Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Allen Hughes, Winter's Favored Son and The Lost Battalion

The Lost Battalion, an interesting group of 'soldiers' to add to your Modern Fantasy game and beyond.

I was inspired by this video I saw on Youtube and the world sort of just opened up for me.

The Commander looked down upon his troops as they came out of the Great Wall.  A dozen men dead today, but they drove the Conquerors back.  Thousands of them, all dressed in their black armor, indescribably evil beasts who tear his men limb from limb.  The small fires in No Man's Land were extinguished, preventing the Great Leader from being disturbed.  Noble men all, and as he took off his boots he remembered the conflict.

Their compound eyes glowed in the lights of their new weapons.  Great brass booms, the flames, the sounds of battle joined as his men screamed for their Great Leader.  As he cleaned in the basin atop Green Mountain Pass, he heard the echoing of the Great Leader.

Behold!  The man who brought them their greatest knowledge through the Glowing Tome!  He who bought their armor and weapons from the Reaper Himself!  The Lord of the Glowing Box, who taught them their ways of battle through his people's channels of History!  Once they were disorganized rabble warring within the Great Wall, and suffered the great Clouds of Death before the Great Leader learned of their presence.

He bent down, corpulent and dressed in his fine hooded half-robe, bearing the legend of his people.  Indeed, it proclaimed his name valiantly, Sir Allan of the Safe Ways, Lord of the Green Mountain's Dew.

"How's the ant problem going?"

"We have fought the black menace back to the edge of the Wall!"

"Excellent.  Shots around the house!  I also worked on that forge we were discussing... I think I can make some pretty wicked things besides those cannons I bought for you online."

"Any weapons, my lord, would be much obliged."

"Anything for the Battalion.  At ease Commander Vladmir of the Wall."

Allen cracked a beer and poured the shot bottle of Kahlua into the glass.  The world got weird for him when he read that book, but he had to say that the Battalion served their purpose.

Maybe I'll spend some money on a couple dollhouses, put the guys up in style.  And if we could only train some of those Gerbils over at the PetSmart...

---

Allen Hughes of Philadelphia Pennsylvania lives in the lap of luxury.  His day job working at the local grocery store as a cashier, but at night he rules a kingdom that only he knows about.  Not a lot of guys who get the chance to be Gods among the Little Folk, but Allen was lucky.

His ex girlfriend Alma Reed was the starting point. She knew he dug old books and, as a geek would be interested in fantasy of all types.  When she found the copy of an old book that contained the Táin Bó Cúailnge, he Irish epic of the wars of Ulster.  But the book continued, telling of the tales of Mebd, and the bonds of Ailill and his embattled wife.  The tales of Mebd after her death, and her reunion, and her seeking of a suitor.

And then, after he finished, she came.  The beautiful Mae, a girl of fire-red hair, eyes the color of juniper, and a mean temper.  They flirted in the carrels as he studied for his Masters in literature, and began to secretly meet.  Slowly he lost Alma, his scholarship, and his parent's trust, but Mae stood by him, every day smiling.

Mae kept his house clean, his larders stocked, and his apartment in West Philly free of roaches and silverfish.  She seemed to love him, and even if she worked the night shift they still saw each other quite enough.

And he could write again.  Tales of valor, of knights and lords and dragons.  They were happy, and when Mae became pregnant Allen was the happiest man on earth.

Until She came.

How does a man feel when his love is taken away?  Old pacts, the stranger said, and he knew her then.  Had he not read her tales and learned her life?  And knew the price of his love.

He read the fairy tales.

And so the Winter Queen came for her servant, and Allen Hughes has not aged a day for the last forty years.

The Queen of Air and Darkness sent her handmaiden to give him the gift of his writing, and when she left his inspiration went with her.  He spent years trying to find her, that sweet red-haired girl who he had grown to love.  But when he sought to go across the sea he found himself unable, incapable of stepping foot on the plane.

And so Allen Hughes became Winter's Favored Son.  He works at odd jobs bagging groceries and painting houses, and helps those changelings and wandering sprites he finds.  He never gained back the talents of his writing, but he has learned a love for other things.

And every few years he moves to a different neighborhood.  Perhaps someone notices him talking to his grey tom cat... And then sees the cat talk back.  Or the time when a man from the Old Country came seeking a leprechaun living under his care to steal a pot of gold and found only a knife in the lung and an unceremonious dump into Fairmount Park.

Allen teaches the faeries new lessons, and none have learned faster than his newest charges.  The Lost Battalion, a group of house sprites who left a witch's house upon her death, were almost destroyed by an errant fumigation of their current hiding place.  Allen took them under his protection, teaching them of modern warfare, the use of cannonade, and now they carry small brass cannon and firearms dipped in arsenic or Carbaryl to kill their enemies in the walls.

And every day Allen keeps his eyes and ears peeled, seeking a son who he never met, and a love he has lost to the cold hands of Winter.

---

Hope you enjoyed this little fluff piece.  If you have any questions please reply, or email me on gmail.  I am also available on Google+ if you can find me.

Good Gaming.

Slainte,

-Loonook.
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