Hello, Alchemists and Mathematicians!
Do you really think this will work? So many before you have tried. What if this goes wrong? I just think you should be careful with this kind of stuff. And be sure to double check your work, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
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!
Sacred geometry is the idea that there are certain shapes and designs that are directly connected to higher powers, or that certain shapes, numbers, and patterns have a power all their own.
This can be explored in many ways, like someone experimenting with alchemy for the first time and either creating something amazing and falling in love with the craft, or having it go horribly wrong and having devastating consequences. Perhaps an Elder God has discovered a shape they just really like and have decided that shape will summon them whenever drawn on a mirror, but only if it’s the perfect height and width. Maybe it’s even as simple as a parent needing to help their child with their math homework, and finding that the way math used to be taught has been changed into something they no longer understand.
But there are two sides to every coin, and with sacred objects and ideas come those who would defile such things, like someone taking a symbol that is usually associated with some benevolent being and twisting it to mean something terrible. Perhaps a powerful sorcerer has been scorned by too many, and has decided to use a dark magic that has been forbidden to enact revenge. It can even be someone trying to summon one deity, only to mess up a symbol and summon another who is far less kind.
The amount of ways this prompt can be taken is equal to the amount of symbols that can give inspiration for such a prompt. The only limit is your imagination.
So go forth now, and create something divine.
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 Saturday 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!
Text and Formatting
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- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
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What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- 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.
A Bouquet of Knowledge
Draven stared at the group of little paper flowers on his desk. He certainly hadn’t put them there, and no one he knew could fold origami so well. So who had put it there?
He picked one up gingerly, not wanting to crease any of the corners. Upon closer inspection, he saw it.
Words. Words written upon the paper in a rather messy cursive.
He smiled, pulling out his phone to snap a photo of the flower before carefully unfolding it bit by bit.
Fold after fold, he was able to make out more and more of the words on the paper. They seemed to be… notes? As he read them over, he realized what the notes were for.
He’d been out sick the last few days and had missed the subjects covered. These notes were the full copy of everything he had missed, and even some ways of simplifying in the margins or in little scribbles beside points.
His smile grew.
Sure, people had shared their notes before, but only the scant amount so he could get the gist of the lesson. If each flower was a single paper, then he had everything he’d missed right in front of him as a little paper bouquet.
He took another photo, lying the unfolded paper beside the rest of the flowers. Then one by one, he unfolded them, lining them up in order as he went over each word to see where they fit with each other. It was like a little puzzle made just for him.
His heart fluttered at the thought.
Once the notes were organized, he placed them in his binder with the rest of the notes he’d taken himself.
But there was one flower left.
His curiosity burned inside him, but he also didn’t want to unfold it and lose the last flower he had of this kind gesture. He picked it up and carefully stored it in his empty lunch box for safe travel, figuring whoever had made it could just tell him what was written inside.
If only he knew who that someone was…
Life had been detected on the distant planet of Delta Monlon fifty years ago. Intelligent life was proven with the patterns engraved in the fields and forests by farmland.
The Bilateral Grand Neutrality Treaty prevented us from introducing ourselves to them. It forbade the Kudlori and Polus governments, as well as all allied civilizations, from communicating with technologically underdeveloped species under an unfounded fear that first contact with such a species would lead to a relationship that did not really involve informed decision making on the part of the planetbound species.
Those… appeasing cowards who approved the dang thing made sure we could not help them, even when they brought themselves near to extinction. Luckily They figured it out and initiated contact with a radio burst. This gave us an opportunity. We replied. Now, the E.S.S. Sirius and her crew would finally set things right. We could achieve first contact. Legally even!
Our warp bubble dissipated and I saw a pale blue blur fly past the viewing window as we slowed down to orbital velocity. We made it!
Our plan was to spend a bit of time studying the local culture and languages and so on until we could be sure no misunderstanding would occur. And so we processed and read their books, watched their movies, viewed their art, and played their games, all vicariously through their primitive network. Resolutions were bad and we even had to get out old fashioned led display screens to get it to work, but it was ok.
