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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


In with this guy

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autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe

I fuckin obviously need Backdraft, the firefighter merman and also in with a

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at 00:52 on Dec 19, 2018

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

In, PERMATOXX, a normal toxx to not lose, my toxx to review all the entries from the last week I judged still stands, give me a flash rule and... hmmmmmm... King Neptune?

Edit: gently caress

https://decemberdiamonds.com/Scripts/PublicSite/openwindowPub.php?&template=ShowItemPopupPublic&item=817442579220&sku=55-55049&cat=424600

Flesnolk fucked around with this message at 02:34 on Dec 19, 2018

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

New page and not everyone reads back, so:

Kaishai posted:

Could entrants please include a link to or picture of their mermen?

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Flesnolk posted:

give me a flash rule and...

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Flesnolk posted:

In, PERMATOXX, a normal toxx to not lose, my toxx to review all the entries from the last week I judged still stands, give me a flash rule and... hmmmmmm... King Neptune?

Edit: gently caress

https://decemberdiamonds.com/Scripts/PublicSite/openwindowPub.php?&template=ShowItemPopupPublic&item=817442579220&sku=55-55049&cat=424600

Write well.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


give me a flash rule and a merman

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Entenzahn posted:

give me a flash rule and a merman



Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gathering winter fuel

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


I'm judgin' btw

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Special xmas av for winner and loser

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In, needless to say, with a couple of old friends:

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


ho ho ho

in with

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


Alright, I'm going to get my feet wet.

In with Cupid.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




You’ve got about 12 hours left to sign-up.

The real question is, who will claim the wizard merman?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME


Yoruichi posted:

You’ve got about 12 hours left to sign-up.

The real question is, who will claim the wizard merman?

okay, i'll try. In.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Jingle bells, jingle bells, sign ups are closed

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


Wizards Don't Dance

(Brawl vs Sebmojo)

477 words

It is a very rare thing for two wizards to engage in a magical battle. Formal dueling is something only the school-trained ever realize exists, and even they do not think of it once past the day of their graduation. They quickly learn what the self-taught and apprenticed mage already knows: a fair fight is for fools and suckers. If you want another wizard dead, slit his throat in his sleep, or poison her breakfast tea, or drop a mountain on their house.

Nonetheless, here they were, Fergus the Black and Martyn Cassowar, facing one another in the middle of a warm Dallas street.

“Let's dance,” Martyn had said.

“I don't dance,” Fergus had answered. “How about I just kill you instead.”

And so it had begun. There is a calmness to a magical contest between two mages so strong and so equal. Spell and counterspell, each performed with so little effort as to be nearly invisible. Fergus raised his eyebrow and a bolt of lightning formed in the clouds above. Martyn shifted his weight from left foot to right and the charge dissipated without striking. A twitch of the lip created javelins of ice. A subtle nod melted then before they flew an inch.

Martyn wondered what had brought this on. In the end, it didn't much matter. A wizard was supremely powerful and accountable to no one. The only days he didn't make new mortal enemies were those spend hiding from old ones. Fergus was not familiar to him, although there was something about the way he crafted his spells, the particular crafting of the flames he was snuffing out with a half-shrug, the order in which he unraveled a Lance of pure negative energy. One of Oliva's students, perhaps?

Martyn was already beginning to show signs of fatigue. His discipline was fading, the gestures of his spells getting more and more exaggerated. His arms jerked in the air to summon a bullet from the sky. Fergus easily negated the spell, then dropped his jaw in horror.

There was only a fraction of a second to react. Fergus shook his head and weaved magic to vaporize the lead in flight, touching thumb to index finger to raise a shield about his head.

Martyn countered both spells with a foot shuffle and a butt thrust. The high velocity projectile struck home, and the battle was done.

On the rooftop, Jenkins began to disassemble his weapon. His phone verified the fund transfer. Some professionals avoid work that targets wizards. Others, like him, took those jobs even if the pay wasn't quite enough. For the same reason, really. He took out his lighter and ignited both a cigarette and the scrap of paper with his instructions, watching the words burn.

'Two wizards will face off. One will start dancing like a fool. Shoot the other one.’

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Have Fist, will Time Travel
850 words

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:35 on Jan 1, 2019

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax


Fun Shoe



Flare Up
852 words


Backdraft was finishing up his calisthenics. The winter sun was just beginning to filter down through the waters and illuminate Mermonia. He was running behind, he’d tried his best to be out before sunrise but the bed had proven too enticing against the chilly winter morning. He rushed through his final stretches, knowing Fulgencio would be up soon. He couldn’t bear to face him.

He heard the delicate driftwood door of their bedroom click shut. Fulgencio fluttered down the stairs, his powerful tail shimmering in the morning light. He always seemed more sparkly before they argued.

“If you leave this time, don’t bother coming back,” Fulgencio said, arms crossed across his thin, muscled chest.

