Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ring of Power Anthology

Ring of Power

It was a simple ring; nothing extraordinary. Just a plain band with tiny etchings around it, but it had caught her eye and drawn her in immediately.

She had stumbled into an area of the city that she was not familiar with; a dark and shadowy section of the city that seemed to have sinister eyes in its various corners; watching her as she walked hurriedly down the narrow streets.

A chill ran through her as the feeling that the watchful eyes were moving in closer fell upon her, so she had ducked into a little curio shop that, despite having strange odds and ends in its window, had a warm glowing light that seemed to be safer than that of the shadow-casting street lamps outside.

Inside was a clutter of knick-knacks and old curiosities that, although looked as though they were from a time long forgotten, had been cleaned and polished and cared for so that they could have been crafted recently.

Making her way through the maze of strangely carved furniture, statues, and other such items, she found a glass case near the back of the shop which held a variety jewellery set with various gems of all colours and shapes.

Her eyes scanned over the wonderfully shimmering pieces as they caught the light from the multiple crystal chandlers that hung from the shop’s low ceiling, each one casting a rainbow of colours upon her soft-skinned face.

And then, there it was. Amid all the fancy, elegant rings, broaches, and necklaces, a plain and simple, silver ring with its tiny black markings crisscrossing its surface.

A strange smile spread across her pink lips as she gazed down upon the ring. The others were glitzy and glamorous from a bygone age, but this simple, unassuming band seemed to be timeless. And it gave her the sense of warmth and comfort.

A rustling from the doorway leading to the shop’s back rooms startled her as she looked away from the ring to see a little old man coming out to her. He looked as though he too belonged to the shop; an old curiosity, a little stooped over but still in fine working condition.

His smile settled her startled heart and she smiled shyly back. He came to stand behind the jewellery cabinet and looked down at the rings with her. She looked back down at her ring and knew that she had to have it; it called out to her to possess it.

She pointed to it cautiously and the old man’s smile broadened as her cheeks went flush with embarrassment. He opened the case and gingerly took out the ring and laid it on the counter atop a small velvet cloth.
She put out her hand to take it and hesitated for a moment; warmth seemed to radiate from the ring and touch her finger tips with energy.

Slowly, her fingers made their way to touch its smooth surface. Thinking it would somehow be a hefty weight, she was surprised to find it a light as a feather in her palm.

Looking at it closely she could see the etchings are diamond shapes that seem to be endless pools of darkness; the far-reaching eternity of space within each etch.

Fumbling, she nearly dropped it as she slid it onto her middle finger. It fit perfectly.

Immediately, she was filled with a sense of energy; of power. All the fear and uncertainty that had filled her before she had entered the old shop washed away in the wearing of the ring.

She breathed in deeply and looked up at the old man who smiled and looked kindly into her shining blue eyes. She began to ask how much the ring would cost but he held up his hand and shook his head slightly.

Taking her by the hand on which she wore the ring, he kissed it gently and patted it kindly. She blushed once again as the old man nodded gentlemanly and led her back through the shop to the front door.

She opened the door and turned back to him as he waved goodbye and closed the door behind her. She walked slowly away turning back to see the old man still waving from the shop window as he turned the open sign over to indicate the shop was now closed.
She walked along the street, her hand held up in front of her as she regarded it with love and awe.

Even though the light of day had grown dimmer, she felt as though there was now nothing to be afraid of. Not here along the strange streets, not anywhere. Not now that she wore her lovely ring; her ring of power.

Ring Indeed

As she slept, the ring rested peacefully on her bedside table.

There had not been a day that had passed that she was without her little silver ring since she had found it in the curios shop. And there had not been a night when she had not slept soundly knowing that it was laying beside her; watching over her as she slept.

When she wore it upon her slender finger, she felt stronger, more secure, and confident. It was silly to think that the ring could endow her with some sort of magic power. But she still felt as though it was her little ring of power.

Going about her daily routine she would give it very little thought; yet, every so often during breaks in her activities, she would look down at the simple ring and smile.

In the morning, she would put it on even before going to the bathroom, and carefully put it into the little seashell dish she had purchased especially for it by the sink while she showered and did her make-up; donning it quickly again after she was done. And only taking it off again at night when she lay down to sleep; its tiny silver light protecting her in its reflective glow.

And so, it was, as she slept one night, a shadowy figure came creeping into her small apartment, uninvited.

There had been several break-ins in the building over the past few months, but no one had been home at the time. Unfortunately, this was not the case now.

