Writing Group: The Ancient City

Hello, Adventurers and Immortals!

How long ago do you think cities even became cities? Where was that turning point in time where a colony became big enough that it needed a new word to describe it? What were things like back then? It’s time now to look backwards at what used to be, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Ancient City

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!

The notion of lost or old civilizations is not an idea we are unfamiliar with. While this prompt looks so simple on the surface, there’s so much more here waiting to be unearthed.

Of course, we can go the route of an old Eldritch being residing over— or even under— a realm they have claimed for their own. Is this Eldritch creature living there to terrify this place, or perhaps they protect it from whatever could be threatening to destroy it from the outside? How long have they been there, and what old traditions have been put in place to please them? Perhaps we choose to explore finding a city lost to time. Certainly, an idea like Atlantis is enticing; a great city suddenly swallowed by the sea. But perhaps this ancient place isn’t lost in that traditional sense. Maybe this city is lost in time and space, residing between realities. Do they still age? What has changed in their daily lives? Is time even relevant to them anymore? Perhaps this city is an ancient ruin buried beneath the earth. Better yet, what if it isn’t a ruin at all, but a community that is somehow still thriving, completely unaware of what lies beyond their high, rocky ceiling?

You could explore a world that is ancient to its inhabitants, yet new to us. An alien planet, perhaps, that is far older than our own. How do our civilizations compare to one another? Who is further ahead in the department of technology? What ancient traditions have they kept that we could learn from? Maybe the ancient city is nothing more than a child exploring a history museum, seeing how things have changed for their home over time. Maybe this child realizes something that so many others have missed, sees that his city’s past hides something more than what they let on. Is it a dark side to the truth of how this place came to be? Does their city stand on something far greater than anyone could even imagine? Or maybe your story chooses to follow someone who has spent every second of their life inside a simulation, someone who desires to see what the real world looks like outside of their virtual paradise.

Regardless of where you take us, it’s sure to be a spectacular adventure.

Do travel with care, though. Some places are better left unfound.

—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 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!

  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. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. 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.
    7. 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. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. 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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Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
1 month ago

“Gastrobar Station”

By Arith_Winterfell

Gastrobar Station was vast and ancient. Bubble domed towns, winding metal tunnels, and sections so deep that nobody really knew what was down there or how far the station really reached. Soonmir, a brown-dwarf the station orbited, dominated the visible sky above Gastrobar Station looming as a large reddish-brown orb filling the heavens. The station was already old before humanity evolved on Terra. It had been built originally by a now vanished ancient alien culture. Then repaired, changed, damaged in part, then rebuilt again, over and over by numerous species so that by now it was a vast patchwork of networked corridors and hubs. Corridors in which Melanie was completely lost.

“Think Melanie! Think!” She said to herself, “I came from the market hub, then I went down the blue corridor marked with the upside-down triangle. Then down this side hallway. Now I’m here, but there’s only the green hallway back there!” Melanie kicked the corridor wall.

“Over here, young one,” a soft voice called out. Melanie turned to see an alley way and an alien standing behind a table. The alien was green with a T-shaped head, with large yellow eyes, two slits for a nose, and a small, but warmly smiling mouth. It was a bit shorter than Melanie and wearing purple and blue robes. “Come! Come! Are you lost? I can help you. Eh, for a small price.”

“Okay,” Melanie said cautiously handing over a few credits. “I just need to get back to the market hub and find my friends.”

“Why its right over there,” the alien said with a gentle smile and pointed behind her.

“Look, that can’t be I just –” Melanie turned to look. She paused in surprise to see the blue corridor with an upside-down triangle before her, with the market hub just a bit up the hallway. Melanie turned back to ask the alien how it happened, only to find the alleyway and the alien were gone with only a blank wall before her. She turned and quickly fled toward the market hub.

Makokam
1 month ago

Chronicles of The Dragon: When Dreams Come True
By Makokam

Jonathan closed the book, “And that is the end of ‘Alex Roivas and The City of Ancients’.”

