July 23, 2019, 05:04:46 PM

Author Topic: A New Birthday Cycle?  (Read 1325 times)

Offline JMack

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A New Birthday Cycle?
« on: December 20, 2015, 04:55:37 PM »
Hi, @ScarletBea, here's your birthday present, just a little early!

Spoiler for Hiden:
SCARLET AND THE HOODED MAN

Scarlet dreamt of a long dark tunnel so dark and so long that you wouldn't have known you were in a tunnel at all if you hadn't also been aware you were dreaming. She kept expecting to see a light at the end of it, or at least an end to these cliches, but that part of the dream hadn't come yet. What's real and what's not? she thought. There was a thermometer on the wall of the train carriage, and it showed 47 degrees. Well how was that possible, when she was actually cold and wanted a sweater. And wait a second, that should be a jumper, and that was probably fahrenheit, which would be... about 8 degrees in the real world.

Whose damn dream was this?

She decided to wake up. And it was a good thing she did, since she sort of had to, you know, pee. Besides, last night's dinner - if you could call it that - was not sitting right. Airport food, yuck. She wondered how Saurus would feed herself and Raptori on a trip. She'd probably bring wonderful vegan breadless sandwiches and no-bake desserts to die for.

Scarlet got out of bed. Her bed. The one she'd slept in since she could remember. The bed that said she was home.

Home was a place she yearned for and dreaded all at once. Except, really, England was home now. Or Fantasia - but that was a different story. But this was her Portugal home. Mamae. Papai. The familiar smell of codfish stew, codfish pasteis, codfish soup, and fried codfish mixing with cabbage and coffee. Home.

(Except she must still be dreaming, because someone was only getting fragments of these details right. You couldn't trust authors to really do their homework. They just sit down and start pantsing.)

She took care of certain important requirements, threw on a red robe and fuzzy slippers, grabbed her book of spells from the bedside table and tromped downstairs, calling "Mamae?" Mamae was in the kitchen, of course.

"Good morning, amada," said Mamae, turning from the stove where she'd been checking on an enormous pot of bacalhoada. She enveloped Scarlet in a huge embrace, then pushed her back and looked her up and down. "You look grey. You know what that means, and I have the cure. You sit." She plunged into the pantry and started setting out the familiar ingredients: sweet cornstarch with lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar. "It will be alright, bebe." She looked at what she was preparing, and put her hands on her hips. "Or perhaps some benzedura. Would that be better?"

Scarlet let her mother fuss and talk. It was what she'd come home for, anyway - to be pampered and taken care of after a very difficult year. Here she could take a break from work pressures, even from the Forum she loved, and do some reading, maybe memorize some spells. It would be quiet. And that's what she needed. Blessed, family-loud quiet.

The doorbell jangled.

"I'll get it," said Scarlet, without thinking that she was still in her pajamas. She opened the front door of the little house and couldn't believe her eyes.

The Texas Gunschwinger himself leaned against the wrought-iron rail, looking exactly as Scarlet remembered him: under a worn cowboy hat, cool blue eyes in a once-handsome face, topping a long grey duster and ending in tooled leather boots with spurs.

"D'ja miss me, Red?"

"Chilly!" said Scarlet. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, I'd like to say I'm here for your birthday party, since you did say you might not be in the Forum quite as much over the holiday, and I'd never want to miss that."

"But?"

"But, that's just a side benefit." The tall Texan looked into Scarlet's eyes with an expression bleak and world-weary but hinting of an interior excitement at finally having something interesting to do. "Fantasia needs us."

Scarlet had to laugh at that. "Fantasia always needs us. It's sort of a tradition." Chill looked a little disappointed at her response, so she took pity on him. "Come on in," she said, and tell me all about it. It there's something wrong, I'm sure Mamae will have a cure for it." Chill ducked his head through the threshold and followed Scarlet into the kitchen.

A pot of scalding codfish stew slammed into the wall next to the Texan's head, splattering his already dirty cloak. "Christ on a crutch!" he yelled.

"Mamae!" Scarlet scolded. But it wasn't her mother facing them across the kitchen table. A hooded man stood before them, holding a sword whose edge was darkest night and whose hidden name was unpronounceable and besides Scarlet wouldn't have known it, so it didn't belong in a 3rd person limited point-of-view dream. "Mamae?"

"Do not worry, Forum fiends, I have not harmed your beloved family... yet." The man's voice was like an open grave. Chills ran down Scarlet body, and must have run up Chilly's where he held her hand because the Texan shivered momentarily before he shrugged it off.

"Ya know," Chill drawled, sliding a huge pistol from its special concealed-carry holster in the folds of his duster. "There's this scene in Raiders of the Lost Arc where Indy is facing down a huge sword-wielding dude. The guy is doing all these fancy sword-wielding dude moves when Indiana just pulls out his six-shooter and plugs him. Ever seen that movie?"

The figure drew back as though struck. "Spielberg? Lucas? They are amateurs! They cannot possibly measure up to my brilliance. I am the greatest -"

The roar of the Lone Star canon filled the kitchen. When the smoke cleared, the figure had vanished. But in the grease of the cod fish stew, a finger had drawn letters that made words that created sentences. And meaning. Except that the grease was sliding back together again, the handwriting hadn't been that good to begin with.

"I think that's a Q," said Scarlet.

"Nah, it's just an O with a piece of carrot sticking out," said Doctor Chill.

"How can you be certain?"

"Well, it's part of the word 'color'."

"That's not 'colour'," Scarlet said. "Where's the U?"

"Scarlet, honey, that's a different thread. This is the Birthday Cycle thread."

"Okay, but -" Then a thought occurred to her. "Chilly, our hooded man isn't British. He's Mercan. No self-respecting English-person would leave out the all-important U."

"Good catch!" The Texan patted her on the back, and reapplied himself to the message. "So, I think it says here: 'Seek the light at the end of the tunnel and you will find what you love the most.' What tunnel is he talking about, and how do we find it?"

"And what happened to the word 'color' - I mean 'colour' - now that we've read the whole message."

"Shoot, don't go all logical on me, Red," said the cowboy. "Think. How do we find the tunnel."

"I think we go to sleep."

Chill thought about that a minute. "Yeah. I could do that. But this jet lag is a bitch. How do you Portuguese stand it." Scarlet tried to puzzle that comment out but gave up.

The two sat down with a bottle of Ginjinha and started doing shots. "We should have fruit in the bottoms of our glasses," said Scarlet, a little muzzily after the first half of the bottle was gone.

"What glasses?" said Chill.

Soon they were fast asleep. Which was surprising, thought Scarlet, since this was already a dream.

They woke in the long, dark tunnel. It was so dark -

"Would you stop with the cliches, already?" broke in Scarlet.

They woke in the long, dark tunnel and took stock of their surroundings. A faint glow radiated from Doctor Chill's marshall's star pinned to his duster, and in the naked light they saw ten thousand people, maybe more. And in the silence of a street lamp -

"Stop it!" yelled Scarlet at the stone ceiling of the tunnel. "That's just plagiarism. You know, Chilly, I was starting to think that all of this is somehow tied in to Atku, but now I'm not so certian. I think we're dealing with an awful writer here, who thinks he's wonderful."

The hooded figure appeared before them, brandishing the midnight sword once again. "Beware!" it shouted. "Do not dare to doubt my writing! I am one of the greatest fantasy writers ever to have put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard!"

Scarlet sensed a memory trying to surface to her conscious mind. Then it burst clear like a bird rising out of a cloud bank. "I've got it!" she shouted. "And I know how to defeat you. Quick, Chilly, cover me while I summon our friends." Scarlet pulled out her book of magic and began to use summoning spells one after the other.

Chill stepped forward, bowie knife in one hand and big ass gat in the other. "Let's dance," he said to the hooded author.

While the hero and the villain fought, Scarlet did the real work:
"@Arry, @xiagan, @Nighteyes, @Overlord, @Autumn2May, @Elfy, @Raptori, @Saurus, @Saraband, @(the unsommonable)Henry Dale, @m3mnoch, @ArcaneArtsVelho, @Rostun, @Hedin, @ultamentkiller, @Lady_Ty, @Nora, @Eclipse, @SugoiMe, @tebakutis, @wakarimasen, @justan Henner, @Rukaio_Alter, and @every other person the author can't think of right now!"

They began to appear around her, one by one, and soon the tunnel was crowded with her friends and compatriots of Fantasia. Choruses of "what's going on?" and "is it a party?" and "look what i did there" filled the enclosed space with laughter and confusion.

"Attention!" shouted Scarlet. Everyone quieted. Scarlet shrank back a bit and mumbled, "I didn't think that would work. Everyone, stop looking at me. Really. It's embarrassing. I don't do well in crowds."

The hooded man laughed. "All you little Forum people. I have you all now where I want you! Now you have to listen to me! I am a major publisher. I have 85 novels published, and I earn more in a day than Stephen King has earned in his lifetime! Bow down before me or die!"

"Really?" scoffed the Texas Gunschwinger. "Now we know who you are, oh man who thought he was king ([urlhttp://fantasy-faction.com/2012/the-man-who-thought-he-was-king[/url]), we know exactly how to defeat you."

"Never!" screamed the hood man. "I can never be defeated."

"Everyone," said Chill, "Treat him like any other troll. Ignore him."

They were in a tunnel with a hooded figure blocking their way, but all the Forum friends did exactly what the Texan said. They walked forward toward the light, and passed right by the screaming, posting, twittering psychotic. As the last of them passed - usually Nora or ArcanArtsVelho - Arry turned back and spoke the magic words: "I'm closing this thread". The figure faded and finally disappear with a quiet sound of nothing.

"hey, look up ahead," said m3mnoch. "is that what i think it is?"

"It certainly is," chimed Lady Ty with a cheery grin. "Come on, @ScarletBea. It's your birthday!"

They all emerged out of the tunnel and into the light, holding hands and signing "Kum By Yah", where they found...

CAKE! Of course.

Henry Dale took one look back and saw something strange in the dirt where the hood figure was stood. "Are those goat foot prints?" he thought. Then shrugged, and turned back to the party.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 05:18:14 PM 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)
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Online Henry Dale

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Re: A New Birthday Cycle?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 05:06:32 PM »
The plot thickens  8)

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: A New Birthday Cycle?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 06:47:08 PM »
It's always the goat. Whoever comes out with the next fantasy book, I will promise to buy it as long as there's an evil goat monster in there. Or a friendly goat. But there must be a clever goat.

Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: A New Birthday Cycle?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2015, 06:49:10 PM »
Ooh, this is exciting. Another trilogy, and NOT a prequel? This has the potential to be awesome. ;)

That also means the next two updates might be between Raptori, Overlord, or Nighteyes. Interesting.
“It’s a dangerous thing, pretense. A man ought to know who he is, even if he isn’t proud to be it.” - Tomorrow the Killing, Daniel Polansky

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: A New Birthday Cycle?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2015, 07:56:03 PM »
Yay thanks so much :D
Loved it!

I think the writer might have used a Brazilian dictionary for the words (that we don't really use in Portugal) but I got them anyway ;)
 
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Offline JMack

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Re: A New Birthday Cycle?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 08:06:59 PM »
Yay thanks so much :D
Loved it!

I think the writer might have used a Brazilian dictionary for the words (that we don't really use in Portugal) but I got them anyway ;)

darn internet  ;)
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)
www.starlit-lands.com