Versatile Blogger Award

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Well it looks as if I have been nominated for an award. I would never have expected my bad grammar, terrible punctuation, atrocious spelling and superfluous writing would have earned me anything in this world. Thanks to all who read my blog and a special thanks to Isaiah T. S. over at What’s mrs awesome?

It means a lot to me to know that there are people out there who enjoy my work enough to read it. Even clicking the little like button on occasion.

 

I’m going to follow the format presented by Isaiah T. S. as I like to follow instruction and am fond of simplicity.

 

Seven things about me:

 

I discovered that I wanted to be a writer right before I found out that my wife was pregnant with our first child. This has made my dream difficult to accomplish.

I am a stay at home dad. Or as I prefer a Home Husband. I keep a mean ship here, bake pies, and if you mess with my dishwasher organization I will beat you silly. 

I am a full-time student and am currently two classes away from receiving a Bachelors degree in History.

I am an obsessed Star Wars fan. Sci-fi in general, need proof? I have two cats, their names are Egon and Bastila, if you don’t have to ask where they are from your awesome too.

While Sci-fi is easily my favorite genre I found it nearly impossible to write. I hope to one day soon tackle a Sci-fi project.

I live in the greatest region in America, no its not Texas, its the Pacific Northwest. If you doubt me come and visit.

The last point is a list of things my wife found online that pertained to me, they are as follows:

 

You’re easily swept up by your imagination.

 

You have some strange talents, like tying seemingly unrelated things together.

You love to read and write, but you don’t know the difference between a preposition and a conjunction.

You rely on visuals when learning new things.

You appreciate a well-crafted sentence more than anyone, but you also think as you talk and don’t always edit.

You get really excited about the tiniest of details related to your favorite series or film, but get easily bored in daily conversations with people.

Fictional characters have shaped your personality more than real people.

As for my nominations, I am ashamed to say they are so few. They are brief as I haven’t been fully able to immerse myself in the wordpress community yet. 

The Kraken’s Wake

Uncertainlyawesome

D. James Fortescue

Jodie Llewellyn

Meet Will From Abanard (Part 2)

A wooden fence was laid out in a circle in the center of the lower floor with seating around its edges. Newt the Noble sat talking with a pair of men that Will did not know. “Newt, how have you been?” Will asked cheerily.

“William the Wanderer. I would count myself lucky to have never seen you again. What bring you hear?”

“An unfortunate turn of events has left me without coin.”

“Roy, the barkeep up top says that you drank nearly a bottle of spirit. Where did you get that coin?” 

“You could say that drinking was the unfortunate event.”

“Will, have you met Jerome and Thomas Blout? Father and son, traders up from Maiden’s Kiss. Here to bet on the fights.”

“It’s a good to meet you.” Will said reaching out to shake hands with the two men. Jerome grasped his hand and gave him a pleasant smile a large scar ran down the left side of his face but his eyes were soft and not unkind.. “The pleasure is mine. Do you intend to fight?” Jerome’s boy didn’t have the same soft eyes as his father. They were dark, dark as night with little love hiding in dark pools of his irises. 

“I do.”

“Care to make a wager?”

“Straight to the point. I’ll wager twenty gold pieces on myself against an opponent of your choosing.” 

“That’s a more than a farmer will see in his whole life. A bold wager for such a drunk man. Do you have the gold.”

“I do, Newt can vouch for me. I’ve never shirked my debts.”

“He may be a drunk but he is an honest drunk and I must warn you my friend a damn good fighter.” Said Newt.

“Well then Will, we have ourselves a deal.” He said, “My son Thomas’ friend and our bodyguard will have the honor of meeting you in the ring.” 

Will left the Thirsty Lion, the rain had grown worse but he stopped for a minute to take it in. It had a sobering effect on his body and mind as if it could wash the spirit from his body. He went to Walder and unpacked his mail armor sliding over his chest and legs. Plate gauntlets to protect the fragile hands he made his living with. His helmet was still too dented to wear, Walder had stepped on it one night when wolves had given him a fright. 

He went back into the tavern, drawing strange and worried looks from the upstairs patrons. Downstairs his opponent waited for him in the arena. Full plate metal and longsword and shield. His armor looked as if it had just come from the smith’s that day. Bright and clean, not a dent or scratch to be seen. He was larger than Will but not by much. 

“Bill, let me borrow your longsword.” Will said to Big Bill, heading to the bar before the small ring. “Another spirit.” He said to the barkeep. 

“What’s wrong with yours?” Big Bill said gesturing at the sword that still hung at Will’s hip. 

“It’s sharp.” The barkeep handed him his drink.

“I ain’t no smithy, Will. You tend to break these things.” He said patting his own blunted edge. 

