Well there’s another idea……

A mighty icy wind whistled through the stone cutouts of this ancient mountain monastery. Bringing whisps of snow in its wake, trying to put out the orange flame from resin torches. Stone pews and statues were empty of any devoted visiting pilgrims.  The elders secluding themselves in the back of the temple, deciding what to do with the dangerous religious order that was sweeping over the land. Despite the monastery’s natural isolation, word reached us of the Crimson Light and what they were doing.  Using their religious beliefs and growing power base to get away with heinous crimes. Taking those whose bodies demonstrated anything that went against their religious doctrine. While my order offered sanctuary to those living close, our reach was limited. The few small villages around the mountain’s base helped when they could. Given the pressure the Crimson Light was putting on the villages, help was becoming increasingly seldom.  There was a growing sect of monks, including myself who followed the beliefs of the warrior god, Anesoni were trying to fight back. Hopefully, the elder’s would make a hasty decision about training more monks in the art of war.

Taking a slight breath, I began to notice something moving in the distance, barely visible through the small crack in the door. Casting a faint orange glow around itself without any noticeable smoke or odor. Opening the door with slight caution, trying to get a better view of what was coming. Seeing a dark shadow in the middle of the mysterious light. At a quick glance, the shadow didn’t appear large enough to belong to a full-size man. Following a growing sense that this person was similar to me, moving sideways through the door. Pulling the wool hood over my head before walking far from the dar. Letting one the organic steel chains around my waist, unfurl down my right sleeve. Noticing the flame suddenly extinguish itself, the shadows fading along with it. Sprinting forward toward where the light vanished.

Contracting the chain around my left are, feeling the blunted spear tip against my hand. Stopping to find the thin body of a young child, poorly clothed in tan rags. Someone had shaved the entire scalp of the body, making it difficult to determine if it was a boy or girl. Still healing cuts were apparent on the left and right side of the child’s face. The child had been tortured by someone who appeared to know what they were doing. Assuming it was the Crimson Light’s inquisitors well known for their skills for infliction pain. Being careful I lifted the frail child over my left shoulder. Heading back to the monastery, hoping this would alter the decision being made by the elders.

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WEP June 2018 “Unraveling Yarn” Entry Piece

I debated continuing my raypunk inspired piece for this month, but rapidly realized it was difficult for that to fit within this month’s theme. Taking a departure from the aesthetics and retro-futurism of raypunk for this month WEP contest piece, without managing to fail at the self-assigned challenge. Rethinking what I could create within the context of the theme, going towards Greek Mythology.  Taking some inspiration from that, and realizing how quickly I could fuse those elements with the Clockwork Punk ideals. While Clockwork Punk is similar in aesthetics to Steampunk,  the former takes a heavy focus on gears. In addition to that Clockwork Punk works within a great symbiosis with magic and alchemy. Combining all those elements, I began to shape the tale below. A story I titled, “Fixing Fate.”


Fixing Fate

Someone faintly knocked on the door to my workshop, barely audible over the sound of moving gears. With reluctance, I got up to answer the door, curious to know who could be knocking at this late hour. Opening the door a smudge, seeing scrawny women dressed in a tight-fitting white dress. Her face obscured under a thick white veil, held in place with an ornate antique band of gold. The flames from gear powered torch reflecting against her dress.

With a raspy voice, she asked: “I’m seeking Cornelius Flamel, are you he?”

Glancing past the women to make sure she was alone before answering “That depends on who is asking,” since I had decided to hide my family’s name from all but a select few.

She responded “A woman whose existence is older then you can imagine. The Greeks called me Clotho, while your father knew me as Amaryllis.”

My father had told me once of a mysterious woman with the name. He didn’t say much about her, other then she imparted great knowledge to him. Opening my door farther waving her in, knowing that if my father trusted her, she possessed great character. Grabbing a brass lever by the door, rotating it clockwise. Using its mechanical energy to brighten the ceiling lights of my workshop. Locking the door before glancing at the woman, whose eyes seemed to be scanning the room. Now noticing she had brown patchwork clock bag over her shoulder, that was glowing faintly from the inside.

