CW Final Project – The Shattering

 

Title Slide

It is the end of the semester and I’m finishing up assignments and projects for my classes. One was a final project for my Creative Writing class. For the longest time, I was at a loss of what to do. So I started working on finishing the last part of the Shattering (which I’ve posted 3 parts of so far). I wrote some and then my brain locked up.

So I decided to draw and color. 🙂

I worked on some dragon pictures and realized they might be the best way to present my piece visually. So I started a PowerPoint presentation and did some more coloring. Eventually, I realized it would be very difficult to put the drawings into the PowerPoint without a scanner. So I went and purchased one. Many of the pictures I drew, then inked, then scanned (in B&W), then printed on my laserjet, then colored, then scanned in again. I also scanned in some of my maps. (I love drawing maps!)

So here is what I presented. In the end, I just did the PowerPoint and explained the images, using up enough time without reading the excerpt. But I will include the excerpt at the end of this post.

~ Effy

Word of Dadreon Slide

Dadreon is a fantasy world I have been writing in since middle school–about 20 years. It has expanded and become more rich over the years. These past few years it has really begun to take shape because the various scattered pieces have begun to come together, fitting with one another like puzzle pieces.

Dadreon Pre-Shattering Slide

This is the world as it existed before the Shattering of the Sunstone and the resulting cataclysm. The world was one large landmass, similar to Earth’s Pangeae.

Dadreon Post-Shattering Slide

This is the separation of the continents immediately after the Shattering, before the continents started drifting apart from one another.

Sandrae Pre-Shattering Slide

Sandrae is basically the center of Dadreon, and the home to all of the Protectors. This is a map of Sandrae prior to the Shattering. The Temple of Yargonae is at the center in the elven city of Bethel. The darker portions are all forests as they existed before the humans arrived.

Sandrae Post-Shattering Slide

This is Sandrae after the Shattering, now surrounded by water.

Rhaegar Slide

This is Rhaegar, the Father of Dragons. He was created by Yargonae at the beginning. He is always dreaming, and in his dreams, he keeps an ancient evil locked away in the center of the world. The Shattering woke Rhaegar, allowing his prisoners to almost escape and changing the face of Dadreon.

The Sunstone Slide

After creating Rhaegar, Yargonae took a scale from him and created the Sunstone. Through the refracted rays of the sun, creating a rainbow of colors, Yargonae formed the Dracolords, the Gemstone Dragons. The Dracolords are the protectors of the elements–earth, fire, nature, air, and water.

Sapphire Slide

Sapphire is the male Dracolord who protects the elemental earth.

Ruby Slide

Ruby is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental fire.

Emerald Slide

Emerald is the male Dracolord who protects the elemental nature.

Quartz Slide

Quartz is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental air.

Onyx Slide

Onyx is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental water. (She turned out looking awesome, but far more mean looking than I intended!)

Sylvan Slide

The Sylvan are the Protectors of life and life essence. They are the mothers of all of the fae races–elves, fairies, halflings, and dryads.

Avar Slide

The Avar are the protectors of the mind and mental powers. They are a race of bird-people with a strict caste system and a way of life that is similar to the Asian and Buddhist lifestyles–focusing on history-keeping, knowing the self, and meditation.

Nagaesh Slide

I believe that the world is formed of opposites and these opposites both complement and contradict one another. The Desecrators are the opposite of the Protectors. For each Protector there is a Desecrator to form opposition and who feed on and destroy the forces that the Protectors guard. The Desecrators are the minions of the ancient ones imprisoned within Dadreon by Rhaegar. At the time of the Shattering, they were summoned to the surface by the envious Zaeriin, god of darkness and deceit.

The Nagaesh are the Desecrators of the elements. They feed on the elements of earth, fire, nature, air, and water. I devised this creature from a combination of various monsters and based its name off the mythical Naga, or lizard men.

Rusc Slide

The Rusc are the Desecrators of life and life essence. They feed on the life forces of other beings. I picture the Rusc similar to a ghoul from Dungeons & Dragons–vampiric and emaciated–which is why I choose to use this image.

Ilmaer Slide

The Ilmaer are the Desecrators of the mind and mental powers. They feed on the minds of other beings. I picture the Ilmaer very similar to the mind flayers, or Illithid, from Dungeons & Dragons–who also seem very similar to the imagery given of Cthulhu from H.P. Lovecraft’s writing.

The Shattering Excerpt Slide

This is an excerpt from the larger piece, The Shattering.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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 deeply into the Sunstone. 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 reverie.

“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 to the dark god’s sensitive eyes.

Zaeriin clutched the Sunstone protectively to him. 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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To those living on the great landmass of Sandrae, it seemed the gods had cast judgment upon their creations, found them lacking, and sought to destroy all evidence of their existence. The once calm landscape became a roiling, punishing, living thing.

Mountains bled and groaned and collided with one another, ground together like gnashing teeth then violently ripping apart, leaving great chasms that sucked down the unprepared. The chasms channeled torrential sea waters into the crevasses forming across the continent’s formerly solid surface and the landmass shattered apart. Fractured pieces drifted away from the center of the continent.

The quakes created by the upheaval wracked Sandrae, crumbling buildings, destroying forests, and reshaping the features of the world of Dadreon. Molten rock spewed up from below and washed away great areas in burning rivers of lava.

Thunder and hail created a great cacophony, making ears ring and teeth grind. Lightning lit up the blackened sky and eerily outlined the apocalyptic landscape in stark white on black.

The cataclysmic events sent the peoples running in fear for their lives, but with nowhere to escape.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zaeriin stood in horrified awe for several moments, staring at the topaz shards scattered around him. He grabbed the largest jagged fragment and fled down the marble stairs that spilled down the front of the violently quaking Temple.

He quickly realized the turmoil extended beyond Temple, though. The city of Bethel had fallen into chaos. Terrified elves fled homes that crumbled around them. They poured into streets that cracked apart beneath a sky that rumbled and spewed torrential rains.

He might have escaped in the confusion if not for the grief of one.

Umaesh, lord of the moons and stars, had watched his love, Onyx, enter the Temple of Yargonae and only Zaeriin emerge. He knew the malice that blackened that one’s heart, had seen much of his wicked acts from his high throne. Umaesh left his heavenly realm to confirm the fears growing within him, but was still stunned into anguished silence when he saw his love slumped into a pool of her own blood.

His tears had begun to fall as her body shimmered and shattered into two pairs of dragons–two of black and two of steely grey. The dragons cried out in their own despair before smashing through the remnants of the skylight of the Temple and escaping into the trembling beyond.

Umaesh was left with only his tears and his aching heart.

For what seemed an eternity to the immortal god, he knelt there, his face soaked with tears that would not stop falling, until finally he remembered the source of his heartbreak. Cold anger, the kind that sharpens emotion-dulled senses, filled Umaesh. He spent only a moment shaping the physical manifestation of his sorrow, the black pool of his tears, into a sharp obsidian instrument of revenge, and then crossed the Temple’s vast marble floor.

Zaeriin had only made it to the lower courtyard at the base of the stairs when Umaesh smashed through the remaining fragments of the great pair of aspen doors.

“Zaeriin! I will have your heart for the pain you’ve caused mine!”

The fleeing god cringed and hunched into himself as he met the glaring anger of Umaesh. The moon god cut an impressive figure across the darkened front of the Temple–silky black skin taut over rippling muscles that trembled with rage. Umaesh’s luminescent silver eyes burned into Zaeriin, making him flinch away from the gaze. In his passionate grip hung a sword with a black blade and Zaeriin knew what the other god intended.

“Be reasonable, Umaesh. You cannot kill me. I’m brother to your King,” Zaeriin said. He gave the moon god his most charismatic smile.

“I am beyond reason,” Umaesh replied, taking slow steps down the stairs to the lower courtyard.

“As was I. Believe me, her death hurts me as it does you.”

“I doubt that, but no worries, you will feel a similar pain.” Umaesh’s steps remained even, measured. “I plan to cut out your black heart.”

Zaeriin winced at the implications. “You are indeed without reason if you think I will submit to you.”

“It is my wish that you don’t. That will make my revenge sweeter.” His drawn out progression continued.

Zaeriin had never realized how steep the staircase was until it counted down to his end. He had no intentions of that happening. “You cannot attack what you cannot see,” the god of darkness hissed.

The entire courtyard went black. Umaesh could not even see the blade in his hand, let alone the steps ahead of him. He paused, his ears alert to any noise. “Coward!” he shouted into the dark.

The words were quickly lost in the deafening sounds of the world destroying itself, an end which meant nothing to Umaesh.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Umaesh whispered to his sword, and it responded. A dim light came forth, black on black, but cutting the immediate gloom. Umaesh stepped quicker down the stairs until he stood where Zaeriin had been a moment before. “Show yourself!”

“What fun would that be?” Zaeriin said. His confidence returned with his ability to fade into the black. This was his element.

Umaesh was aware of Zaeriin’s powers of deceit and knew better than to trust his ears. He focused on the dimly glowing sword as he cut slow swaths through the darkness.

At first, he saw nothing, but finally as Zaeriin’s voice laughed tauntingly behind him, Umaesh caught a movement at the edge of the sweeping sword’s light in front and to his left. He followed where he thought the movement’s path led and slashed.

Zaeriin cried out and the black wall around them wavered. The gloomy low-light of the continuing storm fell like streamers of dull gray, piercing random places and plunging to the ground around them.

Again, Umaesh waited, then lunged. Again, his opponent confirmed the hit through the shout of a scathing epithet.

The third time, the moon god’s sword met hard resistance and two weapons came together with a thunderous crash that echoed in the wounded sky. But Zaeriin’s strength was no match for Umaesh’s. As steel met obsidian, the moon god put all of his weight behind his Moonblade and crushed Zaeriin down toward the ground.

The tattered remnants of the darkness blew away like dead leaves in the whipping wind. Umaesh was face to face with Zaeriin and glared at his love’s murderer with vengeful silver eyes.

“Last words?” Umaesh growled.

“I think that’s enough fun for one day,” Zaeriin replied with a grin, still straining against the other’s muscular arms.

A moment later, Umaesh nearly fell to the ground, all the resistance beneath him gone–along with Zaeriin.

“Damn!”

From then forward, whenever the light of the moons became eclipsed, the people of Dadreon remembered the great battle of Umaesh and Zaeriin, and rejoiced when the moons’ faces once more shone, knowing their moon god had triumphed over evil, though not destroyed it.

Umaesh returned to his heavenly sanctuary and continued to cry for his lost love. His great dark tears fell all across Dadreon, and wherever they sizzled against the flowing lava of the ravaged land they became chunks of obsidian, the tears of the moon.

Umaesh Vs. Zaeriin Slide

This last slide is a surrealistic image I put together from the battle between Umaesh and Zaeriin. It symbolizes the lunar eclipse from the battle as well as Umaesh’s tears falling and forming obsidian.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.

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The Ballad of Aeolus the White

White Dragon, by Ben Wootten

White Dragon, by Ben Wootten

My current goal is to complete a series of stories about the various dragons of Dadreon. So far, I have a green dragon story, a red dragon story, and now here I have a white dragon story. Expect the black and blue dragons to follow soon! (The black dragon piece is already in the works.)

This is for my Creative Writing class. Our assignment was to create an “Instruction” piece–meaning a piece that commands or explains or tells how to do something or how to accomplish something. Rather than write something tongue-in-cheek about “How To” or “How Not To” do something, I wanted to write about dragons. (I know, we’re all surprised! I never write about dragons!) So decided to write about a bossy white dragon with minions (worshipers).

I have been playing with poetry a lot lately, and for some reason the title to this piece got stuck in my head and wouldn’t go away. So I had to make it a ballad. So I had to figure out how to write a ballad. This is a very experimental piece, so please be gentle with feedback. But as always, I’d love to hear what you think. 🙂

Anyway, please enjoy!

~ Effy

The Ballad of Aeolus the White

White Dragon, by Saeto15

White Dragon, by Saeto15

I

“Bring me meat!” the great white wyrm demanded.
His yellowed fangs and crystalline blue eyes
Gleamed in the dim reflections of the faroff sun
Sneaking its rays into his ice-crusted cavern.

When Aeolus commanded, his worshippers
Fell over one another in frightened heaps to comply.
They brought him seal and orca meat, but his
Favorite was the fierce and hearty polar bear.

None of the cowardly barbarians had proved
Themselves brave or strong enough to slay one.
A few of the younger and stupider warriors tried
And never returned, surely made into bear food.

For a polar bear, Aeolus would leave his cave of
Ice and darkness to hunt. They were his delicacy.
The white dragon stalked the chilly tundra
As its apex predator–stronger than bear or wolf.

World’s End polar bears stood twice a man’s
Height on their hind legs, but Aeolus loomed
Twice that at his shoulders. Small for a dragon,
He towered over all other, mortal creatures.

White gleaming scales met white woolly fur,
And she rose to her full height of ten feet,
Roaring a dreadful challenge. Aeolus did not
Blink or waver, he rumbled back like the thunder.

“Cower before Aeolus!” the white wyrm bellowed.
No creature did he fear, none were his master.
“Cower before my might! I will chew your bones
And drink your blood as humans drink mead!”

The polar bear female dropped to all fours,
Backpedaled several feet and rumbled uncertainly.
She did not turn away, she knew it meant death.
Aeolus knew her death closed in either way.

He toyed with his food, like a cat with a mouse.
Slash and sidestep, bite and flap his wings.
Confuse her, keep her off balance, tire her out.
Only when she panted, stumbled would he strike.

Blood like rubies soaked the icy snow, and still
The bear huffed and snarled. A great claw caught
Aeolus on the forepaw and it made him laugh
A great guffaw. “Bleed! Submit!” And he sneered.

Finally, the female, her white fur shades of pink
And red, collapsed. As her legs gave out, Aeolus
Shot his head forward and snapped her thick neck,
Ending the creature’s pain in one quick shake.

Aeolus strutted his catch through the village,
The great polar bear hanging limply from his jaws.
The humans prostrated themselves before him,
Cowering at the strength and power of the dragon.

They praised him as they might a god:
Aeolus the white, Aeolus the terrible.
But they knew his temper, cold as ice:
Aeolus the frigid, Aeolus the devourer.

White Dragon

White Dragon, Unknown Artist

II

Aeolus had grown accustomed to the fear and
Obedience he inspired in his dim worshippers.
At his every command, they rushed to please him.
His every whim, they knew better than to deny.

So it came as a surprise when one day, alone
In his icy crystalline cavern, Aeolus heard a voice.
The voice seemed to originate inside his head.
It made demands of him. It gave him commands.

Fly south. Return to the land of your origin,
The voice insisted. Aeolus snarled back aloud,
“Silence! No creature do I fear! None is my master!”
Then he shook his head with great violence.

Still the voice persisted, growing louder and louder:
Fly south. Return to the land of your Father.
Aeolus gathered himself stubbornly, bellowing:
“Leave me be, voice! I will not submit to you!”

Even had the white wyrm anyone to confide in,
He would have kept his own, solitary council,
For voices in one’s head are always a bad sign.
Aeolus would never admit to such mental infirmities.

So he brooded and endured the insistent voice.
His worshippers came and went, and the dragon
made sure to never give them any idea of the
lingering, ever-present whispers in their idol’s head.

Until one day, a handful of the barbarians brought
A giant orca carcass to the feet of their icy master.
He hissed a note of pleasure to the group, when
Suddenly the intruder returned, more tenacious:

Fly south. Fly south. Fly south, it chanted rhythmically.
You must. Don’t resist. Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry…
“No! Be gone!” Aeolus roared. The very air vibrated and
The cavern walls shook until icicles fell and shattered.

The worshippers looked at one another in confusion,
Dull eyes and slack mouths forming questions.
“Leave my head!” the white wyrm commanded in
A thunderous hiss, his wings and claws smashing.

The humans fled and ensured they were far from
earshot before sharing whispers of, “Voices, eh?
The White One is hearing voices. A bad sign, surely.”
For even they knew of those who lurked below.

Deep below slept ancient creatures beyond evil.
They invaded the dreams of mortals with raving
Whispers of murderous intent. Could these monsters
Scratch away the sanity of their immortal master?

They praised him as they might a god:
Aeolus the white, Aeolus the terrible.
But they knew of his unheard whispers:
Aeolus the deranged, Aeolus the erratic.

White Dragon Statue

White Dragon Statue, Unknown Artist

III

Aeolus narrowed his eyes to mere slits, watching
The movement of his worshippers below in their
Small village. He heard the rumors. He saw the looks.
He knew what they thought of him and snarled.

The white wyrm was not crazy, nor being driven
To it. Instead, he seethed with anger cold as frostbite.
“I submit to no one–man, dragon, or even god,”
He growled to himself, to the voice, but less adamant.

The dragon had determined it was no ancient evil
Whispering maddening and repetitive commands to him,
But he had not determined the true source of the voice.
Aeolus felt it was draconic, but could not answer why.

I am the sleeper, I am the jailor, I am the Father of
Dragons, the voice finally admitted. Aeolus’ lip twitched.
“Impossible. Tell me, who are you really? Why do you
torment me? Tell me!” He bared his teeth at the shadows.

Who else could invade your thoughts so completely?
Aeolus snorted, unable to make an intelligent retort.
Why do you still resist? Fly home. Fly south. I need you.
One ice-white eyebrow arched over a glacier blue eye.

The voice’s plea echoed in his head, tugging at his
Frigid heartstrings. The unfamiliar sensation caused him
A pain almost physical that faded to a sharp tingle–
like a limb that has fallen asleep and refuses to awaken.

“Why?” the last stubborn holdout of the dragon’s being
Demanded. “Tell me why I should do as you ask?”
Time is running out. Hurry, hurry, please. Come home.
The voice, still imploring, was a sweet caress, an embrace.

The curiosity deep within Aeolus continued to grow.
It slowly began to conquer the stubbornness, so deep
And ingrained it was embedded in the white wyrm’s
Soul. What could the Father possibly want of him?

Before Aeolus could fully form the question in his mind,
His legs were moving, faster, launching him into the cold
Air that did not chill the white dragon. Wings spread and
Caught the winds. Wing and wind embraced like old lovers.

The dragon tirelessly flew, on and on. The distance to
Sandrae was great, but time seemed to pass in a place
Separate from Aeolus the White. It did not affect him.
He never tired or faltered. Soon green forests bloomed.

The ruined city of Bethel came into view below him.
Aeolus knew without knowing that was his destination.
As he made a lazy loop and picked a place to land,
He realized he was not alone, not the first to arrive.

Other dragons, dragons of every color–both chromatic
And metallic hues–filled the sky and the courtyard of
The Temple of Yargonae. Aeolus had never once run
Across a single other dragon since the death of Anemone.

Vines wound and grass grew through the cracks
In Bethel’s main road, the once straight path from
The gate, now rusted close, to the base of the crumbling
Marble steps of the Temple–dark and silent as death.

When Rhaegar, the Father of Dragons, once more spoke
To Aeolus, he knew he spoke to them all, for he saw
The curious looks and cocking of heads. Welcome home,
My wayward children. Witness soon the dawn of your rebirth.

Confusion and fleeting panic went through Aeolus’
Thoughts, but they were soon replaced with a warm
Feeling that began in his chest and spread throughout.
He felt a change and somehow sensed Anemone.

His heart burst with joy, but Aeolus could not reach
Out to her, did not even comprehend how he knew she
Was there. Before he could fret overly, he felt her draw
Closer–until they were one and he knew completion.

They praised him as they might a god:
Aeolus the white, Aeolus the terrible.
But the Father knew him better than any:
Aeolus the lonely, Aeolus the loner.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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/.

Dialogue Exercise – Listening Skills

Heartsickness

Our most recent Creative Writing assignment was to practice dialogue. Our goal was to present two characters in conflict, but show the argument only through dialogue and minimum stage direction–more like a play or movie. The best way I could think to show two characters in conflict was a man and woman having a relationship argument, especially since this particular subject is forefront in my mind recently. Needless to say, I was able to write this because it’s an argument I have some experience with.

Let me know what you think.

~ Effy

Listening Skills

Man: Well, that’s just stupid.

Woman: My feelings are stupid?

Man: No, your feelings are fine.

Woman: Then how am I stupid?

Man: There’s just no reason for you to feel that way.

Woman: But I do. Logical or not–according to you–doesn’t change how I feel.

Man: And that’s why it’s stupid.

Woman: Emotions aren’t always logical. That’s why they’re emotions. But emotions aren’t stupid.

Man: Well, they should at least be based on something in reality.

Woman: Just because you don’t think so doesn’t make it that way. It doesn’t make things suddenly fine. It doesn’t make me magically not upset.

Man: Why can’t you accept that they’re illogical and stop feeling that way?

Woman: I can’t just stop feeling.

Man: No, obviously. I mean this feeling. There’s no reason to be upset, because the reason doesn’t really exist like you think it does.

Woman: Why can’t you accept that I have a feeling, and that all I want is for you to acknowledge it?

Man: Really? That’s all this is about? Because believe me, I realize, you have feelings…

Woman: You’re an ass.

Man: …and I realize that feeling is often anger, directed at me.

Woman: You’re not even listening. This is pointless.

Man: What? I just admitted you have feelings. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Woman: I meant that my feelings are okie.

Man: And back to this again.

Woman: I don’t discount your feelings.

Man: I’m not ridiculous about them.

Woman: If you’re upset, even if I don’t know why, I try and help. I certainly never tell you your feelings are stupid.

Man: How am I not helping?

Woman: All you’re doing is arguing that my feelings are stupid.

Man: Oh, for crying out loud.

Woman: You’re impossible. I don’t know why I’m even still talking.

Man: Because you’re still feeling.

Woman: Now you’re just being an ass. You’re not even listening. Why am I still trying to have this conversation with you?

Man: I’m listening. I’m standing right here.

Woman: But you’re not hearing me.

Man: I’ve heard every word. That doesn’t make this conversation make any more sense.

Woman: This is obviously getting nowhere.

Man: Oh, obviously. Not if you completely refuse to see how silly this all is.

Woman: I can’t talk to you right now.

Man: But you’re still upset.

Woman: And I’m only going to get less upset by ending this conversation before I get more upset.

Man: More upset? There was never a reason to be upset in the first place.

Woman: You’re making me upset.

Man: How? By pointing out that this is the most worthless conversation ever?

Woman: Exactly.

Man: That makes no sense.

Woman: Then how about we just leave this at the fact that I’m a completely illogical, emotional wreck? How’s that?

Man: Well, it doesn’t fix anything.

Woman: Oh, well. You can’t fix everything.

(Woman leaves the room.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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/.

Presentation – Lovecraft Meets Warcraft

Lovecraft Meets Warcraft

New and exciting things! This weekend I finished my presentation for my Horror and Science Fiction class. I created it on Lovecraft and Warcraft, and how the former has influenced the latter. I discovered how to create a video directly from PowerPoint. I also uploaded this as my first ever YouTube video.

The only downside, I had to cut the videos I was planning to use. I couldn’t figure out how to get them to play in my PP to video (I’ll probably research that later), and my video was too long to record it on Screenr, which is the one screen capture website I’m familiar with.

Anyways, here’s my video! After it, I will include the videos I watched while creating it.

Enjoy!

~ Effy

Lovecraft Meets Warcraft, By: Effy

WoW Lore: Old God Secrets, By: MrRhexx

The Lore of Titans and Old Gods, By: Nobbel87 (Parts 1/2/3)

My Favorite Story Lines

Fantasy Architecture

One of our assignments for creative writing was to go through all of our past writing and find some of our favorite lines. So I went back to the older pieces on my blog, previous to this class, and picked more than I needed. I figured it would be fun to share them here as well. Most of them are from my older, WoW fan fiction, because I reread through all the short stories that have made it to their own pages on the blog. This exercise made me realize how behind I am with making my short stories into their own pages.

I might have to go through again at some point, and pull lines from some of my newer pieces.

Along with lines from our own work, our next task was to share our favorite first lines from other books or stories. I chose my three favorite books, which all happen to be part of a series, but they were introductions to my favorite series.

Enjoy!

~ Effy

Favorite Lines From My Stories

Ancestors:

The night creatures awoke and made their noises, forming a symphony that surrounded her like the arms of the forest itself.

The Firebird and the Sunwalker:

He felt the warmth of the Firebird inside his breast and from there forward, even during the storm and the dead of night, Heraqawa always felt the sun upon his face.

Love and Sacrifice:

The elements cried today. They cried for the return to the Earth of their companion and voice.

The Harvest Witch:

This was when she most felt alive, with the ebb and flow of life and death all around her, it speaking to her in ways other than with words.

Savoir-Faire:

The evil that emanated from the place was palpable and hit one not unlike a stale wind from deep underground, one that reeks of death and rot.

A Picaresque Apologue:

Lupine features once more formed a savage grin, his fangs glistening in the poor light of the empty street, most of the gaslights shattered or burnt out.

First Sight:

The enemy of my enemy is my friend… or at least a tolerated employer.

Deciphering Chimera:

The morning sun was shining gloriously somewhere.

Tiny Dreamer (this story was updated about a year ago from its original version):

The light was new and signified somewhere unknown, and that made it both fascinating and frightening.

Favorite First Lines

The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore:

The demon sat back on the seat it had carved in the stem of a giant mushroom. Sludge slurped and rolled around the rock island, the eternal oozing and shifting that marked this layer of the Abyss.

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card:

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King:

The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”

Writing Prompt – Hope

Daffodils

This week’s assignment for creative writing included a few writing prompts. I decided on this one:

Describe a landscape as seen by an old woman whose disgusting and detestable old husband has just died. Do not mention the husband or death.

I had already been contemplating a piece about spring and new beginnings. So this was actually a perfect prompt to fuel what was already bouncing around inside my head. One of the things that got the idea into my head originally was finding this quote, from my former online game, Dark Age of Camelot, on a page about the Sylvan race:

The forest has suffered much, and will suffer more. But it is pain we are accustomed to, and in the springtime everything is born anew.

What a beautiful way to look at adversity.

As I was writing it, the piece decided it wanted to be a poem. So I went with it.

~ Effy

Hope

Breathe every rich
Piece of soil.
Gaze upon every brown
Blade of grass.
Touch the rough bark and
Greatness of trees.
Listen to every hopeful
Trill of songbird.
Absorb every warming
Ray of sunshine.

Spring sings with
The potential of life,
The hope of growth,
And the promise of
New beginnings.

That clump of dirt–
A daisy waiting to bloom.
That dead patch of grass–
Fresh, green blades waking.
That skeletal maple–
New, tender leaves waiting.
That glorious birdsong–
Potential new life forming.
That warming sun–
Awaking those who slept.

This woman, no longer young,
Stands ready for a new beginning.
Shedding the skin of past lives,
In fire consumed and reborn.
She is the phoenix.

She is the rich, black sod–full of potential.
She is the blade of grass–now able to inch forth.
She is the maple–reaching for the sky.
She is the songbird–singing of new life.
She is the sun–warming the faces around her.
She is the spring.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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 – 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/.

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.
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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/.