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Author Topic: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread  (Read 6878 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« on: February 01, 2015, 06:52:25 PM »


Last year we had a Fanfic February and we got some great stories out of it, so I'm doing it this year again. :)

Your challenge this month is to write fanfiction, which means that your story should be set in an already existing fantastical universe.

This time I'm limiting the books you can choose from a bit:
Your story can be set in the worlds from Pratchett's Discworld, Rowling's Harry Potter, Martin's Game of Thrones, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora, Sanderson's Mistborn, Brett's Warded/Painted Man, Erikson/Esslemont's Malazan or Rothfuss' Name of the Wind.

You are completely free in what story to write 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. :)

Rules:

1. This can be prose or a poem.
2. Must be fan fiction set in the world of one of the above mentioned fantasy books.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-500 words long.
5. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
6. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
7. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
8. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
9. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys next to the 'youtube' symbol:

Entry will close March 1st 2015 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

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 sometime in the next months.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.
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Offline JMack

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Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 02:55:20 AM »
I guess I'm first this month.
My story is based in Tolkien's Middle Earth, and titled "The Tale of Linnathiel and Meredin of Gondor, Elf Friend"
1,491 words, excluding the title.

Spoiler for Hiden:
A tradesman of a minor city in Gondor was much taken with the songs and tales of Numenor, Isuldur and the kings of old that he'd heard at his mother’s knee in the misty days of his childhood.  Thoughts of elves, dwarves and dragons filled his youth with longing.  And as he grew older, and indeed, became an old man, the stories became to him as real as the orange he had eaten for breakfast or the longbottom leaf in his pipe.  It is a strange thing how the very thought of unheard songs can overtake some men with the urge to wander, and to see something of the world beyond the limits of their little corner of it.

So it was that Meredin of Gondor, tradesman, widower and collector of tales, said goodbye to his old friends, kissed his sons and grandchildren, and set off with a small caravan for Dale, far in the north in the kingdom of Erebor.  This was in those peaceful years before the War of the Ring but after the White Council had driven the Enemy from his stronghold in Mirkwood.  The orcs were quieter in those days, and long journeys for trade and even simple curiosity could once again be undertaken.  The caravan would travel along the road to Edoras west on the shoulders of the White Mountains, then across the southern marches of Rohan, skirting the fringes of the strange, dark forest of Fangorn, and then, having crossed the Entwash, would reach the great river Anduin before striking north.  Still, a person cannot know what will happen when he steps beyond his front door, and evil things can be abroad in otherwise quiet times.

They were one month out of Minas Tirith, walking east across the Wold against a chill wind near dusk, looking for a good place to camp for the night, their  heads down and their hoods pulled up.  With Meredin, they were thirteen, an unlucky number.  Their leader was a sour-faced man, moody and argumentative at all times.  It had made for an unhappy fellowship, especially because none of them knew any songs that Meredin did not, and he had long been regretting his choice of companions.

He was also regretting his shoes, which he had been told would be quite comfortable for walking.  “Well, comfortable for walking across the street, perhaps,” the little man muttered to himself, reaching down and pulling up his stockings, then fishing for a pebble that had somehow gotten stuck under his big toe.  So he missed the sudden whine of an arrow as it whistled over his head and struck a leg of one of the pack mules.

More arrows fell.  Quickly it was all chaos as the members of the caravan stumbled over each other in panic.  The poor mule screamed and broke away from its owner, plunging off into the dimming light.  Meredin found himself at the end of the ragged line of men, looking behind toward the mountains.  He saw fast moving shapes, too many and too confused for him to count.  He made out one figure racing lightly upon the grass and a mass of pursuers behind.  It was from one of these that the black shaft had come, for they were running and loosing arrows at the fleeing figure as they came.  Meredin had time to utter one brief cry of fear before the chase surged over the little caravan.

The elven maiden, for that was what and who she was, Linnathiel of the house of Elrond, barely saw the company of men as she raced through them.  How the orcs had caught her scent, Linnathiel did not know.  She cursed herself for her carelessness in travelling alone, but she had grown used to solitude in the many months since she had left her father’s house.  She had been running for three days now, always thinking she had thrown them off, but finding them closer each hour.  If not for the men unexpectedly appearing in their path, the foul creatures might have finally caught her.

Now, as Linnathiel felt the orcs’ pursuit flag, she halted and looked back.  The orcs had forgotten her and had focused now on slower prey, hacking brutally at the unfortunate men.  Mortals, she thought with pity.  Had she been another of her race, she might have kept going and left the men to their fates.   Indeed, she almost did just that, for she knew she was no warrior.  But Linnathiel unshouldered her bow again, placed her last arrows in her drawing hand at the ready, and, taking a deep breath, ran back to the field of battle.  With the freedom now to strike as she chose, the elf began to pick off the goblins one by one.  Her aim was unerring, and soon five orcs had fallen.

But there were still four left, and the orcs slew whomever they could reach.  Her last arrow spent, Linnathiel drew her sword and leapt in close.  She caught one of the monsters on the neck, sending its head spinning into the grass, then ducked under the slicing blade of another before ripping it across the belly.  A third found her knife in its eye, and it crumpled in a heap.  Suddenly the battlefield was quiet.  Three figures only remained standing: herself, one small, battered man in a spattered coat, and the last of the orcs, a great goblin of enormous size with long scars running from his eyes to his neck.  The creature looked at the elf and smiled wickedly.  Then it lifted its sword to strike down the last of the men.  Linnathiel rushed to meet the black cleaver with her own steel.  The clash of the two blades sent sparks flying.  The elf saw an opening, and as swift as lightning she thrust between the links of the great orc’s mail and into its foul heart.  The orc fell to the ground with  a grunt, sliding off the elven blade.  She turned then to the remaining man and was about to speak when the dying orc rose up again, it’s breath rattling in its chest.  With the last of its strength, it struck through her shoulder from behind, the black blade emerging from her chest, before collapsing at last.  The elven maiden stood for moment, wavering, before she too fell to the ground with a sigh.

Meredin saw the elf fall, saw the light fade in her eyes, and rushed to her side.  “What will you do now?” he asked himself.  “What will you do now?”  She still breathed, but the wound was dire.  Meredin did not know whether to pull out the evil blade or leave it in.  He knew she needed warmth and shelter, so the little man ran as quickly as he could, first in one direction and then another, finally spying a copse of trees in the distance.  “Drat these shoes,” he complained again as he hobbled back to the side of the elf.

Meredin steeled himself, placed his hands on the rough hilt of the black sword and drew it from the elf’s shoulder.  Blood rushed out, but the little man pressed a cloth deeply into the wound until it stopped.  He lifted her in his arms.  She was unexpectedly light, but the copse of trees was almost a mile distant.  He was puffing and groaning after a few yards, but he kept going with a determination he'd barely known he had.  As he carried her, step by struggling step, he stared down into her face.  Love bloomed in Meredin; not the love of someone we’ve known for long but the sudden love of someone we do not, the love of beauty and the mysteries hidden in trees, stars and the distant sea.  “It’s beyond anything,” the little man said to himself, unable to put any further words to what he felt.
 
Linnathiel woke, knowing she was dying.  She saw a tiny fire in a small circle of rocks, and she could feel the warmth on her flesh, but it could not penetrate her body where the poison of the orc blade was working its way to her heart.  She could burn it out of herself and keep her spirit undefiled, but that would take the last of her strength.

A mortal man, the one she had saved, was sitting to her side, watching her, and tears were falling from his eyes.  He had been singing, she remembered; men’s songs of hearth and home, of a wily fox and a brave crow, songs of childhood and festivals, of the silver tree and the empty throne. 

“Do not stop,” Linnathiel said quietly.  “Your songs are young but sweet.”

“I would sing yours if I could,” said the man.  But she shook her head wearily, and closed her eyes.

With a sob he began again as her spirit faded and she saw the light of the stars in the halls of waiting.
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Offline RussetDivinity

Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 04:43:52 AM »
I decided to go with a Potter story, set post-Potter. At 1330 words, here's "Peggy Fleming and the Ordinary Day".

