The First Wall

  There’s a sort of hopelessness that comes with having a goal set. When the destination is marked on a map and the clarity of it all settles in, that there are miles and miles before I can rest my feet again. I plan to write a book. No, correction, I plan to rewrite my book. I feel it was done incorrectly during my first attempt. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it needs to be poured out, that new words need to fill it from the bottom back up again. But with writing, words are just drops, and it takes more drops than I can fathom to fill this emptiness. So, yes I see a goal, a place to head to and plant my flag of accomplishment. But like I stated before, there’s a hopelessness that comes with my goal. I know how many pages I wrote before, how long it took me to accomplish something that I now view as a failure, and I no longer have every single waking moment to pour myself into it. Now there’s more to life, work and responsibilities and friendships. So the pot is empty, the fire under it is warm, each word that falls in nearly sizzles away with each edit and frustrated moment of indecisiveness.

   So just to set the goal, I set a wall, a wall I’ve climbed once before that I fear I can’t climb again. Not with the new set of weights that I tangle myself in. It’s funny, to take a break from what I’m writing to write this. Most people wouldn’t understand that action. I know what most people who don’t write to create would say, “Just write it, that’s all you’ve got to do.” Well sure. Like so many people who create, I’m sure they just sit down and blow magic out of every orifice in their body. No, I know how it goes, I know how difficult it is to write. Like carving through solid stone, creating form from nothingness. It’s easy to put words down, but it’s difficult to write. Especially in a world full of convenient distractions.

   Anyway, I’m losing my steam, even now all the noises of the world spill into my small space. Trains far off in the distance, crickets all chiming in a deafening chorus of irritating madness, and my father speaking to my grandmother on a speaker phone that is loud enough to be heard from one corner of the house to the other. I miss my old schedule, writing at 2am. It was like the world was dead. Dead enough for me to think clearly and actually get something done. At 2am the wall didn’t seem so big, because nothing stood between me and climbing it.

Too plugged in

  I apologize in advance.  I’m not an average blogger, I like my stories and enjoy my fiction.  But today I feel like sharing my thoughts.
  I’ve grown tired of a growing trend.  People are consumed by their digital domains.  Enthralled with the unseen world of tweets, instagram, and facebook.  I’m not against technology, if I was, this post would be a load of…well you follow.  I’m upset with its all powerful grasp on the attention span of weak focus.  When people are staring at their phones instead of talking to their loved ones.  Fantasy is a wonderful place to lose yourself during a boring day, but it isn’t a place to live.
  I’m worried about our future, if we place our lives on the internet then we, ourselves, must remain plugged in to maintain it.

Oh the irony in posting this.

In Reality

  Unfortunately I’m at a stop light.  My lights have been green until this day and I’ve taken them for granted.  All the roads, with their infinite intersections, bring me to the same conclusion.  My car is stuck in neutral and I’ve been coasting this whole time.

  So things haven’t been ideal lately.  Work has turned me into an old man, one that can’t stay up late and who gets grouchy when denied his routine breaks and meals.  Slap on the eye infection and toothache, bad luck, and current arguments I’m involved in…you get the point.
  I don’t mean to post excuses, I’d rather post stories, but life has chosen otherwise.  I’m going to go lay down.  I hope inspiration strikes me down, life could use a break by now.

Part VI

The streets are alive with the usual amount of life and energy. Locke couldn’t help it, a smile forming as Zell came walking over. He took a look over himself, clean and confident. A small boy walks y with a handful of flowers Locke calls him over and hands him a gold piece, pulling a single rose free, and then walks over handing it to an eager Zell. “It’s beautiful Locke.”

Finally feeling the courage build inside of him he lets his feelings free, “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. That rose is nothing compared to you.” Zell’s arms wrap tightly around Locke’s neck. He could feel every sensation the velvet like caress of her cheek against his, her curves pressing into his chest, the softness of her dress between his fingers.

“Oh Locke. If only you didn’t let me die.”

“What?” Locke leans back, looking down at Zell. Her head lolls back, with lifeless eyes staring back at him, and a mouth gaping wide in terror.

