Writing Prompt: A Recipe for Disaster

Spaghetti Dinner with Bread

Now I want spaghetti…

Oh man. The worst thing to do to me when asking me to write something is to give me no parameters. I have literally spent all my spring break vacation fretting about doing my next creative writing piece, because my teacher gave us a “free choice” piece.

What’s that? I should write the last part of the Shattering series? I should finish that story line? Hahahaha! Obviously you don’t know my uncanny ability to procrastinate–especially when it comes to finishing something, especially when it comes to finishing a story.

There’s a really great reason why I have taken to writing short stories, even though I, personally, prefer novels. It’s because short stories can be left hanging, to a degree. Short stories don’t have to be technically “finished” to still be mildly satisfying.

Finishing something is kind of frightening. I mean, I can write beginnings–get your attention, I think I’ve got that down. I can write middles, as long as I don’t get too long and wordy and start boring even myself. But endings? Endings are terrifying. Endings are the culmination of everything. Endings have to wrap up all that came before. The best endings leave you thinking. But more than anything else, endings have to be satisfying. Endings are only good when you finish, put the piece down, and say, “Wow, that was worth my time to read.”

So the last piece of the Shattering series is currently about one paragraph long…

Instead, I started flipping through these two GREAT new books that were suggested to me by Max, my creative writing teacher. 642 Things to Write About and 712 MORE Things to Write About–they’re two big books of writing prompts. Yay!

Saturday morning, I was caught in an “Oooohhh” moment in the first book, by this prompt:

Write a recipe for disaster.

And I started writing. And the piece amused me so much, I have decided I’m going to turn it in on Tuesday for my assignment, and I’m going to post it here today.

I know, I know. Finish my last story for the Shattering. Well, at least this is related, right??

~ Effy

Recipe for Disaster

Ingredients:

1 benevolent creation god, Yargonae
1 easily manipulated god, Bael
1 dark and envious god, Zaeriin
1 group of dark beings, Old Ones
1 planet, Dadreon
1 sleeping Father of Dragons, Rhaegar (separated)
A pinch of sunlight
5 Dracolords–Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Onyx, and Quartz
1 temple, to Yargonae
1 polytheistic race, elves
1 monotheistic race, humans
Arcane magic (separated)
A dash of abyssal creatures–Rusc, Nagaesh, Ilmaer

Directions:

Start with 3 gods–1 benevolent creator (Yargonae), 1 easily manipulated (Bael), and 1 dark and envious (Zaeriin). Stir them and bring to a boil of anger and envy and then separate and set aside.

Take 1 group of dark beings (Old Ones) and imprison them within 1 planet (Dadreon). Take a sleeping Father of Dragons (Rhaegar) and add to the dark beings, incorporating until well-blended and inseparable. Set aside, separating one scale from Rhaegar. Use the previously stirred Yargonae to transform the Rhaegar scale into a Sunstone. Add a pinch sunlight until the refracted beams create 5 Dracolords (Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Onyx, and Quartz). Use a little more of the stirred Yargonae to bring life to the created Dracolords. Set the Dracolords and the created Sunstone aside in 1 temple to Yargonae, until needed later.

Take two races–1 polytheistic (elves) and 1 monotheistic (humans). Blend the races together until there is adequate animosity and distrust created. Add some Bael and Zaeriin influence as needed, until the consistency is just right. The races should be just starting to war with each other. Once war has broken out, add in some of the arcane magic until just the right level of instability is created. Set aside the rest of the arcane magic until later.

Take the previously stirred Zaeriin, and use him to destroy Bael in a mixture of deceit and betrayal. This will cause additional distress in the set aside humans, increasing the instability in the race mixture. This and the previously added arcane magic should begin to degrade the integrity of the temple’s defenses. To speed up the degradation, add the remainder of the stirred Zaeriin to the mix, along with a dash of abyssal creatures (Rusc, Nagaesh, and Ilmaer) and the remainder of the set aside arcane magic. This should bring our combination to an adequate boil of chaos.

Add the previously created Sunstone. If everything has been incorporated correctly, this should cause the Shattering of the Sunstone and the Dracolords, and a following cataclysm–waking Rhaegar and the Old Ones and forever changing the face of Dadreon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Prophecy

Ancient Ruins

My most recent assignment in creative writing was to create a piece including either rhyme or repetition.

I pondered on this for a while, and I was close to writing the last piece of the The Shattering series that I’ve been working on. But as I sat down and tried to brainstorm for the last part, I realized that having a better overall picture of what was happening and what it would lead to would be more helpful.

I decided writing the prophecy attached to this event would be the best next step. Prophecies in fantasy may seem cliche, but I knew there would be one I referred to later in my stories (which I think I mentioned in the piece Erkada). Also, prophecies are a big part of mythological apocalypses and I’m trying to better tie my fantasy world together with some true mythology story feel. So many of the things we are discussing in mythology will be present in this piece and the final piece of The Shattering.

Prophecies are usually presented in poem fashion, so that they are easier to remember. I figured both rhyme and repetition would make it even easier–and a god piece to turn in fr my assignment.

This is a prophecy given by Dionnae, the goddess of future and prophecy, to Yargonae, the king of the gods. It was prophesied long before any of the events in The Shattering and vaguely covers the events spanning over 1000 of Dadreon’s history.

~ Effy

Prophecy

From golden light on pedestal,
The call of envy beckons.
The Shattering, and darkness falls.
What once had slept–awakens.

Consciousness, the jail it breaks,
And turns steel bars to dross.
Cataclysm, earthquakes, hurricanes.
What once held order–chaos.

Fae races scattered, battered, broken,
Their ancient forests cut and blighted.
The peak of society, left to ruin.
What once was prosperous–divided.

Land and water, mountain and tree,
Man and beast, made haggard.
Gemstone lords, left torn apart.
What once was whole–shattered.

The bowels, awakened,
Heave violent bane.
The ground, snaking Sapphire,
Writhes in pain.
The mountains, cut deep,
Ooze Ruby blood.
The oceans, once calm,
Rage Onyx flood.
The sky, mournful,
Wails with Quartz breeze.
The forests, in fear,
Tremble Emerald leaves.

Soothe golden serpent back to sleep,
And bind the darkness, ancient.
Rebuild the bars of dream’s black jail.
What once had slept–made dormant.

But what is done is not undone.
No spell or chant be spoken,
To heal the wounds of worldly ruin.
What once held order–still broken.

A thousand years of chaos brought,
Order usurped, most unrighteous.
A thousand more, if not restored.
What once held light–now darkness.

Hope, it lies in mortal breast,
Burdened with talent, dormant.
Restore the gem, and lords alike.
What once lay shattered–make brilliant.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Flash Fiction Friday – Dragonhoard

Treasure Hoarding Dragon, by Alexstoneart at DeviantArt

Today’s flash fiction is inspired by a writing assignment prompt from my creative writing class. Our assignment was to write a persona piece–a dramatic monologue from the point of view of a “character.”

Well, I happen to like dragons, just a little bit.

So the idea of writing from a dragon’s point of view was fascinating. While brainstorming WHAT to write about, I stumbled across the burning question: Why do dragon’s hoard? Money would mean nothing to them–I doubt a dragon is going to go buy something from a human when he can take it by force. Unless they were to take a human form. But I decided on a red dragon for this piece, because I liked the idea of a fiery personality and a burning desire to hoard treasure. And I decided that my red dragon, unlike my green dragon, Cernunnos, would have no interest in taking a human form. He would not stoop to appear as their equal.

As the piece progressed, I realized my poetry study in creative writing is rubbing off on me more than I thought–the form of my prose was taking on almost a poem structure. There was a recurring theme of the dragon being obsessed with chaos. The prose was starting to look, in some places like: long paragraph –> sentence –> long paragraph –> sentence –> etc. So I decided to accentuate what had begun mostly by accident, definitely unconsciously.

Let me know what you think of this piece that is somewhat different from my usual.

Oh, and I promise I’m working on the end piece to The Sky Crumbles. This was for a school assignment, and took precedence.

~ Effy

Dragonhoard

Life is chaos. All order is destined to end in chaos. None know this truth better than dragons. No dragon knows this truth better than I, Pyrrhus, the Red.

Humans–the pests, the parasites–spend the whole of their insignificant, speck of a life trying to figure out the order of things. They study. They name. They label. They categorize. They seek to understand. They cram things into containers that represent how they wish those things to be and act.

Chaos defies understanding.

It is all for naught. There are things that exist that cannot be named, cannot be categorized, cannot be ordered. Only dragons realize that chaos is the natural way of universe, because we were born of chaos. Order can only exist for so long. In the form of structures and governments and civilizations, order eventually crumbles.

Chaos remains. It trumps order.

Chaos started everything. Once, only chaos existed. Ask the gods, if you can find them. They sought to organize the chaos. They created a perfect world with perfect creatures living in perfect harmony. For a time, that perfection held and they watched their world march perfectly along, and they thought the order would last.

Chaos that sleeps, eventually awakens.

Chaos can take many forms. In the case of our little chunk of rock, Dadreon, chaos took the form of primordial creatures the gods tried to hide away. These old ones sat in prisons created and maintained by the dreams of Rhaegar, the Dreamer–Rhaegar, the Father of Dragons. They hovered in an existence somewhere between life and death–unable to live while imprisoned by Rhaegar, yet incapable of dying.

Chaos never dies. It waits, infinitely patient.

The old ones awakened, and flooded the world with all forms of chaos–the mountains bled, the oceans raged, the sky wailed, the forests trembled, and the ground writhed. The old ones were bound once more, but not before changing the very face of Dadreon. Eventually, they will awaken again, because order is too organized, too much of the same.

Chaos is the contrast the universe demands.

Even beauty requires contrast. If all were the same, there would be no beauty, for their would be no difference. You cannot enjoy the beauty of a flower if every flower is just as beautiful. Just as there would be no good without evil. No love without hate. No light without dark. No male without female.

Chaos is both the binder and the divider.

Once I believed that order could be maintained, but after nearly a thousand years of existence, and the lessons chaos has taught me, I know better. My one remaining joy comes from teaching the lesson of chaos to the humans. They build; I destroy. They amass wealth; I take it. They wonder at the order of things; I deliver the inevitable chaos.

Fire is chaos. It destroys order. Fire burns without thought of who or why.

Then, the humans rebuild from the chaos, try to restore their order–until the next time I show them the futility of it. But humans are like petulant children. They don’t learn. They think they can rebuild their structures stronger, more resilient, but I always show them the errors of this flawed logic. It is a cycle I will eventually win.

Chaos is patient. Dragons are patient.

In the meantime, I take their baubles. Humans make pretty, albeit useless, items. They prove better at making items of gold and gemstones than they do erecting buildings that stay standing. They string themselves with gold and gems, thinking they shroud themselves with wealth and power. The gold, the jewelry, instead creates a cloak of jealousy, making others want what you have.

Amassing riches brings chaos.

To possess riches, you have to be strong enough to defeat those envious of it. I take, I hoard, because I am stronger than the craven humans. I protect what I take. But I also do not tempt chaos.

Chaos favors no one.

I remember the first time I beheld the luscious glitter of fire on gold. It occurred the night of my first raid on the humans. Their capital originally stood just north of the Dagger Cliffs, in a protected valley. Not protected enough.

Not from a dragon’s eyes or a dragon’s wits.

I caught them unawares, unprepared for my chaos. I breathed. The city burned. I watched. Humans fled or blazed like paper–a flash, then gone. I brought chaos. The humans screamed as their precious order shattered.

They tasted peppery and ashen on my tongue.

The castle of the human king beckoned me. It screamed order and I spewed chaos in retort. Stone and mortar melted beneath the heat of my flames. As the towers flowed like lava, I caught sight of a golden glint among the black.

A burning sun in an ebon cosmos.

The falling structure had revealed beneath it a pile of treasure as I had never seen–a mountain of gold coins and among them sparkling gems. Some of the gems winked from the hilts of brilliant swords or decorative boxes or broad necklaces, others glinted among the disks of gold. My eyes filled with sparkling carnelian, garnet, citrine, agate, opal, hessonite, spinel, amethyst. But it was the gold that most dazzled me, flashing like tiny flickers of flame.

In that moment, I knew envy. I had to make it mine.

So I made the human king’s castle my lair. I left the humans to seek a new capital. I sealed myself away from covetous eyes. I counted my riches. I buried myself in a mountain of gold. I slept in a sea of aureate wealth.

Greed became my food. But chaos was ever my god.

For many, many years I found my contentment there. I did not seek out the humans. I slept. I dreamed. Both in and out of my dreams, I counted and I recounted. But my riches tempted the greedy.

The return of chaos was inevitable.

Each would-be thief and murderer announced himself “hero” and “dragonslayer” just before meeting my terrifying gaze. Then, their legs and wills turned to water, and they perished in a wave of dragonfear and a wall of flame.

One after another they came. One after another they burned.

Enraged by their audacity, I sealed up my treasures beneath a layer of melted stone and sought out the new human city. Two, three, four villages smoldered in my wake. But my rage still burned.

My inner fire accommodated.

Only when the human city once more fell into blackened ashes did my fury falter. Once more the humans fled before my enormity and the chaos I spewed upon them. Once more I found treasures beneath the human king’s castle. I swallowed all of the hoard I was capable, and flew off to add it to my own.

Still I know chaos. Chaos is all-seeing.

That has become the cycle of my life. Sleep, kill, burn. It is almost an order, but I know better. All semblance of order left this life with my mate, Seraphine. Stolen from me by the insect-like humans while protecting our brood. Buried alive along with all of our eggs. I remember her terrified cries of pain. They haunt my dreams.

Together since our creation, I have no other.

Life is chaos. It is cyclical. The humans brought it on me and in turn I bring it on them in an ever-revolving cycle of chaos.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Sky Crumbles

Solar Eclipse

Just a quick intro today…

This is the third part to the stories posted recently:

Part 2 & 3 are actually meant to intermingle, but I separated them for posting, so that As Darkness Rises could be short enough to turn in for my assignment. They will go back together as intended when all the parts are complete.

Enjoy Part 3!

~ Effy

The Sky Crumbles

“The situation goes from bad to worse,” Sapphire said to his siblings, hissing the words through his sharp teeth.

“This new arrival troubles me more than even this war between the elves and humans,” Ruby agreed. She slowly shook her large, horned head. “What are those dark creatures?”

“I fear there is someone else behind this new development,” Emerald said with a frown on his muzzle, flicking his golden eyes to each of his siblings in turn.

“I have a thought of who,” Onyx replied, her usually lively countenance serious.

“Zaeriin,” Quartz said, reading the look on her sister’s face.

Onyx nodded.

The five Dracolords continued to watch the battlefield. The conflict had been moving closer to the the gates of Bethel, but stalled with the appearance of the gaping, black hole and the dark creatures spewing from it. Details proved difficult to discern through the sooty black fog, all the the Dracolords could see were vaguely humanoid shapes scrambling around and colliding chaotically.

The dark creatures from below continued to multiply.

“We must do something,” Ruby insisted.

“We’re already too far from the Temple,” Sapphire said.

“Maybe we should return,” Onyx said, her voice less certain than usual. She glanced from the battlefield to the Temple of Yargonae, still shining and golden behind them, unaffected by the darkness screening the battlefield below.

“As this darkness arises, it continues to spread,” Emerald said. “What if it continues toward the Temple?”

Before the others could answer, the end began.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zaeriin climbed the mountain of steps up to the Temple of Yargonae. Usually, the Dracolords would have sensed his approach and barred his way long before this point, but they stayed distracted with the battle from above. He could see their shimmering rainbow still spanned across the heavens.

Yet the great aspen doors remained sealed. Zaeriin cursed under his breath and glanced behind him, in the direction of the battle that raged just out of view. He could hear the growing terror as his dark minions from below sliced and slithered their way through the elves and humans. The inky cloud still hung there like low, thick fog, enveloping the whole of the battlefield.

Other than his brother, Yargonae, only Zaeriin knew the origin of the creeping darkness. Only Zaeriin knew of the existence of sleeping, dreaming horrors in the depths and how to use them.

But Zaeriin’s patience was at its end.

Thankfully, he didn’t have to wait much longer. He saw the first magenta flashes flicker over the walls of Bethel. Zaeriin knew those sparks of light meant the humans were fighting the approaching darkness with arcane magic–magic the young and irresponsible Bael had blessed them with but had never shown them how to use responsibly.

With a raised hand, Zaeriin felt along the weakening aura holding closed the doors of the Temple.

“Soon…” he hissed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Finally!” Zaeriin hissed.

He shoved both palms against the stout aspen doors of the Temple, and felt the rush of sweet success as they parted. Warm air and the scent of hot metal and spring flowers wafted against him.

Zaeriin crinkled his nose.

Then, his visage immediately brightened when his eyes fell upon the Sunstone. His goal was finally within reach.

One step. Two steps. Three steps. The footsteps came quickly and without thought.

Zaeriin moved within arm’s reach of the Sunstone. The rays of the sun glittered off its perfect topaz surface, causing the gem to twinkle and warble a mournful tune.

It was as if the Sunstone knew the fate awaiting it–awaiting them all.

Zaeriin flinched. The gem seemed to be asking him, begging him, to walk back out.

“No! Not after all this!” Zaeriin roared, gesturing behind him with one wide circle of one arm. “I’ve waited too long. I’ve come too far. You belong to me!”

No, Zaeriin. The Sunstone is not yours. Never will it be yours. As the voice invaded his mind, he watched a swirling grey vapor drift between him and the gem. Seconds later, the vapor coalesced into the looming form of a large, shimmering black dragon, forcing Zaeriin back several steps from his prize.

“Onyx, don’t stand in my way.” Zaeriin glared into the Dracolord’s yellow eyes. The jealousy built within him again, so hot he forgot all other emotions. She had spurned him. She had denied his advances. She had claimed her heart belonged only to Umaesh, god of the moons and stars.

Zaeriin’s insides burned, a building volcano of vehemence.

“You will go no further, Zaeriin.” Onyx met his eyes steadily, her head high and her muzzle elevated. She stood on all four of her muscular legs, toes tense and talons clicking against the smooth gold and grey swirled marble beneath them, her tail twitching restlessly.

“My feelings for you won’t stay my hand,” Zaeriin promised. “Remove yourself, or I will kill you. I will let nothing stop me.” His gnarled, sharp fingers clenched and unclenched at his sides.

Onyx’s lips curled, and she bared her pointed teeth.

The Temple became cloaked in blackness. With the sun blotted out, the Sunstone ceased its singing and silence fell. The abruptness of it was deafening. Onyx found herself disoriented.

But Zaeriin was in his element.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“You should not have come alone,” Zaeriin said, his voice reverberating through the air.

Onyx spun towards his voice, snarling and flailing with claw and tail and snapping maw.

A moment too late, she saw it for the deception it was. Something sharp pierced her breast, in the spot where her scales were thinnest and her body least armored. So sudden did it strike her, her breath caught in her throat. So deep did it cut, it pierced her lung and her heart beneath it, denying her any further objection.

Zaeriin dispelled his darkness, and watched as Onyx slumped forward. She wheezed a few final breaths and growled in the direction of her attacker. Then, her head thumped heavily to the marble, in the growing puddle of her garnet-colored blood.

Allowing himself only a moment’s reflection, Zaeriin swallowed down any regrets. Then he tore his gaze from one source of his envy to the other.

The Sunstone had begun to sing again, a melody dreadful and forlorn.

Zaeriin reached forward. A tiny tremor in the marble floor gave him pause. He hesitated for only a moment, then grabbed hold of the gem. A greater vibration shook Zaeriin, seeming to originate from the Sunstone. He took a firmer hold of it. The walls of the Temple began to shudder and cracks appeared in their flawless surfaces.

Zaeriin stood mesmerized, gazing deep into the Sunstone. Deep within the gem were swirling masses resembling tiny cosmic clouds, and within them twinkled tiny stars. Now that he held it, the Sunstone seemed to trill with a higher pitch than before.

First dust, then pebbles, then large sections of the plastered walls and columns began to crumble and collapse around him. A large chunk fell to the floor, narrowly missing him and breaking him from his revere.

“I think that is my exit cue,” Zaeriin murmured.

The Temple groaned and rumbled with discontent. As Zaeriin moved toward the doors, more chunks of plaster fell, now joined by the stone and mortar beneath it, quicker and in larger pieces than before. A jagged hole marred the ceiling, and it made the sun’s rays unpleasantly harsh and condemning.

Zaeriin clutched the Sunstone protectively to his chest. As he reached the aspen doors, the gem wailed and flashed hot pain into his chest.

Crying out, Zaeriin tried to hold on, but the burning gem tumbled from his covetous fingers.

The Sunstone hit the marble and shattered, letting loose an ear-piercing wail. It was a scream of fear, a howl of pain, a cry of anguish.

And it woke Rhaegar, the Dreamer, from his slumber.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Horror Fiction Project – As Darkness Rises

Black Tentacles, by Archanor on Deviantart

The short story piece, The Sunstone, that I published last week is continued here.

This piece is a continuation, but it is also a piece written for an assignment. I mentioned that I was drawing inspiration from my Creative Writing, Horror & Sci Fi, and Mythology classes. Well, this one is horror inspired. We are responsible for 3 projects this semester, and one is a “creative” project. It was intended to allow students with less writing interest to express themselves through other forms–sculptor, painting, video, etc. But I asked if I could write a piece of fiction, and was given permission. (Yay!)

Yes, I won’t deny there are some Lovecratian influences here.

I hope you enjoy. I don’t have an assignment planned for the third part, but it will get posted here soon.

~ Effy

As Darkness Rises

Tendrils of darkness blotted out the climbing sun like a morning eclipse. They snaked around it, and constricted, until its light became a mere chilly glow. Yet still the sun hung there, though bloated and red, its rays diffused in the sudden ominous gloom.

The source of the creeping darkness spewed from a split in the soil, forming in the center of the battlefield. It swirled like sooty smoke. The ground seemed to fall away at the edges, disintegrating back in upon itself into the abyss below.

The sudden appearance of the crevice swallowed those closest in terrifying swiftness. The darkness below did not discriminate between elf or man–it ate any who had stumbled too near. Soon it gaped like a giant, hungry maw, its throat black with rich soil, crumbling clumps of earth forming its jagged teeth.

Mere feet from having been swallowed, a young elven soldier pirouetted his arms to regain balance and scrambled backwards from the edge of the approaching underworld. He first saw the dark talons that clawed the edges of the black hole. They looked wet, even slimy, catching the little bit of light breaking through the black fog and creating a sickening sheen on greyish skin.

As the glistening creature crested the edge of the maw, the young elf tried to scream at the sight of it, but the sound caught in his throat. A moment later, the sinewy nightmare reached out, a frenzy of slashing talons and fangs, and cut off any further protest in a gurgle of bubbling blood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd, commander of the elven forces and their allies, could not see the source of the first screams of terror. He could only feel the creeping chill they sent shivering down his spine as elves and men screamed and then were cut short.

Chaos built in the center of the battlefield. It rippled through the ranks like a dark wave.

Gennerd could not tell if the screams were elves or men, but it didn’t matter. From the change in the battle’s tone, it seemed obvious whatever had changed it affected both sides. From the darkening of the sky, despite the sun that still shone there dimly, he could tell it was more than the barbaric humans were capable of, even with their rudimentary grasp of arcane magic.

“Illandra!” Gennerd called. “Zenadi!” Neither of his commanders were close enough to hear him over the cacophony. Solace, his patience pegasus companion, shifted beneath him, sensing his anxiety, and ruffling the feathers of her white wings.

With a curse, Gennerd urged Solace forward, cautious. He did not coax her into the air, for he mistrusted the darkness gathering there. He did not like going in blind, for he feared what he could not identify, but his soldiers needed direction. They needed reassurance.

What reassurance he could offer, he was yet unsure.

The rainbow that had arched across the sky earlier could not be seen. Whether that meant it had disappeared or just been hidden from view by the smoky murk, Gennerd didn’t know. But the hope it had given him faded with it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Again!” Warlord Kerl snarled.

At his command, another volley of amethyst-colored bolts of energy arced high into the sky, the premature dusk–twoscore of them. The missiles fell among the elven ranks as well as among these new, darker creatures.

Kerl was certain they were some form of fairy-folk summoned by the hedonistic elves.

The commander of the human legion yanked the reins of his yellow palomino and the nervous beast turned, shaking its black mane anxiously. Kerl kept the horse pacing circles behind the lines forming his last hope of destroying the elves. These elves with their pathetic attempt at stalling him from finally eradicating them and their trees and their many gods.

As Kerl prepared to order another volley, he scanned the scorched, torn sod and the scattered bodies tossed around like rag dolls. Those bodies were only men and elves. The dark creatures seemed unaffected. In fact, they were grouping in slithering swarms of shadows, snaking through the remaining ranks of humans between themselves and Kerl.

His horse neighed in fear, its ears flattened, its eyes wide and rolling erratically. Kerl snapped the reins and tried to get the beast under control. Then he realized one of the dark creatures had slipped through the mages, slicing and half-devouring a few along its path.

It clawed at the leg of the terrified horse. As it grabbed a hold, the beast’s leg began to turn a ghastly grey, a sickness of the flesh that crept higher the longer the dark creature kept hold. The horse’s legs gave out, and Kerl rolled away just short of being crushed.

As the horse hit the ground, it shrieked, an ear-splitting sound that dissolved into a gurgling bray.

The dark creature that had brought it down gorged on its horseflesh, making stomach-turning slurping and crunching noises in the process. Kerl sat back in a horrified stupor, only shaking himself from it when the dark creature looked up and Kerl finally got a good look at it.

It resembled an emaciated man, one caught in a blistering fire. Charred skin, now dripping with blood, clung like saturated cloth to its bones. Its eyes burned with cerise hunger and dripping fangs lined its ravenous mouth.

Kerl stoically concluded in that moment, just before the thing pounced on him, that this was no fairy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd saw Kerl’s horse go down, shrieking, and grimaced. He may have disliked his adversary, but no one deserved such a fate.

He and Solace had reached the main fray, but the majority of the dark creatures had turned toward the humans and their mages. A viscous black wave of slithering bodies formed a wall between Gennerd’s elves and the remaining humans.

Another volley of fuschia bolts of arcane energy flew through the dark sky. Gennerd frowned. Even he could see from where he and Solace watched that the missiles were ineffective. The only thing they accomplished was drawing more attention to the casters.

Unknown to Gennerd, they also weakened the magical bounds of the Temple of Yargonae within the walls of Bethel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd regrouped the remaining elves. He found Illandra, his second in command, and Zenadi, the commander of the fairy troops. Both he told to reorganize their soldiers and go wide around where the humans made their final stand–though, that stand was more of a failed attempt to flee without their warlord.

The elves’ only hope lay in leading the dark creatures the rest of the way from Bethel. Whether it would mean anything without figuring out how to seal up their hellish hole, Gennerd didn’t know.

The elves and fairies made their way around the wave of slithering blackness as Gennerd watched from Solace’s back. The dark creatures took notice immediately and divided.

They attacked the elves with a ferality like he’d never seen.

There seemed to be two different types of the dark creatures. One resembled an atrophied human, its skin charred and crumbling and clinging to its bones like wet cloth. They crawled with a dexterity that belied their frail-looking builds and ravenously devoured anything in their wake. The other creatures were half-man, half-snake abominations. They had dark greyish, slimy skin, stretched tautly over sinewy humanoid torsos and whip-like, snaking tails. They hunted with reptilian eyes and impossibly fast, slithering movements.

“Prepare yourself, Solace,” Gennerd whispered to his pegasus mount, but it was as much an encouragement to himself as to her. He patted her neck, and she snorted affectionately.

The diversion went as well as could be expected. The black wave slithered farther from Bethel’s gates, and the dark creatures seemed to have stopped emerging from the gaping, black hole in the open field.

But before Gennerd gave Solace the command to charge in and past, to draw the dark creatures farther still, his mount whinnied fearfully. The commander turned and froze in similar terror.

Several yards away stood the most hideous creature Gennerd had ever seen. Not even his darkest nightmares could have conjured this thing. It possessed a bulbous, slimy head and giant, milk-filmed eyes that looked blind. The thing’s face resembled a squid, multiple tentacles coming down and covering where its mouth should be. It was cloaked in a voluminous black robe with a tall collar that came higher than the dark creature’s squishy-looking head.

Solace, usually the most patience and steadfast of mounts, paced and whickered and tossed her head. She seemed on the edge of madness and too terrified to even flee.

Gennerd, similarly affected, wished she had bolted. Anything to carry him away from the squid creature.

Instead, it took several paces forward, and then made a gesture with one delicate, glossy hand. A number of elves stepped from the swirling black fog behind the creature. They raised their weapons and charged Gennerd and Solace.

The pegasus seemed mired to the ground. She stomped her hooves but made no headway in any direction. Gennerd’s arms were lead and would not obey him to guide her.

The elves, his soldiers, quickly swarmed Solace. She screeched in terror and pain as their weapons tore into her.

It was only then that Gennerd saw the empty looks in the eyes of the attacking elves. Even had he a voice to shout at them, he knew it would not have reached a rational mind. Their eyes had the same milky-film as the tentacled creature and their expressions were slack and vacant.

Somehow, this abyssal creature had stolen their minds.

Gennerd tried to scramble away as Solace fell beneath him. The elven soldiers grabbed him with dozens of fiercely biting fingers, and dragged him before the squid monster.

No scream would come to his lips, but it echoed over and over in his head.

The large milky eyes, from within the cephalopod face, drew his gaze into their depths and held him. He felt his mind seized as if by ice cold fingers and barred within a dark place. The frigid fingers plucked away his memories, one by one, piece by piece, stretching them out like stringy tendrils until they all floated in the air like dull streamers. The remnants of his strung-out memories were sucked away, and Gennerd was left with petrifying nothingness.

Then, a gurgling, sloshing voice filled the void, whispering things, and Gennerd’s shattered mind clung to every word.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Sunstone

The Sunstone

My new assignment for Creative Writing was due yesterday, and I got to workshop it in class. I realized it is the first time I have ever presented a piece of my own fantasy fiction in a class. I have shared fan fiction. I have shared my fantasy online. But I had to sit and be quiet while a room full of people critiqued my story. It was terrifying! Lol

This assignment was supposed to be about an object, a thing. I realize in retrospect that apparently a few weeks of studying poems and actually writing one seems to have affected my prose–in a good way. Both the imagery and the rhythm seem to have been affected, and it was noticed by my classmates.

This is going to be part of a longer piece. This is the beginning of that longer piece.

I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I am taking information from Creative Writing, Horror & Science Fiction, and Mythology to write this piece. Creative Writing inspired this piece with the “thing” prompt. Horror & Science Fiction is inspiring the piece that will immediately follow this. And Mythology is inspiring me to tighten up the lore of my fantasy world.

The two pictures are the closest I could get to how I picture the Sunstone and the Temple of Yargonae. The picture of the Temple, is actually a temple in the city of Palitana in Gujarat, India. Perhaps I’ll have to doodle something of my own at some point.

I’d like to make a habit of a short piece on Fridays, for Flash Fiction Friday. We’ll see how long I can keep myself on a schedule.

~ Effy

The Sunstone

The Temple of Yargonae

As the sun rose that morning, its golden light hit the Sunstone–refracting from that perfect piece of topaz to lighten every corner of the Temple of Yargonae–for the last time. The Sunstone, Scale of the Dreamer, nested stoically upon its pedestal, singing and warbling as sunlight passed through it like wind through a wind chime, changing tone as the rays of light changed shape. It perched as on any other day since the birth of the world, while within its crystalline depths spun the secrets of creation and existence itself.

Below, far beneath where the Sunstone sat with its infinite patience, Rhaegar, the Dreamer, held that existence together, precariously, in his ever-sleeping mind. No mortal could know the dreams of Rhaegar. To witness the inky blackness, the slithering and sloshing monstrosities trapped within the bowels of Dadreon, would have sent them spiraling into madness. Unspeakable, unnamable horrors lay trapped in their prisons–dreaming and balanced between life and unlife, death and undeath–held there only by the will of the great Father of Dragons.

The Temple of Yargonae stood serene that morning, as it had for thousands of years. The shining center of the city of Bethel–beauty personified and home to the pinnacle of elven society–the Temple gave physical form to the splendor that was Yargonae, king of the gods and creator of the planet Dadreon. He who had made order of chaos. He who had created Rhaegar, mightiest of all creatures. He who had imprisoned the malevolent primordial beings now trapped within Rhaegar’s dreams. He who had taken one topaz scale from the Father of Dragons, formed the Sunstone of it, and through the rainbow refractions of that gem had created the protectors of all of his creations–the Dracolords.

On this particular morning, the Sunstone sat alone. Only the sun and its song kept it company.

Its protectors watched the battle of elf versus man as it approached the walls of Bethel, trepidatious and mostly unseen–visible only as rays of light, appearing as a part of the misty morning sky’s rainbow to those below. Ruby red, emerald green , sapphire blue, quartz white, and onyx black–the Dracolords pondered what consequences would arise if the war the humans brought were to breach the walls of the elven city and reach the stairs of the great Temple.

Inside the Temple, the Sunstone was not destined to be lonely long. For there was one who had great interest in it.

Zaeriin, god of darkness and deceit, had planned for this day. Only Zaeriin knew what terrors waited to bubble up from below and onto the battlefield at the gates of Bethel. For he had awakened those terrors, and he counted on their chaotic and destructive natures to bring him to what he most desired–the Sunstone, and with it the secret of creation.

Too long he had languished in the shadow of his older brother, Yargonae. Too long had he manipulated their youngest sibling, Bael, into leading the humans to create the chaos that would give him his chance at the glittering, golden source of his jealousy.

Now, with Bael out of the way, Zaeriin could push his plans forward quicker, without delay.

Already, Zaeriin could hear voices rising in confusion and fear. The din of discord brought a smirk to his face.

Everything was falling into place.

Had the Sunstone been capable of mortal concerns, it would have feared the approach. Instead, it merely reflected the light and sang its warbly tune as its many facets bent and redirected the sun into millions of glittering sparkles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Writing Prompt – From the Ashes

Phoenix

Over the weekend, I posted a piece written by my boyfriend, Joe (AKA WoWMartiean). It was based on a writing prompt that inspired us both. The piece here is based on that same writing prompt.

The writing prompt was from the blog Terrible Minds, called Must Contain 3 Things.

It is always fascinating to me to see completely different ideas spring from the same original idea.

~ Effy

From the Ashes

In the year 2056, the world ended. After 3 years of World War 4, the Russians fired off their nukes and the rest of the world followed suit. A great conflagration of plutonic fire consumed the world and bitter nuclear winter followed.

From the ashes of civilization arose those too stubborn to give up.

Platoon 189 made their rounds. They kept the remaining terrified citizens under strict curfew, and enforced it brutally.

Someone had to keep order in the chaos. There remained no more functioning government, the president and his hundreds of politicians had been destroyed–trial by fire. America’s leadership had been whittled down to a handful of military leaders, the only ones left who could enforce order in this harsh post-apocalypse.

Upon entering the remains of a donut shop–obviously only by the charred sign laying twisted in the charred entryway–Lieutenant Harper signaled the others to silence and to fall in behind him from their former spread-out organization. He had heard a rustle and even now the others could see the movement of a shattered shelf towards the rear of the gutted building. All that remained of the former bastion of modern fast food was blackened rubble, ash, and the blasted bases of four walls.

The shelf twitched again.

Harper made further signals to surround the shelf and whatever moved beneath it.

A ring of trained marines watched intently–was it animal or child? friend or foe? scared American or hiding terrorist?

All at once, the shelf, the floor, the rubble, exploded into a shower of debris, knocking them all back from the area they had previously stood and off their feet. Ash fell like silent snow and larger pieces clattered down noisily and ricocheted off the ring of soldiers.

Not a bomb, thank God, but there was still a moment of terror when Harper realized they were all quite vulnerable.

Private Tapper recovered first, the youngest of the platoon, and did not contain his surprise, uttering, “A bird! It’s a giant fucking bird!”

Harper saw this was true as he wiped ash and soot from his eyes. The great, strange bird climbed into the sky at a furious rate and Harper could only guess at the massive size of the thing. The gaping hole it had sprung from spanned 12 feet or more, and Harper knew that the bird’s wingspan must easily surpass that.

With the sun behind it, and Harper’s eyes still watering from the stinging ash, he could only get a vague idea of the thing. It appeared to be on fire–like a giant phoenix?–but that had to be a trick of the light. Dark feathers covered it, and Harper swore the ends of every one flickered and smoldered like dying embers.

The bird hit the zenith of its climb into the heavens and finally spread its great wings. Its huge size and massive wingspan blotted out the sun behind it. It did burn, flickering flames licking at every inch of it, but they did not bother the bird.

Harper felt he should be terrified, but he wasn’t.

Water began to fall–not rain, there were no clouds–and it was salty, like… tears? Everywhere the water droplets touched him, he felt his muscles unknot and relax. The man felt a great peace flowing through him. Looking around, Harper saw the others similarly affected.

From the pit lined with the donut shop’s rubble, a bright green sapling sprung forth. Harper was overcome, he had not seen something green and growing since the nukes fell.

From the ashes of civilization arose hope.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Guest Post – Ruins of Flushtopia

I’m very very excited to present a guest post, by my boyfriend, Joe–some of you may know him better as WoWMartiean.

This morning, we came across a great writing prompt by Chuck Wendig on the blog Terrible Minds. It was actually the second prompt of his I have found and been inspired by.

We randomly chose the three items: a strange bird, end of the world, and war.

I wrote a piece (which I promise to post soon) and Joe admitted he had thought to go a different way. After breakfast, he was so inspired, he actually disappeared for a half hour or so and churned out THIS.

Joe is always insisting he is no writer. I think you will agree that this proves otherwise. Please let me know what you think and/or give Joe a shout on Twitter (@wowmartiean).

~ Effy

Ruins of Flushtopia

Flushtopia

There once was a world named Flushtopia, for it was flush with open skies, blue oceans and a plethora of wondrous creatures.  These creatures had beauty and splendor, but even more so, some possessed almost supernatural powers.  The smookies, as much as they left a foul order behind them, had amazing healing abilities.  The children often spoke of how horrible it was to be sick, being forced to cuddle with a smookie overnight just to be well enough for school the next day. A moth-like creature, the rompf, was rare and it was a sign of prominence in society to own one. The rompf would glow and sing on the 25th of every month, so most often that was when the high society of Flushtopia would hold their galas. On the other hand, not all the animals possessed such positive aspects.  The flying squack for example could be used for terrible purposes, most often when there was a grudge to be settled, or a battle was about to ensue.  The squacks had the unfortunate, unstable chemical imbalance within them that once struck hard enough they would explode on impact with a loud “SQUAAAAACK” sound.

But not all was always grand in Flushtopia.  The Isles of Turgot, on one side of the world, were ruled by Chancellor Monroe and his wife, the Supreme Chancellor Divonea.  Though they both technically possessed the same amount of power, Divonea demanded a higher title of Supreme Chancellor, just because she could push Monroe around.  Divonea dearly wanted to possess one of every type of creature Flushtopia had to offer, for display in their home and especially to show off at the monthly gala.  Whatever extras could be housed in a museum, or perhaps even allowed to roam free or be collected by the rest of the masses who inhabited Turgot.

On the other side of the world, was the Union of Purgot.  One giant land mass, unlike the Isles of Turgot, it was ruled over by Prime Minister Dunlop and his first in command, and life partner, General Wiggins. These two LOVED their galas as well, so it was important that they collect the most elegant and rare creatures to adorn the great hall of Purgot every month also.

The explorers and collectors of Flushtopia would constantly be scouring and camping the different nooks and crannies of Purgot and Turgot, hoping to meet the needs for each monthly gala.  One day, rumors began to circulate amongst the collector community of a very strange green and yellow bird being seen on one of the tiny islands of Turgot.  It was said to emit a beautiful golden hue and golden sparks which would randomly pop off its body like very expensive fireworks. The main reason collectors were really intrigued by this bird was it the only one of its kind every sighted.  A one of a kind creature, with powers one could only dream of, would fetch quite the prize with their respected leaders, and maybe even a position on the counsels.  Now, the collectors of Purgot were not allowed to be crossing into Turgot territory, and they wouldn’t… at least as far as anyone on that side of the world knew.  Some Purgot collectors, however, were able to infiltrate the inner circles with the Turgot and work from within without being suspected.

Upon hearing about this elusive creature, Divonea was on a mission to possess it.  With only 2 days before the next gala, she was almost crazed about making it her own.  Surely this would be the crown jewel of her collection!  She dreamed of the beauty it possessed, from all she had heard about, much less what more was in store once the beast was caught.  Chancellor Monroe scurried about, putting out messages to all the fleets around the Isles to cease any operations and locate that bird.

Purgot’s Prime Minister Dunlop was on a similar mission, if not only to show it off at the gala and prove once and for all that his kingdom was superior but more simply so Divonea and the rest of her kingdom could not get their hands on it.  General Wiggins sent out orders furiously to those undercover on the Isles as well as sending out his troops and most of their fleet to the other side of the world.  Yes, it was forbidden per the bylaws of 1502 and section C, sub-section B, stated the severe consequences of such actions, but this was different.  This was a one of a kind creature that could tip the balance in the eyes of both societies,  The one who lost out on this bird could slowly find themselves in an economic down turn.  The inhabitants would lose faith and hope, some might even do the unthinkable and switch citizenry!  No, this could happen, not to Purgot.  They unionized so very long again to avoid such dilemmas and strengthen their superiority.

Word got out of the Purgot incursion, and Divonea was not having any of it.  One of their largest islands housed their weapons of mass destruction and though they hadn’t been often spoken of, they were there and Divonea was not afraid to use them.  She was enraged at the idea of this incursion, but more so… at losing out on this creature to the Purgotians. As the Purgot fleet approached the Isles of Turgot, Divonea sent out a decree that any and all invaders would be destroyed on sight, and that is just what happened.  As many a Purgot ship was hit and tossed across the ocean waves, they had no choice but to return fire.  The Purgot turrets and missiles began to riddle the beaches of the islands, raising the stakes that much more for Divonea.   Once those missiles and bombs headed towards the mainland, and the Turgot palace, Divonea had finally had enough… this was war and it was time to unleash the big weapons only spoken about in whispers around the great halls.  If their mainland was going to suffer, than so was Purgot’s, and so it was.  From underground, a series of huge missiles arose, on board they carried the secret weapon, hundreds upon hundreds of the flying squacks!  Unfortunately they had no choice in where they flew, as they had unwittingly, unmercifully been tied to each missile that was pointed directly at the Purgot forces, and the heart of Purgot itself.

When the smoke cleared, the kingdoms of Turgot and Purgot were dust. The world of Flushtopia, as anyone ever knew it, was ended.  No one survived.. not even a smookie with its healing abilities could be seen.  All there was left was a rare, mysterious green and yellow bird, protected by its golden, protective shield and the gorgeous, yellow fireworks popping off its feathers, and no one, but no one to truly appreciate its life and beauty anymore.

The green and gold bird

The green and gold bird

CW Assignment #2 – Childhood

Creative Writing

I have a new creative writing class this winter. (Because you can never take too many writing classes in my opinion.) My teacher, Maxine Gibson (she prefers to go by Max) is proving to be an awesome teacher. Every class, we have a writing prompt and write for about 15 minutes, and looking ahead to some of the assignments, they all look wonderful and are more writing prompt than writing assignment. She is also a wonderfully energetic person, and seems genuinely in love with reading and writing–poetry in particular.

I finished the piece below and showed it to Mom, and she enjoyed it so much that I knew I had to share it right away.

This piece is for our second assignment. (The first one was a letter to my teacher, which was fun to write!) For this piece, we were asked to write something about our childhood, taking into account “Who, What, and Where Am I From?” We were allowed to write it in any form–poetry, prose, journal, etc. The only stipulations were that the piece be in first person (using “I” and referring to ourselves) and be non-fiction (actually about ourselves).

I thought a piece of poetry would be fun to try, since I seldom write in this form.

Childhood–Who, Where, What Am I From?

  • Who am I from? Throughout your life, other human beings have stamped their impressions on you. You have stamped your impressions on them. Your interactions, perhaps, have changed you both. Who are the people you’ve encountered who’ve built you into the person you are right now?
  • Where am I from? No matter who you are, the path you’ve traveled is unique. Nobody else have put feet exactly where you have. What are the places where you have left an imprint? What are the places that have left an imprint on you?
  • What are you from? What are the experiences, incidents, events that have made an impact on you? What moments–local, global, coincidental–are responsible for who you are in this moment, right here, right now? What events helped shape the person you are now?

I spent a lot of time trying to think of childhood stuff to write about. As good of a childhood as I feel I had, I had serious trouble with this. I even brainstormed with Mom for a bit. Finally, I realized that all my best childhood memories involve my mom, so why not write this piece about her? So that’s what I did.

Enjoy.

~ Effy

Because of My Mom

I Love You, Mom

From childhood to blooming adult,
She’s always been there for me.
Before I could walk or talk, read or write,
Through high school and prom and learning to drive.
She held my hand and gave me room to fly.
I am who I am, because of my mom.

Fond memories of peppery bookstores,
Where I was raised to appreciate the written word.
Fantasy and comic books became my world,
My favorite mental getaway.
Books bought, despite the warning, “Don’t tell your father.”
I read to this day, because of my mom.

Endless hours of Star Trek and Alien Nation.
Subjected to oldies music and “Dune.”
I remember old episodes of War of the Worlds,
Aliens in a future world with dinosaur phones.
Science fiction became my nutrition.
Far-off worlds appreciated, because of my mom.

Cartoons and super heroes, dragons and aliens,
Worlds of the impossible and the possible.
No thought, no story, was silly or far-fetched,
Not when we’re reading magic and watching ninja turtles.
I have my imagination, as well as my red hair,
All of this, because of my mom.

The fishbowl with the candle-fish and the rocks.
An impetuous and unminding child, asked,
“Are you playing in that fishbowl?”
“No,” with hands behind me and
The sound of pebble against pebble.
Brought up right, because of my mom.

A tomboy through and through,
I spent more time catching frogs than
Learning to do handstands or cartwheels.
But she always supported me,
Unless I was late for dinner.
I grew up as I wanted, because of my mom.

Being a hobo for Halloween,
That’s the costume I remember the most,
Maybe because I never stopped wearing that flannel.
Making mud pies in brand new shoes.
Selling my Barbies to buy G.I. Joes.
I became who I am, because of my mom.

Always understanding, always supportive,
Always looking for new ways to inspire.
The kindest and most genuine person I’ve ever met.
They say imitation is the best form of flattery.
There’s no one I would rather grow up to be.
I am my mom, because of my mom.

<3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

On Writing: My 8 Favorite Worldbuilding Stories

fantasy world

As a lifetime reader, watcher, and writer of fantasy, it always fascinates me to discover an extraordinary new world. The stories with the greatest worldbuilding–worldbuilding that is completely interwoven with the story–seem to be the ones that stick with me throughout my life. Because of that, I wanted to touch on 8 of my favorite, mostly those that have been made into movies.

Many of these stories have inspired certain pieces of my own worldbuilding in my world of Dadreon.

Here they are in no particular order.

Warning: This post may contain spoilers! I will be discussing the specifics of plots in a number of movies/books. I will do my best not to give away any endings or plot points that directly reveal the ending.

The Neverending Story

The Never Ending Story

The Neverending Story is the perfect story of an outsider who enters a troubled fantasy world in the middle of a conflict and learns of it as he goes. The relatable human boy, Bastion, learns about the world of Fantasia as it unfolds before him while reading a story book and seeing it through the eyes of Atreyu, the story’s hero. Atreyu is trying to stop the Nothing, which is eating away his world. But how do you stop “nothing”? Throughout the story, Fantasia is portrayed as a world so beautiful and full of fascinating creatures that you want to see it saved.

This was adapted from a book that I still need to read.

The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal

I love this movie. Not only is The Dark Crystal gorgeous and full of Jim Henson’s creations, but the story and the world are incredible, even 30 or so years after I first watched it.

An all-powerful race kept peace until the source of their power, the crystal, cracked. The benevolent race was split into two separate races–the evil Skeksis and the good Mystics. It is prophesied that only a Gelfling can heal the crystal, and so the Skeksis hunt the Gelflings to what they think is extinction. But two remain, and they journey to heal the crystal before their world is plunged into a thousand years of dark Skeksis rule.

Also, I love that The Crystal Method use the opening lines from The Dark Crystal in one of their most well-known songs, “Trip Like I Do.”

Wizards

Wizards

Wizards is a lesser-known movie, and strange in many ways, but fascinating and rich–and a cartoon! It is both fantasy and science fiction, because it is based on a post-apocalyptic Earth destroyed by war and man-made weapons. This war killed most and mutated those who remained. Only thousands of years later has Earth and its inhabitants started to heal, and it has become a world of fairies and elves versus mutants and assassins. Two twin brothers were born–one good and whole, the other evil and mutated–who became the most powerful wizards in the world. Blackwolf, the wicked brother, becomes the ruler of the wasteland, Scorch, leading the rabble of mutants and assassins there. He tries over and over to conquer the fairy land of Montagar and fails until, after searching the ruins of old civilization, he discovers war machines and a projector of Nazi propaganda. The films encourage his mutants and terrify the fairies and elves. Finally, the good brother, Avatar, is forced to journey to save the healing world from his brother, and he leaves on this quest with the fairy Elinore, the elf Weehawk, and the assassin-turned-ally Necron 99 (AKA Peace). The scenery, creatures, and characters are all wonderful, even in the blunt and brutal way they are portrayed. That’s probably why I like it, because the characters are all flawed.

The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn is another obscure cartoon movie I’m not sure anyone has seen. It is beautiful and full of wonderful characters. It is about exactly what the title promises–the last unicorn. Why is she the last? Well, that is what she leaves her safe, enchanted forest of everlasting spring to find out. She follows stories of the Red Bull:

You can find the others if you are brave. They passed down all the roads long ago, and the Red Bull ran close behind them and covered their footprints.

On her journey, she discovers a magician and a scullery maid who accompany her. They come to the castle of King Haggard, who is the owner of the Red Bull. There, they discover the old King’s obsession with the sea, a fairy tale romance, and the fate of the other unicorns.

This movie was adapted from the book of the same title by Peter S. Beagle. I have read and very much enjoyed it.

Unico in the Island of Magic

Unico

The cartoon movie, Unico in the Island of Magic, is probably the only Anime I will ever like. (I tried to watch Akira long ago and numerous times, and it still makes little sense to me. It always feels like big chunks of plot and explanation are missing.) This movie is about a little unicorn who was banished by the gods because he had the ability to bring great happiness to those around him, a power the jealous gods felt should be only theirs. The West Wind takes pity on tiny Unico, and instead of banishing him, takes him elsewhere. Because of this disobedience, the West Wind is forced to move Unico whenever the gods discover where he is. So this takes Unico on many adventures, though his memory is erased each time he is moved.

In the Island of Magic adventure, Unico is taken in by a girl named Cheri. Cheri’s old brother, Toby, is the apprentice of a powerful and evil magician named Lord Kuruku. Toby’s job is to change people into living puppets and lead them to Lord Kuruku. When Lord Kuruku changes Cheri’s and Toby’s parents into living puppets, Cheri and Unico go on a quest to find Toby and beg him to stop. I mostly remembered this for how much Lord Kuruku scared the crap out of me as a kid, but also because of the strange land the story takes place in.

How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon

I love cartoons. Maybe that is obvious from this list. I also LOVE dragons. So I really wanted to sit down and watch How to Train Your Dragon, and I’m really glad I did. The Viking fishing island of Berk is constantly plagued by dragon attacks. Hiccup, the bumbling son of the Viking leader is a disappointment to his father, who thinks his son will never be a dragonslayer. Hiccup, however, is more of a tinkerer than a warrior. After a raid on the village, Hiccup follows an injured dragon into the woods, but he can’t bring himself to kill it. He later befriends it, helps it to fly again, and learns more about the dragons and why they are raiding his village.

This was adapted from a book that I still need to read.

Avatar

Avatar

I was far more impressed with Avatar than I expected to be. The story is good, even though it is a standard humans versus “primitives” story, where the humans try to come in and take whatever they want because they feel they deserve it more than the indigenous species who belongs there and lives with the land instead of destroying it. It is the worldbuilding of this movie that pulls everything together and makes this well-known story different and gorgeous and new all over again. I love how seamlessly the Na’vi live and interact with their world of Pandora. They communicate and work with the animals of the planet through fascinating symbiotic relationships. They also speak to their goddess, Eywa, through their beautiful groves.

Ender’s Game: Speaker for the Dead

Speaker for the Dead

This last one is not a movie. The book Ender’s Game (which was recently made into a good, but mildly disappointing movie) is my absolute favorite book. It is the follow-up book, Speaker for the Dead, that contains some of the best worldbuilding and alien/creature creation I have ever encountered. Ender is asked to Speak for a dead man on the colony planet, Lusitania. He discovers people there who are walled into their village in an attempt to avoid any more interaction with the local culture, the Pequeninos (the Piggies). Ender finds out that the Piggies killed a few of the local xenobiologists who were trying to teach them to farm, among other things. It seems the Piggies are an intelligent race, happy to learn the things the more advanced humans want to teach them, and so Ender has to unravel the mystery of why these seemingly friendly aliens have killed some of their human teachers.

The life cycle of the Piggies unfolds during the course of this and the two following books (Xenocide and Children of the Mind), and it is this life cycle that I find so fascinating. It has inspired me in my own work. I hesitate to say more, for fear of ruining the story for others.

Read them. That’s all I’ll say.

In Conclusion

When writing and especially when worldbuilding, the more you read and watch the more you have at your disposal to spark your own ideas. I honestly feel the movies above that I enjoyed as a child, and continue to enjoy as an adult, do this because they are fascinating and original and thought-provoking. I have obviously added to them in more recent years, and these newer stories have only broadened my ideas of what COULD BE or what MIGHT BE and most importantly, they have sparked the all-important phrase: WHAT IF?

And that simple phrase–WHAT IF?–is the basis for all we do as writers of fantasy and science fiction.

Never stop asking: WHAT IF?

~ Effy

What story worlds inspire you?