Writing Group: By the Fire (PRIVATE)

Hello, elementals and pyromaniacs.

It’s getting cold, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I’m freezing. You too, huh? Yeah, you’re shivering a lot. Well, look around. You’ll have to find something to give us warmth, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

By the Fire

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!

Ah, just the prompt we need to keep ourselves cozy on these cold winter nights. And much like the flames that dance in a fireplace, this leaves so much to the imagination.

Those flames could stir passion into two lovers who have grown distant, one surprising the other with a romantic night of firelight and champagne. It could bring to life the joy of a little boy reading tales to his new little sister, sharing with her his love of literature. Perhaps a group of friends have escaped the city to camp out, and the fire burns bright as they each share stories and memories. It could even be two parents giggling as they discover their child sleeping on the floor beside the fireplace, having tried once again to catch sight of the one leaving gifts under the tree.

This fire could even be literal life breathed into an elemental spirit, who then makes friends with the one who woke them and uses their fire to tell stories of the past. Maybe it’s a classic dark and stormy night, and one little child stays huddled close to her only candle for comfort. Perhaps fire is how one witch prefers to travel, climbing out of a fireplace to visit an old friend. It can even be that the fire brought to life a little clay doll while it was baking, the sculptor adopting the doll as his own child.

There’s many heartwarming ways to ignite such a prompt. Even ways that aren’t so heartwarming, ways that would burn and ache. The choice is yours to make.

All it takes is a spark of imagination.

—Shawna

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!

  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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Derek McEldowney
23 days ago

Final Flame
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

My brother hasn’t been right. It’s been an especially bitter winter, and an even harder year; on none more than my brother, Peter. He’s been tending to the fire in our den for weeks now. He would say it was the only thing he could do right, with a half joking chuckle under his breath.

I first started to worry about Peter when I had woken in the middle of the night to find him still keeping watch over the fire, hunched over, hypnotized by its light as he muttered back to it.

It was then I realized, he hadn’t let the fire waver one bit since he had taken it under his watch. The same flame had been dancing in that hearth for weeks, months even. He’d been keeping watch the entire time, all alone.

I made a habit of checking on him at night without alerting him. I tried to listen to his muttering once, it wasn’t typical. I guess what I mean to say is, it didn’t sound like he was talking to himself or thinking aloud. It sounded like a conversation that I could only hear one side of.

It wasn’t odd that Peter would fall asleep curled up in front of the fire. We’d done that plenty of times as kids, and I’m sure even on the occasional night as adults. What became unsettling to me, was when he no longer fell asleep in front of the fire at all. His blanket and pillow oddly vanishing altogether, no doubt fed to the flames.

I peeked on Peter again in the dead of night, but this time his muttering was different, it sounded more like whispered chanting that blended with the gentle roar and crackle of the fire. I listened close to make out what he was saying.
“It wants to speak, it wants to teach, but no one will listen. Only me. I can speak for it. I’ll spread its doctrine. For all to hear. For all to learn. Listen close and watch, my brother.”

Cansas Smith
Cansas Smith
23 days ago

Shapes In The Fire
By Cansas Wanderlust

“He’s been sitting there for nearly three hours now,” Tana observed from behind the bar.

Ryford peaked over the top. By the fireplace a man in a dark coat stared into the flames.

“I don’t like the look of him,” he said sinking back to the ground. “I bet he’s one of those crimson rangers Old Kesar told us about.”

Tana playfully punched his arm. “Those are just stories, silly. Besides, have you actually talked to him?”

“Well, no.”

“Then how could you know he’s a crimson ranger?”

A shiver rattled up Ryford’s spine. “I’ve just got a feeling.”

Tana poked her head over the countertop again. A thought popped into her head. ‘Can he see then too?’

She stood up, dusted off her rags and walked over to the man.

“Are you crazy?” Ryford hissed at her.

Tana glanced back at him.

“Not crazy,” Tana mumbled. “Just curious.”

Ryford sighed and slumped against the bar. “mother is going to feed that girl to the pigs.”

Tana walked across the Swooping Salmon Inn and plopped herself into the chair beside the man.

“Hello,” she said cheerfully. “What’s your name? My name’s Tana.”

The man didn’t move. Fire reflected in his eyes as he gazed into the smoldering flames.

“Can you see the shapes too?” Her eyes moved to the fireplace where the shapes danced around.

