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  1. - Top - End - #1201
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    May 2012
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    Germany

    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Quote Originally Posted by Glass Mouse View Post
    I actually did a lot of writing this week, but it's, um, not something I'm comfortable sharing publicly. 7240 words, though.

    Lycun, I'll hobble together a PM.
    Okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiander View Post
    Hey guys, I am running a bit late today, and will not be able to post this week's haul until later tonight. I will try to have it posted within the next ten hours, I hope that is within the deadline.
    Don't worry about it, as long as you *create* it in time, uploading it immediately isn't that important. I usually try to make the status post during Tuesday afternoon CEST, so everyone still has time to upload on Monday anyway.

    ----

    Picture time!

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    Spoiler: Thickets
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    You can call me Juniper.
    Please use gender-neutral pronouns (they/their or ze/hir) when referring to me.

    Stories (Not just German anymore!) DeviantArt

    Lycunadari

  2. - Top - End - #1202
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    1537 for the HP fanfic

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    There was another crack and a tall wizened old man dressed in flowing periwinkle robes appeared in their entrance doorway.
    After Hermione had explained that she had a prophetic dream of all her seven years of school and that she had spontaneously learnt magic overnight, Minerva had insisted on testing her. Hermione had borrowed the professor's wand and performed a series of charms all the way up to NEWT level, if a little shakily. The professor had speculated that her manual dexterity hadn't carried over from the dream and that if she practiced her spells a few times each, Hermione would easily be able to pass her NEWTs by the time term started. Theory was of course too easy, Hermione loved to read and having comprehensive detail of every topic and theory in your head was cheating even by Hermione standards.
    When asked about the events outside of academics, however, Minerva McGonagall had paled more and more with each year's summary and after the end, she had shot up from her seat and asked that Hermione and her family remain in their house while she fetched the Headmaster Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
    And after the headmaster waved his wand over Hermione a few times, causing strange glows to cover her and runes to spin in the air, he wrinkled his brow and sighed.
    "It appears that your counterpart did indeed succeed in time travel. That was no dream but a portion of your future mind sent back in time," he said gravely, "there is an accumulation of temporal energy, I suspect your counterpart tried to send her memories back in time by channeling time sand in her charm but this integrated the sand into your soul. You are very lucky, Miss Granger. "
    "What do you mean lucky?" her father blurted out.
    "Direct exposure to time sand usually causes a nearby space to rewind a period of time again and again, this is invariably fatal. " Her mother could not suppress a horrified gasp as she squeezed Hermione to her. Dumbledore continued, "however, in this case, it seems that despite the destruction of her time turner, the future Hermione managed to channel the energy to power a time travel effect, much like how the time turners themselves work. Unfortunately I suspect further exposure... No, allow me to test a hypothesis. "
    The cat professor gave him a sharp look as he dug around in his many pockets. When he drew out a tiny hourglass on a golden chain, she gasped. It looked very familiar, dream-Hermione had spent an extraordinary amount of time in school studying just such an artifact.
    "This is a Time Turner. It is fragile, so please do not drop it. Can you hold it in your hand?"
    Hermione nodded and followed his instructions. Dumbledore cast his series of diagnostic charms again, summoning the glow around Hermione and the rune readout. This time, it was visibly changing.
    "Indeed, it is as I suspected. The time sand exposure has placed you into a time loop, the residual temporal energy will build up in you until it reaches the same potential as when your counterpart, automatically triggering the charm and sending your memories back in time again. At the natural rate, I suspect you have about ten years, but any attempt to use a Time Turner will instantly trigger the effect. You may experience a lengthening of the loop in that case, it is hard to predict. Ask myself that question again in ten years perhaps?"
    The professor glared at the headmaster who met her stern eyebrows with twinkling eyes, "Albus, this not time for jokes! Can you break the effect?"
    "No. And I suspect the Department of Mysteries cannot either. There are a few storage cabinets exploding repeatedly down there that have been walled off after all attempts to defeat the problem failed. "
    The mood turned sombre after that. Dumbledore wasn't finished however, "on the other hand, you are again extremely lucky. Your future memories integrate into your past self as a highly compressed dream. Tell me, you did not have any problems sleeping last night, correct?"
    Hermione nodded, "no, sir. "
    "And your memories indicated that she had used the charm while she was dying during a battle in which she had killed multiple people and also saw many friends die. How many seventeen year olds do can be as unaffected as you are after that? Further, I do not believe you are as... disillusioned as your future self was. You are closer to a twelve year old with an extra seven years of memories, rather than a seventeen year old in a twelve year old body. Your mind is your younger self and this is a great kindness. "
    "It feels like a dream, sir. The memories are vivid and horrifying but, they're like a nightmare, in a sense. Nightmares don't give you more nightmares. "
    Dumbledore smiled, "in that case, we have a very valuable opportunity here. While I do not dare risk trying to replicate the events that led to your circumstances, you are in a very unique position to benefit. "
    "Albus!" Minerva fairly screamed at him, "you cannot be proposing that she use her future memories! What about paradox?"
    "There is no fear of that, her situation is highly benign and I believe that her memories appearing dream-like is so for a reason. After all, what is the difference between memories time travelling from the future and a perfectly accurate precognitive dream?" He gave that smile as the professor gaped at him like a dying fish, "the difference is merely a matter of perspective. I am guessing here, but I believe that time reversal effects can only take on certain forms, so her counterpart's charm was forced into one of those possible results, prophetic dreams in this case. "
    Hermione could only watch mutely as the professor continued to scream, "Lexor's Time Hypothesis was never proven! Are you seriously going to risk... her on an untestable arithmantic proof?"
    "I would believe that she has already tested it," Dumbledore replied confidently, "her familiarity with magic alone is already a major change, one that cannot be erased even if I were inclined to use memory charms. We are still here, ergo, she is allowed to change things. I feel we must simply treat her as a very powerful seer. Now then, Miss Granger, Mrs Granger and Mr Granger, I have a proposition for you. "
    She looked up at her parents, knowing that they didn't understand what was going on. Hermione knew all the words that were bandied about because the relevant memories had lit up and explained everything to her. Of course, Lexor's Time Hypothesis made complete sense, all methods of time travel would have an impact on the past in the form of a prophesy, a closed time loop and a universal branch. But pure arithmancy theory wasn't something you wanted to bet all of space and time on.
    At least, pure theory until future Hermione put it to the test.
    Her father shook himself out of his stupor, "I'm sorry Dumbledore, but why should I help you? From her stories, it seems that this magic business is dangerous. If you think you're going to take my daughter and send her off to that school where she ended up dying in some war over racism, you've got another think coming!"


    Hermione blinked down at the question. She didn't understand why something so simple needed to be asked at all.
    "Your answer is on page 73 of last year's potions textbook. "
    That done, she turned away from her classmate -what was her name again? Unimportant- and returned to her calculations. The mindscape twisted as a page long arithmantic equation describing the conceptually simple Glow Oil potion. The 'lumos' of potions. It was a step towards creating a true understanding of how potions worked in the context of all the other magic.
    Now if only she could manage to understand what was going on in the Boil Cure potions...
    The voices made her tune the conversation in. Almost unconsciously, Hermione had her mindscape dump the last portions of conversation into her mind, catching up to the present.
    "You can determine the missing ingredient in the antidote by using the interaction tables. Just keep in mind stirring procedures for selecting the desired trait, in context of the previous ingredients. " Hermione threw in her two galleons worth. She already knew the answers of course, but they wouldn't learn if she just gave it to them.
    A problem she had on the backburner thrust forward in her attention as the optimization script completed its calculations. The arithmantic runes were geometrically sensitive and she had wanted to eliminate natural instabilities; having her proud living runes ended by a simple Finite Incantatem, concentrated on a single spot or not, was just embarrassing.
    In the split second it took to review the changes and start applying the changes all her runes again, Hermione had switched seamlessly back to the inane conversation about potions homework.
    She sighed internally, wondering how long she would have to keep this charade up.

  3. - Top - End - #1203
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Sorry for the delay, I finally got back to my pc. Here is 1613 words of stealing time:

    Spoiler: Stealing time, part two
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    “There we go.” Gin said confidently.
    He pushed the wall in front of him and instead of holding, it swung back like a door.
    “Good work,” William breathed and hurried towards the newly opened path. “I knew we did well to bring you along.”
    “Come on.” Gin beconned at Vala to move.
    Wiliam slipped through the secret door and out of sight, but Vale stood unmoving and looked to Camille. There was no way the pyromancer could outrun the horde without the wall of heat to shield her.
    “How far is it to the end?” Vala asked.
    “Not far now.” William promised from the room beyond.
    “Go.” Camille said, her voice strained with the effort of lighting the cratures on fire. “I’ll be here when you come back.”
    Hesitating a moment, Vala finaly found he feet moving. Gin let her step through the secret passage ahead of him, and slipped silently in behind her.
    Vala caught a short glimpse of Camille in the flickering light of the burning monstrosities, then the secret door swung shut.

