Tag Archives: Jasmine

Jasmine Snippet #102

These continuing snippets are due to the patronage of a group of lovely people who are helping me make The Story of Jasmine saga complete for publishing.

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

Somewhere off to the right of the trail, sun beams illuminated a small grassy plateau. Rogan and Ahearn noticed some shadows milling slowly within that small meadow-like enclosure and realized they’d located the horses of Bardulf’s hapless, but well-supplied men. Unlike their masters, the horses were very much alive, happily trampling the dewy grasses glistening in the growing light. Rogan and Ahearn quickly took this opportunity to select from among them, the two most suitable beasts and riding equipment for Jasmine and Glynn. When Glynn arrived, he collected whatever might be of use from the saddlebags, packs and containers.

By the time they were prepared to leave, the sun had already replaced the night’s cold, blue-gray mist with a warm, rosy haze, which hung thickly over the grass, turning more golden as the dew began to evaporate.

Rogan and Ahearn expected the women to have shown up already. So, with a horse in tow, they returned to the ruins to collect them. Glynn stayed behind to finish his foraging. After he found a store of tobacco and heavy sacks of wine, he’d decided to take another horse to serve as a pack animal. After loading the second horse, he released the rest of the horses from the make-shift enclosure.

Rogan and Ahearn reached the ruin. Even from a distance, both noticed Thorne’s normally paled cheeks were hot red. Both knew not to utter a word. They already guessed that Thorne was livid with impatience and consternation at having had to keep waiting so long. Finally, they saw Jasmine climbing up and out of the dark. Thorne nearly grabbed Jasmine’s hair but she quickly checked herself and grabbed the large bundle Jasmine handed her instead.

Thorne turned to notice the men brought an extra horse. She signaled to Rogan. Nodding, he quickly dismounted and rushed Jasmine onto the saddle of that horse. With bundle in hand, Thorne leapt onto her own horse. In no time, Jasmine came to be perched, precariously high upon a horse, carrying her wrapped staff. Rogan steadied Jasmine for as long as he could before Thorne, in haste, quickly snatched the reins of Jasmine’s horse, making them lunge forward as Thorne lead them swiftly away.

As the sound of their hooves disappeared into the distance, the wind picked up. Swirls of leaves savagely chased each other in spinning battles. Crows called out a warning. Rogan instantly froze in position to open his senses and became hyper-aware.

Within this deceptively beautiful morning, the nature of the cawing sounds was a dark harbinger of change. All at once, Rogan knew they’d lingered too long. Being on the western loop of the trail, they had completely missed the group striding up the eastern trail. Thorne must have known the danger, she hurried too much not to have known.

Rogan then noticed some not-so-distant flashes of colors and flickering movement, accompanied by the dull thud of hooves upon rock and ground and the uneven hum of conversation. Rogan turned to Ahearn who also heard it, and whispered hoarsely, “Soldiers are nearly upon us. I will buy you some time to escape. Wait for me beyond the first outpost, at Flint Hill! My signal…” Then Rogan made a shrill, bird-like warbling sound. Ahearn nodded an acknowledgment, immediately whirled his horse around, and fled down the trail after Thorne and Jasmine.

Rogan calmly moved his horse out of sight, into the shadows of a thicket at the edge of the ruin. Out of his saddle-pack, he pulled out a simple muslin robe, dyed black. He put it on and belted it at the waist. After he dusted away some of the footprints, he located a small vantage point, nestled himself within it, and waited. If he were to be discovered, he was sure that his attire, along with the story he rehearsed in his head, would be convincing.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet 101

I’m filling in the empty parts of Book One of The Story of Jasmine:

Original Story of Jasmine title from 1981

The Group flees White Throne Mountain:

The temple ruins were tucked snugly within the folds of the mountain. The ancient road–now overgrown into a trail–leading to it was shaped like a giant horseshoe. Both sides ran up the mountainside from the main road, both lead equally to and away from a once-glorious Temple, situated at the top point where both trail ends met to become one.

