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Diana in the dark Chapter 11 ‘Dark lines’ (remurdered)

Here I go again recycling material. Well hey there, that wont be too long because I just finished furiously beating out the plan for Cur 2 and it turned out pretty nice and easy.

Although my plan to turn it into a five part series was sort of torpedoed because I basically decided that the structured would be better if I mashed two of my book ideas together. Otherwise I’d have had to come up with a bunch of filler to water down each concept and I didn’t want to make this middling story full of filler unconnected to the lore and plot.

Also laziness, pulling unconnected story out of your ass is hard and all I’m really doing with this is taking the actual mythology and give it connective tissue so it seems like a story and not just a bunch of stuff happening. So it’s not just X god did this, you understand their motivations, you know why they did it and how they feel about it.

So I’m just reciting mythology, I’m giving it life and taking a hell of a lot of liberties to do it. So I could insert huge swaths of unrelated story from different sources for instance some of what I added was from Arthurian legend and I added a tiny bit of Lovecraft because that’s just fun and forgive me for thinking a race of evil fish people should be a little lovecraftian haha.

But I didn’t want to take away from the plot and just have this little padded book, I want to write something I would read, I want adventure, I want a journey. I don’t want my characters to go to one place and be there the whole time, I want them to feel like I’ve gone with them. So to give it more scope I scraped two books and made one cohesive story.

It’s set to be a trilogy and I might just write them concurrently with clown shit in between haha. I basically don’t want to drip feed people this story or try and stretch it out like this is just a middle book, I want it to stand on it’s own and surpass the first which this definitely will. This book will make the first look a tiny in comparison by it’s scope. And then by the third book it will make the leap to epic fantasy, this second book is like the bridge from tight sword and sorcery pulp fantasy to epic sprawling huge battles fantasy.

Yeah so probably gonna start that next week but I feel like I should finish Loverman first just for the sake of my sanity. I’m imagining one person out there just ripping their hair out longing for a conclusion lurking just around the corner. Of course this person doesn’t exist or is more or less me. I’m just sort of feeling fantasy right now, sword and sorcery, also want to finish this boring red scare Shadow book so I can get back into Conan, which I’ve been really looking forward to.

Anyway that’s about all, just gonna be looking into more places I can send Cur to, maybe try and get more feedback on it because I think it sags a little towards the end. I dunno, I’ll wait for some objective opinions.

See you…

Locking doors was obviously for poor people who weren’t literally encircled by a small army of trigger happy ex-cops. Because Wendy was out prepping for the prom, it was certain she wouldn’t be here. I knew she had a brother but he was rarely home in the day, myths of an expensive heroin habit abounded. He’d probably stumble home much later, if at all.

The house should be empty but for an annoying little yappy dog she was banned from taking into school in her purse. Hopefully since the prom wasn’t at school, she’d probably have the annoying little rat with her, and I wouldn’t be tempted to pulp its head into an eight hundred dollar Persian rug.

I loved animals, but not that particular one.

I took a quick precautionary glance across the street, but thankfully aside from a team of illegals gardening two houses over, they were quiet. I guessed everyone was out living the good life, lounging around a golf course or a yacht or something. Aside from one guy eating noodles in his underwear and crying in a house he soon wouldn’t be able to afford.

I slipped into the house and closed the door firmly behind me. As I stood in the cool, sweet-smelling foyer, I felt okay. I was just a pretty rich girl coming home from yogalates, walking into her own home—no big deal. Nobody could call the cops over that. It wasn’t like I’d used a grappling hook and scaled the wall garden.

The interior was fresh and clean, cream interior walls with off-white, eggshell tiles on the floor. A staircase, carpeted in a darker cream snaked off from the oddly angled front door up to the bedrooms on the right. A big curtain-less window at the turn of the stairs let in lots of light.

I stopped in the hall and listened to the steady creak of silence. This confirmed the house was empty, so I let go of my breath and padded the tiles and dust off this new set of leathery predator wings.

The entryway opened up into a huge but very minimalist carpeted living room, it seemed to take up a whole corner of the house. It was very eighties deco, devoid of color, with a high ceiling that spanned both floors cut off by a balcony onto the second floor. There was a door off to the left, leading into a relatively small galley kitchen which was nevertheless very nice.

I wasn’t there for the tour, so it wasn’t like it mattered. I doubled back to the front door and started a slow ascent up the stairs. Looked outside the huge window at the turn, hoping not to see some nosey old woman staring at me and memorizing my face for a sketch artist to reproduce.

I figured if I was going to find any evidence at all of Wendy’s guilt, it wouldn’t be lying between the pages of a copy of Teen Vogue on the coffee table.

“Hey remember when I poisoned my dad and framed my mom for the money? Lol smiley face smile face xoxox.”

It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, but seemed unlikely. But who knew. She wasn’t like me, not the same kind of monster; a normal killer for a normal reason, a sane reason to do something insane, money was the root of all this.

So there was a chance Wendy wasn’t like me at all; there was a chance she had emotions. One of those possibly being guilt, and if that was true, she’d leave some trace of it behind.

My best bet was finding her computer and working a little slack hack magic on it, basically shake it and see what fell out.

I turned the corner, checking the window, but it was just the bare windowless face of the neighboring house staring back at me. I continued on up the second flight, noting an open bathroom off the stairs—seemed an odd place to put a bathroom.

The second floor split off in two directions, leading to the bedrooms. As far as I could remember, Wendy’s bedroom was off to the left, and her parent’s en suite was off to the right. Considering her parents weren’t in the picture anymore, it made little sense to not occupy the empty en suite.

It’s what I’d do, would have to be crazy to let all that closet space go to waste because of what? Sentimentality? Ghosts maybe?

I padded the carpeted floor delicately, hoping my light frame wouldn’t leave any telling footprints. Thankfully I’d remembered to not wear heels, and had opted for a set of flat treadless pumps.

I took the right, peering over the second floor balcony down at the living room and the large windows. It seemed like an average sleepy day in the neighborhood, not a curious dog walker in sight. Just sun shining and birds chirping.

Oh how I longed for the huge savage moon, and that black canvas of night to paint red.  ‘Soon,’ it hissed, and I knew it was right.

Soon I’d have my starry night and my bloody moon.

There was no rush; I’d started as early as I could. They’d be at the preparations until late into the afternoon. Factoring in Frappuccino and pastelito breaks, maybe some California tuna rolls. Skipping breakfast had been a mistake.

New rule; never break and enter on an empty stomach.

The hallway got a little narrower, I passed an airing cupboard and I could smell signs of a lived-in nature. More specifically, Wendy’s perfume; it seemed my estimation of her and our shared desire for closet space was on-point.

I entered, and was sort of surprised that the room was so small. Then I turned my head. I’d stepped into her closet.

I opened the door to her actual room and was instantly taken aback.

It was so… so…

Neat.

If you want to read more of this lovely book I’m probably going to be giving it away to people on my mailing list by the end of the year so join that and hold on to your butts. If you can’t wait that long just head on over to my inkitt page and read the raw version. It’s not all prim and proper but you’ll get the thrust.

 

Cur Chapter 18 ‘Gimme the prize’

Yep this is the final chapter.
I kinda spaced, I forgot this was the final chapter, I thought there was one more and I was like “Oh that’s it” haha.

It’s fine, it’s all fine, this is only the first book, I’ve already got plans on the next, I actually might go straight into the next one because it’s shorter than another Diana book and all these rejections have made me a little gunshy. I’m not sure I could make the next one as good as the first, you know the one that is already getting shat on by every cat lady literary agent and her fucking cats!

I already have the ending of the fifth book in this series planned haha. Is that normal? I hope not. I think I need to set some time aside to plan out the next book and see if I get a jolt on it. I have a rough idea of how I want to start it, the other parts just haven’t fallen into place. The stuff, the rudimentary plot, the journey, the middle bit.

