Tag Archives: Swartzborg

Jasmine Snippet #86

Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

Bardulf was now ready. He took the restraints off of Gryth’s leg. He looked Gryth straight in the eye and visualized the Ring of Emeth, very clearing in his head. “Go find.” Bardulf bid as he launched Gryth up in the air. Through the Crystal Ball, Bardulf reassured Gryth that he was to finally go search for the ring.

Earlier, Bardulf dispatched some troops to the White Throne mountain, hoping to garner more information. When his men discovered two of the best horses missing, he’d ordered a few men to follow the road to catch up with and punish the horse thieves. At this late hour, he enlisted the aid of more nearby troops to follow behind.

Swartzborg was east and south of UR. It would take some time for Gryth to reach UR, and longer yet to reach Oxted. He did not know the creature’s endurance. He let Gryth stop to take rests if he couldn’t find an updraft to float upon. If Gryth followed the ring, it was in a general north westernly direction. Bardulf did not let him take the straightest course.

He wanted his men to follow Gryth as his backup. So he steered Gryth to stay near the main roads, and close to areas and land marks familiar to Bardulf or on the maps he was consulting. Gryth followed the usual westward route. Bardulf aimed to intercept his handful of men who had been ordered to apprehend some thieves. Those men were the closest in proximity to his ultimate target.

His men had traveled most of the way through the stretch of the great plains when Gryth caught up with them. A young Lieutenant Bondfeld was in charge of those men. It was a point of pride for Lt. Bondfeld to notice everything around him, at all times. On this day, his keen observations were rewarded. He recognized Bardulf’s pet and stayed his men from raising their weapons.

The Lieutenant looked up and addressed the creature. “G-G-Grit, you are called?” he asked. As Bardulf directed Gryth to move toward the Lieutenant, a gurgling sound came from the throat of the beast. Gryth dropped a weighted parchment down to him.

To unroll the parchment, the Lieutenant had to break the thick wax seal of Bardulf, the High Reigning Lord King himself! His orders were to abandon their present pursuit and simply follow the dragon-lizard until it stopped — no matter where it lead them.”

The Lieutenant nodded as he read further, “When the little dragon stops by certain people and does not move on, immediately apprehend those people, keep the one with the ring alive.” When the Lieutenant completed the message, he saluted the dragon, then made ready to carry out his new orders.

Bardulf’s message also informed the Lieutenant that Gryth was his eyes. Bardulf could see everything through the eyes of the little dragon and now he looked directly upon the Lieutenant as he read that very message and could also see his men. The Lieutenant was bright, inquisitive, practical, and very rattled.

Following a dragon-lizard was at least different. His men easily fell into the change of routine. They were encouraged through good humor. Lt. Bondfeld wore his most serious face and his mannerisms became more formal. Given his seriousness, his men became doubly amused to have witnessed the absurdity of their superior saluting a lizard.


Jasmine Snippet #73

Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue”

Two cards from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game: Gryth Faction card and the special card, Ring of Emeth.

Having returned to Swartzborg Castle, Bardulf immediately set out to visit his little dragon lizard, Gryth. After his encounter with princess Flavia, he had Gryth carefully caged and taken to back to safety and did not want to risk the little creature being wounded. Bardulf gave instructions to have certain fruits cut and lavishly laid out on a plate and placed before Gryth.

When Bardulf entered the room, it was late afternoon. He noticed the fruit was hours old, but that Gryth had been recently nimbling. Gryth made noises of recognition as soon as Bardulf came near. As Bardulf greeted the creature, he opened the door of the cage. Gryth immediately jumped onto the table, spilling the plate. He leapt up into the air and circled the room several times, making loud gutteral sounds as he shrieked.

Bardulf admired his amazing way of flying. Remembering the princess’ reaction, Bardulf wondered how anyone could be so fearful of such an awesome, enchanting aerobatic little creature such as this? As Gryth shrieked in delight, Bardulf conceded, it might be the sound he made. The dragon lizard eventually landed on Bardulf’s shoulders and cooed in his ear.

Bardulf took off his gloves to stroke the creature’s nose with his index finger. Gryth’s snout was cold to the touch, and his tiny scales felt smooth. The Dark Prince answered in cooing sounds and talked to the little fellow in reassuring tones. If he loved anything in this world, it was that little creature he had stolen from his uncle.

Gryth was not easy to obtain. Several times, he tried to removed the creature from his uncle’s place, but his actions proved to be fruitless. The creature would always return to its perch. By accident, he happened to spy his uncle putting a ring on one of his gnarly old fingers. He noted how the creature immediately perked up and showed interest in the old man. It would get affectionate and would make  excited screeches that were terrifying to hear. Somehow, Gryth was connected to that ring and it seemed his uncle was able to use it’s connection to command the creature’s attention.

