The Writer's Circle

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Aren142
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Re: The Writer's Circle *Competition Deadline Extended*

Post by Aren142 » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:58 pm

I don't think I've provided any period details, other than the fact that people wear distinguishable business outfits. The closest to any real setting details is hopefully the imagery of a busy city and the name of the fictional country in which it is set which means nothing to the reader at this point. But it's a sort of present-to-near-future sort of era of a fictional world.
<Kaeetayel> Go for a team entirely composed of Eeveelutions
<Princess> that's effort
<Princess> I need to buy the stones/go to rocks/make them happy/touch Eevee
<Kaeetayel> The last one doesn't sound too bad

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Re: The Writer's Circle *Competition Deadline Extended*

Post by ChaosControl » Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:40 am

Yeah, the busy city comes across really well. I think by not outright stating the exact setting adds to the mystery of it and pulls you in, wanting to know more
I am functioning within the established parameters.

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Re: The Writer's Circle *Competition Deadline Extended*

Post by Kriken » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:31 pm

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Re: The Writer's Circle *Competition Deadline Extended*

Post by Kriken » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:48 pm

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Kriken » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:57 pm

Great Smash Bros. Melee DX 6 Gods eton mess Sakurai Hikō o Torimasu

Opening Theme

Ware ware ware Smash Bros Great Melee

Ningen not, Melee 6 Gods

Sakurai-Chan, ware ware hutsu,

Let's fighting Smash Bros!

Smash Melee Bros! Ware

ま䤥 ぎご 椦ねみ拣蝣 *Mew2King standing on a cliff looking out wistfully* 䩵 ゲ覎ひゃ レ゜騧 婃䶥

*faded image of Armada in the background pushing up his glasses on the left* ず駣榟㠨 䤂饵 べ代润 妣きょぴょ馺ゞ *a faded Leffen on the right leffing evilly*

ィ嶥驧祌べ 襊䤎た楥にゃ 窯ゐ谨 䤂饵 *PPMD and Hbox briefly flash onto the screen* 諧覩䣊ぼみゅ...

*Mango runs up, pushes M2K off the cliff and jumps into the air; Plup, Westballz and Tafo jumping in with their own poses*

Melee Bros fighting yeah!

*screen fades out to darkness, Sakurai standing there with a Metaknight cape around him before he whips it out in front of him, changing the scene again*

Run don't walk and chase your dleams!

*M2K picks himself up, adjusts his glasses and starts running alongside a tsundere Leffen in a schoolgirl outfit ("Nya!") and Hbox on his right holding a paper McDonalds bag eating cheeseburgers *

Now is the time, so ret's fighting!

20XX *Hax appears briefly with Westballz multi-shining in sync before making out* Giga Drill Breaker!

Hacking to the gate! (Of the future!)

*everyone appears again with the rest of the top 30 players - Wizzrobe in Steven Hawkings stance for some reason - with Sakurai hanging over them*

Smash ware Bros...yeah!!!

Episode 1: Show Me Your Moves DX (Sakurai Stuh-rikes)
Maylay.

The stage where dreams are made...and broken.

20XX...is it a dream? Or a reality?

Perhaps we will find out at Genesis 3, the first big Melee tournament of 2016.

*whisper whisper* "Who's that guy over there?"

*whisper whisper* "The guy with the scarf wrapped around his face, shades and a baseball cap on his head? I don't know. But he's looking pretty good. Whoa, those wavecheats."

*loud whisper* "And that fun-cancel!" (lmao)

Doom, doom, doom.

Wahh! A Fox cried as his last stock was destroyed.

In 30 seconds, the mysterious masked man was walking away from the setup he was playing on, leaving the dejected player sitting there, shocked & stunned.

The masked man had four-stocked him. With Kirby.

*mutter mutter* "But I thought Kirby was a low-tier..."

*mutter mutter* "Actually my tier list puts him at low-mid."

"Oh right. Then I guess he isn't a low tier."

"What's wrong with the guy who just lost? He's not moving..."

A man with a croaky cigarette voice said, "Kirby Kalamity," he said. People turned to look at this man, whose hands were in the pockets of his trenchcoat. "I 'ad 'erd of it before, but never in my lifetime have I actually seen it. He'll be stuck like that for years."

"Is there a cure?"

The man laughed. "Is there a cure? Why don't you ask Lord Hax. He'll tell you what he did to get 'is 'ands back."

"What did he do!?"

The man leffed (disclaimer no relation to Leffen), and suddenly vanished.

"He sold his soul..."

There was a stunned silence for a moment, the people around him standing in thought before shrugging their shoulders and walking away.

*later, at a different setup...*

*energetic rock music plays; Mango and Leffen are playing their winners semis set and the crowd is whooping*

The score is 2-2 and their hands are spazzing out. Leffen's mouth is spinning out of controls and his headphones fall out (Hatsune Miku can be heard playing from them).

Leffen blunders and rolls behind Mango as his Falco charges a smash attack behind him.

"Crap!" he cries out as he rockets off Pokemon Stadium. "Mada mada mada!"

1 stock each.

"The hardest of reads!" TK Breezy said. "My man read the whole library and then blew it up!"

"Man if Leffen doesn't do something quick," Mr EE said, "then it's feasting time for Mango! He likes his Foxes hot and tender! And don't we all! Good lord almighty."

"Let's go Mango, let's go!" TK Breezy chips in as Mr EE bites into a large slice of watermelon.

Leffen jumps back and camps with lasers but Mango just advances towards him despite being at a high percent, licking his lips.

Angry and wanting to prove himself, Leffen jumps in and they both shine at once. The energy generated from the clanking shines sends sparks flying everywhere, and they push at one another.

Leffen sweats under the pressure, as he's pushed back. "No, no this can't be... I'm the godslayer!"

Mango laughs. "You filthy Swedish ********."

He jumps out his shine and does a down air - it props Leffen up and Mango jumps up to meet him, sending him down again into the blastzone below, Falco crying out like an eagle.

The crowd erupts, several people jumping up and firing their pistols into the air.

Westballz tips up his fedora. "Well I'll be," he said in his Texan drawl.

Lord Hax phases into the crowd and smiles wanly, cape wrapped around himself.

"Naruhodo," he said. "I suppose 20XX was just a dream, after all. Or...is it?"

He vanishes. No-one was really paying attention to him, anyway.

Mango and Leffen shake hands.

"Looks like you're not as trash as you were last year," Leffen said with a leff. "I'll be prepared for you next time, though. And I look forward to that next time..." He blushed, suddenly. "N-not that I want to see you again or anything~"

Mango laughed. "I hate you so much, Leffen."

Leffen looked away, still blushing. "Pervert."

Armada stood in the background, his cyborg chest broken in with wiring hanging out and sparks sparking out of it. He looked a little scuffed, otherwise.

"We must play now, Leffen," he said, unphased.

"Wait, Armada? What happened to you?" Mango said. "Who knocked you into losers?"

Armada shook his head slightly. "As always, Mango, you play the fool. Have you not seen what has been happening? The masked man has been making a tear through the bracket. He beat me. I do not think any of us will win."

"The masked man? What?"

"It doesn't matter. You will see so yourself. But...Mango, no... Brother, you must win. One of us must win. For the good of the Smash world, that man must be stopped. Do not take him lightly."

Mango rolled his eyes. "You crazy Swedes," and he walked off drinking a bottle of water that was actually vodka. He raised his hands slightly as he went off. "I'm the GOAT!"

Armada shook his head again. Leffen turned to him.

"Senpai- I mean, Armada, are you really so doubtful that Sweden can't take another national? Have we not proved that we're too much for these American dogs?"

"It is not the Americans I worry about, William," Armada said. "I do not think the masked man is an American. I mean, it's just a hunch. He's skinny, and bows his head politely before and after a match saying 'gomenesai'. Now, we must push the thought of him to the back of our mind for the time being, and play."

With some hesitancy, Leffen walked off with Armada to their setup, glancing behind at the bracket on the big screen.

Winners Final
Mango vs ...the Masked Man

"Gomenesai," the Masked Man said and bowed his head towards Mango, before sitting down next to him at their setup. The crowd behind them cried out in equal measure for their boy but also for the potential upset.

"I don't understand Swedish," Mango said.

"And I don't understand defeat," the Masked Man said.

"Bloody Swedes."

The Masked Man selected (blue) Kirby on the character screen, Mango went to Falco, unphased, expecting the Masked Man to change character. As they carried out stage-striking, it became clear he would be sticking with Kirby. Still, Mango said nothing.

And then, as they went to battlefield, the Masked Man spoke again, this time pulling the scarf and shades off his face.

Sakurai!?

"Victory, is my destiny."

The blue Kirby started to spin around.

*fast-paced Spanish guitar plays*

The crowd looks on in wonder.

M2K stares intensely.

The spinning stops, and in Kirby's place stands Metaknight.

Slowly, a grin spreads across Mango's face.

"Alright. Let's go."




Ending theme

*girly J-pop plays as the camera pans over Leffen lying down seductively in different poses*

Someday I'll be a champion.

*walking across a moonlight boulevard*

But for now I'm just a faggot.

*the music fades out and Leffen stops and embraces Fox who starts shining*

Oh yeah.



NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW

-Preview music-

Mango: "Who the hell are you!?"

Armada: "Mango, stop calling him Swedish. He's gooseberry fool Japanese."

Leffen: "Nya~"

M2K: "My hands hurt." (lmao)

Sakurai, opening his eyes slowly: "I guess I have no choice, then..."

Next time on Great Smash Bros. Melee DX 6 Gods eton mess Sakurai Hikō o Torimasu... Mango! No! Don't Give Up! Sakurai's Evil Plan?

"Sharingan!"


Audio version coming maybe


Edit: Fixed sentence.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Vtheyoshi » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:25 pm

I'm gooseberry fool crying, that was beautiful
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Thanks to yung Kriken for the sig and avatar (asuka best girl)
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Kriken » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:35 am

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Kriken » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:22 pm

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Gazooki » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:00 pm

Here's the thing I mentioned over in HDYFRN. Hopefully it's good. Lemme know what you all think. It's the first time I've ever actually written a short story.
What Would Fishbones Do?
“Hey, Fishbones, whaddaya reckon we should do now?” Jinx asked her weapon of choice as she sat amongst the rubble of a house that once belonged to the famed, gifted, and in her eyes at least, utterly insufferable, explorer known as Ezrael. Countless artefacts from across Valoran lay strewn among the wreckage, many in a totally irreparable state due to the fact they’d just been caught in a large explosion. Jinx rationalised her decision to destroy the dwelling of the dweeb, along with countless relics the likes of which would never be seen again, by reasoning that Ezrael spent so long away from home, he’d probably never notice his house was gone.
Jinx was the sole reason that Piltover had not known peace in recent years, an irreconcilable fact to both the denizens of the city and the extremely frustrated detectives constantly on her tail. If the peace had been disrupted by Zaun getting too uppity, Noxus releasing some sort of vile plague or even the fell beasts of the Shadow Isles migrating en masse, people would have been able to comprehend the madness and adjust their lives accordingly. Alas, nobody could understand Jinx or the methods behind her madness. Only Jinx herself had that knowledge, as much as she would deny it, even from herself.

“Well, for one thing, we ought to clean up all this mess,” said her rocket launcher, Fishbones, in an oddly jovial tone considering he was chastising her.”I doubt Ezrael will be happy to come home and find his house has been destroyed.” Jinx and Fishbones often argued wth each other in the aftermath of a giant explosion. That was the perfect time for it because chances were small that anyone else would be around to hear them, and if anyone was around, they’d be too busy screaming in agony or clutching desperately at the sides of their heads to stop the ringing in their ears to notice her arguing with a weapon shaped like a giant metallic shark.

“Never!” she yelled, punching her beloved rocket launcher in the snout, dimly aware of the flash of pain coursing through her fist as it clanged against Fishbones’ tough steel coating. “Cleaning’s for losers, like Fat Hands! You better not be calling me a loser or you’ll suffer the same fate as Shiny Boy’s stash here!” It was odd that she should be concerned about being overheard, she knew, but then again, so was everything else about her. She was crazy and she had a doctor’s note to prove it. Well, she liked to call it a doctor’s note but it was actually just a sheet of paper with the words ‘Jinx is craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!’ written on it sloppily. Nonetheless, she used this as evidence to justify to herself the chaos and destruction she left in her wake. Surely it had to be a watertight defence? ‘Oh, sorry, Hat Lady, I just couldn’t help levelling half the city because I’m crazy!’

“Why Jinx, that’s an awful, mean spirited thing to say,” replied Fishbones. “How could you make such a threat to one of your oldest pals, huh?”

“I think you’ll find I could do it very easily,” said Jinx, giving Fishbones a good shake in the hope that he’d shut up.

