™s get out of here!â€ he suggested. one interesting side effect of the fire inankh-morpork concerns the inn- sewer-ants policy, which left the city throughthe ravaged roof of the broken drum, was wafted high into the discworldâ€™satmosphere on the ensuing thermal, and came to earth several days anda few thousand miles away on an uloruaha bush in the betrobi islands. the simple, laughing islanders subsequently worshipped it as a god, muchto the amusement of their more
sophisticated neighbours. strangely enough the rainfall and harvestsin the next few years were almost supernaturallyabundant, and this led to a research team being despatched to the islandsby the minor religions faculty of unseen university. their verdict was that it only went to show. the fire, driven by the wind, spread out fromthe drum faster than a man could walk. the timbers of the widdershin gate were alreadyon fire when
rincewind, his face blistered and reddenedfrom the flames, reached them. by now he and twoflower were on horsebackâ€”mountshadnâ€™t been that hard to obtain. a wily merchant had asked fifty times theirworth, and had been left gaping when one thousand times their worthhad been pressed into his hands. they rode through just before the first ofthe big gate timbers descended in an explosion of sparks morpork was alreadya cauldron of flame. as they galloped up the red-lit road rincewindglanced sideways at his
travelling companion currently trying hardto learn to ride a horse. bloody hell, he thought. heâ€™s alive! me too. whoâ€™d have thought it? perhaps there is something in this reflected-sound-of-undergroundâ€”spirits? cumbersome phrase. rincewind tried to get his tongue round thethick
syllables that were the word in twoflowerâ€™sown language. â€œecolirix?â€ he tried. â€œecro-gnothics? echo-gnomics?â€ that would do. that sounded about right. several hundred yards downriver from the lastsmouldering suburb of the city a strangely rectangular and apparently heavily-waterloggedobject touched the mud on the widdershin bank.
immediately it sprouted numerous legs and scrabbled for a purchase. hauling itself to the top of the bank theluggage-streaked with soot, stained with water and very very angryâ€”shookitself and took its bearings. then it moved away at a brisk trot, the smalland incredibly ugly imp that was perching on its lid watching the scenerywith interest. bravd looked at the weasel and raised hiseyebrows. â€œand thatâ€™s it,â€ said rincewind, â€œtheluggage caught up with us, donâ€™t ask me how.
is there any more wine?â€ the weasel picked up the empty wineskin. â€œi think you have had just about enoughwine this night,â€ he said. bravdâ€™s forehead wrinkled. â€œgold is gold,â€ he said finally. â€œhow can a man with plenty of gold consider himself poor? youâ€™re either poor or rich. it stands to reasonâ€”â€
rincewind hiccupped. he was finding reason rather difficult tohold on to. â€œwell,â€ he said, â€œwhat i think is, thepoint is, well, you know octiron?â€ the two adventurers nodded. the strange iridescent metal was almost as highly valued in the lands around the circlesea as sapient pearwood, and was about as rare. a man who owned a needle made of octiron wouldnever lose his way, since it always pointed to the hubof the discworld, being acutely
sensitive to the discâ€™s magical field; itwould also miraculously darn his socks. â€œwell, my point is, you see, that gold alsohas its sort of magical field. sort of financial wizardry. echo-gnomics.â€ rincewind giggled. the weasel stood up and stretched. the sun was well up now, and the city below them was wreathed in mists and fullof foul vapours.
also gold, he decided. even a citizen of morpork would, at the verypoint of death, desert his treasure to save his skin. time to move. the little man called twoflower appeared tobe asleep. the weasel looked down at him and shook his head. â€œthe city awaits, such as it is,â€ he said.
â€œthank you for a pleasant tale, wizard. what will you do now?â€ he eyed the luggage, which immediately backedaway and snapped its lid at him. â€œwell, there are no ships leaving the citynow,â€ giggled rincewind. â€œi suppose weâ€™ll take the coast road to quirm. iâ€™ve got to look after him, you
see. but look, i didnâ€™t make itâ€”â€ â€œsure, sure,â€ said the weasel soothingly. he turned away and swung himself into the saddle of the horse that bravd washolding. a few moments later the two heroes were just specks under a cloudof dust, heading down towards the charcoal city. rincewind stared muzzily at the recumbenttourist.
at two recumbent tourists. in his somewhat defenceless state a straythought, wandering through the dimensions in search of a mindto harbour it, slid into his brain. â€œhereâ€™s another fine mess youâ€™ve gotme into,â€ he moaned, and slumped backwards. â€œmad,â€ said the weasel. bravd, galloping along a few feet away, nodded.
â€œall wizards get like that,â€ he said. â€œitâ€™s the quicksilver fumes. rots their brains. mushrooms, too â€œ â€œhoweverâ€”â€ said the brown-clad one. he reached into his tunic and took out a golden disc on a short chain. bravd raised his eyebrows.
â€œthe wizard said that the little man hadsome sort of golden disc that told him the time,â€ said the weasel. â€œarousing your cupidity, little friend? you always were an expert thief, weasel.â€ â€œaye,â€ agreed the weasel modestly. he touched the knob at the discâ€™s rim, and it flipped open. the very small demon imprisoned within lookedup from its tiny abacus and
scowled. â€œit lacks but ten minutes to eight of theclock,â€ it snarled. lid slammed shut, almost trapping the weaselâ€™sfingers- with an oath the weasel hurled the time-tellerfar out into the heather, where it possibly hit a stone. something, in any event, caused the case to split; there was a vivid octarine flash anda whiff of brimstone as the time being vanished into whatever demonic dimensionit called home. â€œwhat did you do that for?â€ said bravd,who hadnâ€™t been close enough to hear
the words. â€œdo what?â€ said the weasel. â€œi didnâ€™t do anything. nothing happened at all. come onâ€”weâ€™re wasting opportunities! bravd nodded. together they turned their steeds and gallopedtowards ancient ankh, and honest enchantments. the sending of eight
prologue the discworld offers sights far more impressivethan those found in universes built by creators with less imaginationbut more mechanical aptitude. although the discâ€™s sun is but an orbitingmoonlet, its prominences hardly bigger than croquet hoops,this slight drawback must be set against the tremendous sight of greataâ€™tuin the turtle, upon whose ancient and meteor-riddled shell the discultimately rests. sometimes, in
his slow journey across the shores of infinity,he moves his countrysized head to snap at a passing comet. but perhaps the most impressive sight of allâ€”ifonly because most brains, when faced with the sheer galactic enormityof aâ€™tuin, refuse to believe it â€”is the endless rimfall, where the seasof the disc boil ceaselessly over the edge into space. or perhaps it is the rimbow, the eight-coloured, worldgirdling rainbow that hovers in the mist-ladenair over the fall. eighth colour is octarine, caused by the scatter-effectof strong sunlight
on an intense magical field. or perhaps, again, the most magnificent sightis the hub. there, a spire of green ice ten miles high rises through theclouds and supports at its peak the realm of dunmanifestin, the abode of thedisc gods. the disc gods themselves, despite the splendour of the worldbelow them, are seldom satisfied. it is embarrassing to know that one is a godof a world that only
exists because every improbability curve musthave its far end; especially when one can peer into other dimensions atworlds whose creators had more mechanical aptitude than imagination no wonder,then, that the disc gods spend more time in bickering than in omnicognizance. on this particular day blind io, by dint ofconstant vigilance the chief of the gods, sat with his chin on his hand andlooked at the gaming board on the red marble table in front of him. blind io had got his name because, where his eye sockets should have been, therewere nothing but two areas of
blank skin. his eyes, of which he had an impressivelylarge number, led a semi-independent life of their own. several were currently hovering above the table. the gaming board was a carefully-carved mapof the disc world, overprinted with squares. a number of beautifully modelled playing pieceswere now occupying some of the squares.
a human onlooker would, for example, have recognized in two of them the likenesses ofbravd and the weasel. others represented yet more heroes and champions,of which the disc had a more than adequate supply. still in the game were io, offler the crocodilegod, zephyrus the god of slight breezes, fate,and the lady. there was an air of concentration around the board now that thelesser players had been removed
from the game. chance had been an early casualty, runningher hero into a full house of armed gnolls (the result ofa lucky throw by offler) and shortly afterwards night had cashed his chips,pleading an appointment with destiny. several minor deities had drifted up and werekibitzing over the shoulders of the players. side bets were made that the lady would bethe next to leave the board. her
last champion of any standing was now a pinchof potash in the ruins of still-smoking ankh-morpork. and there werehardly any pieces that she could promote to first rank. blind io took up the dice-box, which was askull-various orifices had been stoppered with rubies, and with several ofhis eyes on the lady he rolled three fives. she smiled this was the nature of the ladyâ€™seyes: they were bright green, lacking iris or pupil, and theyglowed from within. the room was silent as she scrabbled in herbox of pieces and, from the very
bottom, produced a couple that she set downon the board with two decisive clicks. the rest of the players, as one god, cranedforward to peer at them. â€œa wenegad wiffard and tome fort of clerk,â€said offler the crocodile god, hindered as usual by his tusks. â€œwell, weally! â€œ with one claw he pushed a pile of bone-white tokens into the centreof the table. the lady nodded slightly.
she picked up the dicecup and held it as steadyas a rock, yet all the gods could hear the threecubes rattling about inside. and then she sent them bouncing across thetable. a six. a three. a five. something was happening to the five, however. battered by the chance collision of severalbillion molecules, the die flipped onto a point, spun gently and camedown a seven.
blind io picked up the cube and counted thesides. â€œcome on,â€ he said wearily, â€œplay fair.â€ the road from ankh-morpork to quirm is high,white and winding, a thirty- league stretch of potholes and half-buriedrocks that spirals around mountains and dips into cool green valleysof citrus trees, crosses liana- webbed gorges on creaking rope bridges andis generally more picturesque than picturesque. that was a new word to rincewind the wizard.
it was one of a number he had picked up since leavingthe charred ruins of ankh- morpork. quaint was another one. picturesque meantâ€”he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired twoflowerto use the wordâ€”that the landscape was horribly precipitous. quaint, when used to describe the occasional village through which they passed,meant fever-ridden and
tumbledown. twoflower was a tourist, the first ever seenon the discworld. tourist, rincewind had decided, meant â€œidiotâ€. as they rode leisurely through the thyme-scentedbee-humming air, rincewind pondered on the experiences of the last fewdays. while the little foreigner was obviously insane, he was also generousand considerably less lethal than half the people the wizard had mixed within the city-rincewind rather liked
disliking him would have been like kickinga puppy. currently twoflower was showing a great interestin the theory and practice of magic. â€œit all seems, well, rather useless to me,â€he said. â€œi always thought that, you know, a wizard just said the magic wordsand that was that. not all this tedious memorising.â€ rincewind agreed moodily.
he tried to explain that magic had indeedonce been wild and lawless, but had been tamedback in the mists of time by the olden ones, who had bound it to obey amongother things the law of conservation of reality; this demanded thatthe effort needed to achieve a goal should be the same regardless of themeans used. in practical terms this meant that, say, creating the illusionof a glass of wine was relatively easy, since it involved merelythe subtle shifting of light patterns.
on the other hand, lifting a genuine wineglassa few feet in the air by sheer mental energy required severalhours of systematic preparation if the wizard wished to prevent the simpleprinciple of leverage flicking his brain out through his ears. he went on to add that some of the ancientmagic could still be found in its raw state, recognisableâ€”to the initiatedâ€”bythe eightfold shape it made in the crystalline structure of space-time. there was the metal octiron, for example, and the gas octogen.
both radiated dangerous amounts of raw enchantment. â€œitâ€™s all very depressing,â€ he finished. â€œdepressing?â€ rincewind turned in his saddle and glancedat twoflowerâ€™s luggage, which was currently ambling along on its little legs,occasionally snapping its lid at butterflies. he sighed. â€œrincewind thinks he ought to be able toharness the lightning,â€ said the
picture-imp, who was observing the passingscene from the tiny doorway of the box slung around twoflowerâ€™s neck. he had spent the morning painting picturesque views and quaint scenes for hismaster, and had been allowed to knock off for a smoke. â€œwhen i said harness i didnâ€™t mean harness,snapped rincewind. â€œi meant, well i just meant thatâ€”i dunno, i just canâ€™tthink of the right words. i
just think the world ought to be more sortof organised.â€ â€œthatâ€™s just fantasy,â€ said twoflower. â€œi know. thatâ€™s the trouble.â€ rincewind sighed again. it was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universewas ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact ofthe matter was that the disc was manifestly traversing space on the back ofa giant turtle and the gods had a
habit of going round to atheistsâ€™ housesand smashing their windows. there was a faint sound, hardly louder thanthe noise of the bees in the rosemary by the road. it had a curiously bony quality, as of rollingskulls or a whirling dicebox. rincewind peered around. there was no-one nearby. for some reason that worried him. then came a slight breeze, that grew and wentin the space of a few
heartbeats. it left the world unchanged save in a fewinteresting particulars. there was now, for example, a five-metre tallmountain troll standing in the road. it was exceptionally angry. this was partly because trolls generally are, in any case, but itwas exacerbated by the fact that the sudden and instantaneous teleportationfrom its lair in the rammerorck
mountains three thousand miles away and athousand yards closer to the rim had raised its internal temperature to a dangerouslevel, in accordance with the laws of conservation of energy. so it bared its fangs and charged. â€œwhat a strange creature,â€ twoflower remarked, â€œis it dangerous?â€ â€œonly to people!â€ shouted rincewind. he drew his sword and, with a smooth overarm throw, completely failed to hit thetroll.
the blade plunged on into the heather at the side of the track. there was the faintest of sounds, like therattle of old teeth. the sword struck a boulder concealed in the heatherâ€”concealed,a watcher might have considered, so artfully that a moment beforeit had not appeared to be there at all. it sprang up like a leaping salmon and inmid-ricochet plunged deeply into the back of the trollâ€™s greyneck.
the creature grunted, and with one swipe ofa claw gouged a wound in the flank of twoflowerâ€™s horse, which screamedand bolted into the trees at the roadside. the troll spun around and made a grab forrincewind. then its sluggish nervous system brought itthe message that it was dead. looked surprised for a moment, and then toppledover and shattered into gravel (trolls being silicaceous lifeforms,their bodies reverted instantly to stone at the moment of death). â€œaaargh,â€ thought rincewind as his horsereared in terror.
he hung on desperately as it staggered two-legged acrossthe road and then, screaming, turned and galloped into the woods. the sound of hoofbeats died away, leavingthe air to the hum of bees and the occasional rustle of butterfly wings. there was another sound, too, a strange noise for the bright time of noonday. it sounded like dice.Coloring Book For Me Premium Mod Apk