Hello my fellow wordsmiths and page turners,
It has been along time, and again I must apologise for my hiatus. I have moved house yet
again and now live in a flat with my girlfriend Kayla who is the write of :Culture ID and between our adventures out and my job I have not had the greatest amount of time to do any serious reading or writing, however I am planning on making a stunning comeback!
A month or so ago I was playing a game of dungeon and dragons with some friends and was asked to come up with some facts and a bit of a back story for my character out of game so that the DM could weave a bit of each of our backstories into the adventure.. which i think is a novel and very interesting way to run a DND session it allows each character to know secret and hidden things that some of the party would not which in turn further deepens the role-playing experience.
So i started this the same way i always start any projects, or reviews i do, i make a list of the main points i would like to include and then slowly expand upon them, now unlike normal where I get distracted and end up procrastinating for hours and then rush like a lunatic in order to get something that is passable for a review this time, this time was different.. see for yourself, here is what I wrote over the course of two evenings (warts and all)
Drothe’s Backstory/ Past Adventure:
Character Name is to pay homage to the Drothe from Douglas Hulick’s tales of the kin series
Character brief history: Thief, trained by an older master within the mountains
Taught a particular skill set including:
Disguise sleight of hand, confidence tricking, burglary, and information gathering
He was taught to cast away the teachings of his people to a point, there is more to life than his nation’s history which is very uncharacteristic as a dwarf, but he should never relinquish his pride.
Masters Philosophy: Two things keep the world spinning and those things are treasure and ale, and of course the feeling of a good fight.
In a land far away, beyond the mountains and the great sea, almost all of the Cities have fallen in the kingdom of Atonia, due to the great war of the 4th age of Callandra. The War has raged for 7 long years, and now a shaky truce has been made with either side sitting what at the moment is a very unstable fence. The ruler of Atonia, is worried that if war breaks out again, they will be defenceless with his cities lying in ruin, and his keeps broken and equipment levels dwindling. So he has sent out word across his kingdom to his most trusted ally’s which vary from the secretive elves of the glade to the Burghley figures of the mountain dwarves all in order to rally a group of adventurers loyal to the crown as much as their purses. Naturally, “Drothe” was the first choice, but my master thought it would be more beneficial to me to finally get out and put my training to good use, so he.. “Delayed the chosen dwarf Drothe indefinitely” and so… I found my place in the party, a new name and a new adventure laid at my feet..
I met the party as well as the unsuspecting King, you would think that for such an important mission he would have sent for people he knew but as it turned out the king knew none of the party personally, which I admit worked to my advantage and peaked my curiosity. The King told us our purpose for meeting, he told us a story that I am oh so familiar with already given that what he was asking was actually something linked to my own people’s history.. you see Many years ago in the first age of Callandra there was a Dwarven Warlord whom is said to have possessed a weapon of great magic, this weapon it is said has the ability to Raise cities in one swing, nothing unusual about these kind of magical items although they are becoming increasingly rare however this also has a reverse property, it can also restore an entire city, or perhaps even build one from nothing , with ancient Dwarven battlements and weapons, the technology has been lost for centuries.
.. I dismissed this as a fairy-tale, more poppycock stories the elder dwarves use to entice doe eyed young dwarves to do their bidding to “rebuild” and “reform” our great race, if we were so great we wouldn’t have let ourselves get so weak in the first place, it’s because we put too much faith in the Humans and the elves to begin with, but they like all the rest let you down in the end, you can never truly trust anyone other than yourself… anyway I digress..
The King however seemed convinced of the weapons existence, I of course remained quietly sceptical I looked about the faces of the party some seem unmoved by this story, and others looked bored and complacent, clearly my feelings were reflected in some of the parties eyes that was until the king removed a golden bangle from his harm that my eyes grew wide it was a Jibrad Mapping Bracelet I had seen one before in the masters collection, it was a very rare and old dwarvern artefact, they were invented by a great Surveyor called Jibrad, when the knight crystal was activated it would project a map usually of some great importance be it a mines lay out or a battle field plan.
