Help Bring Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong To Life

One year ago, my girlfriend and I began playing a One Person Dungeons & Dragons Campaign…

A year+ later, we’ve found that we’ve left a trail/brought to life a great story.

SUMMARY:
Adventures of Vilven Ledsong is a retelling of a single player Dungeons and Dragons campaign. The campaign began over a year ago, and still continues today!

The campaign was started from the love of two storytellers, James Mahoney (The Dungeon Master) and Kaitlin Q. Calkins (The Player). Together they built a special and unique world, full of emotionally driven characters.

Vilven Ledsong, the protagonist, is pushed throughout the story to transform to a higher level spiritually, emotionally, physically, and in magic. She is supported by a group of diverse friends, who become not only her allies but her family.

With the hope of bringing Adventures of Vilven Ledsong to life, the story is currently being written online by Kaitlin Q. Calkins.

The retelling of it is ongoing, and has even begun to be told through visual art from the talents of LivingSilver .

With your help, Vilven’s story can continue to grow into different forms of media, including books, comic books, animation, and even movies.

You can be part of this by Donating @ Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong GoFundMe Here

You can check out the Story Here;

Chapter I: Ouroboros

Chapter II: Pact Magic

Chapter III: Choice And Notice

Chapter IV: Meeting Wiendle

Chapter V – Catlike

Chapter VI – Encountering A Wizard

Chapter VII – A Charge And A Flame

Chapter VIII – Followed By A Lion

Chapter IX – Acquiescence

Chapter X – A Dialogue Of Friends

Chapter XI – Ineffective Planning

Chapter XII – Rivers And Races

Chapter XIII – Goodbyes And Reacquaintances

And the Art So Far is Here;

Thanks for your Belief, and your Support!

Doragon Kishu- (James Mahoney)

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Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong (Chapter XIII) – Goodbyes And Reacquaintances

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Chapter XIII Of My Current Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven

Chapter I: Ouroboros

Chapter II: Pact Magic

Chapter III: Choice And Notice

Chapter IV: Meeting Wiendle

Chapter V – Catlike

Chapter VI – Encountering A Wizard

Chapter VII – A Charge And A Flame

Chapter VIII – Followed By A Lion

Chapter IX – Acquiescence

Chapter X – A Dialogue Of Friends

Chapter XI – Ineffective Planning

Chapter XII – Rivers And Races

CHAPTER XIII

Vilven assessed Warden more thoroughly as they made their way toward the docks of the small village. The High-Elves of Warden, who nearly floated as they walked, seemed very calm, almost serene, all very beautiful and put together. They reminded Vilven of what she thought angels might look like, though the Elves didn’t look altogether innocent. Their sharp features could even be described as somewhat jarring and harsh. Their demeanor also seemed, to Vilven, not necessarily heavenly. They were interestingly rather unaware of their presence, engaged fully with their own agenda, aside from the occasional disapproving glance toward Jaren and Wiendle.

“It is probably best if you don’t stare, Vilven.” Grid said under his breath, though his eyes remained focused in front of him. Vilven was a little shocked that the Tigron was somehow able to note what she had been doing without even looking.

“Sorry.” Vilven apologized to Grid.

Grid merely grunted in response. But Vilven did try her best to stop looking so intently at the people around her.

When they reached the docks, Vilven took a deep breath of the ocean air, the water glittered from the generous light of the mid-morning sun. Vilven felt the tug on her heart, and her race, but resisted the urge to dive into the inviting sea. She was certain that that behavior would not be accepted, even slightly. But she couldn’t help but smile at each dancing wave, her inner joy peaking through the restraint.

Grid, with an agile gait, walked toward one of the larger boats. There were people, mainly elves, boarding, walking slowly onto the deck of the ship.

“Is this boat going south?”

A younger, slightly more brutish elf who was pulling on some rope turned to Grid’s question.

“Aye, sir, ” The sailor elf responded, looking blatantly behind him at Wiendle and Jaren, though his face remained plain.

“Very well.” Grid responded and walked purposefully back to them. “This is to be the ship you two will take” He directed to Jaren.

“We will board at once ” Jaren responded stiffly, understandably anxious to leave the judgmental stares of Warden behind.

