Writing Group: Heavy is the Crown (PRIVATE)

Hello, my liege.

What? Don’t look so exhausted. Most people would thrill to be addressed in such a way. But then, I suppose you know better by now, don’t you? This is what it means to be who you are. Set your jaw, sit tall on your throne, and bear it with grace, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

Heavy is the Crown

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!

Well, don’t we seem to have a taste for dissonance? Last week the prompt was “I shouldn’t be here”, this week it’s about being in a position of power and finding the surprising weight of it.

This is a little different, though; not so imminently cynical. The crown may be heavy, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily want rid of it. It’s a trade. The prize, for the burden of bearing it. Whether that turns out to be a curse you’d do anything to be free from, or a just exchange—that’s up to you.

The simplest way to think of this is in component parts: something desirable or coveted, and the costs involved. Could be a king with an unpleasant duty to his people, such as choosing who gets to eat during a famine. Could be someone new to a relationship they’ve always wanted, only realizing now that they’ll have to learn to appreciate the difficult parts of their new lover as well. It could even be the cost on the way to the object of desire—a lich who gives away their humanity for eternal life, and is unhappy with the everlasting hollowness of their existence.

Make it tantalizing, make it beautiful, and then… make it cost a terrible price.

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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Deviacon
2 months ago

Eclectic Crown
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

I made it myself. From the deepest corners of the places I’d come to love, and from the remains of every creature I had ever called a friend, and I befriended nearly every one I met. It was simple at a glance; a masked headdress of branches and bones. But to the more observant, there were small rocks and nuts, and bits of nests, and feathers and so many things more.

Within the matted grass weave that lie beneath so much of the larger outside bits, there were tufts of fur and claws and cicada shells, every bit that would be too small or fragile to make up a part of the greater frame. Larger ligaments of bones and fangs and even some stout branches adorned and encircled the outside edges.

On the left side was the largest branch, given by my most favorite tree which was taken from me during a lightning storm one summer night. On the right side was an antler nearly the branches’ mirrored twin in shape and size, and in all other ways but actual composition. It was given, not by the stag that bore it, but by the forest itself one cold winter morning.

It had its own face, forged from the foliage of so many forests and mountains and fields. It’s the only face I could ever remember wearing. A skeletal face of bark and twigs and flowers.

Every single component, no matter how small, was a memory of mine, was a lifetime of memories self-contained.

So many voices. They were my friends once, so why do they say such horrid things now?

I wore it proudly. The weight of the spirits it carried, helped carry me.

They made it themselves.

So many voices.

King_Nix
King_Nix
2 months ago

“The Envoy”
By King_Nix

The palace of the great king of Wal’Ashar stood before Revelus and his company. Here, protected by the mountains to the South and the vast forests of the North, had not been touched by the Daemon Wars which ravaged his own homeland. The guards at the gate were of such stature, that Revelus wondered if even an entire Century could overtake these few, though untroubled by battle as they were. For these were Shönai, taller than Men, and more fair, and legend spoke of their prowess in battle.

The guards led Revelus to the court of King Abendir. All about the golden chamber, there was dancing and merriment. Court bards of that splendid race played upon divers instruments in a harmonious tune of the old joys of lost age, when they reigned as mighty lords in the realm of Sun’Ashar, in the ancient West across the seas, when they held counsel with the Domvari, lords of the world, and fought beside the valiant dead. Yet, there sat one alone upon his amber-laden throne of gold, who had seen the fall. There sat the great king, youthfully eldest among eldest, unmoved.

Revelus approached the throne. The music softened, to ease conversation between him and their king. Instead, Revelus drew out his own lyre, and began to play, and the rest silenced as he did so. For the music he played poured out sorrow and death as he himself had beheld, and that his people now readied to suffer tenfold at the very Jaws of Nix; but the winter of his melody gave way to bitter-sweet spring, and though the joy of his tune was frail beside the eternal summer of the Shönai, the king’s solemn face softened, and he wept as the final notes of the song ended.

He rose, and spoke: “For not since the death of my father, and the loss of our home has my heart known hope! I have languished here, when I should have rallied to aid you! Heavy is my grief; may it be the hammer which breaks the evil of Nix for all time!”

PixieWings
PixieWings
2 months ago

And Anyway, The Fourth Wall Has A Window
By PixieWings

“You…gonna be writing something on this text document, boss?”

I’m working on it.

“Uh-huh.”

I am!

“I’m just saying, is all. You’ve opened and closed it six times.”

It’s a rough prompt. Responsibility, and the burden you take on with accepting it. It’s all very Shakespeare.

“The writer doth protest too much.”

I didn’t know you knew that was Shakespeare.

“You don’t think I read? I read.”

Sure.

“I live in your head! And stop changing the subject. We’re talking about you here. What’s your deal? No ideas?”

Well, no. I had a few.

“And?”

One was a whole Persephone thing. Make it about her agency. Call her the Iron Queen. Blah blah.

