Upstart? You need someone to teach you what words mean.
a person who has risen suddenly to wealth or high position, especially one who behaves arrogantly.
"the upstarts who dare to challenge the legitimacy of his rule"
synonyms: parvenu, arriviste, nouveau riche, status seeker, social climber, a jumped-up ——, johnny-come-lately
"these upstarts, they don't know their place"
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 01:47|
|# ? May 27, 2022 06:38|
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 01:57|
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 02:03|
--the one time you've posted an active character
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 02:06|
hi can u 2 kiss already? thanks
e: its for my fanfic
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 02:20|
i am gonna judge this brawl.
Fools' Brawl - Ironic Twist v. Sitting Here
April fools'! That's what you're writing about. A prank. A story in which one person pranks another person. Is it an innocent prank, and everybody laughs at the end? Or is it one of those mean pranks where people cry? I don't like those pranks. I think pranks should be silly.
Twist - Your challenge is to write a story that doesn't crawl up its own butthole in terms of ~style~ and can actually convey a straightforward narrative.
Sitting Here - Your challenge is to write an active character that has his or her poo poo put together.
In a way, this is a brawl against yourself, because both of you are strong writers, and it's really about not loving yourself over by settling for your comfort zone.
Let the pranks begin!
Word count: 1500
Due date: April 1, 22:00 EST. THAT'S 10PM/7PM. don't loving ask me for extensions.
crabrock fucked around with this message at 03:10 on Mar 21, 2016
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 02:57|
i am gonna judge this brawl.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 03:15|
i am gonna judge this brawl.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 03:35|
One More Knight
Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:38 on Dec 31, 2016
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 04:03|
your knight has sworn to never strike a person they deem their lesser.
The dungeon could hardly even be called that. In fact, it was a wine cellar that the master of this domain, Sir George, in his disdain for worldly frivolities had repurposed as a small gaol for prisoners he deemed worthy of his personal attention.
‘My understanding, Jeremy, is that you were inciting a revolt among peasants’, said Sir George to his prisoner. ‘Is that correct?’
His prisoner stood freely, without chains or any signs of torture, in the centre of his spacious cell, mere two steps from Sir George.
‘I was asking questions, milord, and nothing more. Maybe you can answer me in your wisdom’, gibbered Jeremy not giving Sir George a chance to interject. ‘You see, I have friends in the neighbouring fiefdom, and what do you talk about with a good pint of ale if not rents and tithes? So the funny thing is, milord, I am told that Sir John’s peasants pay one third less than we do. First, they pay rent in coin and prices for their produce are measured according to the lowest of what merchants ask at their local markets, whereas prices for our crops are fixed from the time immemorial, and no one gives two full shillings for a quarter of oats anymore, milord. That’s already something like one fifth, but then you look at how assessments go there and here for the head tax, and again, we don’t have coal swamps nearby, and it adds up one with the other into two and equals to what they pay and over one half of that, and I don’t see how it’s possible when one King rules over us all, God bless his soul, do you?’
Bewildered, Sir George made sure there was finally a moment of silence, and said, ‘Two equals what? You must understand, Jeremy, I am not a man of numbers, but a man of honour, of justice, and the like. Have you been wronged by your guards, did you have enough to eat here?’
‘That I haven’t, milord, and that I did. Your guards are sons of my in-laws. Good lads them, brought me a nice bowl of porridge this morn, nought to complain over here.’
‘Then seeing as I have not wronged you and you see the wrongfulness of your ways, you may beg my pardon, which I shall gladly grant, provided you confess your sin against me come Sunday.’
‘That I can’t, milord, as there is no crime or sin.’ Jeremy closed his eyes and slowly recited his previous speech nodding now and them to keep the rhythm. ‘I was asking questions, nothing more, maybe you can in your wisdom…’
‘Enough of that, you wretched fool’, interrupted him Sir George, ‘I do not want another word from you about sums and fractions!’
It was a first for Sir George, a prisoner not taking an easy way out. Agitated, Sir George paced the cell, his indignation growing.
‘Are you going to strike me, milord?’
‘You would want that, would you not? Unlike many other knights, your lovely Sir John included, I see more in my knightly status than just privilege. I have a strict code to live by, and raising my hand at the likes of you is simply not what I do. You are a peasant, my subject. You are supposed to ask for my protection and mercy - and I must provide it unconditionally. That is all. No answering questions on my part, no beating either. Do you understand that?’
‘I’d rather you struck me, milord, because what I really don’t understand is that, you see, I have friends in the neighbouring fiefdom…’ Before Jeremy could go into mathematics again, Sir George stormed out of the dungeon cussing under his breath and asking God for forgiveness after every crude word. He always saw himself as a just and merciful ruler, but how can one be merciful when no one asks for mercy?
With that in mind he summoned Father Thomas, the only man he pretended to listen to. Sir George told Father Thomas of some minor knightly misdeeds, like not dedicating his latest tournament victory to the Blessed Mother, and then he reluctantly asked for advice about his prisoner. ‘Saint Augustine rightfully taught, my son, that there is no sin without pride. Furthermore, the Scripture says, “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble”. Do according to these words’, was the advice.
That night while drifting off to sleep Sir George pondered on what Father Thomas had told him. ‘Of course, that beastly boor is full of pride’, he thought, ‘and he declines my mercy just like that what’s-his-name declined God’s mercy in the Bible. All I need is to remind him of the divine order of things, and his place in it.’
The first thing in the morning Sir George went into the dungeon to confront Jeremy.
‘As it fits a good Christian knight, I sought advice in the Holy Bible and it occurred to me that as God opposes the proud, you oppose me. I do not expect you to fully fathom the meaning here, but it is in the Bible, so even you must see its truth. Therefore, I must call to your mind the natural order of which we all are part. If you doubt me as your superior, so you doubt the King and God himself as your masters. Do you see the error now?’ It was as if Sir George was shining with divine light, like that other what’s-his-name from the Bible who did the good deed.
‘So I think, milord. I reckon you wanted to say “I oppose you” instead of “you oppose me”’, said Jeremy.
And just like that the divine light went out, and in the darkness of his soul Sir George felt his fist against Jeremy’s jaw. ‘I was tempted and I failed’, he said, ‘all because of your pride!’
‘Milord, if you want to strike me again, I’ll turn the other cheek. Yet, it is my cheek you’re striking, while the questions I was asking are that of everyone in this fiefdom’, said Jeremy.
It took Sir George a moment to realise he had heard something about cheeks before. When he did, he sighed with relief.
‘Years ago, Jeremy, as a young knight without any land to my name yet, I have sworn I would never hit those lesser than me. I see now, that I have not broken this vow. I shall order my treasurers and lawyers to adjust the rent as you say. You are free to go’, said Sir George.
‘You haven’t broken your vow, milord, but you might have broken my jaw’, said Jeremy rubbing his chin.
‘Terribly sorry about that, also.’
With that George and Jeremy left the dungeon.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 04:22|
'Word at the Gate'
Captain Jacobzi arrived at work a half hour before the city entry gates opened and was through security and to his examination suite fifteen minutes early.
Jacobzi settled at his desk for an afternoon of penstrokes and stamps. The lines would start in a few minutes. To his left was the intake door, where singles and the occasional family would enter, heralded by a klaxon. To his right were two doors, one rimmed in blue and the other in red, but otherwise identical.Jacobzi assembled his armaments. His pen was nestled in his right hand, its sharp silver nib gleaming. Jacobzi's left hand was resting near a small silver button though he still gave it wide berth. At his right was a vacuum tube carrying Jacobzi's impressions of each candidate to his lord, and at his left was a tube for the commands in response.
At seven, the first klaxon sounded. 'Matt Cullen' entered through the door on the left in a grime-matte coat and pants. He stood in a small square, as the instructions overhead stated, in front of Jacobzi. Five feet, ten inches, and a just fine BMI. Mr. Cullen's profile read that he had not only did he carry no communicable diseases, his pre-enclosure record had been exemplary with an established medical doctorate.
"Quick physical exam, that's all!" Feeling rotely through a series of lymph nodes and reflexes, Jacobzi worked his way to Cullen's hands.
He carefully pulled off Cullen's rough right glove and exposed a stump fused by intense heat and trauma, a real desert crush. His pinky finger wriggled, useless from the violent amputation. Jacobzi calmly finished the exam, then returned to the desk for the paperwork. He didn't sit into the chair as much as he collapsed. He knew what awaited the doctor. Not citizenship, no. The blue door.At the top of page two, after basic demographics, Jacobzi checked off 'amputee/mutilated' at the top of the form, tore that page from the packet, and sent it to Lord Harald. Jacobzi knew which results to expect for a physical deformation.
At page 121 of standard entry document A, the two men got to discussing the doctor's experience. Cullen had been a sterling graduate trained at a real school in a field that made his deformity a non-issue. One-handed Cullen was a an expert microbiologist and an expert on disease and pathogenicity. Jacobzi glowed with admiration at the physician mutilee.The two men continued to fill out the massive form over the course of Cullen's hour. The minutes ticked by as Jacobzi began to sweat. He had expected a message directing Cullen to the blue door with a pathway curving away from the city, ending in a desert cul-de-sac and bone garden. Nothing came.
The response from Jacobzi's lord had been stamped in green. A complete city residence pass? They were saved for the most valuable of potential citizens, those that were defined as 'Professionally and culturally acceptable" by the three hundred and forty page admission packet, followed by an unseen, unheard arbitration and concluded with a green stamp.
As the captain reached for the entrance missive, a second note hit his hand. This one was on government stationary and bore three red stamps. Jacobzi flicked through his professional reference, a massive tome on a shelf to his right before cracking the wax. It was defined on page 996 in book 2a of the special circumstance catalogue as a direct command from a lord, to be obeyed until the post was vacated by politics or force.While Cullen watched, assuming this all part of the process, Captain Jacobzi opened the triple seal:
I am rendered obsolete by command of our dear Grand Master. Until I am dragged from this position, open our city by your judgment. Until my authority is stripped, I command your expert use of both the shield and of book 1, 300c.
In your service,
Lord of Eastern Gate
Jacobzi immediately passed Dr. Cullen and directed him to the red door. The city. The other door, lined in blue, led to a whirling desert and disappearance. Without Lord Heralt's intervention the physician would be gore swirling a dervish but in the city, he'd flourish.
The captain's next applicant, 'Joan Harville', was a wisp of a woman. Would have failed at page 3c, physical fitness, but the captain paged directly to 300c.
"Has your lord authorized this exchange?"
As he marked 'yes' per his orders and let her pass to the city, a red-sealed missive arrived in the tube to his left. It was the final judgment of an automated system. A mistake must have been made, the note emphasized. A person unworthy of space in the city had been admitted. Would the captain please file a correction to eject Mr. Cullen?
Jacobzi placed the note back in the tube to his left, then pressed his shield. The denial disappeared down the chute and the doctor remained a citizen. Over the next hour, Jacobzi followed his orders flawlessly. He admitted a man aged thirty years over the admissible limit, a vibrant young guy blind in one eye, and a woman outside of childbearing age.
Twenty minutes after each candidate was admitted in, a red letter of automatic rejection arrived and Jacobzi pressed his shield. The captain wielded his bureaucratic armament, his bladed pen delivering passages into the city, his shielded button obeying his lord's command to let all inside. As the sun crested, a letter with a new seal arrived at the captain's left, triple sealed:
I welcome you all to my lordship of the gate. Refer to page 299 of book 1 for processing until this gate and the city are reorganized.
Until this reorganization, refrain from your use of the shield.
Lord of Eastern Gate
As the letter arrived, the klaxon screeched and a young lady was invited to her interview with Captain Jacobzi. He followed her through the form. She answered each question with thoughtful charm. She had helped to build public water supplies, though she had grown up in a small, almost-dry town. The occasional toss of her hair made Jacobzi's heart float. She would have been perfect. The city needed her, but it was his duty to follow his new lord's command. Page 299 of book 1. It did not contain a test or survey, only a single quote:
"Until further notice, all entrants are barred from citizenship."
Jacobzi uncapped his pen, signed page 299, and sent the girl with the beautiful wink through the door framed in blue, into a murderous sandpaper wind. Her silhouette disappeared before the door slammed shut. He did the same with a number of other worthy applicants throughout the day until the sun set.
As Jacobzi's last city applicant exited through the blue-lined door, he relaxed. He'd held true to his lords and this fact warmed him as the winds howled through his gate. Jacobzi capped his bladed pen, drew his coat around him, and walked through the red-rimmed door, back home.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 04:36|
your knight must slice off a finger or toe for every loved one they fail.
Mauka no Makai
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:06 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 04:37|
your knight may not draw a weapon until injured in combat
We had always been the weird ones, the quiet ones, the kids who ate sack lunches in the school library and took pride in reading Le Morte d’Arthur for Accelerated Reader points. But Nate’s mom is the one who took us the renaissance fair, which she would later half-jokingly refer to as “the gateway drug.”
For a while I think our parents were still optimistic, until we found out about the group that hosted live-action D&D campaigns in the park. You could almost see the trajectory of their hopes for us correcting themselves midflight. The lacrosse player, the ladykiller. Watch them arc, hit the water without a sound, sink without bubbles.
We made everything ourselves. My sword was three feet of PVC pipe wrapped in insulating foam, and the armor was a few cheap yoga mats cut up and plastered with silver duct tape. Nate was our mage; his mom sewed a robe with a hood and everything. He bought a mesh bag full of sea glass from Hobby Lobby. He’d lay them out in a circle and recite the incantation he’d come up with, and anyone standing inside was invincible until they stepped out again.
That was home.
By junior year, we have everything figured out. Graduate top of the class, then off to the University of Tennessee. Summer Latin classes at the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. We imagine a hundred other kids like us, with cowlicks and library cards and woefully uncool sneakers.
My older brother writes me letters on pages ripped from yellow legal pads. He writes me from Ramadi, and then from Kandahar. When I unfold the letters, sand trickles out from the creases, fine as powdered sugar, and I scoop it into little piles on the dining table. I tell him about my plans and he tells me good luck. He tells me that if I join up, the G.I. Bill will cover my tuition, which I guess is his idea of a joke.
He tells me about going on patrols, watching out for cell phones and cameras and trash in the road that might be harmless or might not. He talks about the rules of engagement, how they can’t shoot until someone shoots at them first.
A week after we take our SATs, Nate’s mom is rear-ended at a stoplight and put in spinal traction. Her job isn’t waiting for her when she gets out, and even with Nate picking up an extra shift at the deli, the money he’s saved up for Tennessee starts bleeding away. I tell him there are still scholarships to try for, still tuition assistance programs to research, but he just gives me a tired smile and doesn’t say anything until I drop the subject.
Afterward, every time I go over to Nate’s house, his mom is just sitting on the couch with a sort of spaced-out look. The accident has whittled her down, and her eyes are sad, like a whale’s eyes. I stand in the living room while Nate grabs his robe and his sea glass, and she doesn’t even seem to notice I’m there.
We stop by my place on the way out the park so I can get my gear. Nate comes in for a glass of water. Dad is on the phone with somebody, but when he sees me, he nods toward a stack of mail on the counter. I go over and shuffle through it until I see the manila envelope with the little embossed seal, and I know what it is before I even read the words next to it. There’s an eel-slick feeling turning over in my stomach when I open it. It is with great pleasure that I inform you of your admission…
But then I see Nate looking at the letter, and this heavy feeling drapes over me. Even though it’s too late, I put it down and act like it’s no big deal. I hurry to go get my sword and my armor and my shield out of the closet and we climb into the car and don’t say anything the whole way there.
I’m counting on the campaign to smooth things over. The woods in the park are thick, and you can barely hear the sound of the highway. This has always been the place where all the other poo poo doesn’t matter. Everything that’s drowning us.
Nate is setting up his magic circle in silence. I can see the muscles in his jaw clenching and unclenching. The rest of the group has gone up ahead to scout. I’m a few feet ahead when I see something land in the leaves beside my foot. I turn around and bring my arm up just as Nate throws the second beanbag. It glances off the corner of my shield.
Fireball, he shouts. He throws another. Fireball.
I run back into the safety of the sea glass circle. I ask him what the hell his problem is.
Nate slugs me right in the guts, and even through the yoga mat, it hurts a bit. Mostly I’m just surprised, and even Nate is looking at his balled fist in disbelief. But then his face twists up and he charges into me. We are rolling on the ground, and I can feel my chest heart jackhammering, hear the blood pounding in my ears.
Nate is on his back underneath me. I’ve got the hood of his robe bunched up in one hand, and my other fist is cocked. Nate is crying. His face is red and ugly and quivering. There’s snot on his lip. I think about what my brother told me, about the rules of engagement. I tell myself that this isn’t what a knight would do.
I let him go. Nate scrambles to his feet and brushes dead leaves out of his hair. He starts walking. The magic circle is broken, and he doesn’t stop to pick it up.
Once in a while, when I feel alone, or if I’ve had a little too much to drink, I try to find him online. There are more Nate Levines than I would have guessed. I keep waiting for the moment when I’ll pick his photo out of the crowd, a little bit older but still unmistakably him.
I don’t have the sword anymore, or the armor. What I kept is a little piece of sea glass, pale green and smooth around the edges. It’s like all of it is there, inside that glass, like an insect trapped in amber. The sweet, dusty smell of summer grass and the thrum of cicadas. I can look at it and feel something tugging at me, like a compass needle leading me back.
Sometimes I’ll sit there in my dorm room with the lights off, hunched over in the deep-sea glow of my monitor, listening to bright laughter floating through the drywall from some other room. Someone’s music turned up too loud. I’ll take the piece of sea glass and rub it between my fingers. I’ll recite the incantation, the one Nate made up, and for a moment, with my eyes closed, I let myself imagine that I’m home.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 05:46|
Your knight is chaste
Word Count: 1006
Lancelot dismounted his horse and wiped the mud, blood, and sweat from his face with a gauntleted hand. He’d never thought to see Camelot again, but here he was standing before the heavy gate. Grabbing his lance, he turned and launched it at the gate. Jousting lances weren’t meant for throwing, but his well-honed muscles were more than capable and he wanted to send a message.
“ARTHURRRRRR!” The lance slammed into the gate with an echoing thud. Guards on the wall began milling around frantically. Unsure if they could make out his crest, he grabbed his shield from where it was lashed to the side of his steed and pushed the tip into the ground before him so it would stand in front of him.
A small commotion reached his ears from behind the gate before they burst open. Lancelot immediately recognized Sir Gawain’s golden pentacle emblazoned on his chest and raised a hand in greeting, “Sir Gawain! Good to see you my frie-”
“Lancelot! What are you doing here!” Gawain interrupted, jogging clumsily in his armor to Lancelot’s side. “You can’t be here! The King is coming to greet you, and the Queen… I was told… they said…”
“No matter what you’ve been told, Sir.” Lancelot grinned. “Worry not, Sir Gawain. I’ve seen the Grail. I’ve seen the Grail and I have been redeemed.” Gawain’s jaw dropped, but before he had time to respond a group walked through the gate towards them.
Arthur, as royal as ever, led them. A hard look troubled his normally calm face. A small group of knights and squires followed him, hands uneasily resting on their hilts. And by his side Guinevere strode, the only one amongst them with something other than worry on their face. Could it be excitement? Happiness, even? Lancelot took one unsure step forward before he was stopped by Arthur’s voice.
“Lancelot.” He didn’t sound angry, just firm. “Why have you come back here, Sir Lancelot? You were banished. By what right have you returned?”
“My King, I have been vindicated.” Arthur’s brow creased in confusion. Lancelot had no ill intent towards his king, but still he waited and savored the moment ever so briefly. “I’ve seen the Grail.” Several of the knights gasped, one of the squires scoffed in disbelief, Arthur’s eyes slowly widened in wonder, and Guinevere… Guinevere smiled at him. “Look into my heart, my King. You can see that it’s true, and that my rage has passed.”
“But Sir Lancelot… what of the reason you were banished? What have you to say in defense of those actions?”
“My liege, it is as I told you then. I was innocent. If the Lord has seen fit to honor me with the sight of the Grail, surely you cannot doubt me now? I have always been chaste.” Arthur sat silent for a brief moment, but he had no choice but to believe his old friend.
His quarters. He’d never thought to miss the sparse rooms while he was gone, but now that he was back he realized how much Camelot felt like home to him. He let his armor fall off him piece by piece, more careless than he usually was. With every part that clattered to the stone, he felt the burdens of his long journey fall away from his mind to match. He shrugged off the last of his armor, his belt, his tunic. He was exonerated at long last.
He lay with his eyes closed for a few moments before he heard something moving in his room. Instinctively, he reached for his dagger and looked up. It wasn’t an enemy that stood before him, though; it was Guinevere.
“Mi-milady,” Lancelot stuttered, scrambling for a tunic with which to cover his bare chest. “Forgive me, I didn’t hear you come in. I’m not clothed.” Her wide, wild eyes smiled at him.
“Lancelot,” she paused a moment, “I’ve missed you so much!” The loose pile of clothes he’d been fumbling through slipped through his numb fingers.
“Gwen,” he repeated breathlessly, “what are you doing here? Was it not you who had me banished in the first place? How can you now stand here before me like this?”
