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Fiction Digitized Stash of Paradoxical Short Stories

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Paradoxical Pacifism, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Some thread for nonsensical short stories.

    Stone Cold Affection


    Tazitzil stared at the erratic activity below him. Laboring Kroxigors hauled massive slabs of concrete, whilst Skinks with their chittering voices directed them. The small Kahoun’s scaly inhabitants chugged on under the beating sun, tending to whatever purpose the Great Plan held in their lives.


    Although a Saurus of the highly revered Temple Guard, Tazitzil’s red eyes studied the souls of the laborers and commoners alike, and saw his own resonating amidst them all. Akin to them, his life clung onto the desire of fulfilling the Old Ones’ wishes with utmost loyalty.


    Eventually.


    Eventually.


    They will return to this world and revel in the glory of their children.


    As Skink Priests and Chiefs ascended the massive cobblestone of stairs and into Lord Rivelot's temporary cave, this belief of Tazitzil’s eased the irksome feeling that had been bothering him in his century of monotonous guarding. Truth be solemnly told, he slightly felt his purpose in fulfilling the Great Plan slowly ebb away year by year when he sees his sauri brethren go off fighting in various campaigns.


    Tomorrow started off as any other day would start. Skink Priests strolled into the cave early morning, and the Chiefs followed shortly after in their usual routines of discussing plans and carrying out the will of Lord Rivelot.


    Minutes passed, and a Skink belonging to the worker caste, frantically ran up the stairs. Body language: Desperate. Intentions: Unclear. Tazitzil and his spawning bud, Bazichi, took these notes as they stood guard with halberds firmly rested upward, signifying to the Skink it wasn’t allowed to pass.


    “Let me through!” The skink yelled with strides towards the Temple Guard, “It is urgent that I pass and speak to Lord Rivelot!”


    “Explain.”


    The Skink’s large, golden eyes widened at the simple response. It didn’t help his frenzied mind, for words were hard to come into fruition. He did the only thing he could’ve thought of doing.


    Tazitzil’s red eyes sharpened at the small Skink’s pathetic legs powering its slow and predictable charge towards him. His own revved up his much more bulky mass into the foolish Skink, bolting it slightly into the air before making it tumble down on the stairs.


    ***


    Much of the day’s skies phased into the night without any further mishaps at all. The comfortable humidity that harmonically seeped through his ridged scales, replaced itself with occasional bouts of cold, dry air. But for some inexplicable reason, Tazitzil’s innards still felt warm as ever, almost as if an eternal fire finally sparked itself within his soul.


    Soft stepping sounded off in front of the statue-like Temple Guard, before a skink revealed himself yet again. Body language: Relaxed. Intentions: Unclear.


    “Hold up!” The skink yelled up as it raised its claws slightly above its orange crest, “Let me ju-”


    Tazitzil immediately charged yet again, punting the skink down the hardened stairs. Its tumble was long and loud before his eyes glared furiously. Seconds passed, and he soon realized he discarded one of the most important rules of being a good Temple Guard. Patience.


    “Make this the last time you tumble down those stairs, Skink,” Tazitzil threatened as he brandished his massive halberd, “Else It’ll only be your head next time.”


    The Skink’s teeth clenched intensely before picking itself off and running away with its tail swooshing from side to side in clear display of fear.


    “You could’ve been a lot less harsh.”


    Tazitzil turned around to see Bazichi standing with a glare of his own.


    “Why? This Skink clearly was a threat and was dealt with accordingly.”


    “I don’t know…” Bazichi struggled with the words as his helmed saurian head stared into the starry expanse of the night, “…Something doesn’t smell right.”


    Amidst the cold draft, Tazitzil smelt the strange stench too, noting that whatever it was, it didn’t belong here. The smell wasn’t the only thing he feared, for his body continually heated up despite the cold. It pinged at his mind and he wondered why this was happening to him during this lonely night.


    ***


    When the Sun’s ethereal presence raised, so did the stench that proliferated in smell. Suddenly, a massive sea of green creatures crashed onto the Kahoun’s unfinished walls. Flailing their small axes around, they cut down unarmed Skinks and Kroxigors that fought back to the death.


    Tazitzil immediately recognized the smelly invaders as raiding Orcs, inching his hunched feet forth in uncontrollable flinches. But duty came first, and his defense of Lord Rivelot was what ultimately mattered to him. Before, now, and in death, he and Baz shall protect the greatest living bastions of the Old Ones’ power!


    “You two!”


    Tazitzil and Bazichi turned to face a furious skink priest emerged from the cave’s entrance behind them.


    “Stop standing around like derpy Cold Ones and kill them!”


    With that loud shout, the two Temple Guard looked at each other and then their respective Halberds. They’ve never spilled blood in their decades of guarding the Temples and Slann, yet their halberds already drenched themselves in blood.


    ***


    Tazitzil roared onto the savage Orcs that stood readied before him. He didn’t know if his body was burning from the inside, or if it was the multiple wounds that pained his scales, but he literally felt enflamed.


    It was invigorating, and he wanted more.


    Tazitzil fought on, dropping the Orcs with well powered swings. He knew he had a significant range advantage, but what these smelly vile Orcs lacked in range, they made up for in numerical superiority. Amidst the slaughter, Bazichi’s whereabouts went blank in his mind, as he timed a perfect swing of his halberd into another Orc that charged him. More of the tiny axes plunged onto his golden plated armor, occasionally successful in drawing his blood.


    Tazitzil leapt back from the bloody fray, and tried regaining his senses. The fire that burned inside him, went out cold, and cold like stone, as it would seem his entire bloodied body couldn’t keep up with this. He glared furiously at them.


    Few of the Orcs remained standing in front of Tazitzil, probably trying to figure out how this one was tying all of them up by itself.


    From the edge of Tazitzil’s eyesight, he spotted a fast moving orange crested skink charging slightly behind the Orcs. It looked familiar, and with a smirk, he charged once more in an effort to divert attention to him only.


    Small axes pounded upon Tazitzil, mercilessly. But the Skink, with its bladed club, plunged into one of them before striking down another from behind. The last standing Orc tried turning around, but the skink quickly plunged its own club into the Orc’s chest. With excitement brimming in its mind, the Skink smiled as the blood from the wound he inflicted, dripped upon him. However, before the Skink withdrew his club from the Orc, the lifeless body started to wobble in its direction. It crashed down on the horrified Skink.


    Tazitzil coughed a sprout of blood as he frantically went over to the body. He hefted the lifeless Orc to the side, revealing a Skink drenched in blood. It made him earnestly smile when he confirmed who this Skink was. The fire within him reignited itself, finally solidifying his purpose within the Great Plan. All thanks to this puny, insignificant one he seriously thought of killing before.


    “You fight better than you talk, Skink!”


    “…Does that mean I can get through?”


    “No.”


    Camaraderie, acceptance, and friendship
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  2. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I saw a leaf fall down from a tree down onto my backyard. so yeah... pretty much my inspiration for this thing xD

    Fallen Leaf


    A Saurus stoically stood, leering at his lone Saurian opponent with its blade adorned club held firmly. between and all around them, stood the trees that had started shedding their brightly colored leaves in earnest. The undergrowth; barely noticeable amidst the many leaves that fell upon them.


    With a shattering roar, the Saurus charged forth, trembling the many watching leaves above.


    His opponent; a suspected preacher of the ancient enemy, was found out not before it killed a Skink priest and fled.


    The Saurus bought down his heavy club in a vertical slash, intersecting with his opponent’s own club in fury.


    His opponent; among the many that were the Saurus’ spawn brethren. All of them, together, looked forward towards bashing in the small ratty heads of the Skaven.


    The Sauri roared in pain as both of their clubs met flesh instead of each other, raining the blood of their respective masters onto the numerous leaves before them.


    And yet… here they were, fighting to the death as if both of their destined fates intertwined with each other with only one allowed to continue… a logical analogue towards nature itself, indeed, they thought.


    The Saurus leaped at his opponent in an attempt to bring down the full force of his strength and his resolve down into an unrelenting swing. His opponent, however, side stepped fast enough away from the downward swing, swinging his club in return.


    But at what cost does this logical analogue of nature pertain to? The Saurus prayed and prayed to the Old Ones in many illogical hopes and dreams that the accusations were false…


    The Saurus weakly blocked his opponent’s attack, stuttering slightly at its inertia powering through his Saurian body. Seeing this, his opponent quickly followed up with another horizontal swing to end this.


    Why must Chaos manifest through the souls of the many? At what point in the future will the Old Ones’ world and all of its souls fall into the deepest depths of chaos? Is there any hope for any of us at all?


    The Saurus instinctively leapt back to avoid the club, but it was too late, for it carved a meager path through his torso, raining a stream of painful blood. He leered into the small redden eyes of his opponent with rage making his Saurian body tremble.


    Under the cold cloudy skies, the reach of the dark powers seemed infinite, but the yearnful, burning flicker of the Old Ones’ children still burns on despite this. The burning blood inside him told him further: Winning here is paramount; survival isn’t.



    The opponent took to the initiative, and charged forth, seeing that victory is but only a falling leaf away. Enraged, but dutifully focused, the Saurus deceptively waited until only the perfect moment. The opponent’s club prepared itself for another downing of saurian blood as it spear headed towards the Saurus. Before it could strike, however, the Saurus side stepped away, swinging his own club with all his might towards the opponent’s out stretched club.


    It’s all over now.


    The stricken club dropped from the opponent’s scaly hands, providing the perfect opening to end this. The Saurus slashed his opponent’s torso before it could reliably defend itself, dropping down onto a pile of leaves below. With victory hung high in the drafty air, the Saurus raised his club above his opponent’s head.


    “Any last words, spawn brother?”

    “I’ve fallen… and so will all at some point!” The opponent roared whilst struggling and detesting its fate, "Chaos is all there is, spawn brother!"


    With those roars sounded off, the Saurus’ club cleaved through the head it’s been yearning to cleave through. The Opponent’s Saurian head rolled forward from its body, bathing in a pool of blood.


    It’s all over now…


    ***


    Many hours later, the Saurus stopped its march back to its temple city and looked up above.


    A single golden-brown leaf dangled upon its branch. It was lonely with all of its brethren already fallen down to the ground; destined to be decomposed into the soil of the ground below.


    It occurred to the Saurus that his spawning brother’s body will do the same; far into the unforeseeable future, feeding the hungry soil below its nutrients – a way of nature and the Old Ones despite his treachery.


    The leaf suddenly fell and gilded down onto the Saurus’ scaly snout.


    He then did the unthinkable. He contradicted what his spawn brethren would expect of him. He contradicted the will of the Slann mage-priests. He contradicted his sole purpose put forth for him by the Old Ones themselves.


    He cried.


    Thanks for the lengthy critique <3.

    Personally, i sort of do disagree that the lack of setting description brought down the whole piece. It was intentional for the piece to start off rather quickly with vague exposition about the plot in order to place an emphasis on the drama of the action.

    On the other hand, i do agree that i should've explained why the opposing saurus turned to the dark side. You said that i should've done so in the beginning, but i think it would be even better if i did it during the tiny snippet of dialogue before the protagonist Saurus kills his spawn brother. It would've made for a more dramatic, tear inducing kill!

    Not exactly sure how i could've made the saurus kill more "gorey" I think i probably should've been more evocative and descriptive of the beheading... yeah i agree!


    Who are you?



    Thanks! I really appreciate your positive input! but i do greedily want one more thing....

    moar negative points??





    I think I agree. I probably could've gone a bit more longer with the story and explore some of the concepts you've laid out in your critique.

    Sadly I sort of Oof'd myself by not naming the Sauri characters, and plus i'm still busy on my other story, so i don't think i'll continue this at all.

    Also, bob, your "Sheer Art Award" for me is made all the more ironic by the fact that i'm not much of an artistic guy at all - I can't even draw stick figures correctly :joyful:

    But I still appreciate it nonetheless <3



    I think i will consider this a review of my own story.

    Thanks, d00d <3
     
  3. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Near the start of the contest, I actually thought of another idea for my short story that would've been much more relevant to the theme in which a Skink priest deciphers a secretly stowed away plaque that foretold his/her Temple city's destruction. The sheer shock leads it to commit suicide, and one of its attendants discovers the body shortly after... anyway, i wrote deja vu instead, because i thought that idea was a bit too ridiculous :p

    Déjà vu

    Kro-tototl’s jaws clamped on a horse’s lifeless corpse, tearing a bloody chunk and swallowing its stringy contents whole.


    The incessant rain thrashed off wavering trees and ferns, bearing a noticeable – yet ignorable rhythm inside Kro-tototl’s mind.


    All that was left in Kro-tototl’s mind then, was the lingering, maddening thought of the invading Anathema and fallen untamed ones whom dared they could steal and desecrate the First’s homeland and its treasured plaques with their lives intact.


    Such wrongs were personally righted with the bloodied corpses of the northern untamed ones lying face-down behind Kro-tototl and his nutritious prey foolish enough to serve them.


    A sudden crackle instantly made the feasting Kro-tototl to stop what he was doing, pick up his spear, and turn to the mysterious source of sound that came from a myriad of bushes behind. What came to mind was a feral Cold One that sensed the smell of fresh warm blood, and rushed forth to claim a day’s worth of food.


    Instead, an Untamed One with similar, barren attire to the northern tribesmen Kro-tototl had slain, appeared from the bushes. The Untamed One’s large axe trembled as it saw its bloodied compatriots sprawled out across the jungle floor, and before their bodies, stood a leering Kro-tototl.


    Nonetheless, it charged with its face wrought with madness and rage, roaring a war cry of vengeance.


    Kro-tototl easily dodged the Untamed One’s initial swing before his own spear swiftly retaliated with a sideways swipe, cleaving one of its arms asunder.


    Roaring naught with rage, but with sudden tears, the Untamed One convulsed down onto the jungle floor and writhed about uncontrollably – unknowingly in front of its dead fellow tribesmen. Kro-tototl brought down his spear to end its pathetic suffering and went back to his nutritious feast, recalling the objective of exterminating the intruders.


    As Kro-tototl made his journey back to the temple city; either for more tasks or basks in the sun, he happened to be nearby a pond.


    Emerging from it, stared a lone, dull green primeval frog. Its black tadpoles swam around and under it in seemingly random patterns…


    ***


    Uncountable centuries after, along a village’s border, a lone Saurus stared at a gathering of humans with its bloodied spear. In-between it and they, laid the bodies of marauding Chaos warriors. Broken, brutalized, and decapitated.


    The humans regarded the lone Saurus with baskets of humane gifts and nervous flinches, showing their heartfelt thanks, and yet, tensed suspicions of a scaly person who won’t talk or seem to have any discernible emotion apparent despite it saving them.


    Turning ‘round, the Saurus regarded the prodigal humans plainly before walking away with naught a thought anymore in its mind, except the expected Ascendance towards the starry masses' glow embroiled in the night skies it called home.


    But then it happened before transcendence. A small clutch of dull green frogs appeared from a nearby stream before gathering at his clawed feet, smiling and tilting their heads jovially.


    An unusual feeling then coursed and flowed throughout the veins of the Saurus, and not long after, the cloak of night ushered in a surreal chill. Bathing the rigid scales in coldness, the chill beckoned the Saurus' head for a lengthy upwards reckon upon the starry skies.


    A feeling of striking familiarity, and yet, another feeling of presiding emptiness...



    I never really paid much interest or attention to the name since it's a combination of two words - hence the pointless hyphen :p

    Kro is Saurian for sacrifice or transcendence, and Tototl is Nahuatl for bird.


    I certainty do feel like i could've done more with the story since it does look a lot like a weird hybrid between a short story and a poem with no inherent plot. I do agree that it would've been better to describe the transition from the world-that-was to AoS in much more detail and characterize the generic AoS human village i've introduced a bit more. Doing so would've probably created a plot (albeit a very simple one), and slow down the pacing too.

    I do remember considering Saurus as impossible to write as characters since they're often seen as autonomous lizard-y machines designed to kill. But i think adding a little bit of personality and having the Saurus character reflect or mimic the underlying theme of a short story is a fairly easy way to write a Saurus character as close to the official fluff as possible (of course this doesn't need to be done at all if you just want to write a Saurus character however you want)

    Like for an example, Fallen Leaf's Main saurus character reflected the story's theme of the sorrow of having to do your duty regardless of your feelings.


    not really sure what's so deep about it besides all of the random rhyming that doesn't really have any pattern to them at all :p


    Forced philosophical quotes, eh PP? :p

    anyway, though Scalenex treasures Short stories for being short and having very appropriate word counts for their contents, i think this story could've benefited from being longer too (though not too long).


    The theme wasn't so bad, i just didn't understand it all. o_O

    I didn't realize soon enough that the Glyph Forty-Three on Plaque Twelve of the Third Chamber of the Sacred Archives of Oyxl had a subjective meaning behind it - the writer had to just write about it instead of just googling it :joyful:


    Is it bad that it feels like part of an unending cycle? I'm inclined to perhaps think so.


    I mainly wanted the short story to feel very relateable, and i think i did this very well with the first couple of lines and the last line:

    The last line was supposed to be very similar in length to the first line in order to create a similar rhythm with the two lines. This was done so that the reader could reference and relate to the imagery of the Rhythmic sound Kro-tototl was hearing.

    This line referenced what one might feel during a Déjà vu episode.
     
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  4. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    I just think it was a truly bad theme in that both in its specific form and its 'generic' form as 'Interpretations of Prophecy' it is really limiting because I just think all 'prophecy' stories are really samey, but I expect that's just me ;)
     
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  5. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    guess i'll post this here since it does somewhat tell a story. There's no double spacing or centered title since I finally realized that it would probably reveal its author too easily in the contest... :p

    For this contest, i primarily wanted to write about how a saurus would handle and respond to the grief of losing one that was close. The premise was based on the five stages of grief, but i didn't want to represent all of them due to how clunky it would be for a small poem to do so. As such, I originally wanted to focus on anger and depression.
    I also used feminine pronouns in order to fit the general tone of the poem as well. The poem does focus on rhyming, and while that's great, i think i'll just focus on rhythm and structure next time if i want to write another poem.

    Grieving Loss


    The Bellowing, raging wind swayed the grasses
    Where a saurus thereupon crouched
    Emotionless and cold of the wind’s tout brass
    For she held a corpse’s dead slouch

    Indeed, the wind’s assault upon her scales felt too real
    With the unending time’s taunt to feel
    She wondered if she could’ve felt the heart’s faint zeal
    Or if that was just her tensed claws’ reeling

    The omnipresent clouds begun darkening above her
    Rats and lizards’ many blood spills hardening around her
    Seething muscles pulsating themselves aggressively within her
    Teeth clenching and trembling with urges to roar their rage for her

    A stegadon herd trotted across the horizon yonder
    Its pups trailing from behind with grand wonder
    Contradicting her and the corpse’s bloody tale
    Her roar reverberating throughout in its scale

    Memories fleeted and faded amidst the burning pain
    Her Stabbed gut perturbed with churning shame
    Surrounded by bloody carnage that was; now enshrouded by lonely silence
    The mangled corpses all strewn about violently; now in peace with nature’s patience

    Amidst it all; amidst all of the otherworldly torment, she somehow found its sense

    For the sauri never question purpose
    An omen to the Old Ones’ incessant will

    And so, she let go
    And let go

    The eyes beginning to warm and water up strangely enough, she thought...
     
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  6. Nazqua
    Carnasaur

    Nazqua Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, Loving all the stories and the style, its very clean cut and well executed.
     
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  7. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    When i first saw the contest's theme, i knew i wanted to do something different (or at least something i haven't ever done yet). I predicted there would be no comedic stories what so ever due to the sweet, sweet grimdark theme (i was right). So, naturally, i directed to make a comedic story and the first funny thing that came to mind was... "Flying Saurus", a story in which a saurus somehow gets airborne with either a terradon or a ripperdactyl.

    Sadly, the comedic element is completely missing from the story - I never had time, and comedic writing is something completely out of my ballpark. Besides the missing comedy, the story was pretty rushed and it missed some things i wished i could've included, so it's not my proudest work.

    Flying Saurus


    In a dimly lit cave, two attentive skinks stood side by side, swinging their tails amidst the cold, drafty air. An abrupt breeze surfed their scales as they returned stares at the silent and aloof ripperdactyl before them.


    “Heh. I don’t think it’ll budge anytime soon,” Laz chirped.


    “What was Cahmahgazi thinking!? We’re a reconnaissance detachment!” Choki hissed loudly.


    “I’m sure he has his reasons…” Laz interjected as the ripperdactyl lazily swung its razor sharp beak aside, “He was assigned pack leader for a reason.”


    Choki casted off a furiously shivering smile.


    “Yeah, I thought getting us killed was one of them, but this is getting ridiculous!”


    “If it wanted to, we’d already be dead.”


    The cave fell silent from chirping and hissing at those coldly true words. Both Laz and Choki thought hard on how to get the rather timid ripperdactyl airborne and finally commence their sortie. Their train of thought, however, abruptly ended when a shadow loomed over the both of them, obscuring the rocky ground at their clawed feet in complete darkness.


    They turned around to see a hulking saurus, Munna, stare them down with a saddle meant for Cold Ones clenched firmly by one of his arms.


    Laz noted Munna’s saddle with perplexed eyes. It pondered upon him why Munna was still clinging onto something gone so long ago, and though he hid it well like any other saurus, it was still readable.


    “Itz’xa’khax. Elves. Intrude. North-East.”


    “We’re grounded,” Choki grudgingly replied, “Our ripperdactyl has found himself to be mentally challenged, and won’t even move for Sotek’s grace… or ours!”


    Munna noticed the ripperdactyl’s massive wingspan beginning to beat up and down rhythmically until a faint wind current could be felt throughout the cave. His blood rushed when he realized what the flying beast was attempting to do.


    “RUN! SKNIKS!”


    Both Laz and Choki startled back from Munna’s sudden roar before looking behind them.


    The ripperdactyl’s wings flapped aggressively until it leaped right past the skinks, instantly knocking them down and bolting towards Munna with an ear piercing screech.


    Stunned, Munna dropped his saddle and threw himself hastily onto the ground, dodging all but one of the monstrous talons whom were sharper than spears his scaly hide once had to bear. It scythed a long streak of blood throughout the entire length of his torso before finally parting ways.


    Munna quickly got up and clenched his chest as blood fell relentlessly from his claws. The ripperdactyl sized him up with its humongous wings spread out, readying itself to pounce him any moment. Realizing this, Munna’s instincts took complete control amidst the seething rage. He charged ferociously.


    The winged beast leaped up yet again with its talons stretched out mercilessly. Before they could scythe Munna apart, he slid underneath as they harmlessly whooshed above him. Quickly, he regained his posture and jumped upon the ripperdactyl’s back who was still recovering from its leap whilst thrashing uncontrollably.


    Munna excitedly bared his dagger-like teeth before working his way up to the neck to deliver the killing blow, only to find it was completely encased by a thick golden ring used for controlling and directing the beast. With no other option, and with no weapons at his disposal, Munna tried the only thing plausible that came to his frenzied mind: restraint. An impossible task made crazier, for the ripperdactyl constantly fluttered and flapped into the air until crashing down, all the while threatening Munna’s fall, and by extension, his death. This continued monotonously until the ripperdactyl finally tired out from exhaustion.


    Munna looked for the avian rider skinks, but they vanished like leaves before the breeze. The lack of body parts and significant amounts of blood strewn across the cave floor made him think they’re safe. Before he could reach for the beast’s thickly built neck for further restraint, the ripperdactyl’s head swiveled around and gave off a nervous glare. It glared and glared, patiently awaiting its ill-fated end in tense expectation, reptilian eye to eye.


    It felt as if the ripperdactyl’s eyes themselves were a mirror of Munna himself. He could feel and sense its weakness ooze from within as it scantly reminded him of the dreaded day he lost his Cold One - a day he lost something so much more than pride. He could sense the ripperdactyl lost something too, and whatever it was, it eroded from deep within.


    Munna eased up on the pinning, and instead, brought his head alongside the ripperdactyl’s, embracing the beast who tried killing him. The ripperdactyl flinched abruptly. It was a rashly dangerous move, but it was one unorthodox way of taming and relaxing a mount; all reliant on soothing the mount’s confused mind. Excreting the same odor of these creatures helped his cause, but this was no Cold One. Despite that, it still excreted that familiar odor that resonated along with his life of mounted warfare. Wounds of the past slowly begun clotting up.


    As Munna continually embraced, the ripperdactyl’s large wings flapped once. There was no warning or noticeable startup this time when the ripperdactyl, along with Munna, leapt into the air and bolted out of the cave.


    Munna growled a surprised yelp as wind suddenly blew. He looked underneath to see the breath of the jungle canopy below moving at a slow pace. He looked above to see the clouds shadowing him. He was flying.


    Munna’s mind raced with a whirlwind of thoughts. It was rarely fear, sometimes excitement, and mostly wondering on how in Chotec’s name to get down from this freezing place!


    That large ring that encased the ripperdactyl’s neck occurred to him. There was a large handle on the top, presumably for the skinks to toil its direction.


    Munna yanked it back towards him only for the ripperdactyl to inversely incline its flightpath. He yanked it again, but only forwards this time, declining its flight path. Munna tried yanking it left and right to see how the ripperdactyl would respond to his inputs. Soon enough, and with adequate amounts of trial and error, he could reliably direct the ripperdactyl’s flightpath. Landing, however, was still a mystery.


    The wind’s harsh rush reminded him of his cherished Cold One riding days. Ecstasy of the breeze's howling kept on emboldening his heart the faster he flew.


    Munna noticed small white blobs moving amidst the jungle floor. Itz’xa’khax. The intruding elves. He abruptly yanked the handle and rolled the ripperdactyl over into a steep dive.


    Munna roared as the wind blew harshly against him and the ripperdactyl. His blood lust rushed to new heights as the jungle canopy and its elf-spawn prey became clearer. He gave another look to accurately pick out his targets, only to find the white spots suddenly disappeared from view.


    Munna yanked the handle in order to recover from the dive, but the ripperdactyl wouldn’t budge. Continuously, he tried everything he could to recover their suicidal dive but to no avail. Munna glared, hopelessly, as the jungle canopy thundered into closer view until he and the Ripperdactyl splattered onto the jungle floor in an unrecognizable pile of gore.


    If only their descent was slower, if only he was able to comprehend what was going to happen, and if only he could consult the ripperdactyl one last time…


    He would’ve smiled nonetheless.

    ***


    I like to think comedic stories can both be emotionally powerful, and also outright ridiculous and funny. I think it's all about that balance. Writing something that appears to be outright ridiculous on the surface, but also have a powerful and perhaps saddening theme hiding underneath it all. Or maybe even the reverse of this. I can't name any examples of media that does this - I live under a rock somehow - but it's certainly something interesting.

    It's never explained in official fluff on how skinks actually control their flying mounts in the air. So, I *Improvised* xD

    You're right in that the Ripperdactyl never pulled up due to a combination of things. Munna's overconfidence, and also the intense air speed and steep dive that prevented its muscles and frame from successfully pulling out of the dive. I certainly could've done a better job illustrating this, though.


    Thank you... :D

    It was also my intent to explain why the ripperdactyl both attacked, and also flew Munna while they were both joyfully flying. I also wanted to show how he/she contributed to both of their deaths, not just Munna, but all of this was cut due to laziness lack of time.

    I like that alternative ending. It would've been nice for Munna to RTB back to a bunch of bemused skinks that are wondering what the mahrlect a saurus is doing on top of a ripperdactyl. A comedic story would be much easier.


    That was mostly inspired by @Yttar Scaletail 's fantastic story, "Cold" (it's an amazing story, would recommend!). Mostly just to justify how Munna could tame a ripperdactyl.



    That wasn't my intent, but then again, a suicidal ripperdactyl is pretty interesting.



    Thank you very much! Besides a fairly forced ending, this was a little bit on my mind when i was writing it.


    Thank you :D...

    Never watched game of thrones, so i'm lost. I'm guessing most of the episodes end in an abrupt, unforeseen manner. If so, that sort of was my intent. Deaths sting the most when they're completely unpredictable after all :D (though a saurus flying a ripperdactyl with no prior flight hours is just roaring for a accident to happen, and what i said about deaths isn't really true)


    fool-fool Hissk-thing wants raven to squeak-squeak rat-thing language! but raven only-only cluck-cluck! and CAWWWWWW!

    oh

    what-what's tha-
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  8. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    During one of my random musings, I thought of writing a short story that would mainly explore the contrast between the Slann and Kroxigor in their intelligence as well as magical abilities. The general message of the story would've been how simplistic thinking can sometimes solve problems in a seemingly complex and intricate situation/environment fit for only a Slann; not a bare-bones Kroxigor. It also would've had a heartwarming ending too.

    Anyway, during around the last week of the submission part of the contest, i finally had some time to work on this story idea in a conveniently fitting contest theme by killerangel. So, i basically tried simplifying what I already had, and introduced the relateable, yet exotic theme of phobia for the kroxigor main character.

    Kroxigor's Magic

    In the dark, narrow alley ways of Tlaxtlan, hid a tensed Mallus. His bulky arms adorned with scales, wrapped around his even bulkier torso, shivering incessantly. His relatively small mind rushed with crazed fears that blighted the foreseeable future. The future itself seemingly hidden alike the many shadows that obscured his vision around him in a darkening void.

    Suddenly, a skink priest fashioned with variously colored feathers appeared off from the side of his panicked vision and mind. The skink and its staff shivered themselves into an aggressive tremble.

    “Mal! What are you doing? You’re supposed to be working!”

    Mallus looked up before his bulging muscles shivered even more, “Zakaku! Black things everywhere! Little black leg things make Mal scared!”

    Zakaku’s impatient, furious shivering stopped as his eyes slightly widened in realization.

    “Spiders, huh? They have been appearing a lot more as of late.”

    Mallus’ massively thick head nodded quickly, “Spiders want something! Mal dont know what they want from Mal!”

    “Enough with that!” Zakaku angrily barked. “You can smash them into a mere smoosh without even trying. They aren’t a threat to you - no - not even a threat to anyone!”

    Mallus’ shivering stopped whilst his eyes quietly leered apprehensively. Visions of those thin, springy legs tormented his mind.

    Zakaku sighed and left his magical staff to stand upon the stone wall behind him. He knew what he had to do. It had helped Mallus’ inexplicable bouts of intense fear for these critters, and help restore his confidence for the past twenty years.

    Zakaku immediately leaped forth upon Mallus, embracing his bulky form. Zakaku’s comparably needle-thin arms hugged as much as he could, soothing Mallus’ frightened mind.

    And soothing it was. Mallus’ fears boiled up and evaporated as if it was nothing but hot air. Everything in his mind finally seemed clear and alight.

    “Now don’t disappoint me,” Zakaku said whilst withdrawing from his embrace. “You’ve been called upon to take up arms and fight. Your strength will become invaluable.”

    Zakaku stepped back and grasped his magical staff before turning ‘round.

    “See you later, brother.”

    Mallus stared at Zakaku’s walking form as it disappeared from around the corner and into the light. His mind raced anew not with fear, but with excitement! He wondered if it’ll be the rats that will be fought. Maybe even the humans or elves. He loved fighting the rats the most. They get crushed so easily!

    ***

    Three hours passed. The sun’s burning dominance throughout the vast skies above was beginning to recede. Zakaku stepped into a small temple that stood in the extreme outskirts of Tlaxtlan. Inside, he found six skinks all adorned with colorful feathers alike himself. They all held higher ranks too.

    “Was I summoned?”

    “Yes, we’re here to inform you an additional dozen sauri have been assigned to your search party.”

    “Wait, why?” Zakaku questioned; bemused as to why he needed this amount of troops.

    One of them spoke up, “Well, It turns out Yuqal’xili isn’t missing anymore. His corpse was found roughly twenty miles east from here near a cave system.”

    “He’s dead, huh…” Zakaku uttered as the thought started permeating throughout his mind.

    “We initially thought it was the scummy rats responsible. That was until our scouts searched the surrounding area…”

    Another one of them took to the info dump.

    “Spiders. Big ones. They’re around one-half the size of a skink. They were also responsible for making off with the Staff of the Lost Sun Yuqal’xili had on him, somehow.”

    Zakaku’s guts sunk like stone on water. His eyes widened in disbelief.

    “Spi-Spiders!?”

    “Quite surprising, indeed. Almost harmless, though. Can easily be cut down by just about anyone.”

    “You know your orders then,” One of them said. “Take your search party and find the Staff of the Lost Sun.”

    “Understood…”

    Zakaku stepped out; his eyes glued onto the dirt before him. He pondered on whether he should tell Mallus about these unexpected turn of events. It utterly bemused him how anyone could fear anything that which does no harm.

    Zakaku sighed heavily before preparing to assemble his small host. These spiders will be crushed nonetheless.

    ***

    Another three hours had passed. The sun’s receding rays stretched across the horizon as nightfall made its presence felt. The search party consisted of a score of six Kroxigors, a small legion of sauri, and a band of skinks all on the march due east.

    The higher up skinks gave Zakaku a magically enchanted lodestone worn around his neck. It can detect waves of power that occasionally pulsate from the Staff of the Lost Sun. According to the lodestone, they were right - the highly revered staff wasn’t taken a long distance away from Yuqal’xili.

    They marched resolutely with no difficulties stopping them until they reached a rather large opening cleared of trees and other flora. Cave openings dotted themselves all around, and a skink priest’s bloodied, beheaded body laid near one of them. Luckily, the magically enchanted lodestone told Zakaku which one they needed to head towards. They were off marching again in no time.

    Mallus’ nostrils flared and his muscles shivered once again when he saw white stringy webs stretch across the corners of the tunnel they were in. He pondered with a curious claw on whether rats use webs.

    They continued on into twists and bends until the tunnel gradually broadened into three separate paths. Once again, the lodestone directed them surely and succinctly into the one that branched off to the left. They marched onwards until they eventually found themselves in an expansive chamber. The space they were in could’ve housed a large portion of Tlaxtlan by itself as the scaly warriors’ clawed feet made resounding echoes throughout.

    There were even more openings which presumably lead onto more tunnels on the opposite side. Nonetheless, the lodestone was practically beating upon Zakaku’s chest with reflective power. The Staff of the lost Sun was near.

    Before Zakaku could order his host yet again, arrows suddenly flew above them all. None were hit. He immediately turned to see who was responsible.

    Flooding in from the chamber’s opposite side, were spiders all enlarged to be half a skink, as was expected. What they didn’t expect, however, were the ones responsible for firing off the arrows. Little green humanoids rode upon the spiders. Sporemen! Greenskins!

    Their bows arced upwards, preparing yet another barrage of death. Zakaku’s staff beamed with light before himself and the rest of the host’s scales glowed with a sheen. The arrows bounced off harmlessly.

    “Mal!” Zakaku barked as he turned towards the kroxigors. His body begun to tremble with impatience until he noted the amount of kroxigors which stared at him, dumbfounded. What were supposed to be six, only stood five.

    Zakaku turned ‘round, fiercely clenching his teeth together as some of the goblin spider-riders charged at them all, while others arced their bows high.

    ***

    Mallus’ giant Warhammer swerved from side to side as he walked alone in a corridor. He divulged from the host’s path, for he felt something terribly amiss. His guts convoluted along with the invasive smell of ratmen purging all else thought. Even the white, stringy webs were growing in intensity with each stomping step. A clear sign of rats!

    He turned a corner and stared into the abyss that was before him. A few little green humanoids stared back at him. One of them held what seemed to be a staff that was adorned with beautifully woven golden metals. Its head burned with a ferocious orange hue.

    The realization hit Mallus’ mind instantly. Goblins! Sporemen! He growled angrily as he leaped onto one of them, gripping it with his jaws and ripping it apart. Their spears hopelessly glanced off his scaly hide before he swung his massive Warhammer. The rest of them were bisected effortlessly.

    What Mallus assumed to be The Staff of the Lost Sun, laid in a pool of blood, bone and meat. He curiously held it in his massive claws before continuing onwards wherever this tunnel may lead him.

    ***

    Ten minutes of darkness passed before the tunnel eventually widened. Mallus stomped into a massive chamber enraged with the commotion of battle. Arrows flew; blood was spilt. What made his heart race and his mind tormented, however, were his opponents. Tiny little creatures scurried upon springing legs. Goblins he killed earlier, rode on them.

    As if his innards were being pushed from within with rage and fear, he tried looking away from them, but couldn’t look away from the blue, scaly lizards falling with cuts and slashes. His blood seethed as his head arched upwards. He roared angrily as he hefted the Staff of the Lost Sun and his Warhammer, clenching them both with the combined strength of ten sauri.

    The gold adorned staff responded in kin with its orange hue burning exponentially. Soon, a violent flash scorched throughout the chamber’s surroundings, sending Mallus flying until he smashed into the chamber’s walls. His consciousness was escaping him alike the blood pouring from his head…

    ***

    Mallus’ eyes instantly slid open when water doused him. He was lying down. Trees… trees everywhere.

    “Mal!? Mal! You did it! You saved us all!”

    Mallus could see Zakaku’s bloodied form and hear him slightly.

    “Ughh… Mal don’t feel good…”

    “And you located the Staff of the Lost Sun! Brother, you never disappoint!”

    Mallus’ eyes quickly slid closed and his body’s muscles tensed up. Zakaku noticed this.

    “What’s wrong? The spiders are all dead! There’s nothing nevermore to fear now.”

    “Worm behind you…”

    Phobia, friendship, the overcoming of fear, mundane and magic, and kroxigor stupidity... or bravery.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  9. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I really love giving characters some form of meaning connected or contradicted by their characterizations, but this time, i largely just stole the nickname from a friend and just slapped it onto the character :smuggrin:. I also enjoy names that have both feminine and masculine connotations. Mal and Mallus provided that perfectly.

    Zakaku. Largely an abstract reference of the world's only flightless parrot - the Kakapo. I don't eat cereal :oldman:

    Agreed. I thought it would've been a fun moment of self-deprecation, but i think i could've fitted it into the story better.


    They weren't heading the wrong way, just that Mal found a easier shortcut to get to the staff without tracking it or having the wits to do so.

    Yeah... i should've illustrated/plotted this more clearly :banghead:


    Sure. With the addition of this Total War: Warhammer II DLC, i'm pretty confident people would like to write Kroxigors as main/important characters more. It was fun writing.


    I am afraid of spiders (Some form of self-insertion then?). I hate them. Worms give me the creeps. Snakes are completely fine as they are, though.


    I had almost all of this mind, but didn't explore these points as much as i could have. Still very interesting to explore how the various species of the lizardmen interact with each other.

    Thank you... :D.
     
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  10. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    So when I first saw the contest's theme, I was instantly set on doing a crossover. Except, it took me some time to realize that crossovers will probably be the most used idea for this theme, so I thought about something else that could fit the contest's theme. Some more time passed by, and I was thinking that changing a core lizardmen rule/theme that's essential in their lore would probably suffice. One of them is the lizardmen's almost perfect cooperation between each other, which I subverted.

    With the setting taken care of, I wanted to *experiment* with some writing concepts. Mostly on how to center an entire story on dialogue, how to draw a reader in with the story's introduction, and how to use dialogue to explore a theme and its conflict.

    Going back to the setting, a theme i immediately recognized I could use, would be the possible feelings a saurus could have if it finds itself in a civil war, killing off other sauri. These feelings of this 'saurus,' and his outlook on the civil war was the story's theme: Madness. After that, I wanted the conflict to be about finding out the lizard's feelings. The saurus' gazing, and his repeating of the word "Madness" were there to mask his feelings, and it was up to the skinks to unmask these clues, and find out the reasoning behind it all.

    For the story's introduction, i wanted it to be shocking :p I thought it'd be weird to open up a short story, and the first thing that's seen, is dead lizardmen already, as if the the 'good guys' lost. After that opener, I wanted to briefly describe what's happening with the story's setting, what they just saw, and the problem behind the story's setting. I never really needed to do more than that, since the story was all about the the two skinks and the saurus.


    “Madness…”


    The bodies of lizardmen were sprawled out amongst ferns and undergrowth. They laid with eyes staring and mouths agape, as blood poured from their wounds.

    There were other lizards who stood above the bodies. They either berated their dead kin, or sought refuge somewhere else to heal. Amidst the living, were skinks looting from the bodies, sauri roaring towards the heavens, and kroxigors hefting corpses into their jaws.

    It was a decisive victory for a minor force of Tlaxtlan over an Xlanhuapec reconnaissance group. A clash that mirrored the ones of long ago, and will see itself repeat on end in the future, spilling reptilian blood relentlessly. The lizards’ hatred for another scorched like a fire throughout their past.

    Tired, the Tlaxtlan warriors looted whatever they could, as the stench of the dead settled in. One of them was a skink skirmisher, Koriki. He searched for anything of use until he spotted a lone saurus who stood erect, peering out onto the skies above. The muscled warrior loomed over a few dead sauri with scars running across its scales.

    Koriki struck a conversation with his buddy who was alongside him, pointing with his claws.

    “Who in Chotec’s name is that?”

    His buddy, Nakaux, followed where the claws pointed with his eyes, spotting the lone saurus.

    “That’s Chaska. He’s been doing that ever since we won.”

    “You know him? Bit of an awkward one. Sauri usually don’t stare like that as if they’re deeply in thought.”

    “Maybe, maybe,” Nakaux said as he curiously looked on. “It is certainly the first time I’ve seen him stare in such a way. Makes me wonder what he’s thinking about.”

    Koriki leaned in closer, smiling with glee widely. “Let’s ask him then!”

    “Ehh…” Nakaux muttered whilst trying to push away the excited skink.

    Such brash rudeness didn’t register so well in Nakaux’s mind. He had always appreciated the wisdom quietness can often give. His curiosity, however, peaked to a near unbearable level.

    “I suppose it’ll be fine. Chaska is slightly more talkative than you might expect.”

    Koriki’s smile brimmed even wider as he grabbed Nakaux along with him.

    The intrigued skinks went on over to Chaska. The lone warrior still gazed towards the skies - his club dripping with blood as it quivered.

    “Chaska. Koriki here. Proud, stealthy slayer of the Xlanhuapec scum!”

    “Madness.”

    Koriki’s head shook, confused with the reply. Nakaux even more so as he stepped forward.

    “I think Koriki meant ‘Why are you standing here by your lonesome self?’”

    “Madness.”

    The two skinks turned towards each other, blinking with bemusement.

    “Madness? Are we mad? Are you mad? Are all lizards mad?!” Koriki enthusiastically questioned.

    The lone saurus gazed towards the skies - his club quivering on.

    “Madness.”

    Nakaux pondered on what Chaska meant by his repetitive utterances of ‘madness’. Was the saurus warrior simply mad? Or was it something else? He thought back to when Chaska reminisced of times most lizards have long forgotten. Times when lizards from both Tlaxtlan and Xlanhuapec traded in peace before war engulfed all of Lustria.

    Such recollections caused Nakaux’s eyes to drift towards the bodies lying by Chaska’s feet…

    “You feel sorrow for those you’ve killed, huh? Those dead sauri.”

    “Madness.”

    Nakaux shook from the answer. He continued staring towards the dead sauri until scenes of Chaska’s spawn brethren flashed before him. To the lone saurus, these spawn mates of his were united like branches of a tree. They were everything, for the gazing saurus never learnt anything else. So did the branches start to fall when Chaska and his cohort of brethren were ambushed by salamanders and skinks.

    The time when Chaska told all of this vividly played out in Nakaux’s mind. He soon began trembling and baring his teeth when a realization came to him.

    “Is this all about your spawn brethren? They’re all dead, Chaska! Countless lizards have already lost their lives, and many others will follow suit, so whimpering about won’t change anything!”

    Chaska gazed onto the abyss that was the skies - his club trembling with a quiver.

    “Madness.”

    That single, dreaded response made Nakaux’s blood seethe; his frustration boiling. The three lizards stood there as trees swayed side to side; the wind surfing about them as tails thrashed.

    Koriki looked on in bewilderment, trying to process why Nakaux was yelling, and why Chaska kept on repeating the same word monotonously. He also pondered on why Chaska’s club kept on quivering.

    The quivering itself captivated his attention. Upon focusing on it, a new sense of understanding suddenly flushed throughout him. What he had seen as bizarre, suddenly became relatable…

    And so, Koriki enthusiastically ran towards the lone saurus, hugging one of his arms. He embraced with all his might, for he finally understood.

    “Are you afraid? Are you afraid of what’s to come, Chaska?”

    Chaska’s quivering halted. His gaze turned away from the skies, and locked onto the skink hugging him. Eyes of the lone saurus that had seen centuries of blood splattering, centuries of lizards dying, and centuries of suffering pass by, stared towards pupils that haven't even experienced a year’s worth of time. Having seen so much, it was near impossible for him to know what was to come.

    Chaska raised his head and drew breath. He returned his gaze towards the skies once more.

    “Madness…”
     
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  11. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I'm curious, did you ever come up for what the Lizardmen were fighting over?
     
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  12. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    umm....

    Nope. :D

    It just never seemed important at the time for me.
     
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  13. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Since the winter poetry contest ended recently, i'll re-post my poems here. I'll chronologically post in the order they were finished, and also the thinking that went with each one. tbh, i never really knew what i was doing, poetry wise :bucktooth: .

    When the contest was announced, I initially thought about writing a 500-1000 word poem that was essentially an adventure story that covered multiple characters in the Old World. I also wanted the story to center around a theme that was figuratively about a teenager transitioning to adulthood. Yet when i sat down to gather more ideas and write, it was pretty obvious such a poem would be impossible. Just not that well versed in poetry... yet. So i decided to scale it down, and instead, just write it simpler, with a single character, and a shorter length.

    When the poem was finished, i realized there was some more i could perhaps do. Some more characters and their perspectives on a singular theme - adulthood - that could be explored, which i did.


    "The Wonder of a New World"

    Startled was the young Hal

    Uttered freely among all:

    ‘This is the Old World’

    “Mahrlect!”


    Forth taken from her home

    Lost, begging for all dear

    Flying away, the warmth inside

    She was a Cold One afterall.


    Though free from captivity

    Her fears still strangle

    Yet, she marveled on high

    Beauty embraced o’er her.


    Indeed, did trees’ leaves fly

    Drifting, dancing through air

    On her, much thinking settled:

    "These are such amazing children!”


    The leaves, now crinkled and aged

    Young blows of turbulent gusts

    Up, up, and away off they were

    Children dancing farewells mid-air.


    Such splendor made Hal the Cold One shout:

    “The wonder of a new world!”



    I haven't written much comedy (if at all), so i wanted to change that with this poem. Thought it would be impossibly hard, but somehow it ended up being the quickest one to finish :smuggrin:. It basically follows an old Dread Saurian envying the ripeness of his youth he once had.


    “The Introspective Dread Saurian”

    Cold Ones and Carnosaurs journeyed forth with joyful maw,
    Carrying gifts towards a certain one’s jaw.

    Yeah, a certain someone’s birthday was underway,
    Waking muscles stirring away.

    His senses aflame,
    Mind a-tamed.

    Indeed, this Dread Saurian heard his query,
    Feeling the air’s frantic delivery.

    And yet, his eyes turned sky-ward,
    Thoughts burned in-ward.

    Memories vividly playing,
    Emotions laying out.

    Crack, crack, tumble, tumble, CRASH

    Yeah, ten-thousand years upon thousands more he has lived
    Seen all the jungle had to throw upon him,
    Rainy weekends too!
    Though boredom did fall like the rain,
    Relentlessly pelting upon his scales,
    Not the freedom of a young’un,
    Nor the fun
    Hal was but only a weakling,
    Yet the excitement of a Fly,
    Flying out her freedoms and fun,
    Annoying all but herself

    Snap, Snap, CRASH

    His bulk mightier than mountains,
    Trees trembling on count,
    Endless strength abound,
    Yet he was as free as a cloud!?

    Though the jungle remains steadfast,
    His mind mingles with a blast,
    So many distant worlds
    Only one ancient mind

    Therein, perhaps, lies his own fun.

    Crash, crash, TUMBLE

    At least, it was only his hope they bring a XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL Talisaurus pizza instead of cake for the two-hundredth-tenth time.


    The most relatable poem, and the one i looked forward to the most. I usually prefer grim stories for the feels. And yet, funnily enough, this was the hardest poem to make. It follows someone who fears adulthood.


    "The Lonely Darkness"


    Freezing gusts of air blew,
    Harsh and fierce,
    Scales shaking; fear so anew,
    Trembling commenced.

    Miku the Cold One rested,
    The cave her own barrier,
    The elements a mere dream,
    And yet the harrowing breezes...

    They whipped and cried throughout,
    Thoughts waning and intensifying,
    Feelings burning the flare of fire,
    The darkness enshrouding her still.

    Woe had traveled with words spoken,
    Her only sister taken,
    Taken to some distant lands far away,
    Freedom carrying Hal along.

    And Miku laid in cave entrapped,
    Pondering the costs of it all:
    Free and wild like the breezes?
    Slapping upon scales with pain?

    For adventure and freedom bears a price,
    Many dangers none can suffice,
    Responsibilities pouring without care,
    Spilled were Miku’s worries.

    She wept for Hal and the future,
    Desired memories from the past,
    Darkness embracing in a nurture,
    Harsher were the cold winds still.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  14. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    When the contest was announced, I was thinking of writing a type of story I haven't done before - or rather don't have much experience with - which was comedic writing. Normally, I never give comedic writing much interest at all, nor thought it was something I should do. But with experiences I felt when reading @spawning of Bob 's many pieces, and with @thedarkfourth 's comprehensive critiques in past story contests, the idea sort of grew on me. In the 2019 poetry winter contest, i decided to write one of my poems in a comedic manner. It never got many votes, and it did linger near the bottom of the list, but it was so incredibly fun to write. I wanted to try comedic writing again with the logical expectation It won't garner much votes at all. Of course, such logical expectations never came into fruition as is usual in this crazy, ironic world :confused:.

    On a different note, this story did take many forms. At first I wanted to write a sequel to a short story I already did - Deja vu - which was an AoS story. I was thinking about writing a feminine human protagonist character that was dealing with the loss of her father, and at the same time, also had to deal with raising her younger brother. The story as a while was supposed to be cozy and humorous and a tad soupy. While the ending was a bit sad in which the saurus protagonist of Deja vu meet with the other characters and tell her what he saw in the first story and what he remembered of her father. It was a rare moment in which humans and seraphon with all of their otherworldly differences related with each other. Sadly, all of this never panned out since I don't know AoS lore that well and it does confuse me. Further more, I never really knew the feeling/message I wanted to convey in the story.

    There's this absolute treasure trove of ideas and concepts to use in stories. It's one of @Scalenex 's many comprehensive world building threads - the Lizardmen Temples and Worship thread. I found one idea in particular that intrigued me very much:

    This made a perfect fit for the contest's theme, which was new beginnings at the time, and it did inspire me quite a lot. I loved the idea of saurus sacrificing what they held dear to their hearts for a chance to become highly revered temple guards. So, I thought the story should be about a saurus warrior who desires to become apart of something larger than he could ever imagine - to become a temple guardian. But of course, doing so would inevitably leave his friends behind. This dilemma formed the story's conflict - the hard, inner-conflict that was the choice between choosing the duty you aspire to have or choosing the friends you've always known your whole life. The ending was the former, and as such, it was a bittersweet conclusion to what was supposed to be a humorous, ridiculous story. However, This idea also didn't pan out because I feared all of this would become too complex to write. It felt like I had a solid concept to write for, but i decided to move onto something else.

    Which soon lead me to another idea on the same thread I drew inspiration from:

    Unlike the previous idea that involved the rite of sacred guardianship, this idea didn't readily include the contest's theme. But it did have numerous opportunities for comedy. I brainstormed some more, and envisioned what the story should be. I thought it'd be cool if it was about a uppity chameleon skink trying to befriend lesser skinks, but dirties his image in the process. Some what like the previous idea, it was a inner-conflict between the innate desire for social contact, and the desire he has known all his life to preserve his professional image.

    The Strange, Strange Skink


    Hung over Xlanhuapec’s many temples and surrounding jungle lands was the darkness of night. The various stars aligned in orderly fashion, but each star still flashed with such individualistic light, the skies were afire in color.


    The night’s reign went on longer than usual, for it was Huanchi’s holiest day - the Winter Solstice. The Prevalence of the coldness and windy gusts made it known to all lizards. Most stoically observed the affair and prayed, some celebrated it lively, while few looked within themselves to decipher the meaning behind a lizard’s natural fear: The cold, ominous night.


    A pair of skinks chirped and laughed and argued on as they walked. They knew what they were going to do tonight.


    “Don’t think any saurus will come, though,” Ta-Elli said while chuckling. “Too busy pondering how to do anything other than fighting!”


    “Oh dear, o’ dear!” Khake shouted with a worried look. “What did I say about making fun of sauri?”


    “What? They won’t say anything.”


    “They won’t SAY anything, but they will definitely DO something!”


    “They will STARE,” Ta-Elli emphasized with a smirk. “At nothing in particular, of course.”


    “Ah!” Khake sighed heavily. “Let’s all just agree to disagree then.”


    The skinks continued their walk while they talked, laughed, and argued with each other until a figure suddenly appeared in front of them. It had the build of a skink, yet its skin was dark green like that of a swamp, and its eyes bulged profusely.


    “Oh dear, o’ dear!” Khake shouted. “It’s a rat!”


    The figure silently stood there; its eyes staring in an aloof manner.


    “You! YOU!” Ta-Elli pointed towards his friend, jaws and teeth enraged.


    “My apologies!” Khake said as he felt his crest fall and the embarrassment consuming him.


    “Please forgive my friend here… chameleon skink? I’ve never met a chameleon skink before. What’s ya name?”


    “Vicu…” the chameleon skink said, trying to forget what just happened. “It’s pretty deserted here tonight. Is there something to do? Or do I need to gaze towards the stars?”


    “We’re actually heading towards a gathering now,” Ta-Elli said.


    “So long it’s about training and killing, I would like to come.” Vicu replied, his face reserved in emotionlessness.


    Oh, sure - the gathering is exactly about that!” the two skinks shrieked in unison, excited to have such a mysterious, unique skink coming along with them.


    All three walked on some more as they passed various temples and their sauri bodyguards; the streets remaining more or less empty. It seemed most observed Huanchi’s holiest day in silence. A few gusts of air passed until chirpings and hissings of a skink’s erupted yet again.


    “So…” Ta-Elli uttered. “What do you do, Vicu? I bet it’s something incredibly interesting!”


    “I kill rats.”


    Ta-Elli blinked in bemusement and disbelief. He tried speaking, only for Khake to interrupt.


    “And then what?” Khake questioned.


    “And then I sleep.”


    “I say,” Khake looked at Vicu as some sort of intriguing artifact. “That perfectly encapsulates a saurus’ daily routine.”


    Vicu, surprisingly enough, smiled contently. “I admire saurus. Thank you.”


    Ta-Elli was about to utter a snickering joke, but then Khake punched him square in the back. “Ah yes, I ALSO admire saurus. Capable, competent lizards they are.”


    The three skinks eventually reached a courtyard secluded to the far reaches of the city. Boisterous screeches and cheers could be heard beyond the entrance. The three could tell something big and quite eventful was happening. A great sacrifice of anathema such as the wretched skaven? A congregation of skinks graduating to priesthood? Whatever it was, it beckoned the three skinks forth.


    What was seen made Khake and Ta-Elli burst into joy. Vicu, however, felt a blood vessel pop; his face swayed into sheer disgust and horror.


    Hundreds of skinks whose origins seemed to be from various corners of Xlanhuapec played and laughed and chatted, completely oblivious to their surroundings. Some went into pools of water, turned around, and wrestled with their tails. Some read riddles with each other, while others drank quite excessively. A skink even drew line art of a stegadon upon his friend’s back and portrayed an additional one clambering on top, performing what seemed to be the stegadon's natural copulation act of mounting—


    “Okay. I’ve seen enough.” Vicu said before quickly turning ‘round and starting his departure towards whence he came from.


    “What’s the deal?” Ta-Elli caught up with Vicu. Khake came along as well.


    “I have business to attend to,” Vicu said as growling emanated from him. “You two also lied.”


    “Well, technically it is FOR training. The skink chiefs organized the gathering in accordance to the slanns’ wishes,” Khake said.


    “Yeah, why not come along with us?” Ta-Elli persisted.


    Vicu stood there, frozen in place as was his glare. It pierced into the two skinks’ souls, and it felt as if they were stabbed by pure malice.


    “I am not like you two.”


    And just as Vicu appeared in front of them earlier, the chameleon skink disappeared into nothingness. Any visible trace of him gone with the winds.


    Ta-Elli could tell something was going on inside Vicu’s mind. Whatever it was, he wished the mysterious chameleon skink luck.


    ***


    Vicu’s head twisted in pain. It had felt that way ever since he went with those two skinks, and intensified when reaching that gathering meant for ‘training.’ His life was one full of killing and fighting and training. Rats feared him whenever he hid amongst the darkness, and feared his revealed form still. So great was his pride, his entire being recoiled at the thought of being made fun of. Even more so by skinks who’ve never experienced what it was like to kill. What it was like to live deep in the jungles.


    And yet, from such pain, he still felt warmth and it soothed him. In truth, he only followed those ridiculous skinks for the warmth that was as rare as gold. For all his life, he only knew the frigid, bitter existence that was loneliness. The pain had pounded him as such, he wondered how he could go on. How he could ignore this pain thumping from within forever. As a scout, and in such a position he held, the feeling came naturally.


    His mind felt like two incomprehensible forces were pulling his head apart. An aching experience rivaling his persistence to stay awake.


    Trudging on, Vicu soon thought of an associate of his. A wise associate rarely seen, but could nonetheless provide help in this torment he found himself so submerged in.


    ***


    A distinctively shaped temple closer to Xlanhuapec’s center towered above Vicu. A pair of temple guards flanked the entrance, crossing their mighty halberds. Such ruggedly built warriors stood frozen in place like statues, but would burst into incredible violence should danger present itself to whatever they protect.


    As Vicu walked forth, the temple guards stepped away, allowing the chameleon skink his entry. It seemed the guardians knew the visitor fully well despite never meeting once before.


    Vicu went onwards in the winding hallway that was the path taken, until he reached a room livened and enlightened with braziers. An aroma wafted between his nostrils; a smell he could only imagine oozed from the Old Ones’ paradise itself. Moments later, he came upon what he was looking for - an aged skink priest whose crinkles streaked across its scales like waves of an ocean.


    “Dakari. It is a pleasure to meet you.”


    Dakari, the aged skink, smiled widely and contently like flames of the braziers.


    “Vicu? Is… is that you?” Dakari croaked, still smiling. “My boy! My son! This is a… long time coming!”


    “Yeah,” Vicu replied, albeit feeling a tad cringed. “Figured I’d stop by Xlanhuapec for the Winter Solstice.”


    “Wonderful. It is wonderful to chat with chameleon skinks such as yourself. It… it always seems an hour with them passes by in mere minutes.”


    Flattered, Vicu smiled. He knew Dakari as an insightful old soul, living out his years deciphering the word of the Old Ones and the actions of the slann. With such experience, it was natural for the old skink to be seen by many as a mentor of sorts.


    Behind Dakari, Vicu saw a large engraved rectangle topped off by the blooms of variously colored flowers and other flora.


    “Is that a garden?”


    “Oh yes. Gardening soothes the mind; even amongst the buzz of bees… and the never-ending chirpings of birds,” Dakari said, walking over to the flowers. “It is simply breath taking. I adore the orderly structure of them all.”


    To Vicu, the garden seemed a massive, unpredictable collection of bright colors. Dakari continued.


    “Though… it pains my heart to see other lizards who don’t think the same. Kroxigors and saurus always eat the flowers… never admiring the beauty of them first, AND my hard work!”


    Vicu flinched; his cheeks reddening in embarrassment. Did Dakari read his mind? The chameleon skink got himself together and spoke up.


    “I’ve come to talk to you. It’s a grave matter.”


    Dakari’s expression darkened at the chameleon’s choice of words. “Oh. What is it?”


    “Yes, it is a grave feeling,” Vicu said as his tone lowered. “I’ve been highly decorated. Highly renowned, and yet, I still feel very much empty. It is as though my entire being feels hollow.”


    “Ah. Loneliness. Chameleon skinks always experience this, if not for their immensely rare spawnings.”


    Vicu’s crest rose; his joyful smile widening. “So you know the solution to this? How to overcome and prevail over this feeling!?”


    “Nope. Not at all,” Dakari said as he stroked one of the flowers.


    Vicu’s smile and his newly found joy immediately ceased. Silence followed. Dakari noticed this.


    “I simply cannot because… I am not you. It is such a personal issue, and I do not know what it is like to be a chameleon… skink. What it is like to be you.”


    “Ahh,” Vicu heavily sighed. The pounding of his pain grew louder and stronger.


    “It is all up to you,” Dakari said, softening his tone. “Only… you can decide what’s best for yourself. I wish you luck.”


    “What a headache. Thanks.”


    Vicu exchanged some more pleasantries before leaving the temple. He walked on, but his mind never thought once. He had felt there was nothing else to do, but to gaze towards the starry night above.


    He saw various stars aligned in orderly fashion, flashing with such individualistic light, the skies were afire in color. Each star espoused such beauty, he gazed on. He was transfixed on the sight created by the Old Ones themselves; its allure of order and the purity of it all. He thought it silly to ponder if the stars were all created equal, but that was all he could do. To ponder if skinks weren’t created equal. To wonder if that should be the way forward.


    Vicu thoroughly believed he was the best and brightest of skinks. Yet he questioned the use of such pride when there was no one left to uphold it…


    ***


    The chameleon skink came back to whence he came from - the courtyard. The number of skinks who celebrated the occasion thinned out, but there were still many left. Moments later, he found Ta-Elli and Khake; all watered and muddied up.


    “Thought you didn’t want to come!” Ta-Elli shouted, excited for the chameleon skink to show itself once more.


    “Thought you held much contempt for us!” Khake shouted, embarrassed for his outburst earlier.


    Vicu smirked and suppressed a giggle. “Yeah. Pretty much. I’d like to celebrate still, though.”


    The chameleon skink got down to the level of his fellow skinks and tail wrestled. He lost decisively in all his attempts, was made fun of, and was subject to many of the jokes.


    Even then, despite the growing embarrassment, he felt warmed and fulfilled, for it was the first time in years he had genuinely laughed.
     
  15. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I am pleased beyond words that people are using the fluff resources I painstakingly created!

    You may have set out to write a funny piece but you accidentally created a positive uplifting piece instead. That's probably better. That's why you got a strong second. Positive uplifting pieces tend to do well on L-O. That's why @Infinity Turtle tends to win a disproportionately high number of the contests she enters.

    I don't have a problem with light-hearted funny pieces. I enjoy them, as do many others, but they don't the contest very often. Even the @spawning of Bob , the king of scaly comedy, usually got more votes writing serious pieces.

    Usually the winning piece is one that hits the feels. Your piece certainly had feels.

    But it's not about winning. It's about growing as a writer. I would suggest trying to write comedic pieces just to get out of your comfort zone. For the short story contests at least, I would advise to go with your first instinct when you see the contest theme. I'm not 100% sure the theme I have in mind for next contest will mesh well with comedic stories.
     
  16. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Well with this piece I wanted to practice comedic writing which is something pretty hard for me, but it was fun to complete with the few hours I had to spare anyway. Some time ago, I did want to write a sequel (sort of) to a short story I already wrote called deja vu that would involve a feminine main character, which is exactly what I did for this contest. Except originally, it was intended for the sequel to have a mixture of serious and comedic tones with the main character dealing with a family loss. I tried brainstorming ideas for this concept, but it was extremely hard. I think trying to reconcile the violent tones of Deja vu with the comedic ones from the new story made it difficult to come up with ideas for the piece.

    At the last day of the submission period, I didn't know what to write. So I wrote something that focused entirely on a comedic tone. It was all rather silly :p

    And this music piece gave me the inspiration to begin thinking of a story that had a feminine main character. Music is pretty much the main source of my inspiration rather than other media like movies and TV shows. Especially post-rock <3



    Praying for Reasons, Praying for a Purpose



    Mara groggily woke up and got out of bed. She felt unsteady while standing, but never took note of it. Instead, her thoughts focused on wrapping her head around much of the theories and rumors and speculations that consumed her hometown like a wildfire. There were sightings all around town about lizard creatures popping up amidst shadows or the recesses of the dark, only to disappear mere seconds later. They were known, perhaps affectionately or degradingly, as the “ghosts.” It stuck a long while until it occurred to everyone these lizard creatures were actually the enigmatic, mysterious Seraphon. Of course, the correction itself exacerbated the incessantly fearful theory crafting regardless. No one knew what these Seraphon wanted, and everyone seemed a mad man trying to figure out their motives—especially with all that “ghosts” rubbish. Yet during such maddening times, who else was to blame but man’s unquenchable thirst for reason?

    Mara began walking to the kitchen. She thought about drinking something until suddenly a deluge of milk flew straight towards her! She was doused entirely by the stuff of cow, and the one responsible for the mess was a young boy who stood before her, gripping an emptied mug.

    “G-Ghost? Are you g-ghost?” The boy questioned.

    Mara stood there as her eyes widened and her stare tightening. She quickly rushed towards the empty mug, grabbing it promptly.

    “Do not! Do not throw stuff at people!”

    “Sorry sis’,” The little brother apologized, embarrassed all the while. “I saw ghosts last night. I really really mean it!”

    Mara let out a heavy sigh. It seemed to her madness leaped to person to person like a viral plague. Yet Sol was only a child, and children don’t know madness; they are it.

    “There is no such thing,” Mara sternly said before lowering herself to her younger brother’s height. “You know deep down it is simply false.”

    Sol looked at his sister as if she didn’t know what she was talking about. Mara continued.

    “Now you wouldn’t want mom and dad to come home and see dishes flying everywhere, would you?”

    Sol looked at his sister as if she was talking to a dog. He wanted to let her know by screaming in anger and rage like a great beast, but couldn’t find his words amidst the pressure. So he just shook his head in agreement.

    “Good. I will head out to work then. Remember to close the windows tight and lock the door, yeah?”

    Mara changed her clothes and showered again. She hefted a rifle—her father’s rifle for self-defense—and slung it onto her back. Women usually aren’t trusted with rifles, but that didn’t matter for herself or anyone else; her aim was just too good.

    She headed out as the trees swerved ever so slightly, and the sun shined ever so lavishly. It all looked perfectly normal—like an average day—but something inexplicably tingled her still. It was as though the winds themselves weren’t wind at all, but waves of otherworldly sensations. Something was strange in the air.

    And as the thought began to exit Mara’s mind, she suddenly heard a loud bang, and then an echoing roar. The commotion was quite close, making her unsling the rifle and begin loading it. Continuing towards the noises which grew in intensity, she saw two figures fighting against each other savagely. One of them was red, and the other was blue. Beyond those simplistic descriptions, both of them were stoutly built, and both had the desire to kill the other.

    A closer look, however, revealed one of them was a daemon of khorne. The thought alone made her clench her teeth and bring up the rifle, zeroing in the red daemon. She made the necessary adjustments and pulled the trigger. The bullet sliced through the air and punched straight into the daemon’s backside.

    The two beasts stopped and looked at each other, unsure of what had just happened. The khorne daemon looked down in an effort to find the wound it presumed appeared upon it, but collapsed shortly after. Its corpse turned into ashes before disappearing into the winds.

    And Mara still kept the rifle steady, ready to fire another shot if need be, for there remained the other beast. It noticed her, and she didn’t know what will happen next. She imagined it would predictably try to kill her, or perhaps she unwittingly walked straight into an ambush, ready to be caught off guard any moment.

    “Human…” It said.

    “Wait…you… you can talk!?” Mara exclaimed, shocked wholeheartedly.

    The lizard grasped a chain that hung around its neck. “It is a translator… to decode your strange language.”

    Mara and the lizard stood there; the former too perplexed with fear and amazement to move a single muscle, and the latter seemingly gazing on like a statue. Eventually, Mara regained her wits.

    “Who are you—no—what are you? Why are you here?” She questioned furiously, still clenching hard onto the rifle.

    “I am Seraphon… we cleanse this land of Chaos.” The lizard said.

    Mara lowered her rifle, but her eyes still focused on what was in front of her. If it wasn’t for the context, she would’ve thought someone was playing a poorly thought-out prank. Pah. A walking lizard? Really? What next? Walking crocodiles?

    Even then, she didn’t know if she could trust this… lizard-thing. If what it said was to be true, then it is an ally fit for hospitality as any other ally against Chaos. And before she knew it, fear soon turned into fascination.

    “But why? What do you want?”

    The lizard lifted its head as if what it heard was the first thing of the day that bothered to move it.

    “Such a strange question… Human.”

    Mara flinched in surprise; somewhat offended by the reply. “What do you mean it’s strange? You don’t have a reason don’t you!?”

    “There is no reason… we do it because we have to.”

    Mara obviously disregarded this as a lie. Her head had begun to wrap itself around many theories and rumors and speculations for the lizard’s motives. There must be a reason! There always is a reason!

    “It’s a lot like living,” The lizard continued, sensing the human’s mindset. “Anyone can provide a reason for living… but the purpose given to you is only known to you and only you… understanding it makes life a simple affair.”

    Mara stood there annoyed, and yet, quite intrigued. What was this purpose this lizard spoke of? If reasoning was so superficial, how different was purpose then? How can you find it? She was confused at first, and her mind a tad muggy, but through various methods of deduction techniques, she sensibly arrived at the lizard’s motivations.

    “So… you cleanse our lands of chaos… for profit?”

    The lizard stood there so irreparably dumbfounded, it dropped its blade.

    “Whatever… you humans will get it soon enough. I now must leave.”

    “Your name, do you have a name?” Mara asked excitedly.

    “Kro-tototl.”

    “Kro… wow, what a tongue twister!”

    “What is a tongue twister?”

    “It’s… ah forget about it.”

    And so Mara stood there expecting the lizard to disappear in front of her as a ghost would. Except, a humongous great blue beam suddenly appeared out of the sky! It crashed upon the lizard in such an immense show of force! And the lizard was gone. She didn’t know if it was her, but today seemed so awfully full of surprises.

    ***

    Mara returned home after work, and sought out Sol in order to talk to him.

    “I met one of them ‘ghosts’ everyone was going crazy over, Sol.”

    “Realllly? I did to! Last night like I said! It was big and scary and blue and very big! And it looked like a walking lizard!”

    Wait, really? There was no way—

    “See this? It gave me this and said to use it in times of danger,” Sol said before he brought out what looked like a rather expensive gem. In fact it looked almost identical to many of the other gems the lizard that Mara met wore.

    And then the realization hit her. Hard.
     
  17. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    For this theme I originally thought of doing something futuristic. But then i listened to a superbly beautiful track that lead me into an intense moment of catharsis. I'll probably link it when i post the poem i wrote which is titled "A lake and a Kroxigor," btw. After finishing that (and i pretty much finished it when the submission phase of the contest started), I thought of writing another kroxigor centered piece. One constant idea I thought of writing was an ending in which a kroxigor would conquer his fear of swimming (and living) by abandoning his home after witnessing the deaths of his friends and taking a dive into a lake, never rising from its depths. I wanted it to be pretty vague, just to leave it to the reader whether or not the main character died in his moment of ecstasy swimming. A bit sad, but that was the ending i was originally going for. Didn't turn out that way since I wanted so many other things in the story and the ending probably would've made it well over the 2400 word limit.

    When i was thinking about how I would structure this story, I thought about the main character discovering things about himself and the world around him rather than conflict being the central organizing theme of the story. His dreams, what they meant, others' dreams and how the world sees kroxigors in particular. I was partially inspired by Berserk (the 1997 anime), and The Song of Solomon.

    A Kroxigor’s Dream

    Benam was falling. No, not falling, but flying. He felt as though he was a cloud and the encompassing sky stretched above him. The weaving winds washed upon his scales as they blew past, and water streamed from atop the heavens, coalescing into massive waterfalls. This was a world in which all things flew, where tradition was as much forgotten as land, and where roots buried themselves everywhere. And here - in this world - he alone ruled over it all.

    It seemed the kroxigor would’ve savored every moment in this world forever had it not suddenly dissipated. In its place, a fuzzy image of several saurus crowding around him appeared. Their eyes glared at him with intense contempt.

    “Wake up. Wake up. Wake up!” Several of them growled, prodding and bashing Benam with their weapons’ butts. He gradually arose from his sleep until he reached a height towering over the sauri.

    “Eat? Anything to eat?” Benam questioned as he lowered himself to their level and grinned. “Eating every morning is good strength! Bad saurus eat nothing!” The kroxigor wanted the sauri to respond with smiles. But they simply walked away without a word.

    The kroxigor looked up. The skies were tinted a dark blue; the night’s darkness receding. He could breathe the air carrying a certain freshness, one that follows each passing of the days. It was beautiful. Made him feel weightless like a leaf fluttering amidst the winds. Benam felt nothing like this before. He lived his entire life in Xlanhuapec, surrounded by stone and responsibilities to adhere to. Now, out here deep in the jungle, the only thing reining him back was his own thoughts. He was already fearful of his place in this new world. Doubtful of who he was in an environment completely strange to him.

    Benam stopped gazing at the skies and began walking. Eating and drinking and eating now took precedence in his mind. The hungry kroxigor was assigned to a logging expedition tasked with gathering wood for Xlanhuapec's growing industrious needs. There were skinks scurrying about as they tended to the expedition’s various responsibilities, while scores of saurus silently stood guard like statues.

    After eating his full, Benam happened to cross paths with another kroxigor whose name he knew was Nimabal. His scales were almost entirely laden with scars. Some seemed only a scratch, others cut deep.

    “Why so many scars?” Benam questioned.

    Nimabal looked at him like he didn’t know what he was talking about. Then he burst out laughing. “Bahaha! What question is that?”

    “It only honest question. You look hurt.”

    “Don’t worry. I feel no pain. These scars my memories. They my comfort.”

    It was now Benam’s turn to laugh. “Sound silly and weird! You make me want them.”

    Nimabal’s mirthful smile was gone. “They not something you can own. They not something you can get rid of. It all life. It all I know.”

    “Did not know that.”

    “Of course you no know. You too little scars. Too much clean scales.”

    Benam was starting to get annoyed. “I know lot things! My spawn mate teached so much!” He paused before continuing. “I think I even know more than you!”

    “Maybe so. But what about yourself?”

    Benam wanted to squash this ridiculous question with all his might, but he couldn’t find any words. In fact, he absolutely had no idea what to say. In his life where memories were aplenty, he couldn’t pick a single one which represented himself fully. He couldn’t fathom what he stood for, or what he suffered for. It became obvious to him he needed to learn. But how?

    There was a silence that persisted between the two kroxigors. Then Nimabal spoke again.

    “There a lake with some skinks in them. Let’s swim and rest for the work soon to come.”

    “Oh. Can’t.

    “Why?”

    “I can’t swim. I not like it. It scares me.”

    Nimabal looked at Benam with a stare frozen in complete, utter shock. “What? What! Who’d in the Old Ones’ names ever seen kroxigor afraid to swim?”

    “Yes. I know.” Benam smiled and laughed. “Very silly and weird!”

    There was a pause. After a few seconds, Nimabal said something Benam wasn’t so used to:

    “I don’t mind how weird or silly it is. So long you have my back I not mind at all.”

    He didn’t expect such a respectful response. It made him brim with validation. He nodded.

    As Benam parted ways, something caught his eye. There was another kroxigor named Tzaq struggling with using an axe as the expedition’s leader, Kuraiki, berated him with orders and frustrations.

    “No, no, no!” Kuraiki shouted. “You don’t chop downward like that unless you want to chop off your arm. Why don’t you listen to me? I already had low expectations when they placed you under my command, but you’re stupider than I ever could’ve imagined.”

    Tzaq felt resigned and defeated until he heard those last words. He opened his maw and bared his teeth, and shuddered in uncontrollable anger.

    “Don’t bare your teeth at me like you’re some rat ogre beast needing to be put down!”

    All eyes converged on the kroxigor and the skink priest. Benam couldn't comprehend how a moment of teaching is soon turning into one of violence. Everyone knew Kuraiki was a harsh, unhinged one. This time, however, he pushed too hard. Now a kroxigor will die, for the sauri began gripping their spears.

    But before a tinge of blood could be shed, Nimabal grabbed Tzaq by his back and restrained him.

    “You not stupid,” Nimabal said.

    “No,” Tzaq responded

    “You not stupid.”

    “No.”

    “You not stupid!”

    “No!”

    The two kroxigors continued, each moment of the back-and-forth easing Tzaq’s anger little by little. Eventually, an atmosphere of calmness returned as the lizards who were watching with apprehension left. But Tzaq still had something to say:

    “I not stupid. I dream. I dream just like you dream. I dream so much, it feel living is a dream itself. How can I be stupid?”

    Benam’s heart thumped a little faster as he heard those words. Made him think how dreams can forge, in their very claws, what a kroxigor is.

    “Know your place. Good kroxigors know their place so dumb things don’t happen,” Kuraiki said before walking away.

    Benam became so curious what dreams Tzaq had, he asked Nimabal about them. But the scarred kroxigor didn’t know. Just said Tzaq had nothing when he spawned. No spawn-mate, no temple city, but the Old Ones and himself.

    So when the expedition continued their journey, marching throughout the jungle, and when Tzaq could be spotted a fair distance away from everyone else, Benam sought out his company.

    “Why you by yourself? What the problem?”

    Tzaq turned to Benam, slightly annoyed. “It help thinking. There no problem.”

    “You sure?”

    A violent flicker ignited in Tzaq’s eyes. “Why you here? You anger me.”

    “Forgive curiosity. Just interested what you say about yourself.”

    “Why? Why me?” Those words traveled weaker than Tzaq would’ve hoped. But he couldn’t help it. For Benam, it seemed Tzaq couldn’t have been bitterer. But the kroxigor saw something else beyond all the bitterness. A certain yearning that shined.

    “There got to be reason? I listened to what you said about dreaming.”

    “I thought no one listened.”

    “Because no one responded?”

    “Yeah.”

    There was a silence between the two as they marched. The sun was sitting upon the horizon as the skies were etched with streaks of red. The air carried a particular restfulness to it, like the jungle retiring for a dream. Then Tzaq spoke.

    “I was spawned. I not know where or when but I spawned,” Tzaq recounted. Benam remained silent. He only wanted to listen.

    “There were not any skink to greet me once I spawned. They all laid dead. I roar and yell for days on end for someone to come for me but no one came. Only ratmen that want to kill me. So I escaped into the jungles never knowing where the Old Ones wanted me. I thought it would be death. But eventually I reach Xlanhuapec. The temple city welcomed me as worker. There were skink and saurus and kroxigor everywhere. I thought I finally in peace. But for some reason I couldn’t fit in. No one came to me. No one cared. I not know why. I felt the same hopelessness I did fighting for my life alone when I spawned.”

    There was a pause as Tzaq gritted his teeth. “I not want loneliness. I want someone to come to me! Anyone!”

    Benam felt moved by these words soaked so much with suffering. Made him realize dreams remain the only thing left when the world bears too heavy a burden for anything else. He could see Tzaq held close a purpose for living as lithe and indestructible as the winds themselves. Like an endless prayer to the Old Ones’ will.

    Benam made it his concerted effort to make Tzaq’s dream come true. When the expedition reached its location for logging, he taught Tzaq the axe’s secrets. He taught him how to converse with a confidence as gigantic as his size. And he taught him a mindset that tolerated nothing less or more than respect.

    Through his efforts, Benam began remembering his own dream - a world in which all things flew. He always knew he wanted to fly. But now, that dream of his morphed into something bigger, as though he wanted to fly higher and higher. He felt his fears and doubts of himself whisk away amidst the breeze.

    The expedition finished their task of chopping and gathering enough wood. But before they could depart back to Xlanhuapec, scouts warned them of Xho’za’khanx, the humans. A large army of theirs was decisively defeated a long time ago, but there were still remnants hiding in the lizards’ vicinity. Kuraiki decided to hunker down and await for reinforcements before embarking on the journey back.

    Benam was heading to rest before crossing paths with Nimabal. The scarred kroxigor looked impeccably angry.

    “What wrong?”

    “I kill them! I kill those damn saurus!”

    Benam looked on in complete silence. Nimabal realized this and explained.

    “They call me coward.”

    “Oh. They call anything coward. If you not cast yourself into fire - you a coward in their eye.”

    “But I no coward! I cast myself into fire all the time!” Nimabal bellowed. “I fight ever since I spawned with my brothers! It was all we knew. And we so perfect together. But then they all died. Ever since, I not know what to think besides wondering why the Old Ones chose me. Why me? Why!”

    Benam trembled hearing those desperate words. It was like they withheld from crying for years upon years amidst a frigid air that never cared.

    “But that all never matter. I will see them again.” Nimabal’s voice cracked as if it wanted to hide. “Yes. I will revive them.”

    “What?”

    “I will bring them from the dead.”

    Benam’s heart skipped a beat. “Is that what you want?”

    Nimabal never answered the question. Instead, he asked Benam to help him. When he refused, the scarred kroxigor got on his knees and begged. He was astonished and completely surprised. He eventually consented, albeit reluctantly. Nimabal also told Tzaq he could revive those that were too dead to greet him when he spawned. He eagerly agreed.

    After leading Benam and Tzaq to a secluded location, the scarred kroxigor talked of a magical artifact belonging to one of Xlanhuapec’s many skink priests that was stolen. He talked of it having the power of bringing back the dead, and said it was south of their location in a cave system. Of course, he never found out if any of these facts were true. His dream entirely consumed him.

    And so, the three kroxigors snuck off under the cover of night. They reached the cave system, entering into its dark abyss.

    They couldn’t see anything, except slim figures cladded in armor. The kroxigors could see them aiming with sticks that exploded, and knew after the first few arrows and bullets took flight, they were ambushed.

    The screams of the men and the roars of the kroxigors rocked the cave as blood splattered and flowed. Most of the men cried for anything to save them. But it was all for naught. They were all pummeled, eviscerated, or smashed into little pieces.

    Benam noticed Nimabal and Tzaq were barely standing. The three wounded kroxigors fought off nearly a hundred men. He helped both of them out of the cave. He would see to it that they survive and live for their dreams. They would not die.

    So was it crushingly incomprehensible for Benam that the two kroxigors fell and never arose. That the two wouldn’t wake up when he tried shaking and pulling and pushing them. That the expedition heard his wails and bellows. And when an assembly of skink priests from Xlanhuapec came to pray to the Old Ones.

    “Why? WHY! WHY THIS HAPPENING!?” Are dreams so cruel, they lead us to death when we give them everything?
     
  18. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    As aforementioned, I stumbled upon an amazing track that made me feel and think about life quite a lot.



    The poem I wrote is a bit simplistic and short, but i kind of like it that way. It's basically based on the belief those who fear dying, unironically fear living life. It's somewhat connected to the short story I wrote above.

    "A Lake and a Kroxigor"

    Death drawn in the air
    So many returned not
    Thoughts heavy everywhere
    And I’m afraid to die

    Life written in the water
    Memories swimming and sinking
    Legs locked; muscles deterred
    And I’m afraid to live
     
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  19. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    So i had a pretty weird dream around the time this contest was announced (and i'm going to use weird here a lot.) I usually don't mind nor care about dreams that much, but this one in particular was mind blowing to say the least. I've always thought dreams were either terror inducing nightmares or largely forgettable sequences, but never knew they can be an emotionally saddening experience as this one was. I largely based my story off it.

    So it was about two field mice in the cold, frigid tundra (think of the tundra in Alaska). I don't think i've ever dreamt of animals before, but i did finish reading the first Rats of NIMH, so that's probably the reason why the dream began existing in my head. That's a good book by the way. Something about a mother risking her life by adventuring into the unknown so she could save her sickened son enthralled something in me. The fact they're field mice made the relationship between the two even more fascinating. Kind of reminded me of how close animal psychology can be to ours more than we'd like to admit.

    So anyway, these two mice in my dream were reminiscing about other mice that passed away. They reminisced of cherished moments, embarrassing mistakes, and secrets and unresolved dramas filled to the brim with angst every deceased mouse's memory held. It sort of had the feel of a finale or a last chapter of a long series. Like the audience's memories and experiences with all the main characters in the story retold through the last of the surviving cast with a final adios.

    So brainstorming about how i should write about the story was very hard. I couldn't figure out what the story should be about nor how to go about the pacing of the beginning, middle, and end. I did write down a list of characters that Tallulah would reminiscence about, but all that never really made it into the story. I thought of Mogin's part of the story because his inclusion made framing everything much easier for myself. That mentor bit that recurs throughout the story was supposed to be a much more significant part of his story. But before i could have added more, the exact word count of the story was 2020, so i stopped there :p


    Buried Memories



    Two skinks sat, one young and one old. The hours flew by as they talked, for it was like a meeting between two worlds. Like a monumental collision of memories and experiences that do make the color of a lizard. And yet there wasn’t much of a disturbance. At least not what time alone could rectify.

    “What are you doing way out here in the wilds alone? No one can possibly maintain contact with you reliably. It’s like you want no one to notice you so you can disappear into nothingness.”

    “I always walked and breathed these here roots and trees for years I can’t wrap around. I always do bellow out loud like them birds to keep the sun up just an hour more. No one simply looked hard enough.”

    ***

    Traveling amidst the Southland jungles, Mogin recalled his conversation with a solitary skink named Tallulah. It was a strange and uncanny occurrence to meet a lizard living so far away from civilization, but interesting nonetheless. She said she resided in an ancient temple city long left to the abyss of history, despite the fact there were no ruins nor any other signs of settlement. She spoke with lizards who’ve never responded back, but Mogin didn’t know if they were real, or if she was seeing ghosts, or if she had simply gone insane.

    Mogin was tasked with delivering a set of plaques to an old skink priest named Sukisu in Pawcatuck. It seemed a job very much degrading of his own priestly status, as if his significance was only as large as a messenger’s message. It frustrated him that his ‘mentor’ would be so careless so as to send a lone skink priest with treasured plaques into the wilderness undefended. His competence is the same as a fly’s authority over stegadon dung, as far as he’s concerned. After he delivers these plaques, he’ll show him his true power and all he has achieved. The whole world will be his stage.

    Despite his fears, Mogin encountered no further incidents on his journey. He reached the temple city of Pawcatuck. He walked the halls of Sukisu’s revered residence until he arrived at a darkened room wherein the old priest’s form was meditating. A few seconds more, the old priest’s eyes unfurled, and so did the rest of himself.

    “Aye, fledgling! Your mentor said you’d come, but not hours so late. What say you?”

    “Sorry, I–”

    “Careful you beastly kroxigor buffoon! Them plaques are carefully preserved recipes for Zlatlan dishes passed down hundreds of years!”

    It unnerved Mogin that he thought he was carrying urgent, irreplaceable plaques detailing the Old Ones’ wills were instead food recipes. He couldn’t decipher ancient saurian symbols yet.

    “Ahah, my bad,” Mogin said, placing the plaques onto a table gently and slowly. “Didn’t know it was by ordain that skink priests must work as essential messengers – not by the revered slanns’ wisdom – but by my mentor.”

    “This mentor of yours is a funny lizard. Sending fledglings like you into the wilderness with invaluable plaques.” Sukisu coughed and laughed. “Tell him that, will you?”

    “Yes…” The reply rolled off from Mogin’s tongue begrudgingly. He prepared leaving, but a thought stopped him in his tracks.

    “Do you know of any lizards living like beasts in the wilderness?” Mogin asked.

    “Sounds inherently heretical. Why speak?”

    “I met a skink just as old as you living off the land not far from here. Her name’s Tallulah.”

    Sukisu’s lazy eyes widened, his presence seemingly exploding with life. “Ah… I have not heard that name in years.”

    “You know who she is?”

    “She was a colleague of mine back when I was in my prime. So many years ago.”

    Mogin’s heart shot up as he heard that. Tallulah always said she came from a temple city no one knew but her. He suspected she was from here ever since Sukisu opened his snout. They didn’t sound different from each other.

    “Then you must want to meet her, yes? I’m not sure why she’s living so far away from civilization–”

    “Because she’s banished from Pawcatuck.”

    Mogin slightly jolted at that. “Ah. Didn’t know that.”

    “Of course you don’t know. Why should I expect a fledgling like you to know?”

    The young skink priest could sense a shift of tone from Sukisu – a temper sharper than a dagger.

    “No matter. I will tell you so you can know better. Simply put, she practiced heresy and gained quite the following for it. So the slann decided to banish her.”

    “Really? I doubt it was that simple,” Mogin retorted.

    “Oh yes it was, and so was her demise. I don’t know why you came here and said she’s alive. They searched every nook and cranny of the jungles – even the clouds and the seas to some extent – and did not find her and the rest of the foolish lizards who decided to follow her example.”

    “Doesn’t change anything I saw.”

    “Don’t belittle death, fledgling. She is dead, I’m sure of it,” Sukisu asserted. “Though… if by some impossible chance she is alive, Pawcatuck would take it upon itself to kill her. Her ideals are too dangerous.”

    It made Mogin’s blood boil that Sukisu could think of killing another of his own, especially one so defenseless. So he walked away. But before he left, the croaky voice filled the air once more.

    “The Old Ones’ will is incomprehensible. Only following in their wake can we truly understand our purpose.”

    Mogin looked back at the old priest staring into the darkness surrounding him. He could perceive a certain deep sadness coming off, one which grows with a lizard’s age. What happened between Sukisu and Tallulah is a mystery except for what the former told him. But it all made finding more about the two more alluring. His mentor always valued learning from other lizards, even considerably more so than following in the wake of the Old Ones. He couldn’t help but agree. Even with the mentor as hard as it was.

    So Mogin journeyed to the place he met Tallulah instead of his home temple city, Abnaki. It was a spot in the jungles not many lizards would’ve considered special. Though to him, it contained a peculiar atmosphere he couldn’t describe well. He found Tallulah resting against a tree. She was looking up at stars amongst the night sky.

    “Greetings, prodigy,” she said.

    “What are you doing now?”

    “Counting stars. It was one of Lapu’s most favorite past times.”

    Mogin knew Tallulah often describes the lives of the lizards she talks about, all while doing their favorite things. It was strange but somehow endearing.

    “He was a kroxigor. A innocent one. Maybe too innocent, but I can’t blame him. Innocence is sometimes a wretched thing in this world,” Tallulah continued.

    “Innocent and kind but exceedingly dumb, I’d say.”

    “Nope! Kroxigors have one thing other lizards don’t have and it’s that they listen. They listen better than anything else. It makes them smarter in ways I cannot fully understand.”

    Both Mogin and Tallulah sat in silence, staring towards the starry night skies. With a few gusts of wind later, however, the young skink priest realized the main reason he came here.

    “I met Sukisu and learnt quite some more about you,” Mogin said.

    “Is that so?”

    “Yes. Though as a character he is incredibly insufferable and narcissistic.”

    Tallulah laughed. “He never changed then… all these years. Don’t mind him then. He just tries to do whatever is right as righteous as possible.”

    “Would that include entertaining the idea of killing you?”

    “If it ever came to that, even after everything we been through, then so be it. Death is already calling me anyways.”

    Mogin could tell she really meant it, even if he couldn’t understand how a lizard could take such a stance on another wanting their life.

    “But why is the hatred so fervent from Sukisu?”

    “It’s not just him, but Pawcatuck. I was banished from there for disavowing the Old Ones.”

    Mogin expected to be uncontrollably angry. But those feelings never came, perhaps because he already suspected she would be like that through the way she lived out here and the way she talked.

    “That’s almost incomprehensible, to me at least. I was taught, as any other lizard, the Old Ones were the center of everything in this world.”

    “I was taught that way too. But those teachings never stuck. I simply observed the way us lizards behaved and saw just how exceptionally unique we can be. I couldn’t reconcile how the Old Ones created us when our very hearts begged for things far greater than them. Many lizards agreed with me when I was in Pawcatuck.”

    “So where are they? Why is there no other lizards with you?”

    For all this time, Tallulah was gleeful. Now her expression was blank, as though she didn’t fully understand Mogin was asking about.

    “They are here.”

    “Where?”

    The old skink priest placed her claws upon her chest. “Right here with me. It is me who keeps their memories alive.”

    “Sounds like they are dead from what you’re saying.”

    Tallulah briskly stood from where she sat and opened her snout in ferocious anger, but no words came. She lowered her head and dug her claws into the scaly skin of her arms. She thought for some time in what was an ocean of memories.

    “If you’re insinuating I killed all of them, then that’s blatant fantasy! They followed me. They followed the example I set for them in their pursuit for inner-peace. In exile, I sought for them a new society that wasn’t just improved nor better, but a perfect one.”

    Tallulah dug her claws deeper, drawing lines of blood. Her mind was submerged in a perpetual state of anger, sadness, and regret as she continued.

    “And somehow… we created something far worse than any of us could have known. Strife overcame every lizard I knew, and soon enough, I was the only sane one left. I lead them all to their deaths.”

    Mogin now understood why there wasn’t ruins or any other evidence of past settlement she claimed to be a part of. Tallulah’s attempt at building a new society failed before she could even start.

    The old skink priest trembled and was on the precipice of crying. He placed a claw on her shoulder and supported her. “It’s okay, Tallulah. What’s done is done and in the past. There’s no going back.”

    “What would you do? In my position?”

    “Me? I would have lived with it as you did for years. You’re strong as any other lizard. Maybe even stronger. You’ll manage.”

    “I see.”

    Mogin noticed Tallulah calming down. But beyond those gentle words of hers, he sensed increasing disappointment in her eyes. As though he said something so thoughtless, he was no longer deserving of his priestly status.

    Whatever it was, he disregarded the feeling, for he was immensely tired. Before sleeping on a hammock she made, Tallulah allowed Mogin to sleep within the general area she regarded as home.

    ***

    The next morning, Mogin couldn’t find Tallulah. It was only after getting up from his slumber, that he found Tallulah walking with a wooden stick in claw as support.

    “Where are you going?”

    “I’m returning to Pawcatuck.”

    “But they’ll kill you!”

    “Maybe they will, maybe not. Regardless what they think, I’ve ought to give my fellow lizards peace.”

    “By dying?”

    Tallulah smiled. “You’ve still so much to learn, prodigy. How can I say I cherished them as their memories writhe in my head? I’ve benefitted from them so much as befits my old age. It is time to give back.”

    And so the old skink priest kept on walking. Her pace was steady like her swerving tail, for fear completely abandoned her. It was her only hope, then, that she’ll return to the good times, the funny ones and glad ones. That she’ll return to those she looked up to and those who looked up to her. A return to an ages’ worth effort to build something better – a return to home.
     
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  20. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    This was a nice original idea for a story mate. Nice one.
     
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