Posts Tagged ‘Character’

The Return of Bombaata Sulako

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

He climbed out of the pit unrecognizable, mud caking his features and dripping from his clothes. His eyes, however, burned with green sparkles that almost burned the leaves from the great tree spread out in dangerous majesty above his crouched form. The flying halflings that harassed him on his way to his very-near death cowered in their cosy little aerial hobbit-holes and trembled. Nobody had spent that much time in the bowels of the Tree and came out sane; the Tree had been there much longer than Waterdeep and the surrounding counties. It had been rumoured to exist in many civilizations; even Halister had only used it to dispose of unfortunate creatures who played with too many knobs in his accursed macho trap dungeon Undermountain, which drew many weak and pitiful adventurers full of themselves and their future glory.
Looking around, he wiped sweat from his brow, leaving a grey-brown streak of mud on his arm. His limbs trembled from the exertion of successfully climbing the 100 foot shaft with a broken arm and several broken ribs. He drew a stiletto for its comforting presence in his hand and cautiously left the Tree. The Tree, awed, let him go.

* * * * *

“You need proper attire to enter this establishment, sir.” The burly doorman tried to say politely to the bedraggled person.
“Durnin is expecting me,” he said sarcastically.
“I don’t think so, punk.”
It was over in a flash of twin stilettos and two geysers of blood that fountained from the doorman’s neck. The mud covered man dragged the doorkeeper into a nearby alley, glaring at the few casual passers-by who dared to glance at him.
A few moments later, with a newer blouse and vest and the majority of the dirt wiped from his features, he threw open the door of the tavern and walked in.
A gasp of astonishment silenced the majority of the establishment’s patrons. The dagger-wielder walked to the bartop and asked for Durnin. While waiting he glowered at a group of half-orc barbarians who stared right back at him.
“I need an advance, Durnin,” spoke the stranger. Durnin looked at him questioningly for a moment and then walked down towards his cashbox. He returned with a small leather bag that clinked pleasently.
“500 is all I’ll give you, you bloody mutant.” snarled Durnin, “Now get out of my place before I throw you out myself!” They stared at each other for a long moment, then the muddy-booted one turned and strode towards the door. Durnin spat after him.
“Don’t come back, Bombatta Sulako.”

* * * * *

The half-orcs were waiting for him as he left.
“We’re going to ask nicely for your new purse, moron,” said the smallest of the five, stepping forwards and holding out one hand. The other was on a wicked scimitar loosely sheathed in his belt.
“And if I give it to you, I live,” said Bombatta tiredly, “Yes, yes I know. I’m part pig myself; I understand, I’ve even done it before. But you have no class, no style, no flair. No redeeming quality. Understand?” The half-orc shook his head and glanced at his comrades, who stood there waiting for a signal of some sort. Bombatta buried three thrown daggers into the chest of the first before he had a chance to turn back around to face him. The others gaped at their bleeding comrade, who had fallen on his rump and uttered a small sound of surprise before littering the street with his corpse. Bombatta walked forwards and gestured at the dead half-orc.
“Similar fates await you,” he said simply. They tried to run. He didn’t let them get too far. Bombatta paid a small child a platinum piece to remove their bodies from the middle of the street.

* * * * *

The ship’s sails were tattered and ripped as it worked its way slowly into the harbor of Nazbo on the eastern coast of Orcland. It was listing heavily to starboard and seemed to have a skeletal crew. Several of the lifeboats were missing. Bombatta was thrown into the bay a half mile out and forced at musketpoint to swim the remainder of the way to his homeland.
As he climed up the piling of the pier, a pair of goblins threw their makeshift fishingpoles into the water and ran as fast as they could into the town. A group of citizens had gathered in the town square as a wet and angry Bombatta Sulako strode towards them with a stiletto in each hand and shouted at the top of his lungs.
“I have returned! You cannot kill me!”

The Humongous and the Frogs

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

He crouched below the newly refurbished drawbridge and carefully stroked a frog’s head between the eyes. The frog couldn’t smile, but if he could, he would be. Every day, the Humongous visited the clan of frogs outside the Moathouse, a moderately famous inn, tavern and brewery rolled into one renovated keep a little bit north of the small town of Opar. The Humongous was not the brightest person in the land, but he was fiercely loyal, and had recently become much more responsible and good-hearted after he had helped thwart the nefarious plans of several terrible entities from other planes of existence. He had always been strong in body, and for many years would take care of problems by smashing them into flinders or by picking them up and throwing them far away. But lately, his friends, especially the great magician Borkum, had noticed that the Humongous was much more thoughtful than he used to be, and had odd habits, like shaping his fists into mace heads or turning into a bull and running around in the fields. The Humongous had discovered the power of positive thinking in his mind, and was becoming more in tune every day. It wasn’t like Borkum’s spells, or the priestess Lillith’s belief and faith. Instead it just required a lot of concentration and an idea of what your body can do. The Humongous was just that: humongous, and there was nothing he couldn’t do if he put his mind to it. Plus he drank a lot of milk.

Today, though, the Humongous was sitting under the drawbridge minding his own business when someone called him a troll as a rider stopped on the drawbridge. The frogs sat in the mud as he stood up and peeked over the edge of the oaken span that laid over the moat to see who had called him a troll. A man in fine livery sat upon a great white stallion. He had a sword and shield buckled to his saddle and had about him an air of great importance that could easily be mistaken for arrogance. A train of some fifteen men-at-arms and retainers followed him closely.

“You there. Go tell the leafeater that his oldest brother has arrived,” demanded the knight. The Humongous immediately realized that it was Renault, his elf friend Robin’s sibling. He hauled himself up and tracked mud into the courtyard.

“Robin!” announced the Humongous in a loud voice, “Your brother is here to see you!”

His bellowing rang through the keep; several people came out to help with the visitors and to see what the racket was about. The Humongous slipped back into the moat in the confusion that followed, ignoring the heated argument that ensued between Robin and Renault as soon as they exchanged pleasantries.

The frogs had waited for him. He couldn’t talk to them like he could talk to another person, but sometimes, if he concentrated really hard, he could share thoughts with the little green amphibians. He went back to stroking one behind its eyes.

After enduring a couple of minutes of noise and dust in the shade under the drawbridge, the Humongous picked up five or six of the smallest frogs and started to walk around the keep in the moat. The rest of the frogs followed him, hopping and croaking. The cacophony faded as they went around the base of Borkum’s tower, and they came upon a dead frog in the silence. Another frog leaped over to the corpse, which was laying upside down and had been savaged open by some terrible teeth. The frog looked at the Humongous.

Carefully putting the other frogs down, he carefully picked up the frog and looked at it sadly. For a moment, he looked as if he had lost his best friend; then, he closed his eyes under his velvet mask and concentrated on sending blood to his senses. He felt them immediately warm to the presence of more blood, and he gingerly smelled the frog’s body. Odors assailed his heightened sense of smell, but there was no mistaking the musky odor of a predator. Something had expanded its hunting grounds too close to the Moathouse, and had unfortunately killed one of the Humongous’ friends.

