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 DWDiscworld Updated: 08/08/18

What a Con!

And what a Convention it was too!

Trolls, Dwarfs, rats, Feegles (and a sheep!), barbarians, Vampires, Deaths, Igors, assassins, merchants, musicians, fools, thieves, alchemists, seamstresses, conjurors and plumbers & dunnikindivers, all under one roof. We were lucky the whole place didn't explode!

Friday Saturday The Maskerade Sunday Monday

All that had to wait, however, as first I had to arrive at the damn hotel, which, like all hotels big enough to host a convention of this size, was bloody miles away from the actual town, and therefore the railway station as well.

Seeing as how it was raining, I abandoned Plan A (walk) and voted to try Plan B (find someone to share a taxi with). Luck was with me, as before I even got off the train at Hinckley's pitiful railway station, I spotted someone with a sword down their back. A bit of a hint, that, even for me. Halfway over the bridge I got close enough to ask if they were going to the Con - yes she was - and could I share a taxi with her? Likewise yes. This was Heather, who I would spend most of the weekend with (stop sniggering at the back there!). It turned out that everyone who got off that particular train was going to the Con, so we all got in the taxi firm's minibus and off we went. We were pleasantly surprised to spot the AA roadsigns pointing us in the right direction.

I just happened to be sitting next to Tors, a friend of Heather's, and like Heather, a serial Convention goer. This was, however, both theirs and mine first DWCon, so that was alright then. Upon arriving at the hotel, and the chaos of sorting out ten people's bits of luggage and how much we each owed for the taxi, I happened to earwig that Tors and Heather were looking for volunteers to be Feegles for the Maskerade entry. Being of not noticeably sound mind, and having no Maskerade entry myself, I heard myself saying "I wouldn't mind being a Feegle". "Okay," was the reply, and we joined the queue to discuss details. (The queue was the hotel checking-in queue, not a details-discussing queue.)

One not-so-swift hotel check-in and a fairly swift Con registration (not to mention a hasty exchange of telephone numbers then a brief loitering at the crossroads with Adrian Ogden) later, I found myself dumping my stuff and reading the leaflets I'd been given, and trying to make myself look human after the five hour journey I'd just completed. I gave up on one of the last two.

Anyway, it now being somewhere in the region of 5pm, I went off to look for Heather and Tors to make sure they were at the Maskerade Prep. At least, that's what I started off doing. I ended up in Sator Square, spending money. Much money. Too much money. I walked into the room with a full wallet, and I walked out again five minutes later, carrying a copy of Johnny and the Bomb, the Death of Rats Mousemat, an Assassin's DWCon04 T-Shirt, and a Feeglespotting postcard, and a considerably emptier wallet. In another five minutes I was back, this time with my credit card, and that's when I walked out with a picture of Rincewind arriving at Eric's by Josh Kirby, and three bottles of beer. I very nearly left with a complete set of Feegle miniatures from Clarecraft as well, but I deposited my purchases and my money back in my room, and headed back into the hotel, promising myself I wouldn't spend any more. (Yeah, right!)

I spent a desultry ten minutes in the Maskerade Prep before making another attempt to find Heather & Tors. I can't remember where I found them, but I do remember they invited me to eat dinner with them. I agreed, and promptly hid in my room lest I started spending money again. A swift trip into town with Katrina A and Katrina B (who gave us a lift and vaguely knew where food might be bought cheaper than in the hotel), and a pub meal later, and we were back, just in time for the opening ceremony. Brief boredom whilst waiting for it to start, then suspense, then hilarity (even though I couldn't read PTerry's T-Shirt at that distance). And then we all shuffled off to our respective Guilds for the initial meeting. Being a Fool, I plonked myself down in the Cavern and wondered vaguely what the Hell was going on. I soon found out. So did PTerry, when he rather unwisely allowed Bernard to spot him through the door. We all lined up to give him a guard of honour as Bernard fetched him back, and gave him our party blower salute, that we'd mastered all of thirty seconds ago. Mine didn't work. Mine never seem to do.

Anyway, a quick wander round afterwards with just enough time to explore the place, then it was off to Terry's Bedtime Stories, where he read us extracts from the imminently-released Going Postal, the upcoming Wintersmith and the book after that, a Watch book (I can't remember the title). That was briefly followed by Biers, then the longest nights' sleep I had that weekend.

I was up at what felt like the crack of dawn. It certainly looked like it, what with the curtains not being shut properly. It was 7am, actually. Anyway, after a swift breakfast where I happened to bump into Heather and Tors again (and me getting my first look at Heather in her Conina outfit), I went up to the Seamstresses' Guild to meet Flossie. Flossie was the sheep. It was four feet high and had legs made from broomhandles, a body of chickenwire, and a custom-made head, which actually baa-ed if you hit it on the nose. I also met Teddy (lovely bloke, trainee Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen hair), who was to be our fourth Feegle. We managed to get the legs on Flossie, then we nipped down to The Dysk for the Maskerade tech run. Heather and Tors spent most of the time admiring other people's costumes, and, actually being proper seamtresses as well as Guild Seamstresses, wondering how they'd been made.

I can't remember what happened next, although I do know I missed the Fools' Guild meeting. Oh, wait, yes I do! I ran (well, jogged really - and even then only for about half the time) into town to pick up some supplies, and made it back in time for the Heraldry. After that, I'm really not sure what I did, but it may have involved food. Then there was the Stephen Briggs interview, which whilst funny, had more pith than Pterry's opening speech had had yesterday. As for the hour after that, I'm at a loss. I probably spent it in the Seamstresses' Guild (I told you, no sniggering!), either adding the finishing touches to Flossie, or just hanging around.

Then it was off to the Guest of Honour Interview, with no less a person the Guest of Honour himself! (Well it would be pretty pointless to hold it without him, wouldn't it?) To be honest, I can't remember all that much about it, except the Q&A session at the end (including the round of applause the AFPer got when he announced himself as such before asking his question). Oh yeah, and members of the Seamstresses' Guild stormed the stage at the end to festoon PTerry with their ribbons. Very nicely done! I think I may have spent the next hour in the Seamstresses' Guild again (look, if you're going to keep doing that, I shall stop!), then I went off to watch Orjan and a few idio... er, friends, demonstrate how to buckle a swash, why fencing is not a good idea in a battle, and why, in the The Lord of the Rings films, lots of people should probably have been stabbed in the back whenever they wasted time and opportunity with a fancy spin that left them completely open to attack by someone who could resist the urge to show off in the hope of staying alive longer.

After that, I barely had time to grab a bite to eat before I got a text message saying Feegling up in our room now :-D. I arrived at said room minutes later, and emerged after nearly two hours painted blue and wearing a kilt and a neon orange wig, that had previously seen service as part of a Britney costume. Almost late for the Maskerade, many Con-goers were amazed to see a squad of four Nac Mac Feegles running through the corridors shouting "Gangway!". We collected Flossie, and arrived at the green room. Flossie had to be left outside, as she was too much trouble to get through the door, and it was during this time that (reputedly) a Guest expressed a preference for lamb kebabs, courtesy of the Thieves' Guild if necessary. But that is a story for another day.

Anyway, my fellow Feegles being Seamstresses, they spent most of the time enquiring about other people's costumes. And being attacked by a Death of Rats who was smaller than Flossie for some reason. We had a few more quick rehearsals of our lines, then suddenly, we were called! But only to the next green room. We kept on examining other people's costumes (Miss Band's Exploding Bustle providing several minutes of discussion), we kept on going over our lines, we kept on taking photographs - and we were called again.

Backstage now, in the wings, one more hurried line-run while Waddy (I think it was) as the Dean complained about not being able to paint his bedroom black. Then he was off, and we were on. There was a brief "Yan, tan, tethra, hut hut hut!", and Sheep? What Sheep? entered Stage Right.

FEEGLES with SHEEP ENTER RIGHT. Immediately on stage, they raise the SHEEP up as high as possible. They come CENTRE STAGE, and turn to face STAGE FRONT. The SHEEP is let down just enough for the AUDIENCE to see all of it.

(It was over a minute before the audience stopped applauding.)

Hamish (Me) Put her down lads, Ah dinna think they saw us!

The FEEGLES put the SHEEP down and stand in front of it, as if to hide it.

Fion (Heather) I think they saw us.

Hamish Ach crivens! We're gonna ha' to use our heids to get outa this!

HAMISH steps forward, preparing to do battle the traditional Feegle way. FION puts her arm out and elbows him in the throat.

Fion We'd better use our heads for thinkin'!

FION beckons the Gonnagle, WEE ANGUS, forward. The others step BACK. WEE ANGUS blows a pitiful squeak on the mousepipes.

Wee Angus (Tors) Ach! It needs tuning! [WEE ANGUS pulls out a small scroll.] Cover your ears, there's gonna be poetry!

