Tag Archives: Rogan

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.***

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*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 #32

The notes from “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

Watching her form disappear in the distance, Glynn does not allow himself to feel remorse at this abrupt parting. He conceals the booty in his pack and enters the inn. Several hours later finds him laughing and enjoying the company of many people — dwarves and men alike. Glynn makes the acquaintance of a red-haired man who informs him that Oxted has had some unusual visitors.

“Soldiers from the south,” he says, “looking for a maiden I’m told.” After another swallow, the stranger continues, “Though only God knows what she’d be doing on the white mountain. People here seem to be scared of it.”

“Fool’s Hope?” Glynn looks up from his drink, “What did you say?”

“There’s an old temple that rests in the seat of the Great White Throne and these soldiers expect to find a maiden hiding there. But they’ve also looked all over Oxted asking if anyone has seen her. This maiden seems to be of particular interest to their leader, one Bardulf-Thaatur. Have you heard of him?”

Glynn scratches his nose in thought, “I heard rumors about an ambitious man whose been gaining power and provinces surrounding the country of UR. Through magic and a network of spies he learns the weaknesses of the ruling families whose lands he wants to acquire. He’s managed to conquer much territory from the inside out. It’s odd for him to use soldiers openly.”

“Maybe not so odd,” the stranger replies, “do you not know he’s made a successful bid against UR? They say he’s captured both the King and the princess. UR’s is as good as his when he marries her. “

“Yes, The King of UR’s greatest weakness is his daughter.”

“To legitimize UR as his, the marriage would have to be a large, royal public affair. So I wonder, why are his soldiers seeking this other girl in Oxted — maybe he likes blondes dressed in white?”

Instinctively, Glynn’s hand finds his weapon. The red-haired stranger reacts in equal measure, by pulling a knife of his own. Glynn rests his hand. “Calm down, friend. The fight is not with you,” Glynn replies gravely, “it’s that just today I brought a girl — a comely blonde — to Oxted. Her sole wish was to go to the old temple on that mountain. She made it seem like it was her destiny.”

Glynn’s eyes widen as he recalls the prophecy he had recently recited to Jasmine, “…in the shrine where the white rocks rise, this is where your destiny lies…” He quickly drains the rest of his drink and gets up to leave.

“I must go!” Glynn mumbles, making his way to the door. Even if she wan’t the one they were looking for, she would surely be snatched up as a possibility. Glynn hopes Jasmine’s progress up the mountain has been slow and cumbersome. Maybe they have not yet found her, but if they have…

“Wait,” the stranger follows, saying “There were seven soldiers. And I can help you even the odds… and by the way, my name is Rogan.”

© 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 Story – Snippet 11

Notes from The Story of Jasmine continue:

Rogan The Red as pictured in Installment #13.

Accepted into the Companionship as a Guide to the north is Rogan the Red.* His stately mannerisms are annoying to the rest of the party but amuse Jasmine. When asked about his past, he becomes evasive. He is an excellent horseman, as stealthy as a thief, and is quick and accurate with a knife. Although his interest in Jasmine is more than just passing, he keeps a calculated distance.

As Thorne’s friend, Rogan advises her to join Jasmine and Glynn on their journey northward. He conceals his fascination for the blonde magician. Thorne, handy with a sword, offers protection.

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*Other names considered for this character were Kayne, Macklin, Red Burkhard and Rowan.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Story – Snippet 9

This share is not technically a “Snippet,” at least not in the way I’ve been defining it.

For clarification, the snippets I’ve shared thus far have been notes to myself, mostly recording the plot elements I needed to remember. There are some nice phrases, but not much actual attempts at writing.

As I’m in charge of my own rules, I share this panel of finished art. I’m allowing it because no one has seen it before. It’s from the 13th Installment of The Story of Jasmine, which was not published. I love this particular page design.

The third page of the unpublished 13th installment of “The Story of Jasmine.”

The previous two pages in this recap installment were both designed as two column pages with illustrations at the top and introduced the major players, two to a page.

The design of the entire 13th “Story of Jasmine” Installment was symmetrical. I felt choosing this type of unifying layout would aid readers who first encounter the story. To more easily grasp a sense of the plot, the text introducing the characters together with their portraits, provide a stable visual foundation.

But, by far, the third page, which mimics a cross, is visually satisfying to me. The text within the blue central panel states the essential purpose and objective for these characters to unite as companions of Jasmine. Both conceptually and visually, the central square unites the elements of the story and the page.

I like how the landscapes indicate something about each character and I’m especially fond of Ahearn’s illustration. But I do remember struggling with Thorne’s miniature painting.

This panel was created before the days of computers. Today, using software like Photoshop, editing an image is no big deal. However, everything drawn and written on the above panel — all images and calligraphy — were created directly on the illustration board, leaving no room for mistakes. At that time, I had to be careful because the production camera picked up any attempts at corrective measures, such as in the case of changing misspellings. I believe the illustration board was at a size, close to 100% reproduction size.

By the way, the text from yesterday’s share turned out to be from this panel. Should any other text that belongs to this page be found, I shall endeavor to point it out.

© 2018 DARLENE