“You do have a thing for Greek myth, if, ah, I’m anything to go by. So what’s the problem?”

Couldn’t think of a decent scene to center it around. And anyway, how was I going to put an audience in her shoes? Make it lyrical?

“You know you can just…write a story, right? Without doing weird shit with the prose?”

I like doing weird shit with the prose.

“Alright, fine. So no pomegranates. Next?”

I tried writing about Codependency.

“Jesus Christ, why don’t you just smash your head through the screen? It’d be less painful for you.”

What I had was good! Magical realism. Putting on someone else’s skin, but like, in a not-horror way. It could have been solid.

“But?”

Couldn’t finish. It felt bad.

“So still on that journey.”

Guess so.

“Well, don’t feel too bad. You’re writing again! That’s something, right?”

Yeah.

“And you’re doing pretty good at it, yeah? Remember the old lady eating kids story? That kicked ass.”

It did.

“You don’t have to always work yourself into a lather doing something new or good. You’re allowed to have some stupid fun once in a while.”

Yeah. Thank you.

“Hey, what else am I here for? But, if you wanted to thank me properly, you could always write something about me.”

I’m working on it.

“You’ve been working on it since you were twelve, hun. Not getting any younger here.”

NocteVesania
2 months ago

When Banners Turn To Ash
By NocteVesania

Shouts and cries of anger and hatred filled the streets of the city as crowds gathered around our parade. The confetti they once threw turned into stones, and the medals and garlands that once hung from my neck were replaced with steel and chains.

The glory of the war has now faded, and peace has finally come. As the night finally ended, the people of the land wanted to forget the horror and the bloodshed. In the end, the accursed cross was mine to bear, the once-revered general, now painted as a bloodthirsty fool.

“Go to hell, monster!” A man cried out, raising the pitchfork in his hand.

“Warmongering wretch!” Another shouted, his fist raised in the air.

“You should’ve died on the battlefield, coward!”

Yes, I am a coward. As the battle raged, men and women gladly laid their lives for me, while I stood back and watched, throwing more and more lives into the violence and turmoil of the battlefront. I was like a king, my throne piled high with corpses.

Toward the end of our march, a woman threw herself to the center of the procession. The guards held her down, but with a gesture from the officer, the guards let her go. She rushed up to me. Clutching my tattered collar, she looked at me with eyes full of despair.

“My son,” she cried, “please tell me where my son is. Please tell me he’s just resting, tired from battle. Please tell me he’s coming home.”

Those brave young soldiers stood by my word, and they died by my word. My greatest shame was not for failing to bring victory. It was for taking those boys and girls away from their families, never to come home. Their blood stained my hands.

I turned my head away, not daring to look into the anguish in her eyes. She crumpled to the ground, overcome with grief. A guard pulled on my chains and we continued our walk.

The setting sun beamed a beautiful gold as we reached the gallows.

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
2 months ago

Some Crowns are Meant to Fall
By Jesse Fisher

Grangal watched as the fight began between Goraidh and Demon. The manic laughter of Goraidh rang in the quiet arena as he kept trying to move past the navy wolf. The resene plumed griffin kept the attempted stabbing going, the loincloth wearing wolf kept blocking the thrusts.

This was a dance that could end in many ways, death seemed the only option that was a constant. Within Grangal something that had been eating away at her since that morning, she had broken her own nature and caused chaos within her world but she was not the true cause. Behind the ditzy personality was a being who saw what others did in the name of ‘ORDER’.

Any creature that dared to go against the head priest’s rules would be taken to a room and not return. She was ignorant until she walked in one day while no one was around. That scared her, the blood and bodies shocked her that any of her friends could have done this. And Goraidh seemed to ramp it up since he came to power.

This whole thing would have truly broke her if not for stumbling across that door to Korun’s bar and learning of the world beyond her own, she told this to her elder god siblings and they started to go to just take a break from the world. Something in the way the bar felt at ease, even the twins that fought constantly seemed like normal siblings.

The smell of burned flesh and singed feather along with a squawk of pain and knives falling brought her out of some repressed and good memories, Demon had an oozing fire on his hand as Goraidh clutched his now scared shoulder and the wing behind him was half gone.

“Heathen, you took it all from me.” Goraidh seethed as he rose from where he fell. “Go on, take my life from me. Once they learn of it I will be seen as a martyr to my goddess.”

Grangal blinked and Goraidh fell into the lava below, she turned to Demon with tears in her eyes.

Last edited 2 months ago by jesse fisher
L. L. Marco
L. L. Marco
2 months ago

A Father’s Love (clan enyo universe)
By L. L. Marco

Kit awoke to the sunlight kissing her cheeks. That was a rare treat; a thick layer of cloud usually covered her village. But not today! Stretching, Kit squeaked out a yawn and giggled as she made her bed. Today was going to be a great day, she just knew it!

