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Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

📡scanning🛰️ for good game 🎮design🦔🦔🦔


in

Give me a song you personally can't stand and I'll try to redeem it by writing something decent from it


EDIT:

Tyrannosaurus posted:

:siren: thread announcement :siren:


We're having a party next week! A birthday party!

But what do you get for the 'dome that has it all? Why... More words, of course! As of this exact moment, we have nine million, seven hundred and sixty-five thousand, eight hundred and fifty-eight. It'd be a lot cooler if it was 10 mil, though, yeah? Why isn't it 10 mil?

Probably because you suck. Because you're weak.

We're doing this party potluck style! We're a couple of days away but you can go ahead and tell me what you're bringing! A brutal hellrule that broke you would be lovely. An insane flash you couldn't handle would be a delight. I'll lay out a table for everyone and the strong can pick up where you pathetically left off!

Other acceptable additions to the potluck:
  • A hell/flash rule you wanted to assign as a judge but never got the chance to
  • A hell/flash rule you actually used but hurt so good you wanted to share it with others
  • Something appropriate you've made up because you're new or Thranguy or whatever honestly this is a party I'm the Blood King not the Blood Police
There will be a prize for the person who brings the most to the party! A birthday prize!

Fill out the form today!

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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.






Simply Simon posted:

in

Give me a song you personally can't stand and I'll try to redeem it by writing something decent from it


EDIT:

'Can't stand' is tough for me to find amongst Disney songs, but I'm not wild about this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmqcKtD3cnw

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


In.

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.







https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km4WiqKtZ-E

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


In I'll probably fail so give me your least fav song so i don't waste it

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.






crabrock posted:

In I'll probably fail so give me your least fav song so i don't waste it

I already gave out a song I don't care for all that much and there are very few of those in the first place but OK fine I guess here's a song that is pretty unimpressive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLQ2sYxktMQ

Also there is about 8 hours for anyone else who wants to enter to do so.

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.






Entries are closed. Write good words!

Still after one judge if anyone's keen.

Also, a reminder that completely ignoring your song is totally fine if it doesn't inspire you at all.

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

📡scanning🛰️ for good game 🎮design🦔🦔🦔


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmqcKtD3cnw

Roles to Play
2498/2500 Words

The crisp morning sun glinted in the warm eyes of two young men. Cilantro and Prince Rosemund began circling each other on the castle’s well-swept rooftop.

“I’ve decided to take our sparring more seriously,” the Prince said with a joyful spark in his eyes.

Cilantro cocked his head. “So that’s why you insisted on using real swords?”

A lunge from the Prince forced him to step back. “Heavier is more realistic,” Rosemund said.

“If you want something to weigh you down -” Cilantro created distance with a slash “- try on your father’s crown.”

Rosemund’s cocky smile was wiped out. He stepped forward with a heavy slash. Cilantro barely got away.

“Hey! You need to stop letting me get under your skin so easily.”

Rosemund lowered his sword. “I’m sorry. You’re simply too good at your job, future jester.”

Cilantro couldn’t stay mad at the chagrined boy with the smooth brow already beaded with sweat. “That was blunt. The best barbs are subtle. That’s how my father -” he chose this moment to attack, Rosemund stumbled “- is still serving yours.”

A snarl marred the Prince’s face, foreshadowing his stab.

Cilantro easily parried. They locked blades, got close, their breaths intermingled. “The King being such a sore subject makes you predictable, Rose.”

Finally, the cocky smile again. “Maybe the true lesson is how I can stop being so prickly.” They disentangled, circled again. “I feel like grain under a millstone, though. From negotiating to diplomacy, from history to statesmanship. How does the old man expect me to find time for combat training?”

“His Majesty doesn’t,” Cilantro said, evading.

“I suck at politics.” The Prince emphasized his words with wide swings. “I’d be a great general, however.”

“A great general would be well-advised -” Cilantro dodged a final clumsy swing, and disarmed Rosemund with a pommel strike “- to keep his emotions flat in battle.”

Suddenly, Rosemund charged forward, ducking under his opponent’s sword. Cilantro had his breath driven from him as the Prince impacted him. With strong arms wrapped around him, he stumbled helplessly back, until the ramparts’ stone just barely stopped him, and he hung there, over the moat’s abyss, held only by the Prince’s embrace.

“How’s that for emotions?” Rosemund had a wild grin, and Cilantro matched it with a wry one of his own.

“I like your emotions, don’t get me wrong.”

They stayed in this position for a long moment. Cilantro was not afraid of the fall; he trusted his Prince. He lifted his hand to move a sweaty lock from Rosemund’s brow -

“Your Majesty!” A voice like the tenth cough in a row.

Rosemund rolled his eyes, disentangled himself and drew Cilantro to his feet. “What is it, Chancellor?”

Chancellor Honewort finished catching his breath. “Your father has fallen ill. He can’t reside in court today. You must sit in his stead.”

“I’m training, as you can see.”

“It’s canceled. Wipe yourself down, get in your gown and on the throne. The King’s subjects won’t be made to wait by your selfish whims.”

The Prince started to protest, but Honewort shut him down with a surprising burst of authority from such a tiny frame. “Your father’s fine, by the way. Just a persistent cough, ill-suited for the public to behold. Your concern is appreciated.”

~~~

Soon, both Cilantro and Rosewood were dressed in their uniforms. The former wore a patchy combination of screaming green and red, with rows of chimes around the joints, and a bobbing hat. The latter was strapped in a gold-embroidered waistcoat and a heavy fur cape pushing his shoulders down. He cowered in a throne that seemed too big for him, even though he had outgrown his father a while ago. Cilantro leaned comfortably on its left side, with his father Garbanzo next to him in the background.

“This is going to be a good test for both you boys,” Garbanzo whispered to his son. “You have to feel the mood of the room. Sometimes you’re needed to defuse a situation, even before the King realizes as such. I can give you a signal -”

Cilantro waved him off. “I’m fine, dad. With Rose, it won’t be an issue.”

“That’s what I thought about his father as well.”

Before Cilantro had opportunity to put his concerned frown into words, the doors to the throne room opened.

“Acting in the name of King Oleander II, his esteemed son, Prince Rosemund,” the Chancellor announced, standing on the throne’s right side. “State your requests, so that the King’s wisdom may judge you fairly.”

The commoners in need of judgment started to file in. It seemed like Honewort had done some pre-selection; the first issues were simple. Faulty copper ingots, the wrong chickens butchered, a dispute about a border stone. All dealt with swiftly and fairly, with minimal advice required from the Chancellor.

Rosemund had begun to sit more upright in his throne, but now the hard cases began to appear. Two men, bruised and red-faced, were brought in by guards. They had been brawling in a pub, drunk before midday.

“Did someone else get hurt?”, Rosemund asked.

“No, Sire. Only these two. But plenty of glasses, plates and furniture broke.”

“Well, I suggest the bartender tallies up the loss while these two sober up in separate cells. Then if they can pay -”

The Chancellor interrupted with a whispered piece of advice. Rosemund’s eyebrows rose. “Disturbing the public peace carries that heavy a sentence?”

Another whisper.

“I guess they can stay in jail a little longer. A…year, in fact. Yes, take them away.”

“That seems harsh,” Cilantro murmured. Garbanzo leaned over. “It is, but it is in line with Oleander’s policies. See, the mood is all gloomy now. Do you want to try lightening it up?”

Cilantro curled his lips. “Not in the mood myself, right now.”

“That’s the hard part of this job,” his father sighed.

The next supplicants were a couple accused of pickpocketing a merchant’s coin purse. The grimy man, young like the Prince, argued that they had needed the money to buy food for their family - two young children.

“My father’s food banks should be open for the hungry,” Rosemund said.

“The rations were almost cut in half last year,” the woman protested. “It is not nearly enough for two growing children.”

“So why not steal the food directly if you ran out too quickly once? Getting caught stealing food carries a much lower sentence -”

“It does not,” Honewort chuckled.

Rosewood stumbled over his next words. “- and, erm, anyway it seems like an act of greed taking an entire coin purse.”

“Your Majesty, I recognize that there needs to be punishment.” The man went on his knees and bowed his head. “But please, I’m prepared to take the full brunt of it. Spare the mother of my children.”

Rosemund seemed moved, unsure of what to do. Honewort broke the tense silence by rustling some papers.

“Says here that your beloved helped distract the merchant. She’s far from innocent in this, and needs to face consequences as well.”

The man started to rise from his supine stance in protest, but encountered the flash of authority from the Chancellor’s eyes, and got shut down. Honewort continued. “If you were married, maybe you could have an argument. Another poor choice of yours, though. Two children out of wedlock, they’ll end up in an orphanage now. At least there they’ll be fed.”

“Chancellor.” Rosemund seemed displeased. But Honewort put a hand on his caped shoulder, and its grip seemed to deflate the Prince.

“This is what your father would have done. King Oleander keeps order by providing strong examples of what happens if you don’t.”

“Is compassion wrong?”

“If shown to the wrong people, absolutely. We all have a role to play in this court. Play yours, little Prince.”

Rosemund sat up straight and took a deep breath. “In the name of my father, King Oleander II, I sentence both of you to three years in jail, to be reduced by at most one year provided good conduct. Your children will be cared for, and hopefully grow up into better citizens.”

The couple’s protestations and the murmurs of the crowd entwined to form a noise that seemed to buffet Rosemund like a thunderstorm. Cilantro looked at his hardened face, imagined it being whipped by sheets of rain, his wet locks yanked on by the wind.

He got up, chimes jingling.

“Not now, son!”

Undeterred, Cilantro picked up his mandolin. He felt Honewort’s glare buffet him as well, but stood reed-straight like Rosemund sat. He started to pluck the strings, and a song he’d always dreamed of reciting to his friend in private spilled out for everyone to hear.

You can remain your father’s son,
Without becoming him;
You can take what you want from life,
You should fulfill your dream.

We’re both supposed to fill big shoes,
I like my fit, do you?
You can recobble them, my Rose.
If you can’t choose, then who?


Garbanzo had stood up and shook his head in warning. Honewort looked like he had swallowed a snail. Rosemund sat petrified. Cilantro could not stop.

Break out! From this cage!
You made around your heart!
Run away, on new shoes,
With me - your truest friend -
Let’s never be apart.


Silence in the court. Until someone started slowly clapping. A sardonic sound, like bones clanking together, Honewort’s thin hands.

“Heartfelt, I’m sure. Not very funny, though. Another who doesn’t understand their role. You need to leave, boy.”

Rosemund moved only his mouth. “Cilantro…”

“Young Prince, this is interruption of the court. Make your father proud and throw him out.”

Rosemund’s spine was straighter than a fletcher’s masterpiece. “Leave, jesters.”

There was no spark of joy left in his eyes; they’d turned into the obsidian of Oleander’s.

Cilantro turned and left without a word, walking past stunned drunkards, a weeping couple and many more who’d find no justice in this court.

~~~

In the dull puddle on the floor of his cell, Cilantro saw the reflection of his eyes; the spark of hope had left them. For a year, he had worked on saving Rosemund from himself. Begged him to reconsider his father’s policies, tried to separate him from the influence of the Honewort’s poison whispers. But Rosemund’s desire to prove himself worthy in his ailing father’s eyes had won out.

Then, the final break between them, when Rosemund had been crowned Oleander III. Cilantro hadn’t been able to keep quiet about an unjust tyranny perpetuated by a friend tainted by his family name, but the new King was too busy to consolidate his rule. And with an irritated gesture, Chancellor Honewort had the jester family thrown into prison to silence their barbs, no matter how subtle.

A tear disturbed the puddle, muddling Cilantro’s visage. He had given up hope. Nobody would help his father or him, except…

Rose, if he still was inside that cruel king.

The puddle cleared. In Cilantro’s eyes, a spark shone again.

A jester is deft with sleight of hand. He’d always been able to escape his cell, but what had been the point, with Garbanzo left behind? But now Cilantro had a plan.

The King hadn’t retired to his room yet, so it was unguarded. Cilantro left a note on the pillow.

~~~

A storm had started after sundown, and lightning flashes reflected in the cold eyes of two young men. Oleander III had heeded the call for a duel on the castle’s roof, even brought two swords.

“So what is your ideal outcome, Cilantro? You run me through, and let the rabble govern in anarchy?”

Cilantro squinted against the rising wind, taking in the gleaming armor of his former friend. Oleander was not stupid. But he had come alone.

“You can keep your kingdom, Rose.” Used to disrespect from him, Oleander didn’t react. Cilantro continued. “I just want it ruled by my friend, not his father.”

“If my father still ruled, you’d have been executed on the spot.” Oleander suddenly attacked.

Cilantro managed to dance away in time. “So for how long did you intend to keep me in that cell instead?”

A vicious swing. Cilantro ducked underneath, his prison rags barely impeding his well-trained agility. He kept talking. “You’ve always hated the compromises necessary in politics. Why take half-measures with me?”

“Defend yourself,” Oleander snarled. Cilantro dodged once more, then brought the pommel of his sword down in a lightning-quick strike.

Through the gauntlet of his armor, Oleander barely felt it. He backhanded Cilantro with the same gauntlet, sending him reeling into the ramparts. Oleander charged, but Cilantro had managed to hold onto his sword, and he parried. The blades clashed a few times. Thunder rumbled as if to provide a rhythm.

“Did you miss this?” Screamed Cilantro. “I can see the spark of joy in your eyes again!”

“Maybe I’ll miss having a persistent itch to scratch.” Oleander backed off to give his next swing more weight - what Cilantro had been waiting for. He let go of his sword, pushed himself away with both arms from the slick stone he’d leaned against, and managed to topple the ironclad king. He pinned him down, their faces in breathing distance.

“Do you even know why I was so persistent, Rose?”

Oleander’s arm shot up, and he grabbed Cilantro by the throat. He desperately tried to loosen the iron grip, but his fingers kept slipping in the rain.

“Enlighten me with your last words, jester.”

Cilantro poured all the fire from his heart into his eyes, and shot it into Rosemund’s. “It’s because I want your bright light to banish the shadow of your father. The light of the Rose I love.”

The King froze. The moment dragged on.

“Your Majesty!”

Honewort had appeared with a gaggle of guards. Oleander threw Cilantro off; his fire spent in his last-ditch effort, he fell limply into a wet heap.

“Run the meddlesome jester through!”, Honewort commanded with all his cursed authority.

“No, you won’t.” Oleander raised his hand - and the soldiers stopped.

“Your Majesty, he has raised a weapon against you. There can be only one punishment, as per the decrees your father put into place.”

“I’m not my father!” Oleander walked towards the Chancellor, and grabbed him by the collar. “You always tried to mold me into him, you slug in my cabbages. Took my best friend, my only good influence, from me.” He dangled the thin old man over the moat. “Now guess what your new role will be?”

“Stop!” Cilantro had managed to get up. “Is this what your father would have done, or what Rose would do?”

The King looked from the whimpering Chancellor to Cilantro and back again.

He sat Honewort down on safe ground. “Take him away, and leave us alone.” The soldiers did as told.

One last triumphant thunderclap lit the same spark in Rose’s and Cilantro’s eyes as their faces got much closer than ever before.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



Limbo
Word count: 2459
Flash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZNRzc3hWvE


https://thunderdome.cc//?story=9904&title=Limbo

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 22:18 on Oct 16, 2021

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition




Jackie and the Three Beasts
[2484]

Long ago, a man and his wife had three children: Joseph, Joshua, and Jaqueline. But before Jacqueline turned three, her mother became gravely ill and died. Her husband, knowing he could never love another woman, resolved never to remarry; and, rather than worry himself with the difficulties of raising a motherless girl, decided to raise his daughter like his sons. So Jacqueline wore breeches and short hair, and her father called her Jackie; she grew up with the freedom of boys with none outside their home the wiser of her gender.

Soon came the year Joseph turned eighteen, and he asked to go into the world to find his fortune and make a name for himself, swearing to return in two years with either fortune or failure. And he left out, and two years passed, and there was no sign of or word from Joseph. His father wept at Joseph’s loss and his heart cracked.

Soon came the year Joshua turned eighteen and he asked the same as Joseph, to go out into the world. His father reluctantly agreed, and Joshua resolved not only to return in two years—with either fortune or failure—but seek out Joseph’s fate. Joshua left out, and two years passed again and when no word came from Joshua either, their father wept with two sons lost and his heart cracked further.

Soon came the year that Jackie turned eighteen, and she told her father she would stay with him, for her father’s heart had cracked three times with loss. “No,” her father protested, “I raised you same as your brothers and won’t deny you the chance to find your way in the world. But I beg of you, my daughter, to do all you can to come back in two years, for either fortune or failure—for if I were to lose the last of my children, my heart would shatter and I would follow your mother into death.”

Jackie promised to return, and the next day she went out into the world dressed in the same manner of her brothers, to find not only a name for herself but the fate of her brothers. She arrived in the grand city and was surprised to find the whole of it in mourning, with the citizens’ hearts and heads heavy with grief. She made her way to an inn and, over her meal, asked what had put the city in such a state.

“In ten days,” the innkeeper lamented, “our ruler, Princess Cecelia, will turn eighteen and be made the heir of the kingdom; her mother is dead and her father and brother long lost. But Princess Cecelia has been imprisoned by the evil wizard Lebasi since she was just a child; he has kept the princess in his clutches to force her to marry him and make him king. All manner of young men have tried to save her, even the prince when he was of age, but they have all vanished and no other man will risk their freedom to save her. Our peace is forfeit once Lebasi marries her and takes control of us all.”

Jackie felt great sorrow for the princess’s plight, though she had never met her. “I wish to try and rescue the princess,” she said. “Where is she imprisoned?”

“You will be lost same as the others, boy,” said the innkeeper, and Jackie did not correct her. “But it is your fate to choose. Lebasi keeps the princess secluded deep in the enchanted woods south of the city, and you will know Cecelia by her pitiable weeping.”

The next morning Jackie left out for the woods and found them quickly. Within a few hours of travel through them, a white hare leapt onto the trail before her. “Turn back, young man, for the wizard’s home is ahead,” it said, and shook its head.

“I intend to rescue the princess Cecelia,” Jackie answered.

“I again warn you to turn back,” said the Hare. “Lebasi will take you for his when you fail his tasks, same as all the other young men who have tried.”

Jackie did not correct the Hare. “I intend to try anyways.”

“Very well,” sighed the Hare, “it is your fate to choose. Follow me.” It turned and began to hop ahead of Jackie along the path.

Further along they came upon a white wolf sitting on the path before Jackie and the Hare. “Turn back, young man,” said the Wolf, “for the wizard’s home is ahead,” and shook its head.

“He intends to rescue the princess, Brother Wolf,” the Hare said, and Jackie did not correct him.

“And didn’t you warn him, Brother Hare, that all who fail become Lebasi’s?”

“I did,” said the Hare, “and it is his fate to choose.”

“Very well,” sighed the Wolf, “let us together lead him.” It turned and began to walk along the path with Jackie and the Hare.

Further along they came upon a white stag on the path before them. “Turn back, young man,” it said, and its voice shook; “for the wizard’s home is ahead, and all who have tried to save the princess have failed and become Lebasi’s.”

“Brother Hare and Wolf have warned me,” said Jackie, “and I will not turn back.”

The Stag sighed and its head drooped. “Very well,” it said, “let us lead this pitiable young man to his fate;” and Jackie did not correct him.

Jackie and the Beasts continued on until it was nearly noon, and together they came upon a large clearing. Around the clearance were a dozen blackiron trees heavy with white apples. To the side were a dozen white rosebushes. Wandering the clearance were all manners of miserable beasts, each as white as those that had led Jackie there. In the center was a cabin, and both windows were barred over and the door was locked with no sign of opening.

Jackie peered inside one window to see Princess Cecelia, who sat weeping in the center of the splendid room as if her heart was broken. She was very beautiful, enough that Jackie’s heart fluttered. “Princess,” Jackie whispered through the bars, “I’ve come to challenge Lebasi and rescue you.”

Cecelia looked up and their eyes met, and her tears increased. “Turn back before his return, boy,” she sobbed, “and protect yourself. I have been here since I was a child, have no family left, and have resigned myself to my fate as Lebasi’s bride. Every man who’s tried to save me in all my years stolen has failed, and I can’t bear to see any other like them fall under his enslavement for my sake.”

“I must try,” Jackie said, and did not correct her. “Where is Lebasi?”

“Gone until twilight,” said Cecelia, “and if you value your freedom you should leave before then. Every night he comes to inspect his bride, and challenge any foolish enough to be here.”

“I will wait for him,” said Jackie, and sat under the window nearby. The three beasts whom had led her sat nearby and looked miserable, as if all their warnings weren’t enough. Jackie ignored their misery lest she become nervous and instead spoke to Cecelia over the hours to soothe them both. As they talked, Jackie felt a sprouting of love for Cecelia and felt its reciprocation from her, though she didn’t correct Cecelia when she called Jackie a boy.

Twilight came, and the wizard Lebasi arrived in the clearance; he did not seem surprised to find Jackie there, nor react as she rose to her feet as he approached; indeed, he seemed eager to spot her. “What have you come here for, boy?” he said, grinning evilly.

Lebasi’s countenance sent a shiver down Jackie’s spine, but she did not waver or correct him. “I have come to rescue the princess Cecelia,” she said, steadying her voice, “and seek to challenge you for her freedom.”

“No man has succeeded at my three challenges,” said Lebasi. “You’ll only become another in my service when you fail; but it is your fate to choose.”

Jackie again did not correct him.

Lebasi gestured to the rosebushes. “Overnight one among my rosebushes disappears and returns only by dawn. You must pluck a rose from the bush that left and no others—and when you fail, you’ll immediately become mine.”

“I accept your task,” said Jackie.

Lebasi left and Cecelia began to weep again. But Jackie sat down and began to soothe her with stories, until night fell and the moon rose and she heard the soft sounds of the princess sleeping. Only then did Jackie turn to the three beasts and began to fret. “There is no way for me to know among twelve bushes which one was gone overnight,” she fretted, “and Lebasi will own me.”

But the Hare tapped one back paw. “The task is simple,” it said, “for the rosebush gone overnight won’t gather morning dew on its petals; you need only find the dry one.”

Jackie’s heard lightened. “Clever, Brother Hare,” she said, and after her supper she tucked in and slept, with the Stag at her back and the Wolf and Hare at her side.

Come the dawn Jackie rose, and lost no time in walking among the rosebushes; when she came upon the one without dew, she plucked a rose from it. Within moments Lebasi appeared before her. “Here is the rose,” Jackie said, and held up the dewless rose to him.

Lebasi’s brow didn’t furrow, and he didn’t seem perturbed; Jackie surmised he had seen this challenge passed before. He instead gestured towards the blackiron trees. “Each night a fiery bird flies silently among my blackiron trees, and picks one to eat its supper in; it only comes when all are asleep, and the fruit restores itself as if never touched. You must find the tree it has feasted from and mark it. And when you fail, you’ll immediately become mine.”

“I accept your task,” said Jackie, and when Lebasi had left, Cecelia wept again. But Jackie again spent the evening soothing her with talk until night fell and the princess was asleep, and she felt even more love had grown between them. She turned to the three beasts that had escorted her, less worried than before. “There must be a sign of which tree is picked, even if I cannot see the fruit taken,” she said.

The Wolf scratched at one back haunch, and nodded his head. “The task is simple,” it said, “for while the bird moves quickly and silently and the apples regrow, the iron of the tree trunk retains the heat of its body. You will know it by touch.”

“Thank you, Brother Wolf,” said Jackie, and she bedded down and slept again with the beasts around her after supper. Come the morning she rose and walked along the blackiron trees, touching the back of her hand to the trunks; one was warmer than the other, and she scratched a mark in the dirt below it.

Within moments of her making the mark, Lebasi appeared. “This is the tree feasted from,” Jackie said, and pointed at it.

Lebasi’s brow furrowed, but he still didn’t react, indicating this challenge had also been passed before. “Every night a white stallion comes to the clearing, and has since my soon-to-be bride was brought here. You must persuade it to stay until morning—and when you fail, you’ll immediately become mine.”

