The beginning of Thrash…unedited, incomplete…

It was the absolute worst of times, a time of war, of sorrow and regret, of wounded and dying, and I stood amid it all. A lone man caught up in the razing of his countrymen, killing those who opposed their government, and ransacking the corpses of those who dared to think for themselves. To my friends and enemies I am known as “The Corpse Eater.”

“Let go of what you can’t control,” my father had said. “There are things that’s not yours to handle.” I hadn’t listened then, and I wasn’t listening now. 

The whine of bullets passing overhead, along with rocket fire and incoming mortar rounds brought me out of my daze. 

“Get behind cover, idiota!”

Behind me, a line of bullets impacted against the portion of wall left standing after the air force had bombed these new ‘bad guys’ into oblivion. Granted, our new enemies were American citizens, those who refused to bow to the incessant demands of our ‘betters.’ 

“Buy this, do that, don’t say that, hate these people,” it wouldn’t stop. The media played the narrative until people believed the lie, and then, they sicced these rabid dogs upon their own, all while they cannibalized the remains of those they despised.

The media kept the lies churning, unrelenting in their quest for complete and total domination of those they hated. Until this moment, I had believed in the ‘righteousness’ of the cause. America had need of its sons and daughters to stand firm in the belief that censorship and government rule was needed. 

We the people are too stupid to figure out what is best for our lives, therefore, we need the government to rule over us.

I had believed that with such fervency the radicals thought me a fanatic. ‘A true believer, that one,’ an old man had said before I shot him between the eyes. Then, I shot his wife, kids, their kids, and even their dog.

There was no room for dissension. No room for freedom of expression, unless of course you agreed with the majority. If you disagreed or refused to have your life upended for no reason, then you had to die. 

Years passed, and I became disillusioned with the game. My dreams of blood, of the taut, wide-eyed rebels we had hunted until we broke the back of the rebellion, never ended. Their screams echoed throughout my mind constantly. My sleep schedule broken, my hallucinations occurred with frequency, and my mind and body neared a complete breakdown. 

One rebel had dared speak to me, and he had asked, “what is your name?” 

“Thrash,” I responded, and then I shot him in the head.  At the time, I thought nothing of it. He was a rebel, and I was hired to kill rebels. Still, his question had lingered in my mind for a while after killing him. Now, I saw him everywhere I looked. 

I had never told anyone my name before. As far as I knew, I had no last name. No one had ever asked me for my name. My mom had told me when I turned six years old, “Trash, keep your name to yourself. Names have power. Remember son, you’re one letter away from Trash.”

Both my parents were rebels. I turned them in when I was nine years old. An old man, Tank, made me watch as he killed my parents.

“This is how you kill those who’d stand against us. Watch, boy.”

Tank pulled a Ka-Bar knife from its sheath and slit the throats of my rebellious parents. After disposing of my parents, Tank handed me the knife. “A bullet is to clean of a death for traitors, boy. From now on, you do your own killing.”

I’d been killing since then. Tank taught me the fine art of blade work, how to prolong the suffering of traitors, how to clean and keep my kit in top-shelf condition, Tank became a father figure to me. Right up until he started a new rebellion.  That’s why we’re here. The Government homed in on Tank’s Headquarters and sent me along with a platoon of hardened killers, to root out the rebellion once and for all. 

Welcome to the Suck.

Today’s snippet of Rianna’s Tearful Chalice…unedited…

“Herein lies the body of Commander Helga Twinhammers. She of the Legions of Haskel, victor over countless foes in the Rematching, and esteemed leader of our last stand. We fought the goblins and trolls for sixteen days, and took losses every day, but her faith held.”

The letter continued. “Onward! Push them back!” We joined her at the front, screaming, cursing, and slashing our foes. Arrows deflected off the iron-like skin of the trolls, but Helga would not quit. I watched in stunned silence as she ran up a walkway and leapt onto the back of a troll. The troll roared in frustration and began to spin in dizzying circles. Helga held up and calmed it by driving her dagger through the soft flesh of its skull.

