The Further (Mis)Adventures of Princess Thumperhead started as a "post by email" that I wrote in college. When I moved away from school, the story widened and took on a different role for me, hence the Jester's Chronicles. Quite some time has past now and I find that I am returning to telling this weird little story, or The Trials. I suggest starting from the beginning. Some characters have been around that long...In April 2012, this story will turn 15. ....and Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lost Trials: The Man Who Would Be King.

**Author's Note.
I found this draft recently. I had forgotten that I had even written it, but if the continuity was to remain, this is the style that the Trials would take.  Technically this is a rough draft of Trials I from a few years ago.  I've pulled the title, it's more of a bridge piece as it does imply a timeline, but never fully reveals when exactly this moment should take place.

Let me tell you a tale, of the man who would be King.” the bard sang out.

The last of the patrons settled down into their seats.  Tankards of ale found their homes on potbellies, tables, and bar tops; their owners’ attention shifting to the man who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

“I know my friends that these are frightening times.  The last of the dead have still to be collected from the streets, the word has not reached many as to whether their loved ones are alive.  I assure you that we, you good folks and I, need nothing less then tales of heroes and magic.  I am here to regale you with one such tale.  Many of you know of whom I speak.  A few, may know this person by name and most should know him by reputation.  But my tale begins two decades and ten years ago.

He was born to a commoner’s family.  His father, an honest merchant was once a feared man-at-arms.  Hired by the best and richest, to protect their interests and goods, his father’s only dream was to have a son to pass on his legacy.  Soon after a harsh winter, his dream was fulfilled.  The babe soon grew into a strong young man.  Schooled from an early age in the martial arts, he became a gifted wrestler, besting men much greater in size.  To balance his physical training, he spent many summers with his elder cousin, a young mage’s apprentice.  These two were, at times, closer then bothers.
Their fellows, a small group of six were destined by fate to become great.  These six young men, played as kings, knights, rogues, and wizards.  They also adventured into the woods, onto the lakes, and deep into caves; living life to the fullest.  Four summers passed and the eldest, the mage’s apprentice left to study and compile his wizard’s book.  His younger cousin, our hero, left he next summer for the war college taking the noble’s son with him to study with him at the Weapons School.  Two more of the group left that winter to make their way in the world, one as a member of the town watch, the other to study the ways of civil service.  The youngest member of the group left years later...and just wandered.”  The storyteller paused, took a sip of ale, adjusted his traveling cloak and began again.

“Our young fighter became skilled in many things.  He studied the long sword, the great bow, chivalry, horsemanship, combat tactics, and logistics.  He excelled in his studies and was prepared to be an excellent lieutenant in the army.  On the Day of Blessing, he sat in chapel preparing his weapons to receive words of faith.  The Bishop approached, placed his hand upon the sword hilt and whispered ‘A great and noble king you will make, but faith is needed to fill the emptiness within you.’  These words, they could have been a mighty warhammer, with all the power they struck him with.  He left the college the next day and began a pilgrimage home.  He took nothing with him except a long sword, his field pack, and a holy symbol.  Months later, when he made it home, he was a changed man.  Anyone who might have known him would not have recognized him.  Not knowing what to do for money, he petitioned to become a minor librarian, under an assumed name, at the Unseen Library, a safe harbor in the Black Baron’s realm.”

Ohs and ahs emanated from the crowd at the mention of the mythical stronghold.

“Thar ain’t no such place, just fairy tales for young folk.” barked a drunken roadwarden.

Pulling a whisper thin key from an inner fold the bard responded, “While I for one love a good fairy tale.  Especially, when I am the one being paid to spin the yarn; this key does in fact open the door of which I speak.  I have, many times, read at the foot of a stack of ancient texts.  And I assure you that the Library does exist and is very well hidden from casual observation.”  Without moving, the key vanished from his hand.

 “The Keeper of the Unseen Library was the youngest ever to be appointed to that post.  You’ll remember him from earlier in my tale, it was none other then the young mage’s apprentice, now entitled as the Ar’ D. Jazan.  The Ars, as practice, would make rounds among the new librarians.  He found it useful to meet them in person; so he could get a sense of them and their ambitions.  He was very protective of his charge, the Library, and felt it was his duty to weed out those librarians who were selfish in their designs.  It was Midweek, when the Ars brushed past a new librarian.  Energy arced, like raw power unleashed.  The Ars stepped back and asked the librarian to remove his hood.

‘I’m sorry, mi ‘lord, that’s not possible’ was the reply.  Not used to having his requests rebuked the Ars put words of command to use.

‘Remove your hood and show me your face.’ boomed in the corridor.

As the hood fell, the librarian ‘I’m sorry cousin, I’ve taken refuge here, please do not be upset.’  Shocked, D. Jazan took stock of the young man.

‘Dear cousin, I have missed you these past years, stay as long as you need.  My house is yours; my discretion is at your disposal.  But James what do you plan to do?’

The cosseted warrior replied, ‘Study.  One thing I took to heart was to study.  My strengths are known to me, but I do not know my own flaws.  Nor do I understand all of the consequences of my designs.  I must ask that our relationship remain concealed.  In my travels I have assume the name of an outrider who was slain saving my life.  I carry his name to honor him.’

The Ars paused for a moment pondering then asked, ‘Well then, as I see that you are new here, my name is Ar’ D. Jazan, I am the Keeper here.  By what shall I address you?’

‘Tintar the cloistered, mi ‘lord.  Pleased to make your acquaintance.’  He said as he raised his hood and took leave of the Ars.”

“Mule piss!” spat a guardsman from the back of the room.  “The Supreme Commander twas never a dust rat in a make believe library.  He twas born fully grown, dressed for battle, swinging a horseman’s pike at the bitch midwife’s head.  I served with him in twenty campaigns and I heresay he never did women’s work.”

“And ten thousand women he has bedded, or so you’ve heard.  There is much about the Commander that has been misled.  You, my good fellow, before you stumble home tonight, I want you to think on these words.  ‘No fight is worthy without honor, no honor is worthy without faith.’”

“You bloody bastard!  Anyone who’s done served on the front knows that rally cry.  Twas but two winters ago, Sir Augustus done screamed it in me bloody ear.  Bitch charge that battle was.  Lost me my two elder brothers.  Would have lost more twas not for them Cristos’ Machines.  Never seen a blooming thing like the fire they spit.  Like nasty iron dragons they was.  All pissin’ oils and farting smoke, enough to make you sick it was.”

Setting down his pint, the story weaver leaned forward on his stool.  “Well fought you are, my good sir.  I did not speak to insult you, ney, only to remind to keep the faith.  You say you served with the Scorched Iron Brigade?  I will get to them later in my tale.”  Putting his feet back up on the lowest rung of the stool, the bard continued.  “Where was I?  But of course.  A year or so after his return to Gothex.  Tintar, as he was now calling himself, was tasked to discover a rare coronation ceremony.  A noble had returned to claim a title.  He had a family duchy in Gothex and could trace his lineage back several generations.  The duke felt that a public spectacle would not only secure his title as king, but would rebuff Baron Saing’s attempts to assassinate him.  During the ceremony, Tintar secreted himself in an alcove and cheered on his long time friend, now King Decker.”

“Sorry sir,” piped up a serving wench from the bar, “do you mean to say that Commander Tintar once knew the King?”

“I do indeed.  They were good friends in their youth.  King Decker once kept the company of five good friends.  As a young Duke, he traveled with Tintar to College.  They fenced, jousted, and hunted together.  The two of them were a fearsome pair in mock combat, but as time passed their paths diverged.  Tintar continued his studies in Martial Law and Decker went on to study some of the fairer arts, such as policy and diplomacy.  It was only years later, during his ascension here in Gothex, that the King knew he needed someone that he could trust with his security.  How else is it that a “librarian” could be appointed by Royal Decree that post of Royal Guardsman?”

“Amazing.  Please go on with your tale.” the wench said understandingly. 

“I will, but could you please bring for me a small piece of mutton and a sweet roll?”

“Of course.” was the reply.

“Now, where was I before the history diversion?  Oh yes.  It was almost a year later, after not one but two assassination attempts, that the King, I did mention that he was a slow learner, commissioned the Royal Guard.  This group of warriors was to become the most battle hardened and powerful phalanx of troopers.  It is the members of this group that would lead Gothex to Victory in the War between Empires.”

The room erupts in a raucous mixture of roars, battle cries, and cheers.  Almost every person in the tavern had fought, bled, or lost someone in the three years of the war. 

**I cannot find my notes, so I am not sure where I was planning on taking this story.  I will try to fold some of these plot points into the Trials chapters to bring closure to the Bard's story.
Do you recognize who is who?  I recall that I was going to formalize the story a bit and codify the relationships. this is a few years later...sadly some of these things have changed for me.**

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The lost Chronicles XXI: Here There Be Dragons.

 It was late on midsummer’s eve, when the Jester and Tintar were stopped on the road.
"Mi' Lord, a dispatch."  Tintar took the letter and read. When he finished he turned to the Jester and said, "Well my friend, it seems that the Minstrel Kahz is playing at the Harlot's Bosom.  Shall we get a pint and hear what he is playing?"
The Jester replied, "Lead on good sir, to good drink, fine music, and excellent women."
Several hours later, the travelers arrived at the infamous tavern.  They found Kahz playing to the best of his ability and the women were swooning.  They made their way to an open table and were soon enjoying pint of stout when an incident occurred.

Midway through an epic ballad, a young woman strode out of the kitchen with a ladle in hand and began to beat Eepir Kahz about the head and shoulders.  The flock of women at his feet scattered into the corners of the bar.  She kept screaming "Get the bloody song right!" until he fell back onto the ground mildly bloodied.  At that point, she turned on a heel and marched right back into the kitchen.

The Jester and Tintar just stared at each other for a moment, until Tintar said "I knew a woman like that once, I had her locked up in the sanitarium.  She kicked like a mule."  With that he shuttered, and the two men got up to see if the minstrel was alright.  As the approached, a young woman was already attending to him.  She had laid his head comfortably upon her chest and was wiping away the blood with the hem of her dress.

After realizing that their care could not compete with the young woman's ample compassion the two men retreated back to their table.

Finishing their pints, the Jester queried his friend.  "Now I have seen you in battle, bloodied, bruised, and beaten down.  I wonder, do you think you would have gotten up more quickly after being healed on the battleground if you were promised a night of 'minstrel care?'"

"I would have gotten up, but not in the way that was meant for fighting" Tintar joked back.

Before too long the minstrel was sitting on a stool singing a love ballad to his endowed caregiver.

"Let us depart before I forsake warfare for a dress and women's work."  Tintar said pulling the Jester out of his seat.

As the tavern’s door closed, the wailing tune drifted out with them.

Several weeks later, a personal note was delivered to Tintar's apartment.

"Dear Comrade,
My precocious cousin has alighted from the family lands and my agents have reported seeing throughout your great city.  She has taken up with a classless man who entertained in my court a number of months ago.  He now performs at a tavern call's the 'Whore's Bossum' or something like that.  Please find her and make sure she is in safe keeping.
Your brother in arms,
Arvais Draconni"

Tintar sent several of his elite trackers to Eepir Kahz boarding house to keep an eye out for her.  Their orders were clear, follow, protect, and do not intrude until ordered to do so.

For months reports came in.  Kahz had definitely taken up with the young woman.  She was a foreigner.  She went by Allyssa.  She had expensive tastes.  She talked about mythical monsters.  She was, by all accounts, not a lady after midnight.

Tintar decided to use some more aggressive tact in getting information.  He sent the Jester to visit the couple and report back his findings.

That evening with a gift in hand the Jester rapped on their door.  Kahz opened the door, his clothes were all asunder.  "Well good evening my wandering friend.  What brings you to my humble abode at this early hour?"

"May I come in?" the Jester asked as he stepped through the doorway. "As the sun is now setting, it seems only unsavory characters are getting on with their days.  Did I wake you?"

"Wake me, by all good heavens no!  Rouse me from my bed then yes!  But what's done is done.  Come in!"

As if on cue, a lovely young lady in a gossamer gown floated down the stairs.  "My love!  Soon to be my bride!  This is the Illustrious Royal Jester!  Are you still royal with it being an empire and all now?  It's all mad rubbish anyhow.  Jester this is Allyssa!  We are to wed next summer!"

"Well then, this may be more appropriately a nuptials gift."  He said as he set the covered gift on the nearest table.

Allyssa rushed forward to open the gift.  As she pulled off the blanket there sat a small iron cage.  In the corner of the cage, no more than a hands breath wide was a small fire dragon.  With its world suddenly brighten the dragon reared back spit out the tiniest fireball, no larger than a candle's flame.  Allyssa squealed with glee and said "How did you know?  It looks just like the one I had as a young child!"

"It thought it was fitting.  I found him last year.  He needed someone to care for him.  If my memory serves me right he is a cave dragon.  It will be another year or two before he is strong enough to use his wings.  I think he would make an excellent addition to your home for a few years at least."

"I name thee Prince Pyrite." said Allyssa as she coaxed him out of the cage and onto her hand. 

"Well thank you old friend, a handsome little devil if I don't say so myself.  Let's drink and talk there is much to catch up on."  Eepir took the Jester's arm and led him to a back room.

<<Author's note:  I did write this for a huge fan and his soon to be wife.  As it turned out...I never actually published it anywhere.  So I just emailed it to the fan (not sure if it will get read as time has dramatically changed the nature of our relationship) and now I feel comfortable posting it here online.  As with all "Lost" episodes, this does not conform to any particular point in the timeline.>>

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Chronicles XX: The End of a Barony.

<<Author's note: I'm really sorry this has been almost three years and alot  has changed, but I have some more of the story to tell. This was just  sitting out there in cyber space having moved with me a few times. This is the end of "Book 2: Chonicles". I have started writing "Book 3: Trials" while editing "Books 1  & 2" adding artwork and tightening up the plot and some of the names. In a  perfect world I would love to get it published one day...oh well. If you  keep in touch with anyone who used to read it please forward this along, I  had to scour through 2 years of emails to dig up more current addresses for  most people. I hope that this finds you safe and well and please write me  and let me know how you are doing. Mike
I am actually starting real story arcs, not just parodies of real events, so  it should be more interesting to read.>>

 “We stand ready.
The Jester set down the scroll and moved to finish packing his things. It  was going to be a long time before he’d see these walls again. Before  leaving for the Castle, he penned a quick note to his bride explaining that  he’d write soon. Setting outside with everything he’d need for the coming  year, he spots a carriage and piles the bags inside. “To the castle.” He says the driver.

General Tintar finished putting on his polished silver armor. Attaching his  purple cloak and sheathing his sword, he pauses “It is time.” Upon entering the hall just outside his chambers, the Commander of the Royal  Guard takes note of a hundred of his finest men standing guard outside of  his door. As he steps into the hallway, one hundred heels strike the ground  as the guardsmen wheel about into marching formation. As the procession  advances through the halls, a resounding noise is heard as though a large  thunder cloud crashed along side of them. Rounding a corner, the mass of steel and muscle is joined by five men, the  Jester, Prefect Brand, Ambassador Benedict, Captain Pahj’lix, and the  minstrel Eepir Kahz. The group comes to a halt just outside of Saing’s chamber.

“Captain.” The General says. The guardsmen rush around the small group of men and into Saing’s sanctum,  moving to cover all available exits.

“Commander?” Saing hisses, as he looks up from his notes.

“The time for apparent weakness is past, my Lord.” Tintar says through the  open door.

“It is time to act, our pawns are already in place.” Added Benedict.

“Come in then.” Saing said as he turned and withdrew some maps. “Here is  what to do.” Laying out the maps of Gothex and its borders. “Here is what  I want.” He moves a map to the top of the pile. It reveals Gothex as major  force in between the Western Empire and the Kingdom to the East. “We must  expand our borders four hundred fold. And do it before winter.”

The seven men looked at the map, taking it all in. This meant war and on  three fronts. To do this before winter would mean blood soaked earth is all  the snows would have to kiss. There were some concerns, of course. Tintar started, “Baron, how are we to succeed against the southern holdings?  Perhaps Commander Gregor could use some of his ancestral lands to stage  the armies needed.”

“Ask the fool…he knows the adversary there.”

 “It must be Di’Rand’s armies then. I know him. Brand and I will see to it  that he understands our position.” The Jester offered. “And the girl?”

Benedict addressed that question, “The court is weak, but strong enough for  our purposes. She trusts me and believes that her family will stay  empowered by this treaty.”

“And P’ jai’us?” the Jester rubbed his neck remembering that late night  attack.

“We have a surprise for them. One of their three power wells is just  outside of a town called San Lieu, the Jester leaves tonight to ‘redirect’ the energy from the well. It seemed only fitting.”

“With them weakened, our eastern push should be made with ease.” assessed  Tintar. As the men rose together, Saing spat “Today we carve out the Empire of  Gothex, to stand for Ten Thousand Years!”

As a cold wind whipped through them and into the hallway, it howled. Somewhere in the distance, something howled back...

The Royal Jester
-Chelle de’ Gruse, Wife of The Jester, Protector of Children
-Baron Saing, War-Lord, Army of the Blackened Standard
-Tintar, The Cloistered, Supreme Commander
--Sir Gregor, The Paladin, Commander of the Eastern Brigade
---Hee A’tor, Lady of the Ol’cohall Lake, Court Noble
--Sir Azon, The Unbreakable, Commander of the Northern Wastes
---Lady Yute, Champion of the Simple, Court Noble
--Sir Augustus, The Pious, Commander of the Central Armies
---Lady Tehtare, Scholar, Lady-in-waiting
--Sir Cristos, The Quiet, Commander of the Western Brigade
---Lady Katz, The Benevolent
--Sir Geottch, The Elder, Diplomat of Arms
-Dar Benedict, Consul-General of Intelligence
--Dane Benedict, Scholar, Lady-in-waiting
--Brand, Prefect of Military Intelligence
-Ramierez, War Wizard of the Northern Wastes
---Annult, Consul to the Wizards
---Murrin the Mad, Senior Siege Engineer
-Kindle, A witch, seer, magician, and prophet
-Irie, Magistrate General
-Eepir Kahz, The Minstrel
--Lady Draconni, Lady of the Draconni Court

Ar’ D. Jazan, Ancient hermit wizard, Keeper of the Unseen Library
-Gef’Rey the Pious, Insane monk and scholar
-Strah ‘her the Mercurial, Captain of the Guard/Library Brigade
-Smitty, Tsar of the Slah-kar
-K’Abe, Retired toy maker and purveyor of fine herbal remedies

Lord Niah Decker
-The Magpie Party
-The Slah-Cars

Di’Rand the Bold, Commander of the Southern Guard