The Poet: Dobhar-chu, Who Are You?

Dobhar-chu,
Who are you,
The water hound,
Whose upward bound.

Irish mythos for the win,
Dragons have nothing on his kin,
Seriously, don’t say anything about a selkie,
Or I’ll have to tell Aunt Melkie.

To my new short story,
There’s nothing to cause you worry,
My genius will see me through,
Even if my dialogue’s a little mew.

I can’t believe he took the cat,
Now how will I kill the rat?

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

RSK

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity: https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

ONE BREATH

 

By RYAN S. KINSGROVE

Erzaren Eilhana stepped out from the shadows of a broom closet and faced the approaching man.

“Tell me,” Erzaren said. “What’s it like to die?”

He didn’t give the man time to answer. No, his silver dagger was already in hand, its blade cutting through the man’s neck like butter. The man began to gurgle a reply, but stopped when Erzaren drove the silver blade through his heart.

Instead of letting the man fall, Erzaren grabbed his lapels and gently lowered him. The white lace shirt was ruined with crimson stains, but there was time to save the justacorps, an elaborately embroidered thigh length jacket, and the waistcoat. Erzaren stripped the man of both, trying not to wrinkle them. He took his cloak off. He would need to hurry.

The dead man was Jezzrin Lanford, and though he died by Erzaren’s hand he wasn’t the assassins primary target. Jezzrin was an unwitting pawn in Emperor Kalmar Chavelled III’s game. A piece of evidence to cast doubt on the Eakranait Dynasty in a bid to start a war.

Erzaren was out of his comfort zone on this one. Under normal circumstances, Erzaren would avoid the business of lords as if it were the plague. His normal fair was merchants, slavers, crime cartels, and the occasional woman scorned. The money wasn’t as good as the business between lords, and when it came to the women scorned, payment rarely included money. Sticking to small time was an intelligent decision. If he were caught he might spend a little time in the dungeons, and the likelihood of the gallows was nil. Still, the rings for this job were far too good to pass up.

Erzaren used his cloak to wrap up Jezzrin’s body, then deposited the man inside the broom closet. The cloak was embroidered with the Eakranait Dynasty’s emblem. The cloak quickly took to soaking up as much blood as it could, like a cloth vampire. Erzaren looked down at the man and shook his head. The plot was very well thought out, planned by the emperor himself. He wanted to expand his territory and needed a reason to stick his nose in the business of other nations.

He closed the door, almost. As part of his specific instructions he’d been told to leave the door slightly ajar. The issue resolved, he bent down and grabbed the waistcoat and the justacorps. A long bench, with a blood red cushion, set against a wall opposite a large window. Erzaren laid the garments on the bench and saw to his other needs. He pulled a wizard’s bottomless bag out of one boot and unrolled it. He removed his sword belt and slipped it down into the bag. The bags dimensions didn’t change. Out of the bag he pulled three dusty black spheres, and two black makeup cases. He hung the spheres along his belt and set the makeup cases on the bench beside the coat and vest. With deft hands he tied the bag on the opposite hip. A little finagling later and he was able to get it, so the hilt of his sword poked out of the bag.

Another small movement and he adjusted the straps on his gauntlet, checking how hard it would be to reach the trio of throwing daggers tucked into it. He wiped his silver dagger clean on the bench’s cushion, then replaced it in his boot sheath.

Erzaren checked his reflection in the window, his features were angular with hard planes along his jaw and chin. His eyes were a feral ice blue with flecks of silver in them. The most defining trait was the long angry red scar that ran from nostril to ear on the left side of his face.

The double doors at the end of the hall cracked open, and through the corner of his eye Erzaren could see a servant girl stepping out into the hallway. Normally, this would bring a cry of alarm drawing the attention of all the guards in the castle to Erzaren’s location. Not this time though. No, this servant girl, dressed from head to toe in a black burqa, was a part of Erzaren’s backup plan.

