Dear Diary…why you make friends with spellcasters

After successfully dragging Ezekiel out of the Temple, we decided we might as well take the treasure from the Water “Sanctuary” back to town.

Sir Rufus bought the ogre-sized bone armor just because it’s something you don’t see everyday, and Master Bern said he might have a use for the hydra heart.

I didn’t ask about what it might be.

Turns out it’s just as well we came back, because Raven disappeared to the tower for a few days to ask some questions of the monk master there. He says he’s been experimenting with his moves, and wanted guidance from someone more experienced. Continue reading

Short Fiction: The Prayer of a Paladin

In the absence of a D&D summery this week, please enjoy this short story I wrote, inspired by the world of Greyhawk!

My brother is clamoring for it to continue to a better resolution…What do you think?


Marcius woke, shivering the whole length of his body. The back of his tattered tunic stuck to the stone wall, and his legs and arms had long passed the point where he noticed their throbbing.

By all rights, he should have been surprised at being able to sleep at all…but he couldn’t ignore the pressure of sheer exhaustion.

The clanks of armor and the flap of feet snapped his attention back to what had woken him.

Marcius peered through the bars of the cell, fighting the surge of panic that shot up through his heart.

He recognized the figure that led the small party — though Gorm, as he called himself, shared the ruddy skin and dark robes of a human cleric, the fangs sticking up from his lower jaw betrayed his orc parentage.

The green-skinned grunts behind him were dragging another prisoner — human, and dressed in something brown, though that’s all that Marcius could see underneath the mud and dried blood.

The orcs in chainmail dragged their prisoner to the wall opposite Marcius and began shackling him in the same way – locking his wrists in manacles just above the head…at just the right angle to prevent him from hanging his body in a comfortable resting position.

Gorm, the so-called cleric, approached Marcius.

At his smug smile and squint, Marcius felt the bile rise in his mouth.

“Good morning, holy warrior,” Gorm croaked past his fangs, giving a smile that revealed all their jagged glory.

Marcius tried to lick the roof of his mouth, and failed.

“I could tell you that Pelor has brought the sun back to the skies outside,” said Gorm. “And that in the peaceful lands of your home, the green fields wave back a welcome to the light.”

Marcius said nothing. There was no answer.

He knew as well as Gorm did that he was not out there, raising his sword against the invading hordes to protect his master and his people.

No, he was here, buried deep in a dungeon where the only light were the torches of his enemies…or their sickly green orbs placed at the foot of the stairs.

“You must long for it,” said Gorm, with another smile. “The holy warrior misses his brothers-in-arms – misses his polished armor and his sharpened sword. Perhaps we should have let you watch as we melted it down.”

Melting Marcius’ blade would negate the enchantment on it. It was just the sort of thing they’d do, though, as Quintus had been outspoken about his loathing for foul humanoids.

Thinking about it would do no good…but at the memory of his enthusiastic sentient sword, Marcius choked.

The two foot-soldiers, finished with their work, glanced at Gorm. At a nod from him, they passed through the cell-gate to head for the stairs.

“Have you spoken with your god, holy warrior?” asked Gorm. “Surely his light could do something for you here. Surely he would send aid to you…if he knew you were here, of course. The mighty master of light is strong enough to reach these halls, is he not?”

When Marcius didn’t answer, Gorm reached into his cloak.

“No,” he said. “Surely he would not abandon his child like this – would he, paladin?”

With the final sneer, he pulled something out of his cloak and shoved it into Marcius’ face.

It was a mask – worked to resemble a bear, or a wolf — it was impossible to tell which, exactly.

A red teardrop painted on the forehead was almost obscured by the crusty stains of real blood.

Marcius screamed, lunging to the side. The chains snapped metallically, bringing him to a halt; the manacles bit into his wrists and the fleshy base of his thumb.

The sores in those places broke open – warm blood trickled down his arms in well-worn patterns.

But he noticed none of that. Darkness clouded his vision, as the cleric’s taunting laugh echoed in his ears.

Pelor should hear him. Pelor was his Master, the Lord of Light. Pelor was the name he carried when he defended the widows of homesteads, and the orphans of besieged towns.

Yet here he was.

Marcius slumped, hanging in the chains. They were placed so high that he couldn’t kneel on the ground…either his swollen and aching legs must support him, or his shredded arms and wrists would.

How long had this gone on? How many days had this fiend with the shape of a man, who worshiped an obscene and vile god, come down here to taunt him?

How often had he been forced to face that thing – that symbol of all that was twisted and murderous in this castle?

That reminder – in physical form – that he had failed…that the patrol had been slaughtered…that he, Marcius Farin, had been dragged from his company and his duty, and locked up here…perhaps to die, perhaps worse –

Worse? To renounce his oath. He was no ignorant blade-for-hire…He served a higher authority, and dedicated himself to the cause of his master.

From his sword to his speech to the manner in which he passed his free time, everything was a reflection of that greater light – the great Pelor, whose sun shone on the just and the unjust, and whose will was the protection of the helpless and oppressed.

And now…where had that brought him?

Marcius realized he was sobbing. A fiery pain stabbed through his limbs, raising them above the constant ache that racked his whole body – and making them worthy of his mind’s notice.

But there was nothing he could do. He could no more protect the innocent than he could keep himself alive. No more than he could make the sun rise.

He was nothing.

Gorm laughed again — for as human as his face was, his voice sounded like a pig fused in an unholy union with a bear.

“We’ll talk again tomorrow, holy warrior,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll find something more to talk about. You must tell me all about the wonders of Pelor, and how he takes care of his faithful servants.”

Gorm turned and strutted out – locking the cell with the keys at his belt before climbing the stairs.

In the sickly green light of the orbs by the staircase, Marcius huddled against the wall at his back.

Sweat coated his face and ran into his eyes. With a shaking arm, he drew his hand far enough over to wipe the hair out of his eyes.

Across the way, the new prisoner was watching him. He twisted his hands in the manacles, as though testing their tightness…but Marcius knew there was no way to slip out of them.

How often had he tried? Even with shredded skin and blood-slicked arms, the metal was sized just right to keep his bones pinned.

How often…? How often had this happened? How long had he spent in this hell-hole?

And could Hell itself possibly be any worse?

A part of him rebelled at that thought. Ever since he was a child in his father’s house, he had trained his body and disciplined his mind for service to Pelor…and, by extension, as a symbol of Good and comfort to all innocent people who depended on him.

And that had brought him – what?

Was this, then, to be his end? This dim, stinking dungeon would be his grave?

Or would one day…one black-as-night morning…would his resolve break? Would the torture of his body and mind become too much, and would his mouth speak words that he himself would never dream of?

At the horror of that thought, Marcius sank into a revery that eventually led him to sleep…or rather, the shifting consciousness that served him as sleep in that place.

Once or twice, he started awake, straining his ears for an unfamiliar sound…

A soft crunching – like the chewing of flesh and bone…accompanied by stifled gasps of pain.

But his blurred eyes could see nothing in the dimness – and even if there were undead in the shadows beyond the cell, preying on some helpless victim, it wasn’t like he could do anything to help them.

Finally, he heard the familiar alarm of morning – the thump of the cleric’s boots, and the jingle of his chainmail and keys.

Gorm reappeared – this time alone – and placed a torch in a bracket along the wall before unlocking the cell door.

Marcius already felt the tears coursing down his face. His heart pounded. He had no more blood to bleed, no more strength to stand –

“Morning has dawned yet again,” said Gorm, with another of his hateful smiles. “Or do I need to tell you that, holy warrior? A devoted acolyte of the sun-god surely knows when the sun rises and sets. Who am I to tell you differently, my righteous friend?”

Marcius could think of nothing to say. Instead, he squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his cheek against the wall, steeling himself.

“I hope you have enough light to see, you little human weakling, you,” said Gorm. “I have something to show you. Open up and look, now. I think you’ll find it very interesting–”

Something clanked and gurgled.

Surprise overpowered Marcius, and he instinctively looked.

First, he noticed Gorm’s starting eyes and pale complexion.

Next, he noticed the other prisoner, pinning a metal bar from the prison floor against the cleric’s neck with his elbows – and hauling back for all he was worth.

A moment later, the prisoner raised his knee to Gorm’s back, and convulsed backward with a jerk.

Gorm gave an explosive cough, and crumpled to the ground, a little trickle of blood darkening his mouth.

The stranger exhaled, and straightened up, letting the bar drop.

