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SF's "Write Your Butt Off" Competition HD II.5 Remix

Round 21 Voting Phase  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. Which entry from Round 21 did you most enjoy?

    • A Knight's Duty
      0
    • The Fireman
      3
    • Always Left Behind
      2
    • Why I quit Shadow Dragon
      0
    • Birthwrong
      2


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I am almost done with my entry just gotta write 1 and a half more scenes and the last scene may be a long one.

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(excuse the double post)

Title: I'll Face Myself(otherwise known as I played way too much persona 4 before I wrote this)

Fandom: Fire Emblem Awakening

Word count: 4,158

Spoiler

“It’s time to tip the scales!” Robin shouted as a straight beam of electricity laced with blue flames shot forth from his hand.

 

A large plume of smoke exploded from the blast as Robin landed on his feet.

 

“Did I get him?”

 

“Pathetic” A dark voice matching his own chuckled from the rapidly clearing smog, “is that really all the strength you could muster? Frankly, I’m disappointed,” Piercing red eyes glared at him from under those snow white bangs swaying in the wind.

 

Damnit, not even a scratch. The tactician took a deep breath. He needed to remain calm.

 

Grima chuckled, “Enough of these foolish games Robin! why don’t you just return to me? We are one and the same” the fell dragon taunted, “Why fight with these worms when you could be so much more?”

 

“Y-You’re not me!”

 

His ‘other self’ shook his head and sighed, “Why do you continue to deny this simple truth? I am you and you are me whether you like it or not” He then locked eyes with Robin once again, “That is the truth”

 

Robin merely grit his teeth at those words. He wasn’t wrong. The evidence was clear as day. It was like looking in a mirror. The same hair, the same face, the same clothes, the same voice. Everything, save for the eyes, was exactly the same.

 

His reflection chuckled once again, “You know I’m right so then why do you deny it? Why do you keep trying to run away from that simple fact?” A wild sadistic grin curved on his face, “You’re nothing but a shadow! A mere fragment that was broken off from me, your true self!”

 

Like an icy javelin, those words flew through the air and tore through his chest. He wanted nothing more than to deny it. Nothing more than to ignore it and erase the truth that laid bare before him.

 

“It hurts doesn’t it?” His voice once again rang out, “it hurts to know that I’m right” His grin grew wider, “You want nothing more than to erase me, isn’t that right? I know exactly what you’re thinking! This world is full of nothing but despair and hypocrisy that is the truth. War after war, conflict after conflict. Humans just never seem to learn, now do they? They are nothing but slaves to their past mistakes unable to move past them that is a fact. Humans are incapable of change so then why should I even bother? Why should I bother protecting these worms if no good will come of it? That is the truth and deep down you think it too”

 

The javelin dug deeper and twisted with each word spoken in his own voice no less.

 

“Th-that’s not…”

 

A maniacal Laugh rang from his lips, “Not what?” He raised an eyebrow, “Not true? Pah! Don’t make me laugh!” He pointed at ‘himself’, “That is the truth and there is no changing that! You can’t change the truth! Just like you can’t change who you are!”

 

Robin bit his lip. Perhaps he was right, perhaps that was the cold hard truth. Why else would he be here if not to become what was in front of him? There was no denying that fact. They are one and the same so then why was he fighting so hard against it? Why was he fighting so hard to deny that simple truth?

 

“That’s right you can’t deny the truth so why not embrace it?” He reached out his hand through the distorted mirror, “Embrace your true self and become one with me and we will put an end to humanity’s stagnation ... accept the fact that you can’t change who you are...”

 

“I...:” Robin took a step forward and reached out his hand towards the mirror. Maybe once inside he could forget all this and start over.

 

“You’re wrong!” A familiar voice suddenly shouted out and broke Robin from his thoughts, “ANYTHING CAN CHANGE!!”

 

“Damn you!!” Grima cried out in pain as Falchion’s blade tore across his body. The fell dragon stumbled back and snarled at his blue-haired attacker.

 

Chrom smirked and quickly leaped back to prepare another strike. “Your end has come, Grima!” He shouted as he lunged forward.

 

ARROGANT MORTAL! I AM THE END!!” Grima bellowed as he raised his arm to prepare a counter attack. The large dragon turned its head and prepared to fire a dark blast of energy at the young Exalt.

 

“Chrom, look out!” Robin called out as he readied another thoron spell.

 

No, I’m not gonna make it in time! Robin thought to himself before he noticed something odd. For what seemed like a brief moment before Grima launched his attack, he hesitated. Now’s my chance!

 

“Thoron!” Robin cried out as he shot a beam of electricity to intercept the attack.

 

A large explosion rang across the sky as Robin ran over to his recovering friend.

 

“Are you alright?” Robin asked as he helped Chrom to his feet.

 

“Yeah, thanks to you” The blue-haired exalt shot his friend a reassuring smile, “More importantly, what about you? Are you alright?”

 

At first, the question confused the grandmaster. Of course he was fine. He wasn’t the one who was just attacked after all. Though after a moment of thought, Robin smiled.

 

“Yeah, I think so…”

 

Chrom nodded, “good” He then placed a hand on Robin’s shoulder, “Don’t forget Robin you’re one of us and no truth or destiny can change that. We’re your friends and we’ll stand by you to the very end no matter what”

 

“But what he was saying...” Robin looked down at his left hand.

 

“What of it?! It doesn’t matter who you were in the past as you aren’t the same person you were back then! You and I have both grown past the mistakes of our past and that’s what truly matters so don’t listen to him no matter how similar he looks and sounds! He isn’t you! I don’t think our bonds so flimsy that a simple mistake in our past is enough to break it”

 

Robin looked at Chrom then back at the rest of the army fighting for their lives against Grima’s forces. All of his friends, his wife, his daughters, everyone was behind him and there to support him. Where he came from or who he once was didn’t matter. What mattered was who he was now, and what he was fighting to protect.

 

“Thanks, Chrom...” Robin smiled again.

 

“Alright then it’s good to see you back on your feet” Chrom smiled back.

 

“Hear my words, Awakener!” Naga’s voice suddenly echoed through the sky, “Grima’s Servants will beset you to no end. Dispatch them as soon as you are able! Once the fell one is weakened, a choice will await you… If Chrom lets fall the final blow, Grima shall survive but return to his slumber...”

 

“So be it” Chrom said affirmatively.

 

“If Robin strikes in Chrom’s stead, both his life and Grima’s are forever over” Naga continued, “Only in this way may the fell dragon be destroyed for good and for all”

 

Robin remained silent and looked down at his left hand. The hand that bore the brand he oh so despised.

 

“The final decision… is yours” and with that, Naga’s voice faded.

 

As if I’d let you damn worms weaken me to such a state!” Grima bellowed as the smoke around him began to clear, “INSOLENT SON OF NAGA DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH YOU’VE ANGERED ME!!” Grima glared at Chrom.

 

“No, but I can hazard a guess”

 

I...I WILL END YOU ALL OF YOU.... YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF DESPAIR!!!

 

“He sure is angry…” Chrom then turned to Robin, “right?”

 

Robin nodded, “Yeah, I think he needs a long nap to cool his head”

 

“I couldn’t agree more so do you have a plan?”

 

Robin smirked, “I always do”

 

Chrom turned to Grima and sunk into a combat stance, “Alright then tell me what to do so we can finish this dastard!”

 

“Alright, charge in and I’ll cover you and create an opening to strike, sound good?” Robin said as the tome in his hand flew open in a glow of yellow and crackling electricity.

 

Chrom smirked, “Got it”

 

“It’s time to tip the scales!” Robin declared as he fired a golden beam of electricity once again laced with blue flames at Grima.

