Sebastian Philipo is 14 lives in the slums of Mexico City. He is 14 and cares for his sick mother. His father left 6 years ago to work in some opal mines; he has never returned. Sebastian has to earn money to pay for food and expensive medicines to relieve his mother’s condition (you decide). He has an uncanny ability at pick-pocketing and regularly travels to the city centre to relieve the wealthier people of their purses and wallets. He is in the pick-pocketing business with a friend called Juarez who is 13. Sebastian first locates a target and trails them. He finds he often slips into a dreamy state of mind when he follows them and even for a moment feels as though he is them. As soon as that happens he snaps himself out of it and can pretty much walk up to the target and steal from them and they do nothing about it. He doesn’t really know what is happening himself—but found he could do this a few years ago by accident (you decide). People he concentrated on became drowsy/confused. He is careful not steal too much or the police will make an effort to hunt him down and kill him. He has a number of close calls with the police. After spending the day stealing, and with money in their pockets, Sebastian and Juarez are on their way home, when they are surrounded by the neighborhood gang—all adults. The gang have noticed his success and have been following him. They aren’t sure how he does what he does, but they tell him that from now on the boys work for them and will only be allowed to keep 10% of what they steal. Sebastian knows this will there will not be enough money for his mum’s medicine and says no, despite being scared. The gang members don’t take the public rebuttal well and advance menacingly. Experiencing a powerful mixture of fear and determination (not the usual calm state of mind he attains before a theft) Sebastian tries to make the leader go to sleep but instead accidentally kills him with his psychic gift (you decide how). The other gang members aren’t sure what has happened and become frenzied, brandishing their weapons. Sebastian is shocked at killing the man and instinctively doesn’t want to kill anymore, so he automatically tries a different tack, and finds one of gang member’s body is under his control. Using the gang member’s body he makes the man shout out and commands the gang to leave, which although puzzled, they do. When they leave the boys escape. Rumours begin that he is a Sorcerer, and they call him the ‘Fill in the blank’. The story continues to develop as Sebastian uses his powers to remove the criminals who control his local community. However he attracts the attention of a man for whom Sebastian’s powers are nothing more than a child’s first step. The man tries to recruit Sebastian to his evil organisation but in the end the two must battle it out.
Winning Author: Kathyton
Title: Our Lady's Own Devil
El Diablo? I knew, him, yes. Sebastian Philipo and I were boys together. But he was no devil. He was generous, pious, and favored by Our Lady of Guadalupe. Miracles, she gave him. I saw them myself. He was poor in those days, as was I, but he had other burdens -- no father, his mother struck blind during the Corpus Christi Procession when Sebastian was 10 years old. They say the June sun's glare off the gold monstrance burned an image of Christ onto her eyelids. But if all she saw was our Saviour, all my friend saw was an empty cupboard and hungry little sisters. So, we strolled the main plaza in the cool of the evening, the air sweet with jasmine and roasting chicken. A round man in a fine suit, tardy for dinner after a siesta with his mistress, would be our favorite mark.
Dogen (Pronounced DO-jun I cannot get the accent to work) Is eight turns old. The years on Trist are slightly longer than earth years, making him about 11-12. He is the fifth and youngest child of the Criste, which is the prominent women of his tribe. There are many tribes on this vibrant world which is a ten century old earth colony, clearly established as its own culture. Each tribe consist of a group of matriarchal leaders, and many children. The adolecent boys go off on their own to find their way in the world(hopefully a place in another tribe) Few are chosen to stay in their birth tribe as Cheekatrice handlers which is a great honor.
Dogen is chosen as a handler, and is given a clutch of seventeen Cheekatrices. About the size of a bowling ball, these vulnerable baby birds require a bond with their handler. They require around the clock attention, There is a strong emotional tie. Each Cheek has a distinct personality.
These adorable little creatures grow to be voracious predators,Much larger than an adult human and are used the protect the tribes crops from swarms of large invading pests.(Make your own names if you want) The handlers command them in military like tactics and formations.
Trist is a mixed tech world- which is to say, they have the ability to harvest solar power, light fuels and machines, but no sophisticated electronics. Sod and stone are common building materials as there are no trees on Trist. Dogen's tribe has a large nursery greenhouse where plants are started in the damp but not harshly cold winters.
His colony had a limited harvest last season due to their having only two handlers. The Senior being a son ,Jun, much older than Dogen. Jun only has six Cheeks, but they are by far the most experienced. Jun is a tactical genius. He leads his hunters with superior skill. Jun Despises Dogen for many reasons. His Mother is second to the Criste, and he feels as many do that She should be the leader. The costly crop falure last season seems to amplify this, but a young man, or any man for that matter has no say in the social structure. He also despises Dogen for his large clutch. Having eleven more cheeks than him, he feels intimidated, and begins to feel Dogen will bring support back to the Criste.
The second Handler,Wannu, of a lesser mother, is contempt with his seemingly undeserved honor. He is very helpful to Dogen and is always giving him advice on how to manage his unwieldy new responsibility.
As the season starts, Dogens Cheeks are only just becomming adults, and he is inexperienced, but he has to face the challenge because his friend and mentor is struck with a terrible disease and his cheeks cannot be managed without him. They turn on their replacement caregivers, and eventually starve to death, just after Wannu dies.
This leaves Dogen and his bitter adversary Jun to fend off what is the worst swarms the tribe can remember ****************************************************************
Winning author: Annepin
Title:Sickle Star Rising
Balanced on the windmill's trestle, Dogen scanned the horizon, straining to see in the dawn light. The Mothers had said it would be at least another month before the swarms came. The colony's wheat fields had only just developed heads. Still, a dread Dogen could not voice compelled him to search for signs of the silver-winged Cleops. He would not be caught off guard. Not after last season.
Below, one of his Cheekatrices clucked. "Quiet, Sneaky," he called down to her. The creature craned her neck up, flapped her wings, and chirped. Soon the others began to cluck. Dogen tried to muster anger at their mutiny but relented with a grin. The birds were still young but already adept at catching Cleops. By next season, they would be his tribe's best defenders. The Mothers
Title Master: Skadder- The Devouring Wind- 4pts(Title votes/1ea)
Captain Hook of the Week: Annepin- Sickle Star Rising- 13 pts.
Second Place: Grant John- Untitled- 12 pts.
Third Place:Snapper- Flock of Warriors- 8 pts. **************** Points Board ****************
[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited April 30, 2008).]
Earth, 2182. Nick Antoniadis, a former amateur boxing champ and retired robot mechanic, along with his daughter Diane, embark on the Princess Cruise Lines ship Comet Express for a comet tour of the Oort Cloud. The cruise is a gift from Diane to her father, following the death of his wife (and her mother). Diane recently lost in the state procreation lottery, and with no particular reason to stay on Earth decides to accompany her father on the cruise.
Civilian cruise ships are not permitted to use the brand-new relativistic drive technology, therefore, with current interstellar ramjet propulsion, the cruise is a 24-year round trip. To endure the long journey, passengers are injected with nanomachines that place their bodies into a ‘maintenance mode’. In this state, the nanomachines maintain cell functions, repair genes/DNA and remove waste products, so the passengers do not physically age. Nick settles in for his long “nap”.
As the Comet Express nears its destination, it is knocked off course by a comet! Drifting in interstellar space, the ship is discovered by an alien research vessel and taken back to the alien’s planet. The Cheenta are an avian-type species, unknown to humans.
Nick wakes up ( ) in a cage in a Cheenta laboratory, where he is subjected to a number of experiments. He doesn’t know the fate of the rest of the ship’s passengers and is desperate to locate his daughter. He can’t face the thought of losing her so soon after losing his wife. He doesn’t understand the alien’s language or their technology.
The Cheenta scientists are intrigued by the nanomachines in Nick. Cheentian society is in jeopardy. Years of pollution buildup on their planet is causing their species to develop fatal environmental illnesses in epidemic proportions. The scientists believe the nanomachines can be used to repair sick Cheenta bodies. But they lack the knowledge/technology to manufacture the nanomachines themselves. From data onboard the Comet Express, they determine Earth’s location. Thinking the nanomachines are part of human physiology, they hatch a plan to send a fleet to Earth and harvest the humans to obtain their nanomachines. The Cheenta government lies to the population, covering up Nick’s existence, and saying only they’ve discovered a new ‘substance’ in space that will cure the epidemic.
A radical Cheenta group suspects otherwise. They’ve heard ancient legends of a lost tribe of prehistoric Cheentians who exist elsewhere in the galaxy with human-like beings, communicate telepathically with them, and act as their guardians. Of course, most Cheentians think this story is crazy sci-fi nonsense.
One night, this radical group, the Alien Liberation Front (ALF), breaks into the lab and rescues Nick.
Winning Author: Tiergan Title: Resurrecting the Storm Nick lay still, feigning unconsciousness, listening to the screams of pain surrounding him. He had no idea where he was, or who held him. But if he wanted free, it had to be now, while he still had the strength and the will to live. He was down, flat on his back. He had been down before though, and you never stood on the three count, never. No, you waited, bought your time, came to your knees on seven, the ropes at eight, and pushed off on nine. You milked every second for what it was worth, every breathe a godsend. You waited, braced yourself, then, you exploded. Footsteps sounded and something cold touched his bare chest. My turn. Electricity shot through him, then stopped, and Nick “The Storm” Antoniadis came up swinging.
Second Place: J - The Everlast Man Third Place: Snapper - Hatching a Plan
Title Master(s): Bent Tree - Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Universe and Tiergan - Resurrecting the Storm
***************************************** Cumulative Points Total for Weeks 2 and 3 *****************************************
31 - Tiergan 22 - J 21 - Grant John 18 - Snapper 15 - Annepin 9 - JustInProse 8 - Rhaythe 7 - Alliedfive 7 - sephina 7 - Skadder 5 - Grex42 5 - kathyton 4 - Bent Tree 4 - MorwenElda 3 - InarticulateBabbler 3 - Oblomova 3 - Shimiqua 2 - Jeff M
Story outline: CREATE YOUR OWN TITLE (Can be a hook in itself!)
Setting: A prison work farm, American south, 1930s -- the depth of the Great Depression. A hot day in August. Execution day. Characters: Russell, a young guard. A farm boy, about 22 years old, he knocked around the country a bit doing factory work, until the stock market crash of 1929. Then he rode the rails, drifted about doing odd jobs, then got arrested for a little petty larceny, until his father, a prominent downstate backer of the governor, pulled a few political strings and got him a job with the state penitentary system. He didn't meet the physical requirements for prison guard; although strong and wiry, he was too short. He gained the cons respect by taking on the biggest, surliest prisoner on day one, and has been fair, but without bending the rules, since then. Amazing both himself and his family, he's become a success as a guard. Wendell, a gentle, developmentally challenged prisoner; doing time for manslaughter. Wendell is devoted to Russell. Russell is his best friend, as far as Wendell is concerned. He makes gifts for Russell in craft class and will do anything Russell asks. Snake, a trustee. Snake knows everything going on in the prison. He has no loyalty to anyone. Self -preservation is his only goal. Beaumont, a death row inmate, necromancer, and Voodu priest. Pierre Beaumont is accustomed to power. He has commanded and guided his flock of followers for years. He is skilled at communication with the loa (spirits of the voodu religion) and channeling their personalities and intentions. His interest in the dead began with the death of his closest friend and advisor. Unwilling to lose his friend, he worked his charms to bring him back. Beaumont found power over death intoxicating, and he has continued to develop this skill. Although the dead don't make great companions, they are strong and willing servants.
Backstory: The state has transferred convicted killer, Pierre Beaumont, to the prison's death row for execution. Beaumont was convicted of killing his wife and her lover, but the rumors among the cons is that he "witched" them to death. In fact, cons from Louisiana swear he is a powerful Voodu priest. His presence has the entire prison on edge; fights break out frequently among the cons and the guards are particularly surly. The warden spends as little time on the premises as possible. But perhaps it's the heat, not Beaumont at all.
Plot: On the morning of Beaumont's execution, an elderly death row inmate dies suddenly. Russell and his work gang collect the coffin and take it out for burial in the prison graveyard. According to prison procedure, the guard on duty must check inside the coffin before burial, in case someone has tried a stupid escape attempt. While his superstitious gang looks on, Russell opens the coffin and finds it full of rocks -- no body. The alert is sounded, the grounds searched, and the dogs released. Roll call finds several prisoners missing, and the body of the old con that should have been in the coffin is gone. Snake whispers to Russell, some of the guards are also missing.
By evening, as Russell readies the electric chair for Beaumont's execution, the shambling undead have risen from the graveyard, taken over the guard towers, and threaten the main building. The missing guards and prisoners, obviously murdered, walk the compound, attacking anyone within reach. Beaumont claims the zombies answer to his command. He demands to be released. However, the warden doesn't believe Russell's report of the situation on the ground and orders him to continue preparing for Beaumont's execution. The warden says he is on his way to the prison. However, Wendell has disappeared and Russell is worried. And Russell isn't so sure about the wisdom of executing Beaumont just now: will that leave the zombies without direction, freeing them to attack the surrounding farms and towns? But how can they negotiate with Beaumont?
Sephina's title Death without possiblity of parole was the most popular title
2nd place: alliedfive for Parole for the Dead
3rd place: kathyton for And the Trumpet Shall Sound
Winner: J for Entry 16 Title: Death Penalty
The Great Plains took the worst of the drought, but even in Alabama, the fields beyond the train window were brown. A spider lay dead on the window ledge, its legs curled around the dry husk of its body. Dead, like the fields. Pierre Beaumont smiled. There was power in death. The sweating, tan-clad sheriff sitting across the aisle shifted uneasily, then leaned in to check the shackles binding Pierre's hands. The smile slipped. The shackles didn't matter. Neither did the prison to which the train and the sheriff were taking him. Pierre raised a shackled hand towards the window. Slowly, impossibly, the spider's legs uncurled. It righted itself and began to walk along the ledge. The sheriff gasped. Pierre felt his smile return. No, the shackles didn't matter at all.
Cumulative Results Total 45 J 35 Tiergan 22 Grant John 19 Snapper 17 Alliedfive 15 Annepin 14 kathyton 10 Rhaythe 9 JustInProse 8 sephina 7 Skadder 7 Grex42 6 Shimiqua 6 spindle 6 psnede 5 Bent Tree 5 Oblomova 5 Jeff M 4 MorwenElda 3 InarticulateBabbler 3 Devnal
[This message has been edited by kathyton (edited April 22, 2008).]
[This message has been edited by kathyton (edited April 22, 2008).]
Jerry Werner has lived alone in his isolated cabin, 20 miles from Brusset, Montana for the last fifteen years. The few people that are familiar with him call him ‘the old hippy on the hill’. He adheres to the strictest Buddhist principles, is always careful not to harm anything, and is in ‘one’ with the universe. He spends endless hours meditating. He believes that he has achieved the full goodness of man and THAT is the reason why aliens have chosen to land outside his backdoor. Carl Harass is the Sheriff of Garfield County. He and his young impressionable deputy are the only law enforcement for fifty miles. Carl believes that Joe McCarthy was given a raw deal, Reagan was a little liberal, and the Soviet Union dissolving is just another communist conspiracy. He is convinced that an invasion is under way when he sees the alien ship land. The electromagnetic interference that makes his electronic equipment inoperable fuels his paranoia. Jimmy Greene is Harass’s deputy. He is 18 years old, 110 pounds soaking wet, has just received his first gun, and finally past his drivers test a month ago. He always wanted more out of his life than to feed chickens. He doesn’t know what to make of the flying saucer from the sky. Tinwliz and Bannepin are the two Beavians that are forced to land on a world full of primitives. Tinwliz didn’t make a flight plan, never installed the Interstellar Homing signal, and forgot to refuel when they left Celadon. Fortunately, Bannepin remembered to bring a translator just in case. The seven-foot, blue fur, double-jointed aliens don’t know what to make of the local sentient beings. The Beavians now must install the spare radialian power cell. Unfortunately, that must be done outside the ship AND the spent radial power cell is highly radioactive. Of course, Tinwliz never made sure a radioactive suit was placed on the ship. They now have one of two options. a) Change the cell and subject themselves to dangerous levels of radiation or b) Convince the naïve primitive locals to do it for them
1st Exercises in Ethos by Wolfe_boy 17 points 2nd Blue’s Crew by Tiergan 14 points 3rd Road Side Assistance by Snapper 10 points
Best Title The Delicious Taste of Plastic by Doctor Take a Deep Cosmic Breath, Man by Bent Tree 5 votes each
Exercises in Ethos by Wolfe_boy
Bannepin riffled through the dog-eared copy of Hobartz Galactic Flora and Fauna that Tinwliz kept on board. "I'm telling you, there's nothing in here about these primatives!" Tinwliz gurgled dismissively. “Meaningless. The rules with inferiors are all the same – appeal to their underdeveloped ideological needs.” Bannepin set the book down with a thud. “I’m sorry, what?” Tinwliz smirked. “I have been cross correlating their mass media broadcasts. These Terrans have a mass delusion of an benevolent deity, but lack physical substantiation of its existence.” Bannepin rested her head in her long, slender hands and sighed. “This, again?” Tinwliz was already up on his feet, though, and heading aft towards the main hatch.
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited April 30, 2008).]
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited April 30, 2008).]
In 1921, British-born 22-year-old Harold Yeh receives a letter from his younger sister, Mary Wan-Li, in Hong-Kong, urging him to join her. There are so many opportunities, she writes. She claims she knows people at the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank who can secure him a job. But... there's something about the letter that sets him ill at ease. She writes about her friends, most of whom are gentlemen and wealthy, which makes Harold suspect she's involved in something distasteful. He writes back to her, gets no response. The more he thinks about it, the more worried he becomes, so he leaves his job as manager of a tea company, books passage, kisses his fiancee farewell, and sails to Hong Kong. He has enough money to last him a week. He arrives, with only the return address on the letter as clue to her whereabouts. He goes to that address and finds himself at the Hong Kong Club, a gentleman's club house. He enters and asks around for his sister, and is asked to leave. He tries again; this time he's kicked out.
The doorman says he's seen a well-dressed woman who looks like she could be Harold's sister enter with a wealthy British ex pat, a man named William Farthing. The doorman smirks and suggests his sister is a prostitute. Harry loses it and gives the guy a knuckle sandwich. Immediately, other workers at the club gang up on Harry, drag him to an alley, and beat him up. He's rescued by a missionary group who warn him to stay away from the club and give him a cross. They tell him a man named George found him and brought him to the mission for care. The next day George visits him, tells him vampires have taken over Hong Kong, and warns him a cross won't help. He says Mary has gotten involved with the vampires, has certainly been brainwashed by them, and maybe is becoming one herself. He wants Harry's help--he offers to kidnap Mary if Harry can convince Mary to reveal the vampire's day-time stronghold.
Harry doesn't believe a word George says. Nevertheless, in the interest of getting his sister back from Hong Kong's underworld, he agrees to go along.
George's men capture his sister, who's raving like a maniac. They take her into a basement downstairs and shackle her to a iron ring. He asks them to leave him alone with her--George agrees, but says he will be right outside the door. He's also won't unshackle her.
Harry pulls off her hood and sees she's not herself--she's pale, her eyes are wild, she hardly recognizes him. Is it opium? He crouches beside her. She lunges for him, gnashing her teeth at him. He sits with her all night until finally she falls asleep. When she wakes up she's coherent. She tells him about William, whom she confirms is a vampire. But she says George has gotten it all wrong. George doesn't understand the situation. It is because of William that Hong Kong is as successful as it is. The vampires are keeping the opium under control. William is trying to find a way for humans and vampires to coexist, and Hong Kong is that place. They've achieved a balance here. Enough people give their blood to sustain the vamps; in return, William and his crew ensure the city thrives. She doesn't know who where the hideout is. Even if she did, she wouldn't tell him--she loves William, William loves her, and would do anything for her.
Harry doesn't believe this for a second. He's seen the poverty, he's seen the prostitutes and the opium-addicted. George has told him vamps can put spells on people, and for the first time he believes it. But he doesn't trust George, either. George thinks Mary's a vampire and is ready to kill her. Harry convinces him to give him a chance to save her. He tells George he can deliver William--and if William is killed the spell would be reversed, right? Right, says George.
Harry leaves a note for William at the HK Club. Within the hour, he gets a note back inviting him to join William at the Golden Pavilion. Harry goes there and is surprised to meet a soft spoken, gentle man. William agrees to surrender himself if Harry can ensure Mary's safety. Mary is turning into a vampire, by her own will, and George will kill her. There's no doubt about it. And there's a few more things Harry should know about George...
Harry finds himself drawn to this man and touched by his seeming devotion to his sister. Could he have been wrong about William all along? Should he have trusted his sister's judgment and not interfered with her life? Or is he, too, being bewitched? He's confused, he no longer knows what to do. Surely this guy is evil, right? And what if his sister is now a vampire--should he kill her? Was he wrong to trust George?
Meanwhile, George and his crew are preparing to torch the Pavilion...
No. 8 The Empress of Hong Kong by Wolfe_boy
Careful to court only the best omens, Harold stepped into the twilit streets of Hong Kong left foot first. The doors of the Hotel Anglaise swung closed behind him, the small porcelain bell tinkling as they thumped closed. Harold scanned the sky, looking first east, then west. Not a bird could be seen; another auspicious omen. Leading with his left foot again, he stepped down onto the narrow sidewalk and turned, heading towards the setting sun, and the sea, where he was expected.
Hong Kong spread out before him, gently sprawling to touch the fringes of the ocean. The tight warren of streets and mismatched buildings drew his eyes downhill until they found his destination. The Golden Pavilion glowed in the last light
No. 13 Blood Caste by AnnaN
Mary Wan-Li felt unsure of her footing in the moonless night, but William held her hand, maneuvering her effortlessly through the rocky path up Victoria Peak. She could see nothing in the black, but the sweet scent of jasmine was a signpost that William's home was near. With each step forward, the perfume thickened, weighing heavy in her lungs.
"Are you sure?" William said, while squeezing her hand.
Living as an outcast was all that she knew. In the eyes of the Hong Kong residents, she wasn't considered Chinese or British. Becoming a vampire was logical. She would finally fit in a world, but more importantly, her transformation was the right thing to do. She would save lives. So why did her words cling to her throat, like a strange viscous substance?
Second Place 10 votes Like a Veil Barely Seen by Annepin
Third Place 9 votes Pawn Checks King by Kathyton
Best title 4 votes Like a Veil Barely Seen
[This message has been edited by annepin (edited May 08, 2008).]
quote:Will Scoresby is an English man-at-arms in the Hundred Years War. He lost his father to the French at Calais. His thirst for revenge against the hedge knight Sir Francis Guillaume has made him legendary for his prowess. In his quest for vengeance, Will slays another man-at-arms, who turns out to be Pierre Guillaume, and gains Sir Francis Guillaume's attention.
After loosing his lands to English King Edward's invasion, Sir Francis Guillaume fights the enemy as if inspired by God. In his battles, he begins to hear of an Englishman who is out for his blood. When his little brother hears of this, he seeks battle with the English man-at-arms and is killed. Sir Guillaume vows revenge.
Sir Guillaume and Will Scoresby are separated from the main battlefield, their ranks fight into a mountainous terrain. The skies grow dark as inky clouds envelope them. Corpses claw their way free of the earth until the battlefield is littered with them. The newly slain within the foggy crucible join the growing army of the dead. Some men try to flee and run into the smoky barrier, only to fall back in their death throes, flesh burned from anything that touched the dark clouds.
Will Scoresby and Sir Guillaume, across a small battlefield from one another, both notice the robed figure standing halfway up the mountain, flinging his hands about as if he were a puppet-master manipulating the corrupt army. They, and the ragtag remains of their men, must bury their differences and fight their way to the wizard, who must be slain if they want to live, and return home. Any who fall rise again...an enemy.
Title Winner: Beyond the Edge of Insanity
Captain Hook and 1st Place: (#11) The Dead Shall Rise by snapper
2nd Place: (#4) His Last battlefield by Jeff M
3rd Place: (#8) My Brother's Bones by kathyton
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited May 15, 2008).]
Kevin lives in a small cabin in a village nesting on the outskirts of the forest. It was started as a small camp in the forest 63 years, and now holds over fourty thousand inhabitants. Most of the villiagers are Human, although other various races (your choice) have come to find it home. Kevin's cabin is outside of the forest.
The villiage is within the borders of a small country, but it is independant of its control. A state of war has not existed for thousands of years, but skirmishes are ongoing. Inside of this small country, the villiage has an informal militia to defend itself against attacks. Few men ever die during these attacks, and fewer still kill.
The villiage is attacked from the inside of the forest one day at high noon. An army of men, spirits, and beasts beat the militia out of the forest. The attacking men and spirits hold within the forest while the beasts make their way throughout the rest of the town.
The beasts range in size from a small dog to a lion, running on four legs. They have no claws on any of their feet. A leathery skin covers all but their underbelly. On their underbelly is a thick plate of skin, covered in spikes and quills.
They attack by first shrieking, defeaning those around it for a couple seconds. They then charge over their prey, using their underbelly to pin the prey to the ground.
As the beasts head throughout the villiage, a beast (or two or seven) breaks into Kevins home. The only thing you know about kevin is that he was once part of the militia several years ago, he has weapons ranging from knifes to swords in his home, and he is moderatly skilled in combat.
One last thing...Kevin is blind.
Title Winner: Having Heard the Forest Weep by Bent Tree
Captain Hook and 1st Place: The Guardians by Kathyton 11 Votes - 23 Points
"Grandpa, guess what we found," Miheal and Colm ran up the porch steps and pounded across the plank floor. "A bird's nest?" Old Kevin said. "No, you're too excited for that. I can hear the devil in your voice! A snake, perhaps? Tell me the color and let me feel his scales--I'll tell you his story." "No, no. Much better," Miheal said. "We followed the creek into the woods, just a little ways. We found these carved stones, big and small, all in a row. There's hundreds--" "More than that," his brother interrupted. He placed their prize in his grandfather's hands. The stone was cold. It radiated cold, as if the sun hadn't seen it in a long time. Kevin ran his finger through deep grooves--
This batch of recruits to the militia was like all the rest. No respect for a blind man. “Hellert! Step forward!” The young half-giant made it known he wouldn’t be pushed around by a hindered human. Kevin followed his heavy footsteps and muffled grumbles. When the seven-foot tall lad was a few feet away Kevin tossed his bamboo pole to him. “Knock me down and you can go home, course completed.”
Hellert never hesitated. Kevin heard the pebbles shift under his feet and the air whistled from the bamboo pole. In a motion as smooth as a dancer, Kevin ducked, swept a leg under Hellert’s feet and snatched the pole from his grasp as he fell.
“Werewolves attack at night and rely on smell to find you. Mages employ fog to mask an advance. Witches will use
3rd Place: Having Heard the Forest Weep by Bent Tree 4 Votes - 6 points
The blind do not see visions. I suppose I was fortunate in that aspect. All in the township suffered from them, except for me and the Minotaurs. Even before the arrows began to rain from the forest around midday, the townsmen screamed in agony. The lamented having seen their own deaths play out before them in the visions cast from the spectral minions deep within the forest.
The screams are what haunted me,both from the beasts that sprang from the forest, and those from the men they devoured. Trembling beneath my table, I prayed for the screams to stop and clenched my sword. Slowly they did, only to be replaced by
[This message has been edited by JustInProse (edited June 01, 2008).]
quote::1258 AD. Baghdad is the center of educated civilization. Scholars from across the Islamic world have flocked to the fabled Round City for centuries to participate in one of the most educated, liberal, advanced societies the world would had yet seen, or would see again for many centuries. The caliphs have ruled fairly and honorably, though in recent years there has been some political strife and confusion. In this year, the Mongolian army, 120,000 men strong, appeared before the gates of the city and, when their demands for surrender were rebuffed, they attacked and decimated the city. Over a million Islamic souls passed through the gates of night in that battle, most of the population of the city, and the buildings and structures themselves were ground under the boot of Mongolian tyranny into so much dust and rubble.
Escaping from the dust of the battle, two old men hurried down a narrow tunnel beneath the Golden Gate Palace. They carried between them a large box, in which resided the Crystal of Abu Bakr, first of the caliphs. The crystal, an unadorned gem taken during the Ridda Wars and set in a plain gold necklace, has been secretly passed from caliph to caliph as a memento of the first mighty victories of the Islamic Empire. Myth and legend among the highest of the Abbasid scholars tell that the crystal was a sign of Allah’s protection over and defense of the Muslim people. At the sign of sure defeat before the Mongol horde, the caliph Al-Musta'sim sent the crystal into hiding, until such a time as a hero of all Islamic people will rise and reclaim the caliphate and unite all Islamic people everywhere.
2008 AD. As Baghdad suffers under the weight of a second invading force, and Shi’a and Sunni militias fight openly in the streets against both American forces and one another, rumors of the crystal’s final hiding place surface.
John Meechum: Independent Photojournalist. Has made his living working independent of official security arrangements and pursuing his own investigations. In 30 years on the job, he has been nominated for a Pullitzer on multiple occasions, never winning.
Staff Sergeant Carol Patterson: A career Marine, she find herself in charge of a patrol in the Al-Baya section of Baghdad, a calm and relatively low-risk assignment. Tensions have been high in recent weeks as the fighting moves closer, but still, she finds herself bored.
Ayad Lafta: A successful Sunni merchant. Shi’a insurgents destroyed his store, and his family has fled to relative safety living with relatives in a small town in southern Iraq. He has remained behind in Baghdad due to dreams he has been having recently that make him feel that he needs to be here in Baghdad, that something large is coming that he is to be a part of.
Ali al-Suwaji: Shiite militiaman. Leads a small group of fanatical soldiers, and himself is devoted to Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr. He has had visions in recent weeks, waking dreams of a weapon of unlimited power, and has seen a man wielding it. Though he hasn’t seen the man’s face, he knows the man is Muqtada al-Sadr, and is driven to find this weapon and bring it to his beloved leader.
Winning Entry: The Wrathful Gaze of Allah by skadder
quote:The scout’s hand shook as he pointed to the dune. “It lies on the other side, my Lord.”
Caliph Abu Bakr eyed the dune. The cool evening breeze plucked at his robes. Yes, let’s see. He began to walk up the hot sand.
“Caliph, you must not go—it could be a desert djinn.”
“Perhaps.” Abu Bakr turned to grin at the shivering guard. “If Allah wills it so--but Allah put it here, so I will look.”
As he crested the dune he gasped. Before him, half buried in molten, glowing sand, lay a vast metal structure. To one side lay a winged creature with a body like a man. It was totally covered in intricate armour and a single crystal was set in its helm. An angel--a dead one. Then it stirred.
“Quick,” Abu Bakr shouted, “It is messenger of Allah—bring the horses.”
Best Title: Dreams of the Lion by Inarticulate Babbler
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited June 08, 2008).]
quote:Sebastian Conte is the very successful founder and CEO of Verundi, an interstellar company that manufactures navigational components for spacecraft primarily, but also has an interesting weapons factory.
While gambling on vacation with his friend and head weapon designer, Bishop, They meet a peculiar Berian fellow, that offers them an expedition opportunity on VOS, a unhospitable planet of giant creatures.
Sebastion is reluctant, although Berians are a trustworthy race, but the gung ho, Bishop, persuades him to go on what could be the adventure of a lifetime.
But Sebastion's fears are justified, because on Vos, they are abandoned by their guide, to fend for themselves against harsh conditions and dinosaur like creatures. OH Yeah... It appears the guide also booked another hunting trip, because they are being hunted by a group of Dtydactlyns, the cunning predatory race that has been in conflict with humans and other sentient races for centuries.
**************************************************************** The Winners
Winner: #14 ‘A Berian Moon’ – by Illiterate (29 points)
Second #10 ‘A Guided Lure’ – by skadder (23 points)
Third # 3 ‘The Taste of Terran Heart Blood – by KathyTon (20 points)
Best Title – Drawn: ‘Preying for Time’; ‘Without a Paddle’; ‘A Guided Lure’.
**************************************************************** Our New Captains Intro:
quote:A Berian Moon By: Illiterate
Bishop's dark, chin-length hair clung wet to her face as she stood contorted inside the Chanda tree's sprawling root systems. She heard the dying Dtydactlyn screech in agony as it stumbled to the ground. The Vetin dart she crammed into its neck was already working, its pores expanding to allow the animal to free bleed right through its thick, heavy skin. "So the Vetins really do work?" Sebastian panted, catching his breath. "They kill wonderfully," she swatted in front of her face, "but it does nothing for the swarms of guul flies that follow them." "That was all of them?" he hoped as he asked. "I only saw two." "Dtydactlyn's only hunt in pairs," she said while staring distantly at the Berian moon on the horizon. "Now it's our turn
quote espite an addiction to coffee and a passion for literature, Alex Bacon often wants to escape from his worry-prone life, which is filled with rising credit card debts, deaths of recent family members, and the loss of his only friend, Fido, a local baker. His apartment is a closet--at best, with barely enough room for the basic ammenities. His only luxury is his laptop computer, running windows 95, aside from his beloved, though worn-down, expresso machine. He spends his idle moments staring out the window, tracing the landscape with his eyes, and dreaming of distant lands and magical journeys. His nights are spent toiling as a much outdated chimney sweep, whenever he can find work, so his days can be free to explore fiction and poetry, his greatest loves (besides coffee). He is a regular at Hatriver dot com, a writer's workshop, where he plays the fifteen line challenge. He's never won, despite dozens of attempts, sometimes several per week using various pseudonyms and aliases, but with no success. He has contemplated suicide many, many times. But the thought of instant JK-Rowlingesque success just around the corner inspires him to keep writing. This week he's given himself an ultimatum. With one hand on the mouse, glazing over wikipedia for story ideas, and the other hand gripping his handgun, he's decided that if he doesn't win this time... then it's time for a lead popsicle.
1st: Despair and the Muse by skadder
quote:Thalia surveyed the mortals in the old, dusty coffee shop. She turned to the darkness of Thanatos drifting next to her.
“Why did you bring me here, brother?”
The shadows weaving constantly about him parted and his pale hand pointed to the entrance. The bell tinkled and a thin man walked in. “We are here for him,” Thanatos whispered.
“Him?“ She let a thread of her mind drift towards the man as he ordered a coffee. He was a writer--talented--but in desperate need of a story. “Ah, he seeks my touch, but why are you here?”
“He is on a precipice. He seeks to live as strongly as he seeks to die. I can’t take him until he decides.” Thanatos opened his hand and a tiny speck of light swirled across his ghostly palm—red sparks flew in all directions. “Look, sister, here I have a
2nd: A High Price by stammsp and Will Write for Redemption by Kathyton
4 friends go camping for the weekend. From the 90210 zip code, that’s Beverley Hills, they are “trust fund babies” never having to get a real job, or worry about money.
The summer’s smoldering heat bears down on them so they enter the lake for a quick swim. Unbelievably, a meteor crashes down into the lake. Miraculously the 4 friends survive. One is thrown miles into the air, only to fall harmlessly to the ground. Another spontaneously combusts into flames, but somehow doesn’t burn to death. Another, is hit by the meteor and buried alive, hundreds of feet below the surface, only to emerge unharmed. And the last, was left submerged in the deepest part of the lake for hours, but somehow lives.
Scared and confused. They agree not to tell anyone what has happened to them. They return home, and as the week continues, they discover they have been changed forever. Special abilities develop. Each one with their own, based on the 4 elements: earth, water, fire and air.
They discuss becoming superheroes, and decide they can do good for the world. In a heated argument, the y come to a split decision, that unlike their comic book heroes, they decide to do it behind the scenes so no one knows they exist.
Then, strange happenings occur, a crime spree has taken Beverley Hills over. The police think they are all inside jobs. But the four friends think otherwise, one of them has gone to the other side and has become a “criminal mastermind”.
But which one? Was it Jase, the 18 year old. football quarterback? Or Abe, the fun-loving frat boy at 19? 17 yrd old, Dawn, runner-up homecoming queen? Or Eric, computer whiz, and Dawn’s little brother, at 16 yrs.? And which powers did they inherit? You decide?
#7 Liquid Dreams by Tiergan = 38 points
#4 Elements of Summer by allied5 = 33 points
# 3 Help me with my homework superman by skadder = 22 points
# 6 Spoiled Rotten Superheroes by snapper = 19 points
# 5 Elements of Vengence by rednancywannabe = 13 points
# 1 Elements of Betrayal by psnede = 4 points
# 2 It's . . . an Airhead by Grant John = 3 points
Title tied between #7, Liquid Dreams and # 5, Elements of Vengence
Title: Liquid Dreams
Eric leaned back against the damp tiles of the girls’ shower and waited. Steam gathered, enshrouding him in its thick mist, as the hot water ran. He was the judge, the jury…
Brett’s voice drew Eric in. “I always knew that no meant yes, Dawn, but I didn’t think you were this kinky, in the locker room with ten minutes to half-time.”
Eric willed himself into the water spreading on the shower floor. There was no turning back now. He fell to his knees, his legs turning to liquid beneath him. He fought down the urge to scream, and lowered himself into the inch deep pool.
Brett removed his clothes and stepped into the shower. A tendril of water wrapped around his leg. “What the hell?” He kicked it off, but another returned to take its place.
[This message has been edited by kathyton (edited June 30, 2008).]
[This message has been edited by kathyton (edited June 30, 2008).]
quote:L-zari is a member of a species called the Sirath, altered millennia ago during the pan-galactic reign of the Songmasters, to become the most perfectly adapted assassins known. They are bipedal reptile-like creatures and can grow a variety bio-weapons within their flesh: kinetic weapons; poisons etc. Thin, short, bone-like blades can be summoned at will from cavities within many of their major bones and rupture out through almost invisible slits in their flesh. They are able to change their skin colour and texture at will, but more profound changes, like mimicking another species, can requires a period of deep ‘meditation’ lasting many months. Their skin slowly swells up forming a bubble around them; it detaches from their bodies leaving them partially floating within body fluids inside; they metamorphose like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, until the desired change is completed and they emerge with a new body shape. Part of the change is they become similar, mentally to the species they are mimicking. The longer they stay in the alien form the more they perceive the world according to the species they are mimicking. They are incredibly agile, and capable of healing to the point of regenerating lost limbs in only a few months etc—smaller wounds can be healed in a few hours. The Sirath now operate solely at the direction of the Pan-Omnix Courts as the Sirath view them as the ultimate authority in the galaxy—they are unable to function as assassins (mental failsafe) unless they are convinced of the validity of the contract. The Pan-Omnix Council is a confederation of developed species that co-operatively enforce Pan-Omnix laws and rule between them the majority of the galaxy. Though it is a last resort, death sentences are given when an offender is unable to be overtly reached because they are either too well protected or the society remains isolated from the galactic community at large.
The Sun-seekers are a race of secretive insect-like creatures who control a large portion of a particular limb of the galaxy and came across a planet 150 years ago called ‘Earth’ by its in habitants. The current earth date is 2120. Following the laws of the Pan-Omnix Treaties the Sun-seekers categorised the planet as a protected zone—i.e a planet not ready for contact--and established various monitoring stations/posts both on and off planet. Recently the Sun-seekers obtained information concerning an industrialist inventor by the name of Peter Gillespie. Apparently Gillespie has developed viruses (CODENAME: LEAP) that target specific groups of humans (race; age; skin colour, etc.) and his plan is to reduce the human population by 99%. His motivation, the Sun-seekers told the Pan-Omnix courts, was to allow humanity to start again and to refine the gene-pool. The sun-seekers claim he has miscalculated the effects and will destroy 100% of the population. Sun-seekers said that despite covertly bringing this to Peter’s attention using anonymous sources Peter Gillespie continues with his destructive, genocidal plan. The court found the evidence compelling and decided intervention was legal. As the Earth is a protected zone, they issued a death warrant to be carried out by licensed Sirath assassin. The assassination, the court stipulated, must seem to be of earth origin; all data regarding the viruses (Project: Leap) must be eradicated; anyone in Gillespie’s circle who knew of the plan must be eliminated and the stocks of virus must be found and destroyed.
A request for a Sirath assassin was sent to the Sirath home world and L-zari was selected for the mission. L-zari has a very questioning mind, and changes to a human form (female) during the few months it takes her ship to travel to Earth’s star.
L-zari penetrates Peter Gillespie’s ultra high-security compound where his home is and, after reading him the crimes and potential crimes the court found him guilty of, she reads him the courts sentence. She feels confident she can hack the computers and locate the files related to LEAP. Using earth weapons she is about to kill Peter when he disappears and re-appears on the other side of the room. L-zari tries to shoot him but Peter seems one step ahead, always flicking out and back into existence somewhere else. All the time Peter is desperately trying to explain that project LEAP is nothing to do with viruses—but time-space travel. Peter says the system he accidentally discovered allows him to travel at most 3 secs into the past or future, or four meters in any direction. He shows her the control system, but says the system is actually hidden in various locations around the world and is ultra secure, as it mixed within components of other facilities. Only he knows the locations of all the pieces. L-zar suspects that perhaps the sun-seekers have mis-led the courts--that would mean the death warrant is not valid. Technolgy of this level would warrant immediate contact—why would the Sun-seekers suppress this information? Do they know about it? L-zar suspects that the sun-seekers want this technology that these humans have unwittingly stumbled upon. L-zar realises this technology—once fully developed-- could enable a civilisation as large as the Sun-seekers to dominate the galaxy, leading to a tyranny like the Songmaster era. Unable to fulfil her task until she knows the truth, she slips into a meditative battle state which speeds up her reaction time for a few moments to incredible speeds. She reacts to Gillespie’s next jump and manages to damage his controller before he can react. With Peter unable to escape her, L-zar decides the Sun-seekers have the answers. Together with Peter she goes to a covert Sun-seeker realm that is disguised as a cult compound in New York State to find answers. Peter knows the assassin is dangerous, perhaps mad--she said she was alien and spouted all sorts of weird stuff (but she also knew some ultra-secure info) – but he can’t help himself but see her as an earth girl. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to the beautiful, yet dangerous woman.
Captain Hook BentTree
quote:Title: The Lion Lies Beneath the Shifting Scales
L-zari slid out from the leathery cocoon, slapping down into a puddle with the most frightening sensation it had ever experienced. With its ten soft nimble fingers, it clawed away the mucilage from its mouth, frantically, and gasped a deep breath. L-zari had emerged a new woman—a human woman. Its soft flesh slipped around in the viscous embryoplasmic fluid, trying to stand. Mild confusion continued as neurons and glial cells wove and linked themselves in its newly formed brain, then its own brain core connected and began assimilating its instructions. Assassinate Peter Gillespie
quote:Eddie Busco went AWOL from the Federated Star Alliance peacekeeping squad long ago, too many years for him to remember now. He'd been a ship's mechanic, and so proud of his daughter, who'd become field commander of a small but elite strike force--until she defected to the rivaling Sedonian Republic reputedly because of a man.
He's spent the last Sol-knows-how-many-years on a small recycling colony of the FSA. He lives by himself deep in a scrap heap, salvaging what he can to adapt for his own needs and exchanging services or things he makes with the local townspeople in exchange for food and such, but mostly keeping to himself and trying to forget everything that has happened to him since.
As he's rooting around one day he comes across what looks like a small computing unit. He finds a lot of these, but this one is of a design that he's not familiar with. Curious, he decides to take it home. He manages to hook it up to a battery, fix a few things here and there, and bingo! It turns on. He almost can't believe it. He hooks up a small screen and a vocal command interface, and asks to see its root directory, a basic command all computers should be able to do. He discovers the computer is very much alive and aware. Gradually, he begins to talk to it and builds it a body. In some odd way, it reminds him of his daughter. The computer, whom he names Arale, constantly thanks him for finding her and helping her. He feels like there's more to her story she's just not telling, but he's unable to access her core programming. He also catches her tinkering with things herself. He confronts her about this. She tells him that she was part of a surveillance probe sent by Sedonian Republic but crashed and was salvaged somewhere far away. Now she's managed to fix herself and her communication systems and has contacted SR. She reports back that they are on course for Earth, possibly with a new weapon. She tells him that together they could build a ship and get out of there. Eddie is torn. He feels betrayed again. At the same time, he loves her as a daughter, and begins to realize what it is to make decisions with the heart. At the same time, he can't betray FSA, even though he feels little loyalty to them.
Meanwhile, the townspeople have gotten wind of her. The mayor thinks she's actually a bomb planted by the SR and they are intent on destroying her…
1st equal: #3 A second Chance at War-Allied Five and #6 Maybe Today-tommose.
quote:The world of Wyren is not only a crossroads, it is THE crossroads, because all portals on other worlds lead only to Wyren. Magic flows freely through the elements of this world, but only Gifted people can use it. A Gifted child is carefully taught. The first step is Gathering—taking magic into yourself so that it can be used. The second step is Control. An unskilled child using magic will waste vast quantities to perform a simple spell, while someone with tight Control may hardly use any.
Recently, the rich and powerful mages of Wyren have begun sending their teenagers to a hidden school on Earth to learn tighter Control. No one has discovered a way to Gather magic on Earth, and so the only magic a novice would have is what they brought with them, and what their teachers have stored in gems. A Gifted person whose magic has drained from them suffers the way a drug addict suffers without drugs, so the fear of that feeling spurs the students to learn Control quickly.
But things are changing at the school. This year, when the students return to Earth after a holiday on Wyren, the grounds of the school are dripping with magic. They can Gather it easily, and their classwork is a breeze. Hidden in the northern provinces of Canada , the winters should be brutal, but this year has been exceptionally mild—at least inside the school grounds.
The other students are so pleased with this turn of events that they accept their teacher’s lame excuses easily, but Cam is suspicious. He convinces his friend Warren to snoop around, and together they discover that the teachers have learned how to tap into the magic of Earth, and are plotting to take over the Earth and harness its resources for themselves. Unfortunately, Warren and Cam are discovered, and Cam is killed while attempting to escape. Warren flees for his life, but now he is cut off from the portal to Wyren and to any access to magic.
Bound by Blood by Tiergan
Cameron side-armed another flat rock into the calm waters of the lake. The rock skipped twice, then a third time. Its energy expired, and Cameron flicked his wrist, bringing the rock back to life skipping across the lake. Finally he turned to the younger boy. “What is it?”
“We’re blood brothers, right? I can tell you anything?”
“Always. Made you slit your wrist and seal it in spit, didn’t I? Not even death can keep us apart.” His voice softened. Something was wrong. “What is it, Warren?”
Warren looked down, and kicked at the sand. “This isn’t right. Magic’s supposed to have a price. And-and right now, it doesn’t. Damn it, Cam! Without limits, anything can happen.”