Tag Archives: Rogan

Jasmine Snippet #70

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Two Red Faction cards from “JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” game

The demon minions roamed everywhere on those once fertile lands. Because they were ugly, stupid and mindless, Rogan had been fond of repeating, “they have no cells in their heads to think.” The behavior of the minions was something Rogan could not abide. They always did what they were told, without question. There was no deviation from the material law set down by their queen. They thoughtlessly complied with everything she expected of them.

If one was struck down in anger, another was always there to replace him. Rogan often wondered if they could be interchangeable—a large bureaucracy of stick stupid thugs? Indeed, Rogan could never detect if they possessed any type of personality. He thought not. But he conceded they were probably capable of distinguishing differences among themselves.

But before even his country, there was his wife and children to consider. He loved them dearly. Melantha exercised complete control over their lives. It pained him to think they could come to harm. When he recovered his thoughts, he realized he had again been within Melantha’s gaze.

She spoke at last, “They are the damned and probably are resigned to being damned. They have no creativity or higher faculties. Your charms are completely lost on them. Nuance is not in their grasp. All is as it should be.”

Rogan was crushed. When did she start back reading his thoughts? He was about to speak when she halted him. Although the fire was now dwindling, she rewarded his work with a vision of his wife, his beautiful red-haired Rachel. She was holding his little daughter and his young son was running up to hug them both. They all looked happy, healthy and well-cared-for. Rogan’s yearning for them swelled and his desire to touch and hold them in a sweet embrace overwhelmed and overtook him. He reached his hands into the fire and burned his fingers. He heard Melantha’s cackle.

“Continue with your planned journey.” She ordered, “give me news as you can. I’m particularly interested in this white maiden you’ve stumbled upon, as well as the Dockalfarian. You did very well. How lucky you are. I was prepared to give you a completely different vision of your dear ones. I am sure next time, you will take measures not to disappoint me again when I call.”

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

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Jasmine Snippet #68

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Rogan The Red as pictured in Installment #13.

The stone in Rogan’s trouser pocket became hot enough to burn his leg. The rock had steadily gotten hotter during the past three days. He knew The Fire Queen was getting more and more impatient for his report. He simply had not gotten a large enough chunk of time to give his report. He valiently tried not to focus on the consequences of non-compliance.

To answer Melantha’s burning call, Rogan needed to convince Thorne and the others that it would be best if he went back to Oxted alone as not to arouse suspicion. He’d collect supplies that were needed for their up-coming journey and promised he would immediately join them at any place of their choosing. He used his smoothest voice and manner to convince Jasmine that this was a good idea. She urged everyone to give Rogan a list of their needs and a means of payment. With this simple request, Jasmine proved she had leadership skills. She was so good at her first command, that everyone complied without issue.

As he left on horseback, Rogan shook his head as he mulled over what had just transpired between all parties in the early morn. It was nothing short of a miracle. Who would have thought this motley crew, himself among them, would ever consider traveling together? And for Thorne to offer her sword? What was that about?

If anything had ever surprized him, it was that. He could never have guessed this proud Armildian was capable of demeaning herself to serve another, unless she actually acknowledged the young, naive but somehow wise Jasmine as her superior. Yet, he knew that Jasmine represented everything Thorne detested. Women!  With all his experience with them, he still could not fathom them.

Of course, he would need to report to the Queen of Fire most of what happened. He wanted to leave some things out. He planned to spend quite a long time describing how devastated, then furious Thorne was to learn UR had fallen. The Queen would relish that. He would smooth it all out by reporting how he was accompanying Thorne in her travels to find another ruler in the north. But how would he explain Jasmine and her dwarf protector?

About three quarters of the way to Oxted, after Rogan was sure he was not being followed, he turned off the trail to find a remote locale, which served his needs. At a clearing, he quickly collected dried branches and other materials to make a fire. For a roaring fire to appear, all he needed to do was to toss the very hot obsidian rock into a pile of kindling.

