Volunteering with the Factory Youth Zone

Hey, I thought I’d switch from writing my Les Mis post to doing this one because I can get it out faster. Also because this is becoming important to me as well.

I started doing voluntry work at my nearest youth centre at the end of Nov/beginning of Dec. I saw a banner calling for volunteers on the side of the building and thought it might be a good opportunity for me. Not only to break up my struggle to find a job-which is still going down hill-but also for me to learn some new skills and maybe pass on my love for books and writing. Well, that hasn’t happened it! But the skills have and there’ll be more on that later. First though what really drew me to the The Factory and volunteering? The answer lays in the fact that I didn’t fancy any more time at the Charity shop. Yeah, I know I was doing a good thing there and I was in a comfit zone with it, but I just got bored of doing the same things and tried of the people, who could sometimes be unfriendly. I wanted a complete change of environment and to be doing something new that would actually make me want to do it. I’ve always been good with kids and thought that it would be another great thing on my CV.

That saying; you won’t know until you try, comes into mind. I guess because I was so unsure when I applied and went for an interview that I was the kind of person they were looking for. Most people they take on my age are either doing a related course and need the experience or have completed the course and either have a paid job or are gaining more experience. So it was odd I guess for someone coming out of a masters to want to volunteer at a job they had no qualifications or experience doing. I think it was my skills that I could bring to the centre though and my eagerness to try my hand at something different that saw me through. I did well in the training too and manged to take everything on board. There was a lot about the law and safe guarding children, as well as looking for signs of neglect etc. There was other stuff like how to deal with different and difficult situations that can happen. I took it all in and found it an easy day. I then choice to do Mondays and Tuesdays afternoons and work with the 8-12 year olds coming after school.

The factory itself has only been open a year or two now. It’s purpose is a designed space for all young people aged 8-21 to have fun, gain new skills, make new friends and be able to talk to someone about any issues. The building is divided into a number of areas across two floors and has; a gym, a rec hall, a craft area, a music room, a dancing/performing arts space, a climbing wall, a football field, a sports hall with things like netball, trampolining and other indoor sports and cafe/chill out area. They run different time slots for age groups as well so that people can make the best use of the time and activities on offer. There’s normally so many different activities running too, mostly these are sports or music, but the arts and crafts have a number of things running and there is also tables to play boardgames on.

My first afternoon though was a little scary, though nothing bad as the first day at school. I was unsure what to do or who to speak too, so it took me a few to speak to a guy in a blue t-shirt about what I should do. I was then meet by the senior/leader youth worker and I got put on the crafts table. I love getting creative and making stuff. Though I’ve to admit that since starting I’ve not done as much sewing in my life! That day does seem a blur now and I can remember what it was we were making. It changes every day or every week, though normally it has to do with sewing and creating things. I get a chance to make my own thing and let my creativity out, but mostly I focus on helping the kids and passing on my skills to them. Which is what it should always be about.

I’m still helping out on the craft table now and I’m pleased to say that I’ve taught a few kids to sew and helped many other things create things. So far I’ve also helped to make a xmas banner and xmas gifts. I’ve made these items for my self; a xmas hat, a xmas socking, a xmas card, a badge for my jacket and a poster about all the things I want to do this year. I’m currently helped two boys make superhero costumes for their secret club and I’ve been helping other kids with similar projects to the things I’ve made. I’ve also played a few games of badminton, table tennis and boardgames. I’ve gained a number of skills, like in teaching and leadership and looking after kids and being more in control and patient. Things that only come when in the world of work. These skills are pretty transferable to other things though and I’m hoping that they will aid me.

So, I am really loving my time at the Factory. I need to think about setting up a writing club though and also seeing if there’s a chance they can help me get into paid work as that would be much better for me. All my to do list and now I can get back to the Les Mis review too!

You can check out the Factory here;

http://www.thefactoryyz.org/

D&D War of Everlasting Darkness Part 1; Sticking Your Hand in The Fire

As the long winter nights close in there’s nothing like huddling around a fire in a shelter or the local tavern to hear glorious adventure tales of the past. The War of Everlasting Darkness though currently taking place, promises to go down in history as one of those tales, recited by ancient warriors claiming to have been there. Whilst some will scoff at the tales and disbelieve them as old men’s ramblings, others will be in awe to hear how a band of brave adventurers fared against the coming Darkness and if they survived….

So, throw another log on to the fire, grab your third or fourth tankard of ale, get comfy and let me tell you the first part of my exciting adventure to save the Forgotten Realms from Darkness.

War of Everlasting Darkness

Chapter 1

The village of Quaervarr on the southwest edge of Glimmerwood lay in silence. The early evening settled across the sky, whilst spring played mildly in the air. The sign of the Whistling Stag Inn creaked. Through the frosted glass windows a fire burned strongly, spiting onto the heath. The villagers and travellers mumbled wearily over their drinks. In one dark corner hidden from view sit two very odd figures.

Kay, an Eladrin cleric from the Feywild, stared across the table at the massive revenant druid dragonborn, Feron. He was scratching at a shinny blue scale with a long claw. Suddenly the scale dropped off. Feron flicked it to the floor. Kay rolled her eyes.

‘Are you going to explain to me how you came back?’ she asked in a low voice.

There was hardly any risk of being overheard, but the quiet atmosphere of the tavern was setting her on edge.

Feron shrugged his large shoulders. ‘It’s complicated.’

She sighed and rubbed her forehead. It had only been this morning that the two old friends had stumbled across each other on the road to Quaervarr. It had been a moment of sheer delight, which had quickly faded when Kay realised her friend was undead. At least once again they were on similar quests.

Feron gulped down the rest of his beer.

‘How about…’ he started, staring into his empty tankard, ‘I buy everyone a drink and we find out what’s going on around here?’

‘You have that feeling again don’t you?’ Kay asked.

He nodded and she crossed her arms over her chest.

‘All right. Do it.’

Feron stood up, knocking his chair over and banging his tankard on the table. ‘Inn keeper, drinks for everyone on me!’

Eyes flickered across to them. Most people recoiled at the sight of Feron and only a handful shuffled to the bar. He turned back to Kay. ‘See? Something is very off here.’

‘Point taken. Now I’ll have another.’

She tapped her goblet and with a gruff growl Feron strode to the bar. She watched him push his way between a dwarf and an elf before looking over to the far corner. There was an old man sat there, smoking a pipe.

She got up and walked over to him. Feron’s instinct was never wrong and she bet that if anyone knew what was going on around here it would be these locals. The old man watched her approach and didn’t say anything as she sat down in the chair opposite.

‘A drink for a tale?’

The old man nodded. ‘Aye and I’ll tell ya about the ghostie that walks this very night.’

‘What ghost?’ Feron said, putting the drinks on the table.

The old man stuttered and looked open mouthed at him.

‘He’s with me and its fine,’ Kay said, dismissively. ‘Now the ghost?’

‘N-no one knows where it came from. Only for the past week it’s walked the streets and disappeared into the woods.’

‘That’s it? Some tale!’ Feron cut in.

‘No!’ a voice cried from behind them. ‘I’ve seen it!’

They turned and a young man stepped over to them. He was dressed in patched up clothes and looked fresh from the fields.

‘It takes the form of a man in amour,’ he added.

‘Oh?’ Kay replied. She eyed the man suspiciously wondering how much he’d had to drink.

‘Bah! I’ve had enough of this!’ another voice, this time gruffer and a lot heavier came from the bar. A stool scraped across the floor and Kay saw the dwarf grabbing his axe and heading to the door. He was burly with ropes of muscles across his arms. He had long bright red hair and a beard, which was partly plaited. He wore simple dwarf leather armour and there was another axe strapped to his back.

