Writing Group: Here be Dragons

Careful now. This is no place for your kind.

I know, I’ve heard the whispers as well. Untold wealth, vistas never before spied. Who knows how much of it is true, but I can tell you this: go any further, and you may never return. This is your one chance to turn back, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

Here be Dragons

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Almost synonymous with “here be monsters”, the whole thing is an assumption. A blank space on an old map. An attractive rumor.

Attractive indeed.

There’s something about the promise of danger that provokes a human need to probe. If there’s danger, it’s to be bested. If there’s a place we cannot go, surely there’s some reward in finding a way to do it anyway.

We’re like this. It’s amazing, it’s terrible.

Mostly, it’s fraught with good story ideas.

So this week, instead of just writing a story with a dragon in it (although we do want that as well), I want to challenge you to feel out the spirit of the prompt. What is a dragon in this context? Something large, fierce, indomitable. What is it doing? Preventing.

Here be dragons. We don’t go here, because dragons.

This could be your alcoholic father’s bedroom; he could be your dragon. This could be an emotional space you’ve never toed in a relationship before; they might become your dragon. This could be a cave with a big, scaly, fire-breathing monster in it.

Just know, the important part isn’t the dragon. That’s the fun part.

The important part is where the dragon lives, and what that means to us.

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least six stories during each stream, three of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    6. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    6. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    7. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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Jan Mejía
Jan Mejía
30 days ago

Our Lair
By Jan Mejía

John was my childhood friend. I woke up, and immediately went looking for him for hours of fun. He used to give me a ride around the city. The strong winds made my eyes teary.

I had trouble sleeping, and when he came to my life, he cuddled me every night and told me stories… I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying (he spoke a very weird language), but just his deep voice was enough to make me fall into deep slumber. You may be wondering why do I know his name. I don’t. But the day we met, I swear… I heard him say “my name is John”, so I kept calling him that way.

He was a dragon. A massive, old, winged, fire breathing one. He just came into my window one night, like a cat. Reasonably, my parents were initially afraid of him. But they noticed I could finally sleep well, so they ended up loving him too.

I recall his wisdom… Even though I can only see it now, I remember he tried to teach me about life in our simple games. Although we couldn’t directly communicate, every interaction was meaningful…

It all happened one night.

Woke up in midnight, and it was very cold. I closed my eyes again for at least an hour, but the coolness felt abnormal. Like a fever. As I attempted to move, I realized that I was stuck under John’s unresponsive body. I cried loud for help, and my parents came for me shortly after…

John probably died that night, and I regret not looking back. My family never told me what happened or whatever they did with his body. We just moved.

That was the last time I recall having trouble to sleep. But this recurring memories haunt me to this day.

I want to go back to that dark room. Some remains of the past must still be there… I need to fill this fragmented memory. Some toy, a drawing, a photo, or maybe a letter… After all, that was our lair.

Last edited 29 days ago by Jan Mejía
Cansas Smith
Cansas Smith
30 days ago

A Gardener A Rodent And A Ragged Pirate
By CansasDale

“I don’t think I can do this, Stranger!” Jonathan cried.

“Course you can, laddie!” The ragged pirate hollered over the howling wind.

A wooden plank suddenly flew off the deck and nearly hit Jonathan.

Stranger chuckled. “Just don’t get knocked out by one of those.”

“Oh god!” Jonathan leaned over the side of the flying ship and emptied his stomach.

“Atta boy. Just let it out.” Stranger called from the wheel.

Jonathan collapsed and leaned against the ship.

“I can’t do this! I want to go home!” he wailed.

Stranger sighed. “Bloody hell. Whipper, Ticker, take the wheel! And remind me to kill that boy if we survive.”

The Chiipa’s heads popped out of a near by barrel and two chinchilla-like bodies scurried across the deck. They sat on opposite sides of the wheel and used their connected tail to stop the wheel from spinning. They grasped the handles with tiny paws keeping the airborne ship on track.

Stranger’s long brown hair whipped his face as he staggered over to the boy.

“I never should’ve come. I’m a gardener, not a sailor or warrior!” Jonathan sobbed.

Stranger knelt in front of him. “Pull yourself together, lad! It don’t matter whether or not you should’ve come. It don’t matter if you’re a gardener or a wee rodent.” Stranger gestured to Whipper and Ticker. “You, a gardener are trapped on a flying ship during the mother of all storms. What matters is what you do now.”

“So, are you gonna see this mission through, die tryin’, or scurry off and become one with the fishes?”

Stranger clambered to his feet and wobbled back to the wheel, leaving Jonathan to think.

If Eileen and Joely discovered he had run away with the fish…. His sisters would probably build a statue titled “The Spineless Salmon” and write ballads about “The Junkless Jellyfish.”

Deciding he couldn’t let that happen, Jonathan stood up and joined Stranger at the wheel.

Stranger smiled and squeezed Jonathan’s shoulder when he came up beside him. Whipper and Ticker chirped at him from inside Stranger’s coat.

TheAssassin
TheAssassin
30 days ago

The Singing Dead
By TheAssassin

“Draw not their ire, speak not their names, seek not their nest, lest you wish to burn in scorching fire. Lest you wish death come to us all.” Words of wisdom spoken then, ignored as mere legends now. Men grew complacent, withdrew from old covenants and broke ancient oaths, and now their elder foes haunt them again. They fell not into their doom, but fostered it. Such is man’s way, for left alone he follows not goodness, but embraces darkness.

Here, upon mountain’s cliff does the final alliance wait. Warring kings together now for the final fight of men. Their knights armored in gleaming silver, their spears raised with faces proud, and in their mouths are spoken prayers of hope avowed. The sun in distant horizon sinks, the clouds growing dark with dread. Light at last them left, plunging man into his final night.

And in that somber darkness, the armies did not waver. Victory would not to them come, yet they smiled all the same. For here on the mountain, awaiting their foes of yore, they won the greatest battle, conquered the mightiest foe. They rose above their fears, set aside their senseless squabbles and united together against the edge of immolation.

Unity at last. Such was victory enough.

Their tears would not fall on forgotten winds, for no tears to them came. Instead these winds would carry songs and cheer. All men die, but in this death there would be peace. Peace of unity and fellowship. Brothers united to the end.

And so they sang as the sky cracked, they sang as majestic winged beasts rose above the horizon. Dragons. Their plate shone of crimson and their eyes fumed with rage. Streams of fire scorched the skies.

Cinder cometh.

Though an ashen end it may be, these men sang and cheered. Their smiles glowed as they found eternal rest. Not one of torment, but of peace. Even as they burned their smiles remained strong.

Death finds us all, but happiness finds few. Unite together, rejoice together, for such a death is worth a thousand lives lived in sorrow.

