TagAudio drama

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…

Higher Hopes – Part One

“A hermit stalks those tall, broken halls; totally mad – I’ve heard.”

Welcome to the first instalment in a series which will hopefully extend for some time yet, on a monthly basis – though the first two prologue episodes ought to be much closer together.

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

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


Hark! Hoarse hounds whose howling hollows my halls.
Tapping tracks tracing troubled times.
And you, capricious crowd, come to cast contempt.
or gaze greedily at my gathered gains.

Oh but treasury is temporary to the tales told.
Leave lies lazing, let light loose:

T’was times of tumult and trouble that taught our tiny towns.
Scarcity scourged these small shores:
A bounty of blooming Bracteatus breads,
Steel, sharp and subulate from Subtilus,
Timber from Trabus’ trees tall,
Gems of Gazus given glaring glisten,
Halitus’ herbs for healing, all held hostage,
And many more miniature mounds besides.

Timid Trabus took to trade,
Great galleys taken as gracious guests,
Bringing bundled burden,
Received roundly,
Reciprocated righteously.
Each isle idolizing incredible inventories,
Business bustled as barter bore benefit.

Soon Subtilus sought spare,
But grain was the greater good,
Needed now, yet needles not.
Toolmakers and traders took to the tilt,
Ships seized, with sailors seeking safety,
Love lost in lust, lives lost in longing.

Blades now born of blacksmith’s beatings,
Blood brought boundless boon.
Into this, Princes of profit proudly poured their persons.
Denizens left destitute from these dealings,
Donning the drapes of destroyers.
Reavers, come to ravage and raze residencies,
Gathering the gated grain as gratuity.
Such was serenity swallowed into seething smoke.

Brash belligerence became the baron of Bracteatus,
Appeals for aid were accepted, an army assembled.
Listless labourers levied.

Waters now wild from those willful,
Timber of Trabus was trapped.
Posterity’s professions gained pride of place.

Forests felled for their felicitous fleet,
Knolls gnawed for needed nutrient.
Noted in notice.
Prying pirates prepared for punishment.

Sailors and statesmen,
Craftsmen and constructors,
Farmers and fishermen.
Manifold mechanists of their mazed milieu,
Seeking safety from Subtilus’ suzerainty,
Gazed gravely to the gathering games.

Allies allotted assistance,
Cast off with conceited contempt.
Subtilus’ ships seventeen,
Belittled by the bellicose Bracteatus:
A seaborne settlement of sightless size.
But agents of the army apprised:
Remember the reavers resolutely.
In character beyond counting they crept,
Of allegiance assumed in arrogance.

Designs devised, dawn drew the day.
To misguided merrymaking, the men marched,
A fleet flit to festivities, forsakenly. For:
The pirate prince prepared preponderantly.
Letters lay large on every ledger,
Payment, prestige, and plunder promised,
Bounty borne by every boy and beau.
Wolves of the water waited, wanting.

A few freighters, first.
Scouts, spies, and suppliers,
Made missing to their masters,
Brutally bound to bandits’ benefit.

Intrepidity increased, isolation impeded,
Packs of poachers, perpetually preparing to pounce.
The behemoth bled, bit by bit,
Vessel too vast in volume for veracious valuation.

Reconnoitre rendered reckless, resting as rash,
Spectral shadows seeking sedate souls.
Travels turned torture taught terror,
Yet, dire direction depended on deaf dictate.

And so, a husk was hauled into hostilities.
Twenty took on ten times their total:
The drained and daunt, driven at devoted defenders,
Granted ghastly gaze at the guardians’ game:
Brothers bound to the boats of those brutes.

The battle was brief, beaten before they began,
One boarding bid was baited,
Their searing screams: soul shredding.
Weary warriors, wrecked by war, wizened by wastrels,
Could seldom sling a single stone.
Deftly decimated, devastated, then destroyed.

Though felled forcefully, the force was few.
Many marshalled to the master once more,
Pressing to the purpose point.

Greeted at the gates, gracious guests given glimpse:
Arrayed ancestry of acquired audacity.
The eyes of empire’s ego, embarrassed and encased.
Bound, as bargain.
Despite desperate direction,
The power of pleading persuaded,
The soldiers stood still, silent.
Campaign contained: the captains conceded.

