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And Death Makes Four He would describe himself as neither a tomb raider nor a thief, rather as a liberator of lost valuables for discerning clientele. This career is not without its risks, but the rewards usually outweighed them handsomely. It is perfectly suited to someone whose moral compass didn’t point true North and could be bribed to tweak the degrees further off. The man is greedy, but tissue is better at holding on to water than he is at holding on to his money. A week from now, he‘d planned on being several figures richer, regaling beguiling young women with (heavily edited and exaggerated) stories of his adventures on a beach in the Caymans. Tempting Fate, he booked his tickets in advance; they were non refundable. There is no treasure here. Griff’s vision reddens; fury seethes on a bridle, his tongue feels sharpened like a razor, words bubbling like acid with every passing millisecond, and willpower is steadily burning away. Suddenly, as if in an attempt to quell the bile, a memory surfaces of Griff’s mother admonishing him to say nothing if he had nothing nice to say, yet he usually found those so-called “Golden Rules” to be more like guidelines. However, they are no longer applicable if you are staring Death in the face, or to be more accurate, the startling lack of a face. Absorbed as they are in their miserable little world, neither Karl nor Lew notices the hollow eyed Psychopomp nonchalantly twirling His scythe. It can’t be — it isn’t — it must be a hallucination from the air quality down here, or some sort of psychotic break… Griff cannot find his mooring. He tries to reconcile what he sees with what he has always known to be true and not true in the real world, yet for all his explanations and reassurances, fear glues him to his spot and steals his voice. The Reaper stands in the corner, the polished white bones beneath the ebony suede hood bob slightly in his direction, offering him what he desperately hopes to be a sympathetic nod. Death, with a capital D, is inscrutable, partially due to the fact that skulls have a distinct lack of expression. Lower than a whisper, Griff can almost hear Him, a shiver on the edge of sound, { I have come for the culling } — he had been terribly wrong. Death’s scythe has an eye catching blade — metaphorically speaking — the metallurgic artistry of the otherworldly designs are most closely compared to Damascus steel: its mesmerizing colors and radiance ranging from astral luminescent platinum; polished slate grey and lusterless Stygian ripples that create waves and whorls; calm seas and tempests; a pattern as unique as a fingerprint, which He obviously does not have. Of course, Griff’s first thought was that the metal resembles the mythical swords on Game of Thrones, and it does a bit. Although, the patterns on their blades didn’t move like water, air currents, clouds and restless spirits as His does. There are phenomena that humans cannot see or appreciate with the naked eye or with mechanical assistance, and one of these is the edge of the Reaper’s scythe which He keeps keen enough to split a hair, an atom, and the soul of any living thing. The staff which the blade is attached to is made from a petrified apple tree, though, whether it was petrified before or after meeting Death is unclear as there are no records or other witnesses; He is laconic on a good day and the staff has nothing to say on the subject. However, it is decorated with glyphs and pictographs and runes, writing in countless languages spanning every culture across the globe from all of humanity’s first attempts at non spoken forms of communication, some long lost to time. The top is made of black walnut; it is carved in the shape of an hourglass, steel curving around the base of the upper and the lower bulb with a shell of diamond encasing each to contain the mercury within, banded with iron around the middle, engraved with strange letters, unknown to mortals. Crowning it are numbers, complicated equations and algebraic formulas not taught at any school. Truly, it is an archaeologist’s, mathematician’s and physicist’s dream, and a code-breaker’s nightmare, just not long ones. Casually, Griff investigates his pockets for coins; an electrified chill runs through him and sweat stings his eyes as his fingertips lightly graze its only contents, lint and dirt. Supernatural scapegoating is a practice which always amused and confused him in equal measure since he is not superstitious, nor had he ever been. Generally, he laughed at those who cross their fingers, knock on wood and waste perfectly good table salt, so obviously he absolutely did not believe in curses. He reminded himself that he did not believe in anything. The only thing I believe in is myself. Honestly, there is enough blame to go around for their predicament. Maybe if he just started smashing his head against the wall he’d make it through the other side… People always called him hard headed, but if nothing else the sound could be enough to drown out the insufferable squawking of his associates, if he was lucky. When was that ever the case? He feels a scream clawing up his throat. Self pity bringing him near the brink of tears, obstinacy and ire pulling him back. There isn’t even any damn treasure here! Just a pile of moldy, old bones. Unable and unwilling to contain it, he releases a bitter sigh, pouring as much of his frustration into it as he can, exhaling with unnecessary volume, but of course no one heard—with the exception of their party’s