The Saga of Reginald the Foul, 1.4

Reginald Takes A Ride

Wekkit looked over the palanquin with no small amount of pride. Though given little more than trash to work with, he had supervised the pile of detritus into a serviceable mode of transportation. The fact that he intended to use it for himself any chance he could get away with it only added to his desire to make it as sturdy as possible. If he was completely honest with himself, that was really the only reason. But even with himself, he felt it never paid to be completely honest.

Reginald clambered down from the boulder where he had been standing, trying to look as fearsome as he could as he gazed towards the distant farmstead. Wekkit was just glad that the boulder had been downwind. The mage began stalking around the contraption, poking and prodding it as he did so, looking for some fault. It was clear however that even basic construction principles were beyond him, so after a cursory inspection climbed onto the stump that functioned as the seat.

“Very good minions! Now scurry round, and let us be moving!”

Wekkit herded the other minions around the palanquin, three to a side, and instructed them to lift. Of course, being goblins they still managed to almost screw even that simple task up, lifting so badly out of sync that Reginald almost went flying off it to one side. At last though the six minions had it lifted shoulder high and stood ready to march him wherever he so desired.

“Wekkit!”

“Yes my most fell overlord?”

“Lead the way! We are going to pillage that farm, and reap its bounty for ourselves!”

“Of course master, at once! Forward!”

It took a moment to get all six of the other goblins on the same page as to what forward meant, but once that was accomplished they began making fairly good time towards the farm.

It took a few minutes of staring up towards the clouds for Reginald to realize that something was amiss. At first he had thought himself merely gazing dramatically, as all good overlords must do from time to time to inspire their minions. But after a bit he came to realize that the goblin in the very front was at least a good foot taller than the rest, and as such he was leaning back. Compounding it was the fact that the goblin in the rear left had one leg much shorter than the other, and as such had a rather noticeable hitch in his walk.

Reginald could only compare it to the one time he had tried riding a horse that was not fully broken. It had bucked him off in a fairly similar manner.

He puked.

Violently.

All over Swarth.

And then he fell off.

Wekkit raced over to help his master up on his feet, holding his breath as he wiped a bit of puke and drool from the dazed face of his lord. Leaning over he discreetly wiped his hand off on one of the few un-puke-coated bits of Swarth, who stood there whimpering piteously.

“Ahh…uh yes Wekkit. I uh…I needed a bit of a rest. To plan. You know.”

Wekkit nodded sympathetically. “Of course my most fell overlord.” The goblin knew he should just keep his mouth shut, but the little bit snark that lived within him had been dying to come out and torment for hours now. So he let it. “And what do you have planned my lord?”

The mage looked around, clearly still somewhat dazed. He looked from goblin to goblin, and stared weakly at the palanquin once more. Shaking his head as though trying to clear it seemed to jar loose an idea, as he turned to face his captain with an air od decisiveness once more. “Wekkit, I desire a standard. And a standard bearer.”

“Yes my most fell overlord. At once!” Wekkit weighed his options. The palanquin looked heavy, and there was the chance of being covered by puke. The standard was an unknown quality, but it had to be better than that. “I shall bear it forth for you myself!”

Oh how quickly he would come to regret those words.

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The Saga of Reginald the Foul, 1.3

Reginald Gets A Compliment

Reginald celebrated the start of his legion of minions by promptly sending them out to procure the necessary items with which to construct him a palanquin. As his captain, who as it turns out was actually named Wekkit, relayed his orders with much yelling and hand waving the fell wizard settled down to plot his next move.

Five goblins did not an army make that much was certain. With such a paltry force, even lead by such brilliance as what he possessed, he doubted he would be able to even take over the last village he had been chased from. But without some sort of evil gains to show to the Council of Fell Mages he would never be allowed to increase his rank, and thus minion allotment.

Climbing atop the shattered boulder he had earlier blasted with his magics he began scanning the horizon. Ahead up the path he had been traveling was a mountain range, very grim and foreboding looking. With a flight of vultures circling over a few of the peaks, it had just the sort of ambience that a dark mage looked for in choosing a lair he thought.

Looking around in the other directions showed little of interest. A few trees, some low rolling hills, assorted game paths…a farm. His eyes widened. There just a few miles away squatted a grubby little farmhouse and barn, just begging for his evil magnificence to bring doom upon it. The perfect test for his new army!

Climbing down from the rubble he looked around at the pile of detritus that his minions had collected to construct him a suitable mode of transportation with. A few saplings that looked as though they had been gnawed down rather than cut, vines, a scattering of bones and a stump sat in the small clearing, surrounded by seven eager looking minions. In his haste to look over their offerings Reginald almost overlooked the fact that he only had had only five minions a few minutes ago.

Wekkit had decided that if he had to be a minion, he would be the number one minion, so help him gods of darkness. Following the ancient goblin adage that ‘misery loves company’ he felt it was his duty to point out the two goblins who had wandered up, no doubt drawn by the sound of the boulder exploding earlier. Besides, he hoped to rustle up some cannon fodder so as to keep his brothers at least a little safe. And more importantly, keep him far, far from the front lines of any battle his new master could stumble into.

Clearing his throat the fat goblin spoke up. “My most fell overlord, I belive already more flock to your banner.”

“Huh…wha? Oh! BOOM MINIONED!!” The mage cackled. “Good looking out Wekkit! I knew my fell majesty would quickly bring more eager to serve Reginald the Foul!”

One of the new goblins curled his nose a bit at the smell wafting from the wizard, which even by goblin standards was pretty awful. “Oi, youse one of dem foul wizards den?”

Reginald shook his head. “Fell. Fell Wizard. Not foul wizard.”

A look of confusion spread over the goblins face. It was clear this was more or less its natural state of being. “But youse said you was foul.”

“Well yes, that is my name. I am Reginald the Foul, Fell Wizard of the Ninth Circle.”

“Well youse is the most awefully foul wizard I nose.”

Reginald blushed, clearly misunderstanding. “Oh please stop, flattery will get you nowhere…oh who am I kidding, carry on! Wekkit make a note of that one, he has officer material written all over him.”

As the mage continued looking through the pile of cast offs, muttering and chuckling to himself, the new goblin Swarth began looking all over himself for the writing Reginald had been talking about. Wekkit held his face in his hands, repeating a calming mantra he had learned from a Jelawese monk they had captured a few months back.

It didn’t help.

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The Sage of Reginald the Foul, 1.2

Reginald The Foul Gets Some Help

Reginald looked on with pride as his sigil, a gracefully curving R entwined with an evil looking dragon, magically appeared on the left shoulder of the fat goblin declaring him a minion for all to see. Until such time as he released the little critter, or it successfully petitioned for its freedom to the Council of Mage/Race Relations (an unlikely event) She’et would have to serve him to the best of his abilities. Though looking over the pitiful creature in front of him he suspected those abilities were likely not too substantial.

Striding around the small campground imperiously Reginald began interrogating his ward. “She’et, are you alone? I desire more minions. As a Mage of the 9th circle I am allowed a round dozen of you lot. So let’s make that happen.”

Wekkit (as the goblin was actually named) tugged pitifully at his ragged shirt in hopes he could try to cover the minion glyph but realized it was a futile effort. He knew full well his four brothers were in the area, likely off looking for some traveler to waylay or the like, but he hoped they would stay clear of idiot that had caught him. It was bad enough that he was now going to have to serve this moron, he didn’t want that fate for his family as well.

“Well, um, my lord…”

Reginald cut him off. “You may refer to me as ‘Most Fell Overlord’ or, if severely pressed for time simply Fell Overlord.”

Wekkit felt his eyes cross a bit. Taking a deep breath he carried on. “Of course my Most Fell Overlord. As for other goblins in the area…well who is to say for sure? There could be, but would you really want to spend all your time here grubbing for goblins when I am sure you have far grander plans in need of enacting?”

The goblin stared as a glazed look passed over the mages face. Mutterings of “conquer…world…show them…doom…mother…doom” came from his mouth as clearly visions of death and destruction were running rampant in his mind. It was then that two of his brothers, Trekkin and Warsin popped their heads out of the nearby shrubbery and looked questioningly at Wekkit.

Wekkit glanced from their faces to that of Reginald’s and was ecstatic to see that the mage was so lost in delusions of grandeur that he was unaware of the opportunity that stood five feet behind him. Carefully the pudgy goblin began signaling for his brothers to run away.

Wekkit was blessed in a way few goblins ever were: he had a functioning brain. In fact it functioned quite superbly, which is why he was able to lay back at camp and grow fat while his brothers, who were not so gifted went out and acquired the food and treasures. Normally this arrangement suited him very nicely, but now that he needed his kith and kin to understand him clearly for once, he felt an impending sense of doom.

The more he waved his hands for them to run away, the more confused they looked. And when they were joined by Dorkin, his largest, but far and a way dumbest brother he knew it was a lost cause unless he could talk to them. But with the mage standing right there, he couldn’t risk it. So he tried one last time, flailing his arms in the best running motion he could master in hopes something would finally sink in.

The faintest flicker of a thought crossed Warsin’s face and he almost turned to run away, when Dorkin stepped fully into the camp, his chain mail rattling against his shield. Wekkit swore.

Reginald, roused by the noise, looked at Wekkit who was in mid flail and spun to see, with the emergence of the last brother Gerel, four other goblins standing right behind him.

Finger held in front of him like a hand crossbow Reginald shrieked, “Boom! Minioned!!” He turned back to face Wekkit, a huge smile crossing his face. “Good find She’et!! And using goblin commando hand signals? Very nice! You five shall be my dread honor guard, and She’et, you shall be my captain!!”

For the first time in his life Wekkit was lost for words.

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The Saga of Reginald the Foul, 1.1

Reginald the Foul

For the third time in as many days Reginald the Foul was sprinting away from a village while attempting to wipe rotten egg from his robes. Cursing under his breath he looked behind him, relieved to finally see his pursuers give up their chase at the edge of the town. At last allowing himself to slow he looked around, surprised to find himself on a game trail, or woodcutters path instead of the main road he had been traveling down for the past week.

It had not been a good week. Since getting kicked out of his masters, Horgranox the Supremely Dire’s, tower and having his apprenticeship abruptly cancelled his plans for world domination had simply not been going well. He was lucky that he had been a mere few weeks from finishing his stint as an underling, as his knowledge of the craft of Fell and Vile Magiks was complete. He merely had had to fill out a bit more paperwork for the guild.

Well it looked like he would be freelancing for a bit. Who needed a diploma anyway?

He had been so close to finishing that he had already been awarded his surname ‘the Foul.’ It was perhaps not what he would have chosen for himself, as the jeers of the townsfolk had clued him in to its double meaning, but as least he HAD a Surname of Evil. And once he had conquered a bit he could always petition for a new one, one more fitting of his supremacy.

He was so lost in planning and scheming that it was at least two or three hours of walking before the grumbling in his stomach roused him from his reverie. Looking around he realized he had wandered into some rather bleak looking foothills, and as far as he could see there was little more than rocks, some stunted trees, a struggling river, and a bit further on, the start of the mountains proper. So loudly was his stomach grumbling however that he could not concentrate.

That’s when he realized his stomach was not rumbling at all. No, that obnoxious noise was coming from just ahead behind a mid-sized granite boulder. The mage froze and began calling his magic to himself, readying a spell most vile. Then, with hands glowing purple with barely contained power he leapt around the rock, ready top blast the menace to oblivion.

What he found was a sleeping goblin, loudly snoring. So deep in sleep was he that it took Reginald blasting the top of the boulder away to wake him.

*

Leaping to his feet Wekkit the goblin tried scooping up his rusty spear and tug down his horribly dented helmet at the same time, and only succeeded in tripping himself. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but there was a very smelly human with weirdly stained robed standing over him. And whatever look that was on his face, was probably not a good one.

*

Reginald was pleased at the way the goblin immediately prostrated itself on the ground before him. At last, here was someone with the proper respect that a mage of the dark arts required.

“Oh good. You there, goblin, I declare you my minion under the ancient pact between the Fell Mages and Races of Evil.”

Reginald wasn’t exactly sure what the goblin said then, but it sounded perilously close to “Shit.” He knew better however, that must just have been its name. “She’et, I am sure you will be honored to serve me in my evil Magnificence.”

Things were looking up.

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Coming soon…

Starting in the next week or two I will be releasing a weekly serialzed story. I have the first 8 weeks written, about an idiotic evil wizard and his minions as they seek to conquer the world. Hope you guys will enjoy!

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Monday Meandering, the Dragoncrown War

Today I finished book four of the dragoncrown war quadrilogy by Michael Stackpole. You may recall that I am a raging stackpole fanboy, with his book Talion ranking in my top five books. Well in this series he did not disappoint!

Without spoiling anything, this is a series for those who love military oriented fantasy. There are battles both large and small, wars, seiges, you name it. It also takes a lot of fantasy conventions and either turns them on their head or twists them in exciting new ways. The elves in this world are a great example.

I highly recommend this series. Stackpole is a master of the craft and this series clearly shows it.

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State of the Bob Address

Still waiting to hear back on my submissions, so please send happy thoughts my way.

Here are my goals for the week:

Four blog posts. This one counts.
Three ‘chapters’ on my secret project.
1,000 words on the new story.
1 horror or fantasy flash fiction.

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Taste of a Tale Tuesday!

An excerpt from my most recent story, Black Dog.

There were few things in the Konislund capable of such violence, and none options he liked to face. They did however tend to be slower than a man on horseback over distance, so he began inching away from the clearing as best he could in the dark. He had not made it more than three or four steps however when the Grim began flicking in and out of existence as it dashed across the clearing. A haunting wail came from its spectral mouth, sending chills up Valko’s spine. Stabbing his sword once more into the ground he knocked a black-feathered arrow into his bow just as a massive, jet black ogre barreled into sight.

Ten feet tall and as broad as any three men combined it powered into the clearing on its thick legs, shaking its horned head as it roared out a challenge. Moving with frightening speed for something so large, it lumbered about trying to strike the darting form of the ghost dog, which he could tell was trying to lead the beast away from where he crouched. He could even see where tiny gashes had cropped up on the ogres ankles, showing that the Grim was no ordinary ghost. Even though the bites likely hurt the creature as much as fly might hurt a man, they did work to further enrage the beast, blinding him to Valko’s presence. The ogre had almost left through the other side of e clearing, when a scream split the night.

“BARA! NO!”

The massive creature turned to the sound of the cry to find Ronna standing on the edge of the forest. It’s massive nostrils flared, sucking in great swirls of smoke before breathing them out in a rage filled roar. Raising its club, which was little more than a massive log with a jagged cut of rock pounded through it, it began bounding towards the youth.

Valko released his shot, and the feathered shaft flew hard, catching the ogre deep in the ribs. The beast barely flinched so focused was it on his prey, even as a second arrow struck its sinewy neck. Ronna turned to flee but there was no way he could escape the monster in time. Knowing he would be too late Valko scooped up his sword, ignoring the pain in his side and dashed towards the beast, hoping to at least avenge the youth.

Suddenly from nowhere a massive black shape leapt towards the rampaging ogre. Mostly formless there was naught but a hint of ragged claws and sharp teeth as it raced towards the creatures throat. So fearsome was it that the ogre turned midway through its downward blow towards Ronna to combat this new menace. Taking the club in two hands it drove it through the shadow form, which dissipated with a hound like wail.

  Screeching with frustration the creature turned back to crush the child, only to find he had sprinted out of sight into the woods. It pounded its club into the ground in frustration and was about to race off after the youth when it caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of its eye. It only barely managed to raise its arm in time to catch the overhand blow of Valko’s sword as it lashed out.

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Monday Meandering, The Books of Blood

I am immensely jealous of Clive Barker. As a horror writer, I suppose that is to be expected, as the man is highly successful. A case can be made that King aside, he is the most successful horror writer of our time in large part because of his success outside of writing. But the real reason I am jealous is not his success, but rather how he got his start: he released SIX books of short stories over the course of a year (around the time I was born no less).

Can you imagine.

Six entire books coming out in one year, as your entry to the field. On top of that, they were awesome. Its enough to give a guy a red rump, I know that much.

If this post was a deadly sin, it would be envy.

I have managed to lay hands on 1-4 and number 6, and each was spectacular. I sat there in abject misery the whole time I read them, awash with jealousy.  As such I highly recommend everyone who loves horror should read them.

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