“I accept your task,” said Jackie, and again Cecelia wept when Lebasi left, but was soothed quickly by Jackie until she fell asleep. Jackie knew now that she would succeed and rescue her beautiful love as she turned to the Stag. “Surely you know what I must do, as Brother Hare and Wolf did,” she asked, “to tame the stallion and persuade it to stay.”

But the Stag shook its heavy head. “Lebasi’s final task is impossible,” it sighed, “and he knows it. The stallion was Lebasi’s first beast among us and has been hexed to fear the hands of all men; no man or boy may approach it without it bolting into the woods again. You will fail the task and become Lebasi’s. Escape to the woods and save yourself.” And the Wolf and Hare sank their heads.

But Jackie only smiled. “Then I know now how I’ll succeed, Noble Stag.”

That night she did not sleep next to the beasts, and as the moon rose she saw the white stallion creep into the clearance. As she approached it tensed as if to bolt. But Jackie kept calm and soon was close enough to set one hand upon its side. She was not surprised to see it calm down under her hand, and it stayed by her side until the morning, to the three beasts’ surprise.

Soon after sunrise Lebasi came into the clearing, and was furious to see the stallion next to Jackie. “My first beast fears all men,” he raged, “and no boy or man can make it stay!”

“And that is how I tamed him,” said Jackie, “for I am a girl, though raised the same as my brothers. I have completed your challenges and insist you free Princess Cecelia.”

Lebasi flew into a rage and lunged towards Jackie. “I will not be tricked!” he bellowed, and raised his staff as if to strike her. But the stallion reared up to protect Jackie, and struck Lebasi in the temple so that he crumpled to the ground. Before Lebasi could flee the stallion trampled him underneath his broad hooves until the evil wizard was quite dead.

No sooner than Lebasi was dead did the cabin disappear, and all beasts in the clearance were restored to their true forms of men and boys. Jackie was overjoyed to see her brothers before her, and they embraced her tightly; Joshua had been the Hare, and Joseph the Wolf. The two whom had been the stag and stallion embraced Princess Cecelia, and soon after revealed themselves as the prince and king; the king thanked Jackie for rescuing his family and swore to give her anything she asked. Jackie immediately asked to marry Cecelia, and Cecelia agreed, not upset to know that Jackie was a lady. The king immediately gave his blessing to their betrothal.

The restored men and boys left the forest together, Jackie holding Cecelia at her side; the citizens rejoiced to have their good king restored to his throne, and his children returned with him as well. Jackie, with her bride, escorted her brothers home, the three carrying all manner of rewards. At the sight of his three children returned, their father’s heart was restored, and he embraced his lost sons and praised his daughter for making a name for herself and finding her brothers.

And so Princess Jacqueline and Princess Cecelia spent the rest of their days together in joy, love, and freedom.

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





The Pirate Queen
2499 words

Once upon a time, Shi Yang, a Boat Dweller girl, worked as a tavern maid in the port city of Guangzhou. Out of all the customers, including Chinese merchants, Vietnamese traders, and Portuguese sailors, her favorites were the pirate crew led by the Pirate King Zheng Yi. They had the most entertaining stories, some of which were even true, and tipped well. She dreamed of joining them on the high seas, but everyone knew women were bad luck to have on board.

The pirates were carousing in the tavern one evening, singing sea shanties as she delivered rounds of rice wine. Suddenly, she heard her black cockatoo, Ned, screech from outside the tavern. She ducked outside to shush him.

“Ned, quiet down! That animal trader was right, you are too loud.”

“It’s the Portuguese!” he squawked. “They’re armed and coming this way!”

“That’s nothing to yell about, they’re always marching,” Yang said and went back inside.

Soon a Portuguese admiral, huge blue feather in his hat, barged through the door, flanked by stiff navy sailors. The tavern fell quiet and Yang retreated behind the bar.

“You are Zheng Yi, yes?” the Portuguese admiral said to the Pirate King. “My name is Admiral José Pinto Alcoforado e Sousa, captain of the Inconquistável, and in the name of Her Majesty Queen Maria the First, long may she reign, you are hereby arrested for the crime of piracy.”

“You’re out of your jurisdiction, you rooster,” Zheng Yi said mockingly. “The boys and I aren’t going anywhere.” The pirates cheered while Admiral Alcoforado turned redder than a chili.

“I have been honorifically deputized by the local authorities,” he blustered. “You must submit to my authority.”

“I don’t think so,” said the Pirate King. The Portuguese sailors and pirates drew their swords. Shi Yang ducked behind the bar as the fight began and the other tavern patrons rushed for the door. Despite the pirates’ superior numbers, the better-armed Portuguese had the upper hand. Zheng Yi held the Portuguese off as the pirates escaped into the night, sailors in hot pursuit. He was about to follow them when Admiral Alcoforado seized him. “Now who is the rooster?” he cried.

All the other pirates had left. Taking a deep breath for courage, Shi Yang stood up, grabbed a stool, and swung it as hard as she could at Admiral Alcoforado’s head. It connected with a solid twack and he collapsed to the floor. Ned flew to inspect the feather in his hat. The Pirate King looked at Shi Yang.

“Thank you, miss. You, of all of these people,” he waved his hand around the empty tavern, “had the courage to fight back. I could use that spirit on my ship.”

Yang couldn’t believe it. “Aren’t women bad luck?” she squeaked.

“You and I, we make our own luck.” The Pirate King winked at her. Without any more hesitation, she grabbed her few possessions and Ned, then followed Zheng Yi back to his junk.

“Welcome to the Eighth Wind,” he said. “If you don’t like working on board, we can drop you off--”

“No need, you can count on me!” Yang said confidently.

The Pirate King laughed. “I believe you.”

***

The Pirate King was too busy to train her himself, so her induction to ship life fell to the taciturn first mate, Cai Qian. On her first morning, she met him and his other trainee, Zheng Yi’s son, Zheng Bao, the Pirate Prince. Cai Qian told them to coil the ropes, then left them to it. Zheng Bao got to work immediately and Shi Yang tried to copy him. The river boats of her youth had much smaller ropes.

“Hey new girl, hurry up!” he said. “Cian Qian is expecting things to get done twice as fast now.”

“If you show me how to do it properly, I will,” she panted.

“Fine.” He demonstrated his technique. “You’ve got a long way to go to catch up to me.”

He was right. After coiling the ropes, Cai Qian instructed them in swordfighting, which left bruises all over her arms. After lunch, he taught them navigation, which left her with a headache. Worst of all was training on the cannons, where she dropped a cannonball on her toe.

“Maybe you should stick to fresh water, river girl,” Bao teased.

She blushed. “You better watch out, sea boy, I don’t give up that easily.” She couldn’t let him get to her.

“Quiet and give me twenty pushups,” Cai Qian barked at them.

The days slowly got better. Shi Yang picked up the mental tasks like navigation quickly, but Bao continued to beat her at everything else. Despite his teasing, he offered her advice, usually in a condescending tone. This attention flustered her and she often did worse than before, causing Cai Qian to give her even more pushups. But all those pushups made her strong and soon she could coil ropes and haul cannonballs nearly as fast as Bao.

“Not bad for a river girl,” he said as she finished rolling a sail before him.

“You’re getting soft, am I distracting you?” she teased back.

“Thirty pushups,” said Cai Qian.

***

Zheng Yi led the Eighth Wind to raid Portuguese merchant ships, heavy with exotic goods from Europe. After a few profitable forays, their activities attracted attention. “Portuguese coming! The feather admiral!” Ned squawked from the mast. Sure enough, Admiral Alcoforado’s Inconquistável was approaching.

Zheng Yi shouted and the men fell into their battle stations. Cai Qian shoved an axe into her hand. “Cut any grappling hook lines they throw. Don’t let them board.” Her mouth was dry with nerves as she took her position, but she didn’t flinch as the cannons, directed by Bao, started firing.

The ships closed together and lines started flying through the air. Yang weaved around the shouting men, cutting the ropes as they appeared. She was too slow on one and Ned shrieked a warning. A Portuguese sailor climbed up the ship, sabre in his teeth. Without thinking, she hit him with the flat of the axe and he fell into the water. “Blimey, that was close!” Ned said. Yang yelled in triumph and Zheng Yi, who’d seen the whole thing, clapped her on the shoulder.

The pirates handily won the battle. Zheng Yi ordered the Portuguese stripped to their underwear and tied up, then liberated the Inconquistável of the tax money in its coffers. “You will regret this!” Admiral Alcoforado, hands bound to the mast and feather in his hat quivering with rage.

“I don’t think so, rooster,” said the Pirate King. The crew jeered at the hapless Portuguese as they sailed away.

That night, they celebrated as only pirates could and Shi Yang was included as a full-blooded member of the crew. Overburdened with treasure, the Eighth Wind headed to Hong Kong. Bao’s respect for Shi Yang had grown after the battle and he offered to show her around the city. They giddily spent their share of the profits on delicacies, silk clothes, and, in Yang’s case, her own sword.

The Eighth Wind set out to sea again, crew in high spirits. However, Admiral Alcoforado was pursuing them like a man possessed. A few days into their voyage, the Inconquistável appeared on the horizon along with a dark wall of storm clouds. The Pirate King grimaced. “It’ll be a hard fight in this storm. We must all fight, even you,” he told Shi Yang.

She helped batten down the hatches and gripped her new sword as the Portuguese ship closed in on them. Rain began to hammer on the deck, drenching the grim-faced pirates. Aiming the cannons was impossible in the tossing waves so the ships grappled together, Bao throwing their lines. As the pirates boarded, the Portuguese opened with a volley of musket fire. Cai Qian fell, holding his head, and Zheng Yi led the charge with a roar.

On board the Inconquistável, Shi Yang and Bao fought back to back, holding off the sailors. In the chaotic weather, the discipline of the Portuguese navy gave them the upper hand. Through the rain, Yang spotted Zheng Yi dueling with Admiral Alcoforado. She and Bao watched as The Pirate King furiously drove the admiral against the railing. He raised his sword in victory, but Admiral Alcoforado pulled a revolver from his jacket.

“I told you that you’d regret crossing me,” he said as he shot Zheng Yi square in the chest. The Pirate King collapsed and fell into the roiling sea. Screaming, Zheng Bao dropped his sword and rushed forward as his father disappeared over the railing. Shi Yang pulled him back to safety on the Eighth Wind, though she felt his pain like it was her own. She looked around desperately for someone to lead them out of this nightmare, but all the pirates were fighting for their lives. They couldn’t win.

“Fall back!” she yelled, her high-pitched voice carrying over the sounds of the storm and battle. To her shock, the pirates listened to her, and they all retreated back onto the Eighth Wind. Yang led a few men to cut the lines holding the ships together, and Cai Qian, still bleeding from the head, directed them to sail away. Zheng Bao shut himself in the captain’s cabin and Cai Qian went below decks to recover from his injuries, so Shi Yang took charge, plotting a course and assigning tasks as the rain continued to fall. The crew rode out the storm in miserable silence.

***

Finally, the storm abated. Bao had not reappeared, so Shi Yang broke into the captain’s cabin to confront him.

“You need to take charge, be the captain you’ve trained to be.”

“I don’t know what to do next.” He looked defeated.

“We’ve got to keep running,” she said gently.

He nodded. “You’re right. We’ll head for Tung Chung Bay, hide there and hope they pass us by.”

Shi Yang frowned. “The Portuguese will sail past the bay on their way back to Macau, are you sure?”

“It’s the closest safe place, we’ll recuperate there.”

The Pirate Prince’s word was law on board the ship. The tired men trimmed the sails and the Eighth Wind navigated into the narrow bay to drop anchor for the night.

Ned’s screeches woke her the next morning. “The feather admiral! And friends!” She rushed up to the deck, her heart sinking as she saw six Portuguese warships, led by the Inconquistável, at the mouth of the bay. They were trapped.

She met Bao and Cai Qian on the rear deck. “What are we going to do, captain?” she asked.

“I don’t know yet,” Bao said, chewing his lip. “We can’t fight them head on, that’s for sure.”

“We could abandon the ship and disappear into the forest,” Cai Qian said. When Bao and Yang stared at him, he shrugged. “It’s an option. We’d live to fight another day.”

“We can’t abandon my father’s ship,” Bao said resolutely. “Tell the men to get combat ready. If they get any closer, we’ll hit them with the cannons.” Cai Qian bowed and began issuing orders, leaving Yang and Bao to watch the enemy ships.

In the afternoon, a Portuguese ship began to approach them. Bao leapt up and ordered the cannons to start firing. The pirates made several direct hits but the ship kept coming. Suspicious, Shi Yang looked through the spyglass. “Bao, cease fire! It’s a fireship, there’s no one on board!”

The cannonfire stopped and Bao rejoined her. Sure enough, the ship began to smoke. “The bay’s too narrow, there’s no way to avoid it,” Bao said.

“Don’t give up yet, there must be a way out of this,” she said. She watched the flags fluttering in the breeze as she thought. “Look, we’re in luck! The wind is changing.”

“Yes?”

“And the tide’s going out.” A plan snapped together in her mind. “If we grapple onto the fireship and sail towards the Portuguese, the wind and tide will carry it into the fleet. Then we can escape through the hole in the blockade.”

