A Glibertarians Exclusive: Fire and Ice Part II

by | Apr 10, 2023 | Fiction | 84 comments

Far to the west – the Sea of Dreams

Mabinne awoke slowly.  She could hear her people moving around outside the large tent that made up her sleeping quarters.  A gentle wind rippled the canvas.  The morning sun shining through the trees made a shifting pattern of shadows on the tent.

Mabinne the Merciless, she mused.  More like Mabinne the Exhausted.

Mabinne yawned.  She got up from the hard pallet on the canvas floor, used her slops pot, splashed her face with some water from a basin on a low table next to her pallet.  She pulled her nightshirt off over her head, dropped it on the pallet and dressed quickly, donning neither an ankle-length dress as she would have worn in Beretan nor the tunic and leggings she had worn in Ikslund, but instead a light jersey of some off-white Jutlander fabric.  The jersey hung to her knees, so she simply added a belt about her waist, pulled on some knee-high, soft leather boots and went outside.

The sun was already well up.  Mabinne felt a trifle guilty for sleeping late, as many of her followers were already moving about, but she reminded herself that they were not on campaign at the moment.  You can’t worry about everything, she reminded herself, and you need sleep as much as anyone, and probably more than most.

An old rumor voiced by an older Beretanian man in Mabinne’s army had led them to sail west, seemingly off the face of the earth, to find the archipelago of islands in the middle of a warm current that ran up from the south.  The camp was set on the beach on one of the larger islands, a good way above the tideline in the shade of some scattered trees, close enough to the water to see any ships approaching.  That seemed unlikely, since in her year with the seagoing Ikslunders Mabinne had not heard anyone even speak of islands to the west; the appellation of Sea of Dreams had been assigned by Mabinne herself, on first beholding the lovely, green, warm lands contained therein.

A person could build a home here, she thought, not for the first time.  A people could build a society here.  Some of the people had explored inland and found forests of oak and maple farther from the salt water, as well as a rocky spine of mountains in the middle of the island.  The forests were full of birds, and there were fish in the sparkling streams that ran down from the mountains but oddly, nothing with fur lived in the archipelago.

It was a warm morning.  Mabinne walked over to the communal cooking area.  A large kettle stood on one of the fire-pits.  Mabinne found a metal cup, poured some tea, stuck a forefinger in the cup and cooled it until it was near freezing, as she preferred her morning tea cold on warm days.

“Lady Mabinne,” a gravelly voice greeted her.  Mabinne looked up to see a pale, ice-eyed Jutlander, Andreas Kokko, who led the soldier’s contingent of Mabinne’s army; that is, the portion of her forces that were not magic-users, but ordinary troops.  With his men, Mabinne’s ‘army’ had grown in number to almost five hundred, and that army was now scattered across three nearby islands, fishing, hunting, preserving food, resting, and preparing for the next attack.

“General Kokko,” Mabinne greeted the man.

“Lady,” the man went on, “we have been on the island a ten-day.  My men are becoming restless.  When do you anticipate sailing back to the mainland?  When do we take the fight to the enemy again?”

“I would like everyone to have another day or two to rest,” Mabinne thought out loud.  “There is a trading village in Ikslund, south of the mountains, on the Black River.  I would like to take that village.  There is something there that may prove very useful to my magic-users.”  She reached into her tunic pocket and brought out the one remaining soul crystal, that she had bought in the magic shop in Tillgatt, the year before.  The crystal, hanging on a silver chain, sparkled in the sunlight, black with hints of deep purple.  “This,” she said.  “When held by a magic-user, can enhance their abilities greatly.  But I have only the one, and as I understand, they do not last forever; they can be used gradually, or they can be crushed and give the wielder a sudden, overwhelming burst of magical power.”

“Ah,” Kokko nodded.  “Port Stronghold.”

“Indeed.  That is what happened to my other soul crystal.  They are a thing of the Ashlands, but I found two in a shop in Tillgatt.  I would like to find more.”

“Without going all the way to the Ashlands,” Kokko nodded.  “I see.  Well, Lady, may I tell my men to prepare to depart the day after tomorrow?”

“Yes,” Mabinne conceded.  “That will do.”

