In A Cloud Of Fury

Industry, Steam, Factory, Metal, Night
Pixabay

The steam billowed into the compartment uncontrollably. It was going to prove a disaster not only for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the scalding deluge, but for the workers at the plant as a whole. There would be no more work on that day, or for several weeks to come owing to both the investigation and the repairs that were to follow the accident.

In time it was ruled to be human error, an act of ineptitude beyond all comprehension. But while the inexperience of the operator was the trigger factor, it was not his ineptness alone that caused the disaster. No if inept folly was to be laid at the feet of anyone, it was the shift manager that was to blame for giving a job to his corner-cutting nephew in the first place.

Meanwhile at the late manager’s home, his widow attempted to console her grieving sister. Never again would the latter ask a favour, and never again would her sibling offer one.


Padre

RDP Monday: BILLOW

FOWC with Fandango — Inept

Canopy

File:Chupah closeup.JPG
Public Domain

Under a canopy

A home to be made

Starting life together

Firm foundations to be laid

But a glass shattered

Life’s fragility manifest

A reminder to treasure the one

With whom you were under the canopy blessed


Padre

RDP SATURDAY: CANOPY

Humble Destiny

Iga Palacz at Unsplash

A cobbled lane weaves through the town

And for those that know the way

Their fortunes can along it be made

As they discover destiny

It may seem to you a humble street

Past daub and wattle houses quaint

But there are those there you might meet

With opportunities for you to aquaint

Jack did here meet a man

As his cow to market he led

A few beans he did recieve

Worth great riches, so he said

The rest of the story is well known

Riches he did recieve

So don’t be fooled by humble looks

For their simplicity can deceive

Take your chances

Tread cobbled lanes

Seek your destiny

And you too might

Come to fame

If only you believe


Padre

RDP SATURDAY: WEAVES

The Bridge

Historical Odtwórstwo, The Middle Ages

Image by Michał Koper from Pixabay 

It had been a small engagement, and an unnecessary one.  Seventy men fought for a remote bridge that no one really wanted.  Both main armies were approaching each other forty miles upstream.  Even if they were closer to this position, it was unnecessary.  The summer had been dry and the river barely a trickle, especially at the ford which was a mere half mile away.  But fought they did.

The Bear Clan had gained the western approach to the crossing just before dawn. Thirty men, some as young as fifteen massed to block the Wolves’ advance.  Through the morning mist they could hear the quiet conversations of the forty Wolf-men as they approached, unaware of the Bear’s arrival on the span.

Without warning, or orders, young Kildrin let loose a shaft towards the advancing voices.  It fell well short, but served to bring the Wolve’s into battle array.

Forming a wedge the Wolves, led by the veteran Rithard Bonebreaker, mounted the eastern side of the narrow structure.  No more than four men could stand abreast, and that made wielding weapons next to impossible.  The result was a battle of attrition, with each side plugging the gaps of fallen comrades.

Though braced for the onslaught, the Bears had neither the numbers nor the experience to halt the Wolves in the end.

After nearly thirty bloody minutes, the eight remaining Bear-men broke and fled into the forest beyond, allowing the “invasion force” of the remaining seventeen Wolves to enter their lands.

Padre

RDP Friday – Remote

The Roommate

Helen stared with disbelief at the hotel.  It sat, not in the picturesque valley below as she had anticipated, but on a winding switchback half way up the mountain.

Her college roommate, Sadie had told her that it was luxurious, with a south facing aspect which allowed the guest to take in the splendor of the mountains.  South facing aspect with views, Helen mused.  All I see is clouds and spitting rain.  

Sadie had insisted that they meet on this particular weekend as she had something exciting to show her.  “Put it in your diary,” she insisted. “You will meet me there, won’t you?  It’s on me, I promise.”

Helen had agreed, and a free weekend getaway on the Continent did have some appeal, especially if it was at a “luxury” hotel with “hot and cold running waiters” like her friend said.

But luxury?  There was no pomp to this place at all.  It was quint maybe, but it needed some paint, and as far as “hot” staff, that could only be the overheated sixty year old counter receptionist who almost passed out helping Helen carry her tiny case to her room.

Helen waited at the bar (which was empty) for a while, then went back to her “Premium” room which had a lumpy mattress, and artwork that belonged in a charity shop.

Then, four hours after checking in, Helen received a text from Sadie.  It read, “Hope you arrived okay.  This is for you stealing my boyfriend back in Sophomore year.  Hope you have a great stay, and there will be a bill waiting for you at the desk at check out.”

 

Padre

 

Photo Challenge # 288

FOWC with Fandango — Diary

Your Daily Word Prompt – Aspect

RDP Tuesday: pomp

Night Of Flames

Fire, Field, Smoke, Flame, Nature, Environment, Heat

Pixabay

Hamlin scanned the devastation laid out before him.  The blackened fields were hazy with the swirls of blowing ash.  How had it come to this that the once green pastures could be thus transformed?

The cause lay in the history of the region.  Ninety years before, the Riders of the East had staged a mass incursion into the Duchy.  Villages were sacked, men slain, and women abducted into slavery upon the steppe.

In its aftermath the Duke ordered the construction of the Horde-Line, a series of stone blockhouses and towers such as the one upon which Hamlin now stood.   The Duchy would never again be caught unready, as a perpetual watch was set against the threat.

In addition to the fortifications and their garrisons of watchers, relay stations were set in which riders were every ready to speed new of invasion from the frontier to the cities of the interior.  Measures were also taken to insure that any attack would be slowed enough for these riders to complete their missions, and for reinforcements to arrive, huge cisterns of tar and oil were strategically constructed along the frontier.  The Eastern Riders would be greeted not only by a shower of arrows from the towers, but with a wall of fire as well.

Then last Tuesday it happened.  A young sentry walking the walls of Tower Seven felt a rumbling beneath his feet, and heard the unmistakable sound of hooves in the night.  He alerted his captain, and the threat confirmed.  Three flare arrows were loosed into the night, but a heavy fog lay upon the surrounding fields.  The captain, fearing for not only his Duchy, but for his very life, gave the order for the cisterns to be ignited.

When “Seven’s” tar pits flared, the officers of surrounding fortifications followed suit.  Soon the entire border was in flame.

But no arrows responded to the fierce attack of the defenders.  No agonizing cries of burning Riders were heard.  No, when the flames finally abated, all that was found was the charred remains of a herd of bison, perhaps a thousand strong.

The great attack of The Tuesday of Flames was a mistake.  An error in judgement which would change the Duchy’s defense plans forever.

Padre

FOWC with Fandango — Threat 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Ash

RDP Tuesday: error

Your Daily Word Prompt – Perpetual

Dissonance

Singer, Karaoke, Girl, Woman, Sing

Image by Bernd Everding from Pixabay 

Maestro Geovanni Napoli stepped to the platform and took up his baton.  The orchestra,  chorus, and principal singers waited for the great man to signal the beginning of the rehearsal.

He gave a quick nod, and the strings began to play and then the entire piece came to life with melodic brilliance.  But something was not right.  His masterful ear had caught something untuneful, almost nauseating.

“No, no, no,” he bellowed and signaled a halt with the baton.

“Okay, now we will try again,” he said, almost sniffing the air to detect to flaw in the atmosphere.

He again brought in the strings, and the piece again began to flow in exquisite harmony.  But after a moment the dissonance was there again.

“Stop! Stop” By all that is holy – stop.”

The rehearsal hall again fell into silence.

“This time as I point to you section,” he said quietly, “I want you to stop.  One section at a time however,” the conductor instructed.

Again the piece began, and he signaled the percussion to stop, followed by the male chorus members, then the prima donna, and yet the offending noise continued.  He signaled for the brass to halt.  It was still there.  He continued the process until only the woodwinds and strings continued.  There it was.  He had isolated it.  The caterwauling was coming from the dressing rooms.

Signalling for the piece to resume in full, he quietly walked to the dressing room door to find the shrill notes coming from a loud woman wearing a cleaner’s uniform.  She was mopping the floor, oblivious to what was happening around her; her headphones in place, and she belting out a terrible rendition of Madonna’s Material Girl.

Padre

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman

Your Daily Word Prompt – Exquisite – August 28, 2019

 

The Afbow: A Sisters Tale

The mountains before them, with their high peaks, and white snow-caps looked forbidding. The foothills, however, were generally lightly forested, and the party was making good time. There were some groves which were more dense, and some of the small stream valleys were a tangle with undergrowth. These they endeavored to avoid, but there was still a sense that something was amiss. Both Breena and Maya picked up on it, using their respective gifts.

“We’re being stocked,” Maya told the others.

“Yes, and the White Ones say on two sides,” Breena added.

The group became more vigilant, and their mood became less buoyant.

Seymour was on guard, shortly before dawn, when he heard a commotion in the small valley before them. He quickly roused the others, and they prepared for an onslaught which did not come.

Shortly after daybreak they proceeded to the watershed, and peered down.  There next to the stream bed, a scene of carnage greeted them.  Seymour led them downwards, and there they came across the body of man, which seemed to have crumpled where he had stood. He had a short black fletched bolt protruding from his left thigh, two more in his belly and right shoulder.  The death-blow however seemed to be from the fourth bolt which had struck his throat. Five others had struck trees or the ground around him.

Before him, starting from about thirty long paces away, lay the bodies of six Goblins, each with a slender red feathered arrow piercing its torso. Thilda looked at the remains of the creatures, and couldn’t help but be impressed with the skill of the archer who had brought them down.

She turned to look at the man. He was of medium height, but athletically built. Around his shoulders he wore the forest green cowl of The King’s Rangers. He was about fifty years of age, and had begun to grey at the temples. By his side was a quiver with six more red fletched shafts, and across his lap lay an exquisitely crafted composite bow of ewe wood and antler.

Thilda lifted the weapon, and was surprised at how light and easy to manoeuvre it was for its size. As she examined it, her eyes fell on an engraving in the antler work.  It was a stylised arrow running through a bow fashioned from a number three. It was capped with an “A” and fletched with a “F.” The makers’ mark of Augustus Feathermann the Third, her father. It must have been one of his finest pieces of work, though she had never seen another quite like it before.

AFBow

She shouldered the bow, and exchanged quivers with the corpse and selected her five best white-feathered arrows from her old quiver as well. She then went to collect the remaining arrows from the Goblins’ bodies. Thilda Feathermann was now, more than ever, a force to be reckoned with. None of her sisters dared question her why she had tears in her eyes.

She was appreciative of this, but thought it prudent to state, “Damn pollen getting to me, Seymour,” before he had a chance to say a word.

Seymour dug a grave for the Ranger, and Breena said the appropriate words. At the same time Gwendolyn and Wilberta gathered wood, while Thilda kept watch. They built a pyre and Maya lit it with an incantation to dispose of the Goblin remains.

“Do you think that’s all of them?” Gwendolyn asked Maya.

“I’m not sure, but I know that the ranger had been one of our “stalkers,” and “the Goblins the other,” she replied.

“No exactly,” Breena interjected. “The Goblins were indeed stalking us , but the Ranger was stalking them in turn.”

“We will keep double watch tonight,” Gwendolyn declared.

All agreed and they set off to make the greatest distance from this place as they could before nightfall.

Padre


Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt inspired the image of the foot hills.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt White

This tale is posted out of sequence, as it while vaguely plotted, been really enhanced by some outstanding prompts(Thank you Sue and Rag Tag). The Sisters Tales are presented in the correct order on the “Themed Fiction” page of my blog.