The Lonesome Road

Glork and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance

After the dealing with the trial Cornelius thought it best to lay low. In the back of his mind he wondered whether or not the Magistrate had realised that he come into posession of his rings that day he asked for directions in the street and the whole thing was a petty show of power.

No matter. Glork would always find the balance and set things right, for Cornelius was merely re-distributing some of the wealth of this man, and for a noble cause too. It was imperative that the messiah be kept safe.

He had mostly kept to himself in the following days. He had used the caps to ensure there were lodgings for the party and had used the rest to buy an old scrap of a motorcyle and side car that looked beyond repair. He had decided to focus his efforts on a project where he might be able to fix something and spent night and day reconditioning the vehicle. He found it to be a most fulfilling endeavour, much more so than the experience with his tea. He was glad he hadn’t squandered his caps on those short lived pleasures of the flesh this time.

Cornelius spent his time adjusting suspensions, servicing tappets and loosening rusty bolts with a hammer. He had even found a suitable old spaceship froma children’s play set that would serve as a two seated chassis, perfect for Nook and Crag anda bit of gear. He would bring them with him on his Journey towards the shadow lands.

As Cornelius toiled on his Opus Magnus he reflected on the happenings to date. Glork had granted him his powers yet everytime he used them it was met with disapproval. Does glork not provide such that it should be consumed? The echoes of his mother’s oice from the cave churned in his head like waves crashing on a rocky shore.
He just wanted to fix the world, he didn’t chose his powers.
A tear crashed onto the dusty leather seat of the motorcycle and it, like his encounters while amonst his comrades, turned it into a muddy mess. He was right to go on this journey and take a break. They would understand. He needed some answers. He rememberd the flash back of the machine in a darkened room, the screams from the cave that echoed in the same intensity of the screams from the blast that where Glork redistibuted the eternal energies of his parents.

There was something out there where he was more than just a blasting torch and a nuisance. He would only find it by going on his own journey where he could make sense of the world around him and his purpose. If there was indeed one. He was important somehow he just wasn’t sure. The messiah had noble band of protectors around so there was no danger to him. The messiah certainly wouldn’t be safe whilst cornelius bumbled through this journey. And it was important that the Messiah got to where he needed be.

From the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of the crystal ball from the cave.
“What monstrous energy dwells in here” he queried under his breath as he examined the ball. As he hid it away and concealed it under a pile of gear for laer research.

He kickstarted the bike and it sputered into life. and with a few final adjustments is was running pretty smooth for a wreck. Even the Junk seller was impressed with the efforts.
“at least i did something right this week” he muttered as he rode out of the scrapyard, loaded with enough guzoline to take him to the nearest town. He hurriedly scribbled a note for his comrades and left it at the bar of the common house and asked the bartender to pass it on for him.

He finaly managed to rouse nook and crag from their afternoon nap and hurried them into his sidecar, bundling the book into his backpack for safe keeping.

“I’ll catch up” is all it read as Cornelius and his companions rode out of town silently, pensively even.

as he passed through gates out of town, he caught a man chasing him in his mirrors and gently applied the brakes. He wasn’t much used to riding motorbike and he would need to be careful. The gentleman caught up and lowered the jacket he had used to prote him from the dust trail he had left.

“I noticed that you were getting ready for some kind of journey and hadn’t thought you would be ready so quickly”
“Just a few bolts here and there and some inlets to calibrate, nothing much really” Cornelius cheefully answered.
The dust had setteld and as he lifted his goggles he noticed the man was carrying a parcel hastily wrapped in string, the reason for the chase was suddenly apparant.
“If you happened to be going past <location>, I er, wouldn’t you mind just droppping this parcel off with <person> for me?”
At least he was direct, mused Cornelius “Well its not exactly on my way and…”
" I could give you some caps for the trouble, and some extra clean water and camping gear, looks like you forgot about that, got to stay covered up in the evenings, its even camouflaged, could be useful. Oh and this too"
He pulled a tattered sawn off shotgun out of his boot, cracked it open revaling two shells in the chamber
“Might be useful too”
Cornelius weighed his options, the man had chased him to catch, seems this package was important to him, enough for him to be so genorous and helpful.
“Sure, That sounds like a deal to me, say who will I say its from?”
and at that the gentleman was already half way towards town, the items in stack on the floor.
“Well, best just be getting on with it, here nook, stash those in hold all”
He replied with an acknowedgin grunt
“I’ve got to work on those manners, lets see if we can’t do something about them on this here roadtrip”
“Manners is Glork?” Asked Crag
Cornelius set his goggles back and left Crag to wonder as he pulled off, witht he wind at his back


The Duke watched the fox, the snowman, and the preacher leave the room. He was still feeling the after-effects of the apple, so he elected to stay inside for the day. He looked around: in one corner of the room, a bat with rotted wings hung from the ceiling; a skeletal deer limped towards another. A tiny radscorpion glided through the middle of the room on a plank with wheels.

The Duke crossed his legs and closed his eyes. He was quite ready for the trip to end now – though to be fair he had been so since the never-ending wall. Nobody seemed to know whether there was any truth to be found in these visions or not, which was somewhat disappointing. It was clear that the visions weren’t random, but whether they were revealing a hidden truth, or just manifestations of the Duke’s mind, were a different matter.

He didn’t think himself wise/learned enough to decipher why he perceived is friends the way he did, but the vision by the tree seemed pretty clear: The Dragon ruins Arcadia. Was that prophetic, or was it just what the Duke feared? He had known before going in that the Dragon was going after him and his friends with a large army, so it’s not like it would be unexpected. Even if it did come to pass – which he really hoped it didn’t, as despite some astoundingly backwards views and perspectives it was still one of the nicer places he’d been to – that would not prove the visions as prophetic, as it was rather likely to occur anyway.

Even more confusing was the talk with Mr Wrench. That part had not been a vision, at least not entirely, as it resulted in his clothes being returned to him and the door opened. But, at the same time, he had been tripping pretty heavily at that point as well as afterwards, so some of the visuals could have been off. In fact, every other person the Duke had seen had not looked like themselves, so why should Mr Wrench? But on the other hand, nobody else had looked like another person the Duke had seen, so why would not-Wrench?

The man, whoever he was, had claimed to be a mercenary, and revealed some strange information to the Duke – strangest of all, perhaps, was Lili being taken to vault 98. Why was she going there? Was she also connected to the “Clean Slate” project? Was Eli? Was Eli also connected to vault 98?

The better question, of course, would be ‘Why was the Duke so certain that what Wrench-or-not-Wrench had told him was neither lies nor hallucinations?’ The Duke had no answer to that. He just was. Something about the way he had said it just made it seem… true.

“The rain made a door for me and I went through it” was the first thing the man had said. It seemed very profound. Rain was not something that really happened since the sky burned – but it had rained on the Duke when Mr Wrench came to visit. It had to mean something.

The last thing Mr Wrench had said was also about the rain: “Be wary of the rain” (or something to that effect). This statement was even more confusing than the first, because by then it had stopped raining on the Duke, and he didn’t imagine he would see rain again any time soon. And even if he did, why should he be wary? Rain would be good, surely. Rain brings life to deserts.
Or would the rain be false? A trick maybe, a threat disguised as a blessing? Or was it a gateway, through which people like Mr Wrench came through? Was that even a bad thing? Wrench had never done anything bad to the Duke as far as he knew, and had even been quite helpful on occasion.

The Duke sighed. This was one of those things that he might never know the answers to. Half of his mind wished he hadn’t eaten that apple, so that he wouldn’t be stuck with these questions; the other half wanted to go back and have another apple, at the hopes of finding some answers.

He opened one eye. The radscorpion jumped, somehow lifting the board with it, and spun the board several turns around in the air before the board landed on the ground and the scorpion on the board, and the two rolled onwards.

The Duke sighed again, and closed his eyes. Yup, still tripping.

Ever so slightly high

Eli curled up at the base of the tree, overwhelmed and almost intoxicated by the sheer power that it was giving off. He had never felt anything like it. No mere human emotion could compare to the unfiltered vibrant life Harold gave off. He was unable to resist the feeling, if it could even be called that and he happily radiated it back in an endless loop. He didn’t want to resist anyway. Why wouldn’t anyone want to experience this feeling? Harold had complained a little at first at how it tickled, but he’d stopped grumbling when he saw how blissed out Eli was. He kept saying it was like watching a drunk baby, whatever that meant.

Eli had spent most of his week in here. After the trial for heresy – which as far as he understood was basically lying and he hadn’t done that, so it was fine and he was let go – the authorities had been forced to let him in here whenever he wanted. They didn’t understand why Harold and Bob seemed to like him and the rest of the group, but they apparently had to listen to it, so that was nice. He sat and just relaxed in the grove with Harold, enjoying the feeling of grass under his feet and playing with the animals.

Sometimes the old creature told him stories, although Eli didn’t understand the jokes that the man laughed at or why so many of the women in the stories didn’t have clothes. Sometimes the Duke or Snowy would join him – the Duke was still trying to teach him to read and they would sit on the grass with a book. It was about a little boy who had powers to sense strange things and went to live in a hotel with his parents for the winter. It wasn’t a very well maintained hotel, so they had to look after it all by themselves. They hadn’t gotten very far in the story yet. Harold kept making comments about needing a better book.

The rest of his time was spent wandering around the districts quietly healing people and just generally radiating a feeling of wellbeing. He knew that the others followed him when he went on his walks – although he’d gotten better at just doing his thing without worrying if they were still behind him and he even avoided them at points, just for a while so he could reach more people. Despite the trial, he had somehow remained fairly low-profile, at least compared to the other three. He knew people were talking about them from the gossip he heard among the marketplace, although he’d only been recognised a couple of times. When the Duke and Snowy and Cornelius walked through town people would whisper and stare and give them a wide berth, whereas he was often ignored. It was probably because he didn’t spend much time drawing attention to himself outside the central grove – people mostly overlooked the child wandering alone throughout the streets. If the Duke wanted to talk to shopkeepers or Cornelius wanted to convert people to Glork, then they would have to choose to stop following Eli to do so.

Wherever he passed he gently worked to improve people’s lives, even if just for a day. He didn’t do it obviously, since that seemed like a bad idea after the reaction of Sergeant Morgan at finding out his abilities. He’d seen her a few times around and he always smiled and waved, but she ignored him. He didn’t quite understand why she was angry and a little afraid. Perhaps given time she would want to be his friend again.

They would be leaving town tomorrow. The war rig was ready and they had promised the nice councillor that they wouldn’t come back unless the Dragon was dead. It made Eli sad. He liked Harold, for all the rambling, confusing stories that the old man told. He knew that this week of peace was probably not something that they would get to experience for some time again, if at all. Still, they were going to visit the Duke’s parents. Eli was apparently Snowy and the Duke’s son, so he was quite curious to see what the Duke’s parents looked like. Did that sort of make them his grandparents?


So, it turned out that killing the Dragon’s daughter had made the Dragon angry. What were the odds of that.

The Duke stared absent-mindedly up at the golden tree. Arcadia was a nice place – probably the nicest place he had ever been to, except of course home. He hated the thought of brining death and destruction to it, which his group had the unfortunate habit of doing to most places they visited.

This was looking to not be an exception. The Dragon had presumably been annoyed from the start because his five favourite slaves just refused to come back and do slavey things for him. Then his daughter died while trying to… bully them? Or something? Regardless, the Dragon had probably realised that the reasonable and level-headed thing to do would be cut his losses, mourn his daughter, and leave well enough alone – and then instead opted to amass largest army the world had ever seen and scour the wasteland for the killers.

The Duke sighed, and started walking again. They hadn’t been in Arcadia for long, so his friends shouldn’t have been able to set in motion anything that would doom the city just yet. If he made it back to them in time, he could warn them of the situation and tell them to lay low for the rest of the week, so that they could get their war-rig and be on their way.

The Councillor had been very nice to them, much nicer than they probably deserved. A war-rig, complete with supplies, for the small price of not returning while the Dragon lived. The Duke wouldn’t have judged her if she had decided to collect on the ludicrously good bounty for them, to get some peace from the Dragon. He would have been a bit upset, but he wouldn’t have judged her.

As it was, the Councillor had decided to be nice, so if the gang just didn’t, I don’t know, set the tree of life on fire or something, they would get a brand new war-rig, and then they could hit the road once again. The Duke was never one for staying anywhere for too long anyway, so that was all well and good for him.

He arrived at his destination – the bar in which the rest of the group were hanging out. He stopped to collect his thoughts.

Ok, let’s just be brief and concise with them, no sugar-coating. Angry Dragon, army of warlords, free rig, one week, no fuck-ups. It’s really the best turn of events we could hope for, apart from maybe the Dragon deciding to stop being a warlord and dedicate the rest of his life and resources to agriculture. But I’m not holding by breath for that one.

Small miracles

Eli slipped through the marketplace. He moved quietly among the crowds, healing as he went. It wasn’t just curing physical ailments – although he did plenty of that. He radiated an aura of calm and happiness and purpose, spreading it behind him in a widening arc to the crowds. He was determined to make up for the bad things he had done before, to make sure that nobody else had to feel bad either. There were lots of people here. That was lots that he could help, even in just little ways.

He knew that Cornelius was somewhere behind him, stumbling through the crowds with his followers trailing behind. The man had a tendency to follow Eli and talk about the wonders of Glork. It would have been difficult to not know where Cornelius was at all times, even without his abilities to sense the man. He could hear the three talking loudly, exclaiming about the works of Glork and his Messiah. The man was so devout and determined to spread the word, even if his success seemed to be somewhat limited.

Eli didn’t know what to believe about… Glork. On the one hand, the preacher was very sincere in his beliefs, speaking as if it were all fact. On the other hand, everyone else seemed to disagree and the man certainly was a little inconsistent at times. For a while Eli had wondered if Glork was perhaps somebody who had worked in one of the little white rooms – after all, Cornelius said that Glork had made him to be the way he was, and Eli knew he had been created there. He still wasn’t sure if that assessment was wrong, although he hadn’t sought to find out. He wasn’t sure if he was Glork’s Messiah either. Perhaps he was somebody else’s Messiah, Snowy had said something about the sun and the moon. Perhaps he was the Messiah for the people in the little white rooms. Perhaps he was just Eli’s Messiah.

In the end it didn’t matter too much. Even if Eli didn’t know if Glork was a person or a… metaphor, Duke had tried to explain those, Cornelius believed and that was enough for him. Eli accepted that one of his friends believed that the world was made and controlled by a ‘comptroller’ with a ‘spreadsheet’, and another believed that the Sun had destroyed everything in punishment for humanity’s sins. They could both be right, they could both be wrong. Eli just knew what he was for, what his purpose was. He was made to heal and to save people.

He slipped up to a line at a medical stall. His touch was feather-light as he healed the people waiting for the doctor until there was nobody left standing in the queue and he could look at wares. The man smiled and talked to him and then to Cornelius as the preacher caught up. There wasn’t anything there that would be of any use to Eli, although he knew that the Duke liked to throw scalpels sometimes. He’d never tried to explain that it wasn’t what scalpels were for, because he couldn’t be sure that the Duke didn’t know some other use involving throwing.

The marketplace behind him was loud. He could sense Mr Echo watching them and it gave him some comfort to know that the big man was there. It meant that if he wandered around, nobody would tell him off because he wasn’t on his own. Eli didn’t want to be bad. He wanted to be good. Perhaps he didn’t always want to do as he was told as much anymore – there were so many new things to see and explore, so many people to help and things to learn about, it was all too easy to forget that he had to obey orders. But mostly he wanted to help and make things better.

Cornelius was still talking animatedly to the doctor. Eli could sense exasperation and a little amusement coming from the doctor. He smiled almost reflexively as the emotion brushed at the side of his senses and wandered off into the crowd again.


The ground rumbled beneath her as she huddled in the dirt trying to take what little cover was available to do. Her ears rang with the sounds of the explosions around her and dust cascaded down from all angles, leaving only craters to mark the battles passing. The sound, the sights and the feel of battle she had been trained for, but the smell, that no-one had told her about. No one could have prepared her for that. The smell of fire, blood, mud and gasoline was the only thing keep her conscious.

She clutched her gun tightly and looked out of her spot trying to see between the smoke and dust what was going on. She heard the orders coming through her radio but she paid no attention. The panicked shouts of RETREAT no longer held any authority. Outrider after outrider, runner after runner flew past in the dust. Every conceivable vehicle of war drove past her view point. Scout riders, war rigs, claw hooks, Boom guns, piece makers, tezlas, las traks, and more she didn’t know the names for.

She watched as her own force broke and ran before the onslaught. There was no way they could have mounted a defence against such an overwhelming army, they weren’t prepared and they weren’t trained for this type of warfare. The enemy didn’t want to take their land or their resources or their people, they just wanted to go straight through their lines. They didn’t even really want to kill them, it was just an added bonus. They wanted to drive and would crush anything in the way.

She saw a break in the lines of the trucks and dashed from her hiding spot back towards the remains of her own troops.

The messenger strode through the halls clutching his letter tightly, the dust on his clothes betrayed the distance he had come. He marched into the main hall. A long table ran the length of the hall and two figures sat talking at its head. The messenger strode up to them and without a word set the letter down between them, turned and left. Rusk, briefly distracted returned to his conversation.

“Not as productive as I would have liked.” Rusk grumbled.

“Well, at least he’s dead.” A young woman in combat armour sat next to him at the table, letter and papers strewn in front of her.

“There still a lot to do but we can breathe easy for a while at least.” Rusk looked down at the letter before him. The symbol of the dragon was stamped on the front. Slowly, suspiciously, he reached out and lifted it. He slowly turned it over in his hands as if trying to inspect it for poison. Once satisfied he prised open the letter and began to read it. He sat back in his chair as he read, impassive expression across his face.

Once he finished he set the letter on the table and sat in silence.

“What is it?”

Rusk responded without moving.

“Read it.”

She picked up the letter and read it while Rusk sat in silence watching her.


Rusk nodded.

“Yea. Fuck.”

The courier walked through the corridor to a small, poorly lit room. A man with white, pupil-less eyes sat in the darkness. The Courier approached him and extended his hand to the man, letter offered. The man reached out and grabbed the courier’s wrist. He tried to pull away but the man’s grip was strong. He stared into those white soulless eyes intense silence as the man slowly released him grip and took the letter. He left hurriedly.

The man opened the letter without hesitation and stared at the paper. The silence in the room was palpable. He turned and extended the letter towards the shadows around him as a hand emerged. He released the letter and nodded before reclining in his chair.

The emissary walked through the grand hall. Pillars and columns held up the roof and balconies on all sides. The entire place was grand, regal and covered in a thick layer of dust. The only sign of life in the room was the man sitting on an old throne. The emissary approached the man handed him the letter and turned to leave. The man turned the unopened letter over in his hands and smiled.

“Why not, might be fun?”

The emissary left, an empty grand hall empty.

The General stood, back straight, shoulders back and voice level. Behind her stood her own soldiers arranged in a defensive position. Before her stood the forces of hell arranged at the back of a monster. The dragon stood 8 feet tall, clad in heavy armour, wearing a helmet fashioned into a set of jaws, obscuring his face.

“The army will stand down and out of your way if you continue on your present course.”

“You are not the target.” The Dragon’s voice echoed deep and metallic through his visor.

“Then we are agreed?”

“Agreed. Now. Move your army out of my way.” The general turned to issue the order but as she did so a hand grabbed her shoulder. Her guards levelled their guns. The Dragon had closed the distance between them and now stood before her. Slowly he released her and reached up, removing his helmet. All her cool control and presence fell away as she saw his face. She took a step back in shock as he smiled.

A distant horn sounded and engines roared to life. The Dragon’s army charged. The cars screamed past them as the soldiers of the NCR were mown down. She covered her eyes from the dust and sand as people died around her. The Dragon again pulled her round to face him and she saw a circle of war rigs driving round and round them as they stood in the eye of a storm of malice. The dragon smiled again.

“Isn’t that a minor miracle? The state of the world today, the level of conflict and misunderstanding, that two people could stand on a lonesome road in summer and talk, calmly and rationally, while all around them, people were losing their mind?”

And the child brought Death

You should kill them all.

They’re bad people. They deserve to die.

It will be so easy. You know how, don’t you? Just… let go.

Kill them. Kill the villagers, kill your friends, kill everyone.

Eli crouched on the floor next to the cracked monolith as the voices poured out and into his head. He rocked back and forth, hands over his ears and eyes tight shut as if that would block it out somehow. The voices weren’t real, there was nobody there, it was just in his mind. He felt all the anger and bloodlust from the people around him, an overwhelming onslaught of hatred and vicious desire flooding the room and rocking his tiny body as he struggled to resist. He knew the Duke always said that he didn’t have to do it, not if he didn’t want to do it, but it was an order. He was supposed to do what he was told.

Please, I don’t want to… don’t make me…

Kill them all.

He couldn’t stop himself, couldn’t disobey. The pulse blasted out from inside him, ripping outwards again like when they had been in the city and Lili had been taken from him. This one was different though – it wasn’t pain, it was death. Around him the screaming stopped suddenly. The people froze as one, bodies gripped by something arcane and unnatural. Then he felt their lives simultaneously extinguish as they all collapsed to the floor. The silence was a brief and blessed relief.

There were footsteps behind him and he sensed Snowy and Cornelius at the edge of the room. Cornelius instantly began giving off the feelings of rage and violence again as the voices reached him and a brief scuffle broke out. Snowy was emanating something more akin to fear and horror, tinged with confusion as he struggled with Cornelius. Eli stayed crouched where he was.

Did they see me kill everyone? Is he afraid of me? I don’t want to…!

The voices were still muttering in his head, louder again now that more people had arrived. It was easier to resist without the added noise of the crowd, but he was still sweating with the effort. It was taking all his concentration and willpower not to give in and let go.

Kill them all.

No! I… They’re my friends!

There was a sudden sharp blow on his back that shocked him out of his thoughts, pain shooting through his body. He didn’t have to look up to know what was happening. Snowy was attacking him, viciously bludgeoning his back and limbs in a mindless fury as he lost his mind to the power of the voices. Eli curled up instinctively in shock to protect his head and neck, to no avail. He couldn’t stop it, couldn’t defend himself and focus on trying to resist the monolith’s voice. He felt his ribs crack as Snowy brought down a brutal fist again and again.

More people arrived in the room, more to resist as the whispers got louder again. The feeling was building up inside him, even stronger this time and it was agony to stop it from exploding outwards. He wasn’t sure if it was the pain as Snowy beat him again and again, but it briefly became almost tempting to let go. He could feel Mr Echo marching towards him and suddenly Snowy was ripped off his back by… the Duke, the feeling was familiar and fortunately not murderous. He didn’t have time to be grateful though. The voices became a shrill unified scream as Mr Echo got close to the stone, like the scream from before everyone had gone mad.


It was no use resisting.

He let go again, unable to stop the eruption tearing through the room. It rippled outwards, beyond the confines of the cave and into the tunnel, above ground to instantly snuff out every life in the area. It filled him with pain and grief to know that he had killed everyone left back in the village, killed the miners and the children, probably killed his friends. He’d done as he was told, but it didn’t feel good.

I… killed them all.

Eli sat under the tree with two fox cubs in his lap and another eating out of his hand. The adult foxes sat beside him and he sometimes patted their heads absent-mindedly. They were very friendly, much to the surprise of his companions. He wasn’t sure why they were surprised. Why wouldn’t the foxes be happy to be petted?

A small fire flickered by the river as the rest of the group sat and rested after another long day of travel. Despite everything, the war rig was still holding together somehow. He could see Cornelius writing again with his two new friends from Rocktown, throwing excited glances across at Eli and chattering away. Occasionally the other men would glance across at him and he would smile and wave. The Duke waved back most times. Once Mr Echo did too. Eli just felt happy and calm, utterly at peace as the rushing water of the river blocked out any outside feelings and his heart could be quiet at last.

Snowy still was avoiding him. At first he had thought it was fear and judgement for all those people that had died when he had given in to the voices from the monolith. But when he had gotten close and listened, it hadn’t been fear he felt from the man but guilt. It confused Eli. Why was Snowy guilty? Had he done something bad? Perhaps he had proposed marriage to a girl, or beaten somebody with a stick. Eli didn’t remember Snowy doing any of that, but the man had been wandering around the town with some of the locals before… before…

He felt a brief twinge of sadness invade his calm and one of the fox pups whimpered and stirred. Then the calm returned as the effect of the tree and the river overtook him and Eli felt at peace again. The Duke had tried to explain to him about morals and doing things that were out of your control, and Mr Echo had explained that sometimes you just had to kill everyone. It didn’t really make things better, but if they were happy with what he had done then it had to be OK. For now they would stay here and enjoy this brief moment of calm.

He sat under the tree and watched the stars. He liked stars.

The Basics

“And the Messiah did smite the foul demon of denegration and repression, and upon releasing the purified evil Eli did free the population of evil’s icy grasp…”

It had been a long and tiresome day in Rocktown and Cornelius was eager to leave the nightmare he encountered in the cave behind. Only a force so base and full of negativity would be buried so deep by Glork, in his eternal wisdom. We should never have uncovered it, The messiah was truly strong though, I should draw strength fromm what Glork has given us and learn.
“I shall not succumb to the voices again” Cornelius blurted out loud whilst completing the final words to this chapter.
Everybody but Crag and Nook stared briefly and then carried on with what they were doing, but slower. He had let them down with his prodding again, right where he shouldn’t have. Maybe glork had left these people for a reason, he justified to himself. And maybe Crag and Nook are but the beggining of a new Chapter for Glork’s Glory in this twisted wasteland. Maybe they were to be the trumpets through which Glork would further announce his presence.
The Messiah was the light, Crag and Nook the klaxons and the wasteland was the stage and we were all players in Glork’s production.
“And I will be his scribe!” Cornelius proclaimed loudly, this time no one even looked.
“Nook, Crag come over here, we neeed to continue our lessons”
The two townsfolk from Rocktown took a hiatus in their discussions, they had moved to discussing if Glork was Air as well as Rock. Cornelius might have to take things slower than he would have liked, but he remembered that as Glork made man, he also made the rocks, which sometimes are slow to heat. He would start with with the alphabet. COrnelius adjusted his laser to low intensity and etched it on the walls of the rig and began from the start.
“Rocks are sometimes slow to heat” he reminded himself as Crag and Nook stumbled over the letters e and c
“Why Glork make same symbol sound different?” Pondered Crag. It was not the worst question they had asked yet, some improvement was happening at least. It would be a long road but at least it was less lonesome, for Cran and nook shared in Glork’s fire as the dust trailed behind them and the sun was setting on the horizon.
Cornelius cried a teat and remembered his mother’s teaching when he was a child, still shook from the events in the cave.
“This is for you he told himself” and reached a thought out to her

Drums in the Distance

Mathew sat slumped against the wall breathing deeply. Sweat marked his furrowed brow as a small pool of blood collected next to him. He held his right arm to his chest as blood dripped from its tattered remains. The muscle lay torn and the bone stuck through at an unpleasant angle. The blood glinted faintly in the candle light of the corridor as he sat there, trying not to bleed to death. A faint rumbling shock a layer of dust from the ground and the sound of distant drums mingled with his own thundering heartbeat. He heard running from one of the other corridors, excited voices, anticipation in the air. He could smell gusoline burning and gunpowder igniting. The world went to war while he lay there dying.

“Mathew, Mathew look at me. Can you hear me?!”

A hand grabbed his chin and turned his head towards a familiar face. White coat. Medical kit.

“Mathew, stay with me. Just stay awake.”

His world went black

He opened his eyes to a bright white light shining above him. The ground beneath him was cold and smooth to the touch. A voice spoke to him from somewhere he could not see.

“Mathew, can you hear me.” He turned his head slightly and saw a man in white next to him.

“Crap.” He grumbled angrily.

“Take it easy, you’ve lost a lot of blood.” The doctor helped Mathew slowly pull himself up and sit on the edge of the table as he tryed to get his bearings. He was in a small room with three tables and lots of medical equipment. A blood bag was piped into his left hand and his right arm was strapped across his chest and heavily bandaged. His shirt lay in a bloody heap nearby. It must have been cut off him while he was under.

“How long was I out?”

“About half a day.” The doctor shone a torch in Mathew’s eyes and tutted. “You’re gonna have to take it easy for a while.”

“We both know that’s not an option.”

“Whether it is or not if you strain yourself in this condition it will kill you. You’re lucky to be alive right now.”

“Yea well, I guess the dragon repaid my loyalty by only nearly killing me.” Mathew stepped off the table onto the cold floor.

“What did you do to piss him off some much?”

“I told him his daughter is dead.” The doctor stood in stunned silence as Mathew crossed the room and pushed open the door to the courtyard, he needed some fresh air. Outside the place hummed with activity. Outrunners and rigs were casually scattered around the place with grunts and mechanics tuning and modifying to their hearts content. The place was a sea of noise and anticipation, at least, that’s what it normally was. Today the place was deserted. There was not a single person around save himself and whilst there was a lot of evidence that vehicles had been here the place was quiet and still. It made his skin crawl.

“They left about 4 hours ago. The dragon came down and order the war parties north.”

“Which ones?”

“All of them and he went with them. Took the vertibirds with them as well.”

“Well I guess if we get attacked there won’t be much worth louting.” The two men stood there side by side for a moment enjoying or fearing the veil of silence hanging in the air. The SouthWest Wastelands had emptied. Not since the war with the NCR had such a force been set to battle. No power on earth could stop such savagery and few would even try. Even other war parites ould turn and run to avoid being caught in the path of devastation.

“I’d better get dressed, I have to get north. What’s left?” Something always got left behind in the muster panic.

“A few scout bikes but nothing else. You won’t be able to catch them.”

“I’m not trying to catch them I’m going to outpace them. If I can get to New Vegas I can reach the Boomers. They owe me a few favours, they get me north in their plane.” Mathew headed off to get dressed when the doc called after him.

“There’s more Mathew.” He stopped in his tracks. He knew that tone

“What is it?” The doctor reached into his coat pocket and produced a small envelope.

“He had the couriers take copies of this to the warlords.” They passed the letter between the two of them. It was sealed in wax with the Dragon’s Mark. Mathew broke the seal and slowly read the letter. The doctor watched him tensely. Finally he looked up, grim determination written on his face.

“Which warlords did he send this to?”

“All of them. Caesar’s 9th, The Forgotten, Arcadia, The Roving Clans, The Could’ve-Been-King, even Rusk.” Mathew shock his head. Even Rusk.

“I need to get going. Now.”

“I’ll have the bike fuelled.”

Mathew turned and hurried off to get dressed.

Even Rusk. Fuck.


He stared into the flames. He had lost track of how long long he had been doing it, but he had to be sure.

He liked to think he moved like water: flowing, fluid. The more he practised, the easier it became for him to evade hostile people’s attacks. But with her it was different – Save the Could-have-picked-a-shorter-title, the Duke had never met anyone so fast. It took effort and his full concentration to defend himself against her, and more still to try and hit her back.

He hadn’t noticed the flyer until it was almost too late – and she’d noticed it later still.

The fire just kept on burning. The fuel of the flyer thing had it well-fed, so it would probably be going for a while still. Just as well – the Duke was not in a hurry anywhere. Lili and her captors were far away by now, and even with the War Rig they would not have been able to keep up. And the Rig… it was kind of fucked.

It had been a matter of luck, really. There had been a brief pause in the fight, in which he had allowed himself to be aware of the wider surroundings, not just Lysistrata and the rig on which he was fighting.

It had been almost upon them by then. Had he had more time he might have warned her, but there was not enough time to even form that thought. Instinct took over, and he threw himself backwards and curled into a ball, riding the wave of the subsequent explosion.

Lysistrata had had her back to the flyer, and only had time to turn around before it crashed into the rig and enveloped her in fire.

At first, the Duke had taken time to look around, up, down, and around, to see if she had managed to escape somehow using jet-packs or tunnels or something. Then, she had focused on the flames, in case she would come stumbling out, burning and vengeful.
Now, he was mostly waiting to see the body, for closure. Staring into the fire was just a nice way to pass the time, a nice way to avoid talking to the others for a while.

He had failed Eli. He had promised they would save Lili, and they hadn’t. She was out of their reach, and they had no way of tracking her. He had also failed the rest of the group to some extent, by being too trusting of Lysistrata initially. He had trusted his notoriously foolish heart instead of his brain or gut, and if he hadn’t, they might have been able to stop her before today.

The fire finally burned out, and poking through the wreckage the Duke found what was left of Lysistrata’s body: a blackened, crispy husk.

The Duke carefully lifted the body and carried it a bit away from the crash site, and then began to dig a grave for her. None of his friends probably saw a reason to show her any kindness – and rightfully so – but the way the Duke saw it, there was no reason not to. She was dead as dead can be. Gone. Done in. Quite literally toast.

There would be no more tomorrows for her, no new chances shrug, or to try to achieve that which she had failed to do the day before. That was the most important thing in the world, and they had it, and she did not. As far as the Duke was concerned, Lysistrata was completely and utterly fucked, and there was no point in adding to that.

He finishes filling in the pit again. Cornelius places a sign over her grave with some insults on it. The Duke doesn’t mind, he has done what he felt he needed to without anyone objecting, it would be hypocritical of him to not let his companions do the same.

He stands back and takes a final look at the grave.

“Here lies the Dragon’s daughter,” he thinks to himself. “Despite her parentage she was not immune to fire. I hope the irony doesn’t bother her too much in whatever afterlife there turns out to be.”


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