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SF's "Write Your Butt Off!" Writing Competition XIV

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Since there's no entries thus far, I would say yes. I'm going to let Clipsey decide the new end time, due to my lack of OP editing privilege.

But for now, rest assured you don't have to worry about the current endtime.

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Uh, sure.

New end time is August 30 at 9:00 PM HST. Clipsey needs to eat, so I'll edit everything else in later!

For comparison, that's about a week and nine hours from this post.

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I maybe have an idea, although the characters in question are not best friends. to be clear and to basically spoil by whole thing it involves the characters of Jon Snow and Stannis Baratheon from A Song of Ice and Fire the book series. My thing would be Stannis dealing with out he's not Azor Hai and Jon is. Don't know if anyone here is familiar with ASoIaF or game of thrones, but I wanted to run that idea by to see if that fits with the prompt.

My second involves Jaller and Matoro from Bionicle which maybe is even more obscure. So, anyway, hope these aren't terrible ideas...

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That is a spoiler for people who are reading but aren't in Book 5 yet, and people who aren't into the series might not be able to follow your setting as well. But whatever flows your boat, I guess, since the rules say it's ok.

I can't think of anything decent, although I'm slooowly being inspired by One Way Heroics.

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Title: "Dude, Where's my Respect": Marcus Agrippa

Characters: Agrippa, Octavian, Marc Antony, Caesar, Cleopatra, Brutus, Cassius

Words: 1599

[spoiler= "Here it is"]

Marcus Agrippa was and is a fascinating historical figure for several reasons, the most prominent being that he devoted his entire life and his not inconsiderable talents to the service of his best friend. Agrippa was the second in command of Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome. He was one of the best generals in Roman history and is somewhat unique in history for being a successful Roman general who did not use his military influence to achieve influence elsewhere. This is his life, as well as the pilot episode of a segment I have decided to start here where I talk about historical figures who I think should get more recognition. So, lets get started.

So Agrippa was born in 63 B.C. into a noble Roman family, and right away it was clear he was going to join the army. He met his master and lifelong friend Octavius, later Octavian and later still Augustus, during their education. Now, Octavius was very close to Julius Caesar, who would later (crucially) adopt him as his son and heir, so when Caesar started the Roman civil war with the Senate in his attempt to become absolute dictator of Rome, Agrippa joined Caesar’s army. He served with distinction, and rose through the ranks quickly. Eventually Caesar succeeded in declaring himself dictator for life of Rome, and it looked like Agrippa’s war was over. However, that wasn’t what happened, because I am not yet at the thousand word limit.

So in 44 B.C., on the Ides of March, a group of senators, led by two extremely influential senators named Gaius Cassius and Marcus Brutus, murdered Caesar, thinking he was going to crown himself King of Rome and betray the Republic. He almost certainly wasn’t; to do so would be political suicide, and Caesar was too smart for that. So anyway, the assassination succeeded, and Brutus and Cassius hoped that they would be able to seize control of Rome. Unfortunately for them, this didn’t happen, largely because Caesar’s progressive policies regarding the common people had made them very supportive of him, and they did not take kindly to his murder.

So Brutus and Cassius fled the city of Rome, and raised armies in open rebellion against Caesar’s faction. This faction was led by Octavius, now calling himself Octavian, as Caesar’s (adopted) son and heir, and Marc Antony, Caesar’s second in command in the military. Now, the elephant in the room between these two was who would succeed Caesar, but Octavian and Antony resolved to put off this question for now. There was a murder to be avenged.

Agrippa had, through all of this, managed to reach a rather high rank in the army. Thus, he was with the host drawn up by Octavian and Antony when the two of them marched to the town of Philippi to do battle with the rebel army of Brutus and Cassius.

The Battle of Philippi was a smashing victory for the army of Antony and Octavian. On the first day of the battle, Brutus led his men into Octavian’s camp, which they stormed. However, a fair amount of Octavian’s legionnaires, including Agrippa and Octavian himself, escaped. Brutus’s men stopped to loot the camp, allowing Octavian’s troops to reform completely for the second day of the battle.

Meanwhile, Antony had trounced Cassius’s army on the other side of the battle. Fleeing to a hill, Cassius tried to make out what was happening on Brutus’s end, hoping in all probability that Brutus could rescue him. However, he thought that Brutus too had been defeated, and so killed himself to avoid capture, believing all to be lost.

For several weeks after the first day of the battle, Octavian moved to outflank Brutus, occupying Cassius’s former camp. Brutus, meanwhile, took up a defensive position, but his men pressured him to go on the attack, which he eventually did. The second Battle of Philippi was a battle of attrition, but eventually Octavian and Antony’s army triumphed. Brutus killed himself to avoid capture.

In the aftermath of the defeat of Brutus and Cassius, Antony and Octavian pretty much agreed to split control of the Roman Republic between the two of them. This arrangement, while quite naturally extremely unstable all around, lasted for around a decade before it broke down. When it did, it would mark the fall of the Roman Republic and the birth of something new and far, far more glorious.

This was in the future, though, and for now, Octavian had to conquer some tribes in Gallia (no Laguz included, though if they were there the Romans would totally kick their asses). Octavian left Agrippa in charge of the defense and administration of the city. It is at this moment that Agrippa is generally agreed to have officially become his best friend’s second in command. So Agrippa had to hold Rome against Sextus, a rebel general who occupied the island of Sicily. This he did with extreme competence, and he was soon assigned bigger and bigger posts, including governor of Aquitaine (modern day southern France). Agrippa generally helped out around the house, so to speak, with Octavian’s administration, putting down revolt after revolt and gaining more and more respect and recognition from the Roman army.

Now, with quite frankly no more common enemies left to fight, Octavian and Antony could concentrate all their resources on deciding once and for all who would inherit the position of the most powerful man in the world. It should be noted that this was probably one of the most decisive moments in Roman history, if not in all of history. If Octavian, as the son of Caesar, won, then a precedent for hereditary succession, and thereby monarchy, would be set. If Antony, as Caesar’s second in command, won, then the precedent for appointment of successors, and thereby military dictatorship, would be set. The two sides were ready to fight the decisive war for control of Rome.

So what started this decisive and final Roman Civil War? Well, the vast majority of you forumites most likely know of Cleopatra, Pharaoh of Egypt. Pretty much, Caesar had helped her take the throne of Egypt and even fathered her son, Caesarion. So after Caesar died, Antony actually got a thing going with her, and they fell in love. Antony planned to take control of Rome with the help of Cleopatra. Love alone, however, was not going to convince the Pharaoh. So, to win his lover over, Antony kind of sort of gave her all Roman territories in the Middle East and Africa in 33 B.C. The Senate, needless to say, was not amused. This worked greatly to Octavian’s favor, and the Senate voted, at Octavian’s enthusiastic urging, to declare war on Egypt and Roman forces loyal to Antony. For the Roman Republic, it was the beginning of the end.

So, despite Antony on paper having given a great deal of Roman land to Cleopatra, in practice that land still belonged to Rome. This was because Egypt essentially lacked the ability to project power to its new acquisitions. Thus, it was a simple matter for the Roman legions occupying those territories to retake them. With Antony’s war off to a rough start, the time came for Octavian to go on the offensive. To do this, though, he would need to secure the Mediterranean. This task fell to Agrippa.

Agrippa moved Antony’s fleet out near the town of Actium, to face the fleets of Antony and Cleopatra. The Battle of Actium would decide the war. As the battle was joined, Antony tried to flank Agrippa’s fleet, thereby gaining the advantage. Agrippa, however, held back, luring Antony away from Cleopatra’s fleet. When the time was right, Agrippa charged, routing Antony’s fleet when he was without reinforcement. Antony just barely escaped. Seeing her lover on the verge of defeat, Cleopatra retreated back to Egypt. Octavian had full control of the seas.

With this objective achieved, Agrippa and Octavian marched their army through the Middle East down to Egypt. With con troll of the seas, the army could be supplied over the water and not over the land, which was much quicker. Agrippa’s men reached Alexandria, the capitol of Egypt at the time, in 30 B.C. The Last War of the Roman Republic was nearing its end.

Antony’s army had already been mostly destroyed by the Roman legions in Libya by the time Agrippa and Octavian reached Alexandria. Antony demanded that his men fight on to the end, but the majority of them surrendered. Cleopatra fled to her maloseum, and Antony committed suicide rather than be taken prisoner. Cleopatra, too, would famously kill herself a few days later. Octavian would name himself Pharaoh of Egypt and, later, declare himself absolute Emperor of Rome, the Augustus. The Roman Republic was dead. The Roman Empire was born. Augustus and his descendants would preside over the greatest period of peace in European history: the Pax Romana., or Roman peace.

As for Agrippa, he continued assisting his master and friend for the rest of his life. Many of Rome’s greatest architectural achievements can be attributed to him. He would eventually marry Augustus’s daughter Julia, and would end his life as the governor of Pannonia (in modern day Romania), a province that he himself conquered. His bromance with Augustus was one of the most badass in history, as his military skill combined with Augustus’s political skill to propel the friends to becoming the two most powerful men in the world. This has been “Dude, where’s my Respect” (what I decided to title the segment) and thank you for reading.

Edited by blah2127

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Title: Stannis and Jon

Universe: A Song of Ice and Fire Novels

Characters: Stannis Baratheon, Jon Snow

Word count: 2500 ish

Notes, some spoilers for the books and does not go to heavily into wrapping up plot points from the books, just characters and stuff. Hope it's not crap... and that I made it before deadline...

The cold of the north bit at exposed skin as the winds whipped up wildly from this great height. 700 feet into the air, the already frigid weather necessitated heavy robes, but even the thickest robes available to them were enough to prevent the cold reaching one’s bones. That was not what troubled Stannis Baratheon though, the man hailed by his followers as the True King of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and scorned by his enemies as a usurper and traitor to the realms. What troubled him was his own mind and his own misgivings, specifically whether or not he held enmity in his heart for the bastard of Winterfell, Jon Snow, Azor Ahai reborn. The young Commander of the Night’s Watch and their Wall had been raised from the dead, discovered his parentage, and found his destiny in the crypts beneath his old home in the great castle of Winterfell. When he retrieved the true version of the sword Lightbringer from the ancient tunnels that both shone in the darkness and radiate intense heat there could be no doubt. While Stannis’ sword shone yes, but it was cold to the touch like the steel of any ordinary blade. All the ancient prophecies the Red Woman spoke of said that the blade of Azor Ahai would like up the night with it’s bright light, and warm even the coldest hearts through the longest winter.

Azor Ahai, the very term gnawed at his thoughts as he stood atop the Wall looking out over the frozen wilderness that stretched out beyond the reach of civilization. In that inhospitable land he’d won his greatest victory, and from beyond even these desolate lands would come even greater enemies. The Others, demons of ice with their legions of the dead. They would come to wage war upon the continent of Westeros as they did in ages past. He’d seen it for himself in the magical fires of the Red Woman. However it was that same Red Woman who had proclaimed him the legendary figure that he was not. Ever since he’d performed that ceremony in which he burned the images the Seven Gods of his father Stannis had wrestled with the idea that he could be the great hero that ended the Long Night and would save the world from endless winter. His first reaction was to treat it with suspicion and practicality despite his skepticism in faith, gods, and legends. But what fool would turn down the support of the magics the Red Woman who could create assassins of shadow or conure strikes of fire at will?

Throughout the entirety of his struggle to claim the Iron Throne and depose the Lannisters those followers of R’hllor in his army had praised him as a legend destined to lead them to glory and greatness. Though they were outnumbered by those who simply saw him as the rightful king of Westeros they made themselves known as the loudest faction among his followers. Even amongst his family the title reared its head, as his wife Selyse continued with her fanatic devotion to the Religion of R’hllor and its stories. All this he’d heard repeated over and over to him, that he was the great hero to bring light in the darkness. It was the first time he’d heard himself hailed as such. After being ignored and snubbed by others in favor of his more charismatic brothers, perhaps there was some part of Stannis that reveled in being called a chosen figure of destiny. Whatever the case the myth of his legend had been shattered earlier that month; at the same time Stannis Baratheon’s Lightbringer had been shattered by the magic of the others at Hardhome, Jon Snow found his in the Crypts of Winterfell.

Just barely Stannis had been able to retreat back to the Wall after that defeat trying to bring retrieve the force sent to retrieve the wildlings camped at that desolate smack of ice. So now he stood overlooking the ice and forest waiting for what was to come. Waiting now knowing his legend was a falsehood and the duty of saving the continent from an endless winter was no longer his. In some way he was actually relieved, already he knew he had to fulfill his duty of being the King of the Seven Kingdoms; the addition of the pressure of a savior might not have been strictly necessary. Yet still his conflicting thoughts gnawed at him, did he truly want this, did he always want this these things had no simple answer, and Stannis did not like questions that did not have simple answers.

How he wished that Davos were here to give him consul as he normally would, but Lord Seaworth was in Winterfell at the side of the young Rickon Stark. Stannis allowed himself a small smile thinking of his most loyal and able servant, it was only through his work that the Northmen rallied to him and helped him depose the Boltons. Memories of those battles came back to him as well, the Battle of Ice, the Siege of Winterfell and the Dreadfort, the news from the North that the Wall once again needed his aid after the mayhem that was the stabbing of Jon Snow. Jon Snow, again Stannis wondered what the boy was thinking about his newfound status as a hero and figure of worship, mayhaps he would bear the burden better than he had. Like the burden of the crown he was told he had little choice in the matter, his brother’s “children” were bastards, thus he was king, wants did not enter into the question. The world needed a hero and a savior, thus he was Azor Ahai, wants did not enter into the question either. Now the question of want reared its head as Stannis looked out upon the frozen frontier and gritted his teeth in frustration. When did this begin to matter to him so much? He was still the rightful king even if he was no longer Azor Ahai. Most of his men still pledged to see him sit upon the Iron Throne after this War for the Dawn was over, so why still did his mind linger on this matter?

Duty, he was taught and tried to teach others, every man must do his duty. It was his duty as King to protect the realm, it was once his duty as Azor Ahai to save the world. It was then Stannis turned back from looking out over the north side of the Wall to look back down at the south side and Castle Black. 700 feet below him an embittered army of Stormlanders, Reachmen, Crownlanders, Northmen, and Wildings gathered to face the coming winter and the demons it would bring. They did not have enough men, that was for certain, he’d seen the great hosts of the dead the Others conjured at Hardhome. No, the living would not win this victory through force of arms. All their hopes lay in the idea that Azor Ahai could kill the Great Other who led these monsters and send them back beyond the Land of Always Winter. Once Stannis was supposed to carry that hope, but he’d failed them, is was a false legend whose fire sparkled but did not warm. That hope was carried by Jon Snow now, and speak of the Other and the Other shall appear apparently. For below him Stannis could see the winch cart moving upwards carrying the only person who might come at this hour and time of trouble.

The young man revealed to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark looked gaunt and tired as he stepped off the cart as it reached the top of the wall. Snow’s lean and dark Stark features were worn and wrinkled by what looked to be lack of sleep. His black robes looked disheveled even for this hostile environment and those grey Stark eyes looked sunken with dark circles forming underneath. The man who was not yet twenty looked as though he’d aged years in the past few weeks, though to be granted this was the first time Stannis truly saw the young man since they’d both arrived back at the Wall.

“I thought to find you here, your Grace.” The Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch said, still observing the courtesy due to a King it seemed, “Lady Melisandre said she’d seen you take the cart up to look upon the future battlefield.”

“Why did you come?” Stannis replied, his lack of love for conversation showing now as ever.

“I wanted to speak with you I suppose, and maybe look at the lands beyond the wall one more time before the Others fill it with their armies.”

“For what purpose would you speak with me? Already the battle plans are in place, the men have the dragonglass they need to fight the undead, and a chain of command in place.”

A long sigh came from the lad, and Stannis had to remind himself this Azor Ahai had only left his home a scant two years ago before being thrust upon this path.

“It’s not about any of that, we all know what must be done and way we must try to do it. I wanted to talk to you specifically, for perhaps you would be the only one to understand.”

“Oh?”

“What do you say- what do you do- how do you do anything when others don’t see you as a man but as a story or a legend? My path has gone from bastard, to watchman, to wilding, to Commander, and now to something I barely understand. When do you begin to be at ease with being more than a man?”

Stannis was silent for a long moment. For in this time he began to think about what being Azor Ahai was to someone else. It was a gift and curse perhaps, a burden as much as it was a boon, to be hailed by men as something more than a man. To know that at every table and war council there are eyes upon you, when you walk through the camps the men either stare in awe or look with forlorn questions in their eyes. To know that the fates of all the peoples who are or ever will be are upon your shoulders. That question of that burden had almost led Stannis to burning his own nephew alive in pursuit of power that might help him save the realm. He’d almost made that hard choice because he thought that was the only way to carry out his duty of saving the world. Those same feelings of doubt, of worry, of questioning whether your actions would lead to the doom of more than just those who followed; those same things were now the burden of someone else. Stannis grit his teeth and stared straight into the eyes of the Prince that Was Promised. He held a gaze of iron as he spoke, and it felt as if perhaps his earlier thoughts and inner questioning was brought into this moment.

“If all truths are to be told, it is not a thing one animateds to over time, and perhaps it should not be so. Throughout my war for the Iron Throne, when men called me Azor Ahai or praised me as a chosen savior I nodded and moved along. I was not sure if I believed in the fires, the songs, and the chants, but perhaps some part of me began to.”

“To know that you must be what stands between oblivion and life is one thing, but to realize the gravity of it is another. To not understand what is on the line is folly, but to let it consume your thoughts is the greater folly still. Azor Ahai is a title, not a name remember that Jon Snow. Your part in the battle to come will be paramount yes, but remember to face it as yourself rather than what doubts or legends plague your mind.”

“I had to remind myself of all that I was before I was hailed before the Red God, and even then I almost lost myself to the fear I would not be able to be what I need to in order to save the realm. In the end perhaps the best way to go about it is to treat it simple as another part of the whole. It is part of your duty, to the realm and those who live in it. Do you duty Jon Snow, and though you may never find ease remember you do this so that the world so that others might yet live to see the dawn.”

Jon Snow was silent and attentive, pondering the words he’d heard as the wind beat down upon the two. And for the first time . Stannis’ first reaction was to scowl, but soon Snow regained his composure and his face once again seemed to take on hard and weathered lines.

“I was simple thinking, whether the first Azor Ahai had such doubts, and if he did why did they not write whom he sought he sought counsel from?”

“Legends often are blurred by time, and to have a hero with doubts and worries would not fit the likings of most bards.”

Jon allowed his dour mask to drop again.

“When they write the new legend of the War for the Dawn, let it be said when clouded with doubt, Azor Ahai took wisdom from the True King of the Seven Kingdoms. The only king who would stand with the Night's Watch while others in the south squabble over an ugly iron chair.

“Mayhaps I have been listening to my Lord of Rainwood too much. If Davos comes north to the Wall you should speak to him if you are able.”

“I will do that if I am given the chance, though only the White Walkers know when they will come to attack us here at the edge of the world.”

“They will come, and we will either fight and die, or fight and win. Which outcome prevails will depend much on you Jon Snow.”

“That it will, your grace, that it will.”

From there the two simple stood in silence. Both looking out over the . Here 700 feet above the ground two men stood watch for the demons of ice and shadow that would come to wage war upon the living. One old, one young, one with the blood of direwolves and dragons, the other with the blood of the storm and of the sea. Both men were hailed as legends, figures of myth, and heroes of great destiny. In the end though only one story could be true, and as the cold winds rose and the air nipped his skin Stannis Baratheon began at last to calm. Above all else, he held duty to his heart. He’d been given a duty to save the world and embraced it seemed only to have it snatched away. He’d felt a whirlwind of emotions envy, disbelief, relief, and fear. Now his path was laid out before him, now his duty was once again clear. He was not the saviour of Westeros, but he was its True King, it’s protector, and to protect his kingdom he would stand beside Azor Ahai, Jon Snow, against the coming winter.

Edited by jankmaster98

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I literally wrote this in an hour or so. I don't know if it fits the prompt but whatever.

Title: Ensemble Gaiden II

Fandom: Original setting

Characters: Ryuji Hayami, Robin Kang

Word Count: 1,027

Warning(s): None

Ryuji had always wanted to be someone important.

He’d never considered himself to be egocentric. He didn’t need everything to revolve around him – because he didn’t. But for once, it would’ve been nice to feel as if he were someone who mattered and could make a difference in the world.

Growing up, he had never really fit in anywhere. Even now, he had a hard time figuring out exactly who or what he was. It was easier to name all the things he was not. Perhaps that was why he wanted to do something important, to be someone important. Because he was tired of being someone who didn’t matter.

It wasn’t as if Robin was anyone important either. He had so many problems that at times it was surprising he could function in everyday life; was a bit too emotional and would get upset about little things. But he was also honest, was always straight with people and tried to resolve matters rather than hold grudges. Robin cared only whether someone was a good person or not, and very little else about who they were. He was someone Ryuji had gravitated towards, and they’d become friends.

Their friendship hadn’t been complicated in the beginning – before Robin ended up being part of the Ensemble. And even then, it wasn’t as if anything had changed. Ryuji just saw him less and Robin started being more stressed out than usual. But then again, when was Robin not stressed out?

No, the real problem had been the Ensemble and everything that it was supposed to be. Ryuji didn’t know the details very well, but some great ancient evil had apparently been unleashed and would slowly destroy all the worlds – speaking of which, Ryuji had been surprised to learn there was not only the Earth, but endless parallel universes in existence – unless a band of chosen heroes stopped it, the Ensemble.

“Chosen” … perhaps that wasn’t the right word. Weren’t Chosen Ones usually associated with prophecies and foretold destinies? Because that hadn’t been the case at all. Rather, a more accurate comparison was being selected for a job that one hadn’t applied for – or at least wasn’t aware they had applied for.

In many ways, Robin and the other five people chosen to be part of the Ensemble didn’t have what it took to save anyone. They all had issues. Not all of them got along with one another. But therein lay the truth of the matter: no person was truly qualified to save the world. Only a perfect being was capable of such things. In a way, the current Ensemble was the best choices of a selection pool that – for the lack of a better word – sucked.

Even so, Ryuji had been rather miffed at first that he hadn’t been picked. It wasn’t as if he thought he could do a better job than anyone else, though – he knew that he probably wouldn’t. It was more that he wanted to do something important, and saving the world was an important task, was it not? It certainly was special, at least, and it had certainly been within his reach. He had apparently been part of the very limited pool of candidates.

Robin had the opposite reaction. He had initially complained a lot about being picked for the Ensemble. The entire situation had made him even more neurotic than he already was. His team – although their leader was someone whom he got along with, he was not at all happy that a young family friend was also on the team. The feeling was mutual, as the two were always awkward around each other. As if they knew the other could tell their parents something and it would eventually get to their own parents. There was also that person Robin wasn’t on very good terms with, and the other two who never really made an effort to get to know the others. Robin complained about his team a lot.

More than his team, though, he was nervous about the entire saving-the-world situation. Robin had a tendency to imagine the dumbest and most impractical worst case scenarios ever; it was almost a gift. He’d run through them all to Ryuji, and by the end of it they would both be in a worse mood.

But in a way, it reminded Ryuji that saving the world was not about doing something important – it was about saving the world! And for all of Robin’s problems, it was not too hard to see why he would be picked for such a task. It was because he was cautious (even if a bit too cautious) and could work with a team even if he didn’t get along with them. It was everything that he was capable of, not the things he wasn’t. Robin accepted what he wasn’t, but never let that hold him back from who he was.

Ryuji was still stuck in that state of not wanting to be who he was. He’d never wanted to be the person that he was, and he wasn’t sure he could ever accept that. But that was also why he was not doing something greater at the moment – how could he save anything when he didn’t even have faith in himself?

In a way, Robin was always reminding him about the deeper stuff, even when he didn’t realize it.

So maybe he wasn’t meant to be part of an ultra special world-saving force, but that was okay. It wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be anyway – the entire Ensemble could not stop grumbling about all the ridiculous things they ran into.

More importantly, who said that he had to wait around for destiny to tell him who he was meant to be? His life was a series of people telling him what he was and all that he would amount to be. Wasn’t he sick of hearing all that? So what was destiny to tell him anything about what kind of person he was supposed to be? Rather, he would take initiative and forge his own destiny.

He was going to help save the world in his own way.

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I need to use the bathroom, so the contest will end once I'm back. :P:

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. . .and done! Almost.

Title: Scruffy

Universe: My own

Words: Just shy of 3600

Warnings: This probably doesn't make sense, and I took a ton of liberties with the prompt. I'm entering because I wanted to see if I could make this work in a very short amount of time (the answer is no).

"Overcome great trials, and defeat the Demon Lord, was it?" Siella joked lightly with her companion. She squinted her green eyes, as she gazed off in the direction of the cave, which happened to be in the same direction as the setting sun.

"Should be a piece of cake for the likes of you!" Neseri replied just as lightly. Unlike her friend, Neseri's rounded cheeks, pasty complexion, and oily black hair were more in line with what one would expect of a mage.

"Don't sell yourself short," Siella said sternly, a frown on her tanned features. She crossed her arms across her dark brown shirt, her short sword clanking painfully against her hip. Her tall, wiry build and natural grace made many mistake her for a light warrior.

"You're the one that's better at blowing monsters up, getting people to do as you ask, hell, even LOOKING good," Neseri moped. Siella let out a sigh. The two of them had known each other since they'd been able to speak their own names. It was always Siella that got the attention - first as a gifted mage, then as a "trophy" for the teenage boys. She'd had to use her natural charms (and a little bit of mind control magic) just so that Neseri had a date for the school dance!

"If magic was only about blowing things up, there wouldn't be so many schools dedicated to healing and support," Siella countered. Neseri riffled through her spell book with her thick fingers. Each spell outlined in the book conjured a bit of imagination - for those who were susceptible to illusions. Unfortunately, the demon that they were supposed to slay was immune to such things.

"All I do is conjure. . .LIES!" Neseri burst out, throwing her book down. Siella carefully picked up the tome. Though Neseri's talents lay with illusion, Siella never understood why her friend refused to use the spells on herself. Neseri had been extremely curt about her reasoning, something about, "illusions only show people what they want to see, not what they need to see."

"You know that you're not a liar at heart, and I don't think you're one, either," the taller girl said softly. "How 'bout we camp here for the night? We're still about a day away from Greenridge." Neseri nodded wordlessly, before unfurling her bedroll. Siella shot her friend a small smile before turning towards the small copse of trees in the distance. As long as there was something to burn, the two were never without fire.

---

Neseri blinked as her friend left camp. Something rippled in the distance, and Siella was headed straight for it. Hiking up her stained robes, Neseri hurried over as fast as her legs could take her. The copse of trees slowly dissolved, revealing a pack of wolves. They stood perfectly still, despite the fact that two women approached them. Neseri kicked herself, as she remembered the reports of a roving pack of faerie wolves in the vicinity. Unlike most wolves, the pack worked together to ensnare their victims with visions of safety and comfort. Once their victims were fully taken in by the illusion, they feasted. However, they had to stay perfectly still until their victims were in their midst.

"SIELLA!" Neseri cried out at the top of her lungs. Siella paused at the sound of her friend's voice. The wolves growled, no doubt angered by Neseri's interference. It would take everything Neseri had to break the magic of the faerie wolves. Then she'd be left with an angry wolf pack. Siella slowly walked back towards the illusion. Neseri let out a string of unladylike words, and placed herself between the wolves and her friend.

"If you're going down, I'm going with you," she muttered. In her mind's eye, she gave life to a eight-legged monster, fangs dripping with poison. She chuckled as Siella faltered.

"GET AWAY FROM ME!" the taller woman screamed, as two fireballs appeared in her hands. The chubbier mage dove to the side as Siella launched her spell towards the illusory spider. Both illusions were burned away as the fireballs landed on the wolves. Amidst the pained yelps and the scent of burnt fur and cooked flesh, Siella picked her friend up and slapped her across the face.

"You promised to never use that illusion on me!" Siella shrieked, tears running down her face.

"You can hate me in this life, or thank me for keeping my promise in the next one," Neseri said flatly. "I needed you to set those wolves on fire, and simply breaking their illusion would've caused them to move," she continued. Her words were lost on Siella, whose gaze was fixed on something beyond Neseri's shoulder. A high-pitched whine caught Neseri's attention. Had Siella missed one? She slowly walked towards the source of the sound, and stopped when she reached a writhing mass of scorched fur. The larger wolf was almost completely charred, yet it seemed to be the source of the whining. Neseri grit her teeth and shoved the corpse to the side. Several small lumps lay underneath, almost all of them unmoving. One of the lumps wriggled free and whimpered.

"How did you survive?" Neseri whispered to the wolf cub. Much to her surprise, it nuzzled her hand. "You're not scared of me?" she asked. The wolf cub licked her hand in response.

"It seems I missed one," Siella said flatly, a mote of fire at ready.

"No, stop!" Neseri protested. "This one can't harm anyone!"

"Not yet," Siella replied. "It won't stay a cub forever." The cub whimpered.

"If it becomes familiar with humans, it will be less likely to attack. These things weave illusions, and I could use all the help I can get." Siella sighed, and extinguished the flames. Neseri carefully picked up the wolf cub, and turned back to where they'd left their belongings.

"I'll make sure this guy stays with me," Neseri stated.

"Looks like we're not going to have a fire tonight," Siella grumbled. "At least dinner's already cooked," she continued, motioning towards the corpses.

"If you can find enough edible meat," Neseri countered. "I'm gonna feed this guy some dried meat."

For the first time in years, the two women went to bed without another word to each other.

---

"What's the big deal?" Siella asked. The townspeople had lined up outside of the gate, leaving the two women a path to the leader's house.

"Perhaps they got word of your beauty," Neseri responded dryly. Siella rolled her eyes.

"O Honored Ones, please grace our leader with your presence," the closest man to Siella droned.

"You sure you didn't charm 'em all?" Siella whispered.

"Look, I'm not powerful enough to brainwash an entire town before I step foot in it!" Neseri snapped.

"How 'bout your new pet? Scruffy, was it?" Siella shot back. The wolf cub yipped from within Neseri's pack.

"The cub's powerful enough to make the average person think that its fur is blue, not green," Neseri whispered. "You wanna make a break for it? This is too weird," the shorter mage continued.

"We're running short on supplies, and the next town is three weeks away," Siella replied. "Let's see what these weirdos want first."

---

"Welcome, Demonslayer," the elder greeted.

"Demonslayer?" Siella repeated.

"Why, yes. We've seen generations of adventurers pass through our town, but this is the first time the Jewel of Sealing has awakened." Bluish-white light painted the walls of the otherwise plain room, as the elder held the jewel aloft for the two women to see.

"So whoever wields the Jewel of Sealing is the one that'll be able to kill the demon, right?" Neseri asked. A loud thud stopped whatever answer the elder would've given. A green ball of fur righted itself and lunged towards the elder. He had just enough time to cry out before the cub returned, jewel in its mouth.

"Scruffy, NO! That's not yours!" Siella snapped. The cub's tail thumped against the floor, as it looked up towards Neseri.

"You'll need to give it back," Neseri started.

"M-MONSTER!" the elder shouted, pointing towards the wolf cub.

"I told you the flea-bitten cur is more trouble than it's worth!" the fire mage yelled. The wolf cub dashed towards the door, jewel and all.

"Come back!" Neseri ordered, as she ran after it.

"We'll return it when we're done!" Siella yelled back, as she dashed after her friend.

---

"I doubt they'll welcome us back," Neseri gasped. The townspeople had been rooted with fear as Scruffy had dashed by them. The two mages had made it out without so much as a word of protest. During their hurried escape, Siella had managed to snag some meat that had been hung out to dry, as well as a few extra water skins. Neseri had grabbed a basket of bread and a basket of apples on her way out. They had enough food for the next few days.

"They will once we've killed off the Demon Lord," Siella huffed. "AS FOR YOU," she yelled, pointing an accusing finger at Scruffy. "You stole that Jewel, and you're the reason why we didn't get to resupply properly!" The cub whined, and nuzzled Neseri.

"She's got a point," Neseri scolded. The cub walked over to Neseri's pack, and dropped the jewel within. Then, it sat in front of the two women, and yipped.

"That doesn't make things better," Neseri continued. "We still don't know where to go, and the elder didn't get a chance to tell us how this glowing rock worked." The cub ran a distance away, and sat down. After a few moments, it cried out.

"This thing is going to be the death of us," Siella grumbled. "But I think it wants us to follow it."

Neseri groaned and hauled herself to her feet. "I could use a break for the rest of the day," she whined.

"So could I," Siella grumbled, "but if those townsfolk come looking for us, they won't have to go very far before they find us."

---

Amidst grumbles, the two women walked towards Scruffy. The cub ran a few steps further, and cried out again. This pattern continued until the sun fell below the horizon.

"I doubt the townsfolk will go this far," Siella reasoned, "but I don't think it would be wise to light a fire tonight."

"A cold meal of apples, bread, and dried meat, then. And some dried meat for you--what are you doing?!" Neseri snapped. The cub greedily devoured a loaf a bread. Neseri held out a piece of dried meat. The cub turned its nose in the air before taking another bite out of the bread.

"I though wolves ate meat?" the two women said at the same time. Once it had polished off the loaf of bread, the cub curled up between the two humans.

"The wolf cub's got the right idea," Neseri stated, before unfurling her bedroll. "I could use some rest."

"Did you set up the spell net?" Siella asked. A snore answered her. "Hope there's nothing that's interested in us tonight," the taller woman muttered to herself, before going to sleep.

---

"CRAP!" Neseri shouted. She produced the spell net from her pack. Siella frowned at her friend, then turned her attention towards a burnt object near her bedroll.

"The townsfolk were looking for us last night," Siella said grimly, holding up the remnants of a torch. "And they nearly succeeded." She motioned towards the footprints, some of which had come within five feet of where they'd slept.

"We've gotta get out of here," Neseri said quietly. "Where'd the wolf cub go--EEEEK!" From the grass emerged a wolf with a mottled green and brown coat. It sat in front of Neseri, and came up to the shorter woman's chest.

"The HELL is going on?!" Siella roared. "That's way too big to be Scruffy--OOF!" The wolf lunged at Siella and knocked her down. In moments, Siella's face was painted with the wolf's saliva.

"Oh, he likes you!" Neseri said cheerily, rubbing her hands together. "But wolves don't grow up over night?" The wolf turned its nose in the air. Then, it picked up Siella's pack in its mouth and trotted away from their camp site.

"Put that down!" Siella roared, quickly getting to her feet. The wolf easily walked a few paces ahead of the enraged woman.

"H-hey, wait for me!" Neseri called out, stumbling after the wolf and the other woman.

---

"I knew that relying on this ball of fur for directions was a bad idea," Siella growled. The wolf growled at the foul creature above him.

"You TRAITORS dare defile our territory?" the harpy shrieked, dirt brown feathers drifting down to the three below her. "I'll rip you all to shreds!"

"I'll take roasted poultry for dinner," Siella taunted back, before hurling a fireball towards the harpy. Neseri stood where she was, unmoving.

"Hah, a spitted pig will make a nice appetizer," the harpy trilled, as she dove towards Neseri.

"Birds. . .shiny things. . ." Neseri said flatly, turning her back towards the approaching threat. The wolf leapt between Neseri and the harpy, and howled.

"YOU of all of them should be on my side! Don't you remember what you are?" The wolf growled at the harpy. Light flooded the area, as Neseri held the Jewel of Sealing aloft.

"Ah, that cursed light!" she shrieked. When the light cleared, Siella looked around. The only thing left of the harpy were the feathers she'd dropped while flying around. Neseri held the jewel close, her brow knitted in confusion.

"I. . .I did it. . ." she said slowly. "The monsters that serve the Demon Lord must be sealed within. Their rage is what fuels this Jewel. Once we've sealed five more of his abominable creations will we be able to face him."

"Demonslayer, huh," Siella said lightly. "Looks like I've gotta protect you, then," she continued. The wolf sat down near the two women, tail thumping enthusiastically.

"Oh, fine, you did your part too, Scruffy," Siella grumbled. "I guess that means we're both gonna have to help her, huh?" The wolf nuzzled her leg, then sat down in front of Neseri. In response, Neseri collapsed.

"Neseri? NESERI!"

---

"Wh-what happened?" Neseri asked weakly. Siella breathed a sigh of relief, and handed the woman a water skin.

"You used the Jewel of Sealing to defeat a harpy, and then said that there's five more things we need to chase after. So, are you up to it?" Neseri slowly sat up, drinking the water provided.

"I--I'll try. . ." she replied.

"Alright. The sun just rose, so we should be able to cover quite a bit of ground today."

---

"It-it hurts. . ." Neseri whispered. The sea serpent, the final monster between them and the Demon Lord, had been sealed. Siella propped her friend up on a boulder.

"Rest. You'll need all your strength if you're going to seal the Demon Lord." The wolf lay down on its paws near Neseri. Its fur had lost its brownish tinge and had taken on a bluish tint instead.

"Siella. . .why. . .are you being so nice? Aren't you the one. . .the Demonslayer. . ." Siella chuckled.

"Look, that gem acts like a rock in my hands. But with you. . .you're the one that makes it work. All I do is distract the bad guys." Neseri laughed weakly.

"You don't get it. . .the Jewel uses your magic to flare to life. All I do is--" Siella put a finger on Neseri's lips.

"So WHAT if I'm a glorified power source? The thing's nothing more than a rock, in my hands. You're the Demonslayer. . .don't you see it?" Neseri shook her head.

"It told me. . .that I'm not the Demonslayer. . ." Siella opened her mouth to say more, but Neseri let out a snore.

"Alright, you furbag. . .why are you looking at me like that?" The wolf's tail swished.

"She's the one that turns the gem into something amazing. Yes, I was a little jealous when I saw it back when we were fighting the harpy. But after I thought about it, I think it's better this way. Everyone ignores her, and I can see that it hurts her. Once she takes out the Demon Lord, she won't be ignored any longer. Isn't that. . .isn't that what's best for her?" The wolf gently nuzzled Siella's leg, then gently licked Neseri's face.

"Even after this Demonslaying business, I'll still have things like my looks and fire magic. I'm sure I'll be able to carve my own path." The sound the wolf made almost sounded like a chuckle. Siella sighed and prepared for bed.

Your assistance is much appreciated, came a response between the realm of waking and sleep.

---

Wings, claws, fangs--everything that they'd imagined the Demon Lord to be stood in front of them. Siella's fires fizzled out as soon as she conjured them. Neseri held the Jewel of Sealing aloft, to no effec

"I--I knew it wasn't me," Neseri said weakly, as the Demon Lord's claws batted her to the side. The Jewel of Sealing flew from the illusionist's grasp. Siella cried out and ran towards her friend. The wolf, who'd followed them since they day Siella had killed the rest of its pack, was nowhere to be found.

