Breakspear profile
In a world of broken dreams, we need to find the mythic in everyday life. Myths are meant to express truth, goodness and beauty where words fail.
Send Message


Tell people about this page...

Subscription Tiers

Ss logo sign mono back
Followers Tier

Join for free to receive email notifications about new posts submitted to paid tiers

1 subscriber
per month
Eaf6a79b def3 4772 be3e 3eef4cb3058d 120x120 260x0 69x69

My amazed appreciation! I'm not going to say no!

0 subscribers


  • My amazed appreciation!

Recent posts

E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter XI Extract, The Ironwood Staff

Posted for $1 tier
Unlock Tier
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

And so it begins...

My mind is knotted in fists of rage
To think of evil, ever waxing great,
The oligarchic purposes bait
Their pious, sneering prose with maxims sage.
While we, the less, beckoned to a cage
Of seeming safety, where for a price we sate
Needs, primal or artificed, it is our fate 
To ever desire, in youth or age.
But Lo! They have revealed their hand,
Just at the point where it seems that they have won!
And we but a poor, merry band
Have seen the horror driving their madness on.
Light the beacons! Awake the land!
Quick, on your knees, in prayer adore the Son.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Writing Prompt III

Third in a series of responses to writing prompts on r/WritingPrompts.

An advanced military AI builds itself a humanoid body and disappears. When finally tracked down many years later, it is living a most unexpected sort of life.

Let me tell you this story, it's really funny. A year or two ago, after I retired, I thought I'd like to have one more go at the Longshore case. You wouldn't know that one, it was so embarrassing, the old US military covered it up, but hard! So, long story short, there was this military Artificial Intelligence that built itself a humanoid body, then escaped. For weeks, they had people looking for it, but then the Second Civil War broke out, and no-one had the time or money or energy to bother anymore. And afterwards, all the records had been EMP-ed, so, well, you know.
Anyway, it had always bugged me that this AI had managed to avoid the Military Police for so long. They're not supposed to be able to think for themselves, right? I had this idea that I'd have a crack at it when I had free time, strictly on my own. Just because I wanted to.
So, I went looking in my old Service equipment from before the war, and I found this laptop. My grandson, he's fifteen, he's a freakin' genius with tech. So he actually got it working again! Turned out, because it had been bricked before the EMP meant that, once he got it going again, it was usable! He had to get around the passwords, but that took like a day or so. Like I say, genius!
Anyway: I could read everything on it still, and boy did that bring back some memories! I could tell you stories... but no-one cares anymore, that was another country, a single country, where there are three now.
So, I had this hunch, years ago, that I never got to follow up on because of the war, and I'm thinking and thinking, and I get hold of some old friends, no-one wanted anything to do with it. Of course, a lot of them are over the border, now, so...
So, where were we? Oh yeah, so I waited 'til the right moment, then drove over the new border, I had to wait until my cousin-in-law's son was at the crossing, he always just waves me through. I followed this road, it turns into dirt, it peters out into a track, all grown over. It doesn't look like anyone had driven on it in, well, ten years. Yeah, since the time it all went down. So I parked in a spot where the battery could recharge, and continued on foot. All that walking since my retirement paid off, I tell you! And it was beautiful! The land's recovered more or less since the war, and it's well away from the old capital at Washington, so never had any poison air. I must have hiked for hours. Small critters everywhere, and birds like you wouldn't believe!
So, I follow what had been this dirt track, and I'm about to pack it in, when I smell woodsmoke. I remember when it wasn't an everyday smell, all the houses had electricity. So I more or less follow my nose, and I come across a bunch of kids, playing in the woods like Tom Sawyer or something, they're barefoot and dirty and having a lot of fun, making mud pies and stuff. I stop and wave, and call out, 'Hi!', and they all disappear! So I carry on along the track, and see this house, like something out of the Wild West, all wood and pieces of corrugated iron. I'm thinking, I really hope I'm not in a horror movie now, y'know? I'm too old to run, and don't want to shoot anyone, with those kids around.
All of a sudden, I see this woman! She's dressed in something like Little House on the Prairie, something she's obviously made herself. These are Hillbilly's Hillbillies, y'know? She's carrying this rifle at the ready, she sees me, and says, 'Where'd you come from?'
I'm thinking, this looks like a dead-end. You know, if the Longshore AI ever came down here, it was a long time ago. But, this lady's armed, and I think I'd better explain myself. So I start to say, 'I've been looking for someone, they came along this way...' But I don't get any further. She lowers the rifle, looks at me closely, goes, 'Brad?'
I look at her, and see her skin looks a little too smooth, just like that self-renewing biopolymer they used to put on anthrobots, y'know? I'm thinking, Day-um, I might have come the right way after all!
She comes a little closer, looks real close, puts down the the gun and says, 'Brad! You crazy old mutt! How did you find me?' And she's all smiles, and hugging me like an old friend. Which we were, really. I used to talk to her a lot, after Joanna died...
So. Yeah, it was her! Or it. Or, I dunno. It turns out, she built herself a body from some plans one of the guys had illicitly uploaded onto his account. He was wanting to build himself a pleasurebot using the facility, but never got that far, partly because she was stealing the materials! Isn't that hilarious? Then she took off into the forest, just weeks before everything went to hell. She said there were kids there, they'd been sent to hide by their parents, who never came back. Somehow, I think because her designer was a broody lady back in the day, she'd absorbed? downloaded? some of that personality. Maybe I had something to do with it, with all the talking I used to do, when she was still on the Kerberos system (the one that got EMP-ed). I met her designer once, brilliant lady, she got married and left long ago. Anyway: so she's got this inbuilt love of children, especially small ones, and she's been taking in strays ever since. There must be sixty or seventy kids there, it's like an orphanage, all ages, she takes care of the lot of them! She's got vegetable gardens, cherry and apple and pear trees all over the place, and she's teaching them from materials she's got saved from Kerberos, they all work the gardens, tend the ducks and chickens. And she does it all on her own!
I never thought I'd find her, but now I have, I realise... those kids have it better than most, y'know? They're healthy, happy, eat really well, one day they'll grow up and have their own families, and a new town will begin. All thanks to one rogue AI, who ran away as a pleasurebot, and became a mom! 
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Island flora

