Oh but then of course she made it up to me by giving me another bug that was going around which was ten times worse than the bug I previously had in the space of a month.
Oh but then of course she made it up to me by giving me another bug that was going around which was ten times worse than the bug I previously had in the space of a month.
Yeah so I spent way too long proofreading this and procrastinating to have anything interesting to say above hello and goodbye.
No seriously, really happy with Cur, could be better, I think it needs another going through before an edit. Gonna rope in Chrissy again for that when it’s good and ready. The story is reaching the apex, it’s about to get really good. I was considering putting this next bit earlier on but my good buddy that got me into the witcher which I know hate (the witcher not my polish pal) convinced me to put it later on for more of a reveal.
I didn’t really want an ‘epic reveal’ because I wanted the story to sort of stand on it’s own. I’m still not 100% I’ll need to come back to and decide, I’ll have some other people read it and give me a general feel. I just need to set aside some time to really do a deep dive on it and get some feedback from everyday plebs haha.
But I like what’s there, I think it’s solid, it’s got a good foundation. I loved writing it, I loved getting into celtic folklore, it was really like a journey for me. I loved every minute of it, I literally have like 80+ pages of notes I took from all over the place, no not just from wikipedia.
So yeah, Diana aside this one caught me off guard and is probably the most ambition and most exhilarating project I’ve done and I can’t wait to keep it going. I’m predicting like five books but we’ll see, there may be more because there are massive gaps in the actual folk lore. It doesn’t really have an ending so that’s going to be the big thing for me. Finding a place to end is hard because the folklore is written like real history and history has no end.
But that’s about it, didn’t get a lot of Diana editing done because of irl shit and I’m staring down the barrel of a lot of day job drudgery leading up to christmas, so that should be fun. Unironically of course.
So yeah now I want to make sweet french toast that I saw on a facebook ad, bye now!
They fled Slaghtaverty before daybreak, taking a steep path out of the valley. Cur walked silent and solemn in front of the cart with Tuan at his heels in the form of a dog once again. Birog trailed behind on the cart her side lighter without the sword but her heart heavy. She looked back at Slaghtaverty and over the other side she saw smoke coming from Newgrange.
The streets of Slaghtaverty were bare and made a hollow ringing sound as the horses hooves struck the cobbles.
“Where is everyone?”
It was midday now and the streets were barren and silent as the grave. The only sound heard was the occasional shutter slamming as presumably a dweller locked their house up tighter than before.
“Some kind of peasant holiday perhaps” Bres joked atop his elegant horse. His men laughing nervously as their eyes darted here and there.
“I smell magic in the air” Dian said led along as their prisoner on the back of Ogma’s horse.
Ogma himself had a bandage over his ear that Dian Cecht saw fit to administer with a sly grin at the corner of his mouth.
Their procession continued through the empty streets slowly. Cautiously looking at every window and door frame until they came upon a stream that flowed adjacent the outer wall.
At that stream was an old washer woman on her knees furiously scrubbing something in the water.
Their processions stopped with a clattering of hooves and chainmail hauberks. Bres motioned to one of his men to approach the hag by the stream.
He did so with an air of caution which seemed puzzling even to him. Everyone felt it, a sense of distinct and terrible foreboding, they could smell it.
The old woman began to hum over the sound of her thrashing the clothes in the water.
Bres and his men approached her but she didn’t seem to notice, continuing to wash her clothes in the stream unburdened by their presence.
The soldier approached close enough almost to touch her rags and then he saw the water, red and thick with blood. “Hag, who’s clothes do you wash?”
Her humming sank low and then stopped. “I wash the clothes of those fallen in battle.” She muttered flatly.
“What battle? Who’s clothes?” The soldier craned his neck to try and see the clothes and stood stunned and frozen at the sight of the crest emblazoned on them. For it was their own.
“I wash your clothes sir knight” She said. “The one you seek, the broken king, he waits for you in the glade- blood and bone and death he wears as his mantle.”
