Weird little Writing Wednesday today, in that I only have one important link and then you get to sample some writing.
Link: The lovely Debbie Cowens is the featured author on Prinkipria and there’s an interview with her and everything. Nice one Deb!
What you are about to read was started in 2008 but mostly written much more recently. Here is the first chapter in an incredibly purple, Gothic, possibly Lovecraftian story. It is written by me and my workmate Rachel in turns. We have had fun breaking all the rules of ‘good’ writing and I hope you enjoy reading it, we’d love to have your feedback in the comments…
Sanguine dawn fingered the sky…
Facing West, he sighed, the wind whipped his cloak about him. His jet black hair, wet from the mist, was slick against his forehead. His faithful manservant appeared beside him, panting hard. His breath billowed out in white steamy clouds which dissipated into the misty surrounds. If the black-haired man had noticed his manservant, he showed no sign of it. He stared into the mire with intense concentration glittering in his emerald eyes. The pale morning rays gave the mist a lambent quality as it slowly began to recede.
“What do you see, sir?” panted the servant.
The black-haired man said nothing for a long minute. The servant had managed to catch his breath and was just about to enquire of his master again when the black-haired man spoke, breaking the silence with his chocolate-rich voice.
“I do not see that which I would like to see,” is all he uttered.
“Then I suggest, Master Eohlaf, we return to the hall before your father recovers from last night’s banquet.”
The black-haired man’s shoulders drooped in resignation but he did not speak. He turned swiftly on his heel and followed the fleeing mist up the hill — away from the bog.
The light of the waking sun turned the brown water into a glowing mirror and the mire bubbled slightly. There was a muffled splash as some unknown aquatic entity fleetingly touched the surface and then all lay still.
Inside the Hall of Vanern Eohlaf turned to his manservant. “Lo, I am weary,” spake he. The thane took Eohlaf’s cloak off his drooping shoulders and shook out the dampness of the morning.
“Master Eohlaf, you did wassail late into the eve,” the thane suggested. The black haired man turned, suddenly possessed of a great rage.
“That is not what I mean!” he shouted, loudly.
The diminutive thane flinched. Eohlaf sighed as he beheld his tremulous servant.
“Thane, you are not the source of my anger. I have had ominous dreams.”
The servant spent an inordinate amount of time hanging the black haired man’s cloak on a hook near the door. The hook wasn’t so near the door that the rain from outside would land on garments hung on it, but it was not so far from the door as to be an inconvenience when garments needed to be hung. The hook had been hung earlier that year by the same man who built the Hall itself.
“Tell me of your dreams, Master,” the thane said, although he had misgivings about asking. His master’s dreams, frequently ominous, were always grim.
Dark-haired Eohlaf spoke grimly, “I see a pale maiden submerged, enveloped by dark tendrils. She does not speak, because she is underwater, yet I feel that she can help me just as I can help her. She is whisked from my sight and I see the land in chaos, our mighty hall crumbling and in disrepair and then, then I see him.”
The thane shuddered, his teeth rattling against each other. He tried to hide his reaction, but the silence of the great hall gave him away. Eohlaf was expecting this reaction.
“Yes, that’s right. HIM. As ever he stands astride the mountain which I have so oft viewed from the doorway of his very hall. He laughed and his teeth were like great stones, crumbled with time. I awoke then, and was much distressed by what I had seen.”
“Bad dreams again is it?” A woman had entered the hall, unnoticed by either of the men. She was as buxom and curvaceous as a woman should be, her hair fell like clouds of red fire.
“Please do not pry into the affairs of men Brynhilde my sister!” snapped, dark, tempestuous Eohlaf.
In a private chamber off the hall, Lord Hrothelwulf shrugged himself out of his mead-induced torpor and gingerly eased his corpulent form from the couch.
Your son is nought but trouble.
The rotund Lord groaned. The voice, that hissing voice in his head was back again.
You know it to be true
The voice hissed, sibilantly. Lord Hrothelwulf shook his head and instantly regretted it. A headache thrummed into his skull. “Be quiet!” he groaned.
