CERAMIC D.M. (not the current one, a year old) - Page 17




What's on your mind?

  1. #161
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    Originally posted by Sniktch
    I was going to take the pics from Arwink-Speaker and right my own entry as if I had advanced, but maybe we can talk Clay into giving us 5 fresh pics for our own mini-match. What do ya say, Potter?
    start an alternate thread and i am on it
    maybe a home version ?

 

  • #162
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    Originally posted by Sniktch
    Since I plan on joining the next time around, I will prepare a big paddle in case you are a judge
    Ya Rat B@$t@®d, ya!
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

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    Originally posted by Mark
    You got the love, Judges!
    Right back atcha, Mark! It really was nice to hear from you after every round when I was competing.
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

  • #164
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    Clay, I started a home game thread right here

  • #165
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    Originally posted by mystraschosen
    Alsih thanks for your critique,no it was not harsh,and why enter a contest such as this if you are not prepared for your story to be judged? I will take all constructive criticisim and try to put it to use so that I can come back and submit an even better story next time. It is gratifying to know that the "hoof" command was funny to others as well as me.I couldn't stop laughing when I thought of that one.

    I would not have a problem writing it up as an adventure,if you so desire alsih. Just give me a little bit o time and it shall be yours.
    I think you might be talking to me and not alsih2o, if you are referring to the long critique at the end. I just don't want Mark (alsih2o) to take any blame for my harshness. "Hoof!" was indeed funny and I really look forward to your scenario write-up. Good luck in the home game
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

  • #166
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    Originally posted by Sniktch
    Hey, MC
    Just to prove how clueless I can be, I thought you were talking to me (MirthCard) in this post, until I saw MystrasChosen's post right below it. So maybe I am partly to fault for being lost after all
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

  • #167
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    Yi yi yi...

    *studies pics, tries to come up with connection, falls over*

    Barsoom Tales II: Romance, Revolution and Bloody Revenge!
    Big Trouble. Little Heroes. Welcome back to Barsoom. (COMPLETE)

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    Good luck everyone!

    Ill try and do a longer judging than last round this time

    *tries to find something to make a peace offