Diaries of the Gods

Written by Terrestris Veritas

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Is it so hard to just be at peace with each other? Image // Alisa Perne

You humans; all you ever do is fight. None of you can comprehend the destruction that you impose on that which is never at fault. You were a mistake…you were never meant to be.

A curse is a terrible thing. To be constricted to a single condition and never let free. The pain of that never lessens. But you’d know all about that. For you are but pieces of a shattered dream.

You were insignificant to us, we let you breed and run wild. Then we believed you had power over us. That was our mistake. You dragged us into your meaningless wars, made us watch as your hollow ambitions swallowed you all. And we thought we couldn’t escape you.

Time and time again you would annihilate yourselves only to rise once more from the debris. None of you could recognize your own faulty ways. All you ever did was build in order to destroy. Create to kill.

Money, land, politics and possessions. The four curses of your race. Each can easily be forsaken, only you didn’t know how to live without them. And that scared you, enough to turn on your friends and allies. But when you gazed over a burning land of death, you finally realized your foolishness. You did away with yourself, unable to live all alone with your four, foul curses.

Thus, the land burned. We thought you humans had learnt your lesson. But the years turned to centuries, which rolled into millennia, which eventually became eons. You were thought as a legend, as a fable as new people came to be. Then, they turned into the one we still call ‘you’.

A dozen times history repeated itself, the land suffering while only we could hear its screams. How deaf you all were, how obsessed you were with the frail “self”. Perhaps, this was your curse.

Regardless, you hurt us and the world. You even hurt yourselves but again you ignored it. You ignored the screams, the cries for mercy, the children that begged you to stop. And you killed part of us. Always using others, too afraid to look your enemy in the eye as you take their life. Instead, you are content to observe from afar, safe and warm, healthy in your golden frocks. While you slowly killed us.

You would never learn, but who could blame you? The eons were nought but dust, and soot and ash lend no lessons on life. You are the smallest pieces in this puzzle, this wretched puzzle, and you cost us our freedom.

Your part in the puzzle is done. So why do you still hurt us? Why do you still kill yourselves senselessly? You humans, not even content with just being alive. And the funny thing is; you’ve all but forgotten that you were never part of the bigger picture. Just a toy. Just a sad mistake.

Terrestris Veritas had labelled this piece as somewhat experimental, and he wasn’t sure where it would fit. We’re likely to call it a fantasy monologue featuring a livid God and his private thoughts. A reflection upon our society, ‘Diaries of the Gods’ lends itself to this month’s theme light – if only in a small sense. A light above the world, or below it, Gods and Goddesses will peer into the lives of men and women. Terra’s piece gazes upon such atrocities and documents them. If you enjoyed this short piece of fiction, you might like some of Terra’s other work, including but not limited to, ‘Race‘ and ‘The Servant‘. 

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The Hosting of Thrwa

Written by Dice

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The lone elf watches. Is he waiting for war? Image // Deviantart user Fadly Romdhani

The Hosting of Thrwa
The host marches on Sliabhnarea,
Coming-to-the-lands of the young and fair,
The eyes of Thrwa a burning flare,
Elves running away, runaway,
Away, runaway.

Mortal men fear, their hope is gone,
From over the wall, comes the marching drum,
Men let out a cry, as they burn and bleed,
Where are the Maysa, in our time of need?

The host marches on Sliabhnarea,
Coming-to-the-lands of the young and fair,
The eyes of Thrwa a burning flare,
Elves running away, runaway,
Away, runaway.

He reaches our wall, the end will start,
When out of the gloom, flies an eagle so grand,
She comes between him and the bane of his heart,
She comes between him and the deed of his hand.

The host marches on Sliabhnarea,
Coming-to-the-lands of the young and fair,
The eyes of Thrwa a burning flare,
Madb calling ‘fray, to the fray,’
‘Fray, to the fray.’

Dice’s lyrical ensemble was written on behalf of his work-in-progress fantasy novel, telling the wonderful tale of how the Maysa came to be. While you won’t be familiar with the Maysa, you may know of the song this was inspired by: The Waterboys’s “Hosting of Shee” adapted from the Yeats poem The Hosting of the Sidhe, of which you catch the original song at the link, here. We thought this was a great way to conclude this month’s performance theme, so if you enjoyed reading (or, perhaps, singing) then feel free to leave a like or a comment. You can also check out Dice’s other work such as his Alexander shorts, “Summer 1943“‘ and “A Wonderful Thing“.  

Hunter And Prey

Written by OrdDiff

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In the vast world of Skyrim, only the Dragonborn can slay dragons. Image // Bethesda

The hunter breathed in.

Kale crept through the undergrowth as quietly as he could. He knew his prey was near, and the slightest disturbance would alert it to his presence. The midday heat was stifling, making every action ten times harder than it should be. Flying insects harassed the woodsman sneaking by their homes. Kale did his best to ignore them.

Passing a spectacular oak tree, the large hunter spotted the gleaming scales of his quarry. It was seated over a waterfall, looking over the lands it thought of as its own. “Such arrogance,” thought Kale. He strung the massive bow he’d been carrying on his back, the bowstring resembling more of a rope than the twine of traditional limbs. He nocked the great arrow, almost as thick as his arm, and braced the weapon in the ground. The beast had still not noticed. Kale drew the string back…

“Stupid hornets”, thought Kale. “What a place to build a nest.”

The determined hunter ascended the rocky face of Heaven’s Key mountain. Frost coated the light beard he had grown in his travels, and he could barely feel his fingers. The hornet’s sting had cost him one of them, impairing his abilities and causing pain with every handhold. The thick coat he had bartered from the villagers down below did little to protect him against the bitter mountain winds, and he worried that the chattering of his teeth alone would alert the beast. Wiping his goggles clear of white snow once again, he crested the ridge and gained footing on solid ground.

Over a chasm, Kale spotted crimson scales. He could barely make out the beast’s details through the blizzard, but he couldn’t waste this shot. Fumbling with numb appendages, he strung his bow and nocked an arrow. Just a single shot…

“Damn winds,” thought Kale.

The weary hunter trudged across the plains, longing for home. When he had taken it upon himself to down the monster, he had underestimated the sheer scale of his task. The dragon could cross immeasurable distances in a day, leaving a hunter with weeks of travel. Kale’s supplies were running low, and he had been forced to ration harshly. As long grass brushed against his thick leather boots, he drank the last of his water. His beard scratched his neck as he forced himself to continue, knowing that stopping now meant certain death.

The hunter’s ears twitched. “No,” thought Kale, “it couldn’t be.”

Now alert, he strung his massive bow. The great limbs groaned in protest at the lack of maintenance, but submitted to the will of the hunter. Kale’s ears twitched again; he’d heard the flapping of giant wings. He dropped his pack, the travelling pots clanging and sounding throughout the valley. It didn’t matter if the beast heard him now.

From behind a peak, Kale spotted the dragon. There was fire building in its maw, and it was circling the hunter. With resolve, Kale drew his bow for the last time. The dragon dived at the man, and then hunter and prey locked eyes.

The hunter breathed out.

“Sir!” The squire burst into the warlord’s tent. All eyes fell on the young boy, just twelve years of age.

“Well?” The grizzled old general demanded. “Spit it out!”

“He grounded the dragon!”

OrdDiff’s Half Hour Challenge was submitted as part of last month’s theme, Chase. He’s done a remarkable job in building the tension in such a short piece, and we love it. Given the 12-year-old boy’s impressive performance – hunting a dragon, of all things – it was a sure shoe-in for this month’s content. If you enjoyed OrdDiff’s piece, you can check out his first published work for Inkblots, “Bronze Regrets“, at the link. 

The Art of Swordplay

Written by Eruantien

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A longsword match between two men. Image // Fechtbücher (Commons)

“I’ll draw them,” murmured Garidth to Kurvello. “You lead the others further in.”

“Take the heat off you when they realise we’re already inside the keep?”

“Would be nice,” Garidth nodded to his brother and the others, and strode out of the undergrowth to the front of the gate house. Lowering his buffe to reveal his face, the young knight raised his longsword and his voice: “All glory to the true lord of Janakholm, Kurvello Karvelson! Let any who deny his claim come forth now and challenge me, Sir Garidth of Corlyn; or hide forever behind the skirts of your mothers, like that snivelling boy who calls himself lord!”

Two came forth and Garidth could see a third hovering in the gateway, only half armoured. The other two – wearing maille and open-faced helms – drew their swords and closed on Garidth. Garidth couldn’t help but smile as the words of his old tutor echoed in his ears, “if someone attacks you with his blade in a standard grip when you are in full plate, then he knows nothing of the True Art”. His blood singing, Garidth launched his attack, thrusting hard at the one to his left, but the man’s sword came up in time to glance the thrust to the side. Against the Hämähäkkan’s expectations, Garidth continued his push and quickly whipped his steel-clad left fist forwards in a straight jab, smashing into his opponent’s face. Already turning as the stunned man stumbled back, Garidth blocked the second soldier’s overhand strike with his right vambrace. Garidth couldn’t help but let out a grunt of discomfort as the heavy sword bit into the steel, but before the Hämähäkkan could recover his guard, he swung his blade towards himself and caught it in his left hand. Without pausing, he slammed the pommel into the bridge of his opponent’s nose and fractured his skull. The man dropped. His first opponent began to gather his wits a moment too late as Garidth’s sword got behind his knee and took his feet from under him. Garidth immediately thrust his blade down, two-handed, at the maille protecting the man’s throat. Steel rings split beneath the blade’s tip. Garidth paused for a moment to catch his breath, and withdrew his sword as the third member of the gatehouse came out.

Garidth eyed this new combatant; clad in brigandine, the way in which he held himself was different from the other two Hämähäkkans he’d fought. Unlike the others, this one had adopted a half-sword stance and had solid plates on his arms and legs complimenting the brigandine and visored helm. Garidth found himself suddenly wishing that he hadn’t lowered his buffe earlier; there was no time to secure it back in place now.

Blood dripped from the tip of Garidth’s longsword as he gripped it halfway down the blade. Continue reading →

Knight

Written by Ashcloud

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We all need a little protection in our lives, even if it’s hidden.

Close the bond between two souls,
Has flourished underneath the sun,
In stained glass caverns, stories made,
Vanquished now the pressing tonne.
A friendship great for eternity,
Laughter the music of precious memory,
Remember to look closely and you will find,
Your true design, your soul, your mind.

 

A short but nevertheless sweet homage poem from Ashcloud. Dedicated to a close friend of hers, Ashcloud says it’s for one “who deserves so much, but asks for so little”. We particularly admired her use of imagery here to reminisce of past times and children’s fantasy stories, stealing us from our slumber to keep us wide-eyed and wondering. An elegant and simple tribute to her friend. If you liked Ashcloud’s poetry, feel free to take a look at “One Day at a Time” – a poem for school leavers. 

 

Closure

Written by Lost in a Dream

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It’s hard to leave the past behind entirely. Image // Carol Lin

Rose walked away from the high-rise buildings of Tetropolis, towards the fringe of the city. Her bag was heavy and the still, summer heat was particularly overbearing, so the journey took much longer than usual. While it would have been quicker for her to get a cab, she knew that the walk would give her a sense of closure. 

She paused to take a couple of pictures of her favourite places. She laughed at herself for being so damn sentimental. But there was no going back to Tetropolis after all that had happened. 

As she approached the edge of town, Rose found herself pausing outside her first flat. It seemed a lifetime ago. The owner of the grocery store on the other side of the street was sitting in a fold-up chair outside, reading a newspaper, and listening to a tinny radio. She recognised the song playing and it caught her almost by surprise. While she couldn’t remember the lyrics, she knew the rhythm straight away and it took her back to those early days. 

In a moment of nostalgia, she recalled the heavy, black notebook in her bag. The book was never really out of her thoughts, but she tried to push it to the back of her mind. She knew that she should have destroyed it with the other stuff, that’s what Felix said, but when she held the lighter up to the thick cream pages, she couldn’t do it. 

Knowing that she couldn’t take the book with her, Rose resolved to dump it in the next bin. Although she had written the book, she had never read through it. Would those happy, opening pages be laced with irony? Would she herself change through the pages? 

Sitting down at a disused bus stop, she pulled the book out of her bag and decided to give it a read before throwing it away. 

Lost in a Dream’s Closure was written in response to our November Half Hour Challenge theme, Book of Secrets. This short snapshot of Rose’s life leaves us hungry for more. What was in her past that she’s so desperate to throw away? But also, how is it that she cannot part with it? If you’re a diary or journal writer, would you find it sickening to throw your past away like Rose? Maybe it’s the pull of nostalgia that makes this HHC such a simple pleasure. If you liked Lost in a Dream’s writing, make sure you check out some of her poetry as well, such as ‘Parnassus Park‘ and ‘Time Was Standing Still‘.

Aldrick The Mad

Written by Dice

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Ready for a sacrifice? The Stone Table in Narnia is calling…
Image Courtesy of Concept Art from the Chronicles of Narnia

Here follows the final moments of Aldrick The Mad’s life written by his scribe, who had been ordered by Aldrick himself to watch from a hidden location and record all that he saw. The scribe was not entrusted with the knowledge of what Aldrick was attempting in the forest, gold was the penniless scribe’s only reason for being present.

“Yes, yes a sacrifice, poetic in your demand. I understand, I understand. Elven by birth, elven she is, eleven too, ha! That’s why I chose her, a little humour between us.

“No, no my lord, not a time for joke, time for joking is not now. Soon we will laugh though, soon in our victory… your victory, you will be the victorious one. Yes victory at last against your sister, our mother, the betrayer of our Lord.

“Betrayed you she did, like the mother of the sacrifice, she never bore a male of your line, honoured though she was with the strongest men your temples could find, she failed them all, but her daughter, she’s survived six years, more than most, but find her I did. She is found and will make a perfect key for your cell, won’t she hmm?”

Aldrick drags the young nameless girl in front of him and lifts the frightened child onto a large, yet cracked stone dais; the centrepiece to the clearing Aldrick now stands in. The clearing is a strange place with an unnerving feel to the air, even the trees surrounding the stone dais seem to grow and lean away from the clearing. As such, the ground is devoid of any life, the soil is dry and black with large cracks, as if the ground had been burnt. The four mercenaries Aldrick has hired to protect him ignore the situation, a couple even twiddle a coin to remind them it’s all about the money.

Tears stream down the gagged girl’s cheeks, and Aldrick ties her down. There are stone hands protruding from the edges of the stone dais as if  grasping for the ropes which tie down the sacrifice.

“Bring the knife, no, no, he disappeared, useless servant, never really useful, fun though, fun to order someone, others don’t listen. These do, these here. You, Mercenary, bring me a knife.” Continue reading →