Hello, Fighters from all walks of life!
Have you ever experienced anything that was really scary? And even though you stayed strong in that moment, once it ended, you realized how terrified you really were? Maybe in a battle or something? If you have the time, I’d like to hear of your experiences, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Glass Sword
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!
This prompt has been in the running for a while, and what a prompt it is! Now, a prompt like this might seem very basic, limited even. But that’s not the case at all.
Of course, you’re welcome to take the literal route. Perhaps you choose a lone adventurer, pressing on through their travels in search of a fabled weapon. Why do they seek it? To overthrow the ruler of their land? To protect their home from an enemy they thought long gone? Or were they just sent to get the sword for a large sum of money in return? Maybe you choose a king’s loyal knight, his most trusted warrior and their sole unique weapon, which has ended many a war. Does the knight learn something terrible and great about the king they fought for without question, and turn their sword on him? Do they finally crumble in a great battle? If so, perhaps their sword finally shatters… or is picked up by a new master, determined to follow in the knight’s footsteps.
There’s plenty of literal ways to write this prompt. But, as is the case with most, if we just tilt our heads and squint a little, there’s something else a prompt like this can mean.
It doesn’t have to be literal at all. You could choose to write about a mage, fighting in an incredible battle against a mighty foe. Seeing that they and their party are losing, they decide to use the one spell they only ever saved for emergencies to even the odds… even if it results in them being unable to fight on any longer. Perhaps you choose someone finally standing up for themselves to a bully, but the conflict leaves them drained and trembling, as they knew they had to finally say something, but feared the response. Maybe you choose someone who is normally very guarded finally managing to visit a therapist, and that strong, prickly facade crumbling as they at last get to pour their heart out. Or perhaps you choose to write about the friend who stays strong for everyone around them, yet at home, by themselves, falls apart from the weight of their own problems. Because while they know how to be open for others, they cannot open up to others about their own issues out of fear or anxiety.
So see, while the literal sense can be fun, there’s an underlying meaning to this prompt.
Strong, but fragile.
Now, take up your pens, quills, and keyboards. Arm yourselves, and write us a journey unlike any other. Good luck, and Godspeed.
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 3:00pm 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! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
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- 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.
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- 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.
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
“Fight Glass with Glass”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
The pipe organ resonated throughout the chamber. Morning light shone through glass tinted blue, green, orange and yellow. The windows depicted stories that those within the building knew all too well. Statues of the virtuous lined the outside, looking down upon those that sat in the neat little rows of pews. Along the aisle stood imposing knights, small engines humming on their sides.
In front of the altar stood a bride and groom that were quite the mismatched pair; the bride was an elf of radiant splendor — her silver-gold hair in tight curls and her dress smooth and pearl white — and the groom was a troll with bruises all over his face and body and a suit much too small. The priest adjusted his comically small spectacles as he looked over his scripture for the ceremony.
“Family and friends, we are gathered here today to join together Miss Clarice Marie Lovette and Mister Asbjorn…”
The priest leaned over to the troll, the brownie barely reaching the troll, even with the step stool. Asbjorn swallowed, looked over to Clarice. The smile in her eyes was gone, even though she grinned ear to ear. The troll felt the weight of the elf woman’s malice.
“Um… J-just Asbjorn, sir.”
The priest nodded. “And Mister Asbjorn in holy matrimony in front of the Heptadeka and their families.”
Suddenly, the doors in the back of the cathedral burst open and a man clad in all black strode down the main aisle. “‘Their families’, huh? Strange… I only see one family here.”
The knights in the aisles drew the swords, the stained glass and brass came surging with electrical charge. The stranger in black chuckled.
“Already drawing weapons? I thought this country was about the power of the people. I’m not here for violence, ladies and gentlemen. I’m only here to say two words: I object.”
Clarice’s face seized in anger. “Kill him!”
With a “huh”, the stranger pulled out a solid glass sword that turned an opaque red the instant he turned his engine on.
“So it’s the hard way then? Pity. Have at you!”
By L. L. Marco
The second we charged the door everything erupted into chaos. We knew that Seer had the gift of clairvoyance but it still caught me off guard. Each member of my group was immediately met with a monster in which we fell into a violent rhythm, taking our part in the gory ballroom dance. We were armed with nothing but random supplies we’d found along the way: PBC pipe, a chair leg, a rolling pin. But we swung them like our lives depended on it. Battle cries filled the room.
