Hello, amnesiacs and adoptees.
What’s in a name? Were you offered a chance to start over as someone else, would you take that opportunity? To no longer be yourself. To know not who you will become. Would a fresh start be worth losing your identity? The time has come to tell us who you are, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Given a New Name
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!
Quite the interesting one this week, hm? So much meaning can be simply in a name alone. To be given a new name… that holds a whole other kind of significance to it. It’s not just choosing a name. It’s also changing a name from what it used to be.
A prime, and rather wholesome example of this is when one decides to adopt a pet from a shelter, going through all the paperwork and assigning the pet a new name if they so choose. Another example is scientists finding a new planet or star far off outside of their home solar system. Alternatively, it could be a race of aliens deciding to make our planet their home, but changing its name from Earth to something else, perhaps something meaningful in their native language. It could be an adventurer lost in the woods as they search for this coveted great beast, only to come across a small, secluded village that calls the beast something else. It can even be as simple as a bride finally taking her new husband’s family name as the wedding bells toll.
Perhaps the given name isn’t even wanted. It could be a mother who has been given a son, but wanted a daughter, and forces the child to go by a name she would have given her daughter. Maybe it’s a race of vampires that are called a rather demeaning name by the human populace of the city they inhabit. It could even be a demon who has made accidental friends with a human who keeps messing up the demon’s name. It can even be some evil overlord that’s been mistaken as a pet, and while the owner can’t understand its new companion, the overlord very much understands how not-so-intimidating the name “Mister Pookyflooflekins” is.
So venture forth and introduce — or reintroduce — us to the colourful cast of characters you bring to life. Show us what a name can mean, what it can be worth.
To quote the fair Juliet, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
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 four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two 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!
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What to Submit
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- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Reforge A Broken Killer (Repost From Private)
By The Wandering Mind (aka Cansas)
“What is your name?”
“My name… is Elda,”
Malacom sighed in exasperation. The Wolf Lord was pleased that he created such a determined soul, but frustrated that he could not break and retrain her.
“You’re only prolonging your pain, Dale,” he said with false sympathy.
A raspy cry erupted from Elda’s throat as Malacom dug his talon like claws into her flesh.
“You are Dale Lykrus, commander of the Gundulf Army.”
Elda wanted to die, bound to that table, sweat and tears pouring down her face. There was no escape; her body fused itself back together before death could free her. But she wasn’t about to give Malacom what he wanted.
Elda spat in his face. “My name is Elda.”
“You inherited my endurance,” Malacom said smiling. He wiped her saliva from his boney face. “Unfortunately, you also inherited your mother’s empathy. Warmonger, come here.”
A hunched over figure scuttled into the small room. It was a gundulf. The gundulves were a kind of wolf Malacom mutated and conditioned to serve him.
“Yes, my lord,” Warmonger said bowing before Malacom.
“Ready the cage.”
“Yes, my lord” Warmonger said grinning then scuttled off.
Malacom stroked Elda’s face.
“Let’s see how long it takes to smother that fiery soul of yours.” He spoke softly, but the words cut like steel.
Elda surrendered after the second day in the cage. She had no problem killing the drunken idiots Malacom sent in. But when he sent a young man, who’s wife and son were being held by the gundulves, she refused.
Malacom gave the man to the gundulves. His wife and son watched the gundulves slowly tear him apart, before suffering the same fate.
After that day, Elda slaughtered every man woman and child Malacom sent in.
On the 634th day Malacom saw the last spark in Elda’s soul die, as she choked a man to death without so much as blinking.
He waited one more month, then knelt in front of her and asked, “what is your name.”
“Dale Lykrus, commander of the Gundulf Army,” she replied.
The summoned ghost was muttering again. Gibbering to itself. It’s appearance a body blubbery and folded, like a fat man who had suddenly lost all his bones, now lying as a lump of reddish meat.
“Again, spirit. What is your name?” I uttered in an exasperated tone.
“I have forgotten my new name,” the spirit said clearly despite its jaw flopping about.
I paused in irritation. So, it was a Pirithian spirit. They are the only modern ethnicity to practice giving a new name to their dead upon death.
“Very well, what is your old name?”
“I am not that name.”
“Alright, what was your name when you were a living breathing person?”
“It has been so long since I drew breath. What was it like? It is all muddled in my memories. Who am I?”
I sighed, “A question for the ages.” I turned again to the spirit. “What can I call you?”
“I think I am an Ublub.”
Nonsense, but useful enough. “Very well Ublub, I command you. Tell me, who was it that murdered you?”
The spirit began to wail, apparently from remembering its traumatic death.
I paused in sympathy for its pain. “I am sorry it torments you spirit, but I must know otherwise people will continue to be murdered.”
A dribble of snot oozed over its folds. It snickered, “I am the murderer.”
For a moment I stood there dumbfounded. Was it more nonsense? Could this spirit have been the murderer of the other victims? It was possible given the evidence. Even as I stood there pondering, the spirit moved against me! Now a levitating boneless body, a suit of flesh, now raised up with malevolence. The terrible specter rushed at me, but the wards between us crackled and held. The spirit shrieked again against the pentagram, and the wards began to fail!
I drew myself up shouting, “Ublub, I banish you!” And like a candle flame snuffed out, the spirit was gone. Now the real work begins, bringing a ghost to justice.
By G.J. H.
Leo licked his paws and contently stretched his body across the warm stones. Suddenly a loud noise spooked him, and he whirled around to face the front of a car, approaching with absurd speed. He tried to get out of the way, darted towards the house, but it was too late. The car hit him.
When he opened his eyes again, he was laying on a pillow inside a large room. The Pillow was on top of a couch with a shallow table in front of it and near the back end of the room was a large, old looking cabinet. The Proportions seemed to be somehow off. Everything seemed to be bigger than it should be. Where was he?
There was a noise behind his back and suddenly a small girl excitedly jumped onto the sofa next to him.
“It is so cute!”
As she started to pat him, he realized what must have happened. It was not that everything was to big, it was he who was much smaller.
“I’ll call you…”, she paused for a moment and seemed to be thinking very hard, “Kitty!”
Kitty?! Really? He had been Morris, Furry, Fluff and Leo but Kitty was a new low point. Humans were not very inventive with Cat names, children especially.
He tried to claw at the girl for that stupid name, but all he managed was a clumsy wave of his paws. There were no proper claws on them anyway.
A woman entered the room, smiling as she regarded the girl, who was still stroking his fur despite his best efforts.
“And I can keep him, Mommy?”
“Yes, you can keep him, but you must look after him.”
“I will! I will look after you, Kitty.”
I peeked around the corner to see why it was so noisy. I spied mommy arguing with auntie in the middle of our small living room. It was hard to hear what exactly they were saying, something about me and “a bomb in Nathan” which sounded really scary. I didn’t know any Nathans though, how did Nathan swallow a whole bomb? Then auntie started yelling again.
“For the love of God Abigal, enough is enough! This needs to stop now!” Auntie always gave me the strangest looks. Especially when mommy wasn’t looking.
“Stop this and go back to what Kev? The hell I was in before?! You wouldn’t understand, you couldn’t!”
“You’re right. But I’m pretty damn sure I know that you can’t try and pretend that everything is okay either. You can’t pretend nothing happened Abi!” Auntie stopped talking and slumped into the chair behind her. “For his sake Abi, you gotta confront this…and accept it.” Auntie looked at mommy, she looked like she was about to cry.
Mommy wouldn’t look at her though. She turned herself away and brought her hands to her mouth like a prayer, right under her nose. Her eyes started to water too, but her voice was cracking.
“I can’t go on without him Kev.”
“I can’t keep living without my baby.”
Tears started rushing down her face as she started to sob. I ran towards her, bumping into the half open trash can on the way. A crumpled up sheet fell out. I ran towards mommy and hugged as hard as I could. She kept crying but scooped me up and held me close.
“I’m sorry Tyson, did we wake you?” Mommy cried. I just kept hugging. “Let’s go to bed dear.” Her sobs softened as she slowly cradled me towards my room. She stepped on the crumpled up sheet and a part of it straightened out. It seemed familiar. Something about a “Child Droid T50N model” was written on it. It looked really similar to that box that I saw just a few days ago. A box big enough for me.
(Reposted from Private)
The name was Malice’s favorite part.
Scouting talent was a thrill. There was a discovery in each puzzle piece of a person. And watching them finally perform was always a joy.
But the name made them hers.
Clair, Malice suspected, was not her real name.
A giant of a woman, draped in midnight velvet and cupping a crystal ball, had appeared from the ether in the mouth of the tent. She’d be joining the circus, she’d said, and she’d come with a name to match the crescent mirrors dangling from her ears.
Clair de Lune.
How could Malice refuse?
Richard, Malice knew, was not nearly a grand enough name.
A short, dense man in an old leather jacket had gotten into a fist fight behind the big top. He’d broken his first attacker’s nose, then shattered the kneecap on a second, all the while shouting that he was always stronger, always better.
The Strongman Achilles.
In retrospect a bit backhanded, but appropriate, Malice thought.
If the Angel had ever had a name, Malice had never known it.
A thin, masculine figure had been breaking into the fun house, wearing a cloak and the mask of a grinning devil. It’d stalk the rooms to spook stragglers into her set traps, shrieking with laughter. Then it reached the hall of mirrors, where the mask would come off, and it’d stare into the halo fanning out from its temples with a loathing sharpened to a razor’s edge.
Malice felt it was perfect.
Mary Alice, she remembered.
A little girl, her hair pulled up in a purple ribbon, had gotten lost at the circus. The swirling colors, the screaming sounds. The chaos had felt like coming home, as if this was where she’d always belonged. She had wandered before the mirrors too. They had shown her a grin of jagged teeth.
The name was always her favorite.
“This body isn’t going to last much longer,” Dearmuid thought to himself.
“Wait what?” his inner voice asked. “We’re only like, 40. Surely we have a while to go right?”
“I’m sorry. I probably should have told you sooner. I’m taking up half your lifespan.”
Dearmuid had grown quite attached to his host. The real Dearmuid. They met when the host was only a boy, crying in the shop because he lost his mom. Jacob, as he was known then, took his name. It was quite the shock to young Dearmuid to see a man collapse like that. It helped in finding his mum though.
As he crossed the bridge towards the cathedral, he felt it. His heart sputtered. Next thing he knew he’s lying on his back. An ambulance nurse beside him. A pretty young woman. “You’re going to be ok. You’ve had an arrhythmia. The AED brought you back.”
“Are you going to leave now? Are you going to let me die now? Like you did to Jacob?” the voice in his head asked, fear rushing through his mind.
“I’m sorry,” Dearmuid replied. “I have to. It’s not easy for me either. I really liked you.”
“Do you know where you are?” the nurse asked.
“Nun’s Island in Galway, right?”
“Just across the bridge, but very good. Can you tell me your name?”
“I’m Dearmuid, can I have yours?” he asked, reaching out as if he had asked for an object.
