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Author Topic: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread  (Read 933 times)

Offline xiagan

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[May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« on: May 01, 2019, 08:54:49 PM »
Earth


Earth Elemental by velinov

We had Fire, Water and Air already (one per year, time is fleeting...) so here's the last of the traditional elements. Earth is the most solid but is diffuse concerning a definition. It's the name of our planet, it's the ground, the soil, humus, ... We want you to use it in the elemental sense, so everything but the planet.
We are curious about your interpretation!

This prompt is open to fantasy and SF stories.


Rules:

1. This must be prose or poetry.
2. Earth has to play an important role in your story.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-750 words long.
5. One story per person or writing team (not per account).
6. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
7. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
8. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
9. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
10. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys under the B.
Bonus rule: We consider voting in a contest you're taking part in a given. Others take time and effort to read the stories - you should do the same. A small community like ours lives from reciprocity and this contest needs stories as much as votes. 

If you want so submit your story anonymously you can do so by sending it in a personal message to @xiagan.

Entry will close May 31st/June 1st, 2019 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.
Submitting a story counts as published. The author retains all rights to their work.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Nora

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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2019, 12:27:41 AM »
This seats on a few hours of research, so the names and places are all actual (even the 2 named characters are off inscriptions of Gaulish given names), but heck, this is hardly historical for all that. For the curious I'll link the two songs I listened to ad-nauseam while I was writing.

Spoiler for Hiden:

For ease of reading, the MC is a Carnute, a people of Gaul that lived between the Loire and Seine, kinda west of Paris, and the Parisii are... well... the Gauls who lived in nowadays Paris, though the capital was then known as Lutecia (now that's the name of a pretty fancy hotel and restaurant in Paris).. That's just some references, because the 1500 words obviously don't allow me the space to make this historical fiction friendly to people who didn't study Gaul or read Asterix and Obelix.

Carnonos, 1500 words.

Spoiler for Hiden:
You want to know how the Romans were sent packing? How I helped tip the scales of Fate? Well, I supposed it started with ill luck, no matter who you ask. Romans can tell one tree from another, but that's to better fell them. They don't respect the sanctity of sacred groves. I believe it all began in a battle pushed too far and a stroke given to the wrong man, but for me it was with the skinning of a doe.

The spring had been dragging, never truly leaving the embrace of winter, and the poor thing was lean and without a fawn. I was quartering her when a messenger appeared, bedraggled and hard-pressed.
He'd run from the small grove south of Cenabum, where a gathering of druids and Mothers had sent for me by name. There was a fuss, he told me, with a druid of the Parisii come so far south, and already a white cow had been sacrificed.
What a Parisii druid wanted of me, I didn't know, but I didn't question it. Druids all seem to know everything, after a while one stops wondering.

I made my way North, slinking past the Roman patrolled roads, stopping only to ask shelter in an isolated farmstead, and before two days had gone, I entered the grove where I was expected. I recognised several of the Mothers, and two of the druids, but the messenger hadn't lied, this was a large and busy gathering.

My bow and knives were taken from me, and I was led to kneel at the feet of the great Oak tree at the heart of the grove, its ancient branches rustling with the bones of cranes and holly tied in wheels.
The Parisii druid sat on a thick root, his cloak lined with wolf fur and pinned by a Taranis wheel. The torc around his neck looked a lot like mine, but slimmer, and made of gold.
I bowed and waited.

"Eskenga Kouadrounia, you are an initiated Daughter."

"Yes," I said, raising my head to meet the eyes of the Parisii man. His name was Martialis, and he had ridden from Lutecia.

"The war is not going well, Eskenga."

Like I wouldn't know.

My village chief had gone with every able warriors, most never to return, and my father – once crippled in a raid, but still a respected hunter – had resigned himself and taught me the craft, to use bow and arrow as my mother had taught me to card and spin, to dye and weave stripes and herringbone.
Then the fighting had turned so bitter that even my one-armed father had gone to die at the tip of a Roman spear, and I'd been left not just the only initiate Daughter for leagues, but also one of the last hunters who could spear boar and buck.
For two springs I'd been given youths to teach. I showed them how to walk in the forest, how to craft sigils of silence out of yew and hazel, how to ensnare small game and ward off wolves. I was reluctant to teach them more.
It was not done – not among the Carnutes and nor, I knew, among the Parisii – for a young man to learn the spear at the knee of a maiden.

"It is rare for a Daughter to be well versed in the ways of the forest." The druid smiled, as if reading my mind. "I think this is why you were chosen."

"Chosen?"

"You have felt something, at the turn of the moon?"

"Yes, I reported this," I said, nodding to the Mothers standing among the trees around us, "like a kick in the very fabric of spring."

All the druids nodded, some with a tremor in their beard.

"It was the All-Father," Martialis explained. There had been a large battle, up North, that had trespassed on sacred grounds. Every holy man had felt that kick, and known it to mean the death of The Woodman, All-Father, who brought spring with him.
I gaped. The Parisii accent made the name sound like Cernunos, but there was no mistaking his claim that the namesake God of my people had been slain.

"Isn't Carnonos immortal? Isn't he the God of Life and Death?"

"He is. But his earthly body is as subject to death as ours."

"Why tell me this?" I asked, bemused.

"Because of what you told the Mothers of your circle."

"How I felt anger?" How I'd been fidgety ever since, fighting an urge to abandon my clan and go North?

"It is the God speaking to you. You must go, listen to him, do his will, you are his favoured child, Eskenga."

They trimmed my hair, gave me a charm-sewn cloak, a checkered blouse loose enough to hide my figure, and a pack ready for the march ahead. Martialis explained where to go, what to do, and how someone would wait for me West of Lutecia.

So I went. There is nothing to say of my travels, except that I soon tied cloth around my neck to hide the heavy silver torc there, and took to carrying game at my belt. It was better, I learnt, to approach Roman soldiers waving my "wares" expectantly, than to wait for them to notice me.

When I reached my destination, there was no mistaking it.
There were many bodies still spread on the thawing forest floor, though mostly Carnutes. I didn't need to look at all the brave fallen, the pulse in my throat seemed to guide my every step, till I fell by the body of Carnonos.
He was untouched by decay, a youth too perfect to be on any battlefield, with the first hints of a golden beard that would never grow around a beautiful mouth parted by the surprise of death.
The cut was in his neck, an angry wedge that had bled into the soil in a small, wine-dark puddle.

