Tales from the Mountain Hold

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posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 09:37 AM
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Chapter 1

Prison Town

Old Galt stood over six feet tall with beaming hazel eyes.
This day though did not see him take up his usual despondent manner in the ramparts of Gelstown.
Instead, as evening moved to night-time he had the people loyal to him and his cause gather round
He laid out his plan, as he started he remembered what had brought them to stage a breakout.

For too long now the place of Gelstown had changed, not a change for the better. It had gone from comfortable confines, to smothering regulations and finally to a walled-prison.

First the town’s leader, Ferdez had been accepting and friendly, especially appreciating the supplies and skills the newcomers had brought with them.
In turn the newcomers found the sanctuary, with its walled perimeter and ditches ample defence against the nomadic raider bands who still preyed on folk.
For Galt and his followers the first three months were as much a relief as they were exciting. For the items that had seemed as much elusive as they had been a luxury were now much closer to hand and obtainable.
Three times a band of tenacious raiders struck Gelstown. Three times they were repelled. The last time with heavy losses. Old Galt himself being slightly wounded at the last clash.

It had been over a year after ‘The Fall’ and, as Galt had feared, the new-civilisation that would rise out of the ashes of the old one was not altogether benevolent. The old mentality’s and prejudice’s Galt had hoped would be burned away for fresher, more in-tune ways to blossom still lingered.
For while Galt’s wounded shoulder mended, a cancer that would not die rotted at the heart of Gelstown.
Ferdez, a likeable man was trusted by Galt’s people.
As he was originally one of the surviving town’s council men he took the reluctant leadership of the town.
Instead of being a commander first and decisive in the way Gelstown would go in this brave new world Ferdez instead took the softly approach. Commendable in winning favour but also instrumental in devolving powers to dozens of his favourites. These became known as Magistrates and Galt was quick to recognise the true power behind Gelstown.

Galt himself, before The Fall of Technology, was caught exposed on the highway, leading his few people to the mountain haven.
He cursed himself for not organising a leaving a few weeks earlier, but last minute temptation’s for more this and that had delayed him.
By the time they’d managed only fifty miles distance ‘The Changing’ occurred and their once reliable machines were powerless hunks of metal.
Rocked to the core by his failure Galt squared his shoulders and shouldered his pack.

Too far to trek into the mountains, they being over a hundred miles away.
The maps showed Gelstown was only ten miles distant and, fighting off raiders and marauders several times, his band of fifty survived to live another day.
What they survived, Galt realised, was to swop the enemy without, for an enemy within.
Much more secretive and insidious, ideologically opposed to the spirit of freedom and the flame of insight.
His first fear was realised when, nearly three months in several ‘covenants’ were passed by order of the ‘Magistrates Council’.
All short weapons and side-arms were to be centrally pooled in the town armoury. Galt himself, although no master of arms, knew it to be wrong and argued bitterly argued with the Magistrates.
All attempts to speak directly with Ferdez were prevented. Few saw much of him after a mystery illness left him weak and near-bedridden.
By force of will and his arguing Galt won a compromise to have a handful of designated folk as ‘trusted-armsmen’ but the rest had to comply. Some of the wily ones did not and craftily kept any future arms-carrying either out of sight or within their shed-houses.
They had to be careful though, as a Magistrate would present a ‘door paper’, ‘allowing’ entry into their dwelling to ‘second check’ for anything that might have been ‘missed’.

Two months after that another covenant was nailed to Galt’s door.
This time they wanted any extra food-supply’s, tools or ‘useful items’ depositing in the central warehouse.
A warehouse ran and organised by The Magistrates. All of whom tended to be armed, some gallingly with side-arms meant for the central armoury.
The Magistrates themselves did not look like thugs or tyrants for the most part, at least not by their appearance. Fellow Europeans for the most part it was that which drove them from within that was dangerous. For it seemed that the notion of self-determination, responsibility along with rugged individualism rattled and worried the Magistrates.