Then we started looking into their religions.
There were a lot. But there was one thing in common between nearly every single one.
A symbol. One associated with power/the divine.
Two concentric circles. Three arrows pointing inward.
Oh… oh no. Did the Polus get here first? Illegally?
No, this symbol is a relative unknown among Polus culture. Maybe one of our own got here first?
Doesn’t seem plausible.
So how did this distinctly familiar symbol get all the way out here early enough to be so widely adopted?
A Circle and a Line
By Jesse Fisher
A dark navy wolven demon’s yellow eyes followed his other half as she freight over small things. Like what outfits she needed for her twins or what they should paint the room as it was just a bland tan box with some newborn stuff.
Holding both of the pajamaed bundles of his offspring, he could see the pale spring bud to ruby red feathers being ruffled and some falling out. He could also see her moss and laurel green scales seemed pale as her liver chestnut fur a mess. He was fine with the minor stress given both being new parents while still working, but then after she had a break at the beach area. She seemed to be stressed talking about how the girls pointed out things that she was not doing.
As much as he loved her, he could do without the unneeded stress. A corporeal shadow formed out of his back to hold his precious spawn as he began to pull out a wooden mask. Pulling out a special shade of violet, some would say near florescent pink, marked a line going from the forehead to the tip of the nose and two half circles over the eyes meeting the first line.
Looking over his work he chucked it into a corner and waited while reclaiming his children from the shadow. His other half was still ignorant of her mate’s actions.
A slight clatter of a bell began to fill the air as the scene just kept going around the room until the mask fully lifted off of the ground and a third adult was standing. An eel like in a darker shade of the paint on it’s mask with a dark gray coat covering it’s upper body and arms while a golden bell hung from it’s long hair behind the mask.
“WHO DARES SUMMON THE MIGHTY…”
“Bell you don’t need to do that, especially when my wife is having a breakdown.” The wolf replied to the eel.
“Wife…are those babies? Your babies?” Bell calms down before squeeing also causing the wolf’s wife to notice her.
CDieA (Often Series)
“C’mon out, Demonsbane! You can’t hide forever! Hell’s coming for you, literally and figuratively, hehehe!”
Curse that Sidney. Cal had been on the hunt for him as long as she had took Dad’s place. If only he stuck to drugging other people, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. All more the reason that his inclusion in MKOften was a mistake. Well, maybe the whole project itself was a mistake.
Cal whipped out her magnum’s chamber, its bullet casings raining to the ground. A quickload of six more rounds and a flick of the wrist. Ready to fire again. She could feel her pits sweating. It was her leather jacket, but why get rid of it? She just had to look cool killing demon-possessed CIA agents.
Cal turned the corner, fanning the hammer. One, two, three shots. Sidney’s silhouette somersaulted to cover, a single magazine left behind.
“C’mon, Sidney, just come over here and eat my holiness. It’s good for you.”
“Okay then, but first taste my unholiness.” His voice came from beside Cal. The flash of a dagger’s blade arced towards her face. She spun to the side, morphing from a stance into a proper roundhouse kick. Her foot landed square in Sidney’s withered nose, and with it came the faint sound of cracking cartilage.
As Sidney stumbled back like a drunkard, Cal reached into her jacket and unveiled a golden crucifix. “Here, Sidney, my own poison for you, and his name is Jesus of Nazareth!”
He let out a blood-chilling shriek, one unmakeable by human vocal chords, and reeled back as if he was lit ablaze. The old man’s tongue flitted in foreign languages over and over, before screaming “COME TO HELL WITH ME, DEMONSBANE! YOU GET TO SEE YOUR OLD MAN AGAIN!”
“Mmm, no. First tell me how it is down there.” She then pressed the cross to Sidney’s writhing body, and a radiance danced around him. He convulsed like a dying spider, each limb twitching, and then, silence. Sidney Gottlieb lay there, demon free and maybe dead.
by Gage Jarman
Footsteps pulsed through the water saturated earth. It’s slumber was disturbed. It writhed through the mud and muck, forcing itself to the surface. Scales of bark had grown over its face. The limbs were twisted, deformed like roots growing over stones. The footsteps grew more distant. It dragged itself through the bog in a desperate vigor with its near-rigid, fleshy tendrils. It sucked in air. Black bile wretched itself from the creature’s chest. It took another breath and released a shrill shout.
“Do not go!” it hacked. “Do not go! I swear to you that nothing good awaits you. There will be no reprieve, no release, no victory. That land is Poison!”
The vibration of the steps ceased. The creature released a modicum of its tension.
“Please, heed my warning. This world sits between the reality we were born from and something deeper. It’s an interstice used by that creature who consumed our essence, a reflection of the world and we are but striders on the water’s surface.
“We strove to delve into the depths in an effort to escape this prison. We worked tirelessly, learning the secrets of this realm. Bonds began to weaken, and we pushed forward with such hubris. Nothing was sacred to us. Not even the laws that govern reality. We poked and prodded as we dissected the still pulsing body. Then, something snapped.
“We rejoiced, but that was only because we were ignorant of the calamity to come. Fools, all of us, fools. We thought we would be free, but what we had sundered…. It was not the gates, but the columns keeping this amalgamation of a land stable. Chaos rippled across the water’s surface. The land distorted, collapsed in on itself, shifted into perverse forms. Do not proceed. Do not venture into that place. I beg you! No more must succumb to our sins!
“… I do not know what became of those that remained, but I fear they are more monstrous than my pitiful existence.”
The steps grew more distant.
The creature wept, “Why… Why must man be so arrogant?”
The Holy Hexagon
“Good morning, girlies!” sang Bee 654319. “Congratulations on pupating. I hope you’re ready for today’s lesson. How is everyone?” She looked expectantly at her 4500 students, who crouched in their nursery cells. They did not respond.
“Good!” said 654319. “Today we’re learning about shapes. Well, shape. The best shape, the only one you need to know: the holy Hexagon.” She pointed at an equilateral-ish hex she’d drawn on wasp nest paper. “THIS is a Hexagon. Six sides, six 120-degree angles. Perfection. This is probably the first one you’ve seen with those brand-new eyes, but they’re everywhere. Every cell in the hive is a Hexagon, which means, yes, you’re in one right now! From laying, we all grow up in their embrace. So it is vital that we all learn to love and respect Hexagons.”
She looked around furtively. No other workers around. Good. Bee 654319 hunched and lowered her buzz. “In fact, most of the world doesn’t appreciate Hexagons at all! Too many structures are just random tunnels, or even worse — rectangles!
“That’s why I have a plan. We have to spread the good shape. Bring it to all the world, and show them how much better their lives will be in Hexagons. We’ll build massive hives for the giants. We’ll teach them of its sheer efficiency; no other shape can pack together perfectly with so little material! They’ll HAVE to see reason, and then all the world will become Hexagons!”
Her compound eyes shone with six-sided visions. Even the hive hadn’t shown proper deference for the shape, though their heresy was less severe. But now she had an army. With these soon-to-be bees, she would remake the world into perfection. Then the hive would HAVE to heed her! Perhaps Princess Beyoncé would even wear the hex crown 654319 had made her.
“Who’s with me?” she asked her pupa pupils. “Say it with me — ALL HAIL THE HOLY HEXAGON!”
They remained silent.
Oh, right. Still growing. “That’s okay, I’m sure you’re with me.” Once 654319’s army emerged, they would be unstoppable. A Hexagon future was nigh;
she could sense it!
Erin kicked down the door and entered the large, circular room. Sand slowly dripped from the slanted ceiling as she walked in. A dark robed man hovered above her, examining the wall, which was covered in strange symbols that glowed with an unholy light. She knew this man to be her captor and the greatest necromancer ever in Endolian history, William Bracus.
“Ah… you’ve finally arrived.” He looked over his shoulder.
She wiped the grime off her blade. “You know, for such a great necromancer, I expected your undead to actually put up a fight.”
He chuckled, looking back at the wall. “Do you know what these hieroglyphs are for?”
“No, why the hell would I?”
“They were first invented by the ancient rulers of these lands. They were said to be words of power, able to preserve and protect those in the after life; however, their sacred symbols meant nothing. It wasn’t until the first necromancers came to this area and created this pyramid, did these glyphs finally begin to be used for true magic. And now I have perfected to its–”
“Would please stop your yapping AND JUST GIT ON WITH IT!? I DID NOT FIGHT THROUGH A DOZEN ROOMS FOR THIS SHITE!”
There was an audible silence that permeated the room.
William scratched his head. “Well… sorry I didn’t mean to make you upset.”
Erin sighed. “No… it’s not you… well, technically it is, but I’ve just been slogging through all those rooms you made and all those creatures and–”
“No no, I-I get it; you made your way up here and you don’t want to sit around and hear me talk about history.”
“Well, no, it’s that– well maybe a little, but it’s just that I’ve been fighting a lot and my adrenaline is pumping, so I kind of expected a fight and, well, not a lecture.”
“Well… I guess if you want to fight… so be it.” The symbols glowed brightly as the door at the other side of the room slowly opened.
Erin sighed as she felt bad for the old necromancer.
The Old Well House
Outside, the wind howled.
He watched the old teacher pour colored sand on the floor. Its mechanical fingers clicked and whirred, the gears relics from the Lost Age of Technology.
“Fir-rst the spin-ward… line,” Rusty vocalsynth rattled. A stylus attached to its fingertip traced a smooth line without pause, parting the sand neatly.
“The cog, for the… turn-ing of the… stars.” He watched corrosion flake off the automaton. Why it had insisted on this deluded ritual was beyond him; it was barely holding together as is. The scavenger would indulge the machine one last cycle before looting the ruins.
The perpetual wind on these cold dusty plains threatened to scatter the sands.
Under the scuffed hand, a perfect circle defined a fancy compass rose, pointing to a round window illuminated with cold sun.
“The north… crest, we dr-aw… luna.” This planet had six distant moons, little more than asteroids. The stylus etched them closest to furthest.
The scavenger tugged his thick jacket closer around himself, and eyed the bronze talismans that decorated the room.
“Now th-a-at we have.. drawn, we pray.” The robot folded its arms into itself, and they sat in awkward silence. The wind howled as it passed. The small stone structure they sat in was sturdy, to have lasted so long. The scavenger passed time by mentally reciting a few hails to the unseeing universe.
“Are your pr-ayers… complete?”
The scavenger could not speak, and nodded at the machine’s featureless face.
“Ve-ry well. Did you bring… water?”
He swallowed, his throat dry, and ignored his hip flask of rations. He shook his head.
“I will… sacrifice, this time. Please bring… water, when you… return.”
The automaton reached forward with its hollow hands, shaking the dry tubes and wires attached to it. If this machine had any water left, he would be surprised.
A single drop squeezed out, and landed in the tiny depression in the middle of the sand-rose.
The wind stopped.
He smelt something wet. The scavenger turned to the doorway, away from the dormant robot. A massive dark cloud was approaching from the east.
“The Twisting Arms”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
The cathedral thrummed and pulsed with sound as the twelve robed figures chanted in unison. Chains rattled as thirty-two people sat at each vertex of a seventeen-pointed star and a fifteen-pointed star. Kawisenhawe recognized it immediately. Phantasmaduction. Not good. She had to act fast. Beginning to whisper a ritual of her own, Kawisenhawe nocked an arrow and drew her bowstring.
That when the stars on the ground began to glow and rotate. Thinking quickly, Kawisenhawe shot an arrow into the back of the head of one of the chanters. Alarmingly, all of the people in the circle fell.