“What is that? Father, have you awakened?” The lovely Brynhilde lingered in the doorway, peering in at her noble father with her large, forest green eyes. “Are you well today?” She peered around, “who is it you talk to?”
The still partially inebriated noble Lord waved his daughter away dismissively, “just myself woman! Where is your brother?”
Meanwhile, distant from the affairs of these men and deep beneath the earth, a malevolent sentience crouched wreathed in darkness upon a gilt chair.
Just myself woman! Where is your brother?
Hissing words spilled from its putrid lips, “you know the only solution – is death!”
“Another drink my Lord?” a tiny voice emitted from near the gilt chair the malevolent sentience crouched upon. The fearsome being whipped his head around, fixing a tiny gelatinous imp with a fearsome glare.
“Do not interrupt me!” the terrifying morass of evil snarled.
The imp chirruped in fear and scurried away, its jelly-like body leaving a trail of sulphur on the black flagstones.
The brooding fiend briefly considered inflicting salty, painful death upon his amorphous assistant before drawing his concentration once more to his mortal pawn. He clutched the grotesquely carved arm of his chair and writhed with malicious delight as he delved deep into the mind of his weak-minded victim. His influence was almost complete.
Aloft in the world of mortal men, the noble Lord Hrothelwulf was addressing his son.
“Son,” he did intone, “you know well that I am your father.”
“I do, father,” Eohlaf said. He was uncertain as to his father’s purpose, but contained his impatience. It was hard for him to do this, being as he was, so tempestuous.
“The time has come for you to explore further our lands. In particular I wish for you to venture to the hinterlands. I feel it is unsafe for you to remain here, thus you must go forth instead.”
“Nay father!” cried Eohlaf, “Whatever danger may threaten our house, I will face it here! Who better is there to protect this household and my sister?”
Eohlaf knew not what danger his father perceived but his ominous dreams had awakened a sense of foreboding in his own soul and he knew that it concerned his home and his kin.
“His sister can defend herself!” said Brynhilde from the doorway.
Tempestuous Eohlaf and his noble father wisely ignored the words of the female member of their family. Brynhilde was used to this, and lingered on in the portal to the room they inhabited.
“Oh Eohlaf, we do require your presence for protection. Elsewhere you would be of no use should we come under attack. And yet, my heart is full of foreboding should you stay.”
“Oh father, my own heart doth overflow with foreboding,” said the son.
And so it should!
Lord Hrothelwulf visibly winced and it did not go unnoticed.
“What ails you father?” asked Eohlaf.
The Lord’s eyes darkened and he turned from his son in shame.
“It is him,” said the astute but oft ignored Brynhilde, “I have sensed his presence here for some time!”
Eohlaf whirled around, his eyes blazing with anger as he beheld his sister. Unnoticed by either of them, Their Kingly father Lord Hrothelwulf sank once more onto his sleeping furs.
“Sister, I have told you many times never to mention that name!” Thundered the tempestuous, dark haired youth. Brynhilde stood fast in the doorway.
“I know what I have sensed, my brother,” said Brynhilde, lovely in her defiance. “His eye is ever upon this house and father grows weak under His influence.”
From the midst of his sleeping furs, Lord Hrothelwulf turned to face his offspring his eyes aglow with an unearthly fire and his face unnaturally flushed. Eohlaf blanched and staggered back as Brynhilde brushed past him into the room.
“Soon, mortals, soon you will all be my undead minions!” Hrothelwulf rose from his furs with all the grace of a spastic marionette and lurched toward his children, a dagger appearing in his hand.
Brynhilde, although she had expected her father’s possession by the evil power to worsen, had not anticipated full body possession to take a hold of him completely so she was surprised and froze in place while behind her Eohlaf, unhinged with fear, struggled to gain control of his faculties but was unable to as his father advanced with the dagger brandished in his upraised hand towards the two younger people in the room and he began to cackle with a maniacal glee as the demonic entity riding within him beheld the fear and horror reflected in their eyes, which were so like his own in colour and shape.