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Friday, August 8, 2014


Samantha Redstreake Geary has this great contest that life had bruised out of my consciousness.  There is still time!

Welcome to THE CONQUERORS, a Steampunk Viking flash fiction challenge for the industry release, ARCADIA (produced & published by Really Slow Motion).

Pulling inspiration from the exclusive industry track, “The Song of the World Tree”, by brilliant composer, Tapsa Kuusniemi,

and the stunning album cover, by gifted graphic designer & composer, Koke Núñez Gómez,

FORGE an epic tale (under 500 words) that conquers the imagination!

Submit your entries in the comments section of her page by August 9th, midnight EST!

Here is my entry {470 words}


The bleak pale sun glittered blindingly upon the ice-fields and the snow-covered plains.  Winter’s light struck sheens of silver from rent chainmail and broken blade, where the dead lay as they had fallen.
The nerveless hand yet gripped the broken hilt.  The helmeted heads were drawn back in grotesque death-throes, tilted red beards and golden beards bent grimly upward, as if in last invocation to Wotan and merciless Valkyries who left them as unworthy of reward in Valhalla.

The smoldering tub to my left bubbled like the blood from the mouth of the dying Viking by my side.  The sword hilt was slippery in my sweaty right hand.  My left hand clutched the ingredient that countless sailors had dreaded for centuries.

The Viking died.  Only I was left.  My back was to Yggdrasil, the World Tree.  Its gnarled roots drank in the blood of the Viking.  Three glistening roots writhed under my boots.  I looked down at them.

“No, Tree.  You’ll not drink my blood -- only the blood of those who come against me this day.”

A leprous blue cloud billowed closer and closer to me.  I smiled bitterly.  The true enemy.  It had tired of sending its human pawns to kill the World Tree only to lose them.

It flowed closer.  A voice of fungus murmured in my mind as it neared.  I felt dirty at its touch.

‘You are no Norseman.  Who are you?’

“I am Lucanus, a physician from Crete.”


I gestured with my bloody bronze sword.  “Yes, I have the cure for what ails you.”

‘No weapon forged by mortal hands can kill me.  Yggdrasil tasks me by its very promise of life. Step aside, and you will live.’

The Spartan helmet on my head was so cold I knew frost lay heavy upon it.  “I did not step aside when I fought alongside the Three Hundred.  I will not step aside now.”

‘Then, DIE!’

It swept down upon me.  I did not slash as it expected.  You do not destroy fog by sword.  I dipped my blade into the smoldering tub by my side.  I flung the last ingredients to Greek Fire into it as my world became leprous blue mists.

The fire flared into fierce life.  I smeared my sword in it.  Then, I slashed through the billowing Anti-Life that sought to swallow the Tree of Life.

No, you don’t stab fog.  You burn it.  And this clot of Anti-Life burned and burned and burned.

‘No mortal may kill me!’ it wailed in my mind.

I watched it burn into crispy wisps and said, “I haven’t been mortal since I delivered that baby in the stable.”

Behind me, Yggdrasil began to sing, and I shivered.  Its voice was like the music heard faintly at the edge of dream … or death.


Lucanus is the hero of the first story in BURNT OFFERINGS.

Only 99 cents!  Buy it and get the audio book for only $1.99!


  1. Nice one. I am convinced that Yggdrasil's voice is heard both in dreams AND at death. Which is as it should be.

  2. The timing and placement of ‘Then, DIE!’ makes for an extremely dramatic climax in this story.

    I always re-read your words, hoping some of your eloquence will influence my writing. I don't know how you do it. You're brilliant.

    I hope you're in good spirits and health.

  3. That was epic! And burning instead of slashing. Smart move. Excellent entry, Roland.

  4. Elephant's Child:
    Yggdrasil thinks so! :-)

    You made my weary evening so much better for staying such nice things about my writing. :-)

    I am still int the game, though a bit bruised! Thank you for asking.

    Thanks for saying so. I hope my entry gets a nod, but I do not have much luck with such things.

    Thank you for always being my friend. :-)