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Author Topic: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread  (Read 13906 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« on: February 02, 2014, 10:08:32 PM »

"Muggles had reached the moon" (by dinosaurusgede)

Your challenge this month is something a bit different! You have to write fanfiction, which means that your story should be set in an already existing fantastical universe.
It doesn't matter if your story is set in Middle Earth, Winterfell, Andor, Modeg, Genabakis, Ankh-Morpork, the Broken Empire, Camorr or something entirely different but it must be possible to recognize the world.

If you want an additional challenge, you can try to emulate the original authors writing style. :)


1. This can be prose or a poem.
2. Must be fan fiction set in the world of a published fantasy book.
4. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
5. Poetry must be 100-500 words long.
6. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
7. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.

Entry will close February 28th 2014 and voting will begin March 1st 2014.

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 piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website in March 2014.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 10:10:43 PM by xiagan »
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Offline Maxfield

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 12:45:08 PM »
                                                   At home with the Potters

Harry had only stepped halfway through the front door when Ginny unleashed her frustrations upon him.

“You’re finally home then! I’ve been waiting ages,” stated Ginny, angrily. 

“What’s the matter Ginny?” Sighed Harry, as he hung up his broomstick.

“What’s the matter? What’s the matter you say? It’s your son, James – that’s what the matter is.”

“What has he done this time?” Harry groaned, as he had become accustomed to his wife’s daily moans.

“He’s been caught with Scorpius – again. Smoking tumbleweed behind the broom sheds. I did owl-mail you, but you never replied.”

“He’s young Ginny. Go easy on him; we got up to much worse when we were at Hogwarts - like fighting lord…” Harry went to continue, but he could see Ginny crossing her arms and tensing up. This only meant one thing; a storm was brewing within.

“I would stop right there as well Harry. What we – no sorry, I’ll rephrase that; what you got up to was completely different. Everyone knows the Harry Potter story; we have all heard it over and over again. This is your son we are talking about – not you. And if you have been listening to me over the last few months; this is now the third time James has been caught smoking tumbleweed with Scorpius. And do you know what his nick name is at Hogwarts? Pothead Potter!”

“I’ll sit down and have a chat with him Ginny. Right anyway, how did Albus get on against Ravenclaw at quiddicth today?” Asked Harry enthusiastically, but Ginny didn’t answer. She looked very angry.  “What have I said now? Queried Harry - already defeated.

“We do have two other children apart from Albus you know. What about Lily? You never ask how she is doing. You do know that she wants to be a pixie herder when she grows up. A pixie herder Harry. You know what people say about pixie herders – (there away with the fairies!)  It’s always about Albus; he looks just like his dad – he excels on a broomstick, just like his dad – he’s passing all his classes with distinction, just like his dad. So to answer your question Harry, yes Gryffindor did win as usual and Albus caught the bloody golden snitch; like he always does – just like his dad!”

“Look Ginny, I’ve had a hard day at work. I don’t need to be coming home to this all the time. I tell you something I really miss…”

“Go on – say it Harry. You know you want to.”

“Ok I will. I will say it Ginny. I really miss Voldemort. There, you happy now?  I miss the philosopher’s stone, I miss the snakes, the dragons, the death eaters; I miss it all Ginny. The only thing I’ve encountered the past years are phooey nappies and having to deal with moody teenagers going through puberty. I can’t even get Drago rattled anymore – believe me I’ve tried. I even gave him a vomit flavoured Bertie Bott’s every bean and he just laughed and said that he would get me back!”   

“I knew it. You think I’m fat!" Ginny cried out irrationally.

“By Merlins beard women. What are you talking about? Have you been drinking mulled mead again at lunch time?”

“Yes Harry – I have. Whilst you’re gallivanting around with the Ministry of Magic – I’m here running the house and bringing up our children. The only person I saw today was Luna. She had made too much plimpy soup and brought some round for us. You know she’s not the best conversationalist - you get more sense out of a blibbering humdinger. And I hate plimpy soup, it’s awful.”

“I knew I should have married Cho Chang,” Harry muttered under his breath.

“What was that?”  Ginny snapped.
“Err nothing,” Harry quickly replied. “I know it’s not easy Ginny. You do a great job with the running of our home and taking care of the kids whilst I’m at work, but it’s not easy for me as well you know. Working at the Ministry is hard work. Aragog’s off spring are running amuck in the forbidden forest, the merpeople are complaining that the trolls have been excreting in the black lake and the centaurs – well there just being centaurs. Look Ginny, why don’t you ask your mum over to baby sit then we can go to The Three Broomsticks for a few drinks?”

“Now there’s a surprise! Let’s go to The Three Broomsticks – again. Is Ron going there tonight by any chance? Let me guess the Chudley Cannons are playing and you’re planning to watch them with a few pints of butterbeers. You know I speak to Hermione - she’s not happy too you know!”

“That’s it - I’m off.  I can’t speak to you when you’ve had too many mulled mead’s Ginny. You’re worse…you’re worse than a dementor.” Harry declared, hatefully.

“Piss off then.” Ginny replied, with intent. “And you can forget about using your wand for a while!”

Harry took his broomstick and slammed the door behind him, and as he flew off into the skies above he could only hope that Voldemort would return one day - as that’s the only fight that he could win.   

Written by
James Parkes
a.k.a Maxfield
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 11:33:19 AM by Maxfield »

Offline G_R_Matthews

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 11:51:45 PM »
The Garden of Eden

Essun crouched amongst rotting sacks cast aside by the traders and farmers who had set up stalls in the market square. The crowd percolated through the meagre displays of food and cloth, the seller’s entreaties to buy following them. It was the same ritual every market day, people selling whatever they could afford to part with, hoping they would earn enough coin to buy the things they needed. The buyers, just as desperate to purchase the food on offer, hoped to part with as little coin as possible. The ordinary folk of forsaken land, the rapists, the pickpockets, the murderers, were close to starvation on a daily basis. The army commandeered most of the food that came into the city paying only a pittance in compensation. At least they paid, the Orcs didn’t bother. Any man foolish enough to stand up and claim his due from them would soon find himself in the cooking pot alongside the stolen vegetables.

He watched the shuffling feet of the patrons and listened to the bargaining and bartering. When Essun was sure the good folks of the market had grown accustomed to his slumped presence and discarded him as being beneath their exalted notice he started to pick through the sacks. Peeling each one back with his good right hand he scavenged any mouldy grain, shrivelled vegetable or wizened fruit he discovered. Each one he placed, with great care, into the small bag that hung from the stump of his left wrist. Pickings were lean today, like every day, but food was food. He was in no position to complain.

“Hey,” One of the stallholders shouted and Essun turned, “Get back here, you fuckin’ little thief.”

Essun chuckled, noting the snare of indecision that gripped the stallholder; chase the little urchin and leave his stall unattended, surrounded a hundred other thieves or stay and keep it safe, forgoing the chance at retribution. Essun watched him take a step forward then back, the battle between outrage and common-sense clear in every movement. In the end, common-sense won and the man, cursing, stayed by his stall.

Two soldiers, chainmail hauberks hanging down to their knees, nose-guard helms covering their heads and spears in hand, walked through the crowd. Essun took another look at the stallholder, was the man angry enough and stupid enough? The answer followed in the thought’s wake like a priest behind a whore.

“Guards,” the Stallholder called out to them, “the thief, he went that way.”

Essun held his breath. The soldiers paused in their stride, turned and made their way over to the stallholder who was, too late, realising the mistake he’d made.

“A thief you say?” The first soldier said, poking his fingers through the wares on display.


“You hear that, Verd, there’s been a theft in the market,” the first soldier addressed the other.

“So I hear, Teks,” said Verd. “This is shocking news. I’m sure the Governor would like to hear about it.”

“Or maybe his pet monster? We’d best investigate,” Teks said, a dirty grin on his face. “Perhaps you could point this thief out to us. Be a big help in our investigation, that would.”

“Well, I didn’t get a good look at him,” the Stallholder babbled, “it was so quick.”

“That’s mighty disappointing, that is.” Verd said, picking up a shrivelled apple and turning it over in his hands. “Suppose we could check everyone round hereabouts.”

Teks snaked out a hand and grabbed the arm of a passer-by, wrenching them over. Essun saw the blood drain from their victim’s face.

“I ain’t done nothing,” the small man said and tried to back away but Teks’ grip was firm.

“You all done something,” Verd said. “That’s why you’re here with the rest of the scum.” He shifted the apple into his palm and used a free finger to push aside a lock of the accused man’s hair. There, on the trembling man’s forehead, a branded mark. “Escaped slave. Not a thief then.”

“Pah,” Teks pushed the ex-slave away from him and back into the crowd. “Investigation finished, done all we can.”

“Reckon so,” Verd smiled, tombstone teeth and receding gums. “We couldn’t find your thief but that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s hard to find just one amongst so many. Now, I think we deserve some kinda payment for all our hard work.”

“Please, take an apple,” the Stallholder stammered before adding, “each.”

Essun shook his head. Everyone in the town, lest they were born here, was a criminal of one type or another. The soldiers were no exception. The only difference being that they were good with a weapon or been trained to be even better. You give bad men something sharp and bad things happen, Essun thought.

“That’s a mite measly of you considering all the effort we’ve gone to on your behalf,” Verd growled. “You saying that we’re only worth a shrivelled apple. Fucking farmer. You think ‘cos you got a little bit of land, that you’re better than us. Is that it? That what you think?”

Essun turned away from the soldiers and struggled back to his feet, wincing as his back cracked and knees creaked. He limped away from the pleading Stallholder. The snapping and crashing of the stall being kicked over alongside the grunts of the soldiers and whimpers of the man followed him from the market. He didn’t look back.

The cries faded as he turned corner after corner, the muddy streets slippery beneath his unsteady feet. Past the Fingered Unicorn, the smell of beer, sweat, and desperation seeped from the brothel’s walls. Grunts and moans spilled through the open windows on the second floor.

Rounding another corner and Essun had to sidle past the body of man lying face down in the mud. A few steps away a group of men were counting out the contents of a purse. One of them looked up, noticing Essun and nudged the others.

“He tripped,” the largest one said. “Tripped.”

Essun nodded and kept moving, pulling the threadbare hood of his cloak over his head. He turned again and then once more before, in a narrow alley, pushing aside the blanket door of his hovel and crawling in. Outside, the rain began to fall.

“What did you get?” the boy’s said, his voice on the cusp of paving his way to manhood.

“Not much,” Essun said. “Soldier’s kicked up a fuss and I had to leave. Got a couple of carrots and a potato that ain’t too far gone. We can put it with the last of the onion from yesterday. Maybe make a stew. Of sorts.”

“Yes, Da’. I’ll get the fire going.”

“Good lad, Odeh.” Essun ruffled his son’s blond hair with his right hand.

“Got you a surprise for afters, Da’,” Odeh said as he broke small twigs in half for kindling.

“Eh?” Essun stopped picking the ingredients for the night’s meal from the bag.

“Look what I found,” Odeh, face full of boyish pride, nodded down at his sleeping blankets.

There, resting on the stained and patched blanket, sat two shrivelled apples. Their wrinkled skin mirrored in the lines of puzzlement around Essun’s eyes.

“Where d’you …” He  began before his eyes widened in realisation. “You bloody, stupid, little shit.”

“Dad?” Odeh’s smile fell from his face and he backed away from his father’s anger.

“Do you want to end up dead,” Essun shouted, “or worse. You stupid fucker. What if you’d been caught?”

“I wasn’t, Dad,” Odeh could retreat no further than the wooden wall at the rear of the hovel, “I did it like you said. I was quick. Walked past, snatched and ran.”

“I said?” Essun stopped his advance, recalling the stories he’d told Odeh of his youth in the towns of the Salved Kingdom. “I didn’t tell you those stories so you could go out and steal.”

Essun lunged forward and raised his left arm high. Odeh’s terrified gaze followed it upward and he cowered back, waiting for it to fall on him.

“Look at it,” Essun shouted. “Look at it. This is what you get if you steal. I can’t get a job, can’t work the land. Couldn’t get enough money to save your mother.” Essun took a deep breath, choking the anger back down as he lowered the handless arm, “I don’t want that for you, Odeh. I want you to do better than I did.”


Note: This story is set in the world of the Bloodline Trilogy by T O Munro (The Lady of the Helm and Wrath of the Medusa being book 1 and 2 respectively).

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Offline Lejays17

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014, 03:31:49 AM »

I leave James in the kitchen downstairs (dead and never going to smile again), and retreat up the narrow staircase with Harry in my arms.  There must be something I can to do protect us – protect Harry – from what I know is following close behind.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named treading purposefully up the stairs, hissing threats all the while.  I told James – who is downstairs and never going to smile again – that we should never have trusted Peter.  We should have left Sirius as our Secret-Keeper.  Maybe even thought of naming Severus at the Secret-Keeper if the Order thought Sirius was going to betray us.  Even if James could never see past the Slytherin house and their unenviable reputation for betrayal, I knew that Severus would have sooner died than tell my Secret.  But it’s too late for regrets and might-have-beens.  Too late to escape from the Dark Lord and his Unforgivable Curses.

I hug Harry to me tightly, backing into his bedroom, and shutting the door behind us.  He lets out a squawk of protest at the sudden pressure on his ribs, and I soothe him quickly and put him in the crib.  My darling baby boy, so much like James (dead so quickly, barely a chance to raise his wand), I regret that he’s been caught in a war that he knows nothing about, and that James will never know how he is going to grow up.

I briefly lay my free hand on his head, gently smoothing down his perpetually-messy hair.  “Remember Harry, we love you very much,” I whisper.

I point my wand to the door, where Voldemort (say his name, he holds no power over me any longer[i/]) was gently pushing it open and gliding through, his own wand raised in anticipation.

A green flash…

(James beckons to me, glasses intact and smiling like we have no cares in the world any more).

Be safe Harry, and know we love you more than anything.


Too late, I’m too late.  Snape slumped against the door-jamb, ignoring the hysterical sobbing from the brat in the crib.  Lily lay on the floor, eyes closed, red hair spread out around her.  If he hadn’t been privy to the conversation the Dark Lord had had with the traitor Pettigrew, he could have believed she had just fallen asleep, she looked so peaceful.

“Shut up!” he hissed, unable to bear the wailing any longer.  “This is all your fault, you know.  If you hadn’t been born, she would still be alive.  The Dark Lord would have had no reason to seek out this house, and she wouldn’t have died to save you.  Why didn’t you die too?”

His eyes narrowed in thought.  “Why didn’t you die too?  There’s nothing that can save you from the Killing Curse.”  He loomed over the edge of the crib, scowling intently at the boy, who had thankfully ceased the wailing and was now hiccupping quietly.  His gaze flicked up to the photograph of the young family hanging above the crib.   The grinning child in the photo didn’t have a zig-zag scar in the middle of his forehead like the boy in the crib did.  Snape stretched out a hand to touch the scar, and snatched it back again when he was assaulted by a series of sensations – [/]pain, anger, blood, anger, pain, loss, pain, pain, pain

“How did you do that?” he asked, before his attention was caught by the low growl of a motorbike engine coming closer.  He had to leave before someone arrived and asked him awkward questions that he had no way of answering.

One last look at Lily Potter, fixing a last memory of her in his mind, before going down the stairs and out the back door, just as someone came crashing through the front, shouting for James and Lily.
"Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables you to be wrong with authority." The Doctor - Wheel in Space

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2014, 02:39:29 AM »
Hey all, first time posting here. Kinda compelled to, after I saw the fanfic contest mentioned on Twitter. Haven't written it in more than a decade, so here goes - some Dresden Files fanfic, post-Cold Days.

