This post is approximately 600 words.
In most of the jobs I’ve had, when someone leaves, we pass around a card to sign. Sometimes we chip in for a gift. Writing the perfect goodbye without getting sappy isn’t easy. At least, not for me.
When I learned my manager was leaving, the wheels in my head started turning. We share a love of gaming, and it occurred to me that a custom mini from Hero Forge would be the perfect gift (I love their website and have designed figures based on my characters: Tildy and the Witch – and no, I’m not a spokesperson). My colleagues agreed and we all chipped in.
Unfortunately, he would be leaving before the figure arrived, and I didn’t want to give him an empty card. But as I stared at the rendering I’d created, my character began to breathe. With a little effort, I could bring him fully to life, borrowing some characteristics of my manager along the way. Being a fantasy writer, I easily whipped up 350 words in 30 minutes. Now I had something – and something special – to place into the envelope.
The Short Tale of Grashlor
Nine hundred ninety-nine years ago, a greyblight soulcaster stormed Dragonback’s shores, seeking vengeance on the firedrake wizard, Grashlor. During the previous Wintersfall, the dragon had killed the man’s thieving sister whilst defending his enchanted hoard. By the governance of Man and Dragon, the death was just, though laws matter little when viewed through the eyes of grief.
Knowing he could not slay the dragon, the soulcaster sought a greater revenge, imprisoning Grashlor within the shape of a man. If the great beast could not suffer death’s touch, then he would feel the torment of human sorrow, lamenting the loss of his true form for a thousand years.
Long has Grashlor walked these lands of Men, talking with their face and toiling with their hands, ever-fearing the discovery that he is not one of their own. Despite this, a fondness of their culture has flourished within him, as he discovered a love for the bard’s songs, dice games of chance, and thrilling tales of dungeon crawls by adventurers (in which they would all be mercilessly destroyed after considerable agony).
While his powers diminished within that human shell, still could Grashlor weave wondrous tales by lute or written word, crafting illusory life before the simple eyes of Men. As such, they named him the ‘magical minstrel’, though as usual, human words were too on-the-nose and too inadequate. He sought a better name, but since the Dragonroar language had faded in his mind, he condescended to use their words, naming himself the ‘dragonbard wizard’.
For nine hundred ninety-nine years, he has traveled the lands of Men, seeking to regain his true form, becoming despondent in his failure. But a Dragon’s essence, oh my friends, that cannot be forever confined within mortal bonds. The noble beast within strains against the human flesh of its prison, yearning once again to fly amongst the sentinel pines of his home. More beast he appears than human now, and his Dragon mind has reawakened. The appointed time of his return is not today, but it is soon.
Aside from being a fun bit of writing, this meets one of my writing rules, namely, work writing into everything you can. I find it helps keep me sharp, as well as being entertaining.
In this case, it also made a unique and memorable parting gift.
PS: if The Lost Royals is ever published, this little tale is canon. It borrows aspects from my greater story.
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© Michael Wallevand, August 2017