Escape From Cordis

Greetings, lovely internet folk. Sorry it’s been a while- my discipline as a writer is still under development. And I’ve been working on back-end things for the site as well as other behind-the-scenes work here at Verbal Realms. Anyhow, the following is for your enjoyment and perhaps your edification:


Ben Dulgoon woke slowly- stretching his arms above him and lowering them a few times before opening his eyes. The ceiling panels in his cell and in the hall were slowly flickering to life. Part of the flicker was the lights coming online one at a time, while part was provided by the shimmer of the transparent door. The doors weren’t force fields (too expensive to waste on prisoners), but they did carry a current and a decent punch if you ran into them on accident. He stood up slowly and relieved himself in the toilet by the corner. A few stray flecks hit the sides, and a small, wiry bot hurried out of a narrow panel in the wall and proceeded to sanitize the area vigorously. Ben hated those things.

It had been five years- give or take- since he had been interned at Cordis Detention Center. That was before war had broken out, or at least before the Confederation had recognized it as such. The Confederation had a long history of pretending things were different than they were, as far as Ben was concerned. He thought back to his home, to Gemini II. The moon and its twin had been terraformed centuries past into rich, tropical biomes which were excellently suited for year-round, small-scale farming and harvesting.

The dream behind the Gemini project had been far more optimistic than that of Beatrah Major. Beatrah had undergone minimal modifications due to its habitable atmosphere and ozone and, even more importantly, the ready accessibility of mineral resources. The Confederation had designated it as an industrial moon with a focus on shipbuilding. However, by the time Ben’s grandparents had been born, the Confederation had essentially crumbled due to infighting among the core worlds. A few well-placed fission explosions were all it took to wipe out the Council, Commissioners, and anyone who cared about what happened on the latest, now-forgotten colonization projects. And yet, leaders in Beatrah saw themselves as the Confederation in this system and purported to be the continuation of lawful governance.

    What a farce, thought Ben.

Continue reading Escape From Cordis

The Colony 7!

It has arrived!

Tah dah!

This is Jack, posting on behalf of Sorin. Enjoy.

January 8, 1CR


    I waited outside the temporary dormitories for my brother. I had arranged for him to take me outside the colony walls, despite his protests. The last week had been difficult to say the least. Marius was available only infrequently, and even the poverty of the refugee sector had not prepared me for the spartan lifestyle imposed upon the people of the colony. Tomorrow I would have to start my job, running the small first aid clinic during the previously unstaffed night shift.

There were three nurses, including myself, and a doctor who had been a general surgeon at the local hospital. We were well equipped in terms of bandages and disinfectants, but as in the “refugee sector”, there was very little good medicine. Despite that, the other nurses seemed fairly nice, not that I would work with them for more than an hour every day, and Dr. Krantz was a really nice guy. Then there was the pay. I swear Linne went almost literally green with envy when she handed me my ration card. As a nurse, I was entitled to 3 large meals a day and double weekly credit towards luxury items. I didn’t get it entirely; I only knew that Linne said I was in the top portion for rations.

Either way I couldn’t say I was overly impressed with it. Even in the refugee sector, nursing had paid decently, but here my double portion would be enough for about one book a week. I didn’t mind so much that I had to expect less, though I will say that anyone looking with envy on the ability to purchase a single book was living a far harder life than I had ever had. Marius was the real high earner of the bunch though. Because he had two jobs, Marius got the rights to five meals a day, two of which he brought to the injured hunters in the clinic every day to try and help them regain their strength. His luxury item credit was the real stunner around here though. He got three-and-a-half credits. Apparently, he used some up on fresh flowers every week. Given that they had to be brought in from the refugee sector this time of the year, they were more expensive than books in winter.

Continue reading The Colony 7!

Koeleth 9, The Future of Eirmoda, and Compensation

Hey, good peoples of the world. Matthew Matherne here with the long expected ninth chapter of the Chronicles of Koeleth. Due to reasons which are probably good ones, it took longer than planned to get this to you, my dear readers. To compensate for your arduous wait, I have a gift for you that I will post up here either later tonight or tomorrow morning, depending on when I finish it. Now, it is an honor to present you with the next episode in this humble adventure.