Grid nodded then extended a long, graceful arm around Jaren. He pulled him in close, talking to him in a barley audible tone. His grand lion-like frame crouched to warrant the secrecy.  Vilven glanced at them, narrowing her eyes, acute with curiosity. Vilven and Wiendle looked at each other, and Vilven put her arm around Wiendle shoulders, mirroring Grid. Wiendle wrapped her arms around Vilven in an embrace.

“Oh, Vilven. I am going to miss you so much! Thank you for all that you have done.” The petit, blonde princess cried out quietly.

Vilven closed her eyes tightly, taking in Wiendle’s words, a slight smile coming to her uniquely beautiful face.

“I am going to miss you, as well, Wiendle. Be good to yourself, and Jaren. Live your life as you please. You are free to be whoever you want now.”

Vilven pushed Wiendle’s shoulders back so that she could look into her pretty, blue eyes. “You are stronger than you look. Don’t let other people underestimate you, but most importantly, don’t underestimate yourself.”

Vilven’s words ran deeply within her, it was almost as if she was in some subconscious way talking to herself. There was a spark in Wiendle’s bravery, something in the young princess’ conviction of life and independence, that pushed Vilven to embrace her true power. She knew it was no accident Wiendle was the first person she met on this plane.

Wiendle, tears in her eyes, nodded and hugged Vilven again, sniffling into her chest.

“We should be going, my love. The ship is going to be leaving soon.” Jaren cooed to Wiendle, walking over putting a hand on her lower back.

“Take care of her, Jaren” Vilven ordered him, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder. Jaren smiled in agreement, “Thank you, Vilven.”

He urged Wiendle toward the boat that was now preparing to set sail. Wiendle waved generously to Grid as they walked past him, walking up the ramp onto the deck.

Vilven took a few generous steps to stand next to Grid. They stood and watched, almost mesmerized, as their two friends sailed away into the distant reaches of the rich, kindhearted sea.

Vilven wiped a single tear from her face then glanced up at Grid with a playful smile, “It looks like it is only you and me, now.”

“Just the way we like it.” Grid returned, then smiled generously at Vilven. “Now let’s go see if we can unload these Ranger’s weapons.”

Vilven glanced at the array bows, arrows, and swords that Grid was carrying. “Do you want some help with that?” She extended her arms out in offering. And then glanced again, at the ocean. “Do you think they would care if I took a swim?”

“They may not, but I do.” Grid said flatly, handing her the two bows. “Perhaps you can grab a swim after we sell them and get something to eat.”

Vilven held the two bows awkwardly in her arms and sighed in the direction of the water. “Fine. But you’ll have to ‘grab a swim’ with me then. Hopefully your tail helps with your ability to stay afloat.” She chuckled then took a few girlish skips toward the beautiful, intricately carved buildings.

Grid did not reply.

***

They made their way to sell the weapons. Though the female, High- Elf blacksmith they first encountered was extremely unfriendly, her twin sister was quite the opposite. She bought the swords for a fair price, and helped them with direction to a place to sell the bows and arrows. The bower, another female High-Elf, accepted the bows without negotiation. She was quite intimidated by Grid’s presence, even to the point of overpaying.

Grid was quite relieved to be done with carrying the weapons, rolling his shoulders to relax some of the lingering tension.  Vilven, in contrast, was exhilarated by their newfound money, and even convinced Grid to visit a jewel caster. He was reluctant, but could see the excited gleam in her eyes, so he agreed. Vilven walked the shop over, admiring all the different types of gems, asking for details from the halfling who ran the shop, even when she knew they couldn’t afford it. She eventually found a dark blue azurite ring, encased on a beautiful electrum band. The halfling, noting her innocence in the matter of negotiating, tried to swindle her. But Grid was an daunting adversary, and was able to haggle it down to a more reasonable price.

Vilven was admiring her new ring as they finally made their way to the tavern. A larger building than most in the village. The outside was lavishly decorated with detailed carvings of thick, lush trees and small, elvish-looking, winged faeries. The sign above the entrance was painted a deep, penetrating blue, naming the tavern “The Blue Faerie”.

“It’s beautiful” Vilven noted, before they walked through the elaborately painted swinging door.

The inside of The Blue Faerie was just as beautiful, even peaceful. Very different than what Vilven thought taverns were like.

