Fluxion, The Reader
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Left to fend for themselves, two children brave a dark forest, and the evil it hides.________________________________________________________________
This storygame is short, and it's kind of a kid's story. It's actually part of an idea I've been rolling around about a collection of fairy tales/spooky tales, a sort of anthology. It's my take on the classic Brother's Grimm tale, and it's not complicated, nor is it replete with a myriad of parallel plot lines. There are three endings (four if you count dying), but do not expect vastly different outcomes: it basically comes down to who ends up dying by the end.
It's also possible to completely avoid the main plot section (The Cottage), although I wouldn't recommend that path, as the story is short enough as it is. I'm not sure if this falls under fantasy or horror, but I think I'll go with horror, even if it isn't particularly scary. It's a bit macabre in places, but ultimately it is a children's story.
Visually speaking, I'd advise playing with images on, otherwise you might have to highlight text in order to read it in some cases. Also, you might want to scroll the text so it isn't directly on top of the moon on a few pages. A mild annoyance, I'm sorry, but I couldn't implement the full scripting I wanted to in order to handle that problem.
Lastly, admittedly this was put together quickly from a base idea jotted down earlier, due to the nuclear attack on the website over the past month, which put me too far behind to finish the entry I wanted to for Killa Robot's "Feels" competition. It is what it is: just a short take on a classic tale. Not a lot of feels, but a little bit of pseudo-early modern English ;).
Some quick info on the setting: It is generally believed that hominids lost their thick fur around 1.2 million years ago or so, give or take. However, for the sake of this story, Homo neanderthalensis will have thicker body hair than Homo sapiens (not bear-thick, but still thicker). There are two reasons I have chosen to do this: (1) They lived in the colder regions. (2) Homo neanderthalensis appears to have had primitive clothing compared to Homo sapiens; basically just fur capes, while Homo sapiens had more advanced stitching and more tightly tailored clothing (which kept them more warm). So I feel having neanderthals a little more hairy than Homo sapiens is a reasonable liberty for me to take in this story.
As for language and technology, both Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis shared almost identical vocal anatomy where it matters. Despite neanderthals not having left behind nearly as much advanced artwork, they very likely had complex language just like Homo sapiens. As for fire technology, for the purpose of this story I am assuming that different hominid tribes were further advanced than others, irrespective of species. The neanderthal tribe the protagonist comes from has yet to master creation of fire.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
WARNING: There isn't much by way of blatantly graphic sex in this storygame, but there are plenty of deviant erotic situations, including some pretty rapey ones. If such scenarios disturb you, this storygame probably isn't for you.
At its core, this storygame is a tale of a screwed up BDSM relationship, which you cultivate as the ultimate "sub." The goal of this storygame is to get your boss to engage in as many "unprofessional" acts as possible, and to eventually sway him into falling for you, all without getting fired along the way. If you make the right decisions, the game escalates from event to event, bringing you closer and closer to a relationship with your boss. It's pretty linear, and you'll know for certain if you get the "winning" ending. Let's just say it will involve a leash and some public humiliation.
You work in a small law firm, performing both receptionist and data entry roles. Your job is thankless and tedious, but one thing keeps you coming back: your boss, Brandon Wheeler. Aloof and dispassionate, Wheeler exudes a muted but overwhelming power you find irresistible, and you are determined to tame that power, even if it costs you your career.
Recent PostsFluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page on 9/11/2018 9:03:43 AM
Anyway, the first publication is unlikely to be the true finished product, because the final story is really going to be somewhere between five and seven individual stories. Assuming I even get that (still a chance I get shamed... we'll see. It depends on how obsessed I get with football and video games over the next weekend).
Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page on 9/7/2018 10:51:20 AM
Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page on 9/7/2018 10:18:38 AM
But for William at least the major branching won't occur till midway through. You're going to become a soldier one way or another, and then what happens from there can go several ways. Some of the earlier choices will have affects at the end (but some of this is contingent on how much of the other POVs I get done), but the major branches occur more midpoint and on.
Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page on 9/7/2018 9:48:02 AM
Story progress: William's story will definitely be completed (assuming no shame-inducing events conspire against me). The others are further away, and as I said from the beginning, if I'm not satisfied with them, they won't be published (although eventually all will be added in a republish).
Editing plans: Read what I wrote several times and try to find typos and inconsistencies? That's really all I got for that. If things go smoothly enough, I might have instances where you can jump from one perspective to another, assuming both POVs involved are complete and certain events transpire.
One final excerpt. This is near chronologically to the previous one (somewhere in the mid-point conflict of the story), and it is again part of William's point of view. It's not particularly interesting, but I'm only posting from the pages that have an image (there won't be that many pictures compared to pages; these excerpts contain a good deal of them).
What Needs to Be Done
Looking at the picturesque town before you from atop your horse, with the soft glowing light of the setting sun wrapping around the barns and watch towers, for the first time in a long while you don't feel your normal duty driven urgency to follow orders. Destroying something so beautiful seems offensive and vile to you, no matter the reason. But you also know what is coming to your Prince's city, and that it is probably less than a day away from your current location.
You pause a moment to relish the view, enjoying the warm breeze on your face, and look to the road. The last of the wagons are finally moving, and some small children run in circles around them as if their families hadn't been forced to pack up in a single day and start over somewhere far away. You smile; it's just another adventure to them. You recall your own childhood adventures, with your best friend Malakai, and very quickly your wistful mood fades. You're not sure how you feel about him, with the way things ended in Whitehaven. But you realize there's no point in dwelling on that. Besides, for all you know, he might be dead, anyway. The more pressing matter right now, however, is that if these people aren't far away by nightfall, they'll be as good as dead themselves.
With nothing to be gained by waiting any longer, you give the order. You nod your head to a soldier standing a few feet away, and he raises a red flag. Instantly the quiet town becomes a spectacle of frenzied madness. Soldiers run through the fields carrying barrels of pitch and torches, and within minutes half of the buildings in the town are aflame. Livestock not already on the road with the fleeing civilians or commandeered by the army are scattered, and every piece of grain that isn't burned is stomped into the ground and soaked by pitch or water.
Sixty paces away you see a civilian arguing with soldiers on the road next to a wagon, the horses already cut free and nowhere to be seen. You tell your corporal to oversee the destruction of the town and then kick your horse into a trot. As you approach, you notice the axle of the wagon is broken. Stopping just before the wagon, you dismount and hand the reigns to a nearby soldier. Walking toward the angry, short man, you sigh and say, "What seems to be the problem, sir? You were supposed to be on your way to Gainesburg an hour ago."
The man blinks at you in bewilderment for a moment, then his face turns to rage. "What's the problem, are you blind, man? My entire life is in this wagon, and these ruffians expect me to leave it behind. They released my horses and now expect me to walk away with nothing! That's 'what seems to be the problem,' you bastard!" He gestures toward the grounded wagon. "And exactly who the hell are you, anyway, and more importantly, what are you going to do about this?"
Biting back your anger, you walk up to the man. "Who I am is Captain William Paige, and what I'm going to do about this is burn your wagon to the ground." The veins on the man's neck start to pop out, but just before he screams you grab him by the collar and pull him close. "As for you, man, in about two hours roughly five thousand murderous mother killers and baby rapers are going to be running through this town, and they'll kill you and take everything you own." His rage quickly changes to fear, although you suspect he's more afraid of you than what you're telling him. Regaining your composure, you let the man go.
"Look," you say in a calmer voice. "I would like to tell you that everything's going to be okay, but the reality is that it isn't. They are going to roll over this town like locusts through wheat." You let out a sigh, temporarily betraying your own frustration at the situation. "Either way it's going to be ashes." You gesture across the horizon. "All of it." Glancing up at the slowly departing wagon train, your own frustration at what must be done threatens to overwhelm you.
Looking back at the man, your anger rising again, you bite off every word, nearly shouting through him. "One way or another, this town is going to be ashes, because I'll be damned and spend an eternity in Olum aya'el-Myrte's Hall before I let those bastards have a single resource from this land, be it yours or anyone else's." The man stands completely silent, his shoulders slumped, as if what you're telling him is finally sinking in. "Now, sir, I suggest you grab whatever you can and be on your way, because I can't guarantee that we'll be able to hold them long enough for you to escape to the next fortification at Gainesburg."
He looks up at you, tears in his eyes. "I'll be ruined, you know. This is all I have. It's all I have." You feel pity for the man, but there is no time to fix a broken axle. You motion for the soldier nearby to grab your horse. Placing a hand on the man's shoulder, you take the reigns and hold them out to him. He looks up at you in confusion for a moment, then realizes what you are doing and grabs them.
"You have a family, I presume?"
He nods. "Yes, a wife and two children. They've been on the road for two days. They left when you lot arrived, and should be waiting for me in Gainesburg."
"Then load what you can onto this horse," you say. "It won't be much more than you can carry with your hands, but you'll be able to make good time and you won't have to worry about being overtaken if we're overrun." The man looks longingly at his wagon, then he thanks you and begins to quickly load up the horse. Soon, he is on his way, trying to catch up with the rest of the wagon train.
"That was a fine gesture, Captain," says the soldier next to you. "I doubt he'll remember you to his family, but he'll make it to them because of you." You nod, and the man salutes and then rides away. The other soldiers set the wagon to fire, and you stare at the hellish image before you. Defend, retreat, and burn. That's all you've been doing for weeks, and it's starting to take a toll. Fortunately, after Gainesburg there are few towns for the next couple of weeks near the major roads, and you'll be able to temporarily forget about the lives that are being ruined by this invasion.
By now nearly everything is burning, but you order the men to stay just in case some of the fires begin to wane. After the town is scorched, the men will set the fields and grass aflame, and then finally the march toward Gainesburg will begin. Hopefully by then the civilians will be well on their way to safety. You only hope the message you sent three days ago has reached the viscount who holds power there, and that he understands the gravity of the situation. The orders given to you require secrecy until the last possible moment for each location, and more than once during this delayed retreat you've faced resistance from the low ranking nobles in charge, either in letting the refugees pass or in handing over command to you and your men. Even with a hand written note sealed by the Prince himself, there were a few who fought tooth and nail, until the sight of your battle tested men convinced them to yield.
You sigh. There is no point in worrying about it until your men arrived at Gainesburg. You need to get this done so your men can effectively build a defensive barricade along the road several miles away, and set a large perimeter to bottleneck them directly into it so as to bleed them before making another controlled retreat. You wipe dirt and sweat from your brow, smiling despite the stress of the day. For you know that as tired and worn as your own men are, at least you have food. When the enemy arrives, they'll be forced to scour the woods for miles to find sustenance.
As you watch the inferno, a squire arrives with another horse for you. After signaling to the rear guard to set the last area on fire, you mount up and begin the ride to the next point of defense.
So that is my last update. If I only finish William's POV, that that is what will be initially published. It should still easily fit the criteria for qualification in terms of word count. Regardless, eventually I'll publish all the POVs I want (although it's looking like Sophie's is gone. It's just not interesting to me).
General World Events Thread on 9/1/2018 6:19:19 AM
Steve at the receiving end of two Brazilians in pr on 8/29/2018 7:15:01 AM
Steve at the receiving end of two Brazilians in pr on 8/28/2018 4:01:27 AM
Obvious bullshit follows:
I'm pretty sure enslavement is the most useful situation (for society) for convicted criminals to be in. They could be more effective/productive, I think, if they are treated a bit more humanely (guards actually protecting them from violence, for example), which would probably require a bit less freedom.
But I'm thinking if their living conditions are a bit more regulated (for safety and productivity reasons), while in their diminished free time they are given more privileges (but less freedom- keep them in single cells, but give them an intranet to communicate with other inmates in regulated prison forums; cheap television/video games), their slavery production would greatly increase. You could work them twelve hours a day every single day, and give them the rest of their time to veg out, or gain an education if they wish.
Obviously you'd have to incentivize the work to maximize the output. Hence the electronic entertainment they could be allowed (you'd be surprised how something so small means so much to someone in prison), provided they hit work and behavior quotas.
Obviously this wouldn't fix the truly deranged, violent scum in prison. But it could keep the ones on the border from becoming worse, while also providing free labor to society in a much more efficient way.
General World Events Thread on 8/23/2018 10:34:16 AM
Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page on 8/22/2018 10:55:42 AM
Thanks for the read and critique. I'm kind of writing all over the place, writing moments and then filling them in. So, I'm thinking I can make this less "summarizing" by putting some of the info in a previous page so it isn't just thrown at the reader. The original plan was for the defense plan to be given in a secret note and then for some exposition here to explain what it was, but I'm thinking an extra page will make it more readable.
By the way I was not aware so many quit/restarted. But I think there's still a chance I'll get shamed because I'm not going to publish this unless I'm satisfied with it. Anyway, back to writing.
Fluxion's ACTUAL EPIC contest entry update page on 8/22/2018 6:23:50 AM
Just getting this update out of the way.
Story progress: The story's gone a little off kilter in terms of plot. I guess I should have been a bit more detailed in my original outline; most notably, the final results of the end and which character will become a main character in another story I had already began to write before this one is changing. For the latter, it's down to two; one possibility is that I will leave it open to both of them, depending on how you finish the story, but this will have to be referenced in the other story, so I will have to make a choice between two ideas I like equally. Additionally, there are a few different directions I can still go overall that I'm not entirely sure of. Lastly, I'm not going to publish anything I don' think is at least as good as my other stuff, so some characters run the risk of getting axed (Sophie is the most likely casualty, although others could fall, too; I'm just not finding a way to give her much of a unique story). And if I think the story sucks when it's done, I'll spare the judges the pain of reading it and just accept shame and rape in shame prison.
Motivation: Reading fantasy novels and watching that new Matt Groening show "Disenchanted."
One more free page, this one about midway through William's story:
Things were not going well.
The original plan was for each segment of the line to hold for three days, and then retreat to the next prepared defensive position, two units merging with each organized retreat. The two would then defend that position for three days, or until the invaders pulled back and gained reinforcements (which would inevitably happen as the defensive circle shrunk), and then the Kingdom forces would continue to converge in this manner until the Prince's city was in sight.
But somewhere along the way the enemy made an unexpected move. Rather than collapse the perimeter symmetrically as they had since the beginning of this phase of the defense, a large section of unaccounted-for enemy forces attacked from the Ilowaen Forests to the East, with a great deal of invaders breaking through the Northeastern flank.
Intelligence was conflicting; some reports said the elves had repelled the Northern host, but you weren't even sure elves existed, and you certainly weren't going to assume there was an unexpected ally to the east. Another explanation included a steady, stealthy incursion of troops into the woods, waiting for just the moment when the defenses left the edge of the trees. But that seemed unlikely, given that the enemy would have had to billet thousands of undetected men within the Kingdom's defense perimeter. Lastly, some generals communicated that the enemy may have had a sudden change in objective, that the Kingdom wasn't originally the primary target until now.
You weren't sure what to believe, and in truth, you didn't really care which possibility was true. All that mattered was that you had to hold this position for another night and day before an orderly retreat under the cover of darkness, and your eastern flank was on the verge of being overrun. If the Eastern front of the enemy didn't withdraw soon, reinforcement from that flank wouldn't materialize during the retreat, and the entire defensive structure risked collapse.
Straight ahead about 3o yards to the Northwest, the heaviest combat in your local position had been going on since dawn. The line had been moving back and forth all day, and each time the enemy breached the breastworks and trench, you and your platoon would fill in the gaps until the running reinforcements could relieve you. You had command, but the enemy was simply too large for you to remain far behind the lines like a proper field commander, forcing you to make many decisions based on poor sight lines of the battle. The sun was beginning to set, and you were hoping for an early respite.
During the last twenty minutes, a lull in the combat nearby had allowed you to catch your breath, and despite your instincts protesting against it, you rested on your knees, using your sword and shield to support you, trying to process all the information you had been given in the last hour.
Suddenly a shrill voice from behind you draws you back to the moment and you stand. A boy is running up to you, carrying a skin of water and parcel of some sort. "Captain, General Mathers sends word that the 43rd Division will be unable to aid the Northeastern flank." The boy, hands on his knees, takes a deep breath and continues. "They were attacked from behind by an auxiliary force of mercenaries, and while disposing of them another unit from the north arrived, this one bringing more than men."
Troubled by this new development, you watch as the boy takes a drink from the skin and then hands it to you, his breath still coming out in ragged pants. He can't be older than 1o or 11. Sparing a quick glance to your left to make sure the line is holding steadily, you ask, "What do you mean by 'more than men,' son?" Turning back to the melee, you take a deep drink and await the answer. In the distance some twenty more enemy soldiers approach.
"Ogres, Captain," says the child. "General Mathers says at least ten accompany another squadron of enemy soldiers, and that they'll have to make their retreat this evening. They were nearly routed when I first ran, Captain. He begs you consider sending the running reinforcements here to the East to help along the Ilowaen Forest, and begin your retreat one night early to meet him at the next defensive position."
You feel your spirits sink at that. Ogres? Rumors were already circulating among the commanders nearest your position about reanimated dead soldiers attacking on some portions of the Eastern perimeter, and what little you knew of the overall defense plan and intelligence suggested a powerful magic user may be behind the attack. But ogres? Twelve feet tall and nearly half as wide, alone they were terrible foes. If the enemy has somehow convinced them to join them in numbers against the Kingdom, things are far dire than you had previously believed.
A familiar sounding cry to your left signaled a breach along the line, and you raise your shield and sword. Keeping your eye on the line, you ask, "Boy, what's your name?" You watch as one of your men gets run through with a spear, and then two enemy soldiers spot you and begin to approach at a fast walk.
From behind you the boy says, "Oliver, if it please you, sir." Not taking your eyes off the two approaching men, you loosen your shield buckle and let it slide down.
"Grab the shield, Oliver, and run back twenty paces. Keep the shield up in case that one throws his spear at you. If I fall, strap it to your back and run as fast as you can to my second in command, Lieutenant Marks, and inform him that he has command. Deliver him the message from General Mathers and then retreat to the next position." You look back and see the boy frozen, staring at the shield. "Oliver!" you yell. "Do you hear me, boy?" Shaken back to awareness, the boy nods. "Then go, Oliver, now!" He picks up the shield and begins to run back. Knowing the boy is temporarily safe, you turn in time to see the two soldiers reach just outside of your attack range, their pace more deliberate now.
The two fan out as they approach, flanking either side of you, and in the distance you see a third approaching. The one on your left holds a spear, the other two short swords and shields. The flanking soldiers exchange glances, and then the one to your right screams and charges. Anticipating the charge is really a feint to draw your attention away from the spear wielder, you immediately turn to your left, swinging your sword down. As you expected, the other man planned to stab you from behind, and your sword deflects his spear to the ground.
Stomping hard on the blade, you pin it to the ground with your foot and sword, simultaneously drawing your dagger from your belt with your left hand. In a single, swift motion, you fling the blade underhanded at the spear wielding man, and the dagger strikes him directly in his unprotected face. You turn back just in time to deflect the sword strike from the other man with your own sword, and then kick his shield savagely to gain distance. As he stumbles, you turn back to the other man and finish him with a stroke to the neck from your sword.
Pulling out your dagger just in time, you use it to parry an overhead swing, pushing it to your right, then you step around the man and stab your sword into his right side, just underneath his armpit. You quickly slash him in the throat with your dagger and he falls, hot blood soaking your forearm. You pivot to face the final enemy, but before you can react, a savage strike lands on your unprotected upper left arm, exactly where a hole in your mail armor had been made earlier in the day.
The pain is shocking, but you manage to hold on to your dagger. The enemy steps back, and the two of you square off. He slowly swings his sword in an arcing figure-eight, and then leaps forward, attacking you on your left side, trying to gain an advantage from your wound. Knowing your left arm may be too damaged to go where you want it to, you jump back and parry with your sword instead, taking the defensive. You try to raise your left arm back up to use the dagger as a fighter would with a rapier, to parry attacks and thrust with your sword, but the pain nearly makes you feint. You let your left arm hang low, but hold onto the dagger so your opponent is forced to assume it is still a viable threat.
The man attacks again, and you are again forced to step back. Suddenly your foot lands upon one the men you just killed and you slip to the floor. The man comes in for the kill, but a blow from behind causes him to turn back: the boy named Oliver struck him with the shield. Wasting no time, you quickly leap to your knees and lunge at the man's groin with your sword. In defense he swings down at you, but you are able to raise your dagger arm high enough to take the blow with the flat of the blade, holding it reversed so your forearm supports it. You drive the sword in deeper, and the man's own sword falls from his hands. Standing, your sword still deep with him, you cut his throat with your dagger.
As the man falls to the ground, you look at Oliver. "I would chastise you for not following orders, Oliver, but you saved my life. Thank you." The boy, still in shock, doesn't seem to hear you. His chest heaves rapidly, and he sways before you. You slip your dagger back in your belt and place your hand on the boy's shoulder. Kneeling, you say, "Oliver, look at me. You're okay. You're a hero, son, and I need you to carry my message." The boy seems to perk up at that and meets your eyes. You hold his gaze for a moment, then you squeeze his shoulder and stand.
Gazing back toward the breastworks, you see that all the other breaches were closed without need of the running reserves. Another lull gives you a moment to make your decision about what to do about the news Oliver has given you. The Eastern flank needs help, and your running reserves could make the difference between immediate retreat or another day of resistance. You could send them and attempt to hold your position with what you have for the next night and day. Alternatively, you could leave them here to hold while the bulk of your forces retreats to the next position early, meeting General Mathers at the next defensive position. Or, you can do as Mathers requests and send the reserves to the Ilowaen Forest and begin your retreat tonight.
Ultimately, the integrity of the defensive perimeter is what matters most, and even though General Mathers was forced to retreat early, from what you hear, the East still holds by a thread. The running reserves could harry the group that overran Mathers' platoon on the way, and then they could merge with the Eastern defense. They need help, and without your running reserves, their segment could fall. Mathers' position has already retreated, and if the East falls as well, two collapsing portions of the circle could quickly turn into three or four or more. You and many others are wounded and tired, but the perimeter must be held to delay the enemies as long as possible as they march toward the Prince's city.
Feeling far too tired to think straight, and completely overwhelmed with responsibility you know you aren't qualified for, you carefully weigh your choices.
Choose to send the reserves East and try to hold your position for the next night and day as the defensive plan demandsLeave the reserves to try to defend your position for one more day and retreat with the bulk of the forces to meet with Mathers immediately Do as Mathers requested, and send the reserves East and retreat tonight
I won't go full spoiler, but one of these options will cause your role to change from commander orchestrating a planned slow retreat to an isolated soldier surrounded by enemies.
Anyway, that's the second to last update. As I said before, I'm open to the possibility of being shamed if I can't get the entire story to work together cohesively in a way that I like, but what I have written I like so far. So we'll see. A month to go...