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Author Topic: The Eye of Skanris Keep - A Ghost Story (finished)  (Read 10168 times)
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #30 on: 25 February 2008, 05:02:56 »

Short update here: I have 3 1/2 pages more by now (not posted), and the last 1/2 page of that is the very end of the story, which is now completed (all in all we've got 21 pages...).

However, at least one more page or 1 1/2 pages are still needed as a bridge to the end. I need more ideas so that this part also is somewhat interesting, so this can take 1-2 more days. Well, that's what you get when you want to write a story properly - it swallows lots and lots of time! huh
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« Reply #31 on: 25 February 2008, 15:27:18 »

Okay, here's the promised read-through!

Browninday, 4th of Fallen Leaf
The next morning my head hurt, my bones were aching and my memory was lacking. I awoke cowering (I am not sure this is the right word--do you mean "trembling with fear"? Or was Fjorek actually "huddled against" the nightstand?) near my nightstand with no recollection whatsoever at first what had transpired the night before. Then I slowly began to remember bits and pieces. Did I really see someone shouting for help out at sea? Was it a ghost or a real person? Or was it just a feverish hallucination, a nightmare caused by the images with which the caretaker had confronted me? I had seen that scene so lucidly in the moonlight, everything had seemed so real that I found it impossible now to deny it... I felt confused and frustrated, as utterly helpless as I hadn’t been able to save that swimmer – if it had existed at all outside of my mind. A life might have depended on me. I shivered. But concerning the woman from Jovdur’s narration I didn’t know the difference anymore between life and death, between spook and fact. At the same time I tried to convince myself that it could just have been my drowsiness that had brought up those thoughts and my vague fear. Or I was going insane...

As I sat on my bed, I heard voices from the outdoors that grew louder. I peeked out of the window, thinking that my host might finally have arrived, but all I could see were two of the villagers I had encountered at the tavern. They were engaged in a conversation with Jovdur. It didn’t appear to be a pleasant visit, as there was quite an argument going on, and finally both men left, obviously infuriated.

Well, it was just another thing I couldn’t understand right now, but there must be a reasonable explanation for it. However, I got a chilling sensation running down my spine at the thought that these men might have found a stranded body this morning. And what I still doubted at the moment could suddenly be revealed to be a shocking truth... Would such a death, similar to the woman who died here, be a coincidence? Or fate?

Feeling healthy enough and ready to get some questions answered I got dressed and descended the staircase from my tower.

„Good morning, Fjorek!“ Jovdur welcomed me down at the hall. „Feeling better already? Did Udvig’s soup help?“

I affirmed this and thanked him for their care. In return I asked about the arrival of my host, and cautiously added a question whether something extraordinary had happened of which I should perhaps be aware.

„I fear no news yet from the master’s arrival,“ Jovdur said, „but I’m confident that it can only last another day or two. And don’t you concern yourself with the villagers, who you might just have seen. It is nothing that should bother you, believe me. – Come, don’t worry too much, let’s have some breakfast.“ And with that he shoved me into the dining hall.

It appeared to me that the caretaker waspurposefully avoiding answering my questions for some reason, but nevertheless I followed him. I still had many things to learn, and today would be the day, I vowed.

*******************************
 
While we ate I told Jovdur what I had seen – or dreamed – during the night. He listened intently to my odd narration, and then agreed to accompany me down to the docks to help me investigate. I was expectant, yet scared that there was indeed something to be found there. The purpose of my journey, the arrival of my host and my business I had already forgotten.

Nearly an hour later I had searched the coast as thoroughly as I could, but I finally was forced – and somehow relieved – to agree with Jovdur. He had been convinced all along that I wouldn’t find anything. A vast area below the cliff was covered with rocks and difficult to reach, yet there was nothing suspicious to be noticed at all. Jovdur and I both ended up at the only small landing dock at the foot of the keep’s hill, a rowing boat moored to it. I squatted down and looked out at the sea, the fog coming in from the Fens still swirling around spookily.

