Part the First: The Chronicles of Dogess
Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, but far enough (and small enough) that you probably haven’t heard of it before… There was a clan of dwarf-gods known as… The Dwarves. One member of this clan, Lord Dinmont, had been captured by an ancient and mostly evil Moon-type goddess just after a pair of her shiny, sparkly shoes had gone missing. She responded, not by eviscerating him as you might imagine, but by cursing him. This curse caused Lord Dinmont’s entire lineage to have an appearance far less dwarfish than doggish.
The Moon folks hate dogs, in case you didn’t know, so that was a HUGE insult… Also, the shoes were never found and became a thing of legend that the Moon folk and their friends still tell stories about.
Each generation of Dinmonts appeared more dog-like than the last. This, naturally, was a source of much embarrassment to The Dwarves, thus the entire Dinmont family was relegated to the out-lands of The Dwarves village. In time, they claimed their post on the out-skirts was not due to their status as out-casts, it was by choice. They defended the village in dog-like fashion and, as such, became welcome and valued members of their dwarf-god society… So long as they remained no closer than the farthest edge of town.
Now, no Dwarf in their right mind would have allowed their child to marry into the Dinmont family, so they relied upon match-making and arranged marriages with members of far-distant villages. Such pairings were manufactured by members of The Dwarves’ village in order to keep the Dinmont line, now firmly ensconced as the village protectors, fruitful and, well… Multiplying. The family had long abandoned traditional naming of their children… No Henrys or Julies among them… There’d been Madame Pomeranian, Lady Saluki, Lord Newfoundland, and Sir Griffon… Dozens of generations later, a particularly homely Dinmont Dwarf was born. Out of ideas and hopeless to find a suitable breed-name match for the not-so-pretty child, her uncle said, “Eh, she looks like a Puggle to me!” Her mother, aware that her child’s visage was just a mark of her ancestor’s imagined thievery and cowardice, looked upon her daughter with love and said calmly, “She could be the best one of us, yet. I’ll call her… Dogess. May she live her life with compassion and mercy for her foes, stalwart courage in the face of danger, and wisdom to not repeat the mistakes of the past.” Thus Dogess was born and named.
Fast forward 12 years…
Dogess’ mother repeated her prayer for compassion, mercy, courage, and wisdom to her daughter every day. Every day, Dogess gave her mom a sloppy kiss on the cheek about half way through and said, “I know mom, thanks, love you, too!” and rushed out the door. It became apparent that Dogess stopped listening half-way through on the fateful day the village was attacked by zombie marauders from the 8th dimension. Dogess, a protector-in-training, had wandered off to stare at butterflies in the woods and, while trying with compassion and mercy to save one she found with a broken wing, failed to notice the marauders. She didn’t bark or yip when they approached her post, because she wasn’t there. When the alarm was sent out: courage? She had none. She tucked her tail and ran deeper into the forest. Wisdom? Not so’s you’d notice. When she found she was lost in the forest, she asked directions from an animated yet decomposing alien who responded by trying to eat her brains. She escaped the zombie, but she had failed… And the family noticed… In a big way. Two of her cousins were almost neutered by the hungry/angry zombies before the rest of the family was alerted, and while the zombies were sent packing with their heads in their hands at the end of the battle, Dogess’ failure couldn’t be ignored. Her parents met with the village elders and, after a tiny bit of bribery and blackmail, a decision was made. Rather than banish her from the village to fend for herself, she was to be sent to Godville Academy to learn how to be a proper goddess. Some gods and goddesses are born into their skills, and some need coaching. Some succeed, become mighty, and are worshipped by millions while others have a special relationship with an amoeba for a second or three and then go home to their families. Godville Academy is for those that need a little push towards greatness. Some achieve it, others, well…
Fast forward three years…
In spite of her looks (and obvious lack of courage and wisdom), Dogess made some friends at the Academy. The other goddesses even trusted her to watch their purses at school dances. Was she popular? Not really. Was she snickered at? Not that she noticed. All-in-all, her Academy experience was spent “below the radar.” She had average grades and didn’t cause trouble. Anywhoo… All fourth-year students are tasked with creating a follower. Dogess had been secretly hoping she’d flicker out of existence rather than have to go through “Punish and Encourage: controlling your follower” and “Build Me A Temple: making your follower be your slave.” She wanted to graduate, she just didn’t want to hurt anyone. Some of the other students would cackle with delight when discussing various ways to smite their followers, but Dogess couldn’t stomach the idea. On day one of her fourth year, she chose a paramecium as her follower, but life-spans being what they are, it didn’t survive her first class. The teacher sent her into the hallway to come up with a more appropriate subject. “Try for a hero,” the teacher prodded, “someone who can really work for you, go on quests and what not. The quests don’t have to be difficult – make them fetch a frisbee or something. Even you know how to do that, don’t you Doggie? I mean, erm, Dogess?”
