Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Book Review: The Imposter Cure

Book Review: The Imposter Cure

Review by Casey Douglass


The Imposter Cure

I’m a sucker for the self-help genre. I sometimes fantasize that my tombstone could say “Self-help this!” in my darker moments. I think it comes from struggling with my mental and physical health, and always wanting to try to get some kind of fresh perspective on life that might help me feel better. Imposter Syndrome is a topic that has somehow passed me by. Until, that is, I flicked through Dr Jessamy Hibberd’s The Imposter Cure in Waterstones one day. I saw mention of the way that freelancers can be prone to it, because of the nature of how they have to “bid” or “win” jobs. With a rush of hope I thought it might help me to find out more, and a month later here I am, writing this review.

If you are anything like I was, you might know that imposter syndrome is a fear of being found out as not being as “good” or capable as others might think you to be. While that’s true, as with most things, there are far more layers to unpick than just this simple understanding. The Imposter Cure does this in a gentle, friendly way, the opening few sections paving the way for a self-compassionate look into something that our minds can still struggle to accept. We have all sorts of beliefs about how feeling like an imposter can keep us humble, safe or alert, and stay ignorant to the ways it’s actually harming our lives. Imposter syndrome is also more common than we might think, and a lot of people might be affected by it at different times in their lives.

The first section that clicked with me described the five competence types that someone might fall into. These are: the perfectionist, the natural genius, the soloist, the expert and the superwoman/man. Someone’s competence type dictates how they will experience failure-related shame and the mindset that they are likely to take into tackling tasks. This might be the Perfectionist’s approach of feeling strongly that there is the right or wrong way to do something, or the Expert’s desire to know everything about something before they start. I found it very helpful to see the categories I fell into, many of which I would have put down to a “simple” lack of self-confidence before reading this book.

I’m a fan of diagrams with labels showing how our thoughts, actions and emotions create spirals of mental health, whether it's feeling bad about something or feeling better. Maybe it’s from my days of having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for my OCD, or maybe I just like things being defined and laid bare. Either way, The Imposter Cure features a number of these diagrams, showing the cycles that reinforce or undermine our feelings of competence. This got a thumbs up from me. The book also looks at why we might be prone to feeling those imposter feelings, looking at our personality traits and past experiences and how they might have laid the foundation for feeling so conflicted about success. One example is someone who might be very gifted at school, always performing well, but only being given praise when they perform “above and beyond” their usual highest standards. It doesn’t take much thought to see why this might set that person up for not really appreciating their successes going forward.

This is one of the most important messages that The Imposter Cure carries, that people who suffer from imposter syndrome don’t internalize their successes in the way a non-sufferer might, their beliefs and mind-set minimising what they’ve done and laying their success at the door of luck, good timing or just working hard, which “anyone” can do. The Imposter Cure challenges these beliefs and mental filtering, picking apart the Luck Myth and the way that the coping strategies we use harm us more than help us.

Dr Hibberd calls these coping strategies the Imposter Twins, and they are Overworking and Avoidance. They are two sides of the same imposter coin, a coin that shouldn’t really be legal tender if you ask me. Each coping strategy is broken down into how it might manifest, what drives it and why it’s actually harmful. Tidbits that I found useful in this area were the explanation of why having success doesn’t end the cycle of overworking, and why the fantasizing about doing less creative, more menial work, is just an avoidance strategy rather than a deep seated belief that I’m not cut out for what I want to do. I also took solace in the notion that sometimes life requires a certain level of “bluffing”, something that I feel really averse to doing most of the time, even in the most minor of ways.

The Imposter Cure also covers other areas that interplay with the core issue. Besides working through ways to address your beliefs about what success means to you and your view about yourself, it gives advice about how to handle social media, anxiety and low mood, as well as to address confidence issues. These sections are brief and useful, but if it’s the first time a reader encounters some of the concepts, I’d recommend buying a book about them in their own right. That’s not a criticism, just a thought that occurred to me as the topics arose. A good starting point though.

Did reading The Imposter Cure help me? Yes. It emphasizes that you need to put time and effort into the techniques and information it provides, and I did. Ironically, part of my mind is saying “Did you put enough in? Did you really?” and that just goes to show what a pest imposter syndrome can be. By reading the book, I gleaned some nice insights into something that previously, I had little awareness of. I think it will take time, thought and another reading to really dive into the stuff that is going on in my head. The book is certainly no magic cure and it doesn't claim to be one. It feels promising though, and sometimes a bit of hope is a rare thing to find.

