Tag Archives: fantasy

No. 27 Scientific Beauty (or, If You Don’t Like This, Blame My Computer)

Hello again! Long time no see. And by no see, I mean long time no writing, because apparently NanoWriMo dragged my motivation away with it when it when it left. But hey, I’m back, and I have a journal with a couple of salvageable stories that I want to type up, so perhaps we’re heading back on track.

Now, if you don’t like this story, blame my computer. It was better, full of thoughtfully considered words and wit. But alas, in my haste to write I had not saved the story, and my computer chose this time, when I was two hundred masterful words in, to give me the blue screen of death (Or the modern day equivalent) for the first time ever. The work was non-salvageable, and I had to retype it. I hate retyping things. Nevertheless, I’m glad to be able to share the somewhat less good version with all (fifteen) of you. Enjoy!

No. 27

I was woken up by a gentle kiss. I then reached for the dagger that I wear on my hip, and was shocked to discover that I was wearing a dress. Someone had put me in a dress. Dresses and I go together a lot like sodium and water. The same two outcomes are inevitable; there will be explosions, and someone is going to get hurt.

Since I had no dagger with which to respond to my erstwhile kisser, I decided that punching would probably work just as well, with less chance of ‘Oh, I’m sorry, are those your internal organs on the floor?’ becoming a problem. I was pretty sure that I would have the element of surprise on my side.

I whirled around and swung a punch at him. The intent was to hit his nose with a satisfying crunch, but my trajectory was off so I ended up getting in a good blow against his sternum that made him an unexpected acquaintance of the floor.

“You do not introduce yourself to a sleeping woman by kissing her!” I attempted to channel my old schoolteacher, who made one want to flee and hide under the nearest object when she turned the full measure of her fury upon you.

He looked dazedly at me from the floor. He was wearing highly opulent clothing, unnecessarily so, and his face had a few scratches from either cats or thorns that were in the process of oozing blood.  “What?”

I squinted at him and scrutinized him farther, taking in aspects of his appearance; highly jelled and slicked back hair, purely decorative sword in a sheath at his side, boots that were polished enough to be used at mirrors and little else, and the fact that he appeared to be wearing more jewelry than I owned. I spat the next word, in lieu of actually spitting. “Prince.”

The prince looked at me with a mixture of fear and confusion, “I’m sorry ma’am, the fairy said that you could only be woken by a kiss from your true love. I thought I might see if I was that person.”

I raised my eyebrow and took on a tone of panicked reassurance, “Really officer, I only kissed her because the crazy lady who was claiming she was a fairy told me that if I did I might get to marry her and who knows, I might be her true love. Yeah. That would hold up in court.”

He blinked at me and looked like his whole view of the justice system was crashing down, “So you’re not a princess?”

“Oh no, I’m a princess. I’m just a princess who thinks you should leave before I find my dagger and make you. Have a good day, spread the word that there was a dragon protecting nothing but ruins, warn people that this place is haunted, whatever would deter them. And how did you get through the thorn wall?”

“I put some strange concoction on them. It was from the stores of an alchemist who was burnt as a witch for knowledge of unnatural arts.”

“Oh lovely, was it sulfuric acid? I hadn’t thought of that. And you burn people at stakes now? I think that the world has managed to devolve. Right then. Off with you. Feel free to take a ‘dragon scale’ from the basket by the door on your way out. Be sure to warn all your friends.”

The prince just kind of stared at me again, “But aren’t you happy to be released from the curse?”

“This isn’t a curse. We traded knowledge with the faeries so that they would let all of us in the household sleep until the world was a bit more knowledgeable, and clearly that hasn’t happened yet. There’s just one faerie who’s decided that this is a foolish decision and keeps sending in moronic princes like you to get us to wake up. If I could send a crossbow bolt through her wings it would make my day. Now, leave for goodness sake.”

At this point he looked rather confused and a little worried, and simply wandered away in the general directions of the outside.

Once was gone I looked at the ceiling, “Can I tell you how to make objects hover with the proper frequencies of sound waves in exchange for a guard dragon? And we’ll have to make the hedge wall resistant to acids.”

I heard the musical noises of agreement, “Got it? Good. I’m going back to bed.”

