April 2 2021

The Home on Spectral Peaks – by Fetid SirDidy – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with another great story by Fetid SirDidy. It’s entitled
“The home on Spectral Peaks”
Background music by Smartsound

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

In the candlelight Liam looked at the page while his left eye twitched madly – something had gotten in his damned eye. He rubbed at it, knuckling it deeply. He tried to focus on the words written on the page, but they were obfuscated by a veil of blurriness.

Crumpling the page, he tossed it aside, laid out a fresh one, and began again.
Or at least he tried.

The wind howled outside and the shutters on his window shook in brief intermittent spasms.
Clack, clack. Clack, clack.

Liam caught himself chewing on his thumb nail;
His mind had wandered again.

He licked the feathered pen in his hand and dipped it into the ink pot that sat on his desk. Holding the pen above the fresh parchment, he pondered for a moment and then brought it down. But he did not write.

Ink began to spread out in a circle where he held pen to paper.
The pen did not move.
Liam did not move.

A noise outside had caused Liam to utterly freeze. The sound came from something foreign, something strange, something terrifying.

Something Liam could not fathom was outside. He was certain it was there. And that certainty scared him into the paralytic stupor he found himself in.

Clack, clack. Clack, clack.
The noise came again, and Liam began to whimper.
Clack, clack. Clack, clack.

Liam remained still but his eyes darted toward the door.
He thought he heard scratches.

Clack, clack. Clack, clack.
The shutters shook with more intensity. The latch finally gave way and the shutters burst inward, and along with them a bout of frigid air.

Then, suddenly, the wind died down and the shutters on the windows settled, then lay still.

Liam let go of the pen. It lay, still spreading its ink on the paper. He took a deep breath. His heartbeat slowed. And then he let out a laugh; a full belly laugh. God, he hadn’t laughed like that in ages.

All was quiet while moments passed.
His mind had wandered again like it always had.

Walking to the window, Liam looked outside.
All he saw was dark. But the dark did not frighten him.

He moved to his bedside, pulled down his trousers and got into bed.
Leaning over, he snuffed out the candle on his bedside table, and closed his eyes.

While in a deep sleep, large brown spidery arms pieced the window shutters and a multitude of beady eyes stared at Liam as he slept.

In his dreams, while horrors consumed his waking body, Liam heard the shutters.
Clack, clack. Clack clack.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

March 3 2021

Horror Stories 2 – by Fetid SirDidy – narrated by Asclepius


Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a couple more wonderful horror stories from Fetid SirDidy. Background music by Smartsound.


“Harvest Night”

A dull hum was all he heard, and what he saw was a fiery sky.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

The sky was painted with brush strokes of orange and red and brown. Leaves of the same color fell all around him, and he danced as they did.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

He saw his father’s hands, blistered and raw. He saw his mother’s apron, tattered and stained. He saw the local magistrate bray and scorn, and he saw the local boys and girls laugh and mock.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

He saw the tall grass swaying in the wind. He saw the shadows of the windmills walking across the ridge. He felt the House on the Hill scream as it lay still.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

He saw the sun dip down. He saw the darkness swallow everything around. He walked toward the House as if bound.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

He stood before the mold soaked door. He pressed damp wood with trembling hands. He stood on a threshold staring into an infinite dark.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

He froze. A voice in the void whispered, but Wilhelm could not hear because he was deaf.

He cried out. He knew it called out for them, but they could not hear because he was mute.

He watched as the local boys and girls moved past him. They entered the darkness and were never heard from again.

Wilhelm Santree was deaf and mute but he could still see.

A dull hum was all he heard, and what he saw was a fiery sky.


“Arrow Black”

The boy died on a Tuesday.
The arrow that pierced his skull was fletched on a Wednesday but this was of no importance to anyone other than Rolf.

Rolf stared at his breakfast. Two eggs, a slice of bread, and a glass of Ardoran orange juice.
The eggs were runny, the bread stale, and the orange juice acidic.
The same breakfast Rolf had eaten since being stationed here; 127 days and counting.

127 days.
127 nights in this god forsaken city.

Rolf sat in the guard tower, hen feathers in right hand and wood shaft in his left as he skillfully assembled his object of destruction.
In his minds eye he saw Tanya’s boy, Thomas Cumpston, and he shuddered as he imagined the light in the boy being snuffed out.

Rolf put the arrow down and clenched his hands. Closed fists, open fists, closed fists.

He dipped fingers into a small bowl of ashen paste and spread it along the shaft of the arrow he had just created.
The bolt blackened.
Rolf became darker.

The iron head of the Black Arrow glistened in the early morning light. It’s target, a young Thomas Cumpston gleefully strode across the square.

Rolf loosed the arrow and relished in the inevitability that followed; a symphony of screams.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

March 3 2021

Black Rose Chronicles 13 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Joline Sedai

This is Black Rose Chronicles 13, by Belladonna Rose, narrated by Joline Sedai. Background music by Smartsound.

