::Words of Wisdom...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moving Day!!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

::Mists of the Past - Prologue

The wind whipped through the sparse alpines, carrying the sounds of hard labor upon its back. The normal serenity of the majestic mountain range buckled under the sweat and determination of the twelve man team. The men worked tirelessly on a patch of gently sloping rock with pickaxes and shovels piercing the thick skin of the earth. Motivating them was Thedon and Lukas, a pair of cruel taskmasters ready to chase off the idea of loafing with a crack of their whips. Four guardsmen patrolled the perimeter of the dig site in shifts, their sharp senses directed at the surrounding rock and brush.

The Dhugdhurn mountains were known to be infested with beasts, natural and, if the stories are to be believed, unnatural in origin. It was the refuge for a number of goblinoid tribes, fleeing the human scourges after the Horn God war. So far, there had been no sight or sound of any of these threats. This only made the tension greater for everyone.

It was a warm spring day despite the cool wind blowing across the range. The blaze of the afternoon sun felt good on Morris’s face. He looked over the dig site from a large jutting rock and yawned deeply. He remembered briefly the excitement he felt on his first mining survey and how gradually the excitement drained away over the past ten years.

He knew his work was important and served a higher purpose. They were employed by one of the bigger mining companies of Salex. A successful survey of a new vein of ore would determine whether hundreds of migrant workers had work for the upcoming season. Not to mention the nice bonus he received; yet he still felt as something was missing from his life.
His gaze drifted East, following the skyline the Dhugdhurn mountains made across the clear blue sky until it was abruptly severed by an enormous wall of grey mist. It was known as the Grey Wall and not much was known about it except that it predated all known history. It stretched North and South farther than anyone was brave enough to explore creating an unnatural border along the Eastern side of the continent.

This was the closest his work had ever brought him to the wall. He stood paralyzed by its unique beauty and the excitement of the unknown. It wasn’t often that surveys went this high into the mountains. Normally, the ores they were searching for were found deeper and lower in the mountain. However, more and more surveys have been finding large ore veins higher in elevation and closer to the surface the closer they moved toward the Grey Wall. This phenomenon baffled scholars and sages for decades.

“They say it’s because these peaks were not always here – they were created by a great upheaval,” Morris called down to the rest of his survey team. He imagined the great cataclysm as he overlooked the vista.

Down below, Landon nudged one of his colleagues. “They also say that the closer you get to the wall, the worse the smell of death and decay. And that if you stare into it deep enough you can see the faces of dead loved ones. But most of'em are crazy loons.”

“And here I was thinking that smell was ol’ Thedon there.” Rogen said a little louder than he expected.

Laughter erupted from the three remaining surveyors as they walked to the lunch tent. A couple of the laborers chuckled as well but were silenced quickly by scowls from Thedon and his brutal partner.

Morris looked down to Landon and his crew, shaking his head with a smirk. Landon, whom he had known since childhood, was always quick to dismiss the words and visions of sages and scholars. Morris could not fault him, it was the main reason he had requested Landon for the trip. Morris needed someone to ground him from his flights of fancy and he trusted no one more than Landon.

Morris knew not to take what he had read or heard during his youth as nothing more than legend and myth; yet seeing the Grey Wall, even at this distance, excited his sense of exploration and adventure.

So what of it that no one who has ever breached the Grey Wall has never come back? What if paradise lies beyond and they simply did not want to leave? Morris climbed down from the rock before pulling his leather gloves off to adjust his jerkin and apron and stole one last long look at the long wall of grey. It has to exist for a reason. Morris joined his colleagues who were finishing lunch despite the hysterics Landon had put them in. Morris smiled. He would let them have their fun for now.

The sun crawled to midday before the surveying team finally had enough rock samples to begin work. Immediately they became all business with their tools of trade. Landon and Rogen used compasses to triangulate their position, comparing their findings to the land charter given to them by headquarters. The charter ensured their work would not be hindered by land disputes between other mining companies. Competition was high for quality veins and disputes often turned deadly while waiting for the High Courts to pass judgment.

Morris took the remaining teammates and set upon the loads of rocks freed from the earth by the labor team testing them for the metals they searched for and the purity of the vein. Morris focused on his work and if not for the call from Thedon walking quickly towards him, he would have surely missed the commotion happening amongst the laborers. The look on the taskmasters face did not sit well with Morris. Concerned, Morris pulled himself from his alchemical lab and jogged to meet the taskmaster, who was now wheezing and wiping the sweat from his brow.

