The Soldier Part 4

A thing where I only write every second piece. Sorry it took so long to get back round to it.

A.P. (I am sure he has a name but for the purposes of this we shall go with A.P.) asked me if I fancied some sort of collaboration thing when he writes a piece then I follow.

I was asked to do this before and I wanted to and then I realised I have less time than I would like to really make an effort so I didn’t do it.  Nothing has changed but this time I said yes and so A.P. goes and makes a quite eloquent and intriguing post and I figured I better get it done as it would be frightfully rude not to so I seem to have written the follow up piece below.

There weren’t really any rules other than he does a piece then I do.


The soldier part 4

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3

The amber district is many things to many people, but not one those who call it home choose to do so.  If it were a wife then it would be a stooped old crone with less sense than teeth, though possessing very little of both by most acceptable standards.  Were it a friend then it would surely be the duplicitous wife stealer of a compadre with a taste for the warm wet crone mouth.  Were it a husband then it would surely be the never home and whore addled…well you get the idea.

It was a most unpleasant place indeed and not somewhere that you would choose to spend your holiday or even a long weekend.

With no idea of where she ought to be Tes pulled the cowl of her cloak around her ears and with eyes downcast walked through the tall stone archway that lead to the main market.  Unfamiliar smells assaulted her nostrils and made her eyes water and the buzz and bustle of the market filled her ears.

“Hey Darlin’” came a voice over the hubbub.  “You after something special then?” Somehow she knew it was aimed at her and she couldn’t help but look over. “What can I get for you?”

He was dressed in the usual mix of rags and dirt of most of the people down here, his face worn and wrinkled.  A broad smile met her as she looked up at him.

“No thank you “ she said nervously and turned away.

“Oh come on” he continued.  “Whatever you need I can get for you.  You after a young boy maybe?”

Tes shook her head.

“Girl?”

She turned slowly to face him again.

“I need neither thank you kindly and I would suggest that perhaps…”

“Oh blimey, I know you” he said raising a finger in her direction.  “You really better be careful down here sweetheart there are those that might well not take kindly to you being here.”

Tes looked about worried, pulling her hood further over her face.  He could see her nervousness and lowered his finger and spoke more quietly.

“You might want to come with me” he said his broad smile now gone from his face.  “I think there’s someone you might want to see.”

 

The Soldier Part 2

A thing where I only write every second piece

A.P. (I am sure he has a name but for the purposes of this we shall go with A.P.) asked me if I fancied some sort of collaboration thing when he writes a piece then I follow.

I was asked to do this before and I wanted to and then I realised I have less time than I would like to really make an effort so I didn’t do it.  Nothing has changed but this time I said yes and so A.P. goes and makes a quite eloquent and intriguing post and I figured I better get it done as it would be frightfully rude not to so I seem to have written the follow up piece below.

There weren’t really any rules other than he does a piece then I do.

Oh well this is what I managed today between going to the tip, taking the boys to rugby, making dinner and then watching a film…

This is Part 1


The King sat and waited with a patience that he seldom enjoyed.  Things in the palace were often so frightfully dull and for once there was cause for some excitement.

“Is it done” he asked as Bentwhistle laboured back through the room, the guards following closely behind.  It wasn’t every day your sworn enemy met his doom so it was something to be savoured.

“Yes my Lord, he is banished.” Bentwhistle replied bowing ever so slightly and wringing his hands.  “He will trouble you no more your majesty.”  As much as he was a fool he was also still the King, and if he was to maintain any sway over the kingdom he needed to ensure that he kept his ear and protected his position.

The King’s face brightened measurably.  “Oh that is good” he said clapping his hands like a young child.  “So very good indeed, he really was quite the trouble maker you know.  He did have me worried Bentwhistle, most troubled for sure.”

“He shall trouble you no more my liege, from this day forth he will know only the pain of an existence beyond this plain and for eternity the separation that a traitor deserves.”  Bentwhistle smiled as he said this showing off blackened teeth in his dark red mouth.  “

“And there’s no way back you say?” The King asked, still somewhat wary of anything that would challenge his throne.  “Mother would not be happy if he was to return, you know how she is.”

“He is gone my Lord, there is no return from the Beyond.”

“Oh how excellent, Mother will be most pleased.” He said excitedly, his overly large head wobbling on a neck that seemed to struggle to keep the body and the head connected in anything other than a haphazard fashion.

The King reached for his cup.  “A toast” he shouted loudly raising his cup into the air, wine sloshing from it onto the bounty of food laid out before him.  The gathered court sat at long tables before him raised their glasses as they stood to their feet.

“To me” the King cried with great excitement and it echoed back.

“To King Luther” the court cried with little excitement over the banishment but considerably more gusto given the wine was now likely to flow all night.  They raised their cups to the king and drank deep.

As the gathered dignitaries and officials tucked into the feast before them Bentwhistle backed slowly away from the king and slipped away through a side door behind the dais upon which the throne sat.  There were things to be arranged and with everyone otherwise engaged this was the perfect opportunity.

Old Words

Ma-lach stirred to the sound of waves slapping against the sides of his small wooden boat. 

A piece I did for the Carrot Ranch Rodeo #3.  As I recall it needed to have a septolet in there and be on the subject of magic or some such and be 299 words .  It was rather a long time ago I can’t quite remember.


Ma-lach stirred to the sound of waves slapping against the sides of his small wooden boat.  Head spinning he peered over the edge to see large swells on all sides as the strong current dragged him away from the disappearing silhouette of land in the distance.  White horses reared atop the cold grey waves and the sound and smell of the sea filled his senses.

He winced as he fingered a large wound on the side of his head, and as his boat was tossed on the heaving waters he grappled with vague images and half thoughts trying to remember how he had come to be here.  Dark shadows clouded his mind but somewhere in the confusion and pain there was the memory of an attack on their settlement and the screams of his children.

Hours passed as he drifted in and out of consciousness, the skies darkening and the wind driving the seas into a violent frenzy.  As lightning fizzed across the skies, thunder rumbling, he awoke once more as rain began to fall.

Instinctively he reached for the amulet around his neck and with rain running down his face he remembered the face of his grandfather, now long returned to the earth, and he recalled the words the old man had taught him as a boy.

Eyes closed face to the skies he instinctively called out:

 

Silver seas

Cold blue Ice

Rain and river

We are

Of you

always

Yield

 

The waves roared and then, almost instantly, the wind ceased, the storm was calmed and the frenzied crash of the sea was replaced by the sound of rain falling onto the calmed waters.  He collapsed back into the boat as eddies swirled around the stern and it slowly began to drift against the current back towards shore.

Faeries: The long winter – Part 2

Where once she would have expected to see the verdant greens of springtime, punctuated with the vibrant explosions of tulips, daffodils and bluebells, now only a blanket of white stretched as far as she could see and the trees she so cherished stood grey, silent and bare.

You can read Part 1 here.


Kostromo slowly untangled herself from the thick oak roots that had freed her from the cold weight of the earth, and rubbing her eyes she got to her feet and stretched in the cold crisp afternoon air.  Grey clouds hovered ominously in the distance and an icy wind blew flurries of snow about her feet.  She attempted to spread her gossamer wings, glistening still with the finest of ice crystals, but they would not open.

The air was sharp and unfamiliar as she breathed, chilling her to her core, and as she became accustomed to the brightness once more she gazed out upon an world so very changed from the one she loved.  She gasped, never had she seen such a sight.

“How long has it been this way Oak?” she asked.

“Too long faery” Oak mumbled, his voice seemed to vibrate inside of her “far too long indeed.”

Where once she would have expected to see the verdant greens of springtime, punctuated with the vibrant explosions of tulips, daffodils and bluebells, now only a blanket of white stretched as far as she could see and the trees she so cherished stood grey, silent and bare.

She began to speak but Oak cut her short.  “Run Kostromo, you must run.” he growled.

With Oak’s warning still ringing in her ears she picked up the distant howl and bark of wolves.  Wolves were never a good thing, and she was already moving as Oak’s voice rumbled deep inside her again “Run faery run!”

With everything still so foreign she raced through the snow as fast as she could in what she guessed was the opposite direction of the howls.  The cold slowed her, deep drifts causing her to stumble as trees flashed by in a blur.  Moving downhill, trees rising high on both sides, she could hear the very feint trickle of water as the ground levelled off in front of her.

Her breath blossomed as a swirling rose as she exhaled, her heart racing as she again attempted to spread her wings but still to no avail.  Slumbering trees stirred as she pressed on, whispers of “faster” echoing in her head as her legs carried her onwards.

With the howls and barks now even closer she leapt over a fallen birch and looking up she caught a flash of a dark silhouette running along the hill top parallel to her.  Instantly she knew they had caught her up and were now hunting her.

Heart pounding she ran and ran, straining to put distance between herself and the pursuing pack.  She could sense them drawing in around her when recognised a familiar rocky outcrop ahead of her and knew instantly where she was. If only she could make it there she would be able to slip down inside the small opening she knew was at the base of it into which the river trickled into a large underground opening.  Many times as a youngling she had crawled inside and fluttered down exploring the huge expanse below.

Focussed she raced, it was now close, and as she looked up to her right as she ran and saw a large grey female wolf tracking her and heading down the hill towards her.  She looked left, more were there but she could not see them yet.  A howl sounded as stumbled in a drift, but in an instant she was back on her feet and focussed on nothing but the base of the outcrop which was now so very close.

“Faster Faery” she heard in her head as she raced past a tall Elm.

The female had travelled down the hill and was now not far behind her and catching her fast.

Not long to the opening Kostromo told herself, her heart pounding in her chest.  The grey female bounded through the snow behind her and was now joined by a second larger male, teeth bared and eyes dark.  Kostromo could hear jaws snapping, but she was now almost at the opening.  It was there, she could see it.

One final burst and she dived for the small entrance, head first and burst through the snow bank and into the hole, the wolves snapping at her heels.  She slid inside on the frozen surface of the river bed, gasping, lungs bursting and the wolves growling and snarling, heads thrust into the opening but too large to pass through.

“I’m safe” she thought to herself as she continued to slide and then in a moment she was falling uncontrollably, downwards,  into the darkness.

 


Photo Courtesy Of Kellepics@pixabay


Want other different stuff?

something terrible happens in this one

In this one there is a girl in the rain

and this might make you laugh but maybe you wont admit it

oh and this one i am rather proud of

 

 

Faeries: The long winter

Kostromo stirred beneath the cold earth, it’s weight heavy on her chest and her bones gripped by the icy fingers of winter.  

I’m mostly just exploring an idea here but thought I would share it.  I found a quite fabulous photograph and wondered what I might make of it.  I haven’t planned this out particularly – maybe I should – but I wanted to just see what might come of it if I just sat down and started to write.  If I can get this thought out then perhaps I can take it from there…

Michael.


Kostromo stirred beneath the cold earth, it’s weight heavy on her chest and her bones gripped by the icy fingers of winter.  Opening her eyes slowly she could see only darkness and the crisp smell of winter filled her nostrils as she stirred and struggled beneath the rich dark soil.

Everything felt wrong, surely it was too early to be awake if the ground remained cold.

Her breathing quickened as she pushed to free herself, heart pounding and fingers clawing instinctively.   The earth relented unwillingly and she stretched out an arm and felt a thick tree root between her fingers.  It was oak, old oak, and she could feel so many summers coursing through it but yet it slept, silent and cold.

With all of her will she strained, but with so little strength she could not free herself from the darkness.  She called out to the oak, confused and desperate.

“Oak, awake from your slumber”

She felt him stir, but he did not reply.

She gripped the root more tightly “Old oak, hear me” she continued “hear my voice and shed your icy slumber.”

Oak stirred again, and she could suddenly feel his life in the earth all around her and it felt good.  She felt more alive, less cold.

“Who calls to me?” Oak said slowly, his voice deep and rich “who wakes me from my sleep?”

“Do you no longer know my voice old friend, have you slept so deeply?” she replied.

“Friend?” Oak said, recognising her voice  “we no longer call you friend Kostromo, it is too many years since we trees have felt your touch.”

Kostromo gripped his root tightly, and she could sense a deep pain.  “I do not understand dear friend” she replied “It is still winter, it is my time to sleep.”

“For a season only Kostromo ” he responded angrily, “for a season only you were supposed to sleep but you did not return to us, and the wood has long suffered under the spell of too many winters.”

She was confused but continued.  “My friend, I am so sorry” she said “I do not know why I have slept so long, but I am awake now, I have returned to you.”

Oak paused before responding, the anger now gone from his voice leaving only sadness.

“For many it is too late faerie, many of our kind who once inhabited this wood have passed into nothing so long have they slept.  Birch and Beech and Sycamore have long returned to the earth in which you now lie.”

As they continued to talk Kostromo felt Oak’s life force flowing through her, warming her and giving her strength.

“I need you to help free me Oak” she said “I am no use trapped in the earth, will you not help me?”

“Because we were once friends I will help you” he said, his giant roots beginning to move ever so slowly shifting and loosening the cold earth around her.  With a snap and crack of ice they wrapped around her and began slowly pulling her upwards.  Slivers of light began to appear around her as she neared the surface, the weight on her chest now gone.

Oak heaved her from the ground and lay her gently on the cold snow in front of him.  She could feel the sharp cold on her skin, and opened her eyes slowly, squinting as they grew accustomed to the light.

“Indeed it is you” Oak said, his tone now warm and soft “it has been too long old friend, too long indeed.”


Want other different stuff?

something terrible happens in this one

In this one there is a girl in the rain

and this might make you laugh but maybe you wont admit it

oh and this one i am rather proud of

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/inhabit/