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So it was that we were walking about the woods that form the backdrop to the stories of the Dunstanane and they wanted me to tell one to them. We were in the old quarry, the wastelands, that we have decided is the land of the giants and is inhabited by a dragon in the crag called 'Dragonholm' and I decided that a story of giants wasn't going to provide me with enough material as I didn't really know how to fit them into the tales of the Dunstanane.
Of course, the whole thing is supposed to be about the epic poem, and it still is, but I am leaning towards a collection of things now, some poetry, some short stories, maybe some art work if I can ever get my artistic muscles toned enough to create something worthwhile again. I therefore record a version of the story here, more to see how it looks and whether or not it would work than anything else.
Long ago the wastelands were a city, throbbing and vibrant, with high towers and walls surrounding it. The people that lived there worked hard and toiled for their masters because the ruler of the city was an evil wizard who had the power to make bangs. He would scare people into doing as he wanted by making bangs that could cause pain or simply to make him look more frightening than he was. These bangs worked and many people of the forest were too scared to not do what the evil wizard told them to do. In this way he made his city powerful and strong with him living in the highest of the highest towers.
At the top of this tower the evil wizard worked alone, making bigger and more impressive bangs to use to scare the people of the forest or to destroy anyone who was brave enough to stand up to him. Some had coloured smoke, some used lots of flames and fire and some were just very loud. All of them could destroy things and break down walls and houses and trees. He used them to scare the green-skinned beings of the north and then he used his magic to change their faces and bodies - they were so frightened of the power of the evil wizard that they did as he told them. They did it for so long that they forgot that they were forced by him and many of the green-skins began to believe that the evil wizard was their friend.
But the evil wizard grew bored and believed that he was as powerful as the people thought he was. He wanted to conquer and destroy more and more places, he was not satisfied with his power and with the people that lived in his city. His jewels and money were not enough, his high towers were not tall enough and the misery he caused his people was not miserable enough to make him feel happy and powerful. So he made bigger and bigger bangs, hoping that he could make the biggest bang ever and it would mean that no one would ever dare to stand against him.
One day, when he had sent out his green-skins to fight with the knights of the forest, led by King Owain, he used his magic to make the biggest bang he could. He did not mean to make it go bang yet, he meant to make it and then use it against the knights of King Owain, who had dared to stand against him and gained a following of the forest people, but he made a mistake. The bang went off and it was the very biggest bang that the world had ever seen. The bang was so big that it destroyed the evil wizard's city and the evil wizard himself. When the great cloud caused by the bang had stretched high into the sky, higher than the clouds and darker than the night time and hotter than the sun, there was nothing left below but the wasteland. All the towers and the roads and the shops and the houses had gone, all that was left was rock and brick and ash. The city was gone, the evil wizard was gone. And, in the pools of water that remained after the rain, the magic remains.
|The wastelands at the height of summer.|
So much magic had been put into the bang that some was left afterwards. And we must be careful because the magic was evil and could cause illness and pain and even death if it is touched. It could cause more bangs or fires or simply poison. It is why the giants live in the wasteland but hunt for their food in other places and it is why only weeds grow in the ground. It will be many years yet until the magic is gone from the wasteland, longer than humans will walk this earth.
And yes, obviously the whole thing is a thinly disguised tale of humankind exceeding their grasp due to greed and the fallacy of nuclear weapons. Part of me thinks these stories may form the basis of the book I write and part of me thinks that they may seem needlessly childish when I pass them on.
I may publish more of these, such as the story of the Woman of Haxby or the story of the Horned Stranger but I'm not certain at the moment.