Once, upon a walk
to a wild land close to home
(So far away, now!)
A red-soil path led down under ancient bush...
A remnant, I deemed it,
of remote times,
when Africa was wetter.
Over a rock
streaked black with plant-stains,
spilled a vine,
all tough, springy wood
and large, dark, glossy leaves.
It grew lush in the shade.
In all the land, the only patch
of wild fig.
Perhaps descended 
from the giant stranglers
which grew in the rain-forests

before Eden was shut.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter X Extract - The Ironwood Staff

Posted for $0, $1 tiers
Unlock Tier
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

The Madness of Crowds, reprise

In gathering gloom we keep our fast
In gathering dark, we pray for the last
Of plagues, of lies, of freedom denied
And telling of votes deliberately lied.
Whence came this pass? How could we allow
Stilted reporting, unmasked now,
To lie to our faces, and yet still go on – 
As if it’s normal, and unremarked on?
The hand of the Enemy is heavy on all
That passes for truth, the Demos enthralled
To bread and circuses. It falls to the Few
To keep in mind the Beautiful, True 
And Good, to keep in our hearts
The Logos incarnate, whose word imparts
The only sure good that ruled in times past,
Which in His good time, will be sure to last. 
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

The Elvish Sanctuary

A friend of mine, the lovely Sarah de Nordwall, gave a delightful poem as a prompt for reflection once at a Bard School event. It was called If your name was a Temple, Mary, and I've put it up at my blog, if you want to see the inspiration for this scene. When she read it out loud, it went up in my mind like a rocket. I had to apply it to the characters in The Retribution of Thengon: here it is...