© 2018 DARLENE

I AM A FAN of “THE STORY OF JASMINE”

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Jasmine Snippet #62

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

Glynn was glad to finally have a moment to himself, as he watched the trio disappear into the darkness. To tend to their animals, they had to move away from the temple boundaries.

He thought about his prophecy and how certain phrases in in it, could be meaningful to this situation.

‘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…’

“This is the place where the white rocks rise. And I’m in a temple shrine.” Glynn said to himself. His future would be decided on this very spot. Everything depended on how the next moments played out. He’d already taken measures to secure the place.  He did not know what it all meant. With this time to himself, he thought about the people he’d encountered during the night.

It seemed to Glynn that everyone kept a secret. The red-headed man who stepped in to freely lend his horse and his sword had been immensely helpful. He would not have known anything about the danger to the girl if it was not for Rogan. But how did he figure in all this?

Clearly, the man was a buffoon, or at least he played one. Remembering his hand gestures when the three of them spoke, Glynn concluded Rogan was a manipulator accomplished in the art of court-tricks. Glynn observed how he tried to mesmerize his audience of two. He felt lucky this type of magic was lost on him. Yet, to have a persuasive person working with you in your group would be a powerful asset – if if could be harnessed and if Rogan could be trusted.

And what about the dark elf? Why was he here and where was he most recently? That man was not a mercenary like he claimed. His manner and bearing did not match a fighter-for-hire. Glynn ought to know. Nor did he believe Ahearn’s story about just arriving from the west. Clearly, he knew more about things then he let on.

Glynn recalled talk of an entourage of Dockalfarians that came through the area not too long ago. Glynn surmised the man must be a survivor from that group. They had fought in some of the skirmishes on the side of UR. He wondered what happened to them when UR fell. Were they taken prisoner? Dead? Or was it each man for himself as this one’s presence suggested?

He did not know what to think of Thorne. He admired her battle readiness, the way she charged in and took control, even with the odds against her. Out of the group, he trusted her the most, though not by much.

“We are not all here by chance,” Glynn decided. Whether by magic or fate or prophecy, they all had a role to play together. Normally, Glynn would never consider linking himself with such people, but it seemed providence had other ideas.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #61

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

Ahearn suddenly leapt forward and snatched the ribbon from Thorne’s hand to have a better look at it. He then took off upstream to see what else he could find. Rogan and Thorne exchanged glances and casually followed. They observed Ahearn franticly search. At length, he spied something on the bank near a waterfall and made his way toward it. He grabbed the cloak, and put it up to his face. Breathing it in, he detected a faint smell of perfume.

At this point, the sun peeked over the horizon, changing the purple shades of night into the rosy orange pastels of dawn. When Ahearn noticed more clothing suspended in the water, he dropped the cloak and retrieved it.

Ahearn spread the cloak and frock on the bank to get a better look. By this time, Thorne and Rogan caught up and the three of them inspected the items of clothing he found. Ahearn furrowed his brow, but he kept silent.

Rogan observed, “You know more than you are letting on.” Ahearn ignored him.

“These clothes where not made for just any maiden.” Thorne said as she inspected the items, “These have seen a lot of wear, but their workmanship is very fine. They definitely belonged to a woman of the court, most likely UR.”

“Really?” Rogan said and started to look at the fabric as well as the stitching, “then the rumors were true. Bardulf’s men were in the right place!”

“Which means more of them will be coming.” Thorne observed.

“Where did she go?” Ahearn muttered. He searched the entire area for footprints and even made his way behind the waterfall to discover a possible passage or place of refuge but found nothing.

When Ahearn finally returned to them, Thorne commented,”She’s probably alive. Look – there is no blood on the clothing.” Then she turned to Rogan and said, “The owner of this dress may actually be your white maiden.”

Rogan said, “we need to get back to Glynn and find out what he knows.”

“No,” warned Thorne firmly, “we need to get out of here.”

Rogan replied, “Yeah, you’re right, we’re wasting time here. Let’s get back to the horses, and decide then.” Rogan and Thorne headed back along the steep bank. Ahearn followed, but not before he placed the dress inside the dry cloak to carry with him.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #60

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

After their horses were satisfied and their water containers replenished, Rogan turned to Thorne. “Alright,” he said, “you got us away from the dwarf. What do you wish to discuss?”

“No, you misunderstand. I only wanted to water my horse.”

The Dockalfarian interceded, “And yet, here we all are.”

Thorne cocked her head and smiled, “So, you two want MY counsel? No, I think it is you who have something to say.”

Rogan, normally exercising such excellent control over himself, suddenly cracked. His eyes grew big, he put his hands on his head and cried, “Oh! It’s so hard to describe what I saw last night!…”

Thorne was alarmed at his sudden mood swing, but urged him to continue, “What did you see?”

“I saw those soldiers turn into stone! All of them…all at once! It all happened in a burst of light! It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed. The dwarf saw it too…”

“Calm yourself!” Thorne counseled in a firm voice.

After a short pause, Rogan continued, “While we fought the soldiers, a maiden appeared. She was dressed in white with flowing blonde hair. She stood above us all at the top of the ruins. She enchanted the soldiers with her strange voice. It was like she spoke with 100 voices. The effect she had on those men froze them in place. Somehow, I was still able to move, but those men couldn’t. They just stood there, giving me time to retreat to the woods.”

Rogan’s eyes seemed to be in a far-off place as he recalled, “then she began humming. It was a most incredible sound. And the humming only got louder and more intense. I could close my ears to it because I could move. But that humming was more than just sound. I could also feel a vibration coming up from the ground through my feet. The sound pulsed until it became a big explosion of light and blinded me!”

“What?”

“When the moon came out, I could finally focus. The White Maiden was gone from her place on the roof. What happened to her? I don’t know. Was she a flesh and blood woman or was she a phantom of this temple? Could she disappear into thin air?”

“The dwarf, what happened to him?”

Rogan answered, “For a long time, I did not see the dwarf. But I didn’t expect to. He turned up later. We did not get a chance to discuss what we saw before you wandered in. Everything is complicated. I think he has some type of prior relationship with the maiden.”

“How do you know this?” Ahearn interrupted.

“Because it was I who made him hurry here from the Inn in Oxted. I was having a good time drinking with him. We shared stories and I repeated the recent rumors I heard. When I happened to mention that soldiers were looking for a girl on the White Throne Mountain, he got up and made to leave. I thought this reaction was so curious. The fellow would have run here the entire way if I hadn’t offered him a lift on my horse. I just wanted to have a look.”

Ahearn interrupted, “Do you trust the dwarf?”

Looking askance at Ahearn, Thorne replied, “Who trusts anyone?” Ahearn had no time to respond when Thorne cries out, “Ha!” She reached into the flowing stream. “I have your answer! It was no phantom you saw – she’s flesh and blood alright. Look.” Thorne triumphantly pulled a ribbon from the stream and showed it to Rogan.

“That is all the more worrisome.” He replied solemnly.

“Why? A flesh and blood woman can easily be dealt with.” Thorne offered confidently.

Rogan shook his head, “You did not experience what I did. You have no idea of the immerse power I felt in my bones. It was truly something to behold. Mark my words, this power is to be befriended, not challenged.”

© 2018 DARLENE

 

Jasmine Snippet #59

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

Thorne was suspicious. Thorne was always suspicious. What concerned her this time was Rogan, the Nôr-man whom the Armildians had contracted to escort her to UR. When he arrived from Roth, he came at precisely the correct time to help the Armildians in their plight against Melantha’s evil expansion. During their discussions, Rogan pointed something out to the Armildian Council that they had never before considered: the importance of a man on a diplomatic mission.

Thorne saw him in diplomatic action. She witnessed how well Rogan could manipulate their own royal court. So she did not express any misgivings about his impressive ability to sway the Royal court of UR. With his silver tongue, Rogan acted the part of court dandy well. He was nothing but cordial and agreeable to her this whole trip. And helpful! That’s why she was wary. Nobody acts this nicely, for this long without something up their sleeve. Convinced there was more going on with him, Thorne seldom let her guard down.