Bao saw the conviction in her eyes. “I trust you,” he said. “Tell the crew what you need.”

Shi Yang leapt into action, issuing instructions quickly to the crew. A few of them looked surprised, but obeyed after Bao backed her up. Soon the Eighth Wind sailed alongside the fireship, now fully ablaze. Bao aimed the grappling hooks to snag on the most solid parts of the fireship. The ropes, sodden with seawater to prevent them burning, went taut as the Eighth Wind pulled against the fireship, which slowly reversed its direction. As they continued to sail towards the blockade, the ropes slackened and the fireship started to drift on its own, carried by the tide.

“It’s working!” Bao said in amazement.

Yang grinned. “Of course it is!” She took up the now-familiar job of cutting the ropes attaching them to the fireship, then directed Cai Qian to maneuver behind it. The smoking ship provided cover as they came into cannon range of the Portuguese ships, but Bao managed to land a few cannon shots over the fireship and onto the Inconquistável.

They were now close enough to see the plumed hat of Admiral Alcoforado darting around the deck, trying to get the Inconquistável to move out of the way of the fireship. He failed. The fireship collided with the frigate, setting it alight. The other Portuguese captains moved away to keep their ships safe and the Eighth Wind shot through the resulting gap. The Portuguese ships lingered to rescue the sailors from the burning Inconquistável, including the wet and humiliated Admiral Alcoforado. To add insult to injury, Ned swooped down to steal his feathered hat. The admiral shook his fist at the retreating junk. “That was a dirty trick! I’ll get you one day, you sea dogs!”

Of course, Shi Yang and Bao couldn’t hear him. They were busy celebrating their daring escape with the crew. “It was all Shi Yang’s idea,” Bao told anyone who congratulated him. “She always knows what to do.”

“In fact,” he shouted, “I have an announcement to make.” He beckoned Shi Yang over, then took her hands. She blushed, unsure what he was thinking. “I would like to nominate Shi Yang to become the new captain of the Eighth Wind. All in favor, say aye!”

The ayes from the crew were unanimous and enthusiastic. Ned tried to vote multiple times, bobbing up and down and shrieking, “Aye, aye, aye!” until Cai Qian threw a bottle at him.

“Very well, I accept,” Shi Yang said, beaming. “But I also have a request for you, Bao.” She gripped his hands. “Will you be my boyfriend?”

This time the cheers from the crew nearly deafened her, but she did not care as Bao had drawn her in for a kiss. The Eighth Wind sailed into the sunset, led by the woman that the South China Sea would come to know as the Pirate Queen.

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:



Dragon Country
2457 words

The forbidding peaks of the Crescent Mountains separated the kingdoms of Senn and Teldamark. Trade was perilous and therefore rare, but success was rewarded with unimaginable riches. Due to the ban on hunting them, there are still wild dragons in the Senni parts of the mountains. The Damarkese hunted their dragons to extinction a long time ago, but once you crossed over the towering, glacial peaks of the mountains and into the verdant, stream-fed foothills you entered dragon country.

My mother was a wealthy Damarkese trader. My father was a wealthy Senni fisherman. One summer, my mother broke her leg and couldn’t make it across the mountains before winter made them impassable. She spent the next year with my father’s family, recuperating. By the time the passes were open again, she was pregnant with twins, my brother Yansin and I, and declared that she would live in Senn forever.

I grew up with a couple dozen families of Damarkese ex-pats and traders in a dragon-country town modeled off of a famous city in my mother’s homeland. My brother, on the other hand, grew up with my father in a Senni fishing town. He got to learn how to hunt and fish and haggle. I grew up learning how to sew and dance and… well, okay. The haggling was universal.

As we grew older and our parents' disdain for one another grew more apparent, our education continued to diverge. Sometimes I could sneak out of the keep to hunt the funny fanged deer that were endemic to this region, or Yansin could sneak into the keep to snack on the funky Damarkese cheese my mother liked. But for the most part we grew up pretty solitary.

“Dad wants to know when you’re going to find your dragon,” Yansin said one day when he managed to sneak into the tower with a pocket full of tiny oranges. “You’re old enough.”

I glowered at him and flicked a seed at his face. “Mom doesn’t want me to. She says the way Senni women ride dragons is vulgar.”

Yansin snorted. “What, she expects you to ride sidesaddle?”

“I think she expects me to ride in wagons.” I leaned back and sucked juice off my fingers.

He shook his head. “She’s crazy. You’ve got the eyes. You know what’ll happen if you don’t go.”

I glanced at my reflection in the window. Even distorted by the thick glass, the bright, amber-yellow color of my eyes was obvious. Had I been raised with my father, I’d have been trained as a warrior and hunter and sent off into the hills to find a dragon whose eyes matched mine. We’d fight, I’d win, and we’d be a pair for life. From the Senni perspective, this was an honorable path, but it flew in the face of Damarkese gender roles.

Footsteps on the stairs. My brother was out the window and clambering over the rooftops in a flash.

My mother threw open the door. “Alexandra,” she boomed. “I have been looking all over for you! What are you doing up here?” Her eyes locked on the orange peels Yansin had left behind. She sighed, deflating slightly. “Your brother was visiting, was he?”

I shrugged. She rolled her eyes. “You know he doesn’t have to sneak in, right? We have doors for a reason.”

“I think he likes the challenge,” I said, gathering up the peels. “I’ll let him know next time I see him.”

“Well. That will be soon. We just received a bird from the Torvalds trading group, they’ve made it through the Sunfire pass early and will be here in three days time. We’ll need both you and your brother in attendance at the welcome feast.”

Mom was in a good mood right now, I could tell from the set of her shoulders as I followed her down the steps. A good mood might mean she was more inclined to accept a reasonable request. “I was thinking,” I said as we entered the main hall, its stained glass windows casting lovely colors on the bustling servants preparing the room. “Maybe after the feast it’s time for me to go into the hills. Find my dragon.”

She stopped dead in her tracks. The loose angle of her shoulders changed, tightening as she balled her hands into fists. “No,” she said, her tone light and even.

“But mom-”

“I said no!” She rounded on me, grabbing my shoulders and giving me a shake. “Absolutely not! You are my daughter and I will not allow you to jeopardize your entire future due to a silly superstition!”

“It’s not superstition! It’s cultural! And it’s true!”

“There have been no substantiated dragon attacks in the past ten years we’ve lived here,” she snarled. “And in those years twenty-eight children have died in the hills. Like hell am I letting you be the twenty-ninth.” She released my shoulders and turned away, disgust written on every line of her face. “I never want to hear you speak of this again, Alexandra. You have work to do. Go make sure your things are clean and help Madeleine turn down the guest bedrooms.”

Unfair. Completely and utterly unfair. I stomped away, rightly furious. I wasn’t sure if her refusal was due to her clinging fear for me or lingering hatred of my father, but it was unfair and shortsighted. I told Madeleine as much as we were beating out the guest bedroom mattresses.

“Your mother isn’t wrong,” Madeleine replied. “It’s very dangerous. My son is a dragon rider. He trained for it his entire life and still nearly died. It’s tradition for mothers to mourn for three days when their children go into the hills for a reason.”

I scowled at the bed. I’d been hoping a Senni perspective would have been more validating to my anger. Madeleine laughed at the look on my face. “Mothers are mothers everywhere,” she said. “Now help me get these sheets straight.”

____

The Baron arrived pompously on a pretty gray horse with ribbons in its mane while my family stood in front of the keep in too-hot clothing with smiles plastered on our faces. His trading group followed behind him, dustier, dirtier, driving oxen that hauled huge wagons filled with riches from Teldamark. The paint on the wagons was scored and blistered, dragons had attacked them on the road.

Yansin elbowed me. “I wonder why,” he said innocently. I elbowed him back, harder, and he just laughed. “Don’t worry, I told Dad about it and he’s going to work on Mom, she’ll come around.”

At dinner the primary topic of conversation was game. The Baron was a keen hunter and had a great deal of stories about great chases and daring escapes from wild beasts.

“I hear you have excellent hunting here,” he said to Yansin, seated mercifully in between us. “Those little roe deer were everywhere after we left the mountains, but somehow they always seemed to hide as soon as we nocked arrows.”

“They’re clever little things,” my brother said. “Tasty, too. Dad grinds them up with dried berries and bakes it in pastry, just the thing for the winter.”

“I thought you were fishermen?” The Baron laughed and slapped Yansin’s shoulder. “What a multi-talented family! And you, Alexandra, I understand that you are one of the chosen few to hunt dragons!”

Silence fell. I could hear my father’s teeth grind. “It’s not that kind of hunting,” I said, trying to mimic my mother’s light and friendly voice. “Nothing dies at the end.”

“But you are a dragon rider, correct?”

I shook my head, angry disappointment burning in my throat. “Not yet.”

He nodded, a sympathetic look on his face, and changed the subject.

That night my mother came to visit me. “It has been decided,” she said in a measured voice, “that you will be permitted to enter the hills and seek your dragon.”

I sat bolt upright. “When?”

“In two days.” She stood, stiff and formal. “You know I love you, Alexandra. Please come back. I can’t lose you.”

I had no intention of getting lost. I spent the next two days researching dragons, talking with other dragon riders, and preparing my weapons. Shell, Madeliene’s son, tried to teach me how he had subdued his dragon, but he’d been a traditionalist and only used hand weapons.

“If you go in there with just a knife you’re going to die,” he said after watching me spar with his dragon. It had pinned me every time and was now simply lying down on top of me, snoring loudly. “You’re going to need to use arrows. Steel is better. Shoot for wing joints, see if you can tear the membrane. Get it on the ground and keep it from taking off again.”

Shell’s dragon opened one eye and hissed at him. He shrugged expansively. “She hasn’t trained for this. I want her to live.”

The dragon let me up. “Hyuu pe carrrfful,” it hissed, its lips not shaped right for human languages. It butted my shoulder with its head and then it and Shell flew away.

The day came with less fanfare than the Baron’s arrival. I left before dawn, as was traditional, and by noon I was deep in the forested hills, surrounded by shrieking birds, chattering squirrels, and the little deer that, as the Baron had noted, seemed to have a sixth sense for when I was ready to shoot at one of them. I saw no signs of dragons the first day, but made myself busy setting up a camp.

That night I woke up to whispering voices outside my shelter.

“She’s asleep in there?”

“Likely. This is the kind of shelter they make in these parts.”

“And we just have to follow her in order to get to the dragon?”

“Eventually either she will find it or it will find her, you can be sure of that.”

“Excellent. No Damarkese man has killed a dragon in six generations. It seems a bit unsporting to use a little girl as bait, but needs must.”

“Just make sure the dragon dies before it kills her. Her mother was very clear on that point. Do that, you’ll get your dragon and you’ll get to be a hero.”

“Oho, that’s true isn’t it?” The voices began to recede, self-congratulatory and confident. I didn’t know one voice, but the Baron was obvious.

I gripped my bow, my vision scarlet with rage. She’d do anything to undercut me, to sever me from my birthright. She hated this part of me so much that she’d sell it away to the highest bidder. I considered my options. Killing the Baron had appeal, but would invite repercussions upon the entire country. I couldn’t just let him do it either, that was just inviting those same repercussions with an extra step: Senn would never let Teldamark step on its one major taboo without retaliation.


So I better make sure it failed.

The next morning I walked without any attempt to hide. Occasionally I could hear twigs break behind me, or hear someone cough. They weren’t used to stalking humans, I supposed. I saw scorch marks on some trees, some claws, and once I stumbled upon a pair of dragons crouched over a half-burned stag. They hissed at me, wings spread, but made no moves to abandon their meal.

Maybe they’d kill the hunters behind me, I thought. They could solve the whole problem right here. But I heard no sounds of a fight. They weren’t here to kill those dragons. They were here to kill my dragon.

It was sometime after midday when I felt a pressure building behind my eyes, like the beginning of a headache. When I closed my eyes, I could half-see an image: a girl standing in the woods. I focused on that for a moment, and realized I was seeing through my dragon’s eyes.

And it was behind me.

Every bone in my body wanted me to run or to attack. Seeing the other dragons had been startling, but I’d never felt such an intense fight or flight response in my life. I spun, snarling, almost forgetting what I was here for, and then froze.

It was crouched behind a thornbush, spade-tipped tail poking out from underneath. I could hear it growling, could see its eyes practically glowing.

*We have a problem,* I thought at it, projecting as hard as I could. Gods, I hoped this worked. *If you attack me, the men behind me will kill you.*

