I’m going to give up soon but the ideas and as I get closer to the original start things are coming together and what you get up to is your business.
“Damn Politicians. We have the ability to blast these traitors on Dwarvia—”
“What would be the point, Stefen? It would take forty to a hundred and twenty years to get there and how would we prove they’d destroyed us and we don’t have the men to attack Dwarvia.
“—We’re fighters not politicians. We might as well sleep and make our own world to Destraight – we’ll just sleep a little longer. It won’t take much to clear it out and we have enough prisoners to start planet life as we decide. At least this time, we have brought women with us to make sure this world breeds good, healthy, dwarfs who will produce good, healthy, children and we will build our own empire.”
“We just destroy everyone else?”
“Then we might as well sleep, Marcel.”
The Admirals returned to their own ships and sleep. The crews put the ships on automatic and settled themselves down. They would either arrive or not and no-one monitored anything as they slept on a journey set for an unknown planet with no arrival time.
On Destraight, Martan Matira slowly built his new castle in Toshon with the rocks to the south of his castle and a town to the north. His new castle was fairly elaborate although it could improve with a good manager but unlike the computer glitched builds from the first planet landing, it possessed more than one habitable floor and its castle walls seemed to go on for ever in every direction.
Martan’s castle now nestled with the rocks stretching from the south-west to the south-east for as far as the eye could but with the salt lake, there was only a single person path to Matira and the east side of what was now known as Toshonia. Two people could use the path but only if they were very close friends. One was rocks you could climb over, the other side a salt lake you could paddle. The only route left in reality was the other end of the salt lake by David Jamesson’s castle.
David Jamesson had called his territory Ascania whilst James Droga spent most of his time trying to hang onto his undefinable properties to the north-east and the only names he thought of are those usually paraphrased using the 2nd level of the keyboard.
Between the three Admirals and the prisoners there seemed to be a quorum. The reconciliation board, when it met, comprised the three Trons who represented the prisoners, and the three Admirals with six Minuets taking notes for both sides.
Tron leaders also acted as telepathic links between the Admirals which frightened them to a degree as the Trons didn’t edit the true thoughts of the Admirals before they past them on but it worked. Honesty, when all the subtle games you thought to play are made public and documented by the Minuets as everyone laughs and you don’t like to be laughed at.
Life moved on, and people – a generic term on Destraight – built their own kinds of life and worked to build their own dreams.
In space there were five ships that might interfere with those thoughts! Or then again, might never arrive to interfere.
Everyone who dominates, thinks some-one or something else will pay for their amusement … they usually become blind as they play with things – often children and then they store funds and in their blanked off minds, market them … perhaps they don’t think any more of the world … ignore the warnings until even the Politicians learn and act for their own renal ends … the world was never that bad; the fools thought it was; or did they; did they just watch the snow moving down from the mountain and enjoy the view as it moves towards them?
Revenge is often a dish that changes so much but it still festers; distorts, and is disjointed as it moves through emotion, vision and belief until it even becomes religion in its festering state and Gods fester on belief, but everyone doesn’t need a prayer or are trained from childhood that a world will fail if they don’t believe in Gods or Goddesses and on Destraight there is no belief in Religion and these Armada Class prison ships were as silent as the grave.
They slowly moved on with the engines failing by the day and it looked as if four hundred years for the journey was optimistic but everything and everyone was shutdown to save energy. The shields were still at full force but it seemed only a matter of time before they began to fracture but with everyone in stasis and everything reduced to a minimum, the power might last out or they would never know if it didn’t!
On Destraight life was fairly simple. The town around the Lodge was booming. The planted some kind of wheat, trees and had herds of animals held in pens whilst the united to force wolf like animals from the land and they were helped by the Wolfen, who were three times the size and communicated with the Tron leaders who everyone accepted. The Trons also communicated with the Admirals via other Trons and ensured issues were discussed and solved.
After its initial failures the land was finally developing. Mines were being opened up and quartz, iron and minerals were being hewn.
Destraight, however, wasn’t that careful and a lot of mines and deep holes were being left as they dug holes and left them. There was ore running into water supplies and contaminating them, and some of the mines were dug too deeply and poorly supported with them collapsing leaving miners buried underground and a meeting in the main plaza was being held as I write.