“What’s wrong, Thedon? What has all the men riled up?” He stared past the taskmaster, searching for something to cool his worry.

“The men - They found something in the earth. You should come see, Mr. Morris.” Thedon blustered nearly out of breath from the short trot.

Morris followed Thedon back to the dig site. He tried to keep himself calm, “Its probably a large vein. That always gets them going.” When he arrived, he staggered backwards, his imagination sparked alive as the other surveyors crowded around him. Landon gasped and it was then that Morris knew he was not dreaming.

The object in the earth, partially uncovered, was definitely not a vein of ore. It appeared to be some sort of worked stone or metal and large. The image generated hundreds of theories within his mind’s eye.

Eyes wild with excitement, Morris grinned, “Dig it up.”

Morris divided the laborers into shifts so they could dig through the rest of the day and through the night. With a little coaxing, a couple of his colleagues volunteered to help dig as well.

Landon pulled Morris aside, “Morris, have you gone mad? We should report this to Salex headquarters.”

“No, we report this and some scholar from Olycor will swoop in and take all the credit for the find.” Morris pulled away from Landon and stared deeply at the object which by then was beginning to take on more of a rectangular shape. “Like an altar or sarcophagus,” Morris imagined.

“Look at it, Landon. This is old – I mean really old. Look at the designs and the way it’s shaped. I wonder what it’s made of.” Morris reached out to touch it and suddenly pulled away, “We should run some tests.” Morris was a mile a minute and was already on this way to the work tent before Landon could give a retort. Landon did not like the way this was progressing.

Morris finished gathering his supplies and was heading out of the work tent when he spotted Landon entering the main surveyor tent. He desperately wanted to work on the object, but he was suspicious of the way Landon had been acting earlier. Morris moved towards the tent, “What are you up to, Landon.”

Pulling back the tent flap he saw Landon and immediately understood. His friend finished whispering to a wooden token shaped like a bird and tossed it into the air. Magically, it transformed to a living version of visage and fluttered south.

Morris felt as if his heart was trampled on, “I know you are trying to protect me, Landon. This is not Waysfair or Tenton - this is real. It’s not junk like all the others. You’ve got to know that. Why are you not supporting me on this?”

Landon’s face twisted with rage, “Support you, Morris? Do you remember how many times have I had to pull your head out of a pool of your own depression-induced-drinking-binge vomit? How many lies have I told? How many excuses I have given to cover for your ass after you crawl into that dark hole of yours after another failed ‘adventure’?” Landon pounded his fist on a nearby table. “When are you going to accept that you are a surveyor? Just as your father was and just as his father was before him? A surveyor and that’s all!” Morris clinched his fists, seething with anger but Landon continued, “Kaeruna help him, the Sisters have bewitched another poor soul with the will’o’wisps of fortune and fame.”

“I should have never asked you along, Landon. You are through here. This is my dig and I want you out. Pack your things, you leave in the morning.” Morris said bitterly as he marched out of the tent and back to the dig site.

The laborers now had the entire top and first foot of the sides uncovered. It stretched ten feet long with intricate designs and hieroglyphs etched into the stone and metal. Stone-like vines swirl across the top and sides like a real vine would creep up a tree trunk. Morris stood amazed at the level of detail and bizarreness of the hieroglyphs. He was sure given enough time he could decipher the story it was attempting to tell him. Time, however, was not something he had a lot of at the moment so he had to work fast. He dismissed the laborers for the night and set up his lab upon the top of the container. He quickly arranged his tools and was soon lost in documenting his findings.

Damn you, Landon. Damn you all. They don’t realize what you are to me,” Morris traced the top designs with his hand sliding it down the side closest to him circling a spiral design of stone vines.

Suddenly, the design clicked and Morris quickly pulled his hand away, examining it. Blood trickled down his palm, “Cael take me. It’s trapped.” He took a step back to grab a bit cloth to bind his wound when the spiral design lashed out encircling his leg tightly. Morris attempted to cry out in hopes of alerting the evening watch. He was promptly silenced when another stone vine wrapped around his waist and throat crushing the air from his lungs. Morris struggled for freedom and air. Fear grappled him as tightly as the vines did, slowly devouring his sanity. The container’s designs began to glow a deep green, slowly melting away leaving exposed what appeared to be a humanoid made of the same material as the container itself. Morris could feel the vines tighten and tear into his flesh with razor sharp thorns, draining his life’s blood. The vines absorbed the flow of blood, strengthening the green glow of the shifting container.