The king said will lead you all to the final resting place of Draul (the Dwarvern Lord) and hopefully the resting place of the weapon as well…
My mind was made up I was going, and I would take this weapon for myself, I thought of taking the map and going myself, but why would I need to put myself at any more added risk then I need to, I might as well as take them along for the ride, besides the elves could come in very useful, the goblin too.. I will have to be weary of the goblin. As I looked across in his direction, I found the goblin looking straight at me a toothy grin plastered across his face.
Damn… looks like I might have some competition….
We left the kingdom, in good spirits he had promised us land and riches upon our returning the hammer to him, he bequeathed the Jibrad Mapping Bracelet to one of the female elves called Idrealsea who he appointed our party leader, using the mapping bracelet we Continue to navigate our way on the quest for the king of Antonia, but the Goblin Skara, knows I am not who I claim to be he chooses instead of ratting me out, proposes a partnership to help him claim the item for his own nefarious purposes, I reluctantly agree and go along with his plan, but I look to betray him at the opportune moment, in order to assist my own purposes I act out of character and integrate myself with the other adventurers gaining there trust and their Kinship.
I honed my singing and entertaining skills on the road to the mountain, we faced many small hordes of orcs on the way, and my prowess with my knight tickler, soon raised my rank within the adventurers, the goblin I noticed shied away from combat. I am unsure of his talents, but I don’t believe he excels in a frontal assault.
Once within the mountain we faced a series of challenges and horrifyingly in genius traps, many of which Skara seemed to be aware of and allowed others to go first and be maimed or killed, it took 3 weeks to reach our end destination within the crypts of the mountains keep, when we finally made it our numbers dwindled down to 5 incl Skara, we were tired and hungry, and the humans were complaining about forgetting what the feel of grass and sun looked like.
The room stood bare except for a tall column covered in etched runes, and a stone dwarf sat upon a throne. The floor too was etched in runes, the goblin hunched town at the base of the column, clearly studying or looking for something it was the most active I had seen him during our journey.
The others and I stood back, and cautiously studied the room… Suddenly there was a screeching sound of metal on metal and the totem began to lower, the column descended until the large stone dwarf was seated on the floor, now the dwarf was at eye level you could see that something was sitting in his lap, there was a large ornately decorated Warhammer, with a green jewel atop the mallet, its shone a dull light illuminating a small area.
Skara began to laugh manically, and lifted the mallet from the statues lap he turned and began to walk away suddenly, the room shook violently as if there was a earthquake, the door way collapsed in a thunderous boom filling the room with dust , the ground beneath us started to shatter and crack, the goblin continued to cackle through the din, a look of insanity in his eyes, the other adventurers were struggling to stay on their feet, as was I the main path to the column appeared unscathed by the shaking force we made a beeline for it I just made it as the floor collapsed completely, the pit that opened fell about 30 feet, I turned and instinctively grabbed the closest person to me, Idrealsea, as I held her over the opening abyss I saw her eyes full of fear for the first time and yet they were still oddly calming, it was an unnerving feeling gazing into them as I held him suspended in the air above.. I looked past him and panic shot through my body I could feel the gradual heat on my face, there was magma rising in the pit, one other adventurer by the name of Strolinn had reached the path the other had fallen, he was lost.
Skara walked over to where he held on for dear life “help me friend he cried”, but the goblin merely continued to laugh and stared down at him, a wicked grin across his face, as he stomped on the man’s hand, repetitively and fast until he could no longer hold on he fell and he cursed Skara and was gone, I quickly pulled up the elf onto the now suspended pathway.
SKARA!!, You will pay for this treachery!” Idrealsea screamed as she aimed her bow straight at the goblin and let loose a flurry of arrows.
The goblin laughed, and merely waved a hand, the arrows passed right through him as if he wasn’t even there.