Amaryllis said “While I’m uncertain what your father told you about me, I know he taught you privately. Sharing his vast knowledge on various subjects,” walking over to a big machine hidden under a cloth. Dropping the bag before grabbing the dirty cloth, pulling it off with a flourish. Revealing a steel loom, that was empty of fabric. Intricate gears ran throughout the machine’s interior. Engraved into the metal were alchemic symbols, that had been filled in with white paint. A golden lever ran itself out the center of the body. “While I regret sharing the designs for this machine but, I’m glad it now. While this may appear to be an ordinary loom Cornelius, this one only works on one particular material. I need you to rebuild the strings of fate that are within the bag. This machine will restore their potency, allowing the world to continue it’s onward,” kneeling some and placing something inside the interior mechanical workings.

Walking toward the loom, I could feel a strange power radiating off the machine I couldn’t explain. The energy the device was emitting was forcing a powerful tingling sensation to ascend up through my right arm. Its focal point seemed to be the ring I inherited from my father.

Amaryllis said “It is time for you to get work Cornelius,” stepping back from the machine. Walking out the door, without saying another word.

Reaching into the bag, she left behind pulling out split clean-cut golden threads. Feeling a slight warmth come off the thread as I fed it to the machine. Pressing down on the brass pedal with my right foot, pulling more of cloth into the loom. Watching the machine re-weave the thread as more of fate’s strings were slowly pulled into the loom. The alchemical symbols engraved onto the loom beginning to match the glow of the strange jewel Amaryllis placed it. Somehow the combination was restoring the golden glow of the strings. Being mesmerized by the lights as I worked on the fractured yarn.

Losing track of time as something tapped me on the shoulder. Glancing back over my shoulder, I saw Amaryllis had returned. Looking almost revitalized despite the white veil that covered her face. Walking over to the where the loom had collected the restored thread. Placing the bundle inside in a black wooden box with antiqued brass hardware, with great care. The bin was free of any symbols, or carvings that could indicate how the container would hide the restored energy of the string. Slamming the box’s lid down, before vanishing into the dark again. Leaving the strange jewel, she placed into the loom behind. Its glow barely a flicker of what it was previously. Making it appear as if it was nothing more than an ordinary ruby, despite its size. Lifting the ruby carefully, I noticed it was the exact match for small ruby in my father’s ring.

With the ruby in hand, I walked towards an old trunk I had uncovered a few days ago. Setting the jewel on an old cloth I placed on the vault. Patiently wrapping it around the gemstone, before opening the chest. Putting it in the chest, knowing it should be forgotten. My father had inadvertently bound our bloodline with this jewel. For better or worse, I would have to protect the strange jewel as well; even I didn’t want to. It seems I had inadvertently altered my destiny by repairing fate’s string. Wondering if this was something else I inherited from my father’s passing.


Critique: Full Word Count: 840

There is another idea…

On the cusp of war, the high-pitched trumpets of Dorill blared at the gates. The royal family of Dorill having arrived, to seal and bind a marriage of peace. Thier horse-drawn carriages being escorted by living sapphire wall of armored soldiers. Bannerman with still white and blue banners stood at the forefront and back of the caravan. Each flag bearing a dagger forced into a blacksmiths anvil in blue, with a six-pointed star on the pommel of the blade.

Looking over to my late father’s guard captain, I ordered “Send a battalion of guardsmen to fetch the Dorril royal family. Tell them to be careful escorting them back to castle. Make sure there are at least a dozen bowmen in the battalion. I know this marriage has some degree of ill favor upon the serfs and some noblemen. If the royal family has complaints regarding the escort by our soldiers, they can augment the battalion with a small group of their own countrymen if they wish,” knowing how crucial this day would be if tensions continued to rise among the nine kingdoms.

Captain Ordo respectively bowed before leaving to follow my order. Leaving me on the balcony with two other guards. The twin moons beginning to appear in the sky, as the sunset on the horizon. It seems meeting the woman who would rule beside me, would have to wait until the morrow.

 

May’s End

Hard to believe May is almost over already. At least it has been a productive month; I wonder if that is why it flew. Even though I have been writing/working on several pieces, I keep forgetting to post anything here. Granted writing most of them by hand makes that a slightly time-consuming task to perform. Even though some are continuations of ideas, I have posted here previously like Thief in Neon, and my Steampunk/Magic hybrid idea. In addition to a few old ideas, that I put on the back burner since the inspiration faded on them. I did submit to Z Publishing House for their writers’ anthology I was emailed about over my vacation. Still waiting to hear back but I doubt that will happen before the end of June.

 

Another long overdue update

Been incredibly busy couple weeks, taking an overdue and much-needed vacation. Enjoying the opportunity to relax and get away from everything.  Along with hearing the fantastic atmosphere of sunshine, and punk rock. Which I sincerely believed gave the reinvigorating energy and mindest I needed to keep up my growing creative output.

Along with helping out with my cousin’s wedding. In addition to working on a piece for America’s Emerging Writer anthology, I got emailed about while on my vacation. Hoping my piece get’s accepted into the book, by Z Publishing House. Now back to a normal life as summer is finally starting up.

 

WEP April 2018 Contest Piece

Continuing the “-punk-” subgenre challenge I set for myself for this year’s WEP contest, I thought about what I could do with the April theme “Road Less Traveled.” While I originally considered doing an “Atompunk,” themed piece, I realized after a few paragraphs I would break the word limit. After a few days being stalled in the idea mill, I concluded “Raypunk,” would make an oddly good choice. Raypunk started out in the 1930’s as speculative ideas focusing on space travel, rayguns, robots, jetpacks, and rockets. Trying to focus on most of the key ideas behind Raypunk, I realized I could take some inspiration from the Space Race. Intertwining the ideas of the two, and the theme for this month’s challenge, I started writing. Managing to create a retro-inspired science fiction tale, I titled “Journey into Unknown Space.”


Journey into Unknown Space

The mission control room was busy going over last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s mission. Deputy Administer Smith had brought in every person he thought was necessary, filling the room with scientists, engineers, and, human calculators. Turning to ignore the chaotic crowd of people behind me, I peered out the window. Archimedes rested on the launch platform, bathing in the vibrant orange and red light from the setting sun. Contrasting the colors of the sunset with ivory and sapphire colored shell. The ground crew was running about the platform, walking over fuel lines and in-between passing vehicles. If things went well with the launch, this would be history in the making.

After an early morning test of my space suit, rocket pack and experimental ray gun, I walked over to the small stage where the press eagerly waited. My expecting wife and ten years old sat next to my boss. Setting my helmet down on the podium, I glanced at the media. Letting the flashbulb cameras and video cameras record me for a few seconds before speaking; “Various members of the press, I welcome you on this warm October morning. Today marks the end of years of work, and the beginning of my journey into the universe,” waving my family forward. Pulling my wife to my side, before taking my son’s hand. “There are a lot of people to thank, but first I want to thank my wife and son for the enduring love and constant support leading up to this day. Along with the numerous staff at National Space Exploration Agency for making this day possible,” kissing my wife on the cheek and ruffling my son’s hair. Grabbing my helmet, giving the press one last picture before walking to the launch platform.

Climbing up the stairs into, where the lid to Archimedes was hinged open. Stepping into the cramped red pilot seat with care, making sure not to start the launch prematurely. Securing myself to the seat with durable cloth straps that ran crisscrossed over my shoulders and chest. Reaching up and grabbing the lid’s handle slamming the top down. Feeling a slight pressure over my body as the airlock was sealed.

The in-helmet microphone crackled before the voice of Deputy Administer Smith came through, “You’re all clear on this end. Launch when ready, John.”

I said “Affirmative, Deputy Administer Smith,” grabbing both control sticks. Feeling mission control angle the platform holding Archimedes toward the sky. Pressing down on the ignition switch, just seconds later. The four secondary rockets were building up thrust against the clamps, making Archimedes tremor. “Releasing clamps now,” before pushing the second button on my right. Using the pent-up thrust to accelerate the rocket forward rapidly. The incredible g-force was pushing me back into the seat. Pressing down on the primary rocket’s ignition switch at my feet, increasing the g-force exponentially.

