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Fantasy Writers

Character Castle 2.0

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  • #133526
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    Ferran

    My eldest brother, Syrus, looked exactly as I remembered him. That was my first indication that something was wrong. I hadn’t seen Syrus in five years. He’d been eighteen, I was thirteen. There was no way he still looked that young.

    I hated how much we resembled each other. Now we looked the same age, I could see it clearer than ever. I could see how my warped memories were reflecting off him. He looked taller than I knew him to be and somehow even more intimidating.

    I gritted my teeth. Every memory surged up in a single, overwhelming flood and there was no use pushing them down.

    “Why!? Why did you leave? We needed you!” My voice had always been loud, and now it echoed through the small chamber until it made my ears ring.

    I knew it wasn’t him, but it didn’t change how I felt. He had left a week after my father’s death. One morning, I’d woken up and both he and Idir, my other brother who was sixteen at the time, had left. They left a note. It didn’t help.

    There was no way I could take care of my deaf mother and eight-year-old sister. The months after that were a blur, and to this day, I had no idea how we had managed.

    From the day they had disappeared, I hadn’t heard anything from my two older brothers.  I’d indirectly learned that Idir had gone to sea and Syrus had joined another tribe, but that was years ago. I didn’t know if they were even alive. If they had showed up, I would have slammed the door in their faces.

    And now I had to face him again.

    Azar was snarling, all her teeth bared in viciousness I had never seen in her.

    ‘Syrus’ recoiled. I had no idea how the castle knew that he disliked dogs. I held that against him.

    I turned away and refused to even look in his direction. I wasn’t taking the castle’s bait.

    Then, he was there, in front of me again. I turned away with a scowl, but I caught a glimpse of the form disintegrating into a blob and he reformed in front of me.

    “Leave, since you’re so good at it!” I spat at it. I was being irrational and I couldn’t stop. I had to stop. I had to calm down.

    The shape reformed into Idir. The lighter hair, that over-confident, eternally triumphant smile, it was Idir down to the last detail.

    “That goes for you too! I should have known you would leave.” Why hadn’t I guessed? They had never wanted to take over the forge as father had wanted. They didn’t care.

    Azar lunged forward and attacked the creature, which reformed into its old, blobby shape. It was within reach and I slammed my staff down on its front, as hard as I could. I was suddenly furious at the creature, at the castle, at my brothers, at myself. Why hadn’t I stopped them? Why hadn’t I known? I should have known.  How dare this castle exploit that old wound?

    The creature exploded in a rainbow of colors, ranging from emerald to amethyst. It writhed in pain and Azar lunged at it again, grabbing its snake-like form and shaking it until it went limp and turned a sickly gray. She dropped it, and wagged her tail, immensely proud of herself.

    “Yes, you’re very clever,” I said, without any enthusiasm.

    I eyed the creature suspiciously, expecting it to change into anyone I had ever known. Who would be next? My mother? Bithia, my younger sister? Liorah? A few more colors pulsed under its skin, growing ever fainter. I didn’t wait for the vicious thing to come back to life but kicked it into the opposite wall with more ferocity than I usually allowed myself.

    It went limp, the colors fading into an ugly grayish-green. It was finally dead.

    I sank down against the wall, somehow exhausted. I stared at the gray blob, oozing green blood. What was this place? What did it want with me?

    I suddenly sat up straight. If this was happening to me, something similar could be happening to Liorah, or even worse. I remembered Gavril’s brief account of what had happened before I arrived. What if Liorah was hurt?

    I slumped back, remembering that I was trapped here with no way out. Even if something was happening to her, there was nothing I could do about it.

    Azar jumped at me, her playfulness in no way abated. She seemed to have enjoyed the fight with the creature. Her feathery tail swept back and forth, and she was wriggling in satisfaction at herself. She tried to lick my face, but I pushed her away, unable to keep from smiling.

    “Good girl. You have a knack for fighting monsters,” I said, ruffling her ears.

    __________

    So, what do y’all think? Should I throw something else at Ferran or make him join Liorah and Gwen, as soon as they’ve finished fighting?

    BTW, I’d really appreciate any critique on Ferran’s backstory. I’m not sure it makes sense. Or maybe it’s too melodramatic? I don’t even know at this point XD

     

     

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #133550
    Jasmine
    @jasmine

    So, what do y’all think? Should I throw something else at Ferran or make him join Liorah and Gwen, as soon as they’ve finished fighting?

     

    I think it would be fun to have Ferran join Liorah and Gwen, but he’s your character so I’m ok with whatever. Your last posts was really cool!

     

     

     

    Gwendolyn

    Liorah blocked my blade and scrambled back again. Her eyes showed signs of the same weariness I felt. The cut on her side didn’t seem to slow her much, she did wince every now and then though. I felt a wave of guilt wash through me again, then Liorah slashed my sword away from her with such vigor that I was taken by surprise. Before my I could bring my sword back around, she drove her own blade at my chest.  I hadn’t expected her to block with such energy, and she hadn’t thrust before, so that was also unexpected. I twisted desperately, but she had caught me off guard. I twisted so that instead of stabbing my chest, her sword caught between my shoulder and neck.

    I could tell Liorah hadn’t used her full strength like she would have in a real fight, otherwise I might not have made it. I gasped, then jumped back trying to get my bearings. The cut stung, but I could tell it wasn’t serious.

    “Now we’re even,” I say, forcing a small grin. I clench my jaw and raise my sword to swing.

     

    Beautiful things don't ask for attention

    #133565
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @jasmine

    I think it would be fun to have Ferran join Liorah and Gwen, but he’s your character so I’m ok with whatever. Your last posts was really cool!

    Thank you! Awesome, that would be cool! I can’t wait to see what the three of them will do! I’ll make the wall go down as soon as Liorah and Gwen are done fighting. Do you have any ideas for challenges?

    Liorah

    Gwen scrambled back, desperately, but I could tell I’d caught her by surprise this time. She twisted and my sword nicked her between her neck and her shoulder. She gave a little gasp of pain and jumped back. Guilt and hatred for the castle washed over me. I didn’t want to hurt Gwen. She had been nothing but kind and brave.

    “Now we’re even,” Gwen said, forcing a tight grin. She clenched her jaw and raised her sword again.

    “One point for each. One more strike and we’ll see who lives.” The castle intoned.

    I froze. Who lives? What did it mean, who lives? I felt panic, then anger, surging in me. I wasn’t going to let Gwen die because of me!

    “How dare you? Two can play at this game,” I snarled at the castle.

    I leaped forward, toward Gwen. She raised her sword, ready to parry, but instead of swinging at her again, I grabbed her sword. She instinctively tried to wrench it free, tried to block the cut she thought was coming.

    Her blade bit deep into my palm and I bit back a cry of pain. It hurt even more than I’d expected. Adrenaline rushed through me, making my ears buzz and my head pound.

    I spun away from Gwen, toward the corner where the voice had been coming from. I held up my bloody hand. The stripes where Gwen’s sword had slashed wept scarlet. A drop of blood tickled down my arm, into my sleeve.

    “Look! Gwen won. She wounded me twice. She gets to live.” In a final show of disdain, I flicked my wrist, splattering drops of blood over the floor.

    And I waited. Waited to see if the castle would accept my loophole and kill me, or force us to continue.

    __________

    Leaving it up to you to choose what happens next! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #133620
    Jasmine
    @jasmine

    Thank you! Awesome, that would be cool! I can’t wait to see what the three of them will do! I’ll make the wall go down as soon as Liorah and Gwen are done fighting. Do you have any ideas for challenges?

    The firs thing that popped into my mind was a giant twisted funhouse.We could take turns picking the next obstacles. That was just a random idea though. Do you have any more ideas?

    Also, that’s A really cool profile picture! Did you draw that?!

     

     

    Gwendolyn

    “One point for each. One more strike and we’ll see who lives.” The castle announced.

    “WHAT?!” I roar. Who lives? One of us has to die?! This is not what I thought it was. I feel myself grow hot with anger at the castle, then cold with fear at the idea of death, mine or Liorah’s, then flat out furious.

    “How dare you?” Liorah snarls Two can play at this game,”

    She leaps forward at me, hand outstretched. Is she giving A final desperate push to win? Lunging forward to finish me off?

    She grabs my sword and I instinctively yank it back, trying to raise it to block a blow I know is coming. But instead of raising her own sword, Liorah spins toward the corner where the voice came from and raises her now-bloody hand.

    “Look!” She cries, “Gwen won. She wounded me twice. She gets to live.”

    My eyes widen, “what? No!”. Guilt sweeps through my mind, first for thinking she was trying to kill me when she was trying to save me, then for actually letting her save me by sacrificing herself. She waits a moment, and I rake my mind for a way out, A way to save her.

    The castle pauses, “First of all,” it says in its gravely metallic voice, “I didn’t say the winner got to live.”

    I freeze, too many emotions roaring through my mind to figure out.

    “Second of all,” the evil castle continues, “yes, you found a loophole, but I don’t count loopholes.”

    All I want to do right now is tear this place to shreds and wake up from what feels like a dream.

    “Get to the point.” I mutter, too angry to say much more.

    “Aww, that’s cute,” the castle says, “your trying to tell me what to do. Anyway, as interesting as this is, I’m ready to move on to the next game.”

    game?! You call this nightmare a game?!” I ask, almost unbelieving.

    I hear a grinding noise and raise my sword to defend myself, spinning to face the sound. A wall lifts up across the room.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Jasmine.

    Beautiful things don't ask for attention

    #133625
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @jasmine

    The first thing that popped into my mind was a giant twisted funhouse.We could take turns picking the next obstacles. That was just a random idea though. Do you have any more ideas?

    Genius! Like a giant labyrinth but with extra obstacles along the way if they choose the wrong path! It could basically loop them in a circle, so they end up with the others when they get through.

    Also, that’s A really cool profile picture! Did you draw that?!

    Aww, thank you! Yes, it’s my most recent drawing of Liorah. I’ve drawn her like… 20 times XD I actually made a series of drawings, of all my female characters. I tried to decide which flowers suited each one, so that was really fun. Liorah has poppies because they’re wild, resilient, and bright. Faye has daisies, Sahar has camellias, and Chantara has lily of the valley.

    “First of all,” it says in its gravely metallic voice, “I didn’t say the winner got to live.”

    Oooh, that was a cool plot twist! I didn’t think of that!

    Okay, now the fun begins! Hmm, I wonder how Ferran will react to all of this XD

    Ferran

    A voice boomed through the room.

    “Second of all, you found a loophole, but I don’t count loopholes.”

    I sat up, pushing Azar off my lap. Who was the castle talking to? What was ‘first of all’? I seemed to be interrupting a conversation, but that was impossible since I hadn’t done anything.

    “Aww, that’s cute,” the voice crooned, ominously. “you’re trying to tell me what to do. Anyway, as interesting as this is, I’m ready to move on to the next game.”

    I grabbed my staff, ready to defend myself against whatever was coming. I had barely gotten to my feet when the wall slowly ground on its gears. Or rails. Or whatever the mechanics behind this place were.

    Game? You call this nightmare a game?” A female voice said, disbelievingly. The wall lifted, suddenly all at once.

    I was left facing two girls, one of whom I instantly recognized as Liorah. Her braid trailed over her shoulder and she was gripping her shamshir so hard her knuckles had gone white. She seemed to have spun around suddenly. She was scowling and her golden eyes flashed disdain, triumph, and fury. Blood smeared across her side and dripped from the fingers of her left hand. I felt my throat constricting. Was she hurt? What had happened? What had the castle done to her?

    I noticed the other girl. Her straight sword was raised and stained with blood. Liorah’s blood. She had hurt her. My grip on my staff tightened and I glared at her. Was this entire castle filled with nothing but enemies?

    “Ferran!” Liorah said, relief in her voice. I heard the hiss of her shamshir sliding into its scabbard.

    “You’re bleeding. Why?” I asked, not breaking eye contact with the dark-haired girl.

    “Oh, no, it’s not like that,” Liorah said, stepping in between me and the girl. She laughed, a quiet, reassuring sound.

    “It’s not Gwen’s fault. The castle said we had to fight. It’s not her fault,” Liorah repeated.

    I let my staff relax into a non-threatening, diagonal position.

    “Are you alright?” I asked, anxiously. I didn’t waste any attention on the other girl. Even if she hadn’t started it, she had still hurt Liorah.

    “It’s nothing, barely a scrape,” Liorah said. “What happened? The walls dropped and I lost you.”

    “I had an… unpleasant encounter. But it’s over now, so never mind.”

    Azar bounded up, carrying the dead, slimy monster like a trophy. Her ears and tail were at attention, announcing her triumph.

    Liorah recoiled.

    “A snake? How is it that big?”

    “It’s… not a snake,” I said, uncertainly. “Nevermind that, it’s dead now. And I don’t think it’s venomous.”

    “Greetings, and welcome to the next round!” The same metallic voice boomed.

    “There’s that blasted thing again!” Liorah said, wrathfully.

    “The next challenge will appear to your left. There are no rules, but this one advice. Do not turn back, or you may never find the way out. The wrong route will bring disaster.”

    “Lovely, isn’t it?” Liorah said, in disgust.

    A doorway opened to our left. It didn’t seem irregular, but that didn’t mean anything. All I could see behind it was a dark tunnel.

    “Gav would hate this,” Liorah commented.

    We all hesitated near it, none of us sure whether it was wise to enter.

    “Oh, you haven’t met yet, have you?” Liorah said, as though the thought just occurred to her.

    “Gwen, this is Ferran, a friend of mine. Ferran, this is Gwendolyn, we met earlier.”

    “Nice to meet you, I suppose,” I mumbled, to Gwen, without looking at her. I hated meeting new people. I never knew how to behave around them, and it always felt like they were judging me for something or other.

    I turned around and signed to Azar. Put down.

    Azar regretfully dropped the slimy thing, giving it a last, longing look.

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #133762
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    6:55 pm.
    “We need to climb out, carino.” Rosario says slowly “before it comes back.”
    “Remember the day we met, on the Bridge?” Ehud says as he pokes a bouncy web along the walls and it makes an echoing tip tap. Reflexively she slaps his hand before he touches another thread.
    “Ow!” He rubs his hand with an pathetic pout, trying so hard to press his wide eyes into a glare that Rosario smirks and ruffles his fluffy hair. Kaleidoscope reflective lights like spies bounce along the threads and they can see the blue, clear sky above as stormy gray blue as Ehud’s eyes.
    “I remember, idiota,” She says, and after a pause, “You never told me what you were doing there?”
    A tap and another tap bounces along the webs knotting their path through the metallic trench.
    “I told you not–”
    “I didn’t do anything,” Ehud protests “it’s raining.”
    Glassy sparks patter along the webs, tip tapping away like a steady sad song. Her hand, still wrapped in his, squeezes slightly and Ehud feels his heart flutter, almost dizzy with the small physical contact. It sounds like crinkling paper, the rain, like a wadded fairytale.
    “I was looking for my mom,” he hesitates “actually I just…sorta wanted to get away from everything after that. The Bridge is so high it makes everything look kinda small ya’know.”
    Wordlessly he drops his head on her shoulder, as still as a dream. He just feels exhausted from being so cheerful all the time.
    “What do ya think happiness is?” Ehud asks
    “I have no ideas, carino.” She says, immune to his philosophical rants.
    “I guess it’s the kinda feeling you get from connecting, like being loved and being able to love back. Like when you look at something beautiful like a sunset or the sun in rain and think Somebody musta made that just for everybody to enjoy and breathe in.”
    Rosario glances down at Ehud, thinking about everything but sunsets and sunny rain. He looks so sweet, half otherworldly with his ideals. There’s only one thing she wants to do right now, right beside him and that’s…smack him on the side of his head for giving her these emotions!
    “Can you use the webs to climb up, idiota?” Rosario asks. Ehud vaults the silver wire mesh without a second thought. Then he freezes and strangles a scream as he loses balance and crashes down. Instinctively Rosario catches him so he lands in a tangled mess in her arms, his bright, confused eyes staring up at her awkwardly.
    “Uh…”
    Rosario drops him.
    “I can’t climb it…” Ehud whispers slowly propping himself up on his elbow, rubbing his face. Tears pool the corner of his red eyes down his hot cheeks. His breath is suddenly jerky and sharp as he curls into his knees. “There’s gears behind the webs it’s the Grind I can’t climb that,”
    6:53 pm.
    I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this.
    Red kaleidoscope eyes.
    I can’t lose you this isn’t happening! This is too real I can’t become a monster!

    Selling happiness. How? What is…happiness?
    I can still see it happening, my worst fears, I shot Rosy I killed her. Everyone I loved left me did I drive them away?
    And the webs, they’re…there’s different things connected to them, there’s something–I can’t place it there’s something wrong we have to get out of here there’s something wrong there’s somethi–I don’t know, it’s a spiderweb, like a lie it’s like a lie a shattered lie and it’s still alive.
    6:52 pm.
    “Ehud?” Her voice laced tense, Rosario drops to her knees beside him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders tightly but he suddenly gives a cry and pushes her back. A stunned look cuts through her eyes. He’d never–he’d never pushed her away. “Ehud, talk to me.”
    He bangs his fists on the floor with a hiccupy sob.
    “Ehud…carino, just breathe,” Rosario carefully put her hands on his shoulders and he jerks back. She grips him tighter, bending over to make a less threatening figure, staring up into his panicked, scarred eyes. He hasn’t done this since the months after his mother left, and even then he’d been so clingy and so anxious to please everyone, he never pushed anyone away. “Look at me, Ehud, one breath in…now one out. Slowly, breathe.”
    6:23 pm.
    “Hold on to anything.
    In the end they all fade”
    “Letgo! Letgo!” Ehud will gasp in a strangled breath. There’ll be a low, grinding creak around them vibrating the webs.
    “Ehud! It’s me, Ehud, it’s me Rosario!” She’ll shake him just as a tendril of web skates across her shoulder with a screeching clitclatter that’ll be barely audible in the pounding rain. Spiraling webs will crisscross the walls, until the gray sky will be barely visible, shifting colors like a cursed kaleidoscope.
    6:02 pm.
    “Let go of me!” I scramble fast out of her grip. Everything’s spinning around I have to get out I have to get away from her before something–
    I get out and I just run I don’t know where I can’t let Rosy catch me I don’t want her to get hurt. There’s something up there, I saw something up there, and it’s worse than–Slam!
    6:01 pm
    The spider’s web stung to each limb, weaving and weaving like a lie. And the lights fade for both of them–
    6:00 pm
    “All fade, they all fade
    and in the end you’re all alone.”
    Click in,
    Click out
    A soft chime tickles the walls as the scenery changes.

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    #133788
    Jasmine
    @jasmine

    Genius! Like a giant labyrinth but with extra obstacles along the way if they choose the wrong path! It could basically loop them in a circle, so they end up with the others when they get through.

    Ok! Sounds like a plan!

    Aww, thank you! Yes, it’s my most recent drawing of Liorah. I’ve drawn her like… 20 times XD I actually made a series of drawings, of all my female characters. I tried to decide which flowers suited each one, so that was really fun. Liorah has poppies because they’re wild, resilient, and bright. Faye has daisies, Sahar has camellias, and Chantara has lily of the valley.

    It’s really cool how you give your characters their own flowers! I’ve never thought of that, it seems like it would be really fun to draw. When I draw my characters I just draw black and white.

     

     

     

    Gwendolyn

     

    The wall flew up and startled Brin who flew to my shoulder.

    On the other side of the wall stood a boy. He seemed to be around Liorah’s age (sorry if I got that wrong) and held a staff in his hand. His eyes fell on Liorah and his grip on the staff tightened, eyes widening. He glared at me.

    My hand squeezed my sword hilt, it took me a moment to understand why he was giving me the hostile look. Liorah bled from her side and her hand, and there I stood with my bloody sword. Oh. I lowered my sword and and opened my mouth to speak.

    “Ferran!” Liorah said, she slid her blade back into its sheath at her side. I closed my mouth. Liorah knew him?

    “You’re bleeding. Why?” Ferran asked, still glaring at me.

    “Oh, no, it’s not like that,” Liorah said, stepping in front of me. Liorah laughed, “It’s not Gwen’s fault. The castle said we had to fight. It’s not her fault,” Liorah repeated.

    I felt my grip ease on my sword. It was over. The fight was over. I leaned against the wall, letting the relief wash over me. We didn’t have to hurt each other anymore. It was obvious that Liorah blamed the whole thing on the castle. She wasn’t holding anything against me, and I wasn’t holding anything against her. I would have smiled if Ferran wasn’t still giving me a death look.

    Ferran lowered his staff and I sheathed my sword, wiping the blood off on the corner of my cloak before returning it to its place at my side.

    He looked away from me, “Are you alright?” Ferran asked Liorah, his voice was worried.

    “It’s nothing, barely a scrape,” Liorah said. “What happened? The walls dropped and I lost you.”

    “I had an… unpleasant encounter. But it’s over now, so never mind.”

    Ferran’s dog trotted up with a pale reptilian thing dangling from its mouth, Liorah stepped back and Brin cocked her head at the thing.

    “A snake? How is it that big?” Liorah asked.

    “It’s… not a snake,” Ferran replied, “Nevermind that, it’s dead now. And I don’t think it’s venomous.”

    “Greetings, and welcome to the next round!” The castle thundered.

    “There’s that blasted thing again!” Liorah said. I closed my eyes, bracing myself for the next horror.

    “The next challenge will appear to your left. There are no rules, but this one advice. Do not turn back, or you may never find the way out. The wrong route will bring disaster.”

    “Lovely, isn’t it?” Liorah said.

    A doorway opened to our left. A dark tunnel stretched out behind it.

    “Gav would hate this,” Liorah said there was a long pause. “Oh, you haven’t met yet, have you?” Liorah said, sounding as if she had just noticed.

    “We’ve met.” I said, “about sixty seconds ago. He glared at me and I glared back. A very charming boy.”

    “Gwen, this is Ferran,” Liorah said, “a friend of mine. Ferran, this is Gwendolyn, we met earlier.”

    “Nice to meet you, I suppose,” Ferran mumbled, not looking at me.

    “Charmed.” I said, turning and walking towards the doorway. I wasn’t going to waist time trying to get him to like me. It didn’t matter if he blamed me for hurting Liorah. We needed to get out.

     

    I stepped inside the tunnel and my feet where immediately swept out from under me. I stumbled and caught myself, but the floor seemed to be moving at a upward slant. I ran in the direction that seemed to be downhill and started running uphill somehow. My eyes adjusted to the dark and I found myself in what seemed to be a giant metal tube. The tube seemed to be rolling but it wasn’t going anywhere either. I stumbled again and walked in the opposite direction that the tube was rolling and finally figured out how to stay upright. I walked in place and watched to see how Ferran and Liorah faired.

    Beautiful things don't ask for attention

    #133789
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    That was such a cool post! It seemed kind of dream-like, and was time going backward somehow? I hope they get out alright!

    “I guess it’s the kinda feeling you get from connecting, like being loved and being able to love back. Like when you look at something beautiful like a sunset or the sun in rain and think Somebody musta made that just for everybody to enjoy and breathe in.”

    WOW! That’s amazing!


    @jasmine

    It’s really cool how you give your characters their own flowers! I’ve never thought of that, it seems like it would be really fun to draw. When I draw my characters I just draw black and white.

    Thank you! I finished the entire series by this time, it was awesome! I’d love to see some of your character art! Black and white is cool too, you get to use values a lot!

    He seemed to be around Liorah’s age (sorry if I got that wrong)

    At this point in the story, Liorah’s sixteen, and Ferran is barely eighteen, so he’s slightly older, but you were close! 😉

    Oh my goodness, I always forget how immensely rude Ferran gets when he’s shy XD Reading it from Gwen’s perspective was hilarious!

    Liorah

    “We’ve met.” Gwen said, “about sixty seconds ago. He glared at me and I glared back. A very charming boy.”

    I barely stifled a snicker, for Ferran’s sake. His only reply was shooting her a cold glare.

    I rocked back on my heels, uncertain how to go about any of this. Ferran and Gwen clearly didn’t like each other. I decided that if I ignored the problem long enough, it would solve itself. Or maybe not. Ferran was hard to get to know under the best of circumstances. I never would have met him if he hadn’t almost broken Gav’s shoulder that one time.

    Gwen stepped into the tunnel and promptly stumbled, then scampered in one direction, then the other.

    “What–” I started.

    “It’s moving,” Ferran said, shortly. He gestured for Azar to follow him and stepped into the tunnel after Gwen.

    I tentatively tiptoed after him and immediately lost my balance and fell to my knees. The tunnel kept rolling, shifting under me. An extremely impolite word escaped me as I tried to get to my feet, only to fall again.

    Ferran was somehow managing to stay on his feet without too much trouble. He offered me his hand and I gratefully took it. The extra help was just enough for me to get my feet under me. With some trial-and-error, I figured out how the tunnel was rolling and managed to stay on my feet.

    I breathed a sigh of relief, then turned. The wall closed behind us, leaving us in complete darkness.

    “Oh great. This is just perfect,” I spat.

    Before anyone could reply, the light slowly became more and more, until it was dim, but not dark anymore. The light was coming from the opposite end of the tunnel.

    “Now what?” I asked, in general.

    Ferran raised his eyebrows and nodded toward the source of the light.

    “I know that, but how do we get there? I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting ahead,” I said.

    Something smacked against my legs and I grabbed at my sword, expecting some kind of monster. Instead of a monster, there was only Azar’s perky ears and swishing tail.

    “You scared me, you silly,” I said, affectionately. Then I frowned. I was sure she had been with Ferran a minute ago.

    Sure enough, she scampered back to him, then on to Gwen. She had decided that she hadn’t greeted her properly and set off to do so immediately. I had no idea how Ferran had ever ended up with that dog, I had never seen a greater clash of personalities.

    “Look at Azar,” I said, my voice echoing through the long metal tube.

    She was zigzagging, letting the tunnel carry her one way, then running in the opposite direction and repeating the process.

    Ferran immediately saw what I meant and attempted it. It was a lot harder for us than for Azar, but I thought I was getting ahead. Maybe.

    The tunnel seemed endless, so I focused on Gwen, trying to reach her. Azar had by this time and was happily squirming around Gwen’s feet in endless excited circles.

    “That’s the worst guard dog I’ve ever seen,” I said, half laughing.

    “I know,” Ferran said, resignedly. “She isn’t very intimidating, is she?”

    I snickered as Azar bounded back toward us in graceless frolics. She circled behind us, trying to herd us forward.

    “Do I look like a sheep to you?” I asked, indignantly.

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #133823
    Joelle Stone
    @joelle-stone

    “Hey, can you hear me!” the soldier shouted. “Hey! You gotta help me with this one!”

    Riure followed the sound of his voice and suddenly found her feet knocked out from beneath her. A small cry slipped out of her mouth as she fell, but something was beneath her and stayed her fall. A chair? She cautiously reached out, her fingers brushing against what felt like a table. Sadiq’s breath warmed her left wrist.

    “Do you know what to do, Zanar?” Riure asked, alarm creeping into her heart. What would happen if they lost against whatever this China thing was?

    Silence descended before Zanar replied with a clear, concise, very helpful “Nope.”

    “Oh.”

    “Did I forget to mention,” Lord Castle intoned, “that you are being timed. If you lose the game or if you fail to finish it in the appointed time limit, there will be, shall we say” -it snickered- “consequences.”

    “Great,” Riure muttered. She was tired and hungry and sick of being unable to see. She wanted to go home. But she had to keep a cheerful face on. He loves me, He loves me, He loves me, she thought, and just the realization of those words brought a smile to her face.

    “Okay,” she said, and put her hands on the edge of the table in what she hoped was a determined pose. “Let’s play. Master Klein, what do I do?”

    —————————————


    @rusted-knight
    @mischievous-thwapling

    https://thepeninspired.wordpress.com

    #133913
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    @joelle-stone @rusted-knight

    Zanar: 

    Zanar was starting to wish he had stayed out of those drainage tunnels. Then, he’d probably be at home right now, safe and sound.

    But nope.

    He’d been an idiot. And now he was paying the price in some weird, twisted, talking castle.

    He watched helplessly as Drone Destroying Dude–hadn’t he said his name was Klein?–pleaded with Zanar to help him. Zanar, eyes wide, nodded so hard his neck hurt and tried to yell through the glass, “I’ll get you out!”

    Before he knew what was happening, his feet flew out from beneath him. He slammed down into a chair–none too gently. “Ow,” he muttered, as a small cry escaped Riure’s own lips. A table, with a strange board sprawled across it, sat in front of him, Riure on the opposite side. It almost resembled a map, but it was nothing like Zanar had ever seen. Odd names marked even odder cities and places, and his head was spinning just from looking at it.

    “Do you know what to do, Zanar?” Riure asked, sounding like she was fighting off panic.

    Zanar hesitated before admitting, “Nope.”

    “Oh.”

    He started to tell her he wished he did know, and was about to explain what the board looked like, when a funny-sounding voice interrupted, “Did I forget to mention that you are being timed? If you lose the game or if you fail to finish in the appointed time limit, there will be, shall we say, consequences.”

    “Fail at what?” Zanar demanded. “This weird game thingy? That is so unfair, you stupid, talking, evil pile of rocks!” That’s what castles were, right? Glorified piles of rocks.

    “Watch yourself, boy,” the castle warned. “You don’t want to be responsible if little Blind Girly or Klein here get hurt, do you?”

    Zanar bit his lip, cheeks burning. “No,” he whispered. “I don’t.”

    “Good,” the castle snickered.

    Rage flared in Zanar at the castle’s smug words, but he kept his mouth firmly shut. He was not going to let innocent people get hurt because of his big mouth.

    “Okay,” Riure said, taking the much more mature, reasonable reaction to this. “Let’s play. Master Klein, what do I do?”

    Zanar stared at poor Klein, wondering how clearly he could hear them through the barrier. “Is this China the thing we’re supposed to defeat?” he shouted at the soldier.

    "I threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell."

    #133928
    Joelle Stone
    @joelle-stone

    *decides to put this in a dictionary* Castle: a glorified pile of rocks.

    XD Nicely put, Evil Scientist!

    https://thepeninspired.wordpress.com

    #133934
    Jasmine
    @jasmine

     

     

    Thank you! I finished the entire series by this time, it was awesome! I’d love to see some of your character art! Black and white is cool too, you get to use values a lot!

    Yea, It’s easier to add shadow with black and white, I think its also easier to erase (I do a lot of that, XD). I’ve kinda always loved to draw, but I’ve never done a series, usually I just sketch what ever comes to mind. I can post a pic if you want…*rifles through sketchbook* that’s A sketch of Gwen and Brin, I don’t have a lot of pictures of my characters (yet). Do you usually use digital art?

     

     

    Oh my goodness, I always forget how immensely rude Ferran gets when he’s shy XD Reading it from Gwen’s perspective was hilarious!

    It was really fun to write! I love it when two personalities clash in a story and you get to see what’s going on inside each person’s head.

     

     

     

     

     

    Gwendolyn

     

    What–” I heard Liorah ask behind me,

    “It’s moving,” Ferran said dryly, I heard him and his dog step in after me. I turned in time to see Liorah follow us in and fall to her knees. Ferran helped her up, and she quickly figured out how to stay upright.

    This wasn’t that bad so far. Brin shifted on my shoulder nervously, and the tunnel door slammed shut with a dull thud.

    “Oh great. This is just perfect,” Liorah snapped.

    I stumbled in the dark, trying to brace myself for whatever horror the castle would throw at us next. My fingers brushed my bow, poised to snatch it when needed. I squinted and realized a faint glow from the other end of the tunnel allowed me to see. I relaxed the tiniest bit.

    “Now what?” Liorah asked, Ferran nodded at the exit in reply.

    “I know that, but how do we get there? I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting ahead,” Liorah said.

    There was a scuffling sound, and I heard Liorah’s voice again, “You scared me, you silly.” More scuffling sounds echoed down the tunnel, “Look at Azar,” Liorah said.

    I turned to see Ferran’s dog zigzagging towards me. At first I just thought Liorah was simply amused by the sight, but then I noticed Ferran and Liorah doing the same thing. Zigzagging towards the light.

    “Oh,” I said, and quickly did the same. Something brushed against my leg, sending a jolt or adrenalin up my body. My hand flew to my bow. Then I heard a happy whine and felt Azar’s soft fur against my leg. I looked down to see the dog happily wiggling in circles around my legs.

    My laugh mingled with Liorah’s and I suddenly realized what she had meant when she said someone had scared her.

    “That’s the worst guard dog I’ve ever seen,” she said,

    “I know,” Ferran replied, “She isn’t very intimidating, is she?”

    “Well she scared the wits out of me,” I said. The laughter was like cold water on a hot day. I felt it wash over my tense body and mind and I felt myself relax in the mirth.

    Azar bounded to the back of the line and herded us forward

    “Do I look like a sheep to you?” Liorah asked.

     

    I reached the end of the tunnel in a minute, as soon as I neared the light, Brin shifted on my shoulder again and pecked at a loose strand of my hair. I stoped, remembering the last time she had seemed uneasy. My fingers danced over my bow and I looked back at Liorah in a silent warning.

     

    Beautiful things don't ask for attention

    #133943
    Rusted Knight
    @rusted-knight

    @mischievous-thwapling

    @joelle-stone

    “Do you know what to do, Zanar?”

    It was the girl. She was beginning to panic. The boy paused, surveying the trap that Klein was in.

    “Nope.”

    “Oh.”

    “Did I forget to mention that you are being timed? If you lose the game or if you fail to finish in the appointed time limit, there will be, shall we say, consequences.”

    Klein began to yell an expletive when Zanar cut in.

    “Fail at what? This weird game thingy? That is so unfair, you stupid, talking, evil pile of rocks!”

    “Watch yourself, boy. You don’t want to be responsible if little Blind Girly or Klein here get hurt, do you?”

    Zanar was silent. Klein knew the feeling. Knowing that he had to do something but fearing to fail and make thing worse.

    “No,” he whispered. “I don’t.”

    “Good.”

    Klein was furious now. Getting off on beating the weak, especially children, ticked him off. It was underhanded and cowardly. He hated it. He had hated being the victim of it in the orphanage. When he got big enough, he tried to help the other orphans stand up to the bullies.

    “Okay,” Riure said. “Let’s play. Master Klein, what do I do?”

    “Is this China the thing we’re supposed to defeat?”

    Klein took a deep breath. Focus. Focus on what is in front of you. He could do it. It would be a little slow but he could get these kids to at least hold their own in this game.

    “Alright. Lets do this.” Klein spoke slowly. Leave no room for error due to fast talk. “The green cards are used to move. The grey cards are used to attack. You can only use one per turn. DON’T TELL ME WHAT YOU HAVE.” This place already had the high ground. He would avoid giving any more. “There should be a card to help you remember what unit does what. Keep it handy. There are dice. You use those to determine attack damage. This is about all I can do. I can’t let who ever the other guy is know what we plan to do. I can offer advice but remember anything I say, he can hear. You guys have got this. Let em have it.”

    Klein gave them a thumbs up. He had done everything he could. If it was his time, it was his time, nothing would change it. He was prepared for it. Picking up the rifle, Klein looked it over. It was a long sniper’s rifle, not his usual DM rifle. It wouldn’t fire but it gave him some semblance of his role. Shouldering it, Klein looked over the game board.

    “Alright. Bring it on!”

    The Devil saw me with my head down and got excited. Then I said Amen

    #133953
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    That was such a cool post! It seemed kind of dream-like, and was time going backward somehow

    Thanks! I’m glad I got the dreamy thing and time going backwards.

    I hope they get out alright!

    *laughs in writer!*

    5:00 am
    It will be a sunny, pleasant day in Temporal. She’ll have everything ready with her Barbie thin heels and a suitcase in hand. Again. But this time different. There will be only one law in Temporal: never ask why.

    Chale, no entiendo…
    Vale, I’ll just have to handle this. Esta es..where?
    I’m staring at a ceiling like a trapdoor and–que asco–there’s a Barbie doll shininess and perfecion. Well, I’ve been in traps before just–ay, that’s no vertias I’m sure I don’t recognize here but it’s what’s said ‘deja vu’? Olvidale, esta no importa.
    Everything from simmering sunlight to pastel dime-crap colors, it’s a dizzy real dream. No se lo, something’s…wrong.
    I haul myself up, sitting on a springy, careful-made bed and drop my eyes to fashionable knee-length leather boots with stiletto-size heels I could kill somebody with. Chulo. But this–everything esta..no se lo. With a mindless step to the mirror I start reapplying whatever’s in the vanity, as only child I have sole rights.
    Rogue-stained lips, dark highlights and a sharp, square jaw that looks masculine in the mirror. Is…strange. I don’t know that I see me here, I touch my bangs sideways off my black eyebrows. I wipe my thick shoulder. Y nada? En serio?
    As I swing my hair into a ribbon I…pink? Esta es not my color. Asco, whatever it is is nada. I drop it into the trash just as a fat cat dandies into the room with a grungy are of aristocrat.
    “Aya, Loco! Que pase, el cerdo?” I pull him up by his haunches and the fluffball complains while adoring the attention. “Sin duda alguna, Loco, no es justo!”
    Shaking my head I set him on the bed and leave le idiota to huff at no more attention as I leave the bedroom.
    Then something is ahead that–

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    #134076
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    Ferran

    “Well, she scared the wits out of me,” Gwen said and laughed.

    I smiled. Azar was having the time of her life. She bounded back to us and circled around Liorah, trying to urge her forward.

    “Do I look like a sheep to you?” Liorah asked.

    “Do you want an honest answer?” I asked.

    Liorah gave me a look that she thought was fierce, but it was far from intimidating. I had long since figured out that Liorah wasn’t nearly as tough as she pretended.

    Gwen had reached the end of the tunnel and her hawk pecked at her hair. She froze, reached for her bow, and shot a look over her shoulder. Liorah froze, and the tunnel swept her feet out from under her. She yelped in surprise and I barely managed to catch her arm and pull her upright.

    “Thanks,” Liorah whispered.

    “No use being quiet now,” I remarked. “You already warned whatever is ahead.”

    Liorah’s shoulders sagged in realization.

    I wished I had my bow with me. Long-distance fighting would be easier in a maze like this.

    I hurried forward, eager to get solid ground beneath my feet again. After the tunnel, there was a long, open stretch laid with what looked like tiles. The faint glow of the light was on the other side.

    Liorah hovered beside me.

    “Follow the light, I suppose,” Liorah suggested.

    “Monsters or traps?” I asked, nodding at the stretch ahead of us.

    “Neither?” Liorah asked, hopefully.

    I raised an eyebrow and Liorah sighed. We both knew that wasn’t an option.

    Liorah craned her neck, trying to see the walls.

    “Doesn’t look like there are doors for monsters, so it’s probably traps.”

    “One way to find out,” Liorah said.

    I barely managed to pull her back as she started toward the tiled passage. Honestly, sometimes I wondered if Liorah ever thought anything through.

    “Don’t be stupid,” I said, sharply.

    Liorah bristled and pulled free, but didn’t try to storm forward again.

    “Then what?” She snapped.

    A sound from Gwen made me spin around, just in time to see Azar stepping onto the first tile. She jumped back, yelping so hard it echoed through the tunnel. She sprinted away from the passage, tail between her legs, still howling. I barely managed to scoop her up before she ran back into the tunnel.

    I stroked Azar’s head, trying to soothe her.

    “Now we know one thing. Don’t step on the tiles.”

    “Then how do we get across?” Liorah asked, exasperated.

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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