The Call (Open)
Walls Of Fire
It was the day the goblin city got wi-fi. By decree of the goblin prince (who many said wasn't actually a goblin at all), the gleaming hundred foot steel towers dotted the landscape alongside the sunset ridge of Miasma Mountain, weaving through the reeking labyrinthine metropolis like a poor attempt at cleanliness in a city otherwise proud of its trademarked stench. Older goblins muttered in bars and around markets, leery of the great metal beasts that had sprung up virtually overnight, unsure of finally joining the outside world where humans and androids and cows purportedly existed, otherwise content to sit in old-fashioned squalor where things were simpler and beer was cheap.
The ruler's pale, gold-mulleted grin was splashed across the giant screens in city center, welcoming his citizens to a new age of 4G's and downloadings and other such forward-looking words. The message had aired live as part of a news conference last night, and was replayed constantly by all the stations throughout the day. According to rumors, he had his teeth artificially capped with fangs and his nose artificially lengthened when he first took the throne two years ago following the mysterious suicidal beheading of the previous, shorter, greener king.
In a shack on the edge of the western suburbs, Rotten smacked his little brother upside the head.
"OW. Dammit mom Rot hit me again!"
"Shut up snotmouth. Stop screwing with it, I've almost got this crap working."
Rotten yanked a cable from his brother's hand and turned back to the consortium of wires and circuit boards that made up the bulk of his computer. Dudgeon rubbed his head tiredly and flopped back on the bed, arms spread out. One hand wrapped around his wooden practice sword lying nearby, and he stabbed aimlessly at the air with it.
"You've been working on this rooter--"
"Router," Dudgeon continued, "all afternoon. When am I gonna get to play on it?"
Rot sighed, not looking away from the screen.
"It's not something you play with. It's just to connect to the Allweb. And if I find out you touched my freakin computer I'll kill you."
Dud groaned theatrically and rolled over to stare out the grimy window across the bed. Amber sunlight was starting to pour in as the sun slowly fell to meet the Giant Wall that marked the very edge of the metropolis. He had never been beyond. He didn't know anyone who had left the city voluntarily. Like everyone, he knew the rumors of criminals and non-conformists who had been forced to leave, choosing exile and certain death over the dungeon dimensions deep below and the threat of no death at all, but...
Sometimes he wondered what it was like, beyond. And now, finally! Finally, a connection to the Allweb and the infinite metaphysical network beyond, the knowledge of the entire country, maybe even the whole continent before him! And probably porn. Dud hadn't seen porn before, aside from the blurry, suspiciously wet magazine a friend had shown him behind the gymnasium at school that one time, but that didn't count.
"Is it done yet?"
"Shut up. It'll be done when it's-"
And then the world ended around him.
Heat was the first sensation. It smothered him, squeezing his body numb and invading his lungs. He moaned, opened his mouth, and took in a large gasp of smoke. He coughed heavily as his small frame recoiled in pain. His heart pounded enormously in his ears, and beyond that was...screaming. Slowly, Dud pulled his arms and legs in, pushing his chest off the floor. He opened his eyes and waited as they adjusted to the billowing darkness. Flames licked the edges of what remained of his and his brother's bedroom. Rot was nowhere in sight.
Dud coughed enormously, hacking for a few seconds as tears streamed down his face. The hacking finally stopped and he wiped his face off and pulled himself unsteadily to his feet. The eastern wall was mostly rubble and he staggered towards it and into slightly fresher air. It was night, but the skies were far from dark. Dud stared out at the city that had once wound its way up the side of the mountain. The entire metropolis was in flames.
There was a multitude of screams and shouts from somewhere in the distance. The fires hadn't yet reached the castle, steeped in shadows on the slope high above. Dud looked up. There were dozens of lights shooting through the black sky. Several curved down over the city, and spread and multiplied across the rooftops before sharply rising again.
Without thinking, Dudgeon walked forward, his eyes fixed on the lights above. His foot hit something, and he stopped and looked down. A wooden sword, two feet long and worn along either side. His practice sword. He picked it up and gazed at it. The shaking started in his legs and worked its way up. Dud felt tears welling up in his eyes as his vision blurred. He grasped the sword with both hands and fell to his knees and sobbed. Dud might have cried all night until the metropolis had been reduced to ash and the screams finally faded from the sky if a giant form hadn't landed heavily nearby. The goblin's breath caught in his throat and his head shot up. A large pair of golden eyes stared down at him.
The fire and noise faded away as Dud stared back at the dragon. The beast's vision threatened to swallow him whole, his entire future foretold in its shimmering gaze. Slowly, the dragon opened its massive maw, a single tiny blue flame hovering in the back of its throat. The flame grew.
The spell was broken as Dudgeon threw himself flat on the ground. The dragon looked up at the shout...
Last edited by Power; 02-19-2013 at 09:05 PM.