Breaking through the atmosphere, feeling the weightlessness all over my body. The moon and stars were bright against the darkness of space. A mesmerizing sight to behold this close up. Pulling both control sticks back, activating a prototype wormhole drive. Encapsulating my ship in a bubble of spacetime, protecting it as the ship rocketed through the universe.

 

Archimedes was slowing down rapidly as planetary designation Terrutius came into my view. The sphere was possessing an Earth-like appearance, except with a different layout. Deactivating the primary rocket, letting my ship go forward. Feeling the planet’s gravity pull Archimedes towards it nose first. Carefully rotating the wings holding the secondary rockets, using the thrust to turn the ship. Bringing Archimedes a whole hundred and eighty degrees feeling the ship begin to warm the more gravity pulled it downward. Quickly deactivating the secondary rockets to accelerate my descent.

Managing to land on Archimedes on a flat piece of land successfully. Releasing the lid with a powerful pull-back, breaking the airtight seal in the process. Undoing the straps before carefully getting out of my seat. Turning my jetpack onto a low thrust setting to land on the ground with ease. Glancing out at the surrounding land, seeing something had cleared this land in a perfect square. Dark brown twisting helix looking trees with broad hexagonal green leaves encompassed the cleared area. Unlike the sky of Earth, this place had a burnt orange hue to it. The temperature seemed mild enough for life to exist here somewhere. Taking a few cautious steps forward, my hand hovering above my raygun.

Pausing as something dropped down from the nearby trees. Keeping my raygun holstered, I saw a bipedal creature at the tree’s base. Its skin changing hues from green to a light blue color began to appear around its muscular body. A segmented tail was wrapping itself around the creature’s waist. Two arms of different lengths erupted out of the shoulders of the alien life form. Each was having almost claw-like fingers at each end. Two unblinking black eyes stared at me, as the one on the things slightly elongated forehead blinked rapidly. Hiding behind a series of pincher like attachments was a thin line, I assumed was its mouth. In silence, we studied each other with unflinching gazes. Seeming uncertain what would happen next, as more of them dropped out of the trees.

****

Two years have passed that historic day that changed my life. Improving the lives of the humanoid life forms on this planet. Feeling it was time for me to return to earth, confirming we weren’t alone in the universe. Stepping into Archimedes once again, looking out the crowd. Feeling saddened to leave yet optimistic about returning home to see my wife and child again.


Critique level: Full Word Count: 936

 

Brian Blank

I still have no idea what my mind was thinking when I wrote this idea. My heads odd bursts of intermittent inspiration about the concept is honestly annoying.


“Ash you won’t last one day out there on your own. I won’t give you any weapons to use as you pursue your own self-righteous mission,” my mentor said.

“You have been training me since I was young, molding me into a warrior. I don’t need a weapon, I already am one,” resisting the urge to punch the nearby wall. Letting the anger and the energy course through me, feeling invincible. “You have had me fight against the ones you bring in, what makes this any different?”

“You’re still don’t understand, do you. A pure-blooded neo-human in an uninhibited state would be difficult to capture without injury. Most of the ones you have fought against are rejects with mixed blood. Making them nothing before neo-humans who have more blood purity. I do recall teaching you that, Ash against the wishes of your father. “

Punching the wall in anger, before remarking “That was then and this is now. My father is out fighting for survival, I can feel he is still alive. Now get out my way before I throw you aside,” glaring at him, confident I could toss him across the room.

My mentor chuckled sliding his right foot back, bringing left hand forward. “You are welcome to try, Ash,” he remarked.

 

 

Strange dreams…..

Dreams and inspiration can go hand in hand at times. Even though why I dreamt of the piece below is beyond me. I wonder if someone can figure that out for me, haha.