It wasn’t only the Lodge that was two hundred foot high; various element to the west and south were two hundred foot high. The town itself was a semi-circle around the Lodge which was its centre but like all of the computer builds from the first landing – odd.
There were streets, a court, some other buildings that range from a hundred foot to thirty foot in height. It had evolved as its people evolved and like them, seemed a mess but it helped as they led real and not fictitious lives. Some of them were strange and no-one asked the wooden Trons about their young or the Minuets – they both essentially lived in the forests and were only seen at meetings – and being telepaths often didn’t need to be anywhere but both were fundamental to the working of Destraight and were tolerated and trusted, even though they didn’t mix but life moved on, on Destraight and it did this for nearly five hundred years until once, they its people saw five red objects appearing in the sky and headed to their bunkers.
After the loss of life when the first rocks appeared in the sky the people of Destraight had, almost as a religion, created and buried supplies of water and food. This was changed regularly and used as animal feed. The safety buildings were designed to be watertight and could take, in theory, the earth moving, with emergency tunnels and exits leading from them.
The aim was to allow enough people to survive. The Trons being wood, would float, and the Minuets and Rocs could fly but the Rocs and Rock Trolls had taken refuge in the high mountains and should be safe against anything.
The biggest danger was to the Wolfen. No matter how people adjusted, they had never adjusted to the Wolfen who were now virtually driven to extinction although people claimed to have seen them at times. The Wolfen for their part, could also claim to have seen people at times but they kept to themselves and the old ways and they knew how to hide, often calling themselves ‘the Old Folk’. They tended to only speak to the Rocs, Trons and Minuets so it wasn’t that surprising that they seemed to decrease in numbers.
Possibly the same could said for the Armada slowly approaching Destraight but if anything was knocked off the ships in their space travel, no-one was awake to know and the Admirals had made sure there were no telepaths amongst the prisoners, although the prisoners did not contradict this assumption.
Life just slowly moved on as Destraight worked; there were problems but when everyone is told what the leaders are really thinking it embarrasses everyone.
Finally five red ships arrived in the sky and scout ships descended.
The Admirals stayed in the skies and the scout ships mapped the territories and reported to the five Admirals who sat in a conference which like a lot of meetings where the same person takes the notes moves in one direction – as domination by the Admirals – the Admirals weren’t even interested in Government bullying via a democracy; they would build their empires and dominate them, as they had, dominated so many planets. Control would be absolute and they would rule and in between arguing with each other there was only topic on the table and that was where to put the Clean Bombs.
They didn’t want their planet messed up; just everyone cleaned out but as with every plan it always fine in theory, however the prisoners weren’t in their correct positions and that made the Admirals uneasy. There was water where land should have been and a dispersed population which interfered with their ideas of clean bombs and a clean slate.
It had taken a while for them to decide to use a clean bomb; most of the Admirals favoured dirty weapons and coming back at some point when they had destroyed a planet but there was no coming back to this planet and they had agreed to change the texture of the bomb casings.
This way, when the thermonuclear explosives are detonated, the power would not be contained within the warhead but move ahead of the warhead and explosive force thus reducing the main force but putting the radiation ahead of the bomb while weakening it so the radiation killed people but left the buildings standing and the Admirals loved this idea as they could immediately move in and so it wasn’t Scout Ships that were scouting Destraight but attack ships seeking the targets.
The people of Destraight watched as the ships circled above them and most immediately panicked and run for the bolt holes – the politicians ran for their castles and the bombs reigned on the castles; the prisoner drop points and because at least one Admiral could not resist destroying, lethal bombs also rained as he turn the air and land into something no-one could endure … his name was Percival de Bowed – a name now remembered.
The various races had already moved as much as the could but the Trons above ground were burnt alive and so were the Minuets. The Rocs and Rock Trolls had protection but the bombs of the other Admirals penetrated and killed whilst Percival de Bowed’s bombs destroyed the land and the races.
Those who’d managed to get deep enough survived by instinct but a land and its people were being killed for glory and possession.
