DDC – Draconic Prophecies 7

Here we go with this week’s set of cryptic musings for players and watchers alike to consider. Enjoy!

Now pauses the fight when wings beat. Prophecy’s test must soon be heard. Kelliklik’s Doom may be defeat, or proof of destiny’s loose skein.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 401, verses 5-7

Well that doesn’t sound at all ominous does it? We finally met Kelliklik and his Dragon Blessed servant Sigrund when they sought out the DDC at Flower Town. The group had just secured the alliance of the town to help retake the Hold and had settled for the night when the dragon announced himself with a great burst of flame over the marketplace. A challenge was issued to Thorin and the group and a close-fought fight with the young dragon was ended by proclamation by Sigrund and the casting of a powerful Mass Cure.

The group had proved themselves equal to the task ahead, and Kelliklik would now go to face his Doom. A twist however came in Caeluma persuading the dragon to instead join them in the assault. Kelliklik asked Thorin if he had made his Choice and nodded in response to the answer before agreeing. Whether this is a twist in fate’s loom that changes the Doom, or indeed defines the Doom remains to be revealed.

Choices run the fate of Khorvaire, good and bad the coin’s edge only. What counts in the moment is fair, but argent questers are stony.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 101, verses 1-2

Given where we ended up last week, there are certainly some decisions to be made and a whole host of people starting to notice. The group has made up its mind to fight and are now aware of the stakes they are fighting for. The threat posed by inquisitors of the Silver Flame, for now, remains distant.

Dragon’s breath or the Silver Flame? Both believe their truths and thunder. Their wings and capes spread wide, the game may wither chance life asunder.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 307, verses 6-9

There’s nothing particularly weird and wonderful here – let’s see how things turn out in the battle of dogmas, beliefs, prophecies, and pronouncements.

DDC – Karkanna Back Story

We had a lot of lore drop in Sunday’s game – not least of which was a whole load of filling in the blanks for the group as to what’s been going on, and some of the stakes of their current conflict. That’s a story for tomorrow, but here’s the back story to Karkanna – Thorin’s elder sister.

Karkanna Amberhammer fought in the Underdark during the Last War. A trained and experienced Gloomstalker. she fought to protect the Clan against creatures from the Pit, and against spies and saboteurs from all sides. Overcome by the fire of the hunt, she became a feared legend of the night – striking down all intruders from the shadows and fading into the dark. Trails of blood and terror marked her passage as constant lonely war made her cruel. While her brothers protected Clan and neighbours on the surface, she fought and bled and killed in the dark and slowly became a monster herself.

In time, she stopped coming back to the Hold, seeing the fear she evoked as she strode back into the light, stinking of blood and wearing grisly trophies. And so she left, because killing was all she had. In her lonely war she entered Khyber and was overtaken by the creatures of the Daelkyr who remade her as one of their own. Reformed as a werewolf, she has returned

Fiction Fragment – Ambush Aftermath

Once the bushes had stopped shaking, and the outraged cries had reduced to a soft moaning, the various hides and camouflage screens could be safely opened – and indeed were. Leaves dislodged from the trees and whipped up by ripping ropes were still swirling and dancing in the disturbed air in the clearing, and these lent an air of hurried readjustment to the proceedings. The group emerged into the open air, brushing themselves clean of errant twigs, leaves, and dirt.

Farren took it upon himself to check the pit on the other side of the now-swept space. He was heard to chuckle before he returned. “Well,” he said, “we didn’t get the monkey, but we did get the organ-grinder. Not sure he’s necessarily the brains of the outfit, mind.” He gestured vaguely behind at the ragged opening in the ground.

Pel and Raak bounded over to peer down. Pel had a coiled rope looped over his arm and shoulder and looked ready to shake it loose. Raak had knocked an arrow and was aiming it generally down into the pit without drawing. Em was the last to emerge from her concealment, and she took a moment to scan the perimeter of the clearing before engaging with Farren.

“So, all that and we didn’t get what we came for?”

“Yet” Farren replied. He jerked his thumb back to the pit where Pel was lowering himself down to their captive. “I can’t imagine he’ll be particularly difficult to persuade to talk.”

“Hope so – that was a lot of work.” Em sat on a large fallen tree trunk on the edge of the trail that had led here and cracked her knuckles. “Remind me again why we took this job?”

“Coin, same as ever, and a promise of passage on the next ship west.” Farren rubbed the back of his neck, then turned towards the pit to see Pel and Raak hoisting a dirt and leaf-covered youth back to the surface. “You’ll see, we’ll be on our way soon enough.”

To Nano or Not?

Its November, officially the start of Nanowrimo – National Write a Novel Month – and I’m toying with the idea of at least taking a stab at it. No planning, no notes, just throw words at the page. Its been a few years since I gave it a go, and a few more since I succeeded. I’ve a couple of weeks off – why not? I didn’t do Inktober because my head’s just not been in it so might be nice to set a soft challenge. It could be argued that blogging every day would be a good way to do it.

Okay, that’s it – it won’t necessarily be a full Nano fifty thousand words, but I’ll do my best to blog every day – even if its absolute drivel – because I haven’t done as much here as I might like and I have a virtual lake of story concepts that bubble and roil in my head on a regular basis.

Also – there’s D&D sessions to write up and Draconic Prophecies to make up – and I’ll start doing Fiction Fragments again so, yeah, let’s do this…

So – last night was Halloween and the younger families on the estate met up to trick or treat as an organised activity. People were polled for whether they wanted to be involved and lists of “do not knock” given to the organisers to direct the children discretely. Our block of flats put out a basket by the front door, and while I was wrestling with a stubbornly cantankerous laptop I could hear the sounds of children laughing and shouting out to each other as they made their way round. It was a good backdrop to the evening as a contrast to the earlier fireworks and certainly made it feel joyous even as we kept a quiet evening for ourselves

As a bonus – I think I worked out what was causing problems on the machine and am now seeing if the Discord instability resolves – so fingers crossed…

Eberron Draconic Prophecies

We’ve not played this evening as my stomach has decided that today would be a good day to play up – so instead here’s some unused Draconic Prophecy snippets I made up as ancillary things to make the players go ‘ooooh’ and as some world building.

Some context: in the game world of Eberron there is a complex prophecy that touches on all sorts of things that is researched and debated by the dragons of that world and acts in-game as a mcguffin to explain or prompt whatever portentous things the GM wants to have happen – or in other words a nice motivation for dragons or their followers or opponents to get out and cause mischief as needed in the story. Its deliberately left vague for the GMs pleasure.

I decided to write a few verses that could be dropped into the game, or possibly discovered in some dusty tome as the players research things – but they’ve shown a marked tendency in the Sunday game to be entities of action rather than of research, so I may never get a chance to crowbar them in. There is the faint chance that the players will read this and then try their best not to metagame (and good luck to them if so)

So – here are three that should ring bells for anyone who’s been following the game recently:

The inter-twining god serpents’ lights follow the lightning and make slumbering prophecies hatch golden wings. Even madness’ sting deters not the seekers and the passage of the Heir

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 532, chapter 4, verses 32-33

This refers to the dance of the coatls that accompanied the lightning rail train that the characters rode on as they left Windhaven on their way back to see Thorin’s unwell father. The slumbering prophecies and wings verse is about the vision where Caeluma rejected their bloodline’s demonic patron and sacrificed themself to protect their family – being rewarded with golden wings by their celestial patron as a change to their tiefling features. The sting refers to the assassins sent by one of the factions involved in the underlying conflict they are stepping into

The Seeker of the Mark risks all in the face of the fiercest winter – risking EverIce for the sake of a lost sibling. The Forgotten Mark but slumbers even as lights throng in display

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 1042, chapter 2, verses 4-5

Kerne has a long-standing interest in rediscovering the lost Dragonmark of Death. They’ve heard that it was something to do with the creation of her people – the dragonborn – and wants to get to the bottom of it, mostly because they enjoy the academic discovery involved. Kerne’s adventures have brought them into contact with The Winter’s Knight – a being of the Feywild/Thelanis that seems to have become the patron of Kerne’s long-lost sister and have driven that sister to studying with Hags. EverIce is an arctic region in Eberron that may or may not have ties to Thelanis or lost civilisations. The Forgotten Mark is the Dragonmark of Death, which is currently completely suppressed by the elves of Aerenal. Kerne discovered a statue that depicts what she thinks may be the Mark. It is currently on loan to the University of Wynarn in Aundair.

Golden wings and divided bow, Amber hammer, scale, and guardian low. The wolves fall back. The shadows smile, and Xoriat watches and waits. The Triumphant Dead numbers lack, yet gather by the mile. A favour for a favour links gates

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 538, chapter 5, verses 1-5

This is fairly simple in that it identifies everyone currently active in the DDC. The wolves is a reference to the werewolves they just defeated on their way to the Amberhammer Holdings west of Cragwar. Smiling shadows and Xoriat is a vague description of the forces arrayed against them. The Triumphant Dead is a faction that has been encountered once in the recent past working with the Emerald Claw when Coal was used as a power source to reactivate a Warforged Titan in the slums of Windhaven. As the prophecy says, they are small in number but seem to be travelling and gathering allies perhaps. The favour for a favour was the deal done with House Sivis to allow the creation of a teleportation circle out of the remains of the planar portal and favourable trading for that House in the AmberHammer lands.

So there you have it – three obscure statements that can be read in all sorts of ways and that will certainly get people thinking in the campaign and referring back. I may make a habit of these to drop between sessions as a stinger. That appeals to me and I think it will keep people busy – what do you think?

Write-ups and Sign-ins

So, back to work today following my unexpected derailment with a kidney stone yesterday. That was my body telling me to be sensible in hot weather (like the whole of Saturday at Pride and then a glass or two of wine on Sunday). Cue a day of painkillers, a hot water bottle, and the consumption of my own bodyweight in water to flush everything through.

I had (mostly) meetings spread through the day, but also got asked to put my Staff Network hat on to write up the corporate Pride report for the network. It seems to now be an annual tradition to get me to write such things, and as I was halfway through doing something specifically for the library intranet anyway it was only a quick skip and a hop to turn it into something more extensive and stick some photos in there.

That made for a positive end to the day at work, and since then I’ve caught up on TV and started to set up for a second D&D group to run monthly, with some colleagues from work. That’s a nice little side project. With any luck we’ll also be back into the adventures of the DDC this weekend as well.

Busy, busy.

Creative Evening

As the dust settled on a weekend full of the laughter of children and the shifting of furniture, I decided that the best way to wind down would be to do some editing of one of my short stories for the collection.

So I’ve been working on one of the pieces I wrote as background to the novel – a combined history and travelogue style bit of fluff I wrote to firm up some of the mythology of the setting and embed it in my local area. My original piece was just shy of 500 words, and now it’s over 1500 in length – which isn’t bad for a quick descriptive piece.

I had intended to record some podcast material, but I think it’s a bit late at 1am to start on that now. Not the end of the world, I can do some tomorrow.

Podcasting? Me?

Whatever is he up to now? Well, mostly prompted by a series of persistent options in my WordPress dashboard I decided to experiment with turning blog entries here into podcasts. I’ve seen Lady M do similar with her TWITT project and enjoy the process, so while I was having a quiet lunchtime break I started clicking buttons. WordPress seem partnered with Anchor to provide this set of functions, so after mere seconds I was presented with a big long list of blog entry text and the option to automatically convert these to audio with a choice of pre-generated voices.

I’ve worked in tech and with tech for long enough to remember the sheer tedium and pain of trying to get automated systems to pronounce seemingly innocuous words in any semblance of how they should be, so I hesitated before pressing the buttons and opted to record one myself. In this instance the blog entry immediately preceding this one about having an night on my own.

So, other than ego, why have I opted to do this? Well believe it or not I have an ulterior motive and its to do with making my writing more accessible and easy to read. I’ve long been a subscriber to the practice of reading what I write out loud anyway as a simple way to see if I’ve punctuated my sentences. I have a tendency to ramble. You may have noticed. At its best, the written word should ebb and flow like a river with differing sentence lengths and cadences. Reading aloud helps remind me to breathe.

So, you get to hear me try not to faint while reading out my longer sentences, and hopefully that will translate into better reading experiences for people – whether for fiction, or simply work emails. And yes, I will be recording this too.

The link for the podcast by the way is https://anchor.fm/tim-maidment7 – and I’m in the process of signing up the rss feed with a variety of providers.

So far you can listen on Apple at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timmaidment-com/id1597578500 and on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/show/3WC9JGf1P6V8xnsOUon87l

Sudden Remembrances

I’ve been meaning to catch up with myself with regard to the Surrey History Centre and the conversations I had back in August about submitting material. I finally got round to it today in between meetings and crises.

I wrote back at the time, a little about how at the beginning of the first lockdown we looked for ways to create a safe lgbtqia+ online support space for ourselves and it seemed a good point now to revisit that and write it up as an essay and commentary for the archives. The SHC agreed, so that’s my immediate writing project sorted, and one that I will try and keep some momentum on over the next few days.

If nothing else it will be a good procrastination piece in between my various other deadlines.

On a whim, I then asked if they’d be interested in my journals and sketchbooks down the line. Apparently as a resident of Surrey, and an employee of Surrey County Council, and a member of the SCC LGBT Staff Network I am of triple interest to the archives and so they would be delighted with anything I pass their way.

So, without being in any way morbid, I guess I’ve found a home for my journals and other books when I don’t need them any more. It raises an interesting image of future historians trying to make up theories about my art and writing as illustrations of these weird times we’re in.

I quite like the thought of that.

Random Scribblings

In between looking after ailing partners, a plague rat cub, and trying to get back to work (at least remotely), I decided to write some randomness as a block breaker. I’m trying to rekindle the writing so just letting stuff spool out of the brain seemed a good idea:

There are few guilty treasures in life like discovering a rogue After Eight mint tucked away at the end of the box – especially if it’s tucked flush against the end that looks empty, overshadowed by one of the tabs. The feel of the smooth waxy paper against your fingertips instead of cardboard sends an illicit thrill up your spine that is part surprise and part anticipatory glee.

It’s like finding an unexpected fiver in your winter coat pocket when you put it on for the first frosty morning of the year – except that the associated gratification is far more immediate, and comes wrapped in mint fondant and dark chocolate.