Tails of PaTail Option B: Picking Up Dessert

Cat Eye

Welcome back to the second part of the Tails of PaTail adventure.

In part one, you started your day by getting raspberry jam from the market for your sister’s birthday but when you arrived home, Nan and Lily, your sister, were enduring a search by the Dog guard because rats had accused you of harboring a cat. After they leave, you find out that your sister is, in fact, harboring a kitten. You’ve decided to head to the orchards to try and get the cat over the city wall.

(If you’d like to read the first part, click here.)

Otherwise, let’s get this story rolling =)

Tails of PaTail Option B: Picking up Dessert

“Think Nan would like some dessert tonight?” you ask Lila.

A grin splits her face just as two tiny, fury ears peek around the corner next to her chin. Their orange tips tickle her skin and she giggles.

Nan huffs. “Nan doesn’t need more sweets. Nan needs peace and quiet.” She nabs her clothing from your hands and shoves you toward Lila. “Get outa here.”

***

BasketBy the time you leave the house, the streets bustle with people. Over your arm, you carry a lidded basket with a handle for ‘collecting’ cherries from the orchard. Before you even get to the end of your street, you spy the whiskered nose of a rat peeking out of a sewer grate, watching.

The basket gives a soft hiss and you thump the lid with a warning knuckle.

“Think we can fill this for Nan?” you raise your voice to cover the kitten’s soft hiss.

Lila chuckles. “Nan’ll be making pie for a week if we do.”

You’re almost to the orchards when you spy another whiskered nose watching from a nearby gutter. This one wears an eye patch and squints its one beady eye as you pass.

“Did Paws truly try to eat a rat?” you ask from the side of your mouth.

The kitten, a solid orange ball of fluff, can’t be bigger than the rat you saw this morning in the market. If it tried to eat such a vile creature, it must have spunk bigger than its body.

Lila nods. “Had the rat’s tail in its claws when I found it. Just the tail. No rat attached.”

You wince. No wonder the rat’s so determined…but then, it couldn’t be the rat you saw in the market because that one still had its tail. How many, then, are watching you?

The buildings on the street give way to low stone walls and beautiful trees. Throughout the growing season these trees harbor cherries, apples, plums, even pears. Lower to the ground grow vines with blackberries and raspberries. The place smells earthy, a mixture of damp earth and foliage.

After hopping the low wall, you set the basket at the base of a tree and begin picking cherries. Lila joins you, staying close to the basket’s location as she collects handfuls and drops them inside.

“Now what?” she murmurs, shooting a glance back toward the street where you can just make out the twitching nose of another rat peeking over the orchard’s wall. If you climb a tree to lift the kitten over the wall, the rodents are sure to see.

“Think the whole nest is watching us,” you mutter back.

Lila holds out the bottom of her shirt and you drop your collection of cherries into the scoop of fabric she’s made. She turns to put them into the basket and shrieks. The cherries she’s holding fall to the ground as she drops her hem and races to the whicker basket.

The bushy tail of some creature sticks out of the lid.

“Hey!” Lila grasps the exposed hindquarters and pulls a plump rabbit into her arms. “What do you think you’re doing?”

RabbitThe rabbit shrieks in turn and then slumps in relief. “Well I’ll be, Miss Lila,” it says. “You scared the fur off me.”

“It’s Maya Rabbit,” Lila tells you while rubbing the rabbit’s ear in greeting.

The lid of the basket lifts ever so slightly. Two large green eyes glitter in the gap, not afraid but glaring at the rabbit Lila just pulled from the kitten’s hiding place.

“Miss Lila,” the rabbit says. “Some of your cherries look like they might be bad as they’ve got fur on them.” Maya winks with the eye away from the road. She hops from Lila’s arms and thumps the basket with one long hind leg. The lid falls shut with a soft hiss.

Maya saw the kitten, and she knows the rats are watching. She’s one of the many creatures Lila helped as a baby. She’s not Tabby Catlikely to turn you in.

“I figured we’d pitch the bad ones over the wall before we leave,” Lila tells the rabbit.

“Hmm,” Maya considers and hops in a full circle around the basket before shaking her head. “Probably not the best option. The guards on the wall might not take kindly if you hit them with bad cherries. Maybe you can burry them instead.”

Burry them? What is Maya Rabbit suggesting? Lila looks as confused as you are but then she shudders.

“The moles might not take kindly to that either,” she replies but looks at you for your thoughts.

Oh! Maya Rabbit’s offering to make a deal with the mole’s who guard under the wall. They’re strict creatures but they only care about keeping things out of the city, they don’t really care about keeping things in. There’s a chance they’ll let you pass with the kitten and say nothing to the dog guard above. Usually the rats avoid the moles but now that they’re so determined, there’s a chance they’ll risk the mole’s ire to catch you.

Or do you still try to climb a tree? Perhaps you can ask Maya Rabbit for a distraction instead of a deal. The orchards are full of rabbits. They could help draw the rat’s attention away just long enough to get Paws out of the city.

Do you ask for…

Bb. A Mole Deal?

or

Bc. A Rabbit Distraction?

Leave your vote in the comments and next Thursday we’ll explore the option that gets the most votes.

Thanks for joining this week’s adventure =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Advertisements

Tails of PaTail

Welcome to a brand new adventure. =)

Tails of PaTail

Raspberries

Photo Courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

The air smells of raspberries and peaches, cinnamon and nutmeg and, beneath the sweet spice of the jam vendor’s stall, there’s the scent of rain on cobblestone. This early in the morning few people actually wander the market and the few who do are quiet, their bartering kept low so as not to break the peace of the sunrise.

You pass the jam vendor a few coins and accept a small jar of raspberry in exchange. It’s a rare treat but, for your little sister’s birthday, it’s worth the cost.

Turning away from the stall, you almost catch the tail of a well-fed rat before he scurries down a sewer grate.

“Clumsy human!” he hisses over his shoulder.

You hiss back at him before moving along. Ugly rats act as the dog guard’s eyes and ears of the city. It’s the only reason they’re allowed to infest the under city.

But today, of all days, you’re not going to let a rat ruin your fun.

You weave your way out of the market and head toward the merchant’s housing quarter. In your mind, you picture your sister waking to the smell of warm pancakes cooked in fresh butter. The surprise on her narrow face when she sees the ruby jar will make waking at dawn a small inconvenience for the joy in her gray eyes.

As you draw nearer to your home, the quiet of the morning disappears under the angry shriek of an old woman. Her raspy voice carries on the chill air like that of a disturbed crow.

“You’ve got the wrong house!” she insists. “There’re no cats here.” Her voice is familiar. You hurry your steps until you round the corner to find Nan confronting two guards from the dog watch.

“We smell it,” one guard, a dark colored shepherd mix, insists.

“If your nose is so good,” Nan counters, “then why didn’t you find it when you searched the house?”

It’s then you see the beginning signs of a search. A shirt lies at Nan’s feet in the doorway. Tucked underneath it looks to be one of Nan’s underthings. No wonder she’s so fired up. The dogs dragged half her wardrobe into the street.

silver cat“A cat?” you ask as you approach, “here?” You keep your tone light, almost laughing.

“I saw it,” says a new hissing voice. “It tried to eat me.”

From the sewer grate beside the house appears a whiskered nose. You’re almost certain it’s the rat from the market.

“Then where is it now?!” Nan stoops and grabs a pebble from the doorstep. In seconds, it’s flying toward the grate.

The rat disappears and the pebble follows it into the sewers. There’s a yelp a moment later.

You almost pity the rodent. Nan’s aim is impeccable. You’ve experienced it many times, usually with the slap of a thrown shoe.

“Now, now,” says the second guard, a hound with such droopy ears that he’s almost standing on them. “No call for that.”

“He’s accusing me of harboring a cat!” Nan shoots back. “That’s call enough for me.”

“We’ll leave you to your breakfast.” the hound nudges his companion with his shoulder. “But as you know, we’ll have to follow up on this accusation later today.”

Nan huffs and watches the two dogs wander away with her hands on her hips. As soon as they disappear, she spins on a heel and marches inside. “Grab my cloths, will you,” she hollers over her shoulder. It’s not a question.

You gather her garments as you follow her inside.

She slams the door closed behind you and you jump, not realizing she was standing right there. When you look at her with a raised brow, she mouths your sister!

Oh no. You realize what must have happened. Lila has an incurable soft spot for baby animals. And somehow, she finds them all the time. A mouse, a badger, an owl, she even tried a porcupine once but Nan drew the line on that one.

But a cat! In the dog run city of PaTail. It spells disaster for sure. Time in the dungeons with the sewer rats or possibly a sentence on the chow lines feeding the military dogs.

Just then, Lily peeks her head into the kitchen. The rest of her body stays hidden in the hallway. Those gray eyes are pleading as they look at you.

“Can we have an adventure today?” she asks. It’s her way of begging you to help her smuggle the cat out of the city. You can’t deny those pleading eyes.

Usually, you’d use the sewers for such a task but obviously, the sewer rat will be watching. You might be able to enter the sewers a street or two away and avoid him but it’s risky with how alert he’ll be.

Or the orchards might give you a tree high enough to go over the wall tonight. You’d have to hide in the trees for the day though because the dog guards will be back by noon.

You and Lily have a code for each place. You’re looking for treasures in the deeps for the sewers or picking up dessert for Nan for the orchards.

Do you tell her…

A. Treasures in the Deeps?

or

B. Picking up Dessert?

Thanks for joining in the adventure. Vote for your choice by leaving a comment below. Next Thursday, we’ll see what happens next!

Blessings,

Jennifer

Globe Hunters Option Cc1: Touch the Dragon

Globe Hunter Adventure Story

Although the dragon might gain control over you, you’re about to let her communicate with you. Let’s see if this goes horribly wrong or thankfully right for you.

Globe Hunters Option Cc1: Touch the Dragon

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

The taste from your dream, that sweet water from the life fountain, fills your mouth as you raise a hand toward the dragon’s brow.

You hesitate just above the beast’s scaled head. It’s such a refreshing flavor that you feel it invigorating your limbs, bringing clarity to your sight, and calming the ache your body harbors from your hike the day before. And that’s just from a dream. What would the real thing do?

The dragon summons you again, and the flavor on your tongue shifts from sweet water to tangy, almost bitter oak.

You lay your palm again the dragon’s heavy brow ridge. The world shifts. Relief, so poignant you feel tingles through your spine and legs, almost brings you to your knees. It’s not your relief, but the dragon’s, and it’s almost too intense for your comparably small body.

The dragon, Elmana by name, reigns the heady emotion in. An image fills your mind of two silver and blue dragons swimming in a lake. One’s the fully-grown dragon you’re now touching, the other is a much smaller creature.

You’re a mother.

The affirmative about knocks you over. The fear for her child is too much for Elmana to keep from bleeding through her control.

What about the fires?

You’re fairly certain Evan wasn’t lying about the forest fires but now that you’re in contact with Elmana, you’re struggling to see her start such a large fire intentionally.

Fire - Glove Hunters StoryA new image fills your mind. Mother and child are flying. Elmana gives a small burst of flame into the air and her child tries to copy her. It doesn’t work. The smaller dragon slumps and looses altitude in his disappointment. Then, in a burst of determination, he spurts a tiny gout. His timing proves terrible. With his loss of altitude, the flame hits the tree line on top of the cliffs instead of firing harmlessly into the air.

Elmana quickly douses the flame at the top of the tree by taking a mouthful of water from the ocean and spitting it onto the tree, but her implication is obvious. She hasn’t always been able to contain her child’s practicing.

The image doesn’t stop, however. Elmana continues to fly with her child.

You see movement below on a huge oak tree at the top of the cliff.

Within the tree’s bark you spot two familiar deep brown eyes rimmed with green. They glance about and then a leg emerges from the tree’s trunk. The leg’s skin is bark like. An arm emerges next and then the torso of a lithe creature with wild, leaf like hair.

The creature inspects its surroundings and is immediately drawn to the burned tree. It scales the tree to look closer and then casts a hate filled look at the dragons.

Your breath hitches. You’ve never encountered one of these but all of the pieces start fitting together.

“A tree nymph?” you guess.

Elmana crones her affirmative. You jerk back and lose contact with her forehead.

The villagers hesitate, startled by the dragon’s vocalization. Then they return to stacking ladders against her sides. Although her communication seemed to take minutes, you realize it’s only been a second or two since you touched her forehead.

Elmana’s deep purple eye watches as you put the pieces together. From what you know, usually tree nymphs are peaceful, but if they start on a vendetta, they’re ruthless. Your dream now makes sense. The oaky flavor when you woke is a clear sign of influence from the nymph.

It’s controlling the people. And it won’t stop at Elmana’s death. It’ll go for her child next. Plus, it won’t care if the villagers die in the process. They’re just pawns in its game now.

A sense of rightness fills you. You’re a monster hunter, and now you’ve found your monster.

Elmana snaps her teeth together. You jump back but then realize she’s no longer focused on you. She’s staring across the river at the tree line.

Laying a palm against her brow again, she shows you the nymph in the trees, watching the villagers carry out its bidding. She then shows you how far her flame would carry if she tried to kill it from where she’s tethered.

Her flame can’t reach that far.

You’ve never fought a nymph, but you know your only chance of killing it is very hot flame or chopping down its tree. You don’t even know which tree belongs to the nymph and you don’t have time to figure it out.

So instead, you need Elmana’s fire.

Don’t burn the village to the ground.

Elmana huffs, which you take as agreement.

You step away from her just as Evan pats your shoulder.

Knife - Globe Hunters Story

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

“Ready to help?” he asks, holding out a rusty knife for you to use on the dragon’s scales.

“Of course,” you say, and pull out your own hunting knife from its sheath on your belt. Unlike the rust covered thing he’s holding, your knife is sharpened to a fine edge. You’ll need that edge now.

You move as though you’re following him and ‘stumble.’ With a flick of your blade, you sever the thick cable holding Elmana’s neck.

She jerks upward at the same time and the cable snaps with a resounding crack.

You, Evan and the men on the ladders all fall backward. In the resulting chaos, you roll toward Elmana’s front paw and sever the tether there as well.

It’s enough for the dragon. She heaves against the remaining ropes and you hear the pop as they’re either pulled completely from the ground or snapped under the pressure.

The wind from her wings forces everyone to the ground. She beelines it for the tree line.

You lose sight of her as Evan shouts. “YOU!”

He must have seen you sever a cable. You roll away as he tries to grab you. The other villagers join in, and you’re trying to figure a way free when two distinct sounds bring everything to a stand still.

Fire

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots

There’s a roaring with the crackle of very hot flame hitting the live wood of the forest. Heat washes through the air, dry and painful even at a distance.

Right behind the roar comes a shriek. You hear the high-pitched scream both audibly and in your head just like you saw Elmana’s communication. Pain paralyzes you until that shriek vanishes, leaving behind a deep, pounding headache.

Around you, the villagers slump to the ground. You shake the nearest one and check his pulse. He’s alive but definitely not conscious.

Elmana flies over and plucks you from the mass of unconscious villagers with her claws.

Terror seizes you as she flies away. The sight from her claws shows a circular patch of the forest completely burned out. There are no live flames, however.

None of the villagers are moving.

Your terror subsides as Elmana lowers you to the ground in a field not far away. She gives a crooning call and you see a small, silver and blue head peek up from the tall grass to greet her.

***

“A tree nymph!” Mike chortles. “Wish I’d been on that hunt.”

“No, you don’t,” the old, bald hunter says, “the nymph’s death cry leaves a lasting headache. You’re lucky,” he says to you, “that the dragon’s communication buffered you from the nymph’s control.”

“Still hurts,” you say as you rub your temple. After two days, you still sport a headache, but you learned when you returned that, the only reason you didn’t pass out from the nymph’s shriek like the villagers was because Elmana had broken its influence on you.

“Well,” Mike says, “maybe things will stay quiet for another day or two so you can recover.”

You and the old hunter glare at him and then glance at the globe sitting on the dark mahogany desk.

“Don’t say that word in here,” you both admonish at the same time.

The End

Yay, you survived! Thank you for joining in this adventure =)

Until next time, blessings,

Jennifer

 

Globe Hunters Option Cc: Stay in Town

Globe Hunters Story

One of the farmers, a short, ultra-skinny man by the name of Evan, pulled the short straw and ended up taking you to his house for supplies.

Mountain Sunset - Globe Hunters StoryAs he hands you cheese and bread from his larder, you ask him, “May I stay for the night? It’s awfully unwelcoming in the woods at night and the sun’s about set.”

At first he stares at you like you grew a second head, but then your words seem to sink in and he nods.

“Of course,” he says. “I should have offered in the first place.” He scratches his head like he’s trying to figure out why he didn’t make the offer.

You help him set the small dining table with ham and bread and then sit down on the bench to enjoy the meal.

You’re trying to figure out how to question him further about the dragon and the life fountain when he sits back and folds his fingers across his nonexistent belly.

“You’re right about the woods, but it’s not just at night that they’re unwelcoming,” he says.

“How do you mean?”

“Well,” Evan says, “there’ve been some terrible fires in the woods this year. You get caught on the wrong side and you’re stuck between the cliffs and the fire. Lost a couple people that way. The whole north ridge is black as coal right now from the most recent burn.”

“Wow,” you say. “That’s terrible. Lightening strikes?”

Evan snorts and sneers out a, “Dragon fire.”

Fire - Globe Hunters StoryThis causes you pause. Dragons can be mean tempered, vengeful even, but rarely will they set fire to their home ground. They’re smart enough to know that burning large swaths of land will drive away their food sources.

“Something happen to anger the dragons?” you ask.

“Not that we know of,” Evan says, “but we caught the worst culprit.” At this he points in the direction of the main square with the tethered dragon.

“That particular dragon’s been causing the fires?”

“Yup,” Evan nods. “That one’s gonna pay for its crimes.”

You’re torn between asking how they know it’s this particular dragon and asking if the rest of the town will be out there, working on her scales, all night. As he’s been talking, a feverish light has entered Evan’s eyes again. You judge the second question is the safest at this point.

“Naw,” he responds. “They’ll set a guard for the night and pick back up in the morning. Speaking of which, it’s time to turn in. There’s a bed in the lean-to on the back of the kitchen.” He points. “Sweet and safe dreams.” At this, he gives you a peculiar smile and then ambles up the stares to his own bed.

You watch his narrow back recede and then find your way to the bed in the lean-to. There’s just enough room for you to duck in and lay down but the bed itself is comfortable, so you stretch out.

You figure you’ll give it a half hour, maybe forty-five minutes, and then you’ll sneak out to investigate the town and the dragon.

The air in the lean-to is still, stuffy even, with the heat from the fire Evan has banked in the kitchen fireplace filling the room.

Before long, your eyelids droop and sleep disrupts your plans to look around.

The weightless felling you have tells you you’re dreaming but the sun’s out and the air’s filled with the perfume of mountain flowers. You’re standing in an open field, a glade surrounded by aspen trees. Directly in the middle of the swaying golden grass and splotches of vibrant color is a shimmering surface.

As you approach, you see water dripping from the edges of an iridescent bowl of silver laced with blue streaks. The urge to dip your hands into the water overtakes you and, before you can think about it, you submerge your cupped hands and bring the water to your lips.

It’s sweet and clean, and in the reflection of the fountain, you see yourself, young and flawless.

This holds you for awhile until something, Evan cooking breakfast in the kitchen, intrudes. You’re eyes snap open and, for a brief moment, you think you see something in the ceiling of the lean-to. Perhaps two deep brown eyes lined with green, but then you blink again and the illusion’s gone.

You rub your tongue on the top of your mouth in a vain hope that the fountain’s water still lingers but instead you find a dry, oaky flavor.

Your mind tries to capture this, knowing it means something to your hunter training, but then the desire for the fountain’s water returns.

You join Evan and help him finish cooking the bacon and eggs.Bacon - Globe Hunters Story

“This life fountain,” you begin, “do you have a location to build it?”

You expect some hostility from Evan but instead, he looks up with a radiant, childlike smile.

“There’s this glade just to the west of here,” he says, “with flowers and sun ripened grass…” the description he gives is so perfectly inline with your dream that your desire to taste the water returns again.

“Well,” you say, “can’t build it with out the dragon’s scales. Want help today?”

“Would love it!” he says.

With excitement, you follow him back outside to join the villagers in their task.

As you pass the dragon, her head swings around and you find one giant purple iris in your way.

There’s a tug at you. It’s a mental summons you know a dragon can exert on other creatures. That summons invites you to touch her, to open a mental connection so she can communicate. But such a move is extremely dangerous. The dragon can then control you for a short time if she wishes.

As you hesitate, the summons comes again and, this time, as you resist it, the dry, oaky flavor fills your mouth again. It means something but you can’t seem to place what.

Thin plumes of smoke trail from the dragon’s nostrils.

You want to build the fountain. If the town’s folk and your dream are correct, it can give you flawless life.

But her summons is insistent, desperate almost as more plumes of smoke escape her nostrils.

Do you…

Cc1: Touch the Dragon?

or

Cc2: Ignore the Dragon?

In the comments, vote for how you’d like to continue the story. Next Thursday, we’ll be back to see how this adventure ends!

Blessings,

Jennifer

Globe Hunters Option C: Mountains

Mountain Trail

This vote was incredibly close! (Lesson to self, three options split the vote dangerously close to tying!) But the mountains came out on top…um, no pun intended =)

(If you’re counting, one vote came in on Facebook instead of the blog. Otherwise North and Mountains tied. Like I said, really close vote!)

Let’s see what kind of creatures we find in the rough mountains!

Globe Hunters Option C: Mountains

None of the choices will be easy. Your hand hovers over the globe while you mentally check your gear before you finalize your choice.

Rations. Check

Extra change of cloths. Check.

Knife. Check

Cup and bowl. Check

It’s a stalling tactic. You sigh and lay your palm over the glowing mountainous coast of the eastern continent. A small, cool breeze plays with the hair along your arm, pulling goose flesh in its wake. You shiver and close your eyes as the breeze brings with it the smell of salty water mixed with forest moss and leaves.

It grows stronger until you hear the air rustle in the branches above. Just before the study completely disappears, you hear a faint, “Safe journey, fellow hunter.”

You’re not sure if it’s Mark or the other hunter who spoke but when you open your eyes, tall oak trees and sharply edged rocks surround you.

Cliff FaceFrom previous journeys here, you know just to the east sits a massive cliff that drops to the ocean below. The faint pounding of the waves carries on the wind even where you stand.

A small town lies to the north but you’re not sure how far you arrived from it.

The town’s the only inhabited place you know of in this region. You turn north to follow the cliff until you reach it.

Your hike remains uneventful through the morning and afternoon but, as the sun starts to disappear through the trees, a faint bellowing joins the pound of the waves from the ocean to your right. You pause to listen.

The deep, hollow bellow comes and goes as the wind shifts but you can’t place what creature might be causing it.

It’s not an ogre because ogres snort more when yelling. They snort more in general.

It’s not a troll. Although they bellow, they have more voice and less wind.

Your breath stills as the sound comes again and a chill not caused by the breeze clutches your spine.

The bellow this time contains a hissing on the very end like fire hitting water and turning it instantly to steam.

DragonDragon.

Of all the monsters you’ve hunted, you’ve only faced one dragon before. It was not a successful hunt, either.

You swallow down your apprehension and continue toward the town. As you draw closer, the smell of smoke grows heavy on the air. Mixed with it is a heavy, moist feeling like the humidity is sticking the ash to your skin. As you walk free of the forest, the town comes into view in a small, protected valley below.

It’s not the scene you expected.

There is indeed a dragon.

Wagons are burning and the small river that runs through the town has been evaporated from dragon’s fire. A trickle from upstream is just now starting to refill the riverbed.

All this looks like a dragon attack.

Except the townsfolk have the dragon grounded with cables running from its legs, neck and tail.

The burning wagons have been shoved up against the dragon’s sides like the people were trying to burn it alive.

Since that didn’t work—dragon scales being fire resistant and all—now several of the men have stacked ladders against the dragon’s massive sides and are trying to pry loose the scales around its rib cage.

The dragon, a silver beast with hints of blue running through its wings and scales, lets out another pain-ridden bellow. Now that you’re closer, the deep cry shudders the ground beneath your feet and brings pain to your ears.

All people, as far as you’ve encountered, know how to kill a dragon, but these people are not going for the one soft scale over the beast’s heart.

Something’s horribly wrong.

You leave the edge of the trees and walk toward the crowd.

At first they don’t notice you but then a few at the edge glance your way and do a double take.

“Hey now,” one calls out. “We’ve got our own dragon. Shove off.”

You keep walking. With the crowd’s agitation, you suspect any hesitation on your part might cause them to be violent.

“Got your own dragon?” you ask as you weave your way through the crowd until you reach the base of the ladders the men stand on.

One of the men glares at you and bares the knife he’s holding like he’s planning on fending you off from his ladder.

“What’re you planning to do with your own dragon?” you ask him directly.

“Why, we’re going to build ourselves a life fountain.” He sneers. “ And you’re not welcome to it.”

“A life fountain?” you ask.

At this a feverish grin breaks out on everyone’s face. It’s so uniform you start to wonder about mind control.

“Build a fountain from the inside of a dragon’s scales,” a woman starts to explain.

“Fill it with water from the ocean,” picks up another man.

“And drink from it daily,” the woman continues.

“For eternal life,” they finish together.

The dragon swivels its head around to reveal one deep purple eye. She stares at you as if to ask what kind of madness has overtaken everyone. You lay a palm against her massive side.

“Why’d you try to burn her first?” you ask.

“Loosens the scales,” says the man on the ladder. “Now get outta here. We’re not sharing.”

You nod, “that’s fine. I just need some provisions and I’ll be on my way.”

Finally, a bit of sanity seems to take over as they all realize they haven’t given the usual mountain hospitality to a traveler.

While they decide who’s going to help you with provisions, you debate your next move. Usually you’re trips are straightforward. Find the beast terrorizing the people and kill the beast.

Except here, the dragon’s not attacking anyone. As far as you can see, it evaporated the river by breathing fire, but considering its head is pointed at the river, the fire could have been from its bellows of pain and nothing more.

The burning wagons were from the people. And there’s your problem. There seems to be something wrong with the people.

You could ask for a place to sleep for the night and stay in town to further question the people. The sun’s last rays are quickly disappearing over the valley rim.

Or you could head out of town and investigate the surrounding countryside, maybe see if something seems out of place. The people are not making progress on the dragon’s scales yet, so there is some time.

Do you…

Cc. Stay in Town?

Or

Cd: Leave?

As always, please leave your vote in the comments below. We’ll be back next Thursday to continue the adventure.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Globe Hunters

Globe Hunter Adventure Story

It’s definitely time for a new adventure! So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Globe Hunters

On the dark mahogany desk sits a globe of the world so detailed that it shows roads and landscapes, place names and times of day. In deep colors of green and brown, it displays crops and in glistening whites or muddied grays, the grip of winter or the swirling path of a storm.

You sit in the padded leather desk chair with your legs crossed and elbows on your knees, just watching the shifting temperament of the globe. At any moment a spot might light up with brief sparks, indicating an attack and, as a watcher, it is your duty to go help the locals deal with the dragon, ogre, troll or whatever else might be terrorizing them.

“Slow night?” asks a young voice from the office door.

You glare over the globe at Mark, the newest member of your ranks.

“Don’t ever say those words in this room,” you admonish.

“Why?” Mark sets a plate of eggs and hash browns on the desk beside the globe for you.

Before you can respond, sparks fly from the northern most spot on the globe. Then a dull glow suffuses the white, snow held land mass.

Before those initial sparks die, more flare from the islands in the southwestern sea and immediately behind those, more sparks from the mountains running the coast of the eastern continent.

All three locations glow with a dull, pulsing red light.

You glare at Mark again. “That’s why.”

He smiles sheepishly. “Oops. I’ll grab another hunter.”

“Yeah,” you agree.

While you’re waiting for him to return, you shovel down the eggs and hash browns. It might be your last warm meal for a while, so you savor the delicious mix of yolk and potato.

By the time Mark returns, your plate’s empty and you’ve shouldered your gear. He finds you staring intently at the globe with its three glowing spots.

“Lovely,” says the hunter Mark retrieved. The word drips with resignation as he runs a hand over his bald head.

“North’s going to be super cold,” Mark comments.

“Uhha,” you say, withholding a sarcastic reply.

“Island’s might be nice except for that storm.” He points to a swirling gray mass that’ll hit the islands within the next day.

“Yup,” you say.

“Then again, those mountains are rough terrain.”

“That’s true,” you agree, again the sarcasm hides behind your bland response.

“You’ve got first pick,” says the third hunter before Mark continues to state the obvious.

Do you pick the snow laden North, the storm expecting islands, or the rough mountains?

A. North?

B. Islands?

Or

C. Mountains?

Vote in the comments which direction you’d like to explore. We’ll be back next Thursday with whichever option gets the most votes.

Thanks for joining the new adventure.

Until next time, blessings,

Jennifer

Set Up Option Aa1: Help Ezekiel

Magic Spark Lightening

We’re back for the last post in this adventure story! If you missed the first three parts, you can read them here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Now let’s see if you survive this wizard’s duel.

Set Up…Help Ezekiel

Lightening strikes the road between you and the dueling wizards. In the brief moment of perfect brightness, Ezekiel’s tall form is outlined on the left with his hands upraised, creating a sort of shield around him. A moment later, you understand why he’s holding the shield.

The hair along your arms stands to attention and a buzzing pierces your ears. You jump from the rocks and land on the road just as a bolt of electricity shatters the boulders where you stood. Sharp splinters of stone ricochet off trees and rocks and hard packed dirt. Dozens of stings hit your skin.

Lightening StrikeA bubble, seconds too late, turns the chaos into a muffled mess around you. It stretches only a few feet in all directions with you at its exact center. Another lightening strike hits the top of the bubble directly above your head. The flash sizzles along the shield and dies in the hard dirt of the road.

A couple smaller flashes strike aimlessly into the nearby trees like the other wizard built up too much and realized he needed to discharge some before he lost control.

Those flashes reveal two things.

One, Wizard Ezekiel is only holding one shield. Perhaps he can’t control two at a time.

Two, the other wizard noticed Ezekiel is vulnerable and has turned to attack him.

“ZEK!” you shout a warning but can’t be sure in the storm if he hears you. You race for the other wizard and Zek’s bubble stays with you.

Bounding over a boulder, you land in the rocks where the attacker was standing. A sizzling tells you he’s near. You trust the bubble and the sound and charge towards that tell tale hiss.

Two blobs of faint light give a heads up that you’re slightly off and you correct your direction just as those two blobs turn into bright, hissing sphere’s of electricity. The wizard’s eyes widen as he sees you barreling toward him.

He tosses the two spheres he prepared for Ezekiel into your face. They hit Zek’s bubble and sizzle along the shield’s outline.

The timing is perfect. Just before the electricity dissipates into the ground, you reach the attacker with the outside edge of the bubble. It pops with a piercing zap that jolts the wizard off his feet. He flies backward and lands with a thud.

It’s like the gavel hitting the podium.

Trees and Night SkyJust like that, the storm vanishes. Fog, lightening, sound and all, disappear. Your ears ring with the silence.

A rumbling laugh breaks it a moment later. Wizard Ezekiel ambles up beside you to stare at the downed wizard. His huge frame shakes as he continues to chuckle.

“Zek?” he asks.

You shrug. “Needed something short.”

He snorts another chuckle. “You charged a lightening wizard. Guess you earned the right to Zek.”

He lifts the now senseless lightening wizard over a shoulder and motions for you to walk with him.

You check for the other downed man, Sam, but he must have regained consciousness at some point and ran.

“What about the others?” you ask.

“They’re pawns,” Zek says. “This one’s the mind behind the attacks. Give him to the King and let the King settle out the rest.”

***

Mug of Cider - Set Up Adventure StoryYou sit at a rough wood table in an inn that Zek recommended. It’s a small establishment that doesn’t seem to balk at the presence of a large wizard.

Across the table sits Zek. His large hands are wrapped around a clay mug of strong tea.

“Going to pay for that?” you ask.

“Already did.”

“Going to share?”

He grins and a second mug appears. You pull it toward you and sniff the contents.

“King arrested the innkeeper, the castle cook, and one of the stable hands last night,” Zek informs you. “The lightening wizard implicated them in his plans to kidnap the princess.”

“Why did he want the princess?” you ask.

Zek shrugs and takes a sip before answering. “No official statement,” he says. “My guess, they wanted to blackmail the King for some reason.”

“Hmm,” you grumble. It’s not a satisfying answer but it’s probably all you’ll ever know. You sip from the mug. “Gah!” You set it back down with a frown.

“Not cider,” you grumble.

“Not cider,” Zek agrees. With the innkeeper’s arrest, his cider is no longer available and not even Zek can make it appear.

You resign yourself to tea and take contentment in having your name cleared and gaining a wizard for a friend.

The End

Thank you for joining this adventure. I look forward to seeing you next time.

Until then, many blessings,

Jennifer