“You know it’s my duty!” Backdraft shot back, packing his bag.

“Your duty? We live underwater there hasn’t been a fire here since...well, ever! We’ve never had a fire. You could stay home and no one would know! It’s what the volunteers do!”

“They’re good mermen!” Backdraft shouted although he’d never meant to raise his voice, it was a sore spot. The volunteer firemerman force looked great on paper but in his entire career he’d never seen any one of them attend a call.

“Besides,” Backdraft said, “Getting paid to stay home would be stealing.”

Fulgencio rolled his eyes. “Then quit! I can’t bear to have you gone over another holiday!”

Backdraft sighed, flexed, and put on his helmet. Fulgencio was right, his shifts always lined up with some major holiday. It was part & parcel with the job, though.

“I’m going to work,” Backdraft said coldly.

“Fine.” Fulgencio opened the door for him. Backdraft swam through and heard it click shut.

He took the long way around to get some cardio in, he hated using the treadpool at that station. Mermonia was lit up for the holidays, lengths of bioluminescent plankton draped from light post to light post, the tightly-packed townhouses of the city center were done up with festive bits of coral and topped with white algae to resemble snow.

He swam past the Mayor’s house and stared. It was more marvelous than ever. The entire thing had been redone for Christmas. The mayor must have ordered new coral to be grown around the rust proof magnesium frame because Backdraft had never seen it like this. The entire thing was shimmering with festive colour. Plankton glowed from every crevice in shades of green and red and gold. Festive scenes seemed to emerge from the building itself, its very shape tickling the subconscious into remembering sleigh rides and evergreens.

Backdraft unlocked the firehall doors and swam inside. He changed the calendar behind the always empty reception desk to read December 23rd. He couldn’t shake the sound of the door clicking shut behind him when he left Fulgencio. He seemed serious this time. Backdraft pushed that out of his mind by busying himself around the station, starting with an upper body workout in the gym.

After dusting off every flat surface and reorganising all the uniforms, he busied himself polishing the trucks. Special order with negative buoyancy and hydrophobic fire-foam in the tanks. They were supposedly the leading model in underwater fire-fighting. After making sure every surface of the trucks gleamed, he ran a few drills. He was suited up and in the ladder truck in under thirty seconds, out again with the hoses unrolled in another fifteen.

The day was dragging on, he was tired. It wasn’t even eight yet but he decided to call it a night. He left the T.V on as he drifted off, desperate to find anything to keep his thoughts from drifting back home.

At half past two the phone rang. He answered, half expecting it to be Fulgencio. The dispatcher sounded frantic. Someone topside had driven a car off the pier, or rather it had driven itself. Some new electric thing full of computers, the dispatcher kept calling it a Telsa or something. Backdraft asked him to slow down, the guy was practically hyperventilating.

“Battery fire. Car. Mayor’s house.”

Adrenaline shot through his veins as he swam out to the truck. He was ready in record time and the truck raced through Mermonia’s tightly packed streets. As he passed the houses lit up, residents roused by the commotion.

The car’s batteries had caught fire underwater, the currents had caught the thing and sent it right into the mayor’s house where the magnesium frame had caught, too. He was all action as he set up the hoses.

He’d beat the fire back, the flames retreated back into the gutted upper floors when the hoses sputtered and cut out. The truck was out of foam. He watched the headway he’d made vanish, blue-green fire licking back up into magnesium rafters.

He dropped the hose, dejected. All those holidays missed. All that work. For nothing. He couldn’t bear to face the crowd that had gathered. He wiped soot from his helmet and tossed it to the ground. Red and blue lights reflected off the dirty badge. He looked up to see the pump truck tearing down the streets. Behind the wheel Fulgencio sparkled.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week CCCXXXII: Sitting Here, Chairchucker, BeefSupreme, M. Propagandalf, and sebmojo

My mermen need space to swim free, so here are a few thoughts on a recent week!


Sitting Here, "In Lieu of (Again)"

The evocation of various senses is strong. The problem, such as it is, is that I can't piece together the event (or character?) from the hints you give me. It's an ominous scene, for which I blame prematurely dark and veiled by winter's shadow and flickering in and out of existence. The final paragraph emphasizes the dark mood. I wonder if the V8-drinker has broken into a house to squat; I wonder if the doughnuts were poisonous and everybody's dead. Someone's playing Mario, though, and other details hint at something almost like a party. So what's going on? I know now what you intended, but I wouldn't have guessed it without your input, and the tone you've set is a shade too dark. I say "a shade" because I suspect a melancholy undertone is intentional (see: anxious, troubled sheets). You've created a melancholy overtone instead.

************* *********************** ******************

Chairchucker, "In Absentia - In Morte"

This is by no stretch of the imagination a description of a place! Even ignoring that, this isn't the work of your finest hour. (Which is to imply that it took you an hour to write. Because I think it did. That estimate may be generous, actually.) I'm entertained by the banter and the tricorn hat, and I almost like how irrelevant the clock nearly is. What's the point of Dick being "dead," though? Why is a dead man on trial? Why does anybody think he stole this boat clock whatsis? I could have done with a shade less tricorn and a little more connective tissue! I know what Djeser said about plots this week, but this is a story, and my expectations were formed and foiled accordingly. Flesh this out some to shore up the humor and it will be a fun little thing.

************* *********************** ******************

BeefSupreme, "Archival"

There's a little too much character here, too much of a personal lens for it to come off as a description of a place and not, at least in part, a study of the narrator. He tells us as much about his parents as the house does, which I think misses the point. It's a shame because I like your setting a lot, and an empty house could absolutely describe its occupants without human intercession. You might have done better to stick to the father's study since he is the person being described, as best I can tell; the mother, the son, and the family are incidental, and their portions of the house are intriguing but superfluous.

************* *********************** ******************

M. Propagandalf, "Becoming"

Do the details you've given describe "the villain," whatever it is? I would say no. Probably the city champion has turned evil, but I can't tell where the paws come in, nor why any of this is taking place. I can't picture the youths' killer physically, and I can't imagine him emotionally or intellectually. It's possible you intended instead to describe the event--the killing--and that's handled a little better, but the emphasis placed on the hero throughout and the final line work against this interpretation. In the end I feel like you were trying to describe both character and event in one piece, and that could be much of why it doesn't do a great job on either front. Still, there's something intriguing about this sequence. I want to know the hero's history even as I suspect it's as anime as hell. You could probably spin this premise into a story proper and make it worth the telling.

************* *********************** ******************

sebmojo, "23"

"One of the fence pales is In the street"--this travesty hit right as I was getting wrapped up in the question of what happened to these people, and as I'm sure you can understand, it knocked me right out of Suspense Mode and into Dammit Sebmojo Mode. It was in fact so jarring that my first thought was Oh, that's why this didn't HM. I doubt now that poor proofing is the reason. This is a descriptive exercise and doesn't need a plot; I get that, but it feels too much like it's building up to tragedy to end as it does, with a whoopie-cushion blrrrpt made of Donald Duck heads. The LSD is almost meaningful, probably wants to be meaningful, but it and the car wreck together are too much for a piece of this size. These potential reasons for the police lights distract from one another. Maybe the foreign drug supplier came to visit and crashed his minivan! Maybe the idiots in the house crashed it because they're on acid! Maybe the incidents are unrelated! I don't know, and wondering about it reduces the impact of whatever misfortune has befallen.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 17:18 on Jan 6, 2019

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME




Sun Below
991 words

He is the Sun of the Shallows. His eight tails are longer than an eel, each of them punctuating in feathery fins that sway with the mood of the currents. His scales are a parade of reef colors: clown fish-orange, coral-pink, the livid yellow-blue of the angel fish, and the many chromatic exclamations of the octopus.

His long, lean torso is a sensible brown, darkened to the color of wet sand by the plentiful sun. His arms are long and slender; two of them taper into cruel barbs, but his second pair of arms feature appendages more dangerous still: hands.

With these hands, he draws the sacred waterknots of the sea. He wields the harpoons of men. He cracks shells, pulls garlands of octopus eggs from their nests.

Today, he billows through the shallows, searching. Those cunning hands pluck from the sand a glass bottle, corked and occupied by a coil of yellowed paper. He breaches the surface, casting the paper aside to wilt on the tides.

He tilts the bottle so its mouth is filled half with sky, half with sea. He watches the liquid skin of the world pour into the clear vessel. Holding the bottle above the waves, he seals the cork tight, preserving the warm mixture of air and water.

Then he dives, holding the bottle tight to his chest with all four arms.

The creatures of the reef shrink away from him but don’t flee entirely, flattered as they are by the sight of their own colors in his majestic tails. They are lucky today; he is not hungry.

He reaches the cusp of the shallows when the sun is still low in the early sky. A gang of sharks are loitering in the waters above the steep drop, glorying in kills made at dawn. The wise choice would be to divert around them, but he is a creature of habit.

He keeps the bottle close to his chest, protected by the nest of his hands, and raises his two lethal barbs.

His tails cleave together and move as one unified appendage, propelling him toward the sharks with the speed of an angry dolphin. All but one of the sharks scatter; the brave loiterer is a battered old matron, her toothy hide dense with the battle-language of scars.

The Sun of the Shallows unfurls his tails, using their mass to reduce his momentum and increase his apparent size. The old matron surges toward him, then jets to the side at the last moment, circling around in an attempt to get her jaws on one of those feathery fins.

She is fast, for a shark, but the Sun is faster. With a twist of his tails, he whirls around draws a painful, bloody line across the old matron’s right gills with one of his barb-arms.

She churns the water as she flees, indignant but unwilling to die.

The Sun of the Shallows continues his journey into the deep, the bottle clutched against his heart.

Deeper, darker waters present problems his barbed arms can’t solve. As a shallows-dweller, his eyes are adapted to sun and starlight. He’s not suited for the cold temperatures or ever-increasing gradient of pressure.

He cups his tails before him, creating a basket into which he deposits the bottle full of air and surface water. His hands freed, he begins to draw a waterknot.

All water caries a memory of the heights and depths of its past. The deepest abyssal current knows what it is to fall as rain, and the fastest-moving rivers know the deep sleep of the glacier. The Sun of the Shallows draws out threads of memories with the graceful motions of his hands and the curling articulations of his fingers.

The pressure on his body diminishes until he floats in a bubble of water that remembers the surface, a protective artifice that allows him to descend to bone-crushing depths.

The bottom of the ocean is black as the pit of a shark’s eye so the Sun must follow the faint emanations of heat and movement from near the unseen seafloor.

When he sees the long, jagged slash of red far below, he knows he has returned to the home of his heart. The vent schisms the seafloor, a bolt of molten lightning trapped forever at the bottom of the world. As he draws nearer, the meager volcanic light paints his lover’s countenance in a red, shadow-pitted glow.

Her skin is the grey of dead whale flesh, her face pillowed in the sprawling, chitinous mass of her hair. Each long tendril of hair extends up into sheathes of tubeworms, thousands of them in all, swaying in the upwelling of hot water from the vent.

The Moon of the Deep gazes up at the Sun of the Shallows. She smiles with tectonic slowness.

The Sun moves as close to the Moon as he can without encompassing her in the bubble of lighter water; as he needs the shallows, the Moon of the Deep requires the crushing pressure of the depths.

They work together to create another waterknot, her hands moving with ponderous grace while his dance like exuberant dolphins. They construct between them a gradient of pressures, braiding together the memories of the water into a tunnel. All the while, the Sun cups the glass bottle in the bowl of his tails.

When the waterknot is complete, he uncorks the bottle and releases the surface water into the passage between them. It congeals into an eel-like shape, almost transparent except for where light from the vent glints off the distortion of water, and drifts downward, pulled in by the Moon’s beckoning magics.

She coaxes the small mass of water into the space between her hands and listens as the water whispers of new memories from the top of the world. Woven among those memories is something else: the love of a Sun for the Moon below.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


You and I
Words: 496

I took that vacation you always wanted us to take. You know, leave the stars behind and immerse ourselves in some tropical paradise. You always said that It’d be fantastic to get away under the waves and leave everything behind. I guess you were right.

I shed my legs last week and just drifted around, literally, letting the currents take me from one touristy bar to the next. You would probably say it was cathartic. I just found it aimless, even pointless. I guess that's the depression talking.

I kept it up, though, getting more and more immersed in the local culture as time went on. The bars got divyer over the week. The clientele in them was more interesting. I got tired of the romantic swooning couples in the more resort orientated places.

They say nothing is better for an aching heart than getting drunk in a strange city. Well, by they I mean that shrink you set me up with after, everything. I wasn’t keen on them nudging my neurons around, so they did it classical style, a few pills and advisement to take a vacation. Go see a world, get my feet wet, maybe find some other fish in the sea.

Eventually I managed to find a nice local grotto, a little dry spot in a cavern nestled cozilly in between the foundations of a few surface piercing city blocks. It was a good place to find a little drunk comradery. The air smelled like clove cigarettes, and you had to watch where you stepped on land. Well, flopped, I guess. I haven’t really picked up as much of the aquatic terminology yet.

I got a little wisdom there from someone who called themselves a long term tourist. You probably wouldn’t care for it, but I suppose that’s kind of the point.

“Everyone down here is here because they’re looking for something. You don’t cut off everything below the waist and get fins unless you’re dealing with some poo poo.”

It made sense. I mean, my issues are given, you know that.

“Some people are in it for the adventure, and some people are in it to ruin it for others, but most people, they just want what we all need.”

I asked them what that was, and they gave me a good long sideways glance and offered me a smoke before continuing.

“Validation.”

They were right. That is what I wanted. What I want, even. I spent too much time sponging it off you. I can see that now, at least. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find it on my own, but, seeing as I’ve already given up my legs, I guess here is as good as any place to look.

So thanks. I guess I won’t be seeing you around!

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

Offloading some Week 324 crits both for toxx progress and for the extra words if I need them.

Lottie: I’ll be honest, and I’m sorry but this might come off as more of a comment than a true critique because of it. Pretty much nothing happens in this story and the prose is constructed in such a way that my attention has bounced straight off it every time I tried to read it. Including right now when I’ve been rereading the week so I can crit with fresh memory! I think you needed to lose the stoner angle and hone in on a thematic throughline for this, so that it feels less like a connection of random events and the ramblings of a high person. Horror through the eyes of an intoxicated person can totally work, but there is the risk of it just devolving into “lol he’s high,” and I would note this story is just overall really… grey. Like there isn’t much of a hook to really bite into and compel me to keep going.

NotGordian: You haven’t been back since Week 324 but just in case. From what I recall, during judge discussions there was sort of a triad of loss candidates, between you, Yoruichi and Lottie - I pushed more for one of them to get the loss at first. Still, this one didn’t really land for me. I find the “night at the club Goes Horribly Wrong, spooky stuff happens with the lights and to the dancers” stuff a bit overworn, and I’m with Muffin on really hating that ending. He summed it up better than I can. One thing I will add is this story reads more like I’m being talked at, in places, than seeing a story unfold.

Yoruichi: I’m pretty sure I fought for this one to lose actually, or at least to be DQ’d. There’s some judge bias here, where pretty much any story where a dog dies (yes, even in this case) immediately goes into my personal rubbish bin, but what also jumped out at me was the rather flagrant breaking of the no violence rule in this cheeky, “technically I’m not breaking the rule” way that instantly annoyed me. And then the twist ending was just like a cheeky slap to the face on top of that. I don’t like when a story tries to fake me out, especially with the abrupt way it’s done here. There was no tension or creeping dread here, it really felt like the written equivalent of a jumpscare.

Sebmojo: Great prose but felt pretty aimless, this is one where I don’t feel like I have anything to say so I fall back on agreeing with Muffin. For what it's worth, I remember liking this one, but just not feeling it had enough drive to reach the top of the pack.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



Maui The Amazing Merman
630 Words

It was Christmas Eve, and it was raining again. As if it wasn’t already difficult enough to bring in the crowds. Delilah insisted that by keeping performances up over the holiday season, they’d get the jump on the other local circuses, most of whom didn’t open up until later in the summer once the new year had come and gone.

She was right, mostly. Delilah Samson’s Delightful Circus and Menagaeria was easily the most popular big-top in the entire King Country. Which, unfortunately, was a bit like being the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. Whose vision is rapidly fading.

“Hey, nice jacket. For a clown to wear. To the circus.”

“If you want to borrow my jacket, you can just ask.” It was a well worn joke, and almost as old as their relationship. Tom turned around, smiling at the familiar voice of his husband. “How’s it looking tonight?”

“Del thinks it’s going to be the biggest night of the season so far,” answered Sean, worry lines creasing his face beneath the greasepaint. “But she always thinks that. I’m not so sure.”

“It couldn’t be worse than last night, at least. Come on, let’s go take a look at the damage.”

They left their caravan arm in arm, and strolled through the menagerie, a collection of caravans, cages and small tents clustered together along the way to the big top. As usual before a show, it was bustling with activity, as the circus folks rushed about in preparation before the audience got ushered in by the roustabouts. The Batman, an hirsute individual who performed on a trapeze with a large pair of wings strapped to his back, was grumbling. He was crouched on top of one of the cages, glowering down at the crowd that was very slowly gathering outside the circus gates.

“Don’t know why Del wants me up here anyway, nobody’s paying attention. Weather like this, I’ll smell like a wet dog for days.”

“That’ll be an improvement then, won’t it?” Sean yelled back up at him, and received a withering glare in response as they walked away. “Anyway, I’d better go and get dressed. Don’t want to disappoint our vast beloved audience.”

He gestured at the dozen people beyond the gate, planted a kiss on Tom’s cheek, and ambled off in the direction of the minuscule tent where the clowns kept their costumes. Tom kept walking, past the fortune teller fanning out her Santa Claus themed tarot deck, the bird-keeper frustratedly re-dying the wings of her ‘once-extinct black robin’ and the sword-swallower sharpening a dizzying array of bladed weapons.

Tom arrived at his destination, a large wagon with glass walls and bright red wheels, and began to strip off. He climbed the ladder bolted to the side of the wagon, and pulled on his tail before sliding into the blessedly cool water. The rain didn’t particularly bother him, but the humidity was a bit too much, even for a professional merman.

40 minutes later, Tom’s pool was wheeled onto stage to lackluster applause, as Del tried to hype the crowd.

“See the amazing Merman Maui! Watch him tame the vicious sea lion! Marvel at the wonder of this delight from the deep!”

It was humid, the seal had chewed off half of her mane, and to call the audience sparse would be generous. But as Tom rotated in the middle of his pool, glistening in the stage lights, he saw Sean off to the side of the ring, his face split in a genuine smile beneath the painted one. Del was still enthusiastically gesturing towards the audience. Even the Batman, dangling upside down from a catwalk high above the crowd, had a smile on his upturned face.

It wasn’t much, but it was Christmas.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.



Merry and Bright
(1,158 words)

Read it in the archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 19:06 on Jan 2, 2019

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


Five Christmases



828 words

2014 was the year the Living Vortex attacked Edge City. I was brand new to the whole business, just a few months into having any kind of powers at all. Barely knew what I was doing and there I was fighting alongside the Seven and the Victory Brigade and all of them. I was the guy who stepped on front of the Vortex's last beam attack. I didn't know just how invulnerable I was then, and that beam would have turned Edge City into a smoking crater. It knocked me into a pile of rubble, and turned my outfit into blue and orange dust. Good thing Fafnir was the one who dug me out. He's tough enough to know from experience about that kind of problem, and was quick enough to find a robe for me to step into. Thanks to him I wasn't bare rear end naked and hiding when I first met Alexa, the last girl in the universe.

***

In 2015 we found out the portal to the house at the end of time that the Vortex had ripped open was still there, opening up every Christmas Day. Alexa came through with her whole family, and while Paragon Jr. and The Veil gave Andy and Eva Eternity the grand tour of the city, Alexa requested I show her around.

“I like your new suit,” she said. So did I. Leather jacket and pants, basic black.

“It's Denebian firesnake,” I said. “Almost as tough as me.”

We talked over milkshakes and snowmen, teenage stuff even though I was twenty and she was twenty or infinity, depending on how you count.

“Why don't you use a codename?” she asked me.

“Nothing wrong with my name. Max works for both, really.”

“Maybe if it was still the nineties,” she said.

There was a kiss, a quick peck on the cheek before they passed through the portal again.

***

I missed her in 2016. Me and the Dragonslayer and Silent Fist all spent the holidays trapped in a Martian prison, and didn't make it out until February. She left a letter for me. I didn't read it until June. It was a rough year all around. My mother died, not from some revenge-crazed villain but from a damned stroke. And that was the first time I ran into myself. My future self. He's come back in time a few times now. Maybe different versions of him. Turns out I live at least three hundred years, and also turn into a major rear end in a top hat.

***

Last year, 2017, we had a real date. No chaperone, but her parents did one better: they found a wizard to turn us both into merpeople for the whole day. No funny business when neither one of us had the proper equipment. But I couldn't really complain. We got to see the city of Triarch, which hardly anyone can do. Turns out it has literally nothing to do with the Atlantis legend, and the mermen and mermaids all get angry when tourists assume that it does. And we swam with the rays and the deep sea lanternfish, and made out in the bay by the city in those few minutes before the portal called her home.

***

Last year we swam. This year, we fly.

Another gift from her parents. I've always wanted to be able to fly. When your powers are invulnerability and strength, you get thrown blocks away from the fight a lot and have to spend a lot of time running back. The Silent Fist has been trying to teach me bracing techniques, but just being able to fly, to turn around in the air, that would be better. As soon as somebody invents a jetpack that doesn't break down when anyone looks at it funny or get hacked every Wednesday by one of the STEMlord's acolytes, sign me up.

I don't know how today is going to end. I've got a ring in my jacket pocket, but odds are I'm going to chicken out, put it off for next year or the year after. We've both got time. Or maybe I won't.

None of the future me's I've run into ever talk about Alexa. Don't seem to even recognize the name. Maybe they're pretending, trying not to change history, but I don't think so. I think the Living Vortex made a brand new timeline five years ago, one where I won't have to watch every single friend I make die while I go on forever.

And right now it's Christmas, we're flying above the city, drunk on young love under early evening starlight, her smile making me float and melt and chilly and warm all at once, and I've faced the Living Vortex and the Denebian Armada and the crazy future last-man-on-Earth myself and I'm more frightened of a piece of gold and gemstone in my pocket than all of them put together.

I gave myself permission to chicken out, earlier, but I'm revoking it.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

Flesnolk fucked around with this message at 10:30 on Dec 31, 2018

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


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Oh dear me, will you look at the time. Guess I'd better start closing this gate. Oof it's heavy though. Maybe I'll just close it a little bit then have a rest. Dear me getting this gate shut really might take me a while. Oh dear oh dear. Puff puff.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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

Dazzling Dan

In the distance, Dan heard the unmistakable cries for help of a hapless citizen in need. He paused and considered. He’d already used all his bathroom breaks. He sighed and clocked off. Belinda looked at him questioningly. “I must’ve eaten something that disagreed with me, and I’m out of bathroom breaks,” he said.

She wrinkled up her nose. “All right, no need for details.”

He dashed off to the bathroom, locked himself in one of the stalls, and became his alter ego, Dazzling Dan. Leaving the door locked, he nimbly vaulted the stall door, checked his hair in the mirror, (it was flawless) and flew out the window.

The call of distress was in the carpark. Dan’s boss, Patrick, was standing next to his car, a red sports car. “What ails you, citizen?” asked Dazzling Dan.

“Oh, thank God,” said Patrick. “My car’s got a bit of a scratch on it.”

“A scratch.”

“Yes,” said Patrick, “see right there? You might have to squint a bit.”

“I have Dazzling Sight,” said Dazzling Dan. “I can see it.”

“Right,” said Patrick, “please save me, Dazzling Dan!”

“It’s just, usually citizens call for me when they’re in peril.”

“Do you know what kind of car this is?” asked Patrick.

“Is it the kind where scratching the paint leaks poison into the air and kills people?”

“What?” Patrick looked perplexed. “Why would anyone buy a car like that? It’s a very expensive red sports car. It proves how much better I am than the losers I work with, and a scratch puts that in jeopardy.”

Dazzling Dan frowned. In his head, he put his fist through the bonnet, or picked the whole car up and dropped it in the river. He didn’t do either of those things, however. He activated his Dazzling Hot Sight, fixing up the scratch so that it looked as good as new. Better, even.

“Thanks, Dazzling Dan,” said Patrick. “It’s gotta look good for my date tonight. I think I might get lucky, if you know what I mean.”

Dazzling Dan did not reply; for he was afraid that he might accidentally punt Patrick into a wall if he stayed much longer. The ‘peril’ averted, he flew off out of sight, then back into the toilet to change back into the less Dazzling version of himself.

~

Later that afternoon, he clocked off for the second time to go home. “Oh, Belinda,” he said, as casually as he could, “I’m going to the theatre tonight, and I’ve got a spare ticket. Don’t suppose you’d be keen to go?”

“You’re going out?” she asked. “Are you sure you won’t have any issues?”

“Issues?” Dan was puzzled.

“Well, you know, with whatever you ate that disagreed with you.”

“Oh, that. No, I’m feeling much better.”

“Oh, good,” said Belinda. “I’d love to, but Patrick’s asked me to come over for a project meeting.”

“A project meeting at night?”

Belinda shrugged. “Yeah, I thought it was strange, but he told me we had to go over a few things.”

“Right,” said Dan. “No worries.” So that was the ‘date’ he had.

“A shame, I love the theatre,” she said. “I hope you find someone to use the second ticket. See you tomorrow, anyway.”

~

That evening, half an hour or so before the show was about to start, Dan heard another distress call. Night time distress calls were better, in that he didn’t have to take time off work to attend to them. He also didn’t have to hide in a toilet stall to change. With Dazzling Speed, he changed into Dazzling Dan and flew out the window.

The caller this time was Belinda. She was calling from out of the window of Patrick’s car. The car itself was caught in a tree that was growing out of the side of the cliff. Dazzling Dan flew underneath the car, to check that it was stable, not at all to stay out of their field of view and eavesdrop on them.

“Why couldn’t you have just slowed down?” she was asking. “We weren’t in any hurry.”

“Slow down?” said Patrick. “Do you know what kind of car this is?”

“A red coffin,” she said.

The car was actually relatively stable, although it wouldn’t take too much to upset its equilibrium. Dan flew up next to Belinda’s side and tore the door off its hinges.

“Hey,” said Patrick, “do you know what kind of car this is?”

Dazzling Dan ignored him and held a hand out to Belinda. “Please come with me quickly, Ma’am,” he said. “I don’t know how much longer this branch will hold.” Belinda took off her seatbelt and reached out to him, and he wrapped his arm around her, held her safe, and flew and dropped her off on the top of the cliff. “I’ll be right back,” he said, then flew back down to the car.

“I can’t believe you did that to my car,” said Patrick.

Dazzling Dan ignored him, and tore off the driver side door as well. He held out an arm to Patrick, who frowned, but undid his seatbelt and held out his arm. Dan took Patrick under his arm, then flew back up to the top of the cliff, dislodging the car in the process. The car slowly toppled, then bounced off the sides of the cliff and plunged into the water below.

“My car!” cried Patrick.

“Looks like I got you two out of there just in time,” said Dazzling Dan. “It seems like you might both be in need of a lift, can I assist you back to your homes?”

“You’ve done enough already,” said Patrick.

“Yes please,” said Belinda.

Dazzling Dan shrugged at Patrick’s refusal of help, then held out an arm to Belinda. He held her to him and flew her towards her home. She looked up at him. “You seem familiar.”

He smiled. “Tell me ma’am, do you like the theatre?”

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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

Yoruichi posted:

Super Hunk



BTW this was my Merman and it's 994 words.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


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True and Interesting Facts about Horse




And with a final heave, the gate is closed.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

The failures get coal

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



this is thunderdome, the winners get coal

the failures are the coal

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Unless they post redemption stories. Then they get sweet, sweet redemption. So they should do that; they should do it now.

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


Brawl judgment for mojo and thran will be rendered in the morning

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


In the Home of the Gods

“Osiris,” said Hermes, “Is that roast chicken I smell?”

“It is,” responded the god of the underworld. Hermes sighed. “Would that Krishna prepared fish today, but we have no such luck.”

Lots of the gods couldn't get along with each other at all, but everyone loved Krishna. He was everyone's favorite uncle up in the home of the gods, and a big part of that was his cooking. Now you might think he'd be vegetarian, but a god can make a delicious side of pork roast out of thin air, meat that was never a pig or chicken or fish to begin with, so he's been experimenting with meat dishes for his fellow gods. And it's been going well. Except for the roast chicken.

“I don't suppose we'll just get used to it,” said Hermes. Osiris shook his head. The problem was the seasoning. Krishna had somehow gotten it into his head that chicken had to go with thyme, and he always used way too much, twice as much as anyone would ever want.

Loki approached the two gods. “Looking forward to dinner?” he asked. Osiris groaned and Hermes sighed. “Don't worry,” he said. “I know it's just not done, messing with another chef's spices, but I've gotta be me.”

“What do you mean?” asked Hermes with narrowing eyes.

“What have you been doing?” asked Osiris just as dubiously.

“You know,” said Loki. “Sinfully halving avuncular Krishna's thyme.”

Interprompt: Shaggy Reindeer Stories

Top that.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

KING OF BLOOD

Upon what meat doth this
our Caesar feed that he is grown so great?


Red Nose/Red Hand

Rachel looked over her bank records.

"What in the... Is this a... Did somebody buy a reindeer with the company card? What the hell? Who bought a god drat reindeer with the god drat company card?"

Pop music sensation Shaggy looked up. "It wasn't me!" he said quickly.

But it was!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thranguy posted:

Interprompt: Shaggy Reindeer Stories

Top that.



I couldn't in a million years, so I'll stick with my usual contribution to our festivities. Hark, Thunderdome Christmas carols! (Or click here for an index, if you prefer.)

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse






Happy Christmas Thunderdome! What an amazing pile of sparkly stories you left under my Christmas tree. This might be the sparkliest, sweetest, most spirit-of-Christmasy-est week of Thunderdome that has ever unexpectedly run up and hugged someone.

The judges had a very hard time separating the top stories, and while we did pick a loser, they weren’t that far behind the rest. There are no DMs, because you all did a pretty good job. Now, gather round, and let’s see what Santa has brought you. (Except for the failures. No presents for them. Tsk.)

Thranguy sits next to the Christmas tree in his jimjams and rips the wrapping paper off a big box and what’s inside? A Bloodthrone! Congratulations Thranguy, you narrowly take the win by having crafted the most interesting backdrop for an otherwise sweet and simple love story.

Now here are Sitting Here and Chairchucker cuddled together in front of the fire. They both get HMs for writing the best ‘most Sitting Here’ and ‘most Chairchucker’ stories respectively. These two stories couldn’t be more different in style, but the judges thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

The loss goes to Killer-of-Lawyers, whose dreary underwater holiday didn’t have enough character meat on its bones for the judges to understand what you were going for. But don’t worry, you can still have some Christmas cake.

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Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Week 333 Crits

Thank you for such a heartwarming pile of Christmas stories Thunderdome. More detailed crits available on request.


Flare Up by autism ZX spectrum

Adorbs. Was I happy to find this under my Thunderdome Christmas tree? Yes. Is it amazing? No. But it’s sweet and the descriptions of Mermonia (lol) are nice, and I think it achieves what it set out to do.

7/10


Sun Below by Sitting Here

This is a lot of pretty words, and I like the sweet ending. There’s not a whole lot else to it, but the dreamy style is lovely.

The prose has a bit of a ‘first draft’ feel to it, and needs tightening in places. Part of me is annoyed he threw away the message in the bottle without reading it.

7.5/10


You and I by Killer-of-Lawyers

This is an interesting idea but to work I think it needed more explanation of why the protag is so unhappy. As it is it fell flat, because I really wasn’t sure what was going on.

5/10


Maui the Amazing Merman by cptn_dr

This is sweet, but a bit empty. It needs more build up to make me care about these characters and share in their moment of Christmas joy.

6/10


Merry and Bright by Kaishai

Super adorbs. Any other week this might have been a bit sickly sweet but this week it fits right in and I enjoyed it. The level of drama and family conflict is just right for its heartwarming resolution.

7.25/10


Five Christmases by Thranguy

This is cool. I like the crazy mix of superheros and portals and time-shenanigans as a backdrop for a simple love story.

8/10


Uto by Flesnolk

This is a neat tale of revenge with enough twiddly bits of undersea kingdom description to make it interesting. It needs an edit though - there are a quite a few places where the prose needs tightening to really make your descriptions and characters come through clearly.

6.5/10


Dazzling Dan by Chairchucker

Aww yeah this is great. I hate Patrick and I love Dazzling Dan. I clapped at the end.

7.5/10

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