Spoiler for Hiden:
   
Margaret Fleming, of Number 23 Ellsworth Lane, was proud to say that she was perfectly normal, but she wouldn’t thank you for asking.  After all, what sort of jerk went around asking whether their neighbor was normal, just because her visitors happened to sometimes wear strange clothes and exclaim over such mundane things as YouTube and fog-resistant glass? Just because her friends liked to drink something called firewhisky (which, it turned out, had neither fire nor whisky but was instead a rather acidic variant of rum) and chant about Hufflepuff pride (to which her neighbors would wonder what, exactly, the hell a Hufflepuff was) didn’t meant they were weird. Not in the least. Margaret Fleming was perfectly normal, and if you insisted otherwise, you might well find your coffeepot filled with inexplicable frogs.
   
Margaret was, after all, a graduate of Hogwarts, and even if she was a Hufflepuff, it wasn’t unheard of for that gentle house to be rather vindictive when it came to righting wrongs against their own.
   
Peggy – for so she was called by her friends – lived a rather normal life. She did copy-editing for The Daily Prophet, and while it wasn’t a particularly exciting job, it at least got her out of the house and into London. Sometimes she even walked or took a bus rather than Apparating or going by Floo. She liked getting out among the rest of society, and it was nice to know that Muggles weren’t so strange once one got used to them. In fact, a lot of them were delightful.
   
One in particular, a young man named Hugo Brown, took a particular bus on a particular day, and Peggy found herself arranging her schedule just enough that she could bump into him. At first it was only a laughable coincidence, but as time went on, she thought she saw Hugo looking more and more excited to see her on the bus. To tell the truth, she was quite excited to see him as well. He was attractive, in a bookish sort of way, and she liked to sneak peeks at the books he was reading. It was because of him that she got interested in Muggle literature, and it was because of him that she started dressing more like a Muggle.
   
“You look different today,” he said, one late February afternoon as she squeezed into the seat beside him.
   
She glanced quickly down at her clothes. Sweater, leggings, snow boots… everything looked normal. Everything looked Muggle. “Different how?” she asked. “Do you mean weird?”
   
“Not at all,” he said, and Peggy looked up and suddenly met his dark green eyes. “You look normal today, and that’s kind of different. I wouldn’t call you weird, though. More… unusual. Interesting. Intriguing.”
   
His hand was very close to hers, and the way he was leaning down made Peggy sure he was going to kiss her. She’d been kissed before, of course, but never on a bus, and never in front of a bunch of strangers, and certainly never by a Muggle, but she didn’t think she minded. In fact, she didn’t mind at all. “I think I like that,” she said, slipping a bit closer to him and leaning closer to his lips.
   
Then everything burst into flames.
   
The next thing Peggy knew, she was lying on the sidewalk, her head ringing and blood running into her eyes. She wiped at her forehead, and the blood showed bright red against her pale hand. Her first thought was to see whether her wand was intact, and when she found it was, she struggled to her feet, trying not to fall. She had learned enough Muggle medicine to know about concussions, and she was certain she had internal damage somewhere from the blast. Getting to St. Mungo’s would clear everything right up, and it would be easy to get away. After all, someone had likely called the Muggle authorities, and they would be able to take care of everyone else.
   
At least, they would have been able to if it had been a Muggle attack. Instead, standing by the wreck of the bus, Peggy saw a man dressed in black robes and pointing a wand at whatever struggling survivors he found. Green flashes shot from his wand, and one by one, the figures fell still.
   
Like every other witch of her generation, Peggy had grown up hearing stories about Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and even now, she glanced up at the sky. There was no Dark Mark, but that didn’t mean this man wasn’t dangerous. She had to get away and save herself. She had to run to the Ministry and alert the Aurors.
   
She had to save Hugo, because the world had gone all wrong.
   
Peggy stumbled toward the bus, and somehow the man didn’t notice her. Her legs trembled and her head spun, but she made it inside, and draped over a seat, she found Hugo. His skin was paler than she was comfortable with, but he was still breathing, and as she shook his shoulder, his eyes opened a little, and he frowned. Before he could speak, she pressed her free hand over his mouth and whispered, “Stay quiet. I’m going to get you out of here.”
   
Hugo nodded, and she pulled him into her arms. It wouldn’t be comfortable for either of them, but she could Apparate out with him, maybe bring him to a hospital and leave him there to be looked after. He would be safe there.
   
The bus creaked, and when Peggy raised her head, she saw the man in the black robes walking down the aisle toward them. His wand was already out, and though he looked surprised to see that she also held a wand, it didn’t stop him from opening his mouth and beginning the curse.
   
Margaret Fleming, age thirty-one, was a copy-editor who excelled in finding misplaced commas and other grammatical errors. But Peg Fleming, as she had been called when she was fifteen, had been the star of the Dueling Club, and it was that skill that brought her wand whipping up to point directly at the man’s heart as she cried, “Stupefy!”
   
The man flew across the bus, and before Peggy could see whether the spell had worked properly or simply knocked him back but left him conscious, she wrapped her arms around Hugo and twisted on her heel.
   
Apparition was just as uncomfortable with a companion as it was alone, and it was either that or her panic that brought them not to a hospital but to her living room. Gasping and shaking, Peggy laid Hugo on the floor and leaned back against her couch, trying not to think about how close she must have come to being splinched. That hadn’t happened to her since her first test, and even then, none of the testers had noticed that her little toe was just a millimeter smaller than it had been when she started.
   
Hugo groaned, and Peggy scrambled to his side, not noticing that her blood was splashing onto his dark skin. “Are you okay?” she asked, cupping his face in her hands.
   
“I think so,” he mumbled. “Except for where it hurts. Peggy… what happened?”
   
She laughed, surprising even herself, and bent to kiss his forehead. “I don’t know,” she said, “but it looks like my life is going to get more dangerous than I expected. If you don’t want to kiss me, I understand.”
   
“I still want to kiss you,” he said, and reached up to set a hand on the back of her neck. “Do you promise to give me an explanation.”

“I promise,” she said. No matter what happened, the Obliviators wouldn’t get to him. After all, if there were wizards going around attacking busses, there were likely more things for the Ministry to worry about than one Muggle knowing about one witch. If they tried to stop them, then she would find a way to disappear.

Offline Rukaio_Alter

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Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 01:09:03 AM »
Hoo boy. Here goes my first entry to one of these.

I went for a HP story (although I didn't feel quite confident enough to emulate JK's writing style). It's set far before the events of the book, in the days of the Hogwarts Founders. At 1498 words (excluding the title), here is 'Old Friends'.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Salazar Slytherin carefully picked the silver flask from the table and precariously balanced it over the cauldron. This had to be perfect. If the Bat Saliva wasn’t poured at just the right angle, it could quickly spell disaster. Salazar breathed slowly, summoning all his concentration. If there was even the slightest distraction, he might accidentally-

The door burst open with a bang and Godric Griffindor came striding in, laughing uproariously as usual. He carried a large barrel over his shoulder.

“Salazar!” Godric boomed. “It’s been too long!”

Salazar did not notice any of this. He had casted a Sense Muffling Sphere around himself long before the brewing session had begun. After all, he was not an idiot. And he knew exactly how much Godric Griffindor enjoyed making loud and unexpected visits.

After finishing off his potion, Salazar finally noticed Godric’s presence and dispelled the Sphere.

“Godric.” He said with a sigh. “How lovely of you to drop in unannounced.”

“Just came to see how you were getting on! And I brought a keg of firewhisky for us to enjoy.” Godric dropped the barrel to the ground. His attention was then caught by a nearby gourd which was billowing smoke. He reached to pick it up. “Say, what’s this thing?”

Salazar quickly grabbed Godric’s wrist.

“Not for touching.”

“Oh, you’re no fun, Sally.” Godric took a couple of sniffs. “I’m guessing… a Blackroot Draught? Got back pain again?”

Salazar raised an eyebrow. Then a smile spread across his face. “You never cease to amaze, Godric.”

“Serves you right for underestimating me.” Godric grinned and drew Salazar into a big bear hug. “How have you been, you old snake?”

“Coping.” Salazar pulled himself free of Godric’s embrace. “Is there a reason for this visit?”

“Outside of seeing how my old friend is doing?” Godric spotted a bowl filled with small red flakes and dipped his finger in them. “Say, I don’t recognise these.”

“Those are hog warts.” Salazar said.

“Hog warts?” Griffindor made a disgusted face. “Why would you collect hog warts? Do they have any magical value?”

“I’m not certain.” Salazar explained. “I’m testing them to find out.”

“I see.” Godric wiped his hands on his cloak.  “Where did you get them? Not even the black market is that twisted. Did you collect them by hand?”

“I’d rather not answer that question.”

“Heh.” Godric smiled. “Actually, there is something I- Wait. That’s not what I think it is, is it?”

Griffindor’s eyes had been drawn to a glass tank hidden away in a dark corner. Inside, a single large toad sat in a contented stupor. Underneath the toad was what looked like a chicken egg.

“A Basilisk egg? Yes.” Salazar tapped the tank with his wand. Immediately, the glass turned black and concealed the egg from view. “I recently acquired it from a trader I know.”

“I’ve never tried a Basilisk omelette before.” Godric chuckled but there was a dangerous look in his eyes. “How do they taste?”

“I’ve no idea,” Salazar said, “and I’ve no intention of trying one. I plan on hatching that egg and using it to wipe out the Acromantula nest in Whiteleaf Forest. Enough Wizards have fallen victim to Moragog’s appetites.”

“I agree Moragog needs to be taken care of,” Godric nodded, “but that’s dark magic you’re playing with, Sally. Were it anyone else-“

“You might show them the respect of using their actual name?”

Godric smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I assume you’ll eradicate the beast once Moragog is dead?”

“I understand your concerns, Godric,” Salazar said. “But Basilisk venom has a lot of other useful effects. Including, need I remind you, the ability to destroy those accursed Horcruxes Herpo the Foul and his kin invented.”

“Funny you should mention Herpo.” Godric still had that dangerous look. “I recall he apparently hatched a Basilisk egg in his youth. And he was a Parselmouth as well.”

Salazar’s glare turned frosty. Calmly, he unhitched his cloak and loosened his collar enough to reveal a dark festering wound upon his shoulder. A cursed wound that would never heal. A little reminder of the day the Four had finally destroyed the Black Magician of Greece. A day of heavy costs.

Godric flinched and looked away. Salazar didn’t break his gaze.

“I know the dangers of dark magic,” he said. “Better than anyone. And never compare me to that monster again.”

“I’m sorry.” Godric bowed his head. “I went too far.”

Satisfied, Salazar rehitched his cloak. Godric watched him with a forlorn smile.

“You know, Sally, you’ve grown a lot since we first met.”

Salazar shrugged. “So have you. If I recall correctly, you were a simple travelling knight while I was…”

“Attempting to single-handedly topple a Muggle Kingdom from within?”

“And succeeding, as well.” Salazar smiled in reminiscence. “I was naïve of course. I didn’t realise how my actions were hurting my fellow wizards. You showed me that.”

“While you showed me how I was wasting my talents.” Godric gave Salazar a friendly slap over the back. “We were idiots back then, weren’t we?”

“We were.” Salazar’s face narrowed in suspicion. “Why all this sudden reminiscing, Godric?”

“I’m just thinking of how of misguided we used to be,” Godric said, “and how much easier our lives would be had we a mentor, someone to guide us in our studies of magic. Someone to keep us safe. Someone to help us hone our craft.” Godric’s smile faded and he stared off into the distance. “Someone to stop us from… from making mistakes.”

Salazar rested a comforting hand on Godric’s shoulder.

“My point is,” Godric said, life returning to his voice, “what if we were those mentors? And not just to one or two young wizards. To all the young witches and wizards in Britain!”

“You mean like an Academy of some sort?” Salazar mulled the idea over in his head. “I don’t know…”

“Just think about it!” Godric said. “All around Britain, young children are discovering their gifts. Sometimes in dangerous ways. We can save them from themselves and from those who would hurt them. We can provide them professionally crafted wands rather than the sloppy twigs we had to work with. And we could nip any potential dark wizards in the bud before they utter their first curse!”

“But how would you find-?“ Salazar blinked. “The Seeker Crystal. The one we took from the Black Inquisition. Rowena knows how to use it?”

Godric nodded. “And Helga has just acquired some fairly remote land. We can build a castle, work some magic into its stones and have the perfect grounds for a school. A school we can train and test all those who may have magical potential.” He looked at the bowl Salazar had placed away. “A school of hog warts, if you will.”

“Very cute.” Salazar said snidely. However, he couldn’t keep up his dour look in the face of Godric’s enthusiasm.
“Alright, I’ll admit you’ve got me interested. Tell me, has Rowena discovered how to identify just those born of true wizard folk?”

Godric blinked. “Why just those?”

“You know why.” Salazar scoffed. “We can’t allow muggleborn trash to attend.”

“Why not?” Godric’s voice hardened.

Salazar sighed. “We’re not doing this again, are we?”

“I was raised by Muggles.”

“Yes, and became a perfectly outstanding wizard despite that.”

“Despite?”

Salazar scowled. “Look, if you’re going to argue, just forget I mentioned it.”

Godric’s brow furrowed. “I don’t understand you sometimes, Salazar. You’re a perfectly intelligent man, albeit maybe a little too ambitious for your own good, but whenever the subject of Muggles come up, you become downright pigheaded.”

“Pigheaded?!” Salazar shouted, slamming his fist on the table. “As far as I can see, the only pig-headedness here, Godric, is your blind acceptance of that Muggle scum. They’re not like us. You know that. They’re greedy, small-minded, hateful folk who can never be taught different. You may have been lucky to live with the rare few who were good, but I was not.”

Godric was quiet for a few moments.

“I’m sorry about what happened to your sister, Salazar, but-”

“Sorry?” Salazar’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head. “You think ‘sorry’ excuses their actions?! They tortured her, Godric. Mutilated her. Tied her screaming to a stake and set her alight. All for the grave crime of rescuing a child from a river. They murdered my only family and celebrated. I assure you, Godric, no good can come of your idea if we let Muggleborns pollute it.”

Godric’s face was set like a statue. “We shall discuss this in detail later, Salazar.”

Salazar’s face was equally stern. “That we shall, Griffindor.”

“For now…” Godric hauled a barrel onto Salazar’s table. “I have some firewhisky that needs drinking. First to hit the table loses?”

Salazar smiled. “Challenge accepted, old friend.”

And so the two wizards drank long into the night, each concealing their fears of what this small thorn of dissent might mean in the future. 
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 01:24:16 AM by Rukaio Alter »
5 Times Winner of the Forum Writing Contest who Totally Hasn't Let it All go to his Head.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Also, <Insert GOD EMPEROR OF THE WRITING CONTEST joke here>

Offline Elfy

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Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2015, 11:36:05 PM »
Here we are in February and at the story contest. I don't write a lot of fanfic and when I do it's usually TV shows, not books. Of the ones selected for us the only thing that gave me anything viable or excited the plot bunny was Harry Potter. This is a short slice of life piece called Echo of the Past, it takes place long after the original series has finished, and comes in at a neat 1401 words, including the title. @ChrisElfy if anyone is interested in seeing me tweet occasionally.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Echo of the Past

Professor Neville Longbottom laid his quill down next to the pile of 5th year scrolls he was marking for his Advanced Herbology class, he took his glasses off, massaged his forehead with a thumb and forefinger, sat back in his chair and sighed. At length he pushed his chair away from his desk and crossed to the window, through which the early Autumn sunlight streamed.

The skies were a clear washed over blue with not a cloud in sight. There was a soft explosion of feathers as the Whomping Willow casually swatted an inquisitive and unfortunate bird. Neville could not suppress a shudder. As the Senior Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, he had to study the vicious tree and it was never a pleasant experience. There were discussions in magical herbology circles about which was the more dangerous between the Devil’s Snare and the Snargaluff, in Neville’s opinion the Whomping Willow had them both beaten hands down.

The students were taking advantage of both the weather and their relatively light class schedule this early in the opening term of the school year, and were out in force amongst Hogwart’s extensive and pleasant gardens. In its pot, Neville’s Mimbulus Mimbletonia cactus plant let out a small sigh and waved its spines.

“Yes Augusta,” Neville said decisively. “I do think you’re right old girl. It is far too nice a day to be cooped up inside. The scrolls can wait, let’s get some of that sunshine while we still can.”

                                                               ****

As soon as the sun’s rays hit Augusta the Mimbulus Mimbletonia she shivered in sheer pleasure. Neville grinned down at the plant tucked under his arm.


While the well liked and respected Herbology professor made his way down to a tree by the Great Lake he was hailed by a number of the relaxing students. It was rare that Neville didn’t know a student by their first name, he was friends with the families of many of them, and the school always seemed well attended by various members of the large and influential Weasley and Potter families.

People didn’t often mention Neville’s part in the Second Wizarding War, specifically the Battle of Hogwarts at the culmination of it, to his face, but the students were all taught about it, and some of them regarded the mild mannered teacher with a good deal of awe. A Frisbee went flying from the hand of the thrower and seemed destined to hit Neville right on the head, without looking at it, he removed his wand from his robes, held it up, muttered a quick spell, halted the Frisbee and sent it winging back towards its owner.

“Thanks Professor Longbottom!” a girl with a shock of red hair said as she snatched the flying disc out of the air.

“Quite all right, young Weasley,” Neville called back to the girl, and continued his journey towards the lake.

He found a convenient tree, set his cactus carefully down on the ground, then lowered himself next to it and leaned his back against the trunk with a sigh of relief. He watched the Giant Squid as it’s tentacles reached up out of the water, while it idly stroked it’s way across the lake, the students who paddled in the shallows continued their play, untroubled by the enormous squid, it was just part of life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It was pleasant sitting by the lake with the tree at his back also providing shade from the sun high in the sky, and the idyllic almost pastoral scene and atmosphere had nearly lulled Neville to sleep when he heard a young voice nearby whispering urgently, “Harry! Harry! Where are you, Harry?”

Neville opened his lowering eyelids and found himself looking at a young boy fossicking amongst the reeds and weeds at the lake’s edge.

Judging by the boy’s size, and the fact that Neville didn’t know him, he had to be a first year. Students didn’t take Herbology until second year, so that was the first opportunity Neville had to get to know them face to face. The fact that he didn’t recognize this boy told Neville that he was possibly one of the muggles who had the talent for magic, and found themselves studying to be a wizard or a witch at the magical school.

The boy had a mop of blond hair and he was short, even for a first year, he was also a little on the plump side, and he looked rather nervous. His lips quirking up in a smile Neville remembered another very similar first year student at Hogwarts many years ago.

“Lost something?” Neville inquired.

The boy turned, his eyes wide and face shocked. “I…ummm…yes…I mean…Sir…” he stammered, clearly intimidated at being addressed by someone who judging by his robes and age obviously a teacher.

“What is it?” Neville asked.

“I…uhhh…it’s a…umm…” the boy continued to mumble, trying not to look directly at Neville.

“I do hope it’s not a remembrall,” Neville said. “I lost one of those once, you should have heard my gran go on about it.”

“It’s my toad…” the boy said softly, then added almost inaudibly. “Harry.”

Neville was hard put not to laugh at hearing the name and wondering how his old friend Harry Potter would have felt about having a student name a familiar, especially a toad after him. Harry had never been that keen on toads, he preferred owls.

“Harry’s a fine name for a toad,” Neville said, amusement in his tone.

“I get teased for having a toad as a familiar,” the boy said, staring at his shoes. “They’re kind of nerdy.”

“Nonsense!” Neville said firmly. “I had a toad myself as a young student, what’s your name, son?”

“Trevor,” the boy confessed. “What was your toad called, sir?”

“Never mind,” Neville said, feeling his cheeks heat up after the boy gave his first name. “Why don’t I help you search for Harry? I’m Professor Longbottom.”

“Oh I know that, sir!” Trevor said. “Everyone knows who you are.”

Neville felt himself getting embarrassed again. He was often feted for his adventures during the Second Wizarding War, but it wasn’t something he sought out. They were just things he had to do. He was getting to his feet, and about to suggest seeking out a spot that he thought Harry may be hiding, there were plenty of flies there, he often set traps to catch them for some of his carnivorous plants.

That was when a girl came running up to Trevor. “Trevor!” she shouted in an authoritative voice. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!”

There was something familiar about that voice, Neville could hear an older version of it commanding, “Longbottom! Demonstrate the Cruciatus Curse on Creevey for the class!” He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the newcomer and his mouth dropped open.

Like Trevor she was small for her age and rather plump, although the way she carried herself suggested stockiness and nothing as soft as plumpness. Where Trevor was fair, the girl was dark, short spiky black hair crowning her head, and the boy had blue eyes, the girl’s eyes were black and glittering, they weren’t cruel, but the eyes Neville remembered had been, his hand went unconsciously to his face and he fingered the long healed scar that had once crossed it.

“Hello Professor,” the girl said, seeming to notice Neville for the first time.

“Professor Longbottom’s going to help me look for Harry, Lexie,” Trevor told the other girl. “Lexie’s my sister, sir.”

“Your sister?” Neville asked, slightly stunned, as there could be no two more different students at the school.

“We’re twins,” Lexie supplied. “Not identical of course, because, well…” she let the comment lie there as it was clear that she and Trevor were fraternal twins, and returned her attention to her brother. “Brian Finnigan said he saw Harry around the other side of the lake, they’re going to look, you have to come now.” The girl grabbed her brother’s hand and began to tug him away.

“Thank you for offering to help me look for Harry, Professor Longbottom,” Trevor called as he went with his sister.

“Wait Trevor!” Neville said. “I never got your surname.”

“It’s Carrow!” Lexie shouted over her shoulder as she and Trevor disappeared over the hill.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline TOMunro

Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2015, 10:59:34 PM »
OK.  I got an opening line and just went with it and the two worlds it led me into.  My twitter handle tomunro

KITTENS, ALWAYS THE KITTENS  (1500 words including the repetition of the title in the opening line)

Spoiler for Hiden:
KITTENS, ALWAYS THE KITTENS.

The hooded figure swept his scythe into the water piercing the submerged hessian sack near the knot.  With a deft flick of his bony wrists he turned the blade flat so as to take the weight of the bag on its side rather than its edge and, carefully brought the sorry little package to the surface.  The handle of the eternal scythe bowed a little as the waterlogged tomb broke the surface, weighed down by something more than just its furry occupants.

Death shook his cowled skull as he laid the grim burden down on the bank.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?

It was a rhetorical question, but the man standing beside him answered anyway, or as well as anyone without a throat could.

“I guess he’s more of a dog person,” the man gurgled.  The sound of his own voice alarmed him and he reached for his neck probing the ragged wound that had lacerated veins, arteries and larynx.

 DOG PEOPLE!  Death sniffed disdainfully at the oxymoron.

“He said he wanted justice,” his companion spluttered another set of watery syllables.  “Justice for justice?”  The last was a mumbled question addressed more to himself than the bereft skeletal figure laying out cold damp feline bodies with the utmost reverence.

Death shook his head.      THERE IS A SAYING I HAVE HEARD YOU HUMANS USE, DEATH IS TOO GOOD FOR HIM.  I CAN’T SAY AS I HAVE EVER UNDERSTOOD IT REALLY, BUT I THINK ON OCCASIONS LIKE THIS IT MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE TO USE IT.

The man digested this, until he realised that such an action might be beyond him on account of the bloody void where his stomach and most of his intestines used to be.  He gave a bloody cough.  “Excuse me, er… sir.”

YES, Death answered automatically.

“I can’t help noticing that I’ve been.” He paused, struggling for the words.  “I’ve been wounded.  Er rather badly.  In fact, I’m not sure I’m going to make it.”

YOU DIDN’T.

“Oh.”

There was a pause that was not just pregnant but some weeks past its due date, before the man ventured another contribution.

“Then this is… that is to say, you are… er am I in Heaven then?”

If Death had had eyebrows he would have raised at least one of them. As it was, he tilted his skull to one side and gestured across the crowded river bank littered with the dead and the dying.  A rich pavilion, hung in shredded tatters from its frame.  Liveried guards were strewn in unnatural poses like the discarded toys of some giant child.  Somewhere a woman was wailing.

THIS IS WHERE YOU DIED.

Death pointed to the man’s recumbent form, definitely dead, eyes staring at the black clouds that loured low over the bloody scene.  His body lay surrounded by a half dozen corpses of guards.

“OK,” the man nodded and gulped down some fear – a difficult gesture in his eviscerated state.  “So I’m going to Heaven next.”

Death gave him a long sad look from hollow eye sockets.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

“Well I’ve always believed in God,”

BUT THE QUESTION IS,   Death pulled an hour glass from within his voluminous robes and consulted the name inscribed around the rim.  DOES GOD BELIEVE IN BROTHER SMALL?

