tirsdag den 26. juni 2012

Nualia's Nightmare

All of a sudden, the room is covered in a dazzling flash of light and you instinctively close your eyes…
When you open your eyes again, you find yourselves standing suspended weightless in the air overlooking Sandpoint and what appears to be the old church that got burnt down in place of the new cathedral.

The door to the church furtively opens as a beautiful little girl with silver hair and violet eyes pokes her head furtively outside before timidly walking outside. As she daintily walks down the steps, a stone flies out of nowhere and hits her head. Boyish giggling can be heard in the distance as someone yells: “Freak! Go back inside!” Clutching the bloody welt on her forehead, she runs back inside crying.

You are transported to what looks to be a quaint, old-fashioned schoolhouse. The same sad, quiet girl sits alone in the corner, reading a book. Cruel whispering and giggling can be heard all around her, before she gets up and excuses herself to go use the restroom. Three other giggling girls follow behind her and wait for her to walk into the outhouse before piling tables and chairs outside her door. Several hours later, a little girl’s frightened screams of anguish pierce the dusk.

A teenage girl walks back home to the church from the school house. Immediately, the air is filled with lewd catcalls and hooting from the adolescent boys in the area. Extremely uncomfortable with the inappropriate attention placed upon her, she quickly runs back to the church, with her head hung low.

A young woman holding a basket is browsing through vegetables at the market, when suddenly, she feels someone yank at her hair followed closely by a loud “snip” sound. Whirling around, she sees an old woman gleefully hobble off with a handful of hair the color of the stars.

A mob of petitioners approach her. Many of them have rashes and boils, others have warts. Some others claim to hear spirits in their head. They ask her to bless them. They ask her if she could cure their maladies with her touch. One of them calls her “the Blessed of Desna.” Another asks her to drive the evil spirits out of his head by singing to him. Too much for her, she runs back to the church. They give chase.

A stern voice of an older man can be heard: “On your seventeenth birthday, I am taking you to the highly prestigious Windsong Abbey to become a nun. The Abbess expects all young applicants to be perfectly versed in their catechisms. You may not leave this room until you have memorized all of your scriptures.” Hours later, a young woman looks out the window gloomily as the sun sets and another warm summer day spent cloistered in her chambers.

A handsome Varisian boy, who recently arrived at Sandpoint from Magnimar, takes her on a picnic for a date. It is her first picninc. They sit on a grassy knoll and watch the sun set. She falls in love.

Weeks pass. The boy throws a stone at the church window. The window opens and the girl looks outside. She smiles happily at him before clambering over and climbing down on a cloth rope. He takes her hand and takes her to the moonlit beach. They walk for awhile in the sand until they come upon a strange cave nestled within the cliffs underneath the newly built Glassworks. Giggling softly, they both go inside.

Months pass. The two young lovers sit shoulder to shoulder at the mouth of the cave overlooking the waves at night. The girl turns to the boy and says that she has something important to tell him. “What’s the matter?” the boy asks tenderly. “I’m pregnant.” The girl says. “You’re lying!” “No, I swear it’s true.” “How could this happen! I thought your kind was infertile.” “But…what are we going to do now?” “What do you mean we? I will be going to Magnimar with my caravan next week.” “I thought you said you were going to stay here with me.” “I lied. I knew I should never have gone out with a sad little fool like you.” With that, he turns on his heel and walks away with barely a glance backwards. Mouth agape, too stunned to speak, and hurt beyond measure, the girl quietly watches her so-called “lover” disappear into the darkness.

Kneeling before the altar, she prays for repentance that she does not feel. Her foster father yelled at her harshly and had called her a “harlot” when he found out about her condition. He forbids her from leaving the church in fear public ridicule. Bitterness and rage clouds her heart like a thick poison and festers…

Eight months later, she undergoes a painful miscarriage. Through the haze of pain suffusing her entire body, she catches a glimpse of her baby – a horrific and deformed monstrosity, which the blanching midwife immediately swaddles up and takes away. In one awful moment of clarity, she realized that she had been carrying a fiend in her belly all this time. She falls into a deep coma.

Her coma-induced sleep is filled with fevered dreams. In them, a pregnant woman with three jackal heads and a serpentine tail beckons to her. She approaches slowly and falls into the demon goddess’ embrace. In her other dreams, she dreams of burning the old Desnan church – her home and prison – down, with her foster father in it. She dreams of masked men who revel in the act of hunting and killing other men. She dreams of hunting down and murdering the boy who brought her so much pain. She dreams of a hidden shrine underground shrine, where she meets her tiny new mentor. She dreams of a monstrous goblin wolf – a chosen of Lamashtu – that paces restlessly in ravenous hunger in a small chamber. She dreams of Sandpoint being overwhelmed and razed by a ravening horde of monsters, and she vividly sees herself standing amidst the ruins, reveling in the act of offering the souls of the dying to higher, more terrible beings beyond the understanding of mere mortals.

The collective vision ends here and you find that you are once again inside the heart of Thistletop.

lørdag den 9. juni 2012

30 Minute Challenge - Forfeit

    'I challenge you,' Jane said, 'To a game of chess!'
    'I forfeit,' Jimmy said, not raising his eyes from the disassembled .45 spread out on his workbench. 'You win, boss. Again.'
    Jane threw her arms into the air. 'Victory!' she proclaimed.
    'Huzzah,' Jimmy said, inspecting the .45's barrel.
    'Woo!' Jane said and strode out of the room to spread the word of her great victory. The rest of their base proved woefully lacking in people, however, so she spent a few minutes petting Mutt, Tank's 3-legged bulldog. It slept right through it all, snoring like a phlegmy buzzsaw.
    She quickly grew bored of the dog and picked up one of their 'talkies. She adjusted the wave frequency and pressed the talk button.

    Tank's 'talkie suddenly came to live with a loud squawk, making him jump and drop the armfuls of canned food he'd been carrying. They fell to the floor with a deafening clatter, and he froze where he stood, holding down the talk button on his 'talkie before Jane - it had to be Jane, he thought - could make any more noise. He strained his hearing. Were those the slow, rotting footsteps of a walker? Was it just dripping water? Was that a ticking clock or the sounds of an approaching burrower?
    The building had been an enormous shopping center once. Three stories of anything a hot-blooded American would ever need. These days you were lucky to get in and out alive.
    Satisfied that nothing had heard him, he raised the 'talkie to his mouth and spoke into it very quietly. 'Why,' Tank said. 'Are you calling me now?'
    'I won at chess!' Jane said, her excited voice distorted by the interference.
    Tank sighed and closed his eyes. 'Boss,' he said in a tired voice. 'Did you drink coffee again?'
There was a long silence.

OneWord #42 - Nest

"Eagle One, this is Nest. What is your status? Over." The radio crackled. Lieutenant James McGuinness grabbed his shoulder-mounted mic and spoke softly into it. "Approaching extraction point Bravo. Two klicks out."

søndag den 3. juni 2012

OneWord #41 - Cap

The cap fell from her head like a leaf from an autumn tree. It drifted gently to the ground in a small spiral, gliding smoothly underneath the benches of the terminal.

30 Minute Challenge - Spaceship

    Brigadier Captain Jessica Ramirez leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, listening to the quiet, tense murmur of her bridge crew. She'd been on call for the better part of three standard earth days, and while black coffee and stims could keep you going for a while, she was beginning to feel the strain. She scrubbed at her eyes with both hands, trying to force the weariness out. She knew that she really needed sleep, but she was damned if she was going to spend the last three hours of her life sleeping.
    Her ship, the HMS Hammerblow, had been stationed in the Soltaire system for three months now. Soltaire had no habitable planets, no construction yards, no mining operations and no space docks besides the tiny refueling station built specifically for Aurora Squad, the meager defense force Hammerblow was part of. It was, for all intents and purposes, a solar system devoid of any strategic value whatsoever.
    So when a Dagonite assault force showed up on long distance radar, heading on a direct intercept course for Aurora Squad's flagship, the HMS Bastion, Jessica could hardly believe it. The Dagonite force was still three days out of missile range when they first spotted it, but Bastion's radar array had gotten a solid read on their numbers.
    A spearhead of five dreadnoughts with a screen of seven smaller destroyers, and trailing behind them like a floating mountain was the massive shape of a breaching-class behemoth, designed for smashing through a solid wall of lasers and ship-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
    Aurora Squad consisted of a total of four ships. Hammerblow and her two sister ships, HMS Asis and HMS Marion, were all destroyers. Bastion was a much larger dreadnought, but with most of her weaponry stripped away in exchange for radar arrays and other utility tools, she was worse than useless in a battle.
    Long story short, Jessica reflected, the Dagonites were going to blow Aurora Squad into so much debris and molten slag, and there was very little she could do about it. Their orders were clear: Hold Soltaire at all costs.

lørdag den 2. juni 2012

OneWord #40 - Necessity

It was only out of necessity that he had packed his semi to the rafters with assault rifles and ammo crates. He loathed violence, and guns were most certainly the most vile remnants of a barbaric age.