Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Hydra

Friday Fantasy ~~~ Number Seven

Copyright, 2014, Alexander M Zoltai

And The Lowly Shall Rise

664px-Night_Griffanmany-arms-691692-mEvery soul had taken flight, but one.

The people of the village ran, terrified, into the hills—the Outcast, Fremqul, walked down the steep path from his hideout in the hills.

The people had been warned about the HydraWoman approaching the village—Fremqul didn’t have a clue.

He did wonder at their mass exodus but decided the Sun was, quite surprisingly, blessing him.

Plenty of time to ransack their huts—find those gems they hide away

There was no value in the gems for Fremqul but to stare at them and watch the Sun play in their depths

He had been banned from the village twenty years before—made an Outcast by the people, turned himself into a Berserker—none being able to stop him when he had worked himself up for an attack.

He worshiped but two things—the Sun and the gems that so loved the Sun

No need today for the crazed running and wild gyrations he used to avoid the villagers’ spears, no need to get in and out quickly—he strolled toward the village, thanking the Sun.

He approached the Headman’s hut, sure of finding the most gems in this most elaborate dwelling.

He was right—left the hut with gems dripping from his hands.

This was when he heard the wailing


He ducked back into the hut, threw the gems he had into a basket along with six more handfuls, rushed back out and saw the Monster floating rapidly towards him.

Then HydraWoman stopped advancing, turned, and hissed horribly, her multitudinous arms flailing.

Fremqul spotted her worry—Tusker, the giant Boar.

She looks afraid What in Sun’s name is happening?

Fremqul then noticed the trail of blood and the spout of crimson issuing from the Boar’s back.

Boar can’t die…? blood poison for HydraWoman?

The Boar was snorting at the Hydra and the Hydra was spewing a green gas as she hissed—the gas, in fact, capable of killing the Boar.

The standoff fascinated Fremqul. He slowly circled the Headman’s hut, positioning himself to watch and, hopefully, not be noticed

He had never actually seen Tusker or HydraWoman—certainly had heard about them as he grew up

Blood stopping Hydra. Gas holding off Tusker

He decided the confrontation was really none of his business and slowly began a backwards retreat toward the hills.

Tusker backed away from the Hydra and made a wide circle that began to look like it might end up between Fremqul and the hills.

Just as Fremqul got to the path up, Tusker had arrived in front of him, facing the towering Hydra.

Damn! Blood and gas both deadly Rushing up hill dangerous

He froze to the spot and began to pray aloud:

“Oh! Sun Father!
I am a gross sinner!
But, I am still Thy child!
Please, protect me!!”

Tusker and HydraWoman were still locked in mutually repelling confrontation and Fremqul didn’t dare move

Silly man, shouting a prayer Damned lucky they hate each other so

He began to wonder at Tusker’s coming round in front of him but suddenly had something else to contemplate.

He heard the screech and felt the battering wind from the wings

Griffin! Servant of Sun!!

The HydraWoman rose to meet Griffin in the air—Tusker turned and faced Fremqul.

Shit! Now what?!

As if everything that had just happened hadn’t already swamped his mind, Fremqul now heard Tusker speak to him:

“Man. My blood can in no wise harm thee. Fables about me hide my truth.”

“You are talking to me

” I am and you must listen, carefully.”


“Have I ever killed a human?”

Fremqul had a bit of trouble thinking about what he had learned of the stories about Tusker, with all the hissing and screeching above him, not to mention his having to hold fast to a rock outcropping to avoid being knocked over by the blast from Griffin’s wings.

“Give me a minute

“We have only a short time. Griffin can hold HydraWoman off but not banish her. We must do that. Again, have I ever killed a human?”

Fremqul’s mind began to focus.

“Did you say we have to chase off HydraWoman?!”

“Yes, we must. A third time—have I ever killed a human?”

“Uuuh Can’t remember I think, perhaps not?”

“True. One other question. Is Griffin your friend?”

