Monday, November 30, 2015

No Quote for December

There's no quote for December.  Like in June, you have free reign to write a story inspired by any of the previous quotes. So if you missed one, want to write for one of the five that have no stories (March-August 2009), needed to finish an extended story, or just want to revisit one you liked, now's your chance!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Scourge of the Seas

“Sir, we’re running out of wood!”  Antoine, the shipwright of the Liberator, gestured to the three pieces of wood he carried under his arm.  “This is all we have left.”

Captain Erol’s eyes widened.  “All?

Antoine shrugged.  “We could always dismantle the lifeboats.” 

The captain shook his head sadly.  “No Antoine, I think we’re going to need those intact.”

“But sir, they were nailed together, too.”

Of course they were.  Everything on the ship was made with iron.  It was the only way the humans had been able to combat the fae.  Iron stopped their magic from working, which was why every free human was loaded with the stuff.  And when the humans had decided to pursue the fae across the sea to the islands, their ships had been heavily reinforced with iron, just like their strongholds back on land. 

And it had worked, too.  The fleet had launched, and pushed the fae back, until something in the water started to eat all the iron.  The Liberator had sprung a leak two days back.  Erol had thought nothing of it, sending Antoine to go and patch the leak. But then more and more leaks were discovered.  They started appearing faster than the shipwright could fix them.  And then the crew realized that the leaks were springing up in places that had been fixed already.  Whatever was causing this seemed to be eating the iron holding the ship together.

Erol closed his eyes in dismay, his hand trying to massage away the headache pounding at his temple.  “I don’t see what other choice we have.”

"What if we took the iron out?" Antoine asked thoughtfully.  He put the timbers down gently then rummaged in the pouch on his belt.  After a moment he triumphantly held up a piece of twine.  “What if we lashed them together instead?”

Erol considered, mentally calculating how long it would take.  And how long they had before the ship started sinking in earnest.  “If we did this, do you think we could get to land?”

“Sure,” the shipwright said without hesitation.  But then his features paled.  “But we wouldn’t be able to take any iron with us.”

“What?”  Erol's face reddened.  “You would have us go down in history as the ones who lost Fae Striker?  And Dragon Piercer?”

“And all the others."  Antoine's face was grim.  "The way I see it, we’ll be losing them either way.  It’s just a matter of whether or not we die, too.”

Dismayed, Erol realized Antoine was right.  Iron was the most precious resource they had, being the only thing to keep the fae at bay.  Each piece, whether tool, armor, or weapon, had its detailed history recorded.  Its owners were able to recite that history from memory.  Being the ship that was scouring the seas for the fae, Liberator was not only carrying tons of iron, but was made of its own fair share.  That made Liberator itself one of those precious pieces.  And she was going to be lost on Erol’s watch.

But they would all grieve later if they survived.  Erol turned to the shipwright.  “Alright, hurry and make us that raft.  I'll round up the crew and get them to leave every piece of iron here.  It'll buy us some time to get away from whatever this is.  Hopefully we'll be able to make it to land to warn the others."

Antoine released the breath he'd been unconsciously holding.  "Thank you, sir."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


“Sir?  What are you doing here?”

“Why isn’t it obvious, Tad (not Ted)?”  Mr. Decker perched onto a bar stool.  “I am in need of a stiff drink.”

Tad (not Ted) gestured at the puddle of water on the floor.  “But sir, shouldn’t you be somewhere dry?”

“That is entirely the problem, Tad (not Ted). I daresay I am entirely too dry.”  Mr. Decker pointed at the bottle of Macallan whiskey.  “I intend to remedy that problem presently.”

Tad (not Ted) brought a shot glass up to the bar.  “But sir, shouldn’t you be on one of the lifeboats?”

“Plenty of time for that, my boy,” Mr. Decker said, waving away Tad (not Ted)’s protest.  “Now I’ll tell you what.  I intend to engage in some record breaking drinking.  And you may watch so long as every time I set my glass down empty there is a full one ready to take its place.”

Shaking his head, Tad (not Ted) grabbed the bottle Mr. Decker was still pointing at and poured the first glass.  “Mrs. Decker may not approve of your record breaking.”

“My self-styled ‘better half’ disembarked long before this present mess.” Mr. Decker gestured at the water, which was now up to Tad (not Ted)’s ankles.  “She has decided a trip to Haiti was preferable to spending another moment in my company.”  Mr. Decker slammed the dark liquid back.  As requested, Tad (not Ted) had another glass at the ready for him. 

“Perhaps some time apart will do you both good?”

“I believe you’re wrong there, Tad (not Ted).  I daresay Mildred is going to divorce me.  She’ll go after at least half of my fortune.”

“You can’t know that, sir.”

Mr. Decker slammed back another drink.  “You haven’t known that woman as long as I have, Tad (not Ted).”  He picked up the drink that was waiting for him on the bar and slammed that back, too.  “Knowing her I’ll be lucky if she only goes after half.”

Mr. Decker slammed back the fourth drink.  “Perhaps I need to find some other way out of this mess.  One that can avoid me being financially ruined.” 

Tad (not Ted) already had the fifth shot poured.  “Well sir, what if she were caught in some unsavoury company?”

Mr. Decker snorted as he downed the shot in his hand.  “My dear Tad (not Ted), clearly you do not know my Millie.  She would never associate near anyone ‘unsavoury.’  No, the only way I could easily get her to leave is if I no longer had any money.”

Tad (not Ted) laughed, pouring a sixth shot while Mr. Decker grabbed the fifth.  “I know how to get you started with that, sir.  Just buy this sinking vessel!”

Mr. Decker paused before the drink made it up to his lips.  “Why I do believe you’re onto something Tad (not Ted).  If I could buy a few bad investments like this, maybe I can convince her I’m financially ruined!”

Tad (not Ted) frowned.  “I don’t think-”

He put the drink down hurriedly.  “Now you mustn’t tell anyone at all about this, Tad (not Ted).  It’ll be our little secret.”  He jumped to his feet, ignoring the water that was now up to his knees as he dug through his pocket for his wallet.  Throwing down some bills, he turned to leave, then turned back and downed the final shot.

“Of course not, sir.”  Grabbing the bill, Tad (not Ted) turned to stow the whiskey back into its place on the shelf.  “Mrs. Decker does seem rather clever though, sir.  Do you really think this will work?”

“Of course it will, Tad (not Ted).  I daresay, the only way she’ll be able to stop me is if she learns voodoo while she’s in Haiti!”  Mr. Decker turned and started wading once again towards the doorway.  “Now come, Tad (not Ted).  Let’s get off this boat before we sink with my fortunes.”