Consumed

Galway Ireland Menlo CastlePhoto © Bas Bruinekool via Google Photosphere



My grandfather loomed, monstrous, over his prisoners. The Driudenan came under truce. He’d wrapped them in chains, in the iron their religion prohibited.

Even at eight, I knew cruelty from strength.

The Driudenan claimed ancestral right over the forest. They’d sabotaged mines and timber operations. Now grandfather, victorious, tortured them.

Their leader spat blood. “One chance for remorse, Treebreaker.”

My grandfather stabbed her.

I fled, sobbing. Inside, shouts became screams. Green flames engulfed the castle, gutting it. By dawn, ivy smothered the skeletal walls.

Nobody’s entered the ruins since. I know Driudenan bodies dissolve into earth. The others don’t deserve burial.

Eliantr’s soft voice nudged me. “You are of age. You can reclaim your family’s lands. Rejoin your people.”

I caressed her horn knife, more valuable than anything my grandfather ever gifted.  “I am with my people.”

We returned to our forest, green against green, until the trees swallowed us.



Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw writing challenge. Big thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting this great writing prompt! Every week, Pegman takes us to a new place on Google maps, and we get to search around for whatever sights catch our fancy. This week Pegman takes us to Galway, Ireland. The image I found (above) is of Menlo Castle, which has its own tragic story. It burned down mysteriously when the owners were away, the body of their disabled daughter, who was home at the time, was never found.  I’m sure the other Pegman participants found more cheerful images — click the link above to see what they found, and read the stories those images inspired.  And as always, feel free to join in and write your own!

This story was one of those that really, really wanted to be twice as long as it is. I had to completely cut the narrator’s relationship with his mother, for instance. Just picture him turning to her during the torture scene, asking her to do something to stop it, and her sneering at him for being  “Soft and weak, just like your father was.”  Some of the cool special effects that brought down the castle had to be cut too. Originally it wasn’t a fire that gutted the castle, but weird roots that pushed through the stone floors up through the bodies of every slain Driudenan, turning them into huge spreading vines and branches that crushed and smashed and enveloped everything in the castle except the stones. But alas, that took a lot more words to described than “gutted by green flames.”

And if you noticed that the term Driudenan sounds an awful lot like Druid, well, you’re right. My interpretation has a lot more in common with the D&D class than anything resembling historical accuracy, though, so I didn’t feel right using the original word. Still, it felt right to bring my Driudenan into a story based in Ireland.



 

19 thoughts on “Consumed

    • Thanks Josh! There are certainly parts of Eneana that resemble Ireland, but there are several continents on the plane, so it has as much variety in landscape as we have here on Earth. The continent most of my stories so far take place on (Ka’astaraal), which is mostly populated by humans, stretches from dry grasslands and desert in the far north near the equator down to cold coniferous forests in the far south.

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  1. I like how the protagonist isn’t interested in reclaiming the family’s lands. They are following a different path and is strong in their decision. Now I’m interested in that one note you mentioned, “Soft and weak, just like your father was.” Did he die, did he take a different path in life? Interesting that the grandchild was left with the “cruel” grandparents…

    So the people that they joined, was it the Driudenans or another group?

    You have so many interesting hooks in this story that leave me wanting to know more. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, interesting hooks, or important story aspects that were left unclear? So many things ended up on the cutting floor with this one… My original idea is that the narrator is a young boy, living with his mother and grandfather. Grandfather is a titled noble, probably a Karna, who controls the castle and surrounding lands. The boy’s father died some time ago. His mother takes after her father: she sees it as being strong and doing what needs to be done, but the boy and his father came to see her as too much like her father: cruel and power-hungry. When the boy sees the helpless captives — who were tricked into coming in with the promise of a truce — being tortured, he can’t stand it. But his mother sneers at him: another sign of his weakness, that he will never make a good karna when his grandfather dies.

      In the incident shown in this story, his grandfather and mother are both killed, along with their fighters. I’d like to think that the avenging magic forces allowed the innocent servants (who had been forced to work for the mean karna) escape. The karna had a hard time keeping workers in the village anyway, and did so only with violent punishments for those caught trying to leave. As soon as everyone learned what happened at the castle, they were either terrified or relieved, and immediately grabbed whatever they could and ran away. The boy was assumed to be dead in the fire. Instead he wandered the forest until he was rescued by Driudenan, who raised him. He adopted their culture and religion, finding it much more to his liking than that of his mother and grandfather.

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  2. And it also feels right to place your Driudenan in the forest, with trees. And I’ll forgive your for making them the villains and killing them, after all, the Romans had done that before you.
    BTW, it works well without the additional. Sacrifices must be made in micro-fiction. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you think it works, although I fear it’s utterly failed, if you think the Driudenan are the villains instead of the victims. I thought I was being clear that the cruel grandfather had tricked them, tortured them, and then murdered them. And then they — as the good guys — avenged themselves against this evil bastard who has been destroying their sacred forest with his mining and timber operations, with one big death blow against him and his whole castle. If that didn’t come across, I shudder to imagine what you thought the moral of the story was supposed to be.

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  3. I say expand the story! Sometimes it’s necessary to break away from our ancestral ties to create something better. This was a strong piece.
    ~Cie from Team Netherworld~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cie, I’m glad you think it’s interesting enough to expand upon! That happens to me almost every week, though, that I want to write another 5,000 words (or 50,000) about the story I’ve imagined. A good sign, I figure — not that I need new ideas at this point, lol!

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    • Thank you Damyanti, that’s so wonderful to hear! I did explain a little more of the story in my response to Louis, above. Other than that, I will put the idea into my “ideas file and see if anything sprouts in the future.

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  4. I enjoyed your story very much, Joy, and thought it worked well as it was. I had to read it a couple of times, though, but I do that with most pieces of flash I read. I was fascinated by the discussion your story engendered and I particularly agree with the comment from Crispina. Sacrifices in explanation and expansion of ideas have to be sacrificed in micro-fiction and you do a great job in that. I loved the link to the Druids and the obvious environmental theme.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes indeed, having to keep to such a tight word count can inspire very creative word craft. But sometimes I end up sacrificing too much — as in this case, when Crispina interpreted my good guys as being the villains. That’s a pretty vital point to not get across!

      These folk aren’t really druids, although they started that way long, long ago when Eneana was a D&D campaign world (so even there, they’re more D&D druids than whatever real-life versions were like). They worship the earth god, and they consider ore to be his blood veins, which is why they avoid metals and gems and see them as sacrilege.

      Liked by 1 person

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