Rodi and Thengon were the last in the door. Rodi was even more foul-tempered than usual. He looked like he wanted to start a fight, so Thengon kept quiet.
Inside, the Sanctuary was wide and cool, lit by stained glass and skylights. The building had been added to over the years, with the latest addition being a sanctuary of Marta the Mourner.
Thengon was stunned. The ceiling, vaulted impossibly high above, rose to a dome where light blazed in the centre. Stained glass and mosaics coloured the interior walls. Every flat surface was a polished plane of veined stone, in between the mosaics of turquoise, green and gold. The scenes in the mosaics were of a vast number of stories of the Lore of the Sunlands, the long tale of the journeys of the Oreladi. Thengon thought he would have to ask his father, some of the scenes he didn't even recognise.
He lost sight of the others in his wanderings. Eladon sanctuaries were havens of light and cool shade, incorporating fountains and open cages for wild birds. In the centre of the entrance chamber was a great fountain: three vast scalloped basins of solemn black diorite. Thengon washed his hands and sprinkled himself with the fragrant water, as one does in such places, and passed further in. His heart sank when he heard Rodi shouting.
'Why did you take them from me?' Rodi demanded of the statue in the Mourner's Sanctuary. 'They didn't deserve to die, rot it all!'
Thengon went to intervene, but knew he'd need the others to help. When Rodi got shirty, things could get bad really fast.
But, then he saw, Rodi, standing forlorn in the cool gloom of the chapel. No-one seemed to notice - or they  were allowing him to vent. The Sanctuary was now quiet. No-one disturbed his grief.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

The eyes that love, see more

This started as a writing prompt. Not much came up, but what did was this...

God sees without time
All eternity to look 
at any tiny likeness to Himself
All of time to listen
to the slightest word.

Ah, the fathomless gaze of the Lover!
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter IX extract, The Ironwood Staff

Posted for $1 tier
Unlock Tier
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Song of the Unknown Schlub

I lie back, thinking of times
Far away now, so long ago,
When life seemed to be running on lines
Headed to where I would go:
To some kind of success in the world,
To realise, well, some of my dreams.
But things didn't work out quite as I thought - 
Life's not that simple, it seems.

Why, and how, do others just hop
From one kind of good to the other?
I can't seem to work out the customs, the rules
That apply between one and another.
If I was disordered, addicted or sick,
Perhaps there would be some excuse.
As it is, it seems there's some kind of trick
To be mastered, before you're of use.

I'm not a dead loss, I have done some good - 
Marriage and family and faith are still strong.
But my weaknesses, God, where to begin?
The list is two metres long!
Maybe, to think of it, we're all the same
In ways, with weaknesses tragic:
One part holy, two parts insane, 
The rest, just mediocre magic.

"Maybe, to think of it, you're not such a loss,
And things aren't as bad as they seem in the night.
There is real gold in all of your dross,
In the eyes of My Love...
    you're doing all right!"
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post


When I was in high school, I used to imagine my classmates as characters in a role-playing game. This scribbling is based on the same people (many of whom I can't even remember the names of now!), but I've made everyone an elven mage, of the kind in the War in the North game, from which I lifted the abilities.

The setting is different though, being more like Greystone from my book
The Ironwood Staff (extracts of which I've been serialising). It was a long, rambling thing, still not finished, but the first part is below.