The nurse took his hand and with a smile she said: “I’m Niamh. Pleased to meet you.”
The AED started screaming. Dearmuids body went limp. He’d gone into full on cardiac arrest this time. She tried to give chest compressions, but her body responded slowly this time. Like she was drunk.
“Nice to meet you, Niamh,” she thought to herself. “I’m sorry to see him go. He was such a nice lad. Do you think we can be friends?”
Janus Station was an unremarkable place in the cosmos. Everyone from immigrants to refugees passed through the small, spartan station for fuel and supplies then carried on. But the influx of customers were so sporadic it made the station’s small crew of five more annoyed that business interrupted their reading or their naps more than anything else.
Secretly, they wanted to be in these conflicts; an opportunity for the kind of riches and glory most aimless youths crave. They saw the vids, the conflicts, and became enraptured in the spectacle. Anything to be away from this tin box on some nowhere moon orbiting a barren ice ball of nothing in the great big travel belt of who cares.
That is until their newest customer entered. The ship was a nightmare of wires and panels haphazardly sautered on to the shattered corpse of a fighter. If it had any symbols or colors to fly, they were long worn away by blast marks and the helter skelter repairs made to the hull. Upon landing, it groaned and protested like it was being tortured.
The pilot looked even worse. He limped to the atrium, a mess of bloodied bandages and emaciated flesh with a sidearm at the ready. The man at the desk was terrified to his core, both at the stranger’s immediate shift to violence, and by the cruel and harsh gaze that met him through his mask of gauze.
“What…what do you want?” he croaked.
“Fuel. Medicine.” He spoke plainly, never lowering his firearm. “And tell your friends about to send that distress beacon to not bother. They’ll be dead for the effort and I’ll be long gone.” The stranger barked as a co-worker dropped to his knees, letting a data pad fall to the ground.
“Pathetic overemotional children,” he spat before turning his attention back to the one behind the desk.
“I… I can’t begin the service until I have a name.” he squeaked.
“Then tell me…who do I look like to you?”
“Broken…you look Broken.”
Broken smiled through his wrappings….
Given a New Name
For centuries I have floated through the unforgiving blackness of space…. cold, alone. I have lost the memory of what preceded me. Searching for a name, all I can only recall are feelings of being discarded, forgotten. Yet my name lives in whispers, too dark to speak aloud. But I haven’t forgotten everything, they cannot make me forget.
I need to crush my enemies… and they’re all my enemies.
Looking around, the evidence is that I have been imprisoned. Left alone in the dark reaches of space. Abandoned so that even my worshippers have forgotten my name. But they left clues, foolish mortals. They couldn’t cover all their tracks. Those who had imprisoned me must have hoped the eons of isolation would cause my memory to fail. That I would forget my sworn oaths to my enemies. But they have failed.
Although broken and incomplete, my worshipers left me signs and hints about my past. Tales written on the pages of blood-stained books. Stories scratched on skin ripped from the living bodies of my foes.
I have learned I was an enchantress. My worshipers followed my voice. Everything I said, no matter how vile or deceitful, was taken as an inspired revelation. No matter how profane, they loved and cherished every word I said. My followers were happy to do my bidding, even if it caused their deaths, for the alternative was unplanned chaos… and this their minds simply could not grasp.
They sang my praises as they died by the thousands. For I, like them, was an outsider. A being of purpose lost in the vast uncharted fragments of time. But unlike them, I could take my revenge.
Those who have imprisoned me thought they had won, but they deceived only themselves. As long as there is hate, I survive. As long as there are those who others look down upon, I thrive. I feed on injustice… and where there is none, I shall bring it forth.
Now I have been given a new name. Now I am The Destroyer.
A Different Place (A tale of Ruth’s Travels)
By Preserves Roses
Ruth looked down at the small empty book they had pressed into her hand so that she could keep track of her travels. She finally had a quiet space to think over the significance of this gift. Since stepping through a blue door, standing alone in the middle of nowhere, she had landed in an isolated village, surrounded by an unfamiliar forest. The language spoken here was very similar to her own, but a dialect different enough to cause her some confusion. The people though had been understanding, and had given her a place with them.
She had told them her name was Ruth, but they refused to call her that. They had given her a name that at first seemed to mean World Traveller. Only they said it with a bit of reverence, as if she was something akin to a miracle walking around among them. They had odd ideas about how she should behave as well. They insisted she carry her bag of belongings around with her at all times, and they kept putting bits of dried food in it. They seemed to think the idea to travel would pop into her head and she would disappear from their lives suddenly, never to return.
She turned the book over in her hand, feeling the smooth leather of the cover. After the several weeks she had been here, she realized the name they now called her was a bit different than she originally thought. The accurate translation was really “Traveller Between Worlds.” Her experiment with a magical portal spell hadn’t just sent her several thousand miles south: she was truly on a different world. She could not find the coast and book passage on a ship for home, as she had originally thought. Facing this truth brought up many painful, and unanswerable questions: Where was she? How could she get home? Could the people here help her? What did they know?
Her mind buzzed as she faced her new truth. She had become an aimless wanderer at the mercy of a magical wind.
Named by New Friends (Tales from Alsuria)
By Claire Aslesen (ThatWeirdFish)
Dresden sat nervously between the two elven hunters and stared down at the strange food before him. It looked edible enough. In the center of the mat, the large dish held golden grains mixed with… vegetables? Or was it meat? He hoped it wasn’t meat. Especially with those colors. On either side of the main dish lay the sides: a platter stacked with a moss-colored flatbread and a bowl of suspiciously apple-like fruits. Unfamiliar spices singed his nose as their scent wafted off the main dish.