‘You must believe me!’ the man cried.

‘Believe you? Nothing scares me, boy.’

The inn door opened and the dwarf stepped out into the night. The fire hissed loudly as the door slammed shut. The drinkers’ gazed down at the tables, suddenly finding a fascination in the warped, wet wood.

‘I believe you,’ a quiet voice broke the silence.

At Kay’s elbow was the elf. Her long blond hair was loose down her back and she wore green and dark brown leather clothes. Her features declared her noble born, but there was a hard look in her eyes.

‘And you do too, right?’ the man asked turning to them.

Feron scratched at another scale and Kay frowned.

‘Tell us more about the ghost.’

‘Well…..I was with Drana and we were standing outside here when we both saw it. It came out of the ground and walked straight through everything and into the woods.’

‘And no one has tried to follow it?’ Kay cut in.

‘Follow it? Are you mad?’

Kay shot him a look and he stepped back. ‘What else do you know?’

‘That’s all.’

‘What about you?’ Kay nodded to the old man.

‘I know nothing else, but I do know someone who might be able to help you….If you decide to stop the ghost that is.’

‘Sure. Sounds like it could be fun,’ Feron said.

He drained the rest of his beer and then went back to their table together their things.

‘Then you need to visit Forestarm, the druid. She lives on the edge of the village.’

‘Thanks.’

Kay took a final drink of the wine and placed the goblet down. The elf had done the same.

‘Are you coming with us?’ she asked.

‘Yes, if that is all right? My name is Adrie. I am a ranger and know all the land around here.’

‘Then yes, we could use someone like you.’

‘Then I shall meet you outside in a few minutes.’ Adrie turned and headed to the staircase beside the bar.

The door swung open once again and a blast of cold air swept through the inn. Feron grinned into the night and stepped out. Saying goodbye, Kay followed him outside. The door shut behind them and Feron handed over her things. Kay slipped the blue and gold helmet over her head, fixed her long sword at her hip and put her pack on.

‘So which way do we go?’

‘Down there. To the house at the end,’ she answered.

‘I need to call my bear….I know I left her around here…somewhere…’

Kay rolled her eyes. She’d forgotten about the bear once again.

A cry of voices echoed in their ears and they turned to see two figures outside the village hall. Sensing trouble, they hurried over. They stopped just before the arguing figures and Kay saw that it was the dwarf and a scared, but stubborn looking guard.

‘I do not care about appointments! Let me see the mayor at once!’ the dwarf growled.

‘No. That’s not possible. Your message is not urgent enough.’

‘What an incoming army of ugly Drow isn’t urgent enough?’

‘I’ve heard no such thing before! Where does your message come from?’

‘We’ve been through this already….how about a feel of my axe?’

‘Hold on there!’ Kay cut in. ‘I know of this coming threat.’

‘Oh, you do, now do you?’ the dwarf sneered.

‘Yes, I do and I also know that I could use a dwarf on my side to find this ghost.’

‘Are you drunk?’

‘No, but I believe that this could be very important.’

‘What? Chasing ghosts around when war is coming?’ The dwarf laughed.

‘Yes. We must help try and stop this war. My friend and I,’ she nodded to Feron, ‘that’s our plan. We were there when this threat first started.’

The dwarf raised his eyebrows. ‘And so was my father. He died at the hands of those Drow. I am Falgrim the fourth.’

‘Kay and Feron, nice to meet you. And that’s Adrie,’ she added as the elf joined them carrying a longbow and a quaff of arrows over her shoulder.

Falgrim nodded and lowered his axe.

‘We need to visit the druid and see what she knows about the ghost.’

‘Lead the way.’

Kay turned and led them down the street. She paused in front of the druid’s door, a green tangled circle of plants and flowers hung from the wood. She knocked loudly and they waited.

‘Who is it?’ a voice called from within.

‘We are seeking answers about the ghost and were told you’d be able to help us.’

The door opened and they beheld the druid. She wore a plain white dress with a golden threading running through it. Her silver hair was down to her knees and there was a large metal amulet with a white stone set in the centre around her neck.

‘I am Forestarm. What do you….’ she trailed off and paled at the sight of Feron.

‘He’s undead, but its fine, he’s with me,’ Kay said quickly.

‘What is it you seek?’

‘The ghost. Do you know its path?’

‘Ah yes. It walks to the old ruins and what they once were has long been lost. Why it walks I can only say that its bones must have been disturbed. You must go to the ruins and put it to rest once more.’

Kay nodded. ‘Where do the ruins lay?’

‘In the middle of the woods, all paths lead to it.’

‘Thank you.’

The druid nodded and shut the door.

Kay turned to face everyone. ‘Shall we wait for the ghost to appear or go straight to the ruins?’

‘I think we should wait and if it doesn’t show then go into the woods,’ Adrie spoke.

‘We should go there right now,’ Falgrim cut in.

Kay looked at Feron.

‘I agree with Adrie. We should try and follow the ghost.’

‘Then we should walk back and try and find the place it’s appearing from.’

Slowly, they walked back to the Inn. The village stayed silent and they saw very little light coming from the windows of the houses. If she’d not already know, Kay would have believed the village to be abandoned. A snorting sound came from her right and her hand flew to her sword. A large dark shadow lingered beside a house.

‘Bear? Is that you? Feron called.

A grunting sound replied and the large, brown cave bear walked over to him. Feron patted the damp muzzle and spoke softly. He looked at the others and saw they had all stepped away, worried expressions on their faces.

‘She’s friendly enough. See? And only does as I command.’

‘You’re a wild animal tamer?’ Adrie asked.

Feron shrugged his shoulders, ‘It’s complicated and doesn’t matter.’

‘Its fine,’ Kay spoke. ‘We travelled here and the bear give me no problems.’

‘All right,’ Falgrim growled, ‘but if it tries anything it’ll feel my axe.’

‘And my arrows,’ Adrie added.

‘Well, she won’t. Will you Bo? You’re a good bear, aren’t you?’

Feron scratched her behind the ears and the bear made a number of happy growling sounds.

‘Come on. The faster we get rid of this ghost, the faster we can get back to drinking,’ Falgrim bristled.

They started walking again, keeping to the main pathway running through the centre of the village. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Kay saw something coming out of a wall. She stopped and Feron almost banged into her.

‘Look! There it is!’

The white outline of a tall man, wearing amour could be seen against the evening sky backdrop. He walked slowly between the gaps of the houses and went through another wall. He reappeared on the other side and continued walking.

‘He’ll lead us straight to the ruins,’ Feron whispered.

The others nodded and keeping their distance begin to follow the ghost through the village. At the last house, the ghost carried on and headed into the woods. Quickly, it disappeared behind the trees.

‘Adrie, you know these woods, take the lead,’ Kay said.

The elf nodded and stepped up, loaded bow in hand. Her feet made no sound on the leave and branch covered floor. Slowly, she tracked the ghost through the trees. The others followed behind, trying to keep quiet. Adrie turned and tried to get Falgrim to soften his loud steps. The dwarf puffed himself out and waved his axe at her.

She turned back and saw a flash shape of red and white drop from a tree. The strige hit her hard in the chest. It’s long beak burrowing through her leather jerkin and into her body. Its claws found a tight grab and its wings wrapped around her, infolding her in a mesh of pulsing see-through webbed skin. She swayed and fired her bow. The arrow soared through the strige’s wing. It yanked its head back, its beck covered with blood, giving a startled cry. ‘Hang on elf!’ Falgrim yelled.