He set the book down, but then Jostica grabbed it, “Wait! You didn’t read the preview of the next book!” and handed it back to him.

“There isn’t one this time,” he said, flipping to the end of the book to show her.

“Oh no… If there’s no preview, then we’re not gonna get another book for like, a year!” She took the book back and started dejectedly flipping through the pages.

“Maybe it’s just a big secret?”

She sighed, “Maybe.”

Jonathan shrugged and got up from the couch as Jostica started rereading the book. Before he could leave, she asked, “Do you think I could learn magick and go on adventures?”

“I’m sure you could, If you really wanted to. I don’t think it’d suit you though.”

She glowered at him, “I could be a great adventurer!”

He smiled and held up his hands, “Hey, if that’s what you want to do, go ahead and do it. Just promise me you’ll stay away from magic tomes made from human skin and bone, and if you come across an eldritch city hidden from the world for millennia, that you’ll turn around and leave.”

She laughed, “But that’s how you HAVE adventures!”

Jonathan smiled, but it slowly faded. “Hey. There’s uh… There’s some really scary and dangerous stuff in the world. Promise me you’ll stay away from it?”

Jostica looked up at him with a smile, but when she saw his expression she stopped. After a moment she said, “Okay. I promise.”

Many years later and on the other side of the planet, Jostica stood on an island with the sky below her and the ocean above. Looking at the city in front of her, she lagged behind her teammates for a moment. “Hope you don’t get mad at me for breaking that promise.”

George Kaplan
George Kaplan
1 month ago

A False Hope
By George Kaplan

Dastan’s heart filled with ice. The city woke beneath him. He struggled in his bonds, the chains clinked as he moved his hand. It came up short, jerking his arm back roughly, the cuff biting into his wrist.

A cooper threw open his windows, letting out the stale night air. A dozen shop-owners followed suit. Doors and windows were thrown open with a din that filled the air as the people of the day emerged into the growing light.

A haggard shepherd, pipe in hand, sat down next to Dastan, his sheep grazing peacefully on a nearby knoll.

“You must feel a right fool.” The old man said, a wheezing voice emanating from beneath a dirty, white-streaked beard.

Dastan turned away as far as his chains would allow. The old man had said the same thing to him each morning since long before he was an old man, and no doubt would continue until the life left his body.

“You never did understand them, did you?” The shepherd continued after taking a long draw from his pipe, “They didn’t really need you to survive.”

Dastan harnessed his fury into a single movement, heaving the chain with a mighty yank of his arm. Nothing happened. He hadn’t moved more than six inches in a century.

“A false god they call you now,” they man continued, unperturbed by the sound of the links scraping together, then paused for several long moments for a rasping wheeze of a cough to subside, “said you had something to give to them— secrets, you called it.”

A merchant wagon, loaded high with produce, rumbled beneath them towards the waking city.

“What I would have given to see what my grandfather saw, the day they found you out for who you really are. Now look at them,” He said, gesturing with the stem of his pipe, “growing, prospering… living.”

Dastan took it all in with unseeing eyes, the weight of a century bearing down on his immortal soul.

“No, they didn’t need you at all. False-god… deceiver.”

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
1 month ago

She Waits Dreaming
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero

No one quite knew when the city was built, and no one quite knew when it fell. But it surely did both, because here it sat, crumbling, yet still here. So someone must have built it and someone must have destroyed it. Even if it was just themselves.

Lyle and Marissa were archeologists by trade, and delighted to find such a decrepit specimen.

Marissa was observing a particularly fine piece of architecture (that she didn’t know was a latrine) when she saw something dart behind a corner.

An animal? A loose rock falling? A trick of the light?

As they investigated, they found it was a girl. Tiny, dirty, and emaciated.

Are you lost? Said the song in their heads. Are you alone? Are you abandoned? How long have you been here?

