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John, leader of the Plainsmen, surveyed the landscape, past the castles and the rolling fields around them. Smoke billowed from a fire that burned beyond his sightline. He slid down his visor and checked the infrared maps around him, hoping that his digital biobox could echolocate the enemy, before they found him. A single blip signaled from the edge of the panel, not far from the cave where his army lay waiting.

If the looming, blipping threat was a Plutonian Gorgarex, the hiding Plainsmen were going to need to be very quiet or very careful. Anything less—an ogre or cyclops—and he knew his army would dispatch of them in haste.

The entire realm was at war, in all seven corners of Obsidiyanthum.

The realm confused many because it was often described with conflicting context clues, never really giving anyone a sense of where and when it was. Was The Realm in the future or the past, and where was Obsidiyanthum in relation to Earth, or to Pluto?

Some people say Obsidiyanthum was a society of old souls, built on a society that was built on a society. Other conjectured that The Realm was all there ever had been; first of its name, first of its kind.

There were millions of lives at stake all around The Realm and its surrounding galaxies, but John was consumed by pangs for just two. In a small, unremarkable hut of mud and stone, John’s pregnant wife Traxar6 lay, counting the days until they welcomed their first son or daughter or chorrub into the world.

Traxar6 was beautiful and exotic, a departure from the mates John had been paired with at academy. Traxar6 made many think outer space, but everything else suggested that The Realm was very Earth-like. Then again, what was that thing about a monster from Pluto? The Realm, which was inside Obsidiyanthum, but not politically the same as it, gave fits to many, not just their enemies.

Also, why did the characters have such oddly diverse names? In what kind of world is a Traxar6 making a baby with some dude named John? Those who asked “big” questions about the nature of things were banished to the District of Heretics where appendages were removed in primitive fashions.

Plainsmen were known as the best riders in The Realm, and John had his champion mare, Juniper, with him.

If John rode like the wind, he could rejoin his men by sundown, and minimize unnecessary deaths. Even for a born rider who had apprenticed with a master saddler, riding solo presented risks. John wouldn’t let his child grow up without a father, so for extra precaution, he deployed his plasmoShield to protect him from any incoming arrows or enemies hidden just off the trail.

Many believed that The Realm’s horses were not the equine animals that humans had always used, but instead robots or drones. Some kind of futuristic transportational unit named after its precedent. It was never clear. Why would a people equipped with neoteric weapons rely on horses? The thing many missed about The Realm was that it wasn’t on a timeline that matched up with Earth. Traxar6 knew this, but John and the Plainsmen were too plain to be curious.

In a different corner and dimension of The Realm, another battle was nearing an end.

Dragons had torched an army of wolves and laid waste to the Parliamentary Druids. Only the Mole People who lived in trenches deep under the soil had survived the offensive and fantastical campaign. The Mole People were actually pacificts, choosing to preserve their lineage, by removing themselves from the dimension of The Realm that was war torn. The beautiful, peaceful Mole People were said to be either descendants of or ancestors of Cindy Crawford.

Not only was The Realm not on a linear timeline of Earth, it didn’t exist in the same universe as Earth, leaving many without easy comparisons. Again, using Earth as any kind of measuring stick would prove unhelpful. Oddly, everything in The Realm was completely in English.

John received a tri-winged carrier-gram with news of the Dragons victory.

Since the Plainsmen had an accord with the wolves, it was unwelcomed news, but it wouldn’t alter his return voyage back to his loved ones. Nothing could. The Realm had seen 12 consecutive centuries of tumult and in-fighting. Technology evolved, then devolved, then revolved, then finally just volved back to where it started from. Meanwhile terrains morphed, and enemies came and went, but the only thing that kept any faction alive was love. Love was obvious and it was easier for men since their wives legally had to be more attractive than them.

John gave his mare a light kick into action, and ducked his head low, as Juniper steadily galloped into the wormhole. He’d be home by supper.


Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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