“This is a tavern?” Vilven asked Grid quietly, looking inquisitively at everything around her. Her eyes fell on a very tall High-Elf that stood behind the counter. His eyes were squinting at them, his chin raised ever so slightly.

Grid walked through the tavern, easily avoiding the elegant, wood tables in the middle. Vilven hesitantly trailed behind him, still taking in the bewildering environment.

“Two ales, my good friend” Grid said to the elf behind the bar.

The elf looked at Grid haughtily. “You’re going to have pay for them.”

Grid shot an unfriendly smirk at the Inn-keeper, then placed two silver on the counter.

The elf picked up the coins with deliberately slow movement, then extended his arm toward a table.

Grid turned to Vilven and nodded his head toward the table that was indicated by the elf, then turned back. She went to the table and sat down, and sighed heavily, amazed at how good it felt to finally sit. Grid came moment later with the two drinks in shining copper tankards.

Grid sat down with grace, but he too sighed at the relief the chair. Settling in a moment before he took a long drink of his ale.

“This is ale?” Vilven asked, cradling the tankard between her hands. “I’ve never had it. Nothing really like this in the Water Plane.”

Grid slammed down his drink onto the table, gaining him a not so amused glance by the Inn-keeper. He wiped the foam from his lion-like face with his arm before replying.

“Indeed, it is” He said, nearly purring.

Vilven looked down into the tankard, then moved it to her lips. But before she could drink, a blasting sound came from the door of the tavern. Both her and Grid looked toward the entrance.

“There they are!” Beaden stood there, pointing accusatorially at them. Cho stood several feet behind, a Warden guard next to him. “They are the one’s that stole our weapons!” He continued.

Vilven looked, eyes wide with shock, at the two Rangers

“Oh, God” Grid said in a pained voice.

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A Look Into ‘Monsters Of The Underworld’, The Newest Book (Kickstarter) From Cawood Publishing

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A Look Into ‘Monsters Of The Underworld’, The Newest Book (Kickstarter) From Cawood Publishing

Back on February 18th of this year, I wrote a Review for Cawood Publishers ‘Monsters Of Feyland’ (See That Review Here, Product Available @ DriveThruRPG Here)

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I found the Art Organic, and the Creatures within Intriguing.

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Book-Mockup_MOU

When I heard Cawood Publishing had launched their new ‘Monsters Of The Underworld’ Book/Kickstarter, I decided to reach out to Writer/Creator Andrew Cawood, to get an inside look into this new project, which is currently 45% Funded after 6 days (Kickstarter Project).

ME – “It must take a lot of work/hours to create a book like this?”

ANDREW – “Yeah, it takes months and months. First the general idea came to us after doing Monsters of Feyland. Then we put together a solid list of potential monsters and began to work on the stat blocks and descriptions. At the same time, we worked with the artist on different ways to approach the book and the art. Then we worked with the graphic artist on a theme to match the art. Once we’re funded, the monsters get refined/edited/more playtesting, new material is added, the artist gets to work on the remaining art, and the layout master gets to work. Then there are the printing and shipping phases.”

ME – “I loved the organic/raw feel of ‘Monsters Of Feyland’, will this book have a similar feel?”

ANDREW – “Yeah, we want an ‘old school’ meeting ‘new school’ vibe. I grew up with 1st Edition and we’re trying to keep some of the best parts of that and add some new elements.”

ME – “Your Artist Travis Hanson obviously takes whatever visions you might have, and brings them to life… How much of what you see in the art includes his personal take on what you’ve asked him to create?”

ANDREW – “I give Travis a description and he does his thing. After hundreds of illustrations, we’ve only ever had a couple of conversations on tweaking an image. We’re really on the same wavelength, wanting to present images that are edgy, intense but still fun and heroic. The reason I chose Travis was his incredible style, for the most part I get out of the way and let him do what he does best.”

Art For ‘Monsters Of The Underworld’

ME – “Will your Graphic Design And Layout be done by Jeff Porter Again? Explain to me your relationship with your Graphic Designer, and briefly how working with one works.”

ANDREW – “Yes. Jeff has been a member of our weekly D&D group, West of the Wood, for years. He’s a very talented guy who not only does the layout and graphic art, but also the videos and much more. As with Travis, I try to give Jeff a lot of freedom to do his thing. Then we negotiate the final look of the book as the process moves along. Sometimes we chat in person, sometimes we text or email. We’re both pretty laid back and honest. That helps a lot.”

