Thursday, February 23, 2017
I also worked on the Zeelia compilation that will include a brand new Episode 21. This is nearly ready to go and will be uploaded to DrivethruFiction as a freebie in another day or so.
I'm also assembling some of the old Riskail Fiction stories into an anthology of sorts to make them more available.
So yeah, progress is being made...
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
Friday, February 10, 2017
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Here follows an index of short fiction, vignettes and such that take place in and around Wermspittle.
I will attempt to keep this index updated on a fairly regular basis.
I'm also at work on an Intro to Wermspittle and a few other related things.
There are a bunch of RPG-related materials based on Wermspittle available at the Hereticwerks blog.
A serial-of-sorts that has grown out of the 3-Word-Wednesday writing prompts.
Part One Part Two Part Three
Another, irregular serial-of-sorts that got started over at Burrst. In this case, the stories focus on Gnosiomandus in the days leading up to the arrival of Bujilli at the Academy in Wermspittle. I'll add new installments whenever works out.
Silas and the Patchwerk Girl, a story that may continue....
Rustling up grubs in the deep dark below...
Human life isn't necessarily cheap in Wermspittle, but it does have a price...
An alternative viewpoint to Cutting Loose.
A group of soldiers wander out of a war and into the weirdness along one of the Cold Roads leading to Wermspittle.
Madness is in the eye of the beholder; but which one is the reflection of the other?
A brief moment in the life of three young Foragers...
Vorthrid wakes up to a harsh new reality after leaving Idvard's Keep. Maybe he can make a new life for himself here along the Inner Ramparts...
[A continuation, of sorts, of Bujilli: Episode 47]
A girl out to avenge her brother's untimely death discovers that not everything is as she assumed or believed. Sometimes the greatest challenge one can face is the lies that blind us to a particularly painful truth.
This story is a spin-off from the on-going Bujilli serial set in Wermspittle featuring Gudrun (whom we haven't seen since Bujilli: Episode 21), and Sharisse (last seen in Episode 33), and taking place sometime after the events of Series Two.
A Wermspittle story, this time dealing with the creation of the Jewel of Souls...
There are monsters. This guy deals with them on a regular basis.
This may well be the piece that caused Wermspittle to come all together, at least in part.
Friday, February 3, 2017
This week for 3 Word Wednesday we have been given the words Tangy, Unhinged and Vapid to use in a piece of fiction. Today we're picking up where we left off with Bernitte with Part Three of the irregular series 'Red Handed.'
A voormi warrior screamed as they whirled back and around revealing a doll clutching and gnashing and pulling a bloody elastic loop of intestine out through the wound. Another warrior skewered the nasty doll with their spear and lobbed it over the edge of the roof with a quick thrust of their spear.
"None of us can run away now. Will you help us fight these things?"
"None of us can run away now. Will you help us fight these things?"
Previously in Part Two
Bernitte turned to look behind her. Down the side of the building. Dozens of filthy, toothsome, evil little dolls were clambering and climbing their way up the fire escape. Where there were too many dolls for the railings or ladders the hateful gnashing things were scaling the rough walls of the building. each doll that slipped and fell was replaced by another and another as the horde of wicked toys vomited forth from the broken window below.
Clouds obscured the thin sliver of moon overhead. The distant rumble of thunder worried Bernitte. Her crew were still down in an alley waiting for her signal. At least they might still be--all the commotion with the horde of biting dolls could have sent them scurrying off for some safer vantage point. She knew that given half a chance Varak would abandon her as soon as follow her lead, he was as vapid as he was vain and prone to self aggrandizing exaggeration, but the other two were too hungry to just leave her behind. They wanted whatever they thought was inside this building that wasn't really a warehouse. They knew damn well this building wasn't what they had told her. She was sure of it now. They were after something that they did not want her to know about until it was too late...or else they intended for her to meet a grisly end courtesy of the biting dolls while they used her as a distraction. She was always chided for not being paranoid enough as a child. She had been too trusting. Again.
All along the roof-top voormis were prowling with their bone spears even as others from the camp came running up with various implements and tools. Once a few voormis began poking downwards with long-handled rakes and make-shift pitchforks the others ran back into the camp to pick up similar tools. All the while the Eldress stared at Bernitte. "Will you help us?"
There wasn't any good option for running away. Not now. She might find someplace to hide, to wait for the dolls to overrun the roof then return to their lair...but she knew that would be almost certain death if the tiny automatons caught her. She'd already seen first-hand how quickly the unhinged little monsters could devour a victim once before and she had no interest in seeing it ever again.
"I'm not a warrior, but I will do what I can to help you fight these...things."
The Eldress nodded once then pointed to a yurt-like mass of cardboard and carpet; "Take up one of the long-reach weapons you'll find in there and start brushing the dolls off of the wall or the rails or anywhere else you spot them. Don't waste time trying to destroy them or stabbing them or any of that foolishness. For every one of them that you get stuck fighting, two or three or more of the things will sneak their way around to get you from your blindside. Don't look at them, don't look at their eyes, just brush them off and send them crashing down to the pavement below."
Somewhere to the left of them a voormis yelled hoarsely as they were dragged over the edge of the wall by a mass of dolls clustered on the end of their rake.
"And don't let the things cling to your weapon--if they do then toss it and them over and get another implement."
Bernitte nodded her understanding and set off towards the weapons cache to get herself a proper tool for the task. Inside the yurt were stacks of brooms, rakes, forks, shovels, a few scythes, a bundle of walking sticks and crutches, even a few fishing poles. She grabbed a rake then set it back down, preferring to try out a push-broom instead. Just to be sure, she took up the rake as well, as a back-up.
Another voormis screamed then fell over the edge of the rooftop with three dolls crawling over their head and shoulders after raising their shovel too high while attempting to shake the dolls loose. One of the nasty little dolls clutched onto the very edge of the roof and had to be struck multiple times before it snapped off at the wrists and fell leaving its tiny hands firmly clamped to the raised section of tiles that formed a slight parapet around the roof.
Defending themselves with janitor supplies wasn't quite what Bernitte had expected when she agreed to help the voormis fight the dolls, but it did make sense. Once she reached the edge of the rooftop and started sweeping and pushing and swatting dolls off of the wall of the building it made more than just sense, it worked.
Long minutes passed in rigorous, vigorous bashing, smashing and dashing until finally the majority of the doll horde was cleared away from the walls and the vicious little things retreated back into their lair below.
It wasn't a victory. It was more like a stalemate. A temporary detente. The voormis had lost six of their people to the dolls and at least as many implements. Perhaps their encampment had been a reasonably decent location, it was certainly defensible, but only for so long as they could continue to drive off the dolls every time something or someone stirred them up.
Bernitte dragged her broom back to the storage yurt. Her shoulder ached and she was soaked in sweat. Someone had re-started a fire and was warming up stew of some sort. It had an appealing, tangy aroma that she did not recognize. She really didn't much care what the stew was made from, so long as it was hot and they had enough to share.
PIFF! SnAp. CHUFF!
Berniite felt her guts sink with the realization that Varak and the others were down there after all and the idiots were using fire-arms against the dolls.
The voormis Eldress handed Bernitte a bowl fashioned from some sort of gourd full of savory stew.
"Your associates are not clever enough to be scavenging in this area. The dolls will pick the meat form their bones before any of us could attempt to assist them...though if you insist, you can certainly try to do what you can for them, so long as you do not lead them back towards us and never return."
Bernitte considered her options. Certain death or uncertain hospitality. It wasn't a hard choice...
Previously ...To Be Continued
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Prompt #1985: Night in the Forest
The Writing Reader
Gunther adjusted his goggles for the fifteenth time. Sweat made the frayed leather slippery. He'd already tightened the things as best he could but it was just too old, too worn-out. One more thing it wouldn't do a bit of good to complain about. He had a lot of those. But there'd be fewer after tonight.
He stopped, swung his lantern about slowly, listening for the tell-tale hiss that would signal the presence of nasty things. At least that was what it was supposed to do, if the old woman hadn't been lying to him back in the free-market. She probably had lied. The lantern was growing hot in his hand despite his glove. too bad he'd lost the hooked iron rod that had come with the thing. He realized what it had been for, now that it would do him no good.
A glint of purple. Gunther held his breath. Waited. Watched. There it was again. The goggles worked,or at least the lenses did. He moved toward the purpleness glimmering from behind some very dark, very big trees. This stretch of forest had lain fallow for generations, even before the last war. Oaks and owls were the rulers of this place ever since the ban on burying the dead out here went into effect. Aside from a few snail-hunters and fungi-gatherers no one bothered coming out here, except for those who knew about the Threshold that led to the Purple Forest.
Gunther pushed through a cluster of ferns. His sleeve snagged on some thorns. He yanked the vine away with a stifled exclamation and only just stopped himself from spraying burning oil from the lamp over the dried-out thing. Just barely. He'd been spending too much time near Red Weeds. Good to know his reflexes had improved. His survival as a forager depended on his ability to avoid clutching tendrils and a hundred other lurking hazards.
Lugging an old campaign chest, a beat-up old trunk full of his dead uncle's war-junk was foolish. More than foolish; it was dangerous. The weight was slowing him down. Tiring him out. It threw off his balance. He wasn't strong enough to carry it much farther. Dragging the musty old thing out here flew in the face of everything he'd had drilled into him as an apprentice forager.
He hated being a forager.
His heart wasn't into it.
The wounds from his last encounter with a swarm of particularly nasty slugs were mostly healed. His left hand was nearly back to normal color and the nails had grown back for the most part. He had another day, maybe two before they'd expect him to go out again.
But Gunther had another idea.
While he was recovering from his run-in with a nest of lace-slugs, his cousins had delivered a battered old trunk to him. they laughingly referred t it as his 'inheritance,' then told him that he had been summarily evicted from his parent's portion of the old house they pretended to share. Since his uncle had fallen prey to the gray pox there were no more directly-related relatives left to make his case or defend his interests, so his cousins took advantage of his injuries and kicked him out.
It was something of a relief, to be free of those conniving idiots. He'd miss having a roof over his head, especially with winter on the way, but if tonight went well enough, he'd have some options going forward.
The goggles slipped. Again. Gunther stopped and set the lantern down on a slightly sloping rock so he could take the goggles off and wipe his face with a rag. He tightened them up as best as he could, but didn't have a pliers. The stupid things were intended to be worn with a helmet anyhow. He considered digging out his uncle's old helmet from the trunk but he didn't want to risk his chance at making a big score. He really, really needed this deal to work. He was gambling everything on it.
Something flew overhead. Big. Dark. Way too quiet. It must be an owl. He was sure it had been an owl. There were a lot of owls in these woods. Everyone knew that.
Goggles back in place, as best as he could manage, Gunther looked for the tell-tale gleam of the threshold that led to the Purple Forest. He still wasn't sure if it was like one of the other known worlds, or if it was something else. His education had been interrupted when his so-called family had pawned him off on the Griswold gang as an apprentice forager. All he knew for certain was that there was a place full of purple trees, where the purple amber was found, and that anyone who wanted to go there just needed to find one of the thresholds that connected to it just like in the picture books he read as a child.
More ferns. A slightly steeper slope. His back ached and was raw in places where the rusty old hardware rubbed through his shirt.
He nearly tumbled down into the depression.
A hand grabbed his arm.
Someone else was here.
He nearly dropped the lantern.
"Steady there boy. No need to go a'tumbling."
"You're Rother then?"
Gunther shrugged his arm free from Rother's grip and looked at him in the lantern-light.
He stopped counting at six blades. The man had a zinn-metal left-hand, possibly the whole arm had been replaced. Beard streaked with purple. The man matched the description all right.
"I just wanted to make sure I was dealing with the right person."
"Ah. And have you decided then?"
"Yes. I've brought the trunk with me--"
"I see. Would you care to set it down, give your back a rest?"
"Yes. Of course. I..."
"Just set it down boy. Before you collapse under it." Rother chuckled quietly.
Gunther set down the lantern then untied the make-shift straps, mostly old bedding and a couple of raggedy towels, so he could lower the trunk to the ground. It felt good to get it off his back, despite the numerous scratches and bruises. With luck he'd be done with the thing once and for all tonight.
"Care to open it?"
A quick nod and Gunther fished the key out of his belt-pouch, knelt down before the trunk and worked the key into the lock. Snick-snap-click. The old trunk popped open and he began to pull out the well-used gear contained within.
"This isn't war-gear boy. This is a Jelly-Hunter's rig. I've no use for it..."
Gunther nearly fell over. All his hard work had been for nothing.
Something moved up in the branches overhead. The owl again? Another one?
"It's not uncommon for a Jelly-Hunter to have lied about their work--half the so-called veterans of the Sewer Militia never served. People have always found a way to avoid the scrutiny of snitches and tattlers during the various occupations. So I'm not at all surprised that your...it was your uncle, wasn't it?"
"Well, I can understand why your uncle might have lied about things, but what I do not understand is how you could set about making a deal with a stranger for a trunk full of gear you obviously never really examined first-hand."
"They kicked me out of the house...I don't want to go back to--"
Something swooped down at Gunther's head. He felt it more than he could hear it. He grabbed hold of the first thing he could get into his hands from the trunk and swung it up overhead as hard as he could.
Hot blood spattered Gunther. Glass shattered. Wrought iron twisted, turned in his grip then was torn free.
Rother drove a heavy knife into the creature, dragging it away from Gunther in a flurry of frantically flapping wings and...antlers?
Gunther stepped back, away from the tumultuous melee. He looked for the most likely escape route, as he had been trained. Rother's spear leaned against the trunk of the tree they were under. He grabbed the heavy spear in both hands and half-ran, half-shuffled toward the two figures locked in mortal combat. He wasn't used to using a spear in a real fight, but he knew that he just needed to be patient and an opportunity would present itself.
He jammed the point into the breast of the creature. It shrieked. Rother finished it off with a follow-up stab.
Gunther crumpled to the grass.
"Good work boy. We've killed ourselves a peryton; a fairly good-sized one at that."
"I've never seen one before...outside of children's books."
"Vicious, sneaky beasts. If you hadn't spotted it and smashed it like you did, well, most likely one of us would be dead and the other hard-pressed to survive. A knife is not the best way to kill one of those things, though it does work...if you don't mind getting ripped-up by their talons."
Rother sagged down to his knees next to Gunther. He was bleeding from several lacerations.
"But I'm alive. We're both alive. That counts for quite a lot if you ask me."
"Alive. Yeah. Homeless and destitute except for a box of useless junk."
"Hardly useless boy. It just saved our lives."
"Not much of a life."
"Boy. Hear me. You can sit here and whine about whatever it is that is eating you until something shows up to really eat you, or you can pick up your gear and follow me back to camp. Your choice."
"Well, I was going to split the bounty on this foul beast with you, then maybe go have a word with the foreman. Our last Jelly-Hunter quit three weeks ago, but if you're not inclined to try your hand at that there's always amber-scrounging or you could sign-on to be a guard like myself."
Gunther looked at the man kneeling beside him, the blood-spattered contents of his uncle's trunk filled with obscure equipment, the dead peryton.
"How much of a bounty?"