Killing your own characters is tough.

I raised her up from the first word, I breathed life into her, and made her walk about my created world. But she has to die. She has to die for the plot to be served. And no amount of pleading will help her, either. And all characters plead to be saved, to have the last word on the page. To continue for many pages more. Their need is there. It is real. I don’t ignore them exactly. But I don’t stop either. The pen moves on and doesn’t slow down for man or woman, steamrolling them in ink and blood. My pen can cut the mighty down, the strong, the weak, the fearful, and the brave. And the plot goes on and on, wearing them all down.

“I don’t want to die,” she says, eyes wide… wider than wide.

“We all die sometime,” I say, making a B on the page.

“I don’t have to die… why can’t somebody else die?”

“The plot must be served,” I say adding a U.

“You could make me immortal,” she says the light of idea coming into her eye. “Like the girl from that one story of yours. The one with the boyfriend.”

“I cannot make you immortal anymore than I could make myself immortal," I reply looking down at my new word and trying to figure out what comes next.

“Why not? You made me! Don’t you have some responsibility to keep me safe?”

“None at all,” I say adding another word. It’s like a game of hangman now. How far can she get before I finish the sentence… can she keep me talking until my inkwell runs dry? She does not know what I know, how can she hope to survive?

“None at all!” she says. “No! No! Look, you made me… are you saying that my life has just been building up to my death? That I have no other point than this?”

“Oh course not,” I say, proudly looking down at my newly constructed string of words. “You were instrumental in the character development of the protagonist and antagonist, also you helped work in the back-story.”

She is aghast. “You can’t be so cruel! I’ll help develop them more. I’ll tell the back-story, all of it if you want. Anything. Please.”

“I wish I could.”

“But you can!”

“But I cannot. You really don’t understand,” I say. I’ve dipped my pen again. She must feel the weigh above her now because she starts crying.

“Please… please? Please!”

I finish the sentence in a stroke. There is now silence, the room is empty of her voice. My alarm clock ticks away and the wind outside goes by whispering.

“Hello?” I ask the room.

Nothing answers back.

I look down at what I’d written. It’s there in shiny black. The ink is still wet and if I crossed it out or smeared it she might come back. Instead, I blow on it a little and turn the page. Clear through to the other side, reversed but still legible, are the words:

But time would not stop for her and the story went on.


For Ann, who is not here anymore to read it.

copyright D.B. Stevens 2008

It was the second day of the Living Greyhawk convention and I was sleep deprived as usual. The steady stream of diet sodas I was downing to help keep me awake all day had the unfortunate side effect of keeping me up most of the night as well, but I was used to that, as it comes with the territory.

The Dungeons and Dragons game had been going for almost 3 hours already and we were still on the first battle and I hadn't even gotten to take an action yet. At game conventions you never know who you are going to be playing with and I was at a table full of anecdote reciters, slow players and people who somehow had been playing a wizard character for four years without even seeming to understand how any of their spells even work. Eighty to ninety percent of the time at a game table is usually taken up by the slowest player there, in this case I was sitting at a table with 5 of those guys playing and a 6th one as the dungeon master.

I am not a slow player by any means, and the fact that this particular battle had been going for over an hour and a half without even coming around to my turn was more than a little bit frustrating for me. I was playing a character who was carefully designed to be a flying lance charging character that actually worked and was actually legal under the restrictive Living Greyhawk character guidelines. I had been playing the character a year and a half and still hadn't actually got myself to the point where I would get the giant bat that I planned to ride into battle. That would come at 6th level and I was still 5th. At the moment my character was a 4'8" 90 lb girl who had spent almost all of her character points on Strength and Charisma to maximize my effectiveness in dealing damage on lance charges (the character's gender had to be female just to get the legal weight of the character down low enough for the bat to be able to fly with a rider, yes I am that much of a nerd). It actually worked too, I may have had the defenses of a dead goat and hit points lower than the average elderly wizard, but I could usually take out the biggest nasty on the board with one hit.

At the moment there were two big nasties on the battlefield, both were trolls, and both were down at the bottom of a 20 foot cliff, and we were up on top of the cliff. I can't even remember what all the fatbeards I was playing with had even been doing with their actions, but none of them had gone down to fight the trolls, that much I knew.

Long before my turn came up I knew exactly what I was going to do, I was going to charge one of the trolls and then watch the other one rend my character to death as soon as it got another action. I have all the charging rules memorized, including errata, such as the ability to jump during a charge, and I know the stats of a troll so the outcome was nearly certain. One of the fatbeards had aimlessly wandered his character between my own and the cliff face for no reason, despite my previous warnings at the beginning of the fight to keep my line clear because I was going to jump off the cliff with my horse and lance one of them trolls (and could they possibly blast the other one or something, kay, thanks).

My turn came up, I executed my charge, leaping my horse over the fatbeard's character and then off the cliff, impacting one of the trolls with my lance killing it, my horse was of course severely injured from the fall and my own character was damaged as well. The other troll (of course) went next and proceeded to kill my character without even having to use all of its attacks on me, it actually got to use its last one on my poor horse.

I smiled and said I would be back when it was over and promptly wandered away, sure my character I had spent so much time on would now go down to 4th level upon being reincarnated and I would be even further away from that silly flying bat than I was when I started, but anything, even killing my own character beat the sheer boredom of watching a table full of the world's slowest gamers take a half hour each to complete actions that can be done in 90 seconds, tops. That game had already eaten 3 hours of my life that I was never going to get back and I saw no reason to give it another minute, even if it meant killing my own character.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.