Tag Archives: fiction

The Long Night — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

Continue the Valkyrie: Ragnarok story. Can Faya survive the night, perched high above the city, among the spires of Bastion?

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Faya swam in a confusing dreamland, half-waking, half-sleeping. She felt incredibly tired, but it was a comfortable weariness. She was aware of pain, but it was numbed and barely real. Slowly her senses coalesced and she realised she was propped up against the hard granite of a pillar. An ash dwarf—maybe the one she had seen on the bridge below—was rifling through her bag.

“Hey, stop that you!”

“Whaaat? Is not stealing I is doing. I is looking fur summin’.” The ash dwarf held up its empty hands indignantly. “You is lost lots of blood, you is. I is ‘opin’ to mend you wiff summin’.” The small grey man was jumping up and down and gesturing wildly, as if that would somehow make him more trustworthy.

The dwarf had ripped her shirt and shawl to make bandages, and had bandaged her arm and braced her shattered leg with a plank.

“You is need ‘elp girl, if you is want walk again. Lots of people is looking fur you too. What ya is gonna do, girl?”

“I know a little of the healing arts.”

“Is ya now? I ‘ope you is, but is ‘aving a betta plan, I is.”

“Oh yes?”

“You is stay ‘ere, and I is coming back. You gotta do me one favour.”

“Oh?” Faya tried to shift, but the pain was too much.

“Ya rest an’ don’t die. You is wait long, but you is patched up. Just wait an’ keep alive ‘til I come.”

There was a shout from somewhere and the jangle of chain. Faya noticed for the first time that the dwarf was chained at the ankle, and the chain was drawing taught. Without another word the dwarf was off, scuttling across the rooftop and down a ladder.

She could see a trail of blood leading from it to where she lay, though she had no idea of how she’d gotten from there to here. More pillars hid her away from anyone who might peer over the rungs. She needed to find a safer place, but as she tried to move again the pain became unbearable. She wasn’t going anywhere.

Flight through Bastion. Image credit: Jace Afsoon
Image credit: Jace Afsoon

Faya knew she had to do all in her power to keep awake. She was weak from blood loss and pain, and the shakes of shock were starting. She checked the rest of her body for injuries, moving her good hand slowly over her body because of the pain. A fractured rib, a cut across the palm from the whip, the snapped arrow shaft in her arm. Her leg was the worst of all. It was shattered below the knee, and had become an ugly, swollen purple. The ash dwarf had cut her breeches from the ankle up to the knee. She knew there wasn’t much she could do, but raised it carefully up onto her bag.

Her mother had known a great deal of the apothecary’s arts and had spent many hours teaching Faya what she knew. Faya had become an adept apprentice. In the Court of Eight Needles, pain and suffering brought great ecstasy, but all too often a neophyte or guest would take things too far and her mother would have a new patient.

“Healing”, her mother had said “is the bright face of the two-faced moon. The Savonin are despised for their ways with poison and pain, but when it comes to healing, we are without equal. We know the body for we explore it in every way we possibly can.” To suffer and heal in an ongoing cycle of great ecstasy was one of the most sacred tenants of the Lotus Court of Eight Needles.

The Long Night
Image credit: Billy Huynh

Far above her a spire egret wheeled majestically. She’d heard of these great birds before, and now, watching them filled her with a childlike sense of wonder. She had heard they were big enough for men to ride to war on, but they wheeled far too high above for her to discern a rider.

The world of spires above the city was a beautiful one. She’d been in the deep shadows of Bastion for so long she’d forgotten what it felt like to breathe the clean air, to watch the low scudding clouds float by, or to see sunlight.

Oh, how good it would be to feel the sun again. She was a child of Savo, it was true. Her kin, at least the elven line of her mother, had spent their lives in the shadows of the great trees of the Forest, and had little love for the sun. The dwarves had taught her to love the sun, even low below the earth. Their homes were warm and bright, lit by clever devices that brought the sun’s warmth far below the mountains. She had spent days with Gawn wandering the dwarven farms above the surface too. They were great hidden terraced fields of wheat and barley that survived only because of the dwarves’ ingenuity.