“Stay here little green buddies,” warned the Humongous. The frogs blinked their eyes at him. He climbed out of the moat, and with a look around, set off into the swampy woods on the trail of the Beast.

It was getting darker in the already dark mucky forest, but the Humongous was still searching for the Beast. He had followed it to the outskirts of Opar and then lost the trail when the forest petered out into the rolling hills of grazing land used by the farmers’ livestock. He couldn’t see very well anymore under the overhanging broad-leafed limbs, so he decided to go into Opar for a tall cold mug of milk before starting back along the road to the Moathouse.

Sitting in the small tavern, he thought about the Beast. Whatever it was, it wasn’t too big, about the size of a medium dog. The Humongous had at first thought it was a hunting dog that he would have to chastise, but the Beast didn’t act like a dog at all. The trail went straight through the forest with no stopping for exploration or marking trees at all, which was unlike a dog. Even the Humongous marked a tree on the way to Opar.

A yelp of pain and surprise came from across the room. The Humongous turned to see a dirty little kid with his hands over his eyes with a magical glowing copper piece on the table in front of him. The piece looked well worn and vaguely familiar; he felt his belt pouch and sure enough, the coin that Borkum had given him was gone and the pouch had a neat little slit in the bottom of it. The Humongous hunched off of the barstool and went and got his copper piece. He patted the kid on the head as he fetched his coin.

“You know you should ask before taking something that isn’t yours,” said the Humongous. The kid snarled at him and tried to bite his arm, but the Humongous gently pushed him away. “Now that isn’t very nice.”

“My father will get you!” he shouted. Punching the Humongous in the eye he slipped under the table and dashed out of the door.

“Damn gypsies came in last week from down south,” volunteered the bartender, a fat old man with a cleft chin, “They’re nothing but trouble. Always cavorting around big bonfires and then disappearing into the woods a little north of here.”

The Humongous gladly took the wet towel from the bartender and pressed it to his eye. It didn’t really hurt, but he didn’t want it to swell up any because then he would have to explain how he had gotten it, and then Robin would laugh at him.

“Where are they staying? It’s dark and there is a Beast about,” he asked the bartender, “I should make sure that nice little boy gets home safely.”

“Why, they’re up beyond the big boulder at the north west edge of town.”

As the Humongous left town, night fell, and it was quite dark by the time he had passed the big boulder. It actually was put there on the outskirts of Opar by the Humongous himself. It was a grave marker for a dead friend of his whose name he never learned, but who was really good with cattle. He paused to pick up a big rock which was next to the boulder, and picked out a blue candle stub. Putting the rock back, he lit the candle and placed it on top of the rock. After a moment of silence and reflection, he started up the hill towards a flickering fire he saw illuminating the trees a few hundred yards away.

Coming to the top of the rise, the Humongous stopped and dropped to all fours. Crawling to the edge of the little bowl, he peered down into a semicircle of three wagons. Around fifteen men, women and children were playing tambourines and flutes and dancing around a fire. They were having a lot of fun, as gypsies do, and the Humongous almost wanted to join them. He was good at dancing and singing himself, but then he thought better of it. He was not so charismatic as Robin, who would know what to do, and sometimes he scared people. He remembered that he had scared Renault earlier today, because he had mistaken him for a troll. The Humongous watched for a moment longer, then he crawled away back down the hill.

Walking down the road back to the Moathouse, he promised himself he would get up early and follow the trail again. The Humongous looked around to make sure he wouldn’t frighten anyone, and changed into a bull. He had always like cows, and one day, after studying hard, he found he could become a lot more like a bull than he had thought: his hands and feet became hooves and short brown and white hair grew out of his skin. His neck thickened just a little bit, and two horns sprung out of the sides of his head. All in all, you could still tell it was the Humongous, because it was an extremely ugly bull, but it served his purpose, and he ran off down the rutted road into the forest.

A while later, he thought he heard some rustling in the bushes, so he stopped to see what it was.

“Maybe the Beast is around again tonight,” he thought. Slowly, several animals slunk out of the underbrush all around him. There were five or six foxes with nice red fur and white stripes on their tails, a pair of big grey wolves, and three spotted skunks. They surrounded the bull that was the Humongous and began nipping at his flanks when he wasn’t looking. After a couple of solid bites, he began to get upset. And what was worse, his natural talent for being empathetic with animals wasn’t working right now.
Blood ran down his back leg where a wolf had bitten him. The Humongous had had enough, and when one of the skunks cockily came too close, he lunged forwards and pinned it to the ground on his horns.

The rest of the animals stopped and looked horrified. The skunk squealed and twisted on the horns, gnawing at the Humongous when he could reach him. The Humongous shook his head violently and flung the body down the road. As it flew through the air, it unbelievably transformed into the body of a naked person. The bull was so surprised, he changed back into the Humongous. He looked around at the animals, who stared back at him.

All at once, the foxes started darting in and out of his legs, making it hard for him to keep his footing and the wolves leapt at his chest. He took a deep breath and concentrated on the space right where he was; he had found that he could stay in the same place if he wanted to by thinking really hard about being immobile. The wolves were expecting to knock him down, but they slammed into the Humongous as if he were a wall.

The Humongous grabbed a fox by its tail and received a vicious bite for his troubles. The next fox just got punched. Ribs broke in its small body and it crawled away to the side of the road by the skunks. Another fox was kicked into the treetops. One of the wolves was sneaking up on him on his left; he could hear him growling softly with his heightened senses. The muscles on the Humongous’ chest bulged with adrenaline. The wolf in front of him leaped at him and took a bite out of his chest. The Humongous shot his arm out three times its normal length, by concentrating on his flesh and bones, and stuffed the wolf head first into a hollow tree trunk. The remaining foxes were gnawing on his legs, and he leaned down and punched each one twice on the top of their heads, knocking them unconscious. The skunks looked at him warily with their beady eyes, and the last wolf snarled at him.
“You scoundrel! Picking on my child,” said the wolf, “I will chew you into hamburger!”

The Humongous stopped at looked at the wolf. He’d never seen a talking wolf. It circled him once and jumped at his throat. The Humongous gathered all of the strength he could find and caught the wolf in midair. Then he squeezed and squeezed until he heard bones cracking. The wolf meanwhile had kept his word and had chewed on the Humongous’ arm before passing out and changing into the form of a bearded man; one of the gypsies he had seen dancing around the fire earlier in the night. He set the body on the ground. The man still breathed, though raggedly, and had blood leaking out of his mouth.

“I didn’t pick on anyone. I’m the one who gets picked on,” said the Humongous to the animals. Then he laid his hands on the gypsy and straightened his chest out. The wounds closed up and looked a little better, while the same wounds appeared on the Humongous, only much milder. The man groaned and writhed a little. The Humongous stood up from beside the gypsy and walked past the animals down the road. He stopped to look at the form of the kid who had pickpocketed him earlier and tried to borrow his magic coin. Come to think about it, he did look a little like a skunk. Even his dark hair was sort of spotted. The animals melted into the woods, dragging the ones who couldn’t move, and the Humongous walked back to the Moathouse.

