Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day Twenty-Three: Live and let die

Today was surprisingly peaceful, diary. And I don’t say 'surprising' because the plains around the queen’s tree are usually filled with wild animals. She's killed so many creatures with those wheeling legs of hers that I think it's almost taboo for critters to come close.

It’s surprisingly peaceful because Libby came out to visit, and she’s still pregnant - but she didn't go nutso.

It probably has something to do with the outdoors. Libby loves nature. When she’s not yelling at me to get to work or busy with her carpentry, she’s usually in the forests around Castle Buttercup. I don’t go for walks with her too often, 'cause it gets all awkward trying to find things to talk about, but the few times I have I’ve seen her calm down completely.

Apparently even pregnancy can’t get her upset when she’s in a natural setting. Maybe I should bring Libby out here more often. For, y'know, safety’s sake. And to let the kid breathe! Can't forget about the kid. Must get stuffy in that stomach.

It turns out that Libby and the queen are good friends, which makes sense since Libby is out here so much. It also turns out that Libby hadn’t told the queen she was pregnant, so when she came waddling up to the queen’s tree with a full belly the queen squealed and demanded details. It was really weird listening to their girly talk, so I tuned them out and watched a butterfly fight it out with a snake until Libby left.

(The snake won. What was the butterfly thinking?)

Libby was spaced out and happy, so she didn’t say goodbye. She just wandered home. That’s better than most days, though I would like a kiss every now and then. I should've been worrying 'bout myself, though, ‘cause as soon as Libby took off the queen asked a zillion and a half questions.

“You didn’t say much, Dragomir,” she started. “You’re going to be a father! Congratulations! How do you feel? Are you excited? Nervous? Gassy? I have noticed a smell, you know. What do you want to call the baby? Libby said she thought it would be a boy because it’s so strong, but you never know, so maybe something along the lines of Arnold or Reginald... but would you be okay if it was a girl? Girls are wonderful, you know...”

I tried to tune her out, but it’s tough to ignore a person when they’re talking right at you and asking questions. Even harder when that person is the queen and you’re trained to listen to everything royalty says. I stumbled through her queries as best I could. I don’t think I looked very enthusiastic, either, ‘cause the queen ended with:

“What’s the matter, Dragomir? You talk as though I’ve just sentenced your family to death. Aren’t you excited?”

I couldn’t answer the queen, and after a few seconds of silence she let the matter drop.

The truth is, diary, I’m... afraid.

I don’t really wanna talk about this anymore. Thinking about the birth makes me nervous.


Dragomir the Guard

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day Twenty-Two: For your eyes only

Huh. Not sure how I feel about the queen writing in my diary. At least she’s better at it than her son. And more polite.

Speaking of the prince, he came visiting today, diary. Unlike the last time I saw him, Logan actually looked like a prince, with a clean shirt and a little cape and all the rest. Very purple. I don’t think he liked the look, but given that The Baron was on his heels he probably didn’t have much choice.

It turns out that Prince Logan isn’t that friendly if you get to talk to him OFFICIALLY, diary. He’s arrogant. He barely said two words to me the whole time - and he had one of his royal guards push me down so he could use my back as a stool. The Baron seemed to approve, though he dropped a gold coin in front of me as a tip for letting the prince have his way. At least Logan’s light.

He left after a couple hours of chatting with his mother, and once I’d collapsed after standing on all fours for way too long she apologized. She said he’s not normally so cruel. He just acts that way when The Baron’s around, ‘cause that’s the way nobles are supposed to act. He’s doing as he’s told. When I asked the queen if she’d sit on me if she had the chance, she laughed.

Would she? I’m not sure, diary. Probably not. I hope the king never tries to sit on me. He looks heavy. And I bet he'd try to turn me into his own personal horse or something. I've never tried, but I bet I wouldn't be able to neigh.

The queen’s asleep right now. She looks kinda sad when she's dreaming. I’ll have to ask her why in the morning. Maybe she’s having a nightmare. I hope not – she’s a nice enough lady that she should only have good dreams.

I wonder if I’ll look like that in my sleep when I have a kid.

Gotta go, diary. While the prince was sitting on me I chatted with his guards. Apparently there are goblin war bands in the area. I need to keep my eye open so the queen and I don't get skewered in the night. Wouldn’t do to slack. The thought of being killed by a teensy goblin is... humiliating.


Dragomir the Guard


What a lovely little diary. Hello, Dragomir! I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. You slumped off, and the book was in reach of my foot. Don’t worry, I didn’t read anything; I just wanted to leave my mark in the timeline of your life.

Try not to fall asleep at night next time, though. I had to fight off a wolf around 3 a.m. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt me. I have mighty kicking legs!

Keep up the good work,

Queen Daena

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day Twenty-One: On her majesty's secret service

Good news to start off the week, diary – I found a hiding spot for you! And it’s not in the rat farms! Those little bastards will never see you again! Or me, for that matter!

... and now the kinda bad news! Somebody ELSE knows about you! And it’s the queen! Isn’t that... erm... isn’t that great?

No, it’s about as bad as the prince knowing about you. How is it that half of the royal family has figured out I have a diary when my own wife doesn’t know? Life’s mysterious. At least it doesn't seem like they're gonna rat on me.

I guess I should explain. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, diary, but the queen doesn’t live in the castle with the king. She’s actually outdoors all of the time, ‘cause she’s stuck in a tree. And I don’t mean in the branches, like a kitten. She’s actually stuck inside the tree.

How’d it happen? I don’t know, to be honest, since she was already there when I came to the castle. From what I've heard, when she first showed up with the king to take over, Queen Daena was walking across the plains to the barbican, tried to skirt past a tree, and just... kinda... stopped. Her legs are still flailing to this day, but the queen’s butt is embedded in the bark. It’s like the tree tried to eat her and couldn’t quite get her down.

The queen likes the outdoors, so she didn’t mind getting left behind, and she refused the king’s offer to have a fortress built around her. A guard gets posted there every week to watch over her, fetch her food and keep her company. And since we have to sleep out with the queen, I, ah, kinda had to bring you with me, diary. So she knows.

But she doesn’t mind! Unlike most people she doesn’t laugh at my desire to write. The queen’s a lovely woman, and she says that people can have a job beyond their job. If you know what I mean. So I guess I can be a writer and a guard, so long as I don’t give up on the guard part. That’s awful nice of her.

The queen’s respectful of my privacy, so she hasn’t asked to read you, diary. She does tell me to hide you whenever ministers come out to talk to her, though, so I’ve had to sit on you a lot of the time. Sorry about that. I brought some cheese out for my shift, so you might not enjoy yourself too much.

Y’know. Because of the flatulence. I want to be honest with you.

Gotta go, diary. The queen wants to chat. It’s my job, you know? Can’t leave her waiting. Hope you like your new home, out here with her little library.


Dragomir the Guard

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day Twenty: The frothing conclusion

Definitely the prince writing those entries. Is he following me around? How the hell did he write that while I was sleeping in the same room?!

I wish I’d had time to look for a hiding spot, but, another day goes by and you’re still stuck in the rat farms, diary. I didn’t find a single moment to go searching today, because, um, I... had to... sort of... run away from Libby all day?

I couldn’t sleep in the rat farms forever, so eventually I got up and went back to the apartment. I needed to at least brush all the yellow stuff off my clothes, and besides that, I’m still a husband. A man can’t be afraid of my pregnant wife all of the time.

Or maybe he can, ‘cause as soon as I opened the door the lung I brought Libby the other day smacked me in the chest. She was waiting for me. Her mouth was lined with white frothy stuff, and she said something frightening, something that I’d probably translate as ARGHLBARGHLGRABLAGHCASTRATE. Or, y’know, any weird, unearthly noise along those lines.

She jumped at me, diary, and I’ve never been so afraid in my life. Even the elephant that beheaded Philip didn’t come close. I managed to slam the door shut, but Libby’s a strong woman, so she ripped it off its hinges and tossed it at me. I’m good at dodging, luckily, and I managed to duck out of the way. The chase was on!

It was a long pursuit, diary, and not one I enjoyed. Libby tore half of the castle apart trying to catch me, hurling books and treasure chests and chairs and, frankly, anything she could get her hands on. I’m convinced that Philip the Ghost joined in at some point, partly out of spite for getting him killed and partly because he seems to like throwing things around, because Libby was heaving more junk than should be physically possible for any one person.

After a few hours of running, Libby calmed down. Me and a few of the other guards escorted her back to her room. The captain was even nice enough to charge the repairs to Libby and I. We’ll be paying the castle back in installments for several years. Yaaaaay.

What spooked me most, though, is what Libby said when I finally got her back into bed, just before she fell asleep:

“The child made me do it. It’s like it’s wrestling with my intestines. I can’t take this much longer, Dragomir.”

That’s too ominous for me to bear, diary. What’s going to happen next week?


Dragomir the Guard

Thursday, August 25, 2011









Day Nineteen: Management, beheaded

Libby made a rather outrageous demand of me today, diary, and I don’t think I can follow through on it. I know she’s unreasonable because she’s pregnant, and because she’s a douche like that, but... the head of Captain Cedric?

It was really weird. I was asleep beside her, dreaming about being a rich, successful writer with a huge house and my OWN guards, when something stung my cheek. In the dream, one of my fans had just thrown a fried turkey at me.

Then I was throttled awake by Libby, who, with the most frightening eyes I’ve ever seen on a woman, said: “Bring me the head of your captain. It’s all his fault that we live in such shitty quarters, Dragomir. It’s all his fault, and I want his eyeballs staring vacantly at the room from my shelf. My. Only. Shelf.”

(Veeeeery small apartment.)

I tried to argue that he’s already lost a head on account of the prince’s kangaroo, and that it’s only fair that he gets to keep the one he has left, but Libby wouldn’t listen. She told me it was his head or mine, because I was the next person in line to blame for us not having a better apartment. She kicked me out of bed, and off I went, to... kill the captain, I guess?

I should probably tell you a little about the captain, diary, aside from what you already know. Captain Cedric is a jerk. He’s the head of the guard, which makes him my boss. He’s always bullying me, telling me I’m worthless, but he won’t let me quit and he won’t fire me. When I ask why he gives me this weird look and says “Because you’re Dragomir the Guard. What th'hell else would you be but a guard? Get to your damned post or I’ll make you walk 'cross the Neck 'til it activates!”

Bleh. I hate being a guard.

Anyway, that’s Captain Cedric for you. And I have to collect his head. Harsh, diary.

I tried. Honestly, I tried. Every time I came up with a scheme to kill him, though, I chickened out. I’m not smart enough for evil plans, and even though I don’t like Captain Cedric I don’t wanna kill him. What am I supposed to do?

For starters, I’m sleeping in the rat farms tonight. I don’t care if they do watch me, or if that yellow dust stuff makes me cough all night. I’m hoping Libby will be back to, uh, normal, by tomorrow. For now I guess you’re my cuddle buddy, diary.

Have a nice sleep,

Dragomir the Guard

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day Eighteen: Wobbly legs

Woof. I’m beat, diary. It was one of those days where I really had to work hard to get through everything. Actually work! I miss the simpler times when I could hide in a rain barrel and watch the stone masons carve chickens into the walls. That was one of the king's odder orders.

Today started when Libby kicked me out of bed and demanded ice cream. My brother Robert doesn’t actually SERVE ice cream, but Libby wouldn't listen to excuses. She smacked me with her belly and sent me sailing out of our apartment. She’s becoming pretty strong with that thing. Pregnancy is frightening.

I wandered the halls for half an hour, kinda scared of going back to my apartment, when the captain found me. He told me to get to my post, and when I said I wasn’t on duty he told me to go anyway. He didn’t hit me, for once, but I couldn’t follow orders – I needed to find Libby ice cream. Ice cream that doesn’t exist.

Gotta say, that's hard to do. All I really did was watch some royal guards spar in the training range while I tried to come up with a good excuse. I wish I had shiny new armour like theirs.

Eventually I wandered back to the apartment empty-handed, and Libby'd apparently forgotten all about the ice cream. Now she wanted, and I quote, “the flesh of a man to hurl about in frustration, because if I take yours I might just kill you. I need you alive so I can break your hand during labour. You bastard!”

Well. That was easier than ice cream. I waited on the barbican until a new batch of merchants got shredded, then used the mop to snag a spare lungfrom the Neck. I took it back to Libby and she had a grand time throwing it around our quarters. I might need to clean up later, though – that flesh was fresh.

At least I’ve gotten used to the gore. Only threw up three times today.

Anyway. When I wasn’t watching merchants get shredded for no good reason - King Jeffrey refuses to disable the traps on the Neck, and I think he not-so-secretly likes what happens - I was running back and forth, attending to Libby’s other, um, compulsions. Over the course of the day she wanted:

- Water
- Bread
- More water
- Money
- Yak tarts
- Soup, and since we didn’t have any she poured the water from earlier on my head
- A live turtle – I never saw the poor thing again so I can only speculate on what she did to it
- Bricks
- Wood, which she then turned into a lovely cabinet – I was too afraid of her by this point to watch her do it, but that’s truly amazing
- And some fresh sheets, since hers were covered in water, blood, yak meat and sawdust by the end of the day – this one was more my own request than anything

I say again: woof. I’ll sleep well tonight. My arms are sore from cleaning.


Dragomir the Guard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day Seventeen: Someone's ear landed on my foot

Robert – my brother Robert, that is – asked if I could save some of the merchant chunks from the Neck so he could try out a new menu item. He was joking.

I hope.

Gross bastard either way.

I think the king should change the name of the castle to BloodyChunks or something like that. It would be fitting, since so many people have died on the Neck in the last twenty-four hours. I can’t even begin to count the number of bodies, partially because they look like paste when they come out of the traps, but I’d imagine it’s about equal to the number of times I’ve had to vomit over the side of the barbican.

Really. There’s a pile of puke staining the west side. Animals keep going there. I always look away, ‘cause I don’t wanna see what they’re doing.

That’s not all the puke I’ve had to deal with, either, diary. Libby’s taken a leave of absence from her carpentry job for the week. Her belly’s too big. She can’t reach around it to get at her tools anymore, and she throws up so often that she just sticks by a toilet most of the time.

This is a really disgusting entry. Sorry, diary. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

On the upside, there have been rumours floating around that the king’s planning on starting some big, new project. Considering King Jeffrey’s love of changing what he wants every ten minutes that could mean very little, but the strength of the rumours kinda speaks for itself – I first learned about it all from Philip, and he’s a ghost. Strong indeed.

I’ll keep you posted, diary. I’m still looking for a new place to hide you.


Dragomir the Guard

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day Sixteen: So gross

Good evening, diary. Welcome to Castle HappyGoMerry. Maybe I should keep a list of all the different names.

My weekend was nice. I didn’t get yelled at, smacked, told I’m an idiot or demoted. (Not that I can go any lower on the guard totem pole. The captain's stupid dog is ranked higher than me.) I’m back to work now, though, and I have a grisly task ahead of me: I have to watch the Neck. I guess it’s punishment for messing up with Prince Logan, even though I... didn’t really do anything wrong...

Anyway. The Neck is the bridge over the moat that joins the barbican with the rest of the castle. Most castles have some kinda Neck, only King Jeffrey is so paranoid about security that he’s rigged our Neck with a bunch of traps. If anybody he doesn’t like tries to cross, a big shell that looks kinda like a glasses case claps over the bridge, covering the Neck. The invaders are almost instantly shredded, ‘cause the underside is covered in a bunch of crazy spinning blades.

And if anybody survives? The bridge collapses and dumps them in the moat. That’s also how the king feeds all the piranhas and crocodiles and mermen that live in the water, ‘cause all the chunks tumble down when the bridge opens. It’s really gross.

There haven’t been any invasions lately. The bridge is still bloody, though, ‘cause it’s kind of finicky and likes to go off at random. It’s bazaar season right now, and merchants keep getting chewed up while entering the castle, carts and all. I dunno why they don’t just let the merchants in through the secret underground entrance, but then I guess it wouldn’t be a secret.

(In case you were wondering, diary, we guards have our own bridge that's above the Neck, so we can get to the barbican without dying. Flimsier than the stone bridge below, but it's not trapped.)

(I think...)

Long story short, I have to watch a lot of people die from the safety of the barbican. And then clean up after the Neck's done, using a really long stick with a mop on the end. It takes days to do, and since merchants keep coming in there’s always fresh blood. It’s such a pain, diary, you don’t even know.

Between that and Libby’s weird pregnancy urges - she demanded three pounds of yak tarts earlier - my week is gonna suck, diary. I’m gonna keep writing in you every day, 'cause Robert the Librarian says practice makes perfect, but I might be late some evenings. We’ll see.


Dragomir the Bloody

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day Fifteen: All's well that ends badly

Today was a mess, diary, and I got in trouble again. At least the prince knows I know he’s the prince now, though. And at least I know who to talk to if he runs off.

I was up all night before I found Prince Logan, and by that point I was stumbling around like a drunk. He'd fallen asleep on top of the west wing of the castle, slumped against one of the towers. Somehow he managed to climb the ramparts up to the roof.