It was, she guessed, mid-morning, and the sun was behind her. She sat in the obfuscating shadows and watched. And waited. Slowly the shadows crept from left to right. She could hear people far below, the general hubbub of the city, but not a soul disturbed her.

She had only a few sugar cubes, which she ate, and a small flask of her own concoction of herbs. She fought to keep these down, and kept her eyes on the sky to distract her from the nausea.

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Coercion — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

This is the second bit of fiction in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok and Valkyrie: Saga settings, and sits at the start of Valkyrie: Ragnarok. I hope you enjoy it. For the full story, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Because of adult content, the following is not recommended for readers under the age of 12.

Bors ran his rough fingers over her skin, lightly tracing every scar.
“You’re pretty, for a Get.”
“You’re pleased, master?”
“You’ll do, half breed.”
“Thank you, master.
“You’re trained?”
“Yes master, by the queens of the Lotus Courts.”
“Really, a Savonin plaything? I thought they drowned their bastards? Or were you a curiosity?” Bors asked, running his hand down her long legs.
“I don’t know, master.”
“Probably. And yet you’re here. Far from Savonin. Far from Angor.” Bors ran his hand along her arm, then grabbed her wrist, hard. He pulled her hand closer, until it was between their faces. “A plain decoration,” he said, indicating the burnished orange bangle on her wrist. “But not Savonin, or Angorian. Not from Avernos either, at least not the lands the light touches. Dwarven.”
“If you say so, master.”
Bors shook her, hard, his expression dangerous. “You know it is. My spies have been watching you. You wear your hair loose to hide it, but you’re a half breed Get, plain enough. The child of a human slave and her elvish slave master, a child of a Savonin heathen lust ritual, more likely than not. Yet, you’re alive and far from the lands that spawned you. You’re an interesting one, for sure, but everyone has their story. Not easily do the miserly dwarves give up their tokens, even of copper. What’s your story, wench?”
“My story is whatever you want it to be, Master.” She said, as she tried to pull out of his iron grip.
“No games.” Bors’ demeanor changed again, and he smiled, revealing his brown, stained teeth. “A Get like you has a hard enough time as it is. Uncle Bors can help. I’ve got many brothers. Friends, really. Help us and we’ll help you. The undercity of Bastion would be a hard place for one, such as yourself, if you were found out.”
“Master can have what he paid for.”
Bors swung himself over her, pinning her to the musty sleeping pallet with his naked body. “I want answers. My silver not good enough for that?”
“Off me, or I’ll scream.” She’d dropped the coquettish act.
“Oh, your man’s been dealt with. So hard to get good help these days, hey?” Bors’ voice turned cold. “Now, tell me the truth, or you’ll end up in the Depths. Can you speak the elven tongue?”
“And Dwarven?”
“No. I know nothing of…”
Bors slammed the back of his hand through her face. “Tell me again.”
“I know it.” She said, as blood welled up inside her mouth.

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First Contact — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

This is the first story in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok and Valkyrie: Saga settings, and sits between both. I hope you enjoy it. For the full story, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

First Contact

The ground shook, rattling the shelves of tools and threatening to topple the computer screens in the small control room.

Stevens cursed and grabbed the monitors. “No, no, no. Not now.”

“What the hell was that?” Stern asked. He’d slopped hot coffee all over his white shirt.

“Probably a mine collapse. There are several major shafts running through this area.” Stevens straightened his chair and grabbed the PC’s mouse. “Diagnostics all green. Nothing in the envelope, and the seals are all good.”

“We should manually inspect the exterior. Call it ‘protocol.’”

“Right, Did you ever get to listing emergency procedures for earthquakes?”

“Haha,” Stern said, mirthlessly, “I’ll get to it. Just after I finish writing emergency protocol procedures for dealing with aliens, pixies, and hippies.” He grunted a laugh.