„No person and no ghost we will find today, I fear, Fjorek,“ the old man remarked, stating the obvious.

„I suppose you are right,“ I answered. „Yet, ghosts probably wouldn’t show up in daylight, or would they? If I have seen the woman who cursed the Jorn, then...“

„You didn’t see the woman who had cursed the Jorn,“ Jovdur objected resolutely. „She didn’t die drowning in the sea, you must know. I found her myself smashed at the rocks below the cliff, and it was I who laid her in a coffin in the keep’s crypt, unbeknownst to the Jorn back then. She rests now next to her murderer, and his dead wife and children. The curse felled them, sacrificed them to her, until the keep had extinguished the former master himself and everything became abandoned here. Nobody wanted to live in a cursed castle anymore.“

„You still haven’t told me how they died, Jovdur. Did the woman’s ghost appear again to those she killed?“

„No, there was no need. She had given her gift to the Jorn and his family and had cursed the keep. And so the keep took them. The Eye took them, guided them to their own death.“

„What do you mean by that? How did it all happen exactly?“ I wanted to know.

„Days after the Jorn’s celebration and the visit of the unwelcome visitor I noticed a considerable change in him. While he had been dominant, short-tempered, selfish and vile before, he now was anxious, cautious, caring and even sympathetic – or he attempted to be.

He told me one day why: Because he somehow knew in his mind how he would die, just as the woman that had cursed him had known the circumstances of her own death. Yet she hadn’t been able to escape it. And so from time to time the Jorn had a vision as well where he could watch through his own eyes how he was tying the knot on a rope to form a sling, which he then put around his neck. He recounted to me in horrifying detail how he would hang himself from a beam right outside his bedroom’s window up in the tower, how he would look down on the people gathering below before everything became dark.

I must add that he laughed these thoughts and visions off initially. He also didn’t particularly feel remorse or guilt about what he had done. The Twelve and their teachings regarding how men should treat each other were mere inconveniences for him and so he simply avoided them. When asked what he thought about the gift of the Eye and his visions he brushed it away. He seemed determined to see the ghost’s appearance as a scare of whatever macanti had managed to pull off such a bad joke, and he said that it worked in a way, as his mind was always thinking about the gift of the Eye. Thus he explained why the thought about his own death and that he would be his own executioner was always present. – Yet he was not the only one who had received the gift.“

Jovdur sighed and took a deep breath. „Not too long after the Jorn’s infamous birthing day he planned to go on a long promised hunting trip with his two sons. They were twins in their seventeenth cycle and he loved them both dearly.

But only a few days before that trip I remember that Anvin said to his brother that he had had a dream in which he shot a stag. When he pulled the beast out of the undergrowth on its antlers, he startled, as he saw that it was actually his brother Thorrans. Thorrans laughed when he heard that story, as he said that his brother had recounted his own dream, in which the beast turned out to be Anvin. He then accused his brother of having overheard him telling the dream to someone else and, not liking its outcome, twisted the ending and claimed the dream for himself.

The Jorn, as far as I know, didn’t hear about these dreams. Off he went, hunting with his sons. But back he brought two dead bodies. I can see this disastrous image right before my eye: An arrow was protruding from Thorran’s chest and another one had pierced Anvin’s neck. Brother had shot brother, thinking the other to be game. The Lord Kjorskum was shocked as was Lady Hranre, whose hair turned white that very night when she received the news of the fatal accident. The villagers of course started to talk about the curse that had hit Skanris Keep, and very soon it would strike again.

One day in Sleeping Dreameress, Lady Hranre was walking with me along the battlements of the keep. We inspected the gardens from above in order to talk about the arrangements of the plants that were to be prepared for the next season. It was Lighttrive and a wonderful day, yet the Lady was still grieving about the loss of her sons, and her thoughts were often elsewhere. I remember that she didn’t talk much and mostly agreed to my proposals. When we went up the southern tower, she suddenly broke out in tears when she looked down. One of the maids tried to comfort her, thinking that the memory of her lost sons had hit Lady Hranre all of  a sudden. But the Lady said that she was beyond help, and that it wasn’t about her sons. Then she pointed downwards and made a terrified scream:
‚Can’t you see?’ she said hysterically.