People always the most important parts of anything is the beginning and the end and I think that’s true but I’ve noticed this recent trend in movies and books to just have really middling middle bits. And it really hurts pacing because it makes a film feel shorter than it is. You need that journey to feel substantial and satisfying so if nothing really happens in the middle the whole thing collapses in on itself. it’s why you get that feeling when you watch a movie like you haven’t even really watched a movie, you just looked at some footage rolling over your eyes for a couple of hours. It’s because it’s not paced like the movies you actually like. Which is why Aquaman which I saw the other day did so well because it had unlike most comic book movies a decent middle with an idiana jonesie adventure and romance so the film felt like an adventure. 
I’m not saying it was good, I’m saying the bar has been lowered so far that this crap passes for good, it’s the best most sparkly tinfoil covered turd in the punchbowl. The main villain didn’t appear at the start and disappear through most of the movie but still get praised as the best villain ever just cos like in Black Panther. You follow both villains through the whole movie cutting back and forth between the heroes and villains in a way that felt satisfying and bolstered the movie.

So yeah I enjoyed it like a person enjoying the interior decoration of a sinking ship.

In a good mood today which is weird because I’m actually in shitloads of pain because I pulled a muscle in my back on a chest fly. I had a really nice dream about the only person in the world that really matters. For reasons I can’t disclose, mainly pure evil; I can’t see that person but the dream let me know that one day I would. I really need to be someone they can be proud to know exists. I just need something, a clear path to being a real person.

Fuck me, why is this ‘life’ thing so hard?

Anyway, I promised I would plan something today, my next book possibly or some other hair brained scheme perhaps.

Gonna try and get some feedback on the completed book and maybe make some changes to it, there’s a lot about it that still feels unfinished.

See you…

“So you’ve finally arrived” Bres smirked as he bit the head off a pear. “Would you sit? Your ward is readying himself, my men and I rode all night to be here, we’re very tired.” He said staring at her as he chewed. His champion Ogma at his side, face bandaged like a mummified corpse, shrouded in a grim countenance. He looked as stiff as a tailors dummy sitting completely erect in his armor. Dian Cecht sat on the end, silent as the grave with his head hanging low trying not to be seen.

 

“I-I-“ The druiddess stammered.

 

“Sit down” Bres said firmly but softly.

 

Birog sat awkwardly on an ornate oak chair with a floral pattern on the green seat cushion. She almost missed the chair as she couldn’t take her eyes off the man that had been chasing her doggedly. Unable to get anything close to comfortable as her mind reeled and her fingers tightened around the box.

 

“I shouldn’t want to spoil the surprise but I can’t imagine what’s inside that box will save you.” Bres sighed.

 

“He didn’t-?”

 

“No, he told us where you were going but I pressed no further about the contents of that box” Bres smirked wickedly “I do so like surprises.”

 

“But-“

 

“I won’t kill you in his presence out of respect, but mark my words, this doesn’t end well for you little druid”.

 

Ogma narrowed his eyes making a face as if it pained him to do so, looking at his king. His king who’s face was beginning to turn an odd shade of purple with red blotches surfacing. “Look at her, she’s beaten, she knows it, we have no need to kill her my lord” He said. “She can still be of use.” He added looking at her, as if it was a question.

 

“Who is it that tells the king of Inish Veil what he must do?” Bres said without looking at him.

 

“He must kill me, don’t you see, I know too much” Birog said looking down talking into the box clutched to her chest. Then casting an erstwhile glance at Ogma.

 

Bres said nothing but tensed his jaw and started to grind his teeth as his face got more colourful.

 

Just as Ogma was about to get curious the page came back with cold meats and wine.

 

“You’re just as handsome as I remember you, Bres the beautiful” an unseen woman said.

 

Bres looked around for the woman.

 

“We hope you haven’t forgotten us.” Another said.

 

“How could he do a thing like that?” A third added.

 

Bres turned his head and appeared a beautiful woman with blonde hair in a white dress. And then one behind him leaning over his shoulder in a black dress with dark hair and then on his lap was a woman in a red dress with red hair.

 

“How could I forget such enchanting enchantresses” Bres smirked.

 

“Oh you are a flirt”

 

“As always”

 

“But how rarely you pay us a visit”

 

Bres smiled “Kings seldom have free time for such things”.

 

“You came to see the old man not us” The girl in white pouted.

 

“That couldn’t be further from the truth, I came to see the lovely three Moriggu, if I were to check up on the old man it would be a matter of course, that’s all. How is he, may I ask?”

 

“Same as usual”

 

“Away with the spirits” They giggled.

 

“Who’s this?” The one in red said sneeringly pointing at Birog.

 

“A pilgrim I met along the road perchance, she’s come a long way to see him”

 

“She has? Whatever for?” The one in black wrinkled her nose.

 

“She has a gift for him” Bres smirked.

 

“A gift?” The one in white said excitedly, her eyes widening like a child’s.

 

“You can see him, if you promise you’ll visit us again soon” The one in red said.

 

Bres took her hand and kissed it “Anything for you Babd”.

 

The other two looked on with cloistered dismay and disdain.

 

In an instant they transfigured themselves into fireflies of their respective colour. They flitted through an opening in the main room of the anti-chamber.

 

Birog entered the main chamber behind Bres who pushed the doors open wide, followed up by Ogma who looked on stonily.

 

The main chamber in contrast to the rest of the fortress was the definition of opulence. Every wall covered in red and purple and white silk. The furnishings were made of the finest materials, gold and silver leaf traced every nook of the room.

 

It wasn’t just a main chamber or a bed chamber. It was an exquisite throne room with extravagant chandeliers. A banquet table sat in the centre piled high with the grandest smelling food one could imagine.

 

At the far end of the room a set of stairs carpeted in a deep red velvet, leading to the throne and on it sat the once and former king Nuada Airgetlám.

 

“I bid you welcome Bres and guests.” He said softly.

 

“Hail ‘king’ Nuada” Bres said with a mocking smirk.

Check out the rest of the final chapter of the first book in this hopefully epic saga here on inkitt. Gimme the prize

Cur Chapter 17 ‘Morning Shadows’

Henlo there,
I have returned once more from the depth of hell to share my misery with you all bwahahaha!

Dramatic entrances over erm yeah more Cur stuff, not a big slashy chapter but there some big slashes coming fo’ sho. The slashiest slashes there ever been coming soon enough.

Updates updates.
Rejections trickling in for Diana as expected, erm one of them told me they didn’t understand the world in the first few pages. And I responded like ”well yeah you’re not supposed to it’s a fucking dream sequence, maybe if you actually read the whol chapter instead of scanning the first couple of pages you’d have got that!”.
Only to be greeted with one of those messages that tells you you just sent an email to a mailbox that no one reads. Imagine putting retarded criticism in an email that can’t be responded to haha. Like why bother?
I really don’t know with these people it seems like it’s total gate keeping bullshit and all the gate keepers are retards who only want something that specifically caters to them. I dunno, I think I might have to redo my query letter and take the identity of a muslim woman poc to actually get a chance of someone reading a chapter of my fucking book haha (I’m not going to do that).

I still have hope for it, all the hope in the world, what else is there? I really have nothing else but chasing this impossible dream until I get old and die alone.
I’d honestly have it no other way because I couldn’t bear to meet the woman who could put up with me haha. I’m doomed to be forever alone with maybe a few stints of being intensely miserable being with someone that hates me for a few months and part of me is totally fine with that.

Ok well that’s enough for today, I was gonna do some spamming on facebook today since I’d been staying out of trouble on there but nope. I got banned again for nothing, literally nothing, that’s not a meme, once you make it on facebook’s shit list they’ll just ban you for no reason. On multiple occasions I’ve been banned and usually if you actually did something it’ll show what you were banned for and you can request a review to appeal it. Because the algorithm doesn’t know what you’ve said and people just report you for whatever reason trying to get you banned so a real person will look at it and take the ban down.
But again I’ve been banned and it won’t show me what I was banned for because it’s nothing, I haven’t been spamming or saying any edgy shit recently. I’ve just been posting tame stuff for laughs mainly. So no only will it not show me what I was banned for because there’s nothing to show but also it didn’t give me the option to request a review, the case was closed as soon as I was banned so I have no way of getting it turned around.
Facebook just bans thought criminals whenever it feels like for whatever reason it likes, literally orwellian bullshit, I can’t stand facebook, I know I’m gonna delete my account eventually and migrate to twitter probably, although I know their free speech policies aren’t much better. But there’s no competition.
Anyway, enough ranting about that. I hope you enjoy the chapter and the conclusion of this part of this epic saga is soon to come.
See you…
 
Birog prodded the fire with a blackened birch branch and stared into it trying to think of no one and nothing. The night had fallen and the woods were alive with sounds of predators and prey and she didn’t feel like being either. It was misting with rain slightly and clouds were building overhead. She didn’t feel wet but it was seeping into the horse blanket she was using to keep warm.
 
The fire she made was strong enough but nomatter how close she got to it she still felt a chill. The darkness clung to the trees and surrounded her and she felt alone, truly alone.
 
She didn’t know why the Firbolg chose to come with her anymore than she knew why he chose to stay behind now. Surely she hadn’t fooled herself into thinking he was in love with her. Was there a chance that there was valor in him afterall? Did she bring it out in him? Was he the hero she needed all along, a hero in waiting, waiting for her to come along and give his death meaning, had he sacrificed himself for her?
 
She felt silly for thinking such thoughts, she wanted to laugh but the thought of laughter let cold and melancholia slip in. The more she thought about it, the colder she got. Nomatter how hard she clung to herself that chill would not out and the loneliness and fear would not abate
 
The night was calm and the steady metronome of light rain made her head bob in and out of sleep but something kept her awake, her thoughts wandering. Where was he now? What of the shapeshifter Tuan? he said he would watch over her but she’d seen hide nor hair of him, telling herself that he was in every owl hoot and wolf howl. She knew she was alone and although her mission was almost to an end and in the morning she would walk among gilded halls. Sleep in beds of the finest linen and eat of foods fit for a king and would be greeted as a hero, she could not sleep.
 
Just gazing endlessly into the fire, listening to the stillness of the night.
 
Then suddenly, a chime of thunder rumbling overhead. Then a horse’s nay cut over the steady beat of the night. At first she thought it a waking dream but then again, the thunder rolling overhead, the horse naying.
 
She shook herself from her dozing and as she became more conscious, the hairs on her arms stood and the blood in her veins froze.
 
A horse.
 
Can’t be. It can’t be him. Not here, not now. That black night is surely dead.
 
She stood shaking off the horse blanket and quickly stamped out the fire.
 
He’s found me.
 
She waited still in the dark, waiting for her eyes to adjust, holding herself, not breathing, just listening to the night and the horse, trying to follow it.
 
Slowly she could see the outlines of the trees by moonlight. She crouched to tip toe gingerly towards the sound of the horse naying between bouts of thunder.
 
As the sound got closer she could hear a stream. Then see the shimmering moonlight hitting the water and reflecting back against the treeline.
 
She followed along the stream staying shrouded by the night but with the stream as a glittering path to guide her.
 
Then the thunder stopped and the horse stopped naying. She stopped then, listening to her own breathing. Listening for the breath of another but hearing but a rustling in front of her and the clopping of hooves.
 
She halted her breathe once more and cautiously followed the noise further downstream and then by the light of the of the water she saw it’s dipped head.
 
Her heart became lighter as she saw it was just one of the horses from her cart that had gotten loose somehow.
 
She breathed a sigh of relief as she watched it drinking from the stream.
 
The druidess approached it and gently stroked it’s main as he it drank.
 
“You must have been startled by the thunder.” She said smiling. “How did you get free I wonder?”
 
The horse nayed in response and forced it’s head harder under her hand. “You are a friendly one, perhaps I should give you a name, how does “Ronal” sound?”
 
The horse nayed and continued enjoying the druidess’s fingers through his maine, pushing for her to scratch harder.
 
“Come on” She said as she lead him back to the camp. The weather had improved slightly, it was still fairly cold but the thunder and the misting rain had stopped. She wrapped Ronal in the horse blanket and patted him on the head “Maybe now we’ll both get some sleep” She sighed.
 
Liked this excerpt? Read the rest over on inkitt Morning shadows.

Cur Chapter 16 ‘The big wheel’

Yeah I didn’t get a poem in last night because I didn’t really feel up to it, I skipped my workout and felt the big sad coming on and you’d think that would be the perfect time to write poetry but it just slipped my mind and I spent the time just staring at facebook like a zombie.

So yeah finally got some more Cur out and I sort of hate it honestly. I dunno it just seems so action focused and kind of messy and self indulgent, I like it, it was fun to write but I’m not sure about it and this chapter in particular I think fails to really get across what this is supposed to be about and I hope reading some more Conan will help me.

Because I was reading that and honestly I was blown away, it’s tone, the writing, the story, it’s everything I wanted for this and more. I saw so much in it, like where the influences for Berserk and others must have come from. It’s just so rich and interesting and fucking savage. 

It’s one thing that I was thinking about with the Shadow, how some of it is so boring and sanitised and Conan just isn’t. It’s raw and cool and brutal without being over indulgent or gratuitous. It isn’t gross or vulgar like modern interpretations of this kind of stuff. It’s focused in the right way.

It’s fantasy but it feels so tense and real and grounded. I just started reading it and I couldn’t put this story down and I realised I had to stop because I need to save this for when I’m writing Cur 2.

Which is on the books, right after this screenplay and then Diana 2 and then more clown shit haha.

So awhile yet. Probably towards the end of the year.

That’s all, don’t want to go over my boredness and unwillingness to read more shadow pulps, like they’re ok I just feel no drive to read them and if I want to dream about making it a tv show I need to extract and refine the elements that work.

See you…

“Ask him what he wants” Bres instructed one of his foot men.

 

The footman nodded and clasping his helmet to his head ran in shouting range of the strange man who exited the woods.

 

“MY LORD KING BRES OF OF INISH VEIL WISHES TO KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU WANT!” The footman shouted across the field, his voice straining against the wind blowing the grass and reeds.

 

“The blood of kings” Cur said.

 

“WHAT??” The footman balked.

 

Cur lifted his hand and squeezed his fist bulging all the veins in his muscular arm. “THE BLOOD OF KINGS RUNS THROUGH MY VEINS!” He bellowed and tossed his cloak aside and stood shirtless in the cool afternoon, the smell of dying fires on the wind. “WHAT BLOOD RUNS THROUGH YOUR VEINS, BRES?”

 

Bres began to laugh almost out of a nervous response of disbelief, but he laughed alone. His men stood frozen looking at eachother as each in turn felt as if their graves were being trampled, seeing a ghost in the flesh. His body huge and monstrous in proportion, twisted by pain and suffering they could not hope to comprehend. They could barely look away for the unnameable horror it filled them with.

 

The knot in Bres’s stomach that wasn’t there this morning tightened and he sneered at his men. Looking about themselves like frightened little babes for a wet nurses tit.

 

“I DON’T KNOW YOU!” Bres shouted from atop his mare.

 

“I know you” Cur said.

 

He leaned forward, resting his hands on his horse’s mane “STEP ASIDE PEASANT!”

 

Cur began to laugh, a terrible haunting laugh from a flat gaunt face. As if a skeleton’s smiling jaw fell open and a horrifying mirthless pitiless noise came rattling out.

 

“I’ve had enough of this” Bres waved his hand at a band of his men on the edge of the procession. The five of them paused for a moment and then nodded before rattling into something of a formation. The sounds of their armor clanking like nervous teeth.

 

Cur watched them and they watched his chest rise and fall steadily. His vicious body looking like a piece of petrified wood, hard and gnarled and scarred.

 

But these weren’t peasants or bandits, these were trained fighting men of the Tuatha de’. They swallowed their fears and thoughts of his skin being as tough as bark, notions of whether or not a sword would even penetrate. Falling back into routine and order, their training carrying them forward without thought or fear. Just muscle memory pulling them forward as if on strings.

 

The elven soldiers spread out a long a wide arch in between Cur and the Bres, all carrying long pikes and short swords.

 

The one on the farthest of Cur missing arm’s side would attack first, they always did. Seeking a weakness and finding only death.

 

It was as so; the one soldier farthest on his stump side rushed forward with a quick light rhythmic tapping of his feet against the grass. His sword held low for an arching upwards strike from groin to neck. He rushed forward and made a loud noise in his throat expecting his target to baulk at being caught off guard stepping back into the arc of the strike.