The man didn’t so much as blink.

Tana suddenly felt uneasy.

She slowly got up. “Well, let me know if you need anything.”

“Tana,” the man said before she could walk away. “That’s a pretty name.”

Tana lowered herself back down into the chair.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

The man turned his head. Scares left by kisses of flames became visible on his face.

“Did the shapes do that to you? You can see them, can’t you?”

The man turned his head back to the fireplace, hiding his scares.

“The shapes did not, and yes, I see them.” The man stared into Tana’s eyes. “Only people who have been touched by dragon fire can see them.”

Tana instinctively scratched at her left arm.

Brick
Brick
24 days ago

Stardust
by Brickosaur

A young hunter gazed at the sparkling sky and wondered what it was like to be a star. How wonderful it must be, to create the very energy that drove the world; how glorious, to shine down upon all the creatures living under your warmth. Did the stars know of the tiny beings telling stories of them, who built fires to make more star-warmth? Did they care?

Light-centuries away, a star watched the most amazing planet in the universe. The beings on it were so fragile, so tiny. They had no internal power of their own, and yet they created so much. Sound-patterns, so that they could share thoughts; shelter and stories and shaped matter, to protect their fleeting warmth. They even built tiny stars. Each and every one must have an entire universe in that little body. With so much light within them, would they even notice the twinkling dots so far off?

Millennia later, a student doodled in an astronomy textbook and dreamed of a living sun. What must it be like, a billion years old and bigger than everything around? Did stars feel powerful, fusing subatomic particles into the very atoms that built each world, burning off the extra energy to power life itself? What did they think of the waking stardust that looked at them with such admiration? Surely it was all insignificant to them, if they knew at all.

Unfathomable space and time lay between each being, but all of them were connected
by the light of wonder, the dizziness of insignificance.

All transcended their own dust through their own awareness; All were bonded and made great
by the fire of creation.

Last edited 24 days ago by Brick
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
25 days ago

Rekindling
By Jesse Fisher edited by Lunabear

Fire, ignus, moto, dab.

All holding an idea: of creation, of destruction, of rebirth, and death.

Such is the nature of fire.

—-

“I swear the next God of Storytelling starts with fire this and fire that I’ll show them how my fire burns,” the dark navy wolf growled to the barkeep. “What’s with them? I get it; fire’s a great symbol to use, but that gets tiresome after the twelfth time hearing it in the past five minutes.”

“I did warn you that the narrative convection was going to happen when you left your room,” the heterochromic-eyed barkeep replied as his hands moved while not taking his eyes off of the waiter in front of him.

“Ya, I know,” the grumbled reply came, “but I thought they would regale me with either tales of horror or the fall of monsters, not young’s first story.”

The keep noticed the wolf huffing, which seemed to be a distraction from his true feelings. He knew the waiter was a bit closed off and tried to hide it by being irritable.

“Alright. Come clean, Demon. We both know you are being a bit heavy on this.” The tray of drinks levitated before they teleported to the patrons. “Which one was another version of someone from your past?”

Flat ears and a huff mixed with a growling sigh came before he turned around.

“I know you have every right to know what’s going on in your realm but, spying on me when I’m having a personal moment is not called for.”

“Which. One?” The barkeep raised an eyebrow, his face not moving otherwise.

“ It’s that robot one with all the steampunk dressing. Same soft spoken voice, same nervous tick.”

“I could serve him if you are not comfortable with being around him.”

Demon became a shaken mass of fur.

“Nay. It might do me some good just to hear that voice again. Even if it’s not the spark that I once had.”

With a nod from the barkeep, Demon walked off into the bar not as grumpy.

Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
26 days ago

Fire in a distant star
by Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

First, they extracted her consciousness. She said her last goodbyes and her first layer body became limp. In her disembodied form, she waved them goodbye from the spaceship that would depart soon. She was happy, but also uncertain.

She laid down in the travel chamber as soon as they left the moon’s gravity.
The earth was not her home anymore. She would be put to sleep, and when she woke , they would have reached their destination.

Further, the space between the earth and space, more of her energetic bodies, would need to be disassembled. In a thousand years, she would finally leave the solar system and would remain in her primordial state.

The chamber ran its circle, feeding the data of the mission and mixing with her memories, making sure all the parameters would be right when she entered her dream state.

