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Sunday Scribble – “Touch”

Touch
(continuation of Autumn)

Our pay was average, but my “findings” enabled us to splurge a bit on dinner. A rack of beef to share, a fresh loaf of bread, and milk to wash it all down gave us one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. There were even leftover coins in Elsworth’s purse when I returned it to him at Luella’s insistence.

“It’s a shame,” Simon said in our room that evening. “That was a nice coin purse.”

“I’m sure the headman thought so too when he got it.” Luella’s words were accompanied with a soft smack to Simon’s arm.

I smirked at the exchange as I folded up my cloak on one of the room’s chairs. It was still rather lumpy with my daggers, bandages, and liberated items from our travels, but as long as no one sat on it, it was fine.

“You alright there?” I asked Brom, noticing he had been over by the wash basin for longer than usual.

He glanced at me before scrubbing at his shoulder with the available cloth. “Elsworth’s touch was sweaty. Feels like the spot can’t get cleaned.”

Simon’s and Luella’s voices stilled from their bickering at Brom’s response, and Simon was by our warrior’s side with a bound. He glanced at the spot, red from continuous scrubbing, and poked it gently.

“Think I have some aloe paste left,” he said, ignoring Brom’s slight flinch. “Want some?”

“I could freeze something for you to use to numb it,” Luella offered.

“Don’t strain yourself,” Brom told the mage. He did, however, nod to Simon. “I’ll try the aloe.”

“Want it wrapped in bandages?” I asked, unfolding my cloak.

“…Sure. Thanks.”

We moved to wrap up Brom’s shoulder, ensuring the bandages weren’t tight enough to hinder his movement or restrict his blood circulation. He swung his arm in a wide circle to test the bandages, his muscles only making a small tear appear by the armpit.

He ignored it, finding the tear insignificant, and nodded. His gaze anywhere but us, he murmured out another, “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Simon’s response was a loud contrast as he sealed up his small jar of aloe paste.

“If it doesn’t work,” I said, “let me know and I’ll get you some of the finest soaps this village sells.”

“Through legitimate means, of course,” Luella said.

“Considering you made me return the rest of the purse, we’ll have to see—”

“Let’s go to bed.” Brom cut us off, a small smile tugging at his lips as he fell onto one of the mattresses. Being the smallest and least likely to accidentally roll over onto his side after his episode, I took the other side of Brom’s mattress. Luella and Simon claimed the other.

I tossed Simon my extra pillow and he placed it on the floor next to his side. With how much he moved in his sleep, he wasn’t a stranger to his bedmate shoving him away only to have him tumble off the mattress. Being a deep sleeper, he tended not to notice until the morning.

The morning came much sooner than all of us cared for it to.

“It’s still dark out—” Simon’s words strangled themselves as a flash of light and a wave of heat washed into our room.

“Easy enough to see what’s gotten the village up at this hour.” Luella reached the window, hearing the shouts and alarms at the dragon’s appearance.

“Did the sands and troughs help keep the fires from spreading?” I asked.

“Difficult to tell with the smoke,” she answered.

“Are we staying to help,” was my next question, “or are we booking it in case the village feels our work wasn’t worth the payment?”

Luella’s eyes rolled and she grabbed her staff. Brom already had his axe in his hands and Simon shouldered his pack of supplies. I sighed as I put on my cloak and touched the hilt of my daggers.

“Here’s hoping chasing off a dragon is worth more than sanding a field,” I said, leading the way out of the inn and into the fray.

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Posted by on October 8, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Saucer”

Saucer
First Part | Previous Part

“Your dragon Toasted—”

“Toasty,” the tower man, who had introduced himself as Fraden, corrected Brom as he poured tea for the four of us.

“Whatever.” Brom waved his free hand dismissively. His other hand was holding the ice-encased rock that Luella had spelled up against a nasty bump that he had gotten while chasing down Toasty. The dragon itself was perched back up on the roof, but its snout was nearly poking through the window as it watched us lounge around the small dining table its master had set up in the tower.

Brom continued with, “Your dragon has been terrorizing the nearby village. We were commissioned to slay it and rescue any of its victims that happened to still be alive here in the tower.”

“You’re mistaken,” Fraden said, settling down next to Simon. Simon raised an eyebrow at me from across the table, either at the man’s blunt and confident statement or at me smuggling the tea saucer under my coat.

I figured the fancy plate could earn us a few gold coins since it didn’t seem like we were going to be rewarded for rescuing anyone.

Fraden didn’t notice, as he kept a steady gaze on Brom. “Toasty has never gone near the village, and he certainly hasn’t taken any so-called victims.”

“We smelled burned corpses,” Luella said.

“Toasty likes his food cooked,” Fraden said, “but he doesn’t eat humans. Too sinewy and stringy with muscles.” I clamped my mouth shut, not wanting to ask how Fraden would know that particular detail. He added, “Toasty mainly hunts deer and bear from the forests. Once in a while he’ll head toward the sea to snatch a shark if he feels like seafood.”

“Pretty sure we can tell the difference between cooked bear meat and humans,” Brom said. “That, and the village people have seen maidens getting kidnapped by a large, flying reptile. What’s your answer for that?”

“Have you tried the wyvern caves to the north?” Fraden sipped at his tea, his smallest finger sticky out as he held up his cup.

“Were we tracking down the wrong creature?” Simon deadpanned.

Luella groaned and stood up, her chair scrapping against the floor. “Well, let’s go, then! There’s no telling how many people may be in trouble with these wyverns!”

“Wait.” I stopped her from moving and looked at Fraden. “Why are you here alone in a tower with a dragon?”

“I enjoy Toasty’s company more so than people’s,” he said with a slight shrug. “Besides, there’s not many who wish to get too close to me once they find out how large my guard dog is, you know?”

“Huh. Fair enough.” I got up, my curiosity satisfied for the time being.

“If you four are not frightened off by Toasty,” Fraden said as we straightened out our belongings, “then you are welcome to visit anytime. As long as, of course, you don’t try to steal any more of my belongings. Please return the saucer to the table.”

Simon snorted as I sighed and took out the small dish from my pocket, returning it as requested.

“We apologize for that,” Luella said, and I ignored her narrowed gaze while heading to the door. “Perhaps we will take up on your offer to visit again, Fraden. Thank you for the information and take care.”

“Sorry about, uh, attacking, I guess,” Brom added as we finally left. When we were further down the road, Brom turned to me. “You must be losing your touch if he noticed a little tea cup plate missing.”

I smirked and merely opened my pack while we walked to wordlessly reveal the tea kettle nestled among my other treasures.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Sing-Along”

Sing-Along

“Shall we start a sing-along?”

I turned and gave Simon a bemused look, seeing him grinning in turn at the rest of us as he all but bounced by Luella on the path. “I’m sure singing will ruin the element of surprise that we’re going for, won’t it?” I asked.

“Aw, c’mon, we’re trying to find a dragon,” Simon said. “Don’t dragons, ya know, have noses and stuff to smell us coming? It wouldn’t matter if it heard us.”

“I’d rather not get baked by a dragon’s flames while singing a tavern song, thanks,” Brom said dryly.

“Maybe we can sing the dragon to sleep,” Luella said with a small, teasing smile.

“Don’t encourage him,” Brom muttered.

“Aw, c’mon, singing’s fun—”

I interrupted Simon by saying, “I vote we keep quiet on the path. Not only do we not want to invoke the dragon before we’re ready, we don’t know how many people, friendly or otherwise, are around this area.”

“Yeah, keep your mouth shut so bandits don’t find us,” Brom translated for Simon.

Simon huffed but he listened and honestly didn’t say much at all for the remainder of the walk. The village was a mere dot on the horizon at the base of the hill below us when we first smelled the stench of smoke.

Luella sneezed. “That’s… not just a campfire.”

“It’s burned corpses,” Brom said grimly.

I took a deep breath to steel myself, immediately coughed due to the stench, then straightened up. “I think we found our dragon…”

“Why are we going after a dragon again?” Simon asked. “Is this for gold?”

“It’s stealing maidens from the village,” Luella said. “I think this is more important than gold!”

“Although gold would be nice,” Brom mused, “our main goal is to be nice people and try to slay the dragon—”

A screech echoed as overhead leathery wings beat through the air, carrying the reptile north. I stared at the creature’s underbelly, marveling at the glint of the gray scales from the midday sun.

Instead of slaying the creature, perhaps we could tame it…

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Dragon Heart Part Two”

Dragon Heart
Part Two

Kachina’s muscles ached from the not-so-lovely accommodations of the castle dungeon. She hadn’t slept much at all, worry for Cecil and Kachina’s own fate plaguing her mind. The only good thing about the dungeon was that Kachina had, for once in her life, gotten a full meal. Of course, she didn’t eat much of it at all, and the plate of leftovers was abandoned in the corner of the cell.

The sun had begun to rise, if the rays of light shining through the high, solitary, tiny window was any indication, when the cell door of Kachina’s prison cell swung open. A pack of guards, each with tall lances at their sides, were waiting for Kachina to get up. When she didn’t move immediately, one of the guards grasped her arm and forced her to her feet. Another tied her hands together behind her back, and Kachina considered how well matched she was against half a dozen guards. The sight of the sharp pikes atop of the guards’ lances changed Kachina’s mind, and she complied with the guards’ wishes.

She was marched out of the dungeon and throughout the castle surrounded by the guards, and Kachina wondered why she was under such scrutiny for a simple act of thievery. No one had been killed and she didn’t even clean the whole caravan out. A night in jail seemed to be a sufficient punishment, perhaps some unpaid slave work to work off the value of whatever she had stolen. This seemed to be a bit much.

Then again, she apparently had robbed from an important caravan. It wasn’t exactly her fault that she had mistaken them as refugees from one of the border villages. Why had some royalty pretend to be refugees in the first place?

Kachina was nearly frog-marched into the throne room where she was bodily forced to bow to the queen. She kept her head down, finding no other alternative than to obey at the moment, but she did try to wrestle her hands free from their bonds.

“Allow her to stand.”

Kachina stood up and came face-to-face with the queen. The queen’s face was stoic and serious, her short blond hair as straight as her back. Standing on either side of her throne were two men, one that shared her blond hair with mage robes draped over his shoulders and the other with darker hair. The latter was the swordsman from the caravan and the marketplace, and Kachina could not help but stare at him in puzzlement for being there.

“Young lady,” the queen said, capturing Kachina’s attention. “You had stolen something of great value from a caravan yesterday. Why?”

Kachina raised an eyebrow. “Forgive my bluntness,” she said, trying to keep the bitterness out of her voice, “but some of us need to steal to survive. Not all of us are born with servants and silver spoons in our mouths.”

“Watch your tongue, or I’ll cut it out for you,” the swordsman said, his tone casual yet firm enough that Kachina believed that he had done just that to someone before.

Still, she retorted, “Then you’ll never get answers from me, will you?”

“Peace, Jeharraz,” the queen said, placing a hand on his forearm when he stiffened. To Kachina, the queen added, “I am sorry you feel the need to resort to such depths in order to survive. However, there was a very specific treasure aboard that caravan. Where is it?”

“What treasure are you talking about?” Kachina asked. “From my place, the supplies I took were junk compared to what you royals must be used to.”

“There was a scale,” the mage said. His tone was calming, a soothing comparison to Jeharraz’s bold sounds. “It was a gray-blue hue, about the size of a fist…?”

“That thing?” Kachina asked. “If you want another, I can skin a fish for you.”

“No,” Jeharraz said, “we must have that specific scale. Where is it?”

Kachina tried to bite back her smirk. “What would you do if I said I sold it?”

“She does not realize what she has done,” the queen said, cutting off whatever scathing remark Jeharraz would have uttered. “You are not from Gronn, are you?”

“Do I sound like it?” Kachina asked back.

“People have been traitors to their countries before.” Jeharraz’s sword was out of its sheath. “Tell us where the scale had ended up. Quickly, now! We don’t have the time to waste dealing with you.”

“Apparently you must because I’m still here,” Kachina snapped.

“Please, miss,” the mage said. “That scale is an important instrument against Gronn. Surely you have noticed Gronn pressing against our borders? Refugees from those destroyed border villages trying to seek sanctuary in our capitol?”

“Maybe,” Kachina said, “but I’m more focused on staying alive. I don’t have much more than those whose villages have been destroyed.”

“We can aid you in that,” the queen said, “if you aid us in this.”

Kachina’s interest was piqued. “How do I know that’s not a lie? Most folk I deal with aren’t too honest.”

“You have my word as Perion’s Queen,” she said. “I will aid you, be it getting you a job or a home in the capitol or a monetary reward, if that is what you choose.”

Kachina mulled over the woman’s words, curious as to what kind of job the queen could get her. Not many were interested in the work of a thief, and those who were interested were generally worse in character than a thief. Still, if it could grant Kachina a semblance of a better life for herself and Cecil, then she supposed she could try to cooperate with the royals.

That, and she probably would just be sent back to the jail cell should she ultimately choose to decline sharing the information the royal family sought.

“Okay then,” Kachina said. “I would like at least a job once this is over and done with.” Both the queen and the mage next to her nodded, but Jeharraz stayed stoic. “The scale is safe at my little cottage out in the western woods. Besides myself, there is a young girl. We found each other a few years ago, and have been surviving together ever since.”

“I will deploy a unit to go searching the woods immediately–”

“You won’t find it.” Kachina interrupted Jeharraz, and she returned his narrowed gaze with her own. “You’ll need my help to navigate those woods. They’ve become unruly since the royal family stopped caring for it so many years ago.”

“You have cheek,” Jeharraz said, “to be able to insult the royal family like so.”

Kachina crossed her arms. “Just as the royal family insults its people for not caring for all walks of life.”

“How did you get free of your bonds?” the mage asked, cutting off anything Jeharraz might have said. The mage’s tone was full of curiosity more than alarm, and he waved away the guards that had jumped to secure Kachina’s hands once more.

“A trade secret,” Kachina said, and the mage merely raised an eyebrow.

“Very well,” the queen said, “then you shall lead us there. Jeharraz, Ellery,” Both men bowed to her, “you will escort this young lady–”

“Kachina. My name is Kachina.”

A ghost of a smile flickered on the queen’s face. “Jeharraz and Ellery, you will escort Kachina into the woods and retrieve the scale. Kachina, I will begin to inquire about possible job openings for you. I will require you to return here so I can get a better idea of your skills other than freeing yourself from ropes and robbing caravans.”

“Sure.” Kachina shrugged but then thought better of it and gave the queen a brief bow. “I will be bringing my friend with me.”

“Of course.” The queen waved them away. “Go now and return as swiftly as you can.”

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Dragon Heart”

Dragon Heart

The scale was a shiny, translucent blue hue and it wasn’t much bigger than Kachina’s hand. She marveled at it, twisting it around so the surface caught the sun’s rays to see rainbow dots glinting off of it and onto the walls.

“Can I keep it?” Cecil asked from beside Kachina. The blond girl’s fingers delicately brushed the scale.

“I suppose for now,” Kachina said. “Be very careful with it, though. We may have to sell it.”

“I hope not,” Cecil said, taking the scale into her own hand gingerly. “It’s so pretty.”

“It is,” Kachina agreed, “but it could have just come from a fish. If I discover that it’s worthless, then I’ll let you keep it.”

“This can’t be a fish scale,” Cecil said. “It’s too nice. Why would someone want to polish up a fish scale? Maybe it’s from a rare reptile or something. Oh, what if it’s from one of the dragonfolk?”

“Then pray that they don’t find us with it,” Kachina said. “I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a dragonfolk’s wrath.”

Cecil giggled at the thought and cradled the scale. “I’ll go put it away somewhere safe.”

“While you’re doing that,” Kachina said, “I’m going to get ready to go to the market. Some of this other stuff I swiped from those refugees should give us some decent coin.”

“I’ll start dinner while you’re gone,” Cecil said. “Can we keep the mutton?”

“Sure.” Kachina took the wrapped meat out of her bag for their supper before packing up the other supplies. Wool, cloth, and even a couple of mage tomes had been traveling with the caravan that Kachina had robbed. “I’ll see if I can buy some vegetables, too. Like carrots?”

“If you have to,” Cecil said.

Kachina nudged the smaller girl. “C’mon, I know they’re not the tastiest, but vegetables are healthy.”

“I like meat.”

Kachina rolled her eyes. “I know, but vegetables will help your body too.” Instead of further arguing with the girl, Kachina continued with, “Stay inside until I get back. If someone happens to find this place, run. Run as far and as fast as you can. You know these woodlands better than anyone else that can come in here.”

“And we’ll always find each other again,” Cecil said, a mischievous twinkle in her golden eyes, and gave the other girl a brief hug. “I know your speech, Kachina. Good luck at the market.”

Kachina bid Cecil good-bye and darted off, hoping that enough time had passed between her robbery and that moment that the refugee caravan was long gone. Thievery wasn’t the best way to live, but Kachina had to make due, not only for herself, but for Cecil. Kachina only stole what she believed the pair needed, especially when her victims weren’t the rich merchant or noble variety.

That was the price with impending war. Not many could take advantage of battles and bloodshed, destroyed villages and farms, but Kachina’s kind could.

Kachina walked along the marketplace, acting as if she belonged there with the other customers and merchants that could afford basic living necessities. She bartered and haggled with store owners, swapping out the bolts of cloth for a coat for Cecil with the coming cold months and the wool for a scarf and a pair of gloves for herself. She had just used some of the silver coins to buy a bag of mixed vegetables when her green eyes spotted a familiar face among the crowd.

There was the tall swordsman, dark-featured with short brown hair and lean muscles, that had been with the refugee caravan Kachina had robbed. She tiptoed away from the merchant that had been haggling with her, but she wasn’t quick enough. The swordsman turned her way and saw her.

“Thief!”

At the shout, Kachina dropped her packages and fell into a run. Commotion erupted behind her, signaling that she was being pursued. She twisted, following the tall, stone buildings into their alleyways until she encountered a low wall. With a running start, she ran up the wall, taking out a dagger to stick into the wall as an additional handhold to help her over the top. Once she landed on the other side, she was sure she was in the clear and planned the best way to return to the woods and Cecil. Glancing back, however, Kachina’s heart sunk as she watched the swordsman vault over the wall right after her.

“There is nowhere in this city that I don’t know,” he called after her. Kachina grimaced, accepting the challenge, and increased her speed. If she hadn’t been nervous about being caught by the city officials, Kachina would have enjoyed the game of cat-and-mouse, her lithe body darting in and out of alleyways and buildings.

Eventually, however, Kachina lost the game. She had come to a dead-end and, before she could double-back and escape, the swordsman was blocking her path.

His sword was drawn and he pointed the tip at her. “You’re under arrest.”

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Fantasy Cliches

12264dc87bbb32cd3458acd7cedfa324

You know the story of the princess who gets locked in a tower, and the knight needs to slay a dragon to rescue her?

What if the dragon was the princess’s friend? What if the dragon was the princess herself? What if it’s the dragon that the knight needs to rescue?

What about the story of the young hero who is prophesied to save the world?

What if the prophesy got lost? What if the hero’s old, wise mentor wasn’t so old or so wise at all? What if the prophesy picked the villain as the world’s savior?

What of the tales of the nature-loving elves or the brooding and stubborn dwarves?

What if the elves lived in deserts rather than forests? What if dwarves were an aquatic race rather than cave-dwellers? What if elves weren’t nimble and immortal, and dwarves weren’t short and strong? What if elves fought with poison instead of arrows and dwarves with spears instead of axes?

What if these fantasy tropes and cliches were turned on their heads?

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Home

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #76

prompt76

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Prompts

 

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