 

With an unmeasured viciousness, Cur turned into the strikes arch. He chopped horizontally across the soldier’s collar bone. The blunt chopper he used could no more cut and certainly not through mail. But the force and severity in which he wielded it shattered the soldiers collarbone. Causing him to collapse to the ground almost instantly. Crumpling under the weight of the strike. A few more successive chops on the ground pulverised his head and helmet in a blink of an eye. His white elf blood caking the grass,

 

In the same breath the next soldier came in succession from the otherside. This one learnt from the first and did not try to force the Firbolg back. He very quickly ran with his pike aimed at the small of the Barbarians back.

 

Cur span around catching the neck of the spear with the crook of his blade, letting the point pass him by. The soldier froze at the sight of such speed from someone almost twice his size. Allowing Cur all the time in the world to snap the spear with his knee and elbow. He struck the soldier with one quick dull angled downward slash from sternum to gut. Moreover ripping his mail but for cutting it. It made a ghastly noise, metal straining and ribs scraping and then a splosh of hot entrails bursting onto the ground.

 

The third was on him in the same rhythm. None of them stopping or fighting one at time. Just one attack flowing into the next like a move in a dance or successive strikes from the same blade, wearing him down. His blade getting heavier and his lungs burning with each strike.

 

The third was much quicker and feinted his first strike with his light short sword aiming to come low. Then at the last second changing direction and slashing Cur across his hand causing him to drop his blade in the long grass. But failing to follow up his strike with a successive blow. The Firbolg obliged by impaling him on the broken end of the lance that had fallen at his feet.

 

The broken lance end was frayed and only sharp enough to splinter through his mail hauberk. The weight of his armor did the rest as Cur erected him on the long broken pike and let him slide down it using his body as a counter weight. His entrails twisting around the pike coming out the other end and splintering more.

 

The fourth soldier and the commander attacked perfectly in unison.

 

The Firbolg leapt for his blade but was stopped by an arrow at his feet. The captain was much quicker and unleashed a torrent of strikes unending and savage. The Firbolg with his quickness was only cutting his losses as each strike made contact but had no purchase but to draw a small amount of blood.

 

His strikes were quick but there was a pattern. They were not random nor unpredictable but a practised combination of slashes and thrusts kept almost in time to the beat of a drum. He need only slip inside that rhythm and make it his own but for the sound of another arrow knocked behind his ear.

 

Next there was a thrust. The Firbolg twisted his huge body with the thrust and took the captain by the wrist and headbutted him hard across the bridge of the nose. He drove the tip of his sword into the ground and snapped off the blade with his foot.

 

Moving the dazed captain like a puppet now. He forced the broken sword and hilt still in his hand up under his chin and the jagged blade through the top of his skull.

 

Seeing the captain was dead the archer let loose without fear of injuring his comrade. Cur caught the tip in his open hand, the arrow piercing him right through his palm.

 

He closed his fist to snap the shaft and with his teeth tore out the arrow head.

 

Cur croaked a wicked vindictive smile crossing his bone white face. “Now you die”

 

“WAIT!”

This is just a little teaser of the full chapter. Read the rest of the chapter over on inkitt by following this link. The big wheel

 

 

Cur chapter 15 “Angel Blood”

Ok so not gonna lie, probably the shittiest start to a new year ever.
I worked on new years eve and didn’t get to spend either christmas or new years with the person that supposedly is madly in love with me.
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.
Then my ex instead of letting me skype with the only person that truly matters to me on this earth on her birthday or christmas called the cops on me over an email. I almost spent the night in jail over an email.
So yeah, really feeling 2019 so far, at least it can’t get much worse, but I’ve been surprised before.
Ok so my life being a total shitshow is no big reveal here but I am happy to reveal one of the better chapters in terms of action mostly, I reread and it’s not as great as I am remember more mythology captured in a comic but it’s fun. And if your balls don’t swell during the call out section you have no balls to speak of metaphorically or otherwise haha.
Anyway start of a new year, optimism, all that.
See you…
 
Three days and nights the Firbolg and Tuatha De’ met on the field of battle at Moyturra. And each day despite the mental state and lack of sleep of the Firbolg it ended in defeat after crushing defeat for the Tuatha De’. Their weapons were light and beautiful but could not compete with the savagery of the men of the soil. Even exhausted as they were they fought with the brutality they’d known all their lives and the mighty weapons they’d crafted. The Tuathe were defeated as if the earth itself rose up and swallowed them.
 
“We can’t keep this up much longer” The druid Caserd croaked. “Can’t you see, the losses are too great.” He whispered harshly in the dim light of the high king’s yurt.
 
“We’re victorious” The high king said as he rapped his knuckles against the hard arm rest of his chair.
 
“I don’t like it, the spirits don’t like it, there’s something wrong. Each day we decimate them but their numbers don’t decrease. We vanquish our foes and they come back each day renewed, these are not ordinary men my king.”
 
“So I must make a truce with these usurpers, give them half of all we’ve built to avoid more death? This land is built on blood, this soil is damp with it.” Eochid hissed.
 
“That’s why they want it, there’s dark magic at work here I’m sure of it” Caserd whispered.
 
“My king” A guard shouted from beyond the yurt.
 
“What is it?”
 
“There’s an old goat herder who says he has news of the Tuatha de’ invasion, he says it’s important.”
 
“A goat herder?” Eoichid sighed tilting his head towards Caserd.
 
“What harm could there be?” The druid shrugged.
 
“I’ll hear your goat herder.” He said waving his large hand.
 
A moment passed and a slow shuffling could be heard outside of the tent. An elderly man entered draped head to toe in a long lambs wool cloak of grey and white. His beard shared the same color and was so long he threw it over his shoulder.
 
The man was very old and his movements were slow and measured. His face wrinkled with sagging jowl but not lacking in color. And his eyes retained a spark of youthful mirth as he smiled deferentially at the king attempting to bow his already bent back. Resting on a gnarled shalagh cane.
 
“Greetings high king, I be Fint-“
 
“There’s no need for formal introductions goods sir, tell me of your misadventures.”
 
“Sir what I have to say may shock you.”
 
“Well there’s no point waiting on ceremony.”
 
“The other day I was taking my goats out to the hill to pluck the crags of weeds and grass there. They like it up high ya see, climbing up there, the grass must taste better near those old stones. The portal stones they’re called.”
 
Eoichid watched wearily the old man through his fingers as he rested his head in his hand.
 
The old man licked his lips and looked for some signal for him to go on and when none came he went on anyway. “Well while I was up there wouldn’t ya know I couldn’t see into their camp or nothing. They did a good job placing it out of sight but I did see- it was after the battle.”
 
“You watched the battle?”
 
“Oh no sir, I’ve seen enough blood in my time.” The old man gave a knowing smirk. “No I saw what was after when they was picking up their dead, not one left there to rot. They gathered them all up and I thought it was to bury them, you know. Mightn’t it be their custom to bury them on the day of death I thought, but no.”
 
The old man became contemplative, his eyes narrowing and brows creasing into too many folds to count as he scratched his gristled chin. “There was this funny lookin’ fella with a big nose and pointy ears and glasses on.” The old man gesticulated all the man’s features one by one. “And he was ordering the men that was still living to take the bodies of the dead and dying. And to put them in the spring that runs off the Loch Arbhach, great for fishing.”
 
Again he paused and looked for some signal to continue which didn’t come. “Anyway they put them bodies in the spring and the long nose fella he sprinkles some magic dust in the water.” With his wizened hand he emulated the motion of sprinkling the dust. “I dunno. He says some magic words spins around and they walked alive again.” He pointed with his cane and took to a harsh whisper “I swear by the gods there wasn’t a scratch on them, they just walked out like they were taking a dip.”
 
“It’s as I feared.” Caserd sighed.
 
“You believe this?” Eoichid asked with a cool simmering rage.
 
“There magic surpasses our own greatly and they’ve tricked us.” Caserd deflated, bowing his head.
 
Eoichid bit the inside of his cheek and said nothing.
 
