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Author Topic: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread  (Read 5247 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« on: January 31, 2018, 10:39:29 PM »
No, don't you worry. You don't have to write a story where the name of the main character is WASIASGYNDL. It was close, though. Two votes more and the proposal would have won.

And no, we're not doing Fanfic February this year either. [This is the moment where @Nora says 'YES!' out loud.] Breaking tradition is the new black. Or so we've heard.

This month we don't exactly have a theme. It's less about monsters, events, objects or characters and more about getting you out of your comfort zone. Testing new waters, getting to find out things about yourself, growing as a person and a writer... You know, the usual.

What? You still don't know what WASIASGYNDL means? You are impatient and think we babble? Outrageous! Or maybe not? You decide. And while you're occupied with this, we're delighted to reveal:


Write a story in a subgenre you normally don't like!

We hope this will achieve two things: First, it acquaints you with something new and second, it will help you to identify what you normally don't like about it and maybe you'll manage to write something different, rejuvenating the genre. (In a short story? Haha, as if! But hey, who knows!)

For those who liked fanfic or those who need a bit more substance for inspiration, we will offer the following:
OOFF!
This absolutely awesome abbreviation (AAA) is short for 'Our own fanfic'. What's that, you ask? Well, over the years you all wrote hundreds of stories, sometimes even with reoccurring characters or worlds. While reading the stories of your fellows, competitors, friends, you likely encountered some that stayed with you or where you were sad that it was just a short story and not the beginning of a multi book series.
Now is the time to revisit them. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Show your fellow writing contestants what their characters are up to now!
If you do this, please say in your submission which story/author you fanficced.


Rules:

1. This must be prose or poetry.
2. The story must be set in a genre you normally don't read/like.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-750 words long.
5. One story per person or writing team (not per account).
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.
8. 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. ;)
9. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
10. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys under the B.
Bonus rule: We consider voting in a contest you're taking part in a given. Others take time and effort to read the stories - you should do the same. A small community like ours lives from reciprocity and this contest needs stories as much as votes. 

If you want so submit your story anonymously you can do so by sending it in a personal message to @xiagan.

Entry will close Feb 28th/Mar 1st, 2018 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

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.
Submitting a story counts as published. The author retains all rights to their work.

Remember that this thread is only for entries. Discussion or questions can be posted here.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 09:27:40 AM by xiagan »
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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 07:15:29 PM »
Mount of Eagles
1,456 words.
Genre: Sanderson-style rules-based magic
and Forum Fan Fic

Spoiler for Hiden:
"Step back from the fire, Marius."

I'd hoped to eat my dinner in peace. Of course, I’d heard my pursuers coming long minutes before, pushing through the underbrush and trampling the bracken. And they knew I'd heard them. Otherwise they'd never risk speaking; they'd just kill me.

Wizard-killers. Highly trained, and deadly. I'd faced them before and my foolishness almost cost me my life. It had cost the lives of my dearest friends and fellow rebels. Cantria, Boren, golden-haired Glaccius, and brilliant, bookish Merron. Their names were my litany in the morning and my vespers at night.

I stepped back from the fire, but took my dinner with me. 'There are times to fight and times to run,' my teacher had said, 'but never let your attacker know which one you choose until it's too late.' I watched coolly while one of their number scuttled forward, fear reeking from every pore, and threw across the glowing coals a pail of water he’d toted for who knew how long. Though we plunged into darkness, men audibly relaxed in their hiding places among the grim ranks of the trees.

With no sun to draw on, night is not a time of power for wizards. I have more ways to draw energy than most of my kind: wind, fire, the rush of water, even the strength of the slumbering earth. But it was long past dusk, the air was as still as the grave, and I was camped on a saddle of rich, forest soil that smothered the voice of the bedrock. Foolish again.

At least I still had my dinner. I'd stolen the potatoes from a remote homestead a few miles back, though I left a coin that would pay for an entire barrel.

The simple potato can hold a lot of heat.

"Hold your hands out to your side, and speak no words." The same voice. Confident, arrogant. "Three night-seers have their bows trained on you."

"I'm putting down my plate," I called.

"No words, wizard!"

"No worries, friend." They'd learned by now that I didn't need words to work my magics like other wizards, so perhaps they just weren't interested in what I had to say.

I bent my knees, back straight, dish held flat in both hands. As it touched the ground, I stood straight and flung the potatoes into the air. Each one had absorbed the fire's heat for a full hour. Now I drew on that power, weak as it was, and pushed into it the little warmth still stored in the forest floor. Purple spots of pain bloomed behind my eyes from the effort. I cast a line of energy to each hot missile and tethered them into a scything maelstrom. Trees trunks shattered like glass in a rain of stones as I strode forward, whirling the blazing fireballs and slicing them through bodies and heads. I broke past the circle of my foes and turned to hammer them again.

A slamming blow to my shoulder knocked me off my feet, molten agony firing every nerve. My weapons flew away into the forest. I groped at an arrow in my chest. My back shouted with pain, and bile filled my throat.

There are times to fight and times to run. I ran.

I am no ordinary wizard. The rulers of my order, who command the known world from their citadel in Val, know this to their bones. I am more powerful than all but a few, and unlike them, I cannot watch as a cabal of self-appointed prelates oppress the people and wield magic like a whip on those who try to keep some dignity and freedom. So my friends and I worked in secret on an invention that might even the odds between wizards and common folk. For this, we were betrayed, discovered, and destroyed. The invention was seized, and my friends were carved to pieces. Their corpses haunt me to this day - as I hoped I haunted the dreams of those who'd thrown away many months and more lives trying to catch me.

In all that time, in battle after battle, I'd never been brought to the utter brink as I now was by a little pointy stick of an arrow. My chest heaved, my head throbbed, and my arm dangled. Hot blood ran cold down my side like tears, soaking my tunic. I cursed myself for trading the strength of light mail or even leather for the ease of simple cloth.

The wizard-killers must have been thrown into more disarray than I'd hoped, for I managed to stay ahead of them at first. But day was still hours off, and behind those dogs were the true hunters - my fellow wizards. Fight without magic at night, or against magic in the hot, energy-rich day. At any other time I'd have given myself fine odds against an entire troop of Val's wizards, but not now, with my life's blood draining into a trail of scent that any wizard-killer could follow blindfolded.

I reached a clearing and paused, gasping. High above me, under a heaven coldly blazing with stars so vastly distant that I could do nothing with their power, I saw the outline of a jagged peak. The Mount of Eagles. The insane plan that had been playing at the edge of my thoughts suddenly seemed quite reasonable in its madness.

I turned and climbed.

It began easily enough, considering my physical state. The outrage of the arrow tearing into me faded to a distant drumbeat of old news as my body shut off feeling in half of my frame. Still, shock was setting in. My feet trudged up the slope, but my mind drifted among the wreckage of the past.

My boots ground on bare rock. The forest fell away. The distant stars laughed.

Up. I have no sense how long it took, or how I stayed ahead of my pursuers. Up and up and up. Something tugged at my shirt. Another whirred by, inches from my head. I was in a field of boulders, and there were no easy shots by line of sight.

Up. A rock dropped from great heights creates energy as it falls. It's said that a coin tossed from the top of the citadel in Val can crush a man's head below.

Up. The sky lightened in the east. I yearned for sun as a lover for a single sail as the tide turns.

"That's far enough!"

I knew that ringing voice. At last, the greatest of my hunters had come to bring me down. The anger that I nursed each day boiled up and burned away all pain, all exhaustion.

"Teacher," I spat. Cantria, Boren, Glaccius, Merron.

"You've nowhere left to run, Marius." She was right. I stood on a ledge looking over a void to the forest far below. I hadn't reached the apex of the Eagle's Mount, but this would do. "This madness must stop. Haven't you done enough?"

Cantria, Boren, Glaccius, Merron. "Done enough?" I laughed. "We'd barely begun before you betrayed us." I took a careful step back. My heels hung over the brink.

"The citadel is the center of peace in the world. Do you want open anarchy?"

"Peace!" I shouted. "Your peace comes at too high a price." We'd argued this before, and never to conclusion. She wouldn't change, the citadel wouldn't change, the world wouldn't change. Cantria, Boren, Glaccius, Merron.

The sun peeked over the hills. I threw up my shield as my teacher's blow hurtled toward me. My power roared back at her, but she shrugged it away. She threw a second fireball, pinning me in place as she readied a final attack.

I took one last backward step into the void, and fell.

My mad plan. It had the virtue of never having been tried before.

Energy built in me as I fell, gathering toward an impact that would shatter my body and crack the hills. I let it build, though I was greedy to use it. And as I fell, sunlight blessed the sky, adding its power to my own. If I timed this wrong - if I'd misjudged my own abilities... Cantria, Boren, Glaccius, Merron.