Shock. Alarm. Suspicion. The dragon was not expecting this. *We’re supposed to fight,* it thought back at me. Its mental voice was similar to my own, more sibilant, with an odd echo behind it. *I want to fight. It’s how it’s done. We’re not complete unless we fight.*

*We need to fight,* I said. *Who says we need to fight each other?*

Amusement. Interest. I took those as good signs and continued. *They mean to ambush us. But I know one of them is to my left, and the other is six meters downwind.* I tried to visualize their positions for the dragon.

*If we’re going to do this I’m going to have to make it look good,* the dragon said. *If they suspect something they might change their plans.*

*Sneaky. I like it.* I took a deep breath, trying to settle my jangling nerves. *Let’s do this.*

It leaped, a flash of bronze scales and white teeth. I spun, putting my body in the way of one of their shots. The dragon’s jaw closed on my leg, tearing through my leather skirt and sinking into my skin. I grunted, too focused on the plan to complain, nocked an arrow and loosed it at the other hunter. By pure chance my arrow met his in flight and knocked it off its course. His arrow grazed my dragon’s flank and sank into a tree. The howl of pain that lit up the forest told me mine had met flesh.

The dragon released my leg and bounded after the other hunter, a blinding line of flame jetted from its mouth and struck him, setting his clothes alight. He ran, throwing down his bow, trying to strip off his clothes. I heard a splash in the distance as he made it to a stream. Good riddance.

Screams faded to cursing. My dragon and I walked over to the Baron, who was kneeling on the forest floor, clutching his leg. He looked up at me, furious. I just smiled.

“Thank you for your help,” I said sweetly. “But I think I can take it from here.”

I swung a leg over my dragon’s neck and we leaped into the sky together.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit




Fun Shoe

Week 468 Disney Sleepover Week

Helping Hands
2,482 Words

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g00kEcGh4j8

A tactical pouch of Capri Sun with the straw poking out crashed into Larry Larkin's head and some punch squirted onto Shana Moray's face.

Larry reached into his back pocket for a handkerchief and offered it to Shana. Shana chuckled at the grandfatherly nature of her fellow 7th-grade partner but took the handkerchief all the same and dabbed her cheeks with it.

"Thanks, Larry." She handed it back to him.

"See the monogram," he pointed to the corner. "LL, it was my Zayde's. He gave it to me before he died last month. Look at that gorgeous hand-ticking."

Shana nodded and smiled at her 13-going-on-65 friend as his handkerchief flew up into the air.
They looked up to see Natalie McNeely, the likely pouch thrower and designated shot caller of bus 39 at Pine Ridge Middle, smirking.

Shana slammed her hands on her seat and tried to shoot up, but Larry put his hand on her shoulder.

"Hold your horses; I know how this ends," he whispered.

"But she.." Shana pleaded.

"Trust me." Larry smiled at her.

Shana tilted her head back up at Natalie, but Larry gently pushed her chin down, encouraging her to do the same. She did so, and Natalie turned her back on the two.

"You sure know how to pick 'em, Shawn."

Larry pushed himself up and out of the bench seat and shouted…

"How dare you!"

Shana yelled at Larry to sit down and reached her hand out to him.

Larry turned his back on Natalie and sat down with Shana.

"No fight in either of you," Natalie scoffed. "Not surprised." She walked back toward her seat, threw the handkerchief on the ground, and stomped on it. Larry picked it up off the floor and looked back at his friend.

"I'm so sorry, Shana."
She rested her head on his shoulder and smiled. "It's OK. Hearing you say my name makes up for it."

*****

The bus pulled up to Shana's house. Larry let her out first and followed behind her.

"Nobody's home today. Dad usually doesn't get in until late on Thursday."

"That's OK. I can fix us some supper." Larry asked.

They walked through the threshold of the house, and Shana pointed to the kitchen.

"Go ahead. Maybe make a lot of whatever you're making? My dad usually comes home too tired from work, and we end up getting take-out or something."

"Oh goodness, that won't do at all!" Larry said as he moved toward the kitchen.

"Is it OK if I go down to the lab while you cook?"

"You go cure cancer, Curie. I'll be up here noodling with noodles."

By the time she got to the lab, the sound of oil sizzled in a pan upstairs.

She took off her shoes and socks and welcomed the cold, familiar slab of concrete underneath her feet as she turned on the soft table-side lamps that bounced light off the different chemicals and substances filling her various glassware on the table.

She lit her bunsen burners and placed metals she was interested in combining in beakers above them. While they heated, she walked over to her periodic element poster in the corner of her lab. It was marked with colorful permanent markers in a way that made sense only to her. She poured over the poster, lost herself in possibilities. She jumped when Larry closed the basement door behind him as he descended down the stairs.

"What are you working on?" He asked, handing her a warm bowl filled with green soup. It had a circle of something orange in the middle and perfumed the air with a beautiful, indulgent smell.

"What is this?" She asked, her eyes as wide as saucers.

He smiled. "You guys had some spinach that was on the verge of wilting and some beautiful tomatoes. I made a quick duetta on the stove."

As Larry walked past and looked at the poster, Shana tucked into the soup.

"And how about you, Madame Bunsen. What's this?"

Shana was enjoying the soup but swallowed it quickly.

"Prime numbers," Shana said, realizing as she began that she swallowed the scalding soup far too quickly. She pushed on, though, "I think there's something special in the elements that have prime atomic numbers."

"Oh yeah?" Larry asked. "Is that what you have cooking over there?"

She looked at the beakers and saw that everything was adequately melted down.

"Actually, yeah, let me show you. Can you grab a flask?"

She picked up a beaker and turned to collect another when Larry crashed into her.
Larry was holding a beaker as well, and the two collided in a sound of crackling glass. They each dropped their beakers but not before a little of one, and a little of the other splashed onto Shana's forearm.

"Ah!" Shana shouted in pain. "What was that?!"

"You told me to go get a flask--"

"That was a beaker!"

The goo on Shana's arm bubbled and turned red.

"Yikes!" Larry shouted as he withdrew his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the compound off of her.

The bubbly red concoction fizzed angrily on the handkerchief as it spread. Larry dropped it on the ground as it twitched furiously.

"What in the hell?" Shana thought out loud. She moved closer to the twisting textile, squinting her eyes as her head cocked to the left.

"Careful!" Larry shouted through gritted teeth.

The substance continued to spread and disintegrate the handkerchief until all that was left behind was smoke. Larry fell to his knees, his mouth agape. He stared at the spot where the handkerchief used to be. Shana put her fingers under his chin and tilted his head up. He gasped as the smoke expanded and swirled into a funnel shape.

"We need to get out of here!" He grabbed Shana's hand, but she swatted it away.

"This is new," she said calmly. "New is good."

The smoke slowed, and an ethereal red hand reached out of the top of it. The bust of a man looked over the swirl of smoke, his hands firmly grasping the edge of the swirl.

"Mishka!"

Shana jumped back, but Larry moved closer. "Is that really you?"

"Oh good, you can see me. I was worried that antisemitic gatekeeper doomed me to fail."

Shana walked backward until her feet hit the stairs; she sat down and stared.

"What do you mean, Zayde? What gatekeeper?"

"Oh, he mentioned something about lessons needing to be learned. I thought it was ridiculous. I taught you everything I know, but then I saw what happened on the bus, and it became clear."

"You saw that?"

"I've tried, little Mishka, to teach you the way, but it's time for me to show you. Only then will I find peace."

The swirl of smoke picked up speed, and Zayde descended downward, laughing intensely from what sounded like his ethereal belly. It swirled faster and faster and shrunk in size until finally, all that remained was the handkerchief that started it.

Larry and Shana stared at it in silence for a minute.

"What's a Mishka?" Shana asked.

Larry bent down and picked up the handkerchief. As he did, it darted around his right hand and compressed. It squeezed so tightly that Larry howled in pain. Shana rushed over to him and tried to wrestle it off Larry's hand, but it was already unraveling and flying towards Larry's left hand. Shana reached out to block with her left hand, and it caught onto hers. She yelped, and suddenly the handkerchief flopped lifelessly to the ground.

They rubbed their squeezed hands and saw, on the backs of them, a faint LL scar.

Oy Vey

Shana and Larry jumped in unison at the sudden booming voice inside each of their heads.

It seems as though I'll be teaching two needy little cubs.

Larry's right hand raised, Shana's left followed, and they zoomed toward each other in an attempt at a high five. They each smacked the other in the face.

This might take some getting used to.

*****

After a few hours or so of the two now semi possessed middle schoolers fumbling around in the basement, Zadey's presence had vanished. They both asked internally, and to each other, if he was still there, and he did not respond. Zayde had gained some mastery over manipulating their hands in unison, but his control weakened the further apart they became.

Larry pulled out a watch from his pocket. "My word, it's nearly midnight!"

Shana sleepily pointed to the purple couch she had procured at the local thrift store, and Larry followed her over to it. They cuddled up together and promptly fell asleep.

*****
Shana's father left a note at the top of the door that the two found in the morning.

soup was delish, thanks Larry, I left the oven on low, some bagels in there

The two grabbed breakfast out of the oven.

"So I guess that all just happened, right?" Shana said as Larry crunched down.

Larry nodded his head as he checked down at the scar on his hand.

He swallowed his bagel, "I guess he's still in there, right? I mean, I'm not the scientist here but, if the scars are still on our hands?"

"I'd hesitate to call this science, but yes, that seems likely."

"You in there, Zayde?" Larry called out.

No answer.

*****

The two agreed to sit far apart on the bus, just to play it safe. Shana took a seat on the rear wheel well. Larry, the more likely target, grabbed a spot next to the bus driver upfront.
Natalie, however, had Shana on her radar.

"Gimme your bag, Gizmo; I didn't finish my chem homework."

Natalie snatched the bag off the seat next to Shana, and Shana rolled her eyes and looked out the window. She heard some faint scribbling as Natalie hastily copied down the contents of her notebook. Suddenly, she saw Larry shoot up from his seat. She felt her hand pull her upwards as well.

Their mouths opened in unison, and before either knew what was happening, they each shouted together:

"MISHKATTACK!"

Larry's hand shot forward, pulling him along and straight towards Natalie. Shana's left hand grabbed Natalie by the shoulder and pivoted Natalie's body to Larry. Larry's hand connected with Natalie's gut. She launched Shana's notebook up into the air as she fell down toward the ground.

Larry and Shana regained control of their hands and froze in horror. Natalie whimpered and crawled back to her seat. The two sat down and looked down into their laps. Zayde's voice filled their heads.

Where are the cheers? We have done it! We have taken down that horrible bulvan!"

Larry just shook his head and looked out the window.

You have only begun to understand your power, little Mishka. Soon you'll see the respect you command.

Shana and Larry sighed and held hands for the rest of the bus ride.

*****

The rest of the week proceeded normally, with Zayde nice and quiet as tellings of the bus beating spread throughout the school. When Larry and Shana walked the halls, people cleared out of the way and whispered to one another.

"Are you liking this?" Shana asked.

"Not even a bit," Larry replied.

"People used to smile at us, at least sometimes," Shana said. "I don't even know what that guy's doing.

She pointed to a curly-haired 6th grader who closed the lid to a garbage can above his head as he peeked out at them.

They respect you, little bears.

"No," Larry said out loud. "They're afraid of us."

One and the same, Mishka. Either way, you are not being trifled with.

They turned the corner and heard the slamming of a locker door as a group of Freshmen from the corridor over held up Mike Smith, one of their smaller classmates, by the collar.

"Money now, kid," the tallest called out.

Ah, you have protected yourselves, now let's see how it feels to protect another.

"Oh please," Larry pleaded, "No."

But Larry and Shana's hands lurched forward as the two hurled themselves like ragdolls on a string at the Freshman, knocking them all over. The twisted mess of adolescents pulled themselves apart, and when the bullies saw who had tackled them, they picked themselves and sauntered away.

"There," boomed Zayde's cadence through Larry, "young man, you have nothing to worry about."

Larry's right hand reached down to pull up Mike, but as he pulled on his arm, Mike let out a cry.

"My shoulder!" He shouted.

"Oh no," Shana put her hand over her mouth, "it looks dislocated."

"But are you not safe!" Zayde exclaimed through Larry. He placed the one hand controlled on Larry's waist in a semi-heroic pose.

Shana bent down and rubbed Mike's back.

"I'm sorry, Mike. Are you OK?"

A tear beaded up in his eyes.

"I'm just tired of this."

"I'll put an end to it!" Zayde shouted. "I'll show those balagulas!"

"Hey!" Shana shouted. "Why are you so worried about them? Mike didn't do anything wrong, and now he's hurt. Can we please help him?"

Larry raised his eyebrow in a way Shana had never seen before.

"That's exactly what I'm doing." Larry's right arm raised up and pulled him in the direction that bullies went.

"Zayde, you turn around right now and help me!"