saturnine, eldritch, uninvited fourth member. He refused to call this a tomb simply because there are human remains here. They may not have been placed here for a burial, just someone who crawled in here and died. That thought hit much too close to home. Unfortunately, the situation is devolving badly in the fight between the two thirty year old children at the far side of the room. “Nuh-uh,” spat Lew. Karl, ever quick on the draw, was ready with a classic counter-attack. “Yeah-huh.” Those simple words spoken with all the vehement self-righteousness of a politician mid-scandal, the vitriol of the worlds smallest mob that only brought a third of the ingredients necessary for Molotov cocktails, and absolutely no irony whatsoever. Sadly for everyone involved the two men are evenly matched. Someone call a debate club, Griff thinks, a wry smile humorlessly twisting his features, only slightly veiling how apoplectic he truly is. Oh wait, there’s no cell service here because 3,000 year old walls aren’t always as collapse proof as one might have hoped. There may in fact be some value in his mother’s words after all. His heart hammers and his teeth grind as he considers this. Perhaps it would serve me well to keep my mouth shut. Then, a horrible feeling settles over him like a pall as he realizes that “nuh-uh” and “yeah-huh” or possibly even, “I know you are, but what am I” might be the last words he ever hears, and Griff looks up at Death, anxious for some sign of how much longer he must endure this mind-numbing, ulcer-inducing nightmare. Surprisingly, the antediluvian robed figure is standing stock still, except for His scythe that he turns slowly, inexorably clockwise, while appearing to examine the ancient wall art which depict scenes of people living in ecstasy and excess. Last month he’d seen nude goddesses, whose names he’s already forgotten, tiled in a Roman bath house — his business takes him to many exotic locales — however, here there was more of a `Last Night On Earth, Anything Goes And Is Highly Encouraged’ party motif. For the moment he and Death keep their eyes, and orbital sockets respectively, on the erotic work, though their thoughts differ more drastically than their visages. All things considered, it seems downright paradisiacal to the looter, especially since none of the revelers were imprisoned in a tomb of dead gods. Admittedly, Griff isn’t a religious man, not by a long shot; you might say he is a skeptic, apathetic with a dash of ignorance and sprinkling of pride; he has been whistling past graveyards since fifteen, and wears a smirk like a tailored jacket. He never believed in anything, not God or the Devil, and he certainly never believed in Heaven and Hell — but right now it was beginning to feel a little too hot. Shit, he thinks, I should have been a better person. How do ghosts get out of that whole “Eternal Punishment/Reward” deal, anyway? Not that I would want to spend my afterlife here with Thing One and Thing Two relitigating everything from whose fault this is to whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, the only correct answers being: yes, hell yes, or yippee-ki-yay-yes. Why did there have to be consequences for my actions? Hopefully my spirit would be free to travel, for multiple reasons, because there are a few people I can think of right off the top of my head who can use a world class haunting. Damn, that would be a sweet perk. While pausing to imagine the possibilities, he considers the cost and decides that little fantasy can wait at least until he is too old and feeble to enjoy his many others, because even with all of life’s problems, struggles and multitude of minor irritants, he enjoys living. With the millennia old tomb (home to generations of displaced bats, as well as various unidentified fungi) now sealed, the air is not only of poor to hazardous quality, it is also running out, which at the moment is the more pressing issue. Were my eyelids always this heavy, he wonders. Somehow the question seems to float inside him, before him, in his brain, manifesting in the dust motes; panic flares intensely for a moment, but the sleepier he becomes, the more it pales. Such a bizarre, passive feeling, everything is slower, no more adrenaline, no more tension. He ponders it, turns it around and around, and eventually he decides to name it Relief. There is a sense of serenity such as he hasn’t felt since he left home a day, a month, a year ago, he no longer remembers, and it strikes him that it does not matter. Time, he realizes with something akin to clarity, is a construct. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Filling the confined space are the severe echoing percussions of rocks crashing against rocks, over and over; it is almost rhythmic. Griff finds himself drifting further into sleep, yet he can swear he hears something familiar, deep and resonant like rolling thunder. Somewhere, in the increasingly comfortable fuzziness of his mind, he knows that it either means the obstruction is being vanquished and he will survive, or more rocks will come tumbling down and he will perish sooner rather than later. Either one of his fellow (mis)adventurers will wake him up, or Death will open his eyes in His signature, singular way. Griff is waiting for his next adventure, whatever that may be — in the meantime — he sits on a rock, his back against the painted wall in the home of dead gods, resting his eyes, sure that before long someone else will take the reins. He knows, he heard it as a whisper, a shiver on the edge of sound....