The child quickly slipped on her favorite outfit. The soft blue dress bounced as she headed for the door. However, to her surprise, the door slid open and standing in its wake was a tall silhouette encased by sunlight. Kit squinted and shielded her eyes for a moment.

“Good morning Kit.”

That familiar voice wafted over her. Her gaze rose to the figure.

It was a form she knew well. A tall, strong form with blue hair pulled back in a ponytail. Kit paused, biting her lip softly with worry as her eyes trailed him. Who was it: Nacroth, or Ares? But when her eyes fell upon his unmistakably tired but gentle ones she smiled so hard it hurt her cheeks.

“Daddy! It’s you!” The girl swung her small arms around him and he scooped her up with ease. It had been so long since he’d been awake… tears pricked at her eyes but she wiped them away quickly. That didn’t matter. Her father was here.

“Princess!” he smiled, gently kissing the top of her head before placing her down.

Kit babbled about how beautiful the flowers were while her father listened with a loving smile. But heavy thoughts weighed on him. She had grown. How long had Ares kept him asleep this time…? Before he could ponder too long, his daughter turned to him, holding something small in her equally small hands. She motioned him over and he came, kneeling down before her.

“Close your eyes!” she ordered, and he did so without question.

There was a light sensation atop his head before he heard her giggle. He opened his eyes, saw his daughter full of blissful happiness, and smiled. The flower crown she made just for him tussled gently in the wind.

Last edited 2 months ago by L. L. Marco
WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
2 months ago

“The Crown of Dyghait”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Long ago, there ruled a great king. He was an excellent ruler: strong in battle, wise in diplomacy, and fair in judgment. The king treated all of his subjects as though they were his own family, mourning and rejoicing with them through their trials of life.

This king had three children, two boys and a girl. The eldest boy was gifted in martial ability. However, his lack of smarts resulted in a volatile temper. The middle child, the girl, possessed a natural compulsion for learning. However, she was haughty, seeing herself as smarter than everyone else. The youngest child was a boy that found a knack for diplomacy. However, he rarely planned ahead or recognized the consequences of his actions.

In the last year of his reign, the king called for his favorite court alchemist and asked him to make his crown magical. The alchemist agreed and did as the king asked. When the king passed, the alchemist called the three into the throne room.

“I placed your father’s crown upon his throne. It has an enchantment upon it that only allows those worthy to lift it. Each of you may try, if you wish.”

The eldest son smiled as he approached the crown. He took the gold crown into his strong hands. However, he could not get the crown to budge. Next, the other son tried, faring just as well. Finally, the daughter tried, and she also could not lift it.

The three siblings looked to each other, shocked that their father’s crown had judged them as unfit to rule. The eldest even threatened the alchemist. However, the alchemist held the assertion that one of them should be able to lift it. That’s when the daughter got an idea.

And she was right; the three of them could lift it if they worked together. From then on, three sovereigns ruled the kingdom of Dyghait: the eldest son’s line acting as generals, the daughter’s as judges, and the youngest son’s as diplomats. Under them, Dyghait prospered and flourished, and it still does to this very day.

Last edited 2 months ago by WolfsbaneX
Lunabear
Lunabear
2 months ago

A Heartfelt Compromise (Cursed Brothers Universe)
by Lunabear

Sephrina paced the long castle corridor outside of the detainee’s room. There was no satisfying way she could perform the ritual her older sister Helatia had demanded. Even if it WOULD free Helatia of the dragon’s curse.

“Stupid bitemark,” she grumbled. Helatia complained often about her noble serpentine blood being corrupted by Dracos’ poisonous fangs. Sephrina’s mind raced, but nothing else feasible presented itself. It appeared she had no choice. She heaved a great sigh before unlocking and opening the door.

Her keen eyes caught the swing of the blade before she dodged it. It sliced through mid-air, shredding a sizable portion of Sephrina’s cloak as she evaded.

Sephrina sussed out Cal’s whereabouts by gliding her forked tongue through her lips. He was atop the bed’s canopy, one hand fluently waving. Stepping on the empty food tray told her from where he got his strength. Noting a missing part of the fire grate showed where he forged the weapon.

“No, then. You WON’T help. I SO wanted you to cooperate willingly.”

Sephrina shed her human skin, her green-white scales backlit by the roaring fire. Even with the mage’s magic, the dagger couldn’t penetrate her armor.

Cal’s control and versatility were why Helatia needed his magic. Sephrina’s enormous tail knocked the weapon aside as she simultaneously yanked him from the canopy with her fangs.

She wrapped herself around him. Her vertical, amethyst eyes sized up her struggling captive. She applied slight pressure to get his attention.

Cal fought to breathe. Her eyes gleamed with desperation, and something more. His nod was jerky albeit reluctant.

She placed him on his feet. His pumping blood gave her a small relief. She shrank and wriggled back into her skin.

“I’m sorry. I’ve tried and scoured, but…” She covered her nakedness in her ruined cloak.
“My sister bears a curse.”

