Monday, March 23, 2015

Blood-Clans of Jorikk: "Saga of the Bear-Folk"

So, I have been working on an RPG Adventure, for The Blood-Clans of Jorikk Campaign Setting,
written by Nickolas Gildersleeve. Follow them on Facebook!

Most people know my love of Nordic Mythology, so the Wyldr of Jorikk is a natural fit!

It uses the Hackmaster RPG, though any system can be used. For example, I plan to use Dungeons and Dragons for when I GM the game.

The title I have chosen is the "Saga of the Bear-Folk", and I have decided at the beginning of each Chapter or Verse, I will have a few stanzas of the Saga written in both Skarrn (The language spoken by the Dunnvigr) and the translation in English. 

Here is the intro for Verse I.

Hjer byrja ferdhalakkar fra Bjorgdunar
Jog fra aegisagr thaejar...

Thekksagr byrja
Hvenr runekorn avsolja
Idh Rytarrskegg
Harrik, viedunnath-megg

Rugla megg skjirkorn
Seiflath fra Bjordunnar, Arnbjorg dun nuldorn
Nefingja brrodhath halkur dhing
Tala fra gothing

Brrodh fra gultn,
Fus sanna thaejar haemn
Velja laethr thekkorn
Jog avsolja laeyndhorn 


Here begins the journey of the Bear-Folk
And their epic Saga…

This story does begin,
When a runestone was discovered 
In Rytarrskegg,
By a fisherman called Harrik.

Bemused by the strange monolith
The Bjordunnar Chief, a man called Arnbjorg
Called forth the clan, for a meeting
To discuss this discovery

A group of young warriors
Eager to prove their worth
Were chosen to seek out this stone

And to discover it’s secrets…

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vlog #1

This is something I did last night. Just stream of conscious.

Rosie King on TED Talks:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Storm is Coming...

     I can still remember the day this whole thing started. It was a pleasant sunny afternoon. I had drawn the blinds and popped open my windows, allowing for a brisk breeze to blow through the office. The cream and olive wallpaper was peeling around the edges, and the door had been misaligned when some lug attached it to the hinges; you couldn’t get it to stay shut unless you pulled up on the brass knob. A pane of frosted glass was set into the oaken exit; bold lettering across the window read, “Shadow Private Investigations”. 
     I leaned back in my chestnut chair, and propped by feet up atop the mahogany desk. I had found the thing in a backstreet in Rooktown. I couldn’t believe myself when I found it. It was perfectly good except for the ink stain on the corner, I liked the stain, gave the thing character. I had a black rotary telephone. I hardly ever used the thing I usually waited for someone to call me, someone always did. The lamp was opposite the phone and was joined with the glass ashtray. A glass of whiskey was perched within easy reach. The bottle was stashed in the second drawer on the right, along with another glass.
     There were two filing cabinets in there. One was a wooden one, which was behind me, and the metal one which was on the left wall. Shitty thing, and I mean the metal one; if you didn’t oil the rollers routinely the damn thing would get stuck or squeak. A small desk fan sat a top the wooden cabinet along with my typewriter and radio. I had some shelves on the wall too, mostly filled with books; my camera sat on the lowermost ledge.
     My diploma from St. Vincent’s Academy was next to a withering cork board which hung over a tawny davenport. The davenport was another item I found in a back alley. It’s amazing what those rich types throw away. A flat pillow clad in white cotton with a red strip around the opening was tossed haphazardly on the leather cushions, accompanied by a knit blanket. 
     There was a bathroom. I always hated the stupid tiled floor and walls but I never could afford to change it. It had a shower, no tub, a large basin sink, and a mirrored medicine cabinet. I kept my shirts, and underwear in the bottom two drawers of the desk, and hung my jackets and trousers in the closet with my coat and hat. 
I pulled a cigarette from the pack in my breast pocket. I flipped open my lighter, and held the flame to the tip. I puffed on the fag and a wisp of smoke floated upwards, but was soon dispersed by the cross breeze.