Warning: there be spoilers for anyone who hasn't read Cold Days.

And, without further ado, I give you Blue Harvest.

Mac, ever the man of few words, glared at me from the other side of the bar with a single raised eyebrow. His lip twitched downward. The message was loud and clear: No. Request denied.

“C’mon, Mac,” I said, sitting on the twelfth of thirteen barstools, in a bar with thirteen oddly spaced pillars, thirteen fans, thirteen tables, seventy-two chairs, and one kind of beer - his. The bar, McAnally’s, was also Neutral Accorded Territory; that meant anybody - or anything - in Chicago’s supernatural community could slide in for a cold one, and not worry about getting their block knocked off. “Just close up shop early tonight. Private party. You do it all the time.”

Mac shot me a glare, and his mustache bristled. Even the man’s facial hair shot me down. He ignored me, and continued to wash down the bar. “Not Winter Court,” Mac said, harshly, without looking up. That was a problem; see, I’m the Knight of the Winter Court.

It’s the kind of job that gives you a permanent attitude change, whether you want it or not. I was fighting hard to stay Harry Dresden, but it didn’t matter; everybody gets cold, sooner or later. Some of us stay that way.

But I’m not the kind of guy who gives up. So I arranged a sit-down with the new Winter Lady - my old padawan, Molly Carpenter - at a place I felt safe. Somewhere private, magic-inhibiting, and stocked with booze: McAnally’s. Problem was, I still hadn’t made the reservation.

I sighed. “Hell’s bells, Mac. I saved your beer from maenads. You owe me. I just want one quiet night - me, Grasshopper, and a bottle of whiskey. That’s it.” I clasped my hands together. “Please?”
He took a deep, reluctant breath. Then he nodded.
“Thanks,” I said, as I headed for the door. “I’ll see you at eight.”


I ran a couple of errands in the Munstermobile, had Mac cook up a steak sandwich, and waited for Grasshopper to show up. And did she ever.

Molly stalked through the door in a razor-sliced white halter top, no bra, purple lipstick, eight inch heels, and leather pants so tight they cut off blood flow to my brain. Worse still were the teal and blue streaks in her white-blonde hair, and the mischievous smile on her face. It all added up to bad news: she wasn’t fighting the change like I was.

Mac grunted in disapproval.

Molly draped an arm around my shoulders, and cozied up next to me. “Hi, Boss,” she whispered, hot and breathy in my ear, “Or maybe you should call me that now?” 

I managed a scowl, and not much else. “That’s not a good look on you, Molly,” I grumbled, and pushed her hand away - much as I wanted it to stay. She looked slighted; insulted, even. Good.
“Geez. What’s eating you?” she asked, backing up.
“You look like Mini-Maeve.” I said. “I don’t know whether you’re gonna hug me or knock me on my ass.”
“Definitely the latter, If you’re going to be a dick about it,” she scowled.
“I’m sorry,” I said, sighing. “it’s just… seeing you like this scares the hell out of me.”
“I’m not her, Harry,” Molly protested. “Relax.” She cautiously squeaked onto the seat next to mine. “So, how does it feel, now that you’re totally my flunkie?” she asked, wearing a smile I didn’t like - satisfied, arrogant, and extremely suggestive.

I’d been fending off her naughty student crush for years before the Winter Knight business. But the Winter mantle changed me in a real bad way; it takes every caveman impulse I’ve got and amplifies it - especially where the Winter Court’s concerned. To top it off, the Winter Lady’s got a direct line to my brain.
Short version: the odds are stacked against me, and they’re visible from space.

I thought about what I wanted to say for a second. “I’m nobody’s flunkie,” I said, “And I didn’t want it to be like this.” I looked away from her, towards one of the many mirrors - catching my own reflection in the process. “I hope you know that.”
“Harry -” she started, but I interrupted her.
“Can we get that bottle now, Mac?” I said. He pulled out a thirty-year Glenfiddich, uncorked it, and poured us two shots. Then he left the bottle, and grumbled his way back to a far corner of the bar. “Thanks,” I said.

Molly looked over at me, and at the shot in front of her. “So, what’re we drinking to?” she asked, as her fingers curled around the glass.
“We’re drinking to us,” I said. “The old us.”

I saw her hesitate as she lifted the glass to her lips; it sat in the air for a second. I shot her a dirty look. “Grasshopper,” I growled.
She downed the shot in protest, and slammed the glass on the table. “Winter Lady Grasshopper,” she said, firmly enunciating each word. I saw frost forming on the glass, where her fingertips touched it. “Show your respect, Sir Knight.”

“Respect is earned,” I replied, pouring myself another glass. “Not given.”
I felt her anger grow as I brought the shot to my lips. Cold rage came off her in waves. “Simmer down, Winter Lady,” I said. “Neutral territory, remember?”
She sighed. In a flash, I saw her anger dissipate; Old Molly peeked through. “Right,” she said. “Pour me a drink, Sir Knight?’
“What’s the magic word?” I asked.
Seriously?” she looked incredulous.
“Not that one.”
“C’mon, Harry.” she said. “The bottle’s right there.”
“My own star pupil, who can conjure fake armies out of thin air and do crazy Jedi mind tricks, can’t remember one measly magic word?”
“Please,” she said. “Please pour me a drink, Sir Knight. Your Lady requires liquid refreshment.”
“Your mother’d be ashamed,” I joked, as I poured her a shot. She drank it immediately; I figured I’d hit a nerve. “Speaking of which -”

“Let’s not,” she said, abruptly. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
I waited a second. “It’s bad, huh?” I asked. Molly nodded. “She blames me, doesn’t she?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“A little,” Molly replied. I gave her a look. “Okay, a lot,” she said. “And Dad…” she trailed off. “He gets it. He doesn’t like what happened, but he knows it’s for a reason. And the Jawas just think I got a cool job.”
“No pun intended?” She smacked me on the shoulder.
“Ass,” she said. All kidding aside, I could see something troubled her; there were storms on her brow.
“Are you scared?” I asked. She didn’t hesitate at all.
“I’m scared out of my damn mind,” she said. “But Lea’s been instructing me. And Mab has...she’s helpful.”
I raised an eyebrow. “In her own way,” I said. “Usually, it’s pretty lethal.”
“Yeah,” Molly said. She held out her frosty glass. “Want to do another?” she asked.

“Sure.” I poured us both shots. “To the newest members of the Winter Court,” I said. I could see Mac giving me the hairy eyeball, but I toasted us anyway. “Here’s hoping we stay human.”

We clinked glasses, and tossed ‘em back. “Why are you so worried about that?” she asked, as she put her glass down.
“You’re not?” I said, offended. “I’ve had this Winter mojo in me for a year, and I know I feel different.  You, Murph, and Mouse are the only ones who treat me the same. Even Bob’s scared of me.”
“Wait ‘till he gets a load of me,” Molly rolled her eyes..
“You do that, and he’ll be begging to join the Court in no time,” I said, gesturing to her outfit. “You haven’t dressed like this since high school.”
“And you like it,” she said, a mischievous flicker in her eye and a curling smile on her lips. “I know you do.”

I ignored the vivid thoughts of torn clothing, pressing flesh, and what came after. “You’re missing the point, Molly,” I said. “Ever hear that bit about gazing into the abyss?”
“I’ll be fine, Harry,” she said, sour. “Stop mom-ing me.”
“You’re not going to be fine, Molly,” I said, forcefully, “We’re with the freakin’ Sith now. Mab’s Palpatine, you’re Darth Grasshopper, and once you start down the Winter path, forever will it dominate your goddamn destiny.”

“But we’re different from the last two,” she said, shaking her head. “We’re stronger than they were.”
“That’s why I’m worried. We could be so much worse.” I said. “And when that happens, the people we love are in serious danger.”

