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selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Intrigued by this concept. In.

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selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Great Depression Bounty-Hunter Fairy Tale

Animals Strike Curious Poses
Word Count: 746


They've got it all wrong.

Hear me out. It's not easy being a wolf, especially not in these trying times. And when I say a wolf I mean a literal wolf. I didn't ask for this life, I was given it.

I've had a lot of time to think about this.

I didn't just wake up one day wanting to kill grannies and eat small children that wore little red hoods. Just like everyone, I sought survival and sometimes survival means doing the ugly things in life. Sometimes you have to live long enough to see yourself become just what you are - an animal.

So when Johnny Twoshoes, a vile and arrogant creature offered me delectable pickings of his finest cattle in exchange for some baneful doings I made that bargain. Made the bargain to use the gifts only I had in order for my pack to survive.

See, poverty charges interest. Not just in the human world, but the animal one too. We suffer all the same when the world goes to poo poo.

“The deal is done, Wolf,” that's how I got into this mess.

My job was simple, or so I thought.

Johnny, oh dear old Twoshoes used to be a prime man. We had a mutual understanding. He being a farmer and I a predator. He was good to his land and to his own human pack. See, his land was blessed. Never did it starve or wither, droop or die. Truth is Johnny is a warlock, with the ability to bless good fortune on those he sees fit.

But one day the world changed for Johnny.

Us wolves heard the horrible screams that came from the Twoshoes homestead that night. We could smell the gore mixed with pine from the tree perched in the house. Its little star had toppled off the top to lie in a pool of blood.

The next day we only ever saw Johnny, no mate, no pups. Johnny turned cruel after that. No lights ever glimmered on that tree again.

“Kill their girl, just like they killed mine. Do the deed and your pack will survive this season yet, Wolf.”

Straightforward concept, yes?

While I'd never killed man before, I understood it could be done despite their unnatural tools. And with the promise of good fortune for I and my pack it made the idea more fathomable even if it was just a pup.

But that was my mistake, not asking why a warlock would need the aid of an animal to kill a human child.

I learned quick enough she was not just any child.

She was a trickster. Wild and fairy-like. Almost as if she were raised on the flanks of beasts. Maybe she had been.

Her small maw had turned up in a crescent moon, revealing horrible incisors when she saw me. She clearly hadn't taken kindly to the corpse of her grandmother lying stiff on the floor.

It makes my heart race with fear remembering that tiny girls face scrunched - filled with so many years of pent up rage. So much hatred for something I believed to be easy prey, dense and docile. Innocent.

Turns out my quarry was not merely a human girl, but quite a gifted witch.

It didn't go well for me. Granted, if someone had slain my kin I don't reckon I would have been merciful either.

I stand, unmoving. Cursed in a body that is frozen, unable to speak or even flinch.  Maybe it's justice, maybe I should have been wiser. Stayed away from witchery and bounties. Led my starving pack to better lands, but again we become what we are in nature.

My nature has changed now.

The girl I had sought to kill walks through the cabin I am now eternally entombed to. She swings a wicker basket filled with berries in her right arm while cradling a bundle of herbs in her other. A haunting whistle escapes her lips which are stained red from berry juice.

She places the basket near a basin of water and sets the herbs on a oaken table near the door.

Ever so softly she pads towards me.

With a small, childlike giggle she removes her pelt that reminds me of the cardinals who nested near my old home.

Gently she adornes the article upon my back, and pulls the hood up over my ears before stepping back to admire her workmanship.

Like I said, my nature has changed now.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Saucy_Rodent posted:

Seraphiel's story included a murder underneath an indoor tree with a star on top. The jolliness was implied.

:imunfunny: (I reckoned that was one of the few ways a wolf would be able to imply it was Christmas. Oh well.)

In for the next promt.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Bystanders of the Blue Room
Word Count: 970

Promt:


I traced my fingers along the door frame, the old wooden structure now crumbling with neglect and age. The closed barrier stared back at me, waiting.

The house was being foreclosed at the end of October meaning this was my last chance to deal with my problems.