As his life ebbed away he watched the glow of the container feed the glow that was now emitting from the humanoid. He thought he heard the clang of the watch bell as the humanoid sat up and stretched its body of living wood and metal. As his vision blurred and he slumped to ground, he thought he made out Landon brandishing his sword charging the thing he awakened.

Thought and fantasy began to blur together for Morris as he prayed, “Always the valiant one, Landon. A true friend to the end. Kaeruna protect us – forgive me for what I have wrought.”

Slowly the world faded to darkness.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

::The Company Man

The following is a composition written in a three-four sentenced paragraph rotation between Crayon, Parabolist, and myself.

All rights and stuff are ours and will freely share if asked in the right way.

His fingers fumbled for the remote, the resounding click of the television threw the room into sudden darkness. He mentally sighed, writing a list of things he wanted to accomplish the next day. It was late and he should go to bed, he thought to himself. The phone rang, shattering the peaceful still of the night. He turned towards the phone and then to the bedside clock which read two-fifteen AM.

The phone chirped again, annoyingly gargling its cacophonous tune. Two-sixteen in the morning, in a city Sam had never visited before, in a sleeze-bag motel where no one knew him or that he was staying there and it was his room receiving a middle-of-the-fucking-night phone call from Fuck-knows-who. It has to be a wrong number. The phone fell silent as the clock kicked over to two-twenty. At two-twenty-one it rang again.

He silently cursed the caller who obviously had fuck-all to do on a Sunday night, no, it was Monday now, five more hours and he would be on the road again heading further into the city to complete the tasks set before him. He imagined all the biting and sarcastic comments he wanted to say to this low-life worthless piece of whore-jizz who had taken it upon himself to annoy the ever-fucking-life out of Sam at two-twenty-two on this FINE Monday morning.

Cursing to himself, he reached for the phone. "What the hell do you want?" Sam was not about to even give this infernal wretch the decency of a hello.
Sammy, Oh God, thank God, Sammy! He's coming for me Sammy. I don't think I can get away this time. You've got to help me Sammy. Please he's - oh God, Sammy, he's- Her panicked voice echoed in Sam's head.

"Muriel? What? Who?" God, he had not seen nor heard from her in five - no, ten years. "Muriel?" Only breathing - breathing or static; Sam could not be sure. "Muriel?!" The line was dead, an agonizing beeping filled the silence of the room. Sam jumped when the clock clicked loudly to two-twenty-five.

Muriel - oh how he had pined away for Muriel all those fifteen years while living in Brooklyn. He almost hated his brother for finding her first, it was jealousy at first but he had slowly convinced himself that his brother, Jonas, had purposefully paraded Muriel around Sam to provoke him, to make him fall in love with her only to marry her away from Sam. It was what convinced him to join the company and the extensive travel it advertised.

Dial tone quickly gave way to the touch tones of his mothers phone number. He knew it was late but she would get over it and this was important. It rang a few times, the waiting seemed endless. There was no choice though. He knew there was no way to trace teh call from the motel. Who is this calling at this time of night? his mother always did get straight to the point. "Its Samuel, mom, listen I don't have time to explain." Sam? Is something wrong? Are you locked up again? Sam winced, "Mom, just listen. Jonas - I need his number - I think he's going to hurt her!" Hurt who? What? Muriel you mean? Honey you are out of it, didn't you hear? Muriel was in a car crash, she's been in a coma for two months now!
"What? No, no, mom, I mean I just - I just talked to her."
Sammy, you had a nightmare or you've been drinking. Shush now. Where are you?
"Listen to me Mom. Jonas is going to hurt her, Mom. You have to listen to me!"
Jonas is dead Sammy, you know that. When are you going to stop with your hurtful games? Sam cringed as his mother hung up the phone.

The memories slowly crept out of the cornders of his mind, his mother was right about Jonas - he had been dead for ten years now. The last time he saw Muriel was at his funeral. He had thought about staying in town to help console her and maybe catch up but it was too soon and just a little creepy. Besides I had company work to do on the West coast, he reminded himself.

