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Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Legend of the Kraken

kraken

The seedy tavern located in Shadowmire is called the Kraken’s Wake. I wondered what in the world could have justified such a name. Sure, it is located near the docks and reeks of salty fish but does that mean that it warrants such a bold name? The first time I set foot in the Wake, I was amazed; not with the decor or the ambiance, but the amount of grimy shady characters that were piled into the den. These people made Slanter look like a kid.

SPARTAN RACE

I assumed, in my ignorance, that the Kraken’s Wake had gotten it’s name by an owner who simply wanted his tavern to sound tough. It just wouldn’t do to have a sailor drinking in a place called Peppermint Dust or the Unicorn’s Mane. What I did not know, was that the name was very much deserved.

The owner of the Kraken’s Wake, Admiral William “Billy” Bligh, was a great sailor and a hero of the Halfling War. He decided to settle down in Shadowmire mainly because he hated trolls, and wanted to kill as many as he possibly could. I never even noticed the old relics which adorned the walls inside the tavern. Several paintings, done by Billy himself, tell some interesting stories from his time on the sea. I, like so many others, was far too busy making sure that I made it out alive to look around. Slanter took the time to fully digest the paintings; a feat which I am jealous about. He relayed to me what he learned. The real secret to the Wake lies under the water.

According to the paintings, Admiral Bligh befriended a rare sea creature. The creature was a cecaelia, half humanoid and half octopus. The torso resembled a giant while the bottom half was a tangle of powerful tentacles; bringing the creatures full size to over twenty five feet. This particular cecaelia, who came to be known as Dreadnought, decided to follow the admiral. For years, Dreadnought lived in a cave under the Kraken’s Wake. The friendship between  the former admiral and the cecaelia never faltered.

So you see, Dreadnought IS the kraken; and the tavern is always safely in his reach. When I first entered the Kraken’s Wake, wearing my fresh new Rosewood armor, Dreadnought was probably swimming under my feet. The cecaelia was fighting trolls along with the rest of us during the Moon Over Mire carnival, which started the War of Horded Magic.

Dreadnought

The Kraken

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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New Penn Drawing

Out of the Dark

Out of the Dark

I mentioned that I had been struggling with a sketch of my main character, Penn Darvel. I drew something up at work today, and think that it is better than what I have now. I am still not 100% pleased, but I believe it is a step in the right direction. Tell me what you think, please.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in From the Desk of the Author

 

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Simple Leather Gloves

gloves

Every year for the Festival of Serynade, my dad would give me a new pair of leather gloves. I always knew what was in the box, but I would act surprised every time. As I opened my package, the smell of the fresh leather would come wafting out. I loved that smell. I would put the gloves on and cover my face with both hands. For several moments I would just breathe in the odor.

Now here I sit, readying myself to fight trolls with Jericho, the therian king. I watch everyone else as they prepare. Slanter is sharpening his phoenix-fletched arrows. Zipporah tries to appear confident, but I can tell in the tension of her hands that she is nervous. Syris, the dust elemental, is sitting quietly; a sure sign that things are serious. Pnils is burdened with a sadness much more cruel than any cut of a troll blade. He is a rock, though, for he knows that we need him. Tori is giving instructions to Master LePrius on how to care for each of the orphan children. King Jericho is lining out plans with Rasul, who wants to stay and fight so badly but refuses to even protest against the king’s wishes. Baron, the werebadger, is saying goodbye to his family.

I think of my family, and I wonder what they would have me do. Would they want me to go to safety with Rasul and LePrius, and leave the battle for those who are better equipped for such tasks? Would they want me to stay and fight alongside my new friends? I lower my head into my hands, at a loss. Then I smell my newly purchased leather armor. The sweet aroma of the Rosewood gauntlets take me back to those holiday mornings with my dad. I guess I will always associate that smell with him. I know what he would want me to do, so I go over to Slanter and ask him if he minds sharpening my axe as well.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Reif Wins!

Reif

redro.deviantart.com

The targets were placed and the contestants were ready. The crowd was large and included the elven princess, Damara. The archery contest of Alhaven was the most prolific bow contest in Delphia. The greatest archers from Pinevale to Dundersnuff would all come to compete. It was a joyous time, and the only time the elves allowed guests near to their home. The elven king, Typherius, had tried to cancel the contest but his people had convinced him to continue.

The field had been narrowed down over the last two days, and only three contestants remained. There were two male elves and ,to everyone’s surprise, a dwarf. Sinto, the first elf, stepped to the line. He had blonde hair which was braided behind his ears. Sinto was the female’s choice, for he was lovely and of strong build. His green eyes narrowed as he focused on his target. He raised his bow, white wood with intricate etchings of green, and pulled his swan-fletched arrow from his quiver. Sinto made a great spectacle of every motion, flexing his arms which he was always sure not to cover.He pulled the arrow back and held the bow steady. The elf kept the pose for a while, showing off his taut muscles. Then he let the arrow fly, but the arrow missed the bullseye by a hand.

The men in the audience giggled at Sinto’s mishap. “Perhaps he shouldn’t have posed for so long,” they teased. But the women cheered all the same, for they did not care about his archery skills; not really. Sinto smiled and gave the crowd a wave, but he could not hide the disappointment in his eyes.

Next the dwarf, Reif, stepped to his line. His hair was light brown, and his beard was neatly braided into several strands. He wore a shirt of earthen tones; simple yet undeniably beautiful. Reif had become a fan favorite with his powerful bow burying arrows to the fletching. He looked around, somewhat nervous. Then the dwarf focused his gaze on the princess as beads of sweat poured from his face.

One of the elves in attendance, Dagoby Trueflight, had intently watched all of the dwarf’s previous shots. Reif had never seemed nervous at any point in the previous competitions. “He is just edgy because it is his final shot,” Dagoby reasoned. However even as he was reasoning, the elf was making his way toward the grandstand where Damara sat. Dagoby was part of an elite elven military unit called Crimson, and he trusted his instincts. He had spent 400 years honing them.

Reif finally tore his eyes from Damara. He toed the grass with his boots, and then knelt. The dwarf picked up some dirt and rubbed it together in his hands. Then he grabbed some grass and threw it in the air as he stood. He was gauging the wind.

Alarms burst out in Dagoby’s mind. The wind would have no effect on his short ranged target shot. “He is planning a longer shot,” the elf declared. He knocked a few people over as he began his sprint to the princess.

Reif had his large black bow clutched, and pulled his falcon-fletched arrows from his ornate quiver. He took a nice deep breath, then drew. Everyone held their breath as well. Then, Reif turned and shot his arrow directly at the princess. Everyone was too shocked to move; everyone except Dagoby.

Dagoby stood directly in front of the princess; an arrow through his shoulder. He had saved the princess; but as he stared out at the contestants, he did not see Reif. The elves and all of the visitors had panicked and were scrambling around. Dagoby knew that they wouldn’t find the dwarf now. He sank to his knees as the pain started to wash over him. “That was a damn good shot,” he laughed through the pain. “Reif wins!”

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Lamentations of a Frog

Frog Prince

She came to me, a maiden fair

With brilliant eyes and flowing hair

She pulled me lightly from my seat

Sent love from head to webbed feet

Then kissed me hard with hopeful bliss

My verdant form lost in the kiss

A prince I stood before her eyes

Her kiss ripped through my disguise

Destiny tricked us, I missed my shot

For she loves frogs, and a frog I’m not

So here is my conclusion, though it makes little sense

I would rather be a hopeful frog than a lonely prince

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in From the Desk of the Author

 

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Battle at the Bridge

Dwarf fighter

“I will not slink through the woods, led to my cowardice by common thieves,” Ballack spat.

“Then you can die, proud and arrogant prince!” Camille, the young woman, said coldly.

The young man, Graeme, stepped between his sister and the warlock dwarf. He raised his hands in a submissive manner and tried to reason with Ballack. “They have the whole area blanketed with swamp rays. There are many trolls waiting in the river. Nobody was meant to get across that bridge. Don’t you see?”

Ballack watched as the people he had sworn to protect poured into the woods. “I see cowards following sneak-thieves.” The dwarf prince raised his hammer high, and his soldiers formed ranks.

“You truly mean to attack the bridge?” Graeme asked incredulously.

“Consider it a distraction, if it makes you feel better,” Ballack answered. “Every dead troll makes the world a little safer for you and the rest of them.”

“It’s suicide,” Camille said.

Ballack looked and her and stated, “Shut up.” With that, he let out a yell and charged the bridge. The ghost on his left started his drum dirge, while the specter on his right raised the Dundersnuff banner high. The dwarven phalanx, as well as several therians who wanted the trolls to pay in blood for the attack on their city, plowed toward the troll ranks.

“Let’s not waste his sacrifice,” the young Pavee said sadly as he followed the last of the refugees into the woods.

Ballack and the others charged the bridge. The dwarves, who were more accustomed to the hard stone of the mountains, were not prepared for the swamp rays. The creatures could create electrical pulses as well as attack with their barbed tails. Being encased in metal armor and standing in water only amplified the damage of the rays. It was the start of a one-sided battle.

The first few dwarves were immediately dropped as they stepped on the swamp rays. A werecoyote also stepped on a ray, and felt the wicked barb pierce his calf. Intense pain shot through his leg, but was quickly healed by his therian blood. It hardly mattered, for the trolls poured over the advancing troop in a savage fashion. Ballack and his troops were some of the finest fighters in all of Delphia, and many trolls fell to their weapons. However, there were simply too many of them.

“Kill as many as you can,” Ballack shouted. “Beat them into the mud,” he screamed as he sent his hammer through the rib cage of a troll enemy. Then he touched a dwarf who was kneeling and healed his friends wounds. “Get back in the fight,” the prince urged. The initial advantage of the trolls had stalled as the dwarves formed their defensive diamond around their prince.

It was beautiful to watch the dwarves as they killed troll after troll. Ballack called upon his magical powers and had the corpses writhing and pulling at the legs of their comrades. The few therians that had accompanied the dwarves were already dead. They were tough, but could not hold up against the trolls even with their innate healing attributes. Ballack did not sympathize; they knew the risk.

One dwarf fell. Then another. Ballack could not heal them all, he was too busy trying to keep the trolls at bay. Another dwarf down. The diamond was broken. “On your own, then!” Ballack called, and each dwarf broke ranks to gain a more comfortable zone to work alone. They fought valiantly, bringing death to many trolls. One by one the prince’s troops were killed. It was a grueling battle for the trolls, one that took more time and cost more lives than they wanted; but one they would win.

Only two dwarves remained; Ballack and one they called “the Hook”. The two were back to back with Ballack using his necrotic magic as a protective orb. “I can keep this up all night, scum!” the warlock promised. At that moment to the south, a huge pillar of fire shot into the night. The trolls had been instructed to return to Shadowmire with any captives upon seeing the pillar of fire. Most of the trolls hustled away from Ballack and his cruel hammer. A few remained, but they never made it back to the therian city.

Ballack and the Hook limped away from the battle at the bridge. The warlock was pleased with the results; more than a hundred trolls were dead in the mud and the others were travelling in the opposite direction of the mass of survivors. He honored the fallen dwarves with a few words, then pressed on toward Oliveloft.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in From the Desk of the Author

 

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In A Flash

Like lightning, boom

Things can change in a flash

All the dreams that are built up

Can shift into ash

Soft are the lips

That whisper lies

Safe in the haven

Of a mocker’s disguise

Beware of the one

Who wears only a smile

In other’s shoes they would not

Walk even a mile

False words, false feelings

The fallacies of caring

My heart plunges headlong in

Desperately brave and daring

But a heart that loved big

And used to stand bold

Now finds it hard to feel

As it slowly grows cold

Like lightning, boom

Things can change in a flash

Or they can cling, all our days

Until we’ve no teeth to gnash

Micheal Turner

Micheal Turner

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in From the Desk of the Author

 

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