He picked up the makeup cases, popped the foundation open, and began to spread it over the length of his scar. For good measure, he covered the rest of his face as well. Then he applied the powder, and now—minus the elven ears—he looked closely enough to Jezzrin that he should pass for the manservant long enough to reach the ambassador.

As the last part of his preparations he picked up the waistcoat and buttoned it on and pulled the justacorps to rest on his shoulders. There was a belt to buckle around it. It would be difficult to reach the tools of his trade, but… he had specific instructions. Looking back at his reflection he tried to cover his ears, but gave up quickly. Time was wasting. He ran his hands over his midsection and tugged at the justacorps, trying to make sure everything looked smooth and proper.

Air caught in his throat. What was he doing here? The thought had been poised on the edge of his mind since before he left home this morning.

One thousand platinum rings, that was the price on the ambassador’s head. It was more money than some kingdoms saw in an entire year. It meant one thing, and one thing only: he was walking into a trap.

Why then, was he standing in this hallway?

His feet started moving—he followed, allowing the need to take over.

There was one reason, and one reason only that saw him walking towards the double doors at the far end.

The emperor had given him specific instructions but not quite as specific as they should have been.

After all, what better piece of evidence would there be than the assassin caught and killed in the attack? After he’d killed the ambassador of course. The emperor wouldn’t want him left alive, couldn’t have him spilling the dirty little secret about who it was that hired him.

Still his legs moved. Propelling him forward. On towards almost certain death. The keyword being almost. Erzaren was the best, and the best never go anywhere without a backup plan.

He stopped moving as he came up beside the girl. Her silver eyes stared through the tiny slit in the face of the body covering garment. “Why are you going through with this?” L’erissa asked.

“How many?” Erzaren asked, ignoring her question.

“Six hundred all told,” L’erissa said. “The very cream of the elite crop. If they’re not related to the crown in some way, then they’re party crashers. There are at least a hundred servants, and thirty guards, armed to the teeth.”

“How many of us?”

“Ten,” L’erissa said. “Counting yourself.”

“Good.”

“Hardly,” L’erissa said in a condescending tone. “We’re not equipped to handle an operation like this.”

Erzaren couldn’t help but smile at the comment. His white teeth glinted in the light and he almost began to laugh. “That’s what makes this exciting.”

“Why?” L’erissa asked again. “You’re not dumb enough to walk in there for the rings alone. You’ve no love for king and country. What sort of rational explanation can you give for this?”

Erzaren’s smile faded. He stood up a little straighter, rolling his shoulders to get them in just the right position. He could feel it then. The calm before the storm that overcame him whenever he was about to do a job. “Go back inside. Wait for the signal.”

“You’re a damn fool, Erzaren Eilhana,” L’erissa said. “I don’t know why I give you the time of day.” She shook her head and swept back through the double doors. Erzaren let them swing closed, cutting him off from everything. He needed a minute. The feeling built, and built. Soon it would spill over.

He inhaled, filling his lungs to capacity.

For one breath he would have power over life and death. With a single motion he could change the fate of entire nations. Nay, his actions could change the entire course of history.

Erzaren reached out, touching the handle. He twisted it, slowly, feeling every tick of movement. The end was approaching. The beginning of something new. The door began to open. Music worked its way through the crack. The scent of roasted ham assaulted his nose.

There was one reason he was walking willingly into a trap.

One reason.

For one breath. One. Single. Breath. He would be a god.

Erzaren exhaled.

 

RSK

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity:https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

Featured Image Credit: Sepirgo

The Dragon God’s Canticles Project Journal: Snowflake Outline- One Sentence Storyline Brainstorm

Okay, as an example in my series on outlining a series using the Snowflake Method, I want to build the outline for a new series during this process. This means brainstorming.

I do have a series I’ve been meaning to get around to outlining. I had a partial outline for the first book, but it went missing shortly after I got through step three, and that was probably about five or six years ago. I’ve even come up with a title for this series. It’s a working title, and will probably change a time or two before I’m ready to publish the story. The Dragon God’s Canticles is the title I’ve got right now, and each book is going to have a subtitle labeling which canticle the book is. Such as the first book being labeled: The Dragon God’s Canticles: XXX XXX (I don’t have a working title yet): The First Canticle.

