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151 Images, Last upload Nov 25, 2014

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Bit of a change here. Thought while my rendering capabilities were out of action that I would inflict some of my writing on you! Here is part one of a story that features the characters seen in my image "At The Silver Sabre Tavern". It is intended to be in SCRIPT format so not your usual narrative. I hope you can adjust to the style and enjoy the story. If you like it, let me know and I will continue the tale. WARNING - THE LANGUAGE IN THIS IS PRETTY RAW. NO FLUFFY ELVES OR FAIRIES IN MY FANTASY WORKS.


GRAND MASTER MORDECAI, current head of the Majeer Academy, sits in his private study within the Academy grounds in Neroon City, capital of the Vartanian Empire. It is a large chamber, full of books and objects that hint at mystical intent. One of the walls is dominated by a large map showing the current known world. Sitting at his desk, the Grand Master reads an ancient-looking tome; the writing on the pages is archaic and alien. As he runs his finger across the weird writing, his other hand writes down occasional translated words in a notebook. Resting on the top of the desk, near a corner, is a large diamond shaped crystal sitting in a decorative metal stand.

There is a knock at his door. The Grand Master looks momentarily annoyed at the interruption.


The door to the study opens and a young, attractive, female ATTENDANT enters bearing a rolled up scroll and a battered-looking journal of some kind. She closes the door and approaches the desk.

ATTENDANT - Sorry to disturb you Grand Master, but the expedition has returned from the Arechi Wastes. I have their report here.

The attendant places the scroll on the desk in front of Mordecai. The Grand Master glances at it then points at the journal that the attendant is holding.

GRAND MASTER - And this?

ATTENDANT - Oh! Yes, the expedition found this along with several other artefacts. The others are being examined by our evaluators and Artificers, but I thought you should see this one immediately.

The woman carefully lays the worn booklet down and the Grand Master regards it curiously.

GRAND MASTER - (opens the front cover with one finger) What have we here…?

He then glances up at the attendant.

GRAND MASTER - That will be all.

The attendant bows deeply.

ATTENDANT - Yes, Grand Master.

The attendant exits the study while Mordecai takes a look at the first page of the journal. The writing is in the same alien text as the tome he was translating.

GRAND MASTER - (thinking) Looks like some kind of journal.

Mordecai then picks up the scroll and opens it, unrolling it. He reads the report, his gaze flicking between it and the journal. Once finished with the scroll he stands up and walks over to the door to the study. He opens it and addresses the attendant outside.

GRAND MASTER - I am not to be disturbed until further notice.

ATTENDANT - Yes, Grand Master.

Mordecai closes the door and returns to his desk. He rolls the scroll back up and places it to one side along with the tome and his translations. He then places the worn journal in front of him and begins to read.
TIME PASSES - The Grand Master reads through the journal. Eyes reading the pages, fingers turning them. The room gets darker as time passes. As it gets dark, Mordecai activates a glow-globe which serves as a lamp. Finally reaches the end. Sitting back, the Grand Master muses to himself:

GRAND MASTER - (thinking) So the Arvernian Majeer that fled the Demon incursion intended to set up an outpost in the Karnelian Mountains…

Mordecai stands up and walks over to a large map of the known world that fills a portion of one of the walls. We see that the world is named “TARJERIA” and that there are a few land masses. The names CALADON, VARTANIA, ARECHI, BORIZIA, and SHIMA can be seen.
The Grand Master reaches up and pulls down a transparent film, a bit like OHP paper, that lowers and covers the map. The overlay depicts a different looking world and bears the title “ARVERNIAN EMPIRE” at the top. Mordecai examines the overlay, his finger coming to a stop at a site labelled “KARNELIAN MOUNTAINS”. With a smile of satisfaction, the Grand Master retracts the overlay, keeping his finger in place. It now points to a region in northern Vartania called “COROLAN MOUNTAINS”. He taps it a few times and smiles. He then turns and strides to his study door and pulls it open, addressing his attendant.

GRAND MASTER - Bring me Maximillian Sterling, immediately.

