IMAGINE_Epic North Music

Facebook Banner FINAlwallpaper 1 The frozen north.

It is the realm of ice and snow, of Thor and Old Man Overlord, of bear skinned llamas and weather hardened men. Into this world Epic North was born. Epic North is the only trailer music company that survives the subzero temperatures of the arctic. This band of wolf riding northern sound warriors produces high impact motion picture advertising music of on an awe-inspiring, epic scale. Epic North combines the unique skills of Finland’s finest media composers and sound designers to bring you a cool refreshing look on the world of trailer music.

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Epic North is a part of Time Films—an all-inclusive production company, founded in June 2012, that specializes in video, music and social media campaigns. Time Films is a youthful company full of extremely motivated, creative and open-minded people with a burning passion for their work. They are widely known for a humane spirit, an audio-visually high film-like quality, the best work ethics and motivation in the industry, and boundary-breaking creativity!


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First, they conquered Outer Space….
Now, they bring destruction to the promised land…
The Viking Warriors are coming to ARCADIA!

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Welcome to THE CONQUERORS, a Steampunk Viking flash fiction challenge for the industry release, ARCADIA (produced & published by Really Slow Motion). Pulling inspiration from the exclusive industry track, “The Song of the World Tree”, by brilliant composer, Tapsa Kuusniemi, and the stunning album cover, by gifted graphic designer & composer, Koke Núñez Gómez, FORGE an epic tale (under 500 words) that conquers the imagination! Submit your entries in the comments section of this page by August 9th, midnight EST!

WINNERS

Our resident literary experts, authors Amy Willoughby Burle & Nitish Raina, will narrow down the entries! The Top 3 stories, chosen by Epic NorthKoke Núñez Gómez, will be awarded signed ARCADIA cover artwork (currently an industry-only release) & digital album, Viking Warriors from Outer Space. The overall winner will also receive digital copies of Origin of Iron and Rising Storm AND be featured on Epic North’s website/social media and EpicMusicVn’s anniversary tribute video!

Your epic inspiration awaits


 Epic Music Vn banner Listen To Become A Legend

 Epic Music VnJoin us in celebrating EpicMusicVn’s (EMVN) 2 year anniversary! EMVN was created in August of 2012 in Vietnam, by founder Do Son Thanh. What began as a community for people who are passionate about Epic Music has today grown in size and reputation on a global scale. With over 120,000 YouTube subscribers and a fan page climbing beyond 12, 000 followers from across the world, EMVN has helped innumerable composers and video editors showcase their work to subscribers—gaining millions of views on several cinematics.  EMVN intends to keep contributing to the growth of Epic Music and looks forward to the day when it finally becomes a mainstream genre.


 koke bannerDesigner & Composer extraordinaire for the motion picture advertising industry AND official IMAGINE designer, Koke Núñez Gómez, has been featured in numerous album campaigns, creating brilliant logos, album covers and trailers for  ReallySlowMotion, Epic North, Trailer Music World, Leighton Williams, Real Betis, Trailer Music Vibe, Eduardo Tarilonte, DosBrains, Black Phoenix Music, Tonal Chaos, An Danzza, Macarena Martin, Michael Maas, just to name a few. Koke’s amazing designs can be found on Bëhance.

Koke’s talents extend into the realm of film music composition, including music credits for Alas Rojas, EP Models, Do Not Fear the Storm, Baskets Oldenburg, Avalanche Airbag System, and more. Listen to Koke’s music on Jamendo.


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19 thoughts on “IMAGINE_Epic North Music

  1. The Lost Conqueror

    This is the legend of the King of all kings, Arthos, first of his name. Who conquered all know land except the great North. He marched with his men and marched. Finally after months of wandering they were attacked by Athmar Blackheart’s army of darkness. He was The Fallen king of The North. Legend said that Athmar was a son of a king and queen of Oblivion, the realm of afterlife. But this would have meant that Blackheart never had a mortal live, making him immortal, a God in other words. The battle was fierce and the strife continued for days and nights after another.

    In the eve of dawn Arthos commanded the final attack. Short on troops, hungry and exhausted, they couldn’t prevail. Almost everyone of his men fell under the swarms of darkness. Arthos commanded retreat only for himself to be wounded by the blade of Athmar.

