Hello, Florists and Gardeners!
Red Roses for beauty, Lily of the Valley for returning to happiness, Forget-Me-Nots for remembrance, Wheat for prosperity; plants and flowers come in so many different forms. From only a few petals to many, perennial to annual, stems to bark. Despite how different all of these plants are, they all have a universal language. This is the time for Earthly expression, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Language of Flowers
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!
Just as diverse as the flora themselves, plants have influenced us in so many ways. From the sayings we speak – “Oops-a-Daisy!” – to the songs we sing – “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” – they’ve truly grown on us. These beautiful forms of life aren’t just there to dance in our vision, they grace all of our senses. Their scents, the way they feel, and even the rustle of the wind blowing through forests and fields; there’s a reason they tell you to stop and smell the roses!
But even beyond senses, flowers have sprouted their way into language and literature. Have you considered that maybe an artist chose a certain flower for a reason? In the background, the flora can speak loudly, if you’re willing to listen.
In a more literal sense, maybe you’re a fairy or a forest spirit, your physical form resembling that of a flower or the Earth around you. The place you reside in, it’s beautiful but dangerous. A sunny day is spent basking in the light, but a windy day won’t hesitate to rip your petals off. And of course, one day your fragility could be your downfall. How does that make you feel? Will language ever be enough to properly express this ever-changing life?
Let’s slow down a bit and take in the sweet scents of a flower shop. Maybe you’re the owner of the shop, making beautiful bouquets that are tailored specifically for each person; weddings, funerals, birthdays, get-well-soon’s. Each arrangement tells a story that, even if the customer may not understand it, ties each flower together as they’re wrapped up nicely. On the other end though, you could be the customer. Unable to find the words that you need, you walk into the flower shop. What occasion has brought you to buy an arrangement? What are you hoping these flowers will say to the receiver?
Regardless of who you are – human or spirit, florist or just someone admiring the world – there is always a plant willing to help you speak your mind. Their language is one that can be understood by all.
Now everyone, it’s time to make your bouquets.
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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What to Submit
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Gala De Fleurs
By Jesse Fisher
The University of Flores was a place of healing. A place where the young go to make the world a better place. This afternoon however was more of a gala with many of the young ladies studying there momentarily disconnected from the stress of the healing others and the stress of a formal event taking their place.
Crinum was one such lady, even in a lovely two tone fuchsia and amaranth dress she would rather be in the dress and garb of the medical facilities. Why waste time just standing around when she could just work on this week’s project.
“Lilly! Hey Lilly over here!”
Crinum just let out an exasperated sigh, one weed started that name around campus after they could not say her name. Gazania, Crinum’s unwanted friend and lab partner.
Even as Crinum made her way to the lady in what could be called a sunset gradient dress her grumpiness was somewhat mitigated as long as it was just the two of them she could refuse any invitations to dance.
“Well, it looks like the spider came out of her den.” This new voice had the sound of a temptress and Crinum felt her plans slip from her hands.
“Flame why you gotta call her that?” Gazania asked the lady in a near burning red dress. “You know she needs her glasses to see.
“Gazania, if you get to have your nickname for her then so can I.” Crinum could see that ‘flame’s’ dress was a bit lower cut compared to hers and Gazania, her guess was not too heavy on why.
“Fair but mine makes her sound like a normal girl, while your’s makes it sound like she is here to learn blood letting.”
“It’s fine, Ixora has other things on her mind if her dress has anything to say.”
‘Flame’ just smirked at that. “One step from formal as always Spider. Come one we get to have some time to ourselves and to relax from all that boring learning.”
Crinum wanted to augure the point of learning but the others dragged her to the dancefloor.
Fields of Memory (The Phoenix Guild)
When she opened her eyes, Cailana found herself in the middle of a field. Flowers of all colors dotted the grass in small clusters, as far as she could see. She marveled at their beauty before remembering why she came here.
Eventually, she reached her old home. It was overgrown with marigolds, their yellows and oranges mimicking the flames that had consumed it all those years ago. She steeled herself to face the grief and despair of that day before reaching for the door.