“We’re not gonna hurt you.”—Crouching down, smiling, reaching out—“Please come out.”

After some convincing she obliged. Marissa took her hand.

“Where are you from?”

“A-Avaldine.”

Avaldine was the name of the city. This one. The city ruined, ravaged, with no one in it.

“You mean you’ve been staying here a while? Where were you from before that?”

“I’m from Avaldine,” she repeated.

“Honey…how long have you been alone?”

Lyle and Marissa blanched as they looked at each other. How was this possible? How could they find a living girl in a dead city?

Her eyes glazed. “I…wasn’t always alone.”

Whatever she’d gone through, she’d need therapy, that’s for sure. And lots of popsicles.

Lyle and Marissa had always wanted a child.

“Sweetie, why don’t you come with us?—What’s your name?—We’ll get you somewhere safe.”

“You mean…you’ll play with me?”

“Of course we’ll play with you,” Lyle took her other hand.

But the little hands in theirs became something else. Slimy and oozing, tendrils wove their way up their arms, around their waists, and as they were lifted in the air, the little girl was not a little girl at all, but rather a horror of eldritch magnitude.

They understood. The city didn’t just fall; first it was dragged to its knees.

MysteryElement
MysteryElement
1 month ago

We Ancients
By MysteryElement (also in private)

The city groaned. An audible growling sound of creaking lumber and stone, barely noticeable to those unfamiliar with their surroundings, unlike me. I knew its voices, its moods, and its breath as intimately as I might a sibling. It was not a living thing, not in an organic sense, but it had character and personality in the way it stretched and settled, breathed. This was my city.

If roads and alleys were the mind, then I knew how my city thought. She still had her secrets, a small number of them, but the majority of her thoughts lay open and honest before me. I may have gotten lost once or twice upon a time, traversing aimlessly without understanding or regard for where I stood, but not anymore. I knew her ways, and she accepted mine.

A breath in her presence was joy, contentment, home. I felt at peace no matter where I stood, perhaps what the warm embrace of a mother or lover might feel like, though I could only speculate. What I felt within this place stretched into my marrow with familiarity, creeping into my finger, wrapping around my skull, and leaching into my blood with each pulse of my heart.

To leave would be betrayal, a heresy, heartbreak. I was here when the stones were laid and I shall be here when they crumble, to hold my dear friend close as her life slips away leaving only ruins and ghosts behind. I will remain. I must remain. Until then, I bask in her presence as I imagine she basks in mine. We are intertwined, my city and I, intertwined to the end of time.

Chengir
1 month ago

The Ancient City
By Chengir

The city was half-carved into a cliff face and half made of crumbling structures, but the metropolis still retained some grandeur. The cut stone steps leading up to the first of the city’s dark pavilions must have run for at least a mile. Weeds and grass were growing out of some spaces in the stonework. Few people traveled this route. Still, those who drew near were frequently overcome with a sense of majesty. The structures represented hundreds of years of work and thousands of lives. But Mickael wasn’t impressed. He’d seen almost everything in the five years he’d been hiring himself out as a mercenary warrior.

As Mickael approached, he could better see how rundown the buildings had become. But it wouldn’t be prudent to tell royal family they needed to spend less on mercenaries and more on upkeep.

He was met by the guards, dressed in their golden robe finery, and was escorted into the presence of Duke Chu. The man was dressed as a dandy, but he was no older than a teenager. “What brings you to beg to join my service?”

Mickael’s voice had a low growling quality to it. Its deep, rumbling tone spoke of being tested in combat. “I beg to no man, princeling.”

“But you worked for my cousin?”

“He paid well, my lord.”

The duke’s voice emitted a child-like joy. He almost cackled. “Not anymore.”

“That’s because you had him poisoned, your grace.”

“Yes, I did… didn’t I. But he wasn’t the true emperor. I’m the rightful emperor.”

“There are many in your family who would disagree.”

