The Sighting


Waldemar Brandt at Unsplash

“I tell you, I know what I saw,” Hans said passionately.

“You couldn’t have. Everyone knows that these lands were cleared of them years ago,” Dieter replied.

“What are you two arguing about?” Karl asked, sitting down next to Hans.

“Nothing of any importance,” Dieter said.

“That’s not true,” Hans said indignantly. “I saw an Ogre in the wood.”

“If you did, how have you lived to tell of it?” Dieter challenged.

“I was lucky, or downwind, or something.”

“Or something,” Dieter mocked.

“Wait,” Karl interrupted. “In the Fallun Wood?”

“Yes,” Hans said.

“It wasn’t just me then,” Karl said leaning in and lowering his voice. “I found some odd tracks about a week ago and tried to dismiss it, then yesterday I saw something big deep in the treeline. I think we might have a problem here.”

“The problem . . . ,” Dieter almost shouted, before being hushed by the other two. “The problem is my two best mates have gone mad.”

Karl cut him off and whispered, “We need to check this out, but we farmers ain’t meant for such things. We need to have a look, but we need help.”

“What about Otis,” Hans whispered. “He was a warrior.”

“So now you want to get a sixty-year old all caught up in your craziness?” Dieter challenged.

“It can’t hurt to be sure,” Karl said. “If anyone can tell us if we’re fools or not on this, Otis is the one.”

“Fine,” Dieter said. “I can always use someone to back up my opinions.”


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All In A Day’s Work

Trevor and Will had spent the morning filling potholes on the Farmington Road. With the job done, Will poured a couple of cups of tea from the flask while Trev looked at the next ticket.

“Looks like another bridge obstruction,” Trevor said, holding the paperwork up for his partner to see.

“That’s the third one this week,” Will reflected.

“I think it got something to do with the season,” Trev said.

“Could be,” Will said taking a gulp of tea.

The pair hitched up the horses to the red and yellow stripped wagon and headed to the bridge.

They stopped about fifty yards short of the structure, and Will opened the tailgate marked “Highway Maintenance” and took out two “Men At Work” signs. Meanwhile, Trevor donned his yellow reflective vest and strode to the bridge. He went about a third of the way over and leaned over the railing to look beneath it. He recoiled a bit and pinched his nose with two fingers before shaking his head and heading back to his colleague.

“It’s smelly down there, and it looks like a type two Ogre.”

Will opened the door of a cage at the back of the wagon, and grabbed the harness of a large goat. “Come on, Gruff, old fella, time to get you a little exercise.”


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Enquiry

The council had been convened in Rivendell. The incursions into Middle Earth started as a trickle, but now it was becoming of torrent. Beardless Dwarves, and unknown characters had begun to overrun even the peaceful Shire.

Elrond brought the meeting to order and explained the graveness of the situation. “We must send a fellowship out to explore how this has come about.”

“Yes, yes,” interrupted Gimli. “We must find where all this shite has come from!”

It was agreed the Gandalf would lead the party of enquirers into a darkness even greater that Mordor to seek the truth.

Months later and much battered by their trials, the fellowship returned and presented their findings. It was entitled: On the Origin of the Faeces or The Realm of the Dark Lord Bezos.


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What About Love?

Love, Potion, Bottle, Cork, Liquid

The apprentice, Lilibet was grinding dried sorrel with the adept, Sandra.

“Sandra, why do we make a cordial that is mainly used for fighting? Shouldn’t we make something nice like a love potion instead?”

“To start with it’s not practical,” Sandra said.

“Why not?”

“Okay, let’s examine it. A woman sees a desirable partner and decides to slip them a love potion. The object of her affection falls head over heels for her and is devoted to her until the potion wears off. To avoid this she has to ply her beloved with the potion on a regular basis, this is not only expensive, but a kind of deceit as her lover is in reality involuntarily bound to her through the potion.”

“But what if they happen to actually fall in love with her in the mean time?” Lilibet asked.

“How will she ever know?” Sandra replied. “Is it worth the risk to not give a dose?”

“Hmm.”

“Besides, it wouldn’t be practical for us either. Think about how much product we would have to produce just to keep up with the daily or weekly demand. Out forest couldn’t provide the needed resources, nor we the work force without outsourcing our techniques, and losing our monopoly.”

“Yes, but even if one couple . . .”

“Don’t go there. So lets flip this. A man sees a hot young thing, and slips her the potion. She in over the moon in love with him, against her own control mind, and they marry and have a family. Ten years on, the man sees her with her ‘mom’ body, and he constant tiredness owing to family life. Will he be tempted to buy more potion, if he was shallow enough to have used it to ‘catch’ her in the first place? I think not. Before you know it, he has fallen out of lust with her, she has stopped magically loving him, there is a broken family, distressed children, and to top it all off – we have lost a regular customer.”

“Wow, I hadn’t thought of that,” Lilibet said reflectively. “You are really wise.”

“No, just experienced. We tried that line about twenty years ago and it was a disaster.”


Padre

Thanks to my wife for suggesting this story line.

Prime

Drank, Magic, Alchemy, Bottle, Piston, Larp, Witchcraft

There were innumerable potions and elixirs available in the Kingdom. Two guilds in particular, the Fluid Alchemists, and the High Herbalists nearly cornered the trade. There were mixtures that instilled the user with strength, others with dexterity, and yet others that gave momentary abilities such as Dragon’s-breath.

One small cottage industry on the edge of Northwest Woodlands, however, produced the most widely sought after “cordial” of the lot. It was brewed by a pair of Cunning Women, and their apprentices, from ingredients found in the meadows and forests of that region. Prime Cordial, as it was called, would transform the user to their “prime” form.

For an ageing warrior, it might restore the strength, and vigour of twenty years hence, yet it would not erase the skill or knowledge that years had bestowed on them. For a fledgling fighter it might give them brawn and skill they might not achieve for ten years to come. Thieves might find their maximum dexterity and mages recall spells long lost to their memories. The effects however were short-lived lasting but an hour.

The brief enhancement was further complicated by some drawbacks. Chief among these was that the cordial could only be used once in a moon-cycle or the user might face a type of poisoning which would permanently rob them of skills. Other concerns were more practical, such as a young warrior becoming to bulked to fit their armour, or and we need not address the one-mindedness experienced by some Bards and Rogues, which diverted them from the other tasks at hand.

Many sought the secrets of this marvellous mixture, but it was guarded jealously by the “Sisterhood,” that produced it. Numerous safeguards were put into place, such as no two junior apprentices knowing the ingredients or procedures involved in its production. Adepts were limited to three at a time, and each of these still lacked certain aspects. Only the two Mistresses held all of the knowledge and skill required, and this was only passed on to one senior adept each.


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Niblet

15th century, 16th century. Doublet, Cape, Capelet, Romeo, revels, faire,  Elizabethan, Tudor, Renaiss… | Medieval clothing, Character inspiration,  Story inspiration

Niblet was excited. Today was his birthday, and he was going to be allowed to go to the town for the first time, and on his own!

It wasn’t that he had never left the forest before. He had on several occasions gone into the farmlands surrounding his home. He had enjoyed those outings, many of them with his brothers, as they rounded up sheep or cattle and taken them back to their woodland home.

This was different, however. Now he was twelve, and able to adventure on his own.

“Remember what you have been taught,” his mother reminded him. “Be careful, and stay away from the castle, the Duke doesn’t like it when we visit the town, so don’t provoke him.”

“Yes Mama,” Niblet replied.

“And don’t forget to say thank you.”

“I will, Mama.”

With that Niblet headed out of the wood and headed through the fields towards the town. He made his way to the main street and to the market. The watchmen stopped and stared as he stood in the midst of the market stalls, and others gave him a wide berth.

There before him was what he had been looking for, a wagon-load of cakes and pies. Niblet picked the wagon up and put it under his left arm and said, “Thank you,” to the petrified vendor.

He then turned and headed home as the church bells rang and people ran in panic shouting, “Giant!”


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The Dune Wars Lesser Tales

After a long delay, one of the Dune Wars Lesser Tales will soon be coming out as an ebook on Amazon. While parts of this work have previously found their way to this platform, the complete story will tie together loose ends and hopefully make for some enjoyable reading.

Though thought to have been extinct for hundreds of years, reports of a dragon have been circulating in a remote and secretive kingdom. Heroes from the great kingdoms of the age have tried and failed to battle the beast. Now an unlikely champion has emerged. He is the Dragon Hunter.


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Mystic Encounter

Campfire, Ash, Wood Ash, Grilling, Firewood, Hot
Pixabay

The pair entered through glade into a clearing that was obscured by fog. At the centre there was a fire, the source of the the light that had led them that way. Seated at the fireside was a crone, tending the flames and occasionally tossing pinches of some herb into a boiling pot.

“Welcome Jan. Oh, and Oskar too,” she said with a gravelly voice.

The brothers stared at each other and then back to the mystic figure before them.

“Are you surprised that I know your names? Why, I have known who you were since you were lads. Your identity is no secret to me. In fact, I have been waiting for you. You certainly have taken your time to arrive,” she said with a low cackle.

“How . . .. Who?” Oskar stammered.

“That’s no interesting tale,” the crone responded. “Let us just say I knew your mother, and her mother as well.”

“And have we met you before? I am sorry, but I don’t recognise you,” Jan said.

“You have indeed, but you were but babes.”

“And you say you have been waiting for us?” Oskar asked.

“Why yes, for days now.” You really were rather foolish with that chest, if you you don’t mind me saying. It is a greedy guts, that one. But good to see you didn’t waste too much time on trying to get your coins back.”

“How . . .?” Jan began.

“It’s all in the pot, Lad. It’s all in the pot,” she said throwing another pinch into the bubbles. “Now, you are running late my dears, so you can’t dally. You need to go north to Ringstead, and look beneath the bridge. You will know what to do then,” she said emotionlessly.

“North?” Jan repeated with a puzzled tone. “We have just come from the north.”

“North,” the crone said again, and threw a handful of red powder into her pot. Suddenly their was a bust of steam, and then the clearing was bathed in sunlight and all that remained of the crone and her fire was a cold ring of ash.”

“North?” Oskar asked.

“North,” Jan said with a resigned tone.


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Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Use fire, mystic, and identity in prose or poetry