He swung his axe at the strige, but the creature saw the danger and spun itself around, pulling Adrie with it. Its wings flapped violently, hitting her head. She gasped as once again the strige buried itself in her chest, feasting on her blood. She tried to reach for another arrow, but its wings blocked her hand.

‘No, stop! That was too close!’ Kay called.

Falgrim stilled his axe. There was a glint of madness in his eyes and a loud war cry on his cracked lips.

‘I’ll get it with my quarterstaff,’ Feron spoke.

As he reached out to hit the strige, it once again sensed the danger and twisted away. Adrie lost her balance and they tumbled to the floor. Quickly, she grabbed the strige and ripped it off her. She loaded an arrow and shot it into the strige’s heart in the blink of an eye. The strige hissed and sprawled bleeding and dead across the grass.

Adrie pressed her hand to her chest. Blood flowed over her fingers as she struggled for breath. She clutched her bow tightly and tried to escape the dizziness covering her mind. She felt warm hands on her shoulders, pulling her up.

‘I’ll heal you,’ Kay said and started whispering magic words.

Adrie felt the pain begin to fade, the blood stopped and she felt less dizzy. Seconds later, Kay was pulling her to her feet.

‘Thank you.’

‘You welcome.’

A snapping sound drew their attention and they looked to see Feron’s bear tearing up the strige’s body and gulping it down. The bear licked at the grass and then sat down. Her large eyes stared off into the distant trees.

‘I think she’s hungry,’ Feron declared.

‘Well she better not eat me, I standby what I said before about feeling my axe!’

‘Don’t worry. She doesn’t like dwarfs. They are far too chewy.’

Falgrim huffed and Kay looked through the trees. The ghost had disappeared.

‘We lost him.’

‘We just need to keep walking straight,’ Adrie cut in. ‘He can’t be that far ahead. He was walking slowly.’

Kay nodded and they set off once again. The woods echoed with animal cries and the wind rustled through the leaves. They got a glimmer of the ghost soon enough and carried on following the long lost pathway that he seemed to be walking.

The sound of Feron’s and Falgrim’s footsteps stopped. Kay turned and saw them peering through a row of bushes. She tapped Adrie on the shoulder and indicted to them. They doubled back and saw that in a clearing a tall, dark shrouded figure was talking to two orcs. One of the orcs had bright red fangs painted on his amour and the other had wrapped what looked like intestines around his body.

‘Enough of this!’ the dark figure snapped. ‘Just make sure you take Winter Edge village before the darkening!’

The figure looked up as if sensing them. Quickly, he turned and walked away, vanishing into a cloud of darkness. The orcs stared after him and then looked over their shoulders.

Feron stepped into the clearing.

‘Who are you? And what you want?’ asking the first orc.

Both of them had grabbed their pikes, preparing to fight.

‘I am no one….and I’m just out for a walk,’ Feron said. ‘Was that a Drow I just saw?’

‘None of your business,’ growled the second orc.

‘Fine….what are you two doing here? And…..you are from different tribes? Why is that?’

‘You ask too many questions. Go away.’

‘Or we’ll have to take you away!’

The orcs chuckled.

Feron held his hands up, ‘I did not mean anything by it, I was just wondering.’

From the bushes Adrie whispered. ‘What’s he doing?’

‘Being him,’ Kay answered back and she stepped into the cleaning.

‘You wonder too much,’ the first orc put in.

‘Actually, I was wondering myself,’ Kay called, ‘What are two orcs from two different tribes who are known enemies doing together?’

The orcs stiffened and became even more on edge to attack.

Adrie loaded an arrow into her bow and aimed it the first orc. Falgrim tightened his grip on his axe and fixed hungry eyes on the second.

‘Actually, you know what I’d really like to know? Which tribe is the strongest?’

‘Oh yes,’ Feron picked up, ‘I’d like to know that too. You can never tell with orcs sometimes…I bet you two have wondered as well.’

‘I think the Red Fang tribe is the strongest,’ Kay challenged.

‘Yes it is!’ the first orc shouted.

‘No, it’s not, the Ripped Guts are better!’ the second one jumped in.

‘I’ll prove it!’

‘You shall not! I am the best!’

The orcs turned on each other and begin to strike out with their pikes. Kay and Feron quickly left the scene and came back from the clearing.

‘That should sort them out,’ Feron said. There was a large smile on his face.

‘We didn’t learn anything though…Other than some planned attack on a village.’ Kay countered.

Feron shrugged. ‘I’m sure we will soon. I’ve a bad feeling again.’

‘Let’s sort out the ghost now. Adrie?’

The elf nodded and pointed up through the tree line the path the ghost had taken. They hurried back onto the trail, leaving the sounds of two orcs fighting to the death behind them.

The trail wounded its way upwards and they followed it for awhile, pushing through large spiky bushes and low tree branches. Just as the woods appeared to be closing in around them, they came to an actual pathway. Ahead an old woman who was huddled over in a cloak and leaning against a white staff was standing at a forked path. They approached her carefully and heard her mumbling about which way to go.

‘Can you help an old woman?’ she called to them.

‘Of course,’ Kay replied.

‘Which path should I take? The first is easily going, with lots of food and water. The second is hard and dangerous with no resources.’

‘Where are you going too?’ Adrie asked. ‘They both led in different directions.’

‘The journey is more important than the destination,’ croaked the woman.

Adrie frowned and Kay looked down both pathways. The old woman was telling the truth.

‘Which way did the ghost go?’

‘That is not important either. Which path should we take?’

‘You are right about the journey,’ Feron joined in. ‘I think we should take the second because it reflects the hardships of life.’

‘The second?’

‘Yes.’

‘Then that is the path we should take.’

Adrie took the led once more and they followed her across roughly made path. The trees closed in around them, scratching out with bare branches. They walked in silence, listening to the sounds of a stream close by. The old woman, who had been behind them stopped.

‘Thank you, but now I must leave you,’ she said.

‘Was this the right path then?’ Feron asked.

The old woman nodded and handed her staff to him. ‘This will show you the way in the coming darkness.’

Feron took the staff and as he did so the old woman turned into a white bird and flew away. He tapped the staff on the ground and a bright light shone out of the top. The light pierced though the now settling night, showing the trees and the path clearly.

‘This is going to be very useful,’ he said.

‘I just hope the ghost came this way and that old hag did not lead us astray,’ Falgrim growled.

‘She has not,’ Adrie’s voice came from up ahead, ‘We’ve caught up to him. Look between those trees.’

A foot or so in front of them, they could make out the shimmering outline of the ghost.

‘Good.’

They carried on walking and pushing through the trees and following the path upwards. Soon the trees became less and less. Adrie stopped on the edge of another clearing. At the centre was a mess of fallen stones and rubble. The ruins had possible been a small keep or a temple. The ground had been disturbed a lot and recently too.

From around a large stone appeared a male dwarf wearing chainmail, a female elf and two male humans carrying clubs. Adrie pulled her bow up, but Kay lowered it and stepped forward. The ghost appeared from behind a tree and drifted over to the ruins. The dwarf cried out and pointed as the ghost sank into a stone.

‘What are you doing here?’ Kay called out.

The dwarf rounded on her. ‘What? I think the question should be what are you doing here?’

‘We are following the ghost,’ Kay said and indicted for everyone to step out.

‘You brought the ghost? Are you mad?’

‘We didn’t bring it, we followed it here and no I’m not mad.’

‘What…is that?’ the dwarf asked pointing a stubby finger to Feron.

‘He’s undead and with me.’

‘And the bear is with me,’ Feron added.

‘Now what are you looking for?’

