Chapter V: A New Sheriff in Town

One person who certainly had not forgotten about Herling was Dûae. When she left Ga-Ga’s house she walked to the center of town, where she found the schemer addressing a large (by ToadChapel standards) and growing crowd of listeners.

Herling stood at the foot of an old statue dedicated to some god or saint or hero forgotten by everyone in the village. The dwarf looked very important as he warmed to his subject, fingering his silver bow and pointing at people to make them understand.

“I, for one, won’t wait for trouble to find me!” he cried, raising his fist above his head so it was about level with the face of a brawny, mean-looking man standing beside him. “Harry’s found goblin footprints in his prize pumpkin patch. Pumpkins violated! There’s goblin graffiti on the wall of a mausoleum in our town’s burial ground. Are the shades of ToadChapel to be thus polluted? Why, Fernald the woodcutter was chased from his cutting by a swarm of chattering goblins, he says! Goblins in our very midst!

“Before these younglings, these Mills and Gramm, came to ToadChapel we enjoyed peace and quiet. Now the moon goes all red like blood spilt in the night, and strange goings on have followed ever since. Strange and worse.

“Of course I’m not saying children are bad, or even that these children are in league with goblins. But there’s some mystery that has brought a foul threat to our door, and I’ll wager those two know more than they’re letting on. Could be the lovely Ga-Ga knows, too, but I suspect she’s merely the victim of her own kind and generous heart.

“If the younglings are innocent, they have nothing to fear. But I’d rather we kept this town free from danger than wait to uncover their guilt. What might be the cost of that to all you good people of ToadChapel?”

At this a murmur of support spread through the nervous crowd. Men brandished sticks, farm tools, and even a few hunting bows. The hidden misgivings of the villagers focused their fears on Gramm and Mills.

Herling gestured to some rough-looking characters, including the big man in the front of the crowd, as he continued, “Fear not, friends, I’ve got things under control. With the help of these fine bold men here, we’ll keep the woodland tracks free from marauding goblins. We’ll keep your poultry from the clutches of that pair of urchins. We’ll keep the village streets safe at night, no matter the danger to us.

“If anyone spots Gramm or Mills, they are to be apprehended and brought to me for questioning. They are extremely clever, so take care they don’t slip through your fingers like the breeze. It is important that Ga-Ga knows nothing of this plan.

“Further, we all see the need for increased vigilance in these times of peril, so I’ve instituted a curfew of sundown until further notice. Anyone caught out of doors at night will face a fine. Travelers venturing outside the village must inform me or my assistant, Bultry,” said Herling as he pointed to the burly man beside him. “For your safety.”

By this point Dûae had become truly frightened. With luck the children were safely out of sight, but she couldn’t do anything about that now. She decided she’d better get back to Ga-Ga’s and inform her friend how things stood. As she slipped away from the back of the crowd, she heard Bultry thanking ‘sheriff Herling’ and calling other men together to coordinate a system of patrols, checkpoints, and other ‘security measures’. She scarcely believed the other villagers would accept such nonsense, and wondered how Herling had got himself appointed head honcho. Now that he commanded a gang of thugs, she doubted it much mattered anymore.

I Might as Well Have Built an Actual House

Well here’s something mildly stupid.

I take no responsibility if you go cross-eyed doing this.

I survived by spreading the work (and it was work, which I try to avoid at all costs) over several sessions. I just used up leftover paint from other jobs as I tackle other projects.

I need to complete the roof and add some trim and this will be mercifully finished!

Spooky Scary!

Will & I bashed out a load of graveyard terrain in two sessions this week. Probably 10-12 man-hours between us, but it went by fast as we were having fun listening to music and solving all the world’s problems.

This is the Sigmarite Mausoleum set, augmented by a church from Pegasus. I have a few details left to do on this (like the skulls around the statue), and we have a boatload of fences, gates, graves, etc to paint, but nevertheless we generated a ton of really nice terrain in what felt like very little time.

I highly recommend tackling this kind of project as a team, as it’s not overly fussy and you can negate the tedium by spending quality time with people you would want to hang out with anyway.

We’re looking forward to our first game battling over these spooky little chapels!

Buildings Made of… Plastic?

I’ve got to get some large, complex terrain done for the development of ToadChapel, and here’s the first of it.