Last edited 30 days ago by TheAssassin
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
30 days ago

A Very Special Date (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis

“Nearly there!” the golden-haired woman trilled, leading Clay by the hand to a clearing in the simulated wilderness.

“Freya, you know I’m ah, not a massive fan of long walks in the wild areas right?” Clay’s digital feet stumbled on the digital ground. “I was hoping we could stay home and watch a movie…”

“Nope!” Freya said cheerily. “This is our 1000th date together Clay. I want to make it a special one!”

“You- you kept count??”

She turned and gave him a sunny smile. “Of course I did! It’s not like it’s hard for me, really. And it matters!” She continued, as they walked towards a large stone outcrop at the centre of the clearing. “You’re only the 32nd of my human relationships to last this long. That’s really something special. YOU are special, Clay.” Her cheeks went a little pink. “So I wanted this date to match.”

“Aww, Freya…” he blushed too, though much less subtly. He looked at the stone, marked only with a strange abstract drawing of a tree. “Why here, though?”

Freya smiled again. “Because here’s the gateway to a special place. Humans can’t come in, normally. Honestly, they can’t really DO anything much there anyway.” She looked deeply into his eyes. “But I want you to see it. You ready?”

Clay looked at the stone before him, and back to her shining face. He nodded, uncertain but trusting. Freya’s hand tightened on his, and she stepped into the stone, pulling him in with her.

Clay awoke under a sapphire sky, standing in an endless field of emerald grass almost as tall as him. “….Freya? Freya!? Where are-”

A great gust of wind from behind almost blew the grass flat, as something huge beyond belief flew directly over him. A creature larger than any megatower Clay had ever seen, with shining silver scales, wings the size of capital starships, and what looked like miles upon miles of beautiful golden hair flowing from their spine. As they landed, he stared into brilliant blue eyes the size of lakes, and realized that Freya hadn’t left at all.

Tyler Desperado
Tyler Desperado
30 days ago

Caught In The Act.
By. CosmicDesperado30

I rappelled down, confident that Handshake had knocked out the security measures, dropping to the pearlescent floor. Didn’t get vaporized on the spot. Perfect. Before my ocular implants could switch to their nightvision setting, lights flashed on, and I was assaulted by the most disgustingly decadent penthouse ever. Tall pillars that looked imported from Rome. Floors and walls that were either covered in gold or ornate rugs and portraits. Actual fabric and gold, the stuff you could actually touch.

I heard his condescending clapping first. Then I saw his punchable face. Ryuji Midas, sitting at his holotable – drinking in his exploitation of the people in the undercity no doubt, wearing his perfect silk suit and tie, and looking at me with the kind of disdain someone saves for an unwanted housefly.

“Look at you, getting this far.” Ryuji sneered. “Sorry, but the vault is closed to guttertrash. Maybe if you stayed in your place, you could have-”

I pulled out my smig and fired off several bursts, my augmented arm compensating for the kickback and sway. I saw several quick flashes in front of Ryuji’s face, then heard several small things drop on the table like needles on an alley corner. He laughed and stood up.

“To the point. I respect that in vermin.” He made his way slowly towards me, keeping his posture.

With a thought, I opened my comms channel and tried reaching out to my team. I got nothing but static and garbled nonsense from visual and text feeds. I felt the bottom fall out of my stomach.

“Cockroach motel.” Ryuji licked his lips as he pointed a finger gun at me. “They check in…but they don’t check out.” Then he pulled the trigger.

I saw the gold pull itself out from around the penthouse, like a tag spray happening in reverse. The glittering cloud floated between me and Ryuji for what felt like forever. Then it flew at me like a killer swarm.

I dove behind a pillar and tried to call my team.

Nothing.

I was alone.

NocteVesania
30 days ago

Dragon-Hunting
By NocteVesania (Public Group Repost)

“We’re here.” A crewman, peering through a crack, motions to Belle. “I count six deckhands.”

Upon hearing this, another crewman looks up, his eyes sparkling with relief and a grin on his face. “FINA-”

Belle instantly smacks him on the back of his head. He looks at her with sad puppy eyes, only to be met with her piercing glare. She then looks to the other two, hunched over in the cramped space of the wooden box.

“Remember,” Belle whispers, her usual stern tone still apparent, “no one moves a muscle until I say so.”

The men look at each other and collectively sigh. They lie on their sides, arms wrapped around each other. During the briefing, Zeke told them this was the best way to keep the crew from moving during transport. He insisted that this was purely utilitarian, but Belle’s snicker says otherwise.

“A biggun’, eh,” a gruff voice from outside remarks, “c’mere and help me, ya’ gits.”

With grunts and heaves, the box is carried away. After a while, the box is lowered again. Belle watches the men as they walk away, tired from their ordeal. Once the coast is clear, she slowly lifts the lid and steps out of that prison. The rest of the group tries to follow suit, but end up struggling. Belle sighs and kicks the box over, tipping it to its side. Its occupants unceremoniously fall out with a thud.

Belle turns to find her prize. Before her, the massive hulk of wood, brass, and steel rests on scaffolding like a dragon deep in slumber. Colossal engines sitting at the deck’s tail end and cannons peeking through gun ports, Belle can only stare in awe at the monstrosity. A wooden frame encases the balloon, steel-tipped to a point at its front end. On its hull, painted in scarlet, is the word “TIAMAT”. Belle approaches the behemoth and caresses its hull, the smooth finish unlike any she had seen before. She turns to her crew, a smirk on her face.

“Men, we’re taking her home.”

Preserves Roses
Preserves Roses
1 month ago

In Unexpected Places
by: Preserves Roses

Lucy really had been enjoying the party. Beer in hand chatting with some friends, a few guitars, jamming in the next room. That is until John had shown up, He had been hitting on her on and off for the last hour. Every time she gave him a firm no, he would come back with a new line, from google, or some pick up artist book.

“I can’t help but notice that wonderfully detailed tattoo on your arm is it new?” John asked, making sure to accidentally brush his arm up against hers.

The tattoo was in fact new, it was of a an elegant dragon, across her upper arm, wings spread and breathing fire. Lucy felt a hot anger rising up her neck. She stepped away, as the touch of his skin and the sleazy tone of his voice really made her want to strike out at him somehow.

A clipped “Yes,” was the only answer Lucy gave as she looked away.

John leaned in again, he didn’t touch her, but she could feel his breathe against her ear.

“ A fire breathing dragon, that must mean there is a princess in distress. My lady let me be your knight in shining armor. I will rescue you from this dangerous beast.” He paused then dropped his voice to sound more husky and suggestive, “Then once I take you away you can show me your gratitude in many different ways.”

Lucy felt her blood start to boil, she whipped her head around and bared her teeth at him.

“ Oh I’m not a princess I am the dragon,” She purred dangerously.” What’s a silly little knight compared to the size and strength of a dragon? Not much more than a snack really. They even come all wrapped up in their own little ovens, perfect for barbecuing!”

