WOTM #15 – Betrayal
In a world, where nations crawl with swords, monsters and magic, there was a magical artifact. It was powerful enough to destroy all the opponents of the wielder. Entire nations bowed to its power. To wield the artifact, at least four people had to cooperate and gather their magical power. Five great nations, Umagaland, Resavile, Yllarivia, Avalice and Erapan, all aimed to claim this artifact for their own. Wars have been fought. People have suffered. Now, a solution is sought.
The five nations have decided that, to collect the artifact and move it somewhere safe, they would each send a single magician. I, Judge, have been hired as an overseer to make sure none of the five breaks the rules, for I am a member of none of their countries. I am a travelling magician, skilled in my art, and renowned for my teachings. I am a master of binding spells, which will be useful. Without the cooperation of three others, none of them can operate the artifact. I was chosen to make sure that the five follows their directions and do nothing suspicious. They will do the same for me. Spells will be placed to make sure there will only be us six in place. We are to take the artifact and store it in a temple protected by mighty magical defenses, only capable of being taken down should magicians from all five nations cooperate.
Problem, all countries are backstabbing bastards. Since I have planted binding-seals on each of them in order to bind them if they cause trouble, I have been confronted by each whom wants to betray the others.
Umagaland is a gigantic republic who holds more firepower than the rest, but could not be brought to win due to the others teaming up. Their pride has a tendency of getting the better of them. Their representative is a young sorcerer-prince called Emilion.
Resavile is a mediocre kingdom which is famous for the greed and treacherousness of their kings. The people starve to allow their nobles to live in luxury. Only way out of misery is military service. Their representative is a robed old magician called Korsel.
Yllarivia is a large and peaceful democracy, but it was forced to pick up arms out of fear of the others. Compared to the rest, Yllarivia is a very rich people with attractive soil, which has made them cautious. They sent their beautiful and revered maiden-witch, Valerina,
Avalice is a kingdom of great honor. Their knights and honorable warriors are their pride, but they have a distinct lack of resources due to earlier wars. This has made them rather edgy. They sent a young girl in armor. Illia is a top-graduate of their magic schools and their finest knight-mage.
The Erapan Empire is a mountain empire, filled with raiders and barbarians. They are savage, and yet their ferocious nature has brought them to be among these five. They sent a cackling and positively crazy shaman by the name of Goghi.
The six of us meet, and we walk towards the site of the artifact. We walk through a valley. Dark clouds bring a dreary atmosphere to our journey. The valley is crooked, and ages-old. Rocks and cliffs scour through it. Walking at the front is the Umaga prince, Emilion, as if it was the only place fit for him. He looks at the surroundings, princely smile shining and majestic cape flowing behind, as he opens his mouth maybe merely to keep control.
“We should hurry up. The destination is merely two miles ahead. We can get there before the rain comes if we move fast enough, but that might be cruel to you old men, wouldn’t it?” He calls backwards.
“You may set any pace you like. In the end, I’m the one incapable of getting tired.” Korsel, the old robed Resavile magician, smiles wryly in replies. On the side, the hunched half-naked and war-painted figure of Goghi the Erapan shaman bends laughing madly at this, as if it was hilarious. On the side the young girl from Avalice, almost two heads shorter than the rest, mutters in an annoyed manner.
“… We’re all powerful magic-users. A barrier to repel rain is about the most basic things anyone can do, since it has public use. There is no need to hurry for that with us here…” Talking silently on the side, Illia obviously found the subject of conversation stupid.
In the middle of the group walks the beautiful maiden-witch of Yllarivia. Valerina. Out-of-place in a beautiful white dress. The most famous individual here, she has been the subject of many a legend. That serene face of hers… she appears calm.
We walk, avoiding small-talk. Suddenly, all of us stop. We sense something.
“Additional humans have entered the artifact zone.” Emilion stated what we all already knew. There were charms to prevent that, but if helped by someone on the inside…
“Someone needs to explain themselves.” Illia murmur, hand of the knight seeking her sword.
I slowly step backwards. While Emilion, Valerina and Korsel look around for intruders, Illia turns her head towards me. Her eyes wonder what I am doing. I sigh. The magical bindings on the four of them awake. They fall powerless to the ground, surprise in their faces. Except Valerina, she’s just calm. A mad laugh is heard.
“Te atriact belong to da Erapan Empire!” The mad, disgusting eyes of the half-naked shaman turn to me. “Good work, Judgie! Yo sha get grante yo own tribe and lead the world by ou side wi te Erapan Empire!” From the top of the valley, many warriors of the Erapan Empire came charging down, all as naked as the shaman. The four all-powerful magic-users lie powerless at my feet, shifting looks at me and away at the warriors. Once again, I sigh.
“You know, Goghi…” I calmly speak. The mad shaman stared at me, still with crazy smile, but seemed to have been tainted with doubt all of a sudden.
“This half-naked stuff isn’t for me. I’m sorry, but I’ll pass.”
I release the seals on the four individuals. It didn’t even take four seconds.
The power output during those four seconds would make any magic-user swoon. None of them had any intentions of being killed by the Erapan soldiers. The destruction... was total.
After a moment, we are once again standing. The valley has been reduced to a plain, the cliffs on the sides had been completely destroyed. The bodies of the warriors lie splattered all around.
“So, your plan was to kill us all with the help of Judge, and then nab the artifact and head home with it so you could destroy us all?” Emilion glance down on the shaman with pity in his eyes.
“Yepp. That was pretty much it.” I nod, and confirm.
“As prince of Umagaland, I hold the authority to vanquish you from this treaty for violating your position, which is all in my strength to do, but…” The shaman fumble in panic as the prince speak. “… I think the humiliation is punishment enough. Come, shaman of Erapan. Your plan has failed, so you may continue to do the duty you were supposed to do on this mission. It really is the only thing you can do to save your Empire after this.” The panic in the shaman was reduced to mere despair. Korsel smiled at Emilion’s handling of the situation. Illia looked disgusted at the destruction. Valerina had already begun walking again. The prince lifts Goghi with a spell while I bind him and we’re on the way.
Old man Korsel steps up beside the shaman. He smiles, slightly amused. “Did you really think our Judge here was that evil?” Goghi could reply with nothing but a stare of despair. “You poor you…” Korsel patted the shaman as if he was a little kid who had just acted cutely stupid.
There it was. The shrine containing the artifact. It looks old. The magical readings are off the charts. And yet…
The magical traps on the building were taken down easily be the combination of five powerful magic-users. Emilion smiles happily as he looked at the group. “We make an awesome team. I don’t think as much power has ever been gathered for a single purpose.”
“Maybe we can arrange something, after we’re all at peace?” Old man Korsel gently suggest. Emilion grins towards him.
“Yeah, we’ll be a famous group! The ‘Sealers of the Artifact’! Most powerful group of sorcerers ever to walk the Earth! Solving trouble and beating baddies wherever we go!” Both the prince and the old man laughs heartily together.
The little girl knight-mage turns and stared intently at them.
“Oy. I never agreed to be part of that. I have a job. You’ll also have a trouble dragging the maiden-witch of Yllarivia with you on your plan…”
“I don’t mind.” The calm voice of Valerina leaves us all silent.
“WHAT” Illia and Emilion says in unison, chocked.
“Looks like this is happening after all! How about you, Goghi?” The prince glance over to where the half-naked man was floating in midair. The shaman cannot respond, bound and in midair beside the prince.
“So, how about you, Judge?” Asks Korsel, smiling at me.
“Uh…” Knowing all of them are planning on betraying each other before this is over, I find myself in a rather weird situation here. “… Sure, I don’t mind. All I’ve been doing is travelling anyway. If you’d have me, I’ll join.”
“Great!” Emilion sounds thoroughly happy. “And with you too, Illia, we’ll be a complete team!” He pointed at the little knight-mage. He’s met with… a blush?
“G-gee!” Illia blushes, turns and walks determinedly towards the shrine. “Don’t get your hopes up! We still have to consult our kings or otherwise leaders about it!” She isn’t against it? And she had blushed when Emilion had pointed at her? Oh… so that’s how it is.
“For our future cooperation, then.” Korsel holds to shake hands with the prince.
“Yes. For our future companionship.” Emilion smiles and takes the hand.
Over there, the girl-mage suddenly froze, and then spins around with genuine fear in her eyes…
“EMILION! DON’T!” Too late. The stunned prince could do nothing against the dark power entering his hand from the old magician. Illia sends a magic missile, but it is beaten aside. By me. I wave my hand and deflected the magic missile. Goghi falls to his feet as I release the bindings. The prince turns towards the two female members of our group. Yes, this was a part. Korsel is a manipulator, and a possessor. Emilion was just possessed. Goghi became possessed when Korsel had patted him. I became possessed when he met with me before the mission.
“There, I have four magicians. I can now operate the artifact. Four of the most powerful magicians in existence on my side. I… win.” Korsel extends his hands, as if feeling the power. Valerina slowly turns around towards us as she sense danger behind her. Illia, realizing what was going on, stares in terror at the scene before her.
Illia takes a step forward, gripping a hand on the sheeted sword on her side.
“R-release Emilion! Release them all!” Korsel just smiles at her.
“No, I cannot do that.” His plan was really simple. Possess enough magicians, take artifact.
“I have no more use of you two. Judge, bind them.”
There was it. The reason why to possess me. Well, not like I can resist. I wave my hand and… eh.
“Nah. Don’t wanna.”
The old man… startled, turns his head towards me.
“What… did you say!? You are thoroughly under my control…”
“I am a master at binding. I have bound your magical energy within me. I can let myself follow your command whenever I want, but I can also take back command. As simple as that.”
The old man stares at me for a moment… then… he chuckles.
“Be that as it may. You are barely keeping yourself under check. You cannot use your sealing on me in that condition. You’ll simply stay there as I bash two powerful magicians with three before turning to you.”
“Oh? You can sense that? Bravo. Though… Not that it really matters. You were doomed to fail from the very start.”
The old man looks at me, slightly hesitant. “What do you…”
He never finished the sentence. An amazing power overflow the area.
Valerina is powerful. By far, the most powerful here. Old man Korsel stares stunned at the amount of magical energy. He attempts to shield himself with shields. No use. With a vain scream, he is engulfed in pure light as he is purged from existence.
The possessions release. I immediately bind Goghi again, and he falls with a comical yelp. Valerina is already walking towards the shrine, as if nothing had happened. Emilion, slightly surprised, smiles again.
“Shall we?” With that, the slightly startled group follows Valerina…
We enter the shrine. It is a huge room, with wooden walls and roof. In the middle of the room, a single big, golden chest awaits. The artifact. The one we were to take out of here and seal. Well. That would have been the plan.
A large barrier stops us from proceeding. Most of us. Emilion, me, Illia and Goghi all hit our heads against the barrier. Valerina walked straight through.
“Valerina! What is the meaning of this!?” Emilion shouts. The maiden-witch of Yllarivia throws a single glance backwards before she tells her purpose.
“The artifact is too dangerous to exist, even sealed. I am to destroy it.” The decision by the cautious Yllarivian majority, and the will of their representative.
“That is against the treaty!” Emilion exclaims. “Judge, bind her!”
Yes, this is against the treaty. I swing my arms, intending to bind her. But… what? The bindings… are not there. The powerful woman… has gotten rid of my binding seals? Woah. As should be expected by the proclaimed deity. She follows no rules at all.
“I’m sorry, Emilion.” I say quietly, releasing all binds. “I can do nothing against her. We can only watch as she destroys the artifact…”
“… Wat, wat?” Suddenly, something behind me made noise. “Yo planni to destroy te artiact? Na, tha yo may not!” A flare of magical energy shot off. It takes me completely by surprise, despite my promises not to underestimate the shaman. Did I release his binds too? “AH NEED THA ARTIACT TO SAVE MA PEOPLE!!”
The shaman breaks through Valerina’s barrier. Riding a dragon of magical energy, the shaman charges the maiden-witch. I couldn’t do anything to stop it. Valerina draws a gigantic sword of pure magic, spins around and slices through the shaman and his dragon, the giant energy-sword burning the shaman to oblivion as his last mad laughter resound through the room...
Valerina is standing there, her earlier calm and serene look roughed up a bit. Her hair is in disarray, and her dress torn. The magical contest between Goghi and her must have been a closer match than I thought. She stares straight at me.
“I will destroy the artifact, and I will destroy anyone who stands in my way. Judge, bind the othe-”
… Well. How do I say this? I kind of knew what would happen.
There was a flash of movement.
There was the sound of flesh being pierced. A woman’s yelp of surprise and despair.
A small human was behind Valerina, and a sword was sticking out of the maiden-witch’s torso. It was well aimed, straight through the heart. Blood was dripping all over the floor. Valerina’s eyes were wide with pain and surprise. Illia had pierced Valerina. It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But, I knew it would happen. After all… I heard all their plans. The honorable kingdom of Avalice… reduced to backstabbing. I did know about the bad state of the country, but for them to go this far…
“… How..?” Valerina’s weak voice asks.
“Cape of the Unsought. Your magic-senses couldn’t see me.”
“Sword of Avalice.” … Sword named after the nation. No, wait… “… Sword that neutralizes all magic in the individual or item it pierces.” … The nation was named after the sword. They really gave her everything for this trip, didn’t they..?
“… Oh...” It was clearly audible that the voice was on its last breaths. “… I… lost, didn’t I? I… died…”
“Yes… you did.” With that, Illia shrugs the woman off her sword. The mighty maiden-witch falls dead to the floor. Emilion, who had been completely unable to act lately, stares in chock. Illia looks towards me.
“Thank you, Judge, for your cooperation. I will now proceed with the plan to use the Ring of Cravings to absorb the magical energy of the artifact, so I can bring it home and be used as a power-source to restore Avalice from the brink of destruction.” … That’s her plan
“That’s… an awesome alternative!”
“Eh..?” A surprised Illia is approached by Emilion, who has a gleaming smile and excitement alight in his expression.
“What an idea! Artifact of doom as a power-source! It is brilliant! I thought it was weird when a pretty girl represented Avalice, but your determination makes everything make sense! You’re great!” Illia blushes at having herself be praised. Shyness arose within the girl.
“N-no… it is nothing… I’m just… following orders…”
The prince takes a grip on her armored shoulders. Illia is slightly startled. The prince now meets her eyes with a serious expression.
“Say. Would you like to have dinner with me sometime? I can arrange something. I am a prince, after all.” Emilion appears serious. Illia reddens considerably, her innocence emerging. As I if she had not just killed someone. After fumbling with words for a few moments, she manages…
“It… it would be improper to refuse such an… invitation… from someone as yourself…” Aw. You cute girl, you.
“Great! You’re the best~” Emilion says so and bends forward, kissing the reddened girl straight on the lips. He sure proceeds fast. The little girl’s eyes widen in surprise, and her mind goes blank. I look on as the young girl’s probably first kiss takes place. After having tensed up a bit, the young girl seemingly gives herself up to the kiss as her muscles loosen up and she closes her eyes…
… Little did she know Prince Charming here is married.
Next moment, she is gone. Emilion brushes the kiss from his lips. There is no sign that Illia was ever there.
“Teleported her, huh?” I state.
“Yes. She had no place here after this, after all.” Emilion smiles at me. The prince here is a capable teleporter. Illia could not predict this. Resisting the urge to ask where he teleported her, the two of us now walk to the golden chest in the middle of the room. With a smile, Emilion runs his hand along the surface of the artifact. He has a look of victory.
“The plan proceeds?” I ask, smiling at the victor. “You take the artifact back to Umagaland, where you will create world-peace by threatening to blast any war-monger to pieces and take responsibility not to abuse the ultimate power in your hands?”
“That’s the less noble version of it.” Emilion grins at me. “I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you. I’d have had a lot of trouble with Valerina had I not known Illia would kill her.” I smile at him.
“Oh, you shouldn’t thank me yet. Do you know why the artifact is an empty chest?” I open the chest with a heave. The golden chest is indeed empty. Emilion, not understanding, still smiles as he looks between the chest and me.
“We CAN activate it by using the combined powers of four magic-users. However, it can also be done by two. By sacrificing one inside the chest to die to power it.” Before Emilion have had any time to consider what I said, he falls into the chest, bound by my seals. I close the chest as the princeling has an expression of despair within it, he understood perfectly how played he is. I grin to myself. The reason I’m a travelling magic-user is because I was thrown out of my old country. Now, it is time for some revenge.
I power up the artifact. I feel how Emilion’s life is drained within the chest. I’ve won. The power of the chest radiates through the room as I take command of the powers…
… What is this? Oh, it appears there’s a spell on the chest in case someone tried to use it before he got home, as a final precaution. He didn’t even tell me about it. Emilion, you sonova…
A loud magical explosion destroys the chest as well as the shrine and ends my life in a flashy display of fire and light, not seen by anyone.
I started writing a thoroughly over-ambitious project creating a grand and developed world, several characters that all had their own story and reason for going on the adventure and they were ALL going to betray one another. I wrote WAY too much. Way too much. I was up in 16 000+ words something. Somewhere around there I went like “Why am I still writing?” and stripped the story of most its substance, changing to a shorter ending, cutting away almost all the descriptive sentences and ended up with roughly the same story, but stripped to bare bones and almost appearing like a Free Roleplay thing, just very long.
And apparently some people loved it, as I got a shocking amount of votes and won with it. Huh. I didn’t expect that. Myself, I thought others would definitely triumph over me. I received the negative critique I expected, and yet I still won. I am so confused. Ah, well. I guess I am not complaining. Complaining would be offensive over those I won over. So, I accept the victory without hesitation. … OK, quite a bit of hesitation to begin with, but I accepted nonetheless. That’s what counts, right?
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WOTM #16 – Travel Log
Poet’s Log, 1769, 13th of July.
Today, crossing the Atlantic, is a normal ship
The Erichtho sails, proud to cross the sea
The ship’s cargo holds slaves in an iron grip
People who will never again be free
Sailors are working with the threat of a whip
Pain, immoral and suffering to a vile degree
I was somewhy requested to join this trip
By the captain with a grin full of glee
This is an atmosphere I’d heartily skip
Why, oh, why, do you need a man like me?
Poet’s Log, 1769, 17th of July.
This trip was to take us two months initially
I joined for the trip will help me beneficially
I’m paid well, and a trip to America I can use
But why am I needed on this cruise?
The captain chuckled, scorn in his only eye
As he asks “What are you trying to imply?”
Wordless, I stepped down from there
And crept back to my corner of woe
Resisting that big man is more than I dare
Trying to sleep with the screams from below
Poet’s Log, 1769, 24th of July.
Some of the men have started to suspect
The captain isn’t who he might seem
When the captain’s security he did neglect
Some men tried to reveal his scheme
His personal log they went to inspect
They must have found something, I deem
They were never given a chance to reflect
Before we knew it, we heard the men scream
They had become a threat to a project
The captain strode out, his mad grin agleam
Poet’s Log, 1769, 27th of July.
We have deviated from our intended course
We will not reach destination nor source
Neither mutiny nor treachery succeeds
The captain secured the ship for his needs
As expected of a ship named after a witch
Never once hesitating when loyalties switch
After that, the crew split dramatically in two
The civilian sailors and the captain’s guys
For the captain, they were easy to subdue
And the sailor he couldn’t employ dies
Poet’s Log, 1769, 28th of July.
From the rules mentioned, I wasn’t included
I didn’t have to swear loyalty to be left alive
From the rest of the crew, I’m now secluded
I’m told to record everything when we arrive
However, the captain has successfully alluded
A historical record of what he did contrive
He desires a such, that much I’ve concluded
That’s not so bad, if it requires me to thrive
This purpose I could never have eluded
I’ll do anything for myself to survive
Poet’s Log, 1769, 1st of August.
The ship sails along in complete silence
The captain is grinning at his crew’s expense
We’re not sailing west, we’re sailing south
I’m a captive, but food is given to my mouth
I’m treated well, but the reason why?
I finally muster the courage, ready to die…
The captain says “You will know your fate”
“Record for the world what will occur”
“When I release you, tell the story to the state”
He never did say what genre he’d prefer.
Poet’s Log, 1769, 5th of August.
To a vile gauntlet of a reef, he did us lead
The slaves were led onto deck by our crew
It was there, they did now commit the deed
Threw them all to their deaths in the blue
From the depths, a monster came to feed
A horrendous squid-demon came into view
The captain stepped forward, full of greed
Said “grant me immortality, for I released you”
From the mortal coil he was finally freed
For the monster stabbed him through
Panic filled us, as the squid did its kill
Nowhere to flee, was our deaths its will?
Turn the ship around, hoist the sail
The squid was too close, it was to no avail
… That, at least, would have been the case.
But the demon never did give chase.
It merely watched us as we departed
The beast decided not to pursue
It slowly dove into depths uncharted
Awaiting a time which to arise anew
Poet’s Log, 1769, 13th of August.
Coordinates confirmed, we are on track
We are back on our way to our destination
We were shaken by the squid-attack
But lack of leader served for unification
I’m asked to tell his story when I got back
I’ll do so, with my own little adaptation
The cargo we were to deliver we now lack
We land elsewhere to avoid complication
The, being criminals, I’ll part from the pack
Head to a city and use the story for publication
Poet’s Log, 1769, 9th of September.
Our landing-platform we’re about to reach
A completely empty and abandoned beach
On this journey of much death that’ll now end
I’ve strangely made more than one friend
They’ll never cause death again, they say
Off on the country leads their decided way
I’ll head as determined to the city
Where I’ll let my career soar to the sky
I’ve been told to go find someone pretty
I will. Well, now it is time to say good-bye
I am just showing off my rhyming skill. Just because I felt like it. Oh, and it felt like a slightly unique way of doing a ship’s log. Thoooouuuuugh… Well. It didn’t win. I hardly had any other idea that worked any better, so I am entirely fine with this. It can stay here in my collection, not being any specifically noteworthy at all…
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AOTM #17 – Guild Newsletter Banner
The AOTM was complaining that they had too few entries. And since it was such a momentous occasion I thought I could as well step-up. Though, the only program I had available to paint in was, uh, Paint. So I did this. I had plenty of experience making sprites for smaller game-projects at home, so it was not a skill foreign to me. So, yes. This was the result. And I am rather proud of it. Despite not getting any votes, I was praised for my Paint ability. That got to be the most useful ability ever known, right?
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WOTM #17 – Fire
“… Woah…” Firascel was sent scrambling across the room away from his master. He had stood no chance. Knocking his head against the wall, the apprentice tumbled down from the wall and slumped down on the floor. Twitching in pain, he slowly opened his eyes and looked up at where his master, Sir Domell, was standing. It was in the midst of the training hall, red walls and giant windows spilling light down on the majestic floor. In the midst of the room, the bearded and robed master in red garments and grey hair stared down on his pupil in unveiled disappointment. Behind him, the grand figure of a burning dragon was apparent, staring down at Firascel with the same expression as his creator.
“Your flame has weakened, child.” Domell said in a judgmental tone, almost exactly as Firascel had imagined in his head while heading to this hall knowing what would happen. “There is little passion to be found in your attacks. You are no longer the child I picked up to teach. You have lost your will, and with it your passion and flame. Before coming to see me again I require you to have once again found your passion, and with that reinforced your beliefs so they will never fall again.” The old master threw his cape over his shoulder and turned away from Firascel and headed back into the palace. The great dragon of fire withered and was extinguished as he walked away. The battered youth who’d been smashed aside in the little spar sat up with a pained expression.
“… Man…” Passion is everything here, isn’t it..? Thinking such, the youth stared wearily at the brilliantly red roof, slumped against the wall…
“By following your dreams with determination, ambition and desire, a passion can be created. Using that passion, a flame can be created in the image of your inner self, and you will have the power to strive for what you want with the flame of your passion.” So every child in Iradra is told by their teachers. This basically means that the more passionate/ambitious you are the more powerful the flame you hold will be. The size of your passion is everything in this world. Those with the greatest dreams will be destined to achieve them. By the power of their flames. And those who lack flames… they fall.
Flames are used for everything in this life. To power machines, to show ID and, most importantly, to solve all kinds of problems. Like who’s in charge of who. Or who’s the stronger fighter. Those with powerful flames are more likely to be employed, not much else matters. The slums are filled with people who have given up; they could leave the moment they find their passion. Those with larger ambitions and passions are valued higher, and those with smaller are treated like scum. And you cannot hide, because your passions can all be measured in the size of your flame. And your flame is used in all from identifications to battling it out. So if you’re not passionate… you’re done for.
… Which can be quite troublesome for people like this young boy, Firascel Brann. The moderately built youth of nineteen years lay on top of his bed. Passion is something that can only be wielded as long as you believe in what you’re passionate about. Whirling about his fingers through his black hair as he stared up into the roof with a dazed look in his eyes, he looked quite broken. His maid came walking into his damp room and started picking up the clothes he had thrown on the floor.
“Master Brann, you should pull yourself together. If you’ve lost your passion, you need to renew it. If this goes on, you’ll lose your noble status…” At that, Firascel gave the older maid a dangerous glare. He already knew that. She recoiled slightly, knowing what that meant. After picking up the clothes and throwing a sheep-shaped flame into the fireplace to keep it alight since her master had neglected it, the maid departed from the room. She gave Firascel a worried look as she left. The boy sighed. How was he to solve this? He had only very recently achieved this position. Was he going to lose it so soon? People would come to notice quickly, and then…
“If I may…” The maid stuck her head into the room. Firascel drowsily turned his head to look at her. “If you revisit the source of the passion that took you this far, you may be reminded of what drove you on.” She left as quickly as she had come back. The young man chuckled a bit. He had come from a low station, but the size of one’s flame is the only thing deciding your position in life here. Revisit what caused this flame..? He recalled the intense passion he had once felt.
“Ah, might as well.” Touched with a small smile, Firascel stood up slowly…
“What, you? I heard you lost your passion.” A wicked little smile crossed the face that would otherwise have been rather pretty. “So, you come to me to restore this?” An almost cruel-sounding laugh left her mouth. “Hoh-hoh-hoh… You’re really petty, aren’t you?” She appears to be having a really happy time at this. Yeah… this is her. With that flaming red hair… royal golden garments… and the name Scarletta. She bought her right hand to her lips, and she’s gazing at Firascel the way she might watch a rabbit jumping into the trap she set. This terrifying individual… is the source of that passion he had.
This girl. She rose from a small girl born in the slums of the capital to be the adopted crown-princess and one of the most famous individuals in the world. Her inspiring speeches with which she won the hearts of the people. Her powerful display in combat with which she swept away the precious crown-prince. Her beautiful giant flaming hawk, blazing amazingly in all its great glory. … He should have realized when her flame took the shape of a hawk, Firascel thought. She preys on the weak. The size of her passion is the size of her greed. There is nothing likable about her when you get to know her, but he hadn’t known that when he had made her his life’s goal.
… That’s right. In his ignorance, Firascel had decided to hunt for the girl on top of the world. Large ambitions… That’s what they wanted, wasn’t it? And with it, his flame had gone strong. His friends and family had begun to fear him because of his flame. With the image of the beautiful Scarletta in his mind, he had outdone teachers and challengers, left all his friends and family behind and ultimately risen to the rank of noble and gotten to meet his role-model… only to be faced with this.
“Hm? What, I am talking personally with you, and you don’t even answer? What an ungrateful boy.” With a superior expression she looked at Firascel with pity in her eyes. She was absorbed with her own superiority. “I have no time to spare on those who do not understand the honor of being allowed to see me personally. Please, leave. You’re rather repulsive in your pathetic state.” Firascel didn’t say a word to the obnoxious young girl as he turned around and left. The guards outside gave him jealous and annoyed glares. Probably partly because he was allowed to see her, partly because he didn’t do anything with it in their places. Why would he do anything to that? The only thing comparable with the greed and self-absorption of that female would be her own flame; which is dependent on the former.
Firascel became vaguely aware of some people following him. It would appear news of his loss had been heard. Passion can be lost quickly, only a single stroke against your ego can be enough for your fall from glory in this place. And there are many who would prey on those who suffered such a loss. A suddenly disappearing noble would mean an open post. Scarletta must have been entirely aware that it was quite likely the last time she saw him. She didn’t lift a finger to aid him. Not an inch of kindness. Firascel grinded his teeth. What blissful ignorance he had been in when that flame had guided him where he now has found himself. But if for a moment, he can fuel on his own selfish passion to survive…
… Burnt. Their smoking corpses were left behind. Their ambitions were too vague, and they lacked solid plans for the future. They were no match for someone used to making use of his flame for his own desires. When having lost his own main passion, Firascel was able to manipulate his desire to survive well enough to overwhelm their petty desires for glory. Don’t underestimate a noble. Passion isn’t everything; there is the skill to manipulate passion. All through Sir Domell’s teachings. Though, even if the maids currently were washing away the remnants of the last battle, Firascel needed to hurry. In that battle his weakened powers were apparent. Soon, some more powerful people around him would figure they could beat him, and he needed to regain his passion before then. He’d already been dead, hadn’t Sir Domell taught him how to summon his passion in times of need. Speaking of him…
Firascel knocked twice on the door. The door opened, the locking contraption recognizing its master’s flames. The door swung open.
“… What have you come here for? I told you to return only when you have found your passion and reinforced your beliefs.” The old man stared down at his apprentice.
“… Yeah.” Firascel said awkwardly. “I’d like to ask for your wise counseling for this, sir.” No matter how strong, anyone below the age of forty felt like a young rascal before master Domell. The old man stroked his grey beard while inspecting his apprentice.
“Alright, then. I can hardly deny you aid when I am supposed to be your teacher, now can I?” Firascel smiled slightly. The old man brought forth a cigarette which he had apparently hidden behind his back when someone had knocked on his door and he lit it with his flame as he sat down in a couch in the room. The apprentice stepped in, closed the door and sat down on a chair beside the couch. The dank feeling was probably the result of excess smoking indoors. Ignoring that, Firascel faced his master.
“I need you to tell me everything, boy.” The old man said calmly, breezing slowly with the cigarette half-way in his mouth. “Everything. What drove your passion, and what drove your passion away. All of it.” The solid gaze was put on Firascel. Taking a deep breath, trying not to cough at the smoke that polluted the air in there, he told his master.
“Hm. That is one troublesome girl, I’ll give you that.” With closed eyes and leaned back in his couch, Domell agreed silently with Firascel’s opinion. A smile was growing on the boy’s face. See? Just speak to the grown-ups. Everything can be solved from there. He had done the right thing to come talk to his teacher about this, he was thinking…
“Unfortunately, I cannot help you.”
“Wha…” Firascel’s eyes widened in chock and was about to stand up and complain, but before that a cigarette had been thrust in between his eyes. “… a… awAAOW!!” He stumbled back into the chair, helplessly fumbling. He was faced with Domell pointing a sharp finger directly at him.
“You care too little about the country to go take my path. You are as selfish as Scarletta, all you do must gain for yourself. Typical noble-child. For that end, you’d use my kindness. My passion is driven by my will to protect this country. That… is a passion I cannot teach you. It is better you find your passion for yourself. If you cannot… then you will die.” Firascel’s eyes were fixed on the finger pointed in between his eyes. The words had hit home. Was he… really as bad as Scarletta? That’s true, this was a world that practically encouraged everyone to think only for themselves, but even so..!
His mind slowing down, Firascel realized he had never done an act of kindness, never helped anyone in need. He had only cared for his own advancements, his own best. Even with all those people helping him on his way. He had merely used them. This… he was as bad as Scarletta.
“If you understand, then I suggest you leave.” The old man turned sat down again. Firascel shakily stood up, and wandered hazily towards the door.
“Don’t worry, there will soon be an ample time for you to show your passion.” The words took Firascel somewhat off-guard. After a quick look at his old master…
“… Thank you, master.”
Domell coughed loudly at the cigarette he was smoking. After a few moments of coughing, he waved his hand and… “Yes, yes, now just go already! Can’t an old man have some private time! Just go!” But even when saying that, the kindness behind the words was still apparent. Firascel smiled, as he opened the door and stepped out…
The old man was right. The moment came soon enough.
Wars were uncommon on these lands. Most battles were fought one-on-one in an eternal free-for-all. But a day, not soon after that discussion, an attack took place against the Iradra palace. Having collected soldiers from across the country, an army appeared and attacked Iradra palace. The battle was waging, beasts of flame competing in strength. Sir Domell himself was present, wreaking havoc with his grand dragon driven by the passion to protect the country. But above, in the palace, an entirely different battle was being fought…
The crown-prince who had been removed from his post by Scarletta. Fuergo. His serpent-flame coiling around his blade, Fuergo blasted through walls and guards alike with an unprecedented power through the sword of serpent-fire that he now commanded. Blasts of flaming energy from the sword tore through the entire palace. He wasn’t this strong last time. A new passion was driving him. By the anger in his face, this passion wasn’t hard to guess.
Scarletta was waiting for him in the throne-room, where she was sitting haughtily on the chair that used to be his. Her giant hawk was hovering in the giant room, throwing a glowing light all across the room. Fuergo, covered in black armor and handsome blonde features, gave her a glare of pure hatred that was less handsome.
“That throne is mine.”
“Is it? I took it from you, fair and square. If you dislike that so much, why don’t you take it back with that tiny snake of yours?” A confident smile was placed on Scarletta’s lips. Indeed. Latched onto Fuergo’s blade, the flaming snake looked really tiny. But the former prince gave that confident smile right back.
“Oh, you will find out just how big my snake can be soon enough…” A confident glare came from the vengeful prince. Scarletta found herself raising an eyebrow as she realized the hidden agenda of Fuergo through that twisted retort. Feeling less secure, Scarletta stood up.
“Standard Iradra rules.” Scarletta called out, no longer smiling. “Winner takes it all.”
“Agreed.” With a twisted smile on his otherwise handsome features, Fuergo raised his sword, along with the flaming snake on it. Scarletta twitched at the prospect of what losing would mean, and summoned the passion that had driven her to this position. She didn’t want to leave. She didn’t want to lose. She didn’t want to become his. Flaming power enveloped the giant hawk overhead. It gave a loud shriek as it dove towards the target. Fuergo swung his sword and the snake bounced to meet the hawk…
The burning snake instantly grew to an immensely improbable size and ate the hawk, flaming feathers and all. Scarletta stared stunned at what had occurred. His passion… it was improbable. How could his passion be greater than hers..? What did he want so much..? A single glance at the twisted glare of joy he gave directly at her answered it all. Fuergo no longer desired her by normal standards. This man had gone insane on his desire to lay claim to the one who had stolen his throne. Scarletta recoiled on this realization, and fell back into the throne out of fear. This was… the feeling of defeat? No… this was… much worse…
Fuergo paced towards her, humongous snake staring down behind him, as he walked towards Scarletta.
“And now… you shall be mi-”
“Oh, no, she won’t.”
Fuergo stopped suddenly. A single, young little boy, roughly twenty, black hair, nothing special, had suddenly appeared beside Scarletta. But that expression of determination… Fuergo had to wonder.
“… Fi… Firascel!?” Scarletta suddenly cried out. “Get back! This man is much too dangerous!” Scarletta telling him to save himself? Firascel almost burst out laughing.
“No can do, princess. This man is threatening our land and you. He needs to be eliminated.” The boy said calmly. The lesson from the old man had certainly helped.
“Wha… HA!” That last noise was the noise of Scarletta once again deciding to ridicule him. “You, defeat him!? Impossible! All you ever desired was for things to go your way. For everything to work like you wanted it. Well, GUESS WHAT!? It didn’t! And the moment you found that out, you lost spirit! I’m not that kind ideal woman you pictured in your imagination…” … Of course she had checked what all her nobles used for their passion. Firascel smiled to himself.
“… I know.”
“Wha... GOOD! Then you realize it is impossible…”
“That’s why I changed my passion.” He said calmly. Scarletta’s expression changed. She looked at him with… eyes wondering if he was stupid, but also slight curiosity.
“I changed my passion. I am aware I am incapable of putting passion in anything but myself…” Firascel sighed. “… But I have realized the error in my ways.” He turned and looked directly into Scarletta’s eyes, who now wondered what was up with him.
“I should never have sought just to meet you. I should have sought to lay claim to you. Steal you. To burn my way into the inner regions of your heart and steal your love. And I will start…” Firascel spun around, striking a pose towards Feurgo and leaving a stunned and slightly blushing Scarletta behind.
“… BY SAVING YOUR GOD FLAMED LIFE!”
A rumor says that, if a passionate soul holds back their passion unwillingly by some reason and then regains their reasoning, the held-back passion will come back in force.
A large pillar of flame arose, summoning a gigantic swan, extending its magnificent wings and taking aim for the equally humongous snake. Grunting, Feurgo swung his blade. This bird would be no different from the last. The swan struck forward with its beak, Firascel staring ahead with a determined glare. Right back, the snake launched itself teeth-first at the swan, Feurgo pointing his blade forward. The two flaming creatures intersected…
A short while later, there was no longer a roof on the palace. It had been blown away, as two awesome forces had matched each other for superiority. Both waging for the same woman. However, in the end, only one remained standing.
Half the room was blown away. But in one end of the burned room, Firascel still stood, breathing heavily. Scarletta, her clothes also burned, stood up shakily beside him.
“… What kind of stupid passion is that?” She honestly asked, as If mocking him.
“One that shall forever burn within my heart.” Firascel flatly declared.
“That sounds even more stupid! Idiot!” Scarletta stomped on the ground as she turned to face him, annoyed and blushing.
“Your face…” Firascel approached the princess and gently touched her chin with his partly burned hand. She blushed slightly more, and wondered what he was doing. “It looks even cuter when you’re blushing.”
Scarletta went scarlet. “Wh-what are you saying!? You idiot!”
“Aha, it looks like I already got you.”
“O-of course you haven’t! How could you have… wh-what are you doing?”
“Kissing you, of course.”
H-hold on, what are the flames for?”
“… FIIIII… RAAAA... SCEEEEEEEEL…!!!”
… And with that, one was chased out of the room by the other and the two would eventually continue their lives together. On the outside of the ruined palace, an old man was watching them, a cigarette in his mouth. He wearily took it out of his mouth, and looked inside with a satisfied expression.
“Ho-ho. The future bodes better than it ever has for this world.”
Domell stood up straight, and started slowly walking back to his room.
Ah, yes… Fire. This was another entry I poured my heart and soul into. I really thought it could win. For the first time since I started this competition, an entry I thought had the ability to contend was thoroughly shot-down and stomped upon, the critics were not impressed. At all. If we only went by the critique, one could have thought this was the worst thing I ever wrote. Someone commented it was as if I had scribbled and then sent in the scribble because I thought it was fine. I… panicked slightly.
This remains one of the text which I hold closest to my heart, right behind the one for Inside the Mind. I raised quite a bit of drama because of the failure of my fire. I thought it would be the best thing since sliced bread. Apparently wasn’t. I still think this is an excellent story, and I know I am not entirely alone although I might be the only one who thinks it is exactly THAT great. In any case. If you have read it you can make your own opinion on it, right?
Also, I need to confess. The character Scarletta had her name mixed up with “Scarlette” several times during the original contribution. That was a mistake of mine I cannot believe I missed after having read it though so many times and even had my friends read it and they didn’t notice. I have corrected the error for this gallery, merely… because. But I feel guilty enough about it that I have to tell you about it here. So now I have.
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WOTM #18 – Mythology
‘Do you believe in greater powers? I mean like the powers wielded by gods, magicians and other mystical things?’
‘What? Do you think I've become all religious now all of a sudden? Of course I don’t believe in something so unscientific! I will believe in gods the moment I see one!’ The worker laughs a heartily laugh as he turns around and keep on working. I stand watching him, letting him walk away to continue his blissful atheistic life. I blink warily as I see him turn his back towards me. I wonder… how would he have reacted had he found out that he had claimed that while looking at one?
I walk by a corner. I stare up at the tall buildings that make up the city. Grey pillars riddled with windows that the people of today call skyscrapers. Really. Those things are literally scrapping the sky when compared to the buildings of the days of old. It was rare to see so tall buildings once. Now they are all over the place. Humans develop so fast. I can see why old man Odin lost interest in this place. It isn’t quite the site where conflict as usual takes place, huh? There is only an ever-present state in which hundreds of humans continue to struggle for their own survival by their own peaceful means. Want to know one of the most difficult things to do as a god? Struggle with the fact your memory is no better than a humans. For every language you need to learn it by heart. That’s one of the contributing reasons why mythologies became varied. Different gods settled to learning different languages to spread their influence. It isn’t accurate to say that we’re really gods. More like… magicians. Yeah. Magicians. That’s why there are tales of gods dying. It is simply often the case that it is very difficult to kill a god. Often it needs a weapon made by a god or another of their kind to kill a god. That’s why most stay around.
… But then there are those who get bored. Undying lives are often very boring. That’s why conflict has occurred so often during the ages. Gods enjoy conflict. To put it into ample terms, they get a kick from the prospects of life and death, despite it not being their own deaths. Often, gods would create large monsters and terrors to threaten humanity, and then empower heroes to defeat these monsters. Tales like that made gods very fuzzy inside. However, there were always the rules. The laws of the Divine Council, the council of gods. Do not openly interfere with the developments of humans. You can claim to do so, but in the end you’re not allowed to. That’s why Prometheus had to be punished by a raven picking out his liver every morning. He had given fire to the humans, despite them not being ready for it. Look at what that has led to, now.
I walk onto a bus. I could as well have cheated with getting home, but I might as well do this the human way when I’m supposed to live like one. A certain line from a song containing a god being a stranger on the bus involuntarily crosses my mind. Well. That’d be the wrong god. But it was interesting, nonetheless. Seeing all those normal people just continuing with their lives… wonder how they’d react if they knew what I really was? You might be able to tell, I’m plagued by those thoughts constantly. Ah, how long am I going to be bothered by this? At this rate, I might as well start a new era for myself. But I’m not allowed to show myself. That would interfere too greatly, apparently. This hasn’t avoided countless mythologies from springing up at a multitude of places. Maybe it is time to start another one?
I walk off the bus. But… I’ve already decided. This world… is boring. Many of the old gods had left since they got bored of dealing with regular humans. Conquest was never the same since a while back. People stopped fighting for us and started fighting for themselves. If I don’t spice it up, soon, I might just leave myself. Me, who was once one of the most powerful gods in the world, leave this planet of humans like a coward? … It was not as unimaginable as it once had been. I could have cringed at this realization, but I did not. I was never proven to be the most honorable man ever, after all. But… something needs to be done.
I suddenly find myself standing on top of a skyscraper. Not quite suddenly, I decided to find myself here. I decided I was going to spice things up a bit. I stand there, on the border of oblivion looking down on the streets of the city. Cars ride by with strange colors and humans walk by like ants of some kind. There is nothing I can do to prevent looking down on them, both metaphorically and literally. So sad, every one of them has such a small existence. Except, that is all they know. None of them could ever imagine an existence as mine except in their mythological stories. That’s fine, I guess.
I raise my hand. I control the electrical charges in the air, pulling positrons in the air to make the electrons follow in great speeds, forming a great circuit of electricity in mid-air shooting sparks in all directions, if but on a controlled scale. I clasp my hands around my thunderbolt, and assume the shape most people recognize me in. A white toga wrapped around me nicely, showing off my muscled chest, while with a thunderbolt in my hand. I feel the electricity smolder the outer regions of my impressive facial hair before I get it under control. Hm, plan? I don’t really have a plan. I just intend on creating a bit of a ruckus, see what happens afterwards. Now I just need to practice some of my powers to grow and raise my voice…
‘Zeus,’ a voice that isn’t mine suddenly says. ‘I must ask you to reconsider.’ I slowly turn around, slightly amused that I would heat that voice again after so long. I am also somewhat amused that I was stopped by someone, someone feeling the urge to pull their hand. Such a movement had not been seen in forever. This was likely the first conversation between gods in years. There, behind me, stands none other than the king of Æsir. An old man in appearance, he stands there is a wanderers robe with long white beard and leaning on his staff… except the staff is a spear. His left eye is missing, leaving only an empty socket in its place. He looks at me with a stern expression.
‘… Ah, Odin.’ I say, my amusement leaking out. ‘I don’t believe we’ve seen each other since the last meeting of the Divine Council! How long ago was that? How’ve you been? And why exactly am I to reconsider what I was about to do?’ My happy tone might have been unsuitable for the situation. The old man stares at me, his wise and only eye seemingly piercing me through. But I wasn’t the ruler of Olympus once for nothing. I meet him with a leveled stare, showing that I am not intending on backing down like nothing. My whims might not be my best quality, but I sure will stand for them. Odin does not appear amused by my newest whim.
‘If you show yourself like this, it will break the rules of human influence and our laws will tread into effect.’ He was talking about our laws. So I didn’t break those when I influenced them enough to have my pantheons’ temples spread across the world that was?
‘If you take your place here, it will open the gates for hundreds of other gods to do the same. The clashes between the states formed beneath the individual gods will be extreme. You cannot expect the Divine Council to be able to control such a reaction when one of its members goes ballistic like this. It is only by our rules that this land has kept itself stable when the human realm grew so large. Should you break this fragile peace, a War of the Gods will occur that will undoubtedly last until each human and god has killed one another. That would all occur because you broke the laws. Is that what you want? Do you intend to create your own personal Ragnarök?’ Odin’s old man-stare tried telling me he was the smarter person among us. I almost laugh.
‘What, a god of war telling me to remain at peace? That’s funny.’ Though, he did have a point. If I did this, I would trigger a great war between gods that couldn’t end well for me. I’d have too many other pantheons suddenly sided against me. And I’d have almost the entire Divine Council at my throat. Though. ‘Hm… going out in a great dispute between all of the gods… that doesn’t sound so bad.’ I smile lightly at the old man. ‘I don’t have influence on this world any more, Odin. That is all in the past. I have nothing more to do but huddle about and attend the meetings of the Divine Council. Doesn’t the gods approve of dramatic tales of hardships and war? Wouldn’t this be exactly what they wanted?’
Odin gives me a disapproving stare. He then sighs, as if he was dealing with a young child. Maybe he was. Despite that I might be older than him. It is hard to tell when comparing gods. ‘I never could reason with you, Zeus. But I do not believe a god as mighty as you should fall so low. But you should know… you’d rid yourself of all the small pleasures in life. Also, get rid of that thunderbolt. You’re scaring the lady over there.’
His words surprise me a bit. When I look over, indeed, there is a lady over there, leaning against the wall in fright. She has a splendid frame, long brown hair over her pale skin and she’s wearing what appears to be a grey women’s suit. In all likelihood she is working in the building we are standing on and came up here on a break. Now she is gasping in chock at the sight of the two gods standing talking to one another on top of the building. I can’t help but smile. This was exactly the kinds of coincidences that had created the original mythologies the humans knew of today. I look back at Odin, smile still in place.
‘Why should I? She already has seen enough to retain a memory for life. You can’t claim you’ve never let anyone know of your true self!’ I beam towards him, now honestly feeling like I was having a good time. It was very long since I felt anything was at stake, and like what was going on at the moment was going to influence the future. It had been a long time since I felt that rash of excitement. What was going to happen? Ahhh… I’m such a fool for drama. Yes, me too. Odin as well. If he claims something else, he’s lying.
‘You childish man. This explains why you got yourself so many children with women that were not your wife. You cannot contain yourself when you get a whim to do something.’ Ouch, old man. That hurts. Keep to your own private matters. Are you going to claim that you were COMPLETELY loyal to Frigg as well?
‘… But I will leave you to decide for yourself.’ The old man turned around, and from seemingly nowhere his eight-legged horse Sleipnir stepped in, prancing lightly in his own way to his master’s side. Odin pushed himself up easily onto the large horse’s back, and gave me a friendly glance. ‘I leave the decision in your hands. As a leader of gods, I bid you to be competent enough to understand the consequences of what you are doing. Should you chose to fight I will prepare Valhalla and my Valkyries to welcome many a proud new Einherjar. In any case, I bid you good luck.’ He gently turned his odd grey horse around to leave…
‘Also, Lugh is going to host a party soon, if you’re interested. It appears you’re bored, so you might take the time to drop in to take a look-see. You have not been attending parties like those ever since Greek mythology fell in popularity. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself with how fun they can be? You need to socialize with other gods more, Zeus. Hera, Athena and the rest of them are worried, too. You need to get a grip of yourself and come back to the reality that you are not the dominating topic of Earth anymore. Be proud of what you’ve achieved, it is far more than what other gods have been able to. You should join in. It would be a wonderful surprise if you did.’ And with that, the old man gave a quick little motion to Sleipnir and they were off, so quickly that no human could have followed their movement. Left there is me, and the lady.
I exhale a healthy amount of air. Good move, old man. I feel temporarily satisfied. I don’t feel the need to create a distortion in the rules of the Divine Council or create a great War of the Gods, because he somehow satisfied my need for a thrill. Was this childish of me? Perhaps. Though, I would bet something similar would happen to any one of these humans would they stay locked away for nineteen hundred years. That is for now, in any case. I don’t feel any real need to cause the destruction of the world as we know it anymore. Maybe I should attend that party Lugh is hosting. He was always one who’d love a good party, that Irish god. Ah, maybe.
I now turn my attention to the lady over there. She’s understandably hesitant in making any advances or attempts to escape. It isn’t every day that you suddenly happen to run into a conversation between the two leading gods of two major pantheons on the top of the building you happen to work in. Did someone perhaps lead her there? Maybe Aphrodite or… no, there is no need to think any further on that matter. I let the bolt of lightning harmlessly wither away into nothingness and immediately redress myself into a nice brown business suit, with a nice added trim to my beard. That was all done with my godly powers. I walk up to the lady, who was leaning towards the wall over there. A fine specimen, she must yet be under 30, and with all the qualifications to be categorized as beautiful. She’s noticeably discomforted about me approaching her.
‘Y-you’re… Zeus…’ she muttered quietly in my direction. I smile gently at her as I offer her my hand to steady herself.
‘Yes, I am. Zeus Ledford, local judge and lawyer, at your service. What is your name, miss?’ A made-up last name for my life as a normal human, and a job to keep me occupied. I can be a pretty good judge. It goes without saying that she understood the complications I just presented her. This was, after all, not an age where I could act as I once had, and I’d like the opportunity to live like this with someone knowing who I truly am. She, after having composed herself and taken my hand to steady herself, politely responds.
‘… Kathryn. Kathryn Mentzer.’ There is a bit of doubt in her voice, but she got over it pretty well. I give her a friendly smile, one which has downed many women before. I gently offer her the way down.
‘Should I guide you the way home? It is getting pretty late,’ I offer. Kathryn, in surprise, looks straight up into the sky. It had become afternoon with all the talking from earlier.
‘But... how? It wasn’t even…’ Indeed, it was not even midday when she had seen us. While I am a god of thunder, it doesn’t mean I am completely powerless in other elements. I’ve also properly adjusted so only she notices among all humans. On a completely different matter, Ra is going to have my head for this later. But that’s worth it.
‘So? Would you allow me to take you home?’ I ask, a gentle little offering. I guarantee that it is one of a kind. Kathryn does appear surprised, but no overall discomfort is shown and she appears to get a bit used to the thought. Thunder god and all, she might be just that tiny bit curious. Maybe she missed that part earlier about wars between gods and all that and only got the information visually? That would be fortunate. After a little moment of considering, Kathryn nods lightly.
‘Yes. Please do.’ So she says. And so, I was to start leading her down. But first…
I turn around and give the black raven sitting on an antenna on the top of the skyscraper a stare.
‘What are you looking at, old man?’
The raven, a familiar of Odin which he probably left behind to keep an eye on me, shrugs in a way that ravens would not normally do and took off with as a fleeting shadow soaring off, eyes watching the world down below. Satisfied with no longer being spied on at least by someone using so obvious techniques, I turn back to a slightly confused Kathryn. Maybe she isn’t that good at Norse mythology. In any case, I will now begin leading her down. I’ll start out with just befriending her, and then show her some appreciation. Oh, it was long since I did this now. Let’s see how this goes.
Oh, and all those gods I know are watching me by some otherworldly means right now? Those many, many gods that were too interested in seeing what would happen in the conversation between me and Odin, if a war between the worlds was going to break out or if everything was going to continue as normal? All those gods that are currently still watching me because they really don’t have anything better to do than to see me taking this beautiful lady home?
I wasn’t quite as proud of this one, I didn’t expect it to win and it certainly didn’t. Apparently it inspired some drama because someone flamed against it so hard that the moderators removed his post. I never got to see that post. I wonder what it says.
In any case. It is the story of what might happen when a god gets bored. That’s about it. It is written from my memory of how the personality of the Greek God of Thunder looked like. I thought I was rather accurate. Maybe. Ah, well. That’s that.
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WOTM #22 – Lost
What Nothing Can Replace
I took a deep breath. This was going to be difficult. But… there was no reason to worry. There was no way they could discover what was lost. And even if they did, there was nothing they could do about it.
I was a normal girl, sixteen years of age. I was of slim build, and I had my black haired tied in a ponytail, because it fit my style. As any girl, I was going to school. Yes, the school was here. I had successfully managed to confirm class and year using my own notes from different note-books, even managed to find a useful printed schedule for where I was to be next and an online map of the school ensuring I was not going to be getting lost. That was the first step. The easy one, but a very vital to get right. Due to it I now knew where to go. I had managed to memorize the schedule and roughly where in our studies we were currently using those notes. Thankfully, I wrote a lot in the past. Now to get this underway.
Currently, I was walking on the outside of the corridor towards the classroom where I was headed. Girls and boys of different ages are spread out across the school, some studying, some lazing about, others walking to their set locations. I know none of them. I wonder how many know me? There seemed to be at least one or two girls who gave me a friendly look. Do I know them? … I will find out. I will find out the hard way. But find out I will. It will only be difficult the first few times and then I will have learned. Meaning that this time, the absolutely first time, would be the absolutely most difficult one. Alright, I just need to…
The classroom. There was a number of minutes before class starts. Physics, I believe. A few students were spread out beside desks and on their seats. Did we have seats? I didn’t know. The girls over there, the boys over there? No idea. I lazily walked over to the wall and leaned on it, a fair distance from anyone else, waiting for class to start. I attempted not watching anyone directly. I didn’t know what group I usually hanged out with, after all. Soon enough, however… a number of girls over there started shifting their eyes toward me periodically. Soon enough another girl came into the classroom and walked… straight over to me. A slightly taller girl with shoulder-length straight brown hair and a somewhat reliable look. Must be someone I knew. Perfect, now I merely have to follow her to rejoin my group of friends.
“Hello, Aria.” She said, stopping beside me and fixed her eyes on me.
“Hi.” I looked back and answer with a light smile. Everything nice should be accompanied by a smile, right?
“You didn’t come yesterday. Were you alright?” She asked, seemingly worried. I sighed silently, and responded without lying.
“My mom was hospitalized. She tripped in a staircase. I was visiting her. Now I temporarily live alone until she gets better.”
Another brown-haired girl, with somewhat shorter hair with a more innocent aura had apparently come within hearing-range as she suddenly exclaimed “Oh, I am so sorry to hear that! Are you alright? Will she be alright?” A blond girl with an annoyed expression approached from right behind her. “Tsk. Bad timing. We would have had use of you in our game…” Before I knew it, a small group of girls had gathered in my corner. I answered their questions with as much truth I can muster while silently making an effort to recognize each one. These had to be my friends. So, these girls… I know all these girls. Yet, I don’t. How come humans say each other’s names so rarely? It has both helped and made things more troublesome… How come I had no school-photo-book at home?
The teacher came in. Only way I knew the glassed man was our teacher was because he was significantly older than the rest. Just as he came in, everybody hurried to very specified seats. Damn. We have fixed seats. I stayed motionless, allowing people to walk around to their seats. When everybody had sat down, I would have less of a chance of picking the wrong seat. Soon, I was the only one standing. Making sure to not take too long to seem suspicious, I sat right down at the first spot I found. Right beside the blond girl. … And immediately came the question.
“… Why are you sitting down here?” The blond girl asked at once, annoyance present in her glare. … It was impossible, huh? I tried to force back my pained look. As I thought, this was going to be difficult.
“I felt like sitting here. There should be no problem, should there?” I asked, trying to seem natural. Yep. One-way ticket to delinquency. I just simply had to overcome this trial to return to normal life.
“Aria, please return to your seat. You are not exempted from the rules.” The teacher’s word was final. Ouch. This wasn’t good. So I relocated… trying to walk in a controlled fashion without showing my doubt. … And I had to relocate a number of times, each time the receiving more confused looks from my classmates and annoyance from the teacher and those who wanted class to start. Finally, I managed to end up on what was apparently my seat right beside the first brown-haired girl… Oh, and now that I could see her note-book on the table, her name was apparently Sasha…
“Hey, what was the reason for that?” Sasha whispered to me with a worried look.
“… Don’t worry about it. I won’t do it again.” And that, that was the truth. Because now I knew my place, literally. Sasha… one down. … Thirty-something to go?
Alright. The lessons were as I could have expected them. I knew my physics, this was no problem. None of the other classes were any problem either. School… was not my obstacle. So, now I merely had to survive the social bit. Blend in with the rest. It couldn’t be that hard.
“Oy~ Aria~ Can I have your help with my physics-homework in the afternoon~?” A guy, overly goofy in his grin, tall and with a slightly wide frame looked at me hopefully. I carefully resisted raising my eyebrow. He wants my help with homework? A guy like him asking a girl like me? Did we have a special relationship of any kind? I was disgusted by the thought of it. If we were, I’d so be breaking up with him as quickly as possible. In any case, now was not the time for that. Everyone was assuming I knew the things I knew, so I should not ask. Alright. Answer.
“Sure. If you’re having problems, I can help. At the library later today.” I tried to sound as friendly as possible. The guy’s expression twisted in some mixture of chock and joy while looking at me, and several girls and boys stared at me in confusion. Oh, god, no. My sleeve is instantly grabbed and I’m pulled around face to face to Sasha.
“Are you insane!?” She whispered almost loudly, looking at me in some mixture of doubt and anger. What had I done now…? “Why would you allow that… that leech to get close to you!? … Actually, nevermind that. Wasn’t there something you had to do today!? Have you forgot!?” … Wow, the glare. I swear I couldn’t have been the only one to hear that whisper. I felt rather powerless. Leech? I had no idea. So, I was supposed to do something today? Well… um…
“What if I have?” I ask, as innocently as humanly possible. Sasha’s only response was a stare of disbelief. Ooooooo… kaaaaaaaaay… So, did I say something I shouldn’t have? Did I ruin a friendship forever? Damn, that went fast. Sasha quickly turned around and walked resolutely out. I decided not to follow, because… uh… delinquency! Perfect explanation! … Damn, this is hard. In any case, I needed to fix the confused looks looking at me throughout the classroom. I turned slowly and asked out loud…
“Anyone else want to come? We can arrange a study-session, so we can all have our homework completed in time.” There was a moment of silence, in which people didn’t seem to have heard, the guy who had asked suddenly seeming disappointed it wouldn’t be only the two of us, and then…
“… I’ll come merely to make certain you’re not alone with that guy.” “Yeah, me too then.” “I’ll come!” “Count me in.” “I’m good to go!” And a few others that nodded or waved approvingly. Alright, I fixed something while lost something else. Now, what was I supposed to do today? I never knew.
From there, the day went pretty smoothly. I learned the names of plenty of my classmates without them knowing any better (I had them all sign a list of attendance just because), an angel from who knows where from another class came across me in a corridor and asked if I was ready for tennis-training the day after (who-hoo, god bless muscle-memory) and I managed to avoid most awkward situations of knowledge I should know but didn’t. Apparently I’m better at homework than I once was according to some of those I helped, but no matter. And fortunately as far as I could gather I was not in any relationship. Thank you, higher powers. That night, I could go to bed with a smile that I had successfully completed the first and most important day quite successfully. Well, except that glaring opening of an error with Sasha. … But hopefully, that wouldn’t be a problem. … Right?
… Knock, knock. Someone was knocking on my window. I was the only one in the house, I was the only one the knock could be intended for. Hey, it was the middle of night. Why this now? I was in a rather embarrassing pajamas here, already in bed. … Ergh. So I pull up and open the windo-
“Hello, Aria.” … A guy. A guy with orange hair, a charming smile, an impressive build and eyes directed dedicatedly at me. A guy I am positively sure I have never seen before, just like any of my classmates at school. Coming in at this late at night. I quickly worked through the implications as I stared in surprise. … Oh, GOD, NO.
“Your mother’s at the hospital, right? So then, I thought I’d keep you company. If you let me in, I’ll…” The guy started pulling his legs up to scissor his legs up through the window, and-
“No.” I said blankly. “No, no, no, no no no nononono…” I pushed his legs back out. My expression must have looked absolutely horrible. The feelings going through me was some mixture of embarrassment and reluctance. Damn it… a GUY, sneaking it at THIS hour. WHO AM I!? Of course, he lost his smile and started looking at me with questioning eyes.
“But… didn’t we agree to this date? I thought you…” … Oh, gosh, me. I must have been in for the time of your life. Too bad I wasn’t me anymore. Me must have been mentally prepared, I sure am not.
“No, I don’t want to. Not when mom is hospitalized like this. I’m tired, and I don’t want the guilt of taking advantage of her injury on top of it all.” … That… that should be true enough, right? “I-I just want to sleep. I’m sorry…” … He stared at me after my confession. Then, he regained his little charming smile and…
“I’m sorry to hear that. I understand. Then I shall retreat silently into the night to return when the time is right. … Though can I have a good-night kiss first?” … He smiled hopefully. … I don’t even know his name. … D-damn it… I hesitated, looking into his blue eyes…
… Way to go, me. You really set this life up for you, didn’t you. Good grades, above average family-income, popular at school, a charming boyfriend… I have everything, don’t I? Well… I guess otherwise I wouldn’t be… me… I couldn’t help but smile as I lay in my bed later at night, heart pounding in my chest, hand out over my mouth touching my lips as I couldn’t stop thinking about that one boy I had never seen before who just… happened to be mine… This was just too perfect, wasn’t it?
The days went on. Soon, by quickly acquiring a list of my classmates I was able to remember them one by one. My friends, Sasha, Cheri, Elisabeth, some more… Actually relearn what I already should know, but in any case. I soon also could learn the name of my boyfriend via my mobile-phone’s contacts and by helpful games with my friends… (“How’s it going with you-know-who?” “Who? I won’t know unless you ask clearly…” “Oh, you know… Matthew…” “… Oh, him… Heh-heh…”) Also, I learned in-time that I was a member of the nearby tennis club, so I came to practice. It went better than I thought it would, my body remembering what I didn’t in there. For a number of days, everything was settling in just fine~! I was forgetting things here and there and needed to be ‘reminded’, but the times where I lacked knowledge grew fewer and fewer. I was rediscovering myself. This was great!
“… So, Sasha, why did you call me here…?” I asked, as I stood inside the currently empty library together with my friend. She seemed somewhat mysterious currently. I had no idea why. The brown-haired girl looked straight at me, the dark-blue afternoon sky shining through the window behind her…
“Aria. Do you remember the first thing I said to you, first time we met, back in elementary school?” … Um. No, I don’t. Uh…
“… I’m sorry. I hardly have any memories from so far back…” I say, hoping to wave the matter off.
“We didn’t meet until first year of high-school.” … … … … … … … … … … I took a moment to register that I had been tricked. Damn. Um, damn. … Damn. … It… it was of no consequence. There was no way she could recover what was lost.
“… I’m sorry for deceiving you all.” I said. There was no way around it now. I looked apologetically at Sasha, who glared at me demanding an answer. “I lost my memories. It had something to do with my mother tripping. I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to…”
“I’m sorry too. I am not going to allow you to continue talking.” Sasha picked up something from her pocket, her eyes fixed at me. I felt a shiver grow within me. What… what? That… no, wait… that badge…! … Sasha’s eye-color changed as her demeanor… and spirit… changed completely.
“I am Deborah Holliman of the Crystalline Inter-dimensional Police Department. I have temporarily taken control of the body of Sasha Glynde to complete this mission. Gregory Dalph. You are arrested for illegal dimension-jumping and for the possession of Aria Shearer. Let the girl have her body back, old man.”
… They… they discovered me. How…? No…! This was impossible! I should have gone off the radar! How was it possible that they… no, this was too convenient. How could the best friend of the one I possessed be in contact with the Crystalline!? The people of this world shouldn’t even know they exist! … Unless they could somehow detect roughly where I jumped… and then ask around…
“I see your confusion, however the solution is very easy. We discovered the traces of where you had appeared after you got lost, and then we simply searched the nearby schools for people who recently forgot where to sit during class. You old people…” Sasha’s eyes narrowed in an expression of light disgust. “… have far too strong an attraction for school-youths for your own good. Give yourself up.”
I couldn’t give myself up. Not after this. I had found the most suitable and fortunate soul to live my new life though, and this… no. This couldn’t happen. I quickly jab forward, gritting as I tap into my inner powers usually used by our kind. Telekinetic fists were aimed for the body of my friend. Seemingly realizing what I was doing, she pulled up protection, but I hadn’t grown old in one body for nothing. The no doubt young officer in an even younger body couldn’t match my speed. She was hit, and flung into the war with a yelp where she then fell down and didn’t move. … I had held back. I couldn’t kill Sasha, friend of Aria’s, friend of mine. So… I needed to flee. Flee if I needed to keep my life. My life as Aria. My life with good grades, healthy background, nice boyfriend and everything. A life with promise. I needed one.
So, I ran outside. As fast as my girly legs could carry me. But… unfortunately, Deborah was obviously not the only officer out to secure me. As soon as I left the building, the bright light of their stunning blasts shot at me from all directions, myself chocked by their speed before being stunned and Aria’s body fell motionless in front of the school… My body… The one I was going to live such an adventurous life with…
“We thank you for your aid, Sasha.” The officer told the girl.
“I only did what came naturally, mam.” The brown-haired girl with shoulder-long hair responded. She didn’t need to use ‘mam’, really, but…
“Thanks to you, the lost prisoner Gregory is once again in captivity and Aria has recovered her original body. We wouldn’t have been able to get so close if we hadn’t been allowed to use your body. The Crystalline thanks you for your assistance.”
“Ah… I really didn’t do that much. Really… I just called a friend and talked about how Aria’s personality seemed to have changed and you guys picked up the conversation and sought me out because it matched the occurrences when a person possesses another. If it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t have got involved at all.” Ah, so it WAS possible to embarrass her. Good. That meant she still was as innocent as before. Deborah lifted up her badge and looked into it, as it records what she said.
“It appears Gregory made Aria’s mother trip and hurt herself while committing the possession. He’ll be spending a while in a dimensional prison. Aria may be a bit shaken, but she’ll return to her normal self soon enough. If you need anything, call this number.” The dimensional officer put down a paper with a number on it, smiling gently at Sasha. “I will now take my leave, since I am no longer required here. You may return to your mundane world. If you wish, you could call us and ask to be hired if inter-dimensional crime-solving sounds exciting to you, but that’s a decision for another day.” Deborah chuckled as she stood up and looked down on the girl. “I wish you good luck.”
… And then, she was gone. No awesome special-effects, just… gone. No sound, no flash, just gone. Left in the chair, Sasha silently bent forward, picking up the note with the number… Oh, what a pretty number. One could call it any second and contact the Crystalline. How fun. In a bed on the other side of the house, Aria was currently sleeping, her black hair spread over pillows and her expression soundly asleep, the original personality of the innocent girl back where it belonged.
Sasha stared at the number, feeling the paper crumble slightly in her fingers. … Then, she began to giggle. A soundly amused little giggle, echoing through the house in the night, never seeming to quite stop.
That went surprisingly well.
This entry was inspired by a roleplay of mine. I mean, there are lots of things that you can lose, so… Why not lose something you don’t know you can lose? And then see what happens? Just for fun.
No, I never considered it a masterpiece of mine, but I thought it was OK. Hm. I guess it was. It hardly left a lasting impression on either me or any of my readers. So I don’t really have much to say about it. Well, I guess if anyone have enjoyed reading it, then it was worth it. Really.