Warriors – Episode 8

This was written as part of a larger story delivered in a serial format.

Previous episodes can be found here.


Colt’s Decision

Colt lay alone staring into the darkness of the small room above the forge he once shared with two others. The room felt almost large now that the two other apprentices, Jare and Tom, had gone. He had room to stretch out, or walk around stretching without stepping on another. Colt missed Tom often, but never Jare who was mean as a snake and often earned him and Tom beatings or beat them himself.

***

Tom had been a good worker, friend, and confidant. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that morning when Colt woke to find Tom gone. He had said often enough that he wanted to leave, that they could leave together, whispering to Colt in the dark so low that Jare couldn’t hear. Colt never thought he would go. Had hoped that he would not, being scared to go along, selfishly fearing what would happen to him if Tom did go. And then one morning, he realized his fears. Continue reading “Warriors – Episode 8”

#FridayFictioneers – The Hunt

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Phina surveyed her kingdom from the tower window as the blade wind pushed chestnut hair back from her sunlit face.  A seemingly perfect day in the kingdom.

There was no sign of the beast.  Maybe it slept the morning away after stalking the kingdom all night.  An opportunity to hunt the beast and rid her kingdom of it once and for all.

Down from the tower, bow strung, Phina moved slow to the beast’s feeding ground in the cold porcelain desert where it slept.

An arrow disappeared into the beast’s fur.  It’s eyes fluttered open, and looked into her’s.

WC:  99


Continue reading “#FridayFictioneers – The Hunt”

#FridayFictioneers – Moon Bathing

Kennesaw toweled off, stepped from the shower and into the small living space of the apartment.  Mother Moon, brighter tonight than he had seen in centuries called to him.

Soon, her powers would pour once more into him and his kind.  The prophecy was at hand. His aged, weak, wrinkled body would be reborn strong in the night again.

Pushing the glass door to the balcony wide, he stepped out, arms raised high, pale skin aglow in her glorious light.

“Put some clothes on freak!”

Kennesaw covered himself and scurried back inside. They laugh now, but soon they will pay.

wc:  100


Continue reading “#FridayFictioneers – Moon Bathing”

#FridayFictioneers – Pathway

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller

The sparseness of City Park frustrated Jack.  This passes for nature in the city, he thought.  A patch of grass with playground equipment.

A white car belched black smoke as it chugged slowly past.  He coughed as the car pulled around to park beside another, much nicer, car.  Tinted windows rolled down.

Something shiny lay in that direction.  It was mirror-like, but didn’t reflect.  The grass in the frame swayed as he looked into it.  Jack reached through, plucked grass from the other side and smelled the freshness he longed for.

He slipped through as the white car backed away.

WC:  100


Continue reading “#FridayFictioneers – Pathway”

Warriors – Episode 7

This was written as only a part of a larger story delivered weekly in a serial format.

Previous episodes:  Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6

Mountains Calling

Sweat slicked Colt’s long black hair, ran rivers along his face, and stung his eyes. Droplets flew across the small shop with every blow of hammer against steel. He wore a leather apron over a bare chest that hung low to cover his knees. He worked a bellows with one booted foot, keeping the furnace raging hot while placing the metal into the hottest part of the flame before pulling it out, pounding down with the sledge, and tempering the metal in the barrel of water to his side.

He had been at it since before the sun rose over the Great Sea in the cool of morning. That cool had burned away as the sun climbed overhead turning the day steamy and encouraging the salt wind to blow in from the sea. Still he pumped the bellows, pounded the metal flat, rolled one thin layer upon another, and tempered the blade again and again in tireless automatic motions.

If the piece came out, it would be a masterpiece. Both sword and ax, it would be a front heavy weapon as the blade turned from a long thin shaft expanding at the end into a sort of triangle with only one point, the point of the sword. It would be heavy enough to split a shield or skull, lite enough to carry with ease on one’s back or hip, and stand up well against a sword wielding opponent. Colt had taken to calling the thing a swordax and had thoughts of making another for himself.