On a moonless night, I wandered into the forgotten graveyard of my ancestors. The ground being reclaimed by nature. Obscuring roots and eroded gravemarkers alike. A dark green vine crept up the west side of the last family crypt. The vine was blooming a deep scarlet colored flower, with a black center. Somehow the old stone road that led to the ancient castle remained untouched. Even the protective stone wall that hid the cemetery seemed intact. At this distance I couldn’t make any guess at the state of the castle, I knew was there.

Walking along the old stone road, pausing a few steps away from a rusting iron gate door. A petite woman in a full length dark red dress was standing behind the gate. Long fire red hair ran down and across both shoulders. Contrasting the women’s highly pale skin. She was staring at me with inhumanly bright blue iris, possessing an that was oddly contracted considering how dark it was. Her lips were narrow, having the same color as her dress. If that was makeup or something else was difficult to discern.  A polished silver chain rested around her neck, holding a fist-sized black jewel.  The black gem was surrounded by a small perfect circle of deep red rubies. Her hands were clenched around something tiny.

Barely opening her lips, she said, “You are real,” sounding like she knew something I didn’t, then the short phrase being a question.

Hmm…..

 


Still dressed in the suit jacket, I looked out at the rooftops of my city. Roving spotlights were slowly coming to life as the last remnants of the sunset dyed away.Stationary lights illuminating various large propaganda flyers reminding disobedience and nonconformity are to told to authorities.Nocturnal billboards were repeating the words “Curfew is now active,” in neon red letters. Patrol drones were being launched off various buildings to enforce the seemingly endless rules most people mindlessly followed. Observing the few nearby drones, trying to detect a broadcast signal with my mini-computer at my wrist. Rapidly tapping at the touchscreen with my right hand, for a few minutes before acquiring a strong signal, Breaking the signal’s powerful encryption algorithm in about a minute, before gaining access to the hive drive that every drone shared. Finding the specific file after a search, copying it first. Continuing to search for any data I could use, keeping a close on the signal strength. Successfully pulling a few additional smaller files before the drone escaped my range.

Running inside feeling a renewed sense of energy as I unlocked the door to my small windowless apartment. Locking the door behind me, securing my apartment further with some minor modifications I built. Feeling secure I walked toward my secondary computer. Sliding the mini-computer off my wrist before setting on the desk that held my secondary computer. Plugging two black data cables into it that ran in separate directions. One running into a port on my secondary computer. Another connected to a custom-built multi-cable splitter that ran into multiple pieces of augmented clothing. The clothing purchased on the black market from someone who had access to military surplus. Sending the first file, I stole through various tech I placed inside the garment. Letting the progress begin on using enemies technology against them. Reaching down and sliding a small open box out from under my desk. Grabbing the makeshift facial scrambler, that would hide obscure my face from electronic eyes. Using a nearby toolkit, I applied the finishing touches. Cramming the few loose wires into the support band that would go over my ears. Placing it on my head to make sure it would work out there without interfering with my vision. Glancing around my apartment, seeing nothing hindering my sight directly. A yellow light appeared at the slight edge on both sides of view. Making a snap decision to live with it, I pulled the scrambler off my head. Setting it aside on the desk, before checking the progress of the file’s upload into the clothes. With almost fifty percent of the upload completed, I began working on my weapons. Feeling the ebony colored force amplifying bat with my hand, lifting it to my lap. Twisting the wide end off with several clockwise turns, exposing the glowing blue core held in place by forceful red magnetic rings. Grabbing a few small screwdrivers from my toolkit, before tinkering with the core. Trying to make sure the core would amplify the force of my swing without killing anyone it hit.

Ten minutes passed before I put the bat back together. Making sure the bat felt solid, as my micro-computer dinged. Leaning the bat against my desk, I saw the file had fully uploaded itself into my clothes. Meaning my debut was now almost ready to start. Quickly changing into my outfit, I walked about my apartment. Everything fighting nice and snug around my body. Setting my scrambler onto my head, before grabbing my bat. Heading out my apartment door, with my bat over my left shoulder. Letting the door automatically walk behind me, as I made my way to the rooftop.

