Birthweek VOTING! Birthweek Writing Event - Summertime Sappiness

Who won your heart?


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Linnaete

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♡ ENTRY #1 - Cinna's Special Lady ❤​

“Big date tonight?” Said the duck-billed woman at the shop counter, peering down at the man deeply in thought as he scratched his crusty, unshaven face with dirty unkempt fingernails.

“Just buying something nice for my special lady. We’re going to a theater play tomorrow.” Cinna smiled as he ran his fingers along the fabric of a pink and white dress. “This’ll do nicely, I think.”

“Do you have kids?” The duck woman quacked, wrapping the dress up in special paper before placing it into a dress box.

“Hoo boy, no, I’m not sure that’s really in our future.” Cinna laughed, scratching the back of his oily scalp with his hammer. “She’s a special lady, but I don’t think I’d like to share her with anyone else right now.”

“Well, we appreciate your business.” The woman quacked once more before accepting the humble sum of gil, exchanging the box as Cinna snatched it out of her feathered hands and whistled out the door.

“You know, maybe I will make it a special day. After all, she is a special lady!” He stopped mid stride as he caught a glimpse of himself in one of the windowpane reflections. “After all, what other woman out there could appreciate a creature of such fine distinguishable features, such as my own?” He slapped the side of his potbelly with a loud smack as it rippled out, much to the horror of the dinning onlooker on the other side of the glass.

Crooked, chipped yellow teeth peeked through a creepy smile as Cinna made his way down to the sweets shop, bursting through the door bellybutton first with an emphatic growl in his stomach.

“Cinna!” The young redheaded woman at the counter gasped, sheepishly blushing with a smile as Cinna approached to examine the sweets case. “I wasn’t expecting you today, otherwise I’d have freshened up a bit more.” She fanned herself as she popped the top button of her blouse off, biting her bottom lip as she undressed him with her eyes.

“Yeah, special date tonight. Say, you guys wouldn’t happen to know how to make those famous South Gate Bundt Cakes would you?” He peered up with his yellow, beady glowing eyes as the woman batted her eyelashes at him.

“Date? But Cinnamon Roll, I’ve been asking you for weeks to take me out on our special date!” She pouted and tapped her fists on the glass as Cinna rolled his eyes and picked at a specific spot on his beard.

“Look, I’ve already told you, I’m a taken man! Now are you able to make the cake or not?” He shook his hammer in the air as the woman snorted through her nose and shrugged. “Fine, fine, just bag me up one of those cakes will you?” He stuck a finger up his nose as the woman fought back angry tears, handing over the cake as he tossed down some more gil.

“You know Cinna, you can just go shove that hammer right up your-”

The door’s bell chimed after slamming behind Cinna as he made his way outside. He made another side-glance at his reflection with a sexy eyebrow wiggle before checking his breath and snatching a bouquet of flowers off of one of the restaurant tables outside. He still had plenty of time alone before he expected the boys back, and he bursted his way into the Tantalus hideout with a bout of hearts, sparkles and flowers.

“Honey, I’m home!” He shouted gleefully, walking up to the table in the middle of the room and shoving off miscellaneous items over the edge. He gently arranged his cake box, gift and stolen bouquet of flowers and let out a large groan. “It was a helluva day, and that chick at the sweets shop was at it again! But you know how the women are always after a piece of this Cinnamon Twist.”

He tossed his hammer to the side and made his way up the ladder and under his bed, grabbing a few things before making his way back down and to the table. “I hope you don’t mind, I got you a gift for tomorrow’s play. I know, I know! It’s not really in the budget since we bought the new house, but I promise it wasn’t that expensive.”

He lit a single candle and pulled up two chairs to the table, placing a palm-sized gift box in front of one of them before taking a seat across from it. His eyes grew teary as he placed his elbows on the table and cupped his cheeks, “Go on, darling, don’t be shy! I want you to look beautiful for your debut tomorrow.” He gently scooted the gift-wrapped dress forward and up to the small Garnet doll he had placed on the table just before sitting down, excitedly peering into its beady black and soulless eyes.

“I really think the pink matches you best; I’m sure we can sew up your old dress and put it on mother-in-law instead. Where is she anyway?” He peered excitedly into the empty doll’s face as a few silent seconds passed. “Oh, of course! She’s in the new house, how silly of me!”

Cinna crammed the cake into his mouth and excitedly jumped up to his feet. He hastefully ran over to the replica castle of Alexandria and stuck a fat arm inside one of the windows, fishing around before pulling out a much larger blue doll from inside. He took a deep breath as he clenched the doll in his hands, taking a moment to compose himself, and leaned forward quietly while whispering to the Brahne doll, “I promise to treat her right…” He sniffled and wiped away a tear, nodding to her before shoving her back into the castle and making his way back to the Garnet doll.

“Now how about we call it an early night, dear? We have a big day planned tomorrow and you’ll be the star of the show in tomorrow’s meeting!” His eyes grew big and doe-like as he blew out the single candle and escorted his princess to his bed. He tucked the doll in and then himself, giving her a kiss on top of her head before scratching his butt and passing out.

♡♡♡♡♡
♡ ENTRY #2 - Hildibrand Manderville in My Heart Will Blow On ❤​
As the sun scorched the sandy beaches of Costa Del Sol, salt-crusted crabs nipped at each other in a disorderly game of tag. An alluring case beckoned the detective Hildibrand Manderville and his assistant, Nashu Mhakaracca, towards the shore.

The sleuths of spoof spied Julyan, Hildibrand’s mother, laid out peacefully on a rich pink and purple towel made of the finest woven silk. A gentle breeze teased her blonde fringe, and her zen breathing technique had attuned perfectly to the rhythmic wash of the waves.

“MOTHER!” Hildibrand barked, murdering Julyan’s fragile tranquillity. “Have you perchance seen anything unorthodox afoot? We have it under esteemed authority that for inexplicable reasons men and women have been spotted sporadically abandoning their friends and families and diving into the sea, never to be seen again!”

“Nothing, darling. I’m just here to get a tan,” Julyan sighed.

“Yes! Your tan accentuates your wrinkles-” said Hildibrand through a cheeky Grinch-like grin, his eyes half-closed in mischievous delight.

Julyan snapped up with lightning speed. Her furious, gorgon-like stare instantly petrified Hildibrand. However, before she could smack her son with her frying pan, distant music sounded from the ocean, and their eyes and ears were drawn towards it.

The light sparkled on the surface. The all-seeing sun behaved like a benevolent deity gaily sprinkling jewels onto the glistening waves. On the horizon, through the tantalising glint, Hildibrand spied a voluptuous woman perched seductively upon the cragged rocks. The detective’s jaw dropped agape like a gangplank on a newly docked ship. Any semblance of sense disembarked with the rapid haste of Lominsan pirates spying happy hour at The Drowning Wench tavern.

“Wh-which goddess is this?! Those curves… like sea sponges!” he wept with captivated joy.

♬ “Oh my hero, my beloved… Shall we still be made to part?” ♬ called the distant musical miscreant.

♬ “The sweetness of you, little dove… Could fill up a baked tart,”♬ Hildibrand improvised. “Oh my melodic mistress! Your voice bewitches me! I feel like I know this tune…”

“It’s tuneless,” noted Julyan with critical disdain.

“Err… She sounds like a seagull to me,” interjected Nashu, despite bobbing her head to the song.

“You take my breath away, my sexy seagull! Flap to me! I have popotoes aplenty to scatter all over me!” Hildibrand flapped with his arms whilst speaking. Then, without warning, Hildibrand hopped towards the sea with the enthusiasm of a frog towards a banquet of butterflies.

WHA-POING-SWWWwoooshh!

Julyan smacked her son across the face with her frying pan, sending him rocketing skywards, up and over a cliff. Dumbfounded, Nashu held her hand to her eyes, tracking her partner’s movements as he flew.

“That harlot, whoever she is, nearly had her talons on my boy. Probably some relapsed Lominsan wench,” explained the vexed Julyan.

Just as the women had fixed to look for Hildibrand, a slobbering pirate ran straight past them. The raving rogue’s tongue was rolled out like a cockle freakishly protruding from an opened shell, and his eyes were incessantly unlidded and focused like a shark. Within moments of plunging into the water, the pirate vanished beneath the waves, leaving his two witnesses visibly shocked.

“Is he three sheets to the wind?” Nashu asked.

“Hmmm. I think yer case has beckoned us seawards. Let’s fetch Hildy!” Julyan ordered, and the pair headed round the cliff.

*several hours later*
The sun had set when Julyan and Nashu stumbled upon Gilgamesh and Godbert, Julyan’s husband, arguing over which leg to pull. Hildibrand had, as is now an established custom, landed face-first in the ground, buried up to his waist, leaving legs twitching above the surface like the claws of an intoxicated crab.

Godbert looked even more worried than Gilgamesh upon noticing Julyan’s presence, and both denied having anything to do with the inhumed inspector’s fate. Mrs. Manderville shouted, goading them to action, and through a combined effort they hauled Hildibrand out like an anchor from the seabed.

