Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage  (Read 1467 times)

Wiggy

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Hello! The theme to the next fortnightly writing competition is:

The Pilgrimage.

There's a destination, a reason and a journey. Your tale can be about the pilgrim themself, or the journey and the people they meet (e.g. Canterbury Tales), it could be a reminiscence (e.g. A La Recherche du Temps Perdu), a reunion, a gathering, festival... whatever. Let your minds run free. It need not be a long journey, could be a trip down the pub on a special occaision. I'm sure you get the idea.

Scoring shall be along the following lines:

Best story: The plot basically; enthralling and enticing.
Best scene setting: The feeling that you are there. Adjectives and adverbs, similes and metaphors colouring the plot's framework like a well-drawn background. (You can almost smell the dung.)
Best or worst protagonist: Comic or tragic, from pathos to bathos a main character that lingers in the reader's mind, for better or for worse, lovable or loathsome.

The only limitation is your imagination, sorry, the only two limitations are your imagination and the two-week deadline, which in the interests of globalisation I'll set as midnight 2 June 2018 BSST. Bonne chance tout le monde!

p.s. New entrants welcome. A great adventure game needs a good story and you can hone your skills here, it's free. Maths checking costs extra;-)

CaptainD

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #1 on: 18 May 2018, 08:40 »
Nice theme.  Haven't done one of these for ages, I might just enter this time (but no promises!) :-D

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #2 on: 21 May 2018, 02:52 »
Ooo!  This has Blondbraid's idea of a Scythian she-warrior teaming up with an ancient Greek academic written all over it! ;-D  "Scythes & Sandals," anyone? ;)

As for me, I'm off to wander the wild fens of suburbia in search of inspiration.... (roll)

Wiggy

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #3 on: 24 May 2018, 09:31 »
Just over 1 week to go and no entries. Of course we are coinciding with perhaps the greatest effort ever towards MAGS, and we all look forward to the offerings. I only joined this FWC to justify my procrastination about MAGS - my MAGS effort would have been based upon the only fact that I know about rats - they can't vomit. Hence the "Wind in the Willows" pub crawl game was shelved indefinately. (20 rooms was too much.)

I feel that I have to contribute, though I should not because I set the topic. I've got a few ideas in mind, but I'm thinking that if I don't spark your minds then who will? I need a couple of hours think time. Don't go quietly...

Wiggy

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After enough vin-spiration:
« Reply #4 on: 24 May 2018, 13:22 »
I've withdrawn my entry, because it was never meant to be an entry. I felt embarrassed and guilty over winning the last contest which was really just getting an idea out of my head, I am not a writer while it is obvious that there are very talented people on this forum. I'd like to see someone really challenge them to do a double trilogy, come up with irresistible stories and the whole forum make a series of it. (Well, a man can dream can't he?)

I'll maintain this 'til my dying day - puzzles alone do not a good game make. Stories do, and the better the story is the more marketable. Lara Croft became a Hollywood hit for an ex-porn model! The Da Vinci Code could have been a greater game than the novel was readable! The movie made billions. Too many of us lament that "the genre is dead". We code, we do backgrounds, we pixel-animate, yet we've all played KQ and QFG when the graphics were crap. What kept you there? Why could you not put it down? You were entrapped!!! You were snared and held, and wriggle all you might, you HAD to find out more about Erana, you HAD to help the Katta.

The next blockbuster starts here.
Well played all, farewell and good luck!

Wiggy
« Last Edit: 02 Jun 2018, 11:01 by Wiggy »

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #5 on: 28 May 2018, 14:01 »
A road to the land of the dead

The old truck, dating back to the late 70’s, it’s hull painted in a dull orange and its back covered by an army-green tarpaulin, lists dangerously as its driver struggles to keep it on the road. The old asphalt was full of cracks and gaps, entire sections of it missing entirely as the recently ended war had left its mark upon its surface, while the roadsides were full of shattered metal and wreckage. Occasionally the vehicle would pass groups of other travellers, but most of those didn’t even look up. At least the smoke had cleared over the past weeks, so the faint light of the stars and the moon were able to bathe the landscape in their dim, eerie glow. Britney wrapped her arms tighter around herself, pushing on the metal floor with her feet, and pinning her back against the wooden boards that made up the side. She’d tried to fit in, but it was difficult in this group. At least the other passengers tried to keep a polite distance. The stench of diesel fuel back here was almost overwhelming, and from time to time Britney couldn’t help but cough and retch, but the other passengers didn’t seem to mind. Of course they didn’t. Why would they?

