A Few Brief Words

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 8:21 AM

Between class, wedding planning and miscellaneous intrusions of that thing called life, my brain has been a little short on words lately. This isn't to say the brain is short on ideas, of course; it cranks out concepts and characters and potential plots at alarming speed. This makes me frustration incarnate at times; it is like having a crowd of new people crammed in my skull, all clamoring for development, recognition and a voice. Above all they want that voice.

They want to live long enough to make their name mean something.

Sometimes I think that this is one reason I am a gamer. Gaming is like a quick solution to the mob of unborn characters. Need a new face in the game setting? Easy. The demand for expression is met, however briefly, and my players get to see yet another uncannily human NPC. Or uncannily inhuman, I guess.

Given all the travel and mess in the next few weeks, I imagine updates here might be a bit thin. So, for the next few posts, I'm going to share a few things I've already written rather than my usual practice of writing direct-to-blog. For starters, I'm going to post some material that is connected to my previous mention of the Shepherds, and specifically referring to an NPC who had a tremendous impact on my DnD group, both in and out of character. In fact, I think Corant had the greatest impact on the party out of any NPC.

Corant was an introduction to the Shepherds. She was an example of someone who had been seeded with a fragment of knowledge, and was transformed by letting it grow through her. By the time the players met her, she was horrific, but she'd started as a normal, intelligent young woman. Corant killed by communicating, and one of the party got dropped by her 'conversation'. As a result, that party member was stained by what Corant had known and experienced, and later had these vision/dreams, reliving small moments of Corant's life.

This was certainly one reason Corant affected my group so much, but I believe there was something more to it. The evil of the Shepherds, when expressed through others, comes out as a lonely, desperate creature. It is a despairing, empty kind of evil, a gnawing and mournful thing. This has the effect of generating sympathy as much as loathing or hatred, and this is one reason why the work of the Shepherds is so dangerous. As a patron of the group once said, 'The Shepherds never force anyone to do anything. They only offer.'

Corant accepted that offer, and here is the first part of that story.


To the north, there are the Nightsigh mountains, and you've always loved watching them, the fog that broke over their toothy crowns every evening. You imagined them as giant emperors and empresses, long ago turned to stone by their mighty patience, facing away from the bleak and terrible land everyone knows lays beyond them. The elves would come and tell tales, but never tales of what was beyond the Nightsigh. 'Sad and horrible,' they said, but nothing more.

But you would walk along the river, with the sun at your back, and warmth in your step. Swift runner, sharp-eyed, you could outwit and outrun most of the boys, and today, it makes you smile to think of them wanting to chase you. Lun was always so jealous of you, and you thought it was funny. You've always been the pretty one, with your long, dark hair and bright eyes, and besides, you're oldest, so that means you get courted first. You have just reached your fifteenth year, so it will start soon!

But mother also says ladies don't play about like you do, and you do it anyway, running down to the river to fish or watch the birds or climb trees. Sometimes your hair gets tangled up or you come home dirty, but mother always forgives you because you sing so beautifully, and you know all the old poems and your calligraphy is perfect. Today, it is catching salamanders, ankle-deep in the wide, muttering river, dreaming about the future. You've always wanted a horse, but home is too rocky and uneven for real riding. Tara's son said so; he'd been south, to Wevnir, and open ground. Perhaps when you do get married, there will be horses... but you won't be like other ladies. You'll ride where you wish, forever!

That's when you notice that someone is watching you from the other side of the river, and you look up, startled, because no one lives there.

That is when you see him


standing there in the shadows, with shadows boiling around him and a streak of darkness held in his


hands like a shepherd's crook, and he looks at you with blazing white eyes, the most dreadful and beautiful thing you have ever dreamed of, and suddenly you don't want your hair to be so tangled and your hands are all muddy and your feet dirty, and he just looks at you and then he smiles and your heart flutters like a butterfly you caught in between your hands once. And then it flies free, because he speaks to you, in a voice just like the fog breaking over the Nightsigh.

“I've been waiting a long time to find you.”

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At May 26, 2009 9:13 PM, Blogger Galindorf said...

Oh, what a treat~ I'm going to link these posts in her portrait!


At May 27, 2009 9:27 AM, Blogger Montgomery Mullen said...

Well, that's good, because I was going to link her portrait to these when I finish posting them!


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