Nashu waved her arms and jubilantly jumped in the air. Like a wedding hosted on the crater of an active volcano, the celebration was short-lived.

“Ahhh! The moon is out! A mirror for her beauty! And I want to hold it!” Hildibrand blubbered through an inane grin, watching the sky in a daze.

“Hildy, are you okay?” quizzed Nashu, eyeing him closely but observing no signs of mindfulness.

“Dash me against the rocks, for she is dashing! Get me near! Let me see! Let me hear!” the love-struck lummox cried.

Julyan hit Hildibrand again, this time with an overhand motion, forcing her son to sit down in a smiling stupor.

“I suspect this could be Siren returned,” theorised Gilgamesh. “I’m actually here for her jewel, the Heart of the Ocean. I heard it had passed from merchant to merchant in this region. Mayhaps the recent disappearances are due to the influence of Siren!”

Hildibrand leapt up with his finger pointing skywards and an overconfident expression cast over his face. “Aha! A name for my lass! I, Hildibrand, agent of inquiry, inspector extraordinaire, vow to free these vexed souls from turbulent temptation!”

Nashu clapped and whooped as Hildibrand flexed and posed in front of them, his whitened teeth emitting a brief but glaring sparkle.

“…and then I shall meet with her alone under the moon and our love shall sound out to the heavens!” continued Hildibrand. The party collectively sighed in deflated frustration, all except Gilgamesh who proceeded to tie the young inspector up with rope.

“Hey! Oooh. Well she might be into binds! Capital idea, Greg!” Hildibrand howled.

“Hmmmph!” snorted Gilgamesh. Too exhausted to correct the name, he addressed the rest of his companions, “I have a masted raft. If the rest of us plug our ears with wax and row out, we can solve this mystery and hopefully free Hildibrand in one fell swoop.”

The party duly plugged their ears, dragged Hildibrand to Gilgamesh’s boat and tied him to the mast. They then set to rowing.

*Half an hour later*
When Hildibrand saw the figure again his face was instantly moved by glorious glee. As his mouth turned at the sides like the horns of a raging bull, his eyelids settled and relaxed like melted chocolate fondue whilst he soaked in the music.

♬ “I'm the darkness, you're the starlight... Shining brightly from afar,” ♬ the sweet voice called out in seductive song.

♬ “Through orchards of pear, I offer this mare. To you, my candy bar!”♬ Hildibrand sang along, in equal measure off-tune and off-topic.

As a blessing, the crew heard only silence.

As the raft edged closer and closer to the rocks, to Hildy’s believed beloved, from the seas emerged a shocking, terrifying sight. The dreaded drowned dead, tangled in seaweed and decorated with barnacles, clambered for space on the small raft. Gilgamesh did all he could to hold them off. His green chicken, Enkidu, went wild, pecking at the fingers of the nautical nuisances, and scattering feathers and guano all over the deck.

“Julyan, look out!” Godbert cried, but his wife, made deaf by the plugs and her envious gaze fixed upon Siren, could offer no resistance as she was pulled from the boat by a zealous zombie.

Nashu alternated her glance from left to right in panic.

“Yes! Yes! I can see you now! Why, wow! What a special woman!” Hildibrand called as his face dropped in contorted shock. “Oo-err! Your curved assets appear to be extending!”

Indeed, two purple tentacles burst through the costume’s brassiere, and unrolled in front of it with a soft, damp thud, like engorged eels being plonked on the deck of a fishing vessel.

“Errr? Well, I suppose we could make it work!” exclaimed the detective whilst flashing a toothy smile.

But not all was well below.

“Gwahahahaha!” called a voice from beneath ‘Siren’. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t keep this going any longer!”

The head of Ultros emerged from the water. The villain waved his papier-mache facsimile of Siren aloft before tossing it against the rocks.

“It’s Ultros!” cried Gilgamesh, removing his earplugs. “Row with greater haste!”
“We actually stopped rowing ten minutes ago…” clarified Godbert after he unplugged. “This gentle breeze has been carrying us the last leg.”

With trepidation, they collectively looked behind them to discover that a gigantic pink marshmallow had been blowing them towards the rocks.

“Oh no! It’s Achoo-phon!” Nashu cried.

“FUUNNNNGAAAHHHHH!” shouted Typhon as he sneezed the group onto the craggy rocks.

Hildibrand was stripped from the mast, liberated from his bonds. Pulling each other to their feet, the party soon realised that the annoying octopus had grabbed Julyan Manderville and was waving her in the air with his tentacles.

♬ “I am thankful, my beloved, for your tenderness and grace.” ♬ sang Ultros with intermissions of bubbly chuckles.

“When did you learn to sing?” Nashu asked.

“I learned from the best, muhahaha! Funny how this song always tends to end with a kidnapping!”

“Let me go, you dirty dog! I’ll turn you into calamari!” threatened Julyan.

“Ooohohoho! Don’t tease the octopus! Now that I have successfully acquired the power of Siren, I no longer fear death! The dead dance to my tune!”

On cue, the zombie pirates surrounded the Manderville party and smirked.

“We’ve no hope in all Seven Hells if he has the dead at his beck and call!” complained Gilgamesh.

“You forget, Greg! I am the lord of zombies–Zombibrand!” reassured Hildibrand, before flexing and performing the Manderville Dance. Godbert and Nashu joined him. Miraculously, the zombies unanimously emulated the dance whilst encircling the kooky cephalopod.

“Noooo! Get away! Shoo! Shoo!” screamed Ultros, as if helplessly trying to flap seagulls away from an ill-fated bag of chips.

Similarly startled, Typhon backed away towards the sea, but Godbert grabbed him by his butt-face, swung him into a dizzying whirlwind, with the ease of an Olympic hammer-thrower, and tossed him into the horizon.

“Waaah! Muscle-heads! I hate them!” wailed the octopus.

In the kerfuffle, the distracted Ultros loosened his grip on Julyan enough for her to smack the sea monster on the head with her frying pan. Tiny cartoon chocobos danced above his head as he slumped into a squishy heap, like a blob fish’s corpse unceremoniously splatted onto a tray.

“Hildibrand! The Heart of the Ocean is on the doll!” Gilgamesh called out, pointing to the wooden plank flotsam on which it was now precariously balanced. “Pass it over!”

Hildibrand clambered onto the plank, and clasped the jewel. He looked the remains of the doll square in the face, his own eyes filling with tears as his mouth trembled.

“I’ll never let go. I promise!” sobbed Hildibrand as he leaned in for a kiss. His lips formed a sloppy seal, like a suction-cupped starfish fastened to a rock, but he lost his grip and watched with regret as the doll sank beneath the surface.

“Hildy, pass the stone!” Gilgamesh forced a reminder.

Springing to action with renewed excitement, Hildibrand smiled, pointed his finger up and nodded. He spun the jewel in his arm with ridiculous speed, generating propeller blade-esque momentum, before he stumbled on the floating plank and let go prematurely. All hearts stopped as the party watched the stone fly through the sky, over Gilgamesh’s head, past Enkidu’s snapping beak, between Julyan’s red-tipped pigtails, before skimming the ocean for a malm and sinking below the depths. Lost forever.

“Huh! Guess I overshot it,” Hildibrand apologised pathetically, nervously scratching the back of his head.

Gilgamesh dropped to his knees and slammed his fists against the rocks.

“Seafood soup tonight?” Julyan called, scooping Ultros onto her frying pan.

“I’m super hungry!” purred an excited Nashu, holding her stomach.

Enkidu leapt in the air with clucky enthusiasm and all the undead pirates collectively, and rather loudly, cried out variants of “arrr!” and “ya-harr!” with fists raised in the air.

Another case closed, Hildibrand posed, smiled and winked.

♡♡♡♡♡​

♡ ENTRY #3 - Not Another... Teen Romance Story?!!! ❤​

It had been two whole weeks since Becky McDuffy moved to the town of Spoons, Washington state. She'd moved there rather hastily, right before the beginning of second term. With parents who'd divorced before she could remember, she spent most of her childhood with her mom. In her second last year of school, her mom had decided to shack up with a pro-league finger wrestling champion and, in a quirky, working honeymoon concept, decided to tour around the world alongside him, taking in the sights. Becky had decided that it was "super totally uncool" to hang with her mom and see the entire world for free; hence, she wound up living with her father.

Since then, she'd encountered some pretty chill people: she met some friends, like "Bianca Bitchy Female Supporting character", "Chad Very Shallow Jock", "Edward Extremely Offensive Token Asian" and "Jeff McSensitive Nerd". As a "ugly-because-hair-is-tied-back-and-wears-glasses-but-really-is-super-gorgeous" girl, Becky had fit in with this crowd pretty well. Yet... she never felt truly like she belonged; for one, she had an actual surname and also seemed to be the centre of almost every chat they had... Weird.

