Story Excerpt - Land of the Ley-Lines: Kim's Glamour

The hustle and bustle of a bigger city never really was Kim's thing. Even when he was a kid he stuck out like a sore thumb. Albino, born with a host of problems that somehow worked themselves out, awkward demeanor and the like. Wearing a plain navy blue robe, he looked more like a monk than a necromancer. The only thing that might give him away would be if you could see past a glamour that made him look like a spry old man.

In reality, Kim wasn't very impressive. Shorter than most, skinnier than most, and definitely more awkward than most. Tied around his waste was a golden silk rope that held his grimoire book at his side. It was ornately designed, with ancient symbols of life and death, long forgotten in the cultures he now sought to understand. Sitting on a stone bench near the Freyan Castle courtyard, he studied people as they walked by.

Guards eyed him through polished steel as they walked by, suspicious of his presence. A pair of young lads adorned in chain mail and crystal bands around their arms approached him confidently. The smiles on their faces as they bantered at each other from across the courtyard near the tavern told a tale of unkindness approaching Kim. “Ey, old man, where's yer gatekeeper?!” Kim laughed along with the boy's friend at the young man's drunken rambling.

They both wore crystal integration bands, something reserved for wizards and nobility. While they may not look like much more than a piece of cloth with a ruby embedded in it, it could tell a person whether they should be in for the fight of their life, or a brawl that could end them up in jail. Neither are desirable outcomes, but one is definitely more desirable than the other. “Oh, he's just takin' a leak out behind the castle proper for old times sake. Used to run mead from the emirate before the war he did.”

Both young men looked at him in shock, their smug outfits adorned in clan symbols, medals of honor, and house ranking badges. These boys were at the tavern on a mission. One flicked his longer brunette hair to the side and laughed. “Got a lotta nerve sayin' fings like that 'round here old man. But I like you. Didn't get the feelin' ya meant ill of yer words. Be careful out 'ere eh? May not be ye think people can see ya, but we do. Keep yer 'ead low eh?” Maybe these boys weren't just nobility after all.

Story Excerpt - Castle Bragi

There once was a castle, jutting high above a forest of redwood trees. It's simple stone peaks pierced the sky, while balconies littered it's highest spires for those who were well enough off to afford the luxury of a view. Vines grew rampant throughout the bricks. Crystals were embedded outside it's watchtowers. From every glance outside, one would think this abode belonged to a noble of the highest power.

Yet this castle held no true owner beyond itself. Many have lived here over generations, year after year, they forget it's makers and the purpose for which their ancient home was conceived. A society now inhabited the lavish walls of Castle Bragi. It's people have carried out countless acts of kindness and terror alike. For humans, even to gods, are creatures of mystery. Capable of great acts of good and evil alike, humans now live amongst unknown gods and powers beyond their control.

For it was not the makers of this mighty castle that named it. It was the humans who found it and restored it for their own purposes. To them, it's sleek, barren stone walls looked hospitable if given the proper care. Emptiness did not dissuade them from their ideal of making this vessel their own. A single keeper remains from the first who populated Bragi. One who has inexplicably been stripped of their place in time and remains alive yet to this day.

His name is Loki. Here he has built an empire within the walls that expand beyond the laws of space. Rooms appear and disappear, doors which have both been opened and yet still remain untouched. It's citizens are unaware of the dangers that lurk in the caverns below. Fires of an ancient war still rage, kept in check by Loki and the power of the keep. At least, until he bore a son, Vali.

This unexpected child threw Loki into a panic. His compassion bid him to let the child live. Seeing the mother, a noble, distraught at the thought of losing her child caused him to make a fatal mistake for castle Bragi. He brought the child to the lowest caste, fearing nobility may breed complacency in his heart.

Yet what the workers bred was contempt. Contempt for their lord, Loki, and contempt for Castle Bragi. All of this contempt meant nothing, as soon as the true purpose of the fortress was uncovered by Vali. This was no place of happiness. No place of peace. This was the capital of the Einherjar.