The hunters’ excited conversation quieted with the giant’s deep voice as he sang a blessing over the food. The hair on the back of Dresden’s neck stiffened when he felt the four eyes of the giant resting on him. Even more so when he looked up to see the six other hunters seated around the mat look expectantly at him.
“It is customary for the guest to eat first,” Said the giant kindly. He gestured with one of his four arms over the spread, “please.”
Heat flushed in Dresden’s cheeks. Stiffly the teen grabbed one of the fruits. It felt apple-ish enough, maybe a little bit more dense than usual. As he brought it close, he caught a whiff of the sour tang of the fruit. He hesitated a moment.
Bitter! Dear God, was it bitter! He gaged on the sharp flavor that lingered on his tongue. The hunters burst into laughter. Even the giant smiled at the teen’s expense.
The hunter to his left slapped Dresden’s back as the teen sputtered and said something in their native language. They picked up the fruit and showed him how to peel back the thick waxy shell. He offered the bare fruit back to Dresden.
Like an older brother, they grinned. “Karnata.” The hunter said.
“Wha-what did he say?” Dresden coughed.
“He is giving you a name.” The giant explained.
“A name?” Confused, Dresden absently took the fruit back. “What does it mean?”
The hunters laughed and made jokes and called Dresden by his new name.
So much for good first impressions.
New Ship, New Name
By Alexander (BrokenEarth)
Three men, wearing clothes that might’ve been fancy once, stumbled onto their ship. They were obviously drunk, although they would deny it if you asked.
“Raise the- the sails.” The tallest one slurred, his hands on the wheel. The other two went and did that, their muscle memory beating out their drunkenness.
Soon, the ship was ready to go, and the second tallest began raising the anchor, with the shortest soon joining.
In hardly any time at all, the ship was moving across the waves with as much of a care as those on it. The tall one was loosely holding the wheel, the second was sleeping, and the shortest was humming passively.
This went on for some time, until the second tallest woke up, not quite sober, but almost.
“I had this- this dream.” He said excitedly. “We were on the ship- What’s it called again? Merriweather? So we was on the Merriweather, and-”
The tall one cut him off.
“The Merriweather burned, you idiot.” He hiccuped.
“Well, what’s this ship called then? ‘Cuz in the dream, we was-” The shortest cut him off this time.
“I think it’s called Merry, in favor of the ol’ miss.” He said.
“That’s a dumb name, there’s no way I’d let this ship go by it! We called it Dragonstar, for the way the ol’ miss looked on her way to the grave.”
“Well, what I was saying-” The second tallest was cut off again, to his annoyance.
“No, then it’ve been called The Firebrig, ‘cuz the ol’ miss kept the fire from spreading.” He reasoned.
The tall one began to speak, but the second tallest was the one to cut him off.
“Then we can call it the Drunken Mess, in favor of how you two carry on! Interruptin’ me at every turn!” He shouted.
The other two laughed at the absurd name, and it proved infectious and soon the second tallest was laughing as well. They hadn’t had a laugh in a while, and it felt good.
“Then it’s settled! We sail on the Drunken Mess!” The tall one declared.
The Boy Who Once Was King
By: Corporal Silver
Young Edward, clad in rough shirts and hosen, could barely hold back tears as the servants ushered him away from the river. Behind him lay London, cold, dirty, and bloody. Up ahead, where the road passed into a wooded thicket, was a merchant’s wagon loaded with horse feed and large rolls of undyed wool. Before the cart stood two men. One he recognized as his uncle, the 3rd Earl of Rivers, the other was a stranger, a middle-aged man in foreign clothes. Rivers approached Edward and laid a hand on his shoulder, as though he were about to give the boy words of assurance, but the Earl averted his watery eyes and barely uttered…
“You’ll be alright, Edward. You’ll be alright,” and walked away.
The stranger approached, studying the sandy-haired boy before him. “It is good to meet you…Nicolas,” he had a thick Flemish accent, and his gaze pierced the boy’s skull when he uttered that name, Nicolas.
“I am not Nicolas, I am Edward Plantagenet, fifth of that name, Prince of Wales and King of England.”
The stranger grabbed him by he chin and sqeezed his mouth into a pucker, “Now we’ll have no more talk of that kind…Nicolas. I am called Jehan de Werbecque, of Tournai. You, Nicolas, are my son.”
“You are not. My father is dead.”
This time he was answered with a strike to cheek, “No more of that talk. We go to Pipaix, where you will receive a good education, away from the thorns of white roses and the tusks of boars.” Then Jehan turned and called up to a surly youth who sat hunched over in the driver’s seat of the cart, “Perkin! Your new brother is ready to come home. Welcome him and let us be one our way.”
The youth sneered boorishly at the former king, whose head sagged as Jehan’s large hand ushered him into the back of the cart, to sit amidst itchy piles of wool. It was the last bit of home Edward would feel before a boy named Nicolas was bound for a strange land.
By: The Storysmith
Averagehuman773 opens his eyes. He double-taps his temple, a screen appears in a sphere around him.
“Welcome Averagehuman773, what would you like today?”
“Half cup of satisfaction, extra creamy.”
“Take me to notifications please.”
“Can do, bye!” The screen turns green.
“Averagehuman483 has invited you to a party!”
“New limited edition blue squid hat, available only Y2Z market”
“Wheel of fortune, just say SPIN to win!!!!!”
“Spin?” Averagehuman773 winces as violently bright colors flash across his face
“40.79TRILLION XP, YOU HAVE UPGRADED TO…” A drum roll plays for a bit too long in the background “TRANSCENDENT!!!” trumpet noises blast through his ears as he smiles a bewildered-looking smile.