All that she had were the memories of all that she had lived past: The plagues, the weapons, the fear, the screams, the violence, the treaties, the struggle, the friendship, the love, the communion, and the peace. But one vision between them seemed persistent, a simple and familiar one: fire.

She couldn’t comprehend why, but her head was full of visions of fire. It’s beauty and destruction. Scorching even the most innocent of men and heating even the most frozen of lands.

Flames flickering on a birthday cake with a laugh. Blue and yellow roasting the vegetables with a motherly flavor. Lit crackling wood sharing a kiss. The warmth as she looked at the edge of the world she left. The fire would forever burn in her mind.

The chamber finally transformed the last piece of the telluric energy that bound her to that planet. She would miss the warmth they exhaled.

In a billion years into the future under another cyan sky. Someone like her would light the first fire, and once again those memories would live. Maybe someone that was as wonderful as a human.

Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
27 days ago

Supernova viewing station[Aleph null science fiction]

The station shudders as it executes the last maneuver. We park just behind the light superfilter.

I check how long until the main event. T-3 hours I guess. I wander to the viewing screen.

I’m blindsided as Laura tackle hugs me.

“Thank you for coming!”

“how could I skip this date with this cutie”.

I just sit there blushing. I manage to return the hug.

We stand there for a moment before sitting down and appreciating the view.

The star is quite dim behind what is effectively the largest pair of eclipse glasses ever built. It seems relatively stable. It might be getting brighter? Hard to tell. Just a small white dot slowly getting brighter.

The small dot suddenly becomes a big orange circle. “Woah!” It seems the star just shed its outer layer. I think that’s a little ahead of schedule.

Suddenly the view becomes a blinding white. I find myself holding onto Laura for dear life. And then the light slowly dissipates and seems to fragment into all the colors.

Laura asks “you good there?” in a concerned tone.

“I think so. That was… unexpected”

I manage to maneuver over to her side. Looking back out the viewscreen, I see an expanding and rapidly dimming ring of orange-yellow light and a bright white pinprick slowly fading away.

I wonder aloud “That was awesome, but not sure it was worth the journey. Anyways, want to go grab some dinner?”

“Oh, don’t you worry, that isn’t all that’s on this journey. Secret, dastardly plans are coming your way.”

King_Nix
King_Nix
28 days ago

“Christmas in Valentia”
By King_Nix

Come inside, weary traveller! The damp of English winter is cold and cruel beneath the light of the moon. The castle of Lancaster beckons. Her high walls are bright with ornaments and wreaths, which fill the air with yuletide fragrance, and the gate stands open, inviting you to join in the festivities.

The courtyard bustles with activity. Bonfires illuminate and warm the throngs of visitors. Servants in bright livery flit about, engaging in the jubilation as much as they are waiting on their guests. Carolers sing out on the ramparts, their music filling the castle as here and there some follow along. The smell of a grand feast, however, wafts out from the keep.

Glory in the vast hall of Lancaster! Broad tables are laid out, piled high and wide with Christmas bounty! Mashed yams with candied pecans by the bucket sit beside flocks of roasted poultry; Yorkshire puddings brim with the juices of lamb and beef, which stand in beautiful racks and gilded crown roasts beside loaf after loaf of beef wellington. There is enough for all to come and partake, and more!

Sitting to dine, a servant is quick to hand you a frothing stout, thick and sweet. He then returns to his own drink, likely not his first. While eating, a cheer goes up in the hall. By the mantle stands Arthur Trajan, the Emperor of Rome, with Queen Regnant Minerva and the young King Francis by his side. Likewise, the kings of the empire are gathered with them, for they have come, from brutal Scandinavia to sunny Greece, and all lands between and some even far beyond the Black Sea, to unite in celebration of the birth of their King.

The Emperor raises up a goblet of wine. “Let us all toast, you gathered here: rejoice! Today was born the King of Heaven and Earth, King of kings, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the true King of Rome! And also toast to His mother Mary the Immaculate, our Queen!” The crowd raises cups high, and the frivolity resumes with a symphony of clinking glass.

KipOfTheMany
KipOfTheMany
28 days ago

A Lesson in Light
By KipOfTheMany

She stood at the cave entrance studying the tundra. The wind bit into her with a thousand teeth. Everything was a blinding white. Her eyes stung from the blankness of it all, and she had to turn back towards the cavern.

She could see nothing in the stale darkness. Even so, she rounded a bend with little effort, and was met with a glowing light at the end of the passage. As she drew closer she saw that her fire was only embers. She’d been away too long.

