Tag Archives: Fiction

Posts that are narrative, rather than informational or journalistic.

Dragonfire and Ruin

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It was stunning how quickly the battle was joined. The invading armies were moving quickly through the forest, trying to take as much land as possible before the local defenses could organize. As such, they were moving with incredible haste, and the adventurers quickly decided that they would slow the invaders down as much as possible, even if ultimate victory wasn’t an option alone.

The adventurers were able to ambush the first scouts, but after that it quickly became a pitched battle. Salek crouched in a tree and fired arrows, his location protected by the chaos on the ground which prevented anyone from scanning the branches above for too long. Kah was drawing most of the attention, thundering through the battle as he was wont to do, while Celestra sniped soldiers with lightning bolts and Fror crept stealthily through the underbrush picking off stragglers. Even Gavin was helping, smashing enemies left and right with fists like flying boulders.  (The rest of Gavin’s friends were a short ways off, though none of the travelers had the heart, or the interest, to check on how they were doing.)

They fell back and fell back, slowing the enemy down slightly but not even attempting to stop them outright. The adventurers were beginning to wonder if they should retreat entirely, rather than risk getting encircled, but before they could turn and run Salek caught sight of a most welcome surprise:

The army of Q’art Hadash, marching from Tevesta, was moving up to join the battle!

With the arrival of fresh troops, the battle became much more evenly matched. The invaders were powerful, and still more numerous than the defenders, but the locals were more familiar with the terrain and they were fighting for their homes. It was a brutal battle, but with the help of the adventurers it looked like they might just hold the line.

Then, a deafening roar split the sky. Read More →

Reunion

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Celestra was still coughing and brushing away smoke when Kah first heard the impacts. Pound-pound-pound. Like rocks on the mountainside. Pound-pound-pound. Too rhythmic for tree-falls, too rapid for thunder. Pound-pound-pound. It sounded almost like footsteps, except far too heavy. Unless…

Peering through the forest, the barbarian could just barely make out the shapes of his friends, Salek and Fror, sprinting toward them.

And in their wake, just a few paces behind, thundered an enormous troll.

In the space of a few seconds, Kah bounded over to the half-felled tree which the giant beaver had been chewing through, and began to push. He waited for just the right moment, wanting to drop the tree on the troll at the exact instant he emerged onto the road.

Pushing the thick trunk over at precisely the right time, Kah was too late to stop it by the time Salek and Fror started shouting, “No, stop! He’s with us!”

Kah tried to grab the falling mass, but it was too far gone. As the troll broke through the tree line, the heavy trunk hit him squarely on the head. The troll dropped to the ground, stunned but ultimately harmless.

Celestra blinked in surprise, and then turned to Salek and Fror. “He’s ‘with’ you?” she asked, incredulous. “We’ve been looking for you all day, and you’ve been, what, collecting trolls?”

“Uh, well, no…” said Salek, exchanging a quick glance with Fror.

“It started like this,” began Fror.

The adventurers then spent the next short while catching up, recounting their respective adventures. Kah showed off his new purchase (while Celestra pointedly sighed), and Salek told his friends how they had hired Gavin the troll to join them for a while after he was left behind by his friends.

Then, just when they had made the connection of both having run into the so-called “Midnight Shark Dragons,” another rustling was heard from the forest. Focusing his elven eyes, Salek was just barely able to make out the source.

“You’ve got to be joking…” he murmured. Read More →

Return of the Revenge of the Midnight Shark Dragons, part II

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Kah and Celestra had been walking for a while in silence, following a forest road which would let them loop back around to the area around Q’art Hadash. They didn’t have much idea of where to start their search, so following the road seemed as good a course as any.

Celestra suddenly had the wind knocked out of her when Kah impacted her chest with his granite-like forearm: he had heard something up ahead, beyond a curve in the road. Rubbing her sternum, Celestra listened as well, and quickly fixed on the sound of bickering coming from fifty yards off.

“How could you just leave him?”

“Leave him? He weighs ten thousand pounds! What was I supposed to do, carry him?”

“Splash some water on his face, maybe use some of those smelling salts you always carry around!”