Master Crandall would be by early tomorrow morn for it, and Colt was running behind. If he could get some help from the blasted fool who called himself Master Blacksmith, perhaps he would not be. But perhaps he would be behind and more at that.

Master Blacksmith Hammer, called Ham by everyone, was more a business man than a blacksmith now. There were lots of goods moved through his shop, but his hands seemed not to touch any of them except to pass them over the counter. True, he had a keen eye and could spot a flaw a mile off, and was always happy to tell his now only apprentice to fix what he saw, when he saw it. “The hammer no longer fits my hand boy, but I’ve still got the eye for it,” he would say several times a day as he instructed Colt to redo one piece or the other without mention instruction of how. That statement was often followed by a remark of how Colt could maybe one day turn into a passable smith himself if he would do something around the shop instead of just standing around. It was as if he wasn’t swinging the hammer all day and half of most of the nights.

It was maddening!

Colt wanted nothing more than to get away, but there was no way out that he could see. He could climb aboard one of the large fishers that sailed clear from sight before coming back with their catch. They always came back though. Almost always anyway. If he ever left, he would never return.

Sam, the latest apprentice to abandon Colt followed the coast to another city, saying that he could ‘prentice somewhere else and be better off. Colt had his doubts, and why leave only to do the same thing somewhere else?

He looked out at the mountains in the distance and shivered despite the heat. The stories said they were wild, dangerous things that no one ever returned from. Beast roamed those slopes, large enough to make an easy meal of a man. Colt had seen one such creature brought into town by a peddler looking to sell its coat. The wagon, surrounded by large men with bows and spears, creaked beneath the weight of the huge black creature. Colt thought that it must have weighed as much as ten men.

But it had been killed. Could the mountains hold some hope for him. He had heard that people lived on the far side of the peaks, in a fertile valley where they farmed and lived away from the constant heat and the salt wind that blew in from the sea.

That thought alone was enough to set his mind racing, if not his feet. He had nothing. Nothing except an apprenticeship to a man who would set orphan ass back on the street the moment he stepped a foot wrong. Colt feared that would happen everyday, and so he swung the hammer hard and without complaint.

Colt pulled the swordax from the water barrel and held it before him looking for faults. Master Hammer took the piece and scowled. “The storms take me and hurl me into the sea, but I can’t see what this thing is good for save chopping wood.” He swung it in an awkward arc. The weight on the tip of the swordax caused the old blacksmith to stumble forward. He appeared ready to throw the blade into the dirt, but thought better of it. “If that’s what the man wants, who am I to judge. Long as he pays, it’s all the same to me.”

Colt took the weapon back from his master with ease, giving it an easy twirl before hanging it on the wall. Ham gave him a look, and Colt did his best to look abashed. He stared out at the mist covered peaks as his master stomped off.


This is the seventh installment of a serial lovingly named Warriors.  It is my goal to have a new episode every week or so depending on life.  Please bear with me if I’m not as punctual as I would like.  Another portion will be posted soon with a target word count between 500 and 1,000.

If you would like to read the previous episodes, I have links at the top of this post!

I hope you enjoyed this portion of our story!  I look forward to seeing you as we continue the journey and welcome any comments you may have.

Thanks for visiting!

Warriors – Episode 6

 

This was written as only a part of a larger story delivered weekly in a serial format.

Previous episodes:  Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5

Riders at Dusk

Chunks of carrot and potato fell from Fallon’s knife, joining the herbs, and seasoned meat in the stew-pot as the broth boiled.  The smell infused the small house.  It wouldn’t be long before the aroma reached Raelle outside.

Winter was fast approaching, replacing the life giving rains of summer that rolled off the slopes of the Storm Mountains with a chill that would soon turn the valley and village white.

The crack of wood splitting sounded from outside.  Raelle now insisted on doing the most strenuous chores, claiming that it was good for her training with sword and shield, and refusing his help whenever he offered.  It was an adjustment that Fallon made with a struggle, but there was work enough to keep them both busy on the farm.  Even if his daughter had taken most of what he considered the man’s chores from him.  It was his job to care for his daughter, and if that meant allowing her to be strong, then that was what he would do.  And she was strong. Stronger even than him now, though her lean body didn’t show it.

