December 11, 2017, 07:19:07 AM

Author Topic: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread  (Read 745 times)

Offline xiagan

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[Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« on: June 30, 2017, 09:23:03 PM »
we proudly present again:




Like last July (a year already? Gosh!) we're going with our story generator again! :)
You can check out the last time we did it here: http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?board=228.0

Note: Due to the forum's brokenness I'm neither able to make the child board I prepared for July visible to you, nor to create a new board.  :-\


Rules:

1. This must be prose or poetry.
2. Go here: http://roll-dice-online.com/ Number of sides: 5; number of dice to roll: 7; number of rolls: as much as you need to find your perfect theme. ;)
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-500 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 next to the 'youtube' symbol.

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

Entry will close August 31th/Sept 1st, 2017 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

Please post your entry below. All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.
Submitting a story counts as published. The author retains all rights to their work.

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

« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 09:02:14 PM by xiagan »
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Offline Rukaio_Alter

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Re: [Jul 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 10:21:49 PM »
Huh. Am I seriously the first/only person with an entry this month? Weird. Anyway, I suppose this is the point where I should tell you exactly what I rolled, but... well... about that...

Coming in at 1475 words, here's...


Guys, I think I broke the Story Generator...


As far as taverns went, the Loctatino Bar was certainly one of a kind.

Originally, the seedy establishment began its life as an actual castle, the noble stronghold of King Bastion the Brave. However, after the King fell tragically in battle leading a cavalry charge into a volcano, the castle fell into disrepair and ruin, until only the stone dungeons and the castle chapel remained. It was decades later that a bright entrepreneur got the idea to transform the crumpling dungeons into a novelty tavern of sort, for guests to drink at after visiting the chapel next door.

And so it was that the Loctatino Bar grew a reputation for the most interesting, unconventional and surprisingly violent clients. It had been visited by princes, lords, wizards and sorcerers alike and, in one particularly memorable occasion, a rabid pack of velociraptors from a time-travel spell gone badly wrong. Clearly the most appropriate place for any budding adventurer to begin their epic quest.

Also, the bar was in the middle of a lake for some reason. Nobody really knew why. They just woke up one morning and there was a lake there. But hey, that’s magic for you.

Anyway, it was business as usual that morning in the Loctatino Bar. Drunkards were drinking, ruffians were brawling, priests were brawling and drinking (which was okay because the place was technically licensed as a church after a visit from Saint Crispin the Easily-Inebriated) and Kevin, the tavern’s hairdresser, was giving a semi-conscious client a very nice-looking bobcut. Just a typical day.

Then he entered.

A hushed silence fell over the crowd as Pero Tagoniss stepped calmly through the doors. The boy looked from left to right, his eyes sweeping across every single taverngoer. His hand rested casually at the sword on his belt and his lips tugged up in a confident smirk.

Then the rest of the tavern promptly ignored him and went back to whatever they were doing.

(They only really paused because it was tavern tradition to do so whenever someone entered. After all, it might’ve been someone important.)

The fact was, Pero was fairly well known around these parts, mainly for his inability to pick a job and stick to it. First he was a farm boy, then he was a thief, then he was a pirate (which was basically just a slightly moist thief), then a wizard-in-training, then an actual wizard, then a witch (after a transformation spell went wrong), a wizard again, a hairdresser, a goat-milker, a velociraptor wrangler, a grimdark-morally-ambiguous mercenary and then a supernatural private detective (which he gave up after learning no-one knew what that was.)

However, Pero ignored all those dismissive whispers, as his eyes settled on the person he had come here to see. His beautiful girlfriend Roma Nictin-Tress, sitting at her table with a disaffected tone.

It was almost a shame she secretly had been a ghost for six months.

“For the last time, Pero,” Roma sighed. “I’m not a ghost. I wore white make-up one time and you thought I was dead.”

“Of course, my love. I believe you” Pero said soothingly. Anything to distract the poor dear from her tragic undead state.

“Forget it.” Roma sighed. “Hey did you hear that there’s apparently a magic item salesman here today?”

Pero gasped. Magic Items were very rare in this land. Perhaps this salesman might have something to help him regain his lost kingdom/restore his girlfriend to life/solve this tricky case/something something grimdark derp. He knew that on his own he would not be able to do it due to his fatal character flaw of being greedy, stingy, naïve, vain, superstitious and/or having far too many fatal character flaws.

But with a sufficiently powerful magic tool, perhaps he might yet be able to vanquish his nemesis. Before she doomed them all…



It didn’t take Pero long to find the Magic-Item Salesman. I mean, for one, he was holding a sign saying ‘Magic-Items for Sale’. That was sort of a big hint.

Still, Pero approached the man with some level of hesitation. “Hello, good sir. I hear you sell magic items?”

“Indeed, I do.” The Magic-Salesman said, piercing Pero with a fierce eye. “What would ye be wanting from me, Pero Tagoniss?”

Pero gasped. “How do you know my name?”

“Never ye mind, Pero…” The man gave a not-at-all-sinister chuckle. “Never ye mind…”

“Okay then.” Pero said cheerfully. “Say, do you have any magic weapons?”

“Indeed, I do.” The man said. “What takes ye fancy? A magic dagger? A scrying bowl? A wand? A Golden Goose? Or perhaps…” A smirk appeared on the man’s face. “A talking sword might be to your fancy?”

“Ooh!” Pero grinned. “The talking sword sounds cool.”

