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Accelerated Evolution

CF's Writing Thread


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This is the thread where I post stuff I've written. Y'all should comment with a mind to improve. I don't think anyone on AE is lame enough to say "this sucks cock" but I hope y'all will provide some constructive criticism.

Last updated on mah beerthday.

--

So, I've been working on this setting and some stuff for a couple months now, although I've just started actual writing recently. Tell me what you think. (and Winter I'm gonna get all over your prose soon, sorry about that man >< I'm a fast reader but sometimes reading long things on the computer bugs me)

It's kind of bare-bones because I already have a huge, overarching plot. I'm trying to get most of it on paper and the I'll go through and flesh out details and things. If this is too long I can pull a Winter and upload a text document.

--

Causka sat atop a rock and surveyed the grey sea. It washed all around him, the waves hitting the rocks of the beach and creating foam and spray. It hit him occasionally but his clothing was tough and, by now, used to the salt and wind of the sea.

It stretched off in every direction, filling his vision. Seagulls flew overhead, and the entire area was teeming with life; yet it was all grey. Sky, water, and rocks, they were all grey. Even the conifers back on the island were a sort of grey green.

He looked into a particular tidepool and saw the bright red of a small octopus escaping as another wave came in.

A certain albatross flew far over the sea, rising on the thermals and coasting through the air, approaching the small island. It was going to land here for the first time in months. It wheeled and dived, screaming as it fell, through a flock of smaller birds that scattered before its massive size. The waves continued to crash as the albatross flew towards a small line of habitation; a dozen or so houses surrounded by a low wall. The houses were made of old logs and fixed with driftwood. For the most part, they were the same shade of bleached grey. A few people walked through the village, but the albatross ignored their simple, surfacebound lives.

It continued flying over the village, roughly following a small path made by the humans. A path was such an alien concept to the albatross, but he supposed they were like wind currents on the ground; but so much more sadly limiting. He pitied his poor surfacebound cousins, with their sedentary lives that allowed them no movement.

Upon reaching the end of the current (path, he had to remind himself), he landed in front of the small house he found. It was exactly as it had appeared in his dream, his halfdream experienced in midflight hundreds of feet in the air. The albatross took a few ungainly steps, cursed silently, and rapped his beak on the door.

An old human answered. He thought it might have been a female, but he was unused to appraising their species. Her hair was also grey, like the house she lived in and the sea she lived with.

“Something is wrong,” said the albatross, delivering his three thousand mile message.

A few people standing out in the street blessed themselves when the albatross flew overhead, and returned to their daily work.

From one house, the sound of stomping reverberated. Then the door burst open, and a woman burst out. Looking about, she stepped into the muddy path that passed for a street and stalked down, towards the other end of the village. She arrived at the low wall and walked through a gate, walking out into the forest. Before she was out of sight of the village, she turned back and regarded it for a few moments, long enough to notice a young man come out of the same house, pulling a shirt on. As soon as she saw him, she contined on her path and disapeared.

Causka suddenly stood up and picked his way back along the rocky beach to the cliff face. Cliffs surrounded the entire island, cutting it off from the sea itself except in a few places, where navigable paths were. He found one of those such places and, lifting himself up, prepared for the steep walk up. He often came to this small beach, staying their for hours at a time when he was free from his work.

Upon reaching the clifftop, he stood among great and calm trees. Here it was less grey; now it was brown and green. The trees were spread apart, but the short plant life on the ground was luscious and thick.

He nearly ran back to the village, or at least walked quickly through the hilly countryside. His breath quickened; he was nearly panicking.

Bursting out of the forest, he nearly collapsed at the edge of the village. Instead, he balanced on the balls of his feet and inhaled, catching his breath and calming down. He started walking slowly into the village, then through it, to the witch’s house.

This particular albatross had never been to a human settlement of any size before. He had seen them, to be sure, in this part of the world, and the few others on the north sea, but he had never felt the need to enter one before.

The old woman had immediately pulled him into her house, inviting him to perch wherever he would and asking if there was anything she could do for him.

He cocked his head questioningly when Causka burst in the door.

“Ah,” said the old woman. “I was wondering when you’d get here. We have a special visitor today.”

“I’m sorry,” said Causka. “I was out at the beach again, and I had lost track of time...”

“Well, it is of little importance. Come here, help me with this, then we will talk to our visitor.”

Causka saw no visitor but thought it odd that there was a large albatross inside; such animals were not to be made a mockery of, but sometimes the witch could rise above common morality. He helped her organize her powders and medecines, and then they sat down before the albatross.

The albatross looked about the room. It was small and simply furnished, with various symbols carved into the wood. A fur rug lay on the ground; sharks’ teeth hung from the ceiling. There was a bed in one corner of the room and a few stools that the humans were currently inhabiting. He opened his beak to speak, when the door burst open again.

“Auntie!” cried the young woman, angrily. “You have to help me!”

“Shush!” said the witch. “Who said you could come here? My apprentice and I have important business here, which you are interrupting.”

The young woman looked shocked, then embarassed. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ll be leaving now.” She stepped backwards and began to close the door.

“No, stay,” said the albatross. The young woman and Causka both stared.

The albatross continued. “I feel that my message concerns her as well. Please, stay.” His voice was pleasant, considering that he had never used it before.

“Um.” The young woman was confused. Causka was simply just staring at the bird.

“Sit down, then, and let’s get on with it!” cried the witch. “Come, Katya, be seated!”