I continued to read of the exploits of this now deceased warrior. Everyone else scavenged for items we could use on our journey. The bloody letter continued.

“Day 17: I, Joshnuel of Clan Lokvari, woke to the news of Helga Twinhammers passing. Mourning sounds came from all camps. Soldiers, berserkers, and other hard men sobbed like broken boys. I feared my tears would soon join theirs. Our commanders wept in front of us, and the roar of goblins filled our halls. Our sorrow would have to wait.

Dwarves pounded on the breastplates and banged swords against shields, and our chants drowned out our approaching death, “Blood in, blood out.” This became our mantra, our code. It was time to give the devil his due.

Only smudges of the letter remained, but some of it could be read: Goblins are everywhere, as if they were bred last night to replace the losses, we inflicted upon them. Massive man-beasts leads them, beasts with bloody faces and teeth…they’re too strong…

…forgive us, Helga. We can’t defeat them…

Run, fools…

A snippet from Rianna’s Chalice…unedited…

While we moved on toward our goal, Schimel was regaining the use of his scorched vocal cords. His speech had improved in clarity, for a few sentences, and his eyes had begun to form anew. Jasmine cleaned his remaining burns, and she smiled when she noticed the first few sprigs of hair that peppered his burnt head. 

He was getting better every day, and soon they would be able to leave this cave in search of his heart’s desire.

Schimel had gathered enough strength to sit up. His epidermis had healed enough, and his internal organs had recovered enough functionality that he could sit for an hour at a time. He still needed rest, but he felt like he was growing stronger. Soon, he and Jasmine would leave Sylvania’s Tomb. The hunt for the Chalice continued. 

His eyes and mouth had fully formed, and he could issue orders to the Shunned Dwarves. He’d called a meeting with the remnant left and he’d given them a choice. 

“Join forces with me or die like Bloodhammer.”

Jasmine had smiled at the directness. None of the remnants had turned away his hand of friendship. Even now, the dwarves began to build armor, weapons, and prepared to march in service to their liege. 

Soon, the Chosen and whomever sided with them would be given the same ultimatum. 

Join or die.

An update on Rianna’s Chalice…unedited…

The fantasy novel is going well. I crossed 21,000 words this morning. Jayce Wellspring and his companions are on the road to high adventure. Literally. They find themselves in Bhal Dahrim.

It’s strange how this story has come together. I hope to share the completed draft with you all soon. Who knew drafting a futuristic novel was such fun? I’m trying to add as much fun into the story as I can, and I am borrowing from years of gaming experience to complete it.

Take care and be safe out there.

Freeman

Rianna’s Tearful Chalice…a new portion of the story…NaNoWrimo Summer Camp Project…17, 000 words in…unedited…

We hadn’t gone more than a dozen steps when the alarms began to ring. Tomak threw his arm forward and shouted, “Run!” Without hesitation, the party charged forward. Out of the shadows, black clad dwarves stepped out and blocked our progress. Hekla shouted out her berserker fury and swung her hammer into the side of the head of a Shunned dwarf. 

Blood and brain exploded out the side of his head. I pulled Malice into my shoulder and let my bolts fly. Tomak, a blade in each hand, sliced and slid away. He was here one moment and gone the next. 

Ria chanted and floated off the ground. She had her eyes closed tight, her hands tilted palms upward, and balls of fire floated around her. When she opened her eyes, fire crashed all around us. It consumed our enemies, and Ria slumped to the ground.

“We’ve gotta move,” I snarled. “Everybody and their mother heard that.”

A snippet of Rianna’s Chalice. The month-long challenge continues…unedited…

We left at first light, our eyes affixed on our purpose, to find the Chalice and set the world right. Or something like it. Ria had stayed awake the entire night with me, two lost souls seeking answers to the plethora of questions that haunted us. When I asked her why she did not sleep, she replied, “There’s plenty of time to sleep. I want to see the moon in all its glory, and the sun when it rises from its bed.”

Rianna’s Tearful Chalice…a piece of writing for the NaNoWriMo Summer Camp…unedited…

Malice, my crossbow was stuffed in on top of my clothing, bolts of all types were packed away in the pockets of my pack. An Old Earth KA-Bar knife filled out the rest of my kit. I strapped it to my waist and looped a piece of 550-parachute cord through the sheath and around my quadriceps.

So far, I’d been able to engage my targets with Malice, but you never knew when the enemy might get close to you, and you would need a sharp piece of metal to cut your enemy’s heart out.


Hekla looked at the blade on my thigh. She was a warrior through and through. It didn’t matter that she carried a hammer bigger than she was, nor did it matter that she could one-shot almost any enemy we faced. I had a blade, and she wanted to look at it. She unsnapped the loop that held the blade in, and she pulled the knife free. Hekla ran a finger over the flat side of the knife and said, “Hmm, it’s primitive but sharp. I like it.”


When Hinkey had died, I found his blade and kept it, instead of turning it in with the rest of his gear. He didn’t need it anymore, and I didn’t need two knives. I took it out and looked at it. Hinkey had signed his name on the sheath in hot pink letters and had added glitter to it. The silliness of it made me chuckle. Hekla put my blade in my sheath and secured it. I handed her my friend’s blade, and said, “Here’s to new friends, Hekla. Hinkey would be pleased if you have it.”


“Friends?”


“Yeah, friends. We’re going into the unknown, and you didn’t hesitate to join up with me. That makes us more than friends, it makes us family.”

Hekla swallowed hard and for a brief second, her eyes shimmered. Then, she gave me a hard look and said, “Someone has to keep you from killing yourself.” I slapped her on the back, and she tightened up. Her eyebrows furrowed, and I said, “That’s for almost breaking my back the other day. You remember, right? Out in the Bloodless Sands?”


Her frown disappeared, and she laughed. Hekla wagged a finger at me and retorted, “When you were daydreaming while I killed Calderon? You needed more than one crack to the head, Jayce.”


“You’re forgetting something, Hekla. You were a blue dwarf, a Smurf on Old Earth, from all the lighting pulsing through your body. My shot gave you an opening.”


“That’s true. We make a good team, Jayce.” Hekla grabbed my forearm and squeezed, and I returned the grasp. “Yeah, we do. I appreciate what you’ve done for me, my friend.” Hot tears filled my eyes, but I blinked them away. I had seen many people die during our short war, and the loss of Hinkey still weighed on my mind, but here in this new timeline, on this new planet, I had found a friend.


Ria came in, her pack slung over her shoulder, and she asked, “Are you both ready to get underway?”


“Yes,” Hekla responded. “We’re ready when you are, Ria.”


“Then, let us leave.”


Tom had drawn three mounts from the stables. Ria and Hekla mounted up with a flourish, and I waited until they were underway before I climbed up. The girl was no longer lying on the mixture of hay and manure.

My mouth tightened into a hard line, and I gave Tom a nod. He nodded back, a single tear ran down his cheek, and I rode away. Things were different here, but Death had the same sting here that it did back on Old Earth.


No amount of time could fill the void left by loss.

NaNoWriMo Summer Camp…Day 3…A piece of my current WIP…unedited…

“Jayce? Can you hear me? Jayce.”

I closed my eyes tighter and rolled over onto my right side. The voice became clearer. It wasn’t angry like a drill sergeant, or manipulative like a narcistic lover, it was sweet like honey and as melodious as your favorite song. 

“I hear you,” I mumbled. 

A hand touched my shoulder. I turned around and opened my eyes. The most beautiful Elven stood next to my bale of hay, and she smiled at me. Her green eyes shimmered in the low light of the stables. 

“You must find the Chalice. Our lives depend on it. Seek the Chalice.”

I blinked and tried to sit up. A soft but firm hand touched me. I looked into the eyes of the slave girl. She gave me a sad smile.

“It’s okay, monster hunter. You’re okay.”

“What is going on? What time is it?”

She sighed and said, “It’s early afternoon. Your keeper is getting hammered at the bar with Kegger. I heard you muttering out here.”

“Where’s the Elf?”

The slave girl turned and looked around the stables, so did I, but no Elf was anywhere to be seen. She shook her head and giggled. Her laugh sounded like dry bones rubbing against one another. 

“There’s no Elves here, monster hunter. They’re far too rigid for such a common place. Although, Frez Schimel comes by sometimes, and Aston. You met him last night.”

“Yeah, I remember.”

She gave me another sad smile and nodded at the straw mixed with the manure of the beasts. “I better lie down before Kegger decides it’s time for me to return to work.” She turned to walk away, but I took her by the hand.

“I’m done sleeping. Rest here, you deserve a good sleep. Besides, I broke it in for you.”

“Okay,” she murmured. “Thank you.”

“Of course. I will see you later.”

The waif climbed onto the bale of hay, and soon was snoring. The beasts chuffed and swished their tails. I took apart Malice and cleaned my weapon. Then, I cleaned the arrows. 

This was my job now, and I had to make the most of my equipment. I took the stone in my hand and glanced at it. Yet another thing I had no idea about, I realized. KA-87 was a cashless society. Instead of currency, jewels were used as payment. The Righteous Dwarves owned 57% of all mines that dotted the planet, but The Stranged demanded 65% in taxes. 

Even twenty thousand years in the future, the government hadn’t learned to live within their means. It didn’t surprise me in the least, there would always be those who preyed on the bones of the weak. The government whether humans, Dwarven, Elven, or some other species not yet discovered, always had their greedy hands out.

I dusted myself off and walked toward The House of The Wolves. Human slaves worked the grounds. Dwarves guarded them. The Dwarves left the slaves alone unless the slaves rebelled. Then, the Dwarves would crush as many as needed to quell the rebellion. 

Still, if the slaves remained docile, the Dwarves were content to leave them alone. It had something to do with having shared features. Either way, the Dwarves seemed mostly a ‘live and let live’ sort of folk. 

A small portion of Rianna’s Chalice…Day Two…unedited…

Midtown Grove was in the middle of Voliguard. It was unlike any other district of the city. Expansive gardens and paths were carved throughout the district, tall shrubberies and other foliage dotted the landscape.

It was as if someone had found the only place on KA-87 that allowed anything to grow. They hadn’t. Instead, the entire place was an elaborate hoax. The shrubbery along with everything else was an illusion. 

As Helka and Jayce walked through the area, Helka brought Jayce up to speed. She turned to him and said, “It’s rumored, no one knows for sure, but Arn Two-Hammers developed this city. During a feast, he declared this city monotonous. The Elves created the illusions you see here to break up the sameness of the city.”

“Huh,” Jayce responded. 

“You’re not impressed?”

“Eh, it’s fine. I guess.”

“Why do you not like the story?”

“Because humans are the same way, I reckon. We’re never satisfied with how things are, and constantly want to change things we don’t like.”

“Such as?”

“Our bodies, cities, homes, anything. Nothing is off limits.”

“Hmm,” Helka responded, her brow furrowed underneath the weight of her thoughts. Jayce glanced at her. At no time had the dwarf exhibited an ability to consider matters on a deeper level. This new development startled him. 

They came upon a modest home complete with a shed that sat off to the left of the main building. Helka came to a stop at the end of the walkway.

“We’re here. Kegger sent a courier out here last night and informed the owner to vacate the area.” She lifted the massive warhammer and held it by the end of the handle. “I’m going through the front door of the shed. You take the high ground and cover me.”

Jayce gave her a nod and surveyed the area. Just like on Earth, the shed came with a loft. He pointed at it, and Helka nodded. She waited until I began to climb to the loft before she opened the door. 

Howls, maddening howls cut the early morning air as the door swung open. In the semi-darkness, I saw red eyes. I brought Malice up and took aim when underneath him he heard another roar.

It was Helka. Her war cry sounded throughout the shed, and Jayce let an arrow fly. The air struck true, and Helka charged into the fray. Wolves, not the small type from Earth, massive, slobbering hounds, with blood covered fangs bared, leapt toward Helka. 

I let Malice sing. I unleashed six arrows, each one slamming into the side of the Alpha. Helka slammed a broad shoulder into one wolf and sent it flying. A dull thud, followed by a sickening crunch of the hammer caving in the head of another sounded throughout the barn. While Helka spun the hammer in a wide maneuver, the Alpha circled to her open back. 

As it leapt at Helka, its mouth wide for Helka’s neck, I fired an arrow that buried into the head of the wolf. It crashed to the earth and landed at the feet of Helka. Blood covered her face, a wild grin spread across her face as she looked at the arrow that protruded from the skull of the animal.

She lifted her eyes toward the loft and gave me a nod. I nodded back and climbed down to join her. Helka extended her hand toward me. “That’s good shooting,” she shouted, slamming her hand on my back. “Dang good shooting, Jayce. I’d been a goner if you hadn’t struck him in the head.”

Helka handed me a blade. It was made of a black stone-like material, its craftsmanship unequalled by anything I’d ever seen before. “Here,” she said, as she thrust the blade toward me. “You’ve earned this. It’s from the war. The metal is made from bloodstone from the Bloodless Sands. I don’t know this for a fact, but they say it never grows dull.”

“Um, thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Jayce. You killed the Alpha, take his head as a trophy.”

“Why, what’s the point of that?”

She laughed and slammed another heavy hand into my back. “Proof, trainee. You must show proof the deed is done. Take his head.”

I cut the head off the Alpha and put it into my pack. We walked out of the shed, the family that issued the contract stood on the stoop of the house and watched us leave. Helka tossed a wave at them, and together we headed back to The House of The Wolves. 

NaNoWriMo July Camp…Project: Rhianna’s Chalice…unedited…

Good afternoon.

I am trying to prepare myself for NaNoWriMo’s July Camp. As usual, I am behind on my preparations. This time, I figure I will work on Rhianna’s Chalice, since I did not complete it last year.

There is something strange about the story, and it hinders me from completing it. For a guy that posts ‘inspirational’ posts on Instagram, and writes ‘motivational’ posts on his blog, I give up in a hurry sometimes.

So, I figured, why not write this, and talk it out with you all.

The Shunned Dwarves are um, looters, criminals, and outcasts. They can sell goods to the Righteous Dwarves but are unable to enter the cities. All items sold are made outside of the city in an ‘open air’ type of market. The Shunned are allowed no contact with their Righteous family members.

The Righteous Dwarves are snobs. They live in the underground cities of Bal Dahrim, Vernruhm, and Hil Wohrum. Bal Dahrim is governed by Brynja of Clan Lonvari. Vernruhm by Brewmaul of Clan Salmumin Flaskview. Hil Wohrum by Galina of Clan Hokul Cavebender. Renowned for their craftsmanship, they share power with The Elven. They are one-half of The Council. The Righteous Dwarves oversee the economics of Planet Fargard.

The Elven are humanoid type creatures capable of magic. They share power with the Righteous Dwarves and make up the second half of the Council. They are elitist snobs and consider themselves superior to all other races. The Elven are advisors, councilors, politicians, and share status and rank in the military with only The Righteous Dwarves.

Rhianna’s Chalice is the mythical flagon which contains the tears of the universe. Once filled, it overflows causing a catastrophic event which ends life as we know it. It is prophesied only ‘The Chosen’ can save the universe from complete annihilation.

Jayce Wellspring is a monster hunter and prophesied ‘Chosen One’ to save the universe from decimation. Except, he doesn’t give a crap about what happens to the universe, or to the people that corrupt it.

So, as you can see, I have my work cut out for me. I’m not a ‘fantasy’ writer by any stretch of the imagination, although, I’m looking forward to working on it. A month is a long time, and I am sure to learn something.

I’m open to all sorts of advice, so if you have any, drop me a line at lfj7371@rantsandravingsbyamadman.blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

Freeman

P.S. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite…hard…or often…