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Who wrote the best story in February 2012?

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2 (16.7%)
1 (8.3%)

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Voting closed: March 30, 2012, 08:19:50 PM

Author Topic: February 2012 Writing Challenge - Voting Now Closed!  (Read 6981 times)

Offline Autumn2May

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February 2012 Writing Challenge - Voting Now Closed!
« on: February 01, 2012, 03:29:30 PM »
There are no secrets that time does not reveal. - Jean Racine

Image by NostalgiaCaptured

February is the month of love.  But it is also the month of secrets: secret gifts, secret admirers, secret lovers.  But in fantasy, there are many kinds of secrets besides these.  There are secret groves where wood spirits dwell, secret spells that no man should utter, and secret plots whose success can change the course of history.  Whether they are kept for good or evil, secrets play a huge role in fantasy, as does how they are revealed and who they are revealed to.

This month, your challenge is to write a fantasy story or scene about a secret.  It can be good or bad, big or small, but it must be the main point of the story.

The rules are as follows:

1. Must be prose.
2. 1,500 - 2,000 words.
3. Must include a secret as a major part of the story in addition to some element of fantasy.

The contest is now closed!  And the winner is:


Congratulations to our winner!

You can discussion this month's entries here:
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 07:13:53 PM by Autumn2May »


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Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 10:10:01 PM »
OK, it's kind of urban fantasy I guess, with vampires. And a few minor bits of language. I did look for board rules regarding that and didn't find any, so if it breaks any rules then please feel free to remove it, mods!  And if vampires and such don't meet the criteria then remove it as well. Why secrets said vampires and spray paint to me is anyone's guess!

Bex is a Vampire

It's been dark a couple of hours and I've been out of bed almost that long when I look at Adam and say, "Can I tell you something?" 

We’ve known each other a few months now and I know all about him. I know he's a skinny, speccy, geeky kid with a superhero obsession, who lives at home with his mum and dad and two sisters and three cats. He makes good grades at school cos he's a bit of a brainbox, especially in maths, and he gets beaten up pretty regularly on the way home.  I know he likes graphic novels and aspires to doing that kind of stuff, and I know what he wants more than anything in the world is to come up with a really great tag: one that will gain him access to the inner sanctum of the cool kid graffiti artists in town.

He doesn't know much about me, except I live in a trailer and don't go to school. I've made up some bullshit story about home schooling. It seems to satisfy him.

He shakes his spray paint can, setting the mixing peas to clattering and jangling inside and grunts: a noncommittal sound. I take it as agreement and sit down beside him. Holding the can steady he presses the button and a fine spray hits the bricks, leaving dots like blue freckles up his arm. His finger is paint covered where the actuator leaked. Wiping his face with his hand leaves a trail of blue across his face like war paint, or that sunscreen cricketers use.

He pushes his glasses further up his nose leaving a smear of paint across the bridge. The last thing he needs right now is me looking over his shoulder, yet here I am. I can almost hear his thoughts.

What did I do to get saddled with the weirdo? I mean, I'm pretty much bottom of the heap round here, but jeez, hanging with her? If I ignore her she might bugger off back to that trailer with her ancient dad and their skanky dog. Is he even her dad? He looks more like her granddad, or her great-granddad, even.

"I'm a vampire."

"Yeah? Good for you."  His body-language is pretty closed off. He doesn't want me here.

This is what happens when you are forty-eight years old and your dad's seventy-one.  I look and feel like an eleven year old. I want to drink Coke till I'm sick and play 'knock down ginger' and dance to pop music. I want to have friends and go to sleepovers and hand in my homework late. I want to pin Adam to the wall he's painting and drain his blood away.  I have thirty-seven years experience of being eleven years old, and I'm pretty damn sick of it. Maybe that's why I told him.

"Did you hear me?"

"Yeah.  You're a vampire. So what, we call you Buffy now or summat?"

Well obviously, since she's a slayer. Dickhead. Go to the bottom of the class at geek school.

His face screws up and his tongue sticks out and he adds a little slash of white to highlight the letters. Stepping back from the wall his face splits into a grin. "Whaddya reckon? Is that good or what? Reckon Ace and his gang will have to let me go out bombing with them with a tag like that."

Ace? What sort of stupid name is that? I have a picture in my head of a teen with his hair shaved down the sides and spiked on top, rows of piercings in his lips and eyebrows, a bad attitude and an IQ of 70.

His spray paint success ups his sociability index, or he's high on propellant, because he says, "Tell you what, why don't you come bombing with us? It'll be fun."

Seriously? The freak from the trailer and the geek, running with the big kids?  Like he really wants me there anyway.  But maybe I've been misreading him.  Maybe he doesn't hate me, but it's the whole socially awkward geek vibe he's got going on and he needs a friend as much as I do.  I want to laugh – tell him to get real – but instead I hear myself say, "Yeah, why not?"


Ace proves to be depressingly close to my mental image of him, all black leather and Lynx aftershave that almost but doesn't quite cover up the smell of teenage boy.  He rolls his eyes when Adam turns up, dressed all in black like James Bond, having climbed out of his bedroom window and shinned down the drainpipe, like the front door and a key wouldn't have worked better.  Ace looks past Adam at me, registers I'm about four years too young for him to be legitimately interested in and his eyes slide away, leaving me feeling vaguely dirty.

They like his tag well enough, but the fact still remains that Adam is still barely through puberty and an idiot to boot, so the whole best-friends-with-the cool-kids thing isn't going so well. I can see the idea form in his head before he says it, like a thought balloon slowly inflating. Then it pops, leaving mental bubble gum all over his head, and he says, "She's a vampire, you know."

The older boys grin at each other, curling pierced lips and displaying an assortment of tongue bars.

"Sure she is."

I glare at him. I trusted him. I wanted to share something important with him, like you would with a proper friend. A best friend. I'd had one of those, once. I'd almost forgotten what it felt like.

Adam grins sheepishly, shifting his weight from foot to foot. "Well, she said she was. And she's pretty pale. And – you know – I've never seen her out in daylight."

They laugh. One pushes my shoulder and brings his face close to mine. "Show us yer fangs then."

I fix his eyes with mine and say, "I can't, obviously, unless I'm going to feed from you."

The laughter turns raucous then.  The boy sneers and says, "Go on, darlin'. Right here," and bares his neck. I'm mildly surprised that it's tattoo-free, but I've become conditioned to drinking from tattooed skin. My dad has an assortment on his neck and arms to cover up the marks from my feeding to avoid any awkward questions. It almost turns my stomach to think of feeding from anyone but him, but someday I'll have to.  He isn't getting any younger.

Fighting down the urge to be sick in the back of my mouth I push him away. "Creep. Why don't you crawl back into your hole."

"Oooh, scary vampire. Woooooh." He raises his arms over his head and waggles his hands in the air.

"That was more like a ghost than a vampire. Put a sock in it, for God's sake." says Ace.

They are high on solvent and adrenaline and testosterone and behaving pretty much as I expected, but I'm sad about Adam. I trusted him and he let me down. I only wanted a friend I could talk to, but he wanted to impress these jerks more than he'd wanted my friendship. It figured.

Ace pulls two paint cans from his backpack, brandishing them like a pair of six-shooters. "Come on, lads, let's do the railway bridge and embankment.  No trains running this time of night, so we could take our time, do a piece or two. Council scrubbed it a couple of weekends back and nobody's claimed it yet. Local paper said they used graffiti repellent paint. Think that's a challenge, don't you? Let's see which wins, the council's paint or ours."

That's the longest speech I've heard him make, and I do a mental reassessment.  Maybe his IQ might stagger up to 80.

Adam joins the older ones and I tag along behind, simmering. Disappointment sits curled up in the pit of my stomach like my dad's dodgy curry and I think about heading home to bed. Not a coffin or anything gothic like that – just a bunk bed in a trailer that smells of dog wee and old cigarettes.  Yeah, being a vampire is so rock and roll.

When we get to the railway bridge Ace claims the whole of one side and leaves the other side to the rest of them. Adam starts resolutely painting as many of his tags as he can, one after the other, like a production line. The other guys are a bit more creative and I watch one of them do a big cartoon figure with bubble lettering and 3D highlighting. Ace has rollers out, for God's sake, so he's planning something big. The commuters are going to get an eyeful on their way into the city in the morning.

They are almost done when I realise I'm hungry. I'm like any other eleven year old kid – always hungry – only it's not crisps or biscuits I could do with snacking on right now.  I'm acutely aware of the pulse throbbing under those tattooless necks. Right now, it's probably only the Lynx effect that's keeping those guys alive. I like my blood au naturel, thanks.  My stomach rumbles, and I bend nearly double trying to shut it up.

It's when I turn and see what Ace has been painting all this time that I nearly lose it. His stupid face is one big smile and I want to insert his spray can right down his idiot throat. I want to take his roller and shove it where the sun don't shine – appropriate for a vampire, no?  To be fair to Adam, he looks horrified too and he stares at me with his mouth wide open.

Blockbuster letters three feet high run the length of the embankment.


What the hell does he think he's playing at? This was my secret, that I shared with my friend.  Now every Tom, Dick and Harry on the 8.07 to Euston will see it. Damn it, everyone on every train into Euston, and out again, will see it. Forever. Or until the council come along with some more of their poxy graffiti repellent paint that doesn't bloody work. The fact that no-one will believe it is beside the point. It was a secret!

OK, sod it, Lynx or not, here come the fangs. They drop into place and I bare them. I'm an eleven year old girl, goddammit, and you've just really, really, pissed me off.  If I wasn't dead the pre-pubertal hormones would be giving me a total meltdown right now. Tantrums and tears and pre-teen dramas all surfacing at once. Except I've got all that anyway. With fangs.

When the red mist evaporates and the fangs retract, the walls of the embankment are sprayed with more blood than aerosol paint. The blood will wash off easily. One good power hosing and what's left of Ace and Adam and the others will be sluiced away. I hope while they're at it they'll whitewash over the graffiti, although it's better than I want to admit. Maybe I could even get to like this stuff – shoplift some paint, get some piercings.  Dad would go mad, but I could blame it on a midlife crisis. After all I am forty-eight.

I guess dad and skanky dog and I will have to move on again and I wonder what the papers will come up with this time. Bizarre cult suicide pact, maybe? Or a pack of feral dogs?  I very much doubt they'll connect the deaths with the lettering. After all, we all know that vampires aren't real, don't we?  So Bex can't possibly be one.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 07:02:31 PM by Whitehare »

Offline LeifGSNotae

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Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 11:17:16 PM »
This is my story about a secret that can tear love apart in a fantasy world. There are some things you are better off being honest about, right? Thanks for reading it and enjoy!


Goblin Sun

The big green meaty hand clamped around my companion's slender neck, capturing her flowing blond curls and pulling her chin straight into the air. She looked as though she were a fish struggling for breath as she thrashed about in the iron grip. My eyes shifted from her helpless position to the large green-skinned  oaf holding onto her. She wore a small circlet with a poisonous green stone set in the center, matching her verdant skin to where it almost looked as though her flesh had crystallized and formed in its place. The next thing that caught my eye was a symbol resembling an oak branch in full bloom etched into the stone.