Larry turned around and faced Shana.

"Uh, who's Zayde?" Mike asked.

"Listen, we can either go after some idiots and spend all of our time and energy on them, or we can help someone who needs us. What's going to make you feel better right now?"

Larry's eyebrow lowered, and he walked over to Mike. The two picked him up and headed towards the nurse's office.

Mike whimpered as they walked. "Do you think it'll ever get better than this," he asked.

"Yeah, I do," Shana said. "There are good people out there.

"It feels like I'll be dealing with this kind of stuff for the rest of my life."

Shana nodded her head, "It makes sense that you feel that way. When scary stuff happens, it kinda has a way of covering up all of the good stuff, but there's still good stuff."

Mike smiled as he looked up at Shana.

“It gets better.” Zayde's voice came through Larry's mouth.

Mike laughed, “what like 2 months from when I’m your age? But yeah, I know sorry for being down.

“It’s OK, we’re here for you.”

"You want to join me, Larry? You don't sound so good."

Larry chuckled and walked away. Shana followed behind him. Larry's right hand and Shana's left began to vibrate and heat up. The scars faded, and a voice echoed through their minds.

The lesson has been learned, but it is you little cubs who have taught me. I love you, Mishka. Thank you.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


How I Didn’t Fall In Love (OR DID I??)
1589 words

archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 14:39 on Jan 10, 2022

Voodoofly
Jul 3, 2002

Some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help



Week 468 Disney Sleepover Week

Abbi and the Great White North
2,320 Words

Song of Inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJfUfKUg7hY

________________________________________________________

Once upon a time, in the Mojave Desert, there lived a tortoise named Abbi . . .

“Slow and steady is my pace.” Abbi puffed, pausing for a split second. “Slow and steady wins the race.” She inhaled slower this time, pausing for a sliver of time. “Slow and steady will take me far,” she huffed, pausing again. “Slow and steady to be a star!”

Over and over Abbi repeated her mantra, controlling her breathing and matching her pace to the words. Step, step, step, breathe. Step, step, step, breathe. She kept her eyes focused on the trail, a few strides in front of her, ignoring the chaparral to either side. She knew the way by now, having run the same trails each morning for the last six months, but you never knew when a stray rock or root might trip you up.

Cresting the last hill, though, she paused her mantra and broke focus from the trail. Up and to the right was the billboard. In bright red lettering it read “The Mojave All-Desert Marathon: Sunday, December 19th” Underneath the words stood Abbi, on a podium, gold medal resting against her undershell.

“At least it was a good picture this time” she thought to herself. Better than last year when they captured Abbi charging up a hill, tongue hanging out, gasping for air. Or the year before that where they staged her with an exhausted hare in the background.

“No, no reason to hate it this year” she thought as she lowered her head, picked up her feet, and started the final push back to town. “Slow and steady, that's my pace. Slow and steady for another race. Slow and steady just like the last. Nobody wins by going fast.”

******

That morning, Pajaro the tortoise was enjoying his coffee in the park, chatting with a stranger on the next bench over. Pajaro wasn’t like other tortoises. Tortoises were made for the desert and, for the most part, stayed in the desert their whole life. Pajaro thought those tortoises were crazy. The feeling was often mutual.

“Ever built a snowman?” Pajaro continued. “Really, never seen the snow huh? What a shame. Me, have I built a snowman, what do you think? Everyone who lives in the snow has built a snowman. Sure beats shovelling the stuff, right?” Pajaro chuckled and took a sip of his coffee. The stranger, taking full advantage of the momentary break, made a quick exit. “Hey, no need to run, the snow will be there until spring!” Pajaro chuckled again, this time with enough force to splash some coffee on his shell.

“Tio Pajaro?” Abbi had just finished the morning’s run when she spotted him. Pajaro had always been her favorite uncle. Pajaro was her biggest fan, never missing a race, always cheering the loudest when she won, and always knowing just what to say when she lost. But even more, Pajaro never failed to disappoint with a new story about his life in the Great White North, and Abbi never tired of listening to him.

“Mija! Come here, give your uncle a hug!” Pajaro dashed across the park and wrapped Abbi in a shell knocking embrace. “Mija, I saw your billboard! Big improvement, that one! Tell me all about it, but after I hear how training is going!”

“Tio! I just spent two hours plodding through the boring desert, now you want to talk about it? No way. I want to hear something cool!”

“Abbi, training is cool! But fine, I can do cool. But not a story. You know all my stories. Stories are old news. If you want something cool, I can do you something better.” Pajaro put Abbi down, giving her a sly grin as they pulled apart. “Hurry, mija, I’ve got something to show you!”

******

“Abbi, remember, slow and steady, just like we talked about!” Pajaro was shouting from the bottom of the dune, but the words calmed Abbi all the same. Abbi breathed in. “Slow. Steady. You got this.”

Abbi pushed off. At first, the skis didn’t budge. “I thought he said people flew down the snow on these things?” She pushed again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. “Maybe they just don’t work on sand.” Another push. “I must be doing this wrong, maybe if I dooooooooAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Abbi was skiing! For a moment she was lost in the new sensation. This wasn’t slow and steady. This was something new. Speeding! Rushing! Zooming! These were not normal experiences for a tortoise, and especially not for Abbi.

“I can do this! I can do this!” Abbi looked down at her skis cutting through the sand. “This is fast, this is really fast.” Abbi wanted to feel scared. Scared is good, it keeps you safe. But all Abbi could think was “Fast is AMAZING!”

Once the speed finally set in, Abbi regained focus and realized two things that seemed particularly relevant to her current situation. First, the skis were speeding up, not slowing down, as she continued to carve down the dune. And second, while Pajaro had told her a lot about skis, and skiing, and the Great White Downhill Ski Race, one thing Pajaro didn’t tell her was how to slow down. Or, more critically, how to stop

Screech! Still looking down, Abbi watched as one of her skis sliced open the bottom branch of a baby cactus. “Strange,” she thought. “How did that get up here on a dune?”

“Peligro! Abbi! Nopales! Look out!” Pajaro’s warning jolted Abbi’s head up just in time for her to spot the cactus patch she was rapidly approaching. She tried to turn, throwing her body hard to the left, fingers dragging through the sand as she reached to the side as far as she could, but her skis simply yelped and hissed in frustration, finding no purchase in the soft sand flowing underneath.

Poosh! Woosh! Her skis suddenly popped off her feet, flying off in either direction. On instinct, Abbi had pulled herself tight into her shell, just in time to blast through the trunk of a large cactus. Then another. And then a third. Needles flew through the air as Abbi, tensely tucked in, ricocheted from cactus to cactus, spinning and twirling and cartwheeling through the succulents until smashing back onto the slope of the dune, sending a tidal wave of sand crashing down all around Pajaro, striking his shell moments after he too tucked safely inside. Thud! Abbi’s shell shuddered to a stop a few feet away from Pajaro. Dink! Doink! Her two skis struck the ground as well, one end sticking straight into the with the other needled into the sand.

Pajaro popped back out first, rushing to his niece, trying to block out the carnage he had just witnessed in the hopes that, if lucky, she would just need a splint and not an ambulance to get home.

“Abbi! Mija! Are you ok? Say something mija! Say something!”

“Tio . . .” Abbi’s head slowly stretched out of her shell as she exhaled the words, gasping for air. Hearing the lack of any voice, Abbi stopped, inhaled, paused, then started again.

“Tio, that . . . was AWESOME!”

******

Abbi spent all day skiing the dunes. Pajaro spent all day simultaneously thrilled and worried for her. And for the next several days, whenever Abbi had even a moment of free time, she was racing down the dunes. She even modified her training route so that she would finish her morning run at the top of the sandy slopes where Pajaro would be waiting. Skis in one hand. Coffee in the other.

Abbi knew this couldn’t last, though. It was only a few more days before Pajaro would be travelling back to the Great White North. In the back of her mind, Abbi was also aware of the fact that, if she wanted to win the Mojave All-Desert this year, she would need to seriously commit to her training and stop wasting time on the dunes.

The night before his flight home Pajaro invited Abbi out to dinner. As usual, Pajaro regaled Abbi with stories and Abbi did everything she could to deflect any attention off the upcoming race.

“Fine, fine, we won’t talk about it any more mija . . .” Pajaro said as the waiter brought him another drink.

“Finally!” Abbi was about to ask about the snow wolves again when Pajaro continued on.

“. . . if, however, you answer me one last question. And honestly, too. You know you are a horrible liar . . .”

“Am not!

“ A horrible liar mija. Your entire shell turns red when you do.”

“Fine, Tio, but only one question!”

Pajaro waited just a moment. “One question: Abbi, do you love running?”

Abbi blinked a few times before responding. “Tio! I’m the best runner in the Mojave! I’ve been running since I was a hatchling. With your encouragement I might add! Why wouldn’t I love running?”

“I don’t know mija. All I know is I’ve been to every one of your races. I’ve seen you win, I’ve seen you lose, but I’ve never seen you smile like you have this last week at the dunes.”

Abbi stopped, running through all the different ways she wanted to respond, but Pajaro continued. “I don’t talk about it much, but I was a runner as well when I was your age. I wasn’t as good as you. Who is? But many people, friends, coaches, you name it, thought I would be on an All-Desert billboard, just like you.” Pajaro took a sip of his drink. “I never entered, though. A couple weeks before my first All-Desert I met a goose on holiday from the Great White North. The stories she told, mija, they spoke to me like nothing before. I knew, that night, what I had to do.” Pajaro finished his drink. “A few days before the All-Desert I was offered a job at a ski resort. Working the ski lift for room, board and tips. I spent my last penny on a plane ticket, said a few goodbyes, and, well, here we are.”

Abbi sat, enraptured. All these years she had listened to stories of Pajaro’s life, but never anything about this. “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

Pajaro sat still, thinking. “Mija, until this last week, I thought running was your love, your passion in life. Passion is important. It makes us who we are. But nobody can tell you your passion, Abbi. All they can do is question it, like they did me when I left. ‘Silly bird,’ they said, ‘don’t even know you were supposed to fly south in the winter.’ But that was me and my life. I wanted for you for running to be pure.”

“I would have understood Tio. You could have told me.”

Pajaro looked down at his napkin for a moment, then back to Abbi. “True mija. I could have said something. Probably should have told you a long time ago. You’ve always been strong, Abbi, you would have handled it just fine.” His old grin slowly returned to his face. “Yes, strong. Stubborn, too, if you ask me. So, I asked my question. Now how about I do you one better. I’ve got something to show you!”

Pajaro picked up his napkin, revealing an envelope, and slid it across the table. “For you Abbi. Don’t look at it now. Take it home, think about it. I know you will do what is best for you. It’s getting late, and this old bird has an early flight.” With that, Pajaro stood, kissed Abbi on the cheek, and sauntered into the night air. Abbi ripped open the envelope the moment he was out of sight. In her hand was a plane ticket. For tomorrow morning. To the Great White North.

******

“Slow and steady, that’s my pace.” Abbi huffed, pushing herself to slow down. She knew this wasn’t a sprint, and she would need all her strength if she wanted to make it on time.

As she crested the hill she saw the familiar billboard, her face in a smile, medal around her neck. She looked up, breaking her mantra, and focus on the path, for the last time. Abbi was an amazing runner. Always had been. Probably always would be. But Abbi had a passion, and running wasn’t it. Ticket in one hand, suitcase in the other, skis strapped to her shell, Abbi looked back to her path, racing to catch her flight.

As Abbi passed security, she heard a familiar story. “Really, never built a snowman? Oh, you are in for a treat, let me tell you. There are three rules for a proper snowman. First . . . “

“Tio! Tio!” Abbi spotted him, sitting on a bench, chatting with a stranger, coffee in hand. Pajaro barely had enough time to set his coffee down before she was there, pulling her uncle into an embrace. “Tio! Tio! Thank you, Tio! I’m coming with you! I’m going to the Great White North!”

They hugged for a long while, neither wanting to be the first to let go, until Pajaro remembered. “Abbi, wait. Hugs are old news. I can do you one better. Quickly, over here!” He grabbed her hand and pulled her back to the bench. He picked up his coffee and a second cup next to it. “Here, mija, this is for you.”

“How did you . . . “ but Abbi trailed off, taking the proffered coffee as Pajaro turned back to the stranger. “So, where were we? Oh yes, the three rules . . .”

Abbi smiled. She knew this one well, although the three rules rarely stayed the same from telling to telling. Sipping her coffee, Abbi’s eyes settled on a poster across the room. It was dominated by a huge mountain, covered in snow, with wolf careening down a slope. In bright red letters read “The Great White North Downhill Ski Race: Sunday, January 23rd.” Abbi took it in, thinking to herself: “I wonder if a tortoise has ever been on that poster?”