When he got there, he climbed under the drawbridge and made a croaking sound that the frogs had taught him. Within a few minutes, a hundred or so frogs had gathered, heard his story, and made the Humongous a little medal of swamp grass and rocks, which he still wears to this day.

K’t’inga Komo Val ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

**note: this was written by Jason DeRoche

Khan K’t’inga Komo Val – Savior of Klin ‘Zhai

Little need be said about the deeds and character of such a fabled warrior. He holds his honor, and that of his friends, to be more valuble that anything else, including his own life. He will aid those in need, unless they have brought dishonor upon themselves or their family. Bandits, pirates, and all those who bring chaos to civilized lands are the most evil and his hated enemies. Mercy for such is not in K’t’inga’s nature. Unlawful influences must be purged from society to allow it to flourish. These are the teachings of Marduk, god of storms, lightning, and the city of Klin ‘Zhai, and cities in general.

Honor is not merely words spoken to satisfy ritual, or to be polite. It is something that every man must feel in his bones. K’t’inga is distraught that his people have fallen into decadence. Wealth and finacial success are the badges of honor his people recognize now. Honor can be gained in any profession, if one puts his best effort into reaching the pinnacle of that trade, but his people have forgotten the honor to be gained as warriors. Klin ‘Zhai was all but defenseless against the Camarones and the evil priests and followers of Pyrae and Iuz. Perhaps now that he has been made General of the army of Klin ‘Zhai, he can lead by example, molding his soldiers into true warriors.

His past has some mystery, but not about one thing. He is half-orc, and as such is considered by most in human, elf, and dwarf societies to be the scum of the earth. Untrustworthy, uncivilized, and a foul reminder of what was done to some poor woman. This is the legacy he was brought up with. The Komo Val home, an estate a day’s ride from Klin ‘Zhai, was raided by an unusually large band of desert orcs. The harsh conditions in the Sakaran desert usually prohibit such large war bands, so the Komo Val estate was unprepared for an attack in such numbers. Sheik Z’gavsta Komo Val was riding back to his home when he saw the attack in progress. His House was of the old ways, though it had declined in influence, and he and his honor guard immediately rushed to repulse the attack. Fortunately, they arrived before the orcs had secured the estate and begun their usual slaughter. Only the few guards and a few servants who resisted were killed, though two of the Sheik’s wives were violated. [No! I won’t walk you down to your car!] One of his younger wives, K’neska, soon showed the signs of a child within. The Sheik could not be certain whether it was his or the beast that violated his home who was the father, so he waited anxiously for the birth. In many lands a half-orc child is killed when born, and it would not occasion much comment if Z’gavsta had disposed of the child when the bony ridges on its forhead were evident. But the little beast seemed more human than orc, and the Sheik had a plan for it, so he allowed it to live. As a symbol of the dishonor he brought to his House, the Sheik named him K’t’inga, Bringer of Destruction.

Fourteen years later, K’t’inga worked under the hot sun in the tanning yard. His muscles still ached from turning the wheel that ground the grain that the hundred or so residents of the estate used each day. Though only forteen years old, he was already as large and strong as a young man. Orcs have short lifespans, and, in this, his heratige showed through. He did not look up or stop working as the Sheik approached with his master of arms. He was never to look directly at the Sheik, speak to him, or do anything that would cause the Sheik to notice his existence. The two men stopped a dozen paces short of where K’t’inga was working. Z’gavsta turned to his companion, a man a little taller than average, with thick arms and more than one scar on his face.

“Prepare him for what he must do. Teach him,” he said curtly.

“He is to learn the Bat’leh?” the master of arms asked with some surprise.

“No!” Z’gavsta turned to his man with more than a little anger. “That is the weapon of a true warrior! A warrior with honor! He only needs to kill. Give him a weapon that will be efficient at this task and teach him to kill with it.” With that last comment, the Sheik stalked off toward the house, not looking back, while the master of arms studied K’t’inga thoughtfully.

So it came to pass that K’t’inga was taught how to use a weapon that was good for killing. A steel breastplate was little protection against it, and it required little skill to use. The master of arms thought it appropriate for K’t’inga as he was regarded as being slow-witted. The half-orc surprised his teacher by learning quickly and soon began to excel in the use of this weapon, nearly outstripping the master of arms himself.

An old steel breastplate stood in front of a bale of hay left over from the summer floods. K’t’inga stood at attention in front of the master of arms with a heavy crossbow in a sheath on his back and a short sword on his hip. He did not see the Sheik watching quietly from behind him.

“Loose!” old warrior shouted, and K’t’inga moved with quickness that belied his size and that of the crossbow as he reached over his back and drew it out. He had it on his shoulder and was firing before he seemed to take aim, but at twenty paces, the bolt punched a hole in the center of the steel chest.

“Reload!” The command sprung K’t’inga into action again as he pulled back the lever that drew the massive bow and fixed another bolt in place. He then stood ready, awaiting the next command with neither anticipation or complacency on his face.

“Loose!” Again the command came, and K’t’inga fired after taking a hare’s breath longer than before to aim at the second target, a full hundred and fifty paces away. The bolt did not hit directly in the center as the first one did, but it still would have been a lethal blow to anyone who did not have a healer standing next to him when the bolt slammed home.

“He is ready then?” Sheik Z’gavsta said as he strode toward the student and teacher.

The master of arms nodded while watching his student. “More than ready. He learns very quickly.”

“Good. It is done then.” The Sheik turned to face K’t’inga, acknowledging his presence for the first time in K’t’inga’s memory. He tried to look away, as he should, but Z’gavsta placed himself directly in front of the half-orc. Now seventeen, K’t’inga stood a little over six feet tall, and had chest and arms larger than many blacksmiths, but he still seemed intimidated by the man whom he owed his life to, as he saw things.

“You have been the symbol of my House’s dishonor, K’t’inga. A living reminder of my failure to protect my family and my people. A failure compounded by my inability to track down the beast that defiled my wife and put an end to him. He must have traveled beyond our lands to have avoided my scouts these past years, and he must be a formidable fighter to have killed the ones that hounded him after his vile acts. An unusual orc it seems. This should mark him out.” The Sheik seemed to look within himself, and then at the targets. “You will be the instrument of my House’s redemption, K’t’inga. You will track down the orc with six fingers, and you will kill him.” He then turned as if to leave, but hesitated. When he turned back to K’t’inga, he looked at him without his previous disdain. “You have done well. All these years, doing as you have been told with never a complaint or sign of discontent. And you have learned well what you have been taught it seems. You need not return with proof you have killed this orc. Either he will be dead, or you will. Either will lessen the stain upon my House. When your task is done, the shame of your existence shall be lifted. You will be free to make your way in the world as you can, gain what honor you can.” And with that last comment, Sheik Z’gavsta Komo Val walked away.

So it was that K’t’inga was given supplies and enough coin to begin his journey, his hunt. In time, he would find the trail of his prey, the father he never knew, and put an end to his shame and that of House Komo Val. Even so, he was left with no direction, no family, and no purpose in his life. He continued on, but did not know where to go next or how he would make a living in a world that still looked at him with hatred and disgust. It was with this uncertainty that he came upon the small village of Opar. But that is another story . . .

Qapla’! (Success!)

Sean Murdoch ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

Sean Murdoch was born a true Scotsman, one of three sons of a soldier, who was the son of a soldier, whose father was a soldier before him. The first child of Gordon and Diane Murdoch, Sean was a strapping youth who always ate his brussel sprouts. At six, he received his first weapon: a leather sling, which he proceeded to make use of, thumping the neighborhood dogs mercilessly until his accuracy was legendary in the small hamlet Briarstrough, North of Edinburgh, where he grew up.

At eight years of age, he was bringing quivers of arrows to his Uncle James Doohan when he was trampled in the Hobgoblin Wars of lower Loch Ness, Yulestide, 1243. Sean inherited the weapons of his Uncle, who bequeathed them to him as he was being blessed on his deathbed by the Priest; Sean was found halfway home under the incredible burden of a suit of plate mail, a footman’s mace and, of course, his uncle’s shortbow and quiver. A neighbor, Gregory Mac Cain, saw the determination of the youth and assisted him home to his proud father and mother.

At 10, Sean was proficient in his Uncle’s shortbow, and the neighborhood dogs had much more to fear than a sound beating from the eldest of the Murdoch boys. His two younger brothers, Michael and Kyle, were also following in their father’s footsteps. In the schoolhouse of Briarstrough, the boys learned their lessons well, including Greek, Latin and a smattering of the Humanoid tongues, reading, writing, arithmetic and history, of which there wasn’t much of but wars. On the playgrounds, they learned the use of their feet and their fists. Sean would brook no blemish on the family name, and would fight like a wild Pict, even if he lost the battle. The honor of showing up seemed to be more important than who won.

Sean adored his two younger brothers, so he routinely beat the crap out of them in good Scottish humor. It was his twelfth birthday when they lured him out to the barn and ganged up on him, finally besting him by combining their youthful energy, Sean so admired their simple but effective use of strategy, he began to study it on his own, sitting in on the Councils behind his father and listening attentively to the strong Gaelic accents thrusting and parrying over the olde oaken table. His twelfth year was filled with experiences, including miserable bagpipe lessons, what his father rued as “ye only weapon me boy canna wield”. It was this same twelfth year that saw his first service to his Country, in the Grugashelm Troll Hunting of 1247. Wearing a suit of studded leather loaned to him by his Irish Uncle Stephan MacDaddy, and carrying his prized 12th birthday present, a real shortsword, he was part of the volunteer group of soldiers that his father presented to William Bruce, Lord of the Scots, to assist the tracking and destruction of the band of marauding Trolls.

Sean was fourteen when his father came home on a pallet, and died three days later in his wife’s arms, after the terrible Sahuagin Uprising of 1249. Sean was a lieutenant in the service and had been instrumental in leading several groups of Highlanders against a contingent of Hobgoblin clans that swore that they were the true Scots of the island. Sean burned the kilt right off of the leader, and that night started his journey home upon receiving the news that his father was gravely wounded. Arriving the evening of the third day, he was in time to lay his father to rest. Gordon’s last words to Sean were ones he would always remember: he said to take care of his mother and his brothers, look after the livestock, always keep his sword sharp and handy, to make him proud, and that

“If it was noot Scottish, it’s crrap!”

Sean was finally face-to-face with a problem that his schooling nor his soldiering could solve; he left the homestead, vowing not to return until he had found an answer. After three weeks of wandering loch and lee, he found it in a Dwarf named Angus MacFlugin. MacFlugin was passing him as he was sitting by the wayside of the road, and handed him a Bible.

“I goot it from ye Gideons inna last Inn I passed through, laddie,” said MacFlugin, “And iffa carry it mooch langer, I’m gonna be damned by me bonny wife — she’s an atheist an’ has eyes inna back o’ her head!”

Reading the Bible brought some comfort to Sean, and he found wisdom in the Word of the Lord. Returning to his father’s grave, he found his father’s restless spirit. “Ye are special, Sean, the first o’ me boys,” spoke his father’s Ghost, “I give ye the years that I was supoosed to have lived so that ye make a real impression upon Scotland in the name o’ tha Murdochs!”

Sean returned home and assumed the position of the head of his household, leaving his days as a soldier behind. But the family was not the same. Diane died of heartbreak in less than a year, and was laid to rest next to her belovéd husband in the Scottish peat. Sean performed the ceremony himself, and the village Priest was heard to remark that “The lad said it better than I coulda meself”. The Murdoch boys had choices to make, and all went their separate ways, Kyle went to Edinburgh as the lead bagpiper in the Hall of the MacDonalds, and Michael to Ireland, where he stayed with Uncle MacDaddy, studying to be a poet. Sean, seeing that his remaining family had their work to do, turned to his, and became a professional soldier.

Angus MacFlugin hired him as an archer and scout for his Dwarven Dragoons as soon as he saw the lad in the Fourth Light Pike Brigade in 1251. From there, he learned his trade, serving in virtually every soldiering capacity available to a Scotsman, both on and off of a horse. Cormac Mac Cain, son of Gregory Mac Cain, the neighbor who brought him home, had come to some power of his own, and gave him his own Legion to command, with which Sean virtually rid Scotland of Humanoid and Englishman alike by the use of the strength of his arms, and by the strategies he had learned around the Council table from his father. He was a born leader, having an uncanny inspirational charisma due to his determination and his faith in God. Some soldiers even claimed that evil couldn’t touch him, that he could smell wrongdoing from sixty paces, and that he healed with his hands. Sean gave no heed to these stories, saying only that “Imagination is not a crime in Scotland.”

The bagpipe was still the only weapon he couldn’t use well, though he preferred the footman’s military pick over almost any other. And the bagpipe would always slip under his guard whenever he would hear its lonely strains over the moors, and bring a thought of his mother and father to mind and a solitary tear to his eye.

For nigh forty years he fought in every major battle and skirmish on the Isle of Scotland (never mind what those foppish English sassenachs said). Refusing decoration and promotion alike, Sean swore never to rank higher than his father ever did, and he became renowned as a leader and a fighter. After Sean disobeyed his superiors and committed his Legion to the support of William Wallace on the field in defiance of the English, and their subsequent trouncing at the Battle of Glenfiddich, William Bruce finally forced the title of Myrmidon on him, and knighted him a Defender of Scotland, the highest honor a soldier can achieve. Sean still refused to wear the appropriate trappings, and said “titles are for Englishmen; to me, they’re crrap”.

The plate mail he wears to this day is the armor his uncle Angus bequeathed him, permanently tinted green with the countless swamps and forests he has tramped through. His hand-and-a-half sword is his father’s, the Murdoch broadsword of olde. He, too, is olde, but still carries his armor well, including the shortbow and the footman’s mace, and, upon special occasion, he will carry his lucern hammer, the pole arm given to him as a symbol of his Knighthood. Sean has grown fond of fishing, reading his Bible, and smoking a good bowl of Halfling cavendish. He travels quite a bit now, though always homesick for the fog and brussel sprouts of Scotland, and has had many an adventure after his Knighting with the likes of Angus MacFlugin the Dwarf, Cormac Mac Cain the Ranger, and Joffrey Marcus the Blacksmith.

