agrat

The Collector, pt. 3

During the night, Rokag saw her parents vanish for seemingly no reason. In her panic, she shouted while she searched for them, but nobody answered except her neighbor, Tabris. Knowing far more about the Fair Folk and their ways, he takes it upon himself to navigate the other side with Rokag, and help her find her family.

This is a modern alternative universe about Finn, Agrat, Rokag, and Tabris. It’s a longer one, so it’s posted in three separate parts.

Word Count: ~5300 (of ~13,500)
Rating: PG
Warnings: None

In the morning, Tabris walked over to Rokag’s home and rang the doorbell. Inside, she snored softly. Only after did it ring a second time did Jacques perk up, stare at the door with concern, and jump off. The tinkling of the bell on his collar disturbed Rokag from her dream, and she opened her eyes. Then, without thinking, she sat up and tossed her comforter aside. She checked her parents’ room, and saw that they hadn’t yet returned. With a frown, she realized that this would be more difficult than she imagined.

Once she pulled on a hoodie, she answered the door. There stood Tabris, wearing his usual clothing—save for a leather wristband with a flat piece of iron shaped like an oak leaf, and a silver ring on his thumb.

“Ready to go?” she said.

(more…)

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The Collector, pt. 2

Rokag notices that her fathers have been behaving peculiarly for days. Each morning they wake up exhausted, as if they’ve been out all night, but neither recall doing anything but sleeping. They snap at each other, things go missing, semiprecious stones accumulate, and her parents smell of tobacco, though neither of them smoke. At a loss, Rokag tries to get through her day-to-day life.

This is a modern alternative universe about Finn, Agrat, Rokag, and Tabris. It’s a longer one, so it’s posted in three parts.

Word Count: ~3700 (of ~13,500)
Rating: PG
Warnings: None

Rokag returned much later that evening. Her basketball practice got finished late, and by the time she got home, Finn and Agrat were already there. As soon as she saw their cars parked in the driveway, he tightened her jaw and steeled herself. She walked only the slightest bit slower, preferring to lengthen her time between arriving at home in the bus stop and actually walking into the front door. She touched the hood of Agrat’s car, then Finn’s. Both were still warm. As she approached, she braced herself for loud, angry voices, but heard none.

(more…)

The Collector, pt. 1

In the modern world, cities have expanded and grown, replacing forested or otherwise natural spaces. Fair Folk once thrived, only to be overtaken by parking garages and strip malls. Their quieted presence made mortals forget their existence–as well as how to avoid the wilier ones. Most mortals, in fact, dismiss tales of the Fair Folk as “fairy tales” or simple folklore. Finn is one such person, and doesn’t even realize just how big of a mess he’s found himself trapped in.

This is a modern alternative universe about Finn, Agrat, Rokag, and Tabris. It’s a longer one, so I’m gonna post it in three parts.

Word Count: ~4300 (of ~13,500)
Rating: PG
Warnings: None

Finn sat up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. He blinked and looked at the clock with its glowing, blue LED numbers. 3:17 AM. He felt no nagging headache or pain, and remembered dreaming about nothing frightening or uncomfortable. He felt rested. Clear in his thoughts. He swung his legs over the edge of his mattress and urged his feet into his slippers.

The shifting and crinkle of the sheets woke Agrat. He turned over and looked at Finn’s back.

“What’s up?” he said. Finn looked back at him.

(more…)

Rokag’s Departure, pt. 2

And the second part to Rokag’s leave. You know, despite this being like, 10k words long, it felt ridiculously quick to write. I had a lot of fun with it.

Read part one here.

Originally Posted: November 2, 2016
Word Count: ~5700 (out of ~10,200 total)
Rating: G
Warnings: None

It took a few hours, but Rokag eventually calmed down and went to work at her daily duties. Finn and Agrat also went to their own chores, and the three mostly stayed apart from each other until that evening. When she returned home for the night, Agrat and Finn were already sitting in the living room, next to each other on the couch. She sat across from them in a chair.

“So?” she said. Agrat scratched his head and Finn opened his palms.

“So y’ know—”

“Things haven’t—”

They glanced at each other and Agrat motioned for Finn to continue.

“Things haven’t always been easy for us,” he said. “I’m guessing you already know that we’ve done our fair share of wandering.”

“Right,” Rokag said. “Of course you did, since you traveled all th’ way here.”

“And it goes without saying that things get dangerous when you don’t really have a permanent home,” Finn said. “You know we moved here for a better life, since that wasn’t possible in Ettinsmoor. We didn’t get to actually settle down and stop for some time, and during that time we had some… difficult encounters.” She leaned sideways in the chair and rested her cheek against her knuckles.

“Well, just how difficult?” she said.

(more…)

Rokag’s Departure, pt. 1

Another story taking place in the D&D universe about Rokag. I wrote this up to explore her personality, her upbringing and values, and–most importantly–her motivations for traveling. Plus, her parents carry a lot of baggage with them, so I thought that was important to examine as well. Playing several characters with related baggage in a TTRPG is tremendously difficult, since you can’t adequately roleplay out reactions to character death or change at the table. Part of writing this was so I could retroactively include that, too.

Anyway, it’s a two-parter to make for more comfortable reading. I’ll post the second half in a couple days. As usual with stories based on D&D characters, just roll with it if it seems bizarre and outta nowhere or confusing.

Read part two here.

Originally Posted: November 2, 2016
Word Count: ~4500 (out of ~10,200 total)
Rating: G
Warnings: None

The target swung lightly with the wind. Its bright red paint stuck out among the green foliage to everyone but Rokag. It looked just as muddled tan, blue, and yellow as everything else. The target was custom-made for orc eyes, and had bright yellow stripes in each of the concentric circles, to help make up for her poor color vision. Several arrows littered the ground around it, a tree off to one side, and only one stuck in the target itself. A songbird fluttered overhead as it landed on a branch, but otherwise, she only heard the breeze and the sound of her own breaths. Her uncle Tabris sat behind her, watching her closely. She drew back the string on her bow and squinted one eye.

“No, no—both open,” Tabris said, his voice hardly a whisper. “It’s a myth that squinting helps. Which is your dominant eye, anyway?” Rokag blinked and looked over at him.

“Dominant eye?” she said. “Like a dominant hand?” He nodded. He was much shorter than her, and overall smaller as well. Lithe. A human through-and-through. Yet as a child, he discomforted her. Something about his eyes looked oddly blank, as if nothing existed inside him. The mauling scar on the left side of his face, too—and the others on his body, for that matter—disturbed her, even if her own fathers were equally marred. That, and—she could hardly recall why, or when, or how—she remembered that one day, he suddenly changed into… this. Her earliest, vaguest memories of him seemed to be of a different person entirely. Someone who smirked, someone who spoke with life an energy. Someone just like her dad. Then, when he returned after an absence, stoicism. As if he forgot he had a face.

(more…)

Agrat the Wanderer

Another Blackskull tale, this time about Agrat’s namesake. I plucked this out of the longer narrative to share online. This is another one that I should have included more about what the legendary Agrat actually did during his time a-wanderin’, but as I wrote it, I worried it would distract from the rest of the narrative too much.

For context, Agrat here has just come out to his mother, Grasha, about being transgender. He wasn’t certain whether she’d take his feelings seriously, so he’s feeling pretty ashamed and embarrassed about himself. Both of them were exiled from the Blackskulls, Grasha’s tribe, because the Blackskulls carry some nasty cultural beliefs about racial purity, and Agrat’s a half-breed. For all their faults, I still enjoy writing about the Blackskulls and who they are as a people

Originally Posted: September 28, 2016
Word Count: ~1600
Rating: G
Warnings: None

“Come,” Grasha said, and opened her arms. Agrat stared at her a moment, then crawled up to her. She hugged him tightly. “I should have seen this long ago. You are my son, Re—no, you need a different name. Do you have one in mind?” He widened his eyes.

Just like that? So easily?

His mind spun a bit before he thought back to his dreams and fantasies. He’d tried on a few different names and none really fit him perfectly, but one cropped up a little more frequently.

“Helmun,” he said. Grasha stared at him and rolled her eyes.

“That’s a human name,” she said. “You’re more orc than human, kaluk.” Agrat set his jaw forward.

“I’m half, though,” he said.

“You’ll figure it out someday. And either way, orc names are better,” she said and grinned.

(more…)

Bedtime Story

For the sake of having everything in one spot, here’s an older story I wrote about Agrat telling a bedtime story to his daughter, Rokag, about his adventures during our D&D campaigns. I enjoyed writing it–it’s mostly dialogue, which is my favorite part of writing–and it made for alright character development. Rokag started out as an infant in the campaign, then quickly aged up so I could play her in a later campaign, if desired. In retrospect, the world they’re in feels a little blank, probably because at the time I didn’t quite know exactly what the characters were doing in their home and work life, besides vague ideas. That, and I’m not satisfied with the ending. But ah well–it’s an exploratory sorta work anyway, so it did the job.

Originally Posted: August 10, 2016
Word Count: ~4200
Rating: G
Warnings: Some descriptions of gore–nothing too terrible.

Agrat carried Rokag with her flopped over his broad shoulder, her skinny legs dangling over his chest and her arms stretched out down his back. He kept one arm wrapped over her back, and the other around her knees.

“Alright, kiddo,” he said as they made their way upstairs together. “Time fer you t’ get some sleep.” Rokag groaned and thumped his back with her little fists.

“I’m not tired!” she said and writhed in an attempt to escape. Agrat chuckled and patted her. He creaked open the door to her room. Rokag’s had the smallest room in the house, but only hers had three windows. One was wider than the others, and set in the corner wall above a built-in bench that doubled as storage for her toys. However, she left most of them scattered on the floor. Her favorite was a soft boar Finn and Agrat made for her—he carved its facial features and its paws from wood, and Finn sewed its body, limbs, and head together. They stuffed it with wool. It had a few “scars” of its own from years of dragging it around, and she loved to compare it to both of them. Now that she was a little older, she mostly kept it in her room, but still treasured it dearly.

“What, y’ think you can trick yer old pops?” he said. “I saw you yawnin’ down there through yer nose. Come on—into bed with you.” He bent and laid her down, and Rokag crossed her arms while he tugged the blanket up to tuck her in.

(more…)