“Yes auntie,” said Katya, quickly taking the open stool.

“Very well,” said the albatross. The simply bizarre nature of the orator made sure that he recieved rapt attention from his listeners. “For most of my life, I have lived on the North Sea. I was born on a rocky shoal many leagues from here, that has not been seen by the eyes of man in a long, long time.

“In my community, I was often considered a rather concrete individual. That is to say, I did not take unnecessary risks and could be depended on. I did not dream often -- for you know, albatrosses seldom dream anyway.” He looked at his listeners. None of them had known that and didn’t know what to make of it.

“One day, perhaps a year ago, I was flying high over this very island when a dream overcame me. I dreamt I was a man; a man walking through large streets filled with other men. There were tall buildings and gilded roofs. I spoke with other men, and walked through the streets. I heard that I was in a city called Karsov.”

This his humans recognized, and they all drew a quick breath. The name was familiar to them all.

“I came to the city walls, and I walked up them, taking the stairs in a painfully slow manner. Gaining altitude took so long, I felt so limited without my wings; however, there was a certain calmness to it. I came to the top of the walls, and looked out at a great army assembling outside. I looked about on the wall, and a few men stood there, lightly armed with spears. The army oustide was terrible and dark, and I knew that they were there to take the city.

“Another man on the wall walked up to me and spoke to me of the war. It had been a year since the army arrived there, and the city could not hope to hold them off. He told me... He told me many things, which I did not remember later.

“Coming back to myself, I realized that I had drifted off-course and corrected myself. So, I returned from your island to the place of my birth, for the yearly meeting my clan has. There, I spoke with my family and friends, and rediscovered pieces of my dream.

“There had been a definite reason it came to me over your island. It concerned you. The man had told me that the war would start a year from now; and that for the city to have any chance of surviving, three travelers from this village must make a pilgrimage over the world to the city of Karsov.

“When I realized what hung in the balance, I returned here immediately. However, it took me three months to get here; three months of constant flying. And that is my message. Three among your number must partake on a journey to Karsov. I do not know what you will do there, but it is required for that city to survive. And that is my story.”

The three humans astonished at this news. They sat in silence for a few moments, before turning to the witch.

“But the question is,” she said. “Who will go?”

“The only answer is to visit the king,” said Katya, after a little while.

“The king?” said Causka, incredulously. “What does he have to do with this?”

“Well, won’t he be able to send soldiers to help defend Karsov?”

“I suspect...” began Causka, and the witch continued for him.

“Yes, I believe my apprentice suspects the same thing I do. The presence of three people from this village is not one of three warriors, to help defend the city. No, something else, relating to the hidden workings of the universe, will be served by sending three of us to that city.”

“Yes,” said Causka. “Three people would make no difference if a battle was to happen there, but some deeper purpose is served by sending those three.”

The albatross watched the proceedings in silence, having delivered his message.

“Well,” said Causka, after a pause. “I’m going. I don’t know who else ought to go.”

At this the albatross spoke up. “I have a feeling, something about this young woman here. I think she ought to join you.”

Causka looked at Katya for the first time since she had entered the room. He wrinkled his nose and said, “Well, who else, then?”

Down the hill in the village, on the edge of town, an anvil stood in a blacksmith shop. The anvil was being rained in sparks from a red hot piece of metal that was being hammered into submission. An older man was doing the hammering, as his son watched from nearby. Both were muscle bound and imposing. Each one had a simple albatross statuette hanging around their neck, and the son even had an albatross silhouette tattooed on his arm.

The son was munching on a pork dumpling, manipulating his chopsticks to slice it into small pieces, lift it from the plate, and stuff it in his mouth. He was also supposed to be working that day, but lately the blacksmiths’ work had slowed. There would be more to do once the spring came; the winter was not a good time for farming or fishing, the two main occupations of the village. With farming and fishing came broken tools, and employment for the blacksmiths; currently, they had little to do but make new tools to be sold in the next season.

As he finished his lunch, two people burst into the room to speak with the blacksmith’s son; Causka and Katya. They seemed to be in a hurry. After them a large albatross entered the room. This was highly irregular to the son.

“Simon!” said Causka.. “We need to speak with you.” Simon looked at his father, who nodded -- there was little work to be done today in either case.

Two hours later, the three were preparing to leave the city. They had packed ample supplies; three weeks of dried food and fish. They carried water bottles and comfortable winter blankets; they would be leaving for the town of Karsith, on the far side of the island. Dressed in heavy traveler’s clothes, the whole village had come to see them off.

Normally the decision to have three fine youths leave the city would have been put to the town council, but that was not due to convene for another halfmonth and it was clear that this was a matter of divine emergency; a sacred albatross, the traditional symbol of God, had come to earth, and spoken with all of the youths, and their parents.

As they were preparing to walk out of the town gates, the alarm was sounded. Everyone gathered listened to the rhythm, until they understood it properly -- it was not one they had heard for a long time -- approaching boats, unknown.

“The tools of the Enemy!” cried the witch. “They must be coming to stop your journey! Hurry!”

“Yes!” said the blacksmith, hefting his hammer. “If they want a fight, a fight they’ll have. Now hurry along, children, may your bath be alit with the light of God.”

“Thank you!” said Simon, lifting his backpack.

“Yes,” said Katya, “Thank you all. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”

Causka grimaced and nodded to the witch, his only family in the town. Then he grunted, “let’s go,” and whispered a little charm to quicken their feet.

As they rounded the last bit of the path before they would lose sight of the village, they saw the boats; long, low, and thin, they moved so quickly that they seemed to be a part of the water. Onboard were men they could not make out -- but they saw them to be dark of skin and evil in intent, as they raised their bows and fired arrows into the village.

“By Karsov!” cried Simon. “We have to go back and help defend!” he began to turn but Causka grabbed his arm.

“We need to keep moving,” he said.

Katya looked at the village, under attack, with horror. “He’s right... They must be here to stop us, and our only advantage is to outrun them.”

This angered Simon greatly, but he saw what they meant. They doubled their pace and continued along the path.

After a few hours, Causka perked up his ears.

“They’re behind us,” he said.

“How do you know?” asked Simon.

Causka looked at him. “I wasn’t a witch’s apprentice for years without picking up a bit of the Hearing. Come, we have to leave the path.”

Katya looked at him, realizing for the first time that they were travelling with a witch in his own right. They headed into the forest, forsaking the path entirely.

“How will we not get lost?” asked Simon, grunting as he jumped over a log.

“Don’t worry,” said Causka. “I’ve spent much time in these woods. Each tree is a friend, and will help us while hindering the Enemy’s men.” For whatever reason, the words of this young boy heartened his companions, though both of them were older than he.

They walked well into the night, not daring to risk lighting torches. The moon was half full, so they could make their way somewhat, but they tripped often and stubbed their toes. It was hard going, and eventually they had to stop.

“This is ridiculous,” said Simon, but Causka cut him off.

“Shh,” he said. “They’re closer than you think.”

“How could they still be following us after all that time?” hissed Simon.

They heard an audible crack in the forest behind them -- dark shapes compounded on dark shapes, and all of them thought they saw something, but the darkness betrayed the eyes, and as soon as they thought they saw something it was gone again.

This had the effect of silencing Simon; they began to walk again.

After the moon had set, it began to rain. Each was dejected; no glorious journey should begin like this.

Soaking wet, Causka led them up into a little hollow where they set down their packs. It must have been after the first watch at this point; all of them were very tired, as they had been walking since the middle of the day.

Simon collapsed and fell asleep as soon as he could drag his blanket over him. Causka wanted to as well, but he first put a number of spells around the hollow to keep them from being found. Katya watched him, and rubbed her albatross talisman as she did so. She was the last to go to sleep.

It did not stop raining until dawn. Each of the travellers woke up thoroughly soaked. However, Causka urged them on, even though they all wanted to sleep more.

“Our only hope to get of the island is to get to the town before they do; otherwise, we’ll likely be stuck here. This is a race, and if we fail, our journey will be over before we’ve even begun.” Simon and Katya agreed that this was probably true -- the invaders who had burned their village would likely not hesitate to burn the only other settlement on Kniyega island.

The walk was quick, however -- they did not encounter the dark men anymore, but they had travelled much further the day before than any of them had reckoned.

The forest ended rather abruptly. One moment, they were in the deep forest, and the next step they were in the field. The town of K was somewhat large, and it had its own wall, at the expense of the forest, which was cut around the town for a mile in each direction.

“Quickly,” said Katya. “We’re almost there!” she said, encouraging her companions.

They began to move more swiftly across the even ground. As they were about halfway to the town walls, a guard noticed them and, recognizing them as people from the next village, had the gates opened. Almost as this happened, though, an arrow flew past Simon’s head, then another struck Causka’s leg.

Causka cried out in pain and dropped to one knee, and the other two looked behind them; men were emerging from the forest, carrying large bows and wearing long coats. They were dressed strangely, wearing nothing that seemed to be armor, and carrying what seemed to be axes. Words were exchanged that no one could hear, and Simon grabbed Causka’s arm.

Another volley of arrows was loosed, one striking Simon in the arm. Still, he pulled Causka to his feet and yelled “Run!” Katya complied, running swiftly to the gates of the town. Simon half-carried Causka, grunting to ignore his own pain. Causka tried as hard as he could to move, but his leg was pierced, meaning that it was hard to move.

The town guard of K rushed out, carrying their own bows -- they quickly organized and returned a volley -- seeing one invader go down, who was quickly dragged into the forest by his fellows, the town guard helped Simon and Causka into the town.

Surrounded by helping hands, Causka fell unconscious almost immediately, through shock. Simon carried on long enough to find a place to collapse. The town’s witch came immediately, murmuring spells over the arrow wounds before removing them. Fortunately, neither had broken, but they were cruel, serrated arrows, and the danger was great.

As soon as Causka awoke and saw the witch in front of him, he tried to say a few words, but his lips failed him. Simon fared better, having his arm put in a poultice, he was walking in a few minutes. Katya beckoned him to follow her to the top of the walls; the field was clear, but the forests beyond were obviously teeming with shapes -- the mysterious invaders would not leave.

“You’ve come from the village across the way, haven’t you?” asked one of the guards. Katya and Simon were standing next to each other, closely, both worried about Causka.

“Yes,” said Katya. “We left just as these people came -- they burned everything.”

“Our families are probably dead,” Simon said heavily.

The guard looked at them. “I’m sorry... but you’re safe now. There’s no way they’ll breach our walls, unless they brought a catapult.”

“Yeah,” said Simon, looking at Causka’s unconscious form.

Night fell on the village of K. The invaders had still made no move. Even in the darkness, they seemed to stay in the protection of the forest. Periodically one of the guards would think he detected a movement, and loose an arrow where he saw the ghost of a person -- but, if they hit anybody, they never made a sound.

The town was tense. No army had ever come to invade K in living memory. It was a simple, out of the way fishing village, on a simple, out of the way island. Wars and battles were for the people of the mainland, who squabbled over relics and land. Here in the northern islands, life was too tough to think of killing your neighbor. It snowed so prodigiously each winter that the very sea would freeze over in places, and the whole community had to come together to survive. Of course, occasionally there were murders, and therefore blood debts and feuds, but that was another matter entirely...

Simon was taking his turn on the walls when Katya came up to him. He was wearing a thick cloak one of the guards had lent him, and she was still wearing her traveling coat.

“Hey,” she said. He looked back at her. It was possible they would be the last people alive from their village if Causka’s fever didn’t break.

“Hey,” he replied. “What do we do now?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Without Causka we have to keep going, of course, but, but he knows where everything is... he’s, he’s got some maps, but I don’t think we can make it without him. I... I don’t want to get lost, Simon, and I don’t want to die.”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “He’ll be fine, although he’ll probably walk slow for awhile.”

“You don’t understand,” said Simon, “We need to use one of your boats and get out of here. It’s a mission from God -- you wouldn’t trifle with that, would you?”

“Of course not,” said the elder, “But you must understand -- we can’t spare any of our boats, especially with the village under attack. If one person leaves, the whole village will try to escape. We cannot spare you anything, I’m sorry.”

Simon glared at him for a bit, then left the room. Katya saw him glowering and asked him what had happened.

“He won’t help us.” Simon collapsed into a chair and started fingering his albatross icon. “He says they can’t spare the boats.”

Katya looked exasperated. “This whole fucking trip, it’s been cursed from the start. What the fuck?” She went back to check on Causka again -- he was still unconscious. “Now not only are we fucked, but we have to carry this guy around.”

Simon glared at her. “Calm down. Nothing terrible is happening here.” He looked around to make sure they weren’t being listened. “Look, you know how to sail, right?” Of course she did, everyone from a fishing village would. “Will you help me steal a boat tonight?”

She looked at him, then smiled a bit. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

They decided upon a small boat, little more than a dinghy. There was just one sail and nothing to protect them from the elements. They laid Causka to rest in the middle and covered him, along with their minimal food stores, with a canvas. Katya got in first and began undoing the sail as Simon pushed them off, and, quietly, began rowing.

Silence and speed were of the utmost necessity -- neither of them had ever stolen something of great importance before, and they were both very stressed at the proposition. It was another pitch-black night, clouds blocking the stars and the moon having gone down long ago.

While they were moving Causka, once he moaned a bit, when Katya accidentily dropped his arm. This scared them, but most of the village was asleep.

As they slipped out into deeper waters, Simon shipped the oars and began steering with the tiller. A modest breeze had picked up and Katya was sailing excellently. They were making good time as they slowly fell asleep. Their lids got heavy and they began to nod off.

Causka awoke in the middle of the night and looked about him. He moved the canvas a bit so he could sit up, and saw all around him nothing but endless sea. Lost and bewildered, he felt gripped with terror and knew he was having a nightmare. He fell back into the bottom of the boat and pulled the canvas over his eyes, huddling into a fetal position, still feverish, still cold, and still sweating.

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I shall definitly read this epic tonight, because now, my house is unbearibly hot. Hehe seems like we began our fantasy tales around the same time.

And the most amazing about writing a story like this, is that they change into these awesome unexpected complex monsters. I don't know if that happened with you, or is happening, but it sure did with mine, and is still with mine.

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Wow this is awesome, I liked it alot and I'm curious where it goes. I was a little confused at the beginning whether Clauska was a man or a woman though. I'm not going to do a crazy edit until you post a real detailed version like you said, but I was able to visualize most of the scenes you described. And you say "the humans" many times so, unless thats relating to the albatross, then I'm thinking theres going to be more races :crube:

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^Thanks man!

I decided to kill of the main character. This part happens quite a bit after what I wrote above.

--

And so it came to pass that Causka died, at such a young age, so promising a man, it was very sad. They laid him to rest at the side of the lake, under a large yew tree.

The wind howled as he died -- blowing through the mountains and into the valley. The sky was dark, though it was approaching noon. Snow blanketed the ground, and the lake was frozen. Dark times were ahead for those who survived him; they still had to cross the mountains, and from there, who knew what.

But for now, Causka was dead. His face had been white for days, he had run a fever, and he had constantly asked them to rest. They did so because he was a friend to all of them, and a lover to one. They did so because they loved him and wanted him to live, to be able to come with them.

But they challenged Winter, and Winter, the Icy Maiden, is a terrible foe. She plucked her harp excellent, high in her tower atop the world; and darkness and clouds there formed, spelling doom and death for those who defied her.

At a mountain’s pass Simon had sacrificed a lamb, holding it up to the sky, slitting its throat in one terrible, swift movement, and letting its hot blood drip, then course down his raised arms, down his chest, staining his clothes. We had all yelled then, beating our drums and invoking all the álvar and dísir we knew of. But none would come in this foreign land, where everything was so sublimely different as to be bewildering. Lost, disconnected from our ancestors, thoroughly outside the realm of humans, we let the lamb expire and continued on.

Still, the Icy Maiden did not feel she had recieved sacrifice enough; no animal, no magic spirit would suffice. She would require a human life, and Causka’s life had been bleeding out of him for weeks now.