The hag turned, her face hideous, ravaged by age and twisted by evil. She let out an ear piercing shriek which made all clutch their ears in pain.
Ogma acting quickly covered his remaining ear and with his free hand clubbed the hag from his saddle. With a sickly thudding crunching sound felled her in one blow.
The soldier fell back gripped by fear “It’s an evil spirit, a tide of ill omen sire! We must abandon this quest!” He screamed. “We shouldn’t have burned the newgrange! We’re damned!”
“Silence, superstitious nonsense, some mad old woman means nothing of our luck, now away with you!” Bres realigned himself in his saddle and spoke softly “We’ll find somewhere to recoup, a bit of rest will do us all good.” His words felt practised and empty, his eyes fearing to rest on any of his men.
Despite the initial summation, the town was not empty but sealed and covetous. Bres and his men stole away to an inn of which they made up the majority patron.
The inn was dark and cold and squalid and smelled of ash and dried blood. The barkeep a skinny potmarked man with a round gut greeted them sheepishly. His hands shaking and his skin ashen.
“We seek food and drink for me and my men” Bres stated.
“Oh” He said shakily. “And how will sire be paying may I ask?”
“You speak to the king of Inish veil, that is payment enough.” Bres bellowed.
“You’re pulling my leg, Bres, the king of inish veil would never set foot in-.” The man took aside the events of the past evening and gazed at their crest and at the visage of Bres the beautiful himself. “R-right away my lord, forgive me my king, I should’ve known by the crest, by your face, your noble voice alone! It’s just we’ve had somewhat of an upset here-“ The barkeep as if forgetting something paused and darted into the back to prepare viddels for the troop.
He returned shortly with a caske of ale, some bread and cheese and dried meats of which the men took of without hesitation.
Bres approached the cleanest looking bench and prepared to sit when a strange man slipped into his path.
“Good day sire” The man said calmly.
“Good day” Bres said with a puzzled indifference.
The stranger was slight and had a flowery way about him with brightly coloured clothes, wearing a goose feather cap.
“It is I Coirpre, I was on my way to Dun Bresse but as you yourself reside here, noble King Bres. I see no point in making the journey, I ask only the price of an ale and a good meal”
Read the rest on inkitt Dyed in the wool
Well would you look at that, is there anything sweeter than a first chapter?
It’s a really good feeling, a feeling I thought I’d lost but then came back stronger than ever and just completely reinvigorated me body and soul. I was kind of stewing after Diana, waiting for the next wave of creative euphoria to hit me and boy did it hit me. I was just kind of going through the motions filling quotas with Gage and 3 Ring, just fun distractions this is the meat, this is heart and soul fire this is what I was born for.
You can tell I don’t really give a shit about Gage an 3 Ring because I really don’t care what people think about them and I haven’t asked for reviews, whereas with this I want people to review the first chapter now goddamit haha. But I think it’s good to keep your pen moving, keep your stick on the ice even if you aren’t feeling it. Just to keep yourself in top form ready for the big game haha. Analogy salad.
The greatest advice I could give another writer if I were asked to do so is just to keep writing, keep practising and keep doing what you love until that one day lightning strikes. Because as long as you are doing what you love it will.
But if you’re not it wont.
Ok so quickly I’m not going to rag on the witcher today, there was actually a decent fight scene in blood of elves, it lasted like two pages but it was ok, then straight back to talking and Ciri taking a bath. I will do an amazon review when I finish it, just for my own sanity, just to get all the salt out of me head haha.
Ok now back to the important shit, so this chapter is basically a character hook so I can unload a lot of backstory in the huge next chapter which still isn’t finished haha (sorry). But the second chapter is really cool and ends in a couple of really awesome fight scenes some of the best I’ve ever written. I kind of glossed over the big battles as exposition because I mean shit, how do you write big battles as compelling? Is that even possible? I mean to me as someone who was a fighter, a fight is more than just swords clanging it’s about personalities clashing ans when you just have these waves of faceless people smashing against eachother it just seems like a sex scene with two blow up dolls, there’s no fun for me there. It was a videogame I’d feel totally different but its not so :P.
I took a lot of inspiration from The Witcher which I suspect takes a lot of inspiration from the Berserk series which I absolutely adore, it’s probably the only fantasy series I follow religiously. A lot of my inspiration especially later on in the book and somewhat for Cur as a character comes from that.
Ok so enough waffling (now I’m hungry) this chapter is going live on inkitt today gonna get writing a blurb and a teaser for it after I transfer from coffee to green tea (he says as he spills coffee all over himself, fuck my life. It was just a flesh wound.
Yeah then I’m gonna try and get some first chapter reviews and get my buddies at work to read it and tell me it’s better than the witcher all they’re all fired haha.
Still proofreading chapter two which is a bit overlong and a bit of a mess and wrestling with some plot changes I made later on that I’m ironing out.
But other than it’s full steam ahead and check out that dank cover art I found haha.
If you want to read it in a mobile format without all my waffling head on over to inkitt right here.
The fire pit popped and cracked in the center of the round house. The farmers gathered close with their mead and whiskey to wait as the bard Coirpre tuned his lute. Breathing in and out deeply as he plucked each string in turn. Sitting with his back to the daub wall, where finger marks could be seen in the crudely layered earthen clay.
The ridges of the branch frame sticking out in places like the ribs of a starved horse. A facsimile of the Leinster cote of arms; that of the golden harp hung above the hearth.
A mouse ran along the beams as the wind howled outside. The cold seeping through the thatching making a terrible ghostly whistling noise and disturbing the fire.
The bard doffed his grouse feathered cap and smiled as he rested the lute in his lap and started to play.
“This poem, I have affectionately dubbed; ‘Bres the bastard’” The poet smiled glancing around the room for a covered smile but found naught but dead silence.
“What?!” A woman cawed at once.
A man in green tunic leapt from his stool “We feed you and give you a bed and you insult our king?!”
“Good people, it’s merely satire; you wouldn’t criticize my work before even hearing it would you?
“That you may die roarin like Doran’s arse we would aye!” A broad bearded man said.
“Please there’s no need for this, another ballad perchance, I have many”.
“Many a time a man’s mouth broke his nose” The bearded man spat.
“What’s a ‘bastard’, grandfather?” A little girl asked as she bounced on the old man’s knee twiddling her braided hair tween her finger and thumb.
The old grey haired man in the grey woolen cloak looked down at her and sighed “Well it’s a man ere not knowing who his father be.”
The little girl scrunched up her freckled face “How could he not know that?”
“Well ya see-“ The old man turned his long grey face to the banging shutters. Then glanced over and the small crowd gathered around the poet shouting and heckling and pulling at him.
“Grandfather, can you tell me the story of the other king instead?” She said swinging her blond plaited hair about her bonny face unable to keep still.
“Child, I’ve told you that story so many times you should be able to recite it by rote”
“And I could that” The little girl pouted and preened.
“Well go on with yourself then”
“I will” The little girl put her hands on her hips and tipped her head back putting her finger to her lips. “Mmm well there once was these men”
“Were they just men were they?” Her grandfather jested.
“There once were these people, mmm and they were called the Nemedians, and this was their land and they called it, erm… Inish Alga, which means; ‘the noble isle.’”
“But then they got sick and there was a big wave and legends say these mean monsters called the Fomori came and chased them all away. But… they didn’t all go to the same place.”
“No, where did they go child?”
“Half went north to the cities of knowledge.” The little girl’s voice droned a little as if she were reading the names. ”Falias, Gorias, Murias and…. erm…. Finias!” He caught her breathe and swallowed. “-To be with the gods and most importantly the mother god Danu. She bathed them in light and knowledge and shared with them her blood and they became the children of Danu. The Tuatha De Danann, which is you and me” She smiled.
