Rathadorn’s Bane

It had come to this, finally, and the ending was near. Trenton, Samuel, and Zonal took significant damage and became disarmed. The paladin and cleric began to say prayers to their Maker. The fighter, thinking he lost enough blood, believed himself delusional.

He watched Ellen, the bard, closely. She set her harp and bow aside. Both were useless, nearly unrecognizable; the dragon’s talons had their way. Zonal could not believe or understand what he saw.

Ellen stood only yards from the cruel beast. She had a small black notebook in her left and what must be a ruby pen in her right hand. He could not imagine writing poetry or songs in this dread situation. He had marked the bard as a unique character, but she must recognize the danger to them all. What could she be thinking?

The gigantic dragon shifted its weight upon its priceless bed of treasure, which included golden coins that scattered and clinked. The dragon’s richly furnished hoard was collected over many lifetimes of humanity.

Ellen stood exposed, writing, glancing at the human-killer occasionally, probably checking that it remained relaxed. Zonal guessed she wrote more than one page. He was aware that a bard might be akin to a mage. There was no prior evidence of this in their adventuring.

As she wrote, the notebook covers began to give off an ebon glow, and the pages lit her face with a creamy shine. The dragon growled like nearby thunder and shifted its dinosaur-like head in the bard’s direction.

She made a few additional notations and put the ruby pen in a pocket. She straightened her robes and seemed to stand straighter. Her emerald eyes almost sparked as she entirely focused on the dragon, Raptadorn.

She began to speak in her clear melodious tones:

“I stand before you honored Raptadorn, a bard of lesser renown, Ellen Whitskiene. I have heard your exploits and famous legends of the many humans you have removed from living lands.

Now, if I may but bring your attention to the fact that you grow less ferocious and decline into age. It is not my place to force you, but I think you must agree; it is time you retired into a pleasant secluded place. There no one would disturb your restful peace.

My friends and I shall take command of your hoard of money and rare items, which you may sign over as our reward. We will then refrain from killing you. We will make sure all you leave we competently disburse, so you need to suffer no remorse or lingering regret.”

Zonal could not believe this wisp of a woman was a bard powerful enough to enchant the deadly dragon. He watched Rathadorn as Ellen spoke when he could draw his eyes from her. All during the speech, the beast grew smaller. The creature, reduced in size, had humanoid proportions. Her voice seemed a melody. Zonal could almost remember the tune, but it was the most beautiful ever. He decided incredible magic was in play but was it the book or the words she said?

Where did this notebook and ruby pen originate? He concluded Ellen was no rookie bard. How had she hidden herself and the truth away?

The dragon becomes an aged man with an ivory staff and walks confidently over to Ellen. She retrieved her pen, placed it in Rathadorn’s hand, and held the notebook for his signature. After the elegant script swirled onto the page, she looked into his golden eyes and said, “Go now in peace, Rathadorn, and trouble the world and humankind no more.”

Zonal, Samuel, and Trenton watched as what was once a fearsome and magnificent dragon turned into a pure gold mist then disappeared.

Ellen looked at her companions and said, “Well, we have to rid this place of all the signs of dragon lair and treasure hoard quickly. Our trucks stand by; we have maybe a half-hour before the androids discover what we have done.”

The three look at one another and, in unison, say, “What? What just happened?”

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Sunday

It was Sunday again. She knew not because she could follow days, but because after feeding the chickens, Auntie insisted she take a bath.

It was a new thing, bathing herself alone; she was only a small girl.

Life was different now. Her Mama had gone away to someplace far, called Florida. Daddy said she would never be back.

Auntie had come to live in the little house because she was a widow- woman, alone. Sometimes she seemed strange with her black clothes and strict rules. She knew things like no one else did. People sent for her when someone was sick, or babies came, or people left this living.

She was mean at times, telling the little girl, “If you don’t behave, your Mama woman will come and take you away from here, and you will see your Daddy no more.” Tears and sobs would torment Hope because she loved her Daddy and Bubba more than all the things, including her one baby doll. She had night terrors of being snatched by the bad woman and taken away.

After she bathed in the tub of cold well water, Auntie pushed her dress, underwear, and shoes into her arms. She was careful in putting them on just right because Auntie was handy with a switch.

Soon Daddy, dressed in black, except his white shirt and the gray tie he wore, said it was time to begin the long walk to the church. It was dry now, so the road threw up little spurts of red dust as they strode along.

When they reached the bridge over the creek, Hope cried and wrapped herself, best she could around her Daddy’s legs; he could keep her safe from the harm of falling or being taken away.

Daddy reached down and effortlessly took her in his arms. Since the child could walk, she had been terribly afraid of falling through the cracks in the bridge. Now it was compounded by nightmares and his sister’s stories her mother might step out of the woods and steal her.

Auntie screeched, “You should put that child down and make her walk. You are spoiling her. She will turn out to be no good at all.”

Daddy looked at her, saying, “But she is only three, and she needs to learn love is a safe place, a safe person, she can trust when she is frightened. Hush up now; you are not the one supporting her weight. She is my precious Hope; she has lost a lot, it is okay that I carry her. Mind yourself, don’t be so cold-hearted.”

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

I rarely tell stories, this one is based on reality. The little girl is my Mom.

Chance

She held out her hand, and he clasped it in the largeness of his own. His grip was tender but enveloping, and she clung to him with the strength of a rising raptor.

“I never thought to see you here,” she whispered.

As he let go of her hand, which he had gingerly shaken, he said, “Neither did I anticipate your presence.”

“We must be lucky,” she said, a smile lifting her lips and lightening her eyes.

He stepped backward, “I would not say it that way. It is another life for us both these days.”

Shadows seemed to gather grayly, blackly, round her, some clouding her previously radiant face. Her voice quivered, choked, “Ah, then, I will be getting on my way. Fare thee well, and never you stop to worry yourself over the one who dearly loved you on that long misbegotten yesterday. It is now over; as have you, so have I forgotten that love we partook.”

The crimson skirt and ebon cape swirled, like ripples in a pond, around her as she turned and stalked away. His dark eyes followed her until the fog swallowed her form. Then he wondered, was she a specter imagined, or the reality that haunted every passing dream.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Situations 1, 2, Something More

First, we shall begin with a story start. Sometimes I just noodle around with things and see where it takes me. I am a No Filter, No Boundaries sort of person when it comes to creativity.

*****

Morgan walked across the pavement cleanly edged with green, to what could be a gothic castle. Turrets, stained glass, rock walls, but closer, partial bars on the windows. No, it clearly was not a castle. In the near distance, the painstakingly manicured lawn was broken and dotted with marble monuments. The building was a handsomely disguised mausoleum, a repository of the dead.

She had roamed the halls where a voice could echo off marble timelessly, numerous times. Even a whisper could carry room to room.

She was allowed all over the vast building and knew the attic was a storage facility for emergency rations and necessities in case some disaster struck the metropolis.

Morgan hoped she was wrong, but she also knew a considerable waste disposal dump lay adjacent, just beyond the lawn of careful plots. She wondered when the dump reached capacity, would the graves seed it with resting bodies?

Those thoughts she pondered from time to time, but just now, she sought the coolness inside the imagined castle and shadows of comfort after the Summer heat had toasted her, and the bright white light almost made her blind.

As she opened the heavy door, the quiet took her by force. It nearly enveloped her in peace. Peace, however, was not hers to be had.

*****

This next is about today’s experience.

I avoid going out, but my stores of food, particularly dog food, were depleted. I ate lunch at Del Taco, I had lunch for $1.75. I had to correct the person at the drive-thru when I made my order. I think she thought I was upset, but it was not that, I just wanted it right and I have this voice thing. If I get in any way excited, I get louder. I hate it, but I have no way to control it. I promise I try, but… sometimes I really do not like how I am.

I went to Sam’s Club. All over the store, they have moved things around. Put that on top of my usual anxiety with being out in public, and I almost had a bad situation. I spent about three times the moments I would generally have in there today, and I never found some things I wanted, needed.

I came home and unloaded. The dogs would not eat, though they were excited about having food. I fed them by hand for a bit.

I have tried to relax, but this has not been a better day.

*****

The sunshine, the rain,
The grass, pines, dandelions,
Look, comfort abounds.

*****

Find me in the deep
Of thought where anxiety
Is no longer freed.

As a prompt, create something about situations you have faced recently or some you imagine.

I hope your day was pleasant, and you accomplished what you intended. If not, resolve to find better solutions on the morrow.

Thank you for visiting Haphazard Creative. I am so glad you took the time to see what is here. I hope you will follow the site or return as your leisure grants. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

May God Bless and Keep You and Yours in all you do.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Mop Up (2)

“The thing about you newbies coming in here wanting to save the nation, is you are not too long from graduation, either from college or the public sector. You may have done great things, won some fights, started improvements, but this place is another country. The dangers here come hard and fast, without let up. The pressure is always on. The illusion of them and us soon dissipates, and one realizes all the training is inadequate. What is done here is about lives, every life depends on success within these walls. I have not seen any troglodytes slipping into the sewers, and I mean you no disrespect. I hear good things about you, Jacob. There is crossing at the borders all over this estate. I have put in the time, it has cost me dearly. I can be your friend, or I can fade from your presence, I hoped we could find some common ground. I might be of assistance as I wish someone would have been to me when I came in with the bright shine of fool’s gold,” said the shorter man, his voice sincere and understanding, “By the way, I am Thomas. If you like, we can go get some supper or dinner if you prefer.”

Jacob smiled, “Steel, that is a category I was not expecting of you, Thomas. You are the first person I engaged, and I see I was led precisely where I should go. Forgive me if I blasted like a cannon. I am not like most of these politicians. Also, I have a lot to learn. College is not life and corporations are blood-sucking leeches. Aw, hell, the military is not even what it seems, it is a great place to lose hopes and dreams. See the world, from one tin can to the next, and come home to find a family different from who you left behind. I lost a marriage that way, missed too many funerals to count. The man took most of me and no one understood, all in all, I only wanted to do good. I am here to put paid to some debts, serving with all my soul. God is my pilot, but I find He does not say much, and I could use an ally. Supper is fine, Georgia was my home once upon a time.”

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Well, I guess I will ride while I can. Can we say, “Unexpected.”