Four of the Admiral’s bombs were targeted at the Castles to kill everyone in them but Percival de Bowed’s bombs seemed to be random. One was between his and James Droga’s castle with a second and third to the north-east of his castle and ten to twenty miles away. He had in fact cut himself and the Droga castle off from everything but a route to the east.
A fourth bomb exploded near the prisoners camp some ten miles from Toshon castle and the final bomb landed some ten miles from the Lodge. The Admirals had not known of the move to Toshon but by accident Percival de Bowed had nearly destroyed it whilst Matira, deserted in the floods some four hundred years before had been cleaned bombed. The computer built castles had protection build into the structure and would survive but a dirty bomb had already taken out one prisoners camp, whilst another hit the area around the Lodge.
The power of the Attack and Scout ships however, was a drain on the Admiral’s space support systems and as power now dropped to various low levels tubes automatically appeared onto the planet without waiting and prisoners and associates were dropped in, in more ways than one, before the Admirals realised.
Where the clean bombs had gone the old prisoner camps still existed – kept almost as monuments – but where de Bowed’s dirty bombs had gone there were now large radioactive holes.
The four Admirals faced disaster as their power ran out and they were running for the tubes with protective suits on and down to the polluted planet as all the ships started loosing power but one Admiral also had nuclear protection and a very limited lifespan if the other Admirals found him and Percival de Bowed was already at a castle to the north-west.
The new prisoners and associates were dumped at the site near Toshon; the one near Ascan and near the Lodge. The Toshon site some miles from a Percival de Bowed dirty bomb but the sites near castle Jamesson, and between the Lodge and Matira were clear.
Once the prisoners near Toshon had been wiped out – four hundred years by the sea sweeping in and now by a dirty bomb but already the waters were sweeping into the hole left by the bomb and debris, bodies and radiation were floated together. Toshon once again was a seaside castle to the west.
I suppose, if you were alive, life became interesting. Dwarfs normally live very long lives and now Marcel Droga was meeting an old James Droga; Stefen Matira was in Matira whilst Martan Matira was in Toshon and Peter Jamesson was meeting David Jamesson. No-one was meeting Percival de Bowed however that was by his choice and although Angus du Storme’s castle was shielded by mountains, his castle had been bracketed by two of Percival’s dirty bombs.
When the Admirals thought about it looked fairly obvious that Percival’s main target for his bombs had been to destroy the Droga and Du Storme castles; leaving his own as the castle in the north-west. Percival’s dinner invitations had now reached zero and the only punch served would come from a fist.
One other result of Percival de Bowed’s actions was the bomb by the Lodge also destroyed the sea defences and while the water sweeping in hadn’t touched the Lodge it had cut off the north-east and north-west sections of Destraight. Matira for example was now cut off, apart a narrow causeway to the west. The prisoners in the camp were now literally prisoners with no-where they could go and that was nearly forty thousand people. They couldn’t touch the fish as they were radioactive and whilst the explosion site was now under the sea, and they were forty miles from the site but now only eight miles away from the water, they were as their predecessors had been, manacled and unable to move at speed, or with any precision.
The sadness was that most of the Trons had nowhere to escape from as the forests burnt, nor the Minuets. The Rocs in the mountains near Toshon were shielded but elsewhere the people in the towns near the castles were obliterated. The castles had protection designed from the beginning but outside the towns remained intact, the people died and so did the food, the animals and those who hadn’t bolt holes and didn’t bolt were the Admiral’s main dish. No-one had ever told them the clean bombs would kill everything not protected. Dirty bombs normally kill by immediate blast and then by radiation, either directly or carried on the wind that the bomb creates. The castles survived but everything either died immediately or slowly, afterwards – there was no clean solution. The sea swept at various places and once again the country was cut as if it was strategic bombing and several bombs did in fact miss their targets completely.
Over the next twenty four hours all bomb sites near the coast were flooded.
A new map of Destraight would show Percival de Bowed’s castle surrounded by water with the nearest land some ten miles to the east. Droga and Du Storme’s castles had just escaped but De Bowed’s castle was not even on land any more and the prisoner’s camp outside Toshon was also under water however a De Bowed dirty bomb had killed them before the waters flowed in.
