the campaign, part 1

A few weeks ago, while describing something to the two older princes, the concept of role playing games came up. And from that we moved to specifically taking about D&D, and then they asked if we could play… Who am I to say no to such a request. Dice were thrown, characters were drawn up, I threw together an idea in my head of what we could and we started. The next couple posts will be the result of the first sessions we played.


Photo by Dagmara Dombrovska on

The three companions trudged home in the fading light of dusk.  It had been a long trip and they were happy to finally be back in their own city, with their own beds waiting for them.  First, though, they were going to stop into their favorite watering hole and rinse the dust from their throats with an ale or two.  Malland, a tall Tiefling, made taller by the large horns rising from his head, pulled the door open to let his friends pass, before ducking through the doorway himself.  Fireside Inn, named for its proximity to an old burn scar that ravaged the town years before, was quiet as they took a table in a corner.  A few regulars sat at the bar itself and a couple other groups sat at tables scattered throughout the tavern section of the inn.  Only one group took notice of their entrance, which is was something the friends had always liked about the Fireside Inn.  In general, nobody cared who was there or what they were doing.  Malland, Dorian, a Dragonborn, and Zanthalaso, a Half-Elf, tended to stand out and attract attention wherever they went.  Fireside Inn was a reprieve from that.  Usually.

Malland made note of the group that stared at them as they took their seats.  He didn’t recognize them.  While he and his friends had been away for almost a year, it was strange for newcomers to not only be in town but also frequent the Fireside.  It wasn’t exactly the nicest place.  It didn’t attract the nicest crowd.  Malland wasn’t worried about them but he wasn’t going to let their movements go unnoticed either.  He caught Dorian and Zanth eyeing the strangers as well and smiled ruefully. 

Their first round of drinks arrived and they raised their glasses in a toast to each other.  Their time on the trail had been successful.  They hadn’t struck it rich or anything like that, but they had come home with a few interesting trinkets and their purses a bit fuller than when they’d left.  They drained their glasses and slammed them down, then grinned and burst into laughter.

“It’s good to be home,” Zanth said.

Dorian nodded in agreement, already trying to catch their servers eye to get another round.

Malland replied, “I still can’t believe we were gone for as long as we were.  I hope my house is still standing.”

Zanth laughed again.  “It will be, you superstitious fool.”

“I’m a Tiefling, superstitions are my way of life,” Malland responded with a laugh of his own.

It was then the strangers pushed away from their table and made their way over.  They were unarmed.  So, while there were four of them, none of the friends felt it necessary to stand up to meet the group.  Their obvious leader, a much larger man, both in height and girth, took one step closer than the other three.  His face was contorted in a glare that was meant to be menacing but was mostly comical.  “You aren’t welcome here.”

Dorian growled deep in his long throat.  It is a sound that can unnerve even the bravest of men.  Two of the men stepped backwards, bumping into each other in the process.  The leader, shot them a warning glance before returning his scowl to the three seated at the table.  Malland, annoyed with the interruption and wanting to get the whole affair over with so he could get back to drinking, began to stand up but Zanth placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him before addressing the strangers.  “This is our home.  We’ve been away for a little bit but I can assure you that we are known.  Because this is our home, we don’t wan’t any trouble but, rest assured, you do not intimidate us.  If you start a fight, you will not walk away from it.”

They didn’t immediately move and Zanth removed his hand from Malland’s shoulder.  The Tiefling rose fluidly from his seat and towered over the strangers.  The two in the back took further steps away.

“Whatever your quarrel with us,” Malland said, “it can wait.  Don’t you agree?”  He finished by placing his hand on the well-worn hilt of his short sword.

Niether Zanth or Dorian made a move towards their weapons, but there was no need to.  The three of them, imposing to begin with, wore the fierce expressions of travelers who were no strangers to violence, did not shy away from a fight, and did not often lose.

The leader cleared his throat and then stammered, “Yeah, yeah, sure.  It can wait.  This isn’t over, though.”

With that, the four men left the inn and Malland returned to his seat.  Dorian asked, “What do you suppose that was about?”

Zanth answered, “I’m sure we’ll find out.”

“Probably sooner rather than later,” Malland added.

The Writer

Finishing off this ten year celebration of the kingdom with this piece from the tenth year. I was very happy with how this turned out and given the likes and comments it was well received too. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the re-read as much as I did. Thanks for everything over the last ten years. You all, my faithful kingdomites, are what keep me coming back. You and the words.

The Matticus Kingdom

Photo by Simon Berger on

The snow had started sometime in the night, soft and light at first, barely sticking.  It let the wind dance and swirl it around.  That kind of magical storm where it looks like the flakes are rising more than falling.  Then, before dawn, the snow grew heavier, the ice crystals jagged and gripping as it began to pile together.  The world was soon blanketed in white folds that despite the sharpness of the ice was soft.  It seemed to glow.  The world seemed to sigh with contentment.


The writer who called himself Trent, sat back in his chair, stretching away from the keyboard to gaze out his office window. The snow had covered the bottom quarter or so, partially blocking the view of his yard. The flakes were still falling but not as hard or full as they had before dawn. In the…

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American Pie

The bloggiversary continues. This was from the ninth year of the kingdom and another bit of self promotion. I was proud of this story and thrilled it won. Something of a vindication for the years of questioning my writing. Anyway, if you click through, and I hope you do, enjoy!

The Matticus Kingdom

A couple months ago I submitted two different short stories to the Los Angeles Public Library Summer Writing Contest.

I’m very pleased to announce that one of those stories, an allusion packed piece about life and music, was one of the winners of the contest. You can read my story here:

I’ll post the second story in a couple days. In a lot of ways, I actually liked it more.

So, my faithful kingdomites, give American Pie a read and let me know what you think. Does it resonate with you? How many song references can you spot? How was your summer in these crazy times?

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On being thirty-nine

Year 8. Getting to the end now. My letters to my kiddos have always been my most popular posts, so perhaps it is fitting that this letter to myself makes the cut for this month of reblogs. … even if I am dating myself.

The Matticus Kingdom

Dear Jester,

I’d say that’s a funny way to start a letter to myself but we all know that it fits.

What an adventure it has been, yes?  Thirty-nine years full of adventures.  Far too many to list out here so perhaps we should just focus on the last little bit.  Perhaps, perhaps.  Though I doubt I can say much now that doesn’t relate to something that came before.  We all know that fits as well.

It’s an interesting thing to reflect on the passage of time, to admire the triumphs over the adventures that went sideways and to bask in the remaining glow of those that went better than expected.  I’ve done far more than I thought I would by this age and far less at the same time.  That’s part of the hypocrisy that is at my core.  Hypocrisy isn’t exactly the right word but it harkens to…

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the one that ends in fire

And from the seventh year of the kingdom, this little poem received three most comments. I wonder why. The reblogging celebration continues. Only three more to go after this one.

The Matticus Kingdom

And on the sixth day we rhymed
Because we felt it was about time
To have some fun with words
I know, I know, how absurd
But, here in the Kingdom that’s what we do
When all else fails to inspire
A poem will do the trick
But please don’t let this silliness turn you blue
I’ll soon light this ode on fire
And let it burn to the wick

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