February 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
You’re moping again.
“I am the son of the Dytariex. I don’t mope, I brood.”
The difference being?
“Brooding sounds better. Everyone in the epics always broods. You never hear about Rytharen moping before deciding to steal her father’s flagship, now do you?”
I’ve never actually heard the tale. I just know it because you know it.
Kyrian Hallatiris Harrakar, blood of ten thousand Dytariexen, brood of the direct line of Harra, enjoyed ferrying water to small settlements in the desert far more than most of the Tsilath. For one thing, he enjoyed the trip. It was long and quiet, with plenty of time to think his own thoughts without having to watch what he did or said for potential offense. His mother and father ran a complex court full of shifting allegiances and quiet smiles holding any number of daggers behind them, thoughts cloaked behind myriad walls. It was hard to tell what was more exhausting, keeping his own mind to himself or keeping the minds of others out.
For another, he was exhausted by his own siblings. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
In the tall grass, a tall man sweated and cursed at the Zetar tractor he’d bought for very cheap off of his neighbor the year before. He was rapidly learning why the Czech-built tractor had been so cheap. As if the mayonnaise jar screwed into the side of the thing hadn’t been clue enough.
“How can you have metric and imperial bolts? Does the Czech Republic hate consistency? Did I do something to annoy the gods of fasteners? Fucking come off the damn thing already!” Enraged, his short close-cropped blond hair streaked with grease from his repeated stroking of his forehead with his right hand, he bashed the side of the orange cowling and stood up. “I swear to god, Ernie, next time I see you I’m going to shoot you in the fucking head execution style and bury you in quicklime.”
“Sounds awfully merciful of you if he actually took money from you for this piece of shit.” « Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
Hours later, he opened the door to his tiny apartment.
As he passed through the doorway, he paid no attention to the various symbols… a three-lobed eye on fire within a distorted five pointed star, a series of yellow squiggles almost like question marks around a black dot, an intricate expansion of a basic star sigil studded with Hebrew letters, a pentagonal shield of red and gold with two stylized shapes like fish swimming past each other, a green train lantern, a lightning bolt, ten spheres linked to each other by black lines in a helix, an axe with a head like a wolf and a descending serpent-like tail that wrapped around the half like a caduceus, a fish with legs and horns and the word lucent in black type inside its body… these had been there so long they ceased to have any specific importance to him. All along what would be called the wainscoting of the apartment if it existed in an English novel of a few decades earlier were similar markings, from the letters A and Z imposed over a black tree, four odd triangular symbols, a circle containing red and blue descending circles with a white five pointed star in the center, a green tablet, a lion eating the sun, on and on went the painted images.
He deposited the day’s packages from the PO box rented under the name Inigo Cognito and wondered to himself how much longer he could get away with using a dead man’s credit cards before someone caught on to him. Ah, Amazon, you’re a fickle bitch. The idea of the books coming less frequently bothered him immensely. Leaving them piled on the couch, he walked around the counter and into the kitchenette, which is just a fancy way of saying that the small apartment had managed to cram a small stove and a small fridge into one room.
A cursory dig through the icebox revealed that he had three French rolls, two packages of Oscar Meyer ham and cheese loaf and some mustard. No need to go downstairs, then. Satisfied, he shrugged off his leather jacket and tossed it onto the floor, staring at the ripped sleeve for a moment and then looking down at his arm, which had closed up under his ruined shirt.
The shirt he pulled off and tossed in the trash. The jacket he would mend, but it would be easier to replace a t-shirt than it would be to repair it, no matter how he did it. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
There was a smell around the base of the old house. It smelled like old vinegar, faint and enormously unpleasant. Kneeling in the dirt by the window, he ran his finger through a patch of soil near the grimy glass that looked down into an unfinished basement, sniffing. He didn’t know what could make a smell like that, but it set his teeth grinding against each other and he had to choke back a mouthful of saliva to settle his gorge. Turning his head to the side he reached up to push a shock of green and blue back out of his view and looked across the street at the old woman and younger man made silhouettes by the setting sun just behind the peak of a green shingled roof.
The woman, her face like carved wood, nodded once and a few wisps of faded yellow hair descended from her elaborate braid to dance in front of eyes that could outdo carved ice. The man with her looked barely out of his teens, he was shaking. He nodded as well, his hands balled up into fists.
Here’s hoping you people aren’t full of shit.
Straightening up, he walked to the front door, feeling the leather squeal across his shoulders. A recently painted white circle on the forearm, with a red cross over it, glistened in the light. The spikes on the right caught the red glare of the sun as his boots tapped against the front stairs. He reached a hand and pressed the doorbell.
Seconds passed. The sun continued to set, shadows deepening around the porch and trellis, a rosebush wrapped around the white-painted wood. The sound of someone throwing a chain and undoing a lock came, followed by the door opening a crack.
“Yes?” A woman’s face, slightly pale, dark brown eyes dilated in the shadow thrown by the edge of the door. “Can I help you?”
“I’m sure you can.” The deep rumbling of his voice, not wholly his at the moment. “I’ve come to speak with your tenants in the basement.”
“I don’t have any tenants. You must have the wrong…” He didn’t wait for her to complete the sentence and shut the door in his face. Instead, he pivoted and delivered a kick to the center of the wood above the mail slot, splintering it in half. The impact sent the woman crashing to the floor in a haze of curly black hair, and he stepped into the room while the chain fell, door fragment and all.
“Oh, did I say tenants? I meant bloodsucking monstrosities.” « Read the rest of this entry »
February 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
Tsarn son of Koth and her mate Stell was born healthy. He was an unremarkable child, typically sallow of skin and squalling. His mother and father were unaccustomed to how loud infants can be To their credit, they learned to cope, Stell often rising in the night to bring the child to his mother’s breast.
Both of their families were long dwellers, generations spent living in the valley between the iron mountains and the crack in the ground where the old war had rent the land apart. Others of their people had long since left, but they remained, managing to scratch life out of soil that had never been accustomed to anything growing in it. Sand, fused glass, even chunks of volcanic debris littered the thin layer of soil that owed its very existence to year upon year of their persistence. Still, they had managed to make it fertile enough to support them, and while their lives were hard and short, spent squatting in the seething ochre light that baked the ground they were content enough. They were conquerors, forcing life out of dust and grime and burning sun.
Water came infrequently. Koth told her son that the water was brought to them, and would likely have explained more had he cared, but he did not. His was a world of catching small insects under relentless waves of light and heat, then a world of carving trenches for planting hour after hour. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
Thus Begins The Tale of Einar, Son of Egil the Foolhardy, known as Dreamslayer
When the sword finally shattered, the shock of it running up the bones of my forearms like the first pain I’d ever felt, I drove the jagged remains of the blade into a greenish throat and seized the hammer from the corpse before it had a chance to fall. I then resumed my work. When the haft of the maul finally groaned and cracked apart, I was forced to use it as a club until an ambitious creature with hide like a cobblestone road, huge and angry, saw his chance to crush me once and for all. He got close enough that I could throw the splintering remains like a spear into his eye. He fell and I stole his axe.
It was quite an axe.