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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Ready, Steady ... Oh"

This poem came out of the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from kelkyag and sponsored by janetmiles.

Ready, Steady ... Oh

The Hiring Hall stood quiet
except for a quartet of apprentices.
All of the experienced adventurers
were out on an assignment.

Vielle strummed her lute.
"Battle sounds so romantic,"
she sighed.  "When I'm a bard,
I'll tour all the battlefields of the land."

"When I'm a fighter, I'll go with you,"
said Gret, stroking his sword hilt.
"If your Master is as stubborn as my Mistress,
though, it's a long time before we get anywhere."

"Too true," said Ruthanne, firefly lights
weaving trails around her fingertips. 
"My Mistress won't even let me past cantrips."
The other apprentices nodded commiseration.

"I pray that we all see some excitement,"
said Pren, clasping his holy symbol.
"Otherwise we may die of boredom."
They drank to that, but it was only apple cider.

Just then, the Hiring Hall door slammed open.
Vielle's and Pren's Masters carried Gret's Mistress,
leaving a broad trail of blood.  Every time Ruthanne's Mistress
put out her own robes, the flames rekindled themselves.

The Healers on duty at the Hall
quickly hustled the battered adventurers
into a back room and shut the door behind them.
Silence fell again.

"Well," Gret said a bit faintly,
"we should really get back to our studies."
"Yes," Vielle agreed, "I'm with you."
Pren and Ruthanne hurried after them.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

15 comments or Leave a comment
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 6th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
*chuckle* I like the twist on that ending. XD
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 6th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)


That idea was pretty much what decided me to write the poem. Character growth, gotta love it.
tuftears From: tuftears Date: July 6th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heehee. I always enjoyed schools of the extraordinary.

(though a couple of people have linked blog fiction about schools at me lately that seem to focus on the relationships side of them, which I hasten to add is not what I see as the focus element of schools. They're there to learn, darn it!)
tuftears From: tuftears Date: July 6th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, while I was looking around, I found a fun blog!

The Eastridge School for Adventurers.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)


It depends on the person. *I* certainly prefer school as a learning environment. This was, alas, by far the minority opinion in all but one of the schools I ever attended. Most people treated it as a venue for socializing. Drove me nuts. STFU so I can study.

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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)


>>I've read far too many tales of half-trained students and apprentices defeating evil and triumphing over impossible odds on sheer pluck and determination. <<

That's a different type of story, really. I like it when the triumph is based on using their wits to maximize their resources, or discovering and developing untapped potential. If it's just luck-n-pluck, not so much fun.

>>It's nice to see some of them actually take a good look at what's out there and say "You know what? I'm not ready yet..." <<

Yep, these are quite new adventuring students. They've seen their teachers come back victorious a few times. This is their first look at what happens when adventurers go out and get creamed. That can be enlightening, if you're not a complete idiot.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

*chuckle* I like the Evil Overlord list. Kovid, my evil warlord-wizard, also likes the list and finds it to be full of very useful advice. I like Kovid because he is smart and not over-confident.
eseme From: eseme Date: July 7th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, be careful what you wish for!

At least they are smart enough to go study.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)


This particular batch of apprentices was naive, not stupid. *chuckle* And they're a little less naive now that they've seen what happens to adventurers on a bad day.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 7th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I do have one small issue with this poem, however: the apple cider I drink, at 7% alcohol, is more potent than most American beers. It's only here in the Americas that apple cider has been confused with a fruit drink. Back across the pond, it's still a worthy drink.

(How I miss Symond's Scrumpy Jack in a cold tin... *sigh*)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)


I think it works either way. Even hard cider is not as potent as wine or distilled liquor. One or two mugs is unlikely to get anyone plastered. These are adults, just not very experienced ones, so they're old enough to drink. *ponder* If that culture even has rules about not giving alcohol to minors, which it probably doesn't. Most historic beverages were alcoholic just so they wouldn't harbor pathogens.

I do appreciate the fact-checking assist, though. I know I've got fans in many different countries, and I'd like my writing to be widely accessible.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 7th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

In the Middle Ages, the cheap drink would've been ale.

... And I still miss Scrumpy Jack. I really could use a cold tin of that right now, with all this heat.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

I do feature ale in some instances. Hm, yeah, it's what the apprentice wizard got drunk on in "Where Action Is, and Was, and Ever More Shall Be."
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: July 7th, 2011 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

I wish I could find a proper ale to try. I can't stand the taste of beer, likely because of the hops. Ale, traditionally made, doesn't have any hops.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2011 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Ale definitely has a different flavor than beer: more crisp, hint of bitter, without the sour note. It reminds me of lettuce.
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