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Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.

e: with a flashrule, please.

Tweezer Reprise fucked around with this message at 04:13 on May 17, 2017


Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Forever, South Carolina
2,496 words

Aman lugs forward two chipped buckets, with fresh water sloshing around inside both of them. On Pawley’s Island, a ways south from former Myrtle Beach, former South Carolina—he had created something for himself, with his peers. They had appropriated the houses, the small houses, the ones that stand on poles on the sloping beachfront property. They had created a community with these houses as the core tenements, with human muscle and human kindness as the ancillary assets. This particular settlement had attracted a certain kind of individual, of which the specificity was somewhat surprising, for the total population of the former state of South Carolina was now just under thirty thousand, at the most optimistic.

The first year had gone swimmingly, all things considered. Aman, along with most everyone else who lived in Forever, alternated strictly and fraternally with the needed tasks: who carried water from the nearby creek, and who gathered firewood and collected beeswax, who cooked, and who tended the makeshift farm that had provided an adequate harvest. When something broke, and someone could fix it, it was fixed. The walk isn’t strenuous for Aman, as he’s young; he was only seventeen when the Wipe eviscerated the world, and he had planted nearly no personal tendrils of his own, the biggest loss that he had incurred was that of his parents. He was lucky in that regard, and when Forever was founded, a year and change after the events of the Wipe, everybody remaining was still freshly scarred—all mourning their respective networks of life that had been lost, each grizzled veteran repeatedly recoiling at each new horrendous event that had been perpetrated afterward by previously civilized human beings; none dared to speak of their own story in detail.

Forty people lived in Forever, and forty people exactly. There were twenty-three men, and seventeen women, who generally handled different sets of tasks, as was natural in any fledgling society. Aman had happened to become close to a few of them, in particular. He had actually lived in Myrtle Beach proper; but others had come from a few noted locations across the South, one particularly restless woman had hitchhiked all the way from Tallahassee, and his best friend Jeffery had come a decently long way, as well—he was from Columbia. Jeffery was a lithe, lanky black man, a few years older than Aman, and both of their accents had been worn to nothing by television and the Internet, to the befuddlement of their respective families. The founder of Forever was Norman Willis, a man with hairy legs, a woven hat, sunglasses, a broad smile despite it all, and relentless cargo shorts. He had an eternal beer belly that seemed to have persisted, even through particularly hunger-stricken months. He was the only one with an altered schedule, a relaxed one, partially due to his status, and partially due to his age.

Norman had founded Forever originally of himself and the handful of survivors he had befriended after the Wipe. Since then, new stragglers had been admitted, under various circumstances, ranging from coincidental and amicable, to dire and near-disastrous. Those of a particularly off-putting or greedy nature were deposited back over the fence, with inexact but clear imperatives discouraging their return. Aman was one of the first draftees, and he and Norman had met under the knife. In the adjoining swamp that stretched laterally, hugging the coast, the young man had visible ribs, two fresh, bleeding slash wounds, gleaned from a man that was ultimately after his organs, and an acute case of mortal terror. The old man had a shotgun. Little humanity had been observed by Aman before he was snatched from death’s jaws by Norman, and with bandages, and a desperately-needed meal, Forever had taken on its youngest member, in an expedited fashion.

Aman sets down one bucket, waving to Jeffery, who had stepped out of his cabin, and was now calling him over. He then sets down the other, both on the grass, next to the gravel path, outside the front door of the kitchen. Dinner wouldn’t be for another hour. Jeffery had already finished with his duties for the day, and the two men sat quietly in rickety, failing wooden chairs, in front of an unlit fireplace, darkness creeping in from the corners.

“I saw him again.” he offers; scratching the back of one hand with the nails of another.

“You saw the guy with the patch?”


The both of them had held conference on Patch Guy several times before today. Patch Guy seemed to wander into town on foot, and if intercepted, was always looking for Norman. They would then speak for a bit, twenty minutes maximum, and then Patch Guy would leave as suddenly as he came, not fraternizing with any other Foreverite. This would happen maybe thrice in a month, and had been going on since either Aman or Jeffery could remember. Norman, when questioned, and he had been questioned several times, would always offer the same explanation, that the grizzled, sad-looking man was a friend that hadn’t opted to join the commune.

