The Legend of Beguiled Dragon Bridge

A human lifetime ago, or maybe even longer, an evil wizard tricked a blue dragon and entrapped him in a dungeon below a mountain. He bound him in a web of magic and surrounded him with seven deadly obstacles adventurers had to defeat in order to rescue him.

The brave soul who rescued the dragon would become his master to command him as their slave. The dragon would be released from his bonds when he saved the life of his master.

The evil wizard had created the elaborate plan to gain the command of a dragon for he who controls a dragon was indeed powerful. Once the dragon was imprisoned, the wizard began the quest to rescue him, but he could not overcome the obstacles he had created and died without reaching the dragon.

Seasons passed, the moon waxed and waned, and the young grew old, but time stood still for the dragon. The mountain trapped his magic, and he could not escape. In a moment of desperation, he used his magic on the stream that flowed through the cavern, urging it to take away his grief and misery and share it with the world. Watching sparks of magic float away and disappear into the shallow cave where the water ran, he got an idea.

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Why my stories contain hauflins not halflings

More than two decades ago while researching the races in fantasy novels and in the Dungeons and Dragons game, I came upon the word hauflin. It was, of course, connected with halfling, which was connected with hobbit.

As the story goes, Dungeons and Dragons first used hobbit as a name for a race of small people. Those controlling Tolkien’s literary work didn’t like it, and the makers of D&D were forced to remove the word from their material. Instead, they opted for halfling. While Tolkien’s work occasionally used this word, no fuss was made, and halflings became a mainstay in the game.

During my research, I dug deep into history to learn more of the origins of words and fantastical beings. I wanted to tap into what Tolkien may have when he created his world, so I could perhaps put a new spin on an old idea. This led me to hauflin.

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The Curse of Lucia’s Opal

Jowsey in Dragons in the Dungeon is shocked when Etain, a women he is travelling with, starts picking the pockets of a dead man. He stops her and tells her it’s against the code. That she will be cursed: You’ll ignite the fire within Lucia’s Opal and kill us all.

Why the opal? Because the opal has a history of being bad luck. While it is the Queen of Gems, it’s also known as the Stone of Tears and Widow Maker. Only those born in October are safe to wear it and only if they buy it. If it is given as a gift, it spreads bad luck. If you’re ever gifted an opal, give something in trade, either money, a favour or an object, so it’s not a gift.

If an engagement ring holds an opal, the new bride will become a widow sooner rather than later. In the presence of poison, opals turn pale and lose their shine. This also happens when their owner dies, and that’s why they’re called Stone of Tears. Throughout the centuries, opals have been blamed for famine, the fall of monarchies, pestilence and the Black Plague.

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Fantasy Friday Night Write-a-thon

A lifetime ago, I gathered with friends on Friday nights at the Boys and Girls Club in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and sat before an excellent Dungeon Master. He was a wiry fellow, tall and lanky. Throw a cloak on him and he’d have made the perfect wizard. From 1979 to about 1987, he took us on adventures with the roll-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

We often went on certain adventures in real life inspired by the game, and we all returned safe and sound if not a little muddy and bruised. After all, I lived surrounded by forest and when we went to our camp, which we did often enough, I went deeper into the woods, where bats filled the night sky, fairies hid in bushes and the marshmallow man lurked.

In honour of those nights of D&D, each Friday I’m hold a write-a-thon and staying up until at least midnight, tea in hand, to write. Last Friday, I shut things down just before one o’clock because we had a wicked thunder and lightning storm.

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Description for “Dragons in the Dungeon”

I wrote a description for Dragons in the Dungeon. It’s a little off the cuff. Not my usual description for a book, but this is how I’m writing the book. I want it to be fun, not typical and hopefully make you smile.

The description will probably change a hundred times before the book is published, but here it is.

Dragons in the Dungeon

Goats have proven the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence even if it is barren ground and they stand in lush pasture. Humans have a similar mentality. So it is no surprise when Ryan McCormac, long-time player of Dungeons and Dragons, stumbles upon a spell that transports him into a campaign, where he believes life will be better.

Any guesses on how it turns out? You’re right. He discovers life is no better in the fantasy realm. Sure, the ex-girlfriend isn’t there but neither are the friends he gamed with every Friday night. He quickly learns this world is actually horrible. Every day he fears for his life. The people are soulless, the landscape colourless and the magic nowhere to be found. The only way home is to find another like him and sacrifice them.

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Familiar Sayings From Home

Have you ever been far from home, swimming in a sea of people you have little in common with? Then, out of the blue, you hear someone say something so familiar, your head turns. It might be a familiar accent, the same as yours, or it might be a saying from your hometown.

This is how Cormac, one of the main characters in Dragons in the Dungeon, finds Nimble, who is a prisoner in the dungeon he is thrown into.

SNIPPET

Cursing the guards, Cormac yelled at them, “Take a long walk on a short drawbridge!”

Nimble turned to him and said, “Pier.”

He glared at her, the fire of the fight still blazing in his eyes. Giving her the once over, the fire dwindled. “What?”

“Isn’t it pier? Long walk on a short pier?”

His expression grew curious. “Yeah. But…” He considered her for longer than she’d have liked, then spoke in a calm voice. “Where’d you hear that?”

Cormac questions her further. He’s desperate to find someone from his world without letting the other prisoners know where he’s from.

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“Dragons in the Dungeon” takes place in what era?

To listen to this blog post recorded by Anchor, click here. If you want to hear it on Spotify, click here. No, this is not my voice, but he reads very well. I hope to be set up to record my own voice next week.

Prefer to read? Here it is…

The original Dungeons and Dragons game was released in 1974 as a box set of three booklets. The creators were a circle of midwestern mages named Gary Gygax, Jeff Perren and Dave Arneson. The basic set arrived on the scene in 1977. This was probably around the time my Dungeon Master discovered the game. The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – Dungeon Masters Guide by Gygax was published in 1979.

I’ve had this book for more than 40 years.

I didn’t start playing until 1979, which means most of my experiences took place in the 1980s.

I’ve decided that’s where this fantasy novel takes place. At least when this world is referenced. The fantasy land where the adventure happens is squarely set in some archaic time similar to mediaeval times. That means horses, outhouses, dirt roads, castles, swords, daggers and wagons, and no jeans or cowboy hats.

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The title of my fantasy novel is…

Prefer to listen to this podcast?

No problem. I’m giving Anchor and Spotify a whirl.

To listen to this blog post recorded by Anchor, click here. If you want to hear it on Spotify, click here. Let me know what you think about it. No, this is not my voice, but he reads very well. I hope to be set up to record my own voice next week.

Prefer to read? Here it is…

Confession Time: I didn’t think hard about the title of my upcoming fantasy novel. One might say it landed in my brain and sat there while a story took shape. It started with a character whose name I had yet to hear. He was thrown into a dungeon rather roughly by the guards. Of course, he cursed at them. What else was a fellow to do?

A voice spoke behind him, and he turned to see a woman sitting on the stone floor wearing only a thin dress. Her matted hair hung in front of her face. I didn’t know who she was or why she was there. I knew only that he’d rescue her when he escaped.

For about three weeks, mumblings came and went in my head. Then one night, I saw the woman in my dreams. She was reaching for the steel handle of a door at a modern-day shop. The door wouldn’t open, and then I knew from where she came.

I feared the story would soon leave me and find someone else to write it, so I began. With the title. It was perfect. It spoke of the game I played in the 1980s, the game this story is based on: Dungeons and Dragons.

The title of the stand-alone fantasy novel I’m writing is…

Dragons in the Dungeon.

Currently, I have 37,559 words written.

LAUNCH DATE: Thursday March 23, 2023.