The Jutlander general raised one finger to his brow by way of salute, grinned evilly and left.  Clearly the man was anxious to get back into the fray.  Mabinne wondered if all his men were so anxious.

Aalis Pummeroy walked around from the back of Mabinne’s tent.  The girl had shown a knack for leading magic-users in battle and had effectively become Mabinne’s second-in-command.

“Lady Mabinne,” she said, “I heard General Kokko.  What did he want?”

“He and his men, they are anxious to get back in the fray.”

“Anxious for loot,” Aalis snorted.

Mabinne nodded.  “I suppose so.  That has always been the primary motivation for armies in war, hasn’t it?  We can hardly pay them in gold, and not all of our army is driven by revenge.  Most of them are not.  We have managed to prevent them taking slaves, but yes, they are here for plunder, but we need them, and they know it.”

“What will we do when someone else makes them a better offer?”

“They are mostly Jutlanders.  Jutland is allied to Beretan.”

“They are mercenaries,” Aalis argued.  “They fight for loot, not for a cause.”

Mabinne held up her slender right hand.  A gesture, and frost formed on her fingers.  “We have over a hundred Beretanian and Mondrian magic-users in camp as well,” she pointed out.  “I think General Kokko knows better than to try to run afoul of the amount of magic power we have among us.”

“Lady,” Aalis said, “I hope you are right.  If I may ask, what did you tell the General?”

“I told him to wait two days,” Mabinne replied.  “I think in that time we can stock fresh water and provisions enough.  I plan to strike up the Black River to a trading town called Tillgatt.  I’m not sure where we will go after that.”

“Up a river?  How will we do that?”

“Carefully.”  Mabinne picked up a stick and began sketching in the sand at her feet.  “I see it working thusly:  The Ikslunder longboats we have will take twenty or twenty-five passengers, and they draw rather less than our Jutlander triremes.  We will land near the coast, where we can beach on the banks on both sides.  General Kokko can take his troops, evenly divided, up both sides of the river.  There is a bridge in Tillgatt; we’ll want to make sure that is captured as fast as possible.  We will take most of the magic-users up the river in five of the longboats.  Our wind-magic users can move us quickly and quietly.  With any luck at all, we can fall on Tillgatt before the alarm is raised.”

“Are there Ikslunder troops there?”

“Some magistrates and town constabulary, no more than that.”

“You sound as though you’ve seen this place,” Aalis observed.

“Yes.  When I was the captive of that big Ikslunder Hengist, who you last saw frozen into a block of ice.  That was my observation then, and since we have not raided near that area, nor have we gone far up any rivers, I am counting on Tillgatt still being only lightly guarded.”

“Why this place in particular?  It seems a fair amount of risk to take a trading village.”

Once again, Mabinne produced the soul crystal.  “You’ve seen this.  It was one of these that enabled me to coat Port Stronghold in ice, but it was destroyed in the process.  I have only one remaining.”

“You’ve shown it to me before, of course.  What you haven’t said is where we can get more.”

Mabinne looked up at the younger woman.  “In Tillgatt, there in the main market street, there is a magic-user shop run by an Ashlander woman.  It was from her that I obtained my soul crystals.  If she has more, we will take them; they will be invaluable to us.  If she has none, then she will tell me where she got the ones she did have, and we will go there.  But one way or another, I will see us with more of these, as they are potent weapons.”

“I understand.”  Aalis smiled.  “I’ll look forward to trying one.”

Two days later, as Mabinne had promised, the raiders boarded their motley collection of Jutlander triremes and captured Ikslunder longboats and set off for the east.

About The Author



Semi-notorious local political gadfly and general pain in the ass. I’m firmly convinced that the Earth and all its inhabitants were placed here for my personal amusement and entertainment, and I comport myself accordingly. Vote Animal/STEVE SMITH 2024!


  1. DEG

    The jersey hung to her knees, so she simply added a belt about her waist, pulled on some knee-high, soft leather boots and went outside.

    Fan service?

    • UnCivilServant

      I thought that was when they actually fixed your HVAC system.

      • ron73440

        I thought that was when they actually fixed your HVAC system.

        No, that’s checking the thermostat.

      • Shirley Knott

        Which reminds me– have I just missed it, or have we not heard from Yusuf lately?

