Songs of the Otherworld

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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:29 pm

historical

Civil war AU with Lionel and Freeta. Fictional setting since I'm not going to research it.
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Ten Prompts Challenge

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:51 am

S)he shouts at me and I run, tears dribbling down my face

769

Jessica crumpled to her knees, tears leaking slowly from her eyes as she stared at the shattered square filament of crystal.
It was...over.

Hiram's heavy footsteps pounded on the metal stairs as he descended to the concrete floor.
"Do you have it?" He shouted racing to her side and wrenching on her shoulder.
Her agony bare on her face she looked up at him, her lips trembling.
"I'm sorry."
"No!" He shoved her aside and she sprawled along the concrete, shrieking as her broken bones and bruised organs came into contact once again with the unmerciful floor.
Hiram didn't even hear her as he stared down as the shards and the dust, the hope of their future, the only way to deactivate the machine, save their families.
Reduced to a thousand specks by Jessica's ineptness.
A bit of the dust caught in the fur at the very tip of his finger and he held it up to look at it.
"You held the fate of the world in your hands Jessica," he said, his voice low and cracked.
Jessica moaned and forced her body to turn over, her breathing turning to shallow gasps as pain began attacking every nerve.
"You held the fate of the world and you dropped it!" Flicking the speck from his hand, he stood his feet hitting against the ground with a thump.
"You held your family in your hands, Jessica, your parents and your siblings and you dropped them. You held my Mary and my sons in your hands and you dropped them. Do you know what you are Jessica? Do you?"
He paused and Jessica moaned faintly.
"You're a murderer Jessica, a murderer. That machine is going to wipe them all from existence as soon as the anomaly ends and it's going to be all your fault."
"Hiram..."
He glared down at her writhing body, devoid of anything emotion but rage.
"Shut up, Jessica. Just... Shut up."
Then he turned and stormed out through the heavy door.

Still gasping and sobbing in pain, Jessica tried to crawl towards the door, but agony swallowed her mind and she fell back against the cold floor, her body throbbing and shivering.
She closed her eyes and wished to die. It would be an easier sentence than spending the rest of her years with hateful eyes staring at her, pushing her to the fringes with baleful anger, turning her into an outcast with the looks of accusation.
Death would be so quick, so relieving of the pain that tortured her already used and broken shell. It would spare her the long nights where she would stare sleepless up at the blank dark sky and feel the weight of the stars that had been erased.
She closed her eyes and released her will to live with a shallow sigh.

Walter ran across the high metal bridges that spanned the ceiling and turned what would've been empty space into a maze of machinery and corridors.
"Hiram! Jessica! Marvin!
His voice echoed off the cold wall and came back without answer.
He paused as he came to the main room and leaned on the railing, breathing hard and looked down.
"Jessica!"
He screamed her name as he saw her sprawled on the ground and went tearing down the metal steps.
"Jess! Jessica! Jess!"
He dropped to his knees and his hands hovered her shoulders.
"Jess...?"
She coughed weakly and slowly turned over on her back "w-Walter?"
"What happened Jess?"

Tears slipped down her face slowly as she tried to croak out an explanation "I-I fell.... I dropped the card and i tried to catch it and... I fell."
"The card?" Walter looked around and the glint of the shattered crystal caught his eye "Oh no. No, no, no. How could you?"
She sobbed weakly "It slipped... Slipped...I tried to catch it.... I leaned out too far..."
"How far... Did you fall from?" Walter gulped, touching her cheek gently and wiped away some of her tears.
Weakly she gestured to the highest bridge, before collapsing back into breathy gasps.
"Oh... No..." Walter slipped his coat off and spread it over her "Jess, don't move, ok? It might make things worse. I'm going to go get help. Do you know where Hiram is?"
"He...left."

Walter dashed the tears from his face, not understanding that Hiram had left Jessica behind in his fury.
"I'll get him. Don't worry, everything's going to be ok. Just don't move."

The cat scrambled to his feet and dashed out of the room.
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Ten Prompts Challenge

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:35 am

As I sit in the belly of a ship, I wish I was back home


593

It was so quiet.
Hiram had imagined that the roar of the engines would've been a constant throughout the flight, but after the initial takeoff he could hear nothing beyond his own breathing.
Oh perhaps he had simply gone deaf.

He sighed and unclipped himself from the seat and propelled himself through the gravity-less environment towards the bin where he'd stored his few things.
Gripping the handle, he held himself in place while he opened the lid and reached inside for the picture. He unwrapped the picture from the cloth, carefully restoring the blanket to the bin.
There where scratches along the frame and a spiderweb crack in the corner, but he could never bring himself to try and replace it. Mary had chosen it, after pouring over frames online for hours and she'd been so upset when it arrived with a missing prong in the back.