'All-Father,' I moaned, 'don't abandon us!'

I dug with my bare hands, each cold handful of bloodstained earth tucked in a bag druid Martialis had provided. Carnonos had bled to the centre of the world, it seemed, but the bag was full, so I pulled its leather strings, kissed the young man's icy brow, and left.

The walk to Lutecia now, that was another story.
The bag of earth smelled in turn of the rot of Autumn and the heart-blood of a dying stag, of a hot knife through a comb of honey and the tang of fir sap. Animals started to follow me through the woods, and people abandoned the tasks in their fields to look in my direction, no matter how well hidden I was in the shadows of the brush.
Never was I more scared than when a whole host of Roman soldiers passed me by, and as I lay frozen under a bush, I watched all of its branches slowly come into bloom.
But the men marched on, and so did I, harried but undetected, until I reached the valley West of Lutecia.
There, an old man leaning against a way stone waved at me. Before I could speak, he'd turned around and started down a deer trail, leading me to a clearing. In its centre was a young oak tree, and tied to it a naked man. Broad-shouldered and tan, he had the build of a soldier in his prime. A buck had been bled over his bare legs, its antlered head laid to rest against his groin.

"What–"

"A Roman soldier", the old man said, clearly making an effort not to spit at the words.

The soldier's eyes were rolling white like a spooked horse, and I felt sorry for him, and a little for myself: I'd never killed a man.

"Me paenitet," I whispered, as I knelt in the deer's blood, "te adiuvare non possum."

The soldier begged and cursed, but didn't shirk from the kiss of my blade.
His blood flowed, dark and oily, an endless tide over my fingers fumbling on the strings of the purse. Two handfuls of dirt I pressed in his mouth before death cramped it shut, and the rest to fill the cut in his throat.

“Carnonos,” I cried, “come back to us!”

The old man, having cut the soldier’s bonds, prostrated himself next to me, joining in my pleas.

The gapping flesh knitted itself shut, and the eyes of the dead man opened, now green and flecked with gold. Hair flowed from his scalp, white as moon-glow and parting over budding antlers that grew and ramified, forming a living crown veined with gold. Carnonos breathed in sickly Spring and exhaled promises of Summer.
His thumb brushed my cheek where dirt blended with tears and blood.

“I will fight with you, my Children,” he said, and kissed my brow.

That, is how we won the war. With Carnonos leading us in battle, bleeding in the same earth we did.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 11:08:42 PM by Nora »
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Offline Matthew

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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 01:04:26 AM »
First off, ARGHH. The first time I tried to post, I had to request another image for verification which refreshed the page and cleared half an hour of formatting. The second time, I clicked submit and it logged me out... and of course cleared the page. I've literally wasted nearly an hour trying to get this thing to work.

This is my first time submitting anything but you have to start somewhere. 1500 words in Scrivener (or 1499/1506 depending on software, but I'm not counting them manually) and I'm afraid I don't have a title.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Fire is ferocious,
Air intangible,
Water shows patience,
But we are unshakable.

Those were the first words of the first class I had ever attended, and looking back I imagine each school championed their own variant.

After I felt the pull of the dirt and was levied by the empire, I was taken from home and... educated. My parents had taught me speech and some small numbers, but knowledge to us were the seasons and the rains, the price of bread and ale.

Now, I sometimes wonder if I would have been happier as a farmer or a merchant, an artist or a thief, anything except a tool to the Loyal Families above.

It had been two years since I graduated from the Mountain, two years of traipsing through darkness from one side of the barren flats to the other, from one podunk town to the next.

"How did I ever get stuck in this hell?" I lamented, stopping to rest my feet and wriggle my toes.

Estrada sighed. "Simple. You never licked our boots like the other lowborn."

"And yet here you stand, right beside me. I wonder why that is 'O Great Lady'..." I said grouchily.

We both knew why, and it was spiteful to bring it up. My mouth always had worked faster than my head.

"You think we've gained any ground yet?" I asked, changing the subject in place of an apology.

"Not unless Jun made a detour," she mused bitterly.

I grunted in return, and we continued trudging along. Weeks of pursuit had left our long coats caked in dust and our unders stained with sweat; Estrada's customary braid abandoned in favour of a simple and bedraggled tail, and my beard grown past itchiness into an unkempt mess. If it wasn't for the silken sashes at our waists, we may have passed for refugees fleeing war with nothing but our overstuffed bags.

We stopped walking as night gave way to day. Estrada lowered her gear to the floor and limbered up, moving smoothly through the postures of our order. Mmm. She always made it look so graceful, probably something to do with being born to the magic. Me, I was Blessed at fourteen, and never did develop proper balance.

After a few minutes, Estrada gave one final reach to the heavens and brought her arms down in power. The ground shrank away until she stood six feet deep in a circle a dozen feet wide. Around the inner wall, she'd tapered a spiralling ramp. I dipped into the pit while she gave a smooth wave that pulled the circumference overhead to shield us from the blistering sun.

We spent the day in a fitful daze, baking in the heat. Once the sun touched the horizon, we rose and ate - the same hardened rations we'd been chewing through for weeks.

It took a further three nights before we saw the dust walls breaking the flats, rising two score into the sky. Seasonal storms ravaged the region, huge cliffs of dust rising in waves to scrape the land clean; the walls offering the only safety, and the settlements within were insular - migrant communities that had built a piece of home.

"Reckon they've enough water to cleanse?" I asked.

Estrada smiled. "Not like you to be concerned with hygiene."

"I'm not, but you're looking a mess..."

"Very droll," she said, deadpan. "Now, this should be Rashdi. Census claims a hundred souls at most, and the richest dioptase mine for a thousand miles."

"That's the stuff they find in copper veins, right?" I asked.

"Something like that."

Shrugging, I motioned to a massive gate. "Looks like they've spotted us. Guards scrambling."

"Then let's go say hi," she grinned.

As we approached, I saw signs of the local industry - huge bronze hinges lit by a solid copper sconce. Even the light glinting off the swords and spears was that golden rust. They'd rather make do with inferior blades than trade for iron... typical outlanders.

"Stop!" called a gravelly voice from above, accent so thick I could barely make out the word.

