Skip to main content


A Lady's Prerogative: Sanata Claws And His Helves - FINISHED or is it?

Please support the local Building Better Schools . If this were a movie or streaming holiday special, this would be the opening music... Four Years Ago... [Thank you for using the Google Holiday Blogger Template. Please Insert An Appropriately Themed Cliché Holiday Story Introduction HERE] Once upon a time, there were three little girls, each of whom grew up in different homes and under very different circumstances. There was Nelony. In a tiny back split, detached home, in suburban London. She was a little blonde-haired girl whose favourite place was the garden greenhouse kept by her successful post-sixties musician parents. Except for her parents' greenhouse cannabis plot, Nelony would look after the garden balance of the  entire  ecosystem within, maintaining the harmonious growth of the plants, and the animals who'd often care for the garden in her absence.  Her parents, though responsible adults, were literally bead loving pot smoking hippies still caught in the delusion of

Fiction: The Legendary Of Xarn by Brian Joseph Johns

Latest Update: Saturday October 13, 2018 5:00 PM

Dedicated to the many days and nights of play as both a Dungeon Master and a Player Character in the pen and paper and digital versions of the game by TSR and Wizards Of The Coast: Advanced Dungeons And Dragons. By the way, where's our Willow reboot or sequel?

Dungeons and Dragons is like a school for learning the art of spontaneous creation and creative thinking. Both on a personal level and on a social level for both Dungeon Masters and Players alike who both must navigate the real world and the wonderful complexities of reality. Role playing is an impossible experience to describe. It has to be experienced to be understood and still one would fail to understand it completely and upon failing as such perhaps miss the opportunity to learn therefrom, to and by. For Women, Men and any Gender to come.

The Legendary Of Xarn

It was a dark evening and as much a dark place for that matter. The wind gathered the dust into vortices dropping grains of dirt onto any out travelling on that night. The trails and roads of the lands were rarely traveled by the inexperienced. The most courageous or foolish would be the few who dared, though one could often be mistaken for the other, their only distinguishing featuring being the duration preceding their expiration. 

Some might have claimed in optimism that the Merchant Guard would preserve and protect, though even their reach was not far beyond the gates as most would prefer to believe. Beyond those gates and into the wilds, there only existed darkness and predators. Even the fiercest of predators had their own, with this cruel pyramidal hierarchy built on the backs of the docile. This was the way of life all throughout the world of Xarn. Beyond the gates of any civilized settlement, you were on your own, either predator or prey or both.

The Plains of Harthgog fell beyond the gated farming communities on the outskirts of the city and the Canetes Lordship Keep. Beyond the plains were the Forests of Rigathsha, named for the ancient protector of the wilds who'd passed on centuries earlier during the War Of The Bones. There were the Tagrishan Peaks, the mountainous region beyond both the plains and the forest. This region was home to some of the larger and more dangerous of creatures in Xarn though they seldom left the range and only then, in order to pursue the smaller prey of the wilds, for a quick meal or tasty snack. 

On the other side of the mountains was the Vast of the Dry, an aptly named desert which stretched for leagues. Then on past that were the Droons, a volcanic quagmire of molten rock that only a handful of travelers had seen with their own eyes. Far beyond the Droons was the coast and the Aspen Sea between which lay the tropical jungle of Kanar which was host to a variety of species both dangerous and docile. The Aspen coast settlements were scattered along a trade route that had existed for the ages. 

Most travelers along the coast would only travel with hired guard and never at night. Those who did brave the darkness almost always were never seen or heard from again. Ending up in the stomach of one of the many predators or consumed by horrors beyond the realm of the natural and the living. The kinds of things studied by the Keepers of Sagecraft and Aether Weavers.

The regions beyond the known world had nay been traveled or mapped for that matter. Those valiant few who had tried had never returned, leaving the civilized Kingdom with only myths and nightmares of what could possibly lie beyond.

The warm nights of the season of Meru was upon them, and would be as so for another three moons. Many of the farmers had in the prior moon tilled and filled their land with the crop bearing seeds they would harvest a few moons on. The Meru market merchants had cleaned their stalls and were preparing for another positively profitable season. The Merchant Guard Barracks had once again begun their training drills under the setting sun, boosting the confidence of many to stride beyond the Keep's walled gates. The archers were perched atop the walls in their garrisons giving them a league's view of the land around them. It was under their ever watchful view that children were returning from their venture out into the fields surrounding the Lordship's Keep where they had chased butterflies and wallowed in the flowers of the field during the day. 