In spite of her misgivings, Thorne had actually begun to enjoy Rogan’s company. Once the two of them learned that UR had fallen, did he think their mission was now ended? They had not yet had time to discuss their next move.

“Do I return to Armildia or shall I seek the help of another King?” Thorne asked herself. Was Rogan right not to rule out Bardulf, who recently conquered UR from the inside out? Magic had to be involved, as well as bribes and tactics of persuasion. She did not believe Bardulf could place his spies very effectively in Melantha’s domain of Medrylthorn. She was also unconvinced Bardulf was capable of keeping his word.

Her thoughts returned to Rogan. She wondered what was happening now with him. Ever since he encountered this cursed mountain, he acted strangely. Involuntarily, she turned her head to look at him again. Rogan stood nearby conversing with the other men, still.

The dwarf leaned against a broken column, honing his axe, listening. She liked him. He was honest and dangerous. The black mercenary had his back to her, but always with his hand lightly resting upon his sword handle. It was so easy not to trust him. For one thing, he was no mercenary. He was so stiff of manner, could it be he was also on a diplomatic mission to UR? Why else would a Dockalfarian venture this far south?

She saw Rogan from the side. He gestured wildly with this hands while he spoke. Hoping he did not catch her glancing at him, she turned away and headed towards her horse. But really, how important was he? Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted.

“Hey,” a voice called behind her, “where are you going?”

“Priorities,” she replied. “I need to water my horse.” Her words had an immediate effect. The two men ceased talking, turned, and made for their own horses.

Thorne chuckled as she lead her horse down the main path, aiming for the nearest place she smelled water. She followed a small track someone on foot had recently made and it led to a stream. Here, her horse slurped up its fill of water. She bent down and drank as well. The men followed behind her, creating their own wide tracks.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #58

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

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

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

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

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

Jasmine Snippet #52

The Story of Jasmine notes continue:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #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.

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*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 #34

Notes from “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

Rogan’s traveling companion was in an exceedingly bad humor when they got to the room, “We are lost! My errand will be left unfulfilled!” She briskly paced around the room, cursing and ranting, “Bardulf seems like a cruel master. He will not help us.”

“He may not help us,”Rogan answered, lighting an oil lamp. The small flame was reflected in the maiden’s dark eyes.

Still in a foul mood, she replied with contempt, “If you beg favors from a thief as a diplomat, you are a great fool and no soldier. Oh, if I could be freed of these binding clothes and back into my armor, I shall feel much better. I feel naked without my sword at my side.”

The woman continued to pace the floor, like a caged animal and pulled at her chemise. Although being in that frock made her appear weak, Rogan knew that was deceiving. She could master a sword and a horse as well as he. She was a first rate Armildian battle maiden sent on a diplomatic mission for her country. Since a maiden in armor would create too much unwanted attention in this land, Rogan was dispatched to serve as her spokesman while the battle-maiden assumed a more demure posture. Rogan was, however, amused by the frustration she displayed for her uncustomary style of dress.

“That is strange indeed.” Remarked the battle-maiden as she opened the shutters. Although the sun had already set, she noticed a strange dull glow radiating from The Great White Throne mountain. “A glow does emanate from the mountain. Do you suppose the rumors are true? Could there be a priestess with power enough to make this glow? Do you suppose she has power enough to drive away Bardulf’s soldiers?”

They decided Rogan would go to the mountain temple to discover the truth of the matter. If there was such a maiden, he would discover her fate. If she was still there, and victorious over the soldiers who sought to claim her, he would endeavor to ask for her advice and assistance. Perhaps her magic was strong enough to help them. So as not to rouse suspicion, the battle-maiden agreed to stay behind.

But she would use that time wisely.

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This version of the inn room scene with Thorne and Rogan is slightly different from another one I wrote. In the other version, Rogan appears to have decided to check out The Great White Throne himself. If this is the case, the trip would appear to be shorter than a 2 days journey from the inn.

There is still another version where, at the inn, Glynn strikes up a conversation with Rogan who tells him some news which prompts Glynn to get up and leave. But Rogan decides to accompany Glynn on his journey to The Great White Throne.

© 2018 DARLENE