Why I Have Been Gone – Autistic Burnout?

Happy Tyr’s Day!

If you also subscribe to my Youtube Channel Simple Life Philosophy, you already know that in therapy I discovered that I could be on the autistic spectrum. This has been a very revealing explanation of my past problems and struggles with what we know around here as The Grey. Depression. Depression is a symptom of a more significant issue with my nervous system, which may be wired differently than most. While haven’t had any official testing, the signs are all there and the ‘unofficial” tests say I have a high possibility of being on the autistic spectrum.

I have developed many mechanisms for dealing with this problem over the years and writing on a blog has been one of them. Some of my others include weightlifting, Reading, Hiking, Playing Games (this one is the one that is least productive and time-consuming 🙂 ), Writing in General, and most recently I am exploring gardening as a hopefully more productive way to deal with the nervous system stress as well as providing more of a tangible benefit.

For this blog and any blog I have had the danger is when I am stressed, I tend to write my feeling in their most raw form. This is why I moved away from writing personal posts here and simply went creative for a while. This has its limitations but it keeps me from posting things that are harmful to my family and friends feelings.

I have loved the latest round of fantasy fiction have been writing and the well hasn’t really dried up, but my motivation has been because I don’t have posts that express my true feelings right now here, so this blog writing thing isn’t really helping with my emotional expression issues, so I just don’t bother.

I am afraid right now to write expressing my emotions because I feel they would be much too raw. Too hard for others to deal with. So I mask and I don’t bother to blog at all. That’s right folks, not writing is a method of masking for me.

The Grey Wayfarer will always exist. It is too relatable a title to my own personal journey of life for me to ever discard it. That said, writing on this blog can be a joy or a chore. There is no in-between. Until I get a handle on the level of stress my autistic nervous system can take, it might always be this way. I just want you my faithful readers to know what is going on and that my posts are going to be sporadic until I get ahold of this issue better.

On a positive note, I have really taken off in writing off-screen with the design of making money. My novel has an outline and parts of it fleshed out and I am germinating a non-fiction book on my journey from faith to atheism. but even these two projects have their dry spells.

In short, if I am not around, just assume I am dealing with my new revelation of adult autism and learning about myself in ways I can live more effectively with it. I love all of you, readers, for sticking with me over the years. Thank you and as always…

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“Two Oaths and One Bond” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 6 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Sol’s Day!

Elana let the water of the fountain pour over her naked body. She was preparing to receive the robes of being an Adept and so the ritual of purification in the fountain near the temple altar was something she was excited about. Two novices attended to her with towels ready to dry her off. The ceremony was an hour away and it was to be quite the affair as in addition to herself receiving her Adept robes, Lief was swearing his oath to become a full Paladin of Sensua. He was somewhere else on the temple grounds doing a similar purification ritual. Preparation was always the thing with these oaths.

Their return to the temple had been greeted with joy and celebration. The Crown of Fertility had been returned and the High Priestess highly praised them. It was clear to everyone, that it had been a good thing that had happened but because of the secrecy about the Crown, most people didn’t know the details of why the High Priestess seemed more happy than usual.

Elana’s own conversation with the High Priestess had been one of praise and pride. She told Elana that such an action earned her place among the Adepts and she would be promoted in a few days. Today was that day. She had of course returned to her duties as an Acolyte, including a couple rotations in the House of Love helping worshipers complete the ritual, but for the most part, all was about preparation for today.

The treasure they had recovered was divided equally between herself and Lief and after the high Priestess had contacted her family, the gems were sold at a good price. It allowed Elana to purchase some better armor. Se now had a full chain mail set including leggings and a tunic. Her shield had been upgraded as well to something made of steel. She kept her mace. She now felt that if she adventured again she would be in a good place to be better protected.

The other aspects of her conversation with the High Priestess were much more serious. The High Priestess had told her that the journal was indeed written in Goblin, and she knew someone who could interpret it. In their absence, Barthon the Vile had struck again. He had apparently been hired to murder one of the merchants in the city. He had succeeded and kidnapped the man’s wife in the process. They found her several hours later: naked, raped, and with her throat slit lying in an alley. Barthon needed to be stopped and she was hoping for some luck with this journal in order to find a clue to bringing justice to this situation. His actions had now become more important to the Trublade family and so she was going to speak with one of the Trublade family about the matter.

It seemed strange that they were going to wait three days, but Elana recalled that Barthon was very cautious. You could bet the murder of the merchant and the subsequent kidnapping, rape, and murder of the man’s wife had been planned with great care. Barthon was by nature a coward but a dangerous coward. He preferred his thugs and magic to do the work while he stayed back in a safe place.

For the rest of the three days, Elana’s mind and heart dwelt on Lief. She was a cleric of Sensua first and foremost, but she couldn’t help but notice that her feelings for Lief were more than just friendship. She had even hoped while she was performing her duties in the house of love, that he might have been one of the worshippers that she completed the ritual. It didn’t happen, but she recognized the longing just the same. He had been gone most of the time and she noticed how she missed his presence. In another hour she would see him again. He to take his oath and her to take her vestments of an Adept. It was going to be an exciting day. Her heart was beating faster just at the thought.

The last three days had been busy for Lief. After returning the Crown of Fertility to the High Priestess, the treasure had been divided equally between himself and Elana. He had given the gems to the High Priestess for evaluation and sale and the next day there was another tidy sum of coins for both of them. The High Priestess had tried to give the three gems back that he donated earlier but he would have none of it. The Temple did compensate Lief for the loss of his spear and shield. No cost to him there but the High Priestess did tell Lief that the oath ceremony involved a magical longsword which he would receive as a gift during the ceremony. He had not sold his old one, but probably would once the gift was received.

Most of the money had been given to his mother. He kept some for personal expenses and to pad his personal bank account a little. Mostly though, it ended up helping his mother buy more favor with the guild and improving the shop as well as making repairs to the building to make it nicer and more looking like the home of a noble family.

“You have to live the part before you actually get the role sometimes”, is what she said.

She even hired a servant. A man about her same age. She was muscled from hard work and seemed to be a little simple but seemingly happy with his mother as his employer. Lief puzzled at this for a moment and then laughed about it. If she wanted a boy toy, who was he to argue.

Lief had spent a lot of time picking out his new shield and spear. He had also debated in his mind the advantages and disadvantages of plate mail. In the end, he felt his current armor was more to his liking as it was not as heavy and gave him more freedom of movement.

He had been reading as well. The High Priestess had given him a book on the Paladins of Sensua and it outlined the various oaths they could take. Sensua was not one to shut down any of the oaths commonly associated with Paladins. The High Priestess had been guiding him toward the Oath of Vengeance and he had to admit it appealed to him on a personal level. It was also the ‘needed’ oath right now. Brightblade was experiencing larger numbers of undead according to the town watch. Something was going on there and then there was the matter of Barthon the Vile. He must be brought to justice and that justice was what the Oath of Vengence was all about.

For now, though, his thoughts dwelt on Elana. She was going to receive her vestments as an Adept. He would be sworn in as a Paladin by taking his Oath. This would be a great day and a leap forward to his ambition of title and land. Right at this moment he was naked under the pouring water of a fountain and being attended to by two male acolytes. He stepped out of the water and one of them began to wipe him off while the other began to dry his hair with a towel. They dressed him. Loincloth of fine fabric, pants. and then cloth boots. All of white. He then knelt down He then kneeled down so the two acolytes placed a white tunic over his head. The embroidery work for the outfit was a red vine-like design.

The last part was a sword belt. It was of leather and also white with the same red vine design as the rest. A white scabbard was connected to it with a sword frog of a similar pattern. The scabbard with tipped and edged in a silver-steel alloy. It was however empty awaiting the oath sword which was to be given him. Lastly, his holy symbol was placed back around his neck. By this time the light of the sun was dipping down to the horizon. It was time for the ceremonies to begin.

The altar area of the temple had not been changed much. A few items had been laid out carefully over the altar including a red cloth covering the length of the altar which had the same vines done in white as Lief’s tunic had. Lief remarked to himself that it was amazing how versatile the altar was because it had been the place where Fredica had been cremated and now it seemed to be more calm. A simple red rug with no ornamentation formed a middle aisle in front of the altar. People had gathered to see the oaths.

Elana’s oath was not normally a public affair but Lief’s Paladin Oath was and so her ceremony was added before his to save time Lief assumed. The number of people was a little more than either of them expected. Probably 100 or so but mostly these were clerics of the temple of various ranks. But there was a smattering of dignitaries from the city. Lief’s mother was there dressed in her best dress and her hair/makeup was the best as well. She looked noble and was dressed the part of lower nobility. Next to her was the guild master of the Cobblers/Shoemakers guild. He was dressed like he always was – simple but clean and with the best shoes on his feet. Next to him was Lief’s former sergeant and a couple of the men in Lief’s former outfit in the militia. All of them looked proudly at the scene.

The was one figure that was out of sight the Lief caught in the corner of his eye He was under the shade of one of the female House of Love. He was leaning against the pillar of the doorway. He had a frame that was slightly shorter than Leif, He was dressed in a blue tunic with white trim. There was a symbol on his chest but Lief could make it out as the man had his arms crossed over his chest. He could make out that the man had a rapier-style sword at his hip and a dagger as well. His hair was probably dark but once again the light was low. He was leaned in such a way that he seemed very much at ease with the whole spectacle. Like he had seen this kind of thing before. Very relaxed. Lief had little time to think on it further. The ceremony had begun.

Elana went first down the aisle. She was still dressed in her Acolyte Robes and flanked by the two female Novices that had attended her purification. She approached the altar and stopped just short of the first step of three steps that lead to its edge. She stood as one of the attendants undid the clasp of her robe and then with a simple shake the robe cascaded down to the ground leaving her naked. She stepped out and the attendants gathered up her robes and disappeared to the side.

Lief’s view was from behind and he couldn’t help but notice how her naked silhouette was stunningly beautiful. Her dark olive skin was a lovely earth tone whose color seem to captivate him. He watched as the two novices disappeared and were replaced by two Acolytes. The Acolytes helped Elana into her new Adept robes and then bowed to her. Symbolic of her new station and authority over them. Elana only looked slightly less stunning in her robe of red trimmed with gold. She in turn bowed to the High Priestess. The High Priestess approached and touched her forehead.

“May the Blessing of Sensua follow you, May you know her joy and respect her authority over your body, mind, and soul”

“I so swear, and pledge my body, mind, and soul to the goddess Sensua.”

Elana then stepped off to the right from Lief’s perspective.

Lief walked alone in his white tunic and his empty scabbard swung lightly. He noticed his mother’s face beamed with pride and he smiled back at her. The High Priestess was joined by the High Priest on the dais. The High Preist was much older than High Priestess. She was probably in her early thirties, but he looked more like a man in his sixties but strangely full of vigor for a man half that age. Although it was said he got tired more often, he was still able to perform his duties. He was as tall as Leif with a regular build and his hair was cut short. His eyes were brown and it might have at one point matched his hair.

Lief stopped just short of the steps. He stood tall and proud. The High Priest spoke in a voice that was strong and very masculine.

“Lief Crispen, you have shown your valor, you have served the temple with distinction and recovered something close to our heart for us. You did so as a Squire of Sensua. We now offer you the blessing of being a full Paladin of Sensua. Do You Accept?”

“I Do, with all my heart.”

“Which Oath are You Taking?”

“The Oath of Vengence”

The High Priest nodded, “This is a grave oath that commits you to bring vengeance against those who harm life, love, and fertility. Do you understand the oath that you take today cannot be broken without the gravest of consequences from the goddess herself?”

“I understand and accept that possibility, but may it never come to me.”

“Seeing it was the High Priestess who accepted you as Squire, it is she, standing in the place of Sensua, who will stand as witness to your oath.”

The High Preist Stepped aside and the High Priestess stepped down from the dais and stood before Lief. She unclasped her robe and her robes fell to her feet. Her naked body glowed with a holy light.

“Place your right hand between my naked breasts and swear your oath!”

Lief placed his right hand between her breasts and spoke his oath.

“To Sensua, goddess of life, love, and fertility, I swear my Oath of Vengence. I will not spare those she commands me to destroy, I will always fight the greater evil. I will have no mercy on the wicked. I will use any means necessary to destroy the wicked. I will help those who are harmed to the best of my ability by the wicked. So Help Me, Be Sensua I Swear it!”

The glow that had been surrounding the High Preistess’ naked body now began to spread over him. He felt the goddess’s power wash over him. Then he heard her voice.

“My servant, my love, go forth in my guidance and destroy my enemies. You are my Paladin, My holy knight.”

Leif dropped his arm and the High Priestess turn around and received a sword from the Hig Preist. She then turned back to him and presented it.

“Take this sword and use it against the wicked, against the enemies of the holy goddess Sensua.”

The sword was beautiful, its hilt was simple with golden and silver vine patterns over the steel. The grip itself was leather of the finest quality. The blade was the finest steel and was shown with a magical sheen. He knew the blade was enchanted just by looking at it. He grabbed the hilt with his right hand and lifted it, He then held it up to the sky. Sensua’s glow was shown a little brighter around him as he did so. He then sheathed the weapon in his new scabbard. There was a cheer from the crowd.

The High Priestess was helped back into her robes by the same two acolytes that had helped Elana. She then returned to the dais next to the high priest. She raised her hands and the cheering crowd grew silent.

“There is one more thing to do today. Sensua has guided me on this next item. A Binding must take place. A binding between our new Paladin and one of our clerics.”

Lief looked puzzled. A murmur fell over the crowd ad once again the High Priestess raised her hands for quiet.

“In recent days, several paladins were slain in a battle with local orcs north of the river. In large part, this was due to the lack of support by the clerics who were not present to heal them. We have often viewed these duties outside of battle. But recent actions by our Paladin and Elana have shown that partnership is far better. It is the will of Sensua that all Paladins now be bound with a Cleric as a companion and battle partner. This starts today with the two that showed us the way. Paladin Lief Crispen and Adept Elana Bentor step forward.”

Leif moved forward to the edge of the dias again. He stood on the left and Elana joined him on his right side.

“Leif hold out your right hand, Elana your left. Palms upwards”

The two arms went up next to each other palms upward.

The High Priestess approached both of them. In her hand was a silver dagger. The hilt was in the form of a holy symbol of Sensua and the blade was a fine silver steel.

“This is to be a blood oath.”

Lief and Elana both nodded toward her. She pierced their palms with the blade. She then gave the blade to the High Priest. She moved Lief’s hand over Elana’s and then turn his palm downward and then brought the two palms together.

“Clasp Hands.”

Lief and Elana felt their warm blood mingle together as they held each other’s hands. The High Preist approached with a silver and gold cord. He wrapped it around their wrists and bound them together.

“You are now bound by Sensua and blood. Whatever dangers you face, face them as a triple-bound cord. Paladin Lief Crispen, Adept Elana Bentor, and the Goddess Sensua herself”

“We will,” both Elana and Lief said in unison.

A golden glow appeared around their clasped hands. After a few moments, it faded, the High Priest removed the cord and they unclasped their hands. The attending acolytes then washed their wounds and then a quick prayer or each of them healed them altogether. Elana and Lief smiled at each other and hugged. The high Priestess approached them and leaned in close so only they could hear.

“There is only one thing that remains. You must close the circle and complete the ritual with each other. It is a private but intimate part of the ritual. You may use my quarters this evening as I will be engaged in other matters. Matters which we will discuss in the morning. Once you are free of all the well-wishers make your way to my quarters and complete the binding. This is essential so do not forgo it.”

With that, she left them. Leif’s mother and friends all congratulated him with hugs and wrist shakes. Elana for her own part had many friends of all ranks give her hugs and even kisses on the cheeks and mouth. Soon though the crowd began to break up and Lief spotted the stranger again this time. He was about fifty feet away and he was talking with the High Priestess. Leif recognized him at that moment. Caric Trublade, fourth and bastard son of Baron Erik Trubalde, Lord of Brightblade City. Half-Elven thanks to his mother’s blood. He was also the Spymaster of the realm. Lief watched as the two interacted and noticed they seemed very familiar with each other. Lief then noted that Caric took her hand and they walked off out of sight.

Lief felt a tug at his shoulder and turned to see Elana. She smiled at him and then winked. She urged him to bend toward her.

“You know, I am very happy we are to be bonded. I would have never wished for it in my wildest dreams but here it is.”

Lief smiled, “Hmm. we need to get to the High Priestess’ chamber as soon as we can,”

Elana mocked being shocked, “Sir, that is rather forward.”

“Forward your luscious ass. I have seen you naked twice and yet never known your embrace. We need to change that.”

“Yes, it is important to close the circle and complete the bonding ritual,” she said with mock seriousness and piety.

“Oh, we are going to do more than that.”

Elana giggled like a schoolgirl for a few seconds and then she gave her hand to Lief and he led her away.

Moments later Lief was climbing into bed between her legs, and as he penetrated her, she pulled him close with both her arms and her legs, gasping in pleasure. The circle was closed and the two oaths and one bond were complete. More than that, for a brief moment in time, they both enjoyed love and embrace. And Sensua smiled from the corner.

Writer’s Notes:

This one took me longer than usual. Part of the problem was having to build more of the world and the other part was introducing new relaitonship concepts. Normally in relationships in fiction, the relationship grows slowly but Lief and Elana are part of a religion that emphasizes and promotes the normalcy of both nudity and sex as part of the worship of their deity. Their concept of these elements is going to be very different and probably far more casual. One of those factors is intimacy is accelerated.

For instance, Lief has had sex with both the High Priestess and now Elana. The High Priestess knows this and there is no jealousy, To the followers of Sensua, jealousy has no place. Jealousy is the disease, and Love is the healthy condition (cue Robert Heinlein). Nudity is beauty, clothing is hiding that beauty. Sensua is about the expression of love through physical contact in order to remove the disease of jealousy and embrace nakedness to express beauty. Healing through making love. Eros in its more true form.

This is the point of the story where our third character will be introduced. We have our fighter type, Our healer and soon we will have our rogue.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“Rust and Bones” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 5 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Thor’s Day!

Lief and Elana were wary as they passed through the short corridor to the west. The note they had found had said to ‘beware of the west’ and they were wisely moving slowly forward. Thirty feet of corridor later they entered a thirty-foot by thirty-foot chamber where they exited from the middle of the east wall. The room seemed empty except for some piles of what looked like red dust in various places on the floor. Cautiously Lief bent down and inspected the closest pile near the door.

“This is rust. How do you get this much rust without any metal?”

He didn’t have long to wait for the answer. Across the room in the southwest corner, a creature snorted and moved out of the corridor into the room. It was roughly five feet in length and walked on four legs. It looked like a brownish-red insect as far as its body was concerned as well as its head and jaw-like mandibles. The tail is what separated it from looking completely like an insect, as it was long and joined with a bladed tip. The other thing was two large antennae that resembled feathers and both were at least three feet long. Lief had never seen anything like it, but it moved toward them snapping its jaws.

Lief braced himself behind his shield with his spear at the ready. He heard Elana’s crossbow fire and the bolt ricocheted off the back of the monster. Nothing for it but to engage in hand to hand. Leif struck with his spear and the point drove into the creature’s ‘neck’ just above the head. It might have hurt the monster, but there was no way of telling. Leif pulled his spear free and expected a bite from the mandibles. He was disappointed and then shocked, as the monster instead swiped one of its feather-like antennae and it touched the tip of his spear. The spearhead disintegrated into a small pile of rust and fell to the floor. Leif gasped and tossed the now useless shaft aside and pulled his sword. Elana stepped to the side of the monster and brought her mace down. It smashed into the rough hide of the monster, and the monster screamed an insect-like scream. They had hurt it twice but it still lived.

The monster remained focused on Lief and its antenna struck again, this time hitting Lief’s Shield. He watched as the wooden parts fell to the floor along with another pile of rust. No longer held together by the steel front and bands, it had simply disintegrated. Lief instinctively grabbed his longsword hilt with both hands and drove it point-first into the creature’s head. The monster croaked a kind of guttural cry, collapsed, and then was completely still.

Despite its death, both of them treated the antenna like they were the plague. Lief bemoaned the loss of his shield and spear but was glad the monster had not struck his armor. Elana was the first to speak.

“That was a rust monster. I had heard about them but thought they were just a myth.”

“Behold, mythology lives!”, Lief boomed dramatically.

“Very funny, but you lost your shield and spear.”

“They can be replaced somewhat easily. The cost of the armor on the other hand would have been devastating.”

They searched the room and after a few moments, both of them began to notice the glint of light. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that there were small gemstones of various kinds in the rust piles. Carefully and keeping watchful, they searched until they had a handful of gems.

“Well, minus the cost of my shield and spear, this still puts us very much ahead, but we still haven’t found it.”

They had no choice but to continue into the corridor the monster had come from and see what was there. Hopefully not be more of them.

Lief felt vulnerable holding his sword with both hands and continuing with only his armor to protect him. Elana was alert as ever with her crossbow moving to cover over his shoulders. They continued west through the corridor where the rust monster had come from and in ten feet found a corridor that went north while the main corridor continued onward. It didn’t take them too long to realize the corridor ahead was caved in. Rocks blocked their path and so there was only the choice of moving north along the side corridor.

This corridor continued north thirty feet and opened up into a larger room. It was seventy feet east to west and about thirty feet wide north to south. It was carved out of stone and the floor was smooth. The more frightening sight, however, was the four skeletons that were standing in a grim sort of vigil. Lief was about to warn Elana, but before he could even utter a sound the four skeletons sprung to life and charged closing the gap with a frightening speed. One of them slashed its rusted sword at Lief and stuck his shoulder leaving a wound. Lief parried the next couple of blows from the other skeletons but was becoming overwhelmed at how fast they were.

Elana had not been inactive, she had been praying and then thrusting her holy symbol at the skeletons she shouted.

“Sensua banish thee!”

Two of the skeletons looked at her and then turned and ran from them but ran out of space in the room near the door. They clawed at it but couldn’t get through. This was the opening Lief had been looking for and stuck at the remaining.

“Sensua smite thee!”

Lief’s sword began to glow and the blade struck the first skeleton causing it to shatter and fall to the floor ‘dead’. He parried a blow from the other skeleton and then struck again with his glowing blade. The second skeleton also shattered into pieces.

Elana had crossed the gap of space toward the two remaining skeletons that were trying to flee from her through the door. She brought her mace down on the closest one to her crushing its rib cage. It fell and did not rise or move again. The last skeleton seemed to get over its fright at the moment and swung its sword at her. She caught the blow against her shield. She smiled and let the skeleton continue to rain blows upon her shield.

“Sensua smite thee!”

Lief glowing sword smashed through the skeleton creating a shower of glowing bone fragments.

The two of them stood for a moment over the dead and in some places burning bones.

“Vile creatures. Back to the abyss with you”. Elana said.

“That was .. interesting. I have never felt so empowered and that glow…”

“Lief, Sensua is a goddess of life, the undead are abominations to her. She empowers her champions in these times. Both you and me in this one.”

Lief nodded. He was beginning to see the advantage of being a servant o Sensua. He offered a quick prayer of thanks to her. Elana then noticed Lief’s wound which was bleeding. She placed her hands on it.

“Sensua bring life”

The wound stopped bleeding and closed. Lief couldn’t even see a scar. Lief smiled at Elana and she smiled back.

The skeletons possessed nothing but rusty swords. But they were guarding the door they were trying to escape from which was in the far corner on the easter wall in the northernmost corner. The door looked like oak and was bound with iron. It had a keyhole in it and when Lief simply tried to open it, it wouldn’t budge. Elana then remembered the key they had recovered from the goblins that had run away and she tried it in the door. There was a satisfying click.

The door opened and revealed a small room. It was probably twenty feet across at the top but formed a sort of “L” going to the south. In that part was a large iron-bound chest made of oak. It did have a latch but no lock. As they looked around they noticed this room had a peephole that looked out through the north wall. It looked out over a corridor that vanished into the darkness but there was a door about twenty feet to the right. Elana was the first to speak.

“Clever goblins, that is a peephole probably from a secret door that is part of this wall. Can’t open it from this side though. This a great hiding spot for a treasure. They guard it through these doors and it’s hidden by a secret door. The other ways are guarded by the rust monster and the skeletons.”

“We need to see what’s in the chest. Hopefully what we are looking for is there.”

The chest was heavy, but if they needed to, Lief figured they both could carry it. That said he was hoping they might be able to distribute the contents between them. He bent down and unlatched the chest and then opened it. Then he cried out in pain. A blade had been spring-loaded into the edge of the chest and had swept across his arm leaving a deep and large wound that started to bleed.

“Sensua preserve me,” he cried as he touched his arm with his other hand. His hand glowed and the wound sealed but continued to seep small amounts of blood.”

Elana moved to him and touched his arm.

‘Sensua bring life.”

The remaining blood stopped and the wound closed completely, once more there was no scar.

“I didn’t know I could heal.”

“Paladin ability. It is called laying on of hands. As you grow in devotion and strength, more abilities will be given to you. Sensua rewards the faithful. Once you take your oath, there will be more power given to you to fulfill it.”

“That trap, evil.”

“That’s the problem with this band of two. We are missing some abilities. A rogue of some kind would have been helpful with this or a wizard with knowledge of spells for this situation. Our faith does some incredible things, but there are other types of magic that would be more helpful in these situations.”

“Yes, I see that. Perhaps the next time I, or even we go out again, we should bring people with those skills with us?”

Elana nodded,” A good thief-type rogue might have not needed the key to get into this room. Might have also spotted the trap mechanism. You would do this with me again?”

‘Yes, you are a brave woman Elana. And you have been most helpful. I would be bleeding from several wounds if not for you. You are also a capable fighter. But mostly, I enjoy your presence.”

Elana blushed.

“We are forgetting the chest, Lief.”

They both turned toward the chest and were quite amazed at what was in it. It was full of coins, gold, silver, and electrum it looked like. Quite a haul, but there were two other items on top that really caught their interest. The lesser one was a book that turned out to be a journal. Though they couldn’t really tell because neither of them could read the Goblin language it was written in. They would have to take it to someone who knew the language. The other was the object of their quest.

It was a crown, more of a circlet but it had a large red ruby as its centerpiece. The rest of it was gold.

“The Crown of Fertility, The High Priestess will be pleased!” exclaimed Elana.

“Just exactly what does the crown do?”

“Well, it provides fertility – guaranteed fertility. I mean if a woman is wearing the crown while she does the ritual, she WILL get pregnant. If a man is wearing it he will impregnate the woman. Regardless if the woman was previously considered barren or if it’s the right time of a woman’s lunar cycle – pregnancy guaranteed.”

“Wow. So what does the temple use it for?”

“Sacred rituals of fertility. The High Fertility Festival in Spring in particular. It is guarded because of its power to the nobility to guarantee heirs. Although the current Lord of Brightblade – Baron Trublade had three sons… no excuse me… four sons although the last is a legitimized bastard.”

“Seems like anyone who wanted children would love to have access to it.”

“That’s the thing, it only works once a month. In fact, you can tell it is dormant right now because the gem is not glowing red. It was used less than a month ago. When the gem glows red it is ready.”

“So the nobility guard this, but why is it in the possession of the temple?”

“Lord Trublade gave it to the temple for safekeeping. He doesn’t know it was stolen and when we get it back the only two that will know will be you, me, the high priestess, and the temple treasure guards. Lord Trublade felt it was a good gesture given the rise of the Temple of Sensua in Brightblade. The High Priestess feels the goodwill of Trublade Family is important to maintain. Losing the crown would be bad for that relationship.”

“Is the crown known to all the nobles?”

“No. Only the Trublade family. If you search the Trublade family tree, you will never see anywhere in their line where there was not at least one child born. Baron Trublade used it three times with Lady Kate. They didn’t hit it off well but she did her ‘duty’ as his wife. Baron Trublade made sure she caught child by wearing the crown when he was intimate with her. His first three sons were born as a result. Then she just stopped having sex with him altogether saying she had given him an heir and two spares. Not a happy marriage which is what some arranged marriages tend to be.”

“Yes and everyone knows the tale of his fourth son. Product of him and the weaver’s daughter.”

“Yes, true love in that relationship. He didn’t need the crown to make her pregnant. Sad that she died in childbirth. He hasn’t been the same since. But he did adopt the boy and made him a true heir legally.”

They left off the gossip of the intrigue of the local nobility and gathered up the coins and distributed them to each of them until they both had what they could carry. Thankfully they got everything, but it was clear even with Lief’s great strength they would have to leave now, not that there seemed to be anything left to search for. The only thing really left behind them as they left was the corpses of goblins and rats, some rust, and bones.

They trudged slowly out of the cave and found themselves going through the statue room and then out the first chamber and into the light of the midafternoon sun. It felt like it was a lot shorter time but in the end they had only to hike slowly back to Brightblade arriving in the late evening at the temple. Their adventure was over for now. But much remained to be done.

Writer’s Notes:

This one took a little longer because of all that is going on right now in my life. That said finishing up the solo adventure in the old 1983 Basic Set for Dungeons and Dragons was quite fun. I had to make adjustments because I had two people instead of the one fighter that is intended for the adventure, but the changes worked out. That said, 5th edition characters seem very overpowered in the early game.

The story is; however, unfolding well and I feel the next few chapters will be interesting as the characters still have to find Barthon the Vile and end his evil also, and they really need a third adventurer to come with them with skills they do not possess. After that who knows.

I have been using this time to get my YouTube Channel “Simple Life Philosophy” off the ground and I am starting to conceive of my own world for my fantasy novel. I want to start writing with the idea of publication but this series has been a good warm-up.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“Return to the Cave” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 4 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Sif’s Day!

Lief and Elana traversed the winding path back to the cave entrance. As they approached Leif was filled with a little more confidence given that he had a couple days before had traded in his chain mail shirt and leather pants for a full set of chain mail armor including gauntlets and head covering. The money he had won the last time he was at the cave was now pretty much gone, but he felt the investment was an investment in survival. Besides, it made him feel a little more like a paladin squire.

Elana was dressed much as he had seen her friend Fredica dressed in leather armor and a shield over her back. Her mace was tied at her belt and in her hands was a light crossbow at the ready. She was walking behind him so she was ready to fire a shot while he engaged whatever they encountered,

Elana was much more nervous than her Squire counterpart. The last time she had been in the cave she had been naked and tied up until Lief had rescued her. She had not been involved in the fight at all. She had prepared all her spells and knew what she wanted to do if things went into combat. She just worried about whether or not she would actually do it.

They reached the cave entrance and, after each of them lit a torch, went inside the entrance chamber. Nothing had changed and they could even see their own tracks in the sand still from when they had left. Leif turned to the left-hand exit which was the one he had not followed the first time. He didn’t know where it led and so he assumed if they were going to find something it would be where they hadn’t looked yet.

The passage went about fifty feet until it widened into another open chamber that had the marks of being hewn out of the stone of the natural cave. It was roughly a fifty-foot by fifty-foot square. The ceiling was probably 15 feet overhead but each entrance was ten feet tall. The one they had entered through was in the south entrance Lief observed and there was an entrance in the exact center of each of the other walls.

The room’s most prominent feature though was the statue of a woman in armor in the center of the room. it looked like plate armor, she wasn’t wearing a helmet so the depiction of her hair flowed down her back and a sword was at her hip. Lief felt she was an elf as her ears were pointed. There was, however no inscription to tell who she was.

Lief and Elana agreed to listen and first look a little down each corridor. Lief thought he heard some squeaking noises like mice or rats to the east. The torches showed down each corridor a little but didn’t really tell them much. They decided to search the room and Elana discovered a note tucked into one of the small crevices in the walls. It was written in the common tongue. “Rat’s East, Goblin’s North, Beware the West.” Lief and Elana then made a decision to go east. Rats were not too dangerous and if it led to their prize then so much the better.

As they traveled east the squeaks got louder and they dropped their torches just outside where the corridor widened into a chamber. They readied their shields as the light from the torches flickered they could see some movement up ahead. Lief nodded and then charged into the chamber. Elana followed with her crossbow ready.

There were three giant rats in the chamber. Each was as large as a medium-sized dog. Lief skewered one on his spear and it convulsed in death as it bled from the wound in its side. Elana fired her crossbow and the bolt transfixed itself in the side of the rat and it fell and died also convulsing. That left only one rat left. It never got a chance to act as Leif freed his spear from the first rat and then skewered the second as well with a well-placed thrust. The battle was over and the rats had been slaughtered before they had even gotten a chance to react.

Lief and Elana retrieved their torches and made a search of the open chamber that was roughly thirty feet north to south and thirty feet east to west. The rats stared back at them with dead eyes.

“Disgusting”, was all Elana said.

“I am glad we surprised them. Giant rats can have some pretty nasty diseases they can give with their claws and teeth.”

Elana nodded, she knew this all too well and was glad she had killed her rat at distance.

They searched the area and in the nesting material of the rats found about 100 copper pieces and an equal amount of silver pieces. There was nothing else of value so they saw the corridor back to the west where they came and another open corridor heading north. Leif suggested they head north and Elana agreed.

The corridor went north thirty feet and then a side passage to the west opened up. The corridor continued another thirty feet north and then turned west as well. Leif and Elana reached the side passage and as they looked left to a see a strange-looking room.

“Well, what should we do?’, Elana asked.

“I think we should check out this room, we can always come back here and head further north later.”

Elana nodded and they headed down the ten-foot corridor to the strange room.

The room was 15 feet above their heads but the entrance was only ten feet tall. The room was empty and stretched north and south fifty feet and was 30 feet wide east to west with the entrance in the middle of the eastern wall. The only feature that was immediately visible was an eight-foot-long mouth on the far wall from the entrance. The mouth was orange and thin for its size. Other than that the room was completely empty.

Lief and Elana looked around further but found absolutely nothing in the room. They examined the mouth but it was simply on the wall and not in a sense like it was painted on, but it seemed to do nothing. They turned to leave and as they reached the doorway a voice boomed and they turned to see the mouth speaking to them.

“Surprise! You are here for double or nothing. Ready or not here we go. O-T-T-F-F-S. What’s the next line? If you solve this riddle your treasure will double. If you fail, it will disappear. What is your answer?”

Lief leaned over to Elana and whispered, “Let’s leave.”

They both backed toward the door slowly but when they reached the door they ran into a wall. Turning they could not see anything, but there was a force like a wall keeping them from leaving the cave.

“You must answer you know?”, bellowed the mouth.

Leif and Elana talked together for a minute. What the letters represented was the question for them. Then Elana looked into Lief’s eyes and smiled.

“It’s ‘E’. The letters represent the first letter of our numbers. One. Two. Three and so on. So the next one is “E’ for eight.”

They told the mouth and it smiled. Suddenly their packs felt heavier as the amount of each type of coin they were carrying doubled.

“Good guess. Come back again sometime and then the mouth went silent.”

They examined the mouth closely again but it seemed it would not speak and when they tried to leave the doorway was not blocked in any way.

“Well, that was a nice boon,” Elana remarked.

“It could have been a disaster for our pockets, had you not figured out the answer. I was stumped,” returned Lief.

Elana smiled at the compliment. They headed north and rounded the turn slowly as the corridor turned back to the west.

Ahead of them, they could see a pale light, and halfway down the corridor, they doused their torches. If their suspicions were correct this was north of the statue room and the note had said this room ahead might contain goblins. Peaking around the corner Lief could see two of them. Short creatures speaking in the goblin tongue that Lief recognized but could not understand.

Goblins are creatures of the fae although many think them related to orcs. They are not and tend to be mischievous creatures. Not necessarily evil but they could be difficult and they could see a corridor that went north that could connect to other parts of the cave, perhaps with more goblins or worse. Lief knew at this moment they had the advantage of surprise. A sneak attack would certainly be successful. If they tried to talk to them, that would be lost. He turned to Elan and whispered his thoughts.

“Goblins can’t be trusted and these are in this cave. Makes we wonder if they are probably bandits or thieves. I think we should attack them.”

Lief nodded, “Very well, you should bless us before we fight.”

Elana nodded and pulled up her holy symbol and prayed to Sensua to protect them.

“Now!”, Lief commanded.”

Lief ran around the corner and Elana followed him.

The two goblins were completely surprised as the two humans streaked into the chamber. But they didn’t have long to process it. Lief closed the distance with the closest goblin and drove his spear through the goblin’s unarmored chest. Green blood splattered across his arm. Elana moved to a position where they could get a shot off at the other goblin and the blot flew true and transfixed itself in the goblin’s neck. Both fell onto the floor dead.

Then they heard the sound of voices speaking goblin to the north of them. They turned to the corridor to the north only to see three goblins rushing toward them. They were angry and ready to kill. Lief drew his spear back and threw it. It struck one of the goblins in the chest and he went down. As the other two closed the gap, Elana dropped her crossbow and drew her mace, while Leif drew his sword. They locked their shield together.

Just in time as the goblin struck at both of them with their short swords. Pushing off with his shield, Leif countered with a sword blow of his own slicing off one of the goblins’ arms. it screamed and fell to the floor bleeding out. Elana then struck the last one with her mace and crushed its skull. The fight was over very quickly.

Lief turned to Elana and smiled only to find her bent over and throwing up. It was the first time she had killed a humanoid creature. Rats were one thing but these were children of the fae. Lief put his arm around her shoulders for some comfort. She stood there for a moment and then spoke.

“How do you deal with this so calmly. I hate killing.”

“So do I, but until the last time I was in this cave, I had killed anything either. The orc I killed was my first. I just never thought about it. You shouldn’t either. We need to search for them and keep moving. Time to process the philosophy of killing later. And our feelings. We have a mission to complete.”

Elana nodded and after searching goblins’ coin purses they found 50 crowns and 100 silver pieces. There was not much else of value as the sword they were carrying we rusted and worthless.

They decided to follow the corridor that went north and after only ten feet it turned to the west. They stopped briefly as Lief recovered his spear from the dead goblin and then rounded the corner. The corridor only continued for ten more feet and then opened up into a forty by forty room. The corridor was in the easter wall in the northwest corner. To the south and west was a stout-looking wooden door. More importantly, there were more goblins in this room as it looked like a place they lived. The goblins saw them enter and scurried out the door and slammed it behind them. Lief cursed them but Elana noticed one of them had dropped a small sack. In it, she found a few gold and silver coins and of all things – a key.

Lief readied his spear and shield and Elana got ready to use the key on the door. The problem arose when she tried the key on the door and it didn’t work. It didn’t seem to fit and Lief concluded the goblins had barred the door on the other side as well. After a few minutes, one of the goblins croaked in the common tongue “Go away, we don’t want any.”

Leif and Eland reluctantly withdrew from the room and went back to the chamber where they had the battle with the goblins. They followed the corridor in this room to the west and then south and found themselves coming out the north doorway of the statue chamber.

“We still haven’t found it, our only option lies to the west now,” Lief said.

“Yes, Let’s hope this key is to something. But you are right. The only place we haven’t gone is to the west from this room. The note said to beware of going that way. We need to be extra careful, Lief.”

“We will be alright as long as we stick together.”

With that, they marched into the western corridor.

Writer’s Notes:

If I have a major gripe against Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition it is that the system makes characters too powerful too fast. I loved lower-level play as both a player and a Dungeon Master. You get power up front pretty quickly and there is almost an unfairness to it. In this case, every combat was one-sided as my party of two did not miss and because neither of them is stupid or unwise, I had to roleplay that they were going to be smart as far as combat tactics and decisions.

I did randomize the encounter with the mouth, by doing the oracle for whether or not the character would know the answer. Lief failed gloriously and Elana succeeded so she was the smart one and technically based on intelligent stats – she is the smarter and wiser of the two of them. They hadn’t worked together before technically so there was a lot of that in this one. If you haven’t guessed Lief’s strength is very high. That’s why the damage he does when he hits is high as well.

I have concluded about half of the solo adventure in the 1983 Basic Set. The harder part is coming. Perhaps we will see my characters struggle with the challenge. I will be working on the third and final character I will be using for this series and then only Death will provide a replacement character. I think for solo play three characters will be quite enough.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“High Priestess” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 3 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Mani’s Day!

Lief and Elana made it back to the temple without incident and delivered their sad news of Fredica’s death. The High Priestess of the temple was called and she interviewed Elana privately at length. Lief waited patiently for the results and then Elana reappeared outside the private chambers of the high priestess seemingly much calmer. She saw Lief and approached him.

“Thanks once again for coming to my rescue even though you had nothing to gain. The high priestess has told me to get some rest today and I resume my duties tomorrow as a full acolyte. The high priestess asked to speak with you”

“Uhh. Thank you. Do you always talk so rapid-fire?”

“Sorry, I get nervous sometimes with all the importance. My background is not one of high standing, very low in fact. I get nervous around people who are higher born than I.”

“It’s alright, I am just a cobbler in the militia. I went to that cave seeking a fortune, but I now sense the guiding hand of Sensua in it.”

“No doubt, I just wish Fredica would have come home alive.”

“You alright?”

“Yes, I will probably be better after the funeral. Right now I am more in disbelief.”

“It will be OK, with time. If I can, I will find a way to make Barthon pay for what he did.”

“I hope so, he has caused the pain and death of so many.”

She touched his face and kissed his cheek and walked away.

Lief approached the door of the chambers of the High Priestess. He knocked. A deeper female voice came for him to enter. Inside was the High Priestess of the City of Brightblade’s Temple of Sensua. She was sitting at her desk in her white robes trimmed with gold. She was a tall woman with a striking figure that was little concealed by the robes of her office. She looked very much like Fredica with blonde hair and blue eyes. She stood to greet him.

“Hail, brave warrior. Lief Crispen is in not. I am the High Priestess of the Temple of Sensua in Brightblade. In this chamber, however, I am only Erica Gemsmith.”

“Gemsmith? Like the Gemsmiths from the north side of town?”

“The same, I am the second girl of my parents and the fourth child overall. I chose the temple ten years ago seeing my parents already have an heir to their gemstone empire.”

“High Priest…I mean Erica. My condolences on the loss of one of your own people. I only wish I could have done more. It puzzles me that Sensua spared me and not Fredica.”

“Your mother is the answer to that. She had completed the ritual for your protection. Sensua cannot act without a closed circle of the ritual, at least not without great cost to herself. Or at least actions that embody faith in her strength. Fredica for all her bravery was rash in going to find her friend by herself. Had she come to the leaders of the temple we would have sent her out with help and made sure she completed a ritual to protect Herself before she left.”

“I see. So Sensua has limits to her power?”

“More like conditions. Worship of all the gods requires a transaction of faith of sorts. Fredica in her love for Elana forgot that. She acted on her own and paid for it with her life. Gods also favor those who are devoted to them, Sensua is no exception.”

“In any case, I want to donate the gems I found in the cave to the temple in memorial of her. She deserves that much I think for bravely trying to rescue her friend, brash though it may have been.”

Lief handed over the gems to Erica and she smiled.

“Thank you, hmm. a moonstone, a bloodstone, and an amethyst. Small gems but worth a bit to the temple. This is a noble gift indeed. Thank you.”

She turned and placed the gems on her desk.

“I do wish to speak to you about something else. I need an adventurer for a task and I think you would fit what we need given your experience.”

“What’s the job?”

“I need you to return to the cave you found and explore it further. There is something from the temple that I believe Barthon stole. If it is not there, perhaps you will find some sort of clue as to where Barthon might be hiding and find it there.”

“I would like to get another crack at that wizard. He has hurt quite a few people, particularly women. But given the transactional nature of this, if you forgive my asking, what is the payment to me.”

“I have heard from my informants that the Crispen Family is looking to become a noble house. That requires land and title. Given you are the heir to the family, I offer my favor in gaining those things. I also offer you back these gems you gave as well as an opportunity to avenge Fredica. I also will offer one last thing, but I want to hear your answer first.”

“I accept your terms but do ask one thing.”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Fredica came in handy before she died healing my wound. I would like, if possible, one acolyte to accompany me for both support and healing.”

“Done. I will speak to Elana about accompanying you. It would be fitting for her to aid the one avenging her former lover.”

Lief nodded, “so what is your last boon now that I have accepted.”

“Land and title require more than a favor of one of the high priestesses of the gods. It requires actions that lead the nobility to think you belong with them. I offer you this. Become a paladin of Sensua’s vengeance. Strike down those who have harmed her worshippers and earn their favor as well. I offer to bring you into the paladins myself.”

“That’s is a good opportunity, but has a cost to me as well.”

“Your instincts do you well. Yes, the cost is renouncing your previous ties. The guild and the militia would have to be left behind. Although your friends in them would certainly remain. Sensua’s paladins are totally devoted to her.”

“You speak of vengeance and an oath of vengeance. Why this oath?”

“Because for too long I have watched this Barthon and some like him get away with their crimes. They take lives, destroy love, and end lines of fertility. These things Sensua despises. Her worshippers cry out for justice. I want you to be one of those bringers of justice.”

“Let me speak to my mother about this. The decision would affect my family so it needs to be a family decision.”

“Very well, that is proper. Speak to your mother. Fredica’s funeral is tomorrow. I trust you will attend. You can give me your answer then.”

Leif nodded.

“See you tomorrow then.”

Leif went home to the shop and found himself at the same table he had made his decision to follow the map. He had piled the coins he had found on the table. His mother told him she would take half and secure a promotion in the cobbler’s guild for herself. This would allow her to better use the guild’s resources should the family require them. The other half Lief could use to find better equipment for himself.

Once Lief laid out what the high priestess had offered to him. Anna looked solemn. She then explained that after doing the ritual for his protection Sensua had appeared to her in a vision. She had told her to encourage him to follow the temple’s wishes. She reminded him that with her rank increase, the guild’s resources would still be his through her. As for the militia, she doubted that they would object to him becoming a paladin. The opportunity presented to advance was just too good to pass up. Lief in the end realized this was the best course for him.

The next day was Fredica’s funeral. Her naked body was on display on the altar. Underneath the altar was wood and oil that would burn for her cremation. Her nakedness was symbolic to all and every follower of Sensua knows the saying about coming into the world naked and leaving it the same way. In death, Fredica was still beautiful. The magic darts had left no mark and so her body was still flawless. The High Priestess herself conducted the funeral giving hommage to Sensua to take their departed sister into her arms. When the funeral pyre was lit the words were simple – “Accept our sister in flame. Flame that represents life, flame that represents the passion of love, and flame that brings new life. She is gone from us but may Sensua hold her in her loving arms.”

The fire burned for some time. It is a moving thing to watch a person be consumed by the flame until their ashes are mixed with those of the wood and oil below. Fredica was gone.

Elana stood on Lief’s right and his mother Anna was on his left. Both were crying although Elana was the tears of grief of a lost love. She was practically sobbing. Lief remained strong for both of them, but he too was moved. He was angry that such a beautiful person had been cut down so young and the one who did it was still alive and probably doing vile things again. Barthon would pay for this funeral on his own. Lief was surprised at his anger, but he then realized it would fuel what was coming next.

The funeral eventually ended and the few in attendance began to move away. The High priestess left for her chambers and as prearranged Lief followed her. She ushered him in and then closed the door behind them and locked it. Looking at Lief’s puzzled expression.

“I don’t wish to be disturbed while we conduct this business. It’s too important.”

“I see.’

“So, you have spoken with your mother. Have you reached a final decision about the opportunity to become a paladin?”

“Yes, we accept your offer. I will be Sensua’s hand of justice.”

The High Priestess looked very happy. Her smile beamed at him.

“Good, then there are a few things to do. The Oath Ceremony is a public thing and only when I feel you are truly ready. You need to finish this business with the cave and recover the item. That is the quest for you to prove yourself worthy to me. But you also must be blessed as a Squire of Sensua. That is not public but is important to close the circle for you to tap into Sensua’s power. I cannot speak about how this will manifest with you personally, Every paladin is different.”

“Close the circle? So I need to perform the ritual?”

“Yes, but you don’t have to leave to do that. I prefer to bless all the squires I commission personally. Are you ready?”

“Yes, I am ready.”

“Draw your sword and kneel”

Lief drew his blade. For the funeral it was the only weapon or armor he wore preferring his better-made clothes for such occasions. He knelt.

“Hold the sword out with both hands.”

Holding it sideways with his one hand on the hilt and the other on the tip of the blade; as he had seen knights receiving a commission, Leif presented his blade. The High Priestess touched the blade.

“Sensua, bless this squire. May his quest prove he is worthy of your lordship and may his conduct please you at all times. Protect him and guide him. May he always know your life and love. Arise, Squire Lief Crispen, paladin of Sensua.”

Lief stood and sheathed his sword.

“Now, let us close the circle and complete the ritual.”

The High Priestess released the shoulder clasps that held her robe and the white and gold robe cascaded to the floor around her feet and she stepped out. Lief caught his breath as the implication of “I like to bless all the squires I commission personally” hit him. Her naked body was beautiful and athletic. Her breasts were small but perfect. She approached him and put her arms around his neck and kissed him. His hand instinctively fell to her waist and pulled her close.

Sometime later he found himself with his naked body entangled with hers. She was cuddled close to him and sighed a pleased sigh.

“Lief, be careful. I don’t want this to be the last time I bless you. Although you seem to have blessed me in return. You are very good at this for someone so young.”

“Mother insisted I learn from the clerics in the house of love how to properly please a woman in bed. I want to make mom happy, so I tried to be a good student.”

Lief grinned, and she grinned back.

“You instructors did well. Are they still here?”

“Yes, one is at least. Adept Rosa, the dwarven woman.”

“She taught you? That must have been interesting.”

“I suppose, there were other assorted Acolytes but she was my main instructor. Lovemaking to her was both a skill to learn and a passion to develop. I learned from her that the package doesn’t so much matter as the desire to love and be loved. Besides, she has nice curves. Shorter and thicker curves but they are nice just the same.”

“That she does. Hmm. You’re going to make a great paladin, Lief. Just don’t get yourself killed before your Oath.”

“Yes, High Priestess. I shall do my best to not let that happen. Sensua willing”

Lief and the High Priestess spent the night together, made love again, and he left early that morning and headed home. He was coming back later to prepare to journey to the cave again.

Writers Notes:

In Dungeons and Dragons, downtime is a simulated time where the results or consequences of the last adventure are engaged or dealt with. There is also the opportunity to grow and develop, invest, build, learn, etc. Lief had the opportunity to decide what to do with the treasure he gained and make a few connections.

NPCs or Non-Player Characters are essential to a good story. They are the player’s family, connections, business associates, friends, etc. Lief has a few, but his moving from being a normal cobbler to an adventuring paladin is going to change all that. Not so much that he loses these relationships. but that they change in nature. Lief may be leaving the Brightblade MIlitia but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t ask them to aid him in a pinch. There is also the tactic of maintaining a connection through family with Anna becoming the lead for the business and guild.

I rolled a temple patron and my second character rolled as a cleric so the connection was obvious as to how to connect these two ideas. Lief catches the eye of the High Priestess (perhaps for more than one reason) and she begins to test him as to his readiness to become a paladin but also starts giving him missions to help the temple as well.

In my case, Sensua herself is also an NPC. She acts in the world within her requirements and parameters. She has taken an interest in our heroes and seems to be ready to help them.

The next adventure will be used in part the second solo adventure in the 1983 Basic Set, but with an additional character and thus adjustments to the strength levels of the monsters. There are also the conversion issues when dealing with 1st edition basic rules and 5th edition, but it’s not too bad as D&D has not changed that much in its basic form.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“The Cave” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 2 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Sol’s Day!

Lief Crispen slowly made his way down the path that was marked on his map to, as it said, a cave entrance. He placed his hand on the talisman of the goddess Sensua around his neck and could almost feel some sort of divine influence. His mother’s prayers probably. Her devotion to the goddess was well known and it was a great comfort to him.

Had it not been for the map he most certainly, even with his good powers of observation, missed the path. It was purposefully hidden by brush and branches. Once on it, the path took Leif up the side of one of the many hills in the area. It was slow going, because of the need to push brush aside at points and the steady incline up the hill. Finally, he found himself at the entrance arch of the cave. It was about noon and five hours or so since he had left his mother. For an arch, it was, crafted of stone. He recognized, as most citizens of Brightblade would, the Old Empire symbol of the dragon head as the keystone and the rest of it simply carved. Beyond the light didn’t show much being overhead and not shining down into the cave.

He slung his shield over his left shoulder and took a torch out of his backpack and lit it with the tinderbox. The flame sputtered to life and he held it aloft and with his spear, in his right hand and torch in the left, he went forward into the cave. The cave had a musty smell to it. People had definitely taken the natural formation of the cave and changed it. Adding stone wall here and chipping away at the rock there so a square hallway arched forward.

It didn’t take long for Lief to discover enemies. As he stepped out of the first hallway and into the first chamber, he spotted an Orc. The average size for an orc, it had grey skin and average-length tusks. The Orc spotted him too and sprung to life brandishing a cruel-looking axe and a round wooden shield. Lief had enough time to drop the torch and slide his shield on his left arm when the Orc struck swinging his axe toward his head. Leif countered with his spear and the blow slid down the shaft. Then the two faced off.

Lief for his part, had never actually been in combat before, but in a few moments, his guardsman training began to take over. Lief had the advantage of being able to keep the Orc at a distance with the spear. This proved to be decisive after a number of missed blows on both sides, Lief struck the Orc on his exposed side and pierced the Orc’s shoulder. Black blood seeped out of the wound. This also knocked the Orc off his feat. Lief closed but the Orc did the unexpected and threw sand from the floor of the cave into his face temporarily blinding him. The Orc stood back to its feet and slashed Lief’s arm leaving a flesh wound and then unexpectedly ran off down one of the two corridors that lead out of the chamber.

Lief cursed his luck and started to run after the Orc. Within a few seconds, Leif slowed and stopped realizing he would lose the Orc in the dark and he returned to the chamber and retrieved his torch which was still burning. He considered his options as he began to inspect the room. He noticed a small sack in one corner and opening it quickly he discovered food rations and not much else. He looked at the other exit beside where he had come in and decided against it. No, he had to follow the Orc and see if there were more of them. Cautiously, torch and spear in hand, he followed behind the Orc.

The path shifted slightly but then opened up into another chamber. Cautiously Lief walked and then froze when he heard and hiss from one of the corners. Shifting toward the sound, the torchlight revealed a large snake. It was at least ten feet long and a foot in diameter. It slithered slowly toward him and Leif dropped his torch on the ground and readied his shield. He noted the gold and silver coins on the floor around the snake. The snake reared up and its head swayed back and forth slightly about four feet off the ground. Lief gripped his spear a little tighter. The snake reared back and it struck, at that moment Lief stepped aside quickly and thrusted his spear at the snake’s neck. He felt the spear point bite flesh and as the snake thrashed its head sideways it pulled the spear from his grasp. Leif backed up and drew his sword. The snake had been wounded badly but it turned to face him again. Leif could see green venom dripping from its fangs.

This time the snake seemed to want to circle Leif. It’s being more cautious. Lief decided to strike himself leading with his shield toward the snake’s head. The snake struck and Lief smashed his shield against its head. stunning the creature. Leif wasted no time and slashed his sword at its neck and with a single blow severed the head off. The body thrashed around and Leif backed up to avoid it hitting him. In a very few seconds, it fell completely still.

Lief pulled off his pack and retrieved a cloth to wipe his blade and then after recovering his spear did the same with the point. He then turned his attention to the floor of the chamber which glittered with gold and silver coins. He looked at them – crowns (the gold coins of Brightblade) and lords (silver). He found a sack on the ground as well which still had some coins as well as a few small gems. He wondered if this was the treasure from the map and then realized the map never really said it was to treasure, but to a hideout. If this was the treasure there were roughly 300 crowns worth of coins and 200 crowns of gems. He couldn’t be sure about the gems as he was no expert.

He collected everything into the sack and as he looked around he saw there was only one route that the Orc could have used. He found his torch which was still burning and returned to the entrance chamber. He placed the sack next to the other with the food and then returned to where the snake lay dead. He was relieved that no Orc patrol party had found him but he was puzzled as to why.

He decided to continue as the wound he got from the Orc had started to sting a little, but it had stopped bleeding. The path continued for about fifty more feet and then opened up into a third chamber. He paused and looked around the corner cautiously and to his surprise he saw a beautiful woman who was sitting in a meditative position with her eyes closed.

She was dressed in chain mail armor with a small helm. He didn’t see a shield but could see her mace laying on the ground in front of her. Around her neck was the holy symbol of Sensua much like his own. She was wearing a red tunic with silver trim under the armor. An Acolyte, but what was she doing here? Acolytes usually never travel alone or too far from the temple. But then he realized he didn’t really know much about the clerics of Sensua other than his own experiences with the priestess at the altar and the dozen or so acolyte females he had competed the ritual with over the years. He knew they were great healers but what else did he really know?

He rounded the corner wondering what to do and the woman’s eyes fluttered open. They were lovely blue to match her blonde hair. He remembered seeing her in the house of love but had not ever completed a ritual with her, so he didn’t know her name,

“Oh my Sensua be praised, my prayers have been answered. I was afraid I was going to have to rescue my friend alone. OH, you’re hurt, Let me help with that.”

She stood and Leif saw she was only a half head shorter than him. She approached and touched his arm where he was wounded. The wound closed completely and then disappeared altogether. Lief was not shocked as he had seen something like this before when a few of his mates had been hurt during practices. They always kept a cleric of Sensua nearby for such things.

“Acolyte, why are you here?’

“Trying to rescue a friend. Elana and I were praying in the garden when we felt very strange. A strange man walked into the garden and he was chanting. I realize now it was a spell. Both of us fell asleep. When I woke up, Elana was gone and a note was left on my chest. It demanded ransom for her or the person would kill her in a week. So, I set out to the place is said to leave the ransom – this cave. The problem is the man who took her has no intention of letting her go.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because the man who took her is Barthon the Vile. He would more likely be interested in taking any money I brought and then capturing me as well.”

Lief had heard of Barthon the Vile. He was a wizard with a criminal past. A very vicious and, as his name suggested, vile past.

“You are probably correct with Barthon. His tastes would not involve letting female prisoners go alive.”

The acolyte nodded.

“My name is Fredica. I see the symbol of Sensua around your neck. Will you help me?”

“Yes, but I was chasing an Orc. Have you seen any?”

“Yes, one ran by some minutes ago. He was wounded. Your doing?”

“Yes, so Barthon is here and at least one Orc.”

“So it would seem, but there are two of us as well.”

Lief nodded.

After some moments the two of them headed down the passage that Fredica has seen the Orc run. After about 50 yards they heard voices and could see the light up ahead. Lief put out his torch and the two silently went forward. The voices became louder.

“Get up Orc. Who else did you see? Just a warrior with a spear and a cleric of Sensua.”

“That’s all Master. Just those two. I ran here as fast as possible after the warrior wounded me in combat. Please don’t hit me again. We could trick them.”

“Perhaps. hmm.”

Fredrica touched Lief’s arm.

“That’s Barthon’s voice. They are not expecting us, we should surprise them.”

Then Lief heard the chanting of someone casting a spell. It was Barthon’s voice. When it finished the Orc spoke.

“Oh, that is good master. No one can see you now.”

Fredica whispered quickly, “Now before they can prepare more.”

Lief moved into the chamber ahead with his spear and shield ready. All he saw was the Orc which let out a surprised cry and then charged with his axe. For a few moments, Lief lost concern for where the wizard was having to deal with the Orc.

In that battle that followed Leif and the orc struggled to get an advantage, but eventually, Lief got the upper hand and with a strong thrust drove his spear into the orc’s belly. He tried to pull out his spear but it was stuck and as he looked around he saw Fredica swinging the mace seemingly at the air. Lief abandoned his spear and drew his sword.

Then the chanting of a spell began again and Barthon appeared.

He was younger than you would expect being a wizard. His black eyes, black hair, and short small frame appeared about 50 feet away on the other side of the chamber from where both Fredica and he were at. He had a cruel smile and wore black clothing with a hood over his head.

Barthon’s magic caused four glowing darts to appear in front of him. He waved his hand and two of them streaked toward Lief and the other two toward Fredica. They were so fast that there was no time to react. Fredica fell to the floor and didn’t move. The two that flew toward Lief suddenly struck something like a magic wall a couple of feet away from him and disappeared. Puzzled but angry, Lief moved forward toward the spell caster. Barthon moved backward toward the wall and then seemingly dropped out of sight through the floor. When he arrived where the wizard had been standing he found a trap door, He grabbed the handle and pulled but it wouldn’t move being locked from the other side.

Try as he might, the door wouldn’t open. He cursed in frustration. Then he remembered Fredica. Running back to where she lay prone on the ground he saw her face and knew at that instant she was dead. Her vacant eyes told him all he needed to know. Sadness filled him. He fell to his knees with grief and closed her eyes. After a few moments, he rose to his feet.

It was at this moment he realized that there was a side chamber to this larger one and he entered into it. It was there he found Elana. She was naked, tied, gagged, and laying sideways on the sand floor. She seemed very confused but relieved to see him, once she spotted the symbol of Sensua around his neck. Her grey eyes were sparkling under her long brown hair. He couldn’t help but notice her figure which was slightly buxom and athletic. Her skin was dark olive. He knelt beside her and removed her cloth gag. She coughed for a second and then spoke in a light beautiful tone.

“Thank you, sir. I thought for sure I was to be the next victim of Vile.”

“You are welcome, here let me untie you.”

Lief finished releasing her and they both stood to their feet, Despite being completely naked in front of him she showed no embarrassment or shame.

“Do you have any clothes?”

“No, Vile burned my novice robes in front of me. He said he couldn’t wait until my stupid friend brought the ransom so he could…”

Her voice trailed off and she looked away. Despite not being shaken up about being naked, this idea seemed to frighten her.

“I have bad news, Elana. Your friend did come but not with a ransom.”

“Fredica, where is she?”

“Out there in the other chamber. She didn’t…we fought Barthon and his Orc and she…”

Elana’s eyes watered slightly and then she rushed from the room. When Lief caught up to her she was kneeling next to her friend and sobbing. He knelt down beside her.

“I am sorry for your friend.”

“She was more than a friend, she was my lover before we became novices.”

Elana reached around her lover’s neck. She removed both her holy symbol and another necklace which had a small rune stone on it. She put both around her neck.

“She died trying to fight Barthon. He killed her with some sort of magic missiles. Two of them would have struck me, but some sort of magic preserved me.”

“Sensua’s magic. Response to your prayers. Have you done the ritual recently?”

“No, but my mother probably has just today. She promised to pray for me.”

“Protectin of the goddess. Your mother must be very faithful.”

“She is. But what are we going to do with Fredica?”

In the end, Elana took off all of Fredica’s armor, clothing, and equipment and put them on herself. This left Fredrica naked but Leif found a blanket in the extra room along with some more coins and gems He wrapped her in the blanket. Elana and he divided the treasure to carry among them and then he threw Fredica over his shoulder. Going back the way they came, they exited the cave after recovering the other rations and treasure at the door. It was night but the two agreed that they needed to get back to the temple so they walked on. Lief noticed the tears streaming down Elana’s face. He could feel her grief and soon a single tear formed under his right eye as well.

Writer’s Notes:

In keeping with the story as presented in the 1983 Basic Set of Dungeons and Dragons, I had to make some changes to the story. Leif still fights, but I made his foe an Orc and not a goblin. He also fights the snake but in my play, he didn’t get wounded there but by the goblin instead. I also was faced with the dilemma of the cleric’s death in that story and the fact I wanted to introduce my second character who is also a cleric. So I had the one be killed like in the story, and then I had the other one rescued to join Lief.

What random die rolls have determined so far is that the adventuring party’s patron will be the temple itself. Lief and Elana will be the first two and you will see in the next part of how that comes about. If you haven’t guessed Lief is not a regular fighter. What he is I will let you guess as the story unfolds.

In the Basic Set, the wizard is Bargle, but I have decided he will make a great first villain for my heroes, so I have renamed him Barthon the Vile. To make him Vile, one need only understand that there is little he will not do for money and to slake his peculiar sensual cravings. He is a magical assassin for all practical purposes with a taste for rape and murder.

The Goddess Sensua is actively involved with her followers. Her clerics (all of them) gain an advantage in any spell that is touch-based and if a person performs the love ritual (ritual sex) with one of them after praying and paying the cost, that person will receive any effect that cleric could do with their spells that can also be rituals. The problem is that this only works when the person is alive. Once dead, only truly powerful clerics of Sensua raise the dead. Sensua’s portfolio is Life, Love, and Fertility. She is a popular goddess and thus quite powerful.

There is a hierarchy of ranks in the temples of sensua:

  1. Novices: These are those new to the call of Sensua. They take care of the guests at the houses of love by making them comfortable while they wait for the clerics to see them. It is required of them to be naked at all times except when they are working in the house of love when they don their red robes to serve the guests. They practice the ritual on each other so that they are ready for their time to serve in the houses of love.
  2. Acolytes: These are those that have taken their oath of devotion to Sensua and have learned what is expected of them in the houses of love. They are the temple prostitutes if you will. They also can be commissioned for other tasks the Temple High Priest or Priestess might have planned as support. They wear red robes with silver trim.
  3. Adepts: The adepts become managers of the Acolytes at the Houses of Love. They wear robes of red with gold trim. Adepts are reserved for rituals involving special clients.
  4. Priest/Priestesses: These wear white robes and there are only six of them per temple, (three women and three men) at each temple. They are the altar keepers who pray for the parishioners, take their coins, and send them to the houses of love. These are reserved for very special season rituals and rituals involving the swearing of Oaths to Sensua.
  5. Curates: These Wear White with Silver Trim, they are reserved for very special rituals involving the Priest. Priestess levels and higher. There are only four of them per temple. (two women and two men).
  6. High Priest/High Priestess: Wear white with gold trim. Only High holy day rituals are involved. There is only one of each sex at the temple.

It should be noted that training in religion, duties, channeling divine spells, combat, etc. starts the moment a cleric of Sensua becomes a Novice. Training in healing art (medicine) is available as well as sexual training for the purpose of performing the ritual sex that is required for many things in the practice of the religion. It should be noted that Sensua is about sensual love and not just ritualized sex. One should enjoy the ritual for maximum effect. Just going through the motions of sex might cause the goddess to not work her magic for those involved.

Clerics of Sensua are trained very early to be comfortable with their bodies and the bodies of others. Novices are required to be naked on temple grounds at all times except when working in the house of love. After that, the bathhouse and common areas are clothing optional for all other ranks. Nudity is still required for all ranks to enter the inner prayer chapel. Each temple has dorms for the Novice through the Adept class. Sleeping areas are also considered common areas for the purpose of nudity. Once a cleric reaches the Preist/ Priestess class they are given private quarters.

It should be noted that disease is also a healing specialty for the clerics and this includes sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, pregnancy is not considered a curse or negative but a blessing because Sensua is about fertility. Children born to clerics are raised by the community although pregnancy does not happen as often as you would think. Sensua’s will is that her clerics perform their duties above all, so the focus is on fertility in the worshipers who are not clerics. If a female cleric gets pregnant, it is actually both very rare and considered the will of Sensua. It is however not uncommon for female worshipers who are praying for a child to get pregnant after a ritual and one must wonder if it is her husband or the male cleric who ‘blessed’ her.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“A Map and a Prayer” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 1 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Sif’s Day!

Lief Crispen leaned forward to study the map on the table. His mother hovered over his shoulder looking down at the parchment which showed a route from the city to a cave in the hills to the east.

“What do you think mother? Is it genuine?”. Lief’s strong voice came.

Anna Crispen frowned as she studied the details. The map was recent as the ink looked fresh and not faded. The landmarks were current as well. It was well done but not ornate. A practical map to mark a place of importance for later.

“I think so, son. But will it deliver on what it promises?”

Anna’s voice was sweet and melodic but quivered slightly because she knew what her son was planning.

Lief leaned back slightly and looked over his shoulder toward her.

“The merchant seemed to think so. He was most grateful for the work we did repairing the shoes of his caravan. This is the bonus, the trick is collecting.”

“Well son, we can’t afford to hire someone. We are cobblers, not rich merchants.”

Lief sighed, “You know what has to be done, and to be truthful, you know this is the break we have been looking for. It might give us the wealth we need to start buying favor and expanding the business.”

“We have a good life.”

“No doubt, but still water stagnates. The family name needs security and that means the need for wealth and title.”

This was an old conversation between the two of them. She was about to say ‘ and it needs heirs, but she knew what the counter would be. Lief would simply point out that there would be a greater motive for him to find a wife and produce children if there was something to inherit beyond what they have. She knew he was in part right that he needed to use the days of his youth to build something and then settle down. ‘Marriage is a young man’s burden and an old man’s comfort’ was the wisdom of the gods.

She looked at her son. He was so much like her dead husband now. Tall, strong, and athletic, but in many ways beyond him. But he had her wisdom just like he had her fair skin, green eyes, and long dark raven hair. Lief was truly the best of his parents. But he was also all she had anymore. Her only child. This was the real cause of her fear.

“Mother, I know you worry over me. I get your fears, but if the Crispen name is going to stand the test of time they need security and position. I think this treasure might be the key, or at least the start. I can’t do what we need to do by just fixing shoes. It’s noble and good hard work, but it’s not going to be enough.”

Anna nodded. Adventuring was not uncommon and the hills and forests around the City of Brightblade had their wild side to be sure. If this map marked a treasure it could tilt their fortunes for the better. It might attract good blood to the family.

“Mother. I will be careful. I have been training with the militia for the last four years and I am doing well enough to have been promoted to corporal. I have good equipment and what we think is a good map. If I am reading the map right, it’s about half a day’s walk from here.”

“Be careful son,” tears came to her eyes.

Lief stood and hugged his mother in his crushing grip.

“I will say a prayer to Sensua for you tomorrow.”

“Thank you, mother. And I will wear her amulet to remind me that you are praying for me. With any luck, I won’t be more than a few days.”

“Let’s pray not. I love you, son.”

“I love you too, mother.”


The next day Leif arose and got ready for his trip. He put on his militia armor consisting of his chainmail tunic, leather boots, and arm grieves over his under tunic. He then placed his traveling tunic over everything and tied it with his leather belt. He had a backpack with everything he needed from torches to rations. He tied his longsword to his belt and then picked up his spear and shield, a medium-sized round shield with a steel front and oak as its core. Pulling the traveling cloak’s hood over his head, he walked toward the door to leave the shop.

Anna stood by watching her son and made sure she didn’t cry until after he left. He did that with few words. He handed her his amulet of Sensua and she slipped it over his neck. She kissed him on the cheek and watched him step out into the quiet morning streets of their neighborhood. He disappeared around the corner looking back toward her one last time. Only then did the tears come, but she did not sob. A few minutes later, she had collected herself. Put the closed sign on the shop and headed to the Temple of Sensua.

The Temple was a few city blocks away and this early in the morning the traffic was light as was the line to see the priests and priestesses. The temple itself was probably 100 yards square. It consisted of the front altar reached by passing the entry arch, the two houses of love to the right and left and then the rest of the complex was behind all this where the priests, priestesses, paladins, and other members of the temple lived. Anna concerned herself only with the altar today and she felt a surge of hope as she crossed through the archway. The Motto: ‘Life, Love, and Fertility” she had seen a thousand times. Today they meant a little more as she thought of the life of her son, her love for him, and her hope of a continued family.

She approached the altar. Sensua’s statue standing over it. Sensua, the goddess of life, love, and fertility was always depicted as a pleasantly curvy woman with long hair. And always naked. In this case, she stood with her legs shoulder width apart facing the archway and her hands outstretched above her.

“Daughter Anna, you seem distressed.”

The priestess was one she had met before. A short but curvy woman with light brown hair. She was pleasant to look at even wearing her robes of white.

“I am. My son is doing something important for the family and it is potentially dangerous. I have come to seek the goddesses’ blessing for him.”

“Say no more.”

Anna handed the priestess some gold coins and knelt. The priestess’ prayer was simple and to the point but Anna felt its strength and smiled. The ritual continued with Anna offering a prayer for her son. At this point, she pledged herself again to the goddess. Once finished the priestess beckoned her to rise and then motioned toward the house of love on the right. Anna nodded and then walked with purpose toward the house of love and passed through its door.

In order for the ritual to be completed, the rights of love must be performed. In truth, this part had more than a single function for Anna. He husband had been dead for almost as long as Lief had been out of her womb. She had forgone remarriage to focus on raising her son. She still had needs as a young woman. It was no accident that her devotion to Sensua was regular and a few times a week. She was in her mid-thirties having had Leif when very young.

Each house of love was arranged pretty much the same. The lowest floor was a waiting area where the novices waited on those waiting to complete their ritual. It was white marble like most of the temple and the benches and a couple fountains were made of the same. The novices were all male. In the other house of love, they were female. Not that it was absolutely expected that women went to the house of men and vice versa. She had a girlfriend who went to the female house. Sensua was not about the judgment of one’s sexual tastes, but she is about the expression of passion leading to life.

One of the novices handed her a small cup of wine and she drank it while waiting. The two floors above her were where the bed chambers were. This early in the morning she would not have to wait long. She recalled how each house was organized. Novices trained here on the first floor. They made sure that the people waiting were comfortable. One had to be at least an acolyte or adept to actually provide the conclusion to the ritual of love. Acolytes did the most meeting with and concluding the ritual with each petitioner of the goddess. Adepts ran the place and kept things organized.

There was much training involved in this and one of the main things is that the clerics of Sensua were considered some of the best healers in the world. That healing power came in large part from their very hands-on understanding of the body, sexual energy, and touch magic. Nor were they limited to just humans although that was the majority in Brightblade. They also boosted elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes as clerics. She thought Lief had said a dwarf female was one of the adepts in the female house of love and she had seen an elf here a couple times who was an acolyte.

Anna smiled as she remembered when Lief had matured to the point she had brought him here. She had caught him pleasuring himself and she knew it was time for some proper education. The Acolytes and Adepts were all too happy to speak to him and she was so thankful for that with his father dead. When he turned fourteen, he came of age and she brought him here for the first time for him to do the ritual himself. A female acolyte (according to her son a pleasant human woman) took his virginity and he became a man. He joined the guild and the militia that same year. Since then she had known nothing but pride in her son. This adventure in truth made her even more proud. He was thinking of things larger than himself. He was thinking long-term for the future of the family.


Anna looked up to it was one of the Novices. A fine looking ebony-skinned young man.


“Follow me.”

Anna followed him up to the second floor. He directed her to wait in the first room on the right. The decor of all these rooms was simple but comfortable with dark wood furniture, red curtains, red bedding, silver chamberpots, washbasins, and pitchers. She walked in and stood.

“Someone will be with you shortly.”

A few moments later the door opened and an Adept walked in closing the door behind him. He was a medium-sized man with olive skin. Anna raised an eyebrow as she knew only one Adept was on duty in each house at any time. Mostly to coordinate the Acolytes to the right rooms. The fact that an Adept…

“I can see the questioning on your face. The priestess thinks very highly of you and could see your need. So I have been asked to complete the ritual with you in hopes of securing Sensua’s blessing for your son. It is hoped that the extra measures we provide will do so.”

Anna nodded and thanked him and the temple for their special consideration. He nodded in return and then pulled his red robes back from his shoulders and let them fall to the floor revealing his muscled naked form. Anna glanced down and smiled. He approached her and his fingers touched her cheek. Instantly she could feel the magic of the ritual as it melted her worry and tiredness. One by one her pieces of clothing became a pile on the floor.


Sometime later, Anna was laying on her back in the bed and the adept had gone. Her worry for her son had lifted and her naked athletic body quivered with divine magic. She always felt so alive at this moment and it is perhaps one of the reasons she visited the temple so often. The adept knew his business better than most. He had even offered to cuddle with her afterward if she so desired. She told him ‘thank you’, but she needed solace with the goddess. The adept had nodded, put his robe back on, and left. Left alone with her thoughts, she realized that she was still young enough to bear a child, and with her son now old enough to be on his own, this was, perhaps, the time to remarry.

It was at this moment that light began to grow in the room. Anna sat up and looked with amazement as dots of light began to form into shape in front of her until she saw it was a woman’s form but indistinct.

“Anna Crispen, Anna my faithful follower. I have heard your prayer. I will watch over your son. He will return to you. In return, my temple may ask something of him, encourage him to cooperate and all will be well. Be blessed, my faithful daughter.”

The image began to fade.

“Wait! Goddess, I have a question. A question for myself.”

The image brightened and solidified again.

“Ask your question.”

“Thank you. Will I ever know love again?”

“Yes. But not in the way you think. I will also answer the question unasked – yes, you will bear another child with another man. But it is Lief who will bless me the most. Your other child will belong to another deity. She will not serve me”

“I see. Thank you once again for your patience with your servant.”

The image faded and disappeared.

Anna smiled – love, a child – a girl, and Lief safe. She breathed deeply. Now there was nothing for it but to wait.

Writer’s Notes:

I am sorry for the delay on this series, but I got sick this week and have not felt like much of anything all week. I also have to face the reality that I was going about this all wrong by trying to top down the world design for this series. I have turned it around and designed one character (literally redoing my fighter a third time) a single setting idea and then went forward. The basic idea is that the world will fill in of its own accord as each new character is added and when things need to be answered.

Ultimately this is the roleplaying part of the solo adventure I am doing. I basically am going to play the game and jot things down in the journal. That’s why things won’t always be predictable even for me. I will then take this and turn it into a story for the roleplay part. I will be introducing a new character from time to time and things will grow as I am able.

A few other things:

  1. This series is very adult in its content. I don’t recommend it for kids. I honestly think the Dungeons and Dragons world suffers from a sterility problem in this regard. Expect genuine adult situations, horror, sexual situations, incest, nudity, and violence. If you watched Game of Thrones, nothing will surprise you here. What might be interesting is that multiple races invite some interesting situations. This series will not shy away from rape and murder nor will it be ‘woke’. I want a realistic portrayal and not everyone in the world has ‘modern’ sensibilities.
  2. Part of this is I want to realistically portray the nature of ancient religions and cosmology. It is interesting that Dungeons and Dragons’ mythos centers on creation as an act of war, whereas most pagan myths view it as an act of sexual creation. People in pagan thought tend to look at the world around them and reason to the divine. “My mom and dad had sex and here I am. Where did the universe come from? Two gods had sex and here it is.” For me, proper myth has creative acts in life be creative in myth and destructive acts are destructive.
  3. It should be noted that my world thus views sex in a much more positive and less taboo light. In fact, it is the more evil deities that will encourage celibacy and the destruction of life through things like forbidding sexual expression.
  4. Character Development: Lief Crispen was developed with as many random tables as I could use. I also randomized many elements of his creation to get what I got. This actually will be pretty true for most of the characters you will see. The goal is for me to challenge myself in writing creatively. How do these things go together? How does this background fit the class? etc. Today, I tried to get a basic background for the character presented but chose to do it through his mother. In addition, one of the random background things was the character got a treasure map as a boon. It launched the idea of what happened today. Most characters will be created randomly like this but I will try not to repeat a class and/or subclass until all classes are used.
  5. Character Death: Death is going to happen. I am not going to protect these characters with one exception, the last character standing alive gets protected to keep continuity between the characters in a single story arch, In this case, this centers on Adventures by people from the City of Brightblade.
  6. Adventure Development: I am using The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox Parts 1 and 2 once I get passed these first couple of adventures. For the adventure that is coming and the second one will actually be based on solo adventures from the 1983 Basic Set: You know the one with the cover below. If you played them you are familiar, but I will be adding my own twists. After that, it will be pretty random.

One final note. I will be writing on only this series for a while. I recently realized I am trying to do too many projects. So this is the only thing I will be doing for at least a year. My goal is to get my creativity flowing again and then see what I can do later. I loved D&D as a kid and teen and now I am feeling that growing again and just want to enjoy it. Basically for those that follow my life. It’s Living life, My YouTube Channel, and this series for a year or so.

Other Sources: Player’s Handbook, Dungeons Master’s Guide, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Naughty and Dice: An Adult Gamers Guide to Sexual Situations.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


54 – My Birthday and My Goals for Healthy Next Year

Happy Sif’s Day and Happy Birthday to Me!

I am Detroit Lions Fan so I in general have a respectful hatred for all things Chicago Bears. That said, when I was picking the number 54 to represent one of the best for the number of my age 54, Brian Urlacher went to the front of the class. Got to give the Devil his due. The man could Ball. Linebacker sized, fast as safety, and skilled. I was happy to see him retire so the Lions wouldn’t have to face him twice a year anymore.

So today I turn 54. I can’t lean into my early fifties anymore with that number, we are definitely middle fifties now. I have tried to turn my birthday back in but no one wants to take it. So I guess I will own it for as long as it gets mileage. My birthday has one redeeming feature, it works far better than New Year for changing my life’s course. This year My goal is to get healthy in a lot of areas.

  1. Physically I want to get back to pre-COVID. Muscled. leaned out with good strength, endurance, and flexibility. I was in the best shape of my life in March 2020 and then we all know what happened to take us all away from the gym which in retrospect was a bad thing overall. I want to look the part of the sexy over-50 man, so this is the year.
  2. Emotionally and Mentally I need to be in a better place. To that end, I want to work on getting back to being a creative educator. This may take some time. I also renewed my relationship with my therapist. I am hoping to be more disciplined and focused going forward in my life.
  3. Financial Health needs to be a focus this year. I need more income than working for the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer can provide. This involves creating some income streams outside the norm. As well as looking for better career choices.
  4. Family/Friends: I feel like communication needs to be a focus this year and given that I seem at times to be the source of my family’s anxiety. I want to change that if at all possible. I just tend to be reserved and quiet most of the time.
  5. Love: I would like if at all possible, to be in love by this time next year with a woman who makes me better. I am good being a bachelor, but I mess with having a confident, lover and partner in crime. Not going to force it, but I am looking harder for it.

Well, I have soem work to do. Hopefully tomorrow I will be starting my D&D series and then the rotation for this and a few other projects will be rolling. This year is about learning and implementing things for good personal health in a lot of areas.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Preparation and Research – Update Post (Launch Date – March 18th, 2023)

Happy Sol’s Day!

Just an update post in case people have been wondering where I have been. I have been doing the following three things:

  1. I have been getting my apartment to a place where it is functional with my routines and systems – not quite there yet but I have reached a point where it is the details and not big things, so it won’t be long before I am at a point where I am comfortable in my creative environment.
  2. Research – for writing purposes I have been reading a lot of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition material. It’s good stuff and I find the 5th edition is a good example of things that worked in earlier editions and discarding things that were bad in those editions. Mostly I will be doing a solo adventure serial on this blog based on my solo adventures with my characters seeing right now I don’t have a group to play with. The great thing is that while it is hard to role-play by yourself when you are rolling the dice and doing the mechanics, the journal you do leads to some great stories. But I did make a decision to be very open to my first character being something else. I mean the whole thing is to take random dice rolls and gameplay and turn it into a story. The more random the better and that includes the main character. So I am going to randomize the first character and have the tools to do it now with some of my recent purchases of DnD material.
  3. Preparation – This is mostly in regard to my future YouTube channel as I have decided on a name and a direction. I have made a list of things to do so the Launch Date is set for March 18th for the first video and channel reveal. March 18th is my 54th birthday, so the launch coincides with a milestone for me.

Thanks for sticking around and the new subs. We are about to become more creative as I also have my Grey Avatar series that was just started in late February and soon a sci-fi one as well based on fan writing based on another game I play on PC. I appreciate everyone’s patience, but research and prep have taken up a lot of my time so I am up to speed when things get rolling. Peace.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Grey Avatar – ‘Spiked Coffee’ – Part 1 of a Grey Wayfarer Serial

Happy Sif’s Day!

Grey Avatar – Part 1

I can speak from personal experience that if you are tired enough, you can sleep anywhere. In my case, I was sleeping on a park bench in the city’s main park. I slept here because the police had a tendency to patrol the roads where they could look into the park but rarely got out to deal with the homeless vagabonds like myself. Luckily it was also the middle of spring and the weather was arming up. I could get by with my jacket and trail boots. Didn’t like hats unless it was super cold.

Waking up, I realized I had slept Into mid-morning or so by the sun. It was chilly but not windy. A perfect day in some people’s minds. I sat up and checked all my things. Everything was present from my backpack to my trail boots. I was getting better at being vagabond and homeless.

How long had it been now – a year. That terrible day when my whole life had crumbled. They had pronounced her dead you see – my wife that is. I didn’t go back to work and then one day I just packed everything into my backpack and walked out. I haven’t been back. I have learned how little it takes to be and stay alive since that day.

If you see me on the street though, you would not think me homeless. I know ways to keep my hygiene up to snuff and keep my clothes in good repair. I pay attention to my hygiene and appearance. I even have a debit card and what little I earn goes into it. It’s enough to afford a gym membership to one of those national chains. So always a place to work out and shower is available to me and I use them. I have gotten in good shape (muscled and still standing tall despite my age), and daily showered, brush my teeth, and trim my beard. My beard is getting grey like my medium hair. Try to get a haircut once a couple months and then it is usually a buzz cut (minus the beard) so I can grow it a while before the next haircut.

It’s my eyes that tell you that I am different. If my wife were alive and you asked her, she would tell a tale of how she fell in love with my grey-blue eyes which she would describe as getting lost in the sea after a storm. It’s the one place you can look at my face and still see me as I was – hopeful, but sad. My fifty-five years weigh heavy, but I still stand straight as I can.

I wander. It’s what I do now. I don’t stay in a single place for more than a few weeks. Then I look up the next city that has a gym where I have a membership and move on to that one. I work a little and observe. I do a lot of watching people. Lovers, partners, workers, street vendors, police, and others. I see them all and for a short time watch their story unfold in front of me. Then I write what I see in my notebook. Once a notebook is full, I mail it to a friend to keep for me. She is the only one who knows where I am at all times and is sworn to silence. I don’t have a phone or address, so she can’t write back. But she promised to keep the notebooks until I return to get them.

Today I met a most interesting person. I would not be exaggerating if I were to say this person changed my life forever, but it is one of those tales that may require many entries to tell. I am not even sure of my own sanity at this point which I have heard means I am perfectly sane just perhaps have experienced a shock.

It started with meeting a fellow vagabond. Older than me and looking far more interesting. He looked like a wizard of sorts with his long beard and hair that was pure white. He was wearing a jacket and jeans so that through off the wizard vibes. But he had a long staff-like walking stick that was actually pretty cool with its steel banded ends. I looked a little opulent for him as the rest of him suggested wanderer,

He, interestingly enough, also had a cape with a hood that he kept over his head just enough to hide his eye. Yes, I said eye because where his left eye would be was an eyepatch of black fabric. Under the cape the bulge of a medium-sized backpack was apparent. He walked straight and tall which indicated for his age he must be still in great health and shape. But his face was otherwise lined with lines of concern and courage. If you get that you get that.

He approached me and I stiffened up naturally as I tend to do when I know someone wants to talk to me, but I don’t know who they are. I was intrigued by this man, but I could sense that he was not all he seemed to be on the surface. When he spoke, his voice was both wise and commanding.

“Leif Johanson, I have need of your assistance.”

“How do you know my name?”

“I know many things. Your name is simple enough to know”

I paused here checking my brain for any time I had revealed my true name to anyone. I don’t use it much except when needed for financial or legal matters, which are very few anymore.

“So what do you want with me, seeing you have gone through the trouble of finding out my name?”

“It was very little trouble actually, let’s just say a bird told me.”

It was then I noticed the two ravens. One was sitting on one of the branches near our conversation. For the life of me, I didn’t hear it fly to that spot even though I had been on this bench all morning. The other was further away sitting on a garbage can. Suddenly I felt more watched than ever. An uncomfortable feeling for a people watcher and a wanderer who likes to fly under the radar.

The stranger chuckled at his statement and I was now more uncomfortable.

“So what do you want with me?”

“Well, let’s not talk here. I would rather we talk over coffee. That coffee shop behind us will do. You can hear me out and I will buy you whatever drink you like and given the chill this morning we will both know the simple pleasure of a warm place, a warm drink, and a warm conversation, business though it may be. Will you accept my hospitality and hear me out?”

I did not dislike him but there was something about him that caused me to be on edge. But my ethics about hospitality, seeing he used the word, is that it is rude to turn it down if offered as hospitality. Just as rude as not to give it when necessity demands it.

“Very well, I accept your hospitality sir.”

We entered the coffee shop and found it empty as it was mid-morning. The early rush was over and the staff was waiting for the noon one in a couple of hours. We ordered our drinks. I ordered my standard hot chocolate, as I don’t like hot coffee very much, but I did want a warm-up before I returned to the park. The man I was with ordered black coffee but with a coffee bean I knew was expensive. He had high tastes. Who am I to say anything about this. In the summer I would be buying an iced coffee ( I prefer mine cold) and with the same attention to the bean I wanted. Vagabonds have their rich excentricities at times.

Once we got our drinks which only took the staff a couple minutes we found a seat as far away from the counter as the stranger I was with would walk. He wanted our conversation to be private as much as possible, apparently.

“Yes, this will do.”, he said.

At first, we said nothing as he pulled out a flask from inside his coat and added some of its contents to his coffee, and then offered some to me.

“More of your hospitality?”

“Yes, actually. This is mead. It will both sweeten your drink and enlighten your mind.

I nodded my acceptance, as I felt once again that hospitality rules required it. I didn’t think this man had any more to do with me other than offering me a proposal and this was a public place. I didn’t think the coffee would be spiked.

The mead combined with my hot chocolate was delightful. I actually felt fairly warm after a few sips and I felt a little more alert and mindful. If it was spiked I felt it would do the opposite, so genuinely magical. Perhaps my new acquaintance was a wizard after all or at least an alchemist.

“Thanks, this is very good.”

“Welcome, now to my proposal.”

Then he touched my hand and the world faded from existence.

End of Part 1

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.