 

The attack slammed into the fell dragon with a large explosion as the two men took the opportunity to charge forward

 

Grima laughed as he wiped away the smoke, “Like an attack as pathetic as that would be enough to stop me!” He raised his hand and with it, the dragon turned its head, “I am the wings of despair. I am the breath of ruin. I AM THE FELL DRAGON GRIMA!!

 

With a wave of his hand, the massive dragon head shot out a black pool of energy that slammed into the ground. Spikes immediately erupted from the dragon’s back and sped towards the duo.

 

The two men leaped into the air to avoid the attack. They nodded at each other as Robin readied another spell.

 

Grima grinned, “not bad but you’ve left yourselves wide open!” With a bellowing roar, the dragon’s head fired yet another black ball of energy towards the two. “DIE!!!

 

“It’s time to even the odds!” A familiar voice rang out as a massive purple flame intercepted the dragon’s breath in a fiery explosion. The two men were nearly blown off the dragon’s back due to the shockwave-only to be caught mid-air by their wives, Cordelia and Sumia.

 

“Don’t worry we’ve got ya” Sumia spoke up.

 

“Thanks, you two” Chrom smiled up at them.

 

“Yeah” Robin did the same.

 

“N-Now don’t do anything reckless,” Cordelia said as she and Sumia prepared to descend.

 

“There’s nothing to worry about, right Robin” Chrom turned to his best friend.

 

For a moment, Robin didn’t answer.

 

Why do you continue to deny this simple truth? I am you and you are me whether you like it or not …. That is the truth!

 

If Robin strikes in Chrom’s stead, both his life and Grima’s are forever over … Only in this way may the fell dragon be destroyed for good and for all

 

Those words began to bounce around in his head.

 

“Robin?”

 

“...oh right yeah there’s nothing to worry about, we’ll be fine”

 

“Alright…” Cordelia said with a somewhat stern stare.

 

Grima scoffed, “More worms won’t make a difference! The end is inevitable you cannot change the past! That hope died long ago!”

 

“HOPE WILL NEVER DIE!!” a new voice shouted out.

 

Grima once again roared in pain as Lucina’s Falchion ripped through his back. The upper jaw of the dragon’s mouth crumbled away leaving behind a creepy humanoid face.

 

WHY YOU!!!” The fell dragon snarled as he turned and turned to face the future witness.

 

“I lost to you once, monster!” Lucina glared back at him, “I shall not lose again! Die now, so that our future can live!”

 

... YOU CANNOT SLAY… WHAT MAY NEVER DIE…” The dragon head reared itself towards Lucina to fire another blast of dark energy.

 

“Lucy look out!” Cynthia’s voice called out as she swooped in and grabbed Lucina to only barely avoid the strike.

 

“Thanks, Cynthia” Lucina smiled up at her sister to which Cynthia merely smiled back.

 

WHY DO THESE DAMN INSECTS KEEP INTERFERING!!!!” Grima cried out in anger “I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS

 

“So have I!” Severa cried out as she lunged at Grima with her sword raised.

 

And what can you do?” Grima scoffed as he caught the blade, “You are nothing but a mere shadow of your mother! A mere shadow of me!

 

Severa scowled at her ‘father’, “Shows what you know! How could you know anything about me! You were never there! You were never my father!”

 

Grima glared at the mercenary and raised his free hand to strike. “INSOLENT LITTLE…

 

“Chrom we have to hurry!” Robin said as he began to charge thoron once more

 

Chrom nodded, “I’m on it” He said as they both began to speed up.

 

Please let us make it in time! Robin thought frantically, I made a promise to protect her to protect my entire family that is my duty as both a father and a husband!

 

The dragon began to rear its head once more to attack.

 

Damnit, too late!

 

However, for another brief moment, nothing happened. It was as if Grima had hesitated as if something was holding him back. At that moment his grip loosened on Severa’s sword allowing her to leap away.

 

Now was their chance! “Chrom!”

 

“Right, on my mark!”

 

Chrom charged forward and lunged at Grima. The fell dragon turned to block Chrom’s slash with a fog of dark magic brimming in his hand. The force of the impact sent a shockwave riveting across the sky.

 

A grin sneered from Grima’s lips, “What are you going to do now, Son of Naga?” He said as he once again beckoned the humanoid-esque dragon head to attack.

 

Chrom smirked, “I don’t have to do anything”

 

What are you saying?

 

“This is Checkmate!” Robin cried out as he fired a beam of electricity laced in blue flames at the dragon’s head.

 

His ‘other self’ cried out in pain as both he and the dragon head recoiled from Robin’s attack.

 

“Chrom strike now!”

 

Chrom nodded, “Right!” The young prince leaped back and once again lunged at Grima as a near blinding light shined off of Falchion’s golden blade.

 

“YOU’RE END HAS COME!” Chrom shouted as he slashed forward and Falchion tore across Grima’s body.

 

A near deafening inhuman roar of pain shot from the both of Grima’s mouths. Robin’s other self staggered back as blood dripped from the fresh new wound. Heavy blood stained breaths heaved from the fell dragon’s mouth as he clutched the massive scar lining his torso like a massive crevice in the earth.

 

“W-we did it” Robin began to smile as he caught up to Chrom.

 

Chrom shook his head, “not yet there’s still one last thing we have to do” He readied his blade once more.

 

“Right…” Robin’s eyes glided down to his other self’s weakened body.

 

The man let out a weak chuckle in his voice but this time something seemed off, “h-how pathetic like that toothpick would be enough to kill me”

 

“Perhaps but it is enough to make sure you won’t rise again for several more centuries!” Chrom shot back. “And that’s more than enough to create a peaceful future for everyone!”

 

“I-Is that really what you want? A false temporary peace that will only burden future generations with even more hardships than the ones you face now” he said before letting out a cough.

 

“What are you getting at?” Chrom raised an eyebrow, “I have faith in the future generations that they’ll be able to stop you”

 

Grima once again chuckled, “You think me a fool!” He glared at Chrom, however, only one eye appeared crimson while the other was a golden brown, “This defeat is only a minor setback! When I rise again I assure you I will not fail!!

 

Those words sent a chill down Robin’s spine. Especially hearing them from his own voice. He then looked at Robin. Once again it was like looking in a mirror. A dark distorted mirror but this time the image was more clear as if the expression he saw before had changed.

 

And what about you? Do you still deny the truth?”

 

You know I’m right so then why do you deny it? Why do you keep trying to run away from that simple fact? You’re nothing but a shadow! A mere fragment that has broken off from me, your true self!

 

Those words echoed through Robin’s mind and gnawed at his heart. His left hand began to glow with a faint purple hue. Loathe he was to admit it there was a layer of truth to his reflection’s words. They would never know true peace if Grima isn’t killed once and for all. Future generations shouldn’t be burdened with the mistakes of those that came before. And the only way to kill Grima for good was… His nails dug into his palm.

 

“What truth?!” Chrom scowled down at Robin, “The truth is that Robin will always be one of us! He isn’t you and has never been you!”

 

‘Robin’ let out a weak chuckle, “d-don’t make me laugh! We are or at least once were one and the same” He looked through the mirror and locked eyes with Robin, “That is the simple truth you can’t deny”

 

“You’re wrong!” Chrom raised his sword, “and I’ll prove it to you with this final strike!” The blue-haired lord swung downward intent on shattering the mirror.

 

“No, you’re wrong” Robin grabbed his friend’s arm as the sword stopped mere centimeters from the mirror’s surface.

 

“Robin what are you doing?!” Chrom looked back and into his best friend’s stern stare.