    They gathered for the first time under the apple tree. William had arranged it all, assuring Vala that he knew just the people to help them with their task. She trusted his judgement, generally he always knew what he was talking about, and if he didn’t he would just need a little time to remember.
    “Why here?” Vala asked as they walked through the grove towards the clearing where the tree stood.
    They had met up with Camille on the road and traveled together to the grove. All she knew was that this was where they were to meet the fourth member of their crew.
    “He insisted.” William sounded exasperated. “This was the only place he was willing to meet to bargain.”
    “Sounds like an odd guy.” Camille smiled a fierce smile.
    “Cautious is a better word.” William said.
    “What is so catious about this place?” Vala asked.
    “Well, for one thing, I dodn’t remember anything about it.”
    That gave Vala pause. If William knew nothing about a place, that usually meant that the place didn’t exist. What kind of place was this grove?
    They stepped out from the cover of foliage and into the clearing. The apple tree was a gnarly old thing, leaves all green and apples red as blood.
    “That’s odd.” Camille said, thoughtful.
    “What?” Vala asked.
    “Spring is a little early for ripe apples.”
    Then they heard the music.
    A single flute, lamenting lonelyness and yearning for the joy of love and peace. It was beautyfull, Vala supposed, though she had never really bother about music before. When she turned to Wiliam, he had a single tear on his cheek.
    “Where is our man?” She asked.
    The music stopped.
    “Right here.”
    They all turned to look where the voice had come from, and there was Gin, under the apple tree, legs crossed flute in hand. He smiled and beconed them closer.
    “Master Gin?” The surprise in Williams voice was barely hidden. “I thought you would be…”
    “Older?” Asked Gin cheerfully. “Taller? Uglier? Prettier? A girl? That is the fun of meeting someone about you know nothing.”
    “Indeed.” William said uncertainly as he stepped closer to the tree and Gin. “I trust you recived my letter?”
    “I did.” Gin was still all smiles. “I am intrigued. A task that none have managed to complete before, though hundreds have tried? Impressive mastery of words Master William. Now tell me: What are we stealing?”
    William was clearly taken aback, his words caught in his throat.
    “The shard of Asankis.” Vala said, fixing Gin with a judging gaze.
    He didn’t flinch, he didn’t frown, he barely seemed surprised. Instead he just smiled and vanished his flute away in some hidden pocket.
    “I’m in, when are we leaving?”

    In the pitch dark behind the hidden door Vala growled in frustration. The torch had gone out, leaving them blinded now that Camille’s lights were behind a wall. Vala could hear William breathing havily, while Gin made no sound at all.
    “What is wrong?” William asked nervouly.
    “Camille is still out there.” Vala snarled.
    “We’ll come back for her.” Gin’s voice came from a bit further away. “We get the shard and come back this way.”
    “We don’t have time.” Vala bit.
    “What do you know about the shard?” Gin asked.
    By instinct, Vala looked to William. He caught her gaze and cleared his throat.
    “Descriptions vary wildly.” He explained. “What is agreed upon is that it contains a large quantity of tima magic. Beyond what anyone is capable of today. On par with what we ascribe to the ancient sages.”
    “Time magic.” Gin voice sounded smug, as if that one phrase explained everything.
    “We get the shard, then use it to save Camille?” Vala understood his idea, she didn’t much like it though.
    “As long as one of us makes it through, everyone is safe.” Gin said triumphantly from the darkness.
    “You’d come back for us?” Vala pressed him.
    “I promised to help you find the shard.” She could hear him fiddle with something while he spoke. “You are my employers, and I am your humble servant.”
    Vala huffed, not really trusting Gin’s intention.
    A creaking sound and suddenly the small hallway flooded with light. A door slid open and revealed a stairway leading up. The walls of the stairwell was inlaid with sofly glowing bricks, lighting the place up like it was mid day.
    “See.” Gin smiled a rougish smile. “I found the way out of the labyrinth.”
    Once more Vala looked to William, who creased his brow, obviously straining to recall a memory, not his own.
    “Up this stairway, and past the guardian chamber.” He was almost laughing as he spoke. “We are nearly at the shard.”
    Without stopping to gloat, Gin shot up the stairs. Vala let William step onto the steps first and followed him up. She listened for any sound of Camille, but the closed door shut out the battle beyond it completely.
    She moved upwards, daring to hope that the guardian chamber, contained no real guardian. As she reached the top of the stairs and caught up with Gin and William, that hope died in her chest.
    The room was huge, build like a great dome. It would have to be big, to house the three statues. Twice her height, they were and all portraying well trained armored men. On wielded a barbed spear, one held a round shield and a short, wicked blade, the third brandished a greathammer, heavier than William.
    “The guardian chamber?” Gin asked.
    William nodded.
    “So these are the guardians?”
    “I believe so.”
    “Where’s the path to the shard?” Vala asked, she was getting impatient.
    “Probaly hidden.” William suggested. “I will try to remember.”
    “Time is of the essense.” Vala said. “We will search while you remember.”
    “But the guardians...” William began.
    “I will hold them off, while he goes searching.” Vala hooked a thumb at Gin.“You know I was just about to suggest that.” He said and smiled cheerfully.
    “Good.” Vala stepped out of the stairwell and onto the stone floors of the guardian room.
    It happened at once. There was a crackle of magical energy and the three statues came to life. They righted themselves, hefted their weapons, and then as one they turned to face Vala.
    She felt it then.
    The song in her bones grew louder. The warriors song her father had called it, back when she was growing up. On the plains with her family, before she met William, before things became complicated, before everything.
    For a moment she thought she would slip backwards to those childhood memories, but then the song grew louder in her bones. And she felt a mad grin spread on her face. She was going to enjoy this.
    Thre giant stone men came at her with aincient sage-forged weapons. She did not back down. Instead she planted her feet and felt the cold stone under her bare soles.
    Camille had asked how she could go without boots at all times. Vala had countered by asking how Camille could stand constantly encasing her feet in tight clammy shoes. Gin had laughed at them both. William had just shaken his head.
    Now her feet felt the stones, and the stones felt the guardians. She closed her eyes and focused on feeling their movements through the stone.
    One stepped forth, lunging with it’s spear and vala took a small step to the right, and knew the thrust would miss. Then came the shieldbearer, trying to push her back against the wall where she would have no space to evade his attack. She stepped towards him, dodging under the sword slash aimed at where her head had just been, and slipped between his legs.
    The warhammer came down in a blow that could have crushed boulders, but Vala was not where it struck, she had moved as soon as she felt the third statue move to strike.
    Now all of them turned to face her, but they were so slow and predictable. She knew how they would fight before they had even moved, and she saw her chance now.
    Reaching through her bones into the stone, she gathered power in her fist. A spin and a lunge bought her under the shield of the second soldier.
    The guardians tried to strike her, all lumbering power. They were to late and she struck the shield bearer’s knee with a punch empowered by the strength of mountains.
    It shattered, and cracks spread up the leg and torso of the guardian. There was a slow creaking sound as the stone soldier crumbled to dust before her.

  4. - Top - End - #1204
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Status for August 20 - August 27!


    Glass Mouse passes with 7240 words of writing.

    Lycunadari passes with six nature photos and one ink drawing.

    jseah passes with 1537 words of Harry Potter fanfiction.

    Xiander passes with 1613 words of Stealing Time.


    Thus nobody FAILS this round!

    Glass Mouse, Lycunadari, jseah and Xiander PASS this round!


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    Glass Mouse
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  5. - Top - End - #1205
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Glass Mouse's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    This week I have 2170 words of short story about a world where colour starts disappearing.
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    Avatar courtesy of the talented Neoriceisgood. Features Pumpkin from my webcomic.


  6. - Top - End - #1206
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Yaay, I managed 1915 words this week, and I am posting them in good time :D
    Enjoy.


    Spoiler: Stealing time, part three
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    Through the stone floor, Vala felt movement. Gin was taking advantage of her distraction to move across the room and search for the path which would take them to the Shard. Relief that the plan was working, was pushed aside, when she felt power thrumming in the air.
    What ever force had animated the crumbled statue was rising into the air, and she felt it being absorbed by the two remaining guardians.
    The spearman shot forwards, suddenly much faster than before. She barely got out of the way, and she felt the air pushed aside by the spearpoint on her neck.
    The earth warned her of the other soldier’s attack and she threw herself aside as the giant warhammer crashed to the floor she had just stood on.
    The soldiers moved in unison, forcing her to duck and weave, never leaving her space to attack. She could feel Gin searching, and she could feel William through her bond with the stone. One of them had to come up with something soon, ot the guardians would run her into a corner and crush her or impale her.
    As it happened they both came up with something around te same time. She felt gin press against a wall, and the wall swung back. This maze was lousy with hidden passages. Good thing Gin had such a knack for finding them.
    Just after the passage had opened, she felt william step out of the stairwell and into the guardian chamber. He planted his feet and spoke in a voice not completely his own. It was the words of a momory he spoke.
    “Come pawns.” His stance was strong and controlled like a seasoned veteran, so unlike his usual stooping composure. “Face me, do your master proud by taking up some of my time before you expire!”
    It was a challenge which no warrior with a bit of pride could ignore. Vala suspected William had opted to search for a memory that would distract the guardians, trusting Gin to find the path.
    The guardians reacted to the words just like vala suspected they would. They imediately forgot about her and turned their attention to William.
    “Damnit!” She yelled. “They’ll kill you!”
    “Let me worry about that friend.” He said, sending her an encouraging smile. “Get the shard and come back for me.”
    Then the guardians where upon him and, he had to dodge and run. He moved like a fighter then, not like the tubby bookworm she knew so well. He was holding tight to some warrior’s memory to keep up with his assailants. She wondered how long he could do it before exhaustion caught up with him.
    She cursed and turned to run to where Gin had opened the door. The strength of the earth seeped out of her and she felt tired and frail. Still she pushed on, she had to now.
    Beyond the guardian room lay another hallway, which quickly ended in an ornate door. Gin was pushing it open when she caught up with him.
    Beyond the door lay a chamber, decorated with depictions of great warriors fighting each other, Kings being murdered and kingdoms torn asunder. In the background of every scene was a crystal, large and clear. Obviously the Shard of Asankis.
    The decorations told a bloody story. Men had killed and betrayed for then shard. Vilages had burned and countries had suffered. In the end one of the Sages had sealed it here. Brave and stupid men had tried to steal it before, and now Vala was part of such an effort.
    Against a wall across the room stood a pedestal, on it rested a heavy gilded chest. There was no need to guess what lay inside. So many had tried before, but Vala and her friends would be the ones to succeed.
    She pushed Gin aside and stomped across the room to the chest. Just about to open the chest, she paused. The whole castle had been full of traps and lures, this might be another. She looked at Gin, surely he would know if the chest was trapped.
    He nodded encouragement at her, a wily glint in his eyes. No warning of danger though. Vala remembered her friends, struggling to keep persuers at bay, waiting for her assistance.
    She opened the chest.
    Without a sound the lid slid upwards, allowing her to peer inside. She frowned. What was the meaning of this?
    The chest was empty.

    Under the apple three, after all was said and done, Vala stared at Gin.
    “I don’t like running away.” Her words fel like stones into a pond.
    “A little to late for that sentiment now, isnt it?” Gin pointed at her with the flute.
    “You told me we could go back and help them.” She shot back. “Once we had the shard.”
    “Which wasn’t there.” He shook his head. “Just be happy that we found a way out.”
    “See I’ve wondered about that.”
    “Hmm?” He put the flute to his lips and played a soft, thoughtful melody.
    “How did we get out?”
    He played on, opting not to respond to her question. The song danced around her like wild flowers and weaved a fine veil of emotion.
    “What I think,” She pushed on, trying to ignore the music. “Is that you were far to happy to go into that deathtrap of a castle. And once we were inside, you knew the way as well as William did, perhaps better.”
    He lifted the song into a short thrill, like an unspoken question.
    “I think you had been in that place before. I think you knew the shard wouldn’t be there. I think you know where it is, because you have it.”
    “I thought William was supposed to be the clever one.” Gin smiled a maddening smile. “How did you figure it out?”
    “I remembered a story I heard long ago.” She answered. “About a god of time who lived under an apple tree. And I remembered the name of the sage who put the Shard of Sankis in the black castle, Ginnaros.”
    He played one long thrill on the flute, then smiled at her again.
    “It has been a very long time sinse anyone called me by that name.”
    “You promised to help us get the shard. You promised to come back and save Camille and William. You will fulfill both those wows, or face my anger.”
    She planted her feet and let power from the earth surge up her legs as she spoke. No doubt Gin could feel the power humming about her.
    She had never thought she would stand face to face with a sage, much less challenge one to a duel, but she was left with no other proper options. She could not just walk away.
    “Let’s wait a moment with fighting.” Gin said, rising to his feet and putting the flute away. “I will take you back to save them, on one condition.”
    “What condition?”
    “Some day in the future I will call on you, and you will help me steal something.”
    She felt anger rise within her.
    “You are cheating us out of the shard, and you expect us to pay you for it by helping you steal something else?”
    “I wil reward you handsomely when you do your task for me. I shall pay you more than you expected to get for the shard. But you must promise to help me.”
    She thought on that for a long moment. Could she trust him? Did she have the luxury of choice?
    “I will help you when you call on me, but I cannot speak for Camille and William.”
    “Done!” He smiled a devil’s smile.

    And she was back in the black keep, in front of the empty chest.
    “What are you waiting for?” Gin asked behind her. “We should go save your friends.”
    Se whirled and faced him, anger rising with her voice.
    “How?” She bit. “We couldn’t defeat the guardians before, or those creatures below, why do you think we can now?”
    “Because I don’t have to hide my secret any more.” He was smiling like a shark.
    When the door to the guardian chamber swung open, Vala understood what he meant. There was William, still fleing from the guardians, only he was not moving, and neither were they. Frozen still like dolls on display, they acted out the exact moment when she had closed the door behind her.
    “Will you please carry him for me?” Gin asked, way to polite to not sound smug. “I do have to concentrate to make this happen.”
    Without a word, Vala moved to where her friend was frozen in time. She hefted him with both arms and lodged him on her shoulder.
    They left the room and went down the stairs to the chamber where Camille had made her stance against the blind creatures. Once more Vala found the room frozen in the moment when she had left it.
    Camille faced the other door her face screwed up in a grimace of concentration. In the darkness beyond the other door an endless tide of eyeless hhorrors were pushing forwards, only they too were frozen still.
    “You have room on your other shoulder, right?” There was a laugh hidden in Gin’s voice.
    Going to one knee, Vala manuvered to put Camille on her left shoulder, then rose and kept going. They had to squeeze a bit to pass between the eyeless creatures. From there it was a long walk through the labyrinth under the black keep. They had found and avoided so many traps on the way in, but the path out was simpler, seing as Gin knew it all and no longer tried to hide that fact.

    She found him under the apple tree afterwards.
    Safely outside the flow of normal time, one of the Sages hid from the world he had once helped shape. There was something melancholic to that, Vala thought.
    She had taken Camille and William to a safe place and tried to explain. The shard had not been in the keep, she had said. They had not found the solution to their problems, they would have to look elsewhere.
    She told them how Gin had saved their life, and that she owed him a favour for his part. They did not ask her for details, but she thought William suspected the truth.
    “Vala.” Ginnaros spoke her name with an odd sort of reverie. “I have not called on you yet.”
    “But you let me walk right into your secret garden.” She shrugged.
    “I must admit,” He smiled his cunning smile. “I do miss conversation.”
    “Why did you leave?”
    Everyone knew the stories of the sages. They had guided men to build a world of prgress and plenty. About a century ago they had vanished. Of course some people said they had never actually existed.
    “There was no need for me anymore.” He leant back against the three and got out the flute. Then he hesitated, as if he did not dare touch the flute to his lips.
    “Why did you come back?”
    “I was never completely gone.”
    “But why get involved?”
    “Because some things must be done. Because I am not the only sage in hiding. Because I missed the world.”
    “We didn’t find you did we?”
    “Of course not.” He shook his head. “I found you.”
    “What now?”
    “Perhaps you would enjoy a song?”
    And then he played for her under the apple three for a while.

  7. - Top - End - #1207
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    Spoiler: Nature pic
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    Spoiler: Glitter cake
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    Spoiler: Wizard with weird fashion sense
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    You can call me Juniper.
    Please use gender-neutral pronouns (they/their or ze/hir) when referring to me.

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  8. - Top - End - #1208
    Ogre in the Playground
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    1683 words for the HP fanfic.

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    "Mr Granger, your daughter is very fortunate to have received two gifts at once. Her magical ability and her prophetic vision. Given the state of the magical world, I can make a good guess as to the reason and antagonists of the war she lived through in the future. This makes her both important and a target," Dumbledore said without mincing words. "The muggle world has the concept of strategic resources, like your electricity, that can decide the fate of war and countries. Your daughter's foresight is the equivalent to us. She knows the general shape of our future and this is information that many will kill to obtain. I am perfectly serious, if word of her vision spreads, and all secrets will leak eventually, her life and your lives will be in danger, no matter where in the world you try to run to. "
    Hermione could see her parents paling. She knew her parents thought her importance was a bad thing, given Dumbledore's threat. What she didn't realize was that Dumbledore here was clearly a representative of one of those factions in the war and Hermione's importance to Dumbledore's enemies applied equally to him as well.
    Her father looked at her mother for a moment before they went out to the garden to discuss between them. Despite keeping it quiet, the adult Grangers were clearly agitated and very worried.
    "Hermione?" She looked up at the cat professor, curiousity slowly replacing sympathetic worry on her face. Kneeling down to her height, the woman asked gently, "do you like magic?"
    Hermione blinked at the professor before shyly nodding.
    "Perhaps you might be interested in a little game?" McGonagall smiled back. Then seeing the interest in Hermione's eyes, she drew her wand and set two identical cups aside on the table. "Here is your cup and here is mine. I'll lead by transfiguring the cup into something more impressive and then I'll lend you my wand so you can make your own. "
    "That sounds interesting! Just like a little lesson!" she clapped her hands, already mentally paging through every bit of transfiguration in her dream-memories.
    The professor's smile only grew bigger and she waved her wand in a quick but complicated dance. The first cup elongated and thinned into an elegant fluted glass, little flower decorations creeping around it. Then she handed her wand to Hermione who eyed her own cup eagerly.
    Same material same size transfigurations were the easiest task to perform, so Hermione of course went more than a little overboard, even despite a less than perfect fit in the wand. Her cup morphed into an ornate glass creation, filaments of pure crystal so fine that they practically shone in the morning light, spun into braids and woven together into the structure of a container.
    Hermione handed the wand back with a smug grin, only to get a raised eyebrow in return. Minerva flicked her wand, escalating into different materials, colouring her flowers with vibrant greens and reds of stained glass, then crowning the work with a transfigured gem. Pretty but no magical use of course.
    Hermione accepted the wand and the implied challenge.
    It went on for some time, the silent contest of one-upsmanship in ever more elaborate transfigurations. The professor preferred to make her goblet out of ever more precious metal, faux gold inlaid with silver then platinum and a vast array of gemstones. Hermione took to building her creation in ever increasing detail, inscribing an impression of her happiest times, the light falling through the coloured glass casting a shadow-Hermione opening presents at Christmas, reading books to her parents and other scenes.
    The old wizard coughed as Hermione finished her latest round, a particularly difficult portion that cast two different shadows depending on the angle of the light. Her parents were done with their discussion and were watching her with wistful smiles.
    She looked up at the professor then nodded, drawing up her magic into the most powerful charm she had cast yet. Two taps imbued a semblance of permanence into the decorated glass, still vulnerable to damage or dispel but her creation would not expire from just time.
    Minerva sighed happily and did the same to her gaudy goblet. "Would that all my students display as much magical prowess, focus and sheer creativity that you have done today. Transfiguration permanence is beyond NEWT level and despite your use of less complex materials, the finery of your work is something even I will have difficulty duplicating. I would be proud to have you as a student for a Transfiguration Mastery. "
    The unreserved and quite deserved praise made Hermione feel as if she was swelling up. Just like she had passed a test with more than a hundred percent. Then she paused. "Would be?" Hermione asked.
    "Your age is the issue," Dumbledore sighed, "no one will believe that a twelve year old muggleborn is capable of entering a Transfiguration Mastery course before she even attended Hogwarts. And if you did convince them, your abilities would immediately give your prophetic memories away. "


    Hermione knelt in front of the circle of micro-runes, expanded mindscape flicking through the information faster than the speed of thought. The cloud of thought threads spinning in the air around her like a silvery halo was simultaneously intimidating and impressive.
    Simply put, matters beyond the wall represented by the Interdict was beyond human comprehension. Something quite literal, her thought cloud was running at least a hundred times as fast as a baseline human and she was simultaneously accessing millions of independent threads of thought.
    Delving through Time was not a trivial affair.
    "Who are you looking at?"
    Her human part looked at the headmaster, only now noticing that the Flamels had arrived. The tiny stone room sequestered at the foundation of Hogwarts was perhaps the most shielded and secure place on the planet. At least after Hermione was through with it.
    "Currently, I am view the past of one Bellatrix Lestrange," she said. A thought returned to her head and she added, interrupting the frowns appearing on her audience's faces, "she's not as bad as you think. "
    The expected objections and exclamations exploded around the room. The Longbottoms in particular weren't at all happy. Satisfied at the bombshell she had dropped, Hermione exchanged a stream of thought. A virtual thread outside her head switched places with the one currently residing in her body.
    "It's interesting to see her history," Hermione said, voice tinged with frost, "did you know she wasn't really a death eater? A blood purist, sure. But she wasn't the kind of person to go on rampages or be a slave to anyone. Bellatrix Black was... frosty but not crazy. Her marriage was where Voldemort and his minions made her into what she was today. "
    She glanced around the room, gauging reactions. "Voldemort and his minions was presented her after her marriage to Rudolphus. They subjected her to a regime of torture designed to break down who she was as a person and rebuild her into the weapon and slave they wanted. Rookwood invented a reverse form of cruciatus curse just for her, a spell that does nothing but grant pure bliss. A reward mechanism. A systematic program to brainwash a woman not dissimilar to a darker Greengrass. They never employed the system again, it took far too much time and resources no matter how enjoyable the death eaters found it. "
    Even the Flamels looked ill at her cold narration. Hermione continued, still sounding as if she was reading from a textbook, "she presents an interesting test case. I want to see if I can rescue her. Also, since I don't really want to remember seeing her torture program..."
    She snapped a silver tendril dedicated to reviewing that section of the insane woman's history. The memories disappeared from her greater mindscape, leaving only the executive summary.
    "How do you intend to do that?" Dumbledore leaned forward, morbid curiousity evident on his face, "I seriously doubt even the best mind healers could do so, given the rest of her life and willing cooperation. And mind healing requires more than magical prowess. "
    That he thought a thirteen year old Hermione unable to understand enough of the mind to perform what amounted to psychological surgery was obvious.
    "Your assessment is accurate, but I have no intention of tackling the problem head on," she said with a wave of her hand. A window opened up in front of her, a circular image that remained the same regardless of what angle you looked at it. The still image was of a Hogwarts leaving feast. Bellatrix's last before her marriage was confirmed.
    "This window presents an accurate and complete picture, including physical, magical and metaphysical portions; only temporally frozen. True copies, body, mind, magic and soul. I will simply kill her present body and recreate her from the past. The soul forging technique that can add or remove magical traits to a person I suspect could extend to lifting the temporal freezing that such a snapshot would have. "
    She might as well have spoken in Greek for all that the audience understood. Only three people seemed to have any idea of what she was talking about.
    "You are not certain that your soul manipulation techniques can achieve this," Nicholas Flamel noted, "you are using her as an experiment. "
    Hermione nodded. "If it doesn't work, Bellatrix is no great loss. If it does, younger Bellatrix before her brainwashing is someone we can live with. I don't dare to try this on Voldemort himself, who knows how his soul anchors will interact with the technique? As for difficulties, the most I expect is to have to dispose of a large number of time cloned bodies that have suffered some form of time damage. Fiendfyre should work nicely for that. "
    "And once you have the technique mastered-"
    She cut off Flamel, "then I shall have mastered Death through the use of Time. "

  9. - Top - End - #1209
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Status for August 28 - September 3!


    Glass Mouse passes with 2170 words of colourless short story.

    Lycunadari passes with four nature photos, one city photo, a cake and a wizard drawing.

    jseah passes with 1683 words of Harry Potter fanfiction.

    Xiander passes with 1915 words of Stealing Time.


    Thus nobody FAILS this round!

    Glass Mouse, Lycunadari, jseah and Xiander PASS this round!


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    Glass Mouse
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  10. - Top - End - #1210
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Here you have 1641 words for a new short story.


    Spoiler: Body and Soul, Part one
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    The van rumbled to a stop in front of the ancient manor. Travis killed the engine and half turned to look at his passengers. There was a half formed question on his face, which I decided to answer before he was done formulating it.
    “We’ll be fine, we have done this before, we are professionals.” There might have been a bit of tension in my voice, in fact I probably sounded angry.
    “Hey man.” Travis held up both hands in a gesture of surrender. “I just drive the van, you don’t pay me to give tactical advise.”
    He was a tall gangly guy with a soul patch and hair that had never been combed. We had not hired him because of his credentials, or his work ethics. We had hired him because he didn’t ask questions.
    It can be damn hard to find employees with half a brain, who aren’t curious. It had taken us half a year to dig up Travis.
    From the seat in front of me, Hollow rose to an akwards standing position, his head ducked low to avoid collision with the roof. Standing in the back of the van, he took up almost all the space, so I had to wait till he had left before I could get up myself.
    “Stay calm.” He delivered the sage advise in a low basso rumble.
    Then he moved to the van’s back door, clearly demonstrating that this was all he had to say about the situation.
    Hollow got out of the van, pulled out his toolbag, and left me and Travis to stare at each other. It was the first job we had done since we hired Travis to drive, and I expected him to at least be mildly curious. I stared him down, waiting for the inevitable questions.
    “So…” He finally started asking. “I’ll just wait in the car?”
    I blinked.
    “Usually they wanted to know why we were here, what we were going to do. One driver had straight out asked what we were stealing.
    “Yes.” I said. “Stay awake and be ready to go.”
    He reached into the bag on the seat beside him and pulled out a can of energy drink and a book. There was a fizzing sound as he opened the drink.
    “Sure thing.”
    I decided that I could get used to Travis.
    I got my own tool bag out from under my seat and vacated the van. Out on the driveway, Hollow was standing motionless and staring at the mansion. I knew better than to disturb him when he was thinking so I just stood next to him and did some thinking of my own.
    In the midnight dark, the mansion looked vast. It loomed threatening towards us. Or perhaps that was my mind tricking me. At any rate there was something sinister about the building.
    I wrote it off as pre job jitters and looked to my partner. He was just over two meters tall, making him almost half a meter taller than me. In the dark he was an impressive pressense, and I knew full well what he could do with his massive body. I also knew that right now, a bunch of wheels were turning in his body leading him to some conclusion about the best approach.
    “First floor window.” He said. “Left side of the building.”
    “Right.” I adjusted my leather jacket. “Let’s get the ladder off the van.”
    Hollow and I had worked together for long enough that I didn’t waste time second guessing his judgements. That sort of insecurities would get you hurt in our business.
    “Hey Ivy?” Travis called out of the driver side window of the van.
    Here come the bloody questions, I thought to myself.
    “Yes?”
    “How long?”
    “Half an hour, tops.”
    “Groovy.” He took a long draw of his energy drink and let out a long burp.
    Okay, no stupid questions, good.
    Hollow and I set to work, hauling the ladder to the window and making ready to make our entrance. We’d done this sort of thing often enough that we didn’t need to discuss strategy. Hollow planted the ladder and held it steady while I started climbing towards the window in question.
    I reached the top and found the window shut. A quick inspection yielded no obvious way of opening it from the outside, so I went straight to my backup plan. I took a rock out of my jackets left pocket, hefted it, held tight to the ladder with my right hand, and smashed it trought the glass.
    Not an elegant approach I admit but I not a profesional catburglar. Breaking and entering is stricktly an unfortunate part of my actual job. Man, my credentials would look really shady if I ever was to apply for a regular job.
    I made sure no sharp glass spikes were left, then I climbed through the window and into a small dusty room on the second floor of the mansion. I took in the room in one glance. It was empty except for a single forgotten bookcase in the corner. There was one door and a window which someone had just smashed with a rock. I can’t say how he does it, but Hollow always picks the right entry point.
    I heard him moving on the ladder, and stepped aside so he could squeeze through the window and step into the small room.
    “Clear?” He asked in a rumble, once he was in.
    “Clear.” I confirmed.
    “Lead the way.”
    I ran a hand through my short hair, while steeling myself for the next step i nthe plan. We’d done this before, I knew my role, but it never got easier.
    I pulled of the backpack and got out a small flashlight. Armed with a source of light and my cutting wit, I stepped out of the small dusty room and into an old dusty hallway.
    I got the impression that the upper floor never saw much use. I figured I could guess why. Still, I had not time for speculation, I had to do the job and do it fast, before someone realised we were here.
    I stomeped down the hallway waving the flashlight around and doing everything I could to draw out our prey. That inccluded thinking really loud thoughts about money and acting exactly like an unsuspecting burglar.
    It took less than thirty seconds before the Genius Loci of the house spotted me. It took five seconds after that, before it came out of a wall gunning straight for my gut with a spiritual assault.
    Right, lesson time.
    A Genius Loci is the spirit of a location. They bind to a place because of the latent psychic energies which settle in the location over time. The stronger the emotion the greater the spirit. They grow protective of their home, and angry Genieus Loci are responsible for at least sixty percent of the ghost stories you hear.
    Most people cannot see spirits, so they often go undetected. I am luckily not most people. I had an accident when I was twelve. I almost drowned, and I got a short glimpse of the other side. When I came back, I saw spirits as easily as normal people see bricks in a wall.
    So when the Genius of the mansion came for me, I saw it. It took the shape of a young lady, pale of skin and dressed in period clothing. Where she should have had eyes, empty voids glared at me. Her fingers were elongated claws, slashing for my throat as she sprang from the wall.
    I spoke the safeword, and a bracelet on my left wrist glowed with soft blue spirit light. The claws coming for my throat hit an invisible barrier three inches aways from my skin.
    “Hollow.” I barked.
    He stepped into the hallway, huge and reassuring. I knew he couldn’t see the spirit, but he knew the game as well as me and I brought him along for a reason.
    The guardian of the mansion slashed at me again. As her claws hit the barrier, my bracelet snapped and the blue glow faded to nothing.
    I backpedalled reaching for the side pocket of my backpack, and yanking out a small bag of salt. When the spirit came at me again I fung it in her face.
    She shrieked and backed away from me, straight towards Hollow. He was coming toward me, and by extention her.
    I kept my focus, waited and timed it exactly right. When they were occupying the same space, I spoke an ancient phrase. A spell you might call it. An incantation of power, to link the world of spirit to the world of flesh.
    And for a moment the spirit was as real as hollow or me. Jus long enough to trigger Hollow’s special talent. When the spirit grew real enough to touch him, there was a spark of pure energy and I felt his whole existens sucking all the power it could towards him. I gritted my teeth and held onto my own body with all my might.
    The Genius Loci had no such anchor, and was ripped out of her place and straight into the void that is at the center of my partner. On moment I saw her, the next she was gone.
    Hollow stepped backwards, staggering slightly. Then he righted himeself and looked at me, pain and determination on his face.
    “Done?” he asked.
    I didn’t get to answer, a new voice cut through the night comming from somewhere in the house.
    “I hear you up there.” It was a dry old man’s voice, but it had enough fight in it to make me want to leave in a hurry. “I called the police already. Get off my property.”
    “Lets go.” I hissed.
    Hollow nodded and lumbered towards the window.


    Question: I an going on vacation for the next week, wil it be possible for me to take a break and preserve my streak, seeing as I will have limited time to write?

  11. - Top - End - #1211
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    1456 for a story that... I have no real idea what to call. It's an old idea and this is really only the setup, but w/e.

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    "Fire Elemental!" "It's a Fire Elemental!"
    The wash of heat in the classroom made everyone back away, except for Frelia at the summoning circle.
    "By the terms of the ancient contract, be my familiar and obey me!" she shouted over the crackle of the living flame.
    The being in the circle turned to face her and a raspy voice spoke seemingly from nowhere, "a lord of fire submits not to one unworthy. "
    A clear sheen of sweat on Frelia's face was visible now. The greater summons were often proud and uncooperative. "I will prove my worth. Will you set the terms?"
    The spirit seemed to consider her for a moment then the voice spoke again. "Bring me a stone made of fire and I will consider it. "
    The class stirred again, such a disagreeable spirit was a risk. Frelia snarled, clashing her will against the being of fire. "The contract is clear, if I fulfill the terms, you will be my familiar until such time as either of us pass on or I release you from your duty. Are those your terms?"
    She stared at the formless mass of fire and it stared back. Then after a long tension filled moment, the spirit flared brighter. The class screamed a little but the flames splashed against an invisible barrier just inside the circle of runes.
    Then the flare dimmed and disappeared, taking the spirit with it. A clear red rock dropped from where it stood onto the ground, a thin wispy voice remaining. "Very well. "
    The class of aspiring wizards took their time recovering. Even Frelia let out a sigh of relief as the imposing presence lifted.
    "An impressive showing," the teacher clapped his hands twice, stirring the class out of their stupor, "a fire elemental will be a powerful combat force, if you can control it. Very well done, Miss Frelia, assuming you can find a stone made of fire. "
    "I can," she said calmly. Her shaking fingers betrayed her upset as she scooped up the red rock from the dormant circle.
    He smiled at her, rare enough for the strict magical teacher. With a swish of his black hair, the teacher looked down at his list, "and next is Emi. "
    Frelia ignored the small mousey girl that passed by her on the way off the summoning podium. She also ignored the snickers that followed the girl, such things were below the ace after all.
    It wasn't as if Emi had gotten bad results, she was a fairly decent mage, just ordinary. And well, she had had the bad luck to be singled by Lipliss and her gang. Frelia sighed as one of the cronies hooted a catcall.
    The girl at the summoning circle only shrank further. Frelia settled down at her seat, already trying to work out what the spirit meant by 'stone of fire'.