I reeled in the power of my fall, grappled with the energy of the rushing air and the sun on my face. I molded it all, spun it like living wire. I worked magic that this earth had never seen. At the last moment, I forged myself into a blazing jewel of vengeance, and touched to the ground, setting the forest around me aflame.

I stared up at the Mount of Eagles where my enemies shielded their eyes as they looked down.

There is a time to run and a time to fight, and you should never let your enemy know which one you choose until the last moment. But sometimes it doesn't matter if they see you coming.

The original forum story:
Spoiler for Hiden:
"Bridge Battle" by Gem Cutter
with sincere admiration - JMack
http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?topic=9979.msg155445#msg155445
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 01:15:50 AM by JMack »
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Offline Nora

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 02:08:32 PM »
The Mummy comes at a little under 1,500 words.

The challenge is that it's nothing but lines of dialogue, and humoristic in tone (at least as much as I could manage!)

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Mummy



'No, really, I don't believe in the whole mummy curse resurrection thing. Whatever medium they're fit in, these stories break my suspension of disbelief in a hurry. If you look at how it's always plotted out, it never makes any sense!'

'You don't believe in necromancy? Second life, reviving the dead?'

'There isn't any belief to hold on that art. It's almost as clean a science as Newtonian physics. But you can't restore a consciousness perfectly even minutes after death, and you can't invest spirit force in an old body, least of all a mummified one! Embalming involves taking out the viscera, including the brain, and turning the flesh into some form of organic resin. Hardly material for raising the dead!
No, the real catch I'm talking about, is who buries the doomed mummy, in all these movies. If they want to keep the thing dead forever, might as well burn it. Same goes if the dead doesn't want to be disturbed. Why actually raise from the dead for vengeance? Isn't that a lot of effort for someone who wanted to be left alone?'

'You're making light of many people's beliefs here. Burning the body means no after life. No good believer would do that to anyone.'

'I'm not criticising mummification! Only the cheap thrills people get out of thinking mummies can come back from the dead and "claim" the world–nothing less!–or choke whoever disturbed them in their sleep. They're dead. Nothing to disturb.'

'What of seal magic? Don't you find it on tombs all the time?'

'Oh, sure. Archaeologists struggled with them at the beginning too! It's hard to protect yourself against old magic when the knowledge behind it disappeared, or is preserved somewhere deeper in the very tomb you're trying to break into. A lot of the ancient sealing techniques were forgotten over the centuries you know, stuff that used to be common, like generational decay, body wasting, insect targeting–all gone, until we could piece the knowledge back together and craft counters.
But again, seals were a workman's trade, or a priest's speciality. Little to do with the mummy itself. Rich folks didn't have to learn such magic, and once mummified, they really can't care less.'

'You sound very sure of yourself.'

'Oh, this isn't a savant lecture, just my educated opinion, for what it's worth.'

'Well, you're very kind to indulge me with your opinions despite your misgivings on the legitimacy of my very nature.'

'What, are you going to curse me and send scarabs to eat me inside out?'

'Would that I could!'

'And here I thought we were friendly.'

'We are, we are, I am sincerely grateful for your conversation.'

'The best you've had in four thousand years, I bet.'

'I'm still a bit confused with the dates, but yes, about that.'

'Anyway, don't feed the fools any more ideas of you being a mummy. It'll make my reports look messy.'

'I can't help with all the musty bandages and the fact that I was taken from a stone sarcophagus in a tomb built in my name. You truly aren't afraid that working on me might unleash on you some terrible curse?'

'Didn't we just have that entire conversation? Besides, whatever you are, I'm pretty sure you never died. I know what I'm seeing, and whatever this is, it isn't a curse.'

'I beg to disagree. It is one to me. Everyone around me ends up dying...'

'Yeah, living four thousand years tends to do that to your social circle.'

'I'm being serious.'

'You're being talkative. What's with the sudden chattiness? You left me monologuing all day yesterday. Not that I mind or anything, you're alright to talk to, and you sure can listen, and I have little else to do so long as I'm cataloguing, but I hope you realise they sent me here because you wouldn't talk. No way Earl Pence and Fitzwilliam Gerald would let anyone else touch their precious mummy if you hadn't made their life so miserable.'

'These men's grammar was poor and their accent intolerable. Their questions from ignorant to rude. I don't waste time on the rude.'

'Give them a break, your native language is long dead.'

'No one tried to speak Kore before you.'

'No one but initiates speak Kore, and we aim to keep it that way, so don't flaunter yours around. Line powering isn't a mild science like necromancy. The least people know the trade, the better off this world is.'

'What trade is that?'

'The same as yours, I suspect? Unless you're not the one who decided to tattoo your entire body in lines of power designed to engineer perfect, looped regeneration?'

'Is that what you will say in your report?'

'What concern of yours is it? Aren't you The Mummy? Precious property of the Egyptology Society come back to life? Ward of an Earl and a millionaire? Whatever I say in my report, these two won't consider you any less precious for it.'

'Well. I wasn't expecting anyone to understand the nature of my curse this easily. I wasn't expecting much of anything at all, really. I was rather hoping for eternal slumber. This is inconvenient.'

'What.'

'What?'

'What are you sounding all cold footed about? You think I'll actually tell those two lunatics about the true meaning of your tattoos? And spill half of my guild's most precious secrets? Hah!'

'So what are your plans here exactly?'

'Well, first off the Egyptology society paid decent money for my expertise. Then I hoped to discover new, historical tattoos. Add to our repertoire, something to experiment on. I wasn't expecting the key to immortality though–hold on, this might hurt.'

'It's fine. You seem to know what you're doing.'

'I do, but they don't. And it has to stay that way, you feel me? All they want to know is how you came back from the dead, and how your flesh is regrowing over time. They want transcripts of your tattoos, and analysis of their potential meaning. They guess at what it is, but modern power lines look very different. They're thinking about Necromantic related stuff, because they're ignorant.'

'The tattoos are useless without the Kore words to say as you line them.'

'Aha! You are knowledgeable! I knew it. I'd love to talk shop with you. I bet you'd be interested to know how much progress we've covered in four thousand years too.'

'Yes, I am curious. Any other plans for the immediate future?'

'Okay, don't move, this one is the last I need a picture of–right–thank you for your cooperation so far. Now, how about proper introductions?'

'Indeed. Ameon Decarenon, "the ageless", former Korenian Master of the Sun Temple. An honour.'

'Asmilya Nassandi, Korenian Master of the ages-old Korenian Guild, founded over a thousand years ago, while you napped. The honour is all mine, elder.'

'I believe we could learn much from each other.'

'Yes. And so I propose to break you out of this room and bring you back to the guild to discuss as equals, catch you up on history and all the exciting stuff you've missed on.'

'And how do you propose to kidnap me from my rude owners?'

'Can you walk yet?'

'All my joints are stiff, but with help I should manage.'

'Excellent. I assume as well that this empty space on your chest is to draw temporary lines?'

'Indeed.'

'Perfect! The plan goes like this: if I cut a bit of myself like so–please move aside so I can draw there–Ahm Pta Ehum Kish Ossun Ra.'

'You make it grow.'

'Yes. See how the lines have become simpler and smoother? More into the subtle inflection, the width of the line? This slant there makes the growth rate tremendous.'

'I can see that! How big is this blob of flesh going to get?'

'As big as me.'

'Mmh... And then you will use Akto Essum...'

'Akto Min Essum, rather, with a rippled line, so it'll be mostly spray and not enough gore for them to notice the lack of bones or organs. Then... I guess I don't need to teach you how to break a few walls? Invisibility lined on your chest and off we go.'

'You don't mind "dying" in this process?'

'Well, they hired "apprentice Indra", and I don't mind her dying.'

'So... The evil mummy kills the poor guild apprentice and runs away, leaving no paper report to reveal its secrets? Presumably to avenge itself on the world?'

'Yeah I'm telling you, it's a terrible plot, but people dig this stupid shit. Hope you can grow a beard?'

'Four thousand years and you still haven't come up with a power-line to help with that?'

'Please tell me that's not what you buried yourself for!'

'Hah! No. Maybe I was waiting for more exciting times...'

'Yes, well, with our very first evil mummy loose on the world, times are about to get very exciting!'
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 09:33:24 PM by Nora »
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 10:29:51 AM »
Journal of the Keeper of the Queen’s Key

1497 words
Never written in this mode and found it difficult. For the first time ever, I found the space almost too long. Couple of curse words.

Spoiler for Hiden:


Journal of the Keeper of the Queen’s Key

17th day, First Month
First day I’ve been able to write. Ancelagon and the other dragons are flying high, well out of sight, in mourning. Dragons make grief small with great height. Wish I could. Three days ago, I stood in her tower, and the Clockwork Queen made me promise to wind her heir and teach her about hope. I watched her wind down. The sun set with her. Hung her key around my neck, under my armor. Stood beneath the oculus waiting for stars. They came. I wept by starlight. I weep still

18th day, First Month
Served her since boyhood. She chose me from the others and raised me up. Said I had heart. When I despaired after the battle, she set me right and raised me up again. I’ve never raised anyone up

19th day, First Month
Ancelagon the dragon won’t let me wind the Princess until next month’s new moon. Stupid traditions – like making perfect clockwork people that cannot be rewound. I am so weary, but sleep won’t come

20th Day, First Month
My armor is heavy. Everything is heavy. Tired of carrying this key, dragging this halberd everywhere I go. Tired of everything. Can’t look at the dragons. Don’t want to. Hurts to breathe. I miss her

21st day, First Month
I have never known such despair. Food has no taste. Sick of my own company. Don’t want anyone else’s. Tired of tears, but they come. I am empty. Sleep is a stranger now

22nd day, First Month
Keep feels empty now. I feel choked in these walls. If I had anywhere to go, I would. Lords and ladies coming to the Keep for Visitation tomorrow. Any of them give me half a reason and I swear by all the stars I will bury this halberd in their    feed them to the dragons  they will wish they hadn’t.

23rd day, First Month
Kings and Queens came to the Visitation. One lout broke the sacred silence. Held him over the brink, but Ancelagon stopped me from throwing him in the moat. Had Ancelagon carry him to the borders of the wastes and leave him. Fucking disrepectful ingrate.

24th day, First Month
Should have convinced the Queen to stay. If she could build a clockwork, she could have fixed herself. Should have told her to toss her key and her task in the moat. Damn ridiculous game to play when the Clockwork Queen is supposed to make things work out, here and in the wider world. Some artifice – there’s no Queen and nothing’s changed except everything in my world

25th day, First Month
Such a waste – she was wise and beloved and made the world better. Now it’s nothing. I don’t care where the sun rises first or the rest of it. Let the sun set on it all

26th day, First Month
Growing a beard. Fuck it.

27th day, First Month
Wish I could wind her back up. Tradition be damned. Nothing is worth this

28th day, First Month
Nothing is worth anything. Dragons watching me all the time. Don’t want to talk to them.

29th day, First Month
Heart isn’t in this journal anymore or anything else. Everything reminds me she is gone.

30th day, First Month
Shaved the beard. Scratched all the time. Queen didn’t say when she last oiled this damned Keep, so I did it today. Takes forever. So loud! Ears still ringing. Hope I didn’t use too much or too little. Queen had time to build a silver clockwork lady but not time to write instructions. Maybe she wasn’t that wise after all.

31st day, First Month
Stupid Queen. I'd wind her back up just to spite her. Can’t believe I am upset over a clockwork. Her artifice didn’t serve me so well, I think. Hate I am so weak now. Can’t believe the things I never said. Said she was fond of me and it meant everything to me. I knew I revered her, but I not that I loved her. The only person I ever trusted, clockwork or no. I was supposed to protect her, but she saved me. This hurts and I want to leave

1st day, Second Month
Hate the parts of me that want to leave, like she didn’t ever exist. Full moon last night broke my heart. Only two weeks until I wind the Princess. Don’t think I’m going to be ready. The Princess will have to raise up someone else. How can I teach anyone about hope? All my hope died with the Queen. Gods, help me. My Queen is dead and I don’t know if I can keep my promise

2nd day, Second Month
This isn’t getting better. Talked to Ancelagon. Told me to make it better, as if there was a lever in the basement and if I pulled it, all would be as it was. The cheek. But she could eat me so I held my tongue. There’s still some life left in me.

3rd day, Second Month
Demon onslought is coming. Let them come. Should be here tomorrow night. Don’t know if the demons know the Queen is gone. Don’t know if it matters. Spoke with the elders of the outer towns. They treat me with reverence. Don’t know why. Told them to get everyone inside the Keep. Riders roaming the hills spreading the word. Not sure everyone will all get here in time. Sent out the dragonflight to carry as many here as possible. Visited the Silver Princess to remind myself of my purpose. Halberd is sharp. Sword is sharp. I am sharp. If I die in the battle, at least I’ll be free

5th day, Second Month
Never been so tired, but once I sleep I will forget what I remember of the battle: demons came from west last night. Bigger than before. We lit the torches. Dragons held west walls while I held the east drawbridge open for stragglers. There were many stragglers coming and coming. More demons surprised us, from the north, and came around to my side. People kept running in while I held far end of the drawbridge. I slew many demons there. Filled the dike with them. After my first battle the Queen told me “You will remember what I tell you.” Made it into my death song and sang to her memory: “I remember!” over and over. Don’t know what, but something filled the enemy with dread. I was not afraid. A great one came alone. For the first time since the Queen wound down, I laughed. Ran him through, but broke my halberd. Finished it with my sword, though I am a poor swordsman. Many more came, but people kept coming. Ancelagon made a wall of fire all around, and the last people entered behind me. Demons came up from the moat, and I was pulled down as the drawbridge went up. Hurt my arm. Angelagon plucked me from the mud and saved me. Dragons burned the rest. We won. Lost my sword and my armor is ruined. I think Ancelagon is angry with me.

8th day, Second Month
Slept two days. Didn’t realize I was hurt so much. Townspeople happy, calling me the Long Spear, which makes me laugh. Sounds like a brothel name. Ancelagon was not angry, only worried. I lost a finger and half an ear. My face is scratched. Arm should heal in a week.

9th day, Second Month
Townspeople have departed. Nice people but they make more of my deeds than I deserve.  I like the silence of the walls where I can think in peace.

10th day, Second Month
In the quiet since the battle, I have remembered to miss the Queen, but much of the pain is gone and I am more myself again. Sometimes, I feel I can sense her in the stones when the sun makes them warm. I still have a hollow feeling inside, but I now feel on top of it, rather than under. My hand often wanders to the key and I wonder: will the Princess be like the Queen? Part of me wonders if this is a foolish thing to wonder. Ancelagon doesn’t think so.

14th day, Second Month
I have prepared everything for tomorrow. The Queen left many books and tablets for the Princess, written in the strange Clockwork language. Her crown is ready, and I have the Queen’s veil for her, which I would keep as a keepsake, but it’s not for me. Ancelagon said that Clockworks live so long, I will not feel this pain again. That is encouraging. I decided that I will teach the princess just what the Queen taught me: that hope is where the sun rises first and sets last, that it is worth defending, and to remember what I say, so that one day, when she has taught herself, she’ll know.
Like I did.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 04:31:27 AM by The Gem Cutter »
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 02:54:44 PM »
Donkey's Destiny
1485 words
Spoiler for Hiden:
Far, far away there exists a colourful meadow run by a community of animals. The fastest was Horse, and he would carry the other animals on his back should they need to get somewhere quicker than their own two (or four) legs would take them. There’s Sheep, gentle and kind, who looks after the other animals whenever they get sick. The jolly pudgy Pig, who, when not lounging, snorts at his own jokes. Bull is big and powerful, and he builds shelters to keep the animals dry whenever it’s wet. Hen, both pretty and proud, likes to preen the herd, ensuring that they always look their very best. And down by the river, perched atop a lone and ancient acorn tree, Crow keeps watch, ready to caw a warning should anyone get into danger. Oh, and let’s not forget about Mouse, super smart, always there, but rarely heard and oft forgotten.

And finally... there was Donkey.

Now, Donkey didn’t know what he was good at, and when the herd moved one way he tended to go the other, plodding along, lost in his own whacky world, dreaming and fantasising in his self-imposed quest to find his place in life. He wasn’t as fast as Horse, nor strong like Bull, and unable to fly like Crow. He also lacked Hen’s imagination, as well as Pig’s humour, and he certainly wasn’t as gentle as Sheep. In fact, Donkey was as klutz as klutz could be, and whenever he tried to help there’d be calamity, a trait that caused his peers much anxiety.

“There’s bugger all I can do with him,” Hen would say. “His pelt’s like spaghetti and his smile... by cockerels!”

“It’s enough to fry my bacon,” snorted Pig. “Get it? Bacon? Because I’m a pig!” His snout turned down when the other animals groaned. “I know, I know, I’m a right boar...”

“He’s enough to turn my plumage pale,” said Crow. “One of these day’s he’ll gets himself into a right murder.”

Alas, Crow’s dire prediction struck one hot summer’s day, and while he was distracted by the herd splashing on the river’s bank he failed to notice Donkey on one of his lonesome endeavours at the other edge of the meadow. There’d been a short sharp shower the previous day, leaving the ground soft and riddled with trenches, and Donkey just so happened to trot head on into one of those ditches only to find himself unable to climb the slippery slope back out. “Oh dear,” he said upon realising this. “Whatever am I to do?” This conundrum he considered on for a long while, and finally, with an excited hee-haw! the solution came. He’d dig his way out! None of his friends were good diggers, so this surely had to be his talent!

Night was fast approaching before Donkey’s absence was noticed and a search for him began. Horse found him, having heard lamenting brays during a lap around the meadow’s border. But by that time, though the ditch’s sides were dry enough to climb, Donkey had trapped himself deep in a hole so tight and claustrophobic that all he could do was stand there.

Once the herd gathered they spent a fair old while discussing the dilemma. But while they’re talents could handle the unexpected hurdles daily life laid before them, Donkey’s predicament was an entirely different beast, self-inflicted and worsened by his own efforts to fix the problem himself.

“I pity the mule,” said Pig. “But there’s nothing any of us can do for him tonight.”

This they agreed and retreated to sleep on the problem, but though the sun set and rose again, a solution to their clumsy companion’s plight failed to present itself. Twice a day Sheep tossed Donkey straw and acorns to eat while they sought a means to save him, but the sad truth was, though too polite to admit it, most considered Donkey a burden, and as the days turned into months some began to question how worthwhile it was to use their precious food keeping him alive.

“We should just bury him and put him out of his misery,” Hen finally said, a suggestion that horrified Sheep, though her protests fell on deaf ears. Thus Donkey’s fate was decided, and in that week a combined effort was made to fill up the hole. During that time, Sheep was forbidden to feed Donkey, but she held back some of her own share of straw and acorns to sneak to him during the night while the others slept. She’d even stay to keep him company with songs, feeling great sorrow to see him so sad... even though Donkey always looked sad; such was just his natural face.

The dirt weighed heavy on Donkey’s back, the manure tossed over him stunk, and the occasional stone left a residual sting, but he never let it get him down, never gave up hope, and after every showering he’d shake the filth off and mash it into the ground with his hoofs, and as the earth and grime mounted up, so did it raise the floor of his pit, until eventually he was able to just step back out of the hole. This, of course, the herd claimed to be their plan all along, which made Sheep frown, though she was happy Donkey was okay.

The sordid ordeal was soon forgotten and the herd settled back into their usual routine... until Spring, that was, when the rains returned in a sudden and violent storm, and as a lightning bolt severed a great branch off the acorn tree, everybody retreated through the lashing winds and beating hail to one of Bull’s shelters. There they all lay, sodden and miserable, when it dawned on Horse that one was missing. “Where’s Sheep?” he neighed.

“She was drinking at the river last I saw,” said Crow.

A cold dread ran through the herd, for the river’s banks had burst, and sure enough, on peering out from the shelter, guided by howling bleats, they saw Sheep, trapped on a clump of leaves at the end of the fallen branch that reached deep into the churning waters.

What could be done? Though capable of handling the unexpected hurdles daily life placed before them, this was a catastrophic event of mountainous proportion, one that none of their talents could deal with, and that realisation made them mournful for Sheep’s cruel end, a true friend who’d done much for them over the years, soon to be lost forever. One among them, however, refused to give up so easily, and it was with a startling buckaw! that Hen exclaimed, “Where’s Donkey going?!”

“Crazy ass mule!” Pig cried as they watched Donkey plodding through the torrential rains towards the fallen branch Sheep was caught on. “He’ll drown if he tries to swim in that.”

Drowning would surely be the case to swim in those sloshing rapids, but Donkey had no intentions of swimming, and upon reaching the branch he found a smaller stalk growing out of it to harness so that he might pull the entire log up out of the water. The branch was extraordinarily heavy, far heavier than Donkey was capable of moving, but he kept trying nonetheless, grunting, growling, gasping as he strained against the dense wood, refusing to give up on Sheep no less than she’d refused to give up on him. All of a sudden the branch creaked, just for a second, and as it did Donkey glanced Horse now on the other side, adding his might to the push. And Horse wasn’t the only one inspired to join Donkey, and very soon the other animals were filing in to assist. Crow dug his claws into the trunk and flapped furiously, and even Hen willingly got her feathers muddy to tug on a twig. The branch gave an almighty lurch when Bull added his brawn, yet still it defied them, even after Pig finally waddled in to add his weight.

The situation looked bleak, but Donkey still refused to give up, and head down he pushed... and pushed... and pushed, and with a resounding squelch the great branch moved a trot. Success! And as Donkey lowered his head for the next step, he saw Mouse, hanging from a leaf, little feet flailing, claws scraping at the shallow muck. And in one laborious step after another the herd pushed the branch out of the water, bringing Sheep along with it, and once she was safe Horse carried her back to the shelter where they all nestled down together until the storm was over.

With the storm passed, the herd held a huge party in celebration of Sheep’s survival. And though from time to time they still jest on that hole Donkey once dug himself into, so too do they rejoice the time when his bravery and perseverance inspired them to save their beloved friend.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 04:01:31 PM by D_Bates »
David Bates
Works in progress:
Ciara: A Faun's Tale - 90,000; The K.B.G. - 100,000; Maria and the Jarls of Jotun - 90,000; The Shame that lurks in Stableton - current project; Ezra'il - Plotted. TBC July 2018

Offline MrTea

Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 12:59:34 PM »
Fury

Genre: Modern day magical realism (in the first person).
1328 words.

My first ever entry here, in a style and setting I never use.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I couldn’t help it. All the little things added together. The child who wouldn’t get dressed for school on time. The argument about working away from home. The spilt coffee on my shirt. The man who couldn’t find his wallet but wouldn’t let anyone else get past him. The obnoxious station manager and his rude staff were the last straw. But that’s not what I expected to happen.

I look down at the wreckage of the train and the smoke billowing from the buildings. I had thought it was just my anger making me feel strange. But the rippling waves had somehow come out and the world was now different. I can’t be the only one who this has ever happened to.

I see it again in my mind; the awkward bastard who deliberately made me miss my train with shock and indignation on his face as he is pushed back by the literal force of my rage, the smell of ionisation as that force crackles and lightning explodes, the buckling of the canopy above and the screeching of the high speed train derailing. I am dimly aware that there must be dead and dying people but I’m surprised that I don’t really care. I just want to make everyone pay for my anti-climax of a life.

Running from the scene, I make sure the ruins are out of sight. People are staring at me. I push a biker from his grunting steed. His leathers burn and I realise I’m smoking and a heat haze surrounds me. I ride off. It’s been years since I rode a motorbike. They’re ‘too dangerous for a dad’. My anger strengthens and I speed up.
I don’t get far. I’m giving off so much heat and I’m so angry I forget about the fuel tank right next to me. The explosion sends me arcing roughly through the air but my anger cushions the fall. I am a force of nature. I am unharmed. Power and fame will be mine. I hear the sirens. Intoxicated with my new-found superpowers I decide to make a stand.

Damn! They sent an armed response team! They must have thought my outburst at the station was terrorism. This elevation might be short lived; though if they catch me I’m sure I’ll get the ‘mentally ill’ tag. I run through the woods. I keep going, ignoring their commands to stop. Moments later, I feel the air pressure change. Bullets; deflected, bouncing off me - they can’t harm me! My skin looks like stone. I am a god among men! I turn and challenge my pursuers. They scream as they burn. Pitiful creatures next to my emergent glory. I return to the road to take a car. Seeing a fire engine, my thoughts return to the flames and I begin to burn their things, trying to find the fuel tank.

Some of them hold their nerve. The first jet of water turns to steam as it gets close, causing me to smile again. But then another, and another. I can’t take stop the continuous pummelling! They hit hard and quench me. I feel myself losing consciousness and I stagger under the pressure. No! No! No!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I awake. My insides are boiling but I’m surround by cold. A makeshift prison. A freezer. Cold steel wrapped around my wrists. Who has me? Where the hell am I?

‘Why is he awake?’ I hear mumbled from somewhere. The voice changes to be more clear and confident.
‘You are under arrest. You are being held here until a suitable facility has been prepared.’ The voice came through a small speaker attached to the ceiling. ‘You will have plenty of opportunity to think about your crimes, deviant. You will be tried and found guilty of crimes against nature and humanity in a secret court and undoubtedly imprisoned for life. We have some friends who want to examine you.’

My heart sinks. Such hope this transformation had briefly given me. My freedom taken away by those who are jealous. I snarl, surprising myself with the ferocity.

‘You have noooo riiiiaaaarrrr’

Why am I slurring? How did I not notice the needle mark in my arm? Suddenly I feel sluggish. A sedative kicking in. Concentrating hard I try again.

‘You will pay for this. Your laws don’t apply to me now.’ I don’t care that I sound like a clichéd villain from bad movie.

‘Your delusions will get you nowhere.’ I can hear chuckling. He sounds so sure of himself. He doesn’t realise the fire inside has burned the drugs away. Visions of doctors with syringes and scalpels swim in my mind and thoughts of tubes uncomfortably in every orifice make me clench involuntarily. My dignity and self-worth trampled upon.

It goes quiet. I awkwardly get to my feet. Trying to remember the events of this morning – was it even this morning? – was difficult but I had to think of a way out of here. It felt too cold to try and burn my way out. But fire was not the only element I’d used. Lightning and some sort of stone thing too. I wonder…….

Closing my eyes and breathing in, I try to suck up the cold. Moments later my whole body feels infused and my skin tingles. The handcuffs become brittle as I channel icy fury into them. They smash easily against the wall. I rub my wrists and roll my shoulders, enjoying the freedom. Now to actually escape. The temperature in the room seems to be climbing. I must have broken the system somehow. My senses have changed. I feel different now. The world is brighter, I am just more aware, switched on, like I’ve been wrapped in cotton wool until now. I deliberately go through the events of the morning again and I’m perversely pleased to find out that I’m no less angry about the whole thing.

Imagining my wife lecturing me on what I’ve done wrong today, how it is all my fault and she will suffer because of it drives me back over the edge. The walls are blown away and I instinctively run to avoid getting caught underneath however many floors there are above me. I can never go back to being how I was before.

I want to punish my captors, but I can’t find any of them. I see a few mangled corpses in the rubble, but there is no way of knowing who they were. Approaching one, a smartly dressed older man, I bend and rifle through his jacket. His wallet has a pleasing amount of cash and his ID. I’ll try and figure out who he is later. For now, I need to figure out where I’m going. Not home, that’s certain, but where? Out of town, somewhere remote where I won’t draw attention seems most sensible. Then I can plan and sleep.

After visiting a charity shop for ‘new’ clothes with a lack of CCTV and a petrol station to get a map and some food, I head for the nearest woodlands. Hours later, as I set up camp, memories surface of my unhappy time in the scouts. They are some more people who need to pay for their behaviour towards me. I eat in silence, replaying the day yet again in my mind. I can still scarcely believe it. Sleep welcomes me with open arms.

I dream. I dream of revenge, I dream of fame – no, infamy, I dream of dominion. But then the dream changes.

‘Awakened one.’

I’m asleep yet conscious. I sense an incredible power focused on me.

‘Awakened one, you will be my weapon. I have felt your pain. I will show you mine. You will help me survive.’

I dream again, but this time of the despoiling and destruction of the natural world. I feel the earth’s pain. It magnifies my own. I awake with renewed purpose and begin to plan. This new life has so much promise.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 01:01:10 PM by MrTea »

Offline Elfy

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 04:55:20 AM »
Squirrel!
Like @JMack I went for both sides of the challenge, the story is a bit of a take on paranormal romance, not something I read or have ever written before. For the fanfic side of things I've always been rather partial to Jmack's Alexanders Library concept and so that's the one I based it loosely (very loosely) on.

At 1331 words I give you Squirrel! (no actual squirrels were harmed in the writing of this story)

Spoiler for Hiden:
Squirrel!

Penelope sat back in her chair and let out a long breath. She set the ancient tome with the freshly repaired spine on the ever growing and dangerously teetering pile of books, and cast a fond gaze in the direction of her partner in crime Alexander.

The aspiring wizard and librarian were the only two people in the Great Library, possibly the entire city. The rest of the library staff had fled when the zombie army began to besiege the town. Penelope and Alexander had been urged to leave, but Alexander argued that the library was his home, he had nowhere else to go. If he did leave who would look after the books and his squirrels? Seeing the brave young librarian refuse had tugged at Penelope’s heartstrings and she too had elected to try and ride the siege out in the library.

Running out of food was a concern for Penny, but Alexander had reassured her that the squirrels had prepared for that contingency and laid a food store aside as was their nature. The girl did wonder exactly how the squirrels knew that the city was going to be under siege by an army of undead, but given that they seemed to know how to magically shelve books, maybe they also had priescence amongst their talents. What bothered the young wizard more was that she didn’t eat squirrel food and what if that was all that they’d collected?

She put worrying thoughts like that to the back of her mind and instead concentrated on Alexander. That was far more interesting and enjoyable. The flickering lanterns in the library shone on the young man’s face and body as he diligently checked and reshelved the contents of his beloved library. It was hard and at present, hot work. So, it made Alexander sweat. He had already discarded his much patched and increasingly ragged shirt and the light shone on his sweat slicked muscles as he moved books and scrolls from one shelf to another.

Penny contented herself with admiring the play of light on Alexander’s finely muscled body and the planes of his smooth, but very pleasant face. She wondered what it would be like to kiss those tender lips, feel the young man’s questing tongue part her own lips and…

“Penelope!”

The girl blinked, Alexander’s voice breaking through the dream. She felt her cheeks heat with embarrassment, even though her companion had no way of knowing what she was thinking.

“Yes?”

“George would like the scroll in your lap.”

“George?”

A chittering came from a shelf full of scrolls above her and to her left. She looked up to see a grey squirrel with its little paws held out.

“How do you tell them apart?” Penny asked, as she handed the scroll up to the waiting George.

Alexander shrugged and said, “I just can. It’s a squirrel thing.”

Penny was about to ask what that meant, when Alexander turned and the movement caused a large bushy grey tail to flick around.

The girl blinked and gasped.

“What?” Alexander asked, seemingly unaware that he had sprouted a massive and oddly attractive tail.

“You,” Penny began, trying hard to keep her voice steady, “have a large tail.”

“I do?”

Penny nodded.

“Oh dear,” Alexander sighed, he reached around and fondled the tail absent-mindedly. “It must be the zombies.”
Penny shook her head. At times Alexander’s thought processes escaped her, this was one of those times. “What do the zombies have to do with you suddenly growing a tail?”

“It’s rather stressful to have one’s city besieged by zombies.”

“I agree,” Penny said, thinking how incredibly cute Alexander looked at the present moment, stroking that magnificent tail.

“I turn into a squirrel when I get stressed.”

“You what?” Penny said, her brows drawing down in concern. “Do you mean you’re a weresquirrel?”

“Is that the term for it? Yes, I’m afraid so, although it could be worse. Squirrels do at least like books.”

A light sparked in Penny’s mind. Of course Alexander was a weresquirrel! It explained so much about the handsome young man. His agility, the tribe of squirrels that he shared his life with, the way he seemed to speak to them, how he knew all of them by name, despite them looking identical to her, the way he had suddenly appeared at the library with his squirrels one day. He was still so incredibly gorgeous, though.

The girl rose to her feet and went to where Alexander stood on a ladder. She started to ascend the ladder to comfort and calm Alexander. He was his usual serene self, Penny felt she needed to touch the young man to settle herself down, although with her burgeoning feelings of lust, it was having the opposite effect on her. Her feet were nowhere near as sure as Alexander’s and halfway up the ladder she missed a step and felt herself inexorably falling downwards.

Before she could hit the library’s unyielding floor, two strong grey furred arms were around her waist, lifting her and setting her on an empty, but sturdy shelf.

Penny looked down into Alexander’s face and could not stop a gasp escaping her lips. Not only did the young man have a luxuriant and bushy tail, he had morphed completely into a squirrel. A very large, very naked squirrel, a squirrel that was undeniably male!

“Penelope?” Alexander said, his normal voice slightly distorted by his larger squirrel teeth.

“Yes,” Penny sighed, her eyes roving up Alexander’s furry, but well-muscled body to rest gazing into his eyes.

Those eyes were the one thing about Alexander that hadn’t really changed. They were a deep rich brown and beautiful.

“Are you all right?”

Penny nodded. “Do you know you’re a squirrel?”

“Yes,” Alexander said with a sigh that made his deep chest rise and fall most distractingly for Penny. “I had feared as much.”

The two were prevented from further conversation by a loud booming crash. The building shook, the lanterns swayed and their light flared with the movement. Dust rained down onto Penny and Alexander’s head from the ceiling. The squirrels chittered to each other in squirrel and went racing towards the library’s roof.

“What are they doing?” Penny asked.

“Fleeing,” Alexander answered sadly. “We may have to do the same thing, Penelope.”

“And leave all the books to the zombies?”

“There simply isn’t an alternative. I don’t think the zombies will disturb the books. I’ve heard that they’re not great readers.”

“How can we get out? The doors are all locked and the city has been invaded by an undead army.”

“There’s an exit up to the roof. I can’t reach it in my human form, but I can as a squirrel. I’m afraid I’ll have to carry you, Penelope.”

“If that’s the only way out, I suppose I will have to endure it,” Penny said, trying and failing to sound as if it were a great ordeal and not at all something she was looking forward to.

****

The two stood on the roof of the library. Woman and squirrel. Penny leaned against Alexander, taking comfort from his thick luxuriant fur and the powerful muscles she could feel beneath. They both gazed out over the city. It was on fire all around them. They could see the undead rampaging through the city by the light of the fires. Those poor unfortunate citizens who had stayed, either by choice or because they were unable to escape, were being preyed upon by the ravenous zombies.

“What will we do, Alexander?” Penny asked.

Alexander tightened his grip around the girl, something she did not mind at all, and said, “We will watch the city die and hope that my squirrels have found a way out.”

Penelope didn’t want to die that night, but she held out little hope that any rescue or escape was forthcoming. She turned in Alexander’s arms, looked up into those beautiful brown eyes and whispered, “Kiss me, Alexander.”