“Those are for romantic encounters only. Only!

Kah and Celestra exchanged glances: this was an odd group to stumble across.

Still, they didn’t know these people, and the times were such that caution was important. Creeping along the road until they could peer around the bend, Kah and Celestra’s suspicions were quickly confirmed: the strangers were huddled around a wagon which they had clearly stolen, and were going through its contents as they argued. It looked like a human woman, an elf, and a dwarf. A gigantic beaver stood off to one side gnawing on a tree, though whether it was with them or simply wild wasn’t clear.

Gesturing silently, Kah motioned for Celestra to move through the woods and flank them. A few moments later, he did the same. Read More →

Gearing Up

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Kah wasn’t terribly familiar with medicine, but he did know that as long as his friend was breathing, there was hope.

As the fleet sailed north up the Miimadir river from Q’art Hadash, he watched her condition closely. Her burns were extensive and her pulse was weak, but he brought her water and made sure she was comfortable, and he held out hope. The sailors of the ship he had landed on gave him a wide berth, many of them having never seen one of the susarex, the barbarians or “stone-seeders”, in person before. Covered in blood and still coming down from his battle-fanned rage, he was a fearsome sight to even the most experienced sailor.

It was well after midnight when Celestra awoke, coughing in the lantern light as the ships continued to row their way upriver. Kah brought her water and food, and when she was strong enough she summoned her magics to help herself heal. Even that small exertion quickly left her exhausted, though, so she spent the next few hours alternating between sleep and healing.

By the morning, though, she was feeling better. Still uneasy and shaken, but back on her feet.

It was a few hours after dawn when they finally caught sight of their destination: the town of Tevesta, nestled within a curve of the winding Miimadir, was a major hub of travel and trade in the region, and served as the primary access point to and from Q’art Hadash. As such, the entire riverside length of the town was lined with docks, many of which were large enough to support the military vessels which so rarely sailed up from the coastal city. Docking the fleet would mean dominating most of the available wharfs, but it was no matter: word of the invasion was spreading quickly, and already there were very few merchant vessels to be found.

Celestra and Kah, with Celestra’s wolf in tow, disembarked at Tevesta. They got a hot meal at a shop near the docks, then went into the city. Read More →

Wrath of the Midnight Shark Dragons

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The family didn’t have much to offer the adventurers in payment for saving their lives, but they insisted that Fror and Salek at least stay and enjoy some of the food that the family had brought with them for the journey. They found a cave in a nearby hill for shelter, and after setting up a campfire they settled in for the night.

It turned out to be a very worthy offer: the man was an excellent cook, and Fror indulged his love of storytelling by enthralling the little girl with tales of monsters and pirates and giant, man-eating spiders. By nightfall the dwarf had scared the little girl enough that she didn’t feel much like sleeping, so Salek took a turn and told her the story of a beautiful girl in a far-away land who went on an adventure with her parents to find a new home, and in doing so became a princess known to elves the world over as Elana, Daughter of Light.

As he spoke Salek idly plucked leaves and grasses from the ground, and by the time his story was over he had woven them into a verdant medallion of intricate knot-work: a symbol of the princess and a gift for the little girl. He told her it would protect her from harm, and she took it from him with reverence, like it was a priceless jewel.

As the family bedded down, Fror pulled Salek aside for a whispered conference. “We seem to be safe for now,” Fror murmured, “but this family has seen enough fighting. I suggest we stand watch tonight, in case any others try to take advantage of their desperation.”

Salek nodded. “It’s an excellent notion,” the elf replied. “Shall I take the first watch?”

“Nah, you sleep first, lad. We’ve been through a lot, I need to sort out the events of the day. I’ll wake you in a few hours.” With that, Fror sat down in the mouth of the cave facing out into the forest, crossed his legs, and began to meditate.

Several hours later, the cave reverberated with the soft sounds of gentle snoring. Salek and the family were all deep asleep, beyond the cares of fallen empires and invading armies, while Fror continued his meditations at the mouth of the cave.

Unnoticed by anyone, five shapes began to emerge from deep within the cave. Read More →