“I always said my prayers.”

IT’S NOT EXACTLY A MONASTIC ORDER THAT YOU BELONG TO – OR RATHER THAT YOU BELONGED TO.  Death looked at the row of little bodies, grieving more for a handful of kittens than the score of men who had shed their blood and guts in defence of the royal tent.  MORE A BUNCH OF CUT-THROAT MURDERERS, LED BY A CAT-KILLER.

“He didn’t mean nothing by it, I’m sure, Mr Death.  Not Brother Jorg.  He wouldn’t have meant any offence against the kittens.”

THAT HARDLY MAKES IT BETTER, TO KILL THEM FOR NO REASON.

“It’s just that they were his dad’s, and Jorg is still powerful angry at his dad.  His dad does love his cats, so does the new wife.”

I HAD HEARD RUMOURS THAT OLIDAN HAD A REDEEMING FEATURE. IT APPEARS THE RUMOURS WERE RIGHT.

“I didn’t throw them in the river,” Brother Small’s spectre hastily added, eager to curry favour with the being who held his empty life in one skeletal hand.  “My job was to keep the guards occupied.  I didn’t see what Jorg was doing in the tent or anything.  I was too busy…” the ghost stole a glance at its physical remains.  “I was too busy dying.”

INDEED.

“What happens next then, is there an afterlife?”

IT’S MORE OF AN AFTER-DEATH ACTUALLY.  Death had always been rather proud of that bon-mot but despite the thousands of recently deceased he had tried it on, the joke had yet to raise a smile still less a chuckle.  Brother Small was not about to break that record. 

YOU SEE, IT DOESN’T SO MUCH HAPPEN AFTER LIFE, AS AFTER DEATH.  Death tried to explain but Brother Small blinked back his confusion. Death heaved a weary sigh.  A gesture more of will than a physical exhalation from his cavernous but empty ribcage.  TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, WHAT NEXT? IN YOUR CASE I BELIEVE AN ETERNITY OF SUFFERING IS ON THE CARDS.  THERE ARE A NUMBER OF YOUR VICTIMS WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED MOST IMAGINATIVELY IN SUGGESTING THE TORMENTS YOU MUST ENDURE.  I BELIEVE A RED ROOM MAY BE INVOLVED.

“Oh.”  The ghost was silent for a moment.  “Is eternity a long time?”

IT IS CERTAINLY NOT A SMALL TIME.

“I guess it’s too late for me to say I’m sorry?”

I BELIEVE THAT APOLOGIES ARE ONLY A VALID CURRENCY BETWEEN THE LIVING.

“Just as well really.  I wouldn’t have meant it.”  Brother Small took another long look around the scene of his demise.  “It may have been a short life, but it was a good life.”

WELL, Death said.  I’LL GIVE YOU ONE OUT OF TWO. 

Brother Small’s puzzled look ended with an abrupt shriek as a red hole opened in the ground beneath him and the spectre fell through it, his soul dragged down by a force more powerful than a neutron star’s gravity.

Death waited barely a second before striding across the battlefield in search of a cat-killer.  Shreds of tattered canvas from the wrecked pavilion drifted past him.  He brushed aside their empty boasts, homing in on the sound of the sobbing woman. 

She knelt between two men, one tall young, dark and still.  The other blond, handsome and agitated.
Both men held swords, though only one looked like he knew how to use it.

“Jorg you are a cowardly brute,” the woman shrieked at the dark-haired one.  “You lured your father away just so you could attack the baggage train.  But brave Prince Jalan Kendeth here has sworn to kill you and now you will die.”  She swung round to look at the blond hero.  “Take him my noble prince.”

Jalan smiled, his sword point wavering in the air. “Certainly your, Majesty,” he said.  “Just as soon as I gather some re-inforcements.”  With that he flung his sword at the other man’s head and turned on his heel to run, sparing only enough breath for a long loud shout of “Snorri!”

“My, my, step-mother,” Jorg smiled launching himself into a jog.  “It is a strange inverted sight,  when ‘tis the brave man who takes flight, while ‘tis the coward seeks a fight!”

“He’ll return,” the woman cried.  “My champion will return.” 

“Only if I’m dragging him by his hair,” Jorg called over his shoulder.  In the cheerful distraction he missed the rabbit hole with his eyes, but not his foot, and as he tumbled bareheaded towards a jagged rock, Death felt a moment of exhilaration at the dead kittens’ retribution.

Jorg rose unsteadily and brushed some dirt of his jerkin. He looked Death squarely in the eye.  “Who are you.”

I AM DEATH AND YOU ARE DEAD.

“No.” It was a flat denial, not the panicked shriek of a man presented with his own mortality, more a correction to a student who had got a maths sum wrong.

YOU CAN SEE ME.  THAT PROVES YOU HAVE DIED.

“I see a lot of things, I saw you before skulking in the shadows.  I’m not dead and you’ve made a mistake, Boney.”

I DO NOT MAKE MISTAKES.  Death reached within his robe for another life-timer and drew out an hour glass filled with sand.  JORG ANCRATH THE SANDS OF YOUR WRETCHED LIFE HAVE RUN OUT.

“No they haven’t.”

Irritatingly the man was right.  When Death bent to look closer he realised that the inside of the glass was bathed in a yellow light and the few grains of sand within its beam were completely stationary, no matter how hard he shook it.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

“It’s a localised stasis field, Skeletor.  Time stood still.  I die when I’m ready.”

YOU CHANGED THE RULES!  Death had to say it to believe it.

“I do that,” Jorg replied.   

Offline Alex Dutson

Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 08:12:25 PM »
Another HP story, set before the books. I may not have got the timeline/ages exactly right so please forgive me.

His Final Summer (1080 words)
Spoiler for Hiden:
Rabastan sat on the shadowy window seat scowling down at the courtyard below. The occasional bursts of laughter that floated up to his window were worsening his already bad mood but he couldn’t quite tear himself away. He had always been prone to brooding, or “Rab’s little sulks” as Cissy insisted on calling them, but now that school was almost over he seemed to spend most of his time scowling at walls and skulking in abandoned classrooms. It didn’t help that since Cissy’s graduation last year there was no one left to drag him out of his moods. He barely tolerated his class mates, and the younger children of his parents set seemed in constant competition to see who could be the most whiny and irritating. He had almost cursed Regulus the day before when the second year just wouldn’t leave him alone. The only thing that stopped him was the thought of enduring the barrage of letters that it would result in; Rod reminding him of the importance of “connections” and “educating the younger generations”, Cissy telling him off for bullying, Bellatrix raging mad at him for daring to hurt a Black. So instead of torturing the younger years in the common room he was hiding in a dusty corridor pretending to study.

Rabastan looked back down at the open book on his lap. History of Magic. He tried to read but gave up after a few sentences. What was the point? It didn’t matter how he did on his exams, his future was decided and NEWTs were not necessary. He didn’t know why he was even still here. He should have left when he turned seventeen. Revolution was coming, his brother was in the forefront and Rab should be marching alongside him, fighting for their heritage, their birth right.  Instead he was memorising the names of Goblin kings and avoiding detention. He knew it was about maintaining appearances and upholding the family name but it wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to join the war and prove his worth and wear it burnt black on his sleeve.

A loud laugh cut through his thoughts and Rab’s eyes were drawn back down to the courtyard. A group of his Gryffindor classmates had congregated below the window, books discarded on the bench as they enjoyed the sunshine. Rab caught a glimpse of brilliant red hair and felt his heart leap. He stood abruptly and shoved his book into his bag. Perhaps it would be better to finish studying in the common room. He had some books in his trunk which covered a more select curriculum than he could find in the Hogwarts library. 

***
Rabastan trudged down the stairs to the Entrance Hall.

“Stop it!”

He glanced over towards the doorway of the Great Hall. Three Gryffindor second years were levitating a book above the head of a tiny Slytherin first year that Rab couldn’t quite remember the name of. Every time the boy jumped to grab it the Gryffindors raised it higher, laughing. Rab gave a longing look towards the dungeon before turning back to the Hall. It wouldn’t do to leave a housemate in trouble even if it was a snotty little first year. He pulled on the glower he had spent hours practicing in the mirror and strode across the entrance hall.

“That’s enough.”