Chronicles of Koeleth

Chapter IX

Travelling Companions


Tom didn’t sleep well that night. He was plagued with nightmares and visions of a dark nature. After a particularly horrid dream, the young man awoke, unable to endure the torment any longer. Dreams and nightmares are not exclusive to magic users, but magic users can sometimes feel them more tangibly. Sometimes it is simply intense experiences, and sometimes it is a prophetic dream. Tom hoped that this situation was the former, and not the latter, because it bred in him an ill sense of foreboding. He never worried about his own death, but something in Tom told him that his companions were in danger.

The warrior had little time to ponder this, however, as he became acutely aware that an unknown entity was watching him from the shadows of his moonlit room. Carefully scanning the eerie darkness around him, his vision finally set on a pair of predatory eyes glimmering in the doorway. He was briefly unnerved by this visitor’s intrusion, until he remembered the youngest of his guests.

“Rydia, is that you?”

A timid whimper affirmed his suspicion.

“What’s wrong? Can’t sleep?”

Another whimper.

“Me neither. You can join me if you like. I might be awake for awhile.”

Cautiously, the pup approached the bed, her distinct golden fur illuminated by the light of the stars.

“Look at you! I’ll bet one day you’ll be a real beauty! A natural heartbreaker, what with your lovely hair and vivid blue eyes! You’ll have to beat the boys off with a stick. And a few girls, I imagine. Or you could hit them with a war hammer, too. Whatever suits your fancy, I suppose.”

Though she didn’t quite understand everything that Tom said, Rydia felt the kindness in it, and she jumped up next to him. Curling up into a ball and lying next to the kind man, Rydia felt very much at ease. Tom began to stroke her fur in a further attempt reassure her—and himself—that everything would be alright. Soon, Tom began talking again, telling the young girl about why he agreed to help.

“You know, you’re part of the reason I joined this adventure. You remind me of another little girl I made a promise to. In fact, you two could be twins. She’s a couple years younger, but other than that, she’s the spitting image of you. Same blonde hair, same blue eyes. Same timid disposition, even. Why, if I didn’t know better, I would say you were sisters.”

The wolf pup perked up her ears at this news. Another little girl that looked just like her? How much fun would that be?

Continue reading Koeleth 9, The Future of Eirmoda, and Compensation

Greetings/Koeleth 8

Hello, all! This is Matthew Matherne speaking! For the first time. With his own voice… er, keyboard. I’m so glad to meet you all, and I am especially pleased that I can finally post my content with my own two hands. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed my story so far, and, if you haven’t I hope you will enjoy it in the future! A little bit about the story: by now, you’ve had the chance to meet Tom and Aaron. Fun fact: those two are loosely based of myself and Sorin. In the nearish future, you’ll be meeting a few other fun characters who will play significant roles in this story. Hopefully, you’ll grow to love them as much as I do. Either way, thank you all for your interest. I hope to talk to you again soon.


Chronicles of Koeleth
Chapter VIII
Plotting and Planning

“So, how did you two meet?” Grace asked the two friends.
“That question is so stacked,” Amelia grimaced at the women sitting across from her in the cart.
“We grew up in the same village.  What more do you want?” Tom retorted from his position next to Collin at the front.
“Everything,” Grace said in a mischievous tone.
“Fine.  When I was four, I was running around my father’s blacksmith shop, causing havoc.  Being a workplace obstruction, he sent me away, none too happy about my intrusion.  So, I decided I would bother the neighborhood fletcher.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking that way, as a four year old girl was also giving him trouble.  Well, he wasn’t at all pleased, and he kicked us out of his shop.  So, the both of us decided to go bother someone else.  That was the start of our friendship.  We have remained good friends since.”

Continue reading Greetings/Koeleth 8

Koeleth Ch. 7

Hey all! As we transition back from the holidays, we have another chapter of Koeleth from Matt with Chapter 8 in editing now. Hope you enjoy and share with your friends!

Chronicles of Koeleth

Chapter VII

An Old Friend

“Ah, here’s where things started to get interesting,” the old man said.

“Oh? How so?” the young bartender asked.

“Well, Tom and Collin meet some interesting people right about now.”

The old man’s answer was cryptic and not really an answer at all, according to the bartender.

