If you’ve tried to ride a cat into battle, you should know it doesn’t turn out well.
The enemy lined up in the distance. Their snarls and growls made me shiver, the tremble shaking me to the bones. “Steady on,” my mount purred.
I took a breath, calming myself, reaching forward to scratch behind his pointed ears. “Nerves like steel, whiskers like wind.” I repeated the battle mantra, imagining the steel in my bones. It was a pretense, imagining strength where there was none – I knew how easily my bones, tiny in comparison to the enemy, would break. And yet, it worked. I was calmer, and ready. Continue reading “Murine Honor”
The Brave Knight has been kidnapped against his will by the Beautiful Princess, now it’s up to the Scary Dragon to go rescue him.
I awoke in bonds, hanging from my wrists. I lifted my head, taking my bearings; the inside of a cabin, perhaps a peasant dwelling. No tapestries, no trophies, no portraits, the furniture all made of unadorned wood. The wood wasn’t local, and though plain, the craftsmanship very good. A silver cross on the wall. Perhaps not a peasant’s home, but a tradesman’s, or a priest’s. Simple, but not poor.
My armor, which I had been wearing while out riding, lay piled on the table along with my sword belt. I twisted to look behind me – I had been tied to a support column, and there were cuffs of metal on my wrists, secured by a tightly fastened bolt. I could cry out, but would anybody hear me? I heard no horses or carriages, no sounds of human civilization.
Best not to alert my captor yet, if I could help it. I crouched, bracing my feet on the floor, and pushed back against the support column as hard as I could; perhaps I could break it. I strained against it with no luck, then lifted away, and slammed my back against it. “Don’t bother dear, the house is very sturdy.” I snapped my head up, and a familiar face came out from deeper within the house.
“Princess Ravencort? Karina? What the hell is going on here? Quickly, get over here and loose these shackles.”
She looked at me, a little surprised, then giggled, a sound like pure crystal. “Oh, Prince. Don’t fear. I kidnapped you.”
Continue reading “Gentle Slayer”
In the future, to pass college you no longer must pass written finals. Instead, you are simply dropped into a real life scenario related to your major, and left to fend for yourself with your new found knowledge.
I wasn’t worried. I wasn’t studying to be a doctor, after all. I didn’t get a degree in Emergency Management. I was an engineer. How bad could this be? I stepped up to the chair, and seated myself, as the doctor droned on.
“As part of your graduation exam, you will be placed in a real-life scenario requiring the use of your skills. To do this, you will be transited to an alternate universe briefly. Be advised that there will be consequences to your activities there. Your placement will branch into a new parallel universe, and the people there will go forward dealing with the consequences of your performance. Do you understand?”
The doctor paused for a precise moment, then began speaking again. He’d given this speech a lot, it seemed. “While there, you may be exposed to stressful events. Be advised that any extremes of stress that may threaten your health will return you from your presence there, and a re-examination will be required. You will not . . . .”
He droned on, and on. I had stopped listening at this point, waiting for it to be over so I could build a clock or repair a generator, or maybe design some primitive waterwheel. The doctor cleared his throat. I looked up, embarrassed. “I’m sorry. Could you repeat the last sentence?”
“Do you agree to the terms and conditions as detailed?” His eyes fixed on me, disapproving. He knew I hadn’t listened to a word.
Continue reading “Trial by Engine Failure”
Write me the original Star Wars movie story, only you are George R.R. Martin.
Author’s note: I’m not very familiar with the expanded universe or with concepts like grey Jedi, so forgive me if I get some nuances wrong.
By George R. R. Lucas
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
My mind fogged over. It was hard to think. Only one set of words came easily, struggled to escape, a concept that wanted to take root and grow. “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”
And it was true. They couldn’t be. I knew something was wrong, but this one concept, this central idea took root in my understanding of the world, fit itself to the core of who I was like a puzzle piece. To remove it would be to leave a hole in my soul.
“He can go about his business.”
This pressure was tied to the first concept, already firmly rooted, and grew. I fought it, and I struggled. My blaster rose, slowly, sweat dripping into the inside of my helmet. The old man in front of me frowned, and intensified his gaze. I could feel my mind being crushed by the growing roots of his influence. “They can . . . go about their business.” Continue reading “Star Wars, by George R. R. Lucas”
Write your superhero origin story.
It was an ordinary day, other than the explosion. I ground through the paperwork, filling office supplies and costs into each line. I entered manufacturer information and item numbers. I checked little boxes. It was a commercial supplier. It was under contract. It was a green purchase. I submitted the paperwork to our financial officer, I got it back. I submitted it our authorizing official, I got it back. Finally, I logged into a website and bought six hundred boxes of paper clips.
Then the bomb went off.
Continue reading “The Day I Died”
You run a night school for assassins. The other professional assassins loathe you for turning customers into self-sufficient killers. You would get frustrated by their constant attempts on your life, if they didn’t make for such good lessons for your students…
I strode across to the podium, before the diagram of the human skeleton and circulatory system. The class was small, ten people. I found it to be my optimum class size. Any more and my students began to look like a forest, not trees. Any less, and I might have trouble with my payments.
One tentative hand rose up. She was a slip of a girl. Her demeanor was timid, her hand trembling in the air. None of her classmates took her seriously. They were new, yet. Not all of them quite realized that I wasn’t here to teach them how to fight, but how to kill. Ellen’s ‘fragile flower’ act would serve her well.
Continue reading “Timid Reaper”
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”