“Poor girl,” a vampire laughed, ducking to the side as my wine bottle slipped past her head. “Try harder!”
“Shut up and fight,” I hissed.
This cycle repeated for an eternity; I’d go crazy if it went on any longer. All the while, just as I launched another attack, she’d call it out and dance out of the way. Seer told her every pattern, every attack. He knew my thoughts as I thought them. How could I win against something like that!?
In a fit of frustration I let out a thoughtless, wild swing. The bottle cracked square into her temple and she gasped, eyes wide. The vampire stumbled back, holding her hand to her face. Seer hadn’t told her that would happen.
Then it clicked. It was never about outthinking Seer. It was about not thinking at all. That was his blind spot.
The woman quickly hid her surprise, laughing.
“Good hit, but if you want real power you’d swing it like a sword, not a mallet!”
She’d barely finished before I swung again. I took her advice, angling the broad side of the glass bottle and striking her torso with the full force of my body. In any other situation her hardened skin was a boon. However, as my force collided with her flesh the impact shattered the end of the bottle, leaving jagged, hungry teeth that bit through her. I completed the swing. A wicked red ocean stained her clothes as she stared, stunned, and collapsed.
Watch out, Seer. I’m coming for you.
A Ceremonial Cannon
Cassidy fired the remaining shots from her revolver at the men pursuing her and Andrew, then helped him close the heavy wooden doors of the warehouse.
Andrew pulled the bar down, locking them in. “What now?”
There was a pounding at the wooden bay doors. Van Nilsson’s men had found something to batter the door open. Cassidy started to reload her revolver, although they were vastly outnumbered.
“I found a cannon!” Andrew shouted. He pointed behind Cassidy.
Cassidy followed Andrew’s line of sight. An ornate brass cannon sat on a stand nearby, half covered with a canvas tarp. The exposed metal was caked in dust.
“Andrew, you twit, that’s a ceremonial cannon!”
“Do you have a better option?”
Cassidy had to admit she didn’t. She ran to the cannon, and found plugs of gunpowder in a barrel nearby.
“Well, it’s ceremonial, so there’ll be no ammunition,” she said. “I’m worried it’s just as likely to explode as anything.”
“Cass, the barbarians are at the gate, and when they get through, we’re dead. This is our best option.”
“Good point. I’ll load the cannon, you get anything you can find to fire at them. Nails, rocks, broken glass. Anything hard or sharp.” Cassidy slid a plug of gunpowder into the cannon’s muzzle, followed by another, tamping both of them in place with a broom handle. She broke a chunk of powder off a third, and pounded it into the touch hole.
The wooden door began to crack and splinter.
Andrew rushed up with an oily rag filled with debris, and poured it into the cannon’s muzzle. Glass, crockery, and scrap metal rattled into the chamber.
Cassidy tore a strip from the rag, and wadded the rest into the muzzle, tamping it down. “Get some cover.” She wrapped the remaining strip around the broom handle, and lit it with a gaslamp.
Andrew took cover behind a number of crates. Cassidy ducked behind a support beam near the cannon.
The door burst open.
Cassidy took a deep breath, then lowered the burning rag on the cannon’s touch hole.
Rancor Chips Away
This was Tibbin’s most hated time of year. It only brought cold; it lacked happiness and cheer. No trimmings adorned the empty hearth. There were no gifts nor trees; nothing of mirth.
He slouched with a sneer. No loved ones, as they didn’t want him near.
‘Your fault’, their haunting voices echoed. ‘You were terribly selfish! You hurt us so!’
Tibbin launched the glass from his hand, amber liquid and shards raining upon the bricks.
“See if I care, you great sniveling twits!”
Four successive knocks resounded from the door.
“Who dares to intrude,” he barked, his bare feet finding the floor.
An uppercut from the icy wind, but to its will, he did not bend. A lone package lay on his stair. Upon it, he visited his most hateful glare.
It was addressed to him with no other name. Tibbin’s scowl deepened. “What is this game?!”
With reluctance, and because of the chilly bite, he brought the package out of the unforgiving night.
Setting it on a nearby table, he racked his brain. His thoughts collided like speeding trains.
He pondered aloud, “Is this an illusion?” He stroked his jaw. “No,” he mused. It didn’t explain this festive inclusion.
“It could be a trick,” he relented. “They never TRULY believed me,” he further consented.
His emotions stoked higher, Tibbin gathered materials for a fire.
“This would be just like them!” he bellowed while striking a match. Grabbing the package, his plan he wished to enact.
One tear along its wrapping gave him pause. “That’s queer,” he whispered, staring in awe.
Unwrapping it fully and opening the box, Tibbin’s mouth fell open in shock.
“Is this true,” he exclaimed, his voice holding such denial. It was a kaleidoscope with colors meant to beguile.
Passed from his mother’s father, Tibbin had cherished it. Until it was stolen by Robbie, the foul little git!
A note within the box explained how Robbie had felt great shame. He hoped his wrong could be amended, for he longed to see the brother he had offended.
Tibbin’s bitterness fled; memories of home filled his head.
Around the Sword
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
Padas slept less as he aged. One night, some weeks after Vienas died, he found Naslaite peering into the flames of Karas’ Sword, her face a breath away from the edge.
“You’ll blind yourself, if you stare into the sun.”
“I am reading the blade, Father.”
“To learn its secrets. There is writing on the blade. No one knows what it is.”
He laid a tattered hand on her shoulder. “Naslaite—.”
“I despise that name.”
“You would rather have what Klajonas gave you? niekas?”
“I’m not her creature. I would rather be known by my character than my circumstance.”
He breathed, less securely these days. “I’m not in the habit of refusing Vienas.”
“Some things are best unknown, daughter.”
She grinned. “Better.”
He nodded. The sword’s flames held no heat and the temple was colder with Vienas gone. He sat.
“Do you know what it says?” she asked.
“No, I don’t think even Karas’ priesthood knew.”
“Who is Karas?”
This was a thing Vienas had prepared him—prepared them all—for. “Someone long dead.”
“And this sword?”
“What is it like?”
“I’ve never used it. Why?”
“Vienas said it was a woman’s thing and women would know when to use it.”
“Vienas was the wisest of us.”
“Father, was Vienas truly her name?”
“What are you asking?”
“Was she a person like Padas or a role like Father?” She turned her gaze away from the flames.
“You want to fill her role.”
“I want to carry the sword for when you need it. You need a companion, Father. I want to be vienas for you.”
Padas frowned at her. “Vienas,” he said pensively, “didn’t lose her sight to the sword. If she knew what Karas wrote there, she never shared it. She was a keeper of knowledge and secrets. Some things, she liked to say, are best left forgotten. She destroyed knowledge, daughter. She sacrificed things we’ll never know the value of to protect us from the past.
“You may be my companion while I live, but you won’t be Vienas. That name belongs to her alone.”
A New Friend
Little Voice Box Storyline
“Clearly, I’m going to have to teach you how to fight.” Simon said.
Casey stammered. “Y-you are? I mean, I don’t think I need to know how to fight.”
Simon gave her a measuring look. “Really? You don’t think you need to know how to fight? After escaping a prison owned by people who want you dead?!”
Casey figited. “I mean, yeah, fair point… I just…”
“Just what?” Simon’s gaze felt as if it might penetrate her skull.
“I.. I..” Casey stood there shaking, willing Simon to give up on her.
Suddenly, she felt a soft something bump against her forehead. She looked up. Simon held their hand in a chopping position on her forehead. They smiled. “Don’t worry. Nobody is going to get hurt. Ok?”
She nodded. “Um, what are you doing?”
They laughed. “That’s how you train. Treat my hand like it’s a blade. I’ll come at you slowly. Dodge.” Simon brought their hand down again. Casey sidestepped, putting a couple feet between herself and Simon.
They turned to face her slowly, but never stopped moving, bringing their hand up for another swing. “First lesson.” Simon said. “Control. When you dodge, stay closer to your opponent. Don’t disengage from the fight.” Casey moved, turning toward Simon this time, deliberately keeping close. “Very good.” Simon approved.
The next hour was spent slow motion dodging. Simon offered pointers along the way. Casey wondered why they could fight so well. And why were they teaching her even though she clearly had no skill?
Casey stopped moving. Simon’s hand hit her forehead, the first strike to hit her since they had begun. Simon tilted their head. “Why’d you stop?”