Rabastan didn’t shout but the boys all whipped round and went wide eyed at the seventh year glaring down at them.

“We’re not…”

He turned his scowl on the boy who had spoken and his voice faded away. The book fell out of the air nearly hitting the first year on the head on its way to the floor.

“Leave.”

Rabastan’s voice brooked no argument and the three boys slunk off towards the door muttering darkly but not so loud that Rabastan could actually hear the whispered complaints. The first year kept staring at him until Rabastan shooed him away with a flick of his hand. The boy blushed, clumsily retrieved the book and mumbled his way through a thank you before rushing off towards the dungeons. Rabastan turned to follow, his thought turning to the books hidden under his least favourite set of robes.

“Rab!”

The books vanished. The imagined mark on his arm faded. The revolution slunk away to the shadowy edges of his mind. Everything was bright and warm, filled with dizzying possibilities and barely dreamt of futures. The longing that shot through him was one thousand times worse than his earlier desire to escape the drudgery of Hogwarts. He turned back to meet his classmate.

Fabian Prewett stood smiling at him, his read hair ruffled from the wind, his skin tinged pink from the sun. Rabastan couldn’t stop the answering grin that spread across his face.

“Fab. Studying hard I see.”

Fabian laughed and looked down at the grass stains on his shirt. Rab’s eyes followed, tracing the lines of the muscles on Fabian’s chest before he caught himself.

“You know me, never out of the library,” Fabian said, still smiling, “Do you want to meet up later to go through Herbology?”

Herbology was how they had met. Well not actually met, they had shared various classes since first year, but conversation had been limited until they had been paired together for a project in fifth year. Now they could almost be described as friends. Studying together, complaining about teachers, debating the latest Quidditch matches and the ridiculous antics of the younger years. 

“I suppose so. I don’t know why I’m doing the bloody subject.”

He knew.

“Great! See you in the library after dinner.”

Fabian was already turning away, heading back to his friends.  Rabastan stood in the entrance hall, his hand clenching and unclenching around his bag strap.

Sometimes when he lay awake in the early hours, his housemates snoring around him, Rab could admit he was scared. Scared of the uncertain future, Lucius’s seductive words, the ever growing fervour in his brother’s eyes. He didn’t know where it would lead but he knew he was going to follow. Go with his family, stand with his blood, defend his heritage. It was familiar. Safe. Certain. Everything the other path wasn’t.  However much the dark scared him nothing was as terrifying as the feeling that he got from looking into Fabian’s eyes. Hearing his voice. Daydreaming about a future that would never, could never exist.

Rabastan walked slowly down the corridor and down the dungeon steps into the darkness. 

Offline Saraband

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Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2015, 03:49:58 PM »
After a few months without taking part, I was finally able to come up with something for the Writing Contest. Here is a Broken Empire story, set in Mark Lawrence's world. It features Bassein, a character I invented, and our dear Jorg. Hope you like it  :)

Twitter: find me @mgboronha

Ghost in the Light (1498 words, excluding title)

Spoiler for Hiden:
It would be fairly accurate to describe Bassein Ibn Al-Enkrath as unimpressionable. He was a mathmagician, after all, and to impress others was his trade. But when he met this young northern prince, with fire in his eyes and thorns scarred on his flesh, Bassein could do naught but wonder.

“What if this is the one who can bring the pieces together?”

***

They met in the city of Darjaan, the last beacon of civilisation before the Great Sea of Sand. In an establishment of dubious cleanliness, Bassein made a few coins by offering counsel to any who sought his skills. From cheating husbands to quarrelling neighbours, Bassein threw the dice for all of them, in exchange for a few bits of coin - or, occasionally, a more horizontal and far more entertaining form of payment.

This particularly day was not going well. Only a whore had sought him, asking about the treatment of some rash. She had been too poor to offer money and too odorous to pay in any other way. Bassein had a few debts around the city, which he needed to pay very soon, or else something would happen that did not require the intellectual agility of a mathmagician to guess.

So Bassein was delighted when this tall, hooded man came in, hiding everything but that which was, unmistakably, a sack of coins at his waist.

Others noticed it too. Even the blind drunkard at the corner stopped mumbling, entranced by the melody of coin clanking on coin. The whole place drowned in silence for a moment, until a hint of sharp metal glinted just below the stranger’s purse. Everything soon went back to normal.

Bassein kept his gaze fixed on the hooded man, watching him as he bought a drink. To walk around Darjaan with a purse of coins that big, this was either a fool or a madman. Bassein threw his dice.

Seems like he is a bit of both, Bassein thought.

When the mathmagician looked away from his dice again, the stranger stood in front of him. He had pulled down his hood, revealing his face.

“Mind if I join you?” the stranger asked.

Bassein nodded. “Who am I to refuse a prince of Ancrath,” he said.

The stranger smiled, without revealing his teeth. “You’re good. How did you know?”

“It is a matter of probabilities, as are all things in this world,” Bassein said. “Your accent, your poise, the tone of your skin…” The mathmagician sat back, trying to appear relaxed and in control. In fact, everything in this stranger told him to get as far away as he could. But Bassein was a man who enjoyed tempting fate, poking at it, seeing how far he could go before fate bit back. “I am Bassein Ibn Al-Enkrath, at your service. My forefathers came from Ancrath, as you can guess by my name, so who knows if we are long-lost cousins, my prince.”

The stranger pulled a chair, sitting in front of the mathmagician. “Call me Jorg.”

A shiver ran down Bassein’s back. He had heard the name whispered, only a few days before. Something about this man from Ancrath and a artefact from the Builders time, lost in the sands.

“What brings you to our humble city?” Bassein asked.

“Bad dreams, among other things.” Jorg emptied his glass in one gulp.

“Are you looking for the counsel of the dice? I assure you there’s no one better than me in this city.”

“I’ve already had enough of your kind for one lifetime,” Jorg said. “I am looking for something else.”

“I see,” Bassein said. He tried to sound cryptic, when in fact he had no idea what this man wanted.

“Tell me, mathmagician, what do you know about the Builders?”

Almost instantly, Bassein grabbed the dice. Jorg placed his hand on Bassein’s wrist. “I wasn’t asking the dice. I asked you.”

Bassein removed his hand, realising it was shaking. “I know the same as everyone else. They were like us in many things, but blinded by their unfaithfulness, their greed, and their thirst for knowledge. In their arrogance they created their own end, leaving behind the skeleton of their civilisation, so that we may learn to be humble and never repeat their mistakes.”

“Anything else?” Jorg asked. His face revealed no emotion, no hint. Bassein could only see the fire in his eyes, filled with enough ambition to move the world.

“Some speak of Djinn. Spirits of the Builders, who refuse to accept that they are dead. But I don’t suppose a sophisticated man like you would care about such things.”

“You’re wrong.” Jorg took the purse from his waist, producing a coin between his fingers. “Show me a Djinn, and this is yours.”

“What, a single coin? You shame me, prince.” Bassein made a dismissive gesture.

“The coin is for me,” Jorg said. “You’ll get the rest of the purse.”

Bassein’s cheeks turned red with excitement, and Jorg was greeted with a wall of shiny white teeth.

“Follow me, Jorg of Ancrath. And leave your skepticism behind. The Djinn don’t like it.”

***

The two men hurried through the streets of Darjaan, Bassein ahead, until they finally reached a collapsed building. Fire had consumed part of it, and the remainder was covered in ash.

“An angry mob set it on fire,” Bassein explained. “Superstition got the better of people.” He pointed into the ruin. “Come.”

Jorg nodded, following the mathmagician. Inside, breathing became a difficult task. “I know a thing or two about burning buildings,” Jorg said. “But this smells differently.”

“The Djinn,” Bassein said, almost whispering. He pointed to the floor. “Look.”

Jorg saw a small light on the floor, beneath a pile of ash. Square-shaped and dim, it somehow illuminated the whole space, where no natural light came in, for the windows were covered with stones.

Bassein moved no further, but Jorg had other plans. He placed a hand on his sword’s hilt and began to approach the light. Bassein stopped him.

“The payment. If you would be so kind.”

Jorg kept his gaze fixed on the light, not moving. Bassein tensed. Here stood an armed man, with the eyes and skin of a monster. Bassein, on the other hand, had only a dice with him.

“When I see a Djinn,” Jorg said.

