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Sunday Scribble – “Autumn”

Autumn

The fires were getting worse, a tell-tale sign that autumn was on its way. The dry leaves, twigs, and old trees provided perfect fodder for the wild dragons’ attempts at keeping their territories warm.

“Why they can’t just fly south for the cold season like birds, I’ll never know,” Brom grumbled. “They’ve wings, don’t they?”

“They’re more reptiles than birds,” Simon said, hefting a couple of buckets of water over to the trough. It was to keep a ready supply of water in case some of the crops did begin to burn. “With their territorial instincts, they’re more apt to warm up their surroundings than go elsewhere. I’m sure most have hoards to protect—”

“Spare us the biology lesson, please,” Luella said. She was resting on an overturned bucket, having used her energy on creating a raincloud to quench a brush fire that had gotten dangerously close to the local town’s wheat fields.

“I’d be able to spare it if Brom paid attention when I explained it last year and the previous year before that,” Simon said. He ducked away from the handful of sand Brom tossed his way. “Seriously, you complain every year.”

“Probably because I don’t like using my skills to shovel dirt around to prevent forest fires,” Brom said. “I’d rather be getting paid for bashing in the skulls of bandits.”

“Oh, c’mon.” I dumped out half a bag of sand on a pile of dead undergrowth, ensuring that it wouldn’t catch fire should the dragons make their way over to the crops. “There’s plenty of payment opportunity in helping villages with chores like these.”

Glancing up, I stared at the villages doing the same work as us in the distance, working hard to prevent their fields and homes for burning should a dragon arrive.

My gaze caught Luella’s narrowed one. “How many of these villages still have their coin purses?” she asked.

“Most of them, I suspect,” I said cheerfully, nudging around the pile of sand with my foot to even it out. “Honestly, I haven’t lifted a purse from a person today.”

“But if you found one unattended,” Brom said, “say, with other supplies lying about, then…”

“Finders-keepers,” Simon and I chanted in unison.

Luella’s baby-blues rolled. “You’re all horrible.”

“Says a lot about how used to us you are if that’s your only reaction,” Brom said.

Our mage gave him the driest look I’d ever seen her muster before turning to watch some of the other villagers. I kicked some more sand around, more than ready to quit for a snack, as my attention wandered to the inn rooms we had secured for the night.

“Are we done yet?” Apparently Simon had similar thoughts.

“Perhaps.” Luella stood up, stumbled momentarily until Brom caught her elbow, and added, “The headman is coming closer.”

I stood up straighter, my hands deftly double-checking that the “found” purses were well hidden in my pockets, and waited with my companions as the headman caught up to us.

“Thank you all for your help,” Elsworth said, giving us a small bow. Luella gave a brief one in return, Brom inclined his head in a nod, I didn’t even think to join in, and Simon’s gaze was fixed on the smiley face he was toeing in the sand.

“The preparations went so much smoother with such strong help.” Elsworth clapped a hand on Brom’s shoulder, and our warrior’s free hand twitched. It was a feat that Brom didn’t shake off the contact. Had it been a few years prior, I would have marveled at Brom not outright punching the headman.

“We’re always happy to help for the right price,” Simon chirped with a cheeky wink.

Elsworth chuckled. “Ah, that’s right, always know what your work is worth! Come on back to the square and I’ll get my assistant to give you your wages before you turn in for the night.” He turned away to head back before glancing over his shoulders at us. “By the way, if you happen to find a red-skinned coin purse, please let me know. I seemed to have misplaced it.”

As soon as Elsworth was a few paces away, Luella shot me a glare while Brom raised an eyebrow inquisitively.

“Finders-keepers,” I whispered to Simon’s muffled laughter.

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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble — “Toasty”

Toasty

“Alright, what’s the plan?” Simon asked. We were as dignified as we could be while hiding in the bushes that grew wildly along the path toward the dragon’s tower.

“We kill it,” Brom said. “Who needs a plan?”

“How are we just going to kill it?” I asked. “It’s a flying furnace!”

“Shhh.” Luella held a finger in front of her lips, but her eyes were trained on the dragon resting atop of the tower’s roof. “Perhaps someone can distract it, bring it down lower, then a couple of others can help slay it. The fourth can find a way into the tower and see if there is anyone in there who can be freed.”

“You mean if there’s anyone who is not a crispy corpse?” I asked dryly while holding back a sneeze.

Casually, Luella responded, “That’s right.”

