Tag Archives: fantasy

Justice on Old King’s Highway

The road stretched out before them further than their eyes could see. From the southern coasts and into the northern snow-capped mountains. Past villages large and small, castles and keeps, fields planted with blooming crops and others populated by livestock. Along dirt grooves, long worn by wagons and horses alike, three men traveled. Weary and worn, they moved through a wooded grove that shaded the scalding summer sun.

A tall, slender man with golden hair, piercing blue eyes and a blade of a nose rode atop a destrier. Across his back a bastard sword glimmered when the sunlight flickered through the forest canopy. A young boy with bushy black hair and strong features rode beside him on a garron. Slightly behind them their companion walked slowly, his gate hampered significantly by a limp.

“Do we have to move so quickly?” The walking man asked.

He was met with no reply. The young boy looked back at him briefly with wide solemn eyes.

“It’s just that my leg–”

“I’ll hear nothing of your leg again, Dancer,” the man on the destrier cut him off. “You brought this wound upon yourself. You will deal with the burden.”

“We’ve been traveling for weeks,” Dancer protested. “My leg grows worse by the day. I need a horse if I’m to survive this journey.”

The destrier snorted almost derisively in Dancer’s direction. No reply came from its rider. Dancer dropped his head and continued limping behind in silence. Again the young boy stole a glance at their walking companion.

Gathering his courage, the young boy saddled up beside his mounted compatriot and spoke in a low voice.

“Sir, I think we should acquire a mount for Dancer. He is wounded quite badly and the king will want him alive to stand trial at court.”

He looked down upon the boy and sneered. “His guilt is well-known. He travels with me because others would kill him. He will walk. He will live and he will stand trial.”

“But…”

“The matter is settled. Do not raise it to me again.”

Dancer hobbled up beside them, desperately attempting to regain his wind. “My lord, the boy speaks kindly. If I may ask a question?”

“You may not,” the response was curt.

“Why can’t he, sir? Why not talk? There’s nothing to do but walk this road for leagues on end. What harm can one question do?”

The destrier whinnied as the reins were pulled back hard. The garron pulled up as well and a swift backhand from a mail-clad hailed struck the young boy’s face.

“Your insolence will not be tolerated, boy,” those piercing blue eyes were being put to work. “Consider that your only warning. As for your plea, I will allow him to ask one question. He may respond to me if given leave to do so.”

The boy rubbed at the plum sized welt on his cheek and tried to keep a strong jaw. “Yes, my lord.”

“You may ask one question, Dancer. Make it count.”

Dancer licked over his rotted brown teeth as he smiled.

“What makes my crimes so much worse than anything you’ve done, Sir Earnest of Longflower?

The knight did not hesitate to respond. “All I’ve done has been in service to King Peter. I have done all asked and required of you. Why do you ask this needless question?”

“You’ve murdered in cold blood, just as I have,” Dancer spat back, bile lacing his words. “You’ve no doubt killed many a more men than I. Women and children as well, I’d be willing to wager a gold piece on that. We’ve all the heard the stories of Sir Earnest the Malevolent. They whisper it in inns and bars up and down this highway. You may be a knight, but you are surely a worse man than I.”

The squire looked at Sir Earnest, his mouth agape. His eyes darted between his lord and Dancer waiting for the knight to respond.

“Is that some sort of poor jape,” Sir Earnest eyed Dancer coolly. “Consider yourself lucky. If not for the king’s order, I would have your filthy tongue out here and now.”

“No jape, sir.” Dancer replied. “You are no more than a dog. Your arrogance and black reputation arrive in any town leagues before you do. They fear your hand and that sword upon your back. You are not popular, nor loved by your own people.”

“I only need the king’s love and affection,” Sir Earnest hid his rising anger. “I live only to serve.”

“The atrocities committed by your hand are not cleared solely because you are the king’s man, sir,” Dancer riposted. “The king may not always rule and the next may not have such favorable views of your… service.”

“Sir Earnest is a just, honest and truthful knight,” the young squire piped in.

“Sing me sweeter lies, young boy.”

“Enough!”

The horses pulled to a halt once more and Sir Earnest dismounted, his squire scurrying behind. Dancer, with his hands bound was an easy target and was quickly pulled into the surrounding wood. Sir Earnest forced Dancer to his knees and unsheathed the great bastard sword from his back.

“The Justiciar,” Dancer murmured.

Birds flew from the canopy in a cacophony with branches rustling. The cut from the sword was swift and true. Dancer’s disembodied head came to a rest against a large tree stump. Sir Earnest looked to his squire and spat on the ground.

“Burn the body,” he snapped. “There will be no word of this. The king will hear that his wound killed him and the wolves carried him off into the woods at night while we slept. If word of this passes of your lips, your fate will be the same as Dancer’s. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

The young squire set about his required task as grim as it were. As he worked, Sir Earnest watched with a smile, all while cleaning the blade of his infamous sword.

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Rough Draft / Early Stages: Artaxiad

Well, I’ve secretly always wanted to write an epic of some sort. Like Beowulf or the Iliad, something so grand and fantastic, that’s it’s most surely out of the scope of my own talent. Regardless, if it’s worth aspiring to, it’s worth giving the old college try. So here’s a small look at something I started working on tonight, that could have potential, I don’t know. It’s unedited, probably a bit sloppy and needs to be tightened.

I’d like to get some feedback / criticism, any thoughts any of you that read this have. There’s little to the story right now, but I’d love to hear what anyone thinks.

With that being said, here’s an introduction to Artaxiad.

*****

Working diligently from the tallest tower
With sight over courtyard and kingdom
The clever old wizard plies his trade
Creating bubbling concoctions, tinctures,
Elixirs, potions and magical mixtures
An alchemist’s dream at his fingertips.
His snow-white hair thinning with age
Still falls over his shoulders and back.
A wispy beard of great length is yellowed
At the mouth from smoking garnal weed
Out of his favorite ornate wooden pipe.
Wearing simple black robes and pointed hat
He weaves his way through his laboratory
With fantastic ease, floating through the air.
Smiling and nodding his head at one vial
all while frowning and sighing at the next.
Artaxiad was the name he had gone by
For as many generations as the kingdom
Could remember and many, many more.
He had served dutifully under every king
Though recorded history would disagree
As old stories passed down through the ages
Would tell of an Artaxiad driven by madness,
plotting his deception against many kings.
Though stories were just that and never
Did any wise man know to raise any story
Above the sound of a whisper that would
Get lost in the cool harvest breeze
Lost to prying ears at the top of the tower.
He was both feared and revered by subjects
All were wary of his unholy magical prowess
Though few had ever seen it used before.

On The Rise

Moon on the rise
A lonely silhouette
Pressed dark against the last remaining light

And two dim eyes
Searching the horizon
Peer beneath his dusty traveler’s hat

He digs his heels in from their stirrups
The earth is stirred
Kicked into the sky
A bellowing whinny pierces through the night
Echoing over the hills
And down into the valley

A torrid pace through the wastelands
Black cloak twisting silently in the wind
Horse and rider approach the destination
A desolate farmhouse on dying earth
Blood curdling shrieks of terrified children
Watch the beast tear open helpless livestock

The rider dismounts his steed
And stalks upon the gruesome creature
Unsheathing his curare tipped dagger
Two dim eyes narrow on approach
Beneath his dusty traveler’s hat
As the beast crunches bone and sinew

His blood lust and hunger never sated
The creature doesn’t sense the rider
As the garrote slips around his neck
And the poisoned dagger strikes true
A grievous wound through his evil heart
With a roar into the throes of death
The beast collapses in the rotting orchard

Rider on the rise
Reprising his role in the saddle
He tips his hat to the indebted farmer

And two dim eyes
Searching the horizon
Peer beneath his dusty traveler’s hat

Witches, Devils and Heroes

Broken glass and bare feet
A walk across burning coals
A trek across any surface
To find what makes you whole

Afflicted with a mark that itches
Don’t pick the scab, it won’t heal
While the dark hooded witches
Will surely question your steel

Cast an eye over your shoulder
As their incantations will begin
The world around starts to feel colder
While a lonely aging traveler grins

Leading you through crystal caves
Moving deeper inside the earth
With trials you acquiesce to brave
One day a man must prove his worth

Of sharpened steel and forged metal
Take your sword and raise your shield
A crushing blow rained upon their skulls
The enemy’s fate had been all but sealed

Now in terror watch the witches flee
In all directions with eyes that are crazed
Some fall to their knees to make a plea
But all of their bodies must be razed

Pile the corpses in the funeral pyre
Escape the sorcery and this black magic
Floats to the stars as the flames grow higher
Smiles the man with the devil’s walking stick

Pry on your insecurity and weakness
And devise a way to ravage your heart
Staring down to the bottom of the abyss
As the fabric of life becomes torn apart

The cracks widen and you can’t claw
Lose footing, as evil gazes down and laughs
Cut through your spine like a buzz saw
A misstep, a wrong turn, your final gaffe

Captured in chains and tied to the rack
Locked in the dungeon and nowhere to go
His light soon to be eclipsed to pitch black
A most fitting end for this failed hero

The Fall

They set off into the night with ambition,
as fantastic wishes and devious devices,
filled their adventurous minds.

The insatiable lust of golden treasures,
hardened deep within aging arteries,
blinding glinting eyes with hope.

The songbird flying south,
towing word of good news,
far from northerner’s ears.

Then the riding messenger,
dances through the dusky fog,
of his plotted demise,

A gilded arrow was true,
tracking its cloaked target,
piercing his heart.

An entire forest grew silent,
when he collapsed from his horse,
as if felled by the wind.

His kingdom forged forward,
but little did they know,
oh, how little did they know.

She Over Me

She destroyed me with her smile
Broke me down with her style
Now just what do I do with myself
She’s a mystery wrapped in illusion
Pretty pink bows laced with confusion

She bruises my ego with her words
Pulls me back for seconds and thirds
Now just what do I do with myself
She’s a temptress for cause and effect
Pretty pink rose prickled with regret

She pulls me under
Places I’ve never been
My heart’s asunder
But I’d do it all again

She steals my pride with her stare
Lies in my ear are standard fare
Now just what do I do with myself
She’s a bad dream that doesn’t end
Back in her bed to do it all again