Danno stood on the boundary and tried to make out what lay ahead. All he could make out was more haze and confusion. He had been in a similar place before; a year ago in fact. He looked behind him, and then forward again. Surely, 2022 couldn’t be any worse than 2021. Then again, he thought that the year before as well. He looked back again and took it all in. “Into the mist,” he said aloud and stepped into ’22.
Niblet was excited. Today was his birthday, and he was going to be allowed to go to the town for the first time, and on his own!
It wasn’t that he had never left the forest before. He had on several occasions gone into the farmlands surrounding his home. He had enjoyed those outings, many of them with his brothers, as they rounded up sheep or cattle and taken them back to their woodland home.
This was different, however. Now he was twelve, and able to adventure on his own.
“Remember what you have been taught,” his mother reminded him. “Be careful, and stay away from the castle, the Duke doesn’t like it when we visit the town, so don’t provoke him.”
“Yes Mama,” Niblet replied.
“And don’t forget to say thank you.”
“I will, Mama.”
With that Niblet headed out of the wood and headed through the fields towards the town. He made his way to the main street and to the market. The watchmen stopped and stared as he stood in the midst of the market stalls, and others gave him a wide berth.
There before him was what he had been looking for, a wagon-load of cakes and pies. Niblet picked the wagon up and put it under his left arm and said, “Thank you,” to the petrified vendor.
He then turned and headed home as the church bells rang and people ran in panic shouting, “Giant!”
Sammie was incredibly pleased with herself. She looked at the “To Do” list and admired the neat row of tick marks noting the completion of the tasks. It had been a long while since she had managed the feat, if she had indeed ever really done it before at all. But there is was in black and white – Monday’s jobs were finished! Too bad it was Wednesday.
Kal the Invincible was truly remarkable. Standing nearly seven feet in height, his massive muscular frame gave the impression of unyielding power. His armour was the finest money could buy, and was crafted by a guild of Dwarves noted for the efficacy of their rune magic with which the steel was embossed. His shield was the fabled Escutcheon of Hibard, and his sword the flaming angelic blade from the very Gates of Eden.
“You miss, stumble and twist your ankle taking three damage,” Leon said from behind the screen.
“That’s impossible!” Simon “Kal” Weatherspoon protested. “I’m Level 23, and had a plus six bonus.”
“Hey, that was a Nat One, and the dice don’t lie,” Leon retorted with glee.
“I knew I should have used the green set,” Simon muttered under his breath. That would be the last time he would use ones Aunt Mildred gave him for his birthday.
The Dune War, or more correctly The Dune Wars, were actually two separate conflicts between the kingdom and the Ralulee Sultanate. They spanned about twenty years, and brought these two great lands to near ruin.
The First Dune War was fought over the disputed lands of the Trans-Runnel, an area popularly known as “The League Lands” by citizens of the kingdom. This large, highly fertile region was sparsely populated, but the availability of cheap productive land, soon drew settlers from both sides of the border. War, however became inevitable when settlers of kingdom origin declared themselves an independent state; prompting Sultan Razuli the Sixth to respond in order to secure the integrity of his sovereign lands. The mobilization of the Ralulee created calls for King Gomez to intervene on behalf of “Our League Cousins.” These calls, however, were largely ignored in the name of peace, until a small detachment of “Leaguemen,” made a valiant stand against the sultan’s army at a hastily fortified trading post known as “Il Iimu.” The subsequent massacre of the two hundred defenders led to a national uproar throughout the kingdom, and cries of “Remember Il Iimu” echoed throughout the land. Gomez’ hands were tied by popular opinion, and open conflict between the two great powers began the following spring.
After three years of brutal war, “The Peace of League Town,” led to an uneasy settlement with the League Lands maintaining their “independence,” though in reality they became a kingdom protectorate.
The Second Dune War is usually referred to as “The Black Dunes War.” It too was fought over the control of one of the disputed lands, an area with such large reserves of bitumen, that it actually changed the hue of the sand to that of pitch. This substance was in such high demand by both alchemists and some of the High Guilds that its control became a national agenda. Some say that whoever controls the bitumen, control’s destiny itself. Others, however, say that the second conflict was merely King Hector the First attempting to “finish his daddy’s war.” This second conflict stretched on for four bloody years.
These conclicts set the backdrop of my books: The Sisters Tales, The Dragon Hunter Tales, and the newly released, The Scholars Tales. All three are now available on Amazon.
I had this great plot idea and I sat down at the computer and started to frame it. A basic outline started to come together right away. Then it happened, there in the corner of my mind was a little nugget that just had to see the light of day. So, naturally I wrote it. That done, it was back to the cool plot of high adventure. Well, at least until another great story idea stated whispering in my ear. I jotted down the idea and started back to the major work at hand. “Wait, aren’t you going to finish me?” the other idea called, a bit louder this time. So, I went back to it and fleshed it out. That seemed to make it happy.
If you see a pattern here you aren’t wrong. A few weeks ago I released a “lesser tale” from my fantasy world. It is a short story made of short stories, and they have been tweaked and adapted to make a coherent whole. But the short story is not the project I was working on. It did, however, have to be written in order for it to allow me to get back to the larger work. Sometimes writers’ block is because another tale needs to be told.
I am happy to say that once the short was done and dusted the other came together in record time, and I hope my tale of adventurous scholars will be ready soon.