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Monday, April 14, 2008

The Never Ending Blog - Gary Gigax Tribute: Sword of the Three Souls - Page 5

For the guys of Saphrym, Woobie, AhKong and Kenny, I haven’t done anything D&D before so I hope I did justice. For myself, I’m going to integrate this with a CGSociety image as part of my Weekend Images so this was a great idea.

Thanks for the tag!

Sword of the Three Souls
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Small winter drafts swirled around his boots, playing the leather straps. The uncomfortable cold was no serious discomfort to Serol. He had been in worse chills but it was not part of his legendary invincibility to make one’s self catch a cold, unless it was for a really good, albeit mystical, reasons.

The white forest seemed endless. Frost on branches and snow underfoot. It was a return to monotony after his brush with the Cyclops patrol. There had not been any more attacks since he sliced those five like warm butter.

“Vanguard group, that’s what they are,” commented his metallic companion.
“Were,” Serol corrected him. His throat felt dry and sore.
“Were,” said the sword.

Serol continued onwards, thinking his previous survivalist thoughts when it occurred to him on something he had not yet noticed about the sword. Something, though in the world of incantations and miasma of spell casting, would have been perfectly ordinarily magical, but still uncomforting to Serol. Descriptively, he continued his pace through the uncharted woods.

Only descriptively.
“Tharg?” asked Serol, quietly.
“Yes, boss?” answered the sword.
Serol was silent for a moment, to collect his thoughts. And to avoid any peeking roots or boles on the ground, lest he might trip himself in the discovery of his suspicions.

Tharg. said Serol. In his thoughts.
-I heard you the first time, boss. What is it? The returned quip, coloured with sarcasm, also radiated through the warrior’s mind.

That stopped him cold. Literally speaking, as though he avoided uproots, he nearly slipped into an ankle deep drift of snow.
“Psionics?” asked Serol loudly.
He reached to his back and pulled out the sword from the scabbard. In the fading sunset between the bare icy branches of the forest, the blade’s edge winked with pinpricks of red light.

“Er, surprise?” Tharg commented with a hint of fretfulness.
“You communicate through mind-reading too?”
“Well, it’s not like we’re going to discuss the weather or tomorrow’s stew or anything.”
“You spoke to me just now. I heard it with my ears. Why didn’t you do that earlier?”
“Bah, please. If I could do psionics with every Jack-Knife and Slaying-Sally I’m passed on with through the woods, having the gift of speech would have been pretty redundant.”
Serol smirked.
“Thus, you talk only to draw attention?”

If the sword had a tongue, it would probably be sticking it out at him in a very juvenile manner. Serol continued his paces through the forest as he listened to Tharg’s chatter.
“Well, the Cyclops group that had captured me, they were not much of conversationalists; intelligent conversation at any least. I’ve spent most of these captive years singing children songs in grunting noises to placate them from possible sword-worthy destruction.”
“I have this immense fear of them sticking me into a heavy solid rock and then tossing me into the briny deep of a bottomless lake.”
Serol chuckled. “No, I guess I wouldn’t want be in that position either.”
“It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew the lake might have a Queen of Nymphs to keep me company, but that’s asking too much, isn’t it?”

The warrior’s lips curled subtlety at its ends. But then his expression turn annoyed when he realized that the sword had effectively turned him away from the original subject.
“Hey, why didn’t you do psionics before?”
The sword sighed. “It... it’s not a skill I can use unless I have a wielder.”
“That’s ‘I’.”
“That’s ‘I’. Grammatically, you should address yourself as with ‘I’, not ‘Me’.”
The warrior blinked in confusion at the many changes of subjects. “I think I’m losing you, Tharg.”
“No you’re not, I’m strapped to your back. You do how to wield a sword, right? Let’s practice. Just use your good arm and raise it over your-“
It was going nowhere, other than grating like granite blocks on the warrior’s temper.
Tharg! thought Serol with all the loudness a mind can muster.
-Boss? the answer sounded weak.

Silence filled the forest. Only the crunching of packed snow and rotten twigs under every step of Serol’s boots.

You only do psionics with I? thought Serol.
-That’s right. You’ve wielded me. I couldn’t exchange minds with you back then. It was only after you used True Strike spell and drove me into that Cyclops’s skull.
So now I’m your wielder?
-Right, boss. I mean, I can hardly keep shouting vocally on weak points while you’re hacking the enemy, can’t I? It’ll be like, ‘hit, hit, hit, die, c’mon die already!’ and of such like that.

