Tagged: fairy tale

The Dragon’s Lamp

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 30

The corpse of the dragon lay steaming upon the floor, the marks of its wrath seared permanently into the cavern walls. Yet the heroes stood victorious. Leaving the dragon to stink and smoulder, they ventured deeper into its lair, appraising the stock of treasure the winged terror had amassed across the ages.

“This will ease the suffering of our land…” observed Khemaghan the Keen, lifting a gem-studded chalice, worth several fortunes on its own.

“…but it will not repair the devastation that the beast has wrought.” Quilbar the Quick was troubled by the same thought.

“We beat it,” said Skondar the Strong, speaking firmly as ever. “We won. It’s over.”

But from the bones of the dragon, there sprang forth a new threat. For in its hoard—beyond the reach of mortal man for years known only to the gods—there stood a copper lamp upon a bare pedestal. In every other room, gold and jewels had lain strewn across the floor, a careless bed for the vile serpent.

In this room, the floor was bare. A perfect, solid circle of clear stone marked a perimeter about the pedestal, as though gold and silver feared to draw too close to the base metal that stood atop it.

Continue reading

Epistory Video Review

If you’ve been following for a while, you may have already seen my first and second articles on the Early Access version of Epistory, an open-world typing game by Fishing Cactus. Well, now that the game is out, and now that my computer is capable of reliably recording gameplay, I thought I’d try a video review.

Continue reading

The Sundered Crown

Chapter One: The Watchtower

It was a marvel to see the White Queen paint. Marcia watched as the brush drifted across the surface of the paper, leaving no mark: its bristles held only water.

There was a knock at the door.

Marcia looked to the queen, and was answered by an almost imperceptible nod. Stepping neatly over to the door, she opened it.

“Your Majesty,” said the general, bowing deeply as he stepped inside. “We have repelled an attack at Hobnail Pass, but the lines will not hold.”

The White Queen traced the brush across the paper with extreme care. Marcia closed the door, then once again took up her place by the queen’s side, examining the paper with silent interest. There was no hint of her mistress’ work but a faint glistening of water in the light.

The general took no more notice of the queen than she did of him. Marcia observed him in one of the queen’s three grand mirrors as he strode over to a map laid out on a nearby table, cluttered with painted wooden models representing various companies and legions. The general scowled, removing a few dusty pieces and rearranging several more.

The queen dipped her brush in the little cup of water and dragged it back and forth quickly across the top of the paper, catching the little beads of liquid as they formed. She stared out of the window at the garden below, comparing this scene to the one she had formed. With a quick flick of the brush, she made an adjustment.

“It is my opinion that we must give up Wieseberg.” The general proceeded to shove a line of figures into place with a straight edge, then formed them into a swooping curve with a pudgy hand. “The city is of little strategic value, but eliminating this salient would shorten our lines considerably. The surplus troops here could be…”

“Give up the pass,” said the queen, dabbing carelessly at the paper.

“Your Majesty?”

“Give up the pass.” The White Queen folded her hands on her lap and turned to the general. “Our foe is determined to have that ground no matter what the cost. We will not be so foolish.” Continue reading

The Sun Always Rises

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 21

Challenge #9: Write a 116 word story including a polysyndetonic sentence with a minimum of three conjunctions. The story must revolve around two of the following four themes: love, war, wilderness, loss.

Once upon a time, there lived a troll. Each day he would shelter from the sun beneath an ancient tree, and each night he would step out and marvel at the lights of the cottages on the horizon. Over the course of many years, the cottages grew into a village, and the village into a town, and the town into a city, so that the forest shrank to nothing more than a single tree, surrounded by buildings on all sides. Eventually, even this last tree was cut down, and here it was the people’s turn to marvel, because among the roots of that ancient tree they found a stone statue that nobody had ever noticed before.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook Cover

Click any cover to download that book in your choice of format.

The Three Idols

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 15

In times of uncertainty, it was the custom of the clans to place their idols in the temple on the mountain, and seek answers from the gods. The clan of the river brought an idol of gold. The clan of the forest brought an idol of wood. The clan of the hillside brought an idol of stone.

“Almighty gods,” the three oracles called in unison. “We wish to know which of our clans you hold in highest esteem. Leave your mark upon the idol so that we may know.”

This troubled the gods, for they knew that to favour one clan above the others was likely to breed war among them. However, to give no sign would let the matter fester, and likely breed war still. The gods deliberated late into the night. It was decided that they would send a storm to smite the temple, and make their displeasure known.

At midnight the oracles saw the lightning strike the spire, and at dawn they visited the ashes of the temple.

The idol of gold had melted all across the floor, and from this the oracle of the river surmised that her clan had been chosen, because the idol had been made one with the temple.

The idol of wood had been burned away completely, and from this the oracle of the forest surmised that her clan had been chosen, because the idol had been taken up to heaven.

The idol of stone remained upon the altar, and from this the oracle of the hillside surmised that her clan had been chosen, because the idol had been spared.

All three oracles brought their news down the mountain, and all three clans were satisfied.

It wasn’t quite what the gods had had in mind, but, they supposed, it got the job done.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook Cover

Click any cover to download that book in your choice of format.

The Sultan of the Sands

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 14

Once upon a time there lived a Sultan, ruler over a rich land. Wise founder of a thriving city, he would once a year open up his grand palace to accept gifts from his subjects, and to bestow gifts in return.

The first guest was a merchant, robed in garments of fine silk. “I bring a hundredweight of salt, in the hopes that your highness will permit me to continue trade with the nations to the East.”

The Sultan knew the merchant well: he travelled far to earn his coin and was in truth as much an emissary as a trader. “Your gift is received gladly,” he said, “and mine gladly given.”

And so the merchant departed, and the second guest arrived. This man was an artisan, dressed in white linen. “I bring a golden statuette, in the hopes that your highness will remember my work when he has deeds to commemorate or gardens to furnish with pleasing things.”

The Sultan knew the artisan too, for this was the man who had sculpted his likeness for the public square. “Your gift is received gladly,” he said, “and it will be remembered.”

And so the artisan departed, and the third guest arrived. Continue reading

Tairy Fale

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 13

“Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”

“Wait a minute,” said the Little Pig. “I think two pages have got stuck together.”

“Ah. That would explain why I’ve stopped talking in rhymes.” The Giant looked about. “And why I’m suddenly in a house made of straw.”

“Then I’ll huff!” shouted the Big Bad Wolf. “And I’ll puff! And I’ll—hang on. There’s a Billy Goat Gruff here asking for directions.”

“Yeah.” The goat propped his little hooves on the windowsill and poked his head through. “Sorry to be a bother, but are any of you guys finger puppets?”

“No,” the Little Pig, the Giant, and the Wolf answered in unison.

“Ah, bollocks. I think I belong with a different book.”

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook Cover

Click any cover to download that book in your choice of format.

The Gilded Swan

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 1

Once upon a time, there lived a king in a marble tower. Around the tower there lay a city, and around the city there lay a wilderness, which the king tended as though it were a garden. No beasts stalked its hills, and no brigands lurked beside its roads, though the king’s domain stretched on for many miles and the members of his watch were few.

One evening, a sorcerer passing through these wild lands stopped to seek shelter in the tower. In exchange for a meal and a night’s rest, the sorcerer offered the king an enchanted rose: one that would never wither, and would never lose its scent.

But the king had many roses. Beyond the walls of his city, they sprang from the ground like wheat, and his tower was never without them. It was customary for his subjects to leave roses as gifts, the king explained, but surely a powerful sorcerer—a noble visitor from a foreign land—could afford to leave a more substantial offering?

A dark look passed over the face of the sorcerer, but still he conceded that the king’s words were true. “Bring me milk and honey, and a single pearl,” said the sorcerer, “and I shall conjure a gift like none that you have seen.” Continue reading

Silent as Still Water

In ancient days when the island was new, there lived a hunter like none who lives today. KaloKa was this hunter’s name. He walked with footsteps silent as still water, and his arrows could snatch the stars from the sky. Born beneath a warlock’s moon, he understood the words of the wild beasts, and when he wore the skin of an animal he took its shape upon him. His hunting spear brought death like sleep, and at its approach no prey would flee, for its point brought no pain and the creatures of the forest had not learned to fear it.

But though the hunter brought no pain, no fear, there was one who came to hate him: his only brother, LokeRo. Though born beneath the same moon, LokeRo had a cruel spirit and no magic was bestowed upon him. All beasts had come to fear his scent, and even insects shied away at his approach. Still KaloKa honoured him as kin, and often let him join the hunt, though it meant both would be without a meal.

One day, overcome with envy, LokeRo drove his spear into his brother’s back and threw him in the sea. He told the tribe that KaloKa had fallen and been taken by the sharks. From the white island, KaloKa watched him tell this lie, and the ancestors that stood around him watched it too. KaloKa knew that when his brother’s time came, and his spirit made the journey to the white island, he would be scorned for all the days of time. But this was not enough. From the white island, watching the lie, KaloKa’s spirit grew cruel too.

Continue reading

Bionic Punchline Available Free From Today!

If you liked the stories I posted every day in July, you’ll love this: you can now download the entire collection–Bionic Punchline–free to enjoy on your e-reader, tablet, phone, or just any old computer.

Bionic Punchline eBook Cover

For those of you who didn’t catch every single story this year (and given how many there were, I’m guessing there’s more than a few of you), this is a great opportunity for you to catch up. For any die-hard fans who managed to read all of them, you’ll be pleased to find a never-before-seen introduction to and statistical analysis of the collection. And if that comes as a surprise to you, you may also be interested in OCR is Not the Only Font and Red Herring, because I’ve done this twice already. But don’t worry: it turns out different every time!

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover with coloured OCR (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook Cover