By cbishop 3 Comments
I decided that I wanted all of my Character Creation Contest (CCC) entries in one place. These are the entries as they were posted to the original contest threads, no embellishments, no edits. Up through CCC #13, these entries have appeared individually on the Fan-Fic forum, retitled and edited for better reading (the others will be edited and appear there eventually). I'll update this as each new contest ends. I hope you enjoy them, and as always, thanks for reading. -cb
|Okay, well, I finally got a notice that my "content is too long," so I'll have to split this up. After CCC #24, please refer to Part 2. -cb|
All of my CCC entries, from CCC #24 to CCC #1:
|024||Gunfighter in Weird West OC||3,722||13||3||1st||M|
The Legend of Johnny Smokers: The Beginning
The Appaloosa meandered slowly along the trail, its rider sitting straight in the saddle. He had his hat pulled low over his eyes to shade from the setting sun, and was slowly rolling a cigarette for the end of a long day. The last few nights, something had been tearing the cattle apart, eight or nine heads at a time. They’d heard wolves from that general direction, but the animals were gone by the time they got there, and the tracks they found were nothing they could explain.
His men had quit on him earlier in the week over bogus pay disputes, so each night he had moved the small herd closer and closer to the ranch. His wife’s brothers had been helping him out, but they went home just before sundown. Or they went, anyway. They were good men, but he had never really been sure of their ways.
He tamped the cigarette on the saddle horn a few times, then lit up and took a long drag. He held it for a moment, savoring the taste, then exhaled slowly. The smoke hung heavy with the lack of wind, hugging the curve of his face to the back of his head, then sinking along the line of his duster until it seemed to blend with the gray-and-white coat of his horse, seeping around the black, leopard-like spots like water around rocks. He reached down and rubbed the horse’s neck lightly. “Almost home, Graycloud.”
The horse tossed its head and snorted lightly. Then it stopped dead still and pricked its ears up. “What is it, boy?” The horse snorted again and pawed the ground uneasily. The rider said, “Ho, Graycloud, calm down.” He reached to pat the horse again, but then a scream rang out. Horse and rider both tensed, and the rider said, “Maria?” He heard the snarl of wolves and then another scream. “Maria!” he shouted, and Graycloud was running before he could get spurs into the horse’s sides.
The wind kicked up as they rode, and by the time they covered the short distance to the ranch, it was pushing a full blown dust storm ahead of them, making it hard to see the house from the road in. He could just make out the porch ahead of them, the silhouette of his wife struggling with someone much bigger than her, and…were there more? Was that a man walking towards the house, from across the field? Where were the children? He wasn’t sure, for the storm. Then Maria screamed again, and he didn’t have time to worry about it.
Graycloud charged the house, ran alongside the porch, and the rider leapt from the saddle, losing his hat and hooking Maria’s attacker around the neck, throwing both of them to the porch floor. The rider hit the porch on his back, taking the brunt of the fall, but the attacker snarled and rolled with the fall, rolling off the end of the porch. “Johnny!” Maria shouted, terror in her voice. Johnny looked up at his wife, then his eyes got wide, and he drew a pistol and fired just beyond her, catching an attacker in the shoulder at the other end of the porch, spinning it backwards, out into the dust storm.
“What the hell is that thing?” he shouted, drawing his other pistol. Maria didn’t have time to answer before another crashed through the roof of the porch, landing between them. It looked down on Johnny, who was still on his back, and all Johnny could do was stare. This creature stood like a man, but its body was covered in fur, its hands and feet ended in claws, it had the head of a wolf, and something hung from its neck that looked like Indian beadwork. It breathed heavily as it growled, and when it took a step towards Johnny, Maria screamed. The creature moved swiftly, swinging backwards without looking, knocking Maria away. She bounced off of the cabin wall and fell forward, landing hard on the porch, her long black hair falling over her face.
“Maria!” shouted Johnny, and he unloaded several shots into the gut of the creature, knocking it backwards until it stumbled over Maria and fell backwards off of the porch, one leg still propped on the porch. Johnny moved then, starting to scramble towards Maria, when something snarled and grabbed his ankle. He was startled, but he twisted quickly and put two bullets in the head of the wolf that had rolled off his end of the porch, knocking it into the obscurity of the dust storm again. He got to his feet, and took two steps before the front door exploded outwards, and he found himself just a few feet from another creature. It was snarling, fangs and fur dripping with blood, and then he saw something that chilled his blood. It was holding a leg… and an arm… and they weren’t from the same child. Johnny sobbed involuntarily, frozen in place by the horror of it.
He didn’t move when the wolf gripped the doorframe and began to crouch. His breath caught in his chest as he stared at the growling beast, the blood of his children running from its chin. They locked eyes for a long moment, until the beast’s ears laid back on its head. When it’s lips curled, Johnny snapped back to himself with a scream, and he shot the beast again and again, backing it into the house with each shot, until he was standing in the doorway, pulling the triggers on empty chambers, still screaming as much in anger as in horror. Once his breath ran out, his scream died down. Slowly, he lowered his guns, focusing only on the fallen wolf, because he was afraid to look into the cabin.
He trembled as he took a step backwards, back out onto the porch, and then another. He reached to his belt for a bullet, and began reloading. He had one reloaded and three in the chambers of the second gun when he heard a low growl. He looked to his left and saw the first wolf he had tackled, bleeding from the head, hoisting itself back up onto the porch. He heard two more growls from his right, and the two near Maria were climbing back up also, one holding its shoulder, the other holding it’s gut. They all wore the same beadwork around their necks. He snapped the half loaded barrel back into the pistol and pointed a gun in each direction. The wolves growled a little louder and suddenly a voice from the yard yelled, “NO!”
Johnny spun quickly, swinging his guns towards the voice as it said, “He’s mine.” The voice walked calmly through the dust storm, and took the form of a man as it got closer. An Indian actually, with long black hair, a duster, and a knife sheathed on his hip. He was smoking a cigarette, and he wore the same necklace as these creatures around him. The dust storm died abruptly. Just then, Johnny heard a growl at his back, and felt hot breath on his ear. The wolf from the cabin, still standing? He forgot the man in the yard as he turned slowly towards the creature, its teeth only inches from his face. He instinctively shuffled one foot to attempt to back away, and the beast lashed out, slamming a backhand into Johnny’s chest that sent him flying out into the yard. He landed on his back, his head at the stranger’s feet, looking up into his face. When he realized he had not let go of his guns, he pointed them up at the man.
The Indian did not look impressed. “Do you know why I carry this knife instead of a gun, stranger?”
‘Stranger?’ thought Johnny. They did all of this, and they don’t even know who I am? Johnny breathed hard and shook with rage. Through gritted teeth, he responded, “Deathwish?”
The man bent down so his face was inches from the barrels, smiled, and said, “To make it a fair challenge.” Johnny went to pull a trigger, but the Indian moved faster, snatching the guns from his hands and tossing them aside.
Then one of the wolves leapt from the porch. The Indian reacted instantly. He whipped a gleaming blade from its sheath, caught the wolf in the belly as it came down, and then slammed him into the ground. Straddling the creature, the Indian ripped the knife from his belly, held the bloody blade to the wolf’s throat and yelled, “I told you: he is mine!” He then slashed the wolf’s throat, tearing the necklace from its neck in the process. The wolf died instantly. The other wolves howled as the Indian wiped the blade in the beast’s fur. He stood, returned the blade to the sheath on his hip, turned towards the other wolves on the porch and roared, “HE’S MINE!” The wolves all stooped and whined, ears laid back on their heads as they backed up and tried to hide behind each other. The Indian’s eyes narrowed, and then he pointed at Maria and said, “But I don’t want her.”
The wolves perked back up at that, and Johnny screamed as they fell upon his wife and ripped her to pieces. The Indian watched the wolves impassively as Johnny rolled back-and-forth on the ground, sobbing for his wife. The Indian looked on the man with disgust as he lay face down in the dirt, crying over his woman. He strode over, grabbed Johnny by the hair and jerked his head upwards as he said, “Time to die, boy.”
Johnny came up with his guns in his hands, which he had rolled over on while the Indian wasn’t looking. “I don’t think so,” he raged, as he jammed a gun into the Indian’s face.
The Indian smiled. “Why? Because you have a gun? I’ve already shown you I can take it before you pull the trigger.”
Johnny backed away a step, gun still pointing at the Indian, and he said, “No, not because I have a gun. Because you want me for something.” He backed away out of arm’s reach, but still didn’t feel safe, despite the guns.
The Indian smiled like he could sense Johnny’s fear. “Yes I do,” he stated, as he took a step forward. “I want you for sport,” and then he turned into a wolf and advanced on Johnny who was now backing up rapidly. Johnny was in a full backwards run when the wolf leapt at him, and he was surprised when he heard a loud neigh and Graycloud slammed into the wolf at a full run.
The wolf snarled and slashed at the horse’s neck as he fell to the ground. Graycloud reared up and came down on the wolf with his front hooves, causing him to howl in pain. He reared up again, and Johnny shot the wolf a few times, which caused the horse to turn away. Johnny wondered why he hadn’t shot before, but wasted no time running to his horse and swinging into the saddle. “Go, Graycloud!” The Appaloosa chafed at the rein brushing the claw marks on its neck, but it took off at a run.
Behind them, Johnny heard, “You’re mine! You’rrre miiine! YOU’RE MIIINNNNEE!” and then he felt a hot pain in his left shoulder as the Indian’s knife found its mark, and he tumbled roughly from the saddle, digging the blade in further as he rolled.
The Indian wolf smiled, but before he could advance, an arrow pierced his leg, and he howled. More arrows zipped through the air and the other wolves howled too, as the arrows found back, shoulder, and heart. The one hit in the heart fell dead. More arrows hit the porch columns, the cabin, and the Indian wolf, now just an Indian again, took another in the arm. He snarled when he was hit, and it still sounded like a wolf. He looked at the two remaining wolves, and they all bolted for the woods on the far side of the field.
Johnny watched all of this from where he lay in the road as he faded to unconsciousness. Just before passing out, he saw more Indians advancing on him, and he felt no relief. Maria’s brothers, he thought, and then everything went black.
He woke with a start in the teepee, but a hand, old but firm, rested on his good shoulder before he could attempt to sit up. Johnny looked at the hand and followed the arm up to the face of its owner, the shaman Two Rivers- so called because his people say two rivers run through him: his own spirit, and the Great Spirit. Right or wrong, he was one of the wisest men Johnny knew. Right now though, he had a stony look of pain, calm, and angry contemplation that only Indians seem able to master. The old man pressed Johnny’s shoulder one more time, silently telling him to lie still, then said, “It has been many moons, Johnny Smokers.”
Johnny winced, then smiled lightly. His last name was Smuckers, but the old Indian had always said it “Smokers,” and Johnny loved the man’s daughter too much to insult him by correcting him. He could barely look at him now, sure that Maria’s brothers had told him how she died. Johnny expected death, and had no doubt that this man could deliver it. Eyes closed, he started carefully, “Two Rivers…I…”
“I told you that death would find my daughter Running Rivers if you took her as your wife, and here we are,” the shaman said simply, in a voice that rasped like dry leaves. “I gave her up to the Great Spirit when she accepted you as her husband anyway,” he continued. “My anger over her death was spent many winters ago. You need not fear for your life here, Johnny Smokers,” he said knowingly, “for how can I kill you when all that is left of Running Rivers now runs in you alone?” Pressing two fingers over Johnny’s heart, Two Rivers said, “Bound together by the Great Spirit, the river of her spirit now runs in you.”
Now it was Johnny’s turn to look pained. He squeezed his eyes shut tight, and placed his right hand over Two Rivers’. The old man did not flinch from his touch, and after a minute, Johnny said, “Thank you, Two Rivers.”
The old shaman smiled. “You are welcome, Johnny Smokers. Now rest. We shall talk more when you wake.”
“Tomorrow then,” replied Johnny.
“I did not say tomorrow,” answered Two Rivers. Johnny worried at that, but soon closed his eyes to sleep. He dreamed terrible dreams of wolves that stood like men, his wife screaming, and a river in which he found peace and safety, because the wolves could not cross it.
When Johnny woke, his shoulder felt better, but he was stiff as a board, and his mouth was dry. Two Rivers still sat beside him. The shaman held a small bowl of water to his lips, he drank, and once the pain from swallowing subsided, he asked, “How long was I sleeping?”
“The fever from your wound took you, and you slept a sleep like death for a moon.”
Johnny thought for a second, repeating, “A moon,” then started with shock as he said, “A month? I’ve been asleep for a month?” He tried to sit up, but Two Rivers put a hand to his shoulder, just as he had done a month ago, and he laid back.
“Yes, and while you slept, Coyote came looking for his knife,” answered Two Rivers. He held the gleaming blade up for Johnny to see and smiled. “We did not let him have it.”
Johnny studied the blad and asked, “Why does that and the arrows of Maria’s bro…” He caught Two Rivers’ scowl and corrected himself, “Running Rivers’ brothers killed a wolf man with arrows, but I emptied my guns into them, and they just got back up.”
Two Rivers turned the blade over in his palm, and holding it up again, he said, “Silver can kill them. I do not know why, but we found much of it in the cave at the foot of the mountain, and we use it to make our arrowheads, our knives, and to tip our javelins. We ran Coyote off with them, as we have done many times.” The shaman studied the knife for a moment before placing it on the ground before him. Johnny could tell that something else was coming, so he waited. Two Rivers rocked a bit, his hands raised palms up before him. He then clasped his hands together, shook them slightly, and plopped them in his lap as he looked to the sky through the top of the wigwam. The stone left his face as he searched for the right words, but finally just said, “Graycloud was a great help in fighting Coyote, this time.” For once, it was Two Rivers that didn’t meet Johnny’s gaze.
“My horse?” asked Johnny. “He saved me back at the cabin, but he was injured. How did he help you here?”
The shaman raised his eyebrows as he stared out the opening of the teepee, and he said, “Graycloud has much changed since he was a colt.”
Johnny had never seen Two Rivers be evasive before. It would have been funny, if it weren’t so frustrating. “Two Rivers! What happened to my horse?”
“You will see…in time,” answered the shaman. Then clearly changing the subject, he held up the broken necklace from the wolf man that was slain by Coyote. “Do you know what this is?”
“I was hoping someone could tell me,” Johnny answered honestly. “All of them wore one, including this Coyote.” He looked at it laid over Two Rivers’ hands, and noticed its crescent design in the middle, curving downwards with the curve of the beads.
“It is the eye of the wolf,” answered Two Rivers.
“It looks like the moon,” said Johnny.
“Are they not the same?” asked the shaman.
Johnny furrowed his brow, but answered, “Sure, I guess.” He was actually a little aggravated with the wise man bit at the moment, but he figured that was because he hadn’t eaten a decent meal in a month, so he tried not to let it show further. Realizing how hungry he was, he decided to change the subject himself, and he asked, “What’s the possibility of getting some grub?” Two Rivers smiled.
A couple of weeks later, Johnny was up and around, moving easily. He had been practicing at throwing Coyote’s knife, and was getting pretty good. He’d shown a remarkable talent for the javelin as well, but almost none for the bow and arrow, but that was probably because he was so much weaker than usual from having lain around for a month. Or maybe it just wasn’t his weapon.
He put the knife back in its sheath, and for the first time, it occurred to him to wonder where the sheath had come from. He hadn’t gotten a good look at it that night, but he was fairly certain this was the same one worn by the Indian wolf man. He looked at it closely. It did carry Coyote’s half moon mark. He strode purposefully to the center of the village, where Two Rivers sat on a log. A couple of braves had followed closely behind when they saw Johnny heading for the shaman with a knife, but they were waved off by Two Rivers. He pulled the knife from the sheath and jammed the blade into the dirt before him. Holding out the sheath, he demanded, “How did I get this, and where are my guns?”
Two Rivers only glanced at the sheath, but nodded to the braves behind Johnny, one of whom ran off. The old man pulled one of Johnny’s pistols from under his blanket, and handed it to him butt first. The butt had a half moon carved in it. “We were not able to simply turn him away, while you slept. The knife was not ours to return, so we told him that he must return for it when you awaken. But Coyote is the trickster, so he does not trust easily. He asked for something in return, in case you did not wish to give it back. We gave him one of your guns.” Just then, the brave returned with Johnny’s gunbelt.
Johnny took it, looked it over briefly, and said, “And one of my holsters?”
“And he gave you the sheath for his knife,” answered Two Rivers, “in good faith. He is a trickster, but often fair in his dealings.”
“FAIR?” shouted Johnny. “He took my family, Two Rivers!”
Two Rivers shook his head lightly. “You took his first.”
Johnny was stunned. He stared at the shaman in disbelief.
“Running Rivers was promised to Coyote by her grandfather, my father,” continued Two Rivers. He raised his eyebrows and shrugged, “What do you think Running Rivers was running from? All rivers run from something and to something else.” He fixed Johnny with a look, and said, “Coyote is often fair.”
Johnny hung his head low and whispered, “Of course. That’s why she was willing to change her name. She was hiding.” Johnny was silent for a minute, and the village waited for his silence to be over. Finally, he breathed deeply, jammed the pistol into its holster, and strapped on his gun. He picked up the knife, sheathed it, and placed it on his other hip.
“You will return that to Coyote?” asked Two Rivers.
“If he wants it, he can come and get it,” answered Johnny, and he turned to leave. A squaw met him with Graycloud, and he took the reins and began walking out of the village.
Two Rivers called after him, “Take heed, Johnny Smokers! You must return that blade to Coyote! But as long as you carry your guns, death and smoke will follow.”
Johnny turned back to the shaman and answered, “They can follow. They just need to stay out of my way.” Then he turned again to leave the village.
|023||Horror: P.I. OC||2,114||8||4||1st||T+|
So a private eye walks into his lawyer's office, finds her struggling with an octopus guy, and he's got his tentacles all over her. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right? Well, that's my life now. One bad joke after another. From the doorway I said, "It's not funny, Jeanine." Jeanine Fairchild, Esquire, my attorney and business partner- we share the office space.
"Oh, Solomon!" cried Jeanine, throwing a hand to her forehead and kicking her heel in the air. "Get this thing off of me!"
I repeated, "It's not funny, Jeanine. Turn him back."
"Solomon Seal!" she pleaded. "This is no time for games! Help me! Shoot it"
I didn't move from the doorway. "I said turn my brother back, Jeanine. Now."
Suddenly undisturbed by the tentacles entangling her, Jeanine looked at me cooly for a few seconds, then stomped the foot she had raised in the air. "Damn! How'd you know it was him?"
"He's wearing my dad's watch," I answered. "He hardly ever takes it off. Plus I was expecting him. Now turn Titus back to normal."
She raised an eyebrow. "Why should I?"
"Because it's been a long night, I'm not in the mood, and I'm hungry."
Still in the embrace of my brother the octo-man, she put a hand on her hip and said, "Well, so am I. You haven't paid me in two months." Okay, so I rent my part of the office space from her. Lawyers.
I narrowed my eyes at her. "You don't eat. At least not anything you'd pay for."
She threw me a petulant look, "I paid for you, didn't I?"
"That was a charity bachelor auction, and you took advantage!" I said perhaps a little too sharply.
She poked out her bottom lip and gave me the puppy dog eyes. "You didn't seem to think I was taking advantage then," she cooed.
"Yeah, well, when you said you were going to eat me up, I didn't think you meant it literally!" I barked. It's exactly what it sounds like. I partnered with Jeanine about a year ago to do private investigations for her clients or in relation to her cases. We got friendly, we got flirty, and then came the bachelor auction. She paid an obscene amount of money to charity for a date with me, we went out, and things led to her place. While I was handcuffed to her headboard, she drained my main vein of enough blood to keep her alive and make me one of the undead... and I've still got the bite marks to prove it. "Now enough! Turn him back!"
She rolled her eyes, huffed, snapped her fingers, and Titus turned back to normal. "Oh, relax, crabby. We were just having some fun. Weren't we Up-Titus?" She stroked my brother's cheek and made a kiss face at him. He backed away quickly. Jeanine gave him a low growl.
I put a hand on her shoulder and said, "Down, girl." She sneered. "Tito..."
"Tito!" Jeanine cut in. "Tito? Oh, Solomon, you are just too cute." She smiled a wicked, scheming smile which almost certainly meant Titus was in for more torture later.
I looked at her dubiously. "You think I'm 'cute?'"
She tilted her hazel eyes my way and said, "Aw. Yeah... and your little bro, too." She winked at Tito, and he backed up more, until he hit the window. "There's something very special about him." She waggled her eyebrows.
"Tito," I said again. Jeanine giggled. "You okay?" He was focused on Jeanine and didn't answer, so I snapped my fingers a few times and waved until I got his attention, then asked again, "Are you okay?" Titus flicked his eyes back at Jeanine, then slowly back to me. He lifted his hands tentatively, then began waving them around furiously.
"Hey! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Hey! Hey! Slow down! You know I'm new to this." He began signing again, still going a little too fast, but I followed most of it.
"He's deaf?" asked Jeanine. She sounded almost genuinely concerned. "When did this happen?"
"He's not deaf, he's mute," I corrected her, "and it happened the same time you happened."
"Me? I didn't do this!" she protested. "I only turned him into an octopus! He couldn't talk then, but that shouldn't be lingering now that he's back to normal."
"No, Jeanine, it happened right after you turned me into a...into this." She looked at me reproachfully. I still have a hard time saying the word. "We had that brownout a few months ago. My fridge was out long enough for my blood stores to spoil. Tito found me in a bad state, and he let me have some of his blood."
"Let you?" echoed Jeanine.
"Yes, Jeanine, he let me. He's my brother, and he cares for me that much. But I almost took too much. He went into shock, and the trauma drove him mute. The doctors say..."
"Doctors?" Jeanine cut in again. "You involved doctors? How many? Where? What were you thinking?" she fired in rapid succession.
I fired back, "Yes I did, a few, nevermind where, and I was thinking of my brother, not about keeping the ancient secret of Jeanine Fairchild."
We glowered at each other for about two seconds before she snarled, grabbed me by the throat, lifted me bodily off of the floor and slammed me against the wall, causing her Ivy League diploma to crash to the floor. "That 'ancient secret' is now your secret too, and you'd better get real serious real quick about protecting it. Doctors are too curious- they want to study vampirism and figure it out. They get ideas about being published in medical journals and winning humanitarian awards. We can't afford that kind of scrutiny." She glanced at the diploma in the floor and added, "You're paying to reframe that."
Once she loosened her grip a bit, I said, "Exactly. They want to study it, and I'm paying them to do so, which is why I haven't paid you for the last two months. You can afford it. The money keeps them quiet and that lure of medical fame keeps them going. I'll take any chance I can get to undo this condition."
"'Condition?' You're a vampire, Solomon. Get used to it. I've been around for ages. You think I haven't hired doctors to try to figure this out before?" She locked eyes with me, but when Titus shifted to move from the window, she pointed at him without looking, and he quickly pressed back against the window sill.
"When was the last time you tried? 1897? About the time Bram Stoker wrote Dracula?" Jeanine was surprised by that, and couldn't cover it before I raised an eyebrow that let her know she was caught.
Refusing defeat, she countered, "Actually, they had been working on it since 1893, and Bram Stoker is exactly my point! One of those doctors couldn't resist telling him all about what they had found, and he wrote that bloody book. He took license to embellish, of course."
I eased away from the wall as I said gently, "That's just it, Jeanine. Science and medicine have changed since then. These three are excited and highly motivated to unlock the mystery of vampirism."
Jeanine crossed her arms and gave me a look that said she was back on top. "Three, huh?" She smiled wickedly.
Damn. "Yes, three, Jeanine. And if any of them get out of line, you can eat them." What can I say? When you're dealing with a monster as old and powerful as Jeanine, pick your battles. "In the meantime... let them try. Okay?"
She took a deep breath and gave me an icy stare. "Fine, but you are wasting your time, and when they fail, I will kill them."
"My time to waste. Do you mind if I eat now?"
She raised an eyebrow at me and said, "You don't eat either."
"Not true. I still enjoy hamburgers, a good New York strip, and on occasion, that shrimp fettuccine I had for dinner before you had me for dinner." I smirked.
Jeanine shook her head. "You're never going to let that go, are you?"
"You turned me into a monster, Jeanine. That's kind of hard to forget." I looked at her unapologetically, and she had nothing to say.
I walked over to Tito who was rolling up his sleeve. He took off dad's watch and offered me his wrist. I leaned in to bite, and Jeanine said, "I thought you said he never takes off that watch?"
I stopped and looked at her. "I said 'hardly ever.' When I need some of his blood, he lets me take it from his wrist. The artery lets me take what I need faster, and the watchband covers the bite marks." I leaned back in and bit into Tito's wrist, feeding for about twenty seconds- enough to get by.
Jeanine had watched curiously. "So you force your own brother to feed you? My, I did create a monster."
I licked my lips and wiped the corner of my mouth with my thumb. "No, I don't force him. He helps me when I don't have any other way. Right now, I'm paying the doctors, so the blood banks are unavailable to me."
"You've been doing this for awhile then?" she asked.
"On and off," I nodded.
"But he's not enthralled to you, or turned?" She looked at Titus, genuinely interested.
I shrugged. "He's never shown any signs of it. Should he be?" I really didn't know. I tried to stick to the blood banks. Anyone else I'd taken blood from, I didn't leave them alive to observe the side effects, and we have a system for disposing of those bodies. There are other creatures out there that have to eat too.
Jeanine's eyes lit up and she slunk back over to Tito, eyeing him up and down like a prized sports car. "A natural immunity?" she gasped. "Myyy, Solomon, I was right- he is special." She caressed the left side of his face while growling low in his right ear. Tito closed his eyes and swallowed hard. Jeanine kissed his cheek quickly, cupped his chin in a firm grip, and looking at me with a big smile, she said, "Let's keep him safe! He could come in handy one day!" She gave his cheek a couple of playful slaps and snuggled her face against his before letting him go. Tito sagged back against the window for a few seconds, getting himself together.
"Stop, Jeanine. I don't play with your food." I looked at Tito and shrugged, "Sorry bro'. Bad joke." One after another, just like I said. He waved me off a little shakily, deciding to slide down to the floor.
I turned to Jeanine and was about to speak when I noticed a red dot dancing around her forehead. I got wide eyed and yelled, "Tito! Get down!" I dove for Titus as a bullet crashed through the window and sent Jeanine tumbling backwards over her desk and into the floor.
She snarled inhumanly as a mist rose from behind her desk and came towards us, deepening to a fog. Her face formed from the fog very close to mine and she growled, "You couldn't knock me out of the way? What if that bullet had been silver? If I die, you die!"
"That's a chance I'm willing to take. Titus is my first concern. You've 'been around for ages,' right? I figure you can survive just about anything." Unfortunately.
She looked livid, sounded worse. "We're going to have a talk about your attitude later, Solomon." She roared in anger and crashed out the window, pursuing whoever shot at her. The glass was for effect- she could have just as easily misted out the window.
It didn't matter though. Hudson was gone as soon as he took the shot. That's the way my older brother and I had planned it. Like I said: you have to pick your battles. Distracting my landlord from the diverted rent money, from disemboweling the doctors I diverted it to, and from devouring my baby brother were the battles that most needed fighting today. Tomorrow's battles will be replacing the window, getting Jeanine's diploma reframed, and convincing her that the shot wasn't meant for her. I help Tito up, see him out the door, and head across town to meet my contact at the morgue. He's been keeping a body fresh for me, and tomorrow, that will be Jeanine's "shooter."
Until then, there's work to do. Always is for a vampire P.I.
|022||Sci-Fi: Hope vs. Fear||2,000||19||1||3rd||T|
The name's Peppy, and I'm a space bunny. How's that happen, you ask? It's like this: I died in a horrible lawnmower accident, and... and... and there were ears and fur everywhere...everywhere! It was... h-horrible. Brr. But Little Jimmy didn't know that. What Little Jimmy's parents told him was that I went to Heaven, only they explained it as "a magical place in the sky."
It turns out a little boy's belief is a powerful thing. So powerful in fact, that I was resurrected and found myself in "a magical place in the sky" - space. The only thing it doesn't have is Jimmy, and I miss Jimmy. I fear I've seen the last of him, but I hope to get back to him someday.
In the meantime, there's space. This sector of it is called Hog Heaven. Yeah, I was expecting "Hare Heaven" too, but it turns out there's all kinds of animals here, and if you don't think it's magical, then you've obviously never been here.
Where else can a rabbit live side-by-side with predators and be free from petty peddlers trying to take my feet for keychains? Where else can I become hero to a planet full of green, amazonian jackrabbits with ears that go on for days? Where else is it possible that they didn't realize that the giant, monster carrots that were terrorizing them would taste so good?
Contrary to what my resurrection might tell you, I am in rabbit heaven, because I have been in carrots and cosmic cottontail ever since! Yep, I've still got my feet, and all of 'em are lucky, if you get the way my whiskers waggle. On a planet of alien angora, I am the Angoran's chief consort, and I just keep going, and going, and... <sigh> let's just say that pink fella with the drum has nothing on me. The afterlife is good! Six months and seven hundred twenty Angoran Amazons later, I've got eight thousand six hundred forty mouths to feed, and with no predators in sight, that number's only gonna grow, because... well... I am a rabbit. Don't judge me.
Still, even in the afterlife, it can't be the bunny hop all the time. Fortunately, the biggest business in space is import/export, and the biggest export from Angora are the "Halfbreed Hares of Hog Heaven!" So my problem is also my solution... and okayjudgemealittle. Moving on...
...I was on a delivery run in the Aluminum Falcon with my partner- a teacup terrier named Chewtoy. We had a dozen litters of Halfbreeds with us, a couple of stray cats named Bandit and Princess, and a resourceful robot hedgehog named Koosh. We had an android goldfish named Deep-CPO with us too, but frankly, he was annoying, so we used him for spare parts for the Falcon.
Unfortunately, one of the parts we needed was a voice response unit, so we were stuck with his annoying, know-it-all chatter, and he still sounded like he was underwater. Guess what I was planning to buy first, after we got paid for that delivery? Deep-C' could tell you with a ninety-nine-point-four percent probability of being right, as he'd tell you every chance you gave him. At the time, the danged thing was chuckling, and combined with that underwater burble of his, it was really a quite disturbing sound. "What's so funny, fish brain?"
"Oh my, sir, I was just considering the irony- I've gone from circling the fishbowl to swimming the ocean of space. An android fish out of water, as it were. A little fish in a much bigger pond. A..."
"Shut up!" I broke in. "I'm sorry I asked."
"No need to apologize, sir. I know I can go on a bit at times, but I shall endeavor to..."
"Shut up!" I interrupted. "Shut up! Shut. up! Shut! Up!"
"Well! There's no need to be rude, s..."
"Shutupshutupshutuuuuup!" I gasped. I slumped in my chair and my ears drooped a little. "Stupid koi-toy," I muttered.
"I heard that, sir."
While I was arguing with the bane of my existence, Bandit and Princess were playing a game with Chewtoy. It wasn't so much a "game," as Chewtoy would try to be fierce and intimidating to them (they were cats, after all) and they'd boredly bat him away like the mouse that he almost is.
"Hey!" I shouted. "Let the teacup win!"
Bandit, a Siamese, looked at me with disdain. "You're kidding, right?"
My ears perked a bit as I looked at him very seriously and said, "Let. the teacup. win. He takes it personally."
The other cat, a short-haired, light colored calico, scoffed. "You know that's just Napoleon syndrome, right? You let him get away with that?"
"Hey, Princess, my ship, my rules. You don't like it, you're free to get out and walk."
Chewtoy gruffed indignantly at the two cats, who growled in return. "Chewie! Playtime's over. We're there." I turned towards the viewport, took in the magnificent floating city that the Falcon was closing in on, and announced, "Cloud Nine."
We were exiting the docking bay where workers were unloading the Halfbreeds, when we heard, "Peppy! You old scoundrel! Where have you been keeping yourself?" Flanked by guards, the leader of Cloud Nine slithered towards us.
