The Tournament Option Aa1: Shoot for the Eyes


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States! Hope this day if one of new memories and laughter.

Now for the ending to the adventure =)

The Tournament Option Aa1: Shoot for the Eyes

No matter where the troll goes, the eyes are the way to kill it. The skin and fur over the heart tends to thicken the area so much that the troll has to be within about 100 yards before an arrow will penetrate enough to stop it. Anything before that will only anger it more than it already is.

“Shoot for the eyes!” you shout.

The other archer frowns, glances at the troll loping toward the rabbit cages, and then nods his agreement as he turns and pulls an arrow. He holds it loosely against the string of his bow while he waits for the troll to come within range.

By running on hands and feet, its head lolls up and down with each stride. The eyes come up as the troll’s torso rises. It looks side to side and then the eyes disappear as its head falls into another stride.

300 yards and it veers sharply to your left, straight toward the rabbit cages.

archer-1578365You and the other archer raise your bows at the same time. The snap of your strings is lost in the crunch of the first rabbit cage. The troll didn’t even stop but stepped on the cage and caught the only rabbit that didn’t get squished.

It stops long enough to eat the rabbit in two bites, which timing wise, means your arrows bounce off the top of its head.

You and the other archer grunt in unison and the troll’s head swings up. It swipes at the top of its skull but the arrows bounced off and there’s nothing to swipe away.

Almost as though it’s shrugging, the troll hops to the next cage and breaks it open.

Your second set of arrows glance off its lowered skull and sink into its shoulder. The beast bellows and breaks the arrows off with a swipe of its arm.

rabbit-1402890This time the troll doesn’t go back to eating rabbits, it takes a moment to look around and spots you.

With a roar, it pitches the next cage into the air. It hits the ground not five feet in front of you and explodes into shards of wood. Several pieces fly into your leg.

The troll chortles as you stumble and it throws one of the hay bales next. You dodge to the right and raise the bow before the troll can pitch something else.

The arrow glances off the side of the beast’s head and takes a chunk out of its ear. Blood draws a bright line down the head until it hits its shoulder. This doesn’t seem to phase the beast. The troll hauls back and lobs a log into the air.

You pull the bow and aim as the troll rocks forward with its throw. There’s a twang from the other bowman’s string at the exact same time as you release your own arrow.

The log thuds into the ground between you and the other archer but you’re not watching it. You’re watching the troll. Arrows blossom from its eyes. It stumbles, thuds to its knees and then falls face forward.

The arena’s silent for only a second before erupting into deafening cheers.

You and the other archer meet eyes. You’re tied. What happens now?

You don’t get to ask though, as you’re led into part of the coliseum where a surgeon pulls several chunks of wood out of your left leg.

While you’re being seen, you miss the Difficulty challenge. Considering the troll ate half the challenge, you’re not sure what they came up with to replace the rabbits.

Finally, you’re led back into the arena and are brought before the raised platform of the King.

You’ve never been this close to him before. He’s older with deep lines running from the corners of his eyes.

“The other two contestants have been disqualified for fighting with each other,” the announcer tells the crowd. “So here before us we have—“

The King stands and the announcer falls silent.

You bow to the older man as he walks to the edge of the platform.

“Never have I seen such bravery in an archery challenge,” he says to you and the other archer. “I will not take away from such heroism by trying to come up with a tiebreaker challenge. I don’t believe there is such a challenge. So what would you each have as an award for winning this day?”

You hesitate, shocked by his offer.

“My brother, Sire,” you finally say, “has been told to work the quarry for a debt. May I have his release?”

The King stands a bit taller and looks you directly in the eye. “You can ask for anything and this is what you ask? Are you sure?”

Something in his tone makes you hesitate again. Did you ask for too much? Not enough? You can ask for anything.

“His freedom and a year’s worth for the bakery he owes on, if it pleases you, Sire,” you say with a bow, hoping you read his intention correctly.

He beams. “Fair.” And he goes on to ask the other man what he’d like as an award.

You leave after seeing Ruben’s released. Your family doesn’t acknowledge what you accomplished but you’re not really concerned. You’ve lived for quite some time without their input.

Later, the other archer finds you in the woods. He hunkers down beside your fire and offers you a piece of his bread he brought for his dinner.

After a while of silence, he finally addresses why he tracked you down.

“I’d like to train you,” he offers. “To replace me as the King’s archer.”

You were right. He is the King’s archer. You hesitate only for a moment before agreeing.

The End

Well done on this Adventure!

The Tournament Option Aa: Distance


The Tournament Option Aa. Distance

The announcer continues to point at you while his shouted question fades with the general roar of the crowd. The longbow rests against your shoulder.

“Distance,” you respond just loud enough for him to hear.

“Distance,” the announcer repeats so the entire crowd can hear and then he points to the next man.

FullSizeRenderYour palms sweat as the adrenaline from the first challenge slowly fades. You vaguely hear the other three contestant’s choices. Only one chooses distance with you.

You meet the man’s gaze and give him a nod. He holds his own longbow at his side in a loose grip. He tilts his chin in acknowledgement but his eyes stay cold like he feels none of the tension from the challenge. On his jacket sleeves is sown the crimson arrow of the King’s personal guard. This man may very well be the King’s own sniper.

Your palms sweat even more. It he’s who you suspect, he’s well known for his ability with a bow.

“Next round starts in ten minutes!” The announcer hollers.

You’ve nothing to do in that ten minutes. To pass the time, you pull out a piece of jerky and gnaw on it while you wait. As the salty, savory flavor fills your mouth, your stomach growls. You didn’t eat breakfast because of your nerves that morning but now you’re stomach’s telling you about it.

The other archer stands in place as well. He stretches his shoulders and flexes his fingers and then he picks up his bow and walks over to join you.

You reach in your pocket and hold out another piece of jerky to him. FullSizeRender-2Without a word, he takes it, nods his thanks and starts gnawing on it.

In unison, you both turn back toward the archery field and watch as people hurry about to set up the next challenge.

Closer to you they haul out several cages with small, furry creatures inside. The creatures skitter about like they’re chasing each other. You squint and then grunt when you realize you’re watching training rabbits. They’re raised to never stop moving. You recognize them from your own archery training in which you had to shoot five of them before progressing to the next stage of training.

Along with the cages, they bring out boxes, hay bales and logs, all things the rabbits can hide behind or skitter over. This must be part of the difficulty challenge.

You dismiss those preparations and scan farther afield for the distance challenge.

A box wagon pulls up near the wall of the coliseum. When it stops, the wagon continues to rock side to side.

“Something big,” the other archer comments.

You grunt agreement. Whatever they have in the box has to be big enough to throw the weight of the wagon.

The wagon jolts and rocks onto two wheels before thudding back into place.

“Something real big,” you agree, and wipe your palms on your pants.

A snorting growl comes from the wagon, loud enough for you to hear over 400 yards away with the crowd.

“You’ve shot a bear or two in your time, haven’t you, Ranger?” the man chuckles.

A surprised laugh comes from your throat. “Sure have,” you respond, “but that’s not a bear.”

This time when he glances at you, there’s a spark in his eyes, maybe surprise, maybe excitement. You’re not sure. Then he raises a brow in question.

“Troll,” you answer. From the snorting growl, you guess it’s a snow troll. Just a few weeks ago you had to track one and kill it because it kept wandering into a small village up north. Nasty beast that tried to throw a broken tree at you before you shot it through the eye.

You glance at the rabbits. Whoever made up this tournament must not know what they’re dealing with.

As you’ve been talking, those preparing the arena have installed tall fences along the archery wedge to contain the troll. They’re heavy fences with lots of iron, probably enough to keep the troll in check, but the rabbits and obstacles for the difficulty challenge are still within the confines of the fences. Snacks and ammunition. That’s how the troll will view such things.

“What?” the other archer asks.

The announcer steps into the center of the wedge and starts shouting before you can respond.

“For Distance, our two contestants must put down the beast. Whoever shoots the killing shot wins. The farther out the kill shot, the more points you get against those competing in the Difficulty challenge.”

He steps back and the crowd roars, drowning out your shouted warning to the other archer.

They release the latch on the wagon and the troll throws the door free. It scans its surroundings as it stretches long, white-furred arms. It’s a good 450 yards out but it spots you and the rabbits in no time. A husky, delighted chortle huffs out of its throat as it slumps down onto hands and feet and starts running your way in a loping gallop.

It’ll be in range in no time.

Before taking aim, do you shout to the other man…

Aa1. “Shoot for the eyes.” ?


Aa2: “It’ll go for the rabbits first.” ?

Blessings and see you Thursday for the end of the adventure,


The Tournament Option A: Archery

Archery was definitely the winner this time! So here we go. Let’s see what happens =)

The Tournament Option A: Archery

archery-1305993The rain subsided with the morning sun and now you’re standing in line to register for the tournaments with the sun warming your shoulders. It burned off the mist within an hour and your cloak’s almost dry as you approach the table at the entrance to the coliseum.

The man behind the table holds his pen over a sheet of paper. He waits for you to say which challenge you want to participate in.

“Archery,” you inform him.

He grunts and accepts the papers you hold out containing your information. They tell him everything from your name to where you were born and to which family.

“Isn’t this a baking family?” he asks, pointing at your last name.

“Mostly,” you reply, perhaps a bit shortly but you’ve been questioned like that your whole life.

He eyes you and your weaponry and then shrugs and hands your papers back.

“The archery field’s to the left,” he says, “first tournament starts in an hour.”

You thank him and move on.

The coliseum’s huge, made to support gaming events and trials but today, instead of hosting a single event, the ground is split into five wedges like a pie. Spectators mill around the seating above, able to see all five areas.

On the ground, however, you can only see the wedge you’re standing in and the two neighboring wedges.

Archery is immediately to your left. On either side sit the hand-to-hand combat arena and the fencing grounds. You guess jousting is on the other side of the coliseum because you can make out the heads of several horses in that direction.

The fifth wedge you can’t guess at. All you can see in that area is a crowd milling about.

You approach the table at the edge of the archery field and hold out your papers to the man standing behind it. He waves the papers away and simply points to a spot on the ground.

“Stand there and wait,” he grumbles.

Where he pointed is a spot in the middle of the wedge but closer to the narrow side of the pie. You move to it and nod at the man beside you. He’s standing in place as well and behind him stands five others, all holding bows. These are your competition.

The man sneers but the look vanishes as you pull your bow from your back, step through and into it, and string the long bow in one fluid motion. This is your comfort zone. As a woods ranger, you’re not only required to hunt and keep the forests clear of dangerous animals, but you’re required to train for long shots in case of war. You’re the snipers of the kingdom, as it were. A little known fact, but you don’t explain this to the man.

Instead, you pull your cloak off, slide your arrows back over your shoulder and pull on the bow a little to feel the draw. You nod at the man again and then turn to face the field where several targets are placed.

The first one’s close, about 100 yards out. If you’re not careful, you’ll put an arrow all the way through the target at that range. The second target’s another 50 yards or so and the third doubles the first. A 200 yard shot. Now that’s where your bow will give you the advantage.

This first round must be designed to weed out the amateurs. You jump up and down while waiting to warm your body.

Finally, the man from the table walks out onto the field and raises his hands for attention.

The archery wedge goes silent.

“First round,” he shouts in a voice that bellows through the coliseum, “three targets each. Hit the bull’s eye on the targets. Top four contestants will proceed to the next round. We start with the archer on that end.” He points to the man on your left and then leaves the field.

Once he’s clear, he gives a nod to the first archer and the man takes aim. His three arrows hit within an inch of the bulls eyes in rapid succession.

Your turn. After pulling out an arrow, you hold it loosely against the string. Then you eye the first target and wait for everything around you to fade. Nerves make your hands sweat. You wipe them on your pants without looking away from the target.

Your ears ring with silence. Your peripheral vision becomes nothing but gray. The muscles in your back tighten and the bow archer-1578365comes up in one move.

Then the arrow’s away and you’re pulling the second before the first hits its mark.

By the time you release the third arrow, the dull thud of the first has already sounded and the second follows immediately after.

You know as soon as you release the first that it was off but when you look back, it sits right beside the arrow of the man who shot first. Your other two are dead center of the targets.

You find yourself almost holding your breath as the others go, hoping your initial mistake doesn’t ruin your shot at the top four archers.

The last man shoots and you breathe out in a heavy sigh. You made it to the next round.

The announcer points to you and the other three who made it. You all step forward.

He points at you again.

“Distance or Difficulty?” He shouts. The question bounces around while you take a second.

Do you answer…

Aa. Distance?


Ab. Difficulty?

Blessings and see you Tuesday =)


The Tournament

rain-4-1520316Rainwater drips from the porch above you and the siding of the building weeps with moisture but, for the moment, you’ve found a dry spot. It’s just a sheltered piece of cobblestone. A two-foot by two-foot section where the rain isn’t drenching the ground. There’s not even enough space to lie down but the spot’s yours and, as long as you don’t move from it, no one will challenge you.

You’re not homeless. You just can’t find an Inn that’s not already full because of the tournaments being held at the coliseum. For the moment, you may as well be homeless. But at least you’re a well-armed homeless.

Thus why no one will challenge you for your shelter.

A sword peeks over your right shoulder from its holster on your back. From your belt hangs a woodsman’s knife the length of your forearm and, unstrapped since you’re not hunting, you hold a bow in your right hand. Over your left shoulder, the fletching of arrows plays peek-a-boo around the hood of your cloak.

All of the weaponry right now is just extra weight. Your cloak is the prize possession with the rain.

But you’ve come here for a purpose. The tournament boasts a multitude of challenges. Fencing, archery, jousting, hand to hand combat. They all pay well for the winner.

You’re not here for the pay, though, you’re here for a person. For years you’ve heard nothing from your family, ostracized because of your choice to be a woods ranger instead of following in the family baking business. But last week a messenger found you.

“They took Ruben,” the messenger said, “because your family couldn’t pay the rent on the bakery. He’s being forced to work the quarry until he pays off the amount due.”

“And what do they want from me?” you asked. Working the quarry was hard, dangerous work but, considering the amount on the bakery couldn’t be that high, Ruben shouldn’t be there that long.

“The family hasn’t paid in over a year,” the messenger explained, “so Ruben’s assigned the quarry for the next five years to pay everything off.”

No one survived the quarry that long.

“All right,” you conceded, “what does the family want?”

“In the tournaments, you can ask for the release of a worker if you win one of the challenges.”

You have an ‘ah ha” moment. No on in the family could win such a challenge, expect you. You considered briefly refusing. The family hasn’t spoken to you in years, much lest lent a hand whenever you needed something.

But this was family and a man’s life. You couldn’t refuse.

“When does the tournament start?” you asked.

“Beginning of the week.”

And thus why you’re hunkered under a porch instead of sleeping in an Inn. By the time the messenger found you, you only had two days to get to the capital. It was a three day trip.

An Inn wouldn’t have helped much anyway. There’s only an hour or two before sunrise and then you have to be at the coliseum to check in as a contestant. So as you wait for the warmth to arrive from the rising sun, you debate whether to try archery or fencing first. You’ve never attempted jousting and don’t want to start now. As a last resort you can try hand-to-hand combat but that’s not your forte and you’d prefer to start with your stronger skills.

So do you try…

A. Archery?


B. Fencing?

Scorpion Dragon Option Bc1: Continue to Fight

It hasn’t been that long since we explored this adventure, but it was requested and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, the last time you died, so a second run just sounds like a good idea. Without further adieu, here’s Scorpion Dragon. =)

Scorpion Dragon

“It costs a King’s ransom, though,” the doc warns you.

“But a cure exists?” you ask again.

He nods and lays a sympathetic hand on your shoulder before leaving your one room cabin. The dirt under your feet and the paper over the windows just accentuates what the Doc meant. You’ve no money.

You take a steadying breath before heading into the lean-to off the back of the cabin. The lean-to, and the only private part of your home, belongs to your mother. You built it for her when she fell ill in hopes she’d sleep better. But no amount of sleep will cure her.

You’re mother smiles when you look at her. You stop, taken a back. The haunted look in her eyes from moments before when the Doc told her she had only a few weeks left has been replaced with a gentle sort of peace.

“Mom, are you all right?”

Instead of answering, she points to a book on the table. It’s the history book she taught you from when you were younger.

“Flip to the back section on regional myths,” she says.

You sit on the three-legged stool beside her bed and do as she asked. She never covered this section in your education, so you’re unfamiliar with the picture of a large dragon that graces the top of the page. The picture’s colored in red and highlights the dragon’s tail that hangs like a scorpion’s over its head. Even the end of the tail has a stinger but clearly the rest of the creature represents the fire-breathing drake.

“Read there,” you mother taps the page.

island-1502822The island of Scorpus sits far off the coast, and looks like nothing but a pile of rock and sand to passersby. But myth claims it the home of the scorpion dragon who sank Princess Maya’s ship in 1102, capturing her gold and keeping her prisoner. According to the myth, Maya is kept in a castle in the cliffs of the island and is forced by Scorpus to polish his red scales daily. 

 You frown at your mother. Perhaps the disease already took her mind, but she’s looking at you with such hope. You shrug, not getting why she showed you this.

She points again at the page.

“Look,” she says, pointing to the bottom of the page at another picture.

It’s a detailed sketch of a sword. You pull the book closer and then glance from the lean-to into the main room of the cabin. The only thing of value the family owns hangs over the fireplace mantle. A family heirloom, a sword with bluish steel.

You glance between the sword and the picture several times but there’s no mistake. The sword’s distinctive engraved handle is sword-1420556perfectly depicted in the picture. Below the drawing is the caption “The only weapon known to hurt the scorpion dragon.”

“I never showed you this because everyone in our family dies looking,” your mother admits, “but if the sword exists, so might the island and the princess’ treasure.” She flips the page to show you a poorly drawn map. “Find the island for me?”

“How do we still have the sword?” You ask. Surely someone thought to take it with them.

“They all took the sword. It finds its way back, they do not,” she shrugs, clearly hurt at the memory. “Find the island for me?” she asks again.


The hope in your mother’s eyes when you said yes lends you strength as you row toward the island. This is the third such island you’ve checked out but this one just feels right. And if any island simply looks like a pile of rock and sand, this is the epitome of rock and sand islands.

You row one more time and your boat hits the beach. Far out in the water, you can still see the Wind Born. The captain agreed to wait for two days while you explore. If you’re not back, he’ll chalk the rowboat up as a loss and leave you behind.

You heave the rowboat onto the beach and retrieve the sword and your pack from inside. All you brought were food and water. Wasn’t like you owned anything else to prepare you for this trip.

The book stated the castle of Princess Maya is hidden in cliffs but it doesn’t say if the cliffs are inland or on the beach.

Do you…

A. Explore inland?


B. Explore the beach?

Scorpion Dragon Option B. Explore the Beach

island-1502822The beach lays barren around you except for the occasional rock that breaks up the smooth, dark sand. Before you, toward the center of the island, the rocks grow bigger until you’re pretty sure they turn into cliffs.

The history book mentioned Princess Maya being held in the cliffs of the island, but walking inland looks a bit rough. You scan the beach and decide exploring the open area might be a better way to start.

Perhaps you’ll find a path inland if you look farther around the perimeter.

So you strap the sword around your waist, sling your pack over your shoulder and head to the right along the beach.

The sand sinks beneath your steps in little divots and the sword swings against your thigh with a soft slapping sound. Other than the swish of the tide, that’s the only sound you hear.

On your next step, the sand doesn’t sink as far. You grin since this makes walking easier. After five or six steps like this, however, you get curious. Why aren’t you sinking as far into the soft ground?

When you look back, there’s a noticeable difference in the divots your footsteps made, like perhaps the sand’s covering a section of rock. You kneel down and dig your hands into the damp sand. It sticks to your skin but you keep digging until your fingers hit something hard. Pulling your hands free, you look into the little hole you made and frown.

The ground’s red. You brush away more sand. For rock, it’s incredibly smooth…too smooth.

The ground shifts beneath you and you fall back onto your backside. The beach continues to move. You throw out your hands to steady yourself as everything starts rising into the air and sand trickles, then runs, off the red ground in a cascade of beach.

With the sand sliding away and nothing stable beneath you, you’re balance falters and you slide with the sand.

You hit the ground with a thud and sputter sand out of your mouth. Grit fills your eyes until you’re almost crying just to clear your sight.

When you finally get a chance to see, you wish you’d been buried and could hide under the sand.

A gigantic red snout grins down at you. Above it hangs a tail with a stinger on the end. You were just walking on a dragon. The crafty beast was hiding under the sand.

“Hello little human,” the drake’s voice rumbles.

“Um, hello,” you respond at the same time as you try to look around.

“Not much escape out here,” the dragon grins. “What ever shall you do?”

His comment isn’t entirely accurate, however. Underneath his belly, you spot a line of cliffs jutting out toward the ocean. Those cliffs are dotted with caves. If you run for it, you might be able to reach the cliffs and disappear inside them.

Or, since you have the sword, you could try to fight the dragon and hope you’re lucky enough to incapacitate him.

Do you…

Bb: Run for the Cliffs?


Bc: Fight?

Scorpion Dragon Option Bc: Fight

You’re fast but pitting yourself against a dragon’s speed might not be your wisest option. You pull out the sword and hold it in sword-1420556both hands.

“Come get me!” You scream at the beast. If you’re going to attack him anyway, you may as well make a good show of it.

The dragon throws back his head and bellows a laugh that ripples through the scales on his chest. Before he’s done showing his mirth, his tail rears back and strikes downward.

You’re watching him though and dodge to the side just as the stinger on the tail sinks a small crater into the soft sand. Scorpus, for this must be the dragon the history book spoke of, screams his anger at missing. His jaws dart forward and you step several times backward. The teeth crunch shut only inches from your face.

You swing the sword at the snout and the steel slices a deep, clean line across the dragon’s face.

He rears back with blood dripping from his jaw line. The blood hits the sand, where it starts to steam.

You step away, careful not to get dripped on since you don’t know what the blood might do to you. But you’re watching the drops and so you catch when the steam takes form. It changes to a deep red and then hardens into several tiny replicas of the larger dragon.

Scorpus laughs at your surprise.

You dash around the growing collection of tiny scorpions and cut into his front right leg.

The blood you draw will, obviously, create more tiny scorpions, so you have to be quick to overcome the larger dragon. Your hope is, once the larger beast dies, so will its smaller versions.

In quick succession, you slice into the dragon’s side, this one of his hind legs, and them catch his snout again as he tries to eat you. Blood flows freely from all his wounds. Before you can strike again, you’re surrounded by the horde of small scorpions.

The tide washes up the beach and the creatures scatter from its touch. As it washes away, one of them stings you, then another. Your foot instantly goes numb. A scorpion tries to climb your leg and you swipe it away with the blade of your sword.

The tide washes forward again and the creatures scatter for a second time.

This time, when the tide starts to recede, you stay with it, always keeping your feet in the water.

The scorpions follow the edge of the water but never enter it to get at you. Since you’re able to stay out of their reach, you return your attention to Scorpus, who backed away to watch his smaller versions torment you.

“Can’t finish me on your own?” You taunt him. “Have to rely on these to do the job for you?”

He bellows and rushes forward but, like the others, he stops when the water starts to advance up the beach again.

He swings his tail out over the water without actually stepping into the surf. You lunge backward to avoid the stinger and Scorpus grunts as the weight of his tail almost pulls him in.

“Come and get me!” you taunt again.

The tail swings again but the surf’s still rolling in and the distance is even greater this time. You dart forward, stab his foot and dart back out into the water.

He bellows, huffs and then spins away and starts to leave.

Why does he fear the water? You pull your pack around and scrounge inside until you find your water bottle. Uncapping it, you run from the water and pitch the content onto the dragon’s back.

water-1329581He shrieks as the water steams on his back. Then he shudders and shrinks a fraction before the water dries on his scales and the shrinking stops. You can make him small, you realize, if you can force him into the waves.

But getting him there might be more than you can handle. It’d be herding a dragon, a seriously angry dragon.

Do you…

Bc1: Continue to Fight?


Bc2: Let Him Go?

Scorpion Dragon Option Bc1: Continue to Fight

Scorpus limps away from the beach. You hear his huffs of anger and pain with each step. Once he heals, he’ll be just as dangerous as he was when you first encountered him. Considering how many members of your family have disappeared because of this beast, you can’t just let him walk away.

You grip the sword hard enough that your knuckles turn white and run from the water. Scorpus doesn’t notice you until you race around and confront him. He snaps his teeth but the gesture’s halfhearted, like you’re a gnat buzzing around his head.

With a shout, you swing the sword. It slices a deep line down his snout that wells with blood.

You swing again before that blood falls and creates a bunch of tiny scorpions you have to contend with too.

Scorpus backs away while his tail rears up and smashes into the sand just to your right. His blood has now created a small horde.scorpion-1315063 As you step forward to close the distance between you and the dragon, you kick at the mass of tiny scorpions and dozens of them fly into the water. They hiss and disappear.

Scorpus moves to bite at you again and you swing at the same time. The sword connects with his teeth, and slices right through three of them. The dragon steps backward, screeching.

His back leg hits the water and it starts to steam. He tries to step forward but you’re right there, preventing him from advancing.

Foam froths around the edges of his mouth in his anger and he swings his tail at you again even as you try to push him back farther. His aim’s off but, because you moved to swing again, the stinger of his tail hits the outside, fleshy part of your right arm. Instantly it goes numb and you almost drop the sword. Scorpus howls in victory. He raises his tail to sting you again.

You recover in time to swing the sword with your left hand. The swing wavers but still manages to slice part way into his tail.

The dragon shudders and steps back, not once, but several times, until all but his front legs are in the surf. Steam rises from the parts of him touching the water.

Your right side’s so numb you’re having issues standing. If you don’t finish this soon, you might collapse and Scorpus will get away.

In a last effort, you raise the sword and scream in defiance. Thankfully, it’s enough for the dragon to back away again. You don’t even have to swing. Between his small step and the tide coming in, he ends up completely standing in the water. He’s steaming so much that you’re surrounded by mist but you can still see the red dragon’s shape.

He shudders, then shrinks in a rapid combination of shudders and shrieks. Then he’s gone. You walk forward to make sure you didn’t miss Scorpus sneaking away but after a bit of searching, you’re sure he’s gone.

You haul yourself back onto the beach and lay down to rest. The mist slowly dissipates but your right side doesn’t seem to be regaining much sensation.


old-castle-in-ogrodzieniec-p-1235457You search the island for the rest of the day and find, hidden within caves in the cliffs, a castle. The next day, you search the castle, but you don’t find anything resembling treasure or any person who might be the princess. There are signs of someone living there, but you never spot an actual person.

There are places that, because of your numb right side, you just can’t quite get to, but finally you resign yourself to going home without the treasure.

On your trip back, you decide to sell the sword. It’s not quite enough to cover your mother’s medicine but you make an agreement with the apothecary to work for him until the remainder of the cost is paid off.

You keep to the bargain and are still working at the apothecary but, in random moments of free thought, your mind returns to the sword. It feels, strangely enough, like it’s calling to you, like you shouldn’t have given it up. Someday, maybe, you’ll have to track it down and bring it back to your family. Until then, you suspect its loss will always haunt you.

The End

Well done. You managed to defeat the dragon!

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend,



Thank you to everyone for the warm thoughts and prayers over the last several weeks. My husband’s surgery went well and now he’s recovering! So, as life settles back into normal, whatever that looks like, it’s time for a new adventure =)


The wool of your pants itches and your shirt, several sizes too big, flaps around you like a flag in the wind, but you clutch the hem
in your hands, grateful the clothes are whole and stainless.

At the beginning of the summer, you left home with a friend to travel the coast. Not a month into the trip, robbers attacked you and took everything, including the clothes on your back. Too far from home to travel back without resources, you made your way to the nearest city. Your friend abandoned you there by disappearing into a tavern and refusing to leave.

All summer you’ve walked in the general direction of home, finding odd jobs to make your way, but fall’s headed your way and walking will quickly become impossible when the snow hits the mountains and buries the passes.

So you’ve stopped in Triban, hoping to find work for the winter.

You may have succeeded too, except you need shoes. You’ve got a promise from the stable master, if you show up tomorrow leather-shoe-1541617morning, decently dressed and with shoes, he’ll give you work and a place to sleep for the season. It’s better than you’ve had in a long time. But you’ve got to have shoes.

Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll need something to protect your feet. During the summer, your shoes-less state wasn’t a problem. The nights barely dropped below eighty degrees, but now, with Fall chilling the air, you’ve noticed a cold bite on your soles when you walk down the street.

You stop in front of the cobbler’s shop and finger the two coins in your pocket. You earned them this morning by washing clothes for a woman who broke her arm falling down her front steps.

It’s not much but maybe, just maybe, it’ll be enough. You step inside the shop and stop to feel the warmth of the indoors on your skin.

“No money, no service,” grumbles the whiskered man behind the counter. You can’t say he’s bearded because you can make out large patches of skin between the wiry whiskers, but his hair trails, full and thick and white, well below his shoulders.

He’s eyeing you, perhaps concerned by the layer of dirt on your skin. You tried that morning, before washing the clothes, to wash in the river, but after walking the dusty streets, you’re covered again.

“I’ve money,” you say, still clutching the coins but not pulling them out for the man to see.

“Harrumph,” the man sighs. “Do you have enough?”

You shrug. “Maybe.” The word whistles from your throat. Finally, you pull the two coins out and hold them up.

“Sheesh,” the man almost spits, “that’ll barely cover sandals.”

“Nothing closed toed?” you ask. The stable master was quite specific. The shoes have to protect the toes with some fabric.

The cobbler snorts. “Not a chance.”

coins-1-1425485“How much do I need?” the news is disappointing but not completely daunting. The day’s still early, perhaps you can find more odd jobs.

“At least twice what you’ve got. Now scram!”

You turn away and then pause, “have any jobs you need done?”


You hurry out the door before the man makes it around the counter.

Outside, the sun’s blinding after the dark of the cobbler’s, but the bright rays offer little in the way of warmth. You hug your shirt close and wander down the road a bit to ponder your options.

Up ahead, a merchant with his wife wanders into a perfume shop. The man’s carrying several packages, clearly having shopped at several places already. You envy their soft clothing and good shoes but then it occurs to you, they might pay to have their parcel’s delivered to their home.

Just as you’re about to head their way, you step back quickly to avoid a running horse. The terrified animal spins as it hits a cart and heads down a side road. Behind it runs a man, yelling at the creature to stop. The horse lacks a rider although it has a saddle.

Do you…

A. Approach the Merchant?


B. Help the Man?

Shoes Option B: Help the Man

horse-1406979The man chasing the horse clamors around the corner and disappears from sight before you have any chance to react. You hear the rattle and cries of surprise as the horse continues to tear through the streets but the sound quickly grows fainter.

Judging from the direction, it doesn’t seem the horse is veering that far from the main road. It’s just following side streets toward the south side of Triban.

You take off down the main thoroughfare, dodging around people and carts as you go. Your unshod feet slap against the hard packed dirt but it isn’t painful since you’ve built up quite the calluses over the summer.

A wider side street opens to your left and you take it just as the horse flies past the far intersection.

You keep your head up so you can see the man pass too but by the time you reach the intersection, he hasn’t shown up. Instead of gaining ground, he’s loosing it.

Perhaps it’s your months of travel, but you don’t feel winded yet so you keep your pace as you run after the horse. Up ahead, the animal rears, stuck in an open area with a fountain. The area quickly clears of people as they move to avoid the flying hooves.

You think about pulling your belt off to use as a halter but then see the reins hanging free below the horse’s neck.

The hard part will be grabbing them without getting kicked.

Without a place to go, the horse stamps the ground and snorts. He swings toward you as he catches your motion when you move through the crowd and into the clearing.

You creep forward. “Here, boy,” you say softly. “It’s okay.”

He snorts and his front hooves leave the ground in a slight hop but not a full buck.

“It’s okay,” you say again. Now only a few feet away, you take another step and reach for the reins. Relief fills you as you close your fingers around the leather.

The horse doesn’t fight the gentle pull you give and you’re able to bring him a step closer to you. You stroke his neck.

Your fingers run across a spot close to his shoulder and the horse flinches. You apologize out of habit and return your hand to his neck.

“Hey now!” the man you saw chasing the horse puffs his way past the crowd. They’ve thinned since you were able to take control of the animal and only a few people watch as the man stalks toward you.

“What are you doing?” he demands.

Since your hand still rests against the horse’s neck, you feel him flinch at the voice. Without an answer, the man grabs the reins and pulls the horse away. You watch him shove through the crowd with the animal now plodding behind him.

On the blanket beneath the saddle, you spot a round sun emblem. It’s the same stable as the one you hope to work for. The city stables where every city official leaves their creature during their day of work.

Just before the man turns out of sight, you see him raise a hand and slap the horse’s shoulder. You’re too far away to see the flinch but you know the spot the man hit.

You don’t have much by way of proof, but you know the man’s abusing the horse. Perhaps he’s abusing more than the one since he clearly works in the city stables.

Do you…

Bb. Follow the Man for Proof?


Bc. Go To The Stable Master?

Shoes Option Bb: Follow the Man for Proof

You don’t have much by way of proof other than the few seconds with a horse. Considering you want a job at the city stables, you’d feel more comfortable going to the stable master with more solid evidence beyond your own eyewitness.

You follow the path the man took until you spot him with the horse up ahead. As you suspected, he turns down Aspen Way horse-1406979toward the city stables. While you trail behind him, you consider what kind of proof you might need. The horse seemed tender on the shoulder but, unless the stable master sees the man hit the animal, you can’t prove he’s the source of the horse’s pain.

Perhaps another stable hand could verify your witness but, in all likelihood, the other hands know about the man’s treatment of the animals already. If a city official complained, that might help, but again, you’d somehow have to orchestrate an official seeing the man in the act.

By the time you reach the stables, you’re no closer to figuring out a way to prove the abuse you saw.

“Hey!” you look up, startled, to see the stable hand you followed glaring at you from across the corral. “What’re you doing?”

“Looking for a job,” you say, put on the spot.

“There’s none here for you,” he responds.

“That’s not your say,” says another voice, which you recognize from when the man told you that you needed shoes.

The stable hand cringes and turns to face the stable master.

“Thought you filled the position,” he says with his head down.

Instead of responding to him, the stable master eyes you. “You don’t have shoes,” he says.

“Working on it,” you say, debating whether to say something about what just happened in town. The horse you helped calm stands in the corral, not more than ten yards from the other men. “I was concerned, is all,” you go on, gesturing at the horse.


“The horse was spooked in town and when I calmed him, he seemed hurt on the right shoulder,” you refrain from blaming the hand for the horse’s pain.

You may as well have blamed him, you decide, as he shoots daggers at you with his eyes.

The Stable Master doesn’t look at him and doesn’t seem to catch the look as he hops the fence of the corral and approaches the horse.

His hands smoothly brush the horse’s shoulder and the animal flinches and sidesteps away. The stable master hums. He places his hands on his hips while he considers the horse.

“I’ll deal with it,” he tells you, “go find shoes.”

Dismissed, you back away, but you fight disappointment at not being able to conclusively take care of the abuse situation.

Before you loose sight of the stables, the stable master leads the horse inside while the hand continues to stand at the fence. You’re about to turn away when another man approaches the stable hand.

You’re too far away to hear their words clearly but, by their gestures, you can tell they’re arguing. The new man raises a fist and swings. The stable hand ducks away but not fast enough. The punch clips him on the top of the head.

Satisfied, the other man spins on a heel and stalks away while the hand braces himself on the top of the corral.

Just then, the stable master reappears from inside. He spots you and hollers, “You see who injured the horse?”

There seems to be more to this situation than you originally thought.

Do you…

Bb1: Tell him?


Bb2: Shake Your Head No?

Shoes Option Bb1: Tell the Truth

The opportunity’s been handed to you and you can’t stand the mistreatment of animals. The hand, who earlier looked at you with daggers in his eyes, now looks at you like you’re his last life line and you’re about to let him drown.

He still leans against the top of the corral for support but, remembering the horse, you don’t feel any sympathy for him.

You nod his way without saying aloud that he was the one who hit the horse but the stable master gets your intention. His expression turns sour as he turns to the hand.

“Ronnie, you mishandling the horses?”

Ronnie hangs his head and starts to speak. Then he seems to think better of whatever he’s about to say and instead, he spins on his heel and runs, disappearing around the side of the stable.

The stable master doesn’t move to follow him. He just shakes his head in dismay and turns back toward you.

leather-shoe-1541617“He’s out of a job. Now go find some shoes.” And he heads back into the stable.

Dismissed again, you head back into town in hopes of finding one more odd job that’ll fund your need for shoes. This time, however, you’re not disappointed at not solving the abuse problem.

Later, as you nail a couple new boards onto a woman’s fence and throw some paint on them that afternoon, you wonder about Ronnie and the man who hit him but you shrug it off, get paid for your work, and head back to the Cobbler’s shop.

The whiskered man harrumphs when he sees you again but pulls out a pair of shoes he has waiting and has you try them on.

“Knew I’d return?” you ask him.

“There’s a look in the eye,” he grumbles, “of those determined to get somewhere.”

The shoes he set aside fit perfectly. The man must know his job well because he guessed the size after only those few minutes you stood in front of him that morning.


The next morning, you report back to the city stables and get the job you were hoping for. A few days later, as you’re grooming a beautiful mare, you realize Ronnie wasn’t the only one abusing horses. The poor animal favors her left leg and, upon inspection, you find something, not a rock, wedged in her hoof. When you mention it to the stable master, he tells you to figure out who’s doing it before bringing it to him.

Unfortunately, the other hands know you turned Ronnie in and they refuse to speak with you. By the Spring, you still aren’t able to pin down who’s mistreating the horses.

You leave Triban with enough money to get home, but always wonder what more was happening at the city stables.

The End

Thanks for joining in the adventure this week! Sorry things did not go quite as planned. As always, this adventure will run again at a future date, so hopefully you can find a more happy ending. In the meantime, have a great weekend.




It Comes in Threes

DSC_9199One: Working the next nine days straight. Yuck!

Two: Company in town. Yea!

Three: Husband having surgery. Yippee! After a year of pain, he’ll finally be able to move his neck. Hospital, yuck. But it’s only for a short time.

Add one plus two plus three and we get my brain and time not focused on writing. Deficit on the adventure. Sorry. =(

The adventure will return in October. I promise =) Until then, I hope you enjoy the beginning of Fall and the amazing colors that come with it.