Fully woken I ran to get help, and half the castle came out to try and get the prince down. He roused eventually, but he wouldn’t leave his tower – and he kept sticking his tongue out at anybody who tried to reach him and fouled up. One of the farmers actually fell on a spear.

That was enough for King Jeffrey. He came roaring out of the castle with his entourage, demanding Prince Logan come down at once. He even declared a new mandate on the spot: kids aren’t allowed to climb the castle. His ministers ratified it and everything, right in the bailey. So weird.

The prince didn’t care, though. He tossed a lump of bird poo at his dad’s head. Hit the king right between the eyes. That set the king off again, and everybody was quiet while he yelled. He called Logan a ‘son of a bitch’. Isn’t that an insult against Queen Daena? Pretty unfair, since she’s a nice lady. I like guarding her tree.

Anyway. Eventually The Baron stepped up. He’s one of the friendlier nobles in the castle. Tipped me a few times. He managed to quietly coax Prince Logan down with some ice cream. He even stopped King Jeffrey from walloping the prince as soon as his little feet touched the ground.

So I guess if I have trouble with the prince again, I’ll just call The Baron. He seems to know what to do. Word is he’s the prince’s tutor, so I guess that makes sense.

I’m beat, diary. I was up all night looking for the prince. Philip the Ghost followed me most of the way, scribbling nonsense on my armour with chalk. I don’t know what any of it means, but it must not be pleasant.


Dragomir the Guard

PS - I think the prince wrote in you last night, diary. It makes sense. Maybe they should send Logan to Robert the Librarian instead if that’s the kind of garbage The Baron is teaching him. Shit, really have to find a new hiding place...

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Who wrote in my diary? Who?! Do I need a new hiding spot ALREADY?








Day Fourteen: Of kids and kings and princely things

Why am I in trouble? What did I do? It’s not fair, diary, it’s not fair! It’s actually really stupid!

So, okay. Last night was fine. I had proof that I was on the barbican most of the day, so Libby didn’t beat me, because even though she’s a douche like that, she’s not a total douche. I slept fine, even with all her snoring.

And, yes, maybe I woke up a bit late because I was having a nice dream. Would you want to waken, diary, if bouncy women were dancing naked in your head? I don’t even know why that’s a good dream, I’m pretty meh about girls! Most of the time they just beat me up and call me names! I still didn’t get up!

And, okay, yes, when the captain found me I was back on the wall again, watching the tanner beat the bajesus out of some leather with a stick. I find the whole process really fascinating, you know, ‘cause they take all this dung

Anyway. Sorry. Point is, the captain came up from behind and kicked me down into the bailey when he found me slacking off. Then when I came back up and he slapped me in the face, he told me it wasn’t even for slacking! It was because that kid went missing, and he was last seen running away from ME on the barbican! I told the captain that that’s proof that I was doing my job, ‘cause I was up on the barbican, but he slapped me again!

Once I got a few more lumps he told me who the kid is. He’s the prince. Prince Logan, the son of the king. The captain couldn’t figure out why I didn’t recognize him as the prince. How am I supposed to know? I’ve never seen the prince before. But when I said that the captain slapped me again, and I fell down into the bailey and passed out for a couple hours.

Stupid captain. He only knows the prince because the prince's kangaroo robbed the captain of his bits.

When I woke up I found a little note attached to my armour that said ‘Find him or I’ll feed you to the rats’. I also noticed that somebody had drawn a mustache on my breeches. Weird sense of humour in this castle, though that's nothing new.

I've been spending the rest of the night looking for the kid. The prince. Whatever. I’m just taking a break right now. I have to get back to it, ‘cause I’m looking at the rats, and I don’t like the gleam in their eyes. It's kinda like the gleam Captain Cedric gets when he's mad at me, only I don't know what the rats will do to me if they're upset. Cedric's beatings are at least predictable.

I hate night patrols,

Dragomir the Guard

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day Thirteen: Round and round we go

Woof. Libby gave me what for, yesterday, when she got home from work. Smacked me about for abandoning my post again. I didn’t know you could use a baby-filled belly as a weapon. And when I questioned whether that would be safe for our kid, she switched to hitting me with a picture from our wall! Shoulda stuck with the belly.

Sigh. Marriage.

Today was good, though, ‘cause I saw my little friend again! Only, uh, this time we didn’t get to talk so much. I was too busy trying to keep him from killing himself.

My mannequin got carried off by a giant eagle overnight, so I had to stick to my post on the barbican and try to think up some new way to slack. I spent most of the time sleeping, ‘cause Libby’s snoring a lot lately and I don’t get much downtime. She hits me in her sleep if I try to make her roll over. My life is pain, diary.

Anyway, I was snoozing away, almost falling off the barbican, when the kid pelted me in the butt with a rock! I woke up right away and tried to chase him, ‘cause, y’know, you don’t do that to a sleeping guy, but then he jumped on the battlements!

Castle Roflcopter isn’t an old castle, but it’s always getting attacked by one thing or another. It’s seen better days. Those battlements are crumbly, and I didn't want anyone who wasn't trying to shoot my nose off with an arrow get hurt. I chased the kid around the barbican maybe a dozen times, trying to tackle him, but he just wouldn’t come down! There were pebbles flying everywhere whenever he stomped his feet! It was horrible, diary, absolutely horrible.

Eventually he stopped running and I went in for the kill (not really, diary). Unfortunately I managed to smash right through one of the battlements, and I nearly fell into the moat. Barely managed to stay on the strip of green between the walls and the water. My boot actually did get wet, and I felt some piranhas nibbling at the rat leather. I hate getting eaten.

By the time I looked up the kid was gone again, though I did hear him laughing as he ran off. I guess he managed to dodge out of the way at the last second. Spry little bugger, that boy.

Actually, I guess my day was pretty shitty. Huh.