A generation, given to the gamble,
Those remaining, required ransom.
Payments priced to prohibit,
Interest indemnified,
Laid in labour.

Vulgar villains in victory,
Subtiline sovereign sang sailing songs,
Erred in every entrance.

Pirate’s peace proclaimed,
Seas seized to Subtilus,
Weapons, wealth, wares, and wives,
All ascribed as accolade.

Dawning domino descends,
Echoing ever into eternity.

Peace protected the putrefaction from perspective,
Chained clasp; constricting claws of curse.
Free farmers of the fold,
Driven to destitute despair,
Labour lost to loveless levies,
Sustenance stolen to soaring sums,
Fields of foreign farmsteads left fallow,
Bread basket burned and bare.
The hungry hopeless, heedless to their homely hindrance.
Restraint restrained; riot required.
Bound bearing the brunt,
Agents of administration assaulted also,
Taking time and tribulation from trying tasks.

Promised payments, paling to pledge,
Risky, relating to a reaver.
Content to cast curiosity on a contemporary campaign.
Gazus: Glutinous in grounds,
Paltry in populace: a perfect prize.
Smalls settlements to start,
Seldom sold, some secured in service.
Dovetailed devotees to desired dividend,
Bound brothers in benefit.
Fully facilitated the final foray,
Some seventy sails in surprise sortie.
Fort foregone in frenzied flurry.
Complete clan, caged,
Spoils seized, split, and sold.
Formerly fastidious folk, forced to the flog.

Simultaneously Subtilus’s streets strained,
Sovereign serving senselessly, so seen.
Transient tramps taking their tax,
By blade and brawl.
Remembering restoration of righteous retribution,
Praying on people pitiable in punishment.

Through tragedy taken to targeted treasuries,
Ascendant assets assuaged,
Compensation continuing.
Alternate arrangement assembled,
Thrall to be transferred,
Payment pending, percentage of produce as profit.
Freedom foregone, fought in finance.
Down drops due dominos.

Hefty in holdings, heads held high,
Belying brazen backdrop.
Coffers cold, company cowardly,
A princely purge was pondered.
Reconnecting reavers, relationships restored,
Entreated energy extended,
Efficiently engaged,
But brutally brought.
Proud peasants: put to painful penalty.
Territorial tribute taken, torturously in trying times.

Brutally brings such bountiful benefits.

Harmless Halitus, hopeful, homely,
Ultimately uprooted ungrateful urging.
Inviting in impeccability, intriguer in indignation,
Perhaps perspective pertains polarity.

Deep disdain dashed dividend demands.
The shocked spokesman spat scurrilous slander,
Leviathan’s limbs, long and limber,
Drove dread of dangerous and doomed designs.
“Widows will weep over wasted wastrels,
Serene shores will scorch,
Delights will drain in your dying despair,
And only mice mourn your meek mounds.”

Dour in deceit, the dictate was denied.
Gregarious grin,
Insinuated insults igniting incendiary indignation,
Elusive enough to exclude encompassing exasperation.

Sovereign state will struggle in solitude.

Harmless Halitus, harangued by the hostile,
Their people pleaded to potential partners.
Concealed conference called to create a coalition:
Familial farmers, furious in frailty,
Trepidatious tyrants of Trabus,
Scarpered spokesman to servile slaves,
Repressed retailers of restrained rigour,
Menaced mechanists, makers of many motherlands,
Choleric creditors of copious counting,
Yet, the hosts held higher hopes.
Concealed to the crowd, corsairs cowed with care.
Ever incendiary in intent, but intrigued.

Lulling loyalty from longed licentiousness,
Participants pried their payment in promise.
Gazus granted grace,
Frees farmers of furor,
Promise of peace, plies many pockets,
And torching taxes tallies troops,
To waste with widowing waters,
Thus, Provision prepared for the prospering of pirates.
Post predation, perhaps.

Acknowledgement of aggravated acquisition,
Granted the gains of Gazus’ gems,
And provided permanent prided price,
Holdings hosted by Halitus.

Depriving the danger,
Proliferating the profit.

Regular rhetors might risk retaliation,
Failing that, the finest of felicitous fiascos.
The best benefit borne by brothers bereaved,
Of outstanding oratory outlook,
Found fortune where foes fail.