“I tell you what, I’ll give you mine to hold on to. Collateral, plus I’ll give you coin to fix up and scratches.”

Bill squinted his eyes at him, but in the end he gave Will his longsword. Will took the sword and slid it into his own sheath, then finished the drink before entering the ring.

The armored man opposite him, kneeled on the ground as the spectators gathered round the little wooden fence that separated them from the festivities. “I am Greg Herps. I hold no anger for you but I will do my duty.”

“This is no knight’s tourney.” Said Will. The knight rose to his feet and took out his sword, Thomas, the traders son helped the want to be knight to put on a shield, leaning out over the wooden fence. Torches were lit on every other fence post causing the shadows of both combatants to dance and flicker. 

“Hey, drunk!” Called one of the spectators, “You forgot your helmet!”

“My beard is my helmet.” Will called back. But the call had distracted him enough to allow Sir Herps to get the upper hand on him. Herps was already at him with his shield up and sword at the ready. Will brought up the borrowed longsword just in time to protect himself. The strength of Herps was greater than WIll expected, he could feel his elbow cringe and strain to stay his opponent’s blade. Will put his off hand on the flat of his blade and used his hands to push Herps back. Herps took a step back before charging again. Will swung with both hands but his opponents shield was quick. Deflecting two quick blows before he had to jump back to avoid the counter attack.

Will could feel sweating beading on his brow and the sour taste of spirit began to bubble up his throat and spill into his mouth. He blocked a sword thrust from Herps only to find the man’s shield crashing into Will’s chest and head. He was sprawled out on the ground like a wanton whore. Cheers rose up from the crowed, “Finish him Greg” and “Kill the squirmy weasel!” among many others. 

Will rose to his feet, blood running from a split lip ran through his beard dropped to the ground at his feet. He attacked again, and again he was unsuccessful. But this time when Herps counter attacked Will was ready.

He rolled to the side and brought his longsword back in a wide arch, catching Herps in the back of the knee. The big man went back to one knee with a groan. Will was on his feet again. He brought his sword down on the elbow joint of Herps sword arm with a resounding crack that reverberated of it’s owners plate armor. Herps let out a moan and then cried out as Will put a boot and the man’s back and kicked him to the floor. “Yeild.” He said, blood spitting out with his words.

Meet Will from Abanard (Part 1)

Will rode into the small costal town known as Wet Walk around early evening, the sun would be on its way down now, but Will couldn’t say for sure as it was covered by a thick layer of grey clouds. The town had been extremely prosperous at one time when Abanard was much younger, as a result many buildings had marbled facades and statues of fish and mermaids were scattered along the main road. 

The city had only the one main road, The Wet Walk aptly named after all the rain it saw, but was second largest port on the western shores of Abanard. Maiden’s kiss was the first, of course. It was, as usual, raining. It was only a light dusting but it coated the marble buildings and cobbled roads in a wet gloss, like the trail left from a slug. Wet Walk had moved on from it’s glory days trading spices and cloth from the southern realm and sending back the stones mined in the north. Wet Walk was still a fishing town, but no longer was it a port that traders visited if they could avoid it.

It was now known to be a smuggler’s hub.

Will was no smuggler, but he was little more than any other slug that traveled through the town. He wore rough spun travelers clothes, a blue tunic under a dark brown cloak to absorb the rain. He had been here a few times, before always for the same reason. Gold. He had a little on him, but his pocket felt heavy from the weight of the coins and his throat was rather dry. 

He stopped in front of the Thirsty Lion, a large two story building with marbled columns rising from the ground up to support the second story landing. There were a few hitching posts for travelers off to one side where he tied his big grey mare.

“I won’t be long Walder.” He said to the horse, patting him on the head. “I’ll get a drink for you too.” He left his things with Walder, after taking his sword belt and buckling it on. He was glad for the weight of steel on his side. He wore a long sword and a southern gladius on his left hip in addition to the twin daggers that crossed at the small of his back. The daggers weren’t attached to his sword belt and hardly ever came off his back. 

Will pushed the cold iron doors open and stepped into a lively room. The room glowed with fire light, coming from candles and a large fire raging int he middle of the room.There was a bard in the corner belting out a song about a Misty Mountain. Women sat with men, boys sat with women, and girls sat with men. Ale and water covered the slick marble floor. Will couldn’t help wondering how such a wonderful building ended up as a tavern. 

Off to the side, almost lost in the revelry of that days work was a wooden bar. It’s dark oak almost fit in with grey shinny color of the walls and ceiling. Will made his way there, avoiding a particularly drunk youth stumbling out the door, and finding himself a seat at the bar. 

