Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

May the Gods be kind. I am IN for my first Thunderdome.

Ma'indo - The god of wisdom and judgement is without mercy and serves as a psychopomp. He most often takes the form of a great raven, dropping souls into the void to atone for their sins for as long as he deems fit then later carrying them to the afterlife. He takes great pride in his work and provides harsh truths and lessons to the dead and living alike.


Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

hotsoupdinner posted:


Naven is the god of wind and air who thinks it would be more fun to be the god of an abstract concept like love instead of a god governing the physical world.

That's a loving cool concept. If I wasn't already 1000 words in I'd find a way to include your god.

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 00:56 on Feb 21, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

An Unkindness 1500 Words - In with SurreptitiousMuffin's The Monkey.

Flower petals clung to the stones of Meriva’s barrow, though the scent of the Dragonlillies had been stifled by the pouring rain. Roaan stood by his wife’s cairn for hours, with wet hair in his face, his tunic soaked. He broke his vacant stare at Meriva’s resting place to look at the other mounds, some overgrown with weeds, thistles and thornbushes, others, more freshly made. Only one as fresh as Meriva’s. Roaan looked to the smaller cairn beside his wife’s, not sure whether to curse it or weep for it. His throat was hoarse.

“drat the gods, gently caress you all, may the Monkey’s arms rot and slough off. Drag this wretched existence into the void.”

Exhausted, Roaan fell to his knees. He had no tears left.
“I’ve been robbed, I do not deserve this fate”
After lying in the wet grass, he picked himself up, went home, lit a fire in the hearth and made a nest of hay instead of sleeping in his bed.

That night Roaan dreamt he was underground, he tried to scream but choked on soil, he clawed at the dirt above. Climbing through the moist earth, his heart hammering still when he touched cold stone, he heaved as best he could, forcing himself through the stone barrow ceiling. Black feathers were everywhere, wings and claws beat and scratched at his face. Beaks pecked at his flesh rending it from his body.

“Mercy!” he screamed .

The flock of dark birds which Roaan recognised as ravens relented and flew into the sky taking the form of one gigantic raven, it flapped its wings slowly, as though flying, but did not move. The behemoth’s head looked down upon him.

“You know who I am?” it asked.

Roaan nodded before speaking. “Ma’indo” he said.

“And who are you, that questions the will of the Gods?”

“What kind of gods are you that would allow such a thing to happen? I want Meriva, I want her back in my bed, you have no right!”

Ma’indo’s beak opened wide spewing an unkindness of ravens at Roaan. His voice boomed.

“You want her back?” he said. “I will give you one chance you ignorant mortal.”

“Yes, anything” Roaan pleaded.

“There’s a man, Alon, he is protected by the god of the ocean, residing too deep in the abyssal plains of the Cold Sea where I cannot retrieve souls. He has lived too long under that protection. It is past due he entered the void.”

“How do I reach him? I cannot swim or breath in water.”

“A man cannot reach the abyssal plains. A man can reach the Monkey. Go to where the dead in your village lay, then beneath the great Harrownut tree, where the earth is thinner, it’s roots reach the space between this earth and the Monkey. You must have the Monkey drop the sixth corner of the earth, he shall spill the Cold Sea into the Void and I will be able to fly into the empty depths and retrieve Alon’s soul. Do that, you shall have your Meriva back in your bed as you ask.”

Without another word, Ma’indo flew into the burnt yellow sky of Roaan’s dream.


The Harrownut tree grew amongst the barrows on the edge of the village. Towering over everything in the village, the leaves were a sickly shade of blue-green. Roaan guessed it would take 50 men, arms outstretched to encircle the trunk. He wandered around the tree before realising that it probably didn’t matter where he dug, since the only way to go was down.

The shovel pierced the earth with ease in the wet soil. Roaan dug for hours before the townsfolks started to notice. Rumours start to spread.

“He’s gone mad” said one woman.

“He’s desecrating the barrows because his wife’s dead. His desires have become darker.” said a tavern worker.
On the second day the village guards were sent to investigate.

“Halt, what are you doing?”

Roaan did not halt, but he did answer the captain’s question.
The captain’s brow furrowed, his hand moved cautiously to the hilt of his mace.

“You would profane someones grave. Why? to defile their corpse?”

“There are no dead buried beneath the trunk of the tree captain” sighed Roaan as though put out by all the questions “It is a personal matter between me and the Gods.”

The captain’s scowl faded into a piteous look.

“So it’s true, you have gone mad. Let’s go men. He will eventually tire himself with grief.”

Weeks passed as the hole got deeper Roaan’s hands blistered. He would barely sleep or eat, he would take a bucket down the hole, in the morning it was filled with food, of a night it would be filled with poo poo. Finally, one early afternoon, Roaan dug into a massive tangle of tree roots, there was no more soil, just the gnarled stems winding and entwining each other. Settling on a heavy axe to swing through the roots and an old rusty mattock to pry at them Roaan kept digging. As he slashed through roots he found himself getting colder until he swung the axe and a bundle of roots gave way beneath his legs. Roaan fell.


Roaan squinted trying to get his eyes to focus. Hanging by his tangled foot, he’d lost his axe to the Void but managed to save his mattock, strapped to his back. Looking below, the great Monkey walked through the Void beneath him. Stepping on nothing, it’s footfalls were slow, sure and steady. Roaan looked up, the tree roots spread out across the horizon, woven together, holding the soil and water of the earth in place. A cosmological wicker bowl. Many more roots hung down. It would be easy to climb to the Monkey. Roaan untangled his foot descended the root ladder.

Roaan had scrambled all the way down to the Monkeys back and trudging through its fur, making his way towards the arm holding the sixth corner of the earth. Fighting his way through the forest of fur he noticed the first arm he passed was unusually tense, looking to the ceiling he saw that the Monkey’s hands were holding one corner of the earth by two fingertips, occasionally switching one finger for another, all of them burnt and blackened. Roaan decided that corner harboured the volcanoes of the north. The next arm was covered in goosebumps, shivering, he looked to the roots and saw this arm was frozen to it’s corner by a great sheet of ice.

Three arms later he had found what he wanted, a cold trickle of water running down the Monkey’s arm. Climbing down between the monkey’s wet fur, towards it’s armpit, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do yet, in his mind he thought he might be able to tickle the monkey but that could lead to disaster on the surface if he were to spill any other corner of earth.

Hanging by the hairs Roaan sureveyed the Monkey’s armpit not sure what to do next. He spotted what he needed a large boil, festering and swollen with pus.
“As good a way as any to make a monkey flinch.” he thought.

Roaan hurled the Mattock it spiralled through the air and lodged into the boil.
Despondent Roann screamed at the pustule.

“gently caress you! Burst!” tears ran down his face.


The Monkeys tail swung into its armpit, bursting the boil, blood and bile gushed out and the mattock fell to join Roaan’s axe in the Void.
After the tail’s impact Roaan was stunned to find himself swinging through the Void grasping to the Monkey’s tail.
The tail slowed Roaan, stared into the gargantuan eye on the Monkey’s stomach. It stared back at him, then glanced to the east, It’s arm had lowered, Water and icebergs spilled into the Void. Roaan had done it.

The Monkey’s eye grew red and shuddered, a horrendous rumble emanated from it’s stomach, it placed Roaan into his mouth with its tail, turned its head to the root ceiling and spat.

For a deity with one eye, the monkey had amazing depth perception, Roaan rocketed straight into his hole, he saw a dim light at the end, brightening. He lost momentum and at the apex of trajectory bumped a branch of the Harrownut tree with a soft thud. The crashed to the ground below. A single leaf, red as monkey’s blood fell.

Roaan picked himself up and ran home. He burst through the door covered in dirt and monkey spit. A tuft of chestnut hair poked out from the bed covers.
“Meriva!” he cried pulling back the sheets.
A rotting skull greeted him, maggots fell out of the eye socket, what was left of her skin, barely clung to her boned. A banging at the door announced the village guard.
“Open up you sick bastard, we know what you’ve done!” said the muffled yells of the Captain's voice.

In the distance a Raven's cawed sounded like laughter.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

newtestleper posted:

I would love one for this weeks story, thanks. I'll pass it on and do an in depth crit for one of the newbies. If none of them ask I'll just choose one at random.

Having just burst my Thunderdome cherry I'd appreciate this. Be ruthless.

Happy to pay it forward and give crits to the first 2 people that ask might take me some time though.

Crit 1: Unclaimed

Crit 2: Unclaimed

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 23:18 on Feb 23, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

contagonist posted:

Every time I think of my sub I hate it more. I'm trying for complex plots and keep milling trash.

I sacrificed a lot of backstory and action for the word count so I'm not as happy with mine as I was at 1800 words. I feel like I had to end it too abruptly.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Kaishai posted:

Most of us are sympathetic to these problems deep down in our black hearts, but one, this isn't the place to talk about them (that would be Fiction Advice), and two, do you really want to tell the judges your story blows instead of letting them decide that for themselves?

If it blows they are going to notice without me telling them. I'll be banished to the aboend bunker.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Pete Zah posted:

You have an assignment: to learn how to use goddamn commas. It isn’t obvious at first glance, but the above is rife with little bolded commas and periods. I’m not confident that I properly fixed everything, but it’s better. One thing I didn’t bother messing with is your quotation grammar, but again, that’s mostly the parts dealing with commas. Not only that, but there are egregious spelling errors in there. You submitted this story early and it’s really rude to not so much as give your own words a proper edit for readability. Fix this, or nobody will want to do nice things for you.

The story itself isn't terrible, just lukewarm. What makes it most unsatisfying is that there’s no reason for Ma’indo to be such a dick. Yeah, gods have fun loving around with mortals and all of that, but at no point am I lead to believe that this big crow has any reason to screw over a guy doing him a huge favor. You’re going for a “be careful what you wish for” sort of ending, but what I’m getting out of it is “if your wife dies, don’t be such a pansy about it.”

Half of your descriptions are almost good. I felt like I knew what you were going for but then your pacing or sentence structure undermined everything.

Thanks man, I wrote the story too long then rushed my editing and chopped a lot to get it up on time. Next one will be better I promise.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Let's make this poo poo interesting.
In with a :toxx: I will not lose or fail to submit this week.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Jake Wilkins is a Cool Guy - 1190 words

Jake braced himself against a wall with both hands and edged his way along it like Spiderman. That’s if Spiderman’s superpower was the stench of 3 types of liquor and instead of changing costumes behind a dumpster in an alleyway he just accidentally pissed on his own shoes. Jake decided this poorly conceived method of locomotion would help him avoid the indignity of staggering down the road like a man composed of rubber.

Half a pack of smokes laid crumpled on the sidewalk. As Jake made a bold effort to stoop and collect them the world fell and he smashed into the concrete. Gathering himself up he slid a bent cigarette into his mouth.

“That bitch.” he mumbled. The cigarette dropped lazily from between his lips back to the ground. “That bitch” was his wife Belinda and to understand why she’s a bitch one must travel back in time 12 hours.

Now Jake was a cool guy. If you ever met him you’d buy him a beer. He paid his taxes, worked hard, gave blood regularly and volunteered for charities. But Jake was about to become the victim of a cliche so enormous that the author of this tale had to stand up, move to the bathroom mirror, and take a long, hard look at himself.

Jake got home 3 hours early from work and walked upstairs to discover Belinda’s yoga classes had qualified her as an instructor since instead of fixing the washing machine the handyman was getting a lesson in downwards facing dog. Thankfully Jake, being such a cool guy, didn't flip out and commit a double homicide. He simply got angry, shouted for a while, stormed out of the house, and drove to his friend Nathan’s place. Nathan was an unemployed pothead and a great friend to have in such a situation since he possessed all the time in the world to go on a bender.

Sometime between his first beer and the close encounter with the pavement Jake found himself three towns away, lost Nathan, and discovered that people who left bathroom stalls unlocked didn't like it when you burst in and vomited on their laps.

“Who leaves the door unlocked when they poo poo anyway?” Jake yelled back at the man who was unable to clean himself and chase Jake at the same time.

“What the gently caress?” was all the stranger could bring himself to shout repeatedly between groans of disgust.

Jake realized he probably couldn't walk to Nathan’s in the state he was in and hailed a cab. He sat in the back with the window down and the cool wind on his face the whole way home.


Jake awoke the next day nursing an empty bottle of tequila and a hangover. His phone sat on the side table of Nathan’s spare room.
Scrolling through he saw two texts from Nathan

“where r u?”

“2 wasted. c u at home.”

The other message was an email from Fixit Kwik. The handyman’s company had billed Jake for washing machine repairs.
Jake replied to the email as a commitment to milking enjoyment out of a horrible situation.

To the billing department,
Please forward this to my wife as she owes the handyman extra since he serviced her too.
Jake Wilkins

That would have been enough for some but not Jake. Remember, he was a cool guy and didn't deserve to be used and discarded like the handyman’s glow-in-the-dark condom which in hindsight seems like a redundant feature when you’re loving at 2:45 on a sunny afternoon. Once Jake was sober enough he decided to take Nathan for a drive past the house though he wasn't sure what to do when they arrived. Nathan insisted they use his car since Belinda wouldn't recognize it. Jake agreed though he wasn't keen for the stench of spilled bong water.

The rusty old Ford parked in front of Jake’s house and that was the moment 15 drinks and a spicy burrito decided to wreak havoc on Jake’s lower intestine. He needed to poo poo now. Bolting out of the car and running up the front porch he could already hear Belinda and the handyman loving upstairs again.

“gently caress.” Jake whispered to himself. The front door was locked and he’d left his keys back at Nathan’s. A pair of expensive CAT work boots sat by the welcome mat. They weren't his or Belinda’s. Jake gathered them up and ran behind a privet bush. After pinching off a loaf in the left boot Jake evened out the right boot best he could. He placed the boots back he ran to the car.

“Dude what were you doing back there?” asked Nathan as he started the engine.

“I’ll tell you later. Lets stop somewhere on the way home for lunch.” replied Jake.

“I know a good sushi place” Nathan said as the car peeled out.


Jake and Nathan sat in their socks on the tatami floor of the restaurant.
“Nice pick Nathan.” Jake said “I didn't peg you for the type of guy to go for this traditional stuff.”

“I spent some time snowboarding in Nagano and enjoyed the food ever since. Not a fan of leaving my shoes outside but this place does the best meals.”

“Speaking of shoes, back at the house, I needed to poo poo but didn't have my keys so I left a couple of Lincoln logs in the handyman’s boots as retribution for porking my wife.”

“Dude, that is gross and awesome.” Nathan laughed.

“Yeah, it was the most cathartic poo poo I've ever taken. I feel like my revenge would have been more satisfying if I could have seen his face as he put those boots on.” said Jake.

Kneeling at the end of the table the waiter, who had seated them, looked a little surprised having no doubt heard Jake’s tale of putrid vengeance.

“Here are the beers and the warm sake you ordered. Your sushi platter will be out soon.” he said then quickly walked out of the room.

After enjoying their meals and laughing about the last 24 hours of misadventure Jake and Nathan paid their bill and left the restaurant. As Jake slipped on his shoes mid-stride he noticed something was wrong. With each step he took something squelched between his toes. He kept walking, hoping he was mistaken, but then the smell hit him. Looking back he saw the waiter standing in the doorway of the Japanese restaurant wearing a wry smile. As Jake trudged through the parking lot he turned to Nathan.

“I think you should know, the waiter poo poo in my shoes because I puked on his lap.”

“Um, Okay, that’s weird and kinda poetic. I think you should know you aren't getting in my car smelling like that.” replied Nathan

Nothing more needed to be said. Jake kicked off his shoes as he walked. He discarded his socks. Hopping on one leg at a time. Then he started the long walk back to Nathan’s house barefoot. Jake knew he deserved it, and he took it all in stride, because he was such a cool guy.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

What's the etiquette on crits for the same week? Wait until after judgement or do I just dive on in if I want to tear someone a new rear end in a top hat?

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 05:06 on Mar 2, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Wait until judgement is rendered, then dive in.

Thanks. I figured, since people had to read my terrible words last week, I should throw a few crits out there.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

ZeBourgeoisie posted:

Flaming Night

I did a quick Line Crit of your story because it messed with my head a little.

As far as the ending/prompt goes:

What about the escaped cultists? The giant, supernatural, flaming, oaken, god-monster that is now on the loose? What of the little woodland creatures Ze Bourgeoisie?
I came into this story looking for a bad-rear end with a hard-on for justice but he let most the bad guys get away. Then when poo poo got difficult he ran and hid in a pond. I felt like Spiro Grimace didn't do anything interesting except stomp around like a big, angry idiot.

There were a few incongruities that pulled me out of the story and it felt like you were clawing for descriptions where you don’t need them. Instead of immersing me you just gave me more questions that I wanted answered. What does a fox screaming sound like? What did Spiro look like?

Don't use 5 words where one will do. See:


glass bottle plugged with a rag

There's a cool story and cool ideas in there somewhere that I could enjoy I just needed the revenge or justice the prompt promised.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

:siren:Quick Crits Part I, Week #134 - Run Domer Run (aka Two-Dimensional Characters Week):siren:

Thanks Jitzu.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

I'm in. I googled them and picked Purple Toupee for myself because I don't know what the gently caress.

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 10:14 on Mar 3, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

crabrock posted:

i'm pregaming to judge these stories.

going to stay drunk til sunday

Can crabrock get drunk enough to slur his typing? Find out this Sunday!

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Song: Purple Toupee
I remember the year I went to camp I heard about some lady named Selma and some blacks
Somebody put their fingers in the President's ears It wasn't too much later they came out with Johnson's wax
I remember the book depository where they crowned the king of Cuba
Now that's all I can think of, but I'm sure there's something else Way down inside me I can feel it coming back

Purple toupee will show the way when summer brings you down (Purple toupee when summer brings you down)
Purple toupee and gold lamé will turn your brain around (Purple toupee and gold lamé)

Chinese people were fighting in the park
We tried to help them fight, no one appreciated that
Martin X was mad when they outlawed bell bottoms
Ten years later they were sharing the same cell
I shouted out, "Free the Expo '67"
Till they stepped on my hair, and they told me I was fat
Now I'm very big, I'm a big important man
And the only thing that's different is underneath my hat

Purple toupee will show the way when summer brings you down (Purple toupee when summer brings you down)
Purple toupee and gold lamé will turn your brain around (Purple toupee and gold lamé)
Purple toupee is here to stay after the hair has gone away The purple brigade is marching from the grave
La la la la la la la La la la la la la la la La la la
We're on some kind of mission
We have an obligation
We have to wear toupees


966 words

Read now the last words of Amheri, second son of Ahma, King of Sona.

I write this in a moment of clarity amid the dreams and babble that oft take hold of me in my age. I speak quickly so that I the world may know my final thoughts before the potion master’s tonic passes through me and I become once again a demented old fool.

Have I been a good King to my people? Only time will tell, in my 76 years of life I have had many names. As a sickly child I was known as Amheri the Infirm. Father shipped me to a manor in the country to learn how to be a man. 5 long years I spent living on the edge of a small slaver’s town near the outskirts of the realm.

It was during that time my father made peace with the neighboring kingdom of Effor and released all the Efforian slaves. Oh how they sang and rejoiced that night in the town. I could hear them, as I lay in my bed, their bizarre stringed instruments twanging away. I imagined them, with their pale skin and ornate tattoos, dancing in the light of the moon. What a feeling it must have been to be free at last.

It was a number of years later that they revolted against the crown. The Efforian settlements had been constantly attacked by bandits, and with no Sonarian guards to help them on the outskirts of the country, many had perished. This was a time when former slaves were not permitted to live within the city limits. Of course that all changed when two Efforian leaders; one from the north, and one from the south, united the former slaves.

I do not remember fully what became of the duo of Efforian leaders. I believed one was put to the sword by some rogue or assassin. The other, I’m afraid I was never taught much about in my lessons at the manor.

Of course, It was a different time then, now I hear the guards talking of half-children who play in the streets of Sona City. Who would have thought? They won their rights. Though my father held a very disgruntled opinion of the Efforians right up to the time of his death.

I would reflect further on my fathers death, alas there is not much to tell. He was traveling to visit me in the manor. My elder brother Aysero, as the heir to the throne, was not permitted to travel with my father.

A King travelling causes quite the spectacle about the people. They’d lined the streets to catch a glimpse of him as he waved to them. It was noon and my mother rode next to him in the royal carriage. From on high a crossbow bolt vaulted through the carriage window lodging itself in my father’s skull. The carriage-man spurred the horses on however it was already too late for my father. The carriage, constructed of a pure white milkwood, was now permanently stained with blood. I believe my mother ordered it burned.

It was unfortunate that my Uncle had been killed in the same manner. The people loved to chatter and talk conspiracies. I became known as Ahmeri the Cursed.

I feel the tonic weakening and my thoughts wander further. Let me talk of my brother. Aysero and the time he had declared war on the Republic of Charlam. The Charsmen invaded another nation we relied on for spices, silk, and iron. I was a young man performing duties as an officer in the Sona military, my brother insisted that I should stay and help him in a strategic capacity. I convinced him otherwise. Perhaps that was a mistake in hindsight.

Many Sonarians died in that war, I have never seen such carnage. Even as a strategic officer I often found myself in the fracas of combat with the Charsmen. I cannot count how many of them I was forced to slay, many of them not old enough to grow a beard or know the touch of a woman.

Still we lost, outnumbered in a foreign land, we sailed back to our homeland.
I returned home and they called me Ahmeri the Brave. My brother who had remained behind to rule Sona, now deep in debt, became know as Aysero the Foolish.

My poor, dear brother. Years after the war, and those who survived it had been mostly forgotten, he too was assassinated in the same manner as my father.

It was only then, at age 40, I reluctantly ascended the throne. Kings seem to have a habit of dying. It was never expected of me at birth, that I would rule the kingdom, and in my early years as king relied mostly on advisors. I knelt as the master of ceremonies placed the purple crown upon my head. The crown was heavy, adorned with an assortment of amethysts and gold filigree, I was so surprised by the weight that my head dropped slightly. I thought perhaps someone may have noticed and I would have been burdened with a title such as Ahmeri the Unready or Ahmeri the Frail

But no.

No one expected I would ever be king so I became know as Ahmeri the Lucky. A strange kind of luck to have lost one’s father and brother only to take on the same role which brought them to their deaths.

Such luck to live in fear.

Such is the weight of the purple crown.

As I have left no heirs I wish luck to the one who bears this burden after me.

Ah, the tonic is waning and I grow tired tired now. Remember me as the young hero, not the demented, old, bed-ridden fool I have become.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

11 Secrets
(74 words)

Slowly I pick you up and carry you to bed laying you down gently. I feel the soft skin of your legs and thighs. I'm ravenous for you.
I feel your flesh between my lips, you surrender your secrets to me in the throws of passion.
Your wetness dribbles down my chin.

Looking down your moistness has stained the sheets.

I grab a wet wipe and toss the leftover bone back into the bucket.

Edit: How did I miss the no food part? :bang: Idiot!

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 21:35 on Mar 9, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

I'm IN.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Forever - 863 words

As the sun rose over China, the Emperor Qin Shi Huang paced the throne room of Epang Palace. He was wringing his hands nervously, his knuckles turning white. The slap of his impatient footfalls on the black, stone floor was muffled by the luxuriant flowing robes of black and gold silk.

The eunuchs and servants looked on concerned. The Emperor had grown quick tempered and they had seen what became of those who crossed him. Qin Shi Huang’s quest for immortality had made him increasingly unstable.

“Where are they?” he murmured to himself angrily.

The night before a bright light crossed the sky and came crashing to earth. Its fiery, golden tail trailed behind it reminiscent of the great dragons of legend.

Villagers and peasant mystics spoke in whispers of a large stone prophesying the downfall of the Qin Shi Huang. He’d sent a cohort of soldiers to investigate the rumours.

One of the captains of the Emperor's guard marched into the throne room hurriedly and knelt before the great steps leading up to the Emperors throne.

“Emperor, the village rumours are true, a great stone has fallen from the heavens. The words carved into it read ‘The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided’."

“Who carved the treasonous message?” The Emperor demanded.

“I beg your forgiveness Emperor. We interrogated all ten villages in the area and none would divulge to us who carved the message.” said the captain fearing they would be his last words.

“I forgive you this time. If they will not talk, take away their reason to. Cut out their tongues before you slay them all.” the Emperor ordered.

This false prophecy could not have come at a worse time. It had been months since anyone had heard from the Mount Penglai expedition. Qin Shi Huang had sent 5000 servants there, under his adviser and sorcerer Xu Fu, to find the wizard called Anqui Sheng who would grant the Emperor the secret of immortality. Anqui Sheng himself was said to be 1000 years old. He would help the Emperor or he would spend the next 1000 years of life experiencing pain like no other.

Instead of returning with his wizard they had vanished.

Qin Shi Huang’s face grew red with anger thinking about the insolent villagers and his missing expedition.

“Zhao, come here at once.” he roared.

“Yes Emperor” the eunuch Zhao Gao ran to Qin Shi Huang and knelt obediently.

“Xu Fu has failed me and this stone from the heavens that the peasants use to taunt me has made my decision final. Gather the best alchemists and physicians in the empire. They will produce for me an elixir of life.”

“It will be done Emperor” Zhao bowed again and excused himself quickly.

Zhao, like many others, feared Qin Shi Huang and knew that to fail him meant death. Men had killed themselves on the Emperor’s orders rather than face the agonizing end he would inflict upon them if they failed to obey.


Zhao stood on as the alchemists and physicians quarreled over the best method for the elixir.

“Jade and gold are renowned among all scholars for their longevity!” shouted one of them over the ruckus.

“Ground cinnabar and gold.” argued another.

Finally an elderly alchemist, known as Li Si who’d been silent the whole time, spoke up. He was a well known scholar and when he spoke all the other alchemists listened.

“Pay attention. I have found a method of extracting quicksilver from cinnabar through a roasting process, it shines with the lustre of gold, yet takes the form of a liquid, cool as water. I have been wanting to try it for some time in an elixir and I believe that when combined with gold, hematite and encased in a small jade vial we will increase the Emperors life by at least hundreds of years.” he said this all with such confidence that none dared doubt him or else look like a fool.

The men all nodded in agreement.


After the Emperor had sat for dinner that night, Zhao and Li Si requested permission to approach him with a gift.
Zhao placed an ornate jade box on the table in front of Qin Shi Huang and bowed. A great serpent, swimming against the current of a river had been carved into the lid.

“I present you with the most potent elixir of life created by any man.” said Zhao

“You have done well Zhao. If it works perhaps I will grant you immortality also” said Qin Shi Huang and with a wave of his hand bid that the two men leave him.

The Emperor opened the box and looked upon the two jade vials.
Uncorking the first he looked at the shining liquid within. It was silver in colour and gleamed as bright as a well polished sword.

He tipped his head back slowly. Drinking the elixir to its last drop. The metallic taste made him shudder.

He cast the empty, first vial aside and uncorked the second.

“This is it” he said aloud to himself with a satisfied finality.

He placed the second vial to his lips. He was ready for immortality.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

I raced upstairs from the basement to greet Mom coming in the door, she was back from grocery shopping.
I hastily snatched a carton of Hi-C off the counter and jammed the straw into it. As I guzzled the sweet liquid I realized something was wrong.

"What the gently caress Mom?" I yelled "Apple Kiwi Kraze? Where's my loving Ecto-cooler?"

"I'm sorry hon' they discontinued it" she replied.

gently caress you Hi-C.


Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

contagonist posted:

I'm playing this until I win, damnit.

What this guy said.


Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Removed After Judging.

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 22:24 on Mar 24, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Thanks DocK and newtestleper for judging and crits in your respective weeks!

Pretty happy to move from dead last to HM in 5 weeks of domin'. I'll win one day drat it.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

I missed 2 weeks of Thunderdome and I'm not happy about that.

I'm In

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 01:39 on Apr 8, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Noah posted:

that's not fair. i wrote a story about my penis and people just thought it was weird.

The story was good. You just have a gross, weird dick.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

IN with

:toxx: because I was a horrible failure last week.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Ethan Eternal - 1239 Words

Ethan sat at the bar, the stench of stale beer hung in the air. He needed to pee but he held it in. It was busy and he didn't want to lose his seat, plus he knew once he broke the seal he’d need to piss every half hour. He’d come to Roanoke a week ago looking for John Jarvis but had no luck. Now he sat in the dreary, little bar sucking down bottle after bottle of Budweiser.

One of the regular barflies sitting next to Ethan recognized him as being new to town.

“I think I only seen you in here for the last week or so. What brings you to Roanoke Island?” the man asked, his voice was throaty like a pack-a-day smoker’s.

“Looking for someone I haven’t seen in a while.” replied Ethan

“An old friend?” the man asked leaning in.

“Something like that.”

“So an old enemy? Whatchya gonna do? Kill ‘im?” the man laughed then coughed up some phlegm then spat into an ashtray.

“You seem to think you know a lot. For a stranger in a bar.” Ethan didn't feel like answering the man’s questions, he gripped his bottle of beer a little tighter. In a thirty second conversation the man had figured out too much of what Ethan was thinking. Not that he'd decided on killing John Jarvis if he ever found him. Ethan didn't believe it was in him to murder a man.

“The name’s Stan Cifer, people round here just call me Lucky."

The man apparently got the hint and held his hand out as an introduction and a peace offering. Ethan gave his name in return and shook Lucky’s hand, it was was rough and leathery like grabbing a handful of beef jerky.

“Why Lucky?” Ethan asked.

“Took a big fall a few years back, drat near killed me, but here I am.” Lucky smirked like he was sharing a secret with himself. Ethan though he saw a glimmer of gold tooth in the dim bar lights. He noticed an Airborne service tattoo slip out from under the short sleeve of the Lucky’s stained red polo shirt.

“You served?” Ethan asked.

“Yeah spent some time in the Middle East, got in a fight with my superior officer. That oval office. Dishonorably discharged.” he stated matter-of-factly. “Now I don’t serve no-one but me and my friends.”

“Fair enough.” Ethan replied, mostly because he couldn't think of how else to reply to Lucky’s story.


Ethan walked, with heavy drunken footfalls, back to the hotel. He’d tried to keep up with Lucky, beer for beer. A foolish decision. He stopped at a 7-11 and grabbed a bottle of water and some aspirin for the headache he was expecting the next day. Crumpling the receipt into his pocket he staggered on until he reached his temporary home.

As he tried to sleep his mind raced, he remembered the night of the accident.
The night a man too drunk to drive ran a red light and slammed into the passenger side of Ethan’s minivan at an intersection. His legs were pinned and he tasted blood, he did his best to rouse his wife beside him and his child in the booster seat.
They were dead.

The drunk was John Jarvis, he skipped town after he made bail and no-one had found him. It was Ethan who had quite coincidentally located Jarvis.

He had fallen asleep on the couch the week prior and rolled onto the remote. The television flickered on and the volume blared rousing Ethan from his slumber. He sat up slowly, the illumination from the screen cut through the dark room and hurt his waking eyes forcing him to squint. The broadcast was some fishing show and the presenter was interviewing people in North Carolina who were preparing for something called the Pirate’s Cove Bill-fish Tournament. That was when Ethan saw him. There was no mistaking the face of John Jarvis, he was being interviewed about the business the fishing competition would bring to Roanoke. The subtitle below only read ‘Business Owner’ there was no name.

Ethan had spent the last week going from business to business on Roanoke trying to find the man but no-one knew John Jarvis, at least not by that name.

Waking the following morning Ethan was grateful he had the foresight to buy the bottle of aspirin the night before, he reached into his jacket pocket as it lay crumpled on the bed and pulled the little plastic bottle out. The receipt dropped onto the floor.

“What the gently caress?” he murmured aloud. Scrawled on the back of the receipt was a short message:

When you find him. Let me know if you can’t do it.
Call 919 623 450 and ask for the manager.
P.S. Hatteras

Had Lucky gone to the 7-11 with Ethan? He tried to recall the night. He was certain he’d been alone. Ethan didn't waste any time, he jumped into his car and drove along the outer banks towards Hatteras Island. He was tired when he pulled up in front of the the little cafe, still reeling from the bizarre message left by Lucky and the last dregs of the hangover had yet to clear off. Ethan decided this was a good place to rest. He went inside and sat down with a newspaper, coffee and a pen to do the crossword.

Four down, take someones life (6 letter).
Ethan filled in murder.

Three across, male form of her (3 letters).

Seven across, Satan, The Devil, Beelzebub (7 letters).

The sound of plates crashing to the ground across the cafe broke Ethan's concentration. He looked up from the macabre crossword and saw the waitress being yelled at by the manager who turned and apologized to Ethan, the only customer.

“Sorry about the noise sir” he said politely.

Ethan froze. There was John Jarvis, looking him in the eye, apologizing to him. His heart raced and his hands shook. Jarvis clearly didn't recognize Ethan.
“N-No Problem” Ethan stuttered.
He looked down at his crossword.

Seven down, born under a _____ star (5 letters).

Ethan left five dollars for the coffee and tip on the table and walked outside briskly. His stomach turned. He braced himself against the car and puked. Ethan drove home shaking, only stopping for fuel on the way back to Philadelphia, the receipt was still in his pocket. Questions were spinning through his mind like a carousel.
Was Lucky really Satan? Why did he want Jarvis dead? What would he want from Ethan in return?

Ethan got home and went to bed. Determined to wake up and pretend the entire previous week had all been a dream.
The next morning Ethan walked cautiously to the kitchen. He was still scared and bewildered. As he opened the refrigerator he noticed the crumpled receipt pinned to the freezer door with a magnet. Had Ethan done that?

Ethan stood idle. He was in a staring competition with the little scrap of paper. He glanced to the house phone sitting in its cradle. Then he looked a at the gas stove.
I could burn it the note he thought, looking back to the telephone. What if I called the cops and told them where Jarvis is?

The refrigerator started to emit a high pitched beep. The door had been open too long.

Ethan grabbed the note down from the freezer door.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First


Thanks LBM for judgeburp crits!

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Noeland posted:

Before throwing my hat into the ring, is a submission of a scan of a typed page a valid entry? I'm a hipster and I refuse to write on a computer.

Proof in case you don't believe me:

Got bad news for you bud. Your last post appears to be written on a computer.
Then again I was going to write my entry on homemade papyrus with soy based crayons just to piss crabrock and LBM off.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Cache Cab posted:

My work is published in this collection. If you're interested:

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

Congratulations on the publication.

Hope you saved your payment from them for a new avatar when you lose this week. :smuggo:

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 02:09 on Apr 23, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Colours and Councils
1290 words

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

A first read Bompa-crit for Cargohills.

cargohills posted:

A Day in the Forest
631 words
Okay, so you're entire introduction is a just a boring info dump. As far as I'm concerned this all should have been shown, not told in the next paragraph while landon and rabbit were walking through the forest. It's good to explain things but readers also aren't idiots, we would have discerned from the rest of the story that Landon can talk to animals. Or at least that he has a magic rabbit friend. Since we don't see him talk to ANY other animals
Landon was a wizard. The only one he knew That's 1 of. He relished that fact - it made him feel important. He was, however, also the only human he knewThats 2. He still knew 3 that his wizarding nature was special. Despite a lack of human companions, Landon was not lacking in friends. Lack lack lackity lack lack. He had the animals of the forest to keep him company. They couldn’t speak to him in words, but in his heart Landon felt that they and he were linked. They were all friends. Landon’s best friend was Rabbit. Rabbit lived with Landon in his cabin, and was always with him. When Landon spoke to Rabbit, Landon felt like he knew 4 loving times. what the animal would say back.

One day in spring, when looking for newly-bloomed flowers, they came across something that Landon had never seen in the forest before: a small pristine silver locket, free of engravings or other decoration.

“How did this get here?” Landon asked. “We’ve been here before and we didn’t see it then, did we?”

Rabbit shook his head.

“And it’s completely shiny and clean! Somebody must have left it here recently.”

Rabbit nodded in approval. At this point the rabbit that understands english and responds to it seems more magical than Landon Then, his eyes looked to the ground towards the locket, suggesting that Landon should pick it up and open it. Landon agreed with this suggestion, and held his hand out in the direction of the locket. It slowly lifted from the ground and moved towards his outstretched fingers, swaying softly like a feather falling in the wrong direction.I get what you were trying to do here but this is a clumsy and boring description.

Opening the locket revealed a small piece of paper, folded in order to fit inside the locket. Landon, despite having never learned to read, was able to understand what it said. Obviously it was folded to fit if it was in the locket, Why did the part about him not ever learning how to read matter to the story at all?

“Hello. I know of your magical arts, wizard. I will meet you in your home, and you shall face justice.” What the gently caress? Why? Dude just hates this guy for living in a forest with a rabbit?

Landon looked at Rabbit, failing to hide his worried expression from his friend. “We must go back home now,” Landon said.


From the outside, it was clear that Landon and Rabbit’s cabin had been ransacked. The door was kicked off of its hinges, the windows were smashed and the gentle roar oxymoron of the fireplace could no longer be heard when close to the entrance. Landon knew that whoever it was that did this was strong and mad.Yawn Not someone he could talk to. Not like the animals. Not like Rabbit. Not. Not. Not. yeah we get it dude talks to animals.So he decided to conjure up fire. He wasn’t worried about damaging the cabin any further - he could fix it in less than a week with his magic - but he wanted to scare his unknown attacker.

The plan worked, and Landon heard terrified yelling from the furthest corner of the house. The yelling grew louder as the attacker ran towards Landon and out of the house, his cloak burning bright with flame. He stopped as soon as he saw Landon. Luckily for the man, Landon doused the fire with a flick of his fingers. Why? He knew the hunter can't be talked to and he's strong and mad

“Hah! The wizard of the forest is a child?” Holy poo poo! Since when? The whole time I imagined some old dude chilling with his rabbit. I feel like you should have told me this earlier to build your character so I actually gave a gently caress. If this was meant to be a twist its a weak one. said the attacker, oddly confident in spite of the fact that he had just been on fire. “I am the wizard hunter! I have vanquished hundreds of your kind, and you shall be no different.” What's this dude's beef with wizards? Did wizards kill his parents? gently caress his dog? Does he just do it to get his dick hard so he can go home to Mrs. Wizard Hunter and keep living the lie of a happy marriage?

Landon was shaking in fear, but Rabbit seemed to be unaffected by the hunter’s boasts. Okay so we have a cotton tailed woodland creature being braver than your protagonist.This strengthened Landon. He knew what he had to do. He closed his eyes, and held his hands out towards the hunter. Before the man could react, even in confusion, Landon’s arms jerked upwards… and so did the hunter. The man flew into the air, and shortly later a crunch of bone could be heard. What kind of bullshit, pacifist wizards was this guy hunting? Wizard of drum circles? Wizard of flower arranging?

Landon let a tear roll down his cheek. He didn’t like hurting people, but he had to. The animals would deal with what was left of the hunter now.

You basically did what I did last week and kept it too simple. Simple sentences are easy to read, but they are boring especially when you use the same way to describe what is happening four times in a paragraph . Your characters did a bunch of stuff but I have no idea what their motivations were. Your conflict was BARELY there since it was so one-sided thanks to the wizard hunter being all talk and no bang.

Write more, enter more Thunderdomes. Stop and look at what you are saying then see if you can think of a nicer way to show it in your prose. Show us why people are doing things they are doing.


Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Holy Crap just had to speed read the 100 or so new posts since I last looked.

Thank Meeple, Sitting Here, Grizzled Patriarch and Crabrock for your crits. (And judging)

Anyone let me know if I have missed their Crit!

IN for smelly stuff prompt.

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 06:36 on Apr 29, 2015

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

crabrock posted:

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

Hey Crabrock. Is this still a thing if you haven't spent all your money on booze to drink away the wizard memories?

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Goddamit Doc, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab prompts again?

I hate reruns. Since I'm co-judge, that means I hate all of you. May god have mercy on you if you pick the same perfume I did last time and do it worse than I did.

I loving hate myself and I hate you.

I'll pick a stench-bottle for myself but can I please have a flash rule?

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Bompacho posted:

I loving hate myself and I hate you.

I'll pick a stench-bottle for myself but can I please have a flash rule?

Disregard the above. I have a flash.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

I was pretty liberal with the use of Rock and heavy. I'll let you decide if I hit it.

Baxter's Second Hand Books - W/C 1240

The glare of the sunrise reflected off the dusty glass door. Maybe today will be the day I clean it. Baxter thought to himself he struggled with key in his shaking old hands, finally, he got it. The deadbolt unlocked with a commanding clunk.

The bell above the door chimed cheerily, announcing his entrance, and for a moment the cool, morning air blew in disturbing the dust in the old bookstore. It danced on the breeze, only visible through the dirty, yellow sunbeams.

The redolence of paper and ink mixed in with musty, old pages of dated books hung stagnantly in the air. Baxter loved that smell. This was his home-away-from-home. Here he could get absorbed in nothing but books.

I’ll read them all one day he would always promise himself, as old as he was, he wasnt one to quit.

Grabbing a damp cloth, he wiped down the old leather chairs near the back of the of the store. He had 2 hours to kill before any customers would begin to turn up.

Baxter tapped out his old calabash pipe and packed some fresh Dunhill 965 into it. It was mellow and sweet tobacco to him. Most people hated it but he’d been smoking it since the war and refused to change or, at the vehement insistence of his son, stop smoking in the store.

The way Baxter saw it, he owned the shop, he’d do as he pleased. At the age of seventy he likely only had a few years left and he was going to enjoy them. Soon, a haze of tobacco smoke filled the little book store. He’d open a window before nine when the customers would start to trickle in so as to not bother any of them.

The bell above the door rang. Baxter leant to the side of the old leather chair looking down the row of shelves. Peering over the top of his reading glasses he saw Peter walking briskly through the shelves towards his fathers reading spot. He wore a crisp, grey suit, white shirt and a pale blue tie. He was on his way to work.

“Dad, how many times have I told you not to smoke in here? You’ll burn the place down one day. Not to mention the smell, how do you expect to sell anything when the place reeks of the Marlboro Man?” he said to his father in an exasperated tone.

“And how many times to I have to tell you Peter? I’m your father. You’ll respect me and not talk to me like I’m a child. I’ll do as I goddamn well please in my store.” Baxter replied as though he’d rehearsed this conversation a thousand times before. He took a long draw on his pipe and turned his attention back to the old, leather bound copy of Absolom Absolom. He’d been meaning to read the Faulkner classic for a while and wasn't interested in being interrupted.

“Great, I come by to say good morning and that’s how you talk to me.” said Peter petulantly.

“Don’t bullshit me son, it might have been raining yesterday but I didn't fall down with the last shower. Say what you actually came to say.” Baxter demanded.

Peter shifted uncomfortably for a moment then leaned forward over his father. His voice grew softer though no less disingenuous.

“Deb and I were talking. You’re not getting any younger and after that tumble to took down the stairs last month we think its time you went into a home. Besides, the business here isn't making that much money and you could finally rest and retire. I can turn it into something profitable. Like a juice bar or coffee house.” Peter said, attempting to sound amicable.

Baxter braced himself on the arms of the old, red, leather armchair and pushed himself up to meet his son face to face.

“Ha! Well you better break both my legs and drag me there. I didn't fight Nazi’s all over France to have my own son put me in an internment camp for incontinent old codgers. Just so he could steal my shop and turn it into some yuppie den.” he said, his face grew a little redder and he wagged a bony, wrinkled, finger in Peter’s face. “The day I die is they day you get this store and not a second sooner.”

“I didn't want to do this Dad.” Peter said then opened his briefcase and pulled out a manila folder flopping it on the little coffee table next to Baxter’s chair. “Those are power of attorney papers you and Mum signed 15 years ago. If you don’t have the capacity to make your own decisions I can do it for you, the doctor will be at the house at six o'clock tonight to assess you and see if you can continue to live on your own.”

“The apple didn't fall far from the tree.” Baxter said with a sigh. “You’re as tenacious and hot-headed as I was at your age. I suppose it’s the way I raised you. Teaching you not to take ‘no’ for an answer. I wish I hadn't made you so stubborn and uncompromising”

“I’ll call by next week after closing time.” Peter said shaking his head as he turned and left.

The jolly jingle of the doorbell didn't appropriately punctuate such a bitter departure.


Baxter stood in front of his old bookstore. It was late. He’d seen the doctor the other day.

Some young, overly friendly kid. Probably fresh out of university. He blathered off words like “diminishing capacity” and “sun-downing”. Words that Baxter didn't really care about.
He told Baxter he was too old and should be living in a home. However, the two words that hit hard were in the test results he’d received from his physical.

Inoperable tumor.

After the doctor left, Baxter cried for the first time since his wife had died.

Now he struggled with the keys, his old eyes strained to find the keyhole at night.

The bell above the door rang happily. Baxter reached up and unhooked it from the doorframe and turned the lights on . Grabbing a damp cloth he wiped down the dusty window.

The view of the streetlights outside became clearer through the fresh, clear streaks.

Sitting in the old leather chair at the back of the store, Baxter tapped out his pipe and filled it with some fresh tobacco. Soon the store was thick with smoke that would spin and swirl through the pale lamplight with each page turn. As he puffed away through the night Baxter barely shifted until he finished reading Absalom Absalom.

Deciding he would indulge in a, rare, second, smoke of the old Dunhill 965. He packed his calabash pipe and walked to the front door. Striking a match, he lit his pipe and as the tobacco embers began to glow with their slow burn, Baxter flicked the match into a small pile of papers on the counter, picked up his cheerful little bell, and headed off down the cobblestone sidewalk. Peter warned me I’d burn that place down Baxter thought, smiling to himself.

Behind the closed doors of the bookshop, the burning pages had begun to twist and twirl upwards to the ceiling as the lingering scent of musty books and tobacco was finally seceded by the fast burning, leather and paper.

Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

Welcome to the dome.

Your free Bompa-crit is below.

bigperm posted:

Final Luxury Suicidal dude takes bath
1160 words

The Sun Nation wouldn’t let me fight Ahram, right away. Five blistering days, four grueling nights and three horses run dead into the ground got me here. Cool opening but I kind of hate your protag for killing those horses. And your comma in in a terrible spot. Delete that comma. I was drained of everything that sustained me.This feels like a vague nothing sentence, you could have done without it. Cold sweat poured from me as I demanded my challenge. It was granted, but first I must rest. I was not thankful for this.I thought you wanted it right away and it had been granted?

At first I thought they had marched me into a servant’s chamber but the Sun Nation had no servants. Only slaves. It was a small room with a rope bed piled with old blankets. They were worn and faded but they smelled clean. A tub was dragged in and little rag clothed slave boys fetched buckets of water to fill it. A little table was set next to the tub with bright white towels and a bar of soap. I could smell the heavy fragrance of the soap and my weariness multiplied.

The slaves had Unnecessary 'had'. "The slaves finished and left closing the door behind them. OR "The slaves had finished. They left closing the door behind them" you kinda threw it all together here.finished and left, closing the door behind them. I assumed it was locked or guarded on the the other side but didn’t care. I stripped down, leaving a pile of wet stinking leather and linen and stepped into the tub. It was too hot, it scorched my skin to redness instantly but once submerged it soaked into my muscles and eased pains I had been ignoring for months. This is an awkward sentence and needs to be reworded significantly. Think of the simplest way to say what you are saying. Type that, THEN improve the vocabulary.

I was still in the tub, soaking, mind numb and nearly blank when the man came in. What Man? The man with the power. What Power? Voodoo. Who do?He was wearing a elegant robe of green and yellow folding in layers in from of him. I could only see half of his face due to a massive beard bushy and full extending to below his neck. This wording is so clumsy that it spilled my beer and you owe me a new one. Two guards adjoined him, hands on the pommels of their swords. I think you were thinking 'joined' and 'accompanied' and decided to use adjoined which isn't wrong, bu doesn't really feel like the right word since its normally used in a construction context not with people.

The man’s beard moved in what I assumed was a grin.Jesus, what kind of beard does this dude have you can't see his loving lips smile?“So good to see you taking advantage of our hospitality.” He spoke my language with a heavy accent.

I nodded at the flanking guards. “Are you afraid of a naked man?”:dong: Perhaps the man chuckled. Did he chuckle or not? You're telling the story.

“You challenge Ahram, the blade of the Sun. Are you the blade of the farmers?” Farmers. That is what they called us. It was meant as an insult. Petty.

“Just a soldier”. I grabbed the soap and started to Dont do this, Don't have anyone 'started to do x' just have them do it. wash myself, ignoring him. It was musky and sharp and the dirt that had been ground into my skin scraped and dragged as I lathered myself. Better

The bearded man approached me. He kneeled down until we were on a level. Clumsy again “The Blood Court is being prepared. Six thousand Suns will watch you fight. Will this be a battle or a slaughter?” He appraised me. “Can you stand for a single second against the Blade of the Sun?”

I was hoping for a slaughter. Wait your character wants to die? I didn’t tell him though. Only stared back at him hard enough to stop his appraisal and meet my eyes. My bathwater had turned dark gray from the soap and the dirt. While our eyes were locked I flicked the water at his face. He blinked, shocked. Splashy splashy! Seems more like they are flirting now.

He took a moment and gained composure. He stood, grabbing a towel from my table and wiping his face. The guards moved in closer but he put a hand up to stop them. “You disrespect me with your foul water. No matter. Ahram will slay you in the morning in the light of the Sun.”

“That’s why I came.” "Oh yeah, I came hard, in the bath, while you looked me in they eye." They are definitely flirting. Also, this rear end in a top hat killed 3 horses because he wants to die? I said. He left.

Finished with my bath No need to tell us this. We know he's finished by the next 3 words. I dried off and put on the robe laid out for me. I hadn’t been clean in months. I don’t think I had ever smelled this good in my life. I marveled at it. Instead of horse dung and wood smoke I only smelled the fragrance of the soap. It was a final luxury that I afforded myself.

There was a knock on the door. “Come in.” I said. A young woman wearing nicer rags than the other slaves I had seen walked in carrying a tray. The smell of the food hit me as soon as the door opened. The food of the Sun Nation was heavily spiced, smoky and rich. The girl was dark but a white smiled flashed as she set the tray on the table next to the bed.

“Food for you now, no food in the morning. Fight in the morning.”

“Thank you.”

She did not turn to leave but looked at me, struggling to think of the words she needed. “Tonight, you sleep alone?” She pointed at the bed and flashed those white teeth in a smile.

“Yes, alone. Thank you.” She pouted a little, but left. "I already jizzed in the tub. Thanks though!":flaccid:

There were three bowls of the stew that the Sun nation ate almost exclusively. Chunks of meat surrounded by a chunky gravy. A brown one, a green one and a red one. I didn’t eat any of them. I was hungry though and ate some of the flat bread stacked on the side of the tray. Some bread and some water. That was all I needed. Clean and full I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes. Sleep came quickly. Narration proceeded awkwardly

The circle arena of the Blood Court was packed with people even while the morning air was still cool. They did not jeer or boo my ME as I made my way out onto the sand floor. They cheered. They cheered for my death. I smiled and waved. I was giddy at the thought of ending my pain and grief. Finally.

The cheers died and silence fell on the Blood Court. Ahram was making his way to the center. He was thin but muscular. He didn’t have a hair on his head and it was hard to tell how old he was. Maybe 30, not young or old. He wore a red robe with no sleeves and a leather belt with a scabbard hanging on it. His bare arms showed scars that seemed to sit on top of the lines of his muscles. The silence continued as he approached me.

“They will not cheer for me until I draw my sword.” He said, his face serious. He didn’t have nearly as much of an accent as the bearded man had. “It is a respect they pay me.”

I didn’t understand why he had told me that and stood silently. I don't understand why you're telling us if your protagonist doesn't ever have it explained.

“Why do you come here to challenge me?” He asked, his face still hard. It was a question to big to answer, and I could have lied easily. I could have said that I came for justice. Justice for a wife and children slain in their homes. Justice for a brother lost in battle. Justice for a King and Queen murdered. For the war that wrecked all that I knew and loved. I did not come for justice. I did not come for peace. Those were not options and neither would end my grief. I came to end my grief.

“I come for oblivion.” I said at last. He nodded and drew his sword. The crowd erupted.

I feel like the dude didn't need to go to all this trouble to kill himself. Really hard to give a gently caress about a suicidal protagonist. There was no real conflict because the dude just wanted to die the whole time. If his conflict was internal we didn't really see it until the second last Paragraph. I was hoping it would be an actual challenge of some sort but instead I got: Naked dude flirts in the tub then goes into a arena to die. By the end a Jenga tournament would have been more interesting.

I was interested by your world building and I have a feeling that there are some awesome stories to be told in Sun Nation. Just not this one.

Ol Sweepy fucked around with this message at 03:45 on May 5, 2015


Ol Sweepy
Nov 28, 2005

Safety First

bigperm posted:

Thank you for the crit Bompacho (and SurreptitiousMuffin). This was the first thing I've ever written and 'put out there'. It got away from me a little bit.

Write more and do better this week!

  • Locked thread