Visiting the various shops in Crossroads she made her way to the docks and spoke to the town crier who told her she could take a wagon or walk up the road a bit to get back to the main roadways. She decided to take the wagon. Once back on the road she looked out over the hillside and there near the coastline was a huge metropolis of buildings. The one in the center was very fancy looking. Walking down and bidding good day to those she passed she reached the gates of the city. Over the gate was a sign. Central Brittany. This must be where this Lord British fellow lives. Smiling she started towards the gate where one of the guards stopped her. He asked her name and her business and was a rather rude sort but she answered his questions. Once she gave her name and told him she was an Avatar he immediately saluted and offered to open the gate.

Before she could step through someone grabbed her arm and pulled her to the side. The lady seemed quite pleasant and very enthusiastic. She started going on about the Hidden Vale and how lovely and secluded it was there. Explaining that there was plenty of adventuring to do there and even some towns to call home. Pulling Bella towards the docks she pointed to the large ship and explained that this ship would take her to the Hidden Vale if she decided to take a look. Then she patted Bella on the shoulder smiled and walked away.

Shaking her head at the lady who was waving to everyone she passed Bella decided she would take a look around Central Brittany first.
The city was massive and there were a variety of homes throughout the streets. Some fancy some not
so much. Would prove to show who had and had not. Finally making her way to the docks she asked about for the boat to this Hidden Vale. The few dock workers were kind enough to point in the right direction and she once again on her way. It was nice to set foot on the deck of a ship even though it was a small vessel.

After about an hour or so the bells on the ship deck chimed alerting all that they were setting sail. It was coming up close to dusk and she hoped it would not land them on shore after dark. That was always the one thing she hated about sailing. Coming into port in the dark. Although most of her arrivals were of that kind it still gave her an odd feeling. She had had many altercations with other ship captains and even authorities when she made landfall. Either to rob her, investigate her cargo or to just out right arrest her. The latter was more common though. Shaking her head and laughing to herself she thought back to many of those times. “You transport one bad shipment and they always think you are up to no good.”
As the ship entered the harbor she looked out over the prow to see the upcoming town come into view. It was not what she had expected. Ramshackle buildings and a few folk wandering about. Not what she would think of being a port town for sure. As they set anchor at the docks she started down the plank to the landing. Many of the buildings she could see had been boarded up and the town looked like it had and was having a rough time of it.

Stepping up the rickety walk there were several boats anchored there. A few to different towns and such. But not the hustle and bustle that would normally be seen at a port town. Sadness seemed to steep into her veins the further she walked. Most of the folk here were ragged and tattered. An old man approached and she tossed him a coin. Smiling his toothy smile he thanked her and went towards what looked like an inn. She followed him and went inside. This was not what she expected but it would do for now.

Sitting at a table a barmaid came by and told her what they had on hand and she ordered the meager meal and a tankard of ale. Hopefully one of the two would be good. Wiping the crumbs off the table she looked about. No one really noticeable to the likes of anyone in charge of a port town. After a bit the girl came back and set a average sized tankard down and smiled. “Food will be around in a bit love. Its not been too busy today so having to scrap up a decent meal fer ya.”

Belladonna smiled back and took a swig of the ale. Not too bad she thought. She tried listening to the folk about town and heard names barked out of the surrounding area. Alot of hushed talk about the undead and such. Typical talk she had heard on her travels there. She heard a bit of chatter about the sewers being haunted here and in Owl’s Head. About missing folk from Braemar and about some bad goings on in the Owl’s Nest Mines. Shaking her head she thought that this place was just as riddled with bad things as the rest of the world.

Moments later the girl returned with a platter of assorted dried meats, cheeses and vegetables. Nary a fruit to be seen. Once she found a place and set down some roots she was for sure going to plant her some fruit trees if she could find the seeds and any other things she could grow. Her cousin, Aletta would be so pleased to hear that Bucaneer Bella was thinking of becoming a farmer. Biting into a crusted piece of bread from another platter she laughed at herself. That would be a different thing to do for sure. Farming. Goodness gracious how she had fallen.
As she continued with her meal she listened to some conversation amongst the patrons. Even enjoyed a lively tune being sung by a gentleman wearing tattered and worn clothing. Seemed to her that most all the folk in this town had once seen better days. Ragged and faded and weathered faces but all still willing to continue on with life. That to her was a good sign. At least they hadnt given up just yet. As she finished her meal she lay some coin on the table..walked over to the minstrel and tossed him a coin and made for the back door.

The alley was dim but not yet dark as it was still pretty early in the day. Many market tents were set up and she could see that some folks had found a way to make some sort of living. There was a nice man with a fish cart. A tailor selling bolts of fabric. And even a vegetable cart. She walked over to the man and asked if he carried seeds for planting. He smiled a toothy grin and told her he had several seeds for planting depending on what she wanted. She asked about fruit trees and he laughed and said yes but unless she was willing to set down roots somewhere there was no point in trying that. Said it takes a bit for them trees to grow and even in the soil around these parts they wont get too big. She smiled and told him she would keep that in mind.

Further up the alleyway she found an alchemist wagon. The lady was kind and gentle and offered many potions for various ailments. She would keep her in mind for later as well. Although Bella knew a bit about alchemy from her cousin Pol. She continued on up to a stone bridge and stood there looking out at the harbor. Again she found herself whisked away to another time and place. She thought of her cousins, Aletta, Pol and Katrina and wondered if they were worried about her. She thought too of her sisters, Crimson and Scarlet and what they might be up to. With a sigh she walked over the bridge and saw a gate leading out of town. There were still a few hours of daylight left. She might as well make the most of it.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

February 18 2021

Horror Stories 1 – by Fetid SirDidy – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a couple of thrilling stories from Fetit SirDidy. Background music by Smartsound

“The Man in the Kobold Dwelling”

As the Avatar approached the odd looking man, the smell of animals and rot filled his nostrils.
The sun above was a fiery eye, its stare a blazing inferno causing copious beads of sweat to materialize and run down his face in a torrent. Each drip instantly engulfed by dry earth.

Thermal waves emanated from the metal buildings and fencing around him and all was still save for the melodic turning of the windmill powered generators and a crow at the far side of the compound that picked at a bloodied carcass. Even at this distance the Avatar could hear the crow feasting, it’s beak pecking and tearing at exposed innards.

Upon hearing the Avatar’s approach the odd looking man held up a hand and beckoned him forward.

Sskkk. tsssk.. hello friend..sssskkk,” the man drawled.

Bringing clenched fist to mouth, the Avatar cringed at the site of what stood before him. He now saw that the odd looking man was actually a kobold that had the likeness of a Human man draped across its face. The human visage appeared to be tied on with leather string, like a carnival mask. As the kobold began to speak, his tongue flicked wildly behind rows of jagged teeth.

“Ah, I see you like my face…tsssk”, he chortled. The kobold turned his head left and right allowing the Avatar to appreciate the entirety of his Human mask.

As the Avatar slowly began to back away, laughter pulled his gaze near where the crow ripped at tattered flesh and vein. A trio of bodies lay sprawled on the hardened earth. One of the bodies was large and the other two were small. Two kobold younglings with clawed hands embraced gleefully danced around them, and upon their faces they wore masks of their own; with the likeness of human children.

“The Battle”

The minutes blurred into hours and the hours into days as the Avatar dodged and countered. His hands weakly held onto the wand as he flicked his hand wildly like a dying composer conducting his last symphony.
Just a little longer. Hold. Hold.

The avatar was near exhaustion. His reserves nearly spent. All the experience he had accumulated over the years was called into action as he fought, drawing every hidden ounce of power and bending it to his will.

At last the Cabalist, who had towered over him and caused his near exhaustion was defeated.
Looting his foes body, the avatar stood in horror. There, on the ground, lay a single gem, a single black pearl, and a rusted fork.

The avatar was haunted by that fork for the rest of his days

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

January 25 2021

Black Rose Chronicles 12 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius


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


The walk back to Soltown was quiet and solemn. Bella thought back to the people she met in the Solace Bridge encampment. They had all been through so much and yet many still survived and endured all they had been through. The children although a few were orphaned she was sure seemed to pull through and hold out for some form of hope. Playing and doing their best although a bit odd. Smiling at the children dancing around the campfire singing the Ballad of Bloody Bones seemed innocent enough. But after seeing that creature at the Ebon Dawn ritual sites she was not all that sure.

Passing the awful bridge area again made the whole thing sink deep in her thoughts. There truly was something evil lurking about and causing all this trouble. She just hoped she could help end it all.

And the sooner the better it would seem.

Entering the edge of Soltown she was greeted by the refugees there at the campsite. Captain Stanley waved from the edge of the docks as he ushered more folk from who knew where. Patting her sides she remembered she had to deliver a message for him to some town called Ardoris. As she walked up to Stanley his smile dimmed a bit. She thought to herself ..Do I look that bad? Do I show some sort of misery to him that I bring bad news? Odd she would think this but it must show on her face. She had always been so good about hiding things like this.

“Ahhh Avatar…I mean Mistress Belladonna. Good to see you have managed well from the outskirts. I take you have news for me?”

“Yes I bear a message from Captain Kinsey. She bade me inform you that they are holding down things there despite some interruptions. But things are going well. A few folk are packing up to move on for other parts but most seem content to stay there.”

Frowning a bit he looked down at his feet…then looked back up into her face.

“I don’t know if things will ever be alright again M’lady but tis good that we have you Outlanders here to help out. Meaning no disrespect mind you. It’s good to have you here. Things in Soltown have been a bit strange of late but I guess that goes with so many refugees about.”

She gave him a puzzled look and turned to look over her shoulder.

“They all seem to be faring well at the moment. Not sure what else could be going on.”

“Ahhh well see that is the thing. The regular folk of town are a might up in arms over the folks from Solace Bridge being here. Rag tagged and all. They feel that what happened at the bridge might find its way here. And quite frankly we are not equipped or manned for such an assault.”

Bella nodded in understanding and started to step away.

“Its more than that though I am afraid.” Clearing his throat as to speak more he moved closer as if to whisper in her ear.

“Seems there have been some things happening the last few nights. Robberies, fires and someone mentioned there were bandits coming up outta the sewers. Not what one would expect here. If you wouldn’t mind moving about town and see if you can find more information about these things I would truly appreciate it.”

