29 March 2012

Writer's Block and a Favor From My Followers


Found on google images
If you’ve ever had writers block you’ll probably relate.

Writer’s Block

He sat at his desk and stared at his typewriter. It mocked him. His head was full of tales of daring knights searching haunted castles above rocky beaches and liars stumbling through sentences as they promised more lies, but none of it could spill from his fingertips onto the worn out keys of his typewriter. He’d written a dozen novels, half of which had been published and half of those were bestsellers, but there was something about that paper hanging from the grasp of the type writer; it taunted him.

Goblins and princesses dashed through his head. Dragons reigned terror on unsuspecting villagers. Hordes of barbarians looted countryside towns. Yet the paper stayed white. He turned his head and looked over his shoulder and he could’ve sworn he saw an assassin strike down his dog who was napping in the corner. His imagination flowed like the rivers of Eden, but like Eden, none would know the beauty within.

The sun set as lovers kissed in a cornfield. Daring pilots flew under bridges to escape their enemies in a dogfight. Astronauts met intelligent life while exploring a moon in a distant nebula. Wives were unfaithful. Husbands were abusive. Typewriters were spilling ink onto empty pages throughout the world, but not his.



I know this is supposed to be a fictional blog and well it usually is, but I’d like to share some words with my followers.



I appreciate everyone who reads my work. And if you are among those who are wondering what happens in the Assassin series I promise you I will one day get around to writing it, but like the character in Writer’s Block I can’t seem to get it on paper. I sat down to write it and I pumped out Jazmin: Embedding. Sure you can ask me why, but I can’t explain it.

I know exactly what is going to happen to our three assassins. I have even seen the last sentence played over and over and over in that oh so overflowing imagination of mine. The biggest problem here is that I can’t seem to write the first sentence. So I’m going to ask my readers to do me a favor.

Write the first sentence of Assassin 5 in a comment and leave it in a comment. If I use your sentence all I can offer you is my thanks and give you credit on my blog as nothing I do on the internet is to gain a single penny (yet) so I can’t give you anything.    

28 March 2012

Jazmin: Embedding

Jazmin: Embedding



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“Too ugly. Too tall. Too fat.” Lord Marikh walked in front of a row of slave girls, he was followed by his scribe Tryll. “Ahh! Why is this one even here? I’ve seen at least fifty girls and only one has been worthy so far.”
“M’lord,” Tryll said, “the seller has one with him. She is, uh.. exceptionally beautiful, but I think that um she might be a bit too costly. I heard him say, well uh, he called her Jazmin.” Tryll looked to the ground when Marikh turned to him.
“Take me to Hahg now. We are buying slaves for the Almighty Ga’ash; it is possible that one of these girls could join the Harem; we will spare no expenses. And what did I tell you about saying that word, 'um,' it makes you sound stupid. And lift your chin, you look like a sissy. None employed by the palace should look like sissies.”
“Yes Marikh.” Tryll looked at one of the slaves and was compelled to wipe her tears away, but Marikh would surely have him lashed for such kindness.
Tryll presented his lord to the slaver named Hahg. Hahg pushed the lowly scribe from his view of the potential buyer. “Aha Marikh,” Hahg greeted his old partner. “I can’t believe you’re working behind those walls. You should sneak me in there sometime, I might find some valuable merchandise. I’m expanding my business to the black market. I’m getting too old to be trekking slaves through deserts and stolen merchandise won’t try to escape when I'm sleeping.”
“You’re scum Hahg. Any priest would have me without a head for bringing you into this city. The City of Gold is only a two hour ride from these gates, you can stay there.”
“Get off your damned pedestal Marikh; you are employed by a man who fancies himself a god.” He paused. “Hell, I guess you’re here for the merchandise.”
“Where is she?”
“In the wagon. Follow me.” Hahg looked to his assistant before leaving his post and said, “Let the common folk in to buy now; the lords and ladies have had their turn.”
“Why’d you leave a slave alone?”
“She’s different Marikh, she knows her place and to put her with the common rabble would be a disgrace to the goddess Victoria.”
“How dare you speak of false deities while in the shadow of the City of Gods.”
“Whatever, Marikh. Your mother would have had you over her knee for such talk when we children.” Hahg held the wagon door open allowing Marikh entry. “She’s in here.”
“You’ve come to buy me,” Jazmin said. Her back was to the men. She was robed in thickly weaved fine silk from head to toe and her hair was made as if she were attending a summer’s ball. There was a necklace with a black stone hanging from it laced around her neck.       
“Why do you have a slave dressed in such lavish attire Hahg?”
“She has three pairs believe it or not. She came to me only a month ago as I was leaving Nord.”
“I can speak for myself slaver,” Jazmin said as she turned around. “The goddess Victoria came to me in a dream. She said I was to be a slave in the sea of sands. She would only call me Rousa. I am obedient to my gods and my goddess has told me to serve your gods, and so I will. I found the first slaver traveling to Dest and told him he could have my price if he took me there. I’m not a slave yet, not until I leave this wagon with you.”
“Very well, and what makes you think I’ll buy a free woman? I am not in the business of making slaves. I only buy and sale.”
“You never would’ve entered this wagon if you weren’t going to buy me. And would you want to disappoint the Almighty. If you don’t purchase me, somebody most certainly will and don’t you want to be the lord that presents the Almighty with the most beautiful slave in all of Dest.”
“She sure is a conceited one isn’t she, haha,” Hahg joked.
“Strip,” Marikh demanded.
“Excuse me, you are speaking to a free woman sir,” Jazmin said. She bit her bottom lip, it was a nervous habit, but any man who ever knew Jazmin couldn’t see it as such.
“Three hundred,” Hahg said.
“Are you out of your mind? Every other girl out their only runs between twenty and fifty gold shillings.”
“Lady Adira has already offered five hundred; the other lords have all offered between one and two fifty. I’m not going to sell her to that old hag if I can help it, but if you can’t offer three hundred you leave me no choice. And as I recall from my last visit to your pious little city that woman was repeatedly out showing you.”
“Fine take the bag.” Marikh dropped his coin purse into Hahg’s greedy hands. “Strip slave.”
Jazmin let the robe fall to the floor and took the wooden hairpin from its place letting her dark hair fall to the middle of her back. Jazmin asked, “And what will you have me wear?”
“Don’t speak unless told to slave. I own you now. Hahg will provide you with rags suiting to one of such a low status. You have one minute to meet me outside; the whip is the punishment for tardiness. Don’t make me remind you.” Marikh exited the wagon and joined Tryll.
Jazmin covered her chest by crossing her arms. “Thank you Hahg. When you get back to Nord City make sure my brother is safe and see to it that he treats Melisa as our father treated our mother. It will be a long time before I am likely to see any of you again.” She hugged Hahg and kissed his cheek. “Now give me those clothes. I plan on staying a virgin for as long as I can.”
Hahg handed her a set of sandy-brown ‘poor-man’s’ clothes, they were more cloth and rag then clothing though. “You better hurry, and I promise this will be my last time selling slaves. Whoever isn’t bought today will be taken to Miriam City to be set free. Thank you for opening my eyes. And gods be with you.”
“I had to, for the sake of Valc.” Jazmin touched Hahg’s hand softly one last time before she exited the wagon. A single tear escaped and she let it run its course until it settled between her lips.