His bear was sniffing around the trees and taking no noticed of what was going on.

‘Nothing at all,’ the dwarf replied. ‘It’s all been taken now.’

Falgrim raised his eyebrows and cut in, ‘I don’t believe you. But luckily we’re not here for treasure.’

‘You’re not?’ the dwarf spoke and then seemed stunned that the words had come from another dwarf.

‘We want to lay the ghost to rest.’

‘I see…well…’ The dwarf turned and pointed to the pile of rubble. ‘Help us shift that lot then.’

‘All right,’ Kay replied.

She and Feron started to remove the stones, whilst Adrie kept look out and Falgrim inspected the ground. It appeared that something had been recently disturbed in a patch of earth close to the outer wall of the ruin. Placing his axe down, Falgrim dug into the soft earth and pulled up a yellow skull. The hollow eye sockets gazed into his eyes and the broken, half open jaw appeared to be laughing at him. There was a headband wrapped across the top of the skull.

Falgrim pulled it off and reburied the skull. He cleaned off the headband and placed it inside a pocket. He turned to Kay. She and Feron were all most done cleaning the rubble away and underneath they had revealed a trap door.

‘You’re a cleric,’ Falgrim said.

Kay turned and nodded.

‘I just reburied a skull. Could have belonged to our ghost. Why don’t you say a pray and see if that’ll put it to rest?’

‘I shall try.’

She stepped forward, knelt down and touched the replaced soil. Kay said a few whispered words, most of which the others didn’t understand. Then she stood up, made a sign in the air and turned back to them.

‘Do you think it’ll work?’ the dwarf asked.

‘It should,’ Kay replied.

‘Good…now let’s see what’s under here!’

They gathered around the door and the dwarf pulled it open. There was nothing but darkness. Feron tapped the old woman’s staff on the ground and the light burst out. He placed it inside and they could see the remains of an underground room with a staircase leading downwards.

‘Shall we all go?’ Kay asked.

They all looked at each other nervously.

‘No,’ the dwarf said, ‘I don’t want to be anywhere near that ghost.’

‘Then we’ll go down.’

The dwarf caught Kay’s arm. ‘We spilt the spoils. Thirty to seventy.’

‘No, forty to sixty,’ she replied snatching her arm away.

‘All right. Deal.’

‘Deal. Feron go first.’

He nodded and led the way into the underground room. The staff of light chased away the darkness into the corners. It had been a long time since anyone had stepped foot down here. There was dust and soil covering the floor and cobwebs hung across the ceiling. There was a door to their right.

Feron stepped carefully across and went to the door. It creaked loudly, the sound echoing through the chamber. He stuck the staff of light in and looked around. There were holes in the floor and the walls. He turned to Adrie.

‘Looks like traps to me.’

He moved and let her see into the room. She nodded and bent down to inspect the first of the trap mechanisms.

‘Think you can disarm it?’

‘Yes. It’s very old…but still holding up well.’

A few seconds later, she had broken the trap and was moving on to the next. Feron followed her across, allowing Kay and Falgrim to enter. The room was small and there were two other doors. One on the same wall they had come in from and the other in front. Adrie made short work of the other two traps.

‘Should be safe now,’ she said.

‘Good. Let’s see what’s down here then.’

Feron opened the first door. Shone the light in and then stepped inside. The room was large and dominated by a massive crumbling statue. Adrie checked the room for traps and when she gave the all clear, Kay stepped up and inspected the statue. She cleared up the areas she could reach, revealing the statue to be wearing full metal style amour.

‘This is Helm. God of Guardians,’ she breathed. ‘We should offer something.’

Their voices mumbled together as they search for an offering.

‘Wait…Falgrim found something on the skull. We could try that?’ Adrie said.

Falgrim pulled out the headband and gave it to Kay. She laid it down at the statue’s feet, bowed her head and started muttering a pray. Feron and Adrie joined her, though they were they did not recognize the God. Falgrim stayed in the doorway, grunting to himself. As the words faded from their lips, they felt a blow of hot air. Adrie’s lingering wound from the strige attack faded and she felt fully healed and refreshed.

‘Let’s see what’s in the other rooms,’ Feron suggested.

They turned and left. Falgrim stepped up and snatched the headband back. He stuffed it into his pocket and left. Adrie looked up at the statue. ‘Thanks,’ she said. She turned to leave as well, but then something caught her eye.

Kay had swept some of the dust away and Adrie could see that the stone on which the statue sat on was loose. She looked more closely and brushed her fingers over the surface. Digging her nails in, she pulled open the panel and found some hidden treasure. There was a fine pewter goblet with red stones, two large moon stones and a bag of money. She gathered them, put the panel back and thanked the God once more. She walked out, crossed the room full of traps, went down a corridor and found the others gathered around a stone font full of liquid.

‘Look what I found,’ she said.

‘Nice one elf,’ Falgrim said and looked closer at the treasure.

‘Whatever we find we’ll have to share with them remember?’ Kay spoke out.

‘Perhaps.’

Falgrim took the items and hide them away in his pack.

‘What do you make of this, Adrie?’ Kay nodded towards the font.

She looked in closely, ‘It’s just water….’

An image drifted into across the surface. In flash she saw herself standing outside her family’s home pleading with her younger brother. They resembled each other closely, only she was dressed in a long green gown and he was in dark leather. Guilt and sadness hit her stomach as she recalled the argument from so long ago.

‘Adrie?’

Kay’s voice brought her back.

‘Did you…?’ she asked.

‘I don’t think I saw what you did….’ Kay replied. ‘This water is magic and plays on the mind. What did you see?’

‘I was arguing with…someone….What about you?’

‘The same. Feron? Falgrim?’

‘I saw…something I witnessed during my childhood, but at that time I could do nothing. I still regret it.’

‘Fighting with my kin.’

‘Then yes, though I’m still unsure about what this actually is….’

‘There’s something in there,’ Adrie pointed out.

She dipped her hand into the cold water and pulled out a small silver ring. There was an amethyst mounted on it. She showed it to the others and Falgrim took it to add to the other items.

‘You have an eye elf. There’s another door. Let’s move on,’ he said.

They turned and followed Falgrim through a stone door. Two braziers were stood in opposite ends of the room. The fire from them was casting shadows across the floor. Feron put the staff out and they slowly entered. There were strange red markings just off from the centre of the floor.

‘It looks like a symbol to call forth devils. Stay away from it,’ Kay stated.

A chuckling sound caught their ears and they all looked around.

‘At last sssome entertainment!’ a voice cried. ‘What have we got? Four pretty sssoulsss…A band of adventurersss by the looksss….Yesss. We think ssso.’

‘Come out and face us!’ Falgrim shouted.

‘No…We thinksss not. What are you doing here?’

‘We’ve come to put the ghost to rest,’ Kay answered.

‘Not unless you can sssolve my riddlesss,’ the voice responded.

‘Riddles?’

‘Yesss…first one; we dance in hellfires and delight in tortures. Our sting will break your minds. My face cannot be seen, but can you identify me?’

‘We’ve not got time for this,’ Falgrim growled and raised his axe.

‘No wait…I think I know what this is….’

The voice burst into laughed.

‘Yes…You are an imp.’

The laugh faded. ‘Very good, but do you know this one? Now my name and I’ll return whence I came. First, a number whose letters count true to its name’s amount. Then subtract a letter, but add six, to get the second part. Then comes the sound of the start of start, and finally, with a blast, sound out the last of last.’

‘Can you repeat that?’

The imp’s voice chuckled and he began to repeat the riddle.