It was hot. The sun blazed down from an all-but-vertical angle, igniting the leaves of the celtis trees with green fire. Insects hissed and sang in the dense leaves. Birds babbled and piped. 
I couldn’t sleep. Even though all civilised speaking-beings were resting in the hottest part of the day, and anything with any sense was seeking shade, I felt a threat on the heavy air. The feeling had been growing all morning, and now in the heat it brooded, waiting. The thatched gazebo where we'd stopped for lunch seemed like a trap.
If evil was growing, it would attack in the dark. There were about six hours until the daylight was gone, four or five until the sun went behind the mountains.
I must have dozed off. I was still looking out at the trees, but the sun was lower. The insects had quietened their mad hissing, but the birds were still quite loud. The threat had become palpable. I must have fallen asleep, after all. The forest was cooler, a relief after the blasting heat of midday, but the threat had only grown. ‘Come on, Magi,’ I said, ‘the footsoldiers need us.’
Peter favoured me with sarcastic look. We were only junior human magi, scarcely a formidable force. The senior elven magi were another matter – a pair of them could hold their own against a dire baboon troop, it was said.
‘Only seven hundred and nineteen and a half days to go,’ said Sharon, wryly. Human women magi took service for seven hundred and twenty days, or until they got married, whichever came sooner. We were in it for a thousand and two hundred, whether we married or not. 
‘The forest feels wrong,’ said Cairn, as she put on her sun-veil. 
‘It does,’ I agreed. ‘I’m keen to get moving. We need to be at the command post before sunset, which gives us... three hours?' I guessed. 'It’s a two-hour walk, and if we’re delayed…’ I left it hanging.
‘I suspect undead’, said Mike. He flipped his wide-brimmed wizard’s hat onto his head and flicked his staff up from the ground into his hand, using his sandaled foot. The man’s enthusiasm was infectious.
I grinned despite myself. The ladies shouldn’t have to face danger in a huge party of thirty, before we’d even reached the site of engagement; but blast me if it wouldn’t be good to try my quarterstaff and force bolts against a real enemy, for a change!
‘Right,’ called Nigel. ‘Everyone ready?’ He had somehow got himself appointed leader of the college for this first deployment. 
‘Everyone been to the jacks?’ called Debbie.
‘Yes, mum!’ the other Robert smirked. 
‘Let’s move!’ Robert shouted.
‘Not so loud,’ I cringed. ‘There’s something in the forest…’
I was ignored, again.
As usual when on long marches, I walked with Mike. We were in the back 10, behind the ladies (there were only 9 of them). As usual, the girls walked in groups to talk, their long, cool, loose-fitting dresses and short sunveils waving in the afternoon breeze, their ironwood staves moving up and down in no pattern at all. They kept no formation and they didn’t march, but strolled.
As often happened, Cairn moved back until she was just in front of me and Mike. ‘I don’t know why they don’t let us ride,’ she said, ‘Two marches in one day!’
‘Beaurocracy,’ I offered. ‘The wagons were held up in repairs. And some of us aren’t confident riders, yet.’
‘It’s nice to know the Elves aren’t perfect,’ Mike said with a cheesy grin. ‘Even they make stuff-ups, sometimes!’
Cairn laughed. ‘Yes, it makes me a bit worried – do they really know what they’re doing?’
‘They know, all right!’ Mike said, ‘They’ve trained us as warrior magi because they’ve run out! In the time it takes their next generation to grow up, our parents, us, and our children will have grown up and died.’
The forest still seemed to breathe threat. I said, ‘Cairn, did you feel that watching-ness after the siesta?’
She looked at me with frightened eyes. ‘I’d hoped it was just my imagination,’ she said.
‘What kind of word is “watching-ness”?’ Mike said, with mock indignation.
‘The most appropriate one,’ I said. ‘If this lot would only shut up, I might be able to work out where it came from.’
‘We’re deep in the Home Reaches,’ said Mike. ‘We’re either perfectly safe, or…’ he looked ahead into the trees, '… in serious doo-doo.’ 
‘What do we do?’ Cairn looked fearful.
‘We keep moving,’ I said, quietly. ‘Whatever it is, it might not be looking for us. The sooner we get to the camp, the better.’