She paused. “You’re right, Sir Knight,” she said. She took the bottle and poured us a round. “Cheers.”
“To what?” I said, puzzled. I saw an Old Molly smile spreading across her face.
Return of the Jedi,” she said, “Duh.”
I grinned. “Cheers to that,” I said, “and may the Force be with us.”

Mac grumbled. “Nerds.”

Offline Elfy

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2014, 10:51:31 PM »
I guess the title gives it away, but this is a fanfic set in the city of Camorr, created by Scott Lynch as the setting for the first of his Gentleman Bastards series. If anyone is wondering and hasn't read all 3 books in the series this takes place before most of the events in the first book (The Lies of Locke Lamora), it only has one minor spoilers for the first book and  one for the second (Red Seas Under Red Skies). Without further ado I present The Thorn of Camorr:

The Thorn of Camorr

It was a typical Camorri night the Thorn of Camorr thought to himself as he slunk along the darkened deserted streets of Mara Camorrazza, across one of the waterbound city’s many narrow bridges and found himself in the Fauria. He sought out a nice little patch that was free of other cats and wondered how best to place himself to see if he could beg something off a passing two legs.

By the light of the two moons that hung suspended over the city with its sky reaching elderglass towers, and reflected in the spaces of open water in between the stalls that comprised the Shifting Market, the Thorn fancied he could see Shades Hill. The Thorn came from Shades Hill. His mother had whelped him along with his brother and sister kits in the graveyard of that district. He didn’t go there much now and he wouldn’t know his brother and sisters if he tripped over them in the gutter. He hadn’t been called The Thorn then. That came many fights later.

The Thorn spent most of his time in the Mara Camorrazza. The merchants there appreciated a good ratter, and would often feed a cat that proved its worth. However even for the rats you had to fight the domestics. The Thorn liked being his own master and would never be told when to come and go or what to do by some entitled two legs, who thought they were better than the cats. That had never made sense to the Thorn. They only had two legs and no tail. What was so good about that?

Pickings were slim this season. He’d even considered going into The Cauldron. Fortunately a wise old cat had talked him out of that. Asked him why there were no cats in The Cauldron. When The Thorn had said it had never occurred to him to ask, he got the answer. Life was hard in The Cauldron. Anything that wasn’t a two legs was killed and eaten for food. The two legs in The Cauldron didn’t need cats to keep down the rat population, they killed and ate the rats and when they ran out of rats they went after the cats. The Thorn shuddered just looking in the direction of that darkened forsaken district.

Life for cats and two legs alike was rarely easy in Camorr, unless of course you lived in the privileged Alcegrante district. The Thorn sighed. He’d met an Alcegrante cat once. So soft and clean, but it was never going to be. He followed her home and only narrowly escaped being drowned by the household staff once she made her way through the gate and was scolded by her mistress for being a naughty little kitten and going for a wander.

One day, when seeking out food where a ship loaded with fish was unloading he’d met a cat from a ship that had sailed to Camorr from Tal Verrar. That cat had spun a fanciful tale. Apparently cats were revered by the men and women who sailed the waters of the Sea of Brass. There cats were lucky and anyone who put out to sea without at least one cat aboard risked their own lives through ill luck. The Thorn had wondered for weeks afterwards if he could somehow find himself on a vessel bound for Tal Verrar. Like many cats, though, he was afraid of water and harboured morbid fears of drowning. Then there was the city in which he lived. There was something about Camorr that got into the blood and that made it a damnably hard place for those that came from there to leave. Besides he was The Thorn of Camorr, a denizen of its streets.

He cocked one of his tattered and torn ears (damn that big tom in The Snare!) and heard approaching voices. The Thorn settled onto his haunches and tried to look hungry and hopeful. Neither were really hard for him to do, because he was both. Fortunately he was the only cat here, by comparison he wouldn’t stand a chance against some kitten. He’d been able to look appealing and tug at the heartstrings of the female two legs when he was small, but age, fights and a life on the streets had robbed him of any cuteness he may have once had.

The two legs were as different as any two could ever hope to be. One was small, slight and had an almost nondescript face, he was the very face of mundane, there was nothing remarkable or memorable about him. The other, though, he stood out. Tall, solidly built (the word fat did cross The Thorn’s mind) and he wore those strange wire rimmed circles of glass around his eyes that many of the two legs seemed to favour.

Their appearance however did not interest The Thorn. What did get his attention was the fact that both men were eating. Just a scrap, that’s all he wanted. “Meow!”

The big one stopped, mocked surprise and said to his smaller friend, “Oh look Locke, we’re being hailed by Signor Puss Cat!”

“I heard it Jean,” the skinnier man replied irritably. “Now the Salvara Game. We’ve got the brandy, we have to…”

“I think he wants some food,” the one called Jean said, not listening to his companion.

“Of course he does,” Locke snapped. “They all do. They’re walking garbage cans.”

“Maybe we could give him some of ours,” Jean suggested. “He looks half starved.”

For the first time since they had encountered The Thorn, Locke actually looked at the cat. “I’d wager he’s better fed than either you or I.” then he took a step back and regarded his friend. “Well maybe not you. You want to give him half your dinner go ahead, but it will be a cold day in hell that I ever help out a cat.”

“Ahhhhh you’re a hard bastard, Locke Lamora,” Jean sighed good-naturedly and tossed what was left of his meal in The Thorn’s direction.

“That’s Gentleman Bastard, and you, Jean Tannen, are too soft hearted for your own good.”

As The Thorn pounced and gobbled down his begged for meal, he watched the two men disappear in the direction of Twosilver Green. To Jean Tannen he wished all the good fortune life could bestow upon him. To Locke Lamora he fervently hoped that the man one day found himself afloat on the Sea of Brass without a cat to his name.
I will expand your TBR pile.


Offline TOMunro

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 04:38:16 PM »
This 1499 word short story is based on the Broken Empire trilogy by Mark Lawrence.  It is just after the last scene in book 2 King Of Thorns when Jorg is en route to claim his new territories.  As such it does contain some spoilers but only in so much as letting us know that Jorg won, but not the exact detail of how.

I have tried to be true to the original by writing in first person from Jorg's perspective.  But that does mean this is also a rather dark story - you have been warned. (edited to tidy up 17th feb)


The Road to Arrow.

Sunshine! A balmy autumn evening.  My whole life extremes of weather had pursued me, the baking desert heat, the cloying mist of the marshes, the torrential downpour of that night, lit by flashes of lightning.  I was so entranced by the prospect that we pitched our camp early and I sat relaxing in the Sun’s embrace, letting it soothe the scars the thorns had left.  It was going to be a pleasant evening.  I should have known. Those who the Gods wish to destroy they first make comfortable.

“Jorg, we’ve got company,” Sir Makin said softly.

I opened one eye and glanced along the road to Arrow.  There were twenty or so, walking the dusty road.  No match at all for my half dozen hardened warriors.  Others might call them criminals but then the epithets of war are chosen by the winners and I was definitely one of the winners.  There was no glint of steel on blade or breastplate, no menace at all in the approaching band.  A sudden shimmer of auburn hair had me sitting up and reaching for the view ring of the builders.

Katherine? Had she survived the inferno outside the Haunt?  In an instant a clearer picture swam into view, the ancient artefact bringing out every detail in the forms and faces of these newcomers.  The girl was not Katherine.  It was just a distant resemblance exaggerated by my own imagination.  Why did I still yearn to see my aunt? Tormentor of my dreams, the one I wished would understand me better than I understood myself.

But no, this girl was not Katherine.  The hair a duller shade, clad in a simple gown a cloak drawn tight around her neck.  Beside her walked an older man with a close cropped steel grey beard that matched the military cut of his hair.  Behind them came a motley collection of civilians.  Peasant farmers jostled alongside shopkeepers.   Near the front strode a merchant clad in rich silks who had brought a couple of body guards with him, an amateur and a pensioner, no threat there.

“I do believe this is a deputation, Sir Makin.”

