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Literature
Chapter Eleven - The Sleeping Giants Tap House
The Sleeping Giants tap house was a dilapidated, run down building at the far end of the road. A few small buildings around in much the same shabby state and the decrepit Manor looming eerily in the background atop a hill.
   As Poppy and Bale got closer to the tap house they could see a covered porch to the front of the building and two Red Brand thugs sitting outside on empty ale barrels, guarding the door. They wore the same grubby scarlet cloaks and had swords affixed to their belts. Their sullen stares were affixed upon Poppy and Bale as they approached.
   One man rose to his feet, snorted and spat on the ground. Bale and Poppy continued their approach to the door, not deterred by a bit of saliva. The standing ruffian took a step to the side , blocking the door fully now, crossing his arms across his chest. The halfing and the masked man stopped in their tracks.
   “Good afternoon Sir, we would like to talk to the leader of the Red Brands, so i
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Literature
Chapter Ten - Chewing the Fat in Phandalin
   The sun was high in the sky by the time Poppy and Sildar ambled down to the town square, having just bid Errick and Roclaf a fond farewell on their journey back to Neverwinter. Poppy had fussed over them, being a worry wart as usual, making sure the pair would be safe on the way back. Eric, stoic as ever, assured Poppy that because the wagon was empty they shouldn't get much trouble on the road.
   “They'll be fine, Errick has done the trip many times for Gundren before,” Sildar said trying to soothe the emotional halfling. Poppy looked up quizzically at Sildar while they walked down the dirt path.
   “Then why are we here?” she asked.
   “Because you could not pay your gambling debt Miss,” Sildar reminded her with a smile.
   “Oh yes, I know that, but if Errick has done the trip many times before, why were we enlisted to help?” She pressed on.
   “Normally myself and Gu
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Literature
Chapter 9 - The Lion Shield Coster
Bale had wandered down the dry dusty street, casually showing off Steve to people who passed by, making his way down to the weapons shop. It was a large building facing front onto the town square. There was a big old sign hanging above the door shaped like a shield with a blue lion painted on it.
Just as Bale went to walk into the shop a large man barged into him leaving the shop. The man grunted by way of apology and fixed his red cloak back into shape, tucking a bag of coin into his jacket as he did. Bale side stepped out of they way loudly muttering “Oh no good sir, pardon me, absolutely my fault for even existing!” The man either didn't hear Bale's retort or didn't much care.
Bale sighed deeply calming himself, attempting to channel his inner Poppy. He finally took a good look around the shop, it was bare. There were a few hunting knives, a few wood axes and digging spades, mostly items that would be made by the local smithy. He shrugs and approached the counter.
A heav
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Literature
Chapter 8 - Onwards to Phanladin
The pack travelled on for another day, stopping for a short rest throughout the night before making the final trek to Phanladin. Poppy and Sildar sat on the bench of the wagon, making small pleasant talk now and again, both a little on edge after the previous days events.
Errick kept pace at the rear whilst Bale walked alongside Roclaf, conversing deeply with her and showing off Steve. The great big dog was enamoured with Steve and would often try to tear it from Bale's hand if he brought the fleshy puppet up too close.
The rutted cart track emerged from a wooded hillside and they caught their first glimpse of Phanladin. The town consisted of a ramshackle group of wooden buildings, forty or fifty or so of simple log structures with stone foundations. The town was surrounded by older, crumbling ruins of buildings long gone, covered in ivy and thick briar. Poppy thought this must have been a much larger town many centuries ago.
As the cart trundled on the track it began to widen and beca
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Literature
Chapter 7 - Cavernous Attack
The water had gone as quickly as it had come, definitely a dam Poppy thought. She carefully edged herself back down from the walls and towards the cave's entrance in search of Bale. She thought she would fine him in a much worse state but he met her just at the entrance, a little damper, a lot cleaner but in perfectly good health and spirits.
The two turned, heading back up into the cavern, the muddy path much more muddier and slicker since the last time they walked it. Bale waved at the wolves as they passed them again, the wolves seemed very unphased by all the commotion, like it was another day in the dungeon for them.
Returning to the fork Poppy insisted that they try going up the hidden shadow passageway they had spotted across the stream. The water's current looked less rapid after the deluge so they made it across with relative ease.
“Honestly I don't mind where we go, as long as it's not in the water, I'm getting all pruney!” Bale exclaimed as they made their way in
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Literature
Chapter 6 - Into The Cave
The two adventurers took a few tentative moves into the cave, the stream of water rushing past them to their left and a rocky path leading up into the darkness of the cavern. Just inside the mouth of the cave, to the right, were a few uneven stone steps that led up to a small, dank chamber.
Bale took to the steps to investigate, leading the way, Poppy coming up behind him. The stench of rotting meat and wet dog assaulted her nostrils. There was a quick rattle of chains and then the frightful snarling and barking of three very large wolves.
The hounds were tied up with lengths of chain around their neck and wrapped round the strong, sturdy stalagmite bases. The chain length cut the wolves short of reaching the pair but the beasts still struggled to break free, pulling wildly, barking up a great frenzy.
“Puppies!” Bale shouted in gleeful excitement, breaking into a run to meet the wolves, his arms stretched open wide to meet them.
The three wolves stopped, clearly confused by
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Literature
Chapter 5 - The Clearing By The Cave
The halfling and the bandaged man walked for an hour or more, following the trampled trail of the goblins, ever vigilant for more traps or further ambushes. They barely spoke a word to each other, seemingly both a little on edge as the thickets became more and more dense. Or more, Poppy barely spoke to Bale, choosing instead to concentrate on track markings and tree lines. Bale on the other hand was chatting up a great storm with his good pal Steve.
They turned a corner on a particularly large thorny briar and were then shocked to be walking into a clearing. It seemed to be goblin made, rather than a natural clearing. Poppy could see the chops and cuts to the bushes, the trampled forest flooring pounded down through constant marching through.
A large dark cave in the hillside to left of them had a shallow looking stream flowing out of it and from what they could see across the brook was more thicket but also a path leading into the cave.
“I really don't want to get wet.” Ba
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Literature
Chapter 4 - Following The Trail
These were the horses of Gundren Rockseeker and Sildar Hallwinter. Gundren had described his horse to her in the tavern, and had described Sildar's as well. A fine stout brown horse with braided mane and a silver stallion with black patches. These were the horses laid before her. She began to search the looted saddle bags, checking belongings. There was am empty leather map case with Dwarven carving which she would bet anything was Rockseeker's.
Poppy began to use her tracking knowledge and take note of the surrounding area, she noted it was the perfect ambushing point, a nice secluded spot for a campfire and a rest for the weary traveller. The ground was severely trampled in all areas, they used this point often for their ambushes. She inspected the north-side of the thicket, where the goblins had emerged and noticed a trail heading off in a north western direction, dozens of goblins used this path it seemed. More recently two larger bodies had been hauled away. Gundren and Sildar?
Th
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Literature
Chapter 3 - A Goblin Ambush
They kept good pace for a few hours, the road becoming more wooded, branches scraping along the wagon side, the wheels becoming lodged a few times on larger rockss. Bale had offered to burn a path through the thicket but Poppy turned the offer down, fearing that may give a bit too much unwanted attention. Bale had considered this for a moment, like he didn't understand where the problem was nor the problem in creating a forest fire. The halfling went to argue her point when Bale held up a hand to slow them.
"What's that over there?" He asked, gesturing to a clearing in the woods to the left of the road. It looked to be an abandoned camp site; an old fire surrounded by litter and some large shapes, were those horses?
"Bandits? Could be remnants of an attack?" Poppy thought aloud nervously.
"Could be, could be." Bale started to head into the clearing. He kicked a few bits of litter, it looked like looted bags strewn everywhere.
"Bale!" hissed Poppy, he didn't respond. "Bale, get back her
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Literature
Chapter 2 - On The High Road
The morning air was crisp in Poppy's lungs, the sun not quite high enough to bring the sharp marshland stench she had become accustomed to over the past day or so. She huddled further into her cloak, seeking what little warmth it offered and surveyed the map open on her lap.
They were pretty much halfway on their journey, taking the high road south from the city of Neverwinter through the thick marshland where then they would veer east towards the Triboar Trail and go up towards Phandalin.
Poppy thought back to the conversation with Gundren Rockseeker in the Tavern, he had seemed so animated and jovial, laying out his “proposition.”
“Yer to take the wagon, fill it full of supplies, food, axes, he knows what and follow me and Sildar on after.” The dwarf downed another ale, his words becoming a little slurred. “Go see that fella Errick, down by the markets in the morning, he'll help you out. Me an' Sildar'll be gone by first light, got business to attend to
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Literature
Chapter 1 - A Debt Unpaid
The Driftwood Tavern was a very fine establishment in the city of Neverwinter. It boasted a warm, welcoming fire, many fine wines and a good many caskets of ale. The food served was rustic but hearty and the Innkeeper Jorge was a jolly fellow with a heart of gold. Jorge would allow Folk to conduct business freely in the Tavern, be that trading, hiring or a little bit of gambling on the tables, as long as people bought ale, food and maybe a bed he was happy enough to allow it to happen.
Poppy Broadbelt, a halfling, hopped herself onto an unoccupied stool, her bare feet dangling. She welcomed the comfort of being sat down at last after three days hard walk from her secluded home away from Neverwinter and relished in the first sip of warming mead. The halfling had finally finished conducting her business in the market, selling goats milk soap, goats cheese and goat pelts. Poppy had traded her wares for some essentials; herbs, spices, chicken legs and almond milk, all the good things neede
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Literature
A Fairy's Tale - Chapter 3
The fairy had little time to dwell on the moments past, on the man who saved her life, and the other man who'd been intent on taking it. She heard the largest horn bellow out, it shook through the trees, dragged birds from their nests and forced all necks to crane towards the skies. Straightening herself out, arms by her side, she rocketed past gaping mouths and wide eyes. Arine knew she didn't have long, by rights she didn't even have a minute, but flapping her wings with all her strength she flew straight to the first place they'd probably look for her.
Of course she didn't have the key to her own home; it was with her belongings in the Council tree, so the fairy broke into her own home. She smashed the glass of her bedroom window, using a branch from the tree she lived in. Arine was lucky to have a carved out home within a large circular tree, it was expensive but very much worth the luxury. Luxury she'd have to leave, she thought sadly as she scraped her way into her own home.
Arin
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Literature
A Fairy's Tale - Chapter 2
A scream echoed throughout the land, loud and ear piercing. Blood pumped all over the weathered boards but the blood was not from Arine, no the blood and screams of pain came from the executioner as his hand fell limp and the sword clattered down. An arrow had shot straight and true through the executioner's wrist, shattering bones and ripping the skin apart. The arrow was now embedded in the big wooden door, quivering slightly from the impact.
The Captain's head shot up towards where the arrow had come from, an angered look of pure fury spreading across his face. He then began to bark orders to guards; some disappeared behind the now open wooden doors, others drew their swords. The few that had held Arine down were now scrambling to their feet as a few more arrows embedded them selves within the wood of the tree. The Captain pointed sharply to where the arrows were coming from and barked for some guards to get up there.
Within moments three guards flew high into the thicket of branche
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Literature
A Fairy's Tale - Chapter 1
Arine, daughter of Arhun and Bettine, a brown haired, bookish sort of girl with a good standing job as a scroll scribe and was as normal and un-heroic as the days were long. But this bookish un-heroic fairy held the future of everyone within her ink stained grasp.
And it is here now we find Arine in the worst situation imaginable, in a cell, awaiting the dawn for her execution.
The young fairy was sat upon a sack of hay reading the small book of folk tales that her brother had sent her in pitied love. She could hear screams and wails coming from all around, some begging for release, others were just howling relentlessly.
With a quivered breath she continued to read again, trying to suppress her own strangled wails of fear.
The cell was small and bare, she could just about stretch out in one direction but not the other way. Kindly her jailors had provided the hay filled sack to sleep on and a bucket in the corner that was filthy and leaking.
There was a barred window high up, far from w
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Literature
A Fairy's Tale - Prologue
An introduction to all things.
Elves are not graceful, beautiful creatures; fairies are not small dainty beings. They are like you, or I, with good qualities and bad ones too.
It is written that once, long ago, there were five Kings, rulers of the land and rulers of the Elements Fire, Wood, Sand, Water and Air.
Now these Kings had ruled their lands well and kept their people in order, but one year decided to seek out the Goddess and ask of her a wish to make them better Kings.
They travelled on for many thousands of miles before reaching the highest point of a mountain. There they waited for a week and day before she appeared before them.  
"Kings of Land, what wish do you wish?"
"I am King of Fire and I ask for beasts of flame, winged beasts that my people may tame."
"I am King of Wood and I ask for eyes to see what cannot be seen and ears that are sharp and keen."
"I am King of Sand and I ask for better feet to run upon my land."
"I am King of Water and I ask for an under w
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Literature
100 Challenge - 22. Mother
22. Mother
To Mum,
  I'm trying to express how much you mean to me.
I've tried writing down the first thoughts that come to mind.
Doctor Martens, scones and rings.
But that just doesn't seem to be what I want to say.
So I tried to write you a poem;
Mum, you're the simply best,
Better than all the rest.

But that doesn't seem to be it either, and may, in fact, already be a song.
I then tried again;
Dearest Ma,
Just wanted to say Ta,
And that I luv ya.

But again that didn't sit right either.
I've been thinking long and hard about what I want to say,
I've been thinking about it all day.
So I guess there's no other way for me to say,
Love you Mum.
Tyne xx
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The Sleeping Giants tap house was a dilapidated, run down building at the far end of the road. A few small buildings around in much the same shabby state and the decrepit Manor looming eerily in the background atop a hill.
   As Poppy and Bale got closer to the tap house they could see a covered porch to the front of the building and two Red Brand thugs sitting outside on empty ale barrels, guarding the door. They wore the same grubby scarlet cloaks and had swords affixed to their belts. Their sullen stares were affixed upon Poppy and Bale as they approached.
   One man rose to his feet, snorted and spat on the ground. Bale and Poppy continued their approach to the door, not deterred by a bit of saliva. The standing ruffian took a step to the side , blocking the door fully now, crossing his arms across his chest. The halfing and the masked man stopped in their tracks.
   “Good afternoon Sir, we would like to talk to the leader of the Red Brands, so if you'd be so kind to let us through...” Poppy trailed off, she had attemped to take a step forwards but the guard had took a step towards her and she had lost her nerve a little.
   “Well, well, well, look what we have here, a little pair of puppies, come to bark at us puppies?” laughed the standing Red Brand. Poppy and Bale shared a puzzled look and mouthed the word “Puppies?” to each other, not quite catching the insult, finding it more odd than anything else.
   “We just want to chat, quick chat with your boss and then we're off.” Poppy held her hands out, trying to be civil.
   “Ha! Look here! It's the runt of the litter! Little runty puppy! Not get enough milk from your mamas tit runty?” He mocked Poppy cruely.
   “Can we attack them now?” Bale asked with a very large sigh.
   “No.” Poppy bit back, still attempting to be courteous. “Listen, We're just wanting to chat with your boss so if you could ple-”
   “No,” the man still sitting on the barrel said aloud, interrupting Poppy. “I think it's time you two went on your way. You're not from this town and this clearly doesn't concern you.” He spoke with a cool, sensible voice.
   “What doesn't concern us?” Poppy asked with a wry smile.
   “Just clear off okay!” The standing man raised his voice, getting visibly annoyed.
   “We will, once we've spoken to your leader about a few issues we have with the way things are being run in town.” Poppy spat back, standing her ground.
   “Listen here Runty,” the cruel ruffian took a step forward again, “we've told you, clear off. Take your freak of a friend and just go.”
   “Now?” Bale asked again with the same sigh.
   “We're not looking for a fight,” Poppy said, both to Bale and the men.
   “Well may I suggest you both move on then,” replied the sitting thug. He leaned forward now, his hand casually resting on the hilt of his sword. Poppy paused, taking a few moments to clear her thoughts. Maybe they should move on, get a bit more information, rest up and come back tomorrow. She let a small sigh escape her lips and turned on her feet. She could see Bale weighing up the options, he was itching for a fight as always but he followed suit and began to walk away, looking very irritated.
   “Yeah, that's right you dogs, keep walking,” The larger Red Brand brute shouted after them. “Bloody scum, aye.” He spat on the floor again.
   Bale froze, Poppy stopped, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
   “Now?” Bale asked through gritted teeth. The halfling gave a small imperative nod and the pair whipped round, sprinting back to the tap house, drawing their weapons, ready to pick a fight.
   The sitting man sprang to his feet, threw his foot back and booted the door behind him twice. He then drew his long sword just in time to clash against the charging halfling who was barrelling towards him with furious speed.
   Bale took on the insult throwing Red Brand, swinging his two daggers left, then right and then left again, slashing and biting at the ruffians skin as he was unable to block the bandaged man's frenzied attack. Bale stopped and observed as the man swayed from side to side, blood pouring from many deep cuts all over his body, his weapon slack in his hand. Bale stepped up close to the thug, putting one hand on the back of the brute's meaty head, sliding his razor sharp dagger slowly across the throat, watching as the ruffian began to choke and struggle as blood spewed out from the laceration.
   Poppy was trying her best to use her small size to her advantage, twisting and turning around the guard's legs, all the while she bashed and smacked him in the lower limbs with the hilt of her sword. She finally managed to get an almighty crack against his knee followed by the horrendous crunching sound of metal on bone. He went down with a howl, his knee bone probably broken in numerous places. Poppy then swung her bare foot right back and brought it square against his face, knocking him unconscious.
   She didn't have much time to relax as the door to the tap house burst open and three more Red Brand ruffians scrambled out, weapons ready. Glancing over at Bale she saw him toss aside the cruel thugs lifeless body, roll his neck and ready himself for the next fight.
   Poppy went to ready herself for the fight too when she felt a cold chill crawl up her spine, something wasn't okay. She turned back around to look at Bale, watching as he tossed his daggers aside and began to emit a smoky purple haze.
Chapter Eleven - The Sleeping Giants Tap House
A write up novelization of our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign which stoked the fires of my writers mind that has been dormant for many years.

