Here you can find some of my writings, be they for practice, novels, or pen-and-paper games.
Following is a short practice in dark and atmospheric storytelling in a fantasy setting.
I could feel their eyes staring at me, burrowing into my back, filled with terror and hatred. The ship shook, water splashing into the cramped compartment, extinguishing one of the lanterns. The stench of fear and sweat was filling the air – everyone clambering over one another to find some semblance of comfort. Everyone but me. I sat alone in the semi-darkness, a circle of loneliness surrounding me. Because even among all these criminals – these hardened brigands, lecherous rapists, and cold-blooded killers – I was still alone and feared – for I was a witch. My powers had always made me an outcast – my family and I had been forced to keep on the move in a bid to keep me from the ever-vigilant witch hunters – until they had found us. I could still see my father's terrified eyes staring at me, his body impaled on a hunter's sword. The hunter had simply shoved him aside, left him to die in the ditch near the road. They had dragged mother away – her screams were still haunting me.
Turning my head, I saw a group of men, pressing against a wall, avoiding my gaze. It was better that they feared me – who knew what they would do to me otherwise? Or if they knew I couldn’t access my powers right now. And the guards surely wouldn’t respond to the cries for help from a witch. Brushing a few wet strands of my black hair out of my face, I looked into the eyes of a young man probably around my age – his eyes fixated in terror. It was strange, thinking about it – that I was the most terrifying of them all – at least to them. All they would see when looking at me, was a young girl – short for her age – clad in the same rags as they were, with long black hair, pale skin, and dark green eyes. Pools of vileness and sin cardinal Vikkers had called them. The man who had condemned me to being executed in the capital. Realization dawned on me once more – I would die… soon. Not even seventeen winters old, and I would soon meet the Luminous One – where I will probably be condemned to the Abyss for all eternity.
Running a finger along the collar around my throat, I could sense it draining me of my energy. If I could just get it off… And then what? It’s not like I could just waltz out of here…
My gaze wandered up the stairs, where a lone guard was standing. He certainly wouldn’t let me pass – and even if I could take him out with my powers, there were others beyond that door. Realizing, I was thinking about killing somebody – possibly multiple people – made me shudder. Where had that come from?
Another wave crashed against the ship, the storm outside getting worse. This time, even more water splashed in, drenching my already damp clothes completely. Only one of the lanterns was still glowing, making the room look dark and ominous. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a struggle – a tall, brutish looking man was kneeling on some guy’s neck, drowning him in the shallow water, a bone-chilling grin splitting his face. The victim was fighting desperately, throwing his arms around, but it didn’t help. Feeling sickened, I averted my eyes, returned my gaze to the spot on the wall I had been focused on before, trying to blend out the world around me. Suddenly, something crashed against the ship that wasn’t a wave – loud tearing and splintering sounds echoed throughout its bowels. Loud cries followed from above – loud enough to pierce the constant howl of the storm. Only now, did I realize, that it had become deathly quiet in the compartment. The upstairs door opened, and another guard came in, exchanging quick and quiet words with his comrade. Then they both vanished through the door. And the ground was slowly starting to tilt to the left. Like a startled flock of birds taking off, the room exploded with panic. Some were rushing to the door, trying to open it, while others hammered on the walls screaming.
I started tearing on my collar – a task made more difficult by my bound wrists – but the stupid thing wouldn’t budge. Noticing the water slowly starting to pour in through the porthole on the left, I redoubled my efforts, but to no avail. Suddenly, the brutish looking man was standing before me, holding a make-shift knife in his right hand, staring down. And then he knelt down, raising his knife to my throat. I was so terrified, it took me a moment to realize, that he was cutting my collar, not my flesh. Finally, the accursed thing snapped, and I could feel a rush of energy coursing into my mind. A moment later, the bindings on my wrist were gone too.
“We need to get out of here!” the man yelled, just as the deck we were on went below the sea’s surface and a torrent of water came crashing in, sweeping me away. It took me a moment to regain my footing, before I half climbed, half walked to the right side of the compartment. Somebody stumbled towards me, but was intercepted by the tall man, who interposed himself between us, shoving the other man back. “Can you get us out of here?”
“Yes – but it might take a few moments.” I said, my voice creaking. I hadn’t spoken a lot these past few days. Focusing on the wooden wall before me, I touched it gently with the palm of my right hand and opened my ‘inner eye’. Suddenly, the world changed, as if a grayish veil was clouding my vision. Everyone around me looked blurry, their movement drawing brief trails of gray smoke in the air. Looking back at the wall, I took it in through my second sight. And then I released the energy within me into it in a sudden and violent outward burst. Underneath my hand, the wooden planks shattered, and a large hole was torn open. Feeling the drain on my power, I almost collapsed, but was caught by strong hands. The man was half carrying, half dragging me out onto the hull of the now rapidly tilting ship. Around us, a violent storm was raging, rain and lightning streaming down from the sky, and a howling gale drowned out all noise. Looking around, I spotted some rowboats in the distance, their lanterns shining dimly. Large rocks were visible around the ship, protruding out of the water. Others were now crawling out of the hole I had blasted.
Continuing my spin, I had to do a double-take, not quite sure what to make of what I was seeing. The horizon was a wall of water – and it came rushing towards us. That’s not the horizon… that’s a wave!
Others were noticing it as well, some jumping into the water, others running towards the prow of the ship. I could only stare at it as it came closer, darkening the already dark sky. And then the wave broke, its water crashing down on us like the hammer of judgement… and everything went black.
Following is a short excerpt of a fantasy story, set in a low-fantasy world, where magic has been forgotten for the most part, following a crisis. The main character is a young girl with a few strange gifts, who soon discovers, that magic might not be as dead as everyone thought. This is an example, of my approach to storytelling in a first-person view, and was manly used to practice its structure and aspects.
Kneeling on the forest soil, the cold north wind cut into my face, making me shiver. The woods around me were bristling, shaking off leaves, which blew away with the wind. Somehow, I had a feeling, that the coming winter would be especially cold. Focusing back on my task, I looked back down at the dead animal before me. The deer had a wide gash along its stomach – it looked like it had been torn open by a large claw. The edges of the wound were ragged and deep – the talons that had done this must have been as large as a knife. From the trail of blood leading here, I guessed it hadn’t died quickly, but hobbled here while its predator had pursued. One of the hind legs had been torn out, leaving behind a gruesome image.
Standing back up, I grabbed my satchel and bow from the nearby trunk I had placed them on. Looking around once more, I couldn’t find a trail leading away – either the predator had suddenly vanished into thin air after catching its prey, or it had… done something else. Maybe it had walked back on its tracks leading here? A terrifying thought. That would mean that it was at least somewhat intelligent… Fondling the small white wood necklace I wore absently, I took a deep breath and focused again.
Brushing a lock of my copper hair behind my ear, I headed back home – father would be worried if I stayed away for too long, and the sun would soon begin to set. Looking west, I saw the vast and high ridges of the Karalps reaching up towards the sky’s embrace. The massive mountain range marked the westernmost end of Waldclyff Vale – my home. And the sun was already starting to touch their outermost edges. Hurrying through the deciduous woodland I couldn’t help but admire the sight around me – the yellow and orange leaves almost seemed to glow in the evening sun of this cold and windy autumn day.
Reaching one of my small traps on the way, I spotted a hare caught within. Well – at least I won’t be coming home emptyhanded! Hooking the dead animal onto my satchel, I continued on my way, heading due south. It wasn’t long before I spotted the distinctive shape of Waldclyff Castle, rising up a cliff overlooking Waldclyff Lake. Across the lake lay the small village of Waldend – probably preparing for Winter’s Day and the great feast. It was one of my favorite festivities – usually me and Alana – the lord’s daughter – spent the day together, harassing the poor people of the village. At least that was what Father Elmont had said about us last year. Reaching the castle’s outer gates, I knocked three times, waiting for the guard on duty to come.
A moment later, the small door of the peephole slid open, and a guardsman’s face appeared. “Artemi? That you?”
“Hi Lars – I know I am a bit late again.”
“Well… better get you in before your father sends out a search party again.” the peephole closed, and a loud clicking noise signaled the wicket door next to the large gate was unlocked. “Better get going.”
“Thanks again Lars!” I said, smiling at the young man only a few winters my elder.
Walking across the courtyard, I headed straight for the hunter’s lodge – father and Michael – my father’s apprentice – were probably home already. On my way, I spotted a small carriage parked near the apothecary’s home. Was somebody visiting Zachariah? Well… besides Father Amyas, who came by every Thirdday to delight in the fine tastes. Effectively, they were getting really drunk. Or maybe it was another delivery of books.
Stepping through the door of the lodge, I was immediately met by the smell of stew, making my mouth water. Besides a meager breakfast and a few dried berries during my hunt, I hadn’t had any food today.
“Arti! How good of you to join us!” my father commented sarcastically, looking up from his place near the fire. “The stew should still be warm, and there is some leftover bread.” He returned his attention to the piece of wood he was carving.
“Hi! I have to tell you something—”
“Get yourself something to eat first, then we can talk.”
Doing as ordered, I grabbed a bowl and filled it. The stew had probably come from the castle’s kitchen – there were far too many vegetables in it to have come from my father – and Michael’s cooking skills started and ended with roasted – and usually burned – meat. Returning to the fireplace, I sat down in one of the empty chairs. “Okay – now, can I tell you something?”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“I found another savaged animal today – south of the creek.”
That made him look up again with a worried expression. “How far south?”
“At least a league – it was similar to the other sites we had found.” I still remembered the first find vividly – it had been at the end of last winter – a horse almost torn apart.
“Damn… so whatever it is, it is coming farther south.” He stood up, placing the carved piece of wood on the table next to him, staring at something in the distance – appearing almost reminiscent. Looking at him now, he seemed a lot older – his dark hair had a lot of silver in it, and his beard had long ago started to fade. And the worried expression didn’t help his wrinkled skin. “I will have to go tell the Lord tomorrow – he was planning to go on a hunting trip starting next week.”
“Hunting – now that it is getting colder?”
“Some other nobles will be here, and he wanted to show them around the countryside,” he said, turning his gaze towards me again, his lips curling into a small smile. “And probably to gloat.”
“Nobles? From where?”
“Probably Velis – they usually are,” he said, sitting back down. “But if you want to know more, you should ask your friend.”
“I will.” I started scooping warm stew into my mouth, completely disregarding any form of table manners. Alana would have chided me and called me an uncultured barbarian – which made me enjoy it even more. I really liked teasing her about her sometimes-haughty mannerisms.
Following is a short satirical text, written for a pen-and-paper role-playing game (German)
Da die Gilde ja nun ausgezogen ist wurde ein Burgschreier organisiert, welcher euch über die Ereignisse in der Festung am Laufenden hält! Sein Name: Truba Tourix Taubentöter. Mit Hilfe der konstant ausgesendeten Brieftauben informiert er Euch gewissenhaft und stets gegen 4 Uhr 30 morgens – noch bevor der erste Hahn kräht, dafür steht er mit seinem Namen! – lauthals über die neuesten Ereignisse! Alle bisherigen Versuche ihn davon abzuhalten sind misslungen – er ist bisher vor jedem noch so gut gezieltem Pfeil gewichen, jeder Zauber ist ins Leere gegangen und auch Kugeln scheinen ihn nicht erreichen zu können (laut eigener Angaben habe er das Talent gemeistert, nachdem er mehrmals Opfer gezielter Hinkelstein-Attacken war…)
Doch nun zu den neuesten Neuigkeiten: Karl Albrecht habe die Nase voll von diesen sogenannten Abenteurern – alles Lumpen und Häretiker, die an nichts Anderem interessiert seien als sich ihre eigenen Taschen vollzustopfen! Man habe ja gesehen, wozu das führt – eine Stadt voller Untoter, die einfach verschwinden! Hätte er nicht auf den Rat des Herren der Festung gehört, so wäre es nie zu dieser Problematik gekommen! Ab sofort gilt: wer als Profession Abenteurer angibt, müsse sich zuerst bei seiner hier neu eingerichteten Inquisition melden, und das offizielle Siegel abholen!
Das bringt uns auch schon zum zweiten Punkt: ab sofort gibt es wieder eine Inquisition – dem Sigmar sei Dank! Wer also irgendwelche Geheimnisse hat, werde diese bald nicht mehr haben – und wenn es sich um das Familienrezept der Zwiebelsuppe handelt!
Der dritte Punkt: es gab einen Großexodus der Einwohnerschaft der Festung – die Magier untersuchen derweil, wie man das Portal verschieben könne… In einem Gespräch sieht Karl Albrecht keinen Zusammenhang zwischen der Gründung der Inquisition und diesen Ereignissen.
Der vierte Punkt: die lokale Prostituiertengilde und die Priester(innen)schaft der Göttin Rhya haben sich zusammengeschlossen und bieten nun einen neuen Deal an: wer nicht mindestens einmal während der Abwicklung der Transaktion „Bei Rhya“ (oder Abwandlungen dieser Phrase) rufe, erhält 50% der Kosten zurück!
Der fünfte Punkt: es gab in letzter Zeit einen relativ hohen Schwund an Brieftauben – man solle doch nach der Ursache dessen forschen!
Der sechste Punkt: Der Herr der Festung erkundigt sich nach dem derzeitigen Tauschwert von Kamelen und Frauen.
Der siebte Punkt: scheinbar wurden immer wieder und vermehrt Chaos-Truppen gesichtet – sollte man ihnen begegnen, so gäbe es drei Möglichkeiten der Reaktion:
1. Flucht – die Flucht ist eine ehrbare Tradition, und wir wissen ja, dass Chaos-Anhänger sehr traditionsbewusst sind – das Überleben ist also garantiert!
2. Selbstmord im Namen Sigmars! (Dies bedarf keiner weiteren Erklärung)
3. (nicht empfohlen von allen Expertenquellen) sich den Unholden stellen und angreifen.
[Zur Expertenrunde zählen (unter Anderem): die lokalen Trunkenbolde im Grauen Wyvern, Traber Hosenflitzer (Meister des nicht Erscheinens und des schnellen Schrittes), Theobald Immerblau, und Kunibert Sargschreiner (Befürworter der 2. Option)]
All diese Nachrichten sind ohne Gewähr – das Verschwinden von Brieftauben ist in keinster Weise mit Truba Tourix verbunden – auch wäre er noch nie während der Arbeitszeit betrunken gewesen, oder habe aufgrund dessen (der Trunkenheit) manche Details falsch wiedergegeben, oder Brieftauben abgefangen, die er nicht hätte abfangen sollen!