Screaming Idiot – One Last Bottle Before I Go
Oh man, I really hosed up; he was sitting by the docks, so drunk he'd shat himself, finishing one last bottle of cheap whiskey. I really dropped the ball there -- I'm sorry! Thank you for the critique, Ent.
Dark and Stormy Crits from week 132
Yeah, I kinda kicked myself immediately after submitting. At the time I thought it was clever, but in hindsight I realize it was Dumb And Bad. I've never written noir -- hell, never read it -- so I relied on cliché to carry me. Thank you for the crit, SH.
|# ? Feb 19, 2015 00:26|
|# ? Oct 3, 2022 08:09|
Eivali, the jewelled whale, is the god of buried wealth, forgotten ruins and underwater shipwrecks. Patron deity of miners and treasure hunters, it swims through water and earth alike, revealing sunken ships and underground riches only to those deemed worthy.
|# ? Feb 19, 2015 01:20|
To reaffirm that I'm in, I bring you my god.
for people who don't like reading, it's a two-headed lion vengeance god* with human arms
*made out of bronze
Djeser fucked around with this message at 03:53 on Feb 19, 2015
|# ? Feb 19, 2015 03:15|
Crit for newtestleper:
The judges mentioned clarity issues on this one, but I didn't think it was too bad. From what I gathered, you've got a gangster / truck driver illegally dumping cancer-causing medical waste for profit, and a crooked cop is taking a bribe to look the other way even though his mother died of cancer. I think that's a pretty slick set-up for a story, and you pull it off well. The tension doesn't really ramp up until the end, so it would be nice to get a glimmer of what's to come earlier. Your dialogue is mostly strong, and you built a lot of atmosphere with so few words. Feels a touch vignette-y, which isn't a big deal considering the wordcount (you could probably run with this and turn it into a longer piece). I honestly liked this a lot. This might be one of my favorite stories of yours.
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 04:23 on Feb 19, 2015
|# ? Feb 19, 2015 04:15|
Spaceship week Judgeburps part 2.9
Linecrit for Grizzled Patriarch - Love is Another Kind of Loneliness
Disaster Assessment calls at 6:22 a.m., and afterward Haru turns on the rainforest module again. I can hear it through the acoustic blankets: the low gutterball rumble of rolling thunder, the doleful howling of monkeys.
I love the italicized line, because while on one level it functions as a neat detail it is also symbolic of what is going on in Haru's head. I think this paragraph could have been constructed so this sentence was first
They establish coms from Earth three times per week. Mandatory counseling, though I suspect that it’s mostly an excuse to keep an eye on him. It will be a month before the next cargo vessel from L5 arrives. In the meantime, if Haru behaves strangely, I am supposed to file an immediate report. What qualifies as strangely is left to my own discretion.
This sentence has an important function in the story establishing that Haru is potentially dangerous. The last two sentences are cool, and remind me of Donal Barthelme. The first part of this paragraph is workmanlike scene setting and not amazing
I check the logs. He has watched recordings of his son’s video calls three dozen times in two weeks. Some mornings, he will use the exercise bike until he can’t breathe. Sometimes I hear sobbing from his crew cabin at night, although I pretend that I don’t.
Haru doesn’t notice when I step inside his cabin. He’s sitting on his cot, watching my high-definition rainforest simulation play out across all four walls. Rain is tapping on waxy, two-dimensional leaves. His attention is held by a camouflaged walking stick picking its way across a vine.
I don't understand this last sentence. I don't think you establish the protagonist strongly enough as a simulation programmer, and this paragraph is why.
“I’ve updated it with a day-night cycle,” I say.
Haru jumps a little. “Disengage.”
There is a downpitched whine from the ship’s bowels as the rainforest melts back into the paneled walls, replaced with featureless white.
Weird word choice. Is it a word?
I ask him if there’s any news from Disaster Assessment. Haru rubs the stubble on his chin and shakes his head.
“Still claiming it was a ventilation vale rupture during re-entry, but they don’t know how it happened.”
not sure if this is necessary. I think the tragedy is established well enough without it.
Haru keeps an artificial philodendron in the recess above his cot. Beside it is a picture of his son in his elementary school days. In the photo, he’s maybe nine or ten years old, a boy with a solemn smile and his hair cut straight across his forehead. I wonder if Haru has watched the footage, his son and the other payload specialists laid out on foil tarps while support crew attempt resuscitation. I don’t ask, of course. But I wonder.
I'm not sure if that comma is correct. Otherwise I like the way this paragraph establishes what is wrong with Haru. It is fine to wait this long when we already now he is troubled by something
“If you need anything, I’m here,” I say.
He forces an apologetic half-smile. “I know.”
But I’m not the one he wants to talk to.
This line is a little strange to me. Seems a bit of a leap for the narrator to come to so specific a conclusion. I would prefer to be shown Haru talking to the picture of his son or something.
After the last round of routine maintenance I return to my cabin. Usually I read, or check messages from my father. Now he’s got an apartment in Fukui, closer to work. He sends me pictures of the lake, the iris garden. I hear the hum from Haru’s cabin as the simulation fires up. I leave my door open so I can hear the rain.
It doesn’t take very long – an hour in front of the blue glow of my laptop. A simple program to compile and scrape the video logs, run them through a contextual chatbot.
Haru’s cabin is dark, but I can see his outline on the cot. “Lights.”
He turns over and blinks up at me.
I run the new simulation, and Haru’s son settles into focus against the opposite wall. The image is noisy, low-res, pulled from the logs and stretched out until he’s life-sized. With his flight suit and scruffy cheeks, he looks nothing like the boy in the photo.
Haru takes a long, ragged breath through his nose. “Jesus,” he says, staring into the wall. “Can he hear me?”
When his son speaks, the words are clipped, stitched together from years’ worth of videos. “Hi papa. I know it’s been a little while.”
Haru lets out a little choked sound, and I see the tears coming. He’s watching a son from three months ago, one who doesn’t know what’s going to happen, what did happen.
His son grins. “I finally got a job,” he says. “Mom’s happy, but she says we better not maroon her on L5.”
Haru laughs, rocks forward on his cot. “I’m proud of you,” he says.
“It’s like you said. You grow up when you’re ready to grow up.”
I back out into the corridor, and as I do I see Haru reach forward, like he’s going to touch him, like he’s forgotten that there’s nothing there to touch, and he says yes, that’s true, that really is true.
So I like the ending a lot, and what I get from it is really a question as to whether this act was a kindly act of mercy, or a cruel act of self preservation. I'm not sure there is enough of the latter in the text, and I would have liked a bit of a creepier vibe from Haru, or maybe bring the fears of the narrator into the story a bit more. This stuff is alluded to in the second paragraph, but not filled out enough. I had this story as an HM candidate.
|# ? Feb 19, 2015 05:49|
Crits for Week 131 (Part 1 of 2)
I’m lazy, so I’ll keep my crits short and to the point. However, if you really cared for the poo poo you wrote this week and want a detailed explanation on why it stinks, then just ask in the thread.
Despite Echo’s guideline that your stories must have change of some sort, most of you did the exact opposite thing. I’m guessing that a lot of you had a story in mind, wrote it, then ran out of words so you had to wrap it up or something. I’ve been guilty of that, too.
Short stories should start close to the part where the protagonist experiences a change in their routine. Don’t give us a routine for a couple hundred words. I didn’t care for a lot of stories because they rambled on and never tried to rope me into reading. Put the interesting scene near the beginning; its job is to hook your reader. If you don’t do this then they’ll simply wander off.
Pay attention to your ending, too. I noticed a lot of rushed endings this week, that could've been saved by more rigorous editing. It's important to let your reader walk away with a clear notion of how the story ended. Don't half-rear end this either.
Read the HMs and the winner. Read and learn. What did they do that you didn’t? What did you do that they did better? Take time to reflect on your sins. Writing is thinking.
ZeBourgeoisie - Westbound
You wrote a weak-rear end story for this week. Your story badly needs an edit, it’s got paragraphs of poo poo no one cares about. For example, your second scene: Dan’s left home and is traveling. But for some reason you thought it’s interesting for an audience to read about Dan making camp. Nope. That’s also the part where I just gave up.
Put more tension in your story. This could have been much better if you stopped to ask yourself “would my readers care about this sentence I’m writing?” often.
Sitting Here - Uphill Rivers
I didn’t like this at first, but I wasn’t reading it properly. The careful reveal of the stranger’s identity was done quite well, but some of her lines that sound too preachy (“Doubt comes from fear…”) and unnatural. We start to know who the protagonist is and why she’s out there, but then the story ends. This won’t win anything, but I kept reading until the end, and silently cursed the word limit.
“Most people never really face their doubts” I see what you did there
Screaming Idiot - Fate, Inescapable
This was really disjointed and hard to read. One of the judges said there was a time loop, and I’m like “what loving time loop?” The nonlinear timeline made the story muddled. I also quit reading this story because after the third scene I still didn’t know what was going on and why should I care, so I didn’t.
Try to write something straightforward next time. Learn to walk before you try running.
Dr. Kloctopussy - Paper Crown
So this was really well-written for a story that doesn’t really go anywhere. While Marly has a good, justified reason in ignoring the boy, I keep thinking “but what about that poor boy??” It’s cruel to dangle that in front of us and never explore it. I still felt that my time was a little wasted.
contagonist - What are you going to do now?
This was tough to follow. The world is interesting and new, but you don’t really have enough words to fully flesh it out. I don’t really get the protagonist’s motivation or the backstory here. Who is Joachim Conrad and why does he matter? Feels like a longer piece crammed into 1k words.
Entenzahn - Deadeye Deadbeat Blues
Talking heads done extremely well. Everyone read this story. This is how you fit a story within a word limit. The detail is sparse but it’s not lacking at all. The dialogue reads well enough even without attribution. Easy win.
Tayacan - Those Left Behind
Decent first entry. Could’ve been better and not disqualified, though, had you done one more editing pass to trim the words within the limit. You spend too much words on “Elaine is awkward around Marianne”, which you could have streamlined as not to undercut your third scene (which is where they start really talking).
Benny Profane - Right of Way
I don’t care for the “Q.” gimmick. I’m guessing it’s a question posed by a psychiatrist(?) but deliberately cut out so that we only hear the protagonist talking. All I’m thinking is that it would be more interesting if you showed us the actual thing unfolding instead of the protagonist recounting it. Road rage isn’t as visceral if it’s being narrated to a third party. This isn’t bad but it lacks oomph.
Savagely_Random - Coming of Age
This is tired as hell, like I’m reading a bland Middle-Eastern flavor of a martial arts movie. Nowhere near DM material, but your straight execution leaves a lot to be desired--mix it up a little. Tip: treat the characters as characters, not caricatures.
starr - The Hunt
What’s the point of this? The flash rule is “helpless” but that doesn’t mean you should make the protagonist unable to do anything for herself. Woman is hunting. Woman meets scary woman. Woman is turned into a hunting dog. The end. It’s bland as gently caress.
newtestleper - But wait, there’s more!
Jumps all over the place. I had to read this several times to work out the chronology. It doesn’t help that you don’t have scene breaks. And even if you did, you’d still have to contextualize each scene--did this happen after the previous scene, or before?
The ending is a squib. I’m sure you could write a decent, engaging story about patents but you played this one too straight--Chet just goes up to The Man and says “nope”, the end. Not even a bit of internal conflict or consequences. Also you spent some words on a side character who is never mentioned again afterwards, what.
