Flash Fiction Friday 018 – Cave Diving

The ship sailed low over the ground, its oraculum glowing faintly against the barren earth.

“You sure this is the right way? Thought the next farm was….nevermind. There it is,” Liam said as he adjusted course and allowed the vessel to drift towards the the gaping maw in the landscape. Once they were alongside it, Liam dropped anchor and turned towards Henri.

“Now remember lad, this place is still being seeded. Air’s gonna be a little thin. You start getting light headed, you come back.” Henri started to climb from the ship and down the ladder when Liam’s hand caught his shoulder. “One more thing. The oraculum can make some strange things when its getting started. You hear a skitter, you come back. We’re terraformers, not soldiers.”

“Yeah, yeah.. I got it pops,” Henri replied. Old timers always thinking just cause he was new, he was dumb.

As Henri descended the robe ladder and past the safety of wood and rune and into a world of stone and dark, he felt his breath catch. The change from the ship’s air to planet still got to him, even after all the training. Slowly, he started to climb down the maw and into telhe earth. Veins of green glow told him that the oraculum was settling in nicely to the area as they dove deep into the planet. According to his lessons, this area would be ready for a colony in six months and well on its way to self sufficient life.

Henri found a ledge about fifty meters down and settled himself on it for a little break. The walls of the cave were damp with dew, another good sign. On one end of the ledge, the glowing vein seemed to disappear around a bend. Rising to his feet, Henri followed the vein into a tunnel. He had to crutch as his fingers traced the element deeper into the bowels of the planet and he lost track of how long he had been following it.

Suddenly, he seemed to step into a vast cave. Oraculum veins and ore glittered silently above him like rainbow constellations. All about him, dark entrances and exits yawned their darkened mouths. He stood in the middle of the room transfixed, spinning ever so slowly as he took it all in when his ears caught the sound of skittering along one of the walls.

He stopped dead in his tracks. His heart pounded as he strained against the darkness. The skittering drew closer. It was accompanied by a low level keening that seemed to throb through the stone floors.

Henri ran towards on open mouth in the wall, following the faint green glow. The sounds of his heavy breaths and heavier pounding of feet drowned out the any sounds of pursuit. Several desperate minutes past before he slowed down. There didn’t seem to be a chase, but the vein he had followed also ended a few meters in front of him. Darkness loomed before him as he realized he chose the wrong tunnel. Frantically, he started to back track.

Up above, Liam leaned back and waited. After an hour, he noticed a small bundle under an empty bench that contained Henri’s guideline. He swore softly at both Henri failing to take it and his forgetting to check. They weren’t expected back for several hours, so Liam waited, hoping the rookie would find his way back. When his recall time came, Liam sighed and tossed the guideline into the maw. Raising anchor, he set sail for base. This was dangerous work and the empire had plenty of bodies.

D&D Story – The Rise of Rod Breaker

Weak Tooth grew up poor and on the fringes of society. Small for an orc due to his father’s human heritage, he was often excluded from other opportunities afforded to the full orcs of his tribe. With no outlet within society, he found meaning in the underbelly.

He roamed from town to town, an enforcer for a small gang who used his size and look to intimidate the locals and collect on debts. Then, on a particularly dark night, his gang convinced him to break down the door to a temple of Kelemvor. Unfortunately for him, the temple was host to a group of traveling paladins dedicated to the death god.

He managed to convince the paladins that he did not know it was a temple that he was breaking into. In truth, he really didn’t. Religion had very little appeal for those on the streets, and he lacked the education to understand the iconography of the building. The lead paladin took pity on him and only ordered him beaten severely, recognizing him for the simple creature that he was.

Ashvar gave him the option of a new path. He was given a new name, Rod Breaker, and taught the ways of the paladins of Kelemvor. Rod Breaker was then given arms and armor and set out into the world in order to gain strength and earn his place among the ranks of Kelemvor’s agents in the realm..

Ulrich – An Old English Style Epic

Over on Twitter (you can follow me @steelstashwrit1. Been a while since I promoted that), an auther (@ulzaorith) I follow posted some amusing definitions of various literature styles. This got my mind working and I thought it might be fun to try some of those styles out, especially since I am waiting for beta readers to get to me.

The first style is Old English. This style has a fair amount of alliteration and a somewhat poetic feeling. It also has a lot of Vikings which made sense since Old England also had a lot of Vikings. The stories of Old English tend to fall into two camps, religous and epic. Hopefully, I managed to be just epic enough.

Amidst the austere landscape he sat, watching
and waiting as the sun slipped past the shore.
In the deepening darkness, his mind
sought refuge from the demons.
Thrice they had traveled to his home.
Thrice they have trespassed against his people.

Screams shattered the peace of Ulrich’s
meditations with their savage fury.
He rose to his feet and ran towards
The raucous din of battle. Light flashed.
Along the ground, green flame burned
and snaked its way towards the walls.

With a barbarous bellow, Ulrich lunged
at the closest demon to him, a meaty
paw shoved into the mage’s maw, choking
off the prayer of power it
attempted to cast. Ulrich tore the jaw
from the invader, blood bathing
his chest in a crimson coat. The throes
of death where loud, but they failed
to mask the mob surrounding him.

“Thane!” a voice from the crowd called.
“Surrender and save your life.
We demand only five bushels of grain
plus ten silver for the mage you slew.”

“I am Ulrich! Son of Ulfinn!
I am the champion of Tyr!
Thrice I have slain your kind. Thrice
I have killed Pictusing pirates.
Who are you to make demands of me?”

“I am Galan, who raided the
city of Celcamoth, who razed the
fortress of Alba. Your village
is nothing to me but supplies.
Do not barter your breath for bread.”

Ulrich sneered at the crowd before him.
“Bold words for one who hides
like a sheep in the flock when
facing the wolf. Wrestle me like a man!”

Galan stepped forth and dropped his
hammer to the ground. The earth
shook from its weight. “As you wish
Ulrich, son of Ulfinn. Die as you see fit.”

The two men circled and stalked, each
sizing the other, studying how
the other moved. When they embraced,
the clap of hand on flesh was thunder.
The two men stayed locked, frozen in
effort. The moon rose with silvery
light while neither man was able
to oppress their opponent’s strength,
each holding the other still.

Ulrich smiled suddenly, slipping an
arm low. Galan was caught by
surprise as he was lifted
into the air. With a mighty heave,
Ulrich threw the Pictusing
into the village wall ten
feet away. Dust and debris
drifted down. Ulrich ran forward and
straddled Galan.

His formidable forearm fell
onto Galan’s chest. The crack of bone
Broke through the falling stones.
Galan wheezed with weak effort
to seize Ulrich, but the harder
he struggled, the deeper forearm and
bone shards drove. With a spasm of
pain and a racking cough, the speck
of blood on pursed lips heralded the end.

Ulrich rose and turned to face
the remaining Pictusings.
“Go now, and tell of the fall
of Galan. A mighty mountain thrown
to the earth. Mourn his passing
at my hand. Warn your brethren
to leave this village alone.”

The Pictusings fled Tyr’s
favored fighter. Ulrich turned to
the village gates and entered as
the scriba came out to inventory
the fallen foe for Lord Caesarium’s tax.
The Romulean would see to the
administration while the Thane
would see to a bath.

Let me know your thoughts. You have any old epics you enjoy? Tell me below. And as always, I mustache you to stay fantastical.