Offline tebakutis

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 06:04:40 PM »
I had real trouble this month, as I couldn't seem to come up with anything that fit this theme, mainly because of how open it was. Ultimately, however, I resolved to write something, and so I figured it nothing else, I'll have a fun bit of additional lore/backstory for my fantasy books. As such, I've written correspondence between two characters in my fantasy world and some fun backstory involving my demons. As to whether this is outside my comfort zone, it's certainly not something I generally write, so it's probably not that great. But ... it was fun!

On Opening a Gate at Terras (1,490 words)

Spoiler for Hiden:
Chronicled by Elders Hirsute and Gale

Completed with the acknowledge of High Elders Kanan and Lakan

Presented to Her Magnificence, Queen Tayla, Divine Ruler of Metla Tassau and Sovereign of all Peoples

My Queen,

While I am greatly flattered by your interest in our recently chronicled explorations of the anti-world known as “The Underside”, I cannot in good faith recommend we continue with our “gate” experimentation. It is my opinion that this world’s inhabitants, while they may profess offers of friendship and even an alliance, are too dangerous to risk allowing into our world.

As evidence, I’ve provided a summary of our contacts and reports to this point. As always, I only suggest, and I am confident that in your divine wisdom, whatever decision you make shall be correct.

With humility and respect,

- Elders Hirsute


Davazet

Davazet, the Predator, is among the first Mavoureen to contact our senders after Elders Hirsute and Gale first establishing a sending circle that could reach the Underside. In all our sendings it has demonstrated an obsession with hunting and slaughtering those it considers prey, particularly prey that experiences obvious terror, agony, or rage. We believe Davazet hunts simply because it enjoys killing.

The demon seems to be of middling stature in the Mavoureen ranks, uninvolved or uninterested in the larger affairs of its world or ours. Sendings on topics other than hunting and killing are either immediately terminated or redirected to discussions related to its favored topics. Unlike other Mavoureen, Davazet has never disguised its desires, and of all Mavoureen, it seems most direct.

While we do acknowledge Davazet lends its power to mortals, we believe it does so only because it knows those transformed will be used to to hunt down and murder others, an act which Davazet directly experiences through its link with each davenger. So while the proposed “Demonkin” glyph discipline holds great promise, I cannot recommend contact with this particular demon as a root principle.

However, due to its  simplistic desires and known obsessions, we feel comfortable allowing any mage of Journeymage rank or higher to contact this Mavoureen in the course of their studies. Contacting Davazet is an excellent introductory task for mages learning sending circles, and we believe most interactions to be relatively safe, providing a senior instructor observes all student’s initial attempts.


Malkavet

Of all the Mavoureen we have contacted, Malkavet, the Deceiver, is the most difficult to truly understand. This is unsurprising given it prides itself on matching wits with any mortal who engages it. It seems particularly fascinated with negative mortal emotions such as grief, despair, and resentment, and during sendings, it has consistently latched onto traumas it detects in those linked to the sending circle. Once it accomplishes this, it then attempts to amplify these negative emotions by inducing waking hallucinations, implanting recurring nightmares, and manipulating unconscious thoughts.

While Malkavet does not appear to have any particular place in the Mavoureen command structure, the demon king Paymon holds it in high regard, and we believe it acts as a sort of spymaster or, perhaps, interrogator. We believe Paymon calls upon Malkavet when physical torture has failed and extensive mental manipulation is necessary to break a resistant foe. Malkavet takes immense pleasure in this.

We also believe this Mavoureen experiences and, in some cases, directly controls the interactions of its doppelgangers with mortals. As with Davazet, its primary motivation in lending its power to mortals seems to be the opportunity to inspire and witness emotional agony within its victims. Given its obsession with deception, however, it is quite possible this is only what it wishes us to think, and it has other, murkier reasons for cooperating with Demonkin.

Due to its obsession with mental fencing or "mind games", we recommend limiting contact with Malkavet to senior Adepts or Elders. Even then, we do not recommend any mage contact it alone (due to the incident with Adept Palan) and recommend all interactions be initiated and witnessed by at least three senior mages who have not previously sent together. While I believe the ability to twist even an unwilling victim into a spy that resembles any enemy is valuable, the cost may not be justified.


Balazel
More than any Mavoureen yet contacted, in all sendings with Balazel, Prince of Pain, it has proven fascinated with the many ways mortals experience physical agony. As the Mavoureen are immortal and do not experience fear, pain, or death, we believe its fixation on physical torment and the resulting horrific sensations experienced by mortals to be an exploration of agony itself. To a Mavoureen, the idea of a being that can suffer for extended periods even though this serves no purpose must be fascinating. However, it would be a mistake to assume Balazel only tortures out of objective curiosity.

This demon is utterly devoid of empathy. We thus believe Paymon, the Mavoureen king, uses it to destroy the minds of small numbers of unfortunate souls so as to intimidate the rest with threats of the same fate. Longer sendings suggest it derives great pleasure from degrading the psyches of its victims through repeated and extended inflictions of horrific pain, which suggests a deep set malevolence.

While it has taken on the title "Prince of Pain" we do not believe Balazel to have any claim to Mavoureen leadership, or believe it is the direct spawn of Paymon and Hecata. Rather, we believe Paymon created this demon as his ideal torturer. In sendings it has shown no interest in any topics other than torture, both modern and historical. All attempts to engage it on other matters have resulted in immediate termination of contact.

Moreover, no sending with Balazel has resulted in information contributing to our understanding of the Mavoureen and, during one sending, several participants were rendered comatose by visions Balazel provided of torment it was actively inflicted upon a captured mortal soul. These participants have yet to recover, and we now believe they never will. High Elder Lakan had thus decreed that no further sendings to Balazel may be undertaken without unanimous consent by the full council of Terras Elders.


Abaddon

When our senders first contacted Abaddon, we initially believed it to be a lesser Mavoureen and made the mistake of treating it as such, even assigning a Journeymage to handle future sendings. Surprisingly, Abaddon made no attempt to correct our mistake through several successful sendings. It was only when Davazet, one of our early contacts, expressed shock that we had not accorded Abaddon the proper respect that we realized our error. We then discovered that Abaddon is, in fact, one of Paymon the Patriarch's most respected generals. It commands legions of demon soldiers, including Davazet.

When we apologized for our great disrespect, Abaddon merely seemed amused, and we now believe it considered the whole misunderstanding a marvelous joke. We also believe it could have destroyed our Journeymage's mind at any point during our initial contacts, and are fortunate it seems to possess a sense of humor foreign to other Mavoureen. Unlike the other demons we have attempted to contact, Abaddon was quite open to sendings and never denied any attempt to initiate contact until recently.

In past sendings, its interests included everything from retellings of classic battles between armies in our world to discussions of modern day military tactics, even down to the specific weapons employed by soldiers in our Five Provinces. High Elder Kanan wisely chose to limit these discussions to battles in the ancient past, as Abaddon appeared eager to gather intelligence about our military readiness. This suggests a capacity for long term planning that may be unique to those demons we have yet contacted.

Abaddon also proved open to discussion of religion and philosophy, including the exact nature of the mortal soul, and, unlike other Mavoureen, seems to regard mortal souls as a curiosity rather than a currency. Approximately two months ago it abruptly cut off all contact, though we have no evidence that it was displeased or frustrated by our sendings.

Elder Hirsute has speculated that Abaddon may have been ordered to cease contact by another demon, perhaps even Paymon the Patriarch, but we have no evidence to support this supposition. It is also possible that Abaddon was simply called off to manage a war in another realm, or that it lost interest in what we had to say. For the time being, High Elder Kanan has instructed us to attempt a sending once a month, until we reestablish contact or are dismissed.


In Summary

Thank you for your time, divine sovereign, and for considering the concerns of your loyal servant. As always, the Elders of Terras are yours to command.

- Elder Hirsute

---------------------------------------------------------

Elder,

King Paymon and Queen Hecata have assured me an alliance will benefit all provinces. They will ensure their soldiers remain pointed at our enemies. Open the gate.

- Queen Tayla, Divine Ruler of Metla Tassau and Sovereign of all Peoples
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 06:58:31 PM by tebakutis »

Offline Carter

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 10:23:41 PM »
Here's my entry for the month, coming in at 1044 words. Enjoy. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
Ripples in the Waters

Ripples disturbed Ju'Tan's slumber.  She moved first, slithering free oft he tangle of Ak'Tar's coils.  A low grumble thrummed through her throat.  Not for the first time she resented being partnered with him.  But no one else could tolerate his company.  Or his waking idiosyncrasies.   

Her bass vibrations roused him.  His body tightened.  If she had still been in his embrace, she would have been trapped and nearly crushed; a fate that had driven others away.  Leaving only her as his fellow Watcher. 