Adrie had been looking around the chamber, checking for hidden traps and objects. As the last line of the riddle faded and Kay started mumbling answers, Adrie’s eye caught something. In one of the braziers was a golden coin.

Without thinking, she reached out and put her hand into the fire. She screamed and the imp cried out and suddenly appeared before her.

‘My treasure!’ he howled.

Adrie snatched her hand back, clutching a fist full of coins. She ran from the room, flames licking at her hand and went to the font. She shoved her hand into the cold water and the flames died out.

‘It’s stolen!’ the imp screamed.

Falgrim flicked his axe up and sliced the imp into. The body flopped down and blood splattered across the floor.

‘Adrie? Are you all right!’ Kay called and raced after her.

‘Foolish elf. What was she thinking?’ Falgrim muttered.

He took out his water container and poured it over the fire. The flames died out and he looked down on to a small pile of coins.

The ghost appeared from the far corner and drifted across the room. He nodded to them and then vanished.

‘I think he’s gone now,’ Feron said.

‘Aye.’

‘Adrie is fine,’ Kay spoke from the doorway.

‘What was she thinking?’

‘She said her mind was suddenly overcome and she could hear the imp laughing at her. I found another font of water, though I believe this one to be different.’

‘How?’ Feron asked.

Kay smiled and led them back into the other room. Adrie was sit on the floor, her hand wrapped up, resting against the second font. Stepping up, Kay picked up a vial that was beside the font.

‘I think,’ she begin. ‘That this is the Tears of Helm. It is water that has been blessed by him and can be used as a light source and to heal. A powerful old relic.’

She dipped the vial in and gathered some of the water.

‘How is your hand?’

‘Better now. Thanks. I still have no idea what came over me.’

The floor shuddered and they heard a deafening cracking sound. Feron darted back into the imp’s room and then returned.

‘That symbol is opening!’

Kay rushed over and looked inside. The floor had ripped open, swallowing the symbol. A large crack had also formed in the ceiling and as Kay watched a beam of dark light instantly appeared between the two holes. An icy blast shot through the chamber.

‘We need to get out of here now!’ she yelled.

Quickly, they ran through the other rooms and towards the staircase. At the top, the dwarf and his party were waiting for them. They rushed up the stairs and as Falgrim who had been last came to the top, the ground gave a violent shudder and split open. The beam of darkness shot into the air and as they watched it appeared to take on the shape of a huge spider spinning a web.

‘What did you do?’ the dwarf shouted.

‘Nothing!’ Kay replied, ‘But we need to run now!’

The ground rumbled and the darkness began to spill around them.

‘You’re running? But what about our deal?’

‘What deal?’ Falgrim cut in. ‘I made no such deal.’

‘She did though!’

‘So? I’m not with them!’

Falgrim swing his axe and the dwarf dodged it and returned with his own axe blow.

Kay and Adrie broke into a run and dived into the cover of the trees. Feron turned to the elf, whom was shaking beside a stone. With a low whistle he called his bear and as the massive bulk came into view, the elf fainted.

‘Hey, you two! Get after them!’ the dwarf yelled at the humans.

Adrie heard the footsteps behind her, but before she could draw her bow, a heavy weight slammed into the top of her head. She went down, blackness and white spots dancing before her. Kay sent a blast of light through the trees, knocking both men down. She grabbed Adrie, pulling her up and dragging her to the trunk of a tree. From there, she peered out and watched as the dwarfs fought and Feron commanded his bear to attack.

The bear jumped on the dwarf, her teeth sinking deep into his body. The dwarf screamed and uselessly tried to hit the bear with his axe. But she crunched down on him and the dwarf’s next scream died on his lips.

Falgrim hurried away and joined Kay and Adrie in the cover of the trees. Feron tried to get his bear back under control, but she was having none of it and continued to eat the dwarf. Coming over to join them, Feron followed their eyes to the sky.

Waves of pitch blackness, darker then the night sky were quickly gathering around them. The waves joined together, turning darker still. They blocked out the moon and the stars, swallowing everything up as the web of darkness grew tighter and stronger.

*

Reflections

 I thought about writing another post and just linking it to this one, but then I didn’t want to confuse people, so I thought I’d just add it on to the end of here and try to stay as brief as possible. Like I said in my update post, I wanted to write about the next season of encounters but instead of focusing on how to play the game, want things meant and my reactions/thoughts, I wanted to focus a lot more on the actual story telling and events of my game. I also wanted to try and write it as a novel or as ‘novel styled’ as much as possible, because I believed that this would be the best format and also the most suited.

I know I’m a week behind already and that’s mostly due to being ill, being busy and not being able to write. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t have writer’s block, but I know the signs and it seems I might have a mild case of it. So, in writing this post I know it’s not what I really set out to do nor has it actually turned out how I wanted it, but stuff like this happens during writing. Most writing is down to trial and error; you learn what you can and can’t write, you discover you know a lot or hardly anything, you realise the hidden truth behind your words or can’t see them at all.

Maybe in the near future I will be able to look back on this novel idea and work it into something better, but for now I just want to share my DD experience with people. I think including this Reflections section at the end might be a good idea for some of the parts, but we’ll see how we go. DD was very different this week as they are trialing DD Next as they are upgrading or switching over from the 4th edition of DD which is the main current game. However, any edition of the game can be played really, the basic rules stay the same. We’d been told a bit in advance about things that were rumoured, so it was very exciting, interesting and shocking at the character builder meeting to hear what was to take place!

Firstly, the game has become more role playing, allowing players to get into the mind sets of their characters. There’s a chance to question anyone and everything, which wasn’t really present before, and chances to have longer/deeper conversations in with the group. The DMs play there part too, acting out a whole range of characters and getting involved in longer discussions. We are also having a different way of tables too. This involved us getting into groups of 5/6 during the character builder session and we have a different DM every week. (Instead of being in a different random generated group each week). So far the two DMs I’ve had have been really good; role playing the different characters/monsters and supporting us as we get to grips with the new style of play.

Secondly, there’s a lot more story-telling involved and a lot more listening to be done. I don’t mind that because it’s interesting to learn about what’s going on and pick up important /useful information. The players have a lot more say in this and whilst before the story was very linear with ‘a you have to do this and then you do this and have to fight these monster before moving on to this,’ style of play, we get to actually decided on what to do and who to fight nearly all the time. And I do like that! I’ve never been big on the fighting and now I can choose in most cases if to attack or not. Also I like that the players have more control over how the story goes and every game is now becoming unique.

Thirdly, the changes to healing surges and levelling up. I was shocked and unhappy to hear about the changes to healing. In the last session I just had this habit of getting wounded all the time, mostly due to the fact I was still learning to play and some bad dice rolls. Granted I never died, but I do rely heavily on my healing surges to see me through. Now you can only use a healing surge when granted by another player during the game. Using them in between game plays at what would be seen as rest stages isn’t allowed. However, because of how this game works and being spanned across two years, every week the characters level up and gain all their health, plus the added hit points from levelling up, so no heal surges are actually needed outside of game play really.  By the end of the season all characters will be level 8s, which I think is pretty good because we only got to like levels 2 and 3 last time.

And that’s all they’ve really done to the game. I do actually like this and in away prefer it because you get to do a lot more and it’s not just a case of turning up, fighting some monsters, taking the treasure and going home again. Though that’s still at the heart of D&D and always will be. There’s so much more to it now and being an active member allows you to put much more in and receive a lot more out of it. You feel like you are doing more and actually being a serious a part of something, which I do think that last season didn’t do as well, by the time the ending arrived. And I’m still disappointed by that, but granted this is a trilogy campaign and it was my first real experience of D&D. I hope that D&D Next does become more popular and players start to see the benefits of it.

