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Event 6: Word War

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Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:00 am
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Holysocks says...

Write as much as you can in 24 hours!

Summery: This is a 24 hour Word War. The idea is to write as much as you possibly can in 24 hours!

How to enter: Submit your entry in the replies to this topic!

Description: You may have heard of a Word War before, you may have even won a few. Word Wars are normally a writing challenge between two or more writers battling to write as many words as they can in a set amount of time, usually ten - fifteen minutes. Today we're inviting you to compete in this years 24 Hour Word War!

Every minute counts!
100% autistic

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Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:52 am
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Rook says...

1414 words :D (may add more later but also maybe not)
Spoiler! :

Once upon a time there was a land, far, far away. Alliyah was the beutiful queen of that land, and she ruled ruthlessly! All the townspeople came to her for help, but she just lit them on fire. By the way, she was a dragon, so there's that. Anyway, Alliyah had this crazy pile of gold that she liked to hoard and count and sit by. In some of the larger pieces of her collection, she could see her reflection in the shine. She admired her beautiful green eyes and marvelous purple scales. One day, as she was thus admiring, a little girl came to her, crying. Something in Alliyah's heart stirred. She realized that her heart had been frozen by an evil enchantress all along! She realized this when the little girl came crying about an evil enchantress that was going around freezing the hearts of everyone in the town, and they were all turning in to cold, callous dragons with nothing in their hearts but a lust for money. But the girl's tears thawed Alliyah's heart, and Alliyah realized she needed to save the town from the crisis that would surely come. Not to mention, Alliyah wanted to be turned back into a human. So Alliyah and the little girl teamed up to hunt down the evil enchantress and get her to change everyone back from dragons into people and thaw their hearts. They flew around the country together, the little girl sitting on Alliyah's back, and hunted for the enchantress, but they couldn't find her! They searched everywhere: in caves, under the sea, in space.... but it was like the enchantress was invisible!
Finally, they consulted the help of an sage old lady named Holysocks, commonly referred to as Holy. Holy told them that they needed to look within themselves to divine the location of the enchantress. Holy had noticed that all the people around her had turned into dragons, but she hadn't known that it was the evil enchantress who was doing it. The enchantress actually used to be Holy's friend, she told them. But she hadn't seen her in a while. Probably because the enchantress -- whose name, Holy told them, was Lizz -- had been busy freezing people's hearts and turning them into dragons. Holy didn't understand why Lizz would have done this. In the past, Lizz used to be a really great enchantress! She made all the crops grow in the sping and ensured a good harvest in the fall. She would unfreeze people's hearts that occasionally became frozen just by nature and their own greed. But something had changed in Lizz. The three of them, Alliyah, Holy, and the little girl vowed to look for Lizz all together.
They first needed to look inside themselves, however, because Lizz could only be found lurking within people. Enchantresses in this world are not physical beings, you see, but rather a sort of spirit that can only dwell inside vessels, and they dwell in every vessel, latently. That's why it was so easy for Lizz to freeze the heart of every person in the world. Holy, knowing Lizz best, volunteered to be the "spokeswoman" for channeling the spirit of Lizz. Holy looked deep inside herself, way down to right under her heart, and found Lizz crouching there like a little bug. Holy pulled on that little thing, using her mind, you know? and like, Lizz manifested and was able to speak through Holy. I promise it makes sense.

"What do you want, mortals!!!!!!!" Lizz demanded.

"Why have you done this to our world?" Alliyah asked.

"Why do you think I've done this?" Lizz demanded.

"I don't know, can't you tell us?" Alliyah asked.

"I cannot tell you something you already know," Lizz demanded.

"I do not know it!" Alliyah asked.

"If you must know, I fell for a timeshare scam," Lizz demanded.

"I do not understand," Alliyah asked.

"I am now broke and in need of all the cash in the world to pay off my debts," Lizz demanded.

"No, how can a non-physical spirit have a timeshare plan? You don't even have a body!" Alliyah asked.

"It's complicated," Lizz demanded.

"Can you please unfreeze everyone's hearts and turn them back into people?" Alliyah asked.

"Why would I do that when they're busy collecting all the gold in the world which I can then take by force with a simple Change In Heart (tm)?" Lizz demanded.

"Because you have no hold on my heart!" Alliyah asked. And indeed, Alliyah was correct. Alliyah's heart was so full of righteous anger that it practically burned, leaving no place for Lizz to reside.

Lizz saw that this was true. She saw the truth in this. Indeed, the truth in this could not be unseen. It was impossible to not see that this was true. Infact, the truth of Alliyah's statement was so true, it could almost be considered indubitably so.

"Then how will I ever pay off my timeshare scam debt!" Lizz demanded.

"You froze my heart so long ago that I cannot remember who I really was before that," Alliyah asked. "But I know gold has no real value for me, yet I have a huge hoarde. You may have it. The idea of it sickens me."

"Really?" Lizz demanded. "That's so nice of you!"

"I ask but that you return everyone to their original state, and unfreeze their hearts!" Alliyah asked.

"Done." Lizz demanded. And then she vanished.

Holy came back to life with a gasp. "Did you do it?"

"I think so?" Alliyah asked. "We'd need to go outside and look at everyone to tell.

So that's what they did. Holy and the little girl (whose name is Mea, I have now decided) climbed onto the back of Alliyah, before realizing that Alliyah was no longer a dragon. Embarassed, they climbed off Alliyah and had the much more arduous journey of climbing down a mountain on foot. (Did I say that Holy lived in a mountain? Because she totally did. She's one of those sage wise hermit folk who live in caves and stuff.) When they finally reached civilization, they found that everyone had been turned back to humans and their hearts had been unfrozen. They travelled all around the world and realized that even the people whose hearts had frozen naturally had been unfrozen as well. Honestly, the world was way better now. Also, everyone believed in magic so that was cool.

Ooh but when they got to one city, they met someone who was still a dragon. Their name was AncientForever, or Anci. Anci was a beautiful dragon with slate black eyes that looked as if they could hold the universe in their depths. And indeed, if one stared for too long into them, one could begin to start seeing the stars and constellations until they fell into the depths of space and floated numbly in nothingness forever. But anci never let that happen because that's some edrich horror crap right there. Mostly Anci's eyes just held kindness and happiness and excitement. But it surprised Alliyah and Mea and Holy that there was still a dragon roaming around.

Anci explained that she was actually originally a dragon to begin with, but when Lizz had gone around changing everyone, she'd changed them into a human. Anci hated being a human. Man, you can't fly and you're so weak and stuff. And your skin is so damageable. It sucked being a human.

Alliyah, the only one out of the three who had been a dragon, understood what Anci meant. Being a human was a lot more work than being a cool dragon. But Alliyah also felt most at home back in her true body. The trio invited Anci to come along in exploring the world, and Anci, having not much better to do (and because Alliyah was a beautiful and powerful queen and probably had an extensive library from which Anci could read (Anci loved to read)) Anci agreed.

It was much easier traveling the world on Anci's back, so that went fairly quickly.

Finally, Alliyah got back to her castle and found that her hoarde was completely gone. She wondered how Lizz, a thing with no physical presence, was able to move so much gold. But I guess that's an unsolvable mystery.

Anyway the four of our heroes decided to form a book club and a writing club and they all lived happily ever after, the end. :D
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

-Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses

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Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:42 pm
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leleparadise says...

Spoiler! :
Just the other morning I had an argument with my significant other.
It wasn't like any argument we've had before.
Not a play fight with words or joke between friends on what artist or show is the best between our opinions. Those type of arguments are preferred and tend not to hold as much weight after the conversation is over. Unlike now, where it had sunk me to the darkest depths of my fear.
It's one thing to talk about favorites and exchange our views of the world we witness through our own eyes and spill every droplet of secrecy and truth. It's another to completely take over and share each other's space.
What is space anyway? The comedic relief we call "alone time" to recover from the short bursts of awkward anxiety every time we're in social gatherings?
Or is it just something that's only meant for people who are just too scared to be fully naked?
I don't mean articles of clothing. Ironically enough, I'd feel more comfortable exposing the bareness of my skin rather than the ripe bosom of my mind. Exploited and exposed of everything that shelters my way of life, how I came to be and why in my private moments alone where I feel safe to be a stranger to the world.
...He asked me if we can move in together.
I'll be honest, my first reaction was a jaw dropped so low, I thought it'd hit my chest before realizing it was my heart pounding so hard. I was speechless. I stood silent for a few seconds, long enough to watch his eyebrows wrinkle in concern. Before he could ask what's wrong, I told him that we'd have to plan a lot out financially. I tried to find any logical technicalities with no sign of questionable emotions in my responses to try and ease his worries and make it through the conversation as vaguely as possible.

People say that you learn more about a person when you finally wake up in the same bed with them every single day for the rest of your life. That is the true test of loyalty and companionship. Understanding respectful boundaries and the true definition of sharing. It's a whole new ball game in surviving; a balancing act between dependency and trust. For most it is a beautiful stepping stone to a brighter future to grow a family and go in for the long hall of happiness.

Yet I am utterly terrified.

It's not that I hold doubts towards his commitment to our relationship or the long term goals we've talked among ourselves numerous times. He knows what he wants and the type of life style he's willing to work for. I admire his spirit and the very same charms that make him glow up even brighter than since we first met. It's not his dreams that I'm scared of.

I'm scared of myself. I'm scared of my future self. What if all that he sees and accepts for the long hall is just a settlement for the grander prize he deserves? What if my anxiety of the world dims his light and discourages his wants for better because of his guilty dedication to the broken figure that I am?

What if one day I wake up and I don't want to have a family? What if I come to my senses and realize that maybe I'm not a fit parent because I haven't finished raising myself to be the confident nurturer a child should have? Is he really that willing deal with less than what he promised himself out of a one in a life time chance to experience all the colors of this world's pallet to paint the portrait that's worthy of his framed mind? He's an understanding guy. He's well at compromising and tells me all the time that it'll still be worth it. But why does that frighten me even more?

I'm scared one day he'll wake up, turn his head against his pillow to see the "what ifs" of his youth and question if maybe he'd made a mistake and wasted his time investing in a person who, in the end, couldn't give him the glass half full. But rather see the glass half empty. A messy haired, fine lined, worn out skinned skeleton that lies at his bedside with broken hopes for good that he had to tirelessly carry on his shoulders. The last thing I'd want to do is burden him with less opportunities to spread his social butterfly wings because I can't learn to adjust to cues or avoid awkward silences.

The person he sees before she escapes to her safety bubble at the end of a date isn't the same person that takes off the make up, showers for 2 hours contemplating her existence and then lies awake at night wondering if time is too far of a mystery for her to bear to consider finding out if it's worth wasting on failed expectations and pretending to know what she wants in life. They aren't parallel to each other. Once he finds out, he may even notice right away and want no parts with that type of aura.

That same day I decided to not reply to anything else during the day out together and was more quiet and awkward than usual. The gears in my head were on overdrive and I couldn't stop my anxiety from growing as almost everything he said triggered the thought of moving in. Even when it wasn't the topic of the conversation. He mentioned a game system he wanted to get for his room, I imagined him playing a game every time we argued and end up talking to other people because talking to me would become too irritable. He said he wanted to eat chicken. I thought of him becoming bored of my cooking and wanting to eat out with someone else. Every thing he'd bring up, I found a way to create a scenario of us living together and being the hell on earth he wouldn't want. Not because I'm a jealous woman, but I would never want to be the reason for someone's unhappiness.

He locked eyes with me and kept his gaze. I looked away from him embarrassed, not sure how to answer the possible questions that could be roaming his mind. He asked me what am I hiding that's bothering me so much. I told him it was nothing and tried to keep walking, desperately looking for a distraction. He stopped me in my tracks by grabbing me by the arm, swiftly turning me to face him. I knew I couldn't walk away with an explanation, but I didn't have the words. I told him I was tired and didn't want to talk about it.

The look in his eyes changed from annoyance to hurt as his face sunk like he reached an epiphany on his own. He asked if it was about moving in together. I froze as I immediately said yes in my mind. But my facial expression spoke for itself. He asked if I was scared he'd cheat on me. I said no. He asked if there was someone else. Offended, I said no and wondered if he already thought of me to be the type of person to hurt him intentionally. Oh the irony of avoiding hurting him passively to be assumed of asserting pain directly with adultery.

I yelled at him. He yelled back. We came to a halt decided to give it a rest for the day and go our separate ways to our houses.

First thing I thought of while walking away was,"It would've been worse if we were living together". By the time I got home, took a 4 hour shower and finally settled into my bed, the last thing on my mind was, "He's better off with someone else". Then I cried myself to sleep.
Last edited by leleparadise on Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:20 pm
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Brigadier says...

2200 words so far
Spoiler! :
Once upon a very long time ago, in a galaxy that was probably very far away, but still in the future where wireless headphones were a loss technology, this story definitely did not take place.

No. Instead it took place in some alternate form of the Earth that you reside on where animals became more sentient and humans just weren’t in the picture. They just weren’t and that’s the end of it because I, your somewhat loyal narrator, does not care enough to investigate the matter further. I’ve heard rumors about the matter, mostly relating to aliens from Mars, who did in fact turn out to be little green men. They were pretty damn creepy and I’m pretty sure you could blame them for the loss of sales in green beans, but not the extermination of the human race. That would be left up to a more war torn planet, such as Earth itself, whose nations never really gave one about the safety of its people, just blowing up its neighbor.

These details are all besides the point and absolutely none of your concern, because the only person animal thing you need to focus on, is a spy named Jim the Bear.

If you wanted to take every single spy movie cliche and throw it into a blender, Jim would be the smoothie poured out in the end. No one really knew what his last name was, but it was either something really generic like “Smith” or obscure like “de Moireigh”, making it easier either way to just call him Jim. That’s how every record at the agency he worked for listed him, Jim the Bear.
When applied to a human, “the Bear” sounds like a really dangerous gang name. But Jim was an actual legit grizzly bear, so that sort of nickname tacked on the end was another level of cheesy and sounded so unoriginal, but still no one knew any other name to call him by.

As one might imagine, this leads to some confusion for everyone involved, as there were a bunch of bears named Jim who worked for the same covert spy organization. When he first began his career, no one could tell him apart from the others, no special skills that made him stand out. The beginning of his career started in the mail room, searching through letters and junk, possibly bombs because in the eyes of the agency, he was completely expendable. He had absolutely no family, not even a goldfish to miss him, so if this kid got blown up by a parcel of cheese, who would really give a rat’s ass?

As it further turned out, there was a bookie named Jimmy the Rat (was a snitch and a legit rat), who of course being a rat, gave a rat’s ass. Jimmy the Rat worked somewhere in accounting for this agency but being a bookie with a head for all sorts of numbers, also worked for the Bear mafia. He was the one who introduced the sort of hero of this story, to Jim the Hammer, a generally all around bad guy who had a passion for making furniture. Making furniture for needy children. It was an odd hobby, the love of hammers, not the donating furniture to needy children. That was a totally legit tax write off and way of mending Jim the Hammer’s heart after he bashed someone’s head in.

Some people drink to ease their pain and their conscious. Most old mob members go out to the shooting range or the golf course to blow off steam, possibly find a lady for the night and try not to feel the guilt of this when they return home. But no, this boss used his anger to do charity work making chairs. There’s a pun in there somewhere and that might have been half of the point, but it’s recent matters concerning those chairs that should concern you, the reader who is about to embark a pretty fucking stupid journey through the life of a spy.

We start with a complicated point in time. Jim the Bear had spent nearly ten years rising in the AASO, only to be kicked on when he nearly strangled an old scientist and probably should have gone to jail for attempted murder. But with his connections and his two bosses having a warm spot in their hearts for him, the super secret spies let him go, and the bear mafia hired him full time. The conflict of interest was over and now he could go serve a crime organization that probably paid more per week, than the spy organization did in one year. The sad but true fact of this world and many others, is that crime does pay, as long as you don’t get caught.

At this particular point in time, it had been over a year since Agent 700 had been booted from the Advanced Animal Spy Organization, and since then his life had been not all that bad. The meeting in Ms. X's office had ended poorly, his reckless behavior and possible mob ties leading to much suspicion, and when he left he only confirmed those things. He went to work for the other bear named Jim, Jimmy the Hammer, for his passion of antique hammer collecting. As mentioned above, he’s not what you would typically think of when associating mob bosses and hammers, would you?

No Jimmy was just a big fan of tools, that all including saws and screwdrivers, which he used to make furniture for poor cubs whose belongings might have been stolen by others with things against bears. Whether those others be other children of any race or breed or origin or age, if Jimmy couldn’t hunt those bastards down, he would at least make chairs for the poor children. He sighed as he toiled away in his workshop, waiting for our favorite Jim (the supposed hero of the story since it’s all named for him) to show up, and give a report on the fish sales.

Jim rested just outside of the workshop door, trying to decide how to break this news to Big Jimmy, who would most certainly have fine instruments at his disposal. But it was rather good news so maybe those instruments would be violins or something. There was always hope that this wouldn't end in bloodshed, yet that rarely happened in this household, it always ended in blood. So much blood you could pass out from it, even if that wasn't your main fear.

So he carefully edged his way inside, hiding the portfolio under his arm, and leaning over whatever project the Hammer was working on. This was a very intricate design with plenty of twists, turns, spirals and flowers adorning the handles. This was the best time to break news to him, when he was already in a bad mood and putting all this creativity into the chair.

"Boss? I got those reports on the fish sales that you wanted."
The older bear stood up and took off his glasses.
"Good, good."
"And boss, there's something else."
"Oh? Did someone make another pass at stealing that marmalade stash?"
Jim produced another leather bound folio, praying to Mary to protect him just in case, because he knew he was probably a sinner in the eyes of the saints.
"It's the organization, they're starting to rise again."

An important thing to note here is that Jim had been a rather crucial part in the upcoming plans for the organization, but no one had realized it until long after he was gone. And of course there was no return once you were removed from the program, retaining only your memories and possibly your company car depending on how much you pissed them off. All depending on the reason that you were thrown out in the first place, even though that very rarely happened and no one ever really lived to talk about such things.

Most found the easiest way out of the agency was by death, either being thrown from an airplane or shot through the head, both ways of suicide easily being covered up by some red tape and white paint. There were far too many suicides that went on within the company, causing for some issues between members, wondering who would get replaced next. There weren't too many active field agents, simply because there wasn't much of a need for them anymore. Not since the last war between the mob bosses, battling each other and then the army and then kinda aliens again. We keep coming back to the aliens and they really should be given more explanation, but that would ruin all the surprises at the end.

The war as the one thing you could never talk about in that time and place, and in our society, it would be the equivalent of porn. Everyone looks it up and sees it on the internet, but everyone also denies knowing what it is or that it has ever happened or existed. That's how this society works, no one cares to know about the past or the future, only focused on what is happening in front of them right now.

That causes some problems as you might surmise, even though you're a human and wouldn’t all together understand it. You wouldn't understand their world or how they operate or why they even want to operate. They exist galaxies and galaxies away from all of us humans, miserable as you might be, portal jumpers and the lot of you.
But there is no worry about them invading your side, because you barely know they exist. And I’m mostly sure they don’t have a clue about alternate dimensions or any of that shit. Steer clear of portal jumps anyways, they might toss a giant squid through or something, into the streets of Manhattan. That would be fun and also really, really bad, so don’t even think about laughing about it.

This is all bearly relates to the regularly scheduled programming, so let's jump back over there.

When we last saw jim, he was going to talk to the Hammer about a big sting that the organization was planning, trying to get a jump on them. It wasn't a very nice thing to think about but they had all been expecting it for a long time, the organization had seemingly died in the past but it always came back no matter how bad things got.
No matter what.
No matter fucking what.

Those words were chanting in Jim's head as Hammer tried to decide which way to go with this, he had so much on his plate already tha he considered handing it to Falc, the head of the bird mafia, vicious bastards that they were. They could lob the head off this plot with one fowl swoop but was that he really wanted, another match up between the fuzz and the mafias, the rats trying to decide which side to rat out.

It was well known that the rat mafia worked for both sides, living up to their names, the Skunks misplaced with them as being bad people just because they had some panicking issues. That was unjust but still hammer's thoughts strayed further from what he was supposed to be focusing on.

He should have been focusing on how he was going through sink the AASO further into the ground. He knew that after Jim was quietly removed from the agency, others flew out in flocks. Jim had the reputation for being on the take, everyone knew it and just didn't say it, but they all definitely knew there was a few people pulling his puppet strings.

Hammer knew that he had to get Jim to go back to the agency and restore his status, the only way to take care of this business was to do it from the inside to the out. Better phrasing existed for such a plan but Hammer wasn't exactly known for his eloquence and he would rather he was not. It was better to be known for bashing heads in, than wording things pretty and speaking like a politician to crowds. That sort of thing was for his brother.

In some ways, the good Catholic mafia bear that he was, would compare himself and his brother, to Moses and his brother. One had the message and the meaning, trying and struggling to get it across to the masses, and the other was blessed with the speech but not the spirit to go along with it. It’s how they worked together without killing each other, they needed each other to be successful and they were both smart enough to realize that. In other mob familys, it didn’t end with another family taking them out, it ended with the members turning on each other. That had happened to them in previous generations but for now they were keeping it as peaceful as possible, even though it seemed impossible.

It seemed even more impossible this week with the report from the lovable hero, who shall be called the lovable hero from this point forward, simply to keep everyone straight in this confusing plotline.

up to 3003
Spoiler! :

Anyways, it was getting really bad for Jim lurking in the corner of the workshop, trying to approximate if he was out of range for any tools that might get tossed. The Hammer just kept looking at the blade in his hand, murmuring something about his brother and how much he swore he loved him, even though this would make times tough.

It’s rather easy to understand why no one likes the organization, not even the agents who worked for them, because they were so far for the side of good, it hurt the regular innocent bystander. Everything must be done in the name of the good side winning, but that justified killing a lot of people, who would not get caught in the crosshairs standardly. Saying that they were for the side of good, shouldn’t have given them the license to kill, but it happened anyway. It happened against the protests of so many people and if you asked the standard citizen who knew of the existence of both side, the organization would be called the evil force.

They could not be controlled by anyone and walked without order in an endless campaign against the people they believed criminals. Many of them were very bad people but many of them were also not, and both of the men thought about the people they had lost, as the awkward silence still hung like stale cigarette smoke.
There was also of course, stale cigarette smoke hanging in the workshop. That was a standard for this sort of setting, a shady meeting between a mob boss and one of his top men, gathering the strength to take out an old enemy. That’s how these things have always gone, leaving the cannoli and taking the gun, it’s just a standard and there’s no other word for it.

I think really it would be more of cigar smoke, which smells a lot worse and is the standard to be smoked by these old mobsters. Maybe some more illegal substances since everything they did was pretty illegal, including parking in front of fire hydrants, even though none of that matters. As long as you have that certain scene in your mind of a suspicious deal going down in a dark alley or a back room, that’s all that matter for the setting.

We come back to the point that neither the Hammer nor any other mob boss had a single clue about how to take down the organization. The organization probably couldn’t throw over the organization, which is why even a plan working with an inside man was going to fail.
Still, Jim the hero, was the best bet in this unfortunate situation.

It would take a lot of greasing palms to get him back into any good standing with the AASO or as Hammer liked to call them, the Assholes Association of Spies Organization. He would probably have to give up some good bad people and rich information, so that Jim would have a way back in, and make up that he didn’t really go rogue. Lots of agents had claimed that in the past and been working for a mob organization.

“I didn’t really go rogue, i was just collecting information for you.”

The amount of times that people actually believed that, was often enough to make you doubt the intelligence level of the world. If a backstabbing, double-crossing, son of a gun, who may or may not have been sleeping with your girlfriend, told you everything was fake, would you really believe him? If you were an idiot and somehow managed to forget the girlfriend incident, the standard person would welcome him back with open arms. That’s how people work. They like to think the best of other people, even though the back of their mind is telling them not to even consider trusting this person.

If you ever come to that decision where you’re pretty sure someone is faking you out, they probably are and it’s best to just move along. Either that or shoot them in the head. Your choice completely. Shooting them in the head gets rid of the problem forever, while just punching them in the jaw, pisses them off further. And then that angry hornet will keep coming back to haunt you. There’s not enough rolls of quarters in the world to fix that problem, unless it’s enough rolls of quarters to buy a weapon. Then maybe you can fix it like that. Think smart, don’t use your fists to fix some shit like that.


Our story is just starting to get a bit complicated so if you want to leave now, the door is right there. I’ll give you a few lines to consider that decision before moving along to the next plot point.

up to 4006 words and here's a real chapter with stuff happening
not much stuff but more than a prologue
Spoiler! :
Chapter 1

Jim rolled down the streets of New New York City in one of Hammer’s classic cars. This was not at all supposed to mirror James Bond or Remington Steele, totally was just the best choice of interpretation to arrive in style to something important. His suit matched in well suit to his car choice, a black get up with a bowtie and some frills down the chest. Just enough frills for the dinner party he was about to crash and still be a totally straight bear, how dare people think he was gay? Probably shouldn’t have been the thing on Jim’s nerves as he was about to go into a place where he would probably get shot at it by people who probably don’t miss.

He pulled out the gold cross resting in the cup holder and slid it into his pocket, trying to maintain eyes on the road and really failing, because of all of these damn distractions. The thought about these damn distractions was only more of a distraction to him, everything rolling together as he rolled through several stoplights, somehow managing not to get killed by a raging driver. Always lucky was a way to describe him on the good days, when bullets just whizzed by like he had some magic powers. But on the day when things went sour and he bit the bullet with his butt, Jim found himself saying “really lucky”, in the most sarcastic way possible.

More of these thoughts came up as he finally managed to stop at a stop sign, because now a cop had started trailing behind, and this was not the time to get a ticket. He thought about the cop on the motorcycle behind him and the unlicensed weapons locked in the trunk. The weapons that according to the record, were destroyed in a fire twenty years ago and were something he would really like to hold onto. He also wanted to hold onto his life and decided the best decision, was to magically become a law abiding citizen. This was certainly a tough decision to make and it was tough to follow through with it, but out of some miracle, he managed to do what everyone else does.

He now road down the streets, the careful twists and turns out into the countryside, with the cop still tailing him. He obeyed the speed limit, sometimes resting 5 miles per hour under, just to be sure. When he came to the duckling and gosling crossing, he stopped here and waited patiently for them to move along, carefully glancing back at the motorcyclist behind him. He started to wonder if this was a metro officer or if perhaps, the person following him worked fo AASO, which would make much more sense. Most of the metro officers from that area were on the take from the Hammer and should know he wasn’t anyone to try and snatch.

On the other hand, he did have all of those unpaid parking tickets, which was enough reason for someone to break their truce with the mob. The theory about the fellow following him being organization staff was confirmed when he eased through the gates of the estate, and the motorcyclist followed through without thought. If this had been a semi-law abiding police officer, Jim hoped he would have been able to shake him or at least the guy would be waiting outside with a surveillance crew. They always thought that they were hidden from few or not suspicious at all in that utilities van, but Jim had a different story to tell them. Or i guess a different story that he wanted to tell them, but never really had the courage to go out there and do. He always valued his own life above everything else, sort of selfish but it had kept him alive this long, so he tried not to think about the other people who got knocked down in the way.

Well he tried not to think about that but this driveway was a lot longer than he remembered. One line ran through his head on repeat and it wasn’t a very nice thing, not the sort of thing that I’m willing to repeat here. Words like shit can go on the record and keeps this pg-13, but using the other more than once or twice i already quoted above, will corrupt the whole document. Can’t have this sweet and innocent young document get corrupted by the sin called cursing. Drugs, sex, alcohol, and/or murder, that’s all fine. But don’t ever let this novel be corrupted by swearing, since that’s such a bad thing.

At this point, the uniformed cyclist sped up in front of him, either trying to push him along or realizing that the poor bastard in the car didn’t have a clue where he was going. What the cyclist should have realized is that Jim did realize where he was going, he was just so stuck in his loop that he didn’t realize he was barely going fast enough to make it up the hill. When the uniform stopped in the middle of the road, looking back in Jim in the car below, he saw the vehicle go rolling down the hill and started considering his options. He could go drag Jim out of the bottom of the driveway and drive him up. Or he could just ditch this shift and go out drinking with some of his buddies, which was looking really tempting right up until the point, he realized he wouldn’t have a job or life anymore if he took that decision.

Most of the decisions these characters make come back to how much they value their lives. The uniform with no name, really valued his, and so he went back down the hill to deal with the bear. Like you the readers, he had absolutely no idea what would happen, until the next chapter (which will be out some time next week).

4572 total
556 on this story
Lamb of God v2
Spoiler! :
The year doesn't matter.
The date doesn't matter.
Only the time matters and that was more relative, because you just need to know that it was around Happy Hour.

And the story starts with a joke about a priest walking into a bar, who was luckily Catholic, because otherwise we would be making the brown bag joke.

Father Thomson walked into a bar on 6th street, sat down on a squeaky stool and started to take a sip of his drink, when in bust the door, a flock of sheep. He wondered if one swig of whiskey could honestly make him have hallucinations like that. It was Irish whiskey after all, it could have had enough kick to do that to him and today he was feeling lightheaded anyways.

But that theory was ruined when the bartender flipped on the news, to a report of a flock of sheep that had escaped from a nearby farm. There was a pack flooding down the street, one white blob set against the black backdrop of the asphalt.

No one was focusing on the news though. All of the patrons of this establishment looked at the hoard of sheep standing in the bar room.
No one really did anything or moved anywhere or wanted to do anything against these sheep, because God knows what they could do. Instead everyone turned to look at the priest, slowly enjoying his drink and trying to ignore the stares pressing against his shoulder.

A little lamb ran up behind the counter and started ramming against the bartender’s peg leg. The bartender ran away and around with the other patrons, who gave up hope on the priest. He grabbed the bottle from behind the bar and poured another, he was having a bad day anyways. It didn't really matter at this point, he was planning on jumping off a bridge after finishing his drink.

That was the plan.
Get as drunk as possible.
Jump off a bridge.
Hope to die.

Thomson of all people knew that suicide wasn't the answer but he was just tired.

So he kept taking drinks while the people and sheep ran around the bar and outside on the patio and in the street. Once they had all cleared out, or so he had thought, he headed out to the abandoned railroad bridge.

Except the little lamb kept following him, down the long winding road to the bridge. Thomson took the bottle of whiskey with him and yeah the lamb. It gave him the puppy eyes look, which was pretty hard for the small sheep, who really wanted to give the lamb eyes look.

He took another drink and stepped through the railing and the little lamb stood by, sprouting fluffy little angel wings.

Thomson looked up at the sky and said,
“Really? Lamb of God? That's your message to me? As I'm about to throw myself off of a fucking bridge? You couldn't have done this six months ago when she was dying?”

The little lamb looked at him, flapping its fluffy angel wings, with the look that said “I'm adorable and don't swear around me.”

So he didn't swear around it.
Never did.
Just picked it up and carried it home, because that had been a long way for the little lamb to run.

It smiled.
He smiled.

He didn't kill himself. Well not that time at least.

5001 total
429 on this one
Spoiler! :

Demons could be fun, if they weren't the ones, who were the holding the gun, against the head of society.
The society that welcomed them in the first place, told the demons that it was alright to corrupt these people, that they didn't matter all that much.
The people themselves insisted that they weren't much, that they didn't matter at all, that they didn't have any worth to the world.
The world.
The people.
The corruption.
It all went on a loop throughout time, these same three things intersecting, with each other and also with a power from above.
A single word that you can think of and swear and think “oh this is nice”.
“This is fine.”
“This will all be alright if I pray and believe.”
“I am not a fool.”
“I am not a tool.”
These are the statements that are simply hallucinations.
For anyone who thinks that they have never been a fool once in their life, that remark within itself makes you a fool.
It takes a strong person to realize that they are a fool and realize that everyone is like this eventually. Realize that they can't have control over every aspect of their life and that god can't manage that either.
The real thing to focus on is that God is powerful in being not all powerful. He leaves some things up to people, to show that he has enough of the control, to give the person control over these particular things.
Like John said of Jesus, the Lord always has control, but hides the fact. He cloaks it and shows others as having power, before revealing himself and his grace and control.
But is there really such a thing as control, does it exist in any form, within this world which is so unpredictable? Has control ever existed or will it ever exist in any shape or fashion?
Control may have existed but it did not exist for God and certainly not anyone in the image of God. It starts with Adam and Eve, who showed no restraint over any aspect, no form of self control ever existed for them.
For the snake there was control. He didn't have to be corrupted, for he was already all powerful, already had all the control he would ever need. Eve did cause the sin but the snake controlled the sins before that, and you needed not to worry about those sins.
That's what is told. That only Eve is responsible for sin and only the Snake is responsible for salvation.
As it is.

1022 on this
100 line poem plus some reflection
Spoiler! :
I like to live in my head.
Oh Janet. Oh Brad. Oh Marcia. Oh John.
Dammit, all of you, what have you done to me.
Turned me into some lovesick and all around crazy teen.
I swear mom and dad, I'm not like this for real, it's just a fad, nothing that sticks like a mattress pad.
It's not just some crazy rhyme, that was created for the sole purpose of passing the time.
It's something that even y'all must understand, even though you've passed your time for living in Alice’s wonderland.
That wonderland that so many people sang about, while the tripped head over heels, into hell while finding new things to smoke.
They tripped in that different way, that they thought was new and unique.
The same way that these people think it's new and unique now, while the history books seem to say something different.
While I sat in my forensic class, I studied the history of drugs, and how the thing society came to know a pot, meant a whole lot.
How it goes back to the beginning of some societies, stretching thousands of years into history.
This comes back to the story of how everyone wanted to be like Icarus tried to be, high in some way.
To avoid melting their wings, they did the first thing that comes to mind for a human, the easy way out.
This was the easiest way to fly and perhaps that's why, it became known as a high.
A high that would eventually let you down.
Maybe peacefully in a gliding descent or perhaps it would just drop you out of the sky, throw you into a river, and let you drown.
It's all about the same in the end.
These three build up and up, differing levels of the same task.
Everything ends.
It just depends when.
And that depends, on the effort you put in.
Effort is another thing that humans can't seem to find anymore.
They'd rather give in and give up, they put forward some of the precious effort they posses.
Saving it for a rainy day.
Like so many other possessions, which will all eventually go to waste.
Everything we have right now will go to waste. One way or another.
Whether it is the apple left to rot on the counter top.
Or the family relation looked over and neglected.
Everything goes to waste.
This is another one of those lessons to people who look past the value of things.
When they look past and pretend something has no worth.
Sometimes it happens when they look in the mirror.
But most often it happens when the look in the street.
When they literally look down upon their noses at people.
When they fail to see someone sitting on the sidewalk having any worth.
Any potential.
Any skill.
Or any reason.
If they are here on a street corner, then they must be nothing.
Or something very close.
And then the darker thoughts come to them.
And they want to destroy a life that they do not know.
Most ignore these thoughts.
Some don't.
Enough don't that we come to this crossroads and have to discuss what's happening here.
It's something bad.
It's something preventable.
Murder is not the answer.
Neither is mayhem.
Neither is matrimony.
So quickly, we can jump from the bad things to the good.
And no one takes a second look at the weight on the hearts of the people, woo were just swept away.
No one sees them for more than a moment.
No one sees them suffer further, not only for their loss, but for all the losses of time.
For those who mourn for one person, usually find themselves mourning for others.
Until you truly lose someone, you will not be able to see that truth.
I was not able to see that truth.
I was not able to see my faith.
I was not able to take any form of control.
I was not able to look at sin and tell it to leave me.
I still do not see the truth ahead or the faith or the grace resting in the locket around my neck.
I had to lock those two away.
They were corrupting me more than sin.
Taking away who I was.
Destroying it piece by piece.
Telling me that I had to be what they wanted me to be.
I didn't have a self left.
It was just false hope.
It was false faith.
But most of all, it was false Grace.
The grace was the worst.
It was so counterfeited and misconstrued.
I did not want any version of it.
But I could not rid myself of it.
So I did the only thing I knew how to do with such powers.
Channeled it.
Locked it away.
Kept it with me.
Because on a day like today, I almost wanted it back.
Eventually I will want it back.
But not yet.
I'm not ready for such a thing.
I'm not ready for a lot of things.
And often, I just want to go home.
But I don't have one.
I have no home to go to.
Not even heaven.
I don't have enough As on my report card to make that sort of honor roll.
The purgatory is a maybe.
The hell below my feet is a definite.
Being held in the hollow of a beings hand is a definite.
It's now just time to decide the road I will take.
So I can decide for my self.
Be the only one this time.
To decide my fate.

This is the season of Lent.
This is a time for Penance.
This is also the time for me to finally go through Baptism and Confirmation.
This is a lot to deal with and this poem barely starts to touch on what I'm feeling.
I don't honesty know what these feelings are because I've never done anything like this before. And I know I'll have to do more in the future, but I'm avoiding such facts for the time being.

the brigadier rides again!
LMS VI: Lunch Appointment with Death

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Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:28 pm
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lliyah says...

Spoiler! :

(initially I had 1500 or so words, but deleted so I can use for other stuff)

EDIT: deleted

you should know i am a time traveler &
there is no season as achingly temporary as now
but i have promised to return

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:53 am
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Mea says...

Total: 4295 words HAH

First chunk: (991 words)
Spoiler! :
“Understood,” Dameon said. “Jade?” He couldn’t see her now — she should be concealed some distance away.
“Ready,” she said.
He crept the last few yards, crouching behind a hedge, every nerve alert. He was so close he could hear the clink of a tool falling to the ground and the perfectly audible swearing. He didn’t dare look out, but last he had seen, Sam was feet away, eating some dried fruit and leaning against the hood of the closest Jeep as he watched the others change the tire. Dameon prayed he hadn’t moved.
A mosquito buzzed in his ear as he took a smoke grenade in his hand.
“I’m closest to target,” he breathed into the microphone, making sure the volume was all the way down. “After the bombs explode, you cover. I go in alone until I call for back-up. If all goes well, I grab Sam and we’re long gone before the smoke clears.”
He paused for a second, but didn’t allow time for discussion. “Check in.”
“Check,” came three voices, one after the other. Limena and Jade’s were confident; Meghan’s voice shook slightly.
“Then three… two… one… bombs away,” he whispered, and with a smooth motion pulled the safety pin from his grenade, stood, and launched it between two Jeeps.
The sound of breaking glass pierced the air. Smoke billowed out, covering the Jeeps in seconds. Dameon pulled his filter down over his nose and mouth and plunged into the cloud.
The smoke clung to him, writhing as he moved like a flurry of birds taking flight just as he put his foot down. Shapes contorted around him, grey formless masses. Shouts of shock and shouted orders roared through the haze. Groping, half-blind, Dameon reached out. His hand hit the side of the nearest Jeep. He scrabbled for the handle, found it, was oriented. He gasped for air, his eyes streaming from the smoke.
Sam. Inches away. Silent, he eased around the edge of the Jeep. Nothing. His brother wasn’t leaning against the hood, was nowhere in the three-foot radius he could see.. Damn it, where was he?
“Target’s location unknown,” Dameon barked over the comm. “All units move in to search. Be careful and quiet.”
“Acknowledged,” the three of them replied rapidly.
Dameon gripped his gun and ventured down the line of Jeeps, now on the inside of the half-circle. Shadowy figures stumbled, coughing, ahead of him, silhouettes impossible to discern. Dameon blinked his streaming eyes rapidly, squinting.
It was impossible. Impossible. What had they been thinking? Of course the smoke bomb would hurt them as much as —
The click of a gun’s safety. Dameon spun and shot the man that had appeared behind him in one smooth move, hesitating the fraction of a second needed to be sure — absolutely sure — it wasn’t Sam. The gunshot split the air. The man fell with a scream.
The panic fell away. Dameon’s focus was razor-sharp again, but the clamor grew. More gunshots. A wordless shout echoed, mirroring the one from his comm. They had to get out of here.
Dameon turned away and strode forward blindly. Abandoning caution, he yelled “Sam! Sam Maxwell!” again and again.
“Dameon — Dominic?” he heard a faint voice cry.
There. A shadow, cowering behind the frontmost Jeep, the one with a flat tire. Dameon’s heart leapt. The afro was unmistakable. He sprinted the last few paces, swerving around the hood.
“Dameon — “ Limena called. “We’re in trouble — getting surrounded — Meghan can’t see to shoot — more of them than we thought.”
“Just get out! I’ve got him, get out! Rendezvous at the hoverjet,” Dameon ordered. He skidded to a stop on the other side of the Jeep. A tall, lanky, perfectly familiar form shot up from a crouch. An eddy blew past, revealing thick glasses and messy hair and a bewildered expression.
Joy exploded in Dameon’s heart. His gun lowered as he took a step forward, lifting his hand to touch his brother’s face. “Sam. Sam — it’s me!”
Sam flinched backwards.
Why… In a swift movement, Dameon ripped off his mask, forcing down a fit of coughing as he inhaled the dirty air. Recognition dawned on Sam’s face.
“Dameon?” he started. “My…? But what’s all this, what… Say something.”
“I’ve been waiting for you to get down here for three years,” Dameon choked, whether from the smoke or from the reality of Sam’s presence he could not say.
Sam broke into a smile and Dameon went weak with relief. Sam recognized him. He knew him. Dameon took a deep breath to steady himself and it turned into another coughing fit. Dameon’s communicator interrupted them. “I made it out, but Meghan’s still in there. We got separated!” Limena panted.
Another gunshot and a shout. “Dameon. I’m down. Shot to the leg.” Jade’s calm voice chilled him to the bone. This whole thing was going to hell faster than a house on fire. He shoved his mask back on and handed Sam a spare.
“Put this on. We’re getting you out of here.”
“But what — “
“No time to explain, we have to move,” Dameon said, turning to his right and pointing. “You have to get off the road and into the forest, fast enough so they won’t find you. We’ve got transport nearby.” And then I have to go back for Jade.
“But — “
In the blink of an eye, Sam’s expression changed, fixing on something over Dameon’s shoulder.
A cold metal tip pressed into Dameon’s back. Every nerve in Dameon’s body turned to ice.
“Drop your weapon. Hands up and turn around slowly,” a muffled voice ordered.
He did as ordered, despair creeping through him like a paralyzing drug. The mission was lost. He could only pray that Meghan and Limena were all right, that at least one of them had escaped, that Jade’s wound wasn’t serious. He looked up, into the face of his captor.
Dameon’s own face looked back at him.

Second chunk: (1600 words)
Spoiler! :
Dameon had never seen this version of himself before, but he knew at once who it must be: D-18, called Dominic. The other rebel, the one who had left with Soran five years before. They locked eyes, equally rigid. Anger. Pure anger lurked in those depths.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you right now,” Dominic murmured, low enough that Sam wouldn’t be able to hear.
A gust of wind blew through the camp, and the smoke began to clear. Static crackled on Dameon’s communicator. Dameon spoke through dry lips. “Because you want Sam on your side. If you kill me now, that will never happen.”
“What if we don’t care?” Dominic threatened, thrusting the gun into Dameon’s gut.
“You should care,” Dameon said. “Because I’m not one of them.”
“Oh? You come in a stealth jet, you attack us with military-grade weapons, and you tell me you’re not one of them? You’re a Dameon, who do you think you’re kidding?”
“I’m D-7,” Dameon said through clenched teeth. “I’m here for my brother and only for him. Getting Samuel to support me cost.”
“Sure it did.”
“If you’ve heard anything from Eos in the last three years, you’ll have heard of me,” Dameon said. “I refused the role Samuel tried to give me. I’ve stepped outside every line his government has built. I’m the Dameon who reminds everyone of you. Now, the truth is, I don’t know where I stand yet. Don’t waste your chance to get me. Keep me and my team alive. We’ll talk.”
Dominic’s finger relaxed on his gun. “Sounds like we can come to an agreement,” he said, raising his voice so Sam could hear. Sam hovered behind Dameon, anxious and confused.
Dominic handcuffed Dameon and searched him, waving another man over to watch Sam. He took all Dameon’s weapons, his communicator, and his field tools. Then he prodded the pair of them back into the semicircle of Jeeps.
The last wisps of smoke had blown away, revealing the chaos left behind. Beside the still jacked up Jeep, an old toolbox had been kicked over, worn wrenches and screwdrivers spilling across the ground. A young Hispanic man lay on the ground, moaning and clutching his stomach, blood trickling through his fingers.
Beside Dameon, Sam was very pale.
Dameon skimmed over the scene, fixing on a knot of people at the other edge of the road. Six figures surrounded a tall figure. It was Limena, fighting wildly, standing over Jade, who was struggling to stand. They eased backward as the six exiles advanced, Limena swinging her gun to cover one after the other. It was a stalemate — none of the six had their own guns out. In the time it would take for them to draw, Limena could gun down half of them, but it would mean certain death for her.
Dominic swore and shoved Dameon’s gun into the hands of the other exile. “Cover them both,” he ordered and rushed forward, raising his gun. “Freeze!”
A crack split the air and an exile on the edge fell. The others roared in anger, pressing forward, hands going to their guns.
“It wasn’t her, you idiots!” Dominic shouted, pushing through the crowd to train his gun on Limena. Her eyes widened, and she sagged in defeat. “They have a sniper.”
Another shot. This one pinged against a rock and blew out another Jeep’s tire. Dameon’s eyes glanced up to where he knew Meghan was hidden, behind a large rock two-thirds of the way up the hill. He could just see her as a flicker of movement, the glint of the sun on her rifle.
“You — “ Dominic addressed Limena now — “tell her to stand down or we’ll shoot the two of you.”
“I’m commander here,” Dameon said loudly. “I give the orders.”
Dominic half-turned, keeping his gun trained on Limena, and made an impatient gesture. The man, still keeping his gun pressed into Dameon’s back, dug in his pouch for Dameon’s communicator and held it up to him.
“Meghan,” Dameon said heavily. “It’s over. Stop shooting. They’ll kill us if you don’t. Go — get away and report — ”
The man snatched the communicator away from him. On the slope above, a nearly imperceptible rustle marked Meghan’s movement. Dominic followed Dameon’s gaze.
“She’s running. You and you — go get her,” he ordered cooly. He handed them the scanner he had taken from Dameon. “Use this if you lose her. And for God’s sake, have your guns loaded this time.”
It was over in minutes. Limena and Jade were handcuffed and searched, and just as two exiles began pulling Jade to her feet, the others returned, half-dragging a limp and terrified Meghan. Her dark hair was stuck to her cheek and her head hung. She wouldn’t meet Dameon’s eyes.
“That all of you vermin?” Dominic asked, jabbing his gun into Limena’s gut.
“Yes,” she grunted. Dameon nodded when Dominic looked at him for confirmation.
“Secure them in the back of the middle Jeep,” Dominic ordered. “And someone help poor Barty.” He crouched down to take the pulse of the man Meghan had shot. His face darkened with rage. He stood and in one swift motion backhanded Dameon across the face. Head swirling, Dameon saw stars.
“You’ll pay for Marco’s death!” Dominic shouted. “You and the whole of Eos’ government, for the deaths of every single one of my men in this ‘war’ you’re waging!”
He pushed Dameon away and hurried over to Barty, another exile following him with a med kit.
Beside Dameon, Sam’s eyes were still wide with shock and confusion. Dameon wanted to say something, struggling to find the words, but before he could speak the grunt gripped his arm and pulled him towards the others.
Don’t believe them. Play along, but only for now, Dameon tried to tell Sam with his eyes, but he couldn’t tell if his brother understood.
Six of the burliest men ‘escorted’ Dameon and his team to the middle Jeep, where they pushed them inside, removing several boxes of supplies, and bound their legs with rough rope, none too gently. Jade moaned in pain, only semiconscious.
“She needs help!” Dameon demanded. “She’ll bleed to death — anything, just stop the bleeding — “
With a dark stare, one of them acquiesced, tying a makeshift bandage around Jade’s leg. “If you’re hoping for more than that,” he said darkly, “you’d better pray Barty lives.”
And they slammed the door of the trunk and left them to swelter in the sticky heat of southern forests. They posted two guards outside as the rest hurried around the camp, cleaning up and replacing both the tire that had originally blown and the one that Meghan had shot out. The blood soaked through the thin bandage, and Jade’s breathing was shallow and rapid.
Trapped on the other side of the vehicle, hampered by his bound hands and feet, all Dameon wanted to do was hold Jade, but Meghan and Limena were sandwiched between them and all he could do was watch as her head slid down the window to hang, limp, her bronze curls tangled and matted.
Nobody spoke, the reality of the situation weighing down on them all. Meghan was crying silently. Limena’s mouth was a tight line. Dameon pushed himself up, forcing himself to look outside rather than watch Jade suffer.
Sam was nowhere to be seen, probably confined to one of the other Jeeps. Much was made by the exiles over the small pile of weaponry and equipment they had taken from Dameon’s team. After Barty had been tended to — to Dameon’s great relief, he seemed stable, at least for now — Dominic examined each piece of equipment, packing it away carefully as his men finished repairs. At last, he stood up and approached the Jeep where Dameon and the others waited.
The door opened, fresh air flooding into the tiny compartment. Dameon gasped in relief, squinting against the bright sun.
Dominic surveyed the four of them, genuine concern flitting across his features when he examined Jade’s badly-wrapped leg and saw her pale, flushed face. “Teresa,” he called, summoning the medic, a middle-aged woman with a face like stone, also Hispanic. Where were the exiles recruiting from?
She eyed them with dislike, but worked quickly and efficiently on Jades leg, wrapping it and shaking her awake to give her something for the fever and the pain. She explained what she was doing in a low voice as if by force of habit. Jade mumbled acknowledgement.
“She’ll be okay?” Dameon asked.
“Yeah, should be,” the woman grunted, testing the knot on the bandage. “She would heal faster in your fancy hospitals, but we’ll handle her just fine, no thanks to your folks.”
“And Barty?”
“You were lucky there,” she admitted. “Went through the side, didn’t nick anything vital as far as I can see. It would have been dicey, otherwise.”
Dominic had watched the proceedings dispassionately, but now he shoed Teresa away. Ostensibly, he spoke to all of them, but he locked eyes with Dameon and Dameon knew the words were meant for him. “We’re taking you back to headquarters with S-7. He is our honored guest, but for now, you four will be considered prisoners of war. That can change, if you choose it. Either way, you will be treated well.”
He paused, as if struggling for words. “We’re not monsters,” he finally spat, and slammed the door.
The engine rumbled to life underneath Dameon. A minute later, the Jeep shuddered into motion, bearing Dameon and the others inexorably into enemy territory.

Third Chunk: (1387 words)
Spoiler! :
Vorlis offered me a seat and handed me a data pad with profiles on Dink and the bounty hunter, a woman named Elana.
“I’ve never heard of her,” I frowned. “You said she’s the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.”
“A lot can change in twenty years,” Vorlis said. I scrutinized him. He was definitely avoiding the question.
“As you can see, she’s familiar with the planet,” he said. “We’re certain she has contacts, though we don’t know exactly who those contacts would be. Since she’s been hired by the crime ring, you can safely assume she’ll be able to pull a lot of strings.
I nodded, paging through the information and skimming it. Elana was a stocky woman with a thick nose and short white hair that curled around her cheek in the photo. She was exactly the same height as me, though more muscled. Dink was a rugged man with a thoughtful face and bushy eyebrows, and had exactly the look of rebel-turned-scientist. I glanced through his bio and corrected myself. Mad scientist.
“When did you last hear from Dink?”
Vorlis let out a small breath as if he had been holding it. “One standard day ago, almost exactly,” Vorlis said. “It was a few hours after he reported mission success. He contacted us to tell us that his escape had been discovered, and that he was being tracked by Elana. He’s trying to avoid her and get back to us with the cure.”
“It’s been a whole day, you’re sure he hasn’t been captured, and he’s still not back?” I said, frowning. If Elana was really as good as she was reputed to be, she should have found him in the first half day.
“The labs are on the other side of the planet,” Vorlis explained. “He hasn’t been able to get passage on a spaceship or a fast airship yet. His face is plastered on every screen in the northern hemisphere. And we’re not sure he hasn’t been captured. He has a beacon that will go off if he doesn’t reset it every six hours. It hasn’t gone off, but that doesn’t mean he’s free.”
“He’s probably captured. I’m probably too late.”
Vorlis glanced down. “We would know if they recovered the cure. We have other contacts, and they say nobody has heard anything from Elena since she was set on the trail. They’re both at large still. That’s all we know.”
“And you’re sure Dink won’t be able to escape.”
Vorlis looked at me with hollow eyes. “Nobody escapes Elena. Dink is good, but she’ll catch him. It’s only a matter of time.”
“Unless he gets here first and you can protect him.”
Vorlis shook his head. “He knows better than to let Elena track him here.”
On that somber note, he stood, anxiously eying the large screens on the wall that tracked the infection. “How long will you need to prepare? We have a fast transport ready to take you to the city where he was last seen.”
“Twenty minutes,” I said, hefting the data pad. “I’ll digest this on the flight there.”
He nodded, pleased.
“I’ll need my regular supplies,” I said.
“Say the word and it’s yours.”
I gave him my list, and brought the items so quickly that I could easily make good on my promise. Eighteen minutes later, inertia pressed me back into my chair as the tiny flyer rose, bearing me north to a new bounty and the greatest challenge of my short career.

“Thank you,” I blurted out before I spun and ran, weaving between the crowd, checking the time with the screen display in my helmet. Two minutes. I burst through the doors and onto a long, packed walkway connecting the north spaceport to the south. The congestion was so thick, it was as if I had slammed into a wall of bodies.
No time. I didn’t have the time!
The railing. Solid concrete and two handbreadths’s wide, it ran at waist height along the entire length of the bridge as a safety measure. And it was blessedly empty.
I clambered onto it, ignoring the drop. Don’t think, I told myself. I centered myself on the narrow beam and ran, light and fleet-footed, eyes on the target. Just as Kirn had taught me —
I put a foot down wrong and the world spun about me. No. Leave him behind. He taught you, but these skills are yours. Use them! A skipping step and I was back in rhythm, panting more from the shock than the exertion. Seconds later, I leapt down from the railing and squeezed around the door, breaking into the open hanger.
Beings streamed by, most following the main path, but with dozens more scurrying around the skinny legs of each of the massive freight haulers being loaded. I scanned the area. Where was that Ynging 23… there, a sleek, tiny ship nestled behind an interplanetary passenger ship.
I almost made it. Almost. I had my hand on my blaster and had just rounded the passenger ship when the boarding ramp retracted and the landing struts started to rise, the engine shuddering. Above, four massive metal slabs slid back, giving sky access to that slot.
I skidded to a halt, swearing under my breath, staring at the cockpit with a mixture of dread and anticipation. This close. I had been this close, after chasing her for two days and never having caught a glimpse of her. Just let me see her. I feel like I’ve been chasing a ghost.
A woman appeared in the cockpit, sitting down at the controls. I recognized her instantly from the data pad. It was Elana, face grim and determined. She scanned the hanger and landed on me. Our eyes met, hunter and hunted and for a moment, I wasn’t sure which one I was. Something like shock flickered across Elana’s face, met with confusion a second later, neither of which I understood. Then she grasped the controls and guided her ship up, out into Ceygawa’s starry night.

Two days later, traipsing down an alleyway in the main spaceport of Bronk Major, a city in the far north of Cygawa, I was tired grumpy, and reaching past a grudging respect for Elana to something a lot more like resentment. And a fledgling suspicion.
I reviewed what I knew. She definitely still had the old rebel leader in her custody. I’d tracked her through two more transports, and always in the logs there was someone with her. She had money enough to pave her way, but didn’t flaunt it. And she was good. It had taken all my skills and a few lucky breaks to keep up with her at this point, and even still I was one city behind.
Elana was too good. She was astonishingly unpredictable, and yet every time I’d untangled what she’d done, I realized how perfectly logical it was. A nagging voice in the back of my mind insisted that these patterns were familiar. The names she used for herself. Her method of booking decoy ships. There was something Vorlis and crew weren’t telling me, and I was only a few steps away from figuring out what it was. If I ever got out of this alleyway.
It wasn’t clean, either, thick with mud and refuse from the various cheap taverns and inns I wound my way between. I was looking for The Stuck Nearhal, where I should be able to find out if Elena had booked a spaceship. If she had, then I both knew that she was running out of options and, more importantly, who she was. There was only one person Greyhem would loan a spaceship to.
There it was. I slipped inside into the humid warmth, rancid with the smell of densely packed riffraff. This place was part bar, part makeshift spaceport and smuggling operation. I lifted my cloak to cover my head. I couldn’t afford to be recognized as my younger self by Greyhem.
“I need to go dark for this,” I muttered to my earpiece. “I have to concentrate. I’ll be back in an hour.”
I knew where the computer terminals were, and I knew how to hack into them. Greyhem was meticulous – if Elana had requisitioned a spaceship, he would have logged it.

Fourth chunk 317 words (this was totally word dumping like 5 min before when I realized how close I was to beating @Thundahguy)
Spoiler! :
Once upon a time (this was long after the once upon a time that happened a long time ago where alliyah, Anci, the little girl Mea, Holy, and the entity sometimes but not always called Lizz had all the shenanigans involving frozen hearts and gold and timeshare scams), Anci, alliyah, and Mea were enjoying their time together in their book club, hanging out and watching The Princess Bride over and over again (this was Mea’s idea. By the fourth time through, the others were possibly getting slightly tired of it.)

As the credits rolled and Mea sat back in delight, alliyah looked up from her book. “I swear, if you turn that thing on again…”

Mea frowned. “But it’s not a marathon until at least the fifth time through!”

“I never said I wanted it to be — “

“Yeah, why are we watching this, anyway?” Anci sighed, looking around. Their book club was fabulously decorated, with dozens upon dozens of bookshelves, obviously, filled with probably more books then the library of alexandria (yes, there may have been some magical space compression going on to make sure all of them fit. no, none of them were digital. They weren’t monsters, after all). A cozy ever-burning fireplace burned cozily in the corner, protected by a magical spell so that it could never accidentally set fire to the rest of the room.

Which, to be honest, was completely necessary because the room was definitely a fire hazard in and of itself. Aside from all the books, the walls were plastered with posters of music and movies and musicals, combining all four of their perfectly sane tastes into a gorgeous, crazy mash-up of geekery.

“Look,” Anci said, shifting her dragon bulk carefully as to not knock anything over. “Every since we got this fabulous book club, you know what we haven’t had?”

“What?” Holy, Mea, and alliyah chorused.

“An Adventure."
We're all stories in the end.

I think of you as a fairy with a green dress and a flower crown and stuff.

I think you, @Deanie and I are like the Three Book Nerd Musketeers of YWS.

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Current total as of writing: 4247 words