While he was still struggling to fight through his customary early lethargy, she opened her gills and filtered through massive gulps of water.  Initially she detected nothing awry.  Distant saltiness, a sweet, rotten sulphuric tang, gritty minerals; all was as expected.  And then, as another impact shuddered the surface high above, she sensed it.  She was used to the occasional extra-aquatic object crashing into the surface, bringing much-valued minerals, but this was fundamentally different. 

It was rhythmic.  It echoed past mysteries; the tales passed down through generations.  It was why the Watchers had been established. 

“Aliens,” she pulsed to Ak'Tar as she propelled herself away.

No, not away.  Towards.   

If he reacted with the same enthusiasm, she was not there to witness it.  She streaked away, every thrust bristling with barely contained excitement.  Ak'Tar's electro-magnetic questions chased her every move. 

“Aliens?  How?  When?”


She ignored and forced aside her irritation.  She at least had had the sense to keep her thoughts small.  He trumpeted them out for all the seas to hear.  If he were not careful, they would have the whole local population tracking their every movement and ruin their chances of studying the aliens in peace.  The thought spurred her to greater speed, the waterscape below changing from coral to kelp forest to far-distant, black depths. 

With every league, the tastes grew stronger.  Something was leeching into the water in a steady stream to such an extent even a hatchling would have had no trouble locating the source.  Would it be one of the strange, brittle objects that splintered into inedible but durable shards?  Or the crunchy remnants that on eating had imbued her ancestors with the foresight and ingenuity famed amongst her kind? 

Dimly, she could almost sense distant confusion as others awoke to the disturbance.  Behind her Ak'Tar's stream of pulses had stopped. 

Writhing in the water, she risked a glance back.  She could just about make out Ak'Tar's form, the distinctive ultramarine patterning of his scales and his bizarre, looping, undulating strokes.  For all his other flaws, at least he was one of the fastest Watchers.

“Half a league,” she pulsed, directing it tightly towards him so only those with the keenest of senses might overhear. 

And then she was moving once more, following the trail as it started to ascend.  Momentary disquiet slowed her.  Nothing rested atop the water.  Every other object within the Watchers' histories sank to the bottom.  The surface was desolate, devoid of everything.  Nothing, not even the Oviani dared venture too near it. 

“Ju'Tan, stop.”

His pulse was desperate.  Below, he turned a hypnotic and alluring spiral.  She could sense his fear and turned away from it, imagining only the acclaim if only she dared. 

“Don't.  We need to inform the Elders.  Fer'Ul is working on - ”

It was just what she needed to hear.  It was a wonder he did not know her history.  But then when had Ak'Tar ever cared for gossip?  Fer'Ul, her clutch-sister, had always had everything she wanted.  The attention, the freedom, the inherited, inquisitive brain that sought out ever more exotic, incredible and often failed experiments. 

Well not this time.  This moment belonged to her.  She surged upwards.  Around her the water's temperature increased dramatically.  It seared her scales and prickled the tender flesh beneath.  She closed off her gills and persevered, focusing solely on her ascent and not Ak'Tar's fading objections.  Despite her precautions, some of the searing heat worked its way inside her, upsetting the delicate organic balance within her. 

She did not have long.  But it would be worth it. 

She burst through the surface.  Water sluiced off her, scattering against the still, mirror-like ocean all around her.  Overhead, in an emerald sky, twin suns radiated perpetual fire.  And there, not far from where she had emerged, were the aliens. 

Somehow, they floated.  Some form of wide platform stretched for a several leagues. Resting atop it was some sort of conical, shimmering device that Fer'Ul would no doubt love to study.  And around the base, moving rapidly, for weird, bipedal creatures.  Encased in some sort of reflective exoskeleton, they moved freely in the heat as if, impossibly, unaffected.  Surviving where nothing could before.  One even rested, splashing a limb in the water as it were the most natural thing in the world.

One turned, saw her and pointed.  Within the exoskeleton she spied a pale, scaleless face, eyes wide in an astonishment she no doubt mirrored.  For a time she stared, her only thought how different they were from everything anyone had ever known.  She, and all other Watchers had speculated about what aliens might look like of course, but they had never imagined anything like this, anything so unlike their own experiences. 

She dived down, unable to bear it any more, detecting the subtle shift inside her that foreshadowed failing organs.  She arrowed herself forwards into the deeper, cooler waters she craved.  Below, she saw Ak'Tar spiralling up to meet her. 

“They're here.  They're really here,”
she pulsed, not bothering to keep her thoughts small.  Let others hear, let the come.  All had to know. 

Any concern Ak'Tar might have had for her safety sloughed off when he caught her thoughts.  Consumed with curiosity, he sent a barrage of questions. 

“Are they alive?  What do they look like?  How can they be above us?  How are they still there?”

And as her vision started to fade, her body shutting down to protect her from the extremes she had endured in order to facilitate her recovery, he asked the most important question of all.  One that burned within her and she longed for an answer. 

“How do they taste?”

Online Alex Hormann

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2018, 10:30:18 PM »
Combat Encounter: A LitRPG Tale

567 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
I opened my eyes to find a skeleton standing before me. Or, more accurately, approaching me at high speed, a sword raised above its head. I briefly wondered how the bones stayed together, as they seemed to float in place. How peculiar.
   Unfortunately, the undead took this opportunity to bring the sword down hard onto my arm. It drew blood that splashed against my head. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel any pain, and my arm seemed unaffected by the massive assault.
   “Argh. I’m hit,” I said. Sidestepping, I took a bite of apple to restore my energy. Much better.
   “This is where you die,” said the skeleton, despite its lack of anything vaguely resembling vocal cords. Fighting this thing seemed to fly in the face of all logic.
   Or did it. As I nibbled on a wheel of cheese, I pondered just how little I knew of my existence. All I knew about the world was what I saw before me now. Sword wielding skeletons in dark, cobwebby caves. Was the whole world like this, or was there sunlight somewhere out there? Trees and grass and flowers. And if so, what were these things had names for, but had never seen?
While I thought about the nature of life, the skeleton drove his sword through my face.
   “Argh. I’m hit.” I pulled back and reached for a weapon of my own. A rusty sword appeared in my hand as if I had summoned it by sheer willpower alone. I swung it once, twice, three times, and then fell back, gasping for breath. I must be old, I realised. A young man would have more stamina than me, surely.
   The skeleton stared at me with empty eye sockets. “This is where you die.” It stepped forwards and unleashed a flurry of blows.
   All my best efforts at defence were for nothing. The bone man continued his assault in a rather relentless manner.
   “Argh. I’m hit,” I said, as more blood flowed from my stomach. I danced a wide circle around my skeletal opponent, chugging healing potions and gulping down whole cabbages. They all tasted the same, though I did start to suffer from the effects of one too many potions, as my vision blurred, and the world lurched from side to side.
   I realised then that my sword was useless against this foe. Of course, all seasoned adventurers know better than to use bladed weapons against skeletons. What I needed was a hammer.
   Or magic.
   I quickly ran through the spells I knew and settled on a good old-fashioned lightning bolt. Direct damage, with no chance of it rebounding onto me or catching me in its area of effect.
   BZZZAAAPP!
   The raw energy of the storm arced from my finger, the air sizzling with violent magic. My first attack missed, and again the skeleton informed that I was going to die here. I had enough mana left for one more spell, so I stretched out my finger again.
   And missed.
   The skeleton stepped past with ease and slashed its blade across my chest. The world turned grey, then black. I heard trumpets blare.
   And then I opened my eyes to find a skeleton standing before me. I had a queer sense of déjà vu but shook it off. I had to kill this thing, or it would kill me. And in the adventuring life, you don’t get second chances.


Blog: https://atboundarysedge.com

Twitter: @HormannAlex

Offline Jonathan Ryan

Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2018, 11:28:59 PM »
So in writing this, I decided to do two things I normally hate doing when writing...writing in First Person POV and writing without an outline.  I just had an initial inkling of an idea, the opening sentence rolling around in my head and this is what happened when I tried to put it into words...I think once I go back to this with my usual fervour and a solid outline at some stage down the line it might actually make a decent story, but for now I hope you enjoy this effort.

Word count; 751.

For your consideration, RED DEATH UNDER RED SKIES.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I remember when the sky turned red.  Not the beautiful crimson wash of the sunset that faded to orange hues like flames across the horizon.  No, this was something far removed from beauty, a sinister thing that foreshadowed that which came after.  I remember a baptism of blood as death stalked the earth, craving the taste of flesh and the sweet ecstasy of the scent of fear. 

It was my greatest shame, a moment of fear that caused the near extinction of man and the rise of a malevolent force unlike any seen since primordial times.  I had left the Well unprotected, and the consequence was a walking death that could not be fought. 
Their true name had long been lost to the decay of time. 

We simply called them the Old Ones.

