Category Archives: Swordsmen


[The following story poem was something I worked quite hard on, and I thought it was actually good enough, different enough, to submit professionally.  It was a gimmick.  It is meant to  be read, almost sung out loud.  Not too fast.  There is a refrain–almost a spell of the words Sim Sham Shancinar!  These words are an invocation–of what I’m not sure.  The original typography has each line dropping down a line to form a kind of staircase or lightning bolt effect of words across the paper, but I can’t easily do that here on WordPress.  If anyone would like to have the original manuscript, let me know.  Better yet, if anyone would like to actually publish it in any kind of zine or book, be sure to let me know.]

Sim Sham Shancinar!

Stars shine silently.


Simple citizens snore.


Spears seek; shadows shelter Sar.


Serpent satrap’s city,


Slimy sable citadel.


Sorcery simmers


Shadow-shielded, Sar sneaks, stalking supreme sorcerer Sargon Silverfang.

Sullen, solemn, sable, silk-swathed snake-lord  sits, shrined.


Succubi sing sad siren songs.


“Silence!” shouts Sargon. “Seek soothing slumber!”


Singers scatter.

Sargon sits solitary.

Standing sentry slumps.


Sanguined sword shows.


Sar slithers shrinewards.


Suddenly, seven soldiers see Sar.


Sorcerous Sargon senses something sinister.

Spear shrieks, sword sings!


Sar slashes sidewise, sundering shoulder.


Slain soul screams skywards.


Sim Sham Shancinar!

Sickening slaughter.

Serpent-swift, Sar slays Sargon’s soldiery.

Shields shatter!

Sar slips.

Seventh soldier’s scimitar strikes Sar’s scale-armor, slashing Sar slightly.

Sar’s stilletto stabs.

Sim Sham Shancinar!

Sim Sham Shancinar!

Sar sights Sargon.


Son sees sire.


Shocked sorcerer stares stupidly.


Sinful Sar smiles serenely.

Sim Sham Shancinar!

Scintillating serpent sword slashes!

(Sim Sham!)

Sar shouts secret sorcerous syllables!

“Shancinar!  Sim Sham Shancinar!  Simcinar Shamcinar Shancinar!”

Sargon Silverfang, supernal, superior, supreme, sinister, sorcerous, serpitic satrap spews sour saliva.   Shrivels.


Shambling serpent-sire stumbles strickenly.

Sim Sham Shancinar!

Salutations, Sar, snake-skinned sorcerer slayer!

–St. Andre


It occurs to me that you might want to know what happened to this story.  I submitted it to the The Magazine of Fantasy and Science in 1974.  The postmark on the letter that brought it back i Nov. 28, 1974–that’s how I can date something I did so long ago.  The envelope included 2 copies of my manuscript and the following note on a small piece of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction stationary–the standard rejection note.  It says:

Thank you for showing us the enclosed manuscript.  We regret that it does not fit the present needs of the magazine.

Your submission has been read by one of our editors.  Unfortunately, the large number of manuscripts received does not permit us time for personal comment.


The Editor

(all the above was typed.  What follows is written in cursive in a small, neat hand in blue ink)

Hank Davis

asst. editor

Sorry this is so late–it was mislaid when my apt. was burglarized in Sept. (OVER)

I do apologize for this–it’s a shameful way to treat a long time F & S F reader!

The story poem must be returned to you, unfortunately. It’s an interesting study in alliteration, but the constant “s” reiteration grows monotonous, even when not read aloud.  And the story line is old-hat sword and sorcery; nothing new, I’m afraid.

But thanks for thinking of us.


Hank Davis


Imagine him at half this age when he rejected my story.

F & SF held my story so long that I actually thought it had a chance of being accepted.  The very things that Hank points out as weaknesses were what I thought were my strengths.  I had retold a classic swords and sorcery tale where every word begins with an “s” sound.  The rejection crushed me.  I never submitted anything to F & SF or any of the other SF magazines again.   The story went back into its envelope along with the rejection note, and there it has remained all these years.

However, the idea of Sar of the Serpents, and the name Shancinar stayed with me.  Shancinar became a forest name and the name of the capital city of the Elves on Trollworld.  Many years later, Sar became the Patron God of rogues and thieves, and he is still referred to as Sar of the Serpents.  It’s just a tiny note in the Chronology of Trollworld that I published a few years ago, but as you can see the idea endured, even if the saga sank like a stone.

If  you’ve ever been struck by a serpent, sacrificed to a sorcerer, or sung a song of sixpence, please leave a comment.



Two Orks


There are two Orks guarding this treasure, but they're not in the picture.



Two Orks

     By John Wick

Two orks sit in a small, square room with a treasure chest and wait.

The first ork asks, “What are we doing here?”

The second ork says, “Shut up.”

The first ork asks, “But, I mean, what are we doing here?”

The second ork says, “Who cares?”

The first ork asks, “Are we waiting for someone?”

The second ork says, “Shut up.”

The first ork stops asking questions.

Two orks sit in a small, square room with a treasure chest and wait.

Not . . . The End


Hi, my name is Ken St. Andre.  I’m a game designer (Tunnels & Trolls, Wasteland, Ogreocre, and many others you’ve probably never heard of) and a gamer.  So is John Wick  (7th Sea, Legend of Five Rings, Houses of the Blooded, and more).  These days he’s much better known as a game designer than I am.  You have to expect us to write stories about our games, or at least stories that could have some game context.  That’s what you got today.


The Hero

by Ken St. Andre


Preface: I don’t know where this came from–perhaps a dream.  If I dream anything remotely interesting, I usually try to write it down. Talk about your small stories! But, at least this one has a moral.

This looks like a quiet place to stop and rest, but . . .


I paused by a forest pool to refresh myself and my mount.  I was kneeling and using my cupped hands to drink the cool, refreshing water when suddenly I heard a shout, and a man rushed out of the trees at me, his hands upraised as if he wanted to throttle me.

It surprised me, but I fear no man.  Lightly rising to my feet, I side-stepped his mad rush and drew my rapier in one clean motion.  As he turned to attack again, I foined at his neck and drove the keen blade through his bearded throat and out the back.  He fell down in a geyser of blood.  I dodged back so that none of it would soil my clothing.  He gasped and burbled, but he couldn’t speak and in about a minute he bled to death.

That was unpleasant.  I searched the body, but he had nothing on him but a peasant’s filthy ragged clothing and a poor knife of blunt iron–nothing that I would want, and nothing to tell why he attacked me.  Come to think of it, perhaps he had simply been happy to see me in that godsforsaken forest.  Now that I had a moment to think, I realized the shouts hadn’t sounded that angry.

Well, I had no way to bury him.  I dragged him away from the pool and left him behind some bushes–carrion for the forest wolves.  Filling my water bottles, I rode on and presently reached the city of Paris.

And the moral of the story, lads?  Never rush a fighting man, and stay out of my face!