Patting him on the shoulder she nodded to him she would and that simple smile grew on his face again. It was amazing to Bella that this man would hold so much trust in her since she was an Outlander. Shaking her head she grew to hate that title more and more each day.

Walking towards the camp everyone bid her a good day and she made a point to speak to each one. One lady mentioned that she went to put flowers on her daughter’s grave and the pendant she had placed there was missing…and there were large footprints around her grave. She told Bella it had to have been the thief as her husband was off fighting somewhere and the boot prints were extremely large for any of the men about town. Giggling she told Bella she had spent the last couple of days going about town looking at all the men’s feet. Bella couldn’t help but laugh as well. She told the lady she would look about and see if she could solve the mystery.

One of the men in the camp was going on about a fire a few nights back..burning an entire wagon to the ground. Almost killing one of the horses. And one of the other women agreed that she had seen someone walking about with a red sash or some sort of red clothing. But she wasn’t sure as it was getting dark. Everyone was unnerved that someone would try to burn them out after what they had already been through. Many were already talking about taking what little they had and moving on. At least they wouldn’t have to deal with this.

She nodded to them her understanding and thought to herself they were better off here than out side the town. Too much evil was lurking about ..and that wasn’t just the things she had been fighting. Things like this often bring out the worst in folk.

Moving through town she stopped and spoke to Arabella a short time then made her way into the inn. Ordered some food and sat down to eat. Minding her own business as she ate she did listen to the conversation at the table. No one seemed to give her a second notice.

The mintstrel who usually is singing for a pint was sitting by the fireplace on a stool….staring warily into the flames. When she finished her meal she approached. Touching him lightly on the shoulder he almost jumped out of his skin.

“Scared me half to death ya did. Don’t be sneakin up on folk like that.”

“I did not sneak up on you and I did call your name out but you were too engrossed in watching the fire. Is there something the matter this evening. You seem very on edge.”

“Well I don’t be knowing what “engrossed” means but yes I am a bit distracted.”

Bella smiled and pulled a stool up next to him and patted him softly on the knee.

“ Here I be out back of the inn…takin care of business in the darkness when two hooded figures come barreling by me knocking me to the ground. Neither a care in the world that I could have been hurt. Rudeness if you dont mind me saying so. But that aint the thick of it. They smelled funny they did. Kinda like damp stone and moss. Like they been sleeping by the river or somethin. But it was way worse. Kinda had a dead smell about them too.”

Shivering he looked back at the fire and shook his head. “It was just strange. Made me teeth chatter thinking about the way they smelled. I thought maybe they went into the inn but they never did. I came back inside and they were nowhere to been seen.”

Patting him on the back she listened to him.. Motioning for Emily to bring over a couple of pints. As she got the mugs she handed one to the man and told him to drink up. She sipped the second one and decided she would give it to him instead. She never was good at drinking ale and beers.

After a few gulps he seemed to settle down a bit. Then she asked him if he could tell her what direction they came from and she would check it out. He told her and she again patted him on the shoulder . Standing she walked to Emily and handed her a few coins. Asking her to get the man a bed for the night so he could rest. Emily smiled and nodded.

Here she stood with three new missons to accomplish. Find a thief, an arsonist and some thugs.

Well isnt this going to be a fun time indeed.

After many days in Soltown Belladonna finally completed her missions. She found and dispatched the thief in the graveyard and returned the missing necklace to the rightful owner. She uncovered the arsonist and reported him to the Captain in town so he could deal with him. The wealthy merchant fellow is still a bit under suspicion to her though. He did not seem like a friendly fellow. Again she talked to Arabella and was told to venture out into the world. Finish the tasks at hand in the city of Ardoris and go forth to Blood River and High Vale. There were many things needing to be done in both those area to finally find the cause and reason for the Undead uprising . Also the additional uprising of the Elves.


Belladonna pondered her newfound circumstances. Now she would have to tread throughout this still unknown land trying to help fix all their problems. Shaking her head she moved on towards Ardoris



After talking to many folk throughout she met many along the way that sent her here and there for different tasks. Making her way to a shop she purchased a coal stick and blank book so she could write down all this information so she would not forget it. Each person she talked to she jotted down clues and such to help keep track. She smiled as she sat at a table in the Pelajar Tavern eating a small meal. Pulling the book out and sharpening the slight charcoal stick she wrote down the past things she had done since she arrived. Some were disturbing remembrances and some were funny. Finally catching up to the present time she stretched and took to her room for the night.


Arising the next morning she had a small breakfast. Visited a tent shop to purchase some provisions and then headed out. It was time to explore this vast world and see what it had to offer her. She needed to find a quiet place to settle down and make home port. There was no way she could keep venturing further and further without having a place to go to and revive herself both mentally and physically.


Making her way back up the road from Ardoris she passed by Soltown again. And on past Solace Bridge. She reached the area of East Reach Gap and made her way across into a desert area. Dry, hot and very few villages along the way she found herself in Desolis. Here she stayed the night and picked up more information about this and that from the villagers. Restocking her supplies she headed west as she was instructed. “Head to Brittany. There you will find what you seek” said one of the travellers in Desolis. So that is what she did.




