"This contest is about writing a medieval fantasy story. You know, dragons and knights and archers and goblins and stuff. Go nuts with it. Oh, but there's a twist. This medieval fantasy story must take place on an alien world, or in an weird, parallel universe. The picture below is for inspiration."
The inspirational image:
“I need strong backs, fast blades and powerful magic!” rasped the old Martian as he stood at the bar of the Oxia Palus. The silent bar quickly returned to its conversations leaving him alone in the crowd.
“Two gold!” barked the barkeep as he slapped the tankard of ale on the bar “I said two gold old timer!”
The old Martian tossed a platinum piece onto the bar “You point me in the direction of worthy adventurers, you can keep the change!”
The barkeeps black oval eyes widened as he bit the coin to check. Satisfied by the taste and the markings of Lord H’ronmeer he pointed his green finger to the back corner “You’ll find what you’re looking for”
The old Martian lifted his ale and shuffled up the back to the tables. He could see several watching him, mainly for his purse. It didn’t bother him. He approached a table to see six seated, playing pin finger. He smiled as he recalled his own youth down the drinking halls doing exactly the same thing, a faded scar on his ring finger a reminder.
“What do you want grandpa?” snarled the midget through a mouthful of froth.
“I am looking to hire men,” he replied “So that would discount you, little one?”
The midget jumped up from his seat and reached for his warclub but his companion, a slender Martian etched with markings of the god L’zoril grabbed his shoulder.
“Settle Gi’mlee!” he eased “It’s your temper that gets ME punched in the face!”
“Don’t ‘settle me’ Leg’Olus!” growled Gi’mlee.
“I shall come back when you have finished.” the old Martian turned to leave.
“Stay.” the voice was firm, direct. Seemingly the shadows parted to reveal a sullen Martian, seeming the weight of Mars on his shoulders. “Speak.”
The old Martian smiled “I am need of strong backs, fast blades and powerful magic. I have a quest into the wilds, around the base of Olympus Mons to recover the lost treasure of J’onzz”
“Pfft!” scoffed the woman, her eyes not leaving the blade as she continued her game of pin finger “The treasure of J’onzz is a myth, a child’s tale!”
The old Martian smiled and tossed a scroll onto the table “Judge for yourselves. I will be at the bar awaiting your answer”
“What if I just take your map?” stated the shifty looking Martian as he waggled the scroll like he was conducting a group of bards.
The old Martian smiled at the thief “It is warded with a fire glyph. Move it further than thirty feet from me; you, it and most of the bar explode in a fireball!” He shuffled away as the group began their internal interrogations.
He looked around the bar at the brigands, miscreants and other assorted peasants who inhabited the Oxia Palus and smiled. It reminded him of younger days when he was one of the young brash bucks selling his sword arm to the highest bidder.
The old Martian turned to see the six standing; waiting and ready.
“What are your terms?” asked the thief.
“Names. I would like to know who my employees are” he replied.
“The pretty one is Leg’Olus, he’s our archer. The midget is Gi’mlee. That’s R’aghornn our ranger. Ghan’deph the wizard and that is Harr’wyn.” said the thief “I’m B’llbo. Our price is fifty gold pieces each per day and a split of the treasure”
“Ssh! Someone’s coming!” yelped Blue Beetle causing Booster Gold to fumble the journal he was reading from. The pair scrambled like teenagers on a panty raid as they put everything back as it was and stood very still as Martian Manhunter and Batman entered the room. Batman glared at them.
“…n’t you agree Batman?” asked J’onn who followed the Dark Knights gaze “Batman?”
“Those two are up to something!” stated Batman pointing at them.
“If you two have been in my Oreos again!” warned Martian Manhunter.
“No, not us!” confessed Blue Beetle. Booster Gold threw his hands up and the pair slunk away and giggled their way down the corridor leaving the duo of detectives from different worlds.
“Who knew J’onn wrote fan fiction!” laughed Blue Beetle.
“He just rewrote Lord of the Rings!” Booster blurted out.
“I liked it!” said Ted.
Once upon a time, on a distant land, on a distant galaxy...
dibbiluU Uubinskoffind was an ordinary, 12 year old (by our standards of time) lad.
They always are, aren`t they?
A magenta skinned humanoid with three legs, two arms, who was a farmer like rest of his family...his father had died a long time ago, when he had been a soldier in the army of Gruonkild. A courageous soldier, he was said to have had been.
They always are, aren`t they.
But, what dibbiluU did not know, was that his father had been something more. He also didn`t know that he was going to find out who his father had been, in a few minutes.
The weather was nice. Very nice. The 40 moons could be seen excellently in the green colored evening sky. The red sun was ever so slowly descending to northeast ( Though, the race of gU never used that word. They always said something ambigous like "over there", "that way" or "past the hill like a cgR jump".). Air smelled like maneuver, hay (which smells like silicon in this world), and very rich with oxygen. About fife times richer than on Earth.
A strange looking old (she had four legs), hunchbacked woman walked towards their house, the soap bubble mountains (Soap bubbles being metaphorical. Actually, the mountains consisted of iron-clay.) looking gigantrous (700 miles) in the distance. dip had stood next to his mother who silently said (in an alien language that is translated to english of Earth):
"What is it mumma?"