Caserd looked at his high king with lidded eyes and raised his hands emphatically. “Don’t you see, they’ve been wearing us down, they’ve been beating us in victory, tiring our men, whittling them off slowly. Everyday our losses are massive and they lose none, this can’t go on, we’ve already lost too much, what will you do high king?”
 
Eoichid rose from his seat stoic. With a savage cutting energy he crossed the room and clutched his Javelin in his two strong hands squeezing it. Listening to the noise of it creaking in his monstrous leathery hands.
 
“I will go.”
 
 
The men of the bag lined up on Moytura outside the Tuatha de’ stronghold. In front of their palisade wall they beat their shields in time casting a deadly rhythm. The sound; like bone on bone clattering, the impeding march of skeletons claiming flesh as their own.
 
“HERE I AM! THE BLOOD OF KINGS RUNS THROUGH MY VEINS! NO MAN CAN BE MY EQUAL!” Eochid bellowed at the top of his lungs, his high shield at his side and his javelin at his other. His armor consisting of hardened plates of black leather and bleached bone. His helmet fashioned from a fearsome rams skull, it’s horns protruding upward. “NUADA, I AM THE MASTER OF YOUR DESTINY!”
 
The beating of the shields came again like a wave of crashing thunder building to a cacophony.
 
Eoichid bellowed gripping his javelin and shield tightly in his balled fists.“GIVE ME YOUR KING, LET ME SQUEEZE HIM IN MY HANDS!” 
If you want to the rest of this epic chapter head on over to inkitt;

Cur Chapter 14 ‘Love thine enemy’

Ok so instead of a poem I have this beauty of a chapter as we finally get into the meat of the story.
This is the stuff I was encouraged to hold back for the purposes of a reveal and I wont really know how it works until I get some feedback or I do a solid read through.
But this is when we get into the heart of the first invasion, the real folklore not the shit I made up to go around it haha. I mean there’s a lot of that but this is the real dope and I love it. I love the mythology, I love the whole story, it’s great and I hope you do too because I’m too busy to get anything more up tomorrow. But believe me the next few chapters are gonna be coming hard and I can’t wait for you to read them.
See you…
 
Many years ago when the land was known as Inish Alga, the noble isle.
 
The goddess Tailtui kissed him and her lips were as sweet and as sour as the first blackberry of spring. Her body was as firm and as warm as a log on the fire in front of which they made love. Her body crashing against his like a falling tree she kissed him again with an intense urgency. Looking into his eyes she whispered a blessing and a curse “As long as I love you, you shall never die.”
 
The fire blew out and cloaked the room in inky blackness. A deep silence and a rattling scratching noise came from the fireplace.
 
“What is it Eoichid?” A silken voice asked.
 
Eoichid pushed her off of his large frame and strode towards the fire place. He stoked the embers stabbing at them with a poker his naked broad back to his woman. He could hear the scratching more clearly. It was a skittering noise in the chimney.
 
Just a bird trapped in the chimney” He stated his voice flat and stern as his jawline.
 
Then all of a sudden a thunderous crash and a great black bird hit the embers scattering sparks and hot ash in an explosion of chaotic furry. The bird cawed and sqwarked and flew about the room. Eoichid’s ears pricked as he finally noticed a dull metronome of flapping wings and cawing. He went to the window and the sky was black with their fetid wings. Their vile bulbous black bodies blotted out the sun as they flew as if shoulder to shoulder.
 
Eoichid woke in a sweat, he turned to look at his wife Tailtiu still sleeping, her nose wrinkled as if she smelled something loathesome. Her auburn hair like a bed of autumn leaves. Her face was pale and lovely like freshly fallen snow. Her features that of a faun, or nymph, a slightly upturned nose, light pouted lips and speckled cheeks.
 
He got out from under the furs of their bed and put on a robe. He fumbled out of his bed chambers without waking the goddess and took a lit torch from a sconce in the hall. He walked down the circular stone steps into the druid’s quarters.
 
The druid’s quarters were dank and dusty. The smell of booze and bone dust covered by the sweet scents of lavender and thyme permeated the tapestries on the walls.
 
The room was dark but the outlines of skulls and books and dirty bowls could be seen amassed on the many counter tops and spilling from reliquaries. The piled stone walls were covered in a thick layer of dust.
 
“Caserd! Caserd! are you awake you old fool?” Eochid lit up the old druid’s face with the firelight.
 
The old man spoke without moving his eyes. His face potmarked and covered with an ashen beard. “I’m always awake my lord high king.” He opened just one eye in his wizened face “Is it bad dreams sire?”
 
Eoichid stood motionless at the foot of his bed, the torch held low. “I need you to read the bones again”
 
“As you wish my king” The old druid climbed out of his bed in his night robes and cap and by the light of the King’s torch he placed a candle on the ground. Next to it, a cup of water and another cup in which he poured alcohol.
 
He sat with his legs bony crossed on the stone floor and took a deep breath closing his eyes and then dropped a single piece of silver into the bowl of water.
 
“The bounty of the deep” The old man whispered hoarsely.
 
He clapped his hands and the candle lit. “The rising of the light”
 
He dipped his finger in the water and touched his forehead.
 
The druid gazed at the flame and cleared his throat “Between fire and water, I find my balance”.
 
He then lifted the cup with the alcohol in it. “I drink to the holy powers of the world- I drink to the ancestors – I drink to the land spirits – I drink to the shining goddesses and gods – To all the beings in all the worlds – In land sea and sky below and on high – I drink this cup of fellowship.” The old druid then threw the liquid to the back of his throat instantly causing a fit of coughing.
 
When the coughing fit subsided he took a swig from the jug from whence he poured it and cleared his throat again. He scrunched up his face and taking a handful of bones he threw them into a pewter dish.
 
He moved them around a little and squinted at them and then moved them around again. He looked puzzled for a moment and turned back to his stone jug and took another long pull resulting in the same amount of coughing as before.
 
“Spit it out” Eoichid erupted impatiently.
 
“Black wings” The old man sputtered. “I see a sky covered in a blanket of black wings”.
 
 
The next morning Eoichid looked out on the balcony of his chambers. He watched as slow creeping mist covered the mountains of Sliabh an Iarainn to the west. Looking out at them from his capital of Tailtin, named for his wife and goddess.
 
The mist remained for three days and three nights and the high king watched it with cool trepidation. Until the third it cleared but in its place a mighty ship crewed by shining people stood on the mountain.
 
They slowly advanced westward toward the sea of Ulster. A messenger was sent forth from both tribes.
 
 
Sreng the mightiest champion of the Firbolg, rode his black horse up the hill carrying the shovel headed javelin of the Firbolg. A long rounded shield on his back and an iron club on his belt to parlay with the outsiders. On his shield was the crest of Connacht, the sword arm and black bird. He wore a multicoloured patchwork cloak and a heavy hide jerkin. He was large and broad shouldered with a weathered face and long black beard and hair.
 
The shining one stood on the hill, he was small but fair of face with long golden hair with no beard and carried a sharp thin spear.
 
The sky was dark slate grey, a light mist covered the ground and a strong wind blew them both and speckled rain. The green hills stretching on forever, sheep in the fields grazing calmly, a squat crow sat on a high stone next to the hill sqwarking to itself.
 
From the hill Sreng could see the mighty capital Tailtin. Hundreds of smoke stack round houses surrounded by a huge wall of timber and the fort that was the high king’s keep towering at the top of it.
 
The shining one spoke and his voice was like honied water, calming but firm and constant, delicate but sure. “I am Bres the beautiful of the Tuatha De’ and I offer you glad tidings, brother.”
 
Sreng stopped at the bottom of the hill to look at the stranger. His skin was pale almost silver and translucent in color, his features sharp and his ears slightly pointed at the top. He wore a light and loose tunic with his arms and chest exposed revealing strange blue markings which seemed to glow when the light hit them.
 
His eyes too were strange, they were a bright amber color. There was a moment before Sreng decided to speak.
 
“I am Sreng of the Firbolg”. He bellowed, his eyes lidded and searching.
 
“So we share the same tongue – cousins perhaps?” Bres smiled jovially and carelessly.
 
Sreng stared trying to hide hide amazement for a moment in silence.
 
“My people talk of our ancient predecessors walking this, our ancestral home, is it that I look at a ghost of our past?” Bres jested with a mocking smile.
 