“Well, you have the lock picks.” Simon nudged me. “I vote you do the tower climbing. Who wants to be the distraction?” The rest of us stared at him, and he rolled his eyes. “Seriously, why am I always the distraction?”

“You have the biggest mouth,” Brom said without missing a beat. “Lu and I will be your back-up. Get the dragon low enough so my axe can impale it and Lu’s spells can reach it.”

Simon grumbled even as he unhooked his harp from the back of his pack. “Think it likes folk music?”

“Since when can you play folk music on a harp?” Bard asked.

“Since always,” Simon retorted. “Your uncouth ears just can never tell the difference.”

“Be careful,” I said as Simon left our wayward hiding place. I didn’t take too much longer in leaving as well, taking a roundabout way to reach the base of the tower. Huddling in the shadows of the stone building, I carefully looked up, praying to whatever gods Luella calls on for her spells that the dragon wouldn’t notice me.

Judging by how quickly the reptile’s head spun around when I heard the first plinks of Simon’s harp, I wouldn’t have to worry. While Simon’s music wasn’t that bad, he was a much better distraction than a musician.

I paused long enough to allow the dragon’s wings to stretch out, catching the wind as it brought along snatches of Simon’s song. As soon as the dragon took off from the roof, I circled the tower to find the door by the base and got to work on the lock.

Three lock picks later, I was inside and face with a spiraling staircase. I took them two at a time until I started to get a stitch in my side, and any sense of urgency went out the very few windows I passed.

“This is punishment for not joining the others on Brom’s workout regimen at the last town, isn’t it?” I muttered to whatever god wished to listen.

There was a screech from outside the tower and the telltale sound of shattering ice. Luella must have used some sort of freezing spell, no doubt to counter any sort of fire that the dragon expelled. Brom’s explicit-filled voice shouted with battle cries and rage, accompanied by the occasional crash.

All while some cheery folk music was plucked from a harp.

“Finally.” I reached the landing at the top of the stairs only to face a heavy, black iron door. Jiggling the knob, I hoped that I had enough lock picks to break through the lock mechanisms.

“Who’s there?” asked a voice from inside.

“A rescue party,” I responded. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you out in a few minutes—”

“Rescue party?” The voice was utterly baffled. “I didn’t order a rescue party.”

“The village did,” I said, “and we always deliver. Sit tight, I’ll get the door open soon–!”

The door swung open from the inside and, after regaining my balance from almost pitching forward, I found myself staring at a skinny, dark-skinned man, his eyebrows furrowed as he scrutinized me.

I took a deep breath as realization dawned. “You don’t need rescuing.”

“I do not,” he said with a simple head shake. “If you excuse me, I need to see what is upsetting Toasty—”

“Toasty?!”

“Well, yes, one of the first things he burned was my bread when he was no bigger than us—”

“You have GOT to be kidding me!” I threw my hands up in the air. “The rest of my party was distracting the dragon so I could rescue whoever was stuck here in the tower.”

“I suggest you call them off,” the man said mildly, turning to the large window on the far side of the wall. “I would be very upset if they hurt Toasty, and I’m sure you would be upset if Toasty hurt them.”

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #91

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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in Prompts

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Shiver”

Shiver

Her breath came out as clouds, dissipating in the cold air while she shivered in her boots. Guard duty in the dead of winter was unnecessary, in her opinion. Who in their right mind would attempt to storm their northern fortress — armed with some of the country’s best archers and swordsmen — during a season ripe with blizzards?

She could just imagine her captain scolding her for thinking such thoughts.

“Our northern fortress is the strongest because we’re always prepared,” Aaron would say. “If our enemies think we’re slacking off at all, we’ll have already lost.”

The only thing I’ve lost, Gia thought, is the feeling in my toes.

She glanced over at the guard tower, hoping that it was nearly her turn for a break by the fire. Standing on the wall in the frigid air made Gia certain her nose would fall off due to frostbite, and the rest of her body would be too numb to notice.

Gia closed her eyes, imagining the warmth of the fireside. The crackles and pops of the flames snacking on logs and sticks, the heat rising to bring a healthy glow back to her cheeks…

She took a deep breath through the scarf tucked under her armor, actually being able to smell the smoke.

Gia’s eyes popped open, knowing her imagination wasn’t that powerful. Shadows pooled around her, darker than anything the blizzard clouds could cast. She looked up and shouted the alarm.

The dragons were here.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2016 in Scribbles

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #33

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Posted by on March 5, 2016 in Prompts

 

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