FION, HAMISH, and NOT-AS-BIG-AS-MEDIUM-SIZED-JOCK-BUT-BIGGER-THAN-WEE-JOCK-JOCK cower and put their fingers in their ears. WEE ANGUS starts to read a terrible poem from the scroll. When complete, WEE ANGUS stamps a foot, and the others get up.

Fion They're stunned lads. Let's offski!

The FEEGLES each grab a leg, and with another cry of "Hut hut hut", run off through the audience

And that was that. Once back in the green room (with Flossie safely(!) in the hall again), we got to chatting and examining others' costumes again. While the judges were out, I nipped back to my room and we all signed the Feeglespotting postcard I'd bought earlier - in character.


And we all went back to waiting. And getting photographed by people who couldn't wait for the official photo call. We also spotted another Feegle, a ten year-old boy, who got roped in to a lot of our group shots.

Eventually the judges came back in and all the contestants filed into The Dysk and we were shoved in a corner near the front. "Well, that was fun, at least we get to see who won, eh?" Even though PTerry's lectern and the Monstrous Regiment blocked our view of the stage itself, so we couldn't actually.

First the results of the Master Class: Granville Dawn as Ramptop Sky at Night in 1st. A brilliant costume, immensly detailed and well put together, which deservedly won the Special Chairman of Panel Golden Luggage Award. Then came Adrian Emery as Death of Rats & Quoth in 2nd. We'd been standing next to this in the green room, and watched it demolish a table-full of drinks as the final stages were assembled round the wearer.
Next, the Journeymen Class: 1st was Ian, Mandy and Kate Olroyd as The Band with Rocks In. Good cardboard Troll, good Buddy, and good Glod (although the helmet was suspiciously Viking). 2nd was Elizabeth Alway as Lady Ramkin in a leather apron and with dragonshit on her back. 3rd came Random C and CTony with Miss Band Does Her Rounds, which frankly, blew quite a few people away (all puns intended).
Next was the Novice Class. As the results were being read out in reverse order all the way through, I suppose I'd better start reporting them that way, too. I wasn't really expecting us to get better than third - if anything, we'd get the comedy prize, I thought. But still - in equal 3rd was the Dwarven Assassination Team of Maarten Kreuger and Frank Hirsch, with their legs apparently ending at the knee, and Adrian Ogden as Goldeneyes Silverhand Didactylos. It was an oddly plain costume, but very well constructed. It had to be, as when he opened it out, it could barely fit on stage! At this point I was thinking something along the lines of, "oh well, never mind. We won't get better than this." And we didn't - 2nd went to Dave Boswell and Carolyn Bintley as Monstrous Regiment complete with bloomers on a flagstaff. Then PTerry started to announce the First Prize, and how it was obvious it could only have been them. "Oh, well. Must have been Nanny Ogg and the Ballerinas," I thought. "First prize goes to - Sheep? What Sheep?"

What!?!?!? Four jaws simultaneously hit the floor. A leg-grab each, and a "Yan, tan tethra, hut hut hut!", and we scuttled over the tortoise of the Great God Om, past the Monstrous Regiment, and onto the main stage again. We set Flossie down centre stage and PTerry shook our hands, with a few well-wossnamed comments. As he returned to the lectern, he said "Don't go away," and I had to pass the message on to the rest of the clan in my best Feegle accent - something that wouldn't go away all night now for any of us (except Teddy, who couldn't manage one). "Bernard, do you have the box?" I heard PTerry say. The others heard him say some more words before and after that, but my brain was currently copying the newspaper messenger pigeon from the book that won 2nd prize after it'd been caught by the buzzard. It was only when PTerry loomed out of the spotlight to our right holding an eight-inch solid silver model of the Discworld that I was able to start paying attention again. It didn't last long - as we were awarded Best in Show, my brain's output once again returned to a stunned null string. We somehow escaped the stage not long after, with Tors carrying the statue, and returned to our corner, where there was much fondling of our prize and several "we're not worthy" kowtows to The Man On Stage, who was busy awarding Andrew Raby as Belafon's Rock with the Grace Under Fire prize, and Tony & Jean Lewis as The Multiverse Decides the Most Outrageous Attempt to Influence the Panel prize (the High Priest of Blind Io and Fedecks, Messenger of the Gods, wanted to inaugurate a new God on Dunmanifestin - qualifications required included a firm base of worshippers, charisma and an octoplatinum credit card. Guess who got the job).