As he straightened his arms, Marcius saw that his hands were entirely red. Now that they were closer together, he could see the pulpy stubs were both his thumbs had been.

From the blood around his mouth, the stranger had chewed them off.

Marcius felt oddly sick – but as he hadn’t eaten anything in several days, nothing happened.

“Oy,” said the stranger, and stepped forward, holding out his hands. “Do me a solid, man?”

Marcius continued to stare.

“Snap out of it, greater-goody,” said the prisoner. “You’re a paladin of Pelor, right? Can’t be all bad, right? So lay it on me before we blow this.”

After all this time…how long had it been, again?…surely the power of Pelor had left him.

Surely, in this vile place –

Marcius reached out — he couldn’t lower his hands below his head, so the stranger stepped forward and raised his arms. Marcius cradled the strangers’ hands in his own, closed his eyes, and started mouthing a prayer.

If Pelor heard him…if Pelor regarded him…then surely it was Pelor’s will that he help someone else…

At the long sigh of relief, Marcius opened his eyes.

The stranger examined his hands, turning them over as he opened and shut his new fists – complete with new thumbs.

“Feels good enough to function,” he said. “Now—”

He bent over Gorm, and within seconds was unlocking Marcius’ manacles with the keys.

As soon as his arms were free, Marcius sank to the ground. At the sudden relief, every nerve in his body seemed to fire, and every tense muscle collapsed.

The stranger busied himself rooting through Gorm’s body.

Yes, the cleric that had tormented him for time without measure was well and truly dead. And so easily. It made him wonder– But he was too tired to wonder. Besides, there was no time for it.

Marcius forced himself to crawl forward and join the hunt.

While his new companion stripped off the chainmail and pulled it on, Marcius detached the cleric’s small hammer — Gorm’s main weapon, a mace, was hanging from a loop on his other side.

Good thing he’d done some practicing with maces. They couldn’t compare to his old sword, of course, but at least he’d have an idea what he was doing.

He looked up at the stranger.

His new companion was standing again, and muttering something.

“Well, been worse,” he said at last, and looked down at Marcius. “Can you stand, paladin?” He held out a hand.

Marcius honestly didn’t think he could…but he said nothing. Instead, he took the offered arm and scrambled upright – letting the stranger pull him to his feet.

“Marcius Farin,” he panted. “Do you have a name, my generous friend?”

“Generous is new,” said the stranger. “Call me Benj.”

He picked up his length of metal and hefted it a moment. “Nope. I’ll trouble you for the hammer. Hope we meet some grunts soon. I don’t do much with blunt trauma. Needlessly delays things, if you ask me.”

Dark spots washed before Marcius’ eyes. “You realize we have no real chance –” he began.

“Stuff it, city boy,” said Benj. “Is that any talk for a paladin of Pelor?”

He headed for the door of the cell.

Marcius said nothing and followed.

Benj took the torch from the bracket and held it in his off-hand. He glanced up the stairs, then along the wall that led farther into the dungeon.

When he looked back at Marcius, he smiled. “Guess you can’t do another number on yourself, eh?”

Marcius shook his head.

“Ever been down that way?” He pointed into the darkness. “Is there another stair you could find for us?”

“Sorry,” said Marcius.

Benj glanced up the stairway again. “Known impossibility,” he grunted, and turned toward the darkness, “Or unknown possibilities.”

He shrugged. “Come on, man. We’ll stick together, that’s all.”

He headed off along the wall.

Who knew what they would find over there? On the other hand, could it be more threatening than the full guardhouse at the top of the prison stairs?

Marcius followed close behind.


Kimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing…and other excuses for not gardening.

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Dear Diary….food and floorplans

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

Mikael healed Ezekiel while the rest of us organized the loot from our fallen enemies.

Many of the men had bronzed plate mail, with bronze rings that had a triangular setting of jet. Several others had brown surcoats with the black triangular device on it, or medallions with a black triangle. It certainly seems like we’ve cleared out most of the Earth Temple people. Continue reading

Dear Diary….the whole rest of the party

We opened a door in the east of the corridor, and discovered an ogre preparing to come out. That’s as far as he got, though, as my arrow caught him through the throat and he fell backward with a shocked look in his eyes.