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi58pN8W3hY
Intangibles

1257 words

Lunch time is market time at Glencross High, and that's where I'm at my best. Always have been, ever since third grade. Give me a spare box of raisins at the start of the period and I'd turn it into three apples, half a turkey sandwich, a buck fifty and the answers to the last three questions on Miss Neff's math homework. Nowadays, I deal in intangibles. Smooth-talking Sidney's settled down with a permanent sweetie, and there's five different awkward lads ready to put in bids on his gift of gab. Darren's given up music to focus on football, but the band still needs someone with his mad bass shreds and slaps. And then there's the stuff nobody wants, a hopeless crush, an embarrassing memory, old grudges and dreads. If someone wants to let go of that old trash they come to good old Sam Hayes. I've got the contacts on the other side of the sunrise. I make it happen. And everyone winds up better off. Sure, including the man in the middle. I get my cut. Because nobody else can do the things I do.

Until today. Until her.

Bella Teal. She's new, one or the transfers from Westfall. And when I came to collect Marcus Messleman's unresolved complicated emotions concerning his birth father, she had gotten there first.

"Bella," I said. We'd been introduced but hadn't spoken more than that.

"Samuel," she said. Nobody used the full name.

"You have something of mine," I said.

"Do I?" she said, eyebrows raising just enough to notice. "That doesn't seem likely. If I have it, how can it possibly be yours?"

"The Messelman package," I said. "Do you have a price?"

"No, I have a use. And you're on your own." She looked at her wrist, mining a watch.

She was right. Shockingly well-informed. She flashed a cruel little smile before turning away.

This particular bit of intangible I promised to Sir Petrifax. No substitutions other than the source, and the agreed forfeit clause was harsh as the old Queen's scorpion lash. I was looking at a year and a day as that spindly old sadist's toy if I couldn't come up with something close enough by dusk.

I knew where to start. Thomas Malloy had the same kind of emotional tangle that I needed. It was an ex rather than a parent, and not dead but living in another state and way back in the closet. Not the exact same, but it would fit in the same vessel. It would do. Trouble is, Thomas was a tough sell. I've tried. Explained that this isn't a memory thing, that I wasn't asking him to forget his first time.

Memory things, major memory things are bad news. I stay away from that part of the business. I mean, I'll gladly bargain for a few seconds of social embarrassment, those horrifying moments that rise up unbidden years later. Some of the folks on the other side can't get enough of cringe. But a first time, a first kiss, a birthday party or a regional championship, no. Deal in that kind of intangible and you get noticed, on both sides.

So I'd have to offer something big for Thomas. And I didn't have time to set up a complicated seven-way trade. I'd have to go to the reserves, offer him a day of raw fae luck. There wasn't much lunchtime left. I ran him down, only to find him deep in conversation with the other two Westfall transfers, Sonny and Celia. The twins. Fraternal. Look nothing alike, but close your eyes and listen to the way they talk and you'd see it. I started to sweat. More competitors? I didn't have a third option, and the last thing I wanted was to get into a bidding war.

"It's like this, Tommy," said Celia. "I can call you Tommy, right?" She didn't pause for an answer. "Sonny and I have a little wager."

"She thinks that beauty is better than truth, while I hold the opposite view, and we'd like you to settle it for us."

"What if they're, like the same think? Like that Greek urn guy said?" said Thomas.

"Keats," I said. "Listen, we need to talk."

"Poets," scoffed Celia. They both moved away. If you just looked at them from the waist up you'd have sworn that they were skating. Him roller, her ice. I had to glance down at their feet just to be sure they weren't.

I got to work on Thomas. I was in a bind, so I used that angle, played it for sympathy. Plus I was offering solid product. With this kind of luck you could take a few steps, get roped into a poker game and walk away with one of the guys in it's car, and not some old junker or tiny import. A serious cat. That's how I got the 'vette. That's 'Cor-', not 'Che-', thank you.

I worked my words and got him around, filled that steel-glass phial with what I needed. But the day wasn't done with me yet.

It was right after the bell. Two hours to dusk, so I had a little time to kill, waiting for everyone else to clear out. I spotted Sonny and Celia again, talking to a small group of first and second years. The same business as before, with their bet. I reached into my pocket for a charm, a simple invisibility glamour. I snapped the ceramic disk and faded into the hedge as they continued their interrogation.

"They always choose beauty," said Bella.

I nearly jumped. "You can-"

"Obviously," she said. "They always choose beauty, and the borders of our worlds shift." She stared at me. "This is your fault, you know."

"My fault?" I still hadn't gotten over the charm failing. 

"Bring the goblin market to mortal lands and the rest of the Kingdom follows. You'll do well enough, I'm sure. You're more than half goblin yourself by now."

"You're saying they can take the whole school-"

"The whole town. Fresh children for the tiend. Fools and thralls out of the rest. As soon as seven and seventy choose beauty," she said, showing disappointed eyes. "Unless..."

"Unless what?" I said.

She moved closer, face to face, and produced that vessel. She etched flowery glyphs in it with her fingernail. "There," she said. "A sympathy. Break one, unbind all. Choose truth. Break the glass." She dropped it into my pocket and kissed me on my forehead. "Or fulfil your bargain with Sir Petrifax." She vanished, with a better invisibility charm than mine. Her kiss still burned the skin of my brow, burned like strong peppermints.

It wasn't that hard a decision. I winced as I threw it, though. A hundred deals, undone at a moment. All those dealt-with emotions returning at once, attenuated by their time behind the sunset.

I served my time. A year and a day on that side is a lost weekend bleeding into Monday over here, so my life wasn't disrupted too much. I came back older, if not wiser, and, with a year as Sir Petrifax's goblin behind me, got back to work. More carefully. Most of those old skills and talents and intangibles came back with a strange comfort, and would not be dealt with again. A few, though, won't be missed. I've got Bella around now to make sure things don't get out of hand, and I'm doing fine. There's always a huge market on both sides of the sky for cringe.

rohan
Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


:siren:"THEIR":siren:





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOL-EJZjmp0

The Princess and the Adventurer
5400 words or so, but who’s counting?

Removed!

rohan fucked around with this message at 23:47 on Dec 31, 2021

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

The Greatest Knight
1978/2,500 words
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dulbsyPiog8

It was a beautiful day in Eliastown, and Kyra and Herbert were sparring in the clearing near Old Raymond’s farm. As the only person in the sleepy little burg who’d left in the past twenty years, Herbert had picked up a few fighting techniques in the Capital. He cut Kyra a narrow grin as he caught her overhead strike. “You’re supposed to hit me, not my sword.”

“That’s the plan!” Kyra was about to win anyway. Herbert might talk a good game, but he was already panting, tired. Soon he’d drop his guard, and then she’d put him in the dust - again. Kyra had trained hard to be the toughest warrior in Eliastown, and she’d win the tournament next week in Marceline. A post in the Royal Guard was the prize, and then she and her fellow knights would defeat the Black Knight in glorious battle. Then everyone would be proud of her. She could see Granny and Frank and Herbert and all the other townsfolk in her mind’s eye now, faces shining, smiling, cheering –

“Aah!” Kyra’s eyes were suddenly stinging, and she had to turn away. As she rubbed at her eyes, Herbert’s smug voice cut through the pain.

“I win.”

“You –“ Kyra got the last of the dust out of her face to see Herbert’s practice sword at her throat. Just past it was his face, wearing his signature smirk – which she was raring to wipe off. “You threw dirt in my eyes! You cheated!”

“I had to, to win. You <i>are</i> a better swordfighter than me. But I guess I’m smarter than you.” He turned away, tapping the blade against his shoulder. “Well, Frank, I guess Kyra and me’re done for today. Let’s get some apples, yeah?”

Frank whickered, tossing his mane and prancing in place. Granny always said her old plow-horse was smarter than most people in Eliastown, and some days Kyra couldn’t help but agree. But now she turned her angry gaze on him.

“You <i>traitor</i>. No apples for you! You sit right there!” Cowed, Frank obeyed his mistress, plopping his rear straight down in the dirt. “I’m not done with this one.” Kyra wheeled on Herbert, sticking a finger in his face. “I am <i>not</i> going to win the tournament with your shady tactics. Even if I did, the Royal Guard wouldn’t take me. They’re always honorable, win or lose –“

“Yeah, they’re doing a lot of that lately. Losing.” Herbert’s airy tone took on a bitter edge, but Kyra didn’t let that stop her.

“We have rules for a reason. Without them, we’re no better than the Black Knight. Bringing chaos, burning, taking what he wants from our people –“

“You think the Guard doesn’t take what they want from us?” Herbert’s eyes were wide with anger. “Oh, they don’t do it like the Black Knight. <i>Honorable</i> knights don’t wreck your farm, or snatch your coin straight from your cottage like he does. They use the <i>rules</i> to make you give up what you need, what’s important to you. ‘For the good of the Realm’ they say. And who decides what’s good for the realm? They do, of course! Folks from Eliastown, we can’t succeed. We’ll never win by playing by the rules <i>they</i> made.”

“What do you know?” Kyra folded her arms. “You’re nothing but a scoundrel. Granny’s been saying so for years!”

“You – you – you don’t even know why!” Herbert groaned, pulling at his hair. “You don’t know what happened to me, out in the Capital –“

“How would I? You haven’t told me! You haven’t told anybody what happened that was so horrible out there! I bet – Oh.” Herbert’s face was all screwed up in a grimace. Tears were running down his cheeks. “Oh no. Oh Herbert, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean –”

“It’s okay. I know you meant it,” he smiled gamely. Kyra led him to a log by the clearing, where they sat together. Frank sidled up next to Herbert, gave him an encouraging nudge. Herbert smiled sadly and patted Frank on the jaw. “It wasn’t any one thing,” Herbert said, patting Frank on the jaw. “It was … have you ever had someone look at you and immediately decide you were worthless?”

Kyra shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Nobody in Eliastown was rude enough to tell her she couldn’t win the tournament, but she knew full well nobody believed a skinny girl from Eliastown would ever be a knight. Not even Granny, for all her sweetness.

“It kept happening to me in the Capital. Didn’t matter how good I dressed or how wide I smiled, how hard I was willing to work – all those fancy merchants and smiths and housekeepers couldn’t hide their sneers. I tried to play by their rules. I was ready to work my way up from the bottom, the way you’re supposed to. But the city folk didn’t even want to let me play their game. That’s why I came back here.” Herbert stood up, brushed off his trousers. “That’s why I had to be a scoundrel. That’s why nobody leaves Eliastown. I just hope you learn that faster than I did.” He tried to bring a little bravado back into his voice, but they all knew his heart wasn’t in it. “See you later.” And he strolled down the path to town, not looking back at the frowning girl and horse watching him leave.

******

“Don’t worry, dear.” Granny patted Kyra’s cheek with a hand withered and tanned as an apple left out too long in the sun. “You can always come home to me, no matter how badly you lose!”

“Thanks, Granny.” Kyra forced a smile as she put on her battered old helmet. Most of Eliastown was here at the Marceline festival grounds, and she didn’t want to prove them right about her chances. She was going to have to win…in her patchy boiled leather and rusty half-helm, wielding a sword older than Granny, riding an old plow-horse. Against professional knights.

Gods above, she <i>was</i> going to prove them right.

“You can’t think like that,” Kyra said aloud. “You just need to do like you’ve always done, work hard, believe that –“

“And now for our first match of the day!” A voice boomed from the platform by the tournament pavilion. “A crowd favorite, Sir Oswald the Lucky, hero of Iwerks Bridge –“ a wave of cheers washed over Kyra “—And newcomer Kyra of Eliastown!” A scattering of claps followed.

“—I’m doomed.” Kyra slumped forward. “Frank, what am I going to do?”

Frank only whinnied in response.

“You could try my way.” Kyra turned to see Herbert vault over the pavilion fence, striding towards her.

“Herbert! I didn’t think you’d come!” Herbert winced as Kyra locked him in her strongest bearhug. But –” she turned nervously to the center pavilion, where a great white warhorse was tramping, carrying a broad-shouldered, mustachioed knight “– You know I can’t use your way, I can’t –“

“There’s another option: just run away. It’s gotten me out of a lot of scrapes before.”

“I’m not going to run.” Kyra took Frank’s reins and started walking him towards the starting point. “I gotta face the music.”

“Wait, Kyra, I – there’s something I have to tell you. No matter what happens, I want you to know I’m –“

Screams rang out, and a burning smell assailed Kyra’s nose. She turned to see merchant stalls in flames, frightened people running pell-mell. A midnight stallion parted the crowds. Sitting astride it was a hulking figure in full ebon armor, bearing a flaming torch. The figure tossed the torch to the ground, and a voice echoed terribly through its visor: “WHO WILL FACE ME?”

“Never fear!” Sir Oswald spurred his horse forward. “I shall put paid to this brute, and save the realm from – Ooof!” Oswald flew backwards off his horse, sprawling to the ground.

“That is a very big mace.” Herbert paled at the spiked monstrosity clutched in the Black Knight’s gauntlet. “Very big.”

“Herbert, snap out of it!” Kyra shoved Frank’s reins in Herbert’s hand. “Get on Frank and go. Get Granny out of here, and anybody else you can.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll be fine,” Kyra lied, drawing her sword. “I can take him.”

“Are you crazy? You’ll never –“

“Herbert, if you ever needed to shut up –“

“Okay, I get it. Shutting up.” He mounted Frank in one smooth motion, hoisted a screaming Granny up by the scruff of her neck. “Listen up, everyone! Follow me if you want to live!”

Most in the crowd seemed to want that, needing no more encouragement to follow Herbert. The knights who hadn’t broken and ran stood, blades drawn, but shaking with fear. Only Kyra strode forward. “Black Knight!” She willed her voice not to quail as she pointed her blade at the figure. “Come and face me!”

“THIS ONE ANSWERS MY CHALLENGE?” The Black Knight dismounted, growing larger and more monstrous in Kyra’s vision as he advanced. “A SCRAWNY, UNTRAINED CHILD. VERY WELL.” He raised his mace high to strike. “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.”

Kyra dove sideways, wind whistling past as the mace crashed to the ground she’d been standing on. As soon as she’d recovered, the Black Knight was coming back for another swing. She retreated from his tireless assault, diving, dodging, searching desperately for an opening, seeing nothing. “YOU CANNOT WIN, CHILD.” Fire-blue eyes blazed through his visor. “YOU HAVE NOT THE SKILL TO DEFEAT ME.”

“You’re right. I don’t.” Kyra smirked as she reached behind her. “But I do have this!” With a shout of effort, she threw the handful of dust she’d grabbed straight at the Black Knight’s helmet. Ignoring his howl of pain, she thrust her blade against his throat. “I win.”

“I YIELD! I YIELD!” The Black Knight wailed. Kyra scoffed as she jabbed her blade against his throat. The monster who’d held the land in thrall was nothing more than a coward in defeat. “I’M SO SORRY! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!”

“I can’t do that for you. You’ll have to ask the Guard.” Kyra lowered her blade as some other knights surged forward. Now that the Black Knight had soundly lost, they were only too happy to bind him and drag him off to the town dungeon. Kyra helped the rest put out the fires, and a few hours later she was standing outside Marceline, surrounded by her friends and neighbors.

“I knew you could do it!” Granny jumped up and down as Frank reared with pride. “That’s my granddaughter! My Kyra!” Kyra only smiled, accepting a hug from Herbert.

“I heard what happened. See, I told you you need to break their rules.” Herbert nudged Kyra’s chin. “That’s how you win their game. Now they’ve got to let you into the Guard.”

“Indeed,” Sir Oswald stepped forward, holding his blade out. “We need not hold a tournament to see that your valor is unsurpassed. Kneel, child. I would dub thee Dame Kyra.”

Kyra felt the tears pricking at her eyes. This was everything she’d ever wanted. Wasn’t it? Kyra looked out the crowd. There was Granny, hooting with excitement. Frank was jumping like a puppy at play. And by her side was Herbert, beaming with pride. Everyone was proud of her.

“Sir Oswald, you flatter me with your request. But I must refuse –“ a roar of disappointment, and a cry of “Oh come on!” from someone in the crowd “–For I have no need for fortune or glory. I only want to remain with the people I love – the people who believe in me.” And with that, she mounted Frank, pulled a laughing Granny up in the saddle, and turned towards home. Herbert was right, she thought as he walked alongside Frank, beaming up at her. Nobody left Eliastown – and who would want to?

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.






Hello! Submissions are closed! But if you're late and you write a story anyway, maybe I'll crit it!

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



Happy Birthday, Thunderdome! We’re having a party! A birthday party!

Nethilia is, so far, the best and most favorite guest for they brought the most goodies. As a reward, they now have an extra 500 bonus words to spend! This week, next week, any week! And I can give these away because I’m in charge! Yay!

Uranium Phoenix, for saving Thunderdome, also gets a reward of 69 bonus words to call in at any time for any prompt. Huzzah!

Speaking of prompts: it’s a birthday prompt! And there’s really only one rule this week: you gotta eat the cake. But I’ve laid out a pretty delicious spread so fill up your plates and fill up your bellies. Keep your eyes on this post, though, because people may continue to bring treats.

Deadline to sign up: friday at midnight pst
Deadline to submit: sunday at midnight pst
You can gain up to 10,000 words.

Cake! +600 words
  • It’s someone's birthday!

Soda! +100 words
  • Your story begins and ends with the same line.
  • Your story must start and end in the same location.
  • No pronouns.
  • Pick a card, any card. Use it in your story.
  • Eat Healthy! Include all of the 1980s food groups: Bread, Meat, Dairy, Veggies and Fruits, Sweets, Oils, and Fats.
  • Florida Man!
  • "I still owe you an..."
  • This picture
  • This picture
  • You must have a happy ending.
  • No one may die.
  • One character prefers to speak in rhyme.
  • One character is non-binary.
  • Your story is set in the mesosphere.

Chips and Cookies! +200 words
  • Two female characters must have a 200 word conversation about something other than a man
  • Divide your word count in two and write two stories. They must be connected thematically but not literally.
  • You are limited to two locations.
  • You must bring one of two things to the story: an elephant or an embroidery project.
  • Exactly half your story is a dream, and that dream is more important than the reality
  • Every sentence needs an adverb!
  • Hellenistic Mediterranean is the setting. Temples mysteriously disappearing is the problem.
  • “The smoke of a burning human skull will drive bees to murder.”
  • Incorporate a special technology: Gravity Manipulation! This isn't just repelling gravity to float, but being able to manipulate all parts of it. I think the possibilities here are not very well explored, since usually the tech exists as a convenience to explain why all the people on a space ship aren't floating.
  • None of your characters can understand each other, but desperately need to.
  • “The world exists within a tear.”
  • There is no 19th story. There is no Mrs. Zarves.

Pizza! +300 words
  • Tyrannosaurus names one of your major characters (from a Tyrannosaurus prompt)
  • Pththya-lyi chooses for you an archetype and a theme.
  • Antivehicular gives you a inspirational webcomic (from an Antivehicular prompt)
  • Little Ducky assigns you a K-Drama trope (from a Tyrannosaurus prompt)
  • Chernobyl Princess hands you a medieval marginalia.
  • Antivehicular bestows a mysterious yet thematic flash from one of their previous prompts
  • "It was all a dream" is not only a valid ending to your story, it's the only ending.
  • Your story is "Campy Gory Girl Power"
  • This is your very specific, very special horoscope to influence and guide your writing:
    .
    The Hierophant: Religion, group identification, conformity, tradition, beliefs
    Six of Pentacles (Reversed): Debt, selfishness, one-sided charity
    Queen of Swords (Reversed): Overly-emotional, bitchy, cold-hearted

Ice Cream! +400 words
  • Your characters must speak Hawaiian pidgin.
  • Your characters are all buildings, from 3-9 stories high, each with a different disorder from the DSM IV. Yoruichi will assign you the disorders.
  • One of your characters is a narcissist. If the story is not focusing on them, they will try to tug it back to them.
  • Thranguy will give you a Grievance from the Declaration of Independence
  • Your story must be told in reverse order (but still make sense).
  • Your story is a Psychological Christmas Creature Feature Secret Society Period Piece About Parenthood
  • No one in your story can be a white person.

Alcohol! +1000 words
  • Your story can only use the top 1000 words in the English Language. (from a Nethilia prompt)
  • For every 100 words, your story needs to contain another named character with a speaking role
  • After 500 words, you lose access to a letter of the alphabet for the rest of your story. Every 200 words after that (700, 900, 1100, etc) you lose access to another.
  • Your story is split into more than ten scenes but no scene can have more than 50 words.
  • You can't use sentences longer than the baby shoes story.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 17:03 on Jul 29, 2021

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


aaaand if it's not clear, you can drink like 10 different sodas or whatever, live your life, it's a party!

host
me

guests
Staggy
Simply Simon
Noah
Sitting Here
Yoruichi
Uranium Phoenix
Pham Nuwen
Applewhite
Thranguy
Sailor Viy
rohan
Lily Catts
ZearothK
Taletel
Antivehicular
organburner
MockingQuantum
a friendly penguin
sebmojo
RandomPaul
...you?

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 13:53 on Jul 31, 2021

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



RSVPing to my invite.

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

📡scanning🛰️ for good game 🎮design🦔🦔🦔


Ya in ofc

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


has this really been 10 years?

in.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







I'm in obviously, are we grabbing snacks when we signup or are you assigning them?

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit




Fun Shoe

Can't go in but to celebrate Thunderdome's birthday, I'll pledge a 50 dollar donation to the charity of the winner's choosing.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




In with:

Soda! +100 words
This picture

Chips and Cookies! +200 words
Hellenistic Mediterranean is the setting. Temples mysteriously disappearing is the problem.

Pizza! +300 words
Tyrannosaurus names one of your major characters.

For a total of 1200 devastating words.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.



Gonna be in with a lot of things, but in the mean time, I need 3 slices of pizza

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Pizza! +300 words
  • Tyrannosaurus names one of your major characters
  • Antivehicular gives you a inspirational webcomic
  • Chernobyl Princess hands you a medieval marginalia.

Already gotten the medieval bit:

Uranium Phoenix fucked around with this message at 22:42 on Jul 26, 2021

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




MAKE SURE YOU KEEP A NOTE OF YOUR FLASHRULES AND THE ASSOCIATED WORD BONUS SO YOU CAN INCLUDE THIS INFORMATION WHEN YOU POST YOUR STORY SO THAT YOU DON'T MAKE YOUR ARCHIVIST SAD

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Sitting Here posted:

I'm in obviously, are we grabbing snacks when we signup or are you assigning them?

You can grab snacks until the party is done!


Yoruichi posted:

Pizza! +300 words
Tyrannosaurus names one of your major characters.

Zinaida Gar

Uranium Phoenix posted:

Gonna be in with a lot of things, but in the mean time, I need 3 slices of pizza

Croc Matisse

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




In

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS



Nap Ghost

I'm actually free this week. In with:

Soda
- Your story begins and ends with the same line.

Chips and Cookies
-Two female characters must have a 200 word conversation about something other than a man.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In.
Taking a k drama trope and a marginalia and a name as well as

Your story is split into more than ten scenes but no scene can have more than 50 words

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.



I'm in, give me a marginalia, can't decide what else I want yet

rohan
Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


:siren:"THEIR":siren:





in, might come back for seconds later, but for now filling my plate with:

Pizza! +300 words
  • Tyrannosaurus names one of your major characters (from a Tyrannosaurus prompt)
  • Pththya-lyi chooses for you an archetype and a theme.
  • Little Ducky assigns you a K-Drama trope (from a Tyrannosaurus prompt)

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Thranguy posted:

In.
Taking a k drama trope

little ducky posted:

Love triangle? Love triangle.

Thranguy posted:

and a name as well

Artemisia Gharial

rohan posted:

Tyrannosaurus names one of your major characters (from a Tyrannosaurus prompt)

Falcon Friday

rohan posted:

Little Ducky assigns you a K-Drama trope (from a Tyrannosaurus prompt)

little ducky posted:

Go with love triangle

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



Uranium Phoenix posted:

Gonna be in with a lot of things, but in the mean time, I need 3 slices of pizza

Already gotten the medieval bit:


Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

rohan posted:

Pththya-lyi chooses for you an archetype and a theme.

The romance fairy blesses you!

Theme: Opposites Attract. Character Archetype: Fae

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


In for the party

Adbot
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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.






Hello Dome. Me and the one BFF who bothered to turn up, Sailor Viy, have been hard at work reading your Disney stories.

There was a little discussion, some minor disagreements, but ultimately I wielded my power as supreme BFF and have the following results:

Winner: The Princess and the Adventurer

HMs: The Pirate Queen, Jackie and the Three Beasts

DMs: Limbo, Roles to Play, How I Didn't Fall in Love (OR DID I??)

Loser: none this week because I demand happy endings.

Rohan, in a week or so when this birthday party thing is done, I guess you'll be back on the throne.

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