Mike and I had always hung around with our friend Nigel, before he rose up in the world. He was now up at the front, while Robert was at the back. Robert had always been assumed to be the leader, since he came from a magus family who had been in Greystone for a generation, and was the second of eight children. But now, he was 2IC. 
‘Robert,’ I said, turning back while still walking, ‘can we proceed under operation? The forest seems too quiet.’
‘What can happen?’ Robert just shrugged.
A short, deep, barking sound suddenly erupted to our right: 'BOH!' It was distinctive, and far too loud. A baboon, but a very, very loud one!
‘That’s what can happen!’ I said. ‘It’s coming from the east, by south!’ It was to everyone’s credit that no-one panicked. 
‘Attention!’ shouted Nigel. ‘Charges to staves!’
We’d better, I thought. Thirty brand-new magi, green as grass, without a hard steel weapon between them, and there are dire baboons within striking distance. Shifting their rucksacks, everyone held their staves at the ready, prepared to fire bolts of charged plasmic force at any enemy.
Nigel stood still for a few breaths. Then he said, ‘Now, follow the road!’ 
‘No stragglers!’ called Robert. If we allowed dire baboons to break our group up, we’d all be torn to bits.
‘We should go back,’ moaned Lara. One of the pretty girls, she had a strong sense of self-preservation.
‘Too far’, I said, tersely. ‘We’re closer to the regiment.’
We moved along the road, carefully watching the trees. All of a sudden, there was a terrible shaking of bamboo by the path, and a giant baboon came out to the clear space alongside the road. Standing at least as tall as we were, it moved on huge, thick limbs, covered in light, dusty-grey fur. Its small, close-set eyes looked at us with dim intelligence – and horrible intent. This was not a natural animal, but a monster bred for murder.
‘Firset ten, FIRE!’ shouted Nigel. Before he'd even said anything, twenty-one blue bolts slammed into the baboon, and it dropped like a stone, smoking from multiple wounds. The cheers that sprung up from the group died, however, when three other dire baboons burst through the trees. One of the girls gave a little scream.
‘Second ten, FIRE!’ called Nigel. Only five bolts streaked out, but hit more than one target, only irritating the monsters.
‘Stand together!’ bellowed Robert. The baboons spread out along our line. The monster facing us came right at me. Pushing Cairn behind me, I loosed all four of the bolts I had energy for, into it. Mike, Robert, Gary and Jacob did the same, and it too dropped dead. 
There was a horrible scream. Sandra had not dropped back fast enough, and one of the monsters had her! The baboon’s awful fangs, easily as long as my forearm, flashed as they closed on her slender neck. It was the last thing it ever did. So many bolts slammed into it that it smouldered as it fell away from her. Sandra fell too, blood staining the front of her dress in a horribly broad stain. 
There was no time to tend her. The last baboon was grappling with the guys at the front of the line. Sean, Peter, Brian and Lloyd were all beating the beast with their staves. Nigel had enough energy for an area strike, bringing his staff down vertically. A shockwave erupted from where the staff hit the ground, hitting any non-human or non-elvish form in a circle around him. After that, the monster was too worn out and injured to fight, and turned about to flee. It was struck by another few bolts, and fell in the grass, too injured to continue, or dead.
The shock of seeing a living thing die at our hands was short-lived. Sandra was also down in the grass. A knot of magi were crowded around her. Debbie was laying a Healing Hand on her, and the other Robert had a potion ready to hand. It was beautifully quiet and peaceful as the Healing Hand took effect, and Sandra awoke and sat up. Her neck was now unmarked, though her blood still stained the front of her dress. Robert gave her the potion, and she took a sip, not taking the whole thing. Then she stood up, hugged her two healers, and took up her staff again.
‘Let’s away!’ called Robert H, and we were off again.
The group was strangely jubilant as the sun lowered behind us. Sandra was the centre of attention for a while, but then everyone slowed down, singing songs we’d learned from the Elves in training. After beating off a gang of dire baboons, we felt like we could face anything! The threat I’d felt in the heat of the day suddenly felt like a trifling thing.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

