Sunday, July 31, 2016

I woke up face-down in the sand and rock.

Spring, 1963
Dead Man Peak, New Mexico

I woke up face-down in the sand and rock.

A voice sounded from somewhere over me. "Hey..uh...mister. You alright?"

I think I grunted. I was not entirely sure.

Tentative, the voice came again. "Mister?"

I felt a hand on my shoulder. A hand that slowly, gently turned me over.

I screamed at the intense pain that flared through my entire body and at the scorching arrows of fire that stabbed into my eyes.

"Dear Father in Heaven!" The voice was not tentative this time, it was outright scared. "What in God's Name are you?"

From scared to inquisitive in a heartbeat.

I groaned, unable to speak because of the pain, and the parched throat, and the cracked lips.

"Here, let me get you some water."

As best I could, I nodded. The simple motion made it feel like the skin on the back of my bald scalp and neck was ripping apart. I whimpered, and tried not to nod anymore.

"Who are you?" asked the voice again, this time concerned.

That was something that I did know, at least. As a matter of fact, it was only one of a few things of which I was consiciously aware. I cast around in my brain for what I was called, like a tongue feeling around in a mouth for a lost tooth. "Tenet," I managed to gasp.

I felt the voice nod, because the owner of the voice was over me, with one hand on the back of my head, gently raising me up so I could sip some water. "Good to meet My name id Aelred. Aelred Wall. Here...drink."

I drank. It was deliriously delicious. Then, darkness.


I awoke sometime later in cool darkness. It was glorious. I think it might have been the best thing I'd ever felt, in fact. Even though my entire body was wracked with a searing, tingling fire, I managed to crack open a single eyelid and take a brief look around. I was in some sort of high-ceilinged structure that was made of stone. It was all narrow pillars, shadowed, dusty walls, and eye-pleasing arches. It reminded me of ancient Spanish missions, and had a wide, covered, open-air porch beyond the main area where I was seated. Outside, it was night in the desert and the sky was alive with stars.

I realized that apparently, Spanish missions were something that I recalled as well, in addition to my name.

I saw a small, Mexican man behind a bar take notice of me, wipe his hands on a rag, pick up a glass of water, and then head in my general direction. Exhausted from my visual tour of the place, I closed my eye and settled in for him to visit me. I heard him approach and asked, "Aelred?"

The man's musical voice drifted up and down as he replied. I knew immediately that this was not the same person who helped me earlier. "Nah. He left ya here. He said something about needin' to go start a monastery or somethin'. I think you scared him halfta death. Put the fear'o'God inta him. You can call me Chuy."

Something made me raise a brow at the name, but I could not remember why. "How long have I been here, Chuy?" I asked, noticing that my throat was no longer as raw as it had been. Despite the dull agony, I opened my eyes and watched him.

The small man opened his mouth to reply, but all that came out was the sound of chopping, growling, thunder. Or, more accurately, the sounds of several massive motorcycles pulling up outside devoured his words completely. Chuy seeing a host of thirsty new customers, left me sitting and departed to see to them, leaving the glass of water in his wake.

I reached for the water and behind the transparent glass, saw the image of one of the bikers as he strode into the porch area. Something about the way the big, black-skinned, leather-vested, cigar-smoking man moved--like he was intently aware of the physical space around him--twigged something in my foggy, vacant brain. It was unexplainably odd, seeing him step up into the covered porch and noticing the slight spasm in his shoulders and neck, or watching him move through the tables, his eyes constantly scanning the area in a eight foot radius from him.

Almost as if he was much bigger than he really was.

Then, I saw him. I really saw him. He was much more than a man. He was massive: at least nine-and-a-half feet tall and probably six hundred pounds of pure muscle. Tattoos that burned with a subtle fire all their own covered every inch of his taunt skin and a single, red eye--the only one he had--rested in the center of his vaguely conical cranium.

A Greek word came to me, unbidden: Kuklōps.

A cyclops...

I rose from my chair and step-staggered out onto the open-air porch. The creature, who still looked like a man--albeit a very large, very well muscled, and obviously tough man--to everyone else there, turned and faced me as I entered. An ugly grimace crawled across his features and in his true cyclops form, I could see the single red eye flare with power. The night sky around his head literally rippled with the strange forces emanating from the eye.

The man growled and the members of his gang reached for their various stashed weapons.

All I could do was speak a one word question, "Ace?"

Art Source: "Punk" (c)/by Gimaldinov
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Tenet, #TenetsTales, #Ace, #Cyclops, #NewMexicointheSixties

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Thrice curse Black Erlik!

"Thrice curse Black Erlik! May Hel herself take him into her busom!" The necromancer continued to rant for several moments, wiping blood and the ruined remains of his left eye from his cheek. The pain was nearly unbearable, but it was a moon-cast shadow compared to the flaring hatred that scorched the man's heart and gut.

"The ambush was well laid, Master," intoned the sepulchral voice from the animated skeleton. The undead thing did not actually speak, but the necromancer could hear the hollow thing's speech in his mind.

"It does not matter! I am no mere man! I command the forces of life and death itself! I am nearly a God! How can this flea-bitten mongrel and his lackeys get the better of me? OF ME!?" The man was nearly mad with pain and anger, and he screamed, savagely kicking the quickly cooling bodies of two members of Erlik's band that lay in the bloody snow at his feet. The slippery scarlet slush beneath his boots got the better of him, however, and the necromancer tumbled to the frozen ground. Maddened even further, he began thrashing and screaming, flailing about like a spoilt child.

The skeleton, uncaring and emotionless, simply impassively stood at the ready, holding its halberd, guarding its master.

The necromancer bellowed and screamed to the heavens, blood still flowing from his empty socket. "I hate him! May all the gods, low and high, curse Erlik and all his spawn from now 'til Ragnarok! I will give you whatever you ask, anything, my very soul - if you only give me a way to defeat him!" The man, fully spent with his final cry, fell limp, his arms and legs splayed in the four cardinal directions. His right hand landed in the pooled blood and hair of one of Erlik's dead crew.

Slowly, the skeleton's head turned, the ancient cartilage in its neck creaking in the sudden vacuum of silence. A voice emanated from the un-living thing, but this time, the voice was black and full of malice. "Our bargain is struck, Vekel Geirson. I now name you my own. You shall henceforth be called Vekel Dökkalfarson"

The necromancer felt a chill run down his spine and his pants run hot and wet. He had dabbled in the dark-arts his entire adult life, and never had such a thing happened within his sight, his hearing, or his witness. Vekel suddenly knew he had gone one step to far.

"Remember your Enemy," the poisonous voice from the skeleton said.

Suddenly, all that Erilk had done to him sprang anew in Vekel's soul and it seemed to him that all of the pains, the insults, and the defeats were magnified and made all the more real and potent to him. The necromancer felt the dead man's hair and blood beneath his hand and suddenly, an idea came to him. A most heinous and horrible idea. Quickly, the necromancer rolled over and a wicked wolf's grin had replaced his own. He looked from the skeleton to the freshly slain men at his feet. One of the men had lovely eyes--pale green like sea foam--that were still clear and not yet clouded over in death.

"Come, Bonethrall," Vekel Dökkalfarson, the necromancer, spat. There was something new in his voice, a steely, icy edge. "We have much work to do..."

Art Source: "The Bone Whistle Corpsman" (c)/by SidharthChaturvedi
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth, Erilk the Black (c)/by Raulston Hunsinger

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #viking, #Erlik, #theKinslayer, #ErliksSaga, #BlackErlik, #Ingemar, #Vekelsson, #Vekel, #Bonethrall, #VekelDökkalfarson, #necromancer, #VekelGeirson

Friday, July 29, 2016

Too long have they kept us down.

"Too long have they kept us down. Too long have our kind--our kin, our people--been suppressed. Too long have they shorn our horns from birth. Too long have they forced us to work in their mine shafts, in their foundries, in their coal pits...we were once a proud people, a people who ruled the lands we inhabited.

"Now, we are little more than beasts.

"We choose our slavery now. We submit to the rule of unjust law. We submit to the collar of wages. We willingly abandon the principals of liberty and freedom - and for what? For the promise of a gold ring? A gold ring which eventually be placed in our noses! We are fools! We think of this thing as a prize, as a symbol of our own accomplishments! Do we not know that this ring is also an ancient symbol of oppression - of abject and outright slavery!

"I call upon my brethren now! Stand up! Speak out! Cast off the chains that bind you! You know, as well as I, that those chain cannot hold us. A chain has not yet been forged that can do so - break your chains and use them as the first tools to strangle the life from your jailers--the call themselves foremen, or bosses--but they are nothing more than dark-hearted cowards!

"Join me, my brethren! Join me and once again, the might of the Minotaur nation will be known the world over!"

- Jerok Chain-breaker,
In his first historic speech to the Minotaur nation

Art Source: "Minotuar Concept" (c)/by Jerad Marantz
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Minotaur, #Liberty, #Freedom, #speech, #fantasy

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The edges of the Curtain are fraying.

The edges of the Curtain are fraying.

Few realms relish in these moments when the gaps and tears grow wider to reveal that man is not alone. Mine is such a place. We have craved the coming days, too long in the dark. It came like a key-shaped star dropping into the midnight pool of our reality. It split open a pinprick, through which we smelled a scent long lost to us. This fragrance came to our starved hearts like morsels of food to a prisoner.


We slurped at the seam and nourished our spirits. Mankind made it easy, so well-sown and watered with concerns. We knew the harvest was ripe for the picking. We just needed a little more strength before we opened the door and claimed our reward. Their fertile souls would be a welcome exchange for the depravity of our cage.

Then the Grey One drew near.

That Betrayer caused no small injury with his meddling. He, too, saw the key hole from the other side. He hated it. Better, he feared it. There is little like the taste of fear from his kind. I nearly leaped at the eyelet in the Curtain just to suck at the vapor of his dread. But we waited and grew stronger. He jammed a stopper into our draught. He thought his patchwork fixed the breach and kept our coming at bay.

He was too late.

The slit in the fabric tore in a flash of blue fire. The Exile could not realize his error too soon. It was time for the Wanderer to meet the Imprisoned. It was time for the Darkness to spread into the land of the living. I have long waited for this moment, and the silver-touched would be my first prize. I summoned the monoliths, the decayers, the desiccants, the shadows, and the Things-Man-Forgot-and-Feared-To-Name. It was time for a reaping. The fire in my heart kindled my visor and sped along my sword forged in the depths of our realm.

It was time for Tenet to face Apollyon.

Art Source: "WarCry" (c)/by JustMick
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Tenet (c) Brannon Hollingsworth

#Tenetstales, #Apollyon, #CoreyBlankenship, #TheEvent, #demons, #paranormal

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ija the Indestructible

Ija the Indestructible

Abhorrent. Abased.
"They call me the Hitman of Heaven, and the Hitman of Hell."

Bitter. Blistered.
"Pain is my bread and butter, baby..."

Cold. Calculating.
"I'm a rock 'til th' target's locked."

Disgraced. Degenerate.
"Oh, my how the mighty have fallen..."

Killer-for-hire. Keen-as-a-knife.
"You got the coin, I'll make the kill."

Mountainous. Murderous.
"I'm the fear-maker, the back-breaker, and the earth-quaker!"

Perverse. Petulant.
"I'mma stone cold killer. If you don't like it, you can suck it."

Revolting. Rotten.
"Heh. I'm just a product of my environment..."

Sinister. Sickening.
"Thanks for all the compliments."

Twisted. Tortured.
"Do your worst."

Unstoppable. Un-killable.
"Enemy of Satan. Enemy of God. Employable by All.

Vitrolic. Vile.
"Happy and nice is for suckers."

Weapon-smith. Wicked.
"Fire, ice, blade, or vice...they're all just weapons to me."

Art Source: "Goblin" (c)/by Kisufisu
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Tenet, #TenetTales, #Sectof7, #Sector7, #Ija, #fromhisownmouth

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fallen In Love

For some reason, humans always portrayed us as ugly and our brethren as beautiful. I say, "for some reason" when I know the reason. It's easy to make something you don't agree with or think is wrong into something ugly. It's called "demonizing" for a reason. The truth is, we are both beautiful in a terrible and unspeakable way. When those above appeared to man, their first words were always about fear and how man shouldn't.

I remember the first time I saw him. Fear wasn't what I felt at all. It wasn't lust, either. It was love, as pure an emotion as their is, and one we're all capable of - messengers and humans. His form was exquisite, but that wasn't even where it began. His eyes were the color of a nebula. Stars and luminous clouds floated in his irises. There was hope there, and compassion.

We were both on the Earth for the same reason - to vie for a human's soul.

Uziel stood there, looking gorgeous and sad. "You can't have this one." He said the words to me, not in anger, but as a simple statement of fact.

I smiled at him and shook my head. "That's not for you to say or even to know. Our Father may know it, but he's not going to tell His will to you or me. Even our General doesn't know."

I was right and he knew it. My knowing it made him a little angry. There was the flash of heat, a supernova in his right eye, which gave it all away. "I won't let you take him. I'll fight you." He drew his flaming sword.

"No you won't." I laughed, believing the tinkling noise of my amusement would make him even more angry.

"You... You won't?" The tip of his sword drooped. One raven eyebrow raised. A muscle on the right side of his jaw twitched.

"I know you won't use that on me unless I draw my own weapons." I patted the daggers at my hips, their green, crystalline blades jagged. "I don't plan on doing that. Therefore, you won't fight me. Now put that away."

His confusion turned to painful earnestness. "Then, we're at a standstill. You can't take this human's soul." He gestured to the man in the bed. "Not if he chooses to follow the creator and to accept the mercy on offer."

I held up a finger. "So, he hasn't in fact accepted the offer?"

Soulful eyes, now a much warmer hue than the color of the star sprinkled void, flicked from the frail creature and back to my own eyes, which I knew then to be filled with golden light. "Regretfully, no."

"You really care about this man and his soul, don't you?" I'd done battle with thousands of his cohort over the millennia since we tried to take the Throne. I'd seen militant anger in many different flavors. This was the first time I'd seen anything like love. He was no more the mindless war drone than I was an evil, manipulative soul devourer. Oh, I was manipulative to be sure. And Uziel was a warrior. His muscles were sculpted from iron and marble. He could lay waste an entire human battalion with one blow of his sword. We were cut from the cloth of our kind.

"I do. I care about them all, but there's something about this one." He shook his head, dark hair brushing his neck. He set his jaw. “And I'll do whatever I can, to save his soul."

I stepped closer to him, running my hands down my breasts. Dark leather hugged every curve. I knew he found me attractive, his eyes following my fingers as they traced the outline of my body. We had the same sort of drives He had given these creatures. "Whatever?"

His lips pursed and his tongue flicked out to moisten them. He cleared his throat. "Nearly." The word cracked as it fell from his generous mouth, one made to laugh and sing.

I wanted to own him and for him to own me. I took a step forward, ethereal light playing on my horns. "All I ask for is a kiss. Just one, and I will leave. If you don't give it to me, I'll fight you here and now. I've killed in the war, but I find myself reluctant to clip your beautiful wings."

He sheathed his long blade. "Just one kiss, eh?" He smiled, looking at my mouth as if it were the fruit of the Tree.

"One, though I warn you, there may be consequences." I took another step forward, looking up at him.

His arm came around my back, and he pulled me against the belted white robe of rough homespun. His wings came around us, and I smiled as he pressed his mouth to mine. The swirl of power as our essences came together was the grandfather of whirlwinds. I saw the birth of a new solar system as his gazed into my eyes.

My fingers traced the soft inner feathers where wings joined back. His body shuddered against mine. I bit down on his lip, drawing blood. The golden fluid tasted like star fruit and steel.

Arms squeezed me, tectonic plates of muscles coming together, drawing me in.

I no longer had any thought for the human in the bed. If Uziel did, I couldn't see it in his eyes, or feel it in his movements.

He was the one who broke the kiss. A broad, callused hand smeared the rivulet of blood from an already healed wound. "Our deal is sealed. I have work to do." Regret warred with satisfaction as he smiled softly. "I hope you won't get into too much trouble for this?"

I took a few steps back, shaking my head. Silver hair fell into my eyes, concealing some of my own regret. "There will be pain and thunder, but it will pass." The thunder would pass, but the pain was something I knew I would feel until the final war. Uziel would not leave the Throne for me, and my General's service wasn't one easily left. I couldn't see the future, but as I watched wings cocoon the old man, sharing a holy warmth and peace beyond a mortal's understanding, I doubted I would ever feel their brush again.

#romance, #ScottRoche, #angels, #demons, #fantasy

Art Source: Demon~ by GUWEIZ at Deviant Art
Story and Characters (c)/by Scott Roche

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Th' name's Deacon. What's it to ya?"

"Th' name's Deacon. What's it to ya?" the mountain-of-a-man turned as he grumbled, a look of irritation on his face.

There was something else there, something other than the petulance at being bothered after a long day's watch. Sadness, perhaps. The vampir opened herself up to the damnable thing that stirred within her. Idzi needed no prompting. The horrid thing came screaming and clawing its way up out of its hunger-lined pit. Roksana used the thing's power and drew in a deep breath and even beyond the filth, refuse, offal, and stench of close-air and unwashed bodies, she could detect the delicious aroma of this man's sadness. To her, it was her very life. So, sadness it was; of this, Roksana was now certain. Steeling her will and muttering a prayer to the Christ, she spiritually threw the demon back into a cage inside her and continued. "I was told I would find you here," she said.

"Yeah? An' who told ya that?" Deacon cocked his shaggy brown head and looked off to one side, as if someone else was speaking to him. He raised a ham-sized fist toward Roksana and one finger as thick as an axe handle appeared. The pale, waif-like woman held her tongue and waited. She'd been told that he would be like this. The man nodded his massive, block-like head slowly and furrowed his brow a bit. The hand lowered, and he indicated that she should continue.

"He said you would not know him by name, but that you would recognize him," she said, licking rose petal lips nervously.

"And?" Deacon said, his patience quickly expiring.

"Slightly taller than average, somewhat thin and bookish. Bald and very pale of skin," Roksana pointed her shapely chin toward Deacon and made a pulling motion with her fingers as she continued speaking. "A longish chin-beard, dark like old charcoal but with two silver streaks. He wears a grey monk's robe, woolen, with a hood and-"

"And odd silver and black eyes like none ya've ever seen," Deacon finished. He again looked to the side and nodded. "Yea, Cleatus, it's him." The massive man then looked to Roksana. "And I know his name, now - he's called Tenet, and he's generally a large pain in the arse. What does he want now?"

A smile crept into Roksana's dark grey eyes, but she stoically kept it from her lips. "He wants you to train me and says that in return, I might be able to help you..."

Deacon walked away, cursing out loud. Roksana was not sure if it was to himself, or to the other--Cleatus--that he'd just mentioned. She wondered briefly if Deacon also battled against his own personal, internal demons.

The giant-of-a-man got to the end of the alley and turned back to her and shouted. "Well, ya comin' or ain't ya?" He didn't wait for her to reply, just stumped away, cursing.

Art Source: "Mercenary For Hire" (c)/by Njay
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Tenet, #TenetTales, #Sectof7, #Roksana, #Deacon, #Cleatus

Sunday, July 24, 2016

There was once a great place called America.

There was once a great place called America.

It was a good and noble place, filled with concepts like freedom, democracy, liberty, and justice. It was a place that was founded upon belief in God, and with that, came a sense of protection, and grounding, and right standing. Good men and women died defending that concept and they died knowing that it was something that was well worth fighting for.

Sure, it had it's problems. Hell, nothing that men do is perfect. But America was pretty darn close.

But then, the concept that was America drifted away from its moorings. It came unhinged from the concepts of God, morality, equality, goodness, decentness, and liberty. Things went downhill fast. It did not take long. Compared to the time it takes to build a tower, the time it takes to bring one crashing down is almost nothing.

That was the way it happened for America, and War followed soon after.

The War was bad. War's bad enough on its own, without adding any complications, but this War was even worse, because this was a War Without Hope. Understand, when you take away those moorings, when you remove the foundations upon which America was built, then you also remove the framework for hope. That was the one thing that no one saw coming, and that was the one thing that made this War the Worst That Had Ever Happened.

There's not much left now. There's not much left that's worth fighting for. Or, at least there wasn't, until I found the Books. I found the Books that everyone stopped reading, and stopped believing in...there's just a few of them, but I found them and I read them.

And now I know.

And I have something worth fighting for.

There was a man in some of the Books--a Great Man--and I read all about him. It changed me...forever.

I've become a man of the Books.

I've taken on his mantle.

I've got hope.

My name is Captain America, and now I'm going to restore that which was great.

God Bless America.

Art Source: "Captain of the Wastelands" (c)/by Christopher Stevens
Story: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #AlternateComicBookHistory, #PostApocalyptic, #CaptainAmerica, #cooltwist

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Maritsa ran red with blood.

September 27, 1371 A.D.
Chernomen, Serbia

The Maritsa ran red with blood.

"By the hinges of Hell!" I cursed. Bodies, horribly hacked and mutilated, floated around me as I led what remained of the Sect across the river. I knew we had to cross into northern Greece. I knew we had to put as many leagues behind us before the sun rose. There was no telling what the Turks would do once dawn arrived.

"How has this happened, Tenet?" Roksana asked. "How, in the name of Christ, did eight hundred defeat eighty thousand?" Her dark eyes were wild with fear and disbelief. I eyed her carefully, watching for any signs of weakness. We were literally wading through a river of blood - not the best place to be when traveling alongside a vampir, even one who was Christian.

Giovanni answered before I could reply. "Superior tactics, a night raid, and the fact that the King of Serbia and his brother were desperate for revenge, I would expect," he said cooly. The man was oddly detached and calm. The fact that he mentioned King Vukašin Mrnjavčević's brother, Despot Jovan Uglješa, revealed what was on his mind, however. We'd lost Giovanni's brother, Johann, amidst the chaos of the battle. None of us believed he was dead, but there were worse things than death, especially for an Edenson.

Johann was not the only one who was missing. Our own Turk, Kadir, had been captured and I was almost certain that I'd seen Ormolus, our unicum animarum, ripped into pieces. I was not sure if the mechanical man could be made whole again, even if we were able to retrieve all of his parts and pieces. The Sect of Seven had been riven, splintered, and torn.

But that was not the worst of it.

I climbed out of the blood-soaked river and immediately lent a hand to Giovanni. I had no idea how the man had crossed the river Maritsa with the chest on his shoulders. I had barely made it carrying my own weight. Granted, I was gravely wounded from an axe blow to the ribs, but still... "Hand me the chest, Giovanni."

The bearded man grunted and pushed up the lead-lined wooden box and clambered up the slick, muddy slope. Roksana came last, drawing her bow as she did so and immediately began a sweep of the surrounding forest.

"We need a place to rest and tend our wounds, Tenet," the Edenson said, breathless from his exertion.

"I know, but I fear that the Turks will be at our heels when they discover what we have." I shot a look with my odd black-and-silver orbs towards the chest.

Giovanni made a face in confusion. "How will they even know, with all of the chaos?"

"They have Kadir," I replied solemnly.

A hint of fear slid in behind his eyes. "He will not tell them," he hissed.

"He does not have the jawbone, or else they would have never taken him," I said.

The fear started pitching a tent and Giovanni gasped. "I had not realized, but yes..."

I waved my pale-skinned hand in the dark air as if shooing smoke from my face. "The retrieval of the jawbone is a problem for tomorrow. For now, we need to get as far away from here as possible. I suggest south, into Greece."

The Edenson nodded, too weary and wounded to argue.

"There is a hut an arrow's flight from here," came the soft, sibilant voice of Roksana from the dark woods. A shiver ran down my spine at it's sound. I could tell she was leaning heavily upon the strength of That-Which-Was-Within-Her to keep going. The dark-haired vampir would never admit that she needed to stop and rest, but the intent of her words was clear.

I looked from the heavy chest, with its precious cargo, to the panting Edenson lying on the muddy bank, and then back across the blood-and-body filled river towards the burning bones of Chernomen. I ran a hand across my bald scalp and sighed. We needed to run and run far and fast. My companions, though each far more than human, still had their limits. "Very well. Lead us there."

The pale of dawn was beginning to creep into the sky as we stepped into the clearing and saw the small, neat hut before us. A split-rail fence leaned crookedly beside it. In the light of day, I thought for a moment that I saw the hint of something hovering above the hovel, but in my weariness, I dismissed it.

"Good job, Roksana. We will rest here for a bit and then will continue onward."

If I would have only known how wrong I was...

Art Source: "Serbian Mythology - Talason" (c)/by Vanja Todoric
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Tenet, #Tenetstales, #Serbia, #OttomanEmpire, #Sectof7, #Roksana, #Giovanni, #Edenson, #Johann, #Jawbone, #Kadir, #Ormolus

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bad Company

“You don’t want to pursue this end, Avide,” Tenet warned.

He rubbed his temples as if wearied. The raven-haired woman at his side retorted playfully, “You don’t know what I want, Betrayer.”

Tenet sighed, running a hand across his bald scalp.

She had almost always been this way, except in the beginning. Impossible. “You forget that the path you tread led to the creation of these beasts.”

He swept his hand as if a blade to stab at the horrific scene before them to emphasize his point. A great metal monstrosity lay stricken, split in half in the rear. From its torn belly spewed tongues of intense flames. You could see through the manmade viewports that the source continued to kindle in the searing heat. The malaise of fire spread to nearby trees, transforming the dark night into a gloomy twilight. A perverse dawn rose from the dying tank, choked with thick clouds of smoke. Tenet looked with his trained gaze and noted more to the fire, an added hunger that was not just the release of heat and light. The vixen in form-fitted field gear seemed enamoured with the grizzly scene.

“You mean these merveilles! This is power! This is what will make the world right,” her passion pierced Tenet’s heart.

He could feel the appeal. She had a way of stirring up others. Tenet did indeed find the power mankind now wielded amazing. They had pushed inert metal into life and transformed warfare for themselves forever. He was not surprised that behemoths from his War tested their mettle for fun on these new toys of man. He had to resist floating along her syrupy voice that ever led to dangerous conclusions, and reason was his parry.

“Only One Person can put the world at right. We can merely help in our small part,” he chided.

“Of course,” she replied coyly.

C’est magnifique, Principe. Beautiful. You must see the charm within it all, as dark as it might seem--but it is as bright as one could ‘ope with the world at war,” she added warmly.

Her words and eyes melted the edges of his defense. She loved calling him by her new native tongue. Every ounce of her exuded affection and enthusiasm, disarming and engaging others all at once. He almost forgot this was her inherent nature as a fellow Exile. She contrasted starkly with the dangerous environment that had been a battle minutes before.

“The world has been at War for a long time now,” he answered.

“Eh, yes, you know what I meant, Principe,” she crooned. “The dragon de feu may yet have some good in it, as all the Maker’s children might. You put your trust in me. Perhaps your stalwart ways can straighten it too, once we have the Eggs.”

He nodded at her tender smile, distracted by another thought. The back of his mind whispered and he slowly listened to it. He then remembered something more relevant and pressing. Pressing and pulsing as waves on a shore. Or wind upon the trees. The fire fanned with each gust. His black orbs shot wide and filled with silver streaks fed by the flames.

“Avide, It didn’t leave!” He hissed as he withdrew Sicol from behind the Curtain.

She flung wide her arms and shouted toward the sky before he could knock her to the ground, “Oui! Sous sommes ici!”*

*French for “Yes! We are here!”

Art Source: "The burning tank" (c)/by Andrei-Pervukhin
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Tenet (c) by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #CoreyBlankenship, #Drache #Dragon #Tenet #Avide #TenetsTales #WW1 #Belgium #France #Russia #Faberge #Eggs

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bad Decisions

“The razor that sliced Napoleon’s nape was the one that swallowed Ceasar’s grape, but few will see It drawing near as they are consumed by fear,” the rider chanted breathlessly as he drove his steed forward.

He knew he had made a mistake.

It was an honest mistake in his line of work. Steal into the armurerie d’alchimie, lift item #2647, and return to patron. The musty stonework basement, which had been a tower before the centuries piled up the land on top of it, had been simple to access despite the university on top of the dirt. The military was distracted with fighting the Huns, and that meant opportunities opened for his profession. He wasn’t bothered that the assignment involved gold-and-gem-laden eggs the size of large river rocks. The politics of returning them to a country that had deposed the royal family who was responsible for making cheap imitations of these artifacts did not concern him. Rubles still covered his expenses as well as francs or marks. But that hand scrawled note attached to the wood crate he smashed had him in a panic. He had laughed then, but he wasn’t laughing now.

The smell of smoke and the terrible, rhythmic wind stripped all colour and courage from his body.

Stone snapped under his getaway horse’s hooves, flicking sparks behind them. Water splashed every few strides, as he pushed deeper into the Ardennes. Black evergreen’s choked his avenues of escape, making the air feel thick. Maybe it was the smog that descended and deepened each minute since he had ridden out of town with the ancient treasures. Maybe it was the rising scream from the usually silent corners of his mind. The thief didn’t care at this point. He wanted to fly as fast as equinely possible from the source of dread, but he felt it from everywhere.

The panic mounted.

His gut burned with the feeling one gets preceding a storm. His bones cried out, Beware! His wild eyes scanned left and right, forward and behind, and impossibly drew upward every so often. He felt It nearing, whatever the original author menaced about in his words. He only had to make it through the woods and to the shore. The boat would be there. The fence would take the items and he would get his gold. Trade complete. Only a few kilometers and that shadow that darkened the hazy clouds above would be their problem. He willed the horse to flee faster. The tree line thinned and he could smell salt mix into the smoke.

Then something like the sun gleamed high above and he screamed.

Instead of a disc it morphed into a column and rushed mercilessly into the hard ground before him. Water became mist and the stone exploded. His horse bolted and flung him back. His stomach filled as though with burning air as his body drifted above the earth. He locked his gaze on two crimson stars that flamed with an ageless hatred behind the growing fan of flames. He knew he had made a mistake. He couldn’t believe the rows of manor-sized fangs would be his end. But now the collection of symbols at the end of the note made sense. One could be poisoned, burned, rent, and burst by explosion all at once.

If only he could tell himself three hours ago to leave the drache eggs behind.

Art Source: "Dragon's Breath" (c)/by 88grzes
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #CoreyBlankenship, #drache, #race, #thief, #dragon, #Faberge #Eggs #Drache #Alchemy #WW1 #Belgium #France #Russia #Prussia #1918 #TenetsTales

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Things of the Water

Even as they unbuckled Nemo from his excursion suit, he felt the Nautilus ascending. "Secure the moon pool." Even as he leapt to the deck, Vasquez and Miko worked to swing the immense plate into place. While it wouldn't cause their progress any issues, there was a chance some creature could take advantage of the opening.

The captain flew past crew members to his bridge. Klaxons sounded throughout the ship. Soon there wouldn't be anyone in the halls. You would either be at your duty station, or in your bunks. In minutes, he stood, looking out the front view port in a robe brought to him by the steward. Around him, men and women worked at their tasks. Moving up from the depths at their current speed wasn't perilous on its own, but every set of eyes looked for any creature large enough to do them harm, if they encountered it. Given the lack of natural light, they relied on a mix of sonar and the massive lanterns on the Nautilus' prow.

There were also crew members monitoring from the aft of the ship. An observation deck there, in addition to rear facing sonar, would give them some warning if the creature followed. Weapons crews made sure all the torpedo bays were full and that the lightning canon was fully charged. The hum of people working was subdued compared to its usual volume, as though everyone knew how hard their captain was thinking.

He'd seen nothing like this thing. At least not in person. Still, some half-remembered tidbit nagged at his subconscious mind. When it began to take shape in his memory, he shook his head. "No. It's not possible." He muttered the words as though they were a prayer. He hurried to the large desk where he saw while on the bridge. It only had a few of his most used books. In addition there were some new volumes he perused in what little leisure time he had. It was there in which he found his memory in all of its horrible glory.

The treatise in question, Things of the Water, was a translation of a much older work called Cthäat Aquadingen. This particular translation was done by a Doctor Skinner. He knew little about the man, other than the rumor that he’d gone mad upon its completion. The book concerned itself with what seemed to Nemo like fantasies. He couldn't deny the similarities though between the woodcut in the book and the thing which had eaten his crewman.

No name was given nor information about its nature explained anywhere in the book he could see. Under the illustration was simply the note “tentacled horror”. According to the few entries the book did have on it, the horror had been seen by sailors off and on for centuries. Nemo imagined that anyone who read this would assume it was a misidentification of a squid or octopus.

Having seen the creature himself, he couldn’t deny it was no normal beast. The eyes, that horrid mouth, and a lack of any symmetry made up nothing less than a breathing nightmare. If the book had the right of this, then what else was it correct about? He put the book down and rested his head in his hands. Where there was one creature like this, there were no doubt more. He would devote some of his vast resources to finding out what other beings haunting Skinner’s book could also be found in his domain. He owed nothing to the men and women above the waves, but these abominations should be hunted down and killed, lest they breed.

He stood and walked over to his command chair. “”Helm, make all speed for Tabor. Keep us at periscope depth.” Once back at his base of operations he could send out word. Perhaps this Dr. Skinner wasn’t mad. It could be he was still alive. He would have that man in front of him if at all possible. There would be answers and a reckoning for his lost crew member.  

#horror, #ScottRoche, #Cthulu, #Nemo, #19thCentury, #SciFi, #Verne, #Lovecraft

Art Source: Ace of Cups by Brass And Steam at Deviant Art
Story and Characters (c)/by Scott Roche

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sens squawked hoarsely, flapping its inky wings.

1350 A.D.
Lublin, Poland

Sens squawked hoarsely, flapping its inky wings. Off in the distance, a storm was looming and the Raven seemed disturbed by its deep-throated rumbling.

Tarik looked up from the tome it was perusing and shot a searing glance at the bird. "Husssssh," it growled.

Sens settled down immediately, tucking its black beak beneath soot-colored feathers.

Tarik went back to studying the book, scanning the arcane glyphs and symbols over and over again. The creature honestly did not know why, but it did it had done so for nearly a hundred years now. Tarik knew all of the words and phrases in the book by heart, backwards and forwards, yet it could not help but to gaze upon if there were something hidden therein that it was missing.

The creature tore its eyes from the tome and made its shuffling way over to the far side of the chamber, where a black iron brazier sat, upholding an infernal flame that cast lurid red light and sordid blue shadows at the same time. In the flames, there was a message. Tarik drank it in, hungrily. It was so rare to receive news these days, what with the Black Death running rampant through Europe.

There was so much to do and so little time to gloat over it.

Tarik listened to every fragment carefully, just as it did everything, and tried desperately to contain its excitement. An old enemy was near and it was Tarik's privilege to dispatch him. The Betrayer was in nearby Krakow, and apparently he was holding the Plague at bay. Tarik grinned and the creature's toothy maw nearly spit its malformed skull in two.

"Make ready to leave, Sens," the creature cackled, fishing out a lock of hair from a desiccated corpse in the rear of the cavern. A few hissed words later, and Tarik's nightmarish form had changed,morphing into an odd-looking young man--or perhaps a young woman, it was hard to tell--dressed from head-to-to in supple brown leathers. A fine dagger rode upon its hip and a wide-brimmed hat rode atop the thing's charcoal-colored head.

Tarik moved briskly to retrieve the tome and held aloft its hand, where Sens, the familiar raven took temporary roost. For a moment, a foul, scarlet light was kindled in both the raven's an in the creature-turned-human's eyes. A knowing smile crawled across Tarik's lips and far away in the distance, the thunder rolled.

"Take heed, Tenet. There be a storm coming..."

Art Source: "200/366" (c)/by excellero
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #Tenet, #Tenetstales, #Tarik, #Sens

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Erlik! Where are you?"

"Erlik! Where are you?"

Frigid water invaded his leather boots and seeped into his wool-wrapped leggings. Ingemar Vekelsson fished about for his sword and the torch he'd been carrying. "Erlik!" He called out again, his voice questing out into the damp darkness. Ingemar had no idea where he was or where his war-leader, Erlik, was. The viking lad's head was pounding and he cursed, trying to remember...

One hand found a stone plinth and Ingemar felt the deep, grooved stone. Fingers tentatively traced the edges of the smooth, perfectly formed cuts, feeling them curve and swoop and join in with one another. The design sparked something in his foggy, pounding skull and he remembered. The Celts! They had been in Iberia, exploring a raised grave--Erlik had called it a barrow--and one moment, he had been side by side with the Erlik Kinslayer and the next moment, he'd been falling.

Now, he had no idea where his Ring-Giver was, or in truth, where he was.

The son of Vekels right hand traced across a conflux in the grooves of the plinth and a blazing blue light filled the chamber. He was in a place unlike anything he had ever seen: part natural cavern and part worked stone chamber. The eerie wytchlight came from everywhere and nowhere at once, illumination without a source. Ingemar blinked, reeling from the sudden stabbing pain in his ice-blue eyes. His footing slipped as he reeled and the he found himself tasting foul, stagnant water.

Ingemar slammed his fist into the water, cursing, "Son of a carrion eating old hag!"

It was at that moment that he heard the laughter. It was less laughter than it was a painful-sounding exhalation of breath, followed by the phrase, spoken in Old Norse. "Stay down, Kinslayer. It will make your death quicker."

The viking lad spun, taking in the thing before him. His foot struck his war wall and his fingers found the wet, leather-wrapped hilt of his blood worm. His eyes, however, did not depart from the...thing...before him. Ingemar had no idea what the thing was that was slowly slogging its way towards him. Ingemar did not fear men. Erlik the Black was Ring-Giver to him, after all. But this thing, this was no man.

The viking lad rose to his feet, slinging his shield into place and whipping his sword before him. "Come, foul fiend. I am not Erlik the Kinslayer, but I will send you to take your place in Nágrindr, the Corpse Fence!"

The creature roared and the battle was joined.

Art Source: "Warriors of Decay" (c)/by spyders
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth, Erilk the Black (c)/by Raulston Hunsinger

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #viking, #Erlik, #theKinslayer, #ErliksSaga, #BlackErlik, #Ingemar, #Vekelsson

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The lad trembled. "I don't want to."

"'Twas brilling, and the silthy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the mome graths outgrabe."


The lad trembled. "I don't want to."

"You have to," came the crackling voice.

The boy, no more than twelve, shook his head furiously. "But I don't want to. I'm frightened."

"We are all frightened sometimes, Neb. Learning to face our fears is part of becoming a man," the voice was scratchy, and sounded like it came from a long way away.


"But what, Neb? You're not going to disappoint the Pack again, are you?"

The dark haired lad's eyes cast downward. He did not want to remember that. He did not want to remember last summer, when he had failed the Pack. He did not want to remember the days after, when they teased him and taunted him mercilessly.

"Neb?" The scratchy voice seemed to be losing its patience. Like a leather strap drawn across a rock, it seemed to be fraying at the edges.

"But I'm scared." Neb answered.

"What's there to be scared of? We're all here - in the next cabin over."

That was a point, Neb reasoned. They were not that far away. He looked across the way and in amongst the trees, he could almost see the lights from the other cabin. They would not let him have lights here, however. It was part of the ritual.

Just then, something scraped outside the shed. It sounded like a rake scratching across tin. Neb was glad he'd gone before the ritual--if he hadn't, he'd be feeling something warm running down his leg right about now.

The scratchy voice came again, "Neb?"

"T-there's something here."

"It's probably them...they're coming, Neb. Get ready."

"They who?" Neb's voice was pitchy and erratic. His vision was becoming all swishy. There was water on his face.

It seemed that there was laughter behind the scratchy voice. "The Mome Graths, Neb...they're outside! We can see them!"

Neb threw down his radio and ran for the door. He wanted out. He no longer cared about becoming a Second Degree Firebrand Scout. He wanted out! He jerked the door open and screamed. Something stood before him...something right out of his nightmares.

Art Source: "dark" (c)/by spoonfayse
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #spooky, #boyhood, #prank, #ghosttale, #momegrath, #LewisCarrol, #jabberwocky

Saturday, July 16, 2016

28. 6. 15. 7.


28. 6. 15. 7.

The man ran his thumb across the lock face hanging off his pack strap as he fixed his grip on the slip ring of his rifle. He stepped off his midnight Boulevard and onto the gravel trail. The wind sliced through long stalks of wheat, perfuming the air with the scent of straw and the almost cinnamon hint of autumn. The man let the breeze fill his lungs. This was his last stop in this part of the world.

His boots crunched the slate underneath their tread as he stalked up the unimproved road. He listened amid the hiss of the grass for any indicators the emptiness of the land was an illusion. Much in these days were. The winding path led up a hill to a white slat house. His eyes picked up on the golden silhouette standing on the porch without the aid of optics. Glancing over his shoulders, he knelt on the stone road and lifted his weapon.

She stood poised in the fall sunlight as he always remembered. Her last summer dress on, embracing the honeyed light of harvest. He could see her skin retained the sun’s kiss, tanned well beyond caramel. A tear slipped into his dark beard. A ghost of her appeared to remain inside those milky eyes. Her head was leaned back as she breathed deeply. The sun had not drawn her out the torn screen door. His scent had. His finger slipped onto the trigger as he thumbed the safety. He let his breath out, trying not to gasp. He squeezed. The rifle barked two quick blasts. She rocked on her heels before stepping toward the stairs. He blinked and sighed in order to press the trigger once more. The third round struck her freckled forehead and she fell to the deck.

He sucked deeply and let the tears spill over his cheeks. His trigger hand drifted to his pack strap and found the same block of metal on its ring. He turned the first dial three times while letting his grief dribble off his chin to stain the dirt. More droplets pelted the earth and released its slumbering aroma. Thunder rippled across the skies and flattened the drooping heads of grass. The storm had pulled anchor and thrown out its sails to cut across the sunny expanse in an attempt to ram the sun out of the sky. The man rose with a huff as if the normal task wearied him.

He slung his rifle and pulled out a slender tube. He pulled back the catch as he screwed a red cannister to its tip. He held it as one would a wand and pushed the metal button back into the slide. It rushed forward and a roar tore out of the ruby topper. A crimson meteor hurtled across the field and into the gloomy window. He waited to hear for a muffled explosion as the flare stuck true. Flames shot out the dusky portals of the old house and gnawed at its dried lumber. He had remembered rightly.

He mouthed wordlessly as he stared solemnly at the engulfed house. He dug a heel into the ground and finally said aloud, “Goodbye, Sis.”

He pivoted and jogged down the trail toward his bike. He hopped onto the rain-slick leather seat and revved the engine. He reached up to the lock, felt along the face, and then tugged. It did not open. He mentally read the numbers as he kicked the stand up, letting the dust fly into the air to mingle with the downpour, as well as the smoke and cinders of another lost home.

25. 6. 15. 7.

Characters and story: (c)/by Corey Blankenship

#Rabidworld #Rev #vol2 #Zombies #shatteredrealms #Oceania

Friday, July 15, 2016

Violence of action has never been just a mortal trait.


Violence of action has never been just a mortal trait.

This flicked through H’zrael’s mind as he rolled his shoulders under the trench coat, his left hand twitching with anticipation. He breathed in the air, hoping to catch the hint of something as primordial as the bald rock that yawned all around him. It called to him in its way, leaving breadcrumbs to draw his ilk out. Its spoor was as simple as it was grotesque.

Bodies. Lots and lots of bodies.

He glided across the streets stained with churned clay and blood. He pressed passed thatch houses which drooped with shattered doors, fresh cairns for its torn inhabitants. He guessed forty three dead now populated the village. Plus whatever caused the carnage.

A splash warned him he too had been marked. He spun low as eight blades ripped through his coat and transformed it into tatters. He sprung backwards and tossed a grenade to the ground. It vomited smoke, fire, and shrapnel as he landed ten meters away. Flexing his wings, H’zrael manifested a golden scimitar. A guttural roar burst through the twisting smoke followed by a long snout full of fangs.

“Come now, Beast! I’ve waited a long time to claim your hide!” He bellowed in response.

The creature stalked out of the smoke. It licked at the blood on its lips and along its teeth. “I’ve thirsted for your blood, Outcast.”

H’zrael studied its muscled and furred body. He noted no lacerations on the grey and white frame and adjusted his grip on his weapon. The Warden had sired no runtling in this primeval badger. The atmosphere around him began to glow and burn. “You’ve confused me with the more foolish of my kind. A costly mistake for a mere beast.”

It laughed, a husky mix of growl and human mimicry. “No, Visitor, that makes the drink all the sweeter!”

The Visitor and the monstrous honey badger leapt at each other, eager to clash blades and fists. Explosions and howls rang off the mountain slopes as the two met midair. Each strike from the winged warrior’s fist bore the weight of what mortals crudely called force. H’zrael knew it better to be authority as he crushed ribs with a flurry of strikes. Despite the pain, the beast slammed its claws around his chest and squeezed. The blades scraped along shimmering breastplates harmlessly, even while H’zrael’s insides screamed with pain. The badger snapped for his neck and found a flaming blade caught in its teeth. The Visitor launched higher into the air as the vicious primal clung and pressed with its considerable might trying to pop his honeyed skin like a grape.

With a thought, he dispersed the blade and invoked the same authority he contained. The air exploded around him as it tore into its components. The giant badger hurtled through a roof fifty feet below engulfed in flames. The building kindled as its broken timbers collapsed inward with a sigh. The warrior hovered and waited for the aroma of cooked meat. Instead, a wall erupted as the creature stumbled out of the makeshift oven. A sheared plank hung between exposed bone on its side. It lifted its ruby gaze towards its burning adversary.

“Come claim your feast if you dare! It will cost you yet, huntsman,” it snarled.

“Huntsman, indeed,” H’zael laughed as he reformed his scimitar. “Tonight I will hang you in the Warden’s house. The First Beasts have no place in this lost world.”

The honey badger coughed blood as it uttered a crude curse in the Visitor’s own language. The golden fire around H’zrael crackled in holy rage. He flashed down as a shaft of honed lightning straight for badger’s throat. The beast opened its eager jaws ready to pierce his glowing body. Then the real battle began.

Art Source: "Ramiel vs Honey Badger," by JakeEKiss
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship

#H’zrael #Huntsman #Tenetstales #Honeybadger #Makes #Me #Wanna #Write #MMWW #CoreyBlankenship