Locke holds her still form, blood spilling from unseen wounds, his panic swelling inside him. Then without her lips moving, with a mouth frozen open in agony, Locke hears her voice, it’s just a whisper. Leaning closer he’s able to make out her words, “You let me die.” The volume of her voice waivers, so Locke moves even closer, trembling as his fingers run against her slick and blood soaked dress, “now you can come with me.” Her head snaps, jagged teeth protrude from her mouth, then she pulls Locke in quickly clamping down his throat. Locke tries to scream, but he finds soon he can’t even breathe, tighter it squeezes, his air dwindling. Locke puts up his arms but his attempt to push her away is feeble at best, his body weakly fighting her attack. His throat sealing shut with each painful second that her sharp teeth puncture their way into his jugular.

Virrus shutters, as Locke screams himself awake. “Are ye done now? Shouting in yer sleep, right before we set off ta war. Yer no good with yer timing.” Locke runs his hands down his face, the sand of sleep rolling free from the inside corners of his eyes.

“Virrus,” Locke turns his head and scans a nearby plate of food, pulling an apple off. Sitting up he rubs his thumb over the surface and loses himself in the its red reflection. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Aye, don’t we all lad. I don’t think any a man goes inta war with a good feeling. I’d swallow it down and get ready ta do whatever it takes ta clear the city, cause anything less might getcha killed.” Virrus takes his bag and slings it over his shoulder, tying its strap to his jacket, then grabs his staff and walks to the mouth of the tent. “You best eat, store some food in your gut. Good chance it may be the last thing ya ever eat.” Virrus turns his head till he can look Locke in the eye, “it might be the only thing that you eat till it’s all over.” With that he exits the tent, and leaves Locke, who wastes no time in feeding his hunger.

Drill is outside the hut, a pair of gold and silver bracer’s and shinguard’s bound to him with symbols and marks on them. He adjusts the band of black material hanging over his right eye, “Hey Virrus, they had only a little armor that isn’t made of wood. I grabbed these, but no one can tell me what magic is on them.” Virrus took his arm, scanning over the runes and engravings, a smile slowly stretching out.

Before he can speak a warrior steps up and slams his wooden staff into the ground at their feet. “It is time, we leave for war stone walkers. Come now, you three will take the lead.” Hearing the commotion Locke fumbles his way out, tossing his coat on with a pear clenched between his teeth. The warrior sneers at Locke, “Try not to die too quickly.” Then the soldier storms off to join the others.

Locke takes a bite and catches the pear as it falls from his mouth, chewing loudly. “He means me doesn’t he, he’s telling me to not die too quickly isn’t he.” Drill grabs Locke by the shoulder in a reassuring manner.

“I’ve taken the time to grab you this belt from their armory, it looks magical—well good luck.” Drill turns and marches towards the assembly of soldiers. Locke stares at the belt and then raises an eyebrow.

“You know, armor from an armory sounds like a better bet,” Locke mumbles to Virrus who eyes the belt.

“It seems that lad now has an eye fer magic.” Virrus lays a hand on Locke’s shoulder, “yer best bet is to put the belt on, it might save yer life.” Virrus walks past Locke, Locke takes another look at the metal belt and then puts it on, following Virrus to the crowd.

Near a warped tree, that seems to twist in on itself, the shaman runs his hands over it, whispering and chanting, the gathering chants one sound over and over again. The wood creaks, its twisting branches bending together, the center of the trunk bowling inward and turning into a dark mass. The shaman shakes, trembling as a light peaks from the center of the darkness, and then the chanting comes to a stop. “It is time,” the shaman speaks and all the Forest Tribe leans in, embracing his words. “Rynarr,” on hearing his name he takes a step forward, “You! You are chosen by him to be the wielder.”

“With great honor,” Rynarr states, while bowing and taking the broken sword, it’s blade broken in half. He loosens the sheathed sword at his side, with a loud thud the giant wooden blade that was nearly the size of Locke fell to the dirt.

Locke was scanning the crowd, for anyone as confused as he was feeling right then. “Um, Virrus? Why is he leaving the big sword and taking the broken one? It’s not even made of wood like all their other ones.”

“Nevermind. Ya no idea how powerful that piece of mangled metal is, I know men who’d kill an entire nation ta hold that relic he’s got right now.” Locke leans towards Virrus to ask another question but Virrus lifts a hand, leaving Locke to sigh in contempt.

