Tag Archives: RPG

Character Study: Paint (X-Men)

So I (somehow, there is no explaining crack ships) fell in love with this idea of Carol Danvers and Hank McCoy having a relationship in our X-Men RP. But the price was that I had to make Hank’s player’s OTP come true and take over playing Lance Avers, a version of Avalanche that appears in X-Men: Evolution and is frequently shipped with Kitty. Of course, I agreed.

Which left poor Piotr out in the cold to figure out what to do with him.

That’s when I remembered a character that I saw pop up in fanfiction a lot. In the comics, there isn’t much to her–she alters pigment, is covered in tattoos, that’s about it when I last looked at her Wiki article. She was very much just part of the mutant population. But could I apply her to movie verse? Well, then I remember a girl in one of Xavier’s classes in X-3 who was taking notes without a pen, just gliding her hand across the page. Ah-ha, I had a basis for Paint.

Unfortunately, not only was the actress uncredited, but there was basically a little wiki-stub article on the comic character and maybe thirty seconds of screen time. I was going to have to come up with the rest of this character, using what I had as the bones. So what did I know? Well, we had dark hair, blonde in the comics, with power over pigment (only in the skin in the comics, but obviously the movie had more fun with it). The comic counterpart eventually ends up married, which I ignored, but was kicked out of her parents’ house when they freaked out of her mutation. We’d already established the Mordocks in Remy’s history.

So I went the route of Paint being homeless in New York, hanging out with Marrow, and eventually them getting found and recruited by Storm and the professor. The actress wasn’t Hispanic, but I liked the idea of her being the daughter of a Spanish immigrant instead, which fit with fact I was trying to merge dark hair and blonde together (very Spain). Unfortunately, I needed a new playby because all of the angles were awkward, so I tagged Jessica Szhor as my new Paint, whose birth name I dubbed Isabella Cortez.

But how to make her different from…all the other characters I was playing. I had a lot of freedom in terms of personality, so I decided to try and think about the situation and what the effects would be. She doesn’t have an offensive mutation at all, in fact hers would almost be dubbed useless by the mutant community. But at the same time, she is a mutant and wouldn’t be welcomed among “normal” people. I went with her being very confident as a child and full of energy…but once she was kicked out of the house, she completely drew back into her shell.

Current Paint is very shy under the public eye, but relaxes when it’s one-on-one or a very small group. This helps with her selective mutism, which flares up when she’s feeling anxious. She tends to think very little of herself, and assumes all the blame if something goes wrong where she is. But there are two areas where she is confident–one is her art, which is mostly abstract but she has a wide knowledge base and talent, which her mutation helps her with. The other is with the younger children, who she has taken over watching over while Storm is busy with the rest of the school.

Illyana ends up being the catalyst for Piotr and Paint to meet, since she falls into Paint’s kiddies (as we call her little collection of kids who follow her like ducklings). While Paint had been one of the older kids helping with the evacuation in X-2, he was a little busy and didn’t really notice the help he was getting from the quiet girl. However, Paint has been a little in love with him, just…hiding it very well. Kitty and Piotr have just now broken up, but with her social issues, it’s going to take a while for anything to happen, but the potential is there.

I feel like Paint fills a necessary hole in the RP as well. She’s not really helpful in an offensive sense, but she can run the security of the mansion and the children trust her. She ends up being an important corner stone to guard the home front as it were, and eventually the core-teacher for the younger children which just cements that fact.

Does her and Piotr’s pace drive me nuts? Oh yes. It is the slowest of the slow burns. But you know, it will probably be one of the more steady relationships in the mansion, so it will be worth it.

Advertisements

Character Study: Yun/Psyche/Mageris

…This character went by a lot of names, okay? This was the warmage character…that eventually got turned into a favored soul/warmage gestalt and had a lot going on, both in front of and behind the scenes.

Short story on why her classes changed: we had one campaign going with her as the warmage, and the DM realized the story was going in a direction he felt was in his comfort zone and he wanted to stretch himself. We all agreed to a restart, most of the players changed their characters entirely…but I am the sort of person who wants some conclusion for characters, so I just modified her (only I didn’t, we’ll get there). The campaign, through no one in the current group’s fault, ended up dragging and then getting wrapped up quickly, but the conclusion was definitely there and so I am quite content with this character.

First off, I got to play with the amnesia trope, which is one of my favorites. This character was raised as Graceella (childhood name, elves are weird) and took on Mageris as her adult name. She was a lower born noble, but was lifebonded with the heir to the empire. But considering how being lifebonded can make life complicated, the adults in the situation decided to separate them in hopes of weakening it a little. Unfortunately, one adult (who Mageris thought was her mother, actually her aunt and this was a lot of fun later) took it too far and wiped all of her memories. All that there was for this poor girl to figure out who she was was her scrawl of her signature at an inn, which she thought said “Yun.”

Now, while I was pretty careful about fleshing out the mother’s side of the family…I hadn’t paid attention to the father’s side. So the DM got to have some leeway with them, and boy did he take it. It also led to us having to keep two different histories straight. Yep, we had parallel world hopping going on, and while most of the party was from the same world, I was from the original RP’s world, which was two different situations. At several points, we ended up killing that world’s version of Psyche, as several different possible outcomes to her situation played out. This is also how I ended up with the sword I used, which was pretty epic and I loved. The DM really worked hard to make sure everyone in the party stayed balanced, which is great when you contrast people who understand how the classes are in strength compared to others…and then people like me, who just create a character and find the appropriate class and run with it, regardless of how strong of a class it is.

And what’s really fun is the change that happened to this character without her memories. She had been raised the gentle, retiring lady who happened to have warmage capabilities, someone who was frequently overwhelmed by the lifebond who was used to getting his way as they got older. But without those memories, away from friends and family, she had to learn to stand on her and found her own voice and authority. When her memories returned, she had to try and mesh those two different personalities together. Thus, when she started going by Psyche. This was also when she started having real trust issues with the adults in her life, because she was very upset over how they had treated her, and God can elves hold grudges. And it was fun when she met her paternal uncles, and she was full of stubborn authority instead of being demure. (One really didn’t like it, it was funny.)

The favored soul aspect was fun too, because Psyche was Neutral Good, the Good is Not Nice trope at times, definitely not the gentle maiden anymore. But she was chosen by a draconic deity who was true Neutral, and his focus was on maintaining balance and stability…even if that stability couldn’t be considered “good” by an objective eye. There were a couple of instances where Psyche had to convince her deity to do something that was going to destabilize the world they were in at that time, where the “good” argument wasn’t going to work. Usually she managed to pull it off by arguing that they were about to throw the balance off anyway…it didn’t always work.

Something fun I did with her (just because I could) was do an elemental thing with her spell choices. While warmage’s known spells are set, with lots of fire and lightning, I got to pick her favored soul list. I ended up going with ice and holy light offensive spells aside from the request healer spells, creating what I consider this interesting contrast in the two sides to her nature, and what ended up being the two conflicting personalities in her head:¬†headstrong and authoritative Yun and the more retiring and quiet Mageris. Funnily enough, it was the favored soul stuff (which matches Mageris better) that flared up with the loss of memory.

As for the lifebond, there was a lot of shenanigans, but things ended up working out there well…sorta. We didn’t get to RP much with him, or rather the real him (which is probably for the better for everyone’s comfort level), but I imagine the epilogue was pretty entertaining. Both end up being chosen favored souls of draconic deities, but he doesn’t get as much of a chance to interact with her after she has her memories back and both of them are aware of it until it has ended and they are now being the clean-up crew. I have mental stories and musings about how he would handle the change in personality in his lifebond, and the different path their lives have taken. Though really, he is probably happy about the difference–he has magic now, when previously he didn’t, so yay equalizer.

I honestly think I might return to Psyche at some point, though not as a DnD character. Rather, I’d like to play with her as an original fiction character. I think it could be a lot of fun, and let me explore some things with her that I couldn’t in a DnD setting, since there’s either no mechanic for it, no point to it without possibly taking up time that isn’t fair to the other players, or just be something I’m more comfortable writing rather than RPing in a tabletop setting.


RP: When to Recognize a Bad Partner

Part of the fun of RPing is not being able to predict what the other characters are going to do. For some, there is no plan and it’s completely winging. For others (such as myself) there is usually a loose framework in place, but it can be rewritten if the characters react differently than expected. The key is to remain in communication and remember where the boundaries are.

Problems come into place when those boundaries are crossed, or when communication breaks down. These are my personal signs that something has gone south, and you should consider breaking up the partnership (which is a post for another time, I will get to it).

1) They stop answering your messages. We all get busy, not every message gets answered within the hour or even the same day. People also go on vacation or have emergencies happen. I usually wait a week or two before I send a follow-up message, and then see what happens. But even if you are completely free-forming your plot, keeping a conversation of reactions going helps insure that both of you are having fun and are still engaged. If that breaks down, it’s a sign of dark days ahead.

It could also mean that, for whatever reason, they are away from the computer unexpectedly for a while. If you are on a site that requires monthly posting, this is a big problem, and while you shouldn’t completely give up on them, start making back-ups and tracking down a potential replacement.

Of course, it could also mean that they are about to take a left into Crazy Town. I have horror stories, mostly involving the same person, where suddenly the plot went side-ways from what we had previously decided, and the person refused to respond to messages when I expressed my concern and my lack of enthusiasm for this new direction. Either way, silence is not a good sign, but can be okay in the long run.

2) They start messaging too much. On the opposite end of a spectrum, there is such a thing as bugging someone to death. If you messaged them an hour ago, and they have logged on since then, they probably saw it or were only on long enough to read things, but weren’t at a place to reply. Maybe they have to think about the answer.

Being constantly barraged by messages outside of RP is exhausting. It is also the first signal of entitlement to a response. At this point, just talking could fix the issue, re-establishing boundaries. You definitely don’t have to take it, though, and if it doesn’t stop, consider finding a new partner before you hit the next problem.

3) They feel entitled to anything you write. This could be applicable to just your RPs. They feel like they are your partner, and if you join a new RP they need to join too and their character has to be paired with yours. It’s one thing to be friends and like to RP with each other because you trust them not to bork you over. It’s another for someone to constantly do it without your consent.

Sometimes it can even extend beyond the RP, and they feel entitled to any sort of writing you’ve shared with them. Original, fanfic, alternate ways scenes could have happened in the RP, anything you’ve written, they feel like belongs to them even more than it does you. This is when things are going to be ugly when you break. Make sure you’ve either posted everything, or whatever they have is easily proven as yours not theirs, just in case.

Because the fall-out is going to be ugly.

They will start to poison your relationships with the other RPers on the website you are using, even if it is an RP they aren’t involved in. They will try to drag others into the break-up, telling them half the story in order to make themselves look like the victim. Passive-aggressive messages will pop into your inbox, and basically they are going to make a nuisance of themselves.

Sometimes the moderators will get involved if you ask. Sometimes they won’t. Handling it is a nightmare all around. But if you notice the earlier markers, you might be able to get out of the relationship before it gets that far. Because it is a relationship. Just like dating (and finding an agent), finding good RP partners is hard, and you have to wade through the crazies. They also take constant work to keep communication and barriers you are both comfortable with.


Character Study: Bobbi Morse

Partnering with Clint here, my rendition of Bobbi Morse.

What was fun about Bobbi was while I knew who the character was, I am, as has been established, not a comic book reader. When I went wiki-diving for background information, I had very little to go on. She was really under-represented in wikis (or under written in comics, both are options). However, I watched her in the few mediums she was present in, read her quote entries, and came up with my interpretation of her character that I can only hope is close.

Bubbly and high energy, at least on the surface, Bobbi uses her energy to hide her serious demeanor and her smarts, on top of being a smart ass. She started off as being bound and determined to prove herself as worthy of being of the Avengers, despite dealing with psychological and potentially physically issues from her past. She has slowly relaxed over the panic attacks that losing a loved one used to cause her due to Clint carefully addressing them once he was aware of her issues. Around Clint, she acts the flirt, but others who have worked for her know that under her snark, she is the most serious agent on missions and won’t tolerate goofing around.

I made all of this history up, so be aware that it is completely wrong. Her father was from an old Southern family who moved west to California to be an artist, her mother an orphan who rose to be a ballet star in New York before she retired to have a family. Her mother was diagnosed with a mutant-variant of MS, highly aggressive and eventually fatal. During that time, Bobbi basically raised herself. She was then sent to live with her grandmother while her father lost himself in his grief. Going to college early, she got her doctorate in biochemistry and was recruited into SHIELD. During those early days, her grandmother and father both died, leaving her with no family.¬†As a result, all of Bobbi’s emotional ties are with SHIELD. It is her home, Fury is her paternal figure and boss combined, Phil was her favorite uncle (that was a hard loss for her), Natasha is that annoying older sister…and Clint is her whole world.

Her biggest character trait is her mind, and her way of thinking. She is constantly planning, constantly absorbing new information and using it to problem solve. The problem with this is that she can get too caught up in worrying about the future (especially since she inherits her mother’s strain of MS and has to come up with the treatment for it), and the past just adds fuel to the fire. She also really struggled with putting a name to the feelings between her and Clint, much less their relationship, out of fear of repeating her parents’ history.

Bobbi is social for work, since I went more of the spy-espionage route with her, and is good at acting the right way in situations. But really, she’s happiest spending quiet time with people she cares about, maybe going out for something casual. A beach bum, if she can have a person she loves with her while hanging around the beach all day, that’s the perfect vacation for her. There is a miscarriage for her and Clint that will lead her to being very protective of her other two children, particularly Ash, who is her baby. But as long as nothing is even remotely threatening them, she is a very loving mother who encourages her children to do what makes them happy.

Bobbi is so much fun to write…and also suffers from having the most AU timelines because she’s so easy to do so with. I think my favorite is the one I call the Romanoff Sisters AU, because Bobbi ends up at the Red Room Academy with Natasha as girls. She is rescued by Natasha and Clint just before her graduation procedure, and discovers that her father has remarried since her mother died, giving her a half-sister (who Natasha also adopts, because Bobbi’s sister is her sister) Rhonda who goes by Rhonni, and then more digging produces another sister, Titania. Her personality doesn’t really change, and she gets to annoy Clint while being jail bait with a crush for a while. The sister and family dynamics in that one is just a lot of fun.


Character Study: Clint Barton

Trying something new here for the RPG section, and doing some studies on characters that I either play or play with as we interpret them in my various Forum RPs. There’s a few OCs in here, but a lot of them are actually canon characters that we combine different mediums for and sometimes ignore canon for the sake of sanity. Maybe I’ll even eventually do some of my d20 characters. So welcome to my personal chaos.

I’m starting with Clint, who I don’t really play myself, but I do write him in prompts, so I guess I half own him? Joys of one-on-one threads (sort of, a third guest writes as Natasha). This is an AU of the MCU RP, started just after the first Avengers movie, and since then it will keep with the main plot of MCU movies, but I reserve the right to throw monkey wrenches at things that don’t work for our story, rather than the other way around. Or entire shows, since Agents of SHIELD is totally not canon for us aside from occasional pulls.

Our Clint is a surly sort. He didn’t snark much, not after what Loki did to his head, but once he started to get his feet under him, he got better. Particularly renewing his friendship with Bobbi Morse…which has since developed into something more, despite some of his reservations and Bobbi being Bobbi. His seriousness probably comes out more because Bobbi is such a smart ass, while with Natasha he is allowed to be more of the class clown. Regardless, he always has a snarky comment at the ready.

His past history is a bit of a combination of comics and MCU-canon. Abusive father, ran away and joined the circus with his brother, who then left him for the army. Clint followed along eventually but never found Barney, and got recruited into SHIELD as a fixer. He met Natasha while she was being mind-controlled by a villain-of-the-week, and despite orders used the antidote on her to bring her over to his side. She was with him on the mission that has his hearing questionable out of one ear (which one depends on who is writing him). They are close, but while Natasha flirted with the idea of them being a couple, he didn’t consider it as anything serious (until this got him in trouble later).

Possibly that is his biggest character trait outside of the snark and the bow and arrows. Clint is very much in the present. He may see better from far away, but he tries not to let the past drag him down, and he sometimes struggles to see past current circumstances to the future. He also is big on making assumptions on his relationships with other people–whether it’s friendships and work partnerships to where he and Bobbi currently stand in their relationship. While this means he has incredible focus on missions and isn’t easily swayed from his objectives, it can lead to problems when he is wrong about where he currently stands with people.

More than Bobbi, Clint is a social creature in the sincere sense. When he cares about you, he means it, and he wants to spend time with you. He also prefers doing active things…as much as work lets him. He’ll also lie in bed and cuddle…as much as Bobbi lets him (curse morning people). With his kids (yes, plural, we’re odd), he is the doting father. There are moments where he worries over Bobbi babying the youngest, Ash, but that’s just him wanting his son to be able to follow in his and Bobbi’s footsteps if that’s what he desires. (Bobbi’s dog drives him nuts, though. His own fault for getting her a puppy for Christmas.)

I think what I love most of RPing with Clint, on both sides of the coin, is the aftermath of a conflict. He’s able to put aside what just happened–whether it’s a verbal or physical fight–and enjoy the moment of calm after, capable of sweetness and poorly timed jokes to ease the tension and give some levity. Or, if needed, give someone a talking-to about how they just screwed up, and tell them how to make it better.


Tabletop RP: Gender and DnD

So. I play DnD. With a bunch of guys. No other girls in the group, and all attempts to add girls to the group have not been met well (one for other reasons, but yeah, hasn’t worked out). Now, I know other girls who play, and have groups that are much more mixed gendered. I just didn’t fall into those groups, and my schedule doesn’t mesh with them. Leaving me stuck with the guys.

And let me tell you, this gets uncomfortable for very quickly.

Now, it doesn’t get uncomfortable for these guys. Because I don’t talk about girly things with them and I work very hard to keep topics away from subjects that while I might enjoy them, I know will bore or make them uncomfortable. Because that’s what our society encourages in female behavior.

Now, if only I could get the same respect.

Frequently, things take a turn for the disgusting, the over-sexed, or sometimes a weird mix of both that really makes me uncomfortable. Especially when they start making references to certain animes and video games, which are notorious for being for the male gaze. And speaking up doesn’t get me any favors, not really, since nothing will actually change. Now, I could be overly sensitive, but I think my experiences and the conversations I have with other female players reveal some serious differences in how the genders play DnD.

For one thing, I’ve noticed that guys tend to go out of their way to make crazy characters. And by crazy, I mean mixing, matching, and combining races, classes, and feats in order to get the most over-powered character possible. Now, if I make something overpowered, it’s by pure accident (the wu jinja gestalt class comes to mind, though I haven’t had enough chances to play it to be sure). I tend to pick a class that fits with the kind of character I’m playing, sticking to classes I know I’ll enjoy playing rather than ones I know will irk me (…like the wu jin, not a good pick in hindsight). The more complicated it is, the more I have to keep up with which distracts me from the game.

So with these crazy characters, you would think the guys were just as invested in the games we play as I am, right? Well, sorta. Some of the group is just wanting to push to see how much they can get away with by terms of the rules. They don’t really do back stories or character investments, and are pretty blase about their characters dying. Even the others who do care about story are always ready to move on to the next thing. Which is pretty contra to Ginny’s understanding of other groups, which treat the characters as investments (which is how i would prefer to play). I create complex back stories for my characters for a reason, and to see it go to waste just frustrates me, so one DM has even lost the privilage for me to do that anymore.

More than anything, I’m noticing, at least in my group, that it comes down to differences in what they play for. Now, these are huge generalizations, but it seems to me that boys play for the laughs and the oh my gods. They want to see how outrageous they can get and the more crazy, the better. But for us girls, it’s about the story, it’s about the characters and the actual RPing.

I’m not saying that boys don’t enjoy the characters and story. They can, and do. But get a group of them together, and they are going to be forgotten in favor of seeing how much damage a fireball spell can do. I’m not saying girls don’t enjoy battles. I love blowing things up and getting critical hits too, but if you put me with a group of other girls, we’re probably going to focus almost entirely on the story and the rest of the system will be an afterthought. Groups need either balance or focus, depending on the set up. So in my case, I have one DM who understands my need for story, the others needs to blow things up. The other…can’t seem to figure this out.

And as a DM myself, I need to learn to read what a group needs. Obviously, I’m going to want to lean towards the story angle myself, but that isn’t going to work with this group of guys. I need to figure out how to feed their need for chaos and my own for story at the same time.


Day 3: What is this feeling…? (Part 1)

April 5, 20xx

Dear Diary,

You know, I don’t know much about summer camps, but there is very little about this place that seems normal.

Except maybe how the morning started. I woke up before the alarm (I am ready for that time adjustment, please), so I went ahead and rolled (figuratively, I’m not crazy) out of bed. I was just sore enough from the mining adventure of yesterday that I did a few stretches to limber up my muscles, though they weren’t too bad. I’m sure they will be worse tomorrow.

Thankfully, my hair just needed a little bit of curling with the iron to tame the fly aways rather than a complete wash today. I put on my eyeliner and tinted lip balm, and realized that I would probably want to help Savvy wake up. So I pulled up “Icarus” by Bastille on my phone. It’s got that heavy drum and almost chamber music like singing in the beginning, I thought that would help ease her awake than it being a sudden shock.

She threw a pillow at me! Missed entirely, but still! I clutched at my robe, grabbed the nearest pile of clothes, and ducked into the bathroom with a squeal to get dressed. If she was going to be throwing things, I didn’t want to stay in the room!

I didn’t realize I’d left my phone in there until I was pulling those new pants and it switched from “Icarus” to the Audien remix of “Pompeii.” I scrambled into the green t-shirt and ran out, but Savvy was already up and had my phone in hand. I flushed and scuffed my feet on the floor, feeling like I had just been called into Daddy’s office. She didn’t say anything, though, other than to grumble and start getting ready herself. Today, I finished before her and took the time to unpack a little more. Honestly, there is hardly anything in that trunk! Shopping is about to become a necessity, as much as I am loath to admit it.

Rather than rely on Justin for food again, I dragged Savvy to the food hall again. Breakfast was come and go as you please, so I was able to have a cup of strong tea and milk and some toast. Savvy woke up enough and insisted I eat some protein. I managed to mollify her by having a bite of eggs, but I just don’t feel like eating much for breakfast most days.

Evening was just as cranky this morning as he was yesterday, and I’m afraid I lost my temper a little. He managed to get a mouthful of my hair, and I reached up and slapped his neck (loudly rather than forcefully) in reprimand. At least he had the decency to look ashamed of himself. I wagged a finger at him anyway, and took no nonsense with the cinch today, while you know I normally like to let the horse breath a little and then tighten it up. Honestly, my hair is the one thing about my appearance I actually like and people compliment. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive, but… Oh, what am I saying. He’s a horse testing his boundaries, that’s all. Savvy’s Heart, of course, was the epitome of good manners. Couldn’t he learn a little from her?

We had just left the stable when May had need of us. Apparently the camp cow, Daisy, was sad and off her feed, poor thing. And since unlike the other campers, we actually knew Mrs. Holdsworth, she wanted us to speak with the woman since the vet couldn’t find anything wrong. Apparently despite being a retired accountant, she grew up around cattle, used to tell stories about them and anything. I know that there were cattle on the estate back home, but I’d never really been allowed near them. I don’t think Savvy was quite as enthusiastic about it as I was. I heard her muttering to Heart, though I couldn’t understand what was being said. But I thought it was an excellent learning opportunity.

Mrs. Holdsworth had a story about a cow named Wendy. I refrained from asking if it was a Peter Pan reference. But Savvy snorted, and I had to give her a curious look. Wendy seemed like a perfectly fine name to me… We had to gather some dandelions–easy enough this time of year–and she made us a brew for Daisy. She also suggested talking to her. Savvy was reluctant to leave Heart’s side, but I dismounted and chattered at her in complete sympathy. I understood having bad days.

When I pulled my hand back, though, there was this strange…spark. I would normally pass it off as just static electricity, but…

Well, I had just gotten back up on Evening’s back when there was a great kerfuffle. Thomas Moorland was shouting, and when we ran up to him, we found out that someone had taken that deed we had just recovered from Mr. Holbrook! Oh no, we had gone through too much fuss for us to let it go to pot that quickly. Not when he had been as tetchy as Great-Aunt Carolynn. So we went tearing after the rider.

And oh, dear, goodness. The rider. For a moment, I thought this was some specter from that tomb who had come to haunt us. The horse was dark with a white mane and tail, and his hoof prints were aflame. His rider was hooded in black and red. Evening and I forced them to turn, letting Savvy snatch the documents. And as soon as that happened, they just…faded from sight.

I had to grab Evening’s mane to keep from falling right off. He snorted, and side-stepped to help us both stay balanced, I was listing so badly as fear made all the blood drain out of my face. The blacksmith’s words from yesterday and my scoffing almost rang in my ears. Were magic and…and ghosts…real here? Evening managed to shift and shake me back into the center of balance of the saddle and we walked back to Moorland. (I would have fallen for sure if we had tried to go any faster.)

Mr. Moorland tried to dismiss our concerns, much like I did yesterday. It would certainly be easier. But I couldn’t help thinking of that spark with the cow and how she perked back up so quickly… it all seems so strange. Too strange. I didn’t want to think about it anymore, and still don’t.

So where did we go next? Of course, to check back in with the blacksmith. Now he needed spikes for the shoes, ones that could only be found on the beach. I beg pardon? Why are ancient artifacts being left out in the beach to be stepped on or picked up by campers? Ugh. But the beach itself was lovely. There was something going on with a barge and crates, at least on this side, but it gave me hope that maybe there would be something more hospitable around the fort.

Well, as much as it irked both Savvy and I, we had to take back what we found rather than clean the whole beach, since that would easily take the rest of the day, if not the next several. Evening dragged his feet back though, and kept looking back to snort at the beach’s direction. Conrad was happy with the spikes, and said to come back tomorrow. Sigh. It’s going to be one of those summers, isn’t it? But he gave us a jacket…even though the two greens of the shirt that came with and the jacket do not go together. At all. Even I can tell that.

Savvy wanted to go check out Fort Pinta next…or, I suspect, to do whatever her variation of Mummy’s shopping she had. I’m not quite full in the pocket enough to really consider shopping, but I thought poking around couldn’t be a bad idea. So I went along without needing too much coaxing.

But we hadn’t made it farther than the path to the abbey we were being interrupted again with another so called emergency.

Continue to Part 2…