"A single agent, sent to deliver the vessel meant to hold me, so I may seal all of mankind within it! Come, my servant!" Scruffy approached the Demon King, Jewel in its teeth.

"Scruffy, NO!" Siella yelled. The wolf looked back at both women. A wave of sorrow washed over the fire mage.

Trust me.

The wolf walked towards the Demon King, tail down. The Demon King's laughter echoed through the crystalline cave, as he reached down towards the glowing Jewel. The Jewel's light flared. Siella gasped, as the warmth flew out from her.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GIVE THE GEM TO ME!" the Demon King roared.

Did you forget the prophecy? Where the faeries and salamanders, mortal enemies, would work together to save all of mankind. In place of the green-blue tint, Scruffy's fur transformed into radiant gold. The Demon King's roar made Siella's ears rang. As the light from the Jewel engulfed the world, she passed out.

---

Rise and shine, you two.

"What the hell are you?" Siella demanded. The golden wolf sat back and looked straight into Siella's eyes.

The faerie wolves, as you call them, are agents of the light. I still haven't forgiven you for murdering my entire family, but you were useful enough on my journey. Thus, I will spare your life. Your companion should wake soon.

"Thanks for my life, but that doesn't answer my question."

Oh, that bit about salamanders? You humans are supposed to be bound to spell books for any sort of magic, yet you and your friend aren't. The exact nature of the two of you would take me eons to explain, but the short of it is that the two of you are supposed to be enemies, but somehow you're best friends. Or haven't you bothered to ask why your friend's name translates to "Beloved" in the language of faeries, while your name means "Radiant One" in the language of salamanders.

"So you're saying that I'm not human?"

You'll have to find out what you truly are, on your own. You ARE strong enough to carve that path on your own, right?

"That's nice. What of you?"

Me? I think I'll stay with the two of you a little longer. After all, you got my name right on the first try, and someone needs to make sure that you don't immolate a city when you find out what you truly are.

"YOUR NAME REALLY IS SCRUFFY?!"

Yes. Now shall we? Those humans in the town will be overjoyed to hear that the two of you sealed that demon. Don't tell them the truth, lest they never sleep at night again.

"What the hell have we gotten ourselves in to. . ."

Gimme a sec, and I'll get the voting thread up

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So I have a few questions. I am considering joining in on the next contest, but as it happens I am wanting to write something right now. I am aware this may encounter some conflicts with the rules, namely the "no submitting old work" rule and I wouldn't know the theme. However, if I complete my story within the next two weeks, and it coincidentally happens to relate to the upcoming theme, may I submit my work? If I'm not allowed, or the theme is something unrelated, then I'd probably make a separate thread for it and consider submitting something else for either the next contest or the one after, but I'd love to submit it to the contest so I can get more feedback and exchange comments more directly with other writers here on the forum. As of right now, I can't delay my writing, since I feel too impatient and I feel if I don't let out what I have bundled up, I'll forget it in the next few days. I'm a forgetful person.

I'm also wondering on which thread, this or the voting thread, would I give out comments, compliments and/or criticisms?

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In order. . .

- The "old work" thing is so that you don't submit something from a previous contest, or some other piece of writing that you wrote elsewhere. If it's something that's never seen the light of day anywhere else, feel free to enter it, even if you write it a week in advance!

- Put any and all comments/compliments/critiques in the voting thread.

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We need entrants!

Anything goes, as long as it abides by both the competition rules and SF's Code of Conduct!

End time is. . .uh, crap. I can do one of the following:

- Make this finish on Monday

- Extend this to the 27th

I will be in no shape to end this on September 20.

EDIT: Entrants~!

Snowy_One

Jotari

blah2127

AnonymousSpeed

Knight

jankmaster98

Edited by eclipse

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This seems like a cool little project. I think I'll sign myself up. I'd like as much time as possible though since I'll want to read a few of the existing stories to get a feel of what's wanted. I'm also moving to work for a month so I don't know how much free time I'll have. I'll finish something once I'm in, I always make the time some how, I'd just like to have as much as possible.

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Anything goes, as long as it abides by both the competition rules and SF's Code of Conduct!

Well, that's an oddly specific prompt. I'll dig around to see if I have an idea which meets it, or just make something for an older prompt I missed.

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I wanted a pure "anything goes", but then some idiot would argue that it would be okay to breach the rules BECAUSE anything goes. Thus, the highly specific clauses that it needs to follow the rules of everything. :P:

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We need entrants!

Anything goes, as long as it abides by both the competition rules and SF's Code of Conduct!

End time is. . .uh, crap. I can do one of the following:

- Make this finish on Monday

- Extend this to the 27th

I will be in no shape to end this on September 20.

My jam, this is it. (and extend it to the 27th)

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I think the 27th would be nice for me.

Edited by Knight

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Probably should have deleted the Code of Conduct part when making that joke...

I might've done that if I wasn't a mod. :P:

And I hear ya.

Competition ends on September 27 at 9:00 PM HST. Countdown!

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Hm...maybe something for prompts two or five...I have an idea which works really well with five, actually, but two...eh, two's not actually that great. Five it is then!

Write a story about two or more characters unexpectedly developing a strong relationship between each other. Explain why such a relationship would be unexpected, and how this bond was developed despite those factors. Optional: Explain how this relationship has an impact in a later event (or multiple events).

Does not have to be romantic, and this story won't be! Prepare for epic bromance people.

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"Anything goes" is the worst prompt for me because then I can't think of anything, ironically. I'll try, though.

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"Anything goes" is the worst prompt for me because then I can't think of anything, ironically. I'll try, though.

Use an old prompt, then. :P:

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