The Holden Stone

Reflections of a Fantasy Writer

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CrossJacks face card characters

Who are on the face cards of a standard crossjack deck?

Although ancient decks of cards have recently been found aboard the Dominion ship, with face cards reported to be depictions of historical kings and queens and knights of ancient Earth, only the nobility of the Dominion and Norgon courts can afford copies of those ancient Earth cards.  The common guardsmen and miners and merchants still play crossjacks with a standard deck of cards, with the face cards depicting historical figures from Colonium's own past. 

King of Butterflies

Kipinik, king of the Ishtarin Wood Dolmen.   Helped Sunarin make the coward's choice between the dolmen and humans in The Chrysaliad.   He carries his silver flute with which he influences the emotions of those wandering through Belven Woods.

 

Queen of Butterflies

Edelan, Queen of the High Otarin Water Dolmen.    With the Falls of Edeveil sparkling behind her, she is as ethereal and mysterious as the Lake of the Edeveil whose secrets she guards well from all human trespassers.   Oversees Sunarin's journey in the Chrysaliad.

 

Jack of Butterflies

Dannon, High Lord of the Friends of the Coward.   He wears the scarlet uniform of the Dominion's Honor Guard and carries the carved sword of the Friends, advocates for rich and poor alike before Dominion judges.   Accompanies Sunarin to the Black Hills and the enemy found beyond in The Chrysaliad.

 

Jack of Butterflies

Ashtin, king of the Dominion during the fateful year 979 YD when three armies marched against Durinbyrne: the Norgons, the Dolmen, and an army of Dominion revolutionaries who followed Lady Dorin's bid for the Crown.    Ashtin and his queen Viona abdicated in the following year 981 and disappeared from then on from most human records.

 

 

King of Bears

Laird, boy King of Norgondy.   Crowned king at age 7 on the day he watched his father be beheaded in the streets of Norgarth.   Defeated by the peasant revolution of the Bearmen in the year 600YD, as recounted in Singer of Norgondy.

 

Queen of Bears

Felain, Queen Regent of Norgondy, during the Bearmen's revolution.   With the aid of the Durian Priests, she won the throne from her husband and his Capsen Whore Ailil, in the Singer of Norgondy.    With Henrik beheaded and quartered, she led the Norgon forces during the reign of terror of the Durian Inquisition.

 

Jack of Bears

Crel, leader of the Bearmen.   Dressed as a tinker, holding his islander scythe.   A trickster mistaken for a shapeshifter bear/man, he made use of his legend to aid the peasants, merchants and highwaymen in their revolt against the Durian priests and Norgon queen in the Singer of Norgondy.

 

Jack of Bears

Miln, dolman adventurer, friend of humans during first war between the dolmen and the humans in the year 200 YD.   Helped Jade in her struggle to save her friends in The Cassandra Stone.

 

King of Harps

Avenor, King of the Dominion, last of the Shaman Lords.   Last to hope for peace between the dolmen and the humans in the Chrysaliad.   Accompanied Sunarin on the quest to find the ancient enemy beyond the Black Hills of Norgondy but never returned.

 

Queen of Harps

 Merind, Capsen tellerwoman, daughter of Ailil, court favorite of Henrik of Norgondy.   Through strong powers to create illusions in the minds of humans, she led the Bearman revolution to avenge the rape and destruction of the Capsen tribes as ordered by the usurper queen of Norgondy in Singer of Norgondy.  She wears the silk veil of a Capsen tellerwoman in defiance of Felain's orders to capture her.

 

Jack of Harps

Verl, Singer of Norgondy.    Composer of the Anthem of Norgondy, which he titled Jesser and the War of the Bear God.    Historian, healer, illusionist and dream interpreter, he holds the lute he carved while still an apprentice at Singerhalle.

 

Jack of Harps

Linden, called sheep harpist by Kipinik in the Chrysaliad.   Became court harper under Ashtin, King of the Dominion, who valued his peasant humor and honesty during the darkest days of his reign.  

 

King of Stones

Duke Rayid, brother of Henrik of Norgondy, first duke of Navarn.   Rumors held that he supplied the bearmen and highwaymen revolutionaries with furs and weapons against his young nephew Laird, boy king of Norgondy.    His army fought the Norgons at Moxie Pass, as recorded in Singer of Norgondy.   Rayid is shown with his telescope and starmap.

 

Queen of Stones

Dorin wearing the crown jewels of the Dominion after declaring herself queen.   She carries the bottle of rare Bridgerockian wine from which she poured a glass for Ashtin's young queen every evening in celebration of Viona's pregnancy  in the Chrysaliad.   Perhaps Ashtin should never have left Viona in Dorin's care.  

 

Jack of Stones

Kirtoff, adventurer from the Dominion Ship in the year 200 YD.   Posing as a stone assessor in the Cassandra Stone, he tricks the old miner Derlin into taking a fake map to a silver mine and abandoning the mine at Giddings, with its rich vein of sending stones.     

 

Jack of Stones

Tnth, a holden.   Hands Kipinik a touchstone to give to Sunarin and finds a sending stone for Lord Dannon to wear on his journey with Sunarin to the Black Hills to use when all other communication between them fails.   Tnth stands in front of his cave with his artwork of stalactite formations.   Near his cave is Derlin's Pond.   Rumor has it that the Tnth who stood guardian at Derlin's Pond in The Cassandra Stone is the same holden who 800 years later almost killed Ashtin in The Chrysaliad.   Little is known of the holden, it may be that Tnth is merely the name of every holden, male or female. 

 

 

 

crossjacks intro

CrossJacks!

the game of strategy played by the guardsmen and miners of Colonium

 

Played with one pair of dice, silver talents (or poker chips), and a crossjack deck of cards. There are 8 Jacks in a crossjack deck of cards. All jacks are wild.

Goal:  To be the first player to complete a straight that includes one or both die and at least 7 cards.

Winnings:   5 talents left at the end of the game wins a story or the next chapter in one of the Colonium novels.     Or open a savings account at the First National Bank of Durinbyrne.   Talents can be withdrawn from this account in future games.

 

Play CrossJacks!

Master Level:   With a 200 talents stake, you can play Cutthroat CrossJacks with your friends.   Upgrade required.

Apprentice Level:   Play for fun and practice.   No betting or scoring.

 

Read a scene of the game being played in the Under the Eye Inn at Kairugon Cross.

About the Cards and Players


Look for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign to bring the CrossJacks! card game into full production.

featuring new artwork by Fantasy artist Arielle Rohan-Newsom

Queen of Stones, CrossJacks! playing card, by Arielle Rohan-Newsom

 

 

Tic Tac Trivia

Answer the questions to win a line of squares before the stoneman does.

 In Tic Tac Trivia, click a square, then answer the question to win the square.  If your answer is correct, your turn continues and you may pick another square.   If your answer is incorrect,  you lose the turn, and the computer picks a square.   
 
[Author's note:   Questions and answers are based on historical, cultural, scientific and general research I've needed to do to write the novels. ]

 

Tic Tac Trivia

Tic Tac Trivia

Answer the questions to win a line of squares before the stoneman does.

 

 
In Tic Tac Trivia, click a square, then answer the question to win the square.  If your answer is correct, your turn continues and you may pick another square.   If your answer is incorrect,  you lose the turn, and the computer picks a square.   
 
[Author's note:   Questions and answers are based on historical, cultural, scientific and general research I've needed to do to write the novels. ]