Not looking forward to being a father all of a sudden,

Dragomir the Guard

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day Twelve: Youth saves the day

I met someone new today, diary! Thank god I did, too, ‘cause otherwise I’d probably be in deep shit right now!

I was away from my post again, watching one of the blacksmiths forge what looked like a cast iron dildo, when somebody poked me in the back of the head. I nearly peed myself, thinking it was Captain Cedric, though when I turned around all I saw was a kid. He couldn’t have been older than nine or ten.

“Huh?” I stumbled to my feet. I’d been hiding behind a barrel. Nothing but the best for Dragomir. “Hey, you’re not the captain. Don't scare me like that if you're not the captain. Who’re you?”

“That’s not important,” the kid said. “Aren’t you a guard? Shouldn’t you have a spear or something?”

“No.” I showed him my hands. “I can’t pick up weapons. Or shields. I can’t figure out why. Can you?”

He looked at my hands for a minute and shook his head. “No. I guess you’re just broken.” Which was a mean thing to say, but he’s probably right. I’m kind of a crappy guard. “Can you pick up other stuff?”

I nodded and was about to reply when somebody else tapped me on the back, and this time it WAS the captain. I peed, but only a little bit. He’s a scary guy, Captain Cedric, a big, towering, hairy brute, and he’s always kicking my ass. I've never seen his eyebrows point anywhere but down toward his nose, and that, diary, is a mean expression indeed.

But then the craziest thing happened! As soon as he saw the kid, the captain went pale, apologized for disturbing us, and ran off! Who would’ve guessed, diary? Kids are good for something after all! I can’t wait to have one of my own! I’ll take it with me on patrol every day. Then I can do whatever I want.

I turned to thank the boy, but he’d already jumped off the wall and run into the western bailey. Fast little bugger. When I stood to look for him, Libby saw me and shouted a bunch of swear words, and I had to go back to the barbican. My back is filled with splinters ‘cause she beat me with a log.

Still. It’s nice to see someone new every now and then, and I hope I can turn that kid into a friend. It’d be good to have him around to scare the captain whenever I wanna goof off.


Dragomir the Guard

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day Eleven: Lazy day in the sunshine

Hi, diary. Life has settled down a bit since last week. I mean, life doesn't ever REALLY settle down 'round here, but today was a little boring, so that's a start.

The elephant herd has moved off, so I went out and ‘found’ Philip the Guard’s body. Got the grave diggers to bury him and everything. Maybe now Philip the Ghost will stop pestering me so much. The last time I saw him was at his grave outside the castle walls; I’m hoping he’ll stay there.

Doubt it, but, hope.

They’ve got a new guy to replace Philip. I think his name is Bernard. (Bernard the Guard. Kinda perfect, that.) By the end of the day Captain Cedric had already promoted him above me, dumping poor old Dragomir back down to the worst guard in Castle Roflcopter. I can’t get a break.

Bernard’s still learning the ropes, so I’m stuck in Philip’s old post, guarding the barbican. I gotta say, diary, it’s a boring job. There’s nothing to do! I mean, sure, it gets exciting whenever a horde of goblins or orcs or something attacks and we have to clean their guts off the battlements, but aside from that? Nobody available for a nice conversation. Snoozeville.

I’ve been spending most of my time on the walls instead, watching the western bailey. The castle’s tradesmen are there, and if I hide I get to see them making furniture and weapons and buckets and all kinds of stuff. Libby’s down there too, though, so I need to be careful. She’ll probably attack me with her hammer if she ever finds out I’m not at my post again. She’s kind of a douche like that. Pregnant women are so touchy.

Lucky for me, nobody will notice I’m not at my post most of the time. Not many people are going through the barbican right now because of all the elephant herds, and won’t be until next week when all the merchants start to arrive, so I set up a mannequin with some spare armour to keep watch over the main gate. It’s always facing the plains. I hope it has more fun watching elephants than me.

Sorry, diary, but I’ll have to cut you short tonight. The rats are staring at me a lot lately, even more than before. I swear it looks like they’re actually paying attention sometimes. Probably a silly idea, that, but when you spend every night in a rat farm you get a little weird in the head. They don’t read this thing, do they?

Nah. Sorry, diary. I’m an odd guy. Of course they're not reading you. They don't have thumbs.


Dragomir the Guard

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day Ten: BooooOOooOo

I don’t like Philip so much anymore.

I woke up this morning in a poor mood. Libby noticed right away. She actually asked what was wrong, rather than cuffing me for not going to work on time. I said I was tired from watching Princess Celine’s dance, though I don’t think Libby was convinced. She even kissed me when I left our apartment, which is the first time I remember ever getting a kiss from her.

That was good. It got worse, though, diary, a lot worse.

I made it halfway through my shift at the mess hall - I didn’t even move around much for once, mainly because I was thinking about what had happened - when a bowl of soup upended itself down the front of my armour. I couldn’t even get mad at anyone, because there was nobody IN the hall to heft the soup.

Then a yak tart hit me in the face. And another in the groin. And another tried to wriggle up my nose.

I ran, but weird stuff kept happening. Pots and pans and buckets and rocks and beer mugs and all sorts of nonsense flew out of the rooms around me, smacking me in the butt and bouncing off my helmet. Whenever I asked for help, though, people just stared at me like I was crazy, and the flying stuff stopped, well, flying. Then when I was on my own again? More flying stuff!

I figured it out once I got to the rat farms to, uh, use you to defend myself, diary. The rats started to hiss as soon as I got down there, and when I got close to the fences they rose up in a big crowd and rushed the door. The invisible something that'd been tailing me appeared, trying to shoo them away.

It was Philip. Ghostly Philip, but Philip nonetheless. He gave me the finger, then floated away.

I know why here's here. He’s come back to haunt me for losing his head to an elephant. He must blame me for his death. I’m glad rats can see ghosts and don’t like them, diary - that way he can’t follow me into the rat farms. Which means I'll be spending a lot more time down here. Good thing that yellow stuff doesn't bother me so much anymore.

I can only see Philip sometimes. He’s an outline with a grouchy face that floats around behind me. He’s stopped throwing stuff; now he seems to be writing things in the dirt whenever I’m outside. I think he’s trying to incriminate me, but because Philip’s illiterate most of what he draws is just lewd stick men and squiggles. He seems really good at doodling thingers, though, which makes me question whether he likes guys or girls more.

Why can’t he haunt Robert? It was his stupid idea! Help me, diary!

Sigh. At least it's the weekend. Wonder what ghosts do on the weekend. Is that their time, maybe? Is there some big club where they can get together and laugh about all the people they've scared during the week? Or do they report in to some central office, and, I dunno, get paid for their hard work? Is there such a thing as ghost gold?

Yeah. Guess I'll never know.

My life sucks,

Dragomir the Guard

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day Nine: Elephants are scary

So Philip’s dead.

Like I said, diary, it was a terrible plan. Terrible! The only good thing about it all is that Robert and I didn’t get caught.

It started out okay. Robert picked a good night to go hunting, because the king suddenly mandated that everyone had to come to the throne room and watch his five-year-old daughter dance. The barbican was empty, and nobody noticed that the three of us were missing.

The elephant herd wasn’t too far away, maybe a half hour’s walk. We tried to keep quiet, as elephants can hear incredible distances, I’m told. Look at their ears and you’ll probably agree. We hid behind a small hill and started to crawl towards an adolescent when we got close enough.

Then we got to the top of the hill... and Robert dropped his peanut sack and ran, because we were staring at a big, angry-looking male, coming at us out of the darkness.

I didn’t bother to freeze. I ran. I’ve never run so hard. I guess I ran faster than Philip, ‘cause I’m alive and he isn’t. Apparently his flying head is faster than my legs, though - it knocked my helmet off a few seconds later when it came whizzing out of the darkness. Dunno where it landed. Elephants are excellent pitchers with those big trunks of theirs.

Robert and I ran back to the castle, sneaked into the barbican and went to watch Princess Celine dance – but not before I dunked my armour in water. Had to wash away the bloodstain on my shoulder from Philip’s decapitation and the, er, brown and yellow stains in my breeches. How humiliating.

Robert said he was sorry. He’s dropping the whole elephant hunting thing. I’m glad, because it would have been more traumatizing to see my brother get ripped apart. Not much, because at times I think he's just a big jerk who deserves a good dismemberment, but still.

Poor Philip. I rather liked him.

I need new clothes,

Dragomir the Guard

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day Eight: On elephants

Robert is crazy. Absolutely crazy. I think I might die, diary. It’s not cool.

I told Robert that Philip and I would help him today during my evening shift, when fewer people were in the mess hall. I decided that anything that helps Robert could help me, too, and maybe if Philip and I put ourselves in danger we would get promotions. King Jeffrey is well known for his generosity.

At least, I think he is. I don't know that I've ever seen him BE generous. Mostly he just orders people killed on the Neck. I guess that's generous in its own way - the Neck is real quick.

That's when Robert told us his plan. It’s a terrible plan, diary. Philip doesn’t think so, but I do. We’re gonna get tromped.

Here’s the deal. The three of us are going to slip out of the castle in the early morning - Philip’s supposed to be guarding the barbican, so that’s easy enough - and sneak up on the elephant herd that’s been watering itself on the plains to the north. They’ll all be sleeping.

Once we’re there, Robert is going to use a big sack of old peanuts to lure one of the smaller elephants away from the herd. Y’know, with a trail of peanuts, the ones Robert usually uses for his rat stew. Once we’ve awoken the elephant and have it on our tracks, eating peanuts, we’ll lead it to the barbican and drop the portcullis on its head. Philip and I will operate the portcullis and help Robert drag away the meat.

(In case you're wondering, a portcullis is that big spiky gate thing. I don't know how much diaries know about castles. Hell, I don't know that much. I'm surprised I can spell 'portcullis' properly.)

Robert calls it a foolproof plan. I think he’s an idiot. Unfortunately I already agreed to help, and Robert said that if I try to back out he’ll tell Libby that I said I would in the first place. That might be worse than a rampaging elephant. She’s been really mad lately, what with the pregnancy and all. That lump seems to enrage her. Eep.

They’re waiting for me now, diary. I hope this isn’t the last time I write something in you. I’m just starting to get the hang of this authorial stuff. And you don't even count as a proper book!

Scared shitless,

Dragomir the Guard

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Seven: Quick update, diary

I’m gonna agree to the hunt. So will Philip. He says he hates yak tarts. I’ll tell you about the plan when I learn more, diary.

Day Seven: Say what say what?

I’ve found out what Robert wanted, diary, and it’s not good. He wants me to help him hunt elephants.

I should mention that my brother is a crazy bastard.

I don’t like elephants. They’re big, nasty creatures that can ram down anything that gets in their way. I’ve heard a stampede of them can bring down a dragon. That’s a scary thought, diary. How am I supposed to kill an elephant? I can’t even kill goblins when they steal bread from the storehouses. That might have more to do with my disability than anything, but... well, how can I do any better against an elephant?!

Robert says it’s for a good cause. Robert’s tired of having the same three things over and over. He wants to make a dish for the king that will persuade him to open up the kitchen’s menu. I didn’t know the king had out-and-out mandated Robert to only make three things. I thought Robert was just lazy.

It’s a good idea, but... an elephant? Me? Kill? I can’t. Even the best guards aren’t supposed to do that. We’re told to avoid the elephant herds. And the other guards can pick up weapons! How can I fight one barehanded? I’m supposed to be a father in a few months!

Robert says he’s got a plan, though, a way to kill an elephant. He says one of the tusky fiends is more than enough. He needs me and another guard. He wants me to ask Philip the Guard tonight, and to tell him that Robert will give him the best hunks of rat meat for the rest of the year if he agrees.

I don’t get anything. “You’re family,” Robert said. “You should do it ‘cause I asked.” What a dink.

I don’t know what to do, diary. Robert’s right, he is family. And I would like something to eat besides rat stew, yak tarts and vegetable platters. I keep getting these weird, glowing blobby appearing in front of my eyes, and I bet that's 'cause I don't eat right.

But... what would Libby say?

I better not ask. She’ll hit me. Hard. In bad places. Possibly with planks of wood. The last time I said I was gonna do something stupid, she said she'd shove a side table up my butt. I take threats like that seriously.

I’ll think about it some more, diary, and get back to you tomorrow.


Dragomir the Guard

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day Six: Is that yak I smell?

Hello again, diary! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I did. I don’t remember why I had a lovely weekend, of course, and I never do. I think the whole castle just goes into a coma for two days. That’s fine, since I don’t have to guard anything when I’m in a coma.

I do wonder if King Jeffrey should at least post a few guards on the weekends, though. It’s elephant season. They’re dangerous beasts. If we came back on Monday and the guards were dead, then we'd know to be more careful, right? It's good logic.

Anyway. Since I couldn’t not write in you last week, I figured I’d just keep writing this week. I can have a diary and still be a responsible father, I figure. It doesn’t take that long to jot down notes – just a couple minutes each night. I can put up with yellow dust and coughing if it means writing. I look forward to this moment every day, now.

I’ve been assigned to the mess hall this week. The captain caught me watching kids play kick ball in the bailey when I should have been watching for elephant herds from the battlements. He said if I wanted to watch maggots, he’d give me maggots. He must not think much of my brother’s food.

That’s a shame, too. My brother’s the best cook in Castle Hammerknocker. True, he only makes three different meals, but they’re all really good. So good that I hear the king always comes down to eat in the mess hall rather than having his food delivered. I’ve also heard that the king likes everything as fast as he can get it, so maybe I’m making Robert’s cooking out to be more than it is. Our king is weird.

Robert dragged me aside today and told me that he’s got something special planned, and he’s gonna need me to help him. I’m not sure if I trust him when he says ‘special’. Robert was always a prankster when we were growing up. Hell, he told me he was Robert the Duke for almost five years when we were young. I thought he was just a really poor nobleman who knew how to cook. Guess he got me there.

Talk to you later, diary. The rats are hissing at me. I think they can smell dead rodent on my clothes. It’s always wafting out of Robert’s kitchen. Would be like me walking into a store covered in human ears, or something.


Dragomir the Guard

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day Five: Oh crap, babies

Well, I don’t have to worry about talking about Castle Bitchfist at the beginning of each entry, now, diary. The king changed the name to Castle Hammerknocker. I guess I won’t be getting that letter from mother I was expecting. Sigh.

My day was pretty boring until Libby grabbed me. I was just about to start my shift (and secretly come here to write in you, diary), but she tossed me in a chair and punched me in the stomach. Didn't even care that I was wearing my breastplate. I didn’t know why she did this until she started yelling at me.

“Dragomir, you bastard, you got me pregnant." She pointed at her belly, and I had to admit that it was a lot bigger than usual. Libby doesn’t eat much while she’s on the job so I couldn’t blame it on her getting fat.

I didn’t know what to say. I’ve never gotten anyone pregnant before. I don’t even know how to get somebody pregnant. Nobody does. It just kinda happens after you're married. The timing could be better - I wanted nicer quarters before I had kids. Right now we’re living in a closet with a bed and a dresser. We don’t even have a door. That’s not so bad, since I can wave at people in the hall when I’m sitting in bed, but it gets awful drafty in the winter.

'specially since our window doesn't have glass or a cover or nothing. The waving aside, it's a really crappy apartment.

Libby told me that I have to buckle down and become a serious guard. I need to train, and stick to my posts, and kill a few monsters to prove how tough I am. Right now, she says, I spend all my time wandering around and watching other people work. She says I need to be a guard, not a cat. I won’t get a promotion as Dragomir the Cat. Which isn't true, 'cause I bet a cat version of me would become quite a celebrity.

When I suggested that maybe she should work harder as a carpenter, Libby kicked me in the face. Now I have to sleep in the rat farms. She’s kind of a douche like that.

I guess she’s right, diary. I’m gonna be a father in a few months. I need to get serious about my job and not get distracted. Stay on the straight and narrow, you know what I mean? So I’m gonna start tonight, and not screw up. You won’t see me doing something I shouldn’t! No sir, I'm gonna spend my entire shift guarding that storage room!

Which I should be doing right now! Where am I again?

Right, the rat farms. Hell.

I fucked up by writing in you,

Dragomir the Guard

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day Four: On rats

Castle Bitc

Dammit! The day was going so well and I ruined it.

But good news, diary! I found you a home! I mean, your rat skin cover is your home, but I found another home. So it’s like a home for a home for you. Kinda like my quarters are in the apartment district, which is in the castle, which is on the plains, which are on the... world. You know what I mean?

Anyway. I had to guard the rat farms last night, and since they’re so boring I did a lot of walking around and poking into stuff I shouldn’t. Eventually I found a bunch of old ledgers in a back room. It looks like they haven’t been touched in ages, ‘cause they’re covered in some weird yellow dust. I did my best to brush it off my clothes, and it doesn’t seem to stain, but... I'm kinda yellow now.

And sneezy. This stuff goes right up your nose. Tickles. I like to pretend it's playing with my nose hair, but I can never tell if that's true or not.

Well, the point is this ledger room is the perfect place to hide you, diary. Nobody’s been here in a long time. I guess there are so many rats that there’s no point keeping track. And even if someone comes down here, you look the exact same as the ledgers. I doubt anyone will bother to read you. Perfect!

... though it does mean I have to come to the rat farms every night.

I hate the rat farms. They’re creepy. Something’s always moving here, and it’s always a rat. They’re kept in giant wooden pens, but they can sneak out easily 'cause the pens are made for livestock, not itty-bitty rats. The only reason most of the rats stay here is ‘cause they’re always being fed, through big chutes in the roof. They must think those chutes are gods or something. I wonder if they’d all revolt if they knew what they were eating?

Probably not. They’re just rats. Rats aren’t picky.

Time to leave, diary. Enjoy your new home. I hope I don’t cough so much next time I visit. That yellow stuff smells like old bananas.


Dragomir the Guard

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day Three: Too many choices

Today I’m not going to talk about the name of the castle first. It’s still Castle Bitchfist so why bot

Shit. Sorry, diary, that’s a bad habit I’ll have to break. This writing stuff is hard. I really wish I had that button I talked about yesterday.

At least I have something big for today: your hiding spot. I need to find one. I dropped you a few times last night when I nodded off while guarding the mess hall. Everybody else was asleep so I didn’t get caught, but I don’t want to take chances. If somebody found you, my wife would feed you to an ocelot or something. And I bet the ocelots would love the taste of your fine rat skin cover.

I tasted it myself, in case you didn't notice. Licked you. Just to test. You don't seem that good to ME, but I don't trust ocelots. They're unpredictable.

I’ve thought about a bunch places I could put you. They are:

- The library
- The mess hall
- The barracks
- The toilets
- The rat farms
- Behind my back
- On my wife’s head
- By the queen’s tree, but she has to promise not to read you
- My stomach, as in eating you
- The floor

I don’t know which is best. I don’t want anybody finding you, diary, because I’m a secret writer. Everyone will laugh at me if they find out I’ve been writing in you, and the captain will get mad. He’s already always mad at me because I don’t do my job. I know he’s just testy because he’s a eunuch, but still. Blame the kangaroo, not Dragomir!

I’d better stop writing in you for now, diary. My wife just walked by, and she’s getting a look in her eye. I think she knows I’m hiding something from her. You don’t want to get on Libby’s bad side, trust me - the last time I did she built a cage, forced me inside and left me in the west bailey. People kept poking rotten fruit through the bars, like I was some kinda monkey. It was awful.

Was well fed that day, tho.


Dragomir the Guard

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Two: On writing

I’m still living in Castle Bitchfist. That’s almost a record for King Jeffrey.

Whoops. Anyway. Hi, diary. This is my second entry. I hope it’s better than the first. I reread the first before I started writing and I thought it sucked. I hate how writing on parchment is permanent. I wish someone would invent a button or something so I could erase my words and start over. Imagine that, a button that destroys words!

Even though I’m bad at it, I like writing. It’s interesting. It lets me put my thoughts somewhere other than in my brain, which is handy 'cause they don't do a whole lot in my brain other than bother me. You’re probably my favourite thing in the world, diary. Don’t tell my wife that, though, or she’ll dump you in the moat. She’s kind of a douche like that.

I’ve always been a writer, I guess. Not really, but, in my head. I used to invent stories and save them up for later. I’d create some fantastic tale, then share it with all my friends. I love telling stories. What’s the point of making a story if you don’t tell anyone about it?

My parents didn’t approve, though, and my friends always ratted on me. My father would cuff my cheek and give me a wedgie whenever he found out. “Dragomir,” he’d say, “you’re gonna be a guard. That’s your damn name. Dragomir the Guard. We didn’t call you Dragomir the Fucking Poofy Writer Boy. Get your head out of your butt and beat your friends with a stick, you need to work on those flimsy biceps of yours.”

I had a happy childhood, let me tell you. Lucky me that my dad only had one arm for a couple years there. His bear hugs were murder.

Sorry, diary, but I have to put you away now. I’ve been hiding you behind my back because I usually stand with my back to the wall when I'm on duty. My arms are getting stiff. I think they might be bent in a permanent cradle shape. I really need a good hiding place...


Dragomir the Guard

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day One: Hello, diary

Today, I am living in Castle Bitchfist. Yesterday, it was Castle SeanPaul. The king needs to stop changing the name. It’s hard to get any return mail.

Sorry. I should start over. I’m still learning about structure and flow and that stuff.

My name is Dragomir. I’m a guard. That’s why they call me ‘Dragomir the Guard’. You’re my diary, so I should introduce myself. And I guess I have! I know people usually shake hands at this point, but you don't have hands. And you're not a people. Maybe some day?

You’re what I’ve been waiting for, diary. I stole you from the clerks when I was guarding the treasury. Or the bits of you. The pages. Are they your guts? I guess so. I hope I don’t get in trouble, but I don’t think the clerks will suspect me of grabbing their junk. They always have their heads shoved in their ledgers.

Not that I think you’re junk, diary! I got you a cool rat skin cover and everything! I hope you like it. It’s important to have a good home, and Robert the Librarian told me that these rats were some of the castle’s finest. I don't know what it takes to be a 'fine' rat, but I'm sure it's something special, like a glossy coat or clean teeth or something.

Rats. Rats are creepy. You're just a big old corpse diary, you are.

Robert the Librarian (I have to call him by his full name ‘cause there’s like a billion Roberts in the castle, including my own brother) has been teaching me how to write for a while now. He told me a diary would be a good place to start on becoming a writer. He’s the only person in the castle who encourages me. Everyone else just tells me to keep on guarding, even though I’m bad at staying still. Thieves sneak past me all the time, 'cause I like to wander around and see what everybody else is doing.

No wonder I’ve never gotten a promotion.

I can’t write in you too much, diary. My wife will probably burn you if she finds you. She’s kind of a douche like that. I’ll have to find a good hiding place. See you tomorrow!


Dragomir the Guard