Ins(a fire)ide

Some people have fires (inside)

and it flickers in their eyes

casts shadows on their skin

and stains their breath

with gemstones of smoke

and gasoline

 


Others have oceans

great tumultuous seas

the color of ink and blue coal

sloshing around (within) them

confounding compasses

and causing them to lose their balance

The Phlebotomist’s Rose

The Phlebotomist’s Rose is in fact, not a rose. This name is a misnomer. While its genetic code draws from many sources both plant and animal, it is taxonomically more of a succulent, with a bit of leech mixed in. However, it is still similar enough in breed and appearance to be called a rose, and really, what is a rose by any other name? This is only a saying, of course. One should take care to never misname their roses.

The Phlebotomist’s Rose was originally bred by the gardener-monks of High Petrichor in the late 17th century, as a safer and more visually appealing method for drawing blood. Upon breaking the skin, the hollow thorns would siphon blood into the fleshy petals, which could then later be slit, and the viscera drained. The cut would seal quickly, and could then be used again on another patient or specimen.

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and when things got worse, we didn't mind.

and when things got worse, we didn't mind.

we turned off the news and looked at the sky and read the old books in the basement again with the brittle brown pages and learned the cycles of the world.

and when things got worse, we told those we trusted.

we bore the blows of their sticks upon our backs and shared glances in the street and continued to plan and learned the meaning of honor among thieves.

Lightning Wine

Lightning wine, also known as storm wine, is an alcoholic beverage produced by submerging a bolt of lightning in fermented rainwater, and allowing the natural juices and currents of the lightning bolt to seep into the concoction. It is a heady, charged beverage that crackles going down and is thought to bring increased energy and vitality to whoever drinks it. The wine itself is relatively easy to produce, but the danger involved in lightning-hunting means that it is usually reserved for festivals and holy days, and is considered somewhat of a rarity.

To brew lightning wine, one must first catch lightning in a bottle. Catching lightning requires incredible reflexes, and a willingness to stand out in the rain for potentially hours. It is as much skill as it is random chance, but nonetheless, safeguards should be taken to prevent harm from coming to the adventurous sommelier. It is wise to acquire a pair of rubber-lined shoes and gloves, so that you may handle the lightning without experiencing electrical burns, and to avoid making a circuit with the ground in case of accidentally being struck. Once you have caught the lightning, it will begin to struggle violently, so immediately transfer it to a bottle made of glass, porcelain, or another non-conductive material, and cork it with a rubber stopper to prevent its escape.

The Theology of Wolves

No wolf is higher in stature than any other wolf, save one. Their ancient Grandfather-god, he who walks where no tree has ever known the taste of the logger’s axe, and where the northern lights flow like meltwater down the mountains. The Grandfather-god wears a silver circlet with a stone of coniferous amber upon his brow, containing a fossilized star. He stands high enough to lap at the cool waters of the winter sky, and sleeps beneath the branches of the great red spruce rooted at the base of the world. His breath is the mist that blankets the pines, and his teeth are the shadows of the mountains against the sunrise, poised to swallow the world.

It is possible for lesser wolves to win the favor of the Grandfather-god. To do so, they must travel deep into the forest, where the mist grows thick and the trees grow tall. They must hunt one of the deer-god’s bull seraphim, massive beasts with horns of black quartz and coats of dappled gold. They must complete this task unaided, and feast deeply of the god-creature’s burning ichor. If they are able to survive these trials, then they may ask the Grandfather-god to grant them a single wish.