Bassein thought of arguing, but if he was good at one thing, it was probabilities. And they did not look good for him at the moment. “Of course,” he said, bowing graciously, and letting Jorg advance.

The prince kneeled before the pile of ash and stuck his hands in it, fearlessly, seeking the source of the light.

Neither Jorg nor Bassein noticed a coalescing shape in the darkness behind them.

A voice, like a storm of thunder and fire, echoed in their ears. “Who dares to disturb my slumber?”

Faster than a cat, Jorg turned around with the sword in his hand. Bassein froze, turning his head very slowly towards the shadows. He had heard the stories about the Djinn. He had never believed them.

“I need you to send a message to the other ghosts,” Jorg said.

“You?” The shape approached. “I know who you are. Other kinsmen of mine have whispered your name to the wind, Jorg of Ancrath.”

“I don’t suppose it came with any flattery,” Jorg said. “Listen, Djinn.” He pronounced the name sarcastically.

“Tell them I know what lies beneath the sands. That I will become emperor. It would be wise to help me.”

“Emperor?” The ghost let out a bellow of laughter. “The time for emperors has long past, little Jorg. The world of the living withers as the eternal dead awaken. The Builders failed. You failed. Humanity had too many chances, and wasted them all.”

“Side with me, and start a new age,” Jorg said serenely, blade still pointing at the ghost. “I will change everything.”

The ghost flickered, its image warping into a different shape. The man became a young boy, with a sharp, innocent voice. “Free us, Jorg,” the boy pleaded. “We have been stuck for an eternity. We want to be free. There are some who will help you.” The ghost started flickering again. “Turn the wheel when the time comes.” The ghost warped again, returning to the shape of a man. “Enough”, the ghost thundered. “Begone, Prince of Thorns. The world is too small for your ambition.”

“On that we agree,” Jorg said, turning around to the light on the ground, and sticking his sword in it.

 “Your… end… is… ine…vitable…” The ghost twisted in the air, howling, before vanishing.

Bassein, who could not believe what he just saw and heard, was shocked out of his awe by a sack of coins flying towards him.

“Thank you, mathmagician,” Jorg said. “You have done more than you imagine.”

Bassein nodded, but he stood there, in those ruins, long after Jorg had left.

What it all meant, not even his dice would ever tell him.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 03:53:41 PM by M. G. Boronha »
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Offline Raptori

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Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2015, 02:05:21 AM »
Finally managed to force a couple of ideas together into something that feels finished. It's set in the Mistborn world, sometime during the second book.

Choices (1491 words)

Spoiler for Choices:
Mayhara floated amongst the trees and dreamed about the future. Free of the cruel fate that had loomed over her childhood, the paths that spread before her dazzled and enticed. It felt like centuries of ash had been cleaned from a wall to reveal a vibrant mosaic full of colour and beauty. The world had changed.

Choice is a luxury, and the most luxurious option of all is to do nothing.

Amongst the majesty of the forest, all that mattered was the present. Mayhara was content to just… drift. She tapped her tinminds and felt her senses expand, strengthening her connection to the unhurried life that surrounded her. Leaves rustled in the wind, birds flitted from branch to branch, and small creatures scurried amongst the litter.

Something much larger blundered through the undergrowth, leaving an uneasy silence in its wake. Mayhara sighed. Farwen always knew where to find her, and he always seemed offended by her persistent attempts to avoid their allotted time together. She would do her duty someday of course, but she saw no reason to hurry—she could memorise the books at any time. For now she would much prefer to bask in the glow of her freedom.

Even so, she didn't want to get into too much trouble. Mayhara pushed against a nearby branch, launching herself into a downwards drift while still filling her ironmind to keep her weight low. She landed softly on her feet close to where Farwen's footsteps had stopped, and returned her weight and senses to their normal levels. She stepped out from behind a pair of trees, and her excuses died before they could be voiced.

A stranger stood before her—a hulking man with a bruised face and matted hair full of twigs. His dull clothes were torn and bloodied, and he stank of smoke and sweat. He stared at her with wild eyes, and for a moment he seemed as terrified of her as she was of him. Mayhara took a step backwards, and prepared to tap speed at any moment.

The stranger glanced around wildly, breathing heavily and cursing under his breath. His attention returned to Mayhara, and his eyes narrowed. "You're not a devil. Are you with them?"

Mayhara blinked. "Devil? With them? What is that supposed to mean?"

The man seemed unable speak evenly, stumbling over his words and shifting in intensity at random. "They're here, and all they want is blood. If you're not one of them, then you need to run. They want death. I don't know if anyone else got out. You should come with me, I think."

The haunted tone of the man's voice made Mayhara shiver, and she edged further away from him while he rambled on. Something was wrong with him, clearly. The elders would know how to help him, but even with her metalminds she might have trouble handling him for long enough to bring him back to the city by herself. Better to fetch someone who could help her than try to bring him back alone. They could easily track him in the forest, and in his state he probably wouldn't get far.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand. Please wait here, I'm going to get help."

Before he could reply, Mayhara ran. She tapped speed, draining almost her entire steelmind to put as much distance behind her as possible. She reached the edge of the forest in a blur, travelling a half-hour's walk in a matter of seconds. She marked her trail by planting a stick in the ground, and set out to find help.

***
Ash fell from the sky.

Mayhara stood at the top of a rise, looking down towards Tathingdwen in disbelief. Smoke rose from the city, combining with the ashfall to paint the entire sky with a shifting grey that obscured the distance. Several blocks of buildings on the outskirts near to her were being consumed by flames, yet she could see no-one attempting to put them out. It must be even worse in the center for them to abandon entire blocks.

She ran down the hill and into the city, storing her sense of smell in one of her tinminds to make the acrid odour of the fires bearable. The smoke made her eyes water, and the spasms of the dying buildings made it impossible to pick out any sounds of life.

The fires seemed unevenly spread, leaving some areas devastated while others were untouched. She worked her way around the worst of the damage, hoping to find someone—anyone—but the tall and graceful buildings were eerily empty.

She picked her way southwards, and reached the crossroads at center of the city without seeing a single person. The only explanation she could think of was an evacuation, which would have taken the city's residents southwards down the canals. However, such drastic action made no sense. The city was damaged, but it was not lost. The Terris people were used to hard work, she was sure they could have saved the city from this.

Her pace slowed, and she glanced around warily. Maybe the man in the forest hadn't been as crazy as he had seemed. What in the world could he have meant by 'devils' though? She took comfort in the presence of her metalminds - iron, steel, tin, pewter, zinc. They would protect her against the unknown. Copper would be little help, and she had always hated filling her goldminds.

Perhaps she should use the rest of her speed, follow the canals and hope to catch up with people further south, assuming that's where they were heading. That would mean abandoning the man who was wandering in the forest to the north. Either way, she couldn't help him without finding others first. Decision made, she took one last look around the square, turning back towards the north, and paused uncertainly.

A figure approached, shrouded in swirls of ash and smoke.

"Are you lost, child?" The shadow's voice was gritty and distorted, and seemed devoid of emotion.

Its features resolved into grotesque clarity as it advanced. It was unnaturally tall, its body cloaked in tattered fabric. It was completely bald and its forehead and temples were covered by intricate tattoos, but those were not the details that froze Mayhara into place. The creature had two gigantic metal spikes where its eyes should have been.

It's not some kind of devil. Worse - it's an inquisitor. A chill went down Mayhara's spine, her heart began to race, and she shrank back involuntarily.

The inquisitor smiled. "If you are not lost yet, you soon will be."

Mayhara tapped zinc, speeding up her thoughts. Most of her metalminds were small, and had pitiful reserves that would be quickly depleted. Surprise was her only hope, her only chance.

"Yes, I'm lost. Would you help me find my people?" She walked towards the inquisitor, every instinct screaming at her to run in the opposite direction.

A trace of confusion passed over the inquisitor's face, replaced by an even broader smile. At the last moment—just beyond arm's reach—Mayhara tapped the last of her speed and strength. Her muscles screamed in protest as she leaped forward and knocked the inquisitor over, who cried out in pain and anger.

Before it could retaliate, Mayhara threw herself on top of the fallen inquisitor and tapped iron.

She had four ironminds, each far larger than the average metalmind. For months she had spent as much time as she could floating amongst the trees, lost amongst her daydreams. The force stored through hundreds of hours of weightlessness was unleashed in the blink of an eye, crushing the inquisitor savagely.