Lionheart Chapter 3
Spoiler! :
Eris couldn't believe her luck as she watched the dusty grasslands pass by through the monitor. Her metallic hand was wrapped around a gun, pointed directly at the Titan’s pilot. She didn't expect one of her nightly raids to be so worthwhile.
“So… Where are we going?” the boy in the seat asked. He was wary of the gun but was too fixated on driving. She didn't expect to meet one of the Empire’s infamous single pilots, and not one so young. He also had some very strong ties in the military as well. They let him go leave without an explanation.
“I'm not about to give out our precious information, you know?” Eris said. She occasionally peeked out of the emergency hatch to see if anyone was following them. So far, they were safe.
“Then you aren't going to get where you want to go,” the boy responded. His words had a hint of smugness, but his tone sounded sincere. After a few seconds of contemplation, Eris gave in. She scoured the nearby dashboard for a map button and pressed it. A top view of the surrounding area popped up on the monitor.
“According to this map, we're going to… Sector BG-67.”
The boy looked around the map. “Uh, BG-67 is an empty field. Are you sure.”
“Just trust me, boy. Your maps are really outdated.”
“Don't call me boy.” The Titan lunged forward, and Eris lost her balance. She kept the pistol locked on the boy’s head as she got up. “I'm 19, you know.”
“Cheeky bastard…,” Eris muttered under her breath. Little did he know, she was even more ecstatic now. He wasn't fat-bound for too long. There was still a bit of hope. She needed to keep up appearances though. “Just keep driving.”
The two continued onwards for an hour, and Eris was getting bored. The boy had remained silent throughout the journey. No whining. No pleas. It put her off. She had heard that single pilots were very focused on piloting, but this boy took it to a new degree.
Another hour passed, and Eris could finally see their destination. She could see a rock formation peak over the horizon. “Perfect. Head for those rocks over there.”
“Are you sure?” The boy had a look of confusion as he checked the map. It wasn’t there. Eris had expected it wasn’t.
“Positive,” Eris confirmed. As the boy drove closer, Eris jumped out of the emergency hatch onto the top of the Titan. She figured that he wouldn’t notice.
She Overcharged her arm as she raised it into the air, causing it to shine brightly. The largest rock in the formation began to shudder, before rolling to the side. The chains pulling it became obvious as it stopped, leaving an open hole.
“Drive through there!” Eris yelled, before realizing her mistake. However, the Titan didn’t try and turn or stop. It continued forward, into the crack in the rocks. From where she had yelled, the boy would know she was outside. He would’ve tried to shake her off again, or try and close the emergency hatch. He was too complacent, She thought.
The Titan drove around the massive rock pillars before reaching an open field inside the cave. People ran up and down the scaffolding built along the ceiling, hurrying in their work. To the back was a metal building built into the wall. Eris could see the various sniper towers scattered around the perimeter. On the side were two Mark 2’s, painted in blue and red.
“Hey, Eris!” a blonde woman called from one of the lower scaffolds. She wore a similar black suit to her, but it was lined with red leather instead of yellow. “Looks like you found something good.”
“Even better than you think,” Eris smirked. She stomped on the Titan, signalling it to stop by the woman. “I got the jackpot.”
“Really? The Titan looks like a training model, so it’s got to be the pilots. How good are they?”
Eris shook her head. “One pilot.”
The woman looked confused. It just meant the surprise would be even better. Eris hopped down into the hatch, and pointed the handgun at the boy’s forehead. She gestured for him to get up. He complied, relaxing his body and disconnecting. The lights inside the Titan went dim and his body went limp.
Eris took the boy by his collar, and pulled him out through the hatch. She held him up proudly like a trophy. Everyone around had stopped working to look at the two. The woman’s eyes widened as she scanned the boy. “One pilot,” Eris reaffirmed.
Rayleigh sat quietly in the chair. His face scrunched up as drops of water fell from the stalactite above him. Outside of the iron bars of his cell was a single guard, occasionally glancing back. Rayleigh could see his tanned skin a few white locks. A Jandran.
He silently cursed himself as another drop fell on his head. Why did he follow that woman’s orders? Even if the woman didn’t know he was the son of the Strategos, he had already revealed that he was a single pilot. They typically had high positions in the military. His captors wanted to pick him apart for information.
Yet, part of him was curious. Curious of the woman who had managed to break bulletproof glass and jumped into his Titan. The woman who had the colourful eyes. They were entrancing, so much so that he didn’t think straight until it was too late.
Two men walked down a flight of stairs and stopped in front of the cell. The guard stood up and saluted. Rayleigh looked up, wincing as another drop fell on his head. One of the two wore a royal garb, tanned skin, and silvery hair reaching down to his shoulders. A Jandran. The man beside him was wearing a suit of armour, and cradled an assault rifle in his arms. His light skin suggested he was Eskivan, or perhaps even Pharosan.
“So, you’re the single pilot,” the man in the garb said. “Interesting. Might you tell us your name?”
“Ran Guin,” Rayleigh lied. The man wasn’t colourful. Not like the woman’s eyes.
“Surprising how fast you gave it up. I’ll assume it’s a fake name. I am Osaze. Now, do you have any military experience, Ran?”
“None.” Rayleigh didn’t lie this time. “I’m in line to be sent against the Deepcrawlers.”
“Is this going anywhere?”
Osaze smiled before whispering to the guard. He promptly unlocked the cell door and forced Rayleigh up. He handed the boy over to the bodyguard, who gestured to his rifle. “Don’t do anything funny, okay?”
Rayleigh nodded as the bodyguard forced him upstairs, Osaze following right behind them. They entered into the same open field as before. There was a brief pause as everyone looked down at them from the elevated platforms, but they all returned to their work. Rayleigh could see the training Titan against the wall, lined up next to the two Mark 2’s. Combat units. No, a combat and a bodyguard unit. He didn’t know how they got ahold of those.
Osaze decided to lead now, stepping in front of the two. He had an air of superiority to him that no one else had. He acted as though he were nobility.
“Who are you people?” Rayleigh asked. The bodyguard behind him wanted to force his gun into the boy’s back, but Osaze held up his hand.
“Lady Nyx will explain everything,” Osaze said, stopping in front of a large door. He opened it and gestured for Rayleigh to enter. As he stepped in, Osaze closed the door behind him, a distinct locking sound echoed out. “Trust me, Ran. We’re not your enemy.”
Rayleigh sighed as he looked around the room he was locked in. It was mostly bare, save for a curtain hung up at the back. There was a single pillow in the center.
“Sit,” a voice called from behind the curtain, surprising Rayleigh. He stood still, before another, now angrier “Sit!” was called out. He shuffled to the pillow and sat down. The curtain was pulled away to reveal an older woman draped in an elegant dress. Her long golden hair flowed down all the way to her feet. Her beautiful face held two dull green eyes.
She wasn’t colourful, however.
“Surprising. You don’t seem to have much of a reaction. Men mostly have dirty thoughts, while women give me dirty looks,” the woman said. Rayleigh couldn’t argue. The person in front of him was a paragon of beauty. It was as if she was a goddess. However, she was coated in the same grayscale as everything else.
“I guess you’re not my type,” Rayleigh chuckled. His mind was more focused on the woman from earlier. Specifically her eyes. He wanted to see them again. “You’re Nyx, right? What do you want with me?”
“Straight to the point, I see. I suppose I’ll hurry up as well,” Nyx said. She kneeled in front of Rayleigh, holding her hands up to his head. “Relax for a moment. Just imagine you’re connecting to a Titan.”
Humouring the woman, he closed his eyes and relaxed his tense body. He imagined the solid metal chair behind him, and the tingle he’d feel when he began to connect. Only, his neck actually tingled. There was that familiar feeling.
Suddenly, an electric spark ran through his body. He jolted forward, like he would do in a Titan. His body felt wobbly, and he had trouble staying up.
“There, I’m done now,” Nyx said, keeping him steady. He slowly opened his eyes, only to be greeted by a vibrant array of colours. He jumped up, then tumbled back to the floor, his body still weak. He was surrounded by a dark red, but was being lit by a bright yellow. Below him was green, and above him was pitch black.
“W-what?” Rayleigh stuttered, taking in the colours. He realized that it was the room. The room itself had somehow become more vibrant. More colourful. The grayscale was no longer there.
“Ah. There’s the reaction I was looking for,” Nyx laughed. Rayleigh turned towards her, a familiar grayness greeting him. The woman had not become more colourful. She remained as she did before. Her beauty had been nullified by nothing but the reddish walls of the room.
Rayleigh jumped to his feet, ready to start running. However, he tripped on his legs and tumbled back to the ground. His legs were weak.
“Now now, no need to try and run away,” Nyx said, helping Rayleigh back onto the pillow. Her warm and inviting tone was starting to desensitize him. “Your body will be like that for a little while. I was thinking we could have a little talk in the meantime.”
“...What do you want with me?”
“Getting to the root, eh? Well, it’s very simple, Rayleigh Drivas. As a single pilot, we need you.”
Rayleigh froze. He had never mentioned his real name. Nyx knew who he was. But then, why did she call for him like this? It would have been easier to just try and get information. Why go through all this trouble?
“I can see your confusion,” Nyx laughed again. “I did not know who you were before now. I can’t believe Eris actually managed to get the son of the Strategos.”
“Why are you acting like this?” Rayleigh asked. He was getting annoyed at the woman’s strangeness. He wanted answers.
“I see acting familiar isn’t a good strategy, is it?” Nyx asked. Rayleigh scowled at her, giving her the answer she wanted. Her warm friendly tone instantly went cold and serious. “How about we get to business.”
Lionheart Chapter 4
Spoiler! :
“You’ve heard about fate, right?” Nyx asked. Rayleigh nodded. The Church of Kairos mentioned it frequently. It was one of its main beliefs. Most people didn’t follow its teachings, Rayleigh included, but that didn’t stop its spread over the Empire. “Well, in reality, it’s more than what you think it is. Much more.
“Fate is like a story book. A set series of events that will happen no matter what you do. Humanity is tied to this kind of fate. You’re all being played like a fiddle.”
“Really? By who?” Rayleigh asked skeptically. If his captors weren’t going to question him, it would do him good to obtain some information himself.
“Your dear emperor,” Nyx answered.
“You’re crazy,” Rayleigh replied flatly. “If this is some kind of way to get information out of me, you better try harder than that.”
“Most people respond the same way. They won’t believe that their glorious leader was using them. Tell me, what are you going to become when you’re older?”
“The Strategos. Just like my father.”
“Are you in a relationship?”
“I have a fiancée.”
Rayleigh continued to answer the questions Nyx gave him. A standard interrogation tactic. However, they never strayed from his personal life. Things like his school, best sport, even what he wore on a casual day. Nothing of use for a rival nation or rebel group.
“Is this going anywhere?” Rayleigh asked. “If I was ever captured, I expected to be interrogated. Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed.”
“Alright then, one final question,” Nyx said. “Out of all the answers you’ve given, how many have you chosen on your own? And not just on a whim.”
Rayleigh felt insulted. Was this woman really serious. He quietly thought through his answers, thinking of how stupid this new question was. After a few moments, he began to have trouble. He awkwardly scratched his head, trying to think of something. He saw Nyx smirk as he hesitated to come up with an answer. “This is pointless. I’m the son of the Strategos. Of course I wouldn’t have a choice growing up.”
“While I will admit that your privileged position may have had an effect on your choices, there’s much more to it than just that,” Nyx said. “You may ask anyone you know these questions. No matter who, their final answer will always be zero.”
Rayleigh remained silent. Surely his friends would be exempt, right? Maybe? Daphne would have chosen something herself…right? His head felt hazy.
“Like I said, you’re all tied to this fate. This fate your emperor assigned you. Luckily, I can free you from it.”
Rayleigh remembered when he could see colours. Nyx had done something. Something to awaken his senses. “...Who are you?”
“I am Nyx, a fatewielder. Just like your emperor.” Nyx bowed. “Someone that can manipulate fate. Tie beings to its strings and change their very destinies. Or free them, if I need to.”
“And what are you trying to do?”
“We’re going to kill your emperor,” Nyx answered seriously. A few moments prior, he wouldn’t have believed her. He would assume she was crazy, or he was in a dream. He couldn’t think rationally, however. His mind was too much of a mess. “Make no mistake. Your emperor binds his people to their fates. He’s nothing more than a dictator.”
“And why did you free me?”
“We intend to recruit you for our purpose,” Nyx answered. “Though, my main reason is because I can’t stand being near someone tied to fate.”
“And why would you want to recruit me? I have no skills besides piloting, and I’ve only seen two shoddy Titans here.”
“In actuality we have four,” Nyx said. Rayleigh was about to press further, but the woman stood back up and retreated to behind the curtain. “I’m currently tired. You should have recovered by now. Osaze will explain anything you urgently need to know. We will speak again later.”
Rayleigh stayed in place for a moment, contemplating his actions. He could further push his luck. He wanted to know more. However, his body was still weak. There was little chance he could force anything else out of Nyx’s mouth. Reluctantly he stood back up and walked to the door and knocked on it.
The door opened slowly, and Rayleigh was greeted with a cascade of vibrant colours. The dingy cave he had entered was more brighter, eye-pleasing. Colourful.
“I see you’ve been freed. Your face says it all,” Osaze chuckled. The Jandran’s robes were a mix of royal blues and reds. The bodyguard was still near. His armour war a mix of black and blue. Embarrassed, Rayleigh tried to wipe his look of embarrassment away and stepped through the door. “So, what did Nyx explain to you?”
“Something about fate, how my emperor is evil, and how you want to recruit me,” Rayleigh muttered. Their conversation was already wearing on him. “Nothing about who you are, or what exactly you want me to do.”
“So about half, I guess. Are you feeling alright?” Osaze asked.
“I’m just a bit disoriented,” Rayleigh responded, shaking his head.
“Ah, that’s good. Hopefully you’ll last for a while,” Osaze muttered, turning away. “Follow me. I have some free time, so I’ll show you around. Adrian, please don’t do anything to our esteemed guest.”
The bodyguard nodded as he followed the two, though he kept his rifle pointed at the boy. The three walked on the grounds of the complex. Rayleigh noticed a large portion of the people running around were Jandrans, but he could see a couple of Eskivans, Carquois people, and even a few Pharosan amongst them.
“Nyx has probably explained how her goal is to kill your emperor,” Osaze began, looking back at the bewildered Rayleigh. “However, that is but a side goal for the rest of us.”
“You’re Jandran rebels,” Rayleigh guessed. “I had heard there were still a few cells still operating, but compared to the rebels of other nations, you were relatively harmless.”
“That’s because we wanted to look harmless,” Osaze explained. “What you believe to be many small cells are really one big network. Our people are still connected strongly, and until we take back our home, we won't fall.”
Rayleigh had guessed as much. His textbooks had mentioned how Jandra was a heavily spiritual and nationalist country. Retaking their country was a goal of many earlier rebels, before the emperor had completely quelled the riots. “Why are you telling me all this? I'm still part of Pharosa.”
“Look around you. Though they are few, we have people from Pharosa. Even Adrian behind you is from your country. They were freed and, after realizing the tyranny they were put under, have joined our cause. While you aren’t being forced, we do believe that you’ll join us.
"That, and we're planning on moving our base. We’ve stayed in this location for a long enough time. Even if you warn your nation, we'll be gone before they arrive.”
The three continued on their little sightseeing trip. Osaze showed off their barracks, their cafeteria, and their briefing room. Rayleigh stayed silent, contemplating what the Nyx had said before. He was supposed to become the next Strategos. If that was nothing but fate, then what did he have now?
Finally, Osaze lead Rayleigh to the two Titans. They were painted in reds and blues matching Osaze’s garment. Something itched at Rayleigh. He wanted to pilot again.
“These are our combat Titans,” Osaze explained. “We have a number of transport Titans, but these two are our cell's main fighting force.”
“This is a pretty bad force, you know?” Rayleigh commented. “One is an old fashioned combat unit. It's probably been sent through the ringer. The other is a bodyguard unit. More suited for close quarter combat, not in the field.”
“You should understand how difficult it is to get a Titan. Especially since most of us are Jandrans. Despite our lack of a fighting force, we don’t have much trouble.
As if on cue, a voice from above called out. “Hey! Osaze!” A figure waved one of the ceiling beams, before hopping off and landing on the ground with a thud and kicking up a bit of dust.
“Ah, Eris. Didn't I tell you before that it is unladylike to jump from there?” Osaze laughed.
“And I told you before. I don't really care. I doubt anyone here even thinks of me as a lady.” Rayleigh recognized the voice. Standing in a small crater was the woman that had hijacked his Titan. Instead of the suit, she wore a plain yellow t-shirt and black shorts. Her arms and legs were made of some kind of metallic substance that met her pale skin by the joints. The most alluring feature, however, were her yellow-green eyes, still shining as brightly as when she first pulled off her mask. “Ah! It's the single pilot!”
“This is Eris, our third fighter,” Osaze introduced her. Rayleigh stood silently, still enraptured by the girl, before jerking his head away towards the Titans. Did she pilot one of them? Osaze’s wording was confusing, but suggested she didn’t pilot either of the two in front of him.
“Where’s your Titan?” Rayleigh asked.
“Right here,” Eris answered, patting her metallic arm. It began to emit a dim light. An stray arc of lightning coursed through, surprising Rayleigh.
“Don’t scare the boy,” Osaze chuckled. Eris dropped her arm again as it died down. “Ran, have you ever heard of the Mark 1’s?”
Rayleigh nodded. The original Titans, ancient war machines unearthed by the Pharosan Empire. They lead the charge on both Jandra and Eskivo, and the research into them was what lead to the development of the Mark 2’s and Mark 3’s, yet those paled in comparison to the strength of a Mark 1. Over the years, however, they’ve been either lost, stolen, or destroyed. Out of the nine originals, Pharosa only had five left.
“Well, you are standing in the presence of one right now. Eris wields the only Mark 1 that the Pharosans don’t know about,” Osaze explained, smiling. Rayleigh’s eyes widened.
“I mean, it isn’t really a ‘Titan’ per se,” Eris commented. “Sure, they let me punch things really hard and jump really high, but compared to those massive robots, they’re nothing.”
“Nonsense. Compared to those ‘massive robots’, you’re much stronger in every way.”
“Heh, probably,” Eris chuckled, before turning her back towards the. “I’m going to take a nap. Don’t show the newbie Lionheart. I want to be there when he does.”
Rayleigh stared at Eris as she walked off. The tenth Mark 1 were those prosthetics? Indeed, they weren’t the first image you thought of when you heard the word Titan. However, when it lit up for that brief moment, he could feel an intense pressure come from it.
“Your name is Ran, right?” Eris asked. She stopped and turned, a grin visible on her face. “I’m looking forward to what you’ll do.” With that, she walked off. Rayleigh cursed himself for not thinking up a better fake name, or even admitting his real one.
“I’m surprised,” Osaze remarked as he restarted his tour. “Eris rarely cares about potential recruits. You better fulfill her expectations.”
“Is it fine?” Rayleigh asked. “You’re a rebel group fighting a battle against an Empire. Having some as carefree as that would result in both lower morale and possible defiance.”
“It’s simply her reward. Despite how she looks, she is most likely the hardest worker out of all of us,” Osaze chuckled. “Her carefree nature is also an apt reminder of what we’re fighting against. Freedom, over total control. She’s akin to a mascot for us.”
The boy sighed as he followed Osaze around some more. He was tuning out whatever his guide said, however. His mind was wrapped around Eris. Something about her tugged at him. Was it her carefree attitude? Maybe it was the fact that the tenth Mark 1 was attached to her arms and legs.
It was her eyes, he determined. He couldn’t forget their colourful gaze. He wanted to look at them again.
Osaze finished their tour as he stopped in front of the bedding again. He coughed into his hand, which snapped Rayleigh out of his trance.
“That’s the end of our little tour,” Osaze said. “You’re probably tired after waiting in that crummy little cell and being forced to walk around. Go take a rest in one of the empty rooms.”
He gestured towards Adrian, and the two left him. Now was Rayleigh’s chance. Without a gun pointed at his back, he could attempt to steal one of the two Titans and rush back to Pharosa. The fact that a rebel group held an unknown Mark 1 was of utmost importance.
Yet, for some reason, Rayleigh couldn’t find the willpower to try. Was what Nyx said really true? He couldn’t decide for himself. Rather, he felt tired. Yes, that was it. He was too tired to leave. Rayleigh decided to try and escape once he had rested.
He entered into the barracks and found one of the empty rooms at the back. Inside was nothing but a steel-framed bed next to a dresser and a lamp. It was nothing like the lavish bedroom he had back at Pharosa. He didn’t complain, however, as he climbed into the bed. There were no blankets he could use to keep himself warm. He closed his eyes, trying his best to fall asleep.
For a few moments, however, all he could think about was the fate Nyx had prattled on about. His head was hazy. What was wrong with him? The question continually ran through his mind as he finally fell into slumber.

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TheSilverFox says...

1,755 words for a (hopefully) not bad short story? *shrugs*

Spoiler! :
The man tested the handcuffs only once when the officers had vanished. He pulled weakly, large muscles barely straining as the cuffs stuck firmly to the metal ring on the table. As expected. Propping his chin on his free hand, the man idly looked throughout the bare, whitewashed room. Beyond a steel chair and a thick-looking iron door beyond him, and the long, one-way mirror to the side, there was nothing to see. Even though the door was open, there were only concrete walls staring back. At least they were talking their job seriously, he would’ve thought if it wasn’t him in there, if he was on the other side of the mirror. This room suffocated all the thoughts and emotions in him, leaving behind apathy.

Sharp footsteps from down the hall. Sitting up straight, the man tried to make himself look as impassive as possible, which wasn’t hard. “Anyone home?” a voice called, surprisingly cheery. The man wrinkled his face in confusion, but stifled the feeling as a policeman – large and jolly, dressed in the blue and black of a standard police uniform – squeezed into the room.

“Having a good day?” the officer said, standing behind the empty chair. The man frowned, leading the officer to nod. “I thought as much. Mind if I sit?”

“I guess?” said the man, cursing himself for sounding more confused than he wanted. He shrugged his available shoulder and leaned back casually.

The officer pulled the seat away with ease, plopping down onto it. Oily black hair spilled from the edges of the officer’s hat, shaking gently as he spoke. “They trying to interrogate you?” he said, the twinkle never leaving his eyes.

Questions popped into the man’s mind; he chose the simplest one. “‘They’?”

Waving away the question, the officer said, “That’s not my job. Thought I’d pay a visit to my sister – she’s in the force, you know.”

The man didn’t, but nodded nevertheless.

“Though she’d be here, actually –‘s why I came in here. She’ll be mad about me barging in here.” The officer laughed. He sound merry enough that the man, if he were not under arrest, would have joined the officer. As it stood, the man merely scowled.

“Is that even legal?” asked the man.

Ending his laugh, the officer shrugged. “Won’t hurt no one,” he said, smiling. “And you looked like you could use a friend.” The man rose a finger and tried to respond, but the officer talked over him. “What’s your name?”

“My - name?” said the man, phrasing it more like a sentence than a question. The officer’s unabated happiness made the man feel suspicious – was this some kind of ploy? A trick to soften him up and make him more willing to confess? Why did they think that was necessary?

“Yep,” the officer said, propping large hands onto the table; they were almost as large as the man’s. “Any name will do, I’m not picky.”

The officer seemed too happy, too unfazed for this to be a trick. Still, the man felt hesitant about telling his real name, even if it was likely already on the file at this point. Might as well see how much of a game this was. “Alexander,” the man said at last.

“The Great?” the officer finished, smile like the Cheshire Cat.

“I guess.”

“I’ll just call you Great,” the officer said, double chin wobbling slightly. “That’s fine, right?”

“I guess?”

“Yep, it’ll do. What’re you here for?”

Ah, the million-dollar question. The man sighed and straightened himself again. “You already know that,” he said carefully.

Shaking his head, the officer chuckled. “No no, it’s not that simple,” he said. “I don’t work here myself. Like I said, I was looking for my sister. But I’m curious, and God, you look like an honest man. What do you have to hide?”

All the thoughts in the man’s mind grew more resolute with each word from the officer’s mouth. “I’m not hiding anything.”

Everyone’s hiding something,” replied the officer. “If you were really not hiding anything, why not tell me what you did?”

The man didn’t respond.

The officer shuffled around in his seat, hands drumming the table and producing a strange click. “Now, that’s interesting. You look like a strong guy, Great. I bet you want to keep up appearances, don’t you? Looking all weak would embarrass you.”

Gritting his teeth, the man tried to slam his free hand onto the officer’s. The officer retracted his hands instantly; they flew into his pockets. “I’m not some macho dude with a head full of bricks,” the man spat. “I’ve just got nothing to say.”

Raising an eyebrow, the officer’s smile almost faded away. “Really?” said the officer, one hand reaching out to grab the man’s. “You’re sure talking plenty now. I guess you’re hiding from yourself, then.” The officer pulled up the man’s hand, so that it looked like they were about to arm wrestle. “What skeletons are in your closet?”

The man tried to pour his fury into his free arm, knock the officer’s hand against the table. Yet, somehow, no matter how much he pushed, the officer’s hand remained steadfast. “None,” the man finally said, giving up against the officer’s firm grip and breathing deeply. “I just don’t have anything to say.”

The officer handily pushed the man’s hand onto the table, not even breaking a sweat. “I’m not here to do no harm,” the officer said. “But please don’t try anything.” Letting go, the officer allowed the man to stare at each hand in visible surprise.

Beneath the pale white light, the man hoped it would be hard to see his face blanching. “I don’t – I don’t want to say anything,” said the man, recovering from him stammering after a few words.

“Look,” the officer said, pushing the chair back with a grating noise and standing up. “I got a deal for you, Great. It’s a good one, you hear? Better than anything else you got going for you. But, I want to hear your story first. I’m guessing it hurts, so take as much time as you need. I’m not here to make threats, but I’m willing to walk out that door if you give me another ‘I’m not talking to you.’ What do you have to lose anymore? Better to let these things out.”

The officer sat back down again. The man could see the officer peering right at him. No, through him. The pupils were like infinity, laced with darkness; suddenly, the officer’s spirit and warmth didn’t exist. The room didn’t exist. The world didn’t exist. There were only the eyes – under their spell, secrets came freely.

“God, I don’t know. Yeah, I killed that man – you know it, they know it, everyone knows it. But, for the life of me, I can’t remember how. He’d been my boss for years – always a creep, always told me I was an idiot and that I didn’t have a brain, stuff like that. Got physical sometimes, yeah. Never bothered with it, because why even try? He was my boss, and I was comfortable with my job in construction, and I needed to pay for college somehow.

“And then there was one night, and it was a dark alley, and I don’t know what he did, what he tried to do. All I remember is that I had a brick in my hand, and I was angry. And then I wake up in the morning, and I’m surrounded by trash bins, and the blood. Oh god, the blood, it was everywhere, thought I’d lost my sight for a second there. Then I realize what it is, and I just about have a heart attack. What if it’s my blood?

"I dunno, that’s about when the night started coming back to me. Enough that I looked in one of the trash bins and, uh, there he was. What was left of him, anyways. Passed out right after, woke up to a cop staring down at me with just this – this fire and contempt in his eyes. She hated me. She thought I was scum. And I still don’t know if I am. I sure as hell feel like it, but I just can’t remember what made me kill him. Wish I did.”

The officer blinked. Suddenly, the man felt like he was yanked back into reality. He realized he’d been crying; he could feel the tears streaming down his face. Sniffing, the man felt the blood rise to his head. It felt like a violation of his privacy, to let a pair of eyes dig out all of his secrets. At the same time, he could feel the weights behind lifted off his chest, giving him room to breathe. He couldn’t help but feel, though, that this wasn’t natural. The man should not have so readily told the truth, strong and friendly as the officer was. “Wh-what are you?” the man said.

Suddenly laughing, the officer rose and pulled out something from a pocket. A card, containing an address and number. “I like you, Great,” the officer said, setting the card onto the table. “Looks like the scumbag got what he deserved. So yeah, here’s my offer. Whatever happens – and I’m thinking you’ll come out of this just fine – either give me a call or head on over. I’ll be around, I assure you. Help you get right back on your feet again.”

The man picked up the card and inspected it, tears partly blocking his vision. After a few seconds of staring at the rudimentary white paper and black text, the man looked up and mouthed a silent question to the officer.

Setting the chair back into its original position, the officer smirked. “I’ll be taking my leave, if you don’t mind. Still got to find my sister. Have a nice day, Great!” The officer snapped his fingers.

“Sir? Sir?”

Opening his eyes – did he ever blink? – the man saw a woman leaning over the table, snapping her fingers in front of him. His face felt dry, free of tears, though the sensation of pain still lingered in the back of his mind. He eased into his seat, confused enough that the bundle of questions in his head only produced one. “Hmm?”

The woman leaned back and sat down, crossing her arms. “Are you ready to begin?” she asked firmly.

Looking around, the man saw the mirror, chairs, table, and door. No sight of the officer. He nodded hesitantly.

“Good. Name?”
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma per ciò che giammai di questo fondo
non tornò vivo alcun, s'i' odo il vero,
senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

Inferno, Canto 27, l 61-66.

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AliceinBluue says...

HAHAHAHAHA!!! 2419 words!!!! More than double what I’ve ever written in like a single day!!!

Spoiler! :
The rest of the journey passed uneventfully. Gabby had a moment of intense and severe panic as they started flying over the ocean, learning for the first time that she had a fear of the deep sea while flying thousands of miles above it. But other than her terrified little shriek that made Fern hold her just a little tighter, they arrived in Drago City with no other conversation between the two of them.
“She must think that I’m so stuck up, or that I hate her,” Gabby whined to Axelia as Fern and the green dragon started to descend into the city most had only read about.
“Nonsense, Fern does not think you are stuck up or that you hate her. She has done this many times with new riders, she understands.” Axelia tried to say. Gabby sighed internally and forced herself to see the reasoning behind what Axelia was telling her. It just seemed so impossible that anyone who had been a rider or who was a rider now had ever been as nervous as she was now. They all seemed so sure in their positions, and Gabby just did not feel it.
Axelia pulled ahead of them in their dive, her body streamlining as she fell towards the ground and Gabby felt a shriek of pure happiness from the dragon. A wide grin split Gabby’s face as she watched the dragon snap open her wings and jerk upwards as the wind caught in the membrane. Then she folded them again and repeated the process, bobbing up and down in the air. Fern let out a laugh as she caught sight of Axelia’s antics. Their decent was much slower than hers as they started to corkscrew, making tighter and tighter circles as they neared the ground.
They came to a stop as the green dragon touched down on the ground, jerking Gabby and Fern forwards then backwards in the saddle. Fern let go of the saddle horn and stretched, popping several things in her back so loudly that Gabby heard them. Gabby let her fingers relax slightly trying to unclench them from around the horn. She could practically hear them creaking as she moved, forcing them out of the position they had been in for hours. She tilted her head left then right to pop her neck before rolling her shoulders and arching backwards to pop all the vertebrates in her spine.
Fern laughed then slowly got up from the saddle, balancing on the scales of her dragon. She took a look around and then offered her had to Gabby. She looked at the hand being offered her, then slowly took it and rose to her feet.
It felt dangerous, standing on the back of a dragon. Like if she made one wrong move, she would fall, cutting herself on scales as she scrabbled for purchase before hitting the unforgiving earth. But there was something so freeing about it too. Like she could take off herself at any moment. Fern wrapped Gabby’s arm around her shoulders before firmly wrapping her arms around Gabby’s waist.
“Ready?” Fern’s voice was a quiet, barely there whisper.
Gabby breathed deeply and nodded her head furiously, “Together.”
“One,” Fern was louder now, more assured and Gabby took comfort that at least one of them was confidant.
“Two.” Gabby let her eyes drift shut, letting the wind blow across her face and lifting her hair from her face.
“Three.” Fern said as Gabby’s eyes snapped open. Their bodies tensed together and as one they leapt from the back of the dragon and plummeted towards earth. Gabby was allowed one moment of pure elation and terror as the ground rushed up to meet them. Then they were landing, Fern taking most of the impact as they rolled apart.
Gabby stared up at the sky for a moment, getting her breath back, then slowly propped herself up on her elbows, meeting Fern’s eyes. There was a wicked twinkle in them as she smiled and suddenly Gabby was laughing.
“That was amazing!” Gabby managed after a minute of laughter. Fern and Gabby both slowly got to their feet as Gabby’s giggle fit subsided. Gabby looked back at where she had been sitting on the green dragon and breathed in, filling up her lungs.
“I rode a dragon,” She said, letting her excitement and awe fill her voice. She felt fern move up behind her and place her hand, but Gabby still jumped a little when Fern put her hand n Gabby’s shoulder.
“And you’re going to do it again and again and again,” Fern said. Gabby snuck a look at the female rider out of the corner of her eye and saw that Fern was looking up at her dragon as well, a soft smile on her lips.
“Come on, let’s get going,” Fern said after a moment of silence. She starts making her way out of the clearing. Gabby stares after her for a second before squaring her shoulders and following behind Fern.
Gabby felt a surge of comforting warmth flood through her system that was definitely not hers and she sent gratitude back towards Axelia. She knew that the dragon must be feeling all of her anxiety swirling around in her stomach through their Tether, and she was grateful for the dragon’s steadying warmth in the back of her head, grounding her.
“We’re gonna come in through the back to meet everyone so I’m not parading you around in front of everyone,” Fern explained as she lead Gabby to a building that backed up to the forest. She opened the door and ushered Gabby into a smallish room, blank except for the door on the opposite wall.
“Are you ready?” Fern asked, facing Gabby.
“Give me a second?” Gabby asked and Fern gave a curt nod. A part of Gabby still could not believe that this was happening to her, that she was about to be a rider, about to meet all the other riders.
After a second, even though she was feeling less prepared than before, Gabby took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.
“Okay,” She said, focusing on the door, “Let’s do this.”
Fern swung the door open and Gabby walked through the opening, trying to act more confident than she seemed as every head in the room turned to face her.
Gabby almost faltered as she felt the stares of every single dragon rider in the world right now land on her. But then Fern was closing the door behind them and Gabby could only move forwards.
Her breath was coming in short, quiet gasps as she walked forwards. Her vision narrowing to the Rider and only the Rider. Focusing on them so that she could continue moving forward.
People moved out of her way as she moved towards the Rider and Gabby tried to ignore the fact that she could probably have heard a pin drop in the room. She did her best to block out all the eye’s burning holes into her as she walked.
“Welcome new rider,” The Rider said as Gabby came to a stop a few feet away from where the Rider was standing.
“Hello,” Gabby said, cringing internally about how quiet and nervous she sounded.
“Relax Gabriella,” Axelia whispered in the back of her mind, a reminder more than anything else. Gabby took a deep breath and forced her shoulders to relax.
“As a first order of business, what would you like your new name to be?” They asked.
“New name?” Gabby asked.
“Yes, as a way of showing that we have moved on from our old lives and showing that we are no longer who we used to be we choose new names when we become riders, and as a way to show respect for our dragons, we choose one of their colors as a name,” The Rider explained.
“We didn’t all come with perfectly coded names,” Fern said from behind her softly.
Gabby ducked her head, an embarrassed flush spreading across her face as a few of the other people in the room close enough to hear Fern’s comment laughed. She knew they picked new names, she had talked about it last year in a paper she had written. She wanted to take back her confusion and confidently announce her new name to the room.
She forced herself to take another deep breath as Axelia flooded her mind with comfort. She closed her eyes for a second and reached out to the dragon, searching for more information.
“What were their names?” Gabby asked.
There was a slight hesitation from Axelia that Gabby could not decipher and then she knew the names, as if she had always known them.
“Lilac,” She announced after a second of deliberation, “My name is Lilac.”