The boy’s smile slipped, and he ground his jaw. “They know nothing. I will have them all killed.” The boy shook his fist in half-crazed anger. There was a gleam in his eye. Part revenge, part insanity. “I could have you killed for not recognizing my claim, you know.”

Mickael smiled and rested his hands on the pommel of his well-worn sword. “Yes, but then who would fight your wars?”

ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
1 month ago

Simple Wonders (CW: Mild Swearing)
By ThatWeirdFish

Matt soaked in the landscape of the ruins through the fog of his breath on his helmet’s visor. Finally, at long last, he was here. Truly here. He grinned at the sight of myth made real.

“Quit gawking and help me.” His cyborg companion snapped as they attempted to wrench off a piece of metal from the side of a decrepit vehicle.

“Sorry, Andie, it’s just so beautiful out here,” Matt said with awe in his voice. “The snow and ice covering everything, glinting in the-”

“Yeah, yeah. Save your poetic waxing for the report. You get used to it.” Andie grunted as she struggled against the stubborn rust.

Matt approached her slowly, still taking in the scene: an endless winter maze of towering structures and historical relics. Then he stopped and pointed to the prominent symbol poised on a nearby roof. “Is that…?”

“Arg! Yes. That’s the Logo. Now get your butt over here and help me, damn it!” Andie groaned and stopped to rub her organic shoulder. “Too old for this shit.” She muttered as she braced herself for another attempt.

Matt stared reverently at the geometric structure. The Logo, the ever-present eye of the corporation that once ruled the world. The legends said that living here was a paradise. The Company knew and fulfilled your needs and desires without you even noticing it. And… it controlled your life down to the second. He shuddered, suddenly appreciating the freedom of choice in his life.

Then his eyes drifted down to the street. They glinted with delight when he spotted a particular artifact resting on its side. He rushed over to it and wrenched it free from the ice. Then, with a couple of shoves, he tested it. It seemed sturdy enough.

Andie sighed sharply as he approached her with the artifact screeching loudly on rusted wheels.

“Can I?” Matt asked eagerly.

“No.” Andie glared back.

“Please? We’ve still got time before we have to go back.”

“… fine.”

Matt rode around on the “shopping cart,” grinning like the total dork he was.

Alexander
Alexander
1 month ago

Despite Everything, It’s Still You.
By BrokenEarth

“Gabriel?” Aki’s voice echoed through the cave.

“Be right there!” Gabirel yelled back.

Gabriel looked at the large mirror in front of him. Despite having been underground for more than a hundred years, there wasn’t a single imperfection. No cracks, no dirt, not even a speck of dust.

Scanning the ornate details around the edges, Gabriel’s eyes eventually came around to his legs, which he followed up to his face. There wasn’t much light, but he could see the familiar features just fine.

At first he studied his face for dirt, making sure he was presentable despite being underground. Then he brushed his hand across the long, thin scar on his cheek, and he was reminded of the wolf that gave it to him.

It had been separated from its pack, but that hadn’t put it in a cooperative mood. It had attacked Gabriel and Aki, nearly biting Aki’s hand off, until Gabriel put it down. It had clawed at his face desperately in its last moments.

How many other things had Gabriel killed? Plenty of chickens. A few bats. Vanessa.

Vanessa. Gabriel stared into his eyes, seeing the memories play behind them.

She hadn’t been Vanessa for a very long time, he reasoned. She had gone insane years ago. So he had done the right thing, putting a bullet in the back of her head.

So what of the factory he’d destroyed? Who knows how many sane men died that night? Had Gabriel just forgotten about them?

Gabriel stared into the eyes of a killer. Who was this man, who had killed so many without repentance? Covered in scars from his victims, this man was a scourge on the earth.

Gabriel blinked. The killer left.

He watched his eyes for a moment longer, seeing the pain and worry. The little boy who had broken a plate. The disheartened teen sitting alone in the rain. The man watching himself in the mirror, contemplating what he saw.

Gabriel turned away from the mirror. There wasn’t anything more to see.

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
1 month ago

An Act Forgotten
By Adrian Solorio

“You’ll not go!” Zuma yelled. He yanked Tozi back inside, where she tumbled to the floor.

The jaguar warriors, now nothing but young boys, rushed into the house and tackled him to the ground. During the struggle, Zuma bit one boy’s arm, and the boy released him with a howl. Then he fought to rise against the torrent of fists raining down on him.

“Stop!” Tozi screamed. “I shall go–Huitzilopochtli requires it–I shall go.”

From the doorway where he leaned, supporting himself, Mietlancuhtli watched the scene with feverish despondent eyes. His face was gaunt, damp, and pale, and his once immaculate robes were now filthy and torn. With the arrival of the savages, the world had changed drastically. They had brought destruction to the kingdom, with their thundersticks, armor stronger than obsidian, hooved demons, and worst of all, a divine plague which left three in every four dead. Now desperation drove the priest. “Tozi is what’s required for the salvation of our people”–Mietlancuhtli coughed–“we require a noble to ensure the destruction of our enemies.”

“Fools,” said Zuma, spitting blood. “And for what? Everyone is dead. Nobles. Priests. The people–the Gods–everyone.”

Mietlancuhtli’s fingers clenched the jade medallion hanging from his neck, and his veins pulsed. Outside, dogs barked viciously, snapping and fighting over bloated bodies while rats grew fat gnawing on noses, fingers, and waxen eyes. The smell of decay was inescapable. With too few healthy or willing to go near the dead, corpses had filled the streets. “Your wife will please Huitzilopochitli, and he will bless us. Our dead shall rise. It has been foreseen.”

“No more fighting, love.” Trembling, Tozi rose and stared sadly at Zuma, who still struggled against his captors. “I must go so you and others may yet live.”

####

“Wow!”–“No way!”–“Who was she?” A group of students stared at the skull, mouths open and phones out.

“Possibly a noble-woman,” said the museum-guide. “We don’t really know. But back then, self-sacrifice was the most heroic act one could perform. If bones could speak, I’m sure she’d have a story to tell.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Adrian Solorio
tryman159
tryman159
1 month ago

The infinite city

by tryman159

The walls had just started to rise, and I knew I had to follow him.

Through the opening, I saw his shadow take a turn on the left and from behind, people were calling me. I pushed them out, focused on catching him deeper into the labyrinth.

While walls rose around me, I looked for his trail, pursuing it like a predator. Avoiding debris from buildings, replaced with ones that had been thought but never made, I followed the trail of his black robe until the ground split, and a white column of granite rose from its depth. Its tremor made me fall over and when it stopped a white barrier had taken place, blocking the path and his trail.

As I looked around, I realized what had happened to the main heart of the city, and its twisted fate it had undergone. The old market, now a maze in rising continuity. From one side, I saw the bakery, split in half, its oven and roof on fire. From another, the middle of what was the street well, was now a rising spire of pure chalky blocks, reaching further into the lands of god.

While I was agape, a stench slowly rose. One I hadn’t realized earlier and now couldn’t ignore. Its rise lifted my stomach and almost made me vomit.

I thought it might have been an effect of this damned fortress, but looking back, I realized my mistake. It wasn’t the spell that made the smell, but the wall lifting the sewers, cracking many in their path, and some so old, their rocks shattered and passed the rising defences, some landing near me, scratching the wall and leaving its noxious gas all around. I realized I couldn’t stay here. But what should I do? What could I do? The city had been swallowed, and the white teeth of this black hooded devil were slowly masticating it.

Only the screams of the baker woke me, and I ran to help in any way I could. The city was doomed, but its people weren’t and I had to help.

Last edited 1 month ago by tryman159
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

A Whimper of History (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis

The Monument must have been tall, Ember imagined. Twenty foot tall? Thirty? Maybe forty or even fifty? Hard to tell, when the only thing left was a corroded stump of metal that barely reached five foot in height. She sighed, and turned back to one of her companions. “So, why exactly are we here again? If you wanted to see the ruins of long-dead civilisations, I can think of three in this sector alone that would have much more to see than-”

She gestured at the Monument, and the desolate sands surrounding them all. “-this.”

Astra huffed in frustration, standing up from her own close examination of the Monument. “‘This’ is not just any ruin Ember,” she said, with that lecturing tone she always used when annoyed. “This is the last remnant of a whole Lawforger city! The fact that there’s anything left to see at all is already an incredible rarity, so I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t-”

“Hey.” Clev’s calming voice sank into their ears. “It’s really hot here. And dusty. Please don’t argue.”

Ember looked like she’d been about to snap back at Astra, but she stopped herself, turning her gaze instead towards the sky that she longed to return to.

Astra cut off her complaint as well, a brief moment of silence passing before she looked away from Ember’s face. “What do you have there, Clev?” She nodded her head towards the shards of material he held in his callused hands.

“Oh. These are degraded composite shells. A lot of it is buried in the sand.”

Astra blinked. “Yes. May I ah, enquire what that means?”

“It’s a building material. Similar to what some of our buildings use, though cruder. Perfect for resculpting and recycling into new forms. Tends to fragment and degrade over long periods of time. I like how these look,” he concludes simply.

Ember released a dry laugh. “So their city wasn’t built to last. Everything was just temporary. Disposable.” She pointed towards the Monument. “I guess this was the only thing in the city that truly mattered. Whatever it actually meant.”

VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
1 month ago

A Place So Old…
By: VeryBoringName

Carter hunched over the rock tablet, their team was excavating this place for a long while now, a month at least, and what they discovered was fascinating, a whole dead city buried under rock. It nearly felt like something out of a movie.

“Sumerian cuneiform, huh?”

Sophie pointed out, also looking at the tablet.

“Looks like it, though, I swear I see some Elamite and Akkadian mixed in there.”

“That would be impossible though.” Sophie exclaimed.

“Or perhaps Sumerian survived longer than we thought.”

Carter stood up.

“You think that this tablet relates to that door we found?”

“No idea. Mitch doesn’t know either.”

Carter began walking towards one of the back alleys of this ancient, perfectly preserved, city. Sophie trailing behind him.

“You’re going to the door?” She asked sheepishly.

“Yeah.” Carter said, grumpily.

“Why are you so fascinated with it anyway?”

“I dunno, I just need to know what’s behind him.”

“Fair enough.”

When they arrived Carter took a nearby jackhammer and placed it on the door. He was about to destroy one of the greatest finds they encountered, with inscriptions in many different languages, and even ones they had no idea existed. Sophie perched herself nearby on an ancient stonewall separating someone’s long-dead front yard from the street.

Soon enough the door gave way, crumbling before them.

“You sure you didn’t just release some curse or eldritch deity?”Sophie joked, seemingly unfazed by the destruction.

“Very funny” Carter huffed tiredly, “You have a glow-stick on you?”

“As always” Sophie handed him a white rod which he cracked.

Soon enough as they stepped into the dark unknown of the behind of the door, their eyes laid upon something massive, metallic squares laying with fleshy growths of dead eye stalks connecting them, he didn’t know why, but Carter felt the squares should be spinning.

“Did I just jinx it?” Sophie asked, somehow still maintaining good humor.

Carter kicked one of the squares. “This place’s so ancient even its eldritch horrors are dead.” Carter said without much passion in his voice.

Connor A.
Connor A.
1 month ago

Hopeful Plans (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

Aileen set the last bag of stones down and looked at the empty field before her. She slowly walked around the field, balancing on her toes as she formed a plan in her head.

“You are anxious,” a deep voice snapped Aileen out of her thoughts.

She looked around for the source, but eventually found a tall cloaked figure carefully stretched out on a tree branch so he would not fall. “That is not true.”

“Then you are simply carrying ten bags worth of mountain stone for fun?”

“And what of you? Hiding the face of Death from your beloved? I already know what you look like.”

Death gave a hollow chuckle. He sat up so his arms were free and pushed back his hood. Aileen’s eyes widened at the sight of an iridescent sheen hovering over Death’s skull. A new age would soon be upon them.

When he pulled the hood back on, Aileen turned her attention back to the stones, taking some out of a bag and setting them up.

“You seemed so excited about the arrival of these…humans,” Death continued the conversation. “Why are you suddenly nervous?”

“I am still excited.” Aileen stacked a few stones so they looked like a building. “I just… I had a dream.”

“Oh?”

“There was a large city, filled with unfamiliar sights and sounds. But the Wyld and humans were existing in peace.”

“And you believe it was a sign to build one out of stone by yourself?”

“Not an entire city. Just… a plan for one.”

Death consider her words, then hopped down from the tree and pulled out some stones. “Tell me where you want these. It will go faster with help.”

Oberon stared on at a circle of stones. Some eroded and collapsed over time, but they still resembled a hopeful plan. He walked to the center of the circle and took in the remnants.

Despite his rage, he could not bring himself to destroy it. He only hoped that her dream would one day come to pass.

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

When in Rome
By RVMPLSTLTSKN

A young woman stands to tell her story in a flurry of hands.

—When in Rome, you know the saying. But is it true in Greece?

Laughter from her audience. A wistful grin.

—The day I first saw my soulmate was a bad day. No one speaks like we do there. I was trying to get some baklava from a vendor and her niece could speak a little, but not enough. It’s a different language over there. I was upset and looked to see if there was anyone who could help.

—I felt like I got hit by lightning when I saw him.He was very greek. Handsome. He was just standing there, smirking to himself. He wasn’t helpful, but I didn’t know that. I signed to him and he laughed. I thought he understood.

—I’m Andi, I said.

—Andrea, he said.

—We had dinner that night. He asked about my home. I asked about his.

—It was very greek, he said like he meant I wouldn’t understand. So I asked about his necklace. It looked like Harry Potter merch.

—My thunderbolt, he winked.

—We started doing usual things. I had been dumped right before the trip, so I think I was vulnerable. Emotionally. I only stayed over twice. He wasn’t some kind of god if you’re wondering. I started to notice the little things first. How we would finish each other’s sentences, his lips and my hands. Then his hands started to twitch like mine, forming ideas he couldn’t understand but I could.

—I left. My ticket wasn’t refundable and there wasn’t a storm, so clearly he wasn’t Zeus.

Her listeners laughed sympathetically or politely, she couldn’t tell. She signed faster.

—I’m here because I don’t know what to do. I’m tired and hungry when I shouldn’t be. My soul feels stretched. And I’ve always been OK being alone but lately I feel like I need someone nearby.

—I looked him up online. He’s not a good man and this need scares me. I need your help to escape this fate.

The three women nodded and named their price.

Occultic;Z
Occultic;Z
1 month ago

Twighlight on the Bench
Occultic;Z

The city has changed much since I was a young girl, as have I. The buildings race past as I look out from the bus window. In their years, they have grown. They have become skyscrapers, towering high towards the sun. It has almost completed its journey across the sky. Each window reflects the shades of orange and purple that now paint the heavens. It is not long until night falls.

I step off the bus and walk through the town. People say that these fumes aren’t good for someone in their twilight years like me, but I do not mind. They did not exist in my youth. Nor did the offices that now close for the evening. The ones that stand where the old market once did. I see a group of birds fly above me, but they do not reach higher than the city. Are they chirping, I wonder? I can’t tell over the sound of the honks and the shouting of life around me. I continue forwards.

Though I marvel at the creations of this society that make up the concrete jungle around me, I am glad to find the small park has been untouched. It is a haven for the trees and the grass that guard the small pond. The air is cleaner here.

