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  • Locked thread
Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


In, dragon

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Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



nvm

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


In

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Sailor Viy posted:

In with a Bison.
Flash rule: A moment of peace between predator and prey.

Flash rule: What does the A Bao A Qu eat?

Side note: It's hard to go wrong with a beast from the Book of Imaginary Beings.

flerp posted:

im in with a platypus :toxx:
Flash rule: Baffled by your own body.

Entenzahn posted:

In, dragon
Flash rule: A challenging interspecies relationship.

Bear. Flash rule: Wants to steal tasty snacks.

Hugoon Chavez
Nov 4, 2011

THUNDERDOME LOSER


IN with the furies/erinyes

If I don't deliver, I'll cook the worst moussaka ever and eat it as my very own torture.

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In with T-Rex.

Also :toxx: because of last weeks failure to deliver.

Chainmail Onesie
May 12, 2014


LoserWinner
of "Thunder Dome!

In.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly



In with pigs.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Fuubi posted:

In with T-Rex.

Also :toxx: because of last weeks failure to deliver.

thats wassup

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Hugoon Chavez posted:

IN with the furies/erinyes

If I don't deliver, I'll cook the worst moussaka ever and eat it as my very own torture.
The Furies are really more like gods than beasts, but

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erinyes posted:

Their task is to hear complaints brought by mortals against the insolence of the young to the aged, of children to parents, of hosts to guests, and of householders or city councils to suppliants - and to punish such crimes by hounding culprits relentlessly.
Flash rule: One of the parties to a complaint is an animal.

Fuubi posted:

In with T-Rex.

Also :toxx: because of last weeks failure to deliver.
Flash rule: Vengeance.

Zebra. Flash rule: A race is involved.

Flash rule: You can lead a pig to truffles but you can't make her hunt.

llamaguccii
Sep 2, 2016

THUNDERDOME LOSER


In (Please give me a creature)

:toxx: for not submitting last week.

Thanks guys, for the TOXX tutorial.

llamaguccii fucked around with this message at 00:50 on Nov 17, 2016

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


llamaguccii posted:

In (Please give me a creature)

I don't know how to make the TOXX tag, but I'm TOXXing myself for not submitting last week.

: toxx : without spaces between the letters and the :

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







llamaguccii posted:

In (Please give me a creature)

I don't know how to make the TOXX tag, but I'm TOXXing myself for not submitting last week.

colon toxx colon

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




llamaguccii posted:

In (Please give me a creature)

:toxx: for not submitting last week.

Thanks guys, for the TOXX tutorial.

:O

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


Chili posted:

I gotchu fellas. Here's what I need:

You have up to 2,000 words and until 11/22 10:00PM EDT to write me a story.

In this story, your protagonist must be a vegan. They don't necessarily have to be a bitching and moaning vegan, they can be a super chill vegan, but a vegan they must be. That lifestyle choice must be important to your story.

Toxx it up, and may the best beef be passed on, because meat is murder.

Come at me, Beef. :toxx:

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

BeefSupreme posted:

Come at me, Beef. :toxx:

:toxx: I'll have a line-by-line crit your way within a week after judgement.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Oh and feel free to ask for a flash rule if need be.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


llamaguccii posted:

In (Please give me a creature)

:toxx: for not submitting last week.

Thanks guys, for the TOXX tutorial.



A Black Shuck. Flash rule: Trying to make friends.

Farchanter
Jun 15, 2008


In

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE



Donkey. Flash rule: A rescue.

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


Chili posted:

Oh and feel free to ask for a flash rule if need be.

Alright flash me

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

BeefSupreme posted:

Alright flash me

:woop: ROAD TRIP!!!! :woop:

Club Sandwich
May 25, 2012


In and I'd like a beast chosen

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


THUNDERTOME happening in one hour, just so everyone knows

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


also, in with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raijū

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Club Sandwich posted:

In and I'd like a beast chosen
Smilodon. Flash rule: Does not expect to be outsmarted.

Flash rule: An adoptive child.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







some judge burps for 223.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







and here's a reading of Jib's story Time Just Got Away from Me

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Lovely. Thank you.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Hey guys, just want to give you a heads up that the new issue of Flash Frontier will be going up in the next 24 hours, with a bunch of people's stories in it.

It's no big deal but if you could edit your stories out of the thunderdome thread that would be great, just as a courtesy (not that I believe the editor would ever know that they're here).

Thanks!

N. Senada
May 17, 2011

"Oh, you're tapped out? Tap three, play Darksteel Plate. Tap two, equip it to Platinum Angel."

"Is that it?"

"No. I play Trickster God's Heist and give it to you in exchange for that token."

Beast and Flash Rule: Kobold & Gets into trouble trying to prove itself.


The Best Laid Plans of Green Hands 1056 Words

Sniffles, the two-foot Kobold with a four-foot attitude, stood with one furry hand on his hip and the other outstretched to the crowd of his similarly nebbish mine-dwellers. He held an elaborate looking parchment. His eyes scanned over the crowd he had assembled in the dark, dank cavern. In the very back, the critical eyes of the elder Kobolds watched him carefully.
“Comrades!” he shouted, his high-pitched voice bouncing off the dirt walls, “This is our time! I have in my paw a letter that I have intercepted from the terrible Green Hands.” Several kobolds squeaked in reaction, and all eyes nervously glanced around each other. The mention of the Green Hands conjured visions of war, dark magics, and debilitating poisons. The 7-foot-tall, 300-pound-fat orcs were fond of snatching Kobolds from hovels and testing out all manner of evil works upon them.

“Brothers and sisters, I too have shared in your anxieties,” said Sniffles, “but I assure you, with this letter, we will never have to worry about the Green Hands again. With this letter, we will become the saviors of the kingdom!” Some dismissive snorts could be heard from the crowd. An older Kobold with thick, gray fur shouted, “It’ll be a bright day in the cavern when a Kobold is received warmly by the humans.”

Sniffles ignored the dissent. “This letter details the plans to assassinate the Queen herself!” The crowd gasped. Kill the Queen? It would throw the world into chaos! It would start a Civil War! Humans would begin mining more, which could mean the devastation of Kobold homes in mines across the continent. One portly Kobold with a weak constitution fainted at the thought.

“This plan details every particularity of the plan. How the assassin will infiltrate the castle, what route they will take, the guards’ patrols, which beams creak when you step on them and which don’t. It has a map that shows you exactly how to get into the Queen’s chamber. This letter even tells me when the assassin plans on attack: this Friday. The Green Hands have thought of everything. And it is with their own information that I will defeat them.”

“What in the Great Gem’s name are you talking about?” shouted a mangy, mud-crusted Kobold in the middle of the crowd.

“I will follow the path in this letter and wait for the assassin. Then, I will kill him and I- uh, I mean we will be welcomed with warm arms as saviors and heroes!”

Many eyebrows raised with suspicion. An elder Kobold named Dirtfoot pushed his way to the front. “Sniffles, if you are willing to do this, you have my permission. But you must go now, and prepare yourself for your great journey. Go speak with the Dwarf trader Hargerblarger, I will pay for the climbing rope and hooks you will need. With haste, young one.”

With that, Sniffles rushed through the crowd, racing towards the surface. His mind filled with images of royal appointments, dining with knights, owning a castle. Dirtfoot waited until Sniffles had left the meeting cavern.

“Alright everybody,” Dirtfoot said, turning to the crowd. “I want one of the scribes to draft a letter to the Queen saying we heard that the Green Hands are attempting an assassination on Friday. We’ll hold funeral services for Sniffles on Saturday morning.” The crowd nodded in agreement. A Kobold with a flattened tail, wearing goggles turned to his buddy. Sipping at his ale, the bespectacled Kobold said, “Something just ain’t right with that Sniffles boy, I tell you what.”

----------

Sniffles stood nearby the castle’s moat. He reviewed the steps in the letter.
1. Enter the sewer drain on the south side
2. Climb up into the fifth drain which leads into a toilet in a closed bathroom
3. Wait for the guards to change shift at 5:00 (the bell will ring five times) and then run through the hallway into the fifth door which will be marked with a large elephant etching
4. Inside the room, crawl up the curtains onto the beams near the ceiling.
5. Head north across the beams and wait near the very small hole which leads to the Queen’s chambers.
6. Change into the butler disguise, exit the room, turn right, enter door on right which is Queen’s chambers, and pretend to give Queen her evening drink but actually it’s poison


It sounds simple enough, he thought. And thank goodness it was written in Kobold and not that awful, illegible Orc script. He squeezed narrowly through the sewer, climbed up the toilet pipe, waited patiently for the guards to change shift, scurried through the hallway, entered the elephant door, climbed the silk curtains, and rested for a moment. Everything had gone off without a hitch.

Sniffles was amazed at how easy everything had been for him so far. And, if he was reading this plan correctly, he should soon expect the Green Hand assassin. Sniffles didn’t expect to win in a fair fight, but if he could somehow get a drop on the Green Hand, he might stand a chance. I’ll slip into this narrow hole, it should place me right above the Queen and the assassin, he thought. Then, I’ll wait for him to strike and take him out before he has a chance.

Sniffles inched through the convenient hole next to him and waited patiently. He sat high on the Queen’s bedpost, made invisible by the elaborate silk sheets that decorated it. He heard somebody, presumably the Queen, flipping pages of a book. He had a clear line of sight to the door. Eventually, a man dressed in finery entered the Queen’s room. He had all the trappings of a butler, carrying a silver platter with a crystal goblet filled with what could only be the poison. The assassin!

Sniffles readied himself, his tiny claws poised to strike. Then, he jumped!

----------

Sniffles sat in his dank cell, wondering how long the Green Hand assassin could keep up the charade of being a butler. The Orc had disguised himself excellently as a human, shrinking by over a foot and losing nearly 100 pounds. And his accent was immaculate. He’d sounded just like a human butler.

Regardless, Sniffles relaxed and put his feet up on the bench. Soon enough they would see how heroic he had really been.

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.



-

Sailor Viy fucked around with this message at 03:49 on Dec 15, 2016

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.



Boaz-Jachim posted:


Sphinx. Flash rule: Would love to be doing anything other than guarding this tomb.


Bored Sphinxless 838 words

“It’s been a while,” said Cleo. She licked a paw and gazed at me.

“Yes,” I said. “I would tell you how long, but I ran out of space.” Cleo looked at where I was pointing. Along the sides of the pyramid was row upon row of scratches. I’d made one every time the sun had risen. And then I’d run out of pyramid.

“A few years,” Cleo nodded.

“No,” I said. “It reached ‘a few years’ a few thousand years before I ran out of space.”

Cleo shrugged and cleaned herself some more. “The job has to be done.”

“Does it, though? No one has been out here in at least three thousand years, and I know this because that’s where my count got to.”

“Good news, then,” said Cleo. “You should expect visitors very soon.”

“How soon?” I asked.

A camel came over the nearby dune, and Cleo said, “Very.” She disappeared around the side of the pyramid, and I acted like a statue.

Three more camels followed the first one, and as they arrived, two men got off the camels and started looking around the pyramid, while a young lad tethered the camels to a tree.

I kept up my statue act until one of the men made towards the pyramid’s entrance. “Stop!” I said. This was the bit I’d been looking forward to, the only bit that would even start to make over three millennia of boredom worthwhile.

Both men nearly fell over themselves out of fright. “What do you want, monster?” asked one of them.

“The better question is ‘what do you want?’” I said. “You think you can just wander into this pyramid through the front door without so much as a ‘by your leave,’ hmmm?”

“Uh.”

I laughed. “It’s not as easy as that. If you want to get by me, you must answer a riddle.”

“Ask your riddle, beast,” said the other man.

“Right, then,” I said. “What… hang on, it’s been a while.” I thought for a bit. “Ah yes. What animal walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three legs at night.” Which is a classic, I don’t care who you are.

The two men stood there in thought for a while. “Egyptian animal, obviously,” said one of them.

“Or it could be an insect,” said the other.

“I mean what’ve we got around here, we’ve got camels, crocodiles, hippopotamuses…”

“Is it not hippopotami?”

They both thought about that for a moment. “I mean, it’s down to the root language isn’t it?”

I cleared my throat.

“Right,” said the one who’d been making the list. “None of those really fit.”

“How about insects?”

“Come on now,” I said. “Are you serious here? What’s one of the defining characteristics of insects? Hint, it involves the number of their legs, another hint it’s none of the numbers involved in this riddle.”

“Right,” said the list-maker. “Not insects then.”

“How about bacteria, or some other kind of microbe?” said the other. “They’re in the animal kingdom, right?”

“This is a riddle,” I told them, “not an exam question. You’re coming at this entirely the wrong way.”

“Seth,” the list-maker called over to the lad who’d tethered the camels. “You’ve got a bit more local knowledge, what kind of animals are we overlooking?”

Seth walked over. “What’s this about?”

The other man recounted the riddle. “Oh,” said Seth. “Can’t think of any animals like that.”

“Look,” I said, “here’s an idea. What if, right, in this context a ‘day’ was a metaphor for a longer period of time?”

“Like a week?” asked list-maker.

“Well, sure, that’s longer,” I said. “There might be other options, though.”

“You know,” said the other man, “I heard of this tribe in Africa where they act like monkeys at certain times of the day.”

“That is absolutely not a thing,” said Cleo, who had returned from around the side of the pyramid.

“Shhh,” I said, “let them think.”

“It’s like,” said that man again, “in the morning they walk around on all fours to gather food near the ground.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said.

“And then in the evening, it’s the same thing except they’re carrying food with one hand,” said the man.

“That must be it,” said list-maker. “The answer is humans!”

I shook my head. “I should kill you on principle for getting the right answer in the most wrong-headed way possible,” I said. “But frankly, I’m happy to not have to guard this stupid pile of bricks anymore.” I gestured with a paw, and the doors to the pyramid creaked open.

Once both men and Seth had entered the pyramid, Cleo asked me, “So what’re you going to do now?”

I shrugged. “That’s my job over, right? The worthy ones have entered the pyramid.”

“Hmmm,” she said.

“Hey, I didn’t write the rules,” I said. “Let’s blow this joint.”

Cleo shrugged and got on my back, and we left the pyramid in our dust.

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


The Case of the Confounding Fragrance

Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:14 on Jan 3, 2017

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




Animal: Platypus
Flash rule: Baffled by your own body.

1100 words

The Fable of the Platypus

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=5279&title=The+Fable+of+the+Platypus

flerp fucked around with this message at 21:06 on Dec 26, 2016

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Death in the family this weekend. I'm out.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Prompt: Centaur. Flash rule: A power struggle.

Fairly Fought (988 words)

Zacariah 'Superhoof' Reuben's nickname, painted on the billboard in gold with a shimmering coldfire outline, loomed above a topless, arm-crossed photo that showed off bulging biceps but stopped above his waist. "Superhoof Versus Wycked! Tomorrow only!" it promised. Zac stared up at the words. The fight had felt an eternity away until he saw his airbrushed self towering over the street. Unconsciously, he took a step back. A hand steadied him.

"He ain't gonna be nothing, Zac," said Coach Cain. "First round, one and done. That kid's never been in a real fight; he only wins by forfeit."

It wasn't the fight that was bothering him. "They're making me look like a man, coach. They won't even put up a real photo."

"You surprised about that, around here?" Cain spat on the sidewalk. "poo poo, this place wasn't even a one-horse town 'till we walked in."

Zac clacked his hooves on the sidewalk. "But—"

A child squealed. Just a few steps up the sidewalk, a little wizard toddled toward Zac, pointing. "That's him! That's Superhoof ain't it?" The kid's mother shushed him, grabbed his hand and dragged him across the street before they continued down the road past Zac.

It was a busy afternoon, and the sidewalk was rammed, but every witch and wizard was crossing over before passing by. Zac's cheeks got hot.

"They'll be cool when you're the champ." Cain nudged him. "Let's hit the hotel."

The public house and tavern was a two-story shack made more of mud than clapboard. A sign on the door said 'Vacancy'. Inside was one big open room filled with tables and hard-drinking men wearing beards and pointy hats. Zac and Cain's hooves thunked on the wood floor, and all eyes turned to them. In deadly silence, they trotted to the corner of the bar marked 'Reception'.

The bartender was a young witch who stood ramrod-straight as they approached. Keys hung in a rack behind her. She looked them up and down, her eyes trailing along Zac's long, well-muscled flanks and she pursed her lips. "No rooms free. Sorry."

Zac crossed him arms and glared, trying to imitate the fight poster as best he could. "We called ahead. We've got reservations."

"And I'm saying we're full up, we got nothing for you."

"Nothing, or nothing for me?" Zac gripped the counter, squeezed, and it cracked between his fingers.

All the wizards in the room jumped to their feet, shouting. Cain backed up, tripped over a stool and fell down. Wizards surrounded them, yelling at them to leave the lady alone. Hands rose, staves crackled power. Zac spun about to face the crowd and raised his fists to fighting positions.

A leathery voice pierced the shouting. "Y'all calm down now!" A short wisp of a man elbowed through the crowd. He turned his back to Zac and waved at the wizards. "Drinks're free at the bar next door. Why don't y'all go cool off? It's on me."

Faces turned and the wizards looked at one another, and then they shuffled off. One of them said, "Thanks Wycked."

Wycked flashed Zac a grin.

Zac glared down at his opponent. He outclassed Wycome 'Wycked' Wizman in weight, height, reach and speed, yet the little wizard stood his ground with all the confidence of a ship's captain. Reluctantly, Zac offered Wycked his hand. "Thanks. I owe you."

Wycked's grin vanished and he backed up a few steps, eyeing Zac's biceps. "Whoa there, partner. Sounds like you're forfeiting. Let's save that for the ring." He glanced over Zac's shoulder. "Put up our friend here, will you?"

The witch wrinkled her nose. "Only thing we have that'll fit a centaur is the shed out back."

Zac opened his mouth to protest, but Wycked cut him off. "Make it up nice then." He glanced at Zac. "Better this way, don't you think? Wouldn't want you to trip on a stair and break a super-hoof, not before tomorrow."

Cain had stood up, and he touched Zac on the arm. "Let's go, Zac. You'll fix him tomorrow."

"Sure he will. Sure." Wycked's grin returned and he sauntered out the door, whistling.

#

A gunshot. A woman's scream, cut short.

Zac started awake in the dark. Cain's bed was empty. He threw off the sheets and leaped out of the shed.

The hotel's rear door was open, and lights burned behind drawn shades. Dark shapes moved in the tavern-room and shouting rattled the night, then came thumps of wood on flesh and a swampy crunch.

Zac sprinted into the house, leaping clear through the door, fists raised. The witch sprawled limp over the bar, blood seeping out from a bullet hole. Cain was on the floor, skull dented and face beaten to pulp. A broken chair leg lay next to his hands.The coach twitched, his one unblooded eye rolled towards Zac.

"Run," he whispered through broken teeth. "He did it."

Men shouted outside. Zac turned and fled into the night. He dodged down alleyways, then broke out onto the main street at a full gallop.

Before he hit the town limits, blue-and-red washed the street and a bullhorn commanded him to whoa.

At the precinct, they rigged up a farce of a lineup; Zac had two more feet than any of the other suspects. His head buzzed with confusion, and then Wycked, nursing a black eye, slouched into the room and levelled an accusing finger straight at him.

The charge was murder, and the trial lasted half a day. As the wizard judge read out the guilty sentence, Zac glared up at the all-wizard jury. None of them were looking at him; they had eyes only for the champion sitting in the courtroom's front row: Wycombe 'Wycked' Wizman, winner by forfeit.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly



Animal: Pigs
Prompt: You can lead a pig to truffles but you can't make her hunt.
1100 Words


Truffle Hog

“What is this?” Marcelle asked between drags of a stale cigarette. “Is this the sow you’ve sold me on? Surely, you take me for an imbecile or otherwise you’ve set out to deceive this poorly and desperate farmer.”

The stranger struck a match and began smoking something of his own. “This is the hog I promised,” he said.

Marcelle approached the pink and brown sow that slept in the middle of the living room. He had a worker’s hands: palms wide and thick with callus, fingers knotted, with one, his index, cleanly removed after the first knuckle. Marcelle placed the stump in the valleys of the sow’s skin-taut ribcage.

“Why then is your prized pig starving?” Marcelle asked.

“Flossy is no longer my prized pig,” the stranger said. “Mr. Russo, choose to believe, if you desire, that I’m trying to profit from the frost that’s crippled your livelihood, but if that were true I’d be asking for much more than I have.

The truth is, Flossy was my prized hog; however, since I’ve begun to train her piglets in the art of foraging, she’s lost her nose for the truffle and her will for the hunt. Recently, she’s lost her stomach as well.”

The stranger joined Marcelle in the middle of the floor and began to stroke Flossy’s splotched head. “I pray the change of scenery will benefit her,” he added.


***


There were many catalysts buried in the roots of Marcelle’s troubles. The stranger was right about the frost of course; it had hurt every farmer in Curasaund, after all. But Marcelle had a daughter, Genevieve, who’d fallen under a set of creditors called the Coinpurse, an organization that conducted business in a manner which was far colder than any snowfall. How should a delicate woman, his daughter, the ballerina, deal with men like them? Men she was indebted to?

Marcelle had been on the receiving end of such transactions before, and he would not allow his daughter into the same trappings.

“So, Flossy,” Marcelle said from his belly, prone and eye to eye with the sow, “you understand why I need you to pick yourself up and help me find some truffles.”

Flossy simply huffed and continued to lay on the floor. It had been days since Marcelle and Flossy returned from the stranger’s farm, but neither her mood, nose, nor stomach had improved.

Marcelle called Genevieve to distract himself from his disappointment.

“I’m fine, dad,” she assured him.

“The city is a dangerous place-” he began.

“A dangerous place where I’ve lived for almost two years now,” his daughter answered. “Besides, I can be a dangerous woman,” she added with a giggle.

“And yet there are still alley-cat bankers and budget goons prepared to consume you in any way they see-”

“I’ve settled it with the orderlies, father. I spoke with them weeks ago and nobody’s bothered me since.”

“You can never be too careful,” Marcelle said.

“I have to go, dad. There’s a performance in three weeks that I should rehearse for. Love you.”

Marcelle set the phone against the receiver before picking it up again. He wondered if the Coinpurse would even continue to accept his scant payments for Genevive’s safety, now that he was nearly bankrupt, but Marcelle already knew that answer. Instead, he called the stranger.

But nobody answered.

Marcelle’s face was flush as he reached into the pocket of his torn pants, producing a small white marble.

“Do you see this?” he asked Flossy, before kneeling before her. Flossy remained nonplussed as she stared into the distance. “This is a truffle,” Marcelle said before smashing the mushroom into her snout. “I bought you,” he added as Flossy began to snarl, “so that you would find them.” She fought against his strong grip. “Do you smell it, stupid pig?”

Flossy’s head bucked against Marcelle’s restraining grasp until she shook him free, snapping and chomping at his fingers.

“You don’t like it?” Marcelle asked. “Then stand up and do something!”

Marcelle stormed into the kitchen and came back moments later with a handful of peppercorns like fly carcasses in his palm. Pulling against her angled skull, Marcelle forced Flossy’s dripping snout into the pile.

“Worthless sow! Is your nose working now?”

Flossy fought back, but the days of starvation left her too weak to resist. Soon, she began sneezing against the cupped spices of his hand, but Marcelle never freed her. At first the sneezes were seconds apart, broken by moments of squealing and struggling, but then they chained together into one erupting and lamentatious reaction.

Marcelle only loosened his grip when he noticed the blood slipping between his fingers. Flossy backed into a corner while he examined the fluids that ran from her snout and covered his hand. White spiderwebs of fungal threads streaked the blood.

“My god,” Marcelle said, before taking a seat where Flossy had lain. Slowly, he removed his shirt and began to call at his truffle hog. It took hours, but eventually Flossy stepped from the corner toward him.

The fungus had wrapped its way around the canals of Flossy’s nostrils and ears like an overgrown ivy. Gingerly, Marcelle sponged the webs away.


***


Flossy began eating again soon after.

The task required diligence: the fungal threads had a way of creeping back through the dark canals of Flossy’s senses if left unabated for too long, but Marcelle checked her ears and nose on the hour for days, even waking throughout the night to sponge them clean.

One night, after shuffling from his sagging bed, Marcelle discovered that Flossy was missing. He wandered the empty farmhouse in search, only to discover her burrowed into a set of Genevieve’s old clothes.

“Well, well,” Marcelle said upon his discovery. “It seems you’ve found your nose down in that drawer then.” He pulled a small treat from his pocket and placed it in Flossy’s mouth. “We’ll be truffling in no time,” he said and Flossy snorted in agreement, or so Marcelle thought.

Flossy stamped her hooves against the loose boards and trotted to the front door, sniffing against the knob until Marcelle turned it. In the yard, Flossy found herself snout deep in an overturned section of fresh dirt. In her zeal, Flossy pawed aside a note that was wrapped around a rock.

Marcelle began to read the letter, and by the time he dropped it, Flossy had uncovered a delicate foot, clad in a pale satin ballerina slipper in the soil.

Begging Flossy to stop was all that Marcelle could find the strength for, but she had the scent of something worth finding.

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


Animal: Bear
Flash rule: Wants to steal tasty snacks

The Bear and the Snake (1059 words)

It was nighttime in the woods and the bear woke up feeling hungry. What he wanted was a tasty treat and he knew just where to find one. While out walking a few days ago he came across a group of humans who had set up a small camp alongside the lake at the bottom of the mountain. The bear had only to wander down the path to reach the lake so he set out to get his treats.

The bear had barely left his cave under the gap in the rocks when he came across a snake, coiled up in the bushes at the side of the path. The snake hissed and writhed and said to the bear, “Just where might a bear be going at this time of day in this late season?”

“I woke up hungry,” replied the bear. “I am going to fetch a tasty treat from the camp next to the lake.”

The snake hissed while she took a moment to formulate a plan. “Listen to me, bear,” she whispered. “With my help I can make it very easy for you to get your treat. Those humans at the camp will surely be unhappy to see you at their tents and hampers and would surely fend you off. I can help you if you would take me with you.”

“Why, I suppose you are right,” said the bear. “But what might you ask in return?”

A wide grin spanned the snake’s diamond-shaped head and she flicked her tail casually. “For this favour I ask nothing of you at all. Only that I come with you into the camp where you can take your treats.”

The bear accepted and together the pair made their way along the path towards the lake. “I wonder what tasty treats I will find down at the camp,” wondered the bear out loud.

“I don’t care,” replied the snake as she slithered, looking ahead.

They reached the end of the woods and the reflected sunlight shone through the gaps in the trees as it came off the lake. Then the vibrant colours of the tents moved into view and distant voices carried into the treeline, unintelligible to the beasts. They came out of the trees above the lakeside and slid down a steep and worn path, the bear’s claws pulling up shallow grass roots and boring brown channels into the soil beneath.

One large tent with a smaller tent on each side stood with their backs to the animals and beyond, crudely erected in a bed of pebbles was a stack of fallen branches, meant for a fire as yet unlit. Two humans played in the water, laughing and splashing. Several other voices sounded but their owners were unseen. They were inside the large tent.

The bear and the snake approached the camp; the snake was hissing softly as she glided rapidly forward and her head darted left and right to take in the whole site; the bear bounded eagerly for the centre, he could definitely smell delicious treats now. They closed in on the rear of the tents and the snake darted to the left, the bear hopped to the right.

Into the bear’s view came a wonderful sight: a low wooden table laden with fruits and vegetables and meats. The bear didn’t know it but the humans intended that the food be cooked and shared among themselves. Instead he thought only of eating every bite he could fit into his stomach. In a final expression of joy the bear leaped into the air and landed beside the table whereupon he gorged himself on the delicious bounty. The meats were thick and raw and he tore at them with glee. The fruits burst with juices and their pulp trailed from the bear’s salivating jaws. Oh, it was bliss!

It did not take long for the belly of the bear to become full and content and he turned and rolled back to rest against the table. Relieved of his terrible hunger and subsequent manic feasting he sighed and looked back towards the tents. He saw three humans in front of the recently and rapidly evacuated large tent. The nearest human was bent at the waist and short of breath; hands on knees and vomiting. The next was hopping from foot to foot with their arms flailing in dumb panic.

By far the most animated human was stepping about in huge strides as if each leg were controlled independently by separate entities with wholly foreign intentions. Their torso was writhing forwards and backwards and from side to side and their hands were raised to their sweating neck which, with her small eyes of golden fire burning and unblinking at the bear, the snake currently occupied.

She was coiled tightly around the human’s neck as it struggled vainly to tuck its fingers between its neck and her scaled belly. The snake had buried her poisonous fangs deep into the human’s neck and was pumping venom into it.

The bear was shocked. “What are you doing that for, snake?” he asked.

“Shut up, bear, I’m busy” replied the snake. “You stay out of this!” The flailing human had bravely, foolishly, reached out a hand to their stricken friend in a weak attempt of removing the snake from their neck. With ferocity and grace the snake loosened her grasp on her human and transferred to the wrist of the fool.

“That’s a bit much, isn’t it?” asked the bear.

The snake shrugged somehow but didn’t reply.

The humans from the lake had heard the commotion and saw the bear at their camp and one of them had ran ashore. It was a male and it was waving its arms and making a lot of noise in an attempt at looking fearsome. The bear stood erect, dwarfing the human, and swatted at its head with his paw. The human hit the floor immediately, raising a splash of pebbles.

Then the bear took to four legs once more and walked back up to the steep path and into the woods. Feeling his stomach nicely filled his thoughts now turned to his home and to the long sleep he now desired. He walked the long path home and set down to sleep a long sleep and not once since the lakeside did he think of the snake.

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The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Week 224 - Submission
Flash: falcon + trouble on a scouting mission

Unbound
1100 Words


Father keeps me blind so I will dream of blood, but I have other senses.

I smell last night on father before he arrives: fire-smoke mingled with the rare treat of fresh tobacco; the stale beer slopped on his tunic; the tang of the whorehouse, and the lingering perfume that they think disguises the musty odor of their stodgy bodies.

It all pales beneath the smell of fresh sweat this morning, his body a little hotter than normal. His heart beats a little faster. It’s contagious. I breathe deeper and faster as he turns the corner and his boots step off the cobblestone and onto the dirt. Father isn’t sick, though. He’s here to commit me to purpose. Loose me upon the world.



Donnec apprenticed under Nudd, the finest falconer of his generation. With Nudd’s passing, he became Master of the Roost, affording him certain privileges. Donnec struggled to put down the aftereffects of overindulgence as he unlocked the cage of his masterpiece.

He held his leather-gauntleted fist to the roost and Francisca hopped from the perch to her master’s hand. Donnec felt her eagerness as she pressed her talons into the hard leather, claws sharp and strong enough to pierce his protective glove. He felt the nicks in his forearm ignite as she stretched her speckled wingspan nearly as wide as Donnec himself could stretch his own arms. Francisca was the largest, finest falcon Donnec had ever seen.

Donnec wrapped the thin leather leash around his wrist and adjusted the lacing of Francisca’s leather hood. He had trained her to perfection, bent her instinct to his will, honed her into a weapon only he could wield. Now it was time to prove his skill. The future may call his chivalry in to question, but no one would doubt his results.



The myriad smells of men and musty stone fade and the scents of field and forest grow. Father presses the horse ever faster and I feel the beating of its hooves and heart. There is strength and power there, but this beast is trapped, limited. It moves in one direction, and that is weakness.

Soon, the dumb brute will chafe on its harness as it watches me ascend to my kingdom. It will only flick its head impotently, knowing that even if it broke its reins, it could never follow me. Until then, I’ll enjoy the leisurely pace as it races as fast as it can.

—-

Donnec rode his old mare along the forest road until he came to the edge of Eberly Field. The chatter and clatter of infantry preparing for siege echoed through the woods. He lead his horse off the road and tied her behind the scrub cover.

He scrambled down into the roadside ditch. He crawled to the treeline, then peaked over the short embankment. Helms glinted like wave-caps on an ocean of men. Too many to count by hand, but the falcons were trained well. Circle three times above each tent then the number of troops milling in a camp could be estimated with relative accuracy, and the scout could remain hidden from the enemy field.

With a lesser tercel, Donnec would have reconnoitered and returned to the castle according to plan. But he had Fransisca. He took his small spyglass and surveyed the camp. Lord Rettin, King of Arlen, stood in front of the commander’s tent. The crest of his ancestral helm, a crowned falcon of burnished bronze, marked him easily as a target.

Donnec smirked as he saw him. Indeed, the sigil of his enemy gave him the insidious inspiration to train his prized falcon as an assassin from on high. He imagined the chaos in the camp after Francisca swooped in from nowhere, tore the King’s throat out, then vanished again into the clouds.



He keeps me in the darkness until it’s time. I can hear father slow his breathing and steady his hand. The promise of freedom has kept me still until now. Soon, the light will shine on me and with it, I will be me as I was born. I can feel the sun calling already, warming wing, beak, and claw.

I will be me as I was raised. Unique. The favorite. Royalty. The others are slow, weak, dull. They shall know their place as I soar higher and faster than all of them. Finally, my own heart begins to race. The darkness turns red and it seems as bright as the sun. Soon, I will be able to steer this engine.



The years of meticulous care and the months of planning were finished. Donnec took a last look through his spyglass and was satisfied. The training dummy he built in secret was a drat fine replica of the real King Rettin. He couldn’t wait to see talons scrape that smug grin off his face.

Donnec slithered his way back to his horse, untied the lead and mounted. He opened the cramped cage and tightened his grip on the leather leash bound to Francisca’s leg. She bowed her head, and Donnec unlaced the hood and it fell to the bottom of the cage. In the morning sun, Donnec saw flecks of gold in those dark, raptor eyes as she turned her gaze skyward.

Once for rabbit, twice for crow, three times he tugged the leash, then freed it from the falcon’s foot. The command was set. It was time to kill. The prey was man. Francisca shot from the cage and spiraled up through the air. Donnec marveled at the power of each wingbeat.



There is expectation in father’s eyes. I know his will, what he wants. Rise on the currents; rise under the strength of my wings. But father cannot break his bonds. My blood boils. I fume at his weakness, watching him impotently shake the leather strap and click his teeth like a child trying to corral an unruly pet. There is only one way to be free.

Father drops from the mare. The crimson spray is ebullient across the backdrop of the blue sky. He grasps at the arteries and sinews of his neck. That old horse gallops down the road towards the castle, the stupid giant reeling back towards the other masters that would gladly have her.

Father lays in the ditch as I climb towards the sun. I know true freedom, and now, so does he. Father falls silent. The stillness is yours, man’s purview. I have risen above your concerns. Man is silly.

The mare races towards the castle. I circle ever higher. I’m sorry, father.

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