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.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Confident Captain...

Broken rays of light struggle to fight through wafting clouds of smoke, as a soft roll of thunder seems to echo from every side of a massive battlefield. Tense exclamations are quickly muted as nearly a hundred soldiers crouch close to the earth and frantically peer around to try to make sense of the blurred images contorting in the smoke. Thousands of acres of burnt grasslands spread out all around the soldiers and the smoke seems intent on blotting out the very sun in the sky. Hasty signals are passed from soldier to soldier as they can’t see more than 3 feet ahead of them. A brown garbed sergeant desperately tries to form a defensive formation against the foe he knows must surround them by now.

Barely over a hundred feet away, steely gray eyes remain locked on the urgent motions of the sergeant and his company. Unfazed by the smoke and acrid burning smell, Captain Maulkin studies his target with serious contemplation. So still is the Captain that even the great destrier beneath him refuses to move, allowing the carrion flies buzzing in clouds to land on its body without complaint. After a few minutes of study, the Captain moves his large gauntleted hand in a small circle and from his right comes a soft trill, nearly birdlike in its quality. As that call elongates and drifts upon the wind something stirs across the field, suddenly forming itself into a crashing and twisting shadow army racing through the smoke. Hoarse calls and yells ring upon the air and all of the brown clad soldiers tense into a sudden formation and attempt to form a shield wall. The thunder of hooves echo prominently in the ears of all around, the dense clouds of smoke making it sound as if it was coming from right on top of any person that could hear it.

With elegant grace the Captain swings down from his mount to close his eyes and lean his head back to the sky. Soot drifts down from above to smear his beard gray, but still he waits and listens to the chaos erupting around him. Ahead of him the unaware soldiers react to the crashing sound of a Calvary charge nearly upon them; some break and run to disappear into the haze, others are more disciplined and follow the sergeant’s bellows to form tight ranks and present weapons front, others seem immobilized by fear which directly counters those blood thirsty few who can’t bear the wait for combat and scream their challenges into the smoky blanket. At what seems the very last moment on this earth, the charging hooves carve a beat directly into the veins of every soldier present and then suddenly the sound is gone. A hesitant pause silences nearly every noise from the company of men, as they gape in surprise at the sudden reprieve. One heartbeat lingers, then two, and with that the Captain snaps his arms up into a commanding gesture.

The puzzled soldiers have just begun to relax, most standing and staring around in bewilderment as they try to discover what happened and if they were actually under attack or just hearing echoes from much further away. The sergeant is just about to bark an order to present an orderly front and stay alert when he happens to see just a glint of light flashing off the helmet of one of his men. Turning to face behind him, he is shocked to his core at the sight presented before him. Striding confidently towards him comes a ghostly apparition, heavy boots crunching down into still smoldering grass and empty arms stretched outwards towards the sky. Smoke drifts up from the scorched earth and gently embraces the ornate green armor in a fitting caress as the world around the sergeant explodes into fury and death.

No emotion mars the pristine visage of the Captain as he glides forward towards his dying enemies. Thick wooden shafts whistle down from the sky to embed themselves in relaxing soldiers, one man manages to lift his shield in time to catch an arrow right in front of his face but the very next moment he is skewered from behind as a fellow soldier reacts poorly to a shaft buried in his throat. With two more strides, the Captain has nearly reached the enemy forces and he once against closes his eyes to savor the moment as his troops continue to rain destruction down in front of him.

Frantically shouting orders, the horrified sergeant tries to protect his men. It seems to be working for a brief instant, as order is returned and shields begin stopping the onslaught of arrows. Turning to face the warrior striding confidently into his midst, the sergeant begins to think they might have a chance. With a terrible rending sound, a massive boulder erases hope as it collides into the tightly packed formation and smashes armor, bones, blood, and tissue into a solid meaty paste.  Another boulder thuds in with a sickly crunching sound, and then the sky is filled with them. Dazed and bloodied, the soldiers try to find shelter or escape reality but there is no relenting from the arrows carving lines of pain and death complimented by the totality of a thudding boulder.

Sinking to his knees, the sergeant is aghast at the loss of his entire company so quickly. Just a year ago, nobody would have thought of challenging the Dalison House. Respected for being the first Royal House, their reputation had slipped a bit but enough people still feared them that they went basically unchallenged. Now they were dying, and too fast to count. Who did this to them, to him? Almost as if taunting the sergeant, the barrage of boulders and the hail of arrows peters out to leave a field empty except for smoke and blood. Twisting slowly from his kneeling position to gaze around him, tears freely fall as the sergeant realizes that not a single man was left alive. Despair rips all reasoning or action from his grasp and he dumbly watches thick metal boots stride through the remains of his men until they stop right in front of him. “No more will you disgrace this world, you have proven yourself weak and unworthy of life” comes a gravelly pronouncement out of the haze and then light ripples along a blade and the sergeant cares no more.