“Is that so? Is that how little you think of me? Am I so disposable that I can simply be cast aside and replaced like that?” asked Fishbones.

“Sure,” Jinx said, dropping the weapon and watching it roll down the mound of rubble she was sat on. Thunk, thud, whack, and other glorious sounds commonly associated with metal colliding with stone rang through the air as poor Fishbones rolled all the way to the ground. “There, I just did it! Well, the first part!” Like a child having a tantrum, she turned her back on the rocket launcher, folding her arms across her chest and pouting. Nobody was allowed to ruin her fun, especially not Fishbones. If anything, he was the one who was supposed to make fun happen with his many rockets. Beautiful, amazing, wonderful rockets. Rockets that made explosions that filled the air with noise and smoke and fire. Rockets that sent people running for miles and screaming. Rockets that could level a building in seconds, toppling skyscrapers like dominoes as she watched from a safe distance on a rooftop, or if she was feeling incredibly daring, on the streets in plain sight. Once she got going, it was impossible to stop her momentum.

“Rockets,” Jinx whispered to herself. Rockets were the key to everything, she realised. Rockets were the glue that held her life together, and the reverse glue that caused Piltover to become unstuck. Maybe she should go to the patent office and get that trademarked. ‘Rockets: the best reverse glue in Runeterra!’ Of course, the moment her patent was approved she’d have to blow up the patent office so nobody could try to steal her secrets. Well actually more because it’d be fun to watch the place get blown to smithereens. To do that, she realised, she’d need something to propel the rockets with. She once tried to throw a rocket, but it didn’t go very far and it certainly didn’t explode. Chompers were like mini-rockets, she supposed, but they weren’t nearly as fun as a Super Mega Death Rocket.

“Rockets,” Jinx said, louder than before. No. Rockets weren’t the answer, she realised. Fishbones was. Fishbones was nice. Fishbones, as far as she had been concerned, was real. But as she stood atop the rubble, arms covering her small chest as her blue pigtails blew in the light breeze, she noticed that the silly voice of Fishbones was no longer responding. Fishbones never spoke unless spoken to, that much she knew. Maybe he was a bit shy. But no, there was more to it than that, she began to realise.

Many a time, the two had disagreed with one another. Fishbones often urged Jinx to become a law-abiding citizen, pay her bills, go to school, hand herself in to Hat Lady and Fat Hands, think about how much inconvenience she’d cause to others with her reckless behaviour. Those poor people have done nothing wrong, he’d say, to which Jinx would reply she didn’t care, she just wanted to have fun and do cool stuff, and it didn’t matter to her who got caught up in it. Their lives weren’t important because they weren’t her, or Hat Lady, or Fat Hands, or that dark-skinned time travelling kid with the wrench she’d run into that time. But… those people built the city. Those people were the ones who gave her this massive playground to roam and destroy. It wasn't that she wanted to even kill them in the first place, they just happened to get in the way.

“Wait a second… Fishbones!” she screamed, turning herself around at breakneck speed and leaping acrobatically off the rubble to land squarely beside the discard, battered, but still fairly usable, rocket launcher. She stared at Fishbones for a while, watching his sharp, toothy mouth for any signs of movement. In spite of everything she’d put him through and their constant disagreements, he’d been loyal and stayed by her side ever since she could remember. If he didn’t like blowing stuff up, then why would he do it? Because he loved her. Because they were best buds. Because he… wasn’t… moving? Was he dead?

“Fishbones?” Jinx asked quietly, crouching down to the level of her weapon and stroking his head delicately, staring deep into his glowing orange eyes. “Wake up, Fishbones!” She took the weapon in her hands and shook it vigorously, the metal jaws clanking and rattling with the vibrations. As she looked up and spotted this movement, a tiny little spark went off inside her brain. Now she began to think maybe there was a reason he only picked those moments to talk. He wasn’t magic. He wasn’t a special talking weapon. He was just a regular old weapon she’d grown attached to over the years. Every time they’d had an argument and fallen out, it was when he was strapped to her arm, never when he was resting on the floor or the table or propped up against the wall in her secret base. All this time, when he went quiet after being punched in the nose, she’d thought he was just giving her the silent treatment. Now, she realised, maybe that wasn’t true.

“Wait… am I… Fishbones?” she asked herself, her voice slipping momentarily into Fishbones’. But then that meant all this time, when her rocket launcher was trying to tell her she shouldn’t be so reckless, she should try to settle down and live a normal life like everybody else… that had been her. Even as she rampaged across Piltover demolishing everything she could, that little voice inside her head had been trying to get through to her. What was it they called it? The conch? Yeah, that was it, the conch! Her conch had been drowned out by all the noise, all the bright colours, by the rush she got whenever her rockets nailed their target. That felt so magical, that moment when all her hard work and preparation had paid off. But… was there another way to get that rush?

Jinx sat on the floor, clutching Fishbones lovingly in her arms as she began to contemplate this. She lived for the thrill of blowing stuff up. She totally got off on destruction. That much, she knew. That was the only reason she did it, because it felt so good. But what if there were things that felt just as good as that, if not better, that were safer? Before, she would have instantly dismissed this thought because she would have been saying it in a silly voice and flapping Fishbones’ jaws like a puppet, but now she was facing the terrifying reality that this was inside her head and there was no escape. She couldn’t just punch her brain in the face and yell at it to shut up. She had to face the reality that a part of her, no matter how small it was, knew she was in the wrong, and getting rid of Fishbones wouldn’t make that feeling go away.

“What is life if not explosions?” Jinx slurred, slumped backwards against what remained of a large stone statue of King Jarvan the First. Reintegrating herself into society in Piltover was impossible now. She couldn’t do it. Not because she was scared of what people would think of her. No way. She didn’t give a eton mess about that. People could say what they wanted about her. She didn’t care if people thought that she was a blue-haired freak, or she had a terrifying grin, or she had tiny boobs. That was all part of the Jinx image, and she felt just fine with that. Nope, what really mattered was that she couldn’t have a normal life as long as Fat Hands and Hat Lady were still around. If they caught her, they’d make her answer for all her crimes.

Again, before realising that Fishbones was just a gun, she would have been unfazed by having to repay her debts to society. Let other people fix my mess. They’ve done it every other time. That’s what other people exist for, right? No, that wasn’t what scared her. Money, clothes and other material goods didn’t matter to Jinx. Her outfit was pretty much just the bare minimum she could get away with without being totally naked, supplemented by lots and lots of functionless belts, and the only things she kept in her underground base were weapons. She had nothing to lose in that respect. What she did have to lose was her freedom. The freedom to do whatever she wanted. Jinx admitted she didn’t know a lot, but what she did know was that if she got arrested she’d be locked up forever for a list of crimes so long it hardly fit on the Wanted posters.

“Now what do I do?” Jinx asked herself sadly, now fully aware she was only asking herself and not her guns. Now, the awareness that her sanity had slipped was hitting with full force. She didn’t know why she was this way. She just was. She couldn’t help it. She had that destructive streak within her as long as she could remember and she’d get all itchy and irritated when something hadn’t exploded for a good while. One time she went a whole day without blowing stuff up, just to see if she could, and by the end of it she was sitting in a dumpster, holding her knees and rocking back and forth not knowing what to do with herself until she dislodged a Chomper and set a pile of rags on fire by accident. That was all she’d known up to this point. Endless destruction, endless despair. The only way to soothe herself was to blow things up. But could she keep going on this way?

“People…” People were like bugs. No matter how many you squished, more always came back. But if Jinx got squished, would she come back? How many people had she killed? Jinx didn’t know. There were probably too many to count. She liked people, and didn’t actively wish death upon them, but nor did it matter to her if a few went missing. But now, it suddenly did, because she was Fishbones, and Fishbones never liked it when people died. He always cried afterwards, all big sobs and loud ‘BOOOOO-HOOOOO’ noises. Just like that one time she saw Fat Hands crouching by that kid she’d pulled from the wreckage of a building. Jinx didn’t understand it at the time, but obviously Fat Hands didn’t like seeing people die, and what with her being part of the police, that meant killing people was wrong. Well, of course killing was wrong, Fishbones had said as much many times, but now replaying that incident over in her head, Jinx finally started to see what he meant. In a way it was like what had just happened to Fishbones. One moment, he was moving and talking, the next he was lying in the rubble, no longer capable of moving. Because he was dead. Because she had killed him. Except Fishbones had never been alive to begin with, because Fishbones was really her. It was all such a mess, she couldn’t take it any longer.

“Stop it! Stop it stop it stop it STOP IT!” she shouted, throwing Fishbones to the ground and beating what had once been Ezrael’s living room floor with her fists. She was more aware of the pain than she had ever been in her life. The pain that she’d caused others. The pain she was currently causing to herself. The pain she’d feel when Hat Lady finally managed to snipe her, or when Fat Hands finally got those big metal mitts on her. Jinx didn’t want any of this. She just wanted it all to go away. She didn’t want to die, but she did want the pain to stop. She looked down at her left hand, all quivery and covered in blood. Her blood. Her right hand wasn’t in much better condition.

“Why?” Jinx whispered softly, feeling a new sensation, of wetness collecting in her eyes and dripping down her cheeks, splashing onto the floor and mixing with her blood to form a pool of pure misery. She was crying. She didn’t remember ever crying before, only seeing other people cry. She didn’t like how it felt. Not only were her eyes dripping, her nose was running, a film of mucus joining the disgusting pool on the floor, and it felt like something was trying to claw its way out of her throat. Many times she’d witnessed this happening to others, and she had the awareness to make Fishbones mimic this reaction, but until now, she’d never felt it herself. She never wanted to again, either, but now she knew chances were she probably would. With the revelation that Fishbones wasn’t real, the world had begun to open up, and the world turned out to be a scary place to live. “Why couldn’t you be real, Fishbones?”

“Oh… but I am!” she tried to say in the silly voice she had often used, but it was interrupted by sobs and it sounded wrong and distorted.

“No, you aren’t,” she whispered back. “I can’t fool myself anymore. I can’t keep running away from my problems, cos they’re always gonna follow me. Even if I leave Piltover, people will know my name, my face. My life’s over and it’s my fault. I can’t go on like this…” For a long time, Jinx sat there, allowing her depression to run its course, dissecting every moment of her existence in the fruitless search for an all-encompassing answer to her dilemma. Where did she come from? Where was she going? What was, and what will be? The answer was clear. She couldn’t go back to the way she had been, but nor could she forfeit her freedom, because to do so would go against everything she had ever lived for and no matter what, she couldn’t betray herself. She knew she’d be miserable locked up and wanted to do whatever it took to ensure that never happened, but it looked like there was only one choice. To keep running.

“Suppose I’d better scram before those two show up,” she said as she weakly rose to her feet, stumbling over the pile of blood, tears and snot in search of something to clean herself up with. Thankfully, not far from her lay an old tablecloth that she was able to use to mop most of the mess up with, which she cast onto the rubble once she was done with it. Spotting poor Fishbones lying prone on the ground, his jaw hanging open like the gormless fish that he was, she felt another pang of sadness, knowing now that her relationship with the gun would never be the same. Fishbones was dead, but his legacy could live on. She slammed the dopey fish’s jaw shut and dragged the tablecloth down from the rubble with the intention of covering him up, just like everyone did with her victims.

“So long, old buddy,” she said to the gun, planting a kiss on his wonky, beaten snout before covering his face with the bloody tablecloth. “I’ll make you proud. Just you watch.” It was going to be a long road ahead, that much Jinx knew. Letting go of Fishbones was just the first step. She’d never forget him and everything he did for her, but she also had to remember that it was never him doing all that in the first place. It had always been her. She’d been the one willing herself to change all along, and now she had to commit to that. She was scared, no doubt about that, but in a way she didn’t really mind. It was all so exciting, thinking of all the new possibilities that might open up to her if she could flee far enough.

Maybe she could join the army and fight on the front lines, put her destructive tendencies to good use for once. Perhaps she could bring her knowledge of hextech accrued from years living in one of the most advanced cities in Runeterra and help one of the smaller nations advance into the modern age. Just imagine what the Freljord would be capable of if they had guns! They were scary enough when they had their big axes swinging at you, but just imagine all those big burly men trudging through the snow with rocket launchers! That’d be enough to make any warrior soil his armour. What if, instead of blowing things up, she started fixing them instead? If she could find that kid with the wrench again, maybe he could teach her some stuff. As she walked away from the bomb site that used to be Ezrael’s house, Jinx finally started feeling that rush again, the same one that she’d got before from destroying things. She allowed the sensation to fill her body, picking up the pace, until soon she was miles away from the devastation she’d caused. People stopped and stared as she ran past them, and she was pretty sure at one point she heard Fat Hands yelling, but none of that mattered. Jinx felt freer than she’d ever been, and she couldn’t wait to see what the future held for her.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Kriken » Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:12 pm

Great Smash Bros. Melee DX 6 Gods eton mess Sakurai Hikō o Torimasu

Opening Theme

Ware ware ware Smash Bros Great Melee

Ningen not, Melee 6 Gods

Sakurai-Chan, ware ware hutsu,

Let's fighting Smash Bros!

Smash Melee Bros! Ware

ま䤥 ぎご 椦ねみ拣蝣 *Mew2King standing on a cliff looking out wistfully* 䩵 ゲ覎ひゃ レ゜騧 婃䶥

*faded image of Armada in the background pushing up his glasses on the left* ず駣榟㠨 䤂饵 べ代润 妣きょぴょ馺ゞ *a faded Leffen on the right leffing evilly*

ィ嶥驧祌べ 襊䤎た楥にゃ 窯ゐ谨 䤂饵 *PPMD and Hbox briefly flash onto the screen* 諧覩䣊ぼみゅ...

*Mango runs up, pushes M2K off the cliff and jumps into the air; Plup, Westballz and Tafo jumping in with their own poses*

Melee Bros fighting yeah!

*screen fades out to darkness, Sakurai standing there with a Metaknight cape around him before he whips it out in front of him, changing the scene again*

Run don't walk and chase your dleams!

*M2K picks himself up, adjusts his glasses and starts running alongside a tsundere Leffen in a schoolgirl outfit ("Nya!") and Hbox on his right holding a paper McDonalds bag eating cheeseburgers *

Now is the time, so ret's fighting!

20XX *Hax appears briefly with Westballz multi-shining in sync before making out* Giga Drill Breaker!

Hacking to the gate! (Of the future!)

*everyone appears again with the rest of the top 30 players - Wizzrobe in Steven Hawkings stance for some reason - with Sakurai hanging over them*

Smash ware Bros...yeah!!!
Episode 2: Saku-wry
Previously on 6 Gods:

Maylay.

And now...

"I'm worried about Mango-kun," said Leffen. "I don't think he's got much experience fighting Metaknight, if any at all."

"He will likely lose regardless," Armada said. "His opponent has the secretive style of PPMD, the frame-perfect punish game of M2K, my Swedish-style optimization, your Armada-style optimization, Mango's predictive abilities and, for what it's worth, Hbox's ability to reach 2nd place at every major tournament. Assuming he doesn't fight Mango before winners finals. Though in this case... He doesn't have that weakness. He doesn't have a weakness. But...why are you worried about Mango anyway?"

"I'm just..." Leffen began. "Well... S-shut Armada baka."

Armada pushed up his glasses and went back to thinking about how he could make his Fox look even more boring than Leffen's.

Mango took Sakurai's first stock with a big forward-smash, but that was the only stock he took in the match. Sakurai took the rest. Mango, unphased and continually chewing gum, then switched to Fox. Chooses to go back to battlefield.

"Come on Mango! Let's. gooseberry fool. Go!" Hbox cried out, munching on his KFC.

PPMD gave him a sidelong glance. "Since when were you a Mango fan?"

"He cheers for Magno in every grand finals he gets to," said a small boy standing next to PP. "It's to disguise his salt and, I don't know, he's probably gay for him too. Kreygasm."

"Now," PP said with a laugh, "I'm sure it's not that. What's your name, kid?"

"Magnofan666," the boy said. "I'm a huge Magno fan. PogChamp."

M2K held up what was left of his hands in exasperation. "What is Mango doing? It's as if he thinks up-air comes out in frame 7 and not frame 8."

2nd game: A 4-stock for Sakurai.

Scar: "YO!"

Mango picks Battlefield again.

PP shook his head. "Mango's not focusing. There's no way he's going to win."

"He was never going to win anyway..." Leffen said, strolling in with a short black jacket that stopped at his armpits and one of those frilly scarves. "America busters it up again!" He leffed.

"Sweden lost as well..?"

Leffen leffed again, heaving his shoulders. "You think Armada and I were trying? Just wait until we do..."

"Yay," Magnofan666 said. "Johns! ResidentSleeper."

Mango hops out of his seat, shaking his head and then shaking Sakurai's hand before meeting up with the other gods. Armada, too, joined them.

"Mango," Armada said. "We have to play now."

"No," Mango said. "I don't want to. There's no point."

Armada pushed up his glasses. "Very well. I can't persuade you."

"But Mango," PP said, "you can't just give up! I mean...you're right, there's no way you're going to win, but you may as well try and go for 2nd place."

"gooseberry fool no," Mango said. "I'm the GOAT. The GOAT doesn't settle for second. Who do you think I am, H-"

He stopped, realising Hbox was standing there, who had a KFC chicken lifted up to his mouth but had paused.

"Who do you think I am?" Mango went on. "Leffen? Sorry Leffen, you're an even bigger wiener than Hbox. Alright, see ya nerds."

Mango left them, the rest of the gods and Magnofan666 standing around each other, a somewhat awkward silence falling over them.

"I can't believe Mango just walked out..." PP said.

"Then again, it's perhaps the Mango-ist thing Mango has ever done," Hbox said, wistfully, taking a bite out of another chicken.

"Who cares," Leffen said. "And why are we even standing with each other anyway? Think about. We don't even like each other."

Everybody looked around at each other, and then looked down.

"Yes," Armada said, "I suppose you are right. For once."

"But..." PP said, "I like Magnofan666." He ruffled the boy's hair.

"Eugh," said Magnofan666. "DansGame."

"Yeah," Hbox said. "You know Leffen, just because you can say it and it's true, it doesn't always mean you should just say it. Serious talk for a moment here. Also, gooseberry fool you."

The group dispersed, leaving a despondent Leffen, and Magnofan666.

"Nice one," Magnofan666 said. "Kappa."

And then he left too.


Back at home, Mango lay on his bed and looked up at his ceiling. Ghostly images from the past passed across it.

Scar jumping up and down. "You're the GOAT Mango! The GOAT!"

"My dick is going to...explode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Homemadewaffles). "Nice combo."

Lauren's face buried into his crotch after Evo2014.

Leffen's face buried into his crotch in the future.

M2K's hands holding his-


"I have to take a break from all of this," Mango said allowed. "Melee, everything..."

An image of Hax appeared in a fox suit.

"Now," Mango added.

"No Mango wait," Hax said. "It's actually me, Hax, communicating to you. I have something important to say."

"That's what worries me."

"gooseberry fool you Mango. Falcon sucks!"

He disappeared.

And then re-appeared again briefly to say, "That wasn't the important message. Once again, gooseberry fool you."

Mango rolled around and screamed into his pillow.

NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW

-Preview music-

"gooseberry fool you Mango." (Hax)

"No gooseberry fool you." (Mango)

*leffs* (Leffen)

"It's time we took your Fox to the next level, Mango." (Armada)

"Yeeee-hawwww!!!" *Westballz shines 20 times in a row outside a busy supermarket, hand holding down his stetson*

"Actually, your hands seem fine." (A doctor)

"Really?" (M2K)

"For Smash 4! Lol!" (A doctor)

"A-Armada-sama. N-no, n-not there." (Leffen)
Last edited by Kriken on Sat May 14, 2016 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Blaxel411 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:46 pm

I've been thinking about this for a while, and i've finally decided to try my hand at a world-building exercise. The world I've come up with is still in development, but I might as well show what i've come up with for the first of the five kingdoms.

fyi, in this world "Ether" exists as an infinite source of energy that flows through all living things. The humans of this world have developed various ways to use it such as for protection, healing etc, but each kingdom has developed a style of ether usage exclusive to them. The heavy usage of ether also allows the humans the ability to fuse their physical forms, but the occurrence is rare, and different people regard it differently.

Ursus (Bear Kingdom):
Sigil- The brown bear, based on the brown bear that attacked the first Ursa.
Main exports- Fish, Metal and other assorted ore, furs.
Wildlife- Bears (duh), various types of fish, Eagles, Moose and other horned mammals. (and other assorted north American animals.)
Ether style- Physical enhancement. Ursan aura users are able to enhance their natural physical attributes. This includes enhanced strength, speed, agility, and endurance. This of course means that their bodies are the most saturated with aura, and are thus most suitable for fusions, and least in need of food. Consequently, Ursan athletes are given handicaps at non-combative sporting events. Everyone receives a slash mark for each rank of aura use they earn. The limit is five marks, which are inflicted by the next of kin.
Royal family- While all people from the kingdom are known as Ursans, only the royal family have “Ursa” as an actual last name. The Ursa family are known for producing mostly sons, which is good because the eldest sons are favoured for succession. In fact, there have been almost no female monarchs in this kingdom. Genetically, the Ursas are a Caucasian family, with predominantly black haired children, although the occasional other colour appears, depending on the monarch's mate. The Ursas are well known for their copious amounts of hair, males and females included. The current monarch is Tobias Ursa I. He has three sons; Richard, Thomas and Benjamin (all from different mothers), Richard being his eldest and heir.
Economy- While the Ursan fashion sense is generally unappreciated by the other kingdoms (excluding select cultural enthusiasts), Ursan food and minerals sell abundantly well. This allows the kingdom to provide for themselves quite well, and they are the most consistently financially stable kingdom in the land. The Ursan currency is known as the "mark".
Culture- The Ursan kingdom is a land that prides strength above all else. As far as they believe, the enhancements granted by ether make weakness inexcusable. Despite this, they also believe strongly in protecting the weak, including the elderly, the young and those who's connections to ether have been damaged. Ursans, worship the earth god, who they believe provides fertility for their lands, and strength for their people. Despite being financially stable, the Ursans still rely on the wild for most of their food and clothing. Because of this, Ursan fashion has a heavy emphasis on animal furs and darker colours.
Military/fighting style- Due to their ether style, Ursan fighters engage in heavily close range based combat. To supplement this, their military has invested a lot in ranged weaponry such as bows and cannons. Their navy is also the greatest in the land.
Geography- This kingdom is located in the western-most point of the continent. There is a river that runs through the entirety of the kingdom, dividing it in half. This provides both sides with plentiful grassland and forests. The kingdom also has one volcano on each side of the river, although they have both been inactive for generations. Every settlement is walled, especially the capital, which is surrounded by high metal walls around a metre thick.

If anyone can give me more aspects of this civilisation to explore, or areas where more detail is needed, that'd be appreciated.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Aren142 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:25 pm

Been going to the usual writing course again this term and have been trying to focus the topics onto my novel attempt. Thankfully, a lot of the things we're covering this term are relevant since it's usually geared towards the students and a lot of people this time are working on novels. It's half term this week, but wanted to try and keep up with things so went back over the homework I did for last week and made a couple of tweaks based on comments. The prompt was "an unexpected encounter", so I tried to use a scene from what I have planned. It's not really an extract since it's in 3rd person following a different POV and it could probably change significantly by the time I reach that part of the story. But it's an exercise so thought I'd share it with people and see what they thought. Also, espite the prompt, didn't actually reach the intened encounter until the very end and you don't even find out who it is. I got a bit carried away in the build up or wrote as I might normally, opposed to sticking to the short pieces that are actually easy to read out in class.
Eido gripped onto his spear with both hands and held it close, ready to defend himself at a moment’s notice, as he crept through the halls. The palace was eerily quiet. Eido’s footsteps echoed off the high ceilings and distant walls, only emphasising the emptiness even more. He had yet to encounter any guard and that thought weighed heavy on his mind. There should have been patrols all over the place. Eido had a theory about the lack of guards in this part of the palace, but he didn’t want to consider it too much. It just made it even more likely that his decision to come here was a waste of time.

It was probably a mistake to come here anyway, but Eido had to cling to the chance that he could find Ross alive and get him out before he did anything stupid. He had no idea where he was going. He had never been to the Royal Palace before, very few people had. He hadn’t even seen any pictures of the inside apart from the ones everyone had seen of the King in the throne room. That just made the endless halls into a giant maze. Eventually, he reached a set of doors that towered over him. They surely led somewhere significant. The problem was that guards likely lay beyond as well.

Clutching the spear under his arm, Eido pressed both hands against the door, trying to exert enough force to open it but only enough to get a slight gap to see through. The door disagreed with the element of surprise and groaned loudly as it edged open. Eido jumped back and grabbed his spear again. Nothing happened. The door stayed as it was and there were no sounds from the other side. Cautiously, he moved in close and peered through the gap. He could see a guard lying on the floor with his weapon discarded a short distance away. Then, he pushed the door a little further. The creaking was still the only sound. The larger gap revealed more guards lying on the floor. None of them were moving. All of the bodies were in a similar state. Their faces and body armour were badly burnt and their weapons had been dropped. In fact, a few embers still flickered, eating into their victims.

Eido pushed the door all the way open and walked into the hall. It was littered with charred bodies. Ross had not just been here, he had been on the warpath. The heat and smoke still in the room gave Eido hope. Whatever had happened in this room can’t have been too much earlier. There was potentially still time. Gaining a burst of energy from his newfound hope, Eido ran across the room and scooped up one of the discarded handguns. The heat from it stung his hand, but he kept his grip and headed for an open door on the other side of the room.

