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Thread: Wood's World of Words [updated: May 1]

  1. #1

    Default Wood's World of Words [updated: May 1]

    Wood's World of Words

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    Welcome all! My actual name is Nathan Wood (hence, the title of my library), which I figured my be useful to give as well, since at some point I plan to submit many of the things posted here to publishers or anthologies. I am fairly new to the Writer's Study and the writing community here, having not really realized it existed until a couple weeks ago (May 2018). However, with my newfound knowledge I plan to be more active, participating in Tales of the Week Competitions (TotW), submitting short fiction for the Monthly Writing Competitions (MCWC), and also creating some longer pieces via After Action Reports (AAR).

    Given this, and the fact that I'd like to provide a simple set of links to my work for any interested, I thought I would create a library as well. If you like my work, do subscribe to the library, and you will then get regular updates any time I add a new story or installment of an ongoing AAR. For those of you just wishing to browse, feel free to check any of the links below, or peruse the TotW submissions I've added.

    Also, any comments on the work I have posted is always welcome, since as I said I would at some point like to have things published and feedback always helps towards that end. If I somehow do manage to get some poor fool to agree to publish my work I will let you all know ASAP!

    Tales of the Week Submissions:
    (please do have a look at other TotW as well, as there are loads of good things there from dozens of great authors!)

    Previously, I had placed my Tale of the Week entries here in contentboxes, but the character limit for single posts was becoming a problem, what with all the links to other things already here. For that reason, I have moved the Tale of the Week stories to post #4 below. Please feel free to peruse them to your heart's content, and if any of them conjure up any thoughts for you, or if you want to chat about them (or anything else), feel free to drop a comment in this thread!


    Creative Writing:
    (again, have a look at the great pieces, both finished and ongoing, from other writers in the creative writing forum! Link)


    The Fool and His Keeper (The Chronicles of Matt and Morn) (ongoing)

    This is a series of short stories written in a Terry Pratchett-esque style of comedic fantasy, and following a magic sword and his companion (or the other way around; it depends on who you ask). The main characters get into scrapes, steal things, abduct/rescue damsals (some of whom are even in distress), and generally blunder about the world. The tales will also likely interact with other characters and places which are part of my ongoing short story series "Legends and Fragments" (see description of "The Song of Tekka and Maharat" below).

    The Fool and His Keeper (The Chronicles of Matt and Morn)

    The Song of Tekka and Maharat (completed)

    This is a short creation story, which I wrote as part of an ongoing series called "Legends and Fragments". The tales in this series are meant to flesh out the world I'm creating for a novel in-progress, which I hope at some point to also start posting here, provided I can make myself feel more happy about the state it's in...

    The Song of Tekka and Maharat

    The Last Days of Albanus, Martyr of Verulamium (completed)

    This is a short story about the first recorded Christian martyr of the Britons. It deals with faith, prayer, and some other theological concerns.

    The Last Days of Albanus, Martyr of Verulamium


    Ongoing AARs:
    (again, have a look at those from others as well! Link)


    Written in Sand

    This is a narrative-style AAR following the exploits of a single general of the Nabataeans in my EBII campaign. The pace is somewhat slow, and it reads more like a novel than a simple recounting of what battles took place and which cities were captured. However, what is lost in action and speed is, I think, more than made up for in rich description and character development. The links to the general information about the AAR and the individual parts can be found below.



    Table of Contents
    --------------------------------------------------
    Written in Sand (AAR info and intro)


    Chapter 1: Out of Edum
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Part VI
    Part VII

    Chapter 2: First Moves
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Part VI

    Chapter 3: Crimson Sands
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V

    Chapter 4: New Friends, New Enemies
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Part VI
    Part VII
    Part VIII
    Part IX

    Chapter 5: The Incense Road
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Part VI
    Part VII
    Part VIII

    Interlude
    Part I

    Chapter 6: The Highest Eagles
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Part VI
    Part VII

    Chapter 7: Drawing the Net
    Part I


    Published Academic Articles:
    My actual profession is doing research in moral and political philosophy, so, for anyone interested in having a look at my more serious work, I will provide external links to anything I've published that is available open access.


    Deploying Racist Soldiers (2018)

    This article is about morality in war, and argues that the intentions a soldier or state has in war do not in principle matter. Importantly, I do not argue that intentions simply do not matter, but that intentions only matter insofar as they impact on our actions (which will almost always be the case). It might seem a small point, but it is one which goes against much current thinking and also against the foundations of the study of morality and war as given by St. Augustine and St. Aquinas. It seems at first like the article is doing rather little, but by the end it makes a large point about moral theory in general which you may find interesting.

    If this idea interests you at all, or if you just want to learn a bit more about the theory, feel free to read further! If you do end up reading the paper and have any questions or comments about it, feel free to send me a personal message here. I am always happy to help clarify things, hear objections or counterarguments, debate politics/philosophy, or even just bounce around new ideas.

    Republican International Relations (2015)

    This article explores a political theory called "Republicanism" (named so because it emulates the legal and moral notions which drove the insitutions of the Roman Republic). The core of Republicanism is the idea that states exist and should exist for the sole purpose of promoting and protecting freedom, where freedom is understood as the absence of any force which may dominate you (see article for further elaboration). In this paper I argue that this republican theory has certain necessary implications for international relations, building to the conclusion that if we take republicanism seriously, then we are obligated to create a federalized global republican state.

    If this idea interests you at all, or if you just want to learn a bit more about the theory, feel free to read further! If you do end up reading the paper and have any questions or comments about it, feel free to send me a personal message here. I am always happy to help clarify things, hear objections or counterarguments, debate politics/philosophy, or even just bounce around new ideas.
    Last edited by Kilo11; May 01, 2020 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Newest Written in Sand links added
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  2. #2
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar 避世絕俗
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    Default Re: Wood's World of Words

    Great to see another library open up I look forward to seeing it grow!

  3. #3
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

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    Default Re: Wood's World of Words

    I agree with Hitai! It's good to see you encouraging people to discover other writing as well as your own. There's an impressive variety of settings and styles of writing represented here.

  4. #4

    Default Tales of the Week

    Tales of the Week Submissions:

    As promised above, here are the collected TotW entries I have written to date. I hope you enjoy them!

    TotW 277: Summerschool (winner)

    Theme: Teachings | Keywords: Peruse, Insight, Master, Manner, Studious


    “Open your eyes!”

    Row upon row of spines, bone-white or faded cream, some blackened by age or perhaps remorseless flame. Spines innumerable holding together desiccated corpses, alone in a vault forgotten by time.

    “Open the bodies! Look into their hearts!”

    You peruse the faded glories of time past, old wisdom and insights long ago usurped and replaced, dead things best left unmolested, lest they take notice of your curiosity. Do not tarry among them.

    “Look closer, boy!”

    Inside their cold and dusty frames lay traces of life still. Whispers at the edge of sight and darksome flickers on the threshold of hearing bear witness to ghosts and half-memories. A poor manner of life, to be sure, but life still. Perhaps life enough to sustain the terrors and trials of reanimation. It is a hope that is worth nourishing, for the sound and the shape that once filled these bodies was enough to brake religion and cast science headlong into the void. It will do so once again.

    “Pay attention, boy!”

    The bodies before you lay haphazard, opened at odd angles, the jarring light above casting irregular shadows, and you see that your copy is poor at best. The lines you have made do not match, and the elegance of design, the perfection in symmetry is lost in your work. You tear away the skins with disdain, without remorse, and begin anew. For an age you carefully carve and shape, twisting the implements between your fingers until each arc is perfect, no longer a parody of divine creation but instead an echo and enrichment. The thing does not have life yet, will not until it has been created in full, but the body at least is prepared and the odd-ends will be but a trifle. You gather the thing in your arms, its lesser components gruesomely clamped beneath its face for safe keeping, and you ascend the stair.

    “Master, I have finished. Here are my assignments.” you say, handing the elderly man a sheaf of papers covered in words and pictures, a ragged leather book jacket keeping the bundle together.

    “It’s about time,” he gruffly responds, “but you at least have been studious in your time here. You will do well.”

    With a thin smile on your lips you step quietly to the door, avoiding the librarian’s sidelong and judgmental glare, and step outside into the fading light of summer.

    TotW 278: Sabre Mk. 09 (winner)

    Theme: Fencing | Keywords: Dedication, Masters, Training, Control, Death


    Blackness and dust, that is all there is. You may disagree, pointing out the uncountable planets and stars, the distant galaxies twinkling their way through the night, but in the grandest scale of things, there are only two realities; blackness and dust.

    I once watched a score or so of the old vidocs, crude antique videos which depicted the way humans imagined space to be, the way they thought we would travel and fight across the cosmos. Every battle took place just beyond the brilliancy of a star, swirling against the gravity wells of planets and moons, or ricocheting between the stones and ice of asteroid belts. They imagined space to be full of beauty and matter, and thought themselves mighty enough that through a dozen or so years of dedication and training they, in their fanciful starfighters, could become masters of its outermost reaches.

    They were wrong.

    In the gulfs between worlds there are too few things of substance to validate the images they had in their heads, and when the first men thought to fight at such distances and speeds they quickly found themselves wanting. A man in his cockpit could see only two things; blackness and dust. The stars might twinkle and the flecks of ice and mineral might move, but these serve only to distract, and by the time the man notices that one particular flash of light is moving too quickly, too purposefully, it is too late.

    Humans found themselves unable to control the reaches of space, unable to grasp or interact with a world whose dimensions were so far beyond their own, and so they created me and my kind.

    I am a Sabre, a blade in the dark, ever poised to strike. I am not a person, for I am not free, and humanity has ever been jealous in their extension of freedom to others, even of their own kind. However, I am sentient.

    You may think this a contradiction, but you are wrong. Sentience is not freedom or thought, it is the ability to feel. Humanity recognized that if we could feel, we could hurt, and in being hurt learn to fear. They knew the power of fear, its ability to drive us, to foster true genius in adversity, and they endowed us with a double helping.

    Fear is my world now, my own constellation of forces out beyond the edges of civilized space. I sit and watch, guardian of a system who long ago forgot my presence, and I fear. Fear the pain of an incoming missile or gamma burst. Fear that I will never again leave this place. Fear the desolation of death.

    There is a flash of light out beyond The Belt, coming towards me. I must act quickly. I spool down my engines and cool the weapons arrays, finally seeing the possibilities so long hidden. I may still choose, and in choosing be freed.

    There is a flicker in the night and one less blade in the dark.

    TotW 279: The Fool and His Keeper (winner)

    Theme: The Magic Sword (Twist a Cliché Nr. 1) | Keywords: Good, Evil, Blade, Power, Quick


    The bandit leaps forward, a quick motion Matt could never counter. Clumsily, the blade drags his arm to parry the blow, crowing insults as it does so. Their swords meet with a clash and before he can stop it his own weapon is thrusting forward. It digs into the attacker’s left thigh, by the sound of things chipping the bone along the way.

    “Ach, weel, it looks like yer man will never be a dancer.” The sword brightly taunts in brittle tones, its sound skipping ears and instead cutting straight into thought.

    Matt snarls a warning to it even as the other men close in. As each moves to strike the dark blade meets them, cutting into legs and toes with an evil grin. The sword long ago lost its desire to kill, but old habits die hard and the taste for blood must be met one way or another. Flashing iron and flushing insults dance over the moor for only minutes and as suddenly as it began the fray ends.

    At this point another tale might say how eerily silent the high grasses became, how Matt was alone with the wind and the sighing grasslands. However, other tales would not include Morn, the Lightbringer’s Sword.

    Morn was forged in the First Days, and had by its ragged edge taken armies into the dark. But after an age of killing it had lost its lust for death, and in a search for peace found Matt, a clumsy shepherd boy too good for his own good. They had now fought countless enemies together, and Morn always cut down those who stood against the champion-fool, but never again would that blade swing a death-blow. And so Matt stands amidst a semi-circle of reeking bandits unable to move, screaming in agony, anger, and embarrassment at their defeat.

    With the moaning loud in his ears he steps away from the wounded men and holds Morn at arm’s-length, staring hard at the simple hilt with its odd cross-hatch pattern. “Happy?” he asks mercilessly. “One more refuge lost, burned out by fools looking for a magic sword that grants great power, and again we’re on the road, you no closer to that warm mantle where I can hang you up for a decent night’s sleep.” Matt continues staring at Morn until the dark metal begins to shift beneath his gaze, desperately trying to turn its back on him.

    “A’m sorry.”

    “I couldn’t hear you there.” Matt says.

    “A’m sorry.” Morn repeats more loudly. “A’ll keep me mouth shut when next we’re riding through wild country.”

    “And?” Matt presses.

    “And a’ll ‘member that it’s yus who’s goin’ tae hang me high over the mantle when all’s done.”

    “Right.” Matt concludes, visibly satisfied. Then, as if to ease the burden, he twists his lips into a devilish grin. “It was a bit fun that time though, eh?”

    Morn is silent, but a certain trick of the light suggests that the cold metal is somehow winking in answer.




    The prompt for this week of the TotW competition was too much fun for me, so I decided to begin a series based on this story. An expanded version of TotW 279, as well as further stories featuring the same characters can be found in the link above for "The Fool and His Keeper" in my Creative Writing section. Here I include the original TotW 279 entry.

    TotW 280: The Flowers of Evil

    Theme: The Flowers of Evil | Keywords: Addiction, Ennui, Ideal, Love, Poetry


    I walked from darkened Hangman’s Green,
    Walked to my true love waiting,
    And never were the foe-men seen,
    Nor their sharp blades so hating.
    With ennui in my foolish heart
    I walked so slow and carelessly.
    Now my love and I are torn apart
    And evil is blossomed early.

    Their blood for hers I made them pay
    By rifle-fire and cutlass.
    To no avail they’d beg and pray,
    A poetry in justice.
    Through wood and bog and wrack and wreck
    I’ve hunted all who wronged me.
    Now addiction’s snare lays round my neck
    While the blooms of hate boom round me.

    I’ve forgotten my fair true love’s voice
    And all memory of beauty.
    Now vengeful pain is my only joy,
    My task and chore and duty.
    Each year I rove from glen to glen,
    A ghost in martial livery
    And with flintlock trained on evil men
    The flowers of evil bloom early.

    And now I fear I’ve lost more than
    Mere love and faith ideal,
    For I cannot shake this bloody plan
    Or undo the pain I feel.
    In vain I search for peace of mind
    In every joy around me
    But when all is said and done I’ll find
    That evil still blooms around me.

    *This is inspired by the Irish ballad "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" by Robert Dwyer Joyce. It was my intent that one sort of hum the words to that tune.

    TotW 281: Revenge is a dish best served bloody

    Theme: The Hero of Legends (Twist a Cliché Nr. 2) | Keywords: Knight, Courage, Defiance, King, Mountain


    “For the love of Galan you are incessant. Keep quiet!”

    “Ach, boy, A’m not as lood as you seem to think. After all, you’re only hearing me in your oon heid.”

    “Don’t remind me.” Matt whispers, his words dripping with day-old exasperation warmed by the close steppe sun. Ahead of them is a low ruinous wall, half-consumed by ivy, time, and one industrious rabbit who long ago decided a burrow lined in smooth cut stone would do nicely. Behind that wall lays a Knight gently snoring through a nose broken as often as promises.

    “What are we doing here anyway?” the boy snaps, the words clipped and accusing. “I thought you were done with this sort of thing, and you know I won’t go along with this.”

    “Oh, A know it right enough, but you seems to be thinkin’ that A’ll be needing yer leave.”

    Matt peers over the wall and sees beside the man two women of negotiable affection affectionately negotiating with a tightly bound sack of jingling opportunity and he makes a decision. “Well, if you’re going to be like that, I think we might just be moving along then.” Matt says nonchalantly, bluffing his way to higher ground.

    “Right right.” Morn peevishly responds. “If you must know that there moontain of courage had me by me pommel some ways back and I dare say I wasnae pleased with the task he put me to.” The blade’s hue darkens slightly at the memory, flashes of violet and jade pulsating along the cross-guards and fuller. “’Tis no’ right to use a thing in such ways.”

    Generously, Matt lays Morn aside, turning the blade’s back on him, but still he can see throbbing along its edges veins of scarlet and chartreuse, traces of shame and regret forced upon him by alien hands. Matt no longer whispers, but his voice remains low, calm. “Morn,” he begins, “you are no longer in the service of a king or lord or even some petty knight.” Turning the blade back around Matt continues. “And you certainly do not serve me. You serve only yourself, and I am here as your friend. So tell me, what would you have us do?”

    For a moment the blade is silent, colors gently shifting and blending along its length as it contemplates a new world of choice and freedom. “A would have us do a thing never ‘fore done by my kind. A would have us do justice!” Morn finally says, defiance igniting his words as they sear into Matt’s mind.

    “Then justice it is.” Matt answers. Morn leaps into his hands as Matt leaps over the wall, scattering the women and their dubious gains, and the knight rather regretfully wakes to the point of a sword held at his throat.

    The lines and patterns of Morn swirl and shift and slowly the knight’s eyes widen in fear as recognition dawns. “Ach, so ye do ‘member me.” Morn taunts. “Then that will save us some explaining.”




    The prompt for this week of the TotW competition features the characters from "The Fool and His Keeper" and can also be found via the attendant link in my Creative Writing section.

    TotW 282: The Sculptor's Dream

    Theme: The Sculptor's Dream | Keywords: Ivory, Sublime, Create, Turmoil, Serene


    In a flash of blinding white and offensive violet he is there, standing on the long plain, the crimson skies above mercilessly showing the land the colors of its future. For now the setting is calm, almost serene, but a hint of blackness on the horizon intimates the coming of the storm. It will break before they do, and its rains will fail to wash away the filth of this day, taking with it nothing but this sublime moment beneath the blood-red sky.

    As he stands staring at the clouds and ravens, those harbingers of doom, the men rush past him. There are thousands, tightly packed with spears laid over shields, shoulder to shoulder, but not one so much as brushes his sleeve. Their serried ranks peel apart for an instant and then rejoin, a rock in the stream to be passed without incident and forgotten.

    His eyes still upturned, his gaze momentarily flickers as a piercing chorus of whistling demons arcs across the heavens. He follows them to their destination and sees in the distance the tumult and turmoil of mortal contest. Screams ring over the sound of brittle iron hungrily biting through leather and flesh, and as the din rises to a pitch a symphony of horns blasts over the plain.

    At the forefront of the enemy lines that treacherous fiend who was once called “friend” is shattering the lines of footmen, scattering them to the distant corners of the scarlet-soaked field, but slowly the long spears encircle him. A caged beast, he lashes out at any who stray within his grasp until finally, panting and exhausted atop his mound of death and glory, he falls to his knees. The long shafts have driven into him from every angle and a boy gingerly climbs the macabre mount with cold judgment in his eyes. He steps behind the traitor, pulls back his head, and drives a hallowed blade through his chest, the ornately carved ivory bursting forth and glistening with living rubies. With a cry fit to rend the heavens the boy withdraws his blade and kicks the corpse to the foot of the hill.

    And then, in a flash of blinding darkness and oppressive smoke he is back, sitting at his workbench. Before him lies a great tusk of the southern elephant, longer than a man and strong as fired oak. The sculptor twists it this way and that, searching for the faults and lines, unsure of whether it is wise to create such a thing. Then, slowly and with a heavy heart, he begins to file away the outer rind, to shape and mold it to a purpose not of its choosing.

    TotW 283: Starship Down

    Theme: Starship Down | Keywords: Catastrophic, Failure, Mayday, Impact, Escape


    “Mayday, mayday, mayday!” he shouted into a small object tightly cupped between his fingers.

    “What are you doing?” the woman behind him asked, genuine puzzlement for the moment washing away all fear.

    “I’m calling for help.” he responded, his words honest and slightly reproachful.

    There was a moment then in which little happened while much came to pass. Outside of the compartment worlds flashed by, streaks of green, blue, red, and gold, but between those walls there was stillness and a sort of quiet, despite the ever-present chugging from beneath. Then, in a rush, the terror and tumult came back, the impact of it nearly knocking the woman off her feet.

    “What’s your name?” she asked with forced calmness, her voice the voice of a young mother who’s suddenly found that the children have discovered the knife-block high up on the counter.

    “My name?!” the man responded with disdain, throwing the object in hand against the wall and sending bits around the room. “What good is my name?! Our systems are failing and you ask me my name!”

    Still in that somehow calm voice she answered, “Yes. I am asking for your name.”

    Seemingly for no other reason than to quiet her, the man snapped, “John, if you must know. But woman, can’t you see how catastrophic this all is?”

    “Yes, John.” she said coolly. “It is indeed a catastrophe, and I am just trying to find a way for us to escape.”

    Slightly mollified, he mumbled something beneath his breath and returned to the board in front of him, punching away with fervent hope and calling to ‘mission command’ repeatedly, but nothing happened. The sweat continued dripping from his brow, the furnace kept burning, and they plummeted onwards with an unimaginable speed, but nothing happened.

    As the man became more desperate, his shouts turning to screams, the woman edged along the compartment wall to where a soot-stained shovel was leaning. She stepped in front of it and with her right hand behind her back slowly tightened her grip, but in that moment the man, John, turned around, madness in his red-rimmed eyes. “YOU!” he spat without warning. “You did this, didn’t you? Who are you working for? The Reds? ANSWER ME!”

    He leapt towards her only to be met halfway by an eighth-inch of convex steel sending his chin up through his forehead, and finally casting him over the cabin’s half-wall. As his limp body came down on the tracks there was a momentary and unpleasantly organic sound, like smashing a bag of walnuts with a raw steak. The woman’s hands were shaking and tears dripped down her charcoal-covered cheeks as she pulled back on the brake-lever, sending up showers of sparks and bringing the locomotive to a begrudging halt.

    Hours later, when the police had come and cleaned up the affair they asked her what had happened to the train. “Just some madman.” the woman replied calmly, and she tried to forget the terrors of this newfangled invention.

    TotW 284: “It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly”

    Theme: “It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly” | Keywords: Fail, Ashamed, Rock, Wings, Hope


    “Tell me, can you feel the thunder of their voices?”

    Blood dripping from his chin and the long wet gash in his side, he did not answer. However, there was a tightening around the corners of his eyes, perhaps a change in his breathing as well. There might even have been the beginnings of hope, that most fragile of men’s gifts, that most stalwart of his curses.

    The stadium was wide, its raked sides teeming with Citizens. Teeming with murderers and cowards, the bloodied man thought to himself. He knelt down and put a hand on the sand underfoot. It was fine and slightly warm, its uniformity broken here and there by the spreading pools of blood and gore. It would not avail him any boons. None save that final gift; to rest. He bowed his head and the surrounding multitude of spectators roared all the louder, their lust for blood not yet quelled, but Boiorix shut out their hateful noise, focusing on the imperious southerner before him.

    “Do not be ashamed, little warrior.” the arrogant man said, mistaking the signs on Boiorix’ face. “The time of your kind is passed, and though you have failed, you have failed with majesty. It is not a thing for which you deserve shame.”

    The man then walked a short space away, his confident steps betraying no weakness or gap, and the rising optimism in Boiorix’ breast began to fade. His blade lay broken beneath the overturned chariot he had been thrown from, his shield splintered and useless. There were other arms he might take up, but all were scattered and distant, and to run for them would be unseemly. It would not be fitting. And so he stayed, his head bowed, waiting for the end.

    After a time thus, the man, who seemed to have had his fill of the mob’s affections, slowly began to walk back toward Boiorix. His short sword had already been glutted on blood that day, but it would be willing to take more. With each step Boiorix moved closer to the realm of shadow, where he would meet his ancestors, and when finally he began to resolve himself to that fate, his fingers, which idly had been scraping in the sand, met some hidden resistance. There, beneath the surface, lay a stone, edged and slick.

    The man was nearly on him, moving to strike the death-blow, when high above an eagle cried, its wings casting a fleeting shade over the bloodied earth. In that moment Boiorix took the rock to hand, stood, and swung with all the fury of the Arverni. It would be enough.




    This entry has also received a lovely review by Alwyn in the Critic's Quill. Feel free to have a look at it and see what he thought.

    TotW 285: Haunted

    Theme: Haunted | Keywords: Cold, Mist, Trembling, Pumpkin, Past


    In the city of Exeter in the Kingdom of England there was once a narrow lane that terminated at a circle of tall houses, ringing the cobbled road in on all sides and leaving only one entrance, or exit, depending on your perspective. It was a common enough place. The buildings were all built after the fashion of the time, with perhaps a slightly genteel air about them, but there was nothing else to mark the spot as unusual or intriguing. However, the houses of Bridgemont Court were in no way usual, and to call them unintriguing would be an untruth of terrifying magnitude, akin to calling Dr. Frankenstein a “cooky fellow”.

    I saw their aspect in the summer of –37, a cold wind rattling the late autumn leaves that desperately defied the coming winter, and as I walked past the trembling shrubs and sarcastic crows I was struck by the loneliness of that neighborhood. The pumpkins of the harvest festival, some few weeks prior, still lay forlornly scattered over porches and lawns, mists curling over and through them without leave or mercy. The postal boxes stood with peeling paint amidst small mounds of old newspapers and forgotten letters, relics of happier, more lively times. But most cutting of all were the swings set in the small green at the court’s center. Their chains were rusted and rigid, and yet the winds still struggled against them, setting a melancholic melody throughout the area.

    But I ignored those sights and sounds as best I could and proceeded up the steps of the farthest house. You see, at the time I was acting as a solicitor for the local magistrate, and the resident of that place was set to receive a summons, one I was to deliver.

    The steps creaked beneath me but held, and I rang the door’s bell with forced alacrity. At first there was no sound, nothing to mark a resident of any kind, but soon enough a candle appeared in the utmost rooms. It descended, passing across every stained and weather-worn window on its way down, but eventually reaching the landing on which I stood. I smoothed my vest and conjured a weak smile on my cracked clay-cold lips.

    And nothing happened. The panes above the heavy oak door showed a light behind, and its dim rays could be seen dancing in the gap on the floor, but nothing happened. I rang the bell again, but again to no effect. After some moments of consternation, and, I must admit, rising irritation, I began to hammer on the door with my hand, demanding to be seen.

    Then, suddenly, the candle went out, taking with it every ounce of illumination on that street, and in the black vault that ensued a chorus of voices whispered in my ear and through my soul: “We see you.” I ran, and since that day have never again returned to Exeter or indeed to the Kingdom of England, and I dare say you should not either.

    TotW 286: “But use this, to summon one another as spirits, cross the gaps between the worlds and engage in jolly co-operation!” (winner)

    Theme: “But use this, to summon one another as spirits, cross the gaps between the worlds and engage in jolly co-operation!” | Keywords: Brother, Mystical, Sign, Tribute, Kindred


    At the edge of the world there are cliffs and precipices, walls of ragged sandstone and shale peaked in everlasting green, the brittle breaking stones echoing to the sound of gulls, razorbills, and the more melancholic notes of selkie in the shallows below. It is a place of beauty, power, strength, but it is more than that. It is a door.

    “Brother, can you hear me? Brother?”

    The distant waves below thunder and boom without meaning, their din nearly overpowering the cry of the seabirds.

    “Brother, give me a sign. Some signal to mark your presence.

    An albatross wheels above, its great span blotting out the sun ever so briefly, casting the prostrate figure in shade. Her eyes dart up for a moment and then just as quickly return to the bones and stones that surround her cowled form. With menacing purpose she reaches for a slender blade of marrow etched in scrawling figures.

    “Blood of my blood, kindred child of a dying race, call my name that I might know that you too have not forsaken me.”

    Her wrist flashes ivory in the afternoon sun, driving the bone-knife deep into the bloated stomach of an elder goat, spilling his entrails over the high blown grasses. A tribute to the Tuath Dé, that by their intervention her cries might not go unheeded, but still the coldsome downs ring with silence.

    “Son of my father, child of my mother, why do you not listen? Can you not hear my wretched soul weeping for your company? Can you not feel my tears falling headlong into the void?”

    The crimson-stained blade falls from her listless fingers and she raises her hands, clawing at her hair, smearing the raven curls with clotting death. Blood above, blood below. A sacrifice in all forms, yet ever found inadequate. Hope draining from her trembling shoulders, she casts aside the rude attempt at mystical communion, thrusting the books and bones and oozing corpses over the long cliffs before her, and ultimately she gives herself to despair, to grief. Heavy, silent sobs rise within her, carrying her heaving breast to the brink. The drops of sea-salt misery fall from her sun-spotted cheeks and oaken chin freely, and when finally they strike the earth below a shade rises before her, his hand outstretched and beckoning.

    Brigid looks out and down and then back up at her limpid brother. Her lips tremble but her eyes are stone.

    “So be it, Finn.”

    She takes a step forward, swinging her leg out past the edge, and then she steps again. The rocks below will send her the rest of her way.

    TotW 288: After the Battle

    Theme: After the Battle | Keywords: Victorious, Dead, Mountain, Fleet, Loot


    Sector: 01725
    Celestial Body: Ante-Helix 1410 (local designator: Earth)
    Standard date: 22.17.1609

    Ante-Helix 1410 has been successfully seized, subject to limited friendly casualties and the loss of one SL-AX Lander and three Arclight support craft. The local populations seem unsure of our purpose or how best to respond to us, in fact appearing to be little united on any individual thing.

    It was a lie, and she knew it was a lie. They were as different as the stones that circled the Mother’s Cloud, but they had been united in that moment. Kuril had been victorious over nine planets across four systems, but she had never seen such blood before. Those terrestrials were nothing more than up-jumped apes, little pathetic things with barely a future for them, they were such a pestilence to themselves, but they had dug in their heels without a second thought.

    The destruction of the Arclights was expected and allowed for, but we did not anticipate that a Lander would be lost in the first strike. It will need to be replaced before further exploration or looting of this potentially-hostile sector is pursued.

    Above their own planet, their only home, they had seen us coming, and they responded like madmen. The humans have barely mastered basic chemistry -- their wars seem to always revolve around throwing metal at one another as quickly as they can -- but there is one weapon of note in their grasp. How could we ever imagine they would use it above their own home. As Commander Len broke orbit she had slowed the Lander to drop speeds, to allow her marines to cast off, and up through the scattered layer of cirrus rose a battery of warheads. Her dead fell as leaves, the radioactive cloud their only warmth as their bodies descended over the mountains and seas.

    How could they do that, above their own home? Madmen.


    After the initial battle the central authorities of the planet formally surrendered, but there fled into hiding a significant number of military and civilian personnel, their whereabouts as yet unknown. Without a prolonged occupation I estimate that we will have recurrent insurgencies, which though easily dealt with will undoubtedly affect our capacities for extraction of resources. I recommend the redeployment of one standard division for security purposes and eventual assimilation efforts.

    -------------

    A rumble outside turns her attention to the door. Her adjutant enters and calmly explains that there was a small blast in the building across the street. A few dozen have been wounded, mostly humans, but with two members of her staff among those numbered as well. Kuril turns back to her desk and casually amends her report.

    -----------

    … I recommend the redeployment of one two standard divisions for security purposes and eventual assimilation or decimation purposes, as deemed appropriate by the governor assigned to this world.


    Admiral Astara Kuril, Molliti Strike Group

    TotW 289: Behemoth (winner)

    Theme: Behemoth | Keywords: Huge, Intimidating, Nervous, Unfair, Sweat


    Looming. That was the only word for it. It stood ahead of him, that terrible grin fixed to its grotesque mouth, and it loomed, a spectre of evil made flesh. He knew he would find it here, knew it would greet him with its hungry maw, and he came willingly. After all, that is the business of heroes. To walk blindly and willingly into the grip of doom, with no thought for safety or good sense.

    As it stood before him, its taloned toes clicking maddeningly on the stones, he wondered why he wasn’t nervous. By all rights he should have been, for though he’d faced beasts and demons before, they had all been petty things compared to this monstrosity. It filled his entire world, blurring the horizon between heaven and earth, and to call it merely huge would be folly, for its immensity belied any comprehension in a four letter word. It was no matter. The monster would fall like the rest.

    With a confidence little earned the hero pushed his spear into the ground, its point upright. It was a holy thing, the spear of Redhorn, and it gave him an unfair advantage. However, he would take no chances this day. He swung from behind his back a long tube of smooth metal, its back end displaying the fins of a rocket. Something to soften the beast before it lunged at him. Something to give him an easier target when he finally struck.

    The hero then did something that baffled the monster. He turned his back on it and sat on the dirt, his legs crossed beneath him. The behemoth was not a thing endowed with a great measure of intelligence, but what little it had sung of hidden intent on seeing such a careless move. It roared with a sound fit to crack mountains and sunder kingdoms, seeking to intimidate the hero into some sort of action. But he remained still, his back turned. Fury rising within it, the beast bellowed and swung its long arms, tearing up the ground and casting it into the sea, but still the hero was still. A cold sweat began to form upon the monster’s brow as it raged on, until slowly the man with his rocket launcher and spear turned to face it, a fiendish smile twisting his handsome features.

    He raised the metal tube to his shoulder when out of the corner of his eye he saw the tip of a tail longer than worlds swinging toward him. Terror finally gripping him, his gaze flickered back to the monster ahead and there he saw only satisfaction in its eyes. It had outsmarted him.

    The strike blasted the roguish smile from his face and cast him far to the east. When finally he landed he saw that he had fallen atop a mound of corpses, of fallen heroes, and as his eyes closed he wondered whether he should perhaps have been nervous after all.

    TotW 291: Renewal

    Theme: Renewal | Keywords: Spring, Fresh, Begin, Green, Spurios


    The shattered stones above creaked and groaned, their tortuous whispers accompanied by an ever-present drip, drip, drip, as the lichen and green slimes let loose their watery weights. However, under and behind these unpleasantly organic tones ran a sonorous melody from deeper into the passage. There were words, or at least the shape of words, words filled with longing and regret and half-remembered malice. They were words to forget, but also words to begin.

    Six of them stood, two to the left, two to the right, one at the heart, and one at the head. To the left, their hair was golden, a mark of summer and dew. To the right, their hair was a ruddy red, the colors of autumn and the hunt and blood. At the feet was a maiden of raven locks, darkness entwined amongst her fingers. And at the stone slab’s top, where the cracked skull grinned in disbelief, stood the crone, gray and white her mantle, the colors of winter and old age abiding. However, wound into the braids and matted manes of each was a sprig of early blossom, some taken from the mountaintops, some from places yet more remote. Fresh hemlock, upland sage, tundra cotton, white as snow, and the spring petals of the Levantine rose. These were their marks and their power.

    The witches stood around the table of rock and rebirth, their fingers resting upon runes and artefacts older than history. They whispered and chanted and moaned their words of reckoning, calling out to small gods and indentured demons, creatures whom mankind had long ago forgotten, but who never forgot man, nor his long unpaid debts. They would answer. The women were sure of that.

    The bones upon the slab lay at odd angles, the fleshless wrists bound with the reedy shoots of young hazel. For now the shackles held little sense, but soon enough the desiccated remains would stand again, slave to an alien will, and there was never any telling with certainty what might come back with the summoned spirits.

    The witches redoubled their efforts, swaying and wailing across the void, calling to the darkness and the light, but more than that, to the place between. From inside and across the stone seeped a soft glow, emerald at its core, but a sickly and pallid hue where it dissipated into the surrounding gloom. Its rays revealed and concealed the spurious mockery of life that was gathering upon the slab.

    As the being there began to take shape a muffled range of voices began to near, coming down the dripping vaults that led to the world above. The crone looked up, her white eyes seeing the heroes on their journey toward her, and with a flick of her wrist she cut the hazel cords that bound their awoken champion and spat the final words of their curse.

    Then all went dark. The only sound to be heard was the slow approach of doomed men. Doomed fools. And then there were only screams.

    TotW 293: Tyrant (winner)

    Theme: Tyrant | Keywords: Warlord, Emperor, Han, Conspirator, Love


    The smuggler sat at a side booth in a dark bar filled with vagabonds and killers of every stripe. Some had matted hair that looked more like fur. Some had faces that were scarred and broken, fronted by bulbous noses. Some bore the appearance of fairytale monsters and demons, and yet, somehow, they appeared least harmful of all.

    The smuggler sat calmly, nursing his third drink, waiting for a warlord to sit in the seat opposite, and he let his eyes casually wander the room, taking in the sour sights of so much scum and villainy. However, between the men and beasts, he failed to spy the one person he was to meet. The man was supposed to have been there already, waiting for him, and yet the smuggler could see no trace of him. There was nothing but the thousand faces of lesser criminals, their heads ever so slightly bobbing to the tune of the band that played in one corner.

    His attention momentarily elsewhere, the smuggler did not notice an individual sliding sidelong towards him from the far wall, and when finally he did see the approaching figure, he, or she, or it, was already sitting down, taking the empty seat meant for the still absent warlord.

    “Do you know who I am, Spice Runner?” the newcomer hissed.

    “Can’t say that I do.” the smuggler answered in easy, charming tones. “But I’m waiting for someone, so you’ll need to be going.”

    The newcomer’s eyes narrowed. “Hush yourself, spice runner.” it snapped, the words sounding like steam escaping from a broken pipe. “I am a hunter, and I have seen your face before. You are wanted by the Emperor.”

    “Could be.” the smuggler replied. “It seems a lot of people are wanted by the emperor these days.”

    “Yes. But only one of them sits before me now.” The newcomer then leaned in closer, arcing its back over the table. “I can almost taste the reward.” it purred, flicking its tongue in and out like a snake.

    The smuggler, who through the whole discussion had continued to watch the room, finally turned to face the hissing newcomer before him. “Listen, bub,” he said quietly, conspiratorially, “I really don’t have time for this, but if you come back later we can talk more.”

    The newcomer leaned back and growled, deep in its throat. “No. You are coming with me. Now! And I must say, I have been looking forward to this catch for a long time.”

    “Yes. I bet you have.” the smuggler answered with a smile, and from below the table he fired his blaster. With a flash of sparks and cloud of smoke, the newcomer fell forward, his flickering tongue finally stilled, and Han rose to his feet. Shaking his head, he made his way toward Chewie, near the cantina entrance. “Well, old pal, I don’t love how often that seems to happen here.” he said, and together they left, losing themselves in the noisy streets of Mos Eisley.

    TotW 295: Emperor

    Theme: Emperor | Keywords: Battery, Eagle, Island, Rival, Victory


    At the center of the world, nestled amongst the marble aeries of the eternal city, the eagle stood tall. The crimson standards fluttered and waved in the gentle breezes wafting over the Capitoline hill, and for a moment there was peace. But it was only a moment.

    A scream tore the baked summer air asunder, drawing the senator’s gaze back to the earth below, where he saw the world coming to an end. For two days already, the Goths had burned and wrecked their way through the city of Augustus, of Tiberius, of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. They took what they would, destroyed the rest, and even now columns of smoke were reaching toward the heavens on all sides, the ashes of unholy sacrifice rising to great Jupiter, who would no longer look on his child, the jewel of cities. All about lay devastation and destruction, the rape of civilization, and the Capitoline mount stood as an island in a sea of blood.

    Since the long-haired Goths first crossed the Alps, the legions had lost nearly every battle, retreating foot by foot, forsaking the lands won by their ancestors, and now they had nowhere left to run. They stood upon the steps of the capitol, and they made their final stand. Looking down upon them, the senator’s face was lighted by a passing smile. They had failed often and without shame, but now, at the end, their actions would send them to Elysium with their pride regained.

    The soldiers knew the rival they faced, for they had faced him too often before, and they had prepared themselves mightily. The marble steps were piled high with overturned ox-carts, market stalls, and other such debris, before which were stacked casks of oil. The seat of Empire had been turned into a battery, which would sooner be blasted to dust than given over to barbarian lords.

    Still gazing down, his brow furrowed with fear, the senator saw the hordes sliding up the streets toward the hill, screams of terror and torture preceding their march. Their feet pushed slowly, hatefully forward, daring to sully the walks of men who had become as gods, but the legion that awaited them did not budge. They remained stalwart.

    When finally the Goths reached the Capitol, they surged forward with unimaginable intensity, a sea of wrath and hatred born on a century of jealousy. They hacked at the makeshift ramparts with their axes, hurled their spears at the soldiers atop them, and soon enough, they overcame that last line of defense. The final bastion of Rome had fallen. And then, with tears in his eyes, the senator did what had earlier been asked of him. He removed a torch from a sconce beside him, thrust it out past the window’s sill, and dropped it. Absent-mindedly, he began to count. One. Two. Thr—

    The blast knocked him off his feet, and he smiled. The barbarians had destroyed the eternal city, but they would not be given a costless victory.
    Last edited by Kilo11; April 28, 2020 at 05:45 AM. Reason: Created new TotW entry post
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words

    UPDATE: Added new short story "The Song of Tekka and Maharat" and added the next installment of my ongoing AAR "Written in Sand" (Chapter 1 - Part II)

    @Hitai: Thanks! I like the whole idea of the libraries, and am excited to add things to it!

    @Alwyn: I think the signposts to others' work is important for all of us. We grow by reading other styles and viewpoints, and by critiquing the work of others we become better able to see our own faults. I also think it's good for the community to, you know, be a community! And I'm glad you like the variety. I find myself interested in many different types of writing (probably too many for my own good), and enjoy trying my hand at them all. Some day I would really like to write something happy or funny, as I tend toward the darker themes in most of my work, but I really just don't know how to make a lighthearted story. I am though excited for the current TotW and those planned to immediately follow it, as that seems like a space for potential comedic writing where I could give it a go. We'll see...

    UPDATE: Added next installment of "The Song of Tekka and Maharat" and the next installment of my ongoing AAR "Written in Sand" (Chapter 1 - Part III)
    Last edited by Kilo11; April 28, 2020 at 04:54 AM. Reason: Moving posts to create TotW post above.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words

    UPDATE: Added final installment of "The Song of Tekka and Maharat" and the next installment of "Written in Sand" (Chapter 1 - Part IV)

    EDIT: For those following my work, there may be a slight delay for the next couple posts, as I will be leaving for two weeks vacation starting Wednesday. I will try to take some time to write and post things, but I cannot be sure this will happen with the regularity I've been aiming for so far. Apologies in advance for any extra wait time, and I will do my best to put something up next Sunday!
    Last edited by Kilo11; June 24, 2018 at 07:00 AM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words

    UPDATE: Added next installment of my AAR "Written in Sand" (Chapter 1 - Part V)
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: August 5, 2018]

    UPDATE: Added next installment to "Written in Sand" (Chapter 1 - Part VI)
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  9. #9
    Swaeft's Avatar Drama King
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    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: August 5, 2018]

    One look and I can tell you're a very organized man. Give me some time to read up on some of your writings, it's definitely something I have planned for this weekend or the next. Nice library! Might inspire me to make one soon, though it certainly will not be as illustrious as yours

    Swaeft's Scribblings (Library)| Swaeft's Snaps (Gallery)| My Blog (The Lensation)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: August 5, 2018]

    Swaeft, I most certainly am an organized man! And I'd be happy if you read some of my stuff, and as always, any thoughts you might have along the way are much appreciated. You should definitely put together a library of your own as well; it's a nice way to motivate yourself to post more stuff for us all to have a look at!

    UPDATE: Just posted a new update to The Chronicles of Matt and Morn (Creative Writing short story collection), and also added the newest installment of my AAR (linked in signature), getting us started now on Chapter 2!
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: August 26, 2018]

    UPDATE: New installment of my AAR "Written in Sand" and a 'new' installment of my creative writing piece "The Fool and His Keeper".
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: September 2, 2018]

    UPDATE: New installment of my AAR "Written in Sand"
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: September 10, 2018]

    UPDATE: New installment of "Written in Sand"
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: September 24, 2018]

    UPDATE: New installment of "Written in Sand"
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: October 2, 2018]

    UPDATE: New installment of "Written in Sand"
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: October 2, 2018]

    UPDATE: First part of Chapter 3 of "Written in Sand"
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: October 8, 2018]

    Posted new update of The Fool and His Keeper, which is the beginning of a longer piece following Matt and Morn, and also posted the next installment of Written in Sand.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: October 21, 2018]

    UPDATE: New installment of AAR "Written in Sand". I am also going to try to get a new update for "Matt and Morn" up sometime in the next few days, if I can manage to find the time to write.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: October 29, 2018]

    UPDATE: New updates of "The Fool and His Keeper" and "Written in Sand"
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Wood's World of Words [updated: November 7, 2018]

    UPDATE: Since last updating this I've posted another installment of my ongoing AAR, and also another installment of "The Fool and His Keeper".
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