Friday, February 23, 2018

Blackflies

From spring until the first frost, the wetlands of Canada swarm with blackflies. Some feed on nectar, others feed on blood. Most lay their eggs in water, some lay their eggs in flesh. Most of those that lay their eggs in flesh prefer dead flesh, but there is one species that prefers the flesh of the living.

The flies are small, so small that their ovipositors cannot pierce skin. They therefore lay there eggs in whatever soft tissue they can access: open wounds, open mouths, your sinuses, your lungs, your stomach. Throughout summer moose and deer wander the wilderness, snorting blood and larvae.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Fields of the Sky

Go south. As you pass the equator, you enter the fields of the sky.

Birds rule here. Terrorbirds hunt down flocks of Ostriches and Gamebirds through the grass. The only non-avians are the snakes, which swarm the rivers, and feral cats, introduced by travelers.

The people here carve citadel-manors out of the great pillars of red stone, and surround them with tall white dovecotes. The women keep themselves meticulously hairless, the men take pride in never shaving and being as hairy as apes. The people do not craft metal, but trade honey and eggs to passing merchants in exchange for metal tools and weapons. Their weapons are therefore of a great variety, each of a different type and from a different culture.

I have not seen this land, but this is what I have heard.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Wee Folk

Two millimeters tall, wee folk are easy prey for predatory insects. They therefore seek out virtuous people to keep them safe in decorative glass terrariums. They are masters of sand-grain masonry and moss gardening, and will quickly shape their new home to suit their needs. They resent being kept in captivity,but it is better than life in the wild.

Sometimes their keepers are cruel, and put spiders in the terrarium to watch the tiny people fight. If their need is great, the wee folk will risk an expedition, undertaking a great journey from their home, down the table, across the floor, climb the bed, crawl up their keeper's nose, and set off tiny mining charges. The keeper will awaken to a strange tickling sensation, shortly before dying of internal bleeding.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Monastery

The path is almost as wide as a man's outstretched arm. Even where it snakes far up the canyon walls it roughly carved and uneven. Prospective new monks extend the path, then carve their cell into the side of the cliff. The openings are sealed with clay, into which is carved a name and a date

Every so often a cell lies open, broken out of from the inside. Sometimes a monk will choose sculpture as their method of meditation, turning their cell into an immaculate bas-relief; gardens or shrines or scenes from the Testament. These cells are kept open, for viewing.

The monk is bound in tight wrappings coarse brown fabric. The visitor is bound in pure white linen, on top of which is layered a tunic, a vest, and a turban, all of bright colors and with elaborate embroidery. They do not travel far up the cliff, but stop in front of one of the older, still sealed cells.

The monk gestured to the door, "Solomon of Babylon, withdrew 10th year", and steps back. The visitor stabs an iron bar into the ancient clay, pulling out chunks and throwing to the canyon floor.

There was no cell beyond. There was a tunnel, barely large enough to crawl through, leading deep into the earth.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Witches

In the high lands status is known by the suffix on each name. For dogs and slaves, -fet. For commoners, -het. For land lords, -thet. For wolves and outlaws, -wiv. And for witches, -wev. They exist outside normal society, neither male nor female, indulging in fashion, etiquette and morality only as it pleases them. The law neither protects nor restricts them. They cannot be legally prosecuted for any act, but neither will the law protect them from retribution.

To straddle thresholds is not unusual for spellcasters.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Falls

This world is seas and steppes and deserts without end. It is bounded only by the earth and the sky. 

The new church says that the Exile did not want to accept anything given, but to make something for himself. Thus he left heaven and crafted a world of his own. It was a poor imitation of his Father's work, a mundane place of death and suffering. We are trapped in hell, and the Exile is our jailer. The church worships the Father, and teaches its members to accept the gifts given by their superiors. If we prove ourselves worthy, we can escape the cycle of reincarnation that traps us and transmigrate into heaven.

The old cults say that the exile was one of seven Children, one for each of the seven virtues: ambition, brinkmanship, defiance, creativity, insight, grace, and reciprocity. They killed their Father, dooming heaven, and created this world as a refuge. Each Child has its cult, and if you please them, they will give you a pleasing rebirth.

The apostates say that the Exile still walks the world, guiding his children towards greater heights. They do not believe transmigration to heaven is possible, but that we can help Him succeed and create a world to rival heaven. The apostates teach that it is best to be self-sufficient and a gifts only if they cannot make it themselves.

All agree on one point. This world is Hell.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Elk

Alexey was looking for silhouettes on the horizon when he heard a branch snap behind him and he was turning and bringing up his shotgun when the elk slammed into him.

It was so large up close. It snorted, sending burst of fog into the cold air. He could hear the power of its lungs. It opened its mouth, revealing row after row of the teeth and fangs of many animals.

The elk bit into his leg and tugged, pulling him along the ground. It kept tugging until a piece of flesh was torn free, and lifted its head to chew.

Then Alexey was trying to remember what was happening. Why did his leg feel so strange? Everything came rushing back and he realized he had passed out. Much more of his leg was missing now, and he could see bone in several places, but there was no pain. He realized he was still gripping the shotgun.

Alexey struggled to lift the shotgun with one hand. He fired as soon as the barrel was pointed in the right direction. The recoil slammed the gun out of his hand and deafened him. The elk seemed unaffected, until blood began to flow from its thick matted fur. Then it resumed eating him, and he passed out again.