Once wild magic shattered human civilization. Mage-built cities collapsed, spell-sped galleons sank, airships fell from the skies. Magic-born chimerae turned on their creators, and then their neighbors. The peoples of Awrhee fell into barbarism.
But that was generations ago. Humanity has scraped together kingdoms again, and learned to live without magic. Those who practice spellcraft are eyed with suspicion, as are the old ways, and the old places.
Some, however, seek treasure in the ruins of what was. Knowledge, gold, power—it’s out there. Treasure untold for anyone clever enough to find it, bold enough to take it, fast enough to get away with it.
It’s out there, in the Spell-Wracked Lands.
Flame Isfree and the Feather of Fate
A Serial Story by KD Sarge
Flame lay along a slender limb, high enough that the still-thick autumn foliage hid her from below. Not, she reflected, that any of the fools ever looked up. She stretched, and smirked as her movements made not a sound. Leather as soft as spring moss cost more than the cow who wore it first, but a treasure hunter in the forest got her money's worth.
Another group was coming. Flame could hear them blundering maybe thirty yards away. A fighter in chain mail led them—that, or someone jingling coins.
She should be so lucky.
Chain mail, she thought, tilting her head to focus an ear. Chain mail on a horse. Leading four others walking, humans by the sound. Three mules also, or maybe ponies. Probably mules. Pack animals, since they brought up the rear of the party. Heavily laden, by their slow walk.
Flame considered. Might be something useful on the pack animals. The last one would probably be a ways behind the rest of the party, and the fools probably looked back about as often as they looked up.
But no. It had been a rewarding day already, so much that without her pack to load Flame had all she could carry and stay silent. Whatever instinct had brought her into the woods this day had been a good one, but it was time to say enough.
Besides, if Lady Luck finally turned on her and she had to call for help, Tolor would be angry. That didn’t bother Flame, but he might be angry enough to send her away. That mattered. They quested for treasure, and Flame meant to have her share.
Not that the party stood a virgin’s chance in the abyss of finding any without her.
Still, Flame had tried the priest’s patience enough of late. She should save some for an emergency.
In that case, she should go before she risked discovery. Flame was in the next tree before she’d finished the thought. If Tolor only knew the concessions she’d made—
Remember Dungeons and Dragons? When my big brother discovered it and taught it to me back in school, it was the best game ever. I'd liked rummy until I got too good at making my short-tempered little brother furious. I liked Trivial Pursuit but I could never win—I'd get all the pie pieces, then wander the board trying to get in the middle until someone passed me by to win. Monopoly always ended in my big brother owning EVERYTHING.
Hey, if you had my brothers, you'd have a real problem with losing too.
But D&D? We all played on the same team, working together to create something awesome—a campaign full of joy and anguish, excitement and satisfaction. It was like writing, only with people!
This is an odd one because you'd typically think that there's no fear involved in gratitude or a positive attitude, but I'm here to tell you that there is.
If you have clinical depression. If life always seems to kick you in the teeth. There's a real fear there that things won't ever change, so why bother torturing yourself with good, positive, grateful thoughts?