The maid and I looked down, but we didn’t know what she was talking about. We looked at each other questioningly.

‚That woman there... That woman which is lying there... She is dead!’ Lady Hranre seemed to be confused. We looked down again, but we couldn’t make out any woman in the courtyard. ‚It is me...’ she shrieked.

And the third time we looked... – by the Twelve!“

Jovdur paused and shook his head. „Yes, Fjorek. Whether she jumped to her death on purpose or it was the vision of the Eye that drew her to her fate – well, it matters not as the outcome was the same. But another part of the prophecy had come true.

The Jorn at least, he finally accepted the curse. As at the hour of Lastflame on that same day that his wife had fallen to her death, the Jorn was hanging on that beam outside his bedroom window. Below the servants gathered running around nervously, pointing and shouting – and it was just the way he had seen it through the gift he had received.“

Jovdur looked at me thoughtfully. „And now you know why ever since people have avoided the keep. Many still believe in a curse on the keep, even though the Jorn and his wife and sons are all gone now.“

„You and your wife believe that the deaths were all the curse’s doing?“ I asked.

„Why wouldn’t we believe in it? I’ve seen the woman before and after her death, I’ve made her gravestone. I’ve accompanied every single one of her victims to the family crypt. This I owe her.“

„And what about the spook I saw last night? Do you think the castle’s still haunted in a way despite the Jorn is dead already? How and why could that be? Are the spirits of the dead still haunting the living?“

„I’m sorry, Fjorek,“ Jovdur replied dryly. „But you said yourself that you felt delirious yesterday and I know for sure that you had a high fever in the evening when I brought you up to your bed. Also those people who once in a while visit the keep bring the ghosts themselves, I tell you. If you expect to live in a haunted castle, you might also think to see a proof that the ghost really exists...“

„I hear you, Jovdur,“ I said. „Thanks for being so direct with me. Others might have called me outright crazy upon listening to my story.“

„Ah, you mustn’t believe that, Fjorek,“ Jovdur said and turned around. „But excuse me now, I need to get back to making further preparations for my new master’s arrival. I’ll see you later then.“ He bowed and left me back with my thoughts, watching the waves of the sea rolling to the shore, again and again.

**********************

Later that day I started writing these pages. I thought that the wait for the arrival of the new Lord provided me with ample time to put together that story about the curse of Skanris Keep. And above all, reflect on it somewhat objectively. The whole tale has its interesting, yet unsettling moments which a ghost story needs and will catch the attention of an audience if recounted properly, of that I’m sure. I have a few friends, among them a storyteller and also a respected scholar of the Starcharts Astrendum, maybe they know better of what to make of that curse than I did in my feverish delirium.

But yes, I’ve come to the conclusion that this was all that there was to it when I saw the apparition out there at night – a hallucination caused by my own sickness. My mind just was too occupied with what I had heard. So even I, a born skeptic, for a moment fell for that curse story. Unlike the old Jovdur, who actually claims to have seen it all, I still don’t believe in the make-believe „facts“ of what was going on. The Jorn might have been right that a macanti played a trick on him on that birthday feast. And the deaths of the whole Kjorskum family? Well, these could have been accidents, coincidences that were taken for fate and led to other devastating consequences. Folk tales draw their superstitions from the weirdest sources, and this is what ghost stories are basically made of. Maybe the dreams Jovdur told me about were fabricated afterwards, or Jovdur interpreted them that way later. It is interesting to know however that this particular tale dates back no more than a few decades, so the memory of the people should be still fresh...

I admit, there are some questions that remain unanswered. But anyway, I’m looking forward to discuss these fascinating happenings maybe with the new Lord soon, and of course with my friends while having dwarven ale sometime later.
 
***************************

This night something entirely unexpected happened.

