Sunday, May 28, 2017

1d20 Memories of Old Wars

El milagro de Empel, by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau
  1. Immaculate legions of red and white arranged in the grass. Shield lines, snapping banners and sun-glint spears opposite the teeming hordes of deathless wildmen.
  2. Rotten boots on the muddy gray edge of a river vomiting forth the damned. Shapes in the mist, just out of reach.
  3. Swords plunged into the earth and left to rust. Kings hung from their castle walls. Men, brothers all, marching home.
  4. Flooded tunnels and lightless catacombs, chamber to chamber. Stone pressing down from above, bones stabbing up from below, darkness swallowing up men and spitting back their echoes.
  5. Armies shambling out of timeBefore one has been defeated, another appears. Choking red dust. Maps pinned to shantytown walls, evacuation routes drawn in blue.
  6. Stained glass skyships above pink sandstone towers, tendrils plucking men from the streets. The Whores’ Army, the Cloud-Kings, the Penny-Knives, together in once-impossible alliance.
  7. Mangrove swamps choked in red flowers. Men drowning on the air. Toothless mercenaries
  8. Glaciers like blue tongues, mountains like broken gray gums, sunlight like all the terrible teeth. It is too cold. There is too little food. There are too many mouths.
  9. A fox tearing out a man’s throat, squirrels dropping stone blades from their branches, porcupines breaking the front lines. Rats with blood-bead eyes and yellowed teeth. Pattering paws on the floorboards above.
  10. Fallen knights in black iron ride broken-boned steeds. The mountains bleed. The trees weep.
  11. Dead men sewn back together. Carcinogenic growth in the head heart and belly; the foot grows fewer. White eyes with crowns of fire.
  12. Amoebid war machines dot the landscape, a battlefield like a confectioner’s jellies. Rainbow bubbles embedded with bones and armor and scraps of masonry, piping their childlike songs.
  13. Prayer-soaked men breaking fast under the bleary gloom of the inner sun. A ragged column through fungal rainforest. Formless demons seep up from cracked charcoal soil.
  14. Nobles on the hillside, slaves holding sun umbrellas. Barbecue and picnic lunches. “Very good, very good!” cries the fat one.
  15. Dirt-smeared children with kettle helms and wooden swords. A pale piper with a head like a stuck pig, marching out to the Hills, the Hills, the Hills.
  16. Dripping candles, scroll dust, inkspatters. Shelves up to the heavens, rows out to the horizon. Books burning, librarians throwing themselves into the fires.
  17. Men and women aglow with power, aloft on wings of will. Balls of fire, lances of thunder, crumbling earth and lashing rain. Gunpowder saints and cutter’s tools.
  18. Bloody coral ridges above stinging saltwater, tropical waves awash with rotting fruit and garbage. Carrion gulls keening, sand-tiger sharks circling.
  19. Jackboots and goose-steps. Cellar rendezvous, bottles of alchemist's fire. Firebrands. Pamphlets. Wheels and their turning. Hope.
  20. Running through a moonless night. Men strung up among the trees. Long, long arms. Fingers with too many joints.


  1. Got goosebumps from some of those. Somehow vague (but not in a bad way) and visceral at the same time. Reminds me that I shouldn't write prose as if it was for an analytical philosophy paper (where vagueness is logical suicide and makes Bertrand Russell spin in his grave). These words capture the feeling and give just enough details for the imagination to work with.