Thursday photo prompt: Chill #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a landscape wearing a light dusting of snow. From the hill, where skeletal heather and brown grasses pierce the snow, a valley spreads out below, lit by the rays of a pale sun.

After the noise of the battle earlier the silence cut like a knife. The snow was doing a good job of covering the dead and dying. From nowhere came silver rays from the sun bathing the valley in an almost gentle way.

It seemed almost impossible that only at dawn she had stood on the horizon looking toward the castle wondering what was to come. There had been no snow or cold when she had arrived. The witches still held sway over the climate around the castle. Yet as she had stood in the early morning warmth wondering about her future she had felt the temperature drop and seen the white of the Vampire winter approaching.

Realising there was no time to waste she ran to the castle altering those within to the incoming danger. Not bothering to morph from wolf to human she bounded up the stairs howling. She halted at the sight of Ewan, relieved to see he was back to his old irritating self! He confirmed this by patting her head. ***********

The men, dwarves and elves were ready, Rachel told Ewan that the warewolves were on their way. Everything was set and ready, the battle was nigh.

The snow and ice covered the ground silently, it didn’t fall from the sky it was just there. The temperature plummeted, the men’s breath frosted their beards as they saddled their horses, the dwarves drew their cloaks about them against the cruel wind, their axes glinting in the pale morning light. The elves lined the turrets their quivers full of wooden arrows tipped with silver.

The men on horses rode out across the draw bridge and lined up outside the castle in a phalanx the others formed a line infront of then with their spears and weapons raised. Not one of these brave men had ever fought vampires before. The dwarves were ready inside the gates singing and banging drums. The women, children and the old were all inside the castle praying to their gods . Alicia, Lisa and Rachel stood on the ramparts with the elves.

Then of a sudden a whispering, a screaming, a moaning carried across the valley and up the hill towards the castle. “They are here” shouted Alicia, “where” shouted the men. Too late they were upon them , bodies flew around, and were torn apart, men’s and horse’s hearts ripped out and thrown upon the ground. The vampires were invisible they picked the men off simply and cruelly. Within minutes men lay dead and dying, disemboweled, quartered some just drained of blood.. The elves fired into thin air and many arrows met their mark, revealing the evil vampires, writhing and screaming as they caught on fire then turned to dust.

Not a man was left standing not one survived the carnage. All the while the vampires fill the air with their screams and threats.

Hope stirred in her cot, she visualised the Vampire hoards and broke their veil of invisibility. The Elves took aim and fired their arrows up into the sky from where they rained down on the the enemy. The dwarves now came into their own as each vampire swooped at them they used their honed weapons to decapitate as many as they could. Sadly the dwarves took heavy losses.

Lisa and Alicia felt Hope’s power and they joined with her willing the sun to shine at its brightest and hottest. Slowly their powers joined and the warmth in the sun turned into heat. The elves could see the younger vampires crawling up the castle walls and taking advantage of the light they shot at them mercilessly. Rachel looked out to the plains where she saw that the hoards of Vampires were still massing. All was lost how could they cope how could the beat these numbers? The humans barring the women, children and old all dead, all gone. The Dwarves were valiantly holding the castle but for how much longer!

Then a miracle happened the Vampires began to feel the effects of the sun.. they began to burn, black dust from them coated the snow. Their war screams turned to wails of anguish and pain as they died.

The order from the ancients went up R

“Retreat, Retreat” and soon the sky was full of retreating and burning vampires.

After the noise of the battle earlier the silence cut like a knife. The snow was doing a good job of covering theb dust and human dead and dying. From nowhere came silver rays from the sun bathing the valley in an almost gentle way. The heat was gone and the cold had returned. The vampires had gone for now they would be back at night.

Hope stirred in Lisa’s arms as her power subsided so did her mother’s and Alicia’s. “Sleep for now Hope my darling” whispered Lisa, ” they shall not have you” The child smiled in her sleep.

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto.

Thursday photo prompt: Shimmer #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows the dark silhouette of an island in a shimmering lake, surrounded by shadowy hills. The sun is breaking out from behind the clouds in rayed splendour

Rachel stands on the shore of the lake looking across to The Island and Ewan’s castle. It dark and cold, so cold, she shivers. She is lost, her lover gone, her baby gone, her enemies almost upon her, she shivers. Then suddenly the first silver rays of dawn reach through the clouds and shimmer on the lake.

Shimmer
Silver hope spreads out like fingers
Rippling the waters of life.
The fear of the dark still lingers
Clouding our minds and causing strife
The future is outlined dark , black
For now we have the moment
The past full of all we lack.
The War is upon us in earnest
What will the dawn bring?

This is part of Sue Vincent's #writephoto

*********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

Thursday photo prompt: Light #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a woodland scene with a dusting of snow and the sun, rising as a rayed orb through the boughs of a tree.

The Light.

Many miles away from where Thraun had taken Rachel, Lisa and Alicia where traveling through the wilds. Gathering as many men, dwarves and elves as they could find to join with them in the fight against the vampires.

Lisa turned to Alicia and they spoke as one, ” Thraun has delivered Rachel, she is with her kind. ” “Yes” said Alicia, ” I hope she has more good luck than we are having.” The two witches had travelled miles and seen hardly anyone on their journey who was either fit or willing enough to join them. So far they had only found fifty men, ten of which were women and children, a score of draves but no elves. Their hope was that the elves were all together and marching to meet then as promised.

The harsh winter was taking its toll on everyone and everything. It was all the harsher for being an unholy winter not a natural one. Lisa shielded her eyes against the winter sun, shed turned to Alicia and asked, ” The news Corvus brought us about the death of Mathew, is it definitely true? ” Alicia reined her steed in and looking Lisa in the eyes replied quietly. “Yes quiet true and sadly Rachel knows the time and manor of his passing. Though as it came to her in a dream she may choose to ignore it for now.”

Lisa felt such pain for her friend Rachel who had lost so much, her lover and her child.

The witches carried on in silence. Cold and tired but not defeated. Back at the Castle Ewan was making progress, gaining strength, regaining his memory of the terrible battle. Luckily his mind was processing the information this time. He was regaining his strength ready for the next battles.

Which each dawn he greeted the stragglers that arrived through the castle gates, either by chance or by the witches guidance. All who arrived at the gates were fed and found lodgings and trained by those soldiers true and valiant who had survived that evil battle.

Rachel stood on a hill miles away looking towards the weak winter sun, as did Ewan from his castle Ramparts. They were imploring the fates for a miracle.

The two witches approached a copse where they could see men, many men. The two stoppeda looked toward the trees where the sun was shining through. Like a beacon. Afraid to admit to eachother what they saw masses of men, drawves and by far the most welcome sight, beautiful tall blonde haired blue eyed elves.

The sun glowed like an orb through the trees like hope spreading it’s light. At once the witches, Rachel Ewan and Calador the elf all communed with the light. Their souls flew up the light and travelled far above the world. There they met and felt the warmth of millions of souls past, present and future. They were all gathered up in the warmth and before they left the holy place they felt and received new strength and hope.

One by one they returned to their bodies, Rachel last as she had found the beautiful and newly whole soul of Mathew there.

Once they were all back in their reality they were happy in the knowledge of being one. And so every group now marched toward the Castle and the stronger Ewan. The four remaining races united and ready to face the Vampires. All full of hope.

*********

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto

Lest We Forget.

They were so brave, so very young Their journey had not yet begun. Blindly they marched into the guns To a last roll call at the setting sun. They had family and loved ones They all marched off as friends They left their homes full of hope Most would not be back again.

White Poppy Floral Background Field Red

They pulled the gun carriages until they dropped

They carried messages and they got shot.

They searched out the unexploded mines

They saved lives a thousand times.

Spare a thought for the horse, pigeon, donkey dog and many more

Remember them, they all help us in times of war

Image from Pixabayhttps://pixabay.com/photos/flower-white-poppy-2684182/
Why
Argue
Both were brave
Each had their own
Principles to up
Hold. Neither less than bold.
One would carry a weapon
The other a stretcher, no gun
Both men died for their own held beliefs
They were both lost and that loss brought much grief.
———

From the beginning of time up until now and way in to the future war prevails. I believe we will never be free of war.

What we can do is remember those who have given their health or their lives for us to hopefully live better lives. I say Thank You.

We must never forget.

Thursday photo prompt: Destination #writephoto

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a path between an avenue of trees. Shadows from hidden sunlight fall across the path, but mist obscures the way forward…

Destination.

When morning took hold it was bright but very misty. Calador shivered as he watched the mist roll up to the ramparts obscuring the road ahead. Though there was sunlight is was pale and held no warmth. The trees that lined the road cast shadows across the short distance he could see.

Wrapping his cloak around him Calador felt the damp but above that he felt a dark menace that he could neither see nor pinpoint. The mist enveloped him, in it he heard the voices of thousands of Vampires, evil beyond his darkest dreams, and humans and animals screaming.

Just as this grew unbearable something touched him on the shoulder, he jumped. Swinging round dagger drawn and ready to defend himself he was shocked to see his sister, Erin.

Wide eyed she stepped back “What is it” she asked, “Are you afraid of your own shadow” she suddenly stopped speaking, hearing the voices in the mist too.

A wind suddenly threw them together, Calador dropping his dagger so as not to stab his sister. The wind dropped as suddenly as it has arisen and the two elves stood in the silence, the voices and the mist all gone.

*********

Lisa stood looking out of the castle window and watched a new day dawn over the loche, Hope, to all intent and purpose, was sleeping peacefully in a basket by the fire. The child was asleep but in her sleep she was watching over everyone.

Ewan burst in the door making Lisa turn to face him. He bowed and bade her good morning, “Has the wolf returned yet” he asked. “Not yet” Lisa replied, “But I sense she is on her way” Ewan shouted for the women who worked in the kitchen and asked for some food to be brought up as quickly as possible. This done he woke the sleeping boy by the fire and told him to stoke it up.

Lisa sighed with relief as she saw a huge wolf approaching the drawbridge. Passing through all the troops that were eating and readying themselves for the long march to meet the elves. None of the soldiers or their women approached the wolf as she loped through their mist, a few dogs fell in behind her but she saw them off with a look.

Ewan met her at the bottom of the stairs with a robe, he dropped it to the floor and shouted, ” I hope it’s your colour” as he retreated up the steps.

Rachel growled but her yellow eyes turning blue as she transformed once more to her human self, smiled. She put on the robe an electronic blue edged in gold.

Joining the others she ate heartily. After their meal it was decided that she and Lisa would accompany Ewan and the army of men to meet the elves and that Hope was to stay at the castle in care of the cook and her husband, two of Ewan longest serving and most trusted servants. The cook and her husband already had a large family of ten children, what better place to hide this special child. In a large and loving family.

Preparations underway to leave early the next morning Rachel went to sleep while Lisa cradled Hope and told her why she had to leave her here , the child already knew, she knew everything. Soon Lisa too was sleeping tired after the nights vigil.

No one, except maybe Hope knew what lay ahead or where their destination was.

******

To be continued.

If you wish to read Lisa’s and Rachel’s story up to this point you can find it here.

This is part of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto.

Borrow The Lyrics Challenge: Ribbons.

I was very interested to receive this challenge from Jim Adams. (You can read his entry here)

Here are the Rules.

1: You need to choose a verse from a song and use it in an original poem or story.

2: You must include the name of the song and the singer at the end or beginning.

3: You need to challenge someone else and invent ONE rule they need to follow.

4 You must credit the person who started this challenge (a.k.a. PJ – I’m sorry for the inconvenience) and the person who challenged you, which was Jim Adams.

Thank you for the challenge Jim and your new rule that the song I use must contain the word ribbon in it.

So here goes. I did not want to use the obvious, Scarlett Ribbons, because I really do not like that song.

So I have gone for the song Ribbons by the group, The Good the Bad and the Queen.
The Good, the Bad & the Queen, comprising Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen Their first album The Good the Bad and the Queen debuted at number two in the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold in the UK within days of its release despite little media recognition and airplay. In the United States, the album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 49. In October 2018, it was confirmed that the band’s official name is The Good, the Bad & the Queen after they announced their second album, Merrie Land. It is from this second Album that I have chosen the track, composed by Damon Albarn, Tony Allen, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Visconti.

The lyrics are in the video.

Ribbons of War.

Out of the blue

Come the arrows that kill me and you.

Dance round the maypole while you can

Wear your coloured ribbons pray for your man.

The king’s men are fighting below the hill

Wearing their colours as the enemy’s blood they spill.

Dance in the morning feel the warmth of life

You’ll be wearing black ribbons by dark tonight.

The Queen in the castle the King on the hill

It’s the peasants of the fields the ribbons and arrows will kill.

Horses and maypoles carry ribbons blue, red, white green and black.

Flowers will bloom, in glorious dawn

Planted for the dead by those left to mourn.

***********

So there is my little anti war poem about Ribbons. I think I may of stretch the rules by using more than one verse but I do love the lyrics of the song.

Now I nominate Fandango this, that and the other. My extra rule that the song must have the word home in its title or lyrics.

Have fun , I did.

Weekly Song Challenge, Round 15!

Time once again for Laura Venturini’s Weekly Song Challenge! Here, as always, are the rules:

Copy rules and add to your own post, pinging back to this post.

Post music videos for your answers to the musical questions.

Tag two people to participate!

Post a video of a song that makes you think of the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Well we don’t have Memorial in the UK . We have Remembrance Sunday in November. But it is celebrated for the same reasons. Here is my first video. Keep the Home Fires Burning by Emma Stevens.

Post a video of a song that has the word war in title or lyrics.

I have chosen Warchild by the Cranberries.

Post a video of a song that is part of a movie soundtrack that had something to do with war. Oxygen by Jean Michel Jarre.From the film Gallipoli.

I nominate

Di

Dale

Guess That Art II! Mr. Potato Head meets Annie Lane.

Ronovanwrite’s has given us the Pablo Picasso painting to think about. Then he’d like us to write a poem of how we see it. The painting is Gurnica. Painted in 1937 it is a very grafic portrayal of war.

Guess That Art 2 image

Death laughs

This is a war of two halves

Slaughter house rules

Mutilation carried out by fools.

Women and children first

Come on big man do your worst.

Then let’s take innocent animals out.

They are just sport no doubt.

The death wheel will do another turn.

We will we choke on fumes as bodies burn.

It’s the war mill and we are the grist.

We are just humans and the lord is pissed.

This is part of Ronovanwrite’s Guess that Art 11

Thursday photo prompt: Shadows #writephoto

This is my entry for Sue Vincent‘s #writephoto, Shadows.

Thoughts of a Ghost.

Am I awake or is this dream

There is no colour, everything monochrome.
Shadows lengthen belying the scene.

I am cold and a long way from home.

I cannot move I cannot speak

My mind is confused and my is body weak .

The Bedlam of war is strangely hushed.

Am I here, dieing alone

I try to move I know I must

Around me the spirits of fallen friend and foe.

The detritus of war, we lie dead with nowhere to go.

Rememberance

Major John McCrae .

Poppy photographed on the First World War battlefield of the Somme near the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Flanders Poppy on the First World War battlefields.

Inspiration for “In Flanders Fields”

During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. He was a friend of commander Major John McCrae .

John McCrae was a field Dr in the same unit as his friend Alexis. For some reason the Chaplin was called away and so John was asked to take the funeral service for his friend. It is thought that in the evening after the funeral he wrote his most famous poem. In Flanders field.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Poem is so sad, it speaks of how so many young men died, cruel and painful deaths on the muddy fields and squalid trenches of Ypres. He talks about the larks bravely singing, as I see it he is alluding to the fact that life just goes on as this evil war raged. “The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

They died so quickly without warning, though better that than maimed and dying slowly in agony. They were young, they had lovers, family and then they were gone so suddenly. I think they hung around for a while as ghosts trying to adjust to death.

The dead, he tells us, implore those who follow them to take up the torch and fight the enemy to the end. For if they loose or shirk the challenge the dead will never rest and forever haunt the poppy fields of Flanders.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just a thought crosses my mind. What would those dead men buried under Flanders field have though of the tanks and foot soldiers of the 2nd world war. The young men of the 1st world war thought they were fighting the war to end all wars…………. Sadly they were so wrong. War strides on as I type.

I think the video from Black Adder goes fourth says everything there is to say on war.

poppies

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