She smiled her vixen smile. “That’s all in the past now, Lancelot. All that matters is that we’re here now.” He felt suddenly dizzy, like when he looked out over tall battlements.
“Mi-Gwen. Gwen, you have to go, you can’t be here. I can’t do this.” He reached out and took her hand, meaning to stand and pull her towards the door, but she took it entirely differently. As their hands met her slender fingers clenched his and she dropped to her knees in front of him. He couldn’t help but notice that her gown was quite sheer and his eyes lingered on her perfect bosom. Guinevere caught his eye on her and with a slight shrug sent her silky dress cascading down to her waist. Lancelot was paralyzed, sweat beading up all over him suddenly.
As Guinevere leaned in towards him, he cast his mind about for what to do and settled on a quick prayer. This was wrong and he couldn’t do it, but there she was in front of him, his whole world since the day he’d lay eyes on her. How could he deny himself this?
In an instant, he knew what he must do, though. He took her embrace, felt her breasts on his chest and her lips on his, wrapped her up completely, and sunk his dagger into her back. He’d been deemed worthy by the Grail. She gasped silently, her sweat breath playing across his face. He couldn’t break his vows now. As the blood streamed from his life’s only love, he arranged her gown back upon her shoulders and set her gently down. He walked across the room, sat down in the far corner, and plunged the still bloody knife into his own breast.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 05:47|
Sooner or Later He Brings Up the Templars)
your knight is a strict vegan and faces consequence of death upon animal product consumption.
The guy standing beside the beat-up green Civic has a gun, but that don't count for much when there's two hundred eighty pounds of crazy charging at you waving a big-rear end sword. He barely gets it out of his belt and fires one wild shot before taking a smack in his gun hand from the flat of the sword. The gun goes flying and his arm's broke. I step in to get him dosed with chloroform and zip-tied to the rear-view mirror. Coyote does that kind of poo poo all the time, and don't never take no bullets neither. He says it's cause he's magic.
Then we get in the car and hide out, waiting on the fourth floor of a parking garage in the middle of the night for the men with the bribe. “Jackpot,” I say. “That fool brought dinner.” I look inside the bag and pull out a sandwich.
“What,” says Coyote “is that?”
“A pastrami sandwich,” I say. “Hey, it's not like we're dating. Just because you don't eat meat don't mean I can't.”
“Bernie, have I ever told you why I'm vegan?” asks Coyote.
I pause between bites, thinking. “No.”
“It's not any kind of moral reason. I don't give two farts about animal rights. And it's sure as hell not for my health. No, it's one reason and one reason alone. I swore an oath. To never again eat any animal product until my dying day. I've been keeping that oath for nigh on fifteen years, and it pains me every single day. So believe me when I say I would kill for the chance to eat a pastrami sandwich again and put that damnable temptation back into that bag.”
I swallow and put the sandwich away, and our conversation turns to the usual. Who really killed Bobby Kennedy and Malcolm X and Michael Jackson. Why they let John Doe #2 get away after the Oklahoma City bombings. And the old favorite, why we don't go after the real money in this city.
“Drugs, drugs are too big. Too big for a two-person operation to get near without blowback. The Templars had every ounce of cocaine entering the country going through Mena airport, with both the Bushes and the Clintons elbow deep in the operation's rear end. Right at the highest levels. No, this stuff is where we can make a difference. Civic corruption. Stop the flow of money and everything gums up. You remember the sigil?”
I remember the sigil. Down in Coyote's basement apartment, Spread across the walls, the map of the real subway routes overlayed with lines connecting every property ever owned by Donald Trump, and, if you squint hard, it sort of looks like a two-headed snake with one huge wing. Coyote says that explains everything. I nod and think about that sandwich.
Then a black Suburban shows up. The guy with the suitcase full of cash gets out, with two guards, and they almost reach the trunk before they notice that our friend isn't awake. That's when we bust out of the doors, me with the guy's piece and Coyote with his sword and the guards take off. We're about to take the suitcase off of the courier when two more people come out of the van.
One of them's a weedy little guy in glasses, hanging back and eating chicken nuggets. The other is big as Coyote, dressed in black and holding a riot shield and a stun baton. “Hospitaller!” the big guy shouts, “Prepare to meet your doom.”
For a second Coyote looks at him the way I usually look at Coyote. Then his face changes and he charges. “Templar!” he shouts. “Face my revenge.”
I'd like to say what goes down is some kind of Star Wars lightsaber poo poo, but it all happens in a few seconds. Coyote comes in low and the Templar blocks with his shield, then pokes Coyote right under the left arm with his baton. Coyote's in pain, but he's not going down. His mouth is wide open, though, and that's when the nerd picks up a chicken nugget and slings it like it's a ninja throwing star. The nugget flies right into Coyote's mouth. Coyote starts gasping and convulsing even though the baton's not on him no more. He's turning blue. He swings his sword high. It takes the other guy's head clean off, and the head tumbles through the air and lands right in the nerd's lap. The nerd drops his nuggets, pulls out his phone, and takes off running. I hear more cars on the ramps below. I go to Coyote, but he's gone.
Pick up the sword. It's sort of like Coyote's voice, but different. I look around to see who's talking, but it's coming from inside my head. I can get you safely out of here, but you must pick me up first.
The sword itself? It's there on the concrete near Coyote's hand. I pick it up. Now say the oath.
“What?” I say. “Wait...really?”
It is necessary, yes.
“Man, I love a good burger.”
Would you rather face the people coming up alone?
“All right,” I say. “I swear to never eat any kind of meat or animal product.”
Or stolen animal labor.
Honey is out, too.
“Okay, I swear to not eat any food that's stolen animal labor. We square?”
And to hunt and fight the Templars for all of your days.
“And I swear to fight the Templars. You gonna help me fight these guys now?”
Do you know how to fight with a sword?
“Hell no.” I say.
Then that wouldn't be a good idea. Walk up to the rail over to your right.
I start walking. There's nothing there but a four story drop. “Wait,” I say. “You think I should jump?”
I can keep you safe. I'm thinking 'no way' when two Audis roll up the ramp and spin to stops, doors facing me. I go over the ledge with a huge pointy sword in one hand, wondering if I've gone crazy as Coyote ever was.
I land on the windshield of a parked Lexus. The safety glass bends down to the console as I hit. Not a scratch on me. Nothing broken neither, bruises only. I take off running. I've got work to do. Gotta learn swordfighting, gotta find out which Indian joints don't use butter. And I've gotta figure how to take the fight to that chicken nugget-throwing Templar son of a bitch.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 06:13|
word count: 1148
rule: your knight may not work during the three great praying hours of the day
A Lying Prayer
flerp fucked around with this message at 00:45 on May 30, 2016
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 06:41|
First off, my story for Week 188
Smoldering ashes from rustic fireplaces tinge the midnight air. Autumn leaves drift off their resting branches, being cradled by the breeze, into the loamy soil. The clouded atmosphere casts shadows of illusory beasts onto the lake’s surface, intermingling with the shapes of real creatures that lie beneath.
Above the surface, the only remarkable feature was a wooden craft, plastered with emblems of the Rabul Kingdom, only half-visible through the layers of mud and moss. Two gaunt figures were sitting of the edge of the boat, one on the bow, the other on the stern. Though they faced apart, both men were concentrating deeply on their task.
The inside of the boat seemed fairly standard. Both the port and starboard were lined with oars, nets, and harpoons - the usual equipment for fishing, and there was a black chest bolted to the center of the ship. Indeed, each of the men wielded a fishing rod, cast off into the depths beneath them.
Fishing was not only a hobby, but a traditional pastime among the citizens of Rabul. The Tobias brothers have been fishing since they could hold a rod. Eager to make their parents happy, they made it a competition to catch the most fish, or perhaps the biggest fish, on each of their ventures to the lake.
Though they may have grown up, both brothers still harbored a deep passion for the sport, and have spent countless nights aboard various ships, passing the time away. Normally, the nights would pass on by quickly, but tonight the minutes seemed like hours. Storm clouds began to metastasize across the healthy night sky, and soon only a few rays of light pierced through the heavenly awning. Like a dilapidated roof, rain began to drip through the awning, startling the people that were unfortunate enough to live underneath it.
Both brothers sighed, and each abandoned their post to find some tarp buried beneath their provisions. Instead of their usual jovial attitude, discussing about their catches (with both fish and women), they merely cursed at their bad luck. After tearing apart some sheets and wrapping themselves in it, they sulked back to the port and starboard, unsurprised that no fish and taken their bait.
The vessel bobbed on the rippling waves, growing more violent as the sky darkened. Soon the rain doused the duo. Their ambition was to go fishing, but at this rate the only thing that they were likely to catch was illness. None of the fish were biting today, and there were not even any other vessels on the lake. Despite this, the brothers stayed adamant in maintaining their post.
Soon the wind began to intensify. The dilapidated awning was falling apart, and streams of moonlight and water began to strike the boat. The chilling air cut through the tarp, and the two brothers began to ache. Teeth chattering, they both backed up to the black chest, and sat on top of it, back to back, staring out into the tempest that was consuming them.
Jeremiah grabbed Michael’s hands, and squeezed them tightly. Bound to his younger brother, Michael reassured him by singing for him the same lullaby that their parents would sing when they had trouble sleeping as children:
“Unless you wish to take a
Come here and hold out your own hand
There is no glory, there is no pain
Crying out for the already slain.”
Only this time, the brother knew they had to stand through this terror, less they risk losing it all.
Another quiet night cycles on by, with no appearance of the Terror. Now that day will break soon, the brothers can return home and recover from their ordeal. They both sighed in relief, never having to crack open the black flare chest, never having to strike against a real monster. It has been generations since the Terror overcame Rabul. The horrors that plagued their ancestors have now become faint memories, a distant dream that is now a myth. Jeremiah and Michael remembered their vows to take a stand, and to always watch out for the children of the Rabul Kingdom, just as real to them as the oncoming Terror that would shatter this peace one day. And that was the most terrifying thought to both of them.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 07:05|
Word Count : 1048/1200
your knight treats their animal companion as if they are their equal in all aspects of life.
“An Emperor’s will ought not to be denied. No matter how daunting their tasks may be, it is the sworn duty of every pledged knight to uphold their lord’s sovereignty. This filial piety is the cornerstone of trust between those demarcated by the heavens and the lambs of God.
“And you know what? I don’t give a drat!
“For too long, those entitled nobles have shackled us, used us, with no sense of shame or regret. I may be a titled knight, but I’ll never forget who I truly am! Born in rags to a harlot, I had to make my way in the world. I became a thief, and used every petty trick I could come up with to stay alive and out of the jails. When I was old enough, I sought out a group of bandits that traveled through the countryside, and joined up with them. Amongst them, I learned that you could never trust another person; that you had to earn your keep and watch out for yourself.