She heard his breath catch and watched as he uncovered his left arm. He stared intensely at something she couldn’t see. It strangely made her heart pound.

His gaze met hers. “I can better help if I know your name.”

Her eyes tearily swam. “Sephrina.”

Last edited 2 months ago by Lunabear
Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
2 months ago

Firstborn[Aleph null sci fi]
By gregovin

In a corner of the Milky way galaxy, we saw the first ever extant alien life. We were quite disappointed to find it was simple bacteria, clinging to an otherwise desolate rock. It barely even qualified as “alive” under most biological definitions. Humanity had been voyaging for a thousand years to find this, already one hundred lightyears from their home.

Soon after, the Extraterrestrial Search Mega-Telescope cluster, a radio interferometry project with tens of thousands of extremely large telescopes spread around the Sol system, confirmed that the galactic supercluster contains no extant technologically advanced intelligent life.

Humanity is alone in the relevant portion of the universe. Humanity is the galactic firstborn. And that’s terrifying. We are the wise precursor race that is supposed to guide the new technologically advanced beings into space and/or protect them from the danger. The problem is that humanity is not particularly known for wisdom, protecting things, or being helpful.

We aren’t ready for this. We aren’t responsible enough to handle a whole freaking galactic supercluster. We can barely manage something resembling cohesion on earth! I guess it doesn’t much matter until we find an intelligent species that isn’t technologically advanced, but if we did we would probably either uplift them without a second thought, colonize them, accidentally kill them, or intentionally kill them. Each of those options seems unlikely to end well for the aliens. At least there is no galactic reapers or exterminators or anything, so we don’t have to deal with ones we didn’t accidentally cook up because someone didn’t think through the side effects of their artificially stupid paperclip maximisor.

At least we don’t know how to destroy a galaxy… yet. And at least all our civilizations are pretty resilient against themselves, so total extinction is unlikely. But yes, we’re totally screwed. Being the galactic precursors is way too much responsibility for it to go well.

Shaviathan
Shaviathan
2 months ago

Anniversary
By Shaviathan

Wulfgharn whispered a prayer to Helwran, the god of death. It was always much quieter in this portion of the forest, peaceful even. There were creatures constantly around the glade of course, but they all seemed to stay silent as if out of respect for those here to mourn. Even the winds left the grave undisturbed, their howling unable to pierce the thicket of trees surrounding this hallowed place. Before he could finish his prayer the silence was broken by a raven taking flight and the crunch of footsteps in the snow that startled it.

“Out here again,” a voice unsurprisingly said from behind. “Is it her anniversary already?”

It was Mimir, his advisor, no doubt here to retrieve him. “Five years now,” Wulfgharn replied without turning from the cairn. “And you interrupted the prayer.”

“A prayer which she would no doubt deem unnecessary. You have to stop mourning eventually.”

Wulfgharn released a sigh laden with years of regret and sorrow. “As always you are right, but I doubt her words will ever fully fade from my mind.”

The stillness returned to the glade and lingered. Wulfgharn finished his prayer and added another stone to the cairn to symbolize one more year passed since his wife’s death. Wulfgharn sat there in the snow staring at the mountain that towered over all of Valheim.

“Tell me Mimir,” he said finally breaking the silence, “How is one supposed to lead his people when he can’t even protect his own wife?”

“Sadly that is not a question I have the answer to, my Jarl. Perhaps the gods may provide better guidance.”

Wulfgharn let slip a single chuckle at this. “The gods have never been concerned with more death,” he remarked as he rose to his feet. “Now, tell me why it is you have come to fetch me.”

Last edited 2 months ago by Shaviathan
GJFuller
GJFuller
2 months ago

Tales from the Infinite Hallway: The Crown of Arthur
By Giovanna J. Fuller

“Heavy is the man who wears the crown,” she said, her voice deeper than its normal cadence. It was obvious she was trying to be spooky, but the woman’s nature did not allow for her to come across as anything other than a complete goof. She wriggled her fingers at her human companion.

Marsh glared at the witch. “It’s ‘heavy is the head who-.”

“Nah, pretty sure it was about a fat man with a crown.” Angela said and reached for the crown Marsh held. “So what’s-.”

“Nope. Not gonna happen.”

“Come oooooon!” Angela whined. “Why won’t you let me play with the shiny?”

The heavy, gold, half circlet in the man’s hand had drawn the eyes of both as soon as they entered the room. Of all the decadent treasures displayed here, this crown was the most beautiful.

The human didn’t mean to be harsh with his friend, but Angela was too much like a child. If he wasn’t firm with her, she would keep pushing till chaos reigned on earth. “No. Not after what happened last time.”

She frowned. “I just want to try it on.”

“Nothing good ever happens when you ‘just want to try’ something.” As he spoke, he kept moving the crown around so Angela couldn’t get her sticky paws on it. “This is MY adventure and I say ‘no’. We don’t even know-.”