Crossing the remaining desert she approached green grass and trees. Finally. Some respite from that horrid heat and sun. Not that she was not familiar with heat and sun being a ship’s captain but the dry air was not to her liking. She liked the sea breezes for certain.


Coming over the hillside she saw many villages dotted across the lands. This was obvious due to the smoke pillars from all the homes. She stopped into one town and took a rest there. Crossroads was the name although it was not a cross road at all. But it was a nice enough place to rest for the night. Early the next morning she stopped at a small row house shop and resupplied herself. At least the small scrabbles she had along the way gave her enough coin to purchase what she needed.


Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns


September 2 2020

A Not So Scary Short Story – by Bee Striker – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, and I’m delighted to welcome a new author to the ranks. This is a piece by Bee Striker, entitled

A Not So Scary Short Story

Background music by Smartsound


It started as a trickle as she walked under the awning to avoid the rain. As she extended her hand to touch the drops, a rough hand grabbed it, forcing her to swing around. A pale face with dark eyes met her surprised stare. Before she could respond, the man released her with a quick turn and walked off.

The intense moment had gone straight through her entire body, and she felt something pull out of her…or in her. She couldn’t really tell. She shuddered. A quick look around made her realise nobody seemed to notice anything odd had just happened. Shaken, she headed home, quickly looked around, and locked her door.

The unsettled feeling did not leave as she readied for bed. She felt silly as she double checked the lock on her door, the windows, every room, and even under her bed before she climbed into bed. She tried to calm herself but sleep would not come.

“Please help me.” She sat up. What the hell was that? “Please…help…” The voice initially startled her but quickly grew faint. She flew out of bed and flicked on the light. She looked under the bed again, flung open her closet, and opened her bedroom door. She stared into the darkness in silence. Nothing.

She didn’t know how long she stood in her bedroom doorway. A cool draft reminded here she was barefoot. After a quick glance around the dark house, she crawled back into bed.

A man’s limp body lay with heavy chains anchoring his feet to the cement floor. A worn loincloth was his only covering. His damp hair stuck to his pale face. Each slight movement made him groan in pain. “help me..” He wasn’t sure if he actually voiced that or it was just in his head. He heard a door creak open and footsteps slowly descend the stairs. He turned away preparing himself for more pain.

She woke up with a start, bewildered at what she just saw. The face of the man was eerily familiar. A quick image of the man who had grabbed her earlier flashed before her eyes. It was him! Why did she just have a vision of him? Was it real, or just a dream? It sent a chill through her to the core.

The next morning she ran back to the awning where she first encountered the man. Eyes flitting back and forth, she saw no sign of him. Which direction had he gone when he walked away? She tried to think. Following what she thought was the direction, she headed down the street. At the end of the block she paused, not knowing which way to go. For no reason at all, she turned right, crossed the street, and headed down the sidewalk. The sidewalk started to decay as she continued walking.

Something made her pause in front of a small lot. Weeds dominated the landscape, almost drowning out the small shack. Weeds scratched her legs as she approached the building. She listened for any indication of life as she slowly walked up to the door. The screen door was ripped and the shabby door was ajar. The door creaked as she slowly pushed it open. A sparse room gave her an apathetic greeting. The worn couch sat quietly next to an old coffee table. She felt the lone beer bottle resting on the table. It was warm.

A groan made her alert to someone else in the house. She spun around towards the door. Nobody had entered behind her. Her ears almost perked up trying to listen. “Help me…” The helpless plea seemed to be calling from below. As she looked around the house, she noticed a small staircase around the corner. The stairs creaked as she cautiously descended.

The dank room surrounded her as the aroma attacked her senses. She forced her eyes to adjust to the darkness. A man lay almost motionless on the floor. A chain anchored his ankles to the floor. A worn loincloth was his only covering. He was facing the opposite wall as she slowly approached.


She saw his light skin shake slightly. As she turned him over and saw his pale face, she gasped.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

September 2 2020

Black Rose Chronicles 11 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius

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

Trudging down the road back towards Farmer Filmore’s she could see all manner of creatures about.

Bears, wolves, rabbits and squirrels. Crops growing in the farmer’s fields. Cotton. Strange. But that is probably how he makes his living. As she reached the entrance to the road that led to the farmer’s house some bandits made their way up the road….seeing her they turned and made way into the brush.

Finding their comrades on the road…dead..they must of thought better than to approach her. Funny she thought.

Halfway down the path she noticed fresh graves next to the tattered shack. The farmer must have gone inside and found Darwin and Quentin and decided to bury them. With that done she decided to leave the old man alone. With a turn of the heel she went on down the main path back to the bridge.

As she got close to the bridge the lady guard stepped out and met her. Sadly, Bella handed her the note she found on Quentin’s body. The poor girl was distraught. After reading the missive she scribbled a message on a scrap piece of paper and handed it to Bella.

“Please take this back to the Cap’n and tell her what you found. I will remain at my post as ordered.
She need not fear that I will leave. It will be my duty to avenge my poor Quentin.” She slowly turned wiping the tears from her face and took her post near the bridge.

