A Game of Stone and Blood

Adonius look around the great hall in silence, willing the assembly to listen. Around him Lords from around the vast realm of Darkwell bickered with one another, casting insults and throwing blame upon all those who opposed them.

We descend into madness, he thought, looking at his advisors and their lesser-born. They all shifted uncomfortably in their seats, watching the masses heave and roll. Their group numbered twenty, and like a calm, in a series of rapids, they were present and yet separate from the gathered elves.

My brother has lost his hold on these wolves. There will be blood upon the stones of this hall by nightfall, he thought fear growing in his assuredness. He signaled for D’Trik, the captain of his guard to his side. As his advisors parted Adonius could see others of his alliance in the crowd sharing his same thought.

His brother, Lord Leviathan was already signaling for his advisors to depart. They were secreting themselves in twos and threes through the screaming crowd.

“My lord, how may I be commanded?” D’Trik spoke, eager for his lord to give the word.

Adonius followed a rather rambunctious lot that was making their way to the Emperor’s dais. At their head was the young Lord Dassariot. The Emperor himself was noticeably absent along with his Empress. They had kept the assembly on edge for hours now and it looked as if all the Lords of Darkwell would be waiting even more.

“Dassariot,” he hissed, causing D’Trik to turn back to the crowd, “We must leave before that Usurper gains the crowds attention. Tell our men to leave immediately.”

D’Trik turned to the nearest of his men at arms and as one the soldiers moved. Around them, the crowd parted, too focused on what was happening at the head of the hall to care about Adonius and his party.

Ahead of them, the assembly door stood open and unguarded.

Even the guards have been pulled into this, he thought, picking up his pace, so it has begun, the fracturing on Darkwell.

Behind them, voices rose to a clamor as Dassariot’s men cleared the steps to the dais. Adonius looked around at his group stretched thin and winding between screaming groups.

Ahead of him, the doors were only a stone’s throw away. More screams filled the hall as the crowd began to chant Dassariot’s name.

Nearly there, Adonius hoped, as the first of his men passed under the aged black stone arch.

“DASSARIOT! DASSARIOT! DASSARIOT!” the crowd called.

Adonius looked back into the room as he stepped from the hall into the antichambers and passageway beyond.Half of the Lord’s party was still fighting their way out. D’Trik was bringing up the rear as several younger elves were pushed forward.

Behind Adonius, his brother called to him, “Quickly, Adonius! We must flee this place at once! You fool!”

But Adonius stood his ground, waving his men on.

D’Trik was almost to the door when the imperial guards in their wolf helmed uniforms materialized by either side of the archway.

“CLOSE THE HALL AND BAR THE DOORS!” rang Dassariot’s high tenor voice. Adonius made eye contact with D’Trik as his soldier realized he was too late. Horror struck the younger elves began broke into a sprint. More guards flooded in before the archway and one side of the doorway closed.

“No!” yelled Adonius as he saw the guards draw their swords. D’Trik’s face bobbed in the crowd, resignation calmly settling over his features. He nodded to his lord and then turned away.

“Adonius you fool! Run!” Leviathan was pulling on his arms and at his robes as Adonius watched the last of his entourage stop before the Emperor’s guard. Blades flashed and elves fell, their life’s blood spilling onto the stone floor.

And then the door slammed shut, closing Adonius off from the horrid spectacle.

Darkwell had already begun its fall.

-M.E. InkOwl

A Gathering

We alone, stand before the rising tide.

A gathering of those seeking hope.

Before a brewing storm,

We build unions of peace.

For we are of the Light,

Looking forward to a day of freedom.

Our cause is just as we begin the fight,

The only fight worth dying for,

In the name of freedom.

-M.E. InkOwl

 

 

 

Sisterhood of the Moon

Under a rising jewel,

Far removed from innocent eyes.

A glowing form departed from the sky,

To brush a hand upon the mortal realm.

With ageless limbs infinity manipulated the world,

And knowledge poured from finger tips.

To the East a group of sister’s walked,

Shedding tears for the companionship of death.

They walked upon calloused feet, bare and free,

Wandering where their hearts took them.

When they tread across an immortal’s touch,

The sister’s paused feeling a shaping.

Knowledge changed them,

Knowledge transformed them.

As the moon crossed over their heads power grew,

And from that path did they pass beyond mortal mind.

Beings of understanding did they become,

Beyond the fairness of earthly eyes.

But the darkness waited,

And in their prime the Sisterhood fell.

Knowledge was a thing to be kept,

Kindness withered to loathing.

And all that was good in their hearts, eyes, and mouth

Grew to rancor.

For the goodness could not bare the dark.

With burning brands and sharpened knives the purge began.

Goodness was cut from their teachings, their bodies, and hearts.

Living did not inspire,

And wisdom that should never had been lost, was.

Building walls of the blackest rock they lost sight of the world beyond,

Turning to their own devices, the sought to control.

And so the Sisterhood grew

-M. E. InkOwl

The Occulta

Photo by Todd McKinley

Sybil awoke to the sounds of birdsong. It was a strange sensation, almost foreign.

How long have I been surrounded by dead stone?

She opened her eyes and beheld more green than ever has been seen in her short life. A veritable sea of green stretches through the sky, with only traces of blue between reaching limbs.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, unable to keep her feelings contained. She was a child again, a feeling of wonder sinking deep into her mind. Vast trees as big around as entire citadel towers stood all around her, reaching impossible heights.

“I never . . . Not this much,” she felt herself say. Beneath her, the ground sank into a soft spongy moss. She wanted nothing more than to languish in the spot and giggle to herself. But years of learned propriety forced her to stand and take a survey of the situation.

She was alone, or so it seemed. The sounds of trickling water filled the air about her.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” she asked, knowing full well there would be no answer.

Silence.

Somewhere far off a bird took to flight, it’s wing beats almost a scream in the forest.

“Hello?” she called again. Nothing.

Call out with your mind, a sudden thought spoke to her, as if whispered in her ear.

Ask us, anything.

The sudden intrusion into her mind left her speechless, and thoughtless. Her legs faltered and she fell back upon the heap of green moss.

“Who are you?” she blurted out, and then remembered the words she’s heard.

Who are you? Sybil asked, her mind echoing as never before as if her thoughts were being listened to, are you there?

Yes, came the reply, more powerful than she could comprehend, yes we are here.

Sybil looked up at the trees once more and then it dawned on her.

The trees.

Who are you, she asked again feeling her confidence grow.

There was a pause and then the trees reverberated.

We are the Forest Occulta.

-M.E. InkOwl

The Devil’s Tooth


Photo by Todd McKinley

It’s said that when the light was divided from the dark, and land torn from the sea, the Darkness could not contain his jealousy.

In anger, he pulled away from the light with jaws of poisonous death.

The light cast him from the heavens, her scorn white hot and eternally sprung.

With mouth spread wide, the Darkness fell, an ungodly scream born from his throat.

And break he did, with shattered teeth upon the mortal realm.

But one tooth stuck fast to a mountain’s peak, never to move again.

And upon that mount darkness grew, from silver-white tooth divine.

-M.E. InkOwl

Parmara, Shield of the Sea

 

Photo by Todd McKinley

 

Between sea and land,

Upon white teeth of a winding shore.

There lays a city of ruin and growth,

Continually beings swallowed by the sea, and rising from fields of green.

It is where Chimerans reside.

Creatures of myth and strangeness beyond imagining.

Continuously caught between an Empire and it’s rebellions,

Parmara continues to shine, a hardy jewel among tumbling stone.

Shield of the Sea, it means.

For once the crumbling towers and city walls were young and strong.

On one side the sea raged, desperate to destroy the foundation of stone.

Yet as wars clashed from all sides, the city remained, forever between the sea and land.

For hundreds of years, thousands of people come and gone,

Parmarian towers still stand, shielding the land from its eternal nemesis.

Forever caught between.

-M.E. InkOwl

 

 

Secrets Upon A Stair

She stood upon her secret stair, willing the voices echoing quietly to move on.

Surely I’ll be found out, and be cast from this place forever! She thought, desperately looking for an escape.

But then the mumbling voices grew clear and she froze.

“And when it is completed, the sign shall be given from the highest tower,” growled a voice. It was harsh like a winter’s night and it chilled Sybil to her heart.

“As it must,” lisped an all too familiar voice.

“You serve your Mastre well,” the Sister Superior spoke, “even for a Sicari.”

Sybill all but fell down the stairs in shock. The Sister Superior’s voice held a note of respect for her dark companion. Sybil cocked one pointed ear to the side, her dark hair spilling down the front of her dress.

Respect? The Sisterhood despised the Sicari, she thought, placing her feet carefully as she descended the stairwell, moving toward the glowing embrasure.

Everyone knows that these two despise one another, almost as much as siblings. Sybil’s mind wandered to the propaganda and pamphlets that seemed to run rampant through the city each day. It was a bitter rivalry fought from both sides as each sect vied for the Imperial family’s attention.

My imperial family, she thought, feeling a pang of longing as she reflected upon the separation. Memories hung before her in the chilled air, willing to be reviewed, but she pushed the thoughts away. The conversation beyond had continued, shifting to one side as the pair continued to walk upon a cobblestone path.

Sybil descended a few steps more, intrigued and terrified by this unprecedented exchange. Standing tiptoe on a stair she was given a covered view of the courtyard beyond. Torches burned along stone walls outlining the trees and shrubs of a covenant garden. Two forms walked side by side, one robed in moon silk, the other wrapped in a garment of raven black.

They would bring their most despised rival into their inner sanctum? Sybil breathed out her shock. This was the Superior’s own garden, tended by her hand for over a hundred years.

What are they playing at? she thought, pressing herself against the cool stone wall. At that moment Sybil’s foot slipped and she all but lost her purchase on the wall. A few small stones skipped down the stairs, echoing into the night. She clung to the wall for dear life, kicking her feet for a second before her slippers regain purchase on the rough stone. The tower was an old one, having been the companion to many a weathering rock and stone. Viens of cracked obsidian traced their way through roughly carved blocks giving the walls a chaotic structure.

Please don’t hear me, please don’t hear, she begged as her fingers slipped over the stone. Sybil felt her garment catch and fray and the front of her slippers tear as she regained her purchase and pushed her head up over the curved lip.

Both figures had stopped short and were facing one another, their words pouring in through Sybil’s embrasure. Neither had heard the young elf or her panicked scrabbles.

“It will be done, Daughter of the Moon,” hissed the Sicari as he bowed his head and shoulders low, “your cause is a most honorable one.”

The Sister seemed to stiffen for a moment, her gaze going beyond the robed figure.

“It must be done, Sicari. But I doubt this city . . . and these people. . .will call it honorable.” she said, with what Sybil thought was regret.

“Yes, I taste it in the air, Superior. Many will turn, and in their folly greet a death most horrible,” snarled the Sicari. Mercy abandoned his words as they left hidden lips. And Sybil instinctively knew the creature was excited at the prospect of death, of innocent death.

But what are they to do? Why are they meeting like this? She thought, pushing her self into the embrasure, willing both forms to stay where they were.

“As Sister Laureece would say, ‘the wound must be cleaned, and bone set from the inside before it can properly heal,’ and we will do this Ceptor,” the Superior said, reaching a cowled hand to touch the Sicari on his shoulder, “by the blood of the Emporer we will set the bones of this Empire, Her Empire.”

“Your bidding comes from the Burning Goddess herself, Superior,” hissed Ceptor as he again bowed his head, “We do as you and She would command.”

Sybil felt rather than heard her heart pounding in her ears at these words, but she forced herself to listen.

“Rise, Sicari,” commanded the Superior, “the Emperor must die, and upon the light of the full moon. You have a fortnight.”

“Upon the rising of our Blood Moon, the Usurper will die,” promised Cetpor, his voice shaking with suppressed energies.

The Superior waved a hand across their path saying, “Now go, there is work to be done.”

And as quick as a forming stormcloud the Sicari was gone, melting into the darkness.

Sybil watched as the Superior surveyed the garden scape around her, silent as a grave. And then she began to laugh. It was high simpering tones at first, and then the laughter came as if torn from her throat and mouth. The horrible noise filled the garden, bouncing from wall to wall until Sybil’s hidden tower stairs vibrated.

The young elf lowered herself down onto the stairs, placing hands over her ears.

“No,” she whispered, rocking back against the stones,”no.”

She looked up through a vast crack in the tower wall and saw a sliver of stars where the moon should have been.

Sybil sat shaking, torn between rage and fear, the Sister Superior’s words echoing in her mind even as she listened to her laughter. Sybil could do nothing, her airway squeezed off by this terrible secret.

“Father,” she croaked, knowing there was nothing she could do.

-M.E. InkOwl

A Winding Road

I walk as one born again, beneath eves of green.

A road long traveled stretches before me, winding into the unseen.

Behind me is my home, a familiar and welcome sight.

But I walk as one transposed. The familiar sight is wrong and slightly offsetting.

My mind says, “stay, you are comfortable here.”

But my heart beats strong, “go, you must go.”

I find the path with eager feet, willing the world to show its wonders.

A green shoot am I, young and tender to the touch.

I must venture forth, from the known to divine my purpose and gain my sight.

Gods grant us mortals the gift of flight, that I may begin.

Lay upon me creation’s light.

-M.E. Inkowl

 

 

Terra Lucidum

Photo by Todd McKinley

Follow the winding shore, to the edge where naught but water laps.

Throw yourself to the four winds as they converge upon your small form.

Separate heaven and earth from life and death as you wind your way round columns of clouds.

And when you’ve reached to the stars and blackness, turn back and look upon this world.

There, floating about the sea will you find a people free,

From tyranny and hate that no longer enslaves them to stone and jewel.

This is Terra Lucidum, let her banner fly as high as the gulls. From the waters to the stars rule mortal mankind.

Lest we forget, take upon your back the clouds, the sky, the storm and the squall.

Till sea claims your form when you fall.

There you will find Terra Lucidum.

-M.E. InkOwl

December On The Ink Owl

Hello and welcome all to this month on the Ink Owl! I am excited to start a new theme for the month of December. It’s exciting and nerve-racking all at once to begin on yet another adventure for this blog, and I am excited to share it with all of you.

I will be revisiting my story of Darkwell for this month. I was able to feature a selection of fairy tales earlier this year from the Darkwell universe. If you’d like to read more about those follow the link.

It has been almost a 12-year process to get where I am with this story and I finally feel that I can share more about the world that has created itself from my mind. I hope to one day soon have a workable story that can be submitted for publishing, but for now, I’ll stick to sharing a few morsels about the creative process, some character introductions, and descriptions of the world that is home to Darkwell.

I am also excited to be featuring photographs from a very talented person in my life! I’ll wait to introduce his work with future posts. So please, snuggle in as we transition from Autumn to Winter and enter a world like you’ve never experienced before.

As always if you like a post, tell me how it made you feel and share with your friends!

Happy reading.

-M.E. Inkowl