Book Title: The Imposter Cure
Book Author: Dr Jessamy Hibberd
Publisher: Octopus
ISBN-13: 9781783253326
Published: 13th June 2019
RRP: Paperback £12.99

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Dark Ambient Review: Hastur

Dark Ambient Review: Hastur

Review by Casey Douglass


Hastur


I still find Lovecraft-themed media, whether stories, games and music, a rich vein of eldritch fun. There is something so dark about his mythos and the way that it has built into something seemingly more than it is. One of the usual highlights of this media is when Cryo Chamber releases its regular mammoth Lovecraftian collaboration, giving the listener around two hours of murk, gloom and existential horror to feast on. This year’s is Hastur, and as usual, it’s very good.
"Some name him Hastur - others Assatur, Hali or Kaiwan. The last can, to the erudite mind, whisper something of where the supernal alliances may lie. The men of Leng are purported to know more, but that is no place for wholesome minds. Better then to seek out a Shantak. It will doubtless whisper of onyx and a frigid wind, urging you ever northward and upward. Were ye to follow, ye may glean the answers ye seek. But they would do you little good, once the unrelenting drums have hold on thee. It is better, sometimes, not to know whom ye serve." - Excerpt from Digibook

The drums mentioned above seem like a great place to start. These appear at various moments in the two, hour long tracks, and when they do, they often add a certain level of ‘evil blasphemy’ to things, to go a bit ‘H.P on yo' ass’. How can drums be blasphemous? Well, besides playing them during a Catholic Mass and annoying the priest, the ones on Hastur are the kind you might only hear at night, in the distance, when strange lights are in the sky and the shadows around you keep shifting. When you add in the other ritual-like sounds, from chanting and the rise and fall of a drone, you can almost feel one of the many tendrils of an Elder god tickling your coccyx.

Drums are just one part of Hastur however, the various soundscapes containing a variety of other textures and depths. I write quite extensive notes but find it hard to adequately describe a two hour album in the way that I might a 45 minute one. Here I will write down an assortment of the sounds I heard and the ways I described them on paper. It should give you a taste of what I mean at the least. I am also tempted to caption it “Lovecraftian Gratitude Journal Day 153” :

A teeth grating sound going side to side, tones filtered through murky water fizzling out before they reach the bottom, shrieking bat-noises in the belfry, guttural chuntering, witch-like ‘hag tones’, a pulsing swarm head-fuck, ‘floor sweep’ whispers, sliding granite blocks in distant temple, lonely piano notes, chimes, static and distant screams.

The soundscapes on Hastur are relatively smooth; they don’t jar and they are quite nice for relaxation. There is enough going on to keep the listener’s interest and to provide some fun, dark daydreams, from reconfiguring temples to the movements of strange creatures in the shadows. I also really liked the drums, it made me feel that unseen forces were seeping into the soundscape, ready to unstitch the reality of the denizens silly enough to invoke them. If you are a Lovecraft fan, and you also happen to enjoy dark ambient music, you’ll probably already own Hastur. If not, visit the Hastur page below and have a listen. I think you’ll be glad that you did.

Visit the Hastur page on Bandcamp, and check out the first track below. (Skip to around 29 minutes to enjoy some of those dark drumbeats I mention above).


I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Hastur
Album Artist: Cryo Chamber Collaboration
Label: Cryo Chamber
Released: December 17, 2019

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Dark Fiction: YEAR ONE Anthology

Back in June 2019, my dark drabble The Carrion Maven was posted by Black Hare Press on their website. A couple of days ago, they released the YEAR ONE anthology, a collection of all of the nano-tales published in the Dark Moments online archive during last year. The Carrion Maven is inside it. If you'd like to buy the anthology, you can find it on Amazon at this link.

YEAR ONE

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

PC Game Review: Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)

PC Game Review: Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)

Review by Casey Douglass


Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)


Playing online games with strangers often seems to bring out the worst in people. No matter how much you try to keep things in perspective and tell yourself you are just a nickname to someone, being verbally abused or insulted can still hit home. Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) is the polar opposite of this experience, as it’s a game in which you share what's troubling you, and in which you can send and receive kind words instead.


Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)If that last sentence made your heart beat a little bit faster, don’t worry. It’s all done anonymously, with the letters you send simply being signed with the first letter of your chosen nickname. There are also safety warnings about not sharing contact information etc, which is very sensible. People can post “Requests” where they share what they want to share, and you can browse these and decide which ones you’d like to reply to. When you click Reply, you have a number of lines in which you can type your answer. You can even attach a sticker to brighten the recipient’s day, with the potential to unlock other stickers as you interact with people. The person receiving your letter can’t respond beyond sending you a sticker back as a thank you. That’s it, end of exchange. While on some levels, that might feel disappointing, I personally think that it adds to the charm of Kind Words. You don’t have to get into a prolonged exchange with someone to possibly help them have a brighter day. At times you’ll wish you could say more, but for the most part, I think it’s a good limitation to have in place.


Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)A lot of research has gone into the power of writing and how it can help people who are struggling with something. Give James W. Pennebaker a Google to find all sorts about how disclosure can boost mood and function, as just one example. There is also a panoply of information about how feeling compassion towards others (and yourself) can bring health benefits, and it’s hard not to feel compassion for most of the people who write on Kind Words. In the days that I’ve been on there, I’ve seen people post about porn addiction, loss, loneliness and fears about the future. I’ve also seen people just wanting to share a funny experience or a pleasant dream, so it’s not all “heavy” by any means. Kind Words gives people an outlet who might feel invisible in their everyday life, or who don’t feel they can voice their troubles to the people around them. It also seems to give a far better feeling of connection than any social network seems to offer. There is less meaningless bullshit for a start.

As far as I can see from the developer's Twitter postings, the letters appear to be moderated by a mixture of auto-flagging word lists and manual moderation, so if someone is posting stuff that is really unacceptable or worrying, regular users are unlikely to even see it, and if they do, there is a Report button to flag up your concerns. I would imagine this extends to the paper airplanes that you can also send. They are a more instant way to send a very brief message floating through other players’ rooms. These are usually a quote in my experience, or a brief sentence saying “You rock!” etc. A nice little feature.

Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)

The bedroom in which the game takes place is a cosy graphical space in which your in-game character sits at a desk, listening to those lo fi beats mentioned in the title. As you post, reply, and earn new stickers, these can be used to decorate your room with models of what the sticker represents. It’s another nice touch and a pleasing thing that gives the kind words you’ve received a visual representation in your environment.

Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)

Popcannibal released Kind Words on 12 September 2019. By 30 September, over 250,000 letters had already been sent, far surpassing the developer’s hopes:
When we dreamed up this little trust experiment, we never imagined it would get this big. In fact, before launch I did a stress test on the server with 60,000 fake messages and laughed to myself "hah, we'll NEVER get close to that".

I find myself dipping into Kind Words a couple of times a day, whether I’m feeling troubled or not. It might be that I just want to see if there is anyone struggling with something I can offer words of encouragement about. Or it might be that I’ve been playing another game and want my last interactions with people online that day to be kind, rather than just the memory of being told to kill myself by a salty bad loser.

I bought Kind Words on Steam for just over £3 in a sale, but its RRP is only £3.99. For either price, I think I would have been happy with my purchase. You can find it on the Steam Store here.


Thursday, 12 December 2019

Dark Ambient Review: Birds of Naukan

Dark Ambient Review: Birds of Naukan

Review by Casey Douglass


Birds of Naukan


I often like to listen to some dark ambient that has a shamanistic or ritualistic element, so when the opportunity to listen to Creation VI and Ugasanie’s Birds of Naukan fell into my inbox, I was easily intrigued. Birds of Naukan is a re-issue of an album originally released in limited form back in 2015. It’s a collaboration between the two artists and is dedicated to some of the sacred places of Chukotka, the northernmost region of Russia, with spectacular tundra scenery and history.

As you might expect from an album that is focussed on that kind of landscape, the music is laden with field-recordings, tribal sounds, chants and a feeling of cold exposure. The opening track: Nuneangan is a great case in point. It begins with the sounds of birdsong and trickling water, a bit of thunder and an echoing quality that seems to hint at being in the mouth of a cave. It isn’t long before other notes and tones emerge, from one that sounds like the shushing of a boiling kettle, to horns and a kind of guttural gurgling. It’s a texture-laden opening track, and I particularly liked how the soundscape darkens as it progresses.

