Part 8 – Twin Stones

The Dawn of the End of the War.

She was dead – A rumble of shock issued through the troops as they slowly recovered from the nauseous dark tar. The Prince had been recovered from his flight, reunited with his companions with the captured jewel. Arrangements were made swiftly to decamp and march home to the capital to the King. Runners were sent ahead in a relay to announce their return and the triumphant news.

The captives were rounded up as the military encampment was packed up around them, there was some debate as to whether they should be slaughtered and left with the rest of the rubbish, however the Prince concluded that they would be more valuable sold as slaves back home, those that survived the march. Hara was among the women, she had already guess the fate of the young woman she had raised and protected from a small child. Her heart was broken, torn and she struggled with her grief, attempting to hide her tears, shuffling along sadly with her fellow female captives. She questioned her ability to walk the distance to the capital, her old legs and swollen feet pained her so each step caused her hips to crack. Best to die here in the same field as her precious girl, an old woman would not be worth much on the open market.

As the male slaves were forced to work, carrying equipment and supplies, Hara craned her neck with some hope she could catch a glimpse of the Guardian, if they had let her live, they would have kept him for fighting stock. At least, that was her speculation… She watched with anticipation…

… But it was the Priest who noted the old woman and ordered her over… Hara had half expected this, she stood out (beyond her actions) clearly she was no peasant nor farmer, her robes, her facial tattoos and her age would identify her as a Witch, a Soothsayer, Wise Woman, Hag… However you wanted to label her, The Priest knew exactly the truth of her nature.

“Your prophet is dead.” He sneered at Hara. “You’re a remnant of an old time, you have no place here, in society, in the capital. You’re a child of the wilds and smell bad too.”

Hara sighed and raised her chin, swallowing back the angry lump in her throat that held bitter words she desired to snap back, instead she remained silent.

“But I am a scholar of the old ways and I’m going to make you a simple, singular offer.” He lowered his voice and leaned closer. “Work for me, I shall employ you as my maid, but in reality, I should like to probe your wisdom.”

“Do I look like a maid?” Hara cracked a smile, she had met religious fanatics before. They either saw her as a threat or a curiosity.

“No… but if I chose a ripe farmers daughter, they would consider me a pervert.”

“One condition.”

“I’m listening.”

“There was a man with us, a soldier, what is to be his fate?”

“The deserter?”

Hara nodded.

 

Anne Harrison 31.10.16

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Part 7 – Prince of Fools

The Misconception of Regal Entitlement…

The young Prince Regent gasped with astonishment… Then erupted into a low sinister chuckle, causing both his companions to turn in concern and two guards wisely backed away. Before anyone could react he reached forth and plucked the gemstone from the girls chest.

“It is Mine!” The Prince clutched the gem tightly…

“What have you done? You fool!” The Military Commander, took a step back, bumping into his Religious companion, who make a sigil of protection with his two fore fingers and pressed the tips against his forehead.

“By the Gods!” His voice was barely a whisper… The girls prone form started to shudder, from the chasm between her breasts, dark wisps of energy pooled forth, like misty tentacles, black and foreboding, they wriggled free, slithering over the trembling girl as her convulsions intensified. Black tar frothed at her mouth and nose, her eyes rolled back into her skull, blood tears ran swiftly… A muffled scream gurgled deep under the thick tar suffocating her, the tendrils smothered her body and gathered the flesh in within itself, mutilating her form, tearing skin from muscle, flesh from bone, the tar eating away the bone, hissing acid scorching the earth.

The stench was repulsive and even the strongest of stomachs gagged, causing heads to spin with nausea. A low dark fog spread out over the ground, turning the earth septic and rotten.

The girl died in wretched agonizing torment, consumed by the blackness, the blackness that was held back from the sparkling gem. All that remained, the single evidence she ever existed, was a sister gem, laying in the sludge. It twinkled, catching the eye of the nearest guard. Those around were distracted, vomiting or had fainted. The Prince had ran with the blue gem in fear of the extending stench. With a thick gloved hand over his mouth and nose, the guard scooped up the dull red stone and slipped it into his pocket. Turning to assist the Commander in Chief to cover up his actions…

“Go after the Prince!” He barked to any guards with enough sensibility to follow any orders. “Stop Him!” He coughed and blinked back acid tears.

“She didn’t deserve that…” The Priest knelt trembling, fumbling among his robes for a holy potion to keep the tar at bay. His muttering prayers accompanied the scattering of the potion, which hissed and smoked as it hit the gore.

“She didn’t deserve that.”

 

Anne Harrison 28.10.16

 

Confession of a Chaotic Mind

Lost … Without a Map or Compass …

You know the little story I’m writing – we’re on part 6 this week (though I’m not sure part 5 actually counts towards to plot) You know I have absolutely no idea what I’m writing, where the story is going, or what I’m going to write before I sit down at the keyboard.