Bella tucked the note in her vest and made her way back up the hill towards the camp. A few of the foolish bandits attacked her but she easily took care of them. This time she was going to check their pockets. A few coins and trinkets. She remembered something one guard said about returning heirlooms that the bandits had stolen. She would return these as well. The guards at the edge of the rope bridge were busy with a couple of those zombie things and immediately cleared the way so she could cross over. The camp was rather peaceful when she entered just before midday.

Looking to the one side of the camp the children were playing around their small campfire. She approached and stood watching for a minute. One of them stopped and looked her way.

“Ohhh. It be you. The Sword Breaker. What ya be wantin from us today? Here to spoil our fun some more?” Bella gave the child a scowling look and then walked closer to them. They all stopped their dancing and looked at her with a bit of fear in their eyes.

“Nay I do not wish to spoil your entertainment. I just thought you might want this.”

Holding the book up over their heads they all stared in disbelief. “Is that the Bloody Bones?”

All the children ran towards Bella as she teased them with the book. She laughed as they jumped up and down trying to get the book.

“Gimme that book Outlander. That is ours. We needs that book so we can sing the song right.”

Bella looked down at them and scowled again. “You do know that Bloody Bones is not a fairy-tale don’t you? Bloody Bones is real. And each time you sing that song it brings that creature out searching for who is singing its song. “

The children looked at her with surprise. Then jumped up and down laughing and cheering.

“She did it…she did it. The Outlander did it. She gots us the Bloody Bones.”

It was obvious these children had no clue what they were doing. But that was none of her business one way or the other…..she tossed the book in the air and let them fight over it. Laughing over her shoulder as they scrambled about trying to hold onto the book she moved on towards the guard.

The guard looked her up and down and smiled. “Thank you for giving them some glimmer of hope.
They know not what they do but they just try to stay entertained best they can. Eventually we will get them to a town and have them looked after better.”

Bella smiled at the guard and pulled out a small pouch and handed it to her. “I retrieved these from some fallen bandits on the road. I do hope you can return the items to their owners if they still live.”

The guard looked into the pouch and she smiled. “Thank you Outlander for doing such a good deed.

I will try my best to return them to their owners. By way what be your name.”

Bella looked at the young guard and smiled…Belladonna Rose.

Making her way through the camp she went straight to Captain Kinsey, handing her the note from Rhoswen about Quentin and the bottle of medicine from Ackerley. She proceeded to tell the Captain about the Ebon Cultists and that she had dispatched them from their ritual. She told her about the woman that appeared and disappeared at each ritual site.

“Damn. Then its true. Mistress Valdis is trying to come back to this side of the realm.”

She shook her head and explained that this creature was once very powerful and has been using the Ebon Cultists to make her way back to this side. The side of the living so she can try and take over the unrest of the lands. Bella looked at the Captain like she had lost her mind. What kind of sorcery is all this ? This realm has completely gone crazy. All this undead and such. Now master sorcery at work as well. Shaking her head she decided that she was no better off here than she was back in her world.

Evil is just that…Evil.

Captain Kinsey pulled a rolled parchment off her makeshift desk and handed it to Bella. Along with a rolled-up banner and pouch of coin.

“Its not much but you have truly showed your worth since you came here. I apologize it ís not much but we have very little as it is. Please take this parchment to Captain Stanley at Soltown and see if you can be of service there. They are in need of help with all the migrating villagers from around this area.

The undead and bandits are razing all the small towns so many are moving towards Ardoris. Soltown is where many have landed.”

Bella took what was given her and looked at the rolled-up banner.

“ That is the Banner of Love my dear Belladonna Rose. You have shown great love and compassion for us and these poor folks who have lost so much. I have a strong feeling you will do great things for our lands and help bring peace and Love back to our people. Take it. It will be better off in your hands than here in mine. Go now and safe travels Future Avatar.”

The sound in Kinsey’s voice was that of courage and devotion to her task. And she would take the banner and put it in a safe place til she could later retrieve it. Looking around one last time at the camp she headed towards the gates. Back to Soltown is it then.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

August 4 2020

Black Rose Chronicles 10 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius

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

With the intent to make the best use of the daylight Bella moved out and down the road. But despite the time of day it was overcast and quite foggy. She could see the fog rise above the cliff edges from the river below. Whoever carved this place out was insane. Those cliff edges were very steep and jagged. Keeping her wits about her she could hear things rambling about in the brush and bushes. No telling what was out there to greet her.

In the short distance she could make out what looked like abandoned buildings. To the right was a burned-out husk of one building. That didn’t look good. Suddenly from out of nowhere one of those zombie creatures and two skeletons came towards her. Quickly she pulled her sword out and took a full swing at them all. Clattering of bone and the ill sounding smack of her blade against flesh made her wince. That sound is one she will never get used to. Wiping the blood from her blade on the grass she stood and proceeded down the road. Over a period of half an hour or so she dispatched everything that came forth. Even some of the lower ranked Cultists were taken out silently.

Weaving between two of the back buildings of the area she saw a bonfire glow. As she crept closer she could hear chanting from the three cultists moving around it. And suddenly something happened.

