Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Mama’s Broken Hearted Bloodrager



This is just a college extracurricular activity to you. You are not serious about being a professional crawler. Even if you were, your heiress mother would never allow it. XCrawl is my career. I need a female life partner who can help me in and out of the dungeons. Our relationship has run its course.

 
With a scream I threw my phone against the wall. It fell to the floor in pieces. How dare he break up with me via text? Tears streaming down my face I screamed again.

 

Just last week, for his birthday, I gifted him with elven masterwork MiniLynx light armor. I spent three thousand seven hundred fifty dollars getting him the most expensive, best armor legal to our division. It had been fun taking his measurements naked, all those months ago for the custom ordered armor.  Now all that was over.

 

Thinking of better times I remembered I had an expensive bottle of champagne, his favorite, in the wine chiller with my merlots for graduation. I pulled it out. The cork gave a loud pop. When the initial overflow stopped I took my first swig.

 

Someone pounded at my front door. I stalked over to it and, without looking through the peephole, threw the door wide open with a defiant, “What?”

 

The two police officers on the other side were taken aback for a minute. “We received reports of screams from this residence.” The elder officer stated.

 

“Don’t worry. You can tell my neighbors I am done screaming. I think I have found a better outlet.” I said taking another swig from the champagne bottle.

 

“How much have you had to drink, miss?” The officer asked.

 

“Just two swigs so far.” I answered honestly. At his look of disbelief I explained. “Bad breakup. He broke up with me with a text message. This,” indicating the bottle of champagne “was supposed to celebrate our graduation in two weeks.”

 

“Do you mind if we come in and have a look around to make sure everything is secure?”

 

“Sure.” I said stepping aside so they could enter. They did and I took another swig of champagne.

 

“What happened to your phone?” The younger officer asked looking at the pieces by the wall.

 

“I threw it against the wall after reading the breakup text.” I admitted; then, took another swig.

 

The elder officer came back from my kitchen area and looked at me. It was a small apartment. Bedroom/living room that the younger officer and I were standing in and kitchen with bathroom off of it that the elder officer had searched. “It’s secure.” He told his partner.

 

“I promise no more screaming.” I said solemnly. Then I took another drink from the bottle of champagne.

 

“Try not to drink yourself to death too.” The elder officer said walking out the door.

 

“He is not worth it.” The younger officer said apologetically.

 

“Thank you.” I replied.  Then I shut the door on them. I laid down on my bed and continued drinking. Eventually I must have finished the champagne and gotten up for a bottle of merlot because there was an open bottle and a large red stain on the floor next to the bed the next afternoon when I woke up.

 

Monday, 8 January 2018

The Witch’s Plan


I will go to Detmer. First, I shall go overland from my home in Omesta to Erages with my peacock familiar. From Erages we will board a small ship and go to Detmer.

At Detmer,I will sell my poppets as mindless rowers for ships. My poppets need no food, no water, and no breaks. They cost me five hundred gold pieces to make but rich sea captains that frequent Detmer will see the savings. They will order them.

In addition, I can learn other things too there about woodworking. The elves below us do not like to share their knowledge of wood crafting.

I will pack simply. My Obsession Log, my tools, my spell component pouch, a light crossbow, and the battle ladder I had made myself. I put on my favorite outfit and took the rest of my items, except a soap that I really liked that I stuck in my belt pouch, to the provisioner to trade for coins and items I would need for the journey.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Dragon Battle for the Oasis


Authors note: Head hopping story, each paragraph swaps between the two main characters.

It was time for me to leave the lair before my siblings. I grabbed a clawful of gems and coins and flew out into the desert sunrise.

Mother says it is time for me to go. I am the last of my clutch still in her lair. This morning she handed me a sack and says if I come back tonight, she will eat me.

I fly high up in the sky, the blue camouflaging my scales. I see an oasis by a rock formation that looks nothing like the nose horn of a great wyrm. As I land on a high ledge, I see that there are even humanoids present for enslavement.

I fly just skimming the sand. I enjoy the warmth on my brass scales. As dragons go, I am still little and the sand provides swell camouflage. I stopped to examine a rock formation. The walls were mostly sheer. The sandstone was smooth with a deep crag in the center that has a sand bottom.  The few overhangs pointed toward an oasis that contained a temporary encampment. I lay on a lower ledge with a sigh of contentment. Watching humanoids is my favorite pastime.

I heard a sigh from an outcropping below me. I looked and saw a brass dragon, my size, with a sack, staring at my slaves. This is my territory. I breathed a line of lightning at the interloper.

A bolt of lightning struck me from the clear, blue sky. I swung my head to look and saw a blue dragon on the shelf above me. He would not corrupt or enslave these people. “Be gone beguiler.” I blew a line of fire at him.

