All posts by Jian Lam

Root of Fire

Sometimes I wish I had stayed awake that night
Now all the sleep I get can’t wipe the memory of that night from my mind.

That night
As I settled in for the night shift I sipped my coffee
The frigid winds
Blankets sweeping across the harsh mountainous land
And winter’s frosty arrows
Pierced the inky darkness outside

A confetti of snow and hail
Buffeted against the doors of the cabin
But inside
Darkness gave way
To warm
Fuzzy light

A shadow appeared
Walking closer
It was Jen

“Have we done the survey yet? We need to start drilling, and we’ll have to start soon, otherwise we’ll never meet the quota in time.”

Too tired, maybe the coffee was too weak
Sleepy eyelids, with leaden weights hanging

Glancing down at the excavation below

Fiery red,
Vents of yellow-red Lava, bits of a Phoenix
Strewn everywhere

Miners, workers, builders
Hm. It looks like they completed surveying, I thought.
I forgot that survey equipment was broken.

“Cleared. Begin drilling.”

Thus done. Slipping off into sleep
Borne along ceaselessly by the magnetic current
Of fatigue
Carrying me to places
Where the grass is greener


A big sound.
Out of nowhere,
It was a Titan of old
It was Atlas or Hercules
Shaking the very pillars of the world

A bright light
Slapping the dark in the face
Kicking my eyes in the nuts

The walls shook and the roof shook
And everything shook
And the cabin
Suddenly flipped over

Knocked my head
Got up,
Blood dripping everywhere

Staggering to the entrance
Wounded, limping,
Lady Luck
Saved me that day

Sometimes I wish I had stayed awake that night
Now all the sleep I get can’t bring those dead workers

Windfall Detainment Camp

Martin yawned as he stared out, over the sickening drop and the gentle, rocky slope that transitioned into a stony beach. He stared at the set of staircases that led down to the beach, and marvelled at the thorny plants that, unlike all other beach flora, flourished during the harsh winters that beset Stornoway and the Outer Hebrides.

Just thinking about the winter made him cold. He wished he could get out of the asylum and that his guard duty was over. Good thing the shift was only three months. Then he could return to Elise and the children, and the warm, hazy, content Somerset countryside where his home, heart and family belonged.

Unfortunately, he was stuck here, sleeping in a hammock that was barely big enough for him, eating food that honestly should have been fed to pigs, and guarding his fellow countrymen, at least, those who were brave enough to speak up against Philip Snowden and his Federationist cronies. He didn’t like the government either; a Syndicalist Trade Union Congress and its bullies had stormed into his village and rounded up about a quarter of the villagers, including his elderly mother, for apparently “counter-revolutionary” activities. Fortunately for him, since he already worked at the Windfall Detainment Camp, he was able to secure his mother’s safety.

Other villagers, however, were not so lucky.

He made sure his rifle was hoisted securely around his shoulder, tightened his trenchcoat and shrugged his shoulders to ward off the cold. He peered at the prisoners, who were doing their morning exercises. Other guards were walking around the perimeter, and he could see a young prisoner being berated by a guard for dropping some tools. As he watched, the guard smashed the butt of his rifle into the prisoner’s jaw, who collapsed to the ground.

As Martin passed by the main entrance, he collected the map that detailed the camp

Only three months, he thought.

*Based off of the Kaiserreich mod for Hearts of Iron IV

-I do not own Philip Snowden, the Federationists, or Trade Union Congresses. Martin is a product of my own work.


A Comprehensive History of Harmony: Volume 4 (The Emerald Isles), Chapter 13 (Early Medieval Era)

The art of cloudmaking is ancient, unimaginably old. The knowledge of the art was first introduced to the Free Peoples of The Emerald Isles by the Monks of the 14th Chapter of the Way of Harmony. The Popularist School of Harmony was instrumental in their teachings as they preached that anyone, not just those who had reached Enlightenment through the accumulation of karma.

By the end of the last aftershocks of Great Plague, during the reign of the 44th Lord Provost, only one Abbot remained to teach this art; all other monks had fled the Isles for the New World.

The Last Abbot’s name was Han Storgen, and his last apprentice, the one responsible for the revival of the Way in the Isles was known as Thorgen. Here follow some poems composed by the Abbot in his last year of Abbothood, in the year 420.

“Higher than the peaks

Fly the clouds

One must learn

To live in harmony with all things

Learn the ways of Cloudmaking.”

“To bend and make the clouds

Is to bring serenity and tranquility to one’s heart.”


Windy Days

It’s windy, and the breeze bites my skin

Like icy teeth, and I wish that there was someone

To share this with me

It’s cold


The bridge is old, older than my pap, even

Aged, creamy, beige wood, full of kinks and curves and imperfections

Like our lives

It’s cold, and windy too


I’m in a watercolour painting

The gunpowder sky, the harsh bone white cliffs, the green hairs of grass, the deep blue river

Everything feels flat, and painted on canvas, a rustic look

It’s cold, and windy, and bleak too


The cliff and the outcrop of rock, standing there since

Time immemorial

Monuments to the ever present, never tiring will and force of time


The warm darkness

Arms to cuddle in, a shoulder to nuzzle against

So near, yet so very far away


Pink Lilies

Lilies crown the few square metres of dirt

A carpet of pink

The wooden box

The soil, fresh, wet, smelling like earth

2 or 3 metres below

Some feet tread carefully

Over the flowers

The little ones don’t care

Trampling on the carpet

‘I was what you are, you will be what I am.’

Some of us know it

That feeling

Of slipping away, fading into dust

Some of us don’t

Anaesthetized or sleeping

None of us can run away from it

We can delay it

It doesn’t always end in a wooden box

Or in an urn

Or in fragrant bandages





Jian Lam 9F