    Emi looked at the circle and steadied herself. Sir Hassis was nodding kindly at her, leaning on his staff. Steady. She could do this.
    She called up her magic and spirit elements, letting it flow out into the formation like she had practiced. Slowly, like the others, the circle glowed magically, building the barriers that kept the class safe from the summoned beings. Emi wondered what she would get, the practice formations only summoned wild animals after all.
    There was a flash and a loud bang that made everyone jump. Then she saw the figure standing in the circle.
    The figure was a human! It was a young boy. No, a man? She looked again, actually his age looked strangely old and young at the same time. Emi decided that he had to be younger than her, he was shorter for one. But a human?
    No one had ever summoned a human before.
    "Oi, you summoned me, no?" the boy said. His one raised eyebrow conveyed a sense of boredom.
    She looked at him in shock. But... but what... better to follow the script, she thought. "By-by the terms of the ancient contract-"
    "No," the boy said flatly.
    What. Emi glanced at her teacher for help. But Hassis was looking equally perplexed. Emi looked back at the boy helplessly, was he perhaps not a human after all?
    "You want me as a familiar?" the boy asked, "you're not powerful enough to make it worth my time. "
    The teacher looked at him and asked, "you will have to dismiss it and try again, Emi. "
    There was a snigger from somewhere in the classroom. Emi flinched almost instinctively. To have to retry a summoning in front of everyone, what a humiliation!
    "Whoever that was, you're not worth my time either," the mysterious boy snorted. He squatted on the stone floor of the circle and picked his ear with one finger, as if completely uncaring that he was about to be wiped from existence again.
    "Emi?" Hassis asked.
    She yelped and nodded in apology. The whole situation was just too strange. Who was this person?!
    "Poor little Emi," the voice whispered, a stage whisper audible from anywhere in the stone hall. Don't listen to them, Emi told herself and readied her magic.
    The boy reacted to that though, he stood up and looked directly at the girl in the gaggle of students at the far end of the classroom. Even if Emi wasn't directly in the line, the sharp gaze made her flinch again. "Wait. I've changed my mind," the boy said, "you want terms for a familiar contract, yes? So feed me. "
    Eh. Emi could feel her mouth flapping soundlessly. What kind of contract term was that? And there were other problems besides. "But... familiars don't need to eat," she stammered. They weren't real monsters after all.
    "Doesn't mean we can't," the boy said, "surely it's a good deal for you? Even you should have no problems fulfilling such a simple contract. "
    But... but.. there were just so many things wrong now that Emi could hardly wrap her head around it.
    Hassis sighed, "I'm sorry Emi, clearly something very irregular has happened here. If you're not up to dismissing it, I will have to-"
    "I won't go," the boy interrupted. Hassis whirled around to look at the boy.
    "The summoning circle has a ward," he said warily, "a familiar will not be able to escape. Much less one without a contract. "
    The boy merely sighed. "Your circle is defective," he paced around the edge, trailing one hand on the barriers, causing the octagonal walls to activated in flat planes of light, "crude even. The distribution lines are terribly drawn and you can't even control what you summon beyond the simplest of categories. "
    Sir Hassis was looking completely floored now. But the boy didn't stop there.
    "Why, if I just push here," he opened his palm and a gentle trickle of white magical sparkles fell to the ground from it.
    Hassis slammed his staff onto the circle, his magical power surging into it to disrupt and end the summoning. With another flare of magic, the circle's light died.
    But the boy remained, with a lazy smile on his face. Then, impossibly, he stepped out of the circle. There were screams around them, and no wonder when magic danced around the boy's hands. A summon was running wild!
    Sir Hassis reacted fastest, firing a lance of ice at the boy nearly instantly. The boy didn't move, the icicle simply dissolved as it hit him. Then an aura spilled out from the small boy, an incomprehensible aura that absorbed and ate the magic that Hassis launched. He glared at her teacher, the sudden bloodlust in his aura freezing everyone in place.
    "Ah, it's been a long time, I can tell. Wizards sure have deteriorated if you can't even get past this much power," he said, then he turned around and more impossibly, Emi could feel the tug on her spirit. They were contracted!? But there wasn't even an agreement!
    "Hi, contractor," he said with a roguish wink, "I have a different proposal for you. You're about to be attacked by monsters. If you can survive it, you can be my apprentice. "
    Emi couldn't even think of how to reply to that, but there was the obvious question. "Who are you?" she whispered.
    "Sometime archmage, now wandering spirit," the boy grinned, "High Mage Teril, at your service. "
    Teril... Emi felt her eyes grow round. Teril! The Tide of Darkness. The Black One. Oh, gods, how did she manage to screw up this badly. To summon the demonic mage of legend himself!
    She toppled to ground in a dead faint.


    371 words for Hero's War
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    Yvon lay down on the loose straw, too tired to even massage her aching feet. After they parted from the kind merchant, who left them to head south at the road crossing, Lyeald had come across a small collection of farms. The tiny village had a number of new unfilled barns that they could find a place to rest in, but more importantly, Lyeald had managed to bargain their services for some food.
    She had a suspicion that her brother had played on the pity of the villagers. There was no way that her washing three families' worth of dishes was worth a meal that included piyo meat. It didn't occur to her that her young age was more of a factor than her brother's amateur begging.
    Yvon still loved her brother though. He had done so much for her, giving her hope of a life in Minmay, talking to the merchant, even giving up his portion of the piyo meat today. He was really the best family she could have.
    The starting exercise of the magic training book, that Lyeald had the merchant lend them, flashed across her mind. He had guided her through the bigger words and made her memorize it, since they wouldn't have the book after they separated from the merchant. Amongst all the books to borrow, Lyeald had chosen the magic one.
    Yvon squirmed under her brother's arm, wanting to hide her face. She couldn't quite believe he still remembered her dream years ago of being a knight.
    Now, he even distracted her from her exhaustion with little games built on the mental exercises of the book, trying to get in touch with their magic. It took only a day or so before Lyeald had managed it then he spent the rest of the night huddling up with her under a bush and their only blanket, whispering and guiding her.
    She could feel the movement of her brother's magic in time with her own, slow in his sleep after spending it heating up the barn they were resting in. It didn't really help against the cold but Yvon appreciated his effort. It felt like her brother was hugging her.

  12. - Top - End - #1212
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    May 2012
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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Oops, I'm late.

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    You can call me Juniper.
    Please use gender-neutral pronouns (they/their or ze/hir) when referring to me.

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    Lycunadari

  13. - Top - End - #1213
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Glass Mouse's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Oh man, I juuuuuust managed to squeeze by with 1560 words of rpg notes. It's all a hot mess because I've been spending so much time drawing flowcharts and maps and planning in my head and running the character building and the first short session... so even if it's a mess, I still say it counts!

    Also, guess who'd completely forgotten how much work goes into GM-ing?
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  14. - Top - End - #1214
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Status for September 4 - September 10!


    Glass Mouse passes with 1560 words of rpg notes.

    Lycunadari passes with ten nature photos.

    jseah passes with 371 words of Hero's War and 1456 words of a nameless story.

    Xiander passes with 1641 words of Body and Soul.


    Thus nobody FAILS this round!

    Glass Mouse, Lycunadari, jseah and Xiander PASS this round!


    Current standing:
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    Glass Mouse
    Current run: 3
    Longest run: 290 weeks
    Themes: -

    Lycunadari
    Current run: 244 weeks
    Longest run: -
    Themes: -

    jseah
    Current Run: 83 weeks
    Longest Run: 33 weeks
    Themes: -

    Xiander
    Current run: 62 weeks
    Longest run: -
    Themes: -




    LeSwordfish
    Longest run: 44 weeks

    Icewalker
    Longest run: 31 weeks

    Lovely Vulcan
    Longest run: 3



    ----

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiander View Post

    Question: I an going on vacation for the next week, wil it be possible for me to take a break and preserve my streak, seeing as I will have limited time to write?
    Well, taking a break is kind of against the spirit of the challenge, but you can upload two weeks' worth of writing/other stuff when you come back to preserve your streak. (I did this a few years ago when I was on vacation and without internet connection for six weeks - I uploaded 40+ pictures at once when I came back so I didn't lose my streak.) And while you are supposed to write/create every week, I won't be able to tell if you actually wrote both weeks or if you did everything in the second week.
    You can call me Juniper.
    Please use gender-neutral pronouns (they/their or ze/hir) when referring to me.

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  15. - Top - End - #1215
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycunadari View Post
    Well, taking a break is kind of against the spirit of the challenge, but you can upload two weeks' worth of writing/other stuff when you come back to preserve your streak. (I did this a few years ago when I was on vacation and without internet connection for six weeks - I uploaded 40+ pictures at once when I came back so I didn't lose my streak.) And while you are supposed to write/create every week, I won't be able to tell if you actually wrote both weeks or if you did everything in the second week.
    Okay, that's what I thought. I'll see if I can't make time to write during this week, After all, I wanna stick with the spirit of the game

  16. - Top - End - #1216
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Glass Mouse's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

    Cthulhu campaign incoming. I'm running the first real session this week and I'm super excited to be GM'ing again! I spent most of the week getting my notes in order and the entirety of today making five notebooks (one for each player) and one chained-up Necronomicon type thing. Link here.

    The old book is nowhere near done as I still need to create all the pages it needs to contain (and then to ruin those). The chain and blood and burns are all aesthetics so far. But it won't be relevant for another year or so, sadly.

    I don't feel like trawling through my notes to pick out new stuff, so I'm assuming five notebooks + one big book counts as enough proof.
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  17. - Top - End - #1217
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    I actually managed to write my haul for this week
    With 1762 words I have finished another shortstory.

    Spoiler: Body and soul, part two
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    Getting out through the window was a squeese for Hollow, and i was stuck waiting for him to get halfway down the ladder. I hadn’t expected anyone to be present in the manor, and I had not intention of getting caught by the police. In short it was a tense wait.
    I fairly flew down the ladder, and didn’t bother to bring the damn thing as I ran for the van. Hollow’s huge form was right ahead if me in the darkness. The the darknes was broken, when the headlights of the van flared and I heard the rumble of the motor.
    Travis gunned the engine and the van described a half circle, ending with the backdoor pointed towards us. Hollow ripped it opoen and jumped inside, and I followed with my heart beating like a jackhammer.
    The van set off at speed as I slammed the door and plopped down in my seat. It had been less than fifteen minutes since we got out of the van, and I was completely drained.
    I closed my eyes for ten seconds.
    At least that’s what it felt like, but It must have been a fair bit longer. When I opened them the van was swinging into a parking lot and Hollow was banging on the devider between us and Travis. Why had Travis closed that?
    I blinked and shook my head, trying to get my mind into gear. My head was full of cotton anf my mouth felt like a sand box.
    “Answer.” Hollow wasn’t shouted, but his basso rumble would have carried to a full stadium anyway.
    Travis didn’t seem to care much.
    “What’s going on?” I asked, still disoriented from sleeping.
    “He’s taken us astray.”
    “What?”
    The van came to a stop, parked across three sepparate parking spaces, and Travis’ voice pierced the devider.
    “Calm down people.” He said cheerfully. “I just wanted a little chat, so I took you to a safe place.”
    “You could have just asked.” I said coldly.
    “You told me, like, five times you didn’t want any questions.”
    “I didn’t want to be kidnapped to some deserted parking space either.”
    I pushed out of my seat and went for the back door. It opened onto the parkinglot. There wasn’t a soul anywhere within earshot, which was probably the point. The place was mostly dark, with only pale moonlight to give us our bearings.
    I jumped out of the car, and Hollow followed right behind me. Then I heard the drivers side dor open and shot, and Travis walked around the end of the van, smiling pleasantly and pointing a gun at us.
    “Right!” he said. “Lets talk about this like friends and everything should be just fine.”
    “Friends don’t threaten each other with guns.” I pointed out.
    “I am not threatening you Ivy.” He said, then added. “Yet.”
    “Why?” Hollow asked, summing up the host of questions I had, into one word.
    “Because I know what you took form that place.” Travis explained. “And I want my cut.”
    “You know?” I asked, surprised.
    “You two have made a name for yourself in the spiritual circles around town.” Travis smiled a menacing smile, as he talked. “Some love you some hate you, but no one deny that you are the best when it comes to plundering spirits.”
    “Why didn’t you say?” I realised that was not the most pressing matter, and added: “And what’s with the gun?”
    “Let’s just say I have my own design for this spirit you just captured.” His tunge ran over his upper lips as he spoke.
    Hollow growled low in his throat. He was angry, he had clearly figured something out, which wasn’t yet obvious to me.
    “Calm down big guy.” Travis shifted the gun to point at Hollow. “All I want is this one spirit, and I will leave the two of you to go plunder some other genius locus. It really isn’t much to ask.”
    “No!” Hollow said with disgust in his voice.
    “I thought you would say that.” Travis lamented. “You people and your strange ethics.”
    And with that, he swung the gun sideways to point at me again, and pulled the trigger. The gunshot tore the night asunder, and for three long seconds I just stared at Travis in disbelief.
    “You shot me?” I asked, baffled.
    “Yes.” He smiled the smile of a shark.
    Then my leg went out under me and I sank to the ground. Looking down I saw my upper thigh quickly being coloured red. My pants were soaking up the blood, like they had nothing better to do. Then the pain came, and I gritted my teeth in order to not scream.
    “Now.” Travis said. “I would like to have the spirit you took from that manor. I believe Hollow is the container? Please spit it out my big friend, and I will refrain from shooting Ivy again.”
    Hollow looked down on me and drew in a deep ragged breath.
    “Don’t do it man.” I rasped between my still gritted teeth.
    “Sorry.” Hollow mumbled.
    Then he faced Travis and squared his shoulders. In a long exhale, he emptied himself completely. Along with his breath, the spirit burst forward, claws tearing at the night air.
    She didn’t pause to get her bearings, instead she kept doing what she had been doing when I locked her up in Hollow’s stomach. She attacked the first thing she saw.
    Travis.
    Claws flashed in the moonlight and lashed out at the gangly gunman. He dropped the gun and took half a step back, just out of reach of the attack.
    Then the second swipe came aimed straight at his face, but this time he was ready and he caught it with both his hands. He shouldn’t have been able to, but he did.
    The spirit screamed as he held her arm tight and opened his mouth as wide as he could, she lifted her other claw to strike, but he struck first.
    His teeth found her shoulder and I gasped as I realised what he was. There was a crackling of energy as her arm came off at the shoulder.
    “Spirit eater!” I gasped.
    “Abomination!” Hollow grunted.
    Travis ignored us, busy slurping up the disconnected arm of the spirit and inhaling it like it was smoke from a ciggarette. Frozen in fear and pain the spirit just watched as he ate her arm.
    Then he came for the rest of her.
    It took Travis less than a minute to devour the genius loci, while hollow and I watched in horror. We captured spirits, yes. We sold them for profit, sure. At least some of them were used to fuel rituals or spent as fuel in some way or another.
    But was Travis had just done in front of us was different. He had ended the existence of and aspect of the world. A beautiful, terrifying creature, gone forever. And for what? For him to ad a few more years to his own life.
    No one who understood what a spirit was, would ever forgive a spirit eater for the sin of destroying spirits for personal gain.
    The last whisp of spiritual energy disappeared into Travis’ gapin maw. There was an awful silence, as I tried to put preassure on my gunshot and Travis smiled a sattisfied smile.
    Then Hollow acted.
    Without speaking a word, my partner stepped forward and punched Travis straight in the nose. Our now former driver had held us at bey by pointing a gun at us, but he had dropped the weapon to fight the spirit. Hollow outweighed him with at least twenty kilos of muscle and had no reservations about beating the **** out of a spiriteater.
    Travis’ head snapped back. Then jerked forward again, and he looked at Hollow with a menacing grin.
    “At any other time…” He said, wiping blood from his nose. “You would have had me. Just because of your size. But I just ate, and you are going to regret that.”
    He moved so fast he became a blur. My eyes couldn’t follow, but I heard the impacts of three punches. Hollow stumbled sideways, but caught himself before he fell.
    “Shut up.” He grunted and turned to face Travis, who was now on his right side.
    “My pleassure.” Travis taunted.
    Hollow lunged, Travis stepped aside. I watched four more punches pummeling my partner, and struggled to rise off the floor, but my leg was not cooperating. I couldn’t even find the breath to scream.
    It continued like that. Hollow coulnd’t land a punch, as travis was simply to fast. Only his massive size and inhuman endurance kept him in the fight. Punch after punch landed, and it was clear that hollow was slowly loosing the fight.
    Travis kicked one leg out from under him, and Hollow landed in a sprawl. With an almost nonchalant demeanor, Travis stepped to his side.
    “You really shouldn’t have punched me.” He said, voice mocking surperiority. “Now I have to destroy you in front of your girlfriend.”
    “Now Ivy!” Hollow barked, and he moved like a striking cobra, reaching out and clamping one huge hand around Travis’ ankle.
    Travis tried to tear his leg free, but Hollow had him. It took me a few seconds to clear my head and realize what hollow wanted me to do.
    Then I spoke the words.
    The ancient phrase was meant to make spirits tangible so humans could touch them and beat them. If Hollow could touch a spirit, he could trap it within himself. Travis had somehow torn apart the spirit and eaten it with out any incantation. It was part of him now.
    Travis started to glow.
    All of the spirit matter he had devoured in his life was made manifest, and he looked more like a spirit than a man. It was an eerie sight, the flesh of a spiriteater enfused with the manifestation of the spirit’s he had devoured.
    It was all that Hollow needed. With a crackle of energy and a snapping sound of air collapsing into the space left empty, Travis was gone.
    Hollow staggered, caught himself and walked unsteadily to stand over me. He knelt down to look at my wound.
    “Dammit Hollow.” I wheezed. “We agreed, no humans!”
    “He shouldn’t have shot you.”
    With that, he simply picked me up and carried med to the van. The night gre blurry, as he closed the doors, started the car and raced to find someone who could mend my leg.
    I cursed our luck.
    Where the hell would we find another driver?