No matter how many times he’d asked, his uncle never divulged anything about the history of this unique creature nor how he came by it. His uncle did not like the creature’s unfortunately loud and terse-sounding call. For that reason, he would take off the ring and hide it away.

Bardulf devised an elaborate plan to steal the ring and hence, the dragon. He first declared to his uncle that he was finally leaving. Several times, his uncle suggested his stay had grown quite tiresome and invited his nephew leave. Bardulf knew his uncle would welcome this chance to be rid of him and would not pay any particular interest as to why. Bardulf was surprised when his uncle gave him supplies and parting gifts. Strange, his uncle proved to be more generous upon his leaving than when he stayed.

Bardulf left, but stayed within the borders of the area. Bardulf understood that if he wanted Gryth to go with him, all he had to do was to find where his uncle hid the ring. While he was around, Bardulf figured his uncle took extra special precautions when it came to the ring’s security. He hoped, that with him gone, his uncle would relax his hyper vigilance.

Bardulf used all the magic he could muster to infiltrate his uncle’s castle without causing alarm. He became comfortably adept at moving around unseen. Finally, his patience and his stealth paid off. He spied his uncle’s hiding place.

With the ring finally in hand, Bardulf knew he could not simply put it on without arousing the creature’s alarming shrieks. So after he succeeded in pilfering the ring, he took it outside and hid it where he had stayed. Then he returned to the castle and stole the dragon lizard, who proved to be as docile as the other times he tried to take him. Only this time, with the Ring of Emeth in his possession, Gryth would stay with him.

And the best part was that his uncle could not reasonably suspect him as the thief! Now he left for good, and traveled south. He planned to take over the southern lands as surely as his uncle had taken over the northern realm — with the help of this prized dragon-lizard.

© 2018 DARLENE



Jasmine Snippet #67

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

After spending countless days in dark, dank and twisting tunnels, Bardulf enjoyed the light of UR’s main Castle Palace. He had only been there a single day when the men who patrolled the free lands to the north of UR arrived. They brought with them a cloak and a gown. Bardulf immediately recognized the clothes as belonging to the Princess Flavia of UR. She had worn that very frock the last time he saw her.

The clothes were the only sign they found of the princess. When questioned, they said there was no body to be found. Nor was there any signs of a fight. The clothing was neither bloodied or torn. It was as if the clothes had simply been taken off and discarded. Bardulf was about to dismiss his messengers when they indicated there was more to their story.

“Well, what is it?” He barked.

Even though Bardulf was clearly annoyed and impatient, those men were reluctant to speak. Finally, in their stammering, Bardulf understood that in the same place they found the clothing, they had also encountered a horror they were reluctant to speak of. Many of the fellows who served with them had been turned into stone. Because they had walked upon the same hallowed ground of an ancient temple, they grew afraid the same fate somehow awaited them. When Bardulf finally dismissed them, they quickly and gladly withdrew.

That clinched it. In Bardulf’s mind, he was up against the son of King Aranbrod, a male heir and a rival for the throne he usurped — something much more deadly than a lost princess. No wonder the “princess” never married. He imagined this young Prince to be clever in disguise and strong in magic. To get the upper hand, there was only one thing to do.

After giving his trusted stewards and ministers instructions and orders to carry out, Bardulf called for a horse and a small retinue of men to accompany him. He had the Tome of Wisdom wrapped carefully in leather and placed within his saddle-bag. Then Bardulf set out immediately, speeding for his Castle Swartzborg, to reunite with Gryth, his prized dragon-lizard.

© 2018 DARLENE



Jasmine Snippet #66

The notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

Bardulf was beside himself. The Tome of Wisdom did not make sense! It was written for the “Prince” of UR. Where was this Prince of UR? He was unaware King Aranbrod had any other progeny besides the spoiled and easily controlled princess. He did not consider her to be a much of a problem. He had not imprisoned her already with his magic ring? It was only a matter of time before her hiding place would be found.

If anyone was to blame, it was Heta. Curses—that he did not strike her down when he first recognized her. Curses—he allowed himself to be taken in by her pitiful act of weakness. Had it not been for her, those two would never have escaped their capture. Yet again, he cursed Heta.  She was solely responsible for the disappearance of the Princess Flavia of UR. That cursed woman would never have managed such a thing if he had remained at the camp. Heta had to have waited until after his strategy session, and after he had left with his main contingent to go to battle.