Having spent most of the day writing, I went to bed at Tenumbre, the 15th hour of the day. After dinner Jovdur and his wife had withdrawn early to their quarters, so I continued working on my notes a while up in my room. Unfortunately there still was no sign of the Lord’s arrival yet, nor had we received a message from him, so I finally went to bed in hopes that tomorrow would be the day.

Not long after I had blown out the candles on my nightstand, I heard a strange, scratching noise. It clearly came from the outside and was repeated after a while, again and again. Then it appeared to me as if I heard blankets being beat by the wind, and then... – there were four loud knocks. It was at that moment that I sprang up and rushed to the window, opening it.

A gust of wind hit my face, but more shocking was what I saw: Just a few peds in front of me, standing on the roof of the building facing my tower there was a figure. While halfway hidden by shadows, the moonlight nevertheless illuminated enough of it, so that I could recognize the grey cloak, the long flowing hair and the staff it was holding. It stood there, unmoving, staring at me. I gasped. The cold night’s air convinced me that I was not dreaming.

„What...“ I stared at the figure disbelievingly.

„Come to me...“ a hoarse voice croaked. „Come... I’ll be waiting...“ And then the figure disappeared from my view, melting with the shadows.

Quick-wittedly I threw a jacket over my shoulders and dashed out of room, running down the stairs. When I tried to get out of the tower I noticed that the door was locked from the inside. However, the key was hanging right beside it, so I grabbed it immediately, unlocked the door and was already on my way towards the abandoned building where I had seen the haunting figure on the roof. But it wasn’t necessary to go in.

The figure was already standing in the doorway.

„I commend you, Fjorek... I am pleased to meet you.“ And with that the figure lifted the hood from its face...

„...“
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #32 on: 26 February 2008, 06:44:10 »

rolling  Eeeee this is great!  What a cliff-hanger!  lol  I am so excited to read what happens next! 

I always have some comments which I think of when I am reading it, but by the time I get to the end, the excitement pushes the thoughts out of my head  lol  I will go through and make some comments after you have it all up, I think. 

The only ones which I can remember was that
- it might be good to show that the macanti has long hair when we first meet her, and
- you could recall to us a little more often that Jovdur has a lisp - perhaps by the way you write some of his words?  Though that might seem comical if you weren't careful.  Otherwise just by mentioning it again.

Great story, Art!
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« Reply #33 on: 27 February 2008, 07:04:14 »

Ok, it's finished. The first post exceeded the maximum of characters allowed, so you find the last paragraphs in the second post - just scroll down further. Alysse's corrections were also taken in. I will still also have to tweak a few final things, e.g. what Grunok mentioned, but the story is done now, 23 pages written. Hope you enjoy! cool

Story continues from the last cliff-hanger at "I commend you, Fjorek" - so just search for that to read on.
« Last Edit: 27 February 2008, 07:05:50 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



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« Reply #34 on: 27 February 2008, 13:02:22 »

Coments in orange again.


„Aimen!“ I shouted.

It was the youth from the village. It was he who had led me into the tavern a couple of days ago before Jovdur had picked me up. And now he... I had no words, just stared at him and the ridiculous costume he was wearing. „What –...? How –...? Why?“ I desperately tried to find ways to express myself and failed miserably.

„Ssssh...“ Aimen whispered. „I hope we didn’t make too much noise. Come, we need to talk!“ He led me inside the building from which he had appeared. „It’s safe to talk here, we must avoid bein’ heard by the caretaker at all costs.“

Reluctantly I followed him in. I looked around first, as I wasn’t sure what to expect from an uninvited midnight visitor in a ghost’s robe. He seemed to be alone, however, and appeared sincere in his desire to  speak with me.  And as the shock wore off, I was angry--very angry.  (I added this line because it seems to make sense that Fjorek would be.  He would think that Aimen is trying to make a fool of him, or some such thing.)

„What are you trying to pull off here?“ I inquired furiously, once we were inside.