His better humour restored, Serol contemplated the steep hillock before him, thinking of ways to maneuver up between the hidden net of thick roots and ice-crusted branches. It was almost a vertical wall of roots and packed earth of ice and stones. But it was not too high, only some 15 feet by his eye’s estimate. He could climb it more easily if he possessed a pickaxe.

He reached behind him and grabbed the hilt of Tharg.
Aye, there’s the rub he thought.
But no sooner he finished that thought, his gloved finger curled around the hilt, that something flashed his vision. It was as sudden as a lightning flash and equally sharp bright.

The vision beheld to him was that of an armed being, human or something resembling human. It’s armor was a mix of something beauty and something hideous, with a skull of an animal adorning the shoulders. He wore a crown of jagged spines, securing sleek ghost-white hair that framed a face of pure malice.

And that being held a sword in his hand, glowing with the colour of brimstone, the intricate engravings on the blade stood out clearly.

It shook Serol so much, that sudden blinding vision, that it was some moments before he realized that Tharg was calling out to him aloud.
“Serol? Hey, Serol?”
Serol linked his lips. The frosty air had made them dry but his stomach felt like something wet and slimy was crawling inside.

Realizing that he still gripped the hilt of the sword over his shoulder, he slowly drew it out and looked at the weapon.
“Um, yea-“ he cleared his throat and tried for composure, “Yes, Tharg?”
“Are you feeling well? You looked like you got gas or something.”
“Yea. Or something?” Serol echoed.

His eyes brushed briefly on the sword; daring not to stare too long less it might invoke that something. Or new things. Tharg, the Sword of the Three Souls, looked very little like that sword held by that ... creature. Tharg did not posses the same hilt or the engravings even though it was of similar shape and length.

A vision of the past or a prophecy of the future?

“Look, Serol, if you’re feeling unwell, maybe we can take a break?” asked Tharg attentively.
Lowering the sword, Serol shook his head. He returned to his previous object of study; the steep hillock.
“No, let’s keep moving. There’s something I need you to check for me for a minute.”
He walked away from the hillock, Tharg in hand, to a near-by clearing a few steps away, with very few trees in the way of his sight to the sky.

Then he swung the sword and tossed it as high above his head as his good arm could heave without injuring himself. The sword flew straight up into the sky before gravity reversed its direction and toward descent. The sword sank into the snow close to Serol as it fell; the hard ground was too packed for the blade to sink upright.

The warrior bend over the sword and picked it up.
“What did you see over the hillock?” he asked.
“Ooo, a settlement, boss. Not more than two miles away. Looks like a port village judging by that big river. Are we going there?”
“It depends. Are there boats? Sailboats specifically.”
“Maybe one or two of them had sails but they don’t really look like ferries to me.”

Serol slid the sword back into its hilt.
“We’ll take our chances. That river village should help us get to one of the main ports that lead to Skyloon. And we need to stock up on supplies if more Cyclop patrols are coming after us.”
Serol jiggled the smaller treasures in his satchel; gold he had plundered while retrieving the Sword of the Three Souls.

He contemplated the hillock again and instead of adventuring towards it, he took a bordering route. The woods ahead looked less dense but much rockier. It’ll be a pain to walk though but Serol pressed on.
“By the way, boss,” said Tharg.
“That was really scary of you to do that just now. I don’t think I’m cut out for real unexpected high-flying.”
“Sorry about that,” shrugged Serol absently.
“I mean, I’ll do it no problem, being almost indestructible and all, but a forehand warning is much appreciated.” The sword sounded sulky.

But Serol just quietly muttered,
“The feeling is mutual.”


Yay, thanks for reading! The next writer I tag is... Actually, I don’t know who to tag to. Haven’t been blog-hopping many writers recently. Please, please, do you know anyone who would continue this? This story seem to be getting pretty good.