ME – “Obviously you’re an imaginative guy, but you also seem to have a good business sense…

What lead you to doing a book on the Underworld?”

ANDREW – “Thanks. It’s at the heart of D&D in my opinion. One of the key elements, like the fey. My favorite all-time adventure series is the D1-3 series by Gygax. Any time a DM takes his players into a cave, or dungeon, or anywhere underground…these monsters could be there. And this book will be more of a setting book than Feyland, with even more resources for DMs to run an entire campaign.”

ME – “I know ‘Monsters Of The Underworld’ is your main focus right now, but do you already have an idea about what your next project will/might be?”

ANDREW – “For sure. We’re working on two other books. A new DM handbook for the DMs Guild and the 3rd monster book to follow Monsters of the Underworld.”

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Art For ‘Monsters Of The Underworld’

ME – “Thanks for your time Andrew, I wish you luck/success with your newest creation!”

ANDREW –  “Thanks for your interest in our books.”

You can Follow Andrew Cawood on Twitter @cawoodpublish

And me @Dragon_Ryder7

DORAGON-

 

Creating D & D Content Can Crush You A Little Bit… Is It Worth It?

CREATING D & D CONTENT CAN CRUSH YOU A LITTLE BIT… IS IT WORTH IT?

A bit about me, and my D & D history.

I was an extremely imaginative kid, but, a very shy one.

I heard about Dungeons And Dragons (D & D) in the 70’s, and wanted to play soooo much.

But, I only had a couple friends, none of which played.

In the 80’s any exposure to D & D Players left me with the feeling that 80% of the time, Players would argue over rules, as opposed to playing.

This did not interest me.

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It was then I came to the realization that the only way I was ever going to play, was if I ran the game myself.

I was never much of a Reader (More of a Creative Writing, Math guy), so one look at the A D & D Book, and I knew I’d never make my way through it, let alone learn it.

That’s where the D & D ‘Red’ Book came in… Basic Rules.

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Then came the Expert Rules…

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From there I would slowly add in A D & D Rules to add more depth to the game.

I ran a Campaign for maybe 2 or 3 years, all Homebrew stuff, and it was great.

Then in the late 90’s I was in a theatre production of Hamlet (Loved Shakespeare, but not much of an Actor, lol), and someone found out that I used to Dungeon Master (DM).

Soon two Actors & two people from my work would make up a new group of Evil/& Or Chaotic Characters, which I’d never ran, but loved.

I’m big on villains.

I had always created my own Homebrew content, and would soon create ‘The Black Orc’, a Hybrid of Orc with higher Strength, and Intelligence.

One of my Players played one in our Campaign.

We played for maybe 8 months, then that group faded.

In the 2000’s it was World of Warcraft for me…

Then in 2017, I returned to D & D with my Doragon Kishu Twitter.

The Community was awesome, and D & D had really begun to take off.

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None of the other Editions of D & D had really grabbed my attention, but when I was exposed to 5e, I really liked it.

Since I hadn’t played D & D in a while, I thought I’d start out as a Player, picked up a Players Guide, and started a group up with a friend as the DM.

He didn’t have time to create Homebrew material, so I supplied him with some of the stuff I had created at some point.

Meanwhile I started a D & D Vlog (Doragons Domain) on YouTube, where I talked about DM stuff, including my Homebrew building process.

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Three or four months in, I had begun creating a Module called ‘Frost Rhealm’, and even considered trying to Publish it…

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I found a cool Artist, but needed a few hundred dollars for Art, and thus created a Fund Raiser.

But literally minutes after launching it, I canceled it.

I was struggling with the fear of making a passionate hobby of mine, into a job.

Would I lose something along the way?

Not long after that, life stuff came up, and I stepped away from Social Media (Twitter) for what ended up being 15 months.

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During that time, I never stopped playing, or creating Homebrew content.

I also picked up the Dungeons Master Guide, and returned to Dungeon Mastering.

In fact I’ve been running a one person campaign for over a year now, and have truly explored two continents of my 6 continent world, Varamore, and Aquaonia (Forgive the bleary photos).