This did nothing to shake the feeling he had of Jonas hurting Muriel, whom he just found out has been in a coma for the past two months. The thought of it all made his head spin with questions.

Sam collapsed against the cigarette smoke stained wall in the cheap dand room. Maybe he was having some sort of waking dream - maybe this 'life' was taking its toll. He started to rationalize the phone didn't really ring, it was simply not possible. He arighted himself and went to the small dirty bathroom to wash his face. The faucet flowed with cool water which he splashed on his face, and then the phone rang.

Sam cringed and quickly patted his face dry. He charged at the hone, leaing across the bed ad snatching it from the receiver.

"Muriel!" he gasped.

Sammy, Sammy, Sammy, rasped a cold but familiar voice. Tingling lanced up and down Sam's back. He threw down the phone, backing away slowly. Crimson covered the receiver.

Sam recognized Jonas's voice immediately but in that same instance he realized how impossible it was for it to be his brother. Jonas was dead, he attended his funeral, saw him in the casket, the whole kit and kaboodle. Sam focused on the bleeding receiver, then down to his hands which were the same crimson of the phone. Horror drained him of color as he absent-mindedly wiped his hands on his denim jeans, tripping over an arm chair on his way back to the dingy bathroom, scattering roaches and other nocturnal insects at his staggered approach.

Flipping on the light switch his body wracked with incoherent sobs, there ws no evidene of the blood but he stripped down anyway and crawled into the rusty bathtub and showered, scrubbing and sobbing.

Sam soaked up the water with a hopefully clean towel He stumbled toward the bed, jarring in mid-stride toward the tiny circular table near the curtained window. His to-do list rested with his pen next to a cheap bottle of Scotch. One drink would take the edge off. Just one drink. The burn was delicious, spreading down his throat, releasing the tension. Sam glanced at the list.

Item 1: Kill Muriel
Item 2: Kill Muriel
Item 3: Kill Muriel

Sam gagged as he read line after line, the same repetitious horror.

Sam sank into an armchair next to the table, staring at the list with disbelief. He hadn't remembered writing those words but he could not disput that the lettering was in his own handwriting.
"What is happening to me," he thought aloud, raking a free han through his thinning hair; the table side clock erupted in sound as its numbers annouced the coming hour - 3:00.

The old clock's numbers then continued flipping, loudly, pulsing like thunder in his skull. All at once he found himself, sweat drenched, underneath a vehicle, blade in hand, brake line about to be severed. He could still hear the clock, the violent clip-clapping of one number being discarded as another number crashed on top of it.

The numbers clicked over again and again. The cool smooth tube was pinched between his fingers. The pen knife blade rested against it, digging in. Drip. Sam blinked and his eyes were filled with sunlight. He held the knife for the wedding cake. Jonas reached for the knife. A drop of rain splattered against Sam's forehead. He sat up quickly as simultaneously the clock clicked to 3:01 and the phone rang again.

The ringing echoed in Sam's mind, distant at first slowly growing louder reverberating like church bells. Sam reluctantly let Jonas take the knife shaking off thoughts of plunging it deep into his brother's chest. He didn't want to answer the phone but he knew he had no choice.
"No choice at all" he murmurred picking up the reciever.

Finish what you started, Sammy, was the only reply.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

::The Last Mile

My submission (#46) to Jason's writing contest.

The Last Mile
by Karlan T

Lenny was using all cylinders as he throttled down the highway. Like most
that ran this stretch, he had a long way to go and a short time to get
there. The heat of the highway radiated unbearably even at the witching

He scanned the horizon under the moon, searching for the landmark that would
tell him he was nearly home.The trio of plateaus was a beacon haloed by the starlit
sky but the obnoxious flashing neon lights of a gas station grabbed his attention.
Nothing would be better than home, but now the uncomfortable call of nature
gnawed at his mind.

The journey is almost over, one last rest stop won't kill me, he decided.

Suddenly, lights flooded the air around Lenny. He panicked, glancing back
to see headlights bearing down on him. Some insane instinct, beyond
rationalization, compelled him to donut around and run head long into the
paired beams of light.

Breaking free of the siren song, Lenny leaned into the last mile before the
station. He strained to not look back. Behind, the growing thunder
heightened his fear. The fear snapped his head around. A flash of
reflective chrome grill was all he saw before everything went black.