“Perhaps they have heard of your coming, your Majesty.”  Father Gomst was always most particular about the formalities of title.  His trust in ordered hierarchy led him to the certainty of God’s existence at the pinnacle of everything. I saw merely a storm of ambition where a momentary shift in the wind might for an instant lift one man higher than the rest.  The Prince of Arrrow had taught me that; it was a lesson he should have learned himself.

I stood to welcome my new subjects, if such they were.  The group fanned out in a circle around greybeard and the girl.  Even the pompous merchant gave way to the old man’s leadership.

“Welcome, King Jorg,” the old man bowed low.  “I am Malachy and this is my daughter Esme.”

He clearly expected me to make some response so I said nothing. I’m cussed like that.  His companions shifted uneasily in the silence.  I caught the smell of fear in the air; It is a scent I know well. 

“We have journeyed long to find you and, for these last miles we have been joined by these villagers of Holham.”

Witnesses. The old fool had brought some witnesses.  Maybe not such a fool as all that.  There’s not many fathers would bring their daughters before me and rely on my chivalry alone for their protection.  Ask Prince Egan what price my sense of chivalry.

“Why have you come before King Jorg?”  Gomst couldn’t let the man flounder in the face of my sullen silence.  A flicker of annoyance creased my brow.  It is always interesting to see what a man will say when he finds he is talking to himself.

Malachy swung round to Gomst with a smile of relief. “Father Gomst,” he began.  “I come from Arrow to welcome our new King with a special gift.”

I looked at Gomst.  His dusty garb from a long day’s ride made him indistinguishable from the rest of us.   Malachy clearly had a keen eye for a priest.

“What gift?” Makin chipped in, ever the materialist.

Like a circus showman the man swung his arm to present his daughter with a low bow.  The girl dipped in a curtsey, her eyes on the ground.  “In Arrow, certain rights accrue to the King.  Esme is your entitlement willingly given.”

“I’m a married man,” I said.  It was a reflex response that bought me time to think.  Mine was a real marriage not a sham.  My young bride, Miana and I had an understanding built of mutual respect, but it was not as yet a complete union.  She guessed I might stray betimes, but expected only to never know.  So public a donation would be hard to keep quiet.

“I’ll have her if you don’t want her,” Rike broke in. 

The girl glanced across at little Rikey.  There was a cool confidence in her gaze, a challenge. 

We called him little Rikey because he was so big.  Tutor Lundist had once told me a tale of olden times long before the Day of a Thousand Suns.  A tale where a big man called John had fought a small man called Robin and lost.  The two had become firm friends and they had called him Little John for a joke.  Rike wouldn’t have done that.  Rike would have broken Robin’s head in at the first opportunity.   Rike would break my head given half a chance.  There weren’t many people had turned their back on Rike more than once; few got a second opportunity to repeat the mistake.   

He’d had a wife briefly, but she had broken he’d said.  Rike’s relationships were usually short lived, just like his partners.  But this girl had no fear of my most fearsome brother, the brother who I always led from behind. Interesting.

“Come in here, girl.”  There was no need to show I’d heard her name.

She shared a look with her father. An unspoken conversation of question and answer passed between them and then with head held high she strode towards my tent.  I held the canvas flap open for her, a small shred of courtesy to season my reputation.  It was nearly my undoing.

The knife was in her hand before the flap had fallen shut.  She must have concealed the blade within her sleeve.  A short weapon but the kind that can make a deeper hole than its length, if punched hard enough, and there was strength in this girl’s arm.  I was expecting it, but just not so fast. A girl who would stare down Rike was no placid offering on the altar of droits de seigneur.

I twisted to one side and caught her wrist.   My other hand found her throat gripping hard, bruisingly hard to try to calm the whirl of the assassin’s arms.  “Who sent you?” I growled as we wrestled just within the tent entrance.  I broke her wrist across my knee and the knife fell free.  “Malachy isn’t your father is he?”

She spluttered defiance in my face and then jabbed a knee towards my groin. I raised and twisted my right leg for protection but overbalanced and together we fell through the tent opening onto the ground. Me on top, my hand still on her throat, panting my interrogation.  There was no answer from the girl.  Her eyes were open, staring, her lips blue and on the wind was the faint smell of almonds.  Some builder’s pill to secure an escape from my questions.

I looked up at the astonished crowd.  Even Rike seemed surprised at the shortness of our liaison.

Malachy stood apart from the rest.  He gave a howl and charged me, though his eyes had the cold stare of a determined killer, not the fury of an outraged father.

I rose to meet him in a fluid motion.  He was drawing something from within his jacket, but my knife was already in my hand.  His momentum and my arm drove the blade up through his belly into his chest.  “Who sent you?” I hissed in his dying ears.

I waggled the blade for emphasis.  I find that nothing quite loosen’s a man’s tongue like tickling his ribs from the inside.  A stench of ordure filled the air as my knifework loosened other extremities.

“You are the enemy of God,” Malachy exhaled, speckling my face with a mist of blood droplets.  And then with a sigh he slipped from my knife to fall atop his faux daughter.

I looked at the stunned spectators from the village of Holham, mouths wide in horror at the treatment of a supplicant young girl and her father. Even Sir Makin looked a little shell shocked at the atrocity.  I could have explained, but then I’d worked hard for my reputation.  I’d keep it even when it wasn’t deserved.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 01:08:23 PM by TOMunro »

Offline nimpentoad

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 10:25:31 PM »
Edna Mode Talks Superpowers
(Fan Fiction from the Superhero-inhabited world of The Incredibles)
By Henry Herz

[This transcript of last week's live broadcast is made available courtesy of WHJH TV in San Diego, California.]

Conan O'Brien: Please give a warm welcome to our next guest, the brilliant and talented Edna Mode - fashion designer for superheroes!

(enthusiastic applause)

Edna Mode: Thank you. Thank you. I deserve it, to be sure. You all have exquisite taste.

Conan O'Brien: Wow, you really are short!

Edna Mode: I'm tall on the inside, Conan. Unlike you, I rely on my accomplishments for stature, not my pituitary gland. And what are you wearing? That's a hobo suit, dahling. You can't be seen in that. I won't allow it. Fifteen years ago, maybe, but now? Feh!

Conan O'Brien: Although Edna needs no introduction, her impressive background is worth sharing. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, she quickly impressed her teachers with her advanced sense of aesthetics and engineering aptitude. She enrolled in college at the age of 15, completing in three years a double major of design and materials science at the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Edna subsequently earned master's degrees in apparel design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and electrical engineering from Cornell University. She capped her education with a PhD in mechanical engineering from Caltech.

Wow, that is a lot of schooling! Did you have much of a social life? I was a bit of a partier myself, but I have trouble imagining you chugging a beer, Edna.

Edna Mode: My friends call me “E”... You may address me as Dr. Mode. I never look back, dahling. It distracts from the now. But no, I did not feel the need to fraternize with my inferiors or dull my wits with alcohol. In any event, my social skills were already acutely honed from dealing with bullies in kindergarden.

Conan O'Brien: Of course, almost everyone has seen Edna's, er. Dr. Mode's biopic, The Incredibles, in which it was publicly revealed that the government had engaged Dr. Mode to create costumes for the superhero community. Her unique combination of design and engineering skills yielded costumes that were masterpieces of both aesthetics and protection. After briefly coming out of retirement to aid the Parr family, Dr. Mode then went on to co-present with Pierce Brosnan the Award for Costume Design at the 77th Academy Awards ceremony. What were the Academy Awards like, Dr. Mode?

Edna Mode: I can appreciate your interest, dahling, since the likelihood of you participating asymptotically approaches zero with the inexorable passage of time. I felt that The Incredibles winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature was only, hmm, fitting. I was also pleased to note the absence of capes on the attendees, with the notable exception of Cate Blanchett. Normally, I say, “no capes!” but who am I kidding? Hers was made from the finest Egyptian cotton, and she looks good in everything. I was more aggravated by the supermodels in attendance. Supermodels. Heh! Nothing super about them... Spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves. Feh! I used to design for GODS!

Conan O'Brien: Uhhh, let's move on, shall we? My understanding is that years prior to creating costumes for superheros, you worked for DARPA developing gear for the military. Gadgets to enhance the abilities of individual soldiers, if I'm not mistaken. We've seen your superhero costumes, but you've not elaborated on your earlier DARPA work. Will you tell us about some of your classified work, Dr. Mode? Please?

Edna Mode: You push too hard, dahling! But I accept! First, I researched what other countries were doing in the field. No need to reinvent the wheel, as they say. And what an elegant design the wheel is. But I digress.

We received intelligence that the North Koreans succeeded in genetically modifying some “volunteers” to be capable of unaided flight.

Conan O'Brien: Unaided flight!? You mean flying like Superman!?

Edna Mode: Exactly, dahling. They grew several men who could fly. But it didn't turn out well for them. Not well at all.

Conan O'Brien: What do you mean?

Edna Mode: Well, if you stop and think about it, the problems with unaided flight for humans are obvious... Nothing? Well, obvious to me, anyway.

The first few challenges they experienced were just annoyances, really. You can't fly too high due to the lack of oxygen. At 20,000 feet, you've got less than half the normal amount of oxygen in the air. So then they gave their pilots breathing gear. But, it gets very cold, even at altitudes where breathing gear isn't mandatory. Not accounting for wind chill, it's about 23 degrees at an altitude of 10,000 feet. So then they wrapped their pilots in warm clothing. But, if you're flying at high speed, normal clothes will flap violently and quickly shred. I should add that this was the impetus for me to begin investigating high-strength clothing.

But, it gets worse. When you fly at high speed, the air friction causes intense heat. For example, the canopy temperature of an SR-71 jet is over 570 degrees when it lands. Needless to say, their first pilot to break the sound barrier had fourth degree burns on his head and shoulders.

Some pilots had trouble controlling their acceleration. According to one report, there was a bit of bootleg sake drinking that preceded a flying race. Their fastest pilot launched himself skyward at a thousand meters per second squared. At a sustained 100 g, his blood drained downward. Violently. He blacked out as his blood exploded out the bottom of his feet. Not a pretty sight, I'm afraid.

(Conan's jaw drops and the blood appears to be draining out of his face)

For the aforementioned reasons, their pilots tended to fly at lower altitudes. But they forgot to genetically engineer for superhuman eyesight and reaction times. When you're traveling at Mach 3 and a flock of birds or bats crosses in your path, it's a problem because normal human reflexes cannot react quickly enough to avoid a collision. Consider that the energy of a 10 lb bird striking the head of a human pilot flying a very modest 170 mph is roughly equivalent to that of a 200 lb weight dropped from a height of 50 ft. Apparently a bird was the last thing on that pilot's mind. So, for all these reasons, the North Korean program really never, er, got off the ground.

(Conan is mopping his brow and looking very queasy)

Conan O'Brien: Well that's all rather horrible to contemplate. Instead, let's talk about that stunning outfit you're wearing.

Edna Mode: Ah, you seek to redeem yourself, no? I cut it a little roomy for the free movement. The fabric is comfortable for sensitive skin. And it can also withstand a temperature of over 1000 degrees. Completely bulletproof. And machine washable, dahling. That's a new feature.

Conan O'Brien: It's lovely, but why does it need such durability?

Edna Mode: Well, I am sure I don't know, dahling. Luck favors the prepared.

Conan O'Brien: Well, our time is nearly up. Are there any final thoughts you'd like to leave us with, Dr. Mode?

Edna Mode: Having only one superpower can leave a hero vulnerable. If you are going to be an effective superhero, you need a suite of powers. Or, dare I say, a suit of powers. That's why I left DARPA and focused my considerable talents on augmenting superheroes' abilities with my designer supersuits. There's no reason not to be stylish while you're saving the world. Fight! Win!

I've enjoyed talking about myself. Have me back again. Don't make me beg, dahling, I won't do it, you know.


Offline M_P_Xavier

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 01:22:45 AM »
This story is inspired by Greg Bear's short story "Petra" (1982).


“His Coming and Going”
by M.P. Xavier Dalke

   Timorous steps of porcelain fracture the silence of the Cathedral’s sacristy, the pitter-patter tattoo breaking the atmosphere of timeless hallowedness. The tiny linen-draped figure treads lightly across the inset mahogany counter, but the density of his substance strikes the wood like the tongue of a dull bell. Gaining speed and confidence, the length of the counter ends as the figure fumbles his halting, sliding into the trim with a delicate bump. Peering over the side of the mahogany precipice, he gapes at his intended descent but seems to be intrinsically aware of his own solidity and permanence.
   I kneel, almost cower, behind a brass cross opposite to the mahogany counter where the minute figure nimbly scuttles across its surface and haphazardly meets resistance at the trim’s perpendicular face. I cough a release of laughter at the risible scene yet remain composed enough to study the newly volitional porcelain figure. His spry manner and eager intent catches my breath as not all the awakening statues have exhibited such vitality after the passing of the Mortdieu; most lumbering gargoyles heave to and fro while the lithe angels preserve their grace and tiptoe on the very surface on which they tread. I have waited earnestly for this figure to animate; his awakening and presence could be influential to how our kind are treated in the Cathedral, in the world.
   Without recourse to abseiling the steep wooden veneer, the brunet figure plunges toward the carpet on a supine trajectory, connecting with a faint blow and a wisp of dust; seconds follow as its toile loincloth drifts to the cushioned landing, many arm spans away from its personage. Conscientiously adjusting his crown of thorns, the figure plods through the flocculent shag of the carpet to retrieve his lone cloth adornment with a reassuring tuck and fold. Standing erect with the shag brushing his shins, the figure begins to beat a path toward the distant tiles bordering the Cathedral’s ambulatory.
   Given my hierarchical importance, perhaps I’m drawn by my nature to the porcelain figure, be he stoically splayed on the crucifix or temerariously high-stepping through the carpet’s shag. I have a certain affection for him, an affection faceted by admiration and avuncularity. He falls, I wince; he gallops, I elate. As he reaches the tiled ambulatory, I follow with timorous steps of my own, bronze-feathered wings tucked akimbo to my gleaming plates of armor. The small figure pauses at the open threshold, gasping at the cavernous interior of the Cathedral. The dusk’s dying rays illuminate the stained glass windows of the western transept, giving the nave a warm aura amid its mahogany pews.
   The timid angel behind the crucifix abandons his recess, at a distance following the miniscule height of the loin-clothed and blood-speckled Figurine, an effigy I adore. The Mortdieu has done strange things to the Cathedral, where the inspiring yet once impassive statues have come to life, descending from their alcoves, candelabras or other fixtures. Like the Archangel had done, I cower; the tiled floor under my knees supports my trembling genuflection, a mixed attempt to ask God for guidance while seeking cover from the roaming, sacred effigies… yet, the approaching Figure, nimble and confident, invigorates me with an obtuse sense of hope. As He has guided me in times of weakness oft before, now He advances toward my cold-tiled refuge, coaxing faith from my enfeebled soul.
   Passing the threshold from the dense shag to the expansive, stable tile is a relief. From my acutely angled perspective, I sight a white-clad man cringing under a distant pew, yet he seems to gather his courage as my steps clink upon the grey tile. On all fours and with teary eyes of obedience, he peers at me yet also behind me. I turn swiftly, forgetting my polished heel upon the glossy tile; I spin twice around before collapsing in a shatter of noise as my limbs twinkle with their fluttering about. From my floor-level vantage, I collect my crown as I see the winged, armored figure crouching on the shag carpet from where I came. He watches me as if frozen into a statuesque form; the white-clad man, too, watches me like all of time has suddenly stopped. The world hinges upon my very movement. This is awkward.
   The spectacle of the figure’s advent had held me in reverent awe but now my lurking presence has been made known to him, thwarted by the errant glimpse of the man in superficial sanctuary under the pew. My movement halts, my breathing ceases; he evaluates my position yet turns back to the man. Composing his porcelain self on the floor, he then stands erect and proud, taking slow minute steps of resonance toward the row of pews bathed in the warm light of dusk. His back toward me, I also proceed with reverence on a similar course.
   This is His Coming. I’m immediately self-conscious of my person: my lavender stole draped to the grey floor, my cincture untied and hung around my neck, my once spartan alb smudged with the age-old scuff of practitioners’ dress shoes. Rather than meekly await His Advent with blurry eyes of soulful longing, I prostrate in obeisance, silently praying for order in this time of godlessness.
   I approach the folded man, offering a hand to help him up but then realize that he dwarfs me by orders of magnitude. Regardless, as an irenic gesture, I keep my hand out; I feel his warmth before his flesh, an invisible aura of pleasure which heats my whole density. I sigh and close my eyes to savor the unique sensation as he grips my hand. The pinch is painless; he knows his physical strength but, obviously, his spiritual fortitude had failed him some time ago. Rather than rise to tower over me, he leans toward me; his irregular breathing drafting my wrapped linen, creating eddies of force around my legs. Tears stream down his cheeks, he incants a homage. I don’t know what to make of this heap of flesh, cloth, breath, and tears.
   He offers His hand to mine, a gesture which melts my heart with gratitude for His Concern, for His Love, and, ultimately, for His Coming. I mumble an unrehearsed prayer of thanks. I catch my breath, compose myself, and the words spill from my mouth, “My Savior.”
   Blessedly stoic, He replies, “I’ve saved no one.”
   Trembling as the lilt of His tiny voice resonates my unworthy eardrums, I shudder and shallow, composing myself yet again for another brief exchange of words, “From Evil. There is Evil here—all around. I’m scared, my Savior.”
   I cannot face Him, I cannot meet His eyes. His presence strengthens my soul but turns my body into a melting votive candle. I wait for His soothing voice to console my absolute grief.
   Who am I to this man? Why do his tears pool under his prostrated face? And why does he call me his savior? I’m perplexed yet unconcerned for his troubled emotional state. I have little to offer aside from: “There is no evil, only freedom.”
   The man mumbles gratitude, as if not even hearing my contradictory words to his own. I add, “I am no one’s savior. I’m just...” This is where words fail me; I don’t know who I am, but I know who I am not: this so-called Savior.
   This scene of reunion captivates my attention as I approach: shepherd and sheep. I slow my pace, hear the mumbling of the man and the tinny whispers of the figure, but eventually I am part of his congregation. Loathe to break the silence but sensing the importance of opportunity, I speak, “Our savior.”
   The bearded figure’s head slowly turns my way, his eyes obscured by ashen hands rubbing his brow. Have I spoken too soon?
   Flinging his hands wide, he releases a torrent of twinkling words. I gather he’s angry, but I don’t understand a single word of his high-pitched rant. I wait for him to collect himself.
   “Am I your savior, too?” Each word emphatic, his question bites.
I reassess. “Like you, I am a statue under my own volition. We are not natural. I fear our well-being at the hands of the humans.” I point at the trembling man, “Like him.”
   Why is everyone so needy? I leave them where they are.
   I hear His porcelain steps fade. I look up to see the Archangel staring at me, kneeling on the grey tile; his wings beat gently behind his back. I test the moment, “Savior?”
   He shakes his head and mutters, “We’re all lost.”
   I retreat under the mahogany pew.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 01:36:59 AM by M_P_Xavier »


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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2014, 02:57:35 PM »
By Douglas Byrne

   Seven stinking years. Twenty-five hundred days. Sixty-one thousand hours locked up with animals in Al-Kar prison and my first stop just had to be a damn booze-dry vegetarian joint with pale blue walls and wicker chairs. My mood was not improving, but at least there was a lot of eye candy to take my mind off meat and beer. The women of TunFaire had lost none of their potency. I walked out of prison and into this joint to belly up to a carrot juice bar because someone here owed me and I was going to get it in cash or blood painted on the walls.

   The Joy House, vegetarian, bone dry, and well-stocked with the TunFaire underworld. Business got done here in the aptly named Safety Zone. I didn’t want to run into anyone I knew, except the appointment. I used to know a guy behind the fruit juice bar that’d put some booze in your drink for you, but those days seemed gone longer than my youthful optimism. The place had changed, it seemed respectable. People seemed to be here for the food, for fucks-sake.

   Scanning the room, there was a table of a dozen elves (typical), and about 10 more small groups, mostly humans out on the town with ladies.  There were a few big guys in the mix, maybe some kind of hybrid. Best to avoid the 9 footers. Then I saw my appointment. Beautiful, vampire-pale, black leather clad, and a body vulpine was intended to describe.

   “I’m Gale,” said the woman whose name was definitely not Gale, as she invited me to a secluded booth. I got a good look at her posterior on the way, seven years is a long time.

   We sat down and I looked at her, waiting.  “We both know why we’re here” she said as I nodded in response.

        “In part. I know why I’m here and I know why someone is here to meet me, but I don’t really know why YOU are here. I’m no foot soldier, Gale” I sneered her phony name, “and I don’t want to get torn up in some bullshit crime war.”

    “The war is here whether you want it or not” she deadpanned, searching my eyes for something. She pulled out the envelope I’d been waiting for and put it on the table, her bone-white multi-ringed hand resting on top. “I’ve got twenty times this waiting for you if you do the job. A wet job” she pronounced wet with slowly like I was stupid.

   Intrigued and suddenly concerned I was already over my head, I asked “Who?” with nothing more than a look and a long pause.

   “The detective” she quietly mouthed. This was not the place to discuss such things, but meeting in private would have raised even more questions. Many people knew who walked out of the Al-Kar today.

   I thought and I thought.  I had no choice anyway.  Finally, I nodded.

   She slugged her drink, tossed her bag over shoulder, kissed me on the cheek like a child and said “Get some booze, some real food, and some short-term company, you look like shit. A bath first wouldn’t hurt.”

   I climbed back onto my stool, elbows propped on the bar, rubbed my grizzled face with both hands in incomprehension and exhaustion. I needed a damn cheeseburger. Behind the bar, the dark elf former assassin running the joint raised an eyebrow at me and poured me a shot from a whiskey bottle that materialized in his hand and was gone in a blink.

   “Seems I’m booked.”

   Morley said nothing.

Offline Fellshot

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 06:52:28 AM »
This is a vignette set in the universe from Welcome to Nightvale.


A warm evening breeze wafted over the rooftops of Nightvale. The dark girl crouched among the vents and air intakes and watched her airborne prey intently. They were dangerous, she knew, but only she knew the scope of the peril they presented to her home and her family. Tamika Flynn knew danger, the hell of the Nightvale Library's Summer Reading Program had taught her well.

Nightvale held a confluence of mysterious organizations, the hooded figures, the city council, the mayor, but the least understood were the bloodthirsty librarians. They prowled the halls of the Nightvale Library and sometimes the stray rustle of a plastic bag would send Tamika back into the memories of the smell of her fellow captives' eviscerated guts, the hissing breath of the librarians, and the warm stickiness of blood on her own hands. Yet there had been a reason she and the other children had been taken, reasons that Tamika found by chance among the shelves.

She continued to watch the helicopter, its bright yellow body lit from below by the street lights. At this distance, Tamika could just make out the orange Strexcorp logo painted on its side. She knew they had been trouble from the moment they took over the local radio station. Even the usually affable radio host Cecil had noticed. Hidden deep in the stacks of the library, Tamika had found a history of Strexcorp in the form of a bound collection of articles and microfiche.

The notebook bore multiple annotations in the margins, decrying “the pencilnecks” and noting where the company's propaganda releases had differed from eyewitness accounts of their interference with crops, education, and the multiple times their chemical dumping contaminated community water supplies. Nightvale sat surrounded by desert and Tamika could not bear the thought of her family becoming an “unfortunate tragedy” as a result of yet another Strexcorp scheme to increase production. While the written compilation of Strexcorp's failings had been written by someone very thorough, the folio could not tell her what the company actually did. Strexcorp hid itself behind a facade of paper thin amiableness and empty platitudes. At least with the librarians Tamika always knew where she stood and what would prompt an attack. Knowledge was the key, she knew. And the first part to gaining that key sat in that patrolling yellow helicopter.

She watched the helicopter swirl over the radio station building before moving on to Big Rico's Pizza and heading over to the Desert Flower Bowling Alley. She made sure of her coded notes in the worn paperback she carried with her and smiled to herself in the darkness. The Strexcorp helicopters kept a regular pattern. She would wait a few more days and ready her fellow veterans of the Summer Reading Program.

Tamika spared a thought for her family and hoped that running away from them to her own carefully laid safe-houses would keep suspicion off of them. She hoped that they would understand one day why she had to leave them in the face of such turmoil and heartbreak. She stood and regarded the yellow helicopter on last time and reminded herself that fighting them would make the librarians' crucible worth the pain and fear.

Soon, she would have to save Nightvale. Tamika could only hope that the librarians had forged her well.

Offline Liselle

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Re: [Feb 2014] Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 11:50:47 PM »
Note: I based this on a mention of murder squads in China Mieville's Perdido Street Station when he's talking about the slum Spatters. I tried to dream up something of what they might be like and kept to his delightfully gross descriptions of the world, so if that sorta thing disturbs you, turn away now ;D  I usually find fan fiction tough to do so this was a fun exercise! Looking forward to checking out the next monthly theme.

The Murder Squad

I shuffle my wings while I wait, scratch at a flea bite hidden under my leg feathers, then fall still again. I'm crouching on a corrugated roof, hidden in the shadow cast by a taller shack. The line of misshapen hovels where I'm lurking pokes through the skyline like broken teeth, the wind whistling through the cavities in their rotting walls. The moon is smothered by bloated clouds. The rain falls often in Spatters, keeping the dirt tracks of the New Crobuzon slum clotted with garbage and mud and human waste. I feel the first raindrop splash against my beak and wipe it away with the back of my hand, waiting for the stranger to pass into my line of sight.

The murder squads are coming every week now. We're haunted at night by the sounds of shouting and laughter and pistol shots, ricocheting among the motley shacks. The people of Spatters, known to themselves as the Spatterkin, would scream at first. Then they learned to keep their mouths shut, no matter who or what was dying at their feet. If you didn't stay hidden, you were meat. That was the only rule of the murder game. Shoot anything that moves and isn't dressed in a scary costume because that will be your team mate. Oh, and sharing is caring. There are plenty of victims to go around.

We all want to know why they come. The garuda, or the bird boys as we're locally called, talk about it often in the relative safety of our bird boxes, the top floors of our tower blocks being far more defensible than the hovels on the streets below us. We all have our theories about who they are and why they come to kill here but one is more popular than most. The hoi polloi of the big smoke sees Spatters as a scab on the face New Crobuzon, so why not just pick it off? There might be a little blood but the satisfaction was worth it. The city would be prettier without it.

They come on the city train that terminates at Fell Stop station, and every night that they kill here, they cover more ground. One night soon they will come to the yard at the base of the garuda tower blocks and then they will look for a way to get inside. If they get inside, they will climb the seven flights of stairs to our nesting rooms, and they will butcher us without mercy. I will bring an end to this before that happens.

The rain is falling hard as I scan the street below me with my bird-sharp eyes, touching the dagger hilt at my hip. A man prowls along the barricaded line of homes where I am perched, his boots leaving deep impressions in the sludge. His mask is a twisted parody of a garuda's face, making my skin creep in the cold rain that eddies down my back. The murder squads are dressed differently every time. Different teams, maybe, or just different outfits. Tonight I will take one of them alive for questioning. But not this one. This one will be my first blood.

I slide my dagger soundlessly from its sheath, taking aim from where I crouch on the rooftop. With a sharp flick of my wrist, I give flight to the blade, sending it winging towards the man in the street. The tip of the dagger cuts the air like a flash of lightening. Coated with mafadet poison, it bites deeply into the stranger's neck. The strike drops him instantly. He squirms like a worm in the mud as the poison courses through him. I watch him as he dies, one hand clawing uselessly at the weapon in his throat. “Tosser,” I caw softly. Although he's only lying in the street beneath me, he's still too far away to hear my words. “Fair an' proper end for the likes of you.”

When the man is still, blood foaming from the paper beak of his mask, I straighten up and walk quietly along the rooftops, following the sound of gruff voices to the north.

There is a gang of three strangers on the street around the corner from the dead man, shouting to each other through their paper faces and searching the trash at the sides of the street for signs of life. I approach quietly from overhead, keeping to the shadows.

“He went that way. I saw him run in there.”

“No he didn't. He ran off down the street while you were killin' that other rat!”

One of the men walks to a dark shape on the ground, nudging it with his boot. “He had it coming. Little bastard tried to stab me.” He lifts the halberd he is holding and rests it back against his shoulder. “Come on. He'll be around here somewhere.”

The men move off down a side street, turning deeper into the slum. I study the shape in the dirt. There's no question that the boy is dead; the murderer's halberd had cracked his ribs open like a clamshell. Shards of bloody bone are showing through his ripped shirt. He isn't the only youth that will die tonight. Most of them are too small to defend themselves. They live in ramshackle hideouts, easily collapsed with a couple of kicks. They were the weakest of the slum dwellers, easy pickings for the murder squads. But the squads would soon run out of easy prey and the garuda couldn't afford that.

I continue along the skyline, keeping low to the rooftops as I follow the men below. I take my time deciding who to kill and who to capture, tilting my head to the snatches of words exchanged between them. Then a shout goes up from one of them. He points ahead and breaks into a run, passing the others, who are quick to follow. I flex my wings and leap into the air, beating them to climb higher into the sky and gain a better perspective. I see a small, quick figure running ahead of the squad, straight for the clotted moat of mud and shit and rotting garbage that borders the slum before the sprawling mass of the Rudewood beyond it. This kid would probably die too when it ran out of street. At least the night was too wet to use a flintlock. The men would have to run faster if they wanted to catch their kill.

I glide over the rooftops, following the squad. The buildings are clustered together here like tight knots of mushrooms. The streets between them are dark and stinking and claustrophobic. The slumping shacks elbow each other for room on the last few inches of solid earth before the foul stew of the moat takes over. I watch as the street kid nears the brink of the morass and then leaps out onto a dark plank of wood, perfectly blended with the ooze that laps around it. He hops across the moat on his hidden path, knowing just where to step in the blackness, and races off into the trees on the other side. The first of the squad, oblivious to the deception, runs straight into the moat, yelling as he drops to his waist in the slime. The other two pull up short of the moat's edge and shout to the sinking man. He's stuck, spluttering in the muck as he starts to drown, and they are reluctant to get too close. I glide lower, weaving through the tarps and shadows and jutting beams to land on the framework of an abandoned build. There is movement on the street below me. I glance down. A couple of armed street kids are creeping towards the moat and the men who haven't yet seen them. One of them hollers a war cry. They charge, barreling into the men to drive them over the edge of the moat. The remaining members of the squad sink into the muck beneath a rain of blows, their weapons lost in the chaos of the ambush.

The street kids move off more quickly than I'd expected, like a swarm of locusts after a feed, disappearing like ghosts down a side street. I scan the moat for any signs of life. Several minutes of deathly silence passes before a soft, gargling sound causes me to focus on some movement. The lone survivor drags himself towards the bank, his muscles quivering as he retches, heaving himself out of the moat. I wasn't opposed to sloppy seconds.
“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov