Category Archives: Jasmine & Role Playing Games

Jasmine Snippet #82

The Story of Jasmine Snippets continue:

The Special Card, “Ring of Emeth” from the JASMINE: The Battle of the Mid-Realm Collector Card game.

After a time, Jasmine broke the silence, “When I was underground with the Order of the White Flower, the sisters were very real to me. You say you did not see them. But I spoke with them at length and we had some truly revealing conversations. Is it possible I only spoke to them because of this ring? And maybe it was the ring’s doing that turned those men to stone?”

The fire popped. Jasmine paused long enough to take a breath, “They gave me amazing information about ways to diminish the effect of the metal around my finger. They repeated what the Guardians of Wisdom recommended: to keep the ring under water or under earth. Somehow, being in the open air with the sun out will heighten it’s influence over me. So it’s no wonder I’m feeling more myself… it’s much darker here and there is much more moisture. The ring’s effect has already dampened.”

“We need to get that evil thing off of you.” Glynn said with a sense of urgency.

“I don’t think it’s evil. The visions of the ring are not nightmarish.” Jasmine replied softly, “The lands are breathlessly beautiful; stunning beyond belief. It seems to me, I can hear the denizens of another land speak to me. They tell me another realm exists. To be able to go back and forth at will between the two worlds, requires a controller in possession of the king’s crown and a dragon lizard to power it.”

“So?” Glynn asked.

“So… I have seen that dragon lizard! He belongs to Bardulf. When that thing crowed, Glynn, he blasted me out of the dreamscape I found myself within. What is more, I was able to distinguish the enchantment Bardulf placed upon me. Bardulf just enhanced the ring’s effect by writing himself into the story he wanted me to follow.”

“What?”

“Yes! I know! But those details don’t matter right now. What’s important is this dragon-lizard is attracted to the ring! I think it’s the real reason Bardulf placed it on my finger. So he can track me down using a dragon for a blood hound! Fortunately, he could not track me in the underground caverns, nor at the underground temple, and less so when I was alongside a river or a stream.

“It is strange. I half expected something to happen during our trek through the prairie fields and open spaces. I know, that’s when I was exceptionally vulnerable to being discovered. I don’t know why, but even though we are within a safer wooded area, I feel the time is imminently close for a visit from the creature.”

This revelation made Glynn uneasy. He looked around the camp suspiciously. Jasmine reassured him that the little dragon would not hide. Instead, it would probably announce itself immediately upon it’s arrival with a loud, thundering squawk. That bit of news did not make the dwarf feel much better.

Wanting to suggest something a little more uplifting, Jasmine ventured, “Before the little dragon arrives, I plan to obtain advice about him from the winds.” That bit of information did not stir him either.

Jasmine finally thought of a good way to lighten the atmosphere. She laughed, “Isn’t it wonderful to share a space where three extra people aren’t glowering, suspicious, and charged up about each other?” Glynn finally shared her laugh. He too, appreciated the stillness of having no negative vibes or heavy emotional residue to interrupt or disturb peaceful slumber.

Yes, nodded Glynn. Without the silent clamor, it will certainly be harder to stay vigilent while those goons are away. Still, he could read the night much better without their interference. They tended to affect the electrical bio-field surrounding them. He read there was danger all around. Nothing new there. After a while, Glynn convinced himself, that the three’s psychic noise would have an effective repelling quality on any mental probes directed their way. It certainly had a negative effect on him!

Without the “bungling shield” created by the three, as Glynn laughed to call it, we’re now more prone to being found. He thought of a modest solution to try. He emptied a small sack of its contents, scooped up dirt and rocks to fill it. He wetted the mixture with his canteen and made a muddy paste. Then he awakened Jasmine.

“Here,” he said as he pushed the dirty sac towards the bleary-eyed girl. He took her hand and submerged it in the bag. The feel of mud on her fingers instantly shocked Jasmine into wakefulness. She responded by jerking her hand away.

“No,” Glynn said gently, “keep your ring hand in the bag in the mud and I will sleep better.”

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #81

Here are some more notes for The Story of Jasmine:

While Glynn poked the fire, Jasmine wondered if she could possibly be homesick. Since the relentless psychic noise had quieted, she was free to think about other things. She’d only been there for less than a day, yet she felt so much more at home, (than anywhere else in the world,) with her tangible ghost sisters, in the belly of an underground temple she had scarcely visited.

If she was still a princess, she’d demand to stay there. But she was not a princess. Not any longer. Before she met her sisters, she renounced all privilege. Thus far during their trip, save for that one thought, no doubts or regrets surfaced about her loss of princess status. She was something more. In the circular throne room, members of the Order of the White Flower collectively materialized before her. At first, she thought she had been sleeping when they appeared. Then she must have sleep-walked back or forward in time, caught within the power of a waking dream.

“Was I only an emptied cup to be filled?” She asked herself.

It seemed to her she became another person. She felt different. Her thoughts strayed around the events of that night. She traced the change in herself to originate from that happening at the Order of the White Flower’s ancient temple grounds. Jasmine noticed she felt a marked change in her demeanor. Of course, who wouldn’t be altered by such an event? But she had no peer to talk to. She searched her mind for some story or advice Ermengarde could have left her in a situation such as this.

Jasmine puzzled over many things as she went over and over what happened that night. That night, when she spoke, a voice (her voice?) originated from her belly. The voice was booming and resonated throughout her rib cage. Vibrating thus, she felt the power in the delivery of her words as well as in the words themselves. That night, with the light of the glowing moon behind her, atop the roof of the ancient temple on the White Throne Mountain, she spoke deeply and purposefully among a chorus of her sisters’ voices…

Again, Jasmine shook herself out of her revery and brought herself back to the present. She sighed to herself, “Ahearn thinks I’m a conquest; Thorne thinks I’m a fool, and Rogan thinks I’m a pawn. Even so, no body knows who I truly am. Everyone defers to me because I used to be a king’s daughter. But I’m so much more now. None see because I keep to myself concentrating all my available reserve of powers to control the effects of the ring on my finger!”

For days, as they traveled on a wind-swept plain during the day, Jasmine depleted her energy reserves in focused concentration. Jasmine concluded the elements of air and fire, which prevailed in their journey, resonated with the ring to enhance their effect.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #80

The Story of Jasmine notes proceed:

Two cards from Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game.

The moment Thorne spied Gavin, she knew something serious was up. She disentangled herself as fast as she could from her traveling companions and followed the hawk. She chris crossed her path, in case Rogan would try to locate her tracks. When she finally returned to the road, she picked up speed as she turned her stallion loose to run.

This is where her horse, Mindy, excelled. None was faster. Even Rogan’s stallion, who proved to be a worthy horse, could never best Mindy in a race. But they never raced. Thorne wanted to keep her horse’s exceptional penchant for running all to herself.

At last, the bird landed in some trees next to a clearing where there were three battle maidens waiting. “Ambassador Thornekill?” queried the rider in the middle, “Oh Ambassador! Praises be, we caught you in time!” Thorne recognized the voice of the maiden with the copper-colored hair.

“Hail Clara,” Thorne called, “What urgent news awaits me?”

The riders trotted their horses closer to each other. “Come,” said Clara, “visit our camp and we’ll tell tell you everything while you, your horse … and Gavin rest.”

Thorne accepted their hospitality. It wasn’t long before she was eating diltsfef wrapped in flat bread. How long was it since she enjoyed diltsfef? In between savored bites, Thorne listened. She understood that the Northern road had just been compromised by Melantha’s forces.

The Armildians did not want any of their own to fall into her hands, and especially not their Ambassador. Clara chose Gavin, a trained hawk she knew Thorne was sure to recognize, to intercept her before her party took that road. Clara’s plan worked.

As the news unfurled, Thorne’s eyes grew wider. “Gavin may have been too late,” Thorne told them, “if we had not continued west, instead or north. That change of route made little sense at the time, but now I perceive it was the right choice.”

“Praises be!” they agreed.

“Gavin found me right before I set foot into the Hungry Forest.” Thorne continued, “it IS fortuitous that we are now together. Can I trust you to give the report I am about to divulge to the High Council?”

While declaring their devotion, Clara and the others responded by making a secret hand-gesture. “Good,” said Thorne, “Here is my report. My negotiation with the King of UR never took place. King Aranbrod was no longer in power by the time we arrived in Oxted. UR has fallen. I cannot report whether or not our preparations would have met with success.”

“This bodes ill … So the rumors were true?!”

“Yes, they are true. Bardulf’s soldiers enjoy a very public presence.”

“We know, we got wind of a group of Bardulf’s soldiers quickly making their way across the plains about a day behind you.”