Gazing down from the temple ruins, Glynn pointed out they had arrived using the trail’s eastern entrance – the one closest to Norram. Pointing to the trail in front of them, Glynn recommended they not go back the way they came, “We’d be some twenty miles further west along the main road if we take this side down to the main road instead.”

“And just how do you know this?” Ahearn asked.

“Common knowledge.” Glynn countered, “This place has existed since the beginning of time. We once knew it as ‘Fool’s Hope.’ Like all old places, it is considered to be haunted by the old spirits of people who used to live there. In this case, the spirits of ladies dressed in white… All but the curious know to stay away.”

“Haunted? Ahhh… What? Is that what they meant!?” Rogan said thoughtfully and tried to explain, “I could not understand why the local tavern folk were all snickering about the soldiers who left to spend the night here. In the tavern, the bar keeper had been regaling everyone with his local folk stories and accounts of people who claimed to have seen one or more white-haired ladies dancing near The White Throne. That’s when the soldiers perked up and demanded to know where this place is. Naturally, the bartender explained to the commander that these stories were just very old tales.

Nevertheless, the soldiers were still ordered to leave at once for the landmark. The soldiers were warned, several times not to stay here after nightfall, especially not at the full moon. Then the commander sez, ‘sounds like you don’t want us to go there and that’s reason enough…” When they left, the inn people kept repeating, ‘they was warned about them spirit maidens,’ as, indeed, they were. And now, look at ’em…” Rogan gestured towards the newly formed statues all frozen in different attitudes of terror, “this is now their new story. This is what happens to the disrespectful … being turned to stone because they did not heed a warning. This new tale will put a permanent crown on the old stories. People will really avoid this place!”

“No,” Glynn disagreed, “People would probably flock here to gloat. The Inn Keeper will have a great increase in customers. Has anybody checked if any of the statuary can be moved? Or are they fused to the bedrock?”

Before anyone could check, Thorne interjected loudly, “So, can we p-p-please leave – now!” Everyone agreed, it was indeed time to go. But they were waiting on Jasmine. Before she disappeared, Jasmine told Glynn, she needed to retrieve some woven materials to properly wrap the staff for safe travel. He let her go, bidding her to return promptly, but she had not yet emerged.

The men were antsy to get off the mountain and decided to go on ahead, down the western side of the path. They noticed that this used to be a very fine, well-groomed road. But for the exuberance of nature, long ago the road had shrunk into a trail. Glynn followed the horsemen on foot. The trail was easy to move along, even at the steep downward angle. The wideness of the trail was just one of the many indications, the trail had been recently traveled by many on horseback.

At first, Thorne started after them, then decided to stay behind to carry whatever Jasmine collected. Her tingling senses bade her to leave. She was angry at Glynn. Why did he allow Jasmine to disappear underground and become inaccessible within the temple? Thorne became uneasy whenever she glanced at the frozen positions of the stone men. She stood, stiff and unmoving, like another statue among the stone ones speckling the grounds. She shifted her stance, trying hard not to stare at the last looks of terror etched upon their stony faces. She could only imagine what Rogan and Glynn had gone through, actually witnessing the spectacle. She had never seen Rogan so unnerved. He had heard their cries.

© 2018 DARLENE

It’s been about a month since I last posted–Did you miss the snippets?

These continuing snippets are due to the patronage of a group of lovely people who are helping me make The Story of Jasmine suitable for publishing.

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Jasmine Snippet 100?

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your interest.

The She-Demon of Melantha’s Faction from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game.

People have been waiting and asking for Jasmine Snippet #100. I’m gratified to know that there is enough interest to generate anticipation. How great is that?

I believe we are at the climax of the first book of The Story of Jasmine.

I have halted at the point when Jasmine is being tested by the winds; her comrades captured by cannibals, a faery dragon is wounded, a magician is angered… It would be nice and poetic to be able to wrap that all up in a nice long post for Snippet #100. But there are too many scenes, to accomplish that feat.

This is far from the ending of the Original Jasmine story; it’s merely a stop along Jasmine’s arduous journey North. My notes continue well past this point. But I don’t want to get beyond myself. I think I have a book here and so it behooves me to go back, edit, and fill in the missing details. If I’m moving too much ahead by publishing more snippets beyond Book I, I will not be able to place the needed focus on preparing for publication, the 1st part of The Story of Jasmine.

This is something my Patreon champions are helping me to accomplish. I still intend to be posting more of The Story of Jasmine, but my patrons will get dibs on seeing it first.

If you want to consider becoming a patron to get an inside glimpse of a work in progress, please visit Darlene’s patreon page.

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Jasmine Snippet #98

Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

The North and South Wind cards from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm Collector Card Game.

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

Jasmine looked down at her hand and inspected the ring. So, it’s not a ring after all, it was a Faery King’s Crown. How strange. Then she looked up at the brilliant luminescence of the sky. It seemed to her there were only deep, saturated colors. There was no blackness in the night sky at all.

“Where am I?” she marveled. A Wind came up from behind and blew her hair forward.

The Wind answered, “Welcome to the Meeting Place of the Winds. Allow me to introduce everyone. I am Ost, the East Wind.” He spun around delightfully as he spoke, “I am the first wind–the breeze of the morning. As herald of the day, I bring hope and brightness.” He stopped and moved closer to her and whispered, “At the moment, I am the strongest here as it is just about to dawn.” Ost landed lightly by Jasmine’s side and took Jasmine’s hand. She clearly felt Ost’s firm grasp and wondered how this could be. Ost introduced her to the other three winds. Each one’s sharp, undulating features refracted in and out of invisibility.

Ost paused. “This is Wein, the West Wind.” he introduced, “He shall be the strongest wind this afternoon.” Next to Ost’s warm feel, Wein was cold. He seemed bluer than the other winds and his voice had an unfriendly edge to it.

“I shall chill you and never leave you in peace.” Wein said.

“Lovely.” Jasmine sighed a bit too loudly.

“Miss, that is my nature.” Wein replied. “I came out of courtesy to meet you, though I’m bidden to do but a single service for the Sorceress of Medrylthorn. Know, oh haughty one, until I have dispatched my obligation, I cannot do you any favors.”

Jasmine nodded her acknowledgment as Ost ushered her quickly away. “This is Noird, the blinding wind of the North. His strength is in the evening and he’s sometimes hot and sometimes cold, but he is always full of energy. Noird has promised a service to the Ice King, Thorgall. So like Wein, Noird is unable to help you at the moment.”

Noird blew a kiss at her. “I sincerely hope you will be around when I am able to serve you…” Jasmine blushed, then acknowledged him with a nod of her head.

Ost took her to meet the last wind, “Sud is the hot wind of the night. Her strength envelopes and protects.” Sud displayed more of a purplish cast. Her vibration seemed faster than the other winds. Strangely, the faster undulations gave Sud’s sharp features more definition. With Sud’s form, she could make out a body beyond her face.

From what Jasmine could tell, Sud had the general shape of a horse with great wings, but also, instead of a horse’s head, there was a woman’s torso. Jasmine thought Sud looked exquisite and stunning.

Ost added, “Oh, deep into the night, you traveled on an excursion with Sud, since she was the strongest at that time.”

“Oh.” Jasmine said, “thank you.” It seemed to Jasmine that Sud winked at her and she chuckled.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #97

Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

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

Jasmine closed her eyes and kept her eyes shut as she concentrated on blowing into her makeshift flute. It surely felt as if she was suspended in the air but she preferred to believe the feeling was illusory. She felt safe from harm as long as she kept her mind occupied with playing. So she fought the temptation to reach out one of her hands to confirm there was ground beneath her. In case it wasn’t an illusion, she did not want to fall to her death.

After a while, she decided to get bold enough to trust her bodily sensations. She trusted gravity would not claim her. If she was being suspended in the air, she’d make the best of it. But she still kept her eyes shut. Jasmine moved her body in a way that placed less stress on her muscles.

To be aware of her orientation, to know up and down, she had to be aware of her center of gravity. She instinctively did this by imagining herself in the middle of a bubble that would always right itself. Creating her bubble cushion helped make her flute playing easier. The winds picked up and tossed her higher and higher. She could control how fast she tumbled by spreading out her arms and legs. To do this, she had to stop playing.

When she stopped playing, she opened her eyes. Darn, she knew this would happen.She was in free fall. “This is not my imagination.” Jasmine said to herself. There was nothing for her to do but to accept her situation. She was falling. How could she fight gravity? Sooner or later, she will hit the ground. So she decided to relax her muscles and welcome every sensation she felt during her last moments alive. Indeed, as she fell, she noticed the customary colors of the night had changed into an intense blue purple.

She did not hit the ground. Instead, she was buoyed up, suspended, and gently placed on a circular bowl etched in a rock near the edge of a cliff. As soon as her feet touched rock, she stumbled as if she had forgotten how gravity worked. The Winds immediately manifested before her. There was much mirth between them. Their laughter sounded like high whistling. “See!” one was saying to another, “didn’t I tell you? Aria’s daughter could not help but to succeed, and brilliantly!”

“W-What?” Jasmine asked, as she got up, “who is Aria?”

“Oh, you can hear us speak?” asked one who appeared directly in front of her. He was see-thorough, but his features were sharp and piercing. His image kept distorting as it flickered between invisibility and shades of blue and white.

“Yes, I understand you.” Jasmine answered. The winds quickly ushered themselves away to confer among themselves. Jasmine felt nothing but an abysmal stillness during their absence. But it gave her time to consider her situation. She was here basically because the ghostly voices connected with the ring had brought her to this spot.

“This spot.” That phrase kept echoing in her head. “This spot. This spot. This-s-s-p… Of course! This very spot is where the Winds meet. I’m here!” Jasmine felt elated. She spun and danced within the circular depression in the rock. Somehow, she arrived at the place the ring voices advised her to find.

When she thought about it, she became puzzled that she had not encountered the voices emanating from the ring for a long while. They were silent still. Then Jasmine heard the word  “Doorway” in her head. She reasoned that this was why the colors were so deep and marvelous! Jasmine smiled. She was on the doorstep of elementals who could take her precisely where she wanted to go.

One of the winds returned.

This one also had sharp features and was almost indistinguishable from the first, except the voice differed, “Winds are able to converse quite freely with the denizens of the faery realm. We think you can understand us because you wear the Crown of the Faery King Emeth on your finger.”

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #96

Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

Special card in the deck of JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game

Jasmine awakened. She was by a mountain stream in an area where some tall reeds grew. She heard them rustling as they shimmered in the breeze. Her muscles felt stiff and ached. She stretched, and wondered how she got there. It was still dark. She could not tell how long she slept or dreamt. Absently, she reached for one of the dried golden reeds, pulled it to her, broke off the stem and fidgeted with it as she thought about her visionary excursions.

As with her experience with her sisters at the ancient temple on White Throne Mountain, she could not tell if she actually traveled to these majestic places, or if she just had one fantastic dream. She had dreamt of flying before, so the sensation of moving through the air high above the ground was somewhat familiar. And flying would explain how she arrived at this spot.

She became aware of the golden reed she was turning in her hands and inspected it. There was some fibrous material on the inside. So she started the process of hollowing the reed using whatever sharp sticks or natural tools presented themselves.

After she hollowed the dried reed, she found a rock just the right shape and sharpness to fashion little holes in the stem. She found a way to produce a nice round hole, if she twisted the rock back and forth the right way. The next time she blew into the reed, she produced a sound. After a little more work, she was able to improve the tone. Using the same technique, she worked on other holes, until at last, she’d fashioned a flute.

It took considerable effort to produce even a raspy and barely audible sound when she tried to play it. She found another rock with a sharper edge she could use to better define the holes and further refine the inside. It was hard because it was still dark and she did these tasks more with feel than sight. Jasmine worked on it single-mindedly until the sound produced became cleaner. As she improved the sound, she hummed a melody that got stuck in her brain. And as she hummed, the winds picked up.

So focused was Jasmine on finishing her task, she did not immediately notice when the winds picked her up. Still seated, her body hovered three inches off the ground. At last, when she blew into the finished reed, and made a strong pure note, the winds lifted her higher into the air.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #95

The Story of Jasmine Notes continue:

After Jasmine calmed herself down, she did as suggested and strained to listen. She heard the tweeting of the night birds, the rustle of the leaves, distant shouting. She heard the effects of the wind, but not the wind itself. She tried even harder to focus on the sounds, but to no avail. She was merely hearing the sounds of the night.

“There is nothing to listen to!” Jasmine cried out in frustration.

“Precisely” was the response she heard.

“What?” Then it occurred to her that she was meant to focus on the space between the sounds. She needed to hear the silence.

As she focused deeper into the silence, she found its space could expand and open up. But with the next sound, her expansion collapsed. What did she have to do, stop time? It was difficult to sustain her focus, but she kept at it until she became aware of a faint melody. When she concentrated on the melody, it disappeared. Then she would have to start all over again. She could not trap the melody in her mind. Finally, Jasmine understood she needed to completely surrender to the silence. To allow this, she needed to relinquish her mind’s search for meaning.

When she allowed her experience to wash over her. Without her mind’s interference, Jasmine was finally able to follow the alluring sound with her heart. Her heart followed the faint hollow melody of silence to a stream where some golden reeds grew. The haunting song of silence came from these reeds that stirred in the faint breeze.

Jasmine felt the breeze. She felt it whirling around her, inside and out, like a slow motion tornado. She was a reed moving in the wind. Like every other individual reed, she too, had her own sound. Like the reed, she was a hollow vessel for the wind to play. She never felt so alive and good, a reed yearning to be moved with living breath of the wind. She became the instrument and the song. There was no place where her song was not playing. Inside and outside of herself, she played the song of her soul. The energy increased in waves. She felt sound vibrations all over her body. She was already on sensory overload when there was an increase in tempo and amplitude until, in one great burst, she released herself to the wind and experienced time out of time.

She travelled on the wings of the wind. Together, they journeyed freely throughout the Mid-Realm. She saw wonders and sights she never knew existed. The wind told her about the history of the different lands they visited. With stars flashing before her eyes, her heart perceived everything around her all at once: her relationship to the cosmos, her true connections to the people around her and she saw the face of her true mother. What was revealed in a couple moments would take life times to explain.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #94

More notes for The Story of Jasmine:

Lt. Adrian Cartwell rode at top speed with his injured prize and did not slow his pace until his horse desperately needed rest. Galloping so hard for so long, exhausted the poor beast. He was exhausted too. Although they had not yet made it out of the forest, he felt he was far enough along that he would be safe from attack.

The lizard-dragon Gryth had long since given up squirming. The Lieutenant hoped the creature was still alive. He dismounted and carefully laid Gryth limply on the ground. It seemed weak and made disturbing chortling sounds. It must be hungry but the Lieutenant did not know what it ate. However, he did have a water canteen and dripped water into its mouth. That helped. The water revived Gryth enough to demand more. A good sign.

The Lieutenant wetted a handkerchief and washed Gryth’s wounds. Some were nasty but most were superficial. It hurt Gryth so much to move, Lt. Cartwell concluded it must be because of that awful kick he received from the woman. He realized how painful the horse ride probably had been for it and felt it best for the patient not to be jostled anymore on horseback. Lt. Cartwell risked a fire, deciding that warmth along with peaceful ground rest would help the dragon mend his internal injuries.

When the fire was crackling, they rested near its warmth. “Little Gryth boy…” he kept repeating as he tended to its torn body, “poor little one… you will be alright.” He urged the creature to rest. He soothed the animal by speaking to it in the same tone and repeating the same words that his own mother said to him when he was little and in need of comfort.

He placed his entire focus on Gryth. He did not want to leave room in his mind to think about how he abruptly abandoned the men under his charge. But saving Gryth was important. First and foremost, it was Bardulf’s pet. To lose Gryth was to lose his life. But also, there was another amazing reason. He had heard the little dragon speak to him.

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Jasmine Snippet #93

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

From her perch on a lonely mountain rock, Jasmine watched the outcome of the day’s battle. She desperately wanted to help and paced morosely back and forth from her horse to her vantage point. Oh, how she wanted to turn all those hideous creatures into stone! But without her staff, she felt she did not have the power, or the means. And she faced the truth. Even if she did have her staff, she did not know how to wield it for such a purpose. She felt stupid and ineffective.

Witnessing the Wichtleins’ eventual victory was devastating. She watched in horror as those large menacing men slowly surrounded her protectors. There was a pause in the fighting that opened into a space. They were completely surrounded but instead of killing them, they took their weapons. They captured everything but the staff, which Ahearn held on to tightly.

“What can I do?” she asked out loud, as if she was appealing to the sky. And to her surprise, her plaintive call was answered.

“Listen to the wind” was the response.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #92

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

The ensuing battle temporarily united Bardulf’s soldiers with Jasmine’s protectors against their non-human foe. The Wichtleins, still uncertain about the magical staff Ahearn held aloft, concentrated their efforts on eliminating the second group of men who’d arrived on horseback.

In the fighting, the Wichtleins slowly closed in on them, noting how the staff held by Ahearn glowed ominously. In the end, superior numbers won the day. By twilight, only Jasmine’s protectors remained alive. Because of their deep superstitions regarding magic, few Wichtleins were willing to engage them.

The day ended with Glynn, Thorne, Ahearn and Rogan completely surrounded, their weapons taken from them. “Guard them.” ordered the Chieftain, who seemed to have something in mind. The Wichtleins began clearing the battleground of all the fallen. Although they had won, three times as many Wichtleins were dead. Cleaning up was a grim affair.

Many Wichtleins were relieved they did not have to deal with the lady in white who had ridden off at the onset of the battle. None would go after her. The land across the bridge was taboo. All Wichtleins who ventured there, never came back. All agreed she would probably share the same fate.

As the dead men were being picked up and all their horses lead away, Glynn praised the valiant efforts of the fallen men, who arrived with the dragon lizard. They were good fighters. Glynn was unsure, but he seemed to recognize one of them. “It was in another place, at another time,” he sighed, “I think we had a drink together. I’d raise one in honor now, if I could…”

Thorne reacted violently when the body of her hawk was picked up. “Don’t touch him!”  she cried, only to be ignored. Then she cursed Jasmine again, under her breath, for the death of Gavin, her sweet, great bird.

Glynn addressed her, “Curse her all you like, but we are alive now because of her.”

Thorne snorted, “How do you figure?”

“Her staff saved us.” Glynn replied as he watched Ahearn whorl the staff around as if it was a fighting stick.  “It’s clearly a weapon, but it’s the only thing they clearly would not touch. They are afraid of it more than they are afraid of us.”

They all looked at Ahearn, who remained focused on looking menacing. Rogan had nothing to say.

At length, they heard the sound of drums in the distance. Ahearn then started talking gibberish. To the accompaniment of drums, he spoke non-words in a commanding way and would keep up the act throughout the night.

© 2018 DARLENE

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