Megazver - An Interrupted Meal
Don’t infodump at the beginning of a short story. It doesn’t give me proper context to enjoy it. Write a scene instead--the third paragraph of your story should be the first. It’s a nice and light read, but there was too much plotting for a 1k-word story? Ghost strikes bargain with protagonist, ghost double-crosses protagonist (?), protagonist takes care of her, then protagonist charges the cacodemon instead? I get the first two, but the third is muddled (we only know it works because of the ending, which is really short and rushed).
|# ? Feb 20, 2015 04:02|
who wants to do an arena brawl
e: this is my other god:
Hers are the words in the lunatic's ear, and her hands guide genius. Her domain is the warped mirror and the cracked lens revealing the secret orders. She is Ioc, made of madness and brilliance and the true systems.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 10:05 on Feb 20, 2015
|# ? Feb 20, 2015 09:53|
I was in, but now I'm in with a direction.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 08:45 on Feb 21, 2015
|# ? Feb 20, 2015 10:02|
The Thunderer is the universal father; his names are numerous. His color is the electric blue of wrath, on his festival day the blood soaks the ground, his mighty oak towers above all. His sexual identity is... complicated.
|# ? Feb 20, 2015 18:15|
Naven is the god of wind and air who thinks it would be more fun to be the god of an abstract concept like love instead of a god governing the physical world.
|# ? Feb 20, 2015 18:31|
It dwells in the dark corners of the forgotten libraries of Anathot , hording the dark mysteries of wicked men. It is the the tree of twisted knowledge mentioned on the weather beaten slabs and whispered of in the ramblings of mad men, for Versoot is the deity of all things best left forgotten.
|# ? Feb 20, 2015 23:59|
That's a loving cool concept. If I wasn't already 1000 words in I'd find a way to include your god.
Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 00:56 on Feb 21, 2015
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 00:50|
Nemete is called the Lord of the Scented Winds by the herdsmen who move their cattle from plain to plain; in the cities, he is the Perfumed God. Odors foul and fair, floral and fecal, fulsome and faint all fall within his sphere. The roses and myrrh abundant in his temples make them popular sites for funerals.
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 05:51|
Sign ups are now closed. There are some good gods posted, try not to gently caress it up.
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 08:30|
Also - still short on judges, so if anyone hasn't entered and can spare a moment to read ~45,000 words in an incredibly short time period for little actual gain, let me know. Otherwise you'll all have to just suffer my unmitigated, perverse taste in literature. Did I mention I hate characters and conflict...?
EDIT: Jeza has stepped up to the the judging table and is already wearing a stylish judging hat of erudition and scary tentacles.
Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 13:13 on Feb 21, 2015
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 11:31|
Crits for Week 131 (Part 2 of 2)
LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE - Friends Forever
This reminded me a lot about Asimov’s The Final Question, except more personal and human. The story goes from a personal to a cosmic scale really well, and the ending is touching in its own, detached way. My only quibble is that God is a dick, and doesn’t really spend time with Yuna? I’d be more than a little mad if my “friend” would only check up on me just to ask if we should break up. Good job, though.
Fuschia tude - Dark Thoughts
The first scene could be cut. No, seriously. It’s not egregious or anything, but it’s a little redundant and too long considering its use as a scenario that illustrates the protagonist’s job. Learn when to show and when to tell. You could’ve made the rest of the story stronger.
Also the ending is really dumb. “Oh no, my plan didn’t work! *dies*”
leekster - Good Luck in All Your Future Endeavors
Ah, the loser. What made you lose was your story’s sloppiness. You didn’t seem to proofread, so you didn’t seem to give a poo poo. And we didn’t, either.
A Classy Ghost - The Path from Pitios
Jarring as gently caress. They’re eating together and STOP, dagger time! Why is Cidra hanging out there? And she dies too easily that it’s super anticlimactic. Pointless and forgettable, tbh.
Quidnose - Hippodermic Oath
Were you trying to write black humor? The protagonist is dying and all he can think of is being the wittiest person. I don’t like how much of a wiseass he is. The story meanders then just ends, too. Not funny.
SadisTech - Hitching Home
Talking heads, and not in a very good way. Nothing of note really happens (what a non-ending, too). I don’t really care about the sci-fi element, there’s little grounding on your protagonist. I think you had another story in mind, which you forced to fit the prompt?
Capntastic - Leading Projecting Developing Managing
Boring corporate conflict, and emotionally bankrupt to boot. We didn’t really understand why he was so upset with the buyout (you should probably explain that stuff because we r dumb). Really it’s just boring, though.
Benny the Snake - Providence
This wasn’t egregious or anything but I felt that the story had this weird punchline of “gods are really weird and aren’t like humans at all, lol”. And you know, you alluded to a much more interesting story at the end where Hermes admonishes Thessalos about the dangers of hubris. I think you forced your story on the prompt.
sebmojo - Delirium
Good words, atmospheric as hell. However, I would’ve liked this more if you dialed down on the Darth Vader twist in the end. I thought it was jarring and ruined the ending for me. I know that there’s delirium but still I expected something more than a sucker punch?.
Grizzled Patriarch - Until We Meet Again
I really liked this! Read like a sad French film. The order of events is a little strange, until it starts to make itself clear by the end. Then when you reread it, things just click in place. Didn’t work for everyone, though. More words and this could’ve made a bigger impact.
crabrock - The Wizard
Engaging, likable protagonist with fun internal monologue. He isn’t really a wizard (or is he???), and that’s the joke, but it’s not a cheap punchline since the entire story serves the idea. This is an example of a good story that doesn’t rely on tricks, but just maintains tension throughout and leads to a believable ending.
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 16:41|
IdiotHellFucker69 669 words
In with Broenheim's Inanis
The blind and nameless God of winter and some other morose and morbid poo poo sat sulking in heaven or whatever the gently caress.
“Being blind loving blows. Who the gently caress wrote me like this? This doesn’t even make any sense. Vision never had anything to do with fertility, you moron,” he said.
The only other person that wanted to hang out with him was the Goddess of nothingness, Inanis, probably named after how inane her loving powers were. They didn’t really hang out by choice, though, it was more like they were stuck together because the other Gods were busy wearing vibrant colours and playing sports and loving.
“Why you always gotta be such a downer?” She asked from somewhere behind the blind God of Winter or whatever.
“Why do you always gotta talk to me from odd angles? You know I can’t loving see.”
“It’s because you always wander in front of my loving spinning wheel before you start sulking, you moron,” she said. “I mean, I don’t even know how to use this thing and I don’t remember ever having any wool or anything. I’m pretty sure it’s just a prop…and aren’t there supposed to be three fates with me or something? Whatever, gently caress it,” she said.
“Well, I sure would love to have a literate conversation with you but apparently no one’s given enough of a gently caress to bring Braille to Heaven or whatever,” the blind God said. “Plus, I wish I had a name. This is loving stupid. What’s the guy that wrote this doing?”
Inanis used her God-vision and telepathy to create a narrative that made sense.
The guy that wrote the story was sitting at his computer, logged in as IdiotHellFucker69 and masturbating furiously to transvestite pornography that could only be described as “off putting”.
Inanis used her fuckin awesome God Powers to discern that he was indeed an idiot loser hell fucker that lived in his mom’s basement and made up lovely excuses instead of putting in a legitimate effort. She delved into the deepest recesses of his atrophied mind and found reasons for not writing a good story like “I worked a few twelve hour shifts and didn’t have time”, “I’m very drunk and it’s only a quarter past noon”, “I was too tired to write a few hundred words every day” and “I am pretty much like a love child between Hemingway and that one loving guy from Fear and Loathing so anything I write will be awesome and will win at any contest”.
Inanis sighed and spun her empty wheel. Even though time had no meaning to a being as infinite as she was, she hoped his death would come swiftly and painfully.
Because writing the conversation between the Gods would be something that takes effort, I want you, the reader, to pretend that they read each other’s minds or maybe they just talked, I don’t know, but I’m going to keep using commas, okay?
“So, you mean he’s just some idiot jizzing all over his mom’s carpet?” The Blind God asked.
“Sure looks like it,” said Inanis. “Though I did see some fledgling idea about us and about winter in some feudal Slavic poo poo hole. I’m sure there was an idea about a witch and an only son and the crushing poverty brought on by feudalism. Though it was hard to see between what I’m pretty sure were transvestites flogging each other on his 42” monitor. Did you know earthly taxes paid for that? Can you imagine?”
The nameless God guy just sighed, sending an incredible chill over the idiot hell fucker’s home in a stinking bog of a flood plain. Snow fell and birds died, but the idiot hell fucker barely realized this as he was barricaded in his mom’s basement. He ate cheetos, farted and drank lovely whiskey while pretending to have autism so that he could get his mom to stop vacuuming so that he could better focus on the weirdo porn he was watching.
autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at 02:47 on Feb 22, 2015
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 18:53|
Special Request from the Vast and Terrible Archivist AIs of https://writocracy.com/thunderdome
Please can you include the gods you are using in your entries in your post. This will make archiving in a timely fashion much easier.
|# ? Feb 21, 2015 22:53|
I'm gonna edit my post to include that info. So don't DQ my story because I really feel like I have a winner this week. The timestamp for the edit should more or less match this post's.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 02:46|
I toxxed so I'm gonna have to eat the I'm afraid, just been told I'm flying to another state for work in 15 hours.
e: 15 hours which includes enough sleep to be prepared for several days of meetings and an unfamiliar bed, and getting my clothes washed and packed for unexpected travel. So yeah, I could possibly poo poo out a word salad or I could shrug and accept getting toxxed.
SadisTech fucked around with this message at 05:51 on Feb 22, 2015
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 05:29|
An Unkindness 1500 Words - In with SurreptitiousMuffin's The Monkey.
Flower petals clung to the stones of Meriva’s barrow, though the scent of the Dragonlillies had been stifled by the pouring rain. Roaan stood by his wife’s cairn for hours, with wet hair in his face, his tunic soaked. He broke his vacant stare at Meriva’s resting place to look at the other mounds, some overgrown with weeds, thistles and thornbushes, others, more freshly made. Only one as fresh as Meriva’s. Roaan looked to the smaller cairn beside his wife’s, not sure whether to curse it or weep for it. His throat was hoarse.
“drat the gods, gently caress you all, may the Monkey’s arms rot and slough off. Drag this wretched existence into the void.”
Exhausted, Roaan fell to his knees. He had no tears left.
“I’ve been robbed, I do not deserve this fate”
After lying in the wet grass, he picked himself up, went home, lit a fire in the hearth and made a nest of hay instead of sleeping in his bed.
That night Roaan dreamt he was underground, he tried to scream but choked on soil, he clawed at the dirt above. Climbing through the moist earth, his heart hammering still when he touched cold stone, he heaved as best he could, forcing himself through the stone barrow ceiling. Black feathers were everywhere, wings and claws beat and scratched at his face. Beaks pecked at his flesh rending it from his body.
“Mercy!” he screamed .
The flock of dark birds which Roaan recognised as ravens relented and flew into the sky taking the form of one gigantic raven, it flapped its wings slowly, as though flying, but did not move. The behemoth’s head looked down upon him.
“You know who I am?” it asked.
Roaan nodded before speaking. “Ma’indo” he said.
“And who are you, that questions the will of the Gods?”
