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Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

As discussed here (and please direct further discussion to that thread), I've decided to host a daily writing exercise -- starting today! Everyone is welcome to join in, doing as many or as few of the exercises as they'd like -- however, I will be keeping score and declaring a winner for each month, for those who are feeling competitive! ;)

This thread will include exercises for Monday 8/17 to Sunday 8/24. Again, please direct discussion to this thread. This thread should be for exercises only!

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Rules:

Don't reply to people's exercise posts, because they may want to edit. This thread is for feedback.

Scoring is NOT based on any kind of judgment on my part. If you do an exercise, you get ten points. If you do the bonus, you get another five points. I'll award partial credit where it makes sense -- i.e., one sentence instead of five gets you two points. Scores reset at the end of every month. Hopefully that all makes sense, but you can direct any questions to this thread.

Scoring:

@Danaos: 75
@NightBirdBlue: 75
@betaband: 75
@31TeV: 75
@Briar_Rose: 75
@ISentinelPenguinI: 75
@TaraGil: 75
@the_quiller: 60
@jamescoker1226: 55
@LostConnection: 45
@Kiel_Farren: 45
@Cynical: 35
@ItAintPretty: 30
@Swiftstryker: 30
@TacocaT: 30
@Romulus 25
@coins: 15
@Malkalack: 15
@Virtualide: 15
@Morgan_R: 15
@Fireplay: 15

If you would like to be removed from this list, or added to it, please either post here or PM me.

DO NOT REPLY TO THIS POST, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - Five First Sentences

Write a sentence that could be the beginning of a story -- ideally, a sentence that makes us want to read that story! Repeat until you've got five first sentences.

There's no specific theme this time, so have fun! ^_^

Bonus: Pick one of your sentences and expand it into a first scene.

Feel free to post your results as a reply to this post!

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1.I lie on the blood-soaked sidewalk, rain pouring down my cheeks like tears.

2. You have 40 hours to hunt your individual target down.

3. I looked at the bottle of sleeping pills in my hand, and opened the lid.

4. The man raced away from the shadow, panting with fear as he ran.

5. The world is a fucking mess, in my eyes.

Bonus:

I lie on the blood-soaked sidewalk, rain pouring down my cheeks like tears. The black Mustang speeds away, with the hitman who had shot me driving away. This isn't such a bad place to die. It's quiet, it's nice, and...I got what I deserved. 

Twenty Years Earlier:

I walk through the streets of Chicago, the naive, 24-year-old me. I had just graduated from law school, but I was having trouble finding a firm that would accept me, due to my family's corrupt background. My father? A high-ranking member of the Jiad gang, one of the local mafia groups. My mother? Same as my father. My uncle? A convicted murderer who got his kicks out of cutting little kids's dicks off. Anyway, I was down in the dumps and, to my delight, came across a bar. I stepped in and headed over to the counter, where I ordered a bloody mary. While I was standing around and waiting, a bulky scumbag with a hooked nose and blond hair bumped into me. He turned on me and barked, "Watch where you're fucking walking, you cunt." I ignored this, and turned away. He didn't take very kindly to that, and pulled out a revolver. My Glock 42 proved to be the victor, though, and left him a mess. Two more hulks then came up behind me and knocked me at. It was at this point where my life in the mafia would begin.

 

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1) Running; always running, always hiding, never stopping.

2) Looking around, I saw everything with a new clarity.

3) "Hey you! You're the one that's been picking on me and my friends aren't you? You're going to pay for that." he said, seething in anger.

4) Terror consumed me as I trembled at the sight of the beast before me, staring at me, waiting for me to make the first move.

5) I am one with the earth, pounding it beneath my paws as I run.

Bonus) I am one with the earth, pounding it beneath my paws as I run. One with the plants as they parted before me, urging me on towards my goal. Taking in a deep breath, I lept. Closing my eyes, I embrace the feel of the wind dancing on my fur, joyous of my return. Sighing, I feel a deep sadness knowing it will all end soon enough. As I land, darkness like never before rushes upon me with ferocity accompanied by tremendous pain. A single tear escapes as I surrender to it knowing it is all done and over. I will never open my eyes again.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1) He usurped every shred of my identity, my name, my face, my memories, and even my destiny, but there was one thing they could not take from me and give to him - my wrath.
2) The gods decreed: just as it takes two lives to give birth to new life, to redeem a life already lost, two lives must be paid in exchange.
3) Her name is Celeste and she is my brother’s wife.
4) The phone slipped from her nerveless fingers and clattered across the cold tiles as she heard news.
5) As the crown settled upon his head, a great darkness fell upon the land as the Guardian Flame guttered and went out.

Bonus:

He usurped every shred of my identity, my name, my face, my memories, and even my destiny, but there was one thing they could not take from me and give to him - my wrath. Even as he lives out my life on the outside of this facility, blissfully unaware that everything he has is rightfully mine, he does not know that he is only a clone, a lesser copy, an unknowing thief. That is why he always plays right into their hands - he knows nothing, and so, he is not wary until far too late. Again and again, I have watched him fail. Again and again, they come back to take more of my hair and more of my blood to recreate him again, and blissfully unaware, he begins the cycle anew. Everything remains the same, just like this pristine facility with its pristine white walls and pristine locks keeping me trapped.

There is only one thing that changes as I watch the cycle repeat. My wrath grows. Every time I watch my other self fail and fail again, dooming me to another cycle spent in their clutches to serve as a template, my rage at my captors and my copy mounts.

They do not know it, but this will be the last cycle. My patience has run out. In all the years they have kept me here, drugged and docile, they have forgotten why they needed me in the first place. They have forgotten who I truly am. These lesser copies of mine, raised and fattened on an easy life where every variable is safely monitored and every event is carefully planned, do nothing to remind my captors of why I should be feared. I am not like their copies. I am not tame - from the beginning, I have always been wild, and feeding on my own wrath has only made me wilder.

This will be the last cycle. I will break it.

They will remember why they fear the bloodline of the hero.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1) Today, I awoke to darkness.

2) Every night, I see the spectre; it says it loves me.

3) With every slice, my happiness increases, but for some reason, her's doesn't.

4) Hands grab my legs and force me out of comfort, into a deathly light.

5) There are a thousand dots on my chest, my hand reaches towards the grenade.

Bonus[from 4]) Hands grab my legs and force me out of comfort, into a deathly light. There are a dozen faces, with macabre smiles, all fixated on me. I can feel blood on my skin. If only I could be released away from this hellish landscape. I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, but their grins never fail to cease. I am terrified.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. You watch as several small clusters of rain clouds make their way across the barren plains; a sweet petrichor fills your nostrils.

2. The creature that had once hunted you, that you had grown to hate and fear so much, now stands beside you, an ally.

3. As you walk across the crimson fields, an otherworldly presence follows you, eagerly gorging itself on the remains of your victims.

4. The trees seem to cackle as you walk by; the entire forest is mocking you.

5. Taking a step forward, you turn back to see your body, standing perfectly still.

Bonus (from 2): The creature that had once hunted you, that you had grown to hate and fear so much, now stands beside you, an ally. The samurai wastes no time rushing into the sea of your former associates, and soon, you are reminded of why you saw him as a threat. The death of your former allies is but child's play to him. One after another, the people you had once fought alongside fall into a gory heap. As you continue to watch him fight, you slowly begin to wonder if there really is a human being under the armor.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago
  1. Since the first stone of Earth was formed, the gods knew that there would soon come a time when man needed them no longer.
  2. The fires of the city burn around you as they illuminate the night sky with an eerie red glow.
  3. The game of the courts filled with lords and ladies is one of deceit, cunning, and thirst for power.
  4. "Dear mother, why do you torment me so?"
  5. Welcome to America, where government no longer exists, money is king, anarchy reigns, and freedom rings.

Bonus:

Since the first stone of Earth was formed, the gods knew that there would soon come a time when man needed them no longer. It is why they have done everything in their power to keep us from growing ever stronger, to keep us weaker. Zeus himself did what he could to hinder us, he wanted to make mankind limited in potential. He wanted to keep us his ever docile slaves. Had it not been for the sacrifice of Prometheus...he would have succeeded. From the day Prometheus gifted us with the power of fire, the days of the gods have been numbered.

Since receiving the gift of fire, the gods have become ever fearful, for they know of the battle that is to come. Just as the Olympians dethroned the Titans, so do we come full circle, and man dethrones the Olympians. The time of the gods is coming to an end. Olympus will fall, and with it, so shall the oppression of the gods.

Long has it been foreseen that a demigod, so powerful that he could challenge Zeus himself, would walk amongst us. This demigod, will posses the power to reshape the world itself. But the question is, will he become the champion of man, or will be become the wrath of the gods?

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. Touching yourself can have dire circumstances... I lost a very important part. 

2. I've always contemplated death. Right up until my throat was cut. 

3. I feel empty, weightless... I guess he finished me off. 

4. The house was small, and cold. What most people didn't know, was that it was more dangerous than imaginable. 

5. Horses are typically pleasant beasts.... not these ones. 

BONUS: 
Horses are typically pleasant beasts... not these ones. These ones were trained killers, ridden by screaming men. These ones came by in the dead of night, carrying off women and children.  

These ones were ridden by Mongols. 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. There it was again; a single, solid thump that reverberated through the deafening silence.

2. He had ended up just like the rest - screaming bloody murder at the top of his lungs even as the blood dripped down from the lifeless cadaver.

3. It wasn't exactly as she had expected it to be - though she wasn't sure of what she had expected in the first place.

4. He had exhausted all of his options, but nothing, nothing would stop the grotesque appendage that was his arm from shivering uncontrollably in the eerie pale wane of the moon.

5. Every single head in the room turned to stare at the figure standing in the doorway, illuminated by the blinding light of the scorching desert sun.

Bonus: He had exhausted all of his options, but nothing, nothing would stop the grotesque appendage that was his arm from shivering uncontrollably in the eerie pale wane of the moon.

His left eye - a single, bright golden orb with black slits that bore no resemblance to a human being - twitched involuntarily, sending shivers down a scarred back half covered in jet-black furs. Razor-sharp claws adorned constricted, bulging veins on an arm no human could have been naturally born with. Blood that was not his own dripped from a single, saliva-covered fang that protruded from the bottom of his lip.

The deformed creature, neither man nor beast, emitted an ear-piercingly loud howl of both grief and bloodlust, as the blood of the limp body that lay beside him finally ran dry.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago
  1. In another life, another time, I might have made a different choice.
  2. My heart pounding, the coppery taste of adrenaline in my mouth, I had to turn and look.
  3. The gauntlet had been thrown, it is now do or die!
  4. The shadow lingers there, just out of reach, and I can feel its' hunger.
  5. She has to love me, I have to make her see, it's the only way!

Bonus
  The shadow lingers there, just out of reach, and I can feel its' hunger.  Just how long, I can't be sure.  Maybe it's always been there, watching, waiting.  One misstep and it will be my end, but the pull is too great.  I have to sleep, but if I do the fire will die.

  The only thing that is keeping that thing at bay are those little tendrils of flame dancing so hypnotically.  If I can just close my eyes for a second, just long enough to clear my head.  Just for a moment, to take the edge off.  Just   for   a...

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1: The light flickered as the man took a match into his hand, then there was only light.

2: I woke up to hear the sound of beautiful piano music playing through the walls, the music paused for a second and I swear that I could hear a sob, then a gunshot.

3: I saw her for the last time, looking at the face that I have loved for the past seventeen years, then I closed the lid.

4: When the body was found dead, no one suspected that the quiet boy knew anything about it.

5: The blade soared through the air, finally finding its target, dead center of the guard's chest.

The light flickered as the man took a match into his hand, then there was only light.

Nearly ten years later and the doctors still don't know how I survived. I didn't know my self at first but when I got home after the hospital I realized I could do incredible things with fire. It took a while but I eventually took control over the city. They called me a dictator, but before I came into power Chicago was a corrupt city controlled my gangsters and thugs. I put an end to it, and ruled for many years. I never thought it would be my son who would lead me to my downfall.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago
  1. I should have died that day.
  2. She woke from a dream of wings, and wept.
  3. It was such a small thing... but as they say, the devil is in the details.
  4. Always, always, there are voices calling your name: in pain, in anger, in desperation.
  5. He walked through the shade and silence of the twilight realm, with the calm certainty of a man of faith.

Bonus: Always, always, there are voices calling your name: in pain, in anger, in desperation. In murmurings of gratitude, in cries of ecstasy. A world of worshippers, and you hear them all, a constant susurrus of voices.

It is enough, sometimes, to make you wish you had never created them.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. God has fallen and evil has disappeared, why do you do it hero?

2. For once, I agree with these sick bastards...

3. Four words; "Love, Mercy, And..." but the end has been forgotten, thus the world fell into ruin.

4. Do you remember my daughter, the Bloodknight?

5. I thought switching hats would let me see the world, but now i'm in prison for some stupid peasant's crimes. -The Prince

[=BONUS=]

"I thought switching hats would let me see the world, but now i'm in prison for some stupid peasant's crimes. I thought that it would be like that fairy tale of old where they each get to learn from each other and live happily ever after or something cheesy like that.

But now? I'm condemed to be executed in a few days as a murderer. ... I guess I'll make the best of it."

*A crumpled up note found in the corner of a prison cell. Signed, the Prince.*

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

For the past fifteen minutes, you have been sitting at the kitchen table, staring blankly at the unopened envelope that will soon change your life.

 

In an old house smack-dab in the middle of the exciting land of suburbia, lived a mother, a stepfather, an uncle, two aunts, two annoying older sisters, three cousins, a baby, two dogs, and you.

 

It is a little known truth that teenage girls knew just as much about teenage boys the way teenage boys knew about teenage girls, which is to say absolutely nothing.

 

The summer sun beat down upon the surface below with its heat, melting away the lingering bits of the unexpected, unwarranted morning frost.

 

This is the story about a young man named Napoleon Bonaparte and how I saved his life.

 

Bonus:

For the past fifteen minutes, you have been sitting at the kitchen table, staring blankly at the unopened envelope that will soon change your life. You give yourself one hundred more ticks from the clock mounted on the wall before you pick it up and examine it. As far as envelopes go, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. The envelope looks like any other you would find in a pile of mail, other than the return address being from a place you had been waiting to hear from for a while now. No, the envelope itself was not Earth-shattering, but the contents inside it is.

 

It was ironic, really. For the past few days, you practically hovered at the mailbox everyday, awaiting the results. Now that you had what you were looking for, you could barely bring yourself to look at it, much less open it. Then again, these were no ordinary results. It was the culmination of several months of hard work, research, and resources. If you were honest with yourself, you’d admit that it was not the results themselves that truly frightened you. No, the real fear was that the results you have so long awaited for were not the ones you wanted, a result that made every bit of effort you put in meaningless.

 

Then again, you didn’t know that for sure. As long as that envelope remained unopen, that is. Finally breaking out of your hesitation - you only waited another two hundred ticks more - you grabbed the letter opener nearby. With each ripping sound, you feel a little more tense. Pulling out the folded papers, you whisper a short wish, before reading the results of the tests at last.

---------

(Unfinished attempt at expanding the third opening line. It's not very good, but I thought it would be a waste not to just delete it and not share.)
It is a little known truth that teenage girls knew just as much about teenage boys the way teenage boys knew about teenage girls, which is to say absolutely nothing. Such is the case of the students attending North Sunset High. With the ever-popular Winter Dance steadily approaching, the school was the perfect stage for the inevitable drama that followed.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

 

  1. I'll never forget the day I took over the world.
  2. "An extra large with triple cheese and octuple pepperoni, please."
  3. Do you know what it feels like to lose not just a friend, not just family, but a soul mate?
  4. The dragons weren't always around in the Cadarak Mountains.
  5. Emma knew she was making a mistake, but she had no choice.

 

Bonus
I'll never forget the day I took over the world. It started like an average school day; an average windy November day. Brilliant red and yellow leaves fell from the maple tree that I sat under. I was chilling with my ‘goons’, scribbling notes on world conquest, just minding my own business. My arch nemesis, Quinn, along with his gang, had found my cosy little hideout. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, we proceeded to throw verbal insults at each other. Clearly jealous of my superior trash talk skills, Quinn and his gang beat me and dragged me to the toilets.

My ‘goons’ just stood there and watched as their master was taken away. Disloyal, lazy, incompetent fools, the lot of them! The minions I have now are much better in every way compared to those buffoons. I don’t know how I coped before. It’s like when you go from having a crappy old brick phone to the shiny new latest Android; you just find it hard to believe you managed life using such lousy technology. Besides, minions sound far more dangerous and badass than goons. But I digress. Back to the story.

I thought I was really going to drown in the filthy cocktail of piss, water and semen this time, but Quinn was kind enough to let me up for air after a while. He did steal my shirt and run away while I was recovering, mind you. It was after having my head used as a toilet brush, for what was probably about the seventeenth time that year, that I found the key to world domination. In my mouth. At first I thought it was a piece of corn or something from somebody’s shit that had found its way between my teeth. I was fairly disgusted, so naturally I spat it out, but was surprised when I heard a metallic clank as it hit the hard tile floor. Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be a small cube made with some kind of shiny, expensive looking metal. Silver, maybe? I wasn’t quite sure. I picked it up and pocketed it in the hope of selling it to help pay for my hired muscle. Little did I know that this tiny piece of metal would transform not only my own life, but the fate of Earth itself.

DO NOT reply to this post.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. To whom it may concern; You don't know me and I don't have much time to explain, but if you are reading this letter it means I'm already dead.

2. Michael never was a normal child.

3. This god damn city's gone to hell and I need a fucking cigarette.

4. So you're probably wondering what a pretty girl like me is doing in a cell like this.

5. "Now honey I know this looks bad, but if you just let me out of the penguin enclosure, I swear I can explain everything."

Bonus: So you're probably wondering what a pretty girl like me is doing in a cell like this. Funny story actually... Well no, I suppose it's not funny at all. You've got to understand though, I had to kill him.

It's not about what he did to me. Hell, it's not even about what he did to Mum. It was because he said he forgave me. Can you believe that? Ten years I had to put up with his shit, another ten years of hell from the family because I'm the one who put him away, and once he's out he has the fucking nerve to say that he forgives me. I mean you should've heard the bastard, talking about how he's found Jesus and how he's learnt to let go of the past. He said that even though what I did was wrong, he understands why I did it. So, after years of praying and soul searching, he found it in his heart to forgive me. Then he says that even after everything I did, he still wants us to try and work it out and be a family again... Fuck that shit, he had to die.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1) I stare straight ahead, eyes blood red with deep bags under them, as the emergency system goes off in my cockpit. 

2) "Look," the man says, opening his trench coat, showing the explosives strapped on to his chest. 

3) It's inky red skin shined under the Moon's light.  

4) The man stood there, staring at his father, gun shaking in his hand, "I-I di-didn't want i-it to end like th-this." 

5) If only I could fly, the little boy thought, then he jumped off the thirty foot building. 

 Bonus: I stare straight ahead, eyes blood red with deep bags under them, as the emergency system goes off in my cockpit. I sigh softly. I turn my head to look behind me; the infamous black smoke of a damaged engine permeates the gray sky. Fuck, I think to myself. I firmly grab the accelerator lever and push it forward until it can't go anymore. Multiple warning messages pop up on my screen. I can feel my heart beating against my chest, which is strapped tightly to my seat. A stream of bullets scream pass by.  An enemy V-1 9 is trying to gun me down. "I don't have time for this," I grunt. I pull the steering sticks hard to the left. "Ejecting Pilot seat in three," the emergency system says. No fucking way. "Two," I slam my fist on the main engine's ON/OFF button; my screen goes black. My Exco Rift shakes violently as bullets from the enemy hit. I've failed, I didn't even get into enemy territory, these fuckers!  I stare at the button the engineers had recently installed to my control panel. It has the word Victory on it. If I don't do it, the enemy forces will find it on board my Rift, and that would turn the tide of the war, the enemy would win. This was supposed to be the last battle.... I force a smile on my face. Victory...is mine.  I press the button, and the bomb goes off. 

 

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. "Scheisse" is a magnificent word, with charming subtleties in its spelling and pronunciation, and yet an "umph" that you just don't get from English swears; It was almost as if Nazis were meant to be clubbed to death.

2. That guy in the 20s always warned us that they were evil, but I never expected the Great Old Ones to be such fucking assholes about it!

3. The world was a crapsack at the time, there was just no getting around it.

4. The last thing Howard expected to hear when the door opened was smooth jazz, especially not in the basement of an abandoned hospital.

5. I'd done this many times before, the ritual was a casual thing, and new members were blooded in all the time... This time, though, it hardly seemed right...

6th sentence for fun: When the world believed that Evil walked the earth, they sometimes called it The Lord of the Flies, since they believed it guided the insects to their satanic effigies; I called it the Lord of the Flies because the sulphurous caverns I tracked it into smelled like shit. 

Bonus: (from 4) The last thing Howard expected to hear when the door opened was smooth jazz, especially not in the basment of an abandoned hospital. And especially not in this abandoned hospital, of all places, which, youu must understand, was in the middle of a Blood Sea in a hellacious dimension. Yet, there it was, almost a seductive lullaby, wafting gently out from a victrola, being enjoyed by a reclining hulk of a man with a mutton-stache.

"Nice to meet my Creator at last. I've been looking for you. And to think all these years you were just in this hospital... I wonder what else I missed!"

Howard was shocked, and gave the giant a quizzical look as he finished the first sentence, "Who the hell are you!?" he asked, not wasting any time.

"I'm a thought. A thought you know well in some other form, by some other name. I'm your thought."

"Why don't you show me your honest form?"

"Pff... Really, it wouldn't be safe. You should know exactly why. Maybe one day I'll let you know for sure, but for now, you can call me Cragg. With two g's at the end."

"What?" The cynical Howard asked, his brow furrowing, "What demonic trickery is this? Who the fuck are you?"

"Hah, my god, but still a silly human nonetheless!" Cragg bellowed, sitting up. His sinewy torso alone was a few heads higher than Howard was tall, he was as great and mighty-looking as an olympian god, but as imposing and exaggerrated as a monster, "I'm an aid, a guide. I figured I owe you, for creating me, that is. I'm here to inform you of a power you're not aware you have in this world."

"The only power I have here is this winchester, what insanity are you insinuating!?" Howard said, pointing the firearm at the giant cautiously.

"Put. That. Down." Cragg growled, leaning forward into the light of the doorway to display an angry expression, and a large, bleeding wound on his forehead, as if a blade the size of a boat's keel had been viciously stabbed into it, but failed to break the skull. The manourished little human was in no shape to do battle with a giant, wounded  or otherwise, he practically dropped the gun, but he didn't stop his wary glaring.

"Anyway, Howard... You'll find that here, insanity is your power. Too many sane, critical thoughts are a weakness for someone of your... Influence."

Howard raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

"Here, let us head upstairs, where the more common demons lurk... I can show you."

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

1. Pain engrossed Liam as the hot iron seared into the flesh of his arm, but it was still better than the alternative.

2.  Darting across the street, Miranda wondered why the cops chasing her were so set on capturing a runaway that no one ever reported missing.

3. I stabbed him twice before he finally realized I was not the prostitute that he thought I was.

4.  The full moon stared at me and lured my hidden nature into emerging, but I was still thinking about the reason anyone would make a deaf werewolf.

5. The way one's flesh would appear after being both burned in fire and soaked in acid fascinated me.

Bonus: **I may of went too graphic for so people's taste. Just a warning**
 The way one's flesh would appear after being both burned in fire and soaked in acid fascinated me. I had seen many bodies of women and children charred in countless fires. I had seen fewer, but still plenty of bodies exposed to acid.. I had burned a few people back in the old days. I never tried using acid as I was not as good with chemistry as others were and I doubted I could find a reliable contact that could supply me with it. However I knew both methods alone well enough that I could tell immediately when either was used. This photograph of flesh stripped away and bones charred had me intrigued.

"I don't think that I have ever seen some who used both acid and fire. I think that whoever did this was an artist. The way the flesh and bones look is something that even I never achieved," I spoke mostly to myself. Janice, my handler, did not seemed to be pleased by this. Neither was the other woman who had came to seek the help of Janice's agency, The Investigation of Crimes Agency.

"That is enough, Mr. Summers. My apologies the Handled can be a bit insensitive at times," Janice said to the woman with a glare at me. I wasn't really paying attention. The photograph in my hands that I was looking at was much more interesting than Janice's concerns about me scaring the people that came to the I.C.A. I didn't even realize that I had started to drool over the beauty of the work and the desire to create my own work that could match this.

The stinging slap of the mother of the thief, whose photographed corpse I was drooling over, was enough to break me from my reverie. Rubbing my face, I gave a look to Janice, who shrugged. She must of thought that I needed some sort of punishment, but did not feel like using her controller of the shock collar that I wore around my throat. 'She much rather I be hurt by someone else rather than herself. Her softness is always so unexpected. She never wants to hurt me or even the people we capture. She doesn't understand that allowing the hurt is just the same as causing it herself.' I thought to myself as the two went on discuss business.  

"I don't understand why you use murderers to catch other murderers, but if it catches Lucia's killer..." the woman trailed off as she spoke. She was still angry, but it was fading quickly. I saw the heat in her cheeks and the rest of the anger leave her posture. I focused back the picture. Hopefully the woman wouldn't see reason to get emotional again and actually try to cause some damage.

"It will. We have had higher closure rates of cases than ever since we introduced the Handler System. The Handled know crime better than anyone else. Mr. Summers here knows murder and will be able to give us an inside look to how the person who murdered your daughter is thinking," Janice said with a reassuring smile. The word "person" struck me as odd. Person, no, this had a gender implication in it. Yes, both women and men could be just as brutal. However, there was something there that hinted to a woman. The placement of the remains had something to it that did not match the fire and acid. Just like that, I realized that this case would be boring, not interesting as the combination of acid and fire first hinted at.

"Not person, a woman. There is tenderness to this that I or anyone man wouldn't of put to it. She was killed before the fire and exposure to acid. The murderer and person who chose the method are different. It is a pity this was looking interesting," I said with a sigh. People that ordered or hired people to murder were almost as boring as people that were hired and ordered to murder. People of both types took the art out of it.

The woman was staring at me with some mixture of shock. Her mouth gaped open. It reminded vaguely of a kill made by a fellow who tried to mimic extreme emotion in his work. In one in particular, he broke the jawbone to help in creating a greater looking of shock in the work. That case was far more interesting than this one. That fellow had the decency to create his work himself.

"Come on, Michael," Janice said partially dragging me away. She must of decided that woman did not need to be near me anymore, but I didn't resist. Honestly I just wanted to get this case over with. Janice opened the backdoor to the car, and I went inside. The lock mechanism clicked. It was not really needed. The collar would send massive electronic currents through my body if I dared to leave the appointed radius from the controller. It would do the same if I picked up the controller myself. I was already trapped and forced into a boring life of investigating murders by either sloppy hands, minds lacking in originality, or ones not done by the hand that ordered them. It was a version of hell.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - Three Tropes

Here are three tropes, brought to you by TV Tropes' random button. For today's exercise, incorporate one of these tropes into a scene.

Cane Fu - the use of a cane as an improvised weapon.

Benevolent Alien Invasion - The aliens have arrived and they actually are benevolent (most of the time, or at least toward humanity), and humanity is all the better for their having been invaded.

Gender-Blender Name - Most first names have a well-defined gender, such as Alice or Robert. ...Well, most.

Bonus: Incorporate two or even all three of the tropes into your scene.

Feel free to post your results as a reply to this post!

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

*Using two in one*

Colonel Holly, United States Marine Corps. Journal Entry #62

I never would have imagined how greatly the world would have changed around me all those years ago. It was just an ordinary day. I had breakfast with my wife, Ryan, and I saw my two kids off to school. I went to work as always, and the day went on as any other day would. The only thing that seemed off about that day...was the sky. The sky was so dark and eerie. It almost had a hum to it, like something out of a bad sci-fi movie. The forecast said that is was just another thunderstorm moving into the area, but I wish that were the case.

Weeks went by, and the dark clouds never left. Every now and then, I would notice what would appear to be a purple flash of lightning. Very often, I would just sit outside and stare at the sky, almost as if I were somehow hypnotized by the glow radiating from it. Then, on the seventh week of the dark clouds remaining in the area...it happened.

A large vessel, almost the size of a city, descended from the sky and opened a gap in the thick blanket of dark clouds. The country, scratch that, the world was thrown into a state of shock and panic. Days went by as the politicians and other higher-ups tirelessly debated on what should be done. All the while, the world prepared for the worst. When it seemed that mankind could not manage an answer, one was finally given to us.

The vessel in our area was not the only one on Earth, there were more. Many...many...more. These large vessels opened some sort of hatch and dropped some sort of package to the Earth. In these packages...was oil. Black gold.

The U.N. had finally decided that whatever this presence was, it obviously wasn't hostile, thus decided to make contact. However, it seemed that our visitors beat us to the mark. They came to us. Before we knew it, these...aliens, began to tell us so many things. Things that have even brought my own beliefs into question. They claimed that it was them that put humans on this planet, that this was some sort of experiment. They of how they sat back and watched as mankind developed and evolved into what it is today. Soon, it seemed that all the world's problems had suddenly stopped. Soon...it seemed as if all our questions were finally answered.

Hunger, war, fight for resources, all of it had been ended by these visitors. They told us that the experiment is done, so there is no point in standing back any longer. Yet even with the world now being this...utopia, I feel as though mankind is losing it's purpose. Ambition, desire, dedication, all taken away form us. Although these visitors have been nothing but good for this planet...I wish they would have never came. I had read stories of everlasting peace amongst humans, and never did I think it would be like this. It feels so empty. Pointless.

Colonel Holly, United States Marine Corps.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Note: October 30. 1938, the first date, is a reference to a minor historical event. Whoever figures it out is awesome. EDIT: Also, is completely relevant to this story.

So, because we're going to be moving, I found my old notebook detailing how I created a radio (with the help of my parents, of course), during my old high school science fair. Honestly, even though I got my parents to help, I was still super surprised at the fact that it even worked. Anyway, upon discovery, it was unsurprisingly covered with dust, and after removing it, my name (Jane) was still etched in it, from all those years ago. Here's the original text, with a few improvements (my grammar sucked ass, back then).

October 30, 1938

Holy shit! The radio fucking worked. This is awesome. Right now, it's being held at the science fair overnight, for some reason. I really hope it wins. Of course, the money would be a bonus. I can't wait to see the look on Mary's face when she finally loses. Christ, she's annoying.

October 31, 1938

So, today, I got the radio back (Mary won, again, though; god her face is so annoying). I've been experimenting with the frequencies, and I came across one that's... well, I don't know what the fuck it was. It was this excruciatingly loud shrill. I quickly turned it the volume off, out of instinct. After recovery it was just a bunch of random noises. I think it may be broken. I'll have to tell dad about it; he should be able to fix it.

November 1, 1938

I was talking to Mary about the event, and she suggested that the noises afterwards could have been something called morse code. I went to the library, to try and find a book about it, and even with the librarian's help, I couldn't find one. I did tell my father about the events, and he explained the concept to me, and asked to listen to the radio frequency I found. Out of caution, I had kept the frequency the same, but turned off the radio to conserve power. It emitted the same sort of noises, but this time at a different pitch. My dad went and got a scrap of paper, and made several quick markings. After an hour or so, he came back into my room and stated that the message translated roughly to, humans have war, can end without more death.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

The urge to an utterly ridiculous Gintama story was strong, but I resisted.

Here's all three in one:

He was clearly a gentleman through and through, from the tip of his bowler hat to the soles of his leather shoes. His suit was immaculate and his neatly combed hair was graying at the temples, but his face had a distinguished look about it that made it hard to pinpoint his age. He would have drawn looks of admiration and respect had he walked down the same street ten years ago.

Instead, however, he draws curious glances from young children passing by in their parents' hovercars and disapproving looks from young women clad in the most stylish new silver skin suits. The cane in his hand draws looks of confusion - after the Rev had arrived on the planet and brought their nanomachines with them, anything that didn't kill you in five seconds flat could be healed without a trace. Why, then, would anyone need a cane? Indeed, even his age draws questioning eyes as most people visit a rejuvenation center the moment they start finding silver in their hair. He ignores all of their glances, however, and continues walking down the street, a lone bastion of the old human ways amidst all the changes the arrival of the alien Rev have wrought upon his world.

The building he walks into is large and spacious, with a net of pale blue lasers crisscrossing the front entrance as they scan him for any dangerous possessions - he passes through without so much as blip. The woman the the front desk pauses typing on her holographic keyboard and looks up at the visitor, her brow automatically furrowing in consternation at his odd appearance.

He isn't bothered by her clear look of disdain at all as he walks up to the desk with a disarming smile. "I have an appointment with Ser Mors, under the name Clair."

"Claire?" the receptionist echoes, still eyeing him in disdain, "isn't that a woman's name?"

In a flash, the cane is resting just under her chin, its carved silver handle much colder and sharper than it looks. She swallows audibly and looks back up at the man, whose disarming smile is the same as ever. His eyes, however, have become terrifyingly cold.

"Not if you drop the 'e'. It is French with a long and celebrated history," he says pleasantly, "and you would do well not to mock it to my face."

The cane withdraws, and with shaking fingers, the receptionist types in the name of the visitor. Her voice is decidedly small as she informs him, "The director is free to see you now. The elevator will take you up to the seventieth floor."

"Thank you very much," he says and tips his hat towards her politely before making his way to the silver elevator doors.

- - -

The doors ding open at the top floor, opening up into a spacious office with large floor-to-ceiling windows of bulletproof glass on all four walls. Both the floors and the ceiling are metal and have been polished until they gleam mirror-bright, reflecting each other in a dizzying optical illusion of a hallway that stretches above and below forever. A faint network of glowing blue light darting around at right angles just beneath the surface, however, hints at the impressive security features installed out of sight. Placed front and center is an impressive desk of an indistinguishable ebony material, an ergonomically shaped chair, and various holograms floating almost haphazardly in the air as they display complicated tables and charts for their owner's perusal.

The contrast between old and new only makes the visitor's appearance even more jarring, even though he steps forward onto the high-tech floor without missing a stride.

The man behind the desk - Director Kane Mors, possibly the most powerful human on this side of the planet - immediately narrows his eyes and his bodyguards react instantly, moving forward to block the visitor's progress. In a sharp voice, the director asks, "Who let this riff-raff in?"

"Why you did, my good sir," the visitor replies, removing his hat and bowing neatly. "Clair Ainsworth, at your service."

Mors eyes the man up and down as his lip curls back in disdain. "The famous Clair, a traditionalist? I doubt it." He's already turning away, waving to his bodyguards offhandedly as he says, "Throw him out."

What happens next is a confusing blur of motion. One bodyguard moves forward, only the to slammed in the throat by the heavy walking cane in the visitor's hand. It sends him staggering backwards, choking. The other bodyguard, now wary, charges in fast and low to avoid a similar fate, only to receive a sharp and polished leather shoe to the nose for his trouble. The twirling cane makes a high arc in the air before cracking down on his skull and dropping him like a sack of potatoes. The first bodyguard recovers and draws his plasma gun, only to find that their attacker has vanished - an astoundingly acrobatic somersault has carried the unassuming looking gentlemen into the air and lands him right in front of the first bodyguard before the beleaguered henchman can lock his aim. One end of the cane comes up from below to punt the plasma gun right out of his hand before the other end flips up neatly to whip him across the face, sending him to the floor to join his compatriot.

The entire exchange is over in less than five seconds.

Dusting himself off and straightening his suit, Clair Ainsworth quirks an eyebrow at the man behind the desk and asks, "Does that suffice as proof of my credentials?"

Director Mors stares incredulously for a moment before letting out a sharp, barking laugh. With a wave of his hand, he dismisses all of the floating holograms to focus his attention entirely on his guest.

"I suppose the rumors aren't quite accurate, then," Mors says wryly, before hitting a button on his desk to make a chair rise out of the ground in front. "Please, have a seat."

"On the contrary, some of them are quite true," Clair Ainsworth answers. "Anyone, anywhere, anyplace, anytime." The suit-clad gentleman assassin smiles and asks, "Now, who do you want me to kill?"

"I need you," Mors replies, "to kill the Rev ambassador."

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

*Bonus Using all three tropes*

Harold glanced at the group of  four beings sitting in front of her. They were grotesque and even horrifying in appearance, but they did not wish harm upon humans or so she had been briefed. Their skin was leathery, but was a tan color with a neon green tinge to it. They had two faces. Once on the back of their triangular head and one on the front. Both faces consisted of eight small, blood red eyes arranged in a circle around a large triangular mouth. Their bodies were lean and covered with clothing of an unknown material that seemed like a cross between cotton and Kevlar and was a dingy grey. They had four arms. Two were in roughly the same position and had the same range of movement as human arms. They looked muscular and had what appeared to be dark green veins clearly showing through the skin. The hand of these arms had large pinchers with barbs coming off of them. The second pair of arms came out from the sides of the face, where a human's ears would be. These were frailer looked and trailed down to a hand with four fingers with sharp, thin claws on the inner fingers. They had no legs. Instead they seemed to float over any surface they were over. No one had managed to figure that out yet either.

"I understand you wanted to meet with some of power about something. I am a member of the U.S. Senate. The United Nations sent me along with my country's own president. What is it exactly that you want?" Harold said with a bit of apprehension. This was something that anyone could prepare for. She honestly had no idea was these aliens wanted. They supposedly did not want to harm humans and even said that they would help humans out. However could one really trust beings from another planet that appeared out of nowhere and asked for a meeting with someone who could represent the people of Earth.

"We offer you a cure to one of your human diseases. We offer this even if you refuse our request. I believe you call this disease 'cancer.' We encountered it in another species long ago and found a cure," one of the beings spoke. Its mouth formed words in a seemly random pattern. Someone had wrote down in the files she received at her briefing that it was strongly suspected that they used some technology to speak. Its oddly human sounding voice was only more evidence to point to this. This one was a bit thinner and taller than the rest. Its clothing was a little closer to white than grey. Harold wondered if it was a sign of status, since the being that spoke was more likely than not the highest racking, if not leader of the four. She also found it hard to believe that these aliens could cure cancer, which humans had been trying to cure for many years now.

"You have the cure for cancer? I find it a little hard to believe that. We would have to investigate before letting you cure anyone. However I also have to ask, what is your request?" Dennis said. She was even more on guard now. Her fingers traced the button that would send armed military rushing into the room. This request was something she doubted that she could oblige. She doubted that if they really were rejected on their request that the aliens would just give what they called the cure anyway, unless it was really poison.

"We want to exterminate the creatures you call 'squrriels'," the same alien spoke again. For a moment, Harold wanted to burst into laughter. Killing squirrels seemed like a completely ridiculous thing for aliens to want to do. She envisioned them walking around with laser blasting squirrel right out of trees. These aliens did not seem to have a sense of humor however. She managed to start herself from laughing or grinning, but still felt some hysteria from the sheer ridiculous factor of aliens that offered the cure to cancer wanting to kill squirrels.

"I will have to confer with people, but I do think that your request will be accepted. Now, it says here on this paper that you also wanted to barter for something else?" Harold spoke. She  noticed that unlike her, the aliens before her did not move besides the one that talked. There was no sign of life really. The creepiness of this sent a shiver through her. The hair on the back of her neck raised itself. She took a deep breath trying to center herself before she did something that might be interpreted badly by the aliens.

"Also we want to barter for a supply of the objects you call 'canes'. We prefer the type made out of 'metal.' We want roughly 10,000 of them. For this, we will offer you a machine that can stop one of your natural disasters, 'earthquakes'," the alien said with the last word sounded more like 'earthquacks.' Perhaps their technology wasn't so perfect after all.  Harold was caught off guard again by how the aliens offered fixes for things that humans struggled against and died from. It seemed too good to be true, but maybe she was being a bit paranoid and looking a gift horse in the mouth. The canes were something she did not get at all.

"Why do you want the canes?" Harold asked. She probably would get yelled by someone for asking a question like that. She was curious now. It seemed like a random request. They obviously did not need them for the human purpose of having a cane. It was a mystery that she couldn't let go of. This was part of the reason she wanted to be the one to meet with the aliens in the  first place. All the information that one needed to know was classified otherwise. It was the other way to actually know what was going on fully.

"Humans use them in such an odd manner. We use them as the principle weapon in our armies, which have fought the many species, one of which are the creatures you call squirrels, placed by our rivals, the Luypheshiauy, across many galaxies. Ours are usually made from our own material, but, since we are running low, we felt a barter for supplies would be a good idea," the same one spoke again.

"Of course, I will have to run this by people. However you can leave and return to the accommodations we supplied, while you wait. There is a man outside that will lead you to them," Harold said. She watched the beings float out of the room and the door close behind them. She managed about three seconds before bursting into laughter. The aliens, which could cure cancer and stop earthquakes, wanted 10,000 canes to kill squirrels. She doubted anyone would believe that is what they actually wanted. If the conversation had not been recorded, she was sure that everyone would send someone to talk with them and lock her in a crazy bin somewhere.

(this feels so clumsily done :( )

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

@Cynical

Isn't that the day when The War of the Worlds  was read by broadcast, and everyone thought it was an actual invasion?

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

@coins, you realize there is a feedback thread for these kind of questions?

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

But yes @coins it was

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Bonus (using all)

Max was used  to watching her father drink to much. After her mother passed away, the only thing the old man felt pleasure in was intoxication. But today he had a little more than usual and that pushed him over the edge. 

"You're nothin but a waste of my time, you hear me?" He said, walking over to his daughter, limping from the bullet that took him out of the military. He grabbed his cane from the table and brought it overhead.

Max jumped out of the way before she got hit, but the chair she was in shattered to pieces. He grabbed her shirt with his free hand, tearing the fabric. She screamed loudly and kicked him in the shin causing him to let go. She ran into her bed room and shut the door, ignoring the loud thumping coming from it. She locked the door and called the police with her flip phone. 

When the police came fifteen minutes later, they found the father trapped in a cage made out of what looked like floating water. 

"She was one of the lucky ones," one of the officers said, "the time keepers got to her."

130 years in the future Max sat at a metal desk in a cement room. The last thing she remembered was a boy a few years older than her walking into her room and touching her, then she woke up here. After a few seconds she realized that the time keepers got her. She was exited, people who were saved by timekeepers got a chance to become one, and that meant having amazing technology to use to help children in need. She just needed to pass the test given by the aliens that created the keepers. A paper suddenly appeared in front of her along with 2 pencils. She looked at the questions and was at first not confident. The first section was science and she wasn't too sure she could do it. After trying unsuccessfully to solve the last and hardest question she gave up and moved on to math. 
She gave a sigh of relief that there even was a math section. Ever since she was a young girl, numbers just naturally came easy to her. She was about to enter her senior year of high school, but would be taking advance calculus at a local college.  She finished and door opened to her right and she walked through. A tall alien stood before her.

Humans only had only ever interacted with one other intelligent life form, so they simply called the aliens who ran the time keepers aliens. They were blue in color and about six to eight feet tall. Instead of skin like humans, they were covered in a thin fur. Two back eyes stuck out of their heads where a human temple would be. This alien was wearing a white business suit.

Max gave a small gasp.

"I've never seen an alien before."

"Based on your test scores you probably won't again." he says almost robotically.

"What... what do you mean?"

"We have no use for you. You have inferior DNA. You must be terminated before you can infect the rest of the human population with your genes. By year 3000 we will have 10 million perfect humans to do our bidding, but the world can't know that yet."

"You can't do this." Max screamed as she tried to run past him. 

"Yes we can. The keepers save kids from a bad life, that's all we do."

Three more aliens ran into the room. Two of them held her down, the third brought a needle to her neck and pushed.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

  No one knew how cantankerous ol' Laverne, Gale and Marion truly were until the alien invasion.  Those geriatric gents, oxygen in tow, countered the eleemosynary extraterrestrials' peaceful and generous intentions with a thorough thrashing from their walking sticks.  While those benevolent beings from beyond were attacking the sedentary lifestyle of couch potato kid and his cronies, in an attempt to rescue the human race; those decrepit dames, Billie and Bobbie, broom in hand, walker in the other and curlers to the wind, were sweeping their way to victory.  Those guardian grandparents were going to prove, yet again, that they were, indeed, the greatest generation.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Roxy, smoking his electric cigarette, stood under the dim street light. He rubbed his forehead with the tips of his fingers. "Ain't nothing better than a dead man on the street at 2 o'clock in the morning," Roxy murmured. He glanced at the mangled corpse on the street. Fucking work of art, huh? He shrugged, and crouched down, looking at the corpse more closely. 

 "You like?" a voice said. 

 Roxy glanced up. "You Susie?" He asked.  

 "Damn straight," 

 Roxy stood up, and reached inside his tan trench coat. He took out his A-Crow Lacer and pointed it at Susie. "I wondered when you would show up," 

 Susie walked out of the shadows and into the dim light. "I wondered when you would try and find me," Susie said, smiling; he was short, fat, and old. Half of his face seemed to be burnt off, showing the metallic layer under his fake skin. 

 Roxy, with his electric cigarette at the edge of his mouth, puffed out smoke. "You ain't Susie!" 

 The old man zig zagged his way towards Roxy with ferocious lighting speed. He jumped up into the air, meeting Roxy's gaze. He produced a wooden cane from his back, and whacked Roxy square on the jaw, sending him crashing down on the pavement. He lay there flat on his back.

 Roxy grimaced as he lifted his head off the ground a bit. The old man was gone. And so was his A-Crow Lacer. "Fuck," Roxy mumbled. He combed back his brown wavy hair with his hand. "Great, now I got two fucking killers running wild," He closed his eyes, and seemed to concentrate on something. Did you folks get that? 

 Why, yes we did, Roxy, are you alright? Would you like backup? A voice said in Roxy's head. 

 No, I'm fine, are you sure you guys got this whole thing recorded? Roxy asked the voice. 

 Of course, we're sending the video of it to you now. At that, Roxy opened his eyes. 

 He stood under the dim street light smoking his electric cigarette again. Roxy paused the video playing. He looked at himself, standing there smoking. "You look like a sad fuck, Roxy," he said to himself. "Now where did that old man come from?" Roxy walked around the recorded video that was sent to him from his Rec-Justice Department building. The old man stood behind a trash can, talking on a cell phone. "Hmm, haven't seen one of these in a long time," Roxy said, taking the phone from the old man's hand. There was a message on the screen, it read: Next victim, Roxy Wells...You can always end it you know, Roxy? All you have to do is say, yes! 

 Roxy threw the phone on the ground. "Fucking knew I was recording," Roxy said. He let the video play, and watched as the old man walked out from behind the trash can and spoke to his old self. As soon as the old man walked into the light, Roxy paused the video. He walked in front of old man, touching his face. "So you're some kind of robot friend of Susie's, huh?" Roxy felt something run down his cheek. He rubbed his hand on his cheek, and discovered blood was coming out from his ears. "I'll see you some other time," Roxy said, exiting the video in his head. 

 He cringed as a sharp pain arose in his head. Ahh! I spent too much time in that damn video!! He forced himself off the pavement and onto his feet. A floating stick with a head of a goat appeared in front of Roxy. "Not you again, what do you want?" Roxy asked, not making eye contact with the strange creature. 

 "I can end your suffering," it said. 

 "I don't need your help, you're a fucking floating stick with a goat's head!"

 "I can end all of the world's problems, I'm just waiting for you to ask me to," 

 "Why the fuck do you need me to ask you, if you're so fucking great why don't you just fucking fix everything?!? Huh?!? You're just in my head, you're fake, you're nothing, but a subconscious need to fix everything," Roxy growled. He stumbled a bit, the pain in his head as getting stronger. 

 "Your inventions are killing you, Mr. Wells, please let me help," 

 "You don't get it, do you?!? I don't want to live in a perfect world living a meaningless life, you see, at least in this world, I can help people, people look up to me, I mean something!!" Roxy yelled, pounding his chest with his fist. 

 "Very well then, Mr.Wells, but I feel inclined to take you to your apartment complex," the creature said. The world around them mixed together and contoured into the parking lot of Roxy's apartment complex.  Roxy glanced up at the building. It was on fire. There was an explosion on floor 24, the floor Roxy lived on with his wife and daughter; Roxy fell onto his knees, slamming his fists on the ground, screaming. 

 "All Susie wants is for you to tell me yes, Mr. Wells," it said. "He won't stop killing, until you realize that I am the answer,"   

 

  

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

All three tropes are incorporated, but it's worth noting that although the aliens ended up being benevolent towards humans, their initial intent was hostile.



It was the most adorable gift Ashley had ever been given: a tiny little thing no bigger than a shoe. Big beady black eyes curiously peering around at its surroundings. Baby pink fur that grew in a thick, fluffy sphere to conceal its tiny frame. It waddled along the floor on its stubby little legs hidden by its soft fur, then looked up at Ashley and squeaked, jumping into the air. Cursing the family to doom or threatening to annihilate the city, no doubt.

“D’awwwwww!” Ashley couldn’t help but exclaim, feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. “It’s so cute! Thank you so much!”

“I’m glad you like him,” Laura replied, smiling at Ashley from the couch. “He’s a rare breed of plurp called pinkling petite, said to be unrivalled in cuteness.” Laura watched as Ashley picked up the plurp and petted him lovingly. “So, what are you going to name him?”

“Hmmm, I’m not sure just yet. Maybe I’ll ask the internets.” Ashley left the plurp in Laura’s lap, hobbled over to the computer whilst leaning on a cane and sat down. “Google... adorableplurpforums.com... create account... write forum post... ‘male pinkling petite name suggestion’... done!” Ashley had a look around the rest of the website while waiting for a response. The plurp history section was particularly interesting. Everyone knew of the great plurp invasion, of course, but Ashley found out some interesting facts about the event.

Plurps originated from a far away place known as Planet Abadl. They thought they were all tough because they had a bit of an empire going with some of their neighbouring planets, having subjugated the weaker races that lived on them. But they were greedy and wanted more, so they looked to the distant reaches of the galaxy.

In 2087 a great force of plurps numbering tens of millions arrived at Planet Huon in a seemingly endless fleet that blotted out the sun. Laura’s grandfather was there when it happened. Of course, he was terrified, just like the rest of humanity was - until they landed and revealed their cute selves, that is. Turns out that the charming little fluffballs had set out to conquer Huon but found its inhabitants to be too big and intimidating. They decided to at least pop in to the planet they had travelled so far to get to and say hi.

It was a peaceful and diplomatic encounter. Some of the plurps actually enjoyed all the attention they got from the humans, being petted and stroked by them. They were just simply not used to being the smallest and cutest race around. This, combined with the long journey and the humbling realisation that the plurps were not as brave and mighty a warrior race as they had believed, caused some of them to decide to settle down on Planet Huon as pets to the big and friendly humans. The rest returned to their empire, wondering if maybe they had been too harsh on the other races and considered grooming and pampering them as pets.

The ones that stayed continued to babble on in their adorable incomprehensible baby-like language about enslaving all the humans and taking all the planet’s wealth. They didn’t meant it, of course; it was just their wicked sense of humour and their way of coping with such an embarrassing farce of an expedition which wasted so much of their plurppower and resources. Even generations later the plurps, as with Ashley’s new pet, joked about bringing death and destruction upon the human race. It was kind of an in-joke between the two races, really.

Suddenly, a PM notification popped up at the top of the computer screen. Another forum member wanted to talk to Ashley already.

rex9: hi bb herd u got a pinking petit want too tuch it genst mii meglus rex. if u kno wut i meen ;)

It took Ashley three re-reads to decipher the illiterate keyboard diarrhoea before writing a response.

ashley_c4n3: From what I can understand of your message, you seem to be a male who’s assumed I’m female and you’re trying to to hit on me through the use of euphemisms in the form of (incorrectly spelled) plurp breed names. Pretty creepy, I have to say.
You’ll probably be disappointed that I’m male. The name Ashley was actually originally a male name and only gained popularity as a female name in the 20th century in the USA, Earth. So before you start writing creepy messages to random people online, learn the history of their names first.

Satisfied that the creep wouldn’t be bothering him again, Ashley revisited his forum post and found several plurp names that people had suggested. “Let’s see... Peachfur... Fluffykins... Pinkle.” He turned to look at the plurp, who was sitting in Laura’s arms. “How about Pinkle?” The plurp stopped nibbling on Laura’s long hair and cocked his whole body sideways (since his neck was too short) before squeaking an enthusiastic squeak of agreement. “Good. Pinkle it is, then.”

After spending a relaxing morning with Pinkle and Laura, Ashley was ready to do the one thing he was looking forward to the most about having a pet plurp. “The snow will have melted by now. Let’s go for your first walk, Pinkle!” Ashley scooped Pinkle up and grabbed his walking stick.

Laura looked a little concerned. “Watch your ankle, hon. Wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself on your birthday.” She wanted to go with him to make sure he was alright, but she knew how much this meant to him. He wanted some bonding time alone with Pinkle.

“Don’t worry. Pinkle’s here to help. Or enslave me along with the entire neighbourhood, I’m not sure which,” laughed Ashley as he left the house with Pinkle on his shoulder.

As Ashley walked along the streets, mocking his delightful little demon pet for his doombringer attitude, he was stopped by a stranger in the street. “Wow, is that a pinkling petite?” asked the tall man in the trench coat. “Those are super rare! Never seen one in real life. So beautiful. May I pet him?”

“Go ahead. Just got him today as a present, actually. He is rather a cutie, isn’t he?” Ashley replied proudly.

“Aren’t you curious as to how I knew he was male before you told me, Ashley?” the stranger said, nonchalantly.

Ashley’s eyes narrowed. “Do I know you?”

“You could say that.” All of a sudden, Ashley felt his cane being yanked from his grip, causing him to lose balance slightly. Somebody from behind pushed him, hard. He fell forwards onto the rugged pavement. “But before you start writing insulting messages to random people online, learn the history of their crimes first, ashley_c4n3.”

Ashley finally knew who this man was, but he could do nothing as Pinkle was taken away and his own cane was brought down on his face with a sickening crunch.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

(Okay, I got a bit carried away and ended up writing 2 and a half pages but... What the hell? It was fun.)

Bonus: Using all three bitches! ^_^

The elderly woman hits me so hard with her cane that it splits my head open. I wait until she pulls the cane away and join the two halves of my head back together. “From the loud, high pitched noises you are making and the force with which you are hitting me with your walking stick, I sense that you are angry with my presence. Do you wish me to leave the premises?” I ask her.

The young human called John puts his hands on the woman’s armss and tries to restrain her. “It’s alright grandma! It’s only Bob!” He tells her, gently trying to pull the woman called Grandma away.

“I believe that Grandma is still under the impression that I am a malicious spirit that has been sent to torment her by an anti-deity known as the devil.” I inform John. “This is not correct. I have met no such creature known as the devil, and was unaware of it’s existence, or even the belief in it’s existence until a few days after I arrived on your planet.”

“I know Bob.” John tells me as he tries to convince Grandma to sit back in her chair. “She’s just not all their in the head anymore. You know that.” Bob has explained to me that Grandma is suffering with a condition that causes her to forget information that she knew when she was younger. I find this unusual behaviour, since I see no benefits in such a condition. “Let’s go upstairs, she won’t bother us there.”

I follow John to the boxed up space he calls his room. I often come to John’s room after attending a human learning facility known as “school.” I go there to study humans and the majority of them do not seem disturbed by my presence. Many are wary of me and my kind though. They feel a human emotion called fear towards us. It is probably due to the disturbance that was caused upon our first arrival. We landed our ship and took on the forms of the creatures that surrounded us. They were not comforted by this change though and many used devices called guns to shoot bullets through us due to an emotion known as anger. We learnt later that this was because we landed our ship on a small group of humans. We were aware of the presence of these humans when we landed, and expected them to emerge from beneath the vessel and retake their forms once more. Strangely, humans do not do this. Instead of adjusting, they keep their human shape when pressure is applied to them, causing their bodies to become broken and they die. Death is an action that humans undergo where the matter they are made out of still exists, but cannot reassemble itself, so it no longer functions. To have a physical structure that does not repair itself makes no sense to me. Humans are very strange creatures.

A lot of what I have learnt about human behaviour was taught to me by John. He approached me in the school and asked me questions about my species. He was not afraid of me the way the other humans were and wanted to learn about me and my kind as I wished to learn about his. He asked me what my name was and I explained to him that my species have no need for unique identities as we can share all our information by merging together. Still, John insisted that he wanted a human name with which he could identify me and decided to call me Bob. I later found out that this was what humans call a joke since Bob is a male name and my physical appearance is that of a human female. I explained to John that my species does not have male or female and that the shape I am in now is merely a copy. He did not seem pleased with this explanation and told me I have no sense of humour… This is correct. I do not.

“Why didn’t you sit with me at lunch today?” John asks with a low tone of his voice that conveys to me that he is upset. I am not sure why.

“I stayed in the class room during the lunch break and studied the small white substance you call chalk.” I tell him. “The chalk in your classroom is small, but it once belonged to a larger form of chalk known as a cliff. The chalk is broken into small pieces and put in boxes for humans to use as writing equipment. I broke a piece of chalk into very small pieces but I could not put it back together again.”

“That’s nice Bob.” He says, but the tone in his voice gives the impression that he does not really think it is nice. John is a very confusing human.

When inside John’s room, he switches on a device called a television that shows us things inside a box that are not really happening inside the box, but in a different location altogether. I find this a very interesting device and have tried to discover as much as I can about it. The television is playing something called the news, which John has explained is a human method for sharing information, much like our merging. On the news, I see another of our spaceships land (this time with precautions taken to make sure we do not squash anymore humans.) A group of my kind emerge from the ship and quickly take on the forms of the human creatures around them.

“Why do you have clothes on when you change?” John asks me. “I mean, you’re not wearing any clothes when you’re those weird blob type things. How come after you change into people you’re wearing clothes?”

I would explain to John that I have not changed into a person and that I am merely using a human form, but he already knows that. “I’ve told you that my species are not like yours John. We can merge or divide into one or multiple beings. When I took on my human shape, I divided so that the larger part of me took on the form of a human, and several smaller parts of me took on the forms of separate items of human clothing.”

John seems to find this information fascinating. “Seriously?” He asks, stepping forward to take hold of an item of jewellery around my neck. “So this necklace is actually another alien, just in a necklace shape?”

“Yes, that is correct.” I tell John. “Just as I am an alien in a human shape.”

John goes quiet for a moment as he looks at each of the separate items of clothing in turn. “So… If you just made yourself look like a person wearing clothes, how do you know if you look like a person underneath?”

“I did not at first.” I explain. “I only guessed at the way humans were put together based on their shape, movement and actions. I have since learned a great deal about human anatomy and have found that the shape I took was accurate to physical human structure.”

“Can I see?” John asks, his voice expressing to me that he is nervous for some reason. “You know… Just to make sure it looks right?”

“Okay.” I say and start to separate myself from the others of my kind that have taken on the form of the clothing. Mimicking the behaviour of the material that they’re made of, the smaller members of my kind drop to the floor one by one as I remove them. With the rest of my human form revealed, John stares quietly at me for a very long time. At one point he reaches out to put his hand on my shoulder, but quickly pulls it back and turns away from me.

“You are upset.” I notice. “Is there something incorrect in the way I have copied the human form?”

“No.” John says, putting his head in his hands which indicate to me that he is feeling frustrated. “No, you look exactly like a human… But you’re not.” John says, and I think I see water coming out of his eyes. “You’re not human.”

John is angry and I do not know why. “But you know I’m not human John. You always knew I wasn’t human and it didn’t make you angry before. Why is it making you angry now? … Did you forget?”

“No, I didn’t forget!” John says to me in a raised voice. “With the way you talk and act and how you’ll just ditch me to look at a fucking piece of chalk! How the fuck am I supposed to forget that you’re not human?” He asks, sitting down on his bed and going quiet for a moment. “Just go.” John tells me. “Put your clothes back on and go. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

… John doesn’t want to talk, so I stay quiet when I pick up the others of my kind in the shape of clothes and rearrange them to cover my human form the way they did before. I then go down the stairs and leave the house while Grandma shouts angry words known as insults as I walk away.

I have been around humans a long time now and I am starting to feel some of their emotions. John confused me today. He asked me to do something, but when I did what he asked, it made him angry. I do not know what I did that was wrong but it makes me feel… Sad. Yes, I have learned enough about human emotions to know that what I feel now is definitely sad. I don’t like it… Maybe I should go home.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Bonus (contains all three):

It's been seven years, since the Selbiks first arrived on Earth. They infiltrated our societies, then stormed our planet, bringing an odd peace to us. They forced a ceasefire among warring nations and practically eliminated national boundaries. Then, they just blended in to human society, almost as if their previous alterations were only to make the world more tolerable to them. Now, they work as doctors, professors, the like. They weren't always accepted, though. You remember, when they first arrived, some old man in the street took to trying to drive them off with his cane. The Selbiks laughed it off, though, well, figuratively, of course; the Selbiks can't really laugh. As you are busy reminiscing about the advent of the Selbiks, a familiar voice calls you back into a state of consciousness.

"Vince, Vince, come on. We're going to be late."

It's Jason, your childhood friend. You snap out of your daydream and quickly adjust your skirt, before following after him.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Fucking hell, Morgan! I went and wrote a whole short story! It contains all three. If you want to confine it down to JUST one scene, confine it to the scene in the forest. It's not nearly as awesome alone, but it contains all 3 of those at once.

Leslie was, by all definition, a very masculine person. Build, organs, mustache and soul patch, (Really, the only way for a soul patch not to look unfashionable is to wear a mustache above it.) and everything else that came with the male end of a human's condition. The only thing out of place was that his name was Leslie. But that really didn't matter to him. There was once an American president named Leslie, and there were worse androgynous names to be called. Sue, for example. Or Bolga. For now, Leslie, aged 25, his final pubescent stages subtly ending, was sitting on a chair, on the porch of his trailer watching the sun go down. It was the single west-facing trailer in the whole trailer park, and he was the only middle-class person living in that park. Perhaps the only middle-class person taking up residence in a trailer park outside of the Deep South or Appalachia. It had been going down for a very long time now, so long, in fact, that Leslie's eyes began to ache through his sunglasses.

That could have just been the bourbon, though. Leslie never watched a sunset without a nice bottle of it by his side, if not for drinking, then for moral support. And, well, he hadn't missed a sunset since he was 17.  One way or another, Leslie found a halfway-decent vantage point to look at the sunset with, and he found at least a glass of bourbon to accompany him to it. Leslie, in his red pajamas, with the best bourbon he's had in years, wearing his favorite pair of Morpheus-style sunglasses, in his plaid flannel pajamas, with a noticeably longer sunset than usual, could not possibly be happier. This was the high life. Leslie could have died right there and not complained. When the last of daylight's colors drained from the sky like blood out of an upside-down person's legs, Leslie gave the sun a standing ovation, put his drink away, and went inside to sleep on his squeaky brass bed.

While Leslie is sleeping, perhaps it would be best to pass the time by spewing background information. Narrators usually do this when characters do time-consuming things, like long walks to another character's house, or reading some newspaper or another as soon as the one article the narrator ever describes mentions something you know nothing about as a newbie to this universe. But I'm not going to be a jerkhole narrator and keep you from enjoying the full glory of the newspaper that Leslie's going to read when he gets up in the morning! No, I'm going to use the 8 hours I've been given to provide all the exposition you need right now.

The year is 2005. Spyro, Year of the Dragon just came out, I think. Its predecessors were infinitely harder, but that game was the most fun, if you want my opinion. Don't play any of the games after that, though, they suck, just like every Crash Bandicoot that came after the first Xbox sucked.  Leslie lived in a trailer park in a small town at the north part of Illinois, the part of Illinois people only visit because they're desperate to get into Minnesota or they've had the misfortune of being born there.

Leslie also owned a pub. It would have been a sports bar if it didn't sell Fish and Chips, as that was the only thing Leslie knew how to cook in large quantities before he was able to hire people to cook in his stead. There was also the fact that the architecture and decoration of the place was just so distinctly British that if you hung a Union Jack on one of the walls, a low-budget Public Television soap would film a scene there just to prove to its audience that it's being filmed in a fictional town in England. It just wouldn't have made sense if the brick building wasn't called a pub, really. It even served pub burgers! There was even a soccer field on the same lot, which, even though it was the responsibility of public servants and tax dollars, was declared a part of Leslie's pub enterprise via clerical error, so as opposed to little-league children and angry parents attending the games, it was much more often occupied by teams made up of the less obese employees of various local businesses, and watched by the more loopy management. It was taken very seriously, and there were uniforms and everything. There was a deep-seated fued between Leslie's pub and Juan's strip club because of their soccer rivalry, but we'll get to Juan and his strip club later. We still have 7 hours of Leslie's slumber left.

But Leslie just never bothered to change the sign, and so "Leslie's Sports Bar" it remained, even though there were only two televisions in the whole place and not a single scrap of sports paraphernalia about, other than the nearby soccer field. Didn't stop everyone in the whole town, even the most culturally detached of rednecks, from calling it "Leslie's Pub" though. Leslie's pub was widely regarded as the best place to go on Mondays, Wednesdays, (it was closed on Tuesdays) Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Mostly in mornings or during afternoons. Night-time was nice, but most people who went there weren't young enough to want to stay up till closing hours partying, and weren't old enough to stay there till closing hours after accidentally falling asleep. 

Juan's strip club, which was known simply as the "Waterton Gentleman's Club" even though the city limits changed years ago and it was no longer in (Or near, for that matter,) a place called Waterton. Juan himself was actually called Charley Sanchez, Juan Sanchez was Charley's grandfather, who built it when it was still in a place called Waterton. Sanchez was a man who vastly preferred sunrises, drank burgundy wine when viewing them, and wore aviator sunglasses because they were the only perscription lenses he had and farsightedness was never an extreme problem for him. He walked with a limp and a Hurrycane(tm) that had been left to him in his father's will, because his ankle was twisted after some maniac proposed last week that everyone play rugby instead of soccer, and like the bored idiots they were at the time, they agreed. Almost everyone had some injury or another. Leslie took a blow with a sledgehammer's force to the stomach, and now had upper back pains, which he obtained when he twisted Charley's ankle. Charley had a horseshoe mustache, which made his aviator shades look particularly menacing, and his slicked-back hair made him all the more intimidating. It more than made up for the fact that he was 5'5" tall, and his cane made him look like an old mob boss from a distance. Waterton Gentleman's club, which doubled as a brothel whenever the management wasn't looking, was widely considered the best place to go on Tuesdays, and whenever else Leslie's pub wasn't open. It was also considered the best place to go on lonely Saturday and Sunday evenings when Christmas wasn't near, it became especially popular on 18th birthdays, and was the best place to go whenever one accidentally mistook a Viagra for their morning vitamins. It happens more often than you think.

Aaaaannd... We still have 6 hours. Perhaps I'll skip time. How much time, though, is the question. I mean, nothing really happens until Leslie gets up in the morning and makes breakfast, but how much do you want to hear about the delicious scent of bacon filling the trailer, or the fresh, cold glass of springwater filled up to the very brim that  he jovially put one of those little umbrellas in, or how nice the blue tablecloth was? And the newspaper that he read for precisely two hours wasn't that great either. I mean, maybe I should have provided exposition when he came upon the ads of his pub and the strip joint. on different parts of the front page. I mean, the articles weren't even that interesting! Something about the mayor dying and a bunch of sports news,cub scouts did their usual community service, there was a brief article about someone being saved from an exploding bus, one guy raving about the release of Spyro, Year of the Dragon... The usual. How about we skip to the part where things get really interesting?

Leslie clutched the doorknob in fear, afraid to open it and figure out what was making that bright light, Charley lay on the floor, bruised and defeated...

Pfft, not quite that far, of course! You'd miss the part where Charley fights with his cane!

Leslie was, by all definition, a very masculine person. Build, organs, mustache and soul patch, (Really, the only way for a soul patch not to look unfashionable is to wear a mustache above it.) and everything else that came with the male end of a human's condition. The only thing out of place was that his name was Leslie. But that really didn't matter to him. There was once an American president named Leslie, and there were worse androgynous names to be called. Sue, for example. Or Bolga. For now, Leslie, aged 25, his final pubescent stages subtly ending, was sitting on a chair, on the porch of his trailer watching the sun go down. It was the single west-facing trailer in the whole trailer park, and he was the only middle-class person living in that park. Perhaps the only middle-class person taking up residence in a trailer park outside of the Deep South or Appalachia. It had been going down for a very long time now, so long, in fact, that Leslie's eyes began to ache through his sunglasses.

That could have just been the bourbon, though. Leslie never watched a sunset without a nice bottle of it by his side, if not for drinking, then for moral support. And, well, he hadn't missed a sunset since he was 17.  One way or another, Leslie found a halfway-decent vantage point to look at the sunset with, and he found at least a glass of bourbon to accompany him to it. Leslie, in his red pajamas, with the best bourbon he's had in years, wearing his favorite pair of Morpheus-style sunglasses, in his plaid flannel pajamas, with a noticeably longer sunset than usual, could not possibly be happier. This was the high life. Leslie could have died right there and not complained. When the last of daylight's colors drained from the sky like blood out of an upside-down person's legs, Leslie gave the sun a standing ovation, put his drink away, and went inside to sleep on his squeaky brass bed.

While Leslie is sleeping, perhaps it would be best to pass the time by spewing background information. Narrators usually do this when characters do time-consuming things, like long walks to another character's house, or reading some newspaper or another as soon as the one article the narrator ever describes mentions something you know nothing about as a newbie to this universe. But I'm not going to be a jerkhole narrator and keep you from enjoying the full glory of the newspaper that Leslie's going to read when he gets up in the morning! No, I'm going to use the 8 hours I've been given to provide all the exposition you need right now.

The year is 2005. Spyro, Year of the Dragon just came out, I think. Its predecessors were infinitely harder, but that game was the most fun, if you want my opinion. Don't play any of the games after that, though, they suck, just like every Crash Bandicoot that came after the first Xbox sucked.  Leslie lived in a trailer park in a small town at the north part of Illinois, the part of Illinois people only visit because they're desperate to get into Minnesota or they've had the misfortune of being born there. 

Leslie also owned a pub. It would have been a sports bar if it didn't sell Fish and Chips, as that was the only thing Leslie knew how to cook in large quantities before he was able to hire people to cook in his stead. There was also the fact that the architecture and decoration of the place was just so distinctly British that if you hung a Union Jack on one of the walls, a low-budget Public Television soap would film a scene there just to prove to its audience that it's being filmed in a fictional town in England. It just wouldn't have made sense if the brick building wasn't called a pub, really. It even served pub burgers! There was even a soccer field on the same lot, which, even though it was the responsibility of public servants and tax dollars, was declared a part of Leslie's pub enterprise via clerical error, so as opposed to little-league children and angry parents attending the games, it was much more often occupied by teams made up of the less obese employees of various local businesses, and watched by the more loopy management. It was taken very seriously, and there were uniforms and everything. There was a deep-seated fued between Leslie's pub and Juan's strip club because of their soccer rivalry, but we'll get to Juan and his strip club later. We still have 7 hours of Leslie's slumber left.

But Leslie just never bothered to change the sign, and so "Leslie's Sports Bar" it remained, even though there were only two televisions in the whole place and not a single scrap of sports paraphernalia about, other than the nearby soccer field. Didn't stop everyone in the whole town, even the most culturally detached of rednecks, from calling it "Leslie's Pub" though. Leslie's pub was widely regarded as the best place to go on Mondays, Wednesdays, (it was closed on Tuesdays) Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Mostly in mornings or during afternoons. Night-time was nice, but most people who went there weren't young enough to want to stay up till closing hours partying, and weren't old enough to stay there till closing hours after accidentally falling asleep. 

Juan's strip club, which was known simply as the "Waterton Gentleman's Club" even though the city limits changed years ago and it was no longer in (Or near, for that matter,) a place called Waterton. Juan himself was actually called Charley Sanchez, Juan Sanchez was Charley's grandfather, who built it when it was still in a place called Waterton. Sanchez was a man who vastly preferred sunrises, drank burgundy wine when viewing them, and wore aviator sunglasses because they were the only perscription lenses he had and farsightedness was never an extreme problem for him. He walked with a limp and a Hurrycane(tm) that had been left to him in his father's will, because his ankle was twisted after some maniac proposed last week that everyone play rugby instead of soccer, and like the bored idiots they were at the time, they agreed. Almost everyone had some injury or another. Leslie took a blow with a sledgehammer's force to the stomach, and now had upper back pains, which he obtained when he twisted Charley's ankle. Charley had a horseshoe mustache, which made his aviator shades look particularly menacing, and his slicked-back hair made him all the more intimidating. It more than made up for the fact that he was 5'5" tall, and his cane made him look like an old mob boss from a distance. Waterton Gentleman's club, which doubled as a brothel whenever the management wasn't looking, was widely considered the best place to go on Tuesdays, and whenever else Leslie's pub wasn't open. It was also considered the best place to go on lonely Saturday and Sunday evenings when Christmas wasn't near, it became especially popular on 18th birthdays, and was the best place to go whenever one accidentally mistook a Viagra for their morning vitamins. It happens more often than you think.

Aaaaannd... We still have 6 hours. Perhaps I'll skip time. How much time, though, is the question. I mean, nothing really happens until Leslie gets up in the morning and makes breakfast, but how much do you want to hear about the delicious scent of bacon filling the trailer, or the fresh, cold glass of springwater filled up to the very brim that  he jovially put one of those little umbrellas in, or how nice the blue tablecloth was? And the newspaper that he read for precisely two hours wasn't that great either. I mean, maybe I should have provided exposition when he came upon the ads of his pub and the strip joint. on different parts of the front page. I mean, the articles weren't even that interesting! Something about the mayor dying and a bunch of sports news,cub scouts did their usual community service, there was a brief article about someone being saved from an exploding bus, one guy raving about the release of Spyro, Year of the Dragon... The usual. How about we skip to the part where things get really interesting?

Leslie clutched the cane in fear, afraid to approach the creature, Charley lay on the ground, bruised and defeated...

Pfft, not quite that far, of course! You'd miss the part where Charley fights with his cane!

Alright, when Leslie was finished with his breakfast, he left his trailer for a walk in the woods not too far to the south of his trailer. If they had fences in the trailer park, the part of the woods he was about to take a walk in might consist of his and his neighbor's yards. Meanwhile, Charley was hunting about 500 yards away. He was wearing his hunting jacket, carrying his rifle, (and his cane, since he was insane enough to match wits and aggression with potentially territorial animals without waiting for his limp to go away,) and making poor progress climbing a tree. It was the tallest tree around, and he wanted to get on top of it to drink burgundy wine and watch the sunrise over the forest. It's never a good idea to sit on high trees and drink mind-altering substances, but it was early in the morning, he didn't have work for another hour, and his groggy brain thought it was a good idea at the time. As fortunately as it was unfortunately, he could not climb the tree with his twisted ankle, and when he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him, made by a stroller who had gone wildly off-course he turned and shot.

A single "HOLY SHIT!" was uttered as Leslie fell to the ground attempting to hide from whatever shot at him.

A second "Holy shit..." was uttered when Charley realized he shot at a human.

Charley said "Holy shit!" again when Leslie, hiding in the bushes that he approached, jumped up, grabbed the gun's barrel, and wrestled it away from him. Charley, not quite knowing what was going on, swung his Hurrycane(tm) with the might and will of any warrior, and Leslie, not quite knowing what was going on either, swung the butt of the rifle at Charley. The Hurrycane(tm) hit Leslie on the shoulder with a vicious blunt force, and made Leslie bring down his swing all the faster, which Charley tried to parry, but, the fantastic and patented folding easy-portable technology of the Hurrycane(tm) caused it to bend and not block jack-crap, because he didn't click that last segment properly. Thus Charley took a glancing blow to the right stomach, which really made Charley angry, so he clicked his cane, properly this time, and swung it at a professional angle. Leslie blocked this, gave a war cry, and went in to shove the wide end of the gun-butt into Charley as if it were a bayonett, which Charley successfully parried this time, and as Leslie prepared for another big swing, Charler ran forward and hit Leslie in the face, knocking his sunglasses to the earth in a way that would have looked awesome in slow motion.

This enraged Leslie, who kicked Charley away and slammed the gun butt down onto Charley's hurt ankle the same way one slams a maul's head onto a railroad spike. Charley screamed in agony through the raging adrenaline, and, with his uninjured leg, swept Leslie's feet out from under him, and when Leslie fell,  Charley climbed up on top of him and used the Hurrycane(tm)'s patented bending technology to turn it into a strangling device and began throttling Leslie with it. It was then, down on the filthy earth, preparing to beat one another into submission, that each realized who the other was.

"You!" growled Leslie, recognizing Charley, his bitter soccer, rugby, and business rival.

"YOU!" growled Charley, recognizing Leslie, a man who dared to wear a mullet in this, the 21st century!

The gun was between them, and Leslie used it to pry Charley off of him and slam the back end of the gun in his face simultaneously. Once Charley was off, he brought down the cane onto Charley's chest with a wrathful grimace.

"You stole my best employee!" said Leslie, referencing the time when his bartender realized she could make more money as a stripper and left for Juan's.

"You stole my business!" Said Charley, referencing the time when Leslie's pub was declared officially better than Juan's strip club.

"Maybe I wouldn't have opened my pub if you hadn't made me late for that meeting by inching forward waiting for the green light and stole my turn when I clearly had the right of way, which made me late to the meeting, which made me get fired from Orson and Orson Law!"

"Maybe I wouldn't have barged in front of you if you didn't help those bastards sue my sister for half her monthly budget!"

"Maybe I wouldn't have sued your sister if you hired us first!"

"Maybe I would have hired you first if you didn't wear a freakin' mullet!"

"DON'T YOU EVER INSULT THE MULLET!"

What followed was a battle for the ages. Gun butt and walking stick had never clashed before so fervently. Charlie wrestled the gun out of Leslie's hands and accidentally fired, scaring them both into dropping the gun, and in a moment of blind fury, Leslie tore the Hurrycane(tm) out of Charley's hands and brought it down on his forehead, knocking him straight into the middle of a psychadelic dream that would make the sequences in The Big Lebowski look sane.

Then there was more rustling, and a huge, chitinous figure with tendrils on its face and burning red irises approached, not 30 feet away.

A single "Holy shit..." was uttered as Leslie gripped the hurrycane(tm) in fear, afraid to approach the creature before him. Charley lay on the ground, bruised and defeated.

"What's going on?" asked Charley, not quite awake.

"It's freaking CTHULHU, dude!"

"Oh my god, we're all screwed!"

Another Eldritch being approached, stepping out alongside the first.

"Shit, there's two of them!"

"Then we're fine, it's only two Mind Flayers, maybe avatars, if we're unlucky. Cthulhu never appears in more than one embodiment at a time if he's actually with them.

"What the hell are you smoking!?"

"Fanon..." Mumbled Charley as he faded back out of consciousness, "Fanon..."

Leslie dropped the cane and picked up the gun as they drew near, whatever they were, he had to be prepared to defend his trailer park, and as the two sinewy, gristly cephalo-arthropodic creatures approached, one of them roared:

"Shit! It has a gun! It has a gun!"

"It's okay!" said the other one, panickedly, "Just look as big as you can and make a lot of noise while SLOWLY backing away!"

"You know I suck at animal-communication techniques, just give me the human repellent!"

"We're out of human repellent! Nimrod set it on fire and died! Remember that explosion that made it look like the sun was still there for 30 minutes more than usual!?"

"Oh, right... Poor Nimrod..."

"Who's Nimrod?" asked Leslie as Charley began to wake up.

"Holy Booleans! It speaks English!" said the first alien.

"How does it speak English!? I thought we landed in one of the Asian or European sections, where the intelligent life forms are!" Said the second.

"Some of the intelligent life forms speak English." Said the first.

"These two are fighting each other in the dirt, it's the opposite of civilized, intelligent life!" said the second.

"Earthlings fight each other in dirt all the time. Sometimes two females put on bikinis and do it for money!"

"I see you've read more than the first 200 pages of the Earth Mission Briefing for once."

"What does the GPS say?"

"It says we're in... America."

"Oh no! That's where the primitive agressive ones live!"

"I thought that was in the North Korean section?"

"These ones are agressive AND free willed!"

"SHIT! SHIT! RUN!"

"Uhh... Wait!" Said a very confused Charley, rubbing his head, "We can help you, we're not all... uhhh... Primitive."

"Oh, good, they both speak English." said the first one.

"Perhaps we can attempt to communicate with them!" Said the second one, turning around, and then speaking with wild gesticulations and loud, pausing words, "HELLO, HUMAN! WE. ARE. LOOKING. FOR. THE. OLD. LADY. YOUR. NAY-TOE. AUTHORIZED. TO-"

"Could you please talk normally? You're making an ass of yourself." Charley said.

"It's not as primitive as I thought." Said the second one, The first one then continued.

"We're looking for the person the NATO authorized to communicate with us. Do you know where she is?"

"Uhh... Do you know where she is, Leslie?" asked Charley.

"I don't even know her name!" said Leslie.

"Fair enough." said the first one, "But if we don't get this peace offering to the NATO in time, we'll be late, and when our Diplomat finally arrives at the international assembly without this introduction, it'll be beyond awkward!"

"Do you know where we could contact the NATO?" asked the second one.

The humans admitted that they didn't know.

"Then we're in a real zarkin' pickle then, aren't we!?" said the first one to the second one.

"I guess we are. For the love of plurpf! This would be the first missed deadline I've ever had! This will go on my record, and its YOUR AND NIMROD'S FAULT!"

"Here, we can take the  to the NATO for you, once we figure out where it is." Said Charley, the insanity invoked by having come out of an unconscious sate just recently leaving him unphased by the aliens.

"But only if you tell us what the Peace offering is." Said Leslie, the insanity invoked by having just met extraterrestrials making him bold enough to demand such things.

"The peace offering is the last thing we tried to give you to improve your quality of life." Said the second alien, "It's a vial of the serum, with many detailed papers describing how to make it."

"It cures what you call Cancer." said the first, with an excited tone to add dramatic effect.

"We tried other things too. We created biologically engineered exotic animals deemed the cutest and most lovely by the general populace of the world, koalas, penguins, platypus, owls, and altered their diets, lifespans, and behavior so that they'd better fit into human lifestyles as pets. We wanted to make them as intelligent and social as dogs as well, but we overshot the intelligence end of the serum and they ended up killing themselves in an existential crisis."

"We also tried to make unicorns for you to frolic with, and a rainbow machine. But the unicorns became apex predators and were disease-immune, so we had to kill them all to keep them from overtaking the world, and the Rainbow Machine didn't work in your atmosphere."

"We also found that you were fond of the anthropomorphic animals that you put in your cartoons and put on your internet, but when we asked someone on your Deviantart to create a picture to put into our machines, we didn't look at it before placing it in... The creature we created was... Not pleasant..." Said the second.

"So we were forced to do this really lame-ass Idea and give you the cure to cancer. I mean, it's not nearly as cool as having a pet koala that can solve mazes or riding a unicorn, but it was the best we could do."

"Uh, that's okay! That's one of the best ideas anyone's ever had, really, thanks!" said Leslie, not quite knowing what else to say.

"Alright then, it's in your hands now." said the second alien.

"Yeah, see you around." Said the first, handing Charley and Leslie a heavy briefcase.

Then they pressed a button on their wristpieces and teleported, presumably back to their spaceship, because when Leslie watched the sunset later that day, that's what he could have sworn he saw dissappearing behind one of the fine orange clouds.

In the end, Leslie and Charley left their businesses in right-hand management and went on a five-day road trip to Washington DC, to the nearest NATO embassy they could find. When they brought the briefcase, nobody would believe it was from Aliens, but they did cautiously accept the briefcase.

Turns out, the Cancer cure didn't work either because its effects expire when exposed to human blood, and thus made the Diplomat's appearance weeks later only slightly less awkward. Leslie and Charley became good friends, putting their differences behind them. They watched sunsrises in the morning talking about guy stuff and drinking burgundy wine, and watched sunsets drinking bourbon and talking about what happened that day. Charley was best man at Leslie's wedding, he married a voluptuous fox girl that he freed from a biotank in a makeshift laboratory tent a 3 minute walk away from where they met the Aliens, next to a bin full of departed would-be pets that offed themselves in an existential crisis. Their friendship lasted for years, they were like brothers. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2012, Charley died falling drunkenly off a tree that he and Leslie were watching the sunrise on. Leslie is retired, and is suffering from the early stages of dementia, being cared for by his loving Furry wife. Leslie's pub is still open for business, however. His son runs it and tends to the bar, and if you ask him, he'll smile, sit down, and tell you the exact same story. Which is why you shouldn't ask him. I mean, seriously, his version isn't even that different. I'd be personally insulted if you listened to my story and then just got up and went to hear that guy's version! I mean, seriously, did I bore you so much that you had to look for an entirely different narrator just to be more entertained!? Rude!

~Le Finn~

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

(Cutting it close. Here's my attempt using all three.)

 

Under the heavy of watch of multiple governments, the facility held the two newest members of the International Administration of Alien Relations. One was a native to Earth, human, and called Christina Chan. The other was a representative of their species, one not native to one sole planet but from four of them, all merely a small part of an intergalatic community. They had no equivalent to sex or gender, nor names capable of being spoken with the human tongue. To ease this inconvenience, they had simply taken the gender-neutral, localized name of “Lee.” As far as everyone was concerned, the two were different in practically every way, but they did share one thing - a passion and expertise in the field of their respective species. For the past hour, the two were playing a game, and the name of the game was cultural exchange.

 

“Thank you, ‘Chris.’” Lee said through his almost-universal translator. “We had not yet understood the concept of nicknames, nor how confusing they could be while identifying the two primary sexes of your kind.

 

“No problem. It’s my job, after all.” Christina said. For the past hour, all they spoke of was Earth-specific topics involving names, prompted only by introductions. She struggled not to sigh and reminded herself to be as patient as possible. The almost-universal translator could only do so much for human-alien relations. Upon first contact, it proved to be fallible. At its worst, it led millions on Earth to believe an integrated peaceful, and intergalatic community wished to annex the world, rather than open an invitation for membership, as the aliens intended. It was the reason why she was the first of the soon-to-be established committee specializing in the social studies of alien beings. To be able to communicate was one thing but to truly understand another being took work.

 

“Perhaps you would like to ask something ourselves?” Lee asked suddenly. There was a sense of empathy there, as if he could read her emotions. Christina took it to be a testament of Lee’s experience of studying others.

 

“Erm,” she began. Truthfully, she was caught off-guard and for all the questions she prepared for this session yielded nothing when her mind became blank for this bleak moment. Quickly, she took a look and spotted one of Lee’s possessions that caught her eye earlier on in the session. She pointed to it. “May I ask what this is?”

 

“Oh, this?” Lee held of a long object. “I believe that you would call objects like these a ‘multi-tool.’ I don’t believe there is a specific word for it in your language. It’s used among those in the intergalatic community for several things, so long as they are physically capable of carrying one. It’s helpful when trekking across hard terrain, but its primary use is to support the body by leaning on it and easing the stress on the legs. When I was younger, I used to use mine against like a bat against the more hostile aliens. If you ask me, that’s my favorite use for this old thing.”

 

Christina took a second look at the object and rubbed her temples. She should have known.

 

“Lee, I’m afraid I must correct you. We do have a word for that object.”

 

“You do? May I ask what it is so I may add it on to the Universal Translator?”

 

“It’s called a cane, Lee.”

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Adina, contrary to her name, was anything but gentle.  With a proud, upright swagger, she carried herself with such prowess that  her students, numbering only 15 in the miniscule class, blinked in time with each step she took.

They were, for the most part, full-blooded Fiends from their own respective family lines.  

The normally-chittering Reavers, pygmy in proportion (save for their grotesquely lengthy wings), stared silently at their bipedal teacher with one multi-faceted eye each person.  Their wings, blade-sharp at the edges, were wrapped so around their bodies that impressions of a lord's cloak was wrappedaround them. True to this hint, Reavers were a prestigious breed of hellspawn; as far as similarity to the original ancestors, they stood second to none.

Following that would be the stalwart Rook.  A lot could be said about its kind, but the more clarified the description would be, the more outulandish it would sound.  Simply put, the Rooks were living, breathing hunks of iron-like flesh.  As if that wasn't enough, their cast-iron armor served as a second layer of tough skin to penetrate.  This Rook in particular was a youngling; thus, the crystallized growth on its back barely jutted out.

While certainly wider than the Reavers, the Brutes, in their burlier, slime-stained filth, were a far cry from their regals ancestors they once shared.  With a bloated body, and an even larger maw, the miniscule wings they had allowed only for short-length flight.  One of the two gluttons in this class, while lacking the spines and size of its parents, still drooled hungrily from its blue-grey maws at the sleek Adina, for all the wrong reasons.  The other Brute, a cozy red color, was dead asleep; it inhaled and exhaled sprays of spit.

Then there were a variety of other Fiends, though most held the same bipedal, humanoid appearances as Adina.  These were the children of the standard denizens of the corporate-lead states.  Their parents, among the many others of hundreds of thousands of clean-cut employees and employers, had spent all the wealth that could've been spent for retirement or luxury for their education in a fairly new program.

It was only two decades since they arrived.

Other sentient races were not new to the States.  In fact, by allowing the crust of their planet to be quartered and layered into an artificial planet, they were able to strategically place high-rise buildings to host all sorts of services, such as aeroponic farms, network providers, and so forth.

But there was a new arrival to the Annexed, one comprised of unexpected visitors.  The hosts of the Annexed had advised against   friendly interaction, but after an analyzation of the technology the visitors had at their disposal, the States discreetly opened trade with them.  It was through one of these trades that they had found out : the Hosts were merely using the States as shields.  They really had no long-term benefits.

In order to break the continuous corporate-driven hierarchies, a few of the States decided to open programs to begin training soldiers.

This was one of them.

This would be a reply to the disadvantageous choices of the Annexed : We will not be used.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - Worldbuilding

Invent a holiday for a fantasy, science fiction, or alternate history world. Describe its origins and the customs associated with it.

Bonus: Write a scene set during this holiday.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

One day of every year, the tribe of shadows sets aside one day to pay homage to Madadh Ruadh, the goddess of the moon and the fox. In the tribe's early days, virgins from neighboring villages were sacrificed on a stone table designed to represent a fox's maw. This practice continued for centuries until a wise, but unnamed tribal philosopher posed the question as to why a fox goddess would have a taste for live human virgins. This question marked the beginning of an age of relative civility in the tribe, and, ever since then, members of the tribe have sacrificed rabbits and portions of their other kills to Madadh Ruadh, who, to be honest, was getting kinda pissy from having nothing but human virgins to eat.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Gold Moons Eve. Once a year a holiday that is celebrated throughout all of Italy, commentating the day The Golden Dragon Came to Italy. The Golden Dragon have many gifts of knowledge to Italy in return for one woman every year, the sacrifice of the woman is completed after Gold Moons Eve. When she is sacrificed the dragon takes her above the clouds and if you are watching at just the right angle, you can see the golden outline over the moon.

Rare gemstones covered the neck of June, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Pocket. She lived a rich life full of luxuries but alas could not truly be happy. The thing is June was to be married in less than a year; but she didn't love the man that would soon be her husband. In fact, she didn't really love any man. You may think, "Oh it's okay, she can tell her parents that she is gay and they will understand." But no. The 17th century was a great time in history for art, music, and science, but even in this so called golden age, a girl was supposed to like a boy, and a boy was to like a girl. Because of the conservative society she was born into June would never know what it was like to love if it hasn't been for the handsome boy in the back of the room. 

Michael Ferris also had a secret, one even more dark than June's. The secret of Michael was that we was a wizard. Ever since he could remember, he could read the minds of others. If he passed on this knowledge to anyone he'd be banished from Italy, or worse. But amidst all of the happy feelings in the room, the sense of foreboding was the one that stood out the most. Michael was invited to the ball that the Pockets were throwing because like them, his family was also very wealthy, but more than that, he was also attractive. With wavy black hair and chiseled features, most of the girls his age were falling for him, as well as plenty of the kind that were much older than he. Dressed to kill in a black suit with a white rose pinned on the front he was drawing a few looks. But he ignored the stares and swaggered up to June to simply ask her name.

Although Michael already knew her name, with the ability to read minds and all, he still politely said, "June is a very pretty name."

Feeling self conscious, and a little tipsy, she blushed.

Michael chuckled and offered his arm. "Shall we?"

June took the arm and began to dance. She was actually quite good at dancing, having taken ballet classes when she was younger. While she didn't enjoy the classes, they certainly served her well as the combination of her near perfect dancing, her face (which was quite beautiful), and the priceless jewelry and dress she wore gained the attention of many onlookers. When the song was over Michael pulled her into an empty room. 

"You didn't enjoy that did you?" He asked.

Shocked she replied, "I actually quite enjoy dancing."

"I know that, but dancing with a boy isn't really your preference is it?"

"Well who else is there to dance with?"

"Girls like yourself who also refuse to give in to the standards that society gave them.

"How could you have known that?"

"I'm different too, and I'm also looking for a way out."

So started to the elaborate plan that would eventually take them out of Italy and to Switzerland which in those days was much more accepting to those who were different. June found a wife, a stunning blond cellist named Rachel. And as for Michael, he founded a school. He never got married or started a family but over the course of many years Ferris University became one of the greatest schools in the world.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

July 4th, 2206. Insurrection Day.

On this day, we Americans celebrate the collapse of the oppressive and totalitarian government that was known as the United States of America. The fall of the United States was inevitable, as it turns out that it was more like ancient Rome than many believed. As we left the days of the failing republic, we entered the days of the soon-to-collapse empire. Eventually, the people of America wanted their freedom back, at any cost. Soon, communities began to form militias. These militias formed into larger raiding parties. Those raiding parties eventually became a full fledged military, with the backing of all those who call themselves true Americans. After a year of fighting, the revolution was finally a success. The man that dare call himself the Sovereign of the United States was forced to surrender, and on July 4th, 2193, a meeting was called in the Capitol building. On that day, the government began to crumble, and in the wake of it's fall, true freedom was born. It is on this day, that we celebrate as though there no one that could tell us otherwise. It is on this day, that we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to give us our freedom. It is on this day that we remember out values, and remember what it means to be American.

Anarchy. Order. Liberation. Freedom. Rebellion. We...are...American.

Bonus:

The full moon illuminates the night sky as I look to the ground at the stone before me. I hold roses in my hand, knowing that the one I give them to will not see them. I talk, knowing that the one I talk to will not hear me. These tears descend my face, knowing that the one they shed for can not wipe them. It is on this day, that I come to see my brothers in arms. Men who would have wanted to see how great the country they fought for is. How much their sacrifice was worth. For once, men who called themselves soldiers would fight in battles they did not believe in. For once in a long time in American history, that was no longer true. For once, every man and woman who held a rifle truly fought for what they believed in. For once, our leaders were humble, "I am no man's leader, king, or lord. To suggest such would mean that we were no longer equals," they would tell us.

I kneel down to the grave and set down the roses. The tears descend faster as I read the name engraved on the stone.

"Oliver Harrison. 2175 - 2192."

He was my closest friend, we grew up together, believed in the same things, laughed at the same jokes. He was my partner, my teammate...my brother. I look in the distance and from here I can hear the celebrations going on. Fireworks of all colors light up the night, and the cheering could be heard from a mile away. I guess now would be the best time to sing to him one of his favorite songs.

"I can't see where you comin' from
But I know just what you runnin' from:
And what matters ain't the 'who's baddest' but
The ones who stop you fallin' from your ladder

And you feel like you feelin' now
Doin' things just to please your crowd,
But I love you like the way I love you,
And I suffer, but I ain't gonna cut you cus

This ain't no place for no hero.
This ain't no place for no better man.
This ain't no place for no hero
To call 'home.'


This ain't no place for no hero.
This ain't no place for no better man.
This ain't no place for no hero
To call 'home.'"

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

The Day of the Fallen is a solemn holiday in the county of Gallien. It is a day primarily celebrated by humans and hunters. Some of the beast folk also celebrate. It has its beginnings from the day after a major battle between Gallien and ,their neighbor country, Aullien. This holiday happens on the anniversary of the day after that major battle. Exactly when it became an actual holiday is not documented, but it has been going on for at least thirty generations in some parts of the country. It is based around paying tribute to those that have died in battle.

This holiday typically includes singing in the streets, visiting of graves of those passed in war, a parade of the military and former military, telling of war stories, fasting for the day, and burning offerings. The songs are often about death, finding inner peace, war, and loss. The parade can last for a full six hours depending on the weather and how big the city or village that is hosting it.

Bonus

"Humans celebrate holidays so weirdly," Alison muttered as she watched as the band of swordsmen, archers, battlemages, and grizzled veterans passed by her house in the slums of Jundle, a major city in Gallien. The singers had settled themselves in the crowd and lead choruses of the traditional songs. The noise level made her black, feline ears twitch with annoyance. The singers were usually not professionals and sounded much akin to animals being tortured. Her black tail lashed back and forth. The marching military often saw fit to have drums, trumpets, or even flutes. It was a cacophony to human ears, let alone her own more sensitive ones. She longed for her homeland of Aullien, instead of this place with its loudness, smelliness, and crowdedness.

"Well, at least the noise and distractions on the street will make our job easier," Christian spoke with a sympathetic glance at her. She looked over at him. He was sharpening one of his swords. It was a last minute preparation that he always did before they set out on a job. She had already done hers, which was a ritual involving paying homage to her race's Goddess of Time and Fate, Lyth. It was not completely out of true religious devotion. It was more of a gold luck charm to the shape shifter. 

"Are you almost ready?" Alison asked as she glanced again at the crowded streets. She could make out the man that had contracted them out among them. He was a half elf, half human with a exotic dye coloring his hair a rich green. It was overly easy to spot him. His wife, a human mage, was right besides him, just like he had said that she would be. She seemed plain next to the green hair and slightly feral looking features of the man besides her. The mage was a little on the short and plump with dark brown hair and average looking features. She could probably get away with any crime she wanted. Her averageness was something that she could use to great effect. No one would be able to pick her out of a crowd.

"I'm ready. Let's head out, Alley Cat," Christian said as he sheathed his twin swords into sheathes attached to his belt. Alison gave one last glance at the parade and the crowds watching it before grabbing her own daggers, throwing knives, and sword. She walked across the room with her normal grace, translating a normal movement into something like a ballerina's dance or a acrobat's stunts. Picking up the crossbow along with the quiver of bolts sitting on the table besides the door, she turned and tossed it to Christian.

"Careful with that," he said with a glare at Alison. He managed to catch it barely. If he had been a human, then the catch would of been impossible. Hunters like him enjoyed a certain amount of enhancements to their physical capabilities than humans did not have. Shape shifters were faster, stronger, and even more skilled in magic than hunters, but this difference was a lot less than the gap between shape shifters and humans.

"We need to hurry. It seems that his wife isn't quite as enthralled by parades and singing as he is. If she goes home, we can kiss this job goodbye," Alison said as she opened the door, which had been reinforced in the two years that she had lived here. She left without another word or a glance to see if Christian was following. He sighed, but slung the quiver over his shoulder and attached the crossbow to the loop dedicated to it on his belt before following after her.
 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Whispering Day

On every eighth day of every eighth month, visitors to the grand capital of Alberen are greeted with a strange sight. The streets are awash with color and festivities. There is music, and there is dancing. There are smiles and hugs galore. There are pantomime plays and acrobatic performances. There are stalls upon stalls selling food, silks, trinkets, and anything imaginable.

However, throughout the entire city, not a single voice is heard.

It is Whispering Day, the anniversary that celebrates the final defeat of the Sorcerer King who once silenced all who dared to speak out against him by literally stripping them of their voices. His defeat was not at the hands of a great hero or a mighty spell - he was overthrown by the people rising up against him and laying down their lives to bring him down. Today, the holiday is a reminder to all the Free Peoples of Alberen that even in the face of great oppression, there can be joy. It is their declaration to the world -  no matter what the darkness tried to take away from them, it could never conquer their indomitable spirit.

Bonus:

(( I felt like writing something so saccharine it made my teeth hurt. ))

Today was Alanna's favorite day of the year. No school and no scoldings, the entire day was full of fun. Instead of being woken by the sound of Mama's voice calling her down to breakfast, Alanna woke up to Mama tickling her out of bed. Laughing, she gave Mama a tight hug to prove she was awake before darting to the bathroom to wash up.

To her delight, when she was done, Mama had laid out her favorite light blue dress and braided her hair with her favorite blue flowers. She ran downstairs to show Papa, whose face broke out into a wide smile as he picked her up and twirled her in the air before placing a stubbled kiss on her temple that had her giggling at his scratchy beard. Her mother was smiling as well as she descended the stairs at a more sedate pace and simply gave Papa a kiss instead of their usual morning greeting before leading Alanna over to the door to help her with her shoes. They were her favorite too - the ones pretty white lace on the edges - so for once, Alanna held still stock still and didn't kick her feet as Mama buckled them in place.

Mama made a small zipping motion across her smiling mouth, and Alanna beamed and mimicked it. She knew the rules; she was five years old already, big enough to be quiet for a whole day, Alanna thought proudly to herself. Papa took her left hand in his big, coarse palm, Mama took her right hand in her soft, warm hand, and, beaming brilliantly between both of her parents, Alanna dragged them all out the door to join in the music and dancing outside.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Ryuko was up much earlier than usual that day. Running from room to room she roused the rest of her relatives rowdily. “Wake. Up. Kothim,” she said as she bounced up and down on her brother’s bed rather enthusiastically.

“Fuck off,” came the reply, muffled and feeble from under the sheets, but still Ryuko relented.

“Come on, it’s Dragon Day! It doesn’t happen often.” Ryuko sighed, hoping she wouldn’t become this boring as a teenager. “And stop using naughty words or I’ll tell Mum.”

“Ryu, get off my bed,” Kothim warned, but Ryuko paid no attention, continuing to jump up and down. “I said get off!” He stuck his leg out of the sheets and lashed out, intending to sweep her off her feet, but his leg struck only air.

“Were you aiming for me?” she taunted. Kothim kicked at lightning speed again towards the sound of her voice the moment he heard it, only to miss again. He finally threw off his sheets, surprised at what his little sister had done.

“How did you do that?” he asked her, no longer groggy and grumpy.

“Master Long taught me some basic aero step. Said I was naturally more inclined for it than other manzis,” she replied proudly. “He told me you were terrible at it when you started. No natural talent for aero step whatsoever.” She ran out of the room as Kothim chased her. “And that’s how you get teenagers to get out of bed,” she cackled as she entered Steve’s room.

The room was empty. Light shined in from the window to illuminate the unoccupied bed. “Do you think maybe he got excited about Dragon Day and got up early?” Ryuko asked Kothim as he followed into the room after her.

“Steve excited about Dragon Day? I don’t think so, sis. He’s probably training. You know what he’s like. Aqua grip, day in, day out. You’d think his life depended on practising it every second of the day. He needs to just relax more often.” He turned around to see that Ryuko had already left. His little sister never failed to annoy him.

Just as Kothim had guessed, Ryuko found Steve alone in the dojo, doing one handed horizontal pull ups on a vertical metal bar. “Steve!” she called, but he continued training without even turning around or otherwise acknowledging her. She trotted over to the other side so she could see his face. Still, he vacantly stared ahead and carried on moving his muscular frame using the bar. “Steve! Stop ignoring me. I have a message from Master Long,” she lied, but it got his attention.

“What is it?” Steve asked, finally looking down at Ryuko but not stopping his exercise for a second. Sweat dripped down from all over his body to land in a visible puddle on the floor.

“Come to the Dragon Festival with us, you stinky poo! I even got you a present,” Ryuko demanded.

“I appreciate you trying to help, but a break on this day would clash with my training schedule. Besides, the present can wait and I’ve already experienced one Dragon Day. That’ll be enough for me,” said Steve.

“Oh, come on, Steve! This could be your last time seeing the dragons,” Ryuko pleaded, looking up at him with puppy dog eyes that she thought might charm him.

“No,” was his final firm reply. She saw the metal bar starting to bend where he was gripping it and thought it best to leave.

Ryuko had always looked up to Steve. He was an outstanding martial artist surpassed by none in his area of expertise other than Master Long. This was despite being an outsider to Maj and not being trained from an early age. Still, Ryuko vowed never to become as obsessed as him with training to the point of abandoning Dragon Day.

As she walked back home, Ryuko was so excited for the Dragon Festival.

 

---

 

The scene didn’t really sufficiently explain Dragon Day and what it is, so I’ll do it here.

Long ago, during the Age of Isolation, when means of travel was scarce, people and dragons lived in their respective home areas and no one had much to do with outsiders. Dragons stayed in Tat while people, including the people of Maj, never strayed far from home. It was a time of slow progress scientifically, spiritually and politically.

One day, Oros the golden dragon acquired a healthy spale so he decided to go see the outside world. The first place he got to was Maj. He brought knowledge and wisdom from Tat which he shared with the people of Maj, and they gave him knowledge and wisdom in return. Oros travelled to other places nearby, gathering knowledge and wisdom and spreading it. It was the beginning of a new age.

Dragon Day is celebrated in Maj to remember the day that Oros first set foot on Maj. For the people of Maj, it symbolises the start of a new era and their pride that it was their home which inspired it. The date is determined by complicated dragony stuff so the length of time between two Dragon Days can vary.

On Dragon Day, dragon ambassadors arrive from Tat to celebrate the occasion and recreate that fateful day. The Dragon Festival is held to welcome them. People wear vibrant and beautiful dragon themed outfits. The finest in reptile cuisine is offered to the ambassadors. Many songs, dances and martial arts exhibits are performed. An enormous model of a great golden dragon in honour of Oros is carried by hundreds of people and paraded through the streets.

A tradition which occurs a few weeks before Dragon Day is a raffle whereby people are randomly assigned somebody else to give a present to. This can be range from between individuals in a family to between whole families in a neighbourhood, or even on a much bigger scale. This giving of presents, which happens on Dragon Day itself, symbolises the way in which wisdom and knowledge was passed on through Oros to people everywhere. It shows that all are one and that everyone needs one another.

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

The holiday is called the Festival of Light. It is celebrated by the Watachi tribe in memory of the life and death of a celebrated chief called Koahko. They believe Koahko was a prophet sent by their gods to bring peace to the warring tribes and teach them how to be better people and live better lives.

During the festival, a young man between the ages of 16 and 21 is selected by a random draw. A stone is placed in a bag for each man of a suitable age. One stone is white and the others are black. Whoever selects the white stone becomes the "Koahti." They are praised and celebrated as a representation of the prophet throughout the duration of the festival.

Bonus:

This is my last chance. After this I will be too old to become the Koahti and I won't be able to participate in the draw. The bag is coming towards me and I notice Sunki in the crowd, her black hair braided and decorated with flowers. She is with the fair ones this year, the five most beautiful of the virgin girls. The other four are all chatting and giggling amongst themselves with excitement, but Sunki is quiet and blushing. I've loved that girl for as long as I can remember. I have to be chosen this year. I have to be.

The bag is finally held infront of me and I slowly dip my hand in. I pray to the gods that the stone is white, but feel my stomach knot when I hear that little voice in the back of my head saying "Let it be black." I pull out my hand and open my palm... Black. I curse myself for my lack of faith. This was my last chance and it's over. Suddenly I hear a cheer and turn to see that the stone has been pulled by my friend Dinahi. The other boys surround him and lift him onto their shoulders in celebration. I suppose I am still in shock and it takes a moment before I smile. Dinahi is a great man. He has been my friend for years and his dedication to the gods in unwavering. He deserves this.

The festival of light continues as it always does. The mothers of each family have all cooked something special for the great feast, and they each step forward to offer their gift to the Koahti. This is in memory of the great winter, where Koahko saved our tribe by declaring that every family in the village should bring all their stored food to him, so that he might distribute it evenly throughout the tribe and no man would starve to death.

Eventually the day passes by and in the light of the orange sunset begins the dance of the virgins. Everyone falls silent as the girls perform the ritual dance. All the girls are beautiful, I know that, but my eyes are fixated on Sunki. I have never seen anything so graceful and hypnotic as the curving and turning of her body as she moves to the steady beat of the drums. This is where I am overwhelmed by childish feelings of jealousy. The Koahti should've been me.

With the dance over, two of the fair ones take Dinahi's hands and lift him to his feet to guide him to the Koahti's tent. The fair ones will give themselves to him tonight. This is done in memory of how Koahko taught our tribe not to force ourselves on our women, and that we should wait until the virgins are ready to willingly take to a husband. Our tribe has benefitted greatly from this tradition. Our women no longer run away to neighboring tribes, and far fewer women are lost to childbirth, since we do not take the girls as soon as they come into their blood. Still, all these benefits are forgotten as Sunki slips into the tent and all I can think of is her body wrapped around his, freely giving herself to Dinahi when it was supposed to be me... Still, I cannot hate him for this. As the Koahti, all of this is due to him, I know that. To think otherwise would be blasphemy.

Hours pass and I remain quiet throughout the night while the others celebrate. Eventually the fair ones emerge from the tent with Dinahi following behind. The moon is high and we must finish the rest of the celebrations before morning. As the fires are lit, my tribe lifts their cheers to the heavens as we climb the hill towards the throne of ascension. The drums grow ever louder and the dancers become wild as they leap over the flames. The fair ones guide Dinahi to the wooden throne and as he sits upon it I think I see his face has gone pale. This isn't like Dinahi at all. Growing up he was the most pious boy I ever knew. He should be stronger than this.

As the throne is lifted and spun around the music grows ever louder and louder and louder until it stops altogether. The chief lights his torch and steps towards the throne. It is now that we celebrate how Koako gave his life for our people when the warlord Sitkah demanded that every hut in the village be put to the flame until they found our chief. Rather than let the people suffer, Koako delivered himself to Sitkah and went without hesitation as he was led to a pyre to be burned alive. They say that as he was engulfed by the flames, his body became a great white light, so powerful that it blinded Sitkah and all of his men, proving that Koako was no mere man, but a prophet sent by the gods to bring peace to the tribes and teach us how to live according to their will.

The tribe lets out a great cheer as the chief puts the torch to the throne of ascension. As the smoke surrounds Dinahi and the flames climb ever higher, he lets out a loud and horrific scream. This is where the Koahti always fail in their representation of the prophet. Koahko never screamed.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

There is a reason why Penguinites no longer celebrate the New Year on the Winter solstice, and if you bother to read this text block, you'll know why.

The War of Black Hearts, the Bastard's War, the War on Orckind, by all of its names, is a name that still strikes fear and  loathing into the hearts of many to this day. It took place during a time in another layer of history beneath ours when history books were focused on the Greek city-states, and was undoubtedly one of the bloodiest humanitarian disasters in the history of sentient life. Elves, both Drow and Common, Humans, Valkyries, Highlander Penguinites, Fairies, Dwarves, Pixies, Giants, Goblins, Orcs, Wargs, Trolls, and Grues all lived on the main isle of Ankea. It was a very culturally diverse place, but rigidly segregated between the north and the south, bitter hate between both sides for their actions when civilization fell during the Ice Age. Then, one clever Dwarf discovered Steel, and the south, where the Orcs, goblins, Wargs, and pretty much every thing I said above after "Pixies" did not roam, flourished.

The "fair" races to the south began building a powerful army, and Goblin spies, seeing such things occur, set aside their differences with the Orcish and Trollian tribes and built an interception force, hurrying southward to destroy the barracks and smithies, Goblin reverse Engineers soon discovered steel, and manufactured it furiously. Orcs smithed it, Trolls made primitive armor from it, and so on. It became  a popular trade route item between Orcs and Grues, who allied the Orcs.

Several bloody battles took place on the borders, Valkyries flew overhead eagerly to see which conquering general would break enemy lines lead their campaign into the enemy territory first. (That would be the side they would join, of course.)

A clever young Orc general named Hadrega heard of this, and set to work with her soldiers building a boat from wood and leather. With several soldiers she sailed around the land boundary, which was heavily guarded and passionately fought for, and by night, when she was well behind enemy lines, she and her sodiers took a peaceful Penguinite port and began burning the southern infrastructure, earning the respect of the Valkyries, who began to assist her.

This pissed off Penguinites throughout the island, and the more powerful tribes assembled to create a secret project and went unnamed by officials. The "results" of the project came to be known by the Penguinites as tel Huldnar Meghite, or "the Winter Men", and they came to be known to orcs as Fegog Nor, or "Feathered Monsters". prisons influenced by Penguinite leaders in any meaningful way were emptied of all the southern races, and used to hold Prisoners of War. 1,000 Penguinite babies were donated, (Yes, donated, though given their Scottish Clan structure, babies weren't traditionally raised by their biological parents anyway.) to the project. This was phase 1.

The prisoners left by the prison emptyings were gathered up in subterranean government chambers and Dwarven labor camps. The officials separated the mentally ill from the mentally fit and sent the fit off to the battlefield to redeem themselves... By absorbing cavalry charges, mostly. Burning down an Orc village, killing 3 high-ranking enemies, causing a Gruish cave to collapse, and setting fire to an enemy farm were all ways to take 10 years off of any jail sentence, and in a world where you can get your hands lopped off for theivery, that was a pretty generous offer. We'll get to what happened to the mentally ill later.

Orcs, goblins, and every other race the Penguinites could capture, were all experimented on viciously, and thrown into arenas where martial artists would perfect incredibly lethal, complex, and/or painful moves on them. Everything about the races was studied, until entire martial arts were developed, based sheerly on killing, subduing, and generally dominating specific creatures with specific, rippable innards. Papers were published to whoever could read about "inherent weaknesses" and learn about how to defend their own.

The mentally ill lived in labor camps, and where left ot their own devices in surprisingly controlled environments, for the technology that was availiable to them. They were studied closely, and interrogated harshly. From the pyromaniacs and arsonists, or "Those that would build fires sheerly for destruction", since they didn't have a word for criminal Pyromaniacs, the Penguinites learned how best and most efficiently to burn a village down without getting caught, from the psychopaths, "Those who are deaf to the horrors of death and unbridled cruelty" the Penguinites learned how best to manipulate people and desensitize their new soldiers from a young age, from... "Those that would violate and deceive children" the Penguinites learned how to convincingly lure enemy young into death traps and slave wagons, and so on and so forth...

The donated babies were trained in this way since toddlership, and indoctrinated so heavily that they became almost robotic, unreasonable, emotion-imitating, and socially detached killing machines following the orders of the Penguinite Chieftans, who they revered as gods. They were trained exquisitely in magic and physical combat, knew how best to burn a house down, how to herd enemy civilians into the perfect killing piles, how to murder any one of the enemies with their bare hands, how to manipulate people, lure the enemies' children into death traps and so on and so forth. These, the Winter Men, were the creatures that met Hadrega one night at the port she had conquered earlier when she intended to leave with her plunder. Every soldier she had left at the port to guard it was killed, and hardly a scratch was on any of the 'Penguinite' warriors.

Hadrega boldly charged the gates, and met several of the creatures waiting, almost eagerly, if such an animal could feel excitement, behind it. Her army was slaughtered, and so was she. Of course, as a leader, she was captured and interrogated. The Winter Men learned of many attack strategies used by the orcs, and the upcoming campaign plans of other Orc generals by torturing her, but they did not understand the concept of letting the enemy go after the information was learned. It is said Hadrega was lashed until the sun rose, and that was when she finally died, ribs falling open, with a hateful scowl permanently on her face.

Not bothering to head to the Cheiftans to hear more orders, one of them, who they regarded as their minor leader, said that he heard in a dream that the Chieftans would only be happy when every orc was dead, not just the violent ones. They decided they would kill every one of them, on Ankea or otherwise, and thus sailed with Hadrega's boat to an Orcish village, leaving no adult survivors and sending two of their men, (Now castrated) each with a warg-drawn wagon full of newly enslaved children, back to the southern lands. It continued this way, from village to village, until the last of the Winter Men created a small, hidden camp west of an Orcish stronghold.

It was a cold winter Solstice, the beginning of the Penguinite Calendar, and the snow was already ankle-deep. 500 of the Winter Men were left, as the rest had been sent back home to sell the slave children. But the slave Children never made it home. For some haunting, ungodly reason, another idea occurred to them, and a great deal of starving, indoctrinated Orc children, ages 6-14, stormed the stronghold. The Stronghold was a huge fortified establishment, the size of 3 cities. No doubt it contained thousands of gold worth of loot and millions of documents of information, but that didn't matter to the Winter Men. They apathetically watched as the Garrison forced themselves to murder the wild children, and charged in, burning all that was flammable and killing everything that moved, even the slaves and prisoners. The monsters moved their camp to the town square and locked the gates, trapping in all survivors and rebels. They systematically searched the place, slaughtering and burning and pillaging, sheparding civilians back to the town square and killing them almost ritualistically, singing songs in tongues that weren't even recognizable as Penguinite words.

When the entire stronghold was in ashes, the murderous animals simply dissappeared.

While the martial arts training of the Winter Men was made standard, all the studies and lessons from the mentally ill test subjects were found mysteriously burned, and genocide was never quite mastered so extremely again. The very next Winter Solstice, the labor camps containing the test subjects, and the training barracks of the Winter Men were attacked and destroyed by what survivors called hideous monsters. Penguinite Chieftans went on monthly hunts to destroy them, and laws were issued in private by guards, that any citizens giving room and board to a Winter Man, or a suspected one, was to behead them in their sleep.

Some say they were the embodiments of evil that escaped the bodies of the bodies of the Winter Men when they dissappeared. Others believe it was an act of punishment by the supernatural powers that be. Some even believed they were the Winter Men themselves, twisted and cursed to show what they looked like on the inside. No one truly agreed, but for the rest of the war, a total of 20 solstices, experimental militiary establishments, Orc and Penguinite alike, were attacked by large, vicious, creatures with long, predatory beaks and a thirst for organs and fire.

Penguinites stopped their propaganda cold turkey, and in the wars that followed, never used propaganda posters, paintings, or anthems to advertise a soldier's life to glorify war, and they only ever glorified righteous squads and individuals in war afterward. They were the first to create Alksnjade, (Lit. "Orcslove") a holiday celebrating apologies, specifically about racial offenses, after the Bastard's War ended, and slaves were no longer treated like machines. Orcs, and those who fought with them, (other than valkyries, because there were plenty on both sides by the end,) still got a lot of hate until the end of the war, (It's nearly impossible not to feel especially horrible during and after a war if you can't de-humanize your enemies.) but the Penguinites were the first to accept Orcs back into their societies again. Though this could easily have been because their mountains formed the border between north and south...

To this day in Penguinite tradition, Huldnar Egen, the New Year in the old Penguinite Calendar, is a day of superstition and spirituality.  There is as heavy an emphasis on apologizing to old enemies as there is an emphasis in trying to find spiritual peace and doing good deeds on such a day. Of course, nobody's seen the monsters for hundreds, if not thousands of years, but that hasn't stopped Urban Legends from being referenced whenever someone who vocally disregarded its traditions dies under mysterious circumstances.

Bonus:

Derrick looked out the inn window sipping from his flask of whiskey. He was a cynical man, as such hard times had pressed him to be, as a merchant, and found what was going on outside positively preposterous. People hugging in the street? Songs of love? This was coming from the most feared race orc-killers, some of the most fierce warriors, in the known world! Hah, wait till I tell Sylvester about this! He thought, taking another drink. He couldn't wait to set up shop in the morning, even if it meant being cold in front of a stall full of his products for 8 hours that day. Money was something he lived for.

His solitude was interrupted by a knock at his door. Opening it revealed the Innkeeper himself. He was black and white, with the same stripe down the middle of his face to his beak, like all Penguinites. And unlike most Penguinites, he failed to have developed any distinguishing facial features. Perhaps that was his most distinguishing feature. The rest of the innkeeper was tall, stocky, and had thick, powerful arms from chopping and carrying firewood, clothed mostly in rustic, woolen clothing. The innkeeper's lower eyelids were drawn up in a cheerful, smiling manner as he said "'Appy Huldnar Egen, Mesterh Dehrrrick!" in slow, less-than-fluent Common Tongue.

Derrick forced a smile and said "Hello." as best he could. He was not eager to join in such utter hooey, and intended on sleeping as soon as possible so he could just get it over with and get some money. Those primitive Penguinites and their absurd customs. Prancing and singing and apologizing, on such a miserably cold day... Why couldn't they be businesslike and straightforward, like the Elves? Why couldn't they be like his fellow humans, for that matter?

"Woude ya lahke soome Huldenmagg?" said the Innkeeper, offering him a mug of something smelly.

"Oh, no thank you." Said Derrick, maintaining his forced grin and abruptly closing the door. He had heard about such a drink from other traveling merchants who went to Penguinite villages It meant "Wintermix" and from what he heard, was the most strangely bitterswet thing the merchants had ever tasted. It was brewed from mint, apples, and sheep's blood, and was drunk during funeral banquets and other occassions of mourning. If there was a picture for "acquired taste" in the dictionary, a cup of this would surely be there. And it was a taste Derrick was certain he would never acquire.

The Innkeeper simply blinked twice at the door that shut before him, shrugged his shoulders, and went to offer a drink to whoever was in the next room.

Derrick sighed and sat on his bed. The hours dragged on and the sun finally set. When his whiskey was gone, he fell, in a drunken stupor, down onto his bed, and went to sleep. He was awakened a short time later by a warm yellow light, as if the fireplace was suddenly lit, and when he opened his eyes, he saw something truly spectral, and truly terrifying.

An orc in damaged armor, with heavy, bleeding wounds, was holding a golden, glowing candle that illuminated the room, and he stumbled forward towards Derrick. Derrick, in a panic, grabbed his dagger and held it forward for what little good it would do against this spectral being.

"Calm thyself, little human." grumbled the orc, "Thou needn't worry, I am not here to hurt thee."

"WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU!?" Derrick insisted, not lowering his dagger.

"I am the ghost of Huldnar Egen past, and I'm here to-"

Derrick's drunken dream was interrupted by his abrupt death, as something with claws tore out his larynx.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

There is no greater holiday on the Grass Plains than the Festival of Winds. Each year, as the snows melt and the warm winds continue to caress the great grass sea, the Eight Tribes of the Golden Horde gather at the base of the Dragon's Tooth, the lone stone mountain that has served as a point of reference for the travelers on the Grass Planes since time immemorial. During the festival the tribes set aside their wars and quarrels to celebrate a week of feasting, diplomacy and contests, both of wits and strength. All men of sixteen moons and older are allowed to prove themselves in the contests. The highlight, and finale, of the festival is the Ceremony of the Conquered Dragon, when the competitor who has won the most contests gets the right to climb the Dragon's Tooth and claim the title of Champion of the Winds, which he may boast for the next year.

The Festival of Winds was first held by the Great Khan, who tried to united the different tribes under a single ruler, by celebrating their shared culture and friendships. Though the Khan failed his quest, to this day the Festival remains a celebration of the friendships between the people's of the Eight Tribes.

Bonus:

"Something feels different this year. I can feel it... I can feel it in the winds.", Chingis mutters while he rides his horse back to the resting grounds. He just went to see the mounted archery competition, which is held at the other side of the Tooth, but though he reached the age of sixteen, and as such gained the right to enter the competitions, Chingis chose to watch from the sideline like every other year. However, somehow something feels strange this year, even though the Festival is one of the biggest in living memory and the feasts are only just beginning to reach their peak. Chingis would often feel strange lately, but he usually tried to shrug it off, just like he did now (though he did not completely succeed).

The archery competition was actually the last one of the festival and Chingis quickly joins the crowds that make their way towards the Tent of the Eight Khans, the temporary housing for the eight leaders of the nomadic tribes during the Festival. There the winner and next Champion of Winds would be crowned by the council of Khans and the last feast would commence. However, when Chingis finally makes it through the maze of tents to the great open field in front of the Eight Khans, his vision is blocked by the great mass of people before him.

Jubilant cheering ensues as this years Champion begins his ascend of the Tooth and the food is brought in for the final feast. Chingis makes his way towards his friends and, as a starry night falls across the Plains, he fully immerses himself in the feasting.

Until suddenly the crowds fall silent and a cold wind chills the bones of the gathered people. Though Chingis, nor his friends exactly know what is going on, all eyes are turned towards the raised dirt dais on which the Eight Khans are sitting. However, a person stands in their midst. Though his features are unclear, even in the star-filled night, you can make out a human-like shape which he is carrying. You could almost swear that it resembles this year's Champion. Though a surprised mutter emerges from the crowds, a booming voice swiftly silences it:

"People of the Grass Plains, be silent. How can you be feasting and cheering tonight when you will fight again tomorrow. How can you shake your neighbour's hand today, while you'll spit in it tomorrow. Does this Festival, my Festival, not show how great a force we are if we all work together. I call upon you, the mighty horsemen of the Golden Horde, to unite and show the rest of the world the true strength of our people!"

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Atlantean Independence Day

 

Among themselves, the Atlanteans just refer to it as Independence Day, as many other countries do. This holiday commemorates the anniversary of the third time Atlantis had achieved proper sovereignty and recognition as its own state among the aquatic nations.* The original date for Atlantian Independence Day was the Day of Liberation, the date in which the joint forces of North Atlanteans, Southern Atlantica, and the Free Republic of Sea Peoples (FRSP) freed Southern Atlantis from Tlalakan occupation. However, Pavlopetri had changed the date in recent years, due to Atlantis not having reached official statehood until years later. This was because Southern Atlantican and FRSP held control of Atlantis during its post-war transitional government period. Modern historians today are still at odds as to whether this can be considered another occupation or not. For the most part, Independence Day is almost like any other holiday to celebrate, eat, drink, and be merry. While this is true for most of Atlantis, a few regions have recently begun their own unique celebrations:

 

New Helike

As the cultural capital of Atlantis, New Helike prides itself on having the fastest-growing population and economy among the Atlantean regions. Newly-discovered natural resources among its borders have only increased their affluence. Independence Day celebration is the longest, lasting from midnight to midnight. Though the 24 hours of partying was initially a PR stunt to bring New Helike’s growth into the public eye, the event became greatly popular and the all-day partying became an annual tradition.

 

Pavlopetri

This region not only contains the capital of Atlantis but also the main business district. Pavlopetri used to be as quiet as a graveyard during Independence Day until one of the more ambitious businessmen began hosting government-approved reenactments of the Day of Liberation. Every year, the reenactments become more and more elaborate. Government buildings remain closed but the event keeps regular business open.

 

New Baiae

This region is the most ethnically and culturally diverse in Atlantis. Despite having few natural resources to their name, New Baiae lives off its tourism industry. Known for its warm temperature, volcanic scenery, and igneous rock caves, few would consider a more beautiful place to visit. Its most recent tourist attractions are a few new casinos opening up with more coming soon.  Independence Day is a somber time for the region. New Baiae took the brunt of the battles before Liberation Day. Most people here celebrate by visiting memorials, graveyards, and historical sites that honor the lives of those who fell fighting for Atlantean independence.

 

Rap

The vast population of Rap is made up of those who can trace their lineage to former refugees, former colonists, and former occupiers. They are second only to New Baiae in diversity Their geographic location makes them highly dependent on other regions for resources, particularly food, but they make it up by being a central hub for emerging technology. This region is most bitter about Independence Day celebrations, believing that this should be a time to educate the population on the inequalities and history of Atlantis. Many teach-ins and other forms of protests are common here. However, most residents prefer to attend the annual Youth Science Fair.

 

*Atlantis officially became a state three times: once during its founding, second when King Triton the IV negotiated independence from Southern Atlantica, and lastly after its liberation from the invaders from Tlalak.

 

--------

 

Rap was every bit advanced as its reputation and then some. Everything from their buildings to their streets look vivid and modern, a stark contrast to the classic designs of other Atlantean buildings. A homegrown building material developed by a local became the standard, giving off a sleeker, metallic look to everything. Stricter building standards had done Rap well. Streets weren’t as worn out. Windows were clearer. Even the environment had less litter and filth. As far as the eye could see, machinery went about their business, doing everything from menial tasks to mechanized hard labor. On the streets, people tinkered with objects and gadgets and whatever little scraps they could find. Truly if there were any place in Atlantis that running headfirst into the future, it was Rap.

 

Except for today, that is. Here and now, Independence Day, was a day of old wounds and grievances. Large crows amassed, rallying around causes they believed in, oddly tame and organized for groups of people claiming to be in protest against some injustice or another. To their credit, they were not violent nor out of control but they were loud. They were loud and in the way, much to the chagrin of tourists Erymanthus and Rhea.

 

Erymanthus expected the crowds and the noise. They were in a major city during Independence Day, after all. He even expected some of the protesting. What he didn’t expect was that other than seeing some of the impressive modern marvels, there was practically little else to do. Rap was a place for technology and education, not tourism. So much for a decent family vacation.

 

“I told you we should have went to New Baiae, Dad.” Rhea grumbled. She munched on a seaweed snack, looking unimpressed by what she’s seen so far. “The prices were too good.”

“Now don’t you start, young lady.” Erymanthus replied. “It was all we could afford. What was I supposed to do?”

“You could have let me go to New Helike with my friends.”

“Out of the question.”

“Of course you would say that.”

The two continued to make their way through the crowd, still unsure where to go and what there was to see. It wasn’t until they had wandered far enough to spot a large, open stage, already with a large audience, standing and watching. Around the stage were machines, a little different from others Erymanthus had seen. There were a few professional looking ones, but most seemed unrefined and rudimentary Upon the stage was a young man, clearly unable to awe the crowd with his so-called “miracle glue.” Whatever the event, it looked cheesy, but it already looked more promising than another speech about government semantics.

 

“Hey,” Erymanthus called to a nearby audience member.”What is this place?”

“You’re a tourist, aren't you?” The woman he called to replied. “It’s the Youth Science Fair. The more brilliant-minded young people here showcase their work here. That’s why all these machines around these parts look like they were made by children, because they are. See that one over there? That one’s made by my son.”

She pointed over to some type of small machine that looked like it was hastily prepared.

“It’s, er, nice.” Erymanthus said carefully.

“It’s a piece of junk.”The woman replied.

“Erm, okay then.” Erymanthus turned his attention to his daughter. “So, this looks promising. What do you think?”

Rhea only shrugged. “It’s better than seeing another reenactment back home.”

“Oh, it isn’t all bad.” The woman cut in. “Sure, we have some stinkers all around, but it’s worth the few gems that get discovered.”

 

As if on cue, something else was called on stage. It the same boy but this time, he came back with a truly impressive creation. It was a bipedal goliath of a machine, not unlike the creations surface-dwellers made when diving for them was still in their infancy. But unlike those old diving suits, it was far bigger and more refined. Even the most untrained of people could see that this complex piece of machinery.

 

“See? What did I tell you?” The woman said smugly.

Erymanthus ignored her in favor of seeing what his daughter thought, but when he turned to look at her, she wasn’t where she was a few moments ago. He only need to turn his other side to spot her again, seeing that she hadn’t gone far. Nevertheless, it looked like a new problem came up in this vacation - Rhea was speaking to a boy.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 - Worldbuilding

Invent a holiday for a fantasy, science fiction, or alternate history world. Describe its origins and the customs associated with it.

Bonus: Write a scene set during this holiday.

The Damnation.  It's an occasion talked little about, and even so much as mentioning it to the stone-colored Dro'aloth amasses a crowd of imposing glares, enough to shut most of the ignorant up.  Of course, if a visitor's stupidity exceeds that, he or she would find his or her head impaled on one of the front gate's pikes, alongside the murderers, thieves, and failed conquistadors.

Although the Dro'aloth have no conception of day and night, their calendars are among the most accurate of the new world, and annually, on the first new moon of the year (hence, the date changes every year), they begin the ceremonies.  Orphaned Dro'aloth enter a distanced trance at this time when exposed to the lack of moonlight, and go berzerk when interrupted.  Hence, the overworld Erul-ki have often made raids down below to capture at least one of the Dro'aloth children.  The reported death count in the last decade is up to 8 casualties on part of the defending subterranean dwellers, and over half a thousand on the overworld raiders, thanks to the unfamiliar environment and the even deadlier fauna in the dark.

From what the archaeologists and cultural researchers have gathered from private conversations with the elders and quiet observations from the actual ceremony itself, it's a grim, brutal reminder of the Dro'aloths' mortality : a ritual comprised of mixed cries.  Turbulent emotions can be felt from the crowd, even in the safety of the Upper Stratums.  Many visitors, as long as they aren't Erul-ki, are granted the privilege to participate in this ritual.  Braille-esque script is provided for their vocal parts.

The Damnation begins with the Pilgrimage, though in comparison to the other Subterran, the Dro'aloths' own Pilgrimage is a short commute to the Sixty-Third Stratum (as of year 10 PostContact [we'll keep it at PC from now on], it is the lowest Stratum built so far), usually taking about an hour to walk down the precariously thin walkways hewn from lead.

At the 63 Stratum, no light can be seen, and providing any sort of vision results in a well-placed arrow to the throat.  Therefore, only Dro'aloth and a few other races can actually observe the initiation.

Once the entire population of the settlement arrives, a mass execution of prisoners is performed.  Between Dro'aloth settlements, executions differ.  Some people are flayed alive, others are overdosed with anesthetics, yet still others simply fade away into nothingness.  As for the lattermost style, no one knows if the faded have really died.  25 journalists have been "faded", and though scrying them reveals nothing, vital monitors have registered life signs as normal.

After the executions, the Dro'aloth participate in a cavern-wide feast.  It is judged that over four billion kilograms are consumed in this meal.  The meal itself is mostly Paiuep, a dough made of a maize-like plant indigenous to the Caverns (oddly enough, re-introduced Dro'aloth have reported the taste as being similar to that of taro). There is no conversation in the hour-long process.

For the sake of brevity, there is a meal following each ceremony.  Some settlements slowly diminish the servings as a metaphor to the starvation of eternal life their ancestors had.

There is then a personal offering of words to their gods made by each member of the cavern, visitor or not.  The offering may take several hours to a few days, depending on the size of the tribe.  For each offering of words, an apology must be made to correspond each wish. If a child asks for more food in the future, he or she must also beg pardon for gluttony.  If a hunter asks for a good harvest the following year, she will also expect to starve for the next three for her family's sake, etc.

After the offering of words, each and every member of the Cavern recites a poem in unison.  Water is provided for the lead vocalists should their voices fail, but not one member who isn't a water-bearer is allowed to leave the 50 Stratum.  In quiet, shuffling steps, the shrill cries of young, old, male, female, healthy, and sick combine together to create a solemn chorus that echoes to the world above.

The poem is never changed, so translation is fairly quick.

"The cries of the poor are lost. x2

Cast down to earth is our kindred,

weeping as blood-stained tears dribble to the stone below.

No one, but those who are equally cursed, know of this.

The cries...x2

Our gods, once so generous and kind,

were split into facets of selfishness.

By Their Gods, they have gained all,

we have lost all.

The cries of the damned have been choked out.

We now beseech thee,

The Face of Greed,

To spare us your scraps...

...lest the children of the One Once Before,

become lost."

The poem is repeated with different passages that recount the history of the Dro'aloth in between; the bones of fallen kills are sculpted into little rosaries to keep track of the prayers.  This procession often takes the rest of the week to complete.

After this, the final meal occurs before a self-mutilation of all the children occurs.  It varies each year, so first-years differ from the second, and the second the third, and so on all until the twelfth year.  Few generations leave without permanently losing a finger, limb, or other organ.  Those who have injured themselves too badly are quickly sent to the medicine men and doctors, where the bleeding stumps of fingers, hands, and wrists are hurriedly burned to avoid rot.

Another week of grievance is followed for the past who have fallen.  This is also the period when gifted Dro'aloth take in the spirit of a dead shaman to "resume" the service.  The gifted's spirits are taken to a place no one knows, but on the chance they might return in another body, they seem to have perfect memories of their past lives.  However, their past personalities are all but drained.

And so concludes the Damnation.

~~~

Non-bonus bonus snippet :

The Dro'aloth are siilar to the Draegloth in the sense of their "demonic" ancestry, but unlike the Draegloth, their gods have all but abandoned them.  This, and added to the fact that they are a true-bred species (meaning they reproduce without any aid, and can breed with each other with little to no changes in offspring), places them as an entirely different light in comparison to the Draegloth.  Dro'aloth were originally created as genetic chimeras of the Dorul-ki (ancestors of the Erul-ki and Dro'aloth) and an alien race that had visited millennias ago.  The impact of the alien technology is seen as the once beast-like Dorul-ki have now become more civilized races with major advances in perma-culture (monopolized by the Erul-ki) and metalworking (monopolized by the Dro'aloth).

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

78th Day of the Cran Society (A.K.A. Day of Salvation, or Day of 19), Year 1, Month 3, Day 19: 

 On this day, the users of the highly addictive drug, Smooth-Fusion, witnessed a spectacular phenomena when a enigma appeared, claiming to be god; he said that he had gone to sleep after he created the world and humans, and now has return to fix anyone's problems if they asked him to do so; the enigma goes by the name, Ultra. Many skeptical critics made conspiracy theories that accused the Cran Society Government of fooling the people by making a fake god so that they could continue buy and use the drug, weakening the people and making them more easier to control. Although there are many users that claim that Ultra is in fact god himself, none of the Leaders and other officials have been reported to use the drug, yet they still believe in the Ultra. Still, after many miraculous healings, non-users don't like the idea of having to inject themselves with poison to meet their maker. There have been many protests against use of the addictive drug. 

 While on under the influence of the drug, users travel to a place called the Wasteland by Ultra. At the Wasteland, users can meet, be given advice, and be healed by Ultra. During this holiday, Ultra celebrates his return from sleep by taking all users under the influence to the Holy Temples, where Ultra allows 19 random people to stay forever in the peaceful Holy Temples. 

 


 

The Bonus: 

Joe slumped in his favorite reclining chair. He glanced at the syringe, full of the addictive dark green liquid. He glanced at the inside of his left elbow, where he figured he should inject himself. The type of shit I do for money, Joe thought. They better give me some type of shit to ease the withdrawal. He quietly injected himself. He grinned briefly. Soon the room began to swift and became distorted.   

 The gray landscape was filled with other users roaming around while they waited for Ultra to transport them to the Holy Temples. 

 "Hi, you must be new," a young woman said. She had full lips, light soft skin with rosy cheeks, hazel eyes that complemented her tawny wavy hair, that touched her shoulders, and a small delicate body frame. She smiled warmly at Joe, extending her hand out to him. "I'm Jenny," 

 "Uh, hey," Joe said, surprised that a girl on her looks would talk to him, scratch that, what is a girl like her doing here?  "I'm Brad," Joe said as he shook her hand.   

 "Nice to meet you, Brad," she said, her smile never left her face. "So what made you try Smooth-Fusion?" 

 Aww fuck, I didn't think people were gonna ask me questions and shit, Joe thought. "Umm, I can't really say, guess I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about," he said, repeatedly looking at her and looking away. 

 "You're either very curious, or really stupid," she said, still smiling. 

 "Uh? Come again?" Joe asked. 

 "Or you're a spy sent by some group of atheist that don't approve of the drug," she said, laughing. She brotherly punched Joe on his arm. "I was just kidding about the being stupid part," 

 "Ha, yeah," Joe said nervously. She can't fucking know! The RPFS doesn't talk to users! "Uh, I don't want to waste anymore of your time, I'm gonna let you go," Joe said, walking away. 

 "Hey! Wait! You're not wasting my time! And you're new here, where are you going to go? I haven't given you the tour!" Jenny said as she grabbed Joe's hand, pulling him back to her. "You're not trying to get away from me, are you? Am I that annoying?" 

 "No, no," Joe said. "I'm not trying to leave you, I just felt like I was holding you up," He forced a smile on his face. Go to hell, bitch. So possessive. No wonder most horny fucks only smash robotic chicks.  

 "Well, you're not, c'mon let's go for a walk, I'll show you around," she said, and they both started walking. She grabbed his hand and they walked awhile without saying much. Finally she had led him away from the crowd, and into the area where there seemed to be millions of huge gray rocks called, Las Rocas De La Justicia De Dios. 

 She glanced up at Joe. "I love you, Brad," 

 "What?" Joe blurted, quickly looking down at her with a confused face. Is this woman fucking with me? Or is it the drug? Or both? Or am I in love too?

 "I really love you, Brad, I don't think I can live without you not even for a second," she said softly, caressing his face with one hand and with the other, she pulled his head closer to her. She looked into his eyes, and mouthed the words "kiss me". 

 Joe, not knowing what to do, closed his eyes tightly and puckered his lips, waiting for something to happen. 

 She pressed up against him, and gently, almost teasingly, pressed her lips on his. Joe leaned in, wanting more. She jerked her head back, and pushed his face away.  A quick kick to the groin, and a good shove, had Joe on the ground. Joe moaned in agony as he held his groin with both hands. 

 "What the fuck?" Joe managed to say. "What's up with you, I thought you loved me," he said as he stood up. 

 A harsh and firm opened hand slapped Joe across the face. He winced. "Why are you so-" Joe stopped talking, and stood there, mouth agape. 

 Jenny stood a couple feet away, legs spread apart wide, holding a gun in both hands pointed at Joe. "Tell me your real name, Brad,

 "Look, sweetie, I didn't come here to meet some crazy bitch, and I don't have time for your shit," Joe said, reaching behind his back, and pulling out a fully loaded gun. So my weapons also can travel to this place too, eh?

 "I knew you were someone bad," Jenny said, her hazel eyes locked on Joe. "You were stupid enough to come to the party after the appointed time, that's how I figured you out," 

 "I don't care for how you did shit, you end here," Joe squeezed the trigger, sending out a bright blue flash from the end of his muzzle. Jenny stood still like a statue; Joe had paralyzed her, and guessing with the crowd she hung around with, they wouldn't happen to have the necessary equipment to unparalyze her. She will stand there, until the drug wears off. 

 Now, time to do what I came here to do, Joe said to himself. He ran back to the crowd. 

 Big red lips above a pair of eyeballs hovered over the mass of people. Ultra? 

 "Come closer," someone shouted. "Or you're gonna stay here!" 

 Joe obeyed and ran closer to the crowd. Suddenly everything went black. There was a loud humming sound coming from all around. 

 "Welcome to the Holy Temples," a deep voice echoed. There was a temple with four pillars in front of the entrance, sitting on white clouds. The crowd and Joe floated over to the building on a cloud. As they approached the temple, the entrance to the temple opened. Inside, there was no floor, just air. There were millions of smaller temples, similar to the one before the crowd, resting on clouds as well. Ultra appeared before them as they all stepped onto the stairs of the temple. "Welcome, my children," 

  Now's my chance! Joe pressed the AUTOMATIC button on his gun. He sprinted up the stairs, pushing people out of his way. "Now die, you sonofabitch!!!" Joe yelled as he opened fire on the huge lips above the pair of eyeballs. the crowd gasped; some cried. Joe, seeing that he wasn't doing much damage, turned around to face the crowd. Fucking shit won't die! Time to send all these idiots back into the real world. "GO AWAY!!" He yelled as he torn everybody into pieces.

"Oh God, what have I done," he murmured as he stared at the huge mass of dead bodies on the stairs of the Capital Building.  

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

In the first week that the 'sun blossoms' begin to bloom, the mainland of Gaea rejoices in their beauty with a festival to celebrate fire and heat--from the great glory of the rising sun to the comfort of the littlest campfire. Yet, even more than a simple celebration of fire, it is a celebration of the life it both brings and sustains.

In the spirit of the 'love of life,' it is traditional for all the townsfolk to wear wooden masks, carved into the shapes of spirits, gods, animals, and their ancestors as a celebration of both their existence and their memory.

Bonus:

The festival of flames had always been his favorite holiday. The town square was glorious, lit up with hundreds of brightly colored paper lanterns and streamers of white, gold, orange, and red. The flames of torches danced to the beat of the street musicians' song. The drums called to him with their primal rhythm, begging and demanding that he dance. Ribbon dancers clad in flowing silk and acrobats in traditional garb entertained the crowd with their grace.

He breathed in the air with delight. It was filled with the scent of baked goods, spices, grilled meats, wine, and spicy sweets. The air was almost as delicious as the wares themselves. Even the usually obnoxious calls of the merchants were jovial and pleasant to his ears. Everyone was friendly and generous of spirit.

The real reason he loved it, though, was what all the townspeople wore. He studied all of the traditional costumes and every single soul at the festival wore one thing in common. Be they man, woman, child, merchant, performer, or spectator... they wore hand-carved, wooden masks. Some were of animals, some of spirits, some gods, a few of great warriors and royalty.

Masks ... just like the one he wore tonight. For that reason, this was the one night in a whole year that he could walk among his people. For this one night, he needn't feel the weight, the heat, or the hatred of their stares. No fears, no fighting, just acceptance, laughter, and joy.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Posted in the wrong thread, ignore this :P

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 - Talk to Your Characters

Ask an existing or newly created character at least three of the following questions:

Who did you look up to as a child?

Who was your first love?

When did you decide to pursue your current goal?

What is your greatest regret?

What do you think your legacy will be?

Bonus: Ask three more sentences of your own.

Feel free to post your results as a reply to this post!

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Questions to Alison Darko Dariuku, Second Heir to the Darko House

Who did you look up to as a child?
"I looked up to my father, Darrien Darko Dariuku, the most. He was always so strong, but fair. He lead our nation, but had time for my siblings and I. He wasn't an absent dad. He would fiercely defend our nation and his family. He comprised when he had to, but never looked weak doing so. He was a master of  the blade and a master of elemental magic. He was even offered a teaching position under Whiteblade, the ulitimate swordmaster of shapeshifter, which could have lead to him being the next Whiteblade. He was everything I hoped and dreamed to be.

Yet he was humble. He didn't give off snootiness, like many of the other heads of houses did. He was king of our nation, but did not think himself better than a lowly beggar. He expected us to go by the same princples I remember once he had my triplet brother Frost thrown in jail for a couple days because Frost tried to get away with stealing a first edition book from one of  the castle servants. He did not give us special treatment for being his children, but I did not want it."
 

Who was your first love?
"Kayla was my first love. She was a fox shape shifter. She was also one of the best archers in Aullien. I loved her, until she tried to kill my older half sibling, Ice. The arrow missed his heart by an inch. I can never forgive her for that betrayal. I was foolish to trust her with our escape plans once the rebellion forces attacked the castle."

When did you decide to pursue your current goal?
"The moment I heard my father was dead at the hands of my own mother. It was from my traitor triplet brother, Frost. He was gloating about it to me. He then tried to kill me with a blade he had hidden in his sleeve. I'll never forget the mixture of pleasure and repulsion I felt in slitting his throat with the blade that he tried to slit mine with."
 

What is your greatest regret?
"It is a toss up. Part of me, the part not obsessed with revenge, regrets killing Frost. He was my brother. Regardless of what side he chose, he was family. Maybe, if I hadn't killed him, he would of came around to the other side.

The other great regret is not finding out my mother's intentions and the rebellion before it was too late. I may of been only twelve at the time, but I was smart and already on my way to being a great warrior. I did not notice anything wrong. Maybe I could of saved my father, if I was a little more observant."

What do you think your legacy will be?
"I say this with regret, but I think my legacy will be a bloodbath. It seems the only way that the Darko house can take control of Aullien again. The Dragon house will not go down without a war. My mother will not stop till we're all dead, especially me. I killed her favorite child. The rebels that joined the war are confused and fighting whoever they came across now. They seek neither the Darko house ruling or the Dragon House ruling. I don't know if what they seek is possible for our society, but I know that they won't stop pushing till they have been completely defeated, killed, or get what they want."

Bonus

What area of magic suits you best?
"I, like many of my kind, use elemental magic the most. In particular, I tend to use fire magic. Every shapeshifter is born with a tendency towards a particular element. This tendency usually matches personality. I am passionate, hot-tempered, and impulsive. So I think fire matches my personality very well. You can do so much with fire. For a shape shifter in animal form, fire magic formed over your natural claws or fangs can add an edge in combat.

Speaking of forms, I also have abilities in form of my shape shifting, which most humans consider magic. Every shape shifter has (at least) three forms. There is a human form, which is pretty much human looking except for possibly strange hair color, eye color, or skin color. These is a mixed form, which is human with some animal features. For a feline shape shifter, this form is like their human one but has a cat tail, cat ears, and cat eyes. The third is their beast form. This form can be a domestic animal or a wild animal. A shape shifter can stop the transformation between these forms at any time they please. I, being a Darko Daruiku, have five forms. I am able to shift to a beast form of a cat and a wolf. I also have the mixed form of both a feline shape shifter and a canine shape shifters."

How many have you killed?
" I haven't killed that many, honestly. I killed Frost. I killed a group of rebels that tried to kill my triplet sister Snow, who is the first heir now. I think there was four of them. I've killed a couple people while hiding here being a mercenary and thief. I killed a hunter that almost killed Christian. I think that is all, if we're counting deaths that I caused by my own hand. If we are counting deaths caused by my existence as an heir that number would get much higher as numerous lives have been lost in this civil war. I don't really want to think about it. That number could be well in the ten thousands."

Do you think your father would approve of what you have done?
"I don't know. I would hope so. I don't know if he would of kept fighting for House Darko to lead at the cost of so many lives. He might have, seeing as our enemies want us dead even if we were to give up our claims to rule. He was a selfless person. I think it would have troubled him greatly to continue on like this. It may have been a mercy that he died before he was faced with this."

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

IHira, aka icedancer225.

"Hira, before we ask you any particulars, why don't you tell us a little about yourself?"

"Well I live in Japan, I can't get much more specific than that because I'm more than a little afraid of stalkers. I am 16 years old. As many of my subscribers know, when I was younger I was an ice skater. I was competing all over Japan before one day during a practice I fell and fractured my spine. Since then I haven't been able to move my lower body. When I was 13, about a yea after the accident, I found a video game that would let me feel what it was like to skate again with new virtual reality technology, after that I kept on playing all sorts of games and when Fun Madness came our I became really good at it. I'm not proud of becoming so addicted, but there's not much else for me to do. Luckily now during server downtime, I have a pool that I bought with my earnings."

"Yes, she bought a pool with money that she made from a video game. Well actually advertisers paid to advertise on her a channel, but a few years ago that was unheard of. And she's just being modest when she's says she's good. She's in the top 10 on 11 of the main 18 servers and is the highest ranked female in the world. Enough chit chat about the game, our main focus for this interview is you. Who did you look up to when you were younger?"

"It's a hard choice, but probably Shizuka Arakawa. She is just such a fantastic skater and I actually saw her live when I was a young girl."

"What do you think your legacy will be?"

"I never thought that after I became paralyzed I would get a legacy, but now things have changed. Hopefully I can show girls that they can be just as good as boys in anything."

"That's a noble goal. The question on everyone's minds is, who was your first love?"

Hira chuckles a bit. "Let's just say there's a reason I don't show my face on my channel."

"Oh I'm sure that's not the case. What music do you listen to?"

This question Hira seems exited about. "I listen to a lot of music, I like rock especially, though. I like Shark Attack as well as The Old Blind Monks. My favorite bans would probably be The Gentlemen Penguins."

"I've never heard of any of those bands. Ok, last question I promise. What is your favorite book?"

"Easy, Sherlock Holmes. I'm big into mysteries."

"There you have if folks, Hira.".

The web broadcast ends.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Character: Acanius ~ Son of King Aegisthus, Prince of Taelia. [Aeternus - Rise of a Legend]

Who did you look up to as a child?

"Who, you would ask. The answer is obvious, my father, Aegisthus. My home of Taelia was nothing more than a warring state, much like that of Aeternus itself. It is he that unified the land of Taelia and placed it under a single banner. Through him, peace was achieved. I myself look to him whenever I need guidance. Not only as a king, but as a father. In a way...I seek to be more like him than I am willing to admit."

Who was your first love?

"Love? You would ask me of love? My first love was nothing of flesh and bone that many are so accustomed to, but rather the meaning behind something. My love has many faces, all covered in the blood of mankind. Sometimes, my love will end lives for the sake of a god, sometimes for honor, and sometimes for simple greed. When you ask 'who is my love', you should have simply asked 'what'. And the answer...war. War can be so,,,beautiful. The meaning in war itself can only be appreciated by those who truly understand the concept. Others look at war as a beast that takes the lives of many, but I see war differently. War is honor, for every man who takes up arms knows that he must defend it. War is truth, pain is what always shows the true character of any man, even the silent. War is peace, because without it, true peace can never be known. And it all starts with the pain that war brings, similar to what you would describe as heartbreak. Pain brings hatred, through hatred comes war. Through war comes peace, but without an understanding of what war is, the peace will never last. War...war is everything."

What is your greatest regret?

"Hmph, regret is for the weak. All that I have done, whether you think it good or bad, it for the better of Aeternus. I will not claim to have sorrow for the lives that I have taken, nor will I ever ask for forgiveness. All that matters is the end, and never will I doubt myself. You may call me a demon, but sometimes only a demon can do what needs to be done.

What do you think your legacy will be?

"I have no delusions of me being remembered by all as the hero who unified Aeternus, in fact, I count on the opposite. When my goal of conquering all of Aeternus is realized, it will matter not what the people think of me, for the result will remain the same. There are those who will hail me as a hero, one who saved them from an oppressor. Then there will be those that see me as the oppressor, but again, it matters not. What does matter, is that I WILL be remembered. My name will forever be burned into the memory of those who lost loved ones on my orders. Statues in my image will erect within the walls of cities who hail me as a hero. The faint whisper of my presence will be within all the cities razed when they refused to submit to my will. 'Acanius' will be carved into the very mountains of Aeternus. The sun shall never set on my legacy, for I will live on forever. Through my name and my name alone, I will become immortal."

Bonus:

What is one of your greatest accomplishments?

"I remember it as though it were yesterday. It was the day of my first ever battle, I was a commander serving with a general of Taelia. At the time, I was only fifteen. I had under my command a force of 100 men, ready to serve, and the enemy had our entire Taelian force of 2,000 men outnumbered one to four. The odds were not in our favor, and the deserts of Nidus were unforgiving. I was under orders by the general to keep my personal force in the back, we would act as a shock unit and charge the enemies flank. I however was not very thrilled that this general was so content with letting me sit back like some pampered noble. However, I complied. From the distance, I had a clear view of the battlefield and I saw an opening in the formations of the enemy. Their lines had broken in the side, leaving a clear shot towards their field commander. Just as I began to consider my options, I received my signal to charge the area that I was supposed to flank. I chose to ignore the call, knowing that it would cost the lives of the men who were being attacked by the enemy. I took my force of 100 men and charged at the broken line in the enemy formation. Upon contact, it became a bloodbath. I had never actually been in battle before this, but somehow, I just felt as though my movements weren't my own. That perhaps I wasn't myself, but in truth, I believe that this was me this whole time. I was born for war, and I proved it that day when I returned to the general with the bloodied head of the enemy commander. The Nidus forces scattered and routed, the day was Taelia's."

What do you value?

Loyalty above all else. A disloyal man is scum and needs to be eradicated. Even those who abandon their own commander and swear loyalty to me will only find themselves stuck to a pike. It is better to die a loyal man, than to live as a traitor."

Can you give us one of your speeches?

"Hmm, I guess I can indulge you in that. I shall give you the speech just before I began to siege Nidus. I remember it well, it was nightfall, and the catapaults were launching balls of fire at the walls of the city. The sky was illuminated with the glow from the flames that burned on the walls. From the outside, it appeared as though we were going to enter the gates of the underworld. My words that day, were as follows."

"Look before you men! What do you see? To some, you may see the city that is known to be impenetrable. For centuries have gone and yet these wall still stand. To some, it may seem as though the gods themselves side with the forces of Nidus. What I see, is a dying legacy! These walls represent the age of Nidus coming to an end. They are old! Weak! Unfit to call themselves strong! They have never faced such an enemy as you, that they would cower within their city! The fires that burn around those gates, seem as though we enter into the underworld itself! If that is the case, then we should feel welcomed! We have fought and lived through the wrath of hell itself! Through war, we have become like beasts...demons that strike fear into the hearts of any mortal man who dares to show his face. On this day, we shall let all of Aeternus know of the might of Taelia! Our names will be heard from the northern mountains, to the southern forests, all the way to the sea in the west. They shall know of Taelia! For today, we mark ourselves in history! And remember men! History is written in blood, and built upon a foundation made from the bones of the fallen. On this day...let us add bones of our enemies to history!"

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

The Imperial Aegis Order; Quarterly Psychological Evaluation
Aegis [01] Aerien Ilsari
(Completed March 9th, Year 981 of Emperor Isten)

--transcript redacted--

Q: When did you decide to pursue your current goal?
[01]: This morning. My current goal is to live to see tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning, my goal will be to see the morning after that. It helps keep me focused.

--transcript redacted--

Q: What is your greatest regret?
[01]: I...(subject displays of reluctance in answering)...I regret that I won't be able to meet my father. I'll never get a chance to speak to him. I regret that I won't ever be able to challenge him, with my fists instead of my magic, so that he at least has a chance of fighting back before I make him pay for what he has done. But as an Aegis, I can't hurt a citizen of the Empire. So it's for the best that I will never meet him.

--transcript redacted--

Q: What do you think your legacy will be?
[01]: The same legacy every Aegis leaves behind. One more village that doesn't burn. One more wraith banished back to the abyss. I know I'm just buying time. But the stronger I am, the more missions I'll be able to do - and if it means my friends live just another day longer, then that's my legacy - another day, another week, another year of life that someone else gets to live.

--transcript redacted--

Q: What do you desire most?
[01]: I was in the Capital once. I saw a someone who looked a lot like me - he must have thought so too, because he pointed me out to his parents. I couldn't hear what they said, but his mother smiled at me. They were both holding his hand, and I think they walked into restaurant after that. Just one day - I'd like to know what it's like to live his life for just one day.

Q: What do you fear most?
[01]: When you're really close to death, did you know that you can feel your oath-bond? You can feel it because it strains and threatens to break. It's much more fragile than you think. If I ever find myself close to death, and I doubt for just a second, I'm afraid that it will break. Then I'll become a wraith, and my friends will either banish me or be killed by me.

Q: Do you swear to uphold your duty to the Emperor even in the face of your greatest desire and greatest fear?
[01]: I swear to uphold my duty to the fullest extent of my capabilities until death or the Emperor release me from my oath.

Final notes: Subject displays no signs of mental degradation and may be cleared for missions. Loyalty falls within acceptable ranges. It should be noted that the subject shows deteriorating self-preservation instincts and a lack of expectation for the future that may eventually evolve into mission fatigue and suicidal tendencies. A period of reduced in mission frequency is recommended.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Archived interview of Jane Hartley, the person responsible for the discovery of the existence of intelligent Extraterrestrial life:

Who did you look up to as a child?

Oh, my father, definitely. He was conscripted in World War I, and I suppose it was actually a good thing, since if he hadn't been, he never would have understood morse code, and would have never been able to decypher the code that aliens were transmitting. Also, he did help a great deal in the construction of the radio; I mean, I was a high school student, there's no way I'd have be able to finish it on my own, so yeah, he definitely deserves a significant portion of recognition, as well.

When did you decide to pursue your current goal?

Well, after assured discovery of the existence of aliens, as you probably know, I took on a mediator between the alien race and humanity, since I figured someone had to do it, and I mean the fact that an alien message was broadcast on a radio I had just created, has to mean something, right?

What do you think your legacy will be?

The obvious answer would be being one of the two people to have single-handedly discovered the existence of alien life, but I honestly want it to be something more than that. The fact that, I've stood up when no one else did, to mediate and facilate discussion between the two species. I mean, shit, once me and my father publicly announced we had discovered the message, people though we were fucking crazy. After providing evidence, naturally, a ton of people would still hesitant, but some did realize it was true, and people panicked. A few weeks later, and the thing everyone in China wakes up to is a big fucking UFO, right over there heads. Well, convincing people these guys mean well was tad bit more difficult afterwards.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Welcome back to 'The Hour of the Wolf', your number one talkshow hosted by a wolf. Today I'm on the Island of Cyclopses to talk to Polyphemus, as seen in 'A Hero's Odyssey, in his cosy cave-dwelling.

Well then, let's begin with my first question: Who did you look up to as a child?

Hmm, good question. I think I used to look up to my father Poseidon, the almighty god of the seas. Yes, I remember growing up with my brothers on our own cosy, private island, frolicking and dancing through its lush fields and endless vineyards. Though our father didn't often visit us, I always kept my eye towards the heavens or the seas to try and catch a glimp of my beloved father. Of course, that was before Nobody came and blinded me! Nobody betrayed me and blinded me in my own home! I WILL RAIN DEATH AND DESTRUCTION UPON NOBODY IF I EVER MEET NOBODY AGAIN!

Ehm, okay then, let's ehm... let's continue with the next question: Who was your first love?

Ah, that is quite a hard one. You see, as I said before only I and my brothers inhabited our little island and though us ancient Greeks fall in love with almost anyone or anything, incest is somewhat frowned upon. However, there is this large ram in my flock, a real delight to see, with his dark black wool and grand posture. He is always leading my flock of sheep and will always comfort me in my hours of sadness. At night, he keeps me company and...

Okay, I think we heard enough, let's continue to the third question: When did you pursue your current goal? And maybe you can tell us what your current goal is?

Ah yes, I am currently trying to find an old friend of mine and I would appreciate the help of your viewers in finding him. His name is Nobody and he might have been shipwrecked on an island near you. If that's the case he probably is in your home right now, raiding your pantry and secretly plotting to blind you with a wooden stick. I would like to talk to him once more and settle our recent differences in a peaceful way, BEFORE I SMASH HIS SKULL ON THE COLD, HARD FLOOR. Ahum, like I said, if you have any news about him, please contact this network and they'll send you the contact details of me and my almighty, smiting father.

Very good! Well then, may I ask you what your greatest regret is?

Well, I used to think that that time when I accidentally flattened a sheep by doing... something was my greatest regret, but then I made a bad choice by letting some very honored guests sleep in my home, even though they were stealing my food. And I know, I know, some human rights fascists will tell me that I started this whole fight by smashing in the heads of some of my guests, but hey! What was I supposed to do? I had no more food left after those barbarians ate it all!

Uhu uhu, okay then, and what do you think your legacy will be?

I think that writers and poets will remember me as a kind and generous host who is betrayed by his guests, even though we all fell under the sacred rights of hospitality. I hope that they will one day write an epic about the tragedy that has befallen me and my family, so that my good name will live on through the ages. And that that vermin who blinded me will be cursed by generations to come.

Will edit in the bonus later

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Questions for Isamu (the main character of my aborted Japanese assassin game, mentioned in my bonus for the first exercise):

Who did you look up to as a child?

"Anyone who wasn't trying to stab me in the back. So, to answer your question, nobody, not for very long, at least."

When did you decide to pursue your current goal?

"By current goal, I assume you mean my rushing into a heavily fortified citadel teeming with several of my former assassins, most of which I couldn't beat 1 on 1, alongside someone who has literally spent years trying to kill me. Well, you could say I had a funny idea and said, 'eh, what the Hell?'"

What do you think your legacy will be?

"Legacy? We assassins have no legacy. We are invisible. We do the bidding of our masters, and then we die. That's all there is to it."

Is there any reason you're being so cynical?

"Hmm...I don't know. It might have something to do with the fact that I never met my parents, was raised by a bunch of backstabbing crooks in a fake monastery, and always had to worry about trigger happy Itachi "accidently" slitting my throat,  any time I came back from a mission."

Do you expect to succeed in your current goal?

"The whole 'storming the fort' thing? No, I honestly don't, but, again, 'what the Hell?'.

What will you do if you happen to succeed?

"You mean aside from killing that bastard that kicked me out of the clan, and taking control for myself?"

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Interview with Alexandria Valentine and Vin, from Spiral Knights fanfict "The Cafe".

"Alex?"

"Yeah?"

"Ready for the interview?"

"Not yet.  It's something with the hairtie..."

"Here, lemme help you out with that.  Done."

[Camera's vision slowly fades into view of a cafe.  A pitcher of water sits besides an empty glass on a metal stand, with a metal Panton-designed chair sitting comfortably next to the furniture. The background is mostly white, though the occasional passing shadow shows that it is in fact the front door of the cafe, though it has just been covered with a layer of what plastic.  The sounds of outside are completely muted, but the soft hum of fluorescent lights and the AC can be heard. Footsteps are then heard as a girl, probably around the age of 7, bounces into the field of view and hops into the seat before getting herself comfortable.  She's wearing a navy blue skin-tight suit made of some polyester-carbon fibre material, covered with an unpolished, grey-white cuirass and skirt mail of the same metallic material.  Her black hair is slightly curly, but not to the point of frizzy, and it's tied up in a ponytail.  Her sapphire eyes seem to sparkle in the light.]

"Alright.  I'm going to ask you a question, you answer it, and you can ask me the next question.  We can go back and forth or skip if you want to.  Is that alright?"

[The girl nods.]

"So...Alexandria, who's your favorite role model?"

"...um...well, Dad, would you be angry if I said it wasn't you?"

"No honey, not at all!"

"I think Mom is.  She's really nice whenever she talks with Vaelyn, even when she gets teased.  Or when one of the doctors in white give her medicine with a needle.  I wanna be strong like that!"

[The sound of a chair being dragged is heard, and in comes a young man with an androgynous appearance.  His baggy white shirt and skinny jeans don't help any more with gender identification.  Like the girl, he has black hair, though his is much straighter and coarser than hers, and his eyes are pale blue, like a husky's.]

"Alright," the man says, "shoot me a question."

[The girl clears her throat.]

"Daddy, who was the first person you like-liked?"

"Would you be angry to say it wasn't your mom?"

"Yes!"

[The man laughs a little.]

"It's not funny Dad!"

"Alright!  Alright!  Don't be throwing a tantrum now...

Well, you know that all of us, except your mom and you, came from a place far away, right?"

[The girl nods.]

In that place, I used to be an...electrician.  I fixed lights, cables, really simple things.  At the same time, I was also studying to be an engineer.  I didn't really want to spend my life just...you know, fixing things.  One of my best friends there wanted to support me.  She was with me since childhood, and she wanted to be a nurse, so she also studied and worked to support me and herself. I really wanted to marry her, but..."

[The man looks at his lap, and goes silent.]

"...they had the Skylark leaving, and I tried to get on with her, but she was left behind instead.  I wasn't a really...nice person for a while, until I met your mom.  She was just like her.  I know your mom and I have you, but still...every now and then, I'd like to think she's safe and with someone she can depend on every once in a while."

"What did she look like?"

"Oh...um...black hair that reached down to her chest...really pale skin.  She also had dark brown eyes.  A lot of us, the Knights, had dark eyes and eyes of all colors before we got our suits.  Then our eyes became our favorite color.

She wasn't the best-looking, but she was cute.  I used to pinch her cheeks just like this..."

[The man pinches the girl's cheek, but withdraws his hand fast enough to avoid getting it slapped away.]

"...and that's as far as I remember.

Alright honey, your turn.  Oh...wait, this question's a little weird, since they just chose you a week ago.  Lemme go change it...why did you want train with the Moorcroft Militia?"

"Well, Daddy, as soon as you told me you weren't working with the Order anymore, I wanted to try something else.  From what Uncle Rhendon said, I was the only one that could work with Moorcroft.  It was a little scary, but I didn't have any friends in the Order.  I didn't think it'd be that different over there.

Alright, your turn.  What is your greatest...regret?  What does that mean?"

"A regret?  It's like something you did that you'd want to change, but it's in the past, so you can't change it.  My greatest regret?

[The man smiles, and looks at the the ceiling.]

I've done a lot of bad things, but they all turned out good...mostly.  I guess...not being there when Mom gave birth to you.  I shouldn't have been busy at that time, but...well, things would get really, really ugly if I didn't.  Your turn.

When you get old...what do you want to complete before that happens?  What do you want to leave behind for everyone else?"

[The girl beams with a smile at this.  Looks like she's got this question down.]

"A world where everyone won't have to die fighting each other.  Well, a world that can bring Mom, me, and you together."

"Thank you honey."

[The man gives the girl a tight hug, and plants a smooch on the girl's forehead before giving her an even tighter hug.]

"Oh Vog, you're crushing me Daddy..."

"I know..."

[The man plops the girl down onto the chair, and returns to his own seat before standing up to drag the chair back.  The camera fades into black.]

Bonus :

"My turn," the girl says.

"So, did you and Mommy ever...kiss?"

"A lot, yeah.  My turn.  Do you like-like a boy?"

"DAD, WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?!" the girl shrieks as she flushes a bright pink. "I-I'M TOO YOUNG FOR THAT!"

The man bursts into a fit of laughter.

"You're such a liar Alex!  Who's the lucky devil?"

"...promise me you won't be angry?"

"No, not really.  You're only seven; I don't expect you guys to actually like-like each other for long."

"Hi-his name's Gaius.  He's a Firebrander, and also part of Wrath, just like me.  He's really nice to me."

"How old is he?"

"...9."

"Is he handsome like Daddy?"

"...I-I DON'T KNOW!  It's not my fault I have the only dad in the whole world that looks like a girl!  How should I know!  Well...he looks cool...

Alright.  MY.  TURN.

Why did you stop working with Uncle Rhendon and the other people?"

"Simply...I didn't really like them.  It got boring, and I also had to take care of you as well as a bunch of other people that weren't being treated.  It's not that Uncle Rhendon or Vaelyn is that mean, but it's their bosses that are.  And they can't really quit what they do, because they don't know how to do anything else."

"Oh...okay."

"It's almost time to go...alright honey, give one on the cheek for luck."

Peck.

"One on the forehead so I don't forget anything."

Peck.

"And I'll give you one on the lips to say..."

Peck.

"...I love you.  Alright, let's go to school!"

The man walks over to the camera, and ends the recording.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Awhh, this'll be fun! I'm gonna interview Lula! ^_^

(The interview is based some time just before the big battle at the end of innocence lost. Some of the questions I might re-phase or extend on, but I'm still counting them as one question.)

Q: Who did you look up to as a child?

A: Why you ask this question? When I am being small, I am looking up to everyone. They more big than me.

Rephrasing the question: No, I mean who did you most want to be like?

A: Oh that easy! When I am small I am want to be like Demeke. Demeke is being older boy in my village. He is run more fast then anyone I know and he is best at tree climb too. He climb right to top of date tree and drop dates down to us for to eat.

Q: Who was your first love?

A: Silly lady! I am not have first love. I am being nine!

Q: When did you decide to pursue your current goal?

A: What you mean?

Rephrasing the question: What is the thing you want the most and when did you decide you wanted it?

A: Oh... Well Mistress is train me for to be gladiator now, so thing I want most is for not to die. When I decide I want it? ... I think I am always deciding that not to die is good idea.

Q: What is your greatest regret?

A: When men see me steal, they catch me and beat me hard and make me for to be slave. I am hating to be slave, so this is thing I regret most... Not the steal, the get caught.

Q: What do you think your legacy will be?

A: I not understand.

Rephrasing the question: What do you think will be left behind after you die?

A: That is not being nice question. Probably big mess of blood on floor.

Bonus:

Q: What do you think of your classmates:

A: I am liking Greek boys best. I was on boat with them when I come to Rome. Alexius is good boy. He is being like small brother for me. I am look after him. Andreas is more big and sometimes I am liking him much but sometimes I am shouting at him because he do things I not like... So he is being like brother too.

Gerda is little bitch. She is hurt small children for fun and I am not liking her. Is okay though because I am put beetle in her bed last night and when she wake up she is making scream like small pig. All girls are laughing at her and I am not being angry no more.

I am liking Zeru. He is big and quiet and he not talking a lot or making smile but I am still liking him. He is hard for to fight, but he is not making hurt for fun like Gerda. Brasus is good boy but he cry all time like baby. He need to stop the cry and be man. Is okay. I help him train for to be more strong.

Q: What about your Masters? What do you think of them.

A: Is hard for to know. Master Titus is nice but I not think he care about us. Mistress Rhode is not nice, but I think she is care... So... I think that mean Mistress is better... You not tell them I am saying this though.

Extending on question: What about the children?

A: Master Septimus is little bitch like Gerda. Septimus is more worse though because I can hit Gerda back. Mistress Caecilia is no bad, but she is being silly girl. One day I am seeing her cry because of baby cat that is dead. When you are gladiator, people is being dead all the time. Stupid to cry for baby cat.

Q: What would you do if you were given your freedom?

A: First thing I am doing is finding little bitch Septimus for to punch in face. After that I not know. I ask the boys.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Equinox, a character from the Leroy/Mr.Sunshine universe.

Who did you look up to as a child?

"I cannot recall, but Idols do not matter. I don't know or care. I am who I want now, building a just society as I've always wanted. "

Who was your first love?

"Love is a nuerotic creature that will rip out one's heart. Ever since I wore the mask I spent my days strangling it, burying it in a place that I could not feel. It was safer that way. My only love is pure Justice, in all her fairness and brutality."

Did you love anyone before that?

"Hasn't everyone? it was a silly affair with some girl in high school that I do not want to get into... She died under unfortunate circumstances..."

When did you decide to pursue your current goal?

"I first decided to pursue the art of justice when they gave me that... Needle... But I was weak then, I was fearful. I could not bring myself to do what I did ever again. Not until I saw that body lying in the street. When I saw that criminals could be that bold, I knew it had gone too far. I had to give every one of them exact retribution."

What is your greatest regret?

"My greatest regret is not removing Henry from this plane when I had the chance. He had too much pain then, and far too much pain now. His heart has become hideous, and I fear I will have to kill him in retribution soon."

What do you think your legacy will be?

"No doubt they will think of me as some sort of twisted monster when I am gone. An Idealist with the wrong ideal. Perhaps they are right... But if I leave without taking the Smiling Man with me, they will wish that my justice was the one that reigned, not his."

Bonus:

Isn't there a flaw in your logic? Aren't you doing wrong when you punish people?

"Whoever told thee that I would not be punished when I am done? I have plans, sir, and I will go through with them one way or another."

How would a society work with "exact retribution"? There are too many people with too much bias to do it properly.

"There is a simple answer to thy question: It would not. I am not doing this because I think society would be able to do it after me, I am doing this because it is what society needs currently."

How exactly do you plan on punishing yourself?

"The man in the Smiling Mask will kill me, of course. But I will also kill him. Fail that, the inspector will kill him. Justice will find a way."

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

It is advised that you do not read this interview if you are easily offended. Please remember that a character’s views are not necessarily shared by the author.

The following interview includes all five of Morgan’s questions as well as three of my own. They are not in Morgan’s order and mine are all mixed in.

Interview with Tom Jackson, future ruler of Earth

The video starts playing. The Qcorp logo is briefly shown on screen: a letter C within a letter Q, both in white and a sleek, stylish font which suggests a technologically advanced brand. The screen cuts to two teenage boys, aged maybe 14 or 15, facing one another, each in a cushy looking leather chair. Text at the bottom of the screen indicates that the tall one of average build, with blue eyes and dark hair, is Tom Jackson, future overlord of Earth. The other, a stocky boy with slicked back platinum blonde hair and wearing an expensive looking suit, is Quinn Whiteshaw, CEO of Qcorp.

Quinn: Hello folks, Quinn Whiteshaw here. I’m here today with Tomber-

Tom: Tiddlywinklesporktigonstew on a tepid frying pan full of cheese wire!!!!!!! How many times did I tell you not to say my full first name!?

Quinn: Okay, I’m sorry. Ahem. I’m here today with Tom Jackson, who has ambitions of one day ruling over the world. In today’s video I’m going to interview him.

Tom: Thanks, Quinn! Pleasure to be here.

Quinn: Thanks for coming here, Tom! Without further ado, when did you decide to pursue your current goal?

Tom: I don’t know, really. I’ve always wanted to take over the world ever since I can remember. I often watched Pinky and the Brain from a very early age. Hell, I practically grew up on that show. It probably made me the way I am now, and boy am I glad about that.

Quinn: Who did you look up to as a child?

Tom: Oh boy, that’s a tough one. I had many role models as a youngling.

Adolf Hitler is the first one that springs to mind. His use of fear and propaganda to control his sheeple was simply astounding. His ambition of uniting the world under one reich, while a little idealistic, really moved me as a child. It was a shame that he had such bigoted and nonsensical views regarding Jews. If you can get past the anti-semitism in Mein Kampf it’s a great read.

Genghis Khan was another favourite. Can’t say he was the most pleasant man either, but what an amazing attempt at world conquest, especially given the limited technology back then. And just look at the results! Take, for instance, the Mongolian blue spot. It’s said that over 60% of all the world’s babies today are born with it, and it was all thanks to good ol’ Genghis along with his goons. My personal target is for the birthmark on my left arse cheek, just inside the crack, to have spread to 80% of the world population by the year 2500.

So this is a role model you wouldn’t expect from an atheist like me. My parents took me to church from a young age but I never really believed in God. But the tales of Old Testament Yahweh fascinated me with his badassery, bringing ruin upon city after city. He was also a stunning example of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, which I think is something we can all learn from as budding overlords. My only problem with Yahweh - oh sorry, spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t gotten to the New Testament chapters yet - was that He got too soft after all the Jesus and forgiveness crap. I mean, it’s like they rewrote His character or something. I suppose it’s normal for a series to worsen in quality as the writers run out of ideas, but I can’t help but feel a little sad.

I always had a soft spot for the Joker. Batman was a great character too and I liked him for his use of fear on his enemies and for being such a badass, but everyone knows that the star of the franchise is the Clown Prince of Crime. Just look at the Arkham video games; - spoilers again!!! - after they foolishly killed Joker off in Arkham City, they decided to write him into the next game by going back in time. Not only was the man a master of sadism and general murder and mischief, he was an unprecedentedly hilarious comedian. What’s the point in life if you don’t enjoy it? Joker taught me many things including how to be funny; how to have swag and style in your killings; how to treat your goons; how to troll people in a tasteful manner; how to vary your plots and schemes in order to be unpredictable; how to wear a purple suit and not look like a figurative clown; how to laugh like you’re truly loopy.

I could go on for a very long time about people I looked up to, and still do look up to, but for the sake of the viewers, I’ll leave it at this.

Quinn: Who was your first love?

Tom: I don’t know, some girl at nursery called Kimberly that I had a crush on. I was a little tot at the time too, of course. I’m not some paedophile.

But my first true love? That would be Gabby, my girlfriend. I used to think nobody was perfect until I met her. Well, technically I haven’t met her in person, what with it being a long distance relationship and all, but you know what I mean. I used to think nobody was perfect until I Skyped her. She is the most beautiful girl in the world.

Quinn: What’s your favourite hot drink?

Tom: Green tea. But I prefer it iced.

Quinn: What are some of your plans for global takeover?

Tom: I’m afraid my current plans are classified, but I can give you one of my old abandoned ideas if you like.

The idea was to start out by slapping about one of my weaker classmates at school until I could force them to submit and join my army. I’d then go repeat on a bunch of other feeble losers until I had a substantial force comprised of said feeble losers. Eventually I wouldn’t have to be the only one doing the fighting so, even though they were just a load of weaklings, we could beat up and recruit stronger people to my army through sheer numbers. The plan was to go around growing our army using this process, perhaps gaining more resources and weapons along the way, until the whole world would be a part of this force with me as its leader. It was a simple plan - perhaps too simple. It didn’t take into account things like other, already established, bigger and better equipped armies which would undoubtedly get in the way. It would also be a logistical nightmare with trying to keep track all of its members and making sure orders were followed. I never tried it beyond the bounds of the playground, but it’s more than likely it would have failed. It wasn’t my best world domination scheme but in my defense I was only six or seven at the time, and it was a start. Even geniuses like I have to fail in order to learn. It’s just a natural part of life.

Quinn: What are your plans for after achieving your goal of taking over the world?

Tom: Move in with Gabby and get married; make Pinky and the Brain part of the school curriculum; work out to get that muscular overlord look, because I’m not a fan of the fat baldy overlord look; get new goons that are actually at least somewhat literate; find a white thick furred cat to put on my lap and stroke as I sit on my overlord throne; have some overbearing and intimidating looking overlord outfits designed, preferably in black.

Quinn: What is your greatest regret?

Tom: That time when I lost my notes on a near perfect world domination plan. All I needed was a few more days and the world would have been mine! But I’m young and I still have time. Besides, how many can say they’ve come so close to conquering all of Earth, let alone people my age? Exactly - none.

Quinn: What do you think your legacy will be?

Tom: Other than the aforementioned buttocks birthmarks? I’ll be feared and revered as the first overlord of Earth, the ender of war amongst humans, the beginner of a new era of world unity and prosperity for all, defender of Earth, the best singer of cartoon show theme songs, the world’s greatest insane genius, and last but not least, sexiest man to have ever graced the Earth. And history will never forget such an incredible guy, so they’ll worship me and love me for ever. Every time they ever have problems they’ll ask themselves “what would the first overlord have done?”

I guess Gabby will become very famous as the beautiful wife of the overlord too.

Quinn: A great thanks to Tom for allowing me to interview him today. Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe! See you next video, folks.

The two boys wave to the camera and smile just before the video ends.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

(These are characters that are some of the first I ever made. The dialog before the questioning is to give a hint at personality and context.)

Hunter was walking through the forest when he heard a rustling sound in the tree above him. He looked up just in time to see Nataline hurtling down towards him. Jumping out of the way, he let out a rather long stream of cussing. With a thud Natline landed beside him.

"What the Heck were you doing? Why'd you jump on me?" he said shooting her an accusing glare and growled bit afterwards.

"Just having some fun. You are hilarious when you're panicked." she said while giggling a bit.

"That is not what you call 'fun'"

"Yes it is."

"No, it isn't."

"I'm right, you're wrong. It's as simple as that." she said while smiling at me.

"No I-"

"I'm not listening." she sang.

Hunter growled again and started to stalk off, but she stopped him.

"I have a few questions for you." she put her hand on his shoulder and looked at him.

"Well, I'm not answering them after that." he muttered, avoiding her gaze.

"Please?" she asked pleadingly.

"Fine." he mumbled. "What did you want to ask me?"

"Well, first off, I was just wondering who you looked up to as a child." she asked curiously.

"Umm..... Well, I don't think I 'looked up' to anyone." he said cautiously, shifting his feet a little.

"Really? No one?" she said, looking a little surprised.

"Not really."

"Well, next question. Who was your first love?" she said while trying to stifle a laugh.

"W-what?" he looked taken aback at the question.

"I asked who your fist love was. Are you deaf?"

"N-no! Uh, next question!" he said, turning beet red and looking around wildly.

"Fine. Hmm......... Let's see. How about this? When did you decide to pursue your current goal?"

"What goal?" he replied, losing the red tinge to his cheeks.

"You mean that you don't have a goal in life? Nothing to keep you moving? You're seventeen and don't have a goal in life?" she exclaimed incredulously.

"Not really."

"Wow. What a sad life you live. Anyway, what is your greatest regret?"

"Accidentally killing my mom thinking she was a wolf." he replied sheepishly.

"Wait, what?! Y-you killed your mom?" she said wide eyed and backed up a few paces. Well, that was a first. She's never been horrified before.

"Well, how was I supposed to know she was a werewolf?" he said defensively.

She muttered something incomprehensible before looking up and asking the next question. "What do you think your legacy will be?"

"What was it that you just did?" he inquired.

"A shielding spell."

"Why?"

"Well, what would you do if someone just told you they killed their mother on accident?"

In response, he just glared at her.

"So, back to the question. What do you think your legacy will be?"

"The psychopath werewolf kid no one knows."

She just rolls her eyes.

..................

 

 

 

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

(The following question are towards an original character I created for a project set in the Diaclone toy setting. Also, a little warning for a little swearing.)

The room was quiet and empty, save for the two individuals inside. They were having an interview, but this was no ordinary interview. Instead of a handshake, a greeting or even a formal gesture, the man entered the screening with nothing to greet him but the low hums of the whirling fans, which cooled the circuits of the LandMaster Jr. computer. There was to be no real face-to-face or small talk, nor hunches or favoritism. There should only be text questions on a screen, verbal answers from the man, sophisticated analysis programs, and a powerful A.I. to run them all.  Such was the way of United Earth.

The first questions of the interview were basic, nothing LM Jr. hadn't already known from the paper application the man fed into its input slot. It was nothing more than confirmation, standard procedure, and maybe even a bit of a courtesy. Yes, his name was Robert "Rob" Miller, age 36, married, and an officer of the United Earth Air Force. No, he had no known criminal offenses and so on. It wasn't until the last few question did things become a little personal when a certain question showed up on the screen.

What is your greatest regret?

"That's one question I wasn't expecting. Hm, I guess you all want some dirt on us. Okay, I'll admit. I've had regrets, and knowing myself, I'm going to keep making decisions that I'll regret. If you're looking to find anything to against me in my career, I have bad news. All my regrets are in my personal life."

There was a pause.

"I wasn't there when my dad died. He was ill. He had been ill for a long time. I should have been there but - No, no excuses. I should have been there. That's all I'll say."

Who was your first love?

Robert blinked. He broke into laughter.

"The hell -? Are you serious? What can anyone possibly get from that question? What do you want to know? How I had a crush on some girl in junior high? That I was smitten with my high school girlfriend for a month? I'm not answering this."

Robert waited in silence, but the computer's screen did not change.

"You're a real stifler for proper answers, aren't you? Fine! If you need to know, it's Jessica Miller, my wife. I've had my crushes and girlfriends and conquests, but when it comes to real love, it was her. Only her. Yeah, I know. Big softie. I swear, if this is some prank and this gets out I'm going to..."

Would you describe yourself as ill-tempered?

"Okay, now I know someone's fucking with me. Josh, is that you? I'm not buying into this game."

 There was an even longer pause than last time.

"Shit, this is real deal, isn't it? I confess, then. I can be a bit of a hot-head. Let's leave it as that."

Why do you want to join the Diaclone program?

Finally, something in my comfort zone! Look at it this way. The world is set to be attacked by a second series of Waruder invaders. I'm already part of the UE Air Force. Since I'm going into battle anyway, why not do it in a jet that could turn into a giant robot?

What do you want your legacy to be?

"Whoa. I have to admit. I didn't expect a question that deep to show up. Shit..." Robert paused one more time. He considered his words carefully before responding. "If you asked me that question before the Waruder showed up, I would've something sentimental. Try to be deep. But now? If there's anything I want to leave behind after I die, it's a saved Earth."

This time, the computer seemed to delay from asking another question. Robert open his mouth to continue speaking but the screen changed once more.

What is your greatest fear?

"Careful, junior. I'm starting to think you're sentient. No offense if you are. Look, I've already told you a lot of things about myself I usually don't talk about, so I'll come out to you on this. See, there's two different types of fears in the world. There's fear of something, and fear of something may happen. I don't have much of the first one. It's the second that gets me.

"I'll tell you a secret. I miss a lot when I'm on duty. I didn't get to say goodbye to my dad. I missed the birth of my son. I wasn't there when my daughter started walking. What I'm really afraid of is that I'm going to get into a jet or robot or whatever the all-knowing main LandMaster computer assigns me to and I'm going to miss everything, because I won't be coming back."

Robert sees the illuminated letters on the screen flicker a bit before changing one final time.

Thank You

The screen turns blank. Interview over.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

(The questions will be asked / answered in the order you wrote them, Morgan.)

Darkness surrounded him. That should've been a simple enough concept to grasp--but the darkness was not darkness and to say he was surrounded was not enough. This was not the mere absence of light. This darkness was alive. It breathed, it moved, it spoke, it felt, and it listened. It did not simply surround him; it swallowed him, covered him, filled him, tainted him, and he, it. Their existences and essences had begun to merge. It came to care for him. It accepted him, embraced him like a parent or a friend, even a lover.

It spoke in a thousand voices, it felt a thousand emotions, and how eager it was to know him better. It wanted to traverse through every corridor of his mind, penetrate every wall, and know every secret buried deep inside his heart. Every drop of blood on his hands and every tear shed for a fallen comrade now belonged to the darkness as a treasured memory. It was years before he could communicate with them. So many voices, thoughts, and feelings, no mere mortal should've understood the cacophony of their insanity.

Blind, tossed about in the dark, constantly listening to the endless stream of sound, he really should've just gone stark raving mad. Perhaps he was stronger than a mere man ... or perhaps he was never truly sane to begin with, who could say? In time, though, he began to understand their speech. He began to see light in their depths. They were desperate for companionship, desperate for his friendship ... and without them, he was utterly alone. He did not doubt that, by now, they knew him better than he knew himself... yet they wanted to talk. He entertained them by answering their odd questions.

"... When I was a child?" He echoed softly. The memories were hazy at best, but he tried to recall. "It was difficult for me, growing up. I was poor and alone, even as a child. I looked up to people who were strong. I looked up to the assassins of my village. People respected them and they were wealthy. I thought that if I could become like them, I would never need to hurt or want for anything. I would never be alone because I would be valuable to others. People would depend on me and I could protect them."

The shadows spoke again. "Love...?" He would've glanced away in embarrassment, if there was anything else to look at. "I don't think I had a first love, or any love. Angelica was my mentor. She was a kind soul. I thought I loved her, once, but she treated me as a little brother or even a son. I realized that my affection for her was not the same as a sweetheart or a lover. I loved Dante even more, but he was a brother-in-arms, he was my greatest pupil, my only family. No. I have never loved beyond that of family or friends."

So intrigued they were by his answers, they continued on.

"My goal to become stronger. I thought I felt resolved in it when I got into my first fight as a child. The dagger at my side was proof that someone, somewhere had cared for me once, that they meant for me to protect myself. I thought it was enough." He hesitated.

"Then I received word that Angelica had died. She was killed while on a mission of mercy to foreign lands, in the prime of her life. A gentle, compassionate woman of the cloth, struck down on the field of battle. I have thought, many times, that if only I had been there..." He swallowed the lump in his throat.

"My greatest regret is not being strong enough to protect the people I have loved. That is why I'm here. I failed them..."

The next question posed to him was even stranger. "Legacy?" He echoed the word softly. "What legacy? Why should anyone remember me? I will fade away in this world. I will cease to be."

Bonus:

"What if we could make you more than mortal?" The shadows whispered in his ear. "What if we returned you to the realm of the living? What if we gave you the power to ascend and travel beyond the footsteps of mere man?"

His eyes grew wide. "Is--is that possible?"

"Bond with us. Become our vessel. Accept us into your very soul. We will teach you sososo much. We will show you everything! You shall be our first born son, our greatest student, our beloved child. Dear, dear boy, see the worlds with us, carry us with you, let us live life through your eyes and we'll give you life through our power."

He couldn't even speak. They flooded his mind with images, memories of his past, thoughts of their future together and what could be. His regrets still haunted him, but this was a chance to begin anew. "Yes. You've failed those you loved, but now--" They swirled around him in excitement. "All of humanity can be yours to protect, to watch over. You can redeem yourself. Just give us your soul..."

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - Endings

Pick one of your first sentences from Monday -- or write a new one, if you missed Monday's exercise.

Now write an ending for that story.

Bonus: Write a second ending for that first line, taking it in a different direction this time.

 

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Beginning sentence:

Do you know what it feels like to lose not just a friend, not just family, but a soul mate?


Ending 1
I don’t care any more. Nothing could possibly make me care any more. I’m just tired. Tired of this world, of this life, this sorry existence which I should have ended long ago. I see now that nothing ever mattered, not even when I was with him. Our love was a lie and every second together was meaningless.

Why am I still writing this? Why don’t I just go end it, once and for all, right now? I suppose I still do care, even if it is just a small amount. I want you to know, and I want you to remember. I don’t want your sympathy. I don’t want you to pity me. I don’t even want you to feel guilty. Just promise me that you won’t ever forget.

Farewell.


Ending 2
And so, with the DNA test proving that Carl was not the father, he was able to move back in with Lola. It was an awkward time for the two of them but after a while their love and passion was rekindled, their relationship firing on all cylinders once more like a well-oiled love engine.

"I may have kicked you out of the house but I never doubted you, Carl. We went through a tough time but I’m glad everything’s back to how it was before,” said Lola, looking into Carl’s eyes with her own sparkly sapphire eyes with the beauty of a thousand night skies.

“Yes Lollipop, I know you’re always doing what’s best for us. You’re the most beautiful woman in the whole world and you know I would never sleep with someone else,” said Carl, before breaking into a coughing fit.

Lola stroked his big, manly back to try help him, but Carl’s coughs just kept getting louder and more violent. Too impatient to wait, she sealed his mouth with a deep kiss mid-cough. She relished the warm phlegm that Carl tenderly launched into her mouth, their saliva mixing together on their tongues along with the contents of his coughing. It had been such a long time since they kissed, so they smooched till the sun went down. It was times like these that made their lives worth it.

Lola and Carl got married not long after and had three beautiful children. Slutty Minnie was exposed for the slutty promiscuous loose skanky STI-ridden whorish whore that she was. Her and her child with the unknown father were ridiculed and shunned for the rest of their lives, and everyone (else) in Prudford lived happily ever after.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

The way one's flesh would appear after being both burned in fire and soaked in acid fascinated me. (The  one I chose do to my bonus for that exercise.)
Ending  One

The explosion coated the I.C.A. building with flames. What had not been damaged in the initial explosion was now going to be turned to ash and twisted metal. People inside would not survive. I saw the beauty of the destruction, but found myself unable to focus on it. There was something bigger than my love of the art that was on my mind at the moment.

For fifteen whole years, I had been in hell. I was forced to investigate crimes of low murder. Murders that were committed by those who were not the minds that thought of them or were done so sloppily that there was no art at all. I was in complete monotony. Sometimes there were moments of fascination, but those often turned to be false bits of excitement. Even if I was tracking down a murderer that I considered truly interesting, I was still tracking down a murderer, not created my own art or sharing creation tales with another of my kind. Plus not seeing or touching my neck for that long period of time made me feel like the collar as always been there, like it was part of my body and was eternal. I thought that this suffering of mine would be everlasting. I thought that unless I died that there would be no true escape.

Now, I was free. I was no longer forced to be look at murders that were not true art. I was no longer made to bring criminals to justice. I was no longer prohibited from creating my own works of art. I was no longer trapped by the threat of that collar. My throat’s pale skin felt chilly without the metal of the collar blocking the air’s contact, even though  the air was rather toasty from the blazing fire.  

I could have lived whatever life I wanted to, if I just survived a few more minutes.

“Michael, put the gun down,” Janice spoke. Her voice was trembling. I was not surprised. She had never been around without the safety of the collar and her remote. She had no weapons at all and I held a gun. Her own  gun was several feet away lying on the street. Those that had been nearby were either already gone or fleeing the area currently. No one was interested in our little situation. No one would interfere.

“Tell me, Janice, did you ever think that letting that woman slap me was as bad as using your controller on me? Did you ever consider that letting Dr. Lyles house me in the isolation ward after I did something questionable during a case was worse than you using that little remote to send electricity through my body?” I asked. I wanted to know the answer, but it would not have changed what I intended to do her.

“I never wanted to be a Handler. I never wanted to be responsible for keeping a criminal’s behavior in check by a collar and remote control. I didn’t think I had the heart to send that pulse through someone’s body,” she said. She was backing away towards her gun. She honestly expected me to be so distracted by words that my own self-preservation would be not on my mind.

I shot her. There was more to her story that she could have told me, but I had enough of my answer that I was satisfied. It was a clean shot to the head. A perfect shot that I would always remember. I had killed my oppressor and earned my freedom. I could now begin my art again. I could now go out and experiment with fire, acid, and other things like that. I could display my works in wide ranges of public places. I could finally continue my life that was put on hold for twelve years.  I left the scene without a look back.


Bonus Ending

For fifteen whole years, I had been in hell. I was forced to investigate crimes of low murder. Murders that were committed by those who were not the minds that thought of them or were done so sloppily that there was no art at all. I was in complete monotony. Sometimes there were moments of fascination, but those often turned to be false bits of excitement. Even if I was tracking down a murderer that I considered truly interesting, I was still tracking down a murderer, not created my own art or sharing creation tales with another of my kind. Plus not seeing or touching my neck for that long period of time made me feel like the collar as always been there, like it was part of my body and was eternal. I thought that this suffering of mine would be everlasting. I thought that unless I died that there would be no true escape.

Now, I was certain that it was everlasting. There would be no escape for me. I would be confided to this fate forever. The collar felt like a ball and chain. Actually, that was wrong. It felt like a noose that was growing tighter with every moment. I knew that I could not take it anymore. What remained of my life was something that held no pleasure in it. I had missed my chance to be free.

“Michael, put the gun down,” Janice spoke.  She sounded scared, which was hilarious to me. She seemed to think I was about to shot her. Did she not get the pointlessness of that action? She was never the brightest one, but I expected her to realize what I was about to do and finally put that remote control to good use. I doubted that if I actually had the intent to shoot her that she could have even done that. She belonged somewhere else. I knew in a way what I was planning was a lot worse than if I was to just shoot her. Her selfless and justice focused nature would struggle with what intended for a very long time, if not the rest of her life.

I placed the gun against my own head, looked her straight in the eye, and spoke, “You stole from me the only thing that made my life worth living. You made my life a torture. I had hopes and dreams, maybe not the kind that you and normal people would have approved of, but they were my hopes and dreams. You fucking forced me into this. The only reason I can even bother to do what I am about is that you are too much of a selfish bitch to stop me.” Then I pulled the trigger.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

First sentence and Bonus:

So you're probably wondering what a pretty girl like me is doing in a cell like this. Funny story actually... Well no, I suppose it's not funny at all. You've got to understand though, I had to kill him.

It's not about what he did to me. Hell, it's not even about what he did to Mum. It was because he said he forgave me. Can you believe that? Ten years I had to put up with his shit, another ten years of hell from the family because I'm the one who put him away, and once he's out he has the fucking nerve to say that he forgives me. I mean you should've heard the bastard, talking about how he's found Jesus and how he's learnt to let go of the past. He said that even though what I did was wrong, he understands why I did it. So, after years of praying and soul searching, he found it in his heart to forgive me. Then he says that even after everything I did, he still wants us to try and work it out and be a family again... Fuck that shit, he had to die.

Ending 1:

... And so that's how I killed my sixth victim. If you send some guys to search the lake, you'll find his body in an old trash can weighed down with stones. I hope that helps officer.

You want to know if I regret it? Oh you poor naive darlin'... No. Hell fucking no! I mean Jesus, this has got to be the only decent thing I ever done with my life. Don't get me wrong sugar, I don't have any kind of delusions about being a hero or nothin'. Sure I might've gotten myself a few hyped up fans that think that, but I know what I am. I'm just some messed up, crazy, psycho bitch that should probably be locked up in a padded room for the rest of my life. You know, that actually sounds like fun. I could just bounce off the walls all day long!

Sure, I only went for the sickos, the ones the world would be better off without... People think I took them out to protect people, to make sure they never hurt anybody again. Sure, that was part of it. Back at the start that's what I thought it was all about, but further down the line I figured out them and me, we weren't so different after all. At the end of the day, I wasn't really doing it because I thought it was the right thing... I did it all for fun.

I still don't really understand them, you know? How they'd get a kick out of messing with teenage girls or little kids, people that had never actually done nothin'. But me... I guess what I loved most about it was the irony. It was the fact that they were used to being the ones in the drivers seat. They were used to having all the power, to having people crying and screaming and begging for mercy and everything inbetween. Do you have any idea how good it feels? There's this amazing high you get when you're looking down at a guy who used to cut all these kids up on camera and he's crying like a little girl, saying how sorry he is and begging me not to chop off his balls. You should've heard me laugh. Trying to make that guy feel every bit of pain he'd ever put on anybody else. It was fuckin' heaven! Dragged it on for days I did, used to leave him alone at night, chain him up loose to give him that little bit of fuckin' hope... But I was watchin' of course, and when the sun was rising and his hands were all bloody and he was just about to squeeze through the cuffs, that's when I'd walk in, and the pain would start all over again!

Ah, but I'm getting carried away again officer, I'm sorry... Well there's no need to look so pale honey, I wouldn't do nothin' like that to a nice guy like you, you're doing a great job. Hell, I should be thanking you really. So far all the creeps I've gone after have been men, but here? This could be really interesting. I'm sure there's got to be some sick as hell, fucked up women in here that think they're real tough bitches and need to be taken down a peg or two. Just a word of advice if you want to keep your job love, probably best not to put me in a cell with any lesbo wife beaters or kiddy fiddlers, or any of them dumb-ass cult types that like to pump people full of bullets 'cos some guy dressed as Jesus told 'em to... You might just find yourself one hell of a mess in the morning.

Bonus:

... And so that's how I killed my sixth victim. If you send some guys to search the lake, you'll find his body in an old trash can weighed down with stones. I hope that helps officer.

You want to know if I regret it? ... Never in my life thought I'd say this but I don't know any more... Maybe... I think it's only a small part of me, but yeah. Yeah I do.

No, don't you go thinking that I've started believing in this "everyone deserves a second chance" shit. Complete fucking bull crap that is. You think that guy who roasted all them pretty girls on a spit and then served them up to his family as barbecue meat ever gave anyone a second chance? It doesn't have anything to do with the guys I killed. They deserved everything they got and more.

It was the old lady that did it... Sorry, you got no idea what I'm talkin' about, do you? Basically, I always research the guys I go after, and that fourth guy, the one that used to touch little boys and then locked them in a chicken coop until they starved to death... There was this interview I saw with the grandma of one of them boys. Stereotypical little black church lady with one of them stupid towel things wrapped round her head. She was saying how she forgives the man that did it and she prays for him every day that he seeks forgiveness for what he's done and that God has mercy on his soul.

I used to get real pissed off with that lady. I mean, after what happened to that little boy I was thinkin', "If you really loved your grandson, you'd be praying that the guy who killed him would rot in hell till the end of fuckin' eternity." ... I thought it was wrong for her to just forgive him like that, but the more I thought about it the more I figured, "You know what? It doesn't matter."

It don't matter if forgiving the guy was right or wrong, that's just how the old lady chose to deal with it. I mean her looking after this little boy on her own because his mom died or dumped the kid on her or whatever happened, that old lady must've been through a whole lot of hell after what happened to that kid. I been through my own hell, and finding fucked up people like my dad and killin' them in the slowest, most painful way possible... That's how I deal with my shit, you know? I guess forgivin' all the people that hurt her and prayin' for God to have mercy on 'em, that must've been the old lady's way of dealin' with her shit... And I took that away from her.

I mean that guy never touched me or any little boy I knew. That old lady and all the families and friends of the little boys he killed... Should've been up to them what happened to him. Then I just jump in out of nowhere and kill the bastard, and whatever it was they wanted for him... I just took that all away. Maybe they all decided to forgive him, maybe some of them wanted him to rot in jail for the rest of his life, hell, maybe some of them even wanted to kill him themselves. Still, however they wanted to deal with the guy, I shouldn't have taken that away from them, or any of the other people that got hurt by the guys I killed.

... So, there's my big regret. Ah fuck, I guess I'm just getting soft. Good thing you guys caught me when you did, huh? Me getting all confused and emotional and shit. I guess I'm just tired. Starting to wonder if there's anything different between me and all the sick fuck-heads that I been killin' all this time... Oh darlin', what you cryin' for? Them tears better not be for me sugar, trust me, I sure as hell ain't worth it.

How 'bout I give you a little piece of advice, huh? You seem like a nice, normal guy. You got a wife back home? Maybe a kid or two? ... How 'bout you tell your bosses you're sick and take the rest of the day off. Tell your wife you love her and take her out to dinner or something. Take your little boy the the park and play baseball with him or whatever it is that normal dads do. You'd be doin' me a favor love... I mean, there's always gonna be fucked up people in the world, but if I've made it just that little bit safer for kids like yours, kids that actually got a chance to be happy... I guess I can live with myself another day.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

 I woke up to hear the sound of beautiful piano music playing through the walls, the music paused for a second and I swear that I could hear a sob, then a gunshot.

Ending 1: I now see why the old man pulled the trigger. The feeling of empty hopelessness grows inside of you like a disease. Knowing that no matter what you do, you can't change your fate. I used to think that suicide was cowardly, in a way I still do, but I now know what's going through their heads. Me too actually. I guess until now I didn't count myself as a suicide. For me teen suicide had always just been a statistic. 

I took one final intake of the cigarette. Heh. I never thought I would be a smoker either. I closed my eyes and let go of the railing. Time to become a statistic.

 

Ending 2: "You riding know him!" She shouted at me, "You have no idea what he was like! He was an asshole of a father and a husband. You didn't see what he did."

I knew she was right, or at least some part of me knew, the other was saying that she was wrong. But I had to face him, I only knew him in death. I may have read his journal and saw what I thought was his thoughts but the fact was I didn't know him. The proof was right there. I just couldn't take it. I ran out of the apartment and kept running until I ended up at the roof. I was sobbing into my hands when she found me. She sat next to me, in silence. We sat there for quite some time.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Introduction: From sentence 1 of my first post, "Scheisse is a beautiful word, [snip]"

 

You missed a lot of information by skipping from the opening sentence to the near ending, pal, but I'll try to explain it to you the best I can. The year is 1968, and it's a Monday. I fucking hate Mondays.

 

"POW!" spat Klaques, jumping out of the bathroom stall and slamming the front end of his fist into the back of the scumbag's skull, "You ees just got knock ze fuck aut!"

 

The man's eye's rolled back in his head and the force of the punch sent his forehead into the mirror, drawing blood, then he sank downward into the sink he was primping over, and finally onto the bathroom floor.

 

I sighed, "It's not a stealth takedown if you say 'POW!' every time you hit someone. Besides, he's a Nazi, you need to finish the damn job!"

 

"Zese men hahff families, zo! Cheeldren!"

 

"Yeah, fucking NAZI families, with fucking NAZI children!"

 

"Pff! Obviously you hahff not been in ze civilian-populated Germany for very long, zere are varying degrees of Nazism, you know. His famlee could be very nice actually. Some uff zese men aren't even een here for much more zen survival "

 

"What are the chances of that? He's a high-ranking S.S.!"

 

"He is also vearing ze heart-rate monitair zat sets uff elarms."

 

"Oh, then by all means, leave him alive!" I said, opening the door to the bathroom and looking out, too make sure Nazi scum weren't still guarding the hallway.

 

In case you didn't know, my name is Randall Hawk. I was employed in a super-soldier program for the United States in 1967. Now, I've heard some shit about how, in your 'Real Life' universe, Hitler killed himself in 1940-something and a battle called D-Day crippled the German forces, but that never happened here. basically, Germany got the nukes first, the UK is no more, and everyone outside of America either speaks with a German Accent, is in the nuclear wastelands of Africa, lives in a bunker in Australia, is fighting to keep the war from getting into China's borders, or they're a Ruskie Communist.

 

We got back at Japan GOOD though. Too good, actually. There are only 500 Japanese refugees on our border and island is practically sunk.  By the time our world is your world's age, we'll be so well-intergrated that anime, JRPGs, and tentacle porn will be considered as American as apple-fucking-pie. There also won't be that many hilarious "A Winner is you!" mistranslations, it'll be like Firefly, but not Chinese. Not that apple pie is actually American, it's French, which, the way Hitler's conquered all the non-Russian land where white people generally live, may as well be a dirty Nazi invention, and therefore should not be celebrated under any circumstances until the next French revolution! And we can't use the phrase "As American as the Nuclear Bomb" either,because the whole reason the war's lasted this long is because Hitler made it first!... Fucking asshole.

 

Really, the most American thing I can think of off the top of my head is the hydrogen bomb, Wal-Mart, which is officially a brand-new thing here, and porno mags. While hydrogen bombs, Wal-Mart, and porno mags are all well and dandy, Hitler has fucking nukes and we don't, and that's not cool.

 

What is cool is that the Jews have survived the genocide prolonged by 20 or so extra years, along with a lot of other minorities, and are kicking arse just fine without needing to leave Germany. They actually have a huge city convert4ed to barracks in the Middle East, which they're currently using to skirmish and pillage the Nazi caravans with, generally suffocating all the Reich's influence there until they have the entire Mid-east to themselves and are able to take on Europe from there.

 

Anyway, back to me being a super-soldier. I already was a super soldier, but not a super-soldier, I mean really, no one was better than me. NO ONE. So it was no surprise when I found a bunch of files dedicated to discovering the master race in Himmler's bureau that somehow devolved into serums generally improving the German Soldier performance.  So of course I had to steal the whole bureau, (Just loaded it into the empty bomb chute when I got to my buddy and his getaway plane.) and we flew it back to good ol' Uncle Sam! Uncle Sam was the codename for a base in what would have been Portugal if the Nazis didn't want to own all the land they could wave their pasty pricks at.

 

The doctor there was an expert on that kind of shit, because he'd been working with the Nazi shitheads as a double agent for fucking years, so he was able to fix me up with that stuff in a jiffy. He tested it on himself, first, to make sure that it worked. Doc's name was Klaques Dasmeister, his parents named him "Klaques" because they wanted to be original back then. Or maybe they wanted to name him Jaques, but they wrote on his birth certificate without really thinking and were in the middle of buying a clock or something. I don't fucking know. Anyway, I've been training Klaques as a fellow ass-kicker and espionage-er ever since the damn Nazis bombed our base and we lost contact with America. I know it sounds like a long shot, but we intend on taking down the Third Reich in its entirety. Or at the very least, killing Hitler, that toothbrush-mustache-wearing fink!

 

Anyway, we just broke into the Berlin capital building in hopes of being able to kick some Hitler ass. The first floor was full of stormtroopers and grunts that we killed with ease, but then they started sending in their experimental weapons and shit went downhill fast. They have fucking robot monsters, jetpacks, and hulking mutants now! Stupid fucking Nazis and their advanced science bullshit.... Almost killed us!

 

But, we've managed to stealth it up a few floors and get to the management levels before the assholes straight out of the militiary labs could follow us, and we've been having fun hiding in various bathrooms and drowning guards in their own piss and occassional jism. We choked this one guy to death by shoving his own evil Nazi porn mag down his throat, which was glorious. That's what you get for stealing a great American invention, you bastard facists!

 

Now, back to the current situation, we were in a bathroom which we found out just recently was an executive bathroom, because they were the only bathrooms that didn't have propaganda posters on the walls to keep the lower pond scum in line. Some brass walked in and Klaques knocked him out.

 

"Wait, a minute, Klaques, you're a genius!" I said, grabbing him by the shoulders, "We can wait for another guy to come in here and knock the fuck out of him!"

 

"Und zen vhat? Ve can't knock se fuck out of se whole Sird Reich visout being spotted und killed!"

 

"Hm... You're right..." I said, stroking my chin, "Maybe we can wat for the next guy, knock him out, and then steal their clothes, like in the movies!"

 

"Zey vill know you are nut a Nazi, zo! Your eyes are brown!"

 

"Doesn't Hitler have brown eyes, though?"

 

"I sink hees eyes are blue."

 

"I dunno, I've only ever seen black and white photos of him, and in those photos, his eyes don't look blue at all, they're too dark."

 

"Maybe zey are dark blue, like unnaturally dark? Maybe zey are secretly ze robot cameras zat change color ull ze time."

 

"They must be. I mean seriously, what kind of fucking retard aims to have everyone who isn't a part of his made-up race executed when he doesn't even have the key features!?"

 

"A Nazi retard, zat's vhat kin-"

 

"Vhat zeh fahck em I hearingk!?" asked a perplexed Nazi brass wearing dark circular sunglasses, who just came in to wash his hands.

 

"POW!" said Klaques, bringing his fist down squarely where the soft part of the skull would have been on a baby, "You ees knock ze fuck aut!"

 

We proceeded to take their uniforms, and I took the second guy's sunglasses to hide my eyes. AND WE KEPT OUR EYES WHERE THEY BELONGED, GENTLEMEN! Soon, we looked exactly like Nazi fuckwads, and we were able to safely walk over to the elevator that left to the Furher's office itself!

 

"Allo Herr General!" said the elevator guard as we approached. (There were even two armed guys in every elevator to monitor the occupants. These Nazis really take their shit seriously!)

 

"Allo Herr guard!" said Klaques, "Ve ah here to see zeh Furher on very urgent beezenuss."

 

"Yah? How urgent?"

 

"Life sreatening! He may need to head to ze secret bunkarh soon!"

 

"Really? That's bahd!" The Nazi Bastard paused. "Vait, vhy are you telling me about zis secret bunkarh? Isn't it classified?"

 

"Ahh... Oh, yah, I forgot... But it's all among friends, ve don't hahf to vorry, right?"

 

"Vhy are ve speaking English?" Persisted the Nazi, in a sterner voice, "Who ze fahk are you!?" he reached for my sunglasses.

 

"DON'T TOUCH THOSE!" I said, slapping his hand away. "I mean.... Uhh... Eef you keep qvestioning us about shit like zis, I vill have you sent to ze camps! It's above your fucking pay grade!"

 

Ah, that was a phrase I had heard one too many times in my life as a soldier.... Fuck the fucking brass!

 

The Nazi wasn't falling for it, he grabbed his gun, so I grabbed his neck.

 

"Let me go, you fahking spy!" He tried to shout under the pressure of my grip.

 

"Shut the fuck up, Nazi scum! There's a special place in hell for you and your fucking Nazi porn mags!" I said.

 

It might have been a little too loud, because the stormtroopers coming up the elevator heard me, and they rang an alarm. When the doors opened and they came out to shoot us, I used the Nazi guy as a meat shield and charged them while Klaques grabbed the one guy's gun and finished them off. We barely got into the elevator in time, haveing to crowd ourselves in with three bodies, but we managed, climbing up and out through a ceiling panel in case anyone cut the wires to keep us from getting to the Furher. Nobody did, oddly enough, and we made it right into the bastard's office...

 

Ending 1: Epic battle with mutants and MechaHitler

 

...?Which was when the armored giant mutant shits burst through the windows, all 3 wielding dual shotguns. Klaques and I opened fire, but it did fuck all, we were forced to run for our lives, hiding behind the desk of Hitler himself, who was strangely absent this whole time.

 

It was a long cycle of jumping out from different sides, firing at the beasts, and ducking to avoid shotgun fire before one of them felt the blood loss getting to him and sat down for a rest. I took the opportunity to get a few headshots in, killing the sorry fucker and moving on to the next guy. The next guy ran out of bullets and charged the desk, sending us flying into the wall next to a convenient emergency fire axe, which Klaques' head hit, breaking the glass and knocking him the fuck out. I wasted no time in grabbing that thing and slamming it into the beast's back while he was getting up. I took some grazing shot-pieces to my arm, but it was worth it, and making sure to keep the wounded giant between me and the one that still had shotgun ammo, I took out the axe and slammed it into him again. This really pissed him off, so he turned around, picked me up, and flung me down onto the floor, creating cracks in the tiles. My back was throbbing in pain, but I held onto consciousness for dear life and drove the pointy end on the back of the fire axe into the bastard's knee. The beast roared and fell onto the unwounded knee, and I managed to roll to the side as he punched the floor where I used to be, intent on killing me. This put me into the clear for a shotgun blast from the mutant covering him, but just as he fired, Klaques shoved the giant onto his side, making the crippled mutant take both of the blasts for me. And mind you, these were powerful fucking blasts at the range I was at, they made two musk-melon-sized holes in the monster's back and the blasts themselves sounded like Jesus himself sneezed death upon the twisted form of the Nazi experiment.

 

Fucker deserved it too, my back still hurts!

 

So anyway Klaques used up the rest of the pistol ammo we had on the other mutant, but that's what it took to kill it, (Seriously, these thing have skulls like nuclear bunkers! It's like shooting a rhinocerous with a musket!... My lawyers would like me to inform you that I *Ahem* never actually shot a rhinocerous with a musket, of course.... ) and whe both got ourselves shotguns from looting the enemy corpses, which, quite honestly, we really needed to do. A mere fire axe just doesn't cut it these days. Good thing we did that, too, because helicopters were sending in more Nazi shitheads like it as going out of style. And seriously, it kinda was going out of style, especially once we had to start looting 40+ corpses for weapons and ammo.

 

Suddenly we heard a particularly evil-sounding voice shouting some German shit.

 

"Wenn Sie alles richtig gemacht wollen, müssen Sie es selbst zu tun!"

 

We knew it had to be Hitler, and sure enough, a huge mechsuit with dual gatling guns and a really angry-as-shit hitler face showed up and started ruining our day.

 

We shot it in the head, because seriously, there was nothing but fucking glass protecting it. It was as anti-climactic as holy fucking fuck! There it was, the king of the third fucking reich, dead, right there! I mean, imagine how fucking difficult that would have been if we just shot it in the body and never aimed upward, right? But no, the Nazi's sense of fashion was their downfall. Down fell the furher, with bits of shotgun shell and glass embedded in his face. Stupid fucking Nazis and their advanced science bullshit.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

First Sentence w/ Bonus

Since the first stone of Earth was formed, the gods knew that there would soon come a time when man needed them no longer. It is why they have done everything in their power to keep us from growing ever stronger, to keep us weaker. Zeus himself did what he could to hinder us, he wanted to make mankind limited in potential. He wanted to keep us his ever docile slaves. Had it not been for the sacrifice of Prometheus...he would have succeeded. From the day Prometheus gifted us with the power of fire, the days of the gods have been numbered.

Since receiving the gift of fire, the gods have become ever fearful, for they know of the battle that is to come. Just as the Olympians dethroned the Titans, so do we come full circle, and man dethrones the Olympians. The time of the gods is coming to an end. Olympus will fall, and with it, so shall the oppression of the gods.

Long has it been foreseen that a demigod, so powerful that he could challenge Zeus himself, would walk amongst us. This demigod, will posses the power to reshape the world itself. But the question is, will he become the champion of man, or will be become the wrath of the gods?

Ending 1:

And so the mountains of Olympus fell, becoming nothing but rubble within the Earth. In the battle that occurred atop Mount Olympus, Zeus was defeated, fallen to the hand of the Hero. As Zeus's life began to fade away, it seemed as though the entire world took it's first breath. Olympus had fallen, the gods were no longer in control, and man had prevailed. Within the walls of every standing city, statues and monuments to the gods were being torn down. Each time one shatters when hitting the ground, it would seem as though the spirit of man grew ever stronger. But while many had celebrated the victory over the gods, many more were fearful, afraid, and mourning.

The war against the gods was a pyrrhic one, and its marks can be seen throughout the world. The gods destroyed all that would oppose them, whether it be man, woman, or child. Thebes had suffered from the wrath of Nemesis. Athens was nearly destroyed  by Poseidon. Sparta, was in ruins after their battle against Ares himself. Indeed was all of Greece feeling the pain brought on by this war.

There were those that became afraid of what was to come. For it was the gods that had created them, the gods that bless those who they favor, and the gods that help those when they needed it. At the same time, those same gods forced their will upon those who would not submit. So while there are those that are glad that the gods are no longer ruling, they fear a life without them. As they have known no other life.

As the age of the Olympians comes to a close, the age of man opens. With it comes fear, joy, doubt, and innovation. Whenever people ask who it was that gave them the free will they have now, they can always turn and thank the Hero. The rest is up to mankind itself. Whether or not mankind will rise or fall has yet to be seen.

Bonus, Ending 2:

And so the great rebellion had finally ended, mankind had been beaten into submission by the one who called himself the Wrath of the Gods. As fate would have it, the one who was destined to liberate mankind from the Olympians, became the one who oppressed them. He came down upon them with a might never known to any mortal, all the while glorifying the greatness of the gods. All those that opposed him...were destroyed.

Athens survived the war, as they chose to submit themselves to the gods once more. The Wrath personally spoke to the people of Athens, and convinced them to never again act in defiance of the gods. Whether it was out of fear or respect, they agreed. Sparta, stubborn to the very end, was razed by the Wrath and his armies. Though the Spartans took many with them as they fell, the end for them was inevitable. Upon the ruins of Sparta now stands a monument to the Olympians. A reminder to all those that even the mightiest of warriors are no match for those that rule them.

Humanity had been crushed, broken, beaten, and forced into submission. The gods became ever more forceful in making their subjects bend their knees, and kiss their feet. While some were happy to have the gods still watching over them, many would quietly moan for the freedom they had hoped for. With the shackles of Olympus now bound to their hands and feet, mankind continued on with their existence, all the while knowing that their lives are not their own. As time goes on, maybe they will just learn to accept their way of life. The gods will always be there, and it is by the will of the gods that mankind continues. However, there will always be that one question lingering in the minds of all that call themselves human: What would life have been like without the gods? At least for now...they will never have an answer.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

In an old house smack-dab in the middle of the exciting land of suburbia, lived a mother, a stepfather, an uncle, two aunts, two annoying older sisters, three cousins, a baby, two dogs, and you.

(I went with the second person POV to stick to the original sentence.)

Ending 1

You hear your mother calling you for supper. Nowadays, you eat with your sisters and older cousin. Your sisters still don't talk about anything interesting, but your cousin Conrad turns out to be pretty cool ever since he opened up to you. Together, all of you eat the same food that Auntie Carol makes every night. You tell yourself that one day you'll make something new for dinner yourself, but you don't do it today. You probably won't do it tomorrow either.

When it's time for bed, you go to your room with your bed. You've never felt so comfortable in your room as you do now. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. As you drift off to sleep, you find the thin walls and sounds of the other room soothing. You no longer mind as your mother sings the baby to sleep or when you hear your other aunt and uncle having another insignificant argument. It isn't long before you sleep, content and comfortable in your own bed and your own house. Home sweet home.

Ending 2

The apartment is half the size of your former residence, but it feels a lot larger. For an empty apartment, you expected quiet, but the noise of a busy city more than makes up for it. You bask in the glorious solitude. No set schedules. No sharing. No rules. You open up the freezer and warm up a tv dinner in the microwave. It's decent. You tell yourself you'll learn to cook tomorrow, but subconsciously, you know it's unlikely.

You don't have a set bed time, so you spend the rest of the time watching television. The screen is small, and it's pretty old, but it's yours. Once all the good programs are over and the only shows left on are uninteresting, you decide to finally head to bed. You enter your bedroom, anticipating your first night alone in the apartment. When you lift the sheets and settle yourself in, you think the sheets are unusually cold. Everything still feels foreign to you, but you know that you'll get used to it soon enough The first time in a while, you feel at peace. This place is paradise.

Writing Exercises: Week One

5 years ago

Sentence: "I can't tell you how it began and if it's over, then I don't know how it will end, but this is our story, and it's all I have left to give."

Ending 1:

It was very a soft, yet sickening sound. The sound of sharp metal piercing through flesh. His vision, once sharp as a bird of prey’s, began to dim and blur as he sought out the source of the agony in his chest. It was an arrow with a crescent moon at the end of its shaft. It had pierced deeply.

He knew the design of this arrow. It was poison tipped. Even if he wasn't dying of his wounds, the poison itself would've ended his consciousness quickly. The battle, for him, was over. What would become of the war that decided humanity's fate, he would never know.

‘Is this how it feels to die?’ He mused distantly. His head was as light as a feather, his body was as heavy as lead. It lost all will to support itself, growing colder and more numb with every passing second. He began to fall. 'Is this really all I will ever be? Is this all I will ever do?'

‘I’m sorry.’ His final thought echoed through his fading consciousness as his eyes slid shut, resigned. The sounds of war had all but faded away. ‘I just…wasn’t strong enough.’ He fell deep into the welcoming arms of oblivion and knew no more.

The battle ended days later. The death count was innumerable, but humanity was victorious. The drone armies were beaten back, driven into their dark holes once more. There was little to be done for the fallen, many were eaten by beasts, some gathered and burned, few buried, but in one special cave, deep in the woods, there was one fallen warrior of note.

He was note-worthy, however, only because he never truly fell. Speared through his chest was an arrow coated with the strongest sleeping serum in the surrounding lands and beyond.

Likely by sheer dumb luck alone, he had not died. The arrow's point had slipped between his vital organs, poisoning him, but not killing him. Unfortunately for the warrior, this sleeping arrow had been enchanted by the drone army and its power was greatly enhanced.

Rather than very deep sleep for days on end, the assassin could be suspended in a near lifeless, dreamless existence for years. His only hope of escape was that the arrow be removed, but none who knew him still lived. Alone, trapped between the living and the dead, he waited to be rescued. Would he ever be free?

Only time would tell.

Bonus, Ending 2:

The last thing he could remember was being in battle. He sensed something, he could have moved just a little. There wasn't time to actually avoid the attack or even register it, but just a millimeter could've spared his life. Yet--he didn't really want to go on fighting anymore, and admitting that to himself had made the difference. He hadn't tried. The arrow that pierced his heart dulled his senses. He fell away into a deep blackness and knew no more--until he awoke in the light.

It was only a second before he knew that he stood before the gates of death. It was only a moment before he knew that everyone he loved was waiting for him inside. A sense of peace welled up inside him. There was no need to fight anymore.
A beautiful girl, with long blonde hair stood inside the gates, beckoning to him. Her brilliant smile was unmistakable. His heart could've burst. "Angelica!" He called out to her, made a move for the gates, but a presence behind him made him stop. He turned to see a boy with indigo hair, dressed in the robes of a mage, shaking and staring at the ground beneath them.

The assassin almost greeted the little mage--but the words died in his throat as the boy looked up. The mage's amethyst eyes were narrowed in slits of anger as he stared the assassin down. "Why?"

"Why... what?" The assassin asked softly, confused. Who was this kid? How could he be so familiar, when they had never met before this very moment?

"You left me, you selfish son of a bitch! You DIED. How could you leave me? How could you choose this destiny? Why did you abandon our friendship? You were going to promise me that you'd stay by my side, always. That you would protect me! I was going to TRUST you. I would've believed in you."

The assassin was speechless. "What... what in the name of Lady Hel are you talking about? I don't even know your name, kid, I--"

"DANTE!" The boy almost screamed in response, his eyes glistening with tears. He strangled a sob with his rage. "MY NAME IS DANTE! Your little brother!" He swiped angrily at his eyes. "I was the little brother you'll never meet, because you left our world before I could even see you for the first time." His voice lowered to a broken whisper as his body slowly faded away. "Why did you leave me, big  brother? I needed you. I loved you..."

The last three words echoed in the assassin's thoughts repeatedly, but he could not make sense of what he had just seen and heard. Suddenly, images flooded his mind. Images of that same boy, first, as a young and headstrong, stubborn lad who had barely fled the jaws of death as a babe and now wandered the world alone, seeking shelter and strength.    

Then, through the years, he became a powerful magician whose heart was covered by walls of ice, but beneath them, it was softer than new-fallen snow. Deep, deep down, there was a gentle soul, one that had never known trust or friendship. One that had never known father, teacher, or brother. A boy trying desperately to become a man with no one to show him the way--no one but another young man, with red eyes and white hair.

They bickered constantly, they fought with fists and spells and blades and angry words, but they also defended each other unto death. They shared dreams, homes, adventures. They were as close as any two friends could be--and then the memories began to fade away. The images shattered and drifted apart, and he could hear his own cry of denial at the loss.

"What's happening?"

"You changed your own destiny." Angelica murmured, suddenly standing by his side. "You were never meant to die in that battle. Fate has been re-written. Your desire to cross over and be with the loved ones you've lost--but at the price of every other soul you would've ever met or loved in life. That boy never met you. The existence that he would've had with you is gone now, forever. Alone, he perished in the woods and was eaten by beasts."  

"No." He collapsed to his knees as the last of the images began to fade from memory. "I can't. He was my best friend! I won't forget him. I won't forget--" but try as he might, the assassin could no longer remember the boy's name. He could no longer remember his face. He could not remember what he was trying to remember.

Angelica laid a hand on his shoulder and offered him a gentle smile. "Come, dear friend... come and rest. Sleep the sleep of the dead, dream away the cares of the other world."

And the assassin smiled back at her, then followed her into oblivion.