    Athmar stood over wounded Arthos, raised his sword and asked: “You seriously thought you could kill me? I’m a God! I’ve seen everything. The beginning and the end! What have you seen, mortal?”

    Arthos replied: “That may be so, I might have not seen what you’ve seen. But I’ve lived for so many years, that I thought nothing could surprise this old man again. But still… In the midst of this battle, over all those screams and clashes of steel… I heard a voice, a voice so strong but yet so soft. A voice only those who are too unlucky to be so much in love of their lives can make, and only to be heard of those who really listen… The voice of a broken heart.” As Athmar laughed he grabbed his dagger and stroke Athmar’s heart. “I see, even if your heart is black as night… I can still hear this voice in you too.”

    Athmar fell onto his knees shocked and watched as Arthos rose on his feet. All the forces of darkness faded due to Athmar’s downfall “Kill me then, go ahead! Do it!”

    “No! I will not kill you. I will let you stay there and listen to your own heart. I want you to hear what I’ve heard. Then you can finally be in peace.” Arthos replied and started to walk towards the wilderness know as the land of eternal snow. After almost a day of walking, Arthos fell onto his knees due to his bleeding, he leaned onto his sword and said: “I’m sorry grandfather, I couldn’t fulfill your dream of an united land of freedom and harmony. Forgive me.” He stayed there, waiting for an answer. He heard a voice inside him and then laughed. “Well, well… I guess I’m in love of my life too.”

    The legend of Arthos, the king of kings, was told by the surviving men of his troops. But as they never saw him die, everyone hoped he’d survived, left wandering the North. This is how he came to be know as, The Lost conqueror.

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  2. Ragnarock. The word itself utters fear into the hearts of men. The mists of the vast mountains lie in the deep dark areas of the North. The Ragnarockians live in a climate where summer barely exists. They have lived there for centuries back when the Hulksurians ruled their empire. Legend tells that they were the very first people on Hulksuru.

    But who could live in such a secluded environment? Who would be able to live in freezing temperatures? Only Ragnarockians and the people who adapted to the harsh winters. There they wore big coats despite the freezing cold, but after living for centuries over there, it is no wonder that they were used to the conditions. To live in the mountains is no easy task. The mountains are a cruel and treacherous place that can finish off anyone within seconds. You would need to be born in the mountains or get a travel guide to help you. You would need warm clothing as well as common sense to live there.

    From the very defeat by Hulksuru, they were no longer the once expanding or raiding people they used to be. Now they live confined, confined in the harsh and cold deserts of the Alpinian Mountains of the North. They are still proud people and often battle with each other. The Chief of the Ragnarockians, Olaf Skuller, intends to unite the tribes once more and restore their power. But Harda, his uncle is against the idea. He wants them to remain separate, so if any invader were to arrive, he could take power over them.

    Then again, the Ragnorockians are a proud and directly independent people. If they were to unite, they would be able to rule the world. Only time doesn’t work like that. It works separately, going one at a time. That is how time likes to work. However there is a deep danger of the dragons. These dragons are no ordinary dragons, rather they are the most powerful and dangerous dragons of the north. Only until they learn to tame will the Ragnorockians ever fulfill what their ancestors had wanted, to get out of the freezing cold and live free in the warm summer. They can still set sail and raid as they wish, but it would be until someone took action, until Oflaf took power. Time shall be set, and spring shall be pass as time makes it course.

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  3. Chosen
    499 words

    Their automated wings blazed a luminous gold halo around them as they landed among the fallen. The metallic feathers folded in upon themselves with a snicking clank.

    Many sisters flew above, awaiting the chosen. Some rode on the steam-driven, flying horses modeled after Odin’s Sleipnir and created by the master crafters in Niðavellir. Other sisters preferred the full body armor of silver swans, which gleamed in the falling light.

    They guarded the dragonship that would escort those deemed worthy to enter the hallowed halls of Vahalla and Fólkvangr.

