Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 5

/ October 17, 2016/ Premium, Stories

Read Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 4 here After breakfast Jakaranda led his two friends through the forest, leaving clear signposts of dung and urine for the others to follow later on. Soon they arrived at the glade, where the shaman sat still staring at the sky – though the moon was not yet visible. He remained covered in shit, but now it had dried to his fur and matted it together so it stood up in little brown tufts. The Tyrant spotted the elephants and ran up to meet them. “What are you doing here?” she demanded. “I have come to dance,” replied Jakaranda. “Have you forgotten?” “Haven’t you caused enough trouble already?” “Watch your tone!” Sapturpani glared at the little creature. “This is Jakaranda, the Great—” “I know who he is,” snapped the Tyrant. “Like everyone Read More

Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 6

/ October 16, 2016/ Premium, Stories

Read Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 5 here As the water kept rising, the elephants sank ever deeper into the foul sludge, lifting their noses high to prevent it clogging their nostrils. Almost all the adults were stuck now, plus one or two juveniles, who were in real danger – including Mudilla. He was only small, and the muck was already up to his shoulders. Portia was beside herself. “Help!” she cried. “Who will save my child?” Several of the nearby bulls tried heroically to break free, but only succeeded in churning up the mud further, and sinking deeper in. They cried out in frustration, but it was no use. Try as they might, they could get no closer. Mudilla was doomed. So, it seemed, was Jakaranda. The water was almost over his head now, and soon only Read More

Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 4

/ October 16, 2016/ Premium, Stories

Read Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 3 here He awoke the following afternoon lying in a pool of diarrhoea. He had shat himself in his sleep – repeatedly, by the looks of things. The stench was dreadful. Jakaranda struggled to his feet, groaning at the dull stomach ache left over from the violent cramps of the previous day. Desperately thirsty, he seized the nearest piece of fruit from the pile and crammed it into his mouth. Chewing and swallowing gratefully, he reached for more – but then his insides rebelled. He cried out in pain, sinking to his knees as his arsehole gave way yet again. As shit dribbled down Jakaranda’s legs, he began to cry.  “Oh, woe!” he sobbed. “Why me? What have I done to deserve this? I am just a humble elephant. All I want Read More

Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 3

/ October 16, 2016/ Premium, Stories

Read Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 2 here Jakaranda returned to the glade the following morning via a different route, which avoided the place where the mice had their burrows. Holding his nose high in the air and waving it from side to side, he followed the scent of his own urine as far as possible down the main path before finally veering off and pushing his way through the scrub. Suddenly he stopped in amazement. There in the middle of the glade a peacock strutted, its fan-like tail raised and quivering in full iridescent display. Jakaranda held his breath and stared. The peacock strutted and turned, shaking his tail. “Piaaa-oww!” he cried. “Pia-ow! Kok-kok kok-kok-kok kok-kok. Kah-aaan. Pia-ooow!” He turned again, spotted Jakaranda, and stopped. “Honk!” he yelled. “Honk!” Then he stretched his neck out and peered Read More

Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 2

/ October 16, 2016/ Premium, Stories

Read Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 1 here The next day, Jakaranda set off early to explore the forest, taking a narrow path through the scrub that was not normally used by elephants. His progress was slow; he had to pause several times to uproot troublesome undergrowth and tear branches from the trees that might otherwise have poked him in the eyes. At times he found it hard to maintain his footing; it was as though the very ground was collapsing beneath his feet! Still he pushed on, grumbling under his breath. But that didn’t stop him enjoying the scenery. The forest really would make a spectacular setting for a dance; it would help to achieve a certain atmosphere – une ambiance, if you will. It was hard to explain what he had in mind – it was not yet Read More

Jakaranda, The Great Elephant Dancer Part 1

/ October 16, 2016/ Begin, Premium, Stories

Long ago, back when humans still lived on a planet called Earth, a sage of ancient China crossed the great mountain range to the south of the country, and found on the other side the dark and untamed region of India. It was a land of marvels, filled with exotic animals the like of which the sage had never seen, nor even imagined. One such creature was the elephant. It was as tall as ten men, and weighed as much as a hundred. It was covered from head to toe in orange fur. It had fangs almost two meters long, and as sharp as razors. It had a long nose like a snake, with a hand at the end. The elephant was very strong – it used its nose to tear large branches from the trees, cram them between Read More

Mr Li, the Odd-job Man

/ October 10, 2016/ Begin, Character Sketches, Stories

On the First Cropship of the White Crane, there were problems at the Waste Recycling Plant. This was not unusual. Today it was a dodgy output manifold, but there was always something leaking, clogged or broken; always something that needed fixing. It wasn’t the most glamorous job, but Mr Li had no complaints. As far as he was concerned, there was never a dull moment. Mr Li liked fixing things. He could fix anything.

Here on the Long Yu, water was supremely precious, and what there was had to be collected, cleaned and purified so it could be used again and again – not only by the populace, but by the Emperor himself. The Waste Recycling Plant, overseen by Sergei Ma Gao Lei, the good Lady Ma’s eldest, was there to ensure that no water was ever wasted. But nothing is ever perfect, and over time the losses were significant. Read More

The Scout

/ October 2, 2016/ Begin, Stories

Viktor Hung Su looked down at his watch. Technically, his shift had finished ten minutes ago, but he was in the middle of a job. Something had left a nasty scratch in the Throne Ship’s hull, so deep it had stripped right through the gold cladding to expose the steel surface beneath. The repair work was fiddly and time-consuming, but he wanted to get it right. Viktor was young, but he was skilful. He took great pride in his work, and this had not gone unnoticed by the bosses. In a year or two, he hoped, they might grant him the rank of Craftsman. But that would only happen if he continued his good work. They would be watching him closely. Read More