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.

 

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.

 

 

Febuary 2018 WEP “In Too deep” Challenge

When I first saw the themes for this year WEP challenges, I realized I could do an anthology of sorts. Incorporating various off-shoots of the science fiction ideas of “Steampunk, Dieselpunk, and Cyberpunk.” While the variations on those three concepts are starting to grow in genre knowledge, they each present an atmosphere all their own.  For this months piece, I fumbled around with a few different ideas before setting my mind on a Nanopunk inspired story. Nanopunk is one of two offshoots of the Cyberpunk idea, with a heavy focus on the impact of nanites and nanotechnology.  Unfournatetly writers’ overall tend to favor a negative impact over positive. Taking the extremes of both sides, while exploring the duality of technology use. I humbly present my entry into the first WEP contest of 2018, “Hope.”


Hope

Hearing brief snippets of conversation as the anesthesia began to wear off. Something about “last hope,” and “the resistance failing.” Starting to feel the nanites start their rapid enhancement of my body. Grabbing the corners of the operating table before waking up. Scanning the room to see General MacArthur and Sergeant Jones, standing on the left edge of the metal table. Several scientists with bloodstained green robes and masks stood behind them. Everyone’s gaze focused on me, seeming mentally noting every movement I made.

General MacArthur commented “Welcome back Captain Allen, and it seems the last-ditch hope of the resistance was successful. Which is fortunate, since the losses of the human race have suffered is to deep for it to fail. Get him any gear he requires sergeant. We will be dropping him deep into enemy territory soon. Remember Captain you are no longer just a man; you’re a living weapon.”

Nodding my head in silence, watching the scientists begin to unplug the various tubes and needles from my body. Feeling a slight pinch, before the nanites started sealing the wounds. Staring at the cracked bright lights above me, waiting for them to finish unplugging me. Eager to prove I was the right candidate for Project Salvation.

About twelve hours had passed before I was leaning out the open door of a programmed drone. Dressed entirely in a sleek prototype lightweight mesh armor, designed for high stealth missions. Choosing a tri-barreled energy shotgun, two compact tactical pistols. Along with a curved metal handled plasma sword and various grenades. Making a significant assumption, I could take steal enemy weapons if necessary. Glancing at the radar, tightening the straps on my parachute as the drop zone approached. Jumping out the door, instantly bringing the various factors of the drop onto the air in front of me. Keeping a close eye on the ground radar and altitude level, knowing the minimum height I could open the chute. My body was feeling the wind fighting against along its steady descent. Using my hand to open the parachute with a mighty pull at a little over six-hundred feet above barren enemy territory. Being shot upwards some as my descent began to slow.

Rapidly detaching my parachute after landing, rolling to the ground afterward. Taking cover with by sprinting towards a nearby pile of discarded, obsolete robots. Taking a quick survey of my environment, looking around for the giant water pipe. Managing to find two ITY-2000 guard robots blocking my entrance into the control facility. Unholstering one of my pistols, aiming it swiftly. The nanites in my blood were doing a rapid analysis of their structural weak points. Finding their weak spot was the power coupler on the left side of the neck. Pulling the trigger a few times at each target, knowing the noise from the gunshots would attract attention. Noticing their heads twist from the power coupling separating, before falling into the pool of water below them. Waiting a few seconds after the splash before running onward. Leaping into the large pipe, stretching my body out on the rusting metal. My eyes adjusting to the darkness before crawling forward. Using the nanites to hack into the mainframe. Determined to find the fastest way into the control room, that would shut the killer machines down for good. Using a hacked map to navigate the tunnels.

After a couple of hours of careful navigation, I found the ceiling access panel to the control room. Using both hands to carefully move the panel to the other side of the tunnel before peering downward at the immaculately clean control room. Noticing the small army of ITY-2000s’ patrolling the place. The regiment was guarding the large silver computer near the center of the room. Thick black cables ran upward from the back of the machine, supported by the base of a large gray metal structure. It appeared to be a symbiotic structure that ran to the communications array at the top of the structure. Focusing my gaze on the structure, letting the nanites analyze it. Trying to find its weakness from here. Doubting I had enough firepower to drop down and perform the task more overtly. Minutes passed before the nanites brought up three weak points, I could attack.
Pulling myself forward into the tunnel, feeling the cold metal under my fingers. A large maintenance panel was blocking my path, with a large handle protruding outwards. Wrapping my hands around the metal, before pulling it towards me. Finding several black cables bound together, running uninterrupted by the vents. Separating the cables, before placing a grenade in the interior. Using the nanites to sync three explosives on a five-minute timer before pushing myself backward past the access panel. Letting the nanites calculate the trajectory of both grenades, before tossing them along the projected arc. With the central communication tower rigged to blow, I traveled the tunnels toward the exit. Being careful of the explosives I rigged on my ascent towards the control room.