Quickly she pulled her bow out and lined an arrow up to fire. There in the midst of the fire stood a mishappened woman…covered in blood and bandage. Raising her hands to the sky and chanting some sort of spell. OH NO you don’t Bella thought to herself. Firing off a shot it hit the woman and she turned in Bella’s direction. Pulling out two more arrows she fired another volley and the woman collapsed into the flames. Blue light spewed up high in the sky and then vanished. She was gone. But that didn’t stop the cultists from making their way towards Bella. Coming out from the cover of the broken-down garden wall she fired off rapid shots at each one…taking them down quickly. Checking each cultist to make sure they were dead she found a few gold pieces and she pocketed them quickly.

As she made her way close to the bonfire she noticed that a strange color ooze was all around on the ground. There was no way she was touching that stuff. So she just moved on.

Climbing across the wall and heading towards the edge of the old town again she heard the chanting. Same sounds same set up. As carefully as she could she watched and waited. Again the woman appeared. Rapid fire shooting and down she went. Again she took out the cultists too. This must have been what Captain Kinsey was talking about. She would be sure to report this.

By the time she made her way back to the tattered road going towards Ackerley’s place the sun was beginning to go down. Picking up the pace she made her way to the shack. Fighting every step of the way with zombies, skeletons and wolves. Exhausted she was happy to see that broken down shack . As she started to knock on the door Ackerley open it and smiled.

“Knew you would make it back. I told ya so. Besides I heard all the noise nearby and took me a peek through the shutters. I saw you taking down some of that riff raff out there. You be a good one with that there sword. Glad to see you back.”

With that he took her by the arm and ushered her inside. Shut and bolted the door. Then went about his business. Shaking her head she made her way to the water basin and bucket and cleaned herself up a bit. Looking about there was nothing hot to eat so she grabbed a pot and rooted around for something to cook. Putting what vegetables she could find together she made a quick stew. After an hour or two it was done and Ackerley made sure he scooped himself a big bowl of food like it just magically appeared there. After eating he went back to his work.

Bella curled up on the smelly cot and quickly fell asleep.

Dreams took over as she slept. She was standing on the bridge of her ship. Tight grip on the wheel and Jack standing next to her. He looked out to the horizon and smiled as the wind blew through his tousled hair. Smiling to herself she thought back to all they had been through together. Always a steady hand on the ship and at the ready to jump into action no matter what. And his caring nature for her warmed her heart but scared her just the same. Looking at the horizon herself she shook off the thought of anything other than the job at hand, her ship and crew. No time for personal entanglements.

Then there it was….ahead. The Vortex. Glowing and pulsing and getting larger as they approached. Trying hard to steer the ship away it seemed to just suck them in. All hands were on deck manning the sails and doing there best to secure the ship. Closer and closer and then darkness.

She woke with a sweated brow. Looked about the room and saw the old man at his worktable. Did he ever sleep? Slowly pulling herself up to a sitting position she reached down for her boots. Pulled them on and stood. As she approached the old man he turned with a wary look on his face. Startled she took a step back.

“Ahhh tis you Outlander. Forgot you were in the house for a moment. Tend to get busy with my potions and work forgetting all else.”

He reached to the side of the table and turned to Bella. Handing her a flask with a slight green glowing liquid inside. “Here be the medicine Capn Kinsey be wanting. This should fix up any ills in the camp for sure.” Pressing the flask in her hand he returned to his business. Nothing else said.

Bella gathered up her belongings and went out the door. A slight overcast took the sky. She thought to herself she hoped it wouldnt rain today. She was tired of the rain. Stepping out into the courtyard she could hear the rustling in the bushes and surrounding forest. She would be happy to shut this place away from her and the sooner the better. Such vile creatures roaming about and she longed to get back to some sort of civilization.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

July 19 2020

Interview with the Dragon Goddess 11 – by Draxenath

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the next instalment of this wonderful story by Draxenath. It is entitled

Interview with the Dragon Goddess

Background music by Smartsound


Part 15: Conclusion

Many years passed between the interview and the writing of this conclusion. I have spent countless hours reading books at the ancient library. The amount of knowledge contained within its books would empower the people to do unimaginable things that could either bring prosperity or self-destruction. Time and time again, The Goddess would remind me: “The majority of the sentient mortals are not ready for the knowledge and technology amassed by Humenalia. She had a chosen few who would be her disciples and the ones applying the knowledge within this library for the good of the inhabitants of Curiosity”.

It was a fairly large metropolis with several thousands of inhabitants, completely isolated from the outside world in order to prevent the theft and misuse of its technology. Deep down, I really want to share all of this knowledge with the world, but I am also worried it might be used for terrible purposes. Maybe Amaxis thought the same and left it there to be mostly forgotten and thought of as myths.

When I started this interview, I was not expecting to have the pleasure of finding this fountain of unlimited knowledge. As for my expectations towards Draxenath, I thought she would be more like Amaxis, a proud deity who would never admit fault and would proclaim any of his opponents as enemies of the world. Instead, I found a strong yet fragile goddess, grieving over past mistakes and feeling devoid of purpose after what she felt was a sign that mortals did not appreciate her devotion to them.

