The Journal of Dalben

Campaign: Fallen Lands

The First Time I Got Real Ticklish
It’s been a real long time since I wrote. There’s been a lot that’s happened. There was a big tower way underground with little towers around it, and there was a dragon. He killed Bretherton and we couldn’t kill him back and that made me mad. Before that there was a little girl who I played with. Her name was Elise. She lived underground, and wanted me to stay there with her. My friends seemed kind of nervous when I told them about her, but I wouldn’t have stayed. She was real nice, but I would miss the sun and the animals that Xylia talks to sometimes. There really aren’t any cute animals underground.

The time I remember most is that first time I got real ticklish. We were at a fair and I had just beat up a few people in the tent where they fight and we all won some gold. Dagmar was real happy, and took me to this other tent he said I would like a lot. I tried to read what the sign said, but there were two long –P words that I couldn’t really make out. We went inside and Dagmar paid some gold and a little woman came out and said her name was Flossy Butterbox. She was real small. Dagmar said that was because she was a halfling.

She was wearing a scarf for a shirt, and a little skirt, and she kind of shook her bottom when she walked. I asked her if she was cold. She looked up, smiled, and told me she was hot. I wondered how that could be, because I was a little chilly. Then again, that one guy in the fighting tent had hit me in the head pretty hard, so I figured maybe that was why I felt cold.

Flossy took me back to a little room and I sat on the floor. She lay down on a mat and told me that I could do anything I wanted with her for the next hour. I said okay, and asked her what she liked to do. She smiled at me kind of funny and said it didn’t matter what she liked to do. It only mattered what I wanted. I didn’t really know, so I tried to think of something. Flossy must have had an idea, because after a few minutes, she sat up and motioned for me to come to her.

The way she did it reminded me of how Elise used to motion for me to come play with her when we were way down in the caves. And that gave me an idea. I asked her if she had a rope.

Her eyes got big and she kind of pursed her lips. “A rope? You’re a wild one, aren’t you?”

I didn’t really know what she meant, so I just nodded. She got up, brushed her fingers against my cheek, and said she’d be right back. I sat there and looked around, but there wasn’t much to see. The walls were made of cloth. Some guy was making a lot of noise in another room. It sounded like he was laughing because he kept saying “Ha,” but it didn’t sound like anything was funny. In another room, somebody was in trouble, because I could hear a lady saying, “You’re a bad boy,” over and over.

Flossy came back in with a rope, gave it to me, and lay back down on the mat. She smiled that funny smile again and told me to go ahead. I thought I’d be nice, so I told her she could go first. She laughed and said, “Oh, so that’s how you like it.” I just nodded again.

Instead of taking the rope, though, she reached back and untied her top. She had small, freckled breasts with nipples. That’s when I started to feel ticklish. I tried to tell her that she should put it back on, but she shushed me and tied her top over my eyes like a blindfold. One of her nipples brushed against my mouth and made me shiver. It had been dark when I jumped rope with Elise, but I had been able to see a little. “This will make it hard,” I said.

“That’s what I’m hoping,” she said. She kind of breathed it into my ear and made me shiver again.

Then she started to tie me up. I knew that wasn’t the right way to jump rope, but when I tried to tell her, she just shushed me again. When she finished tying my hands, she started to unlace my breeches. I told her she shouldn’t see my private parts because she was a girl, but she told me that I had seen hers already and it was only fair. She was right, and my hands were tied behind my back anyway, so I let her take my pants off. She giggled when she pulled them down, but I don’t know why.

Then she got on my lap. I was real ticklish by then, more ticklish than I’d ever been, and my one private part felt all tingly and stretchy. Then, all the sudden, it felt warm and wet. Flossy put her hands on my stomach and started to push herself against me, over and over, and that made me feel so ticklish that I forgot to breathe. Then it felt like waves rushing out of me, and I started shaking and yelled, “Oh, boy!” really loud. I yelled it a bunch of times, I think.

Then it was over, and I wasn’t ticklish anymore. Flossy untied me, and gave me a kiss on the forehead, and that was it.

I’ve been ticklish a few times since. It happened with the nice people in the tower, and it happened a few nights ago in Farholme. I still feel funny having my private parts out, but being ticklish feels good, especially the part at the end.
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Epic × 4!
The Time I Got Real Scared
I used to play with crayfish when I was little. It was in the creek by our cottage, and I would flip rocks over and find them. They would run around and I would try to catch them. Sometimes I pretended that I was a little man on one of the rocks and they were big and scary. Then one time one of them pinched my finger and made me cry. I didn’t play with them so much after that.

I got pretty scared on that hill that Taco the Seagull took us to. The worst part was that I got really, really scared and didn’t even know why, and Scout wouldn’t even go up there, and Xylia started picking at her face. I’m glad we got out of there, even though we had to go with that man who was kind of pale and talked funny.

The scariest, though, was when that crab got me. I’m not good at jumping rocks. When we would do that in the creek by my village, I would always fall in the water and everybody would laugh. It hurt really bad when the crab pinched me, and then I fell in the water. I had the rope on, but I was afraid that Scout would get washed away. Then the crab came at me over the rocks. Everybody was on the bank trying to pull me in, but I knew how fast crabs were because of those crayfish in the creek. I was afraid that if he pinched me again, I would die. That made me real scared. I think I was more scared then than ever.

I’m glad everybody pulled me out real fast like they did. They’re all real nice. I think they like me, because they don’t laugh at me or say mean things. I especially like the man who sings and tells stories. I have a hard time remembering his name, but he says to call him the Silver Singer, and I can remember that. He reminds me of Robert by the Bridge back in my village, who used to tell funny stories about what his goats did. Except that Robert by the Bridge didn’t sing or play any music. And his teeth were kind of green.

There are lots of scary things down here. The thing that came out of the water was pretty scary. I’m glad that the quiet guy with the curved sword killed it. I wanted to kill it, but I was having a hard time breathing. I didn’t like that.

That ogre was real big, but I didn’t think he was as scary as the thing in the water. Then he hit me and I woke up after he was dead. I was a little mad about that because I wanted to hit him with my new sword. I like that sword because when I rub the handle, I don’t hurt as much anymore.

I think we’re looking for a skull or something. I hope we find it. And I hope nobody else gets hurt. That girl who doesn’t wear armor got hurt pretty bad when we fought the lizard people, and I didn’t like that. I felt bad for her.

Xylia is going to talk to a bat, and I want to go. I like it when she talks to animals. I always used to try, but they never talked back. Xylia is special. I like her.

I hope there’s not more scary things, but I bet there will be. This place is full of scary things. I don’t like it much, but I would rather be here with Xylia and everybody else than back in my village, so I guess it’s okay.
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Epic!
The Time I Got Real Sad
Uncle Adaon, Mr. Puffy, and I walked a long way. We walked all day, slept in an orchard, and walked again the next day. I asked Uncle Adaon where we were going, and he said he was taking me to a place where I would learn discipline. I didn't know what that was, so he said that the people there would teach me new things. I asked if they would let me keep Mr. Puffy, and he said probably. I asked if I would sleep on the ground like I did with him, and he said no. I said I thought the new place sounded okay.

The new place had a stone wall, and it was on top of a hill. Walking up the hill was hard. We went up to a gate, and Uncle Adaon talked to two men with spears. One of them had black teeth and smiled a lot. We went inside, where there were wooden buildings and a big dirt field where some men were fighting with swords. I asked if it was a battle, but Uncle Adaon said they were just practicing. Then he told me to sit down and wait while he went and talked to the man who was in charge. I sat down and played with Mr. Puffy, but there was some horse poop right by us, so we moved a little.

A man came out with Uncle Adaon. He was tall with a gray beard. His name was Riddick. He told me that I was going to live there for a while so he could teach me to be a soldier. I asked if I could practice having battles like those guys were doing, and he said yes. I asked if I could keep Mr. Puffy with me, and he said that a cat would be good for keeping mice out of the barracks. I asked what barracks were, and he looked at me kind of funny and pointed at one of the wooden buildings.

Uncle Adaon left that night. He told me to listen to what Riddick and the other men told me, and to try not to get real mad. I said okay.

We did lots of stuff after that. They gave me a big sword and showed me how to use it. I liked that. They gave me armor, too. It was heavy and made me sweat a lot, but Riddick told me it would protect me in battle, so I decided it was okay. We took long walks with our spears on our shoulders. I didn't like those walks because they were hard, especially when we had to go up hills, and Riddick was always yelling at me to keep in time, and I didn't know what he meant.

One time we came back from one of those walks and I couldn't find Mr. Puffy. I looked all through the barracks, but he wasn't there. I went outside and called and called, but he didn't come. I was starting to feel kind of mad and sad at the same time. I went through the gate and called for him, but I couldn't find him anywhere. I heard somebody yelling for me, but I didn't pay attention. I just kept calling for Mr. Puffy.

I tried to think which way Mr. Puffy went on the road. There were some cows in a field the one way, so I knew he wouldn't go there. I started walking in the other direction. I walked and walked and called and called. I cried a little, too. When it got dark, I went to sleep under some trees.

I kept walking and looking for Mr. Puffy all the next day. When I came to a house, I went up and asked if they had seen a puffy, white cat. When it was getting dark, I went up to a little house and the lady who answered the door asked me if I wanted to come in and have dinner. I asked again if she had seen Mr. Puffy and she said no. I was really hungry, because I hadn't brought any food with me, and I could smell something cooking, so I said okay.

She said her name was Alis, and told me to sit down. She lived with four kids and an old lady who coughed and spit a lot. She talked a lot while she cooked. She told me her husband had died, and that it was hard for her without a man. When I talked, she smiled at me. The kids looked at me with big eyes and asked if they could see my sword, but Alis said no.

Dinner was some kind of stew, and it was good. I ate a lot. Alis must have thought that my food smelled better than hers, because she kept looking at me and licking her lips. When dinner was over, it was dark. Alis told me I should stay for the night and I said okay. She said that I could share her sleeping mat. I said that was nice, but it was pretty small, so I could sleep in the barn. The old lady coughed, and Alis looked at me funny and said whatever suits you.

In the morning, Alis made me breakfast. She told me I should stay with her. I asked her what she meant, and she said that I could live there with her, and that she would cook for me and take care of me, and I could help take care of the farm and protect her from bandits. I told her I couldn’t stay because I had to find Mr. Puffy. She said the farm up the road had kittens and she could get one. I said I liked kittens a lot, but I had to find Mr. Puffy. Then she got kind of mad and told me that I wasn’t going to find Mr. puffy because he had probably run away or died. I told her that was a mean thing to say and left.

After that, I was sad all day. I kept calling for Mr. Puffy, but I started to think that maybe Alis was right, and I got even sadder. I sat down under a tree and cried a little.

Then I saw somebody coming up the road. It was a man dressed all in red robes. When he saw me, he started walking toward me. He asked me who I was, and I said my name was Dalben, and asked him if he had seen Mr. Puffy. He told me that he hadn’t seen any cats, but that he had a job for me. I told him I didn’t want a job; I wanted to find Mr. Puffy. He started waving his arms and talking funny, and all of a sudden I felt really sleepy.

I woke up in a really dark room. It was wet and cold. The door was locked. I yelled for somebody to come and let me out, but nobody answered. I felt sort of mad and scared at the same time. I tried to break down the door, but I couldn’t. I yelled out some more, and when nobody came to open the door, I got real mad. I took out my sword and started hitting the door with it. I was yelling, too.

All of the sudden, the handle turned, and the door opened. There were some people standing there. Most of them were wearing armor, and one of the ladies had leaves and stuff in her hair. They were nice, so I went with them.

I’m still looking for Mr. Puffy. When Wendell woke me up the other night and told me something was coming through the grass, I hoped that it was Mr. Puffy, but I guess it was just a giant skunk. My new friends are real nice, so I think I’ll stay with them. The lady with leaves in her hair can even talk to seagulls. Maybe they can help me find Mr. Puffy someday.
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Epic!
The Second Time I Got Real Mad
After that first time I got real mad, all the kids were nice to me. Whenever they saw me, they would smile and back away so I had lots of room to get by. Finn, who lived by the bridge, even promised to give me a basket of blackberries if I punched Knut in the head. Knut had a big face and yellow teeth, and Finn didn't like him. I wasn't that mad though, so I just pushed him into a mud puddle. Finn got mad that I didn't hit him, but he gave me the blackberries anyway.

