Writing Group: A Reward You Will Regret

Hello, Monkey’s Paws and White Elephants!

You sure you want that prize? I know it looks shiny, but you might want to think twice before going after it, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

A Reward You Will Regret

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!

Rewards are almost always good things. It’s in the name, right? The trophy, the prize at the end of the race, or for doing a good deed. But what happens when it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be? 

Maybe a mad sorcerer seeks immortality, only to find that they’ve lost the life they could have lived in the process. Maybe a pop star, after reaching the top, realizes they hate being famous. Maybe someone goes out partying, as a reward for getting a promotion…only to regret it when the hangover comes in the morning.

It could be more literal than that. Maybe a character wins a trophy, only to find it’s cheap plastic. Or maybe they learn that the trophy is cursed.  

Genies are a perfect example of this prompt. Being able to wish for anything you could possibly want sounds like an incredible reward, but, the vast majority of the time, those wishes end up leading to immense regret. 

Revenge is another good use of this prompt. While plotting in anger, the cold dish of revenge seems like a tasty reward, but more often than not it comes with a side of regret.

This prompt has a lot to do with cost—on both sides. Sometimes rewards come with sacrifices, or exchanges. You’re offered everything you want…but for a price. The cost may be mentioned first, or you may only realize it cost you once it’s too late to get your old life back. Is the reward really worth it? 

Like when King Arthur chooses Guinevere. He is warned up front this is a bad choice, but the reward is too alluring for him to listen. Or like Oedipus, who gets the reward of marrying the queen…only to later realize it’s his own mother. 

Sometimes a character can be so focused on a mission or goal that they lose sight of what they were originally fighting for. Like Anakin in the Star Wars Prequels, or Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon a Time. Anakin goes to the Dark Side in order to save Padme’s life, and Rumplestiltskin becomes the Dark One to save his son, but they both end up becoming monsters in their loved ones’ eyes, losing the reward in the process of pursuing it. 

(Speaking of the Star Wars Prequels…) You could write about how one character saves another’s life, and the second character decides they owe a life debt. But…it turns out they’re really annoying, and the first character regrets saving them. 

Perhaps, rather than the life debt of another human being, someone receives an animal as a prize. Perhaps a child, who has been asking for a puppy, gets one as a reward for good grades in school…only to realize that their parents are right; they can’t take good care of it. 

Maybe you could write about a kid (or any character really) getting a cake, or a bunch of candy from trick-or-treating, or some other big food as a reward, but getting sick from eating it all at once. 

You could write about a villain tricking a child into a terrible situation with a reward they don’t understand. Like someone in a nondescript, white van offering candy to children. It might look like a reward to the child…but they will ultimately regret trusting this person. 

The quintessential “the real treasure was the friends we made along the way!” could play into this too. What happens to the person who didn’t learn that lesson? Who pursues the original goal, no matter the cost? Perhaps one character of the party realizes that their friends were more important than the treasure too late, and regrets leaving their friends to pursue the original treasure. 

Remember, kids, read the smallprint, use protection, and don’t snort that fairy dust!

—Kaylie

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!

  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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Lokisteel13
Lokisteel13
1 month ago

The Tavern
by Lokisteel13

It’s been many years since the girl lost her parents and she changed her name to Snow. She turned cold to others if she joined a team of other hunters. Her cat-like hunting aid, known as a Palico named snake, tends to stay to themselves. The tavern they tend to get their jobs at tends to get the least orderly hunters, that tend to take larger bites they can’t handle. Which most seasoned hunters avoid like the poison of a Gypceros when they don’t have any antidotes.

“Meowstern you should find a team. How long will you stay so ice cold to others?”

Snake asked, giving its paw a few licks in between licks.

“Why do you care? I tried but most of the people didn’t know how to use their weapons, styles, and arts. You know I’m right. We tend to do more work than the other people on the team.”

Snow said frozen venom made the bite in her words hit the other hunters in earshot.

Those who heard her felt the coldest chill going down their spines. Which put a slight smile on Snow’s face as she saw the effect of her words on the other hunters. Snake just chuckled and nodded agreeing with what Snow said. Snow and Snake were wearing armor that looked more well used, her weapons were upgraded whenever she had the money and the materials. Snake had multiple sets of armor and weapons meant for different jobs, at the moment Snake was wearing samurai-like armor and a small katana on his back. The guild woman that gives out jobs walked up to Snow holding a letter and handing it over. The guild girl gave a quick bow before walking back to the corner of the tavern where a line of hunters started to form. Snow handed the letter to Snake, and with a quick slash of his weapon it was opened. Snow started to read the letter when she stopped reading, she quickly picked up Snake and left the tavern.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lokisteel13
Loki
1 month ago

The hunter’s Quest part one

By Lokisteel13 aka Loki

It’s been many years since the girl lost her parents and she changed her name to Snow. She turned cold to others if she joined a team of other hunters. Her cat-like hunting aid, known as a Palico named snake, tends to stay to themselves. The tavern they tend to get their jobs at tends to get the least orderly hunters, that tend to take larger bites they can’t handle. Which most seasoned hunters avoid like the poison of a Gypceros when they don’t have any antidotes.

“Meow stern you should find a team. How long will you stay so ice cold to others?”
Snake asked, giving its paw a few licks in between licks.

“Why do you care? I tried but most of the people didn’t know how to use their weapons, styles, and arts. You know I’m right. We tend to do more work than the other people on the team.”
Snow said frozen venom made the bite in her words hit the other hunters in earshot.

Those who heard her felt the coldest chill going down their spines. Which put a slight smile on Snow’s face as she saw the effect of her words on the other hunters. Snake just chuckled and nodded agreeing with what Snow said. Snow and Snake were wearing armor that looked more well used, her weapons were upgraded whenever she had the money and the materials. Snake had multiple sets of armor and weapons meant for different jobs, at the moment Snake was wearing samurai-like armor and a small katana on his back. The guild woman that gives out jobs walked up to Snow holding a letter and handing it over. The guild girl gave a quick bow before walking back to the corner of the tavern where a line of hunters started to form. Snow handed the letter to Snake, and with a quick slash of his weapon it was opened. Snow started to read the letter when she stopped reading, she quickly picked up Snake and left the tavern.

nekomorimori
nekomorimori
1 month ago

spectre in the tibrary

by neko mori mori

have you heard the rumor
if you vised the library at midnight
go to the fare back in between the mazes of books
you’ll find a small coffee table
over a cup of cinnamon coffee and call ferin ferin ill have an offer for you
you should meat a spectre that can grant any wish for the write price ?

ferin ferin i have an offer for you
a spectre in the form a young girl appeared before her tacking the cup

‘ah!’ butter hoe makes coffee with out sugar !

sorry my friend didn’t say anything about sugar

was it even necessary to say ? so wat is your wish

i want to surpass my sister
after she left no one sees me anymore
if they ever notes me at all
im gest my sister shadow
im so tired of dis

specter remarks be hour self don’t chain your self confront
dose hoe hold your chains .
go and live for your live

i can’t !
you don’t know a ding
can you even grant my wish

i can but the praise fore lifting your chains
is taking mine

deal its not like your chains can be heavier than m-

before the girl cold finish her sentence
a cold chill shattered through her body and her vision fade to black
she opened her eyes to see herself

her reflection staring at her white a crescent smile pics up a cup
‘ah ‘way wolt i thot it will taste better

startled the girl started checking her limes to find it transparent ?

your wish is granted ill make you
the perfect daughter

reflection walk away
the new spectre trying to follow
but found the task difficult with the new body lighter than a feather
flailing around shouting
‘come back hear were are you going’

reflection stop to turn around
‘to grant your wish of course and to get a proper cup of coffee ”
giving a small, wink the reflection makes her way out of the library
leaving the flailing ghost stranded in the see of books

Purge, Bearer of Wrath
Purge, Bearer of Wrath
1 month ago

Funny
by Purge, Bearer of Wrath

And then there was Lar Ennis, the young man who won the competition for best joke at the fairy fair. Oh the fay, they were in stitches, and they poured favour and promise upon him. But of course, when their night revel gave at last to the glare of morning, they grew shy.

Their mirth and their feasting had blinded them. So they excused themselves.

When Lar left his house after a long sleep, the blue sky grew a thick grey and the rain began. He trudged into the fields and discovered that his mare had tried to jump the fence during the night, and was fallen beyond repair.