  18. - Top - End - #1218
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    1619 words for the HP fanfic

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    Hermione blinked at the conclusion of her analysis. The soul runes, plural because there was more than one, were right there. All she had to do was complete her arithmancy calculations to determine their final shape.
    It was sort of ironic, how so many people had tried to understand what the soul was, trying to answer questions about magic and life and death, but no one had ever come close. And now a seventeen year old Hermione Granger, muggleborn witch, sometime time traveller had decided to perform an arithmantic deconstruction of a soul and was about to answer all of those questions.
    Well, she would if she could actually finish the analysis of course. This sort of analysis was commonly considered impossible to solve, intractable was the muggle mathematics term, the equations describing the magic of a person was horrendously complicated and Hermione had had to import muggle mathematical methods and invent an entirely new magical analysis spell to even describe what her readings said. Translating her results into runes required integrating the equations and deriving the shape of those runes and the magical charge, which she could only do so approximately. She had to import yet another muggle method, the wizarding world had no idea what a Runge-Kutta approximation was and her reinvention of the Euler method did not work.
    Doing numerical integration by hand was not fun.
    So, it wasn't as trivial as others would think the moment she told them what she did, but her results... ah, those would attract attention.
    Her fire writing method of simply drawing runes in mid-air was something that very few people could replicate. Flitwick and Dumbledore could do it, McGonagall took too much time to find it useful, Babbling did not have sufficient magical power and everyone else did not have a steady enough hand to even attempt fire writing runes without mishap.
    To date, only Hermione and Dumbledore could apply the technique in a battle. Something the old wizard had used to great effect in the battle of Hogwarts, a show of force between him and Tom that made all the rest of the fighters completely irrelevant.
    After all, what use was a stunner or even a killing curse when the great wizards of both sides hurled fire and lightning across the grounds like angry gods. Blades of ice the size of giants cut down the very same in a blink of an eye, volleys of coloured light spewed from their respective wands like a fireworks show. Explosions, implosions, artificial storms, showers of conjured glass, lances of pure light and darkness, animals and statues charging at each other, sheer destruction reigned between the two great wizards as neither was willing to back down. Any who ventured into no man's land did not survive.
    What use was her fancy spells in the face of such power? There was no way she would ever match their raw power. Hermione had looked at their duel, remembering that the wizened old man saying batty things at each feast was the same man who had dueled Grindelwald into submission.
    The students and teachers were reduced to shoring up the castle's wards using Hermione's addition to the keystone. The death eaters similarly tried to drain the magic, like a demented tug of war. Potter's patronus was the only significant contribution to the battle by anyone else.
    Hermione shook herself from her musings, watching her calculator spit out the numbers as the enchanted stick poked at the keys diligently.
    Half an hour later, she grinned to herself, raised her wand and wrote a complex three dimensional rune into the air in contained fire.

    "-so you see, the runes that are arithmantically equivalent to a soul can be broken into parts. The representation of magical power, the core of thought, generation and projection of intention, a memory of events and skills, everything that makes us people in other words. Animals have less complex souls, missing one or more parts. I suspect that if all the runes can be drawn, they will arithmantically fit together. Doing that will likely create a soul, the properties of which you can dictate by the arithmantic inputs to these equations. These are not complete of course, there are numerous properties of magical creatures I did not analyze and each change will obviously require calculating the shape of all the runes again, but in theory-"
    She tapped the runes on the long roll of parchment and the lines of magical fire tracing the letters lifted off into the air. The cluster stayed together, a tiny circle hanging in mid-air. Another gesture had the rune cluster fire a stunner into the sky, and unlike every other time, the runes did not fade.
    Hermione pointed at the growing yellow circle in the center of the circle, "the circle acts as a magical power battery, storing power gathered by the soul rune representing magical power. "



    "We searched the Horcruxes as per Dumbledore's final instructions, tracing them down and destroying them. We destroyed Ravenclaw's Diadem at Hogwarts, leading Voldemort to attack it in the Battle of Hogwarts, where Harry James Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, was killed. Along with almost all the resistance of the Light. Voldemort won and those few of us who escaped scattered.
    I, as one of the Golden Trio, stayed behind in Britain together with Neville. We smuggled the muggleborns and their families out of England, stole the Book of Magical Births and sabotaged the Trace. Voldemort went on to control all of Magical Britain and had designs on conquering Magical Europe as well. We only learnt later that he had controlled nearly the entire muggle government too.
    Neville and I conducted raids on Voldemort's minions over the months, continuing to rescue muggleborns and send information to our foreign allies. By the end of the first year of Voldemort's rule, he had acquired the aid of European vampire clans and Magical Bulgaria, Russia and Poland, whose own dark wizards had overthrown their governments with his aid and leadership. They called themselves the Union of Purity, we called them the Dark Axis.
    The ICW, roused by MACUSA, formed a league against him, led from the front by Magical France. Neville and I were valued contacts and behind the scenes actors in Britain, in close cooperation with the Delacour family and French Ministry of Magic. The Alliance of Light fought skirmishes and pitched battles over the next few years, culminating in a Second Battle of Hogwarts that saw the entire castle leveled. Voldemort had headquartered himself there and the battle between the Alliance forces and his Dark Axis consisted of over a thousand wizards on each side, along with magical creatures of all sorts.
    The Alliance won the battle and saw Voldemort discorporated for the second time in history. We searched for his remaining Horcrux, at the time Alliance researchers had determined that we were missing only one more and that Voldemort had destabilized his soul enough that he could not have made another. It was to no avail. It was much much later that we learnt his final soul anchor was not protected like the others nor in a significant place, he buried it in an unassuming piece of land and even obliviated himself of the memory. We suspect its location is also under Fidelius and he is the secret keeper.
    Voldemort's contingency on his second death was what led to the final catastrophe. By this time, the muggle governments were lending their covert support to the Alliance and Axis, the Statute of Secrecy was already cracked and reports of magic was leaking into the world. When Voldemort died again, his supporters caused the Russian nuclear stockpile to be launched against the muggle United States, Britain's nuclear launch controllers were Imperiused and also joined the attack. The United States' muggle government replied with a second strike and then France and everyone with a nuclear deterrent let loose.
    In an hour, the world burned in nuclear fire. Eighty percent of the muggle population was dead. Most of the magical population was dead too. From reports, the retaliatory strike on Britain caused Voldemort's third death but by then everyone had bigger things to worry about. The Statute was well and truly smashed. Wizards and witches came out of hiding to save their non-magical counterparts with purification spells and wards against radiation. We remember that day as the Day of Fire.
    There was no summer for the next twenty years.
    Instead of licking our wounds and suing for a ceasefire, the war never stopped. With mundane and magical forces working together, the deadliness of combat increased many fold. In two years, most of the remaining Earth population was huddled underground in arcologies warded against teleportation of all sorts. There was no one left in Britain to save and Neville was dead in the strike on London, so I left and joined the Alliance as a researcher. A weapons researcher. Magical and mundane studies met in the middle to everyone's detriment, we created teleporting bombs, shield piercing bullets, regenerating weightless armour and worse. I personally led one project that sought to charge Geminoed runed bullets with the killing curse, all it did was increase the deaths in combat by ten percent until the next round of magical shielding advances negated our advantage. Reaction conjured armour, bright days those were.
    By that time, Voldemort's forces were most made up of dark magic constructs, an unending tide of horrors and twisted magic. I remember nests and spires of
    The nature of magical souls was understood about twelve years after the Day of Fire.

  19. - Top - End - #1219
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Oh man, almost didn't do enough this week. Depression sucks.

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    Spoiler: Some Stardew Valley fanart
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    You can call me Juniper.
    Please use gender-neutral pronouns (they/their or ze/hir) when referring to me.

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  20. - Top - End - #1220
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lycunadari's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CHALLENGE chugs on!

    Status for September 11 - September 17!


    Glass Mouse passes with five notebooks and one Necronomicon.

    Lycunadari passes with four nature photos and three Stardew Valley drawings.

    jseah passes with 1619 words of Harry Potter fanfiction.

    Xiander passes with 1762 words of Body and Soul.


    Thus nobody FAILS this round!

    Glass Mouse, Lycunadari, jseah and Xiander PASS this round!


    Current standing:
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    Glass Mouse
    Current run: 4
    Longest run: 290 weeks
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    Lycunadari
    Current run: 245 weeks
    Longest run: -
    Themes: -

    jseah
    Current Run: 84 weeks
    Longest Run: 33 weeks
    Themes: -

    Xiander
    Current run: 63 weeks
    Longest run: -
    Themes: -




    LeSwordfish
    Longest run: 44 weeks

    Icewalker
    Longest run: 31 weeks

    Lovely Vulcan
    Longest run: 3



    ----

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiander View Post
    I actually managed to write my haul for this week
    Yay!


    The next status post (as well as me uploading my pictures) will be a few days late (probably Thursday) because I'm on vacation.
    You can call me Juniper.
    Please use gender-neutral pronouns (they/their or ze/hir) when referring to me.

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