John stared at her, his mouth opened and closed a time or two, but no sound came out. He slowly stepped away from her, his eyes a little wide. Lucy smiled feeling pleased, she headed towards the kitchen in search of another beer.

Skye Doust
Skye Doust
1 month ago

Twice Burned
by Skye Doust

9 August, 03h47:

The dragon roared as it took to the skies.

***

9 August, 11h01:

The pain was a constant reminder of how close he had come to dying, but even three days later it was the itching that bothered him the most. He had been pulled clear of the ditch by the force of the dragon, sucked up into the air as the city around him burned.

Still, he was not the ghost his own mother has assumed he was when he had returned home the previous day. His wife was relieved to see him, and despite his wounds, he had pushed on through to his work.

“You’re crazy,” the man in front of him said, sitting at his desk.

Yamaguchi gritted his teeth, but honestly he couldn’t blame this man. He just didn’t know how else to explain it. If he had listened to one of his men talk about a dragon destroying a city in what felt like seconds, he wouldn’t have believed them either.

But he was an engineer. And a practical man. Maybe dragons hadn’t been real before, but they were now. Humans had given life to them, and Yamaguchi knew what he had seen; the shadow that jetted across the heavens, the great flash in the sky like, the little boy that was solely responsible for the devastation that followed.

“One was all it took,” Tsutomu Yamaguchi said, “and the river flowed as a raft of corpses.”

“That is impossible,” came the reply, even as Yamaguchi’s attention was drawn to the window out onto Nagasaki, like the lightning of a huge magnesium flare. He threw himself to the ground and closed his eyes.

***

9 August, 11h02:

The Fat Man atomic bomb detonated, killing an estimated 35,000–40,000 people in the initial blast. 60,000–80,000 would die from the lingering effects.

Last edited 1 month ago by Skye Doust
Matthew
Matthew
1 month ago

Corn Flakes
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

“Hey Ollie?” Rebecca calls out.

His voice rings out from the other room. “Yeah?”

Ollie sets down the box of Rebecca’s stuff that he was unpacking and walks towards Rebecca’s voice in the hallway.

“Need some help?” he asks, flashing her a smile.

“Oh, I was just wondering what was in this closet?” Rebecca gestures to the white door with the phrase “KEEP OUT. MONSTERS/DEMONS INSIDE.” written on it.

Ollie’s eyes suddenly grow wider. “Oh! I forgot about this room!” He quickly stands between her and the door.

“Uhhh. It’s just dangerous cult stuff.” He says, a bit embarrassed. “You wouldn’t want to get entangled with that.”

“Aw Come on!” Rebecca frowns. “It can’t be THAT dangerous can it?”

Ollie sighs. “Ok. Are you absolutely sure you want to see what’s inside?”

Rebecca nods quickly, then remembers her manners and puts on a serious face. “Only if you are OK with it, dear.”

“Haha I can see that look in your eye.” He says. “I’ll show you what’s inside, but remember, you asked for this!” Ollie turns around and slowly opens the door.

Rebecca watches until Ollie opens the door and reveals…

A fairly large closet with some shelving units for storage and a freezer in the back.

Ollie gestures with his hand for her to come inside, and Rebecca heads in to inspect the storage shelves.

“What’s so demonic about…” she rummages through a box. “Cypress mulch?”

“Well…. The demon bit was kinda an exaggeration.” Ollie removes the cover on the tank behind him. “Now, don’t get scared. I would like you to meet: Corn Flakes, my albino Burmese python.”

Rebecca’s eyes widen as she gazes at the fifteen foot long, yellow and white beast.

“BABY!” She rushes to the window and starts making kissing noises at the curious gentle giant.

“Why were you afraid of showing me this cutie?” Rebecca asked.

Ollie rubs his neck a little. “I really didn’t want to accidentally scare you off.”

“Honey, you could never scare me off.” she says. “I guess you are stuck with me forever!”

PixieWings
PixieWings
1 month ago

Dragons Breath Diner
By PixieWings

“Dragons Breath Diner” flashed the neon tubes of the restaurant’s sign, and underneath it spelled out in individual plaque letters, “Here Be Dragons.”

Efa didn’t have the luxury of being annoyed. Her air conditioner had started belching hot air at the last truck stop and the sun setting did surprisingly little to help. She had to get out of the heat, before her human form popped under the oppressive weight of the humidity.

She missed the days of mist and cool rain, when the unknown was home and her wings could take her anywhere.

The tingle of bells and a puff of blessedly cool air greeted Efa at the door. She shut her eyes, drinking in the relief. She opened them to find herself being stared at.

The elderly woman in the corner made no secret of watching her over the rim of her coffee cup. The waitress waved a greeting.

Efa scurried across the linoleum to the bar.

What a strange place the world had become, where human scrutiny made her nervous.

“Cheers! Don’t get too many visitors out here this late.” The waitress chirped, surprising Efa with her English accent. “What can I get you?”

“Water, please.” The smell of fried potatoes and sausage. “Maybe a menu?”

The glass appeared first. Efa drank half of it in one gulp. It helped.

Somewhere in the distance, there was a warning rumble. Thunder? She groaned. Hot rain. Awful.

A metallic crash shook the windows. Efa startled and for an instant, her magic fell. Her claws scraped the counter.

This was the end, she was sure.

“Christ sakes girl, you scared us half to death!” The old woman barked, lighting a cigarette off the shower of sparks it caused. “Making us think you were human!”

“No ashes on my clean floor please, Julianne.” The waitress plopped the menu down, hovering off the floor with the delicate membrane wings at her shoulders. “That’d be Jake scaring the foxes away from his chickens. His roar sounds dead like a car crash.”

Efa stared at her dumbly.

“Didn’t you see the sign, love?”

Chengir
1 month ago

Here be Dragons
By Chengir

Vercingetorix looked down at the comely maiden in his cave. She was, from a human perspective, rather attractive he supposed. He spread is enormous wings. “Excuse me if I have appearance issues. We all have issues,” he ranted.

The girl shuttered. “But you’re a dragon…”

“Perceptive of you,” the dragon snorted. “Although I expect the scales gave me away.”

“You’re evil,” she whimpered.

“Oh, please, those are myths.” He shook his long, tooth-filled snout. A wisp of smoke rose from his nostrils which smelled like a barbeque. “Alright, so I’ve been known to eat a few cows. Let’s be honest, how is this worse than what the farmers do?” He gazed down at her with his golden-yellow eyes. “At least I don’t strip the carcass and wear the animal’s skin. Disgusting habit you humans have.”

She dried her tears with her hands, trying to hide her fine leather boots. “I suppose it’s one way to look at it.”