Paulo Hasselhoff Profile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

I was born about 115 years ago to Isiah and Miriel Greymantle, rich and sometimes underhanded Elven merchants from Chardonnay. The fifth son out of seven children, I was mostly ignored, or thought of as an inconvenience until I turned 100 — my “coming of age”, as it is stipulated in some cultures. Then I was to assume ownership and the position of manager of one of Father’s companies.

During my youth, I was fortunate to win the friendship of one of the groundskeepers; he was Cormac Mac Cain, a Scout of no little accomplishment, and it was he who first taught me of the worlds of adventure that lie around the slightest bend in the road and glimmer softly in the light on the edge of the horizon. Due to his influence, I have come to this point in my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was with him that I was caught carousing in the Queasy Centipede pub along the mighty docks of Chardonnay.

Due to my perceived “slumming”, I was confined to the estate grounds (yes I came from the nobility) and sentenced to reading every book in my father’s extensive library. He, however, agreed to release me from my confinement as soon as I read every book, a possibility he obviously thought to be a task that would take nearly forever. 2600+ volumes and five years later, I was tested by every person in the house on the contents of the library. Each person had to ask me one question; I answered every one correctly, such was my quiet rage against my father and my prison.

The last question, unexpectedly, came from Cormac. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life, now that I was free of the house imprisonment. I smiled, knowing as well as he that most nights I had made a habit of slipping off of the grounds and returning to the Queasy Centipede or some other haven for adventurers and magicians, having my own quasi-adventures in the early morning town streets and dashing from shadow to shadow to escape the guards of my father’s land. Confidence and triumph passionately rushed to my lips, and I stated to my father and his household that I would sooner hang myself than manage my father’s company and would prefer a life of piracy and romance.

No sooner had my confinement ended than my father in one of his infamous bad moods sentenced me to my choice of a monastery or piano lessons. A difficult choice, but piano lessons it was; then there was the Stradivarius lessons and the fife lessons, the tympani and the harp, the lute and the harmonica, the accordian, saxophone and electrified bass guitar. For 27 years, the Greymantle house was filled with the sound of musical instruments — the same drive that caused me to read all of those books now turned me to music.

Once again, each person in the house was asked to request a tune from me, and I was charged to demonstrate each instrument at least once. Again, Cormac Mac Cain was the last request after a harrowing jam session; he requested me “…to plae that bonny sweet fiddle with the lyric you sang to me yestereve”.

The night before, I had sang him a song that I had written myself about a young Elf who runs off after his request to become a Knight of the Realm had been denied by his tyrannical father. Remembering my other show of bravado at the end of my Test, I glared angrily at Cormac, who had become my fast friend, and stated that I would not, due to the present company.

“Well then,” spoke my father, “Clear the room except for Paolo, Cormac and I.”

I played the song, and my shrewd father condemned me to another Herculean task: I was to take over his company now, before my coming of age on my 100th birthday, and to make sure it was successful. I bitterly asked if I could leave the house now, in order that I run his business more effectively. My sarcasm was met with disapproval, and I was grounded again until the full moon, a fortnight hence.

I spent my time rereading my favorite lyrical poetry and treatises, along with a few horrifyingly unsettling books I had just found on an almost forgotten shelf behind the fireplace: the blasphemous Necronomicon of the Mad Arab Abdul Al-hazred and “The Call of Cthulhu” by the Archmage Lovecraft. Perhaps these last few works unhinged me a bit, or possibly “great wits are to madness near allied / and thin partitions do their bounds divide” as an Elder Elf, Alexander Pope, once stated; yet as I was introduced to the company as the president under my father, a plan arose in my mind.

Fifteen minutes after my father had left in his splendiferous eight horse carriage, I was a free Elf, having sold the company to the highest bidder in the meeting space. I had 23,000 gold pieces worth of jewels in my rucksack, and boarded passage on the first ship I came to away from my father and my beloved home, Chardonnay.

On board the ship, I found myself comfortable with sea travel, and made myself useful to the Captain, a kind hearted Black man by the name of Mr. Placebo. He must have found me a hard and willing worker, for I was asked by him personally to remain abord the ship. I did so, and for several years, I travelled the seas from stem to stern with him aboard the good ship Brigit.

It was here that I learned the use of a good solid sabre and a well-aimed quarrel. Finally, after a scuffle with a shipload of seafaring Trolls, the captain and I were adrift in the wreck of the ship and I decided to strike out for land. We said our farewells and I ended up in the southerly port of Gronk in the realm of Orkland (no, not Oakland). Travelling north after a less-than-welcome reception, being an Elf in Orkland, I walked into a tavern in the hamlet of Gnatspit, and the kind owner, Mr. Rumble, a most learned and considerate half-Ogre, had lost his entertainment for the night. He had been killed in an earlier bar brawl by a carelessly thrown battleaxe from Stonehold Ironfist the Rabid Chaos Dwarf. I volunteered to take his place, and ended up entertaining for several years at Rumble’s Tavern.

Rumble has, after hearing many a telling of my tale in song and in conversation, suggested that I follow my original dreams of becoming an adventurer. He also has charged me with bringing back enough entertaining stories to regale his bar patrons. During my employment at Rumble’s Tavern, I had the delightful opportunity to associate myself with one unique Frogg, who has invited me to this new Land, promising adventure, exploration and intrigue…and maybe a few pretty ladies!

Joffrey Marcus ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

Joffrey’s mother died in bearing him into the humble house that his father had erected next to his place of work: his forge. Holding his only son in one rough arm as he brushed tears from his eyes with the other, Emmanuel Marcus bid his one true love, Miriel, goodbye and strode back to his smithy. Joffrey was raised by his father in the heat of the forge and to the sound of a hammer meeting steel.

He was a big child, one that was remarkably so. Emmanuel himself stood a little over six feet tall, but even he was unprepared for the growth of his son. Joffrey was six years old when he first lifted his father’s hammer, and nine when he forged his first weapon, a mace that fetched a pretty price at the marketplace. His father was tough on the young Joffrey, being bereft of a wife, and so many of the household chores fell upon his son’s broad shoulders.

Joffrey was cheerful, and quickly set about completing most tasks that he was assigned. Against his father’s wishes, Joffrey attended the weekend school, led by Yorl the Wanderer at the Church at the far end of town. Emmanuel set about loading Joffrey down with more chores than he could manage to accomplish, but somehow Joffrey completed them all with time to spare, probably on account of his size and strength, and Emmanuel, though he built his forge as far away from the Church as he could, didn’t have the heart to forbid his son to go strictly because he said so. Joffrey learned his own version of spirituality from the gentle Monk Yorl, who couldn’t help but notice the huge youngster slipping into the rear of his makeshift classroom. Joffrey never spoke unless he was required to give an answer.

Yorl stopped him at the end of one of his last classes that he was to teach, and Joffrey apologized for his size taking up so much of the class space. Yorl studied him for a moment, and then said: “But with such a huge healthy body, you must have an equally proportioned heart.”

Emmanuel was tough on his son, but loved him dearly. During the fall, when the leaves’ colors were changing and it was near Joffrey’s birthday, he could hear his father in his bed across the room talking to his wife in his sleep. He asked her forgiveness, but for what, Joffrey couldn’t fathom. One day a week, and it never was the same day twice, Emmanuel would be awake when Joffrey rose from his bed, and would tell him not to stoke the fire in the furnace, and they would go walking or fishing in the nearby forest. These excursions were happy times for Joffrey, but as he grew older, he realized that his father was most comfortable in his home, hard at work on one piece of metal or another.

Joffrey’s childhood was also hard at times; as soon as he was big enough to assist his father, he was apprenticed to him, learning the ins and outs of the blacksmithing trade. His father, good man that he was, rarely lifted his sight from the metal when he was working, and failed to notice that his son, though talented at the work, was starting to cast his own steely eyes past the palisade that was the wall of the village, to the forested mountains beyond.

An old man of the village brought an odd request to the Marcus smithy one afternoon in the heat of summer. The forge was a virtual inferno, heat waves shimmering and dancing in the sunshine, when the old man stepped into the workplace. He commissioned a mighty two-handed sword; a strange request in this time of peace. Emmanuel refused the offer, though the pay would have been more than he would have made the remainder of the year. After the stranger left, Joffrey asked his father the reason why he didn’t make the sword. Emmanuel’s reply was that he didn’t like the man; there was something not right about him.

That night, Joffrey crept out of the house to find the strange old man. He, too, knew there was something unique about him, especially the way that he had walked right into the blast furnace of the forge at midday and didn’t even break a sweat. He found the stranger at the edge of town, outside the gates, under a tree with his back against a huge boulder.

“Young Marcus,” said the stranger, “You are much like your father.”

He gestured to a place across the fire from him, and Joffrey sat down. “My name is Goibne, and I, too, was a blacksmith, like your father,” continued the old man, “And I see that you will also follow in your father’s footsteps and become a smith.”

“Why do you want such a big sword?” asked Joffrey cautiously, “I don’t even know if my father has made one before.”

Goibne laughed and ended up coughing. Spitting into the fire, he grimaced and looked at the boy from under a bushy eyebrow.

“Your father not only knows how to make big swords, young Marcus,” Goibne said, “He knows how to use one as well.”

Joffrey was shocked. His father? A warrior? Goibne regaled Joffrey for the rest of the night with tales of adventure and sorcery, battles, romances and honor.

Joffrey crept home as the sun was rising in the East.

The next day, Joffrey rose to stoke the forge’s fire in preparation for the day’s work. His father was already awake, his face grim.

“Where were you last night?” he demanded of Joffrey.

Joffrey, unable to lie to his father, told him the story of his meeting with the stranger outside the gates of the town. His father’s face grew stern, and he admonished his son for leaving the palisade. Joffrey took the lecture; he had noticed that his father was holding a crisp piece of parchment.

“Joffrey,” Emmanuel said to his son, noticing his gaze, “You know I can’t read these damned things. Since your mother is gone, you’ll have to tell me what it says.”

Joffrey started to read the message; it was a summons by the Lord of the Land to military service in the North, where the Bugbear Legions were again active and threatening the homes of honest peoples. Emmanuel explained to his son that if the North fell, it would only be a matter of weeks before the Bugbears were knocking on the gate of the palisade of the village, and that he must go.

“You must run the smithy now,” said Emmanuel with a sad look in his eye, “You are a Marcus, and the metal runs in your blood. Now go attend to your chores.”

His father did not appear for over three hours; Joffrey spent his time straightening the smithy and putting the finishing polish on a few completed items for the market tomorrow. When his father returned, he did not look like Emmanuel Marcus. Dressed in a gleaming coat of chainmail, with a mighty two handed sword strapped to his back, his father looked like the warrior that Goibne had told him about only last night. He was accompanied by several other men from the village, also dressed in suits of armor, but none looked as fine as his father. A rush of pride came to young Joffrey.

“Father!” said Joffrey, hesitating at the expression on his father’s face.

“I must go now, Joffrey. Be your own man.”

“You’re not coming back, are you?” Joffrey suddenly accused him. The men waiting for Emmanuel shifted their feet uneasily. Emmanuel drew his son aside.

“I shall be back, Joffrey,” he said quietly, “But I go to war. It is every man’s duty, and every father’s nightmare. But it is better that I go than you.” Emmanuel looked at the men who were waiting for him. “I must leave now,” he said, nodding towards the men, “I must take these recruits to the Lord of the Land.” He gripped his son’s forearm in his great leathery hand. “But when I return,” he caught Joffrey’s eye meaningfully, “I will teach you how to use this.” He touched the great sword on his back. Through a mist of tears that he did not want to come, Joffrey watched his father leave the village.

That night, the house was too empty for Joffrey to sleep, so he went in search of Goibne. The stranger was not there.

“He must have left town with the men that my father is leading,” thought Joffrey. He was fifteen years old.

Two years later, Joffrey had accepted that his father was never coming back. He bagan to patronize the pub, and upon occasion, had ended up in the lone cell of the courthouse for several days. News had stopped coming from the North, and the news that had been arriving with the merchants and wagon trains was not good. Then they, too, stopped coming. Low clouds hung over the Northern mountains, and Joffrey began to receive more and more commissions for weapons. A rider from the Lord of the Land came and took more townsmen with him; Joffrey was spared being recruited because he was crafting arms and armor for the war effort. When wagons did come to the town, they bore the dead and dying. Joffrey expressionlessly examined each body, recognizing some and assisting all who needed the help he could give.

His father did come back after summer had passed, and fall was painting the leaves in autumn hues again. He was riding one of the wagons that were returning from the North; he had lost all of his pride and equipment, and had little to say to his son or anyone else. He was missing both his right hand, and his right leg. Joffrey had grown into a man in the time of his father’s absence, standing a full head higher than his father, and almost twice as broad. His eyes held the same steely color, though his father’s were now faded. His long shaggy hair and beard were wild and unlike his father’s or his mother’s, from what the townspeople said, but the strong muscles that he had gained through his assumption of his father’s position at the forge were pure Marcus blood. Joffrey carried Emmanuel through the town to their dwelling, and laid him in his bed.

Joffrey was getting drunk with his father one night, a recurring event since Emmanuel had returned, and the forge was slowly falling into disrepair. There was a knock on the door, and Joffrey rose to answer it. Yorl the Wanderer stood outside, and beckoned Joffrey out into the driving rain.

“There is someone who wishes to see you,” he said. Leading him to the smithy, Joffrey discovered that Goibne had taken refuge there from the rain and was sleeping next to the barely warm forge.

“I am just passing through,” said Yorl, appreciating the size of his former pupil, “But this man said that he wanted to see the Marcus family, and I conveniently knew the way.”

