Thursday, 21 July 2011

Chapter 2: Here there be Dragons

Hi all! Another week of Inking eh?! I've read a few pieces and the Indie gets better and better each week. So much talent in one place is a beautiful thing. 
This week I challenged Michael Webb who blew me away with: How Do You Sleep. If you haven't checked out his work please do, the man is an AWESOME writer!

On the flip side the one who adorns a red cape swooped onto the 'Final List' and challenged me with what made for the title of my story which is a continuation of last week's 'short', if you prefer to do things chronologically, you can find the first instalment here. Thanks SuperMaren! ;-)

It was true ... it had already begun.
The night was too young for the sun to be rising. Something about the distant glow looked artificial.

Two moons ago Ilya's grandfather had felt the bitter cold of the smooth trinket, a change from its natural state and an early warning that they were in danger. Fortunately the enemy had touched down far, far away. Their carnage evidenced by a burning line of destruction along the outer territories, a wide unyielding strip of fire and pain.

Ilya, along with a scout team had travelled half a day to get a rough estimate as to what they were up against. Though fearless and ready, each scout halted when the first plume of fire and smoke that followed a deafening 'BOOM' rose up to the skies and scorched the clouds.
It was still early morning, but as dark as the deepest night.

Though cautious, they needed to get a better look and the closer they ventured the louder the screams of those left alive could be heard. At a crawl they ascended a hill looking out onto the Gild Plains where the Hune Tribe reside.
The earth below was shattered. Crops and fields, beautiful, rich and fertile; were gone, replaced with blood and bodies. Off in the distance heading east Ilya could see their machines, so many of them rolling away, crushing the very breath from the land. Men walked alongside the rolling beasts holding weapons that spat hot needles of fire that cut down those that tried to fight. For every one human that went down; ten tribesmen fell. Their forces were overwhelmed by the superior and unrelenting force upon them.

Ilya and the others backed away on their stomachs staying low, hoping that their movement was slow enough to go unseen. Once a little ways down the slope Ilya rolled on his back and let out a long deep breath.
The scout team’s oldest member had seen several more winters than Ilya and was shocked by what he'd witnessed too. Both boys looked at each other dreading the report they would have to deliver to the village council.


"If what the scouts say is true, we must head south to the Darhcro Lands. We have good relations with the people there!" Chancellor Hodo shouted over the raucous assembly in the Speakers Hall. His suggestion was met with mixed emotions from the other council leaders.

"We have lived in these lands from the time of the first Great War, to leave would shame our ancestors who fought and died for our right to be here." Said Bahad, captain of the guard.

Delivering the news didn’t change the fact that scouts were forbidden to enter Speakers Hall. They climbed quietly onto the roof, although, against the noise from inside; being light footed wasn't a necessity. Through a door they'd fashioned some time ago when they were very young they all poured in, spreading themselves silently across the beams and supports in the darkness above.

Ilya's grandfather had heard enough. "No! We are made up of warriors. Every man woman and child of age knows how to fight, even you Chancellor; whether or not you've grown weak from wasting your breath. We must send for help if we are to succeed against such an army."

The hall fell silent.

"Help from whom, a myth?!" Chancellor Hodo demanded.

"Hodo, don't act the fool. Even you were told the stories, and once, you believed them to be true."

The Chancellor glared at the old man with more contempt than disbelief that he still had any say in council matters. Though he'd once been a reliable warrior, he was not and never was on the council or qualified to advise on their politics, but the people listened to him and Hodo despised him for that. "So, old man, who will be our emissary to carry this message of 'help', surely a mission so important is worthy of only a brave select few? You understand old man that if there is any truth to those misguided stories, then this is a suicide mission?"

Chancellor Hodo's sarcastic and irreverent attitude was so tangible Ilya could've shot arrows into them. The other boys in the rafters were communicating using hand signals but Ilya didn't find the joke funny. He shifted position for a better view.

"That is the decision of the council," the old man addressed the assembly. "That is unless such a mission is deemed fruitless?"

Seated either side of a wide stage were rows and rows of men and women, among them warriors and council leaders, scribes and runners. Each looked around the room as a murmur rose like a tide carrying the question of who should be the chosen ones.

"They should go." The old man said looking up into the shadows.

"Show yourselves!" Shouted Tanu; a fierce and uncompromising warrior with a reputation for impatience.

The shadows above stirred and several boys made their way to the stage in a show of stealth and acrobatic brilliance. Ilya was the first to land, bowed in humbled shame for being discovered.

Placing his hand on the boy's shoulder, Ilya's grandfather regarded the rest of the boys solemnly and addressed them as one.
"By accepting this task you forfeit your very lives for this is not a mission we expect you all to return from. Do you understand?"

As one, the scouts looked up for the first time, their faces giving no trace of emotion, and placed their daggers on the floor as a sign of their acceptance.

"Ha! You see!" Said Chancellor Hodo; gesticulating to the rest of the council. "These boys are ready to die on a whim, is this who we have become? A people who blindly follow an old storyteller?!"

Ilya's grandfather shifted uneasily but only because he was fishing something from his robes.

"Look, what is this bumbling old fool doing now?" The words had barely left the chancellors lips when the oversized razor sharp tooth landed by his feet making a heavy thudding sound that betrayed the old man’s real strength for a fleeting moment.

This time the room fell into a much deeper silence than before, as if the very life had been sucked out of the space they occupied.

Though no one had seen one, they all knew what it was and what it was once attached to.


  1. Woah!! This is awesome... the second installmant even better than the first. Truly great storytelling and that is from someone who doesn't usually get into this type of story. I have, and will continue to read every word your write because you are awesome!

  2. Hooray!! You did such a great job with this prompt, and I'm so glad that you are continuing this story. This is fabulous. Seriously.

  3. I knew when the prompt was assigned to you that you would slay it. I love this story. I can't wait for more!!

  4. WOW! Those are some of the best compliments I've received in like ... ever! I wasn't too sure about the quality of the piece being a continuation and to be honest, not a lot happened, but hearing what you all think lets me know I'm doing something right.

    THANK YOU! ;-)

  5. Loved it loved it loved it! Stef if I haven't said this to you before, you are a great story teller. The narrative flows so effortlessly. Can't wait to read more! Great job

  6. Another piece of great story-telling Stefan. Well-done.

  7. Thanks in bundles K. Syrah!

    JANANI! Feels like I haven't spoken to you in AGES! Next time we're on Google Chat we gotta catch up. Glad you liked the story, ;-)

  8. I give you great credit for you are writing an epic tale and that is a challenging task indeed. It takes a great storyteller to not only envision a new world but to find the words to make it real to his readers. Well done!

  9. Karla, that's a beautiful thing to say, :-)

    If it wasn't for the 'Ink' I doubt I'd be writing as much as this, the challenges have me on my toes on a weekly basis trying to improve on the pieces I've written in the past and now, this story (thanks last week to Sunshine for her prompt) has appeared and I'm at the office unable to focus because I'm plotting it out in my head all day long.

  10. Kick ass, sir! I had to go back and read the first installment. I'm glad that I did. :)