For the last few days, members of Trollhalla have been seeing me talk about a new T & T novel that I am thinking about writing. Scenes and situations have been going off inside my head. Sometimes I have lain awake for hours in the early morning, mentally writing and imagining parts of the new book.
The book is to be based on a solo adventure that I wrote back in 2010. It has been a year since I created it, and I think it is just about ready for publication. Last week it came to me–in that half waking trance between midnight and morning–that the solo was only a preface to a much better work of fantasy fiction that I could do. And then, this scene came to me, and played itself out in my mind. I didn’t get a chance to write anything until I got to school, and then I sat for a couple of hours, creating what you will see here. I am fairly slow as typists and writers go, but I don’t need a lot of revision either.
The best thing with a novel is probably to keep it to oneself, write it, revise it, and try to get it published. Mostly, that is what I will do. However, as I have struggled with this idea over the last week, I have also taunted the members of Trollhalla with hints and questions. Darrgh Tarrho, and Garrlakk, and Moondragon have seen the solo–nobody else has, so they have some idea of what I’m thinking about. I hope you all get the chance to read and play the solo before the month is over. Meanwhile, it is time for me to start getting these ideas out of my head and into written form. They may not come out in a nice orderly sequence. The story will probably assemble itself like a jigsaw puzzle, but . . . here is the first scene.
Vvvarrr looked at her new servant, and wondered if this human man was smart enough to be her servant. The urukin woman, Lerotra’hh, was already an accomplished wizardess when she came to the dragon and offered herself over seven centuries earlier, but this man, this Neth was only a rogue. Yes, he had daring and courage, but did he have wit? She decided to test him.
“Thiss iss your firsst tassk as my sservant,” she hissed. “Give me everything you own. Jusst put it all on the treassure heap!”
Neth thought it was a very strange command. The dragon owned so much, and he owned so little. Why would she want to take that little away from him. Perhaps it was some kind of test. He shrugged out of the straps that held his pack, and then swung it off his back, and pitched it onto the treasure heap. It didn’t contain anything breakable. Then he unbuckled his sword belt, and lightly tossed it along with the attached sword and dagger onto the pile of gold. Finally, he turned out his pockets, producing a few gold and silver coins along with a very small folding knife, some string, and a few pieces of flint. Tossing that bric-a-brac onto the edge of the pile, he turned to face the dragon. “I think that is everything I own.”
“NO!” Her voice was louder now, with an undertone of menace. “I ssaid, give me everything you own.
Neth looked at the great green reptile in dismay. He had just given her everything he owned, right down to the lint in his pockets. Pockets! He still had pockets and clothing. Could she want that too? She did say everything. He hastily took off his fur jacket, and tossed it on the pile. Vvvarrr watched him, and did not say a word. She just let a bit of steam escape from one of her nostrils. After the coat he lost his shirt, his trousers, his boots, his loincloth, tossing each item onto the dragon’s pile, until he stood there naked. He had no rings, no jewelry to add.
“That is absolutely everything I own,” he told her with hands spread wide.
Vvvarrr roared and a jet of flame shot above the rogue’s head. The sudden heat made sweat pour out of his body. Her eyes glowed with hellish red light, and her mighty talons clenched and unclenched. “I tell you for the third and lasst time!” she bellowed. “GIVE ME EVERYTHING YOU OWN.”
Neth knew that he was failing his new mistress in some way, but he could not think how. He had given her everything he owned. And she wasn’t satisfied. In that moment he knew he was going to die horribly in the next few seconds. He could see her inhaling. The next gout of flame would roast him. What else could the dragon want? Did she want his hair, his teeth, his immortal spirit?
And then it came to him. Maybe she wanted all of those things. Closing his eyes, Neth threw his body on the great pile of treasure, landing spread-eagled and butt up just as a blast of dragonfire blossomed in the place where he had been standing.
“Much better,” purred the dragon. “You could have ssaved much time if you had done that at the beginning. Being a sservant iss new to you, but I expect intelligence and obedience from you. I gave you three chancess thiss time, but it will not happen again. If you cannot undersstand ssimple commandss, then you are not worthy of immortality–not worthy to sserve me.”
“Yes, mistress,” Neth answered, remaining on his bed of gold. “I am sorry. I did not truly understand what you meant.”
The dragon simply glared at him for a while. He lay quietly and did not dare to look at her. Then he felt a human hand smack into his buttocks and heard a silvery laugh. Looking up, he saw the sorceress who had called herself Rav now standing beside him. “Dress yourself and take your old weapons and gear, but remember that those items as well as you yourself belong to me now.” She spoke now without a trace of the sibilance that had marked the dragon’s voice.
He quickly put his clothing back on, all except for the heavy coat. The cavern had grown much too warm for him to need it.
“We must find a place for you to rest,” said Rav. “Follow me. I think perhaps the urukin’s old bedding place might serve.”
(to be continued)