At some point I also brought Faerûn in (Specifically Waterdeep), as a ‘Second’ Material Realm.

In January I returned to Social Media (Twitter), and it has been awesome reconnecting with the D & D Community.

I also started creating NPC Characters, and Hybrid Creatures.

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I chose DMs Guild because I didn’t want to worry about limitations on what I created (As far as Creatures Etc.).

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The first Content I created was FOR THE LOVE OF ORCS

Basically I’ve created 4 Hybrid Orcs, the Red, White, Blue & Black.

The Red and Black were from back in the 90’s campaign, and the White and Blue were from my Frost Rhealm Module.

But I hadn’t created full blown stats for any of them, until now.

  1. Black Orc – Smartest & Strongest of the Orcs, generally used as Generals of Armies for Evil Leaders.
  2. Red Orc – Engineers, like the Dwarves of Orcs, they specialize in building Bridges, operating Ballistas etc.
  3. Blue Orc – Frost/Cold Resistant Warriors, generally in cold regions.
  4. White Orc – Frost/Cold Resistant Scouts, also generally in cold regions.

I didn’t try to sell this Title at first, I just wanted to pour it into the D & D World, see what people thought, and just get em out there.

I think like 178 Free ones were downloaded, but I have absolutely no idea if people actually use the Free stuff, or just download it because its free, lol

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Then came BLACKMETH… My absolute favorite NPC Villain, from back in my Original Campaign in the 80’s…

He’s an ‘Alpha’ (Stronger) black werewolf who was hunting the group, until he got his head cut off by our Fighter, who teleported behind him (Sword of Teleportation), and Rolled A 20…

I had to give it to him.

The group, however, should have burned the body, as a later enemy of the groups resurrected many of their enemies, and brought them all against them!

I offered Blackmeth as ‘Pay Want You Want’, but that didn’t really work out, lol

There were like 62 downloads, which is cool, but they were all for Free, lol

Oh well, live and learn.

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Then came CORANDERO (Paladin), my favorite NPC Hero, who I used to hunt my Second Campaign Group in the 90’s with, as, like I said, they were Evil/& Or Chaotic.

I actually blended two Archtypes for this guy, and made him/created a ‘Paladin Of Righteousness’.

Because I didn’t like the idea of him being called a ‘Paladin of Vengeance’, so I blended attributes of Vengeance, and Devotion.

This time I actually Charged $.50, and sold 5 of him, so I was pretty stoked.

I know that’s not a lot of money, but I really love this character, and of course it feels like a micro step in the right direction.

I then actually read the DMs Guild License Agreement (Of course, I should have initially), I knew they got 50% of my profits, which I was fine with, but I didn’t realize that anything I Published on there I couldn’t Publish anywhere else, like a Kickstarter Independent Project, etc.

This kind of upset me.

I mean I get it, it’s probably a way to protect their selves, but for me the creator, it hit me kind of hard.

The Orcs are my babies…

As are the NPC’s, but the Orcs, though I was basically giving them away for free, are something that I will likely have in any kind of World or Module Content.

So I spoke to there Customer Service, who were very nice, to verify.

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And figured if I want to Self Publish through a Third Party again, I would likely use DriveThruRPG, who have two different set ups, one Exclusive, one Non-Exclusive.

The truth is, there’s a creature in my Frost Rhealm Module that I’d have to use DM’sGuild to Publish it…

I could remove the creature, and Publish it Independently, or through DriveThruRPG, but I realllly don’t want to take out this creature.

So I will have to see.

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I then put all of my DMs Guild Content into one 9 NPC Set (Black Orc Gaming 9 NPC Pack), and sold it for $1.00…

Sold 4 Copies, so I was pretty pleased.

I know, I know, it’s not a lot of money, lol

But, at least I’m getting stuff out there.

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After several weeks, I finally licked my wounds, and shifted over to DriveThruRPG…

Launching my First NPC Character over there yesterday, DAR’ATH (Barbarian Knight)

Dar’Ath wasn’t his original name…

I actually based this character off a character in a Blog Story Series I wrote back in 2011-12 called ‘Dark Rider’.

But because I was still paranoid from the DMs Guild thing, even though I’m using the ‘Non’ Exclusive setup on DriveThruRPG, I didn’t feel comfortable using the Dark Rider name.