Tom was leaning against the heavy wooden door at the entrance to the White Tower. After a peaceful night and an uneventful morning, he and Collin had finally reached the monument to a bygone era. Collin was immediately absorbed in his studies, leaving Tom to keep his vigil. For the past three hours, it had carried on in that fashion and the day showed no signs of changing. Tom had searched every inch of the tower for any signs of bandits or ruffians, and he found nothing. Feeling that they were safe, he had allowed himself to relax some. He hadn’t totally forgotten his duties, however, and decided that the entrance to the structure would be a wise place to perch himself. That was how he arrived at his current position. With the exception of an occasional excited outburst from Collin, the tower was quiet and peaceful. Tom was daydreaming when the wooden door burst open. Despite his shock, Tom quickly went into action, rushing out the door and swinging the butt end of his halberd out at his perceived assailant. Much to his surprise, a small buckler calmly pushed the blow away.

Continue reading Koeleth Ch. 7

Koeleth Chapter 5

Here it is, ladies and gents! Matt has been pounding these out over the last few weeks, and it is my pleasure to share chapters 5 and 6 with you today. Enjoy!

Chronicles of Koeleth

Chapter V

A Stroll through Town

Tom awoke late the next morning. When he first opened his eyes, he was shocked by his surroundings and initially thought he had awoken in someone else’s home. He soon regained his bearings, however, and, realizing how late it was, began to prepare himself for the day ahead of him. There was still paperwork to sort out, being a new citizen of Ramsthrone, and his house was ill-furnished, having only the barest necessities. He groomed himself in much the same manner he had the day prior. He robed himself once more in his finer clothes, leaving his familiar, ragged travel attire hanging in the closet. Even his weapon he left leaning against the wall in his overlarge closet. Despite the silence of the house, none of the noise he carelessly made disturbed his housemate, Aaron, who was sleeping heavily in one of the guests rooms. Tom moved himself to the kitchen and prepared a large meal, knowing that it might be some time before he would get another chance to eat. After tending to his meal, he surveyed the mansion, planning what he wanted and where he wanted it. He grimaced when he noticed the small golden ram sitting in his gallery but decided it would only encourage Aaron if he removed it, and he left it alone. Having determined what he wanted done, he left through the large front door of the mansion. Tom’s first stop would be the municipal offices.

Continue reading Koeleth Chapter 5

The Colony 5

So……been a while. Matthew was supposed to take the last two weeks, but some miscommunication prevented it. Then I ended up being late again. I think Jack has been doing great updating the site though! alright well The Colony chapter 5 is a break in what I originally wrote to bring you something almost completely new. Hopefully everyone is enjoying some of these characters as much as I do.

the Colony 5

January 16, 1CR

            As we walked towards my new home, a girl huddled in my brother’s arms, it occurred to me that I had undertaken this journey with a surprisingly small amount of knowledge as to what this colony really was. I knew that it was safe, or mostly anyways, and that my brother had some amount of influence there, but Patton’s meek acceptance of my brother’s orders was something new. The guy had changed a lot, to be sure; he was now skinny, almost emaciated, and quiet. All that remained of his former personality was the name. Like my brother, who now used the name Marius, Patton had selected a new name for himself upon his entry into the colony, but the name suited him. Patton had always been impulsive; one for brash speech and later regret.

            The guy next to him I vaguely recognized, though I wasn’t about to bring it up; we had gone to high school together. The language was what really struck me though. The words sounded foreign to my ears, which was odd because I knew many languages. Yet both my brother and the other guy really seemed to understand what Patton was saying.

            Finally we reached the outer edge of the colony. Like the roadblock we had seen earlier, the colony’s walls were constructed of cars piled upon one another, though these had obvious ramps around them to get them to their lofty height, and they were only two high, though they were also two deep. Within the walls, the ground was higher up the bottom cars than on the outside, but the snow blocked my view of what I gathered to be fields created on the old parking lots. There was one single building in the middle of these snow covered plains, an old community college where my brother had been enrolled when the evacuation was sounded. On the roof, several men holding bows looked out over the land. I threw a glance over my shoulder and noticed two miserable looking men on either side of the exit holding machetes and talking in low voices.

            As we neared the familiar structure, a man wearing an expensive looking coat and a silver ring approached us from the entrance. My brother said something in the weird language, and Patton coughed, obviously trying not to laugh.

            “Master Marius, it is good to see you returned to our lovely home.” The man said with a smirk, “I wish you had told me that you would be leaving us; I was feeling quite slighted that you were refusing to see me.”

            “My comings and goings are none of your concern Lazarus; I will do as I will.” Marius frowned at him.