The thunderous roar pulled into the gas station, rolling to a stop. Its
engine idled with a guttural growl. "Damn Bugs," it muttered as it pulled
Lenny from its chrome capped teeth.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

::History of Me

I was born a poor white child in the bayous of Lake Charles, Louisiana approximately thirty-three years ago.  My lineage dates back to the original colonists on both sides of my family.  When I was younger, history didn't mean a lot to me and thusly didn't hold a lot of my attention.  This of course did nothing to stop my older relatives from giving me an earful of folktales and readings from the family memoirs.

The Talkingtons and The Chances both left England for reasons I have yet to discover to begin a new live in the savage lands of America.  My father's grandmother's on several occasions claimed Sir Francis Drake was her great-beyond-great uncle.  The evidence to this was in that her maiden name was "Drake", so make of that what you will.  Beyond that I know from family records that both families moved south after the Revolutionary War.  The Chances were awarded parcels of land in Georgia while The Talkingtons ended up in North Carolina.  The Civil War prompted another story from the Talkington annals.  My father's mother told a story of her grandfather who fought in the Civil War.  He fought for the South and his brother fought for the North.  Blood proved thicker than anything else in the world when they would meet each night to share coffee and food with one another.

After the Civil War, the stories and memories seem to be lost until the Second World War.  My father was named after an uncle he never met.  His uncle was shot down by German anti-aircraft artillery while performing bombing runs over the African Coast.  My mother's father lived up to his surname a couple of times during WWII.  He was present at Mussolini's execution when they strung him upside down to let him bleed to death.  This was after nearly being killed when a mortar shell exploded beside him leaving him unharmed but killing the guy next to him.  His most extraordinary story to date is of a German incursion with his infantry regiment.  His regiment was stalemated against a regiment of Germans.  Both sides were cut off from supplies, and the waiting game began.  Days went by until finally his group had run out of ammo.  The Germans, tired and hungry, didn't notice or care as they raised their white flag in surrender.  A charmed life indeed, and coincidentally his nickname back home was "Little Boy".

My father's father missed the war luckily due to him taking up the calling just as four generations of Talkingtons had done before him.  Casting off his career as an up and coming minor league baseball player, he joined the ranks of a different army.  He was an ordained minister, a soldier for God.  He served his country and his congregation through ministry, keeping hope and faith alive in America.  My father's mother did her part as well by working as a general worker building schools and sweating as a factory worker just as "Rosy the Riveter" asked of all women during that time.

As I grew up and began to put these stories into their proper context, history became more personal to me.  History was still boring but I at least felt more a part of it.  Now I find myself reconnecting to my country's founders through the writings of Thomas Jefferson and the unsung patriot, Thomas Paine.  I am discovering that history, as cheesy as it might sound, is more a part of me and who I am than I had ever given it credit for.  I look forward to exploring more of my past through family stories and examining how they fit into the bigger picture of American History.

Monday, August 20, 2007

::Queen of Rock


Last night I fulfilled the dreams of not one but two princesses.

Yes, I am THAT good.

I took them to see the Queen of Rock, Pat Benatar
She's still pretty hot and can still wail!

It was an awesome show.  The opening act was Lennon, who played her music on piano beautifully despite being a metal act.



benatar and elyssa I think the best part was sharing it with my daughter.  She was SO excited to see "Benatar" and Lennon she screamed for because she thought the piano was great!
We danced and sang along, it was a blast.

My son was a little bored with the concert but he managed through it.

We are looking forward to INXS at the end of the month, maybe he'll enjoy them more.

Overall, it was a great time and it was truly fantastic to be able to fulfill the childhood dreams of both my beautiful princesses.

::Mr. T Presents: Playing with Wood

I am a self-professed Jack of Trades.  I had a pretty decent southern upbringing; just short of seasonal hunting trips, I was taught by my dad to be self sufficient when it came to home repair.  I can install a ceiling fan, install a toilet and sink complete with plumbing, wire an electrical outlet and can even float dry wall.  I amaze my wife on a regular basis with what I can do. *nudge nudge* *wink wink*  On occasion, I wow my land lord who thinks its a godsend to have a tenant that doesn't need to call out for a repairman for every little thing.  "Imagine all the money I'm saving," I can hear him think when I tell him I fixed this and that.  I'm ok with that because otherwise I would have to wait for him to call someone, then take a day off of work to meet with the guy.  It just saves everyone a lot of hassle in the end.