    The first warrior rose, followed by another, and another. They gathered together, hailed comrades, and boasted of their prowess as warriors and of their accomplishments in battle before falling to their grievous wounds. The worst off were the Berserkir along with the Úlfhéðnar. Their bloody wolf pelts tattered.

    The dragonship banked. Fire and steam guided the descending ship to the ground. Blood red articulated feet extended as the ship touched down. The gleaming tail and head lowered with the hissing of escaping air.

    Clink. Clink. Clink. The rhythmic staccato of a thousand tiny gears turned, spreading the wings in a downward arch.

    Onto the ship the warriors climbed, where a white robed woman stood. She was Eir, healer Valkyrie. She motioned a warrior to her.

    The first had severed fingers off his sword hand. She took the hand in hers and raised it to inspect the damage.

    Using her healing skills and the magic infused metalworking talents of Niðavellir, she replaced the missing digits with bronze ones. They were exquisite masterpieces both forged and cast.

    The warriors murmured amongst themselves when they watched him move each artificial finger. Both wary and awed, a few pointed out that this was Odin’s will.

    The last of the warriors boarded. The wings’ retracted. The tail and head lifted into place. The ship rose off the ground in hissing steam clouds. The feet drew back. Fire kindled in the dragon’s eyes. A white hot inferno blasted from the dragon’s mouth.

    The ship shot forth through the sky. Three Valkyrie outriders on horses flew ahead. In their hands they held a flat piece of metal that curved like the outer rim of a half circle. They threw them.

    Each sped through the air, unfolding into huge circles. They stopped and hovered, connecting together concentrically. A small whoosh sounded as they spun. The largest turned horizontally, the second vertically, and the third diagonally until they turned so fast the very sky wavered and split.

    Sparks popped.

    Electric streaks crackled.

    A blinding light blast had the warriors cringing. They blinked away the spots to see a vertiginous tunnel stretching deep.

    The ship crossed the threshold into the kaleidoscopic spectrum. Colored bands created a dizzying dance as lightning bolts arced along the walls. A whirring melody filled the tunnel.

    Bifröst, bridge to Asgard. Only the chosen few traveled the fragile beauty.

    A brilliant white light shone in the distance. Joyful sounds came from the warriors.

    They were going home.

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  4. First Frost (498 Words)

    Hrafnar Ravensblood’s eyes met the dark orbs gazing silently out of the tower. No words passed between Ravensblood and the Green One, but the message was unmistakeable.

    The cannons whispered beneath the infesting canopy, hurtling soft thunder against the tower walls. Golden venom oozed out from the crumbling walls, dripping into the icy rivers of fire beneath.

    Ravensblood’s eyes were torn away as another thorny tendril scraped its way up the ship’s hull. His men were working already, hacking away at the vine, scattering the severed leaves across leaping ice-flames. They sang as they fought, the songs of the gods, of Winter and Frost and Things Forgetting. And songs came back in answer across the seas of flame, a fleet of ships fighting alongside them.

    The cannons whispered beneath the shrill-screaming birds of the Green One, hurtling soft thunder against the tower walls. Golden venom oozed out from the crumbling walls, dripping into the icy rivers of fire beneath.

    Hrafnar turned back to see the Green One blink slowly, and slowly turn from the tower window, the window growing closed behind him.

    Two more green tentacles raised themselves from the churning fires, unfurling their thorned leaves. A timber tore from the hull. Ravensblood slashed at the vine, sap and venom splashing onto his rhime sword.

    The cannons whispered beneath the darkning sky, hurtling soft thunder against the tower walls. The golden venom hardened, crystalizing into black amber.

    Ravensblood felt a sharp pain on his shoulder, swung his sword up, seeking another encroaching vine, but there was nothing. A cheer went up and men began to sing all the louder. Another singing pain danced across Ravensblood’s face as he looked up and saw the darkened sky open and embers and ash began to drift down like snow. Then Ravensblood laughed and songs welled up in his heart also.

    The embers seared black scars into the Tower of Summer. Debris from the tower canopy fell lightly on the wind, cooling from a blazing red to a dull brown, carpeting the seas around them.

    Ravensblood sang loudly now, the songs of the gods, of Winter and Frost and Things Forgetting. Creeping vines fell beneath his rhime sword, and the shrill-screaming birds of the Green One dropped from overhead, under the spears of the men.

