Daemon drink

Posted by  | Monday, May 7, 2012  at 2:43 PM  

The night before Black Library Live 2012, we were drinking at the Star tavern in Woking. Eddy 'Skarloc' Morgan turned up nearly 3 hours late. I was holed-up reading Bill King's Tyrion & Teclis novel, 'Blood of Aenarion'. Ed was leathered on arrival. Turns out he'd left the Star 20 minutes before my arrival as he'd taken the afternoon off to drink tequila with the pub landlord's son.

An account of Black Library Live 2012 by playwright, street performer, and suspected werecreature Stuart Cresswell.

My report dispels any illusions of behaving responsibly. Anyone who has met Ed won't be surprised in the slightest. He likes to rock the party.

In the morning Ed drove us to Nottingham. I played him WiP recordings from the Skinny Skulls album. There was talk of booking a hotel for the overnight stay.

We pressed the button this year. The start and the end are clear enough. It's taken this long to piece together the rest of the events that make up the adventure in between. In contrast last years report on BL Live 2011 was far more sensible.

Library Pass: Access all areas with one of these.

We parked to discover the event has just begun. Sun wasn't over the yard arm but Bugman's bar was open. We attended the 'Writing for Black Library' seminar last year so that held little interest upon realising William King had started signing! We grabbed ourselves a pint of liquid courage and shopped for inspiration on the tradestands. I held our place in the queue to chat with Bill. Ed went for a refill.

Bill King greeted us warmly. "What's this?" he enquired as I passed him my copy of 'Blood of Aenarion' with the dust cover removed. "Your latest story book" was my casual response.

The author was equally surprised by the page of his novel which I asked him to sign for me... A foretelling by the Lady Malene that (a young) Teclis; "You are either a wonderful liar or the greatest natural mage who has ever lived" is hardly an epiphany when everyone knows the prediction is a given (this is an origins story) yet reading the carefully chosen words on the eve of meeting the man behind the elf mage had tingled my spine!

Without wishing to spoil too much of what was to come, Bill went on to describe some pivotal events in the tale of the elf twins, and how he managed these to factor in the Slaaneshi daemon N'Kari. There are so many stand-out moments in the story we could have pulled up a pew to Bill (one of the forefathers of Warhammer fantasy fiction) listen all day and night. Fat chance, Bill's voice was already going croaky and his seminars had yet to begin! I know that feeling myself from performing gigs so we took leave when an official gave us our marching orders... But not before giving Bill props for the short story which appeared in Sea of Blood (Man O'War game expansion) involving a crew of lost Norse sailors who find land and take shelter in a haunted monastery. There was a severe lack of this type of Warhammer fiction for many years, until the advent of the Chaos Wastes novels.

At this point I recall that we gatecrashed our first seminar on the Time of Legends series. This was a highlight at last years event. Eddy ticked-off Graham McNeill last time in the medieval gaming hall for failing to bring his axe-shaped Gemmell award trophy. Whispering to me he would need to berate Sigmar's storyteller again, Ed gasped in awe as Graham whipped out Snaegar from amongst the sofa cushions! I think the moment made his day.

At some stage there a big greasey burger meal prepared for us by the halfling chefs in Bugman's kitchen. The last couple of seminars are hazier. One was a Warhammer panel with Bill King and Gav Thorpe doing most of the speaking which was superb as they rambled on about elves to my hearts content. Also chiming in were newcomers Sarah Cawkwell and Josh Reynolds. Both of these authors have written outstanding shorts. With important releases on the horizon both authors works are sure to be worth following.

In the stupor of revelry (we drank all afternoon) I fired a few questions but totally neglected to go pester any of the other authors. New guy Josh Reynolds was signing. I had intended to visit him if only to praise the colourful short story 'Dead Calm' which appeared in Hammer & Bolter. I checked it out for research purposes when someone mentioned it was set in Marienburg. The story was especially evocative because it features a number of the factions featuring in 'Mutiny in Marienburg'. There was a stack of inspiring content in the tale which I'd wanted to thank Josh for delivering. I finally got around to consuming one of the Lovecraft compilations this past year. Realising that Herr Reynolds is 'well into' the works of the Cthulu creator this would've been a keen talking point for him and I'm sure his thoughts on the heretical ramblings of one Herr Werner are worth hearing. He's also clocked up some miles as a roadie for a touring band.