He wore a copper belt with a purse, and the room beyond was obviously living quarters…with cracked plaster walls, a some couches pushed together to make a huge bed, and a large cheese and sausage on a table. (Raven took the cheese.) There was also another store of weapons here…as long as the Temple had hands to wield them, they’d have plenty of weapons for defense – or attack. Continue reading

The Blonde in Room 128

Todd checked over his shoulder both ways so no one would see him at the alleyway entrance. So far, his buddy at work had been correct.

The address appeared to be an apartment building with heavy curtains in all the windows.

He drew a long breath, winced at the shooting pain in his temple, and checked the surroundings once more before heading inside.

The small lobby was empty except for a guy behind a desk at the far end, like in a motel.

Todd swallowed again and crossed the room.

The attendant looked up as he approached, but said nothing.

Todd felt like a fool, but his wife had insisted he come here. He swallowed again and tried to smile.

“Hi, I’d like a – an appointment,” he said.

“Right,” said the attendant, opening a big ledger in a blue three-ring binder. “What’s your pleasure?”

Todd double-checked the little brochure his work-buddy had given him…the one with head-shots of a dozen attractive young ladies.

“I’d like a – uh – blonde? With a…pretty face.”

He felt stupid saying it, but that’s the way it worked – according to the brochure.

“Right,” said the attendant again. “That’s $200 up front.”

Todd pulled out his wallet, and wiped his hands on the front of his shirt so he could pull out the cash.

The attendant took the money and slipped it into a little metal cash-box.

“Down the hall, room 128. Wait there.”

And with that the man pulled out a copy of New England Journal of Medicine and ignored him.

Todd shuffled down the hall. At least it was well-lit. Strange thumps and hums came from behind the closed doors.

At number 128, he hesitated…but he was committed now. Stroking his throbbing temple again, he slipped in and closed the door behind him.

A bright fluorescent white bathed the whole room, where a spotless white table the size of a gurney stood in the middle of the room – in front of an enormous white machine like a giant donut. It looked just like the photos on the internet.

Behind a curtain in the corner, Todd changed into the hospital gown he found in a plastic package on top of the table…then stood watching the machine, rubbing his head and licking his lips.

There was a knock on the door, immediately followed by a young man in a long white lab coat. Todd noted, with a desperate instinct to find humor in the situation, that the young man was blond.

“Head trouble, eh?” said the stranger, making straight to the LCD screen on the side of the machine.

“I got a sudden headache last weekend,” said Todd, tip-toeing up to the table. “My wife thought I should get it checked out, so I went down to our local medical clinic.”

The young man tapped away at the screen, and Todd licked his lips.

“They told me I should get an MRI scan, but the wait time would be –“

“Let me guess,” said the man in the lab coat. “Three months.”

“Five, actually,” said Todd.

“Ha! I’ve heard six months to a year. Colonoscopies are even worse.”

Todd licked his lips again. “Are you a doctor?”

“Nah, I just run the machine.” The stranger gestured at the table. “Take a load off. When we’re done, it’ll take fifteen minutes or so to load your results on a CD…and then you do whatever you want with it. If you want a doc to give his opinion, that’s another 150, and you have to come back in a couple days; we’ll give you the CD with a doctor’s notes.”

Todd lay down on the table. The stranger flicked a switch, and the whole platform started moving, until his head was inside the hole of the donut.

“A-Aren’t you afraid I’ll turn you in?” he asked, just to make conversation.

“Do you want to do that, or do you want an MRI?” asked the technician with a chuckle. “Think about it — you can either get us for practicing private medicine…or you can actually get the benefit of our services.”

“And you have real, registered doctors who work with you, too?” asked Todd.

“Face it: the National Medical System doesn’t pay peanuts. Plenty of qualified, university-trained diagnosticians are happy to make a little extra analyzing test results.”

“And if they’re wrong, the patient can’t complain — we don’t know who the doctor is, and we can’t admit where we got the test.”

The technician peeked into the donut and smiled. “You wanna live dangerously? Or you want to wait a year for an X-ray? By that time, if it’s cancer or an aneurism or something, you might be dead anyway.”

Todd held up his hand, anything to delay the strange machine from making noises. “What do you get out of it?”

The technician shrugged. “A little pocket change – and I get to make a difference in people’s lives. I actually run an ultrasound machine in normal life, but the pay – plus the regulations – are murder.”

