Jasmine Snippet #45

The notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

The “Crystal Caverns” Castle Card from Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game.

True to his word, the little old man was filled with information. Ahearn spent several hours conversing with him. For someone who did not get out to socialize very much, the little man was charming and affable. Ahearn came to understand that Bardulf was still somewhere within the cave system, lost. They monitored his progress. At first, he went in circles. Then he “discovered” a passage that took him well beyond what the Guardian considered their borders. The latest report had Bardulf nearing the dwarven mine settlement off to the northwest.

When Ahearn asked about the Great Book that had gone missing, he was told it was started by the wizard Erlkyng with the intent it be presented to the “lad” to learn everything about defeating his enemies. He chuckled. Erlkyng expected the result of his magic would produce a son. They all thought that. But as fate would have it, a daughter was born! So everything Erlkyng wrote in the book addressed a lad. Until recently, the Tome of Wisdom had been safely stored away in the Crystal Caverns.

“We had only brought the book out of the Crystal Caverns to show the lass. We were so excited for her to see the resources that were prepared for her success…”

Curious, Ahearn interrupted, “The Crystal Caverns?”

“The Crystal Caverns were a refuge to the wizard Erlkyng,” one of the Guardians told him. Ahearn bade him continue, “We were good company for each other. Our kind live a long life and we’ve seen a lot. We shared with him many secrets that he found of use. He urged us to record all we knew into a great volume of knowledge. He told us this practice would give our lives purpose. We accepted his challenge and have been expanding the knowledge within Erlkyng’s book ever since.

“The Tome of Wisdom contains all of the secrets of the Mid-Realm. Now that it’s out of our hands, we fear the worst for the Mid-Realm. If used in a selfish way, the information can easily be used to destroy. Now it’s in the hands of a man who loves gaining power through manipulation, dabbles with the power of magic, feels superior over others and who kills indiscriminately and without remorse. I’m now sorry we agreed to write anything at all.”

The Guardian of Wisdom became solemn and kept silent for a long time after he voiced those words. Indeed, the stealing of the Tome of Wisdom was something to ponder. If Bardulf was this powerful without the Tome, just imagine how much more powerful a book of secrets will make him. The Guardian was right. This news pointed to something much more devastating than a maiden forgetting she was a princess.

He did not fully understand what the Guardian meant when he spoke of “Jasmine” being an intricate part of a decades long plan to defeat the evil that has been creeping down from the west.

It further confused Ahearn when the Guardian spoke of her destiny as something beyond a princess. Didn’t her birthright matter? How could anything change the fact that she was the daughter of a King? As a prince, he himself knew very well he was subject to certain rules of tradition. He was subject to certain obligations expected of him by his father and those ruled by him How could this princess not be subject to the same rules?

Thinking about the princess was always troublesome. Although she was fair to look at, he did not really like her. He considered her to be the worst type of maiden — spoiled, head strong, ill-humored, manipulative, and rude. Yet, he did not recognize the same traits in himself. The princess’s worth to him and his country was political. Her only redeeming quality as a person was the fact of her blood. All she had to do was to exist. She did not have to be deserving. She did not have to be nice. It would not matter. She would still be Queen.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #44

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” Continue:

The “Tome of Wisdom” card in Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game.

Ahearn had not traveled far into the cave when he thought he heard his name being called and echoed. Someone was aware he had entered the cave and knew who he was. He cautiously worked his way further inside until the space before him opened up into a sizable cavity.

For all his cautionary measures, Ahearn was still startled when someone spoke who was very close to him. “I was spared when it happened… That’s because I was in a far away passage to the north on the other side,” said a short gnome-like man with round glasses and a wispy white beard. Where he had popped out from, Ahearn could only guess. With gnarled hands grasping a walking stick, the little fellow gestured to the floor. Ahearn glanced down. There were a lot of blood stains. The little old man lamented,”There was no reason to kill them.”

“How is it you know my name.” Ahearn asked him. The little old character wobbled closer to Ahearn and came to the height of his knees.

“Why we know everybody’s name.” He replied, ” We are, or were, the Chroniclers of History. Ask us anything, and we will tell you all you want to know.”

“What happened here? What happened to the Princess of UR?”

The little man nodded his funny head. “The Princess of UR died, or will die very soon.”

“Oh no! I’m too late.” Ahearn sighed.

“You are not late at all,” the small man said in a reassuring tone, “For Jasmine to be born, the Princess Flavia of UR must die! It was never this girl’s fate to become a Queen. Her destiny lies elsewhere within the Mid-Realm. It has already been set years before her birth.”

“Is she within this cave?”

