Story Seed Challenge - Shakespeare's idea

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

I remember reading about the story circle in a book when I was a kid. Someone would start a story and pass it to someone else to continue. Unfortunately, the attempts I've done before at "writing exercises" haven't gone well. However, I'm always ready to try again. I know I enjoy doing them.

So, here goes. I have no plan. I'm just going to start writing and see what happens...See what you can do with it.

Lotha didn't know this place. Even before he opened his eyes, he sensed the difference, the scents, burning his nostrils with unfamiliar fumes that covered the smells he was used to like earth and plants and the animals, even himself. Beneath his back, the ground felt unnatural: cold, smooth, hard. Nor did the air feel right. The air flowed, but not as he was used to and there was a staleness to it.

He opened his eyes to the stillness, the blackness. This was a new darkness - no moons, no stars, just the emptiness of all he knew. His hands searched the ground. No dirt, no plants, no roots. It was unbroken and smooth like a river worn pebble, only flat. And it seemed to go on and on until he found another surface the same standing from it, like a tree, only with the same lack of texture, the same flatness.

There were no smells except the foreign ones that filled his head and choked his throat. Tears flowed unnoticed down as his cheeks as he searched for an escape from the unassailable smoothness, the featureless sameness, the absolute emptiness of where he was. In desperation, his hands scrabbled over his own face, to ensure it's known features were his own, were the ones he knew.

They felt like his features, felt like what he knew as himself, what he'd seen in the reflecting pool, only the hair he knew was gone, his chin strangely smooth like the space around him. And his hands and body smelled different, as if his odor had been covered by the strange smells.

Was he done, gone to the land of the Gods? Was this horror the afterlife, one that not even the greatest elders had predicted? He threw back his head and cried, only to hear his voice echo unnaturally in this strange place.

And then there was light.

9 comments:

  • Shakespeare
     

    His eyes seared in pain, and he had to close them again, the glare of the light burning pink through his lids. He put a hand up to cover them, to give them time to adjust to it.

    Whispers drifted to him, metallic, artificial, not like the rustle of leaves or the chirps of birds or animals to each other. They sounded vaguely human, though they were not loud enough for him to understand. Or were they gibberish?

    He fought the urge to keep his eyes closed, and they watered instantly as light entered them again, but he could make out his imprisonment better. The room was gray, the color of the dead, not of life. He ran his hands along the gray floor, swirled gray as if polished rock. The whispers entered his mind again, and he looked up to their source: a slightly lighter gray box with tiny holes, smooth, uniform, as lifeless as the floor beneath him.

    The whispers sifted out of it, still too quiet and too foreign to make sense to him. He lowered his eyes, wiping to clear them, and as he did so, movement caught his gaze. The walls were made of the same gray, slippery stone--except for one. This one was smooth, too, but transparent, like a waterfall. And two being stood behind it, leaning toward each other, their lips moving slightly as they stared back at him. They stood in shadow, and he was all too aware that he was in full view.

    He inched back, but his back met the cold of the wall behind him. The whispers grew louder, but he couldn't understand.

  • Stephanie B
     

    Behind him, the wall moved. Before he could understand what was happening, he was falling, too disoriented to know what he could do to save himself.

    This place was so hard. How much would it hurt to fall? He never knew. Gentle hands, strong hands caught him. He opened his eyes for find the light partly shielded by the shape of a face like one of his own people.

    Pale this face, as if she'd been sick a long time, with straight hair the same color as the strange blackness. She smiled down at him, touched his face with great tenderness. He realized he was cushioned on her knees as she knelt on this strange cold non-ground, her arms protectively against him.

    Her smell was different, two. Not like the smells of those of his people, warm with musk and healthy soil, but more light the lilting scent of the flowers that dangled from the tree vines. She was the first thing he'd found since waking that was warm.

    Footsteps started him from his study and he cringed against her as other creatures, people like this woman, tall, hairless in strange places, odd-smelling, pounded toward the woman, only to be halted by her hiss.

    She looked at them, her smile gone, and spoke them with strange sounds he couldn't understand, yet he had no trouble reading her anger at the others, feeling her protectiveness towards him.

  • Jeff King
     

    Her fierce gaze couldn’t hold back their curiosity any longer they pushed forward and seized Lotha. The creatures tugged him by the arms and kicked his protector to the ground releasing her grip. She looked up in tears as they drug him away.