Track two is Yttygran, a track that has a quite ominous quality, with scraping and rustling sounds, playing along with the boing-boing sound of a mouth-harp. This track felt like it was a slow build-up of forces, the sounds taking on the nature of the wind inhaling before it screams. Near the midpoint, footsteps can be heard making their way through the landscape, walking the listener into a different space of high shimmering resonant sounds and an insect-like swarming buzz.

Track three is Souls of Whales, and it begins with a deep, whispering rustling, and a sound similar to someone running a finger-nail along a plastic comb’s teeth. About one third of the way in, drum-beat and bone sounds make way for the sound of the sea, crashing waves and piped notes. Things turn a little more ominous towards the end as some of the calls and cries that can be heard take on a wolf-howl aspect, to me at least.

Next up is Pegtymel, the longest track on the album. Something about this track hinted at a “fever dream” like quality, the dog-like barks and pleasing mouth-harp tune sitting amongst a drumbeat and voices that take on the element of screams as the track plays out. A track with quite a ghostly feel to it.

The final track is The Keepers, the shortest track at just over five minutes, and one that eases the listener back to the real world by way of more mouth-harp, the rise and fall of drone, and a furtive ethereal quality that is chased away by hints of birdsong at the end.

Birds of Naukan is a pleasing album, probably containing the most mouth-harp of anything I’ve ever listened to, but that’s no bad thing. The instruments and field-recordings used in each track really do create a feeling of an ancient culture in an even more ancient land. I also think it’s a great antidote to the mind-numbing Xmas music that is plaguing much of the Western world right now. Who needs a fat git in a red costume squeezing down your chimney when you can have the stark beauty of the Russian tundra filled with the voices of the ghosts who once lived there. There’s no comparison as far as I’m concerned.

Visit the Birds of Naukan page on Bandcamp, and check out Yttygran below:


I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Birds of Naukan
Album Artists: Creation VI & Ugasanie
Labels: ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ & NEBOSVOD
Released: November 21, 2019

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Dark Ambient Review: Anomalies

Dark Ambient Review: Anomalies

Review by Casey Douglass


Anomalies


ProtoU is one of my favourite dark ambient artists. I think I’ve reviewed more of her albums than I have any other artist. Which says something. Two of her albums were in my personal Top Dark Ambient Relaxation Albums as well. Which says something too. So here we have Anomalies, her latest album, and one that, for me, seemed to have a cyberpunk aesthetic.

The album description is one of dreams and memories. If that’s so, I went to a realm of churning pipelines, crackling electricity and strange robots. This began with the first track: The Escape. The light drone led me into a gentle rhythm and cushioned soundscape, but one that seemed industrial. The best way I can think of describing it is like a bird flying through the kind of tunnels you might have seen in the real-world scenes of The Matrix. This culminated in it emerging into a massive, night-filled crater, maybe one caused by some kind of nuclear detonation. There is an increasing fuzz to the track, and some nice field-recordings of rain nestling amongst "egg-shell pebbly crackling" and echoing beats. Quite an opening track.

If that track was the emergence into the crater at night, the next: Transparent Clusters, was for me, the sun rising and casting its golden rays into the crater. It opens gently with some interesting sounds, one like someone flicking a plastic straw over and over. Dripping water peacefully hits the ground and later, sets up a bit of a beat as it seems to hit a plastic container or something. A rising tone seems to hint at the sunrise, and for me, this light shone on all of the debris and discarded things. A dump basically. Later in the track, piano notes and furtive movements hint at the life of things amongst the rubbish.

Track three is my favourite track, and runs with the junk-yard theme even more. Electric Grounds begins with a deep, bassy sound, gently clicking metal joining it. The sounds tell tale of something moving. Fast paced notes enter the ears like boiling atmosphere, with static and hisses as the moving thing gets closer. For me, this was a kind of robot, hulking and steaming as it searches through the garbage. With this in mind, some of the clattering sounds might well be caused by it picking up old shopping trolleys and emptying out their contents. Some of the peripheral tones seem to embody that of an air-raid siren, which again, for me, reinforced the post-nuclear feel. The track ends on a lighter feeling, maybe the bot having found something of interest amongst the rusted metal and discarded smartphones.

