Excerpt from Book 3 of the Tirnano – THE PURPLE QUEEN by Pete Emmerson

The Purple Queen (1)

 

ANAKIM

Croninn Country

 

An issue of a powerful scream came from overhead, M’ntar; the mighty Red Lord Dominie and his daughter, The Purple Queen, Alushamenta, along with their riders Winn and Mira appeared.

Two of the giants had vanished, already passed through a tear, one remained, about to follow, it hesitated as though it had a hint of the presence of other beings nearby.

Lusha flew directly into its face, a spout of searing flame spewing from her mouth covering the giant’s visage with blazing fire. Lord Dominie flew to the back of the giant’s head, his great talons tearing and clawing at the rock armour; chunks of granite were ripped off and fell to the ground. Winn stabbed at the exposed pink skin with a long spear.

In tune with Lusha, Dominie and Winn leapt away from the giant as The Purple Queen blasted the giant once more with a further jet of flames.

They returned as the conflagration subsided, tearing and stabbing once more. The giant began to spin slowly, its mouth opening wide in a horrendous screech, its arms flailing, blindly reaching for its tormentors.

Paul came to a halt, a mere hundred yards from the battle.

“GRANDFATHER, HOLD THE SWORD ALOFT, I HAVE NEED OF IT,” he shouted at the sky.

‘Ready” came the reply moments later.

Paul with the power of his mind willed the sword into his hands.

The blade appeared.

‘Make a cut and let it drink, then seal the wound with the side of the blade,’ sent Adalstan.

Paul remembering his mother’s first touch of the blade did as his ancestor bid. Wincing he cut his palm, then allowed Meinrad to absorb the crimson flow, then sealed the wound as instructed. All pain immediately left him as the wound closed. In moments he could feel his body fill with the sword’s power and lust for battle.

‘Attack, bring me close to its ankles,’ he sent to Carilla.

The Runner without a moment’s pause sped fearlessly towards the giant. Meinrad flamed, the sword spewed blue fire around the charging pair. Its humming song rose higher and higher, reaching an ear piercing scream as they closed on the colossal being. Paul struck at the giant’s heel severing its Achilles’ tendon. The giant bellowed and staggered.

Carilla spun on the spot and raced for its other leg. Paul filled with blood-rage swung Meinrad, the sword primed by the lad’s blood now able to slice through steel, bone and flesh cut deep. Paul thrust again and again.

Above him Lusha blasted the giant full in the face with a stream of flame once more, blinding it. Dominie then with tooth and claw tore the back of its neck open. Blood flowed from the wound; as the granite slabs fell, Winn sunk her spear deep into the monster’s head.

The Anakim sunk to its knees, Carilla, nudged mentally by Paul, leapt up the back of the dying giant, reaching the open wound left by Winn and Dominie; Paul thrust Meinrad deep into the bloody mess and left the sword to drink its fill.

The golem fell forward onto its face with a huge crash; its red bag fell to the ground and flew open. From within crawled men and women, over a hundred of them, terrified beyond imagination, others still within were either dead or seriously injured.

Finn and Xjang galloped up, having observed the entire episode. Paul dived from Carilla’s neck and gathered his little companions in his arms and burst into tears.

“Thank God you’re alright,” he sobbed. Continue reading

Corwen Halt by Chris Kaye

 

Chris Kaye

He had grown up on the railways:  on this particular line, anyway.  He was still young but already could open the carriage doors without any help.  I suppose you could say that he was a bit of a vagabond, although he did keep himself clean and tidy.  Regular commuters talked to him, and often, somehow, found themselves sharing their food with him:  the ticket inspectors merely took one look into his innocent eyes, and didn’t bother to ask.  They all knew him, and accepted that he was a seasoned, if slightly unconventional, traveller.

The station was fairly typical of a country village stop.  The buildings and flower-boxes were neatly kept, even if the signs, doors, and other woodwork could do with a fresh coat of paint, but that hardly mattered.  He knew where he was long before the ‘Spirit of Dunkirk’ Class 4-6-2 locomotive, tender, and rake of six carriages, had wheezed and clunked to a complete stop.  He shuffled off the seat, and was soon sitting on the platform at Corwen Halt, watching the train move noisily off on the next leg of its journey, towards the larger towns, and the end of the line.

He momentarily scratched an imaginary itch at the back of his head, and then strolled casually past the railway guard: on towards the end of the station building.  Old George didn’t say anything:  just nodded, and grinned at him.  He knew what that meant.  The guard’s room would be empty; the stove would be on, and the battered old armchair was still comfy enough that he could doze there through most of the afternoon, without anyone interrupting him.

He did sleep, and therefore missed her arrival.

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Healer’s Origin (1) by Chris Kaye

Chris Kaye

Sinter crystal. The fist sized lumps spilled their way out of the gash, so recently hewn into the rock face. Light flared, glared, dazed and dazzled the miners, as they scurried to a safe distance. Fear? It was hardly fear, as such, that forced them away. Caution, yes, but they were well pleased with their discovery. Look at them dancing and singing. Slapping each other on the back as if they were the best of friends, and not, each and every one of them, already planning how to increase their own individual share. The usual way of accomplishing this was to reduce the number of claimants. In those days, the phrase ‘accidental death’ had, as a general rule, little to do with accidents. They all knew the old saying, “Where sinter shined, varhl cannot be far behind”. There, of course, lay the problem. Old wives tales usually can be seen to have an element of truth in them somewhere. Sayings are a totally different matter and, despite their widespread use, do have a tendency to exhibit some kind of inbuilt ‘inaccuracy factor’. In this particular case, the saying was unfortunately (but more of that later) true. Continue reading

PWENE THE DWARF By Pete Emmerson

Goblin King Out of Print“He’s a try-er, and a liar,” I whispered in my brother’s ear. Scampering down the steps from beside the throne, I pulled a cartwheel in front of the petitioner. Spinning around and sticking out my long tongue, I wriggled it in the man’s face.
“What proof have you of this indiscretion?” The king asked.
“It was the time of the full moon my liege,” replied the man giving a deep bow, Randolph of the Marshes, then attempted to peer around me. “I was ensuring the safety of my hens, for they were creating a fine cackle. I feared that perhaps a fox were amongst them. But it was not to be, I came across Roger of the Fields there, dressed as a wolf, devouring one after the other of them whole and un-plucked. When I shook my blunderbuss at him, and queried his behaviour, he leapt a high surrounding fence, and ran on four limbs for the safety of the woods.

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Ring around the Rosie by H.M.C

Hayley MerelleRIPPLES OF WIND STREAKED the long grass, and tall pines stretched into an orange and purple sky. Rosie shivered and the wind chased her as her small bare feet beat upon the earth past old fence posts and tangled barbed wire. Her back yard was the Australian bushland.

Black smoke from her farmhouse chimney billowed into the coming night.

‘Rosie!’ Mama called.

‘Coming!’ She ran full pelt through the grass and hoped no unseen sharp thing got her. A stick once wedged itself so deep into her foot that the doctor had to be called to remove it.

The house glowed from the fire in the hearth and Rosie’s mother hurried around the kitchen preparing the evening meal. It smelt delicious. ‘Set the table, will you, darling?’ Rosie took out four plates, four sets of knives and forks, and salt and pepper. She placed each item in the exact spot she did every night – carefully spacing the distances between objects. Continue reading

John by Ganser Bronson

 RomanticCandle1The heavy footfalls of the man walking directly behind John echoed ominously.

After being beaten and near starved for several days, and now pushed and prodded along the dimly lit stone corridor like some reluctant beast to the slaughter, his legs were on the point of collapse. He stumbled to a halt for a moment and tried to look up from the floor, but the blood from the deep gashes across his brow was trickling into his eyes, making everything blurred.

The guard poked him hard with the butt of his spear. “Keep moving!”

The sharp contact sent a fresh spasm of pain shooting through his broken body. They had shattered his ribs only yesterday, and his mangled left hand, which was now hanging uselessly by his side, has been crushed the day before that. Despite this renewed agony, he knew from harsh experience not cry out or utter a word. To do so would only bring yet another beating.

John’s vision cleared a little. He could now make out a wooden door standing ajar at the end of the passage. Was this to be where he would meet his fate? He tried as best he could to gather his courage for whatever was to come. He had always known there was a chance of things ending this way, but still he’d somehow always assumed it would be the Romans who finally sealed his fate. Perhaps he should be grateful for suffering only the beatings, and now perhaps a quick death? The Romans would have done far, far worse. All too many times he had seen the bodies of the crucified, their ravaged corpses picked apart by the carrion birds and wild dogs. Continue reading

Catalina

walking_away___last_deviation_by_seryia_uchina

Catalina by H.M.C

I’d climb in her window at night. Sounds boomed through the house and we’d listen. Sometimes it was her mum yelling at some poor shmuck she’d brought home to soothe the loneliness. Some feral from the pub down the road who had it comin’. I’d hold Cat tighter on those nights and I could feel the pain resounding through her body. She’d stiffen, but act like it didn’t affect her. Maybe it was more embarrassment than anything else.

Cat’s dad was long gone – another bruise in the long-line of life beatings she took. It was just another thing that should’ve turned her into an ungrateful punk of a teenager, but it never did. She should’ve been a right bitch, really. Most chicks our age were.

We used to think that no one could understand how deep our love was for one and other – like we were the only ones in the Universe. Her face lit up like no one else’s. That’s the beauty of first love, there’s a passion and yearning so new and vulnerable, falling from grace feels like death.  It’s laughable to think back now at how dramatic we were. At the time, we were always right.

Other girls would talk to me. Cat hated that. She was jealous. Imagine a beautiful girl thinking I’d leave her. I told her every day she was perfect– remind her she was all I’d ever want. Sometimes I got sick of it.

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