Empire of the CloudsIt was just another day in the service of the British Commonwealth. The alarm bells roused Midshipman Daniel Alfred Clarence from an absolutely smashing dream about that blonde girl he met in the Dog & Duck two nights earlier. Several minutes later, Clarence clomped onto the bridge of Her Majesty’s Airship Agamemnon. ‘Ah, Clarence, nice of you to join us,’ Chief Petty Officer McAdam grunted at him from the sensor station. ‘Sorry, Chief, couldn’t find me boots,’ Clarence said apologetically as he dropped into the fire-control position. ‘Why should the Commonwealth tremble, with young men like you watching our frontiers?’ Squadron Leader Chamberlain sighed from her position near the helm. ‘So for your information, Mr Clarence – and yours alone, since everybody else made it up here on time – we’ve had another report of an incursion, currently hovering behind a cloudbank somewhere over Bridlington. Fighters have buzzed it and confirmed that we have another air kraken on our hands. But because this one is over a populated area, it’s down to us to harpoon the bastard and tow it out to sea. Can’t very well have ten tons of flying calamari dropping onto a seaside town on a Bank Holiday Monday, now can we?’ ‘Have the bloody wizards been buggering around again, ma’am?’ Clarence asked. ‘Probably,’ Chamberlain said with a shrug. ‘That’s a problem for the Runners on the ground, not for a ship of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force. All we must do is play Captain Ahab. Full ahead, Mr Christian.’The enormous ducted fans running along the flanks of HMA Agamemnon responded to the helmsman’s touch, spooling up and accelerating the airship to her maximum speed of 90 miles per hour. The Achilles-class airship was the fastest in the RAF’s fleet, but nonetheless was ridiculously slow compared to fixed-wing aircraft. It was only their endurance of up to three weeks that made the things useful for oceanic patrol in the modern world. Well, that and hunting air kraken. And so the “Aggie”, as she was known to her crew, revved up to full power and headed due west to intercept the enormous hovering squid currently floating above the East Riding’s “premier” coastal attraction. [there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write...] The non-metallic nature of the air kraken made them difficult to track on radar, so an echolocation system like high-frequency sonar had to be used instead. While well above the threshold of human hearing, it had the side effect of driving dogs within a hundred miles completely gaga and would therefore be used sparingly. Especially if there was known to be a fox hunt on in the area. It wouldn’t do to send local Earl’s finest hounds running for cover, after all.Nevertheless, the Aggie was pinging away for all she was worth. Within the hour, Chief McAdam had a trackable signal and relayed this to S/L Chamberlain. ‘Reduce speed, Mr Christian,’ Chamberlain ordered, ‘and cut the locator, Chief. We’ll bring her in slowly and harpoon the bugger once we have a visual.’ Minutes later, the thing became visible through the front of the airship’s cockpit. It was hanging almost vertically above a solitary cloud, its tentacles curled up around it to keep it hidden. Despite seeming harmless, it could begin scooping food off the surface at any second. In this case, of course, food was people. Clarence occasionally wondered if the overuse of magic in their everyday life was to blame for things like the air kraken. The damn things were drawn to magic and modern society used it for everything, after all. All goods were magically assembled from base materials. Electricity was created by perpetual motion engines, miniaturised versions of the very thing that powered the industrial revolution. Hell, one of them was in the central gondola of the Aggie herself, providing power to her propellers and alternators. Was all this use of magic causing side effects they could not even begin to comprehend? Whatever, he thought. Such things were well above a midshipman’s pay grade. ‘Harpoon cannons aligned, skipper,’ Clarence reported to Chamberlain. ‘Ready to fire on your command.’ ‘In your own time, Mr Clarence,’ Chamberlain said, the monotony of this task clear in her voice.Two enormous rocket-propelled darts flew from tubes on the forward gondola’s flanks, trailing a thick cable that acted as both mooring rope and guidance wire to correct the harpoons’ trajectory. The things were originally intended for capturing opposing airships but were just as efficient at ensnaring kraken. The pair of harpoons plunged deep into the massive avian cephalopod, causing it to emit a surprisingly high-pitched squeal. It immediately began to release a cloud of water vapour, in exactly the same way its marine cousins would a cloud of ink.‘Full astern, Mr Christian,’ Chamberlain instructed her helmsman. ‘Let’s tow this bastard out over the sea where it can’t fall on anybody.’ The Aggie began to rumble as the six ducted fans spun in the opposite direction to normal. Slowly but surely, the airship began to draw the writhing aerial invertebrate away from Bridlington’s south beach and out to sea. [that’s another sentence I never thought I’d write...] The kraken, on the other hand, seemed to have its own ideas about this. Flinging its main arms out like kilometres-long mooring ropes, the beast managed to grab hold of one of the wooden groynes keeping the beach together. ‘Well that’s buggered it,’ Chamberlain grunted, as the sudden stop almost ejected her from her seat. Backwards. ‘Skipper, I’ve had an idea,’ Clarence piped up, only to earn a death stare from his commanding officer. ‘Mr Clarence, what have I told you about having ideas?!’ Chamberlain yelled at him. ‘But this is a good ’un, boss,’ Clarence maintained. ‘Watch this!’Underneath its central gondola, the Aggie’s main 4.5-inch gun slewed around, angled towards the surface and fired. This weapon was armed with a multitude of conventional and unconventional rounds, with the one Clarence had slotted into the breech falling firmly into the latter category. The shell burst over the beach, releasing a containerised spell that induced muscle spasm in whatever was within range. It was intended to be used to subdue ships for boarding, but nevertheless was able to induce enough cramp in the kraken that it let go. On the downside, it didn’t do wonders for the assembled sunbathers on South Beach.As the Aggie began to pull the floating cephalopod out to sea again, Clarence became aware of the five sets of eyes from the other bridge crew boring into him. ‘What?’ he eventually asked, defensively. ‘Put it on the list,’ Chamberlain said through clenched teeth. ‘Oh come on, skipper, that worked perfectly,’ Clarence grunted in protest. ‘Tell that to them hapless proles you just zapped with uncontrollable muscle spasms,’ Chamberlain replied. ‘Put. It on. The list.’ Clarence sighed, before reaching for a pencil and a hard-wearing notebook located underneath his console. Engraved into the front cover was the legend, “Things Midshipman Clarence Cannot Do In The RAF”.
