Tag Archives: Bardulf

Jasmine Snippet #67

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

After spending countless days in dark, dank and twisting tunnels, Bardulf enjoyed the light of UR’s main Castle Palace. He had only been there a single day when the men who patrolled the free lands to the north of UR arrived. They brought with them a cloak and a gown. Bardulf immediately recognized the clothes as belonging to the Princess Flavia of UR. She had worn that very frock the last time he saw her.

The clothes were the only sign they found of the princess. When questioned, they said there was no body to be found. Nor was there any signs of a fight. The clothing was neither bloodied or torn. It was as if the clothes had simply been taken off and discarded. Bardulf was about to dismiss his messengers when they indicated there was more to their story.

“Well, what is it?” He barked.

Even though Bardulf was clearly annoyed and impatient, those men were reluctant to speak. Finally, in their stammering, Bardulf understood that in the same place they found the clothing, they had also encountered a horror they were reluctant to speak of. Many of the fellows who served with them had been turned into stone. Because they had walked upon the same hallowed ground of an ancient temple, they grew afraid the same fate somehow awaited them. When Bardulf finally dismissed them, they quickly and gladly withdrew.

That clinched it. In Bardulf’s mind, he was up against the son of King Aranbrod, a male heir and a rival for the throne he usurped — something much more deadly than a lost princess. No wonder the “princess” never married. He imagined this young Prince to be clever in disguise and strong in magic. To get the upper hand, there was only one thing to do.

After giving his trusted stewards and ministers instructions and orders to carry out, Bardulf called for a horse and a small retinue of men to accompany him. He had the Tome of Wisdom wrapped carefully in leather and placed within his saddle-bag. Then Bardulf set out immediately, speeding for his Castle Swartzborg, to reunite with Gryth, his prized dragon-lizard.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

————————————————————————–

Jasmine Snippet #66

The notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

Bardulf was beside himself. The Tome of Wisdom did not make sense! It was written for the “Prince” of UR. Where was this Prince of UR? He was unaware King Aranbrod had any other progeny besides the spoiled and easily controlled princess. He did not consider her to be a much of a problem. He had not imprisoned her already with his magic ring? It was only a matter of time before her hiding place would be found.

If anyone was to blame, it was Heta. Curses—that he did not strike her down when he first recognized her. Curses—he allowed himself to be taken in by her pitiful act of weakness. Had it not been for her, those two would never have escaped their capture. Yet again, he cursed Heta.  She was solely responsible for the disappearance of the Princess Flavia of UR. That cursed woman would never have managed such a thing if he had remained at the camp. Heta had to have waited until after his strategy session, and after he had left with his main contingent to go to battle.

The rest of the soldiers who remained broke camp and travelled as escort half the way to Swartzborg Castle before they realized the two were no longer among them. Upon questioning, every one of his soldiers swore both women had travelled with them as far as the cross roads. All agreed they found it strange that the two did not eat or drink, nor did they speak the entire journey. The women remained as still as statues the whole way but were very easy to manage.

Castle card for Bardulf’s faction in Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game by DARLENE.

His men wasted too much time searching near the place they discovered the disappearance. Bardulf’s needed presence in battle prevented him from hearing about this happenstance in a timely manner. Nor could he participate right away in the search. But once he was able to focus on the problem, he knew no one under Heta’s enchantments could ever locate where they fled. He thought the only one who could pierce Heta’s magic was he himself. And this proved to be correct.

Only one thing made him laugh. How funny it was to have Heta lead him straight to this incredible book of magic. It was so delightful to have Master Erlkyng’s book in his hands! He relished reading  what secrets and incantations these pages revealed. With this book, he felt invincible. Yet, a small thought still nagged at him.

Who was this lad for whom the book was written and dedicated? If anyone had the power to rival him, apparently it would be this boy prince. He stilled the fear growing within him. The lad may exist, but it was Bardulf who possessed his book, thus claiming his power.

But still, he could not overlook that Heta was a factor in all this. Under the guise of Ermengarde, Heta had raised what he thought was a pale, young girl who trembled in fear around him. He slammed his fist upon table as he decided nothing was beyond that witch. Things were not as they seemed. Was it possible the princess was actually a prince in disguise? Perhaps, instead of seeking a girl, he should be searching for a boy?

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

————————————————————————–

Jasmine Snippet #65

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Bardulf Faction Card from “Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game.

Bardulf returned to UR’s main castle. He let it be known that he had conferred with his brother wizards. He reminded everyone, not only was he the King of UR, but he was acknowledged as The Mage Supreme of a secret unnamed brotherhood.

It was, of course, all a pretense. There was no secret brotherhood of wizards. But who could possibly challenge this? Fear was his ally. Fear would quiet outspoken members of the populace. Fear would prevent them from entertaining ideas of an uprising. It was better they fear the wrath of a bunch of powerful mages should they attempt anything. His lie should go a long way in discouraging all thoughts of hope.

With the Tome of Wisdom in his possession, he felt powerful and capable of anything. He would conquer more lands and soon become powerful enough to rival his uncle in the north.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

————————————————————————–

Jasmine Snippet #64

The notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

Every evening, Melantha’s chief demon minister, a human-like creature she had formed from a favorite snake, gave her a litany of all the news collected from the day’s reporting, from inside Medrylthorn to the front lines. And every evening, Melantha drank it all in. Her spacial awareness was very keen. She could easily visualize all the movements and happenings within her sphere and relate them to each other in her mind. At first, she was only mildly concerned that Bardulf had been missing from the reports. But it had been several days now.

“What news of Bardulf? Has he been located?” she asked.

Her demon minister slithered towards her. “Yes-s-s-s,” he replied, eager to please, “the Dark Prince just emerged from the dwarf mines-s-s-s, northwest of UR. After all this-s-s-s time, he was-s-s-s angry his-s-s-s men still failed to locate the UR’s Princess-s-s-s. He cruelly punished those who brought him the unwelcome news-s-s-s.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes-s-s-s. The Dark Prince carries-s-s-s with him a large book. To obtain it, he boasts-s-s killing many little people living in the caverns-s-s-s under the mountains-s-s-s. He will not allow the book out of his-s-s-s sight.”

After Melantha dismissed her minister, she started to deliberate. Little people—could he have slain the Guardians of Wisdom? Did Bardulf chance upon the Erykyng’s Crystalline Caves? Is the book he carries the fabled Tome of Wisdom, which contains the history of the Mid-Realm?  Does the book also contain Erlkyng’s knowledge on how to destroy her magic and power? Erlkyng was the only being in the Mid-realm she had ever feared because he learned her secrets.

Fire Queen of Ildshoii Castle from an unpublished panel.

Suddenly, Bardulf became much more of a threat to her security. Maybe Bardulf was not the buffoon she thought he was. After all, his own growing network of spies rivaled her own.

At the beginning, Melantha determined Bardulf’s weakness was his ambition and his burning desire to learn magic. He proofed to be the perfect choice to undermine and conquer UR. She had made herself indispensable to all Bardulf’s desires and even gave him powerful magical incantations to use against UR. She now regretted that decision.

He performed her practices very well — almost too well. She realized Bardulf had a better knack for magic than she gave him credit for. Now, with that book in his possession, he might prove to be much more problematic and unpredictable. She wondered what other weaknesses Bardulf had that she could exploit.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #63

The Story of Jasmine Notes continue:

Ildshoii Castle, carved from shiny black obsidian rock, rose high above a crown of volcanos. The dark castle was the domain of Melantha, the ruler of Medrylthorn. The Fire Queen possessed the patience of a spider. Not only did Melantha control the volcanic lands of Medrylthorn, her invisible web of evil stretched across the Mid-Realm, reaching towards Bardulf’s strongholds to the south east. She had only to pull on certain threads of her intricately woven network to discover details about the plans of her enemies.

Ildshoii castle card from the “Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game by DARLENE

Her magic fed upon the misery of others. And throughout her patient years of plotting, her magic only got stronger. Although the penetration of her poisonous plans had been slow, methodical and thorough, there were those who could still resist her. Those lands Melantha could not control, she surrounded with her evil, watching – always watching – for a vulnerable weakness to present itself.