“No. The lost princess who entered this cave, has shed her past. I instructed her as I guided her out. When she left my care and this cave three days ago, it was with a new identity. If you should catch up with her, it is unlikely she will know you. And you will definitely not recognize her. You will only perceive a being who once was identified as the Princess Flavia of UR, but that person will no longer exist.”

“Then the princess is alive, thank the stars?!”

“Fool, have you not been listening? Yes, the woman is alive, but at what cost? A great tragedy visited us within this cavern.”

Ahearn’s attention was immediately brought back to the blood stained floor. The old man told him that Bardulf stood on that very spot. And just as he did , had received similar news and answers to his queries. But Bardulf reacted with rage. He violently struck down the messenger with his weapon and quickly proceeded to butcher the little people nearest him. In a heart-beat, everyone scattered.

Bardulf chased one who fled to an area containing the Tomb of Wisdom. Bardulf immediately halted when he noticed the opened book. When he recognized the book’s significance, he gained control over his blood lust. Dazzled, Bardulf put down his bloodied sword to read the pages, allowing the Chronicler to escape a bloody death.

The little old man shook his head, saying soulfully, “But many more will die because of the knowledge contained within that book of magic he stole.”

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #43

“The Story of Jasmine” Notes Continue:

“I hate you,” Thorne said in a forced whisper, “I’ regret pledging my sword to your cause, as my bird lies dead because of you. Curse that lizard creature that follows you… curse you and your problems. Try to stay out of my way!”


How interesting. Thorne now has a hawk! Where was that bird when she was at the Inn? I’ll have to account for it in the rewrite.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #42

“The Story of Jasmine” Notes Continue:

Suddenly, the princess Flavia of UR’s disappearance made complete sense. She could very well be a prisoner within this cave. Recalling the disturbed vines, it then occurred to Ahearn he was not the only one on the trail of the princess. Suddenly, a rash of questions bombarded his mind. Who had come before him? How long ago? What did they discover? Did they find her? What will he find? What will he encounter?

Although he yearned to rush ahead, he returned to the grotto above. He took special care to tend to his horse. He moved his horse to a small spring, so it would not thirst and also took this opportunity to feed the beast. There was no telling where the cave would lead him, or for how long he would be gone.

Ahearn cared well for his steed. They were good together. They had an understanding. This was partially why Ahearn was lauded  in his country as the Lord of Horses. The knot he tied was a special one, made in such a way the animal could free itself if it should become necessary. He removed the saddle, and placed it on a low branch off the ground. Holding the animal’s great head gently, Ahearn looked into its dark dewey eyes. He paused to rest his forehead against the front of it’s muzzle. The animal knew the significance of this action and acknowledged him with a whinny and a toss of the head.

Satisfied, Ahearn quickly packed some supplies to carry with him and disappeared into the mouth of the cavern.


I should probably think of a name for Ahearn’s horse.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #41

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

In the glowing whiteness and silence of the mountaintop they found themselves whispering, as if in great reverence to nature’s accomplishment.

Standing on the outer precipice, they looked across the wide expanse of low hills and plains which they had just covered. It was then they realized they were between heaven and hell, between the sublime and the _____*

For a place known as the “Meeting Place of the Winds,” it was very still. It seemed to be a place of silence and secrets moved only by the wind.


*These are merely notes to myself. Obviously, I had not yet figured out what word to use.

I recognize this snippet as being much further along in the story.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #40

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

The northern trek eventually led Ahearn into an area within the forest where there was a small grotto. At the grotto, he saw a strange and unexpected sight. From the looming darkness, it looked like there were thousands of glistening stars. He paused for a moment to make sense of what he was seeing. Moving closer, the stars became flowers. Small, delicate white flowers blossoming everywhere in this space.

Moving into the grotto, he noticed a greater thickness of flowers. Upon closer inspection, he discovered these bloom clusters enveloped a stone statue of a woman. He thought perhaps she was the guardian of this grotto until he studied the face. The workmanship was too real for a statue to be hidden in the forest. He quickly concluded it was a work of witchery. A woman had been turned to stone.

The statue was a young woman, who looked remarkably like the Princess of UR. If he hadn’t made a habit of studying faces, he might have mistook the statue for the princess. He logically concluded this must be her mother. He mused. “No wonder the Queen was never seen again after the birth of her daughter. There’s something foul to this mystery. Why was the woman turned to stone?”

Ahearn regarded the stance of the figure. It looked almost as if she had been protecting something behind her. Moving past the figure, he noticed many flower blooms had been disturbed. Many plants had been torn away and stomped upon. Someone had been here before him. The damage seemed to be recent. Parting the plants, he noticed a tunnel made of the living roots of trees, which led him to the entrance of a subterranean cave.

© 2018 DARLENE


Jasmine Snippet #39

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

The place of ambush happened at a juncture where a road diverged from the main one to the south, as if to avoid the inevitable hilly outcropping of stone. The main road continued eastward. However, by a small spring gurgling further away from the road, it looked like a lone rider traveled swiftly. Judging from the depth of the depression of the hoof marks, he did not travel light. But he was traveling fast in a new, southeasterly direction.

Ahearn followed these tracks into rocky terrain, where they were harder to discern, but distinct nonetheless. The tracks led Ahearn to a large, now abandoned, enemy encampment.

Not too long ago, there had been a lot of activity here, and a lot of men. The signs told him this was a large encampment. And as large as it was, he did not see any trace of bloodshed. He could easily tell the amount of activity entering and exiting the camp. At first, the task seemed daunting, to guess which of the three roads leading out of the camp were taken.

There was a road that continued eastward. Another tracked northward, while another still took a southernly route. Of the three routes, the northern trek, a steep rocky climb that promised to get steeper, seemed to be the least likely. But going south appeared equally unlikely. The logical direction they would have taken would have been east.

Yet, she did not arrive in Swartzborg. Therefore, she did not take the eastern road. So, north or south? To go south would be to eventually hit the coast. If they were planning that, they would have turned south immediately at the ambush site. That route was fast and easy. A good plan would be to have a ready ship in the harbor to sail them to Swartzborg. But as he already knew, she didn’t end up within the walls of Bardulf’s prison castle.

It’s north then, to the mountains, and on to more difficult terrain. As expected, the twisting and turning route headed towards higher ground. Traveling in between obstacles of boulders and gnarly trees, the way was cumbersome and slow. The path was also forested. Single file was the only way a group of men on horses could manage. This left their defenses vulnerable.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #38

Notes from “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

To discover what fate befell the Princess of UR, there was nothing left for Ahearn to do but to trace the east-west main road, the supposed route she had taken from UR’s Eiodel Castle. He was determined to discover the story of her abduction in the marks left on the ground. And found them he did.

He clearly found significant signs in a place where a grove of trees sprung up in the middle of a meadow. It was an attractive stopping point, an oasis in the prairie lands where travelers and their animals could rest and renew themselves. It was an ideal spot, right before the meadow lands become a rocky, hilly landscape.

There, he discovered recent signs of battle The battle marks proved there was a struggle, and likely an abduction. Not only that, nearby, there were recent marked graves probably made by some passing URians, for the noble fallen. Ahearn mused, “no traveler  would want such a pleasant spot to be sullied by the sight and smell of stinking bodies.”

When he found a pink ribbon snared on the branches of a tree, he sighed. She had made it this far and did not die. If she had, there would be plenty of proof of it. He found himself glad she was alive. His promise to her father could be fulfilled. If there was a deeper reason as to why he was glad she was still alive, he didn’t entertain the thought.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #37

The “Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Bardulf wasn’t the only one secretly seeking the princess of UR. Although he claimed to have her hidden within his Castle Swartzborg, some were beginning to wonder why Bardulf had not yet made a public spectacle of marriage to immediately legitimize his hold on UR. The thought of this made the conquered Urian population shudder. There was idle speculation — bordering on hope — that the princess somehow escaped Bardulf’s clutches. Few in the Kingdom of UR wanted to believe she had actually been killed.

Despite the cold reception Prince Ahearn of Dockalfar received when he visited Eiodel on that lamentable visit, a fortnight ago, he felt honor-bound to discover the truth regarding the whereabouts of King Aranbrod’s daughter. Where was Princess Flavia of UR? He was determined to find out.

The first thing he did was to dress himself as inconspicuously as possible. He hid his black armor and that of his horse and donned the appearance of a mercenary. Ahearn liked the disguise. This meant he could still have his weapon handy.

He meant to infiltrate Bardulf’s largest castle, Swartzborg, to discover if she was being held there.

(Need a description of his trip to the enemy fortress and how he discovers she’s not there).

© 2018 DARLENE


Jasmine Snippet #36

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

It took Rogan two days to reach The Great White Throne. The unearthly glow served as a beacon to guide him. As he neared the ruins, he passed many stone statues. The thought occurred to him that these statues appeared to be too new to be gracing an ancient temple. But he wasted no more thoughts pondering this anomaly.

When his horse finally reached the periphery of the temple, Rogan was amazed to find the entire area littered with the same type of statuary. All were frozen in various gestures of surprise and fear. Then, for the first time Rogan became concerned. They looked like soldiers.

Could these statues once have been men … perhaps, maybe Bardulf’s men? This, he was about to find out.


*I need to figure out just how far away the mountain shrine is to the village. I’m leaning towards one half a day’s walk for Jasmine, but much faster on a horse.

© 2018 DARLENE