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Breakspear
Tall Tales, short stories, smart-alec poetry. Escape the dungeon with me!
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Writing Prompt VIII

My latest in response to r/WritingPrompts:
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The goblins who dwell just outside your village are small and dumb –in an oddly endearing way. The villagers humor their innocuous raids and sometimes even give them advice. In the village’s darkest hour, the goblins send aid.

You'll never believe what happened last month - it's about that goblin tribe near Feywood, my home town? Get yourselves a jar, and I'll tell you all about it!

So, you know those gobbos that live in the fens across the river from Feywood? Yeah, the Frogwallopers. They live in stilt houses or mud huts, deep in the fens. We mostly get along all right, they're too thick to do much harm, tell the truth. I know they sometimes all get drunk and march out with their spears and clubs, but we're doing so well these days, we just give them a bushel of loaves and a few pigs, and they trot off back home. It's easier to humour them than to fight them, they don't expect a lot. We don't want Lord Drake to get involved, he'll send tax-collectors, and we can do without that!
What's that? Maybe they think we're giving tribute, ha! Yeah, might be - but once in a while they'll send someone out who speaks our language, and they trade. We've had beaver hides, dried fish, and I know the Herbalist gets a lot of stuff from them. So anyway!
We had a raid! It was a bunch of lizardmen, no lies! These buggers just appeared out of nowhere. I don't know if you ever saw these monsters, they're huge and strong, and we hadn't a hope! We haven't even had a militia in nearly a year, and you need men with armour to stop that lot. We never even saw them coming! First thing I knew, the swine were charging up the road, scooping up people's dogs, pigs, goats, anything that moved. Then they started on people. Gods know, they wanted to eat the humans, too! And no-one prepared for fighting! I mean, I've got my bill-hook, most men have scythes or pitchforks, but you got to be organised, y'know? Old Tuppy, he laid one of 'em flat out with a flail, it was murder! But then they ganged up on him, and, well, it was murder again, and not pretty. So we're pretty much sitting ducks at this point, and I'm trying to decide if I'll stay to fight or take my chances with the river, when you hear this whistling, whipping sound! No lies, there were arrows from all sides, picking off these bloody reptiles, quick as you like!
I'm telling you, it was those gobbos! They'd seen the lizardmen marching up, and must have decided to have a go, y'know? I've heard tell the fen goblins and lizardmen just hate each others' guts, since... ever! And it worked out bloody well for us, this time. So, more than half the slimy buggers were dead, blinded or injured, and they broke! They shambled off down the river, goblin arrows picking them off as they ran. It was glorious! Then our guys got their act together, and we started chasing them, too.
No lies, those gobbos saved our bacon! If they hadn't pitched up, we'd have been goners, the lot of us! There were so many of them, I never knew so many lived in the fens.
So yeah, we're good friends with the Greenies now. We had a big feast, must be three weeks ago, now, everyone from both villages was invited! I never saw gobbo women before, I don't know how they do it, I can't tell 'em apart, to tell the truth! We didn't like the food they brought, and they hated our music, but it was a good day.
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Summer Evening


Lights fails slowly
On a Boreal summers night in June
Green light silhouettes
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The Memories of Limlot, part XII

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The Empire of Lies

Used without permission - sod 'em!


Enemies of freedom gather around,
Self-appointed rulers of hearts and minds.
Hubris rules, mutual applause the only sound
Permitted by the darkness of their kinds.
 
What harms are plotted, to grind the faces
Of the Poor, and those who lived yet free
Secure in their power, no need for divine Graces
That mitigate the errors made by you and me.
 
But they were all of them deceived – for Darkness lurks
Behind every lofty exhortation of secular good.
They believe it not, but all their works
Are a trap set, by the great Accuser of the Good.
 
Our battle is not of this world, for if it were
A last crusade might yet be mounting higher.
Fasting and prayer, our calling pure
That turns their dross to gold in fire! 
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Writing Prompt VII

[I couldn't think of any image to go with this, so stuff it!]
Aliens finally made contact with Earth, but after speaking with them and learning about their culture, people realize that they're not part of an exploratory or conquering fleet, using the best ships available. They're refugees in interstellar "lifeboats" and they've got nowhere else to go.

Kerry was a genius. There couldn't have been many people gifted in both programming and natural languages, but there she was. She'd developed this software that replayed the aliens' speech back at a frequency we could hear, then worked out the bare bones of their language and played it back to them at their super-high frequency. I had learned so much from being on this team; but now it was down to me. She was utterly petrified of the aliens, it might have been their jellyfish-like faces, that creeped a lot of people out. Well, that and she was allergic. So, guess who got to be the big brother that did the actual talking? Well, it was good experience, I suppose.
OK, here we are. They're big buggers, but a bit mushy. I believe their home gravity is lower than here. Voder on the table, where's a power-point? Ah, OK... plug in; now, flick switch, plug in the oscilloscope, right...
Oh, nearly forgot - GoPro, start recording. They're waiting, looking a bit purple on the edges. Never saw that before, get a good look so the monitoring team can analyse it later.
'Greetings, Friends,' I say carefully.
'Salutations, friends,' comes from the voder. This is so cool! Kerry is watching from the window, listening to everything. Addressing the aliens, I say, 'We can now communicate! I am happy!' We have to keep the words simple, until we build up more vocabulary.
'It is good,' comes from the voder.
'Yes,' I agree. 'I want to ask questions, is it good for you?'
'Yes, yes.'
Progress! Right, now just pull up the questions on my phone... 'Are you here to speak to us about your home world?'
'No.'
'Can you say why you are here?'
'Yes.'
The pause draws out... All right, this is going to take a bit of work. 'Why did you come?'
There is a confused gabble of words the AI doesn't know yet, then '... away from ngyushwa!x.'
'What is ngyushwa...'
'Bad.'
A chill runs up my spine. 'You go away from ngyushwak?'
'Yes.'
'Why?'
'Bad. Ships get broken, we come, away from bad people.'
Oh, crud. 'OK.'
I look at the window. Kerry says over the intercom, 'Next question.'
I look at the list. 'Can we speak about your ship, and find what it does?'
'Yes.'
Dammit, I'm going to have to ask my questions more carefully. 'How does your ship move?'
'We don't know.'
I look at the window. Everyone's sitting with a WTF face. 'Why...?'
'None are -' and another weird splash of consonants.
Kerry's voice comes over my intercom. 'I think he says "Engineers"'.
I look at my questions. I might as well throw them out, now. I key the intercom. 'So, it looks like they're refugees from space! And they don't know anything about their own ship.'
Then the walls shook; and the lights went out!


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The Decay of the old town

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When time was younger, I used to go into town.
There was so much there, in those days:
the busy bustle of profitable businesses. 
You took your chances, you took your rewards.

Now...
What used to go towards upkeep and safety
has vanished...

Into the bottomless pockets of the WaBenzi!

Johannesburg...
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