Gallandric Tales: The Knight Errant

Sparks few, and the brutal clash of steel echoed through the forest. The heavily armoured knight pulled himself to his feet with movements made awkward by his insistence that he maintain a grip on a strangely shaped mace. Once upon his feet he listened carefully for the sounds of combat. He set out in the direction he thought they were in, then stopped thinking he must be heading in the wrong direction, but another direction proved just as fruitless. His steel helmet was making it difficult to locate the origin of the sounds.

After his third failed attempt at finding the right direction to move in he looked at his mace, which differed from most in that instead of a large metal weight at the end it had a dark coloured glass sphere. This was no ordinary glass sphere though, it was enchanted to detect magical energy and guide the beholder of the mace to the source. The knight examined the mace and realised it was indicating through blue sparks emitting from the sphere that someone or something magical was nearby.

The knight instantly surmised that the magic was most likely in the same direction as the sounds of combat and hurried off in the direction indicated. Despite being so heavily armoured in steel plate the knight was able to move at a remarkable pace on foot. This was because he was no ordinary knight, nor was he an ordinary man. Barry Smith had been born with a remarkable atunement to an elemental power known in Gallandria as Ether. Where the ether came from and how it worked was beyond the comprehension of any sages Barry had spoken too. It was just one of four known elements and it was often considered the least impressive.

Continue reading “Gallandric Tales: The Knight Errant”

Journal: Having a Cold in the age of Corona

I went back to work last week and straight into full time. It was quite a shock to my system as I had gotten used to sleeping in and staying up late. I had also gotten used to exercising limited to my apartment. By the weekend I felt run down enough appreciate that full time work does require a degree of physical conditioning before it’s routine. Unfortunately, I am now back home lying on my couch grumpy with what is most likely just an ordinary cold: aches, sore throat, lethargy, and slight fever.

I hope.

Journal: Life in the Age of Pestilence

I can’t believe it is May already, and I am only now sitting down to write about what has turned into one of the most historic years in global history. Considering how significant these events are, I should write something down for posterity’s sake so that those who live in another part of the great cycle of civilisation and get some insight into the fall that happens when a civilisation becomes too prideful. Like most people on the planet, I have spent the last 6 weeks indoors hiding from the visible death machine known as the CCP coronavirus by those who believe in freedom, as Covid-19 by those who believe in statism and communism, and simply as “the coronavirus” by those who don’t think deeply about politics. However, I live in Australia, and Australia is coming out of lockdown sooner that 98% of countries in the world, and with a lot more optimism that we can go back to living our lives as “normal” again. However, I don’t share this optimism. We got into this situation by being too optimistic, I don’t think more optimism is the solution. But I will no doubt get to that topic later on. For now I need to lay some of the groundwork for the story so far. Continue reading “Journal: Life in the Age of Pestilence”

The Enchanted Singing Stone

Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a little girl called Rachel. Rachel was out walking by herself in the woods when she heard someone singing. The songs were so joyful and beautiful her ears drank them down and begged her to seek out this delicious singer in the wood. She crept up to a small clearing and peeked through the undergrowth expecting to see a woman singing. However, the clearing was empty, empty but for the biggest fairy toadstool she had ever seen. At first she thought the toadstool was singing, but as she looked more carefully she noticed a stone perched right at the apex of the toadstool.

Rachel watched and listened to the song until at last she could not contain her curiosity anymore, she stepped out from the undergrowth and asked politely who was the one singing such beautiful songs?

But at once there was silence in the grove. Rachel was undeterred and walked up to the stone perched on top of the toadstool. She gazed down upon the stone, which looked so common to her eye, and considered if indeed the wonderful singing came from such a humble stone? Continue reading “The Enchanted Singing Stone”

Writer’s Diary: Anxiety Based Decisions

Anxiety and I are on first name basis. See, I have trouble sleeping, or I used to until I discovered that working lots of hours helps me sleep. So last year I started working 50+ hours a week every week, often working on Sundays too. The result was that I was earning a lot more money, falling to sleep far easier than I had ever been before, and just being productive. However, the anxiety hasn’t gone away as much as I hoped it would. Instead, I’ve been anxious in new ways. Ways I’m only just wrapping me head around now that I can understand how they’ve been altering my thought process. Another problem with working so many hours is that I often feel run down, and writing is an intense intellectual task. It might not put much pressure on the limbs, but the brain consumes a lot of energy writing and the level and quality of prose I’ve been producing has suffered with my increased working hours. So something in my life needs to change. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Anxiety Based Decisions”

Bella and the Tower of Bones

In a far off land there stood a great tower constructed of mostly animal bones. Certainly not the bones of the animals commonly found in our world, the bones used to build this tower were the size of dinosaur bones. The tower had five pentagonal platforms each on top of the other, and each supported by five pillars. The first four platforms were essentially the same as each other, each had a broad ladder running up to the next platform; with the exception of the fourth platform. The ladder for this platform was lying flat across the decking, both its ends protruding over the edges. Without the ladder in place it was a four metre drop from the fifth platform to the fourth platform below. Thus no one could get up to the fifth platform, and more importantly, no one inside the fifth and final level of the tower could get out without risking a deadly injury.

The fifth platform wasn’t a simple flat deck of ribbed bones like the others, but a room with five walls insulated with mud tightly packed between the ribbing. The room protruded out from the central axis giving the tower the shape of a lollipop. Indeed during the daytime the tower might have looked a little like a lollipop perched atop a crag in the middle of the stony desert, but only to a keen observer because thanks to the yellowing of the old bones the tower merged almost completely into the surrounding landscape and sandy coloured sky. At night time the desert was particularly dark because this world lacked a moon like our own. The tower was hidden in plain sight, the perfect place to keep prisoner a fourteen year old girl. Continue reading “Bella and the Tower of Bones”

Happy New Year, 2019

Well that’s another year finished, time to move onto a new one. I have been working on my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 and my focus this year is on simple small changes that I can do each day. Things like, “update my budget each day”, “clean something up each day”, to “work on my podcast each day”. They’re small things that if done daily will snowball into significant improvements for me overall. I think this is a better strategy than having big plans that require weeks or even months of consistent attention to get done. Sure, I will be working towards goals like that still; but one day at a time.

2018 wasn’t a great year for me. I had two major relationship breakdowns and while they’re both behind me now, it’s a bit hard sometimes not to feel a bit cynical. Especially about members of the opposite sex who appear chameleon like: matching your values and beliefs one day, then a few months later espousing a completely different set of values and beliefs. Thank goodness for IT and screenshots so I can look back and verify that these people are contradicting themselves. Ever experienced that confusion when someone you trust keeps telling you you’re the crazy one? The confusion doesn’t go away until you check the facts and stop trusting them alas. But it’s an interesting phenomenon I wouldn’t mind working into my novels: how some people can have personalities like water; they take the shape of the people they’re surrounded by. Continue reading “Happy New Year, 2019”

Shattered Space – Part 3

This morning I was sitting in my private transporter, one of the few places where I felt was sufficiently private for me to write my thoughts down in preparation for this week’s meeting. I have long gotten past the frustration of having to constantly fret about what I say in a private conversation even though I am a top level government official in the Earth Union Worker’s Republic. Nowadays it’s just a fact of life. The shadow state is always watching me. They need me; they lack my talent for organisation and strategic planning. They hate me for it. They would have killed me if any of them could do the work I can do. That’s what life is like for everyone on Earth. We are born with a death sentence temporarily suspended so long as we’re useful to the state.

I am a minister in the government, an Alpha double plus class citizen, but I’m no less a slave than the lowest delta class scraping a sewer pipe clean. We’re all slaves in a system of total centralisation of power to one man, and that one man himself is a slave to his vices. However, if you turn on the Global News Network you would think the chairman of the party was God’s own son come to lead humanity to the chosen land. An old Earth philosopher once wrote that a prince can rule through love or fear. But the chairman wants everyone to fear and love him in equal measure. As I look back over my career in politics I have unwittingly been serving his interests. All I wanted to do was to reduce the poverty and homelessness on Earth as much as was humanly possible, but what did they used to say in old times? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 3”

Shattered Space – Part 2

Designer Gede Eugen’s Journal

This planet is cold. It doesn’t matter how high I turn my thermal suit up, the cold still gets through. It winds its way through my bones into the marrow. I have been squatting in this cave for weeks now. I ran out of ration packs two days ago and now I rely to the potage the locals offer me. It tastes like boiled snot but I suppose it’s better than going hungry. A shuttle did drop by a few days ago and the crew were obviously bounty hunters so I kept my distance. They walked off with Lucy though. Which means sooner or later they’re going to come back. I just hope my aristocratic pen pal arrives sooner to pick me up. He said he had a lot of wealth and his personal space ship. A beautiful ivory and gold detailed star hopper called the Audacity that he liked to brag about.

Ahhh… star hoppers. Those are neat little bugs. How I wish I had one of those beauties; a space capsule the size of an old fashioned suburban house. Capable of 80 times the speed of light. Not fast really, but efficient. Once a star ship got any bigger than that the power requirements to maintain a warp fissure increased astronomically. Not to mention the bane of all inter-stellar travellers: gravitational flux. Big ships could easily travel a 1,000 times the speed of light nowadays, but they daren’t ever enter a warp fissure within two astronomical units of a star. Good safety protocol was to only ever enter or exit a warp fissure on the outer perimeter of a star system and taxi in on sub-light engines only.

Wow. This is my first attempt at a journal and like a typical space engineer I am prattling about unimportant matters like the basic realities of space travel. It’s hard to imagine now that only five weeks ago I was thirty-seven light years away in the orbit of the moon standing comfortably in my office chewing protein biscuits instead of cowering in an ice cave on an obscure planet in the Gliese 623 System. Continue reading “Shattered Space – Part 2”