WEP Oct 2017 “Dark places” challenge

 


I awoke surrounded by darkness. The sound of slowly dripping water echoed around the darkness. With a great struggle, I failed to move anything but, my aching head on a cold, wet stone. Trying to recall how I got here, only to find a sea of drinks before the darkness appeared in my memories.

The sound of deep, drumbeats began to echo from somewhere off in the distance. Turning my head, I tried to locate the source. Beginning to see a ghastly green light entering from the left side of the area. Suddenly, the chamber began to illuminate from around me. Forcing shades of orange, blue, and green to reveal a large ancient looking cavern. It appeared as if something was carved onto the walls, but the details were difficult for me to see. Keeping my gaze locked on the approaching light, I began to see its source. A swarm of strange, humanoid figures carrying tall staff like torches walked towards me. Patchwork, tan hooded robes covered them from head to toe.

They all stopped a few footsteps from me. Beginning to move around until they formed a circle. In a language, I couldn’t understand they started to whisper in a strange dialect. Starting to slowly rotate the circle, as the whisper got louder. Rotating faster the louder they got, quickly becoming a blur. I shouted at them to no avail.

After a few minutes the chamber once again fell dark for. Moments later a ghastly, transparent giant eldritch figure stood at my feet. Noticing small concentrated orbs of white light where the joints would be a human, giving it the appearance of a living constellation. Its features giving it a hideous visage, and a twisted demonic multi-toothed grin. Soulless, black eyes looked down at me. Watching me struggle against my bindings in a fear-drenched sweat.

Strange worm-like appendages began to erupt from the things body. The tips of each one consumed by rows of teeth.Screaming in agony as the tentacles latched onto my entire body. Somehow flooding me with images of a dark, strange ancient looking world. Slender humanoid looking creatures seemed to populate the world’s cities. Their faces an ugly blend of a worm, squid, and fish features. Narrow interconnected tentacles made up their feet and arms. Living in monolithic cities of stone, and wood under cloudless dark grey skies. Effigies of alien-like beings watched over the edges of each city. Standing on tall walls of pale stone. Peering inside and outside the city with connected faces.

The images faded into black, as a sense of empty bliss began to fill my body. A hypnotizing rhythmic tone blowing through my mind, repeating itself every few seconds. Lulling me into a state somewhere between sleep and consciousness. Flashing vivid images of humanity’s ancestors arriving at the stone city. Taking over the city by the spear point, slaughtering the city’s original inhabitants. Bathing the city in a river of green blood, as screams of agony and battle echoed in my head. I looked up at the strange eldritch being, in disgust at the barbaric nature of my ancestors. Beginning to wonder if I was here as an act of penance on behalf of humanity. It seemed oblivious to my gaze, force-feeding more images into my head.

Beginning to feel disoriented and weak as three of the robbed beings approached me.Standing on either side of the stone platform, twisted curving blood-stained daggers in tentacle-like hands. One standing above my head, only their outreached hands visible. Their gazes locked onto the eldritch being. Almost as if they were waiting for something to happen.

I watched helplessly as three more worm things shot from the things body. These ones were incredibly narrow compared to the others. Even possessing the strange light that was in the things body, that ended in a sharp needle-like protrusion. Managing to penetrate the heads of this thing’s summoners.Forcing a brief full-body spasm, before they started emitting a low-pitched cry. The cavern filling once again with the strange chant.

Mere moments later in unison movements, the daggers were plunged into my body. I screamed out in a mixture of surprise and pain. Feeling the bliss shoot out of my body, as blood began to crawl out of my wounds. Screaming again as the daggers plunging was repeated. Creating new wounds, and more pain.

Beginning to see a strange almost blinding white light appear on the cave’s ceiling. For reasons beyond my understanding, it was drawing me towards it. Emptying my body of all feeling, as it extracted my essence.Holding it within itself as I looked down at my dead body. Seeing that I wasn’t the first victim of this strange cult, nor did I believe I would be the last. Finally giving myself fully to the light, as the last flicker of my existence gave way.


Critique level: Full

Word Count: 807

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Well…..there is another idea

Do you ever write something, and think to yourself, where on Earth did this idea come from? It seems to be happening frequently to me, as I try to keep my creative juices flowing. Either that or I’m in a state of creative overflow. I guess it could always be worse.


In silence moved to the back of Restir, taking a seat at a small round table. Ignoring the disgusting smell of cigarette smoke, and piss that lingered in the air, as I observed. Enjoying the experimental jazz music that was playing through carefully hidden ceiling speakers. Disregarding the bar’s other customers, focusing my gaze on my target. Watching the strange man sip a black bubbling drink in a short clear glass, at the bar. Two other clear glasses rested upside down on his left side, the black drink still sticking on the sides in small spots. Hiding parts of his face under a wide-brimmed black cowboy hat. The raised red collar of a long black trench coat hid what remained. Knowing with certainty that he was armed with at least two handguns, several short knifes, and the Marsekoh blade I was after. I didn’t know why my client wanted it, but, considering how much he was paying me I didn’t care.

A short, narrow-waisted waitress approached me. Dressed in short eggshell white button-up dress, with a black and red belt around the waist. The dress fell from her shoulders enough to reveal the tufts of her breasts. Narrow blue eyes peered down at me through rose red glasses. With a flirtatious smile, she handed me a menu, before running her hand through her short dyed blue pixie haircut. She smiled before another customer called out for her, forcing her to walk away. If I wasn’t on the job, I would have considered flirting with her. Setting the menu aside, I resumed my observation.

