Invoke the Bloody Mouth (finale)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 37 minutes)

When the Year is not Kept

And the Clutch of the Sig-neagle Shreds an Old Wrong

Shortly after the Battle of Knowledge Extraction came to a disappointing close, peace settled into the surrounding lands. To many it seemed the situation could grow no more extreme than the Trojan Horse laying siege to the fear-full lion’s city, fangs and claws crossed with metal weapons utterly forbidden elsewhere.

No matter which way it went, there would be no repercussions afterward, for there was one corner of the Wild Trinity on each side of the conflict, once again demonstrating its structural stability. There had been times where Vissovis the Golden Fleece had been involved in minor conflicts along with his siblings, and those had not stressed the grand relationships either. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part nine)

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(estimated reading time: 2 hours)

When the Year is not Kept

And the Details are Hammered out with Veteran Hammers and Baboon Nails

She does not arrive without her procession. She does not arrive without her elite foot soldiers. She does not arrive without their support beities. She does not arrive without her support beities’ human slaves.

This brings with her a great many creatures, big and small, and necessitates quite the space for them to make and break camp. When considering Staircase, the front of Staircase since it could not be approached from any other angle, the nearest such space was a bowl in the Earth, into which the flesh-dense vines had grown and blanketed. Now they would serve as natural bedding for the forces of the arriving Assaulquus, the Trojan Horse, the Wild Trinitarian of war. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part eight)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 3 minutes)

When the Year is not Kept

And the Rainbow Climbs Color by Color

Finally the marmoset Ellapock came of use to the travelers, after it became apparent that Hygenis’s general knowledge of the layout of the land would not be sufficient to find Staircase. Both humans had pictured a towering city, with Loric imagining all the more aggressively thanks to images from the bottomless book of places with names like Dubai, New York, and Tokyo.

Instead they were met with forests taller than anticipated, and uneven rocky paths that often dropped into pits, which did little to stop the trees from taking root but much to stop their feet from finding comfortable traction. Hygenis’s mental map had kept everything flattened in two dimensions, and she grimly revised their time of arrival by several days once they encountered the hazards, meaning the Babeloons, or the Sig-neagle, or even the Scion, whose fate remained unknown, might catch up with them. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part seven)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 45 minutes)

2036 is the kept Year

And the Ducks Expand Immeasurably in Dignity

Yes, they walked into the sky. To parcel their daily trip out more than that, they walked from their frolicking fountain across a red carpet, with many onlookers, and into an elevator that then closed its doors and escorted them gently to their penthouse in the sky where they would disembark and wait to do the whole thing again the following day.

This was the march of the Peabody ducks, as they had marched since the year 1933. It consisted of one male, a drake as they are called, and his five accompanying hens of drabber color. While the feathers upon his crown were a bright, nearly iridescent, green, like the felt on a billiards table spruced up for its first date, he was sometimes not the center of attention. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part six)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 19 minutes)

When the Year is not Kept

And the Best Strategy is Blind

Compassleaf was in tumult when its latest visitor arrived on the wing. He’d seen such chaos in a supposedly civilized place before, but only when the lord of the town had decided to disband it in light of his own approaching death. The end result had been a raid of all its shelters by wild beities: a cascade of blood and competing theft that shredded what it stole more often than it didn’t.

Things in the Scion’s city weren’t as bad as all that, but the air was squirming with short tempers and frustration. So many birds came and went with urgent perpendicular paths that they were colliding midair and fighting. Local songbirds suddenly possessed of fierce pride and determination, despite their cargo rarely being anything more consequential than love ballads between blossoming romances, fought claw to claw with much heartier crows. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part five)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 31 minutes)

I didn’t understand much of that, but I take it that man had some insight into the Forbidden Thumbs,” Hygenis said once Loric had finished telling one of the bottomless book’s countless tales. The trio was still ambling away from Compassleaf, led by the mongrel who decided to tolerate them anew every time he heard them speak, looked back, and realized they were not imaginary.

What’s the internet?” he asked to check if he was real enough to speak as well.

