Once there was a little boy
Who read a book about Sir Troy,
But just when the innocent Bill
Good Sir Troy was about to kill,
“NO,” the boy shouted and jumped out of his seat
“To find out what happens it is too long to read.”
So he turned to the last page and opened it wide
To see a small book fairy sitting inside.
She had blue eyes and hair of red
And with her pink little mouth she said,
“Oh come now, my silly little friend.
You know you won’t enjoy it if you skip to the end.”
He closed the book softly and breathed quite hard
For seeing a fairy was really quite bizarre.
So he went to his shelf to find book two
But opened to the last page to find you know who.
“Oh, two visits. You’re so sweet!
But seriously, dude, go back to your seat.
Read your book, beginning middle end.
That’s the only way to do it, my silly little friend.”
The boy slammed the book down and ran to his phone,
Hoping that that too the fairy didn’t own,
But when he pulled up the book app, what did he find?
But the small little book fairy beaming with pride.
“Oh, my dearest silly little friend,
I tell you it’s not fun if you skip to the end.
Just sit down and read what’s next
For THAT way of reading is always the best.”
At this, the little boy got rather mad,
And what he said next made the fairy look sad.
“ You're the fairy; I’m the boy!
So let me read what happens to Troy!”
“Well, good point! So be it, young friend,
But don’t say I didn’t warn you not to skip to the end.”
And so she left him sitting there
With his phone and his book and himself in his chair.
“I guess it couldn’t hurt just to read on
After all, it’s a while before I have to mow the lawn.”
And we should all read books like him, little friend.
Start where it starts and read beginning middle end.
Written by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Click here to read Part One and here to read Part Two.
The exhausted horse stumbled up to the gates of Cliffhaven just as the first of the two moons began to rise over the huge cliff that made up half of the city’s wall. The boy nudged the girl, who had drifted off to sleep and was leaning on his shoulder. She slowly opened her eyes and sat up. “Where are we?” she asked.
“Cliffhaven,” the boy answered, nodding towards the large wooden gate before them. “We’re approaching the gate guards.”
“That wall isn’t going to hold the ice army back for more than a few seconds,” the girl mumbled, running her hand over the supplies to make sure her bow was still where she'd left it.
“I know,” the boy answered quietly, scanning the huge structure. “We’ll come up with something.”
“I sure hope so.” The girl turned and examined the forest behind them. No ice in sight. Thank the stars for that, she thought.
As the horses hooves clopped onto the wooden drawbridge, a gruff voice called “Halt!”
The boy continued to the end of the bridge and stopped. A man holding a sword and a lantern hurried out of the small gatehouse. “What's your business?”
“We bear news for the King of Cliffhaven and his army,” the boy answered. “Your lands are about to be invaded.”
The guard laughed. “Invaded you say? Why are you two children here instead of a royal courier?”
“Our entire city has been destroyed,” the boy answered. “We were the only survivors.”
“And why should I believe you?”
“Hand me your lantern,” the girl said.
The guard raised an eyebrow, but did as she asked. Realizing what she was doing, the boy handed her one of the ice arrows. A few seconds later, an inquisitive moth fluttered up to the lantern. The girl touched it with the arrow tip, and it crumbled into ice, hundreds of tiny pieces drifting to the ground.
The guard cursed and leapt backwards. “What was that?”
“That,” the girl answered, “is what is about to happen to everything and everyone in this city.”
He didn't respond, just turned and unlocked the huge gate. As he pushed it open, he called another man out of the gatehouse. “Escort them to the king immediately.”
The man nodded and hurried through the gate. The boy nudged the horse and it followed.
Cliffhaven Palace was grand, with jeweled statues and golden chandeliers lining the walls. The boy stared in awe at the grandeur as they walked down the hallways. He'd never seen anything but the outside of the palace in his hometown. He glanced over at the girl, but she didn't seem particularly interested in the finery. He added it to the list of her abnormal characteristics.
“This way,” the man said, stopping in front of a huge double-doored archway. The two guards standing on either side pushed the doors open, and the boy entered, followed closely by his companion.
At the far end of the huge room, a middle aged man with a gold crown on his head sat on a large throne. His face was neutral; he looked neither kind nor cruel. The boy frowned. Is wasn't necessarily a bad sign, but sometimes the cruelest men hid behind the plainest faces.
“Who are these children?” the king asked, his voice as uninterpretable as his face.
The man who had escorted them stepped forward. “They are—”
“We know how to speak,” the girl cut in, scowling. “We are from a small kingdom north of here, and we come with important news.”
“Which kingdom?” the king asked. “There are only seventeen in this land, and I know them all.”
“That is unimportant,” the girl answered. The boy and the king both gave her quizzical looks, but remained silent. “Your city will be invaded in approximately two days time by an army wielding weapons which turn anything they touch into ice.”
The king considered for a few seconds, and then waved his hand. “Escort them to an inn and make an inquiry as to where their parents are. I don't have time to—”
The king stopped, his eyes widening. The boy had snatched a spear from the guard, touched the tip of one of the ice arrows to it, and tossed it into the air. It exploded into ice, which then rained down onto the palace floor.
“Unless you want your entire kingdom to end up looking like this,” the boy said, pointing to the ice shards on the floor, “I suggest you pay attention.”
The king nodded slowly.
Several hours later, the boy and the girl emerged from the king’s private conference room.
“That went better than I'd expected,” the boy said. “Especially considering his first reaction.”
“There's still no way we’re going to stop them,” the girl answered.
“The fire idea might work. We still don't know how powerful the ice power actually is.”
“Whoever is commanding this army knows what he's doing. You don't make an attack this large without careful planning.” The girl kicked a stray jewel which appeared to have fallen off one of the wall displays. “We’re not going to win.”
The boy stopped and grabbed her shoulders. “Look at me.” The girl reluctantly raised her eyes to meet his. “The future is never certain. All we can do is hope. That's the only thing that ever keeps anyone going. Hope.”
The girl sighed. “Maybe. But we have to be realistic.”
Taking his hands off the girl the boy turned and began walking again. “What do you say we go visit the library?”
She shrugged and followed him.
As they continued down the hall, the boy withdrew into his own thoughts. They weren't at Stormport, but he was still determined to get the girl out of harm’s way. Maybe someone can take her down to one of the southern ports. If we fail to stop the ice army here, thousands will flee to the mainland. It's a dangerous voyage, but is better than certain death.
The trouble is she won't go. No matter how hopeless she is, she still won't leave. What can I do to change that?
After stopping to ask directions from half a dozen different people, all the while wondering why anyone was awake at such a late hour, they finally found themselves before an old stone building. The girl stepped forward and tried the handle. Unlocked. They slowly stepped in, and saw a single lantern burning on a desk to their left.
“Welcome,” said a soft voice, coming from the direction of the light. The two made their way towards it. “What can I do for you?”
As they came into the lantern’s circle of light, the man who had been speaking picked it up. It lit his face, revealing wrinkles and a long gray beard.
“We’re looking for books on… supernatural occurrences,” the boy answered.
“Ah,” the man said. “You're the second ones just tonight. I should add on to that section, it seems as though it's becoming quite popular.”
The boy and the girl glanced at each other. “Is the other one still here?” the girl asked.
“Yes,” the man answered. “He, however, seems to be fairly knowledgeable in the subject already. Maybe he could offer you some guidance.”
They exchanged another glance. “Lead on,” the boy said.
“Oh no,” the man answered. “I don't climb the stairs. That's what assistants are for. You'll have to find it yourself.” He lit another lamp and handed it to the boy. “Third floor, eighth row, somewhere in the middle. Watch out for the sharpteeth.”
The boy nodded and turned around. The girl followed as he started towards the back of the building. It took them a full two minutes to find the staircase, and then another three to climb to the third floor. Once they arrived, however, they had no trouble spotting the section the man had pointed them towards. A faint light flowed several rows down.
They slowly approached it, and stopped just before they turned the corner. “We need to be careful,” the boy whispered. “I'll keep the arrows handy.” They had left two with the king, but still had four.
The girl nodded, and they stepped into the light. A tall, thin man stood leaning against the shelf, a large book resting in one hand. He glanced up.
“Who are you?” he asked, his voice smooth and cunning.
No trick figuring out what he's like, the boy thought. He tightened his grip on the arrows.
The girl took a step forward. “That's not important. We're here to learn about supernatural power. We need to know how to use it.”
“Not the kind of subject I thought children were interested in,” the man answered, closing the book.
“The man downstairs told us you knew a lot,” the girl said. “Will you teach us?”
The man laughed. Not an amused laugh. A cruel, condescending laugh. He set the book down, and his face hardened. “No. You two had better run along before you stick your heads in something too big for you.”
“I guess we'll have to do it again, then,” the boy said. He removed a book from the opposite shelf and glanced at the title, which read, The Chomping of the Skonk. Doesn't look too important.
He touched the arrow to it, tossed it in the air, and ice fell. The man stood still, staring at the pile of ice. Without warning, he lunged for the arrow, his hand narrowly missing the shaft. The boy jerked it out of reach.