No. 26 (goodness I’m lazy)

Hello dear non-existent readers (alright, I can make out semi-corporeal forms now, so it’s progress). Firstly, I would like to give a huge thanks to those of you who have, for some reason, decided that you enjoy my writing enough to want to read more. Thank you all so much. Secondly, I am lazy. I lack words for how lazy I am. The length of time it took me to post this had nothing to do with my muse going on strike, or my computer dying, but simply pure, unadulterated laziness. I wrote this story a few weeks ago, directly after No. 25, but I have just left it sitting in my folder.

As a bit more on the story its self, this was written as a practice for my written conversation skills, which I practice infrequently. I takes place in the city directly before No. 25, and since it is practice, is not the best, but nonetheless, here. Without further ado and/or exposition, the story! Enjoy.

 

No. 26
The man saw a woman sitting against the wall of a dilapidated building. She held an ancient sword in her hands, the blade marred with scratches and the hilt coarsened with chips. He walked over to her and crouched down beside her.
“You know, if you’re planning on doing yourself in with that there are easier ways.”
The woman looked at him, her expression unreadable, “I’m not. The hell will be here soon.” She spoke these words as if they were simply comments on the weather, and perhaps they were very close.
“Our soldiers can stop them,” the note of pleading in his words was missed by neither.
“They cannot. Just as you or I cannot stop the wind from blowing or the tide from rising.” She shrugged.
“Then we’ll fight them. We can, they can be killed. They have to be.” The pleading had turned to desperation, as if begging the woman to hear his words and find them to be true.
“And so we will. They can be killed, but we cannot succeed. I will take as many of them with me as I can, but it will not be enough.”
“How can you say that? We will win, we’ll make it. And if we don’t the other cities will.”
“Do you have faith in anything?” Asked the woman, looking at the tarnished blade.
Mutely the man shrugged. “Used to.”
“I do. And I am the last of my religion, just as we are the last of the people.”
She held up a finger when the man opened his man to refute her claim. “We are. There were never very many who believed in this religion in this area anyway, and everywhere else is gone. You know it’s true.”
“We can’t be. There must be more.”
“And yet there are not.”
“Then damn it, I’ll make them fight for every bit of these streets. They won’t get these stones, they won’t.”
“I believe in people. That we are truly good. And we are. But we will still fall.” She said this with a small smile as she spoke of her faith, and a look of conviction as she spoke of the truth.
The man shook his head. The woman began polishing the blade she held. A haggard woman called for the doctor.
The man stood, “Thank you.”
The woman nodded, “Goodbye, and stand well.”
Then the man left, following the caller, and the woman worked tarnish off the blade.

 

 

