March 30, 2020, 10:25:41 AM

Author Topic: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread  (Read 23327 times)

Offline XanderSloan

Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #60 on: March 14, 2017, 11:02:49 AM »
Excuse me, New guy coming through.

Can I just clarify that rather than now PM'ing entries to @Anonymous we can now simple hit the "Reply Anonymously" button in the relevant forum thread?

Thanks!

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #61 on: March 14, 2017, 11:29:07 AM »
Yes, that's it!
You will see your name in the post, but there will be a little ghost figure next to it, meaning that others can't see it's you :)
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Offline XanderSloan

Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #62 on: March 14, 2017, 11:34:23 AM »
Thanks for clarifying :)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #63 on: March 14, 2017, 07:23:11 PM »
So I thought I had a grip on this month's theme, but then the lengthy and interesting dialogue above made me question myself. So here's what I was working on, which I liked at first, but now I wonder: is my beast 'main-enough' to be the MC? I'm scrapping this story but maybe it would be useful to discuss just what we're trying to do here. Unless I'm the only one a little confused.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Beneath the shade and dangling green of an old and hoary willow, Malika Baber Mazandaran, queen of Caspian Tigers, lay dozing among the roots. Her striped fur made her all but invisible. With summer coming, her coat itched and annoyed, but in the dark before dawn she had rolled in the soothing earth near the river bank, marking her territory, rubbing out some of the offending hairs, and masking her scent.

Cleverest of cats, she often did two, three, or more things at a time. Now, she rested. But her shadowy lager between the cliffs and the river placed her within lethal range of anything coming to drink or trying to pass, and so she also hunted as she preferred. From a nap.

The buzzing of insects changed only faintly, but Malika was wizened with years, and lifted her head, instantly alert. When the men’s scent reached her, she was already prone and positioned to attack, watching through the hanging tendrils of willow with golden eyes that did not blink.

“Are you sure?” the short, fat man asked. He wore mail and a gold crown. The exertion of trudging along the river reddened his face. His tall and silver-bearded companion wore robes of faded lavender, and stepped lightly just behind. “This seems a foolish risk. Why does it have to be me?”

“Nature, your majesty. Tigers can sense the dominance of a man in his mark, and will not cross that scent. The valley is narrow, and your mark will drive her right toward your enemies. If I tried it, she would either ignore it or attack.”

“Nothing necessary is foolish, eh?”

The robed man shrugged. “Your cousin’s army will not come this way without sending scouts. Their scouts will not return - Queen Malika will see to that, if you do as I suggest. When they do not return, your cousin will believe the river-vale to be an ambush and take the long way around, beneath the heights. He knows you don’t have enough men to hold both the vale and the heights, so he will rush forward thinking you have divided your forces. Then your horse will crush him.”

The scent of the man in armor drifted to her on the breeze, a new and interesting mix of steel and nervous sweat. He carried a sword. Malika knew about swords, knowledge she had bought with deep scars on her shoulders. The scent of the man in robes she knew well. She ignored the slavering drool that dripped from her jaws. Her claws, black and curved, curled into the earth, not with the quivering tension of attack. Not yet. Only the firmness of readiness. She knew her range to within the breadth of a blade of grass, measured in bounds. At four, she could have them both. But the sword gave her pause.

The men continued to approach, coming within five bounds of Malika’s hiding spot.

“I still cannot believe Roderick would be so stupid,” the mailed-man said. “We outnumber him three-to-two, and yet he marches to attack. Doesn’t that seem odd to you?”

“Overconfidence, my liege. Overconfidence is ever the bane of those who would rule. Have you considered my request?”

The man in mail laughed a rumbling guffaw.

The noise delivered a wealth of knowledge to Malika’s ears. The light wheeze of watery phlegm painted him with an alluring vulnerability in her eyes. From his gait and his weight, she knew he could not run fast. She whined softly at the knowledge that he could not run far.

“I considered it,” the man said, pausing to catch his breath. “But you know I cannot release so valuable a counselor at a time like this. Perhaps next year we will have your family returned to you. Don’t give me that look, damn you. It’s only one more year, and then I will set you free. How much further?”

“Just ahead, sire. Set your sword into the earth by that rock over there, but stay clear of the willows. They’re bad luck.”

“You’re a brilliant sorcerer, Bardaisan. Brilliant! How did you train this beast?” He wobbled clumsily within four bounds of Malika, laboring with the weight of his armored boots thickly covered with mud. Malika reappraised him with every step, recalculated her hunger. She could take him in now, but the sword stirred hot memories of stinging pain. Most men could draw a sword in two of her leaps. This man would take no less than three. In her youth, he would already be dead. But Malika was the cleverest of cats. Too low for human hearing, she growled as years of practice and learning conflicted with hungry, urgent impulses.

“I didn’t train her,” Bardaisan said. He stopped and watched the man in mail go on. “Nature did.”

Malika’s shoulders and flanks knotted with tension. Her golden eyes flicked back and forth between the waggle of the fat man’s throat that stuck just high enough from the breastplate, and his eyes that unnerved her, stifled her aggression, and made her feel exposed. Humans were the only fear she knew that walked on legs.

Lightning, fire, thunder – these things terrified her, too, but humans were different. Humans were the terror that could be killed and devoured; sweeter than pork, but slower, softer, and, without their swords, defenseless. But she was a queen who ruled in the blessed solace of invisible anonymity. To her, the glance of a single eye was an alarming thing, and this human seemed to stare right through the shadows with two. Her heart thudded harder as he crossed the limit of three bounds.

“That should do, your highness,” Bardaisan said, walking to the river’s edge.

Malika’s eyes narrowed, and her ears lay back on her head as the man drew his sword and raised it. How the sight of it angered and irritated! She lay perfectly motionless, hovering between the urge to rush, kill, and eat, and the terror of the blade and the memory of her wounds.

The man thrust the sword into the earth, took another step forward. “This has got to be the most foolish thing I’ve ever done.” He fumbled with his armor. In a moment, he had freed himself. He sighed as his urine streamed onto the ground. Malika’s ground.

An outrage! The hair on her hackles rose on end before the scent had even reached her. Her hunger fell away, forgotten. She quivered with a rage that dispelled all her careful calculations.

Only the eyes, blinking in drowsy relief, held her at bay. Her jaw trembled as she imagined the killing-bite, over and over and over.

“I would have to agree,” Bardaisan called. “This is the most foolish thing you’ve ever done.”

“Oh?” said the man, retying his pants. The gruff irritation in his voice excited Queen Malika even more. It was aggressive, almost a growl. It was beyond toleration.

“I knew you would be intractable,” Bardaisan went on. “There’s simply no dealing with men like you. So I decided to deal with another. Roderick was happy to exchange my and my family’s freedom for your crown. And Queen Malika? She’s always happy to kill a fat, overbearing oaf. Ever since she was a cub – in my barn.”

The man turned to the sorcerer in slack-jawed disbelief. Bardaisan grabbed himself in the crotch, the old but appropriate insult. Disbelief swept into a rage. The man’s eyes flicked to his sword. He took a quick step toward it, sealing his fate.

Seeing her prey begin to flee, her instincts ignited, rushing through her like lightning.

With reflexes that could, and sometimes did knock darting sparrows from the air, Malika exploded from the shadows of the willow tree, halving the distance in the first bound. The man reached out for his sword, but she was already airborne, arcing through the air with claws outstretched, jaws gaping opening, and fangs twisting to align with the neck.

The man thudded to the earth beneath her onslaught, sword falling one way, crown rolling the other. The man was already dead, but Malika shook him once, twice, then dropped him. She looked to Bardaisan, panting lightly through blood-stained jaws.

Bardaisan looked at Malika. Blinking his eyes slowly and often, he knelt, held out a well-known hand.

Malika slowly crossed the space between them, broke into a trot, then bowled the man over as she rubbed her scent into him. Bardaisan laughed as he rubbed her powerful shoulders, scratched behind the velvet ears.
“That’s a queenly kitty,” he said, as he always did on their visits. He began to back away, and she followed for a moment or two, before her hunger reminded her of other things. She turned and stalked back toward her recently-offending meal. Bardaisan faced her until she had returned to the king, laid down, and given him her first, tentative lick.

Bardaisan looked down at his robes, now smeared with blood. He teased up what little hair remained to him, tore at his robe, and dragged a sleeve against a tree-branch as he passed, ripping the fabric.  Everyone knew the Queen was a man-eater, so he needed to look like a man who had just escaped. Which he was, from a particular point of view.
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 NightWrite

Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #64 on: March 18, 2017, 07:14:30 PM »
I have two ideas, but can't decide between them. With the amount of time I have until the deadline I might try to write out both and see which I like more. Though it might end up I have a weaker story as I split my focus. Maybe I should just draw from a hat....

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2017, 07:10:16 PM »
Draft one finished. Pretty okay, I think.
Now to let it breathe a bit.

Online ScarletBea

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #66 on: March 22, 2017, 12:17:45 PM »
ONE WEEK (and a bit...) left!!!

Get your stories ready :D
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Offline Nora

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2017, 04:01:49 PM »
Yeah it sucks. I'm at my fourth idea, and still no concrete plot. maybe it won't be plot based, but character based? Slice of life? Whatever, I've written like 14 pages of notebook about these different stories and characters and nothing is quite whipping out properly.
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Offline DevinBM

Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #68 on: March 23, 2017, 11:17:04 AM »
Whew! It's been a lengthy bit I've been stuck away from internet, but I'm back. I think it's a little to late for me to come up with something this month and get it edited and submitted with my terrible connection, BUT I AM DEFINITELY VOTING! I can't wait.

F.Y.I. Kuwait is a lot sandier and dustier than I thought, even though everyone told me it would be worse than I expected. Bright side is, it isn't super hot yet, so there's that.

Offline Roelor

Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #69 on: March 23, 2017, 02:00:13 PM »
For the last weeks I've been struggling to find a good idea in this sense.
I came up with something now and hope I'll manage to write and polish it in a week.
Fingers crossed to see whether I can do my idea justice :D

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #70 on: March 23, 2017, 02:46:26 PM »
Whew! It's been a lengthy bit I've been stuck away from internet, but I'm back. I think it's a little to late for me to come up with something this month and get it edited and submitted with my terrible connection, BUT I AM DEFINITELY VOTING! I can't wait.

F.Y.I. Kuwait is a lot sandier and dustier than I thought, even though everyone told me it would be worse than I expected. Bright side is, it isn't super hot yet, so there's that.

I spent a lot of time there in the 90s, out in the desert, mostly. If you smell something like burnt hair at night, it's a camel spider :)
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 xiagan

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #71 on: March 23, 2017, 05:32:49 PM »
Whew! It's been a lengthy bit I've been stuck away from internet, but I'm back. I think it's a little to late for me to come up with something this month and get it edited and submitted with my terrible connection, BUT I AM DEFINITELY VOTING! I can't wait.

F.Y.I. Kuwait is a lot sandier and dustier than I thought, even though everyone told me it would be worse than I expected. Bright side is, it isn't super hot yet, so there's that.

I spent a lot of time there in the 90s, out in the desert, mostly. If you smell something like burnt hair at night, it's a camel spider :)
Don't google Camel Spider, Bea...
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #72 on: March 23, 2017, 06:10:54 PM »
Whew! It's been a lengthy bit I've been stuck away from internet, but I'm back. I think it's a little to late for me to come up with something this month and get it edited and submitted with my terrible connection, BUT I AM DEFINITELY VOTING! I can't wait.

F.Y.I. Kuwait is a lot sandier and dustier than I thought, even though everyone told me it would be worse than I expected. Bright side is, it isn't super hot yet, so there's that.

I spent a lot of time there in the 90s, out in the desert, mostly. If you smell something like burnt hair at night, it's a camel spider :)
Don't google Camel Spider, Bea...
Not even going near...
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #73 on: March 23, 2017, 09:14:08 PM »
Feast your eyes on the horror!!
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 NightWrite

Re: [Mar 2017] - Through the Beast's Eye - Discussion Thread
« Reply #74 on: March 24, 2017, 12:59:17 PM »
Feast your eyes on the horror!!

I'm not sure which disturbs me more, this or the real camel spiders. Perhaps this charming fellow could be the "beast" of focus :D.