She picked up the coals. The fire flared at her touch only to die a moment later. She cursed and gripped the coals until her knuckles felt like they were splitting, but no more light could be coaxed from them. Silence permeated the darkness for a second. Then the entire cave shook.

“Well, that’s certainly not going to work.” A deep voice intoned from the darkness. “You haven’t any fuel left.”

She stumbled over her words, “Wha- what? Who are you? How did you get here?”

The voice seemed amused, “Hmm, wrong questions. But I shall answer them. My name is Chrisolth, and I live here.”

“No, that’s not possible.” She faltered, “I’d have seen you. The cave..”

“Isn’t as small as you think,” Chrisolth chuckled, “Try your spell again.”

“I.. alright.” She cast about for a stray coal.

Something large scraped across the floor, and she heard the coals scatter, “Don’t rely on those useless rocks.” Chrisolth spat.

“But, you said I needed fuel. What else am I supposed to use?”

Raucous laughter filled the cavern, “You humans, you don’t know your own strength! That’s close enough to the right question, I suppose. Seeing as you’re quite burnt out, I’ll help you.” She felt something metallic press itself into her chest. Warmth filled her body. “Try it now.”

She took a deep breath, and made a fist with her hand. She felt sparks, and then a flame. By the new light she found a large serpentine face staring at her. “Well done. Human,” said the dragon.

Lunabear
Lunabear
28 days ago

Unexpected Visit (Big Top’s Cabaret Universe)
by Lunabear

I feel heavy and sick as I sit on my bed.

Papa is angry. I think he hates me. He hadn’t talked to me all the way home, and he didn’t answer when I called him.

Why can’t he or Mama see the monsters from the circus but I can?

I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to disappear.

“But who would protect Mama from the bad, scary people if I leave?”

The three-eyed man’s face flashes before my eyes. I’m not scared this time, though.

*I* have to protect Mama.

I hop from the bed and set toy soldiers outside of my door. I start to look for weapons, but the doorbell freezes me in place.

I hear Mama answer the door.

“Garrett! Davey! We have visitors from the circus!”

I wish I could sink into the floor.

I go slowly down the steps and peek around the corner. I stop my gasp with my hand.

Two ladies sit at the table with Mama. One is the same spider woman from before and the other is red with horns and a tail!

“Davey! Come meet our guests!”

The spider woman turns and waves. The horned lady gives a scary smile. Her teeth are yellow and sharp.

“No, thank you.” I try to leave, but Papa comes downstairs. He takes me to the table with him.

“Don’t be rude.” Papa smiles oddly at the horned lady. He doesn’t seem like himself.

The spider lady points to herself then her friend. “Erma. Sheam. Nice to meet you.”

Mama introduces us and offers them treats.

Erma takes one. Sheam doesn’t.

“Sorry for the intrusion. We want to make sure you’re ok. After the box trick.”

“Oh, yes! We’re all fine. Thank you.”

Papa nods.

Erma pokes Sheam with her elbow. Sheam mutters in a language I don’t understand.

“An’ YEW, Davey?”

I glare, not saying anything.

“Ach! Bleedin’ kid!”

“Such fire, though.” Erma giggles.

“Davey!”

“No, no. We visited unannounced. It was lovely meeting you.”

They stand and head to the door.

“We’ll call ahead next time,” Erma promises.

Last edited 28 days ago by Lunabear
GJFuller
GJFuller
29 days ago

Campfire Disagreement
By Giovanna J. Fuller

“You have to get it closer to the coals.”

“Stop it, Dee, I can do it on my own.”

“But it’s not cooking. You’re going to-” Dee gasped and moved to take the stick. “It’s on fire. It’s gonna get all black!”

The stick was yanked away and the little fire that had consumed the end of the stick went out. “So?”

“You’re doing it wrong. It should be a nice, golden brown. You must be patient.” He demonstrated with his own marshmallow. Slowly, he turned the stick around so that the heat was evenly distributed. After a few minutes the puff began to change into a perfectly, golden brown treat.

On the outside, it was slightly crispy. However, just beyond that thin crust of toasted sugar, was the ooey gooey center that burst forth once it was crushed between two honey crackers. He let out a moan as he tasted his perfectly toasted marshmallow and gave his companion a smug smile.

“That’s how you do it.”