     My skin was pale with a tinge of red, though not for lack of sunlight, it was always like that. A pair of dark-wine horns protruded from my forehead, just below my hairline, and my tail hung off the seat and toward the floor, flicking rhythmically. Yeah, I’m a Setenak. Most folks just call us tieflings. It’s just easier in conversation; rolls off the tongue.
     I kept my raven hair short and parted. Sometimes if the light hit it just right it would appear as a dusky mauve. My face was round. It wasn’t distinctly feminine, but it wasn’t completely androgynous either. I’m not a looker, but I am a jane; though at a distance, you probably couldn’t tell. I always hated dresses and heels, they made me feel exposed and unprotected. I preferred my loafers and slacks. 
     My piece was tucked into it’s holster that hung from my shoulders. An Arnurson .45 Runekaster Double Action Revolver; In layman’s terms, it’s the style of gun that Felix Steel uses to fight outlaws in the flickers, and double action means, you don’t need to cock the hammer every time you want to throw some pills. A .45 was more powerful than the .38 that the coppers would carry; couple that with hex-slinging… Hell, I bet it could take down a aurochs; don’t quote me though.
     My thoughts drifted to my partner. Well, former partner, David Wolfe. He was one of the best gumshoes money could buy. He retired, found himself a cute bird and decided to settle down. She was a laekanorn, or mender, as most people called them. You know, healers. 
    David bought an automobile service shop up in Sabine; he sure did love his cars. Last I talked to him, he and Mary, were trying to have kids; that was almost five months ago. When he had decided to leave, I got a smaller office. Not out of spite or anything, I just couldn’t afford it. See, when you have two private dicks on a case, you can wring a bit more dough out of the client.

     The radio was rebroadcasting the Corsair-Tigers game from last week. The Tigers were up two runs at the bottom of the 6th. I didn’t care for baseball all that much, it was just something to pass the time. I heard the creak of the floorboards out in the hall and there was a short rap on the door. 
     “It’s open!” I called. I quickly pulled my feet off the desk and hastily smoothed my blouse. That’s when she walked in. 
     Now understand, usually I don’t make scissors or daddle, though I’m not opposed to kissing fish. But this dame… If I had met her down at the bar after I’d dipped my bill a bit, you can go all in on me chatting up this chick.
     She dressed conservatively, not like those roundheels that you can find down in the Pearl District. Her gams would make any jasper swoon, and I felt my thumper quicken. She wore a muted cerulean dress, and a matching jacket. Her tawny curls framed a beautiful and mature face. A hand bag was slung over her shoulder, and a pair black suede gloves were clutched in her finely manicured mitts. She tried to close the door, but it hung open.
     “Here, Let me get it, please have a seat” I said, getting up from my chair. As I stepped around her, I could smell jasmine and rose. She sat daintily in the leather backed chairs positioned in front of my desk. She smoothed her skirts as I made sure the door was closed. I turned down the radio before returned to my seat.
     “Sorry about that, the damn thing never closes properly. What can I do you for miss…?” 
     “Skinner, Kathleen Skinner. But my friends call me ‘Kat’.” Her voice was like a babbling brook, bubbly and cheerful. She smiled as she talked, putting that perfect row of chompers on display; they made me think of my more defined canines. She held out her hand.
     “Vera Shadow, Private Eye.” She had a surprisingly strong grip, which took me by surprise. Most twists don’t give you a good shake. Their arms typically are like over cooked spaghetti.
     “So, what can I do for you today, Mrs. Skinner?” I asked, stamping out my cigarette.
     “I need you to find someone.” My eyebrow raised. Usually when a maid comes in asking for me to find someone, its because she thinks the lug she’s hitched too has run off with some young frill. The dish’s hunch is generally correct.
     “Miss, I'm not married,” she corrected. “A student of mine disappeared a couple days ago. She hasn’t been to class, and no one has seen her around campus,” she continued. I took a sip from my pony glass.
     “How do you know she’s not just ran off with some husky?”
     “She isn’t that kind of girl. She would never do such a thing.” admonished the wren.
     “How do you know? When I was in school, I knew tons of broads who ran off to shack up with their sugar daddies.” Her nose wrinkled at my language. She stiffened in her chair.
     “She’s on scholarship. Her very attendance of the school depends on her making good grades. I’ve seen how she studies. In fact she’s so focused she cut off her relationship with this young man she met during the summer once school started!” 
     “Now how does a teach know that stuff?” I questioned.
     “I’m her advisor. She comes to me with more than just school work. She’s loner, in a way. She’s comfortable talking with me.”
     “Let me guess, you think… What’s her name?”
     “Violet Morse.”
     “So, you think Violet has been kidnapped by some punk she broke up with?” I said bluntly. Her hand jumped to her throat, as terror washed over her.
     “I surely hope not! But it is one of my suspicions,” she exclaimed.
     “If that’s the case, why didn’t you go to the cops instead of rashing me?” 
     “I did. They gave me the same answer you did, and then they told me they’ll put out a call for people matching her description; but it could take weeks for something to show up! I can’t wait that long. She’s like a daughter to me.” I pulled another smoke out of my pocket and lit it up. 
     “Did you call her folks?” I asked the cigarette bouncing like a busty woman’s tits as she walked.
     “Yes. They live upstate. They said they would give me a ring if Violet showed up.” I finished my hootch and set the glass on the desk.
     “Alright. I’ll take the case. But it’s going to cost you twenty bucks a day, plus expenses.” I watched her face. A double sawbuck a day was twice the scratch I usually charged for this type of case. I wanted to see how she would react. 
Surprisingly, her kisser curled into a grin.
     “I can give you a hundred now to get you started, and I’ll pay the rest when she’s found.” She pulled a C-note from her purse, and slid it across the desk.
     “Looks like you got a private dick on the case!” I grinned nipping the bill off the table, and holding up to the light. I’d been slipped one to many split bills and it had become a habit.
     “Looks like your folding is in good order,” I said.
     “The dormitory is on the edge of campus. On the corner of South Bayville and Kenter Street. It’s not easy to miss. I’ll tell the guard you’re coming.”
     “Guard?” I’d never heard of a dormitory having a hard boy watching the door.
     “The academy isn’t co-ed. It’s against the school’s policy to have boys in the dorms. Besides, the city isn’t a safe place for young girls to be left unprotected.”
     “Alright… How am I going to get in touch with you?”
     “Oh, of course. How foolish of me! I’m the head of the Psionics Department. My office hours are from nine to seven. If you need to get in touch with me at any other time, my home number is 555-4123.” I opened the middle desk drawer and withdrew my notebook and pen. 
     “What was the number again?” She repeated it and I scribbled the digits below her name. I also took note of the location of the dormitory.
     “Thanks, I’ll be sure to throw you a line if I find something,” I said.
     “When? When what?”
     “When you find something.” I couldn’t help but chuckle.
     “Sure thing, Ms. Skinner.” She closed the clasp on her purse and stood. I matched her.
     “Please, call me Kat,” she requested. I agreed and showed her out. I couldn’t help but watch her pendulum hips as she walked down the hall towards the stairs. 

     As I ducked back into the office a dull pain formed in my right knee. I hobbled over to the window, and looked out towards the bay. Dark clouds loomed on the horizon; a storm was coming…

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Final Words of Jennifer Eclberg: Part One

I am writing this so that no one else may tread down the dark path as I have. As my driver’s license will state I am Jennifer Eclberg; born 1983 on the seventh of May. I am former head psychiatrist at Saint Christina Memorial Hospital in Rosewood, North Carolina.  I am married to Alina McGregor, who works at the Asigee County Library in downtown Rosewood.
This all began about a month ago, when a patient was transferred to our psych ward from Canton, a small town outside of Asheville. When he arrived, he was wheeled in, strapped into a straight jacket and muzzle; with an escort of six officers of the law. The man had deep pools for eyes and long, thin, ashen hair. He gave me the impression of having thick Cherokee heritage. 

His medical forms named him as Waya Thomas. A man of forty-seven, born on January 26th at the Cherokee Indian Hospital. As I flipped through his brimming file, I found records of his state of mental instability. He had been charged with the murder of nine young girls, claiming that they were sacrifices to some sort of ancient forgotten god. Surprisingly, he did not plead insanity. 
He was imprisoned in the Cherokee County Jail, where every full moon he could be heard imitating a wolf. Initiating in barks, grunts, howls and yelps. The guards feared Thomas, and often refused to go near his cell at night, saying, “Something wasn’t right about him.” After he escaped from his cell one night, killed a guard with an improvised shiv and had, “painted his face with the slain guard’s blood, in the fashion of a Native Warrior”, the warden requested that Thomas be seen by a state psychiatrist. 
The psychiatrist that over saw the testing, was Dr. Howard Axler from Duke Regional Hospital in Durham. He was well respected in the profession, but had succumbed to fits of madness and eventually killed himself by slitting his wrists. As I read over the notes and reports of Dr. Axler, I noticed a distinct decline in his mental state. His usual neat straight penmanship slowly became a messy scrawl. 
The final diagnosis was that Waya Thomas suffered from delusions, hallucinations, Schizophrenia, and Anti-Social Personality Disorder. He was then moved from the Cherokee County Jail to the Canton Asylum, where he was treated for his diagnosis. His reason for arrival at Saint Christina’s was that the Canton Asylum was being closed and it’s patients were being moved into the new, Rosewood Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He was to stay with us at Saint Christina’s for two weeks while the construction of the hospital was completed.

After reading his file and having his prescriptions filled, I developed an interest in talking with Mr. Thomas. I had him brought into my office. He had been released from the straight jacket, though the muzzle remained. His hands and legs were bound by thick chains, and he was escorted by two armed officers. He stood stiffly in the doorway, looking at me with those black animalistic eyes. I asked him to sit in one of the chairs in front of my desk, and dismissed the officers, so that I may have talked to him as a patient, not a prisoner. He sat and stared at me. It felt as though his eyes saw through me, and a shiver swept across my back. His greying hair hung over his face, obscuring his features. 
I gave him a smile, but his face remained as still as a statue. I asked him what his name was. He responded in his deep voice, saying that he was the hand of, a name that I can only inscribe as Ah’wi-se’hi. When I asked him what or who Ah’wi-se’hi was. I saw his lips part in a shallow grin, to display a set of teeth that were distinctly non-human; and now in reflection I realize that the teeth had a canine appearance to them. 
He told me that Ah’wi-se’hi was an ancient Cherokee god, who had long been forgotten by the tribe. I asked how he had learned about the deity, if it had been indeed forgotten. He said that there was an old church off Highway 194. 
He explained that the church was haunted, and students of the nearby college would often dare each other to spend a night in the eldritch ruin, but of course they abandoned the dare during the night, running screaming from the crumbling stone walls and back to the safety of their cars. One night he was dared to complete the task, wanting to express a crush, he accepted. I was amazed at the coherency of his telling of the story. I was enraptured as he continued. 
He said that he went to the church that night, explaining that the full moon was massive, and hung low in the sky. He recalled the cold wind and the howl of a lone wolf echoing through the valley. He had gathered firewood and build a small campfire behind the alabaster alter. He prayed to his ancestors that he would have the strength to last the night. 
He recalled waking in the middle of the night to the sounds of scuffling, whimpering and snorting, coming from inside the chapel. He had grabbed his flashlight and flashed it around his surroundings. 

He stopped his retelling and looked at me with those black eyes. My breath had caught in my throat. I felt like a Brownie Scout sitting at a campfire as the troop leader told us ghost stories. I urged him to go on. He looked around the room, as if expecting microphones to be hidden in the ceiling or my bookcase.

He told me that is when he saw it. A great black hound, snuffling in the corner near the entrance. It turned to look at him as he shone the light on it. He said it’s eyes glowed red. He recalled that the glowing eyes seemed to burn with an unnatural fire, as if the fires of Hell burned in the beast’s skull. Then the dog disappeared into the floor. He stalked over to the spot and found a trap door to a cellar. He pulled the hatch open and slipped down into the blackness. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.
He said that in the cellar he found a tunnel, that led deep into the earth. As he followed it, he could make out tribal symbols and paintings on the hewn stone walls. Intrigued he pressed on and found a cathedral-like cavern. He said that is where he met Ah’wi-se’hi. He said that he met a nude man, who’s skin was like silver light, wearing nothing but a wolf pelt across his shoulder. The man welcomed him, saying that Mr. Thomas was to be his hand, and would help him grow powerful once again, but feeding him the blood of virgins. Now the Cherokee word Mr. Thomas used appears to have fled my memory. 
Mr. Thomas then said the nude man laid his hand upon Mr. Thomas’s chest, and he woke up in the chapel of the church, just as the sun was peaking over the ridge. When he had searched for the door to the cellar, he could not find it.
I had now heard enough. The man was obviously delusional, and I called for the officers to return the man to his room. As they entered, he stood in a flash and lunged towards my desk and gnashed his teeth at me, making the vocalizations of a rabid dog. As the officers dragged him away, he shouted, “You will be the final drink of Ah’wi-se’hi! You will be the final drink of Ah’wi-se’hi!”

Simply writing off the shouting as the ravings of a mad man, I pushed the obviously crafted to be disturbing story to the back of my mind. It wasn’t until that night that my thoughts fell on the black dog with burning eyes.

It Didn't Have to Turn Out This Way...

I can still remember the night... It was dark, like a lightning spotted blanket had been tossed over the city. The rain came down in barrels, a persistent curtain of grey. The blonde glow from the streetlight streamed into the alley at sharp angles, reflecting off wavering puddles. The somber shadows cast a penumbral atmosphere over the back street.

The ashen deluge bounced of the brim of my hat, as beads of water dripped across my face. My frock was soaked, and my feet were drowned. I had loosened my ermines tie, which hung askew from my neck My face was coated in salt and pepper stubble, and a cigarette was tucked in the corner of my trap; a twist of smoke hung in the humid air. In my hand, clad in leather, was my piece. A silver finger curled from the barrel.

I stared at it, the body. She was young and beautiful. Hell, I'd never seen a dame like her. Her coat was splayed open, revealing a cardinal silk dress that clung to every curve of her body. Her eyelids were dark and her lips shone with a glossy crimson sheen. Her gams were encased in sheer nude stockings, ended in pumps that complimented the dress. A slug had drilled a neat hole into her chest. Shame really, to ruin a rack like that. She had worn a hat, though it had gotten lost somewhere in the dusky alley when I dry-gulched her. The pins that held her tawny hair back had made with the feet; probably took off with the hat. Her bangs were plastered to her forehead, while the rest was spread over the pavement. A lagoon of blood had formed around her as she laid there. Something about her deadpan expression made me sad. What a fucking waste.

It didn't have to turn out this way... All she had to do was give me fifty percent. That was the deal, to split the loot fifty-fifty. But she got selfish, wanted it all for herself. When I found out she had decided to skip town without giving me my cut, I knew I had to fog her. I found the briefcase, and peeked inside. There it was, ten-thousand berries.

I tossed the iron into a dumpster, and left the alley in a bustle. I hailed a cab, and took off towards the airport.