“My— Say, Mr. Tusker, why the questions? Are we not both in a dangerous situation? I have heard that Griffin hates you

“He does but he hates HydraWoman more. Again, is Griffin your friend?”

Damn! What in holy hell is happening?

Griffin and the Hydra were rising higher as their screechings and hissings came louder

“Man, if Griffin is not your friend, we are both lost. Griffin, though mighty, might eventually tire, HydraWoman vanquishing him—then her gas will kill you. Though, HydraWoman may tire for a bit—then, Griffin kills me.”

Fremqul had no idea he would say his next words:

“Griffin is in truth my friend—I love Sun and Sun is Father of Griffin—I love gems and Sun loves gems. Griffin must love gems, so—”

“You have gems?!”

“I do”, said Fremqul as he opened his basket—Griffin’s wind blowing him over, the gems twinkling to the ground.

Things changed quickly.

HydraWoman’s green gas stopped spewing.

Tusker shouted, “Throw the gems at her!!”

Fremqul was beyond questioning—repeatedly slung handfuls of gems at HydraWoman.

Remarkably, she ceased her attentions towards Griffin and caught all the gems in her countless arms.

Tusker, still spouting a fountain of blood, rushed the Hydra.

Her feet began to boil as Tusker’s blood flooded them.

She sank into the boiling, legs then body then head, all in a frenzied roiling.

Soon, there was nothing left of HydraWoman but steam, which dissipated quickly in the wind from Griffin’s wings.

The Boar’s bleeding stopped.

Griffin landed between Fremqul and Tusker.

Not surprisingly, Griffin spoke:

“Fremqul, my friend, you have saved the village from the Hydra and you have saved the Boar from my vengeance.”

Fremqul fainted.


The people of the village had watched the drama from high in the hills and were now standing in a cluster around Fremqul’s body.

The Headman knelt down and shook him.

Fremquil woke to what he immediately reckoned as his executioners.

The Headman smiled at him and said:

“Do not fear. All is forgiven. You have saved us.”


Fremqul stayed in the hills but stopped being a Beserker.

Why try to frighten and steal from the village when they freely brought him all he would ever need

He never saw Tusker or Griffin again.

He had all the time in the world to stare into the depths of his gems and pray to Sun
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So, What The Hell Is Wrong With Traditional Publishers?

David Gaughran has written a fascinating post on his blog—Publishers Behaving Badly, Part I’ve Lost Count.

Right after he indicates that the two essential players in the book-world are writers and readers and that retailers are at least acting somewhat rational about justifying their cut of the money (leaving agents, publishers, and distributors in a somewhat suspicious position), he says:

“Publishers seem determined to move in the opposite direction: making the proposition of publishing with them less attractive rather than more attractive, reducing advances, worsening contract terms, and treating writers as marks rather than partners – despite whatever guff accompanies the launch of their latest initiatives.”

He then goes on to indict Random House about the scandalous terms they offered authors with their new digital-first imprints—Hydra, Alibi, Flirt & Loveswept.

But Gaughran certainly isn’t alone.

Here are just a few other opinions (and, a bit of news) about this outrage:

Authors Warned Away from eBook-Only Imprints

Second-Class Contracts? Deal Terms at Random House’s Hydra Imprint

Hydra Changes Contract Terms in Response to Pressure From Writers Groups

Random House Revises Contract for Digital-First SF Imprint Hydra – Promises to Exploit Authors Less

Random House Announces New Terms at Digital Imprints Hydra, Alibi, Loveswept, and Flirt

It will be interesting to see what actually falls out from this dramatic turn of events

Back at Gaughran’s post, he also has something to say on these topics:

Author Solutions Class Action?

Simon & Schuster Offers Bribes To Pimp Author Solutions

Dymocks-owned D Publishing is Toast

I can only imagine future headlines, future escapades, future fails for a dinosaur industry that needs massive transformation just to stay alive………
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