 

“Forgive me, Chrom...” Robin yanked his friend’s arm and threw him to the ground.

 

“Robin wait!” Chrom scrambled to his feet only for Robin to blow him away with a wind tome. “Why?” Chrom asked as his tear-filled eyes locked with Robin’s own.

 

Robin merely remained silent and erected a barrier as he turned around.

 

“Daddy! What are you doing?!” Severa cried out as she ran into the barrier. Sparkles of tears flung into the air behind her, “You promised me you weren’t gonna go anywhere! Don’t you dare break your promise like you did last time!”

 

Severa collapsed to her knees, “Please...I don’t wanna be alone again…”

 

Morgan knelt down beside her and wrapped an arm around her older sister, “Severa’s right you just can’t leave us!” Morgan looked up at her father, “Who’s gonna teach me tactics? Who am I gonna try and outsmart whenever I’ve got a new prank? Who’s gonna pat my head when I draft a successful strategy?”

 

Cordelia put her hands on the barrier as tears began to drip from her eyes, “too many times now have I watched loved ones give up their lives for me” she sniffed, “and you of all people should know that! So then why?”

 

Robin merely looked to the floor and remained silent. Each word they said plunged his heart deeper into the abyss. He didn’t want to leave them. He wanted nothing more than together peacefully as a family without any worries or burdens. However, he had to this not only for himself but for them. If he didn’t do it, then that one dream, that one wish would never be a reality.

“Answer me!” his wife cried out, “turn around and answer me damnit!”

 

“I’m sorry” He finally spoke up, “but this is goodbye…”

 

And with that, Cordelia collapsed to the ground and broke out into a wail of sobs

 

Robin then once again then looked through the mirror. What kind of expression would the reflection have now? He saw a clear image of himself with crimson red eyes full of distress.

 

WHAT...WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” His reflection asked.

 

Robin smirked, “You said it yourself, we are one and the same” He took a deep breath, “for once I’m glad you were right about that fact”

 

His crimson eyes widened, “Y-YOU...YOU WOULDN’T DARE!!”

 

“I would and I will” Robin nodded, “The evils you would visit on this are unthinkable…” He locked eyes with his reflection, “In some way, I-no, we share the blame and it’s only right we meet our end together”

 

That’s not…

 

“Not what?” Robin raised an eyebrow, “Not true? Pah don’t make me laugh” A slight grin curved along Robin’s face, “That is the truth whether you like it or not”

 

He narrowed his eyes at himself, “You little…

 

“It hurts doesn’t it?” Robin let out a light chuckle, “hurts to know the truth but regardless it’s about time I-no, we put an end to this”

 

Robin raised his left hand that burned with a bright purple glow as a dark sphere of energy formed above it. He waved it forward through the mirror.

 

“NOOOO…”  He cried out in pain as the mirror shattered into a million pieces.

 

He stumbled back. However, just before he faded away, he smiled and said, “Thank you”

 

“What was…” Robin didn’t have enough time to think as he doubled over in pain.

 

“Robin!” Chrom and Cordelia both cried out as they ran towards him.

 

“Daddy!” Severa and Morgan did the same.

 

He glanced back at his friends and family, “Thank you, for e-everything...T-tell the others...my last thoughts were of them…” He smiled, “May we meet again, in a better life” And with that everything faded to white.

 

------

“Wh-where am I?” Robin opened his eyes to find himself in a sea of clouds.

 

“So finally awake” A familiar voice spoke up.

 

Who said that? Robin turned his head to see a cloaked man that looked exactly like him standing not too far away.

 

“You..” Robin instinctively reached into his cloak to pull out a tome.

 

The man glanced at him, “Peace, Grima is elsewhere and besides what good would that have done we’re both already dead”

 

Robin pulled his hand from his cloak, “Yeah, you’re right” He then looked at the man with a raised eyebrow, “Wait what do you mean Grima is elsewhere?”

 

“It’s as it sounds Grima is elsewhere”

 

“Th-then who are you?”

 

The man sighed and turned to face him. Once again it was like looking through a mirror. A clear straight mirror without any distortion. The same hair, the same face, the same clothes, the same voice, even the same golden brown eyes. Everything was the same.

 

“I am you” He simply said.

 

“What? But I thought…”

 

“Well not exactly…” He looked to the ground, “I am the you of the past. The you with all his memories. The you that…” He bit his lip, “The you that failed. The you that failed to do everything. The you that failed to move on from the past. The you that failed to keep his promises. The you that failed to...”

 

“Stop it” Robin cut him off, “I can’t stand listening to myself say that he’s a failure”

 

“Huh?”

 

Robin raised an eyebrow, “what’s that look for if you are me then you know full well what I’m about to say”

 

He nodded, “Yeah…You aren’t a failure unless you give up”

 

Another nod, “that’s right”

 

His hand tightened into a fist as tears ran down his cheeks, “But I did give up!”

 

Robin remained silent.

 

“I gave up on trying to run away from myself! I gave up on my ‘one more time’! I gave up on my friends and family! ” His voice began to break, “The things I did to Lucina, Morgan, Severa, Chrom, even Cordelia, and everyone else! The pain I put them through all because I gave up! How could they ever forgive me? Maybe I’m just not good...Maybe I’m just-”

 

He was then immediately cut off by Robin punching him in the jaw. His reflection rubbed his cheek and looked up at himself.

 

“I said stop”

 

His eyes glided to the floor.

 

“The minute you start saying you give up and don’t get back up is when you truly give up” Robin then extended an open palm, “So get up”

 

He grabbed his hand and was pulled to his feet. “Thanks… but why?”

 

Robin smirked, “Well you may be quick to give up on yourself but I’m not”

He snickered, “Yeah we are the same after all”

 

Robin nodded, “we are and it’s because of that that I can’t give up on you. You don’t overcome your failures or mistakes by running away from them or by letting them consume you. You have to acknowledge them and truly correct them to overcome them and move forward”

 

“You’re right that’s something I had forgotten a long time ago”

 

“Well it’s never too late to change” He pointed to himself, “you already have after all”

 

He snickered again, “Yeah, you’re right”

 

“You’re me and I am you,” Robin said.

 

An echo of familiar voices began to radiate across the sky as specs of light began to sparkle around Robin’s body.

 

“What the…”

 

“Must be nice to have friends that care for you that much” His reflection smiled. “It looks like it’s time for you to go”

 

“Right...but I’m sure I’ll see you again, right? All I have to do is look in a mirror”

 

His reflection shook his head, “No, because You are not me anymore”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“It’s as you said you have to acknowledge your past and correct it to overcome it and move forward”

 

Robin remained silent as the lights grew brighter around him.

 

“So again, Thank you for freeing me from yourself”

 

“No, Thank you”

 

And with that, everything once again faded to white

Spoiler

that was a long one. I had a lot to convey here. I'm not sure how to feel about this one. Some parts I'm really proud of. Some parts I'm not very part of and then there are a few parts that I just don't like. Maybe I rushed the ending a little bit I dunno. Oh well I'll leave that up you guys. I actually went through three or four different ideas and like twice as many rough drafts. One idea was a sort of cute himedere romance-esque story. Another idea I had was to write about Severa's little argument with her mom but I just couldn't figure out how to properly start that story and build up to the initial conflict. The last idea before this one was novelizing chapters 9 and 10 of awakening where Emmeryn sacrificed herself but it felt a little too unoriginal for me so I scrapped it. Oh well maybe I could use some of those other ideas for other prompts.

 

Edited by Ottservia

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Man, only two entries so far with just a few days left? This isn't looking to be a very big round at all. 😞

Edited by Anacybele

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10 hours ago, TheSilentChloey said:

It must have been a difficult theme to work with.