Outside the truck passed a road sign. Two locations were listed there, in the original soot-stained blue and white:

Vyšné Nemecké - 16 km
Sobrance - 4 km

A third plaque, white and black, much newer and cleaner, has been screwed into the metal posts below, the symbol of the UN emblazoned upon it in addition to the words:

New Border (Latorica) - 62 km

A skeletal figure raises his (her?) head near the back, the moonlight filtering in through a narrow gap in the tarpaulin revealing the bone structure of a face, the missing teeth and the empty sockets where eyes had once been. The dead one tilts his (her? It truly was impossible to tell most of the time) head and stares at Britney as a new bout of ragged coughing causes her to briefly double over. The body language read as puzzled and the question was obvious, even if the dead one could not speak for his lack of a tongue.

“Matej wants to know...” -came a voice, a guttural croak that barely manages to clear the throat of the speaker; an old woman, her face hidden by the shadows of the heavy hood she wore. So the skeletal one was a man after all. Britney held up her hand, the black leather of her glove turning her fingers into shadowy slits that split her vision. The old woman fell silent at the gesture. The skeleton named Matej shrugged and looked away, through the gap in the tarpaulin, at the war ravaged fields outside.

Britney recalled the war acute detail. Not much time had passed, after all, not nearly enough to forget, especially in this company. Besides: she’d fought in it, in her own way. Her family had sacrificed so much. She’d watched in disbelief as the negotiations fell apart, then in abject horror as the ranks of the newly risen dead overwhelmed the lands of the living, sweeping in from the east, rising in unexpected pockets all across the continent, with more joining their ranks each day as the battle turned darker and darker. For a time she’d thought the world would truly end.

As the realities finally sunk in and the leaders of the free world finally understood what was about to happen, frantic new negotiations had been held, speeches and rallies and brutal demonstrations leading to new agreements being made. Now the dead travelled back east and south here. West in the orient. North in the colonies, up into the snowy wastes of Dead Canada. They didn’t mind the elements so much. In their own words, they’d just wanted a place to be in peace. Some place where they wouldn’t be buried again.

Nineteen dead, including the driver, sat aboard that truck. Nineteen out of billions. Refugees aimed at reaching their new home, in a world that would eventually struggle to contain them. How they had found the funds for this trip, Britney could not say. She’d sold what little she had left to come here, herself. it hadn’t been much. The new dead nations were a stopgap measure at best, a temporary attempt at stemming the tide until a solution was found, with borders to be expanded if one was not. The few living that still survived within the newly formed nation had fled, quite literally, for their lives. It was cold in the truck, and Britney found herself struggling to keep her teeth from chattering as she hugged herself, tugging on the ragged coats she’d collected while crossing the ruined Czech Republic to keep herself warm. The weight of something new on her shoulders caused her to gasp.

“Hush now, girl. You jus’ looked cold so I thought I’d give you my coat, that’s all.” The voice had been that of a man, old and grizzly. It made Britney think of an old-timey sailor, like in the movies. The face she saw as she turned her head didn’t quite match that image, however: A bald head attached on narrow shoulders, the paper-thin skin taut as it stretched over the bones. The smile was toothless, the tongue that spoke black. Britney tried to smile and nodded, mouthing the words ‘thank you’ even though her voice was lost to the loud rumble of the engine.

“I don’ get cold no more, anyways.” -the dead man chuckled dryly, leaning back against the side of the truck. “So... go on, now, girl. We’re all dyin’ to hear it.” The joke either fell on deaf ears, or was so worn out in these past days and weeks that none of those present even bothered to acknowledge it. “What’s a livin one like you doin’ on the dead express, huh?”

Britney sighed and shook her head. She’d told her story so many times now, to so many people. People always assumed she was one of the soon-to-be-dead, one of the millions that had lost their hope and made their way to their eventual resting place, abandoning what little life they had left in favor of making the journey while still alive. People assumed wrong. Just getting on board one of these trucks had been a hassle enough, but there was no other traffic going in, so as they got closer, the going got easier. The truck listed again as its driver slowed down and veered off to the left, avoiding the burnt-out wreck of an armoured personnel carrier lying on its side in the ditch.

“It’s my son.” -she finally answered. She could feel eyes on her as she spoke. For some reason the dead always took great interest in the affairs of the living, especially when those affairs overlapped with their own. Matej twitched, but kept his face pointed away so as not to be too obvious about listening in. He had no expression to give away his interest. “He was in the war. Third siege of Sevastopol, with the western volunteer corp. He wrote to me...” She paused to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat. Inside her clothes she clutched an old photo, pressing it to her chest so hard that it hurt. “...and I need to find him.”

“What’s th’ point, thought?” Asked the dead man that sounded like a sailor and looked like a mummy. “If he ‘asn’t come out, he’s... well, you know... Likely to stay.”

Britney knew. She knew all too well. Even if she did find him, she couldn’t bring him out. All she could do was to stay with him and be there for him, wait it out like the soon-to-be-dead. It was a mad journey, void of reason or purpose if viewed by another. To her, though, it was the sole purpose of her being now. The early war had taken her husband. The outbreak in Newbury had claimed all of her friends and family, apart from her son. He’d been there for her, sacrificed so much for her, and then gone to war to keep her safe. She couldn’t forget his smile when he waved her goodbye at the train station, the feeling of dread, fear that she’d never see him again. She’d kept all four letters she’d received.

“They won’t let you in. Not past the gates. Living only go out, not in.” This time the voice was new. Britney couldn’t see who it was, but it sounded wet, as if spoken through a mouthful of water.

“I’ve come this far. I’ll think of something.”

The piece of paper feels heavy in her hand. The words written on its back burn in the back of her mind. It was like an old polaroid, made in one of those shops that turned digital images into ‘retro’ ones. The only way to sneak out a message nowadays, with all the electronic messages monitored and censored. It was a photo of her son, Kevin, along with two other men in army fatigues, standing outside of a building. None of them were smiling. Two of them had a distinctly dead look in their eyes, while Kevin’s expression was forced and fearful.

And then, on the back he’d written the numbers: 44.658372, 34.014814

« Last Edit: 31 May 2018, 09:29 by WHAM »
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Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #6 on: 29 May 2018, 02:03 »
Rose

She has never walked this path before. She has never noticed how the forest stops, just stops a few meters from the road, as if someone had cut a photo in half. It changes suddenly, the green of the woods makes room for a tiny speck of empty land, empty in so many more ways than the lack of nature. It is not like there is no green, there is grass and even a flower here or there, but it seems so unnatural. It is unnatural, a hill build by some people, protecting the houses and animals in the forest beyond from the noises of the highway. A guardrail protects it further – people wandering aimlessly where they are not supposed to or cars from drifting away from the road? She doesn’t know. Neither. Both. She never really thought about it, never cared.

She has never been here before. It is not true. She has been here a thousand times, driving past the forest and the artificial hill on the highway, not really knowing the name of the village just a couple hundred meters away, or that the bridge she is heading towards now is a pedestrian path connecting – nothing really. It leads from the village to the forest on the other side and then maybe to some fields or a little lake. She still can’t bring herself to care. Maybe there is another village further ahead. Maybe there are people here who prefer to walk to work that way?

