How to write a Korovian Fable

A Fable is a short story which can be poetry or prose or even a mixture of the two that has a narrative leading often to a moral lesson. The Fable of the Incubus of Izhamet for example has a moral lesson about the value of teamwork, and combines both poetic elements and prose.

Not all Korovian Fables have an obvious moral lesson, such as The Fable of the Graverobber and the Cursed Cutlass, which does include a lesson about loneliness, but it is not necessarily a moral lesson.

Korovian Fables typically take place in a specific location and often feature a humanoid hero (often with the qualities of a trickster) who encounters monsters, animals or dangerous objects - such as a cursed sword,as demonstrated in the Cursed Cutlass example above. The type of monster or creature doesn't really matter, whether it is a ghost, animal, ogre, troll, or even objects or natural things with the ability to speak such as trees, rivers or mountains. Korovian Totem Gods often play a role in such Fables, as do Korovian dragons which have the ability to shapeshift.

Rarely will a Korovian Fable be about an anthropomorphized animal who can speak unless there is a druid involved in the story - or the animal is actually a humanoid who was polymorphed by a wizard, although animal-like creatures such as unicorns are certainly possible. Shapeshifters are also a possibility, such as werewolf, lycanthrope, or a Wolfkin.

The Fable of the Graverobber and the Cursed Cutlass

By Charles Moffat, February 2018.

Once upon a time in Floresti Falls a graverobber left his home in the woods to travel to the nearby graveyard where he had heard a rich sailor had been recently buried. On the way he came to a waterfalls with an ancient log suspended between the two sides, acting as a bridge. He skipped across the log bridge while singing a jaunty tune:

"There once was a maid from Azek who went to a greasy spoon, what a fool she tripped on a stool and impaled herself on a harpoon."

The graverobber arrived at the graveyard and climbed over the fence. He made his way to a mound of recently dug earth in front of a headstone statue of a serpentine sea monster. He unslung his wee shovel from his back and set to work digging. As he dug he sang another tune:

"In the dark of the night don't give into fright as the ghouls are walking about. If ye be chicken, the ghouls will quicken and hasten your end no doubt."

At long last shovel hit something hard. The graverobber cleared away the dirt and pried up the coffin lid. Within was an old sailor, dead and dressed in his finery, and a gem encrusted cutlass across his breast. With a whistle of delight, the graverobber scooped up the sword and heard a voice ring out. Coming from within the sword:

"Lo landlubber, you have awaken me from my slumber. Take me to the sea and I shall make you rich if you follow my plea."

The graverobber was briefly amused, shrugged and tossed the cutlass into his sack of things. He proceeded to loot the rest of the coffin of any valuables and refilling the hole with the mound of dirt. He then slung his wee shovel over his back, tossed the sack of things over his shoulder, and began the journey back home. As he walked the cutlass called out to him from within the sack:

"Riches galore are yours for the taking, why stay here when we could go to sea and get with the gold-making?"

The graverobber came to the waterfalls and halfway across he paused to take the cutlass from the sack, thinking he might just toss the cursed thing into the churning water. Perhaps it would be better to be rid of it as how could he ever sell or trade something so clearly cursed? He held out the sword above the water, all he needed to do was drop it. The sword cried out:

"Why don't you want me? Do I not fill you with glee? What is it you want in this horrid land when so much more is available at your command?"

The graverobber thought better of it and decided to keep the cursed thing. He finished crossing the log bridge and began to whistle as he neared his home in the woods. As he walked the cutlass seemed to enjoy the whistling and sang along:

"There once was a fool from Kost who had a habit of getting lost. He ran afoul of a troll, fell into a dark hole, and now when he walks he has no control."

When he got home the graverobber placed the cutlass on a shelf like a prized possession and whenever he was lonely or bored, he could just whistle and the cutlass would sing out a new tune. He continued to rob graves to the end of his days, but he never lacked for company or song.

"There once was a lonely graverobber from Floresti Falls who appreciated a good song. He found a singing sword who longed for the sea, but the graverobber preferred to be carefree. So he kept the sword on a shelf and had it sing-along."

The Fable of the Incubus of Izhamet

By Charles Moffat - December 30th 2017.

Author's Notes - I came up with the idea for a fable, the type parents might tell to children, early this morning. I woke up, had the idea, and immediately started writing it down. Pretty much wrote itself. It is too short to publish as an eBook, so I might as well just make it available here.

The fable is set in the hamlet of Izhamet, just west of Weyvin. It is a tiny village and seemed like a perfect place for a fable or legend to take place. Stylistically, I feel the end product is a bit similar to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs and Big Bad Wolf, and the German story of Struwwelpeter.

The Fable of the Incubus of Izhamet

Once upon a time there was three sisters, triplets, living in the tiny village of Izhamet in the land of Korovia. Their names were Anastasia, Katya and Valeska.

The three sisters were all beautiful and many villagers remarked and told them so when they came to buy bread from their bakery. Their bakery was known for its thrice folded loafs.

Upon their seventeenth birthday the three sisters were visited by an horrible nightmare and awoke screaming.

"I have claw marks on my neck!" cried Anastasia.
"I have claw marks on my breast!" cried Katya.
"I have claw marks on my bottom!" cried Valeska.

"Someone was in our room!" they said in unison.

There was definite signs of an intruder. Candles were knocked over, a stack of Katya's books had become scattered, and Anastasia's spinning wheel near the window was broken. The window shutters had been left open and a cold wintry breeze was chilling the room.

Anastasia rushed to close the shutters with a dash.
Katya started cleaning and throwing broken things in the trash.
Valeska ran downstairs to light a fire in a flash.

