August 10 2018

Black Rose Chronicles 5 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the fifth chapter of a wonderful story from Belladonna Rose, entitled
Black Rose Chronicles
Background music by Smartsound

 

Chapter 5

Waving with a small smile Edvard then turned and walked back up to the bridge. Standing in the middle he watched as the boat made its way down river and as the sun became hidden behind the mountain. Strange sounds started up again throughout the forested area. Soon the creatures would be on the prowl again.

Charlotte curled up as close to Bella as she could. It was hard to row the craft with the child nestled against her so closely but she did her best. Edvard did not lie about the dangers of the darkness. She could hear the moans and screams coming from the river banks. Rustling bushes and brush as things seemed to make their way out into the dark. This alone made her want to row faster but she was beginning to falter in her strength. She was so tired. Much had happened to her this day. No time to rest. Must get to Soltown. Where is Soltown? Exhausted she kept rowing praying with every stroke that she did not fall asleep or worse.

Hours in the darkness eventually became less as the sun began to creep up through the trees. She had been at sea so long that she forgot how long it took for the sun to rise. Having not been on land much of late she needed to get her bearings again for life on land. The river began to narrow putting the banks much closer to the boat. This worried her a bit…but the noises from the forest became less and less with the rising sun.

Up ahead she saw the faint light of torches. Light that will soon be extinguished once the sun was out. And there …..a dock. This must be the place. Please let this be the place. A man in strange armor stood at the end of the dock. Turning his head he saw the boat and waved them forward. As if she was not doing that already. Bumping along the edge of the dock the man reached down and gained hold pulling them up closer. He pulled the tether from inside the boat and tied it to a post.

Reaching down he put his hand out to help her onto the docks. She waved him off and hoisted the child up to him. “Take her please. We have just come from Solace Bridge. Edvard bade me to bring here here to her mother. I am Belladonna Rose, the Avatar.” Blinking she was not sure if this was how she was supposed to introduce herself or not. No one said otherwise how she was to do so. No matter. Titles were not that important save one. And seems that one is long lost.

“By the stars. It is true. Another Outlander has come to help. Thank the stars. I am Captain Stanley and this is Soltown. I am in charge here til Commander Cugel says otherwise.”

Bella pulled herself up on the docks and tried her best to stand tall. Fatigue was winning over for sure now and apparently the Captain saw this. “Lets get this wee one to her mother. I know her well enough. She is across the road in the refugee camp. Abigail will be happy to see her and will want to thank you personally.”

Bella honestly could care less about thanks right now. All she wanted was hot food and sleep. Hopefully this woman will take pity on her and give that much. Smiling softly she followed Stanley across the road to the camp. Looking about she saw several tents and people milling about a roaring fire. Many children scampered about playing at being guards. From the looks of things they got away from Solace Bridge with barely the clothes on their backs. Which she knew how that felt. That was all she had.

The refugees saw Stanley and ran to him….huddling around him like vultures. He pushed his way past them to the far tent. A tall woman came to the entrance of the tent and gasped as Stanley approached. Handing the child to her she hugged the girl tightly. Crying out to the skies she turned away with the child. Many of the others cheered and applauded. Among their own despair they were happy that at least one of them had some happiness returned to them.

Stanley went to the fire and gave a short account to the people. Telling them of Bella’s journey from Solace Bridge. He told them he had news from Edvard and was going to send a dispatch to Cugel in Ardoris. They were saddened by the news. Solace Bridge had fallen. Now they had to decide what to do and where to go. Many had already left. Making way to other places throughout the lands. Some to smaller towns some to outlying areas. The pilgrimage from Solace Bridge for some would lead them far and wide. Some would stay close just for the memory or just because they had lost all hope.

Seeing this in their faces caused a pang of regret in Bella. But that is what the Oracle said. She said that she would feel regret, sorrow and many other emotions as she travelled the lands. Forsaken Love. This is the path she was on. To restore Love to the people. How the hell was she supposed to do this.