Even the various tales told of Galt and his folk promoted undue criticism. Free-talk was outlawed, or at least disapproved of here in Gelstown.
Galt was to remark during one exchange between a Magistrate and some of his folk.
“Are you even ready for freedom the way you cower within these rules and walls Mag-man?” He snapped back, for the Magistrate was attempting a justification for their lusting covenants. Causing the Magistrate to stomp away, knowing the argument was lost.
There was no changing them, whether they’d inherently become anti-freedom through poor upbringing, deranged teachings and association he’d no cause to identify.
Only that they posed a serious oppression and threat to those who’d joined him long ago vexed him.

For a dormant seed within Galt and many of his people had taken root since they’d been separated from their mountain hold. While a handful had gotten comfortable in Gelstown, most now yearned for their mountain freedom.
Homes and workshops, stores and safety awaited them there.
A handful of his advanced scouts had gone ahead of Galt before ‘The Fall’.
Hopefully they’d set up the Gulch and at least guarded the way in.
It would be winter soon and the way into The Gulch impassable once the snow fell heavy.

This place of concrete and unyielding regulations was grinding them into slow servitude.
Once free to come and go as they pleased, entry-restrictions were imposed at the town gates.
Gelstown was now becoming like a prison.
Safe from harm outside, as long as they acted the slave inside.
They willingly performed the duties required of them to require Gelstown to function, but the loss of their freedoms, like the death of a thousand cuts, was intolerable. Especially to Galt, who’d often bitterly regretted deciding Gelstown was a safer bet than trailblazing to the Gulch on foot.

Secretly, Galt would visit them in the night and soon they’d manage to plot a way out of Gelstown and the way to the Gulch was opened once more.
Two more months passed and yet another ‘covenant’ was nailed to the door. This time all long-guns were to be handed in. With a seven-day deadline looming any chance at making a breakout was critical now.
Without rifles for protection they’d be sitting ducks on the northward road. It was nearly twenty miles of flatland before the Rocky Hills started. Then fifty or more beyond to the outlying village of Tonswater. Then twelve more beyond that to the safety of the Gulch.

No vehicles would get them there for any that were left in operable condition were jealously guarded. Also the scouting force he’d sent north months before were under orders to block the Gulch entrance with several fallen trees, making it passable only on foot.

Copyright 2012
__________________
Tyler Danann




posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 09:38 AM
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Secretly, Galt would visit them in the night and soon they’d manage to plot a way out of Gelstown and the way to the Gulch was opened once more.
Two more months passed and yet another ‘covenant’ was nailed to the door. This time all long-guns were to be handed in. With a seven-day deadline looming any chance at making a breakout was critical now.
Without rifles for protection they’d be sitting ducks on the northward road. It was nearly twenty miles of flatland before the Rocky Hills started. Then fifty or more beyond to the outlying village of Tonswater. Then twelve more beyond that to the safety of the Gulch.

No vehicles would get them there for any that were left in operable condition were jealously guarded. Also the scouting force he’d sent north months before were under orders to block the Gulch entrance with several fallen trees, making it passable only on foot.

During the night Galt laid out his plans. Young-May, the most alluring and unmarried of them did the distracting of the gate guard.
Once he was knocked out the way out was clear.
Then they were away, a bold one of their number managed to retrieve some small-arms from the town armoury before he too ran pell-mell into the night.

By the morning’s light the tyrannical magistrates found Galt and nearly all his people had gone.
With no bloodshed aside from a dazed guard they did not feel compelled to chase after them.
Besides which, the magistrates and their people were not the fighters like Galt’s folk were and they secretly knew it.
“Let them be gone then, it’s much safer here, they’ll come back begging to be allowed back in.” Proclaimed the Master Magistrate to the assembled townsfolk.

But Galt’s people marched on and soon they neared the Mountain Hold.

*****

Copyright 2012
__________________
Tyler Danann



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 10:49 PM
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Chapter 2

Galt’s Road


The Journey north was a trek and in the midst of all that foot slogging was a peculiar silence for the most part.
Mike Galt was once a soldier; though his old bones had already passed fifty he still had ‘the old fire’ as he called his tireless spirit pushing him on.
Outside of his closest companions, his followers stuck to him like a lodestone, as long as he was well, so were they.
They walked in a column, Galt at the head, with the most experienced weapons-men and fighters in small groups loosely spread out ahead and to the flanks. As the terrain became more arduous and rugged Galt drew them in, for the progress in such a fashion would slow them down too much as the elevation increased.
When their food supplies became scarce farm-buildings became a source of supply.
The abandoned one’s were scavenged, those with occupants cautiously bartered with.
Two farm compounds fired at Galt’s scouts in warning. No trading was done there and Galt’s Folk marched on.