 „I needed to get ye out of the tower, Fjorek. Ye need to understand. The caretaker wouldn’t let us in this mornin’ to talk to ye, and he has locked the door at night so that I couldn’t sneak in either. But by breaking the lock to this buildin’ I managed to get up right before ye window and draw ye attention to me.“ Aimen recounted his story as if it were the most usual thing in the world he could have done to get in contact with me.

„So? Even if this might be the case that Jovdur doesn’t want you around here, I still do not see why you saw fit to dress like this,“ I argued doubtfully, still angry for the fright he had given me.

„To scare ye if ye wanted it that way,“ Aimen added mysteriously. Then he explained it further. „See, I thought, either ye don’t believe in the curse – then ye would try to hunt that person down. I am glad ye did, as that’s why I can talk to ye now. I lured you out, lad. On the other hand I thought: If you believe in it, then the apparition of the Lady with the Eye gives ye a good argument to leave this place. – Either way, that’s what I’ve come to tell ye, Fjorek: Go, while you still can!“ (Your use of "ye" and "you" is inconsistent here, you should probably look at that and decide what is appropriate for Avenorrian speech patterns and language usage--I'm not sure that there are definite rules about this yet.)
I raised an eyebrow. „I remember you told me this already back in the tavern, haven’t you? So why risk getting in here? What more should I fear that you haven’t told me yet?“
„That we believe that thecaretaker is a murderer.“

„Jovdur? You must be joking!“ I exclaimed, waving the allegation off instantly. I didn’t know the man that well after these few days, but it seemed impossible to me to picture him strangling or stabbing someone. „Who do you say he has murdered?“

„The Jorn Margeir Kjorskum. And his wife and perhaps even his children, over a score of years ago now.“ Aimen seemed certain.

„How could that be?“ I asked perplexed.

„I’m sure he has told ye the whole story about the curse, it’s all he is talkin’ about, isn’t it? But many villagers think that the tale is just fabricated and that a macanti actually helped him to make things appear as if that woman had actually returned from the dead.

I wasn’t even born back then when it happened, Fjorek, but this is what the elders related to me: That Jovdur spoke of the dreams of the Jorn’s sons only once they were dead to make it appear as if the curse were the reason for the accident. And he might have pushed the Jorn’s wife down that tower himself, just as the Jorn supposedly pushed this unfortunate woman down the cliff. Afterwards it was easy to claim that Lady Hranre had seen her dead self down there before she died, and people would see it as a proof of the machinations of the Eye. – And the Jorn? Well, he wasn’t liked very much, and whether he really had these visions about his own death, only Jovdur knows, as it was him he trusted the most...“

„That is quite a speculation you have put together...But what would he have gained by committing such hideous crimes?“ I wanted to know.

„I can’t say, Fjorek, if it is true, then it is still his secret. Nobody could prove the things I told ye about, mind ye, but the rumours haven’t ceased since he lives in this keep. The people shun him. I thought ye ought to know, as ye have been his only visitor in years.“ Aimen looked at me pleadingly. „Please, ye must flee. We tell the people who want to go up there that the castle is cursed, this keeps them away usually, but ye would not hear us. The caretaker is a madman and a liar.“

 „Well, thanks for your concerns, though I consider them unfounded and as murky as that curse story. I’m not here on a vacation nor to visit the caretaker, Aimen, I’m here to do business with the new Lord of the keep, who should arrive any moment.“

„See, this is why I finally did come,“ Aimen retorted. „Has this Lord ye speak of arrived yet?“

„Not yet, but in the letter I received he suggested to come as quickly as possible. Apparently I was too early, or else the Lord  is delayed.“

„Fjorek, there is nobody in the village who knows of a new Lord of Skanris Keep. And rest assured, we would know if someone were to arrive soon. The head of Skulje would need to be informed, ye’d see people makin’ arrangements and transportin’ stuff. None of these things have happened. The caretaker is lyin’. And while I don’t know why he brought ye here, I would be very careful in his presence.“

Aimen opened the door of the building we were hiding in and peered out. Then he pointed to my tower window.

„See?“ Above the window a beam was protruding.

„What about that beam?“

„Ye've got the Jorn’s chamber, Fjorek...“

****************************
 
Aimen had left and my head was spinning. All this guesswork made me insecure, doubtful and challenged me how to progress after everything I had experienced.

Could it really be that the curse was just an invention and that Jovdur hid an even darker secret? If he had just made up the curse in order to pursue a certain goal, then why would he drag me here to do business with a Lord that didn’t exist, years and years after it all happened? It didn’t make sense to me. If the curse was fake, then did that woman who the Jorn supposedly killed exist at all? Jovdur was the only one who had witnessed her death... Or did she die in another way than the caretaker made everyone believe and there is more to the curse’s fabrication than meets the eye...

I was still standing outside, lost in thought. At the very moment I started to return to my chamber again, I heard the scream.

I spun around and ended up looking towards the archway in the keep’s outer wall. There a passage led down to the docks where I had searched for a stranded body in the morning, but had found none. It was spookily foggy again out at sea, and I shivered. The screams came from the sea, unintelligible, yet loud, and there were also these unmistakable noises of someone fighting with the water, drowning, just like the night before. It must have been around the same time as well, I realized.

I ran down the stairs to the docks, where I knew a rowing boat was moored. I jumped in, untied it, and frenetically started to row towards the screams. I clearly saw a person out there when I started rowing, but I didn’t get very far. The screams had suddenly ceased.
I paused and listened with bated breath for a hint as to which direction I should continue rowing, dipping the oars just slightly into the water to be able to turn the boat immediately. Nothing. All was quiet again, dead quiet. Maybe I was too late this time. Then I heard croaking out of nowhere, the croaking of a raven, and heavy wings beating. I looked up, but whatever had been there a moment ago was now swallowed by the night.

Gnomesday, 5th of Fallen Leaf
I have not given up, but I’m close to it. The incidents last night at first made me dubious about my host, but then I began to believe for sure that the place is haunted when I saw that drowning person for a second time. I cannot quite explain it, but there is a secret lingering here I have yet to unveil. I appreciate Aimen’s concern, and there are some indicators that Jovdur has not told me everything he knows. But is he mad? No, he seems to be a dutiful, correct, even pious man who cares for the Armourlord’s shrine. Would he do me harm? I don’t think so. There is no reason for it, and he has treated me well. Why should he call me to this place if he knew that there is no Lord to arrive? I doubt it.

The villagers have their own point of view on the matter of course. Superstition is a good source for these people as it helps to come up with a good tale in order to simply deny what one cannot explain. Like a ghost story, which we seem to have here. Ha, I’m already sounding like a defender of something I cannot explain myself! Yes, I admit, it is strange. But no, despite all bad omens, I won’t leave Skanris Keep today. I’ve taken precautions to defend myself for today, and tomorrow I’ll be gone should my business partner still not arrive. And it does not seem that way.

Certainly I spoke with Jovdur today, and I looked at him in another light, but I couldn’t see a murderer. I tried to keep the conversation brief, however, didn’t mention anything that might have hinted the villagers’ suspicions, and withdrew at the first opportunity to my room. I needed time anyway to get all those things down on paper which I had experienced these days. It was a calm day, the calmest day so far.

After dinner Jovdur visited my room and we had a short talk. I tried to ask him again about that ghost I had seen in the sea.

„You really don’t believe that the keep is haunted?“ I wanted to know again.

„Believe what you want. Go out there and meet that ghost yourself if you’re so sure,“ he said, but I got the impression he knew more than he wanted to admit. Maybe the key lay out there at sea.

Perhaps I will,“ I said. „Yet I cannot stay much longer here in Skanris, Jovdur, as much as I would like to,“ I said. „You say your master will arrive anytime, but if he cannot keep his promises, I’ll have to go back to Marduran.“

„My master will keep promises,“ Jovdur replied. I must admit that his certainty was somewhat irritating.

But if I leave, you will tell your master that he has to seek me out himself?“

Jovdur agreed. „But you won’t leave.“ That’s all he said, and it helped to utterly confuse me. Then he left.

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« Reply #35 on: 27 February 2008, 13:26:38 »

A few hours have passed since then and my things are packed now. First thing in the morning I will leave. I do not trust anyone around here anymore, not Aimen, not Jovdur, nor this mysterious Lord that never appears. And that gifted woman and her curse? Ghost or not, pushed from the cliffs or drowned at sea, I have no answers. Maybe I’m not supposed to and am just a pawn in a game I do not understand. I will have to go. I have no choice – maybe I risk too much already by staying here, not knowing my chances. I won’t, no I cannot stay a day longer. There only remains one more thing to do in order to satisfy my thirst for knowledge and it lies out there, at sea.

Yes, tonight is the night. Before I leave, this one thing I need to do. There’s a storm approaching, but I am set to meet whatever awaits out there. Two times I’ve seen this mysterious figure screaming desperately for help, two times it escaped my investigation, but it will not a third time. I’ll get to the bottom of it, no matter what – be it the spirit of a haunted dead or someone trying to fool me, or maybe I’ll discover that it’s really just my mind playing tricks on me. So be it, I’ll take the challenge! – I’ll be at the dock tonight and will get out in time to face the mystery and confront it. Skanris Keep has fooled me long enough...
 
***************************

And despite the wind whipping the waves, lightning striking and thunder rolling, he set out in his boat, determination showing with every stroke of his oars. An eerie scene it was to behold indeed. The crescent moon bathed the silhouette of the desolate midnight traveler in a magical light, the fierce wind was gusting wildly through his hair. Did he find what he was looking for? Yes, my friend, he did, eventually he did. – Ah, I can almost hear a good storyteller pick up the tale and recount it with a sonorous voice to the audience’s delight!

Yes, finally! My business is done here and I am glad and relieved it is over now. Admittedly, it took its time, a lot of patience of course and necessary research until I could be sure, very sure. But all this time I have not given up to pursue why I’ve stayed here. However, the occurrences of tonight have confirmed my suspicions and my hopes to finally put an end to it. A dark chapter is now sealed. I’m making preparations to leave this place this very moment, and with it I’ll leave behind these pages as a testament so that you can judge my soul, as the Armourlord will do one day.

So yes, I’ve heard them. It was difficult but it is a humble servant’s duty to remain silent while the storm swept over his boat, burying him in his wet tomb. Yes, I’ve heard them – the final screams of that unfortunate bastard of our Jorn, drowning out there in the Skanris sea. Brought home finally to meet his fate.

Long forgotten was the Jorn’s rape of that poor girl down there on his trip to Klinsor. But old Jovdur never forgets, old Jovdur knows where his loyalty lies. Yes, that poor girl had given birth to a son.  As innocent as the child appeared, the blood of the barbarous Jorn was in him. Oh, how it hurt all those years seeing him destroy a life in an instant... And then another one: I can never forget that image of the cruel murder when he lashed out at one more defenseless woman and tossed her down the cliffs. As if her life was just a nuisance, an inconvenience that needed to be pushed out of the way, not worth mentioning. I was paralyzed with fear as I watched an existence being extinguished while the Jorn continued to enjoy to party.

Yet how thankful I was when the Gifted One returned that same night! With her bony hand she reached out from the grave to bring an end to the Jorn’s name through her curse, and with each body I laid in the crypt I felt pleased and thankful that this root of evil was being eradicated from Caelereth. Each one of them saw their deaths through their own eyes first, just like my new Mistress had wished – and thus they lived the last days of their lives in pain and horror. Though I knew that my Mistress still wasn’t utterly pleased when the Jorn hung himself and it became quiet in Skanris. I understood that it would be my task to fulfill finding the very last of the cursed progeny, as only I knew the whole truth. And I vowed that I would rest not until I brought him home to where he belonged.

Years have passed since then, many, many years, but the time has eventually come and my efforts have paid off. As innocent and unknowingly as his unscrupulous father’s victims, I have lured the Fjorek here to face the Eye and pay for his father’s unforgetable misdeeds. And pay he did. Indeed, the Mistress recognized him and endowed him with the gift to finish what she has began a long, long time ago. However, he was blind to see his doom knocking again and again as the staff of my Mistress struck the floor at the Jorn’s feast. – But was there ever a choice?

May the Fjorek’s soul rest in peace now that he has lifted the curse from Skanris Keep. Old Jovdur will pray for him.


Brrr!  Oh Art, the story is blood-curdling.  And I didn't suspect, not until the last, what was happening.   

What a marvelous addition to our library!  You really should write more tales, Art, you have such a talent for catching and keeping the reader's attention.  You lifted the hair on the back of my neck with this one.

I have one technical question, though.  Several times during the story, you refer to the "Lord" of Skanris Keep.  Shouldn't that title be "Jorn" throughout?  I wasn't entirely sure about this, so rather than marking it each time, I thought I would bring it to your attention here.

Anyway, congratulations on finishing the story!  I think it's amazing--literally as well as figuratively.

Now I'm going to go hide under a blanket again... ;)
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #36 on: 28 February 2008, 05:15:11 »

Good to hear that you liked the story, Alysse! And well, ghost stories aren't particularly nice typical bedtime stories, so if it turned out somewhat blood-curdling then it seems to have fulfilled its purpose in a way, eh? - Also it's difficult to write that kind of story as you have to be careful to keep the suspense without giving away too much and also not make a major mistake or contradict yourself. And keep it as Santharian as possible of course. And integrate an existing picture so that it makes sense in the story.

Anyway, if you didn't see the end coming and consider it plausible and worth the effort to get there, then I'm absolutely happy :) - I guess it would have been a nice movie as well with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Roger Corman directing, with the Corman regular Dick Miller as Aimen, and lots and lots of fog... lol

Lord/Jorn: Well, I just wanted to use another term here for Jovdur's superior, Jorn is the correct title of course. So Jovdur refers to the Jorn as Lord or Master from time to time, just to have some variety in there. Hope that's ok.

Updates on the text will follow, I'll also do a few smaller corrections before the next update in the complete text, just to iron out a few things and get some more lisping in it... lol
« Last Edit: 28 February 2008, 05:17:40 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



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« Reply #37 on: 28 February 2008, 06:08:02 »

This is great!  I found the ending a little unclear in parts, but it stayed with me for a few hours after I finished it, running around in my mind... evil  :D 

As I read it again though, I find that it is not really so unclear - it was probably more that (as I am wont to to) I rushed through the words and didn't read them properly, because I was excited to find out what happened!  lol  Great work, Art!

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« Reply #38 on: 29 February 2008, 13:44:00 »

If you like, I can go through this again one more time before the update, Art, just to finalize things.  Reading it in one go can sometimes pick out things that I missed while doing it piece by piece.  The update is this week-end, right?  So that gives me plenty of time to do another read-through and comment.

Alysse
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« Reply #39 on: 29 February 2008, 15:43:14 »

If you like to and can find the time, Alysse, then of course this is very much appreciated! The more perfect I can get with it the better! thumbup

To speed things up I've uploaded the Word document of the story, see here: The Eye of Skanris Keep - this is the version that contains already all the edits you suggested so far. If you could change things there and mark them with e.g. with a blue colour that would be easiest for me to look through them and take them in, as the edits would then be made in the final document already.
« Last Edit: 29 February 2008, 16:39:47 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



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« Reply #40 on: 01 March 2008, 03:19:49 »

Okay, done.  I sent you the corrected copy via e-mail (since I didn't know how to attach it here.)  There were only a couple of minor things, so it won't take long to check those.

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« Reply #41 on: 01 March 2008, 03:57:49 »

Yay! I'll do some final edits as well, and then this can go up :D - Thanks for helping, Alysse!  thumbup
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