Today, I see a determined goddess striving on her new purpose, “healing Humenalia and making preparations for their glorious return”. That makes me reflect on the importance of finding purpose in life. The loss of her purpose drove her to seclude herself and attempt to end her own life. Asking her about her life and letting her know her legends are passed on and prayers are still directed at her after all this time slowly burrowed through her hardened scales and into her heart, driving her to consider if there is yet a new purpose for her to find and live for.

As for me, I am now traveling the world with a trusted companion, spreading copies of this interview, and working on a new project of my own, of which no details will be provided for now.



Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

January 16 2020

Interview with the Dragon Goddess 10 – by Draxenath

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the next instalment of this wonderful story by Draxenath. It is entitled “Interview with the Dragon Goddess”.
Background music by Smartsound

Part 14: Humenalia’s Message

With the ancient library now residing within Draxenath’s hiding place, we had unimaginable amounts of knowledge at our disposal. The Goddess entered the library and went straight to the automaton behind the desk and proceeded to examine it. – The magitronic circuit boards are intact, – she said. – the only damage they have is the interconnecting fibers were severed, it is easy to repair them.

She took a strange tool from a toolbox under the desk and proceeded to re-attach the automaton’s tendrils. After she was done, the automaton lit up and started making noises, then slowly got up on its feet and addressed us. – Welcome visitors, I am the librarian, how can I assist you? – it said with its unnatural voice. It looked at us for a moment, then it reacted erratically upon looking at Draxenath. – How ca… Please wait… How can I…… Please wait… How… Please… Overriding main program. Identity confirmation required, please remain still while a biometric scan is performed.

The automaton set its eyes on the Goddess’ face for a moment. – Identity confirmed. – the automaton said. – Lady Draxenath, welcome back to Curiosity’s Central Library. It has been 445,327 days since your last visit. I have an urgent video message for you from our administrator, it is 438,627 days old. Would you like to display it?

The Goddess nodded. – Please display it on the screen at your desk. – she said, and the picture at the large slab on the desk changed. It was very realistic, the face of Humenalia, so real I felt like I could almost touch her. She was sad, her eyes red, probably from shedding too many tears.

– Draxenath! – Humenalia said. – I know you will come back one day, but I don’t know what will be of me by that time. My chest aches so much… I barely had time to mourn Sari’s death at the hands of Merealla, and now Athaldar is dead by his own father’s hands… first my grandchild, now my son… both murdered by those of their own blood…murdered by those too selfish and envious to understand how important their work was…

– I have always admired you, and so have many of the humans. The other gods hate humans, but you don’t, because you understand humans are a cursed race. You understand humans lack so many things and have been misguided. Humans have no magic of their own, no fur, no fangs, no gills, no fins, no claws, no wings, and have become used to feel entitled to take things from others by force. That’s how Amaxis taught them.

– You understood, and in the beginning, stood up to defend humans from the aggressions of the other races. Your kindness to us ignited a spark in my son Athaldar. He always thought his father’s ways and teachings were not entirely correct, and so did I, but didn’t dare to go against Amaxis’ will. I always admired you for standing your ground against Amaxis, but still seeing humans as your people to protect and support.

– You loved my son, you supported each other in the common goals you had and did many things I never dared to do myself. You worked to eliminate the hate among the races, to build a common history from the ground up for all races together. You gave hope to those who thought nothing would ever change. Unfortunately, things went wrong because no race was ready to leave their hate behind. My grandchild… your son was betrayed and murdered by those we least suspected, by the dearest and closest.

– Your world crumbled, you talked about committing suicide, then you left. But you are strong, I have faith that you will come back one day. My world is crumbling now as I record this message. As you were no longer at my son’s side, I gathered the courage to support him, to stand against Amaxis, I felt good, felt strong and empowered, but things didn’t go as I expected. My son was just killed by my husband, the one I thought would never do that!

– I am a weakling and feel like there is no hope. But you are much stronger than me, I know you are only taking a rest from all of this, that you will come back with renewed strength and put an end to this neverending cycle of hate and misery. Please, I beg you as a mother who also lost her most beloved child. Do not let our children’s death be in vain.

– And thank you for everything you have done for me, for the humans, and for all other races, even if so many don’t appreciate it, that’s how being a mother and a goddess is, I suppose. But in the long run, after everything has settled down, we finally see the fruit of our efforts.

The message ended. Draxenath walked towards a wall and rested her forehead on it as she took several deep breaths, then spoke. – Librarian, do a blue highlight on the location of the following books: History of the Divine Conflict, volumes 1 to 10 by Humenalia and Draxenath. History of Mortals volumes 1 to 24 by Humenalia and Draxenath. Also, do a red highlight on the location of Magitronics Journal from The Magic Press, all issues.

She looked at me with kindness and said: – The interview will have to end now, there are duties I need to attend, lots of plans to be made, the world is not ready for my return, just as it was not ready for me to free it a millennium ago, so I need to prepare my plan to get them ready. You can stay as long as you wish, I requested a list of books to be highlighted in blue for you to read. There will be an automaton cooking food at a regular schedule, and a room for you to sleep.

My life was completely changed with that.

— Grand Finale will be Part 15, stay tuned for it —

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns