Tyrant

The tyrant fell, and the heroes lowered their weapons.

As the populous emerged from hiding from the conflict, they waited to bask in their praise. The cruel overlord of the realm was no more.

The people did not deify them. They did not praise them. No flowers were offered or gold tithed, no gifts bequeathed or titles bestowed.

Grief was palpable in the air, tears openly streaming down their face as they pushed past the adventurers to their fallen master.

Men and women, young and old, pushed the party away even as their fellows began to sing an ancient song that reverberated throughout the city. The tears in their eyes shimmered and vanished, their sorrow empowering the spell.

With a tired groan, the tyrant revived.

“You may consider me an evil man,” he said to the adventurers, a human shield forming in front of him as they raised their weapons once more. “But the will of the people will always raise me. Will you slaughter your way through them, just to get to me?”

The civilians were resolute, arm linked in arm, even as the rag-tag group of warriors advanced once more.

Author’s Note: This week’s Three Word Wednesday words are: Bask, Grief, Raise.

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At The Beach

In spite of having to squint from the bright afternoon sun, Carol was glad to finally be able to sit down. It had been a hectic morning, herding three excitable children around town while dealing with their complaints, requests and the occasional squabble.

Sitting on a low wall, she stretched her legs out, happy to get the pressure off her sore feet. The three kids were running around on the beach. From chasing the tide to being chased by a small, scuttling crab, they were well on the way to burning off the ice creams they had wolfed down.

Taking a lick from her own ice cream, a 99 with Flake, she soon realised her mistake. Like sharp-eyed hawks, they had spotted their prey and descended on her rapidly.

“Carol! Can I have your flake?” Dan, the eldest asked with hopeful eyes.

“I want the flake, Carol, pleaaaaaaaaase?!” Lucy, the middle child, pleaded.

“Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!” Rebecca, the youngest, drawled out, eyeing the crumbly chocolate treat eagerly.

Their looked to each other, and Carol knew a good old-fashioned sibling argue bout was coming.

She was cunning, though. Wedging the wafer cone between her thighs, she pulled the Flake out and quickly snapped it into three even pieces. Then she wiped the excess ice cream off on the cone, and presented them with three pieces. She fixed them a look.

“You can take one each, okay? No being greedy.”

In one moment, three pieces of chocolate sat on the palm of her hand. The next, they were gone and the kids were running off around the beach again. The crab soon resumed its chase of Rebecca, too.

A quiet snap could just be heard from behind, and half a Flake was placed in the vacant hole in her soft-serve ice cream.

“You’re good with the kids, Carol.” Martin smiled, taking a seat next to her with his own 99, and a bag of assorted groceries to take back to the caravan.

“Thanks… I did worry about how we’d all get on, our first holiday away together.” She admitted, letting her tongue catch a trail of melting ice cream that had been trickling towards her hand.

Martin slipped an arm around her shoulder, the pair sitting to watch his -no, their- kids charging about on the beach.

“You do know that this won’t tire them out at all for the evening, right?” Martin chuckled. “They’ll still be pestering us for change for the arcade machines, snacks and drinks.”

Smiling, Carol nodded. “I know,” she said before a pause to eat some ice cream, “I think I’d miss it if they weren’t.”

 

Author’s Note: Today’s Three Word Wednesday words were: squint, argue, lick. A 99 is a type of ice cream in the UK, a wafer cone with soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Often comes with a Flake, a type of chocolate bar, sticking out of it.

Fluids

“You are a very, very weird person, Shev.” The woman laughed as she brought the drinks to the table. Her companion had carefully averted his eyes from the rather enthusiastic greeting that was taking place near where they were sat in the night club.

“Among my species, it is you and your kind that would be considered weird, Officer Kimdu.” Shev replied, taking his drink with a three finger and one thumbed hand. He looked at the human he’d been assigned to with a slightly puzzled expression.

“You don’t have to keep calling me Officer Kimdu. Just my first name, Alet, is fine.” She explained, sitting down opposite him. “I mean, I’m not calling you Kra-te-dah Maltienovini-Shev all the time. And in a few more drinks time, I don’t think I could even pronounce your title.”

“Very well, Alet.” Shev sighed, gesturing to the couple nearby who were still lost in their passionate embrace. He was one of the Maltie, a purple-skinned, three fingered alien race that were allied with humanity, even if they considered them to be rather strange creatures. “It is a rather… brutal greeting, is it not?”

“Brutal?” Alet grinned, looking over at the pair. She soon got his meaning, watching the woman trying her hardest to leave bruises as she kissed and nibbled at her partner’s neck. “Oh, that, never really got the reason behind it myself, but it’s supposed to be passionate.”

“Is all the groping really necessary? I would have thought they were by now fully aware of the form of each other, they’ve been at it for nine minutes and forty four seconds…” He sniffed, his flat nose surrounded by four nostril slits that flared as he exhaled.

“That’s a form of appreciation. Humans are tactile, Shev, generally we like to touch and be touched. We find the forms of those we’re attracted to very appealing, so we can get a hell of a lot of touching done before we get bored.” Alet laughed softly. Unlike Shev, she had ditched her Galactic Enforcement Officer uniform for a shimmering, strappy dress with a programmable display. Hers was currently set to the swirls of the Milky Way. Leaning in, she mopped her pink hair back and smiled. “So, how do you Maltie express intimacy and love if not like that?”

Holding up one of his hands, he wriggled his fingertips. The underside of his hand was a lighter purple compared to the more scaled top side, his fingerpads almost bulbous compared to hers. “We touch our fingerpads together, and lean in to touch foreheads. Our greetings are not that long.”

Unable to resist, Alet tucked her pinky finger in and brought her hand in, touching her fingertips to Shev’s. The alien’s cheeks went dark, almost black, from embarrassment. “Like that?”

He quickly removed his hand to massage the blood from his cheeks, his rounded eyes downcast. “Somewhat like that, yes.” There was silence between them for a while, before his curiousity got the better of him. “I have one more question regarding the… affectionate? couple over there.”

“Lay it on me, Shev.” His partner grinned, looking over to the pair.

“The transfer of fluids between them seems quite unsanitary. Is it really such a mainstay of your species’ physical communications?” He asked with a quirked brow.

Alet bit her lower lip to keep from laughing, leaning in to speak in a hushed tone. “If you think that’s bad, you’ll want to avoid the lady with the red hair at the bar who’s been eyeing you up. Humans love their fluid transfers. That there? That’s nothing.”

His head shot up, supported easily even by his slender neck. “What? What?” He said, before quickly averting his gaze from the waving woman at the bar. “Maltie-krov-desh… protect me, Alet?”

Her glass clinked against his. “Always, Shev. We’re GEO officers, partners. I’ll always have your back, be it against terrible criminals, evil monsters or lusty xenophiles.”

 

Author’s Note: Today’s 3 Word Wednesday Words were: Brutal, Grope, Transfer.

Bathing By Moonlight

From her vantage point, which was not really that advantageous, she could glimpse into the hot springs. A small gap in the wooden fence let her see a very narrow viewpoint, but that was more than enough for her.

Stood in the middle of the pool was one of her travelling companions, the mage Isarven. An Elf from the mountain city of Vadani, he possessed a lithe, toned frame. The light from the moon gave his pale skin a somewhat unearthly hue, and his pale blonde hair seemed almost silvery.

She bit her lip as he sunk beneath the water, clutching the fence as she waited for him to surface. So rapt was she that the pillar of ice-cold water that appeared overhead went unnoticed, until her dousing with it brought a shriek rising from the bottom of her lungs. Her hands clamped over her mouth, she peered back through the hole, expecting to see someone staring through, her position given away.

“I would appreciate it if you did not spy on me while bathing.” Isarven coughed politely from behind her. She whirled around to see him standing there, wrapped in a towel with a slender eyebrow raised. “The behaviour is most unseemly.”

She hung her head in shame, a rosy blush rising to her cheeks. At least the flush of warmth countered the fact she was dripping with near-freezing water, somewhat. “I’m sorry, Isarven, I-”

“I think you should go and take your own bath. With the other women.” He suggested, nodding over towards another part of the inn. “Standing around in wet clothes will not do you any favours.”

Her throat locking up prevented any form of reply. With a quick pace she hurried off back to the other baths, leaving Isarven standing on his own for a moment. With a heavy sigh, the elf glanced up into the trees. “You can stop leering too, Zachary. It’s unwholesome.”

From the mighty oak, a dark figure of a man dropped down into a crouch. Peering up at Isarven was a human, his beard and hair coal-black, and his blue eyes gleaming bright with mischief. “I always feel so naughty whenever someone uses my full name.”

“And that is because you usually are behaving so.” He chided, turning back towards the door to the spring. “I trust I can bathe in peace now, Zack?”

“Fine, fine…” Zack sighed. “Unless you want someone to scrub your back?”

The look Isarven gave made his feelings on the matter very clear: The only thing he wanted watching him in there was the moon.

Author’s Note: This Week’s 3 Word Wednesday words were: Douse, Pale, Naughty

Megalith

The wise men pondered upon the tor, how best to contain the power and fury of the beast beneath. They had hoped it slain, but it merely slumbered.

Through feats of great strength and the determination of many, megaliths were heaved and hauled up to the hill, aligned by rigorous calculation to the passing of the sun and the phases of the moon.

Their effort was not in vain, and the wise men and the thinkers were proven valid. For millennia the henge has stood, its power suppressing waking thought from the malign creature hibernating below.

 

Author’s note: This week’s 3 Word Wednesday words were: Heave, Ponder, Valid.

Rampage

They could do naught but watch with a morbid sense of wonder as it approached. Its movements were jerky and cumbersome as a greater power manipulated the leviathan beast. When it reached the city walls, it smashed through them with ease, a single clawed arm lashing out to break it down brick by brick.

Shrugging its way through the tattered fortifications, it began to howl as it stomped around through the city. The bakery was totalled by a mighty kick. The police station was without saviour as the brute slammed its body against it. The castle, the space shuttle pad, even the pizzeria were all quick to fall beneath its rampage.

A mighty call stopped the beast though, severing its connection to that greater power. It tumbled down amongst the LEGO bricks and the action figures even as the cry filled with power echoed around the land.

That cry was this simple phrase:

Darling, it’s lunch time!

Author’s Note: Today’s 3 Word Wednesday words were: Rampage, Morbid, Cumbersome.

Planetfall

They thought it was a drab world, without much in the way of colour, life or interest. A place to build their bio-domes for growing crops in, with a robotic workforce and automatic shuttles delivering them off at the orbital station circling the planet.

They thought they were alone there, for they could see no signs of complex life. Their sensor probes pried deep into the surface. But not deep enough.

Those human workers, there to get things going and monitor the construction? They had no idea their heartbeats were huge signal beacons for the creatures below. Pulsating in steady rhythms, the sound carrying down into the darkest chasms and thought-empty voids.

And so concerned with making sure the robots were doing their work, they didn’t notice the oily-black tendrils worming their way up through the smallest of cracks. The robots certainly didn’t. They weren’t programmed well enough. They did what they did to a satisfactory level, and that was that.

They just didn’t notice, until one of their own went missing. And then another. They were picked off one by one, their attackers unseen. Their attackers were smart. Problems would crop up in one point, sending heavy guard off to investigate. And while they focused on the alert, they would strike somewhere else.

The last message from the planet was a warning. There was a hostile force present on Gadalri Beta, and that planetfall should be forbidden. The last survivor hoped that would be enough, forgetting about the innate curiosity of his species, and their constant need to know ‘why?’ and ‘what?’

Planetfall should have been forbidden.

It should have.

We didn’t listen.

Author’s Note: Today’s Three Word Wednesday words were: Drab, Pulsate, Tendril.

The Witch’s Garden

“Now now, there’s no need to brag,” the elderly woman chided gently, hunched down amongst the raised bedding, “we all know how lush and verdant you are.”

Worn, calloused fingers caressed the leafs of the plant she was tending to, speaking in hushed, calm tones to them. Her skin was tanned from the time spent in the sun, and heavily lined from the weather of all seasons. Come rain or shine she was out in the garden, tending to her plants. From flowers to vegetables, herbs to fruits, and trees to bees she lavished equal attention on.

“Yes, you have done well after that icy spell earlier in the year.” She nodded, stroking along the stem of one of her potato plants. Not only were the tubers great to eat, but the toxins in the seed fruit, leaves and flowers made a useful fungicide and pesticide to deal with the more problematic critters in the garden.

She wandered the garden blissful as always, collecting various things in her big wicker basket for use in the kitchen, or with her potions and poultices. The royal physician and the town healers depended on her vast collection of medicinal plants, and chefs journeyed far and wide for delicious herbs to be used to flavour their dishes.

Wandering past the apiary, her swarm of bees kept busy by the numerous flowers to pollinate, she came to one of the vast hedges around her garden to start harvesting nettle leaves. It was easy to avoid the delicate needles just by grasping in the right way. She thanked the plant for each leaf she took. She always thanked the plants for their harvest.

Stopping to listen for a moment, she laughed a rich, warm laugh that filled the garden. Chuckling, she wiped a tear from her eye. “No, no, I will always say thanks.” She told the stinging nettles. “It’s only polite, after all.”

Author’s Note – Today’s Three Word Wednesday words were brag, icy and polite.

Snowed In

Dismal. Utterly, utterly dismal. That was Mrs Barton’s thoughts on the weather that had her hunkered down in her good friend Mrs Davis’ house. The snow had started light, with tiny flecks dancing down from the sky. Larger flakes followed, settling heavily on the ground. The snow storm that blew in though had it caking up by the doors and laying heavy on the windowsills of the cottage.

Inside wouldn’t be that bad though. The stove had a hefty basket nearby full of wood to fuel it. Mrs Davis’ kitchen was still warm and rich with luscious smells from baking little treats for the Woman’s Institute (and she always made extra.) Her old cast-iron kettle was perched atop of the stove, with a bone china teapot sat on the oak coffee table ready to be filled, a tea ball full of her best brew sitting inside ready to steep.

When the power went off, the gas lantern and paraffin lamps went on, and the pair settled down on the sofa with a cup of tea in one hand, rich cake in the other, and the warmth of the fire to bask in as they waffled on about the good old days, when the snow would come up much higher and be even colder.

Author’s Note: Today’s 3 Word Wednesday words were: Dismal, Luscious and Waffle.