Another picture is worth almost another thousand words

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Ancient Shrine by Macro Gorlei

 

My long pilgrimage into the Archiani dessert comes to an end as the statue of the god Suirtop appears before me. The crumbling city of Archoi resting at its feet obscured by layers of sand. Bowing down unto the hot sand, whispering a quick prayer of protection before walking forward, leaving a trail of footsteps behind. My own sense of exhaustion and thirst starting to get to me with each step. Tightening the tightly wrapped damp cloth around my head before the intense heat of the twin suns could strengthen those feelings. In awe of the skill, the ancient craftsmen of Archoi had when they made this statue. Feeling the fixed protective gaze of Suirtop look down at me as I moved forward.

Pausing at the entrance of the city to whisper a silent prayer for those lost their lives when the desert decided to reclaim it. Uncertain of where to step from where I stood. Taking a deep breath before taking tentative steps into the ruins of Archoi. Surprised and relieved by the resilient sturdiness of the stone buildings. Taking more certain steps forward until the shadow of the Suirtop statue covered the buildings below. Sensing this was the place I would receive the guidance of Suirtop. Sitting down near the center of the roof, closing my eyes.  Slowing my breathing and heart down feeling my head to begin to clear. Listening for the voice of Suirtop to appear on the wind, hoping I had the strength of body and belief to hear it.

Feeling a soft breeze as the heat from twin suns began to dissipate. Hearing a subtle whisper being carried on the wind, that I couldn’t understand. Waiting with great determination for it to return more audible. The shamanistic tattoos inked into my body beginning to tingle enough to guide me out of my state of mediation.  Opening my eyes to see the glowing bright blue ethereal spirits of my ancestors floating above the sand. Recognizing the few that were closet to me as my grandfather, and father. Thier eyes transfixed on me, staring at me in light of the twin moons. Glancing up at them to see they were mirroring each other one moon waxing and one moon waning. This was a good sign that Suirtop would have the strength to speak to the pilgrims and shamans of my tribe. Taking a deep breath, I called the spirits of my ancestors toward me. Breathing in the wisdom and knowledge, they failed to pass on to their sons. Feeling stronger and warmer as the wind returned. Carrying a single mighty hum that began to encircle me. Bolstering the tingle from the shamanistic markings on my skin. Leaning back, I let the mixed sensations envelop my body.

Moments later, I saw Suirtop had appeared before me. Dressed in unordained garments that ran down to his feet. A dark glowing halo focused itself around his head. The mighty blade Irusk hung on the right side of his hip. Without moving his lips, he asked: “You have traveled far like your ancestors, Arco. What guidance can I offer the son of Arsoilo, from the line of Arsch?”

I responded “Almighty Suirtop, I decree unto you to grant me the wisdom to help lead my tribe to avoid the conflict that is sweeping over the land. Our warriors are ailing, with something that is a mystery to my people. Without brave and skilled warriors, I fear my people will be wiped out,” pleading and praying for divine aid in helping my people.

Suirtop commented “Arco there is much I could do to aid your people. Yet, without a channel to possess, I lack a proper form to do so,” pausing for a moment. Placing his hands on my shoulders, before continuing; “There is lost knowledge your ancestors once possessed that kept your people safe. While I cannot aid, this dangerous ancient knowledge may be able to save your people,” before moving his hands to the sides of my face. Staring down at me in silence, doing something I couldn’t understand. Forcing my body to shake rapidly for several long moments. “It is done, Arco,” before vanishing in front of me.  Taking the spirits of my ancestors with him.

Looking up to see twinkling stars had filled the sky. Aiding the moons in illuminating the dark desert sky. Slowly standing up, feeling rested, almost reborn. Feeling nothing more than a slight chill on my skin as I began to walk out of the ruins. More confident of the path that lay before me. Stepping down onto the soft desert sand that surrounded the ruins. Using the night sky as a map to lead me back home. Trying to avoid getting lost in the endless hills of sand.

The suns had risen and set three times before I found myself on the outskirts of my village. Seeing the tip of the Pioli mountain where my home was. Beginning to sprint forward eager to see my family. Still at lost for what the gift was Suirtop gave me, on my pilgrimage. Only hoping it would be enough to save my village from the outside world.