The green-skinned  creature turned her attention to me and offered me a blackened smile as she licked her lips with a pallid tongue. Her large, jaundice eyes glared at me as though she could see through me and into my soul. She flexed her hand and motioned for one of her servants, a fellow green-skinned beast, to attend to her. They spoke in a language my ears could not hear nor could my brain decipher it. Soon, their discussion turned into an argument; an argument the attendant would lose.

The green-skinned  attendant cowered as the large bestial woman lashed out at him with her dirty fingernails. He stumbled back and fell to one knee before turning to me. The creature had the same jaundice eyes, but behind them raged a fiery fear. He glanced at the creature once as though he had to assure himself he was doing the right thing. He received a curt nod. When he turned to speak to me, his voice sounded as though someone were smashing rocks together while speaking through a waterfall. "You are now in the presence of the goblin queen. You are her prisoner and you will be treated with respect, if you reciprocate openly."

"What are you doing to Linette? Release her at once. She is my companion, my betrothed, and we will be married when we leave this place."

The verdant man raised a muddy eyebrow as he turned to the goblin queen. He repeated my statement to her. She lowered the arm that clutched Linette and broke into hideous laughter. Her pallid tongue waggled as she leaned forward and slapped her meaty thighs with her large hand. The attendant, along with the twenty or so goblins behind them, broke into nervous laughter as they tried to match their queen's humor.

She picked up on their laughter and bellowed in rage loud enough to make the trees shake and the birds scatter in terror. The goblins stopped their laughter and cowered from her as she took a step toward me. My fear raged in my chest as my body leaned away from the oncoming horror. The attendant tried to stop her from moving, but the queen pushed out of the way with little effort. Her eyes raged with liquid anger as she stalked after me. Her voice matched her terrifying demeanor as her tone sounded like thunder rolling across the heavens. "You believe you are to be married to this creature? You have a funny humor about you, HU-man."

My voice trembled as my back found a stout oak. The bark started to press deep into my skin as little blood droplets trickled down my spine. "You have no place in the affairs of the heart, goblin. Whether you are a queen or a gnat, only the heart can dictate to all living creatures whom to love."

"You would do well to tell this to our dead husbands. They loved others, so they paid the price. We are the Goblin Queen; we dictate to my people what they will do and how they will do it." She turned and lifted Linette, turning her until they met eye to eye. "Isn't that right, little one?"

My hands trembled as they reached out for my beautiful Linette, attempting to catch the tears streaming down her face as she tried to look away. "You will release her this instant. Your authority as queen has no jurisdiction here. You are in the human territory; we gave you the right to travel in this forest, but your reign is invalid here."

The Goblin Queen ignored my protest, as though my voice belonged to a small dog nipping and yapping at the heel of a giant. She glared at my Linette and spoke her foul goblin language to her. She tapped her foot and waited for a reply.

My heart sank when my ears heard her angelic voice reply in the same corrupted words. My jaw dropped as my eyes started to well with tears. "Why are you speaking in their language, my love? You know it is forbidden to treat with creatures like this; our king decreed it years ago."

She chewed on her lip and closed her eyes as the Goblin Queen turned her to face me. The brute shook her in anger, causing my heart to leap in fear. "You will tell him, or we will tell him for you. If we tell him, you will lose him forever; if you tell him, you will only lose his heart."

Linette squealed in terror as she turned her gaze to her captor. "Leave us be! There is no reason to return me, let us live in peace and understand the meaning of true love."

"You are still our subject; you are under our control." The Goblin Queen offered a lazy predatory smile as she lifted her sausage like finger and tapped the oak stone in her circlet with her fingernail. The clicking sound gave me the chills. "The stone can compel you to do what is demanded from you, though it would be less satisfactory than watching you shatter this HU-man's heart. What will it be?"

Linette turned to me, watching in horror as my face contorted in rage. My voice took an edge, though it still trembled in fear. "You said you were fleeing from someone, though it was not from the Goblin Queen. You never mentioned you were a subject. Humans cannot serve two masters. Were you a slave? Is she here to return you to your rightful place?"

My beloved eyes opened wide as she struggled to find her voice. For the first time, my eyes caught the jaundice color in her eyes. The Goblin Queen placed Linette on her feet and released her grip. My love took a step toward me, but stopped and turned to the bestial woman behind her. "Please, do not make me do this. We will leave this land, never to bother humans or goblins again."

"You have no say in this matter. We demand you return to our home. You are a priestess to Gruh, and your place is by our side. We cannot let you leave; you mean too much to our Kingdom."

Linette turned to me with sorrow in her gait as her head hung in defeat. Every step she took appeared painful. She stopped in front of me and squatted until our eyes met. She offered a weak smile, giving her the appearance of a frightened little girl and sweet angel. "Elock, you must believe our love is genuine."

"You are the sun to my moon, Linette. My heart will never stop loving you."

She nodded in satisfaction as she pulled the dress sleeve up her right arm until it revealed a birthmark my eyes never witnessed before. My eyes adjusted as they focused in on the long line wrapping around her bicep. My soul sank once more as my mind connected the shape to something else entirely.

The birthmark matched the circlet stone on the Queen's head.

She rolled the sleeve down and turned her head to hide her shame. "You love a goblin. Magic turned me into this human form, powerful magic none of our people knew about. After my body changed shape, my mind believed it was a sign from Gruh that my service came to an end. Shortly thereafter, we found each other. My heart could not mention the truth to you."