ATTENDANT - At once Grand Master.

The attendant hurries off while Mordecai, closing the door behind him, turns back into the study and walks over to the large diamond shaped crystal resting on his desk. He lays his hand on the crystal and closes his eyes. After a few moments the crystal glows an eerie blue.


The private room on the top floor of the tavern has a single round table in it. The air is smoky, and six people sit around the table playing cards. The tabletop is littered with coin and it is obvious that there is a large pot going on in the current game. There is a single window leading out onto the street below, the evening sky visible through the glass.
Only two of the six players remain in the current game – one is a one-eyed PIRATE, the other is MONIKA KORSCHANSKA – a voluptuous red-head that is currently smoking a large cigar. There is obvious tension between the two as there is a lot of money on the table.

PIRATE - Call.

The pirate lays his cards down and smiles.

CARD PLAYER - A Knight’s Pyramid!

Monika blows out a plume of smoke and then gives a wide grin before laying her hand down on the table.

MONIKA - A Clutch of Dragons.

Everyone gapes in disbelief. This is the best possible hand in the game they are playing. Monika reaches her hands out to pull in the pot.

MONIKA - Well, it’s been a pleasure boys, but it’s time for me to go and spend your money.

The pirate’s hands slam down on top of Monika’s before she can pull the loot in.

PIRATE - Wait! I’ve heard of your reputation, Monika.

There are various sounds of approval from the other players. Monika looks around at them.

MONIKA - I’m known for lots of things, fellas, but if you boys can’t take the heat then stay out of the dragon’s lair.

She then looks right at the pirate.

MONIKA - And unless you want to lose that other eye, I suggest you take your fucking hands off me. Now.

PIRATE - You’re not going anywhere!

As if on cue, the four other players all stand up, two grabbing Monika and holding her arms. The other two men go and stand by the door while the pirate walks around the table to stand opposite Monika.

MONIKA - You’re making a mistake…


The pirate reaches out and takes the cigar from Monika’s mouth. He places it in his own mouth, takes a drag, and blows a plume of smoke in the woman’s face. He then addresses the other players.

PIRATE - Well guys, I think this bitch has cheated us. A Clutch of Dragons? In all my years, I’ve never seen one played. But, I’m not going to make such an accusation without proof. (smirks) That just wouldn’t be fair. Best check her for hidden cards, eh?

The others grin and murmur in approval. The pirate then reaches out and yanks open Monika’s top, exposing her breasts.

PIRATE - Well, no cards here…

MONIKA - You son of a whore!

The pirate and other men begin to laugh. It is cut abruptly short as Monika rams her knee up between the pirate’s legs. HARD! The pirate spits out the cigar before collapsing in a heap. Before the others can react, Monika slams a booted heel down into the toes of one of the men holding her. It’s enough for him to release his grip and hop backwards. In the next instant she throws her head back and there is a sickening CRUNCH as her skull connects with the nose of the other man holding her. He staggers back, clutching his nose. Monika turns as one of the men by the door runs at her. She nimbly falls backwards, grabbing the man’s arm and putting a foot into his chest as she then lands on the floor and sends the man over her and sailing through the air. He smashes through the window and out onto the streets below. Monika then flips back to her feet just as the man she kicked in the foot comes at her. She easily evades his clumsy attack and strikes him hard in the throat, instantly dropping him. The man with the bloody nose charges in rage and Monika catches his punch, steps and twists his wrist, sending him over in a throw that crashes him down onto the table. He lies still among the shattered wood and scattered money and cards. Monika then turns to the last remaining man by the door, who has stood and done nothing during the fight. She readjusts her top, covering herself again.

MONIKA - Well?

CARD PLAYER - Hells no! Far as I’m concerned you won fair and square!

Monika smirks then begins to put her winnings into one of her belt pouches. She spots her cigar and picks it up, placing it back between her lips. She then stands over the still groaning pirate, looks pointedly at the last man standing, then kicks the pirate HARD in the gut. The pirate groans in agony and the other man opens the door for Monika. The red-head walks to the exit but pauses in front of the remaining man. She puts a hand behind her back.

MONIKA - Hold out your hand.

The man does as instructed and Monika reveals her hidden hand. A stack of previously concealed cards fall down into the man’s open hand.

MONIKA - Life’s a bitch, huh?

She walks out, laughing to herself. Just then a bracelet around her wrist begins to glow the same blue colour as the crystal that the Grand Master used.

MONIKA - (blows out a long plume of smoke) - A woman’s work is never done…


The Labyrinth Forest is a vast maze of dense trees and foliage on the outskirts of the Vartanian capital of Neroon City, where the Majeer Academy is located. Only a few know their way in and out of the deep depths of the forest. Consequently, it is often used as a hiding place for bandits, thieves, and all manner of other unsavoury characters.

Within a clearing we find a small group of such characters. Three bandits sit around a campfire. There are a few tents and stacks of stolen produce and goods, indicating that it is a fairly permanent set-up. Huddled against a rock with her hands and feet bound, and her mouth gagged, is a young, battered-looking woman in a ripped and torn dress that was obviously once of good quality.

BANDIT 1 - I’d have thought Petyr would’ve been back by now…

BANDIT 2 - (worried) Maybe he’s been caught delivering the demands.

BANDIT 1 - (now also worried) Maybe they’re torturing our location out of him now…

BANDIT 2 - Gods, maybe the Majeer have mind-fucked him and he’s spilled it all! We should move! Just kill the girl and run!

The third bandit speaks up at this point.

BANDIT LEADER - Shut the fuck up, both of you! We ain’t going anywhere! Now stop sweating like a couple of virgins. Petyr’s probably just being careful he doesn’t get caught. He’s a professional – which is more than I can say for you two at the moment! Besides, none of the Majeer or any of the Imperial Stormcrows have ever dared venture this far into the Labyrinth.

The other bandits fall into sullen silence. A few moments pass and Bandit 2 glances over at the bound girl.

BANDIT 2 - Aw, fuck it. I’m gonna give her another go while we’re waiting.

BANDIT 1 - You’ve already had her twice tonight!

BANDIT 2 - I’ve got a large appetite!

BANDIT LEADER - (laughing) We know, you fat cunt!

Bandit 2 stands up and walks over to the girl. She begins to make muffled screams and tries to crawl away. This amuses the bandit.

BANDIT 2 - Where you going, girl? Ain’t you realised yet that no one’s going to come and save you? You’re mine to-

The bandit’s voice is cut short as an arrow flies from outside the edge of the clearing and pierces his throat! He stands for a gurgling moment with a look of surprise on his face then drops to his knees before falling over dead. The other bandits scramble to their feet, grabbing weapons and trying to see the attacker. Just then, an object sails into the clearing, hits the ground and bounces to a halt at the feet of the bandits. It’s a severed head.

BANDIT 1 - Petyr!

A second arrow flies from the darkness beyond the clearing and strikes Bandit 1 in the eye. He drops. The leader runs to the bound girl and hauls her up, putting his sword to her throat.

BANDIT LEADER - Show yourself or I’ll cut this bitch’s throat!

He stands for a moment, eyes scanning the edge of the clearing. We then see a woman in Ranger’s gear step out into the clearing, bow raised and arrow aimed at the bandit. This is SARAH MASTERS – former Stromcrow turned tracker, and bounty hunter.

SARAH - Let her go and you may make it out of here to face trial.

BANDIT LEADER - Shit on that! Drop the bow or I’ll slit her throat!

SARAH - Not going to happen. The Imperial Justicar may be merciful if you let her go. Cut her, and I won’t be.

BANDIT LEADER - You call getting mind-fucked by those Majeer bastards “merciful”? Fuck that! And fuck YOU!