Though she could not directly effect the splendid Kingdom of UR, she knew her magic could. She manipulated an ambitious upstart by the name of Bardulf. He did not know she considered him as one of her many minions. She provided him with the magical means to be successful in his bid to defeat UR’s king and it amused her to give him the title, “Prince of Darkness.”

Melantha was very aware of Bardulf’s blunder concerning the disappearance of the King’s daughter. Subsequently, this meant the “Prince” would encounter trouble in totally securing his rule. But that was not immediately important to her. As far as Melantha was concerned, UR was already hers.

Melantha’s interest returned to the Armildian battlemaidens, whose iron will proved to be difficult to subdue. She laughed at how well she thwarted the Armildian’s attempt to seek UR’s assistance. The fall of UR happened just before the Armildian Ambassador could reach the Kingdom. Because these battle maidens seldom lost, she savored their disappointment, imagining with glee the distraught looks on their faces when they learned of this set-back.

But they were not yet caught within her web. The Armildians were clever and resourceful. They would try to seek help elsewhere, maybe Dockalfar. If perchance, their ambassador succeeded in making an agreement with the Ice King in Tarrent, Melantha would surely face fierce resistance. She would make doubly sure her spy could be trusted.

Her deliberations were interrupted by the appearance of one of her demon ministers. Without looking at him, she asked “What news have you for me today?”

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

————————————————————————–

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

Jasmine Snippet #33

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

Vallenwain* was a village not distant from the Blue Mountains and the Crystal Hollows. It was well known for its hospitality towards weary travelers. And it chanced that on one autumn day, a man and his companion entered Vallenwain to pass the night. The innkeeper, being a talkative affable soul, entered into ready conversation. Then he asked if the man’s female companion had hair of a blonde color.

Dumbfounded by such an unusual query, the stranger looked at his companion, who pulled the hood of her cloak from her head. Unruly coal-black tresses fell about her shoulders. “Tell me, innkeeper,” she said coldly, “must I be blonde to pass the night under your roof?”

“No, no, no, indeed, lady,” the inn keeper replied quickly, “everyone is welcomed here. And it is a blessing ye are dark of hair.”

“And why would this be?” the red-haired stranger asked.

“Woe to any man who hath a daughter or a beloved who is blonde of hair. They are taken from their homes and families by soldiers from down south. They were only here this morning and now three village maidens are lost to us, sisters… Will you be staying one night?”

After all arrangements for their stay had been completed and after dinner was served, the stranger, who gave his name as Rogan, asked who the soldiers belonged to. To that, the bartender exclaimed, “Why Bardulf, of course!”

“Bardulf?”

“Ye must have traveled far indeed not to know about the treachery of Bardulf. They call him ‘the dark prince’ and two seasons past, he’s defeated the great Kingdom of UR. His treachery stretches far.”

The dark-haired maiden interrupted, “What news of King Aranbrod?”

After a moment’s hesitation, the man answered, “Some say his heart broke when he heard his daughter was bedded to this man against her will. Some say he escaped from his own dungeon in Aer and hopes to raise an army against his usurper. There are many rumors. But no one knows the truth for sure save the King himself.”

The woman closed her eyes and sighed. Rogan shook his head, “Sad news, indeed.” He said, then asked, “Tell me, friend, are Bardulf’s men still in this village?”

The bartender answered, “Not any more. Most traveled back south with our village maids in tow. The rest remained to investigate what’s happening at The Great White Throne, a mountain not far from here. There’s an ancient temple that rests in the seat of that mountain. Everyone here knows well enough to stay away from that place.”

