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Old Dec 13th, 2021, 05:11 AM
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Seeks' Scattered Short Stories!


1st Person, Post-Apocalyptic, Backstory bit for a character of mine

“What do you mean, ‘they’ll just be gone’?”

I couldn’t believe my ears, but I heard every syllable perfectly. Big, fanciful sound triangles on top of your head will do that better than human ears. At least, I wish I could call them fanciful. At least kids are happy to look at the cute little fox-girl trotting about the overgrown hellhole we call New York.

Many times, the adults just ready their slurs and cock their guns.

Kathy shrugged back. “They’ll just be gone, child. Trying to explain magic is pointless. You’d have an easier time explaining how that death ray of yours works to a street urchin”.

Her painted lips were drawn up in a bow as always, my scowl a flip side to her coin.

I can see how she and dad went their separate ways. Of all the years I’ve known her, of all the myths she’s told me about, this scatter-brained bitch was the Kathy I was so desperate to find? She must’ve done harder drugs in those absent years than anything Tom’s enjoyed, and he’s had some exotic highs.

The offer was unreal. Had to be some catch. Magic always had a cost, even stuff cast by good people with weird talents. “I’ve fought too many monsters and warlocks”, I groan, “You have to tell me more about the ritual. How it works. At least, tell me what it’ll cost”.

She giggled at me. She ****ing giggled! I wanted to grab her by the collar of that goddamn turtleneck and stare into her bubbly face with my cold inhuman eyes.

“What", she cooed, "Besides the pain you’ve felt for so long? Little else. I know the spell too well by now. Lots of people have come to my little mobile home to cope with my special therapy, Dana”.

She reaches to ruffle the tuft of fur between my ears, poking forth like a punk’s hairdo. I growled, wanting to show her why you don’t pet wild animals.

“Oh”, she chuckled, “Don’t you try to bite me, Dana Marie Omnivora Fiona-Lynn Cooper”.

My gods. She actually remembered that silly extended name we came up with when I was a kid. Though pinned to the sides of my head before, my ears perked up. For a moment, nostalgia flooded back to me. My eyes widened, brow easing out from its furrowed glare.

This wasn’t right. I knew my BS meter was off the charts, but I couldn’t grasp why. And now I understood it. So I let the words pour out. I hoped to rival the eternal flow of Niagara Falls and match even a fraction of its strength. She blinked as I pulled my head back, painted nails buried in my scruff and giving a soothing scritch moments ago.

“No”, I told her. “This isn’t you. This isn’t the Kathy I knew before. I trusted her. Learned so many cool things from her”. I growled once more, backing away. “You’re not her”.

The middle-aged mystic’s gaze was blank. She looked like a robot with a confused AI, trying to process a course of action for an unexpected prompt. As much a facade of human intellect as a primitive android, that smile returned.

“Are you the same Dana, sweetheart?” Those words cut me like a mono-blade. I’m not just trying to be dramatic here; have you ever been cut by one of those? For most blades, you can feel the sting even on a dull one, before it gets ten times worse. A mono-blade is like an old razor fresh from the package, so I’m told, one so keen that you don’t feel you’ve been cut until you’re dribbling blood.

Her babbling continued, the initial pain worsened as time went on. “No, dearest fox”, Kathy smiles with a sing-song voice, “Of course you’re not. I’m not even mad. Look at yourself in the mirror. Once upon a time you were small, listening to me rattle on about stories I’ve known to heart”.

A cozy wool blanket come to mind, and the squeeze of her legs around mine as I sat on her lap. How many years was it again? “But now look at you, Dana. Or should I say, the Apocalypse Fox? Naming yourself after that big disaster no one could stop. It suits you. Your face tells it all. You’ve killed so many people to try and do good”.

I could barely see her. My eyes burned that bad. “How many of them had lives of their own, now gone? Memories and thoughts trickled away forever like a snowman in spring or, I suppose, a person shot with your raygun?”

I fought to avoid crying. If I gave in to her manipulation, tears would spell my doom as blood spilled from a gaping wound. She didn’t get it, but she used her words like weapons.

Like a blade.

She said something else, but I shut her ****ing mouth with my fist. Not a slap, but a punch. “Shut your goddamn MOUTH!”

My body trembled as she stumbled to the shag rug. I didn’t feel the blow against her jaw. “How dare you”, I glowered. “You gave yourself up, didn’t you? Sold your soul, but not a demon. Nooooo. Not something nearly as easy to fight”.

As she staggered up, a new coat of crimson smeared across her lips, I spat back at her. “Comfort”.

Dabbing her swollen lip, Kathy shook her head. At least that saccharine tone was gone. “You came to me for that reason”, she replied. “To erase your past. Start anew. Right?”

“I came here”, I grimaced, “To see if my past could be salvaged. The Kathy I knew is dead, just like her ex. Smothered by Absolution instead of ripped apart by bullets. But dead is dead”.

Kathy shook her head. “You know, that’s harsh. I’m not mad but–“

“Of course not”, I sighed. “You can’t be mad. Those salvaged old meds are stopping you from being mad. Stopping you from feeling any emotion other than calm. Must be a thrill to get your quack magic to work so well, feeling no duress to inhibit conjuring your quick fixes. Am I right?”

She shook her head. “Please, Dana. If you won’t reason with me, then leave”. That wishy-washy voice was driving me insane! I’d bet she wasn’t even listening. She sure as **** couldn’t fathom what I was telling her, with nothing left but dampened emotion and false empathy. “If you keep being upset–“

“Upset?!" Enough was enough! "That doesn’t even begin to DESCRIBE it!”

I flipped her the bird and slammed the door to her trailer behind me. If I stayed, she’d be lucky to have some of her goddamn crystal ornaments broken. Oh no. I would’ve broken something much more internal than an old Wiccan trinket!

As I trudged out of there, passerby citizens of that refurbished campsite perplexed by my shouting and storming off in a rage, baffled thoughts kept ringing through my mind. How could she? How could she run from her problems by erasing them?

How could she erase the mother I used to have?

Last edited by Seeks; Dec 13th, 2021 at 05:20 AM.
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Old Dec 13th, 2021, 05:13 AM
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When It Began

3rd Person, Fantasy, Creation myth for my main setting

When it began, the planet was quiet. Plants grew, and animals lived. The Ranaton gave them life, for without its presence, Alvatera would be a barren rock beneath the stars. It sustained their life through the aether, but did not interfere.

Animals lived and died on their instincts. For those who died: their lack of might meant they were slain and eaten; their lack of wits led them to their own demise; their lack of valor let others die from self-preservation.

Such was nature. There was no law, and no chaos. Just as the Ranaton wanted.

But it would find flaws in its understanding. One night, a curious creature mourned. His offspring were dying of a snake’s venom. He could not convey his pain, his fear, his lack of a solution to save them. He couldn’t even form true words, only making bestial noises. No longer hunched over, he bellowed in terror and empathy, screaming through the silence into the uncaring stars above.

He wanted strength to find a cure, and endurance for his dying children. So he hollered, “ROTORZI!”

He wanted intellect to find the cure, and agility to bring it home swiftly. So he cried out, “VERAVELA!”

He wanted the willpower to find it no matter what, and the conviction that it would save them. So he roared, “ARALISI!”

The Ranaton could no longer exist in silence. This being of the mud had broken the wordless silence of the primordial wilderness. The Ranaton was moved by his cries, and would not stand idly by. This ancient being, which we now call a human, had named that which he desired.

From his wish, the Ranaton allowed itself to break into three beings to exemplify these needs. In an instant, all three of these new entities named, their existence flickered through the man’s soul.

With valor, he struck out for a cure, not fearing his or his children’s death. With his wits, he found a strange flower as that cure, knowing that animals gnawed upon it when ill. With might, he chased off the dangerous beast sleeping in the copse, using his aggression.

He returned, and gave his children the flowers. When they were unaffected by the treatment, perhaps too far gone, the man called out once more to the ideas formed from his words. From seemingly nowhere, these ideas took form. Wind whipped into a vortex, but did not whip about foliage nor stones. Lightning struck from a cloudless night, but did not destroy nor boom. Fire billowed into being, but did not consume or spread.

The whirlwind now formed words for the man to learn. “I am Rotorzi. Show your might, and hold your cure tight”.

The thunderbolt lingered, arcing in the air. “I am Veravela. Show your wits, and know why we call you forth”.

The flame crackled, flicking and bright. “I am Aralisi. Show your valor, and step forth without fear of death”.

So the man did. Rotorzi’s whirlwind, Veravela’s lightning, and Aralisi’s flame converged upon the man. His body was not thrown, nor torn asunder; it was not burned, nor shocked. In his hands, under a pillar of light formed by the three gods as one, the flowers became a paste of a strange color, one he had not seen before. A color that we today call magenta.

This matter of impossible color had to be the true remedy. The moment he fed it to his children, their pale weakness faded to health. The first magic had been granted to mankind by these new gods, for his own faith in the impossible moved the Ranaton to defy its neutrality.

While humans had become the first of the races, the gods granted them companions with free will like their own. The first, the dwarves, were carved from stone by the three acting as one. From three other creatures, each god took interest and made them like man and dwarf. Rotorzi changed hyenas to be strong like he, and these became gnolls. Veravela granted her infinite insight upon the fox, and they rose as fey foxes. Aralisi imbued lions with her righteous courage, and they ascended to being the leonine.

These five races would grow together, but not in true unity. Dwarves understood nature and how it could be used for the benefits of all. But humans took that which dwarves invented through might, wits and valor, even innovating upon such basic ideas. Gnolls exerted strength unjustly, fey foxes withheld wisdom, and leonine thought themselves superior through their courage.

The Ranaton had known the risk of its favoritism. It could not divide itself into divine beings without splitting into demonic entities as well. This is why it refused to do so in the past, having only been moved by human desperation. Once law had been formed, chaos appeared to oppose it, for light always casts a shadow. Where gods once tread, titans now rose.

For the tyranny gnolls desired, they barked, “VASHVARA!”

For the secrets fey foxes withheld, they yipped, “CULATU!”

For the hedonism leonine embraced, they snarled, “YEVARKAN!”

And so the titans came to be. Tornadoes tore apart settlements that would not submit to the gnolls. Knowledge given by the fey foxes was erased from others’ minds, surging electrically. Walls of fire scorched the leonine land into wasteland, so only they could enjoy their excess. Betrayed by humans and fearful of the beast-folks’ terrible power, the dwarves fled to the mountains and to places of climate extremes.

Thus humans were alone once more, for a time. Though the dwarves abandoned the races for their faults, mankind did not surrender to the titans. After all, the gods would not exist if not for their ancestor’s will.

Thus, the gods gave mankind power over aether itself, that cosmic matter from which all creation was forged. In doing so, they hoped, humanity would share this sacred secret with those who turned away from evil.

Through their faith, the humans were granted magic of their own. With this control of the aether, they had divine sorcery to wield against the titans and their worshipers. Thus the humans forged balance from what they learned from the gods’ guidance. With this law, spiritual virtues stirred in the souls of the beast-folk which could counter the chaos. These gifts were granted all at once, coming forth in the first ritual.

To counter the gnolls’ cruel reign, the leonine learned to fight for justice against oppressors of the innocent. To counter the leonine wastefulness, the fey foxes enlightened them with truth and law, to know and punish their negligence. To counter the wicked knowledge learned by the fey foxes, the gnolls knew conviction to oppose the users of black magic.

While ages pass and ways change, kingdoms rising and falling throughout, never forget these core beliefs. The evils of chaos will always exist, but so will the goodness of law. Defeating the darkness requires those with might, wits, and valor to take action, by the ways of the light. Let it be so.

Last edited by Seeks; Dec 13th, 2021 at 05:20 AM.
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Old Dec 13th, 2021, 05:18 AM
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The Mask and the Mausoleum

3rd Person, Sword-and-Sorcery, Experiment with imitating Robert E Howard's style of writing

Both inside and out, the ruins above the derelict catacombs stood taciturn, a testament to a primordial time. Only the white noise of the surrounding forests, its noise of insects and the croaking of frogs from the nearby swamp, detracted from the solemn silence. However the locals of the city Lykaria, roughly a couple hours’ trek away, knew better than to trust it. The Forests of the Moon, as they say, hold secrets as numerous as its branches.

Beneath the surface of the crumbling, weathered ruins, she who would disturb those lost to time walked onward, peering over her shoulder and back again on what lay ahead. Her chestnut hair flowed down to her shoulders, curled and somewhat unkempt. Over a cuirass of boiled leather and a white linen skirt was her scarlet tunic; around her neck, a violet cloth scarf; around her wrists, bracelets of gold. A small satchel of rawhide hung from her shoulder over her left hip, bottled liquids of strange scents and stranger effects sloshing quietly within.

As human-like as she was shaped, she also wasn’t quite so: she seemed to be more leonine than humanoid. Covered head to toe in a light, tawny pelt, the lass named Raziya appeared to be a lion on two plantigrade legs, possessing paw-like hands and feet. A dagger hung from a humble leather scabbard at her right hip, though her fingers twiddled impatiently in the air inches from them.

She was expecting trouble. Why wouldn’t she after all the advice, solicited or otherwise, that came from the folk of Lykaria? These catacombs served a purpose for those of the past: a place for noteworthy dead. While common rabble had the luxury of having their remains left to animals, or the disgraced having their corpses burned, the wealthy who oft cared little for the wilderness surrounding the city were buried there. Giving not to nature nor to man, thus their remains would rot beneath the surface in their mausoleum.

This lass, a stranger of Brigalian stock from another province, cared little about the ways and superstitions of the men of Lykaria. It wasn’t that she was ignorant toward the culture; no, she was more concerned about the dangers that lie in the tomb than why it existed. Further, she cared more about the reward for her quest than why she was on it. The ways of nobles, in her mind, were slothful and pedantic.

Raziya preferred the ways of the world, of the common person; she did not envy the excess of food and drink, the politics, nor even the riches of electrum coins, or even jewel-encrusted trinkets. No, she considered such nobles fools for trusting in their advisors and their gold pieces.

But, as it was, most folks could be greased into doing things which they loathe. Even Raziya knew this, and fell victim to such. In the back of her mind as she padded across the dust-covered stone floors, she knew her prize was only a noble’s trinket away. She told the brat that if it was indeed his birthright, that he himself should have delved into the depths himself, perhaps with fighting men by his side.

No, she was told, only someone like herself could be trusted, an outsider with the abilities to handle oneself against the guardians of the crypt.

Thinking on this, tension began to rekindle itself in Raziya’s bestial mind. Every person she’d asked about the mausoleum’s guardians told her a similar tale. If the restless spirits of the catacombs did not find mysterious ways to harm her, then a particular roaming sentinel would. The ghosts were constantly mentioned; this wandering beast, or demon, or whatever it was hadn’t been discussed in-depth. Quite simply, few people knew it even existed. The fiend in question had been mentioned by a trapper on the streets, who told his friends, who then disregarded the whole thing due to the trapper’s alcoholic reputation.

This is more trouble than it’s worth, she thought to herself as she continued to walk the silent zone alone. Though the derelict crypt had stood quiet since she entered, by now she was beginning to get antsy. A telltale noise rung out from behind her. Turning on a heel sharply, she half-hoped it was nothing; the other half of her mind, however, was itching for a fight, a flight, or just something to happen.

It was then that she saw them. Out from the shadows, a pair of pale, white hands began to flow from a coffin atop a long pedestal, fingers slowly wavering in the stale air as they manifested. In a flash, Raziya cleared the dagger from its leather, holding the weapon in a reverse grip as many did in that age. Extending the index and middle fingers of her other hand warily, she called out to the phantom hands, certain that they already were aware of her presence.

“Who are you, spirit?” she demanded. “Answer if you can!”

The ghostly hands said nothing, but rose up into the air, reaching across from the tomb they slid out from and toward a pair of crossed, ornamental swords on the wall opposite of it. Taking up the grip of one of the long, northern blades, the hands held the sword aloft in both of its pale palms. Seeing this, her fingers loosened around the grip of her own blade just long enough to twirl it in hand, pointing the blade upward from her thumb.

The sword lingered in air for a second or two before abruptly swinging downward in a huge swath at the Brigalian lass, who by now was beginning to back away from the phantom appendages. She danced away, letting the blade clash to the ground where she was standing just moments prior. As the blade lifted up, it was pointed to the intruder, and no sooner than it was lined up did the hands dart it forth in a thrust.

Swerving, Raziya thrust her dagger forth, not to try and stab the unseen body of the ghost but to catch its blade. The cross-guard of her dagger hit the flat of the sword with a clang, the ghostly hands providing resistance like a physical person’s arms would against her push.

It was then that she raised her fingertips on her other hand once more, and that she began to mutter words in her native tongue. The language of the Brigalians was an alien one, difficult for most foreigners to replicate due to the animal-like growls, snarls and other cat noises that comprised the tonal speech. Clipping her words, she spoke swiftly of the sun, of the skies, of fiery wrath.

As the blade swung backwards into the air, straightening the edge horizontally to try and cut the grave-robber once more, Raziya readied her dagger to parry its onslaught again. Her eyes remained fixed on that long sword, while her dark lips continued to quiver as she spoke her incantation. She was too focused to try and recite the chant in her head, which would equally provide the same mystical effects as it would if spoken aloud. Fearing the sword-swinging spirit would gain the upper hand against her if she stopped to think her spell, thus she murmured the words.

Again she back-stepped from the swinging sword, the blade whooshing past just inches away. Ever mindful of her cramped quarters, she finished her spell and, at the moment of the last words, her fingertips seared with an uncanny warmth. Springing into existence, inches from the tips of her left hand’s claws, was a mote of pale flame that swelled into the size of a floating torchlight. Snarling at her enemy, her dagger-arm turned aside another thrust.

She was nearing a wall by now, and only her batting, lowered tail gave her any indication of what was at her feet. As the ghostly hands hefted the sword aloft yet again, the lioness made her move. Letting out a fierce roar, the corridors shook and reverberated with her cry. Those fingers shot forth, the magic flame crackling before shooting forward itself, streaking at it flew toward its victim. For those the mystical flames had met in the past, it was clear that the off-colored fires were not of mortal origin. No, these flames were thought to be the embodiment of the holy sky’s wrath itself, a smokeless flame that burnt both flesh and soul as one.

Unfortunately for the phantom, it was not aware of the flame’s properties, nor was it sapient enough to realize such. As the orb of flame surged forth, it managed to strike the hands gripping the sword. The hilt’s aged wrapping instantly crumpled to ashes on impact, finished wood underneath scorched and metal turning a bright orange as the orb blossomed into a larger gout of holy fire. In the blink of an eye the hands were swallowed up in the incendiary plume, and as soon as they came the flames fizzled from the mortal world.

Thankfully for Raziya, they also appeared to take the phantom with them. Twirling to the ground and hitting the dusty floor with a clatter, the seared sword was now without a controller. Traces of the weapon’s user, however, remained on what was left of the hilt; smeared across the surface, the faint glow of an uncanny slime was visible in the cat’s eyes. She lingered for a few moments, eyes fixed on the sword and fingers extended toward it. Only after a few seconds’ passing did she approach the sword, and staring at it just a while longer, she finally left it be.

Feeling her heart slow back down to a relaxed pace, the Brigalian mentally thanked her goddess for the aid as she sheathed her dagger. While she was by no means devout, she did acknowledge that she happened to have more fortune than the average individual, especially when it came to danger. Besides, had it not been for a follower of her so-called Devouring Lady, she would not have been able to master such a spell. And while those mystical flames were the only thing she knew how to manifest through magic, they served her well over the years.

Reaching for her satchel, Raziya opened it up and drew forth a flask of white wine. Uncorking it, she poured the sweet liquid down her throat, trying to calm her nerves a little. She had little time to reminisce about her involvement with that shaman, nor did she have time to worry what else was down inside the crypt. She was on the second floor; the third was where that trinket she sought to capture was thought to lay. Pondering if it truly was there, hidden from fellow raiders like herself like her client said it was, she pressed on.

Past a few more walls and beyond a pillar, the stairs down to the third floor stood. Continuing her march, the lioness suddenly stopped. Something seemed to ring out from the floor beneath. It was one she recalled from her savanna days, though it was anything but nostalgic. No, the sound it resembled was unpleasant, one made by feeding hyenas — the sound of crunching, cracking bones. Again that hand flew to her weapon’s hilt, and Raziya crept slowly toward the stairs, trying to spy whatever was breaking the calcified bones beneath her.

Alas, she couldn’t see a thing from the stairwell. She quickly swerved around, drawing her blade from its scabbard. Nothing was there, but the cracking noise continued. Only when she padded to the stairs did the noise die down. This only made her more tense. Whatever it was, it was on to her. She was sure of that.

No sooner than when she realized this, her feet unconsciously crept backward. A sudden cold draft filled the corridor, seemingly drifting upward from the staircase. It’s then that she saw it. The primal being’s skin was without a trace of fur or other covering, but was instead an inky black color. While the inexperienced sneak might think pitch black is the perfect disguise in the dark, it was far from it — in the dim candlelight of the magical, ever-burning and heat-less candles, the creature’s shape was foreboding. It slunk forth like a great ape, each digit tipped with a dark grey claw.

She could see no eyes on its face, but she knew it could see her. Devoid of sockets, the seemingly blind beast’s head peered onward, almost as if staring daggers. Splitting from the shadowy skin laterally, a lip-less mouth sneered on the featureless, yet disfigured face. Rows of yellowed, blunted teeth glistened in the light. The fiend opened its savage mouth wide, letting out an ear-piercing shriek as it darted forth on all fours.

Terror clenched tight at the lioness’ heart, who at that moment felt like she’d die of a heart attack sooner than by whatever method the demon had in its draconian mind. She dared not turn her back to the beast, and yet her paws continuously scampered backward. No rational thought filled her mind, but primal instincts of self-preservation took over. Just one more second to live. Just one breath more before it’s upon me.

As her heel caught a loose bone, surely left by either the predator during its prior meals or even a careless grave-robber before her, she slid and fell back with a cry. Impulse took over again, her hand reaching for a blade handle that evaded her grasp. She hit the floor with a thud, her back slamming on the hard stone and sending a jolt of agony down her spine. The creature took advantage of this. No sooner than its fresh, living meal’s having ungracefully met the ground did it pounce on her.

Its breath reeked of carrion as it shrieked in the terrified cat’s face, its three sets of horrid teeth giving way to nothing but blackness beyond. Marrow-filled slobber oozed from its gums, though she had little time to peer into the abyss of its gullet before its hands came down. One after another, palms came crashing into her face as if playing a hand drum. It was toying with her, or perhaps tenderizing the facial meat before it feasted. A wrist to the eye, a slap to the left cheek, a palm to the nose — she was bloodied up in a matter of moments.

Despite the overwhelming pain, regardless of her pleading bellows of pain, the lioness’ mind was elsewhere. She was fading fast, certain she was going into shock from it all. But as they say, it is the darkest before the dawn; the darkness crept upon Raziya’s mind, but within a fire burnt bright. A hatred of her fortune going south. An anger at the thought of perishing due to being a filthy noble’s errand wench. A wrath searing with the intensity of the sun of the holy sky.

With an eye swollen shut, a bruised and bludgeoned face, she snarled and roared as the beast’s wretched hand drew forth, ready to end it all with an intended swipe at her throat. The walls shook with the sound of her bellow, legs sliding up toward the beast’s midsection. All of her might went into this single thrust, claws drawn from her toes and digging into the beast’s belly as she kicked it as hard as she could.

As the demon stumbled back up onto its legs, Raziya’s mind was already aglow with the words of her chant. Her fingers were dancing with ethereal flame, a floating fire forming between her palms before searing forth in a blazing spray. She couldn’t see past the blaze, but she knew she’d struck her target; an odor worse than any flesh she’d burnt before, another high-pitched cry from the fiend.

The flames kept pouring out. She cared little for the repercussions of unleashing her magic for so long. All she cared about was the complete and utter destruction of her enemy, the monster that had the audacity and misfortune to get in her way. The beast’s screaming lingered before fading in a gurgle, and soon only the roar of her wrathful fires could be heard.

Feeling a tremor flow across the floor, presumably from the demon’s fiery demise, Raziya’s flames died down in a second’s notice. The moment the flames vanished from being, her hands flew to her temples. The thing she disregarded was happening — she’d exerted herself too heavily. Her mind seared with electric agony, a sensation seeming to flay her brain within her very skull. Coughing up blood which trickled down her jaw, she forced herself onto her side, a hand shakily reaching for her satchel.

Sliding the cover flap away, her fingers slid across the bottles until she found a rectangular one. Pulling it out, she popped off the cork and downed in as quick as she could. No sooner than the fluid hitting her belly did her mental pain end; now, at last, she could focus on the physical trauma. Closing her eyes, her palms tenderly covered her beaten face. Whimpering a few words of praise to the stars in the sacred night sky, a warm tingle flowed out from her hands and across her face.

For the denizens of her world, it was a dull, visceral feeling to have one’s body reconstructed through eldritch healing arts. Muscles and sinews wove back together, bones ground back into place and set themselves, and dirtied wounds seemed to burn themselves clean of infection before sealing back up.

But Raziya was anything except squeamish, and by now she was used to her magical healing. While she wasn’t skilled at using her spells to heal more life-threatening damage to her mortal coil, she at least was able to restore her countenance to its former splendor.

Slowly getting to her feet, her mind now possessed a soft ache once more. The elixir she’d consumed had relieved her splitting headache prior, but the continued use of magic only reopened the proverbial scars. She still had a task to do, and with any immediate threats disposed of, she took one last glance toward the demon’s remains.

A few steps from where she’d kicked it away, the fiend’s body lay on its back. Even its flesh was dark as tar, but the blood that flowed from its body wasn’t quite the inky ichor she thought it would be. Just as any person, or any natural being, crimson blood drizzled from incinerated, blistered flesh. Ashes and blood alike pooled at its fried upper half, its heat-cracked bones burnt too deep to tell what color they were before.

“Good riddance”, she spat as she turned away from the grisly display. Limping from the dread experience, down she went into the depths of the third floor, more than ready to finish what she’s started.


“To think, it’s finally mine”, gasped the voice of the incredulous bastard child. “My birth right, the very mask my grandfather possessed. The mask of Clan Kalaburnos is finally in my hands…” The sun was setting on the outskirts of Lykaria. Raziya stood before the illegitimate child, one hand on her hip, and the fingers on her other twiddling impatiently. He was olive-skinned like many of the region, dressed in a commoner’s tunic, slacks and shoddy rawhide shoes. His chestnut hair was surprisingly well-kept and combed, though his facial hair was scruffy on his cheeks and neck.

The mask in question depicted a phoenix’s visage, adorned with preserved feathers and made from hardened leather. Like a masquerade’s mask, it only covered the top half of the face, with the beak extending down just above the lips. While the leather was cracked and dusty from many years of neglect, it was sturdy enough to give the impression that it wouldn’t just disintegrate when worn.

“Indeed”, replied Raziya. “As much as I enjoy the plights of the rich, I do believe you owe me payment. Unless you’d nodded off from my tale of getting that relic, I nearly died to earn it”.

The lad’s eyes glanced up from the mask and into Raziya’s, indignation burning within his hazel pupils. “But of course”, he said. “A deniable asset like you would appreciate her hard-earned coin”. He sneered a cocky sneer, reaching for a pouch of coins at his hip and putting it into her vacant hand. “So here they are. Fifty-three electrum Hawks, as promised. And before you say anything, I haven’t forgotten this, either”.

Going to the knapsack at his feet, the lad reached inside, pulling a thin, sealed tube out and handing it over to the lioness. “…the formula and theory of a spell, scrawled directly from one of my grandfather’s journals on magic”.

Raziya took the tube in her right, and carrying the coin pouch in her left, she ventured off with little more than a wave. “Good luck with your endeavors”, she said over her shoulder, feeling a lack of a need for formality. Fifty-three electrum pieces. It would pay for her food and lodging for a week or two by itself. No, the reward she truly looked forward to was the spell. Though it would surely take time to understand the formulas and memorize the chants — especially if written in a dead or secretive language, as most spells she’d heard of were wont to do — adding something new to her bag of arcane tricks was always helpful.

Thus she made her way back into the thick of town, ready to order up some supper at a local pub. Like most, she was neither politically powerful, nor would her legacy likely be passed down like that of the rich, or of those chosen by the gods. She was a walker of the world, a seeker of wisdom from beyond the starlight. A daughter of lions, the child of a healer and her warrior mate, her home is where she rests her weary body, born of the rolling green savannas of the Brigalian province.

For until she left the realm of the living, before taking her final mortal breath, she was Raziya the Seeker, a lion in scarlet, and one caught up in the misadventures of an uncanny life in a perfectly imperfect world.

Last edited by Seeks; Dec 13th, 2021 at 05:19 AM.
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Old Dec 13th, 2021, 05:22 AM
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A Vixen No Longer

1st Person, Fantasy, IC account of a finished campaign's events from my character's POV

Hey, Kthorta. Been a while.

I’d tell you to draw your sword, but you have none. And no need for one. You, against all people in this world, are a weapon.

I don’t think this speech will be used. Not even an abridged version. The best laid plans fall at the first sign of the enemy, right? Maybe, if I don’t make it, my friends will find this. Someone might.

Simon and Gina, Charles and Pate and Rook, mom and dad, Danver and little Eulia. If I am lost, and this is found? Know the words of your childhood friend, your daughter, and your sister. Hell, even Russo should hear this. I don’t care.

The truth must be known.

For ten long years, I’ve sought an answer to what happened. The fateful day where Astrea died for her child. When the crown burned my home, our inn and tavern. I remember Danver and Nevan squabbling over the slingshot, earlier that day. Of calling Danver a dickhead for trying to steal from the alms basket. Of my being a bad influence to Gina.

I never paid much attention in mass, but I always figured Oruso was a pretty good guy. Fish were tasty, water sustains life, and a god of fathers? Back then, I couldn’t fathom someone hating their dad! The chores I did gave me fortitude that extended my whole life, and dad loved me just as mom did.

Kobolds in that cavern were the least of our worries. Not even Astrea’s old pirate contacts were as threatening as you, Kthorta. You were young back then, too. Just a larva. The apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, except for Danver.

We all know what happened after we fled home, heavy of heart. When it rains, it pours. All of us went our own ways. With captured parents and a home crumbling to ash, Danver took me under his wing, with Nevan on his journey to find our parents. We were no longer our younger selves. He became Gutter Wolf, and I became The Vixen.

Cypress was right. A skilled thief, I was a fox in all but species. A trickster, a sneak, an opportunist. I made a business out of cunning and skill, and business was good. Each venture a hunt, each scam and theft like killing chickens in their coop. After all, the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.

And that’s what it was. Murder. If not spilling blood, then causing pain and suffering. Valuables filched. Relationships ruined. All because I could profit from it. A cheap thrill, with harrowing costs to those who I defeated.

Charles, too, changed from his youth. Because of his loss, he spent those years learning to hunt even the unnatural. Knowing the terror of nature, and finding solace with his falconry and Rook in spite of it all. I had no such solace. No books had the answer I sought. No explanations to why it all happened. All the while, the mistletoe remained a living charm around my neck.

Simon, however, did not change. It was a bad time to be religious. Stonewind’s crown waged war against the faithful. Cypress lingered on as the Mad Prophet, long past the time of his death, only sustained by his faith in Oruso.

Thinking on it, no. Simon did change. Innocence died, but so did his meekness. He cared deeply for his father and sister. Steadfast, he opposed the inquisition and revealed the power and mercy of Oruso, in spite of the danger. With that trust in that swell old man of the sea came morality, and veritable invincibility.

With my friends returned and the destiny before us, my actions were still rife with sin. I began rumors of infidelity of a noble toward his fiance, to cover my tracks in stealing his gemstones. I led outlanders to an unfair justice, conning them into surrender by Liln’s troops. At Scowler’s Reach, I gave myself to hedonism for money, and I murdered an old client in vengeance for the now-disgraced noble.

Maybe I lived upon instinct. Survival of the fittest, right? Eat or be eaten?

Does that make it right? Did it give me back my parents, my inn, or even Nevan? Did my predatory nature avenge Astrea, or bring my childhood friends back to me? Did it stop Rathilior, to whom Stonewind sold its freedom and kingdom?

No. Of course not.

I wish I could understand the angry land, Kthorta. And your creators, the old gods. I could understand the anger of Russo’s snake-like race, who were neglected in favor of humans and demi-humans. I could even grasp that Oruso stole nature itself from the old gods, handing it to us on a silver platter.

What you’ll never understand is that the pain of mortals breeds evil. Your solution is to destroy civilization, and all within. The monsters spawned from the angry land embodied that wrath: the restless pack, man-eating plants, demon trees, undead bats of darkness, shambling mounds and more.

All to revert your stolen world back to the old ways. To make nature splendid again. But if nature is cruel, was it really that splendid?

My wits were once used in cruelty. And for my misdeeds, I expected my afterlife to be dark. To be painful and sorrowful, just like the pain and sorrow I had sown.

Ser Bouregard, the Lion of Stonewind, head of the inquisition, had embodied an iron fist to rival the old gods’ immortal tyranny. I fought valiantly, but fell twice to him. The second time was fatal. The fear I felt when his maul came down, blowing past my raised shield, was terrible for those fleeting moments I had left. I couldn’t feel the blow, but I could feel the pain he caused before. My scalp was half-torn by him, to say nothing of the wounds I sustained during the fight beforehand.

Abruptly, everything went black. Just as abrupt, as if waking from slumber, I awoke under Simon’s care. Charles still fought valiantly within the dragon’s lair. Fragments of my death flickered through my groggy mind, no pain and no injuries left to prove I had been killed just minutes ago.

The still, cold darkness had surrounded me. Nothing but hanging in that void. How soon would the punishment of damnation begin? That’s what I wondered, but that emptiness did not last. What little I remembered felt like being submerged in cool waters. Weightless, and yet gently weighed upon by all sides.

When my eyes fluttered open to renewed life, I swear that behind Simon, I had seen Oruso himself. And suddenly, an old story clicked from mass, long ago. How a primal man formed the first words, calling to Oruso to save his dying child.

If Oruso remained an old god, people would not be sustained by his mercy. Without Quilla, people would not have gained animals as their friends and helpers. Without Kreiger, people would have no ideologies, and no fervor to stand up for what’s right.

Take it from a professional thief, Kthorta. When there’s an imbalance in power, the people have a right to strike back. To take what’s theirs. And if someone on the inside won’t stand for injustice, all the better for them to aid the rebels.

The old gods want to take back their precious land, but they will give nothing in return. Your bowels will not return the soul of Astrea, will they? Not unless we tear them open.

They are tyrants just as Rathilior was. That bastard dragon learned that the gods’ power is infinite. Charles, Simon and I paid him back in spades for his greed. Ser Bouregard is no more, and has no remains but his ravaged armor. All that stands between us and peace is you.

I have given the mistletoe, a part of your being, to Oruso. I’m sure you felt that. As I told that oversized lizard, I’ll tell you myself. I’m not looking to throw my second chance at life away. But if I have to, I’ll gladly give my life again. For my friends and family. For the world. For a better me then I'd been in ten long years.

So come forth, titan of the old gods. But don’t mistake me for some wild animal, though I intend to maim you like one.

I am Millie Millicent. I am a vixen no longer.

NOTE GOING FORWARD -- Any and all entries I post here are open to comments and critique. These have been older stories I've written, to various levels of cringe and skill.

Last edited by Seeks; Dec 13th, 2021 at 06:45 AM.
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Old Dec 18th, 2021, 07:31 AM
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Lion Lion, Burning Bright

3rd Person, Fantasy, a parody of "The Tyger" to describe an OC of mine

Lion lion, burning bright

Fighting through the dreadful night

What turmoil or mortal lie

Could hope to snuff your ardent pride?

What pain within, what tears youíve shed

Became the fuel for flame instead?

What hero did your heart desire

To be your own, through faith in fire?

And what fell beast and hateful kin

Could draw that power from within

Swift with sinew, defy death

Stride, cut short a devilís breath

And with a humble rod in hand,

Claws on fingers, toes you stand

Roar of thunder, like greased lightníng

Passion turns to fury frightíning!

After the wicked fell in woe

Beaten, broken, and brought low

Did they smile upon your deeds?

Through your valor, evil bleeds

Lion lion, burning bright

Lives were saved thanks to your might

No fiend or beast could eíer abide

Nor take from you your belovíd pride
Suddenly, a summer breeze, and a mighty lion roar ♪

Last edited by Seeks; Dec 18th, 2021 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Formatting
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Old Dec 18th, 2021, 07:38 AM
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The Fox Slayer's Warning

1st Person, Post-Apocalyptic, poem describing a character of mine from her POV

This face, these ears, they ainít to be trusted

Covered in fluff, orange as if rusted

I believe in stories of a world now gone

A glorious age to which I am drawn

The proofís in the pudding, or I guess in the gun

I carry, which caps with miniature suns

Americaís gone Ďneath the pale blue moon

Oneís lifetime so happens to vanish so soon

Iím as strange as they who eternal lie

And thus I could make those aeons die

Iím a demon, a devil, your guardian angel

Like most, my past is mighty painful

Like a succubus offering hellís ecstasy

The fun ends bloody when you **** with me

Iíve bit and scratched for my own sake

But go after others? Iíll personílly break

Every bone in your body, blast your flesh into goo

Bullets punching their way in your bitch ass through

Iím a dangerous critter pal, didnít you know?

Iíd like to welcome yíall to the Apoc-Fox show

Demon of Lock City, thatís what they say

An apex predator, monsters are my prey

Sometimes humans are the real monsters, right?

They all fall the same when I stroll up to fight

Some call me a hero, their precious white knight

Yo, whatever it takes to get to sleep at night

Iíve seen things that have kept me up for days

Choking down Stardust Cola and walking this maze

Of sketchy and violent morality

Listen to me pal, you donít wanna be me

When it all crumbles, what do yído next?

Stand up, toughen up, and do your best

No **** Sherlock? Now try that when coddled

Kept away from the ruins, and all that pain bottled

Up, all that safety took away from you

Stepping out to the truth, wouldnít you feel screwed?

Iím not a strong fox, but Iím tough as it seems

Taught to shoot, but my instincts are more than just dreams

When push comes to shove all Iíve killed learnt this lesson

I was a wild animal before I was a person

Iím not a strong fox, so I tell myself

Sure as sugar a fast one, and eager to help

Lend a gun-arm, or a shoulder to cry on

ĎCause I know damn straight I could always use one

I stand up to demons that most never see

And before you ask me what the hellís wrong with me?

I ask myself that, and one answer remains

Iím the goddamned Apocalypse Fox, ****-for-brains

Donít matter what you are, if I find out you screw

With good folk? Itís the end of the world for you!
Suddenly, a summer breeze, and a mighty lion roar ♪
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