Tag Archives: Jasmine

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

Jasmine Snippet #28

The typed notes from The Story of Jasmine continue:

As Arlet pulled away from him, Ermengarde stepped up, “Keep you hands off her, or I’ll make the sky rain fire!”

“You’ll what?” He said calmly.

“I’ll make hundreds of lightening balls fall from the sky, burning everything they touch. Let us be on our way and no fire storm will harm you!”

Bardulf’s men grew uneasy, but Bardulf remained impassive. “Alright,” he said, “make it rain!”

For a moment, Ermengarde thought of casting a spell. But she knew Bardulf’s purpose was to draw her out. He still had the upper hand. Her best and only chance was to continue her act. She closed her eyes to muster the energy to burst into foolish tears.

“Oh Bardulf,” she wailed, “you was right. Erlkyng left me with nothing. The only thing I have left is my duty to protect this child. Please don’t harm her.” Ermengarde held Arlet to her breast and stroked her silky blonde hair.

“Bring Grishnack,” Bardulf commanded to one of his men.

Then he studied his captives. “Princess Arlet,” he said, “look at me.” Arlet’s head turned underneath Ermengarde’s gentle hold. When she looked at him, he continued, “tell me, has your nurse, Ermengarde here, has she practiced magic?”

Arlet looked up at her nurse-companion with bewilderment in her widened eyes, “Ermengarde?”

At that moment, the man whom Bardulf summoned, bowed before his master. Ermengarde recognized him from the Court of UR. He answered Bardulf’s muffled questions and departed. “Lord Grishnack informs me that you have, indeed, raised Arlet since her infancy.”

“She is like my own child.” Ermengard replied.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #27

The typed “Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Upon the completion of the kiss, Ermengarde was prepared to act. But her concentration was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a strange flying lizard with leathery wings. The little beast landed on Bardulf’s shoulder and made a startling noise. Arlet screamed and pushed herself away from Bardulf and the creature perched upon his right shoulder. The kiss and the spell had ended.

Arlet turned, wide-eyed and frightened, looking for an escape. “Ermengarde!” Arlet called frantically.

“I am here, child,” Ermengarde replied as Arlet hastened to her guardian’s side.

“Ermengarde?” Bardulf said quizzically, “Wait. I know that voice… No, you’re not Ermengarde…” His men, with weapons drawn, pressed in closer upon Ermengarde and her charge. Bardulf laughed. “Ah, yes, I remember,” Bardulf began, “you are Erlkyng’s witch! I wondered what became of you after the old fellow disappeared.” Bardulf walked towards his captives.

As Ermengarde watched him near, she understood the time for magic had passed. This was no charlatan. She would have to rely on guile instead. This man must believe she posed no threat. If she had completely lost her power, how would she act? She would bluff. If she had no powers, she would boast of her great strength.

“So,” Bardulf said, stroking the head of his lizard-creature with a gloved hand, “you want me to believe you are nothing but a powerless old nurse?”

“And YOU want me to believe you have become powerful without an apprenticeship to Erlkyng.”

Bardulf laughed, “So you DO remember.” Bardulf’s laughter grew cold, “I remember too. I was in ernest in my request to learn from that old wizard. And what was it he said to me? To come back when I had learned humility? I was a talented lad. He never even took the time to test me. You call that fair? And I remember you, staring at me with that smug look, telling me humility was a hard lesson, but a necessary one. I hated that smug voice of yours as much as your words. Humility!”

“Humility IS a hard lesson,” Ermengarde interrupted.” She spoke from experience, remembering the sixteen years she posed as a nursemaid, allowing her beauty to be hidden. She added, “and it’s a lesson you still haven’t learned.”

Bardulf looked at her directly and spoke with conviction, “I know what I am and I know what I am capable of doing. Why be humble when opportunities like this one present itself?” By this time, Bardulf was close enough to stroke Arlet’s cheek with the side of his finger. “You know, you do kiss beautifully,” he said to her.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #26

The typed “Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Ermengarde felt a powerful sensation in her belly. The energy shift warned her they were nearing their destination: the dark prince and his magic. Ermengarde started her maneuver by slouching on her horse and wailing loudly. She called to the princess who had rode ahead, “Oh m’ lady, please have pity on an old woman whose bones is aching. Please slow down, miss. I cannot keep up with you…”

Her pleas managed to slow Arlet a pace. As they proceeded, Ermengarde noticed some men watching them from the shadows and branches of the surrounding trees. “Please m’ lady,” she cried, knowing their destination was almost upon them, “can’t we stop now?”

Just then, several men appeared from the shadows and some dropped from the treetops. They were quick in subduing the startled horses. “Oh, oh,” Ermengarde called pitifully, “what’s this?” he men laughed as they lead the horses off the main road onto a small path. They had only travelled a short ways before Ermengarde saw the telltale signs of a military encampment.

When they stopped, Arlet was helped from her horse. Ermengarde was still on her mount when the dark prince approached. He was dressed handsomely in black. When she saw his features, Ermengarde gasped. She knew this man instantly. The years had not changed the glisten in Bardulf’s black eyes and time only enhanced his cruel smile. It was a mistake to have completely dismissed him from her mind.

She slowly dismounted, hoping to be inconspicuous. But all eyes were on Arlet, who walked slowly, but purposefully, towards the prince. Bardulf’s lips curled in a horrid, arrogant smile. When he opened his arms, Ermengarde shuddered. His black cloak reminded her of a bat extending its wings.

Still in a daze, Arlet walked into his outstretched arms and was swallowed by the blackness of his cloak closing tightly around her. Ermengarde counted the moments. She could act if the spell was broken by the embrace. But she knew her hope was foolish when Bardulf drew Arlet into a deep, sustained kiss.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #25

“The Story of Jasmine” snippets continue (Scene 2, according to notes):

Again, the nervous horses of the two riders rubbed against each other. Ermengarde* grabbed the mane of Arlet’s steed with her hand. The animals slowed their pace while Ermengarde kept the horse’s hair in her grasp. Ermengarde sighed. There was so little time to prepare for the unknown danger which awaited them.

“Listen,” the old matron tried one more time to reach her, “there is so much you don’t understand… about your mother… about your birth… about me… about a wizard called Erlkyng…”

Arlet replied with the only words she had spoken since late morning, “The dark prince calls me and I must go to him. Nothing else matters.”

Arlet was spellbound. Without knowing the nature of the enchantment, Ermengarde was reluctant to take measures to counteract it. Besides, she had not practiced this type of magic in years.

To end the spell, Ermengarde thought up a simple strategy. Let Arlet meet her “dark prince.” Then, before the princess could be bound by another spell, Ermengarde would intervene magically. Her plan depended upon complete surprise.

To achieve this, she must be dismissed as a feeble old nurse. Ermengarde let go of Arlet’s horse. For sixteen years, she had played the part of an old crone. Nobody knew who she really was. Her chances for success were good.

There was only one unknown, which bothered her. Who had cast this spell, and how? “Oh master,” Ermengarde prayed, “Let’s hope I can handle this charlatan.”


This page was typed and will be presented in bite-sized pieces.

*Ermengarde is Heta, but we don’t know it yet.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #24

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

The Guardian of Wisdom makes an appearance in The Dragon Magazine some time before “The Story of Jasmine” begins.

Our Story opens with fear and suspicion.

  • Jasmine is dauntless of Reality because the ring of the dark prince placed on her finger makes her see bliss and beauty everywhere (though the blissful landscape is not reflected in the water.)
  • Her companions (retinue) are fearful because they are not “bewitched”
  • Ambush
  • Tall man on horse carries off Princess
  • She hits man with rock*
  • Meets “Gnome” people – they befriend her instantly — recognize ring and try to undo magic. Too strong to manage due to its cloaking ability. She begins to see what is happening to her. To undo the ring, she has two choices: let the prince remove it from her finger or go to the Ice palace of King Attar.* They name her Istaveer.**
  • With ring, Prince can always keep track of her and still possess her (homing device) “uncle?”
  • She goes on her way. Two men find her and are going to capture her. Tall man comes from other direction. Panic.
  • Tall man kills other two. Says her uncle sent him to help her. She’s skeptical, but doesn’t argue.


This might have been an early draft. I have different name notations, an allusion to a tall man and the suggestion of an uncle. I seem to have two versions of the beginning: one with her nursemaid, Ermengarde accompanying her and this one, without mention of her.

*A lot seems to go on in between this and the next bullet point.

**King Attar? Is this Thorgall’s surname?

*** Istaveer? I don’t remember this at all.

Jasmine Snippet #23

The notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

Melantha, from unpublished Installment #13

With great interest Melantha, the Fire Queen of Ildshoii watches Bardulf-Thaattur’s plotting. Her passion is power and she fears nothing. Melantha’s web stretches unseen from the volcanic spires of Ildshoii outward to the unsuspecting Mid-realm.

She waits with infinite patience to ensnare the next victim in her glittering web. Attracted by the ruthless power of the dark prince, she plans her entrapment and conquest. “Bardulf-Thaatur, Axewolf of the Darkness,” she muses upon his name, “I like that.”

Just as a black orchid is seductive and exotic, Queen Melantha’s beauty knows a delicateness unsurpassed. Even so, her deceptive nature is cruel as well as cunning. Her dark eyes betray the reptilian passions and instincts of her black soul. Her lips twist in a smile of satisfaction. As long as her soul is locked away in a secret place, she will remain forever beautiful, forever terrible, forever deadly, forever Queen!

Her train of thought is interrupted by her Captain, who has come to make a report before her. “What can this mean?” She says to herself, reacting to the news, “He has succeeded in the taking of UR, yet he hesitates to kill UR’s King… because of what? His daughter? Can this princess, Flavia, mean more to him than conquest?” Her eyes burning with contempt, she addresses the Captain, “His lust will not interfere with my plans. Kill her!”

Suddenly, her fury subsides and her fiery temper melts onto a thoughtful gaze, “No. Wait — perhaps I can USE her…”

She saunters toward the window and looks southward and whispers to herself, “Yes-s-s-s. Axe-wolf, my Love — with this girl, I shall discover your passions and your weaknesses — and when I do, I shall devour you both… “

Turning away from the window, she commands, “Captain, find this Princess of UR and report to me her every move.”

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #22

Notes from The Story of Jasmine continue:

Jasmine & Glynn from a published panel.

The powerful dwarf-warrior rests his weapon and laughs, “Well, you picked yourself quite a name!”

Jasmine straightens up. “And what would you know of this,” she replies in a royal tone.

He noted the change in her demeaner. “Of ‘Jasmine,’ I know little,” he replied. After a short pause, he continued,  “Only, it reminds me of some poetic nonsense I was made to always remember when I was very young:

‘As a warrior lives, a warrior dies,

But you will glide on the wings of the skies.

When the Axe-wolf of Winter’s made the land lean,

Seek out the white flower Jasmine.

In the shrine where the white rocks rise,

This is where your destiny lies…’

“I never wanted to be a victim of prophecy… so I’ve tried my best to forget it. And here you have me remembering it…”

Noting that the sun had almost set, he picks up to leave, turning toward the river. “Where are you going?” she calls, then follows him to the base of the bridge.

“Ah, just as I thought.” The dwarf invites Jasmine into a small cave carved from the riverbank beneath the bridge. Where many fires have been kindled in the past, he renews the fire place. Among bones and other morose debris, the crackling flames illuminate coins and other valuables robbed from many countless travelers above.

Regarding each other with caution, an uneasy companionship develops. She discovers the dwarf’s name is Glynn and that he is traveling to Oxfed.

For a moment, he seems puzzled when she asks if Oxfed is near The Great White Throne. He laughs, replying that many years ago his people had hoped those mountains had riches to mine but their hopes were all but dashed. Ever since, his people called that mountain Fool’s Hope.

“You are a strange one,” Glynn remarks, as if seeing her for the first time, “You know things you could not possibly know, yet you can’t walk through the woods without stumbling!” Jasmine frowns and returns a look of defiance.

Leaving the warmth of the fire, Glynn impales the heads of the cut-throats on their own pole-arms and places them for all to see at the end of the bridge. In death, as in life, the two heads bob in the wind, watching over their bridge, to mock or to be mocked.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #21

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

Traveling alone in the wilderness, the full impact of her situation slowly became clear. “What a wretched person I am.” she thought, recalling the events of the recent past, “Now I have nothing–neither kingdom nor title.”

At the Guardians’ insistence, she had to relinquish her identity. “Flavia must die!” they told her. In addition to abandoning her name, she exchanged her royal raiment for simpler garments.

Her long journey north began underground. With provisions and much encouragement, this nameless maiden had been led through a labyrinth of cold, damp rock. For weeks, it seemed, they made their way through dark and still passageways. Then finally, came the first shafts of sunlight. She grew joyful as the chamber neared an exit. But then she came to understand that the little community of wise, kind-eyed people who had accompanied her thus far would not be accompanying her any further. She halted.

“Not far from here,” they told her, “is a mountain called The Great White Throne. On top of that mountain are the sacred ruins of an ancient shrine. Go there. Invoke the spirit of Erlkyng and help you will find. And always remember, stay away from the main road—your enemies are many and they are everywhere.”

To give her courage, they placed around her neck, a pouch filled with jasmine petals.

© 2018 DARLENE