This particular narrative seemed to end at track three for me. The next track: Lucid Sequences did seem more dreamlike and ethereal to me. The track that follows though: Chamber of Visions, is my other favourite track on Anomalies. Chimes and echoes, and what could be the sound of millions of dead leaves cascading down the walls. Ghostly swells and cries sound, alongside gently tapped notes and whisper-like tones. The sounds of machinery emerge, creating a thrumming soundscape that ends with what could be a “real world” scene, people bustling at a tram station, going about their commutes. I really liked how the unreal seemed to become more real in this track, a bridge between the soundscape reality and the reality we might recognise.

The final two tracks, Ghost in You (Part 1) and Pellucid Waters, were two more tracks that seemed more nebulous to me. I enjoyed the sounds in them, whether it was the gently clinking machinery, distant voices and warm static of the first, or the field-recordings of water in the second, but there was less to hang my hat on, image wise, so to speak, in these tracks.

Anomalies is another brilliant album from ProtoU. I was pleasantly surprised by the cyberpunky feel for me, as that wasn’t something I was expecting going in. I appreciated the relaxing field-recordings and the way that lightness and darkness seemed to play with each other, and certainly enjoyed my time with the album. If you like the smoother, darker kind of dark ambient with a bit of lightness to relieve the murk, check out Anomalies and other albums of ProtoU’s.

Visit the Anomalies page on Bandcamp, and check out the Electric Grounds below:


I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Anomalies
Album Artist: ProtoU
Label: Cryo Chamber
Released: November 12, 2019

Friday, 1 November 2019

Battle Quest Book Playthrough – Caves of Fury - Part 4


Battle Quest Book Playthrough – Caves of Fury - Part 4

By Casey Douglass


Caves of Fury


Welcome to Part 4, the final part, of my adventure through the Caves of Fury. If you’ve yet to read a single instalment of my barbarian’s tale, you can find part 1 at this link, with each part leading to the next, until finally bringing you back to this one again. It’s worth a read. It’s a tale of paranoia, inadequacy and bastard goblins, to name only a few elements. You might not like it if you’re an advocate for goblin rights, but if you are a normal, warped human being, you’ll agree with me that they are bastards.

Part 3 ended with my barbarian floating unconscious on a raft in an underground swamp, a drowning bastard goblin nearby, and little hope of getting much further. The barbarian had only two Strength left of the six he started with, and only one treasure to his name, secreted in his loin-cloth inside the ingenious hidden pocket. Between you and me, I think he is quite ready to get this adventure over with, his luck has been terrible from the start. Let’s see if his tale ends with triumph or a whimper...

The barbarian slowly regains consciousness and finds the strength to stand. Not feeling like being a floating-lure for any underwater leviathans, he steps back onto the stepping stones to continue his trek across the swamp. There’s no sign of the drowning bastard goblin, which makes him smile. ‘Good!’ he thinks as he pushes forward into the deepening mist, the thrumming of mosquitoes and green vapours his only company.

In the same manner as the previous tunnels, the stepping stones actually split into three paths. Who’da thunk that would happen? Remembering my resolve to not keep choosing the middle path, I went with the left one this time, hoping for something evil to be waiting at the other end. Why not? It isn’t far down this path that the barbarian spies an inscription on one of the stepping stones. This is surprising in two ways. Firstly, that it’s there at all, that someone took the trouble to mark a stone in the middle of a dangerous swamp. Secondly, judging by the inscription's length, I realize that I’ve been imagining these stepping stones as woefully tiny, which irks me a little. The message has lost some of its letters to erosion but it says:

‘O, foolish one! It was one of the oth r brac es that you should have c osen. The mag c power of fores ght would have been g ven you there.’

Oh for fuck’s sake! A chance at gaining a bit of magical power goes begging! If I can believe the message of course. Not much in this place has been truthful, so why start believing the rock graffiti now? It could be the equivalent of seeing a “Call Bianca for a good time!” scrawl in a public toilet cubicle, a mystery very possibly, or more likely some false advertising at the minimum. None the less, my barbarian ponders whether to retrace his steps, but on turning sees that the previous stepping stones have vanished. That figures. Pushing on sees the stepping stones ahead meet up with the other two paths again, but no option is given for backtracking down one of those other paths at this point.

It’s just after the paths have joined that he hears quiet footsteps coming up behind him. He wheels around and his mouth falls open. It’s the bastard goblin again! He swings his sword at the wretched thing’s head. It screams for him to stop, yelling that it hasn't done him any harm! The gall of the little prick makes his sword falter. Hasn’t done him any harm? He almost caused him to drown! The goblin snivels and says that the barbarian encountered his wicked twin, and that this one is the ‘good’ one. How convenient! It’s a little like when politicians say that “they are different” to the ones that have come before. Be wary in both cases.

You’ll be amazed to know that this goblin also has advice to give, don't they all? He urges me to step off the stones and to wade the rest of the way to shore, saying that it’s shallow enough here. Bollocks to that! There’s no way I’m going to believe this goblin, even if it isn’t the same one. For all I know, it might have found out that I let its brother drown and be out for revenge. I’d rather die due to my own choices than to being deceived again. I choose not to take his advice.

I push on, not hearing any sign of discontent or disapproval from the goblin behind me. All seems okay, but after a few stepping stones, the next one ahead bursts into flame! Then the next and the next! The book describes the flames as being two metres high! These are less like stepping stones and more like Bunsen burner nozzles poking out above the water. I try to step off to the side but some force is keeping me on the path. My only option is to run ahead through the flames.

I push through, the smell (and pain, let’s not forget the pain) of sizzling flesh gives me uncomfortable flashbacks to the wizard’s scorch and my hungry stomach. Thankfully, survival is the up-most thing in my mind, ahead of how tasty I smell. I make it across to the shore and collapse on to the ground, trying to get my breath and thinking about finding some mud to soothe my burns. I’ve lost another Strength with all of that messing around. Only one left and then I’m dead.

As I rest, I find the goblin standing beside me again, but I don’t have the energy to throttle it. The book describes his eyes as having a friendly aspect to them. I guess it’s still the ‘nice one’. He warns me to rest awhile, and that when I’m ready, there are four monsters that live here. Two carry swords set with diamond, the other two have swords set with ruby. Shouting Cragcliff’s name summons the first two, shouting it twice the other two. I’m not sure I want to be shouting Cragcliff’s name at all if I’m honest. I notice that saying his name three times isn’t mentioned, so he isn’t related to Beetlejuice in that regard.

I ponder a little, trying to outfox the conundrum of who to summon, as it appears I can’t just keep my mouth shut. I opt for the diamond bearing creatures as ruby could signify some kind of fire monster, and I’ve more than had my fill of being roasted. I yell Cragcliff’s name. The goblin trembles and runs away. He doesn’t want to see what happens next. I wait for five minutes, ten minutes, and nothing happens. Mosquitoes still buzz and whine but everything else is silent. Until that is, the water glugs, and it comes.

Caves of Fury

The water bubbles near the shore, a creature slowly rising from its gloopy surface. It has black tangles of weed and slime draped over its body, and is holding a large sword. The book points out that it is holding said sword with webbed fingers, and that this might be a handicap for it in combat. Funny that the book is being so helpful all of a sudden. I decide to fight it and am overjoyed to see that it is another creature that only needs two wounds to slay it.

It’s a fight that lasts for fourteen dice rolls. There is much clanking of swords and plenty of instances where my shield is raised as the swamp creature just stares at me in disgust. Of course. I should be used to that by now. On roll thirteen, I wound it with a massive sword slash, trimming the weed on its left side and carving a deep furrow into its hip. It mews and bubbles, which is a sound I didn’t really expect if I’m honest. But regardless, one wound down, one to go! I might be able to do this after all!

Roll fourteen sees it run me through with a glugging bellow of rage. Well... shit. My barbarian looks down at the sword pushed through his abdomen. He knows it’s protruding from his back too as his legs are numb, suggesting some kind of damage to his spine. He puts his hand into his loin-cloth to hold his treasure one more time. His one precious diamond that is, not what you were thinking. 

It had all been for nothing in the end. He laughs. The funniest thing is that he lost more Strength in his dealings with devious bastard goblins than he did in fighting the more obvious monsters. He’d have liked more time to reflect on that, on another day, in other circumstances, but now, on this day and in these circumstances, he spat out his last words before he died: “Bastard goblins!”

The swamp creature nodded as it let his body fall to the floor with a glug.

Caves of Fury

***

That’s the end of my playthrough of Caves of Fury. I really enjoyed writing about it and injecting my own take on things into the narrative. As I said at the beginning, I didn’t think it would go on for so many parts but it did, and it’s a shame it ended in the way that it did. That being said, I do enjoy bitter stories and unhappy endings so I can certainly find enjoyment in that. I hope you did too, if you followed along from the start.