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gmvader

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Everything posted by gmvader

  1. I apologize. I was looking at the cloud giant since that’s what the description on Reapercon website says. I should have read the post above more closely.
  2. The frost giant queen is sold out at Reaper...
  3. This is another story that takes place in our Dungeons and Dragons campaign and is a bit a direct sequel to A Knight of Pelor. The main character is a young girl that the adventurers run into occasionally. Her name is Misha and she and her partner, Merrywether, are con artists who travel around finding way to get money. They’ve arrived at Pelor’s Light just a few days after the disaster of A Knight of Pelor and are claiming to be a traveling Cleric and his squire. The adventurers give them a bit of a lecture before fleeing for their own reasons. This story starts as Misha is trying to process what the party bard said to her. Time to Run Misha watched the backs of the adventurers as they hurried for the exit like they’d been caught, right out in the open. Time to run. She sighed. The words of the bard echoed in her head. You have the opportunity to be a real hero here. Shrugging to herself she picked up the chains and leaned forward, dragging the weight down the stone corridor. Be a real hero? Us? Merywether always said, Heroes only get one reward, dead. By the time she had hauled the chain to the stairs she was sweating and her back ached. “Hero stuff is hard work.” Heaving one end of the heavy chain she began to drag it down the stairs. “I bet Kovanora’s friends could have done this a lot easier,” she grunted, “some heroes, leaving us behind to do all the hard sh… stuff.” The chain clinked and rang behind her as it tumbled down the steps. She glanced behind her in time to see the entire mass of heavy links shift and begin to flow down. She swore loudly and dropped the end of chain to sprint down the stairs as the metal clattered and jangled behind her like a metal waterfall. At the bottom she tripped over a rug and sprawled across the floor, skinning her elbow. The chain crashed down next to her, links spilling out in a cacophony and the last bit slammed into her shoulder. Sharp pain bloomed immediately. The swear words seemed to fall from her lips. Merywether said that kind of language wasn’t proper for a squire of Pelor but what did a squire of Pelor do when she was in pain? “Are you alright?” Misha froze. Gripping her shoulder she rolled onto her back. A pretty lady dressed in armor looked down on her. Guenevere, the Knight-in-Charge, or something. Misha bit her lip to keep from swearing again. “You look hurt,” Guenevere said, crouching down next to Misha. Misha tried to shrug but the movement sent a new shock of pain and she winced instead. “Let me look at it,” Guenevere said, “it might be broken.” “Oh, Nine Hells, thats all I need now.” Misha let her head fall back against the rug as Guenevere felt at her shoulder. “Sorry,” she said, “about my language. It’s my one sin that I’m praying to Pelor to take away from me.” She tried to make the sign of Pelor that Kovanora had taught her but could only move the one arm. She couldn’t remember it anyway. Guenevere smiled, “I’ve heard worse.” Misha bit back another string of profanity as the knight’s fingers found the sore spot. “It’s broken, here, let’s get you to Inaros, he’ll patch you up.” Guenevere helped Misha to her feet and Misha leaned in, her mind already trying out the possibilities. Holy orders were always generous. If she made it look bad enough… You have the opportunity to be a real hero here. That was going to really screw up her plans. Couldn’t heroes occasionally pull a con — like for the greater good or something? “Your name’s Guenevere, right? I heard the other knights call you Major Claremonde, is that your title, like lord or master or whatever?” “Yes, and you are Misha… the Cleric’s squire?” The best way to lie, Merywether always said, was to not tell the lie to begin with. “Can I call you Guen,” Misha asked instead of answering. “Guenevere seems kind of long and Major Claremonde is really long. I feel like we’re about to be friends and I’ve always liked the name Guen. I knew a Guen once, well, actually her name was Malagwen and she wasn’t very nice, not very nice at all. Actually she was a real…” Misha stopped, “well, I didn’t like her.” Guen led her along the castle corridor, one arm firmly around Misha’s ribs to help support her. Misha leaned into it a little, it felt nice. “It sounds like you’ve had quite a childhood,” Guen said. She looked down at Misha sadly. Misha felt a thrill of excitement. She loved that look. It meant adults would do almost anything she wanted as long as she kept up the act. Real hero. Right. Misha hugged her arm close to her side. Each step seemed to stab her shoulder like some kind of invisible fairy was sitting on her back and poking her just for fun. Maybe there was, how would she know? “Yeah, I was an orphan. I guess, technically I’m still an orphan, I don’t have any parents but who needs ‘em, right.” She tried to shrug then gave a small cry at the explosion of pain. “I love my parents,” Guen said. “I wish I could see them more. What about your friend the uh… cleric.” “Holiness Merywether,” Misha said, feeling a bit of pride at remembering to add the counterfeit honorific. “He’s like my big brother and my boss all in one. He knows so much stuff, about almost everything. He always knows how far…” she trailed off. How far to go before we bugger out and run. That’s what she was going to say. This Guen was tricky, she made Misha talk about things. Watch out for kindness, it can make you trust. Merywether was right. Don’t trust kindness. “Right in here,” Guen pointed to an open door. Inside the tang of alcohol tickled her nostrils. Stacks of clean bandages were piled on a table and a plump man in a thick leather apron sorted them. Next to him a dark-skinned half-elf man turned toward her and squinted at her through thick spectacles that made his eyes look like they belonged on a gecko. Guen introduced the gecko man as Inaros and assured her that he was a great healer. Misha wasn’t so sure about that. How could any man with eyes that huge know how to heal people. She didn’t scream much when his hands forced her bone back into place. She did curse, though, a lot. She may have even called him a son of a motherless gecko-faced crocodile lover… among other things. She felt bad for the bloody nose, but, it was a reflex. He didn’t even warn her before he gave a sharp tug and her fist flew and her mouth followed. It still hurt, sharp and present, throbbing with her heart beat. The sling that Inaros gave her got in the way but she could probably play it for some sympathy meals for at least a couple weeks. She wandered around the castle until she found her pile of chain and sat down on it. She huffed out a sigh of frustration. Be the real hero. “Heroes only get one reward…,” she muttered, scuffing her foot on the rug. Outside Merywether was trying to organize a work crew to rebuild the wall that looked like it had been pulled down into the swamp. He wasn’t being very successful. Merywether wasn’t good with people, not like Misha. He was smart and he always knew what to do. When to run. When to stay. But not what to say. When the bard told him this was his opportunity to be a hero it spoke to his soul, she saw it turn his plans around. It spoke to Misha’s soul too, she could feel it even now, burrowing into her like a purple worm through soft clay. “There you are. Inaros said he was done with you.” “Guen,” Misha put on a weak smile, out of habit she let the smile pull into a wince, for sympathy. “I had a plan to help but now it’s all gone to sh… it’s all gone.” She gestured to her sling with her free hand. Guen sat down on the pile of heavy chain and patted Misha on her good shoulder. The gesture felt so pure and kind that it almost brought a tear to Misha’s eye. “What is it you were trying to do?” Guen asked. “Well… I saw a machine once, in Vorlaxia, the scalies…, the lizardfolk, used it to lift rocks, like, huge ones, boulders. I thought I could build one to help get some of the pieces of the wall back in place.” Misha looked at the pile of chain and realized she was probably lucky it hadn’t crushed her. “You really want to help, don’t you,” Guen said. “Yeah, I’m just really… bad at it, you know.” Guen nodded. “I know.” Misha looked at her, a pit of panic forming in her stomach. Something about how Guen had said those words… Guen nodded again and brushed a stray lock of hair