Higher Hopes – Part Two

“Even if there’s any truth in him, I’d rather not know”

Welcome to the second instalment of Higher Hopes – the prologue to The Plight of Ants, and concluding our time (for now) in the outer peripheries. Next time, we move on to greater, mightier things…

Written by myself: Rupert August
Read by: Tom Reeves
Sound effects provided by: “West Wolf” via Zapsplat

If you would like to follow along via text, the piece will be posted below as such.


Subtilus’ sheep soon set sail.
Mirroring memory of misbegotten misery.
Cautious calm claimed calamity’s crew,
Absent of attack, the army agitated,
Craving the the comfort of common conduct.
Although, alternate assault appeared:
Hostile homeward held hands,
And cantankerous colonial clients,
Hewing half the host.

Soundly split, Subtilus’ ships still sailed safely,
Making mandatory more machinations.

Darkness designated the dawning delivery,
Great goliath gems of Gazus.
To raise righteous rams for refitting.
Affluent agents also added to the arsenal.
Blades, bucklers, bandages, and bread in bountiful boon.

Recon relayed regimented resistance,
Gates guarded by glistening gems,
Bristling bulwark, brazen to behold,
Hostile hue to ‘harmless’ Halitus’ harbour.

Careless comfort was caught from corsair company,
Joining the jaunt, as justice judged.
So said they, selling stolen scripts.
Dined and drank in doubted duplicity.
Waiting on warranted warning word.
Rapturous to receive rich reserve in rest,
Even extracting extortion for equanimity.

In number nigh nameless,
Their taming trek, turned taunting trial,
Nought to know of the nearby gnawing night.
Respite received, the range resumed.

Looking over the lacking lot,
The mania-mad maritime marshal,
Found the ‘flotsam’ flotilla, furious,
Formidable in fortification,
Expertly equipped,
Bounded by beleaguered bulk,
Minor mass to the marshal’s many mariners.

Subtilus saw sense in swarming the small squadron,
To wreck the wry warriors neath witting weight.
The host: a hounding hundred to each Halitan husband.
Each man of mountainous might, against a miring many.

The Forward front forced the foes to flank,
Great gems giving guard,
But boarding those bound boats became blisteringly boorish.
The plated plateau prepared for pitched parry,
A moored mobile militant, meeting might with massed metal.

Posturing for piercing pincer, the princeps prepared their poise.
He thought it thorough, to thrust their thrall through the thicket.
Releasing their rowers to wrest the redoubt,
Armed in anger, against the assurance of amnesty.

Baring blades and broken bonds,
The prior plan peaked on poised pivot.
Fury’s fists found their former foremen,
And reavers, ready in reserve, rapidly reacted to the revolt.
As encirclement engulfed the egocentric enemy,
Calamity’s cage caught the captor,
Drawing destruction’s doom in dowry.

Swift, sanguinary, and savagely, Subtilus’ swords were subdued.
Staining the stewards’ sunny shores.
The mutilated marshal made manifest their mistakes.

Traban triremes, tallied as timid,
But tidings trained the total.

Half the horde yet held hostilities,
Still subduing seeded sedition.
These rebels, rendered remote, requiring respite.
Consequently, the combative coalition coalesced.

An expedition was expedited to ease an escape.
Blissful barricading boys, boarding the boats in bay.
News not to navigate, next to navies.
And so, finding foreign flotilla, forced at their feet,
Skies soon shone a shimmering sunset,
Tinted by trireme torches, taking tyranny’s triumph.

Seeing this, the siege was stayed.
Awestruck army, assessed the arrival of another age.
Tracking the trailing tail of thrill’s terminus.
Come cockcrow, the contingent conceded their conceit.

When word wormed its way within those willful walls,
(Foul fancy fosters fair fascination, for:)
Descriptions denote the death of decency,
Collective craze, couched in composition.
But reports ring righteous a replacement reason.
In the times termed: the Terror.
Complacent in the conduct of cousins of countless curses.
Their targe, taken, and terrifying tally, totalled.
Brought to behold the bounty of blood, of their blame.
Ultimately unearthing an unholy undoing.
Finally, their folk would feed the frenzy.

Allegedly, apocalypse arrived, armed with accursed anger.
Wrinkling the walk, weeping women,
Touting the torn threads of their twisted townsfolk,
And hanging hair, heaved from hysterical heads.
Subtilus in sum, swayed and swung solemnly,
The natural nuance of numberless noosed necks.
All, overtly overshadowed.
An eerie echo enveloped everything.
Hosted by hardly half a hundred hours.
The powerless pained pleading,
Of inhabitant ignored infants.

A cautious cadet could have captured the city.
The gates gaped their gathered graces.

Only a single ship scoured the shallows.
This virtuous vanguard visited only one vim,
Presented to the prince personally.
Cut crystals, a common currency.

Suitable settlement set for slaves,
Amount agreed for aggressive assaults,
Terms of trade tallied,
But bounded by the burgeoning benefactor:
Rigorous in righting the risk of a resurgent return.
Power protected by paper and proclamation.

Long lusted luxury loved the lulling leadership.
Blessed brother brought bountiful bliss,
Just in judgements, jaunty in jollity,
Affable in association, abrupt in action.
Truly talented tyrants.