“Give that to me!” the man said, taking a threatening step forward.
The boy pointed the arrow at him. “Not until you teach us.”
“Done,” the man said as soon as the words left the boy’s mouth. “Eight hours of lessons, then you hand over those arrows.”
“Only two of them,” the boy answered.
The girl looked at the boy in shock. “What do you think you're doing?”
“Saving the world,” the boy answered.
“That's not how—”
“Let’s begin,” the man said, interrupting. The girl scowled as he picked up his book. This is not going to end well.
Written by Elia Tyson
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Editor's note: I've had the privilege of beta reading and editing two parts of this story so far, and it is amazing. The White Knight is a very talented author, who's strength in story telling (especially world building) is incredible, and I love reading everything he writes. That being said, this story deals primarily with such themes as darkness and depravity, and if you haven't yet read any stories from the world of Ildathore, or are looking for a lighter read, I would suggest Icestorm or Beginnings.
I dreamed of Laza last night. Who amongst us doesn’t? Since we all went singing off to war, we’d all thought of her, and wanted her to be one of ours. Her beauty, her courage, her intelligence, her excellence with the blade, who wouldn’t want her for his wife? Well, except for Beaumont with his Emily.
We had been granted our leave of the army three days ago, for a full two weeks. There was myself, Paul Farms, a youth of seventeen. The youngest of my cousins, and the last, twelve year old Brandon, called Bran. His brothers died nobly in the Battle of Tranquility’s Gap, and it clouded his young face. The news of our shore leave had brought the first smile to his face that I had seen since their death, and it had remained plastered on his face ever since.
There was Beaumont; strong, handsome, and self-confident. He was the eldest of us that remained, and the war had brought him up from being a shaggy simple farmhand to a proud warrior with a high topknot. Of all of us, it was only his easy, simple smiles that still remained. There were twins Derrick and Beric, whose spirit and courage was admirable, though their conversation left much to be desired. Smithers had been our farrier’s apprentice, the only tradesman amongst us. I’m afraid to say that his thick hands and skills at the forge had been spent less on spearheads and sharpening swords than shoeing horses. And then there was dearest Laza, our priest’s daughter. She wasn’t the best priestess, but she was perfect for me.
This was all that was left of our village’s youth, after we marched out to fight the Servants of the Seven Fingered god two years ago. Brianna was coming with us too; she had no place to go. A peasant girl who had disguised herself as a boy, she had acquitted herself with honor in the Battle of Tranquility’s Gap, as the only person to kill one of the fearsome “Black Stars,” horsemen covered in black plates of metal. As such, she was allowed to stay in the army and keep the armor of the man she slayed. Although she had been permitted to stay in the army, her presence was tolerated and not much else until she fell into our group of survivors. And Emily of course, Beaumont’s little blonde camp follower that he had insisted on bringing. It was almost sickening how much they were in love.
It was Smithers that had brought us here. His great-uncle had owned a little dugout on the beach with a well, and with the ocean nearby there would be no want of food. I looked out at the sea for the first time in my life as we rolled over the dunes, and gasped. The sun was setting, and it’s rays shown through a wave like a torch through a tent. I wondered if anything could be so calming.
“Smitty,” Beaumont clapped a thick hand onto Smithers’ back, grinning his lopsided smile. “You did good friend!”
Smithers tried to suppress a smile. “It’s no trouble. No trouble at all.”
The cart hopped over a rock. Derrick was driving, and his brother Beric was sitting next him, and he wasn’t the smoothest driver of our two tired mules. As the wheeled vehicle passed off another rock of significant size, those of us in the back were jolted hard.
“Watch your driving Derrick,” Laza belabored him. Her sharp brown eyes seemed to bore a hole in the back of Derrick’s head. “I haven’t been anywhere near as concerned with the wine as since you’ve taken the reins. If all this shatters from beneath me, I will see to it that you will not have a good night’s sleep for the duration of our stay here.”
“You’re the one who wanted to sit on it,” I pointed out.
“Don’t pretend you don’t know why Paul,” She blew one of her bangs out of her face. “We would already be out, Brianna and Beaumont would have drunk it all already.”
“Hey, it’s not easy being the strongest guy here,” Beaumont smiled at Emily and flexed an arm. She giggled, and slid closer to Beaumont.
“You may be the strongest guy here Beaumont, but you are most certainly not the strongest here,” Brianna jabbed at Beaumont’s pride and flexed her own arm after rolling back a sleeve of chain mail. She leaned over, and the heavy black plate armor she was sitting on shifted under her. Suffice to say, there was no comparison.
Bran coughed. “Ouch.”
“Hey, we all know of your valor Brianna, but I do think that I do hold the honor of being the strongest of our company,” Beaumont brought his hand to his chest. Derrick brought the cart down a small sandy path, out of the grassy dunes and onto the beach itself.
“We could arm wrestle to decide,” Brianna grinned wolfishly at her beleaguered opponent. Beaumont began to protest, but I stopped listening. Laza’s side of the cart turned, so that her back was facing the ocean, the sun seemed to be caught in her hair. The colors of her clothing glinted with a well brushed sheen. I was sure I would never see anything more beautiful.
Laza’s gaze snapped to me. “Careful boys, you’ll get sand in you mouths.” I blinked. I heard Bran’s mouth clap shut.
“The sunset is just beautiful is all,” I said poorly.
“I’m sure it is, when I’m what it’s framing,” A hair came down in front of her face. She flicked it back into place with disgust. Every bit of her must be perfect. She insists on it after all. The moment passed, and the cart continued plodding through the sands.
Smithers pointed over to a bank with a smile, his meaty finger stretched out over Bran’s head. “There’s the dugout!”
We all turned to look at it. It was a small thing from the outside. Ghostly wisps of grass grew upon the roof, and a little green door with chipping paint greeted us. The well stood by the door, and a small flowerpot filled with weeds stood by the stoop. A small chimney poked it’s head up from the sand. Derrick brought the cart to a stop in front of the door.
“Quaint,” Laza said, as Beric hopped down betwixt the mules to grab their halters. We emptied out of the wagon that had brought us so far, each of us dragging some bit of luggage. Smithers trotted up to the flowerpot, and bent over. His hands dug amongst the weeds.
“You need any help?” Bran asked, his young face inquisitive.
“Nope, I’ve got it,” Smithers produced a rusted key, his fingers now encrusted with dirt. He brought the key to the door as Beaumont, Brianna and I all pulled the army issued tents out of the cart and into the dust.
Click-Clack. The door opened. The small dugout was now ours. Smithers went on in. It was to belong to the girls I knew, so I made no move to place any of our stuff in it. Laza and Bran followed to get a better look at inside, whilst Beaumont and Brianna made a show of rolling of the well stone for Emily. Bran followed Smithers inside. “Wait for me Smitty!”
I swung my pack onto my back. The old rusting dao that was my sword clattered against the clasps of my bed roll. I needed to clean it now that there was sand around. The mail consisted of the heaviest part of my bundle, but I was glad that I wasn’t wearing it. Even with a beautiful breeze going, it was still fairly hot.
I looked up at the sun. It was around the sixth hour in the afternoon.
“We need to pitch camp soon,” Derrick said, as he came around to the back of the cart.
I nodded to him and called out, “Hey Bran! Come help me with our tent!”
“Coming Paul! Just let me help Smithers with this fishing stuff!”
“Fishing stuff?” I yelled back. “What type of fishing stuff?”
“The type that you fish with, stupid,” Laza said cheekily from the doorway. Her nose was wrinkled. “The whole place smells like brine. Thank the gods we’re not drinking THAT.”
We all laughed, a good hearty laugh, that we hadn’t had in a long time. Bran emerged from the dugout, holding a large yet crude net. He tossed it on the ground. “We’re going to have to clear all this stuff out guys. The girls are going to need a place to sleep in here.”
“I for one haven’t had a roof over my head since this whole war began," Brianna said. "I appreciate it, even if it does smell like spilt guts.”
“And you would know about spilt guts, Brianna,” I said with a smile.
She erupted in laughter. “I suppose I would, Paul. And I’ll see the color of yours before evening if you insinuate anything else.”
“Is that a challenge?” I countered, setting a stance and puffing out my chest.
“Ten pence on the ugly woman!” Beaumont called out as he grabbed Emily’s hand and dashed for the shoreline as fast as he could, letting out a wicked laugh as he ran. “Mwahahaha!”
“You’re dead to me, Beaumont!” Brianna sprinted after them, in a fit of playful rage. I laughed so hard I cried. Laza sprinted off after them, and then Bran, dropping his fishing spears. I left my pack and ran after them too, racing with Bran to catch up with Laza, whilst trying to catch my breath from laughing. Beaumont and Emily dashed into the surf, screaming with laughter, Brianna on their heels. As Laza’s hair was whipped in the wind, and once more caught the sun’s going down as she dashed into the water, I knew. It was going to be a great leave.
Written by The White Knight
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.