We tried to bury him, but it was useless. Simon and I scrabbled first with our hands and then with our swords, but even our hot tears were not enough to melt the permafrost. I thought to cremate him, but there was hardly enough loose wood in all the forest to cook a pot of rice, and all of it would be damp anyway. There was nothing we could do.

I tried to arrange him comfortably. Simon refused to look at his body; the old man helped me carry him to the tree, but would go no further. Katya was still crying; so was I.

“Oh God,” I whispered, “Please accept my brother Causka into your holy light; he has done no wrong to any man and died an honourable death far from home.” Behind me, I heard the pagan Simon make his own prayers. The old man was silent, as was his people’s way.

From my bag I pulled a single sprig of hemlock, so that Causka’s Álvar could find him. No doubt they would come calling soon, as one goes calling to a familiar lighthouse that has suddenly gone out, though it be miles away.

After a time it became too cold to stay out in the elements any longer. We began walking just to stay warm, finally stopping when the blizzard got too thick. Simon yelled something to me, but I couldn’t hear it over the sound of the blowing wind.

“What?” I yelled. I don’t know if he heard me.

Now we were getting to the end of the valley. The ascent into the mountains, again, I didn’t know if I could bear. We were hugging the rocks at the edge of the mountains, to stay out of the terrible wind. I was holding Katya’s hand, and she the old man’s, and he Simon’s, and so we formed a chain to work our way every forward.

Finally, Simon’s foot burst through the snow, and he found a small cave. It was a desperate attempt at warmth, but we all huddled in it, hugging each other for warmth. The old man stripped off his tattered gloves and started a small fire, and we all loved him for it, more than we had ever loved anything before.

Meanwhile, at the lakeshore, Causka’s body was becoming covered with snow. The blizzard kept coming, tossing more frozen water into the air. The fury of winter was indeed showing itself that day. It was like a day long ago, the first snow of his conscious life. He had been three years old and in front of the house he was born in. The high rafters of that house made a spacious main room, where he and his family would eat a hot dinner in the middle of a blizzard like this, sitting in front of a crackling fire and telling each other stories.

As a boy, Causka had loved the snow and never understood how anyone could dislike it. Some of the fishers in his village had worried about the first snows, and everyone thought it was a nuisance. But Causka loved it. He would spend all day rolling around, covering his furs in snow, making snowmen, throwing snowballs at anyone who approached his territory; and finally, his mother would bring him back in for hot chocolate.

But there was no hot chocolate, no mother, no home village. Only the howling wind, his frozen corpse, and empty blackness in the void his soul inhabited. His mother lay in a shallow, unmarked grave, his house had been burned down, and all heat seemed to have left the world.

A small deer walked through the snow. It stopped when it saw his body, then moved a bit closer, slowly, cautiously. It had only been born last spring, and this was its first winter. Its father was close by, and it didn’t want to stray too far, because it wanted to investigate this strange man who lay still in the middle of a blizzard, almost as if sleeping.

Then, however, there was a rending sound, a cracking, and a scraping, and the deer took flight. The ice on the lake was shifting, breaking, coming apart. From it a single man stepped, walking from the bottom of the water. He breathed heavily, and grabbed his cloak around him, against the biting cold. He was old and bent, wearing a black cloak and with long hair. On his face was a particularly gruesome wound, where one of his eyes had been torn out.

He stepped up to the shore and didn’t miss a beat, coming out of the water and drying unnaturally fast in the horrible weather. He sat down next to Causka’s body and regarded it for a time.

Causka was dead. But, if that was true, why, then, did the man touch a finger to Causka’s forehead? Why did this cause a convulsion in Causka’s chest, a coughing, and him coming to? How does someone come to from death?

As soon as he saw movement, the man stood up and walked off into the forest, through the thickest trees and bushes. They bowed out of his way, paying obeisance to him as though they were a line of serfs on some country estate. After he passed, they would move back into place, becoming as impenetrable as ever.

The dead body sat up, pushing into the snow with its hands. Warmth flowed out from its heart and through its body once again. It was time to walk.

Did he retain his memories?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh that's cool. I want to read more now, cause now there seems to be a third party hehe.

"But they challenged Winter, and Winter, the Icy Maiden, is a terrible foe. She plucked her harp excellent, high in her tower atop the world;"

I love this line :crube:

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  • 3 weeks later...

From now on this is just the thread where I post shit I've written.

This one's a WIP, I think the tick tick thing is annoying but I don't know where to remove it.

Tick, tick, tick...

The arched hallways of the control room seemed to go on forever. Grey stone and metal clockwork were ill-lit, with torches scattered about at random. More powerful light came from dedicated generators but many of them were flickering, breaking, after 4,000 year’s constant usage.

Tick, tick, tick...

All around, everywhere, the light clicks of the clocks joined each other and cascaded about the room, bouncing off of walls and amplifying themselves. It was an inescapable pandemonium, carefully calculated and each measured movement completely exact, though the splendor of the room was diminished. An old man walked among the massive calculation machines, making sure that everything was in working order.

Tick, tick, tick...

His name was Lemuel, and though his work went uncelebrated, it also went unceasingly. He was always at work, the old man of the control room. Here he labored, thousands of miles beneath the surface of the earth, for thousands of years at a time. He wasn’t sure if his works would ever be done, but part of being Lemuel, that singular personality, was that he didn’t mind. For throughout the wars of men and gods, Lemuel always stayed the same, that constant.

Tick, tick, tick...