15 March 2012

Assassin Part 4*

Art By: Hyuckshin Kwon found on digital-art-gallery.com

Assassin Part 4

“Who the hell are you?” Captain Gray asked shouting and pointing his sword back and forth between Sergio and Scott completely ignoring Aiya as a possible threat.

“We’re just three unfortunate travelers sir,” Sergio answered. “I thought we were goners until you showed up.”

“Captain that one killed Rodyer,” one of the guards said pointing at Scott.

“He was attacking my cousin, guard.” Shifting to a less defensive stance Scott said, “I kind of would like to know why your guard, Sir, attacked my cousin and not those things.”

Captain Gray sheathed his great sword. “Rodyer, rest his soul, knew better than to attack those which protect us in this forest. Are you and your kin not Ra worshippers?”

“No we’re not. We’re Mak worshippers,” Aiya spoke wiping dirt from her robe. “As you can clearly see we have our reasons not to worship those murderous creatures.”

“A feisty one,” Gray laughed.

“You dare allow these subjects to speak of the Greater Ones as such.” The emissary walked around Captain Gray; she was playing with her sword. She had an athletic body type, her satin top pressed against her arms, chest, and stomach, but loosened around her thighs where it came to a shredded end. Her stockings crisscrossed up her legs.

The tone of the emissary’s voice was very powerful, yet somehow seducing. Her eyes were dark green, like the forest just before the sun sets. Her mascara was running, probably due to the humidity and heat from the now dwindling fire. “Gray,” She said, “The Almighty would say it would be against the will of the Great Four to kill them, but he’s not here. If they are Makian they know too much.”

“Your husband is paying me Lelya, not you,” the captain countered. “I can’t just go about killing my own people. They’ll belong to the Almighty soon enough. They’ll come with us. If they prove trustworthy we’ll employ them, otherwise we’ll enslave them.”

“Hello,” Scott said sarcastically waving his hand, “you must be out of your mind. Who the hell-”

Captain Gray looked at one of his men and pointed at Scott. The guard hit Scott in the back of his head sending him to the ground. “How dare you talk back subject,” the guard scolded.

Scott jumped up and charged the guard. Sergio tackled his ill-tempered cousin as the guards and soldiers stood ready. Sergio whispered, “This is our only chance now. We can’t screw this up.”

Three of the guards began stripping the assassins of their weapons. “Let them keep their possessions for now, they’re our guests,” Gray ordered.

“First mistake,” Aiya whispered to herself.

“What was that, girl,” Lelya snapped at Aiya; suddenly the seductive tone in her voice seemed absent.

“I said, thanks mate, we talk like that in our country.”

“Ha!” Captain Gray laughed, “I like that girl.”

Lelya looked at Aiya almost jealously. Once they got back on the trail it became clear that the number of Destian soldiers protecting the emissary was in the hundreds. They walked northwest for about twenty minutes when eventually they came to a series of meadows housing thousands of tents. Whatever this camp was it seemed almost permanent.

At least now the assassins didn’t have to sneak in. A fiery smile grew on Aiya’s face and Sergio knew why, the only time she ever got that look on her face was while she was contemplating an assassination.

Lelya left Gray’s side and talked with what appeared to be high ranking Destian soldiers. “Put her with the other girls,” Lelya ordered one of the soldiers. “Have those two questioned. Don’t let Gray know.”

“Yes Empress. How do you want us to keep that from the Makian Captain he asks a lot of questions when he’s here.”

“Leave that to me. I didn’t marry a god, because I was shy. Now go.”

Aiya, Sergio, and Scott walked through the camp towards a tent that an officer of the Elite Guard told them they would stay in when three soldiers approached them. “Is there a problem boys?” Sergio asked. Aiya slowly reached for a blade, but suddenly her mouth was covered from behind. Over a dozen soldiers quickly subdued the three assassins.

Aiya watched as Sergio and Scott were blindfolded while she was carried away. She couldn’t fight. Her mouth was gagged stopping her from screaming and whoever was carrying her was built like a rhinoceros. Eventually the cloth was taken from her mouth and she was thrown into a huge tent with about two hundred other women.

“The prostitutes,” Aiya said to herself, smirking. She grew accustomed to talking to herself during countless hours of solitary training as well as hiding in empty houses for days on end waiting for her target to return home. “Hi I’m Aiya, what’s your name?” She asked one of the girls.

********

Sergio and Scott were bound to each other by the wrists with their backs against each other. After about an hour of silence the blindfolds were taken off. “My boss thinks you guys are a little bit too in touch with your combat skills to be common travelers. So why don’t you let us what you’re doing in this part of the forest.”    

“We were hunting, this is still our country. Even you of the sand should understand that,” Sergio replied. “Captain Gray said we were to go unharmed, and that we could keep our weapons. He seemed eager to talk with us; you wouldn’t want him to find out about this now would you.”

“Who do you think ordered this?” A deep voice came from shadows. Its speaker showed himself. He was as huge as the man that carried away Aiya, maybe it was him. He clenched his fist and struck Scott in the stomach.

“Now why don’t we try this again,” the first soldier spoke. “What are you doing up here? You better be honest or Beast here is going to start hurting you.”

“He told you, are you deaf or something,” Scott snapped. “I swear it I’ll kill you myself when we get out of this. I don’t forget names Beast.”

Beast grabbed Scott’s neck with one hand. His thumb and finger connected at the back of Scott’s neck. “I could snap your scrawny neck with one hand son.”

“You’re not going to do that Beast,” Sergio said with a calm demeanor. “If you started snapping necks you wouldn’t get any answers.”

“Stick to punching them Beast,” the first soldier ordered.

********

Captain Gray washed his face with water from an ivory bowl and a clean towel. A slave cleaned the captain’s body. Lelya entered the captain’s tent. Her face had been clean and her mascara was reapplied.

“Leave slave. Go back to your tent I’m sure you’re needed for something of a more carnal nature,” Lelya slapped the girl as she exited the tent.

Lelya walked to the bathing bowel and wetted the towel. She began cleaning Captain Gray’s chest. “You are important Gray,” Lelya said as she wiped around his neck. “A slave for you is too low.” She kissed his chest. “You showed mercy today, many would call that weakness.”

“You think me a fool Lelya,” Gray said stepping back. He robed himself. “You’re the third wife of a man-god. I like my head where it is and I’m sure you do as well. Let’s not forget the meaning of these meetings. I’m already betraying my king I won’t do the same to a god. And if you think that a slave is too low for me why don’t you order one of your men to go fetch me that girl we rescued.”

“She may not be a slave now, but soon enough.”

“If that’s the case, why’d you have her put with the morale?”

“I did no such thing.”

“Don’t lie to me Lelya. There’s very little you can get past me. This may be your outpost, but it is, for now, still in my country. I was going to have them questioned too; I was just going to go about it a bit differently. I guess a few bruises won’t kill them.”

“Fine I’ll have her fetched.”

“No don’t worry about it. Like you said, she’ll be a slave soon enough. But for now she’s not to be touched. Do you understand?”

Lelya exited the tent for a few seconds then reentered. “She’s being sent after and taken to my tent Gray.”

“Now let’s get to business. I have charts here,” Gray said as he pulled some maps and documents from a pack. “The dragons are being gathered next month from our, Mak’s, daughter countries. My King is doing whatever he can. The king does not want to be known as the king that lost the oldest country in the world to his desert neighbors.”

“We can get to this later Gray, I want you.” She unrobed and gently removed the map from the table.

“Stop it Lelya. You might do this to your husband, but I won’t to my wife and daughter. Don’t make me put my armor back on.”

“Don’t you want an Empress?”

Gray nearly laughed. “What I want is for the emissary in front of me to robe and finish this meeting so I can get back to the city by tomorrow night.”

