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Author Topic: [Aug 2013] Elements - Submissions Thread  (Read 2749 times)

Offline Autumn2May

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[Aug 2013] Elements - Submissions Thread
« on: August 12, 2013, 07:04:59 PM »

Earth, air, fire, and water: in ancient times these were thought to be the building blocks of our world. They were the bases for alchemy and the principles that were thought to govern the natural world. In fantasy they are the building blocks of many magic systems and religions. They can even manifest as aspects of different kingdoms and magical races.

This month, your challenge is to write a fantasy story or scene involving one or more of the classic elements: earth, air, fire, or/and water. Your story could feature a forest of magical flame, a race of earth elementals, a city protected by a wall of enchanted water, or an wind mage learning her first spell. You can also use other classic elements such as metal or wood. (No fan fiction please.) Once again, we are opening the contest to both prose and poetry.

Rules:
1. This can be prose or a poem. Be creative.
2. One or more classic elements must be a core part of your piece.
3. Prose must be 500-2000 words long. Poetry must be 100-500 words long. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits by any more than 10%.

The contest will close on the September 10th 2013 and voting will be open for the rest of the month of September.

Please post your entry below. All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their writing displayed on the main Fantasy-Faction website in November 2013.

Good luck and Happy Writing! :)

Offline xiagan

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Re: [Aug 2013] Elements - Submissions Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 09:56:29 PM »
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline ladygreen

Re: [Aug 2013] Elements - Submissions Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2013, 05:43:24 PM »
First time submission for me...

A Fine Morning for Running

Hesta pushed up from the earth with a languorous stretch and a sigh, wiping dark, moist crumbs from her shoulders and hips.  The autumn ground was cool beneath her feet and she wiggled her toes experimentally.  Yes, toes today.  Good, she thought, and made her way carefully through the soft morning mist towards the stream.  The occasional sica tree reached towards her longingly, the hanging tendrils of the heat-seeking branches unable to resist her quickly warming form.

It had been a cold night.  She would have to find a stone on which to sun this body.  Momentarily bemused, she looked down.  Yes, female today.  Good, she thought, and took the few remaining steps towards the water.  Checking her skin carefully, she tentatively dipped her hand into the clear water, satisfied when it emerged whole, her green-tipped fingers dripping.  Bathing too early, when the waking cycle had not yet completed, was a mistake only the young made.  Well, she thought wryly, one I also make occasionally, despite my ancient age.  No real bother though - unplanned crumbling was a sometimes annoying and often unavoidable part of life.  Despite the teasing of her siblings, she knew it happened to all earthwey every once in a while.

She strode confidently into the chill morning water and dipped below the surface.  Dozens of curious waterwey instantly surrounded her, reaching with tiny pearlescent fins and flippers to tickle her unprotected skin.  Shivering, she flipped her body, swept past them and waggled her fingers.  Such pathetic, playful things.  Nothing like she and her kindred brothers and sisters who were the earth. 

Finished with her scrubbing and swimming, Hesta climbed out and onto a large flat rock dappled with sunlight, admiring the lean muscles that had been gifted to her today.  Each sturdy leg tapered into two well-formed, albeit green feet.  These will be good for running, she thought happily as she leaned back on the slowly warming rock.  The Father must have been pleased with her to let one as old as she experience such a youthful freyden form.

As Hesta sunned herself, and thought of the places where she would run, a low hum began to thrum in her veins.  She sat up and clasped her forearms curiously.  No, not her veins, not her body, but the rock?  Splaying her green-tipped fingers across the warm smooth slate, she waited to feel the slight reverberations again.  Yes, it had to be the rock.  Leery, she slipped down and crouched on the earth, plunging her hands through the confetti of fallen leaves.  Even from here she could feel the Father’s soul vibrating too.  Looking up she scanned the water, but the waterwey were gone, leaving only cold empty trickles.