A canticle is a song, or hymn, with a divine context typically used in a church service. I might try to include a poem/sonnet/something at the beginning of each book that would represent some of the events that happen in the story and as a direct reference to the title being involved with the word canticle. Just a thematic thing to stick with. This, however, is not helping me come up with a one sentence storyline for the series, or even giving me any idea as to what the series will be about.

I’ve had the idea for a while, and now I can dust a little bit of it off to try and get an idea about what’s going on. One of the main characters is a YA elf named Azariel Athendash, he is on a personal quest to find some connection between his family and the rulers of the ancient Taratulian Empire. But this quest really doesn’t have too much to do with the primary story. The primary story focuses on the ruling family of the Kingdom of Bertran. The ruling family is the Lafeya house, lead by King Richard Lafeya. His “daughter” (who really turns out to be his niece)… I had a name for her, that was a perfect name for her, but I can’t friggin remember it >.< Arrgh, I don’t even have it written down anywhere else, except for on the original outline >.< That might not be true, I think I might have made a list of the characters of interest in the Kingdom of Bertran before. Not entirely sure about that. Will have to check when I get home (presently at work with no access to my creative writing folder, I didn’t expect to be doing this tonight or I would have been prepared). It also follows Adolphus Meridan IV and Thok as they fight to save the kingdom.

Book One is also the book I’m going to be dedicating to Bob, as well as having the character named Terbor Eel Eversh Jr., which is basically Bob’s name backwards. I’m pretty sure its junior on his name and not a number. I might be able to play it off as II, but if junior is actually his name then that’s what I should go with. Of course this still isn’t helping get me any closer towards getting a one sentence storyline going for the totality of the series.

The central (I think the princess’s name might have been Evelyn…yes, completely random thought) thrust of the plot is going to be Azog of Balfor’s attack on the kingdom of Bertran as he is trying to get revenge for a reason I’m not going to discuss in a public forum. It’ll ruin the surprise, and I don’t want to give out any spoilers. Azog also happens to be a half fiend/half dragon with a humanoid base, when it comes to D&D rules. He’s a really nasty piece of work all told.

So, right now we’ve got an unlikely team of heroes gathered together to battle against the forces of evil. Wow that’s kind of cliche. Meh, its a common trope. (All we need now is a chosen one [probably shouldn’t say that because there probably will be one] although the chosen one is a common trope for YA. If I’m going for YA I should probably also write the bulk of it from the princess/Evelyn’s point of view.) All of the comments in the parenthesis will be addressed later on, when I’ve got a better idea of what’s going on in the series. (The princess’s name is EVELYN!!! HAHAHAHA, I found it. Screw you negative thoughts.) Anyway, I need a one sentence storyline for the totality of The Dragon God’s Canticles. One sentence storyline: An unlikely team of heroes are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the demonic dragon god from spreading across the land. (22 words)

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity: https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

RSK

Skyrim’s Dragons Aren’t Dragons, a Sonnet

Look, out there, along the horizon,
Tis mighty Alduin come to pillage,
Fear not for this seeming threat rising,
Alduin isn’t even a dragon, no threat to our village.

His wings and teeth doth make you a liar,
Scales and fire all these things a dragon make,
Wings and teeth yes, merely makes him a flier,
Four limbs and two wings doth a true dragon take.

A true dragon for Shor’s sake man,
It breaths fire and flies, with scales like steel, that’s all I need to call it a dragon,
But it is a wyvern, more like a caveman,
A dragon he is not, get yer head outta the flagon.

But my friend, Webster doth agree,
A wyvern is a dragon with two legs I doth swear it be.

Read the partner post at: Skyrim’s Dragons Aren’t Dragons

Join my mailing list.