My whiskers twitched as I shook my head and said, "Boa Calrissian, you slimy snake! How are you?" I hugged the snake warmly.
He coiled around me once and squeezed just a little too tight. "You brought my snacks, right?"
"Sure I did. Eat all you want, I'll make more." Okayjudgemealot. "What do they taste like, anyway? Chicken?"
"It doesn't matter. I swallow them whole anyway," hissed Boa. He slackened his coil and withdrew. Then he flicked his tongue contemplatively a few times, before adding, "What's a chicken?"
"Chewtoy on bath night," I quipped. Chewie whined slightly, then wuffed his perturbance.
Boa swayed his head towards my teacup partner and said with a smile, "I might have to try that sometime." His tongue flicked Chewie's way, almost brushing my partner's nose.
Chewie went into a yapping fit, and Princess stepped up with a scowl and yelled, "Hey! You leave him alone!"
Boa coiled himself reflexively and swayed a bit as he looked at Princess and Bandit. "Oh look," he said, "Chinese takeout." Princess hissed, Bandit let out a low growl, and Boa just smiled as he uncoiled and started slithering back the way he came. "Come on, Peppy, let's go get your money."
I cocked my head over my shoulder, one ear cocked back with it, the other lazing over my forehead, and said, "Don't get lost you three, but...y'know...get lost." I waved over my shoulder and followed after Boa.
Once Boa and I had worked out the credits for the sale of the Halfbreeds, I contacted Chewtoy, Princess and Bandit, and told them to meet us back at the docking bay. Boa and I were halfway there when we were met by a large fish in black armor and a black helmet that kept him breathing when he was out of the water. "Dolph' Vader!" gasped Boa.
The dolphin inside the armor chittered madly, but it was translated by the helmet, "Why do you act surprised, Calrissian? I've come for Peppy, as we agreed."
"As you what now?" I asked, looking at Boa.
The snake's tongue flicked nervously, and he looked at me and hissed, "Sorry, Peppy. It was you or Cloud Nine. I've got a lot of animals to look after up here." I wasn't happy, but I couldn't really be mad.
"Peppy, for crimes against the Animal Kingdom, I'm taking you into custody," declared Dolph' Vader. "Take him." On his command, a small flock of white birds in armor surrounded me for the escort back to the docking bay.
"Hey, what is this?" asked Boa. "This was to be done quietly. No troop presence. That was the deal."
"I do what needs to be done," said the helmet, as the dark lord of the fish chittered inside it. "Or perhaps I need to leave some troops here, to oversee operations?"
Boa undulated from side-to-side uncomfortably, but dropped his head slightly as he replied, "I can see you've done what you had to."
"Good," replied Dolph'. "Bring him." The birds marched in unison as we headed to the docking bay, their talons making an odd click on the hard tiles of the floor.
When we reached the docking bay, we were met by Chewtoy. Chewtoy growled as menacingly as a teacup can. "Chewie, no!" I called. "Just get back to the ship." He growled again. "Now, Chewie!"
Just then, Princess and Bandit exited the ship. Bandit took one look at us and back arched, said, "Are those...?"
Princess smiled, bared her teeth, and finished his sentence, "...Storktroopers! We've got this!" And with that they bounded across the room at the flock of armored birds.
Behind them, Chewie growled again, his high pitched little teacup voice getting deeper, and deeper still as he shuddered and grew, until his body and his growl was that of a bear. He charged my captors. I smiled and looked at the fish lord, "That's my partner."
It was a short fight. Once Chewie and the strays had the Storktroopers on the ropes, Boa and his officers joined in the fight, and Dolph' Vader and his remaining troops retreated.
Boa was squeezing one last trooper until their armor cracked, and then he dropped them to the floor. He swayed a bit with excitment, and then looking at me, his tongue flicked and he said, "We should talk." Without another word, he started slithering for the docking bay door, headed back to his office.
My ears had been drooping forward a bit, since the fighting died down. When the snake spoke to me, they perked up again. I gritted my teeth and said, "I should think so," and I headed after him.
I slammed my blaster on Boa's desk and seethed, "Start talking...pal."
Boa quickly circled the trunk of a small tree rooted behind his desk, and settled calmly into it's lowest branches, "Oh calm down, Peppy. I did what was best for my city and you know it. I could see it in your eyes when we were with Vader."
My ears flattened against the back of my head as I glowered at Boa, but then I nodded. "Fine. What did you have to say then?"
Boa's head tilted to one side as his tail pushed a few buttons to bring up some images on the surface of the desk. "I looked into your problem, since I figured you wouldn't actually be going with Dolph' Vader." He smiled, and I narrowed my eyes at him again, warning him not to push my patience.
His head bobbed again. "It's Jimmy. Something's come up."
All the anger left me. "What? Jimmy? You've kept track?" I was dumbfounded.
"Hey, we're friends, right? I've had my sources looking for any possible way to get you back with Jimmy. We may have found one."
I looked at the snake with with a new respect, but I was still shocked. "H-how? You know the story: 'ears and fur everywhere.' How could I go back?"
Boa smiled, and his head extended out from the tree a bit, face level with mine. "He's developing an imaginary friend. A superhero.You could be the spirit and personality of that friend. You're perfectly suited for it." He smiled.
"A superhero? Me? What's the name?" I asked.
Boa's tongue flicked. "You're not going to believe it." He told me. He was right, I couldn't believe it. "You interested?"
I nodded. I was stunned by it. Jimmy. I was going back to Texas again. I was going to see Jimmy again.
Just like that, I was back, and The Aluminum Falcon was born. Jimmy and I made the most of it, and our adventures were legend. Thank goodness for little boys.
For those who might be wondering:
- The picture of Peppy is by Tyler Parker, on Inprnt.com.
- The title banner is a Microsoft Paint combo of "Peppy" from TP's picture, and "The Bunny From Beyond!" is from the cover of Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew #6.
- The "What the Hell is an Aluminum Falcon?!" logo is a T-Shirt design based on an episode of Robot Chicken. I wanted to use Aluminum Falcon as the name of Peppy's ship, because I'm sure I called the Millennium Falcon that by mistake at some point as a kid. I figured it may have been used though, so I did a Google search, and came up with that logo, and found out it came from Robot Chicken (I've never seen the show, so didn't know until I did the search). Incidentally, there's also a punk rock band in Las Vegas, Nevada named Aluminum Falcon.
- The picture I used for Cloud Nine is actually an image of DC's Hardcore Station.
- In the same search, I came up with the pics of The Aluminum Falcon. That's an RPG superhero created by Blacksteel and can be found in his blog, Tower of Zenopus. It was too good a connection to pass up for this story, so hopefully he won't mind. By the way, Blacksteel is from Fort Worthington, Texas, which is why I made Jimmy from Texas. Just a further nod to this guy whose character I appropriated. This is the last you'll see of him from me.
Really hope you folks enjoyed it. I had fun with this one. :)
|021||A Centipede, A Car & I'Cheese||2,065||2 and a bunch borrowed from Imp's stories||1||3rd||T|
Finding a golden idol in the shape of a modern car wasn't the hardest job I've ever had, but it may very well have been the strangest. That is, it may have been, until I was approached by that little girl. "Clarissa!" she called. No one had called me that in years.
"Do I know you?" I asked the girl as she ran up to me.
"I'm Ana!" she said brightly. She leaned in and whispered, "I've got a message for you." A little amused, I smiled and she said, "Open the boot."
"I beg your pardon?" I was genuinely confused.
"Oh, right, Clarissa's an American. The 'trunk.' Open the trunk," insisted the girl.
I was a bit stupefied, and it must have showed, because she gave me a look that said, "Snap out of it, dummy," and with a jerk of her hand indicated the BMV parked on the street behind me. Not quite shaking my befuddlement, I looked toward the car for a moment, before I heard the girl turn to run away.
"Wait!" I called after her. She stopped only a few steps from me, and turned to look at me curiously. "How do you know me as 'Clarissa?'"
Just then, two dozen boa constrictors slithered across the street, passing around Clarissa and between her feet. Her pupils elongated horizontally, then turned like keyholes until they were vertical and she blinked sideways. "You delivered me and my clutch," she answered, and with that, her form melted into that of another boa constrictor, and she slithered away with her siblings.
I remembered that day with some disdain, as it's one of the few jobs I have been fired from. I scowled at the receding tangle of snakes for just a moment, before remembering the girl's message. I fished the keys from the pocket of my combat trousers, and felt their heft in my hand. Jangling them for a moment, I tossed them lightly, caught them, and hit the keyfob button for the trunk. It popped lightly.
I walked over, opened it gingerly, and all I found inside was a pure white cat with a really ugly black and orange collar. It looked at me and said, "Meow." It didn't meow at me. It actually said the word, "Meow." While I was processing that, it jumped in my arms, rubbed it's head against my shoulder, then promptly clawed me and jumped, hightailing it for the alley across the street. I thought it's collar pulled off as it jumped, but it turns out it wasn't a collar at all.
It was a centipede. A really big centipede. I hate centipedes. "A centipede," I gasped. "Why does it have to be a centipede?"
It was rolling sideways down my arm while I was having this moment of phobic hysteria, until it reached my wrist and curled around it like a charm bracelet, stopping its momentum. Something I was sure it shouldn't be able to do, but nor should it have been able to say, "I wasn't really given much of a choice in the matter. My wife was a bit unhappy with me at the time."
I screamed and smacked at it instinctively, only succeeding in causing its venomous spurs to dig deeper into my wrist, which only freaked me out more. So I did the sensible thing and slammed my wrist on the trunk lid a bunch of times, trying to kill Jiminy Cricket's ugly cousin, but only succeeding in slamming the trunk shut in my fervor. I probably would've kept going until the pain caused me to pass out, but inbetween poundings against the car, the centipede finally said, "Do <oof> you <oof>MIND!" He had a rather manly voice for such a small creature...I might have even called it debonair, if it wasn't coming from a freakingcentipede! With a wild look on my face, I stared for several seconds at the thing clinging to my wrist like a bad memory. "You're quite lovely when you're manic, you know."
My chest heaved a couple of times, trying to keep down a scream, and I forced out, "What. do. you. WANT?!"
It looked up at me and said, "I need your help, luv."
My wrist still extended out as far in front of me as I could get it, I looked at the thing incredulously and said, "You have got to be kidding."
Several of the legs nearest the head seemed to shrug as he asked, "Why do you hate me so? You don't even know me."
I didn't really feel the need to explain myself to a bug - especially a bug I didn't even know - but my mouth opened unbidden, "It was my gap-year in Indonesia- I was envenomed by a giant centipede. I woke up in my tent to find a massive centipede crawling on my arm that looked exactly like you. That freaked me out, but what was worse was when the guide told us that each of its forty feet has a venomous spur on it. I was feverish and in constant pain for the next three days."
"Hm," the centipede fretted. "It hurt, then?"
"'Hurt?' Screw that. It felt as if someone had lathered up my skin with acid. It was that painful." Then I blinked hard and shook my head. "Why am I telling you this?" I felt a little woozy, and put my centipede free hand to my forehead.
"Yes, well, that would be me," he confessed. "My venom is a bit special. It compels you do whatever I want, including answering my questions."
I became a little unsteady. "That's reedorkylus," I slurred.
"Oh? Tell me, luv..."
"Stop cowlin' me dat," I interrupted. I wrinkled my nose at the words that wouldn't come out right.
"...Tell me," it repeated, "What's your favorite pants?"
"Combat troos...truss...the kind I'm warrin', ob'v'usly." I swayed a bit.
"Um-hm," it continued, "and you're afraid of me. Are you afraid of snakes?"
"I hander ven'm'us snakes on a reg'ar basis." I was trying to sound superior, but just then I was finding it really hard to do that and still stand up straight. "Perfess'r Jones really loves me f'r that." I smiled awkwardly and wobbled, stumbling back a couple of paces.
"I see. And what's your name?" he asked.
"Impurr...Emp'ror' Chess...no. No." Forgetting about the thing wrapped around my wrist, I stretched my arms closer to my sides, not quite touching, forcing myself to stand steady. I concentrated hard, and managed to say, "Impurest. Cheese."
"Your real name?"
"Elouise. Clayton," I answered, still forcing correct pronunciations from my mouth.
Sounding unnervingly charming, he asked, "Don't you mean 'Joanne,' luv?"
With that, a leotard and helmet of pink crystal formed around me, popping the centipede free of my wrist and bringing me to instant sobriety...and anger. "Only one person got to call me that, and you. are not. her! And I told you to stop calling me 'luv.' State your business bug, or I'm putting you in a coffee can until I figure out how to be rid of you for good."
"I don't think there's a coffee can big enough for me," he said, growing until he had become an eel.
I raised an eyebrow and smiled a cruel smile as the former centipede found it hard to breathe. It flopped back and forth on the pavement. "Having problems?" I mocked.
It grew again as it struggled, and became something larger and more mobile. He said, "Nothing Lugh the Wanderer can't overcome," and then he struck at me.
I flipped backwards, gracefully avoiding the strike and landing in a crouch, my tail whipping aggressively side to side. I hadn't been Katya in awhile. "Again, serpent: what do you want?" I growled.
He curled back on himself a bit, surprised to see my Princess Katya form. He tilted his head to one side and considered for a moment, then shifted his form again into the massive Dragon Eel of Macau. In response, I shifted from Katya to Jena Johansson, otherwise known as...
"Black Boxxxx!" the Dragon Eel hissed. "Then you do have what I am after!"
I gritted my teeth and asked, "And what would that be?"
"The golden mask of Ai Apaec! I must have it!" said the Dragon Eel.
I narrowed my eyes and asked, "Why?"
The Dragon coiled from side to side a bit, its head always staying centered towards me. He must have finally seen the futility in deception, as he gave in and answered, "My wife, Fea, gave me this ability to shapeshift long ago, when I was still a Viking named Ragnar. Over time, I have been all these things you've seen today, and more. She too has had many forms. She's currently in a temple in Peru, in her true form of Ai Apaec. She needs the mask to summon the Sea God, in order to save the Earth."
Still suspicious, I asked, "Save Earth from what?"
"Not what," he answered, "but who. The Orumcek are coming."
On hearing that name, I shifted from Black Box to a Valkyrie dressed in Middle Ages armor with a steampunk flair. "Get in the car," I said.
"Turn into that Viking you mentioned," I said, and hit the keyfob to unlock the doors.
The Dragon Eel seemed to coil upon itself as its form compressed and shifted into the form of a Viking warrior. "Ragnar, at your service," he said, his voice finally matching his visage. Swifter than I'd have thought, he closed the distance between us, grabbed me by the throat and lifted me off of the ground. "I think I'll just take that mask though, if you don't mind."
Both of my hands on his wrist, I leveraged myself enough to be able to say, "I'll...tell you...for...a kiss."
"HA! A kiss?" he roared. "I'm a Viking, wench! Do you think I don't know the power of a Valkyrie's kiss?" He slammed me against the car, and through gritted teeth said, "Tell me where the mask is!"
As he loosened his grip enough for me to talk, I took a few deep breaths and answered, "It's in the trunk."
"Do you think me a fool, woman? That's where you found me, remember? There was nothing in that trunk but me and that cat!"
"Yes, and some other time, you must tell me how you came to be there, but the mask is there also. It's in the spare tire compartment, under the floor." I held up one hand and jangled the keys before popping the trunk again.
Ragnar dragged me by the neck to the rear of the car, and with his free hand he started pawing at the floor of the trunk. Needing his other hand, he set me down and shoved me backwards before continuing to rip at the flooring.
I regained my composure, enjoying the free flow of air again, and looked down the street to see a couple of dozen kids and their sister running from the alley. Ana stopped in the middle of the street and waved at me before continuing after her brothers and sisters. As I waved back, Ragnar, his head half in the trunk, bellowed, "I see your many forms have taught you to be sneaky, luv!"
My steampunk armor shifted to bone, and a scythe appeared in my hand. "You know what else my many forms taught me?" I asked as I swept his feet with the scythe, tumbling him into the trunk. I pinned him down with the scythe, and as he looked at me in surprise, I recited, "'Meta, Dermis, Auricus.'" He turned to gold, and I slammed the lid down.