A sudden, violent shout made her crumble.  Two thick freyden men pounded across the forest floor, kicking up golden leaves in their wake.  Hesta watched cautiously from beneath, feeling their leather soled shoes slam into the earth.  As they passed and the leaves finally settled, she felt a flash of annoyance.  The Father had given her a perfect body today, and she had wanted to run in it.  Instead, those lumbering freyden men had made her crumble and now she would need to wait until she was gifted another body tomorrow.  Vexed, she followed them swiftly and raised a stone, causing one of them to trip and stumble.  To her dismay, he didn’t fall – he righted himself after a hop and continued to barrel through the forest like a spooked woodhog.

Hesta watched them go and sighed her disappointment.  The trees shifted their branches, rustling with her breath.  It wasn’t often that she toyed with the freyden.  Unlike her siblings, she liked to keep to herself, opting to stay out of mischief.  While not dangerous, freyden could be unpredictable.  Their ways were strange, too – always building this or that with their sticks and hammers, always trying to pull the earth in ways that it did not want to go.  Didn’t they know that the Father would take it all back again in a blink of an eye?  Silly beings.

Turning her attention back to her immediate surroundings, she realized with surprise that the earth was still vibrating.  The humming – it was audible, louder now, and getting louder.  Hesta reached with her mindself and found nothing, no source.  Perplexed, she reached farther.  Nothing.  The humming grew louder and the earth pulsed frantically, numbing her senses.  Confusion turning to panic, Hesta reached to find a sibling but found her mindself blunted.  A flower whimpered and she realized the sound was hers.

*Father?* she asked, sending the thought shooting through the earth, feeling for his soul.  The Father was silent.

More footfalls.  Softer than before, quick as a running fawn.  A light thump and a cry.  Hesta followed the sounds, finding a young freyden woman on her hands and knees, crying.  Afraid.  Hesta quickly searched the earth behind the woman, looking for the source of her fear.  With a horrific squeeze, her soul dropped and the earth frosted in a ring around the fallen woman.

Cythan, dozens of them.  Their enormous forms sat upon even larger horned beasts that dug into the earth with their great black talons.  Hesta had never seen the cythan before, but she had heard.  Cythan, the soul dead.  Cythan, the blackened warriors.  Cythan, the ones who set fire to the earth.

*Father?* she asked again frightfully, willing the protector to help.  Nothing.

The woman gave a strangled cry and propelled herself up again, plunging into the tangled bramble of the wood, her skirts catching hopelessly in the clawing growth.  The wind picked up and Hesta smelled it.  Flame mingled with fear.  Death.  The freyden village lay not far behind where the cythan stood now.  Hesta’s mind clicked into sudden understanding.  This woman, those men – they were the last.  Hesta watched the woman stumble away, fear driving her senselessly deeper into the brush instead of the open spaces where she would at least have a chance.  The dark cythan warrior at the front of the pack made an irritated noise and then signaled with a tired flick of his wrist.

He’s bored, Hesta realized with sudden, unexpected wrath.  He may as well be plucking chickens as hunting freyden. 

Behind the leader, a huge beast took off with a great lunge, its heavy claws tearing the earth as it landed, its great maw widening in a deafening shriek as it ran towards the fleeing woman.  Without thinking, Hesta threw up a wall of earth before the beast, knocking it down along with its rider.  The woman cast one backwards glance and Hesta saw the look of wonder on her face.  She only lingered for a second and then ran, finally ripping herself away from the clinging bramble.  The cythan on the ground roared his anger and knocked his beast.  The leader looked puzzled, his dark brows knitting together over black bulbous eyes.  Gaining confidence, Hesta pushed again, toppling another cythan from his mount.

With a sudden bark of guttural laughter the cythan slapped his leather-clad knees.

“An earthwey!” he exclaimed and laughed again.  The others looked at each other, confused, but laughed quietly with their leader.

Hesta stilled, not expecting the cythan to have guessed her presence.  Not many knew of her kind.  The Father protected them well.

“Earthwey!  Come out earthwey!” The leader called tauntingly, swinging one booted leg over his saddle and thumping both feet with heavy purpose on the ground. 

Hesta winced and started to move away.  At once the leader held up his hand to his chest and the low thrumming, which she hadn’t realized had stopped, began once again.  What was it?  Hesta thought frantically, her senses once again numbed.  She froze in confusion.

*Father!* she called again, for the third time.  Nothing.  *Brothers!  Sisters!* Nothing.  Helpless, she cried out and the flowers growing at the base of a nearby sica tree cried for her. 

The cythan leader’s wide craggy ears perked and he strode towards her heart, buried in the soil.

No!  How did he know?  The Children could never be found!

The cythan plunged a hand into the earth and the humming grew louder.  Hesta, violated, terrified and trembling, was pulled from the earth.  Bewildered she looked up at him.  She had never known evil, had only heard of it, but she was sure that she was looking at it now.  Long blackened teeth gleamed, slick with spittle, from his grinning mouth.  His dark face, long and lean, was covered with jagged white scars that warned of past brutal violence. 

Hesta shuddered and cowered before him.  With sudden shock, she realized that she had reverted back to her freyden form.  Green-tipped fingers clutched at the earth before her, willed themselves back in, but to no avail.  She was locked away from the Father’s soul.  A terrible sense of abandonment, of aloneness swept over her.  As she gasped, the cythan laughed again, and reached for her with one clawed hand.  The other he kept firmly clasped to something tied to a leather string around his neck.  His huge mitt closed easily around her arm, roughly bringing her to her feet.  Frantic, throwing herself at the only thing she could think of, she leaned forward and bit the back of his hand as hard as she could, breaking the odious flesh.  He yelped, temporarily releasing the object around his neck, allowing her to see and then furiously snatch the flashing golden pendant.

With a harsh tug, she broke the string as well as his hold on her, leaping away and plunging into the earth as she crumbled, carrying the pendant below with her.  Down, down, down, she went, listening to his fading howls of fury and useless scrabbling on the surface.  The pendant glowed brightly as she took it deep into the Father’s soul.

*Father!* she cried as she pushed herself as fast as she could towards the safety of his core.

*Yes, child?* finally came the answer she had been waiting for, flooding her senses with sweet relief. 

In the hot damp darkness of her beginnings, she brought out the pendant.

Re: [Aug 2013] Elements - Submissions Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 01:00:52 AM »


To Scorch in the Sun --

Mahi sighed indolently stretching her slender body on the soft billowy clouds. Her skin glowed golden,  in built protection against the strong sun; her hooded eye lids shielded her powerful eagle eyes; her hair was long, all the way to her knees and it shimmered with additional screening powers.

Mahi was composing an ode to enchant the king’s youngest son who was turning into a very handsome strong fellow. Eyes closed, she hummed, her mind whirring in concentration. She turned on to her stomach, and waving one foot in the air, she began to write on the parchment with her quill. The clouds she lay on shifted with the winds and she smiled in pleasure: it was like living on a soft swing.  She was an Apsara now. She was learning to harness the power of the winds and the skies. Old myths had Apsaras as frivolous beauties who graced Indra, the thunder god’s court in the heavens; but when she was recruited into their legions after her fatal accident on Earth, Mahi learnt otherwise.

A cry broke her concentration and she frowned. Looking up she saw Urmila in full war gear, astride her favorite steed the white owl, flying toward her.

“Mahi! Get ready at once – there is a breach at 30 degree latitude and 45 degree longitude. And we are assigned - you and I. My luck – stuck with a newbie. But it is a full mission – we have exactly twenty five minutes to close the hole.”

Urmila was strong, some said harsh, but with her muscled limbs encased in leather and her lean taut features framed with her short cropped raven black hair, she was simply thrilling to watch when in motion, like a sleek jaguar. Older and more experienced than Mahi, Urmila was born to the Apasaras and had always lived in the clouds, unlike her. Mahi had been training under Urmila for the last few months and it seemed the test was now. They’d warned her it would be sudden.

She rose and tucked the parchment and quill into the cloud. She could find it again at her next relaxation time, no problem, it was like storing your belongings in a  database, you'd find it if you were  the rightful owner and knew the password.  She blew into her conch shell, summoning Faluda, her own eagle. Theirs was a tempestuous relationship and for many days Faluda had disobeyed and humiliated her. Urmila had assigned taming Faluda as her first task and after falling dangerously close to ground, fainting and scraping herself on Faluda’s talons Mahi had finally discovered that Faluda loved to eat pomegranates and her flight was bound to be smooth if Mahini positioned herself exactly in the middle of her roomy back. These birds were much larger than their avian kin that flew closer to the ground.

With a screech Faluda swooped onto her cloud and patiently waited for Mahini to settle herself.

The cold air felt good against her face as they flew, Urmila ahead of her on the owl. She could sense it before they got there. It felt desolate and cold: a whistling sucking sensation like warmth seeping away.

With their extra sensory sight they could see it – the ragged hole in the atmosphere about ten centimeter wide and seven centimeter long above them – the universe beyond looked terribly forbidding - inky black shot with dazzling gold.

Urmila drew her arrow and standing upright balancing on her owl shot it into the hole. Blue lightning zigzagged from the arrow to the ends of the hole and resisting her impulse to cover her eyes (she knew her eyes could bear this powerful light now), Mahi saw the hole shrink just slightly. Urmila kept shooting arrows; with each shot her face grew strained – the arrows drew from her own body reserves of ozone that Apasaras specialized in manufacturing.

Mahi stood on Faluda, eyebrows knit in concentration. Her weapon was a bolt of the same blue lightning, meant to stitch the hole close. She threw her first bolt and almost screamed in frustration when it fell short of the hole. She had tried convincing her trainers that as a human she had been abysmal at throw ball, volley ball, any sport to do with throwing balls over nets. But they had ignored her and focused her training on the lighting bolt throwing.

“Focus!” shouted Urmila her voice sounding threadbare.

Mahini tried again. Her entire being honed in on the blue ozone energy within her. Cupping her hands she felt the neon ball forming. Next she drew her hand back, fixed her gaze on the hole and threw with all the force she could muster. The ball thundered into the hole and great arcs fizzed tightening the hole! Without pausing to revel in her success, Mahi continued the deluge – she put her energy into the aim and the force of the throw, every ball that fell short was a waste of ozone. She found herself remembering her physics and curving her arm to maximize the shot.

Just as she thought she would collapse and fall into nothingness, the hole closed with a final clap of blue lightning and thunder.

Urmila lay back on her owl’s back her strong muscles quivering. “Newbie – that was great. We did it.”

Mahi lowered herself on Faluda her arms shaking. The vast expanse of atmosphere stretched above them transparent yet protective. The inky space beyond looked far away again. Then she gasped. Had Urmila just praised her? She turned toward her a huge smile on her face, to be met with Urmila’s usual taciturn expression. Urmila cocked one eyebrow as if to say, What?! Enough with the gushing.

The two apsaras turned to fly back to their clouds, their world safe, for now, against the sun’s burning touch.


Offline Wolfen32

Re: [Aug 2013] Elements - Submissions Thread
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 05:12:50 PM »
Here is mine. I decided to go with the non-classical elements of wood and iron.

The pallbearers carried the coffin along the twisting streets of Eupang. The sight brought a dismal mood to an otherwise sunny spring morning. Young Westin watched from the Valley Shop as the procession went by. He sighed, and looked to his mentor. Mister Gervault was a wiry old man who sat hunched on his stool, working at a chunk of wood with all of the finesse that came with a lifetime of study with the Carver's Guild. Suddenly, a dull pulse could be felt, an electric sensation carried through the air. It measured out in the span of heartbeats as Mister Gervault's work came closer to completion.

Westin walked over to see that the medium-sized chunk of wood was now taking on the form of a face. It was, if truth me told, the face of the man whose corpse was being taken to the Shallows even now. The old man dug his tool deep into the sculpture, and formed two wide, inquisitive eyes. They peered out with a strange liveliness that made Westin shiver. The etherial heartbeats grew in intensity until, against all reason... It blinked.

"Wood and iron! I thought it would never work!" said Mister Gervault.

The wooden likeness of the mayor yawned, and said "Mark the days! What hour is this?"

Westin smiled, and said, "Hullo! Sorry to bother you sir, but... It's quite unfortunate. You passed on not two night ago. We brought you back... Carver's work, you see." Westin looked to Gervault to see if he had spoken well. The old man nodded and smiled. His eyes crinkled behind the bifocals.

"Brought me back? What ever for? I wrote in my will expressly that I did not wish to be revived."

"Well... To... To speak in court. You are to testify."

"And against whom, exactly? I could see the Pale Winter before you brought me back."

Mister Gervault spoke up, "Against your murderer, kind sir."

"Murder?!" Shouted the wooden face, "Did your boy not just say I passed on in my sleep?"

"Not precisely," the old man said as he adjusted his glasses. He moved the sculpture around to look it in the eyes, "He said you passed on in the night, but the matter still stands. It was murder plain and true. It was poison what wrought you so. They found your secretary ankle-deep in your gold, they did. He's to go on trial this afternoon. You are to be a witness, and once the proceedings are done, you will be released to your family, so that you might hear their parting remarks, comforts, and condolences.

"Ah, very well... Who's to replace me, then?"

"That... Is a matter to be resolved later. By that time, you will have passed on once more."

"Very well. I just hope it isn't that rat-faced fool of a-" the enchanted mask stopped as shouts were heard outside the door. Binks, the Master's cat hissed suddenly, and the door burst open as someone kicked it in. The shadowy figures of what appeared to be ten city guards burst into the room. Their dark cloaks and pointed, woven caps made them look like living shadows.

"Kings in iron, what noise is that?" The mayor said.

One of the guards stepped forth, and announced "Master Vontissiere Gervault of the Carver's Guild, we sentence you to death."

The master stood up. "And on exactly what grounds, pray you tell?!"

"For high treason, and the heinous crime of ferromancy. You are to be named a practitioner of the iron arts, in direct conflict to all true law," the guard pulled a crossbow from his back, and before Westin would say a word, slung a heavy bolt through the Master's head. The old man let out one scream as the force of the shot threw him out of his chair and onto the ground. Crimson blood poured out. Westin drew close to his dying tutor as the man spoke his dying words.

"West... Westin... Take the cat... And run. Speak no questions. Do as I say," the old man groaned. The life slowly drew out of his eyes. The guards stepped towards Westin. In a flash, he grabbed the mask, and snatched up Binks. He ran as quickly as he could down the stairs, and out the alley door. He ran and ran, the shouts of the guards behind him as they gave chase. H ran until his legs carried him out of the city proper, and into the wide fields beyond. The woods stood as dark sentries afar. Westin could see the dark branches of the trees so prized for their use in Carving. He glanced back, panting. The guards had not followed him out of the city. He collapsed in the grass, letting the mask roll away. It had not said a word, the mayor's soul most likely fled to the realm where the dead retire. Westin lay there in the grass for a time. Binks nuzzled against his side. His metal tag clinked on one of Westin's buttons. Its eyes took on a strange cast... The long slit of a pupil shifted. The green cat's eyes slowly morphed into the familiar beads which has belonged to his mentor. Suddenly, the cat spoke.

"Well... That was an adventure. I can't say I've always dreamt of being turned into a cat, but... Such is life. Better than the Summer Courts," the voice of Mister Gervault said from the mouth of Binks.

"Master Gervault?!" Westin shouted. He crawled back away from the cat. Binks continued to preen himself. It's all too human eyes blinked.

"Yes, yes... It's quite alright. Now, before you say a word, yes... I am also a ferromancer. Think what you will, but the Ten Kings are returning, and it will take one skilled in both arts to help this land conquer the shadow that comes...

The ground began to shake violently. Westin grabbed into the grass. The fields made great waves, rolling up and down like a turbulent sea. Fissures opened in the earth, steam and mud hissing upward. The cat spoke, and said simply "It begins"