A week passed before she encountered... him. She was drawn to him right away. That height, the muddy brown hair, dat ass; she was entranced, but never knew why. This guy was a preppy; he wore the type of outfit a Country Club would welcome; he effected a faux British accent and wore boat shoes. She’d heard his name was Leonard O’Dodgy, he was the principal’s son. He certainly wasn’t, and would never be, her type. And yet, the fact he had a real surname highlighted his importance to her; the checkerboard bracelet he wore one day seemed so… off compared to the rest of his outfit - like he was lying with his clothes.

She was an emo-fangirl. While never committed to the lifestyle herself, she loved All Time Low, Fallout Boy, Elliott Minor and the other bands, she never had the angst or drive; to be emo is to live outside of the world, to live as a pariah. She’d hoped that getting out of sunny Florida might mean she could meet an emo boy and feel angry at the world. They would find jobs as “Scene models” and then marry as “Welcome to the Black Parade” played. Needless to say, she was super totally OMG <3 into emo boys… and yet, there had been no emo boys for years; they were evil monsters that needed to be destroyed.

It all went back to the Angst Rebellion of 2011; the summer previously, some anxious teenage mothers worried about their sons wearing black skinny jeans and make-up, protested against a Three Days Grace concert just outside of Spoons. Teenagers rose up and passive aggressively blocked their parents from Facebook and Twitter yet still subtweeted about them. They would quote band lyrics, wielding songs as weapons - “I. Hate. Everything. About. You @ChadsMom”.

The pen is mightier than the sword, aye, yet the PTA is mightier than Twitter. Emos and scene kids were herded up and chased out of America; they were the lucky ones. Others had their band tees burned; their straightened fringes trimmed. Their scribbled-on Vans destroyed in front of their eyes. Emo was “not a fad, but a lifestyle” everywhere; now it was nowhere. Myths propagated about the emos; that they could steal your soul. They could suck your blood and turn your english homework from “the lovely Italian adventure with my cat” to “OMG Mom Won’t Let Me Wear Fingerless gloves So I cried”. They were demons, known as “Rawr Ones” to some people.

Becky never did read the news - it was for old people, losers and people without friends - so naturally, she’d felt rather hard done by when she found out Emos were horrid creatures. Ironically, it had been the most angst she’d ever felt. She settled in at Spoons, no other options on the table except for a totally free trip across the world with her mom - going on vacation with mom is so ew.

And still, Becky’s entire world changed when Leon O’Dodgy became her lab partner. It was that Thursday, in Emo History class, that turned her head. They’d been paired up together to work on a paper to debate why angst. He seemed so… angry at her. Mumbling under his breath “fuck you” at her, poking her like he blamed her for something. Sure, it had been her dad who led the protest against emos… but Leon wasn’t an emo, was he? Becky couldn’t help it; she found his emotional-instability insanely attractive. Who wants a healthy, normal relationship as a teenager when you can go for angry, misogynistic fuck boy?

She found hints towards a darker history still: she noticed a Homestuck sticker on one of his school journals; she spotted MCR on his iPod Touch and even, or so she believed, saw some lyrics written on the inside of his shoe one day after gym class. She had decided to confront him that Thursday “You’re hiding something”, she declared at him obnoxiously. “No I am not!” was how he begun his reply “You… r mkin a big del out a dis!” Becky gasped, shocked at what she’d heard. His reply was dripping in Rawrspeak; a clear identifier of emos and scene kids alike. Leonard ran off swiftly as Becky’s head spun.

Later that night, she got a text from Leonard. “Meet me in the isolated and lonely forest alone tomorrow afternoon if you want to know the truth… XD”. The emote at the end chilled her to the bone; the dreaded XD. Everyone knew it was the emo calling card, not unlike the cry of the Banshee. Maybe it was a simple typo…

Becky strengthened her spirit when she entered the forest that night. She headed to the tree that even the new kid knew about; it was where the emos used to mosh out to “Sugar We’re Going Down”. She saw him there and knew she had to confront him there and then, in the forest that totally wasn’t just ripped off of an adaption of some Teen Supernatural Romance book. Yet… she felt a chill. She looked away from him.

“You’re impossibly angsty and annoyed! Your skin is pale-white, ice cold. Your eyes have red contacts in them. And sometimes you speak like… you’re using Rawrspeak, you say “Rawr” and “ex dee”. She turned to face him now “You never laugh when people joke about Fallout Boy, you never come out in the sunlight. You got angry at me. Because of the emo history. “ The last comment registers with him. She steps closer.