Her grandfather nodded “Go on child”.
“The other Nemedians weren’t as lucky. They went south and were slaved and treated very badly by the dwellers of that land for hundreds of years. Those mean people made them carry huge sacks of dirt on their back from morning until night. Made to eat the worst food and live in the most horrible conditions.
But like the winter makes the tree bark gnarled and like iron; the children of Nemed became savage by nature. As soon as a male child was born he was thrown in a pit with hungry dogs and if the boy child didn’t kill the dogs with his bare hands, it would surely kill him.
Soon they became so strong growing to the size of giants they broke free of their slave masters and slaughtered them. Carrying sacks of dirt on their backs twice the size of them all the way through the desert and across the sea to the land they knew as their home Inish Alga.
They called themselves ‘The Firbolg’ the people of the bag after the earth that shaped this land.
The earth they took from that harsh realm transformed this land from craggy cliffs to a rich farmland. For a long time they cultivating the land endlessly warring amongst themselves for control of the island.
“Then what happened” Her grandfather smirked.
“Then we came” She chirped. “Although grateful to Danu for sheltering them, the Tuatha de’ never felt truly at home and longed to return to the island they left so many years ago. With the knowledge and magic given to them by Danu they set out to return to their ancestral homeland.
But when they got to the shore in their great flying ships the Firbolg were not happy to see them. The Tuatha pleaded that they might have only a fifth of the island to call home but the cruel king Eoichid the Prideful rejected them as he only knew war. The Firbolg didn’t know how to share the land. They didn’t know how to live in tune with nature like the Tuatha de’, seeking only to bend it to their will.
The Tuatha pleaded for peace with their long lost brothers but the Firbolg denied them time and time again and before long war was their only option.
The Tuatha were not afraid of war, they had mastered the magic of the gods and were skilled warriors. But the Firbolg were a formidable foe and they outnumbered the Tuatha ten to one. Each Firbolg almost double the size of any Tuatha de’.
Still they met on the field of battle and the Firbolg even with their superior numbers and even with their size and strength could not beat the Tuatha de Danann.
The high king Eoichid angered by this challenged Nuada king of the Tuatha to a duel to decide the fate of the isle. Knowing that he could kill Nuada with one blow. Nuada accepted and with one vicious blow Eoichid cut Nuada’s shield in half and took his arm at the root. But Nuada with the last of his strength bested the wicked high king.
Without their leader all the Firbolg knew was to fight and they would fight without end until they were all wiped out. In Nuada’s mercy he offered them a province all of their own so they might live. As a reward for their bravery and martial valor. They accepted and retreated to Connacht, never to be seen again. Some say a plague took them or they fled under the hills but Connacht is a strange and haunted place to this day where no Tuatha de’ dare tread.
King Nuada in his victory renamed the isle Inish Vale ‘The island of Destiny’ after the stone they brought with them from Finias. But Nuada could not be king because a king must be perfect and without his arm he was not fit to rule. So the crown fell to Bres the bas- the Bres the Beautiful and everyone lived happily ever after.”
The old man smiled and clapped his young prodigy “Well done lass, well done.”
She smiled and tussled her hair to take a small bow.
Then there was the sharp sound of fist thumping a table rife with malice.
“Liar” A scarred voice said.
“I beg your pardon?” The old man rose defiantly from his bench to scan the round house.
All the men were at one side of the round house pommeling and kicking the poet. The women too crowded round to geer and throw pieces of mead wet bread and cabbage at him as he lay on the sodden earthen floor in the fetal position. One of the wenches taken to wearing his grouse feather cap in jest.
The only other figure was a stooped cripple dressed like a druid with a long dark hood and cloak.
“Identify yourself stranger, who is it that calls this innocent girl a liar?”
“I do” A cold gravelly voice said.
The figure sat alone unmoving on a small round table to himself, almost unnoticeable in the darkness of the round house until now. For that was his wish.
The old man stood and drew a slim short sword pointing the tip down.
“The crows curse on you! You will stand; show me the face of the man who would call!”
The man didn’t move from his seat.
The old man angered by his silence took to his side and slammed his hand flat on the table in front of the stranger.
“Briseadh agus brú ar do chnámha! You will rise and give me your name cur!”
“Cur will do” The man said, his voice sending a chill down the spine of the old man.
Without cause the stranger moved like water. Without thought or pause he pinned the old man’s hand to the table with a wide oddly shaped javelin head crudely fashioned into a sword or cleaver. The head of the javelin having a rounded point like a shovel which curved into two hooking spikes. Which then recurved inward on each side creating a harsh biting cutting edge like snakes fang.
The blade rounded shovel point was so wide it cut right through the old man’s hand and into the table. Cutting off all his fingers above the knuckle and the tip of his thumb. His white blood poured over the ash table and over the bench and on the floor.
The old man staggered back wordlessly clutching his bloody hand under his armpit. The sound of his light sword dropping on the floor draw the attention of the hecklers.
“What’s going on here?” The man in the green tunic said.
The old man swallowed and tried not to vomit or pass out “Call the chieftain” He huffed.
“What’s this?” The man said confusedly, then he saw the blood and drew a wide broadsword in one hand.
“What did he do?” The stranger in the cloak asked pointing at the crowd around the poet, kicking and jeering at him.
The man in the green tunic tightened his jaw and flared his nostrils looking back for a moment and then back at the stranger.
“He insulted our kings, what of it”
The stranger uncovered his long sinewy arm it bulged with a vicious vile intense hatred. He squeezed his fist and the room became hot with the beating of his blood. “Give me your kings!” He said in his low gravelly scarred voice. “-Let me squeeze them in my hand!”
The old man vomited and passed out, his granddaughter loudly sobbing over him as she tried to rouse him. “Grandfather!” She cried.
“Here” The man in the green tunic barked at the men crowded around the poet.
The men craned their necks trying to see by the light of the fire pit what he was jabbering about.
The stooped stranger stood to his full height then, a full two feet above every man in the round house.
With the same hand he took his hood down and a tuathan wench turning at the wrong moment bobbed her eyes at him and let out a horrifying shriek.
He was completely bald, his head and eyebrows cleanly shaven. One side of his face covered in strange markings that looked like scars but seemed all too deliberate and esoteric.
But the thing they noticed most of all was his ears.
They were rounded.
“He’s- he’s a human!”
“I thought they were all dead!”
“You missed one” The man raised an ominous smirk.
The little girl lunged at the stranger with the short sword and thrust it into his gut. Half blinded by her tears she didn’t miss her mark burying the blade up to the hilt.
He looked down at the girl and smiled and smacked his lips kissing at her mockingly.
She shook letting go of the sword and stumbling backwards.
He laughed maniacally and pulled it out covered in his hot red blood and tossed it on the ground at the onlooker’s feet.
“Is he a monster?“
“He should be dead!”
The man in the green tunic swallowed his cold feeling of dread as he watched the stab wound close by itself. The elven young lad flung himself as if dragged by the tip of his sword at the giant.
Cur turned faster than his size would deem possible and corked his blade from table and found it a new home in the lad’s soft skull. His face cleaved open by the wide spiked tip. His white blood and brain matter showering his kinfolk.
And the women wailed so.
The blade still buried in the lad’s face he tossed the lad like an empty sack of grain and tore his cloak from his shoulders. The man was large even for a human and was built of sinew and limestone and held together by bile and hatred. His chest heaved and his shoulders hawed but only one arm held a sword. The other was gone. Replaced only by more of the hideous scarification.
“He’s a cripple – all at once!” The crowd turned from the battered poet who lay bruised and bloodied and covered in piss.
The stranger laughed and let his tongue roll out of his mouth lapping at the air madly like a dog or a viper hungry for their blood.
One lurched out of the stolid pack raising a sword above his head. The odd shaped chopper swung under him fast and light and delivered a deep gaping hungry dull chop across his gut. The sound it made like an oar cutting through a wave sent shivers through the hecklers and tossed their bellies. The elf doubled over heaving, a ghastly wheezing sound coming out of his side.
The woman in the grouse feather cap lunged at him with a pitchfork pinning the Firbolg against the daub wall, he smiled at her with blood in his teeth. Cur snapped the haft with one powerful strike and with another he split her down the middle.
The other peasants dropped everything they had and ran at the sight of her bisected body.
“What is this?”
Cur turned to the entrance and saw two heavily armored dwarves with long pikes and iron shields ready to greet him. He pulled the pitch fork head out of his guts and dropped it.
“You’ll come with us now!” They ordered.
The Firbolg threw his javelin head sword into a table. He stooped with a mocking grin and put out his one hand for them to shackle.
“Did I do something wrong?”
The one that shackled him walked him out in front of the round house; the other went inside to retrieve his strange weapon. Admiring it quizzically.
They walked him through the tiny village. Consisting of a smattering of stone and clay round houses surrounded by a thatched branch fence next to the Dobber river. The large round hut was communal and the smaller ones were where the families lived. The biggest round house at the fair side of the fence was where the chieftain of Tallaght lived and held court.
Around the village the trees and hills were a deep emerald and sparkled with dew as the sun on occasion broke through the dense grey clouds. The wind and the rain a constant steady and gentle metronome.
Cur smirked at a woman feeding pigs knee deep in shit. She looked up at him with abstract horror in her face. They walked him on towards the large round house, his wicked mad laughter carrying over the trees as he went.
Blah blah blah Redania, blah blah blah, temeria, blah blah blah nilfgard, blah blah blah ciri- oh shit this isn’t the Witcher, stuff actually happens in this.
Yeah I was telling my brother about the Witcher books and he was like “Wait- you’re telling me the books came before the games?” because he likes to read books that are made as companions to games and I started to think how fucking disappointed someone who liked the games would be if they read these books, then I realised ‘oh wait, that is me’. I played the game first and fell in love with the card game and now am thoroughly bored by the book.
I’m already two thirds of the way through it and the first two thirds build up to one fight with some elves where I think Geralt kills all of one of them and then it just cuts to him on a boat hunting a sea monster which involves shitloads of exposition for a fight that lasts like a page.
It’s like this books thinks monster hunting will cramp it’s style, it just needs to use monster hunting as a plot point to spring into more boring conversations about nilfgards trade policy and temerian embargo on goods, I wish I was kidding. This book is so far up it’s own arse worldbuilding it forgot to have a plot or interesting/likeable characters. I don’t care if the kaedweni economy is suffering, I want to see Geralt kill monsters, is that too much to ask in a book about a professional monster slayer?
It sets up all these characters to ultimately do nothing with them, it’s so tedious and the conversation go on so much longer than they have to, a sentence is never enough, the characters swap huge paragraphs of dialogue and it still doesn’t seem to progress.
Ok enough of that, I was just reading it this morning and I was really excited by the sea monster fight only for it to ultimately let me down, both the fight with the elves and the sea monster fight pale in comparison to what I came to expect from the first book. The fights in that were so well detailed, frenetic but gruesomely precise, that’s what really grabbed me about the first book. A good story(despite ripping off faerie tales left and right) and strong characters punctuated by visceral action.
Any so yeah I hope you liked my first attempt bardic poetry, only took me all fucking day for four poxy stanzas haha.
I just recently stumbled on a pivotal character I was missing so I decided to do some research on celtic bards and poetry styles and bash up a poem to make a tyrant kings face red. I didn’t want to cop out like the witcher and just have everyone react to the poem or describe it vaguely but not actually have a poem in it. Well looking it over now it just sort of describes what happens and then transitions as if it was all a song sung by Dandelion the bard but it was never introduced as such and it has no rhythm or timbre and none of it rhymes or sounds like a song. So it’s like straight up prose that someone just says ‘well that was a song guise’ at the end, but it wasn’t though.
I didn’t really think of it at the time but it was kind of lazy and I was tempted to do the same thing and just say “The bard did a bad poem, made the king mad” but I just thought it would be more authentic and more fun to actually write a fucking poem haha, I mean I’m a writer right? That’s what I do. And sometimes things present themselves, you have the easy way or the right way and at every turn I’ve taken the hard road and felt better for it.
So hopefully today I can finish the chapter breakdown and actually start this bad boy tomorrow, I’m so fucking nervous and excited. I can’t wait and I’m dreading getting out of bed haha. I must have played the first scene out in my head a million times and each time it gets better and better and I can feel it like I’m in the room but I know when I start I’m going to have to do more research as I go and choose a location because I haven’t mapped the story out yet in terms of it’s geography (always sucked at geography, and grammar). I have a map, I have the rough story outline so tomorrow I’ll start thinking about locations and scenery and stuff like that to set it and then keep and start it off right.
Ok so enough waffling, got a chapter breakdown to finish and a lawn to mow haha.
A crack of thunder shook the whole house to its foundation, the sound of breaking glass and splintering wood. The yelping of inhuman creatures, their tongues clacking dry. Then another volt from the heavens and another and the scratching footsteps stopped. Only the creaking remained and a quiet mewling yelping noise and the sounds of heavy feet stomping down on the thin wooden boards.
The boys were frozen, scared stiff staring up at the ceiling their guns shaking in their hands. Then the footsteps started up again and the floor boards creaked again and the boys tensed up aiming their weapons at the boards.
The footsteps got closer to the trapdoor now and it was suddenly flung open. The boys shook training their weapons on the opening as a shaft of light and dust billowed in. But no form came through the opening just the light and the dust and every nature sound that could fill a godlessly long minute.
Then something was tossed like a sack down the stairs and the trap door was closed up again with a slamming force plunging the boys back into darkness. The boys almost fell over themselves to see what it was and then it move a little and they thought to fire but it was too dark. Jameson lit the lamp again and it was some odd mass of something, dark mat hair.
Then the thing uncoiled and sprang away from the light like a huge rat and the boys shrunk away terrified.
“Ya killed ma paw and ma maw and all my brothers.” The voice was a vicious and guttural whisper like it was pushed passed the tusks of a boar. “Now imma kill you dead”.
The thing was fast and it leapt out of the shadows and swept a clawed hand at the lamp knocking it into the dirt plunging them back into the darkness.
The eyesight of the lug akin to a beasts made darkness little more than an obstacle to them, whats more their other senses were much keener than a humans.
“Jaysus” Shaun sputtered.
“Shhh” Clarke cautioned.
The cellar was black as pitch and quiet as a graveyard, then there was a scratching noise. The sound of tendons coiling and then it leapt out of the dark and attached itself to McDonald. He swung it around with his mighty arms and pinned it to the wall of the cellar with his forearm. And he went to work on it’s underbelly with the brass knuckles keeping it’s jaws away from his face. “Sunovabitch” He shouted.
The things arms and legs were pressed by McDonalds body. But his wriggling was vicious and he cut and clawed and pawed at McDonalds arms and legs biting into his flesh but Mcdonald held him there. “Would someone please shoot this bastard?”
“Sure” Clarke said as he pressed the barrel of his rifle under it’s chin and fired. The flash lit the floor of the cellar up for a brief second before plunging it into darkness again and filling it with the smell of gunpowder.
The boys gathered themselves and slowly and cautiously made their way to the trapdoor. After at least ten or twenty minutes of listening to the still silence upstairs. They finally decided they’d face whatever was up there waiting for them rather than be starved out.
Jameson was first, he tossed the trapdoor aside with one hand. He steadied himself against the floor aiming the schofield around the room and back at the entrance to the store but both were clear.
He climbed all the way out followed by the others who filled the room slowly and quietly. He quickly threw open the doors to the bed room and tossed the schofield around the corners finding nothing.
He came away from there as they stood in the kitchen “It’s clear” He whispered.
Shaun made a little whistling noise and pointed at the door into the store front. Clarke sidled along against the door jam and nudged the door open with the barrel of his rifle.
McDonald came in low with his revolver and angled himself around the door so he could see what was there.
“You can come on out on now” They heard a familiar voice boom in the store front. “They’re all dead.”
Jameson gripped his schofield tighter and bounced into the storefront and stopped dead. As he saw Gage standing there covered in blood and fur below the waist. Some scratches on his face and hands, teethmarks on his boots.
The bodies of the other three half-lugs lay strewn around the store like some macabre tableau. One bent over one of the racks with all his spine showing. Another collapsed in the corner turned on his side allowing his brains to tumble out. And the other cut clean in half below the waist and looked like it crawled aways before it died leaving a clawed bloody trail.
“Let’s go” He said.
The boys took whatever they could carry and brought it back to stash it at the whorehouse with plans to come back for the rest later. Once they found a place to put it all.
They eventually had to bury a lot of it to retrieve later, that way it couldn’t be found if any convoys came idly by.
The food they found wasn’t much but the old man had suggested that there was a town nearby. Where he most likely got the bulk of his food.
The boys went back to that outpost and burnt it to the ground with some lamp oil. They burnt all the bodies separately on a pire until there was no trace left of them. Any passing convoys would just see a burnt out building and think it was struck my lightning or a gang of luggers that had somehow discovered fire.
After some preparation and some advanced scouting by O’Shaughnesy and Clarke. Clarke spotting from the outside and O’Shaugnesy talking to some of the locals they learnt everything they needed to know about the town and more. The power and comms that was the first thing they’d strike, crippling the towns infrastructure was the first step to taking it.
If they could shut off the tubescope delivering those pleasing numbing theta waves. They had a chance of convincing the people or failing that using force. Gage had absolutely no qualms at this point about killing his own people or forcing them to save themselves.
He was more than aware that humans hadn’t the faintest idea what was best for them and had been subverted far beyond the means for rational discussion. If he had to he’d use terror and violence to save them from themselves and he’d kill those that refused to fight at his side to save the human race.
“You’re out of your mind Gage, you know that?” Doctor Westwood spat, his face drenched in sweat his voice cutting through thick silence of McClusky’s bar. “You’d replace tyranny with tyranny where there is none. In your vision you’d tear this world apart just to be rid of a race that bares you no ill will, do you not see that this is the product of a sick mind?” Westwood was shaking as he spoke “Come with me and you have a chance at having a normal life, we can help yo-“.
Gage fired at the tubescope hanging over the bar blowing it to smithereens.
Westwood froze in terror grabbing his ears. Then scuttling his fat hands for his pistol on the table holding it low looking at Gage with wide eyes “You’re out!” He said almost like he was asking permission.
He got cooler and calmer and smiled and said “Destroying those will do no good. There’s a hundred more where they came from even if they did what you claimed they do.” As he said it the power went out, the loud tubescopes and their megaphones outside shut off and the streets were silent. “Cute trick, but you can’t save this town from itself” He said reclaiming some of his confidence as he fingered his gun with his sweaty palm. “Not by yourself”
“I’m not by myself”
Westwood swallowed “You’re out, you fired three times now, I have you, you’re coming with me!”
“I’m not going with you” Gage said as he raised his gun to Westwood’s head.
“You think I’m stupid, you want me to kill you where you sit, is that it?” He sputtered, his vision narrowing and focusing on the three barrels of the gun pointed at him. And then he focused hard on it and noticed something strange in the middle of the three wide shotgun barrels.
Westwood squinted as it caught the light and he shuddered at the realisation of what it was – another barrel.