With a sigh, I grabbed hold of the handle and entered.

While the room was now bare, I could still see everything as it had been.

Nothing about my purgatory had changed. My questions remained the same.

Why had they never ventured beyond the door of the blue room? What was it about the four walled enclosure that offered them comfort that it never offered me? Did the walls — or maybe some entity choose to protect them and not I? Was there a secret, some special charm here I never knew about?

“Close your eyes and you'll be safe,” they used to say. “Pretend you're somewhere else. Stay in here and everything will be okay.”

It was a nice notion. Become ignorant to the monster that lived within those two thousand square feet. Build a new world where the monster could not be heard — could not be seen. Where it inflicted no pain or suffering. Coexist quietly and you'll be fine.

Or the other, “There's a reason this is happening, she must have done something.” It's always easier forgiving something horrendous if someone finds it justifiable.

Unfortunately, I was never a creative child, nor would I be complicit.

The monster was very much real. The monster was very much there. It always had been and always would be, no matter how much time elapsed. There was also no excuse for its actions.

The floorboards beneath my feet creaked as I ventured further within. The faded blue wallpaper was beginning to separate from the drywall it so desperately clung to.

We all shared the blue room, my two brothers and I. It hadn't been ideal, but the house was small.

I grimace, staring at where there used to be a twin sized bed. The monster used to read to us, wreathed in the scent of whiskey and oil. It would sit on an oaken chair, perched like a gargoyle peering at us for our reaction to whatever Tom Jones tale it was telling until something — or rather, someone — drew its attention.

“It won’t really hurt her,” they lied so easily. Maybe for their own sake.

Everytime the monster awoke, I sensed it. Felt it in every crevice of my body and being. It was never loud or abrupt. It began slow, and grew violent in increments much like that of a boiling tea kettle.

While they could stay bundled in bed and deaf to her cries, I never could. As much as they wanted it to be for me, the room was never soundproof.

Everytime I broke the seal to their sanctuary they winced; however, my promise to always shut the door remained intact.

I gripped the wall leading out to the hallway; it was dim, long, and just as foreboding as I remembered it being. Blue gave way to a dirty eggshell white. Years later it was still my instinct to tiptoe down the great expanse to where I knew the monster’s lair had been.

The monster was never gentle. When it wanted to, it would destroy everything it saw. Including anything that tried to stop it. But that never prevented me from waving the red flag so that maybe she had a chance to take cover from the never-ending onslaught.

I recall every blow and snap. Always placed keenly as to not leave visible abrasions.

I bent down, inspecting a palm sized dent in the wall where the monster had thrown me years ago. The impact had been jarring but had not hindered my will to play the part of the punching bag. Logically this was all I believed I could contribute to make the situation more bearable.

When the monster had been sated for the night, I would do my best to comfort her, my mother. It rarely worked, but all the same it was my personal mission to never allow someone to feel alone. Especially when for all intents and purposes they weren't.

“Go back to bed, little one. Everything will be fine,” she too had been a good liar. Maybe for her own sake.

I rose and exited. Making my way back to the blue room.

It always disgusted me. No matter what ruckus was caused, they never left the blue room. Never inquired as to what went on. Even as I limped and pulled myself into the bed by grabbing the headboard, leaving a smear of blood on the white paint. Despite being much bigger and more able than I, they never ventured into the monster's lair.

Maybe they had been more intelligent, possessed more flight than fight instincts. It made me question in terms of Darwinism if they were in fact the more fit to survive. If they had evolved to become the better-adapted individuals. Or had they simply been cowards? Perhaps that room really was their magical Wardrobe that whisked them away elsewhere.

Maybe it shouldn't matter anymore. The monster was physically gone, maybe the room — or at least the grudge I held against it and its past occupants should be too. Let bygones be bygones. We all broke parts of ourselves and each other in that blue room, parts that can never be repaired. At the end of the day they believed in fairy tales and silence — I did not.

My forgiveness remains fleeting.