As the night approached, the two taverns slowly filled with off duty guards, farmers, merchants, mercenaries and travelers, all seeking to throw off a bit of steam with a tankard of ale. Each tavern's residents would gossip about the other's in a friendly competition that would occasionally get out of hand whenever a regular customer from one of the taverns would make the mistake of going to the other. The order between them kept only by the mysterious Bladed Vag's Guild. A secretive organization in a constant struggle with similar such guilds as the Lords of the Keep, the Merchant's Guild, the Crown Defenders, the Sages Of Bahn and the Weave Wrights.

It was upon this night that five travelers strode the road having just emerged from the Forests of Rigathsha. They'd traveled far to reach a similar keep, much like that of the Canetes Lordship though its occupants were much different by nearly any measure. Its walls were constructed entirely of hardwood, drawn from treescut directly from the Rigathsha Forest. During the day no children would be found playing outside of this keep as its residents had none. There too were the ranged guard upon the walls who instead of bows were armed with deadly hooked javelins. They watched carefully and on their guard as the travelers approached the gate. Even with the onset of night the Keep's denizens could see nearly as clearly as if it were day.

The first of these travelers strode in front and boldly so whistling a tune as he did. His hand resting upon the pommel of his sword which sat comfortably in its sheath. His features were hidden by a cowl and cloak that also covered the scale armor he wore beneath. Beside him a much larger and powerful man loomed keeping his vision leveled on the approaching gate. He too wore a cloak which concealed his armor beneath, a large two handed hammer slung across his back. Across from him was a smaller figure both in height and breadth. He too wore a cloak like the others and both his hands bore a wealth of rings of various color and size. He looked around keeping a steady eye on both the path before them and to their sides. Behind these three were two women, one with long and beautiful golden red hair that crept out from beneath her helmet. She bore a long bladed sword, her body protected by dark banded armour. Beside her the other lady was struggling, carrying a large sack that clanked with every step, as if filled with metal cookware. Her features were quaint and subtly beautiful as well though her hair was a little shorter and darker. Perhaps as if through some lack of confidence she tried to appear as inadequate as she felt. Too distracted to concern herself with her esteem, she tried with little luck to keep the contents of the sack from their clanging.

"You missed a verse." the man with the rings said to the one whistling.

"Nonsense." the whistler stopped long enough to speak before continuing his tune. 

"You did. It goes: to the wealth of the land and the wing of the feather, Magravarta made a stand and the kingdom came together... You missed that part." the man of many rings corrected the whistler.

"Well that's not how we sing it in Velshald." the whistler stopped once again only long enough to speak before continuing to whistle, though at a much quicker and aggravated tempo.

"Are we almost there yet? This load is far too much for us." the lady of golden red hair spoke.

"Yeah. And why did we have to carry this anyway? Aren't we supposed to have a mule or something?" the short haired lady spoke.

"We do have mules. Two of them and far prettier I'd have to say!" the man with the rings spoke.

"Watch it or you're going to be eating this sack of loot." the sack carrier replied.

"Shhhush! Quiet. We're here. Follow my lead and you'll all live long enough to spend our reward." the whistler told them.

They'd arrived at the gates to the keep where two Gollucks stood guard. Gollucks were muscular humanoids with a trio of horns extending from their head. They were barely clever enough to wield weapons and armor and even to build keeps but not beyond that. They stood sneering at the group before one of them spoke.

"Shajkuck kuck nook SHrrrack!" it yelled up to the parapet.

"Kral dack shuck kuck KKuck!" another yelled down from above.

A moment later and the five travelers heard the sound of a crank and wynch turning, and the gates to the keep opened to reveal a larger more elaborately dressed Golluck. It was bracketed on either side by larger guards whose gauntlet covered hands rested upon the pommels of their weapons. As a group, they approached the five travelers stepping boldly out through the gate to meet them. It was the elaborately dressed Golluck who spoke first.