The Age of ExtinctionAtlantean Iberia, 29,000 BCESkechan, of the Family Mious, looked on as her comrades piled corpses onto the pyre in the valley below her. As an officer, she was pardoned such grunt work. This was fortunate, since despite their clear inferiority, the idea of piling up thousands of Morics for cremation turned her stomach. It had been a long campaign, waged across the globe by four of the five of the Great Empires. Skechan was convinced that the Hivan empire had it easy. All they had to worry about were the relatively peaceful Sovans and the island dwelling Warjets, tiny creatures that were a mockery of the human form. The Morics, that infested Atlantean lands, were bigger and stronger than humans, and it was only Atlantean cunning that won the campaign. Similar problems were encountered by the Muan and Shant armies in suppressing the Olmec and Recku populations on their lands, respectively. Only Zelan had not partaken in this necessary barbarism, as they had no subhumans to suppress in their empire. They were lucky, to Skechan’s mind. This had been a generation-long holy crusade that had cost millions of pure human lives, but it was necessary.The five god-emperors that ruled the world had met, dozens of generations ago, to discuss the shape of things. Their religions were disparate, if all centred around the concept of a single Creator that fashioned the Earth, the Heavens and the other gods within their pantheons. That was something that united all humans. The subhumans, on the other hand, had no concept of religion, nor even higher reasoning. Whereas humans had developed bronze and similar metal alloys, the subhuman tribes were content with stone and wooden tools. Their crossbreeding with “normal” humans was considered an affront to human purity, as set out by the Creators. There would one day come a war, all the god-emperors knew, for the species’ very survival. And so they started that inevitable war on their own terms. A war of extermination of every subhuman species, before these species could kill them.Now, after almost twenty-three years, the Purity War was at an end. The last redoubt of the Morics, deep in the Iberian hinterland, had been overrun and the inhuman beasts slaughtered. None survived: not men; not women; not even children. Now they were all gone; and life could go back to normal. Whatever normal was, Skechan reflected, as in the valley below the enormous funeral pyre was ignited. Before the war, there had been very clearly defined roles within Atlantean society. Men fought and hunted; women farmed and raised both children and animals. It had been that way for generations upon generations, since before humans walked the Atlantean lands. It always reminded Skechan of a wolf pack: every member of a family had their role and fulfilled it for the betterment of all. The problem was, what was to be done now? The army was all Skechan had ever known. Before the massacre of the Tejus Valley, only men had been permitted to serve. When it became clear that fighting the Morics was somewhat more involved than simple pest control, the army took anyone willing to fight. So, she volunteered. The Mious family was a simple group of country subsistence farmers and, no matter the promises of Emperor Si’s social mobility projects, it was unlikely she would ever reach the cities and study for any sort of profession. Her lot in life had been to marry a boy from a family with good prospects so that they might unite their subsistence farms and work together, to make life for them just that little bit better. If the old ways were forced back on them, it was all Skechan had to look forward to. As the smoke from the pyre wafted towards her, stinging her eyes, Skechan knew that she could not go back to that life. No, she would not go back to that. She would not bear young and milk goats for a man that spent his days either tending fields or hunting boar; a man she did not know and could not love. The war had changed society, perhaps irrevocably. Were they still the same people? Would the god-emperors now squabble amongst themselves again, over land, money or religion? Would she be permitted to remain in service, only to face the battle-hardened legions of Shant or Hiva along their mutual land borders? Or worse – be banished to the frozen north, standing guard over endless glaciers for a Hivan invasion that would never – could never – come over the northern pole?What was left for her now? With the blood of so many on her hands, was she even the same person anymore? And what place did she even have in Atlantean society?