“They probably think we’re horse thieves.” Thorn quipped.  I’m sure it was through magical means that an upstart named Bardulf-Thaatur was able to wrest control of the Kingdom. As yet, we don’t know if he has a relationship with Melantha, but he is one not to be trusted.”

“We heard rumors but we could not verify anything. Where is Rogan the Red?”

“Oh him? Rogan is … Rogan. I took steps to assure he could not follow me. But he still has a place in our party. I am traveling with three others besides Rogan. And I believe the daughter of King Aranbrod of UR is among them. She has a dwarf protector, probably a mercenary, Glynn Oakenshield and there is a Dockalfarian royal of all things! I find it hard to believe we are all together by happenstance.

“I found myself in the perfect position of keeping tabs on all these people and determine what they really want, Rogan included. I plan to disengage his services the next time I see him. In the interests of our Nation, I placed the Princess under Armildian protection. The Council will appreciate the political advantage and wisdom in assuring her well-being. So, you see, I must reunite with the group as soon as possible.”

“Ambassador,” her hosts said with alarm, “you and your horse require more rest. Besides, we can help you with time constraints by showing you a little-known short cut into the forest from the south. Mayzelle is familiar with all the Forest pathways for quite a distance. I believe she knows one that leads up towards the bend of the Hungry Forest. We understand the route your party is taking is very, very slow. If you allow her to guide you, you will make good time.”

When Thorne finally gave in, Clara was triumphant, “So now, rest, stretch your muscles and replenish yourself. Have some more diltsfef.” She started humming an old Armildian folk tune, which immediately relaxed Thorne enough to allow herself a full glass of chewy beer.

“If the soldiers were chasing you,” Clara reassured her, “To continue west isn’t the usual choice. Bardulf’s men will surely think you took the north road, sealing their fates.”

“Of this, we cannot be sure. All they have to do is follow the tracks.”

“Those types follow orders. Soldier men can’t think for themselves. Men are creatures of habit, they’d assume they were following you north. They will not take the time to vary their intended course.” Clara’s chatter was quite persuasive, especially when the light struck her hair in places to shine the same honey-color as her eyes.

“…That your group chose to travel west was completely unknown to us. Praises be to Gavin who knew how to find you.” Clara was beaming. “Gavin is under my  care now. He’s an exceptional bird.”

“Oh yes,” Thorne said, leaning back into some pillows, “exceptional!”

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #79

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

In the meanwhile, right before the bright terrain transitioned into a darker woodland, Thorne suddenly decided to leave the group and ride south. She said she wanted to reach the nearest Armildian outpost. Everyone wondered the same thing. Why had Thorne just now developed a desperate need to receive news of her people? Why didn’t she just turn south at the crossroads when she had then chance? Thorne profusely reassured everyone that she planned to return and would catch up with them soon, perhaps the next morning.

While everyone focused their attention saying their ‘adieus’ to Thorne, Rogan disappeared. He just slipped noiselessly away. From the tracks, Ahearn concluded Rogan had moved in a direction opposite to Thorne. So it was up to the three of them — Ahearn, Glynn and Jasmine — to enter a dark, foreboding forest, which sat, like a wall on the edge of the great plains.

The woods quickly gave way to forest. The canopy of the branches became so dense, it was difficult to tell when evening fell. They decided to make camp as soon as possible and searched for a clear space to accommodate one. As it turned out, they could not find any suitable place because an excess of thorns and brambles always seem to trim the road.

Jasmine felt a desperate need to stop and just halted at a place where the road slightly widened. Before a warming fire could be managed, Ahearn announced he wanted to scout ahead and he slipped away into the dark.

“They’ve all gone.” Jasmine said to Glynn, who nodded.

“But they’ll be back.” Glynn reassured her.

Then she shared with a sigh,”When we were on the plains, it felt as if I could be picked up by the winds and blown away. I did not dare to let go of my horse for fear of it. In these woods, I feel I’m safe from that.”

“Yes,” Glynn acknowledged, “I knew you were having problems in the wide open.”

“It’s one of the effects of the ring.” Jasmine relayed, “It seems as if I am in the midst of a beautiful landscape. I am traveling on the same road as everyone else, but it appears I am the only one who sees a different world entirely.

“I seem to be going in and out between this world and another. The other world is superimposed on this one. It’s very disconcerting. The ring takes me away to this place. Does it seem to you as if I disappear?”