Until the next chapter. x     

Image from:

http://dungeonsmaster.com/dd-encounters/

Job searching, applications and interviews

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I’ve been planning what to write which given the title should be easier enough, but of late my searching has made me think otherwise. This post was actually meant to be about a particular job I applied for and didn’t get, through no fault of my own. I knew in the last few months of uni that looking for a job wasn’t going to be easier and now a month and a half after leaving uni, I am in a worse position. My main problem is I’ve a lot of ideas about what I want to do and what I want to apply for, but no actual focus. What I wanted to do was take a small break and find some temp or part time work, which would allow me to carry on writing and give me time to think of a next step whilst earning some money and get some experience. That seems far from happening, even though Christmas is just around the corner and there are lots of temp jobs out there, I’ve had no luck with any of those applications.

My last interview was last week and I was worried about it because it involved a maths test and a role playing exercise. However, I was willing to just see this as getting experience in that kind of interview and though I did really want the job- It was working for M&S in a new shop- I wasn’t sure if I could meet their requirements. I did well in the maths test though and since that was done first; it meant I could enjoy then rest of the interview. I did the role playing well, so maybe thanks to D&D I’m getting better at that? It was a very simple help the customer buy the right produces test and I was able to show my polite, helpful nature.  Then I was asked a few questions about why I was applying for the job, how flexible I could be, what my future plans were and what I thought was my best skills.
To me that all went very well and they said they’d phone on Monday. I’ve heard nothing all week and have had to come to the realisation that I’ve not got that job. I don’t understand why though, because I thought it went well and they seemed pleased with me. That seems to be a common question after a rejection though and I’ve emailed them to see if they can give me any feedback as to why they decided I wasn’t right. Employers always know what they are looking for and that’s like stating that the customer is always right. Problem is with so many people applying for a single job, employers can afford to be very choosy about who they interview and who gets the job.
That’s why I feel that me and so many other people are currently missing out on jobs they could easily do and be happy to do them as
well. It can be difficult to change this in a country where there are so few jobs and so many people looking.
Maybe at the end of the day I’m just trying too hard, but is that even possible with job hunting? It’s not like I’m setting the bar high, I actually believe it’s low right now and I’ve only been applying for jobs I know I’ve the experience, qualifications and will be happy doing. Mostly, these are retail jobs in the sales assistant category. If more jobs offered the chance to gain experience, instead of just saying they wanted someone with years of experience, it would allow more people to apply, grant employers to train more staff and generate new ideas etc, from people. I get why they often want a level of experience; to prove you can do the job and you can start right away. In some ways though, a lot of the skills and experience I have could easily be applied to many jobs, but I fear that I won’t get them because of my none/lack of experience in that particular area.
I knew that I wouldn’t be walking straight into work when I left uni and I was fine with that. But it feels like an uphill struggle just to find and get interviews for jobs right now. I’ve lost count of how many and where I’ve applied of now, as is bound to happen, when you look every day or every other day and send a CV out to 1-10 different places. I’m getting frustrated by it as my family and friends know all too well. I know that isn’t going to help though and it’s all down to me and what I do. But sometimes, I just wish things could be easier. I wish I wasn’t getting over looked because of my lack of experience or too high qualifications or because there are far better people out there then me.
It is a problem and instead of actually getting a job, I’m looking at going back to uni/college and doing a teaching course, however I’m still unsure about this, but I just don’t know what else to do and at least by doing the course it would give me an even better chance to apply for more jobs. Training in being a supervisor or manger would be something else to consider, but once again I don’t know if that’s the area I want to go into.
Writing is my other thing. I would really like to do something that would involve working with books or writing and there are a lot of jobs you can go into, but it’s very hard to find work and stay in the job. Copywriting and proofreading are the key things I’ve been looking at. With my MA in creative Writing, my mind is switched in to both those areas, so why can’t I find work like that, which would be suitable to me? Knowing the people and networking is a big part of it and also any other job. I’ve never been very good at that, though life has been made easier by the Internet and websites like Linkin, which can be a good place to connect with people.
Other things I’ve been looking at are graduate jobs. These can be really useful for students in their last year/two or fresh out of uni who are struggling to get into work. My issues is that most of these can go on for a few years and are often focused at business students looking at high end manger jobs. I’d like something I can just get into now really and not have to go through the intense training that comes with some of these jobs. They say that uni is meant to give you a clear idea of what you want to do and train you in that role, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I know what I’d like to be doing, but I know I couldn’t make enough money to live off it and I’ve not been looking for publishers of late because that just feels like another stress I could do without. I’ve still be publishing on Amazon Kindle though, because I’m still waiting to see how that goes. I could do with publishing a novel on there and trying to sell that, but I’ve not got any right now I’d be happy to do that with.
It’s odd, but my writing can be effected by stress and where I’d normally find joy and release in fiction writing, if my mood isn’t right, I find that I just can’t work probably. However, if I want to make this into my career then I should be always writing and working on something. Maybe I’ll give it a shot after some food and a rest.
As for job hunting, it is a long, boring process that can involve a lot of time and energy being put in for nothing. But it can also be very rewarding through gaining job interview experience, chance to talk about what you’d like to do and reflection time about your life. Plus you might get a job you want to do at the end of it all and that does make it worth it. There are a lot of lows to the highs though and they have to do with rejection, loss of self-believe, on- going struggles to find suitable work and the loss of hope. Remember though that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and if you want something badly enough and try your hardest then you can always reach out for it.

D&D Part 8: Victory Finish

On Wednesday evening, I played the last encounter of the Council Of Spiders adventure. The large group was spilt into three small groups of 4/5 players and we were off with our DMs for the final battle. My table was warned before hand that this ending was a bit disappointing. Which is interesting when the other encounters have been building up to something that felt really big, like a epic Drow war or battling a Goddess or a wizard army. Having never experienced the last encounter of an adventure I was keen to find out what was going to happen.

I was still playing my female Drow rogue, Kai. There was a female priestess, another rogue and a human slave. Now we were searching for this Drow called Valan Jaelre, who is one of the Council’s leaders. Questioning him and then killing him could be very useful and possibly help put an end to the unrest that has been going on in Menzoberranzan (that’s basically the whole of the Drow society). We entered some catacombs, which then turned out to be a forgotten shrine to Lolth. There were large patches of cobwebs everywhere and we were told that disturbing them and/or killing the spiders would lower our renown points. (Renown points are given or taken away due to actions taken by the players. Worth points work in the same way, but are decided on by the characters’ stats as well).

A brown cloud of smoke appeared and started speaking to us telepathically. This smoke turned out to be connect to Lolth and was a sign of her favour or displeasure depending on how we answered. It was a role playing moment with each of us answering to why we where here and though we had agreed on the goal of completing the Demon Weave, it being all telepathic meant that we could answer with something different if we had decided to have individual goals. Myself, the priestess and the slave stuck with the goal and the rogue decided to bluff a different answer and failed. Lolth was displeased and cursed him.

We were then attacked by Valan’s allies and they were Hex Knights and Spellsinners. I would like to say by a cruel twist of fate, but actually it was by the DM’s hand, that I who’d put Kai at the back, got moved to the front and because I’d rolled a higher number then anyone else, I had to go first! I had no choice but to fire an arrow at the nearest enemy. I hit and did some small damage. Everyone else then got immobilised, weakened or slowed down by Valan. They couldn’t really fight on their turns, so I had to fire another arrow and deal some more damage. I also got hit though and had to be healed by the priestess. I was then joined in the fight, though I was still stuck leading the group. I’m not very keen on being in that position, just because Kai isn’t built for fighting and I’m still learning!