In the town it was no better. He greeted the men in the market square with warmth, but found only sullen faces and token murmurs. Shop doors closed as he approached them. The rain poured down.

When Lar reached home and complained of the weather, his wife looked confused. It had been fine, she informed him, from the moment he left the house. The next day the roof blew off their barn.

The week after that his wife took up with a stable-hand from Tullow; and Lar found rats in the larder that seemed to have no fear of him.

Within a year he was walking the roads and within five years he had lost an arm to gangrene and an eye to misadventure – an incident with a rake and a pack of wild dogs.

Twenty years were passed, since the fateful day, when Lar limped into a clearing in the woods and upon a gathering of the fay.

He fell to his knees.

“I have only one question,” he begged. “Why?”

“Don’t you know?” a slender male figure stepped forward. “It was for you. We called down the very humour of the gods for you!”

Lar held himself shivering as he looked from one face to the next. There was a long silence.

And at last Lar began to laugh. The full laughter of his stomach.

“Ah,” he said, “It’s okay…”

He wiped away a tear.

“I think I get it.”

Rex324533
Rex324533
1 month ago

Tale of the Loathsome Gift
By Rex324533

“So, you want to learn her tale eh?” said the old man before me, a lanky fellow with limb to spare, and a face laden with years, but eyes bright like a child. He puffed on a pipe. The subject of our previous discussion.

“if you would be so kind” I reply

“heh heh I was enjoying our talk of tobacco, but I haven’t had a healthy jaunt like this in years, so I’ll oblige ye.” He takes a deep draft from his pipe and starts.

“It’s a tale as old as the outer sphere. She was an unremarkable old tub. A Burden class she was. Plying her trade between the Dixie Union system of New Georgia and the fringe colony of Roanoke. Not far from the Barbary Nebula.” he takes another draft and ponders slowly.

“Ahh it was November 25th, 2301 t’was like any other day. Weatherships reported light void flux, no mentions of piracy. Our captain was an eager man, and the good tidings made our departure a certainty. So, he left, and the rest is history” his voice seems to trail.

“But that’s not the full story is it?”

“No, lass, no it is not,” He takes another deep puff and recoils himself around the warmth of his pipe. “for one thing I was in the hospital, heh another product of my relationship with the bottle, and for another people ignore the Ole Loathsome’s dirty reputation.”

I raise an eyebrow “oh?”

“Aye she was a smuggler’s tub through and through, I try not to think about what we hauled on certain days.” He shudders, then looks at me ‘I just fucked up’ could be read on his face. “You’re a cop, aren’t you?”

“Navy, but close enough” I take a draft from my own pipe and assure him “I do not know your name, in fact this meeting never happened, I’m simply out for a smoke is all.”

“Thank you, lass,” he pulls out a hip flask and takes a stout swig. “and if you are curious no, I have not broken up with the bottle yet.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Rex324533
VulpesRose
VulpesRose
1 month ago

Take the Money and Run
by VulpesRose

The first thing I noticed as I awoke was that, while the ropes binding me had not been expertly tied, my captor had compensated by using a lot of them. I could likely wiggle out of most of the knots, that is, if I had been able to move much at all. It was inelegant but surprisingly effective.

My captor was sitting nearby, watching me. She was probably no older than fifteen, and while I was not thrilled to have been captured, I was certainly impressed that she had accomplished it.

“I know who you are.” Her voice was low but steady. I wondered how many times she had practiced saying that before I woke. “There’s a bounty on you.”

I shrugged as much as the glut of ropes would allow. “You lead one little uprising against a corrupt government and suddenly you’re a wanted man.”

She muttered something that sounded like, “You should have done better.”

Then she stood and frowned. “I’m sorry, but I’m turning you in, in exchange for my mother.”

A chill ran down my spine. “Your mother is a prisoner of the King?”

The girl looked away but nodded. “She’s been in Blackgate for three years.”

“Well then,” I said, as plainly as I could, “you’d be much better off asking for the money.”

“The charges against her were false!” Her eyes were back on me, anger bubbling up behind her tears.

“Oh, I’m sure they were. But if she’s been in Blackgate, then your mother is gone. They would, of course, release whatever abomination remains in her place, but if you were to bring a monster like that home, I fear you would regret it.”

Something inside of her, some secret resolve, seemed to crumble. It pained me to strip the last of her hope. When she spoke again, her voice was weak. “You’re just trying to trick me. To let you go.”

“I’d greatly prefer that, yes, but if you must turn me in, I beg you to take the money and get as far from this kingdom as you possibly can.”

Iosef Paramonov
Iosef Paramonov
1 month ago

Pavel’s Deal
Iosef Paramonov

“Come here, my boy,” said the old man, slowly leaning forward in the ancient chair, “Come closer”

Pavel stepped forward uncertainly. Grand paintings and mahogany furniture decorated the low-lit room. Before him, the old man sat in a red gown, his face unclear in the dim light.

The old man reached out a blue-veined hand, and gently wrapped it around Pavel’s. He placed his other hand on top of it.

“You’re so thin, my boy,” said the old man, sounding concerned, “Have they not been feeding you?”

Pavel said nothing. The man’s hand felt warm and comforting to the touch. Not rough and clawed like the matrons at the orphanage. Not hard and ugly like the fists of the street boys. They radiated security, comfort, and tenderness.

The old man shifted in his seat. “I’ll tell you what,” he said lightly, “Come and be a part of my household. I’ll take care of you. You’ll have your own room. You’ll be fed up nice and proper, like any boy should be. Surely you can’t refuse such an offer?”

He was right. Refuse and where could he go? Back to the dilapidated orphanage, with its freezing rooms, vicious matrons and sickening food? Anywhere was better than there.

Pavel nodded at the old man, who let go and took a ledger and a black pen off his desk. He opened the ledger to a blank page, and offered the pen to Pavel.

“Now all you have to do is sign here,” he said, “And everything will be arranged.”

Without hesitation, Pavel scribbled his name onto the page.

The old man leaned forward, revealing his face. A perfectly ordinary human face.

Except his eyes.

Excited golden slits gleamed at his prize triumphantly. Horrified, Pavel tried to back away, only for iron chains to burst out of nowhere and wrap themselves around his petite frame. He collapsed backwards onto the floor. Now, he could only look helplessly on as the old man rose from the chair.

The old man smiled a smile full of sharp, pointed teeth. “Everything will be arranged,” he said.

Papileser
Papileser
1 month ago

Black Bird
By Papileser Eilitharl

As Ferrick loaded his rifle, he grinned in eager anticipation.

The massive, stained-glass window depicted a trio of white-robed angels holding the Sun overhead. The rooftop across the street gave a perfect sightline of the pulpit, straight through the heart of the middle angel.

How ironic, he thought, the Minister of Life to be brought low by the Angel of Death. He couldn’t help but chuckle at the message the buyer wanted to send. As a contract sniper, he’d dealt with more than his fair share of deranged radicals and treacherous magnates and even took a contract with the Emperor of Koldani once, but this mark caught his eye.

The buyer was a wiry figure with pale skin that seemed almost blue. He wore a hooded cloak that drooped down to hide his face. A large black bird perched on the man’s shoulder and stared deep into Ferrick’s eyes. No matter how hard he tried to look away, the bird’s intense gaze was transfixing. Suddenly, the buyer spoke in a soft but tempered voice, “Do this, and I will grant you what you seek most.”

Ferrick usually worked for money, but the dark bird’s gaze intrigued him. “The Minister for your bird,” he demanded.

The buyer wheezed a laugh, “Done.” The buyer handed him the folded contract and shuffled into the darkness, still snickering.

As Ferrick targeted his scope, the city streets below became crowded with people entering the church. The audience was arriving. The Minister rose behind the pulpit; his opulent, crimson mask faced the masses. The target was in position.

The church bells struck once.

He switched the safety off.

Twice.

He aimed.

The third bell struck. His finger merely twitched. The crimson mask lay shattered on the pulpit.

Ferrick heard a heavy thud from behind him. He whirled about to see the body of the buyer’s bird lying at his feet. He reached down to touch the bird when he heard a sharp whisper, “Look again.” He looked back through the scope and saw the minister’s intense stare, looking right back at him.

Kino
Kino
1 month ago

I Didn’t Win
By Kino

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, like my sister, and I honestly did try. I took all the classes in school. I was determined to make something of myself and be proud to stand alongside my sister, not in her shadow. Eventually, an opportunity presented itself. My professor told the class about a contest that was running. It was a contest to write a short story, and the winner would get a book deal, an opportunity I couldn’t believe. Here I had the chance to tackle the future and prove my skill. So for weeks I toiled, tossing ideas and birthing new ones. The issue was I couldn’t stick with one I really believed in. Every next idea was the one I was certain would win. But as the deadline drew nearer, I began to feel crushed by the weight of time. I had nothing, dozens of half ideas with nothing to make them whole, and eventually, I did something drastic. I believed in my writing ability, I’ve been honing it for years, so I was sure that given enough time I could make something wonderful, but with this deadline, I didn’t have the time to wait, so I found one of my sister’s unfinished drafts, put a few finishing touches on it, and turned it in. She is an amazing author, so of course when the day arrived I had won. I had money, and an editor to work with me while I crafted the book that would define my career… but I had nothing. I couldn’t manage to come up with anything that would be good enough, and I began to panic. I didn’t win. My sister did, and despite all my practice, I had nothing to show for it. I thought I had the skills, but all my life I’d realistically done nothing but flounder. Now I had responsibility, people relying on my work, and it’s all wrong. I didn’t win, and I can’t breathe. My family is proud, my editor is expecting so much of me, she’s so patient, but she’s wrong. I didn’t win.

Makokam
1 month ago

Now Lie In It (Chronicles of The Dragon)
By Makokam

“See? I told you we could find him here.”

“This was your idea, you talk to him.”

The two carefully made their way across the bar towards the furthest corner, and a being of fire and bone

The two stopped a few feet from the table. “You’re him, right?”

He looked up at them.

“You’re the survivor of the massacre at Lady Keres’s base.”

He was silent for a moment. “One of them.”

The two moved closer, pulling chairs from other tables. “They were arrested though. But not you.”

He hunched forward. “No. Not me.”

They pressed in. “What happened?”

He took his drink, and threw it into his mouth. “Do you have powers?”

One nodded.

“How’d you get them?”

“Just kicked in one day.”

“I made a deal for mine. With a devil.” He raised his hand to call for another drink. “She told me that when I used the power, it would consume my body. And once it had consumed me completely, my soul would be forfeit.” He took the drink as it was delivered. “I thought it was fine. I’d exercise discretion. Never use them enough for them to consume me.” He traced a finger from the tip of one hand up his arm. “But once the flames reached my elbows, I started to think I’d made a mistake.

“When Lady Keres asked me what I wanted to work for her, I said I wanted her to stop my soul from being taken. She agreed immediately. I thought she was shitting me. But later, she called me into her workshop. She pulled my soul out, stuffed it in this gem, and jammed it into my chest. Said my soul would never leave the gem, and I could use my powers freely now.

“She was right. I might even be immortal now. But look at me! And I’m terrified something will happen to this gem and I’ll go straight to hell.” He paused. “I shouldn’t have said that.” He threw his drink into his mouth and slammed the glass onto the table. “Now I have to kill you.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Makokam
DaLeen
DaLeen
1 month ago

Zonsondergang
By Taja DaLeen

She was watching the sunset. She had everything she ever wanted…

Or rather, that was what she thought she’d feel like, before.

She always loved sunsets. All those beautiful colors spreading across the sky. The world growing calm, quiet, and that eerie feeling that meant one can rest now.

It had always felt like a reward for getting through another day. For living on, getting one step closer to what she thought she wanted most.

But this time it felt different. Not calm and quiet, but rather silent, lonely.

Sure, she got her revenge. Found the artifact over which she lost her family, and used that to rid herself of her enemies.

It was just… he, her best friend, the only person she could still call “family”, got caught in the crossfire.

And she didn’t notice until it was too late.

She could still hear him telling her to let go of her hatred, that it was too dangerous to search for that amulet, and that sooner or later she’d get hurt. Or worse.

This definitely was “or worse”.

He was gone, forever, and it was her own damn fault.

She hadn’t been careful enough. Didn’t check on him before rushing headfirst into using that stupid artifact after getting her hands on it.

She thought they had been able to avoid all traps, but evidently they didn’t. There had been one last small trap they didn’t notice, a simple spell that turned out to be more harmful than anything else.

It didn’t even affect her, only him. And while he did mention feeling a little funny, she didn’t listen. She was too preoccupied with getting her revenge.

She used the amulet’s power on everyone she hated, all those that were at fault for her missing her family, not noticing that it got its energy from him.

Draining him completely.

And now she was watching the sunset, all alone, when he used to be there. Always. Now, never again.

He would never watch it with her again.

The full force of that sentence hit her all at once.

And she cried.

Athena Trellopoulos
Athena Trellopoulos
1 month ago

Dark desires
by Athena T.

Yurgo came out of the forest, short of breath from his hunt. He stumbled toward his village with clothes torn by tree branches and brushes and covered with muck. A blessing the town wasn’t too far if he could manage it.

He nervously fumbled through his sackpac, trying to keep pace, as he checked the ingredients he gathered, Sorceress Kasha requested. He found the two pink lady mushrooms growing by a decaying tree stump and the finnel fly he caught by the marsh.

He winced as the blisters on his fingers from fighting six blazemanders grazed over the items. He pushed through; his desire burning away the painful sensation.

He had spent hours in the rackstoad ponds. Rackstoads are for binding, Kasha had explained. All five slippery little suckers were present. And finally, the Amari cherry, a favorite of the grizzly grogs, and Yurgo sported cuts from its razor-sharp claws to prove it.

All your efforts will be rewarded. Kasha’s words lingered in his thoughts.

One last item remained that required a decision. Return to the witch with the ingredients he had which sufficed or procure the one that would guarantee everlasting love. He headed home.

“You’ve arrived, my boy.” Mother had a bowl of stew ready for him on the table.

“You look terrible! And dirty. What have you been up to? Scouring in the forest for rare flowers again?” She pointed to laughodil petals stuck to his boots.

“That worthless little harlot, not worth your time. Endless gifts and toil for what? Why I remember…”

As Mother recounted his failures in wooing Veelena, Yurgo’s face flushed red as his anger increased.

He crept up behind her and cupped her chin; pulling her closer, he ran his knife across her throat and ripped out her heart.

Yurgo ran from his home toward the witch’s house, Mother’s heart beating in his palms. But in his haste, he tripped, and Mother’s heart fell to the ground.

“Are you hurt, my boy?” said Mother’s heart.

Motionless, Yurgo knelt, staring at the heart, still beating as tears trickled down his cheeks.

Norman Gray
Norman Gray
1 month ago

Just A Chair

By Norman Gray

Sorina marched towards the throne. Her throne.

It was believed to be haunted; that to occupy the Throne of Veilhelm was to hear the whispers of old kings, those who had chosen death before dissolution. . . This was merely a legend, she knew; fables perpetuated during ages when the kingdom had faltered, and there were many: King Joerl’s infamous Heretic Purge. King Vayar’s failed conquests. King Corizia seeking to enslave all of Veilhelm’s women.

Sorina’s grandfather had recounted tales of surviving the Purge, and told stories of her father, who’d died fighting for Vayar when she was young. When King Corizia too became tyrannous, Sorina knew what needed to be done, rallying fatherless girls and widows against his regime, fighting tooth-and-nail to overthrow him. . .

Now the crown was hers, and there was much to be done if Sorina was to restore her kingdom. She felt nervous as she marched across the High Chamber, trying to hide her unease from the citizens who had all gathered to witness her ascension.

“Just a chair,” Sorina reassured herself, taking each high step of the dais. She turned to the procession. “The old King is dead,” she proclaimed. “A new reign begins.” Then, with only a moment’s hesitation, she seated herself.

Her people applauded. Sorina breathed a sigh of relief.

Slowly, the applause faded. All sound faded. No mouths moved, yet voices spoke.

“Just a chair,” she heard. “Disgraceful bitch.”

“Betrayer,” another whispered. “Usurper. Heretic.”

A third voice. “A woman’s mouth is only good for one thing.”

A palpable anger washed over her like a tidal wave, a malicious hatred so intense she felt as if she was drowning underneath it.

‘Shut up,’ she thought. ‘You’re dead. You’re ALL DEAD.’

“Our lives, taken. Not our land.”

                   “We’re buried here. We never left.”

                                        “A woman divides. A man conquers.”

“All hail, Queen Sorina of Veilhelm!” Another man’s voice, loud and grating.

“ALL HAIL!”

She could hear them scattered throughout the procession; their voices booming, drowning out the women.

“ALL HAIL!”

‘Drown them out,’ a voice whispered.

“Silence THEM.”

“Purge them,” she answered.

Last edited 1 month ago by Norman Gray
Reinkarnitor
Reinkarnitor
1 month ago

“Hell of a prize”

by Reinkarnitor

Lilly took a deep breath. Was this really worth it? What was she thinking? Of course it was worth it! She realized a long time ago that this was the only way to fulfil her dream. The pentagram has already been drawn and everything else was ready. She had to follow through. And with that, she casted the summoning spell.

Flames burst out of the ground and whirled up into a blazing tornado which rose ten feet above the ground, before it suddenly died down and seemed to compress itself into a humanoid shape. Even though Lilly new what was going to happen, she still stumbled back in surprise and fell on the ground.

The person before her took the form of a teenage boy with pale skin, an elegant black suit with a cape like coat of the same colour, red glowing eyes and silver hair which only partly covered black horns. In his right hand he held a beautifully carved wooden staff with a gemstone embedded in the top. He looked around until he saw her lying on the ground, which was when she noticed his most notable feature. A wide grin that stretched over his face, calming and yet also…unnerving.

“Ah, milady, there you are!”, he said happily, spun his staff around, bowed lightly before her and offered her a hand, which she took.

“I assume that you are…a demon…”, she slowly started but was already interrupted by an amused snicker of the boy.

“Well, that’s not exactly surprising, is it? My name is Arthran! Tell me, did you not expect the ritual to work?”

She shook her head.

“I was fully prepared. I have a wish after all.”

His grin grew wider.

“Be my partner!”

“Partner?”, he asked.

“I want to be an adventurer and I need a partner”, she explained, to which he laughed.

“So you summon a demon for that? I have a prize you know? Are you sure it is worth it?”

“I am”, she answered immediately.

“Whatever your prize may be, it is better than trusting other…humans.”

Arthran was clearly amused when she said that.

“Very well! Then it’s a deal!”

Last edited 1 month ago by Reinkarnitor
V3RU5
V3RU5
1 month ago

Treasure
By Vera

With unimaginable noise, the machine roared to life, opening up a tear in spacetime.

“computer, recheck the coordinates”
“temporal local coordinates confirmed.”

Surprisingly, inventing time travel and building a time machine was the easiest part. The traveller, who refused to call himself adventurer to not jinx his mission, had built a super computer that has been going through information about the templars and their mystical treasure. After years of work, it determined the optimal point in spacetime to enter from the future and grab the treasure. There wasn’t even the worry of a paradox.

Archaeologists and self proclaimed adventurers have been searching for the vast treasures of the templars, an order known to be insanely rich. So much so, that pope and king conspired to kill them and get their wealth. They didn’t find the vast treasures tgey had hoped. No one had.

Makes sense, if you think about it. No one found the treasure, as a time traveller snatched it, just before the King’s army reached the treasury. A time traveller, who just stepped through the watery plane of his temporal portal to finding himself…

… In a library.

Confused, he looked around, checked every square centimeter of the desk for a secret compartment, pulled his fingers along the spines of the books. Forgetting all caution, he knocked on every wall, hoping for a secret door leading to the hidden treasury.

“computer, please recheck my position”
“checking… You are currently standing in the office of the grand Master of the templar order, approximately fifty minutes before the raid”

Grasping at straws, the traveller had an idea. The books must contain the missing pieces of information that would allow the computer to locate the templar’s wealth. He grabbed the book that lay conveniently on the table and opened it. Then he froze in his movement, looking at the list of names and numbers. Information on every person the templars lent money, with interest rates as well as the length of the loan.

The traveller stood in the medieval version of an accounting office. He had just wasted decades of his lifetime on a moldy book.

Babs
Babs
1 month ago

Falling Up
By Babs

I’ve finally achieved what all great heroes wish for. The goal we all strive to achieve. I’ve climbed up the peaks of men and reached toward the mount of the divine.

I’ve paid my price. I spent my life toiling for the gods, fulfilling their requests, and cleaning up their divine mess. All without so much as a second thought to question their “infallible” judgment.

Now, finally, I enjoy the fruits of my labor. For the first time in the past millennia, a mortal man will join the ranks of the divine.

Alas, I feel no joy, I sing no song of praise to the gods, I give no thanks for their benevolent gift. For, through my years, I have come closer to the gods than wings of wax fly to the sun.

Stories may speak of the gods as the epitome of human beauty, intelligence, strength, and charm. However, there is much the poets dare not share in their work.

The gods are far from perfection, they are a morbid exaggeration of all human traits, virtue and vice alike.

In all existence, gods are the one creature capable of more ignorance, arrogance, vanity, and spite than man. They host all this corruption without the clueless innocence of man.

Yet worst of all is I. Too much a god to claim the innocence of man, too much a man to think I’m worthy of my place. Despite all of this I accepted this fate upon myself… No, I sought it out from the start.

For whatever reason, be it the desire for glory, lust for power, fear of death or the burning pits of hell, I stooped to their level, becoming the very thing I hate. All the while, cursing myself to watch the world I love wither away, damned to heaven among the devils who masquerade under the light.

In a way, hell is a mercy, at least you’ll be in good company.

Demon Nox
1 month ago

Rat On A Sinking Ship
By Demon Nox

The smell of brimstone hung in the air as heat radiated throughout the clearing making it hard to keep looking in the creature’s direction. It was tall as a tree, with empty sockets for eyes and long antlers sprouting from its skull. Its emaciated form was interrupted periodically by its many mouths, each filled with needle teeth and expelling black smoke. All while the heat pouring off it made the air burn.

“So, the drowning rat wishes to sacrifice to I? Look at you, worthless vermin. What purpose does this serve?” it said, each word making me tremble. I have survived many wretched battlefields, all leaving many mass graves full, but the Demon makes them seem trivial. “I wish for revenge on the man that betrayed my loyalty, my lord.” I said managing not letting a tremble slip through, the Demon in response, laughed.

“So the broken sword was cast aside by its master?” it heaved, still laughing at me. Abruptly ceasing its merriment, it spoke “Fine, the contract is sealed, then.” and like that the demon, vanished. But before my eyes even had the chance to widen it had already closed the distance, standing hunched over me, the legs of my three children hanging from its unhinged jaw. As the fresh smell of blood and bile filled the air, the heat began to scald my skin, evaporating the welling tears before they had a chance to fall.

Swinging its head back, downing what was left of them. The Demon then hunched further down, making its head level with mine before twisting its neck to face me. As my hair began to burn a glint in its eyes passed over. “You’re a rat on a sinking ship, however…” After trailing off the demon bit into my stump swiftly, and as the unmistakable pain began it stopped just as fast. Before my eyes its body contorted and shrank, twisting until it became my right arm, completely indistinguishable from the one I had before.

The heat had disappeared, however, that did nothing to alleviate the burning shame I now felt.

Charlie Ford
Charlie Ford
1 month ago

The Gift That Will Not Keep Giving
By Charlie Ford

The Earth is a gift to us, either by a higher being or just by a happy coincidence. Our planet has everything that humans need to live and thrive. Our species took too literally and have overextended our resources. One important example is fishing. Humans have mastered the art of fishing. Originally fishing was essential for people to live. Spears and lines with one hook were invented and caught only what they needed to eat. Over time people started expanding this process exponentially, as they do with all things. Now people have huge nets that scrape the bottom of the ocean and lines with up to 25 hooks. To the average human this seems amazing and perfect, plenty of food that is all good.

But these habits are destroying the sea and depleting the fish population. Fishing may be a gift but if we overindulge its benefits we may never be able to fish again. The dragging of the nets on the seafloor destroys kelp and other plant life that animals such as manatees need to survive. Modern fishing results in huge amounts of bycatch including dolphins and sea turtles. We are catching fish at a rate faster than they can repopulate and eventually there may be no more fish.

If overfishing continues, the fish population will be decimated and the animals that eat the fish will die causing a huge chain reaction which will destroy many species. Five million fish are caught every minute. It is hard to imagine how many are killed every day, or every year. This beautiful planet that we have been blessed with is being destroyed by selfishness. Humans were gifted this planet but they destroyed it. It is apparent that modernization will make this gift a burden that may be beyond repair.

False Psyche
False Psyche
1 month ago

Empty Sky
By False Psyche

Hello Traveler.

Amongst my many expeditions and iterations I remember that I once served as a scribe and a listener for an ancient being who took the from of a great dragon, he rested perpetually over his precious hoard of stories and stars.

One day my master called for me in the dead of night and so I came prepared with my lantern, a page and pen. I met him in his treasury, he was atop his hoard as usual but today he did not speak as I had arrived.

The hall was vast and the cold night air caressed any exposed skin, the stone floors were equally uncomfortably frigid, my only comfort was that I was allowed to gaze at the stories amongst the stars as he rested and stared at the empty night sky.

Finally after an hour of silence the chamber boomed with his voice and I began to scribble his words.

“I have grown… tired of my hoard, I see no end for me but my conquests have ended long ago”

“I have rested, I have watched, I have seen many fail, many falter and I have seen many caged by their success or attain victory at the cost of purpose”

“I have with me every story of every star and nothing more I will leave with you my hoard of stars and stories and you are to do with it as you wish but take it with you as you leave”

I stopped writing and looked up as great dragon arose from his hoard and left me there dumbfounded.

Now I remain with stories and stars and know not what to do.

I am hunted by stories and stars and know not what to do.

Last edited 1 month ago by False Psyche
Matthew R. Wright
Matthew R. Wright
1 month ago

The One Job
By Matthew R Wright

Name’s Foreman, I hunt people for-a-living. “Unofficial Freelance law enforcement”. Most get what I do. Someone forfeits their bond, doesn’t show-up to court, guys like me find em and bring em back, to face their punishment.

Most come-willingly. Most understand they ran cause they were scared. To-do this job you’ve got to be good with people. I like to think I am. Money’s fine. When folks scream-in-your-face, beg-you to not bring-them-in, sometimes you have to think about the money.

But sometimes, the job’s not worth it.

Hardest job involved a close-friend. Didn’t even know he’d done anything, never-mind posted bail and ran. Got the buzz the pay was $800, around 20% of the bail, knew that others would be after him. Another bail company. They’d be ‘hands-on’ with him, because of what he’d done. I knew I had to be the guy.

Report-stated that he was caught with “illegal-content on his computer”. Only so many things that could mean, and only one that’d make you run to avoid the jail-time.

Knew the guy quite well, knew all of his spots, where he liked to go when it became too-much. The others went straight for his family, I went to Surewood Lake. Took less-than three-hours to find him. Heard me coming. Guess he knew someone would. Saw his face, knew that I knew. Didn’t even fight. Just finished his beer, put his hands behind his back. He knew what he needed to do.

Alerted the officials. Stuck him in the Jeep. Kept quiet all-the-way back, not-a-word. Head down. No eye contact. Been friends for years, grew-up together, never saw him like that.

Regretted the job. Killed the friendship. Always thought better of the guy. Thought he’d be the one to make it.

Hunting can be lonely. You lose friends, family, especially if you grew-up rough, made mistakes when young. Statistics say you’ll do it again. All my buddies grew-up rough, all inside. But only-ever hunted one-friend, only-him. Losing people to crime is harder than death. You mourn different, for the life they’ve thrown away.

I think about this loss alot.

Last edited 1 month ago by Matthew R. Wright
Cradle
Cradle
1 month ago

..

Mango Gravy
Mango Gravy
1 month ago

Underqualified
By Mango Gravy

“Well, the crowd’s gone for now,” groaned Maximeon. He cast his gaze to his wife, who was tied up beside him. “How are you holding up?”

Joanna strained to open her eyes, swollen as her eyelids were. “As well as can be expected after being captured by an angry mob,” she wheezed. After a moment she doubled over and wretched. “There goes lunch.”

“They might offer us a final meal. What do you fancy?”

“I’d like to have old Mira’s cream cakes one last time,” Joanna replied, then sighed. “There’s just one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m pretty sure she led the mob.”

“Well, fair enough after what we did to her children.” Maximeon would have shrugged but his shoulders hurt. A lot.

Joanna turned to him, “Why did we do all that, anyway?”

“They conspired against us.”

“I know that. But… why?” Joanna meant to make a physical gesture to clarify the question, but even if she had the strength to move, her arms were tied behind her back. She was sure her husband got the message, though, as he paused for a while to consider the question.

“Well,” he said at last, “We just got carried away, didn’t we? Things got out of hand, so we handled it like we did the old aristocracy.”

“Power corrupts, and revolutionaries make terrible leaders. What corruptible revolutionaries we turned out to be, eh?”

Maximeon would have nodded in agreement but his neck was in dire straits. “Why’d we take the job anyway?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “It felt natural, right? The heroes take the throne after saving the kingdom, don’t they? As a reward.”

“Some reward that was. Just heaps of responsibilities and not enough room for creative solutions.”

“To be fair,” Joanna said, “The guillotine got old pretty quickly.”

“At least it worked,” Maximeon chuckled.

“For a time.”

They took in the atmosphere of their impending doom. The day was coming to an end, and the mob was returning with torches and more captives.

“I don’t think they’ll give us that final meal.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Mango Gravy
The Ronin Writer
1 month ago

Dragons ain’t Greedy
By Matheus Ribeiro de Assis

Centuries ago the dragon Malkdur had stolen all the riches of the citizens of the kingdom of Dartania. Legends were told about this evil dragon, no adventurer has ever dared to go on a quest of daring the dragon in his lair, not even a single piece of the treasure was ever seen again by the townsfolk.

But Jason was a very bold boy, by the age of sixteen he ventured forth to the dragon’s lair. He knew that he wouldn’t stand a chance against the dragon, because of that, he hoped only to steal something from the hoard to bring back home.

Eventually he arrived at the dragon’s lair, and to his surprise, the treasure was unguarded. When he was sure that it wasn’t a trap. He reached for a golden figurine of a dwarf lord, and filled his pockets with everything he could. This would make him and his family rich! Maybe the king would grant them a title of nobility!

Then suddenly the dragon appeared behind him, he had been there the whole time, disguised by a glimmer spell. The dragon said:

“hello boy… oh, you’re afraid I see… be scared not. I’m not the one you should fear”

“What?! But… you’re the terrible dragon that stole the treasure from the people… how could I not be scared of you? But… if you wanted me dead, I would already be by now. So… what are you up to?”

“Clever boy. Actually I’m here to protect you from the treasure, it poisons man’s hearts”

“What?! That’s obviously a trick, I’m not buying into it…”

“If you leave this place with anything, you’ll never have peace anymore, people shall stalk you and those around you because of greed, you’ll never be safe anymore. It’s not worth it, that’s why I guard the treasure here. To protect humans from themselves”

“Maybe you’re right… I won’t take anything anymore. But what do you gain from helping us?”

“Peace, you won’t be bothering my nap with your petty wars”

**

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

It’s Too Late

By Joe

They’re gone.

All of them are gone. Do you know what you did? Of course, you don’t! Someone like you was always a danger, but it was too late for you to realize that.

All of the warnings you’ve been told, even by your best friend, you just cast aside because you hated having your integrity questioned. You always thought it was a betrayal whenever they talked about their people suffering, so you drowned out their pain with your own. You always found the conversation pointless, and that’s why you failed to help them. Your best friend was one of them. You took their patience and love for granted. But thanks to your ignorance you managed to lose them to, by using their success as YOUR EXCUSE! As much as you claimed to understand, you never showed that you did. Now I understand why!

But what point is there for me to finally realize too late when the people I was supposed to help are no longer around? It was bound that I would learn at some point. You and I share this sin that we should be allowed our opinions without consequence, absolving ourselves of any research or critical thought that could’ve changed everything. We fooled ourselves into believing that we could live peacefully with our own beliefs so we could victimize ourselves when challenged by people who were justified to be angry.

It’s so easy to use what makes one’s identity as a tool for personal gain. I weep at how such tactics can be so superficial yet so damaging.

All to avoid a conversation.

All I wanted was to do the right thing. I wanted everyone to be okay in the end. But you betrayed that to, and I blindly followed. There’s no point when it’s too late to be right.

You got what you wanted, a pure world with only one people. And I helped. You can keep this world. I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.

Goodbye.

Maxer4000
Maxer4000
1 month ago

The Worthy
By Maxer4000

“What would you do if you were able to bend the world to your will?” A question was asked by a sword perched on a stone, it’s slate black handle and scabbard being etched with ornamental gold lines, it’s a mystery why such a fine piece of craft is placed in a random spot in a jungle. Still, the enticing voice has lured in a young warrior.

“Me?” the young man perplexed as he heard the voice “Well… I want to make the world a better place of course, that’s what a hero do, I want to right all the wrong in the world” he answered with little hesitation. Realizing he was talking to a sword, he questioned himself “Wait a minute, are you like a sword an ancient hero wielded long ago?”

“My origin matters little, the important thing here is that there is a wrong in the world and I need a worthy wielder to carry my power to right it, will you be the one?” the blade asked with a stern tone. Not long after, the boy gripped into the handle “I want to bring justice to the world, so yes, I’m worthy.”

Soon, a small sting was felt on his foot, the boy lifted his leg to see what’s wrong. As soon as he raised it, his foot came clean off, inside his shoe was the bones of his foot, looking at his arm, he can see the bones peering through his rotting flesh, he wanted to let go of the sword, but his hand won’t budge. A very demonic voice growled into his head “You view that your standards are the one that matter, you see that the world must bend to your will, such deranged ambition. The only thing you worth receiving is your existence… snuffed, out.” The boy screamed, but it fell on deaf ears.

As the skeletal remain laid there, crumbling into dust, another came to look at the blade. “Greeting, dark one, are you here to–” before the blade could finish, a crystallized tendril slapped it, sending tumbling through the dirt and into a nearby tree “Such… rejection… this fear of power, this… yes… this is the one” through a brief contact with the tendril, it can read the being’s memories. The blade again spoke into the creature’s mind “Dark one, wield me, I will help you control your power.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Maxer4000
Cody H
Cody H
1 month ago

Love is Blind, Forever

By Cody H

“Do you remember bowling?”

“At King Pin? Chicken Wednesdays? Yea, I do.”

“It was good, wasn’t it?” he asked.

She sucked in a breath.

“Why can’t we go back to Chicken Wednesdays?”

“Because you got what you wanted, John.”

She was right. It was a perfect dream. Chantel was back. They sat on an endless beach and shared bottomless mojitos like in Maui. The sea stretched forever. The sun only sank below the horizon when he remembered how beautiful the moonlight was when it hit her hair. But something was wrong.

It was the machine. He had done everything right. He read the packet as many times as he could. Visualize your dream. Know your dream. Remember it as if it were yesterday. The machine would pull information from your subconscious. They said imagination flavored it, but the core of the experience was subconscious truth. This was the truth. The beach, the mojitos, the moonlight…

“I don’t understand. We’ve got it made. Look!” He poured his drink on the ground, then rotated it back up. It refilled instantly, umbrella and all.

“You’ve got it made. But did you stop to think about me? At all?”

“Of course I–”

“Remember bowling. Chicken Wednesday. What happened?”

“It was the same as always.”

“That part you understand. It was the last straw. I mean, really, smashing the register with a 15 pounder?”

“What? When–”

“Who dragged your ass home? I had to call your mother. Your mother, John.” She rose from her beach chair, shook her head as the sea began to recede.

“Chantel, please.”

“Didn’t I tell you this? We’re done.”

He had put his things in order before the study; sent final texts, closed accounts, gave his pug away. He signed his life away for the promise of the forever dream. He knew his truth, didn’t he?

He tried to shout her name but his voice vanished in a swelling wind that blew the sand from the beach and revealed a black, igneous stone. In his hand was only a dusty glass. Even the moon and sun disappeared.

MasaCur
MasaCur
1 month ago

The Hero
By MasaCur (Reposted from Private Group)

Lucas sighed wistfully as he watched the merriment of the people in the kingdom.

Ten years now, the Demon King had been defeated. Defeated at Lucas’s own hands. Before that, twenty years of fighting the Demon King and his legions, of fighting to rid his evil from the lands.

But Lucas had prevailed. He struck the Demon King down, and drove his demonic horde to the Hell from which they came.

The mortal legions of the Demon King fought on, but eventually they too would surrender. Doomed by the lack of leadership, poor morale, and their own infighting, Lucas had no troubles leading the offense against the remaining threats. The Orcs were the first to capitulate. They came to the human kingdoms with offerings and articles of peace. A treaty was struck. Lucas remembered witnessing the ceremony, called upon by his king to mediate.

Slowly the other races followed suit. The dragons were last, but even they offered to return to the Burnt Lands, never to return to fight against humanity.

The kingdom had known nothing but peace for five years. Lives were rebuilt, the kingdom had prospered. Trade agreements with many of the races considered monsters a decade ago had built up everyone.

The people were happy.

But not Lucas.

He felt fat and old, even though he was certain he could defeat any of the king’s knights in combat, many of whom were half his age.

He had known nothing but fighting the forces of the Demon King for so long, he couldn’t remember his life before it.

It was Lucas who was responsible for this peace. It was through his actions that this festival was being celebrated.

But he didn’t feel like he was in a celebratory mood.

What to do when you have a single purpose in your life, and then fulfill it? What do you do with your life afterwards?

Galer
Galer
1 month ago

The prize of Jealousy.

by Galer.

“And because of this, Thomas you will be promoted but you will have a more professional handler from now on,” Matias said to Thomas. The Jealous reckless young man got into the force a long time ago and had a reputation of getting in over his head into things he shouldn’t be.

Like fighting multiple experienced criminals with anomalies, while they got depowered by Thomas’ nullification anomaly he almost got shot multiple times and got beaten for his troubles.

The worst part? The Idiot wanted a fight like this to happen to prove he could handle them all alone.

“What!? but we got them right!? I should-” Thomas protested but he was interrupted by his friend Luisa.

“what? alone? Thomas for the love of the Ancestors you should at the very least recognize that this is what you get for doing that!” She said while she was a Zotrisatian battle maniac, she was the second best beside Matias in wrangling the Recklessness of Thomas. “Thomas listen to me, I like a good fight, but I even recognize that was a dumb decision if I wasn’t there you would have died.”

“Exactly,” said Matias “your dedication is commendable and you prioritized the hostages as you should, but you let your Jealousy take over and look at what happened, Thomas you. are. in. a. Team. you can handle all of this alone.”

He pointed at the beaten-up 24-year-old in front of him that was recently discharged from the hospital

“…Understood,” Thomas said with barely contained rage in his Tone, while he looked at Matias like he had a laser vision for an anomaly and not Nullification.

“Well you and Luisa are now discharged,” Matias said while Luisa through the automatic door calmly, while Thomas went through the door, however, it was followed by a loud bang from the other side it was most likely Thomas hitting it with a punch, which made Matias thing the Troubles with Thomas were not over yet.

Last edited 1 month ago by Galer
The Ronin Writer
1 month ago

Thank you! I’m glad you liked it, I was worried because the script that I imagined would require much more than 350 words, then I thought that this story ended up being too rushed and vague.

Surely I need to improve my punctuation, your sugestion is better thanks!

Aracnarquista
Aracnarquista
1 month ago

en passant, desperado
by Aracnarquista

When the clock struck six, Doctor Finito took a glimpse at the monitors and put the cup of mate down. He already knew it was only a matter of time before losing that patient, but the real question was the precise timing. And the electroencephalogram pointed out the moment was about to pass.

“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I can’t help you anymore. None of us here can.”

This was the easy part. But the important part, the shameful part… the pulsing rhythm of the electrocardiogram urged him to go on.

“I can’t help you anymore. But perhaps you can still help me. Not that I have any right to ask that of you, but… please?”

He hoped the patient could listen, and remember.

“I need to send a message to the other side… no, to the threshold. The place where you’ll be soon. I need to reach Death. Death knows who I am.”

“You may have heard these stories of people challenging Death to a game of chess. You’ll soon have your chance. Death is quite fond of these games, and an amazing player. To my knowledge, none but me has ever beaten them.”

He ventured a sad smile, remembering the dance of the chess pieces over the board. That most glorious and intense chess game ever played.

“So it is no wonder none really has any idea what would happen if one wins against Death. Well, I know. You return, and you can’t die. Ever. Which seems like a sweet deal, and in most aspects, it is. But…”

The chess pieces were still battling in his mind.

“But that was the highlight of my life. That game. And I never found an opponent like Death again. Not in the International Federation, against the Grandmasters. Not against the best supercomputers…”

Those games seemed like a lifetime away. That one game, though, still felt like yesterday.

“It is not just skill. It is about the love, the longing for the game. It is about an opponent who we can match in passion.”

“Please, tell Death I beg for a rematch.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

A Perfectly Fair Exchange (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

“Will you provide that for me?”

My mouth felt dry, as if simply making such an unnatural request had already cursed my tongue. I closed my mouth and swallowed hard, trying to maintain eye contact with the burning gaze above.

The Vampire Lord before me smiled his terrible smile. “Oh, what a woeful tale to hear,” Lectara said with a tone of pity laced with faint mockery. “A young woman’s life, unavoidably shortened by an impurity of blood.” His last word felt especially heavy on my ears.

With a quick gesture of a marble hand, he held out his golden jewel-encrusted chalice before him. “Yes, I do believe I have a satisfactory solution to your problem, Miss Murnor.” His other hand drew something from the depths of his fine clothing – an ornate dagger with a strangely wavy blade and an aura of seething magic. “We just need to make a simple exchange.”

I expected the blade to do nothing to his stony skin. So watching it cut through the back of his hand like warm butter was an unsettling surprise. As was the speed that his thick dark blood filled the goblet. It felt like only seconds before Lectara was offering the cup to me, almost full.

It was heavy, enough to require both my hands to hold. I looked into the cup. This close, that pool of blood looked less like something to drink, and more like a lake to drown myself in.

A thought crossed my mind. “My lord? What did you mean by an exch-”

My vision blurred white for a second.

I didn’t know what happened. I almost stumbled as a wave of dizziness washed over me.

Then I began to feel a rising dull ache, where my shoulder met my neck. And I began to understand.

He casually wiped his mouth with a napkin, unconcerned. “Well? Drink, if you please. It is what you wanted, is it not?”

It was. It really, really was.

No time for fear now, Nyx. Just drink, and you’ll be there.

So I swallowed my pride, and I drank.

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

Slayer of the Dark One
By Faustini

As much gold as you can carry. On the first glance it sounded good enough. It was certainly a good prize for defeating the Dark One. So without a second to spare me and my friends marched towards His lair.

And now, here we stood in front of the king, head of the Dark One lying on the floor. We stood our ground in the throne room and awaited our reward.

“Perfect! Great job!” A little man wearing the Crown beamed on his gold plated chair. “As I promised you and your group can have as much gold as you can carry. Guards, take them towards the treasury.” I could see a mischievous spark lit king’s eye.

Me and my companions were led into the treasury and a single drop of tear escaped my eye. We weren’t the same group as when we left. Most of us blemished with scars and mutilated into this barely moving mess of bodies.

On my path towards richness and glory I’ve lost more than just my dignity. I’ve lost both arms, left eye and burned marks graced my face. More than one of my friends lost their lives and those who survived weren’t in much better shape than me.

A single tear escaped my lone eye. And from the depth of my throat came a deep guttural laugh lanced with a bit of madness with which I returned from our adventure.

All that gold in front of me and all I could carry was a single mouthful.

What a joke.

Curry
Curry
1 month ago

Encore
By Curry

Kilat furrowed his brows backstage. The audience’s praise sounded as shallow as the sermon had been. Lord Arthorias wanted the peasants to be fired up in sheer view of a high priest like him – after all, he was a chosen one. He would not be in a good mood. Straightening his robes, the young assistant hurried over to a serving tray adorned in glittering jewels. It held the usual cup of sweet wine, a piece of cloth and a small mirror.

The curtain swung open dramatically. As soon as he set a foot backstage, the face of the high priest fell to an indignant frown. Kilat quasi-danced over to present the tray to his Lord, bowing.

Having checked his hair, Arthorias started striding for the rear exit of the temple, expecting to be accompanied. “Did you observe these ungrateful animals? They will never see as much grace as they have just now and yet, they stared at me as if they expected me to feed them.” Kilat hid his grin. It was some small improvement that he used any vocabulary that incorporated an act of caring.

“Yes, I did, Milord.”, he nodded, his lips now curling in amusement, “They are spoilt. Spiritual sustenance does not taste as sweet as you voice sounds.”, he purred appeasingly. Looking up, he met the satisfied gaze of his Lord – now was a good chance to advance his career. “I would love to have more chances of savouring it.”, the assistant grinned boldly, “If you please, of course.”

The tall man’s surprised face started glowing with a hint of red: “I suppose you deserve a reward for your steady services. You may accompany me tonight to listen to even more passionate sermons – there is a family of sinners waiting to be exorcised.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Curry
Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Welcome to the Frontier (Frontier Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Oliver stepped off the airship, holding onto his wide-brimmed hat, as the cold winds of the 50 or so floating islands that comprised the Frontier hit him like an icicle. The retired soldier held his bag over his shoulder and took a moment to look around on the air-dock.

He was surrounded by a hustle and bustle of people going about their business, unloading crates, eating snacks and chatting. Music was playing over radios. One thing he noticed was the total absence of weapons. Aside from a few security personnel, everyone was completely unarmed. He suddenly felt very self-conscious about the dagger under his coat. If it didn’t hold such a sentimental value to him, he probably would have tossed it over the edge of the dock.

It was still early morning. The planetary rings were still visible, as the sun rose silently. He hoped it would wash away at least some of the cold.

After he’d loudly and vehemently denounced his military service and decreed that people with powers weren’t the ‘contract killers of those, too lazy to pull their own triggers’, he’d narrowly avoided several very angry people coming after him.

“Consider yourself lucky you’re wearing those medals,” one official had said, apparently unaware that Oliver had tossed them into the river.

He’d spent about an hour packing his bags, which were now being shipped out of the airship after him and to a motor carriage waiting for them. So this was to be his reward for being a warrior in the powered regiments of the City States beneath. A one way ticket to the Frontier and enough money to settle up in a small apartment.

The Frontier was an almost pristine landscape, if one ignored the towns and farms around. Keene, where he’d landed, was its capital. A capital without any skyscrapers or towers. Just small buildings and cobblestone streets, inns, parks and farms. No luxury. No gilded floors.

“Let’s hope you don’t regret your reward,” one of the officials had sneered.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Oliver said to himself. “I think I might like it here.”

The Missing Link
The Missing Link
1 month ago

One Last Day
By: The Missing Link

“Kill.” That had been the one word spoken by the voice in the sky when Corinne woke up on the edge of the lava flow.

Kill what? She held a combat knife that had almost stabbed her when she rolled over in her sleep. She didn’t have long to ponder the question when a woman twice her size sprinted at her from the forest downhill.

There was murder in her eyes.

And her hand. She slashed at Corinne with a serrated knife, tearing into the skin of her arm. Corinne tried to escape as she bit back a scream. The woman swung, and Corinne ran. She ran, right into a rock wall. The woman loomed, raising her bloody knife to strike.

Corinne got low and tackled. Her attacker was stunned, almost dropping her knife as the pair rolled to the ground. Unfortunately, the other woman easily overpowered her, pinning her neck under a muddy knee. Corinne could see the anger in her eyes as she struggled. She would enjoy this.

Corinne’s hand moved on its own. She had expected more resistance as her knife went through her assailant’s chin, burying itself up to the hilt, puncturing the woman’s brain. There was no more anger in those eyes, no fear. They were empty. Corinne would never forget those eyes as long as she lived.

She never should have signed up for the game.

Exhausted and bruised, she made her way deeper into the forest. As her throat began to seize, the adrenaline high fading, she came across a similar fight. She heard a sickening crack as one of the men twisted the other’s head, throwing him to the side.

“Liam!” Standing up was the last person in the world she wanted to see there, “Why are you…”

“I should be asking you the same question. We talked about this. It’s terminal. Whatever kind of wish they’ll grant, it can’t fix this.”

As Corinne opened her mouth, the sky voice spoke again, “Congratulations, you sixteen have survived the preliminaries. Enjoy the tournament.”

“Will they make me kill him too?” Corinne thought.

C. M. Weller
1 month ago

A Gift in Kind [Koshdelia Ever After]
C. M. Weller

Earl Kormwind had put his blood to the Oath of the Carved Keep thrice. Three times, he had said its words and he had meant it down to his very soul. Assuming a Tiefling had one. This meant, according to prophecy and legend, that it was now the reign of the Thrice-Sworn King.

An age of conquest. An age, Ferdinand Tansie had thought, of glory and gain.

He had expected more freedom to come with it.

Expectations and Kormwind Arachis Felbourne Whitekeep IX did not mix well at all. He conquered out of necessity. First to teach the Olikents a lesson for trying sharp blade diplomacy against him… and thereafter against those who tried to take the captured territories BACK.

It was shocking how many realms objected to one ruler ending slavery and initiating public equity. And this, too, was shocking.

A map, a crown, and a long scroll. His Highness Kormwind IX did not give rewards without responsibilities.

“Congratulations,” said his Highness. “You are now an Earl. You always wanted an Earldom, didn’t you?”

This was a loaded question and Ferd knew it. “I once had such aspirations of your Earldom, Your Highness.”

A glare. King Kormwind let the honourific pass under silent protest. “Your Earldom now encapsulates the Metswold Forest, Labyrinth Hills, and Tamyrandia. Seven Baronies in all. Baronies who will object to your rule, who have to be chased to pay their taxes, and who will no doubt vie for your brand new coronet.” Now that smile full of sharp, pointy teeth came out in full force. “Baronies just. Like. Yours.”

Ah. The curse of responsibility. ‘May you rule people just like you.’

Ferd examined the scroll. Roads. Bridges. Bandit trouble. A bunch of Barons who lied about how much they had, spending on themselves rather than their people. King Kormwind knew how to twist the metaphorical knife.

An Earldom full of badly-behaved Barons who all believed they could be better at his job than him. Thorns in his side, just like he had been for King Kormwind.

“Thank you, Your Highness,” was all he could say.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
1 month ago

Conqueror
by Lee Strangely

It was once said that Death would speak to none but one, the unchallenged ruler of this world and all life upon it.

Thump-thump-thump-thump.

Thump-thump-thump-thump.

Thump-thump-thump-thump.

Thump-thump-thump-thump.

All the hooves hitting the ground was like a great drumbeat. One rider chased another across the former battlefield, jumping over trenches, with hooves digging into the blood-soaked mud. The pursuer’s eyes were locked, through his goggles, on the tattered coat and mangled golden armor of the man as he fled on his horse. He kept trying to aim his bulky elephant gun while keeping his speed.

The target panted and groaned as both he and his horse began tiring out. Occasionally he turned back to see the man still behind him, the silhouette of him on his horse, and the barbed hooks the jutted from his helmet like horns.

The gun exploded with the sound of thunder; black smoke clouds fired outward as the projectiles tore through the other horse, sending it to the ground. His hands grasped at the dirt and the dead, desperately trying to pull himself out from under his lost steed.

As his pursuer dismounted with an axe in hand, the man drew his sidearm. From his trembling arm, holes were shot into practically everything except for the pursuer. Soon the man was standing over him. Swiftly the axe was embedded into the man’s chest. It was a shrill sound, the breastplate’s cry of pain as the axe ripped through it.

“I tip my hat to you, conqueror” a feminine voice spoke ahead of him.

He looked up to see a woman. A white body in a black robe, and a faceless head under a large sun hat.

“You, Death, will call me by my title,” he growled, “the title that I have earned!”

She chuckled, “Then I tip my hat to you, King of this barren world. Ruler of all its corpses…”

The new king gazed upon his land, and his subjects, all with a growing feeling of dread.

“Last of the human kind.”

A tear managed to escape the goggles’ confines, running down his cheek.

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
1 month ago

Irresistible Resistance (tale of Gilbert)

By Tamela Redfin

It was a few months after our escape and Corlita and I were in the mountains.

“My circuits and nodes are going to freeze off.” Corlita shivered. Wait, shivering? She had to be a human! What had Klon Vatti done to her?!

In the distance, I saw a girl about fourteen years old and with copper brown hair.

“Corlita, look.” I shouted, pointing at the girl.

“Gilbert, careful! Your sonic scream could cause an avalanche.”

The girl looked at us and walked closer. Had I just doomed us?

We froze and just waited for her. She beamed, “Hi, I’m Andrea! What’s your name?”

“M-my name is Gilbert and this is Corlita. If you’re going to take us to Cora, do so…”

Andrea laughed, “Cora? But she’s the enemy. We are Underground Elements, and we fight for the freedom of Western Rolt. Come, I’ll show you to our leader!”

I was hesitant, but the only other option was freezing in the mountains, so we let Andrea lead the way.

“Henry! Come quick! I found two cyborgs who want to join the resistance.”

“Who’s Henry?” Corlita asked.

“Henry Cavendish is our leader. He was a bodyguard of Cora’s, but I bet you already know that, if you watch the news.” Andrea explained

Henry Cavendish? Oh no, not him! He was the most wanted man in Western Rolt. Or wait, dammit Gilbert! You’re a clone of Feldspar Augen! But also, if I ally myself with him, he would never turn me in.

My thoughts were stopped as he looked me over with a glare from his purple eyes. He looked like he was really trying to focus, “Andrea, you do know who this is, right?”

Corlita raised her hand, “Please, we mean no harm, Mr. Cavendish. We too are on the run. We’d like to join your resistance.”
Henry looked down, “I’ll give you a chance. But if you are a plot by Cora to drag me back, I will fight tooth and nail for my people.”

Marx
Marx
1 month ago

Yay! We’re doomed!
By Marx

Yelena had known fear many times in her very long life, but it was nothing compared to what she felt now. She knew if she were rejected here, in the Garden, it would mean both the end of her and most likely her unborn child.

“…Father… I… know I shouldn’t be here, but… I had nowhere else to turn…”

A chuckle echoed from all around her throughout the Garden. “Ah, Yelena… The last time the child of an angel and an old one was born she took the form of Death. The end of all things, including me. Come child, do you honestly think I would allow such a being to be born again unless it was my will?”

Yelena paused, her eyes widening as she unconsciously touched the bulge on her belly. “You already knew?”

“Of course I did.” He replied, appearing before her. “You are exactly where I want you to be. And the two of you are under my protection. You have nothing to fear.”

Yelena sighed contentedly as that weight was lifted from her shoulders. It only left one other. “My child’s… father… he-”

“Served his purpose.” He finished for her, affectionately touching her belly. “Just as you will have served yours after he’s born.”

Yelena tried to fight against the tears as the reality of those words sunk in. “Can’t… can’t I be allowed to live? To raise my child?”

“That’s not how this works.” He chuckled back. “This child is going to need both his parents’ essences if he’s going to be all he can be.”

“But… Father, you write those rules.”

“And it would do you well to remember why, child.”

Yelena immediately looked away. “I meant no disrespect. I just-… I love him… so much…”

“Of course you do, child. I wrote it that way.” He said dismissively, turning His attention once more to the unborn baby. “Death has been waiting for you for quite some time.”

Yelena’s eyes widened again. “He’s… Death’s horseman?”

“Death made the end to everything possible. And this little guy is going to bring it all home.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Marx
Skeleton
Skeleton
1 month ago

Credited Certification (The Will)
By Skeleton (Edited by MelodyLuna7)

Remianna placed the strange, ancient device into the beggar’s coin-pan. “I’ve done as you asked,” she relayed to the old, blind woman dressed in white, sacred garbs. “I stole it—costing me over twenty years of labour and rank, my reputation among all the scholars of the world, and my life—now that I’m wanted.”

The Woman in White gave an amused laugh, reaching forth and grasping the strange device. Her thin, ebony fingers caressed every edge of it with melancholic care. “You do not sound that torn up about it,” she teased with a victorious smirk. “The White Witch… a fitting name that suits one of my most reluctant followers—criminal or not.”

“If you think that I take any pleasure in fetching your fancies, then I’ll shatter that thing right here,” Remianna threatened, unconsciously glancing towards the white scales on her claw. “I’m running out of time—Eymir will lose his mind completely soon, and I think the Void Queen is plotting something to speed up the process. Quit stalling and tell me where this… “Memento” is.”

The Woman in White hummed with amusement as the device finally came to rest in her lap. “Are you sure that is the question you wish to ask? I am already certain you know the answer.”

Remianna bit her lip and looked away. “How do I reach the moon, then?”

“Perhaps you have heard the tale of the city that lingers in the heavens?” the Woman in White suggested.

The dragoness’ eyes widened at the mention of her childhood dream: a metal city suspended in the clouds that levitated with a strange energy. Buildings were connected by rails that you could ride on with strange technologies—simulated flight.

“It is invisible to the naked eye,” the Woman in White continued, “and its altitude is too great for any of your kind to breathe. Not even the avonis can fly up there.”

“Then how do I reach it?!” Remianna demanded.

The entity’s mischievous smile widened to near malice.

“You do not.”