    The cannons whispered amongst the dropping canopy, hurtling soft thunder against the tower walls. The crumbling walls began to harden into scarred shells, towering above the ships.

    The face of the Green One could be seen again now, enraged at his fall, at the crumbling tower and the shredded vines, at the burning snow of embers and the falling birds. The Green One shook his staff and screamed in rage, and the heat of the Sun was in his voice. But there was nothing; the monsters of Summer could stand no longer against the holy warriors of the Winter. And in the third month of the second hour, Hrafnar Ravensblood sang at the Turning of the Year.

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  5. “Hear now my tale, Men of the Northlands.

    That day we flew so high that the breath from our mouths froze. We snapped off icy breaths, dropping them onto the deck to let the next breath in. They stuck, quivering in the deck like silver knives.
    But flying so high, higher than any ship ever flew before, made us fast, fast enough to catch them.
    The enemy had destroyed Hrothgar Steamspike’s whole squadron.
    Only Cnut Ironbeard and the crew of the Garm now stood between Vinland and slavery.
    Could we defeat the monster?
    We fed coal into the boiler like Sparrows feeding Cuckoo chicks. Yet still we froze.
    At last Ironbeard cocked his head on one side, as if the Allfather whispered in his ear, and did something no Captain has done before or since.
    He vented the steam from the boiler and slipped the gears driving our rotors.
    The whole ship fell silent.
    We dropped.
    With no steam, the only sound was the wind keening dead men’s laments in our rigging. We plummeted through the floating islands by dead reckoning and gambler’s luck, guided by Loki the Trickster.
    Finally bursting through the clouds we saw the Manitou, sailing serenely below us.
    Odin’s beard, she was huge. Ten times the size of the Garm, her gas bags taut and her struts and guns glittering in the frosty air, the Sunburst of the Iroquois Federation adorning her entire rear quarter.
    We swooped on her like a kestrel on a fat pigeon.
    Five ship-lengths above her, One-Eye fired all our spring cannons at once.
    Grappling hooks arced out; iron arrows biting deep into her innards before snagging on her stanchions.
    The chains caught and held. We crashed into her superstructure just above the gondola. We stopped so fast that men’s teeth flew clean from their heads and we lost three men overboard when their tethers snapped, may their songs echo in Valhalla’s halls, but we hung above the Manitou’s steam howitzers; they couldn’t bring them to bear on us.
    We dropped hooks and chains, snagging her propellers, stopping her manoeuvring. Then, with the other Berserkers, I rappelled into the gondola.
    With my own axe I killed five of their Captain’s guard of painted braves, cleaving through Buffalo hide shields, sweeping aside thrusting spears, hewing and hacking, biting deep into their skulls. The deck ran so deep with their blood that twice I had to swim back to the fight!
    We slaughtered them like spring lambs.
    Except her Captain.
    We wondered if his Gods would grant his Eagle feather bonnet the gift of flight.
    They didn’t – perhaps because I plucked some to make Astrid a headband –ungrateful bitch, but that’s another tale.
    Victorious but still tethered to the Manitou, we shot her gas bags one by one, gradually drifting to earth, landing soft as bloodstained thistledown.
    From that day no Garm crewman has paid for drink in any Northland tavern.
    Landlord! Ale!

    I, Sweyn Bloodaxe, did this and my tale is true.”

    500 words
    @nickjohns999

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  6. There once lived a woman named Dana, daughter of the Dagda, son of Ealadha, son of Dalbaech. She had flowing red hair, and she was the most beautiful and desired of all the women in Cille-Mhoire. Her eyes were green like the land in spring, and they reflected her kind and gentle heart.

    It had been often that Dana was alone growing up, as her father was often away from home on business, and her mother had died birthing her. Dana had often spent her childhood in the company of Arianrhod, a Seer so respected that all in the land knew her name. She had prophesied a great many things, and any event that Arianrhod prophesied was known to come to pass.