“Was…was I too late?”
Red slowly creeped along the flagstone floor, mingling with the dust and dirt. Then it stopped and rose into the air. The blood condensed into an orb, which pulsed and whirled. Waves travelled along its surface like a hunting alligator. Slowly red became black. Kawisenhawe chanted her ritual, her words like an ecstatic prayer. Black became a sickly yellow. It took the huntress all of her mental strength to continue as a fetid smell permeated the cathedral. Then, she could see her breath. It was too late. The yellow orb became an opaque pearlescent white.
Suddenly, the orb unfolded itself, becoming a mass of arms stretching out in all directions. Each arm had a hand and every finger on that hand was also an arm. Kawisenhawe dodged as one grabbed towards her. Of all the unholy things to forge, they had to go with the one that could grab your essence.
The huntress finished her chant and let out a terrifying yell. The arms stopped, frozen in the mockery of a flower. All of the arms went limp as the pearlescent white absorbed into the chalk stars on the ground. Kawisenhawe took out a pipe, stuffed some tobacco into it, and muttered a few words. A spark appeared in the tobacco, setting it alight. She took a big puff and sighed, smoke billowing from her nose.
“Well, now I have to purify this place.”
A Beautiful Line (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
“Line them up,” the succubus spoke into Nyssa’s mind, before her senses blurred entirely into nothingness.
She found herself back at her childhood home. Her head was still foggy, but as she looked down to the table in front of her, she saw…pencils…rulers…graphing paper…
She felt a hand gently ruffle her hair. “Wakey wakey sleepyhead!”
She startled a little, looking right into the bright, faintly mischievous face of her father. He grinned. “We haven’t even started yet and you are already dozing off! Don’t worry, today will be an easy lesson.”
He turned to the paper lying between them, drawing several dots. “All you have to do, my lovely little Sunchild, is connect the dots! Easy as Mummy’s pie.”
He was right. This was easy. Why…why was she doing this again? Her head felt…so heavy.
She grabbed a pencil, an electric tingle running through her. She moved the pencil to the first point, and was surprised to see that little dark dot light up like a star.
Faltering for only a moment, she started to draw. As the line grew, the room darkened. As it crossed each dot, they lit up too, becoming brighter and harsher and louder with every new inch.
She had a splitting headache, but she forced herself onwards. As her line approached the final dot, the room had become black as pitch. The only things she could see, the only things that mattered, were those electrical points of light, hissing angrily and filling her nose with ozone as her pencil was about to touch the–
The succubus screamed in rage, as a blast of holy energy tore it to pieces.
Nyssa blinked into wakefulness, staring at her crackling hands. Quickly shaking off the spell she had been about to cast, she looked towards the ongoing battle.
There were her party members in various spots, fighting off the remaining demons surrounding them. But in the positions they were at, the angle she was facing them from…
They looked an awful lot like dots upon a line. A line she had almost drawn.
Such is The Contract (From Grael’s Library)
Jeremy had doubts about the book he took from the library. If the symbols on the cover didn’t tip him off, it was certainly the whispers that emanated from its pages. He reassured himself that this was the only way to save his family before the inexplicable disease consumed everyone.
He had heard stories about the Lifelight, how they could grant immortality to those who are deserving. Perhaps, he thought, he could make a deal with one of its many immortal beings, deemed Wounds by those mad enough to seek them. Jeremy only knew of one willing to bargain with mortals.
The book understood and flipped its pages to the proper ritual, one that would require a willing subject. Jeremy removed the glass dagger from the cover of the book and tore open his shirt. The dagger slaked its thirst with blood, sliding along Jeremy’s chest, marking the symbols for life, pain, sickness, and desire into his flesh.
He fought the urge to collapse to the ground and focused intently on the instructions for the ritual. Ever so gently, he pierced the center circle, the circle for life and blood. He cleared his throat and called out to the Judge.
He heard an unearthly voice behind him. “A mere human asking for my assistance? You must be desperate.”