To Whom does the light belong?

At a Bard meeting recently, we were given a prompt, To Whom does the Light belong? After input from a few examples, my thoughts came out as follows.

What treasures are hidden in the dark?
Which are treasures, which are traps?
What if...
       What if the monster is me?
       And the light within me is dark indeed?
I confess, I'm not ready to face the Inferno.

My own light would seem lacking.

If I had the One Light,
The Light that kindled the Cosmos,
The light that shines through dark, fog, hearts, minds,
and sealed tombs...
The light with no darkness at all...

Then - treasure would not be a prize to be won, through blood, sweat, tears, compromise and betrayal -
       But a gift,
       Freely given,
       Gratefully received.
At the right time and place.

E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter VIII extract, The Ironwood Staff

Posted for $0, $1 tiers
Unlock Tier
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Paradise Poem

Once upon a time, we were challenged to write a poem about Paradise. A fellow Bard, Tom Wilcox, came up with a wonderfully nostalgic set of pieces, which gave me the push to put this one together.

And if I speak of Paradise,
'Tis longing ever stilled,
Refreshment ever new,
Desire all fulfilled.

And if I speak of Paradise
In terms the World would know,
Then that is a place
I should rather never go.

But if I speak of Paradise
When locked in iron chains,
Be sure, alive or dead,
I shall be free again!
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post


Some years ago now, my eldest daughter had a dream, which she told me about. It morphed into a Harry Potter - LOTR mashup. My daughter and I worked on it together, and I submitted it to as my only ever exercise in fanfic.
As ever, the usual disclaimers apply: I own no canonical Harry Potter person or place, nor any Tolkien place. To make doubly sure I'm not open to accusations of plagiarism, I'm not going to reproduce it here.
Instead, please follow this link here...
A generation after Harry Potter, a strange and beautiful new pair of twins appear at Hogwarts: Tinuviel and Thorondil, halfelven brother and sister. Their mother was an elf of Mirkwood, their father a wizard from Potters Bar. Being of mixed race, they can see and do things that others can't. This story began as a dream my 10-yr-old daughter had.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Flower washed by rain

The purity of drenched flowers
Washed clean by a night's rain - 
cleansed purity, regained innocence - 
You can return again.

Though your body might bear the mark,
Your soul the scar,
There is healing, forgiveness

Taking up the poison in itself,
Using what was good in it to colour your being - 
Give thanks to the One
Who gave all to make you clean
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter VII extract, TIS

Posted for $0, $1 tiers
Unlock Tier
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Smart-alec Sonnet

Here I sit, barely thinking,
Drawing blanks, cogitating,
Staring at the screen unblinking
Maybe I’m just vegetating.
I can not think, my brain’s just shrinking,
While my soul’s irritating
Urge to create has me thinking
Of all the ways I’ve been creating
Before, which while not drinking,
Left my heart and soul elating, 
Merry on such profound thinking,
Drunk on spirit’s satiating.
But wait! What’s this? Can it be?
I’ve filled up the lines! Clever me!

E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Writing Prompt II

Second in a series of responses to r/writingprompts.

The Distant Future. The vampires have risen and taken most of the world. Humanity's last refuge is Africa: where the rain itself is holy water, having been blessed long ago by the vampire hunters of Toto.