The path is nothing special, really. Just some trampled down mud, a bit of pebbles here and there and puddles, a lot of puddles that nearly make here slip from time to time. She still isn’t all that steady on her feet. She is too proud, too hurt to wear anything but the – fairly sensible – high-heeled boots she loves so much. But with the artificially stiffened leg, it is more than painful, more than difficult. Her balance is off too, with the left arm still in a sling and the whistling in her ear she can’t get rid of since... Yes, since then.

It has stopped raining hours before she started her slow and painful walk. But her pants’ legs are still wet from the water on the ground, her shirt is still soaked through from the sweat that also glisters on her forehead and itches on her scalp. And her cheeks are damp from the tears she hasn’t been able to shed before now.

As normal and unremarkable the path is, as not special and not worthy of any attention, for her, now, in this very moment, it is her whole world. It is the end of her whole world. When the path reaches the bridge, it becomes stone and brickwork. It is older than the street below, as strange as this may seem. But the bridge was here before the highway got four lanes, before the cars sped along it with 120 km/h, before the earth was piled up to form a barrier. Even the handrail is just unshaped stone, stacked and solidified, but still brittle and old. In a way, it is even romantic, even beautiful, with the forest in her back, the sun just setting behind the trees, and the smoke rising from the chimneys of the village. If the noise of the cars rushing past weren’t there, if the fumes of the exhausts wouldn’t reach her nose, if only her memories were different. If.

But they aren’t and from her vantage point so high above the street, she sees the dent in the guardrail on the other side of the highway. The glass is gone, the metal scraps, the blood, the stone, the single stone taken from the bridge or out of the forest, they are all gone. Her green Polo, a present from her parents to her engagement, the tatters of her white dress the fireman had to rip from her motionless body, the tiara she had worn the whole day, feeling like a princess just once in her life, they are all gone. Her fiance - no husband, he was her husband then – they have taken him as well.

He never reached the hospital. That was just an empty shell. In the grave, there is nothing but broken bones and bruised flesh, clothes he hated, the watch he loved. But here, here they laughed for the last time, here they looked at each other, here they closed their eyes at the same moment, he with a smile on his lips and her name on his breath, she with screams so deep ingrained in her very being that she still hears them in her mind.

She stops for a moment on the bridge. She looks down at the cars, sees them like he saw them. Blurry lines of light and shadows. Specks of colors here and there. Splashing water from the rain, swirled up by the wheels on the ground and the constantly, hypnoticly swinging windshield wipers. Unremarkable, normal, like the path she never really thought about before.

For someone it was not normal enough, not interesting enough. The people in the cars were nothing to think about, nothing to notice, nothing to care about. The stone was thrown in the early hours of the evening. It was a small stone, just about as big as a fist. It was deliberate. She doesn’t know how the police came to this conclusion. Is it really important? Is it important who threw it? Or why?

It crushed into the windshield of a car driving past underneath the bridge. The car was going fast. The people inside were laughing. And then the laughter died in their throats. The stone broke the windshield. It flew right through. The driver was hid in the head. The car swiveled from the road. There is a dent in the guardrail now.

She has to climb over the handrail and then walk a couple meters beside the highway – how far is it? How far did they swerve before they hit the guardrail? - and then the guardrail to reach the dent. Police and cleaning crews have taken care of the wreck. The rain washed the last traces away. People driving past, they see nothing to remind them of her husband or her car or the accident.

She stands there for a moment, well aware that she is not supposed to be there, that it is dangerous for her, dangerous for the people driving past. But the flowers in her hand, the simple wooden cross she had carved herself, they need to be here. They need to be laid down where he died, not where his empty shell remains, not where people only cry and mourn. Here they laughed, in the car driving past, here they hoped. Here she told him of the child. His name is burned into the cross and roses grace it with their blossoms. Her so long unshed tears water it. Her sobs call it to life, to the life he would not live.

She stays there long, kneeling on the side of the emergency lane, as cars rush past her and soak her with the rain of the street. The memorial leans against the guardrail now, precariously close to falling over. In a few days, it will be gone, but for now it stays.