Then my mother told me that she was sending me to live with my uncle, Adaon. He lived up in the hills somewhere, and I didn't know him. I didn't want to go, but she told me that Uncle Adaon liked animals a lot, so I could take Mr. Puffy. I thought that sounded okay, so I said I would go.

Uncle Adaon came to get me. He had lots of gray hair and a big bow with a quiver full of arrows. I asked if I could shoot it, but he said not now. He had a sword, too. I asked if I could see it, but he shook his head and looked at my mother like she looks at me when my sleeping mat is wet in the morning. Then he told me to say goodbye and we left. I put Mr. Puffy on the top of my pack and we started walking.

We walked for a long time. I kept asking when we would get there, but he just shook his head. When we finally stopped at the end of the day, I didn't see a house or anything, but when I asked about it, Uncle Adaon just said that home was wherever you put your sleeping blanket. I didn't understand what he meant. Uncle Adaon made a fire, we ate some nuts and some meat that was tough and tasted salty, and then we went to sleep. I didn’t sleep much because it was kind of cold.

We never got to Uncle Adaon’s house. Maybe he forgot where it was. Instead, we just kept walking and sleeping in the woods. When it rained, Uncle Adaon would make a little lean-to out of branches, or we would sleep underneath a fallen tree or in a little cave. There were some farmers who lived up in the hills. They liked Uncle Adaon a lot, and would make us dinner and let us sleep in their barns. I liked that. So did Mr. Puffy, because he got to chase mice and curl up in the straw.

When we were in the woods, Uncle Adaon was always showing me stuff. He would point at plants, animal tracks, and mushrooms, and talk about them. Then he would point at something and ask me what it was. I usually couldn’t remember, so I would say giant puffball because he had shown me one once, and I remembered the name because it kind of sounded like Mr. Puffy.

Uncle Adaon did teach me how to shoot his bow, and I liked that a lot. He told me that if I listened and got good enough, he would make me one of my own. He taught me how to swordfight, too, but we had to use sticks instead of real swords. It was still fun.

Uncle Adaon tried to teach me how to track and hunt, but it was hard. Sometimes I could find the tracks that he said were there, but usually I just pointed and said, “They’re over there,” and that always made him breathe really loud. When we tried to sneak up on some deer, I made a lot of noise and they ran away, so Uncle Adaon put me up in a tree with his bow and told me to be quiet and not move. I did that pretty good. A whole bunch of deer walked by, and I never moved a muscle.

Then one morning I woke up and I couldn’t find Mr. Puffy. I called and called, but he didn’t come. Uncle Adaon pointed to some tracks and told me that an animal had taken Mr. Puffy, and that if I wanted to save him, I had to follow those tracks. “Remember what I taught you,” he said.

I followed those tracks through the woods and up onto a path near a little farm. There were a bunch of tracks on the path, like whatever had taken Mr. Puffy had danced around or something. That made me mad. The tracks led off into a field. They were way bigger than they had been in the campsite, so they were easy to follow.

The tracks led right up to a big cow. I couldn’t see Mr. Puffy anywhere. The cow was chewing. That’s when I got real mad. That cow had all that grass in the world to eat, but it had to go and eat Mr. Puffy instead.

I tackled that cow and started punching it as hard as I could. It started kicking and mooing, but I just held on and kept punching. Its head was pretty hard. I heard someone yelling at me to stop, but I couldn’t. Somebody grabbed me and tried to pull me off of the cow, but I didn’t even bother to push him away. I just kept hitting the cow and screaming, “Why did you eat Mr. Puffy? Why did you eat Mr. Puffy?”

The man who was trying to pull me off the cow kept yelling, “My cow didn’t eat your cat!” but I didn’t believe him. I had seen it chewing on him.

Then I heard Uncle Adaon’s voice. “Dalben, stop! I have Mr. Puffy!”

I looked up, and saw him standing there, holding Mr. Puffy. I stood up. “You saved him!” I said. I was so happy. I ran up and took Mr. Puffy and petted him.

The cow stood up, took a few steps, and fell down.