Shifting once more into combat trousers and a tank top, my scythe became a hand bow, which I tossed into the passenger seat as I got in. I pulled a cell phone from the console and made a call. "This is Siwang. Make some room in storage for a life sized golden statue, and find me that mask with the golden tentacles. It's somewhere near the Book of Secrets. I'm going to Peru. Right, Peru. Be there shortly." I hit the end button and tossed the phone next to the hand bow. I started the BMV, it lifted off the ground, and I was off to save the world. Again.
I ran through the water, my falcon trailing from above. Manjaro the Manslayer strode easily through the surf, hefting his mace as easily as a child does a stick. We met at the side of Finnrick the Fine only seconds apart. "My lord..." I started, but was cut off.
"Ulrich the Uneasy, you damned shaman! What in the nine hells have you done? Where have you brought us?" demanded Finnrick. His blonde locks danced in the wind.
"I'm not sure, my lord. My familiar could not be coaxed to fly high enough for me to see more than we see from here," I confessed.
"You've beached us on an island with a giant," Manjaro grated.
"It's only one giant," I rebutted, "and it appears to be trapped in stone...even the flame it carries." Finnrick raised an eyebrow towards the great stone creature with the many horned head. I hesitated, but then added, "I thought it a safer choice than that."
Finnrick and Manjaro turned their gazes after mine, and we were quiet for long moments. Finnrick finally spoke, "I do not know what magicks have created yon city, but it's mage must be powerful indeed. There is not even a wall around it...as if daring us to enter. The castle smokes like a volcano."
"Like Lakagígar itself, Lord Finnrick. And that din...you can hear the people screaming from here. What evil does this sorcerer wreak upon his subjects?" mused Manjaro.
"M-my lord," I started, "whatever magicks these are, they are beyond me."
Finnrick spun on me quickly, "Are you saying you have brought us here to be at the mercy of some mage?"
I held up a hand tentatively. "I serve at your mercy, Lord Finnrick, but I serve you best by telling you that I cannot defend us againstthis..." I swept my hand towards the castle, and as if to emphasize my point, a giant bird the likes of which we had never seen swooped upon the castle in a roar.
We were all stunned for a minute, but as ever, our leader found his voice first. "Back to the boat."
"My lord?" asked Manjaro. "We are just leaving?"
"Yes, Manjaro, we are leaving. We were not meant to be here, and Ulrich is right. Whatever magicks these be, I have never seen him perform anything of this magnitude. We have entered into a war which we know nothing about, and have come ill equipped for."
Manjaro turned obediently and stalked back to the boat. I stared at the smoldering castle for another few moments, until Finnrick turned on me, gritting his teeth. "And you. You get us away from here while this sorcerer is otherwise occupied, and before this giant should take notice of us- encased in stone or not." He turned again and strode purposefully through the water, back towards the boat.
I looked after him, then up to the sky, holding out my arm so my familiar could land. I fed him a piece of meat, replaced the hood over his eyes, and slogged back to the boat myself. Once aboard, I made the necessary enchantments, and thin streams of light began to snake around the ship. Fog followed, and before it could enshroud us completely, I stole one more glance at the gleaming city on the further shore, shrouded in black smoke from the castle. I wondered what magicks I might have learned from this mage, or if he might have just swallowed me whole. I reached out tentatively with my mystic senses, picked up on enough of the strange language to learn the name of this enchanted land, and then we were gone. As we returned from whence we came, I wondered what the Old York looked like before the sorcerer transformed it so.
|CCC||Theme||Wordcount||New OC||Votes||Overall Placement||Rating|
|019||All OC Humans vs. Aliens||Didn't Participate||-||-||-||-|
|018||OC Hero in a Fantasy World||Didn't Participate||-||-||-||-|
|017||OC Villain Team Doing Heroics||Didn't Participate||-||-||-||-|
|016||Medeival Fantasy...in Space||875||11||1||2nd||E|
The Ice Cold Curse of the Code of Silence
Once upon a time (cliché, I know, but it's a union thing), on the planet of Inquell, there was a beautiful princess named Kaligrofi. Kaligrofi lived in the kingdom of Longwood, daughter of the king of Longwood, and an evil sorceress, who had tricked the king into fathering her child. Though Kaligrofi lived in the royal castle, and was heir to the throne when her father bites it (sorry, the fairy tale stuff's gettin' to me) the evil sorceress wanted her daughter to be a sorceress, too.
To prevent this from happening, the king schooled Kaligrofi in the castle itself, and had his court magicians cast a spell over the castle to keep the sorceress from ever entering. Unfortunately, this also meant that if Kaligrofi was to be safe, then she could never leave. To make up for this, the king lavished his daughter with gifts, and always brought friends into the castle for her to play with, as she grew up. One friend in particular, named Cosmaximus, Kaligrofi liked very much, and they became very close over the years.
Cosmaximus was a young man, living in a village in Longwood Acres, the royal forest. Though not much to look at, he was very courageous, and over the years, he came to love the Princess Kaligrofi very much. He believed that though she never said so, she loved him too, and when the Princess was approaching her twenty-first birthday, Cosmaximus decided to proclaim his love, and ask for Kaligrofi's hand in marriage. He sent a holovid to the Princess by messenger, but the messenger was captured by the evil sorceress before he ever got out of Longwood Acres.
Viewing the holovid the messenger was carrying, the sorceress became bitterly enraged, because she did not wish for her daughter to be married. If she ever married, then she could not be a sorceress, for no sorceress has ever been married. Not being able to enter the castle herself, the sorceress turned the captured messenger into a huge dragon, with nine heads and three eyes on each head (the center eye on each able to shoot lasers) and sent it to attack the castle, and bring back her daughter. The dragon succeeded, and the sorceress bound the Princess Kaligrofi in chains, hidden in a cave on a mountain top, guarded by the dragon.
The king, knowing of the courage of Cosmaximus, sent a royal messenger to him, and asked him to rescue his daughter. Since he was greatly in love with Kaligrofi, he agreed, and set out to battle the dragon. On his way, he passed the sorceress' castle (conveniently, yeh, but we gotta keep the story going) which was empty, since the sorceress was in the cave with Kaligrofi. When he entered, he found her cyborgato, which it was rumored she cherished more than anything in the world. Cosmaximus took the cyborgato to the mountain, and threatened to kill it if the sorceress didn't release the Princess Kaligrofi, and turn the messenger back to normal. She eagerly did so, and pleaded with Cosmaximus not to kill her cyborgato.
However, after holding the cyborgato hostage until Kaligrofi, the messenger, and hisself all reached the royal castle, Cosmaximus did indeed kill the cyborgato (it had made the mistake of biting him, earlier). This greatly angered the evil sorceress, and to gain her revenge, she cast a spell to take away what Cosmaximus cherished most. She turned the Princess Kaligrofi's heart to ice, preventing her from ever loving anyone, or from being loved in return. For, if Cosmaximus ever confessed his love to Kaligrofi in any way, or if she ever confessed her love to him (if it ever truly existed) then the warm feelings of that love would melt her icy heart, and she would be lost to Cosmaximus forever. Thus, the sorceress had her revenge, and Cosmaximus and Kaligrofi were doomed to a mutual code of silence, lest Kaligrofi be lost forever to the people of Longwood. The grief of not being able to love his daughter was too much for the king, and he died. Kaligrofi's succession to the throne was known as the saddest reign in Longwood.
Cosmaximus courageously battled the evil sorceress for a number of years, vowing to make her lift the cold hearted curse on Queen Kaligrofi. Ironically, he succeeded the day the sorceress killed him. For when Queen Kaligrofi heard the news of the death of Cosmaximus, she shed a tear for him, thereby confessing her love for him, and melting her icy heart, which killed her. Therefore, the kingdom of Longwood lost its queen that day, as well as its greatest defender.
What happened to the sorceress? She stayed in Longwood, and tricked the new king into fathering her child; another daughter. After banishing the sorceress, the king kept the child in the castle, to prevent the tragic events that befell Queen Kaligrofi from ever being repeated. But that is another story.
(P.S. So the sorceress didn't die! Biggg deal! It may read like an old fairy tale, but this is the 2990's, and I've gotta set it up for the sequel. What were you expecting? "Happily ever after?")
|015||G.I. Joe OC||2,051||9||1||3rd||T+|
The earpieces made the barest squelch as a mic came to life. A baritone voice barked, "This is Yellow One! I'll be in position by the time the rest of you are done!" The Joe behind the voice gunned a bright yellow Humvee up a rough mountain road, headlights bouncing to the right and left a little bit, but with a firm grip on the wheel. The Hummer sported a big white circle on the hood with the number one in the center. "Let me know where you're at, Joes! Sound off!" The earpieces clicked silent.
Another mic flared and the earpieces this time broadcast the sound of a dirt track motorbike. "Yo Joe! This is Blue Two! One distraction, headed for the hot zone! Be there in ninety seconds!" The rider popped a wheelie just before jumping a small hill. The blue motorcycle bore a white circle on the side with the number two in the center. The engine whined faster just before the earpieces went silent.
Immediately following Blue Two, another mic went live and a quiet voice responded, "Red Three, in position. Eyes on Purple Four. Yo Joe." Then nothing. Having already breached the target structure, Red Three crouched in shadows, peering from the side of a window, across the street at the shapely figure of Purple Four.
A tall, ebony woman sat casually at a sidewalk bar table, across the street from the ski lodge. The lodge's main atrium was almost completely glass walls. She took a sip of her beer, and wondered what the place looked like in winter. She smiled demurely as she spoke into her mic. "Purple Four, in position, ready for Green Six. Enjoy your view, Red Three. Yo Joe." Red Three made no response.
Purple Four had barely finished transmitting when another mic squelched, and the earpieces sounded with, "It ain't like that, Four. He's marr...Ouch! Mannn! Sonuvag..." the mic went silent for two beats, then continued, "...Mm! Sorry! Last wire got me! Orange Five in position. Final charge is set, power's ready to go. Eyes on Green Six. Dang! Yo Joe."
Green Six smiled broadly at the passersby, and spoke into her mic, "Yo Joe. Green Six, approaching the main door. I'll be there twenty seconds ahead of Blue Two. Orange Five, keep your eyes in your head, hon'." She spied Orange Five in the shadows of the side of the lodge, and saw his shoulders slump a little. She smiled wider as she made eye contact with the first guard.
From his spot in a tree, the man acting as the squad's sniper answered, "Brown Seven in position. Scope on two bogies upstairs, five bogies downstairs. Might be more outside the atrium. I do not have eyes on objective. Yo Joe." Then it was silent once more.
The earpieces were quiet for another two seconds, and Yellow One cut in, "Black Eight! Are you in position?"
Another second, and the radio came alive with, "She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she commes! She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she commmes! She'll be comin' 'round the mountain, she'll be..." the earpieces squelched as the transmission cut short.
Yellow One jumped in, "Then Yo Joe! You're all a go! Get in the mix and bring it home, Green Six!" The radios went silent.
The guard at the door took a moment to appreciate the woman coming his way, before waving her off, "Sorry, lady, the lodge is closed. Off season."
Green Six continued up the stairs undeterred, smiling big. She let the Southern drawl drip from her voice as she answered, "Oh honey, I know, but I'm lookin' for a friend, and I simply must use the powder room! Trust me, I am too far away from my hotel to make it back in time."
The guard scowled, "Then use the bar across the street. The lodge is closed."
Green Six scrunched her nose in the direction of the bar. "Oh, darlin', no. That'll never do. Besides, you let him in."
"Who..." the guard started, but was interrupted by the high whine of a motorcycle engine. He turned in time to see a motorcycle jump the ridge and go crashing through the glass on the far side of the atrium. "What the hoog!" he shouted as he went down from a knee to the groin. Automatic weapons fire sounded from within.
"Well there's my friend now, sugah! Thanks for your help," said Green Six, already headed up the remaining steps to the door.
From the ground, the guard reached into his jacket for a gun, but before he could draw it, he heard a rich voice with a hint of French warn, "I wouldn't do that, were I you." He looked back in surprise, just in time to see the black boot of Purple Four swinging at his face. His head snapped backwards and he fell unconscious. She picked up his gun and moved along the left of the building, towards the side.
In the atrium, Blue Two had landed on one of the gunmen downstairs with his motorcycle. Rolling into a crouch, he had taken out one downstairs with multiple shots, and one upstairs as he ran for cover behind one of the atrium's support columns. Single rifle shots sounded from outside as Brown Seven fired into the atrium, taking out one gunman upstairs who was trained on Blue Two, one downstairs who was trying to circle around, and two who came in from the side, on the upper level.
At the door, Green Six used a knife to take out a man who had charged her. Using him as a shield to catch several bullets, she fired under his arm and caught her would-be killer in the chest, across the atrium floor. As a lower door swung open into the atrium, she shot the first two that came out, threw a flashbang at the rest, and shot two more before it went off just inside the doorway. The stunned gunmen inside never had a chance to recover. Green Six took the remaining five out with a series of knives, close quarter gunshots, and even one well placed punch to the back of a man's neck, dropping him instantly.
As she started down the hallway, the power went out, and a series of explosions sounded from all over the resort. She tapped her right temple, and the night vision in her contacts kicked in. She definitely liked the Joe technology. She turned the corner and was surprised to see bodies littering the hallway. She heard a sharp crack and another man flew into view from the next corner, laid out on top of one his compatriots. She hugged the wall briefly, until she saw Purple Four step around the corner and give her a thumbs up. Green Six sprinted down the hall, and they took the stairs together, Four scouting ahead, and Six watching their backs.
They opened the door to the second floor cautiously, but were greeted by more bodies, and no sign of Red Three. Four tapped Six on the shoulder. She pointed to her ear, and then to a closed room down the hall, where they heard the loud cracks of punches, and the grunts of the man being punched. They moved swiftly down the hall, stepping over bodies as they went. Purple Four motioned a three count, then kicked the door in. Six popped in at a crouch, and said, "Heya, boys." There was a man in the center of the room, duct taped to a chair, two men working him over, and a third man standing close by with a gun. Green Six fired twice, taking the gunman in the chest and head. Purple Four stood behind her, and took the two thugs out with headshots. She quickly put a hand on Six's head, keeping her from standing, and sent a knife sailing into a fourth man who burst from a bathroom on the right.
The two women advanced into the room and cut the tape from the captive's arms and ankles. Six said, "We're here to get you out, sir."
"Can you walk?" asked Purple Four.
Through split and swollen lips, the man said, "If it gets us out, I'll dance a tango." Green Six admired him instantly for wit in the face of torture. Four slid one hand under his arm and helped him up. They started for the door, when a gunman burst from an adjoining room. Four moved to shield the man they rescued, but he moved suddenly, grabbing a knife from her waist, throwing her to one side with a palm strike to her chest, and sending the knife into the gunman, all in seemingly one movement.
A second gunman stepped from the door and ordered, "Freeze," having the drop on all three. Something skittered across the floor, and he looked down to see a string of beads, some of which looked like skulls. "What the..." and the rest was drowned out with a bang.
Red Three took three steps into the room and tossed a flashbang into the adjoining room. He rushed in quickly, popped off one round, and called, "Clear!" Coming back into the room, he snapped, "Go! Get him downstairs!" Then into the mic, "Yellow One, this is Red Three! We have secured the objective and are headed to the front! What's your E.T.A.?" He snatched the beads from the floor before running out behind Four, Six, and their rescue.
Yellow One answered, "I'll be there in ten, my friend!"
As he caught up to Green Six, she asked, "A Memento Mori?"
"My son gave it to me. He told me I'd 'better bring it back'." He shoved it in a pocket as they ran.
They rushed down the stairs, through the hallways, and burst into the atrium, heading for the front door. Blue Two was holding the door open, rolling his arm like a third base coach, motioning them to keep going. All five hustled down the steps to the yellow Hummer waiting for them in the street. Brown Seven was sprinting from the woods on the other side. They piled in and Yellow One sped forward to meet Orange Five, who was now sprinting from the far end of the street. Green Six swung a door open for him, and he jumped in as soon as the Hummer stopped. Taking off again, One called, "Hey, Five! They all alive?"
Five slapped the back of the front seat, "The charges set off the fire systems all over the resort, and the tourists they were using for cover evacuated smoothly! They were hustled into the 'tour busses' we had waiting, and are on their way down the mountain now! We're good to go!"
Yellow One tapped his mic and barked, "Yo, Black Eight! We're out the gate! Bring the pain and make it rain! LZ in three!"
Just before dipping over the rise, Purple Four looked out the back window of the Hummer, and saw a chopper swinging around the other side of the peak, "comin' 'round the mountain," just like Black Eight had said. Their earpieces crackled, "YEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I got a big can of whoop-it, and I brought enough for everybody! Get some, boys! YOOOOOO JOE!" Firing off several Hellfire missiles, the entire resort was leveled and burning in seconds. Several seconds after that, the Apache was passing them overhead. It was all black, and had a giant white circle on the underside, with an eight in the center.
Approximately three minutes later, they arrived at the landing zone, where Black Eight was already waiting. Yellow One came to a stop, and looking at their rescue, said, "This is your ride, sir."
Brown Seven had jumped out and was getting the man's door, "Sir, if you'll come with me, I'll get you into the cockpit." They rushed over to the copter, and once he was secured, Black Eight lifted off again. Brown Seven ran back to the Humvee and jumped in again. "Alright! Let's get home! Yo Joe!"
"Yo Joe!" the group answered back.
“Home and debrief in fourteen hours,” called Yellow One, and they continued down the mountain.
|I felt that my CCC 15 entry was getting too long, so I cut it off at just over 2,000 words, and submitted the ending to Writers Guild #4 (8/30/13). In retrospect, I should have left it all together. The CCC entry isn't complete without it, and the WG entry is too short. At any rate, here's the continuation... -cb|
|Writers Guild||Theme||Wordcount||New OC||Rating|
|004||CCC 15 Continued||663||10||M|
Duke stood off to one side as Flint debriefed the group. "You achieved your objective and rescued the captive with efficiency and speed. You should have been better though." The squad waited for him to continue.
"Orange Five! If that wire had delivered any harder of a jolt, it might have taken you out of commission. Had that happened, you would not have been on hand to coordinate the evacuation of the civilians, and you would have been a casualty when Black Eight blew up the hot zone."
Orange Five looked pained at the assessment. "Yes, sir!" he answered. Green Six smirked at him from behind.
"Green Six! You turned your back on a man with a gun! If Purple Four hadn't had your back, you'd have been dead before you got in the door, and you would not have been on hand to help with the initial firefight in the atrium. Had that happened, we may have lost Blue Two as well."
"Yes, sir!" she answered promptly.
"Blue Two! The mechanics said you got that bike running in record time, when you decided to use it for the op. Nice job, soldier."
Two beamed. "Thank you, sir! It's what I do!"
"Plan on doing it again! You left it behind in the atrium, and now the squad needs a new bike!"
"Yes, sir!" answered Blue Two.
"Purple Four! Near flawless performance. You saved Green Six twice." Green Six winced. "And nearly lost your life twice, to two different gunmen, once you had the captive. Your objective isn't achieved until you're out though."
Purple Four nodded slightly and answered, "Understood, sir!"
"Red Three! You were lucky the rosary worked as a distraction! You should have been taking your shot instead."
"Yes, sir!" acknowledged Red Three.
"And had you lost it, how would you explain it to your son?" Flint winked. The group laughed.
"Yellow One! What is with the talking in rhyme, soldier?"
Yellow One answered quickly, "Yo Joe, I don't know! I didn't mean for it to rhyme, but it happens all the time!" Realizing he'd done it again, One answered, "It just comes out under stress, sir. I also lisp when I'm tired."
Flint raised an eyebrow. "It's a potential distraction, and it comes off cocky."
"Yes, sir!" answered One.
"But good driving," added Flint.
"Thank you, sir!"
"Black Eight, that goes double for you! You ever sing on an op again instead of acknowledging your CO, you're going to the brig! I don't care what kind of code you worked out beforehand!"
"Yes, sir!" answered Black Eight.
"All of you need to cut down the radio chatter - this isn't Ocean's 11!"
"Yes sir!" answered the group.
"Brown Seven! Considering your service record, and the number of times you've been busted back to private, I can. not. believe. that you are the only one who did his job to the letter, without any screw ups!"
"Thank you, sir!"
Flint added, "I couldn't understand why the Admiral recommended you for this, son, but now I'm beginning to see! We can only pick one of this group as a Joe, and I'm recommending you."
"Belay that!" barked a captain as he came through the door.
"Attention!" called Duke, saluting as he did so.
The group jumped to their feet quickly, and snapped stiff salutes. They were surprised to see that it was the man they had rescued the previous night. He still sported a black eye and split lips, but was otherwise cleaned up and in full officer's dress. "At ease. We were only looking for one new Joe, but I'm taking all of you. Your performances were flawed, and they will get better, but you worked well as a team. You will retain the codenames given for this mission. You've got liberty for the next twelve hours, and when you come back, you're working for me. I'm Captain Morgan. Codename: White Zero. Our squad is Codename: The Breakers. Dismissed!"
|014||History vs. Aliens||1,602||9||2||3rd||M|
Once a Nosvonamatar enters military bondage, as all do at their last molt, they win or they die. If they die, they rot. If they win, they wallow in it- literally- and they never wash again, lest they lose the spoils of their victories. And they do spoil- putridly so. It’s a boast of their prowess: yes, you can smell them approaching, they know it, and they advance on you anyway, assured of their victory. It’s not often an idle boast.
The Nosvonamatar fight as fiercely with fang, claw and tails as they do with raw, unrestrained science. They have infested the galaxy for ages. They are creatures of many means, numerous victories, and absolute stench. Nowhere is this malodorous atmosphere more nauseatingly inescapable than in the War Hall of the Cogular- ruler by right of the most victories won- which means his spoils have been spoiling the longest. To slog in the bile of his war trench is considered a great honor.
As he approaches the War Hall breathing as shallowly as possible, the Chamberlain tries to remind himself of this fact. Entering the hall with a steady face, the thick gargle of what passes for laughter is replaced by the hiss of females interrupted. Then quick splashes as they slither and dive below the murky surface, leaving barely a ripple in their wakes- a talent that makes them most deadly. “Slipshod!What is it now?” barked the Cogular. He reclined in a shallow portion of the trench, elbows propped on the side, knees protruding above the surface of the hard won muck. His tails twitched in opposite directions, but were mostly submerged.
The Chamberlain inclined his head to one side in deferment to the greeting, and answered, “My lord. Am I disturbing you?”
The ruler grunted, “Hardly.” A serpentine form broke the surface just before him, knotting and writhing in its own coils. The Cogular snarled to reveal a broken fang as his tails curled to slowly push the body back into the briny slop. As it submerged once again, the female’s tail gave a final flick, which threw a little slime onto the Chamberlain’s long toes. His foot betrayed him, twitching backwards involuntarily. The Cogular’s eyes turned to slits and back again. “Do my conquests offend you, Chamberlain?”
The Chamberlain put one claw out placatingly, bowing slightly as he began to back away. “No! Please, my lord…”
“‘Please’ WHAT, Slipshod?!” His great tails erupted from the water, drenching the Chamberlain’s multicolored robes, splashing him in the face, and throwing the female above the surface once again, straight towards him. She wrapped her arms around Slipshod’s neck, coiled her body around his, and then tipped back into the trench, dragging him with her, below the surface. There was no struggle as her coils slowly tightened. The Cogular, now on his feet, plunged his claws below the surface and yanked the female and the Chamberlain together from below. “Do you not recognize the great honor that is afforded to you daily, to merely stand in my presence? Much less to wade in my victories?”
Weakly, the Chamberlain answered, “Of…course…brother...Forgive…my…lord.”
The Cogular’s eyes narrowed at the familial falter, but he nodded at the female. “Enough, Kakaluta.” She frowned as she slackened her coils, but leaned towards the Chamberlain and hissed lightly, tongue flicking in his ear before she slunk back into the trench. The ruler leaned into his brother’s face and showed a broad grin of fearsome teeth. He observed, “I think she likes you, Slipshod,” before dropping him into the mire.
“Impossible. I’m not worthy, my Cogular.”
“See that you remember that, Chamberlain. To show offense to my victories is to challenge my right to them, and my right to rule.”
“I would never…” the Chamberlain started.
“You could never,” corrected the Cogular, turning his back. “Now get up, and tell me of our progress with the humans. How fare the Manowarriors?”
Slipshod stood uncertainly, and began cautiously, “Against the humans? They exceed our expectations. It’s…uh…everything else…”
The Cogular turned back to face him, and with a hint of menace, said, “Explain.”
“If you’ll permit me, my lord, I thought it would be easier to show you.” With that, a holographic display hummed to life between them, and the magnificent Manowarriors sharpened into focus.
Their gargantuan gelatinous hoods billowed on the air currents as they descended from the sky, drawing looks of wonder, confusion, and terror from the primitive humans below. Their rosy tentacles flowed with the passing air, splaying in every direction and causing them to spin slowly as they fell earthward. It might have been beautiful, if not for the massive, fleshy, pink trunk of the creature, that ended in a giant claw, which ringed rows and rows of teeth. Slender blue filaments whipped about from the hood itself, glowing with energy, and causing the awesome creatures to hum.
Despite their seeming gentle descent, they landed with thunderous weight, their claws sinking into the ground, giving them firm purchase. No longer filled with air from their falls, the hoods slapped downwards with a wet, blubbery sound, undulating throughout while the tentacles slammed the ground like felled trees. The filaments dangled but briefly, and then the hoods snapped open with a loud crack, suddenly releasing dozens each of Manowarrior young.
They fell like small bubbles from a larger one, complete with tentacles, filaments and tooth filled trunks. Drifting towards the fleeing humans, the tentacles would ensnare them, the filaments would deliver stings to immobilize them, the claws of the trunks would dig into the base of their spines, and the hoods would drape over the humans’ heads, making the attachment complete. Then there was no more resistance. Every bonded “Humanowarrior” turned towards the towering parent beasts, and stood stock still.
“Excellent,” approved the Cogular. “Efficient use of the Colony Consciousness.”
The Chamberlain’s mouth twitched into something not quite a grin, and glumly said, “Keep watching, my lord.”
The larger Manowarriors then came alive again. The hoods undulated firmly, and the tentacles lanced outwards, rooting into caves, reaching behind boulders and trees, dragging humans from their hiding places. Others were lashed by the filaments- weak connections simply immobilizing with a shock, but firm strikes rendering screaming targets to piles of ash and bone fragments.
Suddenly, there was a large shadow from above, a piercing screech, and a wet SPLORTCH as the top half of the large hood was ripped away by the claws of a diving pteranodon. What remained undulated unsteadily, causing the trunk to wobble, then topple limply into a heap. The Colony Consciousness was stunned by the sudden death of its main brain, and before anything else could be done, other carnivorous dinosaurs stalked in from all directions, smelling the fresh kill of the Manowarrior. What followed was a feeding frenzy, while more pteranodons circled above, waiting to swoop in on the remains of any carcasses.
“What. Is. This?” seethed the Cogular. Even though he was angry, he could not keep the bewilderment from his voice.
“There were more of those, all over the planet,” commented the Chamberlain. As he said this, the hologram showed several Manowarriors descending over the ocean, only to have a pod of humpback whales leap out of the water and bring them down. What the whales didn’t eat, sharks and sardines did. The Cogular made an exasperated noise. His brother pinched the bridge of his nose between two claws, and continued, “It gets worse.”
In a mountainous region, a Manowarrior rooted itself on a snowcapped peak, and froze to death. In another, a volcano erupted, the blast disintegrating a beast that was directly overhead, and the burning ash cloud causing dozens of others to boil in midair and fall from the sky. In a region of the Northern Hemisphere, enormous hailstones pelted the floating creatures, bruising and rupturing them. In a plains area, they were torn apart by tornadoes. In yet another area, the magnificent monsters descended through stormclouds, only to be struck by cloud-to-cloud arcs of lightning, causing them to explode in balls of wet goo and blue energy.
“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!” roared the Cogular.
An unfamiliar voice answered, “Who are you to question the will of your creator, Nosvonamatar?”
The being was fierce and imposing, with a fiery wingspan and features that glowed like lightning. Slipshod gasped and immediately dropped to his knees before him, but was told, “Don’t do it! Stand and attend your master, Chamberlain! For he will give account of his actions this day!” The Cogular could not answer. “Speak up, o king! Why do you attack a planet that every race has been plainly told to avoid? Answer now and be clear!”
“My lord,” offered the Chamberlain. “My Cogular sought to eradicate the humans, as he does all his enemies. He thought if we could eliminate the race which the Creator made for his pleasure, then perhaps the Creator would then find his pleasure in us instead. Forgive us our folly.”
“So you presume to know the mind of God, Nosvonamatar? Then know it now! The Lord takes pleasure in all of his creation, but disobedience is a stench worse than your victories! You will be removed as Cogular, and replaced with another!” Then the angel was gone.
The Cogular was dumbstruck, his eyes wide with fear. “W-wh…what…does this mean?”
The Chamberlain considered for a moment and then answered, “It means…I had my last molt today.” His tails swung around quickly, the bony ends gutting The Cogular where he stood. He watched his brother sway and fall into the muck. Then he wallowed in it.
|013||Street Level OC||1,200||6||8||1st||M|
The priest shouted when I threw the door of the confessional open. I grabbed him by the the neck of his robes, pulled him from the compartment, and threw him roughly to the floor. “I told you I need answers!”
Father Figyuor held a shaky hand up in front of his face, and stammered, “I c-cannot tell y-you his c-confession! It’s…”
I slapped his hand away and bent down in his face. Through the skull mask, I shouted, “I don’t want his confession! I want yours! You knew what happened to my sister, and you said nothing! Nothing! Who was he? TELL ME WHO ‘UNCLE’ WAS, DAMN YOU!”
“I CAN’T!” screamed the priest in fear. “He confessed! To me! If I tell you his name, it’s as good as telling his confession! The Seal of the Confessional is inviolable! Icannot tell you! Even at pain of my own death!” The priest shook visibly, breathed hard, and had raised his hands as far as he dared, in a weak gesture of self-protection. He looked into the face of my unmoving mask, his eyes searching for some sign of my intent.
Still in his face, I grabbed one of his wrists in one hand, and shoved my other hand into my suitcoat pocket, making him flinch. I withdrew it slowly, and put the skull rosary, my namesake, into his hand. I drew my gun and added, “Memento mori, Father: ‘Remember that you must die.’” He gasped, and I smacked him once in the face with the gun-butt. If he could see beneath the mask, he would have seen a cruel smile. Perhaps he saw it in my eyes, as I stood up.
The priest found his voice again as I walked away. “I beg you not to pursue this! Think of your immortal soul! God is watching!”
I kept walking, but called back, “God is going to do for me what he did for my sister, Father – He’s going to look the other way.”
“God is always with you, son! He never looks away!”
“Then perhaps He should start.”
A few minutes later, I slipped back into the church, and listened to a hushed phone call. His voice still shook, “Yes, this is Father Figyuor for Father Sinsovde. Please, it’s quite urgent!”
Sinsovde. Now I had a name.
Delica’s funeral was today. In the movies, it always rains at funerals. It wasn’t raining today. I wish it had, because the noise of it would have muffled my mother’s crying, and broken the awful silence otherwise.
Mama found her in the bathtub a few days ago, when she woke up. Her screams woke me and papa. I caught only a brief glimpse of blood, before papa shoved me out of the doorway and closed the door. Mama came out moments later, clutched me to her so hard I could barely breathe for a minute, then nearly dragged me to the kitchen, where she called the MP’s. They came with the medics, who carried my sister away.
She had left my parents a note on the kitchen table, which one of the MP’s found, before they did. My father read it and became enraged. My mother wailed even louder than when she found my sister’s body. In it, Delica told of the things she had been victim to, at the hands of “Uncle.” She said that she endured them in order to protect me. Me! And I had been blind to it and unaware, all this time. Why would she keep it all a secret? Why?
The medics gave mama a sedative to calm her down, and papa held her until she went to sleep. He laid her down on the sofa, then shut himself in the bathroom and scrubbed away all traces of the blood. While he was in there, I heard him sobbing. It was the only time I had ever heard my father cry.
At the wake, the priest who would perform the funeral rites for my sister found me brooding, out on the front porch. When he spoke to me, I turned towards him, but then my hand darted out and grabbed the rosary beads hanging around his neck. He caught my wrist before I could yank them away from him, and I let go. When I told him that they looked like the ones that belonged to “Uncle,” he looked distressed, and he quickly took them from his neck and stuffed them in his pants pocket.
I asked him why my sister had to die, and he took a different set of rosary beads from the pocket of his suitcoat, and handed them to me. I had never seen ones like these before- they had little skulls for the beads. He called it a skull rosary, or aMemento Mori- he said it means, “Remember that you must die.” Father Figyuor gave me the beads, and told me that my sister was not meant to die like this, but eventually, we all must, and all we could do now was pray for her soul.
A friend of my family's used to come to the military base we lived on, where my papa was stationed. I don’t remember his name- my older sister, Delica, and I only ever called him “Uncle.” He would visit with my parents for awhile on Sundays, and always, before he left, he would offer to take me and my sister to the PX, where he would buy us candy. He could get us into the PX, even when it was closed to others.
Uncle would turn out the lights, and play hide-and-seek with us there. We would run down the aisles, grabbing candy from the shelves, while trying not to get caught. I would stuff the many pockets of my church clothes, and my sister would hold her dress up to make a bag with the folds, and drop in handfuls of candy at a time.
Delica would always get scared of the dark and cry before too long. I would always find her in the same place- sobbing hard and rocking on Uncle’s lap, candy scattered all around her. Sitting there in the floor, leaned against the ice box, he would have his arms around her, shushing her gently, and urging her not to cry. He would look at me sorrowfully, and say, “We should let her finish.” So I would go find some comics and eat some of my candy while I waited for my sister to finish crying. Sometimes, she cried for a long time.
On the way back home, Uncle would cry too, rolling his rosary beads under his thumb. Just before we would get out of the car, he would always tell us to keep our game a secret, or we wouldn’t be able to get candy anymore. He never walked us to the door- just dropped us at the curb, and drove away. My sister, tired from our game, would usually go to bed without being told, just after we got home. I would stay up a little longer, reading my comics.
We did this every Sunday, for a few years.
|012||How They Pay The Bills||1,000||1||3||3rd||T+|
"Police!" announced Officer Dragon, as he smashed through the plate glass storefront. "Get your hands in the air! Don't make me have to kick your ass!"
The bald man in the black suit and handlebar mustache gave the fin-headed officer a bland look. "Was that really necessary? There's a door ten feet that way," he said, pointing to his right. He then dropped a balding, unconscious man to the floor.
"I told you to get your hands up! You can't just go around beating citizens into unconsciousness!"
The suit looked at the man piled at his feet, and said, "Him? He was threatening you. He was ranting something about, 'I made him! I can kill him!' He called himself 'Highbrow.' Fingerprint scanner makes him as one 'E. Larsen.' Know him?"
Dragon countered, "Nevermind. Last time - get your hands up."
The mustache sighed. "Fine." He raised his hands slowly, then took in a sharp breath. When he breathed out, he blew fire. Dragon turned and jumped out the broken window, but was still engulfed by the flames, the blast throwing him into the building across the street.
A long minute passed, the two storefronts facing each other across the two lane street. Both burned quietly, as fire alarms blared from within. Finally, there was a shift of fallen brick and the tinkle of shattered glass, and Dragon crawled from the burning debris.
"I am getting really tired of surviving fires, without my clothes." He stood up slowly, looked around to see whether he was exposing himself to the public (again), and walked over to his police cruiser. Realizing he didn't have his keys, he muttered, "Crap," and shoved his finger through the trunk lock. He jerked slightly, and the trunk lid buckled and wrenched loose. Dropping it to one side, he first pulled out a pair of pants, and put them on quickly. Then he reached in for a shotgun. He looked back across the street, and the fire breather was casually walking out the door of the store, using his hands to pat flames out on his suit. Unlike the suit, the man was unharmed.
Crossing the street in three quick lunges, Dragon shouted, "Did you just leave that man to die?" and belted him with the butt of his rifle.
The man didn’t stagger, but returned with a backhand that sent Dragon back against his cruiser. Before Dragon could get up, the man was over him, yanking the rifle away and tossing it aside. "Don't be ridiculous. I sent the storeowner out the back way with him. You should take him in."
"How 'bout I take you in, instead?" Dragon swung at the man, but the man dodged to one side, caught Dragon's wrist with one hand, and delivered a blow with the other that made his arm snap at the elbow. The officer rolled to his good arm, and swept a leg back to trip the man, only to have him jump over it, and come down on his knee, snapping that as well. The man quickly stomped Dragon's groin, just to slow him down further.
He then dropped down on one knee, the other pressing at Dragon's throat. "Now, while those are healing, what do you say we talk for a minute?" He reached in his jacket, and came out with a badge and identification. "Heironymous. Secret Service." He felt the tension leave Dragon's body, and lifted his knee.
"What do you want?" asked Dragon.
"You, sir, were elected Commander-in-Chief, for about a minute-and-a-half. That gets you a Secret Service protection detail for life, and guess what? That’s me." The bald man stood and offered a hand to Dragon.
Just as he was fully upright, Dragon swung and knocked Heironymous three car lengths down the street. "I owed you that for the kick to the groin," he growled. Swaggering towards the agent, he called, "Now do you want to explain to me why my 'protection detail' assaulted a man, caused a few hundred thousand dollars worth of fire damage, and attacked me?" By the time he finished his question, he was standing directly over the agent.
Heironymous, propped on both elbows, looked up at his green charge, and answered, "He was threatening a former President of the United States, and it is my duty to stop any and all threats against your person. The damage is a hazard of breathing fire. And I attacked you to gauge your durability, so I can better know what threats against your person are credible."
Dragon stomped on Heironymous' chest, smacking him against the pavement. "That's the STUPIDEST thing I've ever HEARD!"
From the ground, Heironymous shrugged. "It happens in fan-fiction all the time."
"I'm hauling your ass in, agent or not," growled Dragon.
Heironymous glowered. "Sir, with all due respect to your former office, get off of me!" The agent delivered an uppercut that sent Dragon sailing backwards. He got to his feet, and suveyed his suit, finding it scorched and tattered beyond repair.
He scowled as he started down the street, towards the fallen former president. "Nowyou listen to me! I am a damned sight older than this entire country. I've been with the Secret Service since the day it started. I have been involved with the protection of all twenty-nine presidents since that day, which includes your sorry ass, and you are by far the biggest disgrace among them! You have endangered and taken lives as many times as you've saved them, were a damned puppet when you ran for office, and you are the sorriest, most dumbass excuse for a 'dragon' I've ever seen. I'm a dragon! You're just a lizard-man with a badge."
Dragon got up, seething, but simply said, "Go back to wherever you came from. I'm refusing Secret Service protection."
Heironymous looked amused. "Why's that?"
Through gritted teeth, Dragon said, "Because. I. Say. So." Then he stalked away.
Heironymous glanced around at the damage, and walked in the other direction. "Damned skink."
|011||Boba Fett vs. OC||1,460||3||0||4th||T|
As the stormtrooper joined Fett at the edge of the dropoff, looking below, Fett said, “That is why there will never be a jedi wookie. Let’s go.”
“Noted, sir,” answered the stormtrooper.
Fett shook his head as he retrieved his blaster. He hated stormtroopers. They were just like his father, minus free will, appreciable skill, and anything resembling a personality. He checked the charge on his weapon, holstered it, and started towards the trooper’s speederbike. Why waste the jetpack, when he could catch a ride back to the ship?
He was about to mount the back of the bike, when something thumped the ground behind him. He snapped his head around quickly, only to find a wet tree branch lying near his feet. Then he heard the low growl of the wookie, and looked up to see him floating towards him, from the edge of the cliff. “Jedi hell! How many times do I have to kill you?”
Fett grabbed for his blaster, but stopped short when he heard the charger whine of a blaster from off to the side. “I really wish you wouldn’t do that,” said a voice from the trees.
“Fine, I won’t do that,” answered Fett, turning towards the trees, his hands out to his sides. He jerked his hand up suddenly, and fired off a shot from his wrist laser. There was a hum as a lightsaber came to life in the shadow of the trees, and deflected the blast. The stormtrooper chose that moment to take his shot, but missed and was downed by the voice’s blaster. Fett was reaching for his blaster pistol, when his hand froze, and he couldn’t move his arm. He then came off the ground, floating in midair, as the wookie growled loudly.
“Tubacca doesn’t like it when people shoot at me,” said the voice, revealed to be a young woman, as she stepped from the trees. “I don’t much care for it either.”
With some difficulty, Fett turned his helmeted head towards the wookie, and said, “And here I thought he was just mad because that branch got away from him.” The wookie let out a low snarl. “Or maybe it’s because he’s wet as a drowned bantha.” Tubacca snuffled gruffly. Fett sneered, not that anyone could see it through his helmet. “So who’re you, kid?”
“The name’s ’Tar Solo, and I’m the one who’s mad about the wookie being wet. Do you know how hard it’s going to be to get that smell out of my ship? Be glad you’re in that armor right now, is all I can tell you.” Tubacca stomped, letting out a short, indignant howl. ’Tar raised an eyebrow in her partner’s direction. “Oh, pipe down, furball. I bought you that combbot, didn’t I? A few towels and an hour with that, and you’ll be right in no time.” Something that might have been a purr came from the wookie.
“Heartwarming,” Fett offered snidely.
“Careful,” chided ’Tar. “Tubacca is angry about the tree branch. First rule of playing with a wookie: let the wookie win.”
“I hate to lose,” countered Fett. “Maybe you could scratch him behind the ear later.” Tubacca growled and used the Force to shake him violently. In doing so, he turned Fett to face him. As the bounty hunter flopped back-and-forth, he tightened one of his legs, and a couple of darts fired from his knee pad. One lodged in Tubacca’s bandolier, and the other knicked his ear, causing him to lose his concentration and drop Boba to the ground.
’Tar acted quickly, simultaneously Force sweeping Tubacca to one side, and Force shoving Boba Fett to the other side of the clearing. “Run, you ape! Into the trees!” Tubacca howled angrily, but followed immediately. They heard a couple of blaster shots as they got to the trees, and as they became concealed by the tree coverage, they heard Fett’s jetpack fire up. “Oh, brother, I hope you’ve got the ship running!” The wookie growled low as he ran. “Stop griping,” ’Tar called over her shoulder, “He’s not going to blame you!”
The bounty hunter’s jetpack whined overhead, and a few blasts from his disruptor rifle tore through the trees, coming nowhere near them. “He’s firing blind! Just get to the clearing! We’ll be covered from the ship!” Tubacca’s long legs had put him ahead of her now, and he reached the clearing first, but drew up short. ’Tar caught up quickly, and stopped only long enough to see Boba Fett dipping and diving in midair, furiously returning fire at the several weapons trained on him from the bronzed ship. She shoved the wookie and shouted, “Run! Go! Get to The Copper!” They bolted across the clearing and up the cargo ramp, a shot from Fett sizzling the air behind ’Tar as she scrambled into the ship. She returned fire, and slammed her fist on the button to close the cargo hold.
As ’Tar and Tubacca ran into the pilot cabin, a young man was at the comm, punching buttons furiously, and glancing over his shoulder only long enough to yell, “What has that damned wookie gotten us into now?” Tubacca whined in protest.
“Just get us the hell out of here, Drom!” ’Tar shouted at her brother. “Better yet, let the wookie drive!”
“Forget it! I’m already in the seat, and he smells like a wet bantha!” Drom shouted, as the ship began to lift off, still firing weapons at Boba Fett. Tubacca huffed loudly. Drom conceded, “You can pick the music,” as The Copper Eagle barrel rolled through the atmosphere.
Tubacca chortled agreeably, and approximated a familiar tune, as best as the wookie language would allow, as he called up the music program and punched the start button.
|***I cannot get the video inside the danged spoiler block...GRR, danged site redesign!***|
The music started, and Drom complained, “Aw, no! Again? What kind of music is that for a starship chase?” The wookie snarled. “Fine! Have it your way! It’s not even the right season for that though.” Tubacca curled his lip and huffed at Drom, then happily drummed his furry fingers on the console, as the music continued.
“A ship’s rising from the planet!” shouted ’Tar. She scanned a display, and added, “It’s the Slave I! Get this crate moving!”
“Relax!” called Drom. “This may not be The ’Falcon, but it’s still got hyperdrive. Leaving the galaxy’s best bounty hunter in our stardust, in three, two…” Drom’s countdown was interrupted by the ship rocking violently, and the sound of an explosion from the cargo area.
“We’ve been hit!” screamed his sister.
Drom’s hands blurred over the control console, trying to steady the ship. “I’m aware of that!” He hit a few more buttons, and The Copper once again returned fire on Boba Fett, and listed a little in its flight. Tubacca gave out a disgruntled arf. “Shut up, hairball! I’m driving, you got to pick the music!” His hands glided over the console, and he called out, “Hang on! I’m taking her into that asteroid field!”
The Copper tipped upwards at almost a ninety degree angle, spinning sideways as it did so, and angled around towards the biggest asteroid Drom could see. The cannons stuttered only long enough for Slave I to land one more hit on their tail section. The Copperlisted more pronounced as it swung around the space rock, and from Slave I, Boba Fett saw a large explosion from the far side of the asteroid.
Fett checked his readouts, and saw that a tie fighter was just escaping the planetary atmosphere, far behind him. He flipped a switch and transmitted to the surviving stormtrooper, “Let Lord Vader know that the contract is fulfilled, Empire credits are appreciated, and I will return in one week.”
“Sir?” asked the stormtrooper, plainly nervous about delivering Fett’s message.
“You heard that music they were transmitting! I must track down the composer, and kill him for getting that wretched tune stuck in my head! Fett out!” Slave I leapt into hyperdrive and was gone.
The stormtrooper flipped his communication switch off, and slumped a bit in the cockpit. “Great. Like I really want to deliver thatmessage. ‘Sorry, Lord Vader – Boba Fett’s gone to kill an earworm.’ Jeez, why doesn’t he bake a soufflé, as long as he’s going crazy?” He considered for a second, then snorted, “Yeah, right. Mandalorians can’t cook soufflés! Talk about crazy!” He chuckled derisively, then went silent for a few minutes, brooding while the tie fighter engines whined. Slowly, his fingers began to tap out a beat on the control stick, and then his head began to tip from one side to the other. He soon began humming, and as the fighter flew on, he began to sing to himself lightly, “What do you get a wookie for Christmas…”
|CCC||Theme||Wordcount||New OC||Votes||Overall Placement||Rating|
|010||Armored/ hooded OC||Didn't Participate||-||-||-||-|
“Do you prefer quirks or quarks?”
“Quarks. They're science. Science is knowable. Quirks make people unpredictable.”
“Tundra or Tundro?”
“Oh, no question, Tundro. He's a triceratops with eight legs and a horn that shoots fireballs. What's not to like? Might be best to strand him in the tundra though.”
“Perspiwhatnow? I can't even say that word.”
“Exactly. That's why I like it. You can't say it.”
“I'm tired of this game.”
“I'm tired of being orange, but I'm not complaining.”
“Bivolvo won't budge, huh?”
“When the Rainbow Raider says he's going to turn you orange, you should believe him.” Flash furrowed his brows, looking at his reflection in the passenger side mirror, still disturbed that he couldn’t see his own reflection, even if it was orange. The change had made him blind to the color orange, so he couldn’t risk moving at super speed, for fear of what he would’t see. He might accidentally plow through a road worker on stop sign duty, or get tripped by traffic cones, or any number of stupid things the Rogues might come up with, to try to use his orange handicap against him. “I think he was just happy his plan worked for once.”
“Wouldn’t you be?” asked Robin. “The guy’s a few party bulbs short of being Doctor Spectro. He does have a sizeable Internet fanbase though – The Rainbow Ravers.” Tim Drake was wheeling the Redbird towards S.T.A.R. Labs, where Cyborg and Emil Hamilton were waiting, hopefully with some ideas on what to do for Flash. Batman was sidetracked with Clayface’s war on “Eel” O’brien, and Nightwing was out of town, tracking down Magpie, of all people. The JLA teleporters were out of commission since Nero attacked the moon, so pretty simply, Wally West needed a ride, and Tim Drake was one of the only heroes he knew who had bothered to get a license.
“You’re kidding, right?”
“I am, but you weren’t sure of it.” Tim grinned. “We’re here. Orange you going to go inside?”
Wally shook his head, as he stepped out of the car. “That the best you’ve got? Grayson’s wit did not come with the costume, I see.”
“Hey, you could’ve had Beast Boy for this trip!” Robin said through the car window. “You two would’ve gone together like peas and carrots!”
Wally groaned. “Terrible. Just terrible.” As he started towards the building, he muttered, “I hope Cyborg and Hamilton have something for me.”
The Redbird honked as it pulled away from the curb. “Later, Carrot Top!” hollered Robin.
West waved over his shoulder. “Never heard that one before,” he sighed, as he ran his orange fingers through his hair.
The desk clerk only gave him one funny look, then recovered himself, and became once again the jaded guard that had seen all manner of super beings pass through the lobby of S.T.A.R. Labs. He was escorted up to Doctor Hamilton’s lab, where Cyborg called out, “Wally!” and waved him over, chuckling only once as he got close.
“What? You got something for me too, buckethead? I figured the way you call Gar ‘Salad Head’ all the time, you’d have something better than Tim’s trys by now.”
Victor Stone winced, and said, “Yeah, that boy can not deliver a punchline. Anyway, my favorite nickname for Gar is ‘Green Genes,’ but it’s true, man: nothing rhymes with ‘orange.’ Sorry to disappoint.”
|CCC||Theme||Wordcount||New OC||Votes||Overall Placement||Rating|
|008||Villain for Gambit||Didn't Participate||-||-||-||-|
|007||OC for Star Wars||840||1||2||2nd||T|
Tubacca ran through the forest, a band of Ewoks chittering behind him, not really keeping up, but trying to corral him with their numbers. He made a wide jump over a deep stream - a jump the Ewoks would not be able to make with their short little legs. Tubacca arfed with laughter and growled triumphantly at having lost his pursuers. Another step of this training gauntlet complete. He'd done well, so far.
A sound from above caught his attention, and he caught site of some training spheres dropping down towards him. He snarled as he deflected lasers with his lightsaber, returning fire with a blaster, and taking out one of the three spheres. The other two dropped in closer, firing continuously. Tubacca deflected the blasts with his lightsaber, then stabbed a hand forward, and jerked it to his right, causing one sphere to jerk to the right as well, crashing it into the other one. There was a bright burst of sparks, and then Tubacca slashed through them as they fell, destroying them completely.
The band of Ewoks chittered loudly from the other side of the stream, some throwing spears that landed nowhere close to Tubacca. He threw his arms in the air and yelled back at them, causing them to jump up and down and shake their fists. It made the wookie laugh, and then he turned and continued through the forest.
He was headed for the next obstacle when something whined by him on his left. He turned his head towards the noise, only to have something whine by on his right, and before he could look back there, another whined by in front of him. Speeder bikes! These weren't part of the training! He'd been found by Imperial stormtroopers - he was now being hunted!
Tubacca quickly scaled a tree, a laser just missing him, as a stormtrooper zoomed by again. The wookie snarled and fired his blaster, causing the trooper to veer at a crucial moment, crashing bike and rider into a tree.
He leaped at the next rider, knocking the trooper off of the bike, which continued on until it met an obstacle and exploded. Before Tubacca could hit the trooper again, the third speeder bike shot by him, and he was knocked off his feet by a blow to the shoulder. Tubacca got up and ran, the trooper giving chase, until he cornered the wookie at a sheer dropoff, that ended in a tumultuous river, far below.
The young wookie was huffing deeply, but turned to face his pursuer. Rather than drive him off the cliff, the last trooper slowed, landed, and dismounted the bike, about twenty yards away from him. "Drop your weapons!" commanded the stormtrooper.
Tubacca growled defiantly, but when the trooper said, "I won't tell you again! Drop your weapons," he snuffled indignantly and dropped his blaster and lightsaber to either side of him. The trooper lowered his gun a little, and Tubacca chortled as he put his hands out, and knocked him over backwards with the Force.
He was still chortling when there was a sound of jets, and he was suddenly knocked down from behind. The flyer landed as Tubacca picked himself up. "You are ordered to surrender to Boba Fett, in the name of the Empire," said the bounty hunter.
Tubacca's hand shot out, and his lightsaber started to slide towards him, only to be shot away by Fett's blaster. Tubacca looked up at the hunter and growled. Fett tossed his blaster aside, and said, "You think you've got what it takes, padawan? Let's see."
Recovering, the stormtrooper warned, "Be careful, sir! He's a skilled jedi!"
"Nonsense!" said Fett. "There will never be a jedi wookie. I don't care how many lightsabers he holds. You know why?" asked Fett, as he dodged a lunge from Tubacca.
"No, sir," answered the trooper.
"Then just watch," answered Fett. The wookie and the bounty hunter circled each other, and then charged. Armor met heavy wookie limbs, and the two traded punches, until they both stumbled backwards and fell down.
Tubacca got to all fours, shook himself, and growled. As he started to stand, Fett got to his feet, weilding a tree branch. The wookie cocked his head to one side, and whined slightly.
"You like this?" asked Fett. "C'mon, you want this?"
Tubacca took a couple hesitant steps forward, raising one hand slightly.
"You want this?" Fett said a little louder, waving the branch back and forth before him.
Tubacca's growl got a little louder, and he jumped up and down a couple of times.
"You want this?!" shouted the hunter.
Tubacca snarled and ran forward.
"Then go get it!" Fett declared, and he hurled the branch beyond the edge of the dropoff.
Tubacca lunged forward, soaring off the edge of the cliff, a frustrated howl trailing the falling wookie and tumbling branch.
As the stormtrooper joined Fett at the edge of the dropoff, looking below, Fett said, "That is why there will never be a jedi wookie. Let's go."
|006||How Lincoln Survived||1,865||0 (1 reused OC)||1||5th||T+|
“Don’t know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal – you sockdologizing old man-trap.”
President Lincoln, his wife, and their guests roared with laughter, along with the rest of the theater. Just then, a man burst into their booth. “Mister President!”
Major Rathbone, though startled, reacted first. “What’s the meaning of this?”
President Lincoln held up a hand to Henry Rathbone, stalling any further outburst long enough to say, “Major Rathbone, this is one of my men. He serves me in secret, as part of an agency that I have only today signed the legislation for. They are not officially commissioned yet. Heironymous? What is your news?”
“Mister President, an attempt on your life has been stopped, but I don’t know by whom!”
“What?” gasped Mrs. Lincoln.
“Oh!” declared Clara, Henry’s fiancé.
Lincoln raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean you don’t know by whom? It wasn’t your men?”
“My men are not capable of what I found, sir. Two bodies, suspended in the alley from their ankles, and…” Heironymous looked at the women apologetically, but continued, “…and they were skinned, sir.”
Clara fainted at this news. “Clara!” Major Rathbone caught her before she could fall out of her chair, and was sitting her up when another man burst into the booth.
“Why! It’s John Booth!” Mary Lincoln said quickly, recognizing the actor before he could even raise his gun.
Heironymous moved faster, inserting himself between the President and Booth. As Booth swung the gun upwards, he yelled, “Sic seemper tyrannis,” but the agent clamped his fist around the end of the barrel, muffling the shot so that it was barely heard in the theater below.
Wrenching the gun from the stunned actor’s grip, he displayed the bullet, which had never left his hand, shifting the pistol to his free hand. With a frightful gleam in his eye, he grabbed Booth by the lapels and said, “That’s not the right kind of weapon to use againstme.” He was about to hit Booth, when he noticed three red dots, forming a triangle, moving across the would-be assassin’s shoulder, towards his neck.
Puzzled, Heironymous said, “What the devil,” and reached out to brush them away, only to see them on the back of his hand. Before he could wonder any further about them, an odd, animal-like growl caught his attention, and he spun around, looking into a dark corner of the President’s booth. A light flashed from the area, and Heironymous was staggered back into Booth, knocking him against the wall, where the would-be assassin slumped to the floor, unconscious.
The light and noise panicked the theater goers. Not knowing what else it could be, someone yelled, “Fire!” and the crowd began to bolt for the doors.
The agent regained his feet quickly, a large hole in the front of his suit, singed and smoking, but his chest only slightly scorched. Mary and Clara gasped in astonishment, while Rathbone protested, “My God, man! What are you?”
Heironymous’ only answer was, “Major Rathbone, get the President and the women out of here! We’re not alone!”
Rathbone looked around quickly, “What? Where…?”
Heironymous, still peering into the dark corner of the booth, replied, “I can see in the dark. Go. Get them out.”
The President stood immediately, helping Mary up, holding her firmly by one arm, and said, “Come, Mary.” Eyeing Rathbone, he said, “Major, if you please.” Rathbone gathered Clara in similar fashion, and they started for the door, Rathbone in the lead, to make sure the way was clear. Heironymous continued scanning the dark corner of the booth as another growl came from the darkness.
Lincoln was in the back of the group, keeping the women between him and Major Rathbone. Before he could get out of the room, a bright blue halo of light shimmered into view behind him, and what appeared to be two skeletons, shining like highly polished swords, stepped out of the light. One scanned the room, and detecting the beast in the corner, moved that way, as the other one stepped towards the President, its fist turning into a blade. It shouted “Sic semper tyrannis,” and thrust the blade part way into Lincoln’s shoulder.
Heironymous moved then, quickly grabbing the attacker and yanking it backwards, ripping the blade out of the President’s wound. He punched the skeletal attacker in the face, bringing a metallic clank, but no dent. He shouted, “Rathbone! Go! Get them out!” and Rathbone hurried the horrified women away. The monster and the agent began trading punches then, neither blade nor blows having much effect for either of them.
The second attacker was blasted by the same powerful light that had struck the agent, and its left arm dangled loosely from its shoulder. Its right hand formed into a blade, and it punched at the wall, a loud thunk like an axe chopping a tree, as the blade sank into the wall. What seemed like small streaks of lightning arced back and forth then, and the beast came into full view, the mechanical attacker’s blade revealed to have struck just above the beast’s shoulder, damaging a mask that it wore. The beast removed the mask, unveiling a face more animal than man, a pair of mandibles on either side of its mouth. Two blades extended from each of the beast’s wrist gauntlets, and it roared at the metal attacker, the mandibles flexing wide as it did so.
The steel skeleton wrenched the blade from the wall, swung backwards, and then swung forward at the beast again. The beast moved swiftly, parrying the blade to one side, and causing the attacker to stumble closer, so they were face-to-face. The beast regarded its one armed attacker for a moment, and Heironymous, still fighting the other attacker, heard an odd, distorted voice say, “Not the right kind of weapon to use against me.” Something moved on its shoulder, and that strange light flashed again, blowing a hole in the skeleton’s chest. The metal form slackened a bit, and the beast moved swiftly, bringing up its right hand and cutting off its opponent’s good arm. It slashed again, several times, kicked at the thing’s midsection, and it fell over backwards.
The beast threw its head back and roared. Then it stepped forward, looking down on its metal adversary. The beast cocked its head to one side, giving that low growl as it assessed its victim. Then it reached down with one hand, yanked the skull one way, then the other, and ripped it free of the body. The red embers in the skull’s eyes flickered out. The beast looked at the skull for a moment, and then dropped it into a net bag that hung from its belt.
The skeletal thing fighting Heironymous seemed to sense the demise of its twin, and tried to turn away from the agent to the beast. Heironymous punched it in the back of the head, causing it to stagger forward, and regained its attention. As it spun to face him once again, Heironymous inhaled sharply, and breathed flame at the metal monster, accompanied by a roar to rival that of the beast on the other side of the room. The mechanical assassin staggered back from the flame, and parts of it could be seen beginning to melt, even as the walls and chairs of the booth began to catch flame. It stumbled away from the flames, then ran towards the President, leaning heavily against the door jamb, his hand clutching at his wounded shoulder. It leaped at the President, a blue halo forming around it again, and before Heironymous could react, both were gone in a flash of blue light.
Booth had come to on the floor, and groped for the gun that lay nearby, dropped when the agent began fighting the monster. He lifted it towards Heironymous, but a heavy boot came down on his arm, pinning it to the floor. He looked up to see the beast’s mandibles flex, as it growled low. Booth was frozen in fear as the beast, in a voice that sounded like his own, but distorted, said, “Sic semper tyrannis.” Booth managed a short scream before the beast stomped on his head. Pulling a vile from his belt, he poured part of the contents over Booth’s body, dissolving it to nothing before Heironymous’ eyes.
“Wait. This is what you want me to tell the Special Investigations Committee? That Honest Abe Lincoln was attacked by an alien, and abducted by a time travelling robot? None of which were found at the site of this assassination attempt. Here, do you mind?” The man handed Heironymous a cigar, and the agent breathed on the tip, lighting it. “I’m parked another block up.”
“No, agent Gyrich, I want you to tell them the same thing I did, nearly one-hundred-fifty years ago: that President Lincoln died in his sleep, twenty years later.”
“And how did you pull that off, pray tell?” asked Gyrich, puffing on his cigar.
“We did our job, new though it was. We put out a cover story that Mary’s health was failing, due to the shock of the attempt on Lincoln’s life, and that the President resigned his office to be with her. His Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, took office, the Secret Service was officially commissioned a few months later, and we continued to look for Lincoln. He and the robot reappeared twenty years later – the robot too damaged to make it back to the future. The President lost a great deal of blood from the robot’s blade, was further stressed by the time travel, and he died due to the complications from his wound. We amended that to ‘died peacefully in his sleep,’ for the official public notice.”
Gyrich stopped and faced Heironymous. “Uh-huh. You’re skipping something though. What happened to the other robot?”
“We buried it in a secret grave after the fire was put out.”
“Why would they attack Lincoln?”
“If they could kill him and help ensure a Southern victory, and a continuation of slavery, half of their job would be done for them in the future.”
Gyrich pursed his lips, nodded tightly. “And this ‘beast?’”
“Turned invisible and escaped.”
“Come on,” said Gyrich skeptically.
“What do you want, Henry? It was 1865. We’d never seen that before.”
“Okay.” They continued walking, and turned into a parking garage. “And what about the two skinned bodies you mentioned?”
Heironymous stopped this time, and Gyrich turned back to look at him. The agent smirked. “Well, a dragon’s got to eat.”
Henry grimaced. “Really? That’s disgusting.” Turning to continue towards his car, he said, “The Committee isn’t going to like this story.”
“The robots and the aliens have shown up in Los Angeles on three different occasions, as well as in Central America. They would adjust, but Henry, they really shouldn’t hear about this.”
“I don’t have a choice, Heironymous! I’m duty bound to tell them!”
“And I’m duty bound to keep it a secret.”
Heironymous sighed. “A dragon’s got to eat.”
Henry Peter Gyrich’s screams echoed throughout the parking deck, followed by a roar, and then nothing.
|005||Villain for Superman/ Supergirl||1,100||2||3||2nd||T|
Wiping blood from her mouth, Supergirl scowled at her attacker and asked, “Lady, before I get up from here and knock you over the moon, do you want to explain that?”
The woman barely smirked. “You wear the crest of the House of El. Are you trying to draw the attention of an eradicator?”
“The Eradicator is gone,” Kara answered, “but how would you know about him at all?”
The woman was taken aback. “‘Him?’ It.” She raised an eyebrow. “You talk like there’s only one.”
“There was only one.” It was more hope than surety.
The woman leaned in, looking stern, small crow’s-feet betraying her age. “Don’t act naïve, girl. Are you trying to tell me you know so little about our history, that you don’t know the full extent of your own ancestor’s technology?”
“‘Our…’?” Kara began, but the woman continued.
“Do you think only one of those devices could affect an entire planet? Of course there’s more than one. There were many – probably one for every one hundred thousand Kryptonians. Don’t bother with the math. It will make you cry.”
Supergirl searched her attacker’s face for some hint that she was lying. Her mind was like a supercomputer – she couldn’t help doing the math. If there was one eradicator for every hundred thousand Kryptonians, then that would mean… As Kara’s eyes went wide with horror, the woman’s flashed satisfaction. She smirked as she stood back up. Kara’s lip curled, and she lunged up and forward, only to fall again, everything in her wracked with pain.
“They call this ‘Kryptonite’ here, don’t they?” asked the woman, admiring the green, glowing rock she held in her hand. “Do you know why you’re vulnerable to this?” Kara picked herself up to her hands and knees, trembling. The woman looked at her and said, “Pay attention, girl. I asked you a question. Do you know why you’re vulnerable to this?” As she asked, she moved closer, and Kara writhed in pain.
Struggling to breathe, she managed, “B-be…cause…i-it’s…p-part…of…Kryp…ton.” Rapid, painful breaths followed every syllable.
“‘Because it’s part of Krypton.’ So the planet of your birth, that sustained you until its early demise, now threatens to kill you, just because you get near a piece of it? Does that make sense to you, dear?” Even pained, the perplexity showed on Supergirl’s face. The woman crouched back down next to her, on one knee. “I don’t want to kill you with this. Can we talk civilly without it?”
Her eyes spoke death, but Kara managed a quick nod of assent. The woman held the fragment a little closer to Supergirl’s face, causing her body to spasm violently. “The pain you are feeling now is not because of this rock. It is the fault of the eradicators.” With that, the Kryptonite leapt from the woman’s hand and disappeared. Kara looked up questioningly. “I keep it in a subspace pocket,” said the woman. “It’s a pretty reminder of home.”
She stood up and offered her hand. Kara ignored it, shakily regaining her feet on her own. She straightened, then immediately doubled over to throw up.
The woman continued, “To preserve the ‘purity’ of our race, Kem-L had the eradicators change everyone on the planet on a genetic level. This bound them to Krypton, so if they left, they would die, rather than bringing back ‘contaminating influences’ from other worlds and races. By the time Krypton felt this, it was too late, and all she could do was affect a slight change…”
Supergirl, still bent over, palms on her knees, held up a hand to stop the woman. She took a few deep breaths, regaining herself, and asked, “Krypton changed things?”
The woman answered, “Krypton was a living thing. She did what she could to save her inhabitants, reversing the polarity of the eradicator technovirus, making it so Kryptonians wouldn’t die if they left the planet, but only if they returned. So the closer you get to a piece of her, the more intense the pain, up to and including death. The strain of keeping it that way is what led to her demise.”
Supergirl still seemed dubious. “Krypton. Was alive.”
The older woman spoke with the patience a grandparent has for a child. “Oh, yes, dear. She had a heart and a spirit, and there was only one other like her in the entire universe. And when she died, he tracked her spirit’s progress until it settled at the center of the universe. Then he joined with her the only way he could, until he himself was gone.”
Supergirl didn’t react, except to say, “Uhh-huh,” then followed with, “So, if you’re Kryptonian, and the eradicators changed everyone on the planet, how come the Kryptonite didn’t hurt you?”
“Because I wasn’t on the planet, dear. I was in the Phantom Zone.”
“Because when the Science Council took over the planetary government, the Celestial Council was very quickly tried and convicted of ‘crimes against science.’ My own son carried out the sentence.”
“Your son? That’s not possible! It was…” Kara doubled over again as the Kryptonite reappeared in the woman’s hand.
The woman seethed, “Do not say his name to me.”
“Why are you doing this?” Kara asked, weakly.
“Revenge!” she shouted. “The Science Council dared to judge us! They imprisoned me! Shahara-Zod! The Storybearer! I kept the oral history and knowledge of Krypton alive! They decided they didn’t need me? They used my stories as the basis for Brainiac’s database!”
She cupped Kara’s chin in her hand. “I will teach my son the error of turning against me. I will destroy that mechanical mockery called Brainiac. And I thought it proper that the descendents of Kem-L, who designed the eradicators that brought about the destruction of Krypton, should learn what it is to deal with them firsthand.”
Kara responded lethargically, “What do you mean?”
A wild look flashed across the woman’s face, and she answered, “I mean I lured them to follow me, in order to bring them to you.”
“What? How many?” Supergirl asked as anxiously as her weakened state would allow.
The woman smiled cruelly. “Why, all of them, dear.” The shock on Kara’s face was palpable, but the woman cooed, “Oh, don’t worry yourself, dear. I intend to bring you help.” The fear didn’t leave Kara’s face. “I’m going to free our fellow Kryptonians from that infernal Phantom Zone.” She picked up the Kryptonite from beside her, adding, “Some of them won’t be vulnerable to this, which should help. Don’t you think?” She then rocketed away at super speed, leaving Supergirl to recover.
The Ballad of Arthur's Arrow
“If it please the King, then listen, Sire.
Listen knight, and listen squire!
Listen court, and listen all!
Listen, dear guests of the King’s masked ball!
* * *
“Come one! Come all! Gather round, good friends!
Lean in close and do attend,
As my words pull gently back the veil
To reveal to you a wondrous tale
* * *
“Of adventure and magic, and a quest for right –
Of a hero familiar, and yet… not quite.
For this is the ballad that so few know
Of Arthur’s Arrow and the Excalibow!
* * *
“Young Arthur’s story does begin
With a call from the Lady of the Forest Glen,
Offering a bow the hue of sun bleached bone,
If he could draw matching arrow from yonder stone.
* * *
“Arthur knew well of this stonebound shaft:
Lusted after by the kingdom’s 'nobler' half.
Searched for by peasants. Dreamed of by the fool.
For legend claimed its bearer would one day rule.
* * *
“Yes! Laugh, dear friends, and toast your king!
For it might be of him whom the minstrels sing!
Could he be this tale’s hero? Sire, is it true?
Dear friends, a nobler man, you never knew.
* * *
“But back to Arthur, and the offered prize,
The arrow in the stone, before his eyes.
Many had tried, and many had failed.
Yet, he was invited – might he prevail?
* * *
“He considered long moments what this could mean –
Deciding if, truly, he could be king.
Though unexpected, there was the Lady’s call,
And finally, that fact overshadowed all.
* * *
“Stepping forward, he felt his life’s path narrow,
Grabbing his destiny as he grabbed the arrow.
Then, with deceptive ease, it slid right out,
Leaving no room for further doubt.
* * *
“The white bow then shown like a harvest moon,
And the Lady smiled as she gave his boon.
With a gentle sigh he could barely hear,
The Lady faded, then disappeared.
* * *
“A slight breeze blew that made Arthur shiver,
And he wondered that there was no quiver.
Notching the arrow into the bow,
He took careful aim, and let it go.
* * *
“He had not yet seen his arrow land
Before another appeared in Arthur’s hand.
Many times, he did thus fire,
And never did his supply expire.
* * *
“As he retrieved each shaft, their magic done,
They left in wisps, until back to one.
He could not break the bow or shaft,
And thus delighted, the archer laughed.
* * *
“He hid his face with a cloak and hood,
And travelled ‘round, doing all manner good.
Making allies, and fighting the damned,
Including the Sorcerer of Nottingham.
* * *
“Mordred by name, dragon by spell,
To Excalibow, the sorcerer fell!
Be it dragon’s marrow, flesh, or scaly shield,
To that enchanted arrow, all things must yield.
* * *
“With a final roar, the dragon was felled.
Crowing triumphant, the archer yelled.
‘That’s the might of Arthur’s arrow!’ he did proclaim,
And this was how our archer received his name.
* * *
“The news and legend of Arthur spread,
And eventually, a price was put upon his head.
Long outlawed, he roamed the wood,
And still showed the people just where he stood.
* * *
“This enraged the King, as you might have guessed.
He would not endure this hooded pest.
He raised the reward, as well as the taxes.
Hung the hero’s allies, or took their heads with axes.
* * *
“And still Arthur gathered a band of fighting men
At a great, round, stone table in his forest den.
So weapons were gathered, and pacts were made,
Deep within Sherwood Forest, in a secret glade.
* * *
“Through a winter quite bitter and a summer quite hot,
Plans came together to free all of Camelot!
Those plans led to now, to this festive proceeding.
This very moment is where my tale has been leading.
* * *
“Now, dear friends, this last part might get a bit gory,
But I thank you for your patience with this humble bard’s story.
We have almost reached midnight, where we will all unmask,
But before we do, dear guests, I charge you this task:
* * *
“If you will direct your attention to the walls, and beyond to the yards,
And take notice of the Lincoln green masks on the guards.
That’s the merry band of fighting men that I did bring.
They belong to me, and not to the King.
* * *
“For those of you who don’t follow, or may be a little dim:
This Arthur’s Arrow that I speak of? That’s me; I’m him.
You see, when we heard of this gathering of all the noble class,
It was clearly carpe diem – we couldn’t let it pass.
* * *
“As my men draw their bows, it is time for decision,
And I suggest you make it wisely, with sudden precision.
The choice is yours: you can bow down, or you can be dead.
As for you, king: surrender your crown, or surrender your head.”
|003||Villain for Payno's Nightfire||600||2||3.5||4th||T|
I got there just in time to hear, “I tire of you, dog,” followed by the tortured shriek of metal being ripped away from the body of a howling, demon possessed soul.
“Nooooooo!” shouted the soul, as his helmet peeled away to reveal a flaming skull, where the face of Johnny Von Doom should be. Tempted by a devil, Johnathan Von Doom made a deal to be possessed by a demon, to free the soul of his mother, who now rules Latkanda as the Black Hellcat. When it turned out the demon’s visage replaced his own, Doom hid his skeletal face behind an iron mask, and the rest of his flaming form in like armor. A motorcycle, his only concession to humanity, was transformed into a flaming wheeled bike for the monster that would be known as the Doom Rider. The flaming skeleton attempted to hide his face behind bony, burning hands.
“Begone, demon, and never threaten my waters again.” Clenching his bone white fists, his sockets smoldering, Doom glared at the hovering man. “The motorcycle is next,” warned his attacker. Gunning the engine, Doom Rider roared away with a long howl. The destroyed armor clattered to the ground from above. He should have expected Magnamor, when he tried to sink an oil tanker in the harbor. The Atlantean Monarch of Magnetism would never allow that. And honestly, a burning, metal encased demon goes together with a magnetic man of the sea about as well as… well, fire and water.
“Magnamor!” I called. “You know he’s going to come back! Doom doesn’t quit.”
“Nightfire!” called the monarch, and Doom’s armor flew at me, closing around me like an iron maiden, but to no effect.
A bamf of air and brimstone, and I was on Magnamor’s back – my hands on his shoulders, my feet gripping his legs, and my tail wound around his bare torso, all burning hot. “Why don’t you dry up?”
“You dare?!” he exclaimed. His metallic cape coiled around my body, ripped me away, and hurled me to one side. I hadn’t gone far, before I teleported again.
Materializing above him, I hovered and threw a few fireballs just in front of him, to get his attention. “I don’t want to do this, Magnamor!” It was true, I didn’t. Magnamor lived for years as Namor Eisenhardt, where he was imprisoned and branded as a Jew. The manifestation of his magnetic powers, and the discovery of tiny wings on his ankles, stayed his execution, until he was deemed too dangerous. Nazis drugged him, tied a stone around his neck, and threw him in the ocean. Then their troubles began. His memory instantly returned, the Atlantean monarch joined the Allies, and he was frequently known to throw German u-boats and battleships onto dry land, through a combination of magnetism and prodigious strength. He was a hero in my book, but I couldn’t let him tear up a New York harbor.
Just then, I saw a sight straight out of a newsreel. “Then do this – catch!” The oil freighter lifted out of the water, and scraped against dock and tarmac, before plowing through a few mostly empty warehouses. “Doom Rider can come back, but he won’t be sinking thatship in my waters! If he wants war, he will find Latkanda lacking against Atlantis, a kingdom larger than any other on this planet!” He then magnetically ripped the tanks out of the ship, set them aside, and crumpled the rest into a ball about the size of a tractor trailer. Eyebrow raised, he added, “Attack me again at your peril, boy.”
"My young lover was chosen to make my brother angry, among other reasons, but I did not think he would be so brash. I thought he had gotten beyond that several decades ago, but I underestimated his anger over father giving me The Dragon Fangs, which will give me the power to find the form of our ancestors. Because he prefers the prestige of form over the power of function, my brother never bothered to learn what he had been given. He has only himself to blame for losing The Dragon Talon, but responsibility has never been his strength. Father told him this when he gave me the Fangs, and as usual, our aged father was right. He shouldn't have wagered with my boyfriend, over their fight. He thought it might come between us, but instead my eager lover immediately handed the blade over to me, smirking at my brother the whole time. This is when he became so murderously enraged, that he would later kill the boy's family.
"The Dragon Talon is special. It is the last of its kind to be unearthed from the honeycombed caverns of the dragon's lair. There are twenty-nine Talons in all, five of which are enchanted fakes, and the other twenty-four being real. They have been scattered throughout and beyond the empire, but if one were to possess four of them; four of the real ones - enough to represent one dragon paw - then they would become very powerful. If one could find them all, they could rule with no fear of opposition. With my brother'sTalon, I now have three - two real, and one fake - the boon of the last few centuries. Pitiful for so long a search, but a testament to how well they are hidden."
"Is that why we are here?" asked the escort. A few fat drops of rain began to fall. Just enough to be heard hitting the gravestones, but not quite enough to start getting wet. The escort opened his umbrella, and held it over the kneeling princess. "Is another Talon among these graves?"
The princess looked sorrowfully at the gravestone before her, and brought the handle of The Talon to her cheek, catching a tear and letting it soak into the soft, red ribbon that wrapped the handle. "No," she answered. "We are here, because I miss my lover. He has been gone for so long, chasing vengeance against my brother, but he can never succeed on his own. No one can kill the immortal, unless they have talked to death face-to-face."
The escort blanched. "Princess...please, no!"
"Do not fear. I am here to use the Talon, yes, but a dragon's talon does not just take life. It also has the power to give life. So I am here to raise my lover's sister, that she may enact his revenge, and satisfy his need to restore his family's honor. Although he has cast all other traditions aside, he still clings to that one."
Being a ninja isn't all that. The people you work for are jerks, and talk to you like you're nothing, even though you could rip their heart out with the right punch, or cut their head off in an eye blink. They all think they're these evil grandmasters, moving ninjas like pawns against their enemies, when all they are, really, are some spineless cowards who want someone else dead, but don't have the guts or the skills to do it themselves. Yet they expect you to act with honor, because that's what they've seen in a hundred martial arts movies, or they think we're all bound by the mores of a culture that's thousands of years old. Give me a break.
The martial arts are part of our way of life, and I took to kung fu, because frankly, I liked the idea of being able to whip some ass. Turned out I was really good at kung fu. Also turned out I whipped ass on the wrong self important, self entitled bully one day, and he came back with a band of friends late in the night - some biker boy, Yakuza wannabes - and wiped out my entire family in retaliation. Missed me though, because I was with the bully's sister - the reason we had been fighting to begin with. Got back just in time to see them retreating into the darkness on a bunch of Yamahas.
So I buried my family, sold what was left of their holdings to interested buyers in Kyoto, and I went to the real Yakuza, offered all of my money to the biggest boss I could get to, and told him all I wanted in return was to be put in touch with some ninjas. He laughed, but amazingly enough, he arranged the meeting. I told them I wanted to be a ninja. They laughed, and then one of them tried to kill me. Like I said, I'm really good at kung fu, so one dead ninja later, and I started learning ninjitsu, and I've killed a lot of people since then. Just not the one I want.
Thanks for stopping in, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my entries. Participate in the next Character Creation Contest- we always love having another writer compete! -cb :^D
|Read the...||Fan-Fic Disclaimer for cbishop|
Thanks for stopping in! :^D