He traced over their faces in the glass. All smiling, all dressed nice, their eyes unworried, unburdened with cares.
He remembered going to the photo place, it had been a couple of months before he'd started fighting with Mary.

When he got them back he'd fixed what he broke, make them smile like in the picture again, give them reason to grin like that every day.
He'd be a father like he'd been when Sammy was first born, be a husband like when he and Mary first got married.
He'd FIX their family.

There was a buzz on the communicator and he closed the bin after wrapping the picture back up in the blanket.
He floated back to his seat and buckled back up before answering the comm.
"Hello?"
"Hey, Hiram?"
Jessica's small voice came to him, carried by electronic waves across the expanse that separated him from earth.
Though she was so far away he still felt the poignant stab of guilt.
"He-ey Jessica... You want me to patch you through to Oksana?"
"No. I... wanted to talk to you."
"Oh," he trailed off, unable to form a sentence past the lump in his throat.
"Listen, I just wanted you to know, and I'm sorry that I didn't bring myself to say this while...while you where still here," her voice cracked a little and her sniffling crackled over the system "I'm not mad at you, for what happened. I wouldn't have acted any better myself."
"Jess."
"I forgive you and I'm sorry."
"Jess."
"I couldn't let this go, I couldn't let you leave without telling you."
Tears began to run down his face "Jess, I'm so, so, sorry. You didn't... You didn't do it on purpose. You tried. You tried too hard, Jess. It was my fault."
"It was an accident. It was nobody's fault."
"Jess. I know you're trying to make me feel better, but what happened afterwards, when I got angry and left you, that was my fault."
"We can't change what happened. Listen, just don't let what happened to me distract you from doing what you have to do."

Hiram was about to answer when a sudden burst of static cut the lines off and Oksana's voice replaced the chipmunk's
"Hiram! Hiram! --- Emergency--- Met-- Show--"
"Oksana? Oksana, I can't hear you!" Desperately he rolled the knobs and dials, trying to regain her frequency, but before he could reach her, there was a metallic thunk on the shuttle's hull, then a rapid fire rattle with growing intensity of sounds and jarring impacts.
"Oksana!!!"
Then a crunch deafened him and everything went blindingly black.

Slowly he came to his senses and it was quiet.
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The Ultimate Challenge-emotions

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:24 pm

Anger

584
"It's goin to be my birthday next week," Tiger Lily chirped, breaking the silence that hung over the table like a sheath of ice.
Martin looked up from his cargo reports "That's right Tiger."
Then he returned to his paperwork.
"So..." She knocked her ankles together and scratched her lightly fork around her plate "Party?"
"Oh Tiger Lily, I don't think we'll be able to," He sighed, flipping the papers into a stack "We just don't have the money."
"Not even for a cake?"
"Well maybe Mum can make one."
"But Mum's busy with Elvie," Tiger Lily's voice took on a whining tone "Can't I just have some friends over?"
"Tiger, you know how upset Mum gets when we have guests. She doesn't want Elvie to get stressed or catch a bug. I just don't think it's going to work out this time."
"But Da-ad, when it was Elvie's birthday we had cake and pastries and Uncle Lionel and Aunt Mei came to visit for several weeks and-"
"Stop it Tiger Lily!!!" Skipper burst out, tossing his book onto the table "They have to make a fuss for Elf because she might not have another birthday! She might not live another year! Don't you get it?!? Elvie's dying!"

Tiger Lily gasped as if she'd been slapped and tears rushed down her face.
Martin shoved his chair backwards as he bolted to his feet, his face twisted up in shock at Skipper's outburst "How DARE you-"
Tiger Lily let out a weak whimper and dashed out of the room, sobbing.
Skipper glared across the table at his father "WHAT?!? It's true and you know it's true. Tiger can't just live in her selfish little dream world-"
"Shut up," Marrin snapped, his voice rocky with anger "Shut up, you have no idea what's going on."
"Yes I do! Mum only looks after Elvie because she's dying and she won't be able to love her when she's dead, that's why she doesn't even look at any of us any more."
"Skipper Lionel Trevoiant you will not speak to me in that manner with that tone," Martin stormed around the table to tower over his son "You will clamp that stupid trap of yours shut. You will never speak of your sister in this way ever again. DO YOU HEAR ME?"
Skipper shrank away from his father "You're mad... You're mad because you don't want to see it. You just want to go on lying to yourself and pretending that it's going to be alright."
Martin gripped Skipper by his shoulders, exerting a strength that he had never used on his son before, the tips of his claws digging through the fabric.
"Do you think that I'm just oblivious? Do you think I would give up being a captain to managed boxes of vegetables if I thought there wasn't anything wrong?!? Do you think I would give up my entire career over a cold?!"
Martin screamed down into Skipper's face, leaning so close that his whiskers brushed against Skipper's forehead.
Skipper shrank back from his father, tears gathering in his eyes.
Scoffing in disgust Martin released his son and stormed away "Go. To. Your. Room."
Skipper hesitated and tried to speak, his voice thin and cracked "Dad..."
"I SAID GO TO YOUR ROOM!" Martin bellowed, whirling on his heels.