      • UnCivilServant

        I have not heard from him in a while.

      • The Hyperbole

        His last comment was on 3/30

      • Gender Traitor

        Most recent comment appears to have been on 3/30, early in the midday post. 😟

  2. DEG

    An old rumor voiced by an older Beretanian man in Mabinne’s army had led them to sail west, seemingly off the face of the earth, to find the archipelago of islands in the middle of a warm current that ran up from the south.

    This world’s Canary Islands or Azore Islands analog?

    • UnCivilServant

      Maybe it’s just an archipelago.

    • Fourscore


  3. DEG

    Hengist, who you last saw frozen into a block of ice.


  4. DEG

    Nice Animal!

    • UnCivilServant

      Good animal, don’t eat DEG.

      • DEG

        Strangling gloves worked a bit better as a joke.

      • UnCivilServant

        They can’t all be winners

      • DEG

        It’s why we have day jobs.

  5. Sean

    No hot lesbian magic user sex scenes?

    • Shirley Knott

      Read Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb series.

      • Sean

        These epic science fantasy novels mix funny tone with dark subject matter, and contain swashbuckling action, waves of bones, and lesbian necromancers in space.


      • robodruid

        Ill give the first one a read…

      • Shirley Knott

        It’s dark, twisted, oddly humorous in places, and only slowly reveals the scope of the ‘real story.’ Very good stuff imnsho.

  6. R.J.

    And she starts to make bad decisions. Yay! Without bad decisions, there are no good stories!

    • Grumbletarian

      Yeah, but Mabinne wasn’t trained in military thinking. She’s going to blunder now and then. A recon mission would be a wiser move; best not to rely on guesses.

      • R.J.

        Yes. Just send a few people to talk to the lady. Not the whole Borg cube.

  7. ron73440

    I didn’t know what a trireme was.

    What a fascinating ship.

    Thanks again for writing this.

    • UnCivilServant

      You didn’t?

      I thought you were a student of Greco-Roman Philosophy.

      • ron73440

        I knew they had large ships but didn’t realize they had 3 levels of oars.

        Philosophy is not shipbuilding.

      • Tundra


      • Zwak tastes the soup, but never counts the beans.

        So is the water…

      • UnCivilServant

        didn’t realize they had 3 levels of oars.

        That’s what makes them a Trireme instead of a Tryreme.

        And surely some of those philosophers wrote on something practical

      • Bobarian LMD

        Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Ship-Building?

      • UnCivilServant

        Poseidon’s Practical Philosophy and the Art of Phloating

      • UnCivilServant

        Neptune’s Nuances and Navigation?

      • SDF-7

        Stoicism and Learning How to Row-icism.

  8. Tundra

    Great chapter!

    I sense a big fight coming.

    • UnCivilServant

      Twist – everyone arrives at different places, wondering where the other got off to.

    • ron73440

      I wonder if she’s overextending her troops by being that aggressive.

      But if she gets the stones, it’s game over man!

      • Tundra

        I agree with Grumbletarian. Why the hell commit all your troops if all you need is a stealthy raid?

      • UnCivilServant

        Lacks the command and control infrastructure to send off separated detachments?

      • Sean

        Shock & awe™!

      • SDF-7

        She’s read the early version of the D&D manual — “Don’t split the party?” (more seriously, her forces aren’t that big… keeping her force concentrated prevents defeat in detail… though I’d be sure to keep enough conventional soldiers to protect the magic users with the magic users countering larger forces and all…)

      • Tundra

        She needs ninjas.

        Everyone needs ninjas, really.

      • Drake

        Foreshadowing that they can be bought off – so she wants to keep an eye on them?

      • SDF-7

        Yeah… she has some stones now because she took them from Hengist’s people and froze all their stones — some even dropped off and crumbled.

        But I think Hengist will be taking his forces knowing she’s always on the prowl for fresh and new ones — and I’m pretty sure he plans on finding his stones and keeping them in a tight grip so she can’t yank them away and blast everyone with their contents.

  9. SDF-7

    Mabinne found a metal cup, poured some tea, stuck a forefinger in the cup and cooled it until it was near freezing, as she preferred her morning tea cold on warm days.