“I am no ghost” Sreng said as he continued to study the stranger’s weapons as he’d never seen anything like it before.
 
They looked strong and deadly sharp but were thinner than any weapon he’d seen. He could barely fathom how something as thin as a goose feather could be a weapon at all.
 
“You like my spear? Here, take it if you like.” Bres tossed the spear sideways and it floated through the air weightlessly. Sreng caught it in his huge hand and his eyes widened as he took it in and felt that it had almost no weight. He gawped at it in amazement as he ran his finger over the fine point and sharp edge and saw blood. He sucked his finger and looked up at Bres.
 
“You can keep it, we have many more” He grinned. “I wouldn’t mind taking a look at that one on your back.”
 
Sreng thought for a moment before deciding it was only chivalrous to do the same. He slid his javelin out of the doe skin and tossed it at Bres as one would a log onto a fire.
 
Bres caught it in one hand and swung it about himself as if he’d handled it a thousand times before. Cutting through the air with the savage recurved blade and stabbing the air with the rounded shovel point looking down the hefty haft.
 
“A good weight to it” He said as he jostled it playfully. “How do you get this metal to behave?”
 
“Our forging techniques are a guarded secret.” Sreng said gruffly.
 
“I see”
 
“Why is it you’ve come?” Sreng asked.
 
“Oh didn’t I say already?” Bres licked his lips and grinned. “We’re home”
 
“What is it your people want, be clear so I may return to my king.” Sreng said curtly, letting some irritation slip into his voice.
 
Bres pursed his lips and tapped his fingers along the haft of the rugged javelin.
 
“Half”
 
“Half?” Sreng spat.
 
“Half the island” Bres smiled playfully but he was not joking.
 
“You wish me to relay this to my king, High king Eoichid Mac Erc? That you want half of all that is his?” Sreng said almost dumbstruck by this boldfaced arrogance.
 
“I can do it myself” The voice came from close behind Sreng.
 
Sreng blinked and saw the shining man on the hill was gone and next to him stood a reflection of himself staring back at him carrying his own javelin. In an instant the javelin came down and cleaved Sreng’s mighty head from his shoulders. His head had rolled halfway down the hill before his body fell.
 
“Babd, did that please you?”
 
The crow shone and changed into the form of an elven woman wearing a deep red silken dress, her lips two were kissed as such.
 
“Yes my lord”. She cooed.
 
“Take the spear and the body back to Nuada, Dian Cecht will most likely want to study both.”
 
“Yes my lord”.
 
 
“Half!? HALF!?” Eoichid shouted his voice booming around the stone walls of his audience chamber. His face youthful and handsome as it was, twisted by rage and in his eyes a battle tested ugliness dwelt. “They come into my land, the land we fought and bled for. The land we built from nothing with our own hands, the very soil carried on our backs from that cursed land that slaved us and he wants HALF!?” The veins on his neck stood out like the branches of a tree and so to the scars on his face were licked by torchlight.
 
Sreng knelt before him, his eyes fixed on a spot on the floor as Eoichid paced back and forth.
 
“Never” Eoichid whispered. “NEVER!” He bellowed. “If we give them half this day they’ll take all from under our noses tomorrow.” Eoichid walked over to his throne, which was a simple chair made of ash with a gold leaf trim and the coat of arms relief. The slim beautiful spear of the Tuatha de’ draped across its arm rests. He snatched it up off his chair “And what is this? A chariot ornament, a giant whore’s hairpin” He said as he snapped the clean wooden haft over his knee and threw the two pieces into the fire.
 
The high king calmed himself and addressed his champion. “Sreng, you will ride out at first light and ask them what field of battle they wish to die on. We’ll meet them with shovel or pick or fork if they like but they will never have this land.”
 
Sreng nodded and didn’t say another word.
 
“You’re dismissed.”
 

Read the rest of the chapter on inkitt Love thine enemy

Cur Chapter 13 ‘Dyed in the wool’

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!

See you…

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

Cur Chapter 12 ‘The burning of the temple’

 
The smell of smoke, darkness, crawling, blackness, air.
 
Dian Cecht coughed and spluttered as he dragged himself crawling and blackened out of his escape tunnel. Gasping at the fresh air.
 
“Well it’s good to see you again, old friend” A mocking voice said above his head.
 
He turned over, scrambling in the ashes, stunned to hear the familiar voice, his face black with soot and his eyes wide and frightened. He waited on his knees in the dark for the shapes to emerge from the smoke laden sky.
 
“Y-you!” Dian Cecht mumbled grasping at a clump of black earth beneath him.
 
“Me” Bres smiled atop his horse, his men behind him, looking down at the great healer.
 
Dian Cecht lowered his head, his hands splayed out in front of him. “You’re too late, she’s already gone from here, a day’s ride ahead of you, you’ll never find her.”
 
“Of course I will, you’re going to help me” Bres laughed and crossed his hands over his saddle.
 
Dian Cecht put his hands on his thighs and looked at the dirt knowing that he was right. “I may be a coward, hiding in that place but you! You are cursed by all the gods for desecrating that holy site!”
 
“Desecrating? Me? The king of Inish Veil?” He laughed looking around at his men. “Surely you are mistaken, it was a mere accident. So many candles in Newgrange, this was bound to happen sooner or later. A little mouse must have knocked one over and set fire to some old dry parchment and woof! The whole temple up in flames” His men who chuckled, all but one. Ogma gritted his teeth holding his hand to his ear wishing that both his ears were cut off and his eyes gouged and his tongue pulled.
 
“You should kill me now” Dian Cecht said almost begging, his hands tightening above his knees.
 
“Why would I do that, we’re in need of a good healer, we have a wounded man after all, Ogma show him your ear” He said turning in his saddle. Waving Ogma to approach.
 
Ogma tried to smooth out his face. Remove any of the disdain he was feeling as he removed his hand from his head showing Dian Cecht the place where his ear ought to have been.
 
“I can’t grow back an ear, not without my lab that you just burnt to the ground” His tone suddenly changed from wounded animal to righteously indignant.
 
“Tsk tsk, these accusations are very dangerous, we all agree it was just a mouse, don’t we” He said to his men who nodded and laughed.
 
“That temple was-“
 
“That temple was here long before us. Some robed fools with long beards decide it has mystical significance, it means nothing to me – or the mice as it seems” He laughed.
 
“So what is to be? Will you come with us or return to your burning temple?” Bres asked, already knowing the answer but enjoying it all the same.
 
Dian Cecht face gave up an elasticity it once had and he slumped visibly. “I will”.
 
“Good, take him” Bres instructed one of his men turning his horse to ride on along the path.
 
“You didn’t have to do that” Ogma said through gritted teeth holding his ear once more, looking past the king.
 
“No maybe not but you’re yet to understand the stakes of this game, allow me your trust in this matter.” Bres said softly.
 
“You could have talked to him.” Ogma said through gritted teeth.
 
“I just did talk to him” Bres smiled “What’s one dusty old tomb?” Bres breathed in heavily looking out at the lush pastures, the sweetness of the dew mixing with the bitter scents of smoke and ash.
 
“It sits in the shade of the stone of destiny itself” He cursed.
 
“And yet the stone is untouched as it rests on the hill of Tarah, do you wish to make a pilgrimage to it brother?” Bres turned his head, his voice full of scourn and accusation and derision. His eyes scanning Ogma up and down as if it was the first time they’d met.
 
Ogma could say nothing, his tongue seized in his mouth. His anger simmering below the surface of his stony grey flesh.
 
“We don’t have time to sit around flapping our gums, the fate of Inish Veil is at stake.” Bres straightened in his saddle, pulling at the reins of his horse, looking over the horizon.
 
“How is that?” Ogma shrank from him, his face twisting.
 
“Your job is to follow my orders, not to question them, now ride on!” Bres said sternly.
 
Ogma grimaced, swallowing his pride. “Yes sire.”
 
 
“It was the Fomori.” Abhartach said, his eyes fixed and glassy as if he were manically reciting a nursery rhyme.
 
“That fairytale again” Birog scoffed.
 