Most of his followers knew the basics of fending for themselves in the wilderness. For the one’s that could not, they would either learn the hard-way or be swept aside by the experience.
Already over a dozen refused to continue and parted ways. A couple managed to find a farm to take them in. The rest disappeared behind them.
That was before they’d even left sight of their abandoned vehicles so long ago.
The worst ‘departure’ was the pact-suicide of a family which occurred many miles from Gelstown. Poison pills were their choice, but a handgun from the father finished the job, the noise shattering the midnight hour. Then soon their fate was realised by the rest of them
Hard of heart Galt was upset. Yet he knew them to be too delicate for the ardours of the trail, but Gelstown would have been the slow-death to the quicker one of suicide he grimly decided. At least they died under a clear sky, still strangely lit up by the galaxy burst which had almost faded now.

For the suicide incident was not altogether a surprise to many. A few grimtooths blamed the galaxy-burst, while more reasoned minds went with the family’s inability to adjust to this brave new world.
Mike Galt, for the most part was more willing than most to give the ‘sheeple’ a chance to adjust though.
He’d done what most survivalists had never done, he’d welcomed more than a few of the ‘unprepared’ during the times before ‘The Fall’.
It was a decision which occasionally still vexed his peers, who grumbled from time to time about it.
Mike’s was the land owner of all the Valley Gulch they slowly neared. So they could not grumble too loudly.
It was he who had, with brilliant foresight, bought and prepared the land decades before any actual decline or collapse to the USA.
People had called him an eccentric, an oddball and crazy while they wallowed in the crazed, exciting decadence consuming the nation. A bunch of hypocrites the lot of them shouted Galt, during one night of discussion on the past times.
Yet then there were the one’s who helped hold his followers together through thick and thin. Survivalists, preppers and killer’s-in-waiting.
During the prison-time of Gelstown they made up most of the trusted-armsman who kept the magistrates from intruding too much into their lives as townsfolk.

William ‘Will’ Danley, the short and tough Colorado ranch-hand who’d seen the writing on the wall like Galt had. His everyman approach and general charisma ensured a good cohesive way permuted through them.

Elias ‘Bullets’ McKaiser. Weaponsmaster, mechanic and all-round fix-it man. His rigid, Germanic ways often rankled Galt’s more shamanistic, libertarian basis. Yet they tolerated each other. Sometimes they could have entertaining exchanges which developed into a clash of ideas.

Alexander ‘Lucky’ Barber. The enigmatic ‘Range-Warrior’ scout. He was, after ‘Bullets’, the second-best shot of them, more of a brooding one though.
Galt was no marksman, he could hit a man-sized target well-enough at close range. The band of brothers saw too it few threats ever made it that close though. Alex led the scouting and patrol contingent. Not a natural fighter, but Galt was glad to have him on their side. He’d contributed richly to the Gulch before the fall and his skill did not stop at being wealthy either.
He didn’t look rugged though, too fair of face and sophisticated in Galt’s mind. A runaway from a wealthy family Galt surmised.

Jonas ‘Rocky’ Dragen, a tigerish young drifter built like a tar-barrel. Galt had handpicked him to join his people just before ‘The Fall’. He was the youngest of his inner-circle though an inner-circle in the loosest way, for Galt held no love of cliques or elitism beyond keeping his dream of surviving ‘The Fall’ alive.

Copyright 2012
__________________
Tyler Danann



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 10:51 PM
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Sometimes, when a trouble or decision was to be made. Galt often called them to his side to discuss a possible direction or approach.
A band of brothers, but outsiders would think of them as his bodyguard or ‘range-warriors’ as he called them.
They brought with them family and friends. Along with ‘The Welcomed’ who Galt chose their numbers swelled to those that now trudged northwards.