I’m selling Dar’Ath for $.50, but sadly have sold none so far, lol

What really breaks my heart when my Content doesn’t sell, is I really like these Characters/Hybrids etc.

And I want people to use them.

Yes, sales are great, we all need money to survive, and it reinforces what we’re doing/gives us a sense of pride, but man, I hate that no ones using this dude, lol

I now stand on a precipice (Not sure that’s quite the right word, but I like the way it sounds, lol), trying to decide, where do I go from here?

Do I finish Frost Rhealm, and Publish it on DM’s Guild, knowing I’m giving up some rights by doing it.

Do I just keep making Single NPC’s, knowing they may not sell all that well, and will never be used.

Do I make larger groups of NPC’s like the 9 NPC Pack, and hope people will buy them that way?

As an Artist who is truly passionate about D & D (Especially Playing it), taking multiple blows with my creations has, and is tough.

It’s not all the work that I know is necessary to build  the content, or get it out there…

It’s the heartache that comes when you pour your energy/heart/creativity into something, and just watch the Character sit there…

…not being used.

Nuff Said,

Thanks For Listening/Reading

TWITTER @Dragon_Ryder7

 

 

 

Dark Rider

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Dark Rider

The Dark Rider left his Village early that morning, as not to disturb anyone. Strangely he left his Ebon Blade behind, something he’d never do.

Into the Nordok Peaks he would head, and with any luck, avoid the forth coming Snow Storm all together. But he would not be that lucky, as in the 5th hour of his travels, the storm would strike.

The Rider trudged on, grasping at the Silver Chain about his neck as if to harness some power from it to push him on. By Midnight the Storm had passed, but left the Nordok Peaks covered in Frost.

His Black Steed tired, but the Rider patted him on the side of his neck and spoke “Soon Tribune… Soon”. Soon the Rider entered a valley of Snow and Rock, and winded his way up, his Horse slipping from time to time on the loose, and Frost Covered stones.

Finally he seemed to reach his destination, at a high peak over looking the snow covered valley. At this point he dismounted, and slapped his Horse on it’s rear sending it on it’s way. “Yah!!”

The Rider than removed his Dark Helm, and sat it on a nearby rock. His hair was dark brown, his eyes glistened of true blue. From underneath his cloak he pulled forth a silver box, and opened it with gentle hands. Inside it, a stunning dagger.

A gift from the Rendolyn Elves, for he was their friend. He then removed the Silver Necklace from around his neck, which had a Black Stone Rock shaped in the form of a Heart on the end of it. Tears came to his eyes as he drew forth the dagger in one hand, and the Silver Chain in the other. “If not in this life… Perhaps in the next my love.” With this all seemed to slow down, as his left hand tossed the chain over the side of the Mountain, his right brought the Dagger towards his chest… But then

Suddenly a White Owl swooped up over him, the necklace wrapped tightly around it’s claws! And at that very moment, an Arrow struck his hand holding the Dagger, causing it to fall to the Icy Ground, as the Arrow and his hand strike a large rock beside him. The Arrow pierces the Rock, securing the Rider’s Hand to it. “Ahhhh!!!” He yelled, as the Owl Screetched “Screetch!!!!”.

Suddenly a White Clad Elf appears, a great cat by her side.

“Tsk Tsk..” She spoke slyly as she held open her hand. Suddenly the White Owl flew over and dropped the Silver Chain into it. The Dark Rider attempts to pull the Arrow from the Rock, but the Elf approaches and does it for him. She then tosses him a thick rag to wrap his hand. “You know what your problem is… Human women” she spoke as she walked away. He glares up at her his Bright Blue Eyes unable to ascertain where she came from. She then looks back at him, and then at the Necklace. She tosses it over the side of the mountain. “She’s not worth it… Try to find yourself a nice Elven Girl next time… And try to take better care of that Knife, we Rendolyn Elves take our Gifts very seriously. And are friends too”. With this she was gone. The Rider’s hand wrapped, he stood,  walked over and picked up the Dagger. “Do you have a name!?!?”

All he could hear were two words yelled back in the distance. “I’m Taken!”