The other rogue tried to hide almost the skeletons in the alcoves of the catacombs. This didn’t work so well and I decided that corners were still good shields. In front of us there was a staircase going down and we had to try and fight some of the enemies on it. This was a little bit hard and then it got worse because one set of the enemies (I forget which) when they went down turned into bone spiders. So, we had to fight them off as well. They turned out to be easy enough to finish off….as long as you weren’t blind or weakened. The rogue somehow was weakened for six rounds before finally shaking it off with a good dice roll. Valan then cast a spell and covered the staircase in cobwebs, making it difficult terrain. This meant for me and the other rogue that we could only move half our movement number (which is 6) down the staircase. The priestess and slave were on the last step when the spell hit, so they were the first to enter the chamber at the bottom.

We quickly dispatch the remaining enemies and were left to face Valan. The DM did a bit of RP, acting as if we couldn’t defeat him and he was so powerful. However, the priestess soon changed his mind about that and hit him twice with a magical attack really reducing his hit points. It was then my turn and it was decided that we’d question him before we killed him. The DM muttered that it wouldn’t matter and I rolled high numbers. Kai took aim with her bow and shot him with an arrow to the head. He dropped and silence hit the table. The DM claimed it was over and that on searching him we find the last piece of the Demon Weave. It also meant that the Drow civil war was dropped and things calmed down, going back to normal for Drow society.

So that was it and with such an anticlimax too! I have to admit that I did feel a bit disappointed by this because I’d been expecting a bigger finish and a much more victorious feel. I think if we’d not been warned before we’d started, I’d feel even worse. I’m not sure why the adventure had to end that way as it really felt rushed and unfinished. However, I’m happy to say that Kai (below) and I survived our first D&D adventure!

So, as the book closes, what is my conclusion about D&D and the Council of Spiders adventure? Well, I know I still have a lot of learning to do! But that’ll come with practise and time. The best way to play D&D is really how I’ve done it; going to a place which holds D&D playing and joining a group with newbies and an experienced DM. I’ve had a great time and it’s given me something to look forward too each week, which was so needed after four years of uni! I’ve also made lots of friends and had a lot of fun. I know at the beginning I was worried about a number of things; from not liking D&D and RP, to not being accept as I’m a girl, to being seen as silly for not understanding. This quickly disappeared though and I now have to admit that I really do like playing D&D. I like listening to the back stories behind the story of the adventure, I like creating characters, I like fighting the monsters, (even though I complain about it all the time!) I love all the little random events that happen like; characters jumping on tables, hiding in bones, arguing with the DM, role playing between the slaves and masters/mistress. Also for a change my writer and nerd sides are both happy.

As for the adventure itself; I enjoyed it and liked all the missions we had to do. It was good that everyone could be in a different house because we were all- beside from the goblin, human and dwarf slaves- of Drow race, so it was good that we were still able to have conflicted between characters because of the different houses not getting along. It was interesting how things were revealed too in twisty ways that could also be shocking. I liked doing the secret missions as it added a different element. As for the role playing, this is an area I need to work on and not be so embarrassed to be seen doing. It can make you feel a little silly at times and the DM ends up encouraging you to act in the mind set of your character. Other people are really great at RP and this just brings the game alive and gives you so many funny moments.

There are only two small negatives I can think of to add. The first is that this adventure is actually a squeal to Web of the Spider Queen and because I didn’t play that I don’t know if I missed some important information, which might have helped play in my adventure. My boyfriend did explain some of it to me and the background you get from the Council of Spiders is pretty sound. Still though, playing that adventure first would have been beneficial. Secondly, the ending of this adventure wasn’t very good in my opinion. I was expecting something far better and greater. Okay, maybe not an all out fight with a dragon or some large monster, but a more satisfactory conclusion then the anticlimax of things just returning to normal would have been good. Saying that it’s still a good adventure.

Finally, I’m happy to say that I’ve decided to play another season of D&D! So, there shall be more on this blog about my adventures. I’ve heard that things are slightly changing in the encounters though and that we are going to be given more chance to RP. That should be interesting! Next Wednesday will see the creating of new characters, so if you fancy trying out D&D then I’ve linked the website you need at the bottom. I also found this image whilst searching today and I thought it was cool, also if you click on the link and read about it, it becomes even more interesting and just goes to show that D&D is an ever expanding game of possibilities.

Images from:

http://imperioliancount.wordpress.com/dungeons-dragons/

http://www.pocketplane.net/volothamp/chap8.htm

http://dungeonsmaster.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/council-of-spiders-cover.jpg

http://torontoist.com/2012/08/dungeons-and-dragons-and-improv/

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/

D&D 6&7: The End Is Coming!

I was at D&D last night and some exciting things are going down. Now, the week before we were all called in to this meeting, where we had to do a bit of role playing. Now, we had to decided if we were going to stick together or divide into our houses. This is important because the story could go in a number of different directions. This also connects to the actual decision of what the overall goal should be and I’ve listed them before, but here they are again: Support the male wizards and help gain more control for them, side with Lolth and over thrown the Council of Spiders, create the Demon Weave, or destroy it.

The DMs left the room and we got to talk in our houses and as a group. The numbers in each house were very off though, because there was only one Xorlarrin, three Brigand D’aerthe (Me and boyfriend counted) and the rest 8-10 of were house Melarn. I wasn’t feeling so well and so this meeting seemed like a nice break from playing, only it did involve some deep thinking and politics. I’d already decided though that I’ll side with my boyfriend and fight for myself. My character does appear to be taken on a life of her own now! Also my role playing isn’t very good and like the maths this is something that could do with some more work, but I’ll properly not get better at it. Which, is an odd thing to realise as a writer who often has to imagine myself in the form of different characters and think about their actions and thoughts in situations. That’s in my head though and not out in the open and with other people. Though, I do now believe I’ve been accept by the D&D players and the other people who use the shop to play games in, so to get into rp wouldn’t be a surprise for them.

We talked for about 20 minutes or so. Though it was hard to keep track of what was going on as everyone had different ideas and different understandings of the background information. It become clear that there was going to be 3/4 main speakers. My boyfriend seemed against the goals and wanted to take on Lolth and get revenge for her killing him in the last encounters. Which of course meant I’d have had to gone with him, but I’m not sure that taking on a Goddess is really the way to go and I think I backed out in the end. However, most of the group seemed to stand with Lolth and wanted to build the demon weave. So, when the DMs came back, they stated that the three of them were representing the three house role playing as the leaders; Ash’ala, Hoshtar, Ro’kolor. We had to report back and enter into the discussion about what we wanted to do.

After sometime and people jumping in, we had to convince the leaders that they should support us because they had their own options and we need to swing them if they didn’t agree with us. I thought this was going to hard and more arguments would start, but the main speakers were really good and managed to win the leaders over and so it was decided that we’d carry on where we’d left off, which was collecting the items to make the demon weave.

Now yesterday, we were faced with a large encounter, which could have gone a lot worse if the DM hadn’t had a bit of bad luck with his dice and rolled low, so we got to move before the monsters, which worked very well. I had bad luck with my dice after that though, because I hardly hit with my arrows. Everyone else did far better and though we were faced with eight drow fighters and a priestess. I almost got my sword out in the end because I was doing that badly, but there was little point when I was caught in someone else’s cloud of darkness. We defeated the drow and captured the priestess after that. We decided to question her, but it was pretty useless as she didn’t know much. Killing her ended that encounter. We were done really fast too, because the other tables were still going. I guess it helped that the drow fighters were easy to kill.