“Oh I am afraid I won’t be paying for anything, you’ve got bigger problems then I” the Goblin cackled, and pointed at the statue sitting on the throne.. Only it wasn’t sitting anymore.. it was standing and looking straight at us..
“Farewell Idrealsea daughter of Merlida..Farewell..name taker” .. And with that the Goblin vanished in a wisp of air…
*out of context of the story* …“I fucking hate Goblins”
“Why did he call you name taker” Idrealsea asked
“Really… you want to know right now?” I retorted
“good point” she affirmed herself and looked up just in time to evade the giant animated statue slam down the axe it had un equipped from its back… she rolled and got straight to her feet.
“Any ideas?” I said brightly
“kill it, and go catch that bastard and make him wish he had never been born” she replied with anger plastered across her face
“sounds like a plan” I muttered.
I took some rope from my pack and threw one end to Idrealsea, I nodded and signalled for her to follow my lead, I ran towards the towering statue, it looking at us bot in turn as it brought up its axe again ready to strike, it was easily evaded, I ran past the statue and slid back through its legs tying off the rope, at the same time Idrealsea used her agility and acrobatics to jump onto the statues downward swing, attaching the rope to the stone axe the rope pulled tort.. And by using the statues own force of momentum it flipped itself over from the downward strike. It crashed into the floor with a earth shattering crash. And the walk way collapsed into the lava the statue was gone… But now we found ourselves in a precarious predicament, we were isolated in a room with no exits and only the small platform where the column and the column where.
“Well what now wonderboy” Idrealsea said sarcastically
I grimaced, and looked around the room “not a clue” my eyes rested upon the chair and I smiled”… but maybe… if the column went in there must be some kind of chamber beneath this platform”
Idrealsea looked at me suspiciously “one that could be full of rising Magma right now
“well do you see any other options?” I exclaimed
Idrealsea shrugged and started to look at the remainder of the runes she started chanting something and placed one hand on the floor… Nothing happened
“well that usually works; I’ve seen mages do it hundreds of times” Idrealsea said
“wait so you don’t know any magic at all? I questioned
“nope, but usually they just chant rubbish and stuff happens” Idrealsea replied playfully and she sat in the stone chair, suddenly there was a sound of creaking gears and metal again and the chair started to ascent upwards… along with Idrealsea, she quickly vacated the chair as it continued to extend upwards to its full height.
Together we wobbled and loosened the pillar and lifted it out of its hired contraption, below there was a network of ancient gears, and a wooden pallet which the pillar sat upon, after a few moment the cogs started to turn again, and this time they moved aside revealing a staircase down… in to darkness.
“well down isn’t really the way I wanted to go, but it beats staying here, how did it move aside like that” Idrealsea asked
“it’s probably on controlled by some kind of weight detecting mechanism, maybe magic, to be honest I’m not sure but let’s worry about that later” I said as I took the forefront and began to descend the stone steps. We continued so far down the stairs before we heard a thud from behind, what little light was coming through the entrance we used had gone, I wasn’t sure if it was destroyed or if it closed on its own but all I know is I’m still here and that’s all that matters we continued down until the stairs ended and opened up into a giant cavern, with a underground lake at its centre, there was old rotting wooden pier with a boat tied to it, I could see the dim line of light on the Horizon. I surveyed the area before advancing all seemed clear, the boat although tarnished with age seemed fit for a short journey atleast, I climbed inside meanwhile Idrealsea watched me but didn’t move.
“You’re not Drothe son of Glorin, are you” Idrealsea asked
“Does that really matter right now? Are you coming or not” I retorted
“Yes, I like to know who I am traveling” she replied
“seriously we have been together 3 weeks, and you now want to know who I am, you never bothered with me before when you knew for definite I was Drothe” I replied desperately I didn’t want to go out alone in case I was faced with something like that walking statue again, the odds where better with 2 no matter how I like to play the odds.
she assessed me a moment and thought to push aside her thoughts of doubt and joined me although somewhat more wearily in the boat and we set out over the still murky lake towards the band of light, as we reached the centre of the lake I could feel the start of a salty breeze in the air, my mood perked up this must lead out to the sea I thought… but the sea is several leagues away from the entrance of the mountain, have we really travelled that far? I didn’t have much time to contemplate this as suddenly Idrealsea screamed; I turned to see she was being lifted by what appeared to be a giant tentacle.