It will be a street setting, primarily to be photographed from the right hand side.

There are lots of funny little cuts in this. Taking a ‘slice’ of the scene means everything has to be crooked in order to look straight. Then, of course, you also want everything to actually be slightly crooked. For instance, the two buildings are not square with one another. This makes it much more difficult, but I tell myself it’s worth it and – if it’s good enough – I only have to do it once! It’s hard work… my fingers are totally covered in superglue!

Chapter IV: Trouble Upstream

“I don’t know why we have to look for these stupid chickens. You didn’t steal them. I certainly didn’t. You always drag me into your messes! Come on. Let’s go to the stream and I’ll show you how to catch a trout,” said Mills to her brother.

Mills often visited the streams around ToadChapel, where she enjoyed being alone, catching trout, skipping stones off the surface of the water, and carving fantastical symbols into the trees. She had discovered one rivulet, too small to attract other anglers, where tiny deep blue fingerlings could be carefully pulled from beneath the stones under which they hid. She chased them from stone to stone until she could catch the fish in her clever hands. From time to time her fingertips got a nip from a crayfish, instead!

“Come on,” she repeated. “You’re always losing track of things and daydreaming. We’ve got to look for these stupid chickens. If we turn off the main stream here and head up this way there’s an old statue in the woods. It looks a little like the one in the sophotasters’ Garden. I’m not sure anyone even knows it’s there.”

The children picked their way through the trackless forest, drawing farther from the course of the Meander, ToadChapel’s main waterway. Here the stream was narrow enough to jump in places.

“This isn’t even a real stream,” cried Gramm. “I can walk across it.”

Though his sister was miffed at the jest, she had to admit, her stream wasn’t very impressive. In fact, as the two slowly travelled farther upstream, there was hardly any water in the stream at all.

“Something isn’t right. I was fishing here just yesterday, and the water was up to my knees in these pools. You can see the streambed’s all muddy, but something’s stopped up the flow. Let’s keep going.”

Then she spotted him about thirty yards away: an ugly little goblin shuffling from one foot to the other. Goblins seldom ventured so close to ToadChapel, and when they did they came for mischief, not war. This one was armed with a long spear and wore a wooden shield and an iron cap. More, rocks had been piled into a makeshift dam, blocking the flow of the stream and creating a kind of bog behind it. The bored-looking goblin stood guard over the dam.

Mills touched her finger to her lips to silence her brother and drew him down beside her behind a big mossy log. She pointed ahead at the goblin.

“I’ll throw a stone at his ugly green nose, and we can charge him with sticks!” Said Gramm excitedly.

“Shhh!” Mills hissed through her teeth. “He’ll hear us. Don’t be stupid. He’s got a spear and an iron cap. He’s not lost, he’s guarding that dam, and from the look of him there’s sure to be more around. Something very strange is going on here. We’ve got to get back to town quick.”

The children stole stealthily away from the dam, keeping behind trees, bushes, and rocks where they could. Mills looked back frequently and kept her brother’s hand in hers. When they reached the course of the Meander and heard the distant sounds of normal village life, they took off at a run, forgetting all about Herling and the problems they faced in ToadChapel.

~

Head here to find out what’s been going on back in ToadChapel.

Tool Time

Here are a few of my favorite odd tools. These are mostly just stuff I grabbed of a moment, but have come to rely upon in my hobbying.

From the top we have:

1) Micron pen. I like pens as small as I can get them, and manga-style pens are the best I’ve found. .005 Sakura is my weapon of choice. I don’t really know what .005 refers to, as the nib is 0.2mm thick. Even if you only use them for (TOP TIP) dotting pupils, they’re solid gold.

2) Forceps. My brother and I are anglers (too rarely!), so I grabbed these one time when I needed a locking grip on a small object. Great tool when you need it.

3) Bend rule. Sits nice & steady for precise work.

4) Silicon tweezers. They both resist sticking and spring apart when you release tension. Extremely useful for many applications.

5) And this is my favorite tool of all. It’s a crappy old pair of needle-nosed pliers that somehow became extremely tight. So tight, in fact, that it can be used almost as a handheld vice. I can’t tell you how to make one, but, like many lucky accidents, when they failed, I found a use for them. I use these all the time!

Give me a comment below and let me know what weird tools you find yourself reaching for on your hobby bench!