Category Archives: Elves

Magic Swords

Long ago, I fancied myself something of a poet of the fantastic in the mode of Clark Ashton Smith, and I wrote a few fantasy poems.  There was no place to publish them back then, or if there was, I didn’t know about it, so I wrote them and tucked them away with other manuscripts.  Going through boxes tonight, I found these two.  The first ties into my lifelong interest in King Arthur–I identify with Gawain in that cycle, but have always had a great interest in Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Kay, Balin, Tristram and other knights in the saga.  The second ties into the earliest beginning of Tunnels and Trolls, and my fascination with the word: Shancinar, which came to be associated with elvish homelands in Trollworld.  I had some fancy formatting for when I wrote out the Arthurian poem, since I believed that the form of the poem was almost as important as the words, but WordPress won’t let me easily duplicate that without some html that I don’t know, so all you get is the words.  I wrote these two poems myself, sometime in the early to mid 1970s.

Arthurian Legend as Science Fiction

And it hung there

Half sunken in a block of stone

Awaiting the one starry-eyed urchin from the wild

Who alone

Could liberate it to flourish in the cheer-filled air.

*

And the young king,

With enchanted blade and dauntless hope,

Turned to his task, restoration of a troubled planet,

Forging peace with sword blows . . .

No small thing.

**

And there were strange

Beings, events, legends, mysteries.

Meet them with courage, Arthur.

Fear not the green-haired and the fey

That lead you into danger.

***

Arthur, leader of true

Knights, men, ladies, humanity–

You put down, stamp out the false and alien

Giants, trolls, dragons, witch-dealers of insanity.

And glory grew!

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

I love wordplay.  I especially like exotic poetic forms.  The sestina is pretty exotic and forced.  I tried my hand at creating some a couple of times.  I thought fantasy would go well with the sestina.

The Song of Shancinar (a sestina)

The sword called Shancinar

Was brought to the tower,

Black spire of the white moon,

From sea-bottom bed far,

To save elfin power,

Or so goes the old tune.

*

The war harps played their tune,

War-song of Shancinar,

While trolls in their power

Attacked the old tower,

And beast-things from all far

Places howled at the moon.

**

Then the ears of the moon

Heard that high and strange tune

That the Elves sang so far,

War-song of Shancinar,

Defending the tower

With sorcerous power.

***

Well seen was its power

By the sons of the moon.

Beneath the black tower

Rang the terrible tune

Of sea-sword Shancinar

That had come from afar.

****

The earth spirits ran far

To flee the sword’s power.

They all feared Shancinar!

Storm clouds hid the sad moon,

The wind played a death tune

Around the black tower.

*****

The trolls fled the tower

And scattered to caves far

Away from the death tune.

Broken was Troll power,

Strong sons of earth and moon

Could not face Shancinar.

******

Envoi

The grim tune of Shancinar

Neath white moon had power

To slay far from tower.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Well, it’s doggerel, but it preshadowed my idea that Shancinar was connected to the Elves in some way.  I had fun writing it back when I was a young and foolish poet as opposed to now when I’m an old and foolish poet, and perhaps if you read it aloud and revel in the absurdity and repetitions of the rhymes, you’ll get a smile out of it too.

********************

If you ever wrote fantastic doggerel, go ahead and leave a comment. In rhyme, please.

–Ken St. Andre

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Two Elves Redux

Hi!  Ken St. Andre talking to you for a moment, before I put the story down.  If you keep reading this blog, you’re going to notice that an awful lot of my stories are set in Trollworld which is, of course, my private playground within the Tunnels and Trolls game universe.  I could write about other times and places, and I will, sometimes.  I have a fun piece about wizards in outer space coming up soon–maybe tomorrow if I get it finished in time.  But it makes sense for me to set a lot of  my stories in Trollword–you see, it’s my world.  I made it up for the Tunnels and Trolls game, and if I don’t write about it, who will?  Like Tolkien with Middle Earth, or Howard with the Hyborian Age, I have a million little stories to tell about the fascinating place that is Trollworld.  And one of the things I have to tell you is that Trollworld is not just a single world–it is a nexus of realities–an infinite series of worlds where adventures can go every which way.  And what better way can I show that than with this story that I call:
Two Elves Redux

     by Ken St. Andre

Two elves sat in a room with a treasure chest. Two Orks had left a few minutes ago.

“Why are we here?” asked the first elf.

“We’ve got to be somewhere,” said the second elf. “Why not be here?” He grinned.

“Don’t get metaphysical on me. I hate it when you do that.”

“But you make it so easy.”

“No, really, why are we here?”

“We’re here to guard the treasure.”

“Guard it from what?”

“Orks.”

“Ha ha! But why are we here? The treasure doesn’t need guarding. This place is a fortress. I doubt if any thieves could ever get in there.”

“They might. Delvers sometimes come in force, and they can be tricky.”

“If any delvers are powerful enough to reach this room, I’m not going to fight with them. Are you?”

“The room only has one door. We’ll have to fight to get away.”

“Then shouldn’t we be guarding it out in the hallway where we can see people coming, and run away if we need to?”

“Our orders are to sit in here and guard it.”

“Damn!”

Silence for several minutes.

The first elf plainly wasn’t satisfied. “But why are we guarding the treasure?”

“Because the Evil Wizard is paying us to guard it.”

“Do you want to piss off the Evil Wizard?”

“Um!  No.”

Two elves sat in a room guarding a treasure chest.  They were thinking maybe they had made a big mistake when they took the jobs with the Evil Wizard.

End.

The evil wizard had the elves in his power.

If you would care to read a longer story set in Trollworld, please take a look at http://delvers.wordpress.com where my most recent story is called

Hobgoblin’s Holiday in Khazan.  Khazan, in case you haven’t heard of the place, is the capital city of the Empire of the Death Goddess.  It is named after her old nemesis, the elven wizard Khazan.  It bears only a very slight resemblance to the earthly city of Khazan in Central Asia, although that is certaily where the name came from.  If you work your way back through Delver’s Tales, you will see that they are all set in Trollworld, and cover a lot of minor adventures of minor characters in that world.  I seldom write of kings, queens, and earthshaking events.  I mostly write the minor adventures of minor characters, because the ordinary people of fantasy worlds should have their stories told, too.  Stay with me, and see how the citizens of Trollworld really live–and die.

End.

The Old Elf Teacher Tries to Explain

The Old Elf Teacher Explains It All, Part 1

     by Ken St. Andre

The Old Elf settled on a comfortable hummock of moss and made the tongue cluck that meant, “Pay attention now”.  His ancientness showed in his long long nose, his long long ears, and his long long white beard.  The younger elves gathered in front of him and waited for him to speak.

“Today, younglings, we will learn about the gods.”

“But Grandfather, there are no gods, just Great Wizards.  That is what we have always been told.”

“And I ask you, what is the real difference between a Great Wizard, and a god?”  No one had an answer for that.  “These are the beings in Trollworld who have made themselves into gods.  Listen and learn!”

They waited expectantly.

“Greatest of the gods is Ohtariel, the God of the Sun (called Bhanu in Old High Elven). He brings life and warmth to the world, and frightens monsters and destroys them. In the morning, he rises to glory; in the afternoon, he sinks into defeat, and retires to an island in the west where he sleeps, recovering his strength to fight the great battle again on the following day. Those well versed in the lore of the sun associate him with Khazan-Ohtariel-Khazan, the great Elvish wizard who united the Six Good Kindreds and formed the Empire of Khazan. For centuries, Khazan reigned in his city in the Dragon’s Mouth, bringing a golden age to the land while the monster kindred hid in the wastelands. He overthrew the Ogres of Tharothar. He organized the wizards into a great guild that regulated the working of magic in the land. He defended the land from the depredation of Zweetz, the evil bird-serpent god. But in the end, he grew weak, and was defeated by Lerotra’hh, Goddess of Death and Night, and the monster kindred. Then Khazan withdrew into the hidden island in the sea where he now sleeps, leaving the land in spiritual darkness. One day he will rise again to bless the world with a new morning of hope. In the meantime, he shows his power and love in the daily light of the sun, which fights many battles with darkness and with storm, and always sets and leaves the world in shadow, yet always rises again to bring new hope to it. This is the legend of Ohtariel, also known as Khazan. ”

The setting sun symbolizes the temporary victory of the Monster Kindreds.

 

“But Grandfather, that is just a short version of the story of Khazan, a great elven wizard, but no god.  The world existed before he walked these lands.  And it still exists now that he is gone.  How can you call him a god?”

“Did it?” asked the ancient elf.  “Does it?” 

They did not understand.

–The End

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Bio:  Ken St. Andre lives a life of infinite power in Trollworld as Trollgod–not so much on Earth.

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Late One Night In An Empty Bar

     by Paul Ingrassia

“Johnnie Walker Blue, neat,” a deep voice said.

Joe jerked and dropped the glass he was wiping.

“Holy shit, you scared the hell outta me, man. I didn’t hear you come in…”

“Johnnie Walker Blue, neat. Please.” The short man looked in his mid-thirties, and his suit was torn and filthy.

“Let’s see the cash, little brother. That stuff’s forty bucks a shot.”

“Make it a double,” the stranger tossed a handful of damp, crumpled one-hundred-dollar bills onto the bar.

“It’s your paycheck, pal.”

The stranger downed the drink in two gulps.

“Another double, please.”

The second disappeared as quick as the first. The stranger waved his finger at Joe.

“You know, pal,” Joe poured the whiskey, “you keep slamming ’em like that, I’ll have to take your keys or cut you off.”

“I don’t have a car anymore, so keep ’em coming.”

“You okay, man?” Joe poured again.

“Can I talk to you,” the stranger had tears welling in his eyes.

“Sure, man. I’m a bartender, it’s part of the job description.”

“Listen, please… I have a confession to make.”

“You’re not gonna tell me you killed someone, are you?” Joe thought of the .45 next to the speed well.

“No, nothing like that,” he motioned for another drink. This time he sipped it. “I left my wife and kids today. I got up, went to work, and I’m never going back. They will be totally shocked.” The stranger started crying. “God, I love them so much.”

“So why don’t you just go back, man?”

“I can’t. It’s impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible,” Joe said. “Shit, between you and me, I’m a sober junkie. I was spiking it for fifteen years, every day, stealing for it, in and out of jail. I’ve been clean for two years now. If a scrub like me can kick the shit, anything is possible.”

“You don’t understand. I just can’t go back. Ever.”

“Well, buddy, if you can’t go back, then I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Look out for number one now, move on, head off to the next adventure.” Joe poured him another.

“You know something,” the stranger downed the fresh drink in one swig, “you’re absolutely right. I can’t do anything for them anymore. Mary and the kids will just have to get over it, get on with their lives. I can only worry about me now. Thanks for your help. It’s time for me to go.”

The stranger slowly faded away to nothing.

“What the fuck!”

The bar door swung open and Sheriff Franklyn walked in.

“Hey, Joe. Gimme a beer and a shot of rot-gut. There was a nasty accident up the road a bit. Poor guy was killed, thrown from his car. He was only thirty-two. God!”

Joe stared at the sheriff wide-mouthed.

“What’s eatin’ you, Joe? Come on, I need a drink. I just got back from telling some poor woman and her kids that daddy aint coming home anymore.”

Joe collapsed.

end

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Bio: Paul is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and a fan of cinquain, prose poetry, flash fiction, RPGs, and tabletop skirmishing.

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Paul also writes a great short ghost story, and we hope to see more of his work here soon.

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