“No. Never. You’ve always been riding. It’s your imagination. But you do seem like you’re in a trance at times. But long rides tend to do that, so I had not been too concerned.”

Glynn became nervous about where the conversation was leading, so he launched into a nervous litany of what he noticed about his fellow travelers, “In fact, that Ahearn fellow was tranced out most of the time too. But the red one, yeah, that one was always alert to everything around him. I’d call him hyper-vigilant. Shadows disturbed him the most. Yes, he was always accounting for any shadow’s shape, seeing if it matched its source. It’s as if he thought there were eyes everywhere upon him and wanted to know everywhere they were.”

“And Thorne?” Jasmine said, “what was her demeanor?”

Glynn hesitated. A glint in his eye betrayed a thought he dare not utter. “The warrior girl? Let’s see. She was possessed of herself she was. Always aware, but deeply keeping her own thoughts to herself.” Then he winked, “She wouldn’t be too fun at a tavern.”

As he said that, he thought one could never be sure about someone’s actions after a drink or two… Stirring the fire, Glynn became lost to his thoughts for awhile.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #78

The Story of Jasmine Notes continue:

The Special Card, “Crystal Ball” and an Event card, “Magical Forces” from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm Collector card game.

All morning, Bardulf spent time with Gryth. The Tome of Wisdom gave him the idea that he could magically teach the dragon-lizard to always return to him, despite who wore the ring. He intended for the creature to locate the ring once and for all.

To achieve this goal, he would need to make a lot of preparations. The first thing he did was locate a small crystal to function with his crystal ball. Through magical incantations, he programmed them to function as both sender and receiver. After he established resonance and frequency between the stones, he endeavored to find a way to place the crystal upon Gryth.

He tested different ways the crystal could be attached and settled on the sturdier method of having it strapped with leather onto it’s chest in front. The other choices either hindered Gryth’s movement, or fell off.

While Gryth flew, Bardulf tested the communication between the crystals until he discovered the exact words of power spoken with the exact tone to achieve the most desireable effect. When at last satisfied, he moved onto the next stage by stepping onto his balcony with Gryth on his arm. He placed the dragon-lizard on the bannister and it flapped its leathery wings in excitement. Gryth’s leg was already tethered to a sturdy string so he could only fly as far as its length.

Bardulf went back inside to consult the crystal ball. Together, the crystals became his eye. And a wonderful eye it was! Bardulf was elated to be able to “see” everywhere Gryth went. Gryth might prove to be the best spy ever! But it all depended.

Next was the hard part. Through the amplification of the crystal ball while using the smaller one to focus, Bardulf increased his power of concentration to the point where he could command the dragon-lizard with his mind. He began small, with little requests, like turn right, pick up that stick, fly to upper branches of a tree or land at a specific place on the ground. Through trial and error, Bardulf tested and honed the effectiveness of how the Crystal ball and the quartz crystal worked together. He never wanted to chance losing Gryth, nor did he want to lose the ring, now that he knew more about it.

The Tome of Wisdom called it the Ring of Emeth, though it wasn’t a ring at all. It was the crown of a faery-king, with the ability to travel in and out of dimensions. Gryth was a faery-dragon, his mount. The reason Gryth homed in on the ring was he instinctively knew that was the way home, the way to return to his own familiar surroundings in his own dimension. When he read the passage, Bardulf wondered what could possibly have happened to the faery-king. How did his uncle initially run across the ring or the creature? And did he know that a faery realm co-existed with the Mid-Realm?

In the days it took Jasmine’s group to leave the temple at the Great  White Throne Mountain and traverse the east-west road past the northern crossroads, Bardulf had devoted and exerted his total concentration towards his objective to train Gryth. The task did not prove to be difficult. It was almost as if the little dragon creature was accustomed to taking such commands. Bardulf recalled that Gryth used to be a Faery king’s mount and accepted that would be the most likely way to account for it.

© 2018 DARLENE

 

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine #77

More notes from the “The Story of  Jasmine”

The Melanthron is a creature that moves throughout the fabric of time so as to live three consecutive lives in different bodies to resurrect into its fourth and final adult stage. Each form is individual within its own life-span. Melthor, the first incarnation, did the most important work first. It set the first action for the end stage — to achieve immortality. The next incarnation was Menlander the Oppressor, a male aspect who built the structure. Melantha, the current incarnation, will reap the harvest. It’s her duty to expand her deadly influence as far and as wide as possible.

Melantha preferred to survive into old age, amassing as much territory as possible and enjoying it. Being unseen while she poisoned the nations and territories around her, was power indeed. She set off no alarms. There were no declarations of war. Her successes were not greeted with the clamor of fanfare. In this way, she slowly, methodically and silently, added territories to the ever-expanding boundaries of Medrylthorn. There was no way to understand complete oblivion unless one witnessed a once vibrant eco-system turn into an ashen grey land, completely devoid of life force.

In the moment of her passing, the grand plan was for Melantha to share and blend what was left of her life force to initiate the final transformation. When that day came, all present and prior incarnations would merge together to unite as one into a terrifying creature entering the mature, adult phase of its existence.

This was the final form of The Melanthron, a unified combination of all three incarnations — male, female, and neither. Its appearance would usher in a truly dark reign of eternal terror for the Mid-Realm. Melantha’s strategy and triumph during her reign, was to as inconspicuously as possible, expand the territory of Medrylthorn.

But, only in her deepest thoughts, did Melantha hide a secret plan. She’d been able to save the huge energy reserves she’d amassed during her life time — a grim collective of all the souls she’d taken. At the time of her passing, she engineered a way for a massive influx of energy to occur. If she could control enough power, the other two incarnations would merge together under her control.

It shall be the third incarnation, The Fire Queen, Melantha herself who shall be in full control over the Melanthron. My own personality will reign as queen forever. Long Live the Queen! Melantha checked herself as soon as she felt an exhilaration of sensual energy course through her body. No. There’s no need to use waste energy, nor to give herself away. There was pleasure enough in the knowing.

Her plans were progressing very well. She was so far along, everything seemed to be poised soon to be within reach of her grasping fingers.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #76

The notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

Two Wind Special Cards from “The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game.

Everyone had just finished breakfast and were about to break camp when Glynn announced, “We have a slight change of plan. We will not be taking the north road after all. We will continue westward.”

All three companions objected at once, as if the idea was unthinkable. Thorne said, emphatically, “Those lands are much too close to a dangerous and merciless enemy!”

Ahearn bellowed forth with, “Don’t you know there are pockets of cannibals in those parts?” Rogan simply agreed with them both.

“I need to be at a council of the Winds.” Jasmine told them solemnly. Before she walked off, she said, “I cannot help the Meeting Place of the Winds, is in treacherous lands. A dream has called me to visit them at this place and I seem to know the way. If fear prevents you from following me, you are free to part ways and travel where ever you will. But Glynn and I will be traveling westward. We are not afraid.”

Ahearn, Thorne and Rogan looked at each other in stunned amazement. Glynn and Jasmine had already moved off in the space it took to recover themselves. Did Jasmine realize how deeply she insulted them all? She insinuated they were cowards if they did not accompany her. Her comments stopped the conversation cold. How could one reply without looking bad? They shrugged and moved to pack. Everyone was edgy.

Breaking camp was silent, save for the occasional grunt and shouts when lifting was involved. Back in their saddles, they made good progress. Some paused when they passed the cross roads where the north/south road intersected. Sighing, the group resigned itself to trudge westward taking a road less traveled.

Little did they realize that Jasmine’s sudden change of plan saved them from harm. Taking the favored northern road would be a mistake as, the northern route was newly compromised. Taking the North road had been the safest route northward. That’s why they did not immediately take the treacherous northern route outside of Oxted.

Nobody would ever have suspected the north road would have brought them straight into Melantha’s spider-like reach, caught within her lair.

© 2018 DARLENE

 

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #75

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

Jasmine tossed and turned in her sleep, just as she had done every one. This night was the third encampment away from the White Throne Mountain and the last one before turning northward on their journey. It wasn’t that sleeping on the ground was too unbearable, or that there was so little peace between her companions. She was fighting the influence the ring was trying to impose upon her. Try as she may, she could not remove it physically from her finger.

To cope, she hid herself underneath her cloak for most of the three-day ride and trusted the horse under her to manage them both. The horse’s instincts were better than her own ,so she saw no need to impose her will upon the beast. She trusted her ride over her own judgment to react best in its own, familiar surroundings. She was not totally present or anchored in this world and oscillated between the two worlds.

She avoided looking out upon the sunlit landscape. It was the most gloriously beautiful, dazzling and oppressive landscape she had ever seen. The more they traveled, the more she experienced this convulsive beauty.

Jasmine concluded to herself, “If I accept this as valid, it means the ring commands me. If I am not ruled by a man, why would I be ruled by a ring?”  She handled the uncertainty by rejecting it’s validity and limiting her senses. Both hiding and hidden underneath the refuge of her cloak, Jasmine meditated during their journey across the plains, all the while concentrating on keeping herself in a bubble, suspended between two realities.

She thought the days were more manageable because the collective sound of hooves crunching upon sandy, rocky ground could not be syncopated. But the nights were another matter.

At night, she heard voices oozing out of the stillness. Always, they addressed her. Until this night, she had successfully eluded focusing on their words. But, this time, she was so tired,  she listened. She was greeted by people who seemed not unlike herself. Their features were very fine. All were frantically trying to warn her against taking the north road.

“Travel westward, ” they advised, “Seek the Meeting Place of the Winds and consult.” They identified themselves as the White Faeries, a race of benevolent beings who live in a corresponding world that “inter-penetrates your world.” The White Faeries seemed to be very well acquainted with the details of the Mid-Realm and promised to show Jasmine the best paths to take to avoid mishap. They also told her they were helping, “Because our fates are related and it’s in our best interests to look out for you in this world…”

That comprised the basic message. The heretofore incessant and insistent sounds she had tried to block from her head finally stopped its infernal buzzing.  Only after she acknowledged the message did all broadcasts cease. The oppressive atmosphere she’d sensed before was lifted. So did her disposition. Finally, something felt right.

At first light, she succeeded in getting Glynn’s attention and spoke to him about a change of plan.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #74

Notes for The Story of Jasmine Continue: 

Two Leader Cards from Bardulf’s Faction in JASMINE:The Battle for the Mid-Realm card game.

Bardulf was fascinated by the Tome of Wisdom. The large volume seemed to be written by several hands. Some of the text was indecipherable. Too bad the little people living in the caverns had angered him. If he hadn’t slaughtered them, they might have been able to help him read some of the passages.

With Gryth perched on his shoulder, he inspected each page thoroughly. He was not particularly concerned that he occupied almost all his time in this room in the pursuit of study. It was time well spent.

His accidental discovery of the manuscript represented his best luck in a long time. He knew he wasn’t particularly lucky in life but he learned a lesson early on. You make your own luck. And so he did, by always tipping the odds in his favor, and having a backup plan.

Thus, finding the book was truly fortunate. Because he had no hand in it, in his mind, this serendipity represented a reward from the gods, or whomever. It justified all the atrocities he ordered his enthralled juniors to commit on his behalf. The sacrifices made by the innocent became not only forgivable but necessary. Then he dared to believe that somehow he was very special and meant to be the recipient of the Tome of Wisdom all along.

The magical yoke he placed on UR’s weak-minded in positions of power continued to work beautifully. He changed the balance of power simply by catering to greed, spreading false rumors and encouraging dissent. This structure was surprisingly effective and enduring.

In the places still loyal to their king, where no amount of riches could bribe them, he practiced more devious methods to assure they stayed under his thumb. He would continue to reward obedience—a combination of  bribes, privilege and social status. He left it to his compromised ones in power to keep their own people in line.

To break UR’s spirit, greed and continual propaganda were his most effective tools. Bardulf’s social genius was to always keep the money flowing, from the poor and dispossessed, back into the pockets of the rich. Bardulf enlisted the assistance of local town criers whose voices the people were prone to trust. He made them think they were actually helping their village or town by exposing the “truth” about what’s happening in other parts of the kingdom. Those he had manipulated into broadcasting false information with their voices, he jokingly called his “Troupe of Sanctified Liars.”

Before his take-over, he had them spread stories about the Kingdom’s unhappiness and their discontent with the present situation. Even though everyone pretty much prospered under their present king, Bardulf meant to convince the average person otherwise. The seeds Bardulf sowed with his magic grew and spread. His smear campaign became effective because the false news stories were slowly sprinkled in with the village or town’s news in general.

His strategy resulted in more than he’d hoped for. He succeeded in brainwashing the townspeople of each berg to accept and welcome the on-coming assault that was sure to come. Bardulf did not need to build a massive army to overwhelm the situation. When the time came and his armed forces swept in, many villages simply threw down their arms and welcomed them. All Bardulf needed was key people in key places of power to accomplish his wishes. And also, a series of well-hidden spies to keep the top feeders in their place as well.