First came the Scourging, the reaping of humanities strength as monarchies fell and our own armies turned against us, their will taken from them as they slaughtered their own.  Kingdoms were left in ruin as the people fled, herded in fear as death preyed upon every man, woman and weeping child without mercy.  In the end, despair corroded every last shred of hope and the will of humanity was extinguished.

Looking back now, there was much I could have done to help, to protect those in need and ease the pain of those beyond it.  But my pain knew no end and while despair gripped its claws around the heart of man, its claws had long clutched at my own breast.  I was paralyzed, unable to move passed the loss.  All that was dear to me, lost in a single night of blood and retribution, leaving only death and regret.

I had left the world to burn.

I broke the sacred vow I had sworn to uphold.

Thus, I was cursed to wander the world for eternity, hand in hand with the broken shards of the world.

In the aftermath, all that remained became the Desolation, the corrupted domain of the Old Ones.  They continued to hunt the remnants of mankind while they consolidated their power.  It was then that my will began to fail.  My shame faded to nothing and from nothing it was a lonely path to the darkness of the void.  I do not know how long I lingered there, alone, lost in the shadows as my identity was slowly stripped away, my memories, my life and even my name, lost to the dark corners of time.

But my shame remained, that burning memory of failure reminding me that humanities near extinction was as much by my hand as theirs.  I was trapped, forever haunted by the choice I had made.  I believed it right at the time, but my fear had cost the world.  If only I had closed off my emotions, my feelings could not have influenced me.  I could have been the protector the world needed.  I would have made the cold, logical choice and allowed them to die, so that the world could live.

Over and over I was forced to relive this despair, no relief from my pain.

It was then I heard the voice, deep in the recesses of my self-loathing, the warrior I had once been raging against the shackles I had struck upon him.

Fight...pick up your sorry ass from whatever shit hole you have let yourself crawl into...avenge what was taken from you.

No, I could not.  Just let me rot here, there is no hope.  Who am I now?  My name, my memories, they have faded from thought.  What am I now only a husk of the man they had loved before I let them die.

You did not let them die.  You broke your vows; you fled the Well because you knew it was a lost cause.  You tried to save you family.  They were stripped from your arms. 

Now, avenge them.

FIGHT!


Could I? 

It surprised me how much it burned in me to fight again, to avenge what was taken from me, from humanity.  The fires of vengeance roared through my veins, demanding release.  Demanding blood.

With my baptism of fire, I felt it all.  I felt the pain of the world, the cries of mankind in their perpetual misery as they prayed endlessly.  I could hear them all, man, woman and child alike.  Humanity prayed for a saviour, a messiah to guide them through this dark era.

Instead, they got me.

My name is Drazan of Anarra.

This is how my story began.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."

- George R. R. Martin

Offline NightWrite

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Re: [Feb 2018] - WASIASGYNDL - Submission Thread
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 06:02:12 PM »
Blade Therapy, A Choose Your Own Adventure Story - 1237 words not counting the title.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Blade Therapy, A Choose Your Own Adventure Story
Alchemist Zarn moved about in the backroom of his shop, reviewing orders and working on various projects, when his nephew, Juz, burst through the door. A rare occurrence, as Zarn often made sure his family and friends knew not to interrupt him at work.

A reminder Zarn was quick to lay into Juz.

Juz tried to speak up as to his interruption, but Zarn was unsure any issue was worth interruption of his projects.

Choose Zarn's actions:
If you think Zarn should throw his nephew out without a chance to speak, go to Section A.
If you think Juz should get a chance to speak, go to Section B.


Section A: It's Not My Problem
Spoiler for Hiden:
“I don't have time for this,” Zarn shouted, hustling his nephew to the door.

“But uncle-”

“No. I have better things to do with my time,” Zarn said as he closed the door after pushing Juz out. Elder Jorn expected a batch of fertility tincture by early tomorrow. Not that it would do the old badger any good, Zarn thought, even if he drank the entire thing undiluted.

The story has ended before it even began.

Section B: Listen, Then Judge
Spoiler for Hiden:
Zarn took a deep breath to calm himself, then spoke “You'd better have a good reason for this.”

“It's my blade, the damn thing refuses to cut,” Juz shouted. Thrusting the enchanted sword at his uncle, Juz demanded his uncle inspect it. Zarn grumbled as he took the blade, glaring at Juz as he'd almost drove the pommel into Zarn's eye socket.

Looking over the blade, Zarn found nothing wrong with the enchantments. That which gave it a semblance of life, gave it a voice, kept it sharp, and strengthen it. They were still as marvelous as the day Zarn finished the sword, Thur, for part of his mastery.

The only thing wrong with Thur, Zarn came to find, was it no longer wanted to fight.

Instead, it wanted to cook. A notion which lead to an argument between Juz and Thur.

Zarn felt his patience slip once more. “Enough,” he shouted.

If you think Zarn should listen to Juz, go to Section C
If you think Zarn should listen to Thur, go to Section D
If you think the pair's problem isn't for Zarn to deal with, go to Section E

Section C: Dutiful Sentry
Spoiler for Hiden:
“Let's hear what you have to say, Juz,” Zarn said to his nephew.

“I'm part of the city guard. It's my duty to help protect the city. A duty Thur agreed to.”

“Humans are allowed to change their minds. Why can't I,” the sword complained from Zarn's hands.

“This isn't some game where you can stop playing when you want. The city needs all the people it can get.”

If you want to hear Thur's side, go to Section D
If you've heard Thur's side, go to Section F
If you want to take Juz's side without hearing what Thur has to say, go to Section G

Section D: The Tongueless Chef
Spoiler for Hiden:
“Now, Thur, let's here your side of the story,” Zarn said to the sword in his hand.

“It's simple really. I'm tired of fighting, the only blood and gore I want to wage war on now is a slab of beef or lamb. I want to learn how to cook. Juz refuses to aide me despite the years I've served him.”

“You can't taste! You have no mouth,” Juz exclaimed, throwing his arms up.

“Well you can't cut without me. So the least you can do is be my tongue.”

If you want to hear Juz's side, go to Section C
If you've heard Juz's side, go to Section F
If you want to take Thur's side without hearing what Juz has to say, go to Section H

Section E: Someone Else's Problem
Spoiler for Hiden:
“I am one of the most accomplished alchemists in the kingdom. I have a lot on my plate and don't have time to play common therapist,” Zarn said, navigating the arguing pair to the door. “Go bother someone else.” Zarn pushed Thur into Juz's hands and closed the door.

Content to be left in peace, Zarn returned to his experiments and pushed the thought of his nephew out of his mind. His work on Thur was flawless, so someone else could worry about it.

Section F: Passing Judgement
Spoiler for Hiden:
“I've heard what you both have to say, is there anything you'd like to add? Constructive comments,” Zarn added with a glare when he saw Juz snarl and open his mouth.

Juz snapped his mouth and shook his head.

“Fine, now give me a moment.”

If you think the pair's problem isn't for Zarn to deal with, go to Section E
If you think the pair should come to a compromise, go to Section I
If you think Juz is in the right, go to Section G
If you think Thur is allowed a change, go to Section H

Section G: Upholding One's Duty
Spoiler for Hiden:
“Juz wasn't wrong when he said the pair of you had a duty, Thur. Enchanted blades are needed just as much as the men and women at the wall, and they take time to make.”

“Is this all I'm meant to be. A possession.” Zarn could feel the sword quiver in his hands.

“Maybe one day you'll be able to go for you dream. But for now, you must uphold your duty.”

“Fine. Let's go, Juz.”

Zarn passed the sword to his nephew and watched the pair leave.

Section H: Find a New Partner
Spoiler for Hiden:
“Thur is allowed to change, Juz. When I made him, it was with the ability to change and learn, to aid the wielder. If Thur can no longer bring himself to fight, then you'll have to find a new partner. Lest you get hurt when your blade won't follow through.”

“What about me,” Thur asked from Zarn's hands.

“I'll see if one of my friends who works in the palace is will to take you into the kitchens. If not, I'll do what I can in my spare time to help you.”

“And me.”

“I'll write you a letter, dear nephew. Take it to your captain. This isn't the end, Thur may one day decide to fight once more once he's learned what he desires.”

Juz gave a solemn nod and head towards the door after removing Thur's sheath and leaving it on a nearby worktable. With one last look over his shoulder, he closed to door behind him.

Section I: Come to An Agreement
Spoiler for Hiden:
“You both make valid arguments, so I propose a compromise.”

“Compromise?” The blade quivered in Zarn's hands.

“Yes. Thur, you will continue to fight with Juz along the wall. However, I'm going to write your captain a letter requesting Thur get time in the barrack kitchens so he can learn to cook. It doesn't even have to be Juz who wields you. Do you both find this agreeable?”

“I'm willing,” Thur said.

“I guess we can give it a try,” Juz mumbled.

“Good.” Zarn passed Thur back to his nephew and collected his writing supplies. Writing out a quick note, Zarn sent the pair on their way before turning back to his work with a sigh.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 06:10:23 PM by NightWrite »