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Author Topic: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread  (Read 803 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« on: March 01, 2018, 11:38:49 AM »
Letters



This month we want you to try your hand at writing a letter. Sounds boring and not fantasy-ish at all? We hope not!

We don't want you to write a random letter, there are four topics to choose from, some funny, some sad, some what you make out of it. First person is encouraged but not necessary.

1) The hero*ine writes a letter home but their mother has high blood pressure so they can't write exactly what happened. How close to the truth can you write without mentioning what really happened in that dungeon?

2) The MC writes a letter back to their loved one(s), knowing they will never come home again.

3) Time travel. The (aged) MC can (and want to) send a letter to their younger self.

4) The MC writes a letter to their old mentor, thanking them. The mentor will be surprised for what.

5) You're the villain of the story and write a letter to the hero(es) who thwarted your plans. 

From reading those letters it should be clear that it is in a fantasy or SF setting. In fact, we welcome you to use some padding. The letter can be your whole entry but it is enough if it is one third and the centerpiece of your writing. If you want, you can embed it in a setting/story/scene.


Rules:

1. This must be prose or poetry.
2. A letter must be the centerpiece of the entry (about 1/3 minimum). One of the prompts above must be used.
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 Mar 31th/Apr 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.
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline D_Bates

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 04:07:27 PM »
Men go to Mars; Woman goes to Venus.
(~1350 words; Time travel option 3, MC sends letter to themselves; contains some vulgar language and ideas.)

Spoiler for Hiden:
Yo, Mikaila, this is you. From the future.

(I dunno whether that makes me future-you or you past-me.)

Anyways, I knows you'll think this crazy and all, but I’m writing to warn you that in the coming months and/or years you’s gonna be contacted by some bozo general by the name of Esta Blishment. Fo’ sho he’s a flirtatious and suave son of a gun, and he’ll be all like, “Why, I do declare, Miss Mikaila, the government has, like, some super important mission to Venus that you’d be oh so perfect for.” And you’ll be all, “VENUS! Hells yeah. Coz Mars was, like, so 20th Patriarchal Century ya’ll.”

Do not--I repeat--DO NOT sign onto that mission. Trust me. That scoundrel’s as slippery as a snake in a grease factory built on an oilfield during a slick.

Now, I’m sure you’s wondering just why it is yo future self’s gone to all this effort to warn you against yet another deadbeat dude looking to take advantage of yo desperate nature. Especially when I KNOWS that right now you’s prob’ly still clinging to that joker Jerome. Well, excuse me for wanting to save yo big ass. (And I do mean YO big ass, because this booty’s now tighter than daddy’s wallet locked inside a clam in a clamp. High-five!)

Listen, this so called ‘state o’ the art’ spaceship they’s gonna send you up in is held together by more duct tape than that broken down can on wheels Jerome calls his Ve-He-Cal. The ‘finest laser weaponry money can buy’ turned out to be some ex-Toys’R’Us plastic Star Wars crap still plastered with their 95% discount stickers. And the chamber storing our backup fuel supply to get home’s emptier than little Jemima’s head. In short, we’s screwed, and even if that weren’t the case, we’s was woefully unprepared to deal with the Venutian aliens living on this here planet choking inside a cloud of its own denizens' farts.

The Venutians... DUH-AMN girl, they’s some sick-ass mofos. They be slipping and sliding around, flopping their antennas about like they owns the joint. And while they’re decorating the floors with oozing trails like some bloated slugs marking their territory all dog-like, their noxious fumes be parping out like there's no tomorrow. While the captain was deep in telepathic communication with their leader (and that weirdness looked more sexual than a hooker delivering a pizza in nothing but a plumber’s sweaty slacks), two of them goopy buggers snuck away to chow down on the last of our meagre rations! And speaking of sex. Of course, Jacob (our chief engineer and playa-playa extra-ordinaire) just HAD to take one of them slimy skanks to bed, did’n he.

And SHE impregnated HIM!

You think you know male pregnancy based on Jerome’s gross-tastic muffin top? You ain’t seen nothing girl! Within two days poor Jacob’s testes had blown up to the size of freaking beach balls. And when them bad boys finally broke their water all over the infirmary walls, the snakes that came aflopping out--WHOO-EEE! I kid you not, the smallest were fifteen foot long (they's enough to give even Jerome a micro-manhood inferiority complex). Were Jacob not preoccupied with screaming bloody murder, I swear he’d’ve been taking dick-pics and spreading that nastiness all over the net like the proud mama he is. Or was. Cos he dead.

Now, I knows at this moment you’s prob'ly screaming conspiracy while raising yo big bushy brow (seriously, go shave that face minge off already). But I swear on our baby iguana’s life that this ain’t one of Kathy-Kathy’s immature pranks to keep holding you back in life just so that she got somebody to moan to while her hair’s being fixed. You knows Jerome’s far too much of a bum to have concocted such a story just to keep you in the sack. And that jealous barbie Jessica gots no reason to deter you... cos she’s the damn captain! Gods, when she comes all a-gloating and rubbing that in, you go ahead and slap the silicone right on out of her fish-faced smirk.

So you tells me, were I not you, how’d I know about all that? Mmhmm?

If you still ain’t convinced, it’s likely cos you’s questioning just HOW it is that I managed to send a letter back from the future. To that I say COME ON GIRL!?!?! Sure, we was dropped on our heads as kids, but you oughtta be thanking yo lucky stars I didn’t travel on back there myself, else I’d be whooping the stupid right on out of yo dense skull. You KNOWS mama read us ‘The Time Machine’ when we was young. You’s still salty at those cheapskate seats for ‘Intersteller’ Jerome bummed off Jacky (literally it turns out, F.Y.I.). You’s blubbered over both Star Trek’s 4 AND 8. And you’s damn well sure recall sitting through the entire ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy.

Twice.

IRON MAN VIEWINGS, BITCH!

Armed with all that science-ific knowledge, I’ve jerry-rigged a mechanical date modulator into this letter’s pod, and in under an hour I’ll fire it out at the perfect angle, sling-shotting it round the sun and on back home like some E.T. wannabe bad-boy. Simultaneously, I’ll be flying this hunk o’ space junk straight on into that great ball of fire (because everybody knows that the sun’s a black hole in denial no less than a BN biscuit). With any luck, the mechanism will have counted back to around the date you received this just as the pod reaches Earth’s atmosphere, and once it slows to 88 million mph then WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU MA’AM, there gonna be a burning time line lighting up the skies y’all!

So, if after all that yous STILL think this is a hoax...

Nyah, forget it. You’s a dumb enough hoe you’ll prob’ly just end up ruining our life anyways.

Peace out.
          x x
MM.    x

***

“So what do you think?” asked Corporal Sanders.

General Blishment pondered over the mysterious letter that had fallen from the heavens two nights prior and concluded that it was clearly the delusional ravings of a madwoman.

“Then you think we should ignore it?” said Sanders.

The General rolled his eyes up at him, aghast. “Good lords no, Sanders. Are you a blithering fool? Get the President on the phone immediately. Write to congress. This here is clear evidence that our planet is at imminent threat from the invasion of illegal aliens hell bent on impregnating our men, subverting our way of life to one of degenerate skankduggery, and hungry to leech off our valuable hard-stolen resources. In order to fight this scourge we’re going to need a quarter of a trillion dollars, a spaceship, and an expendable team of martyrs. We’ll call them Team Trojan.
"Oh, and while you’re at it, get the CIA to track down this ‘Mikaila M’ with the personal information she’s revealed in this tripe of a narrative.”

“Yes General. Right away, Sir.”

Just as Sanders was about to leave, the General clicked his fingers to halt him. “Hold up there, Sanders...”

“Yes, General?”

“Make that... half a trillion dollars.”

“Yes General.”

***

Team Trojan set off on their fated journey to Venus on January 10th, 2019. On launch day, Chief Medic Mikaila Morrison, tearing up, was quoted as saying “This is the greatest accomplishment of my life, y'all. Eee, I’m going into space! High-five!”

Contact with Team Trojan was lost on April 2nd, 2019. That same night, a burning ribbon was seen tearing across the heavens. One Trekkie, from the safety of his basement man-cave, immediately donned his Spock ears and official Starfleet uniform before going online to compare the anomaly to that of the fabled Nexus Ribbon, having calculated that its appearance was on a date divisible by the canon 39.1 years when it’s expected to swallow retired Captain James Tiberius Kirk in 2293.

Nobody from Team Trojan was ever seen or heard from again.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 09:42:48 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 Bender

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 04:38:05 AM »
Here goes my first submission to this forum...

Spoiler for Hiden:
Yo Powerman,

Doing well? Did you enjoy the celebratory ball the city threw for you? You looked good in a normal suit with cape and mask off. The caviar was excellent. I enjoyed it well. But as a constructive feedback, they really need to improve the quality of their wines. The selection was terrible!

Thought I'd write you a quick note of congratulations on your recent 'victory' against me. Vanquishing the evil, protecting the innocent, savior of the society, blah blah...heady stuff, eh? I bet you are pleased with yourself. Got a warm feeling of having achieved something? Feeling a bit proud? Feel you've done your part for the good for the society?

Now, that's an interesting thought, doing good for the society? Good for society now or good for future? Saving humanity from humans is a very cliched argument and parodied to death in Hollywood...but have you given it some deep thought? I mean a single malt starting into a fireplace kinda deep thought. Are we a good society? What makes a good society? Do we take care of the planet that gives us life? Maybe, that's too abstract...do we take care of fellow humans that  lounge below the poverty line? Does the society really care about overpopulation, resource drain, environmental exploitation, pollution? Maybe not find a solution, but is it at least ready to accept the fact that we are on a doomsday path? Did it really not strike you that this society does not need a supervillian to destroy it?

Take population as an example. Apart from some academic circles, does this society even recognize it as a problem? Do you really think we can find a solution or people would just agree to stop procreating? One child policy in China was deemed a failure because they were short sighted. It'll take more than a single generation to bring about an organic change. You'll have to get past the temporary ageing demographics before balance returns...but they did not have the guts to stick with it. It would take decades before the society realizes the problem and generations before a fix can be found. Fact that we have neither the time nor resources to tide us till we find a fix is a blatantly obvious hurdles that people tend to be willfully blind themselves. Taking this to logical conclusion, as resources deplete, we'd find ourselves fighting over what's left and sooner or later as Einstein said we'd end up with a World War that'd bring us back to a post apocalyptic stone age.

Now I've given this deep thought. Paid a bit of fortune for academic studies which only reinforced the conclusion. Harsh truths that need harsher solutions, that nobody including your esteemed superself don't manage to avoid thinking about. Had you given the deep single malt thought I recommended above, you'd realize that there are no easy solutions to the problem. It's futile to wait for a democratic consensus. It's up to some to take the mantle of evil for the greater good. The choice is between a guaranteed genocide vs a inevitable world war. You just voted for the world war. Congratulations! The 'evil me' is quite jealous of your actions, I should admit.

Well then, you may have the first blood, but this ain't over by a long shot. Humanity will survive the future even if I have to drag it by the scruff of it's neck, kicking and screaming. I won't let the inept and inefficient "leaders" of the free world ruin it by their short nearsightedness. And if you stand in my way, make sure you have your affairs in order. One more won't make a difference in a genocide.

Anyways, congratulations and pass my appreciation to the mayor. He really know how to throw a thank you party.

Be seeing you soon.
Demontron

Offline Nora

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 04:11:34 PM »
Wild West Hunt comes at 1500 words.


Spoiler for Hiden:
When James caught up with the man, he was already dead, fallen face first in the thick powder. He had run far, leaving deep bloodstained tracks in the forest snow, never stopping to tend his wounds, heading away from any possible help.
James shouldered his rifle and bent down to turn the half-frozen corpse over. As a bounty hunter ten years in the business of tracking down outlaws, James never forgot a face, and yet it was hard to recognise the trapper's features, behind the tumefied wounds, clotted beard and the smears of sweat-streaked grime, all bent and frozen in an anxious grimace.

He sat back on his haunches pondering the mystery before him.

The dead man wore a mix of furs over his woollens, an unstrung bow along his single-shot Remington and a set of large hunting knives. At his hips were several pouches containing the wires and strings necessary to his trade. His rucksack, when James went through it, revealed nothing unexpected beyond a beautiful pistol of French make and its ammunition.
But things still made no sense, and so he kept on going through the man's pockets, trying to find an explanation to his behaviour.
James had arrived at Iron Rock a week ago, brought up to this outpost in the northern wilderness by information on a couple of murdering brothers he'd been tracking for over a month. He had settled down at the Red Bear Inn, and there seen a profusion of trappers come and go, among them some Frenchmen and Indians, all busy trading. In fact, if Iron Rock ever made it on a map it would be solely thanks to their business.
The dead man had been at the inn once, for a night. James had noticed his blue eyes and reddish hair and wondered about his ancestry. The second time he'd seen him was during the fight.

Hearing cries he'd gone out to investigate, hoping for his quarries, and finding instead a mess of trappers busy yelling and exchanging punches. Fights among trappers weren't that uncommon. Neither was murder. Some unprincipled men had noticed that a man skinning a bear was a lot easier to kill than the bear itself, for example. Such men could be hunted down in turn, when their scheme was discovered.
James didn't represent the law here–nobody did–and so he had watched, mildly curious, with no intention of intervening unless things turned bloody. As it happened, knives had been drawn so fast, there was nothing he could do.
The red-haired man had stood his ground, hugging his wounded guts, bloodied teeth bared, spitting threats at his assailants.

"Ts'all fine," the stabber had yelled from the restraint of his friends' arms, "your Death's comin' soon enough. Been askin' for you!"
"What?"
"Yeah, one white-haired motherfucker t'was and keen to help get rid o'your bloody–"

But the wounded man had blanched and bolted already, not toward the hut where the fellow who passed as a surgeon lived, but towards the woods. James had followed him to talk some sense into him. An hour into his pursuit, sheer wonder at the man's perseverance and his own obstinacy were what kept him going.

"Aha!" James cried, seeing a leather book held tight by blue fingers, hidden under the dead's stiff coat. "Some clues at last."

The book was thick with yellowing pages filled with a tight script. There were lists of goods, notes of pelts and prices and names, hand-drawn maps and records of journeys and trap locations, but also, to James' surprise, poems, and scattered journal entries. The man was not only literate, he was educated.

"Just who are you?"

At the end, a letter lay folded in oiled paper, ready to yield its secrets. James opened it, both curious and slightly ashamed to invade the dead's privacy so far.

Dear, Beloved Eliza, the letter started, the hand broader and shakier here than in the book.
This letter is like the others, but honest, where they were full of lies. It then went on with excuses and prayers for understanding–if not forgiveness–for so long, that James was bracing for nothing short of admission to murder, and skipped ahead:
Again I write to delay my return. I have lied to you before about my reasons. Indeed, I was not sick, nor honour bound, in truth I was fleeing. And now, as I feel death breathing on my neck more than ever, I wish for you to know why I never came back after my fortune was made. Why my letters may stop, and why I daren't come home, even were I allowed to grow old.

So, the truth, in all its ugliness. You remember the shootout I mentioned five years ago? My "friend" Armand was not truly well-meaning in involving us. Our interference, under his guidance, was not to help the attacked group, but to finish off both parties and collect the goods the thieves had failed to win.

Again, James skipped a large amount of verbal grovelling.
To this day I feel the shame of this murderous banditry. At the time we were desperate, and God seems oddly unseeing in these wild lands. Still, I shot a man.
He was tall, with stark white hair–but not elderly. His face was unlined, his skin golden brown, yet his features nothing like that of Indians: sharp cheekbones, a finely cut nose as full of character as every courtier dreams of, and eyes the coldest blue! He was a sight, but when he jumped me I fired.
He was not elderly, or Indian, no, he was a
monster. It took four of us, and many bullets, to take him down. When he fell to the ground, two of our men fell with him, dead on their feet without a wound or an explanation! I too, fell in sudden, inexplicable exhaustion. Armand spooked then, and soon he'd hitched our horses on the carriages and we were off.
The riches I told you of were thus taken, not earned.
Now dearest, the reason I will not dare come back to you is that it isn't this man's son who wants revenge on me, but the man himself! How you must think me a liar, a thief and now a madman!
But it was him truly, same white hair and icy eyes who
knew me. At first I ran as if from a ghost. But he shot me, and yelled as I escaped: "I have all the time in the world to find you Samuel Pears! I'll see you soon, I'm on your trail!"
The second time, I had already taken to trapping, so I was armed. I shot him square in the chest.
The demon laughed! His blood boiled and did not flow! I ran, terrified, but the true horror is that I've seen him since, alive, in Port Harris. His name is Hades, just like the ancient God of Dea–


"For your sake, I hope this is a grocery list."

James started, snapping out of the trance this fantastical letter had put him in, and swivelled towards the voice. But his hand never made it to his rifle, nor his feet to their position. Instead he kept turning, taken by gravity, his muscles freed from the strings of his will.
He hit the snow with a gasp. Stepping in front of him was a tall man clad in furs. He pulled his hood back, and snow–no, hair–spilled out to frame a tan face.
One white-haired motherfucker.
The stranger bent down over powerless James, whose last shreds of energy were spent on keeping his eyes focused. He picked up the letter crumpled in James' fist and straightened, ice-blue eyes running over Pears' last confessions.

"I suppose", the man said, "that I owe you some favour for killing my quarry, though I'd have preferred doing the job myself."

What? No! James thought, panicked. He hadn't even touched Pears. But his voice was as dead as his legs. I too, fell in sudden, inexplicable exhaustion, Pears had written. Was he not a delirious fool then? Did that make the man busy tearing the letter into confetti in front of him his monster?

"Don't look so stricken. I'm in a grateful mood, I'll spare you. This–" the man shook the last pieces of paper into the wind, "you've never read. Nobody would believe you, and antagonising an Immortal isn't wise, as you must understand."

"I– I– didn't ki..."

"Oh, but you did. Pears would have seen you in pursuit and think me on his trail. Which I was, just not caring to be seen. You ran him to his limits, and with him dead, my friends are avenged."

"He r–ran for y–years– H–how could y–"

"This is the Wild West,” he shouted, spreading his arms wide, encompassing the world, “your God may be unseeing, but I, Hades, am not. Nor am I any more forgiving of wrongs done against me or mine.”
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 10:49:48 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline bdcharles

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 11:19:37 PM »
The Beanley Public Rainbow (1485w incl title); Option 5; includes some erotica

Spoiler for Hiden:


The Beanley Public Rainbow

The thump of the rainbow arcing over the city was the echo heard around the world. But that had been a time ago, and the sound was fading.

Quote
Dear My Esteemed –,

The quill scratched and scribbled, then was silent. Was it too pitiful a start? The Well-To-Do Gentleman looked around his oak-panelled study. He had never addressed his rival as “Dear”, not for years, and any esteem between them had long since dribbled away. That sort of overfamiliar classlessness was reserved for people besotted with Onyx van Intensity or the other roaming Muses who possessed the power to reduce citizens to quaking piles of rubble. The Rival, unable to hold on to his basest urges, was doubtless one such ludicrous devotee.

The Gentleman’s quill scratched black lines through the words before resuming its spidery walk across the yellow page.


Quote
As noted in the Philanthropist, it falls to me, your Contemporary, to inform you that the theories that brought you such recognition for a brief spark of time are in fact based on a glut of falsehoods.

For the population was still dwindling. People were tired. Tired of complex romantic rituals and unseemly sex acts and wearisome levels of expectation, and humanity had simply lost interest in reproducing. You couldn’t write it, thought the Gentleman with a knife-edge of a smile. What a way to die out. But in the process it had cleared itself of those gummy, pitiful emotions, and the world – or the district of Beanley at any rate, which had never looked so dignified now that people were focussed on the finest furnishings rather than copulation – was well in to the Enlightened Age. The high-rises of Operator City hosted the finest Post-Present Dinner Parties, and the subways loudly proclaimed their Neo-Goldsmithian architectural splendour.

Onyx van Intensity was another story. The Rival had taken to calling her a public service and human right. Could he not see? She was an exotic dancer, nothing more, a holdover from a dated value system. His poor neighbours must have been in spasms as the bottoms fell out of their property values. Had the man no consideration? Still, the rediscovery of carnal enjoyment was over. The Gentleman wrote these words:


Quote
I’m a little embarrassed to have to be contacting you on this, naturally, but your whorish associate, having failed to reignite the population’s interest in the erotic, condemns you both, it would seem, to the status of Fad. Meanwhile the rest of us are currently enjoying sea bass baked over slivers of honey-roast yam.

But something kept gnawing at the back of the Gentleman’s head. What was it? After a moment, it came to him: why, he asked himself, was he even writing this letter? Well, he supposed, what more civilised way to clarify the worry than by putting it onto his Rival. He pushed his internal protestations aside and penned thus:

Quote
You probably think I am obsessing with you, that I need to send you this letter. It’s a formality, nothing more, so don’t flatter yourself that I am not satisfied with the way things are turning out according to latest figures. I shall expect a written statement retracting your loutish ideas.


And it was true. Such condescension was entirely de rigeur. His own daughter, following Eyebrow-Raising tuition at several hundred dollars a session, was said to have triggered a full-blown panic attack in at least three suitors. Rumour had it that one was still in therapy. The Gentleman smiled, and glanced out of his window. He wondered what Ms. van Intensity would make of that. He had never seen her – few had, they didn’t talk – but when posters swarmed up the walls of the city showing a whip-cracking warrior-princess in a jet-black fascinator, she strode into the civic consciousness. They say she came from profound squalor, and they laughed at how she supposedly trolled the back-alleys for change in her black leather boots now.



A mail had come back. It contained just one word.


Quote
Hah!

The Gentleman twirled his moustache and refilled his pipe. On the back of the paper was a grainy depiction of a grimy establishment. The Beanley Public Rainbow, it was called.

It was franchising. The whole gooey, despicable business was branching out.

How was this possible? The Gentleman banged a fist on the sleek pine of his desk, and all but leapt at his quill.


Quote
You, Sir, are a Disgrace, Sir, to all, Sir, who seek, Sir, to revert to a pleasing order, Sir –

The ink looped furiously across the page, scoring the formal diction of the day into the writing leathers. He’d not have Beanley returned to the sticky hands of his Rival, nor those of his Acolytes and their like. But then, what was happening?

Something was at work in the wine-rooms and around Gin-tables. This new puritanism was wearing thin. Yes, everyone had the latest in tasteful home décor. No-one would be caught saying the wrong thing, or being in the wrong place, or standing in the wrong way. But they missed the excitement, some uncertainty, a little earthy frisson.

And Onyx van Intensity was raking it in. She and her new partner, the Rival.


Quote
If you think, Sir, that you will drag us down, Sir, by the balls, Sir, the balls, then you, Sir, are, Sir, mistaken indeed, Sir.

The handwritten reply came, dropped off by a frizz-haired lettersboy not a day later:

Quote
Why not drop by the Beanley Public Rainbow some time? Come on in! We’re always open.

He couldn’t. Could he? No. What would his colleagues think? What would their wives say? He’d be outcast. No. Never. He wouldn’t do it.



“This way, Sir.” The Gentleman glanced up and down the alley before disappearing under the gaudy neon of the Rainbow’s signage. “The Muse and her Partner will be right along.”

The porter ushered him to a chair in a small side-room. As he waited he scratched out another letter under a miniscule bulb. He had no intention of speaking to the Rival nor his ghastly Whore. They could read his notes and respond in kind.


Quote
Now, Sir, accepting that I have indulged you a little humour, you’ll do me the honour, Sir, of acknowledging that while your backstreet hovel may seem to make you a small mint at the expense of the scattered and broken souls of this world, Sir, it is really not fitting, not fitting, no, to –


There was a scrape. A sound, as though someone had slid back a secret wooden hatchway and was spying on the Gentleman. He peered into the dark corner of the room buy could make out nothing. In his mind, an image rose up of her, readying her lash like some netherworld demon bent on vengeance.

Quote
-  to presume, Sir, that your low ways are any kind of pathway to future happiness for the general populus. Why, Sir, when we dine on squealed gack laid with a bed of mountain rice (I trust you know what that is) it seems that others must languish –

A voice. A breathy devil, right at his shoulder. The tiny light winked out.

… mmm … laid … with a bed…

Was it her – Onyx van Intensity? He spread his hands before him like feelers, could almost feel her dark caress up and down his back.

“Let me out!” he shouted. His hands settled on a wooden partition. He slapped its reassuring solidity. Was he really going to be trapped by his Rival here, in a sex club? “Help!”


… help … help … the voice whispered. … fear … sorrow … others must languish …

The voice. That bewitching voice. But there was no-one there. A dread feeling came over him, simultaneously terrified and yet snared by a maniacal desire to see her, to know what she looked like close up. In his fevered vision he perceived – or thought he did – a vast crushing boot, sensed the passing brutality of a mighty hand, felt the leonine flick of her broad leather flagellate.



The Beanley Public Rainbow
thunked on for good at a quarter-past-midnight.

Its seven radiant colours carved a neon glow through the dark sky, heralding that the Age of Puritanism was over, and I am told that in the meth-dens and places of ale, historians babbled over the Gentleman’s letters, trying to decode what they could mean. Did he live? Was he changed? His last dispatch had undergone a general about-turn:


Quote
I act freely, willingly, a slave made mindless with love and desire.

That is the end of this story. The Public Rainbow is still lit and I sign off with an invite, just a small and informal thing, mind you, to stop by any time, no charge. We are open twenty-four hours a day, and we like to think we have kept the world spinning.

My Warmest Regards.


{{here there is an illegible scribble}}






[/font][/font]
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 08:03:19 AM by ScarletBea »
Find me on twitter @jd_books

Offline NightWrite

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2018, 05:57:26 PM »
Gone In the Ashes - 1165 words not counting the title. I chose to use option 2.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Gone In the Ashes
Vasaria gazed down at the letter as she'd done countless days before, hands shaking. Streaked and stained with multiple sets of tears, soot, and smudged ink, the letter hard to read. The creases had began to tear, the edges frayed with age and handling.

Dear Mother,

I hope this letter finds you well, for our home is not. Perhaps you've heard by now, but if I didn't send you this letter you'd probably worry more. Though what I have to tell you weighs heavy on my mind, as it may your own.

As of two nights ago most of Fornyt fell to ruin, brought down by a pair of potent elementals. Father and I had sat down to eat dinner when they'd burst from the ground near the old plaza. Much of the night is a blur. The town guard fell so quick I'd thought there was an army of them, not two. I'm not sure what happened to them in the end. If they were some how killed or they left on their own, I don't know. But by dawn they were gone, a husk full of broken lives and dreams left in their wake.

I regret to inform you father died yesterday morning from his injuries. He had pushed me out of the way during the attack when I froze up as balls of white hot flames sought to burn me to ash. Both his legs were burnt away and severe burns scour the rest of him. Through the pain he told me he loved us.

The surviving physicians did what they could, but their skills and resources are stretched thin. So few of them are left and so many need their help. The hospital was destroyed and most of the apothecaries are in ruins. They did what they could, but the trauma was too great for father's body to hold out.

Don't worry about his funerary rites, I preformed them last night. The surviving keepers offered their help, but I handled the pyre myself. They already have enough bodies to handle. The family shrine is gone, but I made what offerings I could.

Don't return to Fornyt for me. Your duty to Leshlok and our people comes first. By the time you read this, I'll be gone.

I've done what I can to help clean up, but I can't stay any longer.

I keep hearing everyone's screams, keep hearing father's screams as the fire seared him. They haunt both my dreams and my waking nightmares. I can still feel the tingle of flames as it consumed homes at the edges of my perceptions through my magic. Feel the ash in my lungs as soot and pain grips my flesh.

Doubts creep up in my mind, urging me away. Doubts of my safety and, perhaps worse, doubts in the physicians. What if they didn't do all they could? What if they saw father's condition and deemed him worthless? Wrote him off as dead and gone while breath still clung to his lungs.

It hurts, this subtle doubt.

How can I stay when I look at them and all I can think is “You let him die.”

How can I stay when I look at others in town and think “Did they choose you over my father?”

So I've left with a group of survivors set to leave not long after I finish this letter. To Svartal or Kostyga we've gone, but I'm unsure which as of now. I'm not sure I even care as I write. There is no house to live in, only rubble. There is no bakery to work in, just a crater stinking of burnt flour. There is no father to love, just ashes scattered on the wind amongst many.

At this moment I doubt I will ever return to what I once called home, even if I never find a new place to call my own.

I'd come to you, but I don't think I could get to wherever you're stationed even if there was no war. I'm not sure I have the will or strength to try.

Whenever I get to wherever I'm going, I shall write you again.

If you even want to hear from me. Guilt already weighs heavy upon my heart for father's death and my part in it. Perhaps you'll hate me as much as I've begun to hate myself. If I had fought, if I had reacted, father might still be alive. The town might have survived in better shape.

Tofn considers the notion foolish. We'd both be dead if I had tried. I don't have your affinity for combat-base firecraft and working as a baker doesn't teach one much about fighting. It's times like these when I'm reminded no matter how much our daemon are part of us, we can still argue. Even if it makes me feel strange arguing with a part of myself.

Apologies, I've begun to ramble and I know how you feel about such. So I end this letter now and hope you don't hate me, and hope I can one day forgive myself.

Your son,
Botuvo


Fornyt had been in ruin for almost a month and she still had no further word from Botuvo. Her duty kept her at her post, despite how hot guilt burnt inside her. Her son blamed himself for Hyvel's death. Aleki tried to soothe her worries, her pain, when they could. But there was little her daemon could do when their own sense of guilt burned white hot. When they hungered to rain fire down upon the world.

If anything should burn, it should be the letter.

Without a further thought on the matter, Vasaria opened her aura. She could feel herself blend with Aleki as they drew upon the fire within to turn the letter to cinders in her palms.

It was something she should have done weeks ago. The letter might be the last thing she ever receives from her son, but it had become an burdensome anchor over the past month. A searing beacon for her pain and guilt to burn with.

She wanted to grieve, but there wasn't time. She had to see and accept that.

Not when Leshlok was fighting a war on multiple fronts with its neighbors. She had to focus on the front lines, on the war she'd left home to fight in. A home she had left to protect. A home which had fallen without her, but it still lived on. Even if Fornyt was in ruins, she was still alive. And with luck, Botuvo was still alive.

If she survived, Vasaria would have time to pick up the pieces of her broken world after the war. First she had to help win the war so she could have a chance at all.

She smothered any remaining fire in her hands as her aura closed, letting the ash slip through her fingers like grains of sand to blow away on the wind.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 01:23:05 AM by NightWrite »

Offline Norman Gray

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 08:58:26 PM »
I'm in. At 1219 words, I give you:
 The Heart, and the Heartless

Spoiler for Hiden:
Dearest mother,

Torbolt Keep has fallen. Our forces had spent many days and many long nights under merciless siege, desperately trying to hold our walls to no avail; the last of our soldiers have perished. I have no doubt word has already reached you about the fall of Lord Rostad and his army. . . Alas, his kingdom has succumbed to the all-encompassing darkness, and those who served under his command have all been lost. The land of Torbolt has now been claimed by him, the one they call The Heartless, and his ruthless undead minions. . .

I have seen him, mother. We have stood face to face, and I have stared into his eyes, his fierce, pitch black eyes. . .

But I have survived, unscathed.

Though I am certain you are overjoyed to hear that I am well, it is not the intention of my letter; I could tell you of the long, perilous journeys across seemingly endless battlefields, ever marching against an unyielding foe. The blood spilled, the allies lost. The pain and hardship, endured . . But I write you instead with some wonderful news: I have met someone! He is. . . Well, I don't know what I can tell you about him, other than that he has stolen my heart. I will return home soon, mother; the fighting is over for me. I want you to meet this man. He is my life, now. I do hope you and father will be able to approve of our courtship.

Does Stormbrook still see daylight? Or has the shadow of evil already shrouded the morning sun? I suppose I will find out soon enough. Fear not the coming of the darkness, mother. . . It will bring us no harm; I have ensured the safety of our family.

Our journey will be arduous. We hope to reach you within a fortnight. Until then, tell father of our coming, and give him my best wishes.

With love, your daughter,

Margaret

Post script: If you happen to be watching the blackened skies when this letter arrives at your doorstep. . . I urge you, do not be alarmed by the winged beast I have employed as a carrier bird; neither falcon nor raven know how to navigate these unfamiliar skies, tainted with evil as they are. . . The scythe-clawed flesh-feaster was my only means of reaching you. Rest assured, the beast will not lay so much as a talon on you or father. I have seen to it.




In the land of Stormbrook, the darkness lingered.

It was blacker than the mere absence of daylight; it was a permanent shroud that hung over every corner of the world, placed there by a long reign of tyranny. Evil conquered the realm, casting its denizens into fear, sadness and misery.

But this of course, was no concern to Henrik. His mind was occupied by something far more daunting, something far more dreadful. "I'm a little nervous," Henrik admitted.

"You'll be fine," Margaret told him. "I'm sure of all the challenges you've faced, meeting my parents should be one of the easiest." They approached the door to her parents' home. Margaret knocked three times. "Just be yourself."

Henrik shook his head. "Not exactly what I had in mind." Slowly he took on another form. One of an ordinary man.

Margaret scolded him. "Change back, right this instant! You are not meeting my parents looking like that."

"Ugh." Henrik shifted back into his own form. He peered into the darkness. "I can't imagine they'll open their doors so easily. You told them we were coming, I hope?"

She merely smiled, then knocked again.

Henrik felt very uneasy. "Maybe they won't answer."

She knocked once more.
 
Henrik shied away ever so slightly. . . When was the last time he felt fear?

Suddenly the door swung open. "Margaret!"

"Mom!" Margaret practically leaped through the door, throwing her arms around her mother.

"Oh sweetheart, I'm so glad you're back!" Her mother turned. "Richard, come quick! Margaret is home safe!"

A burly older man stepped out from the kitchen. "I can't believe my eyes! Margie, you're really here!"

"You've worried us sick," Her mother intoned. "We feared that we'd lost you forever! Come in, come in! How did you escape from Torbolt?"

"I had a little bit of help, actually." Margaret turned to the doorway. "Mother, Father, I'd like for you to meet my boyfriend, Henrik."

Now was the moment of truth. Henrik stepped from the shadows, and into the doorway. Both of her parents gazed upon him. . .

The look of terror was unmistakable. Her mother screamed; her father merely stood slack-jawed.

Off to a bad start, Henrik thought. He continued to smile as if all was well, and extended his hand. "Pleased to meet you both. Margaret has told me such wonderful things about you."

Neither of them reached for a handshake. Her mother screamed once more, somehow louder this time. Her father stormed back into the kitchen, suddenly reappearing with a butcher's knife. "Kill him! Kill him!"

When the knife point came at him, Margaret screamed. "Dad, no!"

Henrik stood with his hand still outstretched. He resisted the urge to grab Margaret's father by the wrist. It hardly mattered. The blade buried itself halfway into Henrik's neck; it hurt a little, but he kept smiling.

Margaret stepped forward, pushing her father away. "Dad, what are you doing!? Stop it!"

Henrik pulled the knife from his neck. "It's alright Margaret. No harm done." He handed it back, handle first. "Please."

Margaret's father stood seemingly frozen in place. Her mother started to cry. "This can't be happening," she uttered, twice. Three times. Four. "This can't be happening!"

"I, uh. . ." Henrik suddenly found himself struggling for words. It had been a long time since he'd had to make peace with someone, and only now did he realize that he was entirely out of practice. "I can see that Margaret never told you."

They both stared, dumbfounded.

"I understand this must come as a bit of a shock, but I assure you, I mean no harm. I simply want to do right by Margaret." There was a long, awkward pause. "May I come in?"

They both said nothing. Henrik decided it would be better not to wait for an answer. Casually, he entered the home. Her parents cautiously backed away.

Typically, Henrik thrived off of evoking fear. It had never occurred to him that he evoked terror even when he didn't want to. Awkwardly, he sat at the dining room table, putting down the butcher's knife. Henrik smiled. "You have a very lovely home," he said, attempting pleasantries.

More horrified silence. Finally Margaret's mother spoke. "Margaret, why don't you give me a hand in the kitchen?"

Henrik stood up. "I can help if you'd like?"

"No!" She replied, somewhat urgently. "No, no. You two stay here and get to know each other!" She hurried off into the kitchen, gesturing for Margaret to follow along.

Her father and Henrik were left to gaze across the table at one another. Henrik continued to smile, though it seemed a futile effort; Margaret's father stared with a mix of anger, fear and hatred.

"So. . ." Henrik tapped his fingers on the table.

Her father sat down, slowly. "So. . . You're a tyrannical war monger," he said. "That must be exhausting."

Henrik the Heartless shrugged. "No rest for the wicked."

Offline JMack

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2018, 09:23:35 PM »
Dreams of the Silver Tree
1,328 words
Option 2

Spoiler for Hiden:

Government House, Fort Expectation, Farlands Colony
11 Maron, 3,123

Dearest Chalk,

Here at the edge of the world, the greatest daystars are fading, the savvys are singing in the scrub, and the air is cool enough at last to breathe. There’s a drink beside me here on the veranda and a servant fanning me. A gaggle of worried colonists waits for me inside, but they can cool their heels a few minutes longer. Against any expectation of me that our father ever had, here I am, official mage to the Farlands - your sister, cheese to your chalk - in my glory. It would all be so satisfying if it weren’t for the screaming Koldar warriors surrounding our little fort and the plumes of burned out homesteads darkening the western horizon.

I wish I had a letter from you, Britti, even if your last made me want to tear your hair out before starting on my own. It would be a distraction, a bit of normalcy and home. But perhaps the schedule of nap time, and feeding, and nappies, and more nappies can no longer accommodate writing overlong and uninformed advice to your twinsie.

Of course, nothing has come up river during this terrible fortnight. Not letters, not traders, and especially not the troops we were promised. What we have is burning, losses, refugees, anger, blame, fear, and exhaustion. I've worked more magic in the last two weeks than in all our years at the Wand.

I dreamt of you last night. We were in the night garden, tracing starglow sap under the skin of a silver tree. “What does it say?” I asked you. “Bad times,” you said in that pompous voice you used when we were girls playing at divination. “Papa won’t give you a sweet if you don’t come home right away.” Fine advice, sister, if a bit late. Then an awful purple glow filled the sky, like no starlight I've ever seen. I woke up with a sick headache and my stomach heaving.

Nerves, of course.

Tomorrow, I have to call out a Koldar battlewitch and kill her if I can. (That very sentence is so odd to write in so many ways. If you do read this, I can just hear you tut-tutting, right before you scream at me.) Why else make me mage except to have the status to face such a one, other than that none other of the Wand wanted the job? I'm still not sure why I took it. Though if I'm honest, the thought of our father’s face at the idea of me in any responsible position had a bit to do with it. And as he’s gone now, maybe it was about you.

Those folk inside are frightened because they aren’t sure I can do it. They’re probably right, though I’ll give it everything I have, and every strength the daystars grant me. But before I do, I’ll blow a hole through the Koldar wide enough for a rider to make a run for the river. I’ll send this with him, along with various official complaints and some abject begging for aid. We can’t stand long on our own, even if I manage to survive tomorrow.

So perhaps this is goodbye, dear. Really goodbye, not just see you someday. If this reaches you, I permit you a few minutes of righteous I-told-you-so before saying a prayer for me. Kiss the baby. Kiss Conn. ‘Look out from Watch Hill for I shall never feel her grass between my toes again.’

I miss you, Britt, against all odds.

Your cheese, your sister,

Karan

post script: It’s mid night. I tore the envelope open to add this. I dreamt of the garden again, the silver tree, and your voice, whispering from far away. Something we heard of once at the Wand. If it works, perhaps I’ll see you again after all. - K

******

Three Birches, Moorley-on-Carth
11 Maron, 3,123

Karan,

I write in haste. Conn has a wagon ready, and Senwe is sleeping peacefully in her swaddling. We leave in minutes. Flee, I should say. I will leave this letter with the Wand and pray it reaches you. If you ever return from this idiotic self-exile of yours, you will know where to find us. Though whether we will be where we plan to be, only the stars can say.

By the time this reaches you, weeks or months from now, you will surely know the news. A dread new star has lighted over the eastern sea, and everything is overthrown. War, terror, death. Everything that thrilled you in nana’s stories has come to horrible life. I can only wonder what you are living through in Farland. If only you’d listened to me, you would be here now where you belong, anointed mage or not. (I admit there are days that I rue giving up the Wand. Then I look in my daughter’s tiny face and regret nothing. Still, I have a little power left that didn’t go into birthing her. We may need it.)

I dreamed last night that we were together again in father’s night garden. I haven't had such a dream since you broke your ankle deep in the woods behind the Wand and we couldn’t find you until the next morning.

Do you remember the piot that you pretended was a silver tree? You made me do auguries and wanted each more awful than the last. In my dream, that plain old tree was filled with starlight true. Judging by the shades of silver running through it, Primus and Brin were in its leaves: strength and mystery combined. I was about to make up a foretelling as I used to, when you pressed a finger to my lips. “Run,” you said. “Dark times are on us.”  (The Wand never taught us about dream speaking though the Baralet tells of it, of course. But if that was you reaching out, you’re late, as usual.) Suddenly the skies bled to the color of a bruise and the light of that evil new star spread like oil through the tree. As the dream ended, a voice sounded from far away, saying “There’s a secret in the silver.”

I’ve been thinking on that. There was a lecture at the Wand that certain trees and grasses could hold the light of the daystars far into the night. Silver trees were one of these. Mages in years past stored such power in actual wands, though such plants are so rare these days that we never studied them.

But Father gave us that little figurine of Meldwa made of true silver wood. And I'm sure it wasn't in the house when I shuttered it last year. Do you have it? If you do, don’t lose it, sister, even if you lose the nose off your face. We may need it.

You see, I expect you to come home alive and well, since you should never never never have gone. We need you here, and you need us. (Even Conn, though he doesn't know it, and Senwe needs her aunt.) You need a husband, a family. Father made me promise to keep you safe, and even if you are half way across the world and well nigh to the Dream Reach and even if you are an idiot, that’s what I intend to do. If only you would come home.

Look for us in Rina, just beyond Caraden. Conn has a cousin there. We run before the flood. I pray it doesn't catch us up and sweep us away.

In the meanwhile, I intend to dream of you every night if I must. “Different as chalk and cheese,” Father used to say of us. Maybe, but you’re still my baby sister, even if only by minutes . Sometimes it feels as though I could touch you, if only I reached out my hand.

Britt






« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 01:20:28 AM by JMack »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline Feanor

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2018, 04:08:21 AM »
Shadow of Death
  1498 words with the title
Options 3 and 5 (and maybe one other)

Spoiler for Hiden:
The dimly lit hall was the same but he was alone now.
"Where... how....?"
He immediately dropped to his knees as he clutched the sword penetrating him.
"Relax Fenryl you're making it worse."
"Sword?You brought me back to the future?"
"Not exactly, it's time for you to learn the truth.Can you go closer to the Dais?There's a rock plate nailed to the wall just above it."
He rose shakingly with one hand on the hilt.
"Why can't I draw you out?"
"Oh, don't worry about that, you still have plenty of Shade"
He trudged towards the Dais and crawled his way up.Indeed just above the platform a stone plate was hanging.

"The bravest warrior in the seven kingdoms
 to the Shadow will kneel and then be
 defeated by the other half, when the last
 part of shade will be taken then the First
 Mortal will break free from his sharp prison!"

The realisation hit him like a brick.
"You bastard, you're not just some sentient darksword are you?"
He could feel the sardonic smile  invading his mind like a  second sword.
He took a deep breath and tried to focus his thoughts.
"When is this?"
"I took you to the past, couldn't risk your servants helping with your predicament in the future."
Fenryl searched the room with his eyes, he found what he was looking for in the back left corner of the hall.
He staggered his way there and readjusted the sword before sitting at the scribe desk.
He checked the pen and the ink as well as the writing paper, thankfully they were magically preseved.
"It's not over yet"
The sword was silent.Felryl started writing.

   "Luciel, by the time you, hopefully, find this I will have disappeared.
It seems you managed to thwart my plans but in doing so you helped bring the plans of
a more sinister entity to fruition.
   But let me start in the beginning.As you know I am a Wraith, a person that chose to
serve the Shadow.At the time of my birth I discarded all memories of my previous life along with my appearance, part of the price I had to pay.The first thing I remember is the great hall in which our battle took place, I awoke alone with a sword in my hand and knew intrinsically that I was a Wraith, bound by the Shadow to bring others into the same plane of existence.As i contemplated how to best do that I heard or more like felt a voice in my head, the sword was talking to me.Getting past my initial shock the sword explained to me that it was a sentient tool of destruction and it was the perfect weapon for a Wraith to have since it could manipulate the Shade energies within me if I chose to provide them to it.It, also, revealed that it could inject Shade energies to someone it had wounded thereby creating a Spectre servant.
   Maybe I should have suspected something was amiss then but the energies
within me were itching to corrupt other living beings and the sword was indeed a useful tool.
It had many strengths to help me, it's keen intellect, knowledge on all arcane matters and even
it's ability to create Spectre servants but the most useful ability proved to be time travelling.
It could, actually, transport itself and me anywhere in time bar those instances it already existed in due to some kind of time paradox.
   The sword convinced me that if I managed to defeat the Knight of Light the seven
kingdoms would fall to the army of spectres that it would help me create.You were the only
obstacle to the Shadow's dominion over the mortals but you were, also, the greatest danger
to me since you are a warrior of great renown and protected by the Light against the Shade."
   
"I didn't know you were such a gajoler."
   "Shut up"
   "Ok but I thought you would want to know that the Shade in your right arm is almost gone."
   Fenryl gasped and tried to convince himself that the sword was lying but he could feel his
hand becoming more heavy by the second, he was running out of time.
"Your right hand lost Shade faster because you tried to remove me with it"
"Shut up, I don't care!"
" Why are you so frustrated  when I am only trying to help, myself that is, but still when people try to help, you should be nice to them, you know karma and all that."
"If karma exists you won't ever be free"
"Oh Fenryl, better leave the cutting remarks to me, I am a sword after all."
Fenryl tried to think of a scathing remark and as his temper rose the Shade energies within him
stirred.
"I am an idiot."
"True but realisation is the first step towards self improvement."
Fenryl ignored the sword and concetrated.He began moving Shade energy from his left hand to the right, slowly but steadily he felt his left hand go heavy and limper until it dropped dead to the side while his right hand regained some vitality.
"That's a neat trick!I bet you 're fun at parties."
Fenryl didn't bother with a retort, much calmer now he continued writing his first and last letter
to himself.
   
   "I asked the sword for advice, another big mistake for it provided me with, exactly, the answer I was looking for.The great hall in which we just fought, it turns out there are locations  where Light energies don't reach and it was one  of those places.Even so that wouldn't be enough, for your skill in battle was famous so the sword advised me to keep you off balance  by turning one of your loved ones.It was a simple plan, we would go back in time turn a lot of people to Spectres and dropping clues now and then as to where you would find me.I knew you would suspect something but the only way for the Spectres to be completely destroyed was to kill me so you were bound  to come to this hall and that fate was sealed when I put some of my Shade into your beloved Arieh.I knew you'd come with allies so I set traps and put my servants to work so that only you and Arieh came into the hall.You know the rest, we fought and you managed to defeat me with my own sword"

Fenryl felt his hand go numb again so he transfered Shade from his right leg to his right hand.

   "You must have been really surprised when I disappeared like that, at least I was.
I told you in the beginning about a more sinister entity than me, - "You flatterer!"- that was the sword.It took me to the past from where I hope this letter reaches you.In truth it's an ancient mage known as the First Mortal.His goal was to break free from the sword and he manipulated me into doing just that.In order to break the seal on the weapon he needed  the Shade of a full Wraith like me.There's a prophecy about it and everything.I know it seems unbelievable but please believe me for the threat is real.Thankfully that accursed sword made some mistakes while it was manipulating me.It told me you were a person of great importance in my previous life and I know for a fact that he can't lie.The prophecy speaks about the  bravest warrior of the  seven kingdoms kneeling to  the Shadow.I am sorry to tell you this but I AM YOU!It may seem like  a bad  joke to you right now but even if you don't believe me someday you will accept the Shadow willingly and turn into me. Whatever you do, whatever price you have to pay, don't do it!
Whatever you choose to do I will vanish anyway.
I trust you to make the right decision Luciel, Knight of Light!

Signed
Your Enemy, Your savior, Yourself"

As Fenryl folded the piece of paper his right hand dropped dead at his side.
He grabbed the pen with his teeth and wrote 'LUCIEL' in the back of the paper then dropped
it and grabbed the letter.
"Need a hand with that?Oh, I am killing it today!Hmm... maybe that's a poor choice of words."
Fenryl got up, and limped towards the chest in the other corner of
the room.Halfway there his leg gave out and he started crawling.
"No rest for the wicked, eh?"
As he reached the chest he gathered all his Shade energies from his body and with a short burst
he managed to open the empty chest and drop the letter inside.As he lied down, with only enough
Shade to move his head, he looked at the sword.
"I win!"
As the last part of Shade left Fenryl's body she remembered her previous life.
She looked aghast as a dark hooded figure emerged from the sword.
"No."Life left her body.
"Oh, Arieh."
Tomorrow will take us away!!!

The Bard's Song by Blind Guardian

Online Alex Hormann

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2018, 02:19:34 AM »
Nothing Left


590 words

(prompt 2)

Spoiler for Hiden:
To Molly Graham
Arkus Project 2, Berth 1990

I ask myself why three times each day, and every day the questions come in the same order.

Why would you leave?
Why would you leave me here?
Why would you leave me here alone?

And every day I find answers I don’t like.

I can understand why you’d want to leave. That’s the easy part. Even when you left it was clear Earth was dying. Too many people. Too many chemicals. Not enough food and air. You can’t imagine how much worse it became after you left. Nor, I suppose, would you want to. You’ve left it all far behind now, haven’t you?
I can even see why you’d have to leave someone behind as you made your way into the future. Berths were limited. You were lucky to get the tickets you did. Did you know that there are people down here who hate me because you got away? They do. Even though I was left behind like they were, they despise me because my family made it out of here. You don’t care though, do you?
What I don’t understand is why no one stayed with me. Not you. Not Mum, not Dad, not even Grandad. What made you choose him over me? He’ll be dead as soon as he steps foot on Arkus, most likely. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. If he’s still with you, let him know I love him. I love you all. I just don’t understand you anymore.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve finally saved enough to send a message to Arkus. Should be there before you. Waiting for you to walk down the gangway into the new Eden. If the date doesn’t give you enough of a clue, I’m an old woman now. Eighty-nine as of last month. Don’t worry, I wasn’t expecting you to get me anything. Good innings for someone in the North Quad. Or so I’ve been told. Eyesight’s failing and my fingers won’t stop shaking. Got a nasty cough too, but that’s besides the point. I’m not writing this to complain about my health. I’m writing so that you know.

I can never forgive you. But I still love you all. And I want to thank you.

After you left, nearly a decade after actually, I met someone. His name was Mike, we worked the same shift in the Greenhouse. Got married five years later, started a family against the advice of the health board. Had two kids, both girls. We named the eldest Susan, after Mike’s aunt. Then there was Molly, after you of course. It was Mike’s idea, and I didn’t like it at first. But when I looked into her beautiful grey eyes, I knew it was the right name. That was the day I stopped being mad at you.

Mike’s gone now, cholera. Susan and Molly have moved to the Equator for better work. Susan’s started a family of her own, but Molly’s slower. Just like you.

They’re saying that there’ll be another Ark ready by the end of the century. I won’t make it that long, but my daughters, your nieces, will. If I can, I’m going to send them out. Tell them to find you. I hope you’ll get to meet them one day.

So I want to say goodbye, the way I never could before. I cannot forgive you, I do not understand you, but none of that matters anymore.

I have nothing left but my love.

Heather Glock,
North Quad

Offline Carter

Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2018, 02:42:59 PM »
Here's my entry for the month, using option 5.  It comes in at 1457 words. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
A Final Hope

My dearest Artimentia.  Hero of Calvian Bridge.  Empress-in-Waiting.  Daughter. 

I remember the first time I held you in my arms.  Fresh from your mother's womb, you smelled of blood and amniotic fluid and life.  The last time we embraced, fresh from your victory at Calvian Bridge, you smelled of blood and viscera and death.  If I were a poet, I would encapsulate the disparity in verse, something suitably rousing that casts you as the protagonist in a tale of a downtrodden Empire, rising to defend the people from a despot. 

Do I congratulate you or Orlanthe on working out my plans?  After the ceasefire agreed at Calvian Bridge, which of you was it who knew I intended to meet up with General Doriannus Ocanthus and try to strike back at you immediately?  Either way you now have your decisive victory.  My defeat is now inevitable and my attempts at clinging to power are at an end.  All that is needed now to bring this dark chapter in our glorious Empire to its conclusion is the vanquishing sword of a hero. 

In my arrogance, I believed myself invincible, that I could overcome any challenger.  All others had fallen before my armies, before the undefeated General Doriannus Ocanthus.  Perhaps I should have suspected you could prevail.  You always were a popular, intelligent little thing.  Small wonder that my enemies gravitated towards you when you declared your intent, that my allies were so keen to desert me as you claimed victory after victory.  And now you will come into your throne much sooner than I anticipated.

My actions in recent years have ultimately made this inevitable.  Mistakes breed failure.  Failure breeds discontent and in my urge to quell it, in how I dealt with revolt, I slipped into tyranny.  The Trifold Palace.  The defeat at Nuren. The execution of Artea.  The massacre at Parthenea.  Each a footstep towards my fate. 

And so my only hope lies through you.  I am not about to plead for my life.  I will neither insult you nor demean myself.  This is not a sham, a pitiful attempt at posthumous revenge.  Nor is it the final flailing of a man destined for the execution block.  Instead, I seek only some reflected gloss, that through your success, posterity will treat me better than I deserve.  And so I offer you my advice.  You know that I was so often master of the political arena, able to discern ally from enemy and wring advantage from both, to read the populace and guide its course.  And I know you are wise enough to listen. 

You should tear down the Trifold Palace.  After the siege it will be a simple matter to complete the process.  Stone by stone, marble column by marble column, break it all down and return all the wealth it contains to the people.  Turn the grounds into open gardens.  Build a school, a hospital, a temple.  Anything other than the monstrosity it has become.  As long as it stands, it will epitomise my reign and serve as a reminder of the blood split in its halls.  Better for it to pass into memory.  For something to stand glorious and unashamed in its place.

My inclination would be to combine it with a deification.  Nothing is more likely to capture the hearts and minds of the citizenry.  And you have a ready-made candidate.  Artea.  Perhaps my single biggest miscalculation.  The number of those who espouse her doctrine has became a canker since her execution.  They cannot be ignored and my persecution of them has only made them more ardent, more violent and ultimately more powerful.  Instead, learn from the example set by the Expansionist Emperors.

Assimilate their beliefs into our own.  Give her a voice in the afterlife, a seat at the side of the gods.  It will help you monitor and guide the spread of an ideology that could threaten the very foundations of your Empire.  It will allow you to bring the converted gradually back into the fold.  If I had somehow emerged victorious, this would have been my plan.  For me though, it would have been more difficult.  After I ordered her execution, few would have trusted me.  I expect you will find it a simpler conceit.

And now I must turn my attention to the living.  I am not going to patronise you and bisect the Senate into those you can trust and those you can't.  I expect you are capable of deducing such things for yourself and dealing with it all appropriately.  But there are two whose fates you need to consider with care.  General Doriannus Ocanthus and Orlanthe. 

Many will call on you to execute Doriannus.  He carried out my orders at Parthenea.  He is the leader of my army.  He could become the focus for dissenting voices.  Such people are vindictive and short-sighted. 

Doriannus is loyal and well-loved.  His popularity among the armies and the citizenry, among allies and enemies alike, is unparalleled.  His only fault is his unquestioning loyalty to the sanctity of the Emperor.  To me.  Kill him and you risk widespread discontent across the Empire.  Battalion after battalion will oppose you.  There will be no end to it.  Let him live, let him serve even at the far-flung edges of the Twelve Realms, and you will gain a staunch ally.  Not only that, but it will be a magnanimous act, one that gives hope to others who stood alongside me, that their sins too might be forgiven.  By all means impose sanctions and conditions, but remember: an open palm feeds more than a closed fist. 

This will be difficult for you to hear, but I need you to heed these words.  Do not trust Orlanthe. 

I know she has long been at your side.  I know she fights for you.  I know her skills have turned the tide of so many battles.  I know she shares your bed and your life.  But she works towards her own ends.

Since your siege on the Trifold Palace began I have been consulting the annals.  What I have uncovered is deeply disturbing.  She is older – much older – than she appears.  Not since before the founding of our Empire has a demonspawn, a life-leech, strode these lands.  And now there is one among us spreading only discord and strife.

You will find her alongside Martinus, General of the Nine Armies, during his rebellion.  She aided Syrillia in the downfall of the Umanians.  Records even place her in Erapolis when they attempted to secede from Oric rule.  Her name changes in each telling but the descriptions are unmistakeable.  Raven hair to her waist.  Piercing emerald eyes.  Wine-stain birthmark on the palm of her left hand. 

I wish I had realised this sooner.  I would have salted where she stepped.  Burnt all she touched.  Driven her across land and sea with young wood and ancient iron.  Now that you know the truth, that task falls to you.  To do otherwise risks all you hold dear.

Finally, I ask for something for myself.  It is a small thing but important to me.  Do not persist in the lies you have spread.  My blasphemous trips to the Isle of the Gods.  The demonic children spawned in my wake.  My use of Asternum pollen.  I have tarnished my name enough without you adding obscenities to it.  I understand your reasons.  Each lie, carefully thought through, undermined me and my support.  They swayed the people to your side and gave me little choice but throw money and threats at everyone to maintain my power.  Now however, you must be above such things.  There will be an expectation on you to prove yourself worthy of your position, that you are different from your father.  Embrace the truths and your reign and my name can only prosper.

And now I set aside my pen.  I expect you will find this letter while I await my death.  I hope I face it with what little dignity remains my own.  I hope that you will make it swift and not drag it out through trial after trial, denunciation after denunciation.  Most importantly, I hope you can go on to fashion something beautiful from the ashes I leave behind. 

May your reign be long and fruitful. 

Julian Valerius Brassus.  Emperor of the Twelve Realms.  Butcher of Parthenea.  Tyrant.  Father. 

Letter presented at the trial of the former General, Doriannus Ocanthus, for the attempted assassination of Empress Artimentia at the Rubrian border during the fifth annual Imperial Progress.  On display at the Trifold Museum as part of the exhibit to mark the 150th anniversary of the ascension of Empress Artimentia and Consort Orlanthe, long may they reign.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Mar 2018] - Letters - Submission Thread
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2018, 03:43:03 PM »
Letter to a Respected Foe

Option 5    556 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
To My Respected Foe, the Knight of the Clockwork Keep,

This was the second defeat we have suffered at your hands in recent months, the first through your vigilance and the second due, I am told, to your valor. Though these setbacks have delayed and frustrated my plans, I am compelled to congratulate you on your victory in the defense of the Clockwork Keep. I salute you, and look forward to a time when I may ... express my respect directly.

It is said my race has no honor, but in this belief humankind is deeply mistaken. Indeed, we demons have honor and pride far beyond the feeble inklings of mortals. Indeed, these haughty notions are the very engines that have led us inexorably to your doorstep over millennia beyond your reckoning. You must forgive us if the length and privations of the journey have left my people forgetful of their former nobility.

Rest assured, the hour of our Great Recovery is near at hand, and on that day we will take back what we have lost, including such sentiments as honor and pride. In the meantime, I stand somewhat apart from my brothers and sisters, whose time here in your world has not been so long as my own. They have not yet grown, as I have, over the course of many deaths and returns to this paltry world, each time recovering a little more of the selves they once possessed.

It is my understanding that the Clockwork Queen has wound down. Please accept my condolences. Over the centuries, she was, like you, a foe to be respected. She was the sixth clockwork that I have seen reign over your keep, and I am sure any day now you will wind the seventh – a high honor, I am sure.

In the interim between your automaton-rulers, let someone who has seen the ebb and tide of centuries offer you insight into the nature of a world you do not fully understand. The Clockwork Keep is not what you know. It attracts my kind from across the void and traps us here, doomed to be reborn here, again and again, forever. This world is our prison, the keep is the gate keeping us in, and your Clockwork Queen - our jailor.

And so despite your successes, this war is without final hope for your side. We cannot be eradicated; we will simply return. A foe that can neither be eradicated nor driven away cannot be defeated. Think on that as you welcome the next Clockwork into the line of succession and prepare for our inevitable return to your walls.

We shall soon meet, you and I. My apologies on the delay - I have been busy with certain essential activities requiring my attention while my lesser brothers and sisters have tested you and your defenses. Those efforts have come to fruition, freeing me to lead our first true attack myself in the very near future.

I will look for you on the battlefield, knight. You will know me by my mount, for I have a dragon for a friend as well, if somewhat larger and less ... civilized than Ancelagon and the others that guard your keep. If your courage holds, we shall see just what kind of a knight you really are. If it does not, I will smash the Clockwork Princess and beat the metal of her body into a crown.

   -   Malgrachnon, Demon-King

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