Suddenly plummeting down as the ventilation shaft I was near dropped from the ceiling. My eyes were opening to see lines of the enemy surrounded me. Barrels of their weapons pointed directly at, as their hive mind processed what to do. Massively outnumbered, and outgunned I quickly realized this first mission post augmentation, would be my last. Taking a deep breath, pressing the detonator attached to my wrist. Making peace with myself as the explosions began above me. Hearing them before I could see the orange flames work their way down the building. Watching the fire dance their way down to me before I could feel the heat on my skin. Screaming as my gear caught fire, burning my skin. The nanites were struggling to heal me against the flames rapid consumption of my body. Hearing the shouts of my comrades as I left the burnt remains my body.



Critique level: Full Word Count: 982

Feel free to stop by and check out the other entries for this contest at the link below: http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2018/02/wepff-february-2018-challenge-in-too.html?m=1

 

Another picture is worth another thousand words

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Sanctuary by Rashomike

Vines crept in through the broken window, dropping down like an organic rope.  The light from the sun revealing the broken floor and rotten crumbling. Nature had taken parts of this church back following the Gaea event. Yet there was an odd silence that hung in the air. Following the careful steps of my companion Milton down the rotten looking wooden stairs. Hearing the occasional creak as the three of us descended the staircase. Pausing as something rustled in the dark green brush near us. With quick glances at each other, we ran taking tactual positions in the area. Aiming our rifles at the bush, our hands shaking with a mixture of anticipation and fear. Watching the bush through the sight of our guns. Listening to something growl from the bush. Setting the barrel of my rifle on the banister staircase, before feeling around for something to toss at the bush. Managing to grab on to something that had a rough texture. Hurling the item at the bush, attempting to draw out what was hiding in the bush. Quickly putting my hand back on my rifle as the object flew through the air.  Watching a blur of movement as something caught the brick in mid-air.  Slowly the beast crawled forward, revealing long skinny dark green legs that pierced the floor. Milton glancing at Alex and myself before giving us a slight nod, the three of us know the danger of an Archanis. Within seconds all of three of us opened fire, breaking the sacred silence of the old church. Watching in horror as the Archanis continued to crawl forward, emitting a deep growl in the process.  Revealing the organic layer armor, the covered its body. The twisted face of both the human and the spider staring out at us layers of white eyes. A small gold chain with a small cross still hanging around its bent neck. Holding onto a remanent of its former life like it was still human. Launching its entire body forward into the rain of bullets, almost like it wanted to die. Continuing to fire my rifle until I saw the thing had stopped moving forward. Its body twitching and spurting out a thick dark fluid that could have been the thing’s blood. Staining the area around for a few seconds before turning the ground a soft green color.

Alex shouted “Masks now,” sliding the filtered gas mask around his mouth.

Quickly doing the same before the body could begin emitting lethal spores. Noticing Milton do the same seconds prior to the body releasing small lethal white spores into the air. Being careful moving around the corpse, we walked down the stairs. Pressing down on the plastic clip on flashlights, letting the light cast itself in front of us. Glancing around for anything else was hiding in the nearby foliage.

I shouted through the mask “Finding anything else that can kill us, or should we begin looking for supplies?”

Milton yelled back “Not yet, Jess. The supply cache I heard about is supposed to be in the far back of the church,” turning towards us. “I think the door should be around here somewhere, keep an eye out for it,” pivoting on his feet before resuming his walk.

Alex fell in behind him, leaving me to take up the rear. Walking backward slowly, scanning the plant life with the sights of my rifle.  The wind begins to pass through and down the open window some in the process.  Almost making me fire my weapon as the plants moved.

Milton shouted “Damn it the door is jammed. Alex help me try to force the door open, Jess watch our backs.”

Nodding I stopped walking, observing the plants.  Hearing Alex and Milton slamming themselves into the door. Listening attentively to something moving, trying my best to ignore the creak of the something being pushed back from behind me.  Continuing my watch for several minutes before I heard a series of loud bangs behind me. Pivoting quickly on my heels I saw they had opened the door. Forcing several boxes to collide with the ground in the process.  Pausing midstep once I heard a large monstrous growl, that sounded terrifyingly familiar.

I shouted “We should get moving if my gut feeling about what heard is correct,” reaching for something a little more explosive I packed for this trip into the ruins.  Feeling around before pulling out an old wine bottle filled with a mixture of alcohol and gasoline. “Grab anything light and salvageable you two,” peering around the room quickly for signs of movement.

The ground beginning to shake under my feet a few minutes later. Hearing Milton curse under his breath, as him and Alex shoved stuff into their backpacks. Sprinting to the staircase with all the energy I could muster, trying to find higher ground. Seeing out of my peripheral vision Alex and Milton quickly following my lead. The frequency and ferocity of the ground shaking rapidly increasing. Managing to drop large pockets of dust down from the ceiling that sparkled in the sunlight.

Milton taking control back by testing the strength of the knot and rope we used to get in here. Alex and I kept a tight watch on everything as the ground continued to shake. Noticing something was pounding hard on the large arched barricaded door at the back of the church, trying to force its way in. Lighting the Molotov cocktail with a matchbook, before tossing it hard at the door. Watching the door begin to burn as Alex climbed down the rope first. Milton followed behind him a few seconds later. The door being broken forcing large shards to fly through the air, as the monstrous Behomethes entered the room. Knowing I wouldn’t survive long even with the flames delaying that abomination, I reached for the rope. Tightening my grip before starting to descend down. Keeping my gaze straight ahead as a precaution incase the Behomethes tried to follow.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words

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Fallen Titan by Jinho Bae

Mesimired by the beauty of the landscape, I found myself staring out from the snow-covered mountain edge. Seeing the truth of the bold mythic tales I heard as a child from my grandfather. The ivory bones of the last king of the frost giants Yrgor lay back against the unyielding stone of the mountain. Preserved by the constant cold and snow of the mountain. Impaled there by his own weapon, by the demi-god Omsar the Brave. The various tales surrounding the encounter varied on how Omsar managed to grab Yrgor’s sword Msoror. Easily recognizable from the description of it based on the tales, complete with random chips out of the steel blade. From this distance, I could see the strange angles Yrgor’s rib bones were broken outwards. Making me recall one of the more far-fetched tales, about Yrgor eating Omsar. Trying to use his the natural extreme low temperature of his body to freeze Omsar to death. Unwittingly given Omsar the upper hand as his cloak lined with the fiery orange feathers of a phoenix kept him alive. Assuming any extent of the tale was true Yrgor had a violent reaction to the strange warmth in his body. Dropping the mighty Msoror point first into the stone mountain to pry out the source of heat. Osmar was slicing his way with his own mighty blade, Cisoer. Leaping out Osmar’s chest covered in the bodily fluids of Yrgor, dropping Cisoer along the way. His divine nature awakening in the process. Endowing him with the godly strength of his father, rivaling the mighty power of Yrgor himself. Osmar managing to lift Msoror into the air long enough to impale the blade into Yrgor’s tremendous heart.

Shaking the inspiring images of the battle from my head, I carefully walked down the slippery mountain slope. Stopping at the makeshift bridge of Yrgor’s snow-covered femur. Taking a tentative step with one foot, to see if I could walk on it without falling into the crevice below. Managing to slip forward some without my other foot leaving the mountain. Choosing to leave my pack mule behind taking small, cautious steps forward. Keeping my gaze upward, ignoring the whispered voice in my head to look down. Taking slight pauses every few steps to plunge steel anchors into the bone. Cautiously sliding some rope through each anchor encase the wind would strengthen.

Taking a deep breath of relief as I managed to find solid footing on the other side. Grabbing the climbing pick from my belt, getting a tight grip before swinging it at the skeleton. Feeling the impact through both of my arms, forcing me to grunt. Ignoring the tremble of the impact, continuing to swing my pick. Creating small holes in the pelvic bone, on the sheer hope of finding the precious frosted sapphires inside the bone. While the secret of frost giant bones having the jewels deep in their bones was well known, few were crazy enough to attempt to dig them up.

Losing count of how many swings I did before finding a rich glowing blue vein in the interior of the bones. Reaching one hand into the hole, instantly feeling a substantial temperature drop. Quickly pulling my hand back, grabbing my pick again. Swinging with care to carve out the vein, trying to avoid damaging it.  Surprised that the interior bone was softer than I would have expected. The tremble lessening compared to previous hits.  Keeping myself warm with each swing,  beginning to sense a presence within the small cavern I had created.

Hearing a whispered voice speak “The line of Osmar continues,” being carried by the wind. Refusing to stop my swing, ignoring the strange words of the wind. Unsure what they meant since my parents had told me about my ancestors.  Being well known that Osmar had fathered no children, before his death. Managing to pull out the vein without much damage to its valuable contents. Grabbing an old fishing net from my bag, setting the thick vein inside it. Tying it with care before grabbing a long rope to drag it out. Securing it to the front part of the anchoring system I made on the femur. Walking back into the artificial cavern looking for another vein to carve out.

Tripping as I hit something hard that was covered in snow, forcing me to fall forward. Grunting as I collided hard with the body of the mountain. Reaching out at what I thought tripped me, I felt something that was oddly warm. Something that somehow resisted centuries of the worth of snow and cold. Brushing off some the snow with my glove, finding the object possessing a faint mystical ivory glow. The glow was brightening some upon my touch, calling to me. Taking my time to clear the snow from the blade, without cutting myself. Finding the blade’s handle was made of ebony metal, with slight inlays of gold on both sides. A clear jewel had carefully been placed on the crossguard, surrounded by runes I didn’t recognize. Wrapping my hands around the handle, I picked it up. Surprised by the unusual lightness of the blade.  Being cautious as I slide the blade into my belt, before going back to my pick. Pulling a handful of smaller frosted sapphires out of the bone to keep. Hulling them back over the slippery bone bridge, with great care.

Using strong ropes and knots to attach the large vein to the side of my mule. Making sure it was secure before checking I had ample supplies for my trek down the mountain.  Taking a few moments to eat some dried out beef jerky to gather my strength back. Feeling more than ready to leave this place to the cold.  Hoping I would never have to return here unless I was desperate. Grabbing the rope of mule a few seconds before starting my descent. Eager to see something other than white snow and mountain with haste.