When Lucifer was cast down from Heaven, when Adam and Eve were cast out of Paradise, throughout all the wanderings of the tribes of Israel, and all the lives of all men, these events were but small blips to Lemuel. He registered them, tallied them, used them to make sure his calculations were correct. For him, they were simple functions to be tallied in the great computer. The control room kept turning, for moral cares were for God and the Angels, or else Satan, or else men, for Lemuel was set apart from all that. He kept everything running on a more mundane level. Functions of the universe were decided in his halls, it was by his calculations that the planets were set in order, the number of leaves on each tree decided, the name of a young child, the each infinitesimal facet of the cascade of blood as a warrior was stabbed -- all of these things were Old Lemuel’s territory.

Tick, tick, tick...

So he walked the halls, his steps coinciding with the unending clicks of the clocks, those that would haunt him as long as there was creation, as long as the stars spun and the earth turned -- Old Lemuel would be needed. Old Lemuel would be needed, and so would his clocks, and their gears and wires and ticks, their tocks and their bells, the endless sound of the universe spinning, working, running, that marvelous, that sublime,

tick, tick, tick...

And here's some flash fiction or something. Titled in the order I wrote 'em.

Biking to the top of the hill. I looked out and could see for miles, as the sweat dripped down my face. My hair was soaked, my shirt was soaked.

I yelled at myself for not wearing a helmet, but that didn't matter because I was fucking flying, higher than I ever had, and I could see all the little buildings at the bottom of the hill, all the little cars, all the little people.

"Set a course for the sun!" I cried, and came crashing to a halt. The bike flipped over and rolled but I didn't flip with it, just cracking my skull and breaking a couple ribs.

I bled slowly on the road and laughed and laughed, all the life falling out of me. No imagination, no love, no anger, just laughter, happiness, and the sun beating down on me.

I rose up to meet God so I could buy that son of a bitch a beer.

The retrorockets never fired. I got to see a fabulous view of the planet Earth, home, as the space shuttle burned.

Being burned alive is not so bad, I thought. But Johnson was panicking.

"There has to be something we can do!" he cried, frantically searching the controls for a way out.

"Hey Johnson, look," I said. He leaned towards where I was pointing, hoping I had seen something useful.

"It's the Great Wall of China. I heard you could see it from space but I never had." Johnson punched the wall and then we were gone.

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The "tick tick" piece is fucking cool. Honestly it's like one of those stories hear around a fire or when I was a young child (not a bad thing at all). Someone really wise would tell it.

The flash fiction are so short, and consequently are so open to a range of things. Great job man.

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  • 2 months later...

A few friends and I had a poetry jam session last night, here's a few of the better ones.

And I’ll stay out til morning,

When the sky becomes true.

And through all that roaming,

I’m still waiting for you.

--

May your sweet cadenza never wear out

May your burning metaphor make sense

May you hear wrathful cannon fire

May you find your proper tense.

--

Forsooth, what is truth?

That fickle daughter of meaning.

For if I cannot know that,

Then why all this preening?

--

In all the ancient wars we reenacted,

Never did I think I’d find

Such happiness come upon me,

In the house of my own mind.

This house, built with such care,

By the God of Abraham,

Or the sweat of Ymir,

Or the River Euphrates.

But this house, this fine house,

I’ll abuse til it breaks.

And then run to the south,

When no more pain awaits.

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  • 9 months later...

Today, y'all get some sort of science fictiony thing I'm not too happy with and a couple old poems I found which I may or may not have posted (too lazy to check).

The ambassador might’ve been human, thought the commander, were it not for her skin.

It was pure white. Not white like humans call their own fairer-skinned comrades: white as the purest snow.

He knew just by looking at her, too, that she wore no makeup. Of course, he had been briefed on what these people looked like. Exiled long ago, they had no home planets, and therefore nothing to lose. They traveled the galaxy on their great arks, bound for destinations only they knew.

And They were not truly aliens, too; not in the traditional sense, in any case. Biologically, the commander knew he looked at something almost identical to him. Yet it was so powerfully different.

At times like this, the great hall of his ship was decked out in its full regalia. It recalled a palatial courtyard rather than a ship of war.

The walls were programmed to a striking white, and red tapestries hung from them. Along the center of the hall ran, from end to end, the traditional red carpet. Alien dignitaries rarely understood this human custom (especially thran, who did no walk, and thus did not care what they walked on), but any ambassador knew it as a sign of respect.

To each side of the carpet stood the ship’s officers in their dress uniforms, looking on at the spectacle of the Isanic ambassador.

Alone she sat, looking small (though the commander knew her to be freakishly tall) amidst the silent mechanical workings of her exosuit. An Isanian could never be found in a Terran environment without one: the smooth appearance, looking like some sort of robot conveying her down the hall had the same sort of calm majesty she herself exhibited.

Though there was no shield of glass, or any solid matter, all there knew she was physically cut off from them; a personal energy shield, preserving the cold, oxygen deprived atmosphere she had been born tom the same low gravity that was her element, and though the commander would have felt impossibly clumsy in it, he was sure her graceful movements would find themselves perfectly suited to that strange state of being.

Behind the ambassador came a small army of other machines. Long ago, her society’s lack of people caused them to view individual humans as far too precious for many given tasks. So, in their mobile factories, they produced hundreds of thousands of robots of every shape and size, from nanites tasked with building to the massive automated warships that convoyed their arks everywhere.

