Skip to main content

Abandoned Beauty


“He’s on his way, I’ve seen him through the eyes of owls.  Young and full of vigour,” Her voice was self-satisfied, with just a hint of lewd appreciation.
“So romantic,” came the reply in gentle delicate tones of wistful contentment
“Romance be damned,” the third voice was a menacing rumble, “it’s the story that draws him.  Always the story.”
The three of them waited in an upper room, looking out of the window into the wooded valley below.   The house was glorious once, but that was before it had been abandoned to the elements and to time, before moss and vines grew over its surface and the burrowing creatures dug into its rocky foundations, before the rain and wind of countless years wore away the paint and etched age into the face of the building.   
The three of them wore the shapes, more or less, of women.
“We should try to stop him of course,” said the first of them, “Should I…?”
“No,” sighed the second, “let me.  Poor boy.”   She relaxed out of her vanishing body and the valley forest pulsed in response.
“She’ll botch it,” growled the third.       They watched as the canopy of trees quivered far below and a few moments later the one who had vanished returned.   She was ragged and glaring now, her green clothing tattered and torn.
“Clever boy,” she said, and she’d lost the wistfulness,  “My vines and stinging plants engulfed him.  He sprayed me with chemicals and withered me.”  She spat on the floor.  It steamed.
“My wolves will end him,” said the first of them.  Her eyes gleamed orange and she was gone.   Below there was howling and shouting and chasing and…
She was back suddenly, clutching herself and leaking blood.
“Revolvers,” she growled, “and he’s a bloody good shot.”
“Useless,” boomed the third of them and the sky darkened as she vanished.   “Leave.  Him.  To.  Me.”    The last four words were thunder crashes, and lightning stabbed the valley shattering trees and stone where they struck.
The other two looked at each other and waited.
“He’s good,” said the one in tattered green.
“He’s the one,” said the wolf-eyed woman.
Suddenly the third of them was back, pale and furious.
“He’s a pain in the backside,” she said, “And he’s tough.  Made it to the steps.”
They all peered out of the window and looked down.  Far below a young hero staggered up the long flight of stairs leading to the house.   He was injured and soaked and a little scorched, but undaunted.
They sighed and moved further in, resting on a balcony overlooking the grand hall below.  In the centre of the hall was a bed and on the bed a maiden lay, pale and golden haired and untouched by time.
The young man thrust open the mossy doors and staggered into the room.   He paused as he took in the beauty of the maiden sleeping in the mansion lost to time, but he only paused for a second.   And then, his strength renewed he strode forward and bent over her to kiss her flawless skin.
“They always get the story wrong,” the first grumbled as the maiden’s eyes flickered open.
“Such a shame,” agreed the second.   The maiden wrapped her arms around his shoulders and opened her mouth wide, revealing twin rows of pearl white fangs.  The young man screamed as she bit down.
“The sacrifice of the heroic king,” said the third, nodding, “has to be the strongest, the cleverest, the finest.   And they’re the only ones that make it through, who make it past the flora, and the fauna and my merry weather.”    
In the chamber below the maiden sat up and stretched, her gown soaked scarlet, her lips dripping gore.     She waved at the three faerie who had guarded her, and they waved back grinning.
Job done.



















Comments

Popular posts from this blog

(Old) School’s In For Summer

I recently discovered Lamentations of the Flame Princess mainly due to seeing it mentioned all over the Internet as something worthy of note – people talked about its high production values, innovation, boundary pushing etc and I thought I’’d see what all the fuss was about.


The basic rules are available for free online in an art-free version (which is a shame – the art is splendidly evocative of the feel intended by the author) and I will be honest and say that when I first read through the rules I was underwhelmed.   Yes it was an old school D&D clone, laid out very well, clearly explained and with some nice rule tweaks to tidy things up --- but it didn’t seem to be anything special.   I was a bit nonplussed as to what all the fuss was about.     Then I saw a few reviews on YouTube – IvanMike and QuestingBeast do a lot of old school gaming posts and reviewed a number of LotFP’s products – and it dawned on me that the strength of the game isn’t from the system but from the advent…

Five Lights - An Adventure for Barbarians of Lemuria

I've recently become enchanted by the simplicity and clarity of Barbarians of Lemuria - a role playing game in the Sword & Sorcery genre.

To that end I present "Five Lights" an adventure in which our heroes are called upon to rescue a fair maiden, probably against her will, from a new religious movement.   All things are, as you would expect, not what they seem.



The pdf can be downloaded HERE, and feel free of course to tweak things as you wish to suit your play style and group.

Index Card RPG - Runehammer Games

I don't often review games - I'm usually too busy playing and find it hard to come up with things to say that aren't just lists of rules that I like or dislike, but I'm going to make an exception now and make a suggestion:

You should buy Index Card RPG.
Not so much a suggestion as an unsubtle instruction I guess.   But let me explain why.
Some time ago, no idea how, my YouTube meanderings brought me across a channel about Dungeons and Dragons - The title was as unsubtle as my suggestion - "Drunkens and Dragons - How to play D&D like a big old bad ass."    My interest piqued by the approach I watched, despite not believing anyone could tell me anything new about D&D.
Ah the folly of approaching senility.
The channel was run by one Hankerin Ferinale the nom-de-jeux of one Brandish Gilhelm whose real name is as player-character worthy as his assumed name.   Hankerin (for so I always think of him) presented a series of episodes about room design, rpg theo…

Ssssh, it’s Confidential

Regular readers of this irregular outlet for my musings will know that I’m a big fan of the Gumshoe system by Pelgrane Press.    I’ve got a year-old Night’s Black Agents campaign that shows no signs of slowing down just yet, and a Trail of Cthulhu campaign that is letting me indulge my fantasy of being remotely as good at drawing together Lovecraftian strands into a single narrative as Alan Moore has been in “Providence.”   I’m not, but it’s fun trying, and the Gumshoe system has supported it brilliantly.
I recently picked up the PDF copy of the latest iteration of the system, Gumshoe One2One, in the soon-to-be-physically released CthulhuConfidential.  Gumshoe One2One aims to bring the Gumshoe experience to the specific situation of one GM and one player.  In doing so it’s had to address the usefulness of the pool point system for General Skills and also the often fudged issue of character demise or debilitation in a single player setting.   My Trail campaign has always been just me …

The Star Flung Hammer

A new Sword & Sorcery adventure for Index Card RPG involving a daring expedition into hostile territory and the confrontation of an unexpected cosmic horror.

Something strange fell from the sky into the land of the Jötnar - and those brave souls who went in search of it never came back.  Now doom is prophesied and new heroes must arise to follow the path to danger and glory - but worse things than Jötnar dwell in the mountains, and the secret of the Star-Flung Hammer is nothing that those heroes could have imagined.

Download here