Worked on: The Fight in the Grove
DUTIES is going to be four previously published stories: “Processing Duty,” “The Fight In the Grove,” “Frogman Prince,” and (my personal favorite) “Meatbags.” I was originally going to type “published on Patreon,” but since all the magazines out there insist on treating them as bloody reprints they can damn well not be hyphenated-published stories. Fair’s fair.
A bit of a taste:
In the beginning, there was the Earth. He fell in love with the Sky, and She with Him, and from their union She began to birth the rain. From the rain came all the living things of the world, including the trees — and Those Who Speak. The dryads and others who hold that title do so because they speak for the trees. Oh, and all other creatures that cannot speak on their own; but mostly the trees.
Alas, not all trees are good trees. Once upon a time, some trees had roots that drank too deep, in the wrong soils, and brought up into the air and light that which should have remained dark and deep. Are these abominations malicious enemies of Earth-Father and the Sky Lady, or merely mindless opposites to the Gods? I do not know.
I do know that when wood and plant encounters this corruption it is perverted into an evil mockery of itself which seeks only to grow and dominate, until only it remains. This was the first bittersap, and it twisted many a forest until Those Who Speak learned how its filth could be purged.