We paused a little way from the gate, the weight of our packs threatening to tip us backwards if we attempted to look to the top of the walls.

"What business you have here?" growled the voice.

I was about to reply when Estrada pushed a palm to my chest. She knew I'd only start trouble. Feeling me take a step back, she dropped her arms to her long coat and swished it open, a little dramatically for my tastes. Even so, you couldn't argue with results - the imperial sash demanded compliance. Within moments of hurried whispers, a small door opened beside the gate and several civilians rushed out to greet us, some even prostrating themselves in the dust.

I could sense my partner's delight in finally being treated as she felt was her due. "Justicair, Lady Estrada Jinto, at your service."

Somehow the kowtows got lower, and her preening caused my eyes to roll; even here the Family name carried weight, her personal disgrace unknown.

We were invited in, our bags hauled by several guards, and once inside we were shown to quarters which I can only assume had been quickly evacuated by the wealthiest residents. We bathed and ate a real meal for the first time in a month, and as the sun rose, retired into comfortable beds bedazzled in polished copper set with emerald-green dioptase.

Estrada was confident that we were finally ahead of our quarry, and so we laid in wait for several nights. The locals had been told of our duty, and seemed relieved we were here.

When our prey finally arrived, they did so under the cool of night and the guise of a merchant caravan. As instructed, the reduced guard allowed them entry before making themselves scarce. I imagined Jun Li thought his plan was going well.

I was stood in the shadows across from the storehouse as the caravan swerved to a stop.

The cover was thrown back and the bandits poured into the deserted building, which should have given them pause. Instead, I heard the pounding of feet and splintering crates as they scoured the building for loot.

I stepped into the street and shook my hand as though playing dice. Small chunks rose from the ground and bobbed up and down, gentle as flotsam in a lake. The eyes of the two men left by the horses widened in fear, and I rolled the dice. The stones went tearing through the air to shred them before they could even scream.

That isn't to say there weren't screams; Estrada had clearly begun dealing with those bandits left back to open the gates and the sounds of battle echoed into the night.

Jun Li charged out of the storehouse only to freeze in his tracks at the sight of his men dead and his horses fleeing. Others appeared behind, spilling out around him. They held armfuls of whatever they could carry, and all froze in much the same way as their boss.

A tense moment passed.

They all dropped their loot and dived this way and that. Jun Li - an Unfound well known for his depravity - yanked the shrapnel from the fallen thieves and spun it towards me in a horizontal tornado.

The stones under his power were untouchable to my own, so I twisted to the side and stamped a foot into the earth. A shard erupted between us and the projectiles ricocheted off. I heard a curse and felt Jun pushing himself against my magic - I hadn't just touched the shard, but had spread myself over the street itself, denying him completely.

Damn. I'd failed to account for the building behind him, and pieces of masonry began ripping themselves free of the mortar to crash around me.

I was nearly cut in two as a man came from the side, scimitar swinging for my neck. I managed to leap aside and pulled the shard down hard, crushing him beneath.

Before I could applaud my quick thinking, a brick the size of the head I'd just saved whizzed into my shoulder, sending me stumbling to the ground.

I pushed my hands into the sun cracked dirt, whipping enough dust into the air to obscure all sight. I heard coughing as the parched earth found its way into throats, and I choked them with it, directing more and more of the dust into their lungs.

When silence returned, I stood and found myself across from the only survivor - Jun Li. He looked about as exhausted as I felt, but as we weighed each other up, Estrada sauntered out from an alley. She stopped opposite me, trapping Jun between us.

He turned, shook his head sadly, and raised his hands; not in surrender but in one final act of defiance. Estrada didn't give him the chance, and the ground opened up to bury him alive. Even we can't breathe dirt.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 01:21:09 AM by Matthew »

Offline Jake Baelish

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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2019, 08:35:31 AM »
A Flower in the Chaos

1500 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
Embers died in the cold of night. The destruction of the forest, the death of the blaze, would fizzle into memory, forgotten beneath the sprawl of man’s domain. This I knew. I knew what would be then as I know it now. I knew it as I, the last of the forest’s Earth Fairies, glared up through dying eyes at the malicious shadow of man’s great boot. It crushed me deep, deep into an earth still weeping from the burns. I was buried for the longest time. Long enough to feel I’d never see the blessed light of day again. Until the day Haruka came.

*

Neo-Darrowfell. A metropolis that reaches from the bleached shores of the western sea, to the treacherous rocks of the Easterly Straits. In antiquity such a stretch would’ve been considered a kingdom. Today it stands at the heart of the Continental Republic, the pivot around which the world turns. At its height it looks over mountains, glowing as though a galaxy born on earth. Cities within the city conjoin via great bridges connecting concrete islands in a colossal spectacle of godly engineering. At the base of all this, a shadow world, itself lit with an even greater concentration of artificial light, powered by a presumed limitless stream of off-world energy. The people of Neo-Darrowfell enjoy the boundless fruits of endless prosperity. This is the city that never dies, whose growth is inexorable. There are few prouder people than those who walk its slick and snaking streets, from whatever walk of life.

Most people, anyway. Haruka never felt that way.

The girl, an eleventh grade introvert lost in her mind’s own fantasies, ambles around the shadow world looking for anywhere to find tranquillity in the expanse of excess that imprisons her. In due course she finds it, in the shape of a rare abandoned lot, cordoned off by a series of high rising fluorescent panels that blend in with the brilliant surroundings. Only, one panel seems particularly dark. On further inspection Haruka finds the panel has been flattened, allowing access to the lot. And with life lit and buzzing behind her, she steps into a secret spring of solitude beneath the soaring circus.

A discarded sign of the ‘Magician’s Chaos Casino’ lies amid the remaining rubble. That it’s been gone several months already without being replaced is surprising. Less surprising is the pileup of trash inherited from careless passers-by. Not that they’d ruined a scene worth preserving. Natural beauty had abandoned Darrowfell before Haruka was born, as it had most of the First World.

Haruka dumps herself by a build-up of bottles gathered in the centre of the lot. The noise remains, she can’t escape that. And the atmosphere above shines with the radiance of progress. Still, she smiles at the emptiness surrounding her. For all the money spent on reaching higher, lighting the shadows and contacting people worlds away; she’d not find happiness like this.

Then, she saw it.