"You have traveled a long way for her. I knew you would when I smelled her. She smelled noble blood. Her hands unscathed as if she'd never worked in the fields or the mines. She smells... rich. Like lots and lots of coin. Her guards were a tasty meal for me and my men," the elaborately dressed Golluck spoke in their tongue.

"You waste my time with idle talk, Wark. I brought what you asked for," the whistling man spoke in a harsh tone.

"Watch your tongue! Let me have a see of it little man, or this deal will sour and you'll be our next meal," the Golluck stepped closer peering down at him forebodingly.

The largest of the travelers stepped forward matching size easily with the Golluck, one hand on his hammer. The whistling man put his hand out to block his fellow traveler from intervening.

"Give her over to us first. Then you can have your prize," the whistling man told him keeping his ground.

"GKTarthshik! Mckack Tuk!" the Golluck yelled back to the Gollucks beyond the gate.

The gates slowly opened revealing the girl. She was as beautiful as the songs whose bardic lyrics spoke of her. The heir to the Canetes Lordship. The one who would ascend to the throne as leader of the civilized world in Xarn. Yet here she was, prisoner and hostage to the Gollucks. One Golluck had each of her arms, restraining her by force. She struggled against the grip of the Gollucks.

"Ahhkk! See. There she be. Alive as you can see. Now hand it over. Now!" the decorated Golluck demanded.

"Alright. Myrizar. Give it to them," the whistler turned and told the ringed man, nudging his shoulder slightly as if in code.

"Really?" Myrizar confirmed.

"Yes. Really," the whistling man confirmed.

"Ok..." Myrizar answered sounding as if he didn't agree with the whistling man's choice.

Time slowed to a crawl and Myrizar's hand shot forth and a small bubble flew forward from his hand. It slowly arced towards the ground and when it impacted it exploded to create a thunderclap of such proportions that the Gollucks were stunned, most clasping at their tiny ears in pain.

The whistling man drew his sword and a moment later the Golluck he was speaking with lay on the ground with a gaping wound to his throat. By that point the larger one of the five had drawn the two handed hammer from his back with one hand swinging it down upon one of the Golluck guards. The guard fell to the dirt, its skull crushed by the blow. They continued forth leveling guard after guard in a vicious display of combat prowess like none had ever witnessed. The whistling man's skill with a sword was truly incredible and beyond mere mastery alone.

"Here we go again." said the girl with the golden red hair rolling her eyes.

"Yeah great. More loot for us to carry. Maybe they'll make the Princess there help us." the other girl spoke.

The whistling man swung his sword bringing down the last of the guards holding the Princess.

"Milady. I am Barandan at your service. I'm here to rescue you," Barandan bowed before her.

"And what am I? I stopped most of those guards you know?" Myrizar interjected.

"I'm sorry Milady. This is my page and squire Myrizar..." Barandan was cut off.

"Page? Squire? My friend merely jests Milady. Myrizar Silverune at your service," Myrizar bowed throwing it on thick.

The lady with the long golden red hair put her finger in her mouth gagging herself.

"I cannot believe this. After making us carry your weight? Disgusting!" the other rolled her eyes.

Behind the Princess a distance away a Golluck stood atop the parapet winding up with his hooked javelin. He threw it full force at the Princess, It screamed through the air as all Golluck hooked javelins did. The large hammer bearing man reached out with one fist catching the arrow in mid flight. In the same motion he then drew a small spiked disk from his belt pouch and threw it. It flew at the Golluck who'd thrown the javelin hitting it square between the eyes. The Golluck fell dead dropping from the high wall to the ground outside of the keep with a thud.

"And I am Thendenol, Sage Of The Hammer." Thendenol offered up the javelin to her as a gift bowing.

"I am totally not going to carry this loot anymore!" the loot carrying lady stated dropping the sack, kicking it a few times in sudden frustration and anger.

"It looks like we are victorious Milady. Your freedom has been acquired and your..." from behind the Princess there arose an army of Gollucks which had come charging from the barracks where they'd been sleeping moments earlier before the skirmish.

"...your beautiful buxom should commence in flight at once!?" Barandan panicked in fear quickly grabbing one last glance of her.

There was a moment of disarray as the Gollucks charged at them.

"Wait! Wait! I'm Barandan. I'm supposed to be a brave heroic fighter of the wilds and a path guide. I wouldn't run!" yelled Dane at Trev, their games master.

