This text pasted below was written more than ten years ago. Maybe thirteen. I never deleted it or threw it away. I always remembered it.
Gary Gygax had a large impact on my life, like I have said before. I spent much of my time playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and much of what I wrote had to do with that genre.
The reason why I remember this piece of writing so very well is because it is a narrative that I felt was important to the pace of the adventure module I had written. I was very proud of what it was I had written and I was anxious to get to this part of the module. I think I told myself that I didn’t rush the characters to this point of the module, but now that I consider it, I probably did exactly that.
I read it out loud for the first time to the group of friends I had invited over to play. I took the game very seriously. I saw it as an extension of my creativity.
This short piece of writing is an important example of why a good writer, one that knows what he is doing, should write once, read it, write it again, read it out loud, and then make corrections.
After I read it out loud, one of my friends, who meant well, started to clap. He announced the to the rest of the group that ‘this ended their lesson on adjectives for the day’.
That friend was James and that memory of that clap still makes me smile.
If he does read this, the answer to his question is yes, I have kept almost everything…
- During a rest period the characters are awakened by the sounds of battle nearby. If they pick up their belongings and go to the scene they will be treated to a remarkable sight.
- (This next part is the bit I read aloud. I have copied and pasted it with zero editing.)
A coherent mist rushes about in a fury, to coalesce into the form of a unicorn grazing at the foot of a tree. It does not seem to notice anyone but the root that it is searching for so obsessively. It does not notice the two forms, malevolent and cruel, their intentions enhanced by their ghostly forms, creeping upon the unsuspecting unicorn. They finally are upon her, hacking and slashing with all of their might.
The unicorn manages to land a few blows, one of which sends a bandit reeling. Out of the brush, above the fallen bandit, comes an elven ranger, dressed in ornate leather armour, wielding a magnificent bow. He looks at the bandit and hits him over the head with the end of the bow, knocking him unconscious. The elf nocks an arrow and sends if flying through the bandit, impaling him. He slumps to the ground dead.
The elf drops his bow and runs over to the unicorn. It is dying. The wounds inflicted upon it are too much for it to survive. The elf cries out to the forest, and you hear nothing but a roaring wind that sets the oak leaves flapping into the night air. The wind whistles by the trees and the scene of the elf holding the unicorn pauses. The elf looks down to the unicorn he cradles in his lap to find it in the form of a magnificent half elven maiden, its chestnut hair matted with blood, clinging to her forehead in ringlets. The elf brushes the hair out of her face and caresses her cheek with his hand. She takes his hand in hers and squeezes it with all of the strength her dying form can muster. She arches her neck to kiss the hero one final time but just as his lips go to meet hers she reverts back to her unicorn form, her head resting once again, and finally in his lap.
The wind roars again, bending the trees with their force. The ground shakes with the energy conjured by the winds. The hero looks to the skies, phantoms tears coursing down his cheeks. In his distress, he never sees the bandit awake from his indentured slumber. For his final, evil act, the bandit hurls a dagger at the hero, his chest a beacon of a target.
The sound of the dagger connecting with the breastbone of the hero is a deafening thud. He grasps at it, trying with all his might to remove it, but it has sunk past the hilt. His eyes grow wide as he feels the warmth of poison rush through his body. He convulses, tossing the dead unicorn onto the ground. After his final throes he dies, his hand brushing the luxurious mane of the unicorn.
Thunder echoes through the forest, though the night is clear, as the bandit struggles to leave through the tangle of forest brush.
The ghostly scene fades, leaving only the hero. He gets up, dagger in chest, and walks toward the party with a determination fed by decades of anger.
“Are thee the ones who killed my lover?” He roars.