I gave the room one last look over, finding no more than I ever had I turned around, and walked out.

Just this once I did not close the door.

Maybe then they could no longer pretend.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


In. Flash.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


How does one who is interested go about joining the Thunderdome discord?

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


The Man From Martian Road
Word Count: 1943
Flash Rule: Black Market Produce

One would think hurtling through space at lightspeed would be an exhilarating experience.

It's not. It’s actually quite awful, you see. As you're stuck in a cramped and confined ball of dust and rock. A meteorite, or in layman’s terms — a shooting star.

Your stomach ends up in your mouth and your limbs feel flimsy and lifeless. You can't breath. You can't even enjoy the view unless staring at a hard, solid surface tickles you pink. Don't get me wrong, some hard, solid surfaces are terrific to look at but I promise you this one is not.

I do admit that the silence is the best part. Not very many of us are permitted to make this journey alone, I'm lucky. I'm thankful for it, I would rather die than have to share this humble abode with another life force. There's simply just not enough room, plus I'm not keen on socializing. Which is funny considering my mission.

I don't know how long I've been zipping through the solar system, time is a peculiar thing in space. It's quiet, and slow despite the fact that I'm nothing but a blur right now. I could have left years ago for all I know. The thing about being in this form is that primal needs are not relevant; therefore, time is not of the essence. I don't have to worry about pissing myself or starving to death. I just sit and wait.

Wait for what exactly? I'm not quite sure myself. I was told that 'when the time came I'd know'. How vague is that? Here I am, risking my very embodiment and that's the answer I get? I suppose it's a good thing I like surprises. I just hope this one doesn't get me killed.

I wonder if burning alive would constitute as a nod towards when the time came I'd know. Because let me tell you, it's sweltering in here. I thought I couldn't breathe before, but now I'm completely suffocating from the heat.

My little cubicle of rock goodness is vibrating, slamming me into the walls of my meteorite. Not to mention I very well may be burning to death. I can't imagine a worse way to go. Roasted and flayed. How delightful.

This must be the Changing that everyone whines about.

I shut my eyes, mumbling out prayers to whoever may be listening. I even say amen and everything. That's the magic word isn't it? It's been awhile since I studied humans and their religious practices. Even then I was never all that great at paying much attention in class.

I think I'm screaming. The pain is astronomical to anything I've ever felt before. My body does not like what I've forced it to go through. At this point I have no doubt that it's the end of the line for me. Maybe amen wasn't the magic word. Maybe there is no magical word. Maybe there's just death.

I hope there's enough time for a puny human to wish upon my flaming carcass.

There's no more time to wonder if I'm dying or not before there's a bone smashing collision and then — nothing.

▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪

I'm alive. Or am I? I'd say my head is pounding, but right now I don't exactly have a head. I'll take that as I sign that I am indeed alive.

My meteorite lays shattered around me, bits and pieces of her are still smoking. I'm very much like a chick expelled from its egg. The rough landing left a gouge in the earth, a charred trail leading to where I now float.

My surrounding are bleak at best. All I can see for miles is red, dry dirt and disturbingly shaped plants that are spiked. I couldn't even land in a decent place. At least I'm in the middle of nowhere, it would have been a scene if I'd landed in an inhabited area like New York City.

The thing about being an Orbix coming to earth is that your appearance isn't exactly subtle to the human eye. We're literally small, glowing orbs of light and we stay that way if we don't find a host within a few hours of touchdown.

Which means my time is ticking.

I survey the outlying areas, taking heed to what my life givers taught me before leaving Mars. Look for any type of structures. There are none. Look for fluorescent signs. There are none. I really am in the middle of nowhere. On the bright side I do know where the middle of nowhere is.

Nebraska. It's probably one of the safest places for us to come, Area 51 and all makes us quite welcome. The government is all about money, our little conspiracy theory which isn't a conspiracy theory racks in a fair amount of green for the big guys up in the White House.

I know my mission. I'm to find the nearest city or town. Anywhere that has a pulse. Second, find a host of my choice and hope the takeover is successful otherwise I perish.

I hover, twist and turn before I decide to head North. The glow of my body is alarming, the faster I find a human the quicker I stop the chance of exposure. Exposure as a rookie rover Orbix would spell the end of my career as a Plant.

Not a root growing plant, but as a blend-in-be-human Plant. I've dreamt of this since I was a small wick of light. Despite my disgust at socializing, finding a human host that you can coexist with is one of the most rare and extraordinary things.

The sky is becoming darker, which has me pulling and pushing faster. We only get brighter as the light wanes. It'll be impossible to hide myself, and if I get stuck like this I'll be just like Orbix 7269 who had to live their term in a light bulb on the the Las Vegas strip.

If I could shudder right now, I would be.

A harsh concoction of what seems to be squeals and roars sound. I think this is what humans call revving a vehicle.

The source is miles away, but it comes from my right.

It doesn't take me long to come upon a cluster of cars and trucks with brightly lit headlights. The cars are arranged in a large circle, illuminating the center where eight humans stand. Males. Approximately eighteen to twenty-nine years of age.

Between them is another man, except he's on the ground unmoving.

I flit between vehicles, sticking close to the lights in an attempt to get closer.

The tallest man of the group steps forward, his leg careening backwards and then projecting into the man's chest. Specifically aimed for his ribs.

He laughs, a big toothy smile splitting his face.

“How's that feel, Bridger?” he asks, knowing he won't get an answer from the unconscious figure.

A smaller boy with a greasy mop of ginger hair coughs. “Hey, Drake. Don't you think he's had enough?”

In response Drake leans down and yanks Bridger’s head back, revealing a face that must have been handsome once. Bruises, swelling and blood make him look inhuman.

“No, Toad. No, I don't think he has had enough.” Pulling out a switchblade and bringing it underneath Bridger’s eye socket. He presses down.

My form trembles expelling more energy than it should. I can't let this happen. We've been told not to intervene in human affairs, but this cannot happen.

The headlights off a silver Jeep are the first to explode, then a black truck, then a white car, the explosions follow down a path that lasts second.

“What the gently caress was that!” exclaimed Drake who'd taken shelter.

With my cover gone I must act fast. I use what energy I have left and flit underneath the vehicles before choosing the largest one. I'm sure it looks strange, but I've already made the choice. With a heave of energy I send the truck hurtling towards the men. They shout profanities before running. Each jumping into their vehicles and begin a cattle run of an exit.

I'm suddenly very tired. It probably would have been wiser to choose a host who wasn't on the brink of death and worse off than most but here were are. I drift slowly towards the man called Bridger.

I marvel at the human body for they are both beautiful and ugly creatures. It's no wonder their world went to hell long long ago, they never understood the meaning of peace or surrender. Their greed for power was the end of their civilization.

Our original purpose was to become a new light source for earth, some whole renewable resource — arguably a new method of slavery — but then the war hit and NASA was forced to abandon the project.

Eventually amongst the chaos and abandonment we were able to form a society, now we come here to learn from humankind. We wish not to invade their planet but to learn how to not make their same mistakes. Regardless of their faults, it is a privilege to traffic the human form.

Bridger twitches, it's just now I realize he has a bionic eye. Probably what the other kid wanted, they're a pretty penny on the streets and a sign of status. It remains whole and intact.

I reach out wisps of light, probing his face. He's breathing and despite taking quite a beating I think he'll pull through. I've studied humans my entire life, but I don't think there's another more extraordinary than the one I've found.

His eyes flash open, panicked and searching. The bionic one black, while the human a molten whiskey hue. He winces against the glare of my light. He can hardly move, I conduct a quick evaluation that his back may have been damaged.

Human. I come in peace. I need you just as much as you need me.

He looks terrified. Can't blame the guy. He probably thinks that he's dead and I'm the light to lead him home or whatever humans dream up happens to them once they die.

All I get is a groan of pain and confusion.

Please. I mean you no harm. Let me help you.

While it is the truth, it is also a lie. The takeover process is not a kind one. I can guarantee neither of us our survival. But I know that this is the human I was always meant to find. Maybe that's what they meant. You know when you know.

Bridger nods, more than likely because he's dying and I'm his last shot until his card is punched — but I like to believe otherwise.

I reach out once more, expanding my light source so it envelopes his body completely. The pain is excruciating, everything he has gone through I feel double. All I can hear is screaming coming from two separate entities and then it quiets to just one.

Slowly, my particles mend to his.

▪▪▪▪▪▪▪▪

His heart is gold and his mind is highly intelligent. Parts of him are damaged, mentally and physically but not in such a way that makes this partnership a troublesome one. If anything it is reassuring to know we both are weak in our own ways, it is something to build upon.

With what little energy I have left I start the process of healing his shattered bones. Without function there is no hope for a successful mission. It is grueling work, but eventually it is done. His muscles and bruises will be next once I have recovered myself.

For now, this is the beginning.

Bridger?

Yes?

How do you feel?

Lost. Found. Both.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Saucy_Rodent posted:

My idea for this week morphed into something else (I'm a seminarian, I turned the premise into a sermon). What resulted isn't a short story and isn't really cyberpunk, should I post it or bite the fail?

Absolutely post it.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Amen, Saucy Rodent.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Tyrannosaurus posted:

I'm afraid this might have been missed and I, for one, very much would like to see this brawl

I second this.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


In.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


One May Ride a Free Horse to Death
Word Count: 1780


Tonight, something had come.

A man's body had washed ashore, tangled in water reeds and sand. From afar, Elise had assumed him dead. She approached him carefully, her dog plodded dutifully beside her. Brandishing her hiking stick she jabbed him none too gently in the ribs.

This action elicited a groan from the nearly drowned figure who promptly rolled over and peered up at her.

“Ah, the sea couldn't finish me off so Poseidon himself sent an awful wench to finish the job?” His humor fell flat, but he still sent her a small smirk.

Elise did not return it. Beside her, her hound snarled.

“Who are you, and why are you here?” Elise's voice cracked, unused and almost unfamiliar to her as she hadn't needed to speak aloud since her husband passed four years ago. She'd been alone ever since, lived off the land and her small collection of livestock.

The man stood, and it was only then that Elise noticed his feet–or rather, his equine like hooves–and blanched.

She'd heard the stories and the myths, but never had she believed them to be true.

He followed her gaze and nervously rubbed his head, “Ah, I can see you're quite perturbed by my predicament. Let me explain.”

The stranger took a step back, as if readying himself.

“My name is Achaius. I've come upon some trouble, you see. I need to find my way back home. I had a boat but it broke on the rocks,” Achaius gestured north towards the sea.

“I'm wounded. I know the way, but I will not make it without the aid of another. My people, they can heal my afflictions, change me. The stories say so. I just need the assistance of a young woman,” he finished.

Elise narrowed her eyes, evaluating the horse hooved man. Blood oozed from a brutal tear on his back, stretching to his chest. She reckoned he must have slammed it upon the rocks when his boat met its dreadful end.

“What do you think, Doc?” Elise murmured to the dog at her feet. The shepherd perked his lopsided ears, sniffed at the ground where Achaius stood and huffed.

“Doc here, he doesn't like you sir. I take that as a sure sign you are not to be trusted.”

Achaius laughed despite looking visibly agitated, “Ma'am forgive me for being so rude, but you've been out here far too long if you believe that dog has any more sense than to piss on a tree and howl at the moon.”

Elise brushed the belittlement aside.

“Achaius, I do apologize for the woes that have befallen you. However, I cannot be of aid to you. I recommend traveling south, there's a good trader town not five days from here. Plenty of fine women too,” Elise nodded respectfully and turned, bidding him ado.

She'd only gone a few steps before Doc let out a frightening yelp. Elise turned back to see Doc writhing on the ground with a dagger protruding from his belly, Achaius above him. He withdrew the weapon slamming it into Doc's throat, silencing the dogs cries of pain. Blood leached into the sand.

