Naval battle of beasts. (Image prompt)
I stared into the darkness, forcing my eyes open despite the rain lashed into them. We had extinguished every light to keep us hidden, but our foe wouldn’t lose us so easily. Behind me, men with axes chopped away the wreckage of a broken mast and its rigging. The ship writhed beneath my feet as the dead weight broke loose and slid into the ocean.
“Watchmen, an extra half-share to the man who calls him before I do.” I had to shout to be heard, but I kept my voice even. They needed a strong voice right now. I heard my promise called out down the length of the ship, for all the watchmen to hear. “Patrol master, how long before our air patrol is due back?”
“They’re five minutes o’erdue, captain!”
Black scales shone in a flash of lightning. I saw the spindly wreckage of the one wing we’d destroyed in the first volley of cannon fire. Immediately I leaned to the pipe that would make me heard on the gun deck. “Portside cannon, two degrees fore, fire as you bear!”
Continue reading “Powder and Teeth”
Write a story that makes you happy.
I wiped the ink from my pen’s nib, set it down carefully, and regarded the page. The ink was still drying, but it seemed immaculate. I was especially smug about the diagrams of the Antikythera. That was a bit of engineering far ahead of its time. I had been giddy with anticipation for a week, given the chance to copy those schematics, and I felt like I had done it with precision. I carefully stoppered the ink and set the pen aside.
My parents had despaired of my education ever repaying the investment it required, but I was satisfied. Nobody else could do work this fine, and everybody knew it. Only Davuus of Broken Hills could match my technical diagrams. I had seen one bookbinding finer than what I could usually manage, but I didn’t know who did the binding, or how far away they might be. It was likely that their business was nothing but bindings. I smiled, sure that nobody I would ever meet could surpass my skill, not if I spent my career always growing.
Then the smell hit me. Fresh bread, garlic, parmesan. “Rouseaux! Did you even hear me calling? Dinner’s ready!” Continue reading “The Dream”
The love of your life has just died in your arms.
I strode across the battlefield, picking my way over the bodies to where she lay. The sun beat down on my face, beads of sweat mixing with blood, red droplets catching in my lashes. At least it wasn’t mine.
I knelt at her side, brushing her hair back. “Anya.” Her breath was fast and shallow, her eyes unfocused.
“Anya. Does it hurt?” She shifted and whimpered. Someone else shifted too, and I put my sword into his chest, letting it stay there for the moment.
“It hurts less,” she said. “But it’s so cold. Chris . . . I think this is it.”
Continue reading “A Soldier’s Mercy”