“Who’s your favourite band?” She asks

“...Mumford and Sons” he replies, clearly lying

“How long have you liked them?!” Becky asked, feeling heat on her face

“...a while” He realised he can’t hide anymore. Honesty is an enormous risk, but he has to take it.

She inhaled; she knows what he is now. “I know who the Rawr Ones are. I know what you are”.

“Say it. Out loud. Say it!” Leonard demanded. He was so dreamy when he was a prick.

All sound in the world suddenly drops out.

“Emo kid….” She whispered gently.

They both seemed to hover in momentary stasis; him utterly exposed, her reality utterly rocked.

“R u afraid?” He asked, allowed his emo-side out.

“No” she replied

“Den ask me; wat’s mi nam” he growled.

“What’s your name…” She got the jitters now.

“Itz Squal Lionhard, da emo, n i luv fal oud boi” he replied, his emoness on full display. He took off his jacket, revealing his band t-shirt. He flopped his hair down, revealing a perfect fringe. The checkerboard armband appeared again and he made a heart with his hands, posing for an imaginary camera.

They spent the entire day together, listening to emo music and discussing whether Pete from Fallout Boy or Gerard Way from MCR was hotter. They talked about how Hayley Williams was their queen; Squal taought her rawrness; she felt it finally: true love. As the sun came own, Becky knew she had to return home. She longed to be with Squal, with “Helena, by MCR” playing as they worked on their poses for the photographer together, to compare angsty problems and make fingerless gloves together. She knew it was what she wanted.

“R u redy 4 da emo lyf? Der r moar of uz lft den u tink… fke emo grill” he asked with the poison of a mid-00’s MySpace drama chat. Becky’s world would never be the same again… bt she wud hav da luv of hr emo-hro 2 hlp hr tru.

The End.

♡♡♡♡♡​

♡ ENTRY #4 - A Handsome Stranger of Paradise ❤​

“I’m here to kiss Chaos. That’s my mission,” Jack declared with a steady, earnest voice.

The young warrior climbed the stone steps free from fear or trepidation. He was a love-giving machine fuelled entirely by the deep-seated desire in his heart. As he approached the gate, he knew that nothing could possibly deter him from his path.

“This is the shrine of Chaos. He’s here. I just have to hunt him down,” he said before he laboured to force open the heavy gates.

Immediately, Jack was struck by a discordant swarm of bats. The leather-winged rodents had chanced their escape from the sweaty sensations they sensed were planned for within. Jack pondered, not out of anxiety, but because the fleeing of the bats to his mind served up a perfect metaphor to capture his feelings towards Chaos. Indeed, love itself is like a bat trapped in the dark, haunted ruins of an abandoned temple. Without anybody to open the door and let your love fly free, love is a lonely prison. Nay, worse than that. It is a torture chamber filled with Iron Maidens, racks and thumbscrews. When alone, pain is the only way one can experience love. But Jack was here now, the key to Chaos’ heart. Jack was to be his liberator, whether or not Chaos knew it or wanted it.

“If I kiss Chaos, our love will fly free!”

He stepped inside.

“The darkness is so thick I can taste it,” Jack voiced as he licked his lips. “I cannot wait to taste Chaos!”

It didn’t take Jack long to notice that Chaos’ minions had overrun the ruins. While he had anticipated that Chaos would have companions, he did not expect so large an audience for his pursuit of passion.

“Looks like Chaos has been waiting for me!” Jack announced with a slight smile, visibly excited.

The infatuated hero grabbed a goblin and lifted it aloft, before kissing it on the lips. Their brief, wet union startled and confused the poor creature. Jack dropped the goblin to the ground and waited patiently, his grey-blue eyes elated with anticipation for the monster’s response.

“I-I know not what ye want wit’ me! Chaos is thataway!” cried the goblin before pointing him down the hall and then sheepishly backing away.

"I only know one thing. I want to kiss Chaos. I need to. It's not a hope or a dream. It's like a hunger. A thirst," Jack affirmed his mission, but the goblin just silently nodded sycophantically. With the pained smile of somebody forced to hide a lemon in their mouth, the goblin pointed with more exaggerated effect before turning tail and fleeing in the direction of the bats. Jack waved with delight.

Despite Jack’s unwavering outward confidence, speaking with the goblin reminded him of the only thing which worried him about his mission. The young warrior had learned of a knight who once embarked upon a journey of his own to come here and kiss Chaos. He never returned. According to all reports, he always wore such splendid armour, with a helmet that was terrifying to behold.