She stood by the fire as the refugees walked by patting her softly on the back or giving her a quick embrace for what she had done. As they did so she watched the woman…Abigail..tuck her daughter under a blanket on a rickety cot. The woman turned and motioned for Bella to come to her. Walking into the tent she saw there was very little here. A sack which was probably all she owned. The woman fumbled in her pocket and reached out to Bella. Taking her hand she placed a handful of gold pieces in her hand. Looking down at the pittance she looked back at the lady. Sorrow and what looked like shame crossed her face.

“Tis all I have to offer M’lady for your service. You brought my daughter back to me when I all but thought she was lost to me. There is nothing of my husband I assume…not that I thought there would be.”

“Nay M’ lady. I do not know of your husband. I do not know much of anything as I am new here. I was sent to Solace Bridge and that is where I found Edvard. We then found the child and I was sent here. Other than that I am as lost as you seem to be.”

The lady looked at Bella with astonished eyes. “Outlander…Avatar. The one the prophecy speaks of. You have done more than you could ever know. Please take the gold and make use of it. Armor, weapons whatever will aide you. It is the least I can do.”

Bella smiled and took two coins and gave the rest back to Abigail. “Please…take the remainder of this gold. Make your way out of here. Make your way to a better life if you can M’lady. For the sake of the child.”

Nodding and smiling the lady took the gold and put it back in her pocket. Little that it was it might be enough for food to get her and her child elsewhere. She would figure the rest out later.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

July 12 2018

Black Rose Chronicles 4 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the fourth chapter of a wonderful story from Belladonna Rose, entitled
Black Rose Chronicles
Background music by Smartsound

Stepping through the other side of the rift the cloudy air cleared from her sight. She could see trees and the strong smell of smoke and death filled her nostrils. Looking around her she could see lush green grass and trees, but the smell was overwhelming. Bella could even feel the evil in the place. Deep in her bones. She had felt this many a time before. No stranger to danger or death. Ahead she saw the palisade walls surrounding the area. This must be Solace Bridge.
In the distance she could hear many sounds. Some familiar forest sounds. Birds, squirrels and even the sound of a bear in the distance. But that moaning sound was different. As she walked towards the gate of the palisade she saw something lumbering towards her. WHAT IS THAT?
Undead. Zombie. Oh great. She looked about for something to use as a weapon. There on the side of the path was a branch of a tree. Hoisting it up and taking a stance she waited for the thing to come closer. The smell was hideous. As the zombie came closer it reached for her. Pulling her arms back she swung the branch at the zombie. It took the brunt of the hit full force but kept coming. Oh great. This should be fun. She continued to hit the creature and finally after a few more hits it fell to the ground.
She looked down at the poor thing and realized it was wearing the remnants of what was probably the local inhabitants. So sad that this had to happen to a human.
Walking away again from the corpse she approached the gate. On the other side she could see an older man standing guard. Staff in hand as if waiting for something to attack him. She pushed up the lever to the gate and slowly it opened. Rushing inside she was met again by one of those zombies.
But to her surprise the old man came forth and helped her fight. Several of these creatures came forward and between the two of them they put them to rest.
“Thank the stars you arrived. Not sure how well I would have faired against that many of those things. The bridge has been overrun with those foul creatures for near a fort night. And the other undead things lumbering around as well. It has been a sad time indeed.”
Wiping the muck off her tunic from the fight she looked at the older man. He was a portly fellow but was very well trained in defence. This was a good thing.
“Good day to you stranger. I am Edvard. I was told to expect someone of your stature and here ye be.”
Bella smiled softly at the old man. Looking at the destruction of this place was more than she had expected. It was truly a battle for sure. And from the looks of things the battle did not go well.
“Hello good sir. I am Belladonna Rose. I was sent here by Arabella and the Oracle.”
“Aye. Yes. Arabella. She is a fine one that one. She has been busy of late bringing other Outlanders to the realm. Doing service for Lord British she does. And I am thankful for you being here.”
“I do not know what is expected of me here but I will do my best. Perhaps you have seen others of late. I am worried about the crew from my ship and my friend Jack. Maybe they passed this way.”
“Ah. Alas many have traveled through here and I sent them on to continue their journey as I will you.” He quickly started moving about gathering up a quiver of arrows and the long-forgotten bow on the ground. Approaching Bella he handed them to her. She looked at him with concern.
“Here..take these. I dare say you will need them more than I. That tree branch will not help you
much with the other things out there to fight. When you see a weapon on the ground pick it up and use it if need be. Or sell it for gold in the nearest town. Fair to say I do not have much else to give you. Advise and instruction is the best I can do.”
Bella took the bow and quiver and a dagger she found on the ground. Pulling the quiver onto her back she looked about. Off to the right a slow burning building caught her attention. She could hear the faint sound of a child crying.
“Quick Master Edvard. That child needs help.”
“Ah….there she is. I knew there was one child left but could not find her. She must have been hiding inside that building. Hurry Avatar….rescue the child. I will meet you at the other gate and we will get her to safety.”
Turning on heel Bella ran to the building. Pushing the broken door open she saw a soldier dead on the floor. His shining sword at his side and a crumpled note in his hand. She took both and headed up the stairway where she heard the whimpers of a child.

As she went up the stairs an armed skeleton crashed through the far door. Still holding the dead man’s sword she quickly spun and slashed at the skeleton. Shattered bone clattered on the floor. That was easy enough. Leaping up the stairs two at a time she reached the landing only to see another of those skeletons making its way towards the child. Sword in hand she jumped between them and began slicing at the monster. This one was not that easy. The clanging of swords being crossed seemed to vibrate in her ears and throughout the room. Stumbling back a bit she regained her footing and lunged forward. Surprise caught her as her sword was wedged in the ribs of the skeleton. With a twist and a yank she freed it and the bones clattered to the floor.

Taking a breath she looked around only to see the child peering over the top of the bed where she had been trying to hide. Bella reached a hand out and the girl ran into her arms crying. Holding her close for a moment she pulled her face up to look into her eyes. Fear was obvious but there was something else there as well.

“What is your name child?” The girl looked at her with tearfilled eyes. “Charlotte Gray is my name and I want to go home.” Bella took the child by the hand and led her down the stairs and out the doorway. “Come along then. We will see about getting you home.”

Across the courtyard she could see Edvard standing by the gate. Holding the child with one hand and the sword with another she made her way across. Edvard stood solemnly. Looking down she saw another guard. He too had met his fate with these creatures. He too had a sword like the other. She reached down and took it as well. Sliding it through her belt she nodded to Edvard.

Reaching up he pushed the lever to open the gate and they proceeded to walk across the bridge. Nothing came after them this time. But she was ever watchful just the same. At the end of the bridge she looked up the hill. There she saw the rift. That must be the way they were heading.

“Master Edvard…..the rift. Should we head there and get out of this forsaken place?”

“Nay child. That is not the way right now. The stars are not aligned correctly. And I have no idea where that rift would lead us. You must take the girl to Soltown. Her mother Abigail is there.”

At the sound of her mother’s name the girl perked up a bit. She squeezed Bella’s hand eager to go to her mother. Bella looked down and smiled. “Yes. I will take you.” Edvard moved towards the edge of the road and down a short path was a small boat. He motioned for Bella to go ahead of him.

“Quickly Avatar. Take the child and make your way up river. You will be in Soltown by dawn. Tis not safe to tarry here. Darkness brings the creatures out in numbers. You both will be better off than here.” Looking across the darkening land he looked back. Bella put the girl in the boat and started to climb in when Edvard took her by the shoulder.

“Take this book and give to Captain Stanley. It is an accounting of what has happened here and such. He will make the decision of what to do next. Perhaps he can get troops from Ardoris to come and help clear the area. And that sword and note you have be sure to give them to the loved ones. The sword will goes to Emily in Soltown. That note to a lady in Celestis. If you happen to make your way there…Go now Avatar. Darkness grows.”

As she pushed away from the bank and started to row Edvard yelled out to her.

“By what name doth thee go by Avatar. So I will know if ever we meet again.”

Cupping her hands to shout back.. ”Belladonna Rose is my name.”

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

June 21 2018

Black Rose Chronicles 3 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the third chapter of a wonderful story from Belladonna Rose, entitled
Black Rose Chronicles
Background music by Smartsound

Taking in the transformation of herself she looked around her again. The mirror no longer glowed. Only a shimmering and swirl of lights could be seen now. Not even her own reflection. Stunned at this magic she stood there for a time. Then a voice came to her tell her to go up the path to the building at the top. “Your Destiny awaits you Avatar”.

Turning she looked up the path and started to walk. Walk. Smiling she took a few more steps and began to run up the path. Amazed that she was on her own two legs again. Thank the stars she was whole once more. As she reached the top of the hill she saw an ornate looking building. Small but very impressive. Intricate carvings and a strange red glow from the domed roof. This must be the place.

Reaching out she slowly turns the knob of the wooden door. The metal of the knob was warm to the touch. As the door opened a soft warm mist greeted her and the red glow inside grew even brighter.

Stepping into the structure she saw the huge metal face hanging on the wall. Strange glowing eyes seemed to stare down at her. She stepped forward and looked about the room. Empty alcoves were to the left and the right. Huge torches hung on the walls beside the face. As she grew closer to the face the metallic churning sounds of gears began. Louder and louder. Covering her ears, she started to step away towards the door.

“Greetings Avatar. At last you have arrived.”

Stopping dead in her tracks she looked at the face. The glowing eyes blinked at her and the face looked as though it was alive. Shaking in her own skin she stepped close again to examine this strange thing on the wall.

“We have been waiting for you Avatar. It has been foretold that one such as yourself would arrive.”

Blinking again she stood infront of the face and listened carefully to what it said.

“By what name do you go Avatar?”

Swallowing hard she tried to find the words to answer. After a moment she finally spoke with her own voice instead of using her mind as she did with the hooded lady.

“My name is Belladonna Rose.”

“Greetings Belladonna Rose. I am the Oracle. I am here to help determine who you shall be as you move through this new world. I am but a guide to help you learn and navigate on your journey.”

Bella looked quizzically at the machine. The clanking and grinding of gears was almost overwhelming. Shaking her head again she heard the face give a soft chuckle and soon the sounds subsided, and a dull hum filled the room.

“Here I will ask a series of questions to determine the path you should follow. There are no right or wrong answers. And no answer is irrevocable. Tis the way of the mind and soul to change one’s mind along the path to better suit or deter your destiny. Your path will be yours to follow. I will simply assist you in following the choices that your feel are best. I know not your mind or heart Avatar, I can only watch your actions and advise on what I see.”

Bella felt a bit tense at the conversation. Not sure if she should trust this machine. She was not all that familiar with this sort of entity. This sort of thing was not widely known or used where she came from. She was definitely in a new world. Remembering what Arabella said about Lord British she decided to continue and listen.

After a time, the Oracle asked her many questions. Things about what she would do in certain situations. She only prayed that she answered the right way. She responded with her heart. For that was truly the only way she felt she could be honest with herself in everything she did.

The clank and grind of gears started up again. “Ahh. You have chosen the Path of Love Avatar. And I will now instruct you where to start your journey. The outpost of Solace Bridge has been under attack. Here you will venture forth through the rift and make your way to help those who survived. Upon reaching Solace Bridge look for Edvard. He will guide you from there.”

Bella looked quizzically at the Oracle.

“You will see me again Avatar. And I advise you check with me when you see buildings such as this in many a town. Here I can give counsel and help you if you need advice. Your destiny awaits you.”

The eyes of the Oracle glowed slightly and blinked.

“Your arrival has been foretold in a prophecy Avatar and the road you travel pre-ordained. We have waited long for your arrival. You must not delay any further. You will learn much and be given many choices in your travels. You will meet many foes and make many friends along your way. Heed all in your path. Now you must go Avatar. The world of New Britannia awaits you.”

Bowing her head quickly she stepped backwards towards the door. As she turned, the door opened before her. The diminished light of the outer world let her know that it was coming upon nightfall. She exited the chamber and looked towards the uphill path. Looking back again to the chamber the door was now closed again. Taking a deep breath, she made her way up the path.

Muttering to herself. “I have no weapon. I have no food. What in hell’s name am I doing here? This is some sort of trick or am I really in another realm. No matter. I need to go forth. I need to find Jack and the crew. If I have to turn this world upside down to do it, then I will.”

Trudging up the hill she saw the circle of pillars and the bright swirling blue orb in the center. This must be the rift that Arabella and the Oracle talked about. Do I step inside she wondered. Jump. Run. Bella walked to the edge of the ring and peered inside. Nothing but blue shimmering and swirling lights.

“What the hell. I am probably dead anyways. What can go wrong. I have nothing to lose.”

Taking a deep breath, she ran straight at the rift and disappeared from this place.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

May 3 2018

Xak’s song of Revenge – by Xarras

When I have you at my mercy
will I halt and my avenging hand stay
will I not think that justice an investment that day
mercy or murder just a moment away

you’ve trampled the innocent
you cheat and you lie
why should we spare
you lead others to die

Our weapons are sharpened
our potions are strong
our spells are full power
Our grievances long

Or stop to balance the thought that
you might repent your bad ways,
against the reward on your head
and the thought that it just might
make me feel just a bit better that day.

I would gladly give up the honour and the fame
to see you swiftly on your way
to the limbo that is the pay
for your wicked, wicked, wicked ways

You better not blink
You better be sharp
There’ll be no time to think
Cos in the beat of your heart
I will take it away
Take your skull away
I will take your jaw away
Take your bones away

Or stop to balance the thought
that you might repent your bad ways,
against the reward on your head
and the thought that it just help
make me feel a lot better that day.

With my friends and my guild mates
we’ll dance in a line
rejoicing your demise
time after time after time after time . .

May 3 2018

Limericks – by Cock of the North

There was a man from Middle Downs,

He liked to wear short ladies gowns,

The bandits did frown,

As the sun struck his mound,

At the size of the jewels in his crown.

There was a man named Oakenvalley,

He strived and strived to be a Pally,

From elf jokes he triggered,

So one day he figured,

I’ll specialize in crafting instead!

There was a young warrior called Klank,

Who often Shock Monkeys did spank,

When noone was looking,

He levelled his cooking,

By basting a tender ham shank.

May 1 2018

A Day to Remember – by Lilunai Laurasia

Cuando el líder de su banda propuso ir a cazar dragones, pensó que estaba loco, pero pronto se vio envuelta en los preparativos.

Tras unos días de marcha llegaron a un desierto donde al instante divisaron un monstruo gigantesco, ni cinco hombres puestos unos sobre otros llegarían a tocar el pecho del animal. Los rumores que oyeron días antes sobre un valle infestado de dragones eran ciertos.

Se sacaron lanzas, espadas, escudos, flechas y comenzó la batalla. Pronto todo fue un torbellino de polvo, donde destellos metálicos se confundían con llamaradas de fuego. Los rugidos de la bestia se mezclaban con los gritos furiosos de sus compañeros. Desde la distancia ella lanzaba sus conjuros de protección y de sanación, rogando a Sequanna su favor. Nunca se habían enfrentado a nada semejante, cada coletazo era demoledor y las curas pronto empezaron a ser pocas. Aquel engendro del abismo se resistía a sucumbir y aunque sus compañeros eran derribados y heridos, se levantaban de nuevo, mostrando un coraje excepcional. Cuando parecía que no seria posible la hazaña, el dragón empezó a dar muestras de cansancio y se redoblaron los ataques. Por fin, una lanza atravesó las escamas del dragón y con un último rugido ensordecedor, se desplomó.

Incluso ahora, tumbada en la cama se sentía cansada. Aun notaba el peso del escudo en su brazo y le dolía la cabeza. En la oscuridad, sobre la mesilla, veía el resplandor de su varita. Hoy había sido una jornada larga y agotadora. Y sonrió.”

May 1 2018

The Way to Novia – by TalonZorch

Der Weg nach Novia

Das Muster, tief im Netz verborgen

Es schien so offensichtlich, klar,

Doch war es wirklich, wahr?

Schon wieder dräut ein neuer Morgen.

Überall und nirgends greifbar,

Auf Tafeln, Büchern, Digital,

Blieb uns allen keine Wahl,

Und das Muster wurde klar.

Eine Welt so fern und fremd

Doch verwoben mit der unsren

Erschien es wahrlich wie ein Omen

Dort, wo jeder, Avatare kennt.

Uns zieht es an, das Schicksal, unsere Bestimmung

Und so sprachen wir die Formeln

Widersetzten uns der Erden Normen

Und betreten diese Welt, so alt und doch so jung.

Willkommen in Novia, Avatar.​

May 1 2018

Petaluma and the Troll Bridge – by Lone Stranger

Petaluma the Chicken travelled to-and-fro.
This current adventure led him through the cold snow.
He trekked to Ardoris to see a famous painter,
But Petaluma was clueless and unaware of any danger.
He pecked at a speck– maybe it was food?
It was only a pebble he had to conclude.

At the top of a pass, he crossed a long bridge,
But a troll loped in view on the opposite ridge!
He spun to flee, but another appeared,
Blocking his return while scratching his rear.
Two trolls on the span? A cockerel’s nightmare!
(It’s possible in his fear an egg was laid there.)

He was spotted right then when one troll turned his shoulder,
And nearly was flattened by a giant flying boulder.
“CHICKEN!” yelled the troll, stomping closer from one side,
“CHICKEN!” repeated the other, mouth drooling, wide-eyed.
Petaluma had no place to go for escape.
He feared he would become a feathered pancake.

He closed his eyes tight, preparing for the worst,
Peeking out from one lid when he heard the trolls curse.
They were arguing about who had spotted the bird.
His first two steps were slow, but he ran by the third.
They yelled at each other to see who would eat,
Not realizing that with no fowl was no meat.

They wrestled behind as he plodded away.
It’s possible that they still wrestle this day.
But Petaluma doesn’t know. He hightailed it out.
Toward Ardoris he went and continued his route.
Though no one else knew of his bridge troll evading,
His courage was recorded on a nice oil painting.

May 1 2018

Aelasar’s Forest – by Nick

“Dancer? What are you doing in my home?” Nick yelled as he burst through the door.

“Nick, you’re alive? Cianna said you were dead. She wanted to burn this place down, but I begged her to keep it. She said I could have it. I live here now.”

With smoldering intensity, he gazed into Dancer’s eyes. “You are all grown up now,” he said in a gruff voice, looking at her silky hair and dove-like eyes. He searched her face. Dancer’s heart quickened as her eyes fell closed and her lips pouted under his gaze. She felt a breeze as Nick suddenly whisked her off her feet. But the kiss she expected never came. She opened one eye and found herself flying out the door. She shrieked and tried to balance herself with cat-like grace before landing on all fours.

The door slammed and a shout echoed from the windows of the cabin.

“AND STAY OUT!”

May 1 2018

da hart ob pitmuck – by Fionwyn Wyldemane

wees comin’ trough dem darkness places,
diggin’ an’ trudgin’ along.
wees haz to leab our fav’rite spaces,
wees singin’ da mournin’ song.
(byes Ozog Giantfart…sigh)

but goblinz be much stronger an’ tuff.
gibin’ up wees neber do!
da heart ob pitmuck laufs when itz ruff,
wees now in da werld wif yoo!
(wees has a new cabe!)

wees got da fishes and nice pee stumps!
our skin bees nice an’ greenie!
wees not dem goblinz wif ogly bumps,
wees neber be a meanie.
(septin’ miehette – she’s not likins “stupis” humies…shhhh)

so if yoo sees goblinz in Soltowns,
come join us wees bee sayins.
dance an’ lauf away dem frowns,
good fun wees bee relayins’.
(goblinz fun bees da bestest fun.)

-da end-