Painfully slow, she gets back to her feet. Again and again she looks back as she walks away, leaving him forever. The airstreams of the cars rattle the cross and sway it, but still it stands. With every look she expects it to fall over and in her mind this would allow her to fall, the stop walking, to break down. But it doesn’t fall, not when she climbs back over the guardrail, not while she walks besides the highway, not when her stiff leg gets caught in the handrail and she struggles to get back to the strange familiarity of the path. It stays upright as she hobbles back up the steep bridge and as she stops on its highest point again.

She waits for it to fall. It would allow her to give up. She would climb over the handrail again. She would fall onto the street. Her body would strike into the windshield of a passing car...

It does fall. When she turns her head, when the rain starts again, when a car drives too close to the emergency lane, it falls. The scream is still in her head, the screeching of the tires, his breath that is too weak to produce a sound, calling her name. She presses her hands on the handrail, she heaves herself up.

And then her hand wanders to her belly, feeling for the kick.

WHAM

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #7 on: 31 May 2018, 11:20 »
I wasn't happy with the original story I posted, so I updated it a bit a moment ago. In case you read it already and felt it was crap, consider giving it another shot.
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Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #8 on: 02 Jun 2018, 05:17 »
I'm mostly done, but it's too late to finish it tonight.  I'll try to make it by the deadline tomorrow.

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #9 on: 02 Jun 2018, 14:14 »
(Written to be read with a Scottish accent.)

The Bald Prophet

We had waited years for the arrival of The Bald Prophet, but finally he got hair...

Wiggy

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #10 on: 02 Jun 2018, 15:49 »
Please get in your submission Baron, I'll hold it open as long as I can justifyably do so.

Wiggy
« Last Edit: 02 Jun 2018, 15:51 by Wiggy »

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #11 on: 03 Jun 2018, 03:29 »
Good!  I'll stall for as long as I can justifiably do so, and we'll meet up somewhere in the middle. :=

The Bald Prophet

Awesome.  Prophesy isn't quite the same as pilgrimage, but still awesome.  (nod)

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #12 on: 03 Jun 2018, 05:15 »
Awesome.  Prophesy isn't quite the same as pilgrimage, but still awesome.  (nod)

The Bald Prophet was travelling (on a pilgrimage) to where the people were waiting for him ;-)

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #13 on: 03 Jun 2018, 06:00 »
Through the Dander of Despair

   He crested the rise and his primitive heart-tube sank as hope evaporated.  As far as he could see there was nothing but mangy devastation.  He pierced the terrain beneath him in search of the red gold that kept him going, but found nothing but dust and disappointment.  He was an oriental rat flea by the name of Battuta.  And this was the land of false promise.

   Battuta squinted his eyespot at the sun to try to get his bearings.  He had come to Fluffball with the intent of seeing the great Cuzco of the East, the famous Lost Navel where the blood shot like a geyser every hour.  Legend had it that in between blasts the blood would pool so deep that you could swim in it, gorging yourself to satiation.  Battuta licked his stylet with regret, for clearly he was a long way from that land of bounty.

   Wandering through the desolation he saw nothing but scraggly hair tufting away in the wind.  This exposed the cracked and flaking skin that seemed to contain no hint of moisture no matter how far down he drilled.  Battuta hunkered down, letting his armoured plates bear the brunt of a particularly harsh gust.  He had best find shelter soon, lest he get caught in another dander storm and be buried up to his pygidium.

   Battuta made his way to a decrepit copse of fur that seemed to barely cling to the terrain by its exposed follicles.  Along the way he passed some hollow exoskeletons that were bleached almost white from exposure.  They grinned knowingly at him, as if in anticipation of his company.  Shuddering from the chill in the wind Battuta pressed on.

   At the copse Battuta was surprised to discover a grizzled old-timer sitting against a wispy hair and nursing a canteen of something red that smelled quite fermented.  Battuta hailed the old flea and asked if there was any shelter to be had nearby.

   “T'aint no such comfort on this sack of bones, Sonny!” the old-timer barked, chuckling madly to the wind.  “Not since the wells ran dry, and the fur began to fly!  T'aint fit for a louse, or even this old souse, not since the beginning of the end of days.”  The old-timer pointed his foreclaw vaguely in Battuta's direction while taking another sip from his canteen.  “Waddaya doing on a barren desert like this, Sonny?  Yer still young and strong of leg.  Why don't you blast off this corpse and chance what may in the yonder wilds?  Bad as it could possibly be, it can't be worse than here.”

   Battuta contemplated the old-timer's words.  It was vaguely irrational, but he had an unquenchable thirst that only the faithful geyser of paradise could sate.  He told the old-timer as much.

   “Red fever,” the old-timer spat grimly, letting out a long, mournful whistle.  “Mark my words, Sonny.  You'll wander these dunes of dust and dander for all eternity before you find the Lost Navel.  Heed the advice of my experience: let it go and move on.”

   Battuta suppressed the doubt gnawing at his insides.  He would not forsake his one true purpose for the uncertain purgatory of the yonder wilds.  He laughed at the old-timer, telling him he was too close now to give up hope.

   The old-timer studied Battuta for a long time before shaking his head in despair.  “T'aint we all, Sonny.  T'aint we all.”

   Battuta smirked at the melodrama of the old-timer's manner, but suddenly the chilly wind pierced him to his soul.  He turned his laterally compressed body into gale wind to stop it from acting like a sail and dislodging him from the copse.  He squatted low to keep the frigid blast from sapping him of the last of his heat, his eyespots stinging from the driven dander flakes.

   When the worst of the wintery wind had subsided, Battuta turned back to his companion, but the old-timer was gone.  Battuta looked downwind to see if he had been driven from his resting place, but all he saw was the scattered remnants of bleached exoskeletal bits snared in the wispy hairs of the copse.  The only evidence that the old-timer had ever been there was the flask that now lay empty at the base of the hair against which he had been sitting.

   Battuta stooped to retrieve the flask so that he might lick out the last few drops of sweet red with his labial palpus.   Again he bent, and again, his parched throat aching for just a single drop.  He couldn't quite believe it when his ghostly foreleg kept passing through the flask and out the other side.

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

This story was supposed to be quite a bit sillier than it turned out.  Here's my original inspiration:
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
:-D

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #14 on: 03 Jun 2018, 11:04 »
Song of Remembrance
In the times of our ancestors
Was the greatest journey known
That of Agnarut the Fiery
To the frigid Arctic zone

Born during the great winter
He lived in hunger and in rage
And decided to end winter
When he was 30 years of age

So he gathered up his tinderbox
And he gathered up his cloak
And he gathered up his walking stick
Made of iron and of oak

Each solid step by solid step
He journeyed in the cold
And he'd call out at every homestead
To each person young and old:

"I pilgrimage to end the winter
Pilgrimage for spring
Remember me to all your children
That forever they may sing"

The people fed him candied apples
And other preserved fruit
They promised he would live forever
In the stories to their youth

And after 7 years of walking
He reached the ice font of the north
And he took his staff and smashed it all
Till fresh water bubbled forth

Then he sat down on the icey throne
And he lit his funeral pyre
He gave himself up to the winter
And the spring was born in fire

And so Agnurat the Fiery
He will burn forevermore
And we walk his steps and sing his songs
In remembrance and in awe
« Last Edit: 03 Jun 2018, 11:38 by Babar »
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Wiggy

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #15 on: 03 Jun 2018, 15:40 »
Oh frabjous day! Calloo, callay! A poetic entry -I'm most impressed! Alas mes amis, it is pencils down time, and a heartfelt thanks to all who took part. Voting time is upon us, and, what, is 5 days enough? I think so, so let's announce the winner(s) on 7 june - give or take the circadian variation. Very high standard here - I like 'em all! Let us await the equinox! (ok and another day)

Babar

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #16 on: 03 Jun 2018, 17:42 »
I swear it's not laziness :=, I just liked it best in all the categories, so all three of my votes go to Baron's "Through the Dander of Despair"
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Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #17 on: 05 Jun 2018, 22:48 »
Wiggy: I'm sad you removed your story. I read it shortly after you posted it and enjoyed it, but I was very tired when I read it so I remember very little. Still, an interestting take on the topic - even though your definition of "pilgrimage" was fairly wide to begin with.