Of Blood and FireThe fires in the valleys below cast a dull glow over the stone walls that towered into the black clouds. Narrowed eyes watched the smoke rising, slender fingers moving slowly as black mist curled between them. The screams were faint as they echoed towards the ledge that the woman stood on, but one could just hear them over the hot wind that blew over the cliffs edge. Blood dripped from the deep cut on her lip, injury going ignored as she observed the carnage below. “How utterly unsurprising that I would find you here, gloating over your handiwork.” She wheeled, watching as a black cloaked man stepped out from the shadows of the cave leading to her post, his words laced with disgust. “Come to observe what success looks like Lord Jeshau? It has been a while since you’ve had the privilege to see it up close.” Her words were honeyed, mouth curving into the slightest of smirks.Silver hair glinted in the dull red light as he pulled his hood back, glancing down over the fires below. Each step towards taking the stronghold had been bitterly fought for, anything to stop the uprising of the Earthborne. Their lands above had been united, there was little glory left to find. So they had come below, to the planes of the underworld for their next conquest, strange magicks ignored in the centuries before as they laid claim to land along the edges. “Ah yes, the success of a stronghold burning to the ground. What a stunning accomplishment Morgana, capturing a city already being destroyed to prevent us from gaining one of the capitols.” Jeshau needled, sneering at the sights below. “Tell me, what will the emperor think of this loss?”Her lip curled into a sneer and she swept out a hand to gesture at the fires below. “This stronghold would have been doomed no matter who led the assault on their defences. If I recall correctly, you could not even pass their first wave. We lay waste to their precious homes, what is left has been fortified to withstand war and it is with that we shall rebuild. To weak to sacrifice themselves for the preservation of their secrets, we have many a hostage awaiting His Glory’s arrival.” She bit back, the short fuse of her temper already having run out with just a few short words.She saw the victory in his eyes, and he crossed his arms.“Who was it that caught some of those fleeing the city through their tunnels? Your show of force through those walls did not successfully capture the commanders, I did.”“A truly stunning way to say that you didn’t have the strength to hold the offence. How proud the emperor must be, to know one of his ‘elite squadrons’ was useful for little more than capturing fleeing Earthborne.” Morgana taunted, enjoying the way his smile faded into a snarl.His expression was dangerous as he began a leisurely advance, Morgana saying nothing but raising her chin in challenge. She could feel the magic that radiated off him as he finally came to a stop in front of her, close enough for his breath to just barely reach her. “I could end this competition right here, right now. A single push, that would be all it would take. High enough up to look like an accident, there would be no one left to challenge me for the position of commander.” He murmured, his threat delivered as a taunt.She surveyed him for a moment before reaching out, slender fingers trailing up over his arm to come to rest against the back of his head as she pulled him down closer to her. She tilted her head, a slow grin forming as fangs flashed.“Then do it. If I managed to fail such a simple escape, I’ll be taking you with me. I won’t be losing to you darling, not now, nor ever.”His gaze was unbroken as he watched her, before letting out a low laugh as a hand settled possessively on the small of her back. He took a step back from the edge, pulling Morgana along with him as they moved further onto the black stone.“Now where would the fun be in that. Both our names tied to failure, left behind in the dust of the next war. No, not yet. I wish to see each and every earthborne fallen at our feet.”At his words her expression darkened slightly, Morgana smoothly twisted from his grip approaching the small crevice against the cliff wall near the cave entrance. Reaching within she grasped one of the many tubes within, withdrawing it to reveal parchment encased in glass. “What do you have there?” Jeshua questioned as Morgana withdrew the parchment within and unrolled it.“Declaration of the emperor.” Morgana responded, “One that went out to a restricted number of captains tasked with front line assault.”His expression twisted in displeasure, he could tell by the colour of the seal it was not something he had been privy to. “I suppose it gives you great amusement to find yourself in possession of chosen knowledge?” He bit out, Morgana ignoring the opening his words left her.“If it’s contents offered me any sort of joy I just might. As it happens, I find our newest direction repulsive to what I am here to fight.”He took the orders from her outstretched hand, eyes scanning it’s contents quickly before with a series of curses he shoved it back into her palm.“To integrate the Earthborne, because they have become accustom to our environment. He wishes for us to show mercy to them and their spawn?!”The parchment crumpled in her hand, blackening with magic.“He has entered into negotiations with the Earthborne, discussions of allowing their kind to settle amongst ours. The emperor is growing soft, swayed by the exotic gifts offered by those who would take our lands and home from us for the sake of war glory. Giving away pieces of these planes even after all that has been done."Rage burned in Jeshau’s eyes and he watched as Morgana dropped the order of mercy, parchment becoming dust under her boot as she twisted her foot.“He would call for our mercy after our sacrifice, how very Earthborne.” He spat the name like a curse, poison dripping from his words. “Wishing to save them and their homesteads.”Morgana said nothing, but approached the cliffs once more. The wind blew the smoke away, allowing them to see the outline of the blazing buildings that stretched across the city.“Is this not beautiful?” She breathed, “Their presence burning into ash. This to be our legacy, one he seeks to silence.”She felt his approach, him hovering at her back so close they were nearly touching. He leaned his head down, breath ghosting along her ear.“A legacy of blood and fire, this is your desire?”The flames reflected in her eyes and she smiled, the expression chilling in it’s joy.“The emperor may have his gifts, but we shall take our victory. There is no peace, not until we see every last Earthborne dead in the ashes of their cities.”Without warning she was spun to face him, his eyes glittering with reckless abandon.“Are you proposing an uprising? To turn the darkness against it’s ruler?” He purred, “You could serve as my right hand.”“I do not bow.” She said slowly, sweetly, her smile betrayed by the venom in her eyes.Morgana reached up, hand closing around his throat. Her nails pressed into his neck, leaving crescent indents on scarred skin, but Jeshau only laughed. A thumb ran lightly over her lip, swiping over the cut in its path. As he pulled away she could see her blood on his skin, Morgana gesturing to it. He only raised a brow, bringing it to his mouth and licking it away.“You may not, but the emperor will. He has forgotten our place in this world, it is time to remind him.”The bloodlust danced in Morgana’s eyes and with one last look below she turned on her heel and stalked towards the caves.“The soil shall run red under the Earthborne.”Jeshau only smiled at her words, cloak billowing as he followed her into the darkness.Smoke hung heavy in the clearing they left behind, their magic lingering within the fire’s aftermath. A new war was brewing, one fuelled by the hunger for carnage. Yet, in that moment things held still, unchanging, the last moment of normality ticking away into nothingness.Above it all the silence reigned, only disturbed by echo of softest screams.
A lesson about fearI thought I came here to be taughtHow to deal with pressureInsteadI realize with horrorI'm here to learn of fearIts raw energyBuried deep within my veinsSaturatingMy every molecule of bloodI came to read the treesTheir ancient messageOf being tied down in one placeSeemingly a slaveFor a long time nowI thought I was a treeBut today I recognizeThat maybe I'm an eagleSoaring the skies freeOr maybe I’m the ocean wavesCrashing my mass carelesslyInto the sharp rocks aheadOr maybe I am simplyHumanThere are three kinds of peopleThose who knowThose who want to know but haven't found out how toAnd the last kind aggressiveIgnorant toBeing equal to all aroundAnd so they fight and shoutMaking us run overloadedToday I knowIt's pointless to try to change themWasteful to play their gamesYou wouldn't throw yourself uselesslyAgainst a hill to move itAll there is to do, reallyIs accept that they areThat it's up to them to wake upThat their poisonIs no reason to be afraidThe trees also let them pass by, simplyAllowing themselves to beIncompatibleIgnoring the occasional breaking of a twigThis is their lesson about fear- simply don't have itSpread your roots wherever you likeGrow your green bark as you likeUntil it hardens with wisdom of the years(You're never truly in control of anything)You won't be standingYou will not be chainedYou move as you please, into your own shapeOnly very slowlyA part of a larger wholeI came here for the trees to teach meBut why would the world want to teach?Now I know one has to learnBy herself, from whatever is offeredBy chanceI see lightningBut it's beauty is not there for meI'm warmed by the sun appearingBut it doesn't move for meIn the world the concept of teaching has no meaningFor everything is already knownIt is my mind that is foreignTrying to formalize thatWhich cannot be captured by mere wordsToday I got ready
Concrete Poetry and Visual Lit
Love Travels by KimberlyJolanda
Leaving My Regards by KimberlyJolanda
Flightless Bird by KimberlyJolanda
Vulture by Lycaenyx
Foreign Language Lit
First Chapter Library
Chaptered Stories
Book Covers so far by ShineEternal
The Heart of The Forest 2.05 by TheShadowsCrew
Fan Fiction
A Day at the Reaper Dispatch Office"Grell, pick that up for me, would you?"Grell raised her impeccably plucked brows in disbelief. The object in question lay halfway across the room under a desk, where it had landed when she dodged it a moment before. She glared at the speaker, who had also thrown the projectile.The problem with Alan, Grell reflected, was that he looked so damn innocent. The sad eyes and youthful features half-hidden behind a wispy fringe of soft brown hair made him seem almost angelic (that is, if you had never met an actual angel. Grell hated angels). He was the polar opposite of Eric, his usual partner. Eric looked edgy, intimidating. Some of the new recruits would be a little scared of him at first. But once you got to know him, Eric proved to be polite, soft-spoken, and easy-going, and while he kept everyone at arm's length (except Alan, of course), he was friendly and easy to talk to. In fact, the only time Eric really got testy was when he and Alan were quarrelling like an old married couple. You'd never guess that it was Eric’s babyfaced counterpart that you had to worry about. But even once you knew Alan was a snarky little shit, he was almost impossible to read at a glance. Right now, those tragic, heartbreakingly weary eyes were focused on Grell earnestly."I'm sorry, you threw this at me and now you want me to go fetch it? Like a dog?" Grell snarled.Alan's lips curled in the faintest hint of a wry smirk, despite the pale, drawn quality of his face. It was clearly a bad day for him. He probably didn't have that many good days left before the pain of the Thorns was constant, inescapable. "I’m sick. I’m dying, remember?"Grell glanced at the offending object on the floor. It was one of those stupid stress toys where if you squeezed it, it stuck out its tongue and squeaked. It lay there, as seemingly innocent as its owner, beside a dust bunny. She looked back at Alan. His expression remained the same, quietly pleading, with just the slightest smile.Grell knew perfectly well that no matter how much pain Alan was in, if he were talking to Eric, he'd be loudly protesting that he didn't need any help. He'd get his idiotic toy himself if he had to crawl across the floor on his hands and knees.She bared her shark-like teeth at Alan.Alan merely looked back mildly."Woof," Grell muttered defiantly, and went to go fetch.
Non-Fiction - Educational and Factual


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Hello, all. It has been quite some time. Between the current nature of the world, Eclipse, and a lot of life...things, I have not had the ability to really be on deviant Art on any capacity outside of NaPoWriMo once a year. :no: At any rate, I've been able to bring myself back to this site despite it being what it is now, due to Eclipse. I was a bit surprised to find that people were still attempting to submit to the gallery, and asking about the future/state of the group itself. I didn't realize that the other previous owner had left dA, and there were no admin so ownership is now to me.
That said, I would like to revive this group. I enjoyed it as a member, and as an admin -- and there is clearly SOME interest at least. I think with the state of the lit community, we need any active group we can get. I will at least get gallery things reset, etc so people can go back to submitting. I will update the submission rules and post a journal to refresh everyone up on that. I'm finishing things up over at @NaPoWriMo so expect this to be happening either over the weekend or next week, as I have my hands full over there right now. As for the Weekly Round-Ups, I think I will do those two -- once a week on a specific Day (Wednesdays probably for the sorta-kinda alliteration). Beyond THOSE things, I can't say. We used to do contests, critique things etc from what I remember, but I know the lit community is not what it was like pre-Eclipse. If there is decent activity I'd be more than happy to bring more to this group.
Note: For the non-expired submission requests, I have approved those. If you can, hold off on submitting more (I'll try to catch what I can) until I've updated the rules and posted a new journal.
But for now, that is what we will do going forward :)
Talk soon
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Evometheus6082 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2021  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter…

We are looking for animators and writers
PoeticEden Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2020  Professional Writer
*sigh* out of all the groups on DA, this one was the one to introduce me to the lit community and get me excited to read/share poetry. Really is a shame that it's wasting away.
No hate intended btw. Just genuinely sad about my favorite corner of DA.
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2020   Writer
Is anyone home here? I have two pieces up for consideration that have been there since August 29. Now it's Sept. 23. Am I not waiting long enough? Just thought I'd check. I like this group and wouldn't want to disappear. Thank you!
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Glad to know this group is still active. It’s one of the most organized groups on here. 
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We still active?
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