The bartender then told them of the strange rumors floating about regarding a maiden in white who showed up several days ago at the temple shrine. This coincided with an eerie glow coming from the mountain. He told them that some in the village believed that a wondrous maiden rekindled the magic of that forbidden place. The man added, “None in Vallenwain would betray her presence, but for a few pieces of gold, an old warrior-dwarf agreed to guide them to her.”**

Rogan thanked him for his time and his news and retired to his appointed chamber.***

____________________________________

*elsewhere called Oxted

**This last sentence makes no sense to me. It must refer to Glynn. I wonder what I was thinking back then.

*** In another bit of writing, I have Thorne informing Rogan of this news, but don’t have the actual conversation.

This seems to be a slightly alternate version from the posting yesterday.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #30

The last shrill cries of the swifts died down as the sun dipped below the horizon. From the window of his room at the Inn, Rogan surveyed the blue-gray valley beyond the city walls. He idly inspected the orange tiled roofs of Oxted, then directed his gaze further past the city. Rogan admired the white rock of a not-too-distant mountain and how it reflected the pink orange glow of the setting sun. “That’s the mountain they were talking about,” thought Rogan, “it does look like a Great White Throne.” The Innkeeper also told him that an ancient temple occupied the “seat” of the throne, adding nobody had ventured the climb in all his years there.

His contemplation was interrupted by the sudden entrance of his traveling companion. Entering brisky, Thorne found the first thing she could see, a small porcelain bowl on a side bench, and smashed it against the wall. The fragments fled between the cracks of the wooden floor. Rogan closed the shutters as Thorne paced the floor. Then she told him the grim news she had gathered, “It is confirmed, UR has been taken!”

Rogan sighed as he sat down. “Not only that, it was taken by someone called Axewolf. They say he holds UR by magic but will legitimize his rule through marriage to UR’s princess, whom he’s captured. It’s only a matter of time.”

Thorne kicked the chair, “So that destroys my errand. By all accounts, Bardulf is a cruel and wicked master. He will never come to the aid of another country.”

“He may or may not help us.” Rogan answered, lighting an oil lamp. He adjusted the wick, the flame’s reflection grew in Thorne’s dark and angry eyes.

Thorne got up and replied with contempt, “If you beg favors from a barbarian as a diplomat, you are a great fool and no friend of mine!”  She started pacing the floor, looking like a caged animal. She tugged at her chamis, “Curses—these clothes bind so. I wonder how maidens manage. Just get me back into my armor and my sword and let ME deal with Bardulf!”

“Hush!” Rogan warned, “Keep it down. Do not speak so rashly and so loud. Tomorrow, we will make alternate plans.”

Thorne plopped herself onto the chair and began tugging at her dress in disgust. Rogan watched her silently. In that frock, she looked weak, perhaps even helpless. But would be deceiving and far from the truth. Thorne was not a trifle. In fact, she was a force to be reckoned with. She could master a sword as well as he. Before his eyes was a first-rate Armildian Battle maiden and one with an important mission. Thorne was an ambassador on an errand for her country. Her diplomatic errand was furtive. Its secrecy prevented her from marching along with dignity in her customary armor.

Thorne’s frustration at her manner of dress amused Rogan. But he sympathized with her when it came to not being able to wear her sword. He knew she concealed at least one knife.

“I saw soldiers today.” Rogan remarked at length.

“Yes, Bardulf’s men after something up the mountain,” Thorne replied. Rogan opened the shutters to take another look at the mountain. It still glowed dully against the evening sky. “Do you know what they want?”

“Very strange…” she answered, “I believe they are looking for a maiden in white.” Rogan responded by pulling on his cloak.

Thorne announced, “I’m returning to my room. I guess I’ll speak with you in the morning. By the way, climbing rocks at night is not recommended.”

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #29

Back to hand-written notes for “The Story of Jasmine”:

Small ink sketch of Bardulf.

Even in chains as his prisoner, the King of UR had a commanding presence when he spoke, “You are only the bastard son of a Lord.”

“I may be a bastard, but I am a resourceful one.” He countered, “I’ve managed to ‘inherit’ many things. But I find my fiefdom completely lacking in resources. It’s a wasteland—too barren, too poor, and much too small for a man of my ambitions. I rather like your land and country and I mean to possess it, completely—just like I possess your daughter.”

“What have you done with my daughter?”

“For the moment, your dear daughter is safely within my custody. But soon, very soon, she will become my wife and the Queen of UR. Isn’t that the best all round for everyone concerned? So now, dear old dad, the way you handle this situation will determine my bride’s complete happiness. No man really wants his daughter to suffer, does he?”

“You will not harm her…”

“And deny you the chance of a royal heir?”

© 2018 DARLENE