TO BE CONTINUED…

PHOTO CREDIT – Girl Elf and Cat

Adventures Of Vilven Ledsong (Chapter XII) – Rivers And Races

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Chapter XII Of My Current Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven

Chapter I: Ouroboros

Chapter II: Pact Magic

Chapter III: Choice And Notice

Chapter IV: Meeting Wiendle

Chapter V – Catlike

Chapter VI – Encountering A Wizard

Chapter VII – A Charge And A Flame

Chapter VIII – Followed By A Lion

Chapter IX – Acquiescence

Chapter X – A Dialogue Of Friends

Chapter XI – Ineffective Planning

CHAPTER XII

“Are you sure you’re doing alright, Jaren?” Vilven asked behind her, her exotic voice clear as she walked in front of him in the dark forest.

“I’m fine.” Jaren said in a slightly irritated tone, since he had been asked that question almost non-stop since they were forced to leave their camp in the middle of the night.

They were all quite tired, their sleep having been cut short by two intruding Rangers. Cho and Beaden, they called themselves.

Grid offered to carry Jaren, as he had done earlier that day, but Jaren refused. Jaren was considerably embarrassed when he heard about his unconscious body being carried around, so he simply said he could just lean on Wiendle if he needed. Which he did.

But to his credit he did seem much stronger, and was walking close to normal, most of the time. So Vilven figured it might be best to fight the urge to check on him too much. A man’s pride did count for something. Though, at times, it did count for too much. As was the case of her father and many water elemental she had met throughout her upbringing. Memories of the Water Plane filled her mind. But she quickly brushed it off. It wasn’t the time to ponder such things.

So she looked ahead.

“What do you think those men wanted from us anyway, Grid?” Vilven inquired quietly to him.

The tall Tigron looked back at her from the head of the party, his frame quite frightening in the darkness, the many weapons they had taken from the Rangers hanging over his back. Her night vision dulled the golden of his fur so that he looked like some untamed, nocturnal beast.

“Difficult to say.” He said after a short pause. Then he looked forward again. “They are no thieves, I know that. But they definitely got that gold from somewhere.”

Vilven’s large, black eyes furrowed with pensiveness at his response.

***

They walked on, through the night. The sun slowly rose creating heavenly golden streaks through the breaks of the branches, the many varieties of small birds chirped happily to meet the morning.

They were all very relieved to be out of the dangerous veil of the night. Especially Wiendle and Jaren who did not benefit from the night vision Grid and Vilven had. But the vibrancy of the day did reveal to them how tired they were. It seemed the more gleeful the environment, the more exhausted they all became.

Vilven was very silent staring at the ground, forcing her legs to take step after step. Her tiredness was perhaps moving her into delirium, and perhaps it was an unfounded confidence she was feeling, but she was stricken by the quick growth she had gone through. She could feel how tired her legs were from travelling, but she could also feel her muscles adjusting and adapting, her physical strength catching up with her needs.

She also felt strength from trust in her magic, though she didn’t know much about it yet, and understood it even less, it was there for her in the moments she needed it most. It was something, she knew, she would soon rely on everyday. It was scary, but it was also becoming a part of her identity and what she thought of in moments of deep, self-reflection.

In a quick burst of energy, that threw her out of her thoughts, she could feel Areiden. She could feel her elemental blood. She could feel the water. The feeling made her shiver in excitement.

“There’s water. There’s a body of water somewhere.” She announced to them as she stopped, Wiendle and Jaren nearly walking into her. Her head shot to the left and the right, then the left again.

“It’s that way!” Vilven said with delight, pointing to the left of her. “Grid, let’s check it out.”

Grid sighed heavily with tiredness, but then responded, “We could use some water anyway.”

Without thought, Vilven shot toward the direction of the water. Her stomach tight with anticipation, her smile broad as she headed for it.

Then she saw it.

The trees of the forest halted to reveal a large, fierce river. The sound of the water was loud and turbulent, but was somehow still very soothing and bright. The water was clear, almost painfully so, which made everything around her look like some sort of hyper-reality. She never spent much time in rivers, as there were only a few on some of the islands scattered in the Water Plane, but she admitted to herself that she loved them.

They always seemed so busy to her, like they had to overcompensate in strength and quickness what they lacked in space compared to lakes and oceans. But it made them exciting to her, and the fish that lived in them were so unique.

