Sonnet No. 1 – The Fighting Sonnet (Part Two)

silhouette of Viking warrior

By tiarshuspendragon

The mage let his head fall into his hands, seriously considering forcing the warrior to take a nap.

However, the bard popped up and squinted against the sun. “You know, I’ve never seen this viking dude, because I was busy buying food while you guys were kicking his butt. So I’m not gonna miss out on the off chance that he actually is – ” The bard’s jaw dropped mid-sentence. “Oh, wow. That guy is more bear than man.”

“Ah, good, so he’s not a hallucination.” The warrior grinned broadly, pleased with himself, as the mage helped him to his feet. As he caught sight of the large man again, he frowned slightly. “Or . . . not good. Not good, because that means he’s here. And wants to attack us.”

“I would want to attack us if I were him. You went a bit over the top with the creative insults,” the mage remarked, giving the warrior a dry look.

The bard snickered. “Now those I heard. But are we going to battle him this time? I have a feeling our main fighter – ” (a pointed look at the warrior) ” – isn’t really up for fighting.”

“I beg to differ!” The warrior bent over, picked up what he must have thought was his sword (it was, in fact, a stick, and not even a very pointy one), and brandished it in front of him. His face went pale from standing up too fast and he swayed on his feet.

The mage grabbed him before he could fall. With a Charismatic Grin™, the warrior slung an arm over his friend’s shoulders for support. “See? I’m perfectly fine. Able bodied warrior, right here.”

“I see what you mean,” the mage replied to the bard, ignoring the protests of the boy he was half carrying by that point. “You and I are distance fighters more than anything, which works best when we have someone else engaging the enemy up close. Unfortunately, our warrior here is the one who performs best in close combat. So I suppose we need a different plan.”

Frowning, the bard watched as Oswalt the Unfriendly Viking Man approached. The overly muscular man seemed to be in no hurry, which only made him all the more intimidating. “Hey – did the insults rile him up enough to make his fighting sloppy?”

“I think so . . .” The mage’s lips pursed as he tried to remember.

“They made him very angry,” the warrior put in smugly. He leaned toward the bard and whispered, “Especially when I made fun of his tiny, adorable battle axe.”

A grin started to form on the bard’s face. “Good, then I have an idea – no, not about the axe, you sleep-deprived weirdo – but you guys are just going to have to trust me and go with it.”

“Done and done.” The mage shifted his weight slightly (the warrior was not exactly light). “Just going with it is our main way of doing things. So what do you need us to do?”

Stooping over, the bard picked up the mage’s bag from the ground. “Well, I’ll be needing this. You should probably put our sleepy friend somewhere – ” (the bard gestured vaguely away from the path) ” – where he’ll be safe, because I’m going to need you, dear mage, to sneak up close to that behemoth. I’ll try to distract him. When he seems angry enough, strike as hard and fast as you can, and then get the heck out of there. Not that I doubt your strength or anything, but I haven’t fought this guy. I don’t know if one hit will bring him down.”

“It may and it may not,” the mage said grimly. “It all depends on whether he’s fully healed from our last encounter. But we’ll figure it out, one way or another.” He moved to duck into the surrounding tall grass, dragging the warrior with him; but before he did, he paused and turned back to the bard. “May I ask how you plan to distract Oswalt?”

The bard only gave him a smirk. “Oh, you’ll hear. I do hope you’ll enjoy the show.”

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Sonnet No. 1: The Fighting Sonnet (Part One)

Beautiful Forest

By: tiarshuspendragon

They were hot, they were hungry, and one of them was convinced that they were being pursued by a flock of angry sparrows.

Hint: it was not the mage or the bard.

“I swear,” the warrior said for what was possibly the seventh time that day, “that I keep seeing their tiny little heads pop up in the grass around us.” He crouched down beside a patch of tall grass – one that looked like every other in the two mile stretch of open grassland between the northern and southern halves of the Deomorian Wood – and peered at it closely. “Just waiting to peck out our brains, they are.”

His companions looked on, bemused. “I told you we shouldn’t have let him take two shifts at watch in a row last night,” the bard muttered to the mage. “Especially after all of us stayed up through the first shift of the night.”

The mage sighed.

