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Stephen Wormwood

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  1. They called themselves investigators. Two men, both Royal Guardsmen, old by at least forty solstices. One had a quill, parchment, and ink. The other asked questions. Neither carried any weapons. Instead they brought a silver platter of water, wine, and buttered bread rolls. They chose a small room to host him (too cold and too close to the dungeons for Johanni’s liking), but they also provided a bear-hide cloak for him to keep warm with as their interview began. “Lord,” said the speaker. “If I may?” Johanni nodded for him to begin. “During your journey you ventured into the Fens with
  2. In ancient times, as now, the Woags burned their dead. The scholars did not agree upon the original purpose of this tradition (though their consensus was that it dated back to their days of wandering the Hyperborean Steppe), and in recent years it was more customary, as in the elvish way, for the Woaggish nobility to bury their dead in crypts or barrows. And in ancient times, as now, the Woags commemorated their dead by carving posts or ‘staves’ from the tallest ironwood bark and inscribing them with the runes of their honoured dead’s name. “Dear Ka-Uta,” uttered Johanni. “Blessings upon y
  3. Siege weapons were not native to the Woags. They were elvish imports (like many of Grünlund’s more recent technological advancements) but the knowledge of their construction was borne by the Royal Legion which was one of the many factors that made it such an effective fighting force – none of the other tribes possessed this knowledge. Until now. Groups of Thoth men loaded massive boulders into the slings and the siege engines hurtled them into the air to either crash into Snowhold’s walls or sail clean over them and smash its central tower. None of the trebuchets were within range of t
  4. The Bogeyman didn't haunt my dreams last night. Though I spent half the evening drawing him hunt through a snow-packed field, he didn't occupy my thoughts either. I got to thinking about Jamie Durkin. Thought about his brother Junior too, though I hadn't met him yet, but mostly I thought about Jamie. Every town has a bastard, I thought, Tuckettsville has him. I couldn't stand him. It was the catty fucking way he came up to Brandon in front of his friend and uncle and broke the news about Leighann. I'd only seen him the once (and I'd be more than happy if I never saw him again) but I hated
  5. Last night I dreamt of Bogeymanland; a lifeless, endless plane of barren forests and empty snowfields. Hard howling winds toss hailstones and frost hundreds of feet into the cold air where an unbroken sheet of dark grey cloud veils the sky. A river's waters lay frozen nearby, its pike and trout and sticklebacks long since suspended in time. A boy is crucified to the bony black limbs of an oak. The wolves beyond the trees, feral and hungry from too fond a familiarity with human meat, taste his scent in the air but cannot find him; his bloodless skin blends too well with the snowstorm.
  6. Johanni shivered beneath his cloak watching the snow fall from a bone white sky upon the vast grey waters of the northern sea. He stood at the prow of the Dragon’s Eye as its oarsman (and a strong, chilly wind buffeting the linen sail) propelled the ship towards a distant yet distinctive landmass upon the horizon – the Deepfjord. Behind him the others mulled about the ship preparing for what was to come. A seated Norsa Hardfang drew a whetstone across her hafting axe, Gnut the Troll stocked extra quills into his belt pouches from the supply bags, and Erik Halfspear surveyed the maps that T
  7. The guy sitting next to me, middle-aged and crown-balding, asked me what I called him. Unusually for me I wanted to answer. It's not like I wanted some long conversation or anything, but I dreamt of the Bogeyman for the first time in months last night, and to be honest, I'd been looking for an opportunity to talk about him with someone. "The Louisiana Monk," I said. I don't normally draw in public because it attracts too many curious onlookers and it telegraphed a bohemianism that wasn't really me, but ever since I was a kid I always drew what I dreamt of him. I only remembered the Bo
  8. No, you're right these chapters are huge and there's always a break between uploads. I'm going to try and trim each chapter down a bit and make more frequent updates. Thanks for the feedback!
  9. Straining not to display his discomfort in front of the others, Johanni wiggled in his leather saddle, coaxing the white mare along the beaten herepath tract with his men. Yet no matter how he tried he couldn’t find a comfortable position. The ride north had been long, but his soreness had other origins too. The boy threw a secret glance over at Erik Halfspear, enswathed from shoulder to saddlebag in his wolf’s pelt cloak to blunt out the chilly winds hissing throughout the Osserian forests. Johanni’s cheeks flushed red as he watched Erik finger wind-swept threads of his wavy, russet-coloured
  10. Thanks! I love Skyrim too, its one of my favourite games of all time.
  11. A blue mist rolled low and thick across the soup-like, moss-covered waters of the Great Marsh. The air was musty, and the stench of peat arresting, almost viscous. Johanni stuffed his nose into a bit of cloth as his white mare ferried him along. He flicked away the mosquitoes and dragonflies with his free hand. Every fifty yards a horseman encouraged the procession to keep moving; a train of more than 2500 Karggar souls (at last count), some as young as babes swaddled in their mothers’ arms as their fathers trudged through the shallow waters, sweeping away the rushes with their bronze swor
  12. Thanks everyone, really appreciate the comments! 😋
  13. Inside the Karggars’ mountain fortress there was a large hollow carved out of the cave wall and fenced by thatch. Beyond that was a tunnel, cold and dank, which led deeper into a honeycomb of interlocked caverns and cave tunnels. The old Karggar (who Johanni now knew as Olaf Greyspear) led the way to the largest of these caverns. Barred by an iron door and lit up by three roaring braziers; it was a 22-foot tall chamber turfed with sand and reed mats (pulled from the Oakmire’s bogs and woven together with thin braids of rope). It had only three walls – and a giant hole in the mountain wall wher
  14. {You know all the steps!} Thought Johanni to himself, {you can do this!} His left foot forward, Eardwulf took the high guard; his sword held aloft in a two-handed grip. That meant he could only attack or counter-attack with a downward, vertical stroke. Offensively or defensively, he had only one attack at his disposal. {And he leaves himself open that way,} thought Johanni, {which means he wants me to attack!} In response the boy took the two-handed mid-guard. Eardwulf smirked. {He’s smiling? } Johanni tensed. {He wants me to take this guard?} He was a towering figure w
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