August 7, 2009 – 12:55 pm
Well, it’s Friday, which means it’s the last day of our Week of Winners! Througout this week we’ve highlighted our honorable mentions and runners up for the Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest sponsored by Too Many Annas, WTT:RP, and LoreCrafted. As I’m sure you’ve all been waiting eagerly, we’re pleased to formally announce that we’ll be revealing the first place winner tomorrow!
Oh, all right, just kidding!
This final entry just edged out our second place winner, taking first by a sliver of votes from our judges. All of the ones chosen (and many not chosen!) were quite well done, but in the end a winner had to be picked.
Without further adieu, delay, stalling, or other ways to keep you from skipping past this text and to the next line, I gladly present to you the grand prize winner of the Midsummer’s Night RP Writing Contest:
The Chill written by Femmlin of Wyrmrest Accord, based on the quest “The Chill of Death” in Tirisfal Glades.
Femmlin, you will receive a copy of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, a WoW Gamecard, the original World of Warcraft Soundtrack CD, and the original WoW Behind the Scenes DVD for crafting this wonderful little story. Toss us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily contact you with regards to the contents of your loot.
We’d also like to sincerely thank everyone who participated. It was great having a chance to read through these entries, and the efforts of all our entrants are greatly appreciated.
And for now we conclude our Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest festivities! Perhaps one day in the future we’ll have another chance for writers and RPers alike to showcase their talents, yes? Keep rolling those characters, keep those emotes emotes fresh, and keep the RP hearth warm!
The woman was severely afflicted. Femmlin could see that.
Not literally, of course. It was only due to the duel receivers inside her specially-constructed Echolocation Goggles that she could see anything at all: the device sent out high pitched pulses and then translated it into a portrait for her. She had lost her sight well after reawakening, and no magic could return it to her.
The goggles made the scene before her even more eerie. They bathed the room in the deep blue of twilight, and the slight lag between pulses made the details of the room materialize, fade, then materialize again.
The thin, wraith-like woman in the middle of the room revolved towards Femmlin. Her face was long and forlorn, surrounded by long scraggly hair that clung to her cheeks. When she opened her mouth she looked like a woman drowning – drowning in the ocean of blue light.
“My name,” said the woman, “is Gretchen Dedmar.” She offered a grim smile. “You must be able to see that the Plague of Undeath crawls through my veins like an icy serpent. The Mindless State will be upon me soon.”
As if in confirmation, Gretchen was racked by a series of spasms. She set her jaw against them, but they were determined to prevail; she trembled and jerked before Femmlin like a hooked fish, mouth agape in a small ‘O’ of terror.
Femmlin’s goggles took still shots of each moment, an unrelenting machine.
Even as the device forced her to watch, her mind was pulling away. It took flight from the present events in the tavern and submerged her into the memories of a few months past.
The zombie lurched towards her, arms raised longingly as if for an embrace. As it shambled closer with its halting gait, Femmlin couldn’t avoid the creature’s fixed gaze. She steeled herself, staring into the cavernous blackness of its mouth – first a tiny dot, slowly growing into a large yawning pit.
As the pitiful creature came into range, she sunk her daggers into its flesh. She brought her leg high and pressed her foot against the creature’s chest.
The flesh was cold. Animated, but cold.
She kicked with all her strength, twisting the daggers brutally. The creature fell, and did not rise again. She sighed heavily – out of relief or exertion, she did not know.
“What is the matter?”
She whirled. Facing her was one of her own kind – a Forsaken, but obviously more powerful than she. He wore the elaborate, finely detailed robes of an Archmage, and cold gusts swirled around him. He had been watching her from a distance – appraising her skills, she realized.
Yet even in the presence of such power, Femmlin could not forget the corpse at her feet.
“These things… they are not alive?”
The Archmage examined her for a long moment. The wind whistled through Deathknell, temporarily blotting out the groans of the mindless ones and the shuffle of their feet. She knew he understood everything, presumably having gone through it himself. The rise from the Shadow Grave. The disorientation. The questions. The same questions, for all of them.
He gave what passed for a smile. “No. Not at all.”
A cold hand reached out and grabbed Femmlin, snapping her out of reverie. It was Gretchen, peering at her with doleful luminescent orbs.
“But no doomed destiny will prevent me from serving our Dark Lady,” Gretchen continued, her grip tightening. Her bony fingers were starting to cut into Femmlin’s flesh. “When the call arose I sewed body bags for the fallen soldiers of Sylvanas’s mighty army.”
She laughed bitterly and held up the hand she had been clutching with. It shook like a frightened rat. “Now my hands shake from the chill…” There was a drawn out pause as Gretchen fought back the spasms, and won. “If you would bring me five Duskbat Pelts and some Coarse Thread I could sew myself a blanket.”
Gretchen held out both her arms in supplication. She looked, Femmlin thought, like a mother begging to hold her child.
“Help me, Femmlin, so that I can continue to serve the cause.”
Femmlin nodded. As if undone by relief, Gretchen sank into the bed beneath her.
Morosely, even as she turned to leave the cursed woman, she found herself wondering how much of Gretchen would be left when she returned. Could Gretchen hold out against the ravages of the undead plague? Would she still be alive, aware of her own spirit?
The words of the Archmage haunted her, as chilling and cold as the aura he had been surrounded by:
No. Not at all.
August 6, 2009 – 2:53 pm
WTT:RP, Too Many Annas and Lorecrafted are pleased to present the second place winner in our Midsummer Night’s RP contest. Congratulations to Athorius of Feathermoon server for her entry You Can’t Go Home. It was one of our most solemn pieces, for certain, and though all of our entries were well written, the poignancy of this one really struck a chord with our judges.
And without further ado:
You Can’t Go Home
“I’m sorry I’m late.” It was scary how easily those familiar words rolled off his tongue, Athorius thought, as he swung off his elekk onto the Auberdine road.
Seffani apparently thought so too, because she frowned and shifted Kaelis on her hip. The girl was at that awkward stage where she was really too big to carry, but it was still inconvenient to have her walk. However, any comment she might have made was forestalled when Kaelis let out a shriek and held out her arms to him for a hug. He rubbed his nose against hers, making her giggle, and he was painfully aware of how much he had missed that sound, even the sticky feel of her fingers clinging to his neck. There were decorative twists of gold, and orange ribbon tied into her hair, festival finery, and he cringed at how badly they clashed with her green hair.
“I made you something!” she announced proudly, and plopped a snaggled chain of fire blossoms on his head. He couldn’t help but laugh; now he clashed as badly as she did, and he hugged her again.
After a few moments he set her on the ground, keeping hold of her tiny hands, and looked up at Seffani. “I’m sorry.”
“You always are,” she said, tartly, but accurately. “What was it this time? Urgent Circle business in some godforsaken human land?”
When last he’d been home he’d still had good standing in the druidic order, but that visit had changed everything, but she had no reason to believe it. Instead, he said, evenly, “My ship from Northrend was delayed and I was forced to take the moonpath to Kalimdor. I don’t need to tell you how much caution that requires in these days.”
He did not mention the Nightmare by name, not in front of Kaelis, but Seffani understood his meaning and simply sighed. The Midsummer Fire Festival festivities swirled around them, a scent of woodsmoke and dumplings.
Then Kaelis looked up and informed him, with happy innocence, “Mommy was late too.”
Seffani flushed. Kaelis continued, “The wind was bad. Flotsam had to work against it.” The daughter of a fishing village to the north, Kaelis was familiar with the sea and the workings of the boat of living wood Athorius had woken as a gift to her mother, long ago.
“That’s alright. We’re all here now, and that’s all that matters,” he elected to reply, a peace offering, smiling down at his daughter and then at her mother. Seffani, too, was dressed in bright summer colors, but she could make anything look good. A few strands of that hair had fallen over one of her eyes, like always, and he had to stop himself reaching up and tucking it behind her ear.
He wasn’t sure why he found himself longing for some kind of connection so badly on this particular day. The only thing remaining between them was this little girl whose warm, candy-coated hands were tucked into his own. He wanted to reach out to her, to tell her my mother is dead, my father is gone, please understand this is all I have left. But he didn’t. They had loved each other, and they had been utterly unable to live with each other, and it was awful. There was nothing left to say.
Then she said those words he had been expecting but shrinking from, a blow he saw coming. “You and Kaelis should have some time together, and I was hoping to meet Sadaron, so…”
“Of course,” he heard himself say.
He felt his mouth stretch into a smile. He did not ask if she was with him that night the dead came north up the shore, if that was why Seffani had not been with her daughter. He never had. She never said. But it flickered for an instant between them, a dark shadow subject that would always linger but never be broached.
Instead, he added, “Have a good time.”
A smile lit her face briefly, sad and sweet. Almost as if she was feeling the same mix of bittersweet and angry nostalgia, she swiftly kissed his cheek, and then she disappeared into the crowd. He watched after her for a long moment, then a tug on his arm redirected his attention.
“Can we go watch the fireworks?” Kaelis asked, hopefully.
He felt a genuine grin on his face at last. “Of course. Do you want to walk or take Mou?”
“Mou!” she decided instantly. He swung them both up onto the elekk’s broad back and they rode slowly down to the dock, meandering slowly through the throngs. As they approached the beach, Athorius swerved off to the side, drawing a complaint from Kaelis.
He climbed off Mou and then set her down. “We need to honor the flames first, then we’ll go see the fireworks.”
“Why?” she asked plaintively.
He handed her a handful of blossoms to throw into the large bonfire. “The solstice marks the turning of the year, as spring reaches its height and the world moves again towards winter. That’s why we burn the flowers. Their time is almost over for this year- we mourn them, and we look forward to the harvest in the fall.”
She frowned a moment, thinking about it. “Are there flowers in North-end?”
“Northrend. And yes, there are- very beautiful ones in some parts.”
Kaelis tilted her head back, her big eyes full of worry. “Is Arthas going to burn them up too?”
That night, when the scourge invaded Auberdine, when he learned a boat got away and sailed north, Athorius rode Mou into the ground, only to find nearly all his fears confirmed. Somehow, the fishermen had managed to contain and repel the attack. Kaelis had seen things no child should ever see. Trying to explain it, he had told her that a bad man was using magic to create a deadly disease- but he had also stressed that lots of good people were working very hard to stop him.
She still had nightmares.
Not knowing what else to do, Athorius knelt down and held her tight. “No. We would never let him do that.” He was aware it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t sure anything would be.
Kaelis was still for a long moment, but at last she did toss her flowers into the flames, and then asked, hopefully, “Fireworks?”
They walked down to the beach and sat down, Athorius trying not to wince as his for-once clean leather clothes settled on the wet sand. They waited in the dark for the show.
He looked at the little girl sitting on his lap, and felt uneasy. Athorius meant what he said. The scourge army must be stopped; he had realized the importance immediately. He defied direct orders from his superiors in the Cenarion Circle to travel to Northrend and lend what aid he could. One day, Arthas and his armies would fall.
But what if that day lay ten, twenty, fifty years from now? What if the taste of putrid flesh, the feel of it in his fangs, never left his mouth? What if the screams in the halls of Naxxramas never left his ears? What if after every battle he fought he lost a little more of what made him different from them?
What if the village was attacked again, and he was not there?
Kaelis cried out suddenly, startling him out of his thoughts, and she laughed as the bright colors of the fireworks washed over them.
He held his daughter a little tighter and wondered, not for the first time, if he was fighting for a better world to live in, or merely one worth leaving behind.
Congratulations Athorius, you have looted a chest containing Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, The Sunwell Trilogy, The War of the Ancients Trilogy, and a WoW TCG Loot Card. Please email the loot master at midsummerwriting at gmail dot com with your regular mailing address to claim your prize!
Remember to check back tomorrow to read the winning entry in our writing contest!!
August 5, 2009 – 11:32 am
From Bricu, at WTT:RP:
On behalf of WTT:RP, Too Many Annas and Lorecrafted, it my pleasure to introduce our third place winner. All of our finalists did a superb job of addressing the challenge: Fic up a quest/event in 1,000 words or less. We received a number of entries. We read each and every one. Thank you, all of you, for your willingness to write and have it posted. Personally, I would love to give everyone who submitted something other than kudos…
Third Place goes to: Hammaryn Dawnsorrow of Feathermoon, and her entry “Inner Turmoil”, based on the quest “The Cleansing” in Howling Fjord.
“Cleanse my inner turmoil?” Hammaryn Dawnsorrow crossed her arms over her chest, and narrowed her eyes at the Taunka in front of her. “This is ridiculous.”
He chuckled in response. “Elf, you may think it’s ridiculous, but it has to be done in order to help the worg Ulfang.” Sage Mistwalker smiled at her. “I’m sure it won’t be a problem for you.”
Hammaryn stared at him for a moment, a large frown on her face. Was he joking with her?
“There’s gold involved in this, right?”
The Taunka grinned slyly and nodded at her.
“Alright, I’ll do it.” Hammaryn backed away slowly. She untied the reins of her mount from a nearby tree, occasionally glancing at Sage Mistwalker over her left shoulder. Why in the hells was he watching her and grinning like that?
“Come on horse,” she mumbled to her mount as she hoisted herself up on the saddle. “Let’s get away from these crazy people.” The horse twitched his ears in response, and she dug her heels into his side. He snorted and took off at an easy canter. Hammaryn turned her reins in to head north, towards the snowy mountains of Howling Fjord. Smaller rocks dotted the ground, leading up to jagged cliffs. Near the entrance to Grizzly Hills she saw the large boulder the Taunka had mentioned, and a path cutting up through the western base of the mountains. Hammaryn halted, and slipped off her horse to land hard on the icy ground. “Stay here, horse,” she grunted, shouldered her pack, and took off up the path into the mountains. No monsters greeted her on the way up, and she smiled to herself. The Taunka may have been a bit loony, but this would be easy gold. Near the top of the mountain, she saw the altar; a large, stone table sitting in a clearing. Hammaryn dropped her pack on the ground and walked up to it. She pulled off her left gauntlet and ran her hand over the smooth stone; it was warm, and she yanked her hand back in surprise.
“What am I supposed to do?” She asked, looking around as if someone would answer her. The only reply was the wind whistling through the jagged rocks of the mountain. She took in a deep breath and let it out, the frigid air turning her breath into fog.
“You think you can get rid of me through meditation?”
Hammaryn whirled around in shock, her back bumping up against the table. The woman in front of her laughed, a low and snide noise. It was herself, but not herself. A shade, intangible and not entirely opaque, as if the shadow Hammaryn was only half formed. Hammaryn’s right hand shook as it instinctively reached for the large mace on her back.
“Pathetic,” the shadow sneered at her. “Scared even of yourself.”
“This is foul magic, and I’m not scared,” she bluffed. She raised her voice. “Whoever is casting this dark magic, show yourself.”
The shade shook her head and laughed. “There’s no one here, little Hammaryn. You’re all alone, just like when your daddy died.”
Hammaryn scowled. “You don’t know anything about my father.”
The shade smiled mockingly. “Oh, I know everything about your father. I know everything about you, because I am you. I know how you cried and ran away when he died, stumbling pathetically through the woods, useless little girl.”
“You’re lying.” Tears welled up in her eyes and she backed up into the stone table again, bracing herself on it.
The shade came in closer to her. “There’s nowhere to run, little ‘Ryn. Do you have any idea how ashamed your mommy and daddy would be now if they saw you? You never had half your mother’s talent for magic, and you can’t even heal like your father did. Calling yourself a tool of the Light, and all you do is wave around a big stick. No one is scared of you, and you can barely take care of yourself. No family, barely any friends.” The shade smiled seductively. “You could just die, you know,” it whispered. The shade motioned her head to the side of the cliff.
Hammaryn looked over her shoulder at the cliff side behind her. It was a long drop down to those jagged rocks at the base of the mountain. She closed her eyes tightly for a moment, leaning in against the stone table. The cold wind whipped against her face, drying her tears.
“No.” She opened her eyes. “No,” Hammaryn said loudly. “You’re not me, and you never will be. If I die, so do their memories, and the Lich King wins. I may not have either of their talent, but you’re damn right that I can wave around a big stick.” Hammaryn yanked the mace off of her back, and with a loud yell, swung it at the shade. The mace hit with a sickening thud in the chest. The shade looked down at its chest, its mouth opening in a silent cry of shock before dissolving into the wind. Hammaryn let the end of her mace drop onto the ground. “It’s not me,” she said loudly. No one answered.
Hammaryn picked up her mace, and swung it into its harness on her back. She walked a few paces away, picking up her pack she had slung onto the ground, and pulled the handle onto her right shoulder.
“That Taunka had better be paying damn well,” she grumbled as she started walking back down the path.
Congratulations Hammaryn! You have looted a chest that contains: The Sunwell Trilogy, The Ashbringer TPB and a TGC Loot Card! Please email the loot master at midsummerwriting at gmail dot com to receive your prize!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second place winner in our Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest!
August 4, 2009 – 10:30 am
Winners’ Week continues at WTT: [RP], Too Many Annas, and Lorecrafted! We know you’ve all been bouncing on the edges of your seats like excited Kaldorei waiting for the next winner in the Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest, and we’d hate to disappoint. So, go get yourself a cold glass of Moonberry Juice or some Tasty Cupcakes and settle down to read today’s winner!
Let’s have a round of /applause for our Honorable Mention, “Missing Friends,” submitted by Illithias of Feathermoon and based on the quest of the same name in Terokkar Forest.
Every leaf glistened in the low, pre-dawn light; drooping with the night’s dew. Not quite yet time for the dawn chorus, the sun approached the shattered world’s irregular horizon, and the forest began to lighten. Insects chirped and whirred in the undergrowth; the filigree wings of the giant moths of Terokkar beat a rhythm in the space between the bushes and the boughs. Illithias crept through the undergrowth, hunched almost double. Despite her size and the bulk of her armour, only the whispering swings of disturbed branches or the soft crack of the bracken underfoot marked her passage. The leather hood hanging over her face collected the droplets as the leaves brushed by – fat drops of water falling from the brim, in front of the soft silver glow of the kal’dorei’s eyes.
It had taken a few hours painstaking, early morning travel – half running, half crawling through the brush. But eventually Illithias made it to her goal – a clearing of a few tall, older trees in the far eastern reaches of the forest, abutting the foothills and mountains dividing the forests from the rolling grasslands and floating land islands of Nagrand. There was the first stirrings of activity in the clearing, central fires were lit, and sporadic movement through the branches and between the trees was visible. The stench of roasting meat wafted across to the elf from the middle of the clearing tree-village – she had deliberately approached from downwind. Ensuring that the wickedly curved forearm blade was still affixed securely, Illithias drew her jagged longsword from it’s scabbard, and rose to her feet. The sibilant hiss of the sword was the only announcement of Illithias’ entry into Veil Skith.
Vekrik stood over his small campfire, the butt of his spear propped into the curve of a root for support – he leaned on it heavily. His beady eyes scanned the edge of the woods, looking for any signs or hints of the wolves or stalkers that prowled the area. Or, better still, another lost or misguided traveler or refugee. His beak clacked open and closed a few times as he worked his tongue over the edge of it. His shoulders rose and fell with a slight avian sigh. And he let out a yelping squawk and jerked up as an unexpected jolt tore into his lower back. Pain flooded him. Scrabbling to pull his spear right and failing – his fingers frantic with shock – Vekrik felt a heavy form press against his back, hot breath in his ear.
“Dorados’no.” it’s voice snarled. He didn’t have time to respond; a white hot slash along the heavy bob of his throat prevented that.
Subtlety was out of the question by now. Disturbances could be heard all throughout the Veil – corpses were being found. Illi dropped the pretext of her covert approach, running full tilt through the clearings. Any arakkoa that found itself in her way was quickly dealt with – more often than not without and change to Illithias’ stride. Broken birdmen left in her wake, she tore towards one of the main trees in the clearing – larger and older than it’s brethren, and heavy with buildings and platforms. Illi run, leapt, and began scrabbling up a rope ladder as quickly was her adrenaline fueled muscles would pull her.
She dragged herself over the lip of the platform, breath whistling between her teeth clenched from the exertion. The kal’dorei pulled herself to her knees, then to her feet, straightening herself – and coming face to face with another of the skettis. It opened it’s beak wide and screeched in Illithias’s face – she stumbled back, momentarily, and almost lost herself over the side of the wooden platform. It advanced on her in it’s race’s typical bobbing gait, swinging it’s blade low and lazily. Dropping down into a combat stance, Illithias brought her weapons up ready – not a moment too quickly. The arakkoa swung out with savage grace, air keening as the sword cut the air. Ducking behind her left arm, the elf caught the sword between the guards and edges of her forearm blade, twisting her wrist to pin the birdman’s weapon. Lunging forward, Illi lashed out with her head – butting the arakkoa once, twice in the head. It screamed as an ugly crack shot through it’s beak. Illithias cursed as more teeth were jolted loose. Maintaining the momentum, Illithias pushed forward, sending her adversary falling backwards, striking out – and slashing through the arakkoa’s head. It was dead as it hit the platform flooring. Panting and wiping the blood from her chin, Illithias leant down and pulled the keyring from the slain birdman’s belt.
“Are you here to rescue us?”
Illithias worked quickly through the keys on the heavy iron ring in turn, trying each in the padlocks holding the cage closed. The refugee children within crowded the door as she frantically tried each in turn, cursing in Darnassian all the while.
“I think they were going to eat us!”
“Are you a night elf?”
“I miss my family!”
“I like Goretusk Liver Pie!”
With a final click, the last padlock sprung open and clattered to the floorboards. Illi rose back to her feet and swung the cage door open. “Right – everyone out!”
The assorted children surged out from their confines, milling about Illithias’ legs. Most of them came up to her knees. There were a lot of them. How was she going to get them out? “Right. All of you.” the elf kneeled back down again. “I want you to all get on my…” llithias’ voice trailed off as she looked at her shoulders – both of the dark kal’dorei forged pauldrons covered in crescent blade designs. She looked back down at the various children, all looking back up at the strange, ugly elf. She sighed. She reached up and unfastened each in turn, taking off each shoulderpiece and throwing them into the canopy. “Okay, now. Everyone up on my back and shoulders.”
The children scrabbled up onto Illithias, grabbing purchase on her back, shoulders, clothing, necklace, straps, hair, ears. She stood, a little unsteadily. Hoots and screams echoed through the treetops – the avian screeching of the arakkoa of Veil Skith got louder as the birdmen warriors got closer.
“Now, hold on…” Illithias took three running paces to the edge of the platform and leapt off – hands grabbing wildly for a vine or a branch as childrens’ screams rang in her ears.
“Thankkk you very much, kkkal’dorei, for all that you’ve done…” Kirrik the Awakened croaked out.
Ankle deep in the grey ash of the Bone Wastes, Illithias was back at the temporarily halted refugee caravan. The arakkoa “leader” of the motley ensemble was thanking the berserker profusely – Illithias was trying to calm the birdman’s exultations and extract herself from the situation. Illi just wanted to return to the road, onwards towards Shadowmoon. A small tug on her belt grabbed her attention, she turned and looked down. A small human boy stood there looking up at her, eyes white against the smudgy, ashy face.
“Um, ma’am… thank you for… bringing my friends back. I wanted you to… have this…”
An old and battered device or toy of gnomish design sat in the boy’s hands. He gestured up at Illithias. She took the clockwork creation gingerly from his hands. She opened her mouth to say something, before pausing, and closing it again. She patted the child on the head instead. Turning, she headed back out of the caravan-camp hybrid, to where her sabre was stabled. No-one saw her wipe at her eyes as she brought her hood back up and over her head.
Congratulations Illi! You have looted a chest that contains a TCG Loot Card – Please email the loot master at midsummerwriting at gmail dot com to receive your prize!
Please check back tomorrow to see the third place winner in our Midsummer Night’s RP Writing Contest!
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