Elise screamed, her voice tearing through the night. Doc had been the last thing her husband gave her, her best friend all these lonely years.

Without thought she threw herself at Achaius, her hikers stick aimed for his head. He dodged her, and despite injury was far more nimble than her. The stick was ripped from her grasp.

“Now, since you haven't the wise advice of a mutt what do you say about helping your new friend out?” Achaius said, grinning almost politely.

“gently caress you!” Elise spat. “I'll die before I help the likes of you.”

“Well. I can't have that,” he stated plainly before swinging the stick into Elise’s left temple.

She fell, hitting the ground and did not stir again.

▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪

Elise awoke to the soft flicker of fire light. Her head pounded and her ears rang. She attempted to rub her throbbing skull only to realize she had been bound with seaweed. She struggled against her binds but to no avail, a small whimper escaped her.

Achaius appeared in her line of sight, he sat polishing his hooves with a rag. He glanced her way, “Now now, don’t be foolish. That is each-uisge weed, you cannot break it with your feeble human body.”

“Don't worry, my people are coming. You won't have to wait long,” he finished.

Elise noticed that Achaius had cleaned himself up, and that his wound had healed. Maybe self healing was a perk to being a mythological sea horse. If there had ever been a wound at all.

The sea lapped the shore nearby.

“What do you want with me?” Elise questioned, her voice raw and scratchy.

Achaius continued polishing, “What is your name, human? Tell me that and you shall know of my needs for you.”

“Elise.”

“Lovely name, Eli.”

Her nose wrinkled in disgust, only her husband had ever used that pet name.

“Well, Eli. My family is coming shortly. If you wish to see this night out alive I'm going to need you to work with me here. I've tried for two hundred years to get a woman to go with me willingly, that's a stipulation you see,” he rolled his eyes and continued. “You women, you are stronger than men. However, I cannot wait any longer.”

“What are you saying?”

“Eli, I need you to put on a show. When my brothers come, I need you to act as if you are here of your own volition. It's the only way for me to meet my true form. Do that and you will be set free.”

Achaius reached forward and brushed his fingers along her cheek bone. Elise flinched backwards. “Do we have a deal?”

Elise swallowed, she understood the gravity of her situation.

“You have your deal, Achaius.”

▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪

A commotion sounded not far from where they were camped. Possibly a mile away.

Achaius clapped his hands together gleefully. “Here they come! See, I told you it won't be long yet.”

Elise watched, she had been untied and properly cleaned up in order to play the part of a girl smitten with Achaius. Eventually the sound had a visual. A herd of five horses galloped across the shore in unison. They were the most magnificent equine she had ever seen. Even with the blood and sweat that adorned their hides. She was entranced.

The leader of the herd, a black stallion cantered towards them. His horse flesh shed from his skeleton morphing into that of a handsome man. Elise blushed shamefully for having such thoughts.

“Achaius. I see you have succeeded,” the leader dipped his head in approval.

“I did as the laws have asked, Niklaus. Now it is my time to ascend to my true form," Achaius removed Elise from his side and approached the other man. He dropped to his knees and bowed to Niklaus.

“Please, brother.”

Niklaus did not address his brother, but rather Elise.

“Human, have you come with my brother of your own free will?”

Elise took a moment to fully focus on Niklaus. With the best straight face she could muster, she spoke.

“Of course, Mr. Achaius here was wounded. It wouldn't have been ladylike of me to deny him the aid he needed. I have sworn myself to him in anyway he desires.”

Niklaus nodded.

“Achaius, it's only taken you half your lifetime. But tonight you shall meet your true form. Get the girl ready for the ritual.”

▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪

Achaius stood alongside his five brothers, he being the youngest of them all. Their hooved feet were submerged in the sea. Elise kneeled in the middle of them, her form shivering as the cold sea water pooled up to her waist.

All five brothers sliced their palms, allowing for their blood to drip upon Elise.

Bending down, Achaius gathered Elise to his chest. Slowly, Achaius walked deeper and deeper into the embrace of the sea until they were both enveloped by water. The world stayed silent.