Rynarr hoists the relic into the air, the Forest Tribe cheers and he shouts over them all, “Now the portal holds open! Let the stone walkers pass through and lead this army to victory!” Locke takes a big gulp and follows Drill and Virrus to the tree. Without hesitation Drill walks through. Virrus turns his head and nods to Locke, nervously Locke nods back. Virrus passes through the center of the tree and vanishes. Locke takes a deep breath, then checks the army behind him, their bright eyes all burning into him, then turns back and takes a step in. His body feels the tug, his insides lurch forward as he falls towards the center of the tree, slipping towards the portal back home.

End of Part VI

(As a reminder, I’ll be posting every 2-3 weeks from now on.  Again, thank you all for reading, I appreciate every person who takes time to read my stories.  Much love and keep coming back for the next installment or brand new short story.)

Rise of Wolsgret: Part VI

Apologies

I’ve been very distracted lately, I’m aware there are those who do read my posts and I’m grateful for all of you who’ve been following my stories.  I think I’ve hit a bit of a funk, and soon I’ll be distracted with a full time job.  So I’m proposing a new schedule.

I’ll be posting every 2-3 weeks a new post or continuing story post.  I barely have enough to post this week, so I’ll see you all next week with a new post.

Hope you’re all enjoying your holidays and don’t forget about me, they’ll be something new very soon.

Rise of Wolsgret: Part V

Part V

Locke could hear Virrus growling in anger, then marching off into the woods. Something had stirred Virrus into a frenzy, Locke wasn’t sure what it was, but judging by the look on the Shaman’s face it seems like good news.

Drill takes his arm and wraps it around Locke’s throat. Locke stumbles back, throwing his arms up as Drill drags him away. The soldiers of the Forest Tribe start lining themselves up. The men and women standing firm, each coated in a wood armor that seems to cling to their bodies, a net of enchanted leaves flowing underneath, tightly knit like a mesh of steel beneath a knights breastplate. Locke could see a strength in their eyes, an unyielding determination to stand tall. All of their amber eyes fell on a lone soldier.

This soldier’s wearing a heavier set of wood armor that’s darker then the rest, the wood has wild knots and small stems of budding green life, as if the wood was still a tree in soil. A rich green moss grew on his backside, the enchanted mesh of leaves beneath, is almost invisible since the armor nearly swallows every inch of the soldiers massive form. His helmet mimics the point where a trunk stretches to the crown of the tree. The wood seems alive, twisting over his face and branching out into sharp points behind his head.

Drill comes to a stop, standing at the side of the gathering, his arm still around Locke’s neck. Locke twists around, till he finally finds himself in a comfortable position to watch. The soldier’s in the crowd begin to call a name, then it turns into a chant. “Rynarr!” they shout in unison, raising their swords or bows with each boisterous call to their leader. Rynarr comes to a stop, the voices of the multitude fall into silence.

“Our people,” the crowd begins speaking with Rynarr, echoing his voice, “the shadow beneath the bending trees, the wind cutting through the leaves, soldiers who never forget, the wisdom that is Wolsgret.” Locke’s eyebrow comes up, the chant and rhythm, it’s like a spell he would cast, perhaps it is a spell. The soldiers, following the lead of Rynarr, lay an open hand over their hearts, fingers spread like the branches of a tree. When they let their hands fall, Rynarr begins to pace again. “It is true that this is not our fight! That we owe the stone walkers nothing—but, these stone walkers have fallen to stray wolves, to the perversion of our mighty Wolsgrets power! These wolves have come and slaughtered their people, using the magic of the very things we work so hard to protect and honor to fuel their bloodlust and hatred. We are the people of Wolsgret!” A cheer fills the air, “we create a legacy for the Beast of Wood and Nature!” another cheer shakes the ground, “so we will help the stone walkers.” Locke lets loose a cheer only to find himself alone, every soldier along with Rynarr kept their bright brownish eyes on him. Drill takes his arm back from Locke’s shoulders and clears his throat, taking a step to the away. Locke finds his voice and cuts the awkwardness, “Sorry.”

All of their head’s turn back to Rynarr who allows his gaze to linger on poor Locke for a few more moments. “We leave at sun rise, rest and ready your mind and swords.” The soldiers salute once more with an open hand across their hearts and then disperse. Rynarr walks over to Locke and pulls his helmet free. “You,” Locke lifts a finger and points it to himself, “you are a wordsmith, correct?”

“Yes, I know magic.” Locke looks over Rynarr’s face, a burn scar runs over his neck and up to the side of his head, his remaining hair falling wildly over the unscathed side of his head.

