I did not notice the fish tank in the background until much later when I was going through the photos we took that night and this was inadvertently caught in one corner. The absurdity initially did make me chuckle as I thought to myself what the fish must feel like stuck behind a glass pane and having to watch other dead fish day in and day out. Is it sad? Is it glad that no one’s killed it yet? However, the current scene in India with the back and forth strikes at the Line of control and the whole country praising war through memes on social media (So much 21st century in one sentence, amirite?), it got me thinking – We are all that fish silently watching other fish die from behind glass panes we so conveniently carry in our palms.
“Your time has finally come, my boy.” Pomeron’s mother, Eve – a woman five-and-two years old, and hunchbacked – said, reaching to put a garland around his neck. An already short women, with a hunch nonetheless, reaching the staggeringly tall Pom’s head was no small feat.
Pom bowed low to make it easy for her. She was beaming with pride. “I wish your father was here. He would’ve been so happy to see you carrying on his own work. My boy, a Hero.” she said and sobbed into her dress.
“What? I don’t wish so. I’m actually glad.” Pomeron said. (more…)
The camp had settled at Mud River, celebrating their tremendous victory. The last four days had been a cycle of drinking, singing and dancing. It was evening, and there was still no sign of stopping, even under the smoldering heat of the two suns beating upon them.
Renner himself didn’t participate, but watching others was always fun. Even John was in on it this time, he had been unsettlingly happy since the battle. His confidence had somehow blown up too. He even went out alone by himself; for hours, sometimes.
Saint was having the time of his life. No surprises there. He drank, he sang and he danced. (more…)
Marvalo’s – Camp Flame
“Well, that was an embarrassingly awful defeat!” Pam cried, back at Marvalo’s town, alone with Jane. Elder Horton was elsewhere. He had disappeared around noon after another court session with yet another incident concerning a wolf and a missing person.
It had only added to her already miserable week. The wolf infestation was concerning though. Many reports had arrived from all over the camp. Surprisingly, most of them were apparently… Friendly. Most had become obedient pets. (more…)
Mud Battle II – Meanwhile…
The Queen had inexplicably gotten well just two days before the battle. The prospect of sitting another battle out drove out the flu, she assumed.
She had regained most of her strength surprisingly quickly. Her Elder – Horton, being Elder Horton, had advised her against going out to battle so soon; and yet there she was. It was where she belonged. It was where she was alive. (more…)
It was another week and a half before the Flames finally came. The Frosts didn’t push forward as the iron-makers took their sweet time with the daggers. Only nearly half the camp were armed with them even now.
Renner was feeling himself, for the first time in forever. It was ironic that he was his most unlikely version at the time. (more…)
Mud River – Mating Day
“The tall one. No, the other one. Yes, you,” the blonde woman chose. She was the chosen best this time and got to pick first. The tall man grinned, ran forward, picked up the woman and carried her into her tent.
Mating day was upon them again. Something Ren didn’t really care for; almost dreaded. It was never easy to tell no to the women; and the look on their faces! Ren had done it anyway, time after time. He wasn’t very into the idea of the day. (more…)
Mud River – Camp Frost
“Bad dreams again?” Saint asked, standing over Ren.
“Whaa?” he replied sleepily.
The three – Renner, Saint and John – were given the watch again. They were taking turns sleeping, while the other two kept watch. Renner’s turn was just cut short abruptly.
“You were screaming, one of the wolf ones again?” Saint asked in a concerned voice. (more…)
His bony hands ached from the day’s work. It was finally time to harvest. This meant he got to get away from the other farmers he had to suffer with for some time at least.
Cricket Flame, one-and-nine years old was lean, tall and skinny. His peers pushed most of their work upon him, very much more than his nimble bones were capable of handling. He was the weakest one of their farming group, but got more work done than the rest of ’em.
He wasn’t planning on being there for long and so, put up with everything. He had ideas, ones that’s made listeners laugh in his face more than once. This one though, he wasn’t going to waste on deaf ears. He was going straight to the top. (more…)
So cold. The Queen’s teeth wouldn’t stop chattering, the rest of her was shivering. She had been taken ill just two days before the battle. She had insisted; fought to be let to lead the battle. If not to lead, at least to fight.
“With all due respect, Horton, I don’t need to be allowed to go. I am the Queen. I don’t need your permission,” she had said, standing her ground, weakly.
“Alright, let me appeal to the Queen then. Are you sure you want to go parade around your soldiers in this condition? For heaven’s sake, you are slowly getting closer to the floor as we speak!” the Elder argued. (more…)
Battle at Bennet’s
It took another four days for the camps to be ready for the battle. The sky was clear, the day – hot, and the suns – scorching. Some of the soldiers had already gotten tired and sweaty in their heavy armor.
The Frosts had the better iron-makers and thus, the better armor. Their armor had breastplates, arm plates – that left a gap near the elbow for free movement – and shoulder pads on the chainmail in addition to the barbuta, gorget for the neck and iron pads that covered the gaps. The armor was made in a convenient way to leave a visible gap in the middle – above their chest – which resembled the shapes of their respective sigils. The Frosts had a cross with icicles popping out from its outline. (more…)
Renner was running. He did that very well. The others sometimes called him runner, because of his ability and the resemblance to his original name. He was panting, out of breath. He looked back to see who he was running from. Behind him, he saw a battle going on. He’s escaped, he thought gleefully. I’ve escaped from the war! He ran as fast he could; as far as his legs could carry him. He reached the end of land, he must be far west. He looked around and the bloody battle was still visible. The land was surrounded by sea. (more…)
Camp Flame – The Queen’s Tent
It had been a long exhausting day. The Frosts were still at least six days away and all her soldiers had suddenly gone good. There wasn’t even a single little squabble that would have needed her attention or judgment.
They were a day’s walk from the nearest town. Until then, she had to keep to her tent. It was especially hard in the nights. It was an especially cold day today. Sleep didn’t come that easily on a frozen makeshift bed. She sent for Janet Flame, her bed-warmer and a friend from a very young age. She was married once, and her husband died shortly after in battle. It was custom to send the wives of the men killed in battle to the Frosts, but Pam wouldn’t let anyone take her away and fought until she had finally won. (more…)
Camp Frost – The Plains
Years and years the war had dragged on. No one knew when or why it had started. What for or for whom they’ve fought for, and are still fighting for? Nobody knew, nobody cared. Generations of men had been born into war since then and that was all they knew till they met their end. Killing as much of the opposite camp as they can was their purpose and no one seemed to have a problem with that anymore. (more…)
“T’was these two, Your Grace.”
“My Queen, I swear it. He started acting nuts, he was howling and came at Frank here,” the man said pointing at the frail boy brought with him. “Pinned him on the floor and tried to scratch his eyeballs out. I had to do it.”
Pamela considered him for a moment, could what he’s said be the truth of it, she turned to her Elder Horton, who has all the answers, for help. He only nodded his head ever so slightly, letting her know he was as clueless as her here. (more…)