Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: The Ibex and the Chamois

An elaborate symbolic poem from the Fangs, written by a now anonymous Ogre skald centuries ago, said to describe the pains of rejection in love.

Said to.  It's exceedingly symbolic.  And long.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: The Mask of the Wolf

An epic tale of a young Kizek chieftain who flees the slaughter of his family and lives as a bandit for ten years to prepare his great and bloody vengeance.  Purportedly based on an old Kizak legend, though many are skeptical.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: The Hundred and One Improving Stories of Aismeralda, Princess of Albracca

Story collection that purports to be related by the Aismaeralda of the Nibelung to her prospective husbands over a period of weeks, whereby those who she deems to understand the wisdom and truth revealed therein will gain her hand.

Notably, only three of the original sixty suitors make it through the entire recitation of the tales.  The tales themselves are a mixed lot--romances, histories, and several that are slightly smutty, and also tend to vary by collection.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 73

The wind howled outside the window of the small chamber the Dark Lords were now seated in.  "Man that sounds ghastly," said Viviane with a shudder.

" 'And know that whither goes the wind, it goes to serve Blessed Unholy Mother Night...'," muttered Mansemat.

Viviane glanced at him.  "You do know that story!" she said with a smile.

"Mother used to..."  He shooks his head.  "It's been a long time."  He shut his eyes and leaned his head against the wall.    "Not important now."

Viviane smiled at him.  "I think it's very important, Manny.  You have to remember what we're fighting for."

"Peace.  Sanity," muttered Mansemat.  "A world where we don't have bombards being shot at White Pine.  That seems very important at the moment."  He shook his head.  "We seemed to be coming so close to that and now...  It's all slipping away."

Viviane shrugged.  "Like you said, one step at a time."

"And hope we make it,: agreed Mansemat, nodding.

Outside, the wind continued to howl.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 72

Viviane sighed as they sat at the table.  "Manny, what are we doing here?"

Mansemat blinked.  "Eating at the moment..."  He stared at the stew before him.  "What we've been told is rabbit.  The question to my mind is, do we believe it...?"

"You know what I mean," said the Badb.

"Well, if we want to get existential..." began Mansemat.

"Straight answer, Manny," she snapped.  "What are we accomplishing here?  Because it seems to me all we do is run from one problem into another, and as soon as one crazy bastard seems to be wrapping up, we've got another one."  She scowled and crossed her arms.  "Most of whom we've thrown away perfectly good opportunities to kill."

Mansemat stared at the stew again.  "Are we having that conversation again?" 

"Unless you really want to talk about what's in the stew," replied Viviane.

"Fine," continued Mansemat.  "I'm as frustrated at you sometimes.  We're all just muddling along, trying to get out of this and not let the bastards win.  Still--perhaps I should have killed Amfortas back in Joyeuse.  But whatever the case, he's been losing territory at a steady click.  He's down to the north of Leonais, the Isles of Holly and support from the Concordat.  It may be that by leaving him alive, we've hurt what he's tried to accomplish more than we would have if I'd killed him.  Or maybe that's just a rationalization."   Mansemat shook his head.  "But I will say this--that man is seeking death in the end.  No, no, he's seeking a glorious death."  He shrugged. "As for the Necklace, Asterot and Belberith, well, all of them have wanted me and mine out of Castle Terribel for years.  They just saw their chance now.  So what do we do?  The same thing we did during the Rising.  We walk forward one step at a time, and hope we make it."

"I wasn't there for the Rising," said Viviane.

"You know what I mean," muttered Mansemat.

Viviane nodded, and glanced at the stew.  "You know I have to agree with you.  No way that's rabbit."

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 71

Another bombardment shook the walls as Mansemat and Viviane descended down the stairs.  "Damn, those are loud," muttered Viviane, clenching her teeth.

"What was that?" said Mansemat blankly.

"Is that a jo..?" began Viviane, only for another explosion to rattle the walls.

Mansemat covered his ears.  "They go right to your skull," he muttered with a shudder.  He turned to Viviane.  "So what was that again?  I really am having a hard time making this out with all the noise..."

The Captal glanced back up at them.  "They only keep at it for half-an-hour at a time, you know.  Why, you can time a watch by it!"  He gave a deep laugh.  "I know I am." 

Mansemat frowned.  "What happens at half-an-hour?"

"The bombards get too hot to use," said the Captal.  "It's a bit of a design flaw really."

Viviane nodded.  "You seem to know your bombards."

"Well, I help make them," the Goblin noted with pride.  "Why, some of my handiwork is probably firing at us right now."  He considered things.  "On reflection, that is less than comforting.  I'm quite good at making them after all."

Viviane sighed.  "And you were selling these things to the Shadow Wood..."

"Well, we were all allies, and going to stay that way," said the Captal.  "Until we weren't."  He glanced around.  "Mmm, see?  Stopped right up."

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 70

"Your Magnificences," came a voice.  "You should not be out here now." 

Mansemat and Viviane turned.  "Ahh, Captal," said Mansemat.  "Relax.  My wife and I are protected by..."

"Yes, yes, yes," muttered the squat Goblin before them.  "You are magic.  The sounds of those bombards are not, and right now they are waking people.  Some of whom are small children."

The pair coughed.  "Ahh, yes," muttered Mansemat.

"We're sorry," said Viviane.

The Captal gave them a dismissive wave as they walked away from the wall.  "Ahh, you are feeling cooped in.  We all are.  These are strange times for White Pine.  Why do you realize that I'm the first Captal in a century?  One should have been called during the Retreat, but Lord Shaddad's man forbid it."

"You seem to be doing an excellent job," offered Viviane.

"Don't flatter me!" snapped the Goblin all at once.  "I'm desperately winging this entire thing, and hoping people don't notice!"

Mansemat stared for a moment.  "Why would you tell us that?"

"Well, you're the Dark Lords," said the Captal.  "I figured you..."

"No, we're pretty much in the same boat as you," said Viviane.  "Only with magic, which helps, but not as much as you think."

"Right, we can summon awesome forces, but knowing what to do with it, that's tricky," agreed Mansemat.

The Captal stared back at them. "Why are you telling me this?"

"We... figured it's sharing time," said Viviane.

"Right, builds trust and confidence," added Mansemat with a nod.

The Captal blinked.  "I'm feeling less of both."

There was an awkward silence.