After his take-over, his town-criers changed their clamor. Bardulf’s propaganda now took up the majority of their announcements. All stories reinforced the idea that Bardulf’s rule was beneficial to all. News of local interest diminished. News of discontent was left unspoken.   

Of late, Bardulf wondered — could a demoralized group of people eventually become more like the minions the Fire Queen commanded? Her magic was far stronger than his. What he managed to do with the populace of his conquered lands was nothing compared to her achievement of total domination.

But now, with the Tome of Wisdom at his finger tips, he will have finally have the means to best the witch. In the midst of his reverie, a strange thought entered his mind. Which one among his servants spied for Melantha?

© 2018 DARLENE

 

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

Jasmine Snippet #73

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue”

Two cards from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game: Gryth Faction card and the special card, Ring of Emeth.

Having returned to Swartzborg Castle, Bardulf immediately set out to visit his little dragon lizard, Gryth. After his encounter with princess Flavia, he had Gryth carefully caged and taken to back to safety and did not want to risk the little creature being wounded. Bardulf gave instructions to have certain fruits cut and lavishly laid out on a plate and placed before Gryth.

When Bardulf entered the room, it was late afternoon. He noticed the fruit was hours old, but that Gryth had been recently nimbling. Gryth made noises of recognition as soon as Bardulf came near. As Bardulf greeted the creature, he opened the door of the cage. Gryth immediately jumped onto the table, spilling the plate. He leapt up into the air and circled the room several times, making loud gutteral sounds as he shrieked.

Bardulf admired his amazing way of flying. Remembering the princess’ reaction, Bardulf wondered how anyone could be so fearful of such an awesome, enchanting aerobatic little creature such as this? As Gryth shrieked in delight, Bardulf conceded, it might be the sound he made. The dragon lizard eventually landed on Bardulf’s shoulders and cooed in his ear.

Bardulf took off his gloves to stroke the creature’s nose with his index finger. Gryth’s snout was cold to the touch, and his tiny scales felt smooth. The Dark Prince answered in cooing sounds and talked to the little fellow in reassuring tones. If he loved anything in this world, it was that little creature he had stolen from his uncle.

Gryth was not easy to obtain. Several times, he tried to removed the creature from his uncle’s place, but his actions proved to be fruitless. The creature would always return to its perch. By accident, he happened to spy his uncle putting a ring on one of his gnarly old fingers. He noted how the creature immediately perked up and showed interest in the old man. It would get affectionate and would make  excited screeches that were terrifying to hear. Somehow, Gryth was connected to that ring and it seemed his uncle was able to use it’s connection to command the creature’s attention.

No matter how many times he’d asked, his uncle never divulged anything about the history of this unique creature nor how he came by it. His uncle did not like the creature’s unfortunately loud and terse-sounding call. For that reason, he would take off the ring and hide it away.

Bardulf devised an elaborate plan to steal the ring and hence, the dragon. He first declared to his uncle that he was finally leaving. Several times, his uncle suggested his stay had grown quite tiresome and invited his nephew leave. Bardulf knew his uncle would welcome this chance to be rid of him and would not pay any particular interest as to why. Bardulf was surprised when his uncle gave him supplies and parting gifts. Strange, his uncle proved to be more generous upon his leaving than when he stayed.

Bardulf left, but stayed within the borders of the area. Bardulf understood that if he wanted Gryth to go with him, all he had to do was to find where his uncle hid the ring. While he was around, Bardulf figured his uncle took extra special precautions when it came to the ring’s security. He hoped, that with him gone, his uncle would relax his hyper vigilance.

Bardulf used all the magic he could muster to infiltrate his uncle’s castle without causing alarm. He became comfortably adept at moving around unseen. Finally, his patience and his stealth paid off. He spied his uncle’s hiding place.

With the ring finally in hand, Bardulf knew he could not simply put it on without arousing the creature’s alarming shrieks. So after he succeeded in pilfering the ring, he took it outside and hid it where he had stayed. Then he returned to the castle and stole the dragon lizard, who proved to be as docile as the other times he tried to take him. Only this time, with the Ring of Emeth in his possession, Gryth would stay with him.

And the best part was that his uncle could not reasonably suspect him as the thief! Now he left for good, and traveled south. He planned to take over the southern lands as surely as his uncle had taken over the northern realm — with the help of this prized dragon-lizard.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”