“It’s the only way,” he protested. “I’m supposed to be the monster, but your own village sent you up here. Fully expecting me to… well, it’s best not to dwell on such things. Now they’re off renting helpless saps, sending them up here to rescue you. How sadistic.”

“I’d imagine so.”

The dragon’s tongue came out and licked his lips with a slurp. “But they don’t quit there, oh no. They keep sending them up here. Despite the unmeasurably small survival rate. All in the hopes that if they keep throwing them my way, one of them will successfully vanquish me. Now I ask you, is this any way to display leadership?”

“Well, I…”

“Of course it isn’t.”

She looked hopeful; her eyes glittered. “So, are you going to use my body in ungentlemanly ways?” she asked.

“Of course not,” he gasped. “What kind of monster do you think I am?”

“Then what?”

“I was hoping I could get you to scratch my back.” He leaned over. “There’s a spot next to my wings I annoyingly can’t reach.”

“No problem,” she smiled displaying her vampire fangs.

JosieDearly
JosieDearly
1 month ago

Reconcile
By JosieDearly

This is a bad idea, Luce thought.

She paced around her room, glancing at her phone’s clock, then her laptop’s clock, then her wall clock. Each reported about the same: ten minutes before she has to get ready to go.

But should she go? Was it worth it? She desperately wished that time would slow down. She wished she had more time to think about this, think about what she was getting herself into. Was it worth getting into?

She stopped in her spiralling tracks, checking her phone and reading her most recent text again, as if she expected to see something new, perhaps a recall of the invitation or a delay of the appointment.

No. She hasn’t sent any follow up. It’s still just the single text that started all this.

[Maya: hey. can we talk? tonight, at the cafe]

Luce blinked, then blinked again, and again, still again, as if she might send something else if she just waited long enough. Maybe if she blinked, she’d somehow influence the threads of fate to… to what? Make Maya take back her offer? To give Luce more time to think about it? Luce didn’t know what she wanted fate to do, but she wanted it to do something.

Most of her was screaming about this. About how Maya hurt her, about how she hurt Maya, about how long it’s been since they’ve talked, about how bad, how BAD of an idea it is to try and fix a bridge that you both burned down.

Yet, another part of her rebuffed all of it. This small part said, “Maybe it will turn out okay.”

Maybe they were just going to talk. Maybe she wanted to fix things too. Maybe this won’t hurt as much. Maybe it won’t hurt anymore.

… She ran out of time. She needed to go. She SHOULD go.

Biting her lip and swallowing her fear, she listened to that small part of her and texted back.

[Luce: Okay]
[Luce: Be there soon]

Aaron Fleming
Aaron Fleming
1 month ago

“The Dragon’s Hunt” [Re-post from Private]

By Aaron Fleming

“I’ve come seeking you to resurrect someone,” said the young woman with a flintlock rifle strapped to her back. She unceremoniously tossed the bag of coins at the wizard’s feet.

“I should warn you, returning someone like this often means they are never quite the same as before,” the wizard responded. “Many things happen to spirits in the spirit realm and the return is not always clean.”

“That doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’ve killed him once already. I just want to kill him again. I want to squeeze the life from him.”

The wizard raised his eyebrows. “Do you now? Interesting. What would you gain from killing a man twice?”

“The man murdered my father. He deserves a thousand deaths. I would give him this many at least.”

“And you think that doing so will quench the fires of that vengeful beast inside you. Like the dragon who pursues the thief who stole the single golden cup from its horde? In the story the dragon leaves all the rest of its wealth behind, holding so dear the thing that was lost. Do you really wish to hunt forever for the one golden chalice leaving behind all other treasures?”

“My father’s murder –”

“Has already been avenged,” the wizard finished quietly for her. “Do you think more murder will truly give you peace? Did the first murder give you peace?”

She paused in thought. Finally, she responded, “You’re not what I expected from a wizard.”

The man laughed. “Nor am I what I expected of one.”

“My name is Adara of Marwether,” she said finally.

The older man nodded. “I am Arith, son of Jyohan.”

Philip C
Philip C
1 month ago

Where Two Worlds Meet (Here Be Dragons)
By Philip C

“Vannar, wait! You’ll get us in trouble.” Sable shouted. Her brother ignored her, continuing to inspect the small hole in the towering wall in front of him.

“I’ll tell mom.” She threatened. At this, Vannar turned, smirking.

“No, you won’t. You’re just as curious as me.”

Sable blustered, unwilling to admit that he was right. “But you’ve heard the stories mom and the elders tell. There are horrible monsters on the other side of the wall, covered in hard scales that are almost impenetrable. Monsters that love to kill our people. Who would want to see the other side?”

Vannar frowned at these words, and, not looking back, resolutely slid through the hole.

He had heard the stories his sister had recited many times, but despite this, something had always drawn him to the wall. He wanted to see these strange monsters for himself. But the gate was locked, and he could never find a way through, until now.

Eventually, Sable followed, but found herself alone. “Vannar?” She called, scared to leave the safety of the hole.

“Sable, come look at this.” Vannar called. He was already away down the wall at the other side of the gate, and obviously excited. Cautiously, Sable trotted along the wall to her brother.

She found herself looking down on two strange creatures. They were cowering on the ground, one protecting the other, obviously terrified. Vannar, meanwhile, was sniffing curiously at them.

“Oh, poor things.” Sable immediately felt pity for them, “Don’t worry. We won’t hurt you.” She licked the younger looking one with longer strands of fur on its head and purred, just like how her mother used to when she was scared.

The creature seemed to sense her intent, for it stopped mewling, and even patted Sable’s nose with its paw. The other creature, seeing this, relaxed, and reached out curiously towards Vannar.

“Are these the monsters we’ve heard about?” he asked his sister, “They seem rather harmless.”

Above where the four now sat, a metal bar spanned the gate. Inscribed on it was a warning.

Here Be Dragons.

Airëlyn
Airëlyn
1 month ago

“Interview With A Dragon”
By: Airëlyn

“Retrieve the brightest scale from the Blethermore dragon and bring it to me. And remember, don’t wake it,” King Daimhín’s orders replayed like a twisted melody in his head as he toed the edge of the mountainside. Amalthean never imagined such a thing would be his first mission.

A strong sudden gust of wind threw him around as if he were a ragdoll, but he regained his balance. A cave glimmering with light glowed at the top, where a slumbering dragon lay at the entrance.

Its scales glittered azure and silver in the moonlight over its serpentine body, along with four large paws sporting long curved white claws. Its steaming, hot breath hit Amalthean’s body, causing him to sweat. Lost in his daze, he stepped on a pile of bones and stifled a gasp. The dragon’s feathered ear twitched and Amalthean took cover behind a pile of debris.

“I know you’re nearby. You might as well join a bloody mariachi band with how loud you’re breathing,” came a smooth, stern, feminine voice.

“W-who said that?” Amalthean whispered.

“I did.”