After I saw him down his fourth drink, I got up. Lightly pushing people aside, as I approached the bar. Taking a seat next to my target, lifting my phaser without revealing it. As he watched the bar-bot make his fifth drink I made my escape plan. With a slight turn, I pushed down on the trigger. Releasing three short burst low energy plasma, intending to stun him. His body began to unsteadily shake as he fell to the ground. A surprised look on his face. Reaching down I quickly grabbed the Marseketi blade from the right side of his waist. Sprinting into the kitchen, almost colliding with one of the cooks. Pushing him aside, racing towards the back door. Running through the door, before jumping off the edge of the delivery dock. Feeling the exhilarating rush as the air pushed around my face. Letting the air expand the gliding flaps that were custom sewn into my coat. Slowing my fall some, allowing me to navigate through the resting traffic of flying cars. Being careful to avoid a collision and the seemingly endless array of surveillance cameras that littered the city. Hoping the Obscura tech was working, as I made my way to the bottom of this colossal metropolis.


As always comments, are welcome. Thanks for reading.

Preview of Death’s legion (title pending)

I’m not really sure where this idea came from. Yet, given how death exists (in some way) in every genre of fiction it was something I can build on.  Twisting and shaping it to something both strange and plot building. Without diminishing the power that death could wield in a fantasy environment.



Raising the visor of my battle damaged helmet, I attempted to wipe the blood away from on a battlefield that had fallen mostly silent. Only the caw of crows and the ramblings and moans of those who death has yet to take were the only thing heard. Keeping a tight grip on my sword I began to step away. Prepared to be merciful to the fallen, ally and enemy alike.

Stopping completely when I heard a strange almost inhuman groan from behind me. Turning around I raised my sword. Only to see the fallen general of the Tisthan forces, had begun to raise. Bloodied arrows still through what remained of his eyes.

Trying to hide my fear, I asked “You are dead, I watched you fall. What in god’s name are you,” raising my sword to defend myself if needed. Still struggling to understand what I was seeing.

The general’s corpse chuckled before responding “What or who I am is not your concern mortal,” as his flesh began to change. Becoming rapidly darker as it tightened around his bones. “All you truly need to know,” being cut off as a sword with a body of fire decapitated him.

Sensing I was going to be killed by the blade’s unknown wielder, I struggled to pull a dented, muddied shield from the ground below me. Hoping I would manage to die with honor, as my ancestors have. Raising the shield I readied myself to die. Glancing over my shield I saw the wielder of the strange flaming sword. A tall warrior clad in ebony plate armor. Yet somehow the flame the sword possessed was within its body. The strange blade sheathed at the left side of his waist. Cautiously lowering my shield, I watched this strange warrior. Trying to understand any of what was happening. This shouldn’t be happening, it went against everything the Kuorkizin.

Rapidly reciting a quick prayer softly, I began to step backward. Keeping my gaze focused on the strange warrior, as I attempted to flee. Ignoring the screams of the wounded as I passed over them. This place was no longer a battlefield but, a place of damnation. I may have killed today in defense of my homeland, but I felt no desire to be damned.

Managing to reach the outskirts of this unholy battlefield, I turned myself. Breaking into a run, trying to escape all of this like a coward. Believing it was better to be branded a coward, then to die in a fight against a warrior of unholy origin. There was no honor in that.

Being stopped by a forceful tap of something hard, as I ran around a tree. Grunting, I looked up to see what had hit me. Only to see the same strange warrior from the battle-field. Holding a bloodied iron halberd where my chest would have been if I hadn’t stopped. How he managed to get ahead of me was beyond me.

I shouted “I don’t know what you are, but I beg you to leave me alone. Please,” trying to get up. “My family will not ransom me, there is no reason to follow me,” managing to get to my feet. Looking past this strange warrior, at the area behind him. Remembering an old monastery of the Iquarthi monks was nearby. Hoping they knew a way to stop this thing from following me.

This strange knight barely reacted to me getting on my feet. Moving the halberd out of my way, keeping its gaze on me. Without hesitation, I broke into a run. Ignoring the pain in my chest, and legs. Keeping a slight gaze over my shoulder as I ran. Only to see him standing there still, watching me.

Following the dirt road, I attempted to flee once more. Keeping a close eye on the nearby forest in the process. The monastery was protected by the forest that surrounded it, according to my mother. I never knew what she meant by that.

Starting to alter my direction some, I ran towards the forest. Feeling the dirt give way to stone, before quickly being replaced by dirt once more. Continuing to push my body, as I saw the twisting spires on the horizon. The setting sun casting its light on it from behind.

With relief, I slowed down. Noticing the monks inside had begun placing candles in the spires’ peaks. Creating the illusion of a circular ring around the sun. The monastery appeared to change much since my childhood visit. A wall of trees of various shapes, sizes and types formed a defensive wall around the structure. Two watchtowers rested above the treeline. Watching for pilgrims try to get through the only iron gate into the monastery. A lone torch rested in the middle of the gate. Watching silently for pilgrims arriving at this late hour.

As the sun fell away, I reached the gate. Finding it locked, as I attempted to pull it open. In frustration I pounded on the gate, considering trying to force my way in. Yet, that would only add more blasphemy to my arrival. Assuming they would listen to the strange tale I would tell them, at this late hour.

A monk shouted from somewhere nearby, “Stop that infernal pounding soldier it’s late,” as t torch began to make its way into view from the left side of the door. Revealing a hooded monk in brown robes. Keeping their face hidden, the monk asked “The time of darkness begins, and a weary soldier pounds on the door. What blasphemous actions could you have done that couldn’t have waited until morning?”

Continue reading

There is an idea….

I’m really curious to get feedback on this idea. Something tells there is something in this idea, just not sure how far to move with the hybridization of steampunk and magic.


“Finally I found you, Dorian,” recognizing the scar on his shaven scalp, despite the lone light in this abandoned factory. “His majesty is asking for you, yet you brazenly refuse. Despite generous offers of gold, land, pardons, and resources for your strange experiments. I was sent by the king himself to bring you in before he decides to send in soldiers,” pulling out compacted repeating crossbow. “Now, are you going to be civil, or do you need some enticement,” I asked.