Joffrey felt his heart heave in his chest, once again at a loss of words for his teacher, and settled for giving Yorl a mighty bear-hug.

“My friend,” Yorl smiled and continued when he had caught his breath, “Remember the root of all of your strength always lies in your heart. Hearts speak a truer language than words do. Listen to your own.”

Yorl left him standing in the smithy over the sleeping form of the stranger from long ago.

“Goibne?” Joffrey roused the stranger cautiously. The old man cracked an eye open and appraised Joffrey. “Well, well,” chuckled Goibne, sitting up and blinking, “If it isn’t young Marcus. How is your father?” Joffrey burst forth with the entire story of the war to the North and his father’s sorry return.

“Heh heh heh,” laughed Goibne after Joffrey had run out of words, “Sounds like you’ve lost faith in the only thing you believed in, that kept your family together!”

“What?” said Joffrey, still reeling from his own admission to the stranger.

“This, right here!” said Goibne, patting the anvil that his back was up against, “The anvil, the metal, the fire…”

“How is the forge going to give my father back his leg, and his hand!” shouted Joffrey, his huge hands balling into fists the size of helmets.

“Wait, wait,” said Goibne, putting up a hand gently and rising to his feet, “You did not hear what I, or Yorl, for that matter, said.” The figure of Goibne straightened up fully, and he seemed to shed a burden of many years. “I would like to commission a Great Sword, young Marcus,” stated the not-so-old man in a voice recalling years past, “And I believe that it is long overdue.”

In the middle of the night, with rain coming down as if the clouds were trying to extinguish the fire in the smithy, Joffrey forged an unparallelled Great Sword from a bar of steel that Goibne had drawn, almost magically, from his pack. The rain slackened near dawn, and as the first rays of the morning sun shone over the wooded mountains, Joffrey held up his creation to catch their jewelled light. Nearly six feet long, the blade was extraordinarily light, weighing perfectly some foot and a half beyond the mighty two-handed grip. The crosspiece itself was large enough to gut a man, curving into the blade wickedly. Joffrey hefted it as the sun grew stronger, and he felt his heart find a resolution to his woes.

He turned to Goibne to present him his commissioned work, and he was gone, leaving no payment. Joffrey, still holding the great sword, ran out of the smithy into the last drops of the rain and the new day’s sunshine, searching for Goibne, but, as his heart told him, he had returned to wherever he had come from on the wings of angels. Holding the sword high enough to pierce the last ragged clouds, Joffrey shouted aloud, feeling the strength he had lost over the last few years flood his huge frame, and, once again, he believed in himself.

“Joffrey, where have you been all night?” questioned the stern voice of his father from the house behind him, “Not out with that stranger again”. Something in his manner suggested that he was laughing; Joffrey turned slowly, holding the sword he had forged, to see his father standing, smiling in the doorway, waving at him with his right hand.

Froggacuda ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

May I humbly introduce the Froggacuda. He is a most dilligent and faithful worker. Since signing on to AOL, he has been frequenting a tavern of no ill repute known as the Red Dragon Inn, where I hear his impeccable bartending skills have come in handy. I have known this ambidextrous amphibian for many moons, and his skill with his hands and with his nimble tongue is nigh legendary. Hopefully, this biographical ProFile will shed some additional light on the legerdemain of the notorious Froggacuda.

The Froggacuda was magically created in the mystical and humorous realm of Orkland (no, not Oakland) by an insane and evil Elf Priest of Kali, the Black Earth Mother of Destruction. Mangous Ye, for that was the name of the cleric, was a notorious drunkard and dabbler in the arcane arts of certain Bookes which are better left in the Special Texts sections of the most exclusive libraries.

Owing several hundred gold pieces in library fees anyways, and after an unusually intense drinking bout across the street in Rumble’s Tavern with Maldrik the Rabid (a Chaos Dwarf), Mangous Ye embarked upon an incantation that was part theory from the Necronomicon of the Mad Arab Alhazred, part daemonaical prayers to his evil Goddess, part insane lust to create the ultimate Navy S.E.A.L., and part drunken stupor. Only rumors can be referenced to what exactly went on in Mangous Ye’s cramped and cluttered rental room at the only inn in Gnatspit, the Home of the Whopper, and these range in believability from the probable to the ridiculous.

The general gist of the matter went like this: Mangous Ye retired to his quarters a little after seven in the evening to meditate on the difficulties he might encounter upon attempting to take over the world. He toyed with the idea of a Frogg as a base life form for his “ultimate warrior”, Froggs being rough, tough and amphibious. After hastily culling several recipes from communing with Kali and opening the Necronomicon to random pages, he lit a small fire in the middle of the floor and drew several thaumaturgic circles of various black magic disciplines around it, roasted a Frogg Egg to the point of hatching, and then proceeded to infuse it with spells and magicks of a horrible and blasphemous nature.

In his glee and intoxication, Mangous Ye read every piece of literature he had in his room to his creation during the process. Some say that he had forgotten that he had mistaken the “Mr. Boston’s Bartender’s Guide” at the tavern for his spellbook and hadn’t gotten around to returning it (why would he — he’s evil), and it was on page three that the Egg started to glow a noxious green. Mangous, grinning insanely ear to ear, quickly read the rest of the manual to the Egg and, realizing that his incantation were actually working, he consulted the Pnakotic Manuscripts. Reading something that may or may not be within those horrifying pages, he teleported the Egg to several random planes in quick succession. At this point, the interstellar wind which naturally accompanies such magicks blew several items along with the Egg: the Boston Guide, a copy of Grimmtooth’s Faerie tales, the contents of Mangous Ye’s flagon (a very rich Illithid Dark-Side-of-the-Moon double bock lager), a small figurine representing his other idol of worship, Godzilla, and his pet barracuda “The Brain”. The magicks worked something like the telepods in the 1986 remake of “The Fly” (Geena Davis/Jeff Goldblum), fusing all of the elements into one creation: The Froggacuda. The crack of thunder that accompanied the return of the Egg to the Prime Material Plane and Orkland blew the roof off of the cluttered room and knocked Mangous Ye senseless.

Upon finding himself fully grown, the augmented Frogg found himself to be quite different from his Eggmates (Froggs lay 2000-5000 Eggs at one time). Standing 6’5” tall and around 200 lbs., he knew he wasn’t going to be recognizeable to Mom anymore. His skin was a yellowish green, his eyes Frogglike, set on the sides of his large head; his large mouth was elongated, 50% Frogg and 50% barracuda — including the latter’s wicked teeth. His back sported a nifty row of sharp plates like that of Godzilla. His hands were fully functional, the fingers were webbed and tipped with thick talons. Ditto with the feet, which were extraordinarily large. His torso was barrel-shaped but powerful; his skin was slightly moist but not, as some would imagine, slimy or oily. He had no tail, having gone through the Taddpole stage in the blink of an eye, but sported gills on the sides of his thick neck. His hide was tough and sleek, and he suddenly was struck with the irresistable urge to serve people alcohol in a relaxed and merry environment.

Leaving the inn by way of the roof, and leaving an unconscious Mangous Ye slumped under the worktable, unnoticed, the Froggacuda crossed the street and served his first Ale — to none other than Maldrik the Rabid. Rumble, the half-Ogre owner of the tavern, welcomed the Froggacuda, knowing quite well how prejudice works against persons who stick out in society, and gave him an apron and a job barbacking. The rest is common history: after several years of tending bar in one of the most popular haunts in the Multiverse, the Frogg scraped up enough gold for a Magical MacIntosh and a dedicated phone line. And now, he is online, hoping to secure a position bartending at the Red Dragon Inn. My wishes are with him, for he is a most honest and faithful Frogg, dedicated to the entertainment and service of his patrons.

Acroyear ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

Born 12,646 years ago in the shadow of an eclipse, Acroyear Karza is the last son of the Karza dynasty. Killed in battle against the throngs of invaders from the North and East only three years after marrying Anastasia de la Cascada, Acroyear’s father Demian left the brunt of a dying Kingdom on Acroyear’s shoulders. At two years, Acroyear assumed the throne and was mercilessly manipulated by the advisors and relatives that his father had left behind. Acroyear adopted the policy of listening to everything and saying nothing.

Ten years later, the Kingdom was on the verge of extinction. The Orks who had continually assaulted the Elves because of their mutual racial hatreds had sacked the Kingdom repeatedly after the first conquest, bringing away women and children for their slave trade and riches for their coffers. Seven years ago, the Land had fallen to the conquistador Orks, and since then the government was a puppet, the advisors paid by horrendous taxes and Ork graft. Acroyear said nothing when he heard of his father’s death, nor did he speak for the time of occupation.

When the Orks finally turned their full attention to a resource-exhausted Kindom of Elves, there were none left. The ones that still remained were useless, spineless pawns of the Ork government, abandoned by their kinsfolk, but protected by the predatory Orks. Once again, nothing was said, but this time, the remaining Elves were dispatched.

Acroyear had watched too much happen to his people; his father’s blood of true nobility still ran through his veins, impassioning him — the honest form of any good Elf. After learning everything he could, and planning for years alongside his remaining family and those Elves who believed in their freedom, Acroyear led thousands of his people from their homeland and passed, through the aid of mighty magics and great entities, through a portal which led them to a new Land, one in which they could live in peace.
Hundreds of years passed, and Acroyear became a great leader, refusing to again start a royal dynasty, and instead implementing a form of government that responded well to the Elves’ natural inclinations. The more government by the people and the communities, the better. Acroyear spent years building a haven, not only for his people, but for Elves from across the Planes. Others were welcome as long as they existed in harmony with the Elves, the Kingdom and the Heavens.

Acroyear thus was able to remove himself from the public’s eye after thousands of years, becoming more and more auxiliary for the needs of the Kingdom. After hundreds of adventures and intrigues, from wars to exploration, Acroyear has slipped away from his Kingdom in order to follow the true adventures of a lone warrior and magician: alone and afraid.

Standing 5’ 4” tall, Baron Acroyear Karza has black die-cast mithril plate mail, which adheres tightly and flexibly to his slim Elf frame. His weapon of choice is an ultra-light broad shortsword, also made of die-cast mithril, matching the dagger that sometimes graces his off-hand. His helm is winged and expressionless, shiny gold and somewhat like a crown. Acroyear wears the Karza dynasty hunting cloak, made of a red colored flexible aluminum foil-like material which never rips nor is pierced, and always seems to have a breeze in it. He also carries his father’s lightsaber, but uses it only in emergencies, because that takes all the fun out of things.

Acroyear is quiet and solitary, but welcomes company when it is sincere and in need of him. He never wants to seem like the celebrity he really is; his years of service to his people has rid him of every desire to be obtrusive in pleasant company. He enjoys exploring and reading or “researching” as he smilingly calls it. He is the Imperious Leader of a group of interstellar heroes known only as “The Micronauts”, powerful creatures and machines from the 7th Dimension.

Abu Dabu Dabu Day ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
Tags: , ,

Abu Dabu Dabu Day was selected at a young age for the School of Elemental Magick. The seventh son of a wealthy merchant, he was the illegitimate product of Tonfu Dabu Day and his favorite concubine, Meesha, but could not be accepted into the family completely due to the unfavorable circumstances surrounding his birth. Had the concubine been more discreet in who she confided in, Abu might have been touted as the proper son of Tonfu’s wife, Illiah, and Meesha might be alive today. As it was, Meesha had not learned the fine art of discretion, and Tonfu had her head removed. He did, however, not abandon Abu; he was reared by Illiah as if he was a son of her own, and Tonfu publically accepted this son, since the sin of the exposure had been cleansed by Meesha’s sacrifice.

Abu was always a great scholar; his ill health and slight frame during his adolescence certainly prevented him from strenuous activity. He spent a great portion of his life in his father’s library; when that was exhausted, he begged his father for a letter to the local consulate in order to gain permission to research in the library of the Magistrate of the land. Though his body was underdeveloped, nigh cadaverous, and he experienced many health problems, Abu’s mind was quite sharp, and his dreams were filled with the adventures which he read from the ancient scrolls and tomes of the libraries he frequented.

At the age of twelvc, his knowledge had grown to encompass all that which could be gleaned from the local resources. His father took him on a trip to the Capital of Bendaria, Thok-hai, and he presented his son to the Emperor. The Emperor was suitably impressed with Abu’s learning, and deferred to his Court Magician. The Court Magician searched the eyes of the boy and deemed him fit for the School of Elemental Magick.

This school was the most grueling school of Magick known to the Bendarian culture; Abu’s father was extremely proud of his son, who had no choice in the matter. Very few persons were able to withstand the tortuous rituals and initiation rites of the school, which was still functioning under the original leader, Khan Grimlock.

This Magician had not been seen by anyone but his disciples for 300 years. Abu was immediately taken from the palace, led before the Master’s chambers, and not seen for four years. He was presumed dead.

Now sixteen years old, Abu reappeared on the very day that the Master had accepted him into his inner sanctum. Speaking to no one, he left the city and lost himself in the wilderness for two more years of tutelage; the Master had instructed him in the ways of the Elements and the balances inherent and necessary in the Natural World — it was now Abu’s duty to study them for himself and make his own judgements.

Returning to the city nearly unrecognizeable, Abu again made his way silently to the Master’s chambers. Nobody knows exactly what went on in the Master’s quarters, but Abu, as he exited, stated solemnly to the Court Magician, who was waiting eagerly to speak with the young disciple, that the Master was dead.

In the shock and surprise of the news, Abu disappeared from the Capital, walking along the roads and fields to reach the house of his father, whom he had not seen in six years. He stayed for several weeks with his family, attending to his chores and duties as he always had before he had journeyed to the capital, but his discontent was sometimes plain to all.
Always courteous and respectful except when saying goodbye, Abu was not to be found one morning. News of his travels occasionally reached the village and his family, but then he went across the Sea, and has not been heard from since…