            “But of course my Lord. However, as I am your apparent successor, would it not be prudent to make me aware of any potential dangers to your person?” This man, Lazarus, appeared fake to my eyes. His lack of real concern and desire for power were readily apparent, even having just met him. “It makes the men lose their confidence in me if you favor my subordinate so.”

            “Patton? Patton has to know, he’s my hunting partner. Besides, he is in charge of choosing qualified officials to go and deliver our census information to the government. He was the one who decided that I should go in the first place.”

            “Nevertheless sir, it is in bad form.”

            “If I may interject here, is no one going to say anything about how he called me his subordinate?” Patton’s indignant words were ignored.

            “Lazarus, I really am not in the mood for your whining right now. Lilia needs to get to bed, my sister needs to get living documents, and I need to not have a conniving little shit complaining to me about his ridiculous problems. The men don’t respect you because you are not worthy of their respect. I left Patton in charge during my absence on purpose, and if you will remember the council’s charter, that is his right by virtue of position. Now if you would, master Lazarus, I am trying to pass within.”

            Marius was about as impatient as I had ever seen him, and Lazarus stepped aside quickly. The look he gave my brother when his back was turned made me shudder for all the venom it contained. His gaze turned on me and lingered a moment too long for my comfort, but he said nothing. As we stepped through the doors and into the old college, I found myself almost reeling from the wave of nostalgia I felt. I had gone here when I was younger as well, though it had been some time, and I had gone for college credit high school courses and not for college. The inside looked almost the same as I had remembered it, narrow hallways with rooms on either side, opening up to a lobby only a few yards ahead of me. My brother began moving swiftly through the familiar building, going from this lobby to the grand stairwell into another lobby and finally into a quiet, out of the way hallway. Along the way, I got the impression of heavy use. Many of the rooms’ doors were open, and I could see the classrooms within divided into sections by plain white curtains. There were small groups of people here and there, and, until we reached the last hallway, which I had not gone into much while a student here, there was an almost constant presence of people sitting here and there.

            My brother stopped at the end of the hallway and opened the door to what appeared to have once been an office. I caught the brief scent of roses while my brother laid the girl on a bed in the corner of the room. Returning to the hall where I was waiting, Marius closed the door behind himself.

            “Well then, off to the hall of records. It’s a pain, but I think you will like the people there, at least.” Nodding at me, my brother gestured to the nearest stairwell. As I walked down the stairs, I realized that I still hadn’t decided on a new name. If that was required, I would have to do some fast thinking to come up with something suitable.

            “What do you think I should name myself, Marius?”

            “Anything you like. It is your name, after all. Why should I choose something so foundational to you?”

Marius led me into what had once been an office for adjunct professors in the nearest lobby. Within was a small, but pretty girl wearing yoga pants, a tank top, and a red and white polka dot bow. She looked up at our entry, and broke out in a grin.

            “Well if it isn’t the head honcho himself. You’re looking bright and cheery today, mister frowny.”

             I looked at my brother; nothing about his grim demeanor and black clothing suggested humor in the least. Almost immediately, Marius broke out in a grin. “I look much happier than you to be sure. Though I fear that too much joy will have me collapse in fatigue, for I am not used to such rich fare. Did your mail reach you yet?”

           “Of course it did. Rain, Sleet, Snow, or Hail, or maybe even monsters and a damsel in distress for the umpteenth time. Why? Is the messenger boy expecting a tip? Or how about a kiss for being so prompt in delivery?”

           “I was merely wondering how young Mickey is getting along without his beloved mouse. Though it would give much pains to a chivalrous knight to deny himself the kiss of the fair maiden.”

           “Good thing you’re a villain then milord, for this fair maiden gives her kisses not for free.” The girl was smiling too, completely at ease with the situation. I was feeling rather uncomfortable, however, because my brother had never shown himself to be a flirt. In fact, he had always seemed uneasy around women in general, and it made me wonder how he had changed. Then the girl continued in a more serious tone, “Matthew says he’s been sick recently. I worry about him because of the lack of good medicines. Enough of such pleasantries, introduce me, Marius.”

           Turning to me, my brother said, “This is Minnie, the keeper of records here at the colony. She works here every day and is a great help to me in spite of her young age. She is going to walk you through the process of becoming a member of the Colony. This is where you will come sometime in the next week to receive your job assignment and lodging information as well. If you have any questions about the colony, Minnie would be the one to ask. She’s more knowledgeable than most anybody else here. I’ll be at the temporary dorm in a couple hours to pick you up for dinner.”