WHAM: I think it was a good idea to modify your story. The first version wasn't bad by any means, but the revision does clear a few things up. For example, it was a bit confusing in the beginning who is talking (I think, there were a couple of days between reading the two versions.). Your story is great when it comes to world-building, and definetely hints to a larger world behind it. What would happen if thw dead come back to life? And it's interesting that it's basically set after most stodires take place. The living fighting the armies of the dead? That I've read often enough, but a world that has itself arranged with the fact, at least to some degree - that is new and faszinating.

Baron: It's always strange to look at the world throught the eyes of something non-human. I feel a bit sorry for Battuta, he came so far and gets absolutley nothing for it. Poor guy.

Babar: I'm always happy when we get a bit of peotry around here, especially when it's well written too.


Best story: WHAM
Best scene setting: Babar
Best or worst protagonist: WHAM

WHAM

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #18 on: 06 Jun 2018, 07:37 »
WHAM: I think it was a good idea to modify your story. The first version wasn't bad by any means, but the revision does clear a few things up. For example, it was a bit confusing in the beginning who is talking (I think, there were a couple of days between reading the two versions.). Your story is great when it comes to world-building, and definetely hints to a larger world behind it. What would happen if thw dead come back to life? And it's interesting that it's basically set after most stodires take place. The living fighting the armies of the dead? That I've read often enough, but a world that has itself arranged with the fact, at least to some degree - that is new and faszinating.

'New and fascinating'. Now that I consider high praise. Thank you!

I was at work, doodling on my notepad while I was trying to come up with ideas for a story. Ended up just drawing a simple skull as sort of practice for facial structures, but his eyesockets had this sort of expression in them that was unintentional. He seemed annoyed, possibly due to the inconvenience of being dead and missing a jaw. That was pretty much what I started building this story around: the dead being dissatisfied with their condition and rising up to try and make their afterlives more tolerable. Now that I have this rough opener, I am kind of tempted to expand this thing into a longer, more fleshed out story of war-refugees and survivors, of how humanity might contend with a sort of zombie apocalypse scenario where the living dead aren't just shambling, mindless, flesh-eating monsters, but people with personalities, motivations and needs. Just, sans breathing. I kind of like the setup.

My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - The Pilgrimage
« Reply #19 on: 07 Jun 2018, 03:00 »
I had an idea once for a game where you would play as this British intellectual zombie and the living were the crazy ones who just made weird screaming noises and attack you for no reason.  If only I had a dollar for every game idea I never pursued.... (roll)

Best story: Sinitrena  Yes, it was heart-wrenching and depressing.  It might just be that the story hit a personal nerve, as there are several such micro-monuments to the victims of car crashes along my route into work, two of whom I knew personally (I live in quite a small town where most people know most other people).  I liked how the banality of commuting cars was examined from the perspective of a pedestrian and a victim, even though I found it hard to like the main character's attitude of hopelessness.  I think it was the moral of the senselessness of traffic fatalities that clinched it for me, as all the other stories lacked a substantive lesson.

Best scene setting: WHAM for the post-apocalyptic patchwork of zombie and living zones.  It has a post WWII feel of gritty chaos and uncertainty.  The attitude of the dead seemed to indicate that they harboured no relationship bonds with the living once they pass over, which somewhat complicates the dramatic motivation of reuniting with loved ones on the other side, but the issue was never settled overtly one way or another.  Very interesting concept, though.

Best or worst protagonist: Babar for Agnurat the Fiery.  All the other characters just seemed too self-absorbed in their despair.  Britney has committed herself to an almost certainly futile quest that will lead to her death, while Rose (?) was willing to throw away her future and the life of her child because she can not let go of the injustice of the past.  While Agnurat was also suicidal, at least his sacrifice was for some cause greater than himself.