She happily dived in with limber and grace, meeting the water with gratitude. Her muscles eased instantly. She couldn’t believe that it had been almost a week since she had swam last.

She held on to a rock against the harsh current as she peered over to see Grid, Wiendle, and Jaren arriving. She waved her arm over her head at them.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it!” Vilven shouted to them as the fish hustled around her.

Grid dropped the multitude of weapons to the ground, then walked over to the edge of the river to splash water on his face. He then stood tall, looking around to assess the safety of the area.

Jaren slowly sat, a hand to his side, while Wiendle girlishly laughed with exhilaration.

“Isn’t it just beautiful, Jaren! We would have never been able to see this if we had stayed at the castle!” Wiendle said to him. Jaren smiled and nodded, but he was only looking at her.

After about half an hours rest, Grid stood up authoritatively, picking up the discarded weapons.

“Vilven. Come. Let’s get on our way.” Grid called out to her in the water.

“Already?” Vilven called back to him. “Aren’t we heading in the same direction of the river?”

“For now, but at some point it will turn north again.” Grid replied.

“Well, until then…” Vilven said as she began to swim with the river in the direction of Warden.

Grid sighed tiredly again, then turned to the princess and Jaren.

“Princess, Jaren, Come.”

They traveled this way for the rest of the day, Vilven swam while Grid, Wiendle, and Jaren walked on the river’s edge. When night came, they stopped, had a quick dinner, then all rested. Vilven offered to take watch for most of the night, which Grid agreed happily to. He was a very strong being, but he knew and accepted that even he had physical limits, especially with such little sleep.

And though Vilven was still tired the next morning, the rest of them seemed remarkably refreshed and alert. Vilven thought, without regrets, that it was a fair price to pay to be able to swim all day.

And that is what she did, for the next two days before the river finally did start to make it’s way North. She helped them cross the water, then left it behind. Her heart renewed as she made her way forward.

All of their spirits were high, as the traveled the final days to reach the long awaited village of Warden.

The four of them walked through the edge of the trees to meet the small village.

“Warden, at last.” Grid said with a flourish

Vilven’s eyes grew wide with surprise at Warden’s beautiful structures. The wood was sanded down with careful precision, and there were intricate carvings adorning them, some of nature and some more abstract, which must have taken many years to complete.

She also reveled in the deep, penetrating depths of the ocean calling to her, as Warden was on the west coast of Varamore. She smiled as she saw a few ships in the docks, floating and swaying in the awaiting sea.

And as they made their way closer, she then took note of the people which resided there.

They were surprisingly tall. Not all as tall as her, but much taller than Jaren and Wiendle. All of them seemed to be lean and slender, which made them seem even taller. They had fair skin, sharp, long features, elongated with lengthy, pointed ears. Their dress was simple and elegant. Vilven thought, almost absentmindedly that they were quite an attractive race.

She watched fascinated as two of the males, who appeared to be some sort of guard, approached them in a nearly meditative, beautiful gait. They stopped solidly in front of them to halt their progress.

Both had rich, brown hair with alluring grey eyes, though their features didn’t strike Vilven that they were related.

One of them spoke, his voice clear and musical, though somewhat harsh.

“You there,” He said to Grid. “What business do you have in Warden?”

“Nearly passing through, supplies and passage South” Grid responded automatically.

“What about those two?” The other said in a denigrating tone, his eyes narrowing as his arm motioned disrespectfully toward Jaren and Wiendle.

Grid looked apologetic, though Vilven knew Grid well enough by now to know it was a ploy. “We’re putting them on the first boat out of here.” He responded with mock disdain.

The guard looked at Grid for a moment, then nodded in agreement.

“See that it’s done.” The guard said sharply, then moved aside to let them pass.

As they walked by them, though Vilven was purposefully silent, she did take a curious glance. They noted her look, slight smiles coming to their faces as they took in her beauty.

“My Lady.” One of them responded with an approving nod.

Vilven was somewhat surprised at his warm demeanor, but her face didn’t change expression.

When they were some distance away, Vilven looked at Wiendle and Jaren, who both seemed a bit offended.

“What was that all about?” Vilven whispered to Grid.

He shot her quick glance, then responded matter-of-factly.

“High Elves.”

highelf