The Legion Appears

Originally posted at somefiction.tumblr.com.

They appeared on the Green Marches.  We had a garrison there, with over one hundred well-trained soldiers stationed within a newly built log fort.  The land had been abandoned for many years, but by the valiant effort of those men, we had gained a foothold.  On that night the watchmen saw them coming: a group of no more than twelve, marching on foot in double file.

Continue reading “The Legion Appears”

Straight from the writing desk:

Here is a little snippet I just jotted down.  It’s the start of a short story, covering the events that will soon transpire in The Wizard of Quippley.  Get a sneak peak at what’s in store for our heroes in the land of Welsley.  If you like it, let me know in the comments and I’ll post some more in the coming days.

I maintain that some of this might change before it reaches the comic. Such is the writing process.

“The mountains to the North have been a constant problem since the birth of Welsley,” said the guardian. He walked as he spoke, flanking the writing desk his guests sat beside. “There are the black orcs, who are deeply entrenched in strongholds. They consider it their rightful territory, even go as far as turning the animals in the surrounding forests against us. We’ve never–in our one hundred year history–been able to get them out.” His listeners nodded along. It was not an uncommon story. Yet one of them–an older man with a scruffy, red beard–knew it first hand.

“I am very familiar with the durgens of the North Mountains, Daglorous,” he said. “I was exploring those cliffs when you were still at your mother’s breast.” The comment brought a slight smile to he and his companions. The guardian was not amused.

“Far be it from me to ignore the experience of a wise man, such as yourself,” Dalgorous replied, “but it has been many years since you were a councilor for a king of Welsley and much has changed.”

“Yes, yes we get the point,” interjected one of the other visitors. “It’s very dangerous in the mountains. Do you think this is out first adventure? If you saw what we dealt with just to get here, you wouldn’t be wasting out time!”

The guardian leaned over his desk and looked down at his visitor. He was a squat, round-headed little man, with a thick bristling beard the color of hammered gold. He sat on a short stool, arms crossed. There was nothing about him that screamed ‘patience.’

“I have no intention of wasting your time, sir dwarf,” the guardian said. “But since you so generously agreed to aid us in this quest, I wished to prepare you as adequately as possible.” This brought an annoyed snort from the dwarf, but he spoke no more.

Daglorous continued. “The severity of this problem cannot be overstated. If we cannot retrieve the captured, out entire land will be in peril–and lands beyond.”

“I don’t see how the rest of the world would suffer,” came another voice. It was a young woman, cloaked in black. She stood at the back of the war room, half hidden in shadow. “He’s your king. Other nations will go on if he is dead.”

The guardian narrowed his eyes at the stranger. “Young lady, you do not understand the role my country plays in keeping this land safe. Our guardians fight night and day to repress enemies that plot to overrun all of Maora. If we lose our king, our society could fall into disarray. We would lose our will to stand.”

“You place too much importance on a single man,” she replied. “A man you lost so easily.”

“We were betrayed!”

“Alright, alright,” the wise man interjected, raising his hands. “Settle down, now. No use bickering. Let us discuss what we must do.”

Portion of a new story

I am writing a story about the wizard who trained Algerbane.  I’m calling him Gable the Young.  I am writing it out of order somewhat; I’ll stitch it together once I’m done.  Here is a section of it, it might be chapter 2.

Gable the Young
2. Gable stood before the tribal king and bowed.  There was a bit of mockery in the movement and the ruler knew it.  A subtle smile was on the young mystic’s face, a smile that said he knew much more than he let on, a smile that said he was in complete control.  He stood in the center of the rustic chamber.  It was, for all intents and purposes, the king’s hall, but it was hardly regal.  Coarse animal skins covered the rough-hewn walls.  There was a burning fire in the room, vainly abating the brutal cold from without.  The king’s men were hard, violent brutes–clad in grainy leather, with dark beards tucked into their belts.  This was far from the genteel courts of the six kingdoms to the North–nor the grand, ancient marble throne rooms of southern Alborea.  Still, in this feral, unkempt nook of the world, Barin the Beserker was king and Gable was not in his good graces.

“You travel through my land,” the king said without ceremony.  “Trespasser!”

“I wish not to trespass,” said Gable, his voice smooth as oil, “nor do I wish to trouble my liege.  I am a simple woodsman, hoping to pass through the Free Lands without trouble.”

“You are a hunter?”  The king spoke slow.  The weight of the tribespeople’s accent was like a millstone and every word was brought forth with effort.

“I’m sorry, my lord?”  Gable was always hesitant with his words, and very secretive.  He did not intend for his past to be know by anyone, especially the superstitious people of the plains.  He would not reveal the truth of his errand so easily.

“You carry arrows and a bow,” returned the king.  “My watchers found you by the deer copse.  Those are our deer!  You may not hunt.”

“Your highness cannot begrudge a hungry traveler some food?”  Gable was evasive.  He refused to speak of his hunt for the White Stag.

“He lies!”  One of the king’s men approached the oaken throne, pointing a shaking finger at the stranger.  He gestured wildly with his hands.  “We saw him make light with no fire.  We saw him speaking to the shadows and nameless nothing.  He is a warlock–he comes to curse the king.”

Gable’s eyes grew dark.  He was angry.  He would have made no secret his knowledge of the hidden world, if it would help his cause.  But he was no warlock.  He did not commune with demons or the dark underthings of which these people were so desperately afraid.  He did not appreciate these primitive watchman confusing him with some base conjurer.  Such misappropriations would tarnish his reputation and that he could not allow.

“Your armsman is mistaken,” the mystic said coldly.  “I am no such thing.”

But it was too late.  The mention of sorcery set a fire in the tribal king’s eyes.  He was possessed with an energy, a new fascination with his guest.  A craven lust for power pushed against his temples.  The people of the plains had fought for control of the land for ages.  The constant warring had pushed Barin’s tribe to the far edge of the territory, right up to the bitter rim of the mountains.  He hated the mountains, and the cold winters they would bring into his home.  Wild imaginations of capturing the entire plains now flooded his mind.   He would sit on throne of gold.  His house would be built in the center of the plains, where it was warm and bright.  With the warlock’s help, he would be High King of the tribespeople.  He would have to help him.  He would make him help him.

“Show me some magic,” the king commanded.  His eyes danced.  They pulsed with expectation.

“I am sorry, my liege,” Gable said, his voice bitter, “I am a simple woodsman.”

“Do magic, or die.”  The king nodded to two of his men.  They brandished thick iron swords and approached Gable.  One smiled with eager relish; the other stepped warily, reluctant to go near him.

“Magic,” the king repeated.

“No.”  Gable’s eyes were black.

Barin groaned and waved his hand.  The eager man rushed the visitor, his sword poised for a blow.  Gable stared at the iron blade.  The bonfire glinted off its edge, revealing a thin trace of red.  Gable spoke a single word.

“Katea’kanoth.”  He spoke it calmly.  He spoke it to the line of rust along the sword’s blade.  He spoke it with command.  The iron curdled into crumbling red powder.  The king’s man swung and the harmless rust scattered against Gable’s chest.  It puffed into the air like a cloud of crimson snow.  The swordsman glanced at the bladeless hilt that was in his hand as he toppled to the floor.  He landed painfully on his face, his lips and chin busting open.  The other swordsman dropped his weapon and stumbled away in terror.  King Barin roared upon his throne with laughter, clapping like a child in delight.

“You will win me all the plainsland,” he shouted, already tasting his victory.  “You will send my enemies to flight!”

Gable stood firm in the center of the room like an unmoveable stone pillar.  His hands were at his waist.  He was careful not to breath in the rust that still lingered in the air around him.

“I do not serve the king,” he answered.  His stern face grew into a grimace.  He had been captured by uncouth tribesmen and treated like a criminal.  He had been forced to perform like a jester at sword-point.  Now this unwashed savage wanted him to use him as a puppet?  He would not have it.  “I have no cause to grant you any request.”

Barin’s reverie grinded to a halt.  He glowered at Gable.  He was not a man used to refusal.  “You are in my land, warlock.  You’re my captive.  You will obey my request.”

“Why should I?  You have no weapon that can hurt me, unless your majesty has such a short memory.”  Gable waved his hand across the room.  The fallen swordsman sat in a corner now like a punished child, dabbing at his mouth and chin.  His bladeless sword hilt abandoned at the young visitor’s feet.  Traces of red glimmered in the air as they settled among the ashes of the bonfire.  The tribal king grew pale.  He thought of siccing his strongest men on the stranger, thought of hanging him by his neck, of tearing him limb from limb.  But no, he was a warlock!  All his brutal strength would wither with a single word.  Barin’s hopes darkened.

Gable remained firm.  He tried to looking imposing before the king, a man garbed in furs from animals he probably skinned himself.  A man twice his size.  The mystic was bluffing, of course.  Exploiting an rusty, untended sword was one thing.  Repelling the might of a tribal king of the Free Lands was another.  His armed men probably numbered in the thousands; his subjects, virile farmers and hunters, were ready to pick up arms at a moment’s notice.  Even the lesser alfheim, who taught Gable as a child, would not grant him power to overthrow a people, had they to give it.

The two men weighed each other in their minds, waiting for the other to crack.  Finally the king spoke.

“What do you want?”

Gable smiled.  He had won.

 

Carving out a script

BlogAs the current chapter of the comic is wrapping up, I’ve been busy plotting out Algerbane’s next adventure.  To be honest I’m not completely satisfied with just a comic–I want to tell more story.  To that end, instead of writing an outline, or a rough “script,” I’ve been actually crafting straight prose.  That’s right, a true-to-words story. My eventual goal is to have a novel of the Wizard of Quippley that will coincide with the comic.  Right now I am merely using it as a tool to effectively plan the next stages of the comic, but one day I hope to go back and flesh out the plot of my earlier comics.

You may wonder why this is necessary.  “If I’ve read the comic, wouldn’t I already know what is going to happen in a novel form?” may be your question.  Well in every form of story telling, there are limitations.  No one medium is perfect (not even movies).  There is much more detail I’d like to give, but a once-a-week, single page comic only provides so much room.  That is one of the reasons I occasionally write back-story narratives (which you can enjoy in the Lore section)–I just can’t tell it all in the comic.  There are particular issues, in fact, where I had written much more dialogue (for example) that I couldn’t fit into the strip (Issue #66, “Night Visits” is one of those).  A prose story will be able to give a fully realized narrative of Al and Peter’s journey, plus give me opportunity to reach back into the past and bring out what hasn’t been told in the comic.

So what does this mean in the present?  For now I am writing out some prose for the upcoming chapter of the comic.  Obviously I cannot post any of this prose yet as it will give away some key plot points.  But once the comic reaches certain points, I will post portions of the narrative for you to enjoy.

I’ll give you one thing right now and that is the next chapter’s title: “Of Elves.”

Stay tuned.