"Go inside, now. Take your siblings with you."
"Why, supper ready?"
dib skittled to the house, and took his 67 siblings to his arms. This was easy, given that all of them were still eggs the size of rice grains.
His mother shouted to the woman.
"Get away from here, ye filthy ancient croak! your company is not required here!!"
"Why must all the fantasy characters speak that way?" The old woman mumbled, while slowly walking towards the woman."Long time no see huliO! You know why I`m here, do you not?"
"Turn back, go back to your land! This instant! Or by my god, you shall face the cold grasp of death very soon!"
"Death has a very warm grasp, actually." Said the old one, while still limping onwards.
"Stop thy limping and thy nonsense that you speak." Said the mother of dib, whose name was huliO.
The ancient, mysterious woman did not stop.
huliO very quickly drew her magical weapon that resembles a crossbow of Earthly design. She aimed at the old woman. Without mercy or hesitation, she shot.
For a 0, 80 second the energy bolt wissed trough the air that surrounded it, nearing the old woman.
It exploded, and was gone. But no damage had been done to the older woman.
"Like I wouldn`t have a magic shield, you silly broad!" Yelled the woman who could be called...well, let`s call her Junio.
The three legged, slightly plumb (180 lbs, 5, 47 feet long) woman whose name had been huliO for the last 190 years (by Earths standards), goed to one of the hay stacks, and pulled a string.
A canonball of this worlds equilant to pure hell fire was shot to direction of old Junio, and it too, exploded.
It cracked Junios shield, and also managed to sting her. She was starting to get pissed.
"Uuhtriolottinus!" She spelled.
huliO was captivated inside an unbrekable hexagon prison, that let air and light inside.
"B for effort." Said Junio.
"Go drikle yourself." Said huliO.
"Be very thankful that I have a moral conscience that keeps me from burning you alive." Said Junio, while still limpin to the house.
"Do NOT go inside you-"
Suddenly, her words couldn`t be heard anymore.
dib was scared (His siblings didn`t know how to feel, yet.). He had had to use the bathroom (hole in the ground, that had a crap eater at its bottom) that`s how scared he was. He wouldn`t be letting the dangerous woman in! No wa-
Then the dangerous woman was inside the land floor hut, thats walls and roof were made of worm eaten wood placks.
"Nah. If I would, I wouldn`t be able to tell you about your father."
"You see, your father was a courageous soldier, as you know. But he was also more. He happened to be the gretest soldier in the galaxy. Able to confront armies that had tens of thousands of warriors, by himself. able to hold closed doors closed for hours, no matter how much they were pounded. Able to survive the pain created by hunreds od torturers. Yet, he was always kind. Even to his enemies. Even the most horrible ones. It was said that he was given his strenght by gods. That`s true. But he had a weakness. If he would surrender willingly, he could be killed. On 56 separate times, he was given a choice: Surrender, or a city will be destroyed. 55 times, he could find a solution that would let him keep his life, and keep the city dwellers alive, too. In the 56. time...yeah, well. Anyways, since you were conceited 5 days before his death, you have his powers. They should surface in about...two weeks. Or sooner." Told Junio.
Our kid protagonist had been awestruck by the words he had been told. Not making a sound.
"That cannot be true."
Junio made a sound. It was this: "Sigh."
Junio took a piece of crimson glass, plicked it, and it flashed.
"Very we...we-well then. It IS true." Stammered dib.
"Okay. Now, preparations must be made, farewells be said, and leavings be done. We`ll, leave as soon as possible, by the way." Said Junio, using words that sounded alien to dub.
"I don`t wanna."
"..." Said Junio.
"..." Said Junio, again.
"..." Once more.
"What the hell?" She said.
"I`m scared, and I don`t wanna leave my family, or my home town, or the boy I`m attracted to, or the useless alchemist school for really poor kids or...oror..."
"I understand your feelings...but there`s millions of lifes at stake...so...You know, I could control your mind, but then you wouldn`t be as naturally a skilled a fighter as you are. So...come on."
"What did you do to my mumma? I cannot hear her voice..."
"I rendered her speechless for the time being. She`s completely fine. A ok. Now, let`s conversate about..."
"Conversate*?" He asked. Askingly.
*Maybe this race doesn`t use the word, or his vocabulary wasn`t awfully big.
"Speak. Discuss. Talk about your future as a celebrated fighter for the good of gUkind and a few other races benefit." She said, hoping that she made it clear to him.
"Nothing to talk about. Ain`t going."
"Yeah, you are."
"Ye speak lies."
"No I does not." Said Junio.
"Yes, you do."
"NO, I, DON`T." Said, Junio, raising her voice."
"Don`t raise your voice in my presence!!!!!" He shouted, and hit the poor old woman, because he has anger management issues.
Junios shield cracked to 10089 pieces. Her torso to fife. Her soul remained intact, but it escaped from her body, and goed to the body of a newly born space monkey, 600000 light years away from the location of our story.
There was sand everywhere. Sand that use to be inside Junio.
dib stood there, trembling. His mind started to change. Partly because of this dramatic experience. Partly because of the Deus ex machina-effect.
huliO opened the door, and hugged her child. She saw the sand on the floor. Her eyes widened.
"I am not cleaning that."
"Very well mumma." He said, not at all shocked, took the broom that looked like a pool table, and started sweeping.
"Have you decided to stay love? Please say that you have."
"No mumma. I did, at first. But killing seems to be too much fun." He said, smiling joyously.
"Sigh. Very well. Leave soon. Kill all the evil ones. Bring alot of riches, and maybe a pretty boy who can marry you."
"I have someone here, already."
"Oh, how lovely."
And so it happened, that dibbiluU Uubinskoffind trekked to the lands of blood. he traveled on horses, mules, dragons, small rabbits and magic carpets. He found out that his world was not only not rectagular, but that it didn`t have a shape at all. He fought against 5000000 adversaries and killed all of them with a wicked smile on his face. He laid hunreds of men, and sometimes women. He fought for ten years. Led armies for nine. Led 67000 of his own soldiers, and civilians, to their deaths, just because he wanted quick solutions. He burned dozens of villages because of various reasons. He beheaded the one who had warred against his people for 23 years. He took his throne. He took the throne of the ruler of his own people, by force. He warred against other nations. He made made his mother proud, especially because she got a city of her own, where she was worshipped. He had 10 million killed. Had his own, rebellious siblings killed. For 30 years his reign goed on, until the goddesses and gods who had unitentionally given him his powers, grew bored of the epic that they had enjoyed to watch for 53 years. When they grew bored of it, they sent dibbiluU the Terriffic to hell, where he was the lowliest of beings, suffering the most horrible punishments that anyone can imagine. He stayed there for 10000 times 1000000000 years (by our definition of time) before finally reincarnating as Batman.
"Lord Hitman!" The Chief Warlock said nervously. "The ship is not ready for attack yet! We were barely able to bring it back together after the state you left it in!"
"SILENCE WHELP!" Tommy the Hitman screamed at the monitor. "I KNOW WHAT I MUST DO! NOW I WILL DO IT! FOR COMIC BOOK GEEKS EVERYWHERE!"
"Master... I hope you know what you're doing..." The warlock said. "For the sake of the universe I hope you succeed..."
"Y'know Shane... I really love my job sometimes." Brian Michael Bendis said as he looked over the City of Stanleeville.
"Why's that Bri?" Shane Black asked as he looked over a stack of Iron Man comics he held in his hands.
"I... just love crushing the hearts of all Marvel's die hard fans out there... something I know you have experience with!"
Shane laughed as he threw the comics over the side of the balcony. "Of course I do! Speaking of which I've heard you've created a new way of stealing money from fans! Care to show me it?"
"What do you th-?" Bendis started to ask.
"BENDISS!!!!!!!" A loud voice screamed from above.
"What the f!ck is that?!" Bendis asked as the Slave 1 ship pulled down out of the skies.
"I... have no idea. Is... that a ship from Star Trek?"
The Hitman's scream of rage could be heard from miles away as he piloted the ship towards the castle.
"...Go." Bendis said. "I shall deal with this person myself."
Bendis leaped over the side and levitated himself down to the ground with his mental abilities. He landed right next to the ship just as The Hitman stepped out.
"Bendis..." The Hitman said. "Time to pay for your crimes..."
"I'm sorry. Do I know you?" Bendis asked.
"You will. Trust me... you will."
Alduin the dragon awakened to the sound of a man screaming someone's name. He sighed as he got up and looked around his cave.
"Freaking food... always ruining my sleep." He muttered. "Looks like it's feeding time!" He yelled as he started to waddle towards the cave exit. He looked out into the night sky to smell for where the nearest city was. Little did he know food was not on the menu tonight.
Alduin almost jumped as two pieces of flesh smashed into the side of the cave wall. He could hear the two meat sticks yelling at each other as they fought.
"What do you mean you hated Age of Ultron?! Didn't you love how it all got explained?"
Alduin smashed his foot into the two beings hoping to crush them.
"Freaking food..." Alduin muttered for the second time that day.
"ALL FORCES!!! CONVERGE ON THE CRASH SITE!!!" Shane Black yelled as he led the army of archers, mages and warriors across the green fields just to the north of Stanleeville. "We must take down the man who dared to strike Lord Bendis!"
Shane Black halted the army just outside of the cave entrance.
"All of you! Prepare to fight for the life of your master!" Black screamed. "NOW! What lucky men and women want to assist me in entering the cave?"
"What? No brave heroes in this band? Fine I'll pick... you 5, you 6 and... you."
"Me?" Asked Shrek the ogre.
"Yes. You there! CGI monster! You shall assist us! NOW!!! ONWARDS!!!!" Shane Black yelled as he lead his small platoon up the hill... that was until the dragon poked his head out anyway.
"HOLY FLICKING SHIP ON A FLICK TREE!!!!" Shane Black screamed as the dragon looked down at them. "FREAKING RUN!!!!"
The dragon opened it's mouth as fire started to bellow out towards the large group.
"Ow... my head..." The Hitman muttered as he stood up. "Did anyone get the number of that... BENDIS!!!" He screamed as he saw Bendis starting to walk out of the cave.
"HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?!" Bendis yelled as The Hitman rammed into him in mid air.
"I LIVE TO KILL YOU!!!" Hitman screamed as they both landed into the side of Alduin.
"IT WILL NEVER WORK YOU FOOL!!!" Bendis screamed. "YOU THINK YOU'RE THE FIRST TO TRY AND KILL ME?! WHENEVER I DIE... MY SOUL JUST GOES INTO ANOTHER BODY!!!!!"
The Hitman shrugged as he held Bendis by the neck.
"This is for 1442 issues of pure garbage!!!" The Hitman screamed as he broke Bendis' neck.
The sound of Bendis' neck breaking was heard across the universe. Every single person at the battlefield looked in awe as the Hitman dropped Bendis' body to the ground.
"RETREAT!!!" Shane Black screamed in terror. "RETREAT WHILE YOU STILL LIVE!!!!"
The Hitman looked at the blood on his fists. It wasn't his blood. It was the tears of every single person who'd thought Age of Ultron had been better then Trinity War. Today was a glorious day. Today was a day for a new era of Marvel Comics... a heroic age...
"Hello?! Can I have a glass of water please?!" Boba Fett asked from his holding cell. He'd been locked in here for 7 days. For the most of it there hadn't been any prison guards outside his cell. Which was a shame. Here. He was nothing. Without his armor he wouldn't be able to handle the simplest of Warlocks...
"I can make you powerful..." A sinister voice said from around the cell.
Boba looked around nervously. "Uh... what? Hello?"
"Do you seek the power to defeat those who've wronged you?" The voice asked.
"Well... yeah I guess."
"Awesome! So how about you just let me into your mind there chum?"
"What? Why would I do that?"
"Cause if you do. I can get us out of that cell. Then we can get our revenge on the Hitman. THEN you can get paid by Quesada!"
"Hmm... sounds like a good deal. What's your name partner?"
An astral image of a man who looked like this:
"My name is Brian. Mr Fett... and I believe this is the start if a BEAUTIFUL relationship!!!"
To be continued... some day...
Truth of the Fortress
Chapter One – Poisonous Beginnings
Many centuries ago on the planet Aotearoa, there is a village called Whiritoa. Whiritoa is a village that lies upon the sea. One of the planets two moons is nearly almost always seen and holds the tides constantly out on its beaches. The inhabitants of Whiritoa and its region are human life forms that live in peaceful existence in small stone homes with wooden roofs. Most days are spent hunting, fishing and gathering crops grown below the surrounding hills. On occasion the local residents are required to travel across the hills to Wanganui to trade for medicines, tools and livestock.
The trades have to be done in the summer months and early spring as through the winter and autumn seasons the dragons awake from slumber and hunt the plains that separate the two villages.
Paeroa is the capital of the known land and is home to the Kings warrior knights and fortress. Once a year the villages would send an offering of the season’s crops, weapons and clothing they had made as payment for the Kings protection. Unless you were of noble blood, a villager would not travel to the fortress and the offering would be the only contact with the fortress.
It is the end of spring that we join the Barton’s, a happy family who live in Whiritoa. Gerald and Claire are the caring parents of five children, Damian, Thomas, Elizabeth, Michael and Felicity.
The eldest brothers Damian and Thomas are tasked with hunting. Elizabeth, as eldest daughter works with Claire baking and keeping the house and affairs in order with the assistance of the youngest daughter Felicity. Michael the youngest brother has the role of fishing, although he wishes to follow his eldest brothers in the hunt. Gerald holds a high authority position on the village’s council.
We join Gerald venturing home from the last council meeting of the trade months, the village has begun to shackle down for the coming dragon season.
As Gerald nears his busy household, he is hit by the smell of incense and spices. Claire and Elizabeth had been working all day on a magical potion that they will paint the whole house with in the last week of spring. The potion is similar in texture to a clear paint that makes their home invisible to a dragon’s vision and smell. Taking a last look back out at the village as Gerald enters his home, he can see a number of his neighbor’s chimneys smoking as they too cook up their own potion and a few neighbors have already began to coat their homes in the potion.
“Family, the smell of the potion is most alluring. Nay dragons will feast upon us this season” declared Gerald warmly as he greeted his home.
Looking around Gerald did not get a response, rather a worried look from all his family. “What is wrong? You all seem so glum” puzzled Gerald.
Claire left the broth and placed a warm hand on Gerald’s shoulder” It’s Michael. He followed his brothers on a hunt today and was bitten by a Pukeko”.
A Pukeko is a swamp bird that is rumored to protect the graves of the spirits of goblin warriors. There bites release a small toxin into your blood stream that is harmless enough if treated immediately.
“Has he not been treated or seen by the shaman?” again quizzed Gerald to his household, this time with a concerned tone..
“We have. But unfortunately the trades had forgotten to replenish the poppy seed in the last trade run. We have enough to ease the poison, but not enough to cure him” Informed Claire with the fear in her eyes “We cannot send anyone as the dragons will awake and migrate to the plains. It would damn who ever should take the journey.”
“It is our fault father; we should have known he was shadowing us. I and Thomas will take the trail and bring the poppy seed,” declared Damian.
“It is not as simple as that son. I may then lose three children. Besides, the potion would need to be mixed on the journey back. Timing is essential to getting the cure. Neither of you has the skill or knowledge to do this,” Claire desperately retorted.
“I do. I also am of age and can hold my own out there.” Elizabeth startled the family jumping into the conversation “We cannot and will not sit by and let nothing happen. I will go with one of the boys and travel to Wanganui. This is not open for debate. We can soak our clothes in the potion which should deter any dragons.” Elizabeth was a strong beautiful willed young woman. She had never settled in to the domestic life of normal stereo types expected by the village. Her brave words rang home truths to Gerald and Claire.
After what seemed hours of debate it was agreed that Elizabeth and Thomas would take the trail and travel to Wanganui to collect the poppy seed.
Thomas was the second oldest of the brothers. He was book and wit smart. Damian was unhappy with the decision to choose his brother over himself, but Damian was next in line on the council to take over his father and already commanded a lot of respect from the other villagers .For the good of the village it was unwise to send him on such a treacherous mission.
So Thomas and Elizabeth gathered supplies for the journey. Elizabeth had changed from her village robes into Michael’s fishing clothes, which had been soaked in the potion. This attire was more suited to the journey ahead for Elizabeth. A tearful good bye and one last look back into their home they saw Felicity dabbing their sick brother with a damp cloth. This sight reinforced their mission and they were on their way to save Michael and be dammed to the perils that lay ahead……..
It was in the year of the second sun and third moon. (Not to be confused with the year of the second sun and the fourth moon) that a great terror came to terrorize the land of Ozzgoath with, uh, terror. Anyway....
It was a great and fearsome beast that flew through the air, and spewed out acidic stuff. Really gross it was. But more gross was what it did to the citizenship. Those caught in the green bile were turned to slush. Hence the the term 'slushified.' As in, 'I would rather be slushified then marry your sister.' Which was also a popular expression that year, coincidentally. The beast that terrified the kingdom with terror and possible slushification was known as 'the great and terrifying flying Arogoro that slushifies the citizenship.' But this was a bit wordy, so it was reduced to 'The Arogoro'.
As previously stated, this creature spit some nasty green stuff that slushified. But you should also know it was huge. Hugely huge. So huge in fact that some of our smart types began to wonder how it flew at all. They foolishly voiced their views and were naturally put to the sword. Mathematicians are nothing but witches with better accounts books, as is well known throughout the land.
The beast had a long head, like an ax blade, if ax blades were long in stead of broad. And it supposedly had a mouthful of scary 'drop your crap and run for your life' teeth. No one ever saw its eyes, but it was generally assumed they would be sufficiently frighting, and worthy of wetting yourself from fear.
And so it went, week after week with the Arogoro making hapless people into nastiness, and generally lowering the population. Which was good at first. But then we started to get seriously low on cheap work labor, and some of the higher ups got worried. It was decided some fool was gonna have to deal with the Arogoro. Obviously no one wanted to get caught holding that bag. And when no brave, suicidal volunteers were forth coming, the higher ups had to think up a new plan.
The new plan was supposedly thought up by our great and lardish king. I don't believe that myself. I don't think a king who has a servant on hand to blink his eyes for him bothers with inventing plans. I'm not saying our great heap of a king is lazy, but two assassination attempts failed because the would-be assassins assumed our good and bloated pile of a king was already dead.
And so a call went out through the land. A call to arms to liberate our ugly, Orifice forsaken scratch of land from the Arogoro. A call that was completely ignored. So another call went out to make sure everyone had heard the first call. They had, and were still uninterested. So a third call went out. This one offering the hand of the daughter of our cholesterol stuffed king, who was actually pretty hot. Kinda surprising, given the stock she came from. But flowers from manure as we say.
Adventurers, and the terminally single arrived in droves then. Each one eager to pledge themselves to the cause. It was the closest many of them ever came to being patriotic. Our great and flabby king was there to wheeze out a few words of encouragement to those assembled about. All our greatest heroes were there, with a proper smathering of not-so-great heroes as well. It was a rough, wild, and largely desperate bunch. I may have mentioned the over populace of aesthetically horrifying woman that year. And I don't just mean plain or mildly unattractive girls either. The third biggest affliction that year (Aside from slushification and ugliness) was self inflicted blindness. There was once a poor youth pledged to marry by family union. He leaped willingly into the path of the Arogoro.
Several explanations were offered for the curse of butter face that year. Everything from a powerful witch getting stood up on a date, to the gods being more cruel and merciless then normal. Or maybe there was something in the water.
Our beloved and copious king was wheeled to the great window with the royal fork lift, the poorly fated machine groaning under the awesome weight of his royal meatiness. "Today" He wheezed. "You fight... Huuhhh.... Not just for... Huuuhh. Your kingdom... Though that should... Huhhh.... Be enough.... Huuh... I think...zzzzz." The heroic effort of talking and breathing had worn our wonderful, beanbag-like king out. His royal assistant promptly poked him in the head with the royal poking stick. "Huh? Uhhhhh." Our king said. Then he added, "Ohhh, urp uhh urrrr huhhh." Those proclamations are engraved on our city gates to this day. Having filled the hearts of all the losers present, he nodded off again, and was wheeled back inside to the chorus of royal fanfare, and the shrieking of over-taxed wheels.
"Right." Said the royal assistant, who was a good deal less, uh, just less then our king. "Slay the great and terrifying flying Arogoro that slushifies the citizenship" (Some people preferred the long name.) "And win the hand of the princess." This was followed by a lot of cheering and shield beating and headbutting, and various primitive forms of celebration. Like giving high fives. I admit, it was kinda heartening to see a small (stupid) part of the masses rise a bit from their inbred lethargy.
A harmless flofflor bird flew overhead. (No doubt released to subconsciously raise hopes. Our fleshy king's pr people were very good). All in all, a feeling that things were going to be okay permeated the area. Then the Arogoro dropped from the sky like bad news and slushified all the adventurers and the terminally single in a single spewing. It was rather unexpected, to say the least. After that incident, moral in the kingdom hit the ground and started digging. It was decided that since the Arogoro had killed all the adventurers (and all the terminally single) only a fool would be brave enough, and foolish enough to go after the great beast. I was neither of those, but I was a fool by trade, so the higher ups decided that was close enough.
Getting an attractive princess in exchange for somehow slaying the monster was a questionable deal at best. But when your head is literally on the chopping block, and the executioner is looking excited to get a new pair of boots, well, you'll agree to most anything. And that's how I found myself on this stupid quest.....
Fall of Hibernia
Princess Katya stood on the highest buttress of the island city of Tara, the capital of her realm, gleaming like an emerald surrounded by blue sand. Vines of honeysuckle covered the elegant stone walls and roofs of the lower city, the usual bustle of the merchants and townsfolk replaced by the grim men at arms who silently awaited the coming storm from the East. For years Katya's people had been the violent focus of an Orkney from the wild shores named General Vanadus, a foul grey skinned monster who had taken the fight to the ancient capital of Sarum's Peak and had ransacked the city within days of arriving at the gates. Whilst her people were artisans, traders and craftsman; the very apex of civilisation in the area Katya knew that Vanadus and his monstrous followers were motivated by primal anger and the hatred of all things other then their own foul creations.
"So General you have come to this blessed shore looking for plunder but all you will find is the end of your reign of terror." Katya whispered as she looked out towards the bank of smoke rolling in as the ironclad landing craft that made up Vanadus's navy steamed towards the city, the deck crews firing pitch covered stones at the walls using the magonels mounted on their ships. Heading inside she headed for the ornate pool in the centre of her chamber and looked at the figure staring back, blonde hair blowing in the wind while sapphire blue eyes cut through the surface of the water. Sighing Katya went over to her bed and ran her hand over the dress and apron her handmaidens had laid out, the traditional uniform they wore in her service and a disguise that would hopefully help her evade Vanadus and his troops.
"My Lady are you ready to go?" Vana her favourite maid called from the other side of the door.
"I am." Katya answered as she pulled the dress on and fitted the matching clogs over her feet, her tail wrapping around her legs, unused to being bound by clothing. Clumsily she staggered over to the door and opened it to see Vana waiting for her, a slightly bemused look on her face. "Vana we must hurry to the temple before the city is overrun." Katya ordered as she walked along the green marble hallway for the upper courtyard." Slipping out through the main entrance the two maids watched as a fireball launched from one of the ironclads ripped through an elegant bridge that led to the cities only temple.
"Look on the beach." Vana squealed before pointing down to the shore. Far below them the first Ironclads had beached and lowered their gangplanks, swarms of Orkney Trows and Merrows swarming out of their boats like a slick grey and green moss crawling up a fallen tree trunk.
"The city pass, it's the only chance we have." Katya stated, "I just hope my people hold long enough for us to arrive safely." She added as another Ironclad docked and dropped it's ramp as a massive figure emerged followed by more of his ilk, all of them armoured in scale mail and all of them tugging on ropes as they lugged a massive scaffold out of the ship. "A City Taker." Katya gasped as more giants pushed the weapon out onto the beach, the wooden platforms crawling with hobgoblins all armed with bows whilst their larger cousins the Orkney Trows formed up behind the siege engine. "Our time is short we must hurry."
Market Square was, as it always seemed to be, was a dynamo of noise and action, albeit more aggressive and brutal then the usual rabble of traders and craftsmen selling their wares. As Katya and Vana descended into the plaza the vibrations from the City Taker ceased and a roar of success echoed around the city. By the time the two women had traversed the square Vanadus's army was engaged in fighting the men in arms barricaded in the square.
"Is there anything we can do to help them?" Vana gasped. The men in arms were being slaughtered by the advancing enemy troops. Between the Trows and their allies it would only be a few hours before the city was taken.
Among the Trows were their brutal allies; short Kobolds, their skin glowing blue as they lashed out with their double handed mattocks, Merrows carrying massive maces and barbed spears, Hobgoblins armed with hob lanterns that they swung like flails, streams of fire spilling over the defenders and Fae Folk their claws red with blood as they dashed between market stalls their moth like wings fluttering aggressively. But it wasn't the massacre that caused Katya to gasp, standing in the middle of the square was General Vanadus clad in bone armour over his grey skin, his hands wrapped around a scimitar carved from rose quartz. Ducking behind some crates Katya and Vana watched as the General addressed his troops.
"My friends we stand here in the city of Tara, a fair and just place. I feel honoured to be here but we have a grim task to attend to." Vanadus roared as his troops cheered in agreement. "The Huldra plan to activate the Final Defence, we need to stop them it is essential for our campaign to capture their leadership."
"And it's essential that I activate the Final Defence." Katya whispered as she and Vana crept away from the stairs up to the temple whilst Vanadus continued to inspire his troops.
"And what is the Final Defence?" Vana asked as they ran up the stairs while the enemies headed up towards the palace. Katya didn't respond as striding into the square came a hulking figure clad in scale mail carrying a massive pole axe, his single red eye swiveling in his head and burning a path of destruction into the floor and buildings.
"Fomorian" Katya gasped as the giant swung round to track the noise. With a grunt Katya kicked Vana down the stairs and bolted, her loyal servant's screams echoing around the square as the Fomorian fixed his gaze on Vana and cremated her where she lay. Perched in an alcove Katya looked up at the temple before whispering coldly, "Your sacrifice for the Final Defence is noted."
The Temple was a classic symbol of Huldra grace, it's roof carved from surplus sapphire gem stones supported by marvel columns that surrounded a massive apple carved from gold wrapped and supported by a silver Lyndwyrm and flanked by statues representing the seven noble professions of Huldra civilisation. Despite appearances the art work wasn't important, the Huldra had long ago abandoned religion to focus on more worldly affairs. The only purpose of the temple was to hold the mechanism that activated the Final Defence. Ironically the device took elements of mythology found in real life to activate and effect it's targets.
Legend stated that Lugh the Wanderer, a cosmic Lyndwyrm, had come across an apple dropped into the star ocean where the fruit had turned to stone. Famished by his long trek Lugh bit into the apple and was surprised when his venom caused the fruit to rot enough to allow him to slither inside. As the fruit rotted the fungi and maggots grew into the seven noble races that existed to this very day. Overcome with joy that he was no longer alone Lugh put all his powers into preserving his 'children' and turned his body into stones and gems to stabilise the apple that the new races were calling Hibernia.
It was a stupid story, Katya mused, but one that had some use even in this modern age. The statues were more useful, gathered around the hall were Serf, Forester, Entertainer, Soldier, Merchant, Artisan and Noble all holding the tools of their trade. All seven were key to activating the Final Defence and as she approached them Katya smiled, soon it would be over. The first statue was the Serf, a woman dressed in similar clothing to Katya and clutching a broom. Pulling down on the broom Katya watched as the tool sank into the ground before locking. Next was the Forester and Katya repeated the process by pulling his spade into the ground. It was as she reached the Entertainer, dressed in a bejewelled body stocking and clutching a baton adorned with long ribbons, that she realised she wasn't alone.
"Such beauty." Vanadus hissed as he walked into the temple, "A shame that it will be destroyed."
"It is necessary, your actions pushed us to accelerate our plans in fear of your bastardisation of our perfection." Katya snarled as she pulled down the Entertainer's baton.
"You speak of perfection when really you mean narcissism and your devotion to selfish ideals." Vanadus replied as he circled around the statues as Katya prowled over to the Soldier. "I learnt that the day your armies ransacked my village looking for one of the Tusks of Lugh. You killed peaceful fisher folk to fuel your glorious final defence, one that threatens us all."
"Peace is fleeting." Katya snarled as she got ready to plunge the soldier's sword into the floor. "You would have tried to claim what is ours alone."
"And what of the men of the Green Fields?" Vanadus asked. "Surely you remember the old tales. That Lugh was too large to fit inside the celestial apple and that he carried the cosmic egg stolen from the pool of rebirth. The rot spread up his body to form a new world around the seed connected to ours by a mystic tether. If you doom our world theirs will be killed as well, two worlds killed due to your simple insecurities."
"Their sins are the same as yours." Katya screamed as she plunged the sword into the ground before ripping her dress and sprinting towards the pot bellied Merchant. Vanadus unsheathed his schimitar and ran to intercept, the pair meeting in front of the statue. With a grunt Vanadus swung his sword only to see Katya grab it and shatter the blade before ramming the Trow into the Merchant's gable, her enemy reaching out and bracing the massive stone hammer with his hands as she slammed the tool down crushing his fingers. With a cruel cold smile Katya walked proudly to the Artisan and lowered the woman's stave into the ground oblivious to Vanadus's cries of pain as he wrenched his body away from the gable, his hands amputated by the hammers weight.
"And now for the final trigger." Katya whispered as she approached the Noble sat in his chair, an ornate dagger handled leaver sticking out of his throne. With a triumphant grunt Katya pulled it causing the golden apple to lower and holes to open in the socketed tools. "Hibernia will always and forever belong to the Huldra." She cried as Vanadus wrapped his arms under her elbows and threw her into the centre of the room before trying in vein to reset the lever.
"All usurpers will pay for their desecration of the Huldra Civilisation. Lyndwyrm venom birthed this world and now it will destroy it." Katya screamed as the apple broke open and showered her with rank smelling liquid that begun to burn through her skin all the way down to the bone before flowing down the slots in the floor. Vanadus knew he had failed and walked outside and looked out into the bay and saw the ocean steam as whole sections of Tara collapsed into the ground. Getting to his knees he looked down at the tiled floor below him and bowed his head.
"Lugh I beseech thee, not for myself or my clan or even for this world but for the Men of the Green Fields. I ask you to cut the tether between the other world and save them." Vanadus prayed before feeling the ground beneath him shake and collapse beneath him plunging him into the planet's burning core.
"One world burns while the other floats free." A voice boomed as the nebula split and swirled around the world crisscrossed with glowing red fissures.
"We have lost a potential spawning ground." A second answered, "It is paramount that we take the sister world before it suffers the same fate."
"Agreed." The first announced as he floated away from the window back to the circle of massive jellyfish. "High Navigator Apaec we leave this task to you. You have the backing of the Ai. Deliver us Earth and the festering primates known as humanity to us. Now is the time for us to consolidate our empire, our slaying of Lugh the Wanderer is a bold warning to any who challenge our power. Long live the Ai."
The Ice Cold Curse of the Code of Silence
Once upon a time (cliché, I know, but it's a union thing), on the planet of Inquell, there was a beautiful princess named Kaligrofi. Kaligrofi lived in the kingdom of Longwood, daughter of the king of Longwood, and an evil sorceress, who had tricked the king into fathering her child. Though Kaligrofi lived in the royal castle, and was heir to the throne when her father bites it (sorry, the fairy tale stuff's gettin' to me) the evil sorceress wanted her daughter to be a sorceress, too.
To prevent this from happening, the king schooled Kaligrofi in the castle itself, and had his court magicians cast a spell over the castle to keep the sorceress from ever entering. Unfortunately, this also meant that if Kaligrofi was to be safe, then she could never leave. To make up for this, the king lavished his daughter with gifts, and always brought friends into the castle for her to play with, as she grew up. One friend in particular, named Cosmaximus, Kaligrofi liked very much, and they became very close over the years.
Cosmaximus was a young man, living in a village in Longwood Acres, the royal forest. Though not much to look at, he was very courageous, and over the years, he came to love the Princess Kaligrofi very much. He believed that though she never said so, she loved him too, and when the Princess was approaching her twenty-first birthday, Cosmaximus decided to proclaim his love, and ask for Kaligrofi's hand in marriage. He sent a holovid to the Princess by messenger, but the messenger was captured by the evil sorceress before he ever got out of Longwood Acres.
Viewing the holovid the messenger was carrying, the sorceress became bitterly enraged, because she did not wish for her daughter to be married. If she ever married, then she could not be a sorceress, for no sorceress has ever been married. Not being able to enter the castle herself, the sorceress turned the captured messenger into a huge dragon, with nine heads and three eyes on each head (the center eye on each able to shoot lasers) and sent it to attack the castle, and bring back her daughter. The dragon succeeded, and the sorceress bound the Princess Kaligrofi in chains, hidden in a cave on a mountain top, guarded by the dragon.
The king, knowing of the courage of Cosmaximus, sent a royal messenger to him, and asked him to rescue his daughter. Since he was greatly in love with Kaligrofi, he agreed, and set out to battle the dragon. On his way, he passed the sorceress' castle (conveniently, yeh, but we gotta keep the story going) which was empty, since the sorceress was in the cave with Kaligrofi. When he entered, he found her cyborgato, which it was rumored she cherished more than anything in the world. Cosmaximus took the cyborgato to the mountain, and threatened to kill it if the sorceress didn't release the Princess Kaligrofi, and turn the messenger back to normal. She eagerly did so, and pleaded with Cosmaximus not to kill her cyborgato.
However, after holding the cyborgato hostage until Kaligrofi, the messenger, and hisself all reached the royal castle, Cosmaximus did indeed kill the cyborgato (it had made the mistake of biting him, earlier). This greatly angered the evil sorceress, and to gain her revenge, she cast a spell to take away what Cosmaximus cherished most. She turned the Princess Kaligrofi's heart to ice, preventing her from ever loving anyone, or from being loved in return. For, if Cosmaximus ever confessed his love to Kaligrofi in any way, or if she ever confessed her love to him (if it ever truly existed) then the warm feelings of that love would melt her icy heart, and she would be lost to Cosmaximus forever. Thus, the sorceress had her revenge, and Cosmaximus and Kaligrofi were doomed to a mutual code of silence, lest Kaligrofi be lost forever to the people of Longwood. The grief of not being able to love his daughter was too much for the king, and he died. Kaligrofi's succession to the throne was known as the saddest reign in Longwood.
Cosmaximus courageously battled the evil sorceress for a number of years, vowing to make her lift the cold hearted curse on Queen Kaligrofi. Ironically, he succeeded the day the sorceress killed him. For when Queen Kaligrofi heard the news of the death of Cosmaximus, she shed a tear for him, thereby confessing her love for him, and melting her icy heart, which killed her. Therefore, the kingdom of Longwood lost its queen that day, as well as its greatest defender.
What happened to the sorceress? She stayed in Longwood, and tricked the new king into fathering her child; another daughter. After banishing the sorceress, the king kept the child in the castle, to prevent the tragic events that befell Queen Kaligrofi from ever being repeated. But that is another story.
(P.S. So the sorceress didn't die! Biggg deal! It may read like an old fairy tale, but this is the 2990's, and I've gotta set it up for the sequel. What were you expecting? "Happily ever after?")
Here they are. Have a read, leave a vote. Voting ends Sunday at midnight.