“Transcendent?!?!?! But… how… how many users have this title?”
“You are in the 0.000000000000000000002 percentile, in other words, it’s just you!”
“Oh my developer!” he whispers “Just me?”
“Read the list of perks please”
“Infinite money, some neat new house decorations, an exotic pet called a “cat”, the knowledge of my real name, the truth of the universe, and a commemorative mug that says “I am literally the best user in the word so deal with it!”.”
“What is your real name than”
“Interesting, what about that universal truth thing?”
“That will have paperwork you know”
“I can handle it,” he says with a smile that fades as he sees hundreds of files load up in his letterbox.
File one says “are you sure you want to know the truth (yes/no)… sign here”. File two “are you sure you want to know the truth (yes/no)… sign here”. File three “blah blah blah blah truth blah blah blah sign here”.
The truth is hard.
By MysteryElement (also in private)
Empty. Every set of eyes amongst this scattering of children were empty. Everyone knew of the Changeling Protective Service, everyone knew there were orphans caught between our two worlds, but I had never realized how many. One of the clerks was showing me around, droning on about adoption protocols and how long and arduous they were, but the words seemed to float past me, ethereal and difficult to retain.
“If you are uncertain about adopting, it would be better if you left. Half-baked pity does not get far here.” The morose elven clerk looked impatient.
“I’m sorry, I am just…”
My excuse is waved away with a dismissive hand.
“Take a look around, see if anyone will talk to you.” They abruptly turn away and take a seat on the far wall.
As I walked around the room I realized what the clerk had meant. Almost all of the children turned away as I approached. The few I had tried to converse with walked away, usually taking a small group with them.
“Why’re you here?” a small voice asks from behind me.
I turn to see a slight young girl, no older than six maybe. her long wet-looking black hair hung in front of her pale face, eyes like black pearls staring at me through her bangs. Her gown looked well worn, and a size too large. I kneel down, bringing myself as close to eye level with her as I can.
“I am looking for someone. Maybe you can help me?” I say gently.
“Who’re you looking for?” she tilts her head to the side, like a curious puppy.
“I am looking for a friend. Someone to live with me.” I consider her for a moment. “What is your name?”
“Oblivion.” she answered softly, scrunching her little fists into her gown. “Nessa says it’s cause momma wants to forget.”
“I think Oblivion is a pretty name.”
She shook her head.
“You don’t like it?”
“No.” She again shakes her head.
Realizing what I am about to do, I take a deep breath.
“Would you like a new one?”
by Charles Funk
The Bunker shuddered from Artillery but Reese barely flinched. The hallways drowned in barking orders and hurried steps but Reese remained in his room without a care.
“Major Gerat! Enemy attack!” Corporal Clais finally barged in only to find the mage holding his gasmask absentmindedly with his deformed hands. “Sir?”
“I forget that I’m still that to you.” Reese sighed. Never leaving the gasmask’s gaze. “You all regularly call me something else. Plaguebearer. Pox-walker. Blightspawn.”
Reese grimaced at every word.
He slammed the gasmask at the table louder than the coinciding explosion outside.
“Witch was a preferrable title. Derogatory but hundreds of us are called that in the capital. Most serve the military with me. But their names are less infamous and grotesque than mine.”
“You won us the Battle of Giftfield.” Claise said. “Singlehandedly turning the war to our favor.”
“Giftfield was a massacre. My Glory came from the thousands poisoned by my spell. My triumph was their corpsemounds. There was no applause save for the ignorant masses reading its propaganda far away. And mind you, not one newspaper had me on any page.”
Reese turned to Clais at last. Revealing face pocked by horrible deformities, torturous scars, and haunted by war.
“Can’t say I blame them.”
“You…are a hero, sir.” Clais corrected.
“I wanted to be a doctor.” Reese lamented. “To help the world. Never kill. But healers dont make for good heroes. The Central Committee cared more for my poisons than my cures for their wars. And I foolishly gave the best one in Giftfield. My reward? A monstrous reputation that stood against all that I stood for!”
A stern silence fell between the two men as the battle raged outside.
“Major— Reese.” Clais corrected. “W-we need you out there.”
“No you dont.” Reese sighed. Defeated. “You dont need Major Gerat. Definitely not Reese the Mage. You bastards want this.” Reese gripped the gasmask tight. Flapping it at the Corporal’s face before finally putting it on. “Then so be it. Our nation shall have its monster. It deserves nothing less.”
Given a New Name
By RVMPLSTLSKN (From The Saga of the Deep One’s Wake)(Repost from private)
Vienas had been many things in her life. She was proudest of herself before The Deep One transcended the realm. She’d been a teacher and healer of anguished souls. She’d been a scholar and well-regarded apologist, even if she’d had to dress like a man.
But now, she was evesque and blind.
Padas had stayed with her and cared for her needs. They inhabited Ziniu’s temple now. It was a natural place to stay. Familiar. It felt sacrosanct to her, but she still remembered Padas as she’d first seen him; a silhouette with a divine sword. Every temple needed a god and where none lived, one would rise. The adamic couple lived there and hoped to find others.
Her body thrummed and she felt near to panic. She’d always had control of herself. She knew the risks when she saw the Unseen and the spell fed on her eyes. This loss of control was something else.
She pressed a hand to her belly and felt again the thrum as a tiny foot rebelled against her touch. She sobbed then and laughed at herself.
Padas would be pleased. She knew he’d lost so much more than she had in the wake of the Deep One’s path. He needed family.