He laughed not turning to see me. “I knew at some point you would come, Alister. However, you are late, my old friend,” raising an intricate mechanical right arm of brass. The arm was engraved with symbols of powerful magics. “The majesty wants the man I once was,” turning to face me. A mask of tarnished bronze covering the right side of his face. His eye covered by a thin piece of clear glass. Lines of sorrow and age were rampant on the uncovered half of his face. The rest of his body was hidden under a patchwork gray cloth. “There are other reasons, besides my appearance why I have refused the king’s offers. Why I chose to hide away from both worlds. Please for old times sake, lie to the king.”

“That will be difficult I’m afraid. Your presence is well known to the locals, and they are easily bribed. I know you still grieve for your wife and child, blaming the king’s soldiers for their tardiness. Your grief and anger have clouded your mind, for too long.It’s time for new ideas to clear it, as you create under the country’s banner.”

Dorian said “You speak some truth, Alister. However, your blind loyalty still prevents you from seeing much more than you can fathom,” flexing the fingers on his mechanical limbs. The Engravings beginning to emit a shade of light blue, before three short bursts were released from its palm. The magic landed on the floor around my feet, creating three concentric glowing rings. “It is time for you to see the truth, Verus Vedonre,” forcing the grounded magic to spark to life. The sparks building up rapidly before they struck my forehead.

My knees buckled, as visions passed through my head. Screaming out, I was a court of people at what appeared to Parliament. They were extravagantly dressed, sharing the same shade of ebony throughout their clothes. Twisted, old-fashioned, blackbird masks hid their faces. Yet standing above them was another, who was dressed almost entirely in ivory. The only thing that wasn’t was the black cloak that was hung around his shoulders. I assumed that the one in white was running this strange court. The intense pain faded as the vision vanished, leaving me with several questions.

Dorian asked “That was only one of the government’s secrets. I don’t know what they call themselves but, I have taken to calling them the Black Court. From the little I managed to find out, most are related to the royal family or are royalty themselves. Individual names are challenging to find for certain, as it gives them deniability. My informant revealed they orchestrated the deaths of my wife and child, along with much more that sorrowful day. If you insist on dragging me back, I will reveal the truth to the citizenry. Which I doubt will end well for those in power. Is the king really willing to risk that, for my return?”

Staying silent, I pondered all that he had shared. Forcing me to question, all that I had done in my life. All that my ancestors had done in the name of crown and country. There was so much, I didn’t fully understand but, I intended to find out.

I responded “The king believes a war is coming because of all the attacks on our own soil and on our own territories. He wants to gather his resources trying to strengthen the nation, to endures it. I should force you to come with me, but with what you revealed I’m wondering how many of the attacks were orchestrated by those in power. Not to mention the possible civil war that may break out if the citizenry reacts violently to the truth,” setting down my crossbow. “Yet I may have a proposal that would satisfy all those involved. It will be unpleasant though, and will require me to take your mechanical limb.”

Dorian blinked several times in rapid succession, gazing between me and his mechanical limb. “This damned place has some of the most brilliant minds in the world who would be foolish enough to begin a war with us,” he asked almost shouting out his question.

Something crashing through the barricaded roof windows, prevented my response. Grabbing my crossbow from the ground, I sprinted towards Dorian. Hearing several more loud crashes all around us. Glancing around to see strange steam driven humanoid machines, watching the room. Long narrow pipes erupted from the things backs, releasing whistles as steam shot out of them. Each one a terrifying giant body of iron, and bronze. They bore no symbols on the metal that I could see. Thin extensive claws reached out from each hand on the eight of them.

I shouted “hope you still remember how to fight my old friend,” quickly tracing a Pyrosis rune on the crossbow’s quarrel. Raising the first bolt, I looked at Dorian. Taking aim at the nearest ones ready to fight. “Some things never change, something is always to kill one of us.”

Dorian chuckled, tearing off the cloth that cloaked most of his body. Dashing off towards the nearest giant, before the fabric could hit the ground. Leaving me to cover him from here, or work on getting the others attention. They managed to break into groups of four, before sprinting towards us. The ground trembling with every step. Releasing the first bolt at the right knee if the nearest colossus. Watching the tip catch ablaze, leaving a small smoke trail in its wake.quickly drawing back the mechanism, the quarrel loaded another bolt. Releasing another bolt before rapidly repeating it. Managing to get two additional bolts fired before they got too close. Yelping some as the one landed a strike on my back.

It took minutes of careful dodging before I ran through a found a small window. Running through it I fired blindly, to some distance between me and them. Glancing over my shoulder to see two of them were following me with ease. One of them was struggling to keep up. Aiming over my shoulder, I fired another bolt. Reloading another bold with haste, hoping my previous one made its mark. Blaring glancing over my shoulder I fired once more, before climbing on top of an old loom. Checking my quarrel to find six bolts left.

Sliding the quarrel back into its place, I watched. Two had fallen massively behind while one kept pace. Getting close to melee range rapidly. Dropping my crossbow, I reached for my behind. Pulling out two matching curved short blades, with leather wrapped handles with great haste.

The iron behemoth’s claws reached for me, ready to kill. Leaping over claw, I quickly looked over the thing for weak points. Finding two sets of thick rubber belts that ran from the shoulders into an iron cage on the thing’s back. Rotating my body slightly I bought my blades together. Slashing through the belts on the right shoulder before rolling on the floor as I landed. The iron giant struggled to move, as it turned around. Managing to find a similar set-up powering both legs. Kneeling some I sliced at the uppermost part of the left hip. Repeating the strike on the right while I still could. Now that the iron giant was immobilized, I sprinted off to the next one.

Rolling out of the way of multiple strikes, once I got close to the two who targeted me. Giving me a small advantage, as they both struggled to turn. Slashing out at the right hip belt of the closest one. Feeling the blade struggle some as it crossed the belt. Forcefully pulling the blade back, as I stepped back. Keeping myself moving in the opposite direction they were turning. Striking with precision at their hips or shoulders, when I could. Keeping myself moving and slashing until they iron colossi were immobilized.

Running to Dorian, I saw he had dealt with all but one of the mechanical giants. Without much thought, I plunged both of my blades where the steam pipes met. Feeling something shatter inside, before water started leaking down the things back. Depowering the thing before it could slice at a sweat-covered Dorian.

Out of harm’s way for the moment, I did a closer examination of these things. Finding nothing to indicate who made them, or where they could have been built. Their pilots would have to be taken into custody. Along with suits, taken away with great discretion. Given how close Agloia was to war, I felt no inclination to prematurely spark it.

Dorian inspected the machines as he said “These colossi are an impressive feat, of engineering. Yet the design isn’t particularly efficient in a cramped area. I’m curious to meet the mind who created them, nonetheless.”

I remarked “Indeed they are. The mechanics and engineers at the Mechinka Consortium should see things. Deconstructing them for use in the army, with improvements after they are remade. Yet, they make for a bothersome challenge, in a group. I will send for backup and transportation. If you have any prohibited items or experiments, I suggest you hide them,” pulling a small disc of bronze and enchanted glass out of one of the pouches on my belt.

Dorian glared at me, “There is more at work here than you know. Only scurry, someone, you can trust,” flexing his hands some. Letting them emit a glow before shouting “Ocacco Tgoe,” releasing a burst of magic over the area. Hiding old decaying books, scrolls, unfinished projects, and so much more. “Contact your friends now, I shall dress for my return to court,” he said before walking away to the far left corner of the area.

Pulling the scurrying device closer to my mouth, I whispered “Reffero Fator, Sgt. Drusilla,” feeling the runes carved on the bronze warm as the magic began to work. “I need transport, at my location. Enough for at least twelve, including four guards, and eight prisoners in the count. Along with something large enough to move eight mechanical colossi. Colonel Alister, Quies Slentium,” ending the scurrying. Letting the device get cold, as the magic was released.

Carefully placing it back in its pouch, I reached for my blades. Seizing them out of the back of the iron giant, I examined their edges. Finding small nicks in the metal and some loose material from the slashed belts. Pulling the material off, I wiped them clean with a nearby cloth. Setting the cloth aside before sheathing them. Letting the tail of the dark blue overcoat cover them some. Preparing my clothes before my help would arrive. Knowing Sgt Drusilla would make a remark, with the nimble tongue of hers.

Satisfied with my appearance, I went to retrieve my crossbow. Being cautious despite the paralyzation of the iron colossi. Yet with their pilots still inside them, I would prefer to be prepared for anything. Unsure if they could escape from their metal cages or not.

Refilling the quarrel as I walked towards, I peeked outside. Keeping watch for friend and foe alike. Glancing up at the cloudy sky, desiring to find a clue on where the mechanical giants could have dropped from. Having strong doubt they could have climbed the building, without making a noise, or falling through the rotting roof. Seeing nothing outside of common citizens, I retreated back behind the door. Wishing the door’s rusted out lock worked.

Staying close to the door, I leaned against the wall. Trying to keep more curious citizens from entering and learning what happened here.

A sharp piercing whistle sounded three times before stopping abruptly. The sound of several precise footsteps hitting the ground all at once. Stretching some, I peeked through the door, crossbow loosely in hand. Several soldiers of Agloia had arrived, dressed in dark blue. Curved and straight swords alike hung around their waist, by gray belts. A brass buckle embossed with my country’s flag sat in the center of the belt. Tight gray pants ran down their legs, to polished brass buckled black boots. Sgt Durisallia and another were the only two whose dress was slightly different. White circulates sat upon both her shoulders. Along with two thin bands of white at the end of each sleeve. Her shortened black hair tied mostly back around her neck. A few stray strands set around each cheek, barely contrasting to her naturally tanned skin.

Sgt Durisalliaia said, “Transport has arrived, as requested sir, “saluting me with the two-fingered salute of our country.

I said “Good Sgt. Have your men remain out here for the moment. Follow me inside, Sgt,” turning around and stepping back from the door. Sensing she was smart enough not to question why.

Moments later she wiggled her way through the door. Looking at me for a few seconds before, noticing the mechanical giants that were in here. Her mouth starting to slowly drop.

Dorian remarked from the shadows, “Durisallia it has been a long time,” stepping into the light. Revealing he had dressed in a purple vest with gold trim around the edges. A bright white ruffled shirt contrasted beneath. Matching black pants and boots, and a top covered the rest of him. An intricate towering staff of bronze, with what appeared to be small metal feet at the bottom help him walk forward. Several runes were carved into the staff with great care. Each band connecting into a unifying spiral, where a single clear jewel sat. “I doubt you may recall who I am from your childhood, but I was once great friends with your parents. Your ravishing beauty reminds me of your mother when she was young.”

Durisallia reminded silent for a few seconds before remarking, “Only a little old man, “turning her head some. “Is he why you summoned me here,” a little ignorance in her questioning tone. “Or is it the strange mechanical giants?

I responded “Both, Sgt. Those colossi were dropped on us from above. However, they are currently disabled with their pilots still inside. The suits will be taken to the Mechankia Consortium. I want their pilots incarcerated at the nearest constabulary by them. If the war does break out, these suits could be useful on the battlefield. You and your men will escort them there, and try to be discreet if you can. Keep the full truth to those who can guard their tongues.”

Sgt Durisalles said “As you command, Colonel thy orders will be done,” saluting me once more.

I nodded dismissing her with the opposite salute, on my right eye. Three fingers resting against the eyebrow, with two clenched inwards.

Dorian asked, “Now that those things are being taken care of, where are you leading me?”

I responded “You will be escorted by me, to see the king,” watching Sgt Duriasalles walk out the door. “Contact someone you trust at the Mechanika Consortium, I want to make sure they know what is coming. From what I recall most of their leaders were once your former pupils. Have one of them contact the nearest location ArcMeckia, and pass along instructions,” checking to make sure I had my blades and crossbow. “Follow me, Dorian, to where our transport awaits,” heading towards the back door.

Making my way towards the old dirt covered train tracks, that had been forgotten. Unmoved by the rusting, broken machinery that was scattered there. Rotten, Dirt covered spools of various fabrics were spread around. All in various degrees of thicknesses, and colors.

Taking the path north into the forest four about an hour. Stopping at a small brick shack, with a brown door. A single slot about three-fourths of the way up was the only thing visible on the outside. Dorian followed behind as I approached the door.

A deep voice bellowed from inside “Quis Approphquat?”

I answered “Colonel Alister Dukerf, and a high priority personage sought by the king.”

The voice bellowed again “ Entrance Sententia?”

I responded “In totum requim adquire, quaerve captis putei abysi.”

The door slides open from the inside. Revealing a single hanging glass lantern, above a set of stone stairs. In silence, I entered first. Grabbing the lantern, before descending the stairs. Dorian following close behind, leaning on his cane some.

At the end of the stairs were three guards, dressed in dark gray uniforms. Black belts, gloves, hoods, and boots were only they were that wasn’t. Two stood at the edges of the wall. Rifles of brass and wood, against their shoulder. The rifle’s barrels pointing towards the grounds. On the far wall was alone sitting guard. A mounted steam power multi-barreled Mling machine rifle obscured some of him. In the middle was a set of iron tracks, that hid a powerful hydraulic system. A polished brass oval-shaped egg rested on the tracks. Attached to the northern part was an iron cone. The cone had small holes around in a spiral pattern. A singular piece of latched copper sat on the left edge, for refilling I assumed. Four narrow copper pipes erupted from the back, almost parallel to the tracks. Multiple sections of blackened glass formed the top. Separated by a brass rib about the thickness of a child’s arm. The crest of Agloia was painted in black and blue on the low side of the rib.

I commented “This will transport us to the royal family’s castle, with necessary swiftness. Strap in on the far side Dorian. There is little knowledge of this tunnel system outside the royal family and their elite guards and soldiers. Try to keep it that way, Dorian.”

Dorian nodded briefly before walking around me. The larger black glass section, sliding back from inside. Revealing alone sitting guard rested inside, the leather interior. Along with two other seats in the back. An iron brazier, engraved with multiple Pyrosis runes rested on the guard’s left side.

Minutes later we were inside the pod. Beginning to make our way to the capital as the brazier was slide into the cone.

Random Musings #7.9

Previous entries: Random Musings #7, Random Musings #7.1, Random Musings #7.2, Random Musings #7.3, Random Musings #7.4, Random Musings #7.5, Random Musings #7.6, Random Musings #7.7, Random Musings #7.8


Raising my group after a quick breakfast, I sat down across from Martin, Beth, and two other members of Martin’s group. Max sat on my right, Beth on my left.

Martin said “The storm has passed Jack, which puts me in a perplexing situation. Without your groups’ assistance, last night would have had a severely bleaker outcome. For that everyone in my group is incredibly grateful. Yet I gave you a verbal contract about sheltering your group, and I have fulfilled it. Which makes it your priority to leave, completing your half of the agreement. However, after a late meeting with my advisors, I have a proposal to make on behalf of my group. While you will be told shortly what that is, I’m most curious to know your plan when you choose to leave.”

Glancing over at Beth, before switching my gaze to Max, for a brief moment. Looking at Martin, I asked, “How much have you heard about Quietus, through these barricaded walls?”

Martin responded “Much and yet very little simultaneously. I believe people exaggerate what they hear through whispers and white noise radio, the apocalypse just amplifies it. If the rumors are to be believed, this place is where humanity has taken its final stand. Some place where the snow is filled with snow, hope, and gunpowder. For a place seeking to preserve humanity, I’m curious to know why they reveal as little as possible about it. I imagine there is more to it than that, but that is what I believe.”

I said “Fair enough. That was where I was hoping to lead my group before you encountered us. I would prefer to continue the way there if we leave. ”

Martin said “Interesting Jack,” scratching his chin a little. “The proposal I offer extends to everyone in your group, but that will only be once. Out two groups merging, becoming a fellowship of sorts. Your group will have to work and defend this hospital like mine does. That being stated, Max and you would be given leadership positions, and spots on my council. Keeping things running smoothly, as everyone gets used to having more people around. I will give you two hours to think it over, among your group,” standing up. “Everyone in my group please follow me out. Send everyone from Jack’s group in for their private discussion,” walking out of the room. Followed quickly by the two members of his group that sat beside him.

Beth lingered behind, as my group slowly made their way inside the room. Making me wonder if she was going to follow us if we left. Trying to fill the parental role for Jet and Jillian.

Random Musings #7.8

Previous entries: Random Musings #7, Random Musings #7.1, Random Musings #7.2, Random Musings #7.3, Random Musings #7.4, Random Musings #7.5, Random Musings #7.6. Random Musings #7.7


Following the sound up the stairs, at a breakneck pace. Trying not to trip on our own feet in the process.  Wishing I had my gun on me as I pushed on the door leading to the roof. Seeing three of the predators were on the roof alive and to more dead. Taking turns to fire on them from the limited cover. Keeping them at a safe distance. The creatures didn’t seem to notice us, as they were bombarded with bullets and rain.

Somone I didn’t recognize, waved us over. Sprinting over the slippery rooftop, I made my way over. The others following quickly behind.  A large scoped rife was forced into my hands before the creatures were pointed at. Making the fire motion with his fingers, before resuming to fire. I didn’t recognize much about the rifle, but it looked military.

Relying on outdated military training I did my best to line up the weapon properly. Feeling around for the bolt release and trigger. Gripping the bolt release carefully, I pulled it back releasing a spent cartridge. Letting the bolt go forward by itself. Peering down the scope, keeping my eye a few inches away.  Taking careful aim, knowing the wind could move the bullets intended trajectory. Finding a decent shot at the creature on the left side of the roof. Holding my breath, I fired into the monster’s neck. A little right of where I aimed. The creature growled deep in pain, before boldly charging forward. Letting its dark green blood leak down its body in the process. Chambering another round, I readied myself to make another shot.  Before I could fire the creature slide forward, landing on its neck hard. Releasing a loud crack as the monster’s neck broke.