As she slept peacefully, the shadowy figure moved noiselessly though out her darkened apartment. To get to at a stack of DVDs high up on a shelf, the thief pulled a chair from the dinning table across the hardwood floor.

The chair scraped loudly upon the floor's surface and at once she was awake in her bed; a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach.

She lay frozen for a moment and listened for further noise. She heard the shifting of items on her shelves that lined the living room walls. She sat up and automatically slipped on her ring. Her first thought was to call the police, but reaching for her phone she remembered it was out on the kitchen counter charging.

She would have to slip out there and grab it, unnoticed by whoever was out there ransacking her apartment.

Cautiously, quietly, she moved to her bedroom door and pulled it open as gently as she could. The noises of the intruder became louder without the closed door to muffle their movements.

She was afraid, but felt confident that she could quickly grab the phone from the counter in the kitchen and run back to her room before the thief even heard her.

She waited until it sounded like the thief was at the far end of the living room, then took a deep breath and dashed out of the hallway and around the corner to the narrow kitchen.
Knowing exactly where the phone sat, she grabbed for it and snatched it up quickly.

Having her cell in her hand she made to head back to her room. However, she had forgotten that the power cord was still attached to it.

The cord reached its end and snapped the phone out of her hand. It bounced off the tiled floor loudly and the shadowy figure quickly turned to see her standing surprised in the hall.

Before she had a chance to react, the intruder had made a dash for her, growling in anger at being disrupted so abruptly.

Not thinking, she held out her hands to shield herself from the attack and screamed. A flash of silver light erupted from her right hand and engulfed the darkness in light.

The light quickly faded and she opened her eyes; surprised that had been no attack. There was only her, alone in her moonlit apartment.

She turned the light switch beside her on and saw no one else was with her. She looked to see that the chain lock on her door had been cut and a few items were knocked off the shelves. But there was no intruder.

Looking down at her feet, there were the soldering remains of a black hoodie, black jeans, and a pair of black sneakers.

Her gaze moved from the smoking clothes to the silver ring on her middle finger of her right hand. She held up her hand and marvelled at how the simple ring seemed to glow warmly around her slender finger.

There was warmth radiating from the little ring; warmth that made her smile broadly; her ring of power indeed.


She awoke upon the rocks at the bottom of the mountain that she herself had created, a scar blinding her left eye, and her ring of power gone.

The details of the battle that had transpired atop the mountain where veiled in a haze of pain, all she could remember was that he had taken her ring. IT had taken the cursed ring of power.

The ring that had shrouded her heart in malice was gone; the darkness that had crept into her heart had drained away.

What lay in her heart now was not darkness or revenge, but sadness and remorse. She had caused so much destruction. She had caused the world to war with itself; her and her selfish need for attention. And now she had given the demon the means to destroy the world, once and for all.

Her body broken and bleeding, she stumbled back through lands she had been the inspiration to turn into barren wastes; their old beauty torn apart by men's' lust to conquer for her.

Only remnants of civilization now remained, and she was now no different than any of the other poor retched that scrounged the scorched earth just to survive.

How could she have let this happen? She had only wanted to help with the powers the ring had allowed her. But the demon had twisted her dreams into nightmares, and she had let it.

Now it would fashion the world into its own vision of hell, enslaving the remaining humanity for its dark pleasure.

Huddled in a rock hovel, shivering in the cold of the constant rain, she vowed to make things right once again; vowed to rid the world of the demon that had plagued it for so long.

So, a patch over her scared eye and purpose in her heart, she set out across the world to gather up those she could, to band against the evil of the demon.

Though she was without her ring, the passion she had roused in those before remained; having been inside her all along. She found that she did not need the power of the ring to capture the hearts of those she met, but only her own inner strength to convince people to join her in her fight against the demon.

Seeing that they too were guilty in letting their hearts be taken over with darkness, the people of the world came together under one banner to revolt against the ancient evil.
Upon her steed, she galloped, the armies of the world behind her, crying out her return amidst the deafening thunder of hoofs as they charged upon the demon's mountain.

She would get back the world she had helped fall into darkness, and now, she would not use the power of the ring, only the power that had always been hers alone.

Ring Thief

She gritted her teeth in a begrudged smile as he offered his hand to her.

Her one good eye glared with apprehension and embarrassed fury, looking from the scoundrel's outstretched hand, to where her men sat around the flickering camp fire.

If any of them had so much as a smirk on their face, she would have slashed them in half with her blade; yet wisely, they all seemed to be very busy being preoccupied with the pretty maidens and handsome lads that filled the bandits' hideaway.