Photos: Inner Voices on Out-of-Blog Living

: Aaaaacccckkkk!!!
: Now what?
: I’ve missed blogging here. *sob!*
: So? Why the screaming? Unless a nuclear virus had struck Blogspot, the blog’s not going anywhere.
: Yeah, but what is a blog is not to capture living experience in words for all to share?
: Don’t go poetry on me, Horny-Head. I’m trying to keep real life focused in my head and you’re crowding with junk.
: Alas! Poor Quickening! I knew her, Baddie. A girl of infinite jest and excellent drama-cy.
: Drama-cy? English bard, you are not.
: You rather go Yoda?
: If I could write my assignment reports in Star Wars’ Jar Jar Binks, I’ll be done in 15 minutes.
: Oooo, meesa writes bad fishy Jedi speak!
: Oh, go screw a fish.
: Speak for yourself. Oh wait, you ARE me. Bad mood today, aren’t I?
: Effect is the cause of bad Jedi speak and feeling so very, very tired from doing homework.
: You still got assignments E-doc and Java programming. Bummer.
: Yeah and I’ll need to see an Academic Advisor soon.
: How come?
: Well, since I’ve finished that thesis report last Wednesday, I want to do Part 02 next semester.
: Next semester is the short semester. Think you can do it, all that graphic and courseware design?
: As long as it’s the only subject I’ll be taking (4 credit hours), I know I can manage.
: But that subject is not recommended for short semester.
: Hence, looking for the Academic Advisor. Then the Supervisor and the Project Moderator.
: You’re trying to finish everything this year, right?
: I want to take my convocation in 2009, no longer than that. Besides, I don’t have any more subjects to take. What else can I do in the empty weeks of the short semester?
: Cuti-cuti Malaysia?
: *WHAM!*

Alamak, flat tyre!

No really, Ayah, I can do it myself-ler...

: Okay, aside from metaphorically hitting yourself, what’s with the photo?
: I was bored.
: So you took pictures of your dad changing your car’s flat tyre?
: I like work. It fascinates me. I could watch it all day.
: Ayah changing the Proton tyre is hardly Broadway exhibition.
: Who cares? I had wanted to do it myself but Ayah loves the car more than me so he was afraid I might hurt it.
: Once a car salesman, always a car salesman.
: Amen.

Was at the school’s balcony. They’re having a 10th year anniversary festival.

Guess who came to play the guest of honour.

Gee, the Jalur Gemilang blue jumpsuit must have been a clue.

: Don’t you think it’s odd that you seem to be the only student who enjoys sitting alone under the hot sun at the top of the school’s balcony?
: Call it what you will. Preferred isolation, peaceful viewing, catching cooling natural wind, extra vitamin D after all that PC sitting hours,-
: Influenced by Japanese anime schoolgirls?
: That’s a matter of opinion.
: Can’t hide the truth from me, sweetie. Passing over your love of solitary moments, what’s with the white tents on the school’s car parks?
: Why are you asking all these questions?
: I’m playing dumb funny so I can be serious genius when I need to do homework.
: Dumb, yes. Funny? Questionable.
: Haha, hoho. Oh, my ribs. Stop before you make me puke.
: School was having a 10th anniversary day and Dr. Sheik Mohd Shukor was the guest of honour.
: The Malaysian astronaut? You had a major, major crush on him once.
: Did not!
: Did too.
: No, you’re imagining things. He’s too much a celebrity than what’s good for him.
: You had his smiling picture as your desktop wallpaper for all the months he was in Russia.
: Well, that was long over. He’s getting redundant. Time will tell if he made any real progress to any local astronaut training in the future.
: Is that why you braved the crowds to snap pictures of his boyish good looks? And you don’t even like large crowds.
: ...

Patchy sleeps. Empty suitcases have this nice hammock thing he likes.

Original Turkish salami. Should be enough to last two months.

The most beautiful souvenir of all. And damn heavy.

: All the stuff had been unpacked, huh?
: Yeah. Mak and Ayah are doing the neighbourhood rounds, giving off presents to their old friends.
: Because said old friends gave them presents in their gallivanting trips.
: Impress to be impressed, that’s their freaky motto.
: Heh. And I can’t complaint.
: Yeah, check out the new ceiling fixture.
: Pure crystal?
: Pure crystal. This thing would have cost about RM 2000+ in the local chandelier shops.
: But they got it at RM600 in Iran.
: Yeah, and it wasn’t too difficult to put it up too.
: And it’s no small pretty balls hanging there. That thing took up an entire suitcase.
: Yeah, Mak had to buy a new Iranian suitcase to carry new Iranian chandelier.
: There was an even bigger one that Ayah wanted.
: He’ll probably chase after it in his next Middle East field trip.
: Oh yeah, there was a minor security scare at KLIA, wasn’t it?
: Yeah. X-ray machine scans their bags to see big round balls.
: Crystal show up as solids in the x-ray. Made the guards think of grenades.
: Well, they were coming in from Iran, of all places.
: Hehehe.
: But hey! Gave Ayah a reason to show off the chandeliers to the airport security.
: Hope we have enough wall lights to accommodate any more.
: Still, it IS very pretty. And you won’t see them in any other house for miles.
: Oh.
: What’s wish the ‘oh’? You sound dispirited all of a sudden.
: That means neighbors wants to come over and see the fixture right?
: Duh.
: Crap, more crowds.

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