The other two monsters’ released a fierce-some high-pitched howl, as their wings sprouted out of their backs. I could tell if that meant they were fleeing or doing something else.

Before they could manage to do anything I quickly fired another round. Aiming for the wing in an attempt to keep them grounded. Either one escaping would be dangerous. The others seemed to follow my idea, as the one I hit starting falling back to the roof. Quickly chamber another round I did the same thing to the one still aloft. Releasing another howl, as it began slowly plummet. Laning with a thud, that kicked up a circle of water.

Without fully realizing it, I managed to fire four shots in rapid succession. Wounding them once more, before killing them with a second shot. Believing so anyway, since I had seen these things take a lot of bullets before being killed. There were vulnerable parts on beneath their armor like skin.It seemed biology failed in shielding any joints, and the wings from what I noticed. Maybe these things had different stages of their existence.

The rain continued to pound the roof as everyone returned inside. Drenched, tired, and yet reeking of gunpowder, fear, and adrenaline. The scent following us down the stairs. Hopefully not infecting the air, with its odorous mix. A disposal method would have to be agreed to if the storm ever lets up.

Finally, we enter the door to the third floor. Martin somehow managed to get ahead of everyone. Hobbling toward the center of the room, as if it was his personal stage. I had to admit the man was highly charismatic.

He waited for every member of both groups to be in the room before clearing his throat. “The storm brought the abominations to our door and we repelled them. Yet, we were not alone in this endeavor. With aid of strangers, we managed to push the creatures back, before eliminating them. Granting us a brief respite as the storm continues to rage on. If we need their help again, we may not have time to fetch their weapons. Which is why I will allow them to hold on to them, ” receiving a mix of cheers and boos after saying that. “Yet, at the same time, two of those strangers managed to bring two of our own back to us. Along with valuable medical supplies, from beyond the quarantined door. Now some of you may have your suspicions about them, but these people worked to no-longer be strangers but friends. I would suggest to everyone who can, rest up and clean your weapons after you get on some dry clothes. Everyone else, change into to some dry clothes and warm up before resuming your duties. This storm isn’t over yet, and we are still are high alert,” raising his pistol into the air. Shouting “We will endure,” receiving cheers from the room.

 

Random Musings #5.10

Previous entries: Random Musings #5, Random Musings #5.1, Random Musings #5.2, Random Musings #5.3, Random Musings #5.4, Random Musings #5.5, Random Musings #5.6, Random Musings, #5.7Random Musings #5.8, Random Musings #5.9


Two days had passed before Chronos and Minerva decided the fate of our prisoners. With the sun beginning to set both of them approached the captives. Genesis and Pierce on Minerva’s right, while Frigar and I were on Chronos’ left. Everyone else following behind however they wished.

Minerva commented “This is your final chance to share anything useful you know and still be granted mercy. Some of your brethren took up the first offer when it was offered originally. Thos that didn’t saw how generous we can be,” pausing a few minutes to test the loyalty of the remaining members of the Order of Holy Light.  Despite being bound, none of them shouted to take it. “Stubborn and loyal to the end I see. Under normal circumstances that would be commended, but these aren’t normal circumstances.  We will not grant you a trail like our forbearers, captured and tortured,” her voice in anger. “like monsters. By refusing our last offer of mercy, you will be killed as monsters deserve. Pierce, Genesis, Frigar, and Earolis you will be doing the execution. Be merciless but swift if can. How all of you choose to that is your choice,” surprising the others and myself as we glanced at each other.

Pierce was the first to step forward, extending sharp claws out of his fingers. Touching them against the steel bands on his shoulders. Forcing the claws to adapt the metal’s properties.  With a slight grin, he walked towards the first captive. Teasing the captured guard some before slicing his throat. Releasing a spray of blood onto his face.

Frigar and I walked forward together. Drawing several sharpened staffs, from the earth. Working in tandem to execute the nearest prisoners, knowing we were more than capable of killing them. Spearing the heads, or chest of the captives to give them what little mercy they deserved.  Out of the corner of my eye, spotting Genesis walking towards the captives last. His hands glowing with a mirage of colors before I lost sight of him. Dividing my focus on what everyone was doing. Trying to avoid giving into my own notions of vengeance.

I wasn’t sure how much time had passed before Chronos’ booming voice interrupted, “Enough,” stopping all of us with a single word. “Step back you four, the captives are more than dead. Now to just gather the bodies and dispose of them. Gibil will handle the disposal and help move the bodies. Once they are gathered we can a send a message to the order. Frigar and Earolis excavate a hole for them to dump the bodies in, as they do.”

I nodded before glancing at Frigar some. Trying to get an idea of what was going on in his head. He nodded some before taking a few steps away in silence. With little choice, I followed a few seconds behind. Knowing I would need his assistance to open a decent sized crater. Trying to make sure it was done without causing injury to the others if the placement was off.

Frigar stopped a few feet away from the others, glancing away from them. I stopped maybe six steps away. In silence he turned around, looking directly at me. Feeling the subtle wave of energy he was emitting. Relaxing some, I countered with a wave of my own. Letting them merge after a couple seconds. Increasing their power drastically as the earth below us started to give way. Shaping it with care for several minutes until a deep bowl was formed in the earth itself.

Stepping around the hole, I watched as the corpses were dragged here. Tapping my foot some as I waited. Glancing up at the stars in an attempt to distract myself, as my own exhaustion was beginning to catch up with me.

The moon took its rightful place as the last of the bodies were tossed into the hole. Gibil stood on the edge of the pile. His hands engulfed in flame, waiting for the order to be given. While the others took various spots around the hole.