The Bandit Leader adjusts his position slightly as he prepares to cut and Sarah sees her opportunity. Lowering her aim, she lets an arrow fly. It streaks between the hostage’s legs and thuds into the bandit’s knee. The man shrieks and releases his grip on the girl. She struggles to hop away from him and the bandit yells in rage and pain and raises his blade to stab the girl in the back. An arrow flies and impales the man’s sword hand. He drops the weapon then falls back onto the ground, his other hand going to his ruined knee. Sarah quickly runs over to the hostage and pulls her knife out. She swiftly cuts the woman’s bonds and takes off the gag. The woman holds Sarah and sobs. Sarah comforts her.

SARAH - It’s okay, you’re going to be alright. Your father hired me to find you. I’m here to take you home.

Sarah gently pushes the girl away.

SARAH - Stay here a moment.

The Ranger walks over to the Bandit Leader and kneels down beside him, pulling out a long knife.

BANDIT LEADER - No. Please no! Take me in! You said you’d take me in!

SARAH - I was lying.

Before the Bandit Leader can make another sound, Sarah stabs the knife into his throat, twists, and pulls it out. Blood swiftly pumps out of the ruined neck and the Bandit Leader quickly expires with a wet gurgle. Sarah wipes the knife’s blade on the dead man’s shirt and stands up, sheathing the weapon. As she stands, a gem necklace around her neck begins to radiate a soft blue light.
The Ranger tucks the necklace under her shirt and walks back to the girl. She then takes her by the hand.

SARAH - Come on, your father is waiting for you.

The Ranger leads the traumatised girl out of the clearing.


A small crowd of patrons has gathered outside the back of the tavern and has formed a circle around two men. The men are obviously warriors, each having a sword belted at their hips. One is ARAN MONTOYA, an olive-skinned swordsman from the southern province of Laurencia. The other is a CHALLENGER. The warriors have fashioned themselves sword-sized sticks from tree branches and the challenger is giving his a few experimental swings while Aran stands casually.

CHALLENGER - You ready?

Aran shrugs.

CHALLENGER - Huh! Well, I’m coming!

He shuffles forwards, adopting various poses and making various noises. Aran stands and looks slightly amused. As the range between them closes to just outside of branch length, the challenger lets out a loud war-cry and leaps at Aran, swinging the stick as if he means to cave the man’s head in. Aran waits until the last possible moment then steps nimbly to the side and places his stick on the back of the challenger’s neck.

ARAN - (speaking with something like a Spanish accent) Dead, I win.

The crowd laughs and cheers. This infuriates the challenger. He yells again and swings around in a decapitating move. Aran gracefully ducks under the wild strike and places his stick on the challenger’s stomach.

ARAN - Dead again, my friend.

The challenger bellows a roar and swings multiple strikes at Aran. The duellist easily dodges each slash without having to parry a single blow. He then finds his opening as the challenger unbalances himself and sweeps the man’s legs away with his stick. The challenger falls flat on his back and finds Aran’s stick at his throat.

ARAN - (smiling) Dead once more.

Aran kicks the challenger’s stick away and turns to walk back to the rear entrance of the Silver Sabre to finish his drink. The challenger scrambles to his feet and there is the distinct SOUND of STEEL GETTING DRAWN. The crowd grows excited.

CHALLENGER - Draw your sword!

ARAN - Come now, there is no need for this my friend. The game is over and you lost. But there is no shame in it, for I am Aran Montoya, the greatest swordsman in all of Laurencia. Put away your weapon and let me buy you a drink.

CHALLENGER - Piss on your drink! Piss on Laurencia! And piss on you! Now draw steel!

ARAN - You need a lesson in manners, my friend. Come at me then, and let me instruct you with my trusty stick.

The crowd laughs and the challenger lets out another war-cry and begins to run at Aran. The swordsman remains in his casual pose, still holding the stick. Just then, there is the SOUND of BREAKING GLASS from above and shards of shattered window fall into the yard. A second later a man plummets from above and crashes into the charging challenger, flattening him! The crowd gasp as one and everyone looks up. At the top of the building is a broken window. Aran lets out an amused snort.

ARAN - Evidently, Monika is enjoying her own game as well!

A few of the crowd know of the card game upstairs in the private room and they laugh at Aran’s comment. Just then, a gem embedded in one of his wrist guards begins to glow blue. Aran sees it and address the crowd.

ARAN - Alas my friends, duty calls. Until next time!

He raises his stick in a mock salute to the fallen challenger then walks off without waiting for Monika to come downstairs. The crowd raise a few mugs to him before returning to the tavern, leaving the two men either unconscious or dead on the ground outside.


In a small private room within the Academy, MAXAMILLIAN STERLING lies on his bed in a relaxed pose, his hands folded casually behind his head. Floating in the air a couple of feet away from his face is a book. There is also a glow-globe floating nearby, providing light for him to read. A page of the book turns, seemingly of its own volition. Wee SEE the title of the book is NIGHT OF THE SUCCUBUS. Max has a smirk on his face and we then SEE one of the pages contains a saucy illustration of a voluptuous demon-woman literally screwing a man to death.
There is a knock at the chamber door and Max looks startled, as if caught in the act! He points to his bookshelf and the demon porn novel slams closed and flies to an empty niche among the books there. Max quickly sits up and hurriedly adopts a meditative position.

MAX - Come in.

The door opens and the Grand Master’s attendant stands in the doorway.

ATTENDANT - Max, the Grand Master summons you. Immediately.

Max throws a guilty sidelong glance at the book he was just reading then looks back at the attendant.

MAX - Erm… what for?

ATTENDANT - I don’t know! Look, just come on will you? It’s my ass if the Old Man is kept waiting!

Max glances at the robed woman and smirks.

MAX - And it’s such a fine ass…

ATTENDANT - (sighs) Will you just come on?!

MAX - Okay, okay.

The young Majeer stands up and follows the attendant out of his room, closing the door as he leaves. As it closes, the glow-globe falls onto the bed and goes out.


September 10, 2012
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Image Comments

Sep 10, 2012 7:49:27 am
Awesome writing, a great story so far and can't wait for more. Fits the image to a tee.

by barryjeffer Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 7:49:34 am
Very nice scene! The lightning is superb.

by odile Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 9:34:45 am
Super cool. I thank you for this one. Great on your part. 5+!!!

by Fidelity2 Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 10:13:40 am
That's quite a story, Mr. Z.
Cool lighting!

by bodo_56 Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 10:27:14 am
Really nice work

by bebopdlx Online Now!   Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 1:27:46 pm
Excellent Image and Lighting,Splendid Work

by artistheat Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 1:36:58 pm
Great story Alex! Brings them all together and shows their various talents and personalities very well. What I want to know is how you managed to post so much text!? I love this picture. Hope you get your pc fixed soon.

by SidheRoseGraphics Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 1:38:19 pm
Well done lots of shady characters

by spdskool Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 2:12:01 pm
Excellent work. A lot going on here and well written and clear. Well done fight descriptions. Great story.

by adorety Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 2:54:23 pm
Marvelous lighting my friend, beautiful composition and characters!

by mgtcs Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 6:33:56 pm
Excellent image, of course, but a great story as well- please do continue!!

by jonnar01 Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 8:32:42 pm
I love it! More, more!

This is superbly written, Alex - I really like the style. Fits perfectly with your excellent image, my friend!

by RodS Online Now!   Homepage »

Sep 10, 2012 8:37:35 pm
excellent - great dialog

by Tracesl Homepage »

Sep 11, 2012 12:19:30 pm
Nicely done! Your succinct style is perfect for a script. Excellent writing!

by auntietk Homepage »

Sep 11, 2012 2:52:03 pm
Indeed, this is great writing and an intriguing style~ A fantastic first chapter to compliment your illustration, Alex =) Looking forward to more! Top class story and scene!

by TheOwl68 Homepage »

Sep 12, 2012 11:23:25 am
A beautiful and well crafted story Bigman. I love how you weave a story around your characters. Very patient indeed, unlike some of your audience I assume, judging from your previous comment. Worth reading, especially when someone takes this much time to write it in the first place. Ohh and I didn't think this waws "Gritty" enough - more ... more ..... :)

by Froggy Homepage »


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