“I wouldn’t turn my back to any of my soldiers, you might not like the outcome—or survive it.” Locke kept his jaw set firmly, nodding his understanding, “I’m sure you understand, especially since you travel with Virrus. I still owe that one.”

Locke stares at his clean skin and bright eyes, and then he looks over the burns, “He did that to you?” Rynarr scowls, pulling his helmet on.

“Do not think you’ll get the chance stone walker, watch your back.” Locke tries to say something, to explain that he wishes them no harm, but Rynarr slips away marching loudly through the fallen leaves. Drill lays a sympathetic hand on Locke’s shoulder.

“Man, do they hate you.” Drill nods along with his statement, all the while Locke nervously looks about. “Get some sleep, we’re all going to need it for tomorrow.” With that Drill pats Locke’s shoulder one last time and walks off to his hut. A bird whistles and Locke spins around with his hands up defensively, only to find empty trees and nothing but the greens of the wild.

“I don’t think I’ll be sleeping tonight.”

 

The night feels unending to Locke, Virrus sits in his hut with a small lantern that seems to spill an unnatural amount of soft blue light. Virrus claims that the lantern can calm those willing, Locke who has been laying in bed with his eyes wide open, turning and staring at every shadow doubts its magical ability. “Virrus,” Locke looks to the roll of sheets that lay at the other end of the hut, “Virrus!”

“To all the hells, what can ya possible want lad?” Locke swallows, aware of the one question that has been swirling through his thoughts.

“Why—no, how could you do it? Burn all those people,” the sheets over Virrus sit still and Locke waits for anything. Finally, when he thinks that Virrus has fallen back asleep, he hears him speak.

“Ya don’t know who I was, the darkness that ah once felt flowing through every inch of me soul. Trained to attack with not a fraction ah mercy, especially if their not royalty or the law. After you’ve smelled ah few burning corpses, they all start to smell the same, they all burn the same. I’ve gone and murdered and slaughtered hundreds upon hundreds of innocent souls and then the king puts his hand on me head and blesses me for fighting on behalf of the righteous. The man has the nerve ta say I’m a hero for killing, so his hands can stay clean.” There was something in Virrus’s voice, it felt like all the life and spirit that Locke had witnessed up to now was draining with each word, “I never knew that darkness till it covered all those bright things I loved in me life, till it hung over every window of my heart. Till ah saw that I was all alone, and the only thing left of me soul—the only proof it ever existed, is ah handful of gold and me final spell ta cast.”

“I…” Locke was fumbling with his thoughts, trying to find the right words to lift Virrus free of the emptiness he seemed to be creeping towards. Virrus doesn’t allow him to speak.

“Aye, you’re right, it’s late an we need ta rest. Good night Locke, tomorrow is going ta be a big day for all of us.” Locke’s heart sinks, the silence filling the air between them, till finally his eyes shut and his busy mind lets him fall away. Escaping into the comfort of another world, one last sweet dream before the war.

 

End of Part V

Rise of Wolsgret: Part IV

Part IV

 

It was as if the tumblers to the mental locks in his mind were finally falling free. Locke sat there outside a small hut, his mind spilling reason into the once carefree corners of his consciousness. How small minded has he been, his attention for all of those years has been on becoming a great wordsmith, to be as powerful as his father. Now that the threat of losing his soul was present he abandoned the thing that kept him proud for so many years. But it took this moment, sitting outside of the shaman’s home, feeling completely helpless to pull himself from his selfish thoughts. His friend Drill is inside the small structure, screaming, fighting one of the demons of Malahaak as cleansing herbs and smoke billow from the top of it, it is now that Locke feels himself waking up to his mindless existence.

Locke feels the sun pressing higher up, his body is aching for rest, but Locke refuses to move, awaiting word on his only friend. Virrus emerges from a small tent, springing to his feet with a renewed vigor. Stretching he let out a long yawn, casually looking over the Forest Tribe women as they began weaving the long leaves from the trees nearby into shields for the possible upcoming battle. “Ya never think somethin as simple as leaves could stop an arrow, that is till ya take a shot at one of em.”

Locke who was nearly frozen since the arrival of the shaman and the cleansing ritual, takes a breath and twists his head to look at Virrus. “Why do they hate you?”

“Aye, I see yer going straight to the point, ah won’t hold ya back then. Long time ago there was ah kidnapping, now the man who was taken was no saint, but his father was a very rich man. I’ve changed ah whole lot since those days, but back then I’d burn a city down fer the right price.” Locke unknowingly wore his shock all over his face, Virrus couldn’t keep his eyes on him when he saw his expression. “Ya know I’m no longer that man, ah left the death and the anger and greed far in me shadows, deep in me past. When I lost me magic I found myself with ah lot of time to see me inner demons.”

A sudden scream brought Locke into a tense position and Virrus to straighten up, those nearby who were guarding the area readied their bows, eyes towards the hut. The flap of dear hide that was acting as a door began to rustle, small bits of smoke wafting out from the gaps. Then there was an old man, his hands shaking as he pulls himself out, his body’s coated with mud and plants, old designs hidden within scars that cover nearly every inch of his face and neck. His eyes fall on Locke, his old body trembling as the fresh air clears his lungs. Locke stands up, grabbing the old man by his elbow. The shaman turns his head to Locke, but it was clear to the both Virrus and Locke that he could not see either one of them, his pupils still dilated from the spiritual journey, his mind still recovering from the burning herbs inside.

It took a few minutes before the shaman could speak, “Your friend is strong.” Locke looks to Virrus who nods his agreement, “I went into his head, but he was no longer there, his passenger had taken the reins.” Locke sat back down, his face twisting into rage as Virrus places a hand on Locke’s shoulder. “But,” Locke and Virrus turn back to the shaman, “like I said, your friend is strong. I traveled down the spiritual path, deep into the realm of the gods—the dark territory. I found your friend Drill standing at the gates to the afterlife, his hands locked with one of those named Malahaak, his fingers interlocked with the demon, fighting. Just a few minutes is like a day or two, I don’t know how long he has been there wrestling with the demon. Your friend is a strong one. I whispered a word, something Wolsgret has shown me the night before. It was a word of power, it took from the demon his strength and gave Drill the advantage to break the demon, to lift him and drive him into the ground. I showed him the way back, he dragged the demon with him.”

Locke was confused, “But why? Why bring the demon into his body again?”

A voice came from inside the hut, “Because now that I’ve got him under control, he owes me for the years he lived inside.” Drill came out, half his head bound by black cloth, a symbol drawn over the cloth covering his right eye. “He’ll help with the fight to come.”

Locke shot up, his arms opening and before he could contain himself, his hold was around his friend. “I didn’t know if you were coming back. I thought you were going to die.”

Drill laughed, “I can’t die yet, we have wolves to kill. Not to mention, we have friends to avenge.” Drill pats his friend Locke, who coughs on impact and lets go of his hug.

“Not going to lie, it’s weird hearing you say more than one word.”

“Really?” Locke stares at his friend waiting, Drill smiles and the two began laughing. Virrus moves to the shaman and clears his throat, drawing the old mans attention, waving him over. Drill and Locke continue to talk and Virrus whispers to the shaman.

“Ya say he’s alright but that ward is to seal ah demon. Why’s it on his head?”

The shaman grabs the back of Virrus’s neck and pulls him closer, “He has willingly taken a god into himself, no…he has beaten a god and now holds him hostage inside his flesh. The other pieces, those demons of Malahaak will search for their brethren. The eyes of the gods will be on the hunt, that seal is the only way to hide him,” the old man took a step back letting Virrus go, “now you travel with an imprisoned god, there will be no peaceful rest, you will never find safe haven.”

“What have ya done? Did ya weaken the demon so he’d drag him back?” Virrus felt his stomach twisting, “ya did, didn’t ya. Ya put some sorta wild thought in his head that he could control the demon.”

The side of the shaman’s mouth began to twist upward. “You, Virrus, you will get your army to take back the city for you stone dwellers. But the demon, I told him that if he ever got free, that he should speak to Wolsgret. Since he’s housing a demon his passenger will know you, he will remember your scent and your name,” Virrus felt the wolf inside him growling for freedom, hungry for a bite of the shaman. “If that demon slips loose, Wolsgret will find you, Malahaak will see to that. I’m sure Malahaak will trade a hundred souls to finally get his fangs into you. Do you think we forgot old friend? All those you killed for a rich man’s son, for a monster. The years we lived in shame that one greedy wordsmith nearly destroyed all of our people for his weight in gold. Well now your demons have come back and you’ll have to keep them in line, your friend has to stay alive and you have to make sure his passenger never breaks free, or your soul is as good as gone.”

 

End of Part IV