Thorns – Part 17

Looking out the window Elwin felt fearful that the old man he had just turned his back on was boring a hole in his back with his eyes. Elwin wanted to look back at him, and at the same time wanted avoid looking in his direction ever again. The train hit a bump and Elwin sneaked a surreptitious peek over his shoulder while everyone was struggling to regain their balance, but the old man was looking elsewhere as though he had already forgotten Elwin had even existed. Relieved by this Elwin looked out the window again and this time with enough presence of mind to notice something as if for the very first time: There by the entrance to the coal mine was a colossal machine.

The machine was technically a vehicle, yet it was taller than most buildings. It could have easily stood eight, nine, or even ten stories high. It towered by the side of the train yard like a gigantic sauropod made from steel and rubber. Instead of jaws it had a huge wheel with a series of buckets built into it. A large conveyor belt ran along the neck section into the body. An immense platform for caterpillar tracks supported the massive apparatus. It had been said in the old times these machines could dig through entire mountains and do the work of ten thousand men in a single hour. Whoever the ancient people were who built these great machines, the secrets of their technology were now long forgotten. No one alive could recall this machine being used. Instead it had been left to gather rust outside the train yard standing as a constant reminder that giants had once walked the Earth. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 17”

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The Monk – Part 16

(this is a direct continuation from the conversation started at the end of part 15)

“The fox in the field will run, the fox in the forest will hide, but the fox in a cage will fight,” said Suvarin repeating the Aeshiric idiom.

Kent was confused, “What do you mean?”

“I mean, for now the Tyranni see an option to beat us that is non-violent, so they will most likely take it – just as a fox will run or hide if it has those options. So long as they think they are getting somewhere in their attempts to turn the three growkons* against us they will not carry out any acts of violence. However, if those three growkons succeed in protecting themselves against the Tyranni’s rhetoric, they will escalate to violence because they can’t risk them becoming spiritual or joining the Aeshir; despite the harm that video recording might do to them.”

“I see what you’re getting at now,” Kent sighed deeply, “Since the Tyranni have been humiliated by me, and are intolerant of being humiliated even though they will happily dish it out to other people, they are unlikely to just let this go, so violence might be needed by us to get them to leave.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 16”

Thorns – Part 16

As the sun rose over the horizon of the city, thousands of Delphorian workers crept out of their district housing towers and trudged down to the train station. They trudged down the shadow clad streets in pairs; for gathering in the streets in numbers greater than two were forbidden. They all wore the same style of blue working overalls. About half of them wore clothing that was worn and tattered from excessive wear and tear, while the other half were wearing fresh clean pairs of overalls. There was however no pair of Delphorians with one person neatly attired, and the other raggedly so. It was as though Delphorian society were divided into two different sub-species. Along the roads patrolled Groods brandishing wooden maces ready to pounce on any Delphorians wandering too closely to another pair.

Normally, Elwin would travel down to the station with Erian, but this morning, Elwin was traveling alone. The Groods eyed the one lone Delphorian suspiciously, as though at any second he would join up with a pair of Delphorian commuters and commit a public offence: One that the Groods openly relished correcting by pouncing on all three or four offending Delphorians and beating them with their maces. The other Delphorians nearby detected the anomaly and the increased danger the non-conformer presented to them and consciously made an effort to maximise their distance from Elwin. Thus an invisible circle of exclusion surrounded Elwin as he made his way down to the station. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 16”