Once the water swallowed her whole, Elise shoved against Achaius, her fingernails digging into his flesh. She thrashed and she thrashed. Her screams were nothing but air bubbles.

A large and dark figure swam towards them. It was both horse and dragon-esque, fearsome yet ugly. It stopped short of Elise. It must have sensed something, her unwillingness to die maybe. It had been summoned in the face of a lie and payment was still due. Right now, she was not its intended target.

Achaius did his best to shove away from the creature before it lurched forward with its maw parted. It ripped Achaius away from Elise. Blood churned in the water turning it a mahogany hue, bits of flesh and guts floated by her. She took this chance to thrust upwards. Her head broke the surface. Elise gasped once air met her lungs.

She flapped her arms in panic. But before she could swim the creature appeared beside her. Something about the look it gave, calmed Elise.

Watch. It commanded.

I know you are not willing. But you are not a child of the sea, young creature. I cannot spare your life for a blood calling cannot be taken back. Know you do not die for the benefit of a liar.

Achaius had been deposited on the shore, his family had not moved to support his tattered remains. He screamed as what was left of his body shed its man form and warped into a mutated, discombobulated beast that resembled a premature colt. He stumbled on legs no stronger than those of a newborn doe.

One cannot fool me, child. A sacrifice must be entirely committed to giving themselves to the blood calling. If not, the sea Gods of Old and New take great insult and act on that accordingly. I cannot save you from your current life as your blood has been promised to my makers. But just as they did for me, I can do for you. You can be remade.

Elise floundered in the water, her body had gone numb and her limbs had begun to fail her. As it was she didn't have much time left regardless.

“Please. Please help me," Elise whispered faintly.

Close your eyes, land child.

▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪︎▪

The creature watched, assuring that its creation was nestled safely in the sand. She would grow to become a magnificent maiden of the sea, her shell and body were small now but one day she would be one of the largest and most sought after breeds of turtle in the world.

You are home now, sea child.

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


In.

Ley lines.

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selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

where did all the entwives go?


Darwin's Change
Words: 1238

A soft white glow ebbed from the street lights illuminating the gentle dance of falling snow. The fresh powder blanketed the quiet neighborhood of Arden Park giving it a serene postcard feel. All was still, save for the group of urban deer that appeared to be very out of place.

The largest of the stags lifted his head—a head that should have held a royal crown of antlers. His eyes glistened, alert for signs of man. A doe or even a lesser buck would be unnerved by the prospect of entering two-leg land but not Actaeon.

"Lord Actaeon... this... this isn't right," a small doe with a nurturing voice said. Her coat was smooth, yet dressed in multiple scars. She was a warrior, a mother who had protected her calf through the Changing.

Actaeon swung his head to peer at her. One eye was milky with age. The other swirled with anger. "Ossia. We have been through too much, for too long. The ley lines—our antlers—they are the difference between our survival or our demise as a species."

Ossia narrowed her eyes, "Doe's have gone centuries without the aid of antlers above our heads." She faltered before speaking again, "the God's have forsaken the bucks as well. Darwin has decreed that we must band together and evolve, or perish."

Actaeon's hide crawled, twitching with disbelief. Behind him, his fellow bucks snorted and stamped. They had been wronged, a gift as old as time had been taken from them. Their ability to find safe meadows and lead their herds had been ripped from their skulls leaving them with no sense of the world.

In normal times, Actaeon never would have come to man's land but he knew nought of where to go from here. His herd, his does, no longer trusted him. He no longer trusted himself.

He stepped forward, lowering his head in a battle stance, far less effective without his pointed spears. "A doe without respect for her Lord is no good to this herd. Ossia of Northwood, I hereby banish you. I banish any who believe in the Changing as right," he declared.

From behind Ossia stepped a young buck. No more than a few seasons old. His coat was red and marred in black spots. His eyes were cautious, yet bold. "Lord Actaeon, I ask you kindly to step away from my mother. This is no longer our way."

This seemingly enraged Actaeon further. He thrust forward, altering his direction to aim for the young buck. The young bucks' skull smashed against Actaeon's with a clunk that made even the strongest of the deer flinch.

"You know not of what we lost, Rowan!" Actaeon snorted, foam frothing around his muzzle. "You were birthed with natural Change. Your antlers were not apart of you," he spat. Steam rose from his parted maw as he prepared to lunge once more.

Rowan pulled back, rearing up on his hind legs and slashing forward with his front hooves catching Actaeon in the face. Blood spurted from a wound above the Lord's eye but he made no sound as he charged once more catching the smaller male in the chest.

Rowan stumbled, barely preventing himself from falling. "You are a blind old fool, Actaeon!" The title of 'Lord' was clearly absent. "We have been made stronger! Darwin has evolved the New World deer. Don't you see?" Rowan's sides heaved, struggling to catch his breath.

"See what?" Actaeon shouted, madness and blood crept upon his face. "See that Darwin has made a mockery of us? Made us look like hind? Left us without our natural order?"

Rowan shook his head. "You are lost in the old ways. Darwin has rid us of war. Taken the tools that threw us into disarray, controlled us season by season. We are free, the ley lines led us to believe we had to fight for our way of life. It is not so anymore," Rowan finished.

A cacophony of murmurs gave way amongst the herd. Some seeing the truth, others coming to grips with their new reality.

A trio of calves stumble out from underneath the protective legs of their mothers. This was their first season, thrown headfirst into a world without guidance. Tentatively they approached Actaeon, heads bowed—a sign amongst the young that they wished to speak.

Actaeon peered down at them, confused. "Thistle, Elian, Wind. You wish to speak, so speak. Make it quick, the council of monthlings in only so desired."

The smallest of the group, Elian, stepped forward. His fur mottled brown with flecks of white.

"Father, you have spoken in such a way that belittles even your own blood. You fail to see that all of us... all of us are equal now. Stags and does, calves... we are all alike. Nothing separates us." Elian looks almost scared for a moment, "Father, I have never had antlers. We do not know what you have lost..."

"But we know what you have gained," Thistle pitches in.

"We know that we are all Changed. But it is for the better, no more suffering," the albino fawn named Wind murmurs. Her red eyes glint with a knowing look. Something about her is different.

Actaeon steps away from her, giving his head a slight shake. His once proud face has fallen, his twelve seasons showing. He looks around at his kind, his herd he has led through many hardships. He is no longer the proud and resilient stag that fought his way to the top. No, he is tired. He does not have the energy or the strength to lead his kind through this Changing.

His blood paints the snow with a stark contrast. The herd is silent, awaiting his next words. Instead, Actaeon approaches Rowan. He speaks—not just to the lone red deer—but to all.

"The past season have been a reckoning. I do not pretend to see the justice in Darwin's theft, perhaps one day." Actaeon hesitates, "I am tired. I do not know which way I lead some days." His confession is solemn, the two-legs homesteads and chimneys a vast contrast to their usual backdrop.

"Rowan. Rowan, I ask you to lead the New World deer. I cannot, I do not know..." Actaeon sighs," I do not know what the future holds, but I am no longer able."

Soft gasps ring out, but nobody contests this declaration. The appointment of a new leader through non-battle is sacred.

Rowan is silent for only a moment.

"No." The one word casts a shadow on Actaeon's face, but before he can utter another word Rowan continues.

"As I said before, our time is different now. We are all equal. We lead together, our strengths and our weaknesses are our bond. Actaeon, you may be our last Lord but we need you."

Wind nudges her way back to the forefront, "Darwin smiles down on you two tonight. Darwin seeks not to abandon his children, but to teach them that life is only as hard as one chooses to make it."

Her eyes glow only briefly, but it is enough to reassure the herd that they are on the right path. They are not alone.

Lord Actaeon looked to the sky, flakes of frozen crystal beading on his brow. He had the stars to guide him, as nature intended.

It was time to take his herd home.

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