Dogess returned to her room to ponder, as she was instructed. She looked down on the population of possible followers with the teacher’s words running through her head… A hero… Fetch a frisbee…
As these thoughts circled in her mind, she heard from below, “I’d just like to say that ‘Squidgitt’ is a fantastic name for a Border Collie puppy.”
Dogess’ ears perked up and then… the afore-mentioned Squidgitt, with a tear in her eye, said, “gee, thanks… I’ll keep that in mind.”
Dogess’ heart melted. Squidgitt needed her as much as she needed a passing grade on her 4th-year project! She mustered up a teeny bit of courage and sent a very slight shock down to Squidgitt’s enemy who rubbed his head and said, “hmm… Barometric pressure must be changing” and walked away.
Dogess sent her best booming voice down to Squidgitt saying, “I have vanquished your foe and am now your goddess, Dogess… Don’t ask… Just do what I tell you some of the time and we’ll do just fine.”
Squidgitt shook her head a little, shrugged, figured a girl that hears voices can’t argue with all of them, and thus became Dogess’ much-needed hero… Uhm… Heroine.
Skip the really boring parts…
Dogess, in sore need of extra-curriculars to pad her resume, tried joining various groups on campus. Sick of hearing the "Atomic Dog" bow-wow-wow-yippie-oh-yippie-ay refrain at every mixer she attended, she spoke to her guidance counselor who recommended finding a non-academy based group to join for experience and comraderie. She found several that were very nice and even made some life-long friends on her visits to their halls, but upon stepping into the Great Hall of the Slaves to Armok, she knew she’d found her new home-away-from-home. The Dwarf-based but not Dwarf-exclusive guild welcomed her with open arms and a tankard of Bloody Mess (they didn’t even card her!). She spent much time hanging around the halls of Armok and learning from the Elder Slaves. In the end, Dogess got a barely-passing grade on her 4th-year project, graduated the academy, and since her subject was still alive, mostly… Well… Off and on, really… Headed out into the world to focus on her new job as full-time goddess to Squidgitt… And spend time with her guild-mates and other friends she met along her journey… Yeah, mostly the guild/friend part and less the full-time goddess part, but it’s all good. Oh! And her graduation gift from her parents happened to be a pair of rainbow-striped, crystal encrusted Nike shoes. Pfft! What’s a dog-dwarf to do with those? She packed them away carefully in hopes of trading them for something of more value some other time…
Part the Second: the Chronicles of Squidgitt
Lo-and-behold… Just over 16 months after Dogess “saved” her, Squidgitt completed the temple she’d been poking around at constructing for her goddess. Dogess had done nothing but encourage Squidgitt… well, she once punished her completely on accident and felt terrible about it… but had never expected the beautiful temple that stood on the hill below her.
“Dearest diary, today was the day! I carefully laid the last brick, swept all the rooms, opened all windows to let your glorious light shine in. I can’t believe it, your temple is finally finished, my Lady! I feel delirious with happiness.”
This temple was mighty surprising to Dogess as she was under the impression that her heroine was a bit of an idiot (From Squidgitt’s Diary: 12:05: Does my goddess wear pants? Should I?) who spent most of her time fighting, drinking, and stalking.
What? Yup… Stalking. We now present:
“In Sickness and In Health, Whether You Want Me or Not: The Stalking of Remy Von Uufenberg”
Squidgitt spotted him early on in her relationship with Dogess and recorded every interaction in her ever-present diary. Dogess didn’t always pay attention, but saw enough to be more than a little concerned.
It started innocently enough…
03:23: What a surprise! Remy Von Uufenberg stopped by to visit me. We talked over a few drinks of living water.
09:54: Remy Von Uufenberg suddenly rushed past me, finished off the Black Sheep, gave me a jaunty wave and disappeared into the woods. Thanks!
04:38: Ran into Remy von uufenberg. I must remember to look where I’m going when I’m heroically retreating from a battle.
Then she began to get a teensy bit clingy…
News: Gossiping with Remy Von Uufenberg about their gods…
08:56: I just got news that Remy Von Uufenberg bit the dust, so I tried it. Gritty and dry with an earthy flavor.
09:05: Met Remy Von Uufenberg on the roadside. He has such great equipment, and I have just this crappy outfit. Bad luck?
Eventually it became obvious that she was
borderline completely obsessed with him, repeatedly begging her goddess for permission to fraternize with the young hero, taking fashion advice from him, and sacrificing treasured and desired items to make him happy…
11:02: Just realised that Remy Von Uufenberg worships a different god. Great One, can we still be friends? Please?
10:12: Met Remy Von Uufenberg in the shop looking for a purchase. He gave me some tips on how to dress. Apparently I look much better with a new farcefield!
09:34: Decided to take a short rest in a nearby cave. Scratched on one of the walls was written, ‘Remy Von Uufenberg was here’. Made my own mark beneath.
08:39: Remy Von Uufenberg happened to be standing next to me in the shop, and prevented the trader from cheating me. It’s good to have friends.
03:41: Just realized that Remy Von Uufenberg worships a different god. Exalted One, can we still be friends? Please?
11:52: Saw a really cool item for a great price, but Remy Von Uufenberg wanted it too, so I let him buy it instead.
11:41: Just realized that Remy Von Uufenberg worships a different god. Great One, can we still be friends? Please?
09:10: Remy von uufenberg asked me if I could finish his quest to set up a chain mail account for him. I’d do anything to help a frie… Hey! He hasn’t even started!
She even stalked him after death…
10:53: As I walked past a graveyard, a sinister hand suddenly thrust out of the earth. Thought it was a zombie rising from the dead, but turns out it was just Remy von uufenberg being resurrected.
And then obsession became dangerous…
08:27: I found my name carved into a tree in a heart with an arrow through it. I think someone is planning on killing me.
Remy’s god, Mortalin, also noticed the pattern and the gods met to discuss the issue. Of prime concern to Dogess was Squidgitt’s personality (wavering between righteous and pure good! depending on Dogess’ mood and schedule) and how it might affect Remy (who’s personality was quite vicious) and vice versa. At times, Remy was clearly irritated by Squidgitt’s constant presence, at other times, he seemed quite pleased by her attentions.
As reported by Mortalin:
04:56: Met Squidgitt during a rest by the wayside and borrowed her diary to read. The writing is so similar… We’re obviously soulmates.
02:49: Saw Squidgitt running from a Nerd of Pray while I was fleeing from the Dandy Lion. We joined forces and bravely fled together.
06:23: Squidgitt ran out of the bushes shouting “Remy Von Uufenberg, I’m coming!”, tripped over a tree root, and fell on the ground, knocking herself out cold. Well, you know what they say – if you want something done right, do it yourself.
03:41: While the enemy was taking a time-out, Squidgitt helped me cleanse my wounds and fed me some deliciously fresh buns.
Note: the above entry caused much concern and not a small amount of childish laughter on the part of the gods, ie: ha-ha… buns… snicker.
01:18: Saw Squidgitt running from a Knight Who Says Ni while I was fleeing from the Inglourious Basterd. We joined forces and bravely fled together.
06:07: Met up with Squidgitt. We talked about the good old days, when drinking at the tavern wasn’t interrupted by all this questing.
04:00: Saw Squidgitt running from a Hot Dog while I was fleeing from the Milestone Guardian. We joined forces and bravely fled together.
08:57: Met Squidgitt. Borrowed some food and a couple of healing potions. Feeling much better now.
09:35: Squidgitt ran out of the bushes shouting “Remy Von Uufenberg, I’m coming!” and ran right past me. Well, you know what they say – if you want something done right, do it yourself.
10:19: Saw Squidgitt running from a General Failure while I was fleeing from the Net Troll. We joined forces and bravely fled together.
Over time, Squidgitt – while clearly gaining nothing in the area of coordination – did gain a friend… Whether he likes it or not.
To be continued…maybe…but probably not…