    No-one was more in need of Arianrhod’s Sight than Cille-Mhoire, for although their numbers were few, they were a proud and independent people. Many had tried to seize them over the years, but Arianrhod’s Sight had foreseen every attack, and Cille-Mhoire had been able to protect herself against every battle. The adversaries were infuriated by Arianrhod’s involvement, and saw her as an obstacle to taking Cille-Mhoire.

    One night, Arianrhod gave a shout: “Dana, come quickly! I have been tricked and blinded by poison. I can no longer see the fingers at the end of my arm, and the future is as dark to me as the blackest cave.” And Dana saw that it was true – Arianrhod’s once-bright eyes were now clouded.

    The situation was grave, for as Arianrhod was blinded, so was Cille-Mhoire. A village so few had no way of protecting themselves without warning, and many feared that this would be their end.

    It was then that Dana, kind of heart, offered to give up her sight so that Arianrhod might see again. “I have seen the beauty of the world, but my village has greater need of my eyes than I. Let me do this for my people so that we may live to see another day.” Then she stepped outside into the cold, dark night.

    Dana looked around her and saw her home, the village of Cille-Mhoire, and the last sight that she would ever see. She began to weep for the loss of her sight. As she wept, the green in her eyes bled into the tears flowing down her face, and the wind carried her tears to the skies, where there they turned to green ribbons that lit up the cold, dark night. As the wind kept blowing, some strands of her long, red hair were too carried to the skies, where they joined the green in decorating the night.

    Cille-Mhoire celebrated the generosity of Dana, daughter of the Dagda, son of Ealadha, son of Dalbaech, for it was she who had given up her eyes so that Arianrhod might see again. To this day, it is the ribbon of Dana’s green eyes and red hair that we see dancing in the darkest of skies, giving light and sight to the night.

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  7. Beyond Yggdrasil.
    498 words.

    King Trygve and his ships waited on the river for the portal to open; the portal that would link their world to the place beyond Yggdrasil’s branches, where the monsters lay waiting to devour the worlds that were unprepared or undefended. Ahead of them a spark of light appeared, hovering in the air before it spiraled outwards to form the portal.
    The young King lifted his head and braced himself as the water of the river began to move, pouring down the hungry throat of the portal and dragging the ships along with it. The men scrambled about the ships, needing no instruction to set the metal sails and to stoke the fire burning within its bowels. Within moments the lead ship was at the portal. It slid through the burning light, hung suspended and then pitched forward as it sailed off the edge of the world.
    With a roar the metal sails at the side of the ship snapped out and the engine puffed and the ship righted itself just in time to escape the lunge of a fireworm as it writhed through air, desperate to reach their world through the portal and sate its deadly hunger. The ship banked and turned and Trygve bellowed for them to attack. The men buried their spears, tips glowing from the coals inside, into the fireworm. It squealed and dropped for only a moment before it regained control of its body and continued on its path.
    “Hooks!” shouted the king. Sharp grappling hooks, shot out from the ship and latched onto the fireworm.
    “Back!”
    The ship’s engines groaned and the lines became taut. The fireworm came to an abrupt halt as the ship dragged it back. It struggled violently causing men to curse and duck. Lines snapped but more hooks were quickly shot into the beast.
    The King and his crew had just enough time to see the rest of the ships pitch safely through the portal without crashing into the fireworm, before said fireworm twisted around and barreled towards them. It slammed into the side of their ship and continued over it. The ship spun, while men grabbed frantically at handholds, and then righted itself as the fireworm continued to pull it.
    Trygve found his footing on the rolling ship and ran to the edge, gripping his glowing axe and jumped. One hand latched onto a rope and he slid down it to the fire worm below him. He landed on its back and rolled to his feet at its head and swung his axe repeatedly until the grotesque head flew free from its body. Then he turned and grabbed one of the ropes still attached to his ship just as the others were cut free. He hung there as the body of the fire worm fell into the abyss.
    And then suddenly there were thousands of cries as creatures out of legend and nightmare flocked towards them. The Viking king surveyed them all and gave a vicious smile.