            So saying, my brother left me alone with Minnie. The moment he left, Minnie grabbed several forms and pens and began to lay them out in front of me. I grimaced at the sheer number of forms I had to fill out, this looked like more trouble than it really needed to be.

             “Alrighty then, beautiful, let’s get this show on the road. First I need to know your real name, date of birth, country of origin, weight, height, and last documented occupation.”

              Minnie spoke in a really fast voice, her quirky speech reminding me of many of the characters I used to see on TV shows. “Um, Teige Baumann, November 7, 1992, United States, and my license says…”

              “I don’t care about your license, I need actual measurements. Remove your shoes and clothes. I’ll get the blinds for you so you don’t have to feel nervous at all.” Minnie pressed a button and the blinds on all the glass walls descended, followed by blackout curtains. I was still uncomfortable, Minnie was so tiny she reminded me of a pixie, but I quickly undressed and walked over to the scale behind her desk. After getting up and locking the door, Minnie came over to the scale and marked down my weight. Standing on a chair, she put her tape measure to the top of my head. “Alright, last info for this form, last documented occupation.”

               “I was a nurse. I worked at an ER in the city.”

               Minnie stared at me. “An ER nurse? Seems like you’ll be an essential member of the colony in no time. The last name seems familiar too.” Minnie grabbed the next sheet and clipped it to her board while I put my clothes back on. I nearly jumped right back out of them again when Minnie yelled out, “Wait, isn’t ‘Baumann’ Marius’s original last name? I thought you guys looked alike, though you’re not quite what I imagined, if you don’t mind me saying.”


                “Just saying how I feel. Okey dokey, next form. Living relatives and location; I can fill that out for you. Preferred living arrangement: could be a two person apartment or barracks.”

                “Two person seems less stressful to me.”

                “It isn’t. Marius is a great example of that actually. His roommate is a disaster on legs. Marius doesn’t care though. He’s a real sweetie pie. Next form.”

                 As Minnie got her next form on the clip board, I decided that she reminded me less of a character from a show and more just strange. I didn’t hate that, though her mannerisms were a bit annoying. At least she seemed cheerful; it was a welcome change of pace.

                “Alright, so last form is the public information sheet. I fill most of this out on my own, but I do need you to determine a few things. First up is your marital status. Uncomfortable as it may be, we are trying to establish a permanent community. That means that having kids is vital to our future, but we don’t want to pressure anyone to betray any marriage vows or be insensitive to widows. So it’s single, married, or widowed.”

                “I’m single.”

                “Gotcha. Last question, what do you want your name to be?”

                 I thought carefully for a minute about the various options I had considered. I liked a lot of them, but I really did think that a Latin name with the family name Marius seemed like it would keep me closer to my brother. Finally I reached a conclusion. “I want to be known as Minerva Marius.”

Colony 4

Alright so this week, for anyone who has been counting, should have been Matthew putting up the next chapter of Koeleth, but he’s having technical issues, so I decided to cover him for this week. So, about this chapter: this is the first chapter I ever wrote for the Colony, and it is still almost in its original form. Since it was meant as a proof of concept chapter, the original took up about 20 pages. This is the first portion of it. Also, about dates, the Colony creates its own calendar system, with the year of the Fall being year 0. Anyways, this chapter hints about some of the other monsters and characters I have yet to introduce. I hope you enjoy!

Sorin Herling

colony 4

Koeleth Chapter 2

Hey Everyone, it’s Sorin again. Alright, so this isn’t Monday, and for that I am most apologetic, however, I really think you will appreciate today’s addition to Koeleth, which explains more about how Tom and Cleo met. As this is our first project of this scale, I hope you will bear with us through these little trials when expectations do not mix with reality. Hopefully next week, the post will happen in a timely fashion now that we are moving the posting day to Wednesday, because we seem to like that day. Matthew did a really good job with this chapter, and I think it is one of the highlights of Koeleth as a whole. Next week, I will post the second chapter of the Colony, which will contain some of the origin of the colony and introduce a new character. Meanwhile, Jack is almost finished with his first short story, and I have begun a “short” story of my own. Matthew is hoping to start work on one of his other projects shortly as well, though we are trying to pace ourselves during this early portion, so I have no news as to when it shall begin serialization. Thank you so much for your support!

Sorin Herling

Koeleth 2