Casey furrowed her brow. “Why are you helping me?”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just. You barely know me. H-how do you know that… I’m worth helping?” She winced. Even to her own ears the question sounded self-defeatist, but she didn’t know how else to put it.
Simon smiled. “I think a question like that answers itself. A person who worries that much about deserving help must be worthy of it. Right?”
A Dance of Ebony and Scarlet
Foils clashed in the light of stars and an orange moon. One of the duelers, Edmund, wore a grin that glinted as brightly as his sequined half mask.
Prince Melburn had invited him to his Masquerade Tournament, much to his surprise given his uncle’s… reputation. No matter, to refuse a prince’s good graces even if it meant an insufferable night of snide remarks and belittling was not good form. Yet here in this opponent, this “Scarlet Fencer,” he found one more interested in crossing blades and wit than gossip. A refreshing change from the norm.
“Where did you get such armaments?” Edmund asked as he parried their rapier. Its blade was a strange metal that shimmered like obsidian and paired with a dagger of identical make.
The stranger chuckled behind the embroidered scarlet sash tied around the lower half of his face. “A secret of House Crofton, I’m afraid,” He feinted and thrust again.
“I will trim your beard for trimming my cloak’s mantle,” Edmund teased and closed the distance. “House Crofton? As in the merchant lord and his forge bride?” He locked the obsidian sword between his dagger and rapier. “I was not aware they had a son.”
“Ah…” The Scarlet Fencer’s brown eyes fixed onto Edmund’s blues as his voice faltered. “There’s a long story about that….”
“Do tell?” Edmund arched an eyebrow, taking a step forward.
“Y-yes… it’s….” The Scarlet Fencer flinched as the clock struck on the hour. He swore suddenly and dropped his sword before fleeing into the night.
“Your blade, my good man!” Edmund yelled as the rapier clattered to the ground. He sheathed his dagger and grabbed the pommel of the black sword. “Nay leave such-ah!” He dropped both swords as the stranger’s pommel seared his hand with intense heat through his leather glove.
“What ails you, Heir of Westfarland?” One of the prince’s attendants asked as they hastily approached.
“A mystery…” Edmund mused, rubbing his hand as he glanced down at the obsidian rapier. He smiled as he looked towards the forest where the scarlet-clad stranger had fled. “A curious mystery indeed.”
A Blade’s End
By Jesse Fisher
The sounds of the battle lay beyond the glimmering hill side as a warrior laid down. Armor pierced, blood running down their body, and a shattered sword handle held loosely in their hand. The eyes followed a figure that had long since left them to this fate. The past played out like a tale told in the taverns when they were but a child who knew nothing of the world and dreams of those who believed them.
A champion of their lord arrived at the royal blade smiths. Where the champion bore witness to them forging a mystical blade that none could see but could cut anything that was in it’s way. The champion was in awe of the weight of it, the brief moments that the light caught it just right what must have been a magical inscription covered the blade. The champion began to use this weapon as a slayer of enemies to his lord.
Some would call it the crimson blade of the damn, as the only section where the blood settled from the last fallen foe. The sight of it alone caused many to flee calling the champion a devil to the demon lord that gave them that blade.
The champion’s pride grew with each victory, the feeling of invincibility drove them to face a challenger that would lead to the champion’s fate.
The clatter of the weapons filled the air as the two fight each to the back foot, until the champion’s blade cracked before it shattered on a power strike onto the other’s weapon.
The world began to grow dark for the champion, they could hear the sounds of the battle going quite until nothing was left but a single sparkle before the dark.
“Don’t you see? With you on our side, nobody could stand in our way!” Genn held Serennia by the shoulders, staring into her eyes with wild aspiration.
“I’m not going to just be your weapon. Stealing is one thing. I’m not going to kill every noble in the city just because you don’t like them.”
“This isn’t about me, why can’t you see that? This is about all the poor and dying people on the streets.”
“I’m not your weapon.” Serennia had spent her entire life running from people who wanted to use her as a means to an end. She wasn’t about to let some streetrat do just that.
She turned to walk away, to leave Genn sulking in the shadows while she rejoined her friends. He could find a way to overthrow the city without her.
It only took one step before he grabbed her by the shoulder, spinning her back around to face him. “Why must you be so damn difficult? With your power I could finally have all I’ve ever wanted!”
There it was. Same as always. “Go fuck yourself.” Serennia had long since had enough of being used by people who didn’t see her as a person.
A sharp crack echoed through the room as his hand struck her cheek. Memories of Lord Crennel pulsed through her mind, brought to the surface by the rush of pain in her cheek.
If Serennia stared any deeper into his eyes in the moments that followed, she would have seen the wall behind him. She saw the fire in his eyes, the anger at being denied. Then, in an instant, it was all gone.
They were replaced with shock, confusion, and pain. He looked down, slow and trembling, at the purple blade that now extended from Serennia’s hand and into his chest. Blood ran down the translucent weapon, dripping onto the ground below.
Too many times in the past she had taken lives out of fear, because she was given no other choice. For once, it felt good to take one just because it felt right.
Rationalizing (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
Acting Principal Nicklescribe unlocked the office door, flicking on the lights. The large desk taking up the majority of the room was mostly obscured by a mess of papers. He set down his briefcase and moved to sit in the black leather chair, paused, then remained standing.
Even after three months, it still felt wrong.
There was only one decoration Nicklescribe had added to the room when the office became his: a small diamond-shaped mirror on a stand, directed at the chair. He picked it up, adjusting the angle so he could best see himself, and subconsciously ran a hand through his pitch black hair.
“I’m doing it all wrong, aren’t I?” he whispered at his reflection. “Zandryth didn’t want change, but I do, and everyone else does. Right?”
In the mirror, his head nodded. His pure black eyes seemed to glow in the reflection.
“But I have to do what he wanted. Stability’s the third word in the school motto.” A pause. “And I KNOW it more directly translates to ‘consistency’ but either way, I can’t change anything. He’ll hate us.”
His reflection raised an eyebrow.
Nicklescribe scoffed and replaced the mirror on the desk. It immediately tipped over and tumbled into the seat of the chair, the point of the frame tapping against a drawer of the desk.
He slowly opened the drawer, then quickly slammed it shut.
“No. No, I can’t dare do that. He turned it down every time.”
He paused, as if waiting for a response. The mirror’s reflective face was pointed at the chair.
“And, even if I do it, it’ll ruin everything! The whole school could fall apart! I achieve the goal for all of five minutes, then everything implodes!”
He picked up the mirror, trying again to place it where it belonged. It fell again, this time directly on top of the cluster of papers covered in scribbled pen, the top page titled, “Teaching a Class on Thievery and Stealth: Possible Lesson Plans.”
“…Well, in comparison…” Nicklescribe slid back the chair and sat down, “creating another fitness class doesn’t sound that bad.”
A Candle Against The Sky (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
“Thought I’d find you here.”
Clev looked away from the wires and mechanics he had been analysing for the last hour. He saw Ember nearby, casually leaning against a railing of Emergence Station’s docking bay.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Ember continued, “but is examining Cindy really the only thing you want to do with your time? We can’t stay long.”
“Uh- that’s not our ship’s name.”
“Well I’d like it to be. We don’t need to keep the old name, in fact we really should change it considering its stolen and all-”
Clev made a worried noise and shushed her, looking worriedly around him.
“What? Oh come on Clev, it’s not like security can listen to every single conversation.”
“Can’t they?” He said in a strained whisper.
Ember’s face softened in realisation. She went over to Clev, crouching down close beside him. “It’s going to be okay. Really.” She said quietly. “I know everything must be a lot for you. You aren’t used to this kind of stress, I get it. But we already did the hard part, eh?” She smiled reassuringly. “We just have to keep moving, and nobody’s gonna find us. Yeah?”
Clev’s face was still strained, his hands clenched tightly together. Turning back towards their ship, he said “The Diamondlight is incredible. Just as Astra said. I thought installing a FTL drive into a light spacecraft this small would be impossible.”
He looked down. “But my examination has exposed many weaknesses. The shielding is much weaker, several standard safety modules are absent…I can’t even find backup systems for power or life support.”
He turned back to Ember. “This ship is unsafe. Extremely unsafe. If something goes wrong mid-flight, we’ll die.” His lip quivered a little.
Ember held her smile. “Well, then I guess we’ll have to make sure nothing goes wrong then, won’t we? I’m a good pilot, and you’re a very good engineer. I think we can manage.” She looked back upon the ship that they had invested so much stress and risk into, and sighed. Why were beautiful things always so dangerous to touch?