Tag Archives: Rogan

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

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