"You just rolled a one! You failed the morale check. That means that you're a blubbering mass of fear on the battle field and you're fleeing. Just be thankful that you had time to yell run before you did," Trev replied.

"Is this really how every game is? What was up with making us carry all the loot? We didn't even get to use our characters." Janet asked Dane and Trev.

"Uhhhh. Its like... you know. An initiation." Dane told Janet.

"That's some initiation. Making us carry all the loot? I think you did it because we're girls." Denise came to Janet's defense.

"Look the truth is that you guys... and girls can't just start out a game like that. It's just not right." Trev told them.

"I thought my character concept was pretty good. A Sage Of The Hammer. A half Droon who'd learned gavel lore," Mick said looking over his character sheet.

"So is Myrizar Silverune. A bard acrobat. Come on? Hitting them with that Sound storm spell was priceless!" Ken put up his hand and slapped Dane's in reaction to their plan in the game.

"Look. It wasn't that the characters were bad, though it was bad of you guys making Janet and Denise carry all the loot. Come on? It was their first game. It's that you can't start out at the top. You have to begin you know... at the bottom," Trev explained.

"Why?" asked Ken.

"Because... That's the way it is. You know, like life," Trev explained. 

"Like life? You mean everyone in the world starts out broke? You mean that nobody is born into money?" Ken responded.

"This isn't about money. Its about life experience and skill. Even the person born into a family with a gazillion bucks has to learn to live and survive. They just survive under different conditions. Like the Princess. Put her in a room with a Golluck and she's dog meat. Put her in a Court in the Keep negotiating deals with other Lordships or the Merchant's Guild and she's an ace. Put Barandan or Myrizar in the same place and they'd be lost, though they'd do alright against the lone Golluck. Life experience and being on your familiar turf. You're not born at the top of your life experience. You have to start at the bottom," Trev defended his earlier statement.

Janet, Denise, Ken, Dane and Mick considered what Trev explained, ultimately unable to come up with a good argument to support them. Trev then spoke, breaking the moment's silence.

"You know, I'm a pretty good games master but I'm not the best. If we had Nelson, here... you'd see." Trev explained a little disappointed that the game hadn't worked out for everyone.

"Nelson? Nelson? He'd never play with us. He's like a legend games master. I played with him once. It was like the most complete awesome campaign I've ever played. Ever!" Mick said to them.

"I'm in his math class. I could ask him. You know. I could really ask him..." Janet told them, pouring on the charm.

"I completely love women..." Mick fell to his knees, bowing in complete awe of Janet.

"You're in Nelson's math class? Could I have a piece of your shirt? Please?" Trev said in awe grasping at her sleeve.

Janet punched Trev in the shoulder playfully.

"No. I'm serious. I could you know, ask him?" she said, needlessly flashing her long eyelashes and puckering her lips.

"You mean like a dungeon date?" Ken asked.

"As long as you promise not to make us carry loot in the next game. If you do, I'm not playing any more." Denise said drawing a big X through the inventory list on her character sheet.

"Yeah. Let us play the characters we want to be instead of giving us these pre-made ones." Janet said in negotiation.

"We thought it would help with the learning curve." Trev said.

"You mean that because we're girls, that you think that we're..." Denise began.

"Slow?" Mick answered.

"Nebish?" Ken continued.

"...Intellectually impaired?" Trev finished.

"Watch it. We're none of the above. Let us borrow the player manual until next game. You guys already know it by heart. We'll get Nelson as the games master for a whole campaign," Janet said extending her hand in preparation for a bet.

"An entire campaign with Nelson?" Mick said falling over in his chair.

Trev looked at the group who all approved. He then took Janet's hand and shook.

"You mean that I'll finally get to play as a character? It's a deal!" Trev shook her hand firmly.

"That would mean you'd be a part of our party, Trev," Ken reminded his friend Trev.

"That's going to be awesome!" Trev said very excitedly once again giving Ken a high five.

"It certainly is. I'll be able to get you back for some pretty nasty things you did as games master..." Mick responded in sarcasm.

"I'd like that Trev," Denise added, trying to keep her interest in Trev, incognito.

"Thanks Denise." Trev smiled back at her uneasily unsure of how to approach the situation.

He may have been a great games master, but he'd still had much to learn of life. More so on how to feel comfortable being himself around members of the opposite sex. Especially one that he liked.

There was a moment of awkward silence between the teens in the room as the one true struggle of adolescence suddenly became familiar.

"Alright. Consider this another chance. We'll finish this chapter tonight. If we get Nelson as games master, we'll can this campaign and start fresh in his world. Take another shot at that morale die roll," Trev offered the gamers.

Dane picked up the twenty sided die he'd cast only moments before attempting once again to beat the odds and keep his cool in the midst of the Golluck onslaught.

The die spun and tumbled for what seemed an eternity.

Moments later Barandan yelled at the top of his lungs.

"...Run!!? We're hopelessly outnumbered!!!" he cried pushing the Princess out of his way to escape.

The two ladies had dropped their loaded sacks and had made a head start down the road. Barandan who'd been sprinting like a world class athlete to escape the Gollucks tripped over one of the sacks falling to the ground. Thendenol himself running, paused long enough to pick up Barandan in his arms and throw him over his shoulder lick a sack of potatoes.

Myrizar checked his six to see that the Gollucks had already captured the Princess and were still in pursuit of them.

"By the cold of Frald, they're going to catch us for sure!" he yelled to Thendenol.

The girl with the red hair pulled a flask from her belt pouch and threw it towards the Gollucks.

An elixir of slippery oil exploded from the flask covering a large area behind them as they fled. As the Gollucks stepped onto it, they slid and fell to the ground, covered from head to toe in the slippery and oily mass.

"Denise? Care to add to that?" asked the girl with the long red hair.

"I certainly do Janet." the shorter girl replied, pulling a bow and arrow from her back.

She armed the bow and drew back with all of her might as the red haired girl lit the tip of the arrow ablaze with a flint box. She fired the arrow which flew threw the air arcing perfectly into the oily goo. It exploded ablaze, spreading the substance and fire for tens of yards around their pursuers. The Gollucks had been abruptly halted.

A few hours later the five of them walked casually into the Canetes Lordship Keep. They were led by two ladies, one of long red hair and the other shorter with dark hair and a bright smile. Behind them Thendenol, Myrizar and Barandan carried their sacks of loot.

"'Twas a good idea to redistribute the goods as you did! It made for a much more hasty getaway, though seeing as we did haul the burden for the remainder of the trip does it not make sense that the distribution should remain as it currently is?" Myrizar slyly suggested looking to Barandan and Thendenol for approval.

Thendenol smirked, taking a moment to do the math in his head. Janet's eyes momentarily caught those of Barandan who had been observing her a little more closely than she'd have liked. Much to Barandan's relief, Thendenol began counting aloud as he struggled with the math.

"fide... nex... ein... stal..." Thendenol counted aloud.

"Worry not my astute friend for the haul is good though we should pay the wenches a fair share for their effort... and timeliness..." Barandan interjected Thendenol's attempts to count.

"I suspected as much. Perhaps you are right Barandan, assuming that you aren't trying to trick us all for other reasons?" Thendenol responded noticing Barandan's sudden distance from his loyal friends.

"You're dividing the plunder without our input? And what's with you calling us wenches? Did we once call you mites?" Janet responded,

"Who did you call a mite? Explain yourself or retract what you said and hold your tongue or lose your tongue entirely!" Myrizar demanded.

"Ahhh! So amongst you it is courageous to refer to the women kind as wenches but when we turn the blade and call you mites it is a crime? And how did you plan to exploit that ploy? To benefit your tally of the treasure?" Denise stepped up in Janet's defense.

"Tally? I haven't even counted it..." Thendenol became defensive.

"WAIT!" Barandan interrupted before Thendenol had a chance to continue his count.

"Perhaps we should measure its value first before an appraiser. Then shall we divide our share of the loot between us all." Denise spoke confidently.

"You'd make a great Tyral Magi, fair Denise..." Barandan tried appealing directly to the women.

"I am already a Tyral Magi you imbecile. You are obviously more so attuned to the anatomy of my friend?" Denise confronted Barandan directly.

Thendandol and Myrizar turned their immediate glare to Barandan.

"What?!" Barandan queried his male counterparts.

"Are you trying to say that your cries of: the men as sung will be as one! were nothing but a ploy to rally us behind you?" Myrizar demanded of Barandan.

"No, you buffoon. We are of a much different challenge as of the bard's song to which you refer, and speaking should be my quill upon the parch? Don't you agree?" Barandan threw all of his magnetism behind the delivery of his speech.

Myrizar and Thendenol turned and discussed the matter amongst themselves clearly moved by Barandan's words.

"If do you so speak for us, then defend us mites. I mean men!" Myrizar stood confidently.

"This isn't about us women versus you men." Denise challenged them.

"Then what is it about?" Myrizar queried.

"It is about us all, each and every one of us, women and men." Barandan eloquated.

Myrizar looked to Thendenol who looked back.

"Mmmm. Sounds pretty good to me..." Thendenol agreed.

"Great! We've surpassed the strife. Now let us get to the treasure?" Myrizar suggested.

"Appraisal it is!" Denise absolved of the group.

"Done!" Janet agreed.

Myrizar and Thendenol looked to Barandan perhaps hoping he'd protect their interests. Barandan shrugged as if to say: negotiations are ongoing. This is going to take some time. They're shrewd negotiators. 

By the time Barandan had synthesized an answer they'd agreed upon, Denise and Janet had already entered into the appraisers shop.

"I think that we're about to miss out on our share of the loot?" Myrizar observed.

An ominous voice suddenly boomed from the sky above them...

"Mick! It's dinner time!" Mick's mother called from up the stairs of their basement.

"Guys, and Girls. I have to go eat." Mick announced handing Thendenol's character sheet to Ken, who had been playing Myrizar.

"Maybe we should call it a night?" asked Ken.

"It's Mick's place. Ask him." Dane suggested.

"Its kind of late. I don't know if I like this. I mean we just carried your treasure for the whole afternoon and then after we rescued you, you're trying to take away our credit for that part of the adventure. I don't know if I like this game," Janet announced flashing a gaze to Dane.

Dane looked to his character sheet momentarily and then back to Janet.

"Look, I'm sorry. I think that you'll really like this game. A lot. You just have to give it a bit. I mean, its rough at first. I know. These guys made me carry everything too in the beginning. You have to believe me, Janet. Give it one more chance. If you don't like it, then we'll understand," Dane stuck by her side as he urged her to stay.

Janet blushed slightly though she held her distance deep in thought about whether she'd wanted another night of role play.

"Alright Trev. When are we playing next? We'll give it one more shot." Janet agreed.

"Wait! I haven't agreed!" Denise looked shrewdly at Janet.

Janet crossed her arms waiting for Denise's decision.

"OK. I Agree." Denise nodded in support of her friend.

"Great. Its settled. Why don't we meet in the library at school and discuss how to develop characters? Let them in on the game?" Ken suggested.

"Great idea! What do you say? Maybe we could meet tomorrow? I mean its Monday. What else is going on after school?" Dane suggested urging Janet to his side.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." Denise responded packing her character sheets up in her backpack.

Denise hesitantly accompanied Janet who'd already made it up the stairs and towards the front door.

"Who knows? If I pass my test tomorrow, we might be able to drive here." Denise added as she adorned the sneakers which she'd left hewn by the front door.

"You're doing your driving test?" Dane asked as he donned his runners.

"Tomorrow. At 3PM sharp. If I do it, I get a big insurance discount. Not to mention that I get the exclusive use of the family utility van. No questions asked. I think that would be pretty good for role playing parties, don't you think?" Denise posed purposely trying to incite her friends.

"You have completely awesome parents!" Dane adjusted his shoes and stood.

"Yeah, they're pretty cool but my parents just remember being kids once themselves..." Denise responded.

"My parents would never lend us the family car." Ken replied.

"Maybe they're too scared that you'd turn out like them?" Dane suggested.

"They'd love that. They're rich. They love money." Ken replied.

"I take you don't?" Denise asked Ken.

Ken turned away from Denise unable to answer. Perhaps as a result of his own lack of confidence but more so as a result of his imagination. How he'd imagined his father would respond to such a question. Money rocks. Poverty balks.

Ken turned away unable to answer to her response. His sense of self worth did not include money, but that didn't alleviate him of the feeling that by as much that he was somehow letting his parents down.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2015 Brian Joseph Johns