Suddenly, the warrior shot up, pointing at a spot some two hundred feet from where they stood. “See, there’s another one! Oh, curses – they have the groundhogs on their side.” He turned to his companions, eyes bleary. “It’s been nice knowing you, mates. We’re done for.”

The other two exchanged a glance. “How about lunch?” the mage offered, already shifting his bag off his shoulder. “I think we all need a rest.”

Giving the warrior a sideways glance, the bard sunk to the ground in a crosslegged position, not even bothering to step off the path. “Agreed.”

Though he continued to throw suspicious glares over his shoulder, the warrior sat down next to the bard and took a swig from the canteen in his satchel.

The mage situated himself on the ground across from the other two, creating a rather lopsided triangle. He threw his bag in the center and opened its flap, revealing enough food for a veritable feast. There were apples of red and green and gold, biscuits that looked as soft as the day they’d been made, juicy blackberries, some sort of dried jerky, and –

“Chocolate!” the warrior exclaimed, diving for the wrapped package. He had perked up at the sight of all the food, forgetting – if only temporarily – about the sparrows and groundhogs. Looking up at the mage and cradling the precious treat to his chest, he asked, “Have I ever told you that you’re my favorite?”

The bard laughed, grabbing a few pieces of jerky. “That’s harsh.”

Already shoving chocolate in his mouth, the warrior managed to spit out, “Ah, come on, man. It’s not you. It’s actually not me, either.” He gestured to his mouth. “It’s the chocolate.”

The three companions inhaled their food, not having enough patience to pace themselves. It was all too delicious, and they hadn’t eaten anything since they’d woken up that morning. Afterwards, the three were very full but content, much more relaxed than before.

Until the warrior’s eyes went wide, staring across the remaining mile of grasslands and into the shadows of the trees. He tried to scramble onto his knees in order to better see over the tall grass, but nearly lost his balance in the attempt.

Brow furrowed, the mage looked at him with concern. “What’s wrong?” Both he and the bard knew that whatever the warrior was seeing was likely a figment of his imagination, but there was such a look of concern on the warrior’s face that he couldn’t help but ask.

“I know you’re not going to believe me,” the warrior said. “But do you remember that giant, viking-raider-looking guy we drove out of a village last week?”

Nods from his companions.

“Yeah, well, he’s coming out of the woods up ahead and he doesn’t look too happy.”

The Beginning of Something . . . Sketchy – Part 2

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By: tiarshuspendragon

The top beaver took off the hat that had been somehow obscuring his whiskered face, then said, “I know you’re not here to catch up, Imelda. So, what drove you to visit the Bruxtan brothers?”

“Certainly not the weather down here, ” the woman said, fixing her hair with the aid of a half mirror hanging beside the door. “I swear, I can feel my hair curling in this wretched humidity.”

The bottom beaver tapped his finger on an imaginary watch. “You had better not be here just to waste our time. We have a client who needs us to be out in the main lobby, monitoring a guest.”

Putting a last stray strand of hair back into place, Imelda turned back to the beaver. “There’s a job.”

“There’s always a job,” the top beaver snorted. “A guy just has to know where to look.”

“This one is special.”

The brothers would have laughed if someone had told them that under normal circumstances; laughed and walked away. But this was Imelda talking, and she’d been in the business for what – 25, 30 years? She was as much of a professional as one could get, her reputation spotless in all the right places.

“Special?” The middle brother repeated.

The woman brushed a bit of lint off one of her tidy gloves as if she were talking to them over tea. “Hapsfeld sent me.”

There was a sudden moment of absolute silence in the room – music could be heard from the lobby, slight strains slipping beneath the door.

Finally, the top brother managed to say, “No, Hapsfeld’s dead. He died five years ago.”

Imelda shrugged. “I believed the same. But he isn’t. He didn’t.” She bent over and slipped off her shoe, pulled the folded up piece of paper from its place at the bottom. The woman handed the paper to the top beaver and crossed her arms. “And there’s your proof.”

The beaver looked down at the paper with suspicion written all over his face. His eyes grew wide as he unfolded it and stared at its contents; then he passed it down to his brothers, who gaped at it in awe. The bottom brother folded the paper back up again before handing it back to the woman and asking, “So he’s back in the business?”

“Oh yes,” Imelda replied, slipping the paper back under her foot. “And he’s ready to challenge the chain of command.”

That put an eager gleam in the eyes of the brothers. The middle one asked, “He wants us for this job, then?”

“Your names were among the first on the list. But I don’t have the authority to give you any more information than that.”

After a moment of deliberation, the top brother announced, “We’ll take the offer. Our current job isn’t worth half as much as Hapsfeld’s is gonna be. We want in.”

Imelda gave a thin-lipped smile. “Good. I didn’t think you three would take much convincing. You’re all intelligent beings. Now, if you’re ready . . . let’s go retrieve the others.”

The Beginning of Something . . . Sketchy – Part One

slam-gala13-4

By: Tiarshuspendragon

The woman with the knife hidden under her skirt and the folded square of paper in the sole of her shoe had short blonde hair, cut at a sharp angle. Of course, blonde covers such a variety of shades that to simply describe her hair as blond would not create a decent mental picture. To be more specific, her locks were the color of a field of dry grass, brittle from the summer’s heat. The words dry and brittle would be equally as effective in describing how she presented herself, from the purse of her lips to her ramrod straight posture. She slid through the doors of the museum and into the middle of the gala without so much as a glance from security. It was easy to slip in among the other attendees, as long as one was dressed to the nines and looked the same as the rest.

A quick stop to chat with a few women in sparkling dresses and down a glass of water snagged from a passing waiter. There was no point in rushing, so she wandered about as if she’d known these people for years and actually cared about whatever reason for which the gala had been thrown. After a few passes around the lobby, she spotted who she’d been looking for, a figure half in the shadows by a grand fountain gilt with gold. He wore a dark jacket and was speaking with a man who wore an air of self importance that fit him more snugly than the waistcoat that stretched across his sizable middle. The woman waited, patient as ever, until the rotund man departed, having caught sight of a young woman bedecked in jewelry of silver and platinum. Once her person of interest was alone, she delicately picked her way through the crowd toward him.”Quite a lavish gala, isn’t it?” She asked, in lieu of an introduction. “A beautiful venue in a beautiful city.”

He responded, “Yes, but the weather here has been a bit chilly.”

The statement was utterly false – it was the middle of the summer, the temperature in the mid-nineties – but it told her that he knew who she was. A password of sorts.

“I’ve heard from some of the other guests that it is cooler in the other rooms,” the woman said, inclining her head toward a door not five feet away. “Shall we?”

The man started to protest, craning his neck to follow the form of the waistcoated man he’d been speaking to before. Even so, she pulled the man in the dark coat into an empty room, away from the noise and heat of the few hundred other party goers; most importantly, away from the few that were bound to nose about in what didn’t concern them. The woman shut the door firmly, then turned about, her demeanor abruptly changing from one who considers themselves small and beneath notice to that of someone confident in their own abilities. “You can drop the cover now,” she said in a clipped tone.

The man shrugged off his coat and hung it over the back of a chair – revealing three beavers, each standing upon the shoulders of the one below.

The Captain Loves Fresh Maple Syrup (And Other Such Random Facts)

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I had quite a bit of fun writing all my vocabulary sentences last month, so here I am again to plague you with ridiculous tidbits about the beloved crew of Captain Timberwolf. (Note: He has had multiple crews, as I may have mentioned in another post – a crew of squirrels some amount of years ago, and currently, a human crew.)

Root Word: ag             Meaning: to do

Though Captain Timberwolf had nothing on his agenda except “gloat among glittery hordes of stolen booty”, he claimed he was busy in order to avoid seeing his rival, Captain Kincade.

No one is sure what exactly Captain Timberwolf did to agitate the lovely Captain Kincade quite so much; but then again, knowing Timberwolf, he was likely just being himself.

Terrified that agents of rival pirate captains would attack him in his sleep, Captain Timberwolf made sure that there were squirrel guards patrolling the ship every night.

Captain Timberwolf had very little agricultural experience, having spent 39 of his 45 years on the sea, but his crew of squirrels had plenty of knowledge in that area (especially on the farming of nuts.)

Root Word: sat            Meaning: enough

Even after copious raids on mansions and palaces bordering the sea, Captain Timberwolf’s lust for fresh Canadian maple syrup was not satisfied.

One pirate’s insatiable desire to pet one of the squirrels from Captain Timberwolf’s crew led to his contraction of squirrelvy, the rodent counterpart of the better known scurvy.

Unfortunately, there were not enough squirrels for Captain Timberwolf to sate his desire for a crew composed entirely of the cuddly little buggers.

The squirrels may have looked scrawny, saturated in salt water as they were, but they were more than capable of taking pirates down with their sick squirrel-fu skills.

Root Word: chron     Meaning: time

Timberwolf’s present crew, in chronological order of when he acquired them, is composed of the following eight characters: Red, Algreve, the brothers Silas and Danny, Gunnar, Angel, Maldir, and finally, the newbie, Theo.

It was a tragedy when the pirate with several chronic illnesses was abandoned on the deserted island.

Theo was the one chosen to chronicle the events surrounding Captain Timberwolf’s disappearance, as the only others who wanted to do so – Gunnar and Danny – were denied the honor on account of Gunnar being illiterate and Danny tending to throw in his own made up words.

There was synchronized screaming from the crew when Captain Timberwolf announced that they would be doing team bonding activities.

Root Word: mal        Meaning: bad or evil

Red felt that he was being watched, and he turned around to find a baby crocodile, newly hatched from its egg, staring at him maliciously.

The rest of the crew happened to fall ill to a vicious malady on the day of Silas’ ship-wide shopping spree.

Algreve hadn’t gotten sick in ages, so when he finally caught a cold, he claimed it was a malignant disease slowly sapping the life out of him.

Silas gave his younger brother a malevolent glare when Danny tracked mud onto the Persian rug in the captain’s cabin.

Root Word: para       Meaning: alongside or beside

Theo told stories of many strange creatures, but his favorite was the shapeshifter – it was a paradox, something that could always be counted on to change.

Algreve’s attempt to steer the dinghy parallel to the main vessel resulted in a gaping hole in the cargo hold.

To dissuade pirates from abandoning ship, every captain made sure to tell parables about carnivorous snakes who would devour disloyal sailors.

Theo, as the ship’s storyteller, told tales of paranormal events that left several of his crewmates shivering, though it was quite hot outside.

 

More Pirates! (Yes, More Pirates, Don’t Look at Me Like That)

Pirates

In English, we have weekly root words as a warm up, and for every day of the week we learn a new word that comes from the root. My classmates and I are given an example sentence, the definition and function of the word as used in the sentence, and then are asked to make a sentence of our own. Though many of them don’t make much sense (and some can hardly be considered to be sentences), I’ve quite enjoyed writing them. All of them have something to do with pirates, whether being about the life of a pirate in general or about a specific character (mainly Red and Algreve, who you might recognize from other bits and pieces I’ve written), but I don’t think anyone in my class has realized that yet. Perhaps they will after a few more months.

Root Word: circ              Meaning: around

Though they gave it a valiant effort, Red and Algreve could do no more than steer the dinghy in circles.

Maldir attempted to have the rest of the crew circumvent San Salvador’s scarves so as not to lose Silas to the siren’s call of shopping.

Root Word: dem            Meaning: people

“This is not a democracy,” Captain Timberwolf thundered, “so if I say to jump off the boat so I can replace you scallywags with squirrels – the noble rodents – then you. Will. Jump. Off!”

The demographics of the Pirate Alliance were constantly changing, given that treasure was constantly being stolen and lost, new pirates were always joining, and generally, several members a week would die.

“See, look, that’s why Silas is a great first mate – he’s not some demagogue, tryin’ to get us all tremblin’ in our knickers ’til we run to him like he’s our mummy.”

Captain Timberwolf had two other crews before his present one – one crew was abandoned off the coast of Africa in favor of a group of squirrels; the squirrels were tossed overboard after they attempted to democratize the ship.

Root Word: carn             Meaning: flesh

In order to avoid further carnage in the case of the Patsy’s Pretzels situation, Silas promised Algreve that he could have a cinnamon pretzel as soon as they got back to the ship.

“No, Al, those sirens aren’t carnivorous, I mean, the size of their teeth simply isn’t – well, maybe . . . but there’s no evidence of – oh, those are human bones aren’t they . . . but you can’t say for sure that those are human, necessarily – oh shoot, Alwatchoutit’sgonnaeatyou!”

The carnage at Patsy’s Pretzel Stand were a direct result of Algreve’s carnal desire for sweet, sweet cinnamon  sugar pretzels and the lack of said pretzels.