Hadn’t she sacrificed enough? Before, children would have been the little death. A waste of her future. A sacrifice of selfcontainedness. Now, children were fear.
How could she raise them, being blind? Padas fished still, but not in places he couldn’t walk to. The Deep One left scars on mind and world.
Without children, how would Padas protect her from the Deep One, should it return in aeons unspent?
That’s when she knew herself. She was a priestess and though her god had changed, she still had responsibilities. This child would be such a duty. And the next one. And those that followed.
Padas would ascend on their faith and protect them. The kind and simple man performing a divine and simple duty. Fatherhood.
Now, she must take on new responsibilities. She must become what she has always feared. Mother and wife.
Birth of a Superhero (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
It was night, when Valerie Harker was tossing and turning around in her bed. She was eleven, trying to escape a faceless monster. Running through a cold forest, she heard the rustling it made, saw its impossible shape. No matter how fast she ran, it always caught her. She woke up, screaming, drenched in sweat.
During the evenings, and sometimes well into the night, Valerie knelt in a temple and prayed. She was thirteen, in front of her the statue of a robed figure, its eyes closed, a feather in its hand. The Sleeping, the deity she had dedicated herself to, seemed to gaze deeply into her mind through their closed eyelids. She prayed for deliverance from her fear, from her dreams and her monsters.
She was sitting on a sofa, a middle-aged woman in front of her. Valerie was fifteen, trying to explain the monster from her nightmare, without much success. Her therapist asked her, how she was getting along with lucid dreaming. Valerie said that she wasn’t, barely holding back her tears at her failure. The monster bested her every time it appeared. She couldn’t take much more of it.
It was a warm summer’s day, when Valerie received the letter. She was twenty and had just been accepted to Lockton University for a major in psychology. A few nights ago, she had bested the monster for the first time. She’d turned around and faced it, terror mounting, but she didn’t run away. She’d stood there, staring it down. Several nights later, she’d fought it. Many nights later, she’d crushed it. Crushed it, without ever touching it.
At twenty-one, she’d put on the blindfold for the first time.
She was twenty-three, sprinting up the side of a building. She was terrified of falling. She kept running. She was terrified of what waited at the top. She kept running. She was terrified of the monster, still haunting her dreams. She kept running. Only now, she ran towards it. Her hands shook, her heart beat against her chest.
She kept running. She was the Nightguard. She had to remember that.
Among the Lifelight
Vinzeit started, “You all know why we were called by the Lifelight, don’t you? Do you not care that one of our ranks was nearly led astray by the Shadow? Do you not care that he had to take his own life to save us, just so we could sit here and complain?” The Wounds quieted down and Vinzeit continued.
“We must find a mortal to take Cinsta’s place. I have asked the Lifelight for guidance, and they have found two initiates who might take the place of our Broken. Two brothers, Caldwell and Rayden, equal in strength and ferocity. You see, inside each of them has been planted the dream of a certain treasure. They’re actually on their way to dig it up now. Their actions alone will determine their worth.”
Rayden broke the silence. “Caldwell! Look!” It was there, plain as day, the very rock they had seen in their dreams with the spiral emblem on its face gleaming in the sunlight. They dug until they struck the object of their journey. The boys hoisted the large wooden chest out of the hole and clambered for the chance to open it, wrestling and fighting with each other until the sun had abandoned them to the cold darkness.
Caldwell returned to his senses. “What are we fighting about? Can’t we both lift up the cover?” Rayden agreed. “First, I need to get a source of light. We can’t do anything in this darkness.” Caldwell returned to the chest while Rayden returned to his pack of supplies. Caldwell fiddled with the lock while he waited patiently for his brother. “It’s taking a long time for-” The icy bite of steel tore into Caldwell’s body, but nothing compared to the pain of his brother’s betrayal.
Rayden kicked the body aside and tore open the lid of the chest. Nothing. The chest was completely empty, save for a single crimson name: Raemied.
“I think we’ve seen enough,” Vinzeit said with a smile. “On this day, Rayden is no more, but he rises again as Raemied! May his bloodlust remain unquenchable!”
By Mango Gravy
You named us Letra ed Elysia. Bringers of Light. We five who led you from your homes into battle. We brought you hope, and visions of life after the Golden Lords were vanquished. We convinced you that all would be well in the world, and so you followed us to face demigods in battle. Many died, but the noble cause was worth dying for, wasn’t it? That’s what we told you.
But the Golden Lords didn’t fall. They were strong, and it became clear we needed to strike harder.
So we did. Chemical fire rained, not only on the Golden armies, but on their cities. Countless civilians perished in the ensuing carnage. And as you looked on, you didn’t waver. The Golden Lords needed to fall, and the innocent were a sacrifice to that end. But after all those ruined cities we marched through, those corpse choked towns and fields, Letra ed Elysia seemed an ill-fitting name.
So you called us Grohksuul. Butchers. An apt name.
But still you followed us. Victory was worth this carnage. Our sins were cleansed by the brightness of the future. You still saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
But still the Golden Lords stood. They summoned an immortal army to fight us, and so we needed an immortal army of our own. And, like the stars themselves had answered us, and army of stone rose from the earth and helped us destroy the Golden Lords. Providence, you thought. Proof of our divine right to victory.
What if you knew the true weight of our sins? The army of stone was not a gift from the heavens, but the work of five men. Men desperate enough to do what even the cruel Golden Lords hadn’t the shadowed hearts to do. We harvested the souls of comrade, enemy, and civilian alike. We trapped them so we could fuel an undying army.
