Colin couldn’t quite believe what he had just heard, but he most definitely had to go check it out. According to his brother Hugh, who had heard it from Andre the stable boy, a barbarian warrior had recently arrived in the town, and she, yes she, was staying at the tavern. But to top it all off, she was reported to have bare breasts!

Colin rushed through the streets, and pushed past the throng of young men that had gathered to gawk. He soon regretted his impetuous move, as she reached out and grabbed him by the collar. She dragged him across the table, and began to full-on kiss him, tongue and all.

He squirmed to free himself from her grasp, and fell gasping on the floor. “Bear breath! They had said bear breath.”


Road Dappled

The road pleasant dappled in shade

The path easy, level; good time to be made

And thus the road to us beckons

What lessons and adventures may lie in store?

What things will we do to enhance our lore,

On this beckoning road?

One foot before the other, and so we go

Waiting for destiny to make its show

As the road beckons and calls


Crimson’s Creative Challenge #139

Follow Me

green trees on green grass field during foggy day
Aron Yigin at Unsplash

Follow me to a far off land

Where adventure for us awaits

Grab your rucksack and a sandwich or two

Then we shall hurry as to not be late

Just what’s beyond the very next bend

Only we shall ever know

For the advenure is ours and ours alone

So come along and don’t be slow


Adventure Unfold


Eisenbahtunnel, Tunnel, Railway, Rail, Rails, Track


Little train – adventure find

Mysteries lay bare

On track to your destiny

Let this journey take you there


Though chugging into darkness

Into things as yet unknown

May discover all your wants and dreams

And claim them for your own




Fandango’s Dog Days of August: Fandango’s challenge was to write on the of theme “something you found.”  The prompt morphed in my mind into the process of “finding,” or of the discovery of experiences new.  Who knows what thrills might be found next in places unexpected?




House, Townhouse, Building, Neighborhood, Realtor


“Do you know where we are?” Gretchen asked as she glanced around the unfamiliar surroundings.

“Tallwood Street, I think,” her brother Dieter replied. “It shouldn’t be much farther until we get to Pine Way.”

“Mom said to go straight to the shop, and straight back, but you just had to go and try to find the skateboard park Erik told you about.”

“But I wanted to just try a couple of new tricks,” Dieter said.

“Yeah, well we never found it; and now we’re lost,” she said angrily, her eyes beginning to tear up.

“Look, there’s Heidi Becker, she will tell us where we are,” he said.

“Fine, I just want to get home.”




Weekend Writing Prompt #156 – Home in 114 words


The Gateway

Wood, Nature, Tree, Travel, Landscape, Wall, Passage

Image by Gruu from Pixabay

Tegan and Theos cautiously approached the overgrown battlements.  They had seen the disused fortification before on their many trips to collect berries or mushrooms in the forest.  But in the past the heavy bronze clad oaken gates had been tightly shut.  They had heard tales of burly woodsmen who had tried to gain entry to the ancient defenses, only the have their mighty axes dulled, or their hafts snapped by the effort.

Today, however, the gateway lay wide open.  Had something emerged from within? Surely not, for Grandfather said that the doors were already sealed when he was a lad.  But there they were open, almost beckoning.

“Should we go any closer?” twelve-year-old Theos asked.

“What harm can it do if we don’t actually go in?” his fourteen-year-old sister replied.

As they drew closer to the gateway, a warm breeze seemed to emanate from the opening, and the smell of rich spices seemed to be upon it.

“Maybe just a little closer look,” Tegan encouraged.

“But, it might be dangerous,” Theos objected.

“Mum can barely keep us feed.  That’s why we have to search the forest each day,” Tegan said.  Aren’t you tired of mushrooms and wild onions?”

“Yes, but . . .” he trailed off, for his sister had already stepped into the dark recesses of the entry tunnel.

Theos rushed to join her, and found himself in a growing darkness only dim light coming from behind him.  “Teg, Teg where are you?” he called in a panicky voice which echoed down the tunnel.

“Right here,” she called back, “Keep up.”

He took about ten more hurried steps and bumped into to her.

“Watch it,” she snapped.

There suddenly was a sound of a flute or recorder ahead of them, the melody strange and exotic.

“We should go,” Theos insisted.

“Not until we see what’s up there,” she countered and again stepped forward.

Theos desperately reached out and took hold of Tegan’s left hand as they took another twenty or thirty steps into the darkness.