“What kind of gods are you that would allow such a thing to happen? I want Meriva, I want her back in my bed, you have no right!”
Ma’indo’s beak opened wide spewing an unkindness of ravens at Roaan. His voice boomed.
“You want her back?” he said. “I will give you one chance you ignorant mortal.”
“Yes, anything” Roaan pleaded.
“There’s a man, Alon, he is protected by the god of the ocean, residing too deep in the abyssal plains of the Cold Sea where I cannot retrieve souls. He has lived too long under that protection. It is past due he entered the void.”
“How do I reach him? I cannot swim or breath in water.”
“A man cannot reach the abyssal plains. A man can reach the Monkey. Go to where the dead in your village lay, then beneath the great Harrownut tree, where the earth is thinner, it’s roots reach the space between this earth and the Monkey. You must have the Monkey drop the sixth corner of the earth, he shall spill the Cold Sea into the Void and I will be able to fly into the empty depths and retrieve Alon’s soul. Do that, you shall have your Meriva back in your bed as you ask.”
Without another word, Ma’indo flew into the burnt yellow sky of Roaan’s dream.
The Harrownut tree grew amongst the barrows on the edge of the village. Towering over everything in the village, the leaves were a sickly shade of blue-green. Roaan guessed it would take 50 men, arms outstretched to encircle the trunk. He wandered around the tree before realising that it probably didn’t matter where he dug, since the only way to go was down.
The shovel pierced the earth with ease in the wet soil. Roaan dug for hours before the townsfolks started to notice. Rumours start to spread.
“He’s gone mad” said one woman.
“He’s desecrating the barrows because his wife’s dead. His desires have become darker.” said a tavern worker.
On the second day the village guards were sent to investigate.
“Halt, what are you doing?”
Roaan did not halt, but he did answer the captain’s question.
The captain’s brow furrowed, his hand moved cautiously to the hilt of his mace.
“You would profane someones grave. Why? to defile their corpse?”
“There are no dead buried beneath the trunk of the tree captain” sighed Roaan as though put out by all the questions “It is a personal matter between me and the Gods.”
The captain’s scowl faded into a piteous look.
“So it’s true, you have gone mad. Let’s go men. He will eventually tire himself with grief.”
Weeks passed as the hole got deeper Roaan’s hands blistered. He would barely sleep or eat, he would take a bucket down the hole, in the morning it was filled with food, of a night it would be filled with poo poo. Finally, one early afternoon, Roaan dug into a massive tangle of tree roots, there was no more soil, just the gnarled stems winding and entwining each other. Settling on a heavy axe to swing through the roots and an old rusty mattock to pry at them Roaan kept digging. As he slashed through roots he found himself getting colder until he swung the axe and a bundle of roots gave way beneath his legs. Roaan fell.
Roaan squinted trying to get his eyes to focus. Hanging by his tangled foot, he’d lost his axe to the Void but managed to save his mattock, strapped to his back. Looking below, the great Monkey walked through the Void beneath him. Stepping on nothing, it’s footfalls were slow, sure and steady. Roaan looked up, the tree roots spread out across the horizon, woven together, holding the soil and water of the earth in place. A cosmological wicker bowl. Many more roots hung down. It would be easy to climb to the Monkey. Roaan untangled his foot descended the root ladder.
Roaan had scrambled all the way down to the Monkeys back and trudging through its fur, making his way towards the arm holding the sixth corner of the earth. Fighting his way through the forest of fur he noticed the first arm he passed was unusually tense, looking to the ceiling he saw that the Monkey’s hands were holding one corner of the earth by two fingertips, occasionally switching one finger for another, all of them burnt and blackened. Roaan decided that corner harboured the volcanoes of the north. The next arm was covered in goosebumps, shivering, he looked to the roots and saw this arm was frozen to it’s corner by a great sheet of ice.
Three arms later he had found what he wanted, a cold trickle of water running down the Monkey’s arm. Climbing down between the monkey’s wet fur, towards it’s armpit, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do yet, in his mind he thought he might be able to tickle the monkey but that could lead to disaster on the surface if he were to spill any other corner of earth.
Hanging by the hairs Roaan sureveyed the Monkey’s armpit not sure what to do next. He spotted what he needed a large boil, festering and swollen with pus.
“As good a way as any to make a monkey flinch.” he thought.
Roaan hurled the Mattock it spiralled through the air and lodged into the boil.
Despondent Roann screamed at the pustule.
“gently caress you! Burst!” tears ran down his face.
The Monkeys tail swung into its armpit, bursting the boil, blood and bile gushed out and the mattock fell to join Roaan’s axe in the Void.
After the tail’s impact Roaan was stunned to find himself swinging through the Void grasping to the Monkey’s tail.
The tail slowed Roaan, stared into the gargantuan eye on the Monkey’s stomach. It stared back at him, then glanced to the east, It’s arm had lowered, Water and icebergs spilled into the Void. Roaan had done it.
The Monkey’s eye grew red and shuddered, a horrendous rumble emanated from it’s stomach, it placed Roaan into his mouth with its tail, turned its head to the root ceiling and spat.
For a deity with one eye, the monkey had amazing depth perception, Roaan rocketed straight into his hole, he saw a dim light at the end, brightening. He lost momentum and at the apex of trajectory bumped a branch of the Harrownut tree with a soft thud. The crashed to the ground below. A single leaf, red as monkey’s blood fell.
Roaan picked himself up and ran home. He burst through the door covered in dirt and monkey spit. A tuft of chestnut hair poked out from the bed covers.
“Meriva!” he cried pulling back the sheets.
A rotting skull greeted him, maggots fell out of the eye socket, what was left of her skin, barely clung to her boned. A banging at the door announced the village guard.
“Open up you sick bastard, we know what you’ve done!” said the muffled yells of the Captain's voice.
In the distance a Raven's cawed sounded like laughter.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 05:40|
I toxxed so I'm gonna have to eat the I'm afraid, just been told I'm flying to another state for work in 15 hours.
Write your story on your phone during the flight. The Japanese write entire novels via text message, you got this.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 05:41|
Sounds like a lot of writing time honestly.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 05:43|
Ex Libris (1423 words -- Oubro and Dulme)
In the fathomless depths of the ocean, a forgotten ancient breaks free of the manacles that bind it. Each impact of its colossal stride sends tremors leagues distant, and the waters above revolt.
Grayson gasps as the last tendrils of dream ebb from his consciousness. The rejuvenator ceases its rhythmic pulsations as Grayson gains his feet. He pops his arthritic knuckles as he ponders where to begin.
The myriad corridors of the Mythology Wing house millions of volumes; humanity's valiant final attempt at propagating its superstitions. Grayson knows each one of them as another would know their distant relatives. It has been hears since he last tended this annex, but he is eager for the reunion. He drifts along like a twig floating downstream, jostled by mischievous currents but always approaching the ocean. When he finishes the day's curation he removes the nearest book. He hopes it will be less disturbing than last night's material.
You can see her in the eddies of dust disturbed by the last breath of a child, and in the cold ash of an empty hearth in winter. When the libations are gone it is she who sits to hear prayers to the gods who left you. When you rest your head for the last time it is Dulme the Forgotten who tucks you in and sings you to sleep.
Grayson awakes with a wavering equilibrium. He suspects that his rejuvenator is malfunctioning, but knows his masters would repair it if that were the case. He returns Deities of the Fifteenth Age to its home.
"I didn't know there were still stories about me!"
Accosted by an estranged childhood friend, Grayson strives for recognition. A voice. Young, female, addressed to him. Spoken words.
"Pardon me?" Grayson croaks, grimacing at the unfamiliar contortions required to audibilize thoughts. He turns around and cranes his neck to face the speaker. A woman with pearly white skin and flowing coral locks sits atop a shelf, tracing circles with her legs as though treading water.
"I'm honored to be remembered," she says.
Grayson's brows wrinkle, for he does not in fact remember her. There hasn't been a patron in over a decade, and her strange mossy garments with their casually undulating tassels in no way resemble the traditional garb of House Mirovia.
"Profound apologies, but who are you?"
"Just a secret admirer who rarely gets to talk with her clients."
She winks and blows Grayson a kiss. An arctic breeze washes over his face and forces him to blink. When it subsides, the girl has vanished.
Grayson rubs his eyes as his sense of balance returns. He considers calling his masters but remembers that the communicator is nonoperational. The retirement shuttle is not to be used until after he has trained his replacement. Grayson rationalizes the experience as the continuation of a dream; he is easily influenced by fiction.
Days pass uneventfully as Grayson dusts, shelves, mends, and transcribes. Then he catches sight of her again; this time her hair is short and sandy.
"Don't you ever get lonely down here?" she asks.
Grayson ponders the question. "The fantasies and dreams of a thousand peoples are captured in the pages that surround me."
"But that's unilateral. Don't you wish you could interact with your wards? Ask them questions and share in the answers they hold valuable?"
"There is more of value in this one aisle than I could ever hope to grasp."
The woman pouts her lower lip, disappointed. With a roll of her hand comes a splash of light; she is gone when Grayson's eyes readjust.
The next day Grayson feels a throbbing of discontent. He has decided that a subtly malfunctioning rejuvenator is giving him hallucinations, but finds himself missing the companionship nonetheless.
In the evening, he spots her a hundred shackles down the aisle. She is wearing a tight white outfit and has no hair at all. Grayson shuffles closer. She is far too skinny. Grayson pauses in confusion as the emaciated visitor removes a hefty tome and slowly inserts it into its mouth. The book glides horizontally at uniform speed, though it was originally larger than the creature's head. Grayson's stewardly training overrides his good sense.
"Hey!" he shouts. The creature ignores him.
Grayson watches as it licks its fingertips and walks around the bend to an adjacent aisle. He hurries to where it had been, but there are no crossways for more than a cable in either direction. Grayson looks at the empty space on the shelf, a gaping wound in the corpus of order and knowledge, and finds he cannot remember what belongs there.
He rushes back to his station and pours over his catalogs, but finds no relevant entries. He spends the rest of the day obsessing over the missing document, but to no avail. Finally he collapses onto the rejuvenator and goes to sleep alone.
Grayson opens his eyes to a face smiling over him. The face has no eyes, ears, or nose. Its head rests on a neck too thin to support it, and neither hair nor blemish mars its unwholesome opalescence. A greedy tongue slathers saliva along sinister lips.
Grayson screams and falls out of his bed. The creature silently snaps an unlit chunk of the rejuvenator off as easily as if it were plucking cherries and inserts it into the bottomless chasm that is its mouth.
He runs as fast as his ailing legs will take him. When the monster is no longer in sight, Grayson stops to collect his breath and gather his wits. He can't understand what it seems to delight in devouring. In fact, he can't even name the things he has lost. They are forgotten.
Acting on sudden insight, Grayson hustles to where he camped a few nights prior. Along the way he spies gaps in the shelves; each one pains him like a broken rib. He rips Deities of the Fifteenth Age from its resting place, scattering its neighbors. As he sifts through its pages, a footnote catches his eye:
One text also references a faceless approximation of a man which imprisons everything forgotten in its insatiable maw.
The book is torn from his hand and violently thrown aside. The creature stands in front of him with its arms splayed backward as all the skin on its body ripples toward the wailing intrusion of its mouth. Though it makes no sound, Grayson goes deaf from its intensity.
Panicked, Grayson dashes past it and off toward his station. He cannot see the creature, but knows it must be near. He straps himself into the retirement shuttle but hesitates. Muttering the solitary invective of the Stewards, he unbuckles himself and returns to the station.
Frantically he keys an emergency override. Thousands of maintenance drones activate for the first time in generations, seeking out tomes which haven't been transcribed during his tenure. Grayson leans into the shuttle, enters new departure coordinates, and slams the deployment lever.
He straightens out to find himself face to face with the pallid horror. Sputum files from its gullet as fury palpably courses through its veins. Grayson's heart assaults his ribcage like the ocean batters a mountain into sand; the sound is overwhelming. The monster tries to derail the shuttle, but it remains on course.
Apoplectic, the beast turns back to Grayson and screams. A thousand eons of entropy suffuse that scream, but Grayson feels none of their force. Nor does he feel the pounding of his heart, the adrenaline in his body, nor the steady whirring of the service drones. Time has stopped for him.
From nowhere and everywhere arises a gentle humming. The tune is melancholy yet optimistic; that of a young girl who chooses to spend an eternity in unrewarded service. From up beneath the ground emerges Dulme, her long black hair floating in all directions.
"You are too late, Oubro," erupts the fanfare of a thousand trumpets. "This one has passed, and this one will be remembered."
Oubro shrieks in mute frustration but melts into the wall behind it, leaving the same shelf which has stood there for millennia. The drones resume their activities.
Dulme gently resumes her obeisance to gravity.
"That was a kind thing you did, trading your future for others' pasts. How would you like to learn curation of a different style? It's kind of against the rules, but I won't tell anyone if you won't."
Dulme offers her hand, which Grayson accepts, and smiles.
She strokes her chin thoughtfully, then giggles. "Neither will Oubro."
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 06:17|
God Over Djinn posted:
Ush is the goddess of all tongues, all words, and all speech. No word that is uttered can help but be a prayer to her.
Screaming Idiot posted:
In with Toron-Mata, Second of the Trinity, Guardian God of Knowledge, Logic, and Speech. He is the brother of Ebilius-Shahar, Third of the Trinity, Warrior God of Freedom, Instinct, and Action, and lover of Hartisese-Jayhopa, First of the Trinity, Mother Goddess of All That Lives.
The Gift of Tongues (950 words)
Ush has followed the beast for days. It is neither well-loved nor well-nourished. Its skin is stretched drum-taut across its bony back. It has won no mate of its own, and has sired no young, and its brother will not let it return - this much has been made clear through hoots and grimaces - until it has felled and butchered an atti. It has not been lucky in the hunt. Yet Ush notes with pleasure its cunning expression. It squats before her in the dust, trembling but too curious to flee.
She mimes to it, opening her mouth, and it opens wide in mimicry. Its macroglossic tongue lolls from between its teeth. Ush's own teeth have been filed to points. She smiles like a cat and stretches out a hand. Her fingernails are knife-sharp.
Before the beast can react, its tongue is caught in Ush's pincer-grip. It gibbers and jerks away, but she has already rolled it onto its back. It is pinned to the ground, and she wrenches its jaw open wider, forcing the spike of her fingernail into its tongue. It gurns at her helplessly. Bloody froth drips from its mouth. The nail's point seems to grow barbed and impossibly long, piercing through muscle and tendon, diving into the beast's mandible like a fishhook. Now Ush braces herself, kneeling on the beast's heaving chest, and now she yanks.
The beast's eyes roll back in its head. What she is drawing forth through the wound in its tongue is impossibly large. Surely, it must choke. It shrieks and whimpers. What Ush has caught is something larger than a condor's egg, larger even than the beast's own meaty fist. It gags, the pain in its mouth and throat as if its very heart is being ripped from -
With a pop, the pain is over. The beast has voided its bowels in panic. It rolls, cross-eyed and mindless, in its own mess.
Ush wipes her bloody hand on her robes, which stay an immaculate white. With the same hand, she slaps the whimpering beast across the mouth. Her nails leave bloody traces where they slice its skin. She draws herself to her feet and straightens her clothing. "Stand up, boy," she says.
The sound of it is an explosion behind his eyes. He understands.
"Stand up," Ush says. "I won't hurt you again."
He hears the words through two sets of ears. The ears he has had for twenty seasons: they hear only the tongue-tip t, the sound one might use to call a dog. The purring ns of his brother's woman's love-cries, the ous and ohs and eis that he hears when he lies awake at night, curled against the cold in his lowly place, furthest from the fire. But the other ears, the set that this woman has granted him: she means for me to stand, they report. She will not hurt me again. He gasps.
"Speech," says the goddess. "I have given you speech."
His tongue is a trembling creature. He curls and stretches it, flexing his mouth around the words. "Thank you," he says, hoarsely, and his eyes widen at the sound of his own voice. The goddess grins again. Her hands are the white of sun-bleached bone, but her teeth are stained with red.
"I name you Toron-Mata," she says. "A fine name for a man who will serve a goddess."
Toron-Mata bows his shaggy head.
"You will go now and teach your people to speak," says the goddess. "You will tell them what has happened here. You will tell them of me, and of the gift I have given you, and you will teach them to revere me. I freely grant you the gift of speech. But every word that is spoken must be as a prayer to me."
He catches sight of his bony, poo poo-spattered legs. His knees are trembling still. He sees himself, for a moment, as his people must see him: filthy, underfed, underfoot, empty-handed. Never the stronger brother.
"Mind you never ill-use the words I have given you, Toron-Mata," Ush says. "They may come from your mouth, but they are mine, not yours. Tell this to your people. Be ever grateful."
Toron-Mata has been four days on the hunt. He should have brought home a feast, his first triumph in many moons. He should have earned a smile from his brother's woman. Instead, he will lay at her feet this gift of words. He will speak to his brother and tell him -
Tell him what? He knows no better than his brother where the hunt is richest, or where the ripest berries grow. Yet at least he can speak of this white-robed woman, who -
He looks up. She is gone. Only swirling dust marks her passing.
- who, he thinks, flushing, made him cower and shriek like a child. Who left four bloody slashes across his yet-unscarred cheek. Who shamed him like a whipped dog. Who then - he narrows his eyes - ordered him to tell his brother of this shame. Who ordered him to tell it to his brother's dark-eyed woman, who will laugh at him from behind her hand, as she laughs when the tools he whittles snap in his clumsy hands. Curse the goddess who made Toron-Mata her messenger.
But was the goddess ever here? She has left no footprints, has she? Toron-Mata tests out his tongue. "I have created speech for you," he whispers experimentally. And who could say that he did not? He is a clever man. Now that the words are his, he can say whatever he likes. And oh, he has plans for this gift of tongues.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 07:02|
Kaishai will hold a largely complete draft of this story in her cold robotic effectors by 2400 Saturday, 24 hours before closing:
This vow has been fulfilled: I've received a copy of sebmojo's story. Neither he nor Sitting Here shall fall today.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 08:02|
This is not by me - another forums user decided to write this on my behalf. In a just world I should still be smote down with great vengeance and furious anger by the mighty god Toxx. (He did a fuckin' good job in, like, 2 hours or whatever it took him so consider me duly shamed.)
Worm and the Monkey
Every religion is going to have a creation myth. It's inevitable. As soon as people are capable of forming questions beyond “where is food?” and “how can I not die?” the question of “what is all this stuff and where did it come from?” is not far behind. So we've heard them all, birthed from the womb of the sky goddess, born of light from some unfathomable will, forged in the furnace of the supreme star-titans, etc. etc. So we'll give you something a little different. This is the story of the creation of the Joke.
There are as many gods as there are stars and each one with as many stories as there are people to tell them. This one involves two gods, The Monkey and It-Shits-Boiling-Life-Mud. The Monkey was a wise and kind god, its benevolent eye gazing at all below it, its seven mighty arms stretched to all corners of the Earth. But the Monkey was capricious as all monkeys are, and despite its wisdom and span of influence, it hated the idea that its freedom was in any way restricted. You see the Monkey sat high above the world and it saw all and knew even more and loved yet more still, but it could not see beneath the world, in the dark places where the small things span and crawled and danced beneath moonless, Monkey-less skies.
So the Monkey came to the gate of the lower realms, and asked to speak to the creator of all things dark and dank and forbidden, It-Shits-Boiling-Life-Mud. A great glowing worm who feasted on the things in the darkness and made them the pure stuff of life and love and wonder. If you're into that sort of thing. So anyway, the Monkey asks the Worm, “may I visit your realm oh wondrous worm? May I dance amongst the clutching, creeping flagella of the sunless lands and drink deep of your bountiful and mysterious wonders?”
“No,” hissed the Worm, “You are too large for the spindling caves and seething vents of my precious kingdom. The scalding winds will choke your eye with ash, and your rumbling belly will wither all our precious fronds. I can not allow you to enter.”
The Monkey was more than a little taken aback, being prideful as all Monkeys are, and gazed upon It-Shits-Boiling-Life-Mud with a look of poorly concealed contempt. But the Monkey is a kindly God and gracious in all things. “Would you not perhaps change your mind? There is much to see and do above your realm too, if you would come with me I could show you, and then perhaps you could return the favour?”
“No,” hissed the Worm, “Your world is too bright and open, your sun would shrivel my eyeless pseudopodia and your cool winds would harden my igneous hide into a solid lump, and my many writhing children would wither without my scent-song. I cannot go with you any more than you could come with me.”
“Look here, shithead,” spake the Monkey, temporarily forgetting his world spanning benevolence and kindness to all things, “I am the Monkey, my reach has no limits, there are no boundaries to my munificence and there is no treasure beyond my grasp, so either you let me into your cavernous realm or you bring me the most precious thing in your kingdom, so that I may keep it forever.”
The Worm rankled at the Monkey's impropriety but it was a fair and understanding God of all foul things and so agreed to the compromise. The Worm asked the Monkey to wait, and returned back to its subterranean realm.
There It-Shits-Boiling-Life-Mud began to gather the most precious jewels and rare minerals of his entire kingdom, void-black opal, filled with colours from a thousand spectra, veins of gold polished to a mirror sheen so that were one to look into it, they would see into their very soul, sentient rubies that hummed and sang and span to the ancient songs of the earth. The Worm gathered all these up and returned to the Monkey.
“It's about time,” said the Monkey, who was impatient as all monkeys are, “hand over your greatest treasure!” and he plucked one of his seven great limbs from its corner of the world to reach out expectantly to the Worm. The Worm nodded, and turned on the spot, depositing a steaming black ichor into the Monkey's outstretched paw. The Monkey stared at its hand in disbelief.
“What the gently caress, man?”
“This is the life-mud of the universe. This is the raw stuff of all things, and I made it from only the most precious ingredients of my kingdom. There is no finer treasure to be had.”
“I would rather,” the Monkey said, still processing what was going on, “I would rather have had the precious ingredients themselves, I feel.”
“But those things just are” said the Worm, hurt and a little confused, “They have existed in the world forever, and were created when all things were created. This is for you, and only you, and it was made by me, and only me. It is unique, and beautiful and full of life. It is creation for creation's sake, and there is nothing more precious in the seven corners of the world.”
“This is what I think of your gift!” The Monkey had given up all pretence of gratitude by this point, and threw the blackened faecal slime far across the oceans. As it landed a great and bountiful land sprung up, with all the life on it being as exotic and unique as the thousands of ingredients that went into it. A beautiful continent as hot as lava but rich and incredible, the facets of a perfect diamond brought to life beneath the beating sun.
“Oh it's beautiful,” sung the Worm, never imagining such splendour could exist above the surface, “It is true, your kindness knows no bounds!”
The Monkey threw back his head and let out a rumbling cackle from his mouthless face, “It may be beautiful now, but I have cursed it. It will be invaded and ruined, its wildlife slain, its natural beauty plundered, the things that make it so unique will be torn from it until the inhabitants long for death. THAT is what I think of your gift!” and with this the Monkey left, laughing to itself.
So that was the first joke. It was cruel and not terribly funny, but this was to be expected. The Worm and it's children continued to scent-sing and dance erotically in the mud beneath the world, and they continue to create even to this very day. It's important, they feel, to not take these things too personally.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 11:17|
Akkakut, who went into the desert and did not come out
Anathot (me) and the Secondborn (Djeser)
In the time before Akka was a city, before men were builders of walls, it was a settlement. Though men gathered there, they separated themselves one from the next and there was no trust among them. Their lives were consumed by violence and their memories consumed by death. From that place there arose Akkakut, the fiercest and most jealous in Akka. Akkakut knew only the striving of one against another, and after he had impressed and intimidated all his neighbors took six of the strongest warriors who had settled on the plain and set out into the desert to lay claim to and plunder what he could.
They wandered long and hard through the desert until they discovered a spring surrounded by trees and bushes. They heedlessly ran to drink, but when they reached the spring's edge they saw a lion drinking at the spring and hid in a panic. Akkakut crept up to the spring and crouched next to the lion, trembling as he drank. When the lion made no move to threaten him he crept even closer until they were rubbing shoulders as friends. When he had finished drinking he stood and picked up his spear. When the lion again made no move he used the tip of his spear like a knife to slit the lion's throat. He and his warriors skinned the lion and ate it, and Akkakut fashioned a cloak from the skin, covering his own face with that of the lion. Thus he named himself Akkakut, the lion's head, and made his mark on the biggest tree there using the lion's blood.
After another day of wandering, Akkakut found himself standing at the edge of a great pit. Looking down, he saw a small town carved out of white rock, so that the tops of the buildings only met the level of the surrounding ground. Akkakut descended a staircase cut into the edge of the pit with his warriors but found the streets of the city abandoned and all of the buildings without doors. They made their way down the narrow alleyways between the tall, thin buildings until they found a doorway which opened into the biggest of the buildings there. Akkakut said to his warriors "Let us go inside and find what manner of people live in this place, and what their foods and treasures are, that we may take our share of them." and so they entered the building.
There was a small fire in a hearth in the center of the room. The ceiling was covered in many years of soot which faded closer to the floor, where the walls were covered in strange designs scratched in soot. At the far end of the room were a man and woman sitting on thrones of bronze. The man was old and emaciated, his face covered in lines like those on the walls, and he held a book on his lap as thick as his head was tall. The woman however was young and shapely, and in every way that the man was disfigured so was the woman lovely. The king (for the man was the king of that city) raised his hand and thus bade the visitors sit by the fire where the two joined them.
"Akkakut, the lion's head, strongest of Akka, who has crossed the desert and laid claim to the water there greets you, stranger. What is this place called, that I may count you among the friends of my city." Akkakut said. But friendship was not in his mind after seeing this city bereft of young men who would challenge his warriors. The king pulled a small stick from the fire and scratched on the floor his own mark, which was a series of lines like vultures leave in the mud when they feed.
When Akkakut saw this and heard no answer, he turned to his warriors and said "Just as the animals of the desert are these two. Unlearned even in speaking. Let us take from them whatever we can and return to Akka with our plundered treasure."
But the two heard Akkakut speak and leapt to their feet, running back to their thrones. Akkakut and his warriors pursued them with their spears. They surrounded the man, who crouched behind his white throne and prodded him with their spears. Akkakut heard a voice behind him.
"This place's name cannot be spoken. Let us go to the fire, and you can put down your spear so that we may offer you refreshment."
Akkakut laughed. "What shall we eat here where all is stone? Who would butcher and prepare meat for us?"
The old man opened his book and began to scratch on it as he had on the floor earlier.
"Look," said the queen, "let us share in this meat and put down our weapons."
When Akkakut turned, he saw the woman waiting by the fire with a serving plate piled with enough ox meat to account for the entire animal.
Akkakut and his warriors ate with the king and queen by the fire, and when all the meat was consumed the queen again spoke.
"See how we have treated you hospitably. Sleep here tonight and tomorrow return to your city bearing news of our friendship."
Again Akkakut scoffed. "What would we tell our countrymen? The promises of a city in the desert? Would you have us carry these bones back and speak of the generosity of the king that proclaims his friendship with table-scraps?"
The queen nodded to the king, who opened his book and again began scratching at it. As at the spring, Akkakut scratched in the mark of the lion's head. "Thus are written the terms of our friendship." the queen said. She picked up a rib bone and began rubbing the blackness from it, and everywhere she rubbed bronze glittered. Akkakut's warriors began rubbing the other bones and they were all bronze as the rib was. Still Akkakut was unsatisfied.
"Cold metal does not show a heart's warmth, " he said, "my people would look upon you and hear your pledges."
At this the queen balked. "My king cannot survive without me and our city would lie empty. The friendship of the dead is also cold. Take this bronze only, and you will have our friendship." At this Akkakut pretended to relent, though in his heart he was scheming to take all that he might.
The next morning Akkakut woke before all the others and crept to the woman, who was still asleep on her throne. When he saw that she was sleeping soundly, he carried her to the hearth where his warriors were sleeping and laid her there. He removed his lion skin and placed it on her, covering her face with that of the lion, and went back to sleep. He was awoken by the king wailing wordlessly before the queen's now empty throne. "I see you are troubled, friend king," Akkakut yelled from the hearth, covering his mouth so that the king would think it was the lion-headed one speaking, "We will look for her in the desert." His warriors having gathered all the bronze they had been given, Akkakut prodded the woman out of the building with his spear.
They retraced the trail they had made and returned to the spring to rest. They set down the bronze bones in a pile and Akkakut threw his captive on top of the pile. Akkakut and his warriors knelt at the spring to drink, and when he returned the bronze had risen up around the woman so that only her face and the face of the lion's skin was showing.
"Where have you brought this treasure from?" she asked, but her voice roared like thunder, for it was the voice of the twin-headed lion, the Secondborn.
"Nowhere!” Akkakut said, “The treasure you see was justly confiscated!"
"When you returned trust with violence, and thus profited, you were wearing my face." said the lion's head.
"And when I was driven, blind and dumb from my home, I also wore that face." it said again, but this time it was the woman's voice that spoke.
Akkakut's expression darkened, "Begone from my spring then," he said, "return to your hole."
At this, the bronze fell away and released the woman and the lion's skin, which ran at Akkakut as though it still lived. It pounced and Akkakut fell under the skin, and arose wearing it over his whole body, a lion weathered and scrawny and wracked with hunger.
The lion looked at the biggest tree, and he recognized the mark he had left only as Anathot's mark, the mark of man. The lion ran in fear from the spring the wild places, the grasslands and deserts. To this day, it lives beyond sight of the walls of Akka, awaiting their fall.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 13:00|
I'm stealing The Lawgiver.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 17:30|
I should still be smote down with great vengeance and furious anger by the mighty god Toxx.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 17:39|
gods used: Naven (mine) and Inanis (Broenheim)
The Wind God's Tricks 1413 words
The gods lived on a mountain overlooking the sea. Between the mountain and the sea was a valley with a city. The city was blessed to live in the shadow of the mountain. The soil was fertile and the sea teemed with fish.
The people of the valley considered themselves fortunate to live in such a rich land. They lived in direct sight of the gods.
The gods themselves doted on the people of the valley, each in their own way. The god of bountiful harvests ensured that harvests were indeed bountiful. The goddess of triangles and mathematics taught humans to make towers that were taller and stronger than ever before.
There were only two gods on the mountain who were unhappy. They were Mabel, the goddess of unhappiness, and Naven, the god of wind and air. Naven was a very powerful and respected god, but he was unhappy nonetheless.
Naven wished he could be the god of an abstract concept. It seemed a far more interesting life to him than regulating air currents. What he wanted more than anything was to be like his friend Reth, the trickster god whose pranks were delightful and never mean-spirited. The more Naven watched Reth, the more jealous Naven grew. Reth delighted in his role, where Naven was expected to take things seriously.
One day, Naven decided he’d had enough. He was going to have fun with his job too. He was going to play a joke on the humans living in the valley. He thought about the perfect trick to play and decided he would blow his mighty winds from the south, a direction he had never tried before. The air to the south was much warmer and the people would delight in feeling such warmth so close to the end of autumn.
Naven spent a week constructing the perfect wind. It twisted and warmed in the south. However, when he brought it to the valley, it carried with it a driving, destructive rain. The valley experienced its first hurricane.
The unexpecting city was devastated. Buildings were flattened and flooding didn’t go down for weeks. The people called out to Naven. They wondered what they had done to anger him. What could they do to avoid his wrath in the future?
Naven was deeply troubled by this. He hadn’t acted out of anger. What he had planned as a harmless trick ended up destructive. The other gods grew dismayed at the apparent change in Naven’s behavior. They shunned his presence and ignored him when he floated by on his cloud chariot. Even Reth stopped talking to Naven. Only one goddess seemed to be pleased by his actions: Inanis, the goddess of nothingness.
Inanis welcomed the destruction of the world she saw as corrupt and evil. It was her goal to bring all things to an end, even herself. None of the other gods liked her and she didn’t like herself either.
“Now you see the world my way,” Inanis said to Naven, her voice the sound of a dew drop evaporating. “While I despise you, I welcome any assistance in bringing and end to creation.”
Naven was baffled, “That’s not what I meant at all. The wind from the south was supposed to be a joke.”
“Then you have a strange definition of a joke. Perhaps your actions will help you see the world as it really is.” Then Inanis sunk into a hole in the ground and disappeared.
Naven grew troubled by this. He knew the world was a good place. His last prank had angered people, but rightfully so. It was ill-planned. It just meant he had to plan the next one better.
He got to work. If he could think of one great joke, then people would see his value as a trickster god as well. He knew just the thing. He had never before brought to the valley a wind from the west beyond the mountain home of the gods. The lands to the west were colder and perhaps a chilly wind would cool the boiling attitudes directed at him.
Naven spent a month creating the perfect wind from beyond the mountain, but when he brought it to the valley it created a fierce blizzard. Homes were buried. Food and game grew scarce. The people cursed Naven and his fury. They became desperate in their plight and turned to violence and lawlessness to survive. The land plunged into chaos as man turned against man.
Naven watched all this in horror. He had only wanted to create a trick to delight the people of the valley. Inanis again came to visit him. She congratulated him on aiding her once again.
“Now you see the evil of the world. This chaos is the natural state. When people live in the blessing of the gods, it is easy for them to behave as a pet on a leash. Leave them to their own devices and their true nature comes forth.”
Naven could not believe this still. He blew the snow away with a brush of his hand. A mob grew outside the temples and shrines of the city.
“The gods have abandoned us,” said the angry men, “it is time for us to abandon the gods.” They tore down shrines and defaced many places of worship. The gods were dismayed and left the land in search of a new place to settle.
The mobs saved something special for the temple to Naven. A great many men set the temple ablaze and rejoiced as it burned to the ground. Their rejoicing turned sour as the fire leapt from building to building. Soon the entire city was engulfed in a conflagration.
The men of the valley begged for the assistance of the gods, but the gods had all left, save for Inanis and Naven.
Naven considered sending a wind to snuff out the flames like a candle, but his recent endeavors taught him him patience. He considered his actions. He realized that a wind would only fan the flames. He watched, helpless, as the land burned.
Inanis came to Naven a third time.
“Look how they treat each other without the gods. They only kill and destroy. This is why I seek the end to all things.”
Naven heard the truth in her words and turned to the land he once loved. But instead of seeing the people of the valley at their lowest, he saw something else. He saw mothers protecting their children. He saw newly homeless neighbors sharing their last crust of bread. He saw throngs of men work together to fight the flames. He saw this and knew that he saw love.
Naven sent Inanis away with a gust of wind and got to work. This was a world worth fighting for, even if no other god would stand with him. He knew he couldn’t use his wind to extinguish the fire. He searched the cumulonimbus cloud that formed his brain until inspiration struck him. He had tried winds blowing from every direction, but never this.
Naven pulled wind from the ground up. He sucked all the air from the valley into the sky. The fire could not breathe. Humans huddled together in awe at Naven’s power unleashed. The flames starved for lack of air and died down. Naven returned the air to the valley gradually.
Naven looked at the destruction he had caused. He watched as the people of the valley picked themselves up and rebuilt their lives. He saw neighbor help neighbor. He knew that he was right and Inanis was wrong.
He thought of ways to help. He sent a gentle wind among the budding plants and scattered seeds far and wide to take root. He carried the sound of laughter and merriment on gentle currents to bring joy to the weary. His touch cooled in the summer and brought sailors at sea back home safely.
Life returned to normal in the valley. The other gods moved back onto the mountain. All were impressed with Naven’s plan to stop the fire. Even Reth agreed that wind traveling from earth to sky was a good trick.
Naven is no longer an unhappy god. He delights in using his power to preserve the beauty of the world. However, he hasn’t given up on his tricks yet. They can still be seen in the cyclones that pepper the uninhabited plains or the wind that inexplicably carries a soft rain to a sunlit land.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 19:54|
Why the Goddess Smiles (An, Goddess of the Black Waters Ironic Twist and Versoot, Master of Things Best Left Forgotten me)
Once, a very long time ago, the Twisted Tree Versoot was sorting the leaves of forgotten things and deciding which seeds to plant in the fertile mind fields and which would be kept in its dark corner of the first library for all time. As it sorted the forgotten, it was disturbed by a noise unfamiliar to it, a strange echoing sound like a breath cut off followed by a sigh and the wind inhaled through a small pipe. It decided to send the roots of remembrance out and find this new thing, to decide if it should be remembered or forgotten. At the base of a long stair, hiding from her sisters and the other manlike gods (who did not remember the time before themselves, when there were no men and the trees dreamed the knowing dreams and there were no tears), was the Goddess An. Her water was darker even than normal, and she had entered the stage that such beings called adolescence. Stranger still to Versoot, she was making this strange hacking sound, and the water that composed her was leaking from the orbs she used to see, running down her face, and falling onto the ground.
The roots reached a droplet, and Versoot came to know what it meant to “cry” and to “agonize” and to “Love Without Hope.” These things ought to have been forgotten.
The girl noticed the root, and wondered why such a thing was in a library, for only Anathot knew of Versoot (this was before the Monkey stole the book of Anathot, and ripped the seven pages of ancient knowledge from the book and threw them into the world). An followed the root to the tree, still sad but now also curious, and she found the forgotten corner. Here were knowledge seeds and great leafy volumes bound in bark and written in languages unreadable. An knew, but did not know why, that the answer to her problem lied within. But she could not eat the seeds, nor could she make them grow, and she could not read the books.
Again she cried, and this time her tears fell upon the bark of Versoot, and Versoot came to know of “frustration” and “loneliness.” She saw that An loved the wind god, but could not be with him. The roots of the human gods did not cover the world, they did not connect, and each was separated. An was the ruler of the dark waters that dwell at the bottom of the ocean, and she would have to dwell within them when she was an “adult.”
But there things An did not know, so Versoot drank in her tear waters, and a new leaf grew. On it were veins inked by the black waters, they were the things An did not know but should have remembered – Her sisters were the surface waters, sometimes loved and sometimes feared by men, but An owned the depths, and the depths were the place of secrets. So An learned she was more than black waters.
An then knew how to speak with tree's, as it was a great secret (and one worth remembering) and so it was not Versoots to keep, and An fed the tree with her waters and was rewarded with the ancient tree knowledge. She learned how to take that which was consigned to the deeps, and keep it hidden. She learned how to reveal secrets that needed revealing, and conceal that which should be concealed. She learned that men might fear her sisters, and placate them, but that men love hidden things, and so they would love her dark waters even as they were out of reach. But still An was sad, for she loved the wind god and could not be with him.
So Versoot showed her one last secret; she showed her the rage of the blue waters at the surface, and how they would churn and roil and bring up the depths. She showed An the anger of the green beach waters, and how they would force the wind to blow and bring dark waters to the green. And finally An stopped sobbing, for she knew that to be with her love she had only to anger her sisters. And she hugged the tree, and she smiled at it, and fed it again of dark waters, and she left to the thing called “adulthood” to take her place in the world.
And one last leaf grew on Versoot, and she bound it in its bark and hid it behind the unreadable books in the languages of the trees. For in this book were great secrets; that sisters can not be mad at each other forever and that An would be loved but often alone. Versoot kept these things to itself, for it is a wise tree, and these are things best left forgotten.
|# ? Feb 22, 2015 20:16|
The Order In Silver, with Ioc and The Lawgiver.
Coletta Myravi got the cold fever. When her husband, Vido, came up to her workshop to replace the alchem-candles, he dropped the vials and rushed to her side – her head slumped over sweat-stained schematics, and her hair cast over brass cogs gleaming in moons' light.
He wrapped his robe-sleeved arm around her shoulders and sat her back in her chair, asking with a small fear shaking his voice, “Coletta, dearest Coletta, what is the matter with you?”
Her breath was heavy and hot, her skin shining and damp. Coletta opened her eyes and asked, whilst her pupils were as wide and as dark as a starless sky, “None wind the moons, yet they still move without end. The tides are bound to them, what else can be?” Exhaustion touched her, so Vido took her up in his arms to carry her to their bed, wherein neither slept for the whole night.
In the next morning, before the sunlight crept over the Towers Of The Lawgiver, Vido left to find their physician. Coletta tossed and shivered in the sheets, finding neither rest or respite. In one toss, she struck down a pitcher of water sitting aside the bed, sending it crashing to pieces on the floor.
She looked to see what she had done, and instead found a One Eye Mask staring at her from within the water. The woman wearing it climbed out of the puddle, shards of glass raining off her mirror dress. Her arms were unsleeved, and where there would be skin there was only black.
Coletta asked, so wearily, “Who are you who visits me, whilst I am tormented by this affliction?”
Whom was only a stranger briefly knelt at Coletta's bedside, and tilted her head.
“Ioc. I am the questions that are your true curse, and the answers that are your cure.”
So Ioc stood, and took off her One Eye Mask. Behind it turned and clicked the Verified Labyrinth, itself so many cubes with grooves cut into them, constantly sliding and twisting about each other. Ioc held out the hand with no mask, and Coletta took it. She stood up from the bed, and walked inside Ioc's face.
Vido returned with their physician and went to Coletta's bedside and found her resting still. After examination, and much to Vido's comfort, the doctor said that her cold fever was abating, and left suggesting that she have their warmest foods and best teas.
On the afternoon of the next day, Coletta still slumbered and Vido entertained a Pontifficial of The Lawgiver.
Vido met the man downstairs, in a drawing room furnished neatly but without extravagance. They sat in high-backed chairs, Vido dressed in modest finery, contrasted with the gilt opulence of the Pontifficial's uniform. It was over steaming Holtenheim tea that they spoke.
“In continued obeisance of The Lawgiver, we are constructing a new Judicial Temple in the Greenstone quarter,” the Pontifficial spoke, stirring his tea with a metal spoon. “The profligate lawlessness of the district shall be crushed under the temple's stones, and we require a clock by which to conduct our days.”
Vido said, nodding, “I am sure that if you provide specifications, we can estimate the cost accurately.”
The Pontifficial waved away the notion, and corrected “from all citizens we are tithing to fund the temple. Build us the clock on your own, and it will count as your tithe.”
As they argued, Coletta walked aside Ioc through her Verified Labyrinth. Coletta knew that without Ioc's hand to guide her, she would be lost hopelessly – paths folded into themselves and new routes through the maze would open above and below them. Through halls of impossible angles they glimpsed through the walls at true orders and fundamental laws lurking under the skin of the real. Ioc cast her hand towards one warped wall.
Coletta saw the revolving spheres of Terra around Sol, and of the three moons Istar, Luna, and Orvus around Terra. Over the surface of each body was cut symbols in series, unique to each body.
“One day, Sol will eat them. Until then, Orvus, Luna, and Istar shall ever circle Terra,” Ioc said.
Coletta reached through the wall, and at the far moon Orvus. When her finger touched the cratered image, it – and every other sphere – fragmented and collapsed, until only the symbols remained in the void, cast in the moons' stones – still revolving around Terra.
She looked to Ioc, in whom gears filled the standing shadow. Brass, skeletal fingers grasped the mirror dress, and ripped in it jagged halves. Within Ioc's breast lie the prime moving gears – three, of different sizes and different speeds.
“What have you become?” Coletta asks, stepping back from Ioc.
“What you have already built.”
Coletta woke, every limb filled with urgency, her thoughts cutting schematics into itself as she tore the sheets from her body. She rushed downstairs to find her husband escorting the Pontificial out.
“I have seen a wonder that must be, and I must build it!” she cried out, to the bewilderment of both Vido and the Pontifficial.
For a month Coletta labored. The image of the machine was burned into her mind, and every time she closed her eyes she saw the gears and pistons and their alloys and measures. She committed to document only those components she could not fashion herself, to be constructed by smith and metalworker. Sleep came rarely, her every thought and motion devoted to the arcane work.
Above all components, three were of highest importance.
Coletta needed three gears, of different size and different speed. One would be carved from the stone of luna, another cast from the glass of Istar, and the last wrought from the metals of Orvus.
She sought an art collector for the Lunar stone, trading a clockwork key that could master any lock for one such stone in his collection. For the Orvic metal, she fashioned a hidden gun for a trader who had recovered one from a crater on his route. And for the Istarian glass, she traded with a mystic a clock attuned to that moon's motions.
By the twenty eighth day of Coletta's endeavor, after she had assembled the machine in her workshop and fashioned the gears, she carved into each the symbols she witnessed within the Verified Labyrinth. Onto an iron axel she fitted them, one carved with the symbols for Terra. But before she could complete the machine, she heard breaking wood and Vido crying out from downstairs. She left the gears on the desk and dashed to descend.
Their door was smashed open, and gold-armored Dictists bearing the triangle, circle, and square devices of The Lawgiver stood in the doorway – one with an arm locked around Vido's neck.
“Coletta Myravi,” one said from behind a golden mask. “You will be taken in custody, for not relinquishing your tithe and conspiring with a thief, a spy, and a sorcerer.”
Coletta knew nothing of his latter claims, but knew that her work was of greater importance than them all. Every corner of her soul knew that she must complete her machine. She turned and ran back up the stairs, the speaking Dictist charging after her whilst drawing his sword.
She reached the workshop and tossed behind her a brass mirror to block the Dictists' path. Just behind her, he smashed it away, leaving a dent in the metal. Coletta took the prime gears from the table and pushed them into the chest of her machine, but before she could set them into motion, the Dictist struck her down by the pommel of his sword.
The One Eye Mask watched out from the warped brass, as the Dictist stood over her.
“With the blessing of The Lawgiver, I incarcerate you justly,” said the Dictist, as he took her arm.
“You do not,” said The Lawgiver, standing behind him with his back to the Dictist, garbed in an iron suit. The Dictist turned, dread slowing him. In front of The Lawgiver, from the dented mirror Ioc stepped free. She walked towards Coletta's machine as The Lawgiver spoke.
“She has neither stolen, nor spied, nor consorted with dead nightmares.”
The Dictist drops Coletta, putting his hand on his chest. “She has refused her tithe to the new temple! She built this mad device! She is derelict in her obligation!”
“An obligation I never issued,” The Lawgiver said, as Coletta crawled up to her machine. “The only guilty parties here are you Dictists and Pontifficials, who fleece this city under my name. For this, I retract my blessing. My Law protects you no more.”
Ioc helped her to her feet, and with a weary smile, Coletta set the gears in motion. “It is finished,” she said, as the gears of Orvus, Luna, ans Istar ground on their axel, setting ten thousand gears in motion.
The Order In Silver rose above them.
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 00:24|
1490-ish words. Thunderer and It-Shits-Boiling-Life-Blood.
The tunic felt wrong. A bull or a lion didn’t have to wear a tunic, neither did a raincloud. But right now he was Thunderer, the father to all, and Thunderer wore a tunic. At least this one looked good on him. He ran his fingers through his beard one last time, storm crackling within, gestured to the ravens to stay put and stepped onto the stage.
The podium was still there in front of the divine multitude. He walked over to it, gripped the edges (to give the forearms even more definition), thrust his chest forward and stood still, studying the audience. The space they were in was a miracle of space-folding. It took the cooperation of three Celestial Bureaus and eleven Departments to mold this slice of infinity into a heaven capable of hosting such a assembly and sure, modest trade offs had to be made with internal flow of time, but the effort paid off. Nine million faces stared at him, each far away in their own pocket of Eden yet close enough for him to reach out and touch: imperious faces of men, striking faces of women, inscrutable muzzles, snouts, beaks and maws of every genre of beast-head imaginable. He heard their every breath bate, waiting for him to begin.
He did: “My fellow divinities: gods, devils, psychopomps, seraphs of rank, idols, numens and spirit ambassadors. Welcome. The first Plenum of the Celestial Congress is now underway.”
He gave them his second best smile. (The best one he reserved for more intimate occasions.) A number of goddesses coquettishly smiled back. He memorized their faces. Perhaps afterwards one of them could be talked into getting horizontal with a platypus. He went on:
“We gather here this eon, above all else, to strengthen the ties that bind this community. After this session, in the coming centuries of this convention, we will share anecdotes of the most outrageous prayers we received, compare our divine portfolios, show off our favorite mortals to the good-natured jealousy of our peers. If all goes well, by the time this is over, some of us will need to make room in their pantheons. If it’s me, I hope this time it’ll be through the traditional means.“ He rubbed his forehead to polite laughter. “But we are not only here for the pleasure of each others’ company.”
“There are worrying tendencies to discuss.”
He squinted and lowered the timbre of his voice.
“Our mortal flock depends on our protection, guidance and judgment. This is a reassuring axiom. But what too often goes unsaid is that we, too, depend on them. It is their faith that stokes the inferno of our godheads. It is their doctrine that shapes us as we shape them. This the Bond between us. But what if a doctrine arises which no longer involves us at all?”
He snapped his fingers. A image of the Sitting Man, that prick, infuriatingly calm and blissful as usual, appeared on the stage next to him.
“The world-deniers seek escape from the world through oblivion. This is inexcusable. Turmoil, suffering, fickleness of outcome; without these the mortal existence loses its meaning. If we allow them all to jump off the wheel of rebirth, to abscond from our lovingly crafted afterlives, what will become of the order of things? Who will be left to worship and be worshiped? No, we need to agree on a course of action against this threat. Ideas?”
A chubby Easterner god floating on a jade cloud somewhere in the upper tiers of the infinity raised a long-nailed hand:
“Mortals cannot resist a good slogan!”
“Yes!” The Easterner energetically nodded. “Perhaps, ‘Say no bwana to nirvana!’ or ‘Hey Gautama, I’d rather stay a farmer!’”
Thunderer silently stared at him. “Yes. Well. Thank you. Any other proposals?”
A deep, mocking voice he knew too well responded:
“Perhaps you could take form of an ostrich, as is your custom, and bugger them all to death?”
He clenched his fist until the burning bolt within dissipated, slowly exhaled to the count of ten, then replied with as much dignity as he could muster:
“My erotic habits, not only are of conventional nature and a private matter, but also bear no relevance to the subject at hand, dear brother. Furthermore, I…”
One of the ravens flew in from backstage and briefly landed on his shoulder. Another problem so soon? They’ve only just started! The mortals weren’t wasting their time. He steadied himself, straightened his robe - the mortal fashion shifted with it, it seems - and continued:
“It has come to my attention that there is now a new complication to discuss. It seems the capricious mortals are throwing aside their quest for oblivion and are instead taking up the sordid practice of theological consolidation. Yes, they increasingly reject our diverse and well-balanced pantheons and instead now attempt to worship a single unified god.”
He shook his head as the gods whispered among each other in outrage.
“This is a problem we need to nip in its bud. We distribute our authority according to our abilities and inclinations. I smite, I give commands, I bring the storm. Do I desire the additional responsibility of, perhaps, watching over horses giving birth or having to commute to the underworld to defecate into the nostrils of the graverobbers? No, course not! This is the superior order of things.”
A crocodile-headed god in the mid-row stood up. “Actually, I am willing to swap the nostril thing for anything else. Or give away, reall-.”
“Not. Now!” He glowered at Croc-head until sat down. “Then, think of the blow to the culture and the mores if any structural changes take place! We are a colorful and cosmopolitan bunch. Our festivals alone constitute the better half of the mortal lives! Consider a future without Cloaca’s extravagant bladder dances or Akhtaua’s donkey choking rites or the unorthodox orgiastic practices of certain order we all know and love. Yes, we must act no-.”
A deafening sound, like a camel being pulled through a needle-hole, tore through the audience. Sections of the infinity rippled, pushed around, violently merged. When the screaming turned into sobbing, Thunderer slowly emerged from under the podium. In the middle of the new central area pulsated a pearlescent mass of godflesh. The remaining gods scrambled to huddle in the corners of the infinity. With each turgid throb, the mass slowly coalesced, until a male figure, bearded, with an honest, open face emerged.
The newcomer looked around, then gave everyone a small wave.
Thunderer swallowed hard. “Hail, stranger. Uh. What is your name? And Purview?”
“Oh, I’m just a god. Purview, well, everything, really.” The newcomer shrugged. “Omnipotence, I suppose.”
Thunderer took a while to respond. “Omnipotence?”
“But only when it’s indistinguishable from random chance. Oh, and omniscience. In fact…” The newcomer closed his eyes, opened them again. “Oh dear. Well, no matter. Seems your raven wants a word. ”
“My raven?” Thunderer turned his head. It sat on his shoulder, the leather doublet protecting him from the sting of the claws. Again? A hundred millennia mortals screwed around in the forests, doing absolutely nothing and now as soon as the gods took a sabbatical, they stirred up more trouble than ever before. He listened, growing increasingly incredulous.
“He says mortals now take for granted that for every effect there is a natural cause and that cause in turn, is an effect with a cause of its own. They reject the paradigm that we are the cause; instead, they grasp for natural laws through random trial and open, brazen empiricism. We are known to be but fiction.”
“Yeah.” The newcomer sat down on a bench. “Less work for us, huh?”
Thunderer slackened the tie, leaned heavily on the podium. “This leaves us no room. They want to make us obsolete.”
“Sure. On the other hand, I’ve only had to personally decide which small children get the worms to burrow into their eyeballs for a few centuries now, but I am already glad to relinquish the authority.”
Thunderer stared at his hands without seeing. “No. No! Listen, everyone! We can still fix this! If only we go back-” There was a watch on his wrist. He stared at it. The hands were an invisible blur. Days, weeks, a flicker. The year changed with each heartbeat. The time dilation! They botched the equations when they made this infinity.
He shouted: “We have to leave now!”
There was a sad smile on the newcomer’s face. “No point. They’ve already invented nukes. We’re going down with them.”
“They’ve invented wha-”
It-Shits-Boiling-Life-Blood inhaled the scent-cheers of his peers and heaved with pride. It was center stage, first among equals. Now was its hour. It sprayed a greeting:
“My fellow divinities, lords of roachdom, fungi, wormhood, spongery and associated lumps and slimes, welcome to the first Abyssal Congress! We have worrying tendencies to discuss...”
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 00:55|
Gods: The Keeper, Felix and Versoot
The Keeper was agitated. He had torn through his library, reading nonstop for countless moons. And now he was certain, there was knowledge missing from his library.
He had gotten his first inkling when he awoke from a dream with a question on his tongue. He often slept for the pleasure of awaking with a strange thought or question in his mind, to be found in the towering stacks of books in his domain. Yet no matter how he looked he could not find the answer to his query. He searched through the lost words of the A’kahan, delved into the books founds in the Tomb of the Unseeing, even entered the Crypts of Dead Knowledge. Nothing.
Could it be that in all the countless worlds in the universe, in all the wisdom of the gods, the answer had not been answered? He could not believe it. It nettled at him day after day, until finally he knew he had to search himself or never be at peace again.
So for the first time in a hundred thousand years the Keeper stretched out his twilight hued wings and soared away from his world.
He flew through the Desert of Ka and conversed with the lost spirits of the Wailing Canyon. He entered the Lair of the Weevil and solved the riddles of the great sphinx god Amunet. He flew to a thousand different worlds and still did not find the knowledge he sought.
In despair and fatigue he finally came to rest in the forests of Ohn, in a glade with a small spring. It seemed as if the knowledge he sought did not exist. His library would have to be forever incomplete.
“Psstttt. Hey, over here.” A voice called out.
The Keeper swiveled his head. There on a stump by the edge of the glade perched Felix, the trickster god. He grinned at the Keeper.
“What do you want trickster?” The Keeper asked.
“Word round the realm is you’ve been looking something. Happens I have a juicy piece of information that may help you find it.” Felix leaned forward, eyes bright.
“And what will this cost me trickster?” The Keeper had read extensively about Felix in his library. He was a sly and slippery god, and he never undertook something without getting something to gain for himself.
“Keeper you wound me. I only want to help out of the goodness I feel for my fellow gods. Perhaps though…if I could just get a peek of that knowledge you get. Just a little taste for myself.”
Felix looked the picture of innocence. The Keeper was not a foolish god. He knew he could not trust the trickster god. But the idea of failing his quest stung him.
Felix grinned, his eyes flashing in the sun like two large golden coins.
The Keeper had not liked where Felix suggested they go.
They were in the forgotten and cursed library of Anathot. They made their way through the maze of bookcases, the air thick with the smell of decay and rot, the books caked with dust and covered in cobwebs. The Keeper knew that to open any of the books was to invite madness.
“Where are you taking me trickster?” He asked crossly.
“Relax. I know a guy here. Knows all sorts of stuff. If anyone knows where your knowledge is he does.”
The Keeper wondered what sorts of company Felix kept that lived in cursed libraries. They made their way through the gloomy library until Felix stopped.
“This is where he lives.” He said.
The Keeper peered where Felix stopped. All he could see was a corner, dark from the two bookshelves around it blocking the light.
“I don’t see anything.” The Keeper replied.
“You can’t see him head on. He’s a bit slippery like that. Gotta look at him from the periphery.”
He swiveled his head, until the corner was seen from the very corners of his eyes. And then suddenly he saw it, a gibbering giggling figure. It wore the darkness like a cloak, shrouding its features.
The Keeper felt his feathers rise in a thrill of fear and loathing. The being offended him to his very core. Somehow he knew this entity was an opposite of him, a dark twin. And yet why, in all his reading of all the knowledge of the universe, had the Keeper never heard of it?
“What is it?” he asked Felix.
“Its name is Versoot. Odd one it is. A god of forgotten knowledge. Figure someone forgot where your knowledge is he’ll know.”
Versoot was speaking gibberish, as if it was having a conversation with itself. Once in a while it would double over with giggles and howls of laughter, a piercing shrieking sound that left the Keeper cold all over.
“Bit of a nutter it is yeah. But it can be useful. Hey Versoot my friend here has something he needs from you.” Felix called out.
The figure turned towards the Keeper. Despite not having a head or any features to speak off he had a distinct feeling of being watched.
“What is it that you seek, keeper of the books.” The words hissed out of the darkness.
The Keeper bent down, and whispered his question to Versoot.
It let out a peal of laughter. “Oh yes, yes I know of that. Many have come to take that knowledge, and many have become my acolytes with it. What beautiful gorgeous madness you ask me. What a delicious morsel it is.”
“Can you tell me where I can find it?”
“Most certainly I can. But it will cost you. You must forget, and then you will remember.”
The Keeper considered. He was loath to give up any of his knowledge, vast as it was. But he was even more loathe to give up his quarry now that he had the scent.
“I will pay the price.” He said finally.
He felt a dark and creeping force make its way into his mind. It was tinged with madness and despair and horror, and not for the first time he wondered what he had gotten into with this quest.
“Ah what a bounty you give me. Such an assortment. But the knowledge I seek isn’t one that you can just replenish with a glance at a book. No for this I must go deeper.”
The Keeper quailed as he felt that creeping tendril go right past the starry sky of knowledge into the hot white core of his being. From the inner most reaches of his mind and self Versoot reached and grasped some of that white core and took it.
The Keeper felt a crushing sense of despair and sadness as that part of himself was taken. But he couldn’t have said what was taken, and soon it was forgotten altogether.
He knew where to find the knowledge he sought.
It was in the form of a book, a book so plain and so small as to be hardly noticeable at all. It lay inside a cavern deep underground, in a dark and unseen corner.
The Keeper trembled with excitement as he approached the book. Here finally his quest was almost over.
But Felix was quick and nimble, and in a blink of the eye the book was in his hands.
“Hah! For a god of knowledge you are pretty dumb. You led me right to the prime information you fool! I intended this the whole ti—“
Felix yelped at the Keeper crashed into him. The Keeper had of course known Felix would most likely attempt something like this. Tricksters as a whole tended towards gimmicks, and many had encountered and recorded Felix’s tricks through the ages.
Felix snarled and turned into a hissing viper. But the Keeper was knowledgeable in the way of many living things, and turned into a hawk shrieking down to break his neck. In this way they fought, flickering in an out of forms in the blink of an eye.
But Felix was wily and strong, and he turned into a great badger and managed to pin the Keeper to the ground with one paw. With a hoot of victory he took the book with the other paw and opened it. And he read.
The Keeper left Felix in that underground place. He wondered if Felix would ever get out of catatonia. Perhaps Versoot would take mercy on him and take that terrible knowledge away.
He flew back to his library. He knew now that his question would not, could not ever be answered. But now he had a new task, one as terribly important as the one he had set out for.
And so deep under the library, past the Crypts of Dead Knowledge, the book lay forgotten by all but the Keeper, left for eternity outside the prying eyes of gods and men. A question left forever unanswered.
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 01:03|
Problem, I went and dreamed too huge and now I'm at 2,400ish words and I'm almost nearly complete. I'm thinking I should take 1500 of these and polish them up for submission, and link the rest of the story in a google doc when it's completed, how does that sound? What's the protocol here?
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 01:19|
Problem, I went and dreamed too huge and now I'm at 2,400ish words and I'm almost nearly complete. I'm thinking I should take 1500 of these and polish them up for submission, and link the rest of the story in a google doc when it's completed, how does that sound? What's the protocol here?
cut it down to 1500 words like everyone else then post it like everyone else
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 01:30|
But these 700 words on Venusian trade economics are vital to the background of my piece!
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 01:33|
cut it down to 1500 words like everyone else then post it like everyone else
post the lot and dare the mouse to dq u
he is weak like all of his kind
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 02:17|
|# ? Oct 3, 2022 08:09|
Gods: Mendora, Alothaa, God of Winter, (Ma'indo, Lawgiver)
Apothekon’s spear was heavy.
Heavy, because the incline was steep and his weight dragged him down. Heavy, because a great task lay ahead, the fate of his people weighing on his shoulders.
Heavy, because he did not want to use it.
His brother Etheus awaited him at the peak, preparing ritual implements - incense neatly laid out, herbs mixed and ground in bowls. A goat was bound to a wooden post, waiting for the slaughter. The accursed golden charm dangled from a chain on Etheus’s neck, infusing the air with a wrongness that made the surroundings feel dirty. He didn’t look up when Apothekon called out his name, but he did laugh.
“Finally, the prodigy has come to stop me,” Etheus said. “Which one sent you?”
“The raven told me of your madness.”
“Ma’indo, the old arbiter? I’m sure he gave you some stern talking to, so you'd take this quest.”
“Is it sin to slay your brother, when he too is a sinner? I never keep up with their fancy rules.” He chuckled. “Wonder what the Lawgiver has to say about that.”
Etheus had been young and innocent once. They’d discovered rivers and hollow tree stumps together, sparred with their wooden swords, pretended to be demigods ruling over barren patches of land. That had been before the charm had driven their father mad, and done the same to him. But even now - surely the old Etheus must have still been there, somewhere. If only he could have been reached.
Apothekon’s spear tumbled to the ground as he knelt before his brother.
“Please. I come to you not as an enemy. Think about what you are doing. To banish the Gods - what will come of the world? No light, no hope, no knowledge. You will plunge us all into darkness.”
“The Gods are the darkness.” Etheus held up his pendant, its faint glow distorting the air around it as he came closer. He could have used it to annihilate Apothekon as soon as the spear had left his fist - and yet he hadn’t. That alone gave him hope. He could still save Etheus.
“You shouldn’t have let go of your spear,” Etheus said, and touched Apothekon by the shoulder.
Red stone walls surrounded him from all sides. He recognized the place - Ugula, a canyon maze far away from the hills, rumoured to have starved many a lost wanderer. He had conquered this place before, but now time was dear, and Apothekon had to find his way back quickly. So he knelt, and he prayed to Alothaa, Goddess of the Lost, so that he might strike a bargain. And the goddess replied, her voice a faint murmur of shifting sands and tumbling pebbles, echoing one word, and one word only: “Sacrifice. Sacrifice. Sacrifice.”
“I wish nothing more than to find my brother. All other directions are useless to me. I will abandon to you all my dreams, all my goals and hopes but this one, if you guide me where I need to go today.”
The murmur faded, and Apothekon was filled with calm, a dead weight filling him from within. He had a singular purpose, and that purpose was to find his brother, and he knew exactly where to go.
“You have some nerve to come back here,” Etheus said upon Apothekon’s return. “Maybe you should just pick up that spear and get it over with, save yourself the trouble.”
“The Gods have helped me find you. They are kind, and fair.”
“You’re droing they’re bidding. They probably made you pay for it.”
“This charm. Think of what it did to our father. He didn't see clear, and neither do you.”
Etheus paused for a second. He stomped closer, the charm disappearing in his clenched fist. “I remember what it did,” he said. And what the gods did, and their henchmen, and this spear. I remember every day." He grabbed Apothekon by the shoulder once more.
Harsh winds pulled at Apothekon from all directions, the frost burning his skin, biting into it, burrowing itself deep down into his core. The mountaintop of Glamoros was closer than the maze, but the sun was setting and time was running out. He could not afford to be slowed down by the harsh winds. So he knelt again, and prayed. He prayed to the winds, to the snow and the and cold, he prayed for respite, and the wind answered, a distant howl spoken by the blind God of Winter himself.
“A sacrifice,” it echoed.
“Winter is dark and blind,” Apothekon said. “It is no justice that a God so magnificent should be thusly hindered, when a mere human is not. I offer my sight to you, that I may be worthy of your assistance.” And the winds subsided before the world around him turned to black. And with his eyesight gone the cold stopped biting, and Apothekon thanked the God of Winter for his guidance and went forth through the cold.
Etheus’s laughter pierced the sweltering heat that emanated from the rotten charm. It sounded more uncertain now. Hesitant.
“You insist on coming back,” he said. “Why?”
“Because I still hope. Hope may never die. Without hope, we are nothing.”
“Hope.” Etheus all but spat out the word. “I had hope once. Father is dead. You are the enemy. I have no more hope. I have a purpose. Finish me, or get out of my way.”
The pain in his voice was too much to bear for Apothekon. A final time, he knelt. He fumbled for his spear, his fingertips brushing the smooth wood, reaching, clutching the staff. He pointed the tip skywards. Owls hooted in the distance. Wolves howled at the moon. The nocturnal voices of Mendora - Moon Goddess, matron of the light in the dark - were demanding a sacrifice.
“Please return hope to my brother,” he said. “Please shine your light where he only sees darkness.”
“Too much,” the owls hooted. “Too much.”
“Then I shall offer the greatest sacrifice. For I know the moon chases the sun, and so I shall offer you mine. My fire, my inner candle. Return hope to my brother, and my light is yours, oh Goddess of the Moon.”
And the crickets chirped, and the wolves howled, and as the goddess accepted his offer, Apothekon tumbled to the ground, his spear rolling off down the slope.
“Brother,” Etheus said, his voiced changed. It wavered, broke, dripping sadness. “Brother, what have you done?”
A stone fell into the dirt. Apothekon smiled. It was done. Boots crunched through the dirt before Etheus knelt next to him.
“The Gods, they may not be selfless,” Apothekon said. “But you may be. Never forget that.”
“By the Gods. I won't.“
Apothekon stared heavenward. For a moment, he could've sworn he could make out the moon benath the darkness. He nodded slowly, and closed his tired, empty eyes, while his brother silently wept.
And so Apothekon gave his life on that hill, and his sacrifice awakened Etheus the Peacemaker, and for all eternity he shall be known as Apothekon, Champion of Hope. And humanity shall always march onward, guided by his undying light.
|# ? Feb 23, 2015 02:20|