She recognized the interior instantly, despite it being overgrown with white lilies. Tears flowed freely as she waded through the blanket of sadness and death. In the center of the room, she found a single speck of red; a rose, wilting, suffocated by the surrounding lilies. Her thumb caressed its fragile leaves.
Her eyes squeezed shut at the sound of the voice she hadn’t heard in years. More tears poured down her face as she gathered the strength to turn around.
Her husband didn’t look how she feared, with terrible burns covering his entire body. Instead, he smiled as he always had, and never would again.
“Fendan…” She embraced him tightly. “I’m so sorry.”
He stroked her hair. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“Cailana, listen to me. It wasn’t your fault”
She swallowed. “But-”
“It wasn’t. Your. Fault.”
“I don’t blame you. Never have, never will. You’ve got to stop blaming yourself.”
“Can you do that? For me?”
She nodded, barely able to produce more than a squeak. “I-I will. Thank you.”
Fendan smiled and kissed her before fading away in her arms, the lilies wilting along with him. In their place grew red roses and forget–me–nots, covering every surface of the house. Cailana watched in awe until she faded away, too.
“Well done. It seems you were successful.” The Dryad took the empty wooden cup from Cailana’s hands. It still reeked of the foul potion it had contained.
Cailana dried her tears and nodded.
“Good, then you are ready. Sleep now. Your training begins tomorrow.”
Wherever We Go (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)
Emrys sat, one hand in his pocket, fingering the cold metal.
“I’m…really glad you’re okay. When I thought I had lost you, I–”
“Don’t worry about that now.” He didn’t know exactly what Serennia had done. She had refused to talk about it. But he remembered his first sight when he came to–her eyes, overflowing with tears and framed by blood.
She leaned her head over onto his shoulder, her fingers intertwined with his. “I just can’t imagine my life without you.”
“You don’t have to.” Emrys pulled the ring from his pocket, holding it gingerly between them.
“Emrys, what is this?” She half spoke, half whispered, surprise leaking into her voice.
“Here in Damril, rings are the symbol of an engagement. But in the islands, couples exchange hibiscus flowers to symbolise their love. And in the west, men gift their betrotheds a garnet for the same reason.”
The gold ring between his fingers blossomed into a five-petalled flower at the top, a single red gemstone set in the centre. Every nation represented in the single piece of jewelry, that glistened now in the pale moonlight.
“Then it suits you perfectly.” Serennia raised one hand, and Emrys slid the ring onto her finger with careful precision. “This way, no matter where life takes us–wherever we may find ourselves at any moment–the whole world will know what we are.”
Serennia stared at the ring for a long moment, before turning her attention back to Emrys. A wide smile crept onto her face, the kind that Emrys could feel deep in his heart. A tear began to form in the corner of her eye, which he wiped away with a gentle thumb.
His hand still resting on her cheek, he pulled her head towards his until their lips met. Her warmth radiated through him, in this single moment that was an eternity unto itself. As they pulled apart, three simple words escaped Serennia’s mouth.
“I love you.”
What the Flowers Say
Tanaka bowed to the school’s cultural club. “Hello. I hope you’re all doing well today. I thought we’d take a stab at flower arrangement. Specifically the Sogetsu school, which means ‘Anything, anywhere.’”
She waved her hand out to the table in front of her. A couple of examples of flower arrangements she had set up earlier were sitting on the sides. “I’ve left all of you a selection of seasonal flowers, some other leaves and vegetation, vases, and garden shears. The most important thing is volume and colors. Try not to strive for symmetry, but think about the direction your arrangement is going toward. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me.”
She sat down at her table and grabbed a daisy from her collection.
“Nice kimono, faker!”
Tanaka looked down at the daisy. She blinked in confusion.
“I know your eyes don’t work with those glasses, but don’t tell me your ears don’t either.”
“Excuse me?” Tanaka asked.
There was a shriek from one of the first year students in the club. “Miss President! The flowers– they’re talking!” She looked like she was on the verge of tears.
Tanaka bit her lip. “Okay, everyone! This is probably one of those genre breaks starting up. Just…just try to continue with the flower arranging. I’m sure everything will go back to normal soon.”
“Yeah, keep lying to these sheep!” the daisy said. Its leaves curled down to its stem as if mimicking putting its hands on its hips. “Explains why you don’t have a boyfriend right now.”
Tanaka snatched up the shears and held them up to the daisy’s peduncle. “Look here, you little shit! One more word, and I’m cutting off your blossom.”
“That’s what I would expect from a dominatrix like…”
“Murderer!” a chorus of pussywillows on the table started to chant. “You murderer!”
“Miss President!” the first year student squealed, hands on her ears. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Tanaka sat up in her bed in a cold sweat, gasping for air.
“Why does my school have to be so weird this year?”
Late Night Flower Picking (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
Sam caught her breath hovering in the middle of an empty grass field. The sky above her sparkled with stars, and the light of the half moon cradled her bare feet. Looking around a little, she set her eyes on a patch of petals and sighed with relief.
“Finally,” she gasped, collapsing in front of it. “I’ve been looking for you for ages.”
She reached to pick one, but it squirmed away from her hand.
“Ey!” the wildflower barked. “What’cha doin’ there, bubs?”
“Ah!” Sam scurried backward. “You can talk?”
“Damn right! An’ me an’ my buddies here were sleeping! So what’cha grabbin’ me for?”
The rest of the flower bed started to yawn and rub their centers with their leaves.
“Uh…” Sam scurried back further.
She’d read about this. Spell residue, when not cleansed properly, had strange effects on anything alive. Sam could be staring at a student’s failed experiment, where a cannon fired once upon a time, or a sorcerer’s grave.
“You ain’t answerin’ my question, bubs.”
“Right! Sorry. Well, I needed a bouquet—”
“At THIS unholy hour?”
The other flowers in the patch added their tired grievances.
“I forgot to buy it with the other picnic supplies, okay?”
“Picnic? Ha!” The flower’s leaves moved in a way that mimicked someone clutching their hands to their chest. “You some kinda romantic?”
“Then let me guess: he’s some pile o’ meat with a charming smile and definitely-not-gonna-break-your-heart personality.”
Sam fixed her posture. “No, actually. She’s a respectable lady with a beautiful smile and…”
“And what?” the flower mouthlessly smirked.
“… And a tendency towards obsessive behaviors that could break my heart, sure, but she’s getting better! Way better, every day!”
“You bankin’ on that, kid?”
A lump clogged her throat. Her blood thumped in her ears.
Then she leapt into the night air, floating twenty feet above the flower bed that seemed to stare at her.
“I’m going to find a less rude bouquet. Have a nice night.”
“We’ll be your roots to cry on when it falls apart!” the flower called as she ran away.
The Duchess’ Left Hand
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)
His robes made little noise as he moved through the restricted section of the Duchess’ garden. He lovingly tended his beauties; Aconitum with its dark blue flowers, the shrubby Brugmansia with its trumpet-shaped flowers, Digitalis with its purple tubular flowers on a central spike, and others.
“Lorcan! I need you. Attend me.”
He finished pruning dead foliage off the plant he was inspecting, placed the cuttings into a canvas pouch on his belt and standing, purposefully strode towards the manor house. He locked the metal gate as he passed into the rose garden.
“Where are you?”
“Here, my lady!”
The hem of his robe rustled as he picked up his pace. He mounted the stairs and passed through the arched portico covered in tendrils and entered the patio. The Duchess, in a black and deep red gothic gown, stood fidgeting with her reading glasses. Her personal assistant held the door to the foyer open.
“The bastard. The churlish half-faced lout.”
“He rejected me. Me! I want you to…”
Lorcan raised a hand. “Don’t speak it Madam. Not here.”
“You’re right… To my study, where we can talk in private.”
Lorcan didn’t care about who or why, he was his lady’s problem solver. He took care of or eliminated things that vexed her. He took a week to plan a resolution to this problem, a so-called gentleman who maligned his Duchess.
Lorcan dressed as a server at the miscreant’s private club, where he smoked, drank, and read. It was teatime. Lorcan had prepared the pot of Earl Grey enhanced with purified belladonna root extract from his plants. He served, and the gentleman asked for honey. Lorcan had prepared for this eventuality and used Oleander nectar honey. Lorcan completed, withdrew, moved to the edge of the room, and waited.
The gentleman drank the tea, coughed, a pinkish froth at the corner of his mouth. He swayed, fell forward, grasping at his chest and hit the table dead, knocking over the centerpiece, a sprig of Oleander with its clusters of pink five-lobed flowers.
The Treasures Of The Earth (Mary’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
“Oh Momma! Momma! Look at these!”
Mary dashed headlong into a small clearing full of beautiful flowers, diving straight into the biggest, most colourful patch.
Her mother caught up a moment later. “Mary, what did I tell you about running off?” She said in a softly stern tone.
“Don’t do it…” Mary replied in weary acknowledgment, before immediately snapping to smiling brightness again. “But look at the flowers!”
Her mother smiled in turn. “This always was a beautiful spot.” She sat down next to Mary. “Would you like to learn some more flowers today, my little sprout?”
Mary’s eyes went wide. “Yes! I love flowers!” She turned to face her mother in rapt attention. “Which flowers?”
“Have any caught your eye?”
Mary glanced downwards, and pulled up a small white flower. “This one.”
“The little daisy? They are like the dandelion, or chicory – they help you when your tummy’s all grumbly.”
“It looks like an egg!”
Her mother chuckled. “Yes, it does a little.”
“What about um, roses?”
“You’re learning so fast.” Her mother glowed with pride. “They inspire the blood to flow forth. Pains and cramps, sadness and fear, roses can help wash them all away.“ She paused. “Some say that they can even bring forth feelings of love.”
Mary gasped. “Love?”
Her mother’s face turned sombre. “You must never use them for that purpose, Mary. That form of love is false, and can cause great pain once it fades.”
“…oh.” Mary looked away for a moment, thinking once more. “Is that – is that why Father won’t-”
Her mother started in surprise. “No – no, no, it wasn’t that at all.” She leaned over, and hugged her daughter tight. “The love between your father and I – yes, it didn’t last, and it hurt us both when it ended. But,” she gave Mary a comforting squeeze, “that love came from both our hearts. Not from a rose, or any other flower. And you were born from that love, little sprout. That love lives on in you, and it is the truest love that I have ever felt.”
Just Gonna Stand There and Watch Me Burn
By Marx (CW: Mental abuse)
Alex looked at the bouquet of flowers currently in his hand and then upon Sabrina, his face a mask of confusion and boredom. “Explain.”
Sabrina smiled. “The red roses represent love and romance. The red tulips represent perfect love. True love… The light and dark carnations represent admiration, love and affection. The orchids represent a special one-of-a-kind love. And lastly… the peony represents beauty.”
Alex looked at the bouquet again and sighed. His eyes flashed for just a moment and the flowers went up in flames, leaving Sabrina’s efforts in ash. “Is that all? I ask for a display of your supposed love for me and you bring me these insignificant, fragile, dead things?”
“No Master.” Sabrina shook her head, her smile widening. “Flowers… meant a lot to me in my previous life. Getting those at the same time was not easy. I put a lot of effort into it. And I did so knowing you would destroy them and belittle me as a result. My display of love for you… is my pain… Does it please you, Master?”
Alex’s chuckle began softly before turning into full blown laughter. “My sweet, beautiful fool. Yes. Yes, it does. But it’s not enough.”
Sabrina was trembling as even through her smile, there were tears increasingly falling down her cheeks. “I… thought that might be the case. I had one last idea, Master. Not being in your presence is… agonizing for me. So… what if I simply… leave? You’d forget about me. Replace me. And when I did cross your mind, as fleeting as it might be… you would find me all alone in the worst pain imaginable. I’m… merely thinking about it and it’s… almost unbearable…”
Alex’s smile slowly began to rival Sabrina’s. “Yes. I can feel it. Such a sweet gift…”
“I’m glad it… pleases you.” Sabrina smiled even wider until it hurt, the longing clear in her tear-streaked eyes as she left. “Goodbye Master… I love you more than I can ever show.”
“And you…” Alex chuckled back, “…mean absolutely nothing to me.”
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
“Rose grape, teak, jasmine, rose,” Jabil Tai said. “Just like the others.”
Xe was staring down at the body of a young man, laid out as if sleeping, on a flower-studded blanket. Xe was glad he hadn’t begun to smell yet, but the freshness of the body disturbed xir. The remains of a small fire were next to the body, but xe hadn’t seen it last night. Perhaps the killer took their time?
Xe reached for the ashes. Still warm. Warm enough, an ember yet lived. Xe tossed it onto the blanket, where it began to smolder.
“May your soul find peace,” xe whispered, glad that the man’s blood hadn’t been spilt. His neck was a discolored mass, but not like he’d been strangled.
Xe strung xir bow and mounted xir horse. Xir leather armor creaked oilly.
“Where to, shaman?” Xir companions asked.
“Look for tracks. We know they are heading roughly west, but they may have turned north or south.” Or, xe thought, we missed them like we missed this fire.
“Here!” The call came soon.
They rode quickly, Tai’s urgency born of xir desire to end this hunt. It had been months, xe thought. A hunt for justice longer than was due for one little girl who wandered off. But it wasn’t just one girl. A few weeks into their hunt, they had found another. An old woman no one knew. The man today was the sixth.
“We must tell the children about the danger of strangers and solitary wanderers,” xe said to Temugin, who found the trail.
“If they aren’t grown already when we return. At this rate, I’ll be a grandfather.”
“And with your luck, it’ll be twins,” xe replied.
“Don’t say that, shaman. You aren’t there to separate their souls.”
“I’m sorry, Temugin. You know how I am when we find a body.”
“Is it a spirit?”
Tai considered. The murder followed their beliefs, but seemed ritualistic. No blood was spilt, ever, but each body was displayed, given reverence. “No, human. I don’t think we can truly understand this madness, but we don’t need to.”
by Exce, edited by Luna
A red Drakon’s abilities were impressive, but as Tarsbylin used a glowing disc of energy to rise up to the treetops, the moment he stepped out onto the branch, it was clear he had not grown up in the forest as she had.
To show some mercy, and to alleviate his caution, she called forth a few smaller branches that moved to run alongside the bigger branch. Like handrails.
“General Alsynixis, must I appear so helpless in your home that you feel moved to pity?” He gave her a smile, but relaxed immediately. As he ran one hand along the improvised railing he gave Alsyn an impressed smile. “I have seen you crush armored men with roots no thicker than my pinky, grow food from barely anything in salted soil…and ask a tree nicely to give me a railing.”
Tars’s expression softened as he moved closer. “The gods may have given my people the ability to be great warriors, but our magic is either completely turned upon onesself or just a projection. Your people, you become one with nature to ask it to assist you…”
He spread his arms, as if to take in both her and the forest around them. “I can see how some people may feel daunted in the face of such abilities…but I can’t understand how even some of my own people could fear it…”
Alsynixis rested her spear on the branch, molded wood holding the weapon in place. Placing her hands softly to each side of the Drakon’s head, she smiled at him.
“Maybe you can convince your people we aren’t that strange. See with your other sight, watch how we speak with the flora of the planet.”
As his eyes began to glow, she raised her arms high. In iridescent waves, magic flowed from her body, into every leaf and the bark all around them. The tree seemed to respond, and with its own wave, all around the two, flowers burst open. Growing from a bud to a blossom in a few heartbeats.
“We may speak, but the Plants, the flowers, have to answer.”