Suddenly there was a bright pinkish light ahead of them, and the tunnel opened into a stylised archway.  Beyond it they could hear the hustle and bustle of a marketplace, rich smells of spices and roasting meats were in the air, which was hot and dry so unlike their forest home.

“Where are we?” Tegan mused, “The gateway is only a hundred feet behind us.”

Unfamiliar voices speaking in some foreign tongue were all around them.  The people were in silken robes and other outlandish garb.

The two stared in wonder.  As they did a woman in long flowing robe of embroidered scarlet approached them.  “Welcome to Arana,” she said in the children’s own language, though it was highly accented. “We have been expecting your arrival.” At that all those nearby gave nodded bows.


image: Padre’s Ramblings




Entry: A Sisters Tale

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The sun set and things ran perfectly to plan. The streets were almost deserted, it being a chilly evening, and they soon were behind the annex of the Old Hall. Dennis kept an eye out, as Gwendolyn worked the old lock, which was resistant owing to rust and cobwebs.  She soon had it opened however.

The three quietly entered the annex, and closed the door behind them, Dennis first putting a wad of twine into the bolthole to keep it from clicking shut.  They stood in a large empty room, all the furniture had been removed, and only a few faded murals could be made out on the walls once they lit their candle lanterns.

The headed towards the old Guild chamber and closed the screens over their lamps before opening the door to the passageway. It too was empty apart from a few tarnished sconces and wasted candle ends. The build up of spiders’ web and dust indicated that it had been visited for some time.

They then entered the main chamber. The long wooden benches on the side walls were still in place, and the raised platform where the lectern had once stood, was vacant, except for some worn dusty carpet.

Thilda stepped onto the platform and began tapping her foot in various places. Sure enough directly beneath where the speaker’s stand had been there was a hollow echo. Gwendolyn held both lanterns as the others rolled the carpet aside. There is was, a trapdoor with an inset iron ring and a small keyhole above the ring.

Gwendolyn handed the lantern to Thilda and told Dennis to keep watch, as she knelt down to examine the metal work. The ring was set to be flush with the surface of the door, and had only a small gap around its edge for someone to attempt to slide a finger to raise it.  The lock too seemed simple enough, a plain iron key plate, with an hourglass shaped opening. She had seen one like this before, and knew that it had to be turned in the right sequence, either top then bottom, or bottom then top.

“Well, fifty/fifty seems fair enough,” she thought aloud.

“Off to work then,” she said to her companions. She leaned close, then tied a handkerchief around her mouth and nose, “just in case.” She then took a fine metal strip from the lock kit, and very gently slide it along the entire parameter of the hatch. It went in smoothly, and as she worked it around, not a single obstruction or spring seemed to be present.

“So far, so good,” she muttered as she dabbed her brow with a second handkerchief.

“Thilda, my lovely, can you bring the light a little closer, but not too close.”

She then picked out another thin metal strip, this one with a slight “L” hook at it end to slide between the iron ring and its niche. As she looped the ring, and delicately pulled it upwards, the sound of a spring popping could be heard, and four needles, one in each cardinal directly, sprung from the inset lip towards the ring.

“That would have been nasty,” Gwendolyn said, throwing a smile at Thilda.

She again wiped sweat from her forehead, and raised the ring to ninety degrees, securing it with the “L” shaped strip.

“Okay, Dennis take the lantern, and Thilda you take watch.” Dennis stepped forward, and held the light well above Gwendolyn’s head.

She next took out two wooden dowels which had been coated with a thin layer of wax. “Dennis, top or bottom?”

“Bottom,” he replied, so she eased the first dowel into the top triangular hole.

She gave very gentle pressure, being sure not to turn the dowel in the least. She then withdrew it and examined the indents in the wax. She again wiped her brow, and carried out the same procedure on the bottom opening.

“Looks good,” she announced, and took out a pair of round tapered rods. She again started at the top, and after about three minutes heard, what to her was, a satisfying click. She then set to work on the second hole.  It too gave way and there was a slight lessening of tension on the ring, enough for the “L” to quiver.

“Dennis, your turn,” she said, and stood and backed away.

He put on a heavy leather glove, and grabbed hold of the ring, giving it a steady pull. The trapdoor squeaked open.

Dennis then held a lamp over the opening, and a stone stairway was visible below. He saw this as a positive, as stone was harder to set a trap on than wood.

The others joined him and they began to descend, Dennis first, then Thilda, and finally Gwendolyn. As she stepped into the opening Gwendolyn placed a wad of twine into the lock mechanism.



Inspiration Call: Word Prompt – Candle

The order of the stories are in proper sequence on Themed Fictions, and the piece that precedes this one is The Plan: A Sisters Tale

The Plan: A Sisters Tale

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Image: Pinterest

“The Washer Woman” stood imperiously in the middle of the bustle of the laundry. Mildred and Thyme were completing a rush job for Lady Bentford, and Helen was operating the presses along the north wall. All was as it should be in the legitimate business, and Thilda was in the back room packing up some odd “lost and found” items to deliver to the pawn broker.

A tall, sandy haired man entered the shop and stood at the counter.  He held a small bundle of washing wrapped in a pillow case, and tapped a silver piece on the counter top. Dennis Dennison had become a regular customer, and made it a point to ignore the greetings of the laundresses, insisting on dealing only with their “Mistress.”

Gwendolyn involuntarily smiled as she went to take his clothes. He was fairly good looking, and was quite the flirt as well. She wondered what he got up to produce so much laundry, or was it a ploy to have an excuse to chat with her?

Whatever the case, the flirtation became more serious, and soon they were “an item.” Within three months, he had moved his things into her chamber behind the laundry. He was always a little wary of Thilda, who occupied the next chamber, and whose work desk overlooked his and Gwendolyn’s door, but by in large the pair got on.

Dennis was in fact a common thug, and sometime mercenary, and while he brought a little silver into the “household,” he largely lived off the labour of “the sisters.” He had asked for Gwendolyn’s hand more than once, and once made the mistake of calling her Gwen, a name which only Thilda used for her.  But he was rebuffed on both accounts.  Gwendolyn, three times widowed, was going to tie that not again. In fact, she thrived on now being “her own woman.” That was not to say that she wasn’t prepared to share her bed with him, however.

In early autumn, Dennis arrived at the laundry with a small wooden box.  He said he had acquired it in exchange for some bouncer work. In it were a stack of letters, and a cloth-bound book, all written in the Elf or Dwarfish tongue.  Gwendolyn was never sure which was which as they all looked much the same to her.

She put the box under the counter and when Ethbert, a grandfatherly lecturer at the university, called in to collect his gown, she showed it to him.  He examined them and pronounced that the letters were of little consequence, written in a clumsy hand; and the book was a collection of fables and children’s tales written in colloquial Dwarf.

Gwendolyn was never one to waste what might raise a penny, so took the box back to Thilda’s table. She say that the book had some woodblock prints, which could raise a few coppers if framed nicely.  She started to use a razor to cut the prints from the book when she noticed that the third and fifth were identical. On closer examination it became obvious that the duplicate had been carefully glued on top of another page, and any non-Dwarf reader would not notice the break in the narrative.

She took the page into the laundry and held it over the steam.  The pages slowly separated revealing the text beneath and a smaller illustration of a Dwarf-hold. She rolled the page carefully and placed it into her waist pouch.

Next morning, she stood outside the university and waited for Ethbert to emerge.  When he came strolling absent-mindedly through the Porter’s Gate reading some tattered scroll, she called to him.

“Ethbert, can you tell me what this particular page says?”

“Well Mistress, it seems to be part of a story in which a fabulous treasure is buried among the crypts of a Dwarf-hold constructed beneath a man dwelling,” he paraphrased.

“Does the picture look familiar to you?” she asked.

“Well,” he said, “It does look a bit like our old Guildhall, but these old prints all are pretty much the same.  It could be anywhere, and besides it’s from a storybook.”

When Gwendolyn returned to the laundry, she called Dennis and Thilda into the back room.

“Do you see this?” she asked.

“It was cleverly hidden in the Dwarf book from the box,” she continued.

“And . . . ?” Thilda interjected.

“I think it is telling us there is a Dwarf-hold under the vault in Old Guildhall,” she suggested.

“It’s been abandoned for years,” Dennis retorted. “Surely there is nothing there now.”

“I think it is worth a look see,” Gwendolyn said, “And tomorrow night has no moon.”

The plan was then set into motion.  The next night they would close the laundry at sunset, and send the three laundresses home early “as a reward for their hard work.”

Then Dennis and Thilda would arm themselves, and Gwendolyn would get a pair of lanterns, and borrow some of lock tools from her late husband’s brother.


*The Sisters Tales are presented in the correct order on the “Themed Fiction” page of my blog.

HW DAILY WRITING PROMPTS: Elf, Storybook, Grandfather