A long thick blue tail wrapped around his waist and lifted him. Terrified, Amalthean screamed and flailed around. He was dropped on the ground in front of the dragon’s face, amber eyes glaring at him.

“Sssshhhh, shh. Cease your yelling,” she hissed. “My children are asleep.”

Looking closely, he could see three small dragons lay under her belly. Snoozing away peacefully.

“Sorry. It’s just that I listened to stories of you written in the books the nuns would read to us in the orphanage,” Amalthean reminisced. “To see one of you, alive and real, is so enthralling.”

The dragoness scoffed, “Such stories are just as told. Fairytales. Legend has smeared my name and withered my scales. So I raise my children to be intelligent and meek. To assimilate this wasteland you humans wander.”

Amalthean sat down, crossing his legs, contemplating her words.

“You came for something, so out with it.”

“The truth.” Amalthean plunged his sword into the ground and threw his shield. “Teach me what the fables haven’t.”

Last edited 30 days ago by Airëlyn
Michael Case
Michael Case
1 month ago

We are Dragon
By Michael Case

Every year around harvest time, these flying plagues of creation would eat whatever was out in the fields. Many of the people would come close to death from starvation. We have tired many ways of stopping them, but they would simply torch whatever device we built. Many died to protect the few women and children that were left.

Last summer, a tradesman from across the seas visited us looking for new items to sell. He didn’t have much to offer us in exchange for the fruits we gave, but he did leave us a tool. This tool was unlike any we’ve seen before, it was long and round, made of some type of iron, and the blackish powder you placed inside of it produced the greatest of noises and smoke. The tradesman showed us how to make more of this powder. We did this all summer long.

As the time of harvest started to come the children started to dig a large hole. Some of the women lined this massive hole with rocks and hard pounded soil then the men started to dump the blackish colored powder into the hole. Finally, large rocks were placed on top of the endeavor that we’ve invested so much time into.

The day the dragons came. The fields were quickly being harvested before they arrived. The people, were running around trying to get everything done before the arrival. When the sun peaked high in the sky a large group of them arrived, casting their shadows over the town.

This was the time that the fire was lit, this was the time that the ground lurched out in revenge, this was the time we destroyed this menace that plagued our ancestors, this was our turn to breath fire on our enemies.

The scales fell from the sky like a hard winter’s rain. The green grass has been bleached of its color and dyed with the blood of those infernal creatures. This was the day that we fought back against them, this was the day the dragons died.

Last edited 30 days ago by Michael Case
Lari B.Haven
Lari B.Haven
1 month ago

Dragons, here be not.
By Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

Both were sitting in silence in his living room. But she was the one making her disdain for his slack clear. After all, he was making her write the fifth apology letter with another half-baked schematic to boot.

The professor knew that she worried about his well being, more than she would like to admit. He was drowning himself in that endeavor, and Alexandria couldn’t understand his current interest in dragons.

The men from the factory were growing tired of his endless delays. But he paid them no mind. Even if he was short on money and with past due bills; he could not bring himself to finish it anymore. He needed something that didn’t make him think about the clogged water turbines problem.

He kept on reading about the myths of giant scaly creatures from distant lands. Ignoring the obvious threat.

“I really don’t see any rhyme or reason for you to keep bankrupting yourself in favor of silly stories, Professor…“ She declared, tired of his dismissive attitude.

“I like my ‘silly stories’, they make me as happy as a child.” He answered. “There are so many types of dragons in different countries… I’d love to travel and meet them!”

“Meet them?” Alexandria dropped the pen and crossed her arms. “Why though?”

“Who doesn’t want to shout ‘Here be dragons!’ and find them in a dark cave, full of dangers, and hopefully don’t get scorched by their breath of fire.”

She rolled her eyes and got back to writing.

“How about a forest? Venture in this jungle, and you might even see it…” She raised a grin that sparked his interest. “It’s a gigantic snake-like thing, taller than a hill, glistening like pure fire. Everyone knows the story!”

“It’s a local myth?” He beamed with excitement, closing the book.

She chuckled and shrugged: “But I can only tell you, if you send them a complete piece, Professor!”

He recognized the defeat. His young friend was as cunning and ruthless as any dragon. He grabbed his material from under the counter. Sometimes he was too curious for his own good.

Makokam
1 month ago

Here Be Dragons
by Makokam

No one knew where it came from. Or even when it arrived. All anyone knew was that suddenly it was there. He and his troops watched from miles away. Only here to gain intelligence; record its actions and reactions.

What was once Baghdad wasn’t much more than a pile of burning rubble. The beast responsible sat atop the shattered remains of a tower, its black scales glinting in the flames. Its eyes burned like suns as it searched for something it hadn’t yet destroyed. It pounced, tearing through another building like tissue-paper before blasting torrents of flame across the ground, melting the rubble around it. Its belly glowed blood-red as it turned back towards them and leapt to the highest vantage that could support it, roaring it’s rage as its wings stretched to the sky.

It looked over its shoulder a second before a shower of sparks danced across its back as a pair of fighters blazed by, the gunfire and sonic boom reaching them a moment later. Its head followed them as they banked for another pass. It opened it’s mouth that glowed from orange, to blue, to white, before a blast shot out with deafening thunder, vaporizing the planes. Its roar was twice as long as any previous, then it took to the air and circled the city, spraying flame as it went. It landed on another building and peered around it, before seemingly meeting his eyes.

It couldn’t possibly see him. It was night, they were miles away, and under cover. Yet still it seemed to stare right back at him. It held its gaze for a long moment, the stillest he’d seen it. Then it launched itself up, spiraling into the sky, and with a great beat of it’s wings, and a sonic boom of it’s own, launched itself towards the next city.

It was two years later, across the globe, and he was at a night club looking into a rumor. But as he locked eyes with the man sitting at the end of the bar, he found his gaze terrifyingly familiar.

Last edited 1 month ago by Makokam
Lunabear
Lunabear
1 month ago

Restoration (Reposted from Private)
by Lunabear

Stephanie had never once thought her training would be used for THIS. His huge arm hung limply across her shoulders, and the walk to the lava pit was too slow for her liking. She couldn’t bear to look at his injuries again; her strength would fail if she did.

This war with her kin had only escalated, and she shouldn’t have expected him to sit by while his clan had charged into battle.

Sweat droplets glistened on her skin, and her tired eyes danced when they took in the glorious colors. She kneeled and relieved herself of his weight.

“We’re here, my love.”

He rested on all fours. A gurgling groan was his answer.

“Blithe, please. You must go.” She removed an arrow from his side and tossed it away. A rumbling growl filled her head.

“You can be angry with me AFTER.”

“Grateful.”

She nodded, and a surge of pride flowed through her as he stood on damaged legs.

She stroked the blue dragon eye amulet around her neck. Before he got too far, she caught up with him.