My Character - Poppy Broadbelt - A hermit halfling cook
Friend's Character - Samuel Bale - Human with demonic powers.

Based on the Dungeon and Dragons Starter Campaign - The Lost Mine of Phandelver
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   The sun was high in the sky by the time Poppy and Sildar ambled down to the town square, having just bid Errick and Roclaf a fond farewell on their journey back to Neverwinter. Poppy had fussed over them, being a worry wart as usual, making sure the pair would be safe on the way back. Eric, stoic as ever, assured Poppy that because the wagon was empty they shouldn't get much trouble on the road.
   “They'll be fine, Errick has done the trip many times for Gundren before,” Sildar said trying to soothe the emotional halfling. Poppy looked up quizzically at Sildar while they walked down the dirt path.
   “Then why are we here?” she asked.
   “Because you could not pay your gambling debt Miss,” Sildar reminded her with a smile.
   “Oh yes, I know that, but if Errick has done the trip many times before, why were we enlisted to help?” She pressed on.
   “Normally myself and Gundren accompany the wagon down. Gundren's good with an axe, I'm pretty handy with my sword, so we can usually take on the odd goblin or rogue orc that try anything. But Gundren had business to attend to that required his immediate attention here in town. He wanted to leave first light and ride fast, something the wagon does not do. I was going to go poking round the guilds in Neverwinter, see if I could hire an adventurer or two, but then Gundren got lost in that card game of his, and, well, the rest you pretty much know.”
   They had reached the town square, it wasn't anything too grand, just an open area that a lot of buldings faced on to with the town green behind it. Sildar pointed out a few buildings to Poppy whilst they waited for Bale. There was the Townmaster's Hall, the Shrine of Luck and most importantly, the Stonehill Inn.
   “I'm going to go secure our lodgings at the Inn over there, I need a good long rest and a nice hot meal,” Sildar said as they sat on a wall waiting for Bale. “And then I'll try to make contact with my contact in town.”
   “Sure thing, rest up Sildar,” Poppy replied as the older man slipped off the wall, straightened up and walked off with a wave.
   Poppy watched the Lion Sheild Coster for a few more minutes and then Bale came barrelling out of the building, his cloak billowing behind him. Poppy saw a fair haired woman in the door way shaking her head, her arms crossed at the chest. That seemed about right for having just encountered Bale Poppy thought to herself with a smile.
   Bale hopped up onto the wall, sitting next to Poppy.
   “Did someone help you up or...?” Bale asked with a cheeky smile.
   “Ha, ha, very funny indeed you heightist,” she replied with a genuine laugh. “So how did it go in there? Who's your new lady friend?”
   “That's Linene, she's firey,” Bale said giving a little finger wave towards the shop door where the woman still stood. She visably jumped, as if she'd been caught, and hurried herself inside. “No weapons or armour or much of anything. She did let me in her back room,” Bale paused for Poppy's eyeroll. “That's where she hides the “good” stuff, but it was all leather armour and longswords.”
   “Why is she hiding her stock?” Poppy asked inquisitively.
   “Her shipments never make it, attacks on the road and what not. Oh! And there's these local thugs, Red Brands, they come in and just take whatever they want, they sound really bad,” He said with a misplaced gleeful smile.
   “Red Brands?” Poppy thought aloud.
   “Dumb looking guys, walking round in long red cloaks, thinking they own the town.”
   “I think I saw one of them at Barthen's, sniffing around the wagon, trying to remain hidden. Ran away when I clocked him though.” Poppy said jumping down from the wall. “Don't know what he wanted or where he went,” she began to walk towards the Inn, Bale followed her.
   “The Giant's Taint!” Bale shouted out. Poppy whipped round and gave him the most shocked and confused expression. “Oh, wait, hang on, that's not it...Ah! The Sleeping Giant's Tap House, that's their den.”
   “Well good to know, we shall avoid there at all costs then,” Poppy put her hand out to push open the door for the Inn, a bed and warm meal beckoning her.
   “But,” Bale started. “I said I'd deal with these troublemakers for Linene.” He said in his most whiny voice.
   Poppy's hand stayed on the door as she thought. She and Bale could go their seperate ways. The job was done, the debt was paid. Sildar could look for Gundren. Bale could do what ever he pleased and she could go back to her goats and quiet, peaceful, mountain dwelling life. But there was something niggling at her, a deep ball of guilt building in the pit of her stomach. She wasn't a selfish hafling, her parents hadn't raised her that way.
   She let out the loudest exasperated sigh and dropped her arm.
   “Thought you were gonna pop a blood vessel with all that thinking you were doing there,” Bale joked. Poppy raised her hand again and pushed the door open into the Inn, quickly vanishing inside with a slam. Bale winced and then grimaced, had he taken it too far?
   Bale went to follow Poppy into the Inn when the door opened again and out skipped the hafling, smiling away.
   “Come on then, I asked for directions, Giant's Taint, this way,” she began to walk up the path, Bale was dumbfounded for a moment but followed on happily.
   “Thought we were avoiding there at all costs?” He enquired to her change of heart.
   “We're just going for a friendly chat, maybe ask if they could be nicer to Linene, casual conversation.”
   “And then burn them to the ground?” Bale said menacingly with a flare of purple fire in his eyes.
   “No, no, no! A chat! What's up, how are things, please be nice. That sort of thing!” Poppy pleaded, whipping her head around to see if anyone heard their discussion.
   “And if they don't agree to be nice?” Bale asked, having a hard time keeping his fires at bay.
   “We ask a little firmer.”
   “We ask a little fiery-er.” Bale gave one of his sharp smiles and grew his demonic claws, the purple and black haze surrounding the jagged forms growing from his hands. Poppy rolled her eyes so hard she nearly lost balance.
   “No, actually that was a little corny, can I try again? Ooh wait I've got it! How about “We ask a little burner? Burner, firmer? No?”
   This continued for some time as they made their way up to the Taphouse.
Chapter Ten - Chewing the Fat in Phandalin
A write up novelization of our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign which stoked the fires of my writers mind that has been dormant for many years.

My Character - Poppy Broadbelt - A hermit halfling cook
Friend's Character - Samuel Bale - Human with demonic powers.

Based on the Dungeon and Dragons Starter Campaign - The Lost Mine of Phandelver
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Bale had wandered down the dry dusty street, casually showing off Steve to people who passed by, making his way down to the weapons shop. It was a large building facing front onto the town square. There was a big old sign hanging above the door shaped like a shield with a blue lion painted on it.

Just as Bale went to walk into the shop a large man barged into him leaving the shop. The man grunted by way of apology and fixed his red cloak back into shape, tucking a bag of coin into his jacket as he did. Bale side stepped out of they way loudly muttering “Oh no good sir, pardon me, absolutely my fault for even existing!” The man either didn't hear Bale's retort or didn't much care.

Bale sighed deeply calming himself, attempting to channel his inner Poppy. He finally took a good look around the shop, it was bare. There were a few hunting knives, a few wood axes and digging spades, mostly items that would be made by the local smithy. He shrugs and approached the counter.

A heavy built woman was behind it, her face furrowed in annoyance, something clearly had got on her nerves. She un-scrunched her face as Bale came closer, attempting to put on a courteous demeanour but somewhat failing.

“Good afternoon, my name is Linene, how can I help you Sir?” She asked, trying to mask her irritation with a smile.

“Afternoon, I'm looking for some good, strong armour, mine's been to hell and back recently.” Linene looked at Bale, making a study of him. Presumably happy with what the woman saw she quickly slipped past Bale, locking the front door.

“I have some items in the back if you'd care to follow me,” she motioned for him to follow and led him to a thick tapestry depicting a knight in silver plate with a blue lion tabard over the top. Linene pulled it aside, revealing a door which she unlocked with a hidden key tucked in her tunic and gave it a hard shove to open.

It looked like a store room with wooden shelves lining the stone walls. On the shelves there were two long swords, an array of daggers, a few different sized shields, a basked of arrows and a couple of bows next to them. There was a shelf with a handful of leather armour in different shapes and sizes. Bale picked a few up, testing their thickness with his fore finger and thumb. He sighed, placing the armour back.

“I'm looking for something a little fancier than this, and a whole lot more protective! Where's the plate? Do you happen to have another tiny secret room your keeping that in?”

“I do apologise sir, but this is all we have in stock. Perhaps a long sword would suit you?”

“Perhaps not,” Bale used his demonic power to extend his claws out, the purple and black smoky haze of demonic power filling the small room. Linene backed herself against the shelving, her hands behind her scraping around for a weapon. Bale retracted his claws, the magic fog dissipating quickly.

“I apologise again Sir, but there's nothing here for you then. Our shipments are prone to bandits and attacks. Our most recent wagon didn't even turn up!” Linene guided them out of the small room, locking the door back up and neatly placing the tapestry back. She strode over to the shop door to unlock it, looking out through the frosted glass of the door she could see a blur of red striding off into the distance. “And those damn Redbrands,” Linene angrily unlocked the door with loud bangs and thuds.

“Redbrands?” Bale asked inquisitively, testing out a hunting knife with a few swings. He liked his daggers better.

“Local thugs. If and when I ever do get any stock in they come and take it all! And then they have the audacity to charge me for the pleasure!” Linene groaned loudly.

“So they're a nuisance?”

“They own this town, they take anything they want and charge us for a Protection Service. Can't pay or have nothing to give? You'll be lucky if they just set your shop on fire.” Linene sighed as she came back into the shop. “They make it a living hell for everyone living here. You're best avoiding them all together if you can.” Bale lifted his hand up, silencing her.

“Say no more, I'll deal with these troublemakers!” He announced defiantly.

“Are your brains made of twigs and berries? I just said to avoid the damned bastards!” Linene spat back. “I know you mean well Sir, but your best of just avoiding the whole lot of them and their rat trap of a den.”

Bale turned and headed for the door. “Ooh a den? I do like a den” He smiled his menacing smile.

“They're not to be meddled with.” She could see that Bale would not listen to any reason. Linene ran her fingers through her hair in partial frustration. “You'd best be careful Sir, these guys are not to be taken lightly. If you really want to find them you'd best off trying the Sleeping Giant's Tap House.”

“The Giant's Taint, got it!” Bale shouted out as he barreled out of the door leaving Linene shaking her head in dismay.
Chapter 9 - The Lion Shield Coster
A write up novelization of our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign which stoked the fires of my writers mind that has been dormant for many years.

My Character - Poppy Broadbelt - A hermit halfling cook
Friend's Character - Samuel Bale - Human with demonic powers.

Based on the Dungeon and Dragons Starter Campaign - The Lost Mine of Phandelver
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The pack travelled on for another day, stopping for a short rest throughout the night before making the final trek to Phanladin. Poppy and Sildar sat on the bench of the wagon, making small pleasant talk now and again, both a little on edge after the previous days events.

Errick kept pace at the rear whilst Bale walked alongside Roclaf, conversing deeply with her and showing off Steve. The great big dog was enamoured with Steve and would often try to tear it from Bale's hand if he brought the fleshy puppet up too close.

The rutted cart track emerged from a wooded hillside and they caught their first glimpse of Phanladin. The town consisted of a ramshackle group of wooden buildings, forty or fifty or so of simple log structures with stone foundations. The town was surrounded by older, crumbling ruins of buildings long gone, covered in ivy and thick briar. Poppy thought this must have been a much larger town many centuries ago.

As the cart trundled on the track it began to widen and became a main street of sorts, with buildings either side and a large area that would be a town square. There was also a ruined manor house looming grimly on a hillside on the east side of town. Townsfolk tended to their chores, running errands at shops while children played on the town green.

People looked up as the wagon carried on, a few stopped for a moment to whisper, possibly about Roclaf, possibly about Bale who had taken to asking the locals if they wanted to see a dead body and then reaching for Steve. Each time Poppy would hiss Bale's name and Bale would erupt with laughter, putting Steve back while the halfling buried her head in her hands.

“My friend,” Sildar says to Poppy, “let us secure lodgings. I'm told the local inn is very quaint.”

Poppy mulls this over, it would be nice to have a warm meal and a comfortable rest that isn't a wooden bench but she dismisses his idea. “No, it's best to get this done and dusted.” Poppy said somewhat grimly. She could tell Sildar wanted to argue his point but he thought better of it and just nodded in agreement.

They reached Barthen's Provisions, the largest trading post in the town, to deliver their goods. Sildar helped Poppy disembark from the wagon bench while Errick began to untie the ropes and loosen the strapping of the load. Bale tended to Roclaf, letting her loose from her reins and harness, leading her to the trough of water and tying her to a post there with a loop of rope round the great dog's neck. Bale gave Roclaf a final ruffle and headed into the shop. In the shop there were shelves and shelves of equipment; ropes by the footage, bed rolls by thickness, various sized backpacks and rations by the basket load. Bale took a quick look around, tutting and sighing loudly, alerting the owner and staff of their arrival.

Bale withdrew from the shop, followed by the proprietor. He introduced himself as Elmar Barthen, greeting them kindly with a warm smile.

“I'm off to find better clothes and stabby things,” Bale annouces. Poppy winces at the remark but Elmar doesn't react beyond another smile.

“Bale, I think we should stick together, get our affairs in order before-”

“You can handle this I'm sure, I trust you to sort it.” He grinned beneath his bandages, giving the halfing a small shoulder squeeze. Poppy sighed in resignation and nodded. “Right! Where in this tiny podunk town can one procure some good armour and weapons?”

“Well, that'd be The Lion Shield Coster, just a ways down there, not sure if they'll have much in though, what with-”

“Thanks! Catch you guys up!” Bale sped off before Elmar could finish.

“Sorry about him, he means well, I think.” Poppy thought for a moment looking out over the main road, seeing Bale greet the townsfolk and laughing at their reactions to Steve. She shook her head. “We've brought Gundren Rockseeker's delievery of goods, as expected.”

“Ah fantastic news! You're a little later than I expected, I would've thought you would've got here last night?” Elmar mused as he got his staff to unload the wagon with help from Errick.

“Bit of trouble with some goblins,” Poppy replied, avoiding eye contact with Sildar as she fiddled with a strap on her pack.

“Oh? They're getting worse and worse! Terrible creatures! Can't go a day without hearing of another attack.” Elmar sighed, calming himself. He removed a fancy emroidered coin purse and counted out twenty gold pieces, handing them to Poppy.

“Now! Where is that old codger Gundren? He's not made his way to the inn already has he?” Elmar asked with a chortle. He looked to the saddened face of the halfing and then to the even sadder face of Sildar. “Oh. Oh no, what happened?”

“We were ambushed,” Sildar replied, his face etched with painful memories and bruises. “Tried to fight them off but you know how goblins are, two to replace the one you just felled.”

“We don't know where Gundren is, captured I imagine. He could be in those caves still. Or moved on. We just don't know.” Poppy said leaning up against the empty wagon, catching sight of a man over on the other side of the road wearing a deep red cloak.

“Oh this does pain me, I consider Gundren to be a good friend. He was so excited about that mine he and his brothers found.” Elmar thought for a moment. “What if you and your friend go look for him?” Poppy thought on this, she wasn't looking for an adventure, she was just paying off a debt which she considered paid now that the goods were in the shop safely. The red cloaked man had moved from across the street and was keeping to the shadows down the other end of the building.

“What of his brothers? Couldn't they go look for him?” She offered as an option.

“Nundro and Tharden? They're camped somewhere outside of town, been gone a tenday now. Though they should be back any day now to resupply I imagine.”

“A tenday? That's an awful long time isn't it?” Poppy questioned but Elmar just waved his hand dismissing her worries.

“They're Rockseeker brothers, made of tough stuff they are!” Elmar smiled trying to reassure the halfling but she was far from reassured. The man in the red cloak was now very close to the wagon, edging around it, sticking to the shadows, almost as if he was trying to get a peep at who had arrived. He had the sort of face that you would easily forget and a red band wrapped around his arm.

Poppy leaned around Elmar's legs and made firm eye contact with the shifty man. He paused in shock, like he thought he was invisible or something. Poppy cocked an eye brow and the man turned on his heel, slipping down an alleyway and out of sight.

“Will you at least consider looking for Gundren? He's a good man, doesn't deserve to die at the hands of those beasts.” Elmar pleaded.

“If it helps any, I could talk to my contacts and maybe procure a reward of sorts?” Sildar offered. Poppy let out an exasperated sigh.

“We'll see. I'm not agreeing to anything until I've discussed it with Bale.” Elmar gave his thanks and Sildar nodded in agreement. She had the feeling she wouldn't be seeing her goats for quite some time.
Chapter 8 - Onwards to Phanladin
A write up novelization of our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign which stoked the fires of my writers mind that has been dormant for many years.

My Character - Poppy Broadbelt - A hermit halfling cook
Friend's Character - Samuel Bale - Human with demonic powers.

Based on the Dungeon and Dragons Starter Campaign - The Lost Mine of Phandelver
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The water had gone as quickly as it had come, definitely a dam Poppy thought. She carefully edged herself back down from the walls and towards the cave's entrance in search of Bale. She thought she would fine him in a much worse state but he met her just at the entrance, a little damper, a lot cleaner but in perfectly good health and spirits.

The two turned, heading back up into the cavern, the muddy path much more muddier and slicker since the last time they walked it. Bale waved at the wolves as they passed them again, the wolves seemed very unphased by all the commotion, like it was another day in the dungeon for them.

Returning to the fork Poppy insisted that they try going up the hidden shadow passageway they had spotted across the stream. The water's current looked less rapid after the deluge so they made it across with relative ease.

“Honestly I don't mind where we go, as long as it's not in the water, I'm getting all pruney!” Bale exclaimed as they made their way into the carved out tunnel.

The path opened up a little and in the darkness the two could make out some carved steps leading up with the flicker of a flame in the distance above. They went quietly, hoping to have an element of surprise as their foe may have thought the pair had been washed away by the mini tidal wave from before.

Following the steps up they found the tunnel opened up into a large chamber, smoke hanging heavy, coming from a fire pit in the centre. Several dozen racks of cured meat lined one wall and animal furs littered the floor. At the far end two goblins stood squabbling and another larger goblin a few steps to the left was sharpening his blade. Next to him was the crumpled form of a man, bloodied to a pulp but looking alive. As Poppy and Bale entered the chamber they were instantly spotted, the larger goblin jumped between the bloodied man and the two adventures, the other two goblins also drew their blades and shrieked out their battle cries.

Bale conjured a wicked flame that coated his blades with black fire and rushed forward towards the pair of goblins. The goblins charged at Bale, their swords held high ready to attack. Bale fended one off one of the attacks with a clash of steel on steel but took a hit from the other. The masked man switched up his footing and swished his flaming daggers, bringing one down across the neck of one goblin and plunging the other fire kissed blade into the other goblin. With a terrible screech it burst into black flame, crumpling into a smouldering dead mess.

Whilst Bale was dealing with his pair Poppy had taken on the larger goblin. She had been darting from one side to the other, avoiding the sharp bolts from the constant reloaded cross bow, unable to get close enough to get an attack in. Just as the creature let loose another arrow Poppy took a misstep and skidded to far to the right, right into the path of the bolt. It buried deep into her side, knocking her down to her knees and winding the halfling momentarily.

Poppy stayed there for a second before letting out a roar of pain as she rushed up to her feet, using all of her anger and pain to charge at the larger goblin, swinging her sword high and biting it deep into his side too. The attack barely phased the goblin, he merely brushed the running halfling aside with a push, sending her clattering to the floor with a yell.

Bale moved in to help, thrusting his dagger forward but missed by a wide mile, the large goblin just pushed him aside too. Bale was speedier on his feet than Poppy and regained himself much quicker. The man swooped round, slicing his dagger across the goblin's chest, causing a spray of blood to shoot forth.

The blood loss overcame the creature,it collapsed to one knee, groaning, holding it's chest in agony. Bale seeing his weakened foe, donned Steve onto his right hand and reached down, taking the goblin's throat in his puppet covered hand. He lifted the goblin up high, it's legs dangling wildy as sharp fingers clawed at the puppeted hand. Bale roared as he choke-slammed the goblin down into the hard stone ground, skull first, killing it instantly. The masked man was very pleased with himself, nodding quite happily to Steve, congratulating the puppet on such a fine kill.

Poppy was in no mood for celebrations just yet. She had torn the bolt from her side with the last of her adrenalin and was now standing there, loosely holding the wound as the world began to spin and she felt very woozy.

Bale quickly guided her down to one of the animal furs on the floor and let her tend to her wound. He then went over to the beaten man, untying the bonds around their wrist and helping them into a seated position. It was Sildar Hallwinter, Gundren Rockseeker's friend, his face was a bloodied pulp but it was definitely him.

“Please,” Sildar said, making his way to shaky legs, gripping the wall for support. “Please, I beg you, my name is Sildar Hallwinter, please I wish to leave this cave. I need to get to Phandalin. I have no gold on me but I can promise you fifty gold pieces once we reach the town safely.”

Poppy also made her way to shaky legs, her wound now tightly packed and tended to. She wasn't sure if Sildar had had to many knocks to the head or if he couldn't see them through his blackened eyes.

“Sildar, it's us, Poppy, the halfling and Bale, Gundren hired us?” She searched his face. He looked lost and very confused.

“No need for your gold old man, although now it's been promised,” Bale thought for a moment before squaring up with the man. “If you don't pay I'll put you through a table.”

“Bale!” Poppy shrieked in horror before letting out an exasperated sigh. The older gentleman was unphased by the threat.

“I am a man of my honour and my word. Fifty gold pieces when I am safely in Phandalin.” He shook Bale's hand. “Now may we please leave this wretched place before more of those creatures come back to finish us off.” Sildar picked a sword up from one of the felled goblins, he was glad to be reunited with a weapon at last.

The three hurried down the steps, across the stream, back along the path, a quick wave to the wolves, out of the mouth of the cavern and back on the trail they had come from finally reaching the road, rejoining with Errick and Roclaf with sighs of relief.
Chapter 7 - Cavernous Attack
A write up novelization of our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign which stoked the fires of my writers mind that has been dormant for many years.

My Character - Poppy Broadbelt - A hermit halfling cook
Friend's Character - Samuel Bale - Human with demonic powers.

Based on the Dungeon and Dragons Starter Campaign - The Lost Mine of Phandelver
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tynewatson
Tyne
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
Wannabe novelist!
Interests
I plan to do all of these as a New Years Resolution. I have already done the first "introduction" and will get cracking with the rest soon.
As taken from :icon100themeschallenge:

1. Introduction [Done]
2. Love [Done]
3. Light [Done]
4. Dark [Done]
5. Rot [Done]
6. Break [Done]
7. Heaven [Done]
8. Away [Done]
9. Cut [Done]
10. Breathe [Done]
11. Memory [Done]
12. Insanity [Done]
13. Misfortune [Done]
14. Smile [Done]
15. Silence  [Done]
16. Spit  [Done]
17. Blood  [Done]
18. Under  [Done]
19. Gray [Done]
20. Fortitude [Done]
21. War  [Done]
22. Mother  [Done]
23. Distastefull
24. Want
25. Lurking
26. Europe
27. Foreign
28. Sorrow
29. Urban
30. Rain
31. Flower
32. Night
33. Wrath
34. Moon
35. Walk
36. Precious
37. See
38. Abandoned
39. Dream
40. 4:29 PM
41. Citric Acid
42. Still
43. Die
44. Two Roads
45. Two Guns
46. Drop
47. Dirt
48. Young
49. Preservatives
50. Breaking the Rules
51. Sport
52. Old
53. Desecrate
54. Tower
55. Need
56. Biohazard
57. Sacrificial
58. Kick in the Head
59. No Way Out
60. Desert
61. Fairy Tale
62. Voodoo
63. Do Not Disturb
64. City
65. Horrorific
66. Snow
67. Drum
68. Hero
69. Annoyance
70. 67%
71. Obsession
72. Mislead
73. I. Can't.
74. Confrontation
75. Mirror
76. Broken
77. Testament
78. Drink
79. FUCK
80. Words
81. Pen and Paper
82. +
83. Heal
84. Cold
85. Sick
86. Seeing Red
87. Hunger
88. Pain
89. Through the Fire
90. Triangle
91. Drown
92. Rape
93. Iron
94. Soft
95. Advertisement
96. Storm
97. Safety
98. Puzzle
99. Alone
100. Gone
  • Listening to: Tell 'em Steve Dave
  • Reading: Fight Club
  • Eating: Freddo's
  • Drinking: Tea

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KangTengri Featured By Owner 3 days ago   Photographer
Thank you for the fav :bow: The fairies are among us
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MUbyGaelle Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the Fav'! And Welcome back!
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tynewatson Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! And Thanks, it's good to be back 😄💛
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MUbyGaelle Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks for all the FAv's! Haven't seen you in a long time! How are you?
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fictograph Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Thank you for favoriting work from my original story, Wrath and Pardon: [link]

I really appreciate your looking at the art and the story that goes with it. I finished the 100 Themes challenge, so I’ll be collecting them all to print on Kickstarter in February. :D
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Thanks for :+fav:s
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Bramblepath0 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
thnx for the fave!! :meow:
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faerietale456 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the favourite~!
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thx for liking the christmas madoka picture:)
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