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Messages - Jake Baelish

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[MAY 2019] Earth / Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Discussion Thread
« on: May 11, 2019, 08:56:05 AM »
Made it this time. Love it when an idea springs to mind and develops quickly  :)

This one is a little inspired by a game I recently finished.

[MAY 2019] Earth / Re: [May 2019] - EARTH - Submission Thread
« on: May 11, 2019, 08:35:31 AM »
A Flower in the Chaos

1500 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
Embers died in the cold of night. The destruction of the forest, the death of the blaze, would fizzle into memory, forgotten beneath the sprawl of man’s domain. This I knew. I knew what would be then as I know it now. I knew it as I, the last of the forest’s Earth Fairies, glared up through dying eyes at the malicious shadow of man’s great boot. It crushed me deep, deep into an earth still weeping from the burns. I was buried for the longest time. Long enough to feel I’d never see the blessed light of day again. Until the day Haruka came.


Neo-Darrowfell. A metropolis that reaches from the bleached shores of the western sea, to the treacherous rocks of the Easterly Straits. In antiquity such a stretch would’ve been considered a kingdom. Today it stands at the heart of the Continental Republic, the pivot around which the world turns. At its height it looks over mountains, glowing as though a galaxy born on earth. Cities within the city conjoin via great bridges connecting concrete islands in a colossal spectacle of godly engineering. At the base of all this, a shadow world, itself lit with an even greater concentration of artificial light, powered by a presumed limitless stream of off-world energy. The people of Neo-Darrowfell enjoy the boundless fruits of endless prosperity. This is the city that never dies, whose growth is inexorable. There are few prouder people than those who walk its slick and snaking streets, from whatever walk of life.

Most people, anyway. Haruka never felt that way.

The girl, an eleventh grade introvert lost in her mind’s own fantasies, ambles around the shadow world looking for anywhere to find tranquillity in the expanse of excess that imprisons her. In due course she finds it, in the shape of a rare abandoned lot, cordoned off by a series of high rising fluorescent panels that blend in with the brilliant surroundings. Only, one panel seems particularly dark. On further inspection Haruka finds the panel has been flattened, allowing access to the lot. And with life lit and buzzing behind her, she steps into a secret spring of solitude beneath the soaring circus.

A discarded sign of the ‘Magician’s Chaos Casino’ lies amid the remaining rubble. That it’s been gone several months already without being replaced is surprising. Less surprising is the pileup of trash inherited from careless passers-by. Not that they’d ruined a scene worth preserving. Natural beauty had abandoned Darrowfell before Haruka was born, as it had most of the First World.

Haruka dumps herself by a build-up of bottles gathered in the centre of the lot. The noise remains, she can’t escape that. And the atmosphere above shines with the radiance of progress. Still, she smiles at the emptiness surrounding her. For all the money spent on reaching higher, lighting the shadows and contacting people worlds away; she’d not find happiness like this.

Then, she saw it.

Haruka had heard of flora. Or flowers, plants, trees; whatever you want to call them. But to see one! You’d have to be pretty well-endowed to afford a cross-galaxy trip to do that.

It was unmistakable though. What else had such a delicate looking stem and beautiful pale blue petals? The plastic garbage in stores didn’t count – they wouldn’t sway so softly in the breeze in any case.

By sheer instinct the girl reaches out to grab it, to pluck it, and amaze her classmates and family who mock her dreamy talks of a world that was.

I scream. The girl flinches and withdraws her unwitting murderous paw.

 “Who was that?” the girl asks, full of fear and wonder.

“It is me,” I say. “The one you were about to kill. The flower.”

Haruka frowns but draws nearer. “They never told us flowers can talk.”

“All life has a voice. Only, most can never hear us. Even in my time, your people had long ignored our cries. Yet… you can hear me now. Little girl, what is your name?”

“I’m sixteen,” she protests, “hardly little. My name’s Haruka.”

“Your life is a footnote in time. I’ve lain here for millennia. Waited as men’s castles rose and fell. Waiting for someone like you.”

“Why me?”

“Someone who can care. Someone who can restore what was lost. This world has become dark and devoid of life.”

“Then you’ve come to the wrong person. I’m just a student. What can I do?”

“Feed me. Help me regain the strength to bring beauty back to this world.”

“What do you need? Water? I don’t have any with me, but… wait, there’s…”

Haruka scrambles among the empty bottles and removes one still half full. She unscrews it and sprinkles a little over me. The rush is euphoric; my petals open a fraction wider.

“You’ve no idea the weight that has shifted,” I say. “Please, come again. Daily, if you can. I cannot go further without you, Haruka.”

The girl nods – the severity of her expression lifts my spirits. All this time has not been wasted, the right one has come.


Haruka returns without fail, each and every day. Two weeks pass in which two more buds sprout from my stem. The strength floods back with each welcome drop of water. Haruka’s sternness melts away within days on seeing the product of her efforts. She even finds time to clear out the garbage, including the wretched casino sign. Our bond grows as we do. Within a month she seems more determined, more upbeat, and more open.


Then, everything changes.

Haruka arrives at the same time as usual, backpack over her shoulder, containing all she ever needs. Today, however, she is not the first. A group of hard-hatted men surround me; their humming machines line the far side of the lot, where the panels have been removed.

“What are you doing here, little girl?” the leader says.

Haruka’s heartbeat quickens, it sends vibrations through the earth. “I came to see my friend,” she says.

The man frowns, perplexed, “Ain’t no one here sweetheart. Go on home; don’t want you getting hurt.”

“Please,” she says, “look, there she is.” She runs past the tall man and crouches by me. “They’ve grown so much. It’s the only one like it – in the whole world, I think. You have to leave.”

The man sighs. “Just take the bloody thing and go home. I’m not paid to take care of plants and we have to start work here right now.”

Haruka stands, fists clenched. “I refuse. There are enough buildings in this city. There is nothing like this. If you want me to leave, you’ll have to remove me by force.”

A snarl. “What the fuck? Fine. Get her out of here.”

Two of his colleagues seize her.

“Let go of me!” she yells, pulling free.

The big man grabs her now. They struggle, he barely has to try. Eventually, with the girl tangled in his arms, he yelps. “Fucking bitch bit me!” he growls, throwing her into the rubble.

Haruka recovers on all fours; she’s dizzy, and her head is grazed. “You, hurt me. You bastard.”

The big man reaches down to me, to my stem. It breaks with a snap. It hurts just a bit.

He flicks it at the child. “Go tell your mum about it. I got more important things to deal with.”

“NO!” she cries, taking me in her palms. “You killed them!”

The man ignores her. “Come on. Brat’ll leave when the engines start.”

“I’m sorry,” she says, and starts sobbing. Her tears do nothing. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.”

“It’s all right,” I say. “This is not my body. My roots go deep. Thanks to you, I’m ready now. Don’t cry, Haruka. Draw a deep breath, and don’t cry.”

The girl inhales. My energy pulls from the earth and flows into my saviour. We become one. The girl rises with the power she feels. Together, we reach out to our assailants.

 “STOP!” we scream. Beneath, there is a tremendous cracking only we can sense.

“Fuck – again?”

They approach us, naught but annoyance in their faces. The earth braces.

“We said STOP!”

“Who the fuck is we?”

The girl screams and strikes the earth. The ground breaks, as the forces of a dozen ancient, trunk-like roots burst through the surface. The cries of the men are silenced as those roots shoot through torsos, sending blood splattering, fertilising the newly released soil. The bodies are engulfed in a rolling, roaring wave of twirling roots and vines. Screams cry out beyond the lot as people see the events within. The earth is not done, however. The soil freshly risen softens and swallows up the departed men’s machines. Our appetite unsatisfied, we reach further and watch the roads crumble away around the lot. Soon buds will litter the cracked and opened streets and great towers will fall. We cannot devour indefinitely; our energies have their limits. Neo-Darrowfell won’t forget though. The reclamation has begun.

[APR 2019] Erotica / Re: [Apr 2019] - Erotica - Voting Thread
« on: May 07, 2019, 08:45:19 AM »
Voted  :)

I watched number 4 and

Spoiler for Hiden:
it felt disjointed and clunky!
Secrets? What are they? No one can keep a secret, for crying out loud!
And Brienne would never change so much to be crying at Jaime leaving, that's just not her personality!
How did they manage to get Missandei, and know how important she was?
And are we at the point of "a man will be better at the job"? Really?

From a passive 'viewer who just wants to be entertained' stand point - this season has been great.

But some things seem pretty inane:

-WTF was that pointless Dothraki death charge in Ep3? No sense in that attack at all - especially if it was just going to trigger Danny so easily...

-Also, despite being impulsive, insane and arguably idiotic in some cases; Cersei and Euron seem to have (with their failed maester ally) come up with the most effective, destructive, lethal weapon in thousands of years, in a seemingly VERY short space of time; a bigger version of a common weapon...

Those giant crossbows - amazing no one came up with them before when the Greyjoys were tearing up the coasts and dragons kept 7 kept seven kingdoms in toe. Considering they can wipe out ships in no time, penetrate dragon skin as if it were paper AND, apparently, be SO EASY to use that medieval men with NO experience of surface to air combat can land 2-3 perfect hits without missing once - WTF did they practice on?

All a little bit too convenient for plot purposes imo. As was Missandei's capture.

Still, from a purely passive pov, it remains thoroughly enjoyable  ;)

Thanks for the vote @ScarletBea and congrats Cell!

I went with Alex's story in the end, for it's mythical tone. I also VERY nearly went with Rukaio's, it was really brilliantly played with. But in the end Alex's tone and sticking with the structure won out  :)

Should have time for this month's contest - I hope  :)

[APR 2019] Erotica / Re: [Apr 2019] - Erotica - Discussion Thread
« on: April 28, 2019, 09:23:30 AM »
Yeah, thinking I'm not going to have anything for this one. I had an idea but it wasn't doing it for me. I really wanted to, since this would have been my 10th on the run but I'm waving the white flag this time.

Look forward to reading the entries of others  :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: April 24, 2019, 10:40:59 AM »
Finally got to some of the recommendations from people here.

Firstly, read Swordspoint on the recommendation of @cupiscent and absolutely loved it. Only took me a few days (and a good chunk of a flight) to get through. Totally recommend it; it has a great mystery running through it, as well as fast paced action along with a sweet slice of romance.

Currently just over halfway through A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, suggested by @J.R. Darewood and it is incredible! This is a book I feel I've been looking for for a long time. It needs to be a TV series, or a movie at least. I think the world is ready for it  :)
There's a sequel to A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, it's called The Ladies Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Tremontaine is a series of short works, a couple written by Ellen Kushner herself, in and around the world Swordspoint was set in.

I finished GG today, flew through to the end  ;D

Ladies Guide is definitely on the list TBR soon (And I'll be picking up a Gentleman's Guide to Getting Lucky, a novella following up on AGGTVAV, as soon as it's out this Autumn!)  :)

Will also look into the Tremotaine books too, thanks!

Just voted. All good, but two of them I really, really enjoyed, and were completely different! Wasn't easy to choose.

Now need to find time in this next week to get my erotic story finished - I have a plan, a weird one, hopefully we'll get there in time  :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: April 23, 2019, 06:24:07 AM »
Finally got to some of the recommendations from people here.

Firstly, read Swordspoint on the recommendation of @cupiscent and absolutely loved it. Only took me a few days (and a good chunk of a flight) to get through. Totally recommend it; it has a great mystery running through it, as well as fast paced action along with a sweet slice of romance.

Currently just over halfway through A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, suggested by @J.R. Darewood and it is incredible! This is a book I feel I've been looking for for a long time. It needs to be a TV series, or a movie at least. I think the world is ready for it  :)

Shock 4-way tie!  ;D

Nice to say I'm part of this 'first' (if it is!), so thanks to those who voted for Snow  :)

I enjoyed all the stories, but @Rukaio_Alter got my vote for making me chuckle a few times. Funny story  :D

The Study

1500 Words

Spoiler for Hiden:
The door lurched inward before the boy’s knuckles had time to graze the door. The face that peered out, red with rage and agitation, forced the youngster back a step.

“Niklas!” the man snapped, “If you knock one more time, I’ll…”

“Sorry, Father,” said the boy. “It’s just… I haven’t seen you in weeks; and now you lock yourself away. I thought it’d be different when you got back.”

The man in the room, fingers gripping the door like a shield, softened in his posture. “Son. Son, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be too long now. Please, just wait in your room and I’ll call you shortly. I should’ve answered you sooner. Just wait. Can you do that for me?”

The boy nodded with no expectations.

Back on his bed, Niklas contemplated his slightly scuffed knuckles. He had knocked a little too much; no wonder Father had been angry. Still; what was he hiding in that study of his? Nothing for weeks and then home he comes with that grand mirror and has it locked up with everything else he’d stowed away in there. Niklas needed to know.

Sometime later came a creaking on the upstairs hallway signalling his father’s departure. He waited to be called, lest he trigger another hiding. When he never was he crept toward his own slightly ajar bedroom door and peeked outside. His father shut the door to his study and strode across the hall before vanishing down the stairs.

Only, he hadn’t locked the door.

Niklas’s breath caught. Father always locked that door. This had to be a mistake! Had he forgotten in his anger at before? Was he so hurried to be off on some other errand? Would he be weeks before showing himself again?

It didn’t matter. The door was unlocked. The front door slamming shut snapped Niklas back to the reality of the situation. This was the only chance he’d get.

He left his room and slipped quietly across the landing to his father’s – now vacant – study.

While reaching for the worn, brass knob that had been forbidden all his life, the world seemed to still. All he heard in his mind was his thundering heartbeat, which drowned out the protestations of the man who wasn’t there. A gasp escaped the boy as his cold and clammy palms slid over the smoothness of the knob – and twisted.

Unbelievably, the door swung in and a gust of dusty, antique air flew out. It smothered Niklas’s senses; it invited further trespass.

Candles remained lit in bulbous glass containers mounted along the walls. They lit a room of impossible scale. The place could hardly be called a hall, but it was at least twice the length and width a room ought to be in a house like that Niklas lived in. It simply couldn’t be.

The gloomy light cast shadows from ancient fittings. Among the antiquities stood a chest of drawers, an ornate desk, a towering wardrobe, and – what Niklas could only think of as – a treasure chest. He reached out first for one of those drawers. Surprisingly the handle was warm to touch, and oddly oily. On opening came a wisp of ‘mist’ and the sounds of something like a sea creature lurking deep within. Mesmerised, Niklas gawped into the darkness of the drawer as the source of the sound drew nearer. A burst of moist, muggy air forced a blink; startled, the boy rammed the drawer back home. A groan rumbled from inside.

Niklas, trembling, waiting to awaken, frowned at what he thought he’d heard.

What was going on in here?

His attention next fell upon the chest. A chest was filled with treasure; so all his knowledge of pirate stories informed him. By sheer chance, the key hung beside the chest. Niklas slotted it in and quickly raised the lid a tad. A tad was enough for whatever it held to scratch and rattle its way up the side of the box. The boy thumped the lid back down. The key twisted in the lock while the creature banged so hard the chest itself rattled a few inches across the floor, before going still.

Niklas, now sweaty and somewhat frightened, decided it best not to touch anything more. His father had clearly had good reason to keep him from this place. He skipped past the wardrobe to the desk.

Open on the desk, itself caked in dust, was a book of ancient and immense form. A quill lay beside it. Niklas scanned the fresh ink, the mark of his father’s recent scrawling. It read, “the Formless… brought in this afternoon… particularly dangerous… can’t be seen!... dangerous when looked upon… safe in the darkness…”

What in the gods’ names was a ‘formless’?

The mirror caught Niklas’s eye, set off just to the right – previously hidden by the wardrobe. The body length furnishing hung on a vertical pivot and now faced the wall, though he recognised its shape. He flipped the oaken panel and gazed upon his reflection – cast dim in the low light of the corner.

Clouds of smoke sifted and swirled, smudging him from the glass, replaced by a form of shadow near impossible to describe. And it spoke. “You would disturb me already?”

Niklas, baffled at the speaking mirror, could only respond with, “What are you?”

A flicker of light, then, “You – are you? – You’re Geraint’s boy, aren’t you?”

“You know my father?”

“As if you don’t know. He is why I’m here. Come closer, boy.”

Niklas almost did, though paused and said, “If my father put you here, it must be for good reason. I’ll stay where I am.”

Something shimmered. “Smart boy.” And faded. Niklas squinted before tendrils flowed from the mirror. He yelped only when they wrapped themselves snake-like around him.

The wispy appendages somehow held fast despite the struggles and tugging of their prisoner.

“Let me go!” the boy ordered.

No response came. The tendrils slithered within and about his form: clinging to his fingers and fingernails, slipping in his ears and through his nostrils, tethering themselves to his navel and sliding into his eye sockets. The boy would’ve screamed but scream he could not as the things ran down his very throat. They moulded themselves to him. Tightening. Suffocating.

And the scratching feeling – an impossible thing for something barely tangible! They gripped hardest now around the left eye; suckering, scraping. Niklas squeezed his eyelids shut – a futile gesture that did nothing to stop the blast of numbness that followed.

A moment. A moment came in which all pressure faded. He opened his eyes, but saw only from the right. The numbness killed all vision in the left and panic rapidly set it. “What happened?” the boy’s voice faltered. “What did you do to me?”

“At peace, boy,” said the Formless. “This is just the start.”

Niklas tried to shift yet the pressure soon resumed. As the demon engulfed him again, seeking purchase for more parts, he prayed silently for help.

A bang. Something from behind. Some one.

“Release him!” The command boomed from the door. Geraint had returned.

“You’re too late, trickster!” hissed the Formless.

Words came from his father that the boy had never heard. In a language he didn’t recognise. A blast of light struck the mirror and the hold on Niklas failed. The tendrils slithered back into the glass, letting the boy slump before it.

Geraint rushed forward and took his boy in his arms. He made no attempt to hide the wand he discarded beside them. “Are you all right? Oh gods! Your eye! What else did it take?”

“Nothing,” Niklas said, fighting back the tears. “I think. Father, will I ever see from my left eye again?”

Geraint shook his head. “I’m sorry, son. What’s gone is gone. This is my fault. I should’ve told you sooner. I wanted to protect you! You’d have had to know eventually anyway.” He paused, noticing his son glaring at the demonic form in the glass.

Niklas shuddered at the skulking shadow, and swallowed the bile that came with the sight of his own left eye peering back at him – dangling sadly from that frightful, smoky form.

“Why did you come back?” the boy moaned; the father rattled his keys in response. Then, “You’re… a what? A wizard?”

Geraint nodded, guilt painted his expression.

“What would’ve happened if you hadn’t come?”

“It’d have regained a physical state. I’d have lost you. And I’d have to leave your mother again.”

Niklas scowled at the mirror. “I think we should put this back. Let’s never touch it again.”

“Of course. As you say. Well, now you know about this place, I’ll have to make sure you know all about the secrets we keep here; since one day they’ll be yours to keep.”

The boy leered at his old man.

“What? Well, maybe not just yet, then. Ah, and son… You didn’t open the wardrobe, by any chance, did you?”

The boy shook his head.

“Gods be thanked…”

I really like this theme. And already settled on an idea. Lovely, given the struggles of the last two months' themes  :o :P

Now just need to find time to write it  :)

same. got the wheel all sorted and the first 100 words or so inked down, but whether I'll manage to banish my demons and actually write anything in time is up in the air.

Hope you're making progress  :)

After a hectic start to the month, I've managed to complete the first draft. I like the story, now just need to get the writing right  :P

I really like this theme. And already settled on an idea. Lovely, given the struggles of the last two months' themes  :o :P

Now just need to find time to write it  :)

[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Voting Thread
« on: March 05, 2019, 07:11:34 AM »
Wow this is such a nice surprise!!!! I'm working on some project proposals all weekend and while short stories are totally unrelated to what I'm doing, all your nice words really lifted my ailing self-esteem and self-doubt. Thanks for the kindness!
Spoiler for Hiden:
especially Jake, that was very sweet. My muse does not like to follow rules, so I end up posting my stories that do not qualify in the discussion sections about 50% of the time!

I had a 4-way tie for who I liked, and in all honesty I debated changing my vote almost every time I logged in.

@Jake Baelish I loved yours because a story about farts is just beyond perfect and right up my toilet-humored alley

@Cell18 you did a really phenomenal job of hitting the theme on the head with a parable-esque story; I enjoyed the feel of it all

@JMack is the master of voice (as usual) and I loved your gentlemanly rivals letting the claws out

@OnlyOneHighlander you really deserved my vote as well, but I only had 3.  Honestly yours was probably the best put together and you had a very clean arc... though I guess I edged it out because it didn't nail the theme quite as solidly as the other three.  Give me 30 seconds and I woulda put it back in tho.

Another one I didn't vote for but really enjoyed was @Carter 's story.  I really frequently like your writing, Carter, and I loved the worldbuilding you did this time around! I wish you had 10,000 more words to develop that idea further!

I appreciate those snippets you give us in those discussion thread too, J.R.  :D

Also, thanks for making me not the only one who can appreciate the acquired taste of finding flatulence at least mildly amusing  ;D

[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Voting Thread
« on: March 02, 2019, 04:23:15 AM »
Congrats @J.R. Darewood. I think you've only posted a couple of times since I started doing this, and I've loved your stories both times - please do more  ;) :P

Any story that elicits an emotional response is a winner for me, and I had tears in my eyes reading the father's realisation he had to go to save his daughter. Despite not being much of a sci-fi fan (Star Wars aside) that alone made it my number one.

Also voted for @JMack  and @Jenny HJ
Loved trying to figure out what was going on in the room along with the MC; although I agree with Scarlet - what was that ending???

Jenny, your spiders were sweet and I felt so bad for them. Another great sci-fi story  :)

Almost went with @OnlyOneHighlander  too. It was really well written and enjoyed it a lot!

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