My pulse pounded in my head, the roar matching the beaches remembered as we once strolled across sandy shores and planned our lives together. My voice was a mere whisper as the edge dulled on my words. "What do you plan on doing now? You cannot stay with me; they will kill you. You cannot return to the Kingdom. If someone discovers your true nature, you will be killed."

She leaned forward and placed her hand on my chest as her lips brushed against my ear. "Tell me you love me once more."

"Linette, wha-"

"Please, let me hear it one more time."

"I love you, Linette."

She pulled back and offered her sweet smile once more. "You are the moon to my sun."

The world slowed to a crawl as my eyes caught the dagger blade sliding out from her left sleeve. She brought it to her throat and mouthed her final words as she brought it across her neck. A waterfall of fetid green blood spilled from her wound as she fell into my arms. The Goblin Queen raged and bellowed orders to her minions, but they seemed many miles away as my arms cradled the corpse that was once to be my bride. 

Offline wishywash27

Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 03:37:27 PM »
Combining elements of futuristic sci/fi and fantasy seemed the way to go with this one-Enjoy!

                                                                        The Senator's Dilemma

   I pressed the accelerator all the way to the floor in the desperate hope the vehicle would let me get around the next corner.
The flashing lights in my rearview mirror were gaining and the wail of the siren made my heart race faster than it already was. The safety mechanism I had so naively voted in favor for kicked in. The computerized voice that managed to be both soothing and irritating as hell informed me what I already knew.

   “I detect your vehicle is approaching a speed 10 mph over the approved limit. I am slowing your vehicle down now.”
   I slammed the steering wheel in frustration. Damn it! Nothing was going as planned! Seeing as how outrunning my pursuer was out of the question, I deliberately chose a spot under a street light, and pulled the traitorous vehicle over.
    Composing my face into what I hoped was a contrite and harmless expression, I pressed the button that would roll my window down and waited, making my breath come slowly and calmly.

   “Ma’am. License and Registration, please. Do you know why I pulled you over?” The officer looked barely old enough to shave.
    I handed him the documents and making sure the light cast from the streetlamp caught my face, simpered, “Oh Officer, I am so sorry, truly I am! I was just thinking about tomorrow’s session and how important the vote will be. I want to make the right decision, you understand better than most how serving our people takes precedence over anything else, I’m sure.”
   Yes, I was laying it on thick. I was also taking a huge gamble he was pulling me over for something innocuous and just had very, very bad timing. My gamble paid off.
   He looked up, my speech and the name on my ID connecting the dots for him. “Sen- Senator? Senator Calvinia?” He stuttered.

   “Yes, that’s me.” I smiled innocently up at him.

   “Gosh, wow, I am so sorry to delay you, Senator. It’s just, well, your tail light is out.” The poor man was blushing as he rushed on. “But I understand, you’re right, the vote…” He trailed off.  Clearing his throat, he acknowledged, “You are free to go, and please, drive home carefully.” He literally half curtsied and tipped his cap to me.
    I quashed the hysterical laughter burbling up my throat and assured him it was no bother, I would indeed be careful, and thank you.
The poor kid! I should submit an accommodation to his superiors. Right after I got this stupid car to my destination and my trunk full of contraband had been safely emptied.

    Once I was outside the city limits, I could find a gap zone and use my powers to fix the damn tail light and de-activate my car’s tracker, but I was counting solely on my title to get me through the checkpoints. Since my Senatorial predecessors had seen fit to combine the entirety of their powers and create a massive “Dead Zone” over the Capitol, no one could use even the tiniest amount of individual power within its limits.

   It was advertised as a way to provide a safe and neutral territory where business was conducted and laws were made through honest planning and benevolence for our constituents, but in reality, it just meant my fellow leaders had learned how to be sneaky and corrupt the old-fashioned way. Physical threats, greased hand shakes, and family connections were amongst the most common, but there were other ways too.

   My family connections were what earned me my own seat on the Senate. I hadn’t wanted it, but when my Father’s life was cut short in the magical duel on the Senate steps that precipitated the creation of the Dead Zone, his seat was handed down to me. It was my 21st birthday and I was therefore of legal age to accept the nomination. I had thought it meant carrying on my Father’s legacy; they had done it with the intention of using my inexperience and starry-eyed idealism as means to further their own agenda. It worked for a while, too.

   One example was the law that required all vehicles to have a speed-override function, the one that had screwed me over tonight. It was presented as the best way to completely eliminate dangerous high speed chases, as well as the myriad of other situations where high speeds led to fatal accidents. Those goals were all achieved, but the real goal was to allow one more method of controlling each and every citizen.

   We had traded our freedom for safety. The problem now was there was no way to keep us safe from our Government.

   Or so I had thought. It had been almost a decade since I became a Senator and I was beginning to despair ever having any real opportunity to effect change. The change began one night almost a year ago.

   I had arrived at home late, exhausted after yet another endless session where the other Senators tried to out-snake each other and push through more laws designed to tighten the noose around the Capitol’s neck. I let myself in the side door, fully prepared to zap a meal and curl up with a movie off the free public network.
   Instead, I got a gloved hand over my mouth with another one around my waist and a voice in my ear telling me not to scream and just listen. Just as I was about to scream anyway, a high pitched buzzing noise started, and the voice continued, even closer to my ear.

   “If you want to know what your Father was working on that got him killed, come to 41475 Vector Avenue at 7am tomorrow. Come alone. Call for a taxi and give them a different address on Vector. Walk around the block twice before coming to the address. Don’t say anything to anyone, don’t even talk to yourself about it out loud. Your house and car are bugged.”

    The gloves left my body and the buzzing noise was shut off. I stood still, completely in shock, waiting to get stabbed or strangled. When several minutes had passed and neither of those things happened, I choked out the command for the lights to turn on. Nothing was out of place. No one else was there with me.

   I sunk to the floor and began to think about the information and directions I had been given. I didn’t want to go. I was terrified to go. But in the end, I was more terrified not to go. To not take the chance the wearer of the gloves was telling the truth that my Father had been murdered, to always have unanswered questions – that was more horrible than the possibility of getting murdered in a warehouse downtown.

   I had followed the directions to the letter and eventually arrived at 41475 Vector Avenue. It was a smallish, non-descript gray building. I hesitated at the door, half hoping it would be locked. It wasn’t. I crossed the threshold.

   My footsteps echoed on the concrete floor and up to the exposed rafters. “Hello?” I called out.

   “Here.” Responded a voice. I whipped around. A man in a dark trench coat had appeared behind me. Creepy. But as I looked into his face, I wasn’t creeped out, or scared. He was just a normal looking man, very tall, but with kind eyes, eyes that looked very tired.

   “Thank you for coming, Brim. We weren’t sure you were going to, but I hoped you would.”

   I was taken aback at his use of my first name. Informal. Familiar. “Have we met?” I asked. “I mean, before you broke into my house and nearly gave me a heart attack last night.” I added sarcastically.

   He shook his head. “No. But I was a friend of your Father and he spoke of you often. I apologize. For last night too. I’m afraid there isn’t much time and it was the best I could do without compromising anything. Please, come with me. You need to see some things.” He turned, and taking a small black controller from the pocket of his dark coat, pressed a few buttons.

   A hole opened up in the floor. He motioned me to follow him and I saw we were going to descend on an old-fashioned escalator. I had come this far, so taking a deep breath, I stepped onto the moving staircase after him and allowed it to carry me into the bowels of 41475 Vector Ave.

   As my eyes sunk below the ground floor, I looked around and realized the innocuous gray building was a front for the real operation. The below-ground epicenter was abuzz with strange machines, glowing lights, and frowning scientist-types in lab coats looking harried and genius-y.

   Realizing I was still holding my breath, I exhaled in a whoosh. We had reached the bottom of the escalator. I followed the man in the trench, also realizing I still didn’t know his name. He had the habit overly tall men sometimes have of hunching their shoulders and tucking their chins into their chest while walking so as to appear less intimidating.

   I scurried after him. He led me to a room off the main hub and ushered me in. “I want to show you these.” He pointed to a mess of papers spread out on the tables. “They came three days ago. Along with a letter from your Father. He had left instructions for them to be mailed to us before he was killed; very smart man, your Father. He knew. He knew that nest of vipers would find a way to push their plan through. He wanted to make sure you were protected and we could carry on his work if he wasn’t here to do it himself.”

   I had gone to the table and started looking at the papers before he was done talking. They were plans. Plans outlining exactly how the Elders would put the Dead Zone into effect. Plans to- I caught my breath again and had put my hand out to steady myself on the edge of the table.

   There were plans how to destroy the power network that formed the Dead Zone. Items we would need to accomplish this feat were listed. Items I realized the Senators had been slowly and methodically outlawing for the past decade.

   I knew that all individuals had a certain level of power that allowed them to perform basic tasks, such as creating fire by harnessing elemental energies, or moving objects with their minds. Some individuals were blessed with enormous stores of this power, which enabled them to perform much more complicated and strenuous tasks. As a child, I had been able to perform more difficult challenges than other children my age and my Father had once told me that I possessed more power than he had ever seen any one person have in his lifetime, and I would come into it fully when I came of age.

   I never got the chance to reach full potential. It hadn’t dawned on me until that moment in the subterranean laboratory that the timing of events may have been concisely planned for that very reason.
   My hands had shook, and I fought back tears as I looked up and met the eyes of my trench-coated collaborator.

   “You understand, don’t you?” He’d asked softly. I had nodded. “What do you want to do about it, Brim Calvinia?”

   “Let’s take the bastards down.” I had hissed.

   Now that we were so close to accomplishing our plan, I had almost screwed it up because of the careless oversight of a burned out tail light.
Approaching the final checkpoint that would allow me to leave the Capitol and find a gap zone, my heart began racing again. I cleared the checkpoint with nary a suspicious glance.

   Time to make them pay.

Offline zeropysche

Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 12:20:23 AM »
“Dance with me Lucy.” Alistair smiled. He was always smiling. Life was just too short otherwise. Lucy smiled back. Her green dress flickered with a fae light.  He could feel the heat of it’s magic pressing against his mind. He wanted her. Flame weave, fire woven into fabric, did that. She probably had other items of that enhanced lust and attraction on her. It was clear why such a lowborn was the center of every one's attention.
“And why should I dance with you exactly? Elia just told me that the rumor is you’re no longer heir to House Sinclair.” She pushed a lock of blond hair behind her ear, showing of delicate flowery earrings. “I no longer find you interesting.” The magic of the flame weave was working he noted.
Alistair mimed shock. “Is that so?” He put a hand to his chin, scratching briefly. He had known word of his dismissal would get around. He had planned on it.  But he still hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. So what was his next move? “I find it hard to believe, that such a beautiful woman would spread such slander against me.” It’s all a game. A gentle voice whispered in his ear. “No, dear Lucy, I simply refuse. Refuse I say, to believe that Lady Elia would talk about such matters.” He leaned in close to Lucy.Kiss her the voice said. “And I know for a fact that just the thought of being seen with a Sinclair makes your heart faint.” He whispered into the girls ear. He touched her face with his gloved hand. Iron magic was woven into the inside. It wasn’t much but it would help Alistair control himself. Help him push away the emotions her fire magic was building inside off him. to redirect them.  “Meet me in the atrium in half an hour, and I’ll show you exactly what the Sinclair name means.” He saw her blush. He smiled. If his exile had taught him anything it was that bluntness could go a long way. Few in the capital could do anything against such a forceful redirection.
Lucy separated herself from him and curtsied. All that lust she had been hoping to cause in Alistair must have been shattering whatever confidence she had gotten.. “Of course. I’ll be there. ” She hurried off, her steps light and hurried. She had barely turned around before Alistair dropped his smile.
At one time he had loved the balls and high culture of Myrth. The teasing with flame magic and the pushing with iron. Five years in the Borderlands had changed him though. Playing around with girls, the suits;none of it seemed important anymore. Even the food tasted a little flat. Alistair hadn’t even wanted to come. It was his sister, Catyiln, who had convinced him to  even make a showing.  She had also forbidden him from bringing any magic with him. He adjusted his gloves. Catyiln was going to here about this later. She would be absolutely livid that Alistair had even allowed himself to be approached by a lady of lower standing.
“Thinking deep thoughts Sinclair.” A voice said softly from behind Alistair. He turned suddenly, reaching for the gun that wasn’t there. He stopped when he realized who it was. A woman stood behind him. Her hazel eyes and mischievous smile looked out of place amongst the more serious smiles other guests held.
“Mari. I thought you hated events like this.  Besides I’m pretty sure the ‘thief princess’ wasn’t invited to one of the biggest balls this year. So how did you get in?”
The woman shrugged and walked toward him. Her whole body moved with a deliberate sensuality. “I do hate these events.” She said, smiling slightly. “But I enjoy your presence. Your honesty.” She pressed her body against his and Alistair found himself struggling to remain calm. Memories of what they had started in New Lando played through Alistair's head. 
Alistair smiled genuinely. “More like you enjoy my money.”He felt it now, a subtle whisper of power that came from the thief princess. “I see you found a new dress.I wonder what kind of statement you plan to make wearing something like that.” The black dress Mari wore was a plain thing. Low cut and strapless wasn’t exactly in fashion but she wore the dress better than most other woman could. Alistair was certain the power he felt was coming from the dress.  But what kind of power was it?
“Nonsense. I don’t enjoy your money. I love it. But I came here because your dear Uncle asked me to. And how could I refuse that man?”Her eyes sparkled. She backed away from him. Uncle Dorian must have paid her well. Alistair thought  “He needs you out along the border again.”
Alistair felt his heart race. To be out there again. To be able to do instead of having to sit around. “Tell him I’ll leave tomorrow.”
Mari frowned. “I figured you’d say that. We need to do something first.”She grabbed his hand, leading him away. His heart raced. Again he felt a low pulse of power from Mari. There was no heat so it couldn’t be flame weave. Besides it wasn’t in her personality. So what was it?
He put up a small resistance. “Hey, I still have things to do here.” He didn’t really care about Lucy. But he didn’t want to seem to desperate to Mari. He cared so much that she saw him like everyone else did. A womanizer with no ambition.
Mari turned looking at him. “Oh come on. You don’t really care about that girl. She’s just a playing thing to you.” Mari paused. “She is just a plaything isn’t she, Alistar.” He felt her tighten the grip on his hand. Nervous. Do it. a voice whispered. Finish what you started in New Lando. It’s what both of you wanted. Alistair became very aware that the two of them were alone. Take her now and only you and her will know what happened. The voice continued. Or you could tell everyone. You cannot fall any further. The voice sounded familiar. Dark and seductive. He had met someone wearing this before. But it hadn’t been Mari who was wearing it. 
“Shadow magic.”He said aloud, as realization dawned on him. “That’s how you got in. You snuck in using the shadows. That’s how you got behind me without me noticing. So tell me.” He continued. “How did you find someone to make that dress for you? Only my House knows how to weave shadows into usable garments, and Uncle’s the only one who would be inclined to.”
Mari pushed her body against him. The dress of shadows started to change shape. She had been practicing with it; Alistair himself had difficulty with such techniques. . The ball gown shrunk until it ended on at her knees. Wisps of shadow moved about, like tentacles searching.
“I think it looks good on me, don’t you?”  She looked into his eyes. “Your uncle gave it to me. He said to tell you that most men only find a woman worth dying for once and that once you find one you shouldn’t let go.”
 “He also said that I’d be a fine addition to the family and that he would fully support it. But it’s up to you Alistair Sinclair. Do you want me?” Alistair took his hand away.
“Mari, yes. I love you and I could die happy to knowing that you felt the same. But I’m a Seeker.” Mari gasped softly. “I don’t want to lose you because of that. And I know I should have told you earlier but this isn’t something I share much. Uncle only found out by accident and he’s the only one I would have told regardless.”
Mari touched his chin with her hand. She leaned in as if to kiss him. “Close your eyes.”
As soon as he closed them he felt his head jerk to the side and a stining on his cheek.
“You smacked me.” He accused eyes wide.”Why would you smack me?” 
“You are an idiot Alistair. I love you but you’re an idiot.” She poked a finger at him. “Why would I care that you’re a Seeker. I’m the daughter of a infamous thief. Despite what your family says you are the heir to the Sinclair House. If they ever found out we loved each other I’d be dead within a month. And you tell me you’re a Seeker now. If you want me gone you’re gonna have to try much harder than that. I can only be killed once.” And with that she leaned up and kissed him. She wrapped her arms around the back of his neck. He stood there enjoying it.
“Your stuck with me I’m afraid, until either one of us dies. But you are not going to push me away because you happen to have a talent one in a thousand have. And now we’re going to your room. Tomorrow we’ll head out to New Lando.”

Offline psuppak

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Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 03:36:28 AM »
This is a part of a story that has been playing in my head for a long time-- the first fantasy I have ever imagined. Might not be perfect, but if possible, give me some thoughts and something to work toward.
“So, this is your hometown?” Ketha asked as they stopped at the city gate. The sweet smell of bread strung in the air, accompanied by the strong scent of sea salt. People gathered around the narrow brick paved street, bargaining on exotic fruits, sea creatures, weapons, and good luck charms, raising their voices against the beating ocean wind and crying seagulls.

     Ketha took a quick glance at her company. His towering shadow blocked the sun off her view almost completely. His shoulder hardly fit the width of the street, even without a enormous baton he carried. His eyes, liquid brown with tiny specks of gold, dropped a gaze on her with a gentleness that disregarded all of his physical quality. Something else in his eyes conveyed confidence and hope. His mouth gestured a faint smile. “Yes.”

   A man of little word he was. No one could really see through his appearance. Gore shifted a little as he patted Ketha’s head awkwardly. She knew well he did this when he was uncomfortable. Even without that movement, she could already guess. Merchants tried not to stare. People made way as the travelers moved along. They dropped their gazes and went silent for a moment, and at the second they thought Ketha and Gore were out of a hearing distance, a chatter began.

“Not exactly a star, are you?” She still tried for a conversation. The beast of a man shook his head over so slightly, the dark red curls that coiled loosely around the nape of his neck brushed his collar as he did. “Were you this big when you left? You seem to be bigger than anything in this town.”

Ketha scolded herself profusely in her mind for letting such question coming out. She was not in the right condition, keeping a secret from her and all... The young componentia decided she must shut up when the boy turned to her, nodding his head yes. His eyes flooded with unpleasant memories.

“Things will change. Soon they will see me as a hero, and my body will not even matter.” He said silently. His hand clamped the pouch hanging around his neck. Ketha looked away, hoping the mop of her dark, long hair would conceal her expression.

The thing in the pouch was a fake. She knew it.

Her sweaty palm rubbed nervously at a secret pocket at her leather belt. Inside of it was the one an only Anasure, the only gemstone that can release the power to kill the most powerful evil in the land of Loga. Replicating physical qualities of a gemstone to create the fake Anasure was no problem, for her being a traveling componentia, a magic professional who can alter the elements of objects to something else completely. It was keeping it from him that was the hard part. For others, she could flip the world outside down, paint the black into white. Not for Gore. With him, she wanted to tell the truth.

It was all because of that stupid dreams. After the night that they entered the Mine Pit of Probable and she obtained the Anasure. Those whispers in the mist. The pleading notes of music, clear and cold and piercing, kept haunting her, telling her that by giving the diamond to him, Gore would surely die.
And that was the last thing Ketha could stand.

The two walked along the street with deep thought until Gore slowed his pace and stopped. So suddenly that Ketha almost ran into his body. The fume of bread was so strong that Ketha felt like she was wrapped in it. She looked up and saw a cute little bakery standing on the edge of town. The stones were soften and round by the sculpt of ocean wind. Bells jingle at the front door. Gore did not say anything. He just stood, perplexed.

At the porch of the bakery sat a very stunning woman. Her hair, red and gleaming liquid fire in loose curls, cascading down her shoulder. Her golden eyes gleamed when she turned around to see the two. As she stood up, Ketha realized the woman was almost as tall as Gore. Her body, curvily sculpted, was embraced by a simple red gossamer dress. Her lips tucked at the corner, adorning her face with a mysterious smile.  

“Hello, children.” Her voice was that of the most capable songbird can produce. “I have been expecting you two.”

The statement rung faulty in Ketha’s head. How could she expect them when they came without telling anyone? The beauty of her voices, although, made her want to beleve every word of it without doubt. The warmth in the tone, the softness, and a hint of laughter. The voice, even with such youthful tone, reminded Ketha of a mother she never had. To Ketha’s surprised, Gore gripped his weapon tighter. His muscles clenched as he bellowed. “You.”

The woman whisked her fiery red nail, and the heavy baton clatter on the stone ground. “Such an unacceptable manner. You know, I am old enough to be your mother!”

“What happened to father?” He leaped so fast Ketha did not even know he moved. Gore was dangerously close to the woman, looming over her graceful frame. “Tell me, did you do something to my father?”

Tension sparked in the air. Ketha did not know what to do in the situation. Her sense told her it would not be safe. Of course, this very man in front of her was called the Giant of the Eastern Sea, the Slayer of the West Sea Dragons, and Conqueror of the Waste mountain, but the woman, something urges Ketha not to make her angry.

“Cut it out, Gore.” A small middle age man appeared at the doorway, carrying a tray of bread. His face was expressionless. He has a pallid skin except for the forearms and hands that were bright red. His dark hair swept just over his forehead, and Ketha caught his eyes as he looked away from her quickly. It was purple, a few shades lighter than her own. “Don’t be rude to our guest.”

Now Gore’s action surprised Ketha even more. He turned away from the woman and stepped toward the newcomer. His body filled with excitement. His eyes locked deep into the man’s as he started reciting a poem that has long been in Loga’s history.    

“A loner boy runs from the Ocean East
The single move, gone the most ferocious beast
Victorious gem chooses its last owner
To home, returns child of the baker”

There was a moment of silent, then he said. “Now I present to you, father. The victorious gem, the Anasure.” The large hand dug into the pouch. Gore pulled the old man’s empty hand and placed the clear gem into it with the wide, childlish grin.
Ketha saw the man was frozen by shock and disbelief. Gore, a simpleton he was, realized that the reaction was not the one he expected. He stood still and looked at his father, then at me. His gentle eyes alert and confused.

 The market went silent altogether when the woman started to laugh.

It was uncanny that a beautiful woman can had such a shrill laughter. The voice was sharp and cold. The rippling effect like a tremor in an icy lake hit Ketha. The resonance of it pierced to her ears. She wanted to sit on her knees, curl into a small ball until the voice went away, by her body would not respond. Her laughter, Gore’s confusion, and the stare the baker was now directing at her stitched all of her tendons in place.

The woman sashayed toward the baker. She wiggled her nail, and the gem floated to her palm. A purple flame, my magic, flickered around that fake Anasure and turned them back to a piece of stone. It was that very moment that her hair, the color of liquid flame, burst on fire.

“Nice to meet you, my dear son.” She addressed Gore with the eyes that slid sideways, reptilian, yet still shone with golden light. “Seeing you growing with such power makes me very happy.”

 Gore stepped back. He pressed his temple where Ketha could see a vein snaking under his skin. “I--I don’t understand. My mother died giving birth to me!” He said with a shaky voice.

“The baker’s wife did pass the day you were born, son. Only that you were not her child.” The woman, the creature, said in a soothing voice.

   Ketha’s thought ran like crazy. He was not the baker’s son. Definitely not his frame-- his hair. Her eyes flitted back to the baker and realized another piece of the puzzle. The old man’s short and lean body, the sweeping dark hair, purple eyes. His evasive personality told her more. Then there was the fact that no one could tell her origin-- no one knew her parents. Her birth talent with fire was the gift that brought her to componentia training.

   “We-- I and Gore-- are changeling. We were switched at birth!” She stammered to conclusion, soft as a morning dew. However soft the whisper was, it seemed no one had a problem hearing.

   “Bravo, dear. You made space for the most powerful beast of the century. I did not expect you to accompany him as well, but you did such a surprising job.” She blinked. The eyelids whipped sideways. “Such a wonder of fate. Now the baker’s child has returned home!”

   Ketha went speechless. “Why?” She asked.

   “Because human emotions, hunger, lust, are such material for evil power.” The evil answer, her dress caught the fire from her hair and started flickering, too. Ketha heard clicks and whirs as the lady approached. “And love, child, love is the strongest power of all evil... You know this very well, my dear girl.
Is the love not the reason you lied to him and stole the only way that this baker would take him back? Isn’t that why you have the only weapon in the world that can kill him?”

Ketha turned to Gore. He was pale and breathing hard, but he heard everything. “You, you did what she said?” He asked, trembling. His voice was desperate, wishful for the last hope.

And Ketha’s silence answered best.

The wind of the sea got stronger, yet the air heated up. The whole area felt like a baking stove. The lady sat back on her chair, grinning.

“Why would you do that?” He asked. “Did you know it all along that I am—I am not human?”

Ketha wanted to say no, but then she hesitated. Those whispers. Those dreams. They were trying to tell her something. That was why she did not giving him the gem, because deep down, she knew that he would be dead the second his fingertip touched the stone. “Gore, I—I…”

Heat wave radiated from him. The wind whipped more crazily as it started dragging smaller objects across the town square. “I thought I could trust you.”
The worst part of it was, Gore was not even angry. His now molten golden eyes looked so sad, pained,  and disappointed. His shoulder folded forward. His body stooped over. Ketha felt a pang of guilty that kicked the door of her heart open. The numbness of the shock faded. She felt mixed feeling flooding out rapidly: sadness, regret, and surprisingly, rage.

How could he? She protected him. She bent her will and lied to him. She followed him, literally, to the end of the sea, and she comforted him any time he needed. That man-- no this ungracious oaf had no account to train a puppy eyes on her.

But in that flood of emotion too, she found the strong urge that calmed everything down. All the things she had done, she did it in her own will. And of course, a girl grown up in a street like her would not do these for no reason. She had to do something to show it to him. Right here, right now.

She took the gem out of the belt and popped it in her mouth. The power surged through her as she tried to destroyed it with her inner power.
Thunder rumbled. The rain fall down hard on the stone. Ketha felt the resistance of the diamond was gone. The wind stopped completely. The world was rid of noise. Except a clap. A loud clap from a lady in a gossamer dress. She transformed back in her godly, beautiful self, and none of the rain drop touched her.

    “Congratulations", she said with a satisfied grin. "Now you are the only being in this very realm who can kill my son.”
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 04:45:15 AM by psuppak »
If you have not, smile.

Offline Autumn2May

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Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 07:17:43 PM »
And the contest is now closed.  Check back for the voting poll in a few minutes! :)

Offline Autumn2May

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February 2012 Writing Challenge - Voting Now Open!
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 07:19:50 PM »
And voting is now open!  Good luck everyone! :)

Offline Autumn2May

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Re: February 2012 Writing Challenge - Voting Now Open!
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 07:12:30 PM »
And voting is now closed! Congrats to our winner: wishywash27! :)