    They forced him down a dark corridor covered with the same hopeless grey stone. Water seeped through the walls releasing a veil smell of sulfur that made his stomach cringe. Sounds of loud growling echoed through the cramped corridor. A smile broke on the faces of his captors, and an evil glimmer flickered in their eyes. Fear rushed over him, his heart pounded violently, sweat ran down his face. Reluctantly he closed his eyes and tried to read their thoughts, a gift he has secretly had since birth. Last time he read someone’s mind he ended up in here. He vowed never to make that mistake again and just a few days later he’s breaking that oath.

    It took longer than normal but he finally made contact. The large creature to his right had visions of a man fighting a large animal in an arena where people would watch. After the battle he would fest on the remains of the loser. The smaller yet meaner looking creature on his left, had thoughts of eating both animal and the man forgoing the battle all together.

    Before he had a chance to open his eyes they threw him to the ground knocking the air out of him. Loud applause rang in his ears. He opened his eyes to blood stained stone floors, tall wooden walls connected to high stands full of creature spectators. In the middle of the arena was a massive tree growing out of the stone floor. Several plaques adorned the tree, in several languages and to his surprise he found one he could read.

    We horror the dead that gives blood to feed our tree of life.

  • Jeff King
     

    *we honor the dead* sorry should have proof read it.

  • Stephanie B
     

    He would not have had to read anyone's mind to realize that he was in grave danger. The promises and vows for caution, for control almost seemed meaningless in such a lawless place, but he had made them. He was a shaman, true, but protection of his own life was not worth the breaking of his sacred vows, even to protect himself from such filth as this.

    Were there no elders to curb such violence, to protect the innocent?

    The blood on the stones beneath his hands said otherwise. They must be of the Skelgach, those who peddled and feasted on human flesh. But what had such monsters to do with a creature like that who had cushioned his head, who had comforted and protected him? Perhaps she, too, was a prisoner, much as he was.

    And that changed things. If she were a prisoner, if there were other true humans trapped her for the entertainment and sustenance of the unholy, then he had no choice but to use all his power to protect her, protect them. Even if that mean transformation. Even if that meant blood magic.

    Ironic that they had supplied him with the blood he'd need. The rough cut stone beneath the blood sang of the earth spirits, all clamoring for his call, his summoning. But which to choose?

    Hands and bare feet spread against the stone, against the blood, as the shouting began around him. Perhaps another victim had been brought to the arena as well. He knew now what spirit to call: Death's own demon dog, Claddang. The words he'd never dreamed he'd utter spilled from his lips and tears mixed with the blood on the stones for the lives that would be lost. He would never know if some were innocent blood.

    He raised his head as the power and fire raced from the earth into his body, as he felt his skin thickening and stretching to cover his growing frame, hair and thick impervious scales crept over his skin. He threw back his head and howled, but it was lost in the rage and bloodlust in the stands around him.

    There was no innocence here. He turned to the shorter of the creatures, who hung back now in terror from his spirit form. With a simple breath, the petty monster was set aflame, and ran screaming from the area.

    Only then Lotha/Claddang leapt into the stands to do battle.

  • Jeff King
     

    The wooden plank creaked as he landed. Creatures ran in all directions. The side of him that enjoyed death and misery laughed as He pulled heads off with ease. Their pitiful attempt to fight him off ended with detached limbs and a more painful draw out death. The more he killed the deeper the desire took hold, a Fire grew from the pit of his stomach, blood lust blinded his compassion. With a loud roar and one quick breath, he boiled the skin off everyone within reach. Immense gratification filled him as he watched them kick and scream in deaths last quiver.

    The blood began to run down the stands pooling on the stone floor. He watched in amazement as roots from the tree surfaced drinking the blood and devouring the dead. Instantly the tree doubled in size pushing on the glass ceiling. He grinned with satisfaction. His way to escape seemed almost too easy. All he had to do was feed his insatiable desire to kill and force the tree through the glass.

    Scream of pain and sounds of crunching bone filled the arena. His feet slipped on the blood as it ran down in rivers. The monster inside him had been caged up so long it killed without hesitation or mercy. In a loud crash the glass broke as the tree pushed up into the world above. His conscious mind flickered trying to take hold. A woman voice broke into his mind, yelling behind him. He turned to see his protector fighting to free herself from several captors. In surprise she had found a weapon and knew how to use it. She put 3 of them down before they even lifted a finger. Her thoughts and feelings came clear to his mind. He felt her desire to pay them back for all the pain they had caused her.

    He called to her with his thoughts “let’s go” he grinned as she responded.

    “if we must.” She made direct eye contact with him after she put down the last two captors. “Promos me we’ll return to free them all, and I’ll go with you”

    He knew he needed her to help navigate the strange world above.

