Which entry best captures the spirit of its setting and/or the contest theme?

Themeanestguest's The Devil's Ouij
4 (80%)
Light Dragon's Jatayi NestSticks
1 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 0

Voting closed: January 08, 2013, 07:04:18 PM

Author Topic: [Monthly Contest Vote] December Dice  (Read 1267 times)


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[Monthly Contest Vote] December Dice
« on: January 01, 2013, 07:04:18 PM »
Voting runs through the next seven days. Let us know who you think best captured the theme of the setting and/or of the contest in general.

Quote from: TheMeanestGuest's The Devil's Ouij
Setting: Steerpike's Cadaverous Earth

The tea was hot and steaming, and he bore it with the utmost care upon a simple silver tray. Negotiating the spiraling stairs bearing food and drink had not been easy at first, but he had come to possess some small skill in the matter, and so ascended with poise and grace to the library where his Master sat awaiting refreshment. The gas-lamps that lit his way flickered for a moment, a sign that his Master was deeply consumed in thought, to so allow such an idle reflex of his power. He still found it interesting that given his own great capacity for violence that his Master, a consummate killer of man and beast, employed him in such a curious domestic role. Still, he much preferred it to the tedious, inane and humiliating work set him by his thankfully long-deceased former employer. He had discovered a certain sense of pride, and even refinement, in the maintenance and defence of his Master's House. A feeling that he had not heretofore experienced on this dull and miserable plane. Striding between shelves mostly barren, here and there speckled with tomes and texts and scrolls in their ones and twos, he came to the table where his Master sat. Clearing his throat, he set the tray down lightly, so as not to spill a drop. "Your tea, Mr. Alexander."  His master looked up from the scattered pages decorating the worn oaken table; at a glance they consisted of a transcription of an account from a previous age of a journey to a far-off Orb hanging somewhere in the void, and the transcriber's conjectures on the properties and inhabitants of this Orb. Mr. Alexander, of course, had unusual interests.

"Ah. Thank you, Pellucid." his Master said as he looked up, the ghost of an expression of surprise briefly etched onto his face. His Master gently and incongruously took the dainty porcelain cup in a massive armoured fist and brought it to his lips. Taking a single sip, he set it down, and fixed Pellucid with a considering stare. "Tell me, Pellucid. What do Demons do for fun?"

"Fun, Mr. Alexander? A concept not easily translated between our two cultures, I think. To torment the essence of a vanquished foe, that is certainly 'fun'. To consume the body and spirit of a creature stalked across the plains of Hell, some might also regard as 'fun'. To deceive and ruin mortals and their realms, ah, now that is perhaps the sweetest 'fun' of all." Pellucid grinned widely, revealing rows of sharp teeth. His Master brought a hand to his own face, to scratch at the stubble that grew there.

"I can recognize the validity and appeal of such things. But that is not quite what I meant. As a Childe then, how is it that you passed your time?"

"Ah. When I was newly formed I often sat in my creche, thinking on ways that I might confound and ultimately devour my own progenitors, and so grow stronger. Idle thoughts at the time, but I found some comfort in them. Still, I do not believe that is the answer you desire.... There is a game of sorts played by the young among my kind from time to time, for curiousity and thrill." he said.

"Then tell me of this game, Pellucid." his Master prompted.

"Of course, Master. It is a simple thing. First, a die of six sides is carved from rock, new or old, but never of middling age. The sides are painted Red, and Black, and Silver, and Gold, and Grey and White. A board is made from chitin or bone or the wood of an ancient helltree, and its sides are raised to create a field to trap the die. Upon this field are graven the common alphabetical sigils of my language in row upon row. Additionally, it is traditional to scribe the first verse of an ancient poem well-known in the Hells upon the back of the board... which, translated, goes something like this:

"This contest has been long at hand"
"To see whose will shall be"
The Brothers fought upon the span
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Down to that sunless sea...

"Curious. I shall have to have you recite this poem in full at later date, Pellucid. But please, do go on." his Master took another sip of tea, and Pellucid nodded, his head-tails wiggling.

"This game is known as the Devil's Ouij, Master. And it is played by the young and foolish to seek answer to a burning question. I say foolish, Mr. Alexander, because the answer given is never the answer sought, and it is almost assuredly that of another question entirely. Devils are irritating and wicked creatures, and delight in the misery of Demons."

"But are you not a Devil, Pellucid? I have long had the impression that the terms are interchangeable." his Master inquired. Pellucid frowned.

"Certainly not, Mr. Alexander! We are as unalike as a man is to a ghul, and would assuredly both take offense at any declaration or insinuation of similarity. But our conversation digresses. Once the question is asked, the die is rolled upon the field, and it is said that the sigil to which the die is drawn determines to which Devil the question is asked - it involves an obscure formulation of the hierarchy of Devilish names or some such palaver. More important is the colour that the die displays, and thus the message you will receive. Red, a promise of destruction. Black, a melody of pain. Silver whispers of sweet seduction. And Gold a secret gained. Grey, a truth that might have been, and lonely White forgives a sin. I think that the Devil's Ouij is best demonstrated rather than described, Mr. Alexander, so as to understand that it cannot be used as a serious tool. As I have said, it is for the young and foolish."

Pellucid raised a hand, and upon it appeared a cracked board of yellowed bone bearing a weathered die of many colours. His Master raised a single eyebrow at this sudden materialization from the aether, but otherwise remained still and silent. Pellucid took up the die, and placed the board upon the table. He looked to his Master, who shrugged, and so Pellucid commenced his demonstration. "Tell us Devils, how might Mr. Alexander free himself from the curse of an unwanted Family?" Pellucid rolled the die and it came to a stop, by chance, upon the V, and likewise by chance the die read Silver. A subtle hum then filled the air, and there was the barest whisper:  "Your every desire fulfilled, forget not your promise to the snow that lingers on the wind "

"As you see, Mr. Alexander, nonsense." Pellucid retrieved the die. "Tell us Devils, what is the worth of this Cadaverous Earth?" He rolled the die a second time. By chance it landed upon the S, and, all by chance, the die again read Silver. The hum returned, and a whisper with it: "A sister's touch already felt, prelude to our delectation. Silver sterling at your behest."

As he retrieved the board, and returned it to whence it came, Pellucid observed the look of consternation upon his Master's face. "I apologize, Mr. Alexander, if still your question lingers not quite answered. I am afraid we Demons are not known for innocent merriment. We could of course sojourn to the Hells and seek out some of the entertainments of my kin, should you wish."
"No. Perhaps some other time. Thank you Pellucid, for what you have shared. I shall have no further need of your services for the remainder of the night. You may retire." his Master said as he began to gather up his papers.

"Of course. Goodnight, Mr. Alexander."

"Goodnight, Pellucid."

Quote from: Light Dragon's Jatayi NestSticks
Setting: Cadaverous Earth

Out goes the drop from the net and down goes the wood, scattered to the wind and kicked up by the talons.

Beaks bend down to grab the sticks, each locking at a particular place on the oak, the yew, the maltwist, searching out the more valuable sticks, jostling each other to grab the choicer boughs. Woodtypes are valued first for their nesting strength, with brittle Ash netting few points and toughest Hickorysap being the best.

The judge, a stentorian hooded greybeak patters around, noting the location of the beaks, between the pointscores in this game of accuracy. Not only are the wood pieces judged in terms of strength, but so too is the location of the beak upon the bough, with pieces grasped between different marked locations, with the dead center garnering the most points.

When values are tallied, the winner is rewarded with choicest morsels and mating partners impressed by their skills, demonstrated through this rough and tumble survival-oriented game.