Chronos shouted “The order things our resistance is an act of annoyance and futility. With the successful capture of this remote orphanage, we strike back. Even if we have to comment atrocities to survive, against the ones they send to kill us like they did our predecessors. Now on this historic night, we will give the oppressed hope. Tonight the resistance will give rebirth to the second age of heroes. Gibil please ignite the bodies and let the world know that the powers have returned,” as Gibil erupted the flames from his hands. Shooting them around the crater, lighting a beacon for a new age.

Staring into the flame, I began to wonder where the resistance would go from here? Would the world fight with us? Did the world still remember heroes were once real? How many of us would fall before the Order of the Holy Light was destroyed? Would history paint us as heroes like our forebeares, or as villians?


I think I’m leaving the ending as it is. While it may open-ended, it does allow for me to continue if I wish. Even adopting the premise into a small novella series, or graphic novel if the opportunity presents itself. Any comments on the entries overall are appreacited.

 

 

 

Random Musings #5.9

Previous entries: Random Musings #5, Random Musings #5.1, Random Musings #5.2, Random Musings #5.3, Random Musings #5.4, Random Musings #5.5, Random Musings #5.6, Random Musings #5.7, Random Musings #5.8


Forcing myself to stop as I saw a handful of guards standing in front of the underground cell door. Two of them had pistols pointed at the heads of Kali and Frigar.  If Kali wasn’t projecting a small protective aura, I doubted I would have noticed. Stepping to the right to avoid being seen, assuming they didn’t see me coming. This was something I didn’t expect. A hostage situation where I had little information on what was happening. I needed a distraction, so I could try and get some help. Downside they would most likely kill Kali and Frigar if they saw me leave.

Hiding for several minutes, I heard no footsteps approaching me. Which meant I was should be safe for the moment, despite my abrupt entrance. Knowing I was comprised I, formulated a basic plan.

Placing both hands on the wall behind me, I closed my eyes. Channeling a small amount of energy to create my version of radar. Desperately needing to know the odds, before I acted. Feeling the bounce back that revealed at least six guards. Making notes of where they were so I could strike without injuring my companions.  Taking a deep breath, I choose my locations with care. Releasing quick narrow spikes from underneath each guard. Aiming more to maim than to kill, if I could. Hearing a few screams, as I hit my targets. Creating and releasing another wave of spikes before stopping as the air fell quiet.

Opening my eyes I waited a few moments before peering around the corner. Seeing Kali and Frigar relatively out of harm. The guards that once held them on the ground, barely moving.

Frigar most have noticed me before saying, “Earolis is all they sent when they noticed we hadn’t returned with the children,” chuckling a bit. “I suppose I should be grateful, now that the guards have been dealt with,” crossing his arms. “I guess I should starting dragging the bodies outside before releasing the children. No point in traumatizing them farther.”

I watched Frigar move the bodies outside. Using a mix of the earth and his hands to do so, as I fought back the urge to slap him. Hoping to stop the arrogant, ungrateful, egotist he was becoming. He may have similar powers to me, but he always managed to get under my skin. Taking a series of deep breaths to calm myself as I waited. Splitting my gaze between Kali and Frigar. Coming to realize Kali should be the ones to let them out. I believed they would listen to her, before listening to Frigar or me.

Once Frigar finished moving the bodies, I approached Kali. Sharing that I wanted her to be the one to release the orphans.  In an effort to keep them calm as they received their liberation. Kali gave me a slight glare but nodded, looking more to the ground than to me. It was clear she nervous but understanding which was a good sign. She and the other children had only escaped five days ago, only to return to free the others. There was something oddly storybook about that.

Kali sighed some before walking to the wooden,  door. Expanding her glowing aura as she reached for the door. Forming almost finger-like appendages before digging them into the door. Aggressively pulling the door off of its hinges. Tossing it to the left side of the chamber. Where it collided with a slight echoing thud. The children inside releasing several gasps, looking at Kali.

Kali said “You are free now, ” stepping aside gradually. “The stairs will lead you to your new lives.”

Glancing inside, I watched the orphaned children stand up. Hesistent to move towards the door, almost as if they believed this was a ruse. I peeked up at Kali, trying to find a way to break the orphans collective stillness.

After a few minutes passed the first few children approached the door, with tentative steps. Cautiously walking past the threshold, before looking back at the other children. Keeping their gaze on the other children as they moved forward. Getting a little faster the farther they got. The other children began to follow their courageous example, beginning to move past the door. This continued at a decent pace until they were all out. Kali and I were the last to leave the underground chamber.

 

 

Random Musings #5.8

Previous entries: Random Musings #5, Random Musings #5.1, Random Musings #5.2, Random Musings #5.3, Random Musings #5.4, Random Musings #5.5, Random Musings #5.6, Random Musings #5.7


Dawn had come and gone by the time we found the stragglers from the Order of Holy light. They were bound, gagged, and stripped of their weapons. Which I felt was a better punishment than they deserved. Pierce, Genesis, and Gibil were watching over the fifty members from what I saw. Yet I was stuck watching over the one man I noted in my undercover time. Jaliki, Chronos, and Minerva were my company.

The old man chuckled as Minerva broke another one of his fingers. “You are fools, still resorting to torturous interrogation. After all this time I’m dumbfounded that Chrons and Minerva have failed to learn anything from our intermingled past. Despite my presence here, I despise the Order of Holy Light. Just less than you hero types, which is the only reason in Fate’s tapestry I would ally myself with them,” chuckling once more. “Even the children in your company will learn the truth soon enough. Chrons and Minerva are the heroes they pretend to be, but something far more ancient, gods. Which is the true reason the resistance started, you and your kin wanted revenge on the mortals who once worshipped you,” chuckling madly before falling silent. Looking Jaliki and me over, a cry for help in his face.

Chronos had seized the old man by the throat, yelling out “You nefarious, scheming, traitorous, misguided, twisted old man. There is only partial truth in your words. After all, you were once like us, until grief wrecked your mind. Your longevity was the only thing we didn’t strip from you, Aconeric. If Minerva and I are truly fools, then you have forfeited any hope of getting what was yours back. Which is why I will give you something you deserve, death,” rapidly aging him in front of my eyes. Going from being a man of flesh and bone to a decaying corpse, then to dust.