Somehow, their stint sated sufficiently to sire,
To preserve propriety, property was prevented:
Both brothers, only, beholden to the bond.
Considered congregation of the crown.
So, my mother was a maiden, married to the monarchy.

Beyond, Bracteatus’ breads brought boom,
Subtiline scalpels served survival,
Traban timber, turned tables, towers, and trinkets,
All gains granting gated gems.
Incised inscription indicating integrity.
Minor marking made monetary multiplier.
Honour held wholly by Halitus.

But popular prosperity proved poisonous,
Commoners clamoured for conflict’s creature comforts.
Better bread, but bought.
Frail fortune for fallow farmers,
Same sentence as strangled smiths,
Wayside wastrels, wasted by the war of worth.
Gazus’ graziers,
Halitus’ handicraftsmen,
Casualties to climbing competition.
Withering to waste without,
Precious prying pretext.

You suspect simpleton’s sympathy?
Forlorn fitting folly.
Mere mangy mongrels,
Covetous to cribbing currency,
Urging undue utilities.
Roguish ravenings rats.

Shipwreck soon stole the sibling sovereigns,
Leaving legend, land, and lordship.
So I, sole steward of the sea and sky,
Built brilliant buildings for the benefit of brethren:
Dazzled devoted denizens.
Wore the weight of woeful weather,
Rewarded righteousness with riches and regard,
Followed the footsteps of my felicitous fathers,
A corrosively cursed cause.

Most malevolent mariners managed their momentous malign,
Accepted acutely into an augmenting aristocracy,
Laid low and lazy in luxurious living, left lame.

Except Expilatis the elder, ever explosive,
Though tampering trifles were tamed by triviality.
Much mocked for his many mistresses,
Warranted for his worthless wanting of a wife,
Disfigured and decrepit, devious and destructive.
Coin cowed the courtesans to compliance,
Affections accruing in acquiescence with the allowance allocated.

Providence proved perceptive in prescribing its prize,
Individual infant interred by the intimacy,
Detached daughter, dumped at his door.
As alone as astral aim assigned.
Mercilessly molded in mirror of the man,
She soughts scars scurrilously,
Took tithe from townsfolk as she thrilled,
Broke and burned as her birthright bestowed,
Creature, calm, and citizenry came to curse and cry her calling:

The parent passed, poised over a pissoir, prior to the protege’s prime.
Indignantly incensed: at the indecent intelligentsia,
Loss of the lion’s legitimacy,
Disdain for dutiful discord,
Obsession with ostentatious offal,
Forgoing of the fighter’s fiery ferocity,
Holding high the honour of hedonism.
She reviled the rewards of my riches,
Derided my degenerate decadence,
Ostensibly ordering to oust this offense.
Poultry plebeian piffle.
Her heritage hoarded homicidal heartlessness.
Still, she symbolized scarcely a serendipitous stipulation.

Only on occurrence of other occasions was the option obtained.
Calamitous cause carried communities to our coast.
Emphatic eruption – exotic explosion echoing to every enclave.
A folk foreign to our farmsteads,
Married to the mention: Milupites.
I personally proposed to provide for this people,
And answer to the anger of the adjacent.
Taken as temporary to a temperamental tribe,
But they brought the brooding backdrop beyond bounded.
The weary wanderers were witnessed to be warriors,
Protest pivoted into pogrom proved problematic,
Street skirmishes soured their solitary support,
And attracted all attention.

So with warrantless war within worthless walls,
My mindfulness missed the massing menace.
A season’s strife saw the seething stresses surface,
Continuously counting coins, and courting common contempt,
Caloris carried characteristic contribution.
I missed her massing of mercenaries,
Blind to the boats ‘borrowed’,
Sightless of the seized skerries.

Finally, fastening the figureheads to a fiat,
Agreeing arbitration to annul the assaults,
Counted in court citadel company.
Fate found fit to force a failure.
Peace postponed by the pulled partition of my palace.
Ballista bolts, breaking my barriers,
Hooked heads harangued of heftier hopes.
Ropes ripped the room to respite,
Cogently cleaving the castle close to collapse.
Neither nautical knight, nor nascent native negated the gnawing.
Every accrued ally and associate, absent,
Each enemy, extant and enduring.

She took the treasury it totality,
Inlaying inscribed inventory into her instrument.

She butchered my beloved boys,
Rather than risk a resurgent rebellion.

She stripped the sphere of suitable supply,
To carry the conquest continuously.

Then exited, escaping with everything,
Past, present, and potential of all people.

I’d treasure the time to trace tales of the Terror,
To compare the cataclysm caused by Caloris.
However, Halitus’ healing was a hopeless hunger.

Still, seeing this savagery, she stayed, smiling,
Taunting my torment through teethy tone.
Repeated realisation in rancorous rooms.

Eventual excavation of my eyes esteemed my equanimity,
Her ghastly grin’s grating gated.
However, my hearing holds your hopes to honesty,
I’ll catch your clasp of crystal coin.
Every single shard, soon will see service,
My boys bring boats, bulwarks, and bullets,
We’ll wreak a reaver’s revenge on that raspy robber.
Summon the sea’s satisfaction in splitting her soul.

Still standing, staring? Shoo!
My duty demands I distance those damned dogs…

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