I mean I wouldn’t say it was but that’s just me. I only struggled because I just couldn’t figure out how to plot out a couple of my initial ideas. That’s just me though.

Edit: could also have to do with length. For sacrifice to be effective you have to properly build up to it so the weight of the sacrifice is felt by the reader in the same way it is felt by the characters. That’s one problem I ran into anyway.

Edited by Ottservia

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26 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

I mean I wouldn’t say it was but that’s just me. I only struggled because I just couldn’t figure out how to plot out a couple of my initial ideas. That’s just me though.

Edit: could also have to do with length. For sacrifice to be effective you have to properly build up to it so the weight of the sacrifice is felt by the reader in the same way it is felt by the characters. That’s one problem I ran into anyway.

Depending on the type of sacrifice yes, you would need to do a longer story.  That is true.

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3 hours ago, Ottservia said:

could also have to do with length. For sacrifice to be effective you have to properly build up to it so the weight of the sacrifice is felt by the reader in the same way it is felt by the characters. That’s one problem I ran into anyway.

Yeah, that's what's going on with me. Gotta properly build up to my sacrifice (which is turning up quite a bit more disturbing than I originally planned)

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10 minutes ago, DarthR0xas said:

Yeah, that's what's going on with me. Gotta properly build up to my sacrifice (which is turning up quite a bit more disturbing than I originally planned)

Can’t wait, then.

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gonna be camping so I'm not sure I'll be able to submit my thing. I think Sunday is just exactly when I get back, unfortunately. 

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You have until the end of Sunday though, literally midnight in the eastern US timezone. Though I don't know if that's yours...

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Alright, managed to scrape this together. It actually turned out less disturbing than planned, mainly since I dropped a lot of the other ideas I had, they were a tad nonsensical. Anyways.

Title: The Fires of a Loss

Word Count: 1931

Universe: Elibe

Spoiler

Louise knocks another arrow onto her bow, aiming at the greyed-out husk of a man in front of her. What Lord Nergal had done to make this beast a thing, she didn’t know. All she cared about was the threat it posed to Lord Pent, and their unborn child. She let loose the arrow, watching as it pierced right into the skull of the warrior standing in front of her. And as he stood there, dying, she saw the color return to his face, and as his eyes closed, he smiled, before turning to ash.

But she couldn’t spare a thought about that, as she quickly ran out of the small green room into the much larger green hall. Why Lord Nergal had made the hall such a garish color with almost no adornments, she would never know, but she really thought it could use a lady’s touch.

Regardless, she saw her husband up ahead, battling with another one of the “morphs”, as she had heard Lord Hector refer to them. This one had red robes and used light magic. It was also currently bringing the pain to Lord Pent.

“Pent!” She screamed as she was running as fast as she could.
“Louise, stay back, I’ll handle this on my own!” He shouted back as he got hit by another blast of light.

She knew that she wouldn’t make it there in time and began to despair. What would it mean if Pent died? How could she live on like that, how would she support their child?

But before she started truly panicking, she looked up and saw a comforting sight. Lord Eliwood has galloped over and stuck a lance right into the heart of the morph tormenting her husband, and like the one she had just killed, the color had returned to its face before smiling and subsequently turning to ash.

“Lord Pent, are you alright?” Eliwood asked with a concerned look on his face.

“Perfectly fine, thanks to you Lord Eliwood.” Pent responded, while holding his arm.

“You don’t look fine,” Eliwood said. “SERRA! GET OVER HERE AND HEAL UP PENT!”

“Oh, there’s no need to do that Lord Eli-”

“Dear, just let her heal you” Louise said as she grabbed onto Pent’s arm

“Well, if my lady insists, then I suppose I must be healed.” Pent said with a fake exasperated tone.

As if on que, the light indicating the use of a physic staff lit up above Pent’s head, and his scars disappeared.

“Much better” Pent said, “Shall we go Louise?”

“Of course, Lord Pent.” Louise said as the both ran to the next target.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With one swift sword slash, Lady Lyndis had cut down the man behind all of this, Lord Nergal. It all seemed to be over. Or so Louise thought as she turned to the man she loved

“Oh Lord Pent, we can finally go home an-”

“Hold Louise, do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

“The power emanating from that portal.”

As they both looked at it, the room began to shake violently. A red light filled the portal as three dragons emerged

“Emancipated Elimine, are those real dragons Lord Pent” Louise asked, grabbing onto his arm.

“I believe so Louise, stand back, I’ll take care of them.” Pent confidently replied, grabbing onto his fimbulvetr.

“You may not need to, Lord Pent. Look, Lord Athos is handling it.” Louise said, pointing at the old man as he shambled forward, his blue robes and grey hair seeming to almost fly-away in the wind coming from the portal. But before he could raise his arms, the beasts all attacked him.
Athos was pushed backwards by the sheer force of the flame, the arms of his coat becoming singed by their heat.

“Lord Athos” Pent screamed as his master fell to the floor.

But before he could rush forward, a flash of light shown throughout the hall, as two figures appeared on the steps. One of the figures, who Louise quickly identified as Ninian, ran forward and used some form of ice magic, immediately killing two of the dragons, and harshly damaging the third. Then Ninian collapsed, and the other figure grabbed her and disappeared.

“Chosen ones, you must stop the final dragon” Athos declared before falling back.

With this, Lyn rushed forward at the dragon. As she unsheathed her sword, Louise had to blink a couple times, since it was as though she was seeing quintuple. Lyn was moving so fast that five versions of her appeared to be attacking the dragon. Yet they all had to just be one version, as when she sheathed her sword, there was only one of her there.

After Lyn’s speedy barrage, Eliwood galloped up. Brandishing his Durandal, the horse he was riding stood on its hind legs before rushing the dragon. Right as it was about to collide, the horse leaped high into the air, as Eliwood brought the sword down on the Dragon’s head.

Hector stomped up to the Dragon, and didn’t give it a second to rest. He raised his axe and began spinning it. He spun it so fast that one couldn’t even discern where the axe was, and could only see a circle of silver spiraling around Hector’s head. Then he slammed it down, using such power that the Earth shook. He picked it up, spun it one last time on his right, then leaped into the air. As he hit the dragon’s head, it smashed into the ground and broke the ground around it.

“Maybe we can win this” Pent said.

But he spoke too soon, for the Fire Dragon raised its head and rained down fire on the three lords who attacked it. The smell of burnt cloth filled the air

“Egads, I need to help them” Pent said as he ran up towards the dragon. He pulled out his tome and threw forth a spell. Chunks of ice formed around the Fire Dragon and it lifted its head up in what looks like pain. Except it wasn’t pain, it was only preparing another attack. The fire dragon spit back a pillar of flame at the Mage General.

“PENT!” Louise screamed as she ran to him. As she got close to him, she saw the burn wounds on his hands, and his slightly singed hair. The Fire Dragon was preparing another attack for him, but Louise was prepared to stop it. She stopped in front of her husband and launched an arrow at the dragon, landing right on its jaw. The dragon staggered a second, then spit a barrage of fire at Louise.

The heat was unbearable, it was like being in an oven that’s in the Nabata Desert. It seemed to burn at every part of her. Then she felt it. Through the scorching pain, there was a desperate thumping. The baby in her womb couldn’t handle it, the heat was killing it. She wanted to move, to try and dodge, fire surrounded her. She could only take the flame.

Her baby was trying, she could hear its screams of pain, and then, silence. It had stopped moving, it had stopped screaming. She could no longer feel it. The crucial connection, the most basic and important one in the world, the connection of a mother to her child, had just been severed by this dragon.

