Author: weirdwordsofjoeljenkins

Never Trust a Hungry Hobranx


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The Muvari and other of the Martian Tribes have a number of proverbs, which are used to instruct children and remind themselves of basic truths. One such proverb is:

Trust a hungry hobranx and soon he will no longer be hungry.

This, of course, is a cautionary proverb about the perils of putting faith in those who are untrustworthy … or of turning your back on an insatiable beast.



The Galbran




The Galbran are Martian tribes who have fallen into the degenerate worship of such gods as Baalbrock and Naalbrock. The different tribes, and there are many because they constantly are splitting or splintering, are constantly jockeying for power or territory.

They eschew work and so largely subsist by hunting or raiding, though some tribes will take slaves and force these to cultivate food. Because of the constant shortages of food many of the tribes resort to cannibalism–raiding enemy tribes and taking prisoners, which they will later eat.

Cannibalism is also a component of their religions, which involve human sacrifice and then the eating of the victims.

Some of the tribes retain the semblance of a family structure, but others mate at will and children are placed in a collective orphanage (for in these cases all children are effectively orphans) and are raised by overseers, much in the way that cattle is raised.

There is little in the way of education unless a child is lucky enough to be taken as an apprentice to one of the few craftsmen who ply a trade. Most of the children will be taught only how to fight, and the process is brutal and unforgiving. Many Galbran children die in training, long before they ever have the chance to go to war with an enemy tribe.

Galbrans prefer close fighting and fit their fingers and even toes with blades which they use to slice apart their enemies. Out of practicality, some Galbran tribes use knives and swords.

Many Galbran tribes make their homes in caverns near arshen pits, where they can slay these slug-like creatures and use their skins and pitch to make wings, which makes the tribes dangerously mobile. Often the edges of these wings will be studded with razors, so that a Galbran might sweep down and slice at an enemy.




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An exile from the Elkshant tribe, Lambrin fell in with a group of exiles led by Sharone and the American astronaut Arnold Stechter, the self-styled “Lord and Master” of this group of renegades and outcasts.

During her residence with these exiles, they acquired the brilliant scientist Sar Savaht who had been displaced when the Warlord Shaxia was slain. Stechter immediately pressed Sar Savaht to work in recovering ancient technologies which might allow them to slip into enemy strongholds, bypassing the defenses.

Lambrin, attracted to Savaht’s intellect and kindness, though he was some fifty years older, began sneaking away to visit him. Eventually she was caught by Sharone, administered a whipping and thrown into a cage which was lowered into an arshen pit.

When Savaht discovered this he demanded that Lambrin be set free and be allowed to marry him. Stechter, realizing it was in his best interest to keep the scientist happy, relented.

Savaht used an ancient device that regenerates cells to heal Lambrin’s wounds. Here, they dwelt until later Garvey and Ntashia Dire freed them from the subjugation of Stechter and his exiles.

Savaht, Lambrin, and her three children (Than, being the oldest son who is named after the legendary Caladrexian scientist Than Shib  ) were brought back to the City of Ledgrim and thereafter Savaht used his skills in the service of the Muvari Tribe.

In this period, Savaht was able to experiment with ancient cellular therapies that actually have reversed the course of aging, bringing him nearer to Lambrin’s health, vigor and youth.

Lambrin has had several opportunities to demonstrate her prowess with the sword in defense of her husband. Though she has not been able to bear any more children beyond the three born in the camp of the exiles, she and Sar Savaht added to their brood, when they were attacked by renegade technopriests and used a rifle designed to create a pocket of slowed time that would retard the actions of the enemy.

This rifle malfunctioned and caused two of their enemies to regress to infanthood. In consequence they have added Exarin and Vyann to their family. Though they dare not mention to anyone just where those infants came from, Garvey Dire and his wives strongly suspect.



Pile of Reading

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My tottering tower of leaning literature is once again growing out of control. In addition to published books I’m currently reading a couple of manuscripts. One is Aubrey Arthur and the End of Magic by Russ Anderson Jr and co-author Michael Fogg. I’ve been reading this one nightly with my 9 year old daughter, and just the opposite of being the end of all magic, the vivid prose captures magic in a way that puts JK Rowling to shame.

Also, I’ve got the sequel to Rob Mancebo’s five-star-rated Section Seven in the pile, and I’m working my way through an edit of Dogs and Sorcerers, which will be the third book in my Tales from the City of Bathos fantasy series.

Nailed Naked to a Board

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Some tribes, notably the Ekshant Tribe from which Lambrin was exiled, will administer punishment for violations of law by tying the criminal up to a board and whipping them. In some cases, where the sentence is death they will nail the criminal to the board.

This has given rise to the saying, “I’d rather be nailed naked to a board” when some task or event seems particularly odious.


Caladrex Steel

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Caladrex or Caladrexian steel was used to forge weapons of superior edge and durability by the blacksmiths of that ancient and now lost city. An entrance to that now buried city was discovered by Garvey Dire and Ntashia Dire through a cavern in the cliffside of the Rift, and there is another known entrance through the Valley of Diamonds.

This lost city beneath the Martian planetary crust was at the time partially controlled by a malicious computer entity known as Sved who could also appear in apparitional or semi-substantial form. Another portion of Caladrex is controlled by Thenylis, High Priestess of the Omnipotent Vackri, who rules over the remnants of the once great people.

Caladrex steel may or may not have been actual steel at all, but in reality an alloy unknown to exile, Galbran, or Muvari, and even to the mad wizard Sar Savaht.


This Week’s Reading


Despite saying nothing about the three (or four) musketeers in the title, The Vicomte de Bragelonne is indeed a Musketeer book. However, it takes place some thirty years after the events of young D’artagnan riding into Paris with the aspiration of becoming a musketeer. In the process, if you recall, D’artagnan offended three men who were already musketeers (Porthos, Athos, and Aramis) and made appointments to meet all three of them at the end of a sword.

Despite this rocky start, they became best of friends. But thirty years later they have gone their separate ways. This book is quite lengthy and actually contains three separate story arcs, the third of which doesn’t satisfactorily resolved. It was written in serial format, appearing between 1847 and 1850–and this is really just the first 93 chapters of 263. Because this book is continued in  Louise de la Vallière, and The Man in the Iron Mask.

Anyhow, this book is loaded with clever repartee, court intrigue, and derring-do. It’s hard to top the literary virtuosity of Dumas.

This is a comprehensive study of the life of Jesus Christ, the most important historical and spiritual figure since the world was formed. The book was enlightening on several counts. It goes into the Jewish society and customs of the day and this sheds understanding on a number of things Christ said during his ministry.


The Royal Occultist: The Charnel Hounds

This story takes place before St. Cyprian meets his apprentice Ebe Gallowglass and when St. Cyprian is the mere apprentice for the previous Royal Occultist Thomas Carnacki.  There’s a lot of awesomeness packed into a very short tale: The trenches of the Great War, flesh-eating human/simian mongrels, and a Lewis Gun.

The Charnel Hounds is available through Josh Reynolds Patreon site.