Suddenly the lights flickered. Both men leaned forward to peer through the perspex viewing window, into the hanger beyond.


“The Landing Pad was built for a single purpose,” Stevens said, speaking into Stern’s camera. “The saying goes: ‘build it and they will come.’ So we built it.”

Stevens stepped aside as Stern began his long pan, which took in the hanger and all of its modifications.

The Landing Pad, as they’d dubbed it, was a medium-sized airplane hanger, an old military building they’d bought and repurposed. The hanger was purposely empty except for a large square marked out in yellow and black chevron tape on the concrete floor. The square was exactly a meter from each wall, and the space it marked out was empty — the envelope.

There were four red lights, one in each corner, at eye level. All of them were off.

Besides these, the hanger was featureless, although sensors and cameras were carefully tucked away into the girders that make up the hanger’s skeleton. Heavy white plastic sheeting covered the walls and ceiling between each girder, overlapping and carefully bonded together to form an airtight seal. Behind that, the corrugated iron sheeting of the hanger had been carefully reinforced and sealed as well, to prevent anything bigger than a bug from getting in.

“This structure is a marvel of ‘can-do’ engineering.” Stevens said, “It’s a science project on a massive scale. This is what happens when men with a passion for science put their efforts and their money together. Some called us mad. Some said it was a midlife crisis, but here we are.”

Stevens stood in the centre of the envelope with his arms outstretched. “This is the world’s first monitored teleportation landing pad. It is a safe zone for machines, for vehicles, to teleport into, perhaps from a different time. We will provide a live feed and a freely accessible archive of the 24-hour video footage, of the envelope and Landing Pad via our website, which you can find in the links below.”

Stern zoomed in for the finale.

“We predict,” Stevens said, “that our first arrival will occur within moments of the project’s completion. Join us live in three weeks, on December 6th, for the launch of our live feed. Till next time, teleport safely.”

Stern cut.

That had been two weeks ago.


The four warning lights flashed, bathing the Landing Pad in red, strobing light. The two men gazed through the perspex, into a confusing conglomeration of substance which their minds, at first, failed to comprehend. Then they discerned figures, bodies in battle with dark masses that bore sharp black fangs down with savage fury, ripping the throats of the human figures in a frenzy of bloodlust. The vision dissolved into a red mist, and then nothing.

The red lights blinked twice, then went dim.

The yellow glow of the hanger’s overhead lights took their place, revealing a scene that was unchanged from moments ago, the envelope empty again.

“First contact,” Stevens mumbled, fumbling for a pen, a phone, he wasn’t sure what.

“Get on the phone Stevens.”

“To who?”

“The news. The President. Someone important, you ass.”

Stevens didn’t seem to register, and was mumbling to himself. “They’re early. The vents aren’t even closed yet. I still need to test the scrubbers. Anything could leak out.”

“Screw the scrubbers. We’ve been broadcasting, look. The feed’s live.” Stern pointed to the screen.

“We’ve been streaming for a minute. Look, it started just before the quake. You can see it on the log.”

Stern grabbed Steven’s phone and started dialling. “Crap, this is bad. Start the lockdown.”

Suddenly the earth shook. This time, tools cascaded from the racks, clanging to the floor. Draws of filing cabinets rolled open and a coffee cup smashed to the floor. The red warning lights began flashing their steady pulse and a siren began its droning wail.

Stevens took a deep breath. “Something’s coming through.”


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To Gnometopia in a Trash Can – Claustrophobia!

So hopefully you’ve had a chance to play test  Claustrophobia!, the game of suicidal garden gnomes on a journey to the Earth’s core. If you’ve been following my Twitter and DeviantArt accounts, you’ll have seen the engine that is Rising Phoenix Games is hard at work churning out more gnomic chaos. Today’s no exception. So, sit back, relax, open a cold one and enjoy…


When the Slime Hits the Fan

Claustrophobia! Slimed

Continue reading To Gnometopia in a Trash Can – Claustrophobia!