After snatching the exceptional 'Dead Winter' (latest Time of Legends release - buy it!) I picked up a copy of 'Knight of the Blazing Sun' from the Bazaar of Books because it features pirates and Norse savages (my kind of people). This is the novel I'm currently devouing! Low and behold the setting as of chapter three is destined to be Marienburg! With any luck I'm on the trail of the latest intrigue surrounding conspiratorial parties at large in the City of Secret Deals. Another grand fact-finding mission for our tabletop campaign so thank you again Mr Reynolds.

Bazaar of Books: Out of shot was a pre-release copy of Nathan Long's third Ulrika Vampire tale 'Bloodsworn' as my little sister has purloined it!

Something else I've just remembered was that a group of university students from far Cathay or the island of Nippon approached me for an interview. They asked questions about Black Library and the event. I cannot recall the particulars, only that we were having a great time so heaping praise on the success of the enterprise and quality of the releases seemed fitting.

After the event ended logic decreed we retire to the dwarfen taproom. Happily we were playing some fantasy card game whilst draining more tankards. Until a member of Warhammer World's staff requested we cease our gaming activity. Warlocks it would seem are not welcome in these parts.

Andy Hoare was kind enough to offer an explanation, "he was probably trying to save you". We've already saved ourselves. The cards we use are proxies because we've spent all the spare gold crowns we earn on buying Black Library novels and Citadel miniatures! :)

Even though we were at the point of being belligerent drunk patrons, the Warhammer World staffer was nice enough to us earlier in the day so we packed the spells away and resolved to bring a more appropriate game in the future. Suppose I should mention Ed had been winning. It seemed clear we'd need to play a round of 'Chaos Marauders' instead! Of course we didn't have the infamous cards on our persons. Instead we warmed up for next years bar battle by yelling 'Chaos Marauders!!' Ed pointed out that BL editor Christian Dunn and author Sarah Cawkwell were sat couple of tables behind us... I'd like to think these guys know the game intimately rather than thinking "who are these two soused reprobates!?" but Eddy was not so sure.

By this point we determined it wise to check into our hotel, less than a mile out. With the car safely parked I was inclined to walk it. An idea the barmaid found questionable in our current state what with there being a canal running in-between. Still I was determined, with a satchel of Google maps and satellite navigation to fall back on we couldn't get lost. Emptying the car of laptops, books and a mandolin we hiked off, crossing the canal on a bridge before hitting a dead-end with a ten foot wall blocking our route. Ed is an ex-paratrooper and I scaled the Glastonbury fence a couple times. We crossed the wall. Not before astride the barrier with mandolin in hand I ripped my corduroys wide open! With the ginger beast exposed to the elements we continued our trek.

At this point we were lost. The map wasn't working. Stood blank-faced in the drizzle beside a Landrover garage on an industrial estate Ed was resigned to ring a cab, when one rolled by. We flagged it and got in. As luck would have it the driver was looking for our hotel. We arrived after turning the next corner.

Checking in, we hit the bar restaurant next door. Upon close leaving with bottles of cider and red wine we retired to the hotel where I sang and played the mandolin followed by more magical duels until passing out. Morning was scary, horrific even. Ed blagging a cigarette outside from a chap who initially refused on principal provided comic relief in the horror of daylight. Within moments they were like two pigs in shit. Some minutes later I tactfully vomitted out the door of our cab... After my fantastic troll impression the Indic driver was really pleasant about it even offering me a tissue. We returned to Warhammer World... Whereby I passed out in the car while Ed had another greasey spoon in Bugman's. He felt gradually worse on the drive south, while I came back to life by the afternoon.

My friend Chris Kneller once described me as a; Norseman in the body of a weakling. After a resurrection style recovery, the drive from Woking to Bournemouth was refreshing. Meanwhile the text message from Eddy said everything about how he felt. It was three words; "I have died"

Practitioners of hedge magic and menaces to sobriety. I am resigned to the fact we should bring minders next time; Michelle Steele and Chris Kneller. Perhaps we ought to dress smartly for the occasion for it is time to book tickets for BL Live 2013.
Favoured of Loec: Red Wolf and Skarloc