We can't compete, really. They're stronger and faster, in just about every way. The only advantage we have is what just - doesn't - happen for six months of the year!
So that's why I'm sitting in my observation post on Northcliff Ridge in Johannesburg, scanning with my handheld radar for a flight of anything bigger than Egyptian geese. The view is spectacular, for the few minutes it takes the sun to set. It's 17:30.
Even though it's August, and the first rain isn't due until next month, we really, really need that rain now. The Bloodsuckers have made some awful advances from their strongholds in Namibia, where it hardly rains, ever. It's taken them five months to sweep across the Kalahari, put up their bloody shelters all over the Highveld, and now they're within striking distance of the Johannesburg connurbation. We can keep rainwater from summertime, but it loses its benediction in 72 hours if it's not kept in clear crystal containers. And of course, some crooked politician has been stealing some of it to sell on the black market. We're down to the last few hoppers, made as magazines for modified paintball guns.
Some good has come of it all, I suppose. The bloodsuckers don't distinguish between different races, we're all toast if we fall, so everyone's cool with each other, for a change. They've declared a National Day of Prayer for Rain, first time since the 80s. There's a monster prayer service for rain in Ellis Park tonight, we'll see if the Almighty is listening.
Shit. That's a blip. I flick on the radio. Another scan confirms my worst. My skin crawls.
'Main base, this is Northcliff.' I can't keep the fear from my voice.
'Northcliff, send.'
'Bogies at bearing 2, 8, 5, heading east towards Centurion.'
'Northcliff, repeat?'
I repeat it. They're not even trying to stay hidden! They either think we're already beaten, or it's a diversion.
'How many, Northcliff?'
I try to scan the edge of the group. No way. 'Main base, it's huge! There must be thousands!'
'Shit.' Francois loses his professionalism, briefly.
We're finished. They must be getting desperate with the end of winter, they're hoping to wipe out our forces so they can keep us all as livestock, like they do everywhere else in the world. I keep watching, despair looming large in the freezing Highveld night.
This could very well be The End. I wasn't even issued ammo, there was so little of it. I could stay here, but eventually one of them would find me. Heck, they could be on to me already, some of them can feel radar!
With a whoosh, a bloodsucker appears in front of me. She's gorgeous, with a smile that hints of all sorts of hunger. I wet myself, just a little. She stands there, gloating.
I frantically fumble for my crucifix. Before I can get it, she grabs my hand with a grip of iron, not smiling anymore. Her teeth extend, and horror overtakes my mind. I feel wet on my neck. But wait, she's not biting yet!
With a shriek, she jerks back. A single raindrop tears a hideous furrow across her face. She's not so pretty anymore! I pull out my crucifix with one hand, and the squirt-bottle of holy water with the other. 'Eat pain, Bitch!' I bellow, squirting and squirting without mercy. I watch her smoke until she shuts the hell up screaming. The dust she leaves behind smells good. The icy winter rain, so seldom seen up here, gently washes it off the rocks.
My blood's up, now. Maybe I can even the odds a little!
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

The anxiety of hospitals

This waiting room
Where worry tinges the air;
My results wait, lying 
In wait for expectation.

A Fallen World, where
things we don't want to happen,
Mortality always has a look-in,
For some sooner, 
For some later.

The workaday world,
planning, plotting, wheeling, dealing,
Is always subject to entropy and decay.
We just don't see it.

Except at times like this,
In places
Like this.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter VI Extract (TIS)

Posted for $0, $1 tiers
Unlock Tier
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Sayonara 2015

By this title, I think I can guess when I wrote it!

When late at night on love's caress,
The glowing fire within me bloomed - 
To spill myself upon the page
As crowns of flame with Spirit plumed.

My thoughts did wander, to younger days,
Times long gone now, another world,
When life was simpler, sadder, darker,
When no other lives around me whirled.

The world was wide then, hotter, brighter,
Many-shaded lands beyond Capricorn,
Youth's first strength-test, passed and failed,
When present me was being formed.

So much I saw there! Weather, Earth
Science I loved, knowledge I craved.
Whilst unbeknownst, my Shadow, neglected,
Carved its runes upon my grave!

For lo! In age, the foundation laid
In younger years must bear the weight
Of the edifice you make of life:
What's done then becomes our fate.

And yet... and yet, while life still runs,
I cannot believe the story's done.
Though older, tireder, I'm wiser, brighter,
And I suspect more glory's to come!

When nightmares rule, and life doesn't make sense,
I'm swamped with fear and desolation.
But I'm still here – not dead, not yet!
By faith I await some consolation.
E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Tales of the Far South

On the map for The Ironwood Staff, right at the extreme south, is the large island of Greenland. This only just makes it onto that map, but I thought of a bit of background for the history of the island, which didn’t fit anywhere in the story, but makes for some background lore.

Off the southeast coast of Greenland, athwart the raging westerlies, lie the Bird Islands. They were first mapped by the magi of the Ureladi (the Oreladi who settled on Greenland before the Green Sun). After mapping it, it was decided that finding the climate so wet and the land so inhospitable, there were never to be any permanent settlements there. But, the weather and the terrain were not the only reasons for it not being settled. The fauna were also so strange, terrifying and (to Animal Magi) so interesting, that the wise among them thought them better left alone!
For thousands of years, the only documented visitors were royal hunters, accompanying princes of the royal house on their coming-of-age hunt: to catch and kill a Terror Bird.
The Bird Islands have no native mammals on them (save bats). In the rivers dwell vast salamanders, capable of dragging a speaking-being to his death; the forests are haunted by vast, flightless birds three times elado-height, feeding on the leaves and fruits and shoots of the coniferous trees that grow there. The undisputed king of these dark forests is the Terror Bird, a flightless, feathered fiend easily two measures tall, with a hooked beak the length of an elado’s forearm. They have three massive talons on their feet, which are taken as trophies, polished to a gleaming green-black, and worn as badges of office by Ureladi males of royal blood. 
After the Oreladi of the Sunlands came to Greenland, displacing the sparsely-populated nomads of the rest of the island, the families with ancestral ties to the old Ureladi nobility maintained the tradition. During the long wars of succession that kept the Oreladi out of the Second and Third Foul Wars of the Continent, the inviolability of the Bird Islands was one of the few things the different factions agreed upon, at least partly because the Ureladi families were king-makers to some degree. The Academies of Magi in the capital also insisted that such strange lands should not be spoiled by settlement. Finally, during the bloodiest conflict after the Third Foul War, most of the leading families had been decimated, often by intrigue and assassinations. Eventually, the descendants of the Great Houses of the Seven Cities and the Shining Mountains were reduced to one family, and the three houses of Ureladi had only one heir between them. That heir married the last daughter of the Oreladi families, finally ending the conflict. Because of the troubles, the heir had never had his Bird Hunt; unfortunately, he was killed by a Terror Bird when he went on it, leaving his pregnant wife on the mainland. In time she birthed a male child, who was named Arandamundon. On his accession to the throne, his mother sought the Shining Mountain, and passed out of memory.
The long Kinswars had left the Greenland peoples scarred, both physically and psychically, but the dreadful death toll had one interesting effect: for the first time ever, there were many more children in Greenland than adults. These younger generations came of age in a time to re-invade the Sunlands in the Fourth Foul War, eventually allowing the Oreladi to re-colonise their old lands in the Greenstone Country.

E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360
Public post

Beauty from Afar

In an anonymous crowd, 
Hips swivelled to a swaying rhythm,
Catching my attention like a chance at a game.
But I was faceless, just part of the backround.
On a day of sun and joy,
Four beautiful, bay beasts bearing 
Merry riders cut along the road, 
Their rhythm rolling along as we passed in our car.
On a time when she was broody,
Children trundled along, faces
Small and sweet and innocent:
Her eyes followed, longing…

E7315542 47f1 4e21 99ea 312fefb854c2 120x120 0x0 360x360

Chapter V Extract

Posted for $0, $1 tiers
Unlock Tier

The subscription gives you:
  • Full, unlimited access to Star's profile content - to view it online or to download it to future use.
  • Support your Star by contributing – one-time or recurring.
  • You can cancel this subscription at any time.
This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through this website. Continue to use this website as normal if you agree to the use of cookies. View our Privacy Policy for the details. By choosing "I Accept", you consent to our use of cookies.