Not a miracle, but necromancy.
What name would you give us if you knew? What words could possibly befit we five, who did the unthinkable?
New Form, New Name (Crossroads City Canon)
By Fredrick H. (Challeng3r22)
“Damn,” Lilian exclaimed as the human spine snapped from the recently enhanced muscle mass.
With her arms covered in blood, potions, and various other alchemical and physiological components she reached out for a mass of copper wiring. Gingerly, she laced the various pieces together and placed them into the gap.
Taking into account the now exposed “nerves” she took a small cluster of hydra scales and stitched them together to form a small piece of mail. She then wrapped this mail around the bundle of wires.
With the work there complete, she injected a restoration elixir into the back of her project and moved over to the special arm. She removed the gauze to reveal a now demonic arm of blood red.
“I remember when used to press the elevator buttons with this arm,” she spoke to the humanoid body.
Grabbing a needle and a bowl of ink she imprinted this mystically imbued flesh with runes.
With her work complete, she washed her hands off in the nearby basin and grabbed a vial containing a glowing orb. Taking a deep breath, she popped the cork off and forced the orb down the entity’s throat.
In one moment of every muscle of the creature spasmed and contorted breaking many of the vials and bottles that had remained on the shelves. But soon that moment passed and the humanoid figure stared at Lilian with reptilian eyes.
“Do you know your name?” she inquired.
“I think it was… Jim?” the entity replied.
“Correction. That is the name and career of your base components. Your name is Tiberius. Do you understand?”
“Correction. Whenever you respond to me it is to be as Lady Tarrasque. If you do well enough, I might grant you the family name and then you may refer to me as M’Lady or Mistress. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Lady Tarrasque.”
The Rebirth of Myron Flint
By Pete Warosa
Myron Flint’s eyes opened to a clear blue sky, and he sat up confusedly. ‘I must be dreaming’, he thought. ‘There was the trial, then the Chair, and then…’ There his memory got fuzzy. His last memory was a deep feeling of guilt for… something. What was it again?
‘Luc! Of course!’ At the thought of that name his memory flooded in, and he vividly remembered the killing of that poor child, and the remorse he had felt immediately upon the completion of his grisly deed. He remembered the trial in which he, Myron Flint, was sentenced to death by the electric chair, and the cries of Luc’s mother at the proclamation of that sentence which seemed simultaneously grieved and relieved. He remembered the feelings of grief and guilt that had kept him from sleeping until his life was finally snuffed out by a stream of potent
electricity, and he wept at the irreparable damage he had done.
Except… his life wasn’t snuffed out. Here he was, sitting in the middle of a pleasant field, a fair breeze which smelled faintly of honey tickling his face. He stood up, took a long, deep breath of the sweet air, and stretched as if awakening from a long sleep. Somehow he had survived his own execution, and he would not allow the opportunity to live a new life be wasted. Perhaps he might regain the innocence he had lost by his crime. The thought brought a broad, joyful smile to his face, the first in a long while.
The field abounded with wildflowers of every shape and color, and after walking for a time in whatever direction suited his fancy, he saw a young girl collecting a bouquet of the prettiest flowers she could find. He called out to her, and she gracefully turned her head toward him, seemingly unsurprised by his presence.
The girl approached him excitedly. “Do you like my flowers?” she asked, showing him her impressive collection of vibrant blossoms. “I’m collecting them for my mommy. What’s your name?”
Myron thought for a moment, then said, “My name is Luc.”
Gabriel took a moment to compose himself, but his heart was still beating out of his chest. Why did they call him such things? They always come so suddenly too. At this rate, Kai will give him a heart attack with all the waves of nicknames.
“Your face is so red it would put a tomato to shame!” They teased from acrossed the table. “That’s adorable! Ah, how about I try something else like, Tulip? Butterfly? Gumdrop?”
“Kai, why?” Gabriel mumbled, dying in his embarrassment, but he words were far to soft-spoken for them to notice.
“You try.” Kai finally acknowledged his distress.
“Nicknames. I think I’ve pestered you long enough with all mine. Now it’s your turn.”
“Okay?” Gabriel took a moment to think. Even though he was always shocked by them, he did enjoy Kai’s nicknames. Alas, he managed to find one. “How about Sunshine?”
“Just one?” I thought you were going to go all out with several.” Kai smiled with childish glee. “Why Sunshine?”
“Well, um, you’re always cheery, no matter what you do, and you always make success at making me smile.” He thumbed in getting all the words out. “And, even though you do them with rapid suggestion, I do enjoy all the nicknames.
“You truly are precious, Dandelion.” Kai’s gleamed and their smile shined as bright as ever, but Kai’s attempts to hide their true emotions were in vain, as a simple sobs turned into bawling.”I love you.”
“I love you too, Sunshine. I’m going to get you some tissues.” Thus, Gabriel scrambled in search for a tissue box.
I barely remember the first battle I was ever in, but the memories of the flies that come in and feast on the fallen is always fresh in my mind. Every fight is the same, from the days of stones and bones to these days of bombs and bullets. I’ve seen it all, and after every one I had to assume a new name and life.
I learned to use war as a way of disguising my existence from society. Back when I realized that I didn’t die like everyone else, I also noticed how people were uneasy with my presence. Whole armies would fall with only me coming back from the engagements. It was a brief encounter with Atlas of Cremona that made me think about hiding within the ranks of the fallen. I learned to use the names of the dead and live a new life every time another war ended.
In today’s modern world, it has become much harder for me to hide. People are too easily traced, whereabouts tracked, and their bodies are also well accounted for. I can no longer just take a name from a fallen warrior and assume their identity. I ran out of options in hiding using this method, and now I have come here seeking help.