    “I give you my word, protect…”

    She cut him off “you may call me Luconda” a look of terror filled her “follow me”

    He looked up to see hundreds of heavily armored creatures making their way into the arena.

    She climbed the tree so fast that even being transformed it was hard to keep up.

  • Stephanie B
     

    The part of him in sync with the bloodspirit, the part that was one and the same with Claddang, thirsted for more blood, strained to return for more carnage. Such was always the risk with blood magics.

    The small part of him that was Lotha alone mourned the burden on his soul for so many slain. As a shaman, he knew instinctively that this tree they climbed, one that also fed off blood, was one like Claddang, one who was once a shaman who had been provoked to breaking a vow on blood magic. The lesson was clear.

    This tree, the one he recognized as spirit Poena, the revenge of nature on those who abuse her, had once been a man, a shaman like himself. Now the shaman was lost to the spirit, to the need for death and blood, the lust for vengeance.

    Even now, Lotha felt Claddang clamoring for more control, more murder. It urged him to turn and face the creatures that climbed the tree below, bristling with weaponry. If Lotha allowed it, it would corrupt even the small corner he kept of himself.

    Hurry the woman above him thought to him.

    No time. His climbing was hampered by the war he raged with the earth spirit. If he allowed it sway, he would lose his soul to blind rage and bloodlust, to the spirit who saved him. He would become like those he'd slain.

    Using the force of will required for all shaman, he banished the spirit, sent it back into the earth, admonished to be grateful for the blood spilled and thanked for it's strength in a time of need.

    Back as a human, he was weak and drained, so much magic. The woman was hissing at him and he was nearly too tired to read her mind, but it was unnecessary. The armored creatures of destruction were just below.

    He plastered his body, still covered with blood, against the trunk of the tree they scaled, and called to the spirit within. "Great Poena, I call for your aid. Those that pursue are those that fight against nature. You know I am your friend. Help me."

    The blood on his body was wicked away, absorbed into the trunk of the tree. And then, as the woman above stared in horror, the tree's branches began sweeping the creatures from the trunk, into gaping holes that swallowed them up before disappearing.

    Lotha turned his head from the continued carnage - more death on his conscience, and continued climbing, nudging the woman forward until the had broken through the roof.

  • Jeff King
     

    They leapt from a branch landing on solid ground. The complete emptiness surrounded him, the absence of moons, stars or anything else in the sky, filled his mind with remorse. He felt drained of power, spirit gone and the will to live zapped. He fell to his knees. Luconda looked back and motioned for him to follow. He shook his head feebly, she pointed to the sky trying to communicate something. He must be too drained to read her thoughts. He tried to gesture but failed to move his arms. She ran back and flung him over her shoulder with surprising strength, she apparently was nervous about something that was about to happen.

    The landscape was barren, and had a feel of death, a feeling of absolute absence. The mirror smooth black stone that made up the ground shimmered with a hint of ambient light as he looked down on it from her shoulder. His head swayed back and forth when he noticed something emerging out of the stone, something circular emitting light.

    Luconda dropped to a knee and leaned him against a tree, he looked up and noticed the tree was similar to a metal substance, other than that it looked like a tree, limbs and all. Looking past the branches he noticed an object in the heavens, he realized it was the same object he thought was coming out of the ground. Instead it was just a reflection so crisp and clear it looked to be coming out of the ground. She held up a hand and motioned for him not to move and shade his eyes.

    He could not help but look through his fingers and sneak a glimpse of the sole object in the sky. At first the outline of the object was very faint with a sliver of light. Now the outline clearly showed a circular object and a much larger sliver of light. He sat speechless as he watched the object turn ever so slowly. Minutes felt like hours, suddenly sunlight burst through the blackness. In the far off distance it revealed a large mountain range and what looked to be a large lake. The light moved closer pushing through the darkness towards them. The light seemed to awaken something in his mind, turning absolute despair into hope.

    The closer the light came the deeper he craved for its warm embrace, and the more Luconda cringed. Finally the sun pushed the darkness away he closed his eyes from the overwhelming brightness. After letting his eyes adjust, he still had to squint with the shading him. He rolled into the sunlight. It was like a feeling he almost forgot existed. The warmth seems to give him energy back. Luconda’s thoughts were coming to him in spurts. All he could understand was the sun revolved every 40 hours and only a sliver of the surface of the sun actually gives light. ¾ of the surface of the sun was solid black and appeared to disappear in the blackness.

    She said not to worry because the light would fade in 10 hrs time.

  • Stephanie B
     

    That's when they burst into flame.

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