“I hope that ornate, metal stag hasn’t kissed Chaos before me,” Jack sighed with a lovesick puff of air. Looking down at his grey-purple buttoned t-shirt and black trousers, he was feeling inadequately dressed for his date with Chaos.

Garland, the other knight, could very well have wrapped his garlands all over Chaos already. If Jack was to interrupt such a scene, he had yet to figure out how he should react. Chaos was meant to be his to kiss.

Jack’s pause was explosively interrupted by the feeling of intense, searing heat close by. The Warrior of Love rotated 180 degrees to confront the interloping inferno: a floating, flaming head with a pumpkin-esque mouth, crazy eyes, and two tiny arms with clawed hands.

“A Bomb! A perfect love token to give to Chaos!” Jack said, the flames of his passion stoked and raging once again.

Without fearing being turned into a crisp, Jack grabbed the Bomb and pinned it to the ground by its little arms and proceeded to kiss it on the lips. The creature’s eyes rolled back in panic as smoke began to erupt all over his body. Then, following uncontrollable urges, the Bomb began to expand exponentially.

With a well-timed kick, Jack booted the inflating Bomb at a bolted door and watched the creature blow it off its hinges.

Stepping through the smoke into the lair of his target, Jack encountered a horned knight atop the throne.
“Chaos!” Jack called out, desperate for his beau to return his affections.

“And who are you?” asked the knight.

“I’m here to kiss Chaos!” Jack bluntly repeated his aims, but in truth his long-winded rehearsed speech had fled like the bats. He was actually nervous.

“Really…” the horny knight stood up as he spoke, smirking with confidence underneath his helmet. “I, Garland, will knock you down!”

“You’re Garland?!” Jack said, eyeing the figure up and down. His jaw dropped.

“No…” corrected Garland. “I am to become Chaos!”

Garland, the new Chaos, tossed down his sword and leapt at Jack. They embraced one other in a tight, vice-like grip. The halls echoed with the clanking of armour and the passionate, wet smooches created squelchy suction noises as their tongues swapped homes and enjoyed exploring the parlours of their new abodes. It sounded as if Matoya’s enchanted brooms were rhythmically slapping the stone floor with their wet brushes. Indeed, they might well be needed.

An hour later, Garland stood up.

“So, how was that?” he asked, exulting with satisfaction as he fixed his helmet back into position.

Jack looked the fallen knight straight in the eye, his own eyes now glowing red, and smirked.

“It tasted… like CHAOS!”
 

Dionysos

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None of these have been able to reach Matt Hancock levels of passion but, as always, I appreciate the range with these entries, and also the effort people put into them. That said, it is interesting how all of these rely on humour rather than unironic romantic passion. Romance is such a difficult genre to write for! :argor:


In the end I voted for ‘Cinna’s Special Lady’. I love the Tantalus Troupe and I appreciate a character like Cinna becoming the star of his own short story. I like the punning of Cinna with cinnamon. Wordplay like this maintains the connection with theatre which Cinna always had (in his Shakespearean origins in his name and placement in the game). I also really like the twist at the end. Oh, silly Cinna!
 

Linnaete

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Entry #2 is such a delightfully creative take on the theme and it captures the spirit of the Manderville characters from FFXIV so well that I would almost believe the author is an actual writer for the game. Seriously, it is an excellent entry for that reason and a reminder that I still need to catch up on those zany sidequests.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the fourth entry. I have no idea what kind of diseased and disturbed mind would ship Jack and CHAOS.
 

Miko

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None of these have been able to reach Matt Hancock levels of passion but, as always, I appreciate the range with these entries, and also the effort people put into them. That said, it is interesting how all of these rely on humour rather than unironic romantic passion. Romance is such a difficult genre to write for! :argor:

I think it's difficult to write short stories <1500 words in the romance genre that isn't humorous. I think it might just turn out cliche or possibly cringy, but that's just my opinion 😯 Plus, I think the majority of us are very comical and enjoy laughs :lew:


I also really like the twist at the end. Oh, silly Cinna!
Cinnamon Twist* :tearjoy:



Anyway, I voted for Adam's Entry Number 3. I genuinely laughed out loud at quite a few parts :lew: The others were still really good but I got a kick out of 3 the most, ex dee.

I probably would have voted for the 4th one too if I could have :lew: I appreciated it a lot as well!






:3
 

Linnaete

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In a shocking twist...everyone wins?

ENTRY #1 - Miko
ENTRY #2 - Dionysos
ENTRY #3 - Paddy McGee

All of you have the same score so you all...win? Huh. I wasn't expecting this. Maybe you should all get on the romance genre bandwagon. There's a massive audience out there and a plentiful self-publishing industry currently thriving.

ENTRY #4 - @Lin..uhh I mean, Dionysos

Weirdo.

All three of you get 5 EXP.

We'll chuck in 2 more EXP for Dan. I don't want to be too generous. Don't want to incite CHAOS in the staff forums.
 

Dionysos

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Congrats to all!
Maybe we should become the Tender Triad of the romance genre going forward.


Entry #2 is such a delightfully creative take on the theme and it captures the spirit of the Manderville characters from FFXIV so well that I would almost believe the author is an actual writer for the game. Seriously, it is an excellent entry for that reason and a reminder that I still need to catch up on those zany sidequests.
This is a great compliment! Although I think it needed polishing. I wrote myself into a hole as I realised after I'd already spent ages on it that I couldn't do anything less than a three-part story for it (with a beginning, middle and end), otherwise none of it would make sense.

Hildibrand and co are difficult to write for, I found, because they are inevitably bonkers. I tried to weave in a few Titanic (1997), the Odyssey, and Epic of Gilgamesh references, alongside the FFVI opera song because Hildibrand quests like meta stuff.




As for Entry #4.... I've no idea what possessed me.... Other than CHAOS!
If I ever play Stranger of Paradise, I don't think I could ever see it in the same way ever again. :thehead:
 

Paddy McGee

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So, some tidbits to help with Dan feeling a little embarrassed!

See the dialogue below?
“You’re impossibly angsty and annoyed! Your skin is pale-white, ice cold. Your eyes have red contacts in them. And sometimes you speak like… you’re using Rawrspeak, you say “Rawr” and “ex dee”. She turned to face him now “You never laugh when people joke about Fallout Boy, you never come out in the sunlight. You got angry at me. Because of the emo history. “ The last comment registers with him. She steps closer.

“Who’s your favourite band?” She asks

“...Mumford and Sons” he replies, clearly lying

“How long have you liked them?!” Becky asked, feeling heat on her face

“...a while” He realised he can’t hide anymore. Honesty is an enormous risk, but he has to take it.

She inhaled; she knows what he is now. “I know who the Rawr Ones are. I know what you are”.

“Say it. Out loud. Say it!” Leonard demanded. He was so dreamy when he was a prick.

All sound in the world suddenly drops out.

“Emo kid….” She whispered gently.

They both seemed to hover in momentary stasis; him utterly exposed, her reality utterly rocked.

“R u afraid?” He asked, allowed his emo-side out.

“No” she replied

“Den ask me; wat’s mi nam” he growled.

“What’s your name…” She got the jitters now.

“Itz Squal Lionhard, da emo, n i luv fal oud boi” he replied, his emoness on full display. He took off his jacket, revealing his band t-shirt. He flopped his hair down, revealing a perfect fringe. The checkerboard armband appeared again and he made a heart with his hands, posing for an imaginary camera.

So, I basically wanted to emulate the conversation in Twilight between Edward and Bella when Bella confronts him as a vampire. It's just such a silly, silly scene from the movie and I really wanted to include it. Naturally, there are some slight differences - Edward isn't a soul sucking emo, after all. Here is the scene from IMSDB.

BELLA
You're impossibly fast. And strong.
Your skin is pale-white, ice-cold.
Your eyes change color. And
sometimes you speak like... you're
from a different time.


(turns to face him now)
You never eat food, or drink, or
come out in the sunlight. And you
said no to the beach trip only after
you heard where it was. Because of
the treaty.


This last registers with him. She steps closer to him.


BELLA

How old are you?


EDWARD

Seventeen.


BELLA

How long have you been seventeen?


A long beat as we begin to CIRCLE THEM. He sees he can't hide
anymore. Honesty is an enormous risk, but he has to take it.


EDWARD

... A while.


She inhales. She knew, but it's still shocking. We CIRCLE
THEM FASTER
-


BELLA

I know what the Cold Ones are.
What you are.


EDWARD

Say it. Out loud. Say it.


All sound suddenly DROPS OUT. We hear only her whisper..
.


BELLA

... Vampire


They seem to hover in momentary stasis, him utterly exposed, her
reality utterly rocked.


EDWARD

Are you afraid?


BELLA

No.

EDWARD

(angry)
Then ask me the most basic
question: what do we eat?


BELLA

You won't hurt me. You're different.


EDWARD

You think you know me?


He glares at her. She holds her ground. Suddenly, he takes
her by the hand. Starts walking.
 
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