Chapter 8

The Rider’s stoic face broke out into a warm smile that lit up his whole face, making everything about him seem softer.
“Welcome to the Dragon Riders Lilac” He said and Lilac felt Fern’s arms wrap around her shoulders, pulling her in close.
“We are glad to have you among our ranks as our new Purple Rider,” The Rider said, moving forward to take Lilac’s hand in his as Fern let go of her.
As the Rider moved to the side, more and more people came up to congratulate Lilac. There was a near constant stream of people for a good ten minutes, and she remembered none of them.
“We should really introduce you to the other riders,” Fern said after the last person had introduced themselves and moved to the side.
“Or, we could show Lilac to her new home and not overwhelm her with new people,” The Rider said pointedly.
“I guess you have a point,” Fern said.
“Come on, let’s get you settled in before we throw any more people at you,” The Rider said to Lilac before making his way out of the building.
Fern and Lilac both followed the Rider out and Lilac excited looked around as she got a real look at the City of Dragons for the first time.
She was honestly a little disappointed by what she saw. It did not really look like a city so much as a stereotypical small town where everyone knew everyone else. There were people milling around and talking to each other who stopped and stared as their little party and Lilac was again hit with nervous anxiety. They passed a few buildings and Lilac was distantly aware of the directions they were heading in, but she knew that she would never be able to retrace her steps.
“We’re here,” The Rider announced, jolting Lilac out of her haze and she saw where she would be living. It was a two story house that was taller longer than it was wide, painted white with blue shutters.
“You’ll be living with Platinum, our Grey Rider,” Fern said, “They’ll help you figure out where everything is, show you around, and make sure you don’t become a hermit.”
“Is that our new rider?” A voice called out and Lilac’s gaze snapped to the owner.
A girl was practically hanging out of one of the top windows, her long, platinum blonde hair flying in the breeze.
“Platinum, get down here before you fall and break something again,” Fern called out to the girl, fond exasperation clear in her voice.
“Be right down!” The girl called out before she disappeared from the window. She reappeared in the doorway a few moments later, throwing the door wide and sprinting full force to where Lilac was standing.
“Hi,” Platinum said, breathless from her run as her blonde hair fell in front of her sparkling blue eyes. Her face was so pale, Lilac almost could not believe that the other girl had ever seen the sun before.
“Hi,” Lilac said hesitantly, unsure of how to take this particular greeting.
“I’m Platnium,” she said, sticking her hand out, “But you already knew that. What’s your name?”
“Ga-” She started before shaking her head, “I’m Lilac.”
“Nice to meet you Lilac!” Platinum said as Lilac grabbed the other girl’s hand and had it energetically pumped up and down.
“Maybe you want to show Lilac her rooms?” The Rider said gently.
“Oh, right,” Platinum said, her pale cheeks coloring brilliantly, “Let’s go inside.”
“Lead the way,” Lilac said, gesturing to the door. Platinum looked around at Lilac’s feet and then at where the Rider and Fern were standing.
“Where are your bags?” She asked, clearly confused.
“I didn’t have time to grab any,” Lilac explained.
“New wardrobe then!” Platinum said, stepping forward and looping her arm through Lilac’s.
“Okay,” Lilac said and allowed herself to be tugged along into the house.
The door opened into a small living room with a bookshelf stuffed to the brim and a deep green couch pushed against one of the walls.
“The living room,” Platinum said, gesturing to the room “Obviously.”
“I’ll show you the rest of the house later if you want, but it’s all pretty self explanatory. For now I’ll just show you your room,” Platinum said she she led Lilac up the stairs.
She led Lilac down a hallway and threw open the very last door. Inside was a stark white room, with only a small bed in the corner.
“This is your room,” Platinum said, letting Lilac walk into the middle of the room by herself.
“We didn’t know how you would want it decorated, so we left it blank.”
“But I can decorate it however I want?” Lilac asked, wondering if she could paint and move furniture into the room.
“Oh yeah, the room is yours now, you can do whatever with it,” Platinum said. Lilac nodded her head absentmindedly, plans for the room already forming in her brain.
“My room is the one two doors over, the bathroom is the one in the middle,” Platinum explained, “Just knock when you want to go out and meet everyone else.”
Lilac nodded her head and she heard Platinum walk away from the door and down the hall. She walked over to the bed and pushed down on the bed, testing the mattress. She looked around and saw that there was a closet door on the right wall. She walked over to it and swung the door open. There were a few items of clothing already in there.
Lilac was a little surprised, she hadn’t expected anything, she had just wanted to see how big the space was.

It reals of being written all in one day in like, one stream of consciousness, and I got like, no sleep today, but it’s done!!! I’m gonna go die now!!!

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Virgil says...

Well, I expected to post before midnight and thought I'd secured the bronze spot but @Mea continued writing and now I'm 1k behind and can't catch up. I purposefully passed her and now this is my karma, hahaha. I did write a lot today though, so that's great!

2,616 words.

Spoiler! :
Thoughts Post-Hamilton:

I’ve listened to Hamilton for around two years now on and off--not nearly as much as I did when I first heard the musical, but the more I listen after I’ve learned new information, I appreciate the depth. This especially goes towards the songs that includes battles such as The Battle of Yorktown and I love seeing the similarities and differences between what’s in the textbook and what’s in the musical. I’m definitely already a history buff but I want to listen to more musicals though I’m not quite sure if this is an exception or not. I enjoyed the movie Heathers (not the new one) and listened to the beginning of the musical but I haven’t yet sat down to listen to the entire musical. In contrast, I watched the trailer for the show coming out a couple weeks back and I’m the opposite of thrilled for that which is part of why I want to listen to the musical--to respect the other material that I hear is quality. I also know of Wicked, In the Heights, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Dear Evan Hansen, and there's another one that I currently can't remember. Of course, those are all more modern musicals and I haven't looked too far into the classics. Anyway, back to Hamilton. Overall while I haven't given the full musical a listen in a very long time, I do listen to songs here and there and notice details that I didn't notice before and that's interesting.



The two duelists took thirty steps from the center of the bowl-shaped arena. Not more than ten seconds later, the clash begun. Nathan's opponent, Orlando Cabot, expelled flashes of fire and light from his hands. In contrast, Nathan committed to his place in the ring and dodged each attack.

"Not going to make a move, eh? If you won't, I will." Cabot said, directing a flamethrower towards him with a single finger. This nicked the edge of Nathan's face, but he knew if Cabot kept this up, he'd have little energy to work with once Nathan made his attack.

The crowd cheered, urging the other duelist to take Nathan out already. Nevertheless, the adrenhaline slapped a smile on his face and finally, he drew closer.

"Maybe try and conserve your energy when you don't know what the other duelist's got in store for you." Nathan said, swinging his leg with all his weight into Cabot's knee. He immediately attempted to retaliate with a blow to Nathan's head that may have knocked him out--if he hit. Nathan casually flicked a finger to his left. The punch ended up barely grazing him. From there, Cabot gave him a look of loathing before lunging at his throat with a hand engulfed in flame.

Nathan dodged and delivered the final blow. A wild mix of emotions erupted from the crowd as the referee declared the duelist who didn't even appear to wield magic the winner. Cabot traded efficacy for flashiness and that stood to be his fatal mistake.

The duel lasted two to three minutes at best, but to Nathan, time seemed to stretch.

An older man, maybe in his 30s or 40s trudged onto the arena and began to argue, "Ref, that kid that fought Cabot didn't even use magic! Shouldn't he be disqualified?"

"Orlando Cabot's opponent did wield a form of magic in the match. There's no restriction or minimum on the amount in a match. Sir, I'd suggest for you to sit down or I'm going to have to ask you to leave. The security guards already look hungry to throw somebody out tonight. I don't suppose you want that person to be you, do you? No. Now sit down."

The man grunted in response as he left the stage. The referee called after him, "I'm the referee here. If you don't like the calls I make, then leave. Nobody's holding you hostage here. I'm the professional."

"Thanks for that." Nathan said.

"I didn't say that for you. I'm sick and tired of being treated like garbage by people in the stands who have probably never picked up a book about arcana in their lives. Anyway, here's your money for the win. Do you want to sign up for another match? There's an open spot in about...say, two rounds?"

"No thanks." He pocketed the change and headed for the door. For Nathan, underground duels were far from a profession. The only reason he entered matches was to make a bit of money or to waste time.

Nathan slipped through the door and into the alleyway.


The Random Adventures:

Kays rode her giant kitty into the town. Not often did the townsfolk see a traveler riding a giant kitty. She dismounted and gave her giant kitty a big fish for a job well done. Kays wanted to treat her kitty, Theo, well. Theo helped her traverse through deserts, forests, and other rugged terrain. In exchange, she aided Theo in looking for the largest fish in the universe, known to many as The Big One, and to others, God. Neither Kays nor Theo were interested to debate in that conversation, but both knew The Big One existed one way or another.

"Hello everybody! I am here in search for a blanket! I'm kinda cold!"

"Ma'am, the market's over there. Olive makes fresh blankets every single week. I'm sure you'll be able to find one there, and at an affordable price." A lady replied as she picked apples from an apple tree.

"Thanks!" Kays shouted to her loud enough that the apples shook a little. She climbed back onto Theo and the two set off for the market. On their way there, Kays examined the small village. The streets were made of gravel and a fair portion of the houses were built with a wood that gave a slightly red tinge to their exteriors.

Eventually the two arrived at the market. People bustled and bumbled about like bees. Kays knew this because for a whole month she studied a honey bee nest, learning the hierarchy and social statuses of each bee. She quit because she began to wonder if humans were just...big bees. She left that question unanswered to that very day and only on her most existential nights did she touch upon the subject again.

"Blankets! Get your blankets!" A man yelled out.

"Over there!" Kays said. She looked down upon the crowd. Theo seemed to know where he was going, though, so she let him take charge.

Unfortunately, Theo only found his way to the fish.

"Hi, I'd like to buy your whole stock of fish if that's okay?" Kays asked with a bit of hesitation in her voice.

"Alrighty then! I hope you've got the pretty penny to pay for that." The lady said, beginning to lift up one of the barrels.

"I've got it. Don't you worry about me, lady." Kays picked up two large barrels and dropped both in front of Theo. She opened up the lid and gave him the signal to eat away. She gave him the signal to eat until his large kitty belly was full as could be.

"Oh no! He's eating the barrels!" The fish lady said.

"It's okay. Theo's got the literal stomach of a dragon. Sorry I didn't mention that before. Metal and wood are nothing to him. I thought you'd be more concerned that I'm feeding him right in front of your shop and probably scaring the rest of your customers away. I also lifted two gigantic barrels right in front of you and you didn't even blink. What's with that?"

"This village sees a peculiar wanderer every once in awhile. As for you scaring the rest of my customers away--you did. That's not a problem, though, since you just sold me out for the day. I don't get more shipments until Monday which now that I think about it, is a little unfortunate for everyone else but I'm sure they'll find something to eat."

"Oh, yep! Well, I didn't even mean to come here originally. I meant to go to...Olive? The man selling the blankets. I'm also in the mood for pickles. Do you have pickles too?"

"Sorry honey, unfortunately I don't have any pickles. Y'all confuse me with that and I've never really considered shipping 'em in but if it means getting customers like you selling me out, then I just might."

"Nah, Theo hates pickles and I'm not a giant kitty so I eat a lot less than him. I don't think I'd be able to eat a barrel full of pickles in my life."

"Speakin' of pickles, why don't you just make 'em? Cucumbers, salt, spices--you can find all of them in other parts of the market."

"Then I have to wait for the cucumbers to absorb the ingredients in the water, become pickles, and then eat them. That takes way too long. No way in heck am I making pickles. I don't want pickles later, I want pickles now."

"Alright, alright. Forget I said anything then. I'm sure you'll find pickles somewhere around here."


"No problem."

Kays then went on a search for pickles and blankets.


You always seem alone no matter how many people surround you. I wish that I understood you, but I can't. I don't think that I ever will, honestly. You're like me. You're not lonely but you like being alone. The difference though is that I want to talk to my friends and I like hanging out with the people that I do like but you don't even seem to like that. I remember when your best friend said that after seven years, she wasn't even able to get you to open up. I can't tell if you're an enigma or if how you act on the surface is how you actually are. You told me once that you knew me but I didn't know you, and that's true. That's still true to this day. I bet you probably think I open up way too much way too soon and even that's probably true. I don't know though, I didn't see any reason to hide from you. To lie to you. You're not any less of a person for not being emotional. You don't have to be. I hope you're happy, though. I hope you figure yourself out and have a future better than the past.


I am a flower and I am wilting. My petals are shriveling and my back begins to bend as I am no longer able to stand up for myself. The caterpillars that fed on my leaves left residue of cynical thoughts behind and now I am eroding. Now I'm not so sure if I can see my future as clearly as before.

I am a flower and I was in bloom once but now I'm not.

I am a flower and the events that I claimed to be the 'end of the world' have passed now. I want to take roots into the soil. I want to grow up.

I am not a flower. I am a tree. I have gone through rain and thunderstorms as a seed and even though I was battered, I still grew. As the years went by, I grew a thicker skin but that doesn't mean the neighborhood kids couldn't rip off my bark if they wanted to. They wanted to and they have and sometimes I'm not certain if I'll ever fully recover but then I remember what I've went through. I remember all that I've endured over the years and if I went through that, I can go through this too.

I am not a metaphor. I am a living, breathing human being and I know people forget that. I am still breathing.


On Years:

2017 went by in a blur, honestly. I remember but I don't? The year '2018' almost seems...futuristic in my mind. Too high of a number to be believed. Took me more than a month to get used to writing 2018 instead of 2017 on my papers mostly because I completely forgot the year changed. 2016 is a little...too vivid in my mind. I've been stuck back in that year for awhile now and I don't know when my attachment to that year will finally release? Maybe because a lot happened in that year for me personally. I changed a ton and while I didn't become more of the person who i am today until 2017, even 2017 seems vivid in my mind. 2018, though, doesn't register in my mind as the year that we're in and it's been a bit of a blur.

Then again, I suppose the the first couple of months after January are always a blur since the halfway point into the school year is usually when I can't wait for summer to come. At the beginning of the year in the fall, I'm excited to go back. There's not as much stress in November and December due to days off and holidays so I can pass through those without being too exhausted. By January and February though, I'm dreading to go back. March and April are definitely the worst because of testing. I'd be a lot more excited to go to school and learn if it was more self-paced and I learned about what I wanted to learn. I love English and history and love to learn about both but the majority of the fun is drained out of both subjects when in a school setting. I want to learn. I love learning but I've never felt less dedicated to learning when I don't have a reason to learn about that topic.



Since I'm doing the Story a Week contest/competition/challenge is probably the more appropriate word, I thought I'd brainstorm ideas for that since that starts at the beginning of March.

My first idea is to write 52 different stories with 52 different sub-genres of fantasy. I'm pretty sure I can find 52 pretty easily since off the top of my head there are at least ten. I'm not sure if I want to connect these, though. I also want to pick Rhapsody back up and rewrite the first 5k or so and continue from there with a revised outline to see how that turns out but I'm not certain I'll do that yet.

Back to the 52 stories, there may be a theme that all 52 share? Or maybe all 52 occur in one universe but this is from 52 different perspectives. I thought of an idea where there's a war and there are 52 different perspectives or 52 different stories on that war but there'd definitely be an order to reading since I want the war to continue or progress throughout. Or maybe there's a situation and 52 characters all act different from each other--that's an idea that I've held onto for awhile now. '52 Perspectives of War' is an interesting title but I don't want to...write about war as much? I'd like for there to be at least one connection between all the short stories though that's a little difficult to make possible.

Maybe the short stories will actually be 2 novellas of 26,000 words each? That'd be an interesting route to take but that means I'd have to do more planning beforehand. I'll probably go with writing multiple (at least more than 10) short stories for this as I haven't wrote many before and want to learn how to, which will be interesting. I've written a couple but writing one every single week would help a lot.

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The first thing I do when I have a good quote is always to put a goat in it. uwu
— Liminality