Photo  Charlotta Tuovinen

And after that, it was the photo call in The Hub. Somehow we got there without being squashed or squashing anyone. We plonked down Flossie just outside the huge area needed for Adrian Ogden to demonstrate his costume again, and suddenly, cameras were everywhere. We took turns to hold the statue. Poor Flossie's wool was turning blue with our body paint. Several people must have got shots of at least one of us looking the wrong way, but on most of them we all managed to face the same camera. I was at a particular disadvantage as I didn't have my glasses on, and could barely see my fellow Feegles, let alone who was taking pictures of us. After a while we got away, as we needed to remove at least some of the body paint before we went drinking to celebrate. With yet another "Yan, tan, tethra, hut hut hut," we were off up the stairs, and away to our dressing room. Tors went straight in the shower, Teddy went back to his room and wasn't seen again all night, and Heather and I got the worst off our faces. Then we picked up things needing signing and headed for Biers, only stopping off to get them signed. "Excuse me, Mr God, sir," I said. "Yes?" said the Currently Hatless One, turning. "Oh, are you Feegles?" It was hardly brilliant detective work, what with us still having blue limbs, grinning like maniacs, and waving Feegle-related things in front of his signing hand. "Aye, we are," we replied, exchanging "Ayes" a good few times because we liked the sound of them. Postcard and books signed, we were off to the bar. Heather was so euphoric she was stopping random people on the way and saying "You! What do you want to drink? I'm buying!" Fortunately, she didn't end up spending a fortune on alcohol. We did have a good number of drinks, though, and a brilliant time, talking to Stephen Briggs and so on. I even managed to get a Fools' Guild sticker on PTerry's back. Tors turned up at some point, still sporting some blue. Stephen's sharp eyes spotted this. "Can I help clean that off?" he asked. "I've got Heather for that," Tors replied. "Can I watch, then?" asked Stephen. And lo, another rumour was started. A pressing need to get properly clean curtailed the evening shortly afterwards, as other people's costumes in our vicinity were slowly turning blue. A shower, followed by bed, happened. (Look, I've warned you about that! Once more and you're out!)

Sunday, and I got up early. It was either that or bother to close the curtains properly. Feeling unecessarily healthy, I treated myself to a fried breakfast, then returned to the Hub to catch a few winks before the Church of Om service. When the Revd Lionel Fanthorpe turned up, I began to get a little worried that an actual bishop might be taking the service. In search of someone capable of a little more rational thought, I went to wake Heather and Tors and warn them that they might miss the service if they weren't quick. Ten minutes later, I was joined by Heather and we did our best to sing-a-long-a-Om, complete with the tortoise himself in the middle of the floor. After being treated to an enlightening sermon from the Revd, we suffered Bernard extolling the virtues (or otherwise) of Nuggan, and promising us all eternal damnation if we didn't worship either Om or Nuggan. I preferred Lionel's speech. I especially liked the idea of Heaven being a DWCon that never ends, as did most of the audience. Anyway, the service finished earlier than expected, so I nipped off to help myself to seconds at breakfast.

Today was going to my Guild day. I hadn't done much in the way of Foolishness yet, so I thought I'd better get some done. After all, we were only in 3rd behind the Assassins' and Alchemists'. At the meeting, Bernard told us that we now had two main priorities. 1: Nail Colin Smythe. 2: Spread rumour and disinformation, eavesdrop, and other things of that ilk. That was more my meteor, as I can be quite good at eavesdropping. Nevertheless, I soon persuaded Colin Smythe that he could spare two tokens to not hear a terrible joke. And put a sticker on him. A little spreading of disinformation and rumour later, not to mention quite accidental intelligence-gathering in the Seamstresses' Guild, I was reporting back to Bernard. The information I had was apparently useful enough to allow an accomodation with the Seamstresses' (Oi! I've warned you! Out!) about information sharing. Teddy being the Deputy Chief Seamstress made it easier to lurk without seeming too out of place. It may have been before this that someone first remarked I could be an honorary Seamstress - a suggestion upon which I forbore to comment. Besides, Heather was there, and wanting to capitalise on last nights' success, she asked me and a handy Alchemist to fetch Flossie from her room and tempt the Thieves'. We decided to put it in Sator Square, next to Bernard's stall, not knowing at that point that Sator Square was off limits to the Thieves' Guild. The decision was mainly influenced by the fact that Bernard had put Flossie under the protection of the Fools' Guild that morning, and we wanted to liven things up.

Anyway, Flossie safely ensconced next to The Cunning Artificer, I kind of wandered round. Not sure what I actually did, but it's a fair bet I spent some more time in the Seamstresses' Guild (you're spotting a pattern here, aren't you?). A bit later in the day, Flossie was moved to The Hub, in order to tempt the Thieves' a bit more. It worked - unfortunately, it wasn't actually supposed to. Tors broke the news that Flossie had been officially Stolen, and that Jerry (Thieves' Guild Deputy) was wearing the ribbon that Flossie had been wearing as a sash. (Oops.) Flossie not actually being in "Protective Custody" yet, and spotting Jerry at the crossroads, I attempted to launch a bit of persuasion to ensure an early release, and got a right roasting. I spent the next few minutes loitering at the crossroads trying to fit his severe attack of loss-of-sense-of-humour into my picture of the Con as a happy place. During this time, Flossie went past at high speed carried by a multitude of Thieves', on her way to Ops. Bribery of the City Watch failed to get the location of the "Protective Custody" changed, and I was just considering doing something silly (like mustering some Fools and raiding Ops), when Jerry reappeared, his sense of humour restored, and proffering a hand. It had all been roleplay, apparently, and here was the situation (which I have by now forgotten), which I promptly reported to Bernard. By now the Fools' had dropped from 3rd top to 3rd bottom, but Bernard gave me five tokens anyway to negotiate a contribution to the ransom the Seamstresses' were to pay. I am not good at haggling, but I accepted them anyway. I began to get the feeling he wasn't entirely taking it not-seriously-enough (you know what I mean!). I realised that maybe I should actually try and get some tokens on behalf of the Fools' now. Because of all the excitement, I didn't actually get anything done - but afterwards I went to see Marco and Orjan talk about The Tale. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the end to join some Seamstresses for dinner at a Chinese in town. Well, none of us had tickets for the Gala Dinner, so, hey, why not?

Dinner passed - I won't say smoothly, as there were some mild moments of wierdness. There was the fact that the table tilted noticeably when you leaned on it, for a start. Then there was the photo-taking. Because of where I was sat (right under a picture with a thick black frame), mine looked like it was a double exposure, and Heather's photo was so back-lit from the window, you couldn't actually see her. Then came dessert - as I was being passed my ice cream (the cheap option), somehow the spoon on the saucer managed to drop straight into half a cup of stewed Chinese tea. "I'll get you another one," said the waiter. "Thanks, yeah," I replied, trying (and failing) not to laugh - mainly because everyone else was already. Things like that have a tendency to happen to me. You know - incidents. Like managing to drop my mobile phone on my foot when not wearing shoes (changing back from a Feegle!), and bang my knee on a chair when reflex action jerks said foot away, then bump forehead on arm of said chair whilst simultaneously bending to pick up said mobile phone. But anyway, I digress...

We made it back to the Hotel after replenishing our supplies of money, changed into something more suitable for partying in, and hit the Toast & Jam (eventually). First, however, we sat around watching through a plate glass window ("It's a big screen TV! All we need are subtitles!") in the foyer, someone setting up a steel drum and amp. I can't remember who she was (Rachel Hayward, I have been reminded), and she played some shit-hot tunes re-scored for steel drum. Then we hit the Toast & Jam. Actually, only me, Heather and Tors hit the Toast & Jam, most of the others disappeared. There wasn't all that long left before the Toast & Jam had to stop using amps and move outside for an acoustic session, though, and as it looked suspiciously like rain again, we went to Biers. Beer happened. I found myself eavesdropping Stephen Briggs (disguised as Lord Vetinari), in the company of some Assassins and a Seamstress. Spotting a Fools' Guild sticker on a feather boa, where it could cause damage and wasn't really being seen, I removed it and attempted to stick it on Lord vetinari. "Excuse me, are you here in your capacity as Head of the Assassins' Guild?" I asked, sneaking round, but not too far. He turned anyway. "Sorry, what? What are you trying to stick on me?" "Bugger! Okay then - for one token, I will tell you a terrible joke. For two, I won't." He briefly thought about this. "How about this: For one token I will inhume you swfitly; for ten, I will inhume you horribly?" "Ummmm.... Pass," I said, backing away carefully. Thankfully, I spotted Hodgesaargh, and stuck the sticker on him whilst congratulating him on his keyrings.

Drinking happened. Singing happened. More drinking happened. Playing keepie-up with some balloons happened. More singing happened. The bar closed. Someone realised that all you had to do to get a drink was ask the night porter, so even more drinking happened. By this time we'd gone through most of The Rocky Horror Show, several Meatloaf, Queen, Abba, Beatles' and probably a lot of other bands' hits, and the Buffy musical. (Which, frankly, I couldn't have cared less about.) The singing eventually gave way to discussing what some people might describe as "cult" fandom - none of those people were present though, they were safely tucked up in their Mundane beds several miles away, which is where such people usually are at 4 o'clock in the morning. When it got to 5 o'clock in the morning, I called it a night. (Pretty silly really, seeing as how it was very nearly dawn.)

I somehow managed to get three hours sleep. I don't know how, or why I woke up after only three hours. It may have had something to do with the fact that I was still slightly pissed. After what breakfast I could manage, I had a look for the Seamstresses' Guild negotiator who was supposed to negotiate for the ransom of Flossie. I found Tors instead. Apparently, it had all been sorted, and the tokens Bernard gave me should go to the Seamstresses'. Fine, whatever. My brain (and therefore the rest of me) was in no position to argue - at least, argue coherently. I realised I still had the two tokens Colin had given me yesterday, so I added them to the Fools' tally (we were by now 2nd to last above the Merchants', and it was painfully obvious that the fight for 1st place was a two-horse race between the Seamstresses' and the Assassins', with the Seamstresses' in front by a comfortable margin). I resolved to try and get some more tokens, and managed to get PTerry with the "two tokens" gambit. Then, for want of something better to do, and everything else requiring more brain power than I was willing to supply at that point, I went to Dance with the Feegles.

At 11am on a Monday morning, after you've only had twelve hours sleep the whole weekend, and you're still slightly pissed, is not a good time to try Highland dancing. Especially when you do circles, and on one side you've got 6'2" Andrew Gray, and on the other 5'6" Lonecat. My arms were nearly wrenched out of my sockets at least twice. Plus I got confused as to where I supposed to be going, what I was supposed to be doing, who I was, and what I was. It was definitely too much brain power. Something that helped wake everybody up occurred when Heather's skirt on her Conina costume came off during a reel. I also found my AFP Hedgehog collection on a table, and showed Heather, whose general reaction was "You're insane! (In a nice way.)" - fair comment. After that was lunch, and a final browse round Sator Square, although not necessarily in that order.

Umm... Then what happened? Ah yes! The Reduced Discworld (very good, just like the Reduced Shakespeare), followed by Biers. Hair of the dog, and all that. Then there was the Great Hedgehog Race final (clackses!), more attempts to part Guests from their tokens, and Biers again. By now, The Seamstresses' lead over the Assassins' was slipping away, and so the Seamstresses' brought out their secret weapon. Laura (I think). A sweet angel in a red dress, no older than 13, she must have collected 100 tokens all by herself in the space of two hours. I was on my way to return my pitiful haul of tokens to the Fools' box, and there she was, at the bottom of the stairs up to Ops. So was PTerry. He'd just come down with a fresh load of tokens. Laura stood next to him and smiled, and PTerry gave her his entire pocketfull of tokens! I felt gratified that I had at least scored back the five tokens I'd given the Seamstresses' earlier, plus three more. Anyway, back to Biers again, where people were discussing the Guild system. Most felt that the Plumbers & Dunnikindivers' wouldn't be done next year, nor would the Merchants' or Conjurors'. The Thieves' Guild would be more geared towards insurance, and there would be a Barbarian Alliance. "Now that's something I'd be interested in," I said. Heather immediately pointed to me and shouted "Teach!" Not my first thought. In fact, I hadn't really thought about who I'd be as a barbarian at all. (I eventually thought of being Nijel the Destroyer, but by the time I had, I was halfway home - and halfway through Johnny and the Bomb)

And that, bar the Closing Ceremony where we all collected our Maskerade prizes, and others from the other competitions that weekend were given out (including a special one for the Seamstresses' not-so-secret-any-more weapon), and also included VoGonnagle poetry readings, the mad scramble for taxis and the equally mad last-second swapping of EMails and phone numbers, was it. I shared a taxi convoy with Heather and Tors to the station - they had to get an earlier train than mine, but I wasn't taking any chances. I should have got on the train they did - mine was ten minutes late, so I missed my connection at Nottingham, leaving me to get home at roughly midnight. Oh, well...

At last it's over!