“Yoink!” She managed to swipe the crown. “Behold! My new hat!” She placed the crown on her head. It hadn’t felt too heavy in her hands, but as soon as it rested on her head, she fell over.

“The Crown of Arthur: Only those who are worthy may wear it. The one who is found to be worthy will rule the world.” Marsh read from the Book of Everything.

From her place on the floor, Angela’s muffled voice asked, “Am I worthy?”

Marsh sighed and crouched down “I don’t think so.”

“Ok…that’s fair.” She tried to lift her head and failed. “Could you help me get up?”

The Assassin
The Assassin
2 months ago

Deathsworn
By TheAssassin

“To death!” They cried.

They died.

“For the kingdom!” They cheered.

It crumbled.

“For our king!” They chanted.

He shattered.

“So far have we fallen. So deep have we drowned. Where now is peace to be found? I cannot continue to lead. Let me wander and decay alongside their corpses. At least there I shall be of no harm. There I can lead none astray, for all in that place have already fallen to my failures.” The weathered king sighed.

Lives lost. His friends. They trusted him and their reward was damnation.

He arose in the dark dripping dungeon. His imprisonment was not of the enemy, for they had not yet arrived. It was of his own volition. Soon the broken stone of his cell would be traded for the rot of battles long lost. Their tomb his prison; The torment would still not be enough.

“For you, they fought, for you they died. For you…” the feminine voice paused, “for you, they would have died even against your word. The failure was theirs. The only sin to be yours is the loyalty you so easily earn.”

With eyes broken did the king see his wife. Beautiful… treacherous! How dare she dishonor the dead. They were wiser than to march upon that foe, wise enough to see the king for the fool he was.

“They marched upon my command; their deaths are my victory”

“You know such words are lies. Lies to escape the responsibility to lead. You are wise and bold, let not one failure collapse you. Should you fall so shall your people.”

The king bloomed with anger, “Do not dishonor the dead, witch! In them was found honor untold. In me alone was weakness… I shall bear this weight.”

“The dead are gone, and so shall we fall if you do not arise. Bury them and lead those who remain, else you dishonor them. Else their families shall burn.”

Families… perhaps… he could save them. For the dead. He would still find penitence, he would still suffer, but now, perhaps, he could lead.

One last time.

revisis
revisis
2 months ago

A King’s Choice and Burden
by Exce

The king had slumped back in his great armchair at the head of the council table. His head rested against his folded hands, eyes cast in shadow.

Silence had fallen as every man and woman of high office in the room had turned to watch the king. They had pleaded their case, argued for what they thought was right.

But the last decision would be his.

With his head bowed, nothing was visible underneath the shadow the crown cast down upon his face. Black hair fading to white framed his face from all sides, with the crown’s jewels being a colourful contrast topping it off.

What was going through his head? Some advisors called for caution; some for decisive action. But the voice ringing out loudest was of the people. They demanded blood for blood.
And no human was remotely equal to an Angel.

No matter the age.

Finally, the king seemed to come to a decision. He had lowered his hands onto the table, knuckles white with tension.

“I respect those of you who have argued for clemency, and I wish that I could do so. But…” He exhaled deeply. “Humans have more than once proven that if the punishment is not harsh enough, they will cower pretending to be sorry only to turn around and commit an even more grievous transgression.”
The King took a deep breath, then finally made his decision known.

“The humans currently residing within the embassy shall be executed for their crime, their bodies sent back to the lands they came from.”

Before any of the councillors could speak, I stepped forward, out of the shadowy balcony-alcove.
“I shall bring your judgment to the criminals, Father. I will see your justice be done.”

With that, I turned, putting the helmet I had carried under my arm back on as I walked out into the hallway.

“Ubvoriel!”

I stopped at that, looking back towards my father as he called me, before giving the door a kick.

The voice cut off as the door closed, and I walked down the hallways towards my amassed men.

MasaCur
MasaCur
2 months ago

The Safety of the Empire
By MasaCur

Victoria stared at her cup of tea, having long since gone cold. She felt numb.

“Your Majesty, I’m sorry to disturb you,” John Conway said. “There’s a Mr. Marcus Richard here. I tried to send him away, but he says he is with the Bureau of Public Safety, and he refuses to leave.”

Victoria took a deep breath “No, I will see him.”

After a few minutes, Conway returned with a tall man with a dark mustache.

“Mr. Marcus Richard,” Conway announced.

Richard bowed. “Your Majesty.”

“How may I help you Mr. Richard?” Victoria asked. A touch of eagerness crept into her voice.

“I trust you are unharmed, Ma’am. I’m glad to see my agents came through in the end.”

“Your agents? That girl my guards accidentally shot? And the man she was with. Doyle, was it?”

Richard smiled. “That girl would be Cassidy Markham. She and Doyle are two of my best.”

“Well, then, I guess I should thank you and your department for saving my life. How is Miss Markham?”

“Wouldn’t be the first time she got shot,” Richard replied. “It also probably won’t be the last. Markham is a stubborn girl. I doubt she’ll retire over this.”

There was a long silence before Victoria spoke again. “Do you know who was behind the assassination attempt?”

Richard nodded. “Yes, we know perfectly well who planned it, Ma’am. Dr. Magnus Van Nilsson. He’s behind the republican movement in the Empire. Doyle and Markham have been tracking him for months.”

Victoria nodded gloomily. “I expect that they will try to kill me again.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I suspect they will. And we will do what it takes to prevent that from happening.”

“But if–”

“With all due respect, Ma’am,” Richard interrupted. “That will not happen on my watch.”

Victoria ignored the breach in decorum. “Yes, but, how many times will you be able to save me?”

Richard grinned. “The only purpose of the Bureau is to keep the Empire safe. You are the Empire. I will stop at nothing to keep you alive, Ma’am.”

Lari B.Haven
Lari B.Haven
2 months ago

Crowned with a curse
by Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

“Think of what is best for him.” The Count said with an arrogant tone. “His mother is ‘unwell’, and you are a businessman… The boy will be better staying under my care.”

The words had a bitter taste in his mouth. The whole tone of the conversation seemed off. Carlos sent his wife to the hospital on the day before, and her grandfather was already in their house, offering to take their child away. He was a sly man; Carlos needed to stand his ground.

“I might not be a man of name, but I’m more than capable of handling my son’s education. It’s my duty as a father.” Carlos responded annoyed.

“When you married into this family, you knew that I expected to keep a particular level of excellence.” He gave a piercing stare. “All of my children and grandsons were abject failures in this aspect, all of them failed my standards. Even your beloved wife. But little Luis is a blank slate, only I could make him the next Count.”

“Let’s quit the flattering, Count Alvarez. I respect you, but I will not put my son under the Damocles sword. I know you too well.” Carlos raised his tone.

“Oh, Mr. Anderson, it’s not a sword, it’s a gift.” The old man smirked. “The only one that matters: My power.”

Carlos responded with disdain. “Your power is empty to me. If my son ever desires a crown, he will work for it.”

“I see..” The count raised from his chair, displeased. “I admire a man that is not afraid to stand me.”

He headed to the door, and Carlos followed. The conversation had ended. The Count turned to the street, but not without leaving with an alarming grin.
“Beware, Mr. Anderson. I always have my way!”

He closed the door and crumpled onto the floor. Something in him always left Carlos shaken to the core.

Carlos didn’t believe in curses, but that man… The Count would do whatever to make Luis carry that cursed crown.

Astrid Jones
2 months ago

The Care and Keeping of Humans
by Astrid Jones

Keeping one human alive is hard enough. But caring for two? It is exhausting. They are absolutely incapable of looking after themselves. I am not sure how they managed to elude the Shadow Creatures before I came along. But I am here now, and they are the safest they have ever been, though they do not know it.

The pair of them have a terrible habit of sleeping at the same time. I have tried to teach them the error of their ways. My lessons often result in an offering of food at the crude alter they created for me. Humans, as a whole, are incredibly dense. They do not yet understand that I am trying to educate them about the wiles of the Shadow Creatures. But I will not turn away their offering. I will instead use the sustenance to stay awake all night and protect them.

I sometimes wonder if they cannot see or hear the Shadow Creatures. I must often walk with one of my humans to ensure they do not stumble into the enemy’s grasp. My humans occasionally step on me as I clear their path. Such an offense frequently results in an embarrassing thing I believe they call “cuddling” or something equally ridiculous.

I often wish they knew how to better protect themselves from the Shadow Creatures. I am the descendant of a god. I should not have to put all this work into protecting anything. But these two humans make offerings to me in abundance. If I let the Shadow Creatures take them, who will be left to worship me? I shall continue to keep them safe in return for their adoration, even though it is exhausting.

Matthew
Matthew
2 months ago

A Strange Request
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

It had been another serene autumn afternoon. After a long day of work, both Astrid and Leah retreated to the safety of a few layers of blankets on the coach. There, they kept out the chilly autumn breezes. Together, they lay, watching their fireplace crackle as the evening light faded.

“Hey, Leah?” Astrid asked Leah suddenly.

“Yeah?” She responded, drifting from her light nap.

“D-did anything about that spider seem… weird to you last night?”

“Besides the fact that it was in MY kitchen? Not really. Why?” Leah sighed. “You ok?”

“It’s just… Nothing honestly.” Astrid said. “I guess I’m just worried for the little guy.”

“He’s a spider, honey.” Leah teased. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“Yeah.”

Astrid leaned back, but she couldn’t shake the building dread in her stomach. ‘That spider was definitely talking, last night.’ she thought. ‘But what did it want? And who is this Loki character?’

Finally, she got up from the sofa, knocking Leah from her spot. “I’m going for a quick walk, Leah. I’ll be back soon.”

“Uh-ok!” was all she could get out before Astrid rushed outside.

