Monday, October 22, 2012

The Island

The Ship rolls on
our only landmark the sun
in the distance we see land
it grows larger on the horizon
our first view of the island

Boxes move in the cargo hold
I am a stowaway, finally released
sneaking away into the trees
I have freedom at last

Close my eyes
trying to forget the past that’s been dragging me down
I shouldn’t be escaping
there is too much left to do
what am I waiting for?
answers lie back at the ship
not on the island

Must act
sneak back
so many stories being told of the island
not by her, she gives orders and they move
I follow her
looking for answers
they venture into the jungle
so that is where I must go

She walks with them, with all her secrets
leading them to who knows what
leading them to their doom
she is more than mystery
she is temptation
I want to know want she knows
not stop her

I could surrender to her
let her show me all
but that would not be how it would work
she would not lead except to lead astray

When all is said and done
my duty must be followed
answers are the goal
not her

But how do I fight temptation
when in the end I know she will undo all

Though she cannot see me
I can still feel her stare
she calls to me to turn myself in, I can almost hear her voice
“Where you wish to go, I will take you there.”

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Inquisitor

We’re always suspicious when another party try to share our campfire. Tonight, in the hills less than a week from Sandona was no exception. I am called Bedaris, of the elven lands of Turlai. I travel with a party of adventurers, some acquaintances, some friends. They are the Northman Dyergan, a great warrior, the dwarf Wogan, a warrior priest from Khardova, the thief Urda, a woman from the blacktown of Etrak and my apprentice, Meirlaia, also a Turlai elf.
This group who we encountered were all human, so we were immediately suspicious of them and them of us. They exchanged few words apart from their leader speaking softly with Dyergan, warrior to warrior. Each of them wore an unusual symbol that I could not place. Any group travelling under a symbol are even more likely to be quarrelsome.
“Steer clear of this lot,” Wogan whispered to me. “Marks of Almar on them, church folk can’t be trusted.”
“Armers you think,” I asked. The Armers were a radical sect of the Human religion who not only hated outsiders, despised spellcasters like Meirlaia and myself.
“Can’t be sure, not the symbol they wear, can’t be sure.” Wogan spoke in a deep bass, often repeating phases for effect. Most others found him dull and slow but his advice was always right on target. It was his opinion I always valued the highest.
If an Armer suspected someone of spellcasting they could arrest them in the name of the church immediately. That was the law of this land, although we would be unlikely to surrender without a fight any confrontation with armed warriors would result in casualties we could ill afford. Urda was staying well away from the strangers by herself but Meirlaia was talking idly with one of the strangers.
Meirlaia had been my apprentice for only a few months but she had already proved to be foolhardy and naïve at best. At first I let her speak her words, trust her judgement as I was supposed to but after a small while more of the strangers gathered around her. They all still wore their swords and armour, which should have been unnecessary with camp made. I motioned to Dyergan but he was already moving to get his enormous two handed sword, pretending to sharpen it. Urda, in the shadows, no doubt had knives by the cartload hidden in her clothes, she allowed me to see a glint of steel, though I trusted her to be prepared. Wogan was less subtle, taking up his mace and shield and walking over to the strangers.
“Best get your gear off and relax, men of Farah. We don’t wish to be armed all night.” The men looked up and the dwarf and snarled. Meirlaia looked over shocked and took a step back from the man she was talking, not realising she was already surrounded.
I stepped closer, trying to hide the fact that the pole I was holding was not a walking stick but was in fact a javelin ready to be thrown.
“Come over here Meirlaia, help me get dinner started.”
“Two elves travelling in one group. Not often we see your kind here, pointing eared one. Can I ask what your purpose is in our lands?” The man was not the leader who spoke to Dyergan but another, making no secret to the broad sword at his waist.
“Perhaps in good time friend,” I said through clenched teeth, “first we must get our meal started, and you should put away your weapons.”
Meirlaia tried to walk back over to me but she was stopped by another of the strangers.
“No matter, your apprentice here has told us enough already.”
I looked over to Dyergan and he stepped forward holding his two handed claymore threateningly.
“Let her go and be gone, you have overstayed your welcome,” Dyergan said menacingly.
The man merely laughed and motioned to his lackeys who moved on Dyergan and me.
I thrust hard at the first soldier but he parried my blow. Dyergan had two men to fight and was grimacing with effort, swinging his huge blade.
Wogan moved to rescue Meirlaia but he too was outnumbered. Meirlaia was foolishly trying to cast a spell but the man who had her was throwing her round like a rag doll and she could do nothing. The helpless girl had never learned to truly defend herself, as much as I tried to teach her of the need.
I tried to cast a spell of my own in the chaos but the man I fought would not give me the time. Eventually I released a simple fire spell that distracted him enough to stab him in the leg. Although he was still mobile and I was forced to fight on. But moments later he let out a yelp and collapsed. As did one of the men fighting Dyergan, while our leader felled his other adversary immediately.
I launched my Javelin at one of Wogan’s adversaries, seconds before the Dwarf was cleaved in two and Dyergan finished his other. In the chaos I lost track of Meirlaia and the man. Urda, who’s knives had swung the battle was nowhere to be seen either.
Wogan started his best dwarf sprint towards where he knew they went. I followed to find Meirlaia, soaked to the bone, shivering, but standing still, over the body of the man, who also had a knife in his back. She had no doubt finally got a spell to cast, though a clearly crude and ill-advised one. A ball of ice from that range could have killed her.
I went over to Meirlaia, draping my cloak over her shoulders and whispering encouragement in her ears. Urda, who had already gone through the man’s pockets, threw me a small medallion with a sun and a fist on it, the symbol of the Armers. We should have known. Travelling in the lands of men would only get more dangerous.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jack Steel: The Walls

Every night they shut down the tournament for an hour.

No Lights, barely air to breath, nothing to do but sit and wait. They did maintenance then, or so we thought.

In the maze everyone felt lost, except Jack. I never knew how he stayed so sure, even when backtracking into dead ends, till he told me.

The walls, they moved them in the night. All of them except the ones too close to shooters. Jack knew the ways so well he knew how the walls would move, which way they swung. Could do all but move them himself.

He took us to the edge of the maze. Waited till dark so he could set to work.

Waiting for dark terrified us all. We never stayed still before then. You couldn't know what would come down a tunnel at you. Every time we hunted, if the prey were still we won. Yet that time we waited. No clock to tell us how long it could be. Even Jack won't speak of the waiting, drove us halfway round the bend.

But the lights slammed off eventually and we went to work. Moving in pitch black, lungs burning for more air, we heard the walls moving. Strained our eyes to find a wall that would open up an exit from the maze. We searched blindly, knew time was against us, till suddenly it all happened and we stood outside the maze.

A man met us. Pale and diseased thing. Said he tried to escape too. But the maze was sealed off here. He could see the way out but couldn't reach it. Nothing to eat but the slime on the walls and the rats on the floor. Nothing to drink but boiled sewer water.

We saw the exit from there. A raising bridge that could move to any position on the mazes edge. We watched as the bridge went down to allow new shooters over a huge cavern and into the maze. It was too far away for us to reach in time, and we could never predict where it'd land next. Each of us stared longingly as it raised back up, closing any chance of escape.

Jack didn't even watch. His eyes just fixated on the ground. The kid looked crushed. The plan didn't work.