Next week is the last week for this story now. I think that’s a shame because it’s been really good and I’ll have to say goodbye to my character. I can’t believe she’s actually surviving this long and it’ll be great if she gets through next week. I’d like to write a short story about her, but the in-depth knowledge that would be needed puts me off a bit. Of course this does mean that I get to make a new character and have new adventures. We got told too that the system is being re-done, so things will be different come Halloween night when we play the first game of the new encounters.

*

On another note, I’ve got an interview tomorrow and I thought I’d write a post about job hunting and interviews either tomorrow or at the weekend. I’m excited about this interview because this job is much more suitable for me, the only problem is I’ve to sit a maths test and I suck at maths. I’m hoping this won’t be my down fall and they’ll be able to see how good I can be. Have to wait and see. The weather won’t be better it seems, it’s raining and dark outside now. I am also reading Howl’s Moving Castle right now and plan to do a review with that against the film, as seems to be my thing at the moment. Also my boyfriend is currently running a story within his web show, which is so worth checking out as its Halloween related. Right, time to go and make pie.

Image from:

http://kirahagen.photoshelter.com/image/I00008EeaX0SLI2E

The Calling Faith

It’s not often I openly discuss my faith with someone. I believe that people have the right to choose if they believe or not and what religion they want to be, regardless of how they were brought up. No one should be forced in to a faith when they are old enough to be aware of it and their own minds. This is because religion can be come a massive part of that person and their thoughts and actions can sometimes reflect their religious teachings. I have nothing against any religion and think that there is one that suits each person and that’s even if you are in the group that doesn’t believe. Historical what religion you supported could have a large impact on your life, but now a days, much more people have turned away from religion and maybe that’s because of science and disproving a lot of what we believed had been fact. I also think it’s because of the way we are bring brought up and society is slowly losing itself to technology.

I’m a Church of England Christian. I was brought up as one and still believe its’ the best faith for me. It suits my own personal beliefs about life and how things should be. This post isn’t about getting people to change religions or to prove that there is some higher powers out there, in fact it’s like the post I wrote about ghosts, it links in to events and reflections about my life right now and I just want to share things with people and get them thinking a bit differently about their own lives.

Up until this Sunday just gone, the last time I went to a church service was Xmas Eve and the carols by candlelight service. There are a number of reason why I stopped going to church, the main two are because I moved to uni and though I could have attended a church there, I didn’t bother. And I stared to loss faith in the victor; no longer finding his sermons enjoyable and inspiring. In fact, I started to disagree with what he was saying in a way. However, I’ve never completely lost my religion and have held on to my belief. I’ve always known that you don’t have to go to church to speak to God. He is everywhere and willing to listen if you take the time to talk to Him.

I’ve been really turning to Him of late for a whole number of reasons. First it was the struggle to get over my ex, then the search for a new boyfriend, then the strength to pass my MA and now it’s the belief to find a job. Saying prayers at night and asking for God’s support and also thanking Him for what I have has been a comfort for as long as I can remember. It’s just nice to have someone to turn to and but your trust in. I also know that sometimes my prayers can be petty. I pray for something in my life and really there’s so much else going on in the world that is far worse then my situation. Of late I’ve just been asking God to give me strength and courage and to guide me when I need it, instead of asking for a job directly. I also ask Him to give the same to my friends and family. I like to support them too and ask God for them when they can’t.

For some reason, I really want to go to church on Sunday. I’m not sure why, but maybe it had something to do with wanting to get back into the fold of my faith. I picked a good Sunday to go as it turned out to be the Harvest. The church was filled with people all there to give food and money to other people who really needed it. There was also a new victor and she really got people going with her sermon. I think that’s a very important part of being a religion’s leader! Seeing my old primary school was also interesting and reminded me so much of being a kid and being fascinated by the stories in the Bible. The children were there to help with the Harvest and to be a part of the community during the time of giving.

When I left I felt really calm and like I had found some inner peace. Somehow I knew not to worry about finding a job and that I should just enjoy my free time and fill it with stuff I want to do. I know that soon I’ll find a job that’s better suited to me, I just have to keep looking and not lose my faith! That can be so hard to do, but I just know that if I believe and keep trying as I’ve done for other things, that something will appear. Speaking of which, whilst writing just now I had a phone interview for one of the jobs I applied for and I’ll be hearing back from them tomorrow if they want to give me an interview. Hopefully, that’s a good sign!

 

 

I’d like to say that I took this photo, but I didn’t. As of yet, I’ve still been unwell to walk through my woods and capture autumn. Though it’s something I plan to do real soon. Autumn is my favourite time of year, because I love watching everything change and nature just seems out in force. I don’t like the colder, wetter weather though nor how dark it is, but the beauty that is currently out there is worth it.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll be out in my home city, handing out more CVs and playing D&D. That’ll be the next post I write. So for the rest of the day I’m going to work on the first chapter of the novel idea by my boyfriend and also do some reading.

 

Images:

 

Author’s own collection (St James’. Liverpool)

 

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Down a Snake and Back to Square One


I quit my job today, yeah the one I had my first official day of yesterday. I’m ill at the minute and well this morning I was depending to phone in sick. But I had a lot of time to think last night and I decided that even though my first day had been bad, that clearly the job wasn’t for me. No almost of time training or actually doing this job would have been able to change my personality and my beliefs. I’m naturally a shy, quiet bookworm, who sometimes comes out of her shell to discuss the world and help people. Only my close friends know there is a whole different side to me and that’s my crazy, wild side which I’m scared to show the world because I know I’ll be rejected. I’ve never ignored the realities of the world though or believed that all problems can be solved in books. I love stability, being academic, my comfit zone, my boyfriend and chocolate.
Now, finding a job that I’d be fine to do is proving to be tough. I’m young, bright, eager to learn, have great skills and knowledge, I’m creative and like working in a team just as much as working alone. I don’t mind repetitive tasks, because I can daydream story ideas or else wonder about the meaning of life. I like helping people and leading them. I find I can inspire and get them to see things differently, but what I can’t do is deal with people who won’t/refuse to listen to me. As of yet, I’m still struggling to deal with reject and finding the will to stay positive. It can be a hard thing when all you can see is the negatives, somehow in this situation they always out weigh the positives. But, when I think about it once again I’ve done a lot with my life and have a lot to look forward to still. This is just…like a dropped stitch in a knitted jumper, waiting to be picked up and placed in the right line. Problem is the waiting game is getting to me and also I don’t understand why employers don’t want me. I know I’m being over looked and push to the side like so many other people because of two main things; My lack of experience in the work place since my only jobs have been student guide work for uni and Charity shop volunteering, so employers think I won’t be up to the job or else they don’t offer training.  Secondly, that I’ve been through a lot of eduction and got great grades, which means that employers think I might get bored and don’t want to be in the job for a good length of time, because I’ll want more. Though that’s true, I’d aim for a natural progression up the pyramid.
I’ve no solutions to these problems other then the downgrading one of taking my MA and BA off my CV. I’ve heard that this can work for people, but to me I want to be proud of my achievements as going through uni hasn’t been easy. No one should have to do that to get noticed, but with twice as many people applying for the same job, sometimes doing whatever it takes can give the best results. My current plan is to seek help from the job centre, reflect on what I want to do for the next few years and where I’d like to be in the next 2-5 years, apply for as many jobs including, graduate and internships, as possible but knowing what I’d be able to do and would best suit my skills. Carry on writing and trying to get somewhere with that. I published a 3rd short story today and am just waiting for amazon kindle to release it.
So, the dice I cast out have returned to me and now I’m busy waiting to throw them out again. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck next time.