As the bone-weary mile markers showed them half-way to Tonswater any drifting thoughts they had of their once powerful nation soon became swallowed up in the need to keep going.
What filtered through most was the chaos enveloping the land was now settling into an equilibrium of sorts. The independent states of the nation were now shifting, changing into territory’s.
Some were ruled by what was left of the standing army.
Other areas became protected by fiercely independent militia’s.
These tended to be in the wilderness areas, away from the crazy city-folks. Sometimes Galt felt that his Mountain Gulch was a militia base of sorts, although it was more orientated towards surviving with self-sufficiency.
Most militia outfits he’d learned of survived by providing protection for towns, villages and farms. Apart from the few cabin-folk nearby, his Gulch would protect itself first and foremost. Tonswater was nearby, but twelve miles was too far for adequate protection unless he detached a small party as a garrison force.

To the far west and east city-states seemed to be forming. Some were more feral and lawless than others.

The time’s they were coming into were strange. At the time of The Fall had been a happening known as The Flash or The Starburst.
At the time of the The Fall there came sign’s in the heavens that had been apparent to the wise folks. On the day of The Fall it was heralded by a burst of light from afar which lasted for three days. During the night it illuminated with the lunar and by day it complimented the solar.
Combining to create and cause effects within and without in roughly a quarter of Terra's population.

Copyright 2012
__________________
Tyler Danann



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 09:14 PM
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Some of the dark types could not take the change which ended their own miserable lives. The stronger one's of their number now were seemingly enhanced into further malevolence and now viewed much of their land and peoples with increased loathing.
As if to counter this polarisation of the minds those like the Galt and some of his people were now galvanised with their own inner-fire. Their dynamic almost having a cascade effect on those around them.
a sign or burst of light from afar, some said the center of the galaxy , radiated brightly at nightfall. The size of a small sun and the colour of whitish-blue it did not herald any paradigm to heaven the holy-minded were looking for.

Yet whatever the inner-fire it aroused, it came with a curse; paralysing vulnerable and exposed technologies.
On the road north Galt's convoy experienced the mixed blessings of The Fall, where their fragile vehicular technology ground to halt all those months ago. At the time The Flash was hated, yet in time they learned it was perhaps something of a necessary doing.
It did seem to signal the end of an age though and one that Galt welcomed, for it was something he’d known would come, one way or another.
In the months between The Fall, the sojorn at Gelstown and the trek northwards much news had slowly filtering across what was left of the technologies.
Strange, violent beasts were reported to be ravaging areas far to the east, near to the Great Lakes. They were altogether different from the one’s nature produced. Galt was no animal hater, but he vowed to keep such things off his gulch, for they slew both human and animal the terrified newspeakers claimed.

Rumours and theory’s ranged from some unknown force unleashing apocalyptic forces, others it was something akin to a subtle bioweapon by a hostile power.
City-folks in the congested coastal zones had progressively turned rabid, like an overflowing dish of bacteria that consumed itself once it reached it’s limits. They turned on each other like dogs, some even said to be consuming flesh such was the lack of sustenance after mere days of the collapse. Or maybe they ate each other anyway.
Galt had heard most had become practically no-go areas ruled by savage warlords who’d stripped their own city’s bare then, like sucking parasites, sent out raiding army’s to fuel their base needs.
Mike’s Gulch was near no such place, but there were smaller version’s of the city-state marauders who could be just as deadly. He’d heard from one of the magistrates that a town far to the east had made a living on ‘time-bonding’ or indenturing folk unfortunate enough to be captured by them.
Another to the west had gone the other way of simply plundering all from the countryside and selling on the booty to nearby towns and villages allied to them.
He cared little of what took place outside his own landmass. What became of Europa’s factional nations concerned though, as the birthplace of most of his bloodline it irked him that the mistakes they made were later repeated by his own elected rulers.
Not that they had any say in what became of the former United States.
The name meant little to him now. Much like that Europan Empire meant after it’s own collapse into factions.

Escaping from Gelstown and their maddening covenants seemed to mean going into a different ordeal entirely.
He smiled at this though, for at least there they’d be masters of their own destiny, forging a fate beyond that imposed upon them in places like Gelstown.

He chuckled to himself. All these thoughts and ideas and he’d yet to make it to his Gulch.
Over every hill seemed to be another stretch of road into the distance. Beyond that stretch of road seemed to be another line of hills.
He knew they were edging closer to Tonswater, most of them had blistered feet now. But Danley’s trefining method of draining the liquid sore’s provided a painful, but effective remedy.





 
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