Joanna and the Goblin castle

It felt like Joanna’s eyes had only just closed when they were wrenched open by the vibrant sounds of chaos.  She lurched awake, panicked. Her long dark hair fell about her eyes as she shook off the sleep and attempted to understand. Through the window on the opposing side of her small home she saw the dancing hues of fire light spreading about the village. 

 

Fear gripped at her as her mind raced, she jumped from her single bed and frantically searched in the dark for her gear. The sounds of screams and clattering timber were growing. Howls and shrieks set motivation into her fingers as she pulled on her boots and hastily flung her armored tunic over her. She clutched at the scabbard of her sword, which rested by the door and set out into the fray. 

 

She ran towards the madness. Trying to understand what could’ve happened. Then she saw them, a horde of Goblins.  They were destroying the town. They had come in from The Wilds! She charged thoughtlessly, Joanna Brandished her sword and let loose her most inspired war cry as she charged at the nearest Goblin.  

 

It was over as fast as it had begun, the other villagers rallied to the cause and chased those terrible creatures away from the village. All remaining goblins scampered off into The Wilds, laughing and tittering all covered in blood. 

 

After the danger had passed and the fires had been put out, Joanna plopped down on the grass and tried to breathe calmly for a moment. She closed her eyes and exhaled deeply before someone shouted her name.

 

“OYE JOANNA!?” She opened her eyes and swung her head towards the voice. It was dark yet and the smoke still hung in the air but she knew it was her uncle Kav, she stood with aching joints and jogged to him as he stood amidst the rubble of the village. 

 

 

“It seems you saved the night! Well done, your ma would be proud.” He clapped her lightly on the back, proud of her burgeoning abilities. “Though, seems there was a reason the goblins came about. They took one of the Mayors boys. Must have made off with him before the ruckus. I suppose they’ll put together a rescue party once the sun comes up and all this dies down a bit more.” Kav said as a grimace grew across his face.

 

“Which of the boys?” Joanna asked, though she knew the answer, It made sense all of a sudden.

 

“The pretty one, the one they all fawn over. Hammond is his name I think, with the long hair and that.” Kav said as he resumed his work, grabbing debris and tossing it into a common burn pile off to the side.

 

“That means the Goblin Queen wants him.” Fatigue washed over Joanna. “That also means we can’t wait until morning.” She cracked her neck and began to stretch. Everyone was still in shock. Everyone was tired and scared and annoyed, no one had the proper headspace except for Joanna, and she wasn’t scared of goblins or battle or any of it.

 

“I’m sure the Mayor is losing his head over it though so you’d probably catch a fine reward if you had the stones to go fetch the lad Joanna” Kav said as he winked and returned his focus on his work.

 

She found the Mayor, he was stressed in his night gown and was eager to see Joanna off to rescue his son Hammond, he was after all the prize of the village, and promised to be married to the princess in the spring. Joanna would be the champion of the village, maybe the whole kingdom if she were able to save young Hammond from the terrible hands of the Goblin Queen, who would do gods know what to him.

 

So off she went, in the night, into The Wilds, which was easily the worst time for one to go off into The Wilds.

 

It was dark, but her sword was sharp and her senses were wired from adrenaline. It didn’t take her long to pick up on the Goblins trail, they weren’t careful beasts by any means. She could hear them off in the distance, yammering on in their strange language. It hurt her mind, but it made following them easy. She could also hear Hammond, shrieking about being promised to the princess, and that he was very flattered and all that but he really must be getting home. And so it went, until they came upon the Goblin Queens Castle.

 

Joanna waited for them to all cram themselves into through the gates of the castle. “Eh what a pitiful castle.” It was ancient and rickety, Joanna could smell the age on the place. She decided going through the front gate would be a touch too cheeky for her liking and opted instead to scale the far south wall of the place and invade from the top most floor.

 

She had never been good at sneaking on account of her lacking a certain awareness of her surroundings. She much preferred swinging a sword in broad daylight than sneaking about in the shadows, though that’s what made a hero she supposed. Versatility. She crawled about the castle, looking and listening for signs of Goblins, it was easy going. No Goblins in sight. But she could hear them, and Hammond.

 

“No, my goodness you’ve been most hospitable but I really must go. “ Hammond shrieked from a few floors beneath Joanna, his high pitched voice hurt her ears. 

 

She snuck about a while longer, until she found that there were was no real need to sneak. It seemed that every single Goblin was congregated below her. So as any hero would’ve, she set about finding the Goblin congregation.

 

It didn’t take long, the castle was a wreck, it mostly sat upon borrowed time and crumbling rock foundations. The walls echoed and gaped in places, the lights bled through the floors and so it was that Joanna found her way through a fault in a floor to be perched upon a gargoyle above every single one of the Goblin Queens subjects, and a very captured, very uncomfortable Hammond.

 

“Honestly you’ve been so gracious but the PRINCESS will be so very worried about me I must get back. If you fine fellows might just unbind by person I shall see myself out.” Spear tips lurched towards his neck, which did a fine job of shutting the young Hammonds squeaking mouth.

 

Just before Joanna was about to lunge into action, she heard a deep rumbling.

 

“The GOBLIN QUEEN approaches” Shouted all of the Goblins in unison. They tittered nervously and jumped about, shuffling feet, there must have been a hundred of them. The rumbling grew louder and Joanna was forced to clutch at the gargoyle so as to not fall into the pit of Goblins.  

 

Through the horde of Goblins sauntered the massive queen. She must’ve been seven foot tall, and easily as wide around. Even from where Joanna sat, she could see the massive warts that etched the massive protruding beak of a nose on the Queen, she was dressed differently than the other Goblins, and she wore a dress, a filthy and tattered off white dress. It wouldn’t be long until the Goblin Queen made an honest man out of Hammond, and as hilarious as that would be for Joanna, The princess and the Mayor and the townsfolk probably wouldn’t share in her humor. This was shaping up to be a terribly lame quest after all. Joanna watched on, hoping for a golden opportunity to open up.

 

“My You’ve found me a gem this time around boys. He’ll do very nicely.” The Goblin Queen came within inches of Hammonds face as she spoke, she ran her long crooked fingers through his hair and Hammond recoiled politely.

 

“Your majesty, It is such an honor to meet you, truly.” The young man Hammonds voice shook as he addressed the massive Goblin Queen “And I find myself so flattered by your considerations, but unfortunately I am very much spoken for by the Princess of his majesties kingdom, I would hate to sully relations between goblin folk and The kingdom after all.” Hammond seemed confident in his pleas.” There was silence for a moment. It seemed all the goblins were waiting for their queen to decide how they collectively felt about it. 

 

“Dear sweet handsome human, I intend to take you as a meal, not a spouse. I’ve been craving handsome humans for ages, my sweet Goblins found me you for a snack my darling, not for a relationship. “ Said The Goblin queen, as she licked her lips.

 

Hammond squeaked. Joanna lept from her Gargoyle perch, Chaos ensued.

 

Joanna hit the ground slashing, and screaming. She fought wildly against the stunned and surprised goblins (goblins were terrible at surprises, confusion hits goblins like a concussion). The Queen screamed and lashed out at the battling Joanna, who sliced at the queen in the last moment and took one of the queens fingers as a trophy.  It plopped to the ground to the tune of Hammond gasping and goblin shouting.

 

The Queen recoiled with a terrible cry that seemed to shake the foundation of the faulty castle. Joanna leapt about swinging and cursing as the goblin horde bore down on her, The queen continued screaming uncontrollably urging her goblins on and saying very unsavory things about humans in general. Her shrieking fury was causing tremors in the floor. Joanna felt uneasy on her feet as she fought and found her way To Hammond.

 

“JOANNA! You’ve saved me!” mused Hammond, who seemed completely unaware of the horde of Goblins, a screaming queen and a castle that was coming down around their ears.

 

Joanna nearly smacked him. “Well we’re not quite out of the thick of it just yet.” She slashed at Hammonds bonds and he squealed as he fell loose. Joanna turned and slashed at the advancing army of Goblins as the walls began to shake and stones started falling from everywhere.

 

“Time to go!” Joanna grabbed at Hammonds shirt, he eagerly leapt to Joanna side as she slashed and hacked and ran for the door to freedom, as the castle began to come down over them. They lurched passed the screaming Goblin Queen who lashed out again, and who lost another finger just as they felt the towers of the castle crumbling. Joanna shouldered the front gate as Hammond fainted and fell limp in her arms. They escaped in the last possible second. The castle came down and it took the goblins along with it, She wasn’t sure about the Goblin Queen, but she couldn’t see how anyone had survived, plus she’d stopped her shrieking.  Joanna plopped the limp Hammond down on the grass, who landed like a pile of laundry and sat beside him as the dust from the castle collapsing rose from the ground. 

 

She looked down at the incapacitated Hammond and chuckled, “You’re not even that handsome dude.”

 

Hammond squeaked unconsciously.

Mac the Grumpy Wizard goes for Coffee

Mac the Wizard goes for coffee.

 

(its for practice)

 

-Tom 12.10.18

 

Mac woke up groggy. His head was swimming from the previous night; a hangover loomed over the forecast of the coming day off. Mac rubbed his face with a sigh and pulled himself from his bed. It would be slow going today, a day of smoking his pipe and concocting a potion that would ease his nausea and his headache.  He would listen to records and eat all the greasy food. By evening he would be human again and probably head to the bar for some hair of the dog. (Which was a literal beverage at the bar) Though before any of that, Coffee was the first step in Mac’s hangover remedy kit. And for that, Mac would have to venture into the loudness and brightness of Acre city. Thinking about the three block gauntlet to the coffee shop made Macs stomach lurch.

 

He took his time putting sweatpants on, grey and stained and ancient.  Still wearing his last nightshirt, Mac snagged his red jacket and stepped into his flip-flops, he called his hat with magic, perched it on his head and left the comfort of his apartment and descended the stairwell that would lead Mac to Acre City.

 

It was bright, and cold, and annoying. Mac held a tight Grimace as he walked towards RISE AND GRIND COFFEE CO.  A wind whipped through the city and sliced at Macs face. It wouldn’t be a long walk, but it also certainly wouldn’t be an enjoyable one.  Mac needed more layers. Hung over, but not so much that He couldn’t weave a spell. Mac spoke in the ancient language and compelled the magical ether in the air and suddenly he was in a tight cocoon of warmth.  Magic wrapped around him and the outside weather was eased. Mac felt like shit, but warm shit so things were looking up, until they weren’t.

 

Mac rounded a corner and lost his footing on some some unusually uneven concrete in the sidewalk. Before he could think to react his face met the ground, intimately. His shoes flew from his feet as he crashed. He laid there splayed for a moment, dizzied and irritated, before slowly crawling to his hands and feet. He took stock of his body to see if he was injured, the result was mostly his pride, as he looked up to see a group of school imps laughing maniacally. Mac dusted himself off, collected his shoes and soldiered on.  He’d only one block to go.

 

Mac arrived at the coffee shop and the line was insane, because of course it would be. Macs head throbbed, his body ached, he needed a black coffee so hard and he was so close. He did his best to put himself into a meditative state as he queued and inched toward the counter and relief. Luckily the person in front of him only had to order 12 extra Venti specialty coffees with extreme demands, No dragon milk, extra pixie sugar, sea salt from the forbidden sea on the side. Mac fumed and glared with hazardous intent at the back of their head.  (I think developing the person ordering this could be a great elaboration for this story)

 

His time came and Mac felt like heaven had opened to him. He ordered simply, “I just need the largest black coffee that you can legally sell me.” He didn’t say it in jest. 

 

“Ultra Venti Black Coffee, that’ll be 12:66 sweetie. Can I get a name for the order? The bubbly nature of this attendant made Mac uncomfortable.

 

“Its Mac” He paid and stepped to the side to wait. His head pounded and he was sweating from every pour that belonged to him.

 

The new age music was barely audible over all the meetings and social media posting but Mac enjoyed the tune and felt that the energy of the day might be shifting. Coffee was coming and so too was clarity and then Mac could make beeline home and properly Vedge out.

 

It took fourteen minutes, but for Mac it was hours, The guy who’d been in front had insisted on double checking all the coffees and sending half back for being cold. Mac nearly turned him into a ferret.  But finally a heavily pierced Orcish barista shouted out. “Order For Marc!”

 

Mac hesitated, and then claimed the coffee from the Orc, it was nearly a Gallon and piping hot. Mac salivated and clasped at the coffee. He shuffled from the coffee shop with a renewed energy, brushing shoulders with nearly everyone as he exited into the street.

 

He spoke another warming spell and took off toward his home with an impressive gait, He made it back to his house in ten minutes, he climbed the stairs two at a time and threw himself into his apartment, the coffee had cooled from a molten state to the small window consumption Mac. Mac plopped onto his couch and raised the cup to his lips and slurped the nectar. He spilled a large portion onto his shirt as he drank staining his well-worn shirt. He drew a large knock of it. When he came up for air. His face once again wore a massive grimace. He smacked his lips in disbelief shaking his head. All that time, all that effort, all that patience.

 

Those bastard baristas added sugar and milk. Mac shook his head; the beautiful sanctity of his dark black roast had been sullied by sugar and dairy. “God damn that’s fucking delicious.” Mac drained the coffee as he questioned the fabric of his reality.

 

 


End?

Val and the Sword

Val & The Sword

 

V1 11.26.18

 

-Tom

 

It had taken six weeks, Six weeks of trudging through dense forests and smelly bogs. Six weeks since the Wizard had sent him to task.  Six long weeks of scaling small cresting mountains and navigating monster infested caves and dungeons. All that time, foraging for clues and defeating countless enemies all in the hopes for a damn sword. 

 

He had been carrying a well maintained standard ORDER OF ORDER issued long sword, it had served him very well through his quest, but the quest was over and The warrior and ORDER OF ORDER candidate called Val was ready to level up.  He dropped the long sword and pulled a glowing blade from the claws of a statue of the Goblin God “grogrog”.

 

This was the best moment of Val’s life.

 

Val stood at the heart of a dungeon admiring his prize. Corpses of Goblins and pygmy wolves lay in pieces scattered about the place. It had all been worth it. Now there was no possible way he wouldn’t pass his exams.  The sword was imbued with power and radiated promise. Val’s confidence swelled.

 

He had two weeks to make the return trip for his exams. Val made no delay and arrived home three days ahead of schedule. He encountered nothing of note and found that luck was seemingly in his favor. 

 

Val was three hours early for the exams, eager to test his new sword and take his place among the most elite warriors in Acre city.

 

Val demolished the written exam and dramatically turned in his papers before brandishing his new sword and rushing to the Combative yards.

 

The sword hummed in Val’s hands as he waited to fight. He was feeling powerful and he harbored no fear for the coming fight. He was ushered to the arena, survive the next three minutes and glory was his. It came with a salary and retirement, a shiny new suit of armor and a position in the venerable Knights in the ORDER OF ORDER.

 

There was a small crowd and Val was happy people would witness his rise to glory. His opponent was another candidate of similar stature, though he did not see any magic swords in his possession. Val felt sorry for the guy, after his defeat he’d maybe find work as a security guard at the Acre City Mall.

 

The horn blew and Val charged. His sword was singing in the sunlight, Self-esteem fueled his attack. He was operating on raw self-belief and wouldn’t have had it any other way. He felt an ensured sense of victory, until his sword met his opponents and then immediately shattered into a thousand pieces and disintegrated into dust. Val stood with nothing but a very ornate hilt and a wounded ego.

 

“Fuck”  gasped Val

 

“Fuck is right broh,” said his enemy as he smiled and took another swing at Val.

 

 

other stuff.

we are going to be dropping some new stuff here which will all be adjacent to our podcast. We'll be doing all kinds of things, screen printing, brewing beer, telling spooky stories, working on things around our house, This will be the blog page that follows that, for now aptly named: Other Stuff.

 

that overflow content is just Andrea and I piddling about and working on new things that interest us, hopefully it will be awesome, probably it will be overflowing with wtf moments and realizations that we in fact drink and know nothing.