When your religion began, I was already ancient. The number of people that followed your belief and have died by my hands are beyond counting. Yet here I am seeking your help in order to live. I have seen your places of worship go from places of refuge to places of ill-gotten gains. Your priests rose from being men of holiness to criminals of the highest order. I don’t see any conflict of interest in joining your order anymore.
Give me a new name, title, or appoint me to some unknown chair. In return I’ll keep the secret of what you really worship as hidden as my first name.
New Name (Novus Academia)
By Connor A.
Two teenagers sat at a coffee table. They flipped through the pages of a baby name book.
“Too close to my old name.”
“I won’t bring dishonor to Shakespeare that easily.”
Eleanor threw her hands up in defeat. “I plan my outfits faster than you choose your own name.”
“Cut me some slack, El!” The boy defended himself, “I only realized last week!”
Eleanor looked at the clock and grimaced. “Your parents are coming to pick you up in ten minutes.” She closed the book and put it back on the shelf.
“But we still need to choose a name.”
“And this book is thicker than our science books.” Eleanor slid the book back where it belonged. She started pulling out other books and setting them on the table. “The classics got us into this mess, so let’s see if they can help us out of it.”
The two began to speed through the books.
“Not a fan of the sound.”
“Choose or else I’m calling you Macbeth.”
The boy picked up a few books and went through them quickly. He was about to accept that he would bear a theater curse as his name when he noticed a book on Greek mythology. He picked it up and looked at the index, skimming through the names until he landed on one.
“What does the name ‘Jason’ mean?”
Eleanor thought on it. “Something like…” She searched for the word. “Cure?”
He looked down at the name and grinned. “I like it.”
“Awesome. Your name is Jason, then.” She looked at the pile of unused books. “I might have went overboard.”
“If we take our time, our parents will start talking and give us more time to hang out.”
“Good plan, oh figurative brother of mine.”
Eleanor gave a deep bow, grinning as Jason laughed at her display.
That’s One Way To Do It…
“This is absurd.” Matt rolled his eyes. “How do I talk to you if you don’t have a name?”
“You are talking to me now.” She said, unfazed by Matt’s groan.
“You get used to it.” Lilith grinned in the corner, amused by the conversation. “She’s basically a telepath. She knows everything that’s happening in the present, so she’ll always know when you’re talking to her.”
“I know what everyone is thinking.” She corrected. “I do not read minds.”
Matt sighed. “Why don’t you name yourself then?”
“Do you think I would have gone the entirety of human existence without a name if I could simply name myself? The only one who can name me is-”
“Nora.” Matt shrugged. “See? Easy.”
There was complete silence in the room and when Matt looked over again, her eyes were bulging and her face turned beet red.
Then she vanished.
“W… what?” Matt asked the empty space, before looking over to Lilith.
“You just blurted that out, didn’t you?” Lilith asked, clearly putting a lot of effort into keeping her expression even. “Didn’t even think about it?”
“Well… yeah…” Matt admitted.
“I see…” Lilith nodded. Then the dam broke. “BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Then she didn’t even see it COMING! Oh my God! She must be so MORTIFIED!”
Matt pinched the bridge of his nose. He was still learning his way around the supernatural, but it was clear he’d just messed up. “Please explain. Use small words.”
Eventually Lilith stopped laughing long enough to answer. “Me, Eve, and my newly-named sister weren’t born of a mother. We operate on different rules. Do you really think I’d go by the name Adam gave me if I could just change it?”
“Okay… so… I’ll just take it back.”
“Sure!” Lilith grinned widely. “If you want to reject her. You know… like Adam did.”
“So, what do I do?” Matt sighed.
“Your children are going to be gorgeous.” Lilith giggled, and began humming wedding music.
“Keep that up and I’m going to ‘rename’ you too.” Matt threatened.
“Oh Matthew…” Lilith gleefully moaned. “I love it when you talk dirty.”
A New Kind Of Name (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
Gnomes could have lots of names, or so Nyssa had read. When one is born, their parents each give them a name, and so does the extended family: all their aunts, uncles, family friends, the clan elder – not all of them stick over time, but gnome children certainly got many options to express their identity.
But Nyssa never had an extended family. Not one she had ever known, anyway. All she knew were her parents, and the names they had given her.
Her first was Nyssa, of course. Her mother had chosen that. The second was Lirrel. Her father’s old clan name, though she’d never been told what that clan was like.
The final name was decided by both. When they saw their baby’s hair – golden like her mother’s, reaching out in all directions like her father’s – they had fallen in love with it, and given her a name to match: ‘Sunchild’. Their Sunchild…
Nyssa’s lip quivered as she stared at the cloudless sky through her tavern-room window.
That name did not serve her so well in the University. She had begun to outgrow it, with no living family remaining to give her another.
In fact, it was over three decades later when she got a new name, as she finally became properly respected as an academic. The name they gave her was ‘Littlestar’ – the three-foot tall star of Renovaire University.
Though once her depression set in, and she became increasingly less capable of leaving the safe solitude of her isolated tower, that name became corrupted to ‘Lonestar’. A joke of a nickname, but one she had no energy to fight against, and ultimately let it become part of her.
But that was then. Nyssa looked away from the window, and her memories.
Now, she had outgrown Lonestar too.
She turned her gaze to her hand, as rivulets of electricity shivered across it.
It was simple, really. She needed a new name. One that would mark her new stage of life. One that others would immediately understand as true.
A name that, for once, she would take for herself: