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  • Locked thread
sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









crabrock posted:

ATTN new people: cache cab is crazy, and is best ignored. same goes for benny the snake and sitting here.

we are all cache cab

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ADBOT LOVES YOU

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


crabrock posted:

ATTN new people: cache cab is crazy, and is best ignored. same goes for benny the snake and sitting here.
Sez the guy who volunteers to judge the crazies.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



i'm crazy for wizards, i'm IN

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Cache Cab posted:

In Summary

I can write circles around all of you. If you want to respond to this and poo poo on me, don’t bother doing so unless you link me to something you’ve had published. I’m not going to bother arguing with you if you don’t have credentials.

With all that said, I want to put my money where my mouth is, so I’m in for this week!
Hi Cache Cab! I'm published in The Cipher Sister Anthology as Xander Stronach, among other places.





You're a loving idiot.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 07:40 on Apr 23, 2015

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Let me elaborate on that.

Back in the day, I was actually a big proponent of yours. I defended you in the irc when people were talking poo poo, and I tried my best to be constructive with you. There was a bit of kayfabe poo poo-throwing, but overall I felt that your writing wasn't irredeemable and that you had potential. I loving tried with you, man. I tried to get you to pull your head out of your rear end and stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and you chewed me out as a hater because you seem to process anything that doesn't lovingly tongue your balls as vitriol.

You could be a good writer, but you need to get better at figuring out when people are being harsh-but-fair and when they're just being assholes. You lean to the latter far too often, and in the end a whole lot of us who started out on your side just got frustrated and gave up. We tried to give you a hand up, and you spat on us and told us to gently caress off. There was a whole lot of directionless bile (especially at the end, after you'd chased all your allies onto the other side by being a crazy vituperative rear end in a top hat) but there were also a bunch of people genuinely trying to help you improve. Vector wasn't my personal pick for the loss that week, honestly (iirc that was Jitzu, who has made great inroads with his writing because he actually knows how to handle criticism) and it's saddening to hear that was the point you spat the dummy, because if you go back and read my comments I really was trying to help you improve.

From my exalted position as a paid, published author, I am telling you once again to pull your head out of your rear end. Thunderdome wasn't against you until you turned it against you.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 08:00 on Apr 23, 2015

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



Wow people are sure writing a lot in this thread, guess that must mean your stories this week are all written already! :) Just waiting on that editing polish, right?

My tip is, before you edit your TD entry, go take a walk somewhere you haven't taken a walk to before. Expand your brain a little, and you'll be in a new state of mind for editing.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



Djeser posted:

My tip is, before you edit your TD entry, go take a walk somewhere you haven't taken a walk to before.

This doesn't make any sense, I've walked to every room in my house. :confused:

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Cache Cab posted:

Hello Thunderdome,


My name is Cassius Caab, author of Dr. Scienticius’s Method, which was published in the January 2015 issue of Beyond Science Fiction.

{blah blah blah]

I can write circles around all of you. If you want to respond to this and poo poo on me, don’t bother doing so unless you link me to something you’ve had published. I’m not going to bother arguing with you if you don’t have credentials.

With all that said, I want to put my money where my mouth is, so I’m in for this week!

It's great that you got selected for someone's e-zine, but, let''s be clear, it's not like Beyond Science Fiction actually paid you for your work, seeing as they only started paying authors in April. (now it's five bucks for up 5k words, and 0.001 cents per word after - a couple more issues and it's practically semi-pro!)

So please do put your money where your mouth is and shut the gently caress up..

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?



The circlejerk thing isn't even slightly true. I won the second week I ever entered.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



HopperUK posted:

The circlejerk thing isn't even slightly true. I won the second week I ever entered.

I got an HM my second week so yeah, the people here are pretty objective if you're not a complete knob about it.

On that note, I'm in because I haven't done this in a while and have a pretty free weekend ahead of me. Plus wizards :science:

Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


I'm with Cache - the illthundernati has long conspired to keep the brilliant ones down in this thread. I AM BETTER THAN BEING CONSTANTLY RELEGATED TO THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK AND ONE DAY I WILL MARCH IN HERE AND POST THE E-ZINE I'M PUBLISHED IN TO PROVE IT!!!! You assholes will eat all those crits you generously spend your free time on to help people!!!!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


OK everybody shut up about cache cab now.

:siren: -250 word count for posting to or about cache cab from this point forward

monkeyboydc
Dec 2, 2007

Unfortunately, we had to kut the English budget at the Ivalice Magick Ackcademy.

Sitting Here posted:

WEEK 142: BUT MOM, A WIZARD DID IT



I would like to write about a wizard, please.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







monkeyboydc posted:

I would like to write about a wizard, please.

Helloooooo signup number 69. You are the love wizard. You can hurl the fires of passion at your enemies. You can make lovers burn with yearning until their skin crinkles off their bones. You can invoke the impossible sweetness of young love. Where there is passion, fidelity, infidelity, romance, or devotion, you have power to do terrible or wonderful things. Truly, love is all you need.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi posted:

I got an HM my second week so yeah, the people here are pretty objective if you're not a complete knob about it.

On that note, I'm in because I haven't done this in a while and have a pretty free weekend ahead of me. Plus wizards :science:

oops. I guess you were number 69. Well, welcome to being lucky number 70, which is a unique number insofar as I never ever thought I'd have a 70th signup.

That said, you're the wizard of 7s, and 13s, and any other superstitious or significant number. In fact, while you're not a mathmetician, your intuitive, wizardly understanding of the innate numerology of the universe gives you the ability to control odds, variables, and ratios. Integers are your playthings.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



Just in case it was lost in all the thread making GBS threads, I'm offering additional crits to anyone who posts by Saturday. In addition to that there is a-

:siren: New offer! :siren:

Submit by Friday and I'll upgrade your crit to a line by line. There's a ton of you fuckers. Let's spread the submissions out a bit, eh?

POOL IS CLOSED
Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.


Pillbug

:siren: If some gif-makers can whip up a special wizard-tar for this week, I will foot the bill to buy new avatars for this week's losing wizard(s). I know some of you have that magic touch.

POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 00:02 on Apr 24, 2015

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Tyrannosaurus posted:


Submit by Friday and I'll upgrade your crit to a line by line.

Ohhhhh you horrible oval office, you know how bad I want that line crit, why won't you just let me procrastinate

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









skwidmonster posted:

Ohhhhh you horrible oval office, you know how bad I want that line crit, why won't you just let me procrastinate

I've been dragged in as judge ronin to help deal with your efluvium so have a :siren: flash rule :siren: someone is horrible, wishes they weren't.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Posting early to make it less brutal for the judges.

Wesley the Wizard 1298 Words.

In the field outside the cafeteria, Magnus, the eighth-grade Magus, said in his deep voice that no longer cracked, “Throw it!”

Two of his friends hefted a rock the size of Wesley’s head up into the air, and on the count of three they hurled it at Magnus. The girls all gasped while the boys cheered.

Wesley watched Cynthia as the stone flew. He looked at Cynthia every chance he got. She bit her lip and put her hand over her lovely chest. She was enraptured by the powerful Magus, who--Wesley thought--was definitely too old for her.

Just before the rock could knock out Magnus’ perfect teeth, it stopped and hung in mid-air, an inch from his nose. He raised one hand and scratched his stubble, and then--probably to show off that a Magus could cast spells with his mind alone--he put his hands back into his pockets.

Magnus squinted, and the stone exploded into fine powder, which then swirled to a giant heart-shape that floated away in the wind. Magnus bowed, and though he didn’t bow at Cynthia, she squealed to her friends and smiled ear to ear.

Wesley would give up all of his wizard powers to see Cynthia smile at him like that.

He might not be a Magus, but Wesley was a loving wizard. A wizard feared no girl.

He took confident steps, but no one moved out of his way, even after he said “excuse me,” so he walked in a big circle around the crowd, until finally he reached Cynthia. She was with three or four friends, none as beautiful as her, but most were pretty enough to make Wesley sweat. Even powerful wizards feared groups of girls

“A Magus named Magnus...isn’t that a bit much?” Wesley said. They ignored him, probably because he hadn’t made eye contact, or maybe he hadn’t spoken loud enough.

He walked closer, until they all looked at him--looked down at him, because he was so much shorter. Why did sixth-grade girls have to be so much taller than the boys?

What could he say? He’d already used his icebreaker joke, and he couldn’t repeat it because maybe they had heard him the first time.

He said the only thing he could think of, “I’m more powerful than him.”

Cynthia’s friend said, “You’re a magus?”

They were all looking at him now. He was close enough to Cynthia to see the zits on her cheeks and the cracks on her lips: all the imperfections that made her more real and wonderful than any other girl.

“No...I’m a wizard. My name’s Wesley.”

Two of them snickered and looked away, but not Cynthia.

“Can you move and crush rocks like that?” She asked, pointing to Magnus.

“I could, but why bother? I can do way more useful and impressive stuff.”

Cynthia said to her friends, “Hey guys, I’ll be back in a bit. I have to talk to Wesley.” They nodded, not looking at her as Magnus bowed and grinned to his fans. Even the lunch ladies clapped.

One girl with messed up teeth, frizzy hair, and the flattest chest Wesley had ever seen smiled at him.

“Bye, Wesley...I’m Janice.” she said.

“Uh, okay. Bye.”

Cynthia grabbed Wesley’s arm and pulled him away from her friends and the crowd. Her fingers felt like warm feathers full of electricity, and she smelled like roses filled with honey. If her fingers--which were mostly just skin and bone--felt so soft, what would other parts of her feel like?

“Wesley the Wizard, huh?” She said, “Nice to meet you, I’m Cynthia.” She had let go of his arm, but he still felt it tingle. She reached out her hand, and he shook it. Now his fingers had touched her too. This was going really well.

“So, like,” she said, “I know we just met, but I think we can be good friends. I know this is kind of girly, but I’m really really into Magnus, but he doesn’t even look at me because I’m just a sixth grader. The thing is, I know we’d be perfect for each other if he could just look past the age difference and get to know me. My dad is like ten years older than my mom! A lot of famous couples are like that too. Can, uh, your wizard powers help me?”

With each word, Wesley’s heart sunk deeper into his gut. He wanted to protest, to say Magnus was definitely way too old, and also not that great anyway. Instead, he said the only thing he could think of to impress Cynthia.

“Yeah, I can help you.”

“I don’t want like a love potion...I want him to fall in love with me just like in the movies. I just need him to notice me.”

“Okay,” Wesley said. “I know this sounds like a brag, but I’m the most powerful wizard ever born. I’m so powerful that my parents sent me to public school instead of magic school and forbade me from ever using my powers. Ever. But for you, Cynthia, I will use them.”

She smiled at him, just like he’d imagined. She’d definitely hug him after he did this, and he’d get to feel her boobs press against him.

“I can imboob--imbue--phrases with power,” Wesley said, “I’m going to whisper the phrase to you before I imbue it, and you have to say it while you’re looking at Magnus. After you say it, you have to try to forget the phrase and never ever say it again. Ever. The phrase will never lose it’s power, so you use it once and then pretend it never happened. Got it?”

He whispered into her ear, “Pestering frames convoke maladjusted Thesauri.”

After he said it, he raised his hands and mumbled. Unlike a magus, a wizard had to flail his hands around and chant to do any magic. He definitely didn’t look cool doing it, but with one last wave and chant, the phrase was imbued.

“Pestering frames convoke maladjusted Thesauri?” Cynthia said.

“Shh!” Wesley hissed, “Only say it when you look at Magnus! You wouldn’t want to use it on me...and you can’t risk anyone hearing you! It’s too dangerous.”

Wesley already thought she was the most beautiful girl, so nothing changed, he just hoped she didn’t realize she’d actually used the phrase on him.

“Okay,” she said, “I get it...you’re sure it will work?”

“Positive, just say it exactly like that.”

The bell rang, and they had to go back to class.

After the last bell, Wesley waited at the bus loop for his bus, which was always late. He normally saw Cynthia waiting too: waiting for the bus was the best part of his day because he got to look at her the longest. Today though he saw her walking hand-in-hand with Magnus. Of course it had worked, and of course Magnus would fall for her. Who wouldn’t?

She broke from Magnus’ hand and ran to Wesley. Before he could say anything, she wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him tighter than even his Mom ever had. Was this first or second base? He wasn’t sure.

“It worked! Wesley, you really are the most powerful wizard! Let’s keep in touch, okay? Magnus is driving me home, even though he’s only fourteen, since he’s a Magus he gets his license early. He’s so cool!”

Just as Wesley thought of going home and making a series of bleak and cryptic tweets, a radiant girl who eclipsed Cynthia in every way walked toward them: she had the most endearing crooked teeth and her hair was wild and unkempt.

“Woah,” Wesley said, “Who’s that?”

“That’s Janice...didn’t you guys meet after lunch?”

“No, I would have noticed her.”

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006



"I don't need to prove myself to you unpublished losers"

"I'm in! Now I will really show them who is the best semi published writer on a comedy forum!"

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


CancerCakes posted:

"I don't need to prove myself to you unpublished losers"

"I'm in! Now I will really show them who is the best semi published writer on a comedy forum!"

Your word limit for this week is now 1050 words.

Noeland
Feb 28, 2006


Three Dimensions, More or Less 1272 words

Paper cuts aren’t that bad. They usually sting a bit, last only for a short while, and minutes later you forget all about them. The same does not go the same for a paper cut received when you're pulling books from the dark, dank, dusty shelves of the deep stacks in the libraries of the University Arcanus. The last student to get a paper cut while pulling stack duty was found 3 days later with his head turned inside out standing in front of his bathroom mirror. I think I personally got really lucky that I didn't cut my finger on the pages of the first edition Necronomicon like he did. Instead, I cut myself on the pages of less sinister, but no less dangerous volume, a 9th edition 'Practical Papercraft for the Occasional Occultist'.

By themselves, paper cuts on magical tomes aren’t usually fatal or even disastrous. Oh sure, they often cause vivid hallucinations or minor possessions requiring repossession, but the effects are usually quite mild. My classmate Gary once cut himself on the pages of his 'Botany for Brujos' textbook and spent the afternoon photosynthesizing out in the atrium. The green was almost entirely gone before his hot date that weekend.

Normally, the risk of a paper cut can be mitigated quite easily. Rough or worn edges of the book being handled are usually a great preventer of mishaps. Some books that stay crisp around the edges, such as 'Frost Spells for the Aspiring Arcanist' can be quite sharp, so for cases such as this, most new students wear protective white cotton gloves. Remember, those gloves you see folks wearing aren’t for the books, they are for the wearer. That's where I screwed up, you see, everyone gets paper cuts. You’re supposed to get paper cuts. Paper cuts build calluses. I screwed up because I had been a student for nearly a hundred years before I found out that you eventually should stop wearing gloves. The time to lose the gloves should also come long before you are assigned your first stack duty at your 80th year. Nobody cared to share such info with me, so I happened to be a soft handed senior student when it came time for me to take the task of fetching and replacing some of the most rare and dangerous volumes of recorded magic in all of wizarding history.
The 9th edition Papercraft is one of the newer books in the ancient tomes section, surpassed in youth only by 'Sex and Sourceresses: A Quick and Easy Reference'. For some reason, that book is constantly going missing despite being one of the heaviest set of texts to ever make print, it has 10 volumes! Anywho, the Papercraft book tends to generate such excitement for folding with its readers that most people tend to take the pages straight out of the bindings and begin to practice right then and there. A single volume often has a lifespan of no more than a few hundred years before needing serious repair or replacement.

So there I was, with a brand new 9th edition Papercraft in hand and no gloves on said hand. The book was fresh out of its wax paper wrapping. I could smell the fresh sweat and saddle soap on the warm horsehide cover. Wonderful. In the opposite hand I held the red hot colored ink stamp, an ancient anti-theft device to prevent more books from disappearing like the Sourceresses volumes, ready to mark the new book with the magic words, "PROPERTY OF THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY ARCANUS, PLEASE DO NOT STEAL". Right as I was about to stamp the book was when it happened. The proximity of the red hot stamp caused the horsehide to begin to get nervous and sweat. With that sweat the book got slick. So I had a choice to make, drop the stamp and save the book, or drop the book and stamp myself. Not wanting to be stuck in the library for an eternity, like Wandering Wally, I made my choice. Quick as you can say ”ABRACADABRA", which isn’t that quick, I dropped the red hot colored stamp and saved the book from falling, preventing it from possibly breaking its spine, thus saving it from becoming paralyzed. In my haste, I had forgotten that I wasn’t wearing my gloves and remembered as much right as my hand slid right along those fresh, sharp, live pages.

From here on out, the story is going to get a little weird. My memory becomes a bit hazy as to what happened next, but what aren’t hazy are the secret texts hidden within the book that had just done a real number on my main mitt. I can now proudly say that my hundred years at the University Arcanus have not been wasted, if only because I fumbled a book. So here I am, now an inadvertent master of the ancient art of Paper Fu, of dimensional folding and inter-universal mail techniques, and traveling through the cosmos with paper manipulation on only 5 dollars a day. I can also compress entire villages into sheets with the Home-in-a-Tome easy move mansion fold. There is no limit to what I can now do with a sheet of paper, which brings me back to the hazy part. All this new knowledge was just swimming around in my head, it wanted to jump out and it told me that I had to share it with someone, but I didn’t know who. Despite having been at the University for over a century, I never really made any friends here, that thought in mind, the Forbidden Friend Folding technique popped into the forefront of my already seriously overloaded brain. I knew the technique perfectly. I could perform it flawlessly twice over in only a matter of minutes. The only problem was that although I understood the HOW to perform the technique, I was so addled at the time, that I couldn’t quite grasp exactly WHAT it was that the technique did.

Right now, I have to say that I'm really super sorry. I should have been more patient. I should have waited until all that knowledge sank in and was digested, but the technique was too powerful to sit about idly. It goaded me to believe that I had to prove that I was a great wizard. I used the Forbidden Friend Folding technique, and it worked. Now here's what you need to know about the Forbidden Friend Folding technique: Its forbidden for a reason, it does not create new friends, and it is a very effective magical technique. See, I’ve been a student at the University for over a hundred years, and though I haven’t made any friends inside its walls, before I was a student I traveled far and wide and made thousands of friends across many realms The great number of friends I've made is part of why I must apologize, because you see, my friend, the technique knows no bounds. I hope you can read this in 2D, because I would like to let you know that 'Practical Papercraft', the 9th edition, doesn’t hold the technique to reverse the folding. Now don’t worry! I'm still working on finding the right unfolding technique. I promise that I will get you out of that flat world I put you in, but if I can’t do so soon, you needn't fret, I can fold in plenty of resources that should tide you over until I figure it out. Although I've got a good feeling about it all, I think I’m gonna need you to wish me luck!

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

It's been forever since I did one of these. Lost access to my account and my ability to write anything. I want in. I am toxxing myself to make sure I finish.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


If anybody with a losertar HMs or wins this week, I will buy them a new avatar. If they do not have one in mind, I will make one for them.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

:siren: flash rule :siren: someone is horrible, wishes they weren't.

Hot drat, this week is a fine fine week

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




*

ravenkult fucked around with this message at 19:24 on Oct 22, 2015

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


crabrock posted:

OK everybody shut up about cache cab now.

:siren: -250 word count for posting to or about cache cab from this point forward
This is a terrible idea, because this week has more entries than any other week by a ridiculous number: it's almost 30% higher than the highest previous week. Lowering word counts is good for the judges since it means less to wade through, and it's also good for the writers because it means judging will get done faster. In that spirit, I'mma say gently caress your rule and I'm going to offer Cache Cab something I offered him in the past, and he turned down.

THE OFFER

Cache Cab. If you want me to, I will do a full line-crit of any three of your stories of your choosing. There will be no kayfabe, or vitriolic hyperbole; I'll be totally even-handed. If something doesn't work, I'll let you know without rubbing it in. If it does work, I'll let you know exactly why. There will be stuff that works, because you're far from the worst writer we've ever had.

This is not me trying to score points, or show off, or any of that bullshit. This is me trying to help you as a writer. I want to see you improve, because good writing is awesome; it's a good day whenever more of it arrives into the world.

I'm not out to cramp your style. I know you've got this speedball craziness going on in your writing, and I like it. There's definitely a place for that in the world, and I'm not going to try and cut you up to fit you into a pretty little box. I want to help you to fully realise your own voice, not mimic ours.

The only thing I ask of you is that you approach this offer with the same even-handedness that I am. That you read my crits, and do your best to process them. If you don't agree with what I have to say, that's cool. Not every crit is perfect, and if something smells like bullshit, you can use your own sound judgement to ignore it. Point is, "I disagree with this b/c xyz so I'mma just do me here" is going to go down a lot better than "gently caress YOU MUFFIN YOU'RE A HACK AND I WANT YOU TO BURN IN HELL". Calm down for five minutes and try to understand that we're not out to get you. Work with me. That doesn't mean toeing the line, but it means at least trying to understand why people are saying what they're saying. It means admitting that while you're sometimes right, you're also sometimes wrong.

I gave you this offer before and you spat on it. I'm giving it again, because there's a certain bugfuck fire in you that just keeps coming back and that says something. You give a gently caress, and I like that. I don't really like you, but I have to admit you've got balls and I respect that.

Take me up on this, man. If you don't, you won't be seeing it again.

---

K I'm out. Crabrock, hit me with your angrystick.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

K I'm out. Crabrock, hit me with your angrystick.



Muffin's wordcount is now 1050

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Credit to Kaishai for wizard #71!

JonasSalk posted:

It's been forever since I did one of these. Lost access to my account and my ability to write anything. I want in. I am toxxing myself to make sure I finish.

You're a real wizard in the kitchen. That's not hyperbole, you're a wizard and you use your magic in food. Your dishes are literally magical, like potions except with more shiitake mushrooms. The freshest ingredients create the strongest effect.

A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


quote:

<sittinghere> in fact i should start giving out flash rules that contradict the wizards i gave out

yeah as if you baby

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Joy 1,247 words

When Ms. Williams arrives, she sprawls onto the couch and casts her arm over her face. She’s a portly woman, and her form drapes over the edge of the cushions in a way that curdles my stomach. I stay seated behind my desk while she shifts and grunts her way into a comfortable position. Finally, she lets out a guttural sigh, which is my cue that she is ready to begin our session. I rise and move to the armchair opposite the couch and set my tea on the worn coffee table between us.

“Hello, Petunia.” Her words are muffled by her sleeve and her voice rattles with phlegm.

“Good afternoon, Audrey!” I say, forcing my lips into a smile. “How have you been?”

Her sleeve blows out as she snorts. “How do you think?” She lapses into silence, letting the seconds tick by like she’s not paying over five-hundred a session. I let her wallow in the quiet. After all, I get paid either way.

Without warning, she heaves herself upright and glares at me with red eyes. “I thought you said you could help me.” The phlegm is gone now and her voice is sharp. “This is my fifth time here, and I’m just as miserable.”

“I know, Audrey. These sessions are hard on you. But magic is a precise science, and we can’t go in half-cocked, now, can we?” The words come out by rote. All of my clients hit this wall eventually. They want their joy, and they want it now. As if they have any idea of what that means. “I do think we are at the end, though.”

“Really?” A smile flashes onto her face and, for a moment, she’s actually pretty. I can see the woman she would have been if things had taken other turns; the woman she will be again.

“Yes, I think I’ve gathered enough information that I can really make a difference.” I take a sip of tea and pause to enjoy the slight mint flavor. I can feel the coolness through the heat of the water and it courses through my veins. Not strictly necessary to the spell, but helpful, like letting the butter sit out a bit before spreading it on the toast.

Setting the cup down, I go over to the cabinet and start gathering the reagents. Audrey shifts on the couch, watching me scour through collections of bone fragments, dried flower buds, and assorted herbs. When I turn back, her face is flushed and her eyes flick back and forth between me and the table.

“What…what will change?” Now that she stands on the brink, her voice is small. The way she looks up at me with her head lowered reminds me of a dog that’s gone on the carpet.

“A lot of things, Audrey. Joy isn’t easy, especially coming from such misery.” Easier if you work for it yourself, but if people did that I’d be out of the job. I’d have to get work raising the dead or some such nonsense. “To be quite honest, I’m going for the total package: a new job, weight-loss, a new hobby, new friends, a new boyfriend.” Her head whips up at that, eyes ready to pop out of her skull. I suppress a sigh before it can start.

“A new boyfriend? What’s wrong with Jeffrey?” Her voice has gone whiny. She knows drat well why he has to go. Still, there are proprieties to observe, even for a wizard. I set the collection of ingredients down on the coffee table and take another sip of tea. It gives me a few moments to still my face.

“Audrey, I have been doing this for a long time. Listening to someone and finding the sources of their troubles is what I do.” I put on my best reassuring smile. “I know it seems strange to think I can figure all this out in just four hours of conversation, but believe me when I say I know what I am doing.”

Again, we sit in silence. Audrey stares intently at the table with the occasional twitching eyelid and facial tic. I note each movement in my mind. It’s a debate I’ve seen play out again and again. My clients get to the point of true joy and balk, afraid to give up what they have, misery and all. One man sat here for three hours, rocking back and forth on the couch and wringing his hands, before he could commit to moving forward.

Audrey doesn’t take that long. After fifteen minutes of staring blankly at the table, she looks into my eyes and nods. Her breath comes out in a sudden rasp and she slouches back into the couch, the tension holding her upright gone.

“Very good, then,” I say and begin mixing the reagents into a bowl. Audrey watches this from the couch with her lips drawn back to her gums and her forehead creased. I pull a box of matches from the waistband of my skirt, pull one out, and set it next to the bowl. Then, picking up my pestle from the center of the table, I grind the contents of the bowl into a fine powder.

“I’m not going to have to eat that, am I?” Audrey’s voice is faint and her face is a dull gray.

“God, no!” Setting the bowl aside, I let my eyes widen a bit, feigning shock. “I’m not a witch, Audrey. No potions.” I don’t know whether she’s convinced – she certainly doesn’t regain any of her color – but she nods.

Bowing my head, I begin to chant. The words are old and worn from use, but still good for their purpose. My vision fades to a field of black with a narrow porthole in the center. Sound flees completely. The coolness of the mint in my veins turns white-hot. The heat courses through me for the next few lines and then pools in my head. My body stiffens, and I see Audrey leaning across the table, her mouth working in shouts I can’t hear. I reach the final word with blazing coals behind my eyes. My body releases. I snatch the bowl and match, pop the match alight with my thumb, and drop it into the bowl. The mixture ignites and burns in a flash of crimson and I blow the puff of ash and smoke into Audrey’s face.

She slams back into the couch, coughing and sputtering. Blind and swiping at her face, she leaps to her feet, banging her shin on the coffee table. Deep down, I want to get up and help her, but I’m drained. I collapse into the chair and struggle to keep my gaze on her. She turns and races to the door, flings it open, and is gone with a slam. She must have cleared her vision enough to see.

I shift my eyes to the clock next to the door. It’s only two thirty-five. I still have twenty-five minutes to recover and prep for my three o’clock.

***

Audrey never came back. I received a check for the final session a week later. Two months later, walking to the bus stop, saw her. She was standing in a school-yard with her new class, slim with a radiant smile. There was a glint on her left hand when she brushed back her hair. When she looked up and saw me, her smile vanished and she turned back to her class.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First


Colours and Councils
1290 words

Ryncraft watched the natural currents of magic spin through the clouds and ocean decorating the sunset on the horizon. A young couple were walking up the beach. Marry me had been written ahead of them with scraps of driftwood and adorned with various flowers picked from the sand dunes.

Ryncraft decided to pass a gift onto the young lovers. He placed his headphones on and, as Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata played, Ryncraft conducted in small, subtle gestures. He added shades of debian red and deep fuchsia to the sky. He interlaced the clouds with finer tones of lavender and sunburst yellow. The flower embellishments on the driftwood proposal became brighter and more vibrant. By the end of the song, sweat dripped from his brow and caught in his beard, his arms hung limp by his sides. Altering the flow of a magical current to his will was no easy feat on a large scale.

One of the young men below took to his knee, the other blushed bright red and said “Yes”.

This was just practice for Ryncraft. He’d been summoned to the Hundred Year Council in the Sahara. He was to be challenged for his title of Elder Wizard of the Artistic Order in a combined demonstration of skill and power. He was the only elder being challenged this century after four hundred years in the role. Feeling as prepared and confident as he could, he hoisted his rucksack onto his back and caught a bus to the airport.

***

When he arrived in Cairo, Ryncraft spotted some younger wizards at the airport and joined their party. Every wizard would perform during the Hundred Year Council whether they’d been challenged or not. A good demonstration of skill would earn respect.

The wizards rode in a rusty old bus to the little village of Abu Minqar where they met their guide, Shabaq, a desert dwelling wizard with powers useful for navigating the Sahara. Setting out on foot, the travelling wizards headed directly for a colossal sandstorm on the horizon. Beyond its barrier hid the grounds for the Hundred Year Council.

As they got closer, the great cloud of sand writhed and the wind howled. A pair of elemental wizards stood at the base. They manipulated the storm as though it were a marionette. Shabaq lifted his arm solidifying the sand into glass, forming a passage through the violent sandstorm.

Upon reaching the tunnel exit, the howling of the wind had ceased and the dusk sky above was clear. The wizards were now ensconced within gargantuan walls constructed from a beautiful intertwining of alabaster, glass, iron, and wooden pillars, twisted and tied to each other in elaborate patterns. The grand arena stood in the center with various factioned tent cities erected around the outskirts to house travelling wizards.

Ryncraft walked through the elemental wizard sector and past the grand arena, a couple of the younger wizards were using their downtime and the arena space to practice some lesser spells. One compacted a lump of coal into a diamond, which then shattered into a glitter of minuscule shards. Then another wizard threw the shards into the air creating a meteor shower that illuminated the sky with benevolent light.

“Ryncraft!” a cheerful, sing-song voice called out.

Ryncraft turned to be greeted by Lobiathis. A master level wizard who manipulated the magic of song and sound.

“Are you ready for our challenge tonight? he asked.

“Good to see you Lobiathis. I certainly hope, if you win, I can change your mind on some of the more controversial policies you wish to put in place.” Ryncraft replied.

Ryncraft was referring specifically to the policy of wizardry for profit. Something they had all done in the past. However, after the death of a number of innocent mortals over matters of a wizard’s greed and pride, Ryncraft prohibited it.

“There’s nothing wrong with receiving payment for ones work. Don’t you miss the days when you created masterpieces?” rebutted Lobiathis then added “Michelangelo.” letting the last syllable of the name dangle patronisingly as though it were a treat to a dog.

Ryncraft was once the artist Michelangelo. Just as Lobiathis had once been Beethoven.

“You and I both know I only ever accepted payment for what I sculpted with tools. We must work in the background, unnoticed, as we have done for so long now. It is safer for us and for them. I know you wish you could go back to being a famous composer but we are here for the good of people, not for greed.” Ryncraft asserted.

“Then you best hope you can win tonight.” smiled Lobiathis. He sauntered off whistling a tune that floated and harmonised with itself at different octaves.

***

Later that night, Ryncraft and Lobiathis entered the arena, the entire stadium of wizards clapped them on. The flow of magic currents was strong, it eddied about the wizards like a river around stones.

Lobiathis began. A low tribal chant flowed in on a current from Central Africa then was joined by the beat of a Japanese Taiko drum. Ryncraft focused on the beat, manipulating the colour of the arena dirt, it oscillated between forest green and royal blue.

Lobiathis countered this by bringing in the chirps and squawks of Amazonian birds and teasing them out into longer, higher notes. They sung like the bowing of violins and cellos. A clap of approval from the stadiums put Ryncraft at a disadvantage. He looked to the sky and began to paint with the moon, long tendrils spiral outwards from it weaving around each other in an exquisite display of finesse, they grew across the night sky, shifting in gradient from their original light grey to subtle shades of vanilla then into a blood red. The moon threads spun onward, down into the stadium, weaving the colours through the crowd. They gasped and cheered with amazement.

Lobiathis altered his strategy, the sounds of various African herd animals and predatory cats rode in the streams of magic and were played like the brass and woodwind section of his invisible orchestra.

Ryncraft was impressed but was now forced to try something he had never attempted. His arms swung in time to the harmonious music. The alternating colours of the floor began to whorl upwards changing the colour of the very air around the wizards. He spun together cardinal red, amazon green and canary yellow followed by a plethora of other colours.

The wizards were now girt within a dome of stunning, translucent colours. It was like a maelstrom of rainbows in an aquarium, the colours swirled upwards to the top of the dome. Images of loping antelope being pursued by a lioness appeared on the exterior of the dome. Dolphins breached out of a painted ocean and swam past a rich assortment of coral.

Lobiathis supported his symphony with claps of thunder from a Pacific typhoon, they rang like cymbals. The song reached a dramatic and immaculate crescendo.

The dome slowly lifted forming a sphere above the stadium. In a flash of red, blue, then green the sphere became one phenomenal colour for which there was no name as it had never existed up until that point. The crowd roared with excitement.

Both wizards collapsed to the ground. The arena and its surroundings returned to their original state.

Lobiathis and Ryncraft smiled and tipped their hats to one and other in a sign of mutual respect. Lobiathis had lost and took his leave of the arena to recover. Ryncraft lay on his back and watched the new colour he had created ride along the magic currents into the rest of the world. It would soon seep into all existence. Making the earth just a little bit more beautiful.

Radical and BADical!
Jun 27, 2010

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

I would like to write about a wizard, please.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Claven666 posted:

I would like to write about a wizard, please.

One man's trash is a wizard's treasured source of terrifying power. Anything discarded, left in heaps, or tossed aside falls under your dominion. You gain power from detritus, and can shape garbage into anything you desire.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 09:32 on Apr 24, 2015

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Miraculously, I don't have any planes to catch for a few days, so I am going to get drunk and write about wizards this weekend.

In.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Erogenous Beef posted:

Miraculously, I don't have any planes to catch for a few days, so I am going to get drunk and write about wizards this weekend.

In.

You gain your power from supping on the obscene. Specifically, if you eat gross stuff, you get stronger magics. Your might depends on your willingness to defile your tongue and digestive tract.

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



gently caress it. In with a :toxx: following my failure last time.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Maugrim posted:

gently caress it. In with a :toxx: following my failure last time.

You are the wizard of the shadows. You can wrap yourself in velvety darkness, or smother your enemies with shade. You loathe the sun, except for when it is contrasted by shadow.

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POOL IS CLOSED
Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.


Pillbug

.

POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 20:58 on Jan 2, 2016

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