“Very well…” The salesman reached beneath his stall to pull out a glimmering golden blade. “This sword was enchanted by the most powerful sorcerers and passed down from generation to generation to worthy wielders. It has seen more battles and wars than you can count and the blood of its victims has seeped into its very steel.”

Pero was in awe as he took the blade into his hand. “It’s beautiful…”

“Add three eggs yolks to the flour and be sure to mix well.” The sword chimed in an angelic voice. “Once done, add a pinch of sugar and some milk and stir until the mixture is sufficiently moist.”

Pero blinked. He blinked again.

“It also tells ye how to bake cakes.” The salesman explained helpfully.

“Huh.” Pero looked up at the man. “Does it say anything else?”

“Nope.” The salesman said. “Just cake recipes. We think the sorcerer had a sweet tooth.”

“Okay then.” Pero said, placing the sword down as it continued laying out the ingredients for the perfect Victoria Sponge. “What about that magic dagger?”

“Ah, an astute choice.” The salesman said, drawing out a twisted green blade. “This is the mystical dagger of Meggido, used by cultists for centuries in their evil ceremonies. Great dark energies roam within, gifts from their twisted masters that must be handled with care…”

“After placing the mixture in a cake tin, stick it in the oven at 200C for 20 minutes.” The dagger chimed with sinister purpose.

“…It also tells ye how to bake cakes.”

Pero’s eye twitched. “Do you have anything that doesn’t just give you baking tips?”

“Well, there’s the scrying bowl.” The salesman suggested. “It allows you spy on your enemies in their most secretive moments…”

“Really?” Pero said, rubbing the rim of the bowl with interest. “That actually sounds fairly usef-“

“-as long as they’re baking cakes at the time.”

Pero dropped the bowl. “Forget it then. Does the Golden Goose at least lay golden eggs?”

The salesman glanced away. “It lays goats cheese, actually. We really don’t know what happened with that one.”

“What about the wand?” Roma chimed in. “Surely that must have a range of useable spells on it, not just baking stuff.”

“Oh, the wand isn’t magic at all.” The magic salesman admitted. “It’s just a carved stick of wood.” He paused. “You can entertain a fussy cat with it if you want, though.”

Pero snarled. “Dammit! How am I supposed to defeat my nemesis with any of this junk?!”

Roma gave him an odd look. “Wait, you have a nemesis? You never told me about that.”

“Of course I have a nemesis!” Pero shouted. “Didn't you know? She's my villainous mother, who is a powerful cat leprechaun witch of incredible talent! She’s been angry with me ever since I jilted her at the altar!”

The puzzled salesman was about to say something, when Roma leaned over and whispered in his ear.

“He had a weird royal-breeding Oedipal thing going on when he was younger.” She explained. “We try not to bring it up.” She turned back to Pero. “Wait, hold on, if your nemesis is supposed to be your mother, how are you orphaned?”

Pero blinked. “Huh?”

“You told me when we met that you were an orphaned farm boy and probable secret royal heir.” Roma said. “How can you be an orphan if your mother’s still alive?”

“Hm.” Pero pressed his finger against his chin. “Actually, that’s a really good point…”



Miles away, a villainous leprechaun witch was hunched over her cauldron-o’gold, preparing her bitter and evil revenge against a wayward son. Then she suddenly vanished a puff of dislogic.

However, as the foul cat witch disappeared, she let out one last curse.

“Dammit. This is why I hate Random Story Generator charts…”



“Huh.” Pero said. “Guess I don’t need to worry about her after all then. That’s fantastic! Now we can all live happily ever af-“

He was suddenly interrupted by a massive explosion that engulfed the entire tavern and killed everyone inside.

Because, after all, this was one-fifth a grimdark story. And we couldn’t exactly have had a happy ending, could we?
5 Times Winner of the Forum Writing Contest who Totally Hasn't Let it All go to his Head.

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

Online Alex Hormann

Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 10:17:24 AM »
The Cover

612 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
Jessica Winthrop stood outside the church, wedding dress torn and bloodied. The veil was shredded, revealing a pale face aught somewhere between a look of despair and a knowing smile. Her green eyes shone brightly, sparkling with the unspoken promise of a good time. Sleek black hair tumbled down across her shoulders, partially obscuring her tender, milky skin. Her hands clutched a bouquet of flowers – white roses – at her breast. She sighed heavily.
   “Alright, Jess. That’s good. Can we try some with Mike in them now?”
   Barry Paul, the photo shoot director, signalled something to one of his colleagues. The other man nodded. On the surrounding screens, the church collapsed into nonexistence, being replaced by a rippling green screen, fluttering in the summer wind. Barry nodded, then sent a runner to fetch Mike.
   Jess took the opportunity to adjust the straps of her dress. She tugged at the cheap white fabric, but it was stuck on something. Probably her corset, she realised with a frown. “Can somebody help me with this thing?” she barked.
   None of the crew seemed to hear her, but Allison Winthrop, her mother, came running to her daughter’s aid. “Here, let me,” she said, and immediately set about fiddling with the outfit. As she did so, she complimented her daughter on the shoot so far. “But I know you can do better,” she said. “Much better. You need to really feel for the character you’re playing.”
   “It’s the cover of a paranormal romance, Mum,” Jess reminded her. “Whatever that is. “I doubt anyone really cares.”
   “The readers do. I’m sure of it. Besides, you’ll never win the Gander with that attitude.”
   Ah, yes, thought Jess. The Gander. The utterly meaningless trophy that her mother so craved. Awarded to the best book cover of the year, though all the candidates came from the same publisher. “What would I want with a tiny golden goose, Mum?” snapped Jess, taking back control of her corset. “Besides, we’ll never win. Everyone knows that Harmony Quill 5 is going to get it.” She waved away her mother’s protests. “They don’t care that it’s YA. Or that the cover’s awful. Have you seen the sales figures?” She snorted in a most unladylike fashion. “Now get clear, Mike’s coming.”
   Mike Harlow. Six feet and four inches of bare-chested muscle. The sort that made women swoon, with his chiselled features and move star good looks. He had actually been in a movie. Granted, Sharknado 3 was nobody’s idea of a blockbuster, but it was something. He smiled at her as he approached, revealing a mouth dominated by fake fangs. He was supposed to be a werewolf. The perfect spiritual partner for her witch. Or something. Honestly, it didn’t make much sense. But they were both good-looking, and they had ‘chemistry’ on set, so what did it matter?
   “Okay,” said Barry, flicking through a dog-eared book. “We’ll go with a rooftop scene here.  want you two madly in love, right? Holding, staring longingly. All that stuff.”
   Mike nodded, and turned his fierce blue eyes upon Jess, like a hunter sizing up its prey. Jess reacted by collapsing into his arms in a perfectly choreographed move. Her arm draped across his muscular chest, obscuring his nipples for censorship reasons, she tilted her head back and opened her mouth in a gasp.
   Okay, so the book and its cove were the twin cheesiest things she’d ever seen. But she got to work with, and on, Mike, so it wasn’t all bad. It certainly paid enough to keep Mum off her back. And if it could end up winning the Gander, then that was just the icing on the cake.

Offline Bradley Darewood

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Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 10:00:57 AM »
So I know we aren't *really* going this month, but it was hard to resist at least writing something for my prompt:

1 - 4 - 4 - 1 - 4 - 4 - 3 (Avg: 3.0)

Epic
Pirate
Dungeon
Wand
Greedy
Ex-Girlfriend
Hairdresser

The Third Hour (1300 words or so)


Spoiler for Hiden:
The Third Hour

It was the third hour, and time was of the essence.

Eriq stared uncomfortably at storefront before him and his companion, the alternating stripes of rose and red on it’s awning, the shoppe’s name painted in curly slanted letters across the window. It was repulsive, nausea-inspiring like a tart with far too much sugar. There was no place Eriq the Egregious, Terror of the Twelve Seas, dreaded more than Bernicia’s Salon de Beauté.

Eriq adjusted his leather tunic as he tried to ignore the piercing howls of the wind and the danger it heralded. Am ominous darkness descended upon the shop.  Behind them, the sky had become a maelstrom of billowing blue-black darkness eclipsing the afternoon sun. He knew he and the priestess should take cover, yet still he paused in trepidation.

Beside him, the Priestess of the Nine Winds rocked back and forth, her eyes rolling into back of her head as she slipped into her daily trance. “The ocean shall die.  The land shall go barren.  Death shall fall from the sky. The Golden Isles shall be riddled with bones.”

“I know, I know,” Eriq murmured. Malevolent winds would soon carry torrents of burning rain. With it would come the screams of people left to the elements. Still, Eriq wondered, could such a fate be worse than this?

The priestess shook off her trance, shuddering from the cold.  “Eriq, we should move.” There was a coldness in her voice every time she spoke to him.  She knew the end of the world was his fault.

The storm had been brewing for three months, since the very day he had raided the Temple That Shall Never Be Opened. He had split asunder its seal, spread its doors wide and stolen its booty. Since then, every day at the third hour of the afternoon the sky unleashed death and destruction. The sea would churn dangerously, its waters turning black, swirling with dead fish. Crops turned black across the land. People were scared. Eriq… was scared.

He had scoured the islands for every piece of loot he and his men had sold. All of his men had been accounted for, except…

Eriq took a deep breath and strode proudly inside.

The interior was entirely pink—the color of menstruation mixed with cream Eriq noted.  A woman cutting hair stopped her clipping to size the pair up as they entered. She was none too pleased.

“It’s you,” she said with unfettered disgust.

“Where’s Bernicia?” Eriq asked the hairdresser, avoiding eye contact and folding his arms like a little boy.

“She’s not here.”

Muffled sounds made their way through the back door of the salon.  “Christ, she’s not boning your hair-sweeping servant boy again is she? Or is it the bishop this time? The constable?”

“Who she sleeps with is none of your concern.”

“Obviously it wasn’t when we were dating either.”

The hairdresser snorted. “If you must know, she’s having a moment with her wand.”

Eriq winced. “Could you please stop calling it her wand?”

As if on cue, the door to the private offices opened, and Eriq struggled to keep his hands from clenching.  Her hair was disheveled yet as smug, self-absorbed haughtiness exuded from every step she took, every twirl of her fingers, every dismissive roll of her eyes. 

“Bernicia,” Eriq whispered, attempting to sound self-possessed.

The priestess stepped forward with a slight bow. “Mistress Bernicia, if you please—“

Eriq interrupted, with a snort. “I see your pastimes haven’t changed from when we were dating, Mistress Bernicia.”

“If I could—“ the priestess began.

Eriq continued, “Who’s hiding back there in your broom closet?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“Was it when you were cheating on me?”

“And how the Hell is a girl supposed to entertain herself? While you were off raping and pillaging—“

“I was never off raping and pillaging.  I mean, maybe I was pillaging but—“

“Oh please.”

“When I’m in a relationship, I’m in a relationship!

“I have needs!”

“Yeah, and I’m off slitting throats and burning things down so I can steal enough to keep up with those damn needs.”

“You want to know who was back there? Who really satisfies me? In ways you can’t?”

Eriq lifted his chin, knuckles clenched.  “Bring him out.”

Bernicia slipped into the closet.  Behind them lighting flashed in the windows and a deafening thunder shook the walls.

Bernicia strode back out of the closet, her wooden companion in hand, and the priestess gasped in awe.

Eriq winced. “Ew, put that back away. God, do you even clean it?”

“The Wand of Oh!” the priestess cried, overcome with emotion.

“Wait,” Eriq’s face contorted in a confused grimace, “it really is a wand?”

“Yes!”

“It looks like a…”

“It is the sacred symbol of Oh, God of Fertility. When joined with Ohne, the Goddess of Fertility, together they are the source of all life!”

“And what is her sacred symbol?”

“A chalice.”

Bernicia raised an eyebrow, “It was quite a gaping chalice…”

The priestess’s hands flew to her cheeks her eyes wide with horror. “You… took the wand from its sacred cup?”

Bernicia crossed her arms, ignoring the priestess to glare at Eriq. “You were off with your men looting gold.  I just wanted a little something for myself.”

“The wand has enormous power!” the priestess said excitedly. “In the hands of a practiced priest of Oh it can call abundant rains to the fields. The land and sea bursting with fertility! But it must be handled carefully to bring forth it’s bounties.”

Eriq’s grimace hadn’t left his face. “And how exactly does a priest of Oh handle the wand to bring forth—never mind I think I don’t want to know.”

“Trust me,” Bernicia retorted, “as inept as you are at handling your own wand—“

Eriq’s eyes narrowed. “Wait, do you… use… that wand every day at the third hour of the afternoon?”

“That’s when my break is,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You dated me and you don’t even know what time my break is. And you wonder why I dumped you.”

Eriq turned to the priestess, “And could someone handle that wand to bring… I don’t know… death?

The priestess nodded in horror.

“Bernicia, You HAVE to give it back!” Eriq insisted.

“You’re hardly in a position to ask for anything. I already gave you years of my life!”

“It was more like six months.”

“It felt like years.”

“And what did you give exactly? Christ you just sat there and demanded things.”

“I gave you my time.”

“What, you didn’t spend time doing other things—and other people-- besides me? Forget months, try minutes—“

“Exactly, minutes,” she said flatly.

“Let’s… err… go with months.”

“Fine, months. And this is only good thing I have to show for it—“

“IT’S THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE.”

“What are you saying it’s too good for me?

“No, I’m saying—“

“I don’t care what you’re saying.”

“Clearly.”

“I invested MONTHS of my time in you—“

“God, I was an INVESTMENT?  Do you have any idea how crass that sounds?”

The shoppe’s bells jingled as a uniformed man stepped in the front door.

The rage was instantly gone from Bernicia’s face, replaced with saccharine sweetness.  She held her hands behind her back and smiled at the man coyly.  “Why what a pleasure it is to see you again, constable!”

“Pleasure,” Eriq spat.

The constable tipped his hat. “The pleasure is all mine, of course. Is this man bothering you?”

And so the Priestess of the Nine Winds and Eriq the Egregious, Terror of the Twelve Seas found their way to the dungeons. The oceans died, the land went barren, and death fell from the sky.

The people of the Golden Isles became nothing but bones.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 06:45:29 AM by Bradley Darewood »

Offline Jmack

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Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 12:03:17 PM »
1,441 words, and the first I've written in weeks.

Nighthawks, Baltimore, 1947

2 5 1 3 4 4 4
Urban fantasy
Thief
Castle
Scrying bowl
Greedy
Ex-girl friend
Goat cheese


Spoiler for Hiden:
Nighthawks, Baltimore, 1947



Sitting in my usual booth. One of three in the postage stamp Little Castle diner on Holabird. Mary waddles over and pours me another cup. Not much else for her to do on a rainy midnight but push an oily slick from one side of the counter to another with a rag that probably greased the gears of a tank track a few years ago.

Whatever you do, don’t eat the burgers. Owner had this bright idea to use goat cheese instead of good old yellow. Something about a unique food experience, says Mary. “Unique” is an understatement.

Not sure why I chose this dump except for the coffee. Not sure why I stay.

Headlights strafe the interior and a Packard rumbles to a stop out front. Drizzle obscures the windshield, but I don't need details to know who's in that car. Mary smooths her dirty apron. I catch myself checking my haircut in the rust-spotted chrome of the napkin dispenser.

Erin Kennedy shoves the diner door open, jangling a bell, and rattling the plate glass windows. Hitler would have pissed his little brown uniform if he’d had to face this woman in a bad mood. Ex-girlfriend. For my sins.

“What do you know, Bart?” she says. She pulls out some napkins, spreads them on the green plastic of the banquette opposite me. Slides in, careful to keep the paper between her coat and the seat.

“Should I know anything?” It's not usually a good idea to say much to Erin, since every word can and will be used against you, but it's polite to reply. She tips her chin thing at Mary, and right away there’s more coffee on the table. Miracle: an un-chipped cup.

Erin turns her green eyes on me. “Sure, there’s plenty. You should know that Da was moving some things from one warehouse to another.” She pauses like I'm going to say something, but waiting is one of my better habits. “Some of those things didn’t get to where they were supposed to go.”

I think, stuff happens to stuff like her father deals with.

“You should know,” she goes on, “that Da is not half-pleased with whoever took what's his own.” The Irish accent comes through on top of the American sometimes. Maybe that's what fooled me back a few years ago. Red hair, green eyes, style, smarts, that shamrock lilt to her voice. Think of it as camouflage.

She does the chin thing again, and Mary hurries over with a white ceramic bowl filled nearly up with water. I let out a sigh because I want Erin to know I'm not happy, but I’ll play ball. Or rather, I'll play swami. It's a thing I picked up in the desert chasing Rommel around the sand dunes with Patton’s 1st. I won't tell that story here. Frankly, I don’t like to think about it.

Erin slides the bowl between us.

I give her a look. She rolls her eyes and slips a twenty under the bowl. Now she's just another client.

“You have something?” I ask. She knows the routine. Opens her purse and pulls out a pack of Salems. Really? Smuggling cigarettes? Thought her father was into much more interesting things. Not your common smuggler. Erin smirks and opens the the pack. I flick a light. She takes a drag. Reaches back in the purse, brings out a crystal. At least, I think that's what it is. A rock at least. With rock stuff and crystal stuff, lots of purple, lots of sharp edges. About the size of my coffee cup. Okay. This'll be more interesting.

I set the rock into the middle of the bowl.

Trick of the light, I tell people. Just a trick of the light. Rock is taller than the bowl, but it drifts to the bottom, getting smaller and smaller. One time, I set a twenty pound bowling ball into the water. Looked like it dropped down a well and sat like a little marble at the bottom. So yeah, it's a thing I learned to do.

Then there’s something about the coffee here at the Little Castle. I tip a bit onto the water, and it swirls slowly around and around. I guide it a bit, poking it with whatever this is I do. Move it around until it feels right.

Water clears, and Erin tugs her collar against the cold that always comes with this. Leans in over the bowl. Talks low. “Did you think we wouldn’t know, Bart?” she says. “Did you think you were putting something over on us?”

The water starts to shine with little lights. Ripples with a breeze in the stale air of the diner. I’m looking for a certain pair of eyes to hijack. Someone who was there and saw the theft.

“Paddy saw you. And he told Da, and Da told me. I said I'd mention it to you. Ask what you might have been thinking to take something of Da's.”

Paddy Donoho. Rode a desk stateside, while I was sucking sand. Greedy. Hits women. But he’s one of their tribe, and I'm not. Fine.

I look for his eyes in the water. He’ll get a headache from this liked he'd been on a week long leave in Cairo without the fun and never know why. Just the way this works.

There he is. Behind a crate in a warehouse, looking at other crates.  I grab onto him, and we’re seeing things from where he’s crouching. I move a bit so the water's easier for Erin to see. She shivers. Magic - or whatever this is - makes all kinds of people nervous. General Patton never did get used to what I could do.

A voice rises up from the bowl. Donoho whispering to someone but not looking at him. “There’s hundreds of the things. The old man’ll never miss just a few.” We see the crate get bigger as Donoho comes out of hiding and goes at it with a crow bar.

What a putz. Telling them it was me. But he doesn't know about my bowl and almost dying in the desert, which we’re not talking about here.

I pocket the twenty. Erin sits back, maybe a little embarrassed. “Huh,” she says. “I thought you’d…” gets more embarrassed.

I laugh. “Don’t flatter yourself.” Gets her mad again, which is what she likes. Like a car that runs hot even in neutral.

She reaches reaches for the purple crystal-whatever-it-is at the bottom of the bowl. She fiddles around, comes up empty. Looks at me, green eyes lit with a promise of trouble.

“We have a problem, Bart?”

“What are they?” I ask. Count them. That's ten words I've given her since she walked into the Little Castle. It's a game: Can I keep it under twenty. Go over twenty with her, things always go wrong.

“You don’t need to know.”

It's too tempting. Three more words, because it makes me feel good. “You don't know.”

“Well, its Da’s business, isn’t it?” She stubs out her cigarette right on the table top. “Give it over, Barty.”

 “He doesn't know you took it.” Six more, and that's my limit.
 
Now she’s really mad. Because it's true. She took the stone, knowing I could use it, probably knowing I hadn’t done what they figured I'd done, but thinking, maybe he’s still mad at me, maybe he still likes me. But it wasn’t her that broke it off between us. Just how it went. We were starting to be a bad habit. The yelling, mixed in with the sex, the whole thing. Don't miss it, do I?

I pour all the water from the bowl into my empty coffee cup. It's bone dry, and no purple stone. I look into those green eyes; give back her glare as good as she gives it.

“Bastard,” she spits, and shoves out of the booth. The paper napkins are stuck to her coat, and she growls as she peels them off, crumples them up and throws them at me. Door slams, bell jingles, plate glass shakes.

I wait until the headlights veer away. Pull out the purple stone from under the table. Figure I'll mail this one back to her father. Don't need any trouble with the old man. After I figure out what the things do.

Check my pocket for change. Put some down for Mary. Keep a dime for the phone. Erin's number's in my wallet, but I remember it fine. Guess I needed to balance things a bit.

The air outside is clean, so wet it keeps the desert far, far away.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 11:02:26 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)

Offline Carter

Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 10:02:52 PM »
I think I was a bit too ambitious (and lax in writing) on this one so this is going up a distinctly unedited. 

Rolls are:

4 - Grimdark
5 - Thief
1 - Castle
2 - Magic Dagger
1 - Superstitious
2 - Cake

Including title and numbers, it comes in at 1485 words.  Hope someone enjoys it. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
Trust to Luck

1
Spoiler for Hiden:
You look around the room.  Something about it is frustratingly familiar.  Calaban, the magician who dwells in the castle, is known for his ability to confuse and confound.  Setting aside any concerns you focus instead on getting to Calaban’s rumoured knife. 

A door leads off to right.  A bed dominates the centre of the room, the sheets crumpled and dishevelled, edges frayed.  Your hand strays to your luck around your neck, fingers caressing the velveteen foot. 

You frown as it twitches towards the bed. 

•   Try the door – expand 7

•   Investigate the bed – expand 15
2
Spoiler for Hiden:
You push on.  With every step, the corridor contracts.  The walls press ever inwards.  You are forced to stoop.  Every breath is an effort, the space barely enough to allow your lungs to expand.  If it gets any tighter, you doubt you will be able to move at all.  Around your neck, your luck is cold and dead.

•   Use the dagger – expand 3

•   Go on – expand 16
3
Spoiler for Hiden:
It is too much.  The claustrophobic surroundings, the constant, brittle cold around your neck, you have to get out.  Twisting slowly, you manage to bring the dagger to bear.  The darkness around you is absolute, allowing you to focus.  Striving for calm, you imagine being outside, in the forest of Aberlon, anywhere and slash at the air. 

Nothing happens.  Still the rock presses against you.

Again and again you slash, panic overwhelming every rational thought. 

•   Expand 11
4
Spoiler for Hiden:
4
With deep breaths you continue on.  After an age, the passageway suddenly opens out into a cavernous room.  Ornate candelabra cast misshapen shadows against bare stone walls.  In the centre of the room is what you have been searching for.  Atop a plinth and nestled on a plush cushion, is the dagger.  Mirrored candlelight dances along the wickedly sharp blade.

Your breath catches in your throat.  The rumours were true. 

Here is Calaban’s Blade.  Sharp enough to cut doorways from one place to another.  The perfect weapon for any ambitious thief. 

•   Use the dagger – expand 8

•   Take the dagger – expand 9
5
Spoiler for Hiden:
The chair is no different to the others.  The only distinguishing feature as far is the slice of dense fruitcake topped with marchpane that sits, discarded mid-bite, in front of it.   

This close to sustenance, your stomach growls again and you find yourself settling into place, fork partway to your lips before you realise what you are doing.  Around your neck, the chain bites cold and deep. You freeze. 

Across from you is a shadowy form.  It sits, watches you for a while then departs, ghosting through a narrow crevice within the walls that look barely wide enough to admit a person.  The sudden movement startles you.  The fork clatters to the plate, mouldy, sickly sweet ash scattering across the porcelain. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
•   Follow the shadow – expand 12

•   Try the door – expand 14
6
Spoiler for Hiden:
You have come too far to turn back now.  Even crawling forward is better than giving in to temptation now, better than trusting that everything will be straightforward in the magician’s castle. 

Underneath your hands, stonework gives way to softer earth.  Above you, the ceiling closes down, ever down, flattening you against the floor.  Every miniscule movement is agony, scraping skin and flesh. 

The pain drives you on.  You wriggle and squirm for every inch.  A waft of fresh air drifts across your nostrils.  Grass.  Rain.  Ahead you can see a pinprick of sunlight. 

Smiling, you crawl towards freedom. 
7
Spoiler for Hiden:
The door is stuck.  You try to force it open, rattling the handle, ramming against it with your shoulder, jerking it towards you with all your strength.  Nothing works. 

•   Expand 11
8
Spoiler for Hiden:
Your mouth is dry with anticipation.  The dagger feels made for your hand.  Closing your eyes, you think of your hideout, bringing to mind each corner, each item of your hoard.  Your luck tingles in expectation.  With deft, delicate movements, you draw the blade through the air, cutting your escape. 

You open your eyes.

Nothing has changed.  You frown and try again, slashing this time. 

Still nothing. 

•   Expand 11
9
Spoiler for Hiden:
9
Now is not the time to experiment.  Your luck thrums with disapproval as you take the dagger.  The hilt itches in the palm of your hand.  You ignore it and retrace your footsteps, refusing to be daunted by the narrow squeeze. 

It feels tighter than the way in, as if the very walls resist your attempts to pass through.  Rough patches of rock scrape your skin rather than the expected brickwork.  On the way in there was only a single route yet now it seems completely different. 

•   Use the dagger – expand 3

•   Go on – expand 2
10
Spoiler for Hiden:
You follow the shadow, searching for the mechanism with careful fingers.  After a few moments, you release a catch.  A door swings open revealing a magnificent dining hall.  A sumptuous feast dominates the grand table at the centre.  Wafts of delicious aromas fill your nostrils; roasted meats, poached vegetables and sweet confections. 

Immediately you freeze, wary of the sudden bounty.  In spite of the quantity of food on display there are no signs of people.  Whoever arranged the feast is long absent judging by the thick layers of dust coating the chairs. 

You scan the room for other exits.  A dreary door on the opposite wall is the only one you see.  Lined with grime, its hinges speckled with rust, it does not look promising.

Your stomach growls at the enticing meal before you and you think you detect an echoing thrum from the luck around your neck, tugging you insistently towards a chair. 

A hint or merely wishful thinking?

•   Try the door – expand 14

•   Investigate the chair – expand 5
11
Spoiler for Hiden:
Laughter echoes around you. 

“Did you really think it would be that easy?”

You try to search for the voice but you see nothing.  A breeze wafts through, sudden and shocking.  A glowing mist wreathes before your eyes.  You try and move backwards, away from it, but you are frozen in place. 

A hand, an eye, a torso, slowly materialise amidst the thickening miasma.  Around your neck your luck blazes sudden, sharp and unbearably hot. 

“I’ll take that,” the voice says, a hand reaching out and plucking your luck from around your neck.  “I bet you don’t even realise what this is.  And now you’ll never find out.”

The hand reaches out again, plunging into your chest.  You feel icy fingers caress your heart.  And clench tight.  Twist.

You feel no more.
12
Spoiler for Hiden:
The way between the walls is as narrow as you expect, so narrow in fact and so well painted to mirror the walls, that you might never have spotted it without your luck’s intervention.  Turning sideways, you squeeze your way between cold, damp stone. 

The walkway winds and twists and all too soon you are plunged into absolute darkness.  The air is still.  You struggle to keep your breathing calm and even against the thudding of your heart.  One hand remains gripped on your luck.  It pulses a comforting warmth that does little to assuage your rising panic.

•   Continue – expand 4

•   Go back – expand 13
13
Spoiler for Hiden:
The pressure is too much.  Regardless of your luck’s soothing, you cannot go on.  You shuffle back, feeling the way with careful fingers.  The further you go the narrower the way becomes. 

You close your eyes against the spreading panic, trying to remain calm.  You move quicker, jerking and twisting your body to squeeze through the gaps. 

All of a sudden you sprawl forwards, landing on a hard, uneven surface.  You open your eyes.

•   Expand 1
14
Spoiler for Hiden:
Up close, the door is even less promising than you first thought.  The handle hangs from the wood, anything holding it in place long since rotten.  Oaken panelling has splintered and decayed, devoured by parasitic woodworm. 

You put your shoulder to the wood and push.  Gentle pressure yields a solitary, groaning inch.  You put more effort in and painstakingly slowly, the door gives way.  At first it moves on its hinges then suddenly the wood buckles and splinters.  You pitch onto the floor in a tangle of limbs and debris. 

•   Expand 11
15
Spoiler for Hiden:
You continue to caress your luck as you approach the bed.  Attuned as you are to its nuanced changes, you dare not ignore its suggestion. 

A pulse like the kick of a jackrabbit, jerks your head up.  A hairline fracture within the wall catches your attention.  The magic from the luck shimmers the air.  A shadowy image of a figure distorts the air, his hands manipulating a hidden switch.  You smile. 

•   Follow the shadow – expand 10

•   Try the door – expand 7
16
Spoiler for Hiden:
Putting aside your panic, you press forward.  The ceiling dips even further, forcing you onto your knees.  Your luck turns to ice, forcing you to gasp painfully.  The chill spreads throughout your body, the warning stark. 

•   Use the dagger – expand 3
•   Go on – expand 6

Offline Jonathan Ryan

Re: [Jul/Aug 2017] - Story Generator - Submission Thread
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 01:30:23 PM »
This is my first submission in the Monthly Writing Contests, please go easy on me, hope you enjoy.  :)

2-1-5-1-5-1-5

1496 words

The Holy Thorn

Spoiler for Hiden:
Lilith found the silence draped over the Lady Chapel unsettling.  It lay across the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey like a thick, smothering sheet. Only the soft whisper of the wind could be heard, the amber leaves of autumn fluttering along the courtyard in its wake.  The surrounding countryside was hidden in thick morning mist and grey light that preceded the coming of dawn.

The silver haired sorceress was impatient to see this meeting through and return to her grandfather in London.  The old wizard had not been sleeping well lately, screaming and thrashing awake covered in cold sweat, whispering of terrible nightmares of the world set ablaze.

It worried her.

“You’re awful quiet this morning, Lilith.” Bishop Edmund Godfrey said.  The aging cleric came up behind her, silent as a wraith despite his fifty something years.  He smiled as he stopped at Lilith’s side, glancing sidelong. “Everything OK?”

“No, you’re Grace.  I’m worried about Grandfather.  He’s had trouble sleeping the past few weeks, terrible nightmares.  He asked after you though, thinks you’ve forgotten about him.”  Lilith smiled as the Bishop chuckled.

“I couldn’t forget about that old bastard even if I tried.  You should see the marks I bear from his cane.  A stern teacher he was, but a good one.  I’ll never forget his lessons,” replied the Bishop as his cool green eyes became distant with reminiscence, “As the first student of the Vatican sent to study magic, he made sure I was well trained and disciplined.”

“I return to London in a few hours, I could carry a letter for you?” Lilith suggested as the cardinal continued to gaze into the past. 

Remembering himself, he glanced sidelong at Lilith.  “Yes, I would appreciate that.”

They began walking together in companionable silence through the chapel.  Her violet eyes strayed to the high arch overlooking the nave, the faded scrollwork of the tall windows and the weathered stone of the fractured walls.  The vast ruination of the abbey was a primordial presence looming over the countryside, home to many of Britain’s ancient legends.

Time to return another legend to its home.

“Grandfather sent me here to give you something.  A token of goodwill in these tense times,” Lilith produced a long thin piece of wood, almost black.  It was perfectly straight and smooth, the grain perfectly shaped along its length.  She offered it to the Bishop, “A wand crafted from the fabled Holy Thorn of Glastonbury, returned to where it belongs.”

The Bishop glanced at the proffered talisman, his expression unreadable.  The Catholic Church and the wizards of the White Council had been at odds for many years now over the usage and regulation of magic.  Recently, these tensions had escalated into violence.   “A token of goodwill?  Others will see it as a bribe.”

Lilith considered the Bishops statement, the soft trickle of water from the holy font calming her thoughts.  “I joined the Blackguard in order to protect magic and its many artefacts.  These years of tension and the growing animosity between the church and the council have complicated my work, the Councils work and yours too I’m sure.  I am here, now, to try and mend this rift.  The Church and the Council need to learn to trust one another again.”

Bishop Godfrey took a moment to gather his thoughts, gesturing to Lilith to follow him through the Great West Door into the abbey grounds.  “It is difficult when you are young Lilith.  You view the world in a different light as opposed to us older, more experienced generations.  When you come to my age, have seen things that challenge your beliefs, it is then that you truly come to understand the way of things.”

His words struck a cord in Lilith.  They unsettled her.  She could feel something was wrong but knew the importance of this assignment.  She trusted her grandfather’s judgement, and she trusted the bishop.  He was grandfather’s friend after all.  These reasons conflicted with her feelings, yet she still offered the bishop the wand.

He accepted the polished length of wood from Lilith, “Take this for example, we know where it comes from, but what is the source of its power?  What about that sword you wield, Arondight?  Surely not something earthly I would think.”

“I have heard their power referred to as holy fire by the higher Wizards.  My sword especially, as it’s considered one of five holy blades bestowed upon mankind by the White Lady.  But we did not find any special properties in the wand.”

“Yes, holy fire, that would be an apt description.”  Bishop Godfrey mused, turning the wand over in his hands as he examined it.

Lilith nodded as they stopped at the hawthorn tree that replaced the Holy Thorn itself upon its destruction during the great purge.  They gazed upon the beautiful flowers of the tree in early bloom.  Daybreak was fast approaching, its radiance chasing away the last remnants of night.  Lilith moved away, her weary mind already craving the sanctuary of her bed ahead of the long journey to London. “I leave it in the hands of the Church.  Keep it safe.”

“I’m afraid you cannot leave.”

Lilith thought she heard him wrong, but as she looked back her reply died on her lips.  Bishop Edmund Godfrey had the wand of the Holy Thorn pointed directly at her.  The wood glowed with eerie white light but she felt no magic emanating from it.  A knot of fear began to twist her stomach.  She had left Arondight behind, leaving her unarmed.

“Magic must be eradicated.  Its blight upon the world brought to life by that demon wizard you worship, your precious Merlin.  I was sent to study with you, but not to bridge the gap between our creeds, but to learn how to rid the world of you for good.” The Bishop was resolute and committed to this belief.  He gripped the wand tighter, its glow flaring bright, “I am the weapon of the White Councils destruction, guided by the Will and Word of God.”

Lilith barely registered the attack, her finely tuned instincts guiding her ahead of conscious thought.  She dove behind the hawthorn tree, as a massive concussive force of light tore through the tree itself.  It disintegrated into a shower of splinters that sliced dozens of cuts into her skin as she hit the ground hard.

Godfrey strode around the crater were the tree had stood and levelled the wand at Lilith.  Her battle instincts kicked in as she instinctively raised her shields and deflected the assault.  The power of the Thorn was strong but was nothing she hadn’t dealt with before.

She regained her footing and manipulated her shield into a sphere of azure fire, hurling it at Godfrey.  He may have studied under her grandfather, but she was a trained battle sorceress.  His raw power would only aid him for so long.  He deflected her attack but she had expected it, giving her precious moments to construct a quick dirty spell that allowed her to manipulate her inner time, enabling her to move at double speed.

She moved around the Bishop, watching as he moved in slow motion, completely oblivious to her spell.  She ended up behind him as the spell expired, her arms wrapped around his neck as he stuttered in surprise.

“But how?  How did you disappear like that?  It’s not possible.”  He writhed beneath her but her grip was ironclad.  Godfrey was going nowhere, he was at her mercy.

Lilith smiled in satisfaction, “You may have talent Godfrey, and a surprisingly powerful weapon.  I would love to know how that works by the way; we found nothing particularly magical about it.  But I am a battle sorceress; I have years of combat experience.  You should have killed me instead of jabbering like an idiot.  Now, drop the wand.”

The wand fell from his grip as his arms fell limply at his sides, “It isn’t magic you pagan bitch.  It is the Will and Word of God, guiding us in a holy war to eradicate magic.  He the Most High empowers us.  Destroy it, I would expect no less.  But I will return to claim your life.  It is God’s Will.”

“No you won’t.”  Lilith said as she snapped his neck.

His body fell to the blasted earth where she left it.  Lilith snatched the wand up and eyed it intently, judging its potential for ill intent.  Finally, her decision made, she strode toward a hill overlooking the abbey and drove the wand into the soft loamy soil.  As the sun crested the horizon, the Thorn split as roots burrowed deep into the earth.  Branches sprouted from a trunk that ascended toward the golden hued sky.  Green leaves unfolded from their buds with the white blooms of a freshly born hawthorn, the new sentinel of Glastonbury Abbey.

Despite the events of the morning, Lilith smiled as she returned to the abbey. 

The Holy Thorn was home.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."

- George R. R. Martin