Art work by Marat Ars found at http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/5013 ********

Aiya was fighting off a lonely soldier when Lelya’s runner showed up. “Back off or I’ll cut it off damn it,” Aiya protested.

“Leave her be Esgard. Empress Lelya sent me to get her. She wants her unharmed.”

“Not fair, she’s the only one in this tent that hasn’t been had by the infantry.”

“Lelya will be expecting you sober during duty tonight. I’m not covering for you again Esgard.” The runner turned his attention to Aiya and said, “Let’s go, before I let him have you.”

Aiya was taken to a lavishly decorated tent. Lelya’s runner stayed with her. He remained silent just watching the girl.

“Do you know where they took my brother?”

The runner remained silent.

“Hello I asked you something.”

Lelya entered the tent, “Don’t answer that soldier. You’re dismissed; I can handle myself until your replacement gets in. Report back in the morning.”

“Yes Empress,” the runner complied.

“So you’re a hunter,” Lelya stated.

“Aye, that’s true,” Aiya lied.

“Where’s your bow?”

“I’m not very good with a bow. I can throw a knife straighter than I can shoot a bow. They don’t travel as fast, but I can throw five or six by the time any archer can nock a second arrow. Now my brother, Sergio, he’s good with a bow. He can nock an arrow in the time it takes for me to only throw two knives. Speaking of Sergio, where is he?”

“You don’t beat around the bush do you? The Almighty would like that,” Lelya attempted to get off subject again. “You know the Almighty hasn’t had a tenth wife in about twelve years.”

“Yeah I’ve heard the stories. Her name was Jazmin right? I heard she killed two wives before finally leaving the Almighty as you like to call him. I hear he favors himself a god. I prefer to call him Ga’ash; it is his real name after all. Speaking of wives, my brother has one and she would probably like to know where he is; tell me where he is.”

Just as Lelya was about to respond a knock sounded on the post just outside of the tent. It was probably the runner’s replacement.

“Enter,” commanded Lelya.

It was Esgard. “Empress,” He said. “Muhtmel said they broke one of them. He said you better come take a look.”

“Hunter huh,” Lelya laughed. “Esgard stay with this one. Don’t let her out of the tent.”

“You can beat a lie out of man,” Aiya yelled to Lelya as she left the tent.

“You shouldn’t speak to the Empress with such a tone, her husband is a god.”

After a few short seconds Aiya noticed Esgard was looking at her the way he was when they were back in the morale tent. Aiya slowly loosened her belt and stood up. “You’re right I shouldn’t. I know what I should do though,” she said. Her robe opened revealing her bra. She walked to him. “Grab me,” she said.

He complied pulling her close. His eyes widened. He had to feel many of the knives that were attached to the inside of her robe. Aiya pushed him down and kneeled over him. She put her mouth to his ear. “Good night,” she whispered as she released her spring assisted blade into his temple.

She put herself back together and snuck out of the tent and eventually caught up to Lelya. She kept a safe distance from her target. Lelya stopped to talk to a man outside of a tent. Aiya couldn’t make out what they were saying, but the man kept pointing to his arm and Lelya looked as if she were growing increasingly madder with every word he spoke.

Aiya cut a large slit into the back of the tent and silently slid in. In the dark she managed to see two figures bound together, back to back. Aiya cut the rope that was binding the assassins. “You guys-”

Beast appeared almost out of nowhere. His huge fist came smashing down towards Aiya. She grabbed his hand with both of hers and was still sent to a knee. Sergio unsheathed the scimitar from Beast’s belt and in one quick move he liberated Beast’s head from his shoulders. Scott reached out catching the massive head by the long wavy black hair and slowly put it down as Aiya and Sergio quietly lowered the body.

Scott’s left arm appeared hurt. He kept it held against his chest. “Are you okay?” Aiya whispered to her cousin.

“I’ll be fine. Let’s go.”

fOR THOSE OF YOU WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE LAST POST IN THE ASSASSIN SERIES I AM DEEPLY SORRY. i GUESS THAT WOULD INCLUDE ME THOUGH. i JUST COULDN’T FINISH IT IN FOUR POSTS; THE FOURTH WAS BECOMING FAR TOO LONG. therefore THERE WILL BE A FIFTH POST AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE THE FINAL POST IN THE ASSASSIN SERIES.

don’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO FICTIONAL ESCAPES AND BECOME A FICTIONAL ESCAPEE. pLEASE MAKE A COMMENT AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT. aS ALWAYS I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE POST AND MAY ALL OF YOUR READING AND WRITING ADVENTURES BE FULL.  
Idea for Lelya. Art by Marat Ars