She looked back to their leader, whose hand was still awaiting hers; The King of Thieves asking her to dance. Ha!

His roguish smile matched the mischievous glint in his green eyes, as he looked down at her where she sat upon one of the felled logs they used for benches.

Raising her hand she started to reach out for his, but changed directions in mid-motion to run her fingers through her short-cropped, auburn hair.

Snapping her eye patch strap as an unconscious habit she had adopted when wary of a situation, she gave a snorting smirk and took his hand roughly, pulling herself up almost before he had a chance to back up.

The villain was quick on his feet however, and swooped gracefully into a deep bow at her acceptance to join him. She bowed slightly in return, keeping her azure blue eye on him.

They began to dance; him with a jovial spring in his step, while she countered his moves with the quick caginess of a jungle cat, stalking around a rival.

The minstrels' music roiled with their lutes, flutes, and drums, on which they fervently played as they twirled and spun around the flames of the fire that danced to its own licking rhythm.

Her men now watched blatant as she let the Thief King lift her into the air with a spin and bring her gracefully down again in one fluid motion.

As they dance and the music played on, she found herself lost in the moment. She felt herself as a young girl again, not the fierce and harden warrior she had become.

Feeling as light as air on her twirling feet, she even thought she heard herself laugh along with the handsome scoundrel whom continued to spin and toss her wildly as the music grew more frantic.

The camp scene spun round and round until she was not sure which way she faced and she made herself stop at once with sudden embarrassment.

Looking around the camp, the music no longer played, only the crackle of the fired could be heard, its pops a stark contrast to the silence that now hung in the night air.

Her men stirred from their log seats as if they had just woken from a deep slumber.

Only her men stirred.

The camp was empty, save them. The band of thieves and their king had vanished into the night.

With a snarl she snatched at the five bejeweled rings she kept hung around her neck on a chain at all times; her ancient and powerful treasures, for which she had quested all those many years ago; had sacrificed so much to find.


Letting out a rage-filled roar, she drew her sword and barked at her men to mount their steeds as she ran to her own black war horse that stood lashed to a near by tree.

The stallion reared as she swung herself up with another guttural bellow. She turned to find her men already upon their horses facing her, awaiting her command.

"Find them, all of them. And destroy them! But leave the Thief King to me." She ordered in a dark, dangerous voice and they all galloped off with the speed of a pack of wolves setting out to hunt their prey.

As they all disappeared into the darkness just beyond the fire-lit tree line, she looked down at her left hand that gripped the reins. Still resting upon her finger, her most prized possession glowed fiercely with shared anger; the sixth and most powerful ring of power was hers still. With it she would find the others again.

And as for the King of Thieves, he would pay for his mistake of taking them from her.

She clenched her fist and the ring's massive gem stone seemed to radiate its glow outward, causing the camp fire to extinguish, letting the blackness of the night enshroud the scene; only the light of the ring and the intense blue of the warrior's eye gleaming in the darkness.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


She runs desperately down the rain-soaked street; hover cars zooming passed in the dimming light of evening.

The magnetic field beneath each passing car pushes the water that covers the road with its force and causes waves of splashing water to further soak her as she continues running through the chilly autumn rain.

Yet the wet cold of the rain water being dowsed upon her seems not to faze her in her loping search among the rows of identical-looking, compact apartment building units that line the narrow streets; jumbled jigsaw blocks stacked upon each other in order to maximize the ever depleting space in the downtown city core.

All she can think of is the next mind-numbing stab of pain that is undoubtedly coming to pierce her brain like an icy blade in the front of her forehead. The cause of which, she runs in desperation to get to the source of.

As if merely anticipating the coming pain could manifest it, a shooting jolt of white heat sears through her brain and she staggers, almost falling to her knees as she cradles her head in order to balance herself against the wave of dizzying pain that has overcome her.

With a guttural grunt of pain, she steadies herself as the pain subsides again and she looks slowly up at the apartment unit looming in front of her. This must be where it was emanating from, though in her state of mind, she's not quite sure.

Lurching forward, she pushes her way passed an exiting resident of the building through the security entrance and makes her way to the lifts, patting across the concrete floor in her soaking and bare feet.

Reaching the lift door, she slaps the call button as another lightning bolt of pain shocks her mind and this time she does fall to her knees, clutching her head, and moaning in agony.

They were getting more intense, which could only mean she was in the right place. All she needed to do was find the right apartment unit; as long as her brain didn't scramble itself beforehand.

The lift bell dinged its arrival and she got to her feet to stumble in and stab at the fifth floor button. A guess at this point, but it felt like the right one.

Once the lift opened onto the fifth floor, she shambled out into the hallway and used the featureless concrete walls to guide herself along the corridor of numbered doors that no doubt led into tiny, cramped apartment units. In one of which, lived the person she was after.

A high pitched ringing started to grow in her ears as she made her way along the hallway until it was deafening with a pain that filled her entire mind with red, blotching colour.

With a heave, she slammed her shoulder against a door that had a bluish glow emanating from unearth it, and surprisingly, it gave way, even under her slight weight and frame.

Inside the unit, almost hidden amongst the clutter of shelves that lined the walls, filled with knick-knacks and porcelain figurines, a little, old lady sits in front of her computer screen which shows a bright blue screen with a warning pop-up across it.

The woman's glasses magnify her eyes into googly-eyes that fill the entirety of the glass frames, yet she still squints to read the words on the alert message.

The bare-footed girl stumbles haphazardly to where the old woman sits at her tiny wall desk and pushes the surprised senior aside to hit the control-alt-delete buttons and clear the computer screen's message, replacing it with the black reboot screen.

She sighs with relief as the pain in lifted and she stumbles back to lean against on of the trinket-filled shelves.

The elderly woman blinks as she tries to focus her eyes on the young woman in the soaking wet blouse and skirt, her hair dripping and clinging to her damp cheeks.

"Oh, Judy, dear." The old woman greets her with recognition. "I was trying to send you a letter on the computer and that darn message kept coming up again and I forgot what I was supposed to push."

"It's ok, Grandma," Judy replies breathlessly. "But I've told you, you have to reboot the system when it freezes, or it will send out that signal they installed in my Occ-Unit app. I wrote it down for you."

Judy moves over to the wall above the computer and taps the piece of paper that was tacked there, which read: CTRL-ALT-DEL.

"Oh, dear, I forgot." Judy's grandmother said apologetically. "Well, would you like to have a cup of tea? You looked soaked, is it still raining out there?"

Monday, January 2, 2017


It had been some time since the world moved on; all that remained of the great civilizations that had once been, were are ruins and desolation.

Those that have survived eke out a desperate existence, trying to live in dying world; trying to remain hidden from those that have come after. Half-human nightmares that hunt down the innocent for sport, terrorizing an already horrific wasteland in which there are worse things still, laying in wait; watching out from the darkness.

Yet, there are some who bravely fight against the murderous hordes and the rising darkness that have grown stronger with each passing year, while the remnants of the old world corrode away in the unforgiving winds that whip across the land.

Lone warriors that have found a new life after the catastrophes of the old, helping those in need as they roam the wastes; heroes some call them, though they only think of themselves as fulfilling a duty to protect the precious good left in the world against the evil that now fills it; defending the light against the dark.

Like the master-less knights of old, they are Ronin.

Or at least that's how she pictured herself, but for the most part, Raine just escorted groups of families through the more treacherous areas of old Tokyo as they made their way to the oasis on the other side of the Nagoya ruins. She was little more than a babysitter, making sure they didn't get lost in the maze of vestiges of what was once the great metropolis of Japan.

She knew all the paths to take, but what made her such a good escort through the old city was that she knew all the routes not to take. The best way to stay out of trouble was to avoid it completely.

It was a sound practice, even if it did make the jobs she took tediously dull, she thought as she leaned upon her bow staff, watching the line of travellers clumsily make their way over the rubble pile that blocked the way to the next clear street.

One of the travellers slipped on a cache of loose rocks as they walked passed Raine and without thought, she quickly grabbed them by the arm to keep them from tumbling down into those that were already making their way down the other side of the hill.

The noise of the falling rocks echoed between the hollowed-out buildings, Raine, however, heard a second echo, coming from beside them and to the east. She scanned the open windows above; all seemingly empty, until a slight movement caught her eye.

"Run!" she commanded as she spun around, swinging her bow staff over her head and down to her side, blasting two shots from its pulse-gun tip, both hitting their mark as the limp body of a Cybred sniper fell from their perch in one of the windows overlooking the plaza they had just crossed through.

Murderous shouts came from the neighbouring buildings as she saw more figures move quickly in the shadows of the open windows above; those dreadful voices that were a mixture of enraged humans and screeching mechanics which had come to mean death in the new wastelands.

Not hesitating to think of the horrors she had witnessed at the hands of the Cybreds, Raine spun her staff and shot its grappling hook-shot from the other tip. Catching the frame of one of the windows, she retracted the cable and flew through the air while drawing her blaster with her free hand.

Shooting two more of the gang members out of the building opposite of where she now repelled to, she was able to holster her weapon and tumble through the open window with a somersault into a full run to smash another surprised Cybred sniper in the face with a swing of her bow staff.

Not slowing down, she leapt out of the next window and onto the rubble-litter roof of the connecting building, where two more screaming Cybreds fell victim to her spinning bow attacks.

Another grappling shot to the building across the narrowing plaza and she was leaping away to meet the four gang members who were moving to pounce down upon the still fleeing travellers.

As she landed with another roll, Raine let fly two of her bandoleer knifes to hit the first two charging Cybreds dead center in each of their cybernetic eyes. Small electrical bolts fizzled over their heads as they fell to the ground, their fellow marauders leapt over their dead bodies to get at her.

Raine swung the grappling tip around and shot the pointed hook out and through the flesh and metal chest of the front runner as she ran toward the second and veered to the side with the cable strung between her and the Cybred that now stood looking down at the harpoon in their chest.

The cable caught the still charging Cybred in the neck and Raine pulled the razor sharp wire tight, slicing their grotesquely enhanced head clean off their diseased body.

Retracting the hook with a button click on the side of the staff, the already dead Cybred fell to the ground and she turned to look down to see that a couple of the Cybreds had gotten to ground level and were screaming toward the terrified caravan like rabid wolves.

Quickly judging the distance between the building she now stood on top of and the one beside it, she ran toward the edge of the roof and engaged the thrusters in her boots to give her the extra boost she needed to reach the side of the other building.

Hitting the crumbling wall, Raine quickly rebounded and hit the thrusters again to make the leap back down to the wall of the building she had just left.

Making a few jumps back and forth, she made her way down the sides of the building to land with the last of the thrusters' fuel to soften the impact into a dead run towards her caravan, trying to head off the attackers before they reached them.

The one closest to her she managed to pick off with her blaster, but the other was nearly upon the straggling traveller that had almost fallen down the hill only a few minutes ago.

The Cybred marauder was aiming their rifle as they ran and Raine dove to tackle the stumbling caravanner.

Luckily the Cybred's targeting implants must have been deteriorating because its shot went wide of their heads, but Raine felt the searing pain of the laser blast hitting her hand as she went down, covering the screaming traveller as they both rolled across the gravelly ground.

With blurring speed, Raine was back up on her feet and had drawn her katana as the Cybred fell upon her. With a deft up-sweep she caught the cybernetic monster in the chest, and then decapitated them with the down-stroke.

Both the body and head tumbled forward and careened to the ground as Raine stood still in her stance, sword blade dripping with black, oily blood.

The caravan of travellers had stopped their frantic escape and was now looking at their guide as she caught her breath and checked for anymore threats.

When no more came, Raine bent down to help the fallen traveller up, and as she held out her hand, the traveller recoiled in horror at the blast mark on Raine's out-stretched hand.

For, instead of cauterized flesh and blood that should have been there, the exposed robotics of her cybernetic mandible could be seen through the hole in her glove.

"You're one of them!" The shocked traveller screeched as they rolled away from her and scrambled up to join the others. "She's a Cybred!"

"I am NOT..." Raine started to protest against being called one of those filth, but the rest of the caravan started to scream and run away from her as she stepped toward them, bloody sword still drawn.

"She led us here to be slaughtered and used for parts by those monsters!" The feeling traveller shouted. "Run! Get away from us, you animal!"

Raine started after them, but stopped after a step with a sigh; what's the use, she thought, they've been hunted too long, they wouldn't believe her if she told them her robotics were from before the world had moved on; that they had always been apart of her.

So she let them run, they had paid half up front and since they had only come half of the way, it wasn't a total loss.

Bending down to wipe her sword off on the tattered pants of the dead Cybred on the ground; she looked at its mangled body, a horrific mix of rotting flesh and corroded metal. She then looked at her own hand; the exposed metal wasn't even marked from the blast, it glistened in the noon sun.

Soon the bio-flesh would begin to heal itself over the wound and it would be good as new, not even a scar.

No, Raine was nothing like those creatures that had come after, she thought as she sheathed the sword upon her back, picked her bow staff off the dusty ground and began walking in the direction the travellers had run off in.

They were stupid and afraid, but she had still given her word that she would see them through the city safely, even if she had to do so from the shadows.

In truth, she wasn't like anyone; a prototype from a dead past, a relic in a dying future. A Ronin.