Mayhara stood up shakily, blood dripping from her clothes. The inquisitor's corpse lay at her feet, almost unrecognisable. Even the spikes in its body had been flattened into discs. Dizzied by the sight, and by the realisation that she had survived, Mayhara stumbled away from the body and started moving to the south again.

She tapped gold to heal the scrapes and bruises she had suffered, then tapped zinc, allowing herself to think more clearly again and plan ahead. If they feared the inquisitors, her people would likely travel away from the canals. They must still be alive, otherwise she would have seen some evidence of death in amongst the rubble. Hopefully their numbers would slow them down enough for her to catch up.

She looked up, and froze mid-stride. Directly in her path, three figures stood waiting in the smoke. Shaking with fear, Mayhara crept towards a side street as quietly as possible.

One of the figures dropped a coin, and they shot into the air, diverging slightly as they rose. Mayhara watched in awe as they soared through the sky, then in terror as all three shifted direction in midair and fell directly towards her.

She had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and nothing useful left in her metalminds.

Perhaps choices aren't such a luxury after all.
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: [Feb 2015] - Fanfic - Submission Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 09:21:00 PM »
I'm not really sure if I was able to "channel" Tolkien's style, but I tried.

I thought that this would be short one but... Word count: 1499 including the title. =)

Note to self: Start and finish writing earlier next month.

Spoiler for Hiden:
High Halls


Harsh shrieks and horn blasts from a distance echoed in the walls of a wide hall across which tree figures hurried in nigh perfect darkness. The dimness mattered not, however, as the three dwarves were quite accustomed to such conditions. One of them sprinted ahead every now and again to guard the others’ passage with his crossbow, and the second one held the last one’s arm on his shoulders to help his injured friend walk in a hastier pace.

“In here!” shouted the first dwarf in a hushed tone. He opened a door that was smaller than most others bordering the hall but still well made and sturdy; with thick wooden planks and iron reinforcements. The dwarf pointed his crossbow towards every dark corner of the small room and rushed to help the others after he deemed it clear. “We can hide here.”

“Floni, help Thróin find a seat, and check his bandages! I will bar the door”, said the second dwarf, handing Thróin’s arm over Floni’s shoulder. He quickly glanced over the room in hopes of finding means to secure the door, but there was no plank to bar it nor there were supports meant for that non-existent plank on the door frame. And why would have there been: A kitchen or a pantry seldom needs to be locked, especially from the inside; though a host of hungry dwarves would have no doubt at times warranted the added security.

“Use a turner as a wedge”, said Floni. Then he set down Thróin on a stony bench on the other side of the room.

The old dwarf snarled with pain as Floni began to unbind the cloth wrapped around his left thigh. “Did you see them outside, Dari? Were they close?” Thróin asked, gritting his teeth.

“I dared not look. But their sounds were far; most likely two halls away to the south”, answered Dari, wedging the door with the baking utensil he had picked up by a small stove. “This will do very little should they find us”, he said, looking at the small piece of wood squeezed between the door and stone floor.

“When they find us”, corrected Thróin. He laid his shield and his axe beside him on the bench and then took a long drink from a flask which was hanging from a twine around his neck. Whatever the liquid flowing through his mouth and throat was, it seemed to ease his pain a little but did not lift his spirits. “It is only a matter of time. Some orcs have keen noses, and we reek of blood, sweat and fear”, the weathered dwarf said sullenly.

“I did not have the heart to tell you earlier”, said Floni,” but when I scouted ahead I saw more than mere orcs. There were cave trolls and...” He paused and shook his head in disbelief. “Though I have only heard of It in the old stories, I recognised It like an old friend; the shadow within a shadow, the black terror in the depths. It was there. Durin’s Bane was there.”

The others did a double take. “Then we are truly without hope”, said Thróin finally. “If only Balin had heeded Dáin’s words and left this place alone.”

“Or sent more soldiers to help him”, said Dari.

“For what? So that more of our kinsmen would have perished?” Thróin asked without waiting for answer. “We should have never come here, no matter how precious these halls were to our people”, he said. Then, for a moment, there was silence.


After a while, Dari took his two swords from their sheets and sat down on the floor by the door sighing. “I was so clad to see you two. I was utterly ashamed that I ran when The Watcher of Water took Óin and that I got lost in the halls of our ancestors”, he said, hanging his head low.

“Óin was a great warrior, and he saved me when that thing grasped my leg with its clawing tentacles“, said Thróin, looking at his now unbound thigh which was slowly dripping blood. “Even I was struck by fear when he vanished to the white foam over the black water. Sadly I could not save him in turn. But it was I who ordered the retreat, so you should not find shame in doing as you were told.”

“I too am a warrior, and a true warrior never leaves his brothers behind. Not even in circumstances most dire”, said Dari.

“At times it can not be helped”, said Thróin. “Floni and I were left behind because of my wounds and a group of orcs that blocked our way to the others.”

“We are here, together now. That is all that matters. And we will find others as well”, said Floni, the youngest of the three and nearly beardless. “Even I tend to get confused traversing these halls even though I have spent almost the entirety of what little time I have been on this world studying every text and map describing this place. Very few such documents have survived the long years, but enough that I should know the halls of Moria as well as the four corners of my home. In fact, this place has been our home for nearly five years, and still my sense of direction fails me”, he laughed.

“Since you are a builder and an architect, not a simple warrior, I will take what solace I can from your words, my friend”, said Dari, smiling to the young one who smiled back. But soon their faces turned solemn once again and they fell silent as low drums played from somewhere not too far south shocking the very foundations of the mountain: Doom, boom, doom boom.


Long they listened the rolling thumps growing ever closer. Thróin drank from his flask. Floni, who seemed the least fazed by the sounds, had tented Thróin’s wounds and now pored over the many cabinets and containers of the room, hoping to find something to eat; they were, after all, in a kitchen of sorts. However, the only thing Floni could find was dust, and he reckoned it probably would have not tasted very good for it was nearing one thousand years in age.

Dari, who had been staring at the floor in front of his feet, slowly turned his gaze upwards where two faint shafts of light entered the room. He looked at the rough, rocky ceiling and the meticulously carved arcs in place to support it. The ceiling rose some fifty feet high even though the room’s walls spread only twenty or so feet horizontally. “Why do you think we build our halls this high?” he wondered. “We are not that tall after all.”

Floni was going to answer but Thróin almost jumped up from his seat and bellowed, “We might be smaller than men and pointy ears, but our hearts are large. Our high halls tell that we shall not be trapped and crushed even under the weight of the mountains, nor by a band of orcs and monster from the deep that would deny us passage in the home of our forefathers. Under these halls we do not waver.”

Whether it was the mysterious liquid from his flask reaching his stomach or some strange force taking over his body and mind, the hopelessness that had plagued Thróin earlier was gone. And his new-found fire took hold of the others as well: Dari stood up and Floni straightened his posture.

“We do not give up”, said Dari, brandishing his swords.

“The chamber of Mazarbul should be near”, said Thróin.

“It is just to the south of us; through the enemy”, Floni concurred.

Thróin nodded and took his shield and axe from the stone bench. “Then through our enemies we fight”, he said. “We will go to the chamber of records and meet with the others should they be there. Then we go to the east gate and greet the daylight at the Dimrill Dale.”

“Yes!” Dari shouted and wrenched the wedge from under the door. He could hear orc voices in the hall just outside of the door. “They are here”, he said, smiling.

“The orcs should feel fear as long as there are dwarves under the high ceilings of Moria!” grunted Thróin. “Are you ready?”

The others nodded and faced the door. “Just so you know,” said Floni,” the high ceilings are for better air circulation.” The builder smiled as the others looked at him. “But I like your take on the matter more.”

“As do I”, said Dari, grasping the ring handle on the door.

Thróin laughed and then took a deep breath of the cavern air. “Now we go, and no dark terror will break our resolve. We are dwarves, we do not jump at shadows”, he said. “For Balin, Durin and all the dwarves this Mine has taken! For Moria!”

Dari opened the door, and the dwarves vanished to the hall beyond.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 09:45:27 PM by ArcaneArtsVelho »
Everything I wrote above is pure conjecture. I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm a perfectionist but not very good at anything. That's why I rarely finish things.