The Creative Collective runs on a monthly rotation. Each month, we will open submissions for the current set of prompts. The submission period will remain open from the first through the last day of the month. During the next month’s rotation, feedback may be provided on the previous month’s submissions.
Rules & Guidelines
In addition to the guidelines specific to each individual circle, you should keep these in mind:
Creative Circle Submissions
Participation in each of the circles will earn you Stickers, which then earn you rewards at certain checkpoints. This is a work-in-progress feature at the moment, and will be compiled manually by staff until implementation. More details on the Sticker feature in general will be made available upon the feature’s release, but for the purpose of the Creative Collective, they are as follows:
*The sticker’s color category is indicated by the color of the glow around the sticker.
Rewards for providing feedback on others’ submissions are as follows:
Meeting the following participation requirements will earn you 1 gem each:
This puts the total number of gems you may earn per round at 5.
Posted 05/01/19, edited Jul 6
Welcome to the Scribe Circle! This is the branch of the Creative Collective devoted to the art of writing. Each month, we provide a prompt aimed at inspiring our participants to put pen to paper and go wild! And, if simply creating something for yourself isn’t enough of a reward, we also offer a bit of helpful bribery in the form of participation and raffle prizes!
Welcome to the Canvas Circle! This is the branch of the Creative Collective devoted to artwork in its many forms. Each month, we provide a theme or challenge aimed at drawing out some artwork from our participants. And, if simply creating something for yourself isn’t enough of a reward, we also offer a bit of helpful bribery in the form of participation and raffle prizes!
Art and writing are both fun, but you know what else is great? Being creative with others! The Roleplay Circle is the branch of the Creative Collective that’s focused on creating together. Pretty simply, we reward you for roleplaying! So long as you link to your posts for each month and those posts meet our minimum effort requirements, you’ll be entered into a raffle to potentially win some fun stuff!
Maybe planning and creating interactive adventures for others to enjoy is more your thing. The Adventure Circle is the branch of the Creative Collective that’s focused on exploring our Adventure System. Here, you’ll be rewarded for building and working on your own adventures, and other players will be welcome to leave feedback once you’re ready to open your adventure for business!
Note: These guidelines are untested and may still change slightly in the future.
Have an idea for a prompt?
[b]Circle:[/b] (scribe, [b]Prompt Title:[/b] (title for your prompt) [b]Prompt Text:[/b] (a paragraph or two outlining the prompt itself)
If your prompt is selected for use, you will receive one gem as a thank you, as well as credit for the prompt’s creation. Please note that we may not feature every prompt we receive. Still, we’re grateful for your contributions!
Posted 05/01/19, edited 06/01/19
Typically, this space will be where we compile the amount of submissions for each category, as well as compile the previous month’s feedback raffle. :) Since we’re just getting things started this month, there’s nothing to see here!
This is where we’ll be compiling the previous month’s submissions so that you can easily click through them in order to leave feedback! Again, since we’re just starting our new reorganization this month, there’s nothing to see here yet!
Posted 05/01/19, edited 05/01/19
New Creative Collective!!! Here we go!!
You can right click and open the image in a new tab to see this piece in fullsize!
Posted 05/02/19, edited 06/01/19
This is my submission for the Canvas Circle!
I tried to replicate watercolor painting using PTSAI (because I don’t have watercolor paints, otherwise I’d have tried my hand at doing it traditionally) and I think I did an okay job of it? This is my girl Ilya, with strategic hair placement to preserve her modesty. :D;; Also, I recently heard about this thing called MerMay (which is a month-long celebration for mermaids, a lot of it pertaining to art), so… Ilya is fitting for that 8)
Posted 05/03/19, edited 05/04/19
New thing! Stickers! Yay!
Trissax gets to listen to a story he knows by heart, and reflects upon the moral of it. Feedback and criticism is both welcomed and appreciated!
Kainholme was a city that really came alive at night. Floating lights dotted the streets in clusters, reflecting off the snow and casting the city in a pale blue glow. Adults and children alike were out on the streets, some meandering and some walking with purpose. Trissax pulled his scarf up to cover the lower half of his face and followed some of the meanderers, eventually finding himself in the plaza. It was usually the site for town festivals and weddings and the like, but on nights like this, singers and storytellers would find themselves a spot and try to catch the attention of any passing Witches. Trissax drifted from entertainer to entertainer, not really listening to any, until a name caught his attention.
A hundred and twenty years ago, here in this very city, an unassuming couple bore a son. This boy was no different from any other Witch, except for his eyes: the red of freshly-spilled blood. He was given the name Itixiya, a blend between traditional Fated and Witch names to honour his heritage.
Itixiya’s eyes caused the citizens of Kainholme to treat him like royalty, and he was known throughout the city before he was even old enough to walk. Despite the lavish attention given to him, though, Itixiya grew up to be a modest, gentle, and kind young man. He was a talented Witch, well-loved all throughout Kainholme, but no matter what he did, he was constantly burdened with the drive to head North. The reason for this was a mystery to him; numerous monsters had made the Northern crags their home, and Itixiya could not be certain of which one he was fated to kill.
His quest began when he was sixteen, when a band of mercenaries heading to the Northern crags found themselves in Kainholme instead. Happenstance, some would say, but finding yourself far to the West when you were heading in a completely different direction can only be an act of the Fates, can it not? And it just so happened that the first Witch they met was none other than Itixiya. He agreed to accompany them to their destination: The Crow of Caartheis. For decades, this monstrous bird had plagued every settlement from Kainholme to the Eastern coastline. It had no goals other than murder for the sheer joy of it, supposedly — taking the lives of whatever happened to fall beneath the shadow of its vast wingspan. Numerous groups, both knight and mercenary, Witch and human, had attempted to end the Crow’s life and the horrors that it wrought. None had been successful, and only their innards were left to decorate the Crow’s nest. Itixiya was naturally wary. After all, the Crow was one of the largest monsters known to inhabit the crags, and certainly the most vicious. Itixiya and a small handful of mercenaries were hardly the best choices to take the life of the Crow of Caartheis.
Nevertheless, Itixiya and the mercenaries set off North at dawn the next morning. It would take them two days of riding to even reach the foot of the crags, and the Crow nested on the very top — But they were unlikely to travel all the way up. The Crow would attack as soon as it sensed their presence, and they had no idea of knowing when that would be. So they rode in silence, mercenaries with swords drawn, Itixiya with a spell ready on the tip of his tongue, waiting for the screech and the pounding wingbeats of the Crow.
He was brought back to Kainholme a hero. He did not survive long after the fight, barely long enough to retell his tale, but he will live on. The death of the Crow did not just end the Crow’s tyranny, but the reign of the monsters as well. Whether they still live in the Northern crags is unknown, but they most certainly are not interested in coming out of hiding anymore.
The storyteller bowed as he finished his story. It was greatly exaggerated, Trissax was certain of that much. Census records, for example, showed that Itixiya lived for nearly a decade after his battle with the Crow, before succumbing to the usual mana corrosion. But the story of Itixiya was still inspirational to most Witches. There had been Fated Witches before Itixiya, but he was the only Fated to have been born after the Cataclysm. It was proof, at least in some respects, that the Fates had not forgotten the Witches. Since the Cataclysm, Kainholme had been besieged by generation after generation of Fated, whose sole purpose was to kill the Queen and any Witch that stood in their way. There was a growing feeling that they had been abandoned, first by magic, and then by the Fates. That they deserved to die. Itixiya was proof that this wasn’t the case. That, in some small way, the Fates cared about the Witches.
Water You Colouring
Posted 05/03/19, edited 05/13/19
There once was a tree so massive that the branches edges were thought as the boundaries of the world.
Eventually, the split communities became much larger, and so did their intake.
The head of the Center suggested that there be a limit of 1 fruit per being.
“That won’t do, one day we’ll have to go down to half a fruit per being and then what? Why can we not just attempt to plant more of the tree?” said North.
The area surrounding the North’s territory quickly became acres of sprouting trees using seeds from the fruits.
The community of the South attempted making a growing mixture and tested on their area’s branches in hopes of finding the right mix.
Those of the East figured out a way to scale the tree fairly easy, there were indeed many fruits where they could not typically reach.
The West designed ways to bring the farther branches closer to them, most by throwing a vine with a stone at the end and tying or weighing them down.
Seeing as this could not last, the heads again arranged another meeting.
The Northerners continued planting whatever they could find. Through luck, they managed to crossbreed plants that grew hardy and gave them much edible produce.
The Southerners through their many attempts to make what is known now as elixirs, they ended up finding ways to make other abundant plants and such, of use to them.
The Easterners that healed from their injuries were few. Those that were well, climbed smaller trees finding things such as eggs and spotted possible sources of food from being up high. Many of them that were well, went on to become hunters.
The Westerners took the many branches that scattered their land with them. They traveled to the waters discovering sea life. When they could attain the sea life they wanted, they figured out that they could use the branches. Over time, they became skillful and successful at fishing.
Those of the Center stayed. The damages of the edges of the tree. Every 6 full moons, they harvest whatever the tree produced at the outer edges’ fruits to bring back to the Center. Using the Westerner’s method they break some of the branches so that the tree does not struggle to grow more fruit near the Center.
“Oh my, is that how it ends? That was shorter than expected…Such a large book and yet it is mostly empty…Oh well, onto the next one I suppose.”
Oh boy, I don’t do well at writing at all…Apologies to those who read this boring story.
Posted 05/04/19, edited 05/31/19
My entry for the canvas circle! Piece for my Florence <3
Scribe circle entry is here! I used the prompt to attempt to try and tell the philosophy behind what a group in mine and Gabriel’s current universe we’re working on believes, and how it affects my character Florence - who is an adopted member of said group.
Posted 05/04/19, edited 05/30/19
The CANVAS circle
feedback is fine
The SCRIBE circle
feedback is fine
NOTES: Okay so this story is a little weird, I wanted to flesh out the myths and legends in Frey’s world, but decided to write this from a biased point of view rather than just the facts. This is why West couldn’t explain lunar werewolves haha. I hope it turned out well, even if the ending is a little weird XD
Posted 05/04/19, edited 05/05/19
Here’s a commonly told (and still very rough, argh) tale from Lyen’s world — it is passed around the magical realm, a reminder to all that humanity is not to be trusted! I will probably try to come back and refine this. 8)
Once upon a time, in the village By-the-Blue, the Seamstress’ daughter was born magic-touched.
The villagers all knew what the blank, dull white of her hair signified, and they forced the child from their thoughts and attention. After all, it is well-known that the magic-touched will never surpass their 7th birthday, mired as they are in the mortal realms where magic can only stagnate. The villagers averted their eyes from the squalling babe and returned to their daily drudgery. Their chieftain advised that the child be given to the Wood, in the hope that the fey folk might show mercy.
But the Seamstress was unwilling to give up on her only child.
Instead, she sought the help of the Hobgoblin, guardian of the boundary, for only he could grant passage between the mortal and magical realms. With his blessing, the Seamstress knew she might preserve both the life and the humanity of her child.
So it was that on the first night after her daughter’s birth, the Seamstress wept and begged and pleaded for passage over the Boundary.
On the second night after her daughter’s birth, the Seamstress screamed and pounded her fists and raged for passage over the Boundary.
On the third night after her daughter’s birth, bereft of all other options, the Seamstress wheeled and bartered and negotiated for passage over the Boundary.
The Hobgoblin knew well of the risks of dealing with humanity. He also knew that the lives of mortals were but dust… whether or not the magic touched child crossed into the magical realm, she would live a life too short to hold influence.
But the Hobgoblin also knew mercy, and on the third night, he permitted himself to engage the Seamstress in her negotiations. The child could pass the Boundary, he promised, but only if the Seamstress could provide him with three spools of gold. He knew that gold alone would lead the child true, and grant her the freedom to pass between realms.
The Seamstress wept with gratitude and swore that she would see it done… whatever the cost. Despite this, she knew that to fulfill the Hobgoblin’s request, she would have to give up everything. What use was it to spare her daughter from the fate of the magic-touched, just to starve her instead? The Seamstress left that night, her mind spinning as nimbly as her fingers as she considered her problems.
The next morning, she went straight to the market, a plan which would ensure the safety of both her daughter and fortune already forming.
When she returned to the Hobgoblin on the 4th night, three gleaming golden spools rested in her palms.
The hobgoblin bowed gravely and reached for the gold, but as he drew near her, the Seamstress suddenly lunged forward and looped the shining thread around his wrists. The material snapped taut against his skin and held, despite his pulling and thrashing. Finally, he began to tire, and he glared up at the Seamstress and demanded, “What have you done?”
The Seamstress’s expression was calm as she held the other end of the thread close to her chest. Her fingers, the Hobgoblin now saw, were smeared over with gold. “With this thread, iron woven, I now bind you. You will remain in our realm and maintain my daughter, that your magic might let her live.”
The Hobgoblin swore and began to kick and pull again, but the effort was futile. For all his efforts, he could now see the thin grey thread beneath its golden veneer. “Foolish woman. As I was, I could have aided your daughter in exchange for true gold. By binding my magic in this way, you have merely secured both of our fates, for magic cannot remain within the mortal realm.”
And then the Hobgoblin quieted, and the Seamstress, certain of her victory and heedless of his warning, brought him back to her home and daughter.
True to his word, within the year, both Hobgoblin and child had crumbled away to dust, leaving behind nothing but a curl of paint flecked thread glittering on the floorboards.
No feedback please! I am not artistic at all, but I wanted to try traditional water paint, and ended up with this headshot of Patch. 8) I hope to create something a little nicer, but this was fun!
Posted 05/04/19, edited 05/31/19
Feedback welcome here as well.
Patrons of the small seaport town crowded the tavern, full of mirth and grog, but mostly grog. The moon hung full in the sky, and the rains poured down with the thunder booming in the sky, but the sailors were too drunk to care. They were dry, on land, with bellies full of grog, and their minds drifting in a sea of their own. whenever the seas were too poor to safely fish they gathered to the tavern.
Off tune sea shanties were sung in the small space, and the laughter that filled the tavern was boisterous, but in the moment a crack of lightning lit the night sky, the voice of the captain rung through tavern louder than the other men and women’s merriment, and even rivaled the thunder.
“Lads!” He sways from side to side with a full stein in his hand, “This storm is a reminder!”
Curious and intrigued the other patrons, most shipmates and crew of the Captain parroted his words.
The words rumbled and tumbled and were slurred amongst those who were still sober enough to listen and talk.
“A reminder that we’re insignificant lads and lasses!” The captain stepped up on the chair he had been sitting on, and stretches out his arms to his side.
There’s a collective groan amongst some of the sailors, “Not again” some murmur, “This shite again,” one slouches in his chair, “Cap’n not again.” Another whines, while the patron at the Captain’s table smirks into his mug. Some of the other patrons even laugh, but the Captain doesn’t hear it. He goes on with what some call a drunken sermon, but in the Captain’s mind this was a warning.
“We’re just krill in the sea, lads! There are bigger things out there than us, and I’m not talking about the critters of the sea. You all know the old port town ten miles from our own: Olthe. And you all know that grand vessel The Tide was sunk in a storm not far from their shores.”
There were scattered, ‘ayes’ amongst those still listening.
“A man!” He voice boomed louder than before, drawing in the attention of all the patrons. “A man walked onto the shores of Olthe after The Tide was ripped asunder and then bashed to smithereens in that terrible storm. Not one person from The Tide was found alive, yet this man appeared. From beneath the waves he emerged and trudged onto land!”
The tavern was silent, all eyes drawn to the captain who now stood upon the table. Even the dark haired man could not help, but raise his head from his mug and listen with an odd smirk on his face.
“Drenched, but none worse for the ware. Not in the least! This man trudged onto the beach as witnesses watched, and to them he grinned an unearthly unnatural grin filled with teeth as sharp as a shark’s. Beneath his drenched locks they saw his eyes, an unnatural shining gold and pitch black like the night where the whites of your eyes should be. This was not a man who walked upon the shores of Olthe.”
There were scared murmurs quietly spreading across the room. Some were in disbelief, this had to be some sort of wife’s tail to scare them, but the older more experienced sailors knew better than to question it. They knew there was more to the sea than they knew. Unexplainable events, creatures, beasts, perhaps even the gods who controlled the waves were out there. Somewhere.
“This man, this beast, or perhaps vengeful sea god, is more than we are. Fear the sea lads and lasses! For we know not what lurks out there in the deep blue drink. This is your reminder that we men are not the true kings!” The Captain punctuates his point as he downs the contents of his glass without another breathe, then haphazardly steps back on the chair, it tilts dangerously, but is steadied by the man sitting next to the captain.
Thunder and lightning fills the skies for the rest of the night, and the tavern mood has sobered. Some patrons stay, some go, some have passed out at their tables after too much of a good time.
Morning comes and the Captain comes to, being one of the few who had one drink too many last night. He let out a groan as he stretches and with less than little effort cracks his old bones with each movement.
“I should thank you, young man.” He suddenly speaks as he pulls out a pipe from his pocket. He had taken little notice of the dark haired man sitting with him last night as he and his crew drank, but the Captain wasn’t one to ignore a kindness done to him.
“Oh, that?” The man’s voice was surprisingly rougher than the Captain had expected. Silently the dark haired man had drunk and eaten the previous night with head tipped down and his shoulder’s hunched over, “It was nothing. In fact I should be thank you.”
It’s his eyes that catch that captain off guard first, black as the night sky, and gold like ichor. The man leans upon his cheek and smiles wide and full. His teeth are sharp, sharper even than a shark’s it seems.
The Captain’s heart is racing.
“As a pirate I’ve always enjoyed a tale about the sea,” The man lets out a bark of a laugh, of course this was a tale about himself this time (it was the first legend about himself he had had the privilege of hearing himself), “But what I appreciate more is hearing our elders teach these young’ns a good fear of the sea.” He didn’t want them to end up like himself.
“Fear keeps the young ones humble.” The Captain says.
“Aye!” He laughs, “Aye, it does, Captain.” He holds out his hand.
“Captain Reynard.” The Captain takes the man’s hand firmly after a moment of hesitation.
“Tivan. It’s been a pleasure, Captain Reynard.” Tivan stands, “ I hope the winds are in your favor today.” He bids the Captain and honestly he means it as he walks out of the tavern.
Posted 05/04/19, edited 05/28/19
Feedback is ok! I redid this month’s prompt to create a matching portrait with Swan’s below for our characters.
(any extra links are recorded for my own reference and not for prize purposes!!)
Posted 05/05/19, edited 05/30/19
Posted 05/06/19, edited 05/27/19
The Scribe Circle:
The Canvas Circle:
I had a fight with my program trying to find an effect that looked like watercolor. This is as close as its getting.
Posted 05/07/19, edited 05/28/19
A hunter and his son were seeking game when a plump raven landed in their path.
“Begone, scavenger,” said the hunter. “You’ll get no food from us.”
“I come not to beg food, but to offer a warning,” replied the bird. “Stray not further westward; the earth is loose and perilous.”
“Bah. We are sure-footed, and wise in the ways of the forest.” Dismissing the raven, the hunter led his boy onward to the west.
But the way was indeed dangerous, and before long, the earth rumbled and shifted beneath the hunter’s feet. He cried out as he was carried down a slope with the dirt and trees. He became buried. Though the boy had lagged behind and remained safe, he could not save his father.
The boy grew up and became a farmer. He and his son were walking to town when a thunderstorm sprang up. “Father,” said the farmer’s son, “let us seek shelter beneath that tree.”
Yet when they approached, the farmer spied a large raven perched in the tree. “Do not shelter here,” it said, and flew away.
Remembering the raven from his childhood, the farmer turned at once and led his son away, despite the heavy rain that quickly soaked them. Then: Thunder! Lightning! The farmer and his boy were blinded. When their vision cleared, they saw a jagged black mark running down the trunk of the tree.
From then on, the farmer’s son understood he must always heed the warnings of ravens.
An ancient fable that seems to have been lost to time, it remains one of Corvus’ favourites.
Posted 05/08/19, edited 05/25/19
It is told that when Avercost was first formed, there stood eight brilliant lights of life that created us all. We called them The Great Eight, each the father of our creation. Using their abilities we were formed and have lived in harmony on this planet. Atom gave us our immortality, Ion gave us our foundation, Electron gave us our bodies, Neutron gave us our beauty, Proton gave us life, Tron gave us our abilities, Gamma gave us clarity, and Alpha gave us our sensibility. It is from them our true mother and father were born; The Goddess of Earth and the God of Wind. It was with their powers that we were truly created. Earth would create little seeds and Wind would carry them off all over the planet. It is from these seeds the first children were born. Each had different abilities but were welcomed with open arms by The Great Eight.
This harmony went on for centuries until a malice plot arose from within our ranks. Alpha grew jealous of his older siblings. Their powers were viewed in a greater light which cast a shadow over his. Emotions weren’t seen to hold too much value by the eyes of our people. It was seen as a weakness and something that should be overcome with the coming of age ceremonies. It is with this view that Alpha plotted something wicked against us. It was without own knowledge that he started making a new planet. From his emotions of greed, pride, envy, lust, and wrath was his planet created. All that was left for him to do was fill the planet with life. In order to do so, he tricked our mother Earth into giving him her seeds and tricked our father Wind into scattering them into his tainted soil. When the flowers started to bloom would he take them back to his planet where they would continue to grow in his tainted environment. It is from this act that we have the tainted children, or as their formal names The Fates.
After realizing the misdeeds their brother committed he was held on trial. Our mother Earth and father Wind gave their testimonies but were also seen to be guilty of lending their abilities into helping their brother without questioning his actions. Alpha had no regrets over what he did. Instead, he mocked his older brothers for thinking they could create a just civilization without his help. It was from this point our harmony was broken. Alpha gave a compelling speech which moved the hearts of many. Once a verdict was announced did the great rebellion start. More than half of our population viewed his verdict unjustly and sided with him. They moved to his planet and quickly formed a barrier of radiation in case our people decided to attack. It is from this action did we needed to create protection. Moons and planets were slowly being formed by the highest members of our society in order to protect us.
Over time, did our planet start to flourish once again. In time, we may have lost most of our original children as the fate of our beloved mother and father was to be perished and become one with the planet. Any unflowered seed was kept in the hands of the now Great Seven and only handed out to those worthy. In due time the great minds find another solution to our population problem. By guiding the souls of the dead and giving them a new life. It is from this we have many who could call Avercost home and help us continue our fight against Alpha and his Fates. It is from our history and the tales of our people do we find hope in an otherwise dark world.
Emotion is something that should not be feared or controlled. Emotions are what guide us on our paths and make us believe in our cause. If it is feared we would be repeating history and creating more tragic tales. If it is accepted, we would have more stories of hope and perseverance. Our original people have little knowledge on how we should deal with our emotions as most of us view them to be cursed, but for those who have come from faraway lands have shown us that is is not something feared. It is what makes someone whole and gives one purpose, and I believe that is the moral of the story. To overcome our preconceptions and learn from the generation after.
Posted 05/09/19, edited 05/31/19
For all my entries, I am open to constructive criticism. My submissions will be centered around Dima, who I am closely plotting with Cien’s character, Enul, in an original fantasty-esque setting. Dima is a warrior, a young, charismatic leader of a mercenary-like band. Stationed along a wide, sprawling territory consisting of many islands, they are called upon in times of struggle and war, but usually left to their own, internal, political strife.
The band consists of natives — simple workers of the land — as well as exiles who were sent to them as a form of punishment or hard labor. Dima himself is native, and shares the title as an outlaw, bandit, or savage. Although not precisely true, it’s what most people refer to them behind their backs.
Dima’s military exploits garnered respect, but his reputation precedes him in a sense. Given Dima’s background, it only adds to the lore of his… godlike wrath in his campaigns. Knowing that, or believing himself to be connected to the divine, Dima becomes consumed with the prospect of defying his own fate as the de-facto leader of the penal colony of an oppressive, corrupt empire.
Spirits and magic and myths are involved. It’s a beautifully-disgusting, self-indulgent epic, and I will turkey-stuff my love for them here. Read Cien’s entry for even more background.
The earth was above, and the sky was below. Mountains tumbled and milled into a great welter of grey dust. Its edges, notched and jagged with crags like fangs, stood out black against the red light behind them. The earth aged, rotting the further Dima marched.
He wondered what the time was. But even of the days, he had lost count. All that surrounded him now was a decayed planet, a world ready to be consumed by the sea. And that it did. The inky waters rose and swallowed the land. In his blindness, Dima felt enlarged, as if he were clothed in a huge, distorted shadow of himself.
For a moment, Dima could drive himself no further. To move an inch promised weariness to will and limb. He sensed that if once he went beyond the crown of the pass, and took one step veritably, that step would be irrevocable. He could never come back.
Yet he cast a glance behind him as he heard a scratching whisper and the clang of a bell. Awareness crept slowly, edgewise. He felt that someone approached him, some one for whom he had been waiting, with vague, sad expectancy, and more like homesickness than anything he knew. His eyes caught an oily shape of a reflection. It matched his movements, but it was not his own.
Beside him, just under the skin of the water, stood an exquisitely beautiful man wearing a white robe, with swirling lines in lividus to mimic the current in the stream. Dima had no doubt the gown was woven of pure silk, but his clothing wasn’t the only extraordinary thing about him; the visitor’s face was bright, his skin clear, with the luminescence of a pearl, like the wall of a cloud when lit by the setting sun. His hair, fashioned into lobes, gleamed as darkly as lacquer, and was decorated with ornaments carved out of stone. A mask obscured any expression from his eyes. Although it was only an image, a phantom, Dima had the feeling he could wrap him in his fingers, if he wished, and tear him away like a weed from the soil.
Dima craned his neck to take him in entirety. “Is it — now?” Unbidden, the boy extended his hand towards the stranger. Their reflections touched. Fire embraced them, yet he felt no pain. They were empty, hollow, a shade of mortal. Above, the earth sky rolled again, readying itself to be reborn.
No, Dima would not allow it to pass another time without him. They would not be trapped in this place, doomed forever to watch the world be reborn a thousand times over.
Reaching out with his leaded arms and swollen, fat fingers, Dima grabbed for the earth above. It came closer and closer, as if it would collapse into him. The winds of its fall kicked up into his face, howling a storm.
Dima’s attention sharpened when he felt the cool pressures of a towel on his neck. He came to consciousness in a room that seemed very light and heard voices that were so low that they registered as pure sound. Smells from outside, more sounds, crowded him. Senses he had not experienced in ages. He finally returned to the world, the real world. Light from the afternoon sun met him. Here… the world kept itself. Dima drew a shallow breath, backing into the corner of his mind like a desperate and wounded animal. Dima said nothing, resolved to say nothing, to let the blunt horror and dizziness of the moment just wash over him.
After some time — Dima didn’t know how long, the minutes seemed to stretch and contract like elastic — he felt a slow, luxurious prickle against his cheek. He sighed deeply through his nose and his eyes slipped closed. He leaned into the hand that bade him, seeking the gentleness of the touch. He didn’t really want to open his eyes again and see their owner for himself. The darkness was too spectacular.
“Hello there.” Nephele, his guardian, smiled thinly. Dima could hear it. It was utterly false, a parody of relief.
“Cold,” Dima rasped.
“You’re burning up, little one.” Nephele shook his head gently. “It’s your fever.”
Dima’s mouth pressed into a thin line as Nephele’s grip on the towel strained. “A simple “thank you” will suffice.”
“He came to me again.” Dima said. His lips ran faster than his reason could dam it.
“He did?” Nephele lowered his chin.
“Does that scare you?”
“I do not know,” Dima despaired. His voice was thick.
“It’s nothing, it’s nothing. It’s the fever talking. It’s nothing.”
Dima longed to believe the words, but he could feel the tension in Nephele’s body, a subtle vibration that awoke and now trembled for release. His exhales came deeply and very slowly. Wearily, he returned solemnly to his duty. He ran the cloth along the back of Dima’s ears and head.
“It is not nothing.” Dima observed sententiously.
“Because you’re sick, delirious, and tormenting yourself!” Nephele resounded in a muted shout. The words startled Dima like a slap. He stilled.
“Just — let me.” Nephele sighed, giving Dima a hard squeeze before peeling away to reset the bedside stool. “I will not let Them take you from me.” He swallowed, his throat clicking audibly. “What you are speaking of is the March, Spirits. They gather women, children, soldiers who died without knowing that the war was over. When they rise from their graves, they are guided by the Them.”
Nephele continued to busy his hands, at all cost, trying to hide the icy fury which invaded his brain. “You will not be taken, and you would be wise not to repeat this dream of yours to anyone,” and they spoke of it no more.
Posted 05/09/19, edited 06/23/19
Participating in my first Creative Collective with a submission to the Scribe Circle!
The Founding of Luminary Cascade
Lux wandered the Caves alone.
Not an unheard of thing but significant in its own way. They had made their choice to be alone, to explore, to venture into the quiet reaches and see what they might find. Distance meant little to those who relished the miles beneath their paws, especially when there was no destination in mind.
And so Lux wandered.
Occasionally they would meet others, also venturing out on their own, and for a while their paths would walk the same direction. They might trade stories, share ideas and goals and dreams, but, eventually, their paths would diverge and Lux would be alone again. The quiet never bothered them, the peaceful atmosphere giving them time to mull over their thoughts. But they never turned down companionship either, making friends of strangers, and sharing smiles in the shifting light of stones and plant life. But always, inevitably, they would be left with only themselves and their thoughts.
Eventually, they came upon a tunnel; long and deep, with a thrumming roar rolling through it like the breathing of some mighty beast. They paused there, uncertain of what lay in the depths of the Caves, wary but trusting that nothing there would cause them too much harm. And while curiosity certainly may have killed the Ineki Cat, satisfaction brought them back.
Lux entered the tunnel.
It was lit only by faintly glowing mushrooms, the light reflecting off a few polished stones, gloomy and heavy with shadow. The deeper they went into the tunnel, the louder the roar became until it pounded against them, making them pin their ears back to shrink back from the noise. Light was filtering in from up ahead, wavering and broken, the air smelled of damp rock and water and the fresh, earthy scent of mushrooms and greenery. Vigor entered Lux’s tired paws and they bounded ahead, golden eyes glittering and drawn to the ever brightening light.
They emerged onto a ledge overlooking a vast cavern, a valley of stone and earth. A waterfall roared down nearby, catching them in its spray and soaking their fur with crystalline dew drops of water. Two more waterfalls spilled into the cavern, the huge, luminous mushrooms growing around them catching the water and dumping it into a small lake that pressed against the Eastern wall. The water splintered through the glow of the mushrooms, casting thousands of rainbow streaks through the air, and then reflecting off the huge cluster of clear quartz on the ceiling of the cave. Shads of light, incandescent and ethereal hung in the air, caught like dust motes in the fine spray of the falls. The entire cavern glowed with life and color, vibrant and shifting, as glorious and iridescent as Lux’s own fur. It was magical, unreal, a pocket of pure wonder that stole the breath away with a single glance.
Here, Lux thought, a smile coming to their muzzle, tails waving through the air as they surveyed the cave before them. Here is where I will make my home.
It took work, as these things always did. Clearing rocks and stalagmites, building structures and mechanics and pathways to get down into the cavern proper without the threat of a lengthy fall. They built a modest house near the lake shore, often getting distracted by the colorful display of lights flickering like untouchable fairies across its rolling surface.
Others joined Lux eventually, drawn by the roar of the waterfalls and the glittering lights and the prospect of living among such indescribable beauty. Lux was the first and so, without much prompting, the other turned to them as their leader. They took it in stride, helped divvy up the land for homes and farming, directed and settled disputes where they could.
And so was the founding of Luminary Cascade, a city of lights and color and creativity. A home for the treasured artisans, the blessed musicians, and all who held the hands of a flighty muse and let her whisper in their ear.
Lux, for their part, settled down quietly in their quaint home by the lake and watched as the city grew and prospered around them. Being a founder may not have been something they had asked for, but they were more than happy to have found a peace that could be shared among so many others. The rush of the waterfalls was a humming song that lulled them to sleep and lights of the cavern painted their walls every hue imaginable.
Calling it perfection may have been a bit much but Lux figured this was as close to it as they would ever find.
And that was more than enough to warm their heart.
Did one for the canvas circle
Feedback is ok
Posted 05/23/19, edited 05/28/19
did something for my boy hakuko; used watercolor brush(es) but not… sure how watercolor-y it looks ahaha;;;.
a bit of backstory for lightseeker‘s universe.
“They say the skies split open that day, when the Valkyries went to war.”
Before the war in her world, before she had escaped the ravaged village with Rowena on her back, before the chancellor had installed her as Princess and declared her rule over all the lands. Before magic had left the human settlements and could now only be obtained through dark experiments, save the curse upon her family.
Lucia watches Rowena lean forward in her stool below in the courtyard, entranced by the troubadour’s words. She is seventeen now, but has seen little for her age; forbidden to go outside, the girl’s memories of the world outside the Keep are now little more than hazy childhood memories. No wonder she continues to love these stories, Lucia thinks, for they are all she has.
“The sky trembled as the lands moaned out with the weight of slaughter. For forty days and forty nights they fought, the rebels against Queen Beata’s forces. Some say they had grown restless and resentful of her laws. Some say a terrible plot had been uncovered. The truth has been lost to history and mired in rumor—”
Absentmindedly she rubs at the tiny amethyst gemstones all around the band of her ring as she listens. Even as Princess, Lucia keeps her rooms sparse and what little allowance the chancellor hands to her squirreled away. The ring had been a gift from ambassadors traveling the lands beyond their kingdom, somewhere she cannot help but hope for in vain.
“The Queen’s forces slew the rebels and imprisoned their leader, Ailbhe of the Thunder. But the ensuing peace came at a cost.”
“Princess, is everything alright?”
Lucia looks up quickly and draws her hands into her sleeves as she sees the captain of the guards approaching, a concerned look on her face. “No, no, I was just— listening to the story. Yes. Everything is fine, Lady Gwendolyn.”
“For the valkyrie Brynhild, Queen Beata’s most trusted, had slain her lover Ragnhild in battle. Soon after the peace treaty she disappeared, never to be seen among her sisters again. Some say her guilt had driven her to throw herself into the Black River, or into penance walking barefoot in the wastelands to the south of Moria.”
“Is that true?” Rowena calls out, interrupting the story. She blushes as she shrinks back in her seat. “That’s… such a terrible fate, I mean.”
“—War is terrible, your highness, it is true.”
“Were you here during our war?” Lucia asks quietly, as the children disperse below the balcony. She had known all of her guards growing up in the Keep, from cheerful Finn and cowardly Aleks, but Gwendolyn had only entered her service three years ago. “Ah, you don’t have to tell me everything, if—”
“It’s fine, Princess. I have little to tell, anyway.” Gwendolyn looks out at the battlements, and the tips of the trees beyond. The misty-eyed look on her face is familiar, though Lucia reflects perhaps she is thinking too much. “I was not here for the war between Kra and Larnia. I am from the east, as the chancellor might have told you, and only came here after famine in my country. Even then we have heard of the war here, and I had been discouraged to come.”
Gwendolyn smiled sadly. “There was nothing left for me.”
A sentiment Lucia could understand all too well. The two women stand there watching the sun slowly sink into the horizon, the last bit of gold staining the stone walls sliding into the dark once more.
no feedback at this time for either, please!
Posted 05/25/19, edited 05/31/19