09 March 2012

A Mother's Last Poem


A Mother’s Last Poem
            According to her parents the first word she ever uttered was ‘book.’
            Kelli always wanted to learn to write like her mother did. She had many journals piled up in corners and stuffed in drawers. Some journals contained written love stories, some held memories, others held stories of monsters and heroes, and many were stained with coffee and tea. Thousands of pages of paper cluttered her bedroom. She had poems tacked to walls, her favorite quotes were written on sticky notes that now framed the room, a few erotic shorts were hidden in a shoe box under her bed, and her favorite diary entries dangled from her slow revolving ceiling fan. A flash fiction story of two hundred words was framed next to a picture of her and her mother during a camping trip nearly thirteen years ago; Kelli was sixteen.
            The picture was taken a week before the car crash. The crash killed her mother nearly instantly, it left her father in a wheel chair before he died of complications four short months later, and Kelli walked away from it without so much as a broken nail and so did the drunk driver that hit them. Her mother was writing poem at the time of the crash. Every Saturday her mother would write a poem. Some were simple. Some were complex. All were beautiful.
Found on https://angelnjuly.wordpress.com/
            Her mother often wrote of flowers in spring and weathered light houses outlasting a storm. Sometimes she’d write a poem about their golden retriever named Charlie and their horse named Buck Roger. Though, mostly she wrote about her husband and her daughter.
            Behind that framed picture of the last camping trip Kelli had taken were the beginning stanzas of her mother’s final poem. She’d always wanted to finish it; her father had asked her to. She had written millions of words, but none, in her eyes, seemed fitting to be her mother’s last words. Tonight, she said would be the night.
            It was the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal crash and Kelli knew she needed to write something or it would haunt her forever. She sat at the desk and unframed the poem from behind the picture. She read it. It told of whispering winds, of the calm found at the creek’s edge, it testified to the kiss of the forest’s mornings, and the embrace of the night’s campfires. She began to cry; a tear fell onto the poem, it wasn’t the first.
            Kelli put the pen to the paper. She wiped tears from her eyes. She wrote. She told of drowning in the tears of the night’s stars, of the morning’s mourning dew, she testified to the comfort from her mother’s kiss, and to the warmth of the embrace of her father’s arms. And it was beautiful.     

05 March 2012

Tommy's Letter


Tommy’s Letter

Mickey held the gun firm in his left hand, a pen loosely in his right. He paced furiously. The cigarette, nearly out, was stuck to his bottom lip. He spit the burning cigarette butt to the floor and stepped on it. His feet were bare. He went for his pack. It was his last cigarette. He lit it and put it to his mouth. The pile of books on the table didn’t stand a chance. They flew wildly across the room. The cigarette was the best he’d ever had.

The hotel room's plaid wallpaper ran with water stains. Mold was in every corner. It was a nonsmoking room. It came with three ash trays. There was no bathroom, just a crapper and a hose port above a drain. It was a decorated jail cell with more porn glued to the walls than in any wooden hooch in Afghanistan. The smell seemed toxic. Mickey wouldn’t even use the crapper.

Mickey sat down at the desk. He was frustrated, angry, depressed, drunk, and in tears. He pressed the barrel of the gun to his head. Weak, he couldn’t do it. It wasn’t time yet, there was still Tommy. He sat the pistol down next to a weathered journal. He tore out a piece. He wrote:
By Slim45hady
Found at http://slim45hady.deviantart.com/
Dear Tommy,
            This aint right, but it never was. Not any time since we came to Mexico. We never should’ve left Puerto Rico.
There’s a briefcase with 10 grand in the mattress. Flip it over you’ll find it. I’m sorry Sarah didn’t make it. I wish it’d been me instead. I love you little brother.
Sorry,
Mickey

Mickey stood up. He paced a few more times. He tossed his cigarette into the half eaten bowl of cereal. The door began to open, Tommy stepped through. Mickey put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Click!
 




I hope you enjoyed the post. Please leave comments and feedback. Criticism is always welcome just please keep it in good taste. Oh and don’t forget to Subscribe and become a Fictional Escapee.

26 February 2012

Tulaq Ch. 2*

Yufi during her time training with the Sprinters in Mak
Art by Alvin Hew alvinhew.blogspot.com

Chapter 2



Tulaq sat at his desk which was furnished with the skull of a Baron Fel, a crystal candle holder shaped by magic to appear as if three dragons breathed one flame when lit, a large book titled Away with the Mage, and an empty glass birdcage that once homed a winged fire breathing pogona. He rolled his fingers around the golden ferrule of his mahogany cane as he pondered its markings. A warm breeze crept in through the slit in his already hot tent.

Garbed in a white robe bearing a golden ‘V’ on the right side of the chest, that only his order, the Victors, was privileged to wear, he stepped out into the mercy of the blistering hot morning son of the Baron Lands. He walked amongst the camp in which most of the soldiers still slept dreaming of wives and girls patiently waiting, hoping for a safe return home in Vropa or Cape Galsco.

“What’re you doing awake?” The only female human voice in this entire desert asked as its speaker snuck up behind him.

“I’ve been awake for hours. I’ve been thinking Yufi,” Tulaq stopped speaking when he noticed the all but interested look Yufi had plastered to her face.

“You do that too much Tulaq. Just relax and do as King Erinom orders.” She turned and began running through the camp. “Follow me,” she yelled back.

Tulaq during a battle against Dest near the Makian border
Art by Daniel Ljunggren danielljunggren.blogspot.com/
He slid his cane into the sheath under his sword on his belt and ran after her. After all the cane was only an accessory. The cane was gifted to Tulaq on his sixteenth birthday by High Thaumaturgist Goralmirh. Other than studying the ornate design the three foot long cane bore it had no use, even so Tulaq felt an unexplainable connection with the item.

They stopped when they reached the eastern most region of the camp which was on the southern shore of the Tuchi River. The breeze was slightly cooler along the shore. The two walked next to each other westward on the sandy beach against the wind until they came to the opening of a large cave.

“Evanescent!” Yufi shouted into the cave.

Heavy footsteps and grunting started heading their way. A black seemingly polished dragon emerged from the dark. Every time Yufi saw Tulaq’s beast she wondered what made him unlike the other dragons. He was smaller than the others, lighter and more aero dynamic, and the fire he expelled from his lungs was a sphere that exploded when it made contact with its target.

“Fury, where’s your sister?” Tulaq asked the dragon.

The beast grunted and looked skyward. There she was, a huge green monstrosity for all to see, flying high in the sky. Tulaq looked to Yufi angrily. Frustrated he mounted Fury and without warning to Yufi the two shot into the sky as if they were catapulted upward.

Yufi sat on a rock formation at the caves entrance speaking to herself, “That damned dragon keeps getting you in trouble Yufi. Next thing I know I’ll be doing crap duty for the scouts. Damn you Evanescent!” She shouted towards the cloud littered patch of sky that Fury was currently chasing his sister through.

“Get over here Evanescent,” Tulaq ordered the mammoth sized dragon that was testing his patience in none but a playful manner. Fury finally cut her off and changed directions in the blink of an eye facing his younger much larger sibling and flew directly at her. Nearly twenty feet from making contact fury headed straight upwards and Tulaq jumped from his saddle and began free falling blindly through the clouds.

As if practiced a million times over Tulaq landed in the saddle mounting Evanescent. He guided her downwards to the riverbank and carefully landed on the shore where Yufi sat waiting. Fury quickly tackled his sister after Tulaq dismounted and the two began wrestling in the water.

“You need to control that dragon of yours Yufi, before she gets us spotted. There’s a camp of Baron Fel not three miles from us and the last thing we need is for-” Tulaq stopped his yelling when Yufi gently pushed his shoulder from her view.

“Shit,” she exclaimed, “the general must’ve seen her flying without permission again; here come his lackeys now.”

“Gods, I’m losing my patience with that beast,” Tulaq muttered under his breath as Captain Harris and two lieutenants approached on horseback. He turned and waved at the three men.

Tulaq rubbed the snout of the captain’s horse as the three stopped, “To what do we owe the pleasure Harris?”

“Get that dirty paw away from my horse Tulaq,” commanded Captain Harris.

“Yes sir,” Tulaq complied surprised at the sudden discontent from the officer; it usually didn’t appear until several minutes into a conversation.

“The general wants to speak with you and that girl.  Apparently our scouts spotted a patrol of Baron Fel that saw that demon flying near camp.”

“Hey!” exclaimed Yufi, “Evanescent is not a demon. How dare you?”

“Tulaq do you dare let your woman talk to me with that tone without first being propelled to do so.”

“She’s not my woman Harris. And as far as I’m concerned she’s as much right to speak her mind as any man,” Tulaq was quick to defend his partner. Fury snarled at the captain as he emerged glistening from the river.

“If you say so,” the captain muttered before trotting back to camp.

Evanescent concept
Art by Maxim Verehin
“How dare he speak of me like that and to do so in my presence,” complained Yufi. “Thanks for standing up for me. I can’t stand those three. Especially the two lieutenants, I don’t know if I’ve ever even heard them speak, they’re like that moron’s pet toy dogs or something.”

“That’s enough from you let’s go see this general again; I think we might actually have work today.”



Yufi and Tulaq sat outside of the general’s tent awaiting permission to enter. By now the camp was alive with soldiers walking to and from mess tents and the river to bathe. A young messenger stepped out from the tent and allowed the two to enter before returning to his post in a shaded area under a large umbrella.

“I can’t believe it. This time I swear to the fire god, Palo I will have that dragon killed and you whipped,” The general began his yelling as soon as the two entered the tent, his finger never leaving Yufi’s face.

Tulaq gently lowered the general’s arm. “Just say what needs to be done and we won’t need to kill any dragons; besides it’s not an easy task they tend to breathe fire,” He warned.

“And she’s my dragon so humph,” Yufi declared as she attempted her meanest face at the general.

“And that’s why I’ll have you whipped, you little brat,” The general exclaimed as his fist flew towards Yufi.

Tulaq caught the general’s fist and stated, “Do you want to explain to Supreme Leinen why you struck one of the king’s riders, a nineteen year old girl?” He released the general’s hand. “I didn’t think so. Now General Kape, I recommend you do what you do best and strategize, before this camp becomes the third lost in this area in only a month.”

Kape spit on the floor at Yufi’s feet. “I hate women in war especially the ones who’ve just weaned off their mommy’s teats.”

“Get to the topic General,” Yufi snapped.

“Whatever. By now the Fel commanders probably already know where we are. Damn barbarians won’t even give up land that’s not properly claimed. Burn them Tulaq. I’ll have the Berserkers in after the two of you have each flown over the Fel camp twice. Following them will be the cavalry led by Captain Harris. And be sure to hit key structures, you know the larger tents and what not. Understand?”

“Yes it’s clear,” Tulaq said and turned to leave.

“Oh Tulaq,” The general called after Yufi left the tent, “Don’t let a set of pretty eyes and nice legs get you killed out there.”

Captain Harris walked up to Tulaq and Yufi as they left the camp. “Sorry about this morning Tulaq, the general has been riding my ass about those damn dragons.”

Tulaq grabbed Harris’ throat. “Tell him they don’t concern him, and the next time you speak to Yufi the way you did this morning the general won’t be able to find you to ride your ass.”

Fear-struck and surprised at Tulaq’s sudden hostility Harris stepped back once his neck was freed. “You might want to hurry. I dispatched the Berserkers as soon as the scouts told me about the near encounter and my cavalry is almost prepared.”

“Good they’ll need a head start.”

“And Yufi,” Harris waited for her to look at him before continuing, “I am sorry.”
Harris one year ago: Battle for Onella’s Land Bridge
art found at thealchemycritics.blogspot.com/

“Prove it asshole,” she said as she turned to run towards the cave.

As if the dragons felt the urgency in which their riders approached them they ran towards the humans and quickly picked them up. The two flew east along the river passing the Berserkers less than a mile from the Fel outpost.

The two started seeing tents below and began their descent. Fury released three consecutive fire balls from his lungs each erupting into huge fires once striking the ground as Evanescent released a steady breath of fire onto the tents.

Fel began frantically shooting arrows and throwing spears at the low flying dragons. A fel planted his feet sturdy on the roof of a small wooden shack and aimed his spear in on Fury. The fel threw the spear. The dragon barely had time to elevate and was nearly struck in the face. Fury grabbed the fel using his mouth and Tulaq guided the dragon straight up.

The Fel refused to stop fighting and without reward repeatedly struck Fury in his snout. At the dragon’s maximum height he released the Fel and began slowly descending. Tulaq looked around at the ground to the east of the Fel outpost and for the first time since he’d been flying reconnaissance missions in this desert he saw a grand city. It surprised him. As far as he knew the Baron Fel lived in small villages and their clans constantly saw to war with each other.

He continued his mission and met Ram Runner Kuge, leader of the Berserkers on the rocky floor. Kuge greeted Tulaq bumping chests as the Berserkers always did amongst friends. “Agh it’s a beautiful morning to smash some skulls don’t ya think Tulaq?” Kuge asked laughing.

“Never knew a morning that wasn’t in this land.” Tulaq looked towards the Fel camp to see at least fifty fel running their way. “It’s suicide to go in their Kuge. There is an entire city not a mile and a half east of that camp.

“Captain gave his orders and I’m just a Ram Runner. Gotta do what Harris orders, besides my fists are too blood thirsty not obey them anyway. Right boys?” He directed the question towards his two right hand men.

“Aye sir,” one of the fists replied.

“What about the stronglings, they’re young, inexperienced. They won’t survive the encounter,” Tulaq pleaded.

“They have to earn fist somehow don’t they. Unsheathe that blade of yours and come with us Tulaq, you don’t want to miss out on the action.”

Yufi landed seconds later and dismounted with both of her blades drawn. “You boys coming or am I gonna have to do this all by myself. I get lonely you know,” She yelled as the fel drew closer with every second.

“Let’s go Kuge.” Tulaq turned and ran towards Yufi who was running faster than he’d ever seen her run before and she was awarded honorary quick back when she was training for a short year with the Sprinters and occasionally aiding them in the war in Dest. The ten Berserkers led by their Ram Runner quickly followed suit.

Yufi quickly met the first fel slicing his throat barely even stuttering her steps to slow down as she killed him. She raised her short curved blade to strike down another but the fel raised his shield blocking it. She attempted to swing her other blade low under the shield but the fel pushed his shield away and up throwing the girl towards Tulaq.

As Yufi passed over him he grabbed her wrist swinging her back around. He released her and she darted feet first towards her enemy. One foot met the shield kicking it back into the fel’s face, her other foot followed she bent her knees and jumped forward twisting as she flipped. Her blade cut into the back of the fel’s neck.

He turned swinging the shield. Yufi ducked but his war axe followed at a lower angle, she jumped, the axe caught the bottom of her boot and she fell to the rocky sand covered floor hitting the back of her head hard as she landed. The mighty fel raised his war axe readying for the kill. Yufi looked to her would be killer confused, stunned.

A long blade shot through the fel’s abdomen, turned ninety degrees and sliced outwards disemboweling the creature. Tulaq stepped out from behind the Fel, as it stumbled to the ground where it would die. Tulaq took a knee to help Yufi.

“Come back to me Yufi!” He screamed at her. Blood from a previous left hook to the jaw dropped onto her as he tried to get her to come back to consciousness.

“Huh?” She asked rubbing her head not knowing she was needed in the fight where they were outnumbered five to one and the odds were separating even further with every new wave of Baron Fel that quickly ran to the growing battle.

Tulaq stabbed forward and up into the chin of a fel who thought he had caught his enemy off guard. The blade sliced through his skull and out of the back of his head as if he were cutting warm butter. Another fel swiftly kicked Tulaq in his side sending him ten feet across the ground. The fel then grabbed Yufi and threw her over his shoulder before running east towards the burning campsite.

Galloping soon came as a comforting sound for Tulaq and the Berserkers three of which had been slain, including one of the fists. Tulaq looked up to see a mace shatter a shield and kill the wielder as a horse jumped over him. Canon shot began booming adding to the sound of the song of death. The canons were being ruthlessly fired towards the camp, the same place the fel had carried Yufi off to.

Tulaq slowly stood; his head was throbbing with pain and bleeding. The battle quickly grew in numbers from both armies. Humans and fel screamed horrifying yells as they crawled hoping for an escape from their impending deaths. A fel ran on all fours straight towards Tulaq. Tulaq quickly grabbed the shield of a fallen fel and was knocked back to the ground when the fel jumped onto him.

The fel bared his teeth and growled at Tulaq, smiling as he did. Tulaq spanned the sky for Fury or Evanescent, but the dragons were still laying waste to the camp. The fel repeatedly struck Tulaq in his side with a closed fist occasionally clawing at his chest. Nearly accepting his fate Tulaq rested his head on his side and saw his sword just out of arms reach.
Fel concept
Art by Kai O. kaio89.deviantart.com/

Tulaq reached for his weapon. The fel was beginning to play with Tulaq, as any cat would, and picked him up and threw him into a pile of loose rocks. The rocks tore his back as he slid across them. The fel lunged towards Tulaq with his sharp nails exposed. The fel latched onto Tulaq’s chest with his right paw and began beating his face with the left.

Bloody and seeing surroundings as if they were tinted in red Tulaq grabbed a sharp rock that fit perfectly into the palm of his hand and as hard as he could hit his would be killer in the head. Now the fel was just as disconcerted as Tulaq was. Tulaq liked that. He stumbled to his sword nearly falling when he leaned to pick it up. The fel found a nearby broadsword and gripped it.

The fel swung at Tulaq missing his intended target. When the blade bounced off the ground the fel stumbled forward; Tulaq hit him in the back with the flat side of his dragon-scale sword. The fel caught himself just before he face planted in the sand. Tulaq raised his sword back behind him and swung it cracking the fel’s skull open when the flat side of the sword smashed into his head.

This time the fel laid motionless with his back exposed. Tulaq drove his sword into the creature’s back severing his spine and piercing his heart. Tulaq looked around at the battle field. The last time he saw something this horrible was when Vropa won the War for Cape Galsco at the Battle for Onella’s Land Bridge.

It amazed him only minutes earlier there were only twelve Vropians on this field and now there were countless dozens dead around him. The Berserkers were down to five now. Ram Runner Kuge mercilessly slaughtered dozens of fel as his surviving fist strategized with the three stronglings. Usually Captain Harris was like a warrior from another realm when he was on horseback, but today he was struggling just as badly as Tulaq.

The Hero of Vropa thought he would die on this battle field, but his instincts kept him alive after the bloodlust and ensuing rage gave him a second burst of adrenaline. His movements grew swifter like that of a dancer performing to her favorite song. He literally cut his way to the beaten captain.

Captain Harris’ horse had pinned him to the ground. The horse’s mouth had been ripped apart by a fel while another bit into its neck. Harris managed to fight fel off until one kicked him in the head and they ran off leaving the unconscious man to die beneath the unforgiving Baron’s sun. Tulaq grabbed the captain’s wrist to drag him out from underneath the animal.     

Harris’ pants were drenched in blood around the left ankle. Tulaq lifted the pant leg to see the wound. His fibula had broken through his skin and was still protruding from his body. “Good thing,” Tulaq paused panting, “you’re unconscious for this, although I can’t wait for your cocky ass to feel real pain.” He carefully put Harris over his shoulders and ran towards the artillery battery at the edge of the battle and found the apprentices and mages.

Fury and Evanescent flew to Tulaq once Evanescent could no longer feel Yufi’s presence. Tulaq left the unconscious Harris with the apprentices for healing and went to the dragons.

“She’s gone Evanescent, I promise we will get her back though,” for the first time since he saw her being carried away Tulaq began to worry immensely for his partner.

The huge green dragon looked around frantically for her rider. Her worst nightmare was quickly becoming reality. She had lost her rider and from right underneath her.

“Fury, I need you to fly to Castle Kakku and bring back Hamlin and Scintilla. And don’t forget once you pass the great river Tuchi the fel are friendly, you are not to attack them. Do you understand?”

Fury concept
Art by Tina Leyk
The dragon nodded and flew away.