As Beau darts around the fighter in the ring, Dialyn and Loki chat with a strange little nerdette seated next to them, who seems more interested in her poetry book than the fights. After some gentle prodding (and introducing the girl to alcohol…solid choice, but I’m pretty sure she’s underage, you hoods), the young lady reveals herself to be P.M.S. Johnson, niece to the winning inventory, B.S. Johnson. The coven of witches — er three totally normal nice women — look on as Beau defeats the first contender (with a little help from his friends), ending the quarter-final rounds and beginning a short break.
They greet Beau in the holding pens, and he and Phinelia share a super-kawaii movie moment, initiated by Dialyn shoving the poor girl down into the dirt for no reason. Luckily, Beau is there to pick up the pieces (and her glasses and book, which Phinelia leaves behind when she runs away in a panic). Beau quickly memorizes one of the poems, before entering into Round 2 (Semi-Finals), which pits him against the sexy jabroni named Samuel, with whom Dialyn had spent a marvelous night of passion and Eldritch Blasting. Beau ekes out another win, and the crowd goes wild (well, actually, they go “Beau is good. Beau wins” thanks to a really helpful Suggestion spell from Loki).
The finals really shake things up, as Beau faces off against Mighty Mask…however, some mysterious force rips the costume off the fighter, revealing him to be two adorable children in disguise. As the two kids scamper off, Big Bill tells the crowd not to worry, as they have a special surprise: Beau will still have an opponent, a legendary warrior named COHEN THE BARBARIAN!
The battle is indeed intense, and even with Cohen at a fraction of his full power after his trip down to Hell, Beau is on the ropes…able to chip away at Cohen while jumping away and getting a bit of magical assistance from his friends in the stands. Finally, with a mighty smack-down, Beau is able to defeat Cohen, and is declared winner, just before passing out.
The Duke arrives to award the winner 500 Gold, and tells them they’ve made quite a name for themselves in Quirm. He also informs them that he has dispatched the Marquis de Sod to Pseudopolis to try and repair their political structure. A few of the heroes sign up (at half price!) for the next tournament in a few weeks. They then depart for Leonard da Quirm‘s, who is Frankenstein-ing it up in his secret lab and creating a helper-golem. He gladly returns the original golem’s scroll (“Pour Solution A into Vial B, duck under table for 5 seconds, Repeat”), and bestows upon the heroes the Manual of Clay Golems, with instructions that it be delivered to ”/characters/lord-havelock-vetinari" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lord Havelock Vetinari in Ankh-Morpork. The Told Ones bring the scroll to Lord Explosario at the Alchemists’ Guild, who give them access to a free potion each.
On their way to the newly-created “steam train” station, our heroes are accosted by a mime with an invisible knife, who beckons them all to the Quirm Home for Retired Clowns, where the orderly asks if they would be willing to cheer up sad Mr. Nanners, whose birthday it is. The group immediately forms a hilarious 5-ring circus, performing all sorts of silly acts until the sad old clown and his clown-patriots finally burst out in laughter. Nothing like a good quick Skill Challenge for some extra XP, amirite?
The Told Ones finally head out of Quirm by means of the steam train, which chugga-chugs its way north towards Cori Celesti, home of the gods. Deck encounters a foul stench in “economy” class, and sees 4 beggars in the horse’s car…but something smells worse than the horse nuggets. He quickly slams the door and meets the rest in the dining car, where Loki finally reads the Tome of Flames, the manifesto of Lord Mephistopheles, Sucker of Souls, Reaper of….you know.
Just then, a group of thieves by the name of the Bugbear Bandits attacks the train, and of course, our heroes spring into action…some higher than others, as Loki jumps on top of the train along with Cohen in order to stop the ones on the roof. Sen’dai dispatches the bandit in the conductor’s car, allowing the conductor to regain control of the train, and the group manages to take out the bandits, winning the thanks (and money) of the passengers. (but not before Deck is hit by an attack, and suddenly seems to go totally berserk, swinging his new enchanted ax around like a madman). An intervention is clearly called for.
Meanwhile, Sen’dai has a chat with the hobos in the back car, who call themselves the Canting Crew: Foul Ol’ Ron (source of the odor), Arnold Sideways (no legs, dragged around in a cart), Coffin Henry (who, well, coughs), and the Duck Man…who appears quite sane despite having a duck sitting on his head. The “men” tell Sen’dai that Ankh-Morpork is in upheaval, with earthquakes shaking the buildings down, the City Watch nowhere to be seen, and some…shifts in management in some areas of the city.
The next day, the train stops in the Ramtops, and The Told Ones investigate a smoldering fire in the distance, which turns out to be the remains of the Duergar Mines, destroyed by the Troll-Dwarf conflict. Shining a light on the cave reveals dozens of dead troll and dwarf bodies, and some pools of smelt gold. However, barring their escape is a trio of Trolls, the only survivors of the skirmish, who attempt to bring the house down on our adventurers. They manage to escape, slaying the Troll King Glormph, and flee the collapsing mines back to the train.
Their travails don’t end there, though, gang! Before reaching Cori Celesti, a massive earthquake destroys an upcoming bridge and threatens to shake the train loose from the railings. Tossing passengers from the moving train while attempting to unhook or slow the steam-propelled vehicle, The Told Ones manage to keep (most of) the train from plummeting into the abyss, and save everyone on board. What a bunch of heroes. They are then awarded with unlimited-free-train-passes by the conductor. In return, the good guys give up their horses so that the train passengers can ride to safety (or so they hope…)
After a night of crossing the river and getting some well-earned rest, The Told Ones find themselves, finally, at the base of Cori Celesti, tallest point on the Disc, home of the gods, where a tremendous (figurative and literal) storm is raging overhead…Certainly more cliffhangers up ahead!