    Now I’m wondering if Animal watched the D&D movie too…

  10. Not Adahn


    So, my Area’s match is up near Bangor ME. I’m working it to keep up appearances/pay my dues/shoot a major match but I do not like this Match Director.


    This stage is 1) Illegal per the rules (can’t mix USPSA and IPSC targets) 2) Impossible to shoot (How, exactly are you supposed to hit that popper and target on the far right?) and 3) Badly designed (only shots hitting the front of the target can score, the target closest to the shooting area can be shot from both the front and back.) That third part isn’t a killer because if someone does shoot the target from the back, you’d be able to tell which hits were from that position, but still you’re not supposed to give the shooter a chance to screw up.

    On the plus side, there is an excellent diner in Hampden and herbal-based soporifics are legal there.

    • UnCivilServant

      Is someone going to anonymously rat him out?

    • Grummun

      Assuming the vertical screens are opaque, I don’t see how the shooter can even see the three in the back left corner.

      • Not Adahn

        Lean left around the wall.

    • EvilSheldon

      I’ll give them a pass on the mix of metric and classic targets – the designer might not have a metric bobber in his SketchUp library. Agreed on the lousy design though.

    • Fourscore

      St Paul always had roads…

      • Gender Traitor

        So did Hope and Crosby.

  11. Not Adahn

    Nah, this will be fixed before any paying competitors get to it. That’s one of the purposes of the Staff Shoot.

    Now, this stage is one of the few prop-driven ones. In order to finish it, it takes, 31 rounds, one of the targets is only exposed by pulling the sword from the stone and stabbing the dragon with it.


    • Not Adahn

      Brooks’d it!

      • Not Adahn

        To be fair to the MD, there are a lot of stages that look fun — lots of scrambling around ducking and weaving.

      • kinnath

        Love that movie

      • R.J.

        Clearly serpentine had not been invented yet

    • EvilSheldon

      I just got a headache…

      • Tundra
      • Not Adahn

        What? Eight shooting positions is too many?

        Although, there aren’t any targets between the “grab the sword” and the “stab” parts. That would have been a good way to make people to decide what to do with the prop.

    • Scruffyy Nerfherder

      JFC, I hate Rubio.

      • Zwak tastes the soup, but never counts the beans.

        Takes a sip of water.

    • Scruffyy Nerfherder

      That is hilarious though. Give the Chinese credit, they know how to deliver an insult.

  12. Rebel Scum


    Bill Barr said Trump should be worried about Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago.

    “I’d be most concerned about the documents at Mar-a-Lago,” Bill Barr said. “I think that’s a serious potential case…. He had no claim to those documents. I think they probably have some very good evidence.”

    • Scruffyy Nerfherder

      That fat fuck believes only in one thing, the system. He’s carried water for the DC machine for decades.

    • The Other Kevin

      That’s still going on? I see just like Star Wars and Marvel, they’re going for quantity over quality and hoping it works the same. (Spoiler alert: It does not)

    • Fatty Bolger

      I think it’s dumb. Say the states broke up and became separate countries, each country would still have many people on both sides of these wedge issues.

      • kinnath

        The state lines don’t have any real validity anymore. We are a collection of city-states, and everything else is ignored or despised.

      • Zwak tastes the soup, but never counts the beans.

        And a huge portion of the population in the cities are simply tax cattle to them.

      • Tundra

        So what? Without the power of the central government to force an agenda, the local governments would have to negotiate.

        It’s moot for now, but radical decentralization is going to happen eventually.

      • Semi-Spartan Dad

        Initially but we would see a rapid population shift based on ideology that would greatly entrench the vast majority behind those issues.

        Very few devout pro-choice people would live in country-states with restrictions on abortions. Very few gun rights advocates would live in country-states that ban firearms.

      • Fatty Bolger

        You can do that now by just moving, and yet many people don’t. And if there were a bunch of separate countries, moving may no longer be possible. We can’t assume there would be free movement across the new countries.

      • Zwak tastes the soup, but never counts the beans.

        How would that be worse than what we have now?

  13. UnCivilServant

    Well, Work’s over, I’m home, and it’s a good temperature, so I opened up the windows to air out the house after the winter.


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