Thinking quickly, I picked up Idrealsea and shot an arrow into the tentacle which promptly dropped her back into the boat, the boat rocked violently as she landed with a thud, the lake remained calm for a few seconds before a dark shape became visible below the surface which seemed to swell as the shape became bigger and bigger, several tentacles came out of the water thrashing violently cracking the side of the boat almost making it capsize the mast cracked and fell into the ocean, as a large fin of a Giant squid slowly loomed up out of the water, I threw the bow to Idrealsea and unsheathed my knight tickler, the large yellow bulbous eye of the squid was now visible as it peered down on us in our little boat there was a seconds pause where we stared at this deadly creature and it stared at us and then it struck with four of its limbs at once the boat shattered into splinters . Idrealsea Jumped onto its tentacle and began shooting arrows at its giant bulbous eye, the squid brought up a tentacle to defend the arrows penetrating its fleshy appendage, but it showed no reaction, I was not as lucky as Idrealsea I got caught by one of the tentacles and was now submerged in the water, the sheer scale of this animal was astounding, I thought for a moment about fleeing but there is no way I could outrun a monster like this in water, I swam up to the surface just in time to see a tentacle coming up out of the water but not to strike myself, it was aimed at Idrealsea, I stabbed the tentacle with my Rapier, and it carried me up and out of the water I grabbed Idrealsea as she dodged to one side avoiding the blow , we clung to the tentacle as it soared skyward. Idrealsea jumped off only to be caught by another tentacle, clasped in its icy grip, I launched myself from the tentacle and landed blade and knee first into the squids eye, the monster reeled violently as I pushed my night tickler deeper and deeper into it, it began to sink, I had now got my arm up to into its eye, I struggled to free myself, was I hell going to leave night tickler in there. I pulled myself free and swam to the surface there sat on a large piece what was left of the boat floating in the lake was Idrealsea soaked through and short of breath, her hair glistened in the cave light, for a second there I would even go as far as say she looked attractive.. But I soon pushed that thought aside and swam over to where she sat.
“well, that was close” I panted as I pulled my self onto the drift wood alongside her
she breathed heavily and smiled, and then let out a little chuckle.
“You were right, Drothe it matters not what your true name is, I now know I can trust you, you have saved my life, I am in your debt”
Don’t think I will ever forget that moment, right up until she kissed me, aghast I stared as she began to paddle our “boat” towards the light.
we emerged out through a cave on the coastline at the base of the mountain, we continued around to the mainland, we agree to return to the king to warn him of what has transgressed here, but when we returned the Kings castle was ablaze and there was no sound other than the cracking of fire and the odd falling od debris, not even the birds were singing, we were too late.
Idrealsea went to warn her people, and I sent a raven home, to ashamed that I have been bested and possibly put my master’s livelihood at risk I dare not return out of shame. I will instead travel and hone my skills build, wealth and take on the very gods if necessary in order to return puissant, and if the opportunity arises end that evil goblins life as slowly and as painfully as I can.
Before we parted ways I agreed with Idrealsea that I would also seek out Skara to enact revenge on the Kingdoms behalf (I didn’t mention that I couldn’t care about the kingdom, but I definitely have a score to settle with him)
I think it is definitely safe to say that I think it got away from me a little and I don’t know if the DM read all of this or not either, clearly as I have not been writing for a while it just welled up inside of me and just came our in one hell of a ranty but I feel quite entertaining monster.
I hope you all enjoyed my little word / story rant hopefully this is the start of a few new posts! – let me all know what you think, and id love to hear about your creative processes and distractions.
Until next time, read more books!