He patted the machine. “Right, I’m going to warm up our lovely Blondie here. There’ll be a humming noise, but you won’t feel a thing. Just take it easy –“ He grinned. “Blondie will treat you well.”


The Blonde in Room 128 — Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend. She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier! You’ll also receive periodic updates of her latest reading and writing adventures.

Dear Diary….what I’m made for

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

The corridor to the west split – south and north. We headed south first, and a doorway branched down to two little rooms. They might have been kitchens at some point, but now they’re full of garbage and disgusting.

That passage probably joins up with the corridor by the stairs, so we returned to the crossroads to explore the north passage.

It turned to end up in a door…and as soon as Ezekiel opened that, I was hit with a familiar stench – and Ezekiel was hit with gnoll throwing spears. Continue reading

Dear Diary….marshaling our forces

Alert: Contains spoilers for the adventures “The Village of Hommlet” and “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

When we left Cleric Romag at the tower last night, Ezekiel took what he thinks is Romag’s holy symbol, so hopefully he can’t use it to cause trouble for anyone.

(We’re letting Heiran wear his special magic chainmail for the time-being, as it’ll help him survive longer while traveling with us, and Raven asked to hang onto the magic mace just in case it came in handy.)

After breakfast, Eze headed to the elder’s house to give a report and request a council meeting so we can get further instructions and advice. Continue reading

Publish Your Book on Amazon (For People Who Hate Computers)

So you want to publish a book on Amazon…but have no idea how?

Don’t worry! It’s super easy!

TL;DR:Publish Your Book on Amazon (For People Who Hate Computers) — Kimia Wood

1) Go to this link: https://kdp.amazon.com/

2) Sign in with your Amazon password.

3) Follow the prompts and read the instructions!

4) Check out Amazon’s “how to” posts for more information, or if you get stuck.

Do you want more detailed instructions? Well, for those who hate the internet, and just want someone to spell everything out ahead of time, read on!

Whether you want to publish your grandpa’s memoir…your husband’s hobby novel…a family history…a fan-fiction — if your only goal is getting it on Amazon so your second cousins in Alaska can order their own copies – this is the place for you!

(Info on plotting / writing / editing / revising / re-plotting / polishing / revising / editing / marketing / selling a book or novel is beyond the scope of this post.) Continue reading

You Are Here

Welcome to KimiaWood.com, home of Kimia Wood — Christian, author, gamer, cookie-queen.

We have something for you! Find your particular interest below, then sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop of any new content!

If you’re a reader…You Are Here — Welcome from Kimia Wood

…and you like lovable characters, gripping action, siblings who would die for each other, mysteries, emotional adventures, and asking “what if?”…then you will enjoy any of Kimia’s books!

You can also start out specifically with Medieval AdventureMurder Mystery/RomancePost-Apocalyptic Adventure — or Sci-Fi Intrigue Suspense!

If you’re an author…

…and looking for advice from a coeval, startwiththeseposts…and, of course, check out the category for all things authorly!

If you’re a gamer…

…and like old-school role-playing – then check out the recaps of our actual AD&D campaign…from the perspective of Elwyn, the chronically paranoid Ranger!

And if you like having the idiosyncrasies of video games applied to life principles…well, this is the place for you!

If you’re a Christian…You Are Here — Welcome from Kimia Wood

…and you like seeing the story of your beautiful Savior connected with everyday life…well, there’s a lot here for you to love. You’ll have your thinking challenged…you’ll be inspired…you might find something you disagree with. But I trust you will find Jesus in the middle.

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“The Sunday Philosophy Club” by Alexander McCall Smith

"The Sunday Philosophy Club" by Alexander McCall Smith The back cover copy introduces us to Isabel Dalhousie: middle-aged spinster who’s “too inquisitive”…and when she witnesses a young man fall to his death from the balcony of the concert hall, she wonders if there’s more to it?!

Then we open the book, and…turns out she’s actually a fourteen-year-old with ADHD…and has the detective method of a spring-addled squirrel.

Harsh? Let me elaborate on The Sunday Philosophy Club…which, incidentally, features no over-arching philosophy, no club whatsoever, and about as much detective content as those gummy vitamins contain sugar. Continue reading