Category Archives: Jasmine & Role Playing Games

Jasmine Snippet #58

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

Glynn found it hard to reconcile the woman he had just placed in the circular room with the young one he had been traveling with. He knew they were the same person, and yet, they were so different. The first one was so unsure of herself and easy prey for two ruffians. And the other, the other caused a burst of great light to freeze those soldiers in their tracks. How was it possible anyone could wield such immense power?

He returned to the surface to find Rogan very agitated. Glynn thought he was still trying to make sense of the fate of the soldiers. So was he. But Rogan was worried about something else.  “Someone’s coming,” he warned. They took up hidden positions and spied a lone rider on a black horse enter the area.

The rider seemed very interested in the stone soldiers, as anyone would be. The young man dismounted. To inspect them, he walked closer to where they were. Rogan shifted his weight nervously and gripped his weapon tighter. Glynn thought Rogan was too unnerved to effectively deal with any strangers. The man was apt to make things worse. Glynn signaled Rogan to stay put while he took the initiative to advance.

Moving silently, but purposefully, towards the stranger, Glynn shouted the customary dwarven challenge-greeting, “Heigh Ho … Friend or Foe?”

Jasmine Snippet #57

New note for “The Story of Jasmine”:

When Jasmine awoke, she was on the seat of a large throne in a circular room. She was confused. Did I dream I was outside, or was I actually outside?” In her mind, she retraced her steps.

Jasmine remembered exploring the temple, which seemed to be a well-ventilated underground structure. There were no ruins she could detect. She judged it to be long past evening when she entered this central hall. Now it felt like the night had long since settled in. She remembered her first sight of this throne elevated by about five steps. She had immediately made for the steps and was about to take a customary seat at the top when it occurred to her she wasn’t in UR anymore. But, with no other place to sit, she decided to risk it.

Once she took her seat on the throne, she lost all sense of time and reality. Her body became electrified as she received lots of memories/ knowledge/ information. It was all so real, yet her recollections were vague. But there was a particularly vivid one regarding the soldiers who were gathered outside. She dreamt she was a Protector of this Holy Temple and like her sisters, had a duty.

She remembered dreaming about being in an important council with her sisters. They discussed what to do with the violaters who had gathered outside. They talked about the men staying there a long time because they could never return to their Lord empty-handed. They would stay until they encountered some hap-hazard individual. Then she saw Glynn’s face. He was her new dwarf friend who she left behind at the Oxted Inn — the one who saved her from an attack. He would be walking into an ambush. She feared for him.

That’s the point she could not distinguish very well. It felt to her like the continuation of a dream, but it also felt like it could have happened. She and her entranced sisters marched outside and took up their collective positions until they were all gathered in a circle, even in places where there were no structures to hold them. The Order of the White Flower surrounded the men. One or two of them gave short speeches. But then everyone participated in confronting the soldiers to honorably give them a way to save themselves. They all spoke the same words in unison. After their collective challenge was answered, they hummed in unison. They directed the vibration they achieved downward towards the men. It did not take long before the resonance of their collective humming produced a blinding flash.

After feeling a sensation of falling, she thought she saw Glynn’s face. Then her sisters carried her back inside as her strange dream continued. As before, she was back on the throne. Her  sisters urged her to find a particular room and enter it. Fortunately, she would not have to search to find the room. Her Ermama made her memorize the layout of the temple by making it into a game. She knew the room belonged to the wizard Erlkyng. Come to think of it, the Guardians also suggested she seek Erlkyng’s room to see what she would find there.

Deciding the time was probably nigh, she got up and headed directly for Elkyng’s chamber.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #56

New note from “The Story of Jasmine”:

Her old clothing was the last thing linking her to her prior existence as a princess. Besides being heavy, cold and wet against her skin, there were other reasons she was happy to strip off of the raiment of her past and be rid of them. The clothes no longer suited her, if they ever did.

Jasmine sighed, “All I have left are your stories, dear Ermama.” Adjusting the new gown to her body, she recognized, with delight, she was dressed the same as described for the Order of the White Flower. She laughed as she huddled around the lantern. There was another box waiting for her to open. Jasmine walked over to it and inspected the contents. It contained footwear.

It was not long before Jasmine was dressed, head to toe as one of the Order of the White Flower. She felt she want to be a part of this Order. She placed the rest of the clothes back within the innermost cedar box and closed each lid. If she wanted to be one of the Order, it would only be respectful to put things away properly. But what should she do with the clothing she left behind?

She wadded everything up into one ball and proceeded back to the pool room. She pushed the unwanted ball as far as she could down into the hole. When the vortex took hold she said, “Goodbye, Princess Flavia of UR.” 

With the symbols of her prior life sucked away, she was definitely ready to take conscious steps into the future. Her very next thought rewarded the first, “Wafers!” She knew where the rations were kept.

© 2018 DARLENE

 

Jasmine Snippet #55

Notes from The Story of Jasmine continue:

Jasmine stopped shivering after her body dried. The fabric of the dress she had donned was sweet-smelling and made her smile. It was surprisingly comfortable. But anything would be comfortable compared to all those monstrosities she endured for the sake of looking good for her father at court. He paraded her out at every opportunity. Any opportunity. And all she had to do was to smile sweetly and say the right things. It was the main thing that was expected of her.

The way she saw it, she was dutiful. Court-life was boring. Ermangarde made it so. Anything Ermangarde was saying or doing, especially her stories, made the little princess want to remain a child forever. Ermangarde nurtured her rebellious nature, which always translated as being haughty.

She so wanted to scream to them, “But if you only heard her stories, you’d understand and totally agree!” Ermangarde always forbade her to do such a thing. She even made the princess promise never to repeat what she says to a living soul! The knowledge of her stories were meant only for her and her alone. It was to be their secret.

Jasmine laughed to recall how Ermengarde gave her great ideas to delay the moment of their parting. She did everything Ermengarde suggested. She mused to herself, “I  would never have thought I had a say when it came to suitors. That was genius. It gained us many more years than I would have thought possible.” But thinking back, sometimes the princess really liked some of her suitors, those who came to win her hand. She was excited to be seen by them. She liked hearing all the pretty things they had to say to her in front of everybody.

But Ermangarde always stood firm. And she always knew best. The princess took to heart Emangarde’s warnings against youthful entanglements and her rigid stance, that above all, she should never marry.

“Diminish contact,” was Ermangarde’s usual advice, “it will make things easier not to succumb to those courtship rituals.” As Ermangarde fed her compelling stories about The Order of the White Flower, the princess was urged to question everything about her life in court. It seemed like Ermangarde had made it much easier for her to sever ties.

Now, with Ermangarde gone, she had nothing to hang onto, except stories. First, there were the strange stones the Guardians told her on their ceaseless journey underground. The strange history Glynn Oakenshield told made her wonder all the more. But before all that, there were Ermangarde’s stories. Jasmine now needed to remember every secret tale her wise and loving companion told her.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #54

Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

It was not difficult to see there were two ways leading out of the pool chamber. Shivering, Jasmine entered the left one. The passageway immediately brought her to a room that seemed to be drier. Before her, on a stone table, was a large stone box. Inside the stone box, was a cedar box. It was large enough to hold a lantern, oil, and a means to make fire. Without hesitation, she lit it and held it close to her as the flame grew steady.

She was still shivering when she recalled the contents of what was supposed to be in next room. Taking up the lantern, she found her way into the next chamber which, sure enough, had a change of clothes. The clothes were tucked away in an another set of boxes similar to the first. Although this box was larger, the lid sort of rolled in a weird way that made it easily accessible.

When she finally made her way to the contents, she discovered many different shapes, styles, and sizes of white garments, mostly robes and dresses. The only stitch of clothing that was not white was a blue cloak. She was eager to get out of her wet clothes and into something dry. Even so, she was as choosy now as when she was a princess.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #53

New note for The Story of Jasmine:

Looking for the secret passage, Jasmine moved further up the stream, and headed for the waterfall. She stopped at the point the water had pooled. She knew the place the pool would be much deeper, where the water fell from above. She discarded her cloak on the bank and stepped into the pool. The chilly water immediately came up to her waist. She swam towards the falls. The only way to get to the secret passage was to locate it from below.

In Ermengarde’s stories, the passageway could not be accessed on land. She ducked under the surface of the cold water and, feeling her way with her hands, discovered an opening.

