Sunday, 14 June 2020

A Shock Peddler

The Wonders of the West
Edited by Mencia di Giallo
All stories written by Naida

Issue 7
Midnight In The Deathlands

The Vanishing Vome

We had reached the Caravansery at the Steppe of the Lime Nomads when the horror attacked - a vome, taller than anything you have ever feared, larger than anything you have ever had nightmares about, dripping putrefaction and death as it lumbered toward us, a doom in filth and vile secretions approaching. A group of hateful, murderous Redlander thieves sought glory in dying in trying to wound it while the rest of us hastily packed our wagons and carts, hoping to flee before we too became corrupted and diseased. However, the strangest and most curious thing happened - as the lethal Redlandlander bandits closed in on this unimaginably huge vome, it vanished as suddenly as it had appeared. The Redlanders milled about in confusion, wondering why the death they sought had escaped them. The rest of us continued packing and left swiftly. We could wonder what happened as we traveled and put distance between us and that disappearing biomechanical dreadnought.

The Ash White Hellgazers

There are many tribes you may encounter in the Deathlands, but few are as terrifying as the Ash White Hellgazers who paint their faces with bleached bone dust and engage in strange rituals to speak with the dead. If you see one of their fetishes, your only chance to survive is to immediately stop, make camp, and offer to share your food with them. If they accept, you are safe for one day - no more. And the next time they see you, it may be in the Circle Of Blood, and the dust of your bones may be adorning their faces.

The Claws That Dig Graves

We saw them in the distance, dirt exploding around them as they savaged the earth with their wickedly long and horrifying sharp talons that could cleave a humanoid in half with no effort at all. They saw us coming and before we had time to prepare, these savage, heavily armored beasts were upon us, reeking of ash and cinnabar, old dried blood the color of rust staining their scaled paws! We fought desperately but in no time at all, they had overwhelmed us, leaving us no choice but to parlay; we surrendered one of our traveling party to them in marriage to secure safe passage through their terrifying lands. This is not a place for the weak of body, mind, or spirit. Moments like these will haunt me for the rest of my days.

The Death That Stalks From The Underworld

After losing one of our party to those horrible, clawed beasts who defy description in their disgusting savagery, we were all somber, lost in our thoughts. That is the only explanation I have for why we missed several dozen revolting vomish snakes with metallic fangs still moist from whatever unholy seepage they leave on each other as they attend to themselves. They attacked us from underground, striking up through the roadway in an attempt to claim our souls for whatever demons they serve, gnashing through the soil and grievously wounding one of our party as the rest of us set about with whatever we had at hand to beat these monsters back to whatever fiery hell they called home. We gasped for breath, covered in their oily, black, infectious blood, knowing that we were wounded as well and might soon discover how it felt to become a vome. Each morning, we nervously check each other to ensure that there is, as yet, no sign of contagion, knowing full well that if there is, it falls to us to spare the poor afflicted wretch the suffering of becoming one of those appalling creatures that make us all recoil in terror. We travel on, fearing the worst.

I Would Rather Become A Vome ...

Than A Porcelain Prince!

By this point in our travels, we had seen no end of the horrors the Deathlands have to offer travelers. Death in so many varieties - slow, sudden, painless and painful … it is easy to look through the gates of The Violet City and imagine this to be a pleasant, tranquil place. After all, what danger could grasslands offer? And then travelers reach the deceptively welcoming gates of the Porcelain Citadel, where all of the previous nightmare fuel burns in the abattoir engine of The Broken Line. Somewhere between an oubliette and charnel house, The Broken Line is most charitably described as a body farm for the Porcelain Princes, providing them with an eternal supply of meat, bodies stripped of souls and minds flensed of consciousness, ready to be inhabited by the consciousness of one of those easily broken squanderers concerned solely with delicacies and damask. Of all the atrocity exhibitions I have seen in wandering these wastes, the hours I spent dragging the finally deceased bodies to the pit for final disposal in The Broken Line are the ones I will never be able to escape. Whenever you see a Porcelain Prince, now you know what lies beyond the youth and beauty, the staggering human cost of their privilege and power. And when you do see a Porcelain Prince? End them. The dead will bless you a thousandfold.

Printed by Het Vrije Combinaat v/d Letterzetters and Drukkerij, Rode Landen

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