Haruka had heard of flora. Or flowers, plants, trees; whatever you want to call them. But to see one! You’d have to be pretty well-endowed to afford a cross-galaxy trip to do that.

It was unmistakable though. What else had such a delicate looking stem and beautiful pale blue petals? The plastic garbage in stores didn’t count – they wouldn’t sway so softly in the breeze in any case.

By sheer instinct the girl reaches out to grab it, to pluck it, and amaze her classmates and family who mock her dreamy talks of a world that was.

I scream. The girl flinches and withdraws her unwitting murderous paw.

 “Who was that?” the girl asks, full of fear and wonder.

“It is me,” I say. “The one you were about to kill. The flower.”

Haruka frowns but draws nearer. “They never told us flowers can talk.”

“All life has a voice. Only, most can never hear us. Even in my time, your people had long ignored our cries. Yet… you can hear me now. Little girl, what is your name?”

“I’m sixteen,” she protests, “hardly little. My name’s Haruka.”

“Your life is a footnote in time. I’ve lain here for millennia. Waited as men’s castles rose and fell. Waiting for someone like you.”

“Why me?”

“Someone who can care. Someone who can restore what was lost. This world has become dark and devoid of life.”

“Then you’ve come to the wrong person. I’m just a student. What can I do?”

“Feed me. Help me regain the strength to bring beauty back to this world.”

“What do you need? Water? I don’t have any with me, but… wait, there’s…”

Haruka scrambles among the empty bottles and removes one still half full. She unscrews it and sprinkles a little over me. The rush is euphoric; my petals open a fraction wider.

“You’ve no idea the weight that has shifted,” I say. “Please, come again. Daily, if you can. I cannot go further without you, Haruka.”

The girl nods – the severity of her expression lifts my spirits. All this time has not been wasted, the right one has come.

*

Haruka returns without fail, each and every day. Two weeks pass in which two more buds sprout from my stem. The strength floods back with each welcome drop of water. Haruka’s sternness melts away within days on seeing the product of her efforts. She even finds time to clear out the garbage, including the wretched casino sign. Our bond grows as we do. Within a month she seems more determined, more upbeat, and more open.

*

Then, everything changes.

Haruka arrives at the same time as usual, backpack over her shoulder, containing all she ever needs. Today, however, she is not the first. A group of hard-hatted men surround me; their humming machines line the far side of the lot, where the panels have been removed.

“What are you doing here, little girl?” the leader says.

Haruka’s heartbeat quickens, it sends vibrations through the earth. “I came to see my friend,” she says.

The man frowns, perplexed, “Ain’t no one here sweetheart. Go on home; don’t want you getting hurt.”

“Please,” she says, “look, there she is.” She runs past the tall man and crouches by me. “They’ve grown so much. It’s the only one like it – in the whole world, I think. You have to leave.”

The man sighs. “Just take the bloody thing and go home. I’m not paid to take care of plants and we have to start work here right now.”

Haruka stands, fists clenched. “I refuse. There are enough buildings in this city. There is nothing like this. If you want me to leave, you’ll have to remove me by force.”

A snarl. “What the fuck? Fine. Get her out of here.”

Two of his colleagues seize her.

“Let go of me!” she yells, pulling free.

The big man grabs her now. They struggle, he barely has to try. Eventually, with the girl tangled in his arms, he yelps. “Fucking bitch bit me!” he growls, throwing her into the rubble.

Haruka recovers on all fours; she’s dizzy, and her head is grazed. “You, hurt me. You bastard.”

The big man reaches down to me, to my stem. It breaks with a snap. It hurts just a bit.

He flicks it at the child. “Go tell your mum about it. I got more important things to deal with.”

“NO!” she cries, taking me in her palms. “You killed them!”

The man ignores her. “Come on. Brat’ll leave when the engines start.”

“I’m sorry,” she says, and starts sobbing. Her tears do nothing. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.”

“It’s all right,” I say. “This is not my body. My roots go deep. Thanks to you, I’m ready now. Don’t cry, Haruka. Draw a deep breath, and don’t cry.”

The girl inhales. My energy pulls from the earth and flows into my saviour. We become one. The girl rises with the power she feels. Together, we reach out to our assailants.

 “STOP!” we scream. Beneath, there is a tremendous cracking only we can sense.

“Fuck – again?”

They approach us, naught but annoyance in their faces. The earth braces.

“We said STOP!”

“Who the fuck is we?”

The girl screams and strikes the earth. The ground breaks, as the forces of a dozen ancient, trunk-like roots burst through the surface. The cries of the men are silenced as those roots shoot through torsos, sending blood splattering, fertilising the newly released soil. The bodies are engulfed in a rolling, roaring wave of twirling roots and vines. Screams cry out beyond the lot as people see the events within. The earth is not done, however. The soil freshly risen softens and swallows up the departed men’s machines. Our appetite unsatisfied, we reach further and watch the roads crumble away around the lot. Soon buds will litter the cracked and opened streets and great towers will fall. We cannot devour indefinitely; our energies have their limits. Neo-Darrowfell won’t forget though. The reclamation has begun.
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Offline Cell18

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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 09:24:34 AM »
Here's my entry for this month.  Looking forward to reading the stories submitted.

Title: The Circle
Words:1497

Spoiler for Hiden:
Ayron watched Delwyn lay out her prayer mat in front of her and began her sacred warrior chant.  The chant was different for each woman chosen to enter the circle and while Ayron’s had been focused on peace and inner calm, Delwyn’s was more aggressive.  Delwyn had been preparing to enter the circle since the age of five and now at thirteen she was ready.  The ceremony was to take place that afternoon, and it lied with Ayron, the warrior mother, to fully explain the circle.

As Delwyn continued her chant, Ayron thought back to this very moment when she was a girl ready to become warrior, and how her mother explained the rite to her.  She could remember it vividly, not just the words but the way the light fell from the window and the shadows growing and shrinking on the wall as the fire flickered in the hearth.  Delwyn finished her chant took out her sword and kissed it gently, once on the helm and once on the blade, and then fixed her eyes upon her mother.

“The worse thing of all the ceremony is the having the earth in your mouth.  All parts of your body will want you to spit it out, even your soul will rebel at the sensation.” This was how her mother had started to explain the rite.