 RSK

Poem A Day: Wyvernswift Gnomes—Gnomish Drinking song

Ganymede and his mount,
Tore the witch from the sky,
And dropped her on the stones.
Thunderhaven shall stand free,
Not bend on its knee.
Tyrosis must run home.

Good gnomes, one and all,
The throne has its king.
Good gnomes, bards and guards,
Always standing free.

The war has gone,
Not all survived,
The wyverns are in the skies.
With ruin and shame,
Our lands have been maimed.
It is ours to heal.

Good gnomes, one and all,
The throne has its king.
Good gnomes, bards and guards,
Always standing free.

The price has been paid,
Empty the Mithril Throne,
Till a new king is crowned.
Pay heed Ganymede,
Vaqqed the king,
They rule eternity.

Good gnomes, one and all,
The throne has its king.
Good gnomes, bards and guards,
Always standing free.

***Author’s Note***
If anybody can guess the tune this song is written too then you’ll get a signed copy of Cold Lunch. First come first serve.

If you enjoyed your daily dose of Kinsgrove please feel free to check out my other blog on Medium. Also stop by my Facebook page and give me a like. This will keep you hooked up to the up to the minute Kinsgrove news. It’s almost as much news as you’d get if you followed us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. And don’t pass up the opportunity on awesome prizes, exclusive content, and more me than you can stand, sign up for the Kinsgrovian Press now. Next to last, if you haven’t noticed the celebration, my debut novel was recently published, click this conveniently placed link to check out Cold Lunch and see exactly what happens when you piss off the most powerful vampire in the world. And, I promise I’ll shut up after this, I just wanted to ask, if you really enjoyed the content think about liking and sharing the content on all your social media channels.

Quora Questions Answered: Were Dragons Real

The answer to this question is subjective. If you were to ask one hundred people what the answer was and how did they come to that conclusion you would get one hundred different answers. So, what I’m going to is present you with mine.

Were dragons real? Yes, they were.

How were they real, where’s the evidence of their existence? The answer is all around you, metaphorically speaking.

Evidence

How many  times do dragons appear in fantasy literature? You’d be lacking a little intellect if you didn’t say a lot. A whole hell of a lot. Tolkien, Martin, Salvatore, McCaffrey, Showalter, and the list goes on and on. Each of them presenting a different take on the dragon, and they are doing much the same thing as our ancestors when they came into direct contact with the creature.

For a little more concrete evidence we’ll add classical literature to our answer, myths and legends that date back to the earliest point of recorded history. Dragons appear in every culture’s mythos. In Medieval Europe we have the most famous interpretation of the dragon, with four legs and two wings. In China you have sea-serpent like dragons. They could fly due to magical powers, and each had some form of element incorporated into its existence. In Aztec and Mayan cultures dragons were revered as gods with Quetzalcoatl (meaning feathered serpent) standing above all others. In Egyptian mythology dragons were also revered as gods with Apep appearing “as a terrifying sea-serpent” (“Ancient Egypt-Valley of Dragons”). The Piasa or Piasa Bird is the noted Native American equivalent of the dragon.

Now ask yourself, how’s it possible that these creatures appear in the myths and legends of civilizations that had absolutely no contact with the other at the time of inception?

How

Statistically speaking, they were real. Living human beings interacted and worshipped these beasts (most of whom are said to be more intelligent than any other animal, some even say they surpassed human intelligence). They were a part of our society guiding us in a direction that suited them, and likely they build great civilizations around these dragons. Take Atlantis as the most likely representation of these civilization now wholly lost to time.

Now, let’s add to those statistics. The ocean covers 70% of the earth. How much of the ocean floor has been mapped? Answer: 5% That leaves 65% that we have no idea of what’s living there. We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about our own.

Plus, we don’t know jack about the fifth largest continent on the planet, Antarctica. We know about the desert like conditions across much of its surface, we know that Antarctica has the absolute worst weather on the planet with some circumstance bad enough to freeze you solid in minutes. But, what’s beneath the 1.2 miles of ice? There is a whole world down there as foreign to us as the surface of Mars is. What is waiting to be discovered? What kind of civilizations were there? What bones will be found? What creatures will they be adding to the fossil records?

Dragons will be one of them.

Other

There are other topics we could discuss here relating to the existence of dragons. But, for the sake of brevity I’m going to link to another one of my answers for this sort of topic. Do Dragons Exist?

 

 

Also feel free to check out my blogs at Medium and WordPress, the focus of those right now is posting these answers there, but I do other things like short stories and poetry. If you want to keep up with all the Kinsgrove related news feel free to sign up for the Kinsgrovian Press. And, as one final note, I’ve got a book for sale. It’s a horror novel with a touch of urban fantasy. If you want to check it out here is a conveniently placed link.

 

Image Credit: https://www.channelfireball.com

Quora Questions Answered: Do Dragon’s Exist?

Do Dragons Exist?

The answer to this question depends wholly on your point of view.

Existing in the real world:

I think it’s entirely possible that some form of mythological dragon exists. This isn’t based on hard evidence so much as how little we know about the world. Only about 5% of the ocean floors have been mapped. The ocean takes up 70% of the earth’s surface. So, who’s to say there isn’t a creature that would fit the description of a mythological dragon.

Another possibility is that they existed, but have gone extinct. Where’s the evidence? We’ve got dinosaur bones all over, but nothing that looks like a dragon. Where is the evidence? We’re looking in the wrong place. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent on the planet, covered by 1.2 miles of ice. What we know about Antarctica measures out to the same amount as the oceans. We don’t know what’s buried under the ice. We probably won’t in our lifetime, but one day we’ll find a whole other world on that continent.

Existing in the Metaphysical:

For this one there are a couple of other things you need to believe in.

The metaphysical, of course. This belief includes but isn’t limited to: God, gods and goddesses, angels, an afterlife be it heaven or hell or one of any other interpretations, reincarnation, past lives, and a multitude of other things.

How do dragons fit it?

Once dragons were living breathing beings, revered as gods and just as powerful. But some calamity happened, and it wiped the dragons out. Their magical essence remained. These dragon ghosts (for lack of a better term) saw humans as a way to potentially revive their race. They bound their essence to a human soul, and in that soul they laid an egg. They knew the eggs would never hatch in one human’s lifetime, but if it had a hundred or a thousand human lifetimes it would grow, mature, and hatch, and if that human was ready and willing then the dragon could manifest and become real again.

So, the dragon souls remained with the humans their egg was bound to. They go through this process each time that person’s soul is reincarnated, hoping to one day find the right variation of that soul and see their children’s wings spread wide.
A final note, when the dragons bound their souls to the humans there was a very finite number of humans. Not the roughly 9 billion souls there are now. So, the souls bearing the dragon eggs are flung far and wide, with maybe 1 in every 100,000 people gifted with the egg.

That’s just part of my belief system anyway.

How they currently exist:

Dragons of myth and legend exist just as much today as they did in the days of yore. They exist as part of these stories that have been handed down from generation to generation, and now they’ve engrained themselves into pop culture. Try finding someone who doesn’t know what a dragon is. I bet you the task will be next to impossible.

So, that’s how dragons exist. Just like our loved ones who have passed on, dragons are eternal so long as there’s one person that can speak the word.

**Author’s Note**

Just released my first novel, Cold Lunch. Check that out over at Amazon.com and if you buy it and like it leave a review for me.

Also, you can keep up with me if you join the Kinsgrovian Press. Trying to work out what would be some cool things to do with that. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

 

Image Credit: http://monster.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon

Breaking the Unbreakable

Thought I’d post the first section of a story I’m working on for submission to a fantasy anthology. Now, not to interfere with rights and what not I won’t be posting the whole story, but here’s a little taste 🙂

***Breaking the Unbreakable***

“Nostalgia?” Arcedh’s paper thin voice cut through the turmoil wrapping Rolant Quinn’s mind. The Unbreakable, as he was known, turned to look at the priest. The priest was skeletally thin and wrapped up in robes and cloth so only his eyes were visible. Not that it seemed to matter much in the priest’s case as both eyes were milky white orbs. Arcedh never had an issue seeing though, and more often then not he saw far more than any other man Rolant had met. A gift of Theosis no doubt.

“You know me well,” Rolant said, his voice rasping. He looked away from the priest, out over the wide grassy plain. He focused on the walled city far to the west. “Halsaland, I was born there. Raised in the church after my parents passed in the plague. I accepted the gifts of Theosis and pledged my life to his eternal service in the chapel in the town square.”

“You will not hesitate, when the time comes?” It was more of a command than a question.

Rolant shifted his weight on the warhorse’s back. The plates of his armor gave audible evidence to his every move. “There is no doubt then? The scouts have reported back in?”

“Yes,” Arcedh said. “The force we met two days past was out of Halsaland. You saw them, they bore the Broken Horn standard. They serve the House of Duskgem.”

“Yes,” Rolant said. “But, I had hoped…”

“Hope,” Arcedh said, spitting the word out. We are not in the business of hope. Only
heretics and betrayers stand against us on the field of battle, and it is the will of Theosis that they be cast down.”

“So be it then,” Rolant said. He snapped the visor shut on his aged and dented iron helm. All his armor matched it. Once, years ago, it gleamed as bright as steel, but as it had been with the man, nothing remained perfect and pure. Age and war marked everything.

Tugging on the reins Rolant faced his army; fifty cavalry, five thousand heavy infantry, and one thousand archers. “Today I come home, only to find they’d turned their backs upon Theosis. Our one true god stands tall, yet they choose to kneel and scrape with the pagan masses. Today we shall purge the land of their filth.” He drew his sword and raised the steel blade high above his head. “Today we retake Halsaland for Theosis!”
The gathered army cheered, hoisting their weapons tot he sky, pledging their blades to Theosis.

Rolant looked his army over, his lips twitching into a smile. Pride burning in his chest. But… Something… Something was out of place. He knew his army, the role every man filled, yet today it seemed larger, as though another thousand men had joined in the night. He pushed the disquiet to the back of his mind. There it stayed, refusing to go away.

“After you my lord,” Arcedh said motioning toward Halsaland.

“Forward march!” Rolant cried out. His standard bearers echoed his call with clarion blasts from their horns.

The army began to move. Halsaland’s fate was sealed.

***Author’s Note***

9 days left to Cold Lunch.

And, if you enjoyed all this and don’t want to miss out on one ounce of Kinsgrove news consider joining my mailing list.

 

*Image Credit: Vladmir Buchyk @ artstation.com

Cupcake 

This is dedicated to the most wonderful wife a guy could ask for.

I love you Melanie Smith. 

You are my cupcake,
My only cupcake.

You make me happy like only a cupcake can.

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you,

Please don’t take my cupcake away.

.
And now to note, my cupcake is the subject of my dedication page in Cold Lunch. And segwaying into Cold Lunch, my first ever self published novel will be out on May 1st. 
On that note, count your coppers and keep your rings close, you’ll want them easily at hand when it comes time to buy what is going to be one of the best Horror/Urban Fantasy novel of 2017.

Super Sonnet Sunday/Poem a Day: In the Dark

In the dark,
The elf has no heart,
He isn’t here for a lark,
He is going to tear you apart.

 

His swords drip,
Saturated by blood,
He will rip,
And, rush through like a flood.

 

Fear is crawling up your back,
Waiting for his attack,
All you see is naught but black,
There is no time to retract.

 

I see shifting shadows in the dark,
The Raven Stone will sink the ark.

 

***Author’s Note***

I thought I would write a poem to accompany my short story. I certainly like the way it turned out.

Found image on Pintrest, but I’m not sure who to credit it too.

And, speaking of my short story, if you missed In the Dark here’s a conveniently placed link.