A few moments pass, with just the Captain standing near the headless body and gazing upon the ruined remains of the Dalison soldiers. Then other figures begin to materialize from the smoky surroundings and approach the silent captain. The first to arrive reaches out a gloved hand to give the Captain a small cloth which he uses to clean his blade silently. “Captain, we still have reports of three other bands of soldiers still nearby. Two from House Rodhale and it looks like one from House Obelyn.” Looking at the speaker, one of his closest aides, the Captain responds “Are we sure they are two different Houses? House Rodhale and Obelyn both wear blue that can be confused in this environment and lack of visibility.” Nodding his assurance, the aide continues “Aye, Captain. The scout actually heard one of the troop ask where Lady Obelyn was supposed to meet them. He was promptly cussed out by a fellow in the troop, but that makes the scout confident they are actually from House Obelyn.”

Pondering his next move, Captain Maulkin signals into the smoke and a few flashes of light wink back at him. Turning to the rest of his aides as they gather around him, he takes a look at the map attached to the back of one of his men. “Okay, the Dalisons are pretty much broken. They still fight and think they hold this ground, but we have holes and entry points everywhere. We know this ground much better than they do, which makes me think they didn’t plan this massive fire which gave us such great opportunity.” A snort interrupts him briefly, causing a pursing of his lips to which his men suddenly straighten and become deadly serious and intent upon his words. “We don’t have much to fear from the Rodhale troops, while the House has a reputation for being all about combat they are really just glory hounds and better suited to the tournaments. In a real fight, they are clueless babes. Plus most of their best men are still in Corvale toadying up to the useless King.”

As various heads nod in agreement with this assessment, the Captain gives his orders “We must teach the Obelyn House that they are no longer the second most important House in the Kingdom. They already have plans upon the throne, and think they will take advantage of this chaos to position themselves and take what they already believe is theirs. I can see their thought, since they have so carefully positioned themselves over the past two decades. But our Lords have different plans, and this is our first time to show them a glimpse of the new order.” Looking around at his aides, the Captain waits until each of his dusty and tired men make eye contact. “We must do this subtly and completely. We are not yet ready to show our true plans or goals. Most of the Houses think we just want this country side, and do not realize the strength of our ambition. With our brethren in House Seymore, we will show them the errors of their ways but not just yet.” A pause here, for effect. “We will wipe this Obelyn company off our God’s earth, and then plant the bodies of the Dalisons at the scene so that when the Duchess finally does arrive to meet her troops she will have to take action against someone other than ourselves.”

As his men break apart to start giving orders and signals to the massed troops hiding in strategic places across the ruined battlefield, the Captain gives himself a small brief moment of emotion. A twisted smile pulls at his downturned lips for the briefest moments as he contemplates the future. “This is OUR Kingdom, they just don’t know it yet.”

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Fallen Knight...

Fog curls out from beneath the gnarled tree roots and gently caresses the ground as it spreads forward to embrace the earth. Broken rays of sunlight trickle down through the cluttered branches to sparkle delicately in the gray cloud covering the ground. For a brief moment it seems as if all of the world has fallen into an enchanted slumber.  Then hoarse shout rises distantly from within the thicket of trees and is soon joined by a great number of screams. Birds burst dramatically into the air to blend their shrieking calls with the deathly din they are eagerly escaping. Wearily, a battered face turns towards the outburst with calculating eyes; wiping glistening beads of sweat from his face, Sir Leon motions to a waiting squire who refills his water-skin as the Knight strains to make out the sounds of battle.

“It’s the Seymour’s yellow coated brigands again, I reckon” a nearby soldier helpfully interjects to break the quiet reflection. The Knight nods as he returns “But whose men are they butchering now?” which causes everyone to fall silent again. The sounds of battle drift from the distant conflict for a few more minutes before slowly fading away into an eerie calm. Tilting his head back, Sir Leon looks up at the makeshift watch tower his men had completed just the previous night. A slight movement on the wooden construction and then a head peers over and makes eye contact with the Knight. “Can’t see diddly, Sir. No idea where they are, or how many there are.”

A muffled groan might have been heard as the Knight looks around at his remaining men. Keeping an outward appearance of calm, he nods solidly to those who manage to meet his eyes though he is inwardly raging. Curse whatever bloody fools light the entire grasslands on fire, he mentally shouts to himself. A pox and a curse and all of the boils of Satan’s torment burn their souls for eternity! We might have stood a chance until a prairie fire sets a beacon out to the whole world and conveniently blocks any line of sight or ability to watch or scout for movement. 17 ambushes in just two weeks, who ever heard of a Knight being caught unaware that often? A few nervous glances from his squires makes Sir Leon realize that his face was betraying his inner turmoil again, which he resolves by stiffly turning and making another round of their precarious encampment. Occupying himself by taking a quick internal roll call, the Knight is almost crushed by the realization he has only twelve men left. Twelve men out of a fierce seventy man regiment so widely respected that many fights stopped simply because they arrived.

