Duke Junior – Very Short Story

My father was a very kind man. Every year in midsummer, instead of going to the King’s annual banquet, he made sure to arrange a huge party for his subjects at his own expense. I lived in another noble house at the time, such as all young noblemen do to acquire knighthood, and had never experienced one of my father’s celebrations – not one that I could remember anyway. As a result of being away from my family, I had been taught to despise my father’s practices. But I had also heard great things about my father and I was determined to give it an open mind once I returned a man and a knight.

Despite the ridicule my father suffered because of the celebration, he kept doing it year after year and in the end, I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take the contempt the other highborn showed us, things that didn’t even seem to face my father, which made me all the more angry. Why doesn’t he care?

Continue reading “Duke Junior – Very Short Story”

Once Upon An Endless Journey – Very Short Story

The village looked like a dream, sitting by a large lake in the middle of nowhere – the trees growing tall and dense. I had not planned to seek civilisation while traversing this remote region, but upon finding the road that led me here, my inner voice told me to follow it; and like most of my adult life, I listened.

The voice guides me to paths I never knew existed, choices I never realised was available to me…

… Well, I should probably leave it at that. As it is the reason for my journey, to see where these “imaginary” roads can take me.

At the outskirts of the village, I passed a few quaint looking houses, all in red, as was customary on the countryside.

And upon entering the town, I immediately encountered a large crowd gathering at the centre of town. The town was buzzing with activity and vendors, which suited me as it made my presence all the more inconspicuous.

Continue reading “Once Upon An Endless Journey – Very Short Story”

The Exodus Journal: Vol. 1 End

Fantasy Monday


Fendreael stopped reading and slowly turned his head towards the shelf next to him. The moon no longer illuminated the room and only a few candles lit up the area around him. But even though the shelf was shrouded in the darkness, he could see what he was looking for in his mind’s eye.
He pictured a large, but plain looking book, that seemed neither new nor old, and at its centre, a medallion was encrusted into the cover. His heart pounded in anticipation as he recalled, the similarities all too striking to ignore. However, before rising, he glanced at the entry again and read the line over and over to make sure that he interpret the words correctly.
The item was shimmering in gold, with markings of an unknown kind. Around it, jewels were encrusted in red, yellow, blue…
Finishing the sentence, he rose hastily from the chair and put the journal gently back on the nightstand. He knew the books approximate location and he moved his fingers along the backs of the books on the shelf until he felt the familiar feeling of a cold and smooth metallic surface.
As the book was as big as his entire torso, he had trouble taking it down. The heavy book slipped from his fingers and it crashed into the floor, dust spewing all around him. Fendrael grit his teeth and glanced at the door at the other end of the room, but nobody came and the kitchen staff continued as loudly as before.
Letting out a short breath of relief, he managed to place the book carefully on the nightstand next to the journal. Hunched over the book, his eyes fixated on the medallion on the cover. The medallion shimmered from the candle light and four gems were encrusted around a colourless larger gem at the centre – the fourth one was in white…
Fascinated, Fendrael glanced at the journal again and read the description: (…) the item was shimmering in gold, with markings of an unknown kind.
He frowned as he read it, finding that there were no markings on the medallion, nor was the grey gem described either.
Fendrael let out a sigh and slumped on the chair, his body still tense from the anticipation. The longer he reflected of what he had read, he realised more and more inconsistencies. The author had mentioned something about “Three Great Tribes”, but as far as he knew, there was only one ruler of this world and their eyes were not yellow but in scarlet red… Perhaps it is fiction after all.
As he sat staring at the ceiling, the smell of grilled meat made his mouth salivate and he realised that he hadn’t eaten in a while. Hesitating, his eyes flicked between the journal and the door, but then he rose and headed towards the kitchen, finding the story to be less interesting since it contained nothing but lies.

Previous – Next (Coming Soon)

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal

The Exodus Journal: Entry 12

Fantasy Friday


Before I was able to head out this morning, an old man approached me. Having heard of my interest in the ruins, he explained that he once visited these rocks as a teenager. Apparently, the people of his village never embraced the ghostly stories that the other villagers told; instead, they had a rite of passage were the young men ventured deep into the highlands until they found an item by which to bring back as proof of their exploit.

This excited me to no end, not only because of the amusing gesture of spite against the other villagers of his kin, but also that it meant that there indeed are more ruins laying about.

Though my face surely shone with excitement at the time, I was taken aback by the lightless eyes that the old man expressed. Showing fear and weariness that is so rare among his kin, who otherwise hides their emotion behind a cold expressionless face.

As the old man continued his story, he suddenly dug into a satchel, strapped under his belt, and presented an item for me.

The item was shimmering in gold, with markings of an unknown kind. And around it, jewels were encrusted in red, yellow and blue, and another gem that was missing.

I was speechless. Its design was uncanny in its similarities to my own culture. It is almost as if the gems represented the Three Great Tribes of our race, by which I belong to the yellow. Of course, because of my eye colour. Truly, it must be a coincidence?

As I tried my hardest not to touch it out of respect, I noticed how fragile and famished the old man was, his hands trembling as he held it before my eyes. I quickly dug into my own satchel to offer him some food, but as I turned, the old man had already left. Limping down the hill back to his own kind.

Dumbfounded with questions, I could not draw breath to ask who he was and I just watched as the mysterious man disappeared among the crowd below.

PreviousNext

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal

The Exodus Journal: Entry 11

Fantasy Monday


As predicted, the caravan has significantly slowed since yesterday, but not for the reasons that I initially thought. For as I made my way through the line, I encountered a wagon blocking the path. It was tilting dangerously to the left, with its wheels half-buried into the ground.

On closer inspection, the wagon’s wheels had revealed a hollow, covered by the undergrowth. My interest peaked and I requested to investigate further, but I could not, as this would risk the entire wagon to roll over. I understood their concerns, but I wasn’t about to give up either; so I waited for hours as they tried to jerk the wheels back on the path, but in the end, it was without avail.

As they wheezed and grunted at their failure, I carefully reminded them that if they could not salvage the wagon, they would simply have to let it roll over completely, for it stood in the way of the others that needed to pass. Their eyes showed only contempt for me then, and I was certain that they would attack me at any moment. But thankfully, reason prevailed, and they removed their belongings before they let the now worthless piece of wood crash over the edge.

As the wagon teared through the thin layer of roots and sedimented sand, a much larger hollow was revealed, as I expected. What I didn’t expect, however, was the significance of the find. Under the rubble that the wagon had caused, there were remains of a structure; not very large or well preserved, but a foundation was there, including parts of a four-sided wall.

I can hardly contain myself as I write this, for this is the evidence that I have sought ever since hearing about the stories of the Ghostly Kingdom. Naturally, the civilisations demise, and the origin of the ghost stories, had been exaggerated through centuries of oral tradition – facts twisted through the generations.

Though, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself again, for these rocks are not decisive evidence that I need, only an indication of may yet to come. But what else could it be? Unless we have stumbled upon an old hermits humble abound.

It saddens me, however, that I cannot study them in further depth for my duties lay elsewhere. But I am certain this is but a part of a greater discovery, so significant in its implication that my heart shatters whenever I think about the circumstance to which it was found; for its discovery will be almost meaningless, beyond personal curiosity, when the very existence of our people lies in the balance.

Previous  – Next

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal

 

The Exodus Journal: Entry 10

Fantasy Friday


As we climb ever higher, the more arduous the journey becomes – the terrain turning rocky and inaccessible. The land, borderline desolate, with only thin patches of grass and bushes growing on the mountain side. Not even birds or rodents seem to thrive on these heights and I am starting to wonder if the land is indeed as accurst as the stories suggest. For even mountains has some sort of wildlife, an ecosystem where resilient animals live.

Furthermore, could a civilisation really survive this harsh climate? Or did the climate change? Perhaps something else allowed it to survive and thrive? Something that we couldn’t even fathom today?

But, I am getting ahead of myself, as I have yet to find any proof of the existence of such a civilisation, regardless of how much I wish it to be… And I really do; to the point of lunacy, one might say. But the prospect of such findings helps me cope with the endless drizzle that chills down my bone. Never allowing our bodies to fully warm – our clothes always wet.

At least the wind is calm, mercifully sparing us of the additional suffering such weather would bring. Not that it would hinder us more than it already has, with its slippery slopes and none existent paths.

That we have managed to take our wagons this far is nothing more than miraculous, but I fear this is as far as we go for the peaks are simply too steep. Impossible to climb even alone.

We can only pray that we may find something that will allow us to escape these wretched lands. Another miracle perhaps? Avos be willing.

PreviousNext

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal

The Exodus Journal: Entry 9

Fantasy Monday


Having performed my duties as overseer, I was heading back towards the front of the caravan, where my superiors were eagerly awaiting my report.

It is safe to assume that they will be pleased, for the supplies are lasting and the people remain spirited, despite the horrors that they have faced. However, it is clear that it is going to take weeks before we are able to ascend the mountain, perhaps months before everyone is safely on the other side.

Time we simply do not have.

I cannot help but think that all of this would have been much easier if the caravan had remained split into homogenised sections, as was the plan from the beginning. But time was not on our side, and as a result, the caravan is a mishmash of different peoples; different nationalities and social classes. Though such things do not matter any longer, it is hard to deny the inevitable conflict that arises when so many people with different opinions and experiences are mixed together.

We truly are a strange race who manages to find conflict in the midst of our demise.

PreviousNext

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal

 

How To Make A Short Story Work

Making stories that you wanna make, and making the stories that people wanna read, can be two different things sometimes.

I have this short story, my very first short story in fact, called “Colony Sane” that I have been working on for almost a year now.

Writing the same story for such an extensive time can be exhausting, but it is, unfortunately, necessary when you are starting off as a writer. Because in the beginning of your writing career, or any career for that matter, you improve your craft incredibly fast; making slightly better garbage each time. Hence, my story has been revised more times that I can remember.

In any case, the idea was for the story to be around 30-40 pages long. But after some reviews, it seemed that was not possible. People wanted to learn more about the characters and the world I created, which is awesome criticism, but I didn’t want to make the story as long as they wanted it to be.

After my second major revision, I received the same criticism, that the world and the characters needed to be fleshed out. At this point, I considered ignoring the critique and simply publish it as it was. But I realised that their criticism wasn’t unfounded, it was their solution to the problem that was.

You see: more words doesn’t equal a better story. In fact, some of the greatest works are short stories.

So, how do you make a short story work then?

In my case, the problem was that the readers wanted to know more because the MC (Main Character) knew things that the readers didn’t. I had left out information just to keep the story short, which is a bad idea. The readers need to know exactly as much as the MC does, this is the key to a good short story.A lot of things can happen in the background and be implicit, but as long as the MC doesn’t know what’s going on, and sometimes never will, then the readers can accept not knowing as well.

I may end up expanding the story in the future, if the demand is high enough. Much like how Hugh Howey did with the Wool Trilogy. (Strongly recommend this story, by the way)

If you are curious, about Colony Sane, you can read it for free on Tablo. I am still editing it though

The Exodus Journal: Entry 8

Fantasy Friday


The terrain is becoming more and more elevated as we go on, and I can now see, with utmost clarity, the vastness that is the mountains ahead. Though I have read about its greatness several years ago, I was still shaken by the sheer height of its peaks – snow clad and menacing.

Beyond that, the sheer width of the mountain was breathtaking in its own right. It stretched as far as the eye could see on both ends, beginning at the furthest reaches to the north and ending by the  great ocean to the south. Or so I’ve read…

Aside from the view ahead of me, I could now also see the the land we have left behind.

However, the most significant sight was not the greatness of nature, or the horrors of the fiery death at the horizon, but the snake-like line of people still submerged under the crowns of the trees.

It will take days before they will reach the point where I am now standing.

And here I will remain until they do, for the duty of the educated is to make sure people without it remain orderly, remain organised, and above all, remain calm. I will show my empathy by remaining here and document their arrival; to determine their various needs before continuing onward.

PreviousNext

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal

 

The Exodus Journal: Entry 7

Fantasy Monday


The density and the roughness of the terrain have caused a great deal of complications on our travel, extending our journey threefold for what we expected it to be. But, after weeks of powering through the vegetation, the thickness of the forest finally seem to thin out as the mountains grew tall before my vision.

Thanks to this, I can now see ahead towards our destination, and thus determine where the strange light is coming from. Having perplexed us for some time, I can with certainty conclude that the light emanates somewhere beyond the mountain, further cementing my theory that it is anything but supernatural.

After all, we have long passed this supposed border of the “Land of the Dead”, and we have yet to see anything suggesting anything supernatural, nor any architecture for that matter.

Despite this, the Easterners, and indeed many of my colleges, glances nervously over their shoulders, wincing at every little sound, as if expecting some ghoulish creature to emerge from the foliage.

However, even though I don’t believe it myself, it is becoming harder and harder to remain level-headed when more and more people seem to subscribe to the notion of a ghostly presence in this land.

But regardless of anyone’s beliefs, nobody knows what awaits us beyond the mountain, and the only sign of what to come, is a faint light that is only visible at the peak of night-time; when the sun sets and the moon still lingers behind the smog to the east.

PreviousNext

Read the rest of the series here: The Exodus Journal