“What if I like my marshmallows burnt?”

“Then eat it.”

He looked at his creation, hesitating.

“Unless you’re a coward.”

His eyes flashed angrily. “I am not a coward.”

“Panny’s a coward! Panny’s a coward!” Dee taunted in a singsong tone.

“Knock it off you two!” A deep voice boomed, cutting through the sound of the roaring fire and screams of innocents. “If you cannot get along, then you will get no…more…marshmallows!” A pair of golden eyes looked between the twin, ivory dragons.

“Y-yes, mother,” the two dragonlings said.

Their identical, blue eyes were so big and so pleading, that motherly instinct overcame the enormous dragon’s rage. She reached into the pouch and withdrew another marshmallow. “Panic-At-My-Roar, try again.” She handed a bar to the other. “Here, Death-Is-Upon-You, have some chocolate.”

“Thank you, mother!”

“Thanks, mother!”

She smiled and watched her sons gobble up their sweet snacks as the village burned down around them. The sound of buildings collapsing and people fleeing in terror, akin to the soothing crickets and owls of peaceful, summer night.

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
29 days ago

“One More to Go”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

The fire raged across the town, lighting up the night. People screamed. Children cried. Buildings crumbled. And Adal Muller felt her steps getting heavier. The smoke that poured out of her mouth was but a thin wisp now. Every muscle seemed to burn. But that was impossible. She was a dead thing. Dead things don’t feel pain. At least, they’re not supposed to.

Adal ignored it and continued on her path. All of hatred and rage within her stoked the literal fire within her. Each step scorched the earth as she made her way to the small shack near the edge of town. The fire hadn’t gotten there yet, but that wasn’t an issue to her. She entered, beating down the door.

“Oswin!” The forcefulness of her voice rattled the windows.

The house was eerily silent. Only Adal’s footsteps echoed through the chamber. Along the back wall was a fireplace and in front of it sat an old woman. She was wizened beyond her years, her skin tan and leathery. Her irises had become milky blue cataracts, and her ears seemed to protrude like springtime buds. Slowly, she watched the fire as it burned low.

“Who are you?” Adal could feel the flames begin to gather in her mouth.

“Child of flame, why do you tarry here?” Her voice sounded like wind whistling through ancient trees.

“Vengeance.” The revenant couldn’t help but tremble a little. Who was this woman?

“And this Oswin is your last?” The old woman seemed to sigh.

“Yes. And then I’ll be free.”

A bitter laugh escaped the old woman’s throat. “Free? There is no such thing as free.”

“What?”

“You are a revenant, an entity that made a bargain with evil itself. So long as you can burn, you will.”

“Where’s Oswin?”

“It’s too late for that. The cycle is already starting again.”

“W-wha— Starting again?”

“The Outer Darkness is offering someone else revenance. Regret is a powerful thing.”

Adal swallowed, the fire within her starting to ebb. Her body slowly blackened until only a pile of ash was left. Adal Muller was no more.

DesOttsel
DesOttsel
30 days ago

Lending warmth
by Gage Jarman

She gazed deep into the flames that were not for her. Her red hair shimmered in the bonfire’s light. She took several steps forward and felt a thick hand grasp hers.

“Stand too close and the fire might give you a kiss.” Mattan bent his head down with a smirk at the transfixed girl. “Why do you think my eyebrows look like they do?

“They grow a little different each time. Sometimes slender, sometimes short and thick. You never know until it’s already happened. After time, what was important, what you should have done differently, but it’s already passed. You can only try to stop it from happening again….

“These brows, I don’t like them at all. Wished I would have been more patient a couple weeks ago.” Mattan laughed.

The girl’s eyes began to glisten “But I’m Older than Hal. I trained more. I trained harder. The elders always say I’m not ready.” She finally looked at Mattan with all the Inner pain she’d been trying not to show the world.

“Bronach,” Mattan spoke tenderly. “You chose to be a scout. If Hal makes a mistake, he has others to rely on. I’ve seen hunts. They’re not something you want to rush into. Not alone.”

“Then when! What else do I need?.”

“I’ve never hunted, but I know, there’s always a reason. Do you know why we light these fires for new hunters?”

“It’s tradition, but they don’t mean anything. They don’t change who lives.”

“They mean everything! They’re a reminder. That fire is your life. It’s fragile and takes great care to create. It grows until the flames pop and sizzle with vigor, but all fires eventually smolder into coals and go dim.