And now it seemed the robots were turned to yet another task; an honor guard. The menagerie of metal that followed her was impressive, to be sure; but even more impressive to the commander was teh high efficiency with which they were recycled. Each home ship had to be self-sufficient, and often they would go for many years (a meaningless term to the Isanians) without visiting a planet or other significant source of materials.

Her exosuit strode gallantly down the silent hall. Quickly after first contact, humans had realized how their music was more than controlled noise to most aliens; it was not always offensive, but it certainly could be distracting, bothersome, and unappreciated.

Finally, when she was halfway down the hall, it was time to strike.

“Greetings,” he said, with the perfect syntax of the human-Isanian diplomatic language. “On behalf of the Argentine Systems, I welcome you aboard the Victory.” The archaic ship’s name sounded grating among the beautiful, flowing words of the new language, but tradition was tradition.

“Thank you, Captain.” In those words, she summarized the differences between them. Her voice was high and sweet, contrasting with his gruff, businesslike tone. Their accents, too, were very different, even in this graceful language. He had been disciplined from birth to speak clearly, to definitely start and finish each word down to the syllable. But the ambassador slurred her speech, each word seeming to go on forever.

“My name is Liskura, daughter of the High Ship Suttarkleid.”

“I am Captain Juraj Kropotkin-Vasquez, commander of this ship.” They both bowed to each other.

No doubt this exchange was something of a mystery to his senior staff. Hardly any of them spoke the diplomatic tongue, as they had been brought up from the ranks, rather than educated at one of the military colleges. And yet it seemed that very soon, the terrible war that had made their careers would soon be over.

AND THAT IS THE END OF THAT, here's a couple poems.

An overnight shipment,

sorrowfully forgot.

Like blood on pavement,

let our minds rot.

Possibly tomorrow

Or the day after that

My ambition will fly

To the trackless, dark night.

The Stadtholder now cries

"There is naught wrong here!"

Yet if one looks to his eyes

His confidence will disappear.

My love for you

Like a thousand suns

Knows no date,

Knows no sum.

I could be the moss on your rock

Or I could be the fog in your twilight

But till that sweet day

I'll just be the backlight to your stage

Or the second string on your fiddle.

Idealize the past

Fear the present

Fuck the future

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  • 3 months later...

New story. I want to expand this to a novel (as if... I suck at writing too much to ever really write a novel).

I'm unsure about the beginning and some of it seems a little extraneous. I dunno. Read it and tell me what you think.

--

It was inside a bedroom; the top floor of a small white house in the suburbs. A young man sat alone in his bed with three things; a join, a zippo, and a letter from the Selective Service.

Slowly, he brought the joint up to his mouth and lit it; exhaling slowly, he stared at the wall. No one else was home.

His dad had gotten a similar letter, back in June of 1942. It seemed a world away, now -- the young man couldn’t properly picture what it must have been like. His father had been proud to fight, proud to do his part for his country. But had he been proud to slog through the mud of France? Had he been proud to kill his fellow man -- practically his countryman? His father was only a second-generation immigrant. The young man’s grandparents had been born in Dusseldorf...

Twenty-nine years ago, had his father wrestled with similar issues? Doubtful. His father had come of age in Salt Lake City during the depression -- he had come of age in the Bay Area in the Sixties.

Another drag. The young man was staring at the letter, now. “Addressed,” he read aloud, “To cannon fodder.” He chuckled, then tore it open, reading the contents, spilling ash on his clean sheets...

The first line greeted him with a warm wind and the sweet smell of the jungle. He was carrying an M16, the universal symbol of imperialism. He read on.

Taking steps down the path, he knew he was not alone. He was somewhere in the Vietnamese mountains, and he was not alone.

Around his neck, the familiar chafe of dog tags, the weight on his shoulders, the water on his booth. Already “familiar.” Always unbearable. The tags were a chain, he thought, binding him to this terrible machine. No freedom, no respite, just an endless path and a heavy load.

He reached the second paragraph.

“Contact!” He immediately sprang into action as the gunfire began. Around him, his platoon spraying bullets into the forest. Somewhere over there -- another man, this one with red stars instead of white stripes. He raised his rifle to his shoulder and cast about frantically. There -- three-round burst. He had always been an excellent shot, plinking away at tin cans with his grandfather’s .22 during summer vacation. A man’s life ended. Had he once played here, in the green hills, like this young man once played in the hills of California?

A sense of morbid fascination as he watched the man fall. Thigh, heart, face. All three bullets had found their mark, and the spray of blood made it obvious. He careened like a bloody tower.

“Get the fuck down!” He didn’t know who yelled it -- maybe the sergeant, maybe the guy next to him, but he did. Scream of jet engines. Rumbling, like a bass amp on acid. Stench of napalm -- “From the inventors of Saran wrap!”

There could be no more red stars in the forest ahead -- Vietnam was being burnt free, one grove at a time.

The third paragraph was longer. He had seen his brother twice, though they sent irregular letters. His brother, two years older, less musically inclined, but loved cars. A mechanic, though not a fucking killing machine like his kid brother. He was on some aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin. Maybe he fixed one of those planes that had just baptized the VC? Impossible to know.

“Nice shooting, you fuck,” said his friend, offering him a hand up. He took it, and stood up into the open air, reveling in the stench.

“Thanks, motherfucker. Cigarette?” All around the line, Americans stood up and smoked, reloaded their weapons, and stared dully at the field of dead. The new field, only this morning a forest.