The bar man was at the other end of the bar, white sleeves rolled up to his elbows, leaning on the counter talking to a pair of well dressed men. He looked down at Will and gave him a look that told Will he wasn’t a particularly hard worker. After finishing up his conversation he came down to WIll. 

“What can I get you?” 

“Two spirits.”

The bar man, pulled out two bottles from the cabinets under the bar top. One was a clear color the other a rich amber. “Which will you have?”

“The dark one.” 

“You expecting company?” asked the barkeep pouring the amber colored spirit into two glasses.

“One is for my horse.” Will said after draining the first cup.

“More?” The barkeep asked gesturing at Will’s empty cup.

“No, I don’t think Walder will be drinking his. He is a horse after all.” Will had discovered that if you show up with two swords and act just crazy enough to make people think your unstable but still capable of using the steel you carry, that generally you get better service. 

Four promptly poured drink later Will was feeling very good about himself. He had been watching the wooden door in the back of the tavern for some time now and had decided it was just about time to go over. Most of the usual crowed had arrived. Cold Foot Joe, Hairy Harry and Newt the Noble to name a few. Newt was the one Will had been waiting for and so he paid the barkeep and headed to through the old wooden door. 

Behind the door was a stairway leading down. The smell of ale and sweat was thick in the narrow stairway. The steps were slick, the water from previous patrons boots pooled on each step. The decent itself was dark but at the bottom, perhaps fifty feet down, light spilled up into the dank entryway. The sounds of merriment and drinking echoed in the small stone way. Will made his way down, feeling the effects of his spirits much more now that he was up off the bar stool. He placed his hand on the wall to guide him. When he reached the bottom, he was surprised to see the amount of people that had already arrived. 

Besides Cold Foot Joe, Hairy Harry and The Noble, Will saw the Grail brothers and Bizarre Bertha, a rather hairy woman who totted an axe and was known to wear full mail. Will made is way giving a few cursory nods to the patrons that he did know as he made his way to the bar top below the bar. “The amber spirit.” He told the barkeep who had been watching him approach.

“You fightin’ or gamblin’?” The man asked as he poured the drink. 

“Both.”

“Well I’ll be damned. Ain’t you the Wanderer?”

Will drained his glass and proceeded to tap it’s rim until the barkeep took the hint and poured him another. “Well I’ll be damned. Will the Wanderer.” Said a gruff voice from behind him. A large hand followed quickly slapping him on the back. “I thought you was only gonna fight in the circle. I thought we was below you.”

“We can’t all have what we wish.” Will didn’t turn to speak to the man, he knew him well enough and didn’t need a reminder of the man’s ugly face.

“Its good to see you, though I’ll bet some of the other fighters aint all to happy to see you. Suppose you heard Newt was coming?”

“I was just going to go talk to him actually.” He threw a couple coppers on the bar top and headed off to find Newt leaving Big Bill to chat with himself. The lower floor of the Thirsty Lion had once been a brewery, it had since been cleared out and turned into a make shift arena. The fights held weren’t technically illegal, but but beating another person senseless with a blunt weapon was illegal, the Thirsty Lion got away with it by saying it was just another bar fight. The gambling just happened to break out along with the fight. 

A Chapter from Abanard (Part Two)

He moved with no purpose, he had no destination in mind but he found himself out of the keep and in the city. The sun was low in the sky, its normal radiance turned a mellow shade of orange. Fishermen passed him by smelling of sweat and reeking of the day’s catch. He wanted to head home but didn’t want to put on his happy husband face. If it was a peach pit in his stomach then surly the rotten fruit was his marriage and the the tree it grew on the weakness of the crown he served. He couldn’t bare to serve a fool and hated to see his wife childless and alone.

His feet stopped when he reached the fountain of Delilah, a life size statue of shaped white marble. It stood as part of the divide between two pools of water. The first over five feet above the larger pool below. Water cascaded from Delilah’s eyes as it flowed from the top pool. The fountain sat in the center of the Eastern plaza most known to be used by the common folk. Cliff found a seat on the edge of the lower pool watching as the crowds moved by. 

“Warden Stoneyard, lovely evening isn’t it?”

“Lady Dunella, what brings you into the city?”

“Same as you.” She said with a smile sitting down next to him. She wore the clothes of the common folk, brown pants and a brown shirt with a head band that covered the pointed tips of her ears.

“It’s strange to see you dressed so modestly.”

“A bold statement from such a well mannered man. I’m sorry to disappoint.”

“My lady, I only meant that you wear the clothes of a street merchant.”

“No harm, Warden. I know my normal dress is nothing more than eye candy for King Troy.” She gave him a small smile. The two sat there for a long time watching people come and go, one woman had gotten a late start on her washing and was just finishing up in the upper pool that fed Delilah’s tears. In the morning both pools would be packed with women furiously working the dirt from their families garbs. Cliff could feel the life flowing around him. Not through him, he dealt in death not life. He was different from those around him. A boy walked by carrying sacks of flour on his shoulder, a future baker no doubt. Another walked with his father, net in tow.

Cliff carried nothing with him that sustained life, the product of his work was left behind him in a trail of red death. He often thought of life as a fishermen, teaching his sons to sail in Dino’s Bath and returning home every night to his wife and daughters, but he was living the life he was supposed to live. There was nothing that Cliff could have been better at and nothing he would have been happier doing.

That didn’t stop the loneliness from slowly killing him.

The crowds dwindled and the sun faded. Cliff enjoyed the quiet companionship, he could sense that Dunella felt as he did. They were both outsiders here, Dunella as incompatible with those around them as Cliff was, her people far away across the sea.

Cliff hadn’t liked fighting with the elves during the rebellion. They were rigid, cold, pale and ruthless but Dunella was warm and soft. Much of the court mistrusted and loather her and her sister and their high favor with the king. Mostly because they had risen to their place through bedsheets rather than birth or politics. 

By all accounts Dunella had stayed away from the lusty loins of the king. Still the rumors swirled and while there was no doubt that Dunella’s sister Kyrtaal had captivated Troy’s body it was whispered that Dunella held sway over his mind. If the whispers were to be believed then Dunella ran Abanard. Cliff chose not to believe it.

Dale was still the King’s personal aid. The man who ruled while Troy had his way with Kyrtaal. Dale of course, was the whisperer secretly throwing slander on Dunella’s name. Cliff looked over at her, young and beautiful, so full of life. Whatever slander had landed on her could not stay there for long. “How did your order come to be?” She asked in her smooth high voice. 

“Do you know the story of Delilah?”

“She is the lady the statue was made for.

“Its a tribute to Dino’s daughter, the most splendid maiden to ever walk the lands of Abanard. And walk it she had. Delilah scorned Dino by refusing to marry until she had seen all of Abanard. Dino reluctantly agreed but declared that she must not sit a horse, ride a wagon or be born by the strength of man or beast.

She and her companions walked for five years until she had seen the lush forrests of the South, the sandy beaches in the west, the plains of the North and the marshes of the east. She had climbed all the mountain ranges and crossed Worker’s Walk with the traders and kissed the lord of the port giving name to Maiden’s Kiss. The water that gushes from her eyes are her tears, for when she returned from her journey Dino had died from an illness. 

The knights that travled with her became the first wardens. That is why wardens wander the lands serving justice as they see fit.”

“Such a sad story, Warden. Perhaps you can tell me a happeir tale next time.”

“Sorry to have kept you, my lady. I must be getting home, my wife will be worrying about me.” He stood up and extended a hand to Dunella. 

She smiled and let him help her to her feet. At first she didn’t let go of his hand, she held it, looking away at the city then she turned to him. Her violet eyes fixed on his, “Thank you for the history lesson.” then she gave him a soft kiss on the cheek and turned heading back toward the keep where she and her sisters kept their quarters. Cliff couldn’t help watch as she walked across the now vacant plaza.

A Chapter from Abanard (Part 1)

Dino’s Minor glowed on its hilltop. The golden sandstone catching the light, holding it and then creating its own soft golden luminescence. The city, the largest in the Abanard, has been the home of Kings since the first rose to power. Dino himself had united the golden plains of the North with the thick forrest of the South. 

Cliff felt the weight of ancient years as he passed under the statue of Dino guarding the Southern gate of his city. The pale marble brought over centuries ago from the elves before the words grew apart. Dino’s statue had passed the test of time, twenty feet high, long beard and hair flowing, his great sword rested point down into the earth with the hilt rising almost up to his chest where his great marble hands rested on the sword. The late summer sun igniting the east side of his face. He rode by, his red cloak flowing behind him, the hunt completed and justice brought to the people. 

He stabled his horse then made his way back to his home. He could report to the Lord Warden later, now he wanted to see his wife. 

She must have seen him coming from their south facing window; she waited for him in their arched doorway, the green door thrown open behind her. She was smiling. Cliff hadn’t been away very long in comparison to his other ventures but Margret felt a change in the air and she had feared for her husband’s life. But here he was smiling just as much as she was. 

Cliff had spent the past weeks in brothels and taverns surrounded by wanton women lusting after him, seeking to draw out his weakness to poison his strength. He had stayed true and now he saw his wife, beautiful blonde hair, rosy cheeks, full red lips shaped into a perfect smile. She hugged him in the doorway, not letting him go, not that he tried to escape her grasp. He held her tight, his tired body rejuvenated by the feel of her. 

“Your safe.” She said. Cliff squeezed her tight for a half second in response. “I always worry when your away. How did everything go?”

“The murder was caught and the Wardens brought justice to the wetlands of the Northwest.”

“You had to go that far? I thought the killer was in the plains.” They had released each other and moved into the old home of Cliff’s family. Officially it was a home for the use of the Wardens, but Cliff’s family had occupied it for many generations, passing from one Warden to the next in his family line. The place was made of the same warm sandstone as the rest of the city. Rough golden stone covered all the walls with thin thatched roof above their heads. The mild climate in the Northeast left the people with little more than light showers to worry over, it never froze and hardly ever matched the heat of the plains. 

“The killer was moving from town to town very quickly, never staying more than a day.” She put her arms around him again, embracing him. 

“When do you leave again?” She asked squeezing him tight. 

“I haven’t gone to see the Lord Warden yet.” She gave him a big sappy, loving smile that only a wife could give after getting her way. She kissed him on the lips, soft at first then harder.

Cliff had never been happier to be back in Dino’s Minor. Often he felt as though he left to go deal with the lowest of people only to return and find that the capitol was actually home to the true scum of society. “I have to get going the Lord Warden will need my report.”

“Why don’t you stay in the city?” She said rising from the bed half covering her naked body with the light furs from the bed.

“I haven’t been lucky enough to be stationed here.”

“They’ll never give it to you, your too talented to sit around dealing with petty thieves. Besides your happier out there.” Her voice was pained by the time she finished the last words. 

“That’s not true, I’m happiest here with you.” He gave her a naked body a squeeze then donned his mail and sword belt. “I’ll be back soon.”

“Why don’t you be the new master of arms?” She asked, “Wilson is far to old for the position.”

“I’m not the best teacher.”

“You can’t let one bad apple spoil the good, not everyone can be a Warden.”

The words stung Cliff, not because they were said with venom or hate but because they weren’t true. The one apprentice he had been given could have been a Warden. In fact in the last year with Cliff he had become a better Warden than half of the legion. Then Cliff had failed. “I can’t do it.” 

He left her there, wrapped in furs with tears in her eyes. She knew he would be gone within a week.

The streets were thick with people so rather than taking the main road up to the keep Cliff made is way back out of the city then to one of the postern gates on the east side of the city. The gate was known as Darla’s Gate, named after Dino’s wife who now stood, as beautiful as the stories told, in stone over the gate. Dino watched over the city and Darla watched over Dino. Darla’s Gate ran straight to the keep and was kept free of common folk allowing for swift passage to and from the keep. Dino had had it built so he could reach his queen faster when he returned home.

The road was made of grey stone and the buildings that walled it in on either side were made of the same material. The only part of the city that wasn’t crafted from sandstone. The road was short leading directly into the side of the hill Dino’s Keep sat on there it turned into a tunnel diving right under the city. 

Cliff walked along the torch lit passage having left his horse at the Warden’s stable. As he moved along he couldn’t help but think about his wife. He did want to be with her, but he didn’t want to stay in Dino’s Minor and there was no place for her among the Warden’s Legions.

The fire light moving along the wall flickered in his eyes as he moved through the long tunnel. It was empty no noise other than the scraping of his boots on the stone floor. A faint whistle passed through the tunnel, late summer winds moving the last lingering warmth on its way. The torches hesitated in their duty as the wind went by giving Cliff a chill. At the end of the tunnel stood a grey staircase spiraling up into the keep, it was built right into the stone innards of the mountain. Winding up into the heart of the keep it was nearly five hundred feet of stair up to the top.

Cliff came out through a side door of in the courtyard. A guard stood on duty, but the man knew Cliff and let him pass undisturbed. The little garden in the center of the courtyard held to the last green life of the summer but much of it had already durned to the lifeless tan of waterless leaves. The sun shinned down from above and the high walls of the keep kept the wind out. He made his way across the courtyard and into the keep where he went to the Warden’s Tower. The guard at the door to the Lord Warden’s solar bid him wait while he announced Cliff’s arrival. Moments later he beckoned him in. A fire burned in the hearth despite the heat of the day, sitting in front of the flames sat Joel wrapped in furs. “I can’t seem to shake this chill.” He said to Cliff.

“My father always said that age is the true champion of death.”

“Ha! If only he fought for us.” Joel’s eyes sparkled but that was the only part of him that gave off a hint of life. His lips were thin and pale and his skin hung off of his old bones like clothes left to dry. “The killer?” He wheezed.

“Brought to justice.” 

“And the lands? What of them?”

“The people are still angry about the outcome of the war and the lands still haven’t recovered. Times are tough in Abanard for anyone trying to make an honest living. The countryside is full of thieves, murders, and bandits. I came across a group of raiders just west of the Northern Marshes.”

The Lord Warden let out a long sigh. “If only Old King Rob had lived forever. King Troy has not half the wit of his father.” 

“Age wins again.”

“An unfortunate truth.” He paused to look at the fire then turned to a servant who stood behind him and called for water. The servant, a young man not yet old enough to be a squire rushed off. “I am worried that these bandits may be more than they seem. I think that the rebels may be uniting again taking on bandit garb as a guise.”

“That is a bold statement. The bandits I came across were nothing more than farmers who lost their farms and families during the war.”

“Reports from the plains say there is a significant sized host moving east.” Joel said grimly, “Burned towns and sacked cities.”

“The rebels never attacked the commoners before, they fought for the them against the King and Crown.”

“And now they are desperate, they have thrown away their values and spit on their own pride.” Joel’s face had turned a shade of dark red, he didn’t look half as old as he had five minutes ago. “Anyways, I’m thinking of sending you, wait for the next report then take a small force and ride hard to their location. I want you to harry them while we  mass a larger force.”

“Yes, Lord Warden.”

The servant returned with a jug of water, it was far too large for the young boy who was doubled over with the weight. “Dismissed.” Joel said. Cliff turned to leave but the boy had stopped in the doorway grumbling to himself. He then turned to head back out. “Not you, you half wit!” Yelled Joel, rage still giving life to his old blood. The boy nearly dropped the jug he jumped so bad. Cliff took the water jug from him and poured a glass for the Lord Warden. 

The boy gave him a look of gratitude and lowered his head in respect moving to hide in the corner of the room. Cliff left the old warden and the young boy, his stomach a sour mass resting in his belly. He felt as if he had eaten  the rotting pit of a discarded peach by mistake.

A New Story

After giving some thought to what I wanted to do next for this blog I decided to put up sections of a larger project I have been slowly working on.
The story about Clyde did what I wanted to do it got me back into writing more often. I am disappointed that I didn’t devote more time to developing Clyde as a character but I thought it was still a fun story. I at least had fun writing it.

So here is what I think of as a prologue of sorts despite its brief length.

The troops moved uneasily. They had already been in place for an hour, their muscles no longer primed instead they were loose and hanging like a wet cloth. Cliff stood with them, as one of them in the shade of the big trees on the Eastern edge of the clearing.
The night before, spring rains had soaked the future battlefield, now sunlight shone brightly down on the green grass causing steam to rise up off the ground. On the windless day the steam hung mere feet off the ground blanketing the field in thick fog.
“Well, Warden?”
“Patience, Marcus. They’re there.” said Cliff, although he doubted it himself. The rebels had consistently out smarted them. Winning battle after battle with superior strategy and an uncanny knack for catching the King’s Army unprepared. The rebels had gained support after each victory until now, after a year, they had the full support of the South and outnumbered those loyal to the King.
Cliff’s shoulders were heavy despite the light armor he wore he felt as though he was in full plate. Everyone of his soldiers had left their battle armor behind in favor of light weight chain mail. Speed was their goal.
Three blasts of a horn raced across the field in front of them. The hanging fog seemed to quiver with each blow of the horn. A long blast, then a short, capped off with another long. Cliff’s muscles hardened again, his stomaching jumping up into his chest. His troops stood frozen. The rebel response came quickly one long horn call.
And then the battle began.
Shinning steel and rusted iron appeared on either end of the field the fog masking the numbers of either army but Cliff knew they were outnumbered. The grass that grew there would be trampled by nightfall and rain or no the ground would once again be soaked.
The first volley exchanges shatter the stillness in the air. Muffled grunts on either side drifted through the fog accompanied by the odd scream as the first men of the day met the Maker.
Cliff’s face began to boil as blood rushed up into his head. Both armies were progressing at a rapid pace, the dark amorphous shapes twinkling through the fog grew closer and closer. The main body of both armies was on pace to meet right in front of Cliff and his men.
“We have to move, we’ll be slaughtered if we go in head on.” advised Marcus.
“Quiet.” Said Cliff, irritated. Marcus was right, the whole plan was to wait for the rebel host to pass, and only then attack from behind, cutting through their archers and cutting off a retreat.
Another set of volleys through through the air. Once they had either led another man to the Maker or come to rest in the soggy earth a rider cloaked all in black and wearing black armor raced across the front of the King’s army bringing them to a halt. Cliff could feel the blood leave his face and his muscles relax slightly. Roland would never have made such a simple mistake. Cliff should have known better.
He watched another volley spill across the King’s men as they formed up in a defensive pattern, shields up and pikes pointed forward with swordsmen waiting to rush in after the first wave of men broke upon the pikes.
Now that Roland had stopped the progression of the King’s Army the rebel host passed by without noticing the men waiting to ambush them. The audible clink of their armor and the soft squish as their boots found the liquid earth of the fog covered field. Another blast from the rebel horn blew out followed by the guttural battle cry and the clang of steel as hundreds of men left civilization behind.
“Now.” Roared Cliff, rushing forward. The damp air hard to breath as he led his men into the unsuspecting rebel archers. It only took a matter of seconds to reach them but it felt as if it had happened instantaneously. The sound of battle was all around him, so loud he could barely hear the cry as he cut down the first rebel.
The rebels had organized their archers into multiple small groups of a score each rather than one large group. That way their arrows came down at different angles making it harder to protect against. Cliff’s men had torn through the first group and had made it halfway to the second when the archers began to notch their arrows pointed right at them. “Shields up!” He called. He may have forgone heavy armoring but taking on archers shieldless was folly. Every one of his men had a lightweight wooden shield.
He crouched down and covered as much of his body as he could feeling the rough impact of the arrows colliding with his shield. Three of his men went down, unable to get behind their shields fast enough. Sweat poured down his body, stinging Cliff’s eyes as he waited for the break in arrows.
Glancing back he saw Roland scrambling to reform his lines to defend against the cavalry that was about to burst through his defense. He got the reserves over just in tim to stop the attack. Just as the first horses crashed into Roland’s lines a volley of arrows flew into the side of the attackers. They dropped like flies in a rainstorm before their leader broke off the charge.
Green arrows whistled after them taking more lives as the rebel cavalry reeled. A whole new legion came out of the fog creating a ripple that rushed across the battle field as if a boulder had been tossed in a once still lake. Pale and fully clad in green plate armor their drums beat a relentless beat out the noise of battle. The pale warriors charged into the rebel host shattering it as they joined the front line carnage.
Boom… Boom.. Doom… Boom… Boom… Doom… The drums beat.
And so ended the final great battle of the civil war.

Final Part

                Her presence was moving. It wasn’t going very fast, so I decided two things. First Bill still had her and second he too had lost his powers. The buildings flew past me as I flew between them, looking back on it, it had been one of the most surreal moments in my life. I mean everyone dreams about flying and I was doing it, not even Olympians can fly. At the time though I hardly even noticed, my entire being had tunnel vision and the light at its end was Mary.

                She was headed in the direction of the Glordon but as far as I could tell Glordon hadn’t hatched quite yet. The egg was still glowing but now there were bright red streaks of light exploding from it, carving their way against the rain laden sky.

                When I touched down in front of Bill his jaw dropped open. Maybe it was because I was flying, maybe it was because he had lost his powers, and maybe it was because of the steam caused by the rain drops that landed on my boiling skin. Whichever it was Bill the Bastard had just become Bill the Yellow Belly. Steaming I walked toward him slowly.

                “You’re too late Clyde.” He called, his voice cracking over my name. “Glordon is coming for her.” I could see Mary behind him, he had her hands bound with a piece of rope, her mouth was gagged and her eyes wide.

                “What have you done?” I yelled, only fifteen feet between us, the rain wasn’t even getting to my skin before it turned to gas.  How could he treat Mary like that?

                “I can’t live without her.” He lurched forward his hand balled into a fist. I caught it with my left hand. Reaching out I grabbed him by the neck and lifted him into the air. “Bill, you always were a bastard.” It felt good to finally say that too his face but I wasn’t so happy I felt like letting him get off. I turned and hurled him into alley way. Metal clanged as he collided with a dumpster at the end.

                Mary was leaning into me then, unable to put her arms around me she just leaned into my chest. She shook slightly as she sobbed. We stood there, in the rain happy to be together.

                A sound like thunder crashed across the city, it was deafening, booming, evil, and happy. Mary stepped back and let me pull the cloth from her mouth, “Glordon is coming.” I pulled my sword out, her tears were glowing in the light as they streamed down her face, I wanted nothing more than to stay with her but I knew I couldn’t. I cut her free and she embraced me for real this time. Kissed me, then whispered “I love you.”

                I left her there, tears of my own steamed from my eyes as I rose into the sky. The egg was gone, nothing to see just a dark and stormy night. Forward I flew into the darkness unsure of what I was facing unsure of anything really.

                A light came on, then another. Bright lights, tall and powerful revealing a high school football field and standing in the middle was what could only be Glordon.

                The rain was thick and heavy, the light shinning through made it look as if it hung in the air instead of beating down on the earth.

                I touched down lightly on the plastic grass a cloud of steam burst up into the air as the water on the ground was forced into its gaseous state by the heat pouring off of me. Glordon was smiling at me. Huge black teeth that looked like they could crush just about anything. Two huge spider like fangs jutted out from his mouth, the moved up and down making a rattling clacking sound in front of his huge muscular frame. Honestly, I was a little disappointed he didn’t have horns.

                He didn’t waste time. Moving deliberately he came at me, all four arms raised high ready to attack. I readied my sword and shield. Ten feet from me he gave up his slow approach and caught me off guard by lunging the distance in a fraction of a second swinging his two right arms in a vicious back hand. I only just managed to get my shield up in time. I slid back but stayed on my feet.

                Glordon roared in deafening rage. The rain shook in the air.

                I flew forward, hovering just off the ground. I managed to prick Glordon in the side before he batted me roughly away. The blow was devastating. I went sliding across the slick turf leaving a thick trail of steam behind me. Groaning I got back to my feet. I couldn’t see Glordon through the steam left behind me.

                Cold sweat beaded on my brow before it too evaporated.

                The red fist came out of the steam faster than I could imagine. Again I managed to get my shield up but this time the blow drove my shield back into my head.

                I wasn’t keeping count, but that was the second time that week that I had been physically beaten so badly that I blacked out. This time was a little different though, it was like my mind had been knocked back into my subconscious. I struggled to get out, to get back to a cognitive state but it was like being in a stranger’s house in the pitch black. I was constantly bumping into walls and tripping on furniture. I knew I wanted out but had no idea where the door was.

                A voice came through the dark, soft, loving, and confident. “Clyde,” It said, “you are the love of my life, my best friend, my family. You can beat Glordon. I know you can and I will help you to do it. I will be your savior.”

                And then the lights came on.

                Glordon was moving toward me. The last blow had knocked me all the way back into the bleachers. My back was torn up from the asphalt I had crossed to get there. Blood rushed down from my head where my shield had hit it. I was bruised, bleeding, and loosing but now I knew what to do.

                I began to circle Glordon creating a vortex of steam as the puddled rain on the turf and in the sky evaporated. Glordon kept moving and while I couldn’t see him, I could feel Mary inside me showing me where he was I could sense him through her. It was a strange sensation, close to the feeling you get when you know someone is watching you except I was the watcher.

                Round and round I went as Glordon roared and plodded in circles. The steam was hung in the windless stadium nearly viscous in its density. The time had come. I broke off my orbit of the demonic red mass in the center of the cloud launching myself right at it. My sword held out in front of me as a plunged straight down like an Olympic diver. I was on my way to scoring a perfect ten when that damnable red fist came swinging out at me again.

                No shield to weaken the blow this time. I felt my rib cage buckle as my body conformed around his big knuckles for a brief second before I was hurled away from the foggy mess I had created. I hadn’t even hit the ground before Glordon was in the air again. Roaring he flew through the air at me. I could barely feel my left side so when the next punch came I leaned into it using my left shoulder to protect my head. Another crack and I could feel my left arm flapping like a flag in a windstorm as I went sailing at a new trajectory.

                I could feel Mary still, I felt her presence better than I could feel my own body by that point. Mary was scrambling around inside me searching for anything to help me, to save me. I landed ungracefully on the far end zone, my blood staining the blue and gold of the school colors. My world was shaking, or so I thought until I realized it was the real world that shook at Glordon rushed across the field at me once again.

                He came upon me, he had slowed his pace and had begun laughing. When he finally reached me I couldn’t move, pain raced up and down my right side while my left was numb non-existent to me anymore. My shield had fallen off long ago and the bright light that was my sword was slowly fading. Glordon towered over me, his spider fangs clacking loudly as he continued to chortle. He grumbled out more low and unintelligible words and to my surprise I responded. I could not tell you what I had said, but Glordon hadn’t liked it one bit. He reared back his head fangs outstretched his obsidian teeth ready to crunch. Down came his head quick as a snake from its hole and to my amazement it went spinning off behind him. Purple blood sprayed out in a circle as the head spiraled to the ground. His large body stood for a second before teetering and finally toppling over backwards.

                My arm and my sword had moved across my body, but I hadn’t killed the beast. Mary had. I could feel her joy her happiness her exhaustion. Then she was gone.

                Waves of pain coursed through my body as I lay in a growing pool of blood and water. The rain felt wonderful on my swelling body but stung like hornets when the big drops landed on open wounds. I lay there for a long time wondering what had happened when I saw a pair of feet running over to me.

They were blue converse, the ones I had carried around the mall for what had felt like hours at the time.