Gwendolynn Von Holden's Diary: Can't a girl get some sleep around here?


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    Gwendolynn Von Holden's Diary: Can't a girl get some sleep around here?

    This story hour is dedicated to BSF who ran the game. Hopefully, he will start a story hour for the campaign too, because it is a very rich world and several parts of it will not be seen in this diary because Gwen is a little ego centric. I read Bridget Jones's Diary this summer and thought the style was perfect for Gwen. I hope it is a fun read.


    Fort Greerson, Day 1

    Powers discovered: 0 v. sad, Adventurers met: 0 but only arrived this afternoon, number of times been called a witch: 0 yay! Obsessive thoughts about Jalik: 132

    Huzzah! The journey from Kellingsbrook is finally over! Plodding through a mountain range with a Thurgon caravan carrying massive rocks and building material is about as fast as a caterpillar spinning a cocoon. What’re they building here anyway? Wish Jalik wasn’t helping design whatever it is. Then, maybe he’d change his mind about tutoring me again. But, since he won’t, will become rich and powerful adventurer to impress him. Oh, there’s the door.

    Was Father. Said we’d arrived in time for a ball that Lord Greerson is giving. Hopefully, my oldest brother Geoff will be there, rich from his adventures. I’m so glad I brought the green ball gown instead of all my purple ones because green is Jalik’s favorite color. Hope he dances with me. Must get dressed.

    Grrrr. Hair is completely filled with knots, twigs and dirt. Must find better way to keep hair if I’m going to be an adventurer.

    Ahhh. Bath water I sent for was woozy warm. Able to brush out long black hair and braid with lovely green ribbons. Green dress looks fantastic on body but clashes strangely with purple eyes. Hmmm. No wonder I always wear purple.


    After the Ball

    Number of times danced with Jalik: 3 (huzzah!); Number of times danced with own father instead of Jalik: too many (boo!). Number of times Lord Greerson looked at me: twice, I think.

    Ball bigger than any I’ve been to in Kellingsbrook and with a much larger assortment of people. Jalik had to sit at a different table, as he will be working for Lord Greerson. Father not very good company, as he’s worried about Geoff not being in town for the ball. Most adventuring groups made a point of being here for it. Am sure Geoff’s group is just too busy finding treasure to stop for ball.

    Lord Greerson made impressive figure at the head table. He’s definitely powerful in that physical kind of way. In fact, everyone at the head table seemed to be strong. A woman sat next to him with a dour expression and well-defined muscles, and I wondered if she was his wife until he introduced her as Crill and announced that he was appointing her as Warder at Fort Greerson. This caused a stir among some of the adventurers there. I wonder if he has a wife then. Hmm, he is a Lord after all. But Jalik has powerful magic. Will stay true to Jalik.

    Humph. Just remembered overheard conversation between father and Jalik after dancing with an adventurer.

    Father said, “Are you sure you won’t have time to tutor her while you’re working on the fortifications?”

    “Positive,” said Jalik. “Even if I did, I can’t teach her anything. Her magic is unlike mine.”

    “Perhaps one of Lord Greerson’s people then,” mused Father.

    “Her magic is unlike any I’ve ever seen,” said Jalik. “Lord Greerson is not known for keeping many mages around or an assorted variety. I doubt any of his people would be able to help her either. It is best for her to try to discover her magic on her own.”

    “But she’s only 17. She’s not ready. I’ve seen the way some of the adventurers here have leered at her.”

    “Would you prefer, then, that she stay in Kellingsbrook and get married and have babies?”

    “Humph. She’d probably leave the baby in the hen house while she distracted herself with all the adventures she missed. Plus, I’d like to see the boy who can keep up with her chatter. My mind nearly exploded trying to follow her thoughts when she was using telepathy on the journey. I’m going to miss that.”

    “Only a father could miss that. I must confess to relief when she leaves her lessons.” (How could he!)

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t know the lessons were such a burden.”

    “Oh never that. You know I find her quite charming. But silence is golden when she’s gone.”

    My eavesdropping was interrupted when an inebriated adventurer bumped into me and then asked for a dance. I agreed immediately to avoid hearing anymore remarks about my conversational skills. The adventurer’s name was Korliss and he seemed rather upset. Half of his party had forgotten to come to the ball, and since his group had a Royal Charter, he feared Lord Greerson would take offence to them. I asked what a royal charter was and he said that all adventuring groups had to have a charter to hunt for treasure. Depending on what kind of charter you had was how much in tax you had to pay. A royal charter did not tax the spoils of the adventure much, but you were expected to do what Lord Greerson asked if he had need for services from your group. He said they had also just lost a member because Crill was in their group and now she was staying to become a warder. I tried to console him, but I also arranged for an interview with him tomorrow to see about joining his group. I actually set up several interviews at the Dragon’s Wing, so it was a very productive night.

    Must sleep now. Tomorrow at breakfast will show Jalik new woman. Won’t even speak to him. He will be amazed how much talking I won’t do.
    Last edited by Eeralai; Wednesday, 7th May, 2008 at 06:44 AM.

 

  • #2
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    Fort Greerson, Day 2

    Powers discovered: 0, interviews with adventurers: 4

    After Breakfast

    Spent lovely breakfast telling Jalik and father all about the interviews I had set up for today. Jalik’s little green snake playfully slithered over to me and slipped back and forth over my wrists. When I looked up, Jalik was smiling in an amused way at me and I remembered my vow to stay silent. Oh well. Will impress him at dinner with ability to be quiet.

    I’m all set for my first interview. I’m in second best purple dress and black hair is flowing down back with purple ribbons woven into it. Had wanted to conduct the interviews in private rooms at the Dragon’s Wing, but father wanted to watch them unobserved. At least he isn’t doing the interviews for me as I thought he would. Oh here comes the first group!

    Lunch

    Horrible morning! First group laughed at me when I said I would need to bring my mule with my chest filled with belongings. Laughed even louder when they had me list contents of chest. Second group came in asked what skills I had and then said they had no use for me. Third group came in and said I could join them. Leader said I would be expected to sleep with him every night. I said that I thought the whole party would be sleeping together. The leader said that would be good to if that’s what I wanted at which point father had the whole group thrown out. I have one more interview after lunch. Think I will change tactic.


    Evening

    Instead of eating lunch, I went to my room and changed into traveling clothes: black pants, white shirt, purple vest. It was too bad they had already been cleaned, as I probably would’ve looked more like an adventurer if they were dirty. After looking at myself in the mirror, I ripped all the ribbons out and redid my hair in tight braid. Gave self head ache, but thought grimace of pain would make me look well worn.
    The man named Korliss, who I had danced with last night, arrived a little late with the rest of his group. There was a woman with long blonde hair carrying an instrument at her side, a large man I recognized from sitting at the head table with Crill last night. He had a big ax behind his back. There were two men bearing insignias of the god Pter and a smaller man wearing monk type robes. Korliss had an apologetic look on his face, and I braced myself for being turned down again.

    “Lady Gwendolynn,” he began. “I am sorry. Last night, I was not thinking clearly and may have led you to believe that we needed your help in our group. But I don’t think one such as yourself would do well in the places we go. They are dark and dismal and really not the place for a lady such as yourself. I hope you understand. I would stay to have a drink with you, but Lord Greerson has given an assignment to us, and what we really need to do is find someone who will sell us horses for practically nothing.”

    “I can buy you horses,” I said.

    “Excuse me?”

    “You may not need one of my minimal skill, but it sounds like you need a sponsor. Perhaps you and your group would still like to join me, and we can discuss an arrangement that might be mutually agreeable.” They looked at each other for a moment and then pulled chairs over to surround my table. They were certainly the biggest group I had interviewed, and the most pleasant. There was Korliss, of course, who seemed to be the party’s speaker. There was a paladin of Pter named Ternell and a cleric of Pter named Aaron. They seemed all right, but small in stature when compared to Ardel, a large barbarian. There was the woman who was a bard named Chani. I wondered why she wasn’t the party speaker, but she seemed to keep mostly to herself. Then there was Lajon, a monk.

    Instead of elaborating on past adventures, they told me about their current assignment. Several days journey south of Fort Greerson was a town named Orlane. They had missed paying their taxes for the year, and Lord Greerson wanted the group named “Greerson’s Glory” to go down and see what had happened to the town. It sounded like an easy enough assignment, but the party was poor. Thinking it would be a good group to start in, especially since they were under the orders of Lord Greerson himself, I decided to offer to buy each member a horse if they allowed me to accompany them and be their speaker. They would repay me after discovering any treasure that might be found on the way. I thought I would be shot down for wanting to speak for the group, but they surprised me and agreed. My father helped me draw up the contracts, and we leave at the end of the week. Huzzah! I found an adventuring group!

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    Oh my, with a beginning like this, why on earth would I want to start my own story hour. I'll just interject here now and then. Maybe some of the other players from that campaign will join in the commentary. It should be fun to read the story from Gwen's rather biased perspective though.

    For those keeping track at home, the following notes might be useful.
    • Lord Greerson is the local ruler.
    • Fort Greerson is the town. Lord Greerson is building it up as a fortress city.
    • Jalik is a magical architect. Lord Greerson is paying him very handsomely to make the city defenses a little more impressive than mere stone walls.
    • Greerson's Glory is the name of the adventuring group. They wanted to try to attract attention so when they signed up for the Royal Charter, they elected to use a name that would be noticable. Suck ups!
    • Crill is Eeralai's PC that is leaving the group. Gwendolynn is the replacement PC.
    • Due to the Necromancer Wars a few centuries earlier, Arcane magic in general is very much looked down on. Arcane spellcasters are rare with Wizards being the rarest. Just keep in mind that the majority of the campaign population equates wizards with those that raise undead armies.
    • Orlane is the same Orlane from the Against the Cult of the Reptile God. Those that are familiar with the module will recognize some elements of the upcoming adventure.
    • Orlane is hundreds of miles away and the group will still have plenty of action before they reach the place.

    I'll comment more if folks are interested in the campaign background info.
    Last edited by BardStephenFox; Saturday, 20th August, 2005 at 04:10 AM.

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    Good Start...

    I enjoyed the start...very fresh idea...any chance getting PC stats?

    I will be watching this one...

    djordje
    Jason 'djordje' Pearson - javahead, lurker and all-around wallflower...all post are MY personal opinion.
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    Eeralai thinks she might still have the stats from this stage of the adventures. I might be able to look back on things and provide more detail on the other PCs. One other note: This was a 3.0 campaign and ended just about 2 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djrdjmsqrd
    I enjoyed the start...very fresh idea...any chance getting PC stats?

    I will be watching this one...

    djordje
    Thanks! We just moved, and many of the boxes with old roleplaying stuff have not been gone through yet. Gwen started at first level, and the rest of the party at this time was aroun 3-5 I think. Her most defining stats were her Charisma at 17 or 18 and her strength at 9. She had some skill in diplomacy, and she is a telepathic psion, although she will never refer to herself as such. She spends much of the campaign searching for someone with the same kind of magic she has, but does not meet anyone until almost the end. When I unpack her sheet, I will post more. We started her with the 3.0 rules for psions, but as the campaign continues, you will see that we ended up using several supplements.

    BSF has suggested that I might want to post a few words from Crill since she will be important later on. She is a ranger type with a strength of 17 or 18. There is much more to her character, but that would ruin some of the fun if I clarify it now.

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    Crills Journal

    If you were reading these two journals written in the characters' hand writing, Gwen's would be bold and loopy and Crill's would be smaller and more like printing.

    After the Ball

    Peace at last. When I report home to my tribe, I will not tell them to stay hidden because of amassing evil, but because of amassing stupidity. Greerson’s Glory managed to not only lose their finest shield to rust monsters, but also their finest sword. By that time, however, I had no sympathy because both the Paladin of Pter and the cleric or whatever he is of Pter stood by and watched me nearly drown fighting some water troll. Chani actually tried to help. She hit me with a crossbow bolt in her attempt, but at least she tried. And who was it who helped the most? That barbarian. All my life I have been told of the evil barbarians, and he is the one who helped. The cleric and the paladin didn’t even try to heal me when the fight was done. Pter God of Good, bah! Pter God of Jackasses is more like it. When we emerged from the cave and onto the road, another paladin of Pter accosted us. It was my hope that Pter had sent someone himself to arrest his two alleged followers after their performance in the cave. But this paladin turned out to be a haughty donkey as well and treated all of us as prisoners. I never understood what he thought we had done, but since he had a whole caravan behind him, I thought it was best just to be agreeable.

    But I am rid of them now. Lord Greerson has offered me a job as warder of Fort Greerson. I was deeply honored and felt very undeserving after my adventures. Now I will be able to uphold the laws of his society and show others how to uphold them as well. Lord Greerson is a noble man to serve, and my tribe will be pleased that he has selected me

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    stats

    We unpacked some of the computer room today and ran across old character sheets.

    Gwen is a psionic telepath. Str: 9; Dex 17; Con: 16; Int. 14; Wis: 11 and Cha: 18.

    Her skills include appraise, concentrate, diplomacy, ride and psicraft.

    Her powers are telepathic communication within 100 feet, finger of fire and charm person.

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    Gwen: FOrt Greerson, Day 2, After Dinner

    Powers discovered: 0 bad but was busy interviewing. Number of times refrained from speaking: 0 v. bad but had to tell all about the day’s interviews.

    My father and I dined with Jalik in one of the Dragons Wing’s private rooms. I told him all about the morning’s interviews and of the adventuring group I had chosen.

    “Well, I’m sure your father is pleased that you’re traveling with a paladin,” said Jalik. “He should keep everyone else in line at least, though I am surprised you’re traveling with Pter’s people. Weren’t they some of the ones giving you a hard time back in Kellingsbrook?”

    “Actually, they were the ones who saved us in a way,” said father.

    “Yes, it was the worshipers of my parents’ farming god, Lorsch, who were claiming I was a witch and wanting me to be kicked out before I burned the village down,” I said.

    Father interjected, “Then Jane spied that pompous paladin Thomas, who headed the caravan here, eating apples off of our trees. She asked him when paladins took to stealing and he grew very red and stammered out that he hadn’t realized the orchard belonged to anybody. Well, Jane just gave him that look that started the kids confessing every time and he began offering all sorts of services to make up for his error. Jane told him to be at the town meeting that night without any further explanation and went back to the farm.”

    “Oh, that’s right,” said Jalik. “The famous town meeting that I missed. Jane had him detect evil on Gwen at the meeting to prove that she wasn’t a witch. Jane’s a smart one. Smart and lovely.”

    “Yes,” said father, “and I can’t say I will miss you being around to tell her that so frequently.” Jalik and father laughed, but honestly, sometimes I think Jalik fancies my mother more than me. Humph!

    “I’m surprised you still had trouble after that,” said Jalik.

    “Well,” I said. “After he failed to detect evil on me, he said that just meant I wouldn’t set fire to the village on purpose.” Here, both father and Jalik tried not to smile. “The shed burning down wasn’t my fault!” I exclaimed, knowing what they were thinking about. No wonder Jalik fancies mother. Have been nothing but walking disaster all life. But things are changing now. Will sleep so that I can buy horses for everyone in the morning.
    Last edited by Eeralai; Friday, 7th October, 2005 at 06:26 AM.

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    Fort Greerson, Day 6, Midnight

    Number of Powers discovered: 0 v. bad I’ve been here a week. Why don’t I have new magic? Number of times refrained from talking: 0 v. bad but as this was last night with Jalik, does not matter anymore. Will be traveling with female bard who must like to talk as much as self. Number of hugs from Jalik: 1!!!


    Should be asleep, but far too excited about leaving tomorrow. Also, still light headed from Jalik’s goodbye embrace. Wish he was coming with us and so does father. They’ve been hearing rumors about happenings around here that they won’t tell me about. All I’ve heard is Greerson’s Glory is out of favor with Lord Greerson and that’s why he’s sending them so far away. Will change Lord Greerson’s opinion of group. Will come back heroes of Orlane. Spent week shopping for horses and such. Group needed a few other things and did some training. They seem anxious to be off now, and leave first thing in the morning!

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    On the Road, Day 1

    Powers used, 1 (huzzah!) Powers used effectively: 0 (boo)

    Finally on road for adventure! Awful time saying goodbye to father. Suddenly realized I won’t be with anyone in my family for first time in life. Tried not to cry for his sake, but a few tears slipped out. Glad he headed back for the tavern when he did because shortly after I said goodbye to him, a monk of Pter accosted us. He demanded that Aaron head for home immediately. Aaron’s brother required him back at the temple of glory. Aaron said no and went to leave. The monk refused to let him pass and once again demanded that he return home. Ternell tried to do a detect evil, but the monk punched Ternell in the nose and told Ternell not to insult him. He tried to force Aaron into submission, so the party defended Aaron. It was quickly apparent that he was a much more skilled monk than our monk, Lajon. No one was able to hurt him much. I tried to whip through his mind, but failed miserably. He finally left, but it certainly wasn’t because we were making headway with taking him down.

    “My village did not have monks of Pter,” I said to Aaron. “Are they common?”

    “No,” said Ternell, “The Temple of Glory seems different than any other temple of Pter.”

    “Are you sure your brother is not sick?” I asked. “Perhaps there is a family crisis and he needs you.”

    “I doubt that,” said Aaron.

    “Maybe he is jealous you are adventuring,” I said. “I have a brother named Aaron, too, but he is the one who stayed home. I was jealous of Geoff leaving for adventure. Does he have responsibilities that keep him from adventuring himself?"

    “He’s not jealous,” said Aaron. “He wants me to finish my training. Mind your own business.”

    Easy for him to say. If monks are going to start chasing the group around because he isn’t going home, it’s going to be my business too. Only trying to be sympathetic party member. Will refrain from talking for awhile.

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    On the Road, Day 1 After Dinner

    Miss family lots, and legs sore from sitting on a horse all day. Much nicer to travel in wagon, but father needed to return home in it. Company is very quiet. Ternell and Aaron talk to each other a lot about Pter. Ljon and Ardel don’t talk at all, and Korliss spends his time making comments to Chani that she tries to ignore but often replies in snippy manner. Not sure she ever smiles. Tried to get everyone to tell me about how they decided to become adventurers, but only succeeded in telling them own life story. Wonder if they heard.
    Last edited by Eeralai; Thursday, 25th August, 2005 at 05:50 PM. Reason: misspelling

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    Author's note

    When BSF said he wanted detailed backgrounds for the characters, he created a bit of a monster in me. My background for Crill was detailed, but read like a history book. When I brought Gwen in, I created several short stories for her. Here is the first one when she discovered her powers:


    Gwendolynn Von Holden lay swaddled in soft, fluffy, white blankets looking very proud of herself for being born. She had a mess of wavy black hair, flush cheeks and startling purple eyes. Her parents surrounded her in love, and even her two brothers stopped playing for a few moments to smile and welcome her. Although words were beyond her grasp, she cooed, crooned and cried her way through nine months, demanding the attention of anyone who was in the room with her. At nine months, words burst forth from her in alarming rapidity. Her mother and father delighted in each new word, while her oldest brother Geoff was disgruntled with all the attention Gwendolynn received. When she was one, he decided to teach her a few words some of the other farm boys had told him. She streaked around the house blissfully shouting them over and over. Mother and Father decided since he was taking such an interest in expanding Gwen’s and his own vocabulary, that he could play with Gwen for an hour a day, and also begin lessons in reading. The farmers laughed when they heard that the Von Holden’s were teaching five-year-old Geoff to read, but Geoff was bright and found the lessons to be enjoyable. He also enjoyed playing with his sister, although he put on a big fuss about it.

    Gwen adored her two older brothers, and played happily with them whenever possible. When she was two, her sentences became quite intelligible, and at three she spoke with the certainty of a five-year-old. The Von Holden’s had two more children after Gwen. Dale arrived after Gwen turned two, and James arrived shortly before she turned five. Gwen took notice of her two younger brothers mainly as new dolls there for her amusement.

    On Gwen’s fifth birthday, she was sitting in the parlor having a tea party with her three dolls. She spoke her dolls, and they each had a distinctive voice. Geoff and Aaron always teased her by mimicking her voices, so she had recently begun continuing the conversations inside her head whenever the boys walked by. On this particular day, the three older children were excited because a birthday meant cake. Geoff came running into the parlor ready to tell his sister how big the cake was and saw her playing tea party with her dolls. Gwen, pretending he wasn’t in the room continued the conversation in her head. “Oh no,” she thought to the dolls. “It’s big ugly Geoff!”

    “What did you call me?” asked Geoff.

    “I didn’t call you anything,” said Gwen.

    “You did too,” said Geoff. “You just called me ugly!” Then Geoff took one of the dolls and began running away.

    “Hey!” called Gwen. “Give her back!” Gwen jumped up and ran after him. Geoff reached the door right as Mother was walking through.

    “What’s all this?” asked mother looking down at both of them.

    “Nothing,” said Geoff and Gwen, quickly in unison.

    “I was just playing tea party with Gwen,” continued Geoff. “Here you go Gwen. I think her coat is on right now.” Geoff handed the doll back to Gwen.

    “Thank you,” mumbled Gwen looking down at the doll. There was no sense in telling on Geoff because they would both end up in trouble, and she didn’t want trouble on her birthday. The children could never predict what punishment their parents would dish out, and on a birthday, none of them wanted to miss being dished out a piece of cake. Mother was telling them both to play quieter and to not run in the house while Gwen thought to her doll, “That mean old Geoff better not get us into trouble.”

    The two children agreed to play more quietly and Mother went on her way. Geoff turned to Gwen excitedly. “Did you just think to your dolls, ‘That mean old Geoff better not get us into trouble?’”

    Gwen gaped up at him. “Yes I did.”

    “I’m a mind reader Gwen! Think something else to me!”

    “What do I think?”

    “Just anything!”

    “How big is my birthday cake?” thought Gwen.

    “It’s three layers!” exclaimed Geoff. “Let’s go tell Aaron!” With that, Geoff ran out the room and up the stairs to Aaron’s room followed closely by Gwen.

    “Aaron!” said Geoff. “I can read minds. Think something to me.”

    Aaron looked up from his book. He was a small boy of seven and very thoughtful. Geoff was the one with the big schemes, but Aaron always thought out the details to pull them off. He looked at his older brother of two years and wondered what this new scheme was. Geoff seemed so excited though, that maybe it was true. “All right,” said Aaron calmly. “What am I thinking?” There was a pause in the room for a minute.

    “Think it louder Aaron,” said Geoff. “I can’t hear it.”

    “How can I think louder?” asked Aaron. “What are you up to Geoff?”

    “Down in the parlor he read my mind three times, Aaron,” piped in Gwen. “Honest! Watch.”

    Gwen was silent and then Geoff said, “She thought, ‘I hope Aaron believes us.’”

    “That’s right,” said Gwen.

    “I’m not going to believe this,” said Aaron. “All Geoff has to do is think of something you might say and then you agree Gwen. This is silly.”

    “Oh Aaron,” thought Gwen. “You’re really pigheaded.”

    “I’m not pigheaded Gwen,” said Aaron.

    “Gwen didn’t call you pigheaded,” said Geoff.

    “I just heard her,” said Aaron.

    Geoff grabbed Gwen’s shoulders. “It’s not me Gwen,” he said. “It’s you! Think something to Aaron again.”

    Gwen looked at Aaron and thought, “My birthday cake is three layers!”

    “Wow!” said Aaron. “Can you hear what we think too?”

    “I don’t know,” said Gwen looking confused. “I haven’t tried to.”

    “Try me first,” said Geoff. The room was quiet.

    “You thought, ‘The birthday cake is being frosted,’” said Gwen excitedly. The three children stood staring in amazement. Then they all started talking at once. They spent the rest of the morning running around the house, trying to figure out how far away they could talk to Gwen and how many words they could say to her. Geoff and Aaron tried thinking to each other, but it was only Gwen who seemed to have the mind speak power as they called it. They discovered she could only catch short sentences and they could be as far as 15 feet away. Then abruptly it stopped and Gwen had a headache. The boys were scared and concerned all at the same time. None of them had thought it would have any ill effects on Gwen. Father found them in Aaron’s bedroom talking quietly to Gwen.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked.

    “I have a headache Father,” said Gwen in a small voice.

    “Too much birthday excitement,” said Father. “I’ve heard you children running around the house all morning. Come here and I’ll carry you to your room for a nap.”

    A droopy Gwen managed to shuffle over to Father’s arms. He picked her up and carried her out the door. “Should we tell?” whispered Aaron.

    “Let’s wait and see how she feels after her nap,” replied Geoff.

    Gwen woke up feeling fine to the relief of Geoff and Aaron, and the birthday party proceeded as normal. The next day, the children were happy to find Gwen’s mind speak back in place. They decided against telling Mother and Father. They would only use it for short periods to avoid wearing out Gwen again. The next few months brought forth a host of new schemes from Geoff, and with Aaron’s help and Gwen’s thinking, they did not get caught, too much.

  • #14
    This is some good stuff!!

    Keep it coming
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    Thanks Vorlon! I'm going to do one more childhood story here and then continue with the adventure tomorrow or Friday. Maybe BSF would explain the Durgon and Thurgon too? Although, after this, they won't be seen again for awhile.


    The children managed to keep Gwen’s mind speaking ability a secret all through spring and summer. In autumn, however, another little girl shattered Gwen’s happiness, and Gwen took revenge. It all began on Gathering Day in the farming community, a day set aside once a month for the families to get together in the morning and discuss various farming problems. The grown-ups met inside a large assembly hall with rows of benches lined up. The children were divided into three age groups and met in three smaller rooms to the side of the great hall. Gwen was in the 4, 5 and 6 group and Aaron and Geoff were together in the 7, 8 and 9 group. There was also a 10, 11 and 12 group and then at 13, children were expected join the adults in the big hall.

    Farmers did not have time to visit with one another on a regular basis, so on Gathering day, everyone got out their best clothes and buggies to make their way to the hall. Although Gwendolynn’s family had what she thought was the nicest buggy in the whole community, they lived the closest to the hall and Gwen’s parents insisted that they walk whether the weather was sunny, windy, rainy or snowy.

    At the first fall Gathering, Gwen’s class was responsible for bringing refreshments. She had spent the week making apple jelly with Ida, and the morning of Gathering making biscuits with her mother to spread the jelly on. The biscuits looked dainty sitting in her basket bursting with red apple jelly, and she hoped the leader, Mrs. Andrews, would notice them. Gwendolynn had chosen her favorite purple jumper and white blouse, and her mother had tied her hair in a purple ribbon. She had skipped happily with her family to Gathering and had placed the basket of biscuits on the table next to the other treats.

    After the meeting, however, a gloomy Gwen crunched through the leaves behind Geoff and Aaron who were chatting excitedly about Sowen’s Night. She was busy thinking about how everyone was ignoring her and just didn’t care about her problems when Mother interrupted her pleasure by saying “What’s wrong Gwendolynn? Didn’t everyone like your biscuits?”

    Gwendolynn burst into tears. “It’s not fair! I made the biscuits with you this morning!” She yelled. “Prissy didn’t make them, I did!”

    “Well of course we made them this morning,” said mother soothingly as she knelt down holding the baby. “Who says we didn’t?”

    Gwen gasped between sobs and said, “I put my biscuits on the table with all the other food. I was the only one with biscuits and jelly, and they looked so pretty. I went back to my chair and waited for Mrs. Andrews to come in. When she came in she said, "Who brought these beautiful biscuits?’ Before I could even open my mouth, Perfect Prissy stood up and said, ‘I did, Mrs. Andrews.’” Gwen continued crying before she got out, “Everyone thinks I brought bread pudding! Nobody likes bread pudding!”

    “I like bread pudding,” said Father trying to be helpful.

    “Oh, honey!” said mother. “I’m sorry. Why didn’t you tell Mrs. Andrews the truth?”

    “I did, but then Moira stood up and said, ‘Gwen is lying. She just always has to be the best. I helped Prissy make those biscuits myself. I saw Gwen put the yucky bread pudding down.’” Here Gwendolynn completely burst into tears. Her mother pulled her close in a soothing hug. Baby James kicked Gwen a few times, but she didn’t seem to notice.

    “Well, the next party we will make more biscuits and I will take them to class with you so that everyone knows you brought them.” Soothed Mother.

    “Okay, Mother,” sniffed Gwen. “Thank you.”

    “Why don’t you catch up to your brothers? They’re planning a haunted walk through the orchard for our party. I’m sure they could use your help.”

    “A haunted walk? Really?” Gwen perked up and ran after her brothers.
    “Can I help please?”

    “We didn’t think you wanted to,” replied Aaron.

    “We asked but you just stood there sulking like a baby,” said Geoff.

    “I‘m not a baby!” cried Gwen. “Perfect Prissy stole my biscuits!”

    “Yeah, yeah,” said Geoff. “Any ways, we can hang some scare crows from the trees.”

    “Yeah, let’s stick arrows through them!” said Aaron.

    “Oooh! That will be too scary,” said Gwen.

    “Well, if you’re gonna be a scaredy cat,” said Geoff, “you can’t help.”

    “Let me help! Please! I won’t be scared,” cried Gwen.

    “We were thinking you could be the witch, Gwen,” said Aaron.

    “Yes! I want to be a real witch when I grow up!” said Gwen.

    Geoff and Aaron started to laugh. “Well you better be a good witch, or the rest of the people will run you out of town,” said Geoff. “Like in that story Father tells us, Harrisburg and the Witch.”

    “I’ll be too powerful for anyone to run me out of town!” replied Gwen.

    “But you’ll still never be fast enough to catch me,” said Geoff yanking off the purple ribbon in Gwen’s hair and taking off with it.

    “Hey! Give that back,” yelled Gwen running after Geoff. They ran all the way back to the farm. Gwen never caught him, but found her ribbon lying in a chair in the parlor.


    Sowen’s Night was only a week away, so preparations for the Haunted Walk had to be made rapidly. The Von Holdens had decided to throw a big party that year for all the families in the area. The haunted walk had been Geoff’s idea, but Aaron had thought of many things for it. They were able to build almost everything they needed for it themselves, and they let Gwen do some of the more boring tasks such as stuffing the straw in the scarecrows and scooping the guts out of the pumpkins. The three children had put so much work and thought into it, that Father had agreed to pay some of the farm workers to stay that night and help out with the Haunted Walk so that the children didn’t have to ask their friends. The children had argued that if their friends had to help out, there wouldn’t be anyone left to go through the walk.

    The entrance to the walk was a gate made of bales of hay with half a dozen carved pumpkins on each side. Carving the pumpkins had been Geoff’s favorite task because Father had helped him with it. Geoff had thought of an original gruesome face for each one. They had also carved a half dozen more that Geoff distributed throughout the walk to make sure children stayed on the right path. A ways after the gate, four stuffed scarecrows with arrows poking through them would fall down on ropes hanging from the tree branches. Two men would be up in the trees dressed in black to push them down and then raise them up after people had passed by. Next Aaron would be walking around asking people to taste his mashed eyeballs (it was actually oatmeal) and cat guts, (which was actually beef jerky). Then, two of the workers would be seen sword fighting each other. One would get his head cut off, but it would actually be a pumpkin rolling away. In the next section, Geoff would be breaking twigs and making birdcalls. Then he would do some howling followed by an earsplitting scream. Gwen would be running around on a broomstick screeching and telling people to watch out for the Dragon. The grand finale was a dragon they had rigged with a wooden frame draped in a black cloth. They were all proud of the dragon. It’s head and neck moved with a mechanism that Father had thought up. One of the workers was on the inside of the Dragon making it move around. Overall they were very excited.


    The evening before the party, Gwen was running around the house yelling nonsensical words at the top of her lungs because of the excitement bubbling over in her. Finally her mother said, “Will you go get your witches outfit on Gwen? You’re making my head spin.”

    “Yeeeeesssss,” replied Gwen running upstairs to her bedroom. Lying on her bed was a little black dress. The hem was torn in places, and the sleeves were too long for her. She loved it. She felt like a real wicked witch in it. She quickly put it on and then rumpled up her hair to make it look messier. She ran back downstairs. “How do I look?” She asked.

    “Ugly, absolutely ugly!” replied her mother.

    “Thank you!” cried Gwen.

    “Now go outside with your brothers. The guests will be arriving soon, and you’ll have your first victim!”

    Gwen tore out the door towards the apple orchard. Geoff and Aaron were busy lighting all of the pumpkin lanterns.

    “Your hair isn’t messy enough,” said Aaron. “You look to clean. Here, put some twigs in it and maybe a little mud on your face.”

    “Okay!” said Gwen happy to oblige. When she was finished adorning her hair with dead leaves and twigs, and smearing her cheeks with mud she said, “Is that better?”

    “Much,” said Aaron. “Now go to your spot and get ready. I see some guests coming now.” Gwen ran through the path to her appointed spot. She was anxious to meet her first victim. She had been practicing screeching all week, and thought she finally had it down. She had lost her voice after the first day of practice, so she paced herself better the rest of the week. She was especially anxious for Perfect Prissy to come through. Gwen had a special surprise for the girl who had stolen her biscuits.

    Darkness was finally coming to the farm. Gwen had decided the sun would be up forever, but the stars were coming out nicely now and the breeze was blowing any clouds in the air away. There was no moon that night which, Geoff had said, made the perfect Sowen night. She heard Geoff getting into his place nearby. She went and hid behind her appointed tree. Soon she heard screams of surprise as the scarecrows fell out of the tree. She listened closely as the guests made their way through the path. Soon it would be her turn. There was Geoff hooting and snapping twigs. She heard the footsteps draw nearer. Out she darted shrieking and yelling about the Dragon up ahead. The guests ran and yelled as the dragonhead turned toward them. As the guests ran out of the orchard, she heard them exclaiming with shouts of delight. Their Haunted Walk was going to be a success!

    The night progressed in much the same way. Gwen recognized many of the children who came through, and some adults began coming through as well. After about an hour, Gwen heard a familiar voice on the path. It was Perfect Prissy. Gwen stepped out into the path. She stood waiting, looking small and muddy next to the tall trees. As Geoff chased Prissy and her older sister into the path Gwen concentrated carefully.

    “You will not escape me Perfect Prissy!” thought Gwen to Prissy. “I will change you into a toad before the night is through.” As her thoughts went to Prissy, Gwen began raising her arms as if to cast a spell. She cackled in her mind. Prissy stood horrified. Then she let out an earsplitting shriek and began running as fast as her little legs would carry her. Her big sister ran after her. “What? It’s just Gwen looking muddy and dirty. That wasn’t scary!” Prissy ran right by the dragon without seeing it. She screamed all the way to her mother.
    Back in the orchard Gwen smiled to herself. “That’s what you get for stealing my biscuits Perfect Prissy!”



    Prissy tore through the crowd at the Von Holden’s party and found her mother who was talking with Gwen’s mother. She was sobbing and she hid her face in her mother’s skirts. “Whatever is the matter with you?” asked Prissy’s mother looking down. Prissy continued to cry as her older sister ran up. The older sister was about Geoff’s age and had little patience with Prissy when she started crying. However, she had been placed in charge of Prissy for the party, and knew she had better follow her to their mother. “What’s all this about, Jill?” said her mother in a surprised voice.

    Jill shrugged. “She keeps saying Gwen told her she was going to turn her into a toad. I didn’t hear anything though.”

    “That’s because she said it to my head!” sobbed Prissy.

    Prissy’s mother laughed and kneeled down. “Now honey,” she began. “I think that haunted walk was too scary for you. You’re imagining things that didn’t really happen.”

    “It did too happen!” insisted Prissy. “Gwen is a witch and she’s going to turn me into a toad.”

    “Now that’s enough,” said Prissy’s mother sternly. “I think you have had enough party. Mrs. Von Holden was just telling me that Mr. Von Holden was getting ready to tell the story of Sowen. I think you and I will go home now, and Jill can come home with Father. Is that alright Jill?”

    “Sounds good to me,” said Jill happy to be rid of her ward.

    “That’s not fair,” protested Prissy. “You told me I could hear the story this year!”

    “I’ve changed my mind. The haunted walk was sufficient excitement for you.” Prissy’s mother turned to Gwen’s mother. “Please forgive my daughter for her little scene. I think she is just over tired.”

    “Quite understandable,” said Gwen’s mother. “Don’t be too hard on her though. There is probably more going on here than we realize, and I would not be surprised if Gwen is at the bottom of it. I’ll go talk to her now. Thank you for coming, and have a safe walk home.” The two women smiled at each other and walked their separate ways. Gwen’s mother made her way out to the haunted walk. She had noticed the children had been somewhat quieter the last few months and the housekeeper had been commenting on the number of cookies missing recently. Although there was no evidence, they both knew the children had somehow been getting them. If Gwen was telepathic, it might explain everything.

    She walked through the haunted walk admiring the work her children had done and notifying everyone it was time to shut down. Geoff was told to put out all the pumpkin lanterns, and the workers were invited to enjoy the rest of the party. When she got to Gwen, she looked down at her small muddy daughter.

    “What happened to Prissy,” Mother asked calmly.

    Gwen looked up and began shifting the dirt beneath her right toe. “I scared her.” Gwen said simply.

    “How did you scare her?” Mother asked.

    “I’m the witch,” said Gwen. “I scared her like I scared everyone else.”

    “Prissy was the only one claiming you had spoken to her mind. Did you do that?” asked Mother.

    Gwen drew a circle in the dirt with her toe and looked down at it. “Yes Mother,” said Gwen quietly.

    “How long have you had the ability to talk to people’s minds?” asked Mother.

    “Since my birthday,” said Gwen. “Geoff and I discovered it.”

    “That is a very special gift that nature has given to you,” said Mother. “It is wrong to use it to hurt or scare people. I know you were mad at Prissy for claiming your biscuits, but you should not spend your time plotting revenge every time somebody does something you don’t like. That will turn you into a dislikable little girl, and I am sure that you would rather be your likable self instead. Do you understand what I have said?”

    Gwen looked up at her mother, her eyes brimming with tears. “I’m sorry Mother! I won’t do it again,” she sobbed. “I’ll try to get along with Prissy, and I’ll save my mind speak for…”

    “Stealing cookies?” asked Mother. Gwen’s face turned red. “I think in the morning we will discuss your mind speaking with your father. Now it is time for bed.”

    “But you said I could listen to the story about Sowen tonight!” cried Gwen.

    “I have changed my mind,” said Mother. “Instead of listening to the story, you can spend that time thinking about what you did wrong. Prissy’s mother took Prissy home, and I think that was wise. Maybe next year the two of you will be ready for the story of Sowen. But now it is bedtime.” With that Mother marched Gwen back to the house and upstairs to her room.

    Gwen got undressed sadly but obediently and went to bed. Mother kissed her goodnight and blew out the candle by Gwen’s bed. After Mother left, Gwen thought about what had happened. She couldn’t help but be pleased with herself for scaring Prissy, but the words of her Mother tempered her. “Maybe it was wrong to use my gift to scare her,” thought Gwen. “Maybe whatever gave me the power will take it away if they see me behave like that. Oh well. At least this once I got the better of Prissy.” Then Gwen closed her eyes and fell asleep.

    In the morning, Gwen woke up a little later than normal. She jumped out of bed and was dressed before remembering her mother’s words about speaking with her father in the morning about her mind speak. She walked downstairs to the breakfast table slowly, wondering what was going to be said. She arrived just as Ida, the housekeeper, was laying out the food. Dale was in a boosted up chair already beginning his meal. James was in his highchair, already a blob of porridge having been served first. The rest of the family was sitting waiting. It was a plain breakfast of porridge, milk, toast and apples, but Gwen sat down silently without comment. Everyone wished her good morning, which she returned dutifully. Silence followed as everyone dug into the porridge.

    Finally Gwen’s father said, “Your mother tells me that you have discovered telepathy.”

    The boys erupted, “Gwen! That was supposed to be a secret! Why did you tell?”

    “She didn’t tell,” said mother calmly. “She tried, and succeeded, to scare Prissy by talking to her mind. What was it you said, something about turning her into a toad?”

    The boys started laughing. “Good one Gwen!” said Geoff. “I wish I had known what you were doing so that I could’ve seen her.” Gwen blushed and began to smile.

    “Your mother and I do not see this as a joke,” said Father sternly. “The three of you should have told us what was going on from the start. This is a very special gift Gwen has been given, and not to be used on pranks.”

    The children sobered as they listened to Father. “Gwen has the ability to get inside someone’s head and speak to them. If this gets out to the community, there will be a great deal of fuss. The Durgon and Humans of Kellingsbrook frown about magic. They would want her trained in one of the churches to make sure her powers are divinely given.”

    “Powers?” interrupted Geoff. “But she can only do the one thing.”

    “It might lead to more,” replied mother. “Your great grandmother had the ability to mind speak among other things.”

    “Wow!” exclaimed Gwen. “You mean I might really be a witch?”

    “We never called grandma a witch,” replied Mother. “We just called her grandma. She was very wise and greatly respected, and would have urged you to use your telepathy in a better way.”

    “We realize you’re excited about what you can do, Gwen,” said Father. “But we’re going to restrict you to use it only among family and with Ida. Your friends are not to know. Do you understand?”

    “Yes, Father,” said Gwen. “But what about Prissy?”

    “We have discussed her,” said Father. “We will wait and see what happens. Her mother is a good friend of your mother and we may decide to tell her. But possibly Prissy will wake up and just think that maybe she had imagined it. We’ll see. Now, I thought you all did an excellent job with the haunted walk. Did all of you have fun?” The boys launched into stories of scaring people and Gwen’s mind speak was not spoken of again at the table.

    After the discussion with her parents, Gwen restricted her mind speak to the family only, and Ida, who was considered to be a member of the family. Prissy, unfortunately did not think she had imagined Gwen speaking to her mind like Gwen’s parents had hoped. She knew what had happened and planned on letting all the children in the Kellingsbrook farming community know. Fortunately for Gwen, Prissy’s older sister, Jill, had overheard Prissy telling some other children about Gwen. Jill walked into the room laughing and told everybody how Prissy had been so frightened of muddy little Gwen that she had run all the way to mama crying loudly. Then Jill did an imitation of Prissy that set all the children laughing. Prissy had sulked and insisted that Gwen had spoken to her mind, but by then all the children were only interested in Jill doing her imitation of Prissy again. Prissy soon dropped the subject, so in a way, the problem of Prissy knowing about Gwen’s mind speak worked itself out. Gwen and Prissy, however, had a dislike for each other that continued to grow as they grew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeralai
    legs soar
    Unless your legs are up there with the birdies, I think you mean "leg's sore".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steverooo
    Unless your legs are up there with the birdies, I think you mean "leg's sore".
    Oops! At least it was a misspelling with funny imagery. Thanks for pointing it out and I got it changed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeralai
    Oops! At least it was a misspelling with funny imagery. Thanks for pointing it out and I got it changed
    Heh!

    "I slip upon the ice; my legs soar!
    Ouch! I fall down, go boom!"

    And how can you not hate a girl named "Miss Priss"?

  • #19
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    Gwen's background is always amusing. Since it is told in story form, it is left to the reader to extrapolate how she came to be. Sowen's night is a good example. Her parents decide to punish her for messing with Prissy using her mind speak (Telepathy). Yet, rather than fessing up to the entire thing, they kind of hope people will ignore it and forget it. So I wouldn't exactly classify Gwen's family as Lawful Good.

    It is a little different from most character backgrounds I have seen over the years and I appreciate that.

    A little more background here. When Eeralai decided to change out characters, we bumped her back down in level. But I gave her deep pockets to make up for it. The only thing that couldn't really be bought were magic items. In this campaign, magic items are not particularly common and they are rarely for sale. So I wasn't worried about her going to crazy. She ended up buying horses for the group and used that as leverage to join.

    Thurgon & Durgon - Since Eeralai mentioned it.
    My world doesn't have any Dwarves. Mostly I was tired of people choosing bad stereotypes for Dwarves. After 20+ years where almost all Dwarves seem alike, I decide to 'fix' the problem by scratching the race entirely. I did the same with Elves. The Thurgon are a LA race with bonuses to physical stats and minor DR. Societally they are very rigid. Anybody deviating from the norm is under harsh peer pressure to conform, or they are banished. The Thurgon were literally crafted from stone and they are not flexible. It is inherent nature. The times when they exhibit the most acceptance of anything different is when they perceive a message directly from their god. I have never actually had a player play one.

    The Durgon were crafted from clay. They fill most of the niche that the 'normal' dwarf fills. But they do not have the same racial abilities. They are more open and accepting and often act as the go-betweens for the rest of the world to their cousins, the Thurgon. I haven't had a player play a Durgon either, but there has been considerably more interest to do so.

    I could go on quite a bit about the races, but unless there is strong interest, I will spare you.

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    Thanks BSF! Now, on with the adventure.

    On the road, Day 2, after lunch

    Powers discovered: 0 When? When? Powers used: 0; Obsessive thoughts of Jalik: 75 (getting better); Times refrained from talking: 10 (also getting better)

    Today, wished everyone a good morning, but then let them get on with their meditations and prayers. Did own meditating as Jalik instructed, but felt no new course of power flowing through me. We traveled for an hour, and then came to a ferry at a river. The ferryman asked for a gold coin each. He was larger than even Ardel, and used a pole to push all of our horses and persons over as if he were pushing himself away from a table. He was the slowest speaker I have ever met, but when he pulled off his hat, I realized slow speaking was due to huge part of head missing. As he told us how he came to have a ¾ head, Korliss kept sending what I’m sure he thought were meaningful glances to me. Once we got off the raft, Korliss pulled me aside and tried to talk me out of the adventure.

    “Lady Gwendolynn,” he began.

    “Just call me Gwen. My family is rich, but has no titles.”

    “Lady Gwen, when you interviewed us, I suggested that you could buy our horses and then take a percentage of the treasure we discovered on our journey. Perhaps after hearing his story, you will rethink your decision to come along and turn back now. I’ll ride back with you, and then catch up to the party.”

    “Certainly not. This journey is about helping out a town, as I recall, and not about treasure. I didn’t buy the horses expecting a return in gold. I bought the horses because I need to open up the powers within me, and I thought traveling in your group would be the best way to do that.”

    “But you could die.”

    “I’ll just avoid placing my head in a monster’s mouth.”

    “Sometimes, that’s not so easy.”

    “But I’m the smallest one here. I think the rest of the party looks much more appetizing than me. You’re not talking me out of it.”

    Korliss quit arguing, but insisted I arm myself with some daggers. Have never used daggers before. Brothers always said if something got close enough to me that I should use a dagger on, I would soon be dead. Will stick with crossbow, but took daggers to humor Korliss.

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