The rest of the soldiers who remained broke camp and travelled as escort half the way to Swartzborg Castle before they realized the two were no longer among them. Upon questioning, every one of his soldiers swore both women had travelled with them as far as the cross roads. All agreed they found it strange that the two did not eat or drink, nor did they speak the entire journey. The women remained as still as statues the whole way but were very easy to manage.

Castle card for Bardulf’s faction in Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game by DARLENE.

His men wasted too much time searching near the place they discovered the disappearance. Bardulf’s needed presence in battle prevented him from hearing about this happenstance in a timely manner. Nor could he participate right away in the search. But once he was able to focus on the problem, he knew no one under Heta’s enchantments could ever locate where they fled. He thought the only one who could pierce Heta’s magic was he himself. And this proved to be correct.

Only one thing made him laugh. How funny it was to have Heta lead him straight to this incredible book of magic. It was so delightful to have Master Erlkyng’s book in his hands! He relished reading  what secrets and incantations these pages revealed. With this book, he felt invincible. Yet, a small thought still nagged at him.

Who was this lad for whom the book was written and dedicated? If anyone had the power to rival him, apparently it would be this boy prince. He stilled the fear growing within him. The lad may exist, but it was Bardulf who possessed his book, thus claiming his power.

But still, he could not overlook that Heta was a factor in all this. Under the guise of Ermengarde, Heta had raised what he thought was a pale, young girl who trembled in fear around him. He slammed his fist upon table as he decided nothing was beyond that witch. Things were not as they seemed. Was it possible the princess was actually a prince in disguise? Perhaps, instead of seeking a girl, he should be searching for a boy?

© 2018 DARLENE



Jasmine Snippet #39

“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

The place of ambush happened at a juncture where a road diverged from the main one to the south, as if to avoid the inevitable hilly outcropping of stone. The main road continued eastward. However, by a small spring gurgling further away from the road, it looked like a lone rider traveled swiftly. Judging from the depth of the depression of the hoof marks, he did not travel light. But he was traveling fast in a new, southeasterly direction.

Ahearn followed these tracks into rocky terrain, where they were harder to discern, but distinct nonetheless. The tracks led Ahearn to a large, now abandoned, enemy encampment.

Not too long ago, there had been a lot of activity here, and a lot of men. The signs told him this was a large encampment. And as large as it was, he did not see any trace of bloodshed. He could easily tell the amount of activity entering and exiting the camp. At first, the task seemed daunting, to guess which of the three roads leading out of the camp were taken.

There was a road that continued eastward. Another tracked northward, while another still took a southernly route. Of the three routes, the northern trek, a steep rocky climb that promised to get steeper, seemed to be the least likely. But going south appeared equally unlikely. The logical direction they would have taken would have been east.

Yet, she did not arrive in Swartzborg. Therefore, she did not take the eastern road. So, north or south? To go south would be to eventually hit the coast. If they were planning that, they would have turned south immediately at the ambush site. That route was fast and easy. A good plan would be to have a ready ship in the harbor to sail them to Swartzborg. But as he already knew, she didn’t end up within the walls of Bardulf’s prison castle.

It’s north then, to the mountains, and on to more difficult terrain. As expected, the twisting and turning route headed towards higher ground. Traveling in between obstacles of boulders and gnarly trees, the way was cumbersome and slow. The path was also forested. Single file was the only way a group of men on horses could manage. This left their defenses vulnerable.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Snippet #37

The “Story of Jasmine” notes continue:

Bardulf wasn’t the only one secretly seeking the princess of UR. Although he claimed to have her hidden within his Castle Swartzborg, some were beginning to wonder why Bardulf had not yet made a public spectacle of marriage to immediately legitimize his hold on UR. The thought of this made the conquered Urian population shudder. There was idle speculation — bordering on hope — that the princess somehow escaped Bardulf’s clutches. Few in the Kingdom of UR wanted to believe she had actually been killed.

Despite the cold reception Prince Ahearn of Dockalfar received when he visited Eiodel on that lamentable visit, a fortnight ago, he felt honor-bound to discover the truth regarding the whereabouts of King Aranbrod’s daughter. Where was Princess Flavia of UR? He was determined to find out.

The first thing he did was to dress himself as inconspicuously as possible. He hid his black armor and that of his horse and donned the appearance of a mercenary. Ahearn liked the disguise. This meant he could still have his weapon handy.

He meant to infiltrate Bardulf’s largest castle, Swartzborg, to discover if she was being held there.

(Need a description of his trip to the enemy fortress and how he discovers she’s not there).

© 2018 DARLENE