I noticed Minerva give Chronos a wide-eyed glance of concern and worry. Chronos remaining oblivious of her expression. Leaving me to wonder how much of what Aconeric revealed was true.

Trying to shake off the mental image of what just happened, I discreetly walked out. Unsure if Chronos would expel his chronal manipulation power in his mixture of grief and anger. Silently I walked towards Genesis, Gibil, and Pierce. Wanting a distraction, or at least a change of scenery.

Gibil turned his head slightly, “Relief already, “he asked. Keeping the prisoners in view the best he could.

I responded “IF that was the case there would be more than I,” laughing a little. “Just been a long day watching Chronos and Minerva interrogate the strange old man.”

Gibil nodded before turning his focus back to the prisoners. I gazed past him towards the prisoners. Trying to recall the faces of the ones who worked with Aconeric. They could be valuable, perhaps even the only lead to what Aconeric was actually doing. Hopefully, I can remember them, without bringing the orphans to view them.

“Did anyone actually save the children,” blurting out the question to anyone who could answer. Since I had yet to see them above ground. Exploring freely the one place that imprisoned them so unjustly.

Gibil turned fully with a shocked almost embarrassed expression. “Umm…not that I know of. Last I knew Kali, and Frigar were told to, “he responded. “I haven’t seen them return yet.”

Without thinking I sprinted off, recalling the way.

 

WEP August 2017 challenge

For this month’s challenge, the theme was “Reunions,” which in my opinion comes in two types; joyous, and tragic. Some could argue that the intentions of the reunion, is how it is perceived. Which in the case of writing this piece, I found to be oddly double sided but, true. Once you read how this piece begins and ends you may understand why I state that. Enjoy my tale, titled The Banished Prince Returns. august2bbadge


Looking past the dungeon’s cell door, I glared at my father. Along with the strange, crippled, ancient being who ordered the guards to put me here. My father appearing more like a ghost of his former self. His hair graying and unraveled, upon a face that I barely recognized. This wasn’t the reunion I anticipated.

With a weak voice, my father said “You shouldn’t have returned my son. The exile I ordered on you, had a purpose you were too young to understand at the time. Even now I have my doubts.”

“Mother told me the truth when I turned fifteen, three years ago. Your servant has poisoned your mind, father,” I said. “Now let me out father.”

My father turned, beginning to walk away before shouting “Never,” not looking back at me. Ascending the stone staircase, followed closely by his strange companion. Leaving me alone, in the dying flame of a torch.

The torch had died before I heard the sound of approaching footsteps. They stopped as a someone said “It is true then, that the prince has returned,” the voice almost recognizable.

“Rshun,” I asked.

“Close prince, Rshun was my father,” it answered, as the footsteps returned. Stopping at my cell door. “Don’t fear prince, loyalists still remain here,” lowering their voice to a whisper. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the key to this cell but there is still a way out. That far back wall opens to a passageway from when they first built this place,” passing something under the cell door. “Your freedom has a price my prince, and the loyalists know what it is. Yet you have a choice. Kill your father, taking your rightful place on the throne, or find your father’s strange follower, and kill him instead. War is coming prince, and the kingdom needs someone strong to lead it. Be safe, and quick if you can my prince,” before walking away.

Reaching around, I touched something soft but cold. Pulling it towards me, felt the crest of my family on this piece of fabric. Slowly unwrapping it, a dim light began to peek through. I quickly realized this was the fabled Illumina. Trying to keep the light hidden I walked towards the back wall. Feeling around for the mechanism that would open the hidden passageway. Managing to find it by accident as leaned on a brick, on the edge of giving up. Being careful I entered the passageway. Trying to make a decision as I navigated the stone passageway, with little idea where I was going.

Only by stumbling around in the system of passageways did I find my way into the higher levels of the castle. Having to peek carefully through several possible openings, before finding both of them in the same room. The stranger leaning towards my father’s ear, whispering something I couldn’t hear. His hand glowing a faint shade of green, in the process. Being cautious, I cracked the door open just enough to let me through before entering the chamber. Staying close to the wall I watched them both. Knowing in my heart, what I was doing was right. Hiding the wrapped blade behind my back I approached. Surprised to see the guards made no moves to stop me. After I got close, I let the fabric fall aside. Plunging the Illumina into the back of the strange man, before it hit the ground. Withdrawing the blade, as I noticed the stranger turned only his head. Looking at me with eyes, darker than the night sky. Startled some, I stabbed the thing quickly. Avoiding his gaze, for this thing’s spell fall on me too. Apparently annoyed with me, the thing pushed me aside. Placing its entire focus on me, seemingly oblivious to the ebony goo falling from his wounds. Approaching me with his hands, slowly turning into talons. Doubting I could do much against this abomination’s true self, I ran towards it. With a twisted grin, it seized my throat. Lifting me into the air with ease. Keeping the best grip I could on the Illumina, I plunged it into the creature’s head. The thing’s grip loosened enough to drop me, as it stumbled backward. It’s head starting to glow from the inside.

I heard my father weakly shout “Kill that thing, my loyal guards.”

From the corners of the room, guards rushed forward, weapons drawn. The strange creature panicked and released a high pitched howl. Yet, the guards didn’t falter, as the first spear was hurtled into the air. Pinning that thing to the ground, as it began to bleed out. Fighting against the guards until it finally died.

Rushing to my father, I watched as the magic effects continued. Looking slightly stronger than before, but still very weak.

My father commanded “Welcome home, my son. Guards the banishment I placed on my son, is lifted. Spread the word to the kingdom, that the prince has saved the kingdom,” before seizing my hand hard. “That was the last of my strength my son. The kingdom is now yours, do me, proud son,” before fading away.


Word Count:847 Critique level: Full