This category contains 47 posts

Foundering Valley – Chapter 40, Wednesday, June 18 – Lair of the Vile Ones

Chapter 40 – Wednesday, June 18 – Lair of the Vile Ones  The sun was rising in the east, casting long shadows across the burnt barrens.  The gully between their ridge and the cave-pocked escarpment was still an inky trench.  Raven puttered about the fire, tossing in wood and clattering the pots and pans.  Sapphire … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 39, Tuesday, June 17 – Land of the Lizards

Chapter 39 – Tuesday, June 17 – Land of the Lizards  Animus was standing watch, and was enjoying the beauty of the crescent moon.  It was just a finger or so above the eastern horizon, which was not yet showing strong signs of the sun’s impeding arrival.  A slight noise behind caused him to whirl … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 38, Monday Afternoon, June 16 – Road Work

Chapter 38 – Monday Afternoon, June 16 – Road Work  Rufus stood in front of the inn, watching the crowd disperse.  The Earl had disappeared inside the castle with the latest poor souls he had summoned from the ether in a desperate attempt to control the elemental forces at work in the valley.  Shaking his … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 37, Monday Morning, June 16 – Dealing with Dwarves

Chapter 37 – Monday Morning, June 16 – Dealing with Dwarves  Grace slipped in the main castle gate a couple hours after dawn, eager to see how things were progressing in the lab, which was now fast becoming a clinic.  Rufus, Cleo, and D-Stract were left by the front door of the inn, unloading their … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 36, Sunday, June 15 – Two Hunting Expeditions

Chapter 36 – Sunday, June 15 – Two Hunting Expeditions.  “Wake up, sleepyhead!”  Flummox flipped back the corner of the blanket and tickled the toes thus exposed.  “Grumpfimuffle,” responded D-Stract, kicking and pulling the blankets up over her head.             “Well, I guess that’s an improvement in the sound-proofing department; you’ve been snoring like a … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 35, Saturday, June 14 – Weddings on the Beach

Chapter 35 – Saturday, June 14 – Weddings on the Beach  Cleo wolfed down Spamwich’s breakfast offering, then followed Rufus to the market in search of more predictable fare.  The hawk rode on Rufus’s shoulder, and seemed nonplussed by the bustle of people.  The market was a model of fast efficiency this morning, as everyone … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 34, Friday Afternoon, June 13 – Lucky Afternoon

Chapter 34 – Friday Afternoon, June 13 – Lucky Afternoon  Grace and the two elves rounded the corner of the church.  As they passed by, someone hailed them from the front steps of the church, where two dark shapes were huddled out of the rain.  It was Scotty, with his bagpipes, and a smaller figure.  … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 33, Friday Morning, June 13 – Rainy Morning

Chapter 33 – Friday Morning, June 13 – Rainy Morning  The adventurers assembled around a table in the front room of the inn.  It was raining heavily outside – quite a dreary morning.  They stared at each other for a few moments, with tired expressions on their faces.  D-Stract broke the silence.  “It’s Friday the … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Book 2 Begins, Chapter 32

Foundering Valley, Beginning of Book 2, Synopsis of Book 1 For you, Maggi, my newfound love, for those who have not read the first volume of this chronicle, for those who have put it down for some time due to the demands of life and could only now return, and for those confused by the … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 31, Thursday Morning, June 12 – Bon Voyage

Chapter 31 – Thursday Morning, June 12 – Bon Voyage  When Doug came out to open the South Bridge Gate that morning, he was stunned to see a small encampment waiting for him across the bridge. It was not at all clear who was guarding whom, but the group included 2 Elves, 6 humans (four … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 30, Wednesday Night, June 11 – Once More Into the Mountains

Chapter 30 – Wednesday Night, June 11 – Once More Into the Mountains Dorothy and Eastwood watched as Eek played at water’s edge. The sun was setting behind them, and was actually below the ridgeline, but the illumination on the bottoms of the growing cloud cover reflected an eerie yellow light on everything. Dorothy snuggled … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 29, Wednesday Afternoon, June 11 – War Council

Chapter 29 — Wednesday Afternoon, June 11 – War Council Sapphire looked around the table, in the front room of the inn. “Well, it looks like the gang’s all here. What did you think of the Earl’s performance this morning?” Flummox shook his head. “You mean his dismissive attitude toward the coming Trog-Wolf war, or … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 28, Wednesday Morning, June 11 – The Inquisition

Chapter 28 — Wednesday Morning, June 11 —  The Inquisition Animus arrived at the South Bridge Gate shortly after dawn. He was dragging one end of a pole behind him, from which was suspended the kicking and snarling person of young Spud Autumn. Not surprisingly, the gate was still locked, so he rang the bell. … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 27, Tuesday Night, June 10 – Spelunking Adventure

Chapter 27 – Tuesday Night, June 10 – Spelunking Adventure  Grace, D-Stract, Hound, and Dawn gathered with the Trogs in the first large room inside the Cave 3 entrance. Some sort of lanterns high on the walls illuminated the area. They began selecting which gear they would need to go explore the crystal caverns. Vapor, … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 26, Tuesday Afternoon, June 10 — Into the Mountains

Chapter 26 — Tuesday Afternoon, June 10 – Into the Mountains  Cleo and Rufus crouched behind a fallen log and peered at the entrance to the old mine. Cleo gestured. “There it is. I told you the tracks led here, right towards those old… tracks.” Emerging from the mouth of the dark hole were the … Continue reading

Foundering Valley — Chapter 25, Tuesday Morning, June 10 – Up to the Mountains

Chapter 25 — Tuesday Morning, June 10 – Up to the Mountains  The adventurers gathered for breakfast at the inn early, in preparation for their day’s journey. The dining room of the inn was surprisingly crowded. Spamwich’s breakfast involved two fried eggs and a strip of bacon, arranged like a smiley face, but the whole … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 24 – Monday, June 9 – Hung Over in the Lab

Chapter 24 — Monday, June 9 –- Hung Over in the Lab.  True to character, Grace was the first one to emerge for breakfast Monday morning. She looked around at the front room of the inn, expecting more signs of the previous night’s revelry, from which she had retired early. She turned to Goldilocks. “I’m … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 23, Sunday Afternoon, June 8 — Approaching Their Fears

Chapter 23 — Sunday Afternoon, June 8 – Approaching Their Fears  As Animus headed across the market place, someone called out his name from the direction of the stables. Changing course slightly, he headed that way. It turned out Cleo had left some silver arrows for him with Duncan. Animus gave him a copper for … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 22, Sunday Morning Service, June 8

Chapter 22 – Sunday Morning Service, June 8  Grace and the two elves were the only ones that roused themselves to face Spamwich’s latest breakfast. It consisted mainly of a fishy paste with herbaceous green flecks through it, atop a baked slab that seemed to be a cross between bread, biscuits, and old shoe leather, … Continue reading

Foundering Valley — Chapter 21, Saturday Night, June 7 — Skulking About

Chapter 21 – Saturday Night, June 7 – Skulking About Sherlock and Flummox parted ways at the front of the Longbottom estate. Sherlock went clockwise to take up a position near the lily ponds to watch for intruders from the direction of the Exchequer estate. Flummox headed counterclockwise to the graveyard, which had a good … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 20 — Evening, June 7 — The Party

Chapter 20 – Saturday Evening, June 7 – The Party Sherlock led D-Stract and Flummox to the uptown gate just as the sky became a dusky orange. There they encountered the usual zombie guard in the adjacent guardhouse shack. The zombie guard stepped out. “Invitation?” Flummox cleared his throat. “We’re here for Princess Pumpkin’s party … Continue reading

Foundering Valley — Chapter 19, Saturday Twilight, June 7 – The Assembly

Chapter 19 – Saturday Twilight, June 7 – The Assembly  “Are you two ready to go? The game’s afoot!” Sherlock had entered the front of the inn and waited by the door. D-Stract stood and whirled. “What do you think of my new gown?”  Animus called out overly loudly. “Very nice. My compliments to the … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 18, Saturday Afternoon, June 7 — The Festivities

Chapter 18 – Saturday Afternoon, June 7 — The Festivities  While there was much grumbling when the ship’s crew came ashore for the festivities, there was little surprise. The townsfolk were particularly pleased and relieved to see several barrels and crates being rolled or hoisted to the General Store, where Dahlia directed their placement. Their … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 17, Saturday Morning, June 7 – Market Day

Chapter 17, Saturday Morning, June 7—Market Day  Flummox and D-Stract avoided Spamwich’s breakfast by heading out the back door of the inn. They crossed to the tailor shop to check on Upsie and the progress of D-Stract’s gown; all was well. Crossing back to the marketplace, they visited the covered market stalls first, under the … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 16, Before Dawn Saturday, June 7 — Coming Home

Chapter 16, Before Dawn Saturday, June 7— Coming Home  It was very early, with the sun beginning to glint off the highest clouds, when the group began to approach the Wither’s gate. Grace stopped, looking nervously ahead. “Does anyone have any of that salve of Dahlia’s?” Sapphire stopped and shook her head. “Anyone?” They all … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 15, Friday Evening, June 6

Chapter 15, Friday Evening, June 6  Leading the errant mules, the three adventuresses and one friar passed the gate to the Withers Estate heading east again, just as it was starting to get dark. The moon was not yet up, but there was an odd phosphorescence about the place.  In the dim shadows at the … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 14, Friday Afternoon, June 6

It was noon on Friday, and many of the citizens of Founder’s Valley had gathered around the front of the castle, in hope that the Earl would have a plan to save them. Already the rumors of the approaching pirate ship were running through the town.  A bit late, the Earl emerged from the main … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 13, Friday Morning, June 6

Chapter 13, Friday Morning, June 6 Early the next morning, D-Stract skipped breakfast, thinking about her figure, and headed to Ironborg’s tailor shop. Ironborg tried to listen to her while the two children howled and screamed in the back of the shop, despite their mother’s best efforts to keep them quiet. Finally, he lost patience … Continue reading

Foundering Valley, Chapter 12, Thursday Evening, June 5

The seven adventurers sat at a table in the front of the inn, staring at Spamwich’s most recent creation. It appeared that he had braided together jerky and green onion stalks, or maybe it was seaweed, impaled them on sticks, and coated them in a mysterious brown sauce. As a side dish, there was a … Continue reading

The Breakout Room Puzzle

This challenge was given to me by my future daughter-in-law, Audrey, as a genuine need.  She had a large meeting of people (16) during which she wanted to break them into smaller groups (e.g. of 4 each) so that they could get to know each other more personally.  After each small meeting, they would mix … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 11

Chapter 11 – The Yellow Brick Road Experts  The Lord, Earl of Founder’s Valley, appeared with his usual retinue. He stood to the front of the raised area before the castle door and all fell silent. Roddy, Whittler, Hound, and Plunkett all pushed forward eagerly to hear what help he would bring them. The Lord … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 – Loose Ends in the Morning The next morning, Sapphire and Rufus were first to emerge for breakfast, each waiting for their partners to get ready. They sat at a table in the empty front room of the inn, picking at Spamwich’s idea of a cross between a cinnamon nut roll, a meat … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 9

Chapter 9 – Back at the Inn. The six adventurers sat around the table, enjoying lightly poached fish, fresh bread, and a hearty brown ale. For dessert, they sampled the excellent cherry brandy. Animus remained in his room, obsessively working on his nets.   Other patrons included the Visitor, who sat alone enjoying a gourmet … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 8

Chapter 8 – The Fishing Huts. Cleo and Rufus had not gone far before they saw large dark shapes moving in the depths of the marshes. These did not approach the causeway, though, so they headed on towards the fishing huts, on the other side of the little peninsula that jutted into the lake. As … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – Town Offices and Shops Flummox and D-Stract poked their heads into the jailhouse just after the town meeting. The greenish Chief Grief was addressing a circle of his new cronies.  The buxom officer in the smart uniform turned to them. “You need something, citizens?” Flummox shook his head and raised his hand. … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Market and Cathedral Sapphire and Grace skirted around to the back of the inn where they came to the market square. Against the back of the stone inn building was a low wood structure followed by some covered market stalls, beyond which was the corral beneath the last tower. The back edge of … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 – The Beach and Uptown  The other elf archer fumed. ‘Annie Moose’ indeed! He was always being mistaken for a human female, and it burned him up. The elf maiden didn’t seem to have the opposite sort of trouble, and she was bigger and stronger than he was, definitely a warrior. Annie Moose? … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – The Town.   Cleo and Rufus headed back towards the smithy. Clang was there, working a bellows and hammering on a horseshoe. Behind the open-air smithy they could see a crowded corral with over a dozen horses. A couple more shadows moved in the stable further on, also between the road and … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 – The Adventurers A half dozen adventurers lingered over the milk and pastry. The angry farmer, Billy Sky, came into the inn as well, and asked Beryl for a beer. Shaking his head, Beryl drew the beer in a mug and passed it to Goldilocks to deliver.  In the door came the summoned … Continue reading

Foundering Valley – Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – The Town Meeting The storm broke even as the adventures settled into their beds. Not a thought was given to their less fortunate compatriots camped on the lakeshore. Crashes of thunder and rushing of water made such a racket than none could sleep until dawn brought a still silence. Tired as dirt, … Continue reading