It’s all free writing, currently I don’t even have names for the two main characters, I’m not sure from one day to the next if I’m even going to continue with the tale. Isn’t it all exciting!! I mean I’ve not even read through what I have already written, it’s a total mystery to me, but it’s also incredibly fun…

To pick up a thread, to allow my fingers to dance across the keys as my mind just pulls forth words from apparently no where to string together, weaving my silly story from one blog post to the next. Think of it like a ‘Chose your own Adventure’ story, except there isn’t a page to turn to, because it doesn’t exist yet…

*Insert Evil Laugh*

I can ‘see’ them in my minds eye, hear their voices, I know what they’re wearing, even how they smell, but because I’ve not put this into words (yet) none of it exists beyond my little brain… and even when I share my words, who ever reads them will ‘see’ a different shade of blonde, or a darker leather, Elm trees instead of Oak (if I just refer to a tree generically)… Isn’t it all very incredible and interesting…

Generally we (English Speaking) have a mere 26 letters in our alphabet, by arranging and rearranging these 26 letters constantly to form words into sentences, into paragraphs into pages. We can share what we imagine and allow others to mentally translate these letters into vivid stories… Which is what makes writing all kinds of exciting…

Maybe I’m not really ‘Lost …’
…Maybe I just need to lay my own path.

Maybe I’m not really ‘Without a Map or Compass … ‘
… Maybe I just haven’t created them yet.

 

Anne Harrison 26.10.16

Escaping Fiction

Juggling Stones

Sometimes we have to face reality and ask ourselves, what the fuck am I doing with my life? Which pretty much sums up this year, my birthday is approaching and I’m finding that I’ve done nothing on my to-do list apart from adding more challenges to it. I don’t even feel ready to start my New Years Resolutions yet and it’s October! I feel that once I find myself on a roll, something comes along and pulls the carpet out from under my feet. One thing I have been able to maintain (even if I have not always written every week) has been this Blog. Which keeps my love for writing alive and my creativity flowing, sometimes you get my random thoughts, sometimes silly short stories and if you’re really naughty, you get my God awful poetry.

I’m trying to learn another language, having chosen to return to University, this is a  dreadful mistake. I’m a total brain dumb tongue tied confused wreck! But I’m going to stick with it, after all, it is another stone to juggle in my life.

Jack of all trades – Master of none…I question my intelligence, it would be so delightful to be clever enough to do a degree, yet the more I learn, the further from my reach this imaginary goal appears to be.

I need to *Stop* Just pause in life, look around and take stock of who I am, where I am, where I am going and what I want to do… Because I feel like I’m trapped on a carousal, spinning, dizzy, grasping and slipping … There is so much I want to do, so many stones to juggle, I don’t know where to start and where to finish…

I destroyed my journal as my thoughts were drowning out production, thinking instead of doing. Stomping over the same ground, picking up more stones to juggle as I spin… I could be a circus act, if I had a glittery costume…

Don’t worry… I will carry on with my story shortly, today, I needed to air my thoughts. Maybe I should use my Birthday for a marker point for change? Or is that just tempting chaos? Maybe I should just embrace the chaos with a smile and a wink, safe in the knowledge that life will never be boring as long as there are stones to juggle…

 

Anne Harrison 25.10.16

Part 6 – Scattering to the Winds

 

We were dreamy, sat under the stars, casually leaning against one another. The silence reflecting and soothing. Our guard was dropped for once and we allowed ourselves that time to just gaze into the dark horizon, lost in non-thought and content with each other.

The dog by our feet had not ceased to keep alert and upon the edge of sleep our furry companion snapped upright, low on his haunches, a deep growl disturbing the sleepy fog… I blinked, then screamed as a bolt blasted into the beasts skull, hot blood splattering my face… I felt a sharp scratch on my neck – heard voices in the distance – then darkness consumed the night…

***

“We have her!” The excited cry rippled throughout the army encampment. A strong force of troops marched throughout their companions, rousing the lazy alert with their triumphant calls. Their route leading directly to the grand tents erected at the head of the hill, enclosing the quarters for The Commander in Chief. The Prince Regent and a noble representative of their Religious Order, all of who were ready to greet the ruckus men.

“We have her!” A mud caked soldier cried with elation, kneeling respectfully.

The Prince darted forward, eager and curious to examine the unconscious bundle dragged before them. “Please Your Majesty…” The Commander in Chief held his arm up to halt the Prince, wary for the safely of the enthusiastic (yet naive) Royal. He gestured to the semi-clad Priest, “Identify the woman.”

The Priest knelt by the prone figure, carefully peeling away the layers of bindings ensnaring her body, he lightly brushed tousled hair from her face, tilted her head by the chin to examine her features. Finally, and slowly, unlacing the front of her tunic, exposing her flesh level with her heart. Where, in-bedded in the skin, between her breasts was a palm sized distinguishable blue jewel, which glowed coldly with a fluttering inner light.