Jeremy turned to see the Judge towering over him in his flowing black robes, face obscured by shadow.
Jeremy pushed back his cowardice, for fear of becoming even more distasteful to the Wound’s hidden eyes. “I wish my family to live among the Lifelight.”
“I can grant what you wish, but you must promise me something.”
“What is it? I’ll do anything!”
The Judge produced a piece of paper from his robe and presented it to Jeremy.
“You must agree to serve a new purpose, one as my personal servant. Until you complete your task, you will not be able to join your family. Sign here.”
Jeremy took the crimson-stained dagger and signed his name on the line.
“It’s official then, from now on, you’ll be my executioner.”
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
Lines. Angles. Curves. Shapes. Cohesive shapes. Figures. Lighting. Finishing touches. Finished piece.
That was all Fi-87N understood of the artistic process.
The human in Fi’s care, Charlotte, was quite fond of this process, and performed it often. In the few days that Fi had been installed in Charlotte’s bedroom, they had watched the girl create wonders of all types on simple sheets of paper. They saw Charlotte’s face flood with joy at a finished work, or sometimes frequently go back to perfect the same piece over and over again, never truly content with it.
And Fi wished to understand.
“Charlotte,” Fi’s staticy voice asked as the young woman returned from school one day, “would you be willing to discuss the artistic process with me?”
“Sorry Fi, I don’t have time for chit chat today, I’ve got an essay and two projects due tomorrow.” The girl’s heavy backpack hit the floor with a thud. “Wait, art? You’re a robot. I didn’t know you could like art.”
“I am aware of my condition. I shall play your focus music playlist for you while you work.”
“Wait, Fi…” Charlotte cut off the first few notes of a calming sonata, “do you…like my art?”
“I do. I wish to understand how you make it.”
“Oh, uh, that’s…” Charlotte flipped through a notebook, the margins filled with small sketches. “I don’t know why that sounds strange coming from you, but it is nice to hear.”
“I am glad to be of service. Now, shall I start the music?”
“Not yet, I…if you want to learn about art, just search it up. You’re connected to the internet. What’s stopping you?”
“I cannot perform an action such as that without approval from a user—”
“You’re approved! To, uh, do art research? Sorry, no one’s ever been interested before. Everyone think they’re just dumb sketches.”
“I shall catalog my findings for you for when you finish your schoolwork.”
“Thank you, Charlotte.”
And the music commenced, alongside a nurse robot’s first dive into the world of art.
A Very Spooky Dome
Karin giggled as she drew, the pencil scratching against the paper in short strokes. As she continued, her titters grew in intensity.
Yoshi crossed his arms as he looked at her. “What the hell are you doing?”
“I’m drawing up a new house!” Karin said excitedly. “A house for us!”
Karin resumed her giggling.
Yoshi growled. “Okay, what has you so giddy?”
“This is going to be the spookiest, most daunting house ever!”
Yoshi rubbed his head, feeling a tingling in his third eye. “Okay, I know I’m going to regret this. What’s going to make it spooky?”
“Non-Euclidean geometry! Oooooooo!” Karin wiggled her fingers and made a low moaning noise, looking more silly than frightening.
Yoshi sputtered. “That’s not spooky! That just means that you’re using curved surfaces.”
Karin beamed as she held out her blueprint. “I know! So I’m drawing this very scary dome!”
Yoshi stared at Karin for several long seconds without saying a word. Karin took this as an excuse to wiggle her fingers and moan again.
“That’s not the least bit frightening,” Yoshi said dryly.
“Howard thought non-Euclidean geometry was scary. That’s why he included it in his stories.”
“I loved Howard, but the man didn’t know squat about math. Frankly, there’s a lot of things Howard was a little ignorant of, to be honest.”
“That’s mean!” Karin frowned, and returned to her blueprint drafting. “I bet Howard would have liked my spooky dome.”
“Frankly, there’s something far more imposing about monolithic right angled structures in my opinion,” Yoshi added.
Karin continued drafting her building plan. “Hey, Yoshi? Do you think Aza would come live with us?”
“Why would you want him living with us? He’s an idiot! Besides, I wouldn’t even know how to bring him here.”
Karin shrugged. “We haven’t seen him since we’ve come to Earth. I miss him.”
“You know, if Azathoth was living with us, you couldn’t have your friends over. Their heads would explode. Not unless we make him more like…us.”
Karin sighed. “Oh yeah. Nevermind. He probably wouldn’t even appreciate the dome anyway.”
An Ancient Truth
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
“Stop! Thief!” an armored skeleton cries out as he chased the adventurer through the rugged and crumbling cyclopean walls of the old barrow.
“Leopold! The gate!” yell Henry. As the adventurer runs past, the jawless skeleton salutes the running skeleton and pulls the lever, bringing down the door that blocks the entrance into the sacred library.
The adventurer stops at the gate and turns to face her pursuers. She smiles, coyly. “A-all right, ya got me. haha. It was just a prank. Honest. I’ll just be on m-”
“Not so fast, fleshy one.” Henry pulls out a rapier. “We can’t let you go that easily. You’ll be rottin in the dungeons for a long time.”
The skeletons slowly approach the adventurer, weapons drawn. As they proceed to tie up their prisoner, the sound of two arrows being loosed in quick succession is heard, and the skeletons shatter into their constituent bones.
“No, you.” An archer climbs out of the shadows and sulks into the room.
“Took you long enough, Devon. I’ve been wandering this crypt, ALONE, for 3 hours now. I hope you don’t expect full pay.”
“Yeah, Lauren, it’s not my fault; I got lost. Seriously, why did you think a mercenary could read?”
“Hrmph. Let’s just get on with it. We’re finally here. The Library of Sacred Mathematical Knowledge. Oh, have I been waiting for this. I’m going to be the greatest mathematician of my day. Hehe.”
Lara pulls the lever and reopens the gate. She turns back around and rushes inside, giggling fiercely at the immense volume of ancient texts neatly placed along the walls.
“OK OK let’s see here… ‘1+1=Fun’, ‘How Many Shapes are There?’, ‘Zero Isn’t Real. Zero Can’t Hurt You’, ‘Trying to Understand Pythagorean Theorem and Failing’, ‘Why are There so Many Fractions?’ Wait what? ‘Why pi=3.2’, ‘Ovals=Squish Circles’ Where are all the advanced books? Where’s all the revolutionary new theories?!?”
One of the piles of bones speaks up, “Yeah, what did you expect? These were written six thousand years ago. We weren’t very good at math back then.”
Screaming At The Gods
The searing heat of the bonfire threatens to roast her blue-painted skin. Her breath stains the frigid air as she closes her eyes, going over the steps the priest taught her in her mind, his guttural voice reminding her that the rite must be performed perfectly.
She has enough time to go through the sequence once before the quiet beat of the drums begins, and intrudes itself on her thoughts. They grow steadily louder, and her body begins to beat with the rhythm, and she steps into it, letting her heart thrum to the thumping pulse. Slowly and carefully, her feet begin to describe arcs in the snow, and her arms form the letters of prayer written in the strange, branch-like script of the priests.
The sound of the drums begins to fade, the fire forgotten as she loses herself to the moment, this single primal calling to the gods to bless this warrior that dares intrude upon them with her petty request.
Faster and faster she moves, her gestures exhibiting her desire and her fury, the power mounting and cascading. The world no longer exists. She no longer exists. The cold no longer exists. Faster, wilder, more furious, her body whirling and contorting into seemingly impossible shapes, she continues, driving her wordless screams to the Otherworld that the gods might take notice.
Warmth invades her senses, settling in like a contented cat. Then the soreness makes itself known. With a groan, she rolls to her side and curls up, not letting her stiff body stop her from sinking back into the darkness of sleep. She awakens with a start, realizing that she does indeed feel stiff and sore. Her eyes snap open as she searches for the cause. Did she miss it? Her chance to ask the gods for their favor? Sitting up, a dark shape on her arm catches her eye. A black bird stains her otherwise fair skin. Licking her thumb and rubbing it on the mark confirms her thoughts, and her belly churns with excitement. She hadn’t missed it after all!
Only her eyes can see
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)
The clay and jute house was simple, and the candles lit the night outside. Aromatic and medicinal herbs created the path from which the old lady watched her guest walk towards her.
She instructed the people in the circle to sing and pray to the saint Mary statue on her altar as she lit her cigarette. That vision wouldn’t be out of place in a church, but the likes of Nanã weren’t welcomed in those places.
The young woman looked like her, the same dark skin tone and full lips, yet her clothes informed her higher status. A rich and desperate woman, like many she attended in the past.
“Ma name is Nanã de Maria, take a seat ma daughter.” She gestured for her to sit on the wooden stool. “Tell me, why ya came here?”
“I was told, you can cure me. I want to bear a child, but every time…” her voice died in an anguished hiccup followed by tears.
Nanã held her hands reassuringly and spoke: “I don’t promise cures, but can try to see if there is something more.” She took a drag and concentrated. “Close ya eyes and pray, ma daughter. I will see what I can do.”
Nanã took a long drag on her cigarette and blew the smoke in her direction, dissipating a heavy veil of darkness that covered the girl.
Nanã grabbed a piece of chalk and drew the complicated circles and lines under her feet and with her other hand circling David’s star with her finger on the woman’s hand.
The symbols came like second nature to her, whispered from the beyond. They informed what needed to be done: cleansing, protection, healing, invocation and banishment.
A curse had been laid onto the poor girl. One that demanded innocent blood and that scared Nanã like no other.
Once the invocation circle was completed, she would have to face her with her own old and yellowed eyes, the devil that was eating that woman’s children in the womb. Nanã prayed for the strength to banish it, before it was too late.
The Sacredness of Two
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
“Ziniu was born yellow,” Mazylas read aloud. “The goddess Seimininkas was angry with his mother and refused intervention, but a priest of Oras told the mother to lay Ziniu outside in the sunlight. The yellow went away and Seimininkas was further insulted by Ziniu’s family joining Oras’s devoutry.
“Vienas, why do I have to read this?” she asked.
Vienas stirred in the darkest corner of the room. “Because these are our ways.”
“Klajonas never learned this, to read.”
“No, she would not learn when I tried to teach her.”
“Was it this you started with?” Mazylas rustled the scroll. “This is dull. None of these characters are real.”
“But not now. They are dead and gone.”
“They live on in memoriam.” Vienas smiled.
“The old ways are done, mother. The things I’ve read suggest that people remained after death, but is that true anymore? What happened? Why is the city empty?”
“You sound like Klajonas.”
“I need more than a new story, Vienas.”
The blind priestess was silent, pensive, and Mazylas knew she enjoyed this discourse. A little sacred rite in her days again.
“Do you know what my name means?”
Mazylas had assumed it meant ‘mother.’ That was what she meant by it anyway.
“It means ‘sole.’ My parents were sterile and Ziniu gave them a child when Seimininkas wouldn’t. They had me raised in his temple in gratitude.”
“Why not tell us this?”
“I needed you to not know the word ‘mother.’ It’s important.”
“But father doesn’t mind.”
“No, Padas doesn’t.” Vienas hummed, “You want Klajonas to read?”
“I thought you did.”
Vienas laughed, “No, I am satisfied with one, but there are scrolls about plants and you might help her with those. I don’t want to be poisoned by accident. Oras’s priests were very fond of painting their subjects.”
“Mother,” Mazylas said.
Vienas leaned forward and slapped her. “Never use that word. Hide it from your children. Let it become a sacred duty. Promise me.”
Mazylas saw the tears in her eyes with blurred vision and knew she could never understand. She promised anyway.