I Had Surely Thought of Everything

I_Had_Surely

I headed out to start my quest
to slay the dragon from the west.
The king had made an official decree:
slaying the dragon would make me royalty

I had surely thought of everything.
My tale the bards would often sing.

I got a shield to keep me from death
by blocking the dragon’s fiery breath.
And to parry the dragon’s giant claws
I’d use my sword without a pause.

I had surely thought of everything,
and I’d get the thanks of a grateful king.

In order to pierce the dragon’s scales
I planned to use one of his own nails,
which had broken on the rocky wall
that runs around the king’s great hall.

I had surely thought of everything.
My tale the bards would often sing.

I even got a massive wagon
to carry the body of the dragon.
I’d parade it down the city street
and people would grovel at my feet.

I had surely thought of everything,
and I’d get the thanks of a grateful king.

I met a traveler, who had brown hair.
He looked at me and proceeded to share
some news that hit me square in the chest,
turns out, I’d been traveling east… not west.

I thought I’d thought of everything,
but now my tale the jesters sing.


Listen to me read it here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9vf6mb3nar1yurb/IHadSurelyThoughtOfEverything.mp3?dl=0

 

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Xalworth

Xalworth_text

A little bit of an introduction, I think, is necessary on this post.

I played a small amount of Dungeons and Dragons the other day with my brother. I had forgotten how much fun it was, and hope to continue in the not-too-distant future. Obviously, the first thing that one does when playing D&D is make a character. In the 5th edition, you pick your race, class, and backstory from lists of options with various sub-options and that sets up the skeleton of how your stats work, what items you start with, the spells and cantrips you have available, etc. The player then picks (again, from a list) personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws that seem to fit. Then it falls to the player to fill in the personal details of the character’s backstory. It is all very neat, and fits together fairly well assuming you don’t mind doing a little reading and/or have an incredibly patient individual to walk you through it (Thanks, brother!).

Any of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a while know full well that I have this compulsive need to find backstories that fit for EVERYTHING. From the characters that exist in my stories, to the random people I pass on the street, right down to the forgotten toy on the sidewalk… every single one of them has a story and I can’t help but to wonder about or make up a guess as to what that is. So, obviously, I couldn’t half ass the backstory for Xalworth Lobin-Yoslin Podon the druid forest gnome. I immediately had a full length novel idea, but was able to slim it down to the just under 6,000 word story that follows. I liked how it turned out, though it may be a little under-edited, so I decided to share.

Keep in mind while reading that gnomes in the D&D universe are not tiny people with pointy hats and garden implements, but instead they are halflings that stand about 3 feet tall.

If you are curious, the skeleton that I generated using the player’s handbook is as follows (MAY HINT AT SPOILERS):
Race: Forest gnome
Class: Druid
Bakground: Folk Hero
Defining Event: Stood alone against a terrible monster
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Personality Traits: I judge people by their actions, not their words. If someone is in trouble, I’m always ready to lend help.
Ideals: Freedom – Tyrants must not be allowed to oppress people.
Bonds: A proud noble once gave me a horrible beating, and I will take revenge on any bully I encounter.
Flaws: The tyrant who rules my land will stop at nothing to see me killed.

You can download the story as a PDF. Enjoy.
As always, I appreciate any feedback, comments, or concerns that you may have.

Band of Gorillas

While I was drawing the image that went with my poem Gary the Gorilla (https://imasillypirate.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/gary-the-gorilla/) I looked at a lot of images of gorillas. I came across this one http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11122/111223914/4628119-5692474103-male_.jpg and I immediately thought that it needed to be photoshoped (I actually use GIMP, not Photoshop, but saying that something needed to be gimped, I think, might be misinterpreted).

Thus, using my mad skills, I put the following together, and felt the need to share (I know it isn’t very good, but I think that makes it better). Enjoy.

Band

Lawrence Willard’s Estate

LawrenceThe wind whistling through the trees outside his bedroom window made Lawrence Willard grin.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” the old man grumbled under his breath as he listened to the eerie sound of twigs brushing the side of the house.

In his youth, the house had terrified him. More precisely the fact that there were ghosts in the house had terrified him, but as he ventured out into the world as a young man, he learned that the ghosts were out there too. They were everywhere, so why be afraid of one specific location?

His nature as a prankster won him many friends, but few lovers. So, as an old man, the ghosts helped the house to not feel so lonely.

His chest was starting to feel tight; Lawrence assumed that it was time. His eyes flicked to the writing desk in the corner, atop which sat his final will and testament in which he declared that the house go to his nephew Charles, and his toothy grin widened. The family would be surprised by that one; it was no secret that he didn’t particularly like Charles.

He was having a hard time breathing now. The icy slush in his veins ached and his chest spasmed, threatening to send the book toppling to the floor, but Lawrence clung to it. It was important to him that his body be found clutching the old tome of ghost stories to which he had added a story about hauntings by a certain lonely old man of his twerp of a nephew. Nobody would look very closely at the book at first, but Charles would eventually, Lawrence would make sure of it.

As the reaper appeared over him, the old man nodded his head.

It was finally his turn to do the haunting.


Listen to me read it here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t8n0kf3uxc7kxan/LawrenceWillardsEstate.mp3?dl=0

Tabitha and the Witch

TabEverything about the little cottage was rough. Aside from the pale skin showing out the top of Vrona’s dress, Tabitha didn’t see a single smooth surface. The table that dominated the room as well as the matching chairs were made of uneven lengths of natural wood, the books on the shelf were ragged and worn, the thatch roof was just that: a thatch roof, and the smell coming out of the knobby, rusted cauldron that sat in the corner made the very air abrasive.

Vrona, though, was not at all what Tabitha had expected. She had assumed the witch would be a withered, old woman, as rough and leathery as the surroundings she now found herself in, but the woman was, instead, a real beauty. Sure, she had a darkness about her and unnaturally pale skin, but even her darkness seemed to add to the sensuality that seemed to rise off of her like steam. Tabitha wasn’t sure, exactly what it was about the woman that highlighted her raw sexuality, but something in the way she moved and the sheen on her eyes made Tabitha’s breathing deepen slightly and her loins tingle in a way that, though not unpleasant, made her vaguely uncomfortable.

“I know he’s cheating on me,” Tabitha said as she sat down into the rough, wooden chair that the woman offered. It was surprisingly comfortable.

“I want to find out who it is,” Tabitha finished as the woman took her own seat across the table from her. “And I want vengeance.”

The table top was clear aside from a scattering of crystals, and a large, gnarled candle which the witch now lit, by raising her hands to it and blowing gently, breathing life into a flame that hadn’t been there just a moment ago. The woman settled back into her chair and looked at Tabitha, that same expression of inquisitive, smoldering, appraisal on her face.

“Is that something you might be able to help me with?” Tabitha asked, more trying to fill the silence, than expecting that the obvious question was really necessary.

Vrona nodded her head and, in a quiet voice she said, “His lover will be revealed. Though, have you really thought about the vengeance part?”

“Of course I have!” Tabitha said. It had been both parts that had made her start out on her journey to find the witch, but it had been the idea of retribution that had made her push deeper and deeper into the dark woods, long after logic dictated that she return home. It had been a need for justice to be doled out that had made her muddy her shoes in the creek and tear her dress on the berry brambles that crept in close, almost covering the path in some places.

Vrona nodded again slowly, then stood asking, “Have you brought any of his hair?”

“I thought you might need that,” Tabitha responded, producing a small cloth bag with a few hairs in it.

The witch took them from her and walked to the Cauldron. While the woman’s back was turned, Tabitha caught herself letting her eyes slip slowly down the creamy skin of her exposed shoulders. The back of the dress was open, and Tabitha’s eyes easily following the curve of Vrona’s back as it ran between two muscular shoulder blades to disappear into the thin, silky covering that clung to the woman’s thin waist. Tabitha felt her heart quickening. She caught her breath and forced herself to look down at the table in front of her. What was wrong with her? She focused on the small, clear crystal laying on the table, twinkling now in the candlelight.

There was a whoosh of fire and suddenly the room was brighter, Tabitha glanced back up, to find Vrona standing on the other side of the cauldron, a fire now burning beneath it. The witch tilted her face down, as if to look into the cauldron, but her eyes stayed stuck on Tabitha, a knowing smirk sitting in the corner of her mouth.

“You are a very attractive woman,” she said suddenly.

Tabitha was suddenly aware that she was sweating, was it getting hot in there?

“Th- thank you,” Tabitha stammered, more bashful than she thought necessary. She watched the woman sprinkle her husband’s hair into the cauldron.

“Are you sure he’s been with another woman?” Vrona asked, turning to the shelf next to her and grabbing a bundle of vibrant, purple flowers.

“Absolutely certain,” Tabitha said, watching the witch untie the bundle, then drop all the flowers into the depths of the huge, metal pot.

“I see,” said the witch, who turned and grabbed a ladle and a cup. As she was turned, Tabitha again caught her eyes caressing the perfect silhouette and looked down at the table in front of her. Looking at that crystal again and listening to the sounds of the witch scooping liquid out of the bottom of the cauldron, she took a long, slow breath of the putrid air.

She heard the woman moving towards her and looked up as she was handed a small cup full of brackish, green water.

“Drink this,” Vrona said.

Tabitha looked down at the cup, then up into Vrona’s face, then back down into the cup. Staring at it, her face scrunched into a gnarled bunch of distaste.

“I don’t know if-” she began, but cut short as she felt Vrona’s hand slip gently onto her shoulder, causing a wave of heat to ripple over her body and focus on her groin. The hand slipped up her neck as she felt Vrona’s thigh brush her arm, the woman moving closer to her. Tabitha’s heart was now racing, she closed her eyes.

“Drink,” Vrona whispered.

Tabitha did. She struggled the liquid down her throat, focusing on the feel of that hand now running down her back. When the last of the vile liquid had been swallowed she coughed, gagged and wheezed, but it stayed down.

“Good,” Vrona said, letting her hand fall away from Tabitha’s back, that sensual warmth it had brought disappearing as she did so. Vrona moved to the other side of the table and, once again, settled into the chair.

“That’s it?” Tabitha asked, feeling nauseous.

“Yes,” Vrona said, nodding slightly.

“No magic words or anything?” her throat felt tight.

“No,” Vrona said. She leaned forward onto her elbows on the table, “no magic was necessary on this one.”

“What?” Tabitha asked, “what did I just-” She tried to stand up, but her head was spinning now.

“Poison, Tabitha. You just drank poison,” Vrona said with a wicked smile.

“What?” Tabitha managed to squeak out in a raspy voice, “why?”

“I promised to tell you who your husband was sleeping with,” Vrona said. “It’s me,” she laughed in a girlish tone.

Tabitha struggled to her feet, then collapsed back into the chair, closing her eyes to make the room stop spinning.

“I loved him long before you,” Vrona said, “and you stole him from me.”

Tabitha’s mind was foggy with swirling, inky blackness, but through the descending mist of unconsciousness she heard Vrona make one final statement.

“And, now, he is mine and so is vengeance.”