She did not have far to swim. The underwater passage contained a vortex and, once inside, it swallowed her. She made it there before she needed to replenish her breath. The end came out in a small, dully lit underground chamber. Her eyes became accustomed to the greenish caste.

According to Ermengarde, a special lichen with the ability to illuminate the walls and ceiling thrived there. Of course, she never really believed that part of the story, but it was true! Green Light without the sun did exist! This stuff was all over the walls and ceiling. She got herself out of the cold water. Her wet clothes dripped on the moss.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #52

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

Glynn was unsure about many things. He was still unsure about Rogan, the red-headed stranger, who rode and fought alongside him. With only a few words, Rogan quickly quelled the woman warrior’s attack. She immediately put down her weapon. Obviously, they knew each other. Glynn understood she had followed him from the Oxted Inn. Rogan chided the battle-maiden, “You’ll use any excuse to don your armor.” Together, they were suspicious.

Ahearn silently observed. Glynn noticed Thorne’s arrival was not too far behind the dark elf’s sudden appearance. He smelled trouble with that one. He considered the possibility all three of them were in cahoots. But to what end? All that notwithstanding, uppermost in his mind, he was unsure about what he had witnessed earlier and what it meant.

When they arrived here, he and Rogan were ambushed by Bardulf’s men. They were in the heat of battle when a figure dressed in white appeared, high above them on the roof. From her elevated platform, she called a halt to the fighting. The soldiers stood spell-bound at the sight of her. Dressed in white, the figure was luminous. She seemed to shine as brightly as the moon behind her.

While the soldiers became entranced, he and Rogan took the opportunity to slip away. Rogan went into the tangled brush while he headed straight for the building. Only when he heard her speak was he certain the figure on the roof was Jasmine.

With a ringing voice, Jasmine ordered the soldiers to “leave this holy place.”

One of the soldiers, probably the Captain, found his tongue and responded, “Not til we get what we came for.”

“I will not come you,” Jasmine said calmly, “what you seek no longer exists.”

“You are no ghost,” he replied confidently and ordered his men to advance to her position.

“Do not come any further.” She commanded, but the Captain re-issued his orders. He snickered when she said, “This is your final warning.”

Glynn, standing near her position, underneath, got ready to defend her when a brilliant light illumined the scene. For several moments, it seemed as if the afternoon sun had replaced the black of night. As the ruins became brightly lit, the soldiers were blinded, and cried out. Then everything fell silent. And the darkness returned.

Above him, Glynn saw Jasmine teeter. When she swooned, he moved in to catch her and broke her fall. Only after she was safely in his arms, did he pull his attention away from her. After his eyes readjusted to the dark, he was amazed to see all the soldiers standing in place, unmoving. None had advanced. Nothing moved, except for Rogan, who emerged from the underbrush.

He watched Rogan cautiously move to the soldier closest to him. Glynn heard Rogan gasp, when he touched the soldier. The man was frozen in shock. A small push easily toppled the figure, causing a startled Rogan to jump back and cry out in what Glynn figured was the name of his god. The soldiers, every one of them, had been turned to stone.

Glynn turned his attention back to Jasmine and regarded her with wonder. Her glistening skin was paler than usual. And she was hot to the touch. She whispered to him that she needed to rest in the inner sanctum and directed him where to take her inside the temple walls.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #51

The notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

“Well, if that don’t beat all!” the dwarf cried to his Nôr-man companion, “Here we are – all strangers, but each one of us happen to be men-for-hire and on this very day, we all find ourselves on this mountain, unbidden!”

The Nôr-man bent down to whisper something to the dwarf, who shifted his stance, “So,” he said, “you hail from Dockalfar?”

Ahearn nodded.

The Nôr-man spoke for the first time, “What do you know of UR?”

Ahearn decided to pretend not to know anything and related what he knew when he first arrived in the south lands some time ago. “UR presently seeks to destroy a threat to its Kingdom.”

“Then you are too late to help them, my friend. UR has fallen.”

“Fallen?” Ahearn feinted disbelief.

“Have you not seen Bardulf’s soldiers about?” The Nôr-man asked him.

“Do they look like this?” Ahearn replied, pointing to the statues. “Then, no.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “But it seems to me you two are well equipped to deal with any enemies. I have told you who I am. Do me the courtesy to do the same. I would like to know what type of company I find myself within.”

All during this time, Ahearn’s horse had inched stealthily nearer to him, only moving when clouds obscured the moonlight. When Ahearn’s sword also came within reach, the Nôr-man casually stepped forward and grabbed the reins with a sure horse-friendly hand.

“Ah, yes,” Ahearn thought to himself as he remembered. The Nôr-man were as accomplished as his own countrymen when it came to training their horses. Unfortunately, the Nôr-man was aware of horse tricks like this.

Ahearn knew if he asked directly, he’d be putting his cover story at risk. No matter how long it took, he was determined to find out if the princess was inside the still-intact parts of the temple. And if so, was she a prisoner?

The two were just about to introduce themselves, when a rider in full armor, brandishing a sword swiftly galloped on the scene. The dwarf whirled around and shouted, “Friend or foe?”

In one smooth motion, the warrior was off her horse with weapon swinging. Thorne cries, “Foe!”

Jasmine Snippet #50

The notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

“Heigh Ho! Friend or foe?” Ahearn looked in the direction of the call. His sword was still strapped to his horse and he would not be able to retrieve it in time.

He held up his weaponless hands and replied, “Friend!”

The moon had disappeared again. Ahearn heard some bustling within the chamber and then the slow advance of footsteps. “Nothing will happen to you if you are, indeed, a friend.” Ahearn noticed the stocky figure approaching him was a mature dwarf with a graying beard and piercingly clear eyes.

The dwarf had on his person several daggers and a great battle-axe hung at his side in the customary way mercenary dwarf warriors wore them. What’s more, still stained with fresh blood, this battle-axe had recently been used. Ahearn noted his proud bearing as he spoke. “Who are you and what is your business here?”

Noticing a second man off to his left, Ahearn answered, “I’m a mercenary soldier, much like yourself.” Ahearn immediately launched into the cover story he had prepared for himself earlier when he began his quest to find the lost princess.

When he had finished, the dwarf asked, “Who do you work for?”

“Unemployed at the moment. I am in service to none. I intend to inquire for some work, in Oxted but have not make it that far.”

“You say you are not coming from Oxted, but are traveling towards Oxed?”

“Yes, from the west,” Ahearn lied, “from the north-west, if you must know! Now may I ask what all his is about?” The dwarf had already backed down and signaled to the man who stood watching in the shadows.

With his hand on the hilt of his sword, the man approached them. As he got nearer, Ahearn saw he had fiery red hair and beard. There was no mistaking him. This was one of the Nôr-men of Roth. Ahearn was surprised to see him. The Nôr-men of Roth infrequently ventured beyond their own borders and, to his knowledge, never this far south.

The Velgrath Mountains stood between their two kingdoms in the north. Ahearn reasoned that if he could recognize one of the Nôr-men, he could just as easily be identified as a Dockalfarian.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #49

On-going notes for “The Story of Jasmine”:

Ahearn judged it to be well after midnight by the time he reached his destination, the temple the Guardians had talked about. All during his ride, the moon shone brightly and illuminated the landscape for far distances. But after his arrival to the white mountain, the clouds became shrouded in a thick bank of clouds.

The moon was still hidden when he finally arrived in the area of the temple. He dismounted. With reins in hand, he slowly lead the rest of the way to the buildings in ruin. Among the ruins, he passed many stone statues. It seemed to him they resembled soldiers, but not ancient ones. These statues became more numerous when he entered the temple grounds.

The moon came out as Ahearn was examining one such face. The sudden illumination accentuated the look of astonishment frozen upon the stone faces. The startling effect unnerved him. This had been a recent occurance.

He knew this because he recognized one of the statues to have been a particularly gruesome foe. “One of Bardulf’s men, from the look of it.” He thought grimly. Once before, he had encountered something like this, and recently. A stone statue of a woman stood in front of the cave opening in the grotto. Surely, this could not be coincidence.

To make more sense of the scene, Ahearn left his horse to walk around each figure and examined the the foot tracks that once belonged to them. The surprised gaze of each statue was turned upward to a place near the top of the building. He was about to approach what looked like the main temple, when a voice halted him.

© 2018 DARLENE