Tag Archives: The Great White Throne

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.***

____________________________________

*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 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