He was proud of his daughter.  She was strong, beautiful, and could take care of herself.  But how had it happened.  It seemed like yesterday she was begging him in the Village Shoppe for a shield they had no need for.  A smile split his face as the memory lingered. His little girl.  That was so long ago, but seemed only a few days.  That little girl was now a young woman that pulled the eye of every boy in the village, many of whom had had their feelings, or worse, hurt when they tried calling on Raelle a bit too exuberantly.  Best of all, Fallon had done none of the hurting himself.

Raelle added the wood to the stack, looking over it at the mountains in the distance. There was enough there for three winters already, but she liked the feel of the ax in her hands and the cool winds that blew down the mountain slopes wicking the sweat from her skin.

The sun dipped low, turning chill air cold and casting long shadows over Raelle as the large crescent ax fell.  It stuck into a green piece of hardwood with a thud.  She began to pull it free as the clop, clop of hooves sounded on the road.

She watched two cloaked figures ride slowly past from the cover of the shadowed woodpile.  They worried her every time they rode past, which was more often now than ever.  She had spied them out three times that week alone, always at dusk or later and hiding behind dark cloaks.

The smell of her father’s stew reached her.  Her stomach volunteered a noise as the figures disappeared down the shadowed road. She wished, not for the first time, that they lived further from the road and wondered if she had been the only one to smell the cooking.

Raelle pushed the door open and leaned the ax against the frame before going to the wash basin in one corner of the small house to clean up.

“Bringing the ax in again?” Fallon asked.  “Everything alright?”

“Saw those riders again.  They make me nervous.”

“I would imagine you have more to worry about from the village boys.  Hope you don’t take the ax to them though.  Their fathers are hard enough to deal with without that,” he chuckled through his graying beard.

“I like having the ax close.  It’s the best weapon we have if something were to happen.”

That was true enough Fallon supposed.  He had not been able to secure Raelle a real sword.  She learned the sword with poor wooden imitations of the real thing.  Even after several decent harvest, the funds just weren’t there, so Fallon taught her everything about the sword he new with what they had. Raelle adapted it to the ax as best she could so as to have a real weapon if she needed it.

“One of these days,” Fallon said smiling, “you’re going to have to pick one of those hay-brained boys and settle down.  I’m getting to be an old man, and you have a life of your own to live.”

She wrinkled her nose at the thought.  “For now, I’ll settle down with a nice bowl of stew.  It smells wonderful, and I’m starved.”

They sat and bowed over steaming wooden bowls thick with meat, carrot, and potato.  “Thank the ones above for the Spring and Summer Rains, the Fall Harvest, and the strength to pass the test of Winter.  All said.”

“All said,” Raelle repeated as they caught the sound of a horse’s whinny.

Fallon looked at his daughter as she moved toward the ax.

The door burst from the hinges, spraying splinters across the room.  Raelle fell back, splinters digging into her face and arms. Two figures stepped through the ruined doorway.


This is the sixth installment of a serial lovingly named Warriors.  It is my goal to have a new episode every week.  So far I’ve met the every week goal, but I’ve slipped a few days here and there putting the post close to the next week.  It will happen eventually, I know.  Please bear with me if I’m not as punctual as I would like.  Another portion will be posted soon with a target word count between 500 and 1,000.

If you missed the previous episodes, I have links at the top of this post!

I hope you enjoyed this portion of our story!  I look forward to seeing you as we continue the journey and welcome any comments you may have.

Thanks for visiting!

#FridayFictioneers – Ready To Go

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Rob lifted his head above the top step and looked through the planters at his old life before laying back again in a spreading pool of blood.

Jen screamed nonstop curses from the window above as he lay there, his life leaking onto the brick.  She threw his phone.  Plastic and glass shattered inches from his head, peppering his face.

So much for calling 9-1-1, he thought closing his eyes.  It would be over soon.  Will that be so bad.  

Curses fell from above like rain along with drawers full of his clothes.

I’m ready go anyway, he thought.  So ready.

WC:  100


Continue reading “#FridayFictioneers – Ready To Go”