Louise was enraged, enraged beyond all belief. She gripped her silver bow harder than life itself, although the metal burned her hand, and drew an arrow. She pulled the bow back as far as it could go, and let it go. The arrow flew true and struck the dragon right in the heart. It roared in pain and disappeared into the night.

But Louise didn’t see that, she collapsed to the floor, weeping. She was mentally shattered. “How could I let this happen?” She asked herself between all the bitter tears.

“Louise?” Pent asked, “What’s wrong?”

Louise didn’t hear his question. His words barely even registered in her mind. “This can’t be real, please let this not be real.”

Realizing what occurred, Pent kneeled down and grasped Louise tightly.

“It’s ok” He said as Louise bawled into his shoulder. “Everything will be fine.”

But internally, he too was devastated. It was all he could muster to keep a strong face for his wife. Sure, they had killed the dragon, they had saved the world, but was it worth it?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eliwood knocked on the door of the estate of Pent and Louise. To his surprise, Pent himself answered the door.

“Ah, Lord Eliwood. A pleasant surprise, what brings you to my humble abode?”

“I heard what happened, Lord Pent. I am truly sorry for your loss, I should’ve-”

“Eliwood, you’re good. There’s nothing you could’ve done. We all committed fully to that fight, and Louise went in knowing she was pregnant. There is no need for you to shoulder any blame.”

“How are you guys holding up?”

“I-, it’s hard to put into words what I’m feeling, Lord Eliwood. I need to keep a straight face, being the Mage General of Etruia. I still have business matters to attend to, and yet, I can’t do them. The loss is too massive to comprehend.”

“Is there anything I ca-”

“I WAS GOING TO BE A FATHER ELIWOOD! We had a name picked out, it would be our little boy Klein. Louise was even going to try sewing some stuff for him, she was trying to learn before we went off to fight. It would’ve been such a happy time.”

Pent started to cry while leaning on the door, but quickly composed himself.

“Ah, sorry. I shouldn’t hold you up with this. You have far more important matters to attend to, having to help rebuild the world and all.”

“Pent, you don’t need to do this on your own. Your sacrifice is greater than anyone else’s.”

“I have Louise, and she has me. That’s all the people necessary for this, no need to bother others.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Louise had been listening to the conversation from a few rooms over. She had just woken up, her eyes still red and puffy from the previous night. And the were starting to water again when Pent started yelling. He had been trying not to cry, for her. Keeping a composed attitude, for her. And then she heard it. She heard Pent crying. She heard the bitter tears of a man who lost that which he deemed crucial. And she almost rushed out there to comfort him, but he stopped crying almost as fast as he had started.

So she just laid there, waiting for Pent to finish his conversation. A few minutes later, she heard the door close and saw Pent walk into the room.

“Sorry about the noise Louise, didn’t mean to wake you.”

“It’s ok Pent, I had woken up before it started anyways.”

“That’s good to know, wouldn’t want to-” Pent stared before Louise interrupted him.

“Come here Pent.” It was an order, but she used such a motherly tone.

“What?”

“I said get over here” She was on the verge of tears once more.

As Pent walked over, Louise embraced him tighter than she ever had before.

“It’s ok for you to cry Pent. You don’t need to hide it from me. We’ll get through this together.”

Pent slumped over, and started to cry. At first a gentle weep, building up to full on bawling. Louise started crying along side the man she loved. They held each other tightly, determined not to let their last hope slip away. And that's where they remained, tears running down their faces, in the moments that seemed to last for an eternity.

 

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An idea hit during work yesterday, so I managed to rush this out last night. Personally, I think if you need trigger warnings you don't belong on the internet, but I can't exactly keep you all off the internet so I suppose a warning will have to be in order. This is a rather dark piece. Interestingly, I specifically wondered what @Shoblongoo would think of this while writing it, not sure why.

NAME: Two Silver Candlesticks

Spoiler

“What is the meaning of this?”

Sister Carlina had wondered why Agra had given her the body she had for a long time. Ever since she began developing and realized she was inheriting the figure her father’s side of her family was known for, she’d questioned Agra’s placement of the blessing. What good was a body that drew men’s eyes if the woman inside would never use it for what Agra had given it for, to say nothing of the difficulty she was for many of the churchgoers, young men who were supposed to be focusing on their devotion to Agra?

“P-please...”

Now, standing in an alleyway, facing several thugs who had cornered a young girl, barely a woman, the reason for which had swiftly become obvious, she found herself silently asking the question of the goddess once more as more than one of the men performed a double-take upon seeing her.

“Now, now, Sister,” The apparent leader of the thugs said, spreading his hands innocently, “It’s not what it looks like. This young lady’s lost, see, and we found her here and, being gentlemen, thought perhaps we’d escort her out of the general area, what with all the less-savory folks one finds in the marketplace, but you see, she doubted our intentions and attempted to run when we asked her to hold for a moment. We only just caught her and were about to explain things when you arrived.”

“It’s not true, Sister!” The girl cried, struggling to get free of the two men holding her arms. “Th-they want me to...t-to…”

It was rather obvious what they’d wanted her to do, given that one of them had already undone his belt, the girl’s jacket lay on the ground where they’d ripped it off her, and one of the two holding her had a hand still frozen on her skirt.

“Now see, Sister, it’s as I said, we haven’t had time to explain things.”

She didn’t have much time - only Nieln or higher Monks and Sisters carried the whips that had earned the devotees of Agra the status of Dangerous To Engage among the filth of the slums, and she was still an Olmed, one rank below. Once these men realized the star over her navel had only seven points, they would rush her before she could get to the boundaries of the church’s influence, where any nearby devotees would be alerted to her distress, and they would likely ensure her body was never found - the church of Agra was harsh to those who were discovered to have raised hand against one of her disciples, so it would be necessary to ensure it was never discovered if any of them wanted to keep their reproductive organs attached.

“I appreciate your willingness to be of assistance,” Sister Carlina said, “Agra’s blessing be upon you. I can escort the girl from here, if you please.”

The thug leader sized this up. If he was anything like his cronies, the goon would have given her a thorough visual examination, and he was experienced enough to sound sophisticated when faced with a member of clergy. In other words, he’d probably noticed her seven-pointed star and was trying to remember if it was seven or eight points he needed to fear. There was also the possibility of companionship - Agra disciples usually traveled in threes, one junior disciple serving two senior disciples. If Sister Carlina was the junior disciple, they made an attempt on her, and her seniors - who would have the infamous whips - appeared, they would be doomed. If, however, she was one of the senior disciples, her companions would be nearby, and could run for help if necessary, meaning they would need to corner all three of them before they could make any move.

...It was pure bad luck that she had decided to travel alone for this journey. She prayed in her heart that they wouldn’t realize-

Footsteps behind, from the head of the alley.

“All clear, boss, not a lawman in- eh?”

...Damn. Agra disciples were technically considered something like unofficial ‘lawmen’ by the underworld. No lawmen around meant she was alone.

The thug leader, meanwhile, smiled darkly - he seemed to have remembered he didn’t need to be afraid of death until eight-pointed stars. Had she been a Nieln, she could probably have left every one of these criminals dead. As it was, an Olmed would certainly injure most of them - cripple some, even, which on the streets eventually meant death - but they would overpower her in the end, and the girl would only possibly escape in the commotion, and likely wouldn’t be able to make it far.

...As she racked her brain for knowledge of what to do, an idea suddenly presented itself. It was not her idea - she never would have considered it by herself - but it was there, and the words were out of her mouth before she knew what she was saying.

“A trade, then - myself for her.”

One of the thugs let go of the girl without apparently realizing he had. The leader paused, unsure of whether he’d heard right.

“...What, exactly, are you meaning by trade, if I may be so bold?”

Sister Carlina considered the idea she hadn’t had, but had come to her nonetheless. If these men could be trusted to hold to their word, the girl would be saved.

She, on the other hand…

“I mean you will let the girl go, and I…”

...Her fate would be most dire.

“...will stay here in her place.”

The other man holding the girl also let go of her. The leader considered Sister Carlina’s answer as she herself turned the somewhat absurd idea over in her head. If this idea was indeed given her by Agra, why would the goddess ask this of her?

“...So we let the girl go, and you stay here. What guarantee do we have that we won’t wake up within the week to find your fellow Sisters knocking on our door?”

Could it be...

“...You misunderstand me.”

...this was why she’d been given such specific blessings?

“I will stay...of my own volition.”

This gave the leader pause.

If the church of Agra was harsh on those who dared to lay a hand on its disciples, it was brutal to any disciples who broke their vows. The bare minimum punishment for Monks was castration, generally paired with amputation of the legs just below the knee. Agra’s doctrine taught that women were purer and more holy than men, so the Sisters had even more brutal punishments for tainting themselves - execution was considered slightly on the lighter side of justice, and it was taught that ritual suicide was the only way to truly receive forgiveness for such serious sin, for both Monks and Sisters.

What Sister Carlina was offering, then, was something these men wouldn’t be able to just ignore - that is, a victim who would willingly ensure that no evidence of their misdeeds came to light.

After a moment, the leader, rubbing his chin, jerked his head to the right, indicating she was to move back to where the girl was before they let her go. Sister Carlina did so, resting a hand on the girl’s shoulder.

“S-sister, what-”
“I need you to do something for me, young one.”
“S-sister?”
“I left a bag of groceries at the head of the alley. Please, take this.” She removed the carving of Agra from around her neck, and handed it to the girl. “I am no longer worthy of the goddess. Take this, and the groceries, to the Jhilea Chapel. If you are detained, show them the carving and say you are only to give it to Sister Nihila. She will understand what happened.”
“Sister...you’re not really going to-”
“I have bought your soul for Agra with my own. Do not make the goddess repent of exacting this price of me.”

“...Y-yes, Sister.”

“Go. May Agra watch over you, child.”

The girl nodded and ran.

Run, poor girl. May the goddess keep you safe.

With that, Sister Carlina turned to the men, all of whom were smiling wickedly, and took a deep, steadying breath.

“Now, gentlemen, I am yours.”

...She refused to allow herself to flinch, even as the first hand grabbed at the ties holding the two pieces of her robe together.

Notes(Post-Read Please):

Spoiler

Everything in this piece came out of my head last night or this morning, and I think the piece honestly suffers from the rush a bit - for example, I didn't take time to properly build up the world involved, and the information I do have in feels rushed and poorly done, at least to me, who likes to take several days working on properly building up background info before writing for a world. That being said, I do like the intriguing implications of the world here, so while I doubt I'll make time to flesh it out more, I'd be more than fine if anyone else decides they want to use this particular world or flesh it out themselves, whether for or outside of this event.
For those wondering, the name is meant as a reference, and has nothing to do with the piece itself.

 

Edited by SoulWeaver

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Here we go!  The non participant entry:

Title: Sacrifice

Words: 1,166

Fandom: Original Universe

Spoiler

"Hey, Claire!" The voice called interrupting her chain of thought, "You still good for tonight?"

"Yeah." She said simply.

 

The redhead sighed as she tossed the coin into the air.  It was the most horrible time of the season for those who didn't actually have that much to spare.

 

Which was why she sacrificed her time to the local food van.  Sure it didn't actually earn her anything, but it was nice to see the smiles from those who were less fortunate as they didn't have to go hungry for the night.

 

Sure she wasn't exactly rolling in cash herself- but it was the least she could do.  It wasn't like she could exactly take money for this.

 

She popped her headphones in and began to listen to one of her favourite tracks, a Spanish inspired guitar solo that always put her in a good mood and made her move along with what she hoped was grace.

 

Claire trotted down the street as the song continued and she saw the usual faces of the locals whom she almost always passed but never really stopped to look or talk to.  She bounced along to the track as she headed to her art class. She was in a good mood today it seemed.

 

~*~

 

Claire was the first to arrive to the classroom and she set up her easel to begin her work.  She naturally sent a quick text message to her girlfriend Theresa. The two had been apart for a week due to the fact that Theresa had gone to visit her family- and almost always came back depressed when she did.

 

Still Claire had to make sure that her girlfriend would be okay and all.  She was surprised when a text came back and smiled as she read it,

"B home soon wanna help you tonight ❤️"

Claire smiled happily and the teacher came in, "Ah, hello Claire."

"Hey Ms Shield, nice to see you."

The teacher chuckled, "Well I did say you could call me Agatha, but I suppose that will be fine." She smiled, her long white hair pulled back in a rather small bun.  Agatha Shield was the art teacher at the Academy for Arts and Drama, a staple of the local, and like a mother to all of her students. Her bright brown eyes were full of life and despite the wrinkles and occasional shakes she was one of the best at her job.  Though Claire knew the sweet teacher was battling Parkinson's disease. Even with the advancing of the disease, it was clear that the older woman loved to be there.

 

Other students filed in, warm hellos exchanged between everyone.  As per usual everyone was working on their own projects, someone brought their music and the class passed as smoothly as ever.

 

It did make Claire wonder though, why Ms Shield had given up a multimillion dollar artist career for a low paying job as an art teacher.

 

Claire left the lesson to head to the airport to pick up Theresa, this time opting to take the car.  Delicate fingers tapped the steering wheel as soft music played. All around Claire were other people who for the most part were going about their daily lives.  She spotted her friend from art class, Helen Applis talking to a small distraught child. Claire knew Helen was a police officer when she wasn't in class and it seemed that even off duty, Helen was quick to help others as best she could.

 

The hum of the engine was cut when Claire finally found a park at the airport.  She noticed a couple with kids struggling to keep them together as their youngest, a small baby was crying unmercifully.  Claire spoke, "Sir, I saw you drop these."

The man turned to the source of the voice, "Oh, thank you!" He cried as Claire had picked up the flight tickets that had been dropped, "Sorry," he said as a hand ran through his dark brown hair, "We...we have to fly out to see my mother.  She's very sick and things have been stressful. I am grateful for your help, really."

Claire smiled, "It was no trouble at all." She said, "I hope you have a safe trip and that your mother gets better soon."

"Thank you, ma'am." He smiled for a moment and Claire left the family relieved that she was able to help a stressed man feel a little better, if for the moment.

 

"Claire Bear!" Came the warm loving voice of her girlfriend having just come from seeing her own parents.  The pair embraced warmly and for the moment the world was still.

"Reesa!"  Claire smiled, "I am glad to see you." She said as they pulled a part for a chaste kiss.

 

Theresa had beautiful dark hair that waved its way halfway down her back and gorgeous grey eyes.  Of course Claire wasn't one for just looks, Theresa had been studying to become a doctor, in the hope she could go back to her home country one day to help those who couldn't afford medical care.  Though by the looks of it, Theresa was going to defer her course again. Claire could feel the sadness hiding under the surface,

 

"Hey, Reesa, why don't you and I go to the cute little café down the road and have some iced chocolate muffins?"

 

The drive was quiet, for a small while but then Theresa spoke, "I spoke with my father." She said oddly not as sad as she normally might be,

Claire took a brief moment to look at her girlfriend, "Oh god.  Did he…?"

It was well known that her family was so deeply religious that, more often than not every single time she came home was a time they treated her poorly.  Claire remembered the first time and it hurt to see Theresa so upset.

 

Of course it was a stark contrast to Claire's own family, as they had welcomed Theresa with open arms, even though she was from an entirely different culture.

 

The trip to café was just the thing that the pair needed.  Of course they had a couple of muffins and the whole story came to light.

 

Theresa had been given a choice, either she marry some arrogant man that had been arranged for her, breaking up with Claire in the process, or she would be completely cut off from her family, never to see them again but still with Claire.

 

Theresa smiled softly, "I told my father I would never bow to his wishes, I think I must have shocked him."

"I'll say." Claire said with a shocked expression, "Why force you to choose?"

"The family's reputation." Theresa said bitterly, "But it doesn't matter now." She smiled.  Claire smiled in response.

"I'm truly grateful you chose to follow your heart, Reesa."

The pair lent in for a sweet kiss, "No, Claire Bear, I'm happy because it was a sacrifice I should have made sooner.  I'm glad I did it."

 

 

Let's see how many sacrifices you can find in this story, as well as references XD

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Title: Resplendent Death

Words: 1303

Fandom: History (Sengoku Jidai)

Spoiler

The late summer sun beat down on two old friends as they sat in the garden of the splendid fortress of Fushimi Castle. Cherry blossoms floated all around them as they sat in the garden, calm and graceful against the backdrop of the storm of war. There was no talking for now, only quiet contemplation. Both of these men knew what was to come, and their part to play in it. For now it would be better to enjoy these few moments of solitude and peace before speaking of martial matters.

 

Between them was a table with several glasses of fine sake from Nada province, a fine vintage. This luxury was something few could afford, but for a meeting such as this nothing but the best would do. These men were samurai, more than that they were great daimyo, and even beyond that, they held the fate of all of Japan in their hands. 

 

That spectre loomed large over Tokugawa Ieyasu and Torii Motodata, for the war to come was shaping up to be the last great contest of arms for control of Japan. Over a hundred years of civil war would culminate in one final showdown of Eastern Japan and Western Japan. 

 

“Your son does well in my service,” Ieyasu was the first to break the silence under his right as the superior in rank, “You have raised a good and loyal man.”

 

“That is all I have ever wished for him, my lord,” Mototada drank another sip of his sake before putting his cup down, “If he can carry on our clan’s honor after me, then what else is there for a father to be worried about?” 

 

“Hah, true! My own Hidetada is full of fury and passion, I do wonder if he’ll change for the better before I pass,” Ieyasu gaze wandered into the bottom of his cup and he stared at his reflection.

 

“He is one and twenty, such things are to be expected,” Mototada reminded with a small wry smile, “I remember a young lord who was once unbearably eager to make his own mark on the world.”

 

The era of chaos must be quelled, will you stand with me unto the end?” Ieyasu himself smiled as he recalled the words spoken in a garden a long time in a castle far far away. 

 

“My answer today is the same as the answer I gave all those years ago, my lord. To whatever end,” Mototada then drank of his cup and took a deep breath. 

 

The summer sun began to lower from its place in the sky, falling towards the west. The air began to cool, and warmth the sake provided became a pleasant counterpart to the breeze. 

 

“The storm will arrive here first,” Ieyasu acknowledged grimly, “When Ishida Mitsunari marches he must take Fushimi Castle before advancing.” 

 

“He will find me here waiting for him,” Mototada affirmed with determination and a steely gaze, “This is my home, and my men and I are loyal. He will find the gates of this castle closed, and will have to take it by force or attrition.” 

 

“Ishida will no doubt choose to storm, for every delay is taxing in war,” The long years of conflict had taught them both hard lessons about speed in warfare.

 

Mototada drank deeply of his sake and then set his cup down gently. For a moment the old warrior reflected on the garden before turning back to Ieyasu.

 

“Do not call upon the banners of Mikawa, Suruga, or Mino to come to my aid. Ask not for the Hattori or what remains of Oda’s men,” Ieyasu listened intently, for he always valued Mototada’s counsel, “You will need them for the battles to come. There would be no sense in them dying here in Fushimi.” 

 

“Myself and my 2,000 will sell our lives dearly, there are greater things at stake than such small considerations,” Hesitation did not exist in the utterance of these words, for not once in his life was Torii Mototada a man to utter words carelessly. 

 

Ieyasu did not respond with words. Merely, the great lord of Eastern Japan poured one last glass of sake for his old friend. This would be the last cup they would ever share together, best to treat the moment with respect. To be a samurai was first to serve, in life and death. That duty above all others, that bond above all other ties. For now, there would be a moment of quiet, of calm. The moment and the storm would come soon, but not for the moment. 

 

In this moment two old friends would share a glass of fine sake, and honor the lives behind and ahead of them. 

 

 


 

 

Ten Days. It had been Ten Days since the banners appeared outside Fushimi Castle. It had been Ten Days since 40,000 men stormed the walls of the castle, determined to make it past their defenses and towards the rest of Japan. 

 

“Death! Death! Death!” The chanting of the remaining defenders repeated ceaselessly even as the flames burned all around them. 

 

“Death! Death! Death!” 2,000 had become first 1,600, then 900, and finally 200 as the central keep stood alone against the Ishida onslaught. 

 

The cherry trees were burned, consumed by infernos on the sixth day of fighting. Forty brave samurai and their swords now were the grim monument that remained. Fushimi Castle, once so beautiful a sight, would soon be nothing but ashes. 

 

Lord Mototada was sitting down, dressed in his finest kimono. The old warrior looked the very picture of serenity, even with the battle raging all around him. The final letters were sent, his affairs in order, all that was left was his own personal honor. He hoped, in his final letter to his son, that some spirit of the clan would go forward to do great things in the years to come. 

 

It is not the Way of the Warrior to be shamed and avoid death even under circumstances that are not particularly important ... 

 

For myself, I am resolved to make a stand within the castle and to die a quick death. It would not take much trouble to break through a part of their numbers and escape, no matter how many tens of thousands of horsemen approached for the attack or by how many columns we were surrounded. 

 

But that is not the true meaning of being a warrior, and it would be difficult to account as loyalty. Rather, I will stand off the forces of the entire country here, and ... die a resplendent death

 

The flames outside licked higher and higher, the enemy closing in. There was but one thing left to do. 

 

Mototada nodded to one of his attendants, a skilled young man who would do his duty quickly. He took up position to his side. Mototada himself reached for his wakizashi. Deep breaths, a silent calm. No hesitation. He had done his duty, he had served his master well. 

 

He only wished that he could have done more in his name, that wish, was the right of every dead man. 

 

Mototada plunged the wakizashi into his belly, and his attendant quickly brought down his katana upon his head. A quick death, in the service of his lord and in the cause of a Japan that might know peace at last. 

 

Mototada could not have known that his sacrifice had bought the Tokugawa army time to gather. He would not have seen the great battle at Sekigahara where all things came to an end. Yet, in the end none of this mattered to the Last Lord of Fushimi. 

 

In life and death, to be samurai, was to serve. Torii Mototada had served, obeyed, and died content. In the end, what more can be asked of a life? 


 

 

notes: for some reason I can't remove the bold tag from my text. I've been trying but for some Reason I can't at time of posting. I'll try and figure out what's wrong. 

Edited by jankmaster98

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Submissions should be over now, so voting poll soon? I'll get to my critique as soon as I finish reading the latest entries. Latest being a big word here. lol

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Okay so while we wait for @AnonymousSpeed to put the poll up I guess I'll start giving out my feedback

@Anacybele

Spoiler

I really enjoyed this piece. It was sweet and somber and the end really did pack a big emotional punch. I really did care for the characters and you did a good job of selling their emotions especially in that final scene. I really did get the impression that they loved both each other and their kid. That being said, I feel you could've lightened up on the narration a little or at the very least make the narration a little more impact. Like give the narration a little more voice like weave the character's thoughts and 'voice' into the objective narration. for the most part it's fine except in the final scene where it's the most noticeable. Like try to really sell everything that Bryce is feeling in that moment. You didn't do a bad job at doing that but you could've done a better job. It's good just not as great as it could've been is what I'm saying. Also PoV was a little confusing at times cause again the narrator was a little too objective. Like I said work a little bit on weaving character 'voice' into the narration. All in all though it was pretty good.

@DarthR0xas

Spoiler

Okay so this wasn't a bad piece and I really did feel for the characters in it. You did well to sell their grief and anger in the aftermath. However I feel like the main problem is the lack of build up as it stands it's not a huge deal but I feel one scene establishing their relationship and the pregnancy(as well as addressing the risks involved in a pregnant woman fighting on the battlefield cause really that shouldn't be happening) before the battle would've made the scene pack so much more of an emotional punch. Also the action scene was little wordy? I think? I dunno how to critique cause actions scenes are difficult. I just feel maybe it could've been broken up a little more with shorter descriptors. Like I said I don't know how to fully articulate this. Still though not a bad piece

That's all for now will put out the rest of my feedback in the coming days as I read more of the entries.

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3 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

I really enjoyed this piece. It was sweet and somber and the end really did pack a big emotional punch. I really did care for the characters and you did a good job of selling their emotions especially in that final scene. I really did get the impression that they loved both each other and their kid. That being said, I feel you could've lightened up on the narration a little or at the very least make the narration a little more impact. Like give the narration a little more voice like weave the character's thoughts and 'voice' into the objective narration. for the most part it's fine except in the final scene where it's the most noticeable. Like try to really sell everything that Bryce is feeling in that moment. You didn't do a bad job at doing that but you could've done a better job. It's good just not as great as it could've been is what I'm saying. Also PoV was a little confusing at times cause again the narrator was a little too objective. Like I said work a little bit on weaving character 'voice' into the narration. All in all though it was pretty good.

Yay! Glad you liked it that much. ^^ And okay, but I don't really understand what you mean by giving the narration more voice. Could you explain a bit more? I'm sorry for being confused. Do you mean like, more description compared to the dialogue? I do have that problem sometimes, I admit.

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25 minutes ago, Anacybele said:

Yay! Glad you liked it that much. ^^ And okay, but I don't really understand what you mean by giving the narration more voice. Could you explain a bit more? I'm sorry for being confused. Do you mean like, more description compared to the dialogue? I do have that problem sometimes, I admit.

No problem. The way I worded it was a little confusing. I guess what I'm trying to say get into the character's head a little better.  Again the Narration you use is a little too objective and distant from the characters. Like what I mean is that the narration doesn't sound like it's coming from any given character but rather just some random outside force that just so happens to be relaying the events without really either weighing in on it or showcasing the character's thoughts like I said it's too objective. Though now that I put it like that I guess what I'm trying to say is weave the character's thoughts into the narration like for example instead of saying:

Elena and Bryce had to accept that she was gone and there was nothing they could do about it

you should write:

Bryce just stood there motionless as his infant son wailed in his arms. She was gone. She really was gone and there was nothing he nor Elena could do about it. No matter what either of them did his wife was never coming back.

Do you see the difference? My version takes what the characters are feeling and really emphasis it through what the PoV character is likely thinking. It's made very clear whose head I'm in and what his thoughts are while also relaying the necessary information in a way that's not too explicit. It invites the reader into Bryce's head space and allows them to draw their own conclusions without directly explaining it. I dunno if that made any sense but that's the best way I know how to explain it.

 

Edited by Ottservia

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3 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

No problem. The way I worded it was a little confusing. I guess what I'm trying to say get into the character's head a little better.  Again the Narration you use is a little too objective and distant from the characters. Like what I mean is that the narration doesn't sound like it's coming from any given character but rather just some random outside force that just so happens to be relaying the events without really either weighing in on it or showcasing the characters like I said it's too objective. Though now that I put it like that I guess what I'm trying to say is weave the character's thoughts into the narration like for example instead of saying:

Elena and Bryce had to accept that she was gone and there was nothing they could do about it

you should write:

Bryce just stood there motionless as his infant son wailed in his arms. She was gone. She really was gone and there was nothing he nor Elena could do about it. No matter what either of them did his wife was never coming back.

Do you see the difference? My version takes what the characters are feeling and really emphasis it through what the PoV character is likely thinking. It's made very clear whose head I'm in and what his thoughts are while also relaying the necessary information in a way that's not too explicit. It invites the reader into Bryce's head space and allows them to draw their own conclusions without directly explaining it. I dunno if that made any sense but that's the best way I know how to explain it.

 

Ohhh. I believe I understand now. That does make a lot more sense and that second example does look better. Thanks!

Edited by Anacybele

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47 minutes ago, Anacybele said:

Ohhh. I believe I understand now. That does make a lot more sense and that second example does look better. Thanks!

No problem. It’s all about understanding what you want to convey and the best way convey it and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it is best to always be as implicit as possible.  That’s really what show don’t tell really means at the end of the day.

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1 minute ago, Ottservia said:

No problem. It’s all about understanding what you want to convey and the best way convey it and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it is best to always be as implicit as possible.  That’s really what show don’t tell really means at the end of the day.

Yeah, you're right about that.

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2 hours ago, Anacybele said:

Submissions should be over now, so voting poll soon?

1 hour ago, Ottservia said:

Okay so while we wait for @AnonymousSpeed to put the poll up I guess I'll start giving out my feedback

I'm on it! I'm on it! I'm beggin' y'all- don't call me slow!

OP update brought to you by the power of pursuit.

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@SoulWeaver

Spoiler

A short and simple piece that conveys a simple yet deep idea. I enjoyed this one and actually it was well paced and the world was just as fleshed out as it needed to be for me to understand the gravity and urgency of the situation as well as the implications of the sacrifice. I like what you did here taking the prompt in a very interesting direction. 

@jankmaster98

Spoiler

Hmmm an interesting and one I liked(lots of good works in this round). It was interesting on the prompt and I'm always a sucker for Samurai honor stories so this one was a treat. It was simple yet effective at conveying the idea of sacrificing oneself to honor one's lord as a warrior. I gotta say it was pretty good.

 

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Okay, time for some critique.

@DarthR0xas Thank you thank you thank you for addressing my biggest issue with Pent and Louise. As Ottservia said, a pregnant woman should not be going into battle! But also as he said, there wasn't really enough build up here, I think. And another thing, how did Pent and Louise know the baby was a boy? Louise is not showing at all at this point, I'm pretty sure, so it's too early for them to know. I don't think even our world has the technology to find an unborn baby's gender that early, though I could be wrong. And even if that was the case, Elibe citizens certainly wouldn't have any way of knowing. Not a bad story at all though, it was a nice read.

@Ottservia Time to return the favor you did for me with critique by giving you some! Not bad for an obvious choice for this prompt. I liked how you expanded upon the idea of Robin sacrificing himself to kill Grima. There were some grammar errors, but overall, I don't see any glaring flaws. I can't say I saw anything particularly spectacular about it either though, it was just an overall good read, and was definitely better than what Awakening actually gave us.

I think I'll get to the remaining two entries later. And after that I'll think about getting to Chloey's piece. But the actual contest entries are priority.

Edited by Anacybele

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