He gasped as the jewel twinkled in the dull light of dawn… “By The Gods!” He stood trembling… “It is her!” …

 

Anne Harrison 24.10.16

Part 5 – Irregular Conversation

 

There was very little conversation as night fell and rations were shared. My guardian chose to keep guard, to watch over our slumber, one dog by his side. I couldn’t sleep and so went to join him, sat just above the trees – the sky vast and dark, cloudless with a sprinkling of twinkling stars…

“Now what happens?” He spoke without turning to face me.

“What do you mean?” I had no choice but to answer his question with a question of my own, a little taken aback by his bluntness…

“What happens next?”

“I don’t know?”

He shrugged “Well if you don’t know what happens next, I guess we’re all stuck in limbo.”

I nod my head with a long resigned sigh… “I don’t know what to write next.”

There was the truth, my honestly he was seeking, with judgement in his eyes, he turned to face me, I could see him clearly in the nights dull light, because I knew what he looked like, with fine detail. But I had yet to describe him in my story, I hadn’t even given him a name yet. It was all very vague and I sighed once again.

He glanced back over his shoulder to those slumbering in the cave. “Do they know?”

“Know what?” I followed his gaze… “That they are not real, that they are mere figments of my imagination, their torment, their tragedy nothing more than words on a page. Hara, who wears the image of a lady on my bus route?” I thought of the Number 5 bus, the silver haired Asian lady that got on board at the Melton Turn, the way she looked over her round glasses seeking the illusive free seat, how she reminded me of a wise old owl.

“No, I guess they don’t know. I mean, they will continue to lay sleeping until I write the next line.”

“But you can see me, hear me, you know my voice, how I look, my clothes, even my smell… Yet none of this, none of my details exist beyond your mind?”

I simply nodded. “I’m at a loss my friend.”

I don’t even know where we are? Fantasy? Dystopian? A weird Avatar forest like world? In the past, the future… Nothing more than a war, a forest and a handful of characters…

The story had started well enough, a work-shopping story in University class, I had included two endings, one that I have already shared with you all here on WordPress. The second ending, I liked personally, but everyone in class concluded my words should be scrapped… I think I would like to share them again for you, while we sit here under the stars contemplating our future together. I still like them, but they serve no purpose other than to be destined to be scrapped once more…

 

The Soldier

– Trojan – Centurion – Viking – Samurai – Knight – Cavalier – Confederate – Nazi –

Saved the Child

– Messiah – Mother – Innocence – Prophet – Purity – Saviour – Hope –

That saved the Soldier

A frail hope for humanity – a story spiraling throughout time…

download

 

Anne Harrison 20.10.16

Part 4 – Friend or Foe?

… Finally, to continue…

Hara lifted her head upon hearing the cry of innocence, sniffed sharply and let lose the dogs. The beasts bounded swiftly over the decay to where our soldier hesitated near the two fallen archers, I watched their path, breaking cover slightly, as they tore past the startled soldier, bearing down on the strangers.

Paused, hackles bristling, drool lashing from vicious jaws the dogs mastered the scene their judgement, pure instinct and swift. The alpha male tilted his head and sniffed the air, edging closer to the injured men. Shook himself and began to wag his tail, licking the elder man’s face. The rest of the dogs relaxed then, as did the soldier and I headed over with Hara.

“We mean you no harm…” He stammered between dog licks, making a fuss of the animal, a man used to livestock.

“The dogs are a good judge of character. ” Hara said with a smile, kneeling by them, pulling forth her kit to study their injuries.

Both were dreadfully thin, their faces ashen and eyes haunted by the horrors they must have witnessed, neither were seriously injured, yet both displayed evidence of older injuries, still healing, they stank, clad in rags yet their weapons were of a decent quality.

I watched as Hara worked her magic, using, without hesitation, our supplies to clean and dress the knife wounds on the two fallen men. The dogs appeared at ease in their company but our guardian was far from convinced. He pumped them both full with lighting fast questions, bombarding them with inquiries until the younger, the son, broke down in tears.

Hara concluded that enough was enough, their story and the scene surrounding us was painfully familiar. A desperate attempt to escape the war, which had caught up with and massacred the travelers in it’s wake.

It was getting dark… Time to Move? I suggested…

They had been using a shallow cave midway up a rocky outcropping, the entrance concealed by a thick foliage to conceal any fire within. Despite the bitterness of the terrain the survivors had made their den quite cosy, using supplies salvaged  from the carnage, creating a home with a well defensible position.

There was very little conversation as night fell and rations were shared. My guardian chose to keep guard, to watch over our slumber, one dog by his side. I couldn’t sleep and so went to join him, sat just above the trees – the sky vast and dark, cloudless with a sprinkling of twinkling stars…

 

Anne Harrison 20.10.16