“One night, while camping out in the mountains, we were ambushed by wolves. Just like us, they had to fight to survive, and nothing stood in their way. Realizing that they were too powerful to overcome, I made the selfish choice of throwing one of the meatier bandits into the horde, to be torn apart as we made our escape.
“We fled as far as our legs could carry, not even giving thought to each other. We reached a clearing, where we could catch our breath, but then I was struck out. I had lost the trust of my comrades, and they left me out in those mountains to die.
“Such a situation would have been ironic, but Irony was on the other foot today. The wolves did catch up to me in my groggy state. However, they saw my actions not as simple cowardice, but rather an act of kindness, providing for them a wonderful gift.
“I spent several months among the wolves, learning the ways of the predator, and came to understand their simple code of honor: To work together, for the survival of all.
“I took this to heart. I befriended a few of the wolves, and we took care of each other. I would help hunt for meat, and they would keep guard at night. On particularly cold nights I would build a fire, and they would gather around it like the most loyal dogs prostrating at their master’s feet. Hell, whenever it got to the point where they reeked of rabbit carcasses, I would lead them to a river and bathe in it with them.
“However, friendship cannot satisfy a man’s need for a family. Therefore, I sought to return to my hometown, and look for love. Unfortunately, my newfound friends weren’t going to have any of that. They followed me into town, by my side, setting the entire community into a state of fervor. At first, the locals thought I was a witch or a monster, being able to command the beasts. They sought out our lord to have me put to death.
“The Local Lord, however, saw that my kinship with these beasts could be a valuable asset in the field of battle. He sent a squire to coerce me to partake in a holy crusade. Though they mouthed off about how they sought to convert the Moorish invaders towards the will of our Lord, they also suggested that we would be able to gain wealth and prestige for our victories over the heathens. And the best part was a promise of abstinence of sin; they would look the other way.
“Those hypocrites always pissed me off the most. Still, I was aware of my life or death scenario, so I accepted the lord’s offer. Soon after, the pack of wolves and I traveled to long road towards Constantinople, pillaging village after village. It worked out greater than I could have imagined. I earned more gold than I ever did as a bandit or thief, enough to buy my way out of poverty; I also met several women on the road, who became infatuated with my wild charms.
“I soon became famous among the crusaders, and I gained something I never would have dreamed of obtaining: Respect. With wealth and fame on my side, I was able to return from our crusade as a hero, and our local lord sought to have me be bestowed upon the blessings of the Church and the Empire.
“When asked what I wanted in life, I said to merely serve the Kingdom of our Lord, in eternal happiness. At that point, I was asked to pledge loyalty to the lord and to serve as a loyal knight always. And I did.”
“Perhaps I would have served our Lord for the rest of my days, without a care in the world, if not for a recent command: To find and jail the unauthorized hunters slaying the animals in the Royal Forests. I was expecting this to be an easy task, but to my surprise it would seem that several wolves have moved in, and were merely living off the land. After informing my lord, I was tasked with eradicating every last wolf in the forests.
“I was given the choice to choose between my family and my lord, and I knew in my heart, that I could never face God if I was to kill those that I loved most. So now I seek to unite all of us under one banner, and to take our village away from the rule of these corrupt kings and lords, who claim to serve God, but only seek to serve their own interests.
“The time is now to show the world what true honor is. It’s now time to unite under God, and bring about a kingdom where we can live in harmony with nature, and fight against human greed. Now who’s with me?”
From that day onward, the newfound unified kingdom fought against its local lords and brought village after village into their fold, expanding their rule under the leadership of the former knight. And that short lived rebellious kingdom would go down in the annals of history as the Principality of Bestiality.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 07:10|
your knight has sworn to obey the laws of an obscure and hated religion
1300 words exactly
give a little
Sarg wiped his forehead. It was one regular summbitch of a night - almost as dangerously hot as the daytime. Could be another solar flare was on its way, but that wasn’t something to worry about – if it happened, he’d be too burnt and dead to care. His armour was one of the last sets of BOSTON SWAT in the Order’s vault, complete with see-through plastic shield; what wonderful poo poo mankind had once known. He sat in a temple of the Pale Lady, in the ruins of Providence. The central idol lay on her side; her head smashed to powder, her bundle of wheat long rotted away and her gold coins stolen. The words on her plinth were worn away; the nig t is gen rou
The old city of Providence was long abandoned, and nobody came out this way except the Lady’s mendicants. Our Pale Lady of Blessed Charity; what a joke- what a gods-damned-bugfuck joke. Some days, Sarg thought about climbing one of the old burnt-out skyscrapers and doing the ole fifteen story concrete high-dive. Then who would beg for alms, and give those alms to those who needed them more? Then, who would tend the Lady’s gardens and protect her unwilling servants? No-loving-body, that’s who. Nobody gave a single highfallutin’ poo poo about the Goddess of Charity, not even her most faithful keeper. Barely even, anyways. He caught himself in his dark thoughts, then spat. Some days were worse than others. What was the old song? Doo-doo-doo, I do the needful, doo-doo-doo, I walk alone.
His old soldier’s senses caught the movement before his eyes did, and his hand was on his sword before he knew what was going on. The newcomer was older than Sarg, with a red-paint hand splashed across his face.
“Well,” said Sarg, “didn’t know you folks had a mission out this way.”
He said folks like another man might say pigfuckers. Devotees of the Invisible Hand, the god of the old world; Hallelujah, praise the dollar, gently caress you got mine.
The new man shrugged. He was unarmed. “God helps those who help themselves,” he said. Then he grinned - the little grin of a man who thinks he’s a wit and he’s another half of one. “Mine, anyway.”
His manner was disarming, but Sarg knew better. The old man wore a nametag. HELLO, MY NAME IS: fELLo. HOW’S MY SMILE?
“My oath,” he said, “compels me to kill looters. And I might take it as a sign from both our gods that I’ve got a sword, and you don’t. Piss off before the market decides your guts look better on the outside.”
“Me mate, me mate, me mate,” said Fello, “you don’t want to kill me, not with the things I know. I’ve got a knowing I do and ARGH-”
Sarg had lunged forward and grabbed Fello by the shirt collar. He didn’t say anything; the point of his sword did all the talking for him. Fello got the point.
“Bank vault,” he said. “Pre-fall. Untouched. Underground. Here in Providence. Gold, none of that flimsy rotten paper poo poo. Think of how many people you can donate to, aye? Won’t that be a pip in your heavenly soul or whatever you lads do. Lemme go and I’ll tell you. You’re an honourable man- I can smell that a mile away. Smells like roses and blah blah etc. You ain’t gonna stab an unarmed man who helped out your Order.”
“Hells I won’t,” said Sarg. He pressed the sword’s tip in a little deeper. “But I’d be better disposed if you told me.”
Fello grinned a GOTCHA grin. “Corner of Eastwatch and Allen’s Street, across from the belltower. Found it wrote on the back of an old photo. Did some digging, made my way out here. You get there before me, it’s yours. Otherwise, well, God helps those etc etc blah blah. Now let me go. You promised, big man. You made an oath, even if your mouth didn’t say it. You made an oath on the inside. Lads like you always do.”
For a moment, Sarg considered putting the tiniest bit of extra pressure on the handle of his sword, and spitting Fello like a stuck pig. Nobody in Boston would know, and nobody who knew would mind. Doo-doo-doo, I do the needful. Sarg tasted blood, and leaned in a little. His muscles tensed, then he shoved the man away. Fello’s rear end hit the dirt, and he scampered to his feet, and off into the overgrown ruins of Providence. Sarg watched him go. His palms itched. He didn’t feel like he’d done the right thing.
All the old street signs were worthless- their metal poles twisted and warped from the daytime heat. Sarg was looking for a clock tower - they’d built those outta stone in this part of the country, hundreds of years before the world went to hell. What a great irony that with all the old world’s fine tech, only their old stone buildings remained. Stone ain’t pretty, but it don’t melt. The forest was working hard at taking back this part of the city - nature’s an adaptable beast, and she finds a way around any obstacle. They’d burned and drowned half the world, and kudzu simply didn’t give a poo poo. Hell, kudzu treated it like Christmas: plenty of sunlight, and nobody to cut you back when your nimble green fingers got too close to the windows.
After two more hours of searching, he saw it piercing up through the greenery- in the night, it loomed like the disapproving finger of the Lady. Sarg spat, then cut through another bank of vines. It took another solid hour of clearing away plant matter to reach the clock tower. There were no other buildings nearby. Sarg cursed, then leaned against the cool stone, dropping down just a fraction. That little movement saved his life.
The first arrow smashed into the tower where his head had been only a second before. The second got intimate with his riot shield, and the shock of the impact tore the slab of plastic from his hands. He staggered and tried to draw his sword, but Fello appeared out of the darkness, crossbow loaded.
“Me mate, me mate, me mate,” said Fello. “Ain’t no gold left outside enterprising hands this side of the Rockies. Woulda thought a learned man like you would know something like that, but I’m no fancy lads like you, am I? The real gold’s what you’re wearing. It’s not right that you hold onto a suit of armour that fine, while fine men like me have to go around unprotected. Why don’t you do the good thing, and donate it into my poor little hands?”
Doo-doo-doo, I do the needful, doo-doo-doo, I walk alone.
Ain’t principles a bitch?
“You coulda just asked,” said Sarg. He moved as if to undo one of the straps.
Fello grinned his disarming little grin - his nasty little sawtooth monkey smile. He took a step forward, and Sarg’s armoured knee caught him right in the twigganberries. He doubled up, and let out a strangled cry. Sarg kneed him again, for good measure. His sword found a familiar place, pressed up against Fello’s bellybutton.
“Leave your crossbow,” said Sarg, “and everything you’ve got in your pockets. They’ll be fine donations for the Pale Lady. If I see you around here again, I’ll reconsider my current charity.”
There was a tinkling of things-from-pockets hitting the dirt.
“That’s not fair!” bawled Fello, “you ain’t giving, you’re taking!”
“I’m giving you the greatest gift you’ll ever waste, rear end in a top hat; I’m giving you your life. Now beat it.”
Fello stumbled, found his footing, then shuffled off into the darkness. Sarg knelt down to examine his new haul, and smiled. The night was generous indeed.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 07:45|
word count: 1,289
rule : your knight refuses to sleep until their job is complete
"I can help you sleep," The hedge wizard said, his teeth great big metal chimes that clattered and clanked. I sighed, and explained again that I didn't want to sleep. I couldn't, actually. It would put me at the mercy of the Dreameater like everyone else.
No. What I needed was something that made me dream while awake. Certainly a man who dealt with herbs and tinctures had something like that! The wizard stroked his great big bushy beard, which writhed and danced in time to a beat I couldn't hear. He asked me if I was the town guard, looking to put a squeeze on his operation. It was all very familiar, and yet somehow wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it even as the stars on the wizard's robe slid off and pooled upon the floor between us.
"No," I said, shaking my head at the man, "we've been over this before." It was true. We had. There was something critical about the whole thing I was missing, something important I was supposed to remember, but the thoughts wouldn't connect in the haze that filled my mind. It was so important that I made a note about it. I could remember that. The note was firmly affixed to my breast plate with an arrow. I pulled the arrow out with a pop and looked at the note.
It was nonsense, scribbles that danced on the page every time I glanced away. Useless!
Then it hit me like a lance to my helmet. I remembered. The town terrorized nightly by a creature in their dreams, its citizens left sleepless and driven to exhaustion. I remembered my inability to simply rest and fight the creature in my own dreams. Desperation lead me to seek out a way to enter a waking dream, and I got it, a series of powerful herbs from a hedge wizard outside of town. Potent plants that I was to inhale to take me into the land of waking visions, where I hopped I might be able to cross through into the realm of dreams.
Obviously, it had worked. The dullness in my mind cleared away. I could see the dream for what it actually was. A weak and tenuous fiction held together by little to nothing at all, and if this was the fictional world of dreams, then that would make the wizard the Dreameater itself!
I yelled in victory and lunged forward at the wizard. His robes fell to pieces around me as I struck him, and his body fell apart as a million tiny spiders scurried outwards before disappearing into nothingness. Malevolent laughter filled the air as I recoiled in shock. Had this been like the nights before, where I was simply sleeping, I would have woken up with a fright.
I stayed in the dream, though, and hopefully would until the drugs wore off. I quickly pushed my way outside of the shop, and found myself in the infinite void between dreams. The air was thick like syrup as I watched glimpses of the town's nightmares drifting by through the nothingness. I could hear the cackle of the Dreameater in the distance, and pushed myself through the sticky void towards the sound.
The laughter lead me to another dream, which I pushed my way into with a wet pop as I slipped through the membrane around it. The dream took place in a great arena, and jeering crowd looked on from seats high overhead. A great inky black shadow chased a terrified gladiator around. This would be the perfect dream to fight the beast in!
I drew my sword, and yelled defiantly at the great beast. The crowd fell silent. All eyes, including the beasts, fell upon me. "Foul creature! Your end has come!"
The beast simply laughed at me. I snarled angrily back, and then the arena crowd too started to laugh. Even the once terrified gladiator got over the horror of his nightmare and began laughing. I remember trying to resheath my sword, only to find my sheath gone. Indeed, all of my gear was gone. I was standing in the middle of the arena, clad not in steel, but in my underwear.
Of course I was. It was simply one of those kind of dreams. The Dreameater laughed, and faded into nothingness once more. I couldn't leave that nightmare fast enough. I pushed my way back out into the void between dreams once again, hoping to quickly catch the monster before it invaded anyone else's dreams.
I could see it, a great squid like creature, propelling itself through the sticky air with numerous slithering tentacles. I came up behind, and tried to use my sword to hack bits and pieces of the monster off. My sword simply slid through it without doing any harm. Still, I persisted, even as the monster stopped and turned to address me with big bulbous eyes.
"You are slow, aren't you, dear?" the beast said, chortling with amusement. To be fair, hacking things to bits is how ninety percent of my problems are solved.
The beast simply reared back as I took another swing at it, and lunged forward with its glistening tentacles. They skewered me right through the chest, but there was no pain.
"None of this is real, girl. It's just echoes and fragments. We can chase each other all night, and neither of us will get a scratch," the creature said with an amused chuckle before withdrawing its tentacles from me. I was unharmed. "Cleaver job on finding me outside of your dreams, though."
The squid-thing listed to the side as it began laughing at me again. I hated it. A goading, chatty villain is bad enough, but one I couldn't kill? That was when I recalled the note from earlier. I never tried reading it after I became lucid. I pulled it out and glanced at it again. I had written 'Remember' in big bold letters on it.
Remember what? I was already lucid, wasn't that the point of the note? No. There was something else. That's right. I had tried this before. Not the dream thing, but the sleepless visions. I had gotten lost in them. The world of the drug induced haze was achingly close to dreams, but it wasn't the same. It was too vibrant, and not the hazy shadow realm of dreams. It was difficult to leave it to get here, and I was worried that I wouldn't find my way back.
I lunged forward into the beast, and gathered it up around me as best I could. It continued to laugh, taking my motions for yet another futile attack. I wasn't attacking it though. I was bringing it back. Direction and distance are meaningless in dreams and illusion, but still, there were ways to move, just as I had swam through the void between one dream and the next.
I moved us both out of the void of dreams and into the harsh bright colors of the waking illusions. The creature recoiled in horror, its tentacles thrashing about and leaving vivid trails of pink and purple in the air.
"What is this!" The creature swirled against an infinite inward curving horizon.
I laughed, and did my best impression of a curtsy as I could in armor, as twisted neon flowers flew out from my leg joints. "Welcome to my world for the past few nights. You'll find it rather mind expanding," I said, the words spilling out of my mouth as fully formed letters and ideas.
The creature tried to grab me, but it was too late. I was already coming down off my high. The town has slept soundly ever since.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 07:48|
your knight has sworn to respect and protect the flag of their country.
The Feudal Struggles of Boyhood
The sun finally rose, and the air shifted from grey to gold. Lawns began to fill with life: Mister Fisher with his mower, the Hollins twins in their abandoned doghouse, Jim Cortney lighting a spliff in his beach chair. A dozen garage doors lifted, a dozen bicycles bore their riders to clandestine locations.
Over the asphalt at the top of the eastern hill, the ghost of a guitar wailed through a curtain of heat haze. Growing in volume, drums began to beat beneath it, driving the sound to the top of the mountain. At the combined chorus of Jefferson Airplane, a dark figure mounted the hill’s apex astride his Huffy Radiobike.
Mister Fisher killed the mower to accentuate his shaking head. The twins retreated to their doghouse. Jim puffed his spliff and nodded along to the tune.
Sir Randy, Flagbearer of Radkeep, descended upon them with all the bestowed omnipotence of the Summer King.
He rode on in the direction of Oakforest Treecastle.
“His eminence Sir Randy,” the squire lisped. Randy noogied the kid’s curly mop as he passed the threshold. The squire was his best friend’s little brother Max.
“The King is in his chambers—aw, dog nuts, I mean…” but the title had been spoken, and not even Max’s speedy backpedaling could undo that.
“I’ll see myself in,” Sir Randy intoned.
He climbed the fencepost ladder to the second level, much smaller than the first. Here there were stacks of comics, a book or two, and a transistor radio.
Randy knocked on a branch. The sound was flat and depressing.
“Enter,” came the reply, and Randy moved toward the easy chair from whence the call emanated. He gave a little sardonic half-bow. “Lord Marquise of Oakforest.”
Lord Mark smirked in spite of himself. The expression disappeared more forcefully than it came.
“I guess you’re here to swap out the flag?”
“I guess I am,” Randy replied. “You know we always start with the last stronghold.”
“And end with the new one, I remember. It was only two years ago I received you to swap in my flag.”
“You knew I was coming back.”
“Remember how we got this chair up here?” Mark dropped his Peter O’Toole impression. “It took all three of us, you, me, and Maxey. We built this together. We forged this throne with our own hands. I deserved this!”
Lawrence of Arabia was back. Randy shook his head.
“Allen is Summer King now.”
Mark stared at the hollowed knot where he kept his harmonica and marbles and other sundries.
“I’m here to change the flag.”
“Then do it,” Mark said sullenly, “but there will be no ceremony.”
Sir Randy edged around to the front of the chair. His brown eyes implored Lord Mark’s tan ones.
He bowed. Then he left.
The flagpole was the same one they had robbed from a metal dump on Irving Avenue. Randy remembered how hard it had been carrying it between the bikes. They dropped it a couple of times, but it made it to the Treecastle in one piece. Now he was taking Mark’s flag down and replacing it with King Allen’s.
Admittedly, the flaming lion’s head looked way cooler than Mark’s crude skull and crossed bones. Allen’s sister really knew how to sew.
After the fifth time hearing himself announced, Sir Randy, Flagbearer of Radkeep was getting really sick of his title.
The satchel on his bike was very nearly full, and the Anointed Backpack hung deflated on his back. This was the last swap.
The double doors of Barnhold creaked open, and “Sir Randy, Flagbearer of Radkeep” was welcomed with a flourish of kazoo. Two levels of subjects applauded him. A fresh mug of icy lemonade was handed to him.
“Well? Let’s get to it!” roared the black-haired Anthony, Duke of Barnhold.
The flagpole rose majestically as a centerpiece, with the two floors constructed around it. Duke and subjects applauded the ascent of Radkeep’s seal.
After a short and uneventful chat with Duke Anthony, Sir Randy drained his lemonade and exited to the front lawn, where he had left his bike.
The grass, however, was unhindered by the Huffy Radiobike and its satchel of defunct flags.
The grass tilted, from Sir Randy’s perspective, very sharply to the right.
Someone had stolen his steed.
Randy snapped his head to the left, breaking his state of shock.
“Get me a bike,” he screamed over the fence towards Barnhold, “some turdbreath stole my Radiobike!”
Sir Randy rocketed towards Radkeep on his borrowed steed. So swift was he that the three accompanying guards provided by Duke Anthony panted to keep up. Radkeep was behind the house at the tip of a cul-de-sac on the north edge of the Summer King’s territory. Randy cursed the distance of the stronghold as he buzzed around each corner of the lazy suburban streets.
Ten minutes later, he was screeching to a halt.
The mouth of the cul-de-sac was blocked off by a line of velocipedists, all masked except for the one in the center. There, astride the Huffy Radiobike so treasured by Sir Randy, was Lord Marquise of Oakforest.
From the radio, Pete Townshend was singing about how he could see for miles.
“Might as well go home, Randy. Radkeep is ours now.”
The browned skull and crossed bones still flew from the peak of Radkeep. There was no movement inside.
“Where is King Allen?”
“Al’s explaining to his mother why he would throw a rock at one of my subjects,” Mark smirked, “the same as all of his knights. You’re lucky you were on the move, Randy.”
The silence in the no-man’s land between them almost crackled with electricity.
“You really think you can take on all of the other lords? They elected King Allen for a reason.”
“They elected Allen because his mom’s got a boat and he promised them all they could drive it,” Mark spat. “His clubhouse is a dump. Tch, Radkeep. More like Radcrap.”
His army tittered behind their masks. Randy hadn’t found it actually all that funny.
“Gimme my bike, Mark. You know my brother gave it to me. Your ugly butt doesn’t deserve to sit on it. “
“Oh yeah? How about you duel me for it?”
Randy tossed his leg over the back wheel and let the borrowed bike fall to the ground. He drew his wooden sword like a chef unsheathing a knife.
The former Summer King kicked the stand into place and held out his hand. One of his knights handed him a baseball bat.
Instinctively, the boys circled up around the combatants.
Mark started with a swing towards Randy’s shoulder. He blocked it, but the bat was heavier than his sword and the blade shook a little. As Mark pulled back for another swing, the Flagbearer got in two jabs to his ribs.
The circle was a whirlwind of chanting and fists.
The bat caught Randy in the belly and his breath escaped him for a moment. He swung wildly in Mark’s direction, clipping him right above the eyebrow. A scratch trickled a tiny bit of blood.
Mark bared his teeth like a panther and leapt at Randy, swinging the bat behind his head and coming down with full force.
Randy’s blade connected with Mark’s right shoulder midswing, just above the armpit, and Randy heard a strange popping noise. The circle silenced instantly.
Mark dropped his bat and began to moan, then wail as he tried to move his arm. He began to stumble off in the direction of his house. Randy started after him, then thought the better of it.
Without a word, he picked up his Radiobike and slowly cruised down toward Radkeep to swap the final flag.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 08:00|
your knight has sworn to bring all criminals to court and trial no matter the triviality of the law
Sir Runcel the Rat
Papa took the old cloth sack out from under the counter and handed it to me. "You remember the new hiding spot?" He asks. I nod and run out the back door. First stop is miss Mable. I scrunch up my face and poke it in her window, showing my big front teeth and chattering like a rat. Miss Mable thinks it's funny. She gives me her secret things. Everybody has secret things. I run from house to house gathering them all up into my bag. I race past some of the other kids playing, doing my rat face and chattering to let them know. Sir Runcel is coming.
The sack is heavy by the time I reach the end of our street. There's an old barn house there nobody uses. The prefect hiding spot. I climb up the creaking ladder into the loft. There's nothing up there but dust. I take the bag over to where the light shines in and root around till I find Mr Dunham's old sword. Drawing it from the scabbard sets my mind on fire with visions of glory and adventure. I dance around the musty loft, vanquishing all challengers.
Me and my real sword are saving the world when I hear the clank of armor. Not the furious clashing of arms I imagine, but the ordinary scrape of what could only be Sir Runcel's feet. I stop and listen.
"Is someone in there?" A familiar voice calls out. I stand perfectly still as Sir Runcel clanks around the barn. All my heroics kicked up a lot of dust. There was nothing I could do to stop the sneeze that shattered the silence. "Who's up there?" I hear him clank over and start climbing the ladder. A few rungs snap beneath the weight of his armor but that's not gonna stop Sir Runcel. "What're you doing up here?" He sees the sword at my feet and his face grows stern. "Where did you get that?" Smallfolk aren't allowed to have swords, they're not allowed to have any of the secret things. "Eric? Is that you? Give me that sword before you hurt yourself." He takes a step towards me and his foot just keeps going right on through the rotten floorboards. The rest of him follows and there's a tremendous racket. I creep over to the edge of the new hole in the floor and look down at the fallen knight. He isn't moving. I run home and don't tell a soul.
Adults are slow to notice things they don't want to see. At first it was petty theft. Or food getting brought to market that should have been pig slop. People didn't stay out as late. They told less jokes. Then folks started getting hurt. Instead of warmth, strangers were greeting with suspicion. Folks blamed all sorts of things for the troubles, but I knew what was missing.
I told Dad I was heading out to play and set upon my quest. I was going to find Sir Runcel, apologize, and ask him to come fix everything. I started at the castle gates. I asked all the guards I could find if they'd seen Sir Runcel. I went to the inn and the courthouse. I even walked down to the river to ask around the docks but nobody had seen him for weeks. The sun was getting low, but I had one last idea.
The church was the nicest and tallest building in town. Dad says that's where God lives, and I needed some help. A tired looking organist played tired sounding music as I walked in. An old man sat in a pew with his head down but no one was at the altar so I walked up and said all the prayers I knew before asking God to send back Sir Runcel. God didn't say anything, but Dad says that's just how it works. I got up to leave and as I passed the old man he looked up and beckoned me over.
Father had warned me recently not to talk to strangers, but he had also told me to obey my elders. I decided since we were in a church it was okay, and took the seat beside him. He spoke in a tiny voice.
"You don't see many children in church when there's no mass."
"I needed help with something impossible."
"Then you've come to the right place. What troubles you?"
"Do you remember Sir Runcel? Runcel the rat they called him, cause he had a rat on his tabard."
"It was a beaver."
"His tabard. The white beaver of house Dursby. The Dursbys built most of this town. Not Sir Runcel mind you, his father and his father's father. They laid the cobbles you walked here on and set the foundation of this very church. They worked so hard at it the king made Dursby a name of honor and a great house. His strong sons got to be knights." Finally, someone who might know what I was looking for.
"You know him? Where's he gone?" The old man shook his head.
"Why do you care? Worried he might still be creeping in the dark? Worried the rat might find you out?"
"No!" I protested a bit too loudly. The organist shot me a sharp glance. "I want him to come back and kind of, just fix everything." The tension slowly left the old man's face and he gave me a weak smile.
"I'm sorry boy, that's just not possible."
"Well yeah. That's why I came to ask God."
He nodded and muttered agreement.
It was dark out when I left. I was so distracted thinking how I might get Sir Runcel back I forgot Father's warning about not taking shortcuts anymore. I head down an alley, cut past the inn and someone grabs me from behind. A stinky hand slaps against my face. I bite down hard on a salty finger and swing my tiny fists about. I find a nose and try to pull it off. I fight like an animal, all claws and savage kicks, but he's too strong. I'm tiring myself out, beginning to accept defeat when I hear a loud crack and I'm free. I drop to the ground and scramble away on all fours.
"Surrender and I will show mercy." I'm on my feet now, but something about that voice stops me from running. The command of it, the noble tone. I turn to see the thug who attacked me rubbing his sore head and between us stands the old man from church.
"You're kidding me old timer."
"I am not." The old man says in Sir Runcel's voice. He wields his cane like a sword. It flits out and jabs the giant thug in his face. A boulder of a fist comes back at the old man but his footing is sure and he leans out of the way. His cane smacks the bridge of the thug's nose and sets him reeling. The next blow topples the giant to the ground.
The old man rushes over and asks if I'm okay. I nod. He lifts me up with ease and starts to carry me home. He knows the way. When we get there, I see father and miss Mable sitting at the table looking worried sick. They rush over to hug and kiss me and tell me I should never ever stay out so late. I try to explain. After things calm down miss Mable gets us some pies from her shop and dad gets out his bottle. They talk and ask Sir Runcel about his family. He seems to like that. I think I even heard him laugh once or twice before drifting off to sleep.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 08:08|
your knight is sworn to protect all royal house pets.
I could’ve left my employer’s household when the family of usurpers moved in. Instead, I stood in line with the rest of the staff as Oscar Fjornez inspected us. He paced the high-ceilinged entryway with his hands behind his back, his body conveying the terrible ease of a predator as he assessed our fitness for duty. I huddled with the landscapers, my eyes downcast, my nails biting into my palms, willing Oscar to somehow overlook me, to not ask about the menagerie.
Then--there were his patent leather shoes, glossed to such a shine that I could see my own downturned face reflected in them. They paused in front of me. I looked up.
“Name and position?" Oscar had a voice that could give lip service and end careers with the same dull timbre.
“Janae,” I sad. “I look after the--the household pets.” Forgive me, Amos.
There was a shrill squeal; the eldest of Oscar’s daughters swept into the entryway, her chiffon dress glittering with enchanted lights. I bit my lip. The power in that dress could’ve kept a poor family’s hearth lit for a year.
“Daddy, you didn’t say there were pets,” she said, draping one arm over her father’s shoulders.
“I wasn’t aware there were pets,” Oscar said. “Amos Droskeil was a frivolous man, Halga. It wouldn’t be prudent to emulate him.”
“You know they won’t entertain me for long,” Halga said into his ear. “I play with enough dumb animals at balls and galas.”
“Hubris, sweetheart,” Oscar said, patting Halga’s arm. He looked sharply into my eyes. “You will take my daughter to see the animals, and you will make sure she does not receive so much as a scratch.”
“Yes, Patron,” I said, gritting my teeth.
“These are disgusting,” Halga said. Her attention had alighted momentarily on glass enclosure filled with squat mounds of clay and long, iridescent drake worms. She crouched down and tapped the glass. Her enchanted gown bunched around her like flower petals, filling the dim barn with its shifting rainbow light.
“Maybe you’d like the, ah, warm-blooded specimens better,” I said.
“Are they fuzzy?” Halga asked, clasping her hands in front of her and biting her lower lip. Even in the menagerie, where it didn’t matter, she carried herself like some ancient courtesan. A young woman’s romanticized idea of a courtesan, I corrected myself.
“They have fur, yes, and other things besides.” I led her to the back of the barn, where Amos kept his largest enclosures. These contained mostly abandoned young: A unicorn foal, a clutch of fledgling lightning birds, and a litter of yule cat cubs. The smallest of the yule cubs--Casper--yawned and padded over to the bars of his cage as I approached. His grey fur was spattered with white spots, like snowflakes in a gathering blizzard.
Halga’s squeal of delight sent the gangly cat scrambling back to the corner of its cage, where his siblings huddled in a wary, wide-eyed mass of fur.
While Oscar was content to indulge his daughter’s fascination with the menagerie, he made it plain that he had no intention of providing for the specimens.
I found myself stealing from my own household. Meat from dinner for the cubs. Straw from the stables for the unicorn. For the birds and reptiles, I caught bugs in the gardens before dawn.
Halga doted on the yule cubs in a way that was almost endearing. After a week of visits, little Casper would even permit her to hold him. I dared to hope she’d softened in her regard for me.
“Think what you will of my former employer,” I ventured during one of our evening visits, “He valued life in all its forms.”
“Not his own life,” Halga said. Something dark flashed across her face. She tossed Casper back into his cage and closed the door harder than was necessary. “Did you ever read the things he wrote about my father? Your old boss was a...a...dissident who valued his pets more than his fellow statesmen.”
Oscar himself may as well have been speaking through the girl’s mouth. I gave a rigid half-bow--another thing Amos would’ve balked at--and said, “Yes, Patrona.”
I found myself sitting across from Oscar. Where Amos’s office had once been a den of welcoming clutter, my new patron seemed to prefer cold austerity.
“I’m told,” Oscar said, “That you’ve been stealing from the kitchen to feed the animals.”
I didn't flinch. “As I told you, Patron, it is my duty to look after them.”
“Your duties are no longer required,” Oscar said. His quill scratched across a ledger, no doubt crossing my wages out of the household budget. “Nor is your affection for your former employer welcome here.”
After I was escorted off the estate with my things, I circled back around to the barn. I would set the specimens free before I’d allow a creature like Oscar put them down or sell them to frivolous-minded collectors. It was a trifle to creep into the menagerie undetected; I’d helped Amos build the place.
The unicorn foal pawed and snorted in her enclosure. The yule cubs made restless feline grumbles as they paced in the shadows. Casper bounded to the front of the cage with an irate yowl, his tail swishing.
“Easy, little lion. I won’t let them have you,” I said, fumbling with the lock on their cage.
“I don’t think that’s up to you.”
My heart stuttered in my chest. I turned to face the little patrona, wondering if I’d have the wherewithal to knock her senseless. She was dressed in all black, not a gown but sleek, sensible riding gear.
“You see,” she said, “An unnamed buyer has already claimed the menagerie. All of it.”
“These are living things,” I said, staring into the chilly brown puddles of her eyes. “Living, ancient magic. Innocent magic.”
“You show off sentimentality like it should come easy to everyone,” Halga said. Then she threw her hands up in the air. “I’m the buyer, you big-hearted idiot.”
“You? But your father…”
“...thinks I’m another little political flechette in his arsenal,” she said, and made a face like she wanted to spit. “Which is why it's very, very important that I rebel at all opportunities. And establish my own assets.”
“And these animals,” I said, “Aren’t they just flechettes in your little pouch?”
“No matter how you choose to see it, they’re mine now,” she said. She cast a quick glance over her shoulder, and in an instant I gleaned what it might cost her, to be discovered here, talking to me. “But I understand I’ll need someone to look after them.”
“Someone who you know won’t tattle to your father,” I said. Behind me, Casper reared up on his hind legs and braced his oversized forepaws against the cage bars.
“Someday, you’ll be glad you were loyal to me,” Halga said. She looked, unblinking, into my face, and for a moment I glimpsed the regal, molten core of her. “But for now I need you to just...be caring and dutiful, like you’ve always been.”
“Yes, Patrona,” I said, my voice thick and hoarse with emotion. The unicorn whinnied in her cage, and for the first time, the yule cubs opened their mouths and roared.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 08:16|
this should be obvious but signups are closed.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 15:10|
FreudianSlippers Killer-of-Lawyers and Carl Killer Miller here is a line by line for each of your guy's last entries.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 15:13|
hello do you need some help procrastinating?
Thanks for this guys and gals. These are always awesome.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 15:18|
Must have missed this in the shuffle. Thanks, flerp.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 20:11|
Interprompt: the worst soup
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 20:16|
Interprompt: the worst soup
Arbeit macht frei Suppe
It's dinner time at Dachau.
No compliments to the chef.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 20:30|
Interprompt: the worst soup
Worst soup? How about a bowl of drivel filled from the mouth of a slobbering idiot spouting outdated satirical poo poo.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 21:06|
nothin fancy just some judgment.
carl killer miller
killer of lawyers
gp is the only one who managed to wear boots in this sewer of a week. have fun buddy.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 23:34|
There’s conflict, though your characters are currently their occupations about halfway in. Not terribly bored, but not terribly interested. I’m confused about who is wearing the suit. Are both of them? It’s kind of vague (around the gieger counter sentence). Once the dialogue begins, this is starting to fall apart. Why not send the doctor back to the car? Do radiation suits not cover noses? This isn’t bad so far, but so many little things are slipping through the cracks. Okay, you built tension pretty well and the ending kind of deflated. Buzzkills like this need a final moment of coolness. Also, the dr added nothing to the story and that was kind of important to the prompt.
The Finest Wine
Boo to poetry, I’m guessing you were trying to make a fairy tale here, but man it’s obnoxious to read without pretty pictures. Will DM on principle. Even though regicide is a stupid easy plot, I am enjoying the way it works with a guy who refuses to let anything edible go to waste. Good use of a bland trope. The climax was pretty weak, I thought something clever was going to happen, but the way you handled the ending was cute.
Having a Mare
Backstory backstory backstory. I actually like your protagonist though, I hate the king. Also, you opened up saying their relationship is good but it doesn’t feel that way. Passive voice all around (not in a stylistically good way, just bland). Anyway, there was zero conflict? Just a backstory about why a dude didn’t wear shoes, which was infodumped in a paragraph, along with a poorly described relationship with the king. I mean, I actually found your characters to be characters, but that didn’t carry the otherwise absence of a story.
One More Knight
This is good opening, I get the tone of the story and the mindset of the protagonist. Not incredible, but quickly established goal. This Is fun. And it kind of dropped downhill pretty fast. I mean, this is silly AF, but the characters are… not. I zoomed through towards the end and honestly? The tone was great, you kinda ran with cliché dialogue I think to ham it up, but it just didn’t seem like you were going to throw down the gauntlet and go full dumb. Decent opening, weak middle, funny ending.
Infodump seems a little unnecessary, you def could have handled that in like 3 sentences? Maybe it’ll pay off. Also, lots of telling and not showing independent of that so far. So far I’m not really getting any sense of conflict, and I didn’t really get a feel for George. You definitely could have cut the infodump and lost little with a bit of rephrasing. Honestly? I had trouble following what was going on here. So the peasant corrected George, full of ego or aggravation, and he hit him out of that? But he didn’t seem like he was holding anything back, or had a reason to talk to the peasant again? I’m just confused. Also boy that ending was soggy bread.
'Word at the Gate'
Woo, that’s… a real bad opening. Your dude is punctual, I don’t care? Obviously with something like this you have to play up the boringness or strictness of a character to entertain in some capacity. Okay, he’s inspecting dudes. What are the stakes for doing bad here? Your dude is cardboard, you gotta make something else work. I’m honestly not following the consequences or results of any action happening here and I’m pretty deep in. Actions should lead to something. Not only that, honestly, other than serving a king this poo poo wasn’t too knightly. All around stinker. No resolution, conflict, character, humor, nothing.
Mauka no Makai
The characters here feel a bit more alive than usual. Things are happening, no real story so far, but things are happening and it’s weird enough to like. Ok, they’re going to a place for a reason, what’s that reason? I think I care a little. This is kinda goofy and totally hammy, but at least it’s entertaining sofar. Okay, the metaphor joke paid off real well. The ending kind of sucked though, and they had motivation. This is fun, and almost solid.
Backstory (at least it’s ok backstory tho, I get a feel for your characters) beginning. Once you get into the meat of this story, it’s good. These feel like people, I’m not keen on the live action roleplaying thing as how you talk about knights, and I felt like this was going in a soldier-y direction. The ending was kind of… sad, but it didn’t feel like it tied things up right, mostly because I don’t really know where your character is and what changed because of the fight with Nate, and it’s kind of superfluous. That said, everything else was loving solid. Also, you had the most natural inclusion of your prompt into the actual text so far.
Ugh. Seriously? At least subvert the cliche, don’t make it your title. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a title before, so that’s new. Anyway, sweet fanfiction. There’s like, poo poo happening, the mechanics of your writing feel solid. But… eugh. Also, bad dialogue. Oh and it’s Romeo and Juliet too. Cool. Thanks. lovely plot/clichés/names, everything else was OK. This isn’t the most offensive thing I’ve read, but at least there’s distinct strengths/weaknesses with the piece. Don’t write fanfiction, double-tragedies suck as endings (usually). Also, the opening started off with a relatively funny idea and then got super romancy then super tragedy. Stay on course man, there were definitely more natural endings to work with, and if you had renamed everyone, you might have even HMed? Oh well.
Sooner or Later He Brings Up the Templars)
Ziptying someone to the rear-view mirror and then waiting in the car blocks really strangely in my head. Also, you should have named Coyote faster I feel, would have made the first paragraph a lot less muddy (had to reread it once for certainty). Your characters are kinda doofy, not whole, but way more solid than average this week, I get the feel of actual people from them, for being total criminal weirdos. The conspiracy was fine… except Donald Trump. Ok, except for chicken-nugget ninjastar, I think you baaaaarely threaded the needle on stupid idiot poo poo and ancient magic talky-sword. This was entertaining and I actually like how the conspiracy theory stuff worked into magic-sword-junk.
A Lying Prayer
“Colors fill in the scars on his face.” Love this sentence, setting is good and we have a character. Solid start.
In a highly conversational piece, this was a decent way of handling attention. I wanted to know why Karen was lying and why she stayed. It was cute and touching and it felt nice. I actually read this to the end without too much interruption, and I think the sword encounter towards the middle was hard to follow, and not too much happened, but overall for what it is, it was good. It made me feel things and had some nice sentences and the characters felt real. I did wish there was a bit more context
This was weird because… poo poo happened? I really don’t care for how things were phrased, but it had things happen. I don’t understand why this is a story within a story, it doesn’t serve a purpose, at all, and invites tons of telling with zero showing. Overall, I think this isn’t the worst thing I’ve read this week because things actually happened and I understood them, but the choices you made served nothing, and also the ending was just… bad. Like, it resolved things, but I didn’t understand why or how. “We won, happily ever after” pays no service to the words before it.
give a little
“Sarg had lunged forward and grabbed Fello by the shirt collar. He didn’t say anything; the point of his sword did all the talking for him. Fello got the point.” Somehow you made an obvious and old joke funny, so please enjoy me liking it. I did not like the dialogue preceding it though.
This is some pretty dumb post apoc but I am a sucker for lovely and fun post apoc so good job. Hooray, with have a story like halfway through. I don’t like your protagonist too much but oh well. He’s got a clear mission. This is at least clean. I got towards the end, the goony tone was ehh (pigfucker, twigganberries etc). Cartoonishly dumb post apoc though, and the plot/characters worked so this isn’t awful, and you did a real good job handling setting.
Hey you hit me hard and fast with conflict and motivation? Woah. What craziness is this? This is crazy and dumb and stupid and poo poo’s happening so good job. Anyway, this was goofy and silly but the way the ending worked was really confusing. I’m guessing she trapped the dreameater in her waking trip and then came off the high which killed it? IDK. I was enjoying this until it sort of ended. I don’t think this idea works too well in a short story. Also, a character died? and you broke the word limit? I guess ambiguity gets a pass (since it happened in space bike yazukas too)
The Feudal Struggles of Boyhood
IDK who I am rooting for here so far and I’m pretty deep in. I’m not sure who is talking. With three characters in a scene, be more blatant on who says something. You gotta treat it like a script. Dude, again with the who says what and does what. Just use “said” and then write a separate paragraph for the action with names, especially with new characters. This is frustrating imo. Holy poo poo now I don’t even know what’s going on. How do you open that well and work into this. Who bowed? Randy? Aaaa.
Things got clearer in the middle again, and there’s conflict now, so that’s good.
“ “Sir Randy.”
The silence in the no-man’s land between them almost crackled with electricity.
“You really think you can take on all of the other lords? They elected King Allen for a reason.” “
And this one should be one paragraph so not to break up who is speaking since you dropped names again. Aaaaa.
The ending was surprisingly okay, and you definitely needed to like, sell the consequence of the shoulder pop. Like, show me it hurt, or whatever. It just kinda ended there.
This is like my most hated story because it almost does things and fucks them all up. That said, there was actual plot, even if the characters were paper thin, and your opening was actually solid.
Sir Runcel the Rat
Maybe I’m an idiot but I’m really not seeing your prompt appear anywhere in this story or have any relevance at all. Your grammar is… bad. Lots of tense shifting, sentences aren’t broken up, dialogue isn’t formatted in a really interesting manner. There was a thin plot and conflict, but I really am not seeing how the beginning connects to the end here. Are these two different people? If not, why did he mistake them? If so, why do they seem nothing alike? I’m kinda lost tbh…
Hey cool fast conflict and antagonists with personality. Hooray? Good things. I read this from start to finish, and I think this story wasn’t too.. strong? Like, nothing really powerful happened and I kinda breezed through it, but I liked it, and I think there was a bit too much telling given how not super interesting the dialogue was. I did literally go “aww” at the end though.
|# ? Mar 21, 2016 23:38|
I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but a huge issue this week was the creation of these fascinating worlds or settings and then not doing much of interest in them. There were very, very few interesting characters this week; instead I read a lot of shells with all of the nuances of their personalities apparently displaced by long descriptions of settings and environments.
Literally the first word of this story is a typo. That’s not a good sign. Decrepit isn’t really a word I’d use to describe a person. There’s a couple of other typos in this story and I think a proofreading would have really helped here, but my primary issue with this story is that you seem more interested in the setting than the characters, plot, or greater context. The ending’s pretty abrupt, you build up this sense of menace, but it’s just a kid. Why is the kid there? What was the point of the relationship between the KGB agent and the bodyguard? I think there’s definitely interesting things you could have done with the setting, but you’ve described it in such minute detail at the expense of the things in the story I would have cared more about.
The Finest Wine
This was better than I’d thought it would be. You’ve got a clear arc, although I think the early fable about wasting food goes on a little too long, and for the most part I think you’re successful with the style you’re going for. I do take an issue with the lack of meter in a lot of this poem – especially early on, it reminded me of the translations I’d do in my high school Latin class, where the weighty phrasings were a consequence of whatever was in the dictionary. I do think you’ve resolved this in the third quarter of the story, and for the most part it works.
Having a Mare
Here’s a story that’s taken hostage by the flash rule. What you’re clearly more interested in than this shoeless knight is the relationship between the knight and King Alfred, but the story veers away from that. It’s possible I’m missing the subtext here – something about how King Alfred is growing up or whatever – but the sojourn into shoelessness feels like a narrative dead end. Your knight comes off as pretty stupid, and maybe that’s what you’re going for, but there’s no real closure to the relationship between the two characters and that makes me a little upset.
One More Night
This was amusing, although a lot of this is the same joke repeated over and over again. For the most part, though, there’s a good level of narrative propulsion here. The fight scene is surprisingly well-blocked for a TD story, and your ending actually works as an ending. The erotic-dance off definitely tipped into “too silly” territory for me, but I liked that I actually thought you were going to kill one of your characters for a while before that. The voice definitely helps keep this fun and interesting even when not that much is going on.
A Thunderdome story isn’t the place for meandering ruminations on Medieval Catholic philosophy. I’m sorry to say that this was boring from start to finish. You’ve put theme over compelling characters or interesting events, and it makes this story a real slog, because I don’t really care if the knight upholds his code. The story is didactic and dry. You need to give the reader a reason to care about either the prisoner or Sir George, otherwise it’s just a morality tale.
’Word at the Gate’
“Mr. Cullen’s profile read that he had not only did he carry no communicable diseases” – please proofread your stories. I liked the twists and turns you included here, and I actually felt something when Jacobzi turns down the woman after the new orders are in place. I think it was a good decision that you took the word penalty to make that work. I’m not totally in love with this story: I think that the scene-setting early on is a little excessive and makes the beginning drag, but once the letter arrives telling Jacobzi to let everyone through, I got really invested in where the story would go.
Mauka no Makai
I'm not getting a lot of knightliness from this. But even not considering the prompt, I still wasn’t a fan of this story. The dialect feels borderline racist, especially since these characters aren’t very smart. And this is the second story this week that suffers from wallowing in spiritual philosophy at the expense of plot. I don’t know why these characters are making these decisions, why they’ve decided to return to the gangster lifestyle, though I guess it has something to do with the cure for cancer. There’s a lot of effort put into the setting and atmosphere here, but that doesn’t really redeem this story.
I really appreciate how all the elements in this story service the main character’s emotional arc. The theme, the melancholy voice, the imagery all play into this character who watches everyone else get disappointed in the things that they want. And you make this character a real person, with complex reactions, clear though processes. If there’s anything I don’t like about this, it’s the ending, which seems plucked out of a “poignant ways to end a literary fiction story.” The specificity of most of the story elevates it, and the generic beat you end things on punctures that a little bit. But I still think on the whole this is an impressive story, and I certainly felt things.
So I’m not going to focus on the “fanfic” issue (I’m not that interested in Arthurian legend and never could get through any telling of the story) – my bigger problem is that this story is pretty misogynistic. Lancelot comes to town and is like “I saw the grail” and then Guinevere, who you portray only as sexually manipulative, tries to seduce him, and then there’s a murder-suicide and it feels really gratuitous and easy. I don’t know why you’d choose to lose 200 words to end your story in the most obvious way possible.
Sooner or Later He Brings Up the Templars
The banter between Coyote and the protagonist is fun. So’s the part where the protagonist’s forced to take his vegan oath. The lightness of these parts buoys the story overall, I think, and it helps me overlook the over-the-top silliness of death-by-chicken-nugget. It’s a cool spin on the modern knight thing, and overall the zaniness feels OK, though a lot of the fighting feels like padding to a pretty loose premise. You’re a little over word count with two deaths, and I wonder if it’s really necessary to cut the rando’s head off.
A Lying Prayer
I like the core of this, the relationship between Karen and Joey that deepens through these painful prayers. But the story suffers from vagueness, and it feels like the story’s spinning in circles. The stalling around “why did you stay” doesn’t feel organic, it feels like the idea wasn’t big enough. This is also the second story I’ve read from you that is flooded with references to color in ways that feel like it’s supposed to have a significance that I don’t get. I still think the ending here is sweet, but overall this story feels pretty skeletal and I wish it had more substance.
Oh boy. This is boring and ends on a bad, cheap joke. There’s no good reason to tell this story through narration, which means you’re only able to do a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. The story’s dry, I don’t care about the character’s predicament, and even though I just read the story, I’m having trouble remembering many details of it. I’m not a fan of your self-deprecating title, either. The high, elevated diction just makes me sleepy, and the dumb joke at the end makes me feel like you just didn’t give a poo poo about this story so I’m upset you made me read this.
give a little
Yet another story that’s more enthralled with setting and worldbuilding than plot or characters. The main character is an enigma, reacting to everything with grizzled gruff wonder, and Fello is just not that interesting as a foil. The prose is interesting, I guess, and it’s not like the setting of a run-down Providence in a post apocalyptic world is bad, but you just never do anything interesting with it.
Not good. There’s some arc to it, I guess, but this is the worst way to do dreams, to just throw weird poo poo at the reader for most of this story. It makes the story muddled and confusing for the most part and this thin character spends most of the story ruminating in blank space. And the conflict’s resolved by philosophical insight on the nature of dreams, which makes your main character superpowered in a way that’s both dull and confusing.
The Feudal Struggles of Boyhood
So there’s a certain charm to this that makes the story hard to hate, but yet again this is another story that’s privileging setting over plot or characters. The grandiosity of these kids is a cool way to frame the story, but I think it hurts things that they never break character, that they’re always mad and warlike, which means there’s no real nuance here. It also means I don’t really care for the ending, where the violence that threatens to break out does, and these loosely sketched non-characters get what they want.
Sir Runcel the Rat
I really appreciated the voice here, which I thought added character to what amounted to a pretty unremarkable story. I think you really nailed the child’s voice, and there’s some real pathos to the story beats here, especially the exchange the kid has with Sir Runcel in the church (although it’s a pretty contrived coincidence that the person he speaks to is Sir Runcel.) But then the story ends in a pretty bland act of vigilante justice and you don’t milk any of the complicated notes you set up earlier, any of the sadness that you implied in his character. I didn’t hate this, and unlike the other bad stories this week I appreciate the attempt at an arc, but there’s just so much more you could have done.
There’s a sense of creepy menace in this story. It’s another one where the work with voice and tone helps overcome my other issues with the story – mainly confusion about the context. I know you were talking about how you’d had to do some serious surgery to this story in IRC, and I think it shows in how little we learn about the narrator’s old boss, the nature of the relationship between Halga and her father, or why they’re so attached to these animals. It’s fun to imagine the greater contours of this world, but I really was hoping for some more detail here. But I think the strength of the tone and the confidence you have working in this world elevates this story from the worse offerings this week.
sparksbloom fucked around with this message at 00:12 on Mar 22, 2016
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:07|
Ta for the crits.
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:40|
Welp, guess I get to be King of poo poo Mountain.
Thunderdome Week CXC: Three-Course Tale
This week, I am shamelessly stealing one of Twist's prompt suggestions from the archive, because I can't think of anything interesting and my fragile constitution can't deal with more people shouting Proooompt at me.
Anyways, here's the deal: Your story this week is going to be three separate pieces of flash fiction. They must all be related in some way (you can be very loose with this requirement; I want to see some cool stuff). Each must be from the perspective of a different character.
Each of your three pieces can be anywhere from 1 to 500 words words long. Obviously you should only use as many as you need. I want you guys to have fun with this - play around with voice, shift tenses and POVs, jump through space and time if you want to. Whatever lets you write the story you want to write.
Entries Close: Midnight EST, Friday, March 25
Submissions CLose: Midnight EST, Sunday, March 27
A Classy Ghost
Carl Miller Killer
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 01:13 on Mar 28, 2016
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:45|
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:48|
In with a
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:48|
in to really get my 9th dm
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:49|
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:50|
|# ? May 27, 2022 06:38|
|# ? Mar 22, 2016 00:53|