Anyway to the point of all this.  I wanted to share a glimpse into where I've been hiding myself the past few days.

In addition to being a novice-class handyman, I am also a self-professed member of Geekapollooza.   And one of the most coveted items that a coterie can have bragging rights to is The Ultimate Gaming Table!!  Of course there are several out there claiming to be the ultimate but thus far, NO ONE has beat this design.

Building such a table would require several heavenly bodies to align themselves just so and until I can master the powers of the universe to make this happen, I will have to settle for a smaller design.

One of those "heavenly" bodies would be my wife who has a list of items she would like built before I set my sights on the table of adventure and splendor.  A coffee table and a curio cabinet top the list.

Also, building such an artifact of dorkish proportions would require tools of the carpentry trade, time to build it and a workspace away from little children.

As you can see the table has become a long and arduous journey likened to that of a certain ring carried by a certain young man with hairy feet.

So with the help of Parabolist, my Sam to his Frodo, we took up the task of creating a workshop to build all these wonders in the hopes of ushering a new age, aligning that heavens as we could.

First on the list was the workspace.  I needed a place to work and put all the tools needed.  Scouring the webbed lands of the internet, I came across this handy handyman's site with a design that seemed to scream, "BUILD ME...!!!"  And with a failed Will save I am doing just that.

The design presented above was to fit into a 16 ft. garage, nearly twice the space that I have in my current garage, so we had to scale it back some.  I decided to go with a 9 ft. tablespace and keep the other variables (depth and height) the same to save me some sanity.

Parabolist being the CAD whiz that he is came up with this:

KarlanWoodWork 002


And so, I'm turning this: KarlanWoodWork 003

with these:

KarlanWoodWork 004 KarlanWoodWork 005

into this:

b_leadResults May Vary... 

Friday, August 03, 2007

::Thar Be Booty Har

A few days ago in an enchanted land far far away, a group of adventurous pirate princes and pirate princesses gathered on the Dread Pirate King's ship, The Mini Pearl, to celebrate his daughter's fifth year on the open seas. gathering of pirates
receiving the map At the climax of this celebration, the Dreaded Pirate King presented to his princess his most valued possession outside of his lovely children and his Queen.  A map of their island and marked upon it, the location of riches beyond their imaginations.
The "X" was coffin rock, a well known spot to his children as they spent many days watching the sunset there.
Before they leave, they retire to the royal palace to prepare for their adventurous journey.
preparing the journey
coffin_rockCoffin Rock
"Within My Tomb, Lies A Pirates Boon.  Free It From My Deathly Grip By Going On A Daring Trip.
Search the Land Far And Wide For the Keys Numbering Five
Seek Ye First A Pirate Curst.  Play His Game To Set Him Free And For Your Prize, A Skeleton's Key.    ~ YAAARGH"
Upon reaching coffin rock, the adventurers scoured the area for clues to the location of the treasure.
Finally, the first mate came across an etching in the rock accompanied by five keyholes.
After digesting the riddle, the group eyed each other with excitement and wonder.
A cursed pirate held their first key.  "Only one pirate I know of that fits that bill," The first mate declared.  With a wave of his arm, "To the Mini Pearl!"
ship The Mini Pearl Aboard the Mini Pearl, the first mate took them to the brig.  Dark and dank and smelling of rotten fish, the brig was empty.  The pirate princesses bravely stepped forward into the darkness.  Suddenly a ghastly visage appeared to them.  It was the Pirate Curst!  "Play my game or join me here forever!" he cackled.
Frightened at the thought of spending their days in this smelly brig, the group cheered each other on as they mastered his game of ring toss.
Victorious, the group was given their first key.
But not without a few words of gratitude from the Pirate Curst.
key_the_first The Pirate Curst

"Lads and Lasses, Thank Ye For Lifting The Curse To Free Me.
Now Here My Tale of Woe.  The Captain's Key I Stole And Hide It I Did In a Clock.  Swallowed Whole By a Wicked Ol' Croc, Off He Swam Without a Trace To His Home; A Boggy Place"

Looking at the map, they find only one place where this Croc with the Clock could reside.  The foulest place on the island, Black Bog.

"Ewww," cry the princesses but they trudge on for the greater good.  They can buy new dresses with the treasure that lies in wait for them.

The stench of the bog was only slightly overwhelmed by the vast swarms of mosquitoes, flies and other bugs.  Sloping through the bog, the group searched for the Wicked Ol' Croc.

"This is hopeless, we are never going to find anything in this mess." One princess said slinging off a clump of swamp from her feet.  As if on queue, the growl of a crocodile was heard in the darkness accented by the tic tock of a clock.  "ITS HIM!" they all whispered loudly.  Creeping closer to the sound of the Ol' Croc, they find it stretched out on a bed of moss and peat.  Its yellow eyes scanning the bog for its next meal.  Hoping it didn't spot them, the group hid behind a log.  Finally, it slid off into the swamp in search for dinner.

Quickly, they search the Ol' Croc's bedding for the key.  "Got it," one of them whispers.  Wrapped in a cocoon of moss, they find the key secured to a piece of parchment.

"Brave Must Ye Be, In Search of the Next Key.  Along the Coast of Shipwreck Shore, Enter Ye Must Through Death's Door.  Your Fear Ye Will Face For In Davey Jones' Locker, Yer Hand Ye Must Place."

ShipwreckShore Shipwreck Shore Off to Shipwreck Shore they set, to the two spiraling spires named  Death's Door.
At the foot of these spires is a swirling pool of black.  The local legends say this is only one of many "portholes" to the land of the dead.
Bravely they each stick their hands into the pool
searching for the key.
 The color drains from each of them as Davey Jones sucks the life from them.  "Be Brave" they say to one another scrambling to find the key.
A boy dressed in green and goes by Peter Pan jerks his hand up out of the water.  A tentacle is wrapped around his arm but in his grasp is the KEY!
They make short work of the tentacle with their magic wands and dirks.
And examine the key for another clue.
While they look,  A ghostly voice echoes from the pool.
key_the_third"At Table Rock Collect Your Debt.
To Find The Key, A Wager Ye'll Bet.
Throw the Bones With Davey Jones.
Three Changes to Stay Alive.
Win the Game, Roll a Five.
throwing_the_bones2 "Last Key to Find in a Ballroom Divine.
A Princess Bride Full of Dread
Her Greatest Fear Ne'er to Wed.
Without Her Slipper Made of Glass
The Prince's Test She'll Not Pass.
With Closed Eye Numbering Two
Make This Princess' Dream Come True"
Off they set for Table Rock and the fourth key.
After a short climb they reach the top of Table Rock and find a feast waiting for them along with a sealed box and a pair of bony dice.
"I have a bad feeling about this." The first mate says as he chomps down on a piece of cake.
While they eat, they each take a turn at the bones.  Three rounds go by and soon they begin to worry if this is the end.
The Dread Pirate's daughter makes a wish and with the final throw of the dice....  a five!
The seal on the box cracks and inside is the fourth key and a parchment.
Finishing their feast, they cry in unison, "The Royal Palace!"
After a quick march down the rock and to the palace, they slowly enter the ballroom not sure what to expect.
In the center of the ballroom is a Prince at the feet of a beautiful Princess frozen in time.
Several slippers of glass and shiny quartz lay around them.  Closing their eyes they each pick up a slipper and try to place it on her foot.  With uncanny accuracy Princess T slipped her slipper on the princess.
the ballroom divine The Royal Palace - Ballroom

The Prince and Princess released from their spell thanked the brave pirates and gave them their final key.

"Back to COFFIN ROCK!!" they sprinted.  The princesses remembering their manners stopped to curtsey on their way out.
opening_coffin_rock Each of them took a key and inserted it into the keyhole.  With a grinding turn, the sound of a lock opening could be heard.
With the final key, the Princess E opened the final lock.
Together they lifted the coffin opened and peered inside.
they screamed with excitement.
The Dread Pirate King and his first mate lifted the chest out.
BOOTY treasure2 The glittering of gold and jewels was blinding.
The treasure was legendary.

"We should take this back to the palace to split it up."

They all agreed and headed back to the palace...
Where they enjoyed the rewards of working together, facing their fears and overcoming great obstacles.

Happy Treasure Hunting
and Happy Birthday!!
Princess E!!

Special Thanks to the Curst Pirate for assisting on creating this magical day.  I think we had just about as much fun building the adventure as the kids did running through it.
Creative design by
Mr. T (The Dread Pirate King)
Mrs. T (His Queen)
Parabolist (The Curst Pirate)

Map work by
Parabolist (The Curst Pirate)