#Smaugust Day 13: FOREST

Hey all!

I’m back this week with another 500ish words inspired by #Smaugust prompts (you can see last week’s entry: LEGEND). If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, it’s essentially a list of prompts which artists use to inspire their artwork around the dragon theme. It’s in August and Smaug is a dragon so there you go. I don’t draw at all, but decided to still participate in the art form I do perform (hack it up at): writing.

I’ve been using these posts to replace my Friday posts which are sometimes fiction I write, and sometimes other stuff. I’m guessing there will be 4 of these altogether. The list of prompts I’m using is:

I think this week, I hit the prompt a little better. I’m still trying to write text that I could us in a WIP I had shelved for years and years so I think that is making my route to the prompt a little circuitous but I’m not worried. This is supposed to be fun. Anywho, enough of me babbling, let’s get to it!

Failmor Woods

At a certain point, all of the stories and hearsay, the theories and thought experiments; all the lines and ink on parchment are nothing but a pile of animal skin. It’s not a suit of armor. It’s not a sword or a bow, or a phrase in some dead language that will push forth the light when it seems that all is dark.  

It’s a hope and a dream and perhaps even the thing that you’re most proud of in the whole kingdom of Crotania, but it isn’t what you set out to do. It isn’t a Full Stack.

Not yet.

Not until you actually build it.

As much as I would like to take credit for the method of our madness, the initial strategy came from Galleed. My employer is the type of person whose entire ideology centers around fucking up fast and often and managing to survive even the dumbest maneuvers by having an excess of time, money, and all the entitled confidence that those things can buy. It wasn’t until the end of all this that I realized that he was rich in two other resources as well:

Bravery and Kindness.

Despite that I had considered him to have more moxie than sense, even Galleed knew that we only had one chance to slay our dragon and that if we failed, no amount of money nor any brilliant procedure from the king’s physicians would get us back together again. We needed to be sure that we could do the things we imagined we could. We needed a proving ground.

So Galleed suggested we test the suit’s different functions – individually and together – before we spent any of his hard-earned allowance singing magic into meteor iron. He suggested we build the pieces fast and cheap so that we’d know the flaws in our system before we found ourselves wedged inside the dragon’s maw. He suggested we hunt smaller prey until the only foe left unchallenged was our nemesis itself. He suggested Failmor Woods.

Failmor was no stranger to men and women looking to make a name or fortune or both. It knew intimately the weaknesses of humanity’s frail existence, and it was said to have an evil for every infirmity.

We knew even the bravest man would stop dead in his tracks, quivering in fear from little more than a drowsy glance from our dragon’s sleepy gaze. We had our defense well in hand, but why take the risk? The statued ruins of the ancient Gorgusa, hidden among the swimming tupelo of eastern Failmor were said to be inhabited by a race of dragonkin which sinks its prey below the depths the instant its quarry comes beneath their gaze.

Should our defense fail, it’s a touch easier to survive drowning than instant death.

Galleed assured me he’s an excellent swimmer, even under the most terrifying circumstances, but still I rigged bladders of air to his cuirass which – though a trace uncomfortable – would keep him afloat no matter the state of his courage.   

Now our dragon’s fiery breath was another matter altogether, one for which we hoped Failmor might provide us a solution instead of another test for our ingenuity . . .

Hey again, I hope you enjoyed Failmor Woods. If you’re at all interested in reading more of my writing, or what goes into these stories, I’ve started a newsletter (which is hopefully released quarterly) so people can get a more “behind the scenes” look of what I’m doing and what’s going on in my world. Please consider subscribing. Just for signing up, I’ll email you the first story I ever wrote, about a Warlock Doctor. Fun times. Thanks again!

See you next time!

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