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  8. Pingback: IMAGINE the Possibilities | WriterlySam

  9. THE SONG OF THE WORLD TREE {470 words}

    The bleak pale sun glittered blindingly upon the ice-fields and the snow-covered plains. Winter’s light struck sheens of silver from rent chainmail and broken blade, where the dead lay as they had fallen. The nerveless hand yet gripped the broken hilt. The helmeted heads were drawn back in grotesque death-throes, tilted red beards and golden beards bent grimly upward, as if in last invocation to Wotan and merciless Valkyries who left them as unworthy of reward in Valhalla.

    The smoldering tub to my left bubbled like the blood from the mouth of the dying Viking by my side. The sword hilt was slippery in my sweating right hand. My left hand clutched the ingredient that untold sailors had dreaded for centuries.

    The Viking died. Only I was left. My back was to Yggdrasil, the World Tree. It gnarled roots drank in the blood of the Viking. Three glistening roots writhed under my boots. I looked down at them.

    “No, Tree. You’ll not drink my blood — only the blood of those who come against me this day.”

    A leprous blue cloud billowed closer and closer to me. I smiled bitterly. The true enemy. It had tired of sending its human pawns to kill the World Tree only to lose them.

    It flowed closer. A voice of fungus murmured in my mind as it neared. I felt dirty at its touch.

    ‘You are no Norseman. Who are you?’

    “I am Lucanus, a physician from Crete.”

    ‘Physician?’

    I gestured with my bloody bronze sword. “Yes, I have the cure for what ails you.”

    ‘No weapon forged by mortal hands can kill me. Yggdrasil tasks me by its very promise of life. Step aside, and you will live.’

    The Spartan helmet on my head was so cold I knew frost lay heavy upon it. “I did not step aside when I fought alongside the Three Hundred. I will not step aside now.”

    ‘Then, DIE!’

    It swept down upon me. I did not slash as it expected. You do not destroy fog by sword. I dipped my blade into the smoldering tub by my side. I flung the last ingredients to Greek Fire into it as my world became leprous blue mists.

    The fire flared into fierce life. I smeared my sword in it. Then, I slashed through the billowing Anti-Life that sought to swallow the Tree of Life.

    No, you don’t stab fog. You burn it. And this clot of Anti-Life burned and burned and burned.

    ‘No mortal may kill me!’ it wailed in my mind.

    I watched it burn into crispy wisps and said, “I haven’t been mortal since I delivered that baby in the stable.”

    Behind me, Yggdrasil began to sing, and I shivered. Its voice was like the music heard faintly at the edge of dream … or death.
    {FINI}

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  10. “Dana! Dana!”

    A pair of green eyes bolted open. Their owner: a woman with red hair. Dana, daughter of the Dagda, son of Ealadha, son of Dalbaech. Her mother had died birthing her, her father was often away on business. She had spent most of her childhood here with Arianrhod, who was as dear to her as any mother. Arianrhod was the most respected Seer in all the land; any event she prophesied was known to come to pass. Cille-Mhoire depended heavily on Arianrhod’s Sight, for although their numbers were few, they were a proud and independent people. Many had tried to seize them over the years, but Arianrhod had Foreseen every attack, and the village had always been able to protect herself.

    If Dana felt at all entitled with the privilege of knowing such an important person, it did not show. She remained kind and gentle, which was why she wasted no time in rushing to the old lady’s aid.

    “What is it, Arianrhod?” Dana asked urgently.

    “I have been tricked and blinded by poison. I can no longer see the fingers at the end of my arm, and the future is as dark to me as the blackest cave.”

    Dana paused. It was not Arianrhod’s inability to see ahead of her that was the danger; as Arianrhod was blinded, so was Cille-Mhoire. A village so few had no way of protecting themselves without warning, and the loss of Arianrhod’s Sight threatened all their futures. It could only have been an enemy who had poisoned Arianrhod – one of the many who were frustrated by her unfailing prediction of their attacks, and had sought to remove that obstacle from their path.

    Dana knew how much Cille-Mhoire depended on Arianrhod. Without her Sight, the village would quickly succumb.

    “You will have my eyes,” she said after a few moments. “I have seen the beauty of the world, but my village has greater need of my eyes than I. Let me do this so that my people may live to see another day.” Then Dana stepped outside.

    She looked around her and saw her home, the village of Cille-Mhoire. She began to weep, bearing the weight of her sacrifice as she realised that this would be the last sight she would ever see. As she wept, the green in her eyes bled into the tears flowing down her face, and the wind carried them to the skies, where there they turned to green ribbons that lit up the cold, dark night. The wind blew in her hair, where some strands of red carried to the skies, joining the green.

    When it was done, Dana’s eyes saw only darkness, but the ribbons of green and red danced in the dark skies. Dana, daughter of the Dagda, son of Ealadha, son of Dalbaech, had given up her eyes, giving sight to the night so that her village might see again.

    And she knew in her heart that she had done the right thing.

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  11. Storming the Gate of Valhalla (500 words)

    Above him, the undulating sails croon their canvas chorus, the tune as low and rough as the barometric pressure beneath the airship’s hull. Dawn’s light, when it crests over the wood curls of the figurehead’s hair, will illuminate their destination – the mythical utopia Arcadia. And evening’s sun, when it slides like a lover’s caress between the oak breasts of that same figurehead, will set on the city’s fiery destruction.

    Skuli smiles in anticipation of his final act of vengeance.

    A voice interrupts his thoughts. “Daydreaming of Arcadia’s bounty?”

    “Before this day is over, Otkell,” he says, clapping his second in command on the shoulder, “we’ll be drinking ale in Valhalla with my brother.”

    “Yes, but no reason we can’t enjoy our final day on earth. I hear the Arcadian women are extraordinary. Skin that tastes of nectar. Hair like silk and silver.”

    “Soon as we set the explosives, you’ll have time enough to take your share of the spoils.”

    “Are you so sure of the devices that you’d risk the crew?”

    “What risk? No matter how we die today, we will wake in Valhalla. Who better to test such wonders than a ship full of vikings? They said we couldn’t sail the clouds but they were wrong. They said little metal devices couldn’t bring down a city. Let us prove them wrong again.”

    Otkell strokes his beard. “What if we draw out our revenge? Delay our reunion with Thorwolven and take our time with the spoils.”

    “Why would you suggest such a thing?”

    “By taking the throne, siring royal sons, and continuing our experiments, you perfect your revenge. We could raze Arcadia and go to Valhalla in a blaze of glory or -”

    ” – or we could take control of Arcadia and make it part of Thorwolven’s legend,” Skuli says, looking across the dark horizon.

    “Yes. He won’t mind drinking and sparing at Valhalla’s hearth while you build his legend to epic portions.”

    “Do you truly believe that? This isn’t just about the sweet perfection of the Arcadian women?”

    “I won’t lie. Rumors of the women intrigue me. But I love you like a brother, Skuli. If you want to set the explosives and go up on smoke as soon as we arrive, I will be by your side.”

    The first flush of dawn strokes the sails. Lives hang in the balance. Destinies shudder in the scales.

    Skuli stretches his hand, lets a patch of sun warm his skin. “A son named after my brother. A wife who weeps at my demise. A city who memorializes me, and by proxy, my brother, as their champion. That is a legacy to be proud of and a vengeance Odin’s murdering bastard son will choke on for eternity.”

    Behind, a fleet of airships hung with his insignia trail in his wake of vengeance. Ahead, a city sleeps easy, unaware their fate has become one of life rather than death. Skuli smiles at the promise of his first rational decision. To live.

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  12. Children of Arcadia
    By: Alayna Fairman
    Word Count: 496
    ————————————————————————————–
    Their world had been broken.

    When steam had poured forth from the earth’s core and mountains crumbled, the Children had uprooted Yggdrasil and fled with their inventions to the sky and stars beyond.

    In search of a new home, they had sought the Songs of Life. Upon foreign soils had they fought their way to the Sources and replaced them with their own. Each attempt was the same: Yggdrasil would take root, flourishing for a time before it withered with sickness. Fearful, the Children would unearth it and search again. No matter how distant the Song was, they found a way to its Source, obsessed with its calling. Nations, men and beasts had folded under their unflinching conquest, entitling them with governance and guardianship over all life.

    Still, Yggdrasil was dying.

    The weathered trunk had paled to white bone; leaves had crumpled with rot, and tears of blood ran from the fissured bark. The Song too was fading, a lament encroaching on silence.

    In desperation, the Children exhumed Yggdrasil and Ouroboros took flight. The crew navigated by no compass but the dying Song. It whispered to them through the starscapes, guiding them on failing hope until there, at the end, they discovered a world undone.

    There were no stars, no sun and no moon: only an unforgiving blackness where spires of earth hovered around the Ouroboros like stalactites. Water cascaded over the edges in torrents of despair, while firestorms ragged with madness in the gorges below. Atop each suspended island were skeletal remnants: the Trees whose Songs of Life they had vanquished.

    Stricken with guilt and despair, the Children gathered around Yggdrasil. Battle-hardened hands caressed the wood with apology, appreciation and a plea for a reprise. As the last bloodstained hand slipped away, a shout rose up, turning heads to the horizon and the single island towering out of the void. Waterfalls streamed down its side and where Trees had stood before, a faint, golden light blossomed skyward.

    The crew needed no encouragement. The Ouroboros raced ahead, along the last threads of faith, stopping to hover over the fragile light. As Yggdrasil bathed in the golden rays a sound grew from deep within the Tree, rattling the masts. With it, the light began to strengthen and Yggdrasil stretched, its branches reaching skyward, its leaves unfurling with renewed vitality and its roots pressing against the quaking deck. The flow of blood from its bark ceased and its color returned.

    The sound grew, echoing in the other Trees as Yggdrasil called to them. Metal groaned in protest until, in a deafening crack, the branches of Yggdrasil erupted through the masts and the roots penetrated the hull and down into the earth. The light flared outward, heralding the roots as they broke free from the earth and sped in every direction. Intertwining with the roots of the other Trees, Yggdrasil breathed Life and Song back into the silver sentinels.

    The Ouroboros would not fly again. The Children were home.

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  13. The Escape (500 words)

    Stifling fumes twisting out between the crowded buildings filled the air with heavy grey smoke. The worn establishments lining the rough cobblestone streets were as depressing as usual to the girl glancing out alertly from the alleyway shadows where she hid. She tensed every time a passerby glanced her way.

    The girl was ready to make a run for it at any sign of the deadly keepers of the city, the Guardsmen. The tyrant who ruled the land with an iron fist used them to keep the civilians under control. The Guardsmen caught and tortured whoever dared to attempt escape. She never heard from those poor souls again.

    The girl looked up at the wail of a booming foghorn. Today was different. Today was the last day she would have to spend in this oppressed city. Today was the day she was going to make a run for it. A huge flying steam machine emerged from the thick fog and slowly lowered itself toward the docking bay across from her. The only people allowed to travel in and out of the city freely were the Merchants of Bolron, who traded exotic wares with the tyrant’s own men. She was able to befriend one of them, and now he was her ticket out. She knew she only had a precious few minutes before her window of opportunity was gone forever.

    Between her and the ship, there were civilians trudging back and forth, their heads down. These people had lost hope a long time ago. The tyrant killed anyone in his way and only allowed them to live within the airless fog.

    The girl, on the other hand, was not going to let anyone stop her from escaping.

    She took a deep breath, shouldered her battered backpack, and took off at a lightning speed toward the dock. She ran as fast as she could across, pushing away anyone in front of her. If the Guardsmen caught her now, she was as good as dead.

    Ahead of her, a ramp lowered from the steam flying machine. She could see a man wave frantically at her, screaming at her to hurry. Behind her, she could hear electric spears being fired up and the gruff shouts of the Guardsmen. She willed herself to go faster. A spear whipped past her, smashing into the crates on her left. Another caught her on the back of her leg.

    No! she thought, stumbling. Desperately, she pulled the spear out of her with an agonizing cry and made a flying leap toward the ship ramp, which had already begun to take off. The merchant grabbed her and hauled her in. She lay panting on the deck, watching the raging men below until the fog covered everything.

    “Are you ok?” asked the man.

    The appearance of a stunning light suddenly blinded the girl. She blinked a few times and stared into the beautiful world above and beyond the fog and clouds. She was more than ok. She was finally free.

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  14. Pingback: IMAGINE Epic Music Event WINNERS | WriterlySam

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