The moment the fire became apparent, every House around rushed to wipe the other off the planet under the cover of the ash darkened skies. Finding soldiers in yellow and green was not surprising, as the Seymour and Gainesford Houses had already been encroaching on Dalison land. But mixed in with those bodies, not only had he found the reddish brown of his own Dalison House but also the light cyan of the Rodhale, and also the deeper red of House Andrews. Probably all Houses have a quick tongued gent on hand with the King to explain the “mistaken identity” or “accidental death” for any conflict that could actually be witnessed and proven in the King’s court. And nobody had heard word of that minor House that was poking around before the fire started. So much for their vaunted help that they offered, he snorts to himself, some rumors even have them as the reason that the fire started. I wish I knew what they really wanted and why they decided to wipe the Dalison House off the world.

Sudden alarm breaks into his thought process and he stiffens in shock as his mind frantically does a double take. “Alarm!” he barely manages to get out before the trees around him erupt into a flurry of weapons swinging at his face. I walked right past that guy and never realized he was just standing there in the shadows. Time has frozen for the briefest of moments as he rebels against accepting the sight in front of him. Not the Black! They never surround or take prisoners, just kill us all with no warning or reasoning. They aren’t from here, some say they are from Hell. Why must it be them, why can’t it be a House?

All these thoughts flit through Leon’s brain in a lightning fast moment before combat shuts down any further extraneous thoughts. Quickly twisting with the grace of years of practice, Leon flips his shield sideways and manages a quick bump against an incoming sword. Rotating his head in an awkward angle, he is barely able to catch a second thrust against the strong crest of his helm. Using the momentum of his twist, his right arm strains muscles in a painful movement but succeeds in clearing his sword from his scabbard and sending a darting thrust towards the black armored opponent.  Screams and shouts fill the air but sound seems compressed to the Knight as he focuses on pure survival.

A single lasting second hangs in time before the two blackened blades flicker frighteningly quick towards Leon. An efficient sidestep puts his shield once more right in the perfect path to blunt a sword strike, but this time his attempt to dodge is not quick enough and the second sword catches on his shoulder plates. Metal shrieks as a few chains snap beneath the weight of the blow and blood vessels burst in protest, however his skin does not break and the fight must continue. Moving into his blow, the Knight flings a quick side-hand slash that is easily dodged by his nimble opponent. Hard earned experience has prepared Leon for his tactic however and he manages to shuffle forward just a bit during the exchange.

The roar of blood pounds a drastic beat in his ears, drowning out the sounds of his men behind him. Knowing that they fought the black devils, Leon lets slip a brief snarl of despair and grief for his loyal men dying at this moment. Even a brief slip is too much against such spirited foes and a dark blade connects solidly against the side of his helmet and forces his eyes shut against the ringing. Dalison Knights are respected throughout the entire Kingdom for their training and old legends, and this one refuses to go down so easily. Gritting against the pain, the blind man relies entirely on instinct born of training and experience. Unconventionally swinging his sword low towards the dirt, he waits a heady and full microsecond before flicking his wrist upward with all of the strength that he has left in his battered body.

Bitter raging lust courses through his veins as the impact of steel upon heavy flash ripples through his muscles. A killing blow, he knows even though his eyes refuse to open. Elation and horror melt together inside his emotions as sweet droplets of blood course down his face. In his enlightened sense, Leon feels the presence of several bodies closing on his position. A snarl of pure determination rips through clenched teeth as he whirls and spins into the mass of bodies approaching him. Laughing the last laugh of a doomed man, he revels in the screams and grunts as his shield and blade clash and smash into his enemies. Unfeeling, unaware, he ignores everything around him and surrounds to the rage and anger and bliss of knowing there are no more cares.

A bright light seems to dance in his mind, guiding him through each step of this delicate and maddening dance. Oh Lord of Creation, I entrust myself to You. Take my last confession, feel my sins and absolve me. Let me dance with You this night and sup from Your cup. I dedicate this glorious moment to You, let my name live on in glory forever. And as this last prayer bubbles out of lips brimming with blood, his body finally loses its battle. With a slow and sweeping spin, he slowly buckles to his knees and then begins a glacial fall to the ground. One last breath breaks free of collapsing lungs and his eyes finally work again, giving him one last glance of his final battlefield.

As the world spins in on itself, his mind is already fleeing but has time to mark the positions of two black suits of armor crumpled at one corner of the field and another one a few feet down. From those bodies lead a set of bloody footprints in an erratic pattern through a broken pile of brown armored bodies. The last sight seared into the Knight’s eyes are the footprints ending directly beneath him.