“Spoon’s had it. Call it in.”

“Good riddance. Fucking fag.” Was he? No one would ever know now.

The clarion voice of the sergeant. “Alright kids, pack up or we won’t make it to summer camp on time.”

The end of the page. “Over” stared him hard in the face. Mass-printed by some Pentagon press. How many other people had trouble turning the page?

They saw the village before they expected to. In the coming dusk, its few fires dominated the scene.

“Remember your training,” was all the Lieutenant said. And they did. They remembered their training when they busted in the door and looked at the screaming faces. They remembered their training as they grabbed the subhumans and communist sympathizers and shoved them out into the village square. The sergeant, especially, remembered his training as he cocked his .45 and wasted gook after gook.

The young man smiled, even laughed. It was ridiculous. These doe-eyed retards could never stop him. He was the baddest motherfucker alive, he thought, as he leapt into the air and chased some VC shit down. Justification for what they did to this town -- of course there were NVA soldiers hiding here.

He dropped his rifle just for the hell of it and pulled his knife. Running, he tackled his foe, laughably small for a soldier. Laughing, he yelled.

“Eat it, cocksucker!” Knife straight into his back. And in, and out, and in, and out...

The final paragraph loomed ahead. This time he was alone. Back home. Away from it all. People were surprised to see him back. Every one of his old friends -- so nice, so friendly, so... cautious, so misunderstanding. These were not the raucous teens he had left a year and half ago. Or maybe they were, and they were just calm around the baddest motherfucker on earth.

So he sat on his porch and smoked. He smoked for a long time. Smoked himself out his lease, then out of his parents house. Smoked himself under a freeway pass, his green beret a pleasing accoutrement to his McDonald’s cup. All the while, he still wore his dog tags. He would wear them until he was free.

In the mid-80’s he started hacking up blood. After a month of this he went to the VA. When they asked for his papers, he said he didn’t have any -- didn’t need any, he was the baddest motherfucker on earth. A scraggly beard shook around his mouth as he rattled off the catalogue. Seventeen men, eight women, three children. Communists -- all! He had killed twenty-eight people in cold blood for this country. Why couldn’t they give back a little?

“Sir, you’re going to have to leave.” It was no VC bullet that killed him, no. It was those seven words. He had caught the disease, and it was done incubating. The disease the Selective Service sent out to so many young men in those days. Infected them with a number and a lottery, sealing their fate like smallpox.

That night he had a fitful sleep, but that was hardly unusual. He could never sleep if there was a helicopter in the sky, but tonight was clear. He rolled to and fro, crying out names he couldn’t remember anymore. And then finally, he died. There was no dustoff, no huey coming in, just three cops and some police tape, a few days later. No identifying marks, but they found some dog tags lying to the side.

He finished the joint and flicked it out the window. Let the neighbors deal with it. He had more important shit. The heart of the enemy -- the draft ticket. He held it up to the light, examining it slowly. Then, with his other hand, he opened his lighter, flicked it on...

They said zippos were only good for lighting cigarettes, but he had found something else to burn.

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  • 3 months later...

shards of rockets fuck my brain while politicians go insane violent thoughts and nazarenes steal your shit behind the scenes cut up fish we sacrifice underneath our neon vice laser beams in crooked streams and off brand love in package form... born, again and again, not to love but to put away trapped inside the stinking hay blood flows like an electric trapeze and no one notices -- caught in thrall by their own perception, too limited to understand, that's what we are.

hazara boys chew finger toys and dead flags ruminate along burning graves. stars and stripes forever, man.

My love for you is strung out on acid kaleidoscopic and shy; like a cathedral no one sees.

--

Endless sollipsies and crackling fires harken a time of legends. Society's decadent heart will be torn asunder by a storm of humanity, an ouroboros tearing itself limb from bloody limb. No one will save you, then, not when fire made flesh stalks the street and clay dolls pretend to be men. Who shall survive? The quick, the resourceful? Nay, for the apocalypse can never come. All humans are the product of random chance, beyond which lies the blackness in our own hearts. Bottles of half-truths float down an idyllic stream while thought criminals watch and laugh. My life is nothing more than a drop of rain in the sea; as individual and uniform as a snowflake. To find another like me, another wretched gremlin curling in some dark place, should be much too much to ask for -- for who could love such a thing as me? No, I must continue, alone and unfettered, into the throat of darkness. Perhaps there, my unworthy conscious will find a lover, respite, alone with naught but the stars.

Love? Nothing but the cruelest lie. Merely a setup for betrayal -- get thee from my sight, o lovers of love! Corrupt soothsayers begone, your words do not and cannot sway me. I wish only for ends and beginnings, for this waiting kills me. Beginnings as sweet as a new dawn's first sunset, as hollow as a lover's promise, and as binding as stone itself, that ultimate keeper of all secrets.

I wish merely for a dignified end, though such things are increasingly hard to come by in this day and age. For I know that at the moment of my death my soul, such as it is, will cease to be and dissipate back into primordial matter, swimming about the cosmos in search of places lacking creation. It is there that I shall ply my trade once again, for alien senses under alien stars; for an impossible culture with impossible thoughts.

It is perhaps there, in the skies of some harsh world, that I shall meet her again, that crown jewel of my existence, that platonic ideal made flesh; and we will know one another by the way we speak, the way we carry ourselves, and by the way that we die together, in each others' arms. Zeus, grant me strength that I might keep my struggling head above water another day, another minute, another lover, another passing chance.

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