“You burn hot, but you still need more fuel. The rain will douse you without a thought and there’ll be no light left within you. Is that how you’re going to honor your parents?” The words hung in the air as a pocket of pitch hissed.

“Don’t throw yourself away. Just be a little more patient. You’ll make it, and I’ll be here, always.”

Last edited 30 days ago by DesOttsel
Glaceon373
Glaceon373
30 days ago

How to Comfort a Fellow Dragon
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Fraellieth bounced into her brother’s lair. “Zandaidien? Zan, you in there?”

In the shadows of the cave, two glowing eyes suddenly appeared. “Oh. Hi, Frae.”

“Zan?” Frae skidded to a stop. “You okay, bro?”

“Yeah…” he sighed, “just…exhausted.”

Frae carefully lit the torches on the cavern walls. Zan was curled up tightly on a pile of gold coins and assorted treasures. Many of his scales dotted the floor as well, a common sign of draconic stress.

“What happened, Zan?” Frae asked.

“R—remember the princess Uncle Chayrio got me for my birthday?”

“Oh no, did she—”

“She ran off with a prince two days later!” Zan started to sob. “Two days, Frae! I can’t do anything right!”

“Zan…” Frae reached over to gently stroke the scales near his shoulder, “it’s okay. You know owning princesses is an old tradition anyways. Besides, aren’t you happy she isn’t bothering you anymore?”

“But…but…what will Uncle think? He got her just for me!” Boiling tears continued to roll down Zan’s face.

“Zan, listen to me,” Frae curled her neck to look at her brother’s face. “His reaction isn’t under your control. You can tell him, or not if you’d prefer that too, but you’re not a failure, alright? Say it back to me: I. Am. Not. A. Failure.”

“I…I am not a f—failure.”

“See? There you go! Now come on,” Frae helped her brother stand up, “Let’s do something fun to get your mind off things. Do you need food, water—”

“I’ve, uh, stress eaten most everything here.”

“Oh! Uh, well, okay…” Frae pondered for a minute, then snapped her claws. “Wanna raid a village?”

“Really?!” Zan shot up. “I thought you’d never ask!”

“Well that certainly picked you up!” Frae laughed, smiling with giant teeth.