behind one ear. “I know that you are not a squire and Merywether is not a cleric. I don’t know why you’re here. It doesn’t matter.” “Then, why haven’t you tried to capture us, or chase us away, or… some other kind of…” Misha bit her lip. Not swearing was hard. “General Crunch was the best man I ever knew. He died this morning, actually he was killed but… that part isn’t important. He taught me so much,” Guen’s voice broke and Misha squirmed, uncomfortable. “He was a terror on that wall, you know, if undead could feel fear they would have fled from him. He really was the best of us.” She wiped a tear away from her eye. “This chain is really uncomfortable.” “Yeah,” Misha said, “but you’re changing the subject. I knew a girl that did that all the time, her name is Kovanora and it’s a good sign she’s hiding something. I’ll figure it out some day. Hidden things always come out, but it would be a lot easier if you just told me.” Guen smiled at her and Misha felt a wash of warmth in her belly. That wasn’t the way grown-ups usually smiled at her. It was more like how two friends smiled at each other. Are we friends? Misha felt a jolt of almost panic at the thought. “Crunch believed in giving people the freedom they needed to find their way. ‘They’ll find it eventually people will choose to do good.’” Guen shrugged. “That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m giving you a chance to do good.” The opportunity to be a hero. Misha felt like… crap… was that a swear word? She had come here hoping to con these people but they were nothing but good. “Merywether has a saying, it’s kind of a code we live by.” Misha said, shifting her seat where her butt was going numb. “Sometimes you run, sometimes you stay. The trick is knowing what time it is.” She looked over at Guen, “He’s really good at it.” “Sometimes you run,” Guen repeated. She nodded slowly. “Sometimes you stay.” She turned to Misha and gave her a quick hug, joy lighting her face. “You are a gem, Misha, you are Pelor’s holy messenger.” Misha shook her head vigorously, “No, I’m not, I thought you…” “Today you are.” Guen nearly leaped to her feet. “Now is the time to run, Misha. The Knights of Pelor need to run. The horde of undead is out there and we need to hunt it down.” “What? No. That’s not what I was saying at all.” *** Misha sat on the back of a wagon that rocked gently underneath her weight. The knights, armor clanking, marched out the gates of Pelor’s Light. “What now?” she asked with a sigh. Merywether chewed his bottom lip and patted her on the back softly. He sighed as well. “We do the best we can, my child.” Misha rolled her eyes. “They’re all gone, you don’t have to be Holiness Merywether any more?” “In these dark times, sometimes the light of our hope is all we have to cling to,” Merrywether said. Misha snorted and rolled backward in the wagon, laughing, “You sound like a pompous a—“ Merrywether held up a warning finger, “The Knights of Pelor will need a home to return to. We will make sure it is here for them.” Misha sat up. “Yeah. I guess we could do that. So. Time to stay?” Merrywether nodded, his face solemn, “Time to stay. For now.”
  4. I also noticed his huge wall of miniatures in Quarantine. It’s always exciting when I see somebody famous who shares a hobby.
  5. I wadded up some foil under one of the feet and added green stuff until it looked like a rock -- I'm not much of a sculptor but you can see the result here: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/89448-bones-4-griphon/&tab=comments#comment-1904959
  6. No decals. I didn’t bother with trying to paint the numbers and names. The ships are all roughly the same size, not to scale with each other. The Enterprise is about two inches long. the ships are from the Star Trek Fleet Captains board game. The DS9 is from the Attack Wing miniatures game. I don’t have any other Attack Wing stuff so I don’t know anything about those regarding scale/decals/etc. I bought DS9 because it’s my favorite of the Star Treks. It’ll be for display not for playing. I expected it to be much smaller, closer to the Christmas ornament that @Kangaroorex mentioned.
  7. Got a new mini i have been wanting for awhile. Much bigger than I expected. Used nearly full bottle of paint to base-coat it. Pictured here with some ships from Fleet Captains...
  8. This is a story I wrote based on a writing prompt from my writing group. The prompt was 'your imaginary friend is real.' My goal with this was to write a story that contained nothing but dialogue. Any feedback is appreciated. This is also available on my blog: https://gmvader.wordpress.com A Special Friend Detectives Marcus Allison and Janet Masters still missing. Last known whereabouts: Interrogation Room 3. Transcript of recording device found inside interrogation room. Officer Allison: Rosy, will you tell us how old you are, for the record? Rosy Calloway: What does ‘the record’ mean? Allison: It mean so we can remember it later. Rosy: Oh… I’m this many. Mrs. Calloway: They want you to say it, honey. Rosy: I’m six. Allison: Thank you, Rosy. We’d like to ask you a few questions about a friend of yours. Billy Applestone? Rosy: Okay. Officer Masters: Did you see what happened to Billy? Allison: Please state yes or no for the recording. Rosy: No. I ran away first. Masters: Did your parents tell you what happened to him? Rosy: No. Quincy did. Allison: Who is Quincy. Rosy: Quincy is my friend. He told me so I wouldn’t be afraid. Allison: Does Quincy have a last name? Rosy: Nope. Just Quincy. Mrs. Calloway: Quincy is her imaginary friend. Rosy: Imaginary means nobody else can see him. Allison: Actually… ah… I see. Okay. Masters: What did Quincy tell you? Rosy: Billy got hurt. He might not… (unintelligible). Masters: Please speak up, Rosy, for the recording. Rosy: I said, he might not make it — that means he might die. Allison: Right. Well, it turns our your friend was right… Mrs. Calloway: I’m not comfortable with you talking about that in front of my daughter. Allison: Right. Sorry ma’am. Rosy, before Billy… well, before he… Masters: Last time we spoke to Billy he told us that you had attacked him. Mrs. Calloway: Rosy would do no such things. She is a child. Do you really think a six-year-old could do… that. Allison: We’re just following up on this, ma’am. No I do not think Rosy could have done… what we saw. We just have to ask the questions. Mrs. Calloway: Are you accusing Rosy of… I think we are through here. Rosy: It’s okay. I didn’t hurt Billy. I don’t hurt people. That would be mean. Mrs. Calloway: She has answered your questions. Now we are leaving, unless you plan to arrest a six-year-old for… Rosy: Quincy did it for me. … Masters: What was that, Rosy? Rosy: Billy was being mean, he said I’m ugly and nobody wants to play with me. Allison: So, what did you do? Rosy: I told Quincy and he said he would make sure Billy never does that again. Mrs. Calloway: Quincy is an imaginary friend, it’s just stories she makes up. Her therapist says it’s normal for children her age. Allison: Can you describe Quincy to us? Rosy: He’s blue with a unicorn horn and a pink mane. Allison: Quincy is a unicorn? Rosy: No. He just has a horn like one. He’s a person but he has blue fur and long claws so he can climb trees and stuff. Like a cat. Masters: Billy was stabbed by an animal horn. Do you have a horn you play with? Mrs. Calloway: I don’t believe this, you think Rosy did this? Rosy: No. It was Quincy. Same as with Isabeth. Allison: Isabeth? Mrs. Calloway: Isabeth Wilson, the little girl that disappeared last year. Rosy made up this story about Quincy. It’s how she deals with the trauma. Masters: Rosy. Where is Quincy now? Rosy: I don’t know. He hides sometimes. He’s really good at hiding. Mrs. Calloway: My daughter has been through enough. I don’t see any reason for you to be asking her questions about her imaginary friend or… Allison: Mrs. Calloway can we speak with you along for one minute? Mrs. Calloway: Uh. Sure, but… Rosy, will you wait outside? Masters: Just outside the door is fine. We’ll call you back in after a minute. Allison: Mrs. Calloway, we found remnants of blue fur on Billy’s body. He was stabbed several times with, what our coroner assures us, is an animal horn. He even found bits of calcified hair in the wound. Mrs. Calloway: What are you saying? Rosy’s imaginary friend killed Billy? Masters: Does Rosy have anything with blue fur on it? A coat, a costume, or scarf? Mrs. Calloway: No. No. Rosy wouldn’t do this. She couldn’t do it. She’s only six. Masters: Of course she couldn’t ma’am. She’s a sweet little girl but we need to finish asking her questions because there’s obviously something she does know. Mrs. Calloway: Oh. Okay. Five more minutes. Then we are through. Rosy has been through enough. We’ll be paying for her therapist until she’s twenty after this. Masters: Thank you, ma’am. Allison: Come back in Rosy. We’re going to ask you a few more questions. Masters: Did you see something funny out in the hallway? Rosy: No, Quincy just said something funny before you let me in. Masters: Quincy is here? Allison: What did he say? Rosy: Yes, he’s here. He said maybe he would introduce himself to you later. He says introduce means to meet you. It’s funny because nobody can see Quincy except for me. Allison: Where is Quincy now? Rosy: Right behind you. He says he wants to keep an eye on you. Masters: Rosy, we need you to think really hard. You’re sure you weren’t there when Billy was… hurt. You didn’t see what happened. Rosy: Nope. Quincy always waits until after I’m gone. So I won’t have to see it. He says it’s like when Mommy and Daddy wait until I’m asleep to watch scary movies. Allison: Rosy, I think we’re through asking questions but if you do remember anything else at all will you please tell you mommy so she can call us and let us know. It’s really important. Rosy: Okay. Come on Quincy. Mrs. Calloway: We can go? We’re done? Rosy: Okay. If you think it’s important. Allison: Thank you Mrs. Calloway for being so understanding. We’re just trying to get to the bottom of this. Masters: Tell Quincy good night for us, Rosy. Rosy: Oh, I don’t have to, he’s staying here for awhile. Good night. Allison: Good night, Rosy. Mrs. Calloway. End of Record.
  9. I went there as a kid in 80s and again in the 90s. It appears it no longer exists. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedrock_City_(South_Dakota)
  10. One of my favorite places for art: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/iotd.html
  11. Made Thai steak salad and caramel ice cream, hiked to a local cave with kids, built a sandbox for said kids, painted a mini. Hung some new ceiling fans. Busy weekend.
  12. Chris Perkins has always been an inspiration to me as a DM.
  13. Thanks everybody. Most of my motivation for each miniature is trying something new. Sometimes they come out pretty well, sometimes they look horrible. But it's more fun to try new things and I learn a lot in the process. I was really looking forward to taking some classes at Reapercon this year as I feel like I need some instruction to take my painting to the next level...
  14. Thanks everybody. I've got another one of these I'm working on that I should be able to post in a few weeks (I paint really slowly).
  15. I have a series of vignette's I'm planning that all feature ogres in amusing scenes with townsfolk. The first of this series is here. With this one I imagined the young milk maid is taking her boyfriend home to meet the parents for the first time. The boyfriend, wanting to put on a good first impression has worn his best striped collar and matching belt, as well as brought his best skulls. He's a bit nervous so she's trying to reassure him. "Don't worry... Mom is going to love you." She doesn't say anything about dad, though... Any critique and criticism is always welcome.
  16. This was an experiment that I'm only mostly pleased with. I think a better painter would have been able to pull off the lightning wings more smoothly but, on the other hand, they came out better than I expected and I really like the concept and had a lot of fun trying to pull it off.
  17. I've been trying to get back into writing stories again and decided to start with a story about an NPC from my D&D game. In the game there is a city called Pelor's Light that is almost completely populated by Paladins of Pelor whose mission it is to keep the undead in a nearby swamp (The Eldritch Bottoms) from escaping and ravaging the rest of the land. The adventuring party went into the swamp a few days before this story takes place. While there they unwittingly unleashed an undead horde. The horde, much larger than ever before overwhelmed the paladins at Pelor's Light. This is the story of one of the Paladins dealing with that aftermath and before the adventurer's return from the swamp. Hope you enjoy it. Feedback is appreciated: A Knight of Pelor Splintered bones mucked with slime. Drooping flesh that reeks of putrescence. Horrors pass over the wall like a wave and Guenevere shouts. Fear. Anger. Righteous wrath as her arm rises and falls. Glory rises and falls in her hand and with it the shattered bits of skulls and ribs rain around her. At her back, the comforting pressure of Cassandra presses against her then slams into her. Guenevere stumbles, rolls, turns. Cassandra looms above her, protruding tusks crimson with blood. She pitches forward on top of Guenevere, eyes pale and unseeing, mouth open wide. *** “Cass,” Guenevere whispered, opening her eyes. Her tunic, her hands, her face were all smeared with blood. None of it hers. The sound of dying and wounded rang in her ears. The smell of blood and the tang of the alcohol the medics used burned her nostrils. Two hundred seventy nine civilians were in the keep. One hundred seventeen bore wounds of some kind. Of the knights only twenty seven lived, three of them trained as medics. “Major?” Markul Groensit, an initiate with a purple bruise across his face questioned her. “Sorry, Markul, my mind wandered for a bit. It’s been a long night. Tell Inaros to dress the wounds in bandages cut form the drapes.” He saluted with the sign of Pelor and was off. Too many of the wounds were in places that could be not be dressed. Too many had lost friends and family. Guenevere pushed a stray lock of sweat-stiff hair behind her ear. Don’t think. Just do. She passed Clara, weeping in the hall and stopped to wrap arms around her. She didn’t talk, didn’t say it would be alright. It would never be alright, ever again. Grunt found her there moments later, his lips taught against his tusks, his captains rank torn from his surcoat. “It’s nearly dawn.” Guenevere nodded. “Come, see the sunrise,” she said to Clara and led the way up the stairs to the rooftop. There were exactly one hundred forty three steps up the spiraling staircase to reach the roof of Pelor’s Keep. Gathered on the roof were the survivors, those well enough to climb the stairs. She looked at them huddled in small groups, too few in bloodied armor. They all looked scared, relieved, haunted. Guenevere passed among them, wordlessly, on her way to the eastern parapet. She faced the east as the first fingers of sunrise began to push back the blanket of night and she made the sign of the rising sun. “We greet you lord; and by your word; your light will hold us fast; in your glory no evil thing can last.” Guenevere heard the others repeat the words. Their voices echoed around her, a chorus of solemnity. The words echoed in her mind, she had said them every morning at dawn for nine years seven months and thirteen days. This morning she was silent. Her mouth moved, no sound passed her lips. Why have you forsaken us? *** At the doors of the keep Guenevere turns back. Clara, the gardener’s wife is running towards them, two small children clutched in her arms. Behind her, James, the gardener, is gardening, reaping the undead. His hoe lifts and chops and sweeps back and forth. Guenevere raises her shield and charges toward them. Using it as a ram she slams herself into the undead near Clara. She screams, and points at the keep. Where is Glory? Lost somewhere in the battle? Discarded? James is cut down like a weed, buried under a pile of corpses. Guenevere backs away, smashes away a looming skeleton, bashes away a leering zombie. Then she grabs one of the children from Clara and runs with her to the doors of the keep. They rush through the doors as Crunch and Grind slam them shut. Jalinda, the butcher, and Marco, the glass blower, lift the huge wooden bar and slam it into place. Bodies thump against the doors. Bones rattle against the walls. People weep. Others slump in shocked silence. Guenevere hands the child to her crying mother. General Crunch nods to her once, his face ashen and then he crumples to the floor. The wound on his ear already spreading veins of infection along his face. *** The morning ritual finished Guenevere passed through the crowd again, their faces hopeful, looking to her for guidance, for peace, for absolution. She could give none. “Guen… Major, we need to talk, to make plans.” She did not slow, let the captain fall in behind her. His armor clinked as she went down the stairs. “I am going to see the general,” she said, “gather the captains and meet me in the Sunset Room in one hour.” The clinking stopped. Guenevere did not. She counted the steps to Crunch’s door. The door seemed solid as stone, dark with age, the wood grain smooth from use. It had three bronze hinges. Guenevere paused before opening it. General Crunch, her mentor, her friend, her hero, lay dying within. Her fingers closed on the black iron latch and she bit her bottom lip, leaned her forehead against the door. You can’t take him from us, we need him. “I need him,” she whispered, “I can’t lead them myself.” Crunch Gorblek-chov lay on a cot, his eyes glassy with fever, his tusks dry and yellowed. Did his gray skin have a greenish tint? Guenevere stood inside the door for several seconds, her hand still on the latch. He hadn’t seen her. His eyes rolled toward her, slowly, two marbles finding a resting place. “It is the dawn,” Guenevere said, moving toward him at last. “You’ve lived through the night.” “But not another, I think,” he spoke softly, his voice scratchy. “You will live. You must.” “You can lead them,” he said, patting her hand, “you will.” He tried to smile and she looked away, seeing in his familiar grin the gaping maw of Cassandra. *** Guenevere and Crunch, student and mentor. They move as one. The ridges on Crunch’s morningstar sing just before crunching through bone. Glory whistles in Guenevere’s hand. The ogre is undead, rotten and wet. Its strength matches its stench. Crunch slides under its bowed legs striking upward. Guenevere takes the opening. Glory rings as the ogre batters her away. She ducks its swinging arm, comes up hammering. Crunch already batters its legs. The ogre picks up a fallen knight and slams the body into Crunch, sending him sprawling backward. With a shout of holy anger Guenevere calls upon Pelor’s might and sunlight erupts from Glory as she smashes the head of the hammer through the ogre’s skull, dropping it to the ground. She pulls Glory free. Crunch rolls to his feet, helmet missing, but seemingly unhurt. He salutes her and bares his tusks in a smile. Something dark and rotten hits him from behind and bites down on his ear. Blood spurts. The zombie falls dead with the spike of Glory buried in its skull. Crunch touches his mangled ear. “Probably alright.” *** It’s probably alright. The Sunset Room had a burgundy carpet and seven mahogany chairs. It took one hundred nineteen steps around the curving corridor of Pelor’s Keep to pass from the door of General Crunch’s cell to the door of the Sunset Room. One hundred nineteen steps that felt like one thousand. One million. You always hoped to be General one day. “Not like this,” she said. She put on her calm face before entering. Two captains had survived the fall of Pelor’s Light. Two captains, three lieutenants and one major. Captain Janella Strifelaughter and Captain Grind Antonk-ovich saluted her with the sign of Pelor when she entered. Their backs straightened, stiffened. “At ease,” she said. “Major,” Grind said. He relaxed his stance just slightly. His face bore a long line of stitches across his eye. “What are we going to do? Janella and I think we should pursue the undead, it is our job to destroy…” “It was our job to keep them inside,” Guenevere interrupted, “we failed. Now we must tend to those who still live.” “What’s the point if the rest of the world falls to rot and ruin,” Janella said, she held a twist of cloth in her hands and acted as though she were trying to throttle it. Her lips pursed and her eyes squeezed taught. “I will not abandon those in this tower who are helpless.” “Will not leave the walls to fight, you mean,” Janella said, her sneer made her face ugly. Her eyes passed once over Guenevere, uninjured, unarmed. Guenevere crossed the distance between them in two quick steps. Her hands gripped the chain mail of Janella’s hauberk. She shoved the taller woman back, so quick and fierce that Janella took two steps away. “You will not speak to me that way again or you will be stripped of rank and I will find another to take your place.” Janella lowered her gaze, “Yes, Major Claremonde.” Guenevere looked at Grind. He returned her gaze, eye wide. Fear hid just beneath the surface. His gaze flicked to Janella and back. “Find any runners who are well enough. Send them out along the wall, bring in the patrols. We need to know if this is the only place they got through, or if it’s even worse.” She turned to Janella, “Find those who are skilled and able. We will need food and water. What can be salvaged?” “Yes, Major,” they said. They left to carry out her orders. *** Shove with her shield, swing Glory, wide and hard. Her armor rings as verdigris swords squeal across the surface. Rotten hands with blackened fingernails pry at the plates, slide off. Skeletal hands wielding tarnished weapons push at her. She stands alone in the horde, and not alone. The Knights of Pelor are scattered about like stars in a sky of undead. She can hear their shouts of righteous anger rising above the din. She can not reach any of them. Then General Crunch steps from the chaos around her, tall, broad and glowing with holy light. “There’s an ogre broke down part of the south wall,” he shouts as his morningstar shatters skulls around him. She nods. Nothing more need be said. *** She moved among the people inside the keep. A hand on a shoulder and a word of encouragement. A quick hug. A crouch to comfort a child. A word of reproach to some bickering civilians. Guenevere occupied her day with helping, leading, teaching. Keep the memories at bay. Keep the battle outside. Exhaustion tugged at her, pulled her down but she shrugged it off and soldiered on. There were fifty-two children in the keep. Forty seven children had lost at least one parent. Seven had lost both. There was food in the keep but only enough for a few weeks and who was to cook it? Clara was a skilled cook but who would look after her two small children? Master Starbright, a retired paladin, loved children but then who would record the history of the castle? And so it went, each person filling in where others had vacated a needed spot until nobody was comfortable. But they will be fed and rested and safe. Safe. Broken. The Knights of Pelor are Broken. While the rest of the survivors gathered in the Hall of Sunrise to feast on whatever Clara had prepared Guenevere found herself outside General Crunch’s cell once more. The door was made of eight planks of wood banded tightly with iron bands. She brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. She smoothed her tunic over her armor. She took a deep breath. She bit her lip and opened the door. The hinges creaked softly. The door turned smoothly. Crunch’s head turned, jerked, as if a twitch had suddenly taken him. His eyes, bloodshot and wet struggled to focus on her. She knelt at his side and touched his hand, cold, like death. His skin looked pallid and stretched, taught across his bones. “Kill me,” he whispered to her, “Kill me before I become one of them.” *** Guenevere looks at the ground, churned with blood and littered with fragments of bone. She looks at the surging swarm of undead flowing over the wall. She looks at her hands, at the blunt head of glory caked in blood. She looks at Cassandra lying at her feet, head caved in where Glory made its mark. Even now Cassandra twitches and her teeth clack together as whatever turned her to undeath tries to make her rise. Guenevere turns away, shield up and screams into the sky as she charges into the nearest waves of undead. Holy light shines from Glory’s head. She swings again and again, anger drowning the tears that mix with sweat as they drop from her face. *** From the sounds in the Hall of Sunrise the people were enjoying the meal of parched corn and stewed beans that Clara prepared. Perhaps not enjoying, the sound was subdued and more of a low hum than a raucous feast. But people were eating and talking. Perhaps laughter would come. Guenevere did not enter. Crunch’s face, his voice, his eyes haunted her. His toothy scowl of pain loomed in her mind like the rictus of death. Before I become one of them. She couldn’t do it. Not again. Not to him. Not even for him. In the eastern wing she entered the Dawn Chapel, shaped like a rising sun with stained glass, triangular alcoves facing east along the curve of a half circle. Five alcoves. Five precepts of Pelor. There were forty two flagstones placed in the floor between the door and the altar in the center. Forty two steps up the steepest mountain. At the altar she knelt and clasped her hands. Her forehead touched the top of the altar and a tear dripped on the white marble. Where are you? I can’t lead. Not now. Not ever. I’m not ready… As she prayed tears came. Tears that she had kept to herself all day. Tears she had hidden while she dried those of others. Head bowed to the altar she spoke to Pelor and she cried. She told him of her fears, her traumas, her hopes and her nightmares. She prayed until the tears dried, stiff on her cheeks. She prayed until the dawn’s light lit up the stained glass rays of the chapel. Then she stopped. She breathed in deeply and raised her head. Footsteps echoed behind her, paused, then continued. A cleared throat, and then a voice, “Major Claremonde,” Captain Grind said, “The adventurers are returning from the Bottoms. Should we have them arrested?” Guenevere pushed herself to her feet. Her knees ached where she had spent the night kneeling. Her eyes felt grainy and dry. “No,” she said, “I will go meet them. Perhaps one prayer will be answered.”
  18. This is another one that I love but seems to be made less good by the bones material. Bones 3 seems to be much softer than Bones 4 and I it has given me some unpleasantness. I tried OSL on this one. It looks better than my last attempt but still seems to be missing something -- any advice is welcome. I also took a deep breath and tried painting yellow. I also went for a leap of faith and shadowed the yellow using purple as I've seen recommended in several places. I like it but it still feels like something isn't right. I can't tell if it's because I need to smooth the purple to yellow transitions more, I have too much contrast (is this possible), or maybe I just did it wrong. Again, any advice is welcome. I'd like to try this again sometime. I also tried some more freehand -- it's a little cartoonish but it was fun.
  19. I found this to be very intimidating so it took me a while to actually put paint on it. The first issue was that the legs and tail were not strong enough to hold it up so I had to add stone underneath one leg. At first I just wadded up some foil but it didn't look right after I primed it so I covered it with green stuff. Then I had a little green stuff left over -- like you do -- and I made a rock for the griphon to hold in on talon. I tried to paint the wings to look like a gold eagle and the I spent lots of time looking at pictures of both gold eagle and lions to try and get those parts right. This is one of the minis I am most proud of...
  20. I had this idea of combining Ogres (that I have a bunch of) and townsfolk (that I also have a bunch of) on a single base with amusing titles as little vignettes. This one I am calling "Stop... Can I Get an Autograph?" I wanted to try out a few different things with this one. I wanted the ogre to have a non-human skin tone and I had this image in my head of a dark blue that fades into a human-like tone with mottling. I tried it on this ogre and liked the effect it gave quite a bit. I think it could use some more smoothing with more skilled hands to really make it shine but I'm happy with out it turned out. I plan to do a few more of these and I hope to try other skin-tone variations with the other other ogres.
  21. Thanks. I was trying to show the tray she's holding. Didn't even realize what else was beyond that...
  22. This one was really hard to paint. The bones material did not do this one any favors. Her face detail was almost completely obscured and the flashing was a real pain to remove. I like the sculpture though and I like the way it came out. Again the camera is not being kind to this one.
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