The major issue for now seemed to be James Droga and Marcel Droga and the dirty bombs with Argus du Storme also wanted revenge. Percival de Bowed might not think he was lucky stuck in sea but the other Admirals wished to stick him somewhere else.
Stefen and Martan Matira still didn’t know the other existed and Stefen was locked away in the south-east of the country in an abandoned castle with only one habitable floor and that had been created four hundred years ago. The Admirals were not achieving their goals and already the keys were passing amongst the prisoners – freeing them up from the manacles as the Rocs managed to communicate and left the keys from the previous Admirals.
One of the untoward effects of the bombs was to move land as well as water some places were now a lot further away from each other than they had been and bordering on the sea.
Once the Admirals felt they had settled in, the politics started as James Droga and his small guard were overwhelmed; the same for David Jamesson, leaving Droga castle with Marcel Droga and Ascan castle with Peter Jamesson as leaders.
Two Dwarfs – as they say – are an argument but both Marcel and Peter chose to up the ante – making it a war – without the Trons and Minuets telepathy there wasn’t any sharing of the true thoughts of the Admirals … yes, some of the Trons and Minuets – with their telepathy – had survived in the north-east and were now being hunted and killed by Stefen Matira, when he could find them but the Minuets could fly and the Trons – being wood – could float so some of the old races were finding refuge although one of Percival’s dirty bombs had landed some twenty miles from the Lodge which is where most were heading. The Lodge had refuges and bolt-holes and then the sea swept in – yet again – diluting the radiation and the floods protected the survivors in various ways.
The Wolfen had their own survival skills and telepathy and new prisoners were being released to confuse the issues even more as the old races worked to confuse the Admirals.
Yes, the Admiral’s plans … like themselves … were ill-thought out, and relied on domination, force and destruction and now the survivors were plotting their destruction.
The world now invaded by the seas after the Admiral’s bombs had rained down was defined only by the rising and falling land-masses; forty thousand people dead for the Admiral’s egos; food stocks wiped out, and two compassionate leaders wiped out by their relatives in the Dwarf fashion.
Yet another Dwarven driven Admiral excursion was destroying another planet and those driven underground – who called themselves the People – now started to build their own world again but underground and over the four hundred years they built and took their revenge with constant wars with the Admirals.
The People, in their own words and thoughts started in Toshon. The Lodge was now an island called Dagril. They’d built underneath to De Bowed castle as they built underneath others for their first revenge but when they saw what it had become they left it alone; then there was Ascan, Matira and eventually they had completed an underground route covering every major area, especially including the Admiral’s castles, even Toshon after Martan Matira was poisoned. They had Rock Trolls, Slurms and a People who hated and sought revenge.
Stefen Matira took over both castles and favoured Toshon but he didn’t move far from the castle walls which kept increasing in size, unless in force. That Toshon had been owned by a relative made it almost a gaudy trinket worth more than his own.
The bombs had changed Destraight to what the Admirals now called Astoria.
To the People it would always be Destraight.
Rafus Matira made sure his eyes were grey and his height was five foot four – it wasn’t difficult. All babies in the Matira Clan were operated on at birth to ensure they met the Matira definition. Those who failed; usually failed terminally but some were dumped into boxes for the rubbish to dispose of, and in Rafus’ case his mother hid the modifications until the scars healed but the stigma stayed and he was never a ‘true Matira’. Sometimes he dreamed of being a Matira … sometimes he dreamed of being free … sometimes he dreamed of escape; mostly he dreamed of a female dwarf and from his liaison and what he thought was his magic was born a dwarf that he did not let Griselda know of, and it was difficult as Griselda, who Rafus felt should never have been woken up, took over.
Stefen was Ruler enough but he only killed for personal gain; Griselda killed for pleasure; as she killed more but the town grew again and people just ignored the bodies – posterity has its price, as long as it isn’t yours.
In Griselda’s case, it was everyone else’s price.
No-one was allowed to live with Griselda’s mark and you wore a clove of garlic as a ‘G-man’ but usually in a bag; in Rafus’ case, he wore the bag low.