“Let’s go! Right now! There’s one by the South River that hasn’t been raided in centuries!”

~~~

Wood crackled. People screamed. Chaos rang through the smoky air.

The two great dragons stood on a nearby cliff, the heat of their destruction warming their scales.

“Feel any better, Zan?” Frae teased.

“Oh, absolutely.”

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
30 days ago

The Feeling of Fire
By Twangyflame0

William stretched as he prepared for his watch. It was around midnight as he looked over at Erin. She still seemed to be awake, despite her shift being over. Her form was outlined by the light of the campfire as her back faced him. He slowly walked over and crouched beside her.

He expected her to leer or scowl at his approach. Instead, she snored quietly. He touched her arm, hoping to rouse her, and she fell into his arms with the gentle thud of dormant steel and leather.

William had many questions all at once. How is someone able to sleep in armor? How is someone able to sleep while sitting? Why is she sleeping on me? Why is this happening at all? And why does it feel like my heart is going to explode?

“Gods, you’re hopeless.” Jalal rolled his eyes as he floated into view.

“Wha?”

The devil gestured to the sleeping Erin, “She’s a soldier, a paladin even, she’s probably slept in the most uncomfortable of places.”

William squirmed a little as he held onto her. He had no idea what to do.

“You always just… pick her up and put her on her bedroll…”

William looked at the devil incredulously, “Oh yeah, let me just lift her up while she’s in her armour.”

“Listen, I don’t see why you’re complaining in the first place.”

“W-What’s that supposed to mean?” William tried to keep his voice low, Erin’s body pressing up against him.

The devil gave a sly smile, “Have you forgotten that I can hear every thought in your head?”

“Yeah so?” For some reason, the fire felt warmer than normal.

“You like her.”

“Well… duh. She’s been relatively nice to me and has also saved my life a bunch.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

William didn’t meet the devil’s eyes. His heart twisted and turned as he held Erin, frozen by being this close. The heat from the fire burned, much like the small flame growing inside William’s heart.

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
30 days ago

Meeting With the Devil
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

When I learned that Adam Ramsey had retired to a secluded life in a rural village near me, I endeavored to meet him in person. The man had garnered a more than notorious reputation in the last century, during a season of strife and turmoil. He started secret societies, was ill-tempered, published blasphemous books, and participated in occult rituals, at least if his accusers were to be believed. I sought to find out for sure.

It was a rather cold afternoon. Upon reaching his manner, I was let in by his maid. She graciously led me to her master’s quarters, where he sat reading a volume on forgotten lore by his lit fireplace.

He turned up to gaze at me with his sullen eyes. A look of contempt flashed upon his face as he set his book down.

“Yes? To whom do I owe the pleasure?” He spoke in a hoarse voice.

Firmly, I maintained my posture and addressed him, kindly. “I am Theodore Newman. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’d like to converse with you on your role as the founder of the Crepuscular Order of the Owl.”

“I see.” With a creak, he sat back and pondered my request. Seeing his reaction, and being aware of his reputation to be somewhat hostile of prying eyes, I counted my blessings when he seemed unperturbed by the request.

He admitted to me that my seeing him was by mistake of the maid, but that he would be willing to engage in a civil discussion.

We talked for several moments, exploring his major philosophy, but when I asked him for his opinion of his movement’s effectiveness, he turned grim.

“Listen, boy. Society cannot be changed through the action of many. Necessity is the mother of change, and the only beast powerful enough to move humanity.”

“I cannot believe what you say is true.” I said, incredulously.

“You are quite right,” he said. “If you can help it, don’t believe it. Old men like me with cold heads cannot help but to believe it. I’m sorry, but it is true.”

revisis
revisis
30 days ago

A Visit as brief as a Spark
by Exce, checked by Johan, Luna and Wvlf

Fire crackled inside the great metal bowl where a large pool of pale liquid burned near invisibly down below.

But as the flames rose they turned red and orange, giving enough heat to keep the groups warm that sat around it.

They chatted and drank, talking about everyday chores to distract themselves from the starless night that filled their every day this season. Some were satisfied with listening, nursing their mugs and basking in the heat whilst others spoke.

Syrus sat with his tankard resting between his feet on the cobbles of the town plaza.
He did not seek out conversations, but plenty of people came to him with questions hoping that he had read the answers somewhere.

During a break of these visitations he leaned down to pick up his tankard, when a set of well worn boots stepped into his vision.

The person kept a bit of distance, but was close enough for Syrus to notice.

“Syrus?” Their voice was rough.

The older man looked up, fingers wrapped around the hot tankard.
“Yes, the very same.”

After taking in the hooded and cloaked figure, their hem still wet from snow and silhouetted by fire, Syrus added, “Are you passing through? The forester can probably help you more than some old Librarian.” He chuckled but the figure shook its head.

“No, I have crossed this area often enough to find my way in the dark.I..”.” They hesitated for a moment before pulling something from the depths of their coat. “I merely wish to deliver well wishes for the New Year, and a High Night present.”

Syrus put down the tankard to receive the package. Pulling at the brown paper, he created a tear that allowed him to see a faded, gold lettered cover.

He looked up sharply, but the figure had vanished.

Looking about, he spotted them by an alley. Turned towards the fire, their red hair and blue eyes were illuminated for a moment.