Dredges No. 5

And this was from a dream. Sigh, the mermaid comes off more as cynical than insane. Well here you go you poor, nonexistent readers. No. 11
I lugged my bag of gear, heading towards the little house at the edge of the ocean. Reaching it I knocked on the door, it was opened after a moment by an old man in tattered cloths. “Excuse me, do you know how far away the nearest boat is?”
I was surprised that he started laughing, I was wondering if I’d missed something when he responded, “You’re kidding, right?” I shook my head, “You want to cross the black sea, it’s impossible. The last ship that tried to cross it is at the bottom of the deeps now.”
“Are you sure that there are no ways to get across, I really need to.”
The old man sighed, I’ve lived near the sea my entire life, and she doesn’t take kindly to strangers, only harbors a grudging respect for me. But if you really want to get across, you’re going to need to get the mermaid’s help.”
“The mermaid? I thought that they only live in the tropics, doesn’t cold kill them?”
The man shook his head, “Used to be some that could brave the cold, not many but a few, most of them died when those cursed purists decided that human was the only sentient race that deserved to live. Although most other races, mermaid or not, managed to escape, the cold-water mermaids were not so lucky. They were killed, rather violently, and the only surviving one is also the only one who can get you across. Although there is the problem of her being more mad that a wyvern.”
“So, um, where can I find her?”
He shook his head again, “If you really want you can find her next to the water in the bonegrove. Good luck.” Clearly he was uninterested in continued talking so he closed the door. I shrugged and headed off towards the place that he had directed me.
The bonegrove was a terrifying place, animals had an uncanny habit of going there when they were dying, so it was assumed to be haunted and cursed. All the skeletons didn’t help.
I walked along the shore next to it, even the sea life would head here when their little fishy clocks were up. I often had to step around skeletons, once even the one of a sea-dragon, the most elusive of any sentient creature. It was odd to ever even see a single bone of theirs.
I at last found a small shack, literally sitting a foot deep in water. As I neared it I saw a shape sitting on the beach singing nonsensical things. She looked at me, “I have no porpoises for sale so if you would please go away, I would like to finish my song.”
I was not expecting that so I stood there flustered for a second before responding, “I am very sorry to bother you, but I heard that you could help me get across the sea.”
She sighed, “No one is ever interested in porpoises. What is wrong with you people?”
“I’m, um, very sorry for my, um, lack of interest in porpoises, do you know how I can get across the sea?”
“Seriously? Is that all I’m good for? Getting people across the bloody sea? I raise porpoises for shrimp’s sake, but no, always, ‘can you get me across the sea?’ At least the animals shut up.”
“Oh, I’m very sorry. So, tell me about your, porpoises?”
She shot me a look of, you are a complete idiot, “I don’t have any porpoises, they are not mine. I take care of them then set them free. You humans are such idiots thinking that you can own other creatures. This place is what happens when you give them a choice.”
“I’m sorry, what do you mean?” That was smart, ask the crazy lady what she meant when she started to talk about an area full of bones. Well, crazy mermaid.
“Silly human, you would never understand. Go back to the rock that you live under. You and those bloody lizards. Lizards are bastards. Did you know that? Complete and utter bastards, they remind me a lot of humans.”
I was really quite confused, “I…apologize for your interactions with humans as a whole, but we’re not all alike.”
She raised one eye ridge thing at me, “Thank you for picking up on that. I mean honestly. Everyone who asks for my help always seems to conveniently forget that their race is not perfect. You’re still a lizard though.”
I wasn’t quite ready to give up, but I really did need to get across the ocean, “I really do apologize for being a, lizard, and not asking about your porpoises before, but I really need to get across the sea.”
She gave me a look that I could have sworn was, I am so bored with your babble, “Yes, yes, fine. You did have the decency to ask about porpoises, and to apologize for your race’s complete idiocy. So fine, just let me grab my travel gear.”
Wait, what? “I’m sorry, your travel gear?”
She shot me the most condescending look imaginable, “Yes, the mad woman is taking you. Unless you want to die, you’ll need my help.”
Oh, lovely, the mad mermaid was taking me through the most dangerous sea that we knew about. This would be fun.

No.16
Stupid mermaid. Stupid freaking mermaid. We had to be lost, everything looked the same, and even worse, the sky met the water in such a way that you couldn’t tell what was sky and what was ocean. It was enough to drive someone mad. The only scenery was this rock somehow jutting up from however many dragon lengths deep the water was.
“Are you sure we aren’t lost?”
The mermaid, did she have a name, laughed. She didn’t say anything, simply laughed. It didn’t bode well if the crazy person who was also your guide was laughing. I was so very doomed.
She had been taking me across by having me grab onto her while she used some extremely fast swimming, often having me nearly lose my grip. Thankfully I had several skins of water and some food in my bag of enchanted-I-didn’t-read-the-instructions-whatever.
The mermaid grinned at me, the grin of a madwoman, “Ready to continue hurtling at breakneck speeds while struggling to hang on?”
“Sure…” As I had thought many times on this journey, I was doomed.

Dredges No. 4

Sigh. There are way too many of these.

No.9
Flying, spinning, soaring. I darted after a sparrow, it wasn’t even a mouthful, with winter coming soon I would travel back to my cave, it was warm there, heated by the molten rock beneath the earth.
I was about to swoop down for a goat perched on a ledge, when I heard my name being called. The only person who had known my name had died years ago, I decided that it must have been the wind and loneliness. It had been many long years since the battle, and dragons had been forgotten again, fading back into stories and songs.
People don’t usually talk to stories and songs, and my own kind are territorial brutes, and have never really known how wonderful it is to have a conversation with someone.
I was making a dive for the oblivious goat when I heard it again.
This time I stopped and lowered closer to the ground. I saw the person who had called me, a woman with grey-streaked hair, and wrinkles around her eyes. I was interested, I landed next to her. “I’m sorry, but may I ask how you know my name?”
She smiled, looking at me through crinkled eyes, “Really old friend? You break my heart with how little an impression I left on you.”
She reminded me of someone, but she couldn’t be, she was dead. Dead and mourned. But I still had to say it, ask even, “You’re dead.” Ah yes, very eloquent at dancing around the subject, us dragons.
She sighed, “Damn bloody gryphon.”
My sensible part was struggling to rationalize, “I saw you die, the orc, and then that gryphon carried you away. You, what, how?” And yes, it is possible for dragons to be flustered.
She shook her head, “That stupid orc knocked me on the head quite a bit, I faintly remember being picked up by the gryphon, but I passed out. When I woke up I was still a bit loopy and somehow managed to kill it while it was flying. I was down for the count for quite sometime after that, and the gryphon had carried me a long way. By the time I got back you had left. I took up sculpting and blacksmithing, and I was in some little town near here when I heard talk of a dragon, so I looked, and I saw you. That goat never would have stood a chance.”
“Wow, well, sculpting.”
“I’m sure that you took up a much more admirable profession, cow herding perhaps.”
“Pah, of course not, no self respecting dragon would get near cows except for the taste. I herded sheep thank you very much.”
I had conversation again.

Dredges No. 2

Yeah, inside joke central, but if you wanted good writing you wouldn’t have come here. It builds character.

No.6
5, Month of the Tarrasque
I am sick and tired of people looking surprised when I say that I’m a swordsman, well swordswoman to be more precise. Just because I’m a gnome doesn’t not mean that if I pick up a shortsword, no pun intended, I will somehow instantly impale myself like a little gnome-shish kabob.
It’s aggravating, I’m three feet, four inches tall. That is still four inches taller than the legendary rouge Sheist Devit Null. I am able to be a warrior and not cut my own head off.
7, Month of the Tarrasque
Finally, I signed on to a cursed adventuring group. It’s quite an odd mix, we have a rouge who no one knows what she is, she wears a cloak all the time, so yay, I’m going to get backstabbed in my sleep. There’s a good drow, and we have an oxymoron in the party. We also have a half ork who loves pink, I don’t even know what to say. And a druid, not sure what the druid shifts into, I hope it’s not a bunny or something.
9, Month of the Tarrasque
And we got a job. We have to transport supplies through a marsh and, wait for it, it gets better, a jungle. And it just dawned on me, I’m a gnome traveling through a marsh, I’m like a snack for a crockalisk, not to mention breaks in the peat.
10, Month of the Tarrasque
And we set off today. Wish me luck.
13, Month of the Tarrasque
The druid is a were-tarrasque. I was not expecting that. How do you even do that? He’s a very small tarrasque, only haycart sized. I need a nap.
19, Month of the Tarrasque
And we got through the marsh. I only got attacked by three crockilisks and only fell through the peat once. Now on to the jungle.
22, Month of the Tarrasque
And our rouge is a wanted criminal. I really need a nap.
27, Month of the Tarrasque
We fought a dragon. We were saved by the orc who is very good at distracting dragons from eating our healer. Which means that she grabbed a bracelet and threw it at the dragon. We were saved from a dragon by a well-timed bracelet.

29, Month of the Tarrasque
We arrived safely with all the cargo, minuses one crate of Squishy Panther Appendixes, Melted. We had to use it to distract the cave troll. I think I’ll stay on with these guys. I didn’t die and they’re surprisingly humorous while we face certain death.
 

I really don’t know.

Here’s one more for now. This one was inspired by a dream I had. Hmm, I’m starting to sense a trend. To my most favorite-est nonexistent readers, Enjoy!

The fire burned hot, the crackling of flames awakening the sleeper. She sat upright quickly, coughing from the smoke, for a second her brain was still trying to register what was going on.
Once it was clear that there was a fire spreading, she ran, over the hot floor, to her sister’s room, yelling a warning the whole time.
She shook her sister awake, sweating from the heat of the flames. In a mad scramble, their bare feet hitting the crumbling floor, to wake up others of the family. As her sister ran to wake their brothers and parents, she ran to the baby.
The fire burned hotter and closer, close enough to touch without stretching. The room was smoke filled when she reached it, and the baby was wailing, the noise mingling with the roar of the flames.
She scooped the child up, shielding her from the heat with her body, running through the flames that were reaching her now, to the safety of the window, for the old steps were almost gone, and too covered in flames to do anything with.
She held to the sill with one arm, for a second, until fire brushed her fingertips and she felt her hair burning. Letting go she fell, and looked confusedly at the child cradled in her arms, searching for the wound that had caused the blood across the old blanket.
It took her a second to realize what it was, and another for it to register, like when awaking from a dream where you take a second to figure out that it was simply imagination. The blood was from her, an artery probably, because there was a lot of it.
Shrapnel, was the thought that she held on to, like a candy you suck on for a while, until you forget it’s there. There must have been shrapnel.
The wound doesn’t stop, and it feels as if she is falling asleep again, in the snow, starkly colored, paint on a paper. A bed of paper, cold sheeted.
I flew down, silent as a breath of wind, and landed next to the still warm body, holding a squalling baby to her chest. A corpse, forever doing the action she died in.
I could hear voices, accented to my mind, but all voices were accented to my mind, for if you speak a language unknown, everyone talks funny.
A girl, red faced and coughing, ran to the side of what once was an elaborately designed cottage, gasped, as quiet as a butterfly.
She reacted quickly and picked up the baby, checked her sister to see if what appeared was true, then looked at me.
I wondered what she saw, what her mind tried to rationalize, was I an angle or a devil, probably a dragon, about the size of a great dog, perhaps a bit bigger, and as red as the flames that licked the pile of rubble next to me.
I spoke, perhaps if it can be called that, to her mind, in a voice that sometimes sounded like it was accented with bells, or the noise of the rim of a crystal glass, but silent, an empty orchestra.
Choose.”
She knew what I spoke as soon as I said it, at needed only a second to consider. She nodded, tears like diamonds frozen on her cheeks.
I walked forward, and she turned away.
I bent down to the body in a sea of red, and ate its heart. The crunch of bone ended, and the last of its blood seeped across my face.
I could feel my body shifting, stretching, changing. I stood, with my eyes closed in the night air, two people. Memories joined, I saw through the consideration of both the girl splayed in the snow, and myself. Or perhaps simply myself now, for that was what I was, I had memories of two lives, now joined, like the knitting of two different strands of yarn together, like hemp and silk, forming something new.
I stretched, moonlight glistening off the ruby speckled snow, where for a second I summoned my reflection, hair curly, clothed, clean of blood and grit, my hair was red now. It was both new, and as it had always been.
I looked up at the moon, the glow of two things, the sun’s light, but the moon’s body, combining to be something else.
With two worlds, like that almost, within my mind, I smiled, at my sisters, at my home, both the flames and the glow, at it all.

Land of Dreams.

And yet another. Dear nonexistent readers, Enjoy!

This is the world that, almost always, you forget, the world of wishes, and horrors, the world of missing thoughts, and scattered memories. This is the world of dreams.
Although, yes, dreaming is attributed to your subconscious, that’s really not it at all. It is a place, with people and lives. It is simply a lost and forgotten one. It was truly a place, once, but time wore at it, and nothing can stand forever. We refused to give in, refused to let our city crumble, the last of the mages used their power to move the planet to a land out of time, out of anything.
Of course, unplanned dimensional travel is rather hard to get right on a good day, and it was most certainly not a good day.
We got trapped in limbo, never aging, never changing, and getting the oh-so-fun added bonus of being where people dreamed.
And although, sure, you have the occasional good lovely dream sometimes, most days they are confusing or scary. So we get all the monsters under the beds that you can stand. And they’re not like the demon geese that you can just spray for, either. All those monsters and nightmares have little changes, unintentional personal touches, you might say. So you can’t just generalize them. At best you can toss them into one of the few categories to be noted down, has a solid form, has no solid form, sometimes had a solid form, and oh crap get it off of my facduvdcyiavciuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
It’s rather annoying.
I digress, this is the place that you travel when you sleep, and whatever you dream about appears here. This is pretty much the world that your brain uses for a dump.
It is difficult, but we have learned to adapt. Living up high usually helps, although those winged-bear-chupacabra-armadillos are a menace, and really make you wonder what whoever dreamed it was on. I mean seriously, where do you even get that?
People come here too sometimes, more often than not as a discard from a dream that wasn’t bad (or one that was), but occasionally from the real world, falling through the dreams.
But all the monsters and oddities aside, the most annoying things are the lucid dreamers. I don’t mean the people who manage to control what they see and do a little bit, I mean the people who can control it all. They are like really bloody annoying, inconsiderate, all-powerful gods.
It is infuriating. They don’t know that this is a world, they just think it’s their subconscious so they don’t care if the completely re-sculpt the environment and wipe out twenty-seven percent of the population because they want to fly over an ocean, not the forests. That jerk killed nine hundred, sixty nine thousand, four hundred, eighty three people.
But, we learn to live with it.
And we do wonder about where we dream.