"The latch on the window is broken," remarked Anastasia.
"There are large claw marks on the floor," said Katya.
"The front door is unlocked and unbarred." Valeska yelled from downstairs.

"Somekind of beast or demon broke in!" they cried in unison.

"It got in through the window," said Anastasia.
"And attacked us while we slept," moaned Katya.
"And got out through the front door," deduced Valeska.

After all was cleaned and fresh linens placed on their beds, the triplets baked a fresh batch thrice folded bread which they ate with goat butter.

"We should ask the other villagers if they have had similar beasts getting into their homes," determined Anastasia.
"They will never believe us. We will have to be smart about asking questions," reasoned Katya.
"We should check with the merchant caravans and swordsmen. Perhaps they know stories of such a beast," suggested Valeska.

And so the three sisters closed up the bakery and instead of selling their bread, decided to deliver the bread to their usual customers instead. On the way they were smart about asking questions about strange scars they saw on the villagers, and making light conversation about legendary monsters. Upon their return they reported their findings.

"The midwife thinks she was attacked by a werewolf while she slept, but werewolves cannot fly," said Anastasia.
"The priest thinks he saw a vampire flying recently, but vampires cannot enter a home without permission," said Katya.
"A swordsman told me a story of an incubus that flies and likes to impregnate women while they sleep," moaned Valeska.

"An incubus could get in through the window," concluded Anastasia.
"An incubus would leave claw marks on everything," fumed Katya.
"Ummm..." said Valeska, causing the other two to stare at her.

"The swordsman said that incubi come back again and again until the women are pregnant," explained Valeska.

"We cannot have that!" said Anastasia.
"Not more claw marks!" groaned Katya.
"But how do we fight an incubus?" asked Valeska.

"We will need weapons," said Anastasia, heading outside to the blacksmith to buy a sword.
"And magic," said Katya, heading outside to find a merchant who might sell her a magic book.
"And knowledge," said Valeska, heading outside to question the swordsman once more.

When they returned they had what they all wanted.

"I got a sword, a dagger for Katya and a mace for Valeska," said a determined Anastasia.
"I bought a spellbook. Fire magic is really hard to learn," said an exasperated Katya.
"The swordsman said silver and acid was useful against demons," said a tired Valeska.

Valeska set down a large ceramic jug of acrid smelling acid and several pieces of old silverware.

"Isn't silver for werewolves?" asked Anastasia, worried her sword would be useless.
"Wouldn't fire be better than acid?" asked Katya.
"Silver is good against both werewolves and demons, and demons are immune to fire," answered Valeska.

The two sisters looked downcast. "But..." said Valeska. "I was thinking we could melt some silver and sprinkle it on your sword blade. And is there any acid magic in that spellbook?" At this the two sisters set to work. Valeska meanwhile rigged a trap inside the bread oven using the jug of acid.

"We should pretend to sleep downstairs tonight, near the bread oven to keep warm. The incubus won't suspect anything until it is too late," said Valeska, who then explained her plan.

And so the sisters carried their beds downstairs and set up near the oven. They lay awake waiting, their eyes gently closed so that they appeared to be merely asleep.

"I just heard the shutters rattle upstairs," whispered Anastasia.
"I just heard someone on the stairs, whispered Katya.
"Zzzzzzz," snored Valeska loudly, doing her best to cover the whispers of her sisters.

"Mwahahahaha!" said the incubus. "Which one should I ravage first?"

"None!" cried Anastasia, throwing her blanket over the demon's head and stabbing him with her silver and steel blade to drive him back.
"Acito splashio!" cried Katya, raising her hands and spraying magical acid on the demon, driving him back further.
"Have a nice trip!" laughed Valeska as she tripped the startled demon backwards and into the bread oven. She closed the door and threw the bolt.

The shocked incubus writhed about in the oven and then began to laugh. "Mwahahaha! Fires cannot hurt me. I was born in flames. Soon I shall be free of this feeble prison and -"

"Good luck with that plan!" said Valeska. She pulled on a wire that was connected to the acid jug dangling above the incubus. The jug rotated and poured out its contents on to the demon's head.

"Arrrrrrrg! No, no, nooooooooooooo!" screamed the incubus.

And then he died, his body wilting into a pile of ashes which fell through the gaps in the brick oven and into the coals below.

"I guess he is dead," said Anastasia.
"Banished," corrected Katya.
"I am hungry. Who wants to make bread?" asked Valeska.

In the morning the triplets opened the front window of their bakery and began selling their new fresh bread. "It is a new recipe," they said.

"Mmm... this tastes really good," said a villager.
"Yes, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside," said a swordsman.
"It is truly heavenly," said a priest with a knowing wink.

"How did you get it to taste so good?" everyone asked.

"Teamwork," the triplets said in unison with confidence.

"I kneaded the bread really good," said Anastasia.
"I mixed up the ingredients just right," said Katya.
"I got the flames in the oven super hot," said Valeska.

And so it was that their bakery prospered and grew famous for their very tasty bread, and although people tried to copy their recipe, it never tasted quite so good.

Many years later the sisters told their story to a passing bard and they wrote it down. "This is really good bread and a good story to go with it," remarked the bard. "But nobody is ever going to believe this story."

"Nobody will ever believe a story that three sisters beat an incubus with brawn, magic and brains?" asked Anastasia.
"Nobody will ever believe that an incubus once found us old ladies attractive?" asked Katya.
"Does anybody want that last piece of bread?" asked Valeska.

The End.

Map of Korovia

Map of Korovia

Under the Red Moon Xarsius

Under the Red Moon Xarsius