A network of information powered by electricity,” Loric explained. Being the first time he’d said such a thing out loud, he realized how much his dark learning under the pillows had silently shifted his foundation. What had crumbled on stage under the baboon’s gaze was just the standing husk, like the world of old in its dying days. “It could move any information across the world in seconds, including moving images.” Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part four)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 22 minutes)

When the Year is not Kept

And a Shave is Stolen while the Darkness is Borrowed

Robbed of her sight, Beret Chamberhand did her best to keep her words and her breath to herself. It didn’t feel like much of a robbery, as they were kept from her much of the time anyway by her marmoset masters, and she’d grown accustomed to having her view be nothing but white cloth, the only variety ever being the color of the trim.

Her surname was foreign to Compassleaf, as only tiny beities with enough wealth to own humans ever had need of her services. Marmosets were melodramatic and emotional creatures, and sometimes in their interactions they wished for the immediate architecture to reflect their emotional states. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part three)

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(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 19 minutes)

When the Year is not Kept

And there’s a Tug on Every Ear in Compassleaf

The Tower of Babel, home and stationhouse to the Babeloons, was the highest artificial structure in the city, dwarfed only by the four stumps themselves, but there was one that was nearly as tall, and thin to the point that it looked like a rope of glistening drool about to fall into the sky.

Its mud-daubed exterior was a mosaic of thousands of glass and metal beads reclaimed from the bygone age, everything that didn’t have a touch of cleverwood to it. The art was the work of magpies, one of many varieties of bird that used the Roostcheck, as it was called. In the world of the beities all news came on the wing, sometimes by bug, sometimes by bat, but almost always by bird.

They had the voices, and the sense of urgency, and the memory to see that information was transported almost losslessly across entire continents, and even the seas if an albatross was brought in as courier. Roostcheck was Compassleaf’s primary post depot, through which most business was done when there were no meetings in person. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part two)

(back to part one)

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 30 minutes)

When the Year is not Kept

And the Bloody Mouth is Invoked

The Scion of the Salmon Run was set to return to Compassleaf for a sojourn. The height of the fishing season, when the river would be more salmon roe than water, was just around the bend, and naturally he had to take first honors so the others of the region could then acknowledge him and eat their fill.

Krakodosus had been on the coast investigating washed up kelp forests as a food source, so the mountain-stump city was in the middle of his straight path from the shore to Blueguts. The great black grizzly had been meaning to stop there for some time now, as it was getting embarrassing to muddle his way through conversations that praised a storyteller he owned but had never actually seen perform. Continue reading

Invoke the Bloody Mouth (part one)

It is the age of the beity.  The animals of the world have grown in size and intellect, and in their wake humanity is reduced to meek servitude.  They say the humans did it to themselves, shying away from the chaos they created.  Loric Shelvtale says that, and much more in the course of his duties as a storyteller in the court of the great bear: Krakodosus the thundercoat, Scion of the Salmon Run.

Until one evening, during a key performance, he violates one of the ultimate rules, meant to keep his kind in check.  Fleeing for his life, he seeks the only human power left, a secret reserved only for dentists, who are still allowed to forge metal to keep the giant teeth of their masters clean.  That secret is the Bloody Mouth, an oath that turns a dentist into protector and warrior, and the tool of their trade into a weapon.

And so begins their struggle, to flee the beities, and perhaps learn how the world could have reached such a state, though they would be shocked to find it all started long ago, on a place called the internet, where their forebears could not stop obsessively staring at photos of adorable animals…

(estimated reading time: 1 hour, 17 minutes)


Invoke the Bloody Mouth

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When the Year is not Kept

And the Clutch of the Sig-neagle Fails

A beity is not failed by their talons out of nothing. There was an attack, and it had come out of clear skies no less. That is how the Sig-neagle was caught off her guard, for countless seasons had passed since last she suffered such craven disrespect. Even for her the skies were not without their threats; sometimes she did battle with hurricane winds and lances of lightning. They were challenging foes, eluding the steely traps at the end of each leg.

Lightning’s nature would’ve protected it completely in the seasons of old, but not now that the twin forces of life both ran in the river of animal blood. When bolts struck around her flight path they had be wary, despite their speed. More than once she had been witnessed under the dark clouds with a bolt caught up in her claws, those that saw it testifying to the indignity of the long-untouched lightning which turned out to flop just like a fish plucked from a lake when captured. Continue reading