“Mr. Puffy was never in danger, Dalben,” Uncle Adaon said. I didn’t really understand what he meant. I was just glad that Mr. Puffy was okay.

That night, I asked Uncle Adaon how he had rescued Mr. Puffy from that cow. He shook his head and said that he couldn’t do any more. I thought he meant for Mr. Puffy. Then he said something about a keep somewhere in the north, and told me to get some sleep, because we had a long journey ahead.
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The First Time I Got Real Mad
When I was young, people in my village would pick on me. Especially other kids. They would kick me and hit me and throw stones at me. I was bigger than them, so it usually didn’t hurt much. Except the stones. Those always hurt. Even when it didn’t hurt it made me feel bad, because the other kids would call me names and tell me I should go sleep in the shed with the oxen and things like that. I used to cry a lot.

The adults didn’t hit me or anything, but sometimes they would laugh at me when I didn’t understand something. Then one of them would say something and they would laugh some more. That made me feel bad, too.

My father died when I was a baby, so it was just me and my mother. She would tell people to leave me alone, but they didn’t listen. Sometimes she cried, too. After a while, I just tried to stay away from other people whenever I could.

I had a cat. He came around our cottage one morning. He was scrawney and hungry, so I gave him some food and he liked me. He had lots of fur, so I named him Mr. Puffy. After that, I would save food whenever I ate so I could feed him. I think my mother liked him, too. She said he was good for keeping mice and out of the cottage.

One day I went out to feed Mr. Puffy, but I couldn’t find him. I called and called. Then I heard voices down by the creek. Voices and laughing. I went down there and saw a bunch of the village boys with rocks in their hands. One of the boys, Pym, was holding a sack. Pym had big teeth and lots of freckles. He was the meanest of them all. Once he hit me so hard in the head with a rock that I fell down and couldn’t get up. There was lots of blood.

Anyway, all of the sudden Pym threw the sack way up in the air and all the other boys threw their rocks at it. None of them hit it, but when the sack landed on the ground, it yowled. Kind of like a cat. Pym picked the sack back up and I saw that something inside was moving. That’s when I realized that Mr. Puffy was in the bag.

I ran up and yelled at Pym to give me the sack. “Is this your Kitty?” Pym said. He didn’t ask nice. It was like the way some people talk to babies, and it made the other boys laugh. “Why don’t we see if kitty cat can swim?” he said. Then he turned to throw Mr. Puffy into the creek.

That’s when I got real mad. It had never happened before. Before I had just felt scared or sad, or both. Now I felt like I wanted to yell and scream and smash things. Most of all, I wanted to smash those boys. Especially Pym.

I grabbed Pym’s arm before he could throw the sack, and pulled it so hard that I heard something snap. He screamed like it really hurt, but I didn’t care. I kept pulling, and he screamed louder. Then I swung him in a circle so fast that his feet came off the ground and he crashed into one of the other boys. That boy fell down and started yelling something about his teeth. Then I made a fist and punched another boy in the face. His eyes kind of rolled back, and lots of blood came out his nose. Then he fell down and didn’t move.

There were two other boys. They were just standing there looking at me. One of them, Ged, still had a rock in his hand. I thought about how he was trying to hit Mr. Puffy with it, and I got even madder. So I picked him up right off the ground. He didn’t feel heavy at all. I didn’t know what to do with him then, so I threw him the creek. He started splashing and yelling and calling for help.

The last boy ran away. I was going to chase him, but then I saw Pym stand up. He was holding his arm. I was still really mad, so I made another fist and punched him right in his big teeth. He fell down, and I got on top of him and kept punching him. I kept punching him even after he stopped moving. Then I got Mr. Puffy out of the sack and went home.

After I stopped being mad, I was afraid that I was in trouble. But I wasn’t. People seemed kind of quiet after that, but nobody yelled at me or punished me. I was glad about that. Maybe it was because nobody got hurt that bad. Most of the boys were okay the next day. The creek was shallow, so Ged didn’t drown. Pym took a while to get better, but he was okay, too. Except for the drooling.

A little while after that, my mother sent me to live with my uncle, Adaon. I didn’t want to go, but she said I could bring Mr. Puffy, so it was okay.

And that’s the end of my story.
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