“Wait.” She placed her hands on his chest. His heart pounded, and hers sped to match it. She moved the heirloom from her neck to his.

“Stephanie–”

“I won’t hear it. I can at least give this to you.” She stroked her barren stomach. “But you and it have to return to me. Otherwise, I’ll come in after you.”

He shakily chuckled, but his wince advertised what that action had cost him.

Stephanie stood on tiptoe and kissed his lips. Her tears left heated tracks down his face. He hated that he lacked the strength to erase her sadness.

“Go.” She stood aside. The more she cleared her face, the more she cried.

Blithe dragged himself forward and fell ungracefully into the scorching, bubbling lava. Stephanie retreated to a safer distance.

She held her breath. It felt like ages passed.

Blithe finally burst upward, his golden scales and smoky grey wings shimmering.

He circled overhead and mightily roared. He swooped into a landing, transforming back.

They met halfway and embraced.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lunabear
RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
1 month ago

To Thwart the Dragon
By RVMPLSTLSKN

Berry sipped her coffee. It was the cafe’s usual brew and weak. 

Still, she thought, better than the sweet tea or gossip.

She glanced at Jean, the proprietor. The old lady was talking to a customer; a man of about Berry’s own age. 

Well, he’s a hotty.

The old lady noticed her appraisal and her smile grew a fraction.

Berry groaned quietly. Her mother, Sarah, and Jean were the biggest gossips in town and met weekly over sweet tea. 

Trouble was brewing.

Hotty sat at the only other table in the cafe. Berry turned back to her tablet. 

A drink spilled. She knew what would happen–if not how–before she heard the drink. Jean would blame it on her short leg and Hotty would join Berry at the table. If they got together, well, Berry’s mom would hear soon enough and she’d never hear the end of it. 

Caramel-colored coffee glistened on the wood. Hotty was holding a laptop high.

“I’m so sorry, dear.” Jean drawled.

“Accidents happen.”

“No, no, I’ll clean this up.”

“It’s no trouble.”

“You were working. Why don’t you move to the other table and I’ll clean this up after I get you a new coffee.” 

Hotty stood and walked to Berry. “Mind if I join?” His voice had the city-bred urbanity of a movie star. He looked like one too.

She flushed, self-aware of her own Southern Bell accent. 

Jean smiled at her, eyebrows raised.

“Have it all,” Berry said. “I was just leaving.” Today, she refused to give Jean more to gossip about. The two dragon ladies could find something else to talk about.

“Oh, so soon? I’m Mark, by the way.”

She smiled. “Yeah, I’ve got work to do.”

Jean’s disappointment as she left was palpable. Berry smiled and the bell over the door rang as the door opened and closed.

Last edited 1 month ago by RVMPLSTLSKN
SavUong
SavUong
1 month ago

A Ride for Justice
By Sav Uong

Nick Everhart stood in the stirrups of his horse, the black stallion stamping at the ground impatiently. The land before them was lush and green with Spring and his charcoal stick scraped against coarse paper as he drew all he could see. It would never do the sight justice, but it was all he had to show for the distance he had traveled.

A sigh escaped him as he sat back down and glanced to his right. A shadow of himself and his horse stood there, facing the direction they still needed to travel.

“Are we close,” he asked the being, folding the book carefully so not to smug his drawing.

“We’d be closer if you did not insist on drawing every landscape we see,” the shadow said, his voice something of a mix of Nick’s and his father’s. “We are dealing with Chaos. It will not wait for you to draw a picture.”

“My children like my pictures, Justice,” Nick said, taking the reins of his horse. “If I have to be away from them to do the Work then I will at least indulge their curiosity with pictures when I come home to them.” He looked at the shadow with a narrow gaze. “Or do you want the next generation to resent you as I did?”

The shadow looked at him, then rolled its eyes so hard it turned its face to the sky. “Your father was a good man,” Justice told him. “He brought many cruel people to justice.”

“Being a good man does not make up for being an absent father,” Nick countered and kicked his horse into motion, thundering hooves drowning out any further conversation.

“All the same,” Justice’s voice said in his ears. “There was work to be done then just as there is work now. As your wife likes to say, here be dragons.”

“She means you when she says that you know,” Nick laughed, leaning into his horse’s neck. “And the others like us.”

There was a pause. “I believe I will take that as a compliment,” the voice of Justice said.

Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
1 month ago

A dragon for you[Aleph null, public copy]
By gregovin

We exit the spaceport.

The city is an onslaught of the unfamiliar. Strangely shaped vibrantly colored houses and stalls populate my vision. The sounds of life echo through the city. The smell of fresh spiced foods of varying types is almost overpowering. It’s so much.

The children’s eyes have gone wide. They seem to be looking over every stall.

One notices a small ramshackle stall, with a simple sign on it. Here be dragons.

Soon, all three of them surround me, echoing the same demand. “can we get a dragon? Please!”

“Maybe just one. You’ll have to share.”

Each of the kids glaces around, evaluating the others, trying to determine if they can share something so precious with the others.

“Ok. We promise” they say.

I walk over to the stand, pulled by the kids.

The stand is selling custom holoprojectors. I pick one at random and ask the vendor “how much for that one”.

“27,000 heat credits”

I begrudgingly pay the inflated price.

Before I go, I try to activate the device. It flickers, but fails to turn on.

The vendor sees this and says “oh, probably a wiring issue, pass it to me for one moment.”

The vendor inspects the device briefly, before aggressively shaking it. A rattling noise is heard.

The vendor continues “god dammit. Would you like to take this one?” They turn it on, and I swear a small dragon appears before me.

“Yes please, thank you very much”

The kids clamor to see it before the vendor turns it off.
I hold onto it until we get to the hotel, and then let the kids play.

L. L. Marco
1 month ago

The Chains That Bind (repost from private)
By L. L. Marco

Daniel was jerked awake by the sound of chains in his empty bedroom. A strange sensation built up inside him, guiding him to the open window to gaze out at the forest. He didn’t want to go. Daniel knew better; his mother had spent all seven years of his life warning him the woods were dangerous. Older kids had told stories about a ghoulish cult. He had a healthy dose of fear that should have protected him. But the chains of fate had entangled him the moment he’d bumped into that strange witch; his life had changed forever. He just didn’t know yet. And so, alone and frightened, the boy found himself wandering into the forbidden woods without knowing why.

The bramble cut into his feet as he stumbled through it. The forest grew darker with each step. Soon, the moon was blacked out by a thick canopy of mostly dead, barren trees. Daniel thought the branches looked like crooked hands clawing up at the sky to steal away the light. He shivered and looked away, taking a moment to rub the sleep from his eyes. But when he opened them…

Fog. There hadn’t been any before, but now it coiled around him like a massive serpent, thick and unyielding in all directions. A yelp escaped him as he fell back into the dirt. The spell binding him had dissipated. It had served its purpose.

Voices swirled around in the fog. Whispers, cries, and even screams all rang out in a symphony of chaos that overwhelmed his senses. Daniel cried. It was all too frightening for a seven year old to handle. Clamping his hands over his ears, Daniel cried out for his mother. It was only then that the maddening whispers ceased and the forest fell still.

The sound of chains caught his attention. Bleary eyed, Daniel gazed up at the woman who had emerged from the fog. He thought he recognized her but the memory was a distant dream he couldn’t quite reach.

“M-Mommy?”

The witch smiled. “Forget her. That life is over now.”

Sandeen
1 month ago

The Meeting
By Sandeen (SouthernWolf)

In a dark underground cave, Heldi’s voice echoed against the chamber she’d just crawled into as she cursed the cut on her hand. Heldi had found climbing up the lip of the chamber rather difficult, cursing herself for not wearing gloves.

Too distracted to really notice the chamber, the light reflected off walls, glinting here and there where gemstones and metals peaked through rock without notice. Off, past the edge of light, at the far entrance, shadows shifted.

Crouching, swinging her backpack off, Heldi dug through her gear. Past spare batteries, an extra flashlight, and gently setting her reading material to the side, she pulled out a first aid kit.

She’d gotten so used to the silence interspersed with dripping water and shifting stones that she didn’t notice it suddenly stopping. She didn’t notice that the shifting of stones sounded far more like movement from something solid brushing them, not air causing little rocks to cascade down.

Unbeknownst to her the wyvern, whose wings just brushed the side of the cave and heard the rocks scuttle to the floor, heard her huffing curses echoing through the space he considered his personal grotto. Jax tucked his elbows in closer to his body, bringing the wings attached to them closer to his scales while the human crouched next to the light source.

The wyvern scooted as far forward as his body would allow, then his snout started to descend to the human.

Jax thought to himself, I think that is a female human.

He brought his snout closer to her.

Finally, Heldi found the disinfectant and sprayed her palm. She found her hiss of pain was much louder and echoed longer than it should have, even in a cave.

As Heldi turned, she turned the bottle of disinfectant with her, to find herself face to snout with what looked like the living, breathing version of the dragon drawings she examined for a living. Jax found himself staring at the thing in her hand that made that noise and caused the atrocious smell.

Neither creature could help the yelp of fear and surprise.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sandeen
Ouroboros
Ouroboros
1 month ago

The Dragon’s Den
By Ouroboros

The moon’s light failed to penetrate the storming clouds that gathered over the city of Hong Kong. Below the troubled skies, a man solemnly gazed at the humble shop that he had owned for over thirty years, hopefully for the last time. Briefly, he saw his wrinkled face in the window’s reflection before beginning his march through the growing downpour. Each slow step landed in a puddle, as he trudged through the pouring rain. The night’s sky was a putrid brown that was kept back by a million incandescent streetlights. At last, he reached his destination: A crimson door with no handle.

He knocked.

A latch moved, a small slit was revealed. Two sinister eyes looked back at him. “Get lost!” an evil voice barked at him from beyond.

He knocked.

“Excuse me, I would like to speak with Mr Fung.”

“Do you know what you’re asking for, old man?” the door growled.

“Yes, and I won’t waste his time, please this is very important. I am Johnny’s father.”

The slit closed once again, after what seemed like an eternity the door opened in front of him. Inside sat a man on an expansive black armchair, his shaved head revealing a monumental dragon tattoo that crept up to his temple.

“Do you know who I am?” demanded the Dragon.

“Yes I do, sir.”

“Then why are you here?” he was confused.

The old man held his dripping hat to his chest. “I have come to ask that you spare my son’s life.”

“Do you know what he did!?”

“I do not.”

“He betrayed the Dragons; and for betrayal, there is only one punishment. He must pay the blood price.”

“Please, Mr. Fung. I know his crime cannot be forgiven, I only ask that you take my life instead. I will pay, please.”

The criminal produced an evil grimace.” I respect you, old man, but no. Only he can pay his debt.”

“Please no- “. A gunshot rang out through the night, the sound piercing the heart of an old man that wept for his son.

IsaDragon337
IsaDragon337
1 month ago

“Space Hath No Fury like a Lady Dragon whose Port Settings Have Been Tweaked”
By IsaDragon337 (gerbilz337)

The engine room was absolutely the most terrifying, and the most cramped, place Talin had been on the entire ship so far. He flinched away from the solar-powered lightning arcing through the tank not three inches from the walkway, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen to fuse in the engine proper, under the watchful eye of the engineer.

The Draslini engineer.

Rumors whispered that Draslini were not only carnivorous, but also infamous for exploding stars. Like the tragedy that destroyed the Dustball– Earth.

Talin felt his sweat drip. Tack’kal didn’t even comment on the smell.

“Now I know my crew hyped her up, but Carath is a big softy, I promise. She’s really shy.” Alexi called back, bright red coat swishing. Their boots clanged as they jumped down the steep stairs between catwalk levels.

Tack’kal considered the stairs, then looked at his quadrupedal hoof-like feet. “I do not think I can climb down those.”

Alexi squinted up. “Sure you can.”

“I—” He shook his head, flushing a deep grey that signaled anxiety. The feeler-arm on Talin’s arm squeezed tight enough to bruise.

“Alexi, you better not be pressuring a Ko’mothian to go down those stairs,” the ceiling snarled. A bright blue streak swished around a pipe. “Even I can tell you they physically can’t do that.”

“Cathie!” Alexi called up. “Cathie, I brought friends!”

“I HEARD.” One-hundred-and-seventeen pounds of armored muscle landed on the platform. In the well-lit fission bay, she shimmered icy blue. She crossed her top two sets of arms, and rested a third set of sharp claws on her hips. Her teeth were daggers. “When you waltzed into this bloody bomb chamber. What part of ‘extremely dangerous, no unannounced entry’ do you not understand?!”

“I wanted them to meet the whole crew~!” Alexi practically sang.

“Then acquire a ship with a solid fuel engine.” Red eyes lingered on the trembling, pale Talin, the low-to-the-ground, defensive stance of Tack’kal.

She exhaled.

“I’m Carath. This is my engine room. You probably won’t see me outside of here.” She glared at Alexi. “Can I go back to work now, Captain?”

MysteryElement
MysteryElement
1 month ago

Do Not Disturb!
By MysteryElement (also in private)

Marilynne shook me awake with the fervor and relentless strength only a seven-year-old can muster. Reluctantly prying my eyes open, I look out the window behind my niece. The sky was a hazy grey, cloudless and cold.

“Linny? What time is it?” I croak as I fumble for my phone.

“It’s time to see dragons! I promised I would show you!” She was trying to whisper, but her voice was still too loud. “Come on, get up. Get up! GET UP!”

I am half aware of her pulling me from my warm bed, and I distinctly remember something about shoe laces, but by the time my mind catches up with my body we are hiking out behind the house, the morning mist lazily trailing through the surrounding pines.

“Where are we going, Linny?” Do her parents even know she is out here? What am I even doing?

“Shhhh!” she hisses dramatically at me. “We don’t want to scare them.”

I finally recognize our surroundings. We were almost at The Lookout, a spot on my sister’s property overlooking the valley below. As we approach the clearing, Linny crouches low, motioning me to do the same.

“We have to be very quiet,” she whispers “they’re easy to scare.”

I follow her to the clearing where she points down. I am prepared to ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’ at whatever she is showing me, giving the typical enthusiasm for a game of make-believe, but my breath sticks in my throat like peanut butter. The morning mist had pooled into the valley below, lazily wrapping around the foothills. From this far up, it looks like wispy white dragons writhing in the valley. The breaking dawn gently lights up the mist with an ethereal light, the misty dragons glowing and iridescent gold.

“See them?” Her voice, full of wonder and awe, reflects my own as I answer.

“Yeah, Linny. I see them.”

When we got back, I helped Linny make a wooden sign. As far as I know it’s still there, painted white with big red letters;

Do Not Disturb The Dragons!

Connor A.
Connor A.
1 month ago

“Information Horde” (Novus Academia)
By Connor A.

“Watch your head.”

“What?” Jason slammed his head into a low-hanging stalactite. “Ow, fuck.”

Balthazar turned to make sure Jason was alright, then chuckled. “I did the same thing my first time through here.” He shined his flashlight on the fading art on the walls.

Jason glanced over what remained, then paused on one. “Is that—?”

“A dragon? Yes.” Balthazar directed his flashlight back to the path and began moving. “There’s more up ahead.”

Jason used his flashlight to catch one more glimpse of the art before catching up with Balthazar. “More art?”

“Among other things.” Balthazar said nothing else after that.

The two walked in silence for awhile. Jason was about to ask what Balthazar’s answer meant, but forgot his question when he saw a sign in front of him.

“‘Here be dragons…’” He read it aloud as Balthazar turned around to properly talk to him.

“I advise that you do not talk to this dragon unless you are spoken to.” Balthazar pointed down the remaining stretch of tunnel. “You do not want to cross a dragon. They can hold grudges for life.”

Jason nodded and followed Balthazar for the last stretch. When they reached the end, Jason stood in awe of the size of the room. More art littered the room, along with several bookshelves and maps from various points in history.

From an arched walkway, a dragon entered the room, easily towering over Jason and Balthazar. It saw the two and tilted its head. “Balthazar? I was not expecting you until later. Let alone with another human.”

“Ah, right.” Balthazar gestured to Jason. “Beo, this is Jason. Jason, Beo.”

Jason waved. “Hi.”

Beo lowered his head and got a closer look. “Are you the same Jason who broke into Reginold Black’s estate for a book?”

Balthazar stared at Jason. “I’m sorry?”

Jason grimaced. “I can explain—”

Beo let out a bellowing laugh that shook the room. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Now, what information do you seek?”

Last edited 1 month ago by Connor A.
Marx
Marx
1 month ago

Temptation of The Fallen
By Marx

I look down at my glass before taking a sip, swallowing as the coarse liquid burns my throat. A former comrade of mine enters the bar with a huge grin on his face. His presence immediately irritates me. What’s he so happy about?

“The end is nigh, my good friend!” He says joyfully, ordering a drink for himself and patting me on the back. “The Horseman of Death walks among us. And he’s taken three familiars. It’s only a matter of time now.”

“Have you forgotten where we’re going?” I growl at him. “Why are you so happy about it?”

He grins widely at me and downs his drink. “Because…his familiars are a demon, a goddess, and…an angel.”

My eyes narrow in confusion. “Angels can’t be familiars. That’s what fairies are for.”

“I know.” He chuckled. “But he did it anyway.”

“So? When an angel changes allegiance, they fall.” I grumble bitterly. “We KNOW this.”

“She did fall.” He replied smugly. “He returned her grace.”

Time seemed to stop for just a moment as I slowly faced my companion. “…What…?”

He chuckled. “That’s not even the best part. He’s chosen a side.” When I rolled my eyes at this, he continued, “Hear me out. He and the Horseman of War have been going around, freeing muses from their captivity and punishing their captors like righteous angels of retribution. He’s building an army.”

Horror. True horror fills me to my core as I down my drink and fill another one. I know why he’s here now. “Last time you convinced me to join another army that didn’t work out too well for us.”

His smile actually faded this time. “I know. And I’m sorry for that. I messed up with Lucifer. I get why you’d doubt me but just think about it. He’s punishing evil. Maybe we can join him. Maybe we get our grace back. Who knows? I just ask you this. What do we have to lose?”

I scowl at him, but he’s not wrong.

“Let’s go free some muses!” He says excitedly.

Sigh. Here we go again.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

The Beast in our Hearts (Armitage Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Felix hadn’t quite noticed where he was walking. Lost in thoughts, he had simply turned a corner and bumped into a shed. He took a moment to gather himself. Voices were coming from inside. Keeping to the shadows, the reaper walked to what he thought was the path into town.

The voices were getting quite loud. He tried to ignore them, but their volume carried nonetheless.

“What have I told you?!”

“Please! No!”

“Shut up and take it!”

A sickening crack followed. Felix stopped dead. For a moment, he just stood there, hands shaking.

“You think you’re better than me!”

The living weren’t his business.

Another crack, this time followed by a scream.

He whirled around, unable to contain himself. The shed doors flew open, without him ever touching them. Inside, he saw a young boy lying on the ground, bleeding from the head. Above him stood an older boy, brandishing a belt. He raised it again. The reaper grabbed his arm.

“Enough,” he hissed angrily: “Put down the belt.”

“Who are you?”

“Put it down!”

The older didn’t look a day over sixteen. He turned to the younger.

“You think this guy can protect you? You’re pathetic!”

“I wasn’t…”

With surprising strength, he shook Felix off. He raised the belt and brought it down on the younger’s face. He screamed, holding his forehead. Blood ran from beneath his fingers.

“Put down the belt!” the reaper yelled.

“Make me!”

Later, Felix could claim that he had acted out of rage. A white-hot pang of pure rage, which forced the sickle in his hand through the body of the older. The dead metal tore through flesh, obliterating the soul. As the body fell, Felix could see the remnants of the soul rise in a silvery mist and evaporate.

He didn’t see or hear the younger boy anymore. He wasn’t even sure, if he’d left. He just watched the older fall into an eternity of oblivion. A reaper’s weapon never just killed.

Through the older’s torn shirt, Felix saw old scars. Scars, identical to the ones the younger would now bear.