“Wow,” Algreve laughed, “Red made you out to be awesomeness incarnate, but you’re actually pretty lame.”

Root Word: flu                 Meaning: In a constant state of motion

The influx of vengeful patrons from the Slimy Serpent into the Alabaster Anchor, on top of the enraged crew of Captain Halloway, was enough to make Red want to run away and become a shepherd.

Algreve’s emotions fluctuate from disgruntlement to disgust to rage to violent happiness quite frequently.

It is rather difficult to become fluent in the special language of pirates, considering it mainly consists of various grunts, swear words, and the ever popular “arrr”.

Once one becomes a pirate, it does not take a great deal of time to figure that the affluent captains tend to control most of the politics.

 

The Pirates Vs. New Year’s Resolutions: Part One

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One night, about a month into the new year, the entirety of Timberwolf’s crew was warming themselves around a fireplace set in the corner of the Belligerent Beluga when Silas began, “So I was thinking . . .”

Algreve, whose sockless and shoeless feet were propped up on the stone mantle, cut him off. “Knowing you, I won’t like whatever it is you’re thinking.”

Red shushed him, smacking him with one of the thick woolen gloves he’d gotten as a winter solstice gift.

Pausing briefly to roll his eyes overdramatically at Al – the motion clearly saying it didn’t matter what Algreve thought, he was going to say it anyway – Silas continued. “Well, when we were younger, Danny and I had this tradition of choosing something in the beginning of the year that we could try to improve on.”

“A New Year’s Resolution!” Theo grinned. “Yeah, my family did those. Most people in our area did.”

“Exactly,” Silas said, gesturing to Theo. “You just pick something you want to work on, like having more patience with people,” he glared at Algreve, “something that would make you a better you.”

“So you want us all to make these resolutions?” Gunnar asked, rubbing the ginger stubble on his chin.

“I think it would be good for us.” Silas glanced around at his crewmates. “And sharing something personal is a good way to bring us all together. It’ll get us to trust each other with our hopes and dreams, who we are and who we want to be.”

Algreve groaned loudly. “Not team bonding. Please, not team bonding.” He jumped to the side before Red could smack him again.

The crew erupted into chatter, all discussing the prospect of this new activity. Some (Theo, Red, and Silas, obviously) seemed to like it, while others (Algreve, Gunnar, and Daniel) did not, but no one could come to any sort of decision until Maldir called out, “Hey! Angel has something to say.”

Everyone quieted down as the mute boy took the stage. Obviously preferring at that time to write his comment rather than sign it, he held out a scrap of paper covered in neat, round handwriting. Maldir accepted it and read it aloud.

“I think we should all give it a try. Silas is right, it would bring us closer together. And while some may think that an unsavory idea, I do not.” Maldir folded the paper neatly in two and passed it back to Angel. “I agree with him. We may be pirates, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t want to make ourselves better.”

“Aye!” Theo shouted, saluting him with a half full mug of hot cocoa.

It was obvious that Algreve was still unconvinced, but Daniel and Gunnar seemed more accepting of the idea. Silas, always wanting to keep things fair, said, “Okay, let’s put it to a vote. All those who say yea?”

Seven out of eight pirates raised their hands.

“All those who say nay?”

Algreve raised both of his arms. And both of his legs. Red pushed him over, taking advantage of his unbalanced state, and he fell over on his side onto the cloth cushioned bench.

“That’s settled, then.” Silas clapped his hands together once. “Your task is to figure out a resolution for this year. We’ll share them tomorrow evening, when we come back together to eat.”

Gunnar frowned. “Tomorrow night’s the dinner with Kincade and her crew.”

Silas raised an eyebrow. “And?”

“Well, we can’t very well spout out our heart’s desires in front of all Kincade’s lasses,” Algreve growled, sitting up. “It’d be utterly humiliating. A sign of weakness.”

Theo’s eyes narrowed slightly. “I have to say I disagree with that statement. Speaking as a storyteller, people quite like when you put a bit of your own emotions into things. It can be more entertaining and easier to relate to.” He smirked. “Not to mention that girls seem to have a thing for deep guys who share their feelings.”

Algreve’s face stayed sour. Red nudged him teasingly with his shoulder. “You might as well admit defeat.”

With a great sigh, Algreve threw up his hands. “Fine. Let’s do this thing.”