I sit on a bench that rests by the crystal water. I remember often doing the same all those years ago in this very spot. The ducks would entertain me as they carried out their own lives. They are here too. Or at least, their ancestors are. I find it curious. Their behaviour is no different. They live obliviously to the noise that grown and stretched around them.

As I look across the water, I begin to notice that the buildings reflect also. This city has come a long way. Though we have aged together, it is merely in its youth. I am far beyond those times.

The sun goes down. As twilight comes for both the city and me, I close my eyes and rest.

C. M. Weller
1 month ago

Lore of the Unseen (from Private)
C. M. Weller

Small feet step a dance to a tune that doesn’t exist. A lone corpuscle against the arteries of Bryss, dodging and weaving. Evading the sharp shoes and bludgeoning bags of those who choose not to see her. Call her Kid. Those who actually acknowledge her presence do the same.

She is on the same mission as always. The mission, the game, of Enough. Be clean enough to be part of the crowd. Be clever enough to find the things that won’t be missed. Be quick and wily enough to not get caught taking them. Thus, get fed enough to do it again tomorrow.

Today, Bryss had a gift for her. A shining silver circle with holes in it. Not money. A kind of picture. A central column with winding lines radiating out from either end. On one side, points. On the other side, sort of… lip shapes, but without the little hollow under the nose. SMG would know what it was meant to represent. SMG knew everything.

Backpack full of unmissable things, some for trade and others for necessity, Kid resumed her gavotte into the steaming nostrils of the undercity. Where the forgettable, the criminal, and the mad shared an unwritten contract: don’t bother me, and I won’t gut you. Kid skirted the invisible borders of the underpeople and they ignored her.

Down again, through winding staircases in buried towers, through the forgotten bones of Bryss-that-once-was, down and down until there was light that came from itself. Where SMG waited for her. He was a kind soul, and very patient. Willing to listen to, and explain, anything. He had, after all, been dead for hundreds of years. Be alone that long, and any kind of company is welcome.

“Lookit,” Kid said, holding the medallion high. “What’s it supposed to be?”

Spectral fingers directed her to turn it lips-side-up. The ghost shaped like the stone man lying amidst the filth said, “That… is a tree.”

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Underneath (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Bodomark wasn’t like the big cities like Lockton. Its age, dating back centuries, was visible on every surface and every cobble on the streets, under the gazes of the gargoyles. Bodomark wasn’t like other cities, where the sky was attacked by sky scrapers. No, its towers stretched down, deep into the sewers and below. And it was into these sewers a strange woman, which smelled vaguely of clay, could be seen descending.

Lilith, golem and monster hunter, entered the sewers of Bodomark, her loaded pistols by her side. It didn’t take her long to reach the structure underneath. This was Bodomark. The truly ancient Bodomark, its age measured in millennia. Spires dug deep underground, like needles into the flesh of the planet and the places below.

She kept going through the sewers. For a while, she saw nothing special. Then, a dirty golden arch appeared. It wasn’t blocked off in any way, the workers of the sewers passing it in the quiet understanding that it was improper to enter the thousand year old empire without permission.

She entered. She was expected.

Small, four-legged shadows accompanied her. Soft squeaking emanated through the corridors. The stench of trash and sewage was replaced by the pleasant smell of petrichor. The people of the mark beneath Bodomark took great care to stave off the stench from above. Blue light flickered along the spire, as Lilith descended a staircase. She could see the tiny bridges and holes leading to alleys along the walls. The deeper she went, down the visitor’s path, the louder the squeaking became.

She kept descending, her hands relaxed, not touching her pistols. She didn’t need them. Not here. She was a guest. A guest of the King beneath Bodomark. Once she reached the bottom, she had to crouch down to progress. The corridor was small by design, so that every visitor would be forced to bow before the rat king.

She entered the throne room. On a golden throne, surrounded by rats, sat their king, proudly crowned, looking down at her.

“I was told, you have a monster problem, your majesty.”