The next corridor looked like all of the previous ones he had been through. It was completely deserted. It seemed that all of the guards had converged on Ross at one point. Just as he had feared. Though it seemed Ross hadn’t been overwhelmed. The problem was that it left no trail of bodies to follow. The only hope Eido had of tracing him was following open doors. Ross wasn’t exactly the sort to take the time to shut the doors he had been through.

Something began to feel off as Eido walked along the corridor with gun in one hand and spear in the other. There was a large set of doors like the one he had found before. It seemed like the obvious choice for Ross to go, but they were shut and there was another open door further along. The open door was small and there was no light coming from it. It didn’t add up. Eido approached slowly and looked inside. Total darkness.

“Ross?” Eido asked as he stepped inside.

He quickly regretted his decision as the door slammed shut behind him, trapping him in the darkness. He spun on his heel to face the door as the room was bathed in light. It was a trap. Someone knew he was coming. Someone knew how he would think in his search for Ross. Eido wagered, however, that person hadn’t expected him to arm himself with a gun. He turned around once again and swung his arm out, aiming directly at where he expected to find someone waiting for him, and immediately pulled the trigger.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by fluffyKittan » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:04 am

As with any circle,
Wisdom meets with intellect,
The eternal loop.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Thu May 05, 2016 9:31 pm

Hello.

I used to post on the last forum, although to my shame I never finished anything I started. I never really showcased my writing anywhere other than ONM, so I hope this new forum will be just as welcoming.

I wrote this today after coming across this new forum and receiving a sudden burst of inspiration to start writing again. The ideas and setting surrounding the story have been swirling in my mind for years now, so I'm not concerned that this will stop due to a lack of material on my part. Hopefully this particular story will get semi-regular installments here, my uni work permitting.

Anyway... I hope you all enjoy, and please let me know your thoughts both positive and negative

Life in the End Times

Chapter 1 - Turquoise

The dust upon my father’s the throne had settled many months ago, when the shouting and explosions had first begun. Or had it been years? It was hard to tell, for the chaos outside the walls was now the routine of the palace. The dust gathered every day, upon the undisturbed furniture, upon the great banqueting table, upon the silver dinner service, and upon all of the servants who huddled quietly in the corners of the hall. Some hovered about solemnly, weeping and whimpering to themselves, and others still wailed to the sky through the gaping hole in our old vaulted ceiling. Actually most of the servants were no longer around, and I think they may have moved to other duties, or perhaps my father had given them leave, but I could not be certain for I had not been permitted to leave the palace grounds for some time now. The friendly servants have all gone – of that much I am certain –, the ones who smiled and laughed and gossiped amongst themselves, the ones who would tease and chase me through the corridors. Sometimes I look at the faces of the wretched ones still here and recognise a face or two, but those melancholy faces are surely not the same as the jovial ones from my memory. I wonder sometimes if they are statues or servants, these robed figures who slouch in my corridors, unspeaking.

The glass windows look prettier in the dark. With every flash of the chaos outside, we only see broken icons of angels, warriors and kings lacking wings, arms and head. Coloured shards litter the ground like an upturned puzzle, and despite my best efforts I can’t seem to remake the images in my mind. I always admired the image of that king above the throne, his thick brown beard, his graceful locks of hair curling above his shoulders, his pure white regalia. His pale green eyes. In my lessons, the astronomers would show me distant cosmic formations in the night sky through their mechanical devices, but whilst I would forget their scientific explanations, I always remembered the wondrous beauty of those lonely stars in the sky, the swirling kaleidoscopic dust which by nature moulded itself into a sort of divine architecture. Looking into those pale green eyes, I saw that same beauty. Yet here I carefully cradle this lone pane of glass, snapped as it was from that towering translucent portrait, and look into that same handsome face which I would look upon in every feast, dance or audience in this great hall. Who was this king? What was he doing adorning the painted windows of this hall? Sometimes I recognise my father in that carefully groomed beard, other times it is my brothers by his noble gaze, and other times I see my sister in his subtle smile. But always, it is those eyes which I recall, which are all at once so familiar but so enthralling.

A drop of rain dives through the split ceiling, splashing my dry check. Another falls, followed quickly in tow by a trickle, dampening my matted, unwashed hair. As if sliced open by an arc of lightening, the clouds burst open, releasing the deluge. The palace roof had been blasted asunder by some infernal war machine some weeks ago, a stray and unfortunate attack. My father had ordered its immediate repair, but the last architect I had set eyes upon had left the palace long before the disaster had occurred, and so the ugly damage remained. Now like a chasm, the split ceiling becomes the mouth of a waterfall, drenching my body as I sit on the marble steps leading to my father’s throne. “Princess,” I hear a distant voice call, but I ignore it as the cleansing feel of the rain washes through my hair and clothes. An explosion sounds outside, shaking the room and striking some of the servants into nervous tears. The voice calls again, echoing louder through the room until subsumed by a yet more powerful explosion. Loose sections of stone masonry tumbled through the crack in the ceiling, whilst the window-pane of an angel splits through the middle and crashes into the banqueting table, the thousands of splinters cutting into my bare feet. I wince through the pain, ignoring the chaotic flight of the servants from the hall, ignoring their screams of terror in the same way that they ignore my injured, lonely figure.

“Princess,” the voice calls from a doorway leading to the palace courtyard, “what on earth are you doing here alone?” His voice is so thick with worry as to make it unrecognisable as that of the kind palace steward. I look up to see his concern vanish under a wave of relief, and he rushes from the doorway and towards me, arms outstretched. The old men of the palace had always frightened me, with their gaunt faces, wrinkled hands and intimidating silence, but the steward had always been a friend to me, keeping my sister and I out of trouble when our mischief irritated the court, and providing for us when father had to tend to his duties. “Come quickly, dear child, the emperor is on his way.” The steward took me in his arms, resting me over his shoulder. Up close, it was clear that his face and garb was worn from the elements, but the old man still bore the comforting scent of old books, the result of his endless days poring over the old tomes in the scriptorium.

“What is happening outside?” I couldn’t help but whisper into his ear. I had been silent for days, having nobody close with whom to speak, and so my question came out as little more than a delicate squeak. The steward offered me a nervous smile, betraying a deep unease.

His brow furrowed, and he took a steady breath before speaking, “My Lady, do not dwell on the dangers outside these walls. The council will be convening soon, and I promise you that all will be set in order.” He carried me off carefully, tidying up the wet knots of my hair strewn across my face. Unlike the spindly, bony digits of the other elders, his hands were soft, undamaged. I suppose his years spent with quill and paper had left little opportunity to wear them down. From his shoulder I watched the hysteria that had gripped the servants, who scrambled for the silver on the table and tore at the hanging tapestries and silk carpets, carrying them off with teary eyes. What had instinct had gripped them to behave like animals? My uncle had said many times that the servants were naught but domesticated beasts, now I wonder if there was some truth to that. I cannot help but notice that while there were those pillaging ones, an equal number lay on the ground, shaking, or splaying themselves across the furniture as if they had turned feral by some disease. Are these people still people at all? There are even those who sit in absolute stillness, tranquil souls whom I had not seen move in some time, even before the room was engulfed in chaos. How strange. Perhaps they were statues after all.

The steward did not care for the wild scenes as he rushed out of the throne room, whispering to me, “Justice will find them, child.” I was not too sure what the steward meant by this utterance, but his voice comforted me all the same. Entering adjacent corridor leading towards the private quarters, a column of soldiers marched through the opposite archway and into the throne room, their ceremonial breastplates glistening against the faint rays of moonlight which pierced through the open roof. Another round of explosions beyond the walls shakes the room, and muffles the barking of an order. Before anything else unfolds, the steward rushes from the doorway, breaking my view of the spectacle. The last thing I see of that grand room is the glass shard of that king’s head inconsequentially crushed under the boot of an advancing solider. I close my eyes as we head deeper into the palace, and as I fall asleep to the rhythmic, repeating explosions which haunt every step, I see those perfect pale green iris’ looking back at me. How beautiful they were.
Last edited by Hyder on Wed May 11, 2016 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Kriken » Thu May 05, 2016 10:24 pm

It's good.
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by OrangeRakoon » Thu May 05, 2016 10:45 pm

That was really well written, great stuff.

Welcome to SONM too!

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Fri May 06, 2016 7:50 pm

Thanks for your kind comments guys, and yeah I'm glad to be 'back'.

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Mon May 09, 2016 9:45 pm

Here we go, chapter 2. Hope you all enjoy.
Life in the End Times

Chapter 2 - Tempest

“Father,” I shouted, my voice carrying across the cloister, “where are you going?” With every pace I took he seemed to move yet further away from me, gliding silently down the stone paving. His white cape gracefully twisted and twirled in his wake, a soft breeze rippling through folds in his garment and rousing the bed of leaves before him to dance to his path, as if accompanying him on his journey. I called out again, but a sound never left my lips. I willed my limbs to advance, but the harder I tried the more violent the wind became, casting dust into my eyes, dirt and stones onto my body, and throwing glass shards in my way. I look down and find my feet cut and bleeding, the wounds blackened by infection. The sensation of pain is familiar, but I don’t recall this cloister, these gusts of wind, or the ghostly figure of my father. Before even looking back up again, I know that he already has disappeared into the background of this cloister which seems to stretch infinitely into the distance. I hear his voice, but can make out no words. The wind recedes, the leaves fall to the floor, the pain in my feet calms, and I now sit on my father’s throne. Everywhere there are statues, pretty statues, ugly statues, statues poised to speak, statues ready to eat, statues leaning towards me. I feel as if I recognise their faces from somewhere. The great wooden doors at the entrance to the court knock unceasingly yet without pattern, growing loud and falling quiet, stopping entirely, only to then strike even louder upon returning. Who could be knocking, I wonder? Is it my father, is this where he was going? The pounding rattles the heavy iron lock, and the wood groans as it begins to spit splinters across the room, splitting the glass image of an angel down the middle and sending it crashing down, its jagged debris slicing my feet. The doorway blasts open.

- - -

There’s a tempest outside. By my bedside window I can see the big iron ships sailing out of the harbour, their thick hides shrugging off the winds and blasting through those monstrous waves like armoured titans wrestling some giant ocean horror. I wonder if there are sailors on those ships. The storm is so vicious, the winds so bitter and the waves so large and terrifying that there could surely be nobody upon them. How would they survive? Even when wrapped in bedsheets, safe behind thick walls and accompanied by the glow of candlelight, my body feels stiff from the cold, and with each warm exhalation I spout a plume of mist. If can barely feel my bandaged feet or my clenched fists here, how would a sailor survive? I wince involuntarily with every howling blast of wind outside my window, the very sound causing my body to shudder, conjuring a feeling of nails scratching against ice. Perhaps, just like the tar coughed up from the lungs of some poor unfortunate, it is that thick black smoke, spewed as it is from those giant chimney-towers, which powers the lumbering metal cruisers on their voyages. I’ve seen the workshops before, with their clanging metal interiors and erratic spurts of steam from myriad pipes, their sprawling contraptions whose components spin and twist, descend and ascend, dilate and expand all of their own volition. Surely, it such mechanical mysteries as those fashioned in the workshops which power the giant ships. Yes, I am certain that is the case.

A din of voices meets my ears, and I turn to detect the source. In fact, upon appreciating my surroundings, I found that I did not even recognise this room I was in. The characteristics melted one by one into perceptibility as my eyes adjusted to the barely-lit chamber. The undecorated walls were lined by a row of bunk beds, perfectly made and perhaps twenty in all, themselves flanked on each of their sides by simple wooden cabinets which stretched up to meet a low-hanging ceiling. Besides the paltry glimmer of my candle, the only light offered to the room was that of the periodic bursts of lightening, and a lone strip of light which extended from a door left ajar. Was I still in the palace? Even under the storm I recognised the harbour, and I had on many occasions overlooked that same harbour from the palace balconies, but this was an alien chamber to me. So austere, so simple, so different to anywhere I had seen within the grounds. My sister and I had always tried to reach the hidden places of our home, the places where the soldiers would march in and out of, and where the frightening old men would stalk with their stacks of leather-bound scrolls and yellowed manuscripts. Most of all, we wanted to see the special places that father and uncle would discuss of only with our brothers. If this was one of those same places that we had once been so excited to infiltrate years ago, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed with my first impression.

The muffled voices raised once again, becoming audible shouts of anger a moment later with the sound of a heavy bolt lock snapping open, quickly followed by the crash of a door slamming open and hitting an adjacent wall. I sat still as the irate voices grew closer, proceeding in tandem with the thuds of heavy boots marching untidily through the corridors, until they seemed to be upon the door to my room. For a few seconds, the strip of light was intermittently obscured as the figures marched by, and soon they had become nothing but echoes. Rushing out of the door, I could still hear the sound of terse conversation from where the group had exited. This strange place had quickly become far more exciting than I had originally given it credit for, and I could not help but follow the voices to their source, with any notion of caution expelled from my mind. Glancing around a corner, I look upon a wide-open door way, its thick wooden door still rattling on its hinges after the force with which it was thrown open. The interior of the room is obscured to me, but stood silently at the opposite end to the doorway I discern the kind face of the steward. What was he doing here? Perhaps my father was with him? Without a thought I dash around the corner, despite the fast-approaching sound of footsteps from within the room heading towards the open doorway. The steward tilts his head up, catching me in his gaze, and in that moment I glimpsed in his face the faintest flash of panic before he became blocked from my view.

I hardly manage to spit out his name before an imposing figure steps briskly into the doorway, its stature bathing me in shadow. We would have collided head on if I had not caught my foot in the uneven tiling, sending me sprawling to his feet. I heard a short, raspy chuckle as I got myself up to look upon a sneering old face. A long scraggly beard, grey like ash, fell over his chest and forked ever so slightly at its tip. Bushy black eyebrows overhang a pair of tired, pale eyes, which seemed to be fixed into a frown as if it were a face chiselled into stone. White curls of hair dangled lazily from under his funny-looking hat, conical and emblazoned with a sigil. Draped above his pale mauve robes he wore a scarf-like cloth, carmine and bordered by strips of gold, which came over both shoulders, meeting at the middle of his torso and connecting with a sash worn around the waist of the same colour and design, whilst a final strip dangled from there down to his knees. Besides what I had seen in my father and mother’s wardrobes, I had never before admired such a fine costume. Its colours were so clear, and even at a distance the fabric and manufacture were obviously of excellent quality, probably even woven from the silk spun within the palace itself. I felt as if I recognised the sigil upon his hat somewhere, but could not place it. Clearly he must be very important, perhaps the leader of the old men of the palace? He was certainly old enough. “Forgive me, my Lady.” He muttered as he skulked past me. I didn’t think he sounded very sorry at all.

“Who was that man?” I ask, stepping carefully into the room.

The steward shook his head, apparently ignoring my question. Or maybe he never heard me. “Princess,” he groaned, “how is it that you are always in places you should not be?” I offer a nervous smile in response, his tone reminding me of the scorn he had for the endless games of hide-and-seek I would play in his scriptorium. Yet just like then he could never maintain his displeasure, and I am put to ease as he returns a little smile of his own. “Come in, my dear, come in.” He beckons me forward, and instantly I feel safe, I feel at home in his company. “How are your feet,” he kneels before me, unwrapping the bandages to examine the damage “Ah, your wounds have almost entirely healed, what a delight.” He gently reapplies my bandages before taking my hand to guide me through the room. I often wondered whether the steward was a wizard in disguise, such were his skills with the arts of healing and medicine. There was nothing he could not fix with his knowledge and remedies. “Come and take a seat, my Lady. You must be exhausted, but I’m sure I can find us some place of comfort.” I nod and smile, and he smiles back down at me.

The room is wide and circular, well lit by the candlesticks which dot the walls and by the wax-dripping chandelier which hangs gracefully in the centre of the room. A long rectangular table surrounded by high-backed chairs dominates the space, its surface entirely covered by stacks of papers and layers of maps. Besides myself and the steward, there was only one other person in the room, pacing back and forth beside a panel of windows which extended to cover a whole section of the walls. “Sit here, child.” The steward pulled a chair out from the table and nudged me to sit, then turned away to the pacing man. “Prefect?” The man’s head jolted upwards, snatched from his thoughts. He moved towards us, his left arm resting casually against the protruding hilt of a sword in its scabbard, whilst his right arm was ceremonially placed palm-down against the centre of his ornate silver breastplate. Knelt before me, I could make out all his features clearly. His beard was strangely styled, shaved neatly but very close to the skin, quite unlike the full beards I had seen on most of the other adults. Perhaps he was young, and he was growing his first beard? That didn’t seem likely, given his head of greying-brown hair, short and combed back just like my brother’s. His right cheek bore a deep scar which stretched up the side of his face before tapering off before the ridge of his nose. It looked recent, not like the faded wounds from many years that my father wore upon his body. I supposed that the steward was looking after him, too. A pair of decorated silver pauldrons held a dirty grey cloak from his shoulders, whilst plates of tarnished steel ran down his arms and onto his chest, connecting with the brilliantly shiny breastplate which served as the centrepiece of his armour. From beneath his armour a carmine-trimmed collar hugged his neck, whilst the rest of the tunic, pale mauve in colour like those of the frowning old man, fell to knee-height. On his legs I could just make out a light layer of steel stretching down from his thighs, meeting with leather shin-guards which connected with a pair of dark brown boots. He was impressive man, and really quite handsome, despite the scar.

“Most Sublime princess, please allow me to present myself humbly before you.” His voice was elegant, measured, but not exactly what I expected. It had a sort of foreign tint, something I couldn’t quite place, but it was pleasurable to listen to nonetheless. “By the grace of the illustrious emperor, I serve you in my capacity as prefect of your city.” Mid-way through his unexpected declaration, I turned slightly to the steward, unashamedly confused at the situation. He simply smiled and nodded, motioning for me to return my attention to my new acquaintance. “I shall strive always for your safety and for your happiness. Please, accept me now as a loyal subject and servant, my Lady.” He remained motionless, always looking straight into the ground. I turned again to the steward, who again offered me a simple nod. I had no idea what I was doing, and so I got up from my seat and placed a hand upon his head without a word. His hair was soft and well-groomed, it was a strange luxury to feel it after the rough bedsheets, bitter cold and hard stone floors. The man - the prefect -raised his head slowly, his lips curled into a smile. Behind me, the steward was grinning.

“Well done, princess, well done.”

Hyder
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 11:56 am

Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Tue May 17, 2016 4:25 pm

If anyone could offer even the slightest critique it would be much appreciated. Otherwise, hope you enjoy the next chapter.
Life in the End Times

Chapter 3 – Synecdoche

“Do you know why we call our city the Synecdoche, my princess?” I shook my head. “You do not? Hark back to our lessons in rhetoric, does the word not sound familiar?” I shook my head again, not really listening but admiring rather the panoramic view of the City below. The steward continued. “Synecdoche stands for evoking the meaning of a larger thing by reference to a constituent part of that thing, or indeed in the other way round. Do you follow me?” I turned and nodded, hoping that my act convinced him. “In the case of the city, we call it the Synecdoche because it is both our physical capital but also the inextricable heart of our imperial commonwealth. The empire is the City, and the City is the empire. Whilst our foreign territories and our imperial institutions all play their own roles in the maintenance of the commonwealth, they are all ultimately subject to the will of the City. The Synecdoche is the soul of the body politic. Do you know what role the emperor plays in this system, my lady?” The steward’s musings did not particularly interest me. I understood since I was very young that the City was very special, that it was the centre of the physical world and also of the cosmic world, whatever that was supposed to mean. The teachers would speak of the empire and the commonwealth as if they did not need explaining, so when they tried to inculcate me with the theories on how they functioned and the universal hierarchies governing our society I naturally could not follow. The steward had not really spoken of this topic with me before now, and it didn’t really make sense to me why he suddenly began his lecture.

“I can’t remember, steward. I’m sorry.” Admittedly I had not paid much attention generally, but I had at least been acquainted with the idea of the imperial ‘body politic’ in my studies. The role of the emperor had never, ever been brought up in my lesson. Why did it need extended discussion? My father always told me that the role of the emperor was to act as a caretaker of the commonwealth, whilst my uncle would tell me that the emperor was rather a guide. Although I could not really tell the difference between the two descriptions, the ceaseless argumentation of my father and uncle over the matter must have meant that I was missing something.

“Don’t worry, I did not expect you to know. How should I describe it? To start, the emperor is the head of the body politic. He is a physical manifestation of the institutions of the empire, and a conduit of the soul, the Synecdoche.” I was already lost. Why was this all so complex?

“So, like the captain of a ship or the conductor of an orchestra?” I asked, tentatively. He shot back.

“No, absolutely not. His role, in fact, is not so magnificent. Rather than the captain of a ship he is the rudder, who by guidance of the natural force of the sea, waves and ocean currents provides passage for the vessel. In this case, the sea would be the soul; the Synecdoche. If the emperor were like a conductor of music he would in fact be a physical embodiment of the Synecdoche, and that is a heretical stance. Do you understand?” The steward’s tone and delivery was so unusual to anything I had experienced with him before. His speech was intense and sustained, a far cry from the slow and considered lectures he would give me in the past. He sounded angry.

“I suppose I do.” I didn’t really, but said it all the same. He smiled and took a breath, ready to move on to whatever topic was on the edge of his lips, but my own curiosity got the better of me. “But steward, what does this actually mean in reality? I mean outside of the realm of theories and ideas?” Predictably, his face twisted into a frown.

“My Lady, you understand that the City is Synecdoche, yes? And because of that the existence of the empire is not just inextricable from, but subordinate to, the existence of the City. It is Synecdoche; without the capital, there is no empire.

“I understand that steward, bu-” He silenced me before I could go any further.

“Don’t interrupt me child,” That was certainly a new tone of hostility I had never been subject to. “Now, in comparison to the City the emperor is but a man, an important one of course who bears many heavy burdens on behalf of the people of the commonwealth, but still a man. Can men die, princess?”

“Well, of course they can.”

“And if that man was emperor and he died, say, in battle against our enemies, would that mean the end of the empire?”

“I guess not.”

“Indeed. Fifty emperors have presided over the Synecdoche, and the empire certainly has not vanished and reappeared again with each and every one. Do you know how long this City has stood, princess?”

“I’m not sure, steward. Six-hundred years?” All I knew was that it had been here for a very long time. The steward sighed.

“Nine-hundred-and-eighty-three years. It has stood on the same ground for nearly a millennia, and all that time it has been the anchor of the commonwealth. The forces of Fortune and Misfortune, like the calm flow of a river which empties into the violent waves of the sea, have brought us to great heights and terrible lows. But the light of our City, the Synecdoche of our empire and commonwealth, has shone always even through times of utter darkness.” At this point the steward halted his panegyric, and his face rested into a sort of self-contented smile.

“Are we in a time of darkness now, steward?” His expression disappeared, and rather than answering he marched off to collect one of the tomes which was set upon the great table.

“Come here, princess. I have something to show you.” Begrudgingly I did I was told, getting up from my cushioned perch beside the window before casting another glace upon the city. Sunlight had just begun to pierce through the thinning layer of clouds, casting a faint blanket of light upon the City except for where the imposing shadow of the palace took precedence. For miles and miles the ancient urban scenery seemed to stretch, hugging the coast far into the distance. Banked to the right by the ocean and to the left by a hybrid of plains and tundra, whilst a spine of mountains raised up to the clouds on the flank of the plains, the City was effectively entirely encircled on land by the rocky titans. I had never set foot outside the walls, which like the coastline surrounded the entire urban periphery with a triple set of fortifications. I could see smoke and fire rising from in the distance, and some districts seemed to be more like blackened ruins. Every now and again there would be a distant explosion, or the echo of a collapsing structure, or the sound of the soldiers marching through the streets. In fact, the whole place seemed strangely empty. It lacked the bustle of every-day movement, of the people in the markets and the priests guiding their followers.

“Here princess, have you ever read this book?” The steward was sat at the great table in the centre of the room, cradling a heavy-looking leather-bound book in his lap, and gesturing for me to sit beside him. I noticed that the room had been gradually filling up with a variety of strangers in the uniforms of the old men and the soldiers. In and out they came, all attended to by a grim-looking prefect who when not speaking with the visitors paced back and forth, his lips moving rapidly but in silence, as if in some protracted conversation with himself. I took a passing look at the title of tome, and shrugged. Should I have read a book titled, ‘On the Deeds of the Ancients’?

“No, steward, what is it?”

“It is a testament to the lives and deeds of all our great ancestors, those who by their heroic virtues preserved the commonwealth down to our time. It is a very important work.” He flipped through the worn pages, which in all likelihood were in that state due to the use of the steward himself, before stopping mid-way through and handing it to me. The writing on the page was inscribed in arcane Shkolung, the special language of the scholars. I had never taken the time to learn it.

“What… does it say?” I asked, puzzled. For once the steward did not groan or sigh, perhaps having assumed a fluency in that tongue to be too much to ask.

“It’s the story of the empress Sophia. You have surely heard of her before?” For once I could answer in the affirmative, and a shy smile crept along my lips. The steward laughed. “Good, good. Then you know that she rescued not only the empire, but the City – the Synecdoche itself – from the grips of Misfortune, over five-hundred years ago. By her grace the soul of the commonwealth weathered a time when enemies battered at our defences like a storm, when our armies were broken and routed, when the fleets were scattered and sunk, when the emperor and his family had lost all hope and fled the City.” Just like before, his face had become joyous as he recounted this tale of old glory. I too became ensnared in the charm of the myth.

“How did she save the empire- I mean, the Synecdoche?” I made an effort to incorporate the odd word into my question. I wasn’t even sure if I was using it correctly, but the steward seemed contented enough.

“Empress Sophia understood that no price was too great to ensure the survival of the City. She imprisoned her husband, the emperor himself, casting him aside and assuming the paramount power for herself alone. She then marshalled the imperial forces together and sallied against our enemies, vanquishing them and restoring the supremacy of the commonwealth.”

“And what happened to the emperor afterwards?” The steward suddenly turned serious, but not exactly sombre. He spoke with a sort of impending gravity, as if he were not just a narrator but an observer.

“The empress justly rebuked his attempt to restore himself to the throne. She stripped him of his titles, subjected him to trial before the council, and banished him from the realm along with his supporters. By this righteous action the Synecdoche became favoured by Lady Fortune, and the empress Sophia and her dynasty ruled for many years of strength and prosperity.” He smiled at me, and I smiled back. Could this story really be true? Could an empress really deliver the empire from peril like Sophia had done all those centuries ago? “You know, my princess,” the steward started again, his tone more speculative now, “you too could be as marvellous as empress Sophia. I have observed great strength of character in you, and a purity of virtue rarely seen in our times.” Did he really think that highly of me? It was surreal.

Not a moment later the prefect span around, grabbing the steward’s shoulders in urgency. Looking up, I found that the room was alive with activity, soldiers in their dirtied grey long-coats and black leather boots surrounded the table and conferred amongst each other, their arms darting this way and that as they pointed to locations on the map laid across the table-top. A troupe of the old men in their mauve robes, tall hats and carmine sashes whispered amongst each other in the corner, away from the rest of the gathered people. The one from before, with the bushy over-hanging eyebrows and distinguished dress, stood in the middle of them and seemed to offer only a word or two to their hushed dialogue. The prefect himself was flanked by two attendants.

“Theodore, it’s started.” The prefect addressed the steward. Theodore? I had never imagined a name for him other than the ‘steward’. The prefect then turned to me, his look softening slightly. “Forgive my interruption, my princess, it was of the utmost urgency.”

Before I could speak a word he had rushed off with his retinue, and the whole room appeared to gravitate towards to windows. The steward slammed the book shut and took me in his arms, joining the prefect at the front of the crowd. Then I heard them. A flurry of explosions in the distance, from beyond the confines of the City, sounding off relentlessly. It didn’t take me long to find their source, the flotilla of ships beyond the harbour, dozens of them, perhaps even hundreds. The same iron vessels that I had observed leaving the bay before.

“What’s happening?” I tugged at the steward’s arm, but he ignored me, his gaze fixated into a look of unmitigated dread. I scanned the faces beside him, all of them looking out towards the explosions, all of them gripped by a look of fear I had never seen in the faces of the soldiers and the old men. Besides the explosions, there was a total, chilling silence.

“The emperor is with the fleet, my princess. We can only wait.” The prefect answered simply, offering no further detail. The emperor? Now I felt the same fear that had permeated these men.

“My father?” I asked, tugging at the steward’s robes again, my voice thick with concern. I willed him to disprove what was blindingly obvious. The answer I desired would not come.

“He is with the fleet, my princess.”

I fell silent. The room fell absolutely silent. Not even the distant explosions could puncture the eerie tranquillity now.

Hyder
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 11:56 am

Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Mon May 30, 2016 3:15 am

For anyone following, I apologise for the lack of recent updates. I had exams, but now they'll all finished now so this can get back on track.
Life in the End Times

Chapter 4 – Father and Emperor

Were they really warships, these hulks which floated so calmly into the docks, sputtering that horrid smoke into the sky? Just hours ago their cannons were spitting molten death, their sailors were being torn apart on the decks, and their captains were hopelessly screaming orders into the wind. The sea itself tossed and turned as if moved by fortune’s fury, splitting the titans apart and dragging others whole into the depths, punishing us for the chaos. So much loss, for such a sorry sight. The Steward told me that we had been victorious, that my father’s efforts had secured our future. Somehow, I could not see it that way. The metal beasts made an ignominious return, drifting pitifully into the harbour like whimpering dogs finding shelter to lick their wounds. Each and every ship had been blighted by wanton destruction. Everywhere bridges, galleys and sterns had been obliterated, pulverised; nowhere was there not some blackened crater, charred fissure or singed abyss. Many were utterly broken, their hulls prized open by flak and flame, towed helplessly by their barely-moving brothers. From others, steel chaff swayed from exposed wooden frames, held in place at one end by only a few bolts, like bark peeled from a tree. Those not being dragged through the water barely managed to limp along by themselves, their engines grinding away for the last, painful advance.

In the distance, just beyond the confines of the harbour, I could see smoke and flames ascending from a floating glow. Every now and again it would rumble, and an incandescent spire would twist into the air, a dazzling inferno of white-hot scrap. For a moment it would flail and twist, casting out its cargo of searing scrap into the sea, and then the dance would end as it peacefully dissipated into nothingness. From the harbour it looked as if a city had been set ablaze, with its silhouetted towers blurring in and out view by those scorching tornados, and its rows of crumbling buildings engulfed by a haze. I watched the ruins build up from the palace, when the firing first started, and even from there it was intense, terrifying. Relentless pounding of artillery, back and forth, again and again, orbs of orange, red and yellow darting through the sky and across the water. Even the sounds were so much more than the distant thuds I had grown used to, the ones that harassed the city from beyond the walls. No, the battle out to sea was a cacophony of chilling shrieks, shrill whistles, thunderous booming, rattles, howls and groans. Every different projectile had its own sound, its own colour, and its own flight; after staring for so long, there came a point when I started to see that distant battle as a brilliant spectacle of lights and fireworks. But it was so serene now, its flames extinguishing one by one as the waves clawed the husks into the depths. Perhaps if I could look out from the sea, the City would not look so different from that wreck.

A trio of horns bellowed from one of the ships as it made a final approach into the dock, and a row of servants hurried out onto the central pier, trumpets in hand. They were outfitted in identical pale-blue quilted vests, and a short grey cape hung from their right shoulders. I knew it was a prestigious outfit, at least as far as servants were concerned, and could remember seeing many similarly-dressed fellows attending to the private quarters of the palace in the past. Of course I couldn’t care much for what exactly made them in more special than the other servants. As the ship began docking it struck me that it was particularly grander than the others, and it seemed to have received punishment equal to that grandeur. The main cannon had apparently been blasted from its turret, and the massive barrel had crashed through the wooden decking into the lower deck. Rows of injured sailors lined what clear space remained, whilst others bustled about carrying crates of munitions, bags of coal and all manner of other things. The three horns sounded again, and I could see them now, perched on overlook of the bridge, in the same pale-blue uniform as the trumpeters. As the last horn died down a flag was hoisted into the air, emblazoned in the middle with the imperial insignia.

“Father!” I shouted, pointlessly. The wind whisked my voice away, which wouldn’t have gone far anyway.
Theodore, the steward, had kept away from the main reception at the docks, if indeed it could be called a reception at all. Even including the septuplet of trumpeters assembled on the main pier, there might have been no more than two dozen people awaiting the arrival of the fleet, amongst them the prefect and the frowning old man. None of them seemed particularly enthused. Theodore and I were in one of the galleries which overlooked the harbour, and although it offered a fine view of everything unfolding, I couldn’t hear anything but the squeal of the trumpets and the bellow of the horns.

“You shall see him soon enough, my Lady. Don’t worry.” He laughed, dismissing me. I did appreciate his care and his company, but sometimes the Steward was awfully obstructive. Why could I not greet my father with the others? I sighed an exasperated sigh, making my thoughts all too obvious.

“Well, when then?” I knew he wouldn’t change his mind. He just smiled and shook his head.

“My Lady, the delegation that you see down there is full of the great officers of state. They are there to greet the emperor before anyone else, because matters of state are paramount, especially now. I know you understand that, princess.” In my right mind I would have understood, but I was frustrated more than anything.

“Is it because that old man is there? You know, the scowling one with the bushy eyebrows. I am not afraid of him.” The steward sniggered, my caricature clearly hitting on a common feeling. I was serious, however.

“My Lady, I assure you it is not because he is there, and I also assure you that I would never doubt your personal bravery. This is simply a matter of protocol.” His sarcasm was palpable. Did he think I couldn’t read him?

The rattle of the ship locking into the pier interrupted us. The horn-players were now at the bow, accompanied by an official brandishing a long, conical device. I recognised it as the tool of the court heralds, a sort of amplifier for the voice. A concealed door in the hull slid aside, and a ramp shot out onto the pier; no sooner had it settled, a group of men marched out of the opening. In the centre of them I could just make out my father and emperor. My uncle looked proud with himself, whereas my father appeared stoic. The official brought the device to his lips, and began the announcement. The steward looked on, fixated, and so did I.

“Eminent lords and officers of the Synecdoche; esteemed prefect of the City; most honoured arch-minister of the state; offer your obeisance to our imperial majesty, Yuriach the Second, guided of Fortune and Misfortune alike.” As he finished, the trumpeters snapped into position. As the first one blew, the emperor began an orderly march down the pier, followed in tow by the retinue of guards and standard-bearers. The reception moved in tandem towards him, falling to their knees as they reached the sand; the seven trumpets blew one after and with each one the trumpeter dropped to his knees, so that as the last one finished the emperor was stood before the audience of officials. Everywhere I looked people were kneeling, be they sailors on the ships, the herald on the bow, even the emperor’s very retinue were prostrated. I panicked when I realised I wasn’t doing the same. But then, neither was Theodore.

“We do not need to bow.” He whispered to me. I couldn’t see why since some of the injured on the ships were now on their knees, despite their wounds.

“Why not?” I asked, baffled. How would he justify this?

“External worship, my Lady, is not necessary as long as one properly worships the Synecdoche in the mind.” He paused for a moment, then his seriousness became jocular. “Plus, my old back just wouldn’t allow it.” A teasing smile filled his face. “Let’s hope our rickety, bushy-browed friend over there has trouble with his, though.” He winked at me. His humour was strange, though not because of any inherent inability to be humorous. It was always so jarring, where seriousness abruptly turns into joking. I could never be sure about it.

The collective kneeling had stopped now, and the emperor was addressing the assembly. My father’s posture was grand, well befitting of the imperial title. Even from here I could make out a faint picture of his handsome features, the golden-blond hair which curled down to his shoulders, his thick beard, and his muscular physique. It was a blurred reality filled in by ideal memory. Nevertheless he was there in person, so close to me. I couldn’t exactly remember the last time I had even seen him, let alone spoken or spent time with him. This chaos which gripped the City had forced my family in many directions, and Theodore had been my guardian for a long time now. I knew my father had to lead and fight, but what of my mother? Could she have not cared for me? If I could not see my father now, I couldn’t imagine that I would soon be given the chance to see either my parents or my siblings. On all fronts I felt restricted, even though my dear steward Theodore always said it was for the best. Was it?

The emperor raised his arm and the assembly began to disperse, heading for the horses stabled before the entrance to the main route through the city. An open carriage sat in waiting, accompanied by a contingent of the imperial guard. The plumage of their attire was so absurd, so bombastic that I could see it clearly from my distance. Long, curled feathers of various reds, oranges and purples sprouted from the crests of the helmets, where they bobbed foolishly in the air like some exotic creature. Was that the point of it? They just looked silly to me. My father and uncle proceeded towards the plumed clowns, soon joined by the scowling old man who assumed a place beside them; the prefect had already rushed away to his mount almost as soon as he was dismissed. My father shrugged him off, but my uncle greeted him enthusiastically, clearly released from the protocol of announcement and obeisance. Off they went, further and further away, until they had practically made it to the horses. The members of the assembly were all mounted and gathered around, whilst the guards on their black steeds neatly organised themselves into two columns. They were preparing to leave, and what on earth was I doing? Gawking at decorative feathers? I glanced at the steward. He knew instantly.

“Father, wait!” I dashed through the gallery doors, ducking under Theodore’s grasp. I nearly tripped as I jumped down the steps, skipping two, three then four steps with every successive stride. I overestimated the last one. I fell face-first into the wet sand, and behind me I could hear the steps creaking.

“My Lady, come back here at once!”

I didn’t want to upset him, but I couldn’t let this chance slip away. I got up, wiping the sand from my face and running towards the assembled procession, screaming as I went. Even when shouting my voice was still soft, and the fatigue didn’t help. The guards in the front of the group began to advance, and within a few seconds had disappeared behind the pillars of the entryway to the city-proper, and the imperial carriage jolted forward with the crack of a whip. Now I broke into a sprint. I could feel my spirits tumble and tears welling in my eyes as the carriage disappeared behind the corner. I kept running.

“Please, stop! I’m here father!”

Was I even shouting or was this desperate voice only in my head? It was futile. I fell to the ground, right upon the grassy patch before the pier where the reception had first been standing. Behind me the ships were still rumbling into the docks, blasting steam into the air. They were so close now that I could hear sailors calling to one another on the decks, issuing dry jokes to one another as if no battle had ever occurred. Theodore’s voice was getting closer. Horses were whinnying nearby. Horses? I looked up to see three horsemen trotting towards me, extravagant helmets betraying two of them as members guard, but the dazzling sunlight obscured the third. Behind me the steward was panting, and he keeled over in exhaustion.

“Arch-minister…” He stopped to take a breath, “please forgive the princess’ intrusion…” His words drifted off as he tried to recover his composure. The arch-minister? The horseman wheeled about, and no sooner had his head blocked the sun from my eyes had I realised. The pristine robes, crimson sash, long grey beard. The bushy eyebrows. He cleared his throat before speaking.

“Fear not, steward. The princess is more than welcome to accompany the procession. In fact, I do believe we have two spare horses. Is that right, officer?” His voice was a husky whisper, but occasionally morphed into a severe, coarse growl. His pacing was odd, he spoke as if always out of breath.

“Yes, my lord. Shall I bring them down?”

The arch-minister smiled and nodded, glancing at Theodore, who in turn glanced at me, obviously displeased. But it was not a cruel look, unlike that of the arch-minister’s faded grey eyes, which appeared so soft, so gentle on their exterior. Through them I saw the steward subjected to a look of true malice. He really was frightening.

“Yes, officer. Please do.”

Hyder
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Tue May 31, 2016 11:30 pm

This chapter has a tiny bit of violence in it, but I don't think it's particularly vicious or excessive. If it is a problem just say and I'll try to remove the relevant parts. Otherwise, please enjoy.
Life in the End Times

Chapter 5 – Fortune’s Fury

I had my own horse once, a birthday gift offered to me by my uncle. She was called Themis, a name chosen by my uncle on my behalf, but I actually quite liked it. She was a gentle creature, a dapple grey with a magnificent white mane. My sisters and I would wash and groom her, then we would braid her mane into intricate twirls and knots. We could spend all day in the stables together, laughing and playing, so that by nightfall our clothes reeked of mud and hay. Mother hated it, but we couldn’t care less. One night I snook the saddle and bridle into my room and stayed up till dawn decorating them with tassels and pearls, and all manner of other jewels. I even pleaded with my father to have a silk scarf spun for her to wear in the colder months. On the morning of the first snowfall of that year my father hurried me down to our courtyard and there, draped in shimmering silver cloth, Themis was waiting. Every chance I got I would ride her through the palace gardens and along the open plazas, by the harbour and sometimes even into the marketplace on the docks, showing her off to anyone and everyone. If I wasn’t escorted by a guard or two, it was always my brother who accompanied me on those little trips. How he tolerated my childish love for that horse I didn’t know, but still he would watch over me on those journeys. Themis was taken away from me a long time ago, probably several years now. Father protested, but it was no use; all the horses of leisure were being seized. I remember the cannon fire rumbling in the distance that day. It was the first time I really paid attention to it.

The horse I rode now was nothing like Themis. He was a boy for one, muscular in build and disciplined in gait, befitting his military purpose. I doubted that he was ever given a name, or at least one that meant something besides a mundane label. These warhorses were just mares, steeds and stallions in the eyes of the soldiers. It saddened me that these animals, who charged blindly into the midst of battle at the whim of a whip, might live their lives cherished not for their beauty, but for their utility in violence. Pink scars streaked across the chest of my own mount, marring his otherwise unblemished ebony coat, and the upper part of his left ear was torn away. He grunted and whinnied each time I brought my hand close to it, obviously in discomfort. It must have been a recent wound, a symbol of his damned life. I wondered how many men had cowered before him, how many armies he had broken with his charge, and how many times a spear or bullet had grazed his skin or just missed his head. Like his kin he bore a studded leather face guard, but his was sliced through the middle and part of the fabric dangled away uselessly. Whatever blade had caused the damage would only have needed to strike an inch or so deeper to be fatal. Through it all he would have only heard the screaming of terrified soldiers and the snaps of gunfire, his eyes were covered by the face guard; his one little mercy. I hoped that Themis had not been consigned to such an existence, but it was a hollow sort of hope.

The procession had been making its way through the City for nearly an hour now, winding through side streets, crossing the canals, taking the main boulevard before turning off again into the main market district. Every ten minutes it stopped and received a new delegation of officials, so that the whole party stretched at least two-hundred yards in length from the first man down to the last. Theodore and I had not been close to the imperial carriage to begin with, but we were gradually pushed further and further away, so that we were now practically part of the rear guard. The prefect was commanding the large bodyguard at the spearhead of the column, whilst the arch-minister had hurried off to join my father and uncle in the carriage as soon as the steward and I were in a saddle. Theodore was riding beside me, silent except for the odd groan. He had been frowning the whole way, probably replaying the arch-minister’s snide tone over and over in his mind.

“I’m sorry, steward.” It was a sincere apology. I knew from the moment I started running after my father that I would get in trouble, and I deserved it. But I never meant for the steward to take the brunt of it for me.

“It’s okay my Lady, I am not angry with you. You had every right to be frustrated, and in any case we are here now.” I squinted at him, trying to pick out a hint of sarcasm before embarrassing myself, but he was being genuine.

“I didn’t mean to anger the arch-minister, or to get you in trouble, I just…” My words trailed away as Theodore chuckled to himself.

“I am not in trouble, dear child. We both know that the arch-minister is not a man of warm temperament… perhaps not even a man at all. A skeleton, rather.” He grinned at the humorous mediocrity of his attack. I couldn’t help but laugh, and definitely heard a muffled snigger or two from the soldiers following behind us. Joking at the expense of that bushy-browed old man was always a sure indicator of the steward’s positive mood.

The joviality ceased as we finally followed the rest of the convoy around a corner. The road thus far had been more or less cleared of rubble, and although some of the buildings we passed were pockmarked and rundown, there were still signs of everyday habitation. Washing lines were suspended like webs above the streets, zig-zagging from building to building and weighed down by dripping wet clothes; pots and pans clanged and jangled from makeshift outdoor kitchens whilst the aromas of rustic recipes wafted from bubbling pots; mischievous juveniles dashed through alleys and tormented the neighbourhoods, as their angry matrons scolded their skittering shadows. Siblings peeked curiously from overhanging windows, eagerly offering humble little gifts to the passing soldiers as if they were diamonds or sapphires. Semi-domesticated packs of shaggy-haired hounds harassed the baggage train, howling and huffing in complaint until scarpering back to their dens when finally thrown some scraps. Intelligent creatures that they were, they would invariably return to repeat the routine, each time with increasing confidence. There was a strange semblance of the ordinary, a sense of the mundanity of life continuing on, regardless of the looming troubles. It was a happy sight to see in otherwise tormented times. I recalled walking along some of those streets with Themis, as the odd graffiti or painted door sparked old memories. Alas, the hum of the ordinary was bluntly left behind as we turned that corner into a wide open market square. The procession stalled.

Dishevelled families lined either side of the road, arms outstretched and begging in their incomprehensible common accent. Many of the buildings had collapsed entirely, and others were but burnt out shells. Crowds of people wearing naught but rags gathered in the ruins as if they were a luxury, whilst the others wallowed in the beating midday sun. Here, to claim a patch of shade for refuge from the heat carried as much significance for these people as it did for the elders of the great families to trace a lineage to some ancient emperor or other prestigious bloodline. When the baggage train at the back of the column came into full view of the square, the crowds suddenly appeared to move with singular purpose, storming towards the wagons like a flood. The bodyguard hastily closed their formation, blocking the baying hordes from ransacking the supplies, and drawing their sabres in fear. One man, probably just a teenager, squeezed through the human barricade and scrambled up the wheel, before the mounted guard captain grabbed him by the scruff and tossed him to the ground. I heard a crack as his head hit the curb, and soon the dirt was turning red. Rather than deter them, the onlookers turned violent. The captain, visibly shaken, reared his horse up and began swinging his sabre indiscriminately into the faces of the peasants. His men followed suit.

“Fortune’s fury, get this bloody column moving!” He screamed, his voice barely making it above the tempestuous roaring of the people. I turned to Theodore for reassurance, but he was looking on with a steely grimace. At least he was calm.

“Stay close to me, princess. We will be okay.” He grabbed my horse’s reins, driving us together and letting me rest into his embrace.

I clenched my eyes shut as a cloud of dust got kicked into the air by the advancing rear-guard, who dived into the fray. Then a single gunshot went off in the distance. The crowd paralysed for a moment. Even the horsemen stopped. Then another went off, then another and another, until they came so thick and fast that it became impossible to distinguish them. The roars of anger soon transformed into cries of terror, as the crowd stripped away from their siege of the convoy and dashed back into the derelict buildings. Up ahead I could see figures running, stumbling then crumpling into the ground, motionless. The front sections evidently had started move again, for like a wave each subsequent section started whipping and kicking their horses into action, and I took hold of the reins. All along the road there were bodies, some writhing about, but most lay still, their bodies decorated with gashes and lacerations. Blood was gathering in pools and filling the street gutters, such was the brutality. Literal stacks of the helpless souls lay like pillars on either side of the gateway leading out of the square, their lifeless figures perforated by dozens of smoking bullet holes. The driver of the baggage train slumped into his arms as we left the square, and I could see his shoulders shaking with his convulsions of tears. How tragic it was that mongrel dogs had better fortune asking for food than those poor dregs, I thought.

“My Lady,” Theodore tugged at my reins again, slowing me down. “Let us go join the imperial party. Can you keep up with me?” I was dazed from the turmoil. I had never seen violence like it before, never seen so much blood, or so many frightened faces. I had never seen death.

“Yes… yes. I can keep up, steward.” I managed to spit out, regaining my composure.

Then we were off, meandering past the wagons, mounted soldiers and officials. Some of the guardsmen were still wiping of their sabres, and others looked in complete disarray. Some of the guards looked so young. Was the slaughter of starving, unarmed peasants their first taste of action? The officials by comparison calm, callous. Some were laughing with each other, probably exchanging their morbid wit. But of course, they weren’t the ones swinging the swords or firing the guns. Even so, they were all still spattered in the same blood, official and soldier alike. The chaos must have emanated far and wide, because if there was any sign of life in these buildings we passed, it was well concealed. Windows were shuttered, doors locked, fires reduced to smouldering embers. When soldiers of the emperor were shooting on the people of the empire, who could blame them for hiding? The threat of unruly soldiers and the threat of the enemies beyond the walls might as well be one and the same for the ordinary folk. Abruptly, the column started to slow down again to its original pace, until grinding once again to a halt. Further along, the front had curved around a corner again, leaving the rest mired in the streets. Careening around the bend, we came out unexpectedly onto the Palatial Way, the vast colonnaded avenue which ran down the entirety of the city. It was not the sight which captured me, but the sound of my father’s voice.

“By the Wheel, Maro, what madness has enthralled you, you depraved fool!”

There he was, stood up in the carriage, screaming and spitting upon the arch-minister sitting opposite, speechless, but holding him in a fierce stare. Beside him my uncle was casually slouching into his seat, his arm resting against behind the neck rest. The imperial guards were gathered all around the carriage, cradling their rifles; the prefect had dismounted and was stood on the steps to carriage, helmet awkwardly wedged under his shoulder and seeming to whisper in my uncle’s ear. He waved away.

“Leave him be, brother. We might all have been butchered if we didn’t open fire. They were warned.” My uncle stepped in, defending the arch-minister. He must have started the shooting somehow.

“The only warning they were given was the few seconds it took for the guardsmen to raise their weapons, take aim, and pull the trigger. How can you allow this?” Father retorted, his voice a mix of sadness, anger and bewilderment. Uncle simply waved his hand in dismissal.

“We are not debating this. Be silent.” It was succinct. Severe.

“Father!” I knew the moment the word left my mouth that it was a misstep. It was the wrong moment and the wrong delivery, and I could feel Theodore wince in shame.

It didn’t matter. Father heard me. His head shot up and he turned around, as did the prefect, arch-minister and indeed anyone else within earshot. The prefect sneered, not at me, but to where I guessed Theodore was still standing. Did I just get him in trouble again? Father was smiling, and it was the first time I had seen his smile in so long. He vaulted over the carriage door, landing gracefully onto the pavement, and started to move towards me with arms outstretched. Then he froze, and his arms dropped to his sides as his eyes traced something in the sky. The arch-minister slowly started to raise himself, so did my uncle, and the prefect’s pursed lips went agape; all of them were fixated on something in the distance, up the in the sky. I turned, and a ball of flame, hurtling like a comet through the air, smashed into the spiral bell tower of the palace. I was so lost in the moment that I didn’t hear the explosion. But I felt it. The tower broke apart like brittle bone, then fell through the palace walls and into the streets below, flattening an entire district. Just seconds afterward, another explosion of seismic proportions sent tremors through the ground; horsemen were blown from their mounts, the prefect was knocked into the carriage, and I hit the ground hard. But even my blurred, concussed vision didn’t distort the sight of the eastern wall torn asunder. Behind me I heard the emperor mutter.

“…Fortune’s fury.”

Hyder
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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Hyder » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:50 am

Another exciting installment...
Life in the End Times

Chapter 6 - Hellfire

Screaming at every turn. Soldiers scrambling for their rifles and swords. Horses neighing in fear and throwing their riders from their saddles. Bullets ricocheting across pillars and walls. Had I awoken in Armageddon? Was I dreaming? My head was aching horribly, and every sound rang painfully through my skull. I put a hand to the back of my head, and only then realised that a blood-stained bandage was wrapped around my forehead. I looked around in a dazed confusion and saw that I was laid in a grassy alcove which opened onto a wide square, and beside me other injured people were laid in rows. I could see from their dirty long greatcoats that they were soldiers. Things only seemed to register to my senses only once I had witnessed them, and at once the dry grass and leaves that served as my bed started to bite at my back, and the soldiers which writhed on either side of me groaned in hellish discomfort. The crackle of a not-so-distant firefight was now terrifying. My surroundings fell into place, and what was once a passive awareness now became an appreciable reality. The palace was destroyed; the eastern wall was severed. Enemies were upon us. I remembered it all now. But where I had I awoken? Clearly we were not on the Palatial Way anymore, for apart from the fortified plaza all I could see were the ramshackle trunks of buildings rising on either side of tight streets and alleys.

Soldiers were swarming into the streets like hornets to a hive, or ants to a nest, all rushing to stave off the encroaching invaders. Through the barrage of gunfire and artillery I could hear the frantic yelling of soldiers and their officers. ‘Keep them back!’, ‘Hold the line!’, ‘Keep firing!’ they would shout again and again and again, as old voices turned into new voices. Even with those desperate pleas for encouragement, wails of despair ultimately drowned them out. Judged on that alone, one would not have high hopes for a successful defence. For every five men that disappeared into the breach, another ten trickled out, carried on stretchers, limping along with missing limbs, or simply stumbling away in cowardice. No authority kept them from leaving. No plumed officer put them in line. Most of the deserters couldn’t even make it out of the plaza. Several dozen were huddled in the centre, trembling, weeping, shell-shocked, as if none of them expected to live much longer and thus were not concerned by any infringement of ‘duty’. In this moment, these people were at their most human. I used to look in awe upon the marching formations of soldiers which circled the palace, for they looked to me like some insurmountable warriors of legend, the sort that Theodore harped on about in his stories. Yet here it struck me that these were simple people. They were boys and teenagers, who just happened to unfortunate enough that they could fit into a uniform and swing a sword or pull a trigger.

I started to cry, and I cried like I had never done so before. All the pent up trauma and fear from this one day of death and suffering, the likes of which I had never seen before or had ever prepared to see, overtook me. When the steward was with me he provided sort of comfort, and besides that I wanted to appear brave, mature. But he was not here. Where he had gone I did not know and at this moment did not – could not – care. Alone, surrounded by the weeping of others, what could I do? My tears fell like raindrops do in a storm, and my headache pounded all the more because of it. I let emotions control me like the strings of marionette. No, not like a puppet; even through the sadness, it was a liberating feeling to be able to scream and cry. I pushed myself to my feet and rested again a pillar to catch my breath. Stood up, I could see down the length of the streets which split off at the opposite end of the plaza. The soldiers were no longer leaving like a trickle, they were fleeing in a torrent, casting their weapons to dirt, elbowing each other aside, tripping over their fallen comrades. Behind them the invaders pursued, hacking down stragglers with weapons I could not see. A loose line of soldiers rallied at the fortifications, pleading with the broken congregation who simply dug their heads into their arms. The line only managed to fire off a single, useless volley as the invaders seeped out of the streets and onto the threshold of the square.

I turned away, not able to bear the scene, and started to walk down the alcove, stepping carefully over the wounded soldiers as I went. I could hear the clatter of steel as the two forces met at last line of defences into the centre of the plaza, and I knew a melee had started. Still I did not look around, continuing instead with a silent, ethereal advance through the bay of wounded until eventually reaching the last pillar of the alcove. If I wanted I could turn a corner and leave the scene, escape the chaos and run to some unbeknownst safe haven. Was father even alive? The emperor himself? And what of Theodore, or anyone I knew? I wondered if this was it, the end of the Synecdoche. The end of the City. Our very own apocalypse. I edged around, my body leaning weakly against a wall, to witness the melee break down as our foes began to overwhelm the last brave defenders of the plaza. Soon they would scour the alcove, murder the wounded on their beds and find me. I was trembling, and my knees were ready to give way in what could have equally been exhaustion or despair. Then a horn blew, coming straight from the street behind me. I saw the attackers stop in their tracks, and in the brief respite most soldiers made a dash for the alcove. The earth began to rumble. I recognised that distinct sound of hooves tearing through dirt. Lots of them.

“For the glory of the Synecdoche! Fortune grant us victory!”

Then they arrived, in such a number that I could not count. Such was the skill of the cavalrymen that it did not even stop to assemble for a proper formation; the front adjusted into a wedge in mid-charge, so that the column appeared to thrust into the enemy ranks like a gigantic spear. With its full momentum behind it, the charge had shattered their ranks even before the impact, as the very sight of the lancers in their glinting silver armour and grand feathered helmets induced them to a mass rout. Within seconds the plaza was cleared, and the cavalry branched off into the numerous streets to maintain the pursuit, whilst a small detachment broke off and circled the square triumphantly, rousing the troops to acclamation. I was left dumbstruck by the turn of events.

“Hail the emperor! Hail Fortune!” The assembled soldiers began to cheer as a group of mounted officers proudly rose the imperial standard in the centre of the plaza. Even a few citizens who had been huddling in their homes came out in celebration. But I knew the fighting was far from over. This was but one square of many, in one district of dozens. Cannons were still blasting away nearby. I’m sure they knew that too, but they cherished this little victory like a great triumph. They needed it.

“Princess, please come with me.” A gruff voice sounded out. Before I could even address the speaker, I was pulled onto the back of a horse and we shot off down the street. Already I could hear the sound of fighting starting up again in the plaza, but were already long gone by the time whatever action had time to develop into danger.

“Where are we going?” I dispensed with the pleasantry of asking his name. He knew I was a princess and I was still alive, so I felt safe enough in assuming he was a friend. Nevertheless I thought I should at least know where I was being absconded to. Unfortunately I did not receive and explanation.

Streets blurred past us and the wind caressed my cheeks like sharp nails, such was our speed. I could not make out if we were passing friend or foe as we shot by crowds in blinding haste. I still didn’t recognise which part of the City we were in, and ultimately gave up with my dizzying attempts to get a baring of the streets and roads. My headache had only started to give way, and our nauseating rush was not helping my situation. But if I would not look, I could at least still listen. Artillery fire grew closer every second, accompanied each time by a low rumble of what I imagined to be some collapsing building. Then I smelt the smoke. A whip cracked, and I felt us accelerate even faster. Soon I was just smelling the smoke, but feeling it. We were practically rushing through a thick cloud of it now; my skin burned with the heat, and I could feel hot ash swirling through my throat and into my lungs.

“Curse this hellfire!” My rider coughed out in anger, one hand on the reigns and another now cupped over his mouth.

I was coughing too, spitting up blackened mucous into my sleeve. My eyes were watering up badly, but I tried to keep one open as I desperately searched for a gap of light, or some other sign that we were leaving the smoke. I had no idea how this man was able to steer the horse, and guessed that he was probably just relying on the beasts’ instincts to guide us out. But even with its eyes mostly protected, the creature was still as vulnerable as any of us to the ash; it was slowing down at a frightening pace, as its own breathing became laboured. But still it charged on, for its sake and for ours.

“Cover your face, child!” The man screamed, whipping the horse again with all his might, willing it against everything push through. I could see why.

We were approaching a glow in the smoke, no doubt the roaring flames which were casting this smog into the air. The heat was bad before, but as we passed the raging inferno it become unbearable. The horse cried out as it lunged through a wall of flame, badly burning its legs and body in the process. I imagined that this must have been what the sailors experienced on their iron ships in the battle out to sea, only that they would be stuck upon them like floated furnaces. Almost as soon as we cleared the flames, the smoke began to dissipate, and it became obvious that the wind had been pushing the smoke straight into out path. The rider fell into the steed’s neck, whether he had died or passed out I did not know, but I could see that his legs and arms were singed and sore, even charred in some places. But just as pure rays of light began to hit my face, and as clean breeze cleaned my face, our horse collapsed in mid-run, his energy totally spent. I was flung a few feet into the air, then crashed and slid into the dirt, whilst my companion’s leg became trapped beneath the animal’s lifeless body. He didn’t react. I willed myself to stay conscious, to survive. I found a twisted humour in the idea that I might have had a better chance staying at the plaza, but remembered that this man, totally unknown to me, had no idea of this inferno and yet gave his risked his life to bring me through it. He may even had given it for me. I was grateful for him.

The heat from the flames was still present, but at least bearable now. For a moment I lay still, watching the row of buildings blazing like a pyre, admiring it like I admired the battle of the ships the night before. I found it to be a pretty thing, fire, which could be so destructive yet so seductive, so special. Dancing around it were a group of people, maybe twenty or so, clad in odd clothes and singing in an unknown language. I wondered if I was going insane from lack of air. Villagers dancing around buildings on fire? One of the turned, his attention drawn perhaps by the puff of dirt kicked into the air by the horse’s crash landing. Her face was dark in tone, and painted with an abstract patter of greens and reds, and wielding a long, bladed stick. It wasn’t a spear exactly, for the blade was a rounded slab of metal rather than pointed shard, but whatever it was I had never seen it before. The woman raised an arm and pointed, then the group rushed over. Perhaps it was because there were no soldiers about that my mind refused to recognise who these people were, a sort of defence of the mind to keep calm. But when this woman pointed her arm at me and wailed, I knew. These were the invaders.

The group charged, madly swinging their panoply of weapons in the air, and soon they were within a few meters of me. They looked like they weren’t going to waste any time. It would be quick, I reassured myself. But I was so frozen by the woman’s wild glare that I didn’t notice the rider reach for his sidearm. A gun sounded, firing off three rounds before being silenced. I snapped out of the stare to see my companion drop a smoking revolver to the ground, a javelin now protruding from his chest, and two of the marauders now lying limp in the dirt. Now he had truly given his life for me. The witch-woman snarled and dived towards me, reading to thrust her blade into my heart; it would never reach me.

“Stop, cur!” A familiar voice rang out, as four horsemen burst onto the scene. The first man lurched by would-be attacker, and I saw through his helmet the cold expression of the prefect's as he span a bloodied glaive around his shoulder and delivered a clean decapitation. The rest of marauder pack had begun a panicked retreat before her head had even hit the ground. By a combination of fear, pain, heat and exhaustion, I collapsed with her, my mind slipping in and out of consciousness.

“Don’t pursue, men. Tend to the princess.” This was another voice. It was Theodore. He was speaking fast, but my mind processed only what mattered. “Can you hear me child? You’re safe now… We’re taking you to the cathedral… Your mother is there… She’s waiting for you.”

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by OrangeRakoon » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:59 pm

I need to put in some time to catch up with all these chapters Hyder, but it's great to see!

Sort of relevant to the thread, I made an online generator for medieval fantasy kingdoms: http://orangerakoon.uk/kingdom.html

Someone might find it useful perhaps for world building - that's what led me to the article I based it on in the first place!

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by Aren142 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:36 pm

Dammit OR, you're a witch. And that's actually REALLY useful. I could see myself using it to get a good idea of things when world building for my own novel. If I can ever bring myself to open the document again... (Damn anxiety.) Even though my world isn't medieval, I can get a decent rough population idea and things like that.
<Kaeetayel> Go for a team entirely composed of Eeveelutions
<Princess> that's effort
<Princess> I need to buy the stones/go to rocks/make them happy/touch Eevee
<Kaeetayel> The last one doesn't sound too bad

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Re: The Writer's Circle

Post by OrangeRakoon » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:12 am

Thanks! You should definitely check out the article it is based on, it goes into more depth/explanation on certain things.

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