Skipper whimpered and raced out of the room.
Martin slammed his palms against the table and heaved in several heavy breaths before slowly returning to his paperwork.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The ultimate challenge- Fear

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:53 am

fear
1,883

Lyra clutched at the crumpled letter beneath her shirt as she walked through the halls of the Daja.
Servants hurried about their duties, taking no notice of her, but there where none of the familiar faces she'd grown up with waiting to meet her.
Why weren't they there? Hadn't her grandmother told them that she was coming?
She rounded a corner and stepped out into the open air, squinting at the sun.
"Hey, Lyra! What're you doing here? I thought you weren't coming for another month!"
She looked around to see Jon-tai leaning against one of the inner walls, grinning at her, a bit bemusedly as it was.
How could he smile? How could smile so freely at her when it was all going wrong?
"Hey, I think Freeta's working in the infirmary if you're going to say hello."
Lyra stared at him, trying to take in his words. Her grandmother was working? They where letting her work when she should've been resting?
Without bothering to reply she trotted away, her tail tucked down in her confusion.
As she walked into the infirmary she saw the thin white fox standing on the counter, organizing the vials of medicine.
"What are you doing?!?"
Freeta startled, spinning around with guilt in her eyes.
"Oh. Oh. Lyra, its you, you're here."
"Yes, I'm here. What do you think you're doing?!? Why aren't you resting? Why are they letting you work?"
Lyra rushed over to help the elderly fox off the counter.
"Well..." Freeta hesitated and folded her paws over Lyra's "I thought it might be best if I waited... just until you got here."
"You mean, you haven't told anyone at all? They don't...they don't know?"
Freeta nodded weakly, still not meeting Lyra's gaze.
"Oh, Grandma, what if something had happened? They wouldn't have had any idea of what was going on!"
Freeta sighed and reached her arms around her granddaughter's shoulders "It wouldn't have mattered whether or not they knew if something happened. I just didn't want to worry anybody."
"Oh, Grandma," Lyra shook her head, tears starting in the corners of her eyes "Come on, come on you need to lie down."
"Oh, dear, I'm not tired."
"But didn't the doctor say-"
"What the doctor said isn't going to matter soon enough," Freeta's voice was suddenly cracked "I'd much rather make a use of myself out here rather than spend my time cooped up in a dark room."
"I'll open the curtains, but you're going to lie down, I won't have anything else," Lyra paused to sniffle "When are you...when are you going to tell them?"
Freeta looked away "Well, I thought that since...since you're here maybe... Maybe we shouldn't bother anyone."
"What?"
Lyra stared at her through the haze of tears that was rising in her eyes.
"No."
"But Lyra, it-ah- it would be so much simpler-"
"I can't do this by myself! I can't face this with no one else!"

Lyra gently pushed away from her grandmother's embrace, tears now pouring down her face.
"But Lionel-"
Lyra shook her head.
"You're not doing it for him. You're not trying to spare him. You're doing it for yourself, Grandma, I can see that and so can you. Not telling anyone won't make it any more or less real."

Freeta was silent for a long time, staring at her paws.
Finally when she looked up Lyra was struck by the glint in them. Not of tears or or resolve or anything she recognized in the old fox.
It was terror, utter frenetic terror that had consumed her on the inside.

"You're right," she whispered shakily "You're....right."
Lyra shivered at the look and immeadiatly wrapped her arms around Freeta again.
Not so the she could be comforted, like it been throughout her entire life, but so that she could comfort Freeta.

"Is everyone here?" Lyra asked softly, still holding her grandmother gently.
"Mmhhmm."
"Okay, okay," Lyra released a heavy breath "I'm going to get them. We're.... Going to tell them. Everything."

Freeta nodded, her eyes squeezed shut.
"I'm going to get them."
Freeta opened her eyes and released her granddaughter "But I'm....I'm going to tell them."

Lyra hesitated, and again noticing the glint in Freeta's eyes.
"I will."

Freeta seemed to consider it for a second, then shook her head.
"No. I will."

Lyra nodded slowly noticing that this time the glint did not leave.
"Come on, come sit at least."

Freeta allowed Lyra to lead her over to a chair and tuck in the heavy shawl.
"I'll be right back."

Freeta watched her hurried out the door, then turned to stare dully out the window.

She struggled to keep her mind blank and empty from all her thoughts as she focused on the smears in the glass.
Every week, ever since she'd come to live at Littiaga, she had washed that window.
It had been nearly six weeks since she'd taken a rag to it.

She was distracted from the window as a figure came into her line of sight.
One that was clad in a blue tunic and limped heavily, leaning all his weight on the stick that he used to keep his gait steady.

It felt wrong for her to sit and watch him coming to her place, when so often he would stand at the door of the kitchen and watch her come to his.
He only ever came there if he was hurt or for a few minutes to invite her to the kitchen.
She was in control in the infirmary and it was her haven.
But others did not come there for the simple joy of it.
They went to him.

Lionel shivered as he came into the infirmary, despite the warm day.
He saw Freeta sitting on a chair looking out the window, wrapped in a heavy shawl, even though even she couldn't have complained about it being hot enough.
"Freeta, what's going on?"

She continued staring as if she hadn't even heard him.
He took a step closer "Freeta?"
Barely a flick of her ear, but he knew that she was ignoring him on purpose now.
"Freeta, what is it?"
"Later. When everyone's here."

He sat down, keeping his eyes on her, a chill of a different sort riding through his stomach as he tried to think of what was wrong. So wrong that she hadn't told him.

The ideas that filtered through his head where too terrible for him to bear and he tried to ignore them as the others filtered into the infirmary,
Mei-li sat next to him, questions in her eyes, but he shook his head.
He had no answers. Not this time.

At last Lyra had gathered everyone and she came to stand next to her grandmother.
Freeta turned her stare from the window to the room and shuddered heavily.
"I can't do it," She whispered hoarsely "I can't Lyra. Tell them to leave."
"No," Lyra could barely choke her words out "No. You have to."
"I can't..."

Lyra shook her head and took a step back, facing the room, everyone in it.
"You have to."
Freeta pulled in a wavering breath and swept over the faces of everyone she knew, loved, and weakly stood up.

And took the hardest, smallest step forwards.

Everyone looked at her, but no one spoke. No one questioned her.

Slowly a string of words, a couple sentences, a fragment of a fragment of a thought, made its way to her mouth and she let it spill out, not sure how to do anything else.

"This would've been so much easier if I had told you when I first learned of it myself. But I was too scared. I didn't know the right way. I still don't."
She paused and felt the tension of the room ripple.
"I'm sorry."
Her voice cracked and the emotions leaked out in her heavy breathing.

Lyra came immediately to her side and Freeta found herself leaning heavily on her granddaughter.
There was a clatter of wood on stone and Lionel heaved himself up, taking several unsteady steps towards her.
"What is it, Freeta? What's wrong?"
She locked eyes with him and suddenly he was the only other person in the room. She couldn't hold back the outpouring as the emotions flooded her.
"Remember.... when I was feeling breathless? I knew something wasn't right and... and it's... it's my heart," Her voice cracked
"It's failing."
Lionel staggered closer to her, reaching out for her hand and squeezed it tightly, tears streaming down his own face.
"It there...anything?"
She shook her head, closing her eyes.
"How... long?"
"A few weeks... at the most."
Freeta let go of Lyra and wrapped her arms around Lionel, crying silently into her tunic.

"Nay."
Achran's voice, thick with strangled emotion broke through the silence.
"Nay, there has ta be something.... Something, right?"

"No, Achran," Freeta let go of Lionel and turned to face the squirrel "There isn't anything."
"But- ye cannae just give up! We can't just do nothing!"
"No," She stepped closer to him, wiping away the frustrated tear that had slid half-way down his cheek "There isn't anything. Not for me. I'm too old."
"No!"
"Yes," she locked her arms around his shoulders, hugging him tightly. She could feel him shivering, almost as hard as she was.
He threw his paws around her and gripped her far tighter than she could manage.
Finally he stepped back, scrubbing at his eyes.
"What can we do, then?"
She shrugged "There isn't... anything."

"Grandma, you should lie down," Lyra said quietly, touching Freeta's elbow "Come on. Questions can come later. Please."
Freeta looked across the stunned faces in the room, some blank as they tried to understand what she was saying, others soaked with silent tears.
"I'm sorry," She whispered "I'm so sorry. I meant to tell you, I really did."

Lyra led Freeta out of the infirmary, into the small room where Freeta slept.
Neither of them spoke as Freeta climbed onto the bed, curling into a sniffling ball of fur.
"Where's the medicine?" Lyra asked quietly, pouring out a cup of water.
"I don't want any, thank you."
"But Grandma-"
"It won't make a difference anyway. Could I... could I be left alone now?"
Lyra sighed heavily "Alright. I'll be right outside if you need me."
"Thank you."

Freeta stared at her hands, not allowing herself to focus on the conversation from the other room. It wasn't hard as cold despair began to swallow her. Reality pressed cold thick fingers against her throat and began strangling her, it throttled her hope and pressed off her breath.
Tomorrow night never come, her life could end at any given moment. She might just not be able to breath and she'd be gone.
And there was no solution.
She'd faced death a thousand times, but this was a horrifically different level of fear. Before there was always a chance, a possibility that she would survive. If she fought hard enough, trusted her friends enough, hoped faithfully enough, she had some control.
But now.
There was nothing.
She was facing oblivion and it was encroaching on her in the form of her own failing body, not in another warrior or the rage of the elements.
She was just going to fail.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Ultimate challenge

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:55 pm

parents


Jormundor sat with his eyes half closed and his mind slowly brimming over with the thoughts he couldn't voice.
Absently he stroked the long scars across his throat, they hadn't faded much over time, nor had his voice ever returned.
His eyes sank the rest of the way as he allowed his mind to wander backwards.

"Father?"

He opened his eyes again to find Ashlin fidgeting nervously in front of him, a satchel over her shoulder.

He beamed at her and patted the patch of seat next to him.

"I was wondering if you could... do something for me..."

He nodded, still smiling, his eyebrows asking the question.

She let out a testy sigh, and Jormundor couldn't decide if she was annoyed or embarrassed.

"Could you tell me how... you and Mother met?"

He paused, surprised, then nodded and held his hands up, ready to begin signing the words.

"No, could you... could you write it down?"
He shrugged and reached for the slate and chalk that he used for communicating with those who couldn't understand when he used his hands.
"I mean in this."
Ashlin held out the small empty journal that Churva had given her for her birthday.
"Yes, I do want you to," she said in answered to his gestured question "I want to be able to read it.... later."

He drew his brow together, but took the pencil and began to write.

[i]I don't remember exactly how long ago it was, but I do know that it was eight years before you where born, so you may take your own age and work it out.
It was several months after my parents had died. Over those few months the siblings who hadn't yet married or moved left, and I was alone, following the traditional rites of respect. I had never felt close to either of my parents, so it was with a fairly light heart that I took off the bands of mourning and gathered the crops from the small garden and took them to market.
I remember it as though I can see it before me now, I was sitting on the street, my catch laid out on the mat, when a customer approached and immediately exclaimed in disgust. I looked down and realized that my fish where covered in snails.
I began trying to get rid of the snails, but every time I cleared them away more appeared, until finally I opened my bag to find it swarming with snails. I had left the bag outside in the shed and I suppose the little snails thought it was a good home, but I was more than annoyed as I tried to
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The ultimate challenge

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:02 pm

color
640
Elvie curled next to the chilled panes of the window, watching the autumn rain pouring down.
"Hey Elf," Martin greeted his daughter as he sat next to her with a sigh "It's pretty outside isn't it?"
"It's wet," She shrugged "Is there color?"
"Oh, yes," He slipped his arm over her shoulder "Autumn always has a lot of color. I've told you that, haven't I?"
"I think so, by why is there more color in autumn than in other season?"
"Oh, it's not that there's more color, it's that it's different colors than green and yellow, like summer and spring."
She huddled closer to him as the wind began to scream and scratch at the window "What colors are there? I thought all the plants died?"
"Well, actually, that's why there are more colors. See, it's strange, but the leaves turn different colors. Red and yellow and bronze."
"Really?" She tipped her head back to look him in the face "What does it look like?"
He sighed and paused to look outside the window before replying. She saw a smear of grays cast like mist while he saw a cascade of fire. The rain stripped the blazing leaves from the cold twigs and washed them away like tear drops of embers, painting the street with blazing colors.
"It's beautiful," He began "Really, I'm not sure how to describe it. It's raining right now and the leaves are all wet, but when it's dry they drift slowly to the ground, one by one, like bits of the sun falling down. The trees look like they're having a great festival of lights, instead of lanterns their leaves are their stars, burning sparks that cover up the cold sky. When they litter the ground it looks like a great treasure has been spilled out onto the grass, the yellow and bronze leaves the pieces of gold, and the red ones are rubies. Right now, it looks like a flood of fire flowing down the street, red like a warm hug, orange like a sunny day with a fresh breeze, yellow like a hot summer evening, and brown like the deep smell of coco."
"Mm," Elvie closed her eyes as if she could taste, rather than see the colors "It sounds lovely. I think I like autumn."
"I like it as well," He smiled "The leaves are my favorite part."
"Because you like to paint all the colors?"
"Well, yes," He chuckled "I use more red in autumn than any other time of year. Y'know what I also like about them?"
"What?"
He chuckled again "Have you ever stepped on a fallen leaf?"
She tipped her head to the side, thinking "No. It's always so cold outside, Mum makes me stay in."
"Well, we'll have to get a warm day and I'll take you out and show you."
"But why do you like them, Dad? You can't just not tell me!"
He grinned "Alright. I love to step on them. Since they're dead they make wonderful crunching noises. And if you gather them all up in a pile-"
"You can jump in them! Skipper and Tilly told me about that! Have you ever done it?"
"Yes, I used to do it with them all the time when we all weren't so busy."

Elvie sighed and pressed herself up against the window again "Do you think things are going to be normal now?"
"Normal?"
"Yeah," She closed her eyes "Everything's starting to feel right. Like..." She grinned "Like the old bad things are the leaves, they're old and dead and falling away. We can stand and watch them blow down the street and they look nice, but we don't have to worry about them because the wind's going to take care of them."
"The wind is like time," Martin added softly "I like that Elf."
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Re: Songs of the Otherworld

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:00 am

person switch
Switch Pov

Written in 1st person
2,981 words
Like a swan I glide across the stage, my body a bending blade of grass beneath the breeze of the flute and the piano. My dress like a gentle current of the ocean swirls out behind me, then like a rolling wave it rises up with me as I curve into the air.
Like surf on the sand, the applause of the crowd roars around me, falling on my ears like grainy foam.

I bow before them, sweeping my arms out and letting my hair cascade over my face.
Then I straighten and swivel, my dress curling behind me, and I exit to the left.

"Amazing Laurie!" My mother exclaims.
"Great job!" My brother compliments.
"You were wonderful!" My Aunt adds.
"The trophy will look nice on your shelf, Laurette" my father says, eyes twinkling "right in the middle of all the rest."

I hold the heavy bronze cup tightly and smile.

"Well, should we go straight home or should we grab some ice cream?" My father asks while we exit the auditorium.
"How are you feeling Laurie?" My mother asks "You look tired. Do you want ice cream?"
I shake my head, feeling my arms beginning to ache with the weight of the cup.

"Oh well, maybe tomorrow," my mother says.

I watch the city lights rush away as the hover car's engine starts and we join the line of traffic shooting through the narrow slits of sky between the towers of concrete and metal.

"You get some rest!" My mother calls to me as I enter my bedroom.
I nod and smile.

I fall onto my bed, my dress pooling out around my, and I close my eyes.

Before you read any further, there is something you must tell understand.
My name is not Laurette.
They are not my family.
I am not young.
And I am not human.

My tale is long and were I to tell it now it would only serve to confuse you.
It is just as well, for I do not have time for the telling because tonight I leave.
But I wanted you to know these things, lest you be lost while I begin my journey.

Those who have been my family for the past sixteen years are now sleeping and I am slipping out of our home.
Out of our home, high above the ground, above the factories and into the vehicle storage unit.
I slip behind the hover cars and to the small closet that is dusty inside.
No one besides me ever goes in here. No one ever saw what I was working on.
But if they had seen it, they would have thought nothing more of then what it is.
A pocket watch.
From my favorite era as well, the Victorian age, the time of guilded edges and the longest luxurious dresses.
And heavy pocket watches.
It was in those times that I discovered how much magic could be contained within the tiny gears and springs.
And, over the course of hundreds of years, I never forgot my craft.

No.
They think I've forgotten, but I remember everything.
And I've learned so many new things.
But I cannot work with wires and circuit boards, oil makes me ill, gasoline poisons me, and electricity slips through my fingers like dry sand.
But the clockwork in my hand is like a tool to me.
A tool I thoroughly am familiar with.
I open the doors to to unit and disengage the safety force field, my feet skim the concrete edge before I leap.

I let myself fall, my arms flung wide as my stomach drops and my dress spreads out around me, then I flick open the top of the watch.

The world slows, I can hear my heartbeat, a slow long roar in my ears, and the night changes.
No longer am I suspended above the city of lights and pollution. A soft clean light streams around me and I gasp as for the first time since the first factory let off its chocking bellow of smoke I breathed a breath of pure air.

I smile as I stand and turn, taking in the forest glade I had landed in.
No longer am I on the planet they call Earth, no longer am I in man's domain.
Dear reader have you heard of the Courts of the Fae?
Have you heard of the dreamlike Otherworld that could be blundered into from fairy rings and the Celtic standing stones during the betweenyounger

That is were I am.

I smooth out my dress and pull my hair free from its ties.

This glade is familiar to me, I spent many hours here when I was far younger.
I had a friend-
I have a friend.

I close my eyes and allow myself to be lost in the memory.

The dry earth hurt my feet so much and the unfiltered sunlight seemed to burn me, I had lost my way when the dryad appeared in front of me, asking if I needed help.
She was nothing like what I had imagined.
But imagination tends to play strangely with the few facts that it was given.
She was beautiful, her coat a burning brown, her mane green like her leaves with a mist drifting around her shoulders, and her hooves and legs woven from the same branches of her tree.
I had seen many horses, ones who swam like fish and ones who flew like birds, but none who breathed out of the trunks of trees. But I still knew she was a dryad.

"Onodine?"

I look up and there she was, standing in front of me, like the first time we had ever met, her black eyes glittering with tears.

"Is it truly you?"
"Isanese. Yes, it is me."
I stand and as she comes closer to me I wrap my arms around her shoulders and bury my face in her sun soaked mane.
"But where have you been? It's been so long since you last visited. I've been so worried! As has your family."
Tears spring to my own eyes as I remember my true family, my family of blood.
"They are here?" I ask stepping back.
"Your mother and elder brother are. But what of your father? Do you know where he is?"
"Yes," I wipe away the tears, enjoying the salt but rejecting the pain "You don't understand Isanese, the ways to man's earth are almost closed off."
She shakes her arboreal mane and whimpers in surprise "What? How? I thought that the ways through the ocean where still open."
"It is...such a long story my old friend, but right now I must get to the High Council, would you bear me on your back?"
"Of course," she buckles her knees so I can climb up "but you must promise me an explanation when we arrive."
"I promise."
And like the summer breeze over the balmy seas, she begins to run, her gait smooth and easy but her pace swift and the woodlands bend like a tunnel to allow us to pasof

I close my eyes to rehearse the story I would need to tell the Council.
It was a story of extraordinary proportions and when I think about it I still feel as if I am suspended in a dream.

When man began to grow, to spread, to overrun the world and the otherkin realized that they would not share, we retreated, to the one place that they were truly terrified of.
The sea.
Dragons dove deep beneath the waves, faeries turned themselves from beings of the meadows to beings of the bright corals, the Wild hunt scoured the desolate regions of the Pacific sea, the dryads dragged forests down and became guardians of the kelp, the unicorns stayed close to shore, basking hidden in the foam to care for man, whom they still loved despite his transgressions.
And we thought we were safe.
But still man found a way to follow us, and many fled to the Otherworld when the pollution began to poison the gardens of the deep. But still, some of us stayed, unwilling to leave our ancestral homes and believing that one day, man would realize that the sea needed to be treated with gentler hands and when that day came we would be able to aid in healing, unseen but still there.
We believed that right up until the very moment it was too late.
Right up until man found a way to drain the ocean.
Right until he found us.

We hadn't known it, but there had been elder forces conspiring with men against the fae, but we knew it on the day man drained away the waters to accommodate his population, for that was the day that the unicorns were stripped of their horns, that the dragons lost their wings, the day that I remember with agony as the sea water drained from my lungs and I was forced to breath the harsh air. The day that I was forced to shed my natural form.
The day that they thought they took my memories.
The day that it rested on my shoulders when the wipe failed and I remembered it all.

But today, as I ride to the council, this is the day were I correct it all. This will be the day that I will see my family again.
They thought I'd forgot.
But I remember everything.

Queen Titiana stares at me as I finish relating the last part of my tale. Her eyes are filled with sympathy, but her mouth is taut with concern.

"Well, Onodine, this is a grave revelation indeed that you have brought to us," King Oberon says, stepping down from the dais, his long glossamer wings fluttering slightly "And it explains much of the silence between the two worlds."
I bow slightly, out of respect rather than fidelity to the fairy king "Our position is dire, sir, and I beg the council's aid in bringing our peoples home."
"That would be very good," says The Green Man, standing, clad in long green wreaths of moss, his skin like the long trunk of an old tree "If there were any portals between our worlds left. But there are none left."
"Yes, I know," I turn to face him and lift up my pocket watch "But this can create one."
"Yes," Titiana says, joining her husband on the lower steps of the dais "But can it create one stable enough to support everyone who needs to come through? And if it can, how will we find them all? You said that they do not remember who they are."
I straighten my shoulders and try to steady my beating heart. This may be the most difficult part to explain.
"I have theorized," I pause to swallow "That if the watched is placed between the deepest roots of the World Tree and its power is activated there, that it would draw to it all the fae and other creatures and peoples who belong here."
"You want to use Yggdrasil as a portal?" The Green Man splutters "Young child do you understand what you are proposing!? Do you realize the consequences that could follow if the Tree was damaged during your ritual?"
I bristle "Of course I understand! I am no mere child to suggest that we use the life blood of the Great Tree trivially. I have seen the rites preformed before and I know the power that flows through its green veins."
Before I can continue he cuts me off.
"What sort of magic is yours child?"
"Water," I reply, gritting my teeth as his continued his degradation of my age.
"So what are you? Some kind of nymph? A water fairy?"
"Merfolk, actually," I can't help but toss my head a little, for there is no other people who hold so much power with the water magic.
"I see," he growls "Man destroyed your home. Don't you wish revenge?"
"No, I simply wish to see our kin brought home," my voice drops to a soft murmur and I turn to face the King and Queen.
They sigh in unison, but only Oberon speaks "The World Tree is under his care. Reason with him and not us."
The stomp of hooves interrupts us and Isanese storms forwards, her leafy breezes of a mane billowing as if whipped by a gale.
"Sir," she speaks to The Green Man. He is her protector, her advocate amongst the world of magic, as well as the voice for every dryad, every wood elf, every creature tied to the forest, when they speak, he must at least listen.
"Yes, Isanese?" he replies, with a heavy frown.
"I have seen Onodine use her magic, I have watched her perfect it over the years. She can do it. And I can help her."
"Are you certain," he growls, softly, patiently.
"Of course," she paws the ground, the sound of wood scraping against the marble grating filling through the air.
The Green Man turns to the King and Queen of the fairies.
"She may try it," He rumbles "But if the Tree shows any signs of decay or harm she must stop immediately."
"I will not harm the tree," I step closer to him, craning my neck to look up "If it is decided, then may we go?"
He nods.
I turn and bow to Tatiana and Oberon. In turn they bow to me.
Then Isanese kneels to allow me to climb up onto her back. I tighten my knees against her side, the King and Queen spread their wings, I glance backwards, but The Green Man has already disappeared.

"Hold tightly," Isanese whispers as she gathers her legs beneath her.
"I am."
But I still gasp as she leaps into the air, the wind gathering beneath her and she begins to gallop across the mist of green spreading leaves beneath her hooves.
I try not to look as the world falls away and we begin to fly, race, across the sky towards the cliff that towers over the Otherworld.
I dare to glance to the side and see Queen Tatiana flying beside us, sparkling wings buzzing. I do not look to the other side, but I assume that King Oberon is there.
I grit my teeth as Isanese's steps angle higher and the clouds begin to look as though I could easily snatch them up in my hands.
The wind rushes as we rise up past the gray stone cliff, whipping my hair around my face.
Then, Isanese slows, my hair falls back across my shoulders, and I hear the soft thump as her hooves touch the grass.
"Well then, mergirl, let me see what you are going to do to the Tree that binds this world together," The Green Man steps forwards as I slip off of Isanese's back.
I smooth down my hair before saying anything, then nod to him "I believe I have already explained what I am going to do, sir."
"Yes, explained, now demonstrate."
Isanese whickers softly and follows me as I step up to the huge tree that stands at the edge of the cliff, thick trunk, enormous knotted roots reaching out in every direction, and eternally green leaves spreading out in huge thick clumps above our heads.
The green life that binds the Otherworld together.
I near it, the clock ticking in my hands, every step I take, the tick increases, until it is one rapid, incessant, mechanical sound.

"Weave your magic with mine," I whisper to Isanese "It will allow me to impress the workings of the clock with the tree."
She nods and a green stream of energy winds around the pocket watch.
"Are you...certain this will work?"
I turn my head to look at her, feeling a stab of disappointment, not even she fully trusted that this could work.
"It will."
It has to.
The watch begins to glow gentle summer green and the metal turns warm within my hands.
This will work.
Slowly, to hide the trembling of my arms, I walk to the base of the tree and kneel between the two greatest roots.
I set the watch down where the two roots meet and stand back, summoning my own magic, flowing like a single piece of fluid silk. Tendrils of green reach out from the watch to meet the blue of my magic and they meet with a tremble of electricity and thunder, then begin to pulsate.
The ripples of energy are absorbed by the tree and the ground around me begins to quake, I tremble, my arms shiver from the strain of holding the magic in such a complicated design. But now the clock begins to take over, doing as I had created it to do, opening the portal.
Then it begins to tap into the tree, using the great plant as a beacon, to find and call to it all those on the other side of the portal.
Voices are ringing out around me, The Green Man is shouting, Isanese is whinnying in fear, I force myself to ignore them.
There is a wave of sound, many voices opposing and fearful and an explosion of light follows them.

I hear the Green Man and Isanese and The King and Queen of Faeries and my father, all speaking to me through a darkness.

I open my eyes, my body prone on the ground and the muscles in my arms still shaking. They are all standing over me.
"Did it work?" I ask weakly as a strong pair of arms lifts me up.
"Yes," a familiar voice replies and I smile as I recognize it.
"You brought us home, Ono."
I lean against my father as I fight off tears "I've missed you."
He smiles down at me "I've missed you too."
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Re: Songs of the Otherworld

Postby Ranger of the North » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:48 pm

Aw :D
Oh, what's with the change in style? c:
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Re: Songs of the Otherworld

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:28 am

lol, it's the person switch prompt on the ultimate challenge. The prompt says to switch around the POV you typically use, so, I did. Also decided to write it in present tense. Not sure why, sounds cool though.
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