To his credit, no one seemed to be suspicious of Patch Guy, but Jeffery. Most of the inhabitants bought everything that Norman had offered to them. They had no reason not to, he seemed to be the most authentic thing that they had, and he bound them all together. Peace this, simple living that—not that simple living was a choice, but Norman made it sound almost appealing. Peace in particular was extremely palatable for a group of people that had been traumatized, time after time, up until stumbling upon salvation. Norman offered protection; he was one of the few around that still had ammo for firearms, having owned a gun dealership in his former life, and his people with him at the helm folded into something that would protect them all snugly. Some sort of structure actually mattered, for the first time in Forever.

Aman fidgeted, tracing his fingertips down the scar that stretched from the bony part of his wrist down to his elbow. “I think you’re worrying about nothing.”
“The old man’s not telling us something. He had a jar of coffee on him.”

Coffee? Aman hadn’t had coffee since the Wipe. The swamp wasn’t exactly proper growing climate for it, and reserves are ephemeral. This revelation silenced Aman properly, but only temporarily. He had no rebuttal for Norman obviously being paid for…something.

“He’s stealing from us, you think?”

“Maybe. It was definitely coffee, I know it was. I could smell it from over here.” He points to the doorway.

“We ought to talk to him about it, goddamn. I want some coffee.”

“Maybe.” he repeated. “I ain’t doing it if you ain’t coming with me. Dude kind of skeeves me out, sometimes.”

Aman had gumption. “How about this? We’ll go after dinner, Jeff. I’ll talk to him about the coffee. Maybe he does mean to share it with us.”

And so, it was decided. After a few more idle moments inside, devoid of speaking, they both stepped out, eyes landing on the gift shop, slightly-faded lettering on the side still alluding to such a previous nature, that had since become the kitchen, and dining hall. They pass through its doors. It was Norman’s day to set out the plates and things, and it would only be diplomatic for them to try and scratch his back before they demanded his dark, caffeinated secrets from him.

“Hello, boys!” Norman’s drawly accent was notably uneroded, for contrast, and his tone was wide and cheery, as it always was. “We’re having stew, tonight.”

Around fifteen miles inland, the headlights of a motorcycle cut through the hot, humid summer evening. Cutting the engine, and dismounting from the beaten vehicle, Bernard proceeds to swat off an unsatisfactory fraction of the cloud of gnats that had since started to assault him, when he had slowed down enough for them to catch up. He pulls off his helmet, his dirty-blonde hair mottled and damp with sweat—that then drips down and emulsifies in his tired wrinkles. He clomps up the stairs noisily, and throws open the door of Lee’s Southern Diner. He didn’t think to knock, and passwords were irrelevant in a world now without need for locks. Laws were the only locks, and there were laws no longer. Fifteen months ago, Bernard had learned of Forever. Fifteen months less two days ago, Bernard had had Mr. Willis against the wall, forearm sandwiching his throat to the wall, pistol barrel pressed into his gut.

At least, the establishment had once been called Lee’s Southern Diner. Now, it was a place where Bernard and those in his employ could hold congress, without any gnats, and without any disturbance. Bernard fumbles in his pocket, the side of his hand brushing against his holster as he grasps the key to the former employee’s-only section of the building. Behind that door, next to a deprecated three-compartment sink, across from the rack that once held pots and pans, seven men were sitting. They then got to work. First, they reiterated what they all already knew, and each kept copies of the particular fraction they had agreed upon, and then was written down. The thing that most daftly stood out in the warm candlelight was the dirty blue scrap of fabric rubber-banded to Patch Guy’s shoulder.

It was now dinner time. Aman touches his scar, scratches it, and he nearly rips open the ugly scar tissue again, as he had a few times before, all times when he was particularly on edge. He and Jeffery stand with their backs to the side of the building, foreheads vaguely damp with their sweat. Upon their request to speak to Norman, they were asked to wait outside, if they didn’t mind, and he would join them once everyone was served. In the back of the coasting dump truck, four men sit cross-legged, all the gear in their grasp.

Katie, like many Foreverites, was rather dedicated to the idea that one should strive to get more in touch with their body, its wants and needs, the things that please and upset it. It should come naturally then, that she was the first to point out the faint, artificial odor. Before she had the chance to amend her statement, another woman pointed out the distinct brown color that the corners of the room had taken on. Katie opened her mouth after a fit of choking, as if she were going to try and scream. Then, she dropped to the floor. It was at this point that the engine noise that had grown louder outside stopped, and the people in the dining hall at once noticed the men at the doors, with guns.

The clatter of ransacked discount-store porcelain echoed off the walls, and the hiss of the gas canisters rang in Bernard’s ears, as he watched from afar. A few spirited attempts at pointless fussing and fighting were made at both sets of doors. In the most successful instance, a particularly nimble Foreverite had managed to throw himself on top of one of the armed men, trying in earnest to break his face, Patch Guy frantically scuttling back on his feet, knees sharply bent, the desperate assailant managing to get him caught with one of the bullets that was meant for his attacker, it having ripped through them both, from the other side of the hall. They both fell to the ground, the amber-colored gas spilling out over them, into open air, dispersing over the tumultuous ocean. The weaker ones had already dropped, including Norman. Out of the forty Foreverites, fifteen were dead; twenty-three were successfully smoked out, and incapacitated, then bound, and hauled into the back of the rusted dump truck, stacked like cord wood. Two were unaccounted for.

If Mr. Willis had thought that his being on a meager bean-and-intimidation-based payroll had implied his salvation from his own betrayal, he was wrong. He had served his purpose, and like the others, his body was slung over the side of the truck, the living pressed up against the dead. His nose was bloodied, his skull fractured, and his breathing scant—and then another warm body was slammed down on top of him. It seems that he would no doubt be better suited for feeding the dogs, as was already outlined for him and others of his advanced age. He thought that his service was merely betrayal, but it turned out to be even merer—stability.

The slave market was unfortunately extremely low-frequency, there being little trade contemporarily on a commodity that had a reasonably lengthy life-cycle. When a special client, who was likely at this point the most powerful individual in the former Carolinas, required twenty warm bodies to replace twenty cold bodies that had tried to escape, the operation was scheduled, and then carried out. Bernard’s brigade didn’t require much thought to clean out Forever, and in exchange for its population, easily obtain enough diesel fuel to keep the dump truck running for ten years, and enough ammunition to easily carry out thirty similar operations. Scum is multiplicative, and unfortunately, peace isn’t forever.

Aman is quite weighed down now; his athletic shorts are now coated in foul-smelling greenish mud and greasy, polluted swamp water. Free-flowing blood runs down a primary channel, with several thick auxiliary streams, down over his right hip, and coats the back of his thigh, then proceeding to pool in his shoe. He breathes heavily; his arms feel as if they are on fire. Jeffery had suffered at least two glancing bullets in either side of his abdomen, one of which had also torn a hole clean through Aman’s t-shirt, nicking him near the armpit. The trail the two had left was rather apparent.

He hadn’t even been able to make it three miles, and he knew that his friend was dying. Pulling Jeffery down off of his shoulder, Aman lets him land with an unfortunate, crooked thud on a tree stump, the beach still visible—and still reliably pulsing—from the point that Aman had managed to retreat into, in the thin forest strip. It’s only now that he sees the third bullet hole, which sliced through Jeffery’s right pectoral, at an angle that clearly cut through at least one lung, and at least one heart. He was already gone.

Everything had been obliterated. Aman had been tricked cruelly, and he had been tricked for the last time. When Bernard’s goon finally came around, up to this point only having had to follow the obvious trail left by the sole escapees, Aman hopped out from behind a tree, gesturing to his blood-soaked shirt, and to his dead friend. Whether or not the armed man could translate Aman’s furious, sobby shouting, which amounted to an informal request to shoot, just shoot, please just loving shoot him already, he was only so happy to oblige.

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.


Tweezer Reprise fucked around with this message at 18:19 on May 23, 2017

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
The Four Rs: Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic, and...
1,497 words

It’s one in the morning. There is darkness in constant flow, washing over the streets, and around the buildings. There is the dim, icy glow of the cyan light-tubes embedded in the sidewalks, set to fade away gradually in a matter of hours, to show their deference to the all-encompassing rays of the Sun. The two parent-kept brats plot, their faces made ghostly by the ethereal neon, one with a lit cigarette between two fingers, in a manner that she surely believes to be massively impressive. Their unintelligible slangy dialect slurs and disrupts the peace of the night.

There would be no peace for Jessie tonight. Ezekiel kept shaking him awake by the nearest shoulder; the flashlight in his other hand was focusing its cold-white beam onto a stained, curled page of a spiral notebook. There were tablets that gave off their own light, of course, but they were locked away for the night. Zeke, Jessie, and Sandra were sitting on his bed. The youngest child whines, and ineffectively bats the mattress he was sitting on in weak protest, with an open palm. The construction of the bed was…fine, everything physically there was fine.

The institution, of which this particular building was a branch, at some point housed the children of upwards of seven-eighths of the taxpayers in the State. Some only stayed for a summer, some for a year or two. Some parents even opted out entirely, those with this profound gall being taxed accordingly. Those children without parents or those whose parents were deemed ineffective would stay here until adulthood, the boundary of which was determined case-by-case, for each child. The staff on hand certainly had the resources to dedicate to the testing required for this determination.

Was it like boot camp? Perhaps it had a different flavor, but there was a likeness, certainly. The schedules assigned were absolutely strict, and the punishments dealt were absolutely just. In the intervening years since introduction, crime rates had plummeted, and that was enough for the powers that be to cry success. The experience certainly toughened the children who made it through the program, and that was the overarching goal. What was also intended was literacy, and Jessie’s was a more than a bit shaky. When he first went to class and was tasked with learning to write, his letters were all wrong. Some were backwards, and some even came out upside-down. When he got to type instead, it seemed as if he never had a firm grasp on what the words that left his trembling fingers actually meant.

The writing exam was now tomorrow, technically today, after having loomed over Jessie’s head for practically his entire life. He had to pass, if just by scraping by. His friends didn’t want to see him transferred to the adolescents’ campus in the boonies, where he would be prepared for more laborious and hopeless jobs, jobs meant for those who didn’t have all the gears oiled upstairs. He wouldn’t get out of there until he was twenty-two, at least according to all the reports from those with slow siblings, and with slow friends.

And, so they pushed him, and did all that they could to help him prepare. Zeke and Sandra had already passed two years ago, the latter with flying colors. The past month had been severe crunch-time. Zeke had rubber-banded stacks of index cards, and sheets upon sheets of loose-leaf paper that Jessie’s pen had practiced on. He shakes him again. “Come on. One paragraph, about flowers. How they smell, maybe? Please, Jess.” The boy hesitates, and puts the tip of pen to paper.
The result was…not passable. Not even close. The prose meandered and went astray in the space of four sentences, and remarked exactly once on flowers’…buttery scent? At least Zeke could fake that he knew what flowers smelled like. It’s not like Jessie couldn’t think straight, but it became increasingly clear to him that he was not going to pass this test save for divine intervention. Zeke sighs, and flicks off his flashlight, and motions for Sandra to do the same.

The sun gleams and reflects off the surface of the desk. Jessie had not slept well, and at two in the afternoon, which is when the test was scheduled to start, he was still waking up. This was yet another one of the forces working against him; perhaps the latest incident of late-night cramming had actually just made his chances that much more fleeting. He had already had his hour of recess, which he spent groggily on the sidewalk outside the building, facing the bookstore that he was scarcely allowed to enter, and he had always felt crushed when he couldn’t seem to enjoy nor grok the simplest of printed words therein. He had felt miserable, as his feet dragged on the scratched-up light-tube panels.

Exactly on time, as always, Miss Electra makes her entrance into the claustrophobic, two-person classroom. Miss Electra was Jessie’s teacher in the classroom, and his substitute-parent outside of it. “Well, today’s the big day! Are you ready?”
Her voice is shrill, and oscillates unpleasantly, inherently emotionless. It’s nearly enough to make the uninitiated queasy. Jessie was never happy to see her, of course. He hated all the staff here, and he was only twelve. The kids that were pushing eighteen were practically ready to put a hole in the wall, when a robotic substitute-parent combed the corridor, walked up to their bunk, and asked how they were doing, almost unintentionally mocking them with their hollow, predictable subroutine. The organic staff members were few and far between, but they were also the hardest to defy. Jessie almost wasn’t used to interacting with adult humans. Yet, he craved their attention, desperately. He had always gone out of his way to try to talk to actual adults. He had managed to do that today during recess, in fact, this having been the sole high point of what he was prepared to have be the worst day of his life so far.

“No, I’m not.” he scowls. She doesn’t seem to understand his response as anything but an enthusiastic “Yes, ma’am!”, however. “Wonderful!” she chirps, clutching the papers to her flat, polygonal chest. “We’ll start now, okay?”
Zeke and Sandra are on their recess. They lay with their backs up against the wall, next to the window inside which Jessie is surely sweating bullets. The plan was almost certainly going to fail, though its premise was simplistic. All the robots here were primitive in certain ways, but Miss Electra in particular had issues with her peripheral vision, due to some sort of recent miscalibration. The children were able to pick up on this, and exploit it, of course. Sandra had snatched an extra cupcake from the kitchen, when Electra was looking to the side, just last week. This was their ultimate Hail Mary. If caught, all three of them would be rather in for it. “This is really stupid.” she admits.

“I know.” Zeke stumbles to his feet, his heart racing. He looks inside, to see Electra, and Jessie, pencil twirling, face contorted. He arches a finger next to the glass, about to attempt the slightest of taps on the window. This had a significant risk of tipping off Electra, whose auditory faculties were also shoddy and exploitable, but slightly more passable. Before he can, a voice booms across the field. “Hey!” Zeke freezes! Sandra instantly jumps to her feet, heavily startled, and trips over herself trying to dash away. They had gotten a HUMAN staff member tipped off? How did this happen?

Will looks up casually from his phone, tongue lodged firmly in his cheek. Late-teens peach fuzz is splattered across his face, a modest entry-level lightning bolt tattoo straddles his cheek. This kid’s hair was all weird, and it definitely wouldn’t be allowed in here. “Hey, uh. Don’t you want her COMPLETELY deactivated before you two go and do something loving stupid?” The trail of smoke emanating from his girlfriend’s cigarette seems eternal, and she seems anxious to be somewhere else.

“Do I gotta be here for this?” she breathily inquires, and when informed that no, she didn’t, she hoots, and quickly turns tail, skipping off, grappling and hopping effortlessly over the fence, and off into the streets.
“Chicks, man.” He snickers at the two wide-eyed kids, and points to the window. “Hey, check it out.” Will taps his phone’s screen, and all the light at once disappeared from Electra’s eyes, her front slumping over into her lap. “These things are so loving trash, yeah? Totally open on every port, too.”

As Jessie handed his newly-rebooted teacher his finished test across the desk, which clearly appeared to be entirely in Zeke’s neat handwriting to any reasonable organic comparator, he smiled for the first time in a month. Soon, he would be able to write his new bad influence that he met during recess a thank-you letter. He was sure of it.

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
In with flash.

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Thanks for the crit!

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Those Statued Men with Acid Rain Habits
1446 words

“That which is lost, is lost, is lost forever, within margin. The unavoidable, natural state of affairs is that the vast majority of objects are hitherto lost objects, and the vast majority of lost objects are utterly, profoundly unfindable, or at least will never practically be found. In addition, all that is revised, is lost. All that is misunderstood, is lost.”
—Letus, Affairs: Volume I

Dialifen sets his quill down. The candles that illuminate his workspace are diligent, and are of the highest quality in the known world, as are their brass crucibles. He would take care in telling you of their quality, but he would first tell you of his line of work. Directly after that, he would tell you of the prestige of his brother, the King of this land. He would tell you about how he gave up his place in his brother’s court, forfeiting the option of partaking in day-to-day jockeying for royal influence. He gave up countless gifts and pleasures, well beyond the fine mahogany desk on which he worked, and well beyond candles. He gave that all up, he would tell you, for the love of art.

Dialifen is a humble man of the classics. He is infatuated with these men that lived millennia before him, and how they constructed the foundation for how he and his peers lived their lives at present. He is just an effect of the cause of his predecessors; he would tell you that. Today, he nears the end of a grand project. At the top of this manuscript, this being the final draft, he has written his given name: Jehans. Underneath that in larger stroke, he has written the name he chose for himself, the one that he wishes to be actually printed. He should have the intrinsic right to be referred to by any name that he desired! In fact, that sentiment had just flown from his quill an hour previous.

Diafen had translated an ancient philosopher’s magnum opus, in eight magnificent volumes. He had taken care to learn and master the ancient language in which it was written, and as a result had become one of its few living speakers, if there were even any left other than himself. The old pages of the ancient tomes, themselves written down centuries after the original author had died, crumble and turn to chalky sawdust at the slightest of disturbances. Dialifen was sure that this was one of the last times anyone would have to gaze at these sad, tortured volumes, written in outdated, archaic script.

This was because he was going to burn them. He was going to be the hero of this story; he was going to be the sole possible savior of these ancient classics, and the sole possible lens through which to experience them. His name would be proudly displayed below that of the original author: Letus, who will now certainly become the esteemed head of a newly-rediscovered literary pantheon. In addition, this being only natural—he was going to update the works for the seventeenth century. He was going to improve and augment the works of Letus, for only he knew how to.

“Those that create and write are burdened with doubt at all moments, and must have the urge to continue to try and redeem themselves through an endless path of slow improvement. This is simply of their nature. Those statued men, with acid rain habits, they have an unsatable sadness inherently tied in with all their sympathetic properties.”
—Letus, Affairs: Volume VI

“Those that create, write, and of course publish—are burdened with countless valors, and the responsibility of maintaining and upkeeping the very reason for continued human existence, and they must continue to have the urge to create, despite having already expertly showcased their worth many times over.”
—Letus, Affairs: Volume VI; as translated by Dialifen (1609)

The flame crackles in place, lashing at and eating up the blackening parchment. Diafen steps out of his house, a well-manicured abode directly on the river, just upstream from the capital of the kingdom. He prefers not to be in the presence of smoke, neither from wood nor from hated tobacco; he considers it unbecoming, and therefore to be avoided at all costs. He supposes that it is an opportune moment to pay a visit to a friend, his very good friend—and more importantly, his publisher. Surely, it wouldn’t be too hasty to partake in a deserved evening out, in the week before the manuscripts were to be sent off to the typesetter.

And, how egregious their exploits were! The King would have no doubt gone utterly pale in the face if he could have seen the manner in which his younger brother had his way with the harlot that had been paid for. Alcohol was had, and then it was spilt, and lost. This grand effort had been seven years in the making for Diafen, and now the birthing process was virtually over. He had suffered significantly for his passion, he had decided, perhaps even more than a metaphorical woman in post-Eden labor.

After all is said and done, the two of them exit the publisher’s home, which was situated neatly in the center of town. It is now dark outside, and the publisher, named Pierre, holds a candle as he walks. “Speaking of Letus, have you spoken to Guillaume lately?” Guillaume was the man who had been tasked with teaching Diafen the ancient language, and the one who had originally deciphered it, as well.

“Not in seven years, I told you.”

Pierre seems flummoxed. “If you told me, it was years ago.”.

“My point stands.”
The pause lasts for too long to be comfortable, and then twice too long. “I thought that you two got along like a house on fire! You haven’t even written him in that long?”
Diafen twists up his face, as if he had been asked to operate a hoe, or something equally foreign and repulsive. “Not after his attempted treason, I haven’t.”

“Treason, what? What happened? Was he arrested?”

“Arrested, and taken care of. They had discovered a draft of his pledge of support to a rebellious duke, that was written in the old script, as to try and obfuscate it.” A beat. “Well, I did, anyway.” An accomplished grin can’t help but appear on his face.

“And this was how long ago?”

“Two years.”

Guillaume would never understand Diafen’s approach to translation, and despite his aid, Diafen would err towards a sentiment of “good riddance”.

“What a damned shame.”

“I expected it from him. I came to know him very well, and God knows he wasn’t virtuous.” They walk in silence for a moment, it never occurring to Pierre to think of being suspicious, not of the brother of the King!

“I think that you should show me the manuscript of the third volume first. From what I’ve read in your letters, that seems like the one I’d have the most interest in reading! All those things about-”

“About the perils and pitfalls of man? Absolutely. You’ve always been attracted to the macabre, Pierre.”

“I can’t help but love a good tragedy.”

“You helpless cretin.” He’s joking, of course, but to the outside observer, it’s unclear whether he’s joking entirely, or only halfway. “Joy creates the only real enjoyment.” Pierre knows the delicately-translated passage already from the letters, and he mouths the idiom silently as his friend speaks. Diafen continues, as he always does. “I wonder if we’ll have to employ more than one horse and rider in order to carry the-” He suddenly pauses, at once digging his heels into the ground. It is at this moment that Pierre first notices the dark trail floating in the sky, in front of the stars—and that Diafen first notices the scent of smoke.

The unmonitored embers in Diafen’s fireplace, acting as agents of vengeance, had launched themselves onto a precariously-positioned rug. The flaming decor then caught the lacquered hardwood floor aflame, and then the curtains; the rest of Diafen’s estate followed in relatively short order. The mahogany table with the manuscripts on top merely served as a particularly dense thicket for the flames to chew through. At present, the charred remains of the decadent architecture smear across the wilted grass, like a commoner’s belabored, clumsy graffiti. What Jehans had willed gone was gone, and all of his worldly possessions had gone with it. And of course, what was revised was forever lost.

“Nothing scares Man more than his own nullification, and the most abundant and most prescient nullifier has always been, and will always be, fire.”
—Letus, Affairs: Volume III; as translated by Dialifen (1609)

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Thanks for the crits, Obliterati and Flesnolk!

Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Thank you very much for the crit QPQ! Gosh, getting a DM is VERY educational, isn't it?


Tweezer Reprise
Aug 6, 2013

It hasn't got six strings, but it's a lot of fun.
Also, in with flash and flash rule.

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