tabris

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…)

Tabris, Dokurokol, and the Life Gem, pt. 2

The conclusion to Tabris’ and Dokurokol’s search for the Life Gem. I wanna write more about underground adventures, and hobgoblins in general. They exist mostly on the periphery, and they’re kinda too interesting to just shove to the side.

Read part one here.

Word Count: ~3200 (out of ~7200 total)
Rating: G
Warnings: None

Dokurokol stood on the docks of Thunderjaw Island with her travel supplies on her back. While the orcs prepared her ship to the mainland, she stared out at the open waters. Veiadokuur’s cold, snow-peaked mountains lounged in the distance, grey triangles in the misty weather. Beyond them, to the north, the Impassable Heights stood far taller. In this air, Dokurokol could not even discern their tops. Even the water looked murky without the sun’s warmth. Every other day, the waves carried a deep blue hue and reflected the clouds. Today, though, it all blended together. The horizon towards the open ocean went on forever, and only differing shades hinted at the existence of land masses.

“How long will you be out this time” her Kilverud captain, Varn, said. Old, retired, and seasoned beyond his years, he regularly traveled from Stoneheart City to take Dokurokol to the mainland. He offered her a puff of his pipe, but she politely refused this time.

“It’ll be a long one this time, Varn,” she said. “If I’m not back I six months, stop waiting for me.” He looked down at her, pulling his lips to the side.

“You’re thinking this’ll be your last one?” he said. “You’re ready for that?”

“Indeed,” she said and nodded. “But I don’t anticipate that I’ll die. I’ll just be adventuring further into the mainland if I find what I want.”

“And if you don’t?” Varn said. Dokurokol smiled. Waves lapped against the shore and the wind rustled the leaves in the forests behind them. They heard footsteps running down the docks, paired with clanking and rattling. The two turned and saw Tabris, looking like a mule as he struggled with a massive bag on his back.

“I’m coming!” he said as he approached. (more…)

Tabris, Dokurokol, and the Life Gem, pt. 1

A quick story exploring some side characters and events in my larger narrative about Veiadokuur. I loved writing about Tabris and Dokurokol’s interactions with each other. Figuring out how immortal characters navigate the world around them is also a lot of fun, especially if there’s some sort of trick to the reason why they cannot die.

Read part two here.

Word Count: ~4000 (out of ~7200 total)
Rating: G
Warnings: None

It took Tabris a moment to open his eyes. Even if he heard Dokurokol’s shout and felt her heavy footsteps coming down his staircase, he chose not to react. Half of his mind still felt the fern’s thin leaves curling up around and right through that part of his conscious. The brown, dry tips of the fern changed as wet greenness seeped back into it. What was dead lived once again. A gruff hand pestered his shoulder.

“Tabris, get up. Get out of that plant and listen to me, yeah?” Dokurokol spoke to him in Dwarvish, her native tongue. Still blinded, Tabris waved his fingertips over his plant. He latched onto his mind and reeled himself back from the fern, no that he’d completed healing it. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked up at Dokurokol. She faded into his vision first, then his concentration room, the deepest part of his home, appeared. Its smooth, stone walls without corners, low ceiling, and lack of windows made for a perfect isolation chamber. Somewhere he could move his soul around almost freely. He sat at his table, a long, narrow thing big enough for Thunderjaw orcs to lie down on. He healed them here, using his magic to take care of whatever ailed them. And most times, it could. When it couldn’t, he brewed medicine and catalysts for that.

“What is it now, Dok?” Tabris said when his vision returned to normal. Dokurokol stood squat in front of him, with only the fern to protect Tabris from her enthusiasm. She grinned past her thick, curly beard and mustache and held up a fat book in her square hands. The tome looked like her—short, dense, and bulky. All it needed was a shock of thinning orange hair and a beard to match, and a bulbous nose to top it off. Its creased cover even matched Dokurokol’s wrinkles. Unlike Tabris, she regularly left the Thunderjaw’s island, and aged because of it. She’d always been bitter about the “immortal with a catch” thing, and traveled to faraway places in the mainland against her better judgment.

“I’ve found proof,” she said, eyes sparkling like cut gemstones. (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…)