“It won’t be like last time” Abhertach scolded, looking at Birog as if she had grown another head. “They have a new king. In the time of Nemed they used force, might was all they knew. They forced the people to submit, enslaved them. They put a tax on them; two thirds of their corn, two thirds of their milk. And two thirds of their-“ Abertach’s jaw grew tight and he swallowed, his throat clacking dry.
 
“-Children” Birog shuddered.
 
“You know the stories then? You know what happened. “His eyes lit up and the dwarf became enervated with wild hand gestures. “The people, our ancestors the children of Nemed rose up and killed one of their kings in his tower, Conand. But their other king Morc retaliated and decimated the people of Nemed with a great wave and a plague that came from the sea. A cataclyism that scattered our people and changed us forever.”
 
“You expect us to believe all this?” Birog tutted.
Behold the rest of the chapter over on initt, huzzah! The burning of the temple

Cur Chapter 11 ‘Nightcrawlers’

Hey there,

Gonna keep it really short like super short because I feel like total garbage which is why there was no poem yesterday, I was too focused on not throwing up and trying to sleep than being creative.

I guess I ate something that didn’t agree with me because my stomach is in hell and I haven’t slept very good the last two days.

Then I start to try and so some work and the internet doesn’t work for some reason and would you guess I’m banned on facebook again but this time it was literally for nothing. Like I haven’t even been using that account very much since I got the alt account. But I get a message saying I had a picture removed because it goes against our “Community standards” you know that thing we keep specifically vague so we can decide literally anything goes against it. Yeah that thing. But get this, I go to see what it was they removed and it was nothing, like it wasn’t that it was a harmless picture, it was literally nothing. Where the thing they removed usually appeared it was just blank.

I haven’t even uploaded any pictures recently on that account, so not only could I not see what it was to contest it, I sent it for review, still banned, surprise surprise. Facebook is a fucking joke. This is either a fuck up in the algorithm or there’s literally someone just banning me for fun and I wouldn’t be surprised if either one was true. Someone at facebook hates me. It’s fucking ridiculous.

Anyway I managed to get some proofreading done today, thankfully it was a short chapter but it needed a lot of work and I really need another go over this book in depth when I finish the first proofread because I sense some structural and continuity problems I need to rectify.

Ok that’s your lot.

See you…

The tavern hummed with activity, drinking, games of darts and singing songs and merriment. The light of the warm fire danced along the dark wooden beams and the cobbled stone floor. On the walls made of stone not daub were exquisite paintings and tapestries depicting maids bathing by a lake like wood nymphs. The room swelled with a carefree indulgence rarely seen in these hard times. Coirpre of course, savoured every moment of it. How lucky he felt to be in the bohemian city of Slaghtaverty, to be in Ulster away from the pig farmers and yocals who couldn’t hope to appreciate his poetry. To smell fine wines and ales in the air instead of pig shit and misery.

 

Here it was different, the people were cultured and open minded and what’s more they knew his name and treated him as his position would dictate. Bard’s were of course revered as much as princes for the power they held could make kings and heroes alike out of common folk and vice versa.

 

They could bring to life ancient battles and mighty sea voyages, they had the power to create and destroy reputations a power few sneered at.

 

“Please sir Coirpre, one more ballad, the lusty maid of Sliabh an Iarainn perhaps?” A women in a fox felt hat said, her comely face slackened by the ale in her cup. Her dress even more so.

 

“No no, I must go to bed” Coipre jested.

 

“But who would you take with you noble Coirpre” The woman cued shamelessly, moistening her eyes and clutching her breast wantonly. The tone of her voice flat and monotone, her eyes doughy and expressionless. A small crowd of similarly inebriated women gathering at her heel.

 

“My lady please, I beg you-.“ Coirpre taken aback by this proposal turned clumsily and bumped face first into the warm stone wall of the tavern. In doing so spilling the remainder of his flagon on his tunic.

 

Looking up from his stupor he regarded that it was not in fact a wall but a man, a man in which he recognized.

 

“Are you all right sir Coipre” The drunken maid asked the downed bard as he picked himself back up.

 

“It’s you!” He sputtered attempting to dust the bear off his jerkin. “The one who saved me from those bloodthirsty peasants in Killaloe?”

 

Cur didn’t even look down as he said in his guttural fashion “Out of my way fool!” pushing the minstrel aside like a common beggar.

 

“Yes well, thank you all the same” He muttered tugging at the bottom of his sodden tunic, his face turning red.

 

“What are we doing here?” Birog whispered as she dusted off a chair to sit at a table near the fire. “Isn’t it dangerous to come here, I think the fewer people we encounter the better, what if a thief were to-“

 

“We have business to conclude here with the Chieftain Abertach.” Tuan said as he sat down looking around at the women who encircled the bard Coirpre like a bird of prey picking a mouse.

 

“What business? We have a mission that will decide the fate of the whole kingdom and you want to run errands?” Birog tittered folding her arms scournfully.

 

Cur eyes scanned the small inn looking at every local in turn. There was Coirpre the bard fending off a coven of flat faced wenches with fat arses. A potbellied bureacrat with a bulbous nose drinking himself red in the face leering at those around him. Some merchants sat at a long table drinking and playing some sort of card game, taking it very seriously as if their lives depended on it.

 

No denizen of the inn stood out but one. A strange cloaked figure whispered in the ear of the barkeep who was not as subtle as the cloaked figure stopping to gawp open mouthed in Cur’s direction.

 

“Good evening gentle folk.” A melodious voice said over his shoulder.

 

Coipre bowed cross legged at the edge of the table smiling tentatively. “I believe we got off on the wrong foot and I’d very much like to apologise.” He said speaking clearly looking at Cur who did not meet his gaze. “And of course buy you all a drink, perhaps perform any ballad or song you’d like.” He smiled looking at Tuan and Birog and then as if about to take to song he lifted his head to look at the wall behind them. “As on the morrow I depart to be received by none other than Bres king of Inish Veil himself at Dun Bresse.” Coipre boasted tossing a glance at the druiddess who seemed to recoil at hearing the name.

 

“Go” Cur groaned.

 

Tuan laughed and said “But haven’t you heard, Bres isn’t home.” He smirked and watched the puzzlement circle the bard’s face before releasing him. Tuan licked his lips and put both his hands on the table. “But a drink and a ditty will do nicely, anyone else?”

 

“Oh yes” Birog said “I’d love to hear a song.” She smiled seeming almost giddy to forget about Dun Bresse.

 

“She doesn’t get out much” Tuan smirked. “Three honey meads I think”

 

“Speak and it is done- oh barkeep!” He snapped his fingers at the barman. The cloaked figure who whispered to him skulked away almost without foot steps. He seemed even to float out of the door and under the crest of Ulster hanging above it.

 

The barkeep was a skinny sweaty looking fellow with a bulging beer gut and a potmarked faced. “Yes of course honorable Coipre sir!” He said bending and scraping like he was paying some sort of debt working here.

 

He returned swiftly with their drinks but under the one meant for the firbolg was a folded note. He he took it and unfolded it regarding it nonchalantly. He looked up at the barkeep who seemed hesitant, waiting for a response, his mouth slightly open as if he forgot to breathe.

 

“He’ll see you now” He said trying to whisper but his throat was too hoarse and it broke almost instantly.

 

Cur said nothing and slowly rose to his feet. Tuan and Birog did the same instinctively feeling as if the mood had changed drastically.

 

“The gentleman must go alone” The barkeep said putting out a pale thin hand to bar them with only the ghost of a threat.

 

“No, they come to” Cur growled.

 

The barkeep let his hand drop to his side as if it were made of wet rags “If you’re certain”. He swallowed painfully, his gaunt throat visibly contorting.

 

The barkeep nodded thoughtlessly, looking off into nothing.

 

Tuan looked at Coipre who held his loot about to play, a bemused expression on his face. “Be a good chap and mind our drinks won’t you” He smirked.

 

They left the table and followed the barkeep up a short set of steps beside the bar and around a corner into the back. There was an ordinary looking door, that seemed like it might lead to a cellar or cold room. The barkeep approached it and rapped on it three times.

 

“He’s here sir, the stranger” The barkeep said his head tilted forward waiting for a response.

 

With that the door opened and the barkeep moved aside and watched them as they went inside as if waiting for a pat on the head.

 

The door closed behind them. Before they knew it, they were boxed in on both sides by a couple of dwarf heavies in thick leather jerkins who padded them down for weapons. Going about it with the cool disinterest of a farmhand patting a sack of grain.

 

Cur grabbed the hand of the first that tried for his blade. A young but strapping dwarf with a pale beard but no moustache. An impish expression on his face as if he was caught stealing a bun from a market stall.

 

“I keep my weapon, you keep your fingers.” Cur hissed.

 

The dwarf froze, sweat dripping from his forehead he looked off at the other end of the smokey dark room. A large desk and the figure sitting behind it, waiting for some sign.

 

The figure at the desk waved some pipe smoke away and in so doing made a gesture. The dwarf heavy with permission retracted his hand scournfully, glaring at the side of Cur’s head.

 

Birog started a slap fight with her molester, ending in a red face for both of them but her attacker looked far more embarrassed. An older dwarf with a cue bald head and small boxed in ears, a long beard plated at the corners of his mouth. His ruddy face and beard made him appear more like a goat herder than a hired thug. Despite Birog’s protestation he succeeded in separating her from her sword belt and spiriting it away with him back into his corner. A dismayed look on his face as if he expected an apology.

 

Tuan rarely carried a weapon and thus did not object to the search. Merely tutting then rearranging his coat.

 

“Sit” The figure behind the desk said. Two more diminutive but stocky bodyguards stood behind him. Their arms crossed in front of them, large crossbows cradled on their tattooed forearms.

 

There was only one seat purposefully dwarfed by the desk, the Firbolg took it. Tuan and Birog were expected to be invisible, standing between the desk and the door.

 

“He might have thought you were jesting.” The dwarf behind the desk said as he stubbed out he rapped his pipe dumping the embers into a wooden tray.

 

“New boy, Abbertach?”

 

Abhertach didn’t take his eyes off Cur as he repacked his ornate hand carved bone pipe. One of the archers lit the pipe with a candle held in a hand missing most of its fingers. Abhertach let out a tight little laugh as he realised his mistake. The bodyguard missing the fingers growled under his breath. His face frozen in a bitter grimace. “Yes, he is.”

 

The dwarf with the missing fingers was completely bald and so clean shaven it looked like he could not grow hair at all. He scowled at the Firbolg as if somehow that would grow his fingers back.

 

“I should have told him not to search you but you see it’s a force of habit, no harm no foul, this time. I didn’t know you were coming.” Abhertach tried to smile warmly but under it was a cold clenching of teeth and sharp inhale of breath.

 

“The great Abhartach, spy master and thief, didn’t know we were coming” Tuan chimed in.

 

“And who are you sir that you know me enough to call me a thief?” Abhertach’s demeanor was jovial but barbed with a clear threat.

 

“No one” Tuan shrugged.

 

Abhartach was a gristled dwarf with shrewd rodent like eyes. The physique and shoulders of a warrior with a barreled gut of a chieftain. But the cheeks and soft wrinkled face of some sort of blood thirsty merchant who’d sell his grandmother for a higher cushion.

 

Abhartach twirled his enormous moustache which he wore with no beard which was uncommon for dwarfs. They were usually full bearded or clean shaven.

 

“Now that the formalities are out of the way, what is it you want here?” Abhartach said leaning back in his chair looking down his nose at them slowing his breathing.

 

Cur looked about the room which was grand in it’s relative squalor. A small secretive office with extravagant furnishings, a mix between a thieves hideout and a whore’s boudoir. The desk was high and he undoubtedly sat on a raised chair and made sure the guests chairs were shorter so he could look down on them.

 

“I paid you for the last job and I have no further use of you”. He said as he leaned forward clasping his hands dismissively in front of him as if discussing rug sales.

 

“The woman” Cur said.

 

“Ah yes” Abhartach said scratching the side of his nose with his pinky. “Well-“

 

“You set us up, there was a witch in the woods waiting for us” Tuan said merrily, no hint of accusation, he remarked on it as if finding a penny in mincemeat pie.

 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, who is this?” He asked the Firbolg.

 

Tuan without reservation jumped across the table transforming in mid air into the from of a wolf taking the dwarf chieftain by the throat.

 

The young dwarf who tried to frisk Cur put his hand on the Firbolg’s shoulder and pressed down trying to stop him from rising. Radiating his will downward.

 

Cur took the lads hand and pulled him down so he could take him by the scruff of the neck. Cur smashed his face smashed with a vicious indifference against Abhatach’s high desk, flailing a few of his teeth across the blotter. The unbridled and unwarranted cold savagery of it froze the room in amber for a few moments.

 

The bodyguards readied their cross bows.

 

“Wait” Abhartach strained lifting a hand.

 

The crossbow men lowered their aim.

 

Tuan took human form again and hopped off the desk smiling as if it was a little show he put on descending the high stage with a click of his heel.

 

“Out with it Abhartach, you work for Bres?” Cur scolded.

 

Abhartach rubbed his neck and smiled trying to laugh but only coughing. “Bres? You could say he works for me”.

 

“What fantasy is this?” Birog said.

 

Abhartach looked at her for a moment puzzled then back to Cur as if she hadn’t said anything at all.

 

“Surely he order you to kill the chieftains of the villages that wouldn’t pay his taxes?” Birog said almost to herself. Now in the dim darkness of this smokey room those words sounded so feeble and childish coming from her.

 

Abhartach became grim and started to breathe heavily. His face draining of colour and his eyes becoming long and hollow staring at nothing as he rubbed his neck. His face locked and expressionless as if he pictured himself somewhere else as he spoke in hollow tones. “If only that were the case” He said hauntingly.

 

“What do you mean” Birog asked.

 

He looked at her and saw nothing and licked his dry lips. He started breathing heavier and his neck became red as he rubbed it. “You don’t understand, the taxes aren’t Bres’ at all” He said almost whispering his eyes looked scared even thinking about it.

 

“Who left here?” Cur said.

 

Abhartach let his mouth hang open.

 

“If it isn’t you then- where are the children?” Birog asked.

 

Abhartach slammed his fist on his desk and screamed “I DON’T KNOW!” He calmed himself and said again “I don’t know, oh goddess save me I don’t know.”

 

He went on shyly “They just wanted me to choose, they knew of me, knew I would know the right villages to- I had no choice. They said they’d, they’d do the same to Slaghtaverty.” He breathed heavier and heavier and seemed to sink into his chair as if he were deflating.

 

“Who?” Cur asked.

 

“They didn’t want to do it like last time, they’re smarter now, they have a new king, they rule from the shadows. They wanted me to choose and cover it all up for them.” He spoke faster seemingly rambling.

 

“You used us” Tuan said.

 

“Yes, I thought if I could spread a rumour of a vampire or some such monster I could distract people from the truth. You just had to go there and cause a ruckus, kill a few elves and then they’d come for the rest but the blame would fall on the mysterious stranger.”

 

“Who are they?”

 

“It didn’t occur to me that I chose villages that refused to pay their tax, its just a coincidence, I had no choice- they wanted the children.” His eyes reddened and he spoke quickly as if it all had to come out at once, as if every word unburdened him somehow.

 

“You sent a messenger to meet us with our bounty, he lured us out to a witch, lured us into the woods.” Tuan mused.

 

“I sent no messenger, I always paid you here, it was them, don’t you understand, they were done with you, you were a loose end they had to tie up. Do you understand?”

 

“WHO?” Cur stood and slammed his massive hand on the desk towering over Abhertach his voice booming over the sounds of merriment below.

 

 

The night was darker than pitch, cold and moist. The cloaked figure could still hear the dampened merriments of the folk inside. He looked up at Abhartach’s office window and grinned.

 

He took something from the sleeve of his cloak and started to sprinkle it on the ground muttering some sort of incantation.

 

He then started to walk the street of the town, all in their beds but the tavern folk. Their chimneys slowly dying as the children slept soundly their mother pecking them on the forehead. Their fathers tucking them in.

 

The figure continued to walk, humming to himself as a bluish fog started to cover the town of Slaghtaverty.

Read it on inkitt Nightcrawlers

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