I leapt off my perch, leaving my coins and gemstones, partially avoiding the return breath weapon. “This is my territory, you be gone.” I felt the tingle in my back teeth and let loose another bolt of electricity.

I rolled to the right, off my pedestal and dropped the sack to the sand, to avoid the second bolt. “Wrong. I will cauterize this territory of your presence.” Flames licked my throat so I sent a second line of fire at the evil dragon.

I spent too much on that last blast of electricity. Instead I dove toward the interloper, claws extended, prepared to tear it apart. I screamed, “I shall save my breath and simply rip you to shreds.”

I dodged his attempt to claw me and again spit a line of fire at the offender. “Liar. You have no breath left with which to do battle.”

Now I was below the other dragon and still without a spark. I took off, away from the oasis. I could come back and reclaim it another day.

Typical blue dragon, if they cannot win they run. “Coward.” I bellowed giving chase with a line of flame searing his scales between his wings.

I was in pain and still had no spark. I had one chance, to turn and attack the oasis. I could dry up the water, then kill the brass dragon when it is distracted, then replace the water to my grateful subjects. I banked and turned straight back towards the brass dragon. “I am no coward.” I declared. I would hit it on the way through.

The blue brute was coming back towards me, intending no doubt to hit me head on. I rolled in midair just before he could bite me. His claws missed me but I scraped his underside. “If you are not a coward then why do you run?” I demanded, as I had to turn and again give chase, this time back towards the oasis.

Now I got the electric tingle. I could wait until after enacting my plan; but, I should have another charge built up by then. I was not a coward. I made an S-turn to send a bolt of lightning back at my pursuer.

The electricity stung. I had flames to return fire and did so with gusto. It was a direct hit and the blue dragon smashed into the backside of the rock formation. I flew back to the blue dragons perch and sat triumphant. This was my oasis to guard and these were my people now.

 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Secret Gift


I am still grieving my mothers death, from nine days ago, when my father returned from his latest round of adventuring. He even came with two lovely spoils from a slain green dragon as gifts for us. He was so happy that mother was not home. He did not even ask where she was. He just wanted to show me the lovely brooch he had gotten for my mother. He had taken it directly from the dragons hoard. It was in the shape of a frog, her favorite animal, with little gemstones set into its back. “I got them all appraised. The dwarf who appraised them said they were all real and some are even valuable. Some sapphires and rubies. Mostly amethyst, aquamarine, garnet, rose quartz, spinels of pink, green, blue, and red, as well as various shades of topaz. The dwarf said that the metal of the brooch was gold, not pure but still high quality.”

“We need to have a conversation…”

“I had a special present made for you.” He continued as if I had not even tried to tell him. “It is a small bag you can wear about your neck. The container portion of the necklace is chainmail and covered in the hide of the green dragon we slew. There are also parts, such as the neck of the container for example, that are made up solely of dragonhide. Sinews from the dragons’ claws are used to hang the container from your neck. It is little bigger than your hand in diameter and height.”

“Father, I need to tell you something important.” I said as he pulled the shiny, green-scaled bottle-looking thing out of his beltpouch.

“The eye in the wood that seals the dragonhide of the neck of the container is one of the actual eyes from the green dragon we killed.” He continued, showing off his gift to me and not paying attention to what I was trying to have him understand.

“Mother is not coming home.” I said softly.

“What do you mean?” He asked looking around the front room that used to be my bedroom. I had already moved her bed out of my mother bedroom and mine into it. The local tavern was willing to take the bed for a good bit of coin. I had also moved my clothing and other incidentals, along with the hope chest they had been in, into the bedroom. Now the front room looked like a proper sitting room. “Where is your mother?”

“As I have been trying to tell you since you walked through the door.” I said finally losing my temper. “Mother died nine days ago.”

“Well I knew I was going to outlive her but I did not think she would be going this soon.” He said sitting in one of the highbacked, fabric-covered chairs I had purchased with the money I made selling mothers bed. He looked up at me. “Who is going to take care of you now?”

“I can take care of myself.” I answered affronted.

“You are barely twenty years old.” He scoffed.

“I am only half an elf. I am half-human like my mother too. If I were fully human, I would be married by now.”

“If you were fully an elf you would just be starting lessons in the arcane arts.” He snapped back. “You are neither.”

“Thank you so much for the reminder.”

He sighed. “You are right, Ouida. You are no longer a child. Come with me on my next adventure.”

That gave me pause. “I am not sure where you are going to sleep since I have taken over the bedroom.” I said not offering it to him.

“I can roll out my bedroll in here.” He said smiling and gesturing between my chairs.

“That works.” I agreed.

“Here is your present my darling.” He said handing me the chainmail and dragonhide bag. I took it and he slipped the brooch into my hand as well. “You would have inherited it anyway.” He said with a sad smile.

“I think it is time we settled in.” I began walking towards my bedroom in the back of the cottage. “I have already eaten dinner. There are some fruits I was saving for breakfast in the morning on the kitchen table if you want.” I had no need to change the kitchen. It was simple kitchen. A table against the left wall with three chairs around it. A counter for cooking along the other wall. A stove built into the outside wall. That was it beyond baskets for storage.

“I will go to the tavern.” My father said, placing his pack against one of the chairs and leaving without another word.

I took the gifts to my bedroom, then closed and barred the door. I had heard horror stories about drunken, widowed fathers. I placed the brooch in the chest of items I kept that had belonged to Mother at the foot of my bed. I had moved my belongings from it to her chest of drawers. Then I examined the bag. It was pliable but had a metallic crunch when I squeezed it.

Then the eye blinked. The eye of the dragon that was supposed to be dead. Inside my head, I heard. “I can teach you magic child. Magic thy elven father will never be able to access.”

“What do you want in return?” I asked suspicious.

“Nothing. I like this form. No pain. I can hold a hoard for us within the chainmail inside my scales. My mental faculties are intact, or at least they seem to be so far. I was a great wyrm in constant pain from former battle wounds, dying of old age of all things. You can be my magic, casting spells for the two of us. I will teach you every spell, spell-like ability, and magical trick I know. It might take decades but half-elves live that long right?”

“I will.” I said grinning. “Can we start the magic lessons now?”

“Of course my apprentice.”

Saturday, 3 June 2017

This Isn't Horror

Origionally this was supposed to be for a horror anthology. Once I finished it and was editing and trying to come up with a title I understood the horrible truth. This is not horror. So I am putting it here.


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Growing up my father taught me what to do if attacked by a dog. He said, “If a dog you don’t know approaches you. Put your left arm across your belly. Put your right arm across your neck. When they bite, push back into their mouth breaking their jaw or choking them. Don’t pull away, their teeth are meant to hold and tear. When they shake their heads, use the momentum to continue the motion to snap the dog’s neck.”

My father got me a puppy when I graduated college. A lab mastiff mix. He was my blond baby. I named him Yin.

We did a lot of training. First Yin was house broken. Then obedience school. Then training as a service dog, as my health was lacking.

Yin and I walked twice daily; in the morning after breakfast and at night, after dinner. Yin was so well trained sometimes I neglected to use the leash. It was one such night that a man came up to me with a knife.

“Give me your money.”

“I don’t have any money.”

“Give me your jewelry then.”

I fumbled with the clasp of my necklace. The man stepped forward and wrenched it from my neck. I cried out in pain. He turned to leave. My big dog, Yin, leapt from the side, snarling, knocking the man down. Using my cellphone, I dialed 911 as I took the knife away from the panicked man. That night, cuddled in bed with Yin, I understood why my father had gotten me a puppy that would become such a big dog.

 A few years later I had a massive stroke. I had been out by myself shopping. When I came to in the hospital, all I cared about was “Yin.” They had no idea what I meant by my dog’s name. Then my father arrived, with Yin wearing his service dog vest from when he had graduated as a half-grown pup. After a long hassle, it was proven that Yin was a certified service dog who had just outgrown his vest. Yin was allowed to stay with me in the hospital. He even slept on the gurney with me.

After my first stroke Yin was allowed everywhere with me. He got a new, properly fitted, vest with a little pack for his paperwork. I am slower now while Yin is still a big dog in his prime. Sometimes I would sit on a park bench and let Yin off the leash to run and play. One day he came back limping, his vest torn, the pack missing. I took him to the vet and called the police. The police wrote it off as a robbery with a knife. The vet was hesitant and told me to watch Yin for any changes.

The changes may have been there but I didn’t see them. Not until the last night we were lying in bed together. Yin was staring at me instead of cuddling like usual. Then he lunged. My father taught me what to do if ever attacked by a dog. Yin was just too close. He had gone for my throat. I got my right hand in his mouth but his breath still touched my neck. I pushed. Yin choked. I pushed harder as tears blurred my vision. Yin pulled his head to my right. I pushed further and there was a crunching sound. Yin fell limp.


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My author bio is as follows:
Shana Horn has two bullmastiff labrador mixes, eleven years old now, who inspired this story. One is blond and male while the female has the traditional black fur. The technique in the first paragraph was indeed taught to her by her late father. More of Mrs. Horns short stories can be read on her blog at http://slwhshorts.blogspot.com/.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Tidepool Dragon vs The Mermaid

For two days I looked around my black seaweed forest and gathered up the one hundred twelve crossbow bolts that the gillmen had missed me with. Only fifty were broken. Sixty-two were still perfectly usable. Of the fifty, I could most likely fix them all too. I did not push myself, just strolled around the fronds. When I found broken ones I piled them on top of the pearls that I had removed from the gillmens belt pouches. I would need to make more bolt quivers from the black seaweed. Or better yet remake the belt pouches into them. A project for tomorrow, now that I have found all the bolts.
I was just about to relax for the night when a cone of boiling water surrounded me from behind. It burned but still I turned to see the source. A tiny dragon with scales like the shallows on a sunny day attached itself to the front neckline of my eel skin studded armor by its front claws. “Thief.” It hissed in my face. If I had not turned it would have been secure upon my back.
 “I have stolen nothing from a dragon” I said removing the bayonet off the chain belt. “But I will defend myself,” I added stabbing up into the dragon.
“Liar.” The dragon states biting the tip of my nose. “The gillman told me how you killed his guards and stole my tithe of forty saltwater pearls.”
“I stole nothing from you.” I declared, stabbing the tiny dragon again. It opened its mouth wide and a cone of the boiling hot ocean water hit me directly in the face. I couldn’t see. All I could feel was the pain from it. I fumbled with my left hand at the chain belt and pulled off my potion of healing that I had gotten off a skum I had killed a while back. I uncorked it and drank it quickly. The dragon took a swipe at it but missed. The pain receded. It was still there. I wasn’t even healed from the last fight with the gillmen from just two days ago and now this but I would survive. I jerked my head to the right as the dragon tried to bite me again then stabbed it. I jerked my head straight back the next time, not sure which direction the dragon was going with its neck swaying all over. Then I simply stabbed it again.
Then it happened again. The tiny dragon used its breath weapon to superheat the water and spray it in my face again. I pushed up at its head and neck with my empty left hand when I saw it open its mouth wide and most of the steam missed me this time. Then I stabbed it with the bayonet in my right.
The dragon fell limp. I pulled the sea-knife and went to slice its tiny neck. So tiny was the neck of the dragon and so sharp the blade that I took the dragons head clean off. I noticed an inky blackness like black seaweed between the wings on the back on the tiny dragon. I pulled its claws carefully out of my armor. After all, the armor was new still and it had cost me a lot. I let the body fall backward. Making an X across the chest of the tiny dragon was an oversized thing made of black seaweed. I saw ties in its center and carefully undid them. I unwound the black seaweed revealing a bandolier able to hold eight potion bottles. Right now it held five. The way it was wrapped around the tiny body as well as the extra bulk of the potions had made it difficult to identify.
I pulled the potions out and spread them out evenly around me in a circle. Then I tied the bandolier across my chest and over my left shoulder.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Then I opened my mental senses. Once per day I could use these senses to detect magic. Anything more than that and I would end up with a blinding headache. If I used the sense for any longer than a minute I ended up with the same result. All of the potions has magical auras, this was a given. All of their magical auras were fain, a given again. Four had auras of the same color but a fifth was different.
I started with the different one. It had the same aura as my wand of healing. The same aura as the potion of healing that I had drunk during the battle with the dragon. It was another healing potion. I would drink it once I had identified the other four.
The other four were the same. A yellow color meaning a form of divination. Yet the potion within was black as ink but with a slight, metallic shimmer. I poured one of the potions in my hand and then rubbed it onto the dead dragon. Nothing happened.
I put the three remaining potions into the bandolier. I could have someone else identify them for me and tell me how to use them at a later date. I spent the rest of the night skinning and butchering the tiny dragon.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Her First Battle


“Little mermaid,” the gillman at the head of the caravan sneered, “just because you have somehow obtained one of our knives does not make you a threat to us.”

“Most of my weapons I obtained from a sahuagin that I killed semi-recently. This knife,” I said idly flipping it between my fingers, “is my second oldest possession.  A trophy from my first kill.  A gillman entered my forest and without my permission began harvesting my black seaweed.  I took one of the fronds he has sliced and slipped it over his head. I had no weapons yet but the seaweed worked very well to strangle the life out of him.  The gillman stabbed back at me with his sea-knife but I swished my tail and tightened my grip.  He stabbed back wildly again and I simply continued to hold on.  He sliced over his head at me and I laughed, accidentally loosening my grip.  I tightened my hold severely as he tried to stab me again.  His knees buckled but I could still feel his pulse under my knuckles.  His pulse stopped before I counted to twenty.”

“Was there anything else he had in his possession?”

I smiled and hedged, “A pouch of herbs, spices, gemstones, chalk, and other odds and ends.  A trident like most of your kind have.  Four sunrods, since your kind cannot see in the dark.  A waterskin.  A bag for my black seaweed.”  I paused as if to think.  The last two items would easily identify the gillman I had killed years ago to anyone who knew him.  “Plus there was a satchel with a turtle in it and a signet ring I sold months ago.”

The gillman stood and pointing at me screamed, “You killed my son.”  His twenty warriors swarmed at me.  I retreated into my forest of black seaweed, where I could pick them off one at a time.