Syrus pressed his lips together. He curled his fingers around the antiquarian books, as he watched his foster-son melt back into the shadows.

Clanso
Clanso
30 days ago

Fire Hazard
by Clanso

Jason, my superior, sits next to Hestia in full firefighter gear and gently pats the dying creature’s beak. Hestia squawks and playfully tries to bite his glove, but it’s clear that her strength is fading.

“She’s still losing feathers. You should put your suit on.” Jason sounds concerned. Of course he does. The last time this happened the shelter nearly was destroyed in the resulting explosion, and paperwork was an absolute nightmare to deal with. So I do as he says and then make the announcement.

“Attention, all employees! This is not a drill. Everyone not trained to deal with category 4 creatures and equipped with adequate fireproofing charms is to leave the building immediately. I repeat: this is not a drill!”

About ten minutes later, the room begins to heat up, and the fire that has been Hestia’s life support for the last weeks abruptly increases in size and brightness until my entire field of vision is nothing but fire. I squeeze my eyes shut and wait for the inevitable. 3…2…1… This is going to hurt.

The next thing I know I’m upside down in a corner, my fireproofing charm has melted, my entire body hurts like Clarice has abused me as a chew toy, and my vision is completely taken over by afterimages of the explosion.

When they fade, I see Jason, still in the containment circle in the middle of the room. Anyone else would be human popcorn, but Jason just calmly picks up the egg from the pile of ashes that used to be Hestia and gestures for me to take it.

The egg is transparent, and I can even feel something like a heartbeat through my gloves as I carefully carry it over to the incubator. Every movement is painful but I somehow manage to put the egg under the heat lamp without dropping it. Looking down on the tiny phoenix I almost feel parental pride.

“We’re parents now, Jason.” I joke. He gives me a stern look but I know he’s smiling.

“Congratulations, Alex. She’s a good looking girl.”

“She is.”

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

A Quiet Moment (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

As the campfire surged into life, Nyssa finally let herself relax. Shrugging off her heavy backpack, she sank backwards onto the soft earth, trying to find a comfy way to sit despite her aches and pains. Some of that was just the aftermath of fatigue and strain, but the dungeon they had fought within for the past two days had left deeper marks on her too.

She pulled up the left sleeve of her robes, carefully stroking the blackened slash-scar on her shoulder. The healing magic of her friends (Can she call them that? Her friends? Do her fellow party members really see her that way?) had sealed up the wound, but the mark left behind by the Shadow Assassin’s amorphous dagger would not easily fade. Nyssa was used to numb skin, most of her body had felt that way ever since the Storm, but the numbness around the dark scar felt deeper and colder. It didn’t tingle or twinge at her touch, but instead felt like nothing at all, not even pain. She hoped that time alone would be enough to reverse the damage.

Pulling up her right sleeve, she winced. She still didn’t like to look at it, even after healing and over a day later. This arm was completely riven with marks of teeth and tearing – the result of sticking it right into a mimic’s maw. The limb was still warm with residual pain, and it was a little difficult to open and close her hand properly. But at least this damage was purely physical. She just had to wait, and all that ugliness would eventually shrink away.

Nyssa pulled her sleeves down and looked up again, to see her party beginning to gather round the cheerful fire. Rosewin, Vagrant and Alex, Dante (she still needed to apologise to him), Astiroth, Agama (Meh too, maybe?), even Ace was fitting right in like he’d known them all for months… she still didn’t believe that she had gotten so lucky. That they counted on her, and her on them. A bond beyond just convenience.

She hoped it would last.

RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
30 days ago

By the Fire
By RVMPLSTLSKN

The Everflame smoldered.

Vienas couldn’t see its waning light, but she felt it on her skin. She felt the cold too. There was no barrier of heat emanating from Raimundos’s Everflame.

“Is that all of it?” She asked.

“Yes,” Padas said.

“And it’s still burning?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me about it.”

She felt his arm rise and fall in a shrug. “It’s a fire.”

She laughed. “And?”

“There’s no wood with it.”

“What’s it attached to?”

“Nothing.”

Impossible, she thought. But how could she understand the workings of gods? What is possible to the divine? Still, she’d always thought the Everflame would be tethered to an object.

“Did it give you trouble?”

“No.”

“And the shovel?”

“The iron glowed white, but it went back to normal.”

She nodded. If their situation weren’t so bleak, so incomprehensible, she might have laughed at the thought of collecting temple relics to keep peasants warm. Divine gifts should be used though.

She laid a hand on his arm. He stiffened. “Thank you.” She knew he was unnerved by the empty temples.

“I’m going clamming tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll start a stew.”

“A curry,” she said. “There’s lard and rice in the stores. And peppers.”

He nodded. It was strange. She could feel the tension and shift in his arm, but not see his frown. She wondered how she knew he was frowning; if she would ever grow accustomed to not seeing; if he would ever relax around her.

“What can I do to prepare while you’re gone?” She didn’t look up at him. She’d started keeping her eyes closed. She wanted him to be at ease.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I can’t cook yet.”

Nor can I read, she thought. It was the worst part of her blindness.

“I’ll cook, priestess.”

“Vienas!” She snapped. “You’ll call me by my name.”

“Yes, Vienas.”

“And you’ll drop that tone. There’re no castes anymore.” She shuddered, knowing her place if there were.

“I—. Yes, Vienas.”

“Better.” She leaned against him. “I’m still cold.”

He wrapped an arm around her and they both faced the Everflame, warm at last.

Last edited 30 days ago by RVMPLSTLSKN