Short story contest

Sparrow

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Tonight, the words flow like wine... and the wine flows like wine.



Part One: Three Umbrellas

Mercy stirred uncomfortably in bed.
She reckoned it was still a good stretch before dawn as Ollie was still sound asleep at her feet, for he was like clockwork, always up as the sun touched the sky. With morning fast approaching she found the courage that had been pounding in her heart the day before was now slumped flat in her stomach; but she had observed something, something so strange that she had scarcely the words to describe the curious spectacle to her parents and the rest of the household. They had not believed her, and why would they, a twelve year old girl is "full of tales" her father mused. Mercy tried twice again to convince them and save a condescending wink from her mother, she was roundly dismissed as being a bit mad.

For the next two days Mercy could think of little else; what she had observed on the northern horizon, beyond the farm and the borderlands, and perhaps as far as the Waterfields, was simply impossible. She could not explain it or even fathom its meaning, she had no point of reference and none of the old myths seemed to address the mystery. Mercy was certain it wasn't a dragon she had witnessed, leastwise not a dragon in her picture books, or a griffin, a phoenix, or even one of the Gods. What God would enter the world in such a slipshod manner? Was it an abomination or a creature banished from the Firmament? Mercy sat up in bed and leaned over to light her oil lamp, nearly knocking over a spyglass. "Damnable spyglass" she thought, a hand-me-down received for her birthday last October, with a cracked lens and loose eyepiece. If it were a proper spyglass than she could have made out what that thing was, that floated downward from the heavens under a blossom of white... what? What were they indeed, all Mercy could think of is that they appeared to be umbrellas. What God would have use of an umbrella? There was only one thing for it, with her mind made up, she would have to investigate.

Later that evening at supper, while discussion turned as it usually did these days to the kingdoms of Panmortium and the onset of war, Mercy waited for an opportunity to slip herself into the conversation. Between mouthfuls her father made pronouncements of loyalty to Lord Drayborne, though before these troubled times he was more apt to curse the government than anything else, but the threat of war changed everything and an oath taken is an oath served forevermore. Mother listened, careful not to interrupt her husband while at full gallop, Mercy's brothers, the three of them sharing glances of amusement and mock interest in their father's bombast, and the Cordleston sisters did their level best to remain respectful. So it was in that brief instant when her father took a breath to refresh his thoughts when Mercy spoke up, "father" she said louder than was necessary, "I was wondering if I could visit the Kinney Ranch and trade for apricots?". Father turned toward Mercy and looked at her as if her hair was on fire. Mercy continued, "the party is tomorrow evening and I am going to bake tarts". Father looked none to pleased at being interrupted, "and what young lady do you intend to trade for these apricots?", he leaned back in his chair. "I'm going to trade some of my orchids", Mercy replied, her confidence waning. Father leaned forward and spoke directly at Mercy, "tomorrow is harvest day and you are needed in the fields". Mercy replied "I would only miss two hours, perhaps three and...". It was now that Mercy's mother waved her hand for silence, "look here my dear husband, I have heard enough already. I need help in the kitchen and Mercy has volunteered to prepare dessert". Feeling as though momentum had tipped in her favor, Mother went on "see that you get an early start young lady, don't dillydally and dare not talk poor Sarah Kinney's ear off, she is busy enough since her eldest went to sea". And so it went; dinner was finished, dishes washed, school work completed, and Mercy who was quite satisfied with the plan she had hatched only hours before, prepared for an early morning journey.

Mercy shook herself back to the present.
Giving Ollie a gentle poke on the snout, she crawled out of bed and reached down to retrieve the backpack she had stocked with supplies the night before. Ollie yawned, revealing two fine rows of razor sharp teeth; agitated from being awoke on such short notice he whipped his long tail back and forth catching Mercy across her bottom. "Stop that Ollie" Mercy said in a hushed voice, "or I'll leave you at home, don't think I won't". Mercy slung the backpack over her shoulder, holstered her spyglass in its pouch and tied it to her waste belt. She leaned over and looked directly into Ollie's powder-blue eyes, "listen to me, we are going to see Sarah Kinney so I'm putting the leash on you", at this Ollie hissed and swooned his head up and down. Thoroughly unimpressed with her dragon pup's protest, Mercy strapped on his leather harness and attached the leash, and led him out her bedroom door.
 
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S.J. Faerlind

S.J. Faerlind

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^^^^Nice!!!!
So come on Sparrow..... how come you didn't enter our contest?????????
(You still can you know :D)
 
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S.J. Faerlind

S.J. Faerlind

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What... no other teasers from anybody else?
 
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S.J. Faerlind

S.J. Faerlind

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Consider that first part of the story, my entry form. :)

Welcome aboard then Sparrow :) *does a happy dance*

I will try and find the rules etc and repost them below, plus don't forget to check out Bel and Firiath's grading system (another thread in this folder).
 
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S.J. Faerlind

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A reminder for all entrants:

Short Story Contest
The rules:
- stories have a maximum of 5000 words
- your story must be your original work that you write specifically for the contest (so that everyone has the same time-frame to write and edit it in)
- You must post your entry in the "Original works" folder of The Scribe's House Forum sometime between October 15th and October 20th. Judging will begin October 21st. In the thread title, please put "Short Story Contest entry" and your username (eg: Short Story Contest Entry: SJ Faerlind) so the judges will know which stories are posted for the contest.
- I kinda think we have to write them in English since everyone here speaks/reads it to some degree or other
- stories will be judged on: originality of the magic system and it's dissimilarity to other magic systems commonly found in fantasy stories, how enjoyable or intriguing the judge found the story to be, how well the magic system was integrated into the plot and how well the story was resolved. Grammar and spelling errors will be disregarded out of respect for those contestants whose native language is not English. Please bear these points in mind when writing your story. Plus, please see Bel and Firiath's grading system posted in another thread in the Scribe's House Original Works folder.

And the prize for the winner is....
Earning the distinguished title of: TFF's Most Creative Scribe +/- a victory banner with your username and avatar on it (depends if I have time to sew one or not). You may proudly display the banner in your home, or line your sock drawer with it because it's horribly cheesy - your choice :D

The countdown is on: 6 days to go..........:)
 

Black Tattoo

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Okay, here's what I have for a beginning:

Garith stood atop the highest tower of his massive castle and looked out at the burned and ravaged lands which he ruled unmercifully. An icy wind kicked up, whipping his long coat about his legs and tussling his dark brown hair but he did not notice. It was not being dressed entirely in lined black leather that kept him from feeling the cold, but the coldness of his heart. Dark shadows fell across his handsome clean-shaven face, but his piercing blue eyes, filled with furious hate, still shown clearly.

Once again it was the dark of the year, the nights continued to grow and daylight to fade until Yule. It was the night before the Solstice and the world seemed to hold its breath in wonder as a bright full moon's light danced on the thick blanket of virgin snow that covered the landscape. Garith hated this time of year, long had it served as a bane to him and in all the lands he ruled he strictly forbade any celebration of the Holy Day. Any attempt to do so resulted in punishment most severe, for the practitioners and their village. But it was not always thus. There had been a time when he had practiced the pagan traditions of his forefathers. There had been a time when he believed in the ultimate and merciful love of the Divine. But no longer.

Long ago Garith had loved a maiden named Eliana. A charming and graceful child of Nature, she had had no difficulty in capturing the human Sorcerer's wild heart and he courted her with pure intent. It seemed that not long after his wooing had won her love for him that the dark of the year came and with it a roving band of pagans of ill-will. Eliana had gone out to gather holly on Yule morning when she had crossed paths with the band and in her innocence and kind-heart she had offered them food. The pagans had taken the food and more, leaving her beaten upon a woodland path. Although in his love for her Garith had been able to grant Eliana the same eternal life and youth as he, the Sorcerer could not make her immortal and when he found her, all his magicks could not restore her to life. That day, as he had held her lifeless form in his arms, his heart turned cold.

The Sorcerer fell into despair and sorrow, and turned from all who loved him, even his Gods, instead seeking out the darkness and shadows of his heart and worshiped it as his god. Garith lost himself to the cold, his warmth turning to ice and his kingdom with it. He became unfeeling to his people and condemned them, pagans all, to suffer for the crimes of those who had slain his love, the Lady Eliana.

Remembering this loss, Garith started to turn away in disgust from the breath-taking sight before him when his eyes caught sight of a flickering light in the distance.

"General!"

"Yes my Lord?"

"What is that?" Garith asked pointing at the flickering light far below, his blue eyes flared with an almost insane anger.

"I-i-it looks like a bale fire, my Lord."

"Douse it immediately. Destroy the home of those who sparked it, burn it to the ground, and capture the offender. Bring him to me."

The General gave a curt bow and left the tower but Garith remained, glaring at the bale fire in the distance, his hands gripping the edge of the tower wall so tightly they bled for the gravel and sharp edges being ground into them. Unable to bear the sight any longer, the Sorcerer spun around and stormed off the balcony, down the long hall to his casting room slamming the heavy doors shut behind him.

Struggling to control his temper, he faced the empty room, its walls and floor adorned with arcane symbols and dark runes. With a growl and a wave of his hand, fire seared the walls and along the floor following his every step to where he knelt at the room's center. Leaning forward with head bowed, he placed his hands flat on the cold stone and closed his eyes, chanting under his breath to the shadows and the darkness. "Come to me," he whispered. "Comfort me."

The room became icy cold, a thick frost forming on the walls and floor, and even the flames cooled to nothingness. Flashes came into Garith's mind, images and sounds that only he could see and hear. Memories of why he hated Yule more than any other Sabbat of the year, and more so those who celebrated it. At the thought of Eliana, his heart ached.

Hours passed before a servant knocked softly on the door, the sound tearing the Sorcerer from his meditations. Leaning back, sliding his hands gently across the floor, he opened his eyes and stared straight ahead, his breath visible as a thick smoke in the freezing room. "What is it?"

"My Lord, General Arkon has returned with the offender."

Garith smiled, a strange almost psychotic sight, and stood. Calm and completely in control, he slowly walked toward another door, "Have him bring the prisoner to the main hall."
 
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S.J. Faerlind

S.J. Faerlind

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Oh.... this is going to be GOOD!!!!!!!!
....5 more days :)
 

olivia_the_lamb

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I haven't been able to write anything :( had two jobs for a while and thought once the other one was over I'd have more time, but now I have even less *sigh*
 
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S.J. Faerlind

S.J. Faerlind

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Awww... that's too bad Liv but RL has to come first of course. We should do this again next year....maybe next year then?
 
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Beldaran

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hehehehe i'm so excited :D very much looking forward to read all your stories :D................. and grade them muahahahah
 
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S.J. Faerlind

S.J. Faerlind

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We can start posting them tomorrow Bel....... heeeeeeee!
 

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