Welcome to the thoughts of a Dwarf. This intrepid site is designed primarily to allow a place where I can store all of my writings, be it stories or poems or illogical philosophical rants. I hope to be able to provide interesting reading material for my friends and the random stranger who somehow gets sucked off course and finds this sight. Feel free to comment or even request stories. The more inspiration that I have, the more I can explore the limits of imagination and using literary works to rest for a moment from the tedious demands of reality.

In the beginning, I will be uploading many of my already written works. Though most of them are written for the gaming website Achaea.com, which is a text based MUD that I have been playing since 1998. My current main character in Achaea is the Dwarven Paladin known as Goryllin. His viewpoint is used in many of my current stories, as I draw upon his life and his world to create the science fantasty realities in which my story characters dwell.

Achaea is a medieval setting fantasy world, filled with Dwarves, Humans, Trolls, and many more fantastical races and professions. It is a living and breathing world in that every player has a chance to change the world and its direction. It is a player driven roleplay enhanced realm where combat, life, death and yes even taxes are all a part of the experience. We wouldn't mind having you drop by for a visit and pint of ale, if you do visit please send Goryllin a message and he will be glad to help you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Paladin and the Troll

Sweat drips down the brow of a young Squire as he completes the final swing of his practice maneuvers and throws himself down upon a pile of hay. Lying back against the soft embrace of the haystack, the Squire begins methodically cleaning his weapon and ponders the mysteries of life. As the sun begins its decent towards the horizon, his mind turns towards his Master and the new light in that Knight’s eyes. Having recently learned of the heartbreak his mentor had faced in the past, the Squire could not help but long to know more of this tremendous story. Thus, he gathers up the supplies and equipment from his workout regiment, trudging down towards the village below him and seeking a companion he knew had traveled with his Master for several years.

Following the meandering path into the quaint village, the Squire soon approaches a house with a middle aged couple sitting on the porch and gently rocking on a large porch swing.  Recognizing them as companions of the Paladin, he steps lightly up to the railing surrounding the porch and asks them if they knew his Master all those years ago, or if they knew someone who did. After some thought, the man tells the Squire that the village does host someone who would know this story and points him towards the tavern in the city of the village. Confusion sweeps across the face of the young Squire as he considers the location, until the friendly man points out that the bartender used to a traveling Merchant.  “He was a giant of a man, bold and affable and willing to tell you any tale that would make you desire to pay more for his trinkets,” the man explains, “Always had a tale, story, or rumor to feed you. And then one day he went too far and made some tale that was a bit too close to comfort. It involved the Queen and a dalliance, and the rumor seemed so believable that nearly half the Kingdom was in an uproar. That is when the Royal Decree went out, and the Merchant became a lonely bartender.”

With this interesting bit of gossip in his mind, the Squire begins to walk again and this time set his path directly to the village Tavern. Raucous music assaults his ears to provide confirmation that he is getting close, and just in time as the clouds have begun to darken and the air stills in anticipation of an incoming storm. Walking down the worn mud steps into the tavern entrance, he glances over the abused building and notes that despite the exterior wear and tear, the Tavern is very solidly built and can withstand the antics of the patrons within. Shouldering through the heavy oak door, the Squire is greeted by impact of a meaty fist upon his cheekbone. The strike is awkward and off balance and thus barely grazes the young man though it does force his head back and up, causing a moment of extreme alarm and anger. Before the Squire can even decide how to react, either by wading in with his fists or pulling out one of his swords and fighting in earnest, a massive hand clamps on his shoulder and he is firmly pulled to the side. 

Twisting his head around in protest at this newest affront, the Squire suddenly grows quiet as a red headed mountain of a man moves in front of him.  With a quick flash of movement, a massive arm grasps the drunken lout who began the fighting and just as quickly the man is flung through the door with a mighty thud. Swearing heavily, the drunk picks himself up and shakes his head to the accompaniment of beads of sweat flying from his distressed hair. Just as the drunk opens his mouth to shout a challenge, the heavy bulk of the door swings back shut and slams into the back of the inebriated fool. Silence fills the tavern for a few moments as all occupants stare at the still form of the drunk sprawled upon the ground, and then the room fills with a hearty cheer when the drunk begins to snore.  Two patrons hurriedly step up and drag the man out of the tavern as everyone else lifts their mugs and business returns to normal.

Guided by the nudge of a large hand upon his back, the Squire travels forward to sit on a small bench set into an alcove near the main bar. Sipping gratefully at the full mug that is deposited in front of him, the Squire turns towards the one time Merchant and makes his quest for knowledge known. For a moment, the Merchant remains silent and contemplates the young man before him. Then he leans back against the bar and enters into the narrative of such a story that can hardly be believed.
The Merchant’s deep voice starts with rehashing what the Squire already knew; the brave Paladin, who mentored him now, was also a young man in this story and had fallen for an Angel who could not decide between two worlds, flitting back and forth between the Paladin and another man. But then that baritone voice changed the story in a way that the Squire did not expect. With a heavy sigh, the Merchant illuminated the slow setting poison that began to creep into the thoughts and feeling of the Paladin as he watched the night sky for his Angel. With trembling heart, he saw the paintings across the stars that were meant for another. With weary ears, he heard the sweet nothings carried from her lips across the wind but meant for someone else. And so the Paladin had resolved to move on, to explore the world abroad and to burn all of his feelings for the Angel who could not seem to settle down upon this mortal earth.

The Squire listens patiently, hoping to discover a happy ending in the midst of what seems to be a very dreadful tale. However the Merchant simply continues his story without changing his expression; hearkening back unto the days of yore and bringing to mind that young Paladin again. The Paladin began to travel the world, withdrawing his thoughts and feelings into himself while outwardly being social and friendly with those he met. During a period of this lonely journey, he encountered a fellow traveler that seemed to share the same desires of the heart. Reminiscing about different encounters they had experienced in their respective lives, they came to agreement on several different ideas and theories. Common complaints about the idiocy of the fellow travelers and the fact that romance seemed to be dead in this world tended to dominate the conversations that they had. Then one day, the Paladin dared to bare his soul and shared the story of his encounters with the Angel.

Pain enters into the Merchants voice as he narrates now how the friendship between the Paladin and the Troll began to take a very different tact. The Paladin watched bewildered as each day passed and the Troll became more and more aggressive, turning the Paladin’s words against him and twisting situations to become issues where there were originally no issues. The Merchant pauses here for a moment, wincing as he reflects upon his own role in this degrading friendship. With the wry tones of one who now recognizes past folly, the Merchant explains that he had enjoyed watching the friction build between two erstwhile friends and so had plied his gilded tongue towards twisting the mental state of the easily deluded Troll. While the Merchant spent his time spinning what he thought were harmless yarns, it turned out that the Troll had encountered the Angel for himself and decided that he could woo this beautiful creature far better than the Paladin could. Thus the Merchant unknowingly aided in fueling the competitive fire burning within the Troll which caused him to view the Paladin as competition though that was reality only in the mind of the Troll.

Things quickly come to a heated point in this tale, as the Merchant’s voice speeds up in anticipation. The Troll begins to strive against the Paladin. First quietly, then suddenly he openly challenges the Paladin. Surprise and disbelief pour through the young Knight at this escalation of what he had once considered a friendship and then he realizes that the lurking fear growing in his mind has become a truth. The one whom he had once called an Angel was instead simply a Witch hiding behind a veil of deception and secrecy, and her whispered words were repeated in any ear that would listen.  As the Troll continues his barrage and attempts to drag the Paladin down into a cesspit of fighting and backstabbing, the Knight has developed the wisdom to avoid the situation and focus upon his own battles. Safely removed and ignoring the posturing and threatening from the Troll, the Paladin watches from afar as the Witch attempts to pretend that nothing has changed. Secret words are still whispered in the dark of night, little signals are sent that seem to indicate an Angel waiting for the right moment to slip into the arms of the Paladin. But now the veil has been torn and the Paladin is wise to these ploys, so he continues his travels in earnest and leaves the tattered bridges of false promises behind.

Shock is mingled with relief on the face of the Squire as he takes in the unexpected twist in this fateful story. Learning forward to face the former Merchant, he asks if there was a conclusion to this story. The Merchant briefly chuckles before explaining that several friends had attempted to drag the Troll away from the siren call which drew to him. His voice seems to contain a trace of derision as he narrates the several times that the Troll appeared to come to his senses and apologize for the madness of previous moments; he includes the conversations where the Troll is explaining the lies that he was told and is countered by the Paladin repeating the exact same phrases from the Paladin’s own experience with the now renowned Witch. And yet, every time that the Troll seems to be recovering and regaining sanity it only takes one slight call and the right snap of the fingers and the Troll falls again under the spell.

As yet another scuffle breaks out in the Tavern, the jovial features of the Merchant fade into the resigned expression of the Bartender and he excuses himself to enforce peace upon his patrons. Settling back into the bench, the Squire contemplates the new information that he had learned. Some made sense, as it explained why his Master had traveled so much and even now continues to be social on the exterior but keeps things very private beneath the emotional surface. A sad shake of the head accompanies his thinking, as the Squire hopes to never personally repeat the experiences outlined in the story of the Paladin and the Troll.

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