by thefourpartland

This story is a continuation of Into The Swamp

“Bugger! Bugger! Bugger!” Ellgis cursed long and loud as the bucket of stones was hoisted into the air. Even with his inventive pulley system, the strain still showed in his back and face. Fryca watched anxiously, slowly paying out a guide rope that kept the basket hidden from the path.

The hourglass sitting on a rock nearby had almost run dry by the time they finally got the basket into position. Pinning it there with with the release catch, they turned and fled. If the ropes broke or it didn’t catch all of the Knights of the Broken Wheel, so be it.

At their home outside the village, Ellgis stuffed books and notes into a bag. Experiments he could rebuild if he had the notes, but without his notes? He was worthless. Fryca threw food together, and some warm clothes. As they exited their house, a massive thump sounded through the swamp, followed by shouts and curses.

Maybe the trap caught the Knights, maybe not, but the two experimenters ran either way, pushing a small skiff deep into the swamp, following a twisting path they had marked out when they first came to the village. It was different now, the swamp changing as a living thing, but they had left signs amongst the old trees, and enough remained that they were able to find their way to a small mound, rising out of murky water.

On top was a simple hut, one room, nothing more, but it had enough supplies within that they could stay here for a time. The waters about the camp had proven fruitful fishing, and they had stayed here in the past. This was not the first village they had been forced to flee from, nor would it be the last. The Knights of the Broken Wheel were persistent in hunting down those accused of heresy, of bringing back the old ways that had shattered the world and brought down a plague upon the living.

No matter that it had been magic that had done that, and not knowledge, but the Knights discriminated not at all between magic and what they saw as analogous to magic, and so Ellgis and Fryca fled from village to village, staying only long enough to be spotted by some Wheelie sympathizer and forced to flee.

That had happened once again, and if any of the Knights had survived, well, the village would be put to the torch. Or more likely hacked apart with axes, for nothing burned well in the swamp.

The two experimenters waited for a week in their hidey-hole in the swamp, and only after the hourglass had turned over for the eighth day did they venture back towards the village and their trap.


  1. anakronistical on 12.05.2010

    Nice work. I like the description of the Knights’ attitude toward magic and tech 🙂

  2. E.P. Marcellin on 12.06.2010

    Short but sweet 🙂 So these two are not mages, after all?

  3. The Four Part Land on 12.06.2010

    Nope, they’re a pair of experimenters, mostly playing around with things like Da Vinci’s machines, all pulleys and rope and counterweights.

    And I like the Knight’s as a primary villain, but I think I’ll need to come up with more. Good old greed can do a lot of that.

  4. The Year in Review on 12.30.2010

    […] Wheels of Desperation – A continuation of a short story set in the Splintered Lands, as two inventors flee from their oppressors, this post was the clear winner of the year, despite being a late arrival. […]

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