It was already getting dark. Astrid trekked roughly to the spot she remembered leaving the spider. There was nothing there.

“Loki!” Astrid cried out. “Loki, I was told to ask for you?!”

As she stood there, watching the trees, she began to notice some movement. All around her, spiders were climbing down from the trees and approaching her.

“L-Loki?” she asked as the spiders formed a ring around her. When they completed their formation, the world came to a halt. It went silent.

“Ahhhh. You came back,” a whispered voice came from the darkness.

“Y-yes. I saved a spider who knew you?” asked Astrid.

“I am Loki. Patron of spiders.” He said in a thick Nordic accent. “I have a request for you.”

“W-what is i-it?” Astrid asked.

“I will teach you the secrets of the gods.” He continued. “In exchange, you will become my conduit to this plane.” He smiled.

“You will allow me to again spread my influence across the land.” He finished.

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
2 months ago

The Crown of Bones
By Twangyflame0

William Bracus stood before the dark throne. The sky outside was raining hard. It sounded like blood splattering against the glass. The undead stood in ordered rows, his own dark legion. But he saw those in-between his legionnaires. Those voices that gnawed at him. That reminded him of what he already knew. That reminded him of what he has done. That shouted at him in his sleep.

He looked down at his calloused hands. He knew what he had to do. He made the deal. He couldn’t go back on it. Or could he…

“No, you can’t.” The Voice said, standing by the throne, holding the crown, his burden. “You yourself wanted to change the world, and we have given you the power to do so. You have chosen your path, William.”

“Did I though?”

“For what do you mean, Lord Necromancer?”

William looked out to the rain-filled sky. “How does one make decisions for themself when the world already decides what they are?”

“If the world does not allow for free will, then that world should be destroyed.”

“And what of things that were never wrong, to begin with.” William could feel the pain of those happy days when he still had the living around him.

“Did you think changing the world would be easy?”

“No. To change the world requires one to be prepared to die.” His footsteps echoed through the hall.

The Voice held up the crown. “Yes and this is what the Crown of Bones is for. Made from all your love, ambition, hate, and many sacrifices. It is the epitome of your strife, Lord Necromancer.”

William took the crown and looked down at it. Was this truly what he was? A broken skull with thorns coming out of it. He sighed. “I suppose that is correct.”

William turned around and slowly put on the crown. He was back in his old room. He held a blade and plunged it into his old self. He broke the mirror. He buried his loved ones again. And he let the Voice’s madness take hold.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
2 months ago

Katrina Hostrin
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

It was everything she’d ever wanted, Witherleaf’s President Katrina Hostrin told herself, slouched over her desk.

Magic, in all its misunderstood nonsense, now had a place of study. Witherleaf Archives and Laboratories was the only place in the world where magic was researched and analysed. Some magi-scientists had started teaching classes on magic control, probably preventing at least a dozen accidents before they ever happened.

And she was its President.

Hostrin glanced at the framed photograph on her bookshelf. It was taken ten years ago in front of the entrance to the first Witherleaf building; a group photo of the sixteen original founders.

Three of them died in a lab accident a year later. Four more left within the next six months. Of the rest, all but one were still employed at Witherleaf.

Hostrin stared at the young lady she stood next to in the photo.

Tasha had been brilliant. She truly deserved her title of magi-scientist. She was intelligent, methodical, and simply beautiful.

Then she started throwing around theories.

All sixteen of the founders had awoken from the catalyst event twelve years ago, and found out they could do impossible things. And their research proved that the effects of that day, and that day alone, gave other people their magic as well.

So when Tasha claimed magic was an ancient thing, with history and artifacts, she was laughed at. Katrina had even cracked jokes herself. Until she fired her.

Witherleaf never fired anyone, but something needed to be done. And as President, Hostrin signed the notice of dismissal.

And yet…

Hostrin took a slow, deep breath, fingers sparking on her poor, abused stress ball.

She didn’t know why people wanted her as President. Tasha voted for her, and look what happened. Hostrin was good at the job, sure, but she just wanted the research and knowledge to have its place in the world.

Her stress ball started smoking. Hostrin took her hands off it.

The clock read 20:23. Had she eaten dinner? Probably not.

She sighed, grabbed her coat, and left the building. She’d deal with this later.

Connor/Dragoneye
Connor/Dragoneye
2 months ago

The Beast of Night
By Connor/Dragoneye

Hot, crimson blood.

Yael’s vision whipped back into the darkness, a void in which cold black water swirled beneath his feet. “No, no, no! Who was that mongrel? A Morcidian soldier? A mere man?”

As he continued to pace, his spirit swelled in fury, and his steps turned into stomps. “I. Am. An. Ash Lord! When I’m back, I’ll tear his throat out, paint his home with his blood, and make his guts spill! And I-and I’ll lap it all up as he looks in despair!”

Yael tried to muster up a howl, one that struck fear into his enemies, and yet, while the rage within him began to fester, there was a dread that hung over him. He thought back to the moments before, where that man plunged a blade into his throat. His sight faded from the wound of an exhausted and desperate warrior, his shield shattered and helmet missing. A glimmer thrummed in his enemy’s eyes, perhaps primal instinct. A man who feared death.

Dwelling within the Mother of Night’s domain whenever his mortal shell perished made Yael’s blood boil, since he couldn’t freely run amok, giving in to his bestial nature. But, did he fear it too? Was he like that mere man?

The distraught Ash Lord slumped into the pool of water, his body quivering in agony. “Help me, Mother! I… I… I’m afraid.” Tears began to stream from his soldered eyes, covering in cloth.

“Mother of Night, you give me life again and again and again, and yet I fear it. I burned my eyes to dust so that I would trust you, and yet I do not. I was trusting my own power. Please, take this crown from me. This crown of death. It weighs upon me, and heavily so,” he murmured through sobbing.

The sizzling wave of dread crumbled to a cool breeze as a long stretching shadow loomed over him. The echo of a gentle hand lifted his head up towards the umbra above him.

“Child. Your arrogance is no more.”

DesOttsel
DesOttsel
2 months ago

The throne lies empty while he sleeps
by Gage Jarman (give my spot to Calliope)

There was nothing. A place devoid of any detail or contrast. No floor. No temperature. No guide. The prince stood in grey fog. He felt pain in his neck and touched it gingerly. Warm blood, bright blood, thick blood coated his fingers. Consciousness came pouring back into his essence.

“How could father… I’m not prepared, not for that. A whole kingdom to govern and I hadn’t even led a hunt, let alone an army. How could I live up to his name, to his crown? The generals and councilors and dukes could surely do better in my stead. My inexperience would only. I would bring his people ruin. I would only fail.”

A blinding light burned through the fog. The prince shielded himself from the radiance.

“So, that’s what you believe? How pitiful. How truly lost is your soul?” A gentle voice came floating out of the light.

“Who speaks? Show-show yourself.”

“You avert your gaze.”

“Ahh, it’s like looking into the sun!” The prince held out his hands

“My mistake. Sinners are always so blind.”

Six shadows, six wings shrouded the light, dampening it, but pure rays still shown through the cracks.

“A-a sinner…” The sound caught in the prince’s throat.

“You still clutch that.”

The prince looked down. His bloody dagger was in his grasp. “Why is–” His hand shot up, and the blade slit his throat. He collapsed clutching his throat before recovering through some divine means. The prince huffed, “hah hah, what are–” The dagger slit his throat once more.

“Words cut short. A life. Is this not your will? You thought you’d be free? Free from pain? Mortals are such fools. It’s no wonder you garner such oversight.”

“…”

“Good, seems you have relented for now. Listen closely, it’s a rare instance, and should you ignore… well, Shoel is far from overflowing.”

“Not Hell?”

“Oh, that doesn’t exist. Theologians are a conceited bunch. Now, you can’t flee from fate, Charles. Your load must be borne by you and you alone. Do not shirk your duty and struggles and pain onto those in your company again. ”

Last edited 2 months ago by DesOttsel
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
2 months ago

A Dream of Empty Thrones
By Calliope Rannis

Upon a cliff, she stood between the two emptied thrones, looking out at her majestic landscape. Above, the clouds of Kord’s storm had been burned away into clear orange sky. Below, the Raven Queen’s icy sea was shattered, melting under the glare of her swollen yellow sun.

Finally, it was done. No more would the people have to live in fear of the Storm Lord’s furious temper. No more would young, promising lives be snuffed out to feed the Queen’s insatiable desire for tragedy. She would be better. She would be a better god than either of them could EVER be.

She reached a hand out to touch one of the thrones, only to suddenly stop. Her hand…was hard, angular and translucent, coated in frost. Beneath the cloudy glass of the hand’s surface, sizzling plasma glowed where her bones used to be – and yet, she felt no pain, or heat, or cold. She felt nothing. At all.

She pulled her hand back to her face, petrified fingers touching a face more crystalline than flesh. She smelt blood, and tasted ash. Through her skull, she could hear her eyes hissing with electricity. She…she-she was-

She turned away, clutching her head, and behind her she saw destruction and death. The craters, the ruins, the wastes. The blasted, the mangled, the drowned, the burnt, the lost. The innocent, the undeserving, the unknowing-

She tried to close her eyes from the horrific sight, but she didn’t have eyelids anymore.

She forced her head downwards, seeing the path of blood and mud and bone end at her robes, soaked with dark fluid and dust. Below her feet were the splintered bodies of two gods that had once sat on nearby thrones. The gods that she had hated so much, and loved-

Nyssa woke up in an eruption of sparks, clawing at her face. Then, after the initial shock had passed – after she had felt the softness of her skin, breathed in the musty air, slowly blinking in the muffled moonlight – she curled up into a ball in her oversized tavern bed, and wept.