“I fear no dirt in my mouth.  My training has required me to hold frogs…” Delwyn started

“Yes I know! Frogs and insects and rotting flesh and fruit.” Ayron interrupted her “remember I did it too! And believe me, nothing prepares you for the earth in your mouth.”  Both of them raised a smile with Delwyn giving her mother an apologetic nod. 

“Do you know why you are doing this today?”

“I am the chosen warrior.  This is to prove the worth of myself and my generation to the elders.” Delwyn answered confidently though the words were learnt and not from the heart.

“And why do we choose to fight on the most religious ground?” Ayron inquired, knowing the answer that was taught.

“So that the just and generous God Amacca can see we fight for her and the Evil One can see how devout we are to fighting against him.”  After mentioning the Evil One, it was good luck to form a cross with the arms, to guard against his spirit entering the body.  Galyd, Delwyn’s lore master, had taught her well and the movement of her arms to protect her against the spirit was fluid.

“You know the lore.  You know the legend. These are just stories and rules to make the ceremony appear glorious.” Though the words were said softly they were spoken in a way which was meant to scald her daughter.
“You know you must fight, but not why.  You know the ground is sacred, you cannot fathom how it has come to be” Ayron continued.

“The elders make it so and it is” Delwyn protested.

“The elders make it so and hide the truth behind it.” 

Tradition demanded that the knowledge was given to the warrior in the moments before the ceremony.  It was done in this way as the first woman didn’t know until the very last moment that she had been chosen to battle the Evil One.  Ayron passed a goblet of wine to her daughter and began the tale.

“It is less that the elder’s made it sacred and more so that events that happened on it are sacred.  When man was first created, it was seen by Amacca as a triumph of her will and her power.  She bestowed on her creation all the gifts that she could think of that would help them live life”

“Such as what? The ability to fight and destroy for her?” Delwyn was very strong minded and just as she did as a young girl, would question anything.

“No.  That came later.”  Ayron let the silence grow, it perfectness only broken by the cracks of the fire wood.
“Amacca, bless her, she gave man the gift of language, the knowledge to farm land and master animals.  Her most precious gift she gave to women.  Just as she had created man of herself, then she allowed women the gift of giving birth”

“So, the greatest thing she could have given is was to make us useless for months at a time and to become reliant on others and, most importantly to not fight for her?” Ayron slapped her daughter, didn’t realise until it was too late what she was doing.

“You speak the words that the Evil One spoke.  You speak ill of Amacca and she will not favour you.” The blow to her daughter’s face had stunned her and her Ayron’s words gave the hit more gravity, more meaning.
“Forgive me mother.” A tear had formed in the corner of her eye, Delwyn smoothed it away.

“The Evil One was once a man and not a demon.  He was the first man to learn how to fight another man for nothing but his own gain.  The children of Amacca… well she created them to not fight and could not bring themselves to stop him and so he carried on brutalising all those he met. 

“The only thing that she could do was to create someone who would battle the Evil One. However, she didn’t want to corrupt any of her creations, so she had to be careful, clever and cunning.”  Ayron stopped to make sure her daughter was following her, she poured and offered more wine to her.

“Amacca decided to create a ground that would be left alone all throughout the year apart from one day”
“The circle” her daughter said

“The circle” she agreed.  “She made it absolutely clear to her people that no one was to ever enter it unless she bid them.  Then she set about making her fighter, her warrior from the earth that was in the circle.  It took her a full season to perfect her.  She spent time watching the animals defend their territory, studied the Evil One from a distance.  She travelled far and wide before she finally committed to making the warrior.  And when it came to the result, the warrior was a woman.”

“A woman had borne the Evil One and no man could be trained to beat him. A woman had to create a warrior in her womb.”

“Exactly. So the battle was set and the woman warrior and the evil one entered the circle.  Books and elder’s will tell you that the fight was glorious ad lengthy but they embellish the facts.  Like all fights, it was messy, uncoordinated and over in a short time. The warrior woman had found the Evil One’s weakness, a slash across both ankles.  As soon as that was done, he left, bested”

“If he left, then why do we still fight him?”

“The Evil One was defeated but not dead, so he still fights every year for the one day when he is killed or kills.  Amacca did not like the warrior she had created and thought it best that she train others so that the link to her was lost.  This is what the elders do not know.”

“I am the link to the God Amaccca”

“We are the link to her” Ayron corrected her daughter, “and every year we defend her honour”

“Then where is the Evil One?”

“He got older and more powerful.  Realising his human body could not keep age away from him, he became the first demon.  When you enter the circle soon, you will notice that the earth is red on one side.  That side of the circle is where the demon is found and where he will make his stance each year.  Defeat him and he returns to the earth, get defeated and then he will infect all the earth and kill us all”

Delwyn made her way to the circle, took the sacred oath from the elders and said her chant as she entered.  In front of her, the ground was red.  The crowd gathered had quieted and she focused on her thoughts.  A light breeze blew through the circle and the temperature dropped so that she shivered.  The earth in front of her started to rise, slowly taking the form of a man.  That was all he was, the Evil One was just a man that had taken the guise of a demon.

Delwyn picked up the earth from her side of the circle and put it in her mouth so that she could become the warrior that was chosen. The elders had taught her this and her mother was right, it was enough to make her dry heave.

Delwn drew her sword and held a strong gaze on her foe.  “No fight is glorious” she said through clenched teeth and the Evil One laughed.  Delwyn ignored him and pointed the sword at his ankles.  “No fight is long”

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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2019, 02:25:16 PM »
Would you believe I finished it?
My first story in a few months.
1,500 words. Some cursing (just saying)

GOOD, CLEAN DIRT

Spoiler for Hiden:
They stopped Wardmuligan’s mouth with dirt. He tried to spit it out, but brutal hands clamped his jaw shut, the barbarians’ reek assaulting Wardu’s senses. He was thankful for two long days without water; at least he had no saliva left to make a muddy meal of it.

For the hundredth time, he tried to summon even a little flame - he was supposed to be an imperial soldier-mage after all - but with his head spinning and his mouth clogged, he couldn’t manage a flicker. What good would it do him, anyway. He didn’t have the kind of power needed to get past a handful of enemies, no less hundreds.

The tribe’s massive headwoman shoved two sausage-thick, sharp-nailed fingers up Wardmuligan’s nose, pushing his head up to look straight in his eyes.

“You say nothing.” Her fat face was so close, he could count the individual dots of the wild tattoos that roiled across her skin. “You say nothing, you do nothing, you is nothing.” His bound hands ached to grip the woman’s thick throat. “You is bad dirt. And you emperor and you empire is bad dirt.”

She nodded sharply to the roughclad men and women ringing the captive lieutenant. A fist was raised, a booted foot drawn back, and they began another beating. The one good thing about it was that no one was holding his mouth shut. He spat out the dirt with blood and teeth.

As the blows came, Wardu didn’t ask himself “why me?” except as a bit of self-mockery. “Why me?” had a simple answer: he was a fucking idiot. Only a fucking idiot would volunteer to deliver his general’s ultimatum to a madwoman, with just the promise of the empire’s anger as protection. After the tribe stopped laughing at his threats, they grabbed and bound him. At least they’d only eaten his horse. Though we was starting to wonder if the nag got the better end of the bargain.

A pair of warriors pushed Wardu into a position on his hands and knees. They cinched the singed and bloody saddle onto his back and jammed the reins in his teeth. The headwoman, all two hundred plus pounds of her, mounted with a back-cracking heave, then dug in the golden spurs that Wardu had been so proud of as he’d polished them only a few nights before. Oh, pride, pride - as the poets said - it ever leads to an early grave.

Flanked by an honor guard of the tribe’s shamans, then followed by all the tribe’s warriors, Wardu bore his foul rider across the camp, nearly crawling, her feet dragging in the dirt, through their palisade, and down a long, stone-toothed slope to stop half a javelin throw from the imperial lines. His hands left red smears marking their way. His knees went numb.

The headwoman pushed herself off Wardu; the relief was almost as bad as the pain. He forced his head up against the knots in his neck and shoulders.

At the bottom of the hill, the imperial legion was drawn up in glittering rows. Wardu had looked just as bright and shiny two days ago. Like a new-minted pin. The joke’s on me, he thought. The ranks stirred, parted like orderly waves, and the general stepped through, brighter and shinier than all the soldiers put together.

Wardmuligan started to stand. The headwoman’s meaty fist thumped him back down.

The general and a squad of fire-mages stopped at a careful speaking distance. “Is this how you treat my messenger?” His command of the local dialect was rough, and Wardu had been combination aide and translator, though often ignored.

“What?” jeered the woman. She patted Wardmuligan’s head. “My pony? Is only one I ever rode. Cuga people dislike horses, but this one so short. Keep my feet on clean dirt. I not give him up cheapish.”

The general waved lazily. “You can keep him as a friendship gift.” The bastard, Wardu thought. He’d never liked the man. Too slick. Too convinced of himself. The general continued in the smarmy tone he used as his diplomatic voice. “If you are the emperor’s friend. If not, I’ll have him back.” He did want Wardu back! The exhausted lieutenant almost wept. “But I hope you will keep him, and accept the emperor’s so generous terms.” Wardu gnashed his broken teeth.

The headwoman grunted a laugh. She scrunched her lips back and forth for a minute, then spat a thick brown stream of liquid into the ground. “You emperor nothing. You emperor bad dirt. He want all our clean Cuga dirt, because he got only bad.” She raised one hand and took in the whole country behind and below the legions with a wide swipe. “All bad empire dirt down there!” She tossed her chin to the right indicating the land they stood on and everything above to the looming peaks. “This all good dirt. Cuga dirt.” Her frown deepened. “You standing on good Cuga dirt.”

“The emperor’s soil,” said the general, haughtily, “is clean soil.”

The Cugan warriors broke into howls of laughter. Those who hadn’t heard demanded to know what the imperial had said, and burst into their own guffaws when they were told. Soon they all had tears running down their faces, and held onto each other to keep from falling over. If the legions had chosen that moment to attack, not one barbarian would have held their ground.

Wardu shook his head. He knew what the general had meant to say. But in trying for a more sophisticated tone, he’d used the wrong form of the root and missed the idiomatic usage. What he’d actually said was: “The emperor’s shit is clean shit.”

The Cugans kept hooting and carrying on. Arrayed behind the headwoman, the shamans chanted something that made Wardmuligan’s hair stand and the earth under his hands ripple.

The general took on the appearance of someone who’d eaten hot peppers for breakfast. His face purpled with confused embarrassment that he covered with growing rage. He spun his hands, summoning a spell of flame that he shot into the ground at the headwoman’s feet, showering dirt onto the huge woman and her guards.

The laughter cut off like a lamp wick snipped at the flame. Both sides held one combined breath, waiting for the next moment to arrive.

The headwoman raised one enormous boot and stamped down with a booming thump on the rock before her. Something like a wave drove through the earth in an arrow-straight line pointing at the general. As it passed, the ground quaked, throwing up a furrow of cracked stone and exploding sod. Before the general could do more than open his mouth in a wide O, the wave was on him, tossing him off his feet and onto his backside.

The barbarians laughed even more.

In a moment, the general stood and, raising his wand of office high, screamed for the legion to attack. The men roared their approval, the insult boiling in their blood. They went to raise their right foot in the marching unison for which they were justly famous, but twisted and fell clumsily like wooden pins in a game of skittles. A moment later, they were screaming in pain, gripping broken ankles and shattered shins. Pain became pandemonium as the Cugan warriors  whooped down the hill, whirling their axes overhead.

It took Wardu some time to understand what had happened. Forgotten and unwatched in the slaughter, he rose unsteadily and stumbled toward the massacre. He knew he should run away, run as far and as fast as he could, but dazed wonder captured him.

The first legionnaire he came to was still breathing, though he wouldn’t be for long. His legs were twisted under him at horrible angles. Wardu followed the broken line of the man’s leg to where his feet should have been; but instead of seeing the man’s booted heels and hard-tipped toes, these were locked and buried several inches into the earth, as though clay had been baked and hardened around them. Casting about, Wardu saw that every imperial’s feet were similarly imprisoned. He rose and looked blankly around the killing ground. Not a single Cugan had died, and not one fire bolt had been loosed by the emperor’s mages. It was a defeat as complete as it was stunning.

‘Heh, heh,” chuckled a voice behind Wardu. A massive hand gripped the back of his neck. “Good trick, yes?” The headwoman surveyed the dead like a farmer at harvest. “I tell him. They standing on good Cuga dirt. Cuga dirt do what Cuga shamans say.” She blessed the ground with another brown stream of spit. It smelled like a cesspool in the sun. “Fire magic. Pah. Weak piss magic. Cuga magic much, much better.”

“Now.” She turned an amused look on Wardmuligan. “Be good pony ride me back up hill.”

Wardu’s horse had definitely got the better deal.


 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 01:49:41 PM by JMack »
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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2019, 11:58:54 AM »
Cold Caller

1499 words

Spoiler for Hiden:

Doug Howard let out a few fitful gasps as the phone cord tightened around his neck. His pale fingers clawed ineffectually at the gloved hands of his killer, his feet scrabbling for purchase on the mossy ground. With a final choked gasp, his bulging eyes rolled in their sockets and the lifeless body of the former call-centre worker went limp.
Thomas Llewellyn let the body drop, waiting a few seconds to ensure no messianic resurrection took place. Of course, they did not. Such miracles were for children’s stories and April churches. With a Wellington-clad foot he rolled the corpse into a pre-dug whole. Four feet by three, and five deep. Enough room for Howard once he was curled into a foetal position. Thomas worked quickly, bending limbs before rigor mortis could set in. Like tucking in a child at night. Even if the blanket was just a tarpaulin. The sheet rapped like knuckles on a door as he shovelled soil into the pit, stone, worms and all. Let nature reclaim this place. As if the earth had never been disturbed.
As he patted down the grassy tussocks, scattered leaves and a pair of branches over the gentle mount, he heard a noise. A squeal. To his heightened mind it sounded like the friction between road and braking tyres. But it was just an owl. Catching a mouse. He could see it now, even as it saw him. From ground to branch their eyes locked, and then it bobbed its head. He returned the nod. A silent agreement between killers. They would keep their secrets,a nd each others, until they too lay in the same cold soil as the dead.
Thomas picked up his shovel and torch. The only things that could be traced back to him. The only things he had not buried. He began the long walk home.
*
The next morning at work, Thomas made the call. He took the handset from its cradle and thumbed the buttons, reading them off a scrap of paper. Thankful for the lack of cord, he wandered the empty office in search of a signal.
“Hello? Hello, this is Thomas Llewellyn Cleaners, leaving a message for Monica Taft. Just to let you know I’ve cleaned up the shirts. You can pick them up whenever you have time. Your deposit cleared, and I can take the rest in cash or cheque.”
He waited a moment in case anyone picked up at the other end. When they didn’t, he hit the off button and returned the phone to its slot. Since he was there, he checked the call log. No missed calls. Business was slow these days. The real one even more so than the facade. Still, money wasn’t a problem. Less work meant more time to drink coffee and read the paper.
He heard something scratch the floor underfoot as he turned away. Stepping back revealed nothing but a brittle white scar on the tiled floor. Lifting his shoe so he could see the sole, he found a stone wedged between the tread. He sighed. Thought he had done a better job of washing them than that. He pulled the offending pebble out with his fingers and flicked it into the bin. A quick wipe with his heel obscured the mark.
Perfect. Nobody wanted to hire a cleaner who couldn’t maintain basic standards in their own workplace.
*
When Thomas got home that evening, he was stiff from inaction. It had been a three-customer day. All with actual clothes in need of cleaning.
Stepping into his house, he gave a sharp whistle. With a scrabble of paws on linoleum, Peter came rushing to greet him. The black Labrador with his lolling tongue grinned like a maniac at the sight of his master.
Thomas crouched to rub the dog’s ears. “Where’s your ball boy?” he asked. Immediately the dog raced off towards the garden, and Thomas followed with a smile.
A smile that died the moment he was through the back door.
The back garden was potted with holes. Little pits and mounds of soil, like Peter had been searching for the ideal place to bury something. Thomas turned to scowl at the dog, but the grinning idiot just stood there on the doorstep. His paws were utterly clean. Thomas frowned. Had some other dog got into the garden while he’d been at work, or was his pet as good at feigning innocence as he was? Probably Will next door, he decided. The old man was always taking in strays and letting them run amok. He could let it slide this once. After all, he had a shovel in the shed. And he’d become rather good at filling in holes.
*
That night he slept in fits and bursts, dreaming he was running through woodland, harried by ringing phones. As he stumbled into a clearing, he saw a hand rising from the ground, clutching a handset. With the logic of dreams he knew he had to answer the ringing. He pressed the phone to his ear and heard a voice, “You should have buried your secrets deeper.”
*
He woke sharply, the rich smell of freshly-turned soil in his nose and something clogging the back of his throat. It was though his windpipe had closed up. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, toes feeling the strands of carpet like blades of grass, and checked his alarm. Three in the morning.
There was a sound from downstairs, and he felt the hairs on his arms rise as he realised it was the chiming of the house phone. Then he laughed at himself. That must have been what woke him, twisting its way into his dreams until his brain could process the sound. He needed a drink anyway, so he pulled on a pair of trousers and walked downstairs, moving slowly so as not to wake the dog.
The phone stopped ringing before he entered the room, so went to the kitchen instead. Pulled a glass of the drying rack and turned the tap on. It gurgled softly. Filling half a glass, he swilled it around his mouth and spat it into the sink. The water was pale brown, like weak coffee. It was coming out of the tap like that. A burst pipe somewhere. The Water Board, another call he’d have to make today.
He was about to return upstairs when he heard a tapping. At first he took it for the wag of Peter’s tail. The human was awake. That meant breakfast. But no, this noise was coming from outside.
Thomas pulled the curtain back from the window, determined to catch Will’s dog in the act, and fell back in shock.
There a man at the window, holding a shovel and smiling. Eyes bulging and a phone cord wrapped around his neck.
Douglas Howard.
Thomas scrambled to his feet and looked through the window, scanning the dark garden. Of course there was nobody there. Dead people didn’t come knocking in the night.He was just imagining things. It had been a long day. The work was getting to him. He stepped outside to be sure of it, but there was no trace of anyone having been there. Because no one had.
He climbed back up the stairs, unable to stop his shoulders shivering. At hid bed, he pulled back the covers and slid in. He recoiled as his body touched something cold and slightly wet. Turning the light on revealed a small patch of soil on the sheet. Fresh soil, worms and all.
*
He didn’t sleep that night, and the next day was fraught with anxiety. He jumped whenever the phone rang, or when someone knocked at the door. When he ate, the food was tasteless, and all he could thin was that he was chewing on soil. By the time it had turned dark, his mind was set. Grabbing his gloves and shovel, he made the drive out to the woods where the evidence of his crime lay buried.
Either it was as he had left it and he was being a fool, or someone had uncovered the body and was exacting some sickening campaign against him.
He walked through the woods constantly looking over his shoulder, walking into branches and tripping over stones. The grave, such as it was, was here somewhere. Yes, almost there. He recognised the trees.
The hole in the ground was just that. A hole, open and empty. Nothing inside but sticks.
Had Howard lived? Dug his way out? No, no that wasn’t possible.
And then Thomas heard the phone ring.
He turned to see the man he had killed. Standing upright, but arms at awkward angles. His head held limply, pulled to one side by the cord around it. In one hand he carried the phone, in the other, the handset. His unblinking eyes stared straight through Thomas, but the hand raised toward him, holding the ringing receiver.
“It’s for you.”
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Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2019, 09:16:20 AM »
This is a very raw draft, surely full of errors, I edited nothing. Sorry but I found no time

Title: End of Kudras
1174 Words

Spoiler for Hiden:
The sun rose above the stark world created by the god named Kudras who spent all his devotion into every little groove and corner on this surface. Only to be shattered by the plans of his kind to misshape all he has built and destroy the beauty of his creation. Among this perfect place raged the beast of Sarduk, a gigantic creature, taller than the mountains it feasts on and stronger than the gods that try to eradicate this fearful monster.Many plans to stop this madness failed already and the gods grew desperate and impatient, if this madness would rage on, there would be nothing left of this world to build on.

However, in the valleys of a bare mountainside, Unlulna took care of her tasks assigned by her master. Other gods are customed in maintaining hundreds and thousands of angels for every single task they could imagine to maintain their orders, except for Kudras who only fabricated his only angel. While others create masses in the blink of an eye, he took his time to fastidiously engineer every little detail of his only servant. As usual for angels he assigned a single task to her, to maintain and prosper the lands and add the details needed. A Complex and time consuming task that demands too much attention even from a god to take care of it.

In her spot, which gathered thousands of myths, legends and names over the ages, between the nameless mountains, Unlulna took care of her task with minutious precision to shape the complex beauty in this newborn world. Due to the times, only the tales are left by the few angels who dared to report about this time, also only long after their masters died, but it is said that all angels envied her. With graceful steps she took care of every flower and animal that decided to engage life and started to explore the vast lands who wait for life to come. Every touch was as gentle as the wind caused by the flap of a butterfly. Many angels came to wonder in amazement but only few dared to get close to the spring of new life.

But these peaceful times were not meant to last, the world only experienced this for a very brief moment in it´s lifetime. But nobody expected how this would end, neither gods nor angels nor Unlulna herself. It was in a cold morning, the sky turned pale and the stars started to vanish but the sun hid behind the mountain peaks. Azakrel prepared his division of angels for Sarduks attack, for he was heading towards their position, nobody could predict his patterns or imagine it´s thoughts and relate to to the acts of random destruction. Fear filled the angels as they saw the beast galloping with the speed of sound over the wide lands. It´s body of huge stonelike skin, claws long, black and sharp, able to shred the fabric of time. A yellow slime oozed out of every eye that grew along it´s gigantic spine till the end of it's tail, all the way up to the huge eye in the middle of the forehead. The teeth are shining white, even though they devour the mountains this beast once crafted himself long before sacrificing it's mind to insanity. Every step shook the ground that even the butterflies could feel it.

Azakrel and his legion was prepared for the worst, but suddenly Sarduk stopped his pace. With a sound like thunder the head of the beast cocked towards the valley of Unlulna. The custodian of this garden felt the change of shakings of course and shifted her attention towards its source. The plants shook in fear but her gentle voice calmed them and encouraged all life to be brave. Gracefully the angels steps carry her towards the edge of the valley and a huge pole of white marble starts to emerge out of the ground, touching the clouds and even growing even beyond. Apologetic the angel steps with highest care on the leaf of a vine plant that started to grow along the marble pole. It outgrew the mountains to the air not even Butterflies dared to touch only to carry the guardian as high as possible till the monster arrives.

The armies of Angels stared in awe at the spectacle in the distance, agony twisted their faces for they fear about the beauty they don't dare to even get close to. Along his path, Sarduk trampled everything even, stomping mountains and cliffs to flat fields and passing enormous distances in the blink of an eye till he reaches the guardian of the valley. His sudden halt amazed the spectators and shifted their crippling anxiousness to excitement. The giant growls in anger but the keeper only shows the same warm smile she always wears.

The Ground trembled as Sarduk shakes, his drool dropping to the ground burns grooves later filled by rivers into the land and all his eyes focused only on Unlulna. She simply raised her hand and stretched it toward the shivering beast. Even the gods watched from afar due to fear for their own lifes and gasped in wondering as they saw how the untameable monster bows its head for an angel. The sun shone through the mountain peaks over the shoulders of the keeper onto the closed eyes of Sarduk. The drooling stopped and so did the quivering.

Nobody dared to get close but it seemed that the beast stopped, and indeed it happened. Sarduk died, all his hate disappeared and his life lost all purpose. Maybe he even remembered the love he once felt, before these events started and all the love he felt back than for his actions. Unlulna touched his forehead and whispered “Don't worry, it's over. You can finally rest. I only wish you could've enjoyed this spot during a moment of sanity”. As the words left her lips, Thunder erupted from the clear sky. Clouds gathered out of thin air, shaping a featureless face in the sky around the circle of thunders. A guttural voice emerged. “Do not fear us, friend of the gods, we watched your every move and saw the taming of the beast. A power so strong not even we gods could conquer. We thank you but at the same time we fear you, so we must exile you and the remains of all this event into the unknown so no live could ever find you again”.

Unlulna smiles upon the clouds and agrees, nobody expected that to happen. The thunders split the ground and everything sank into the ground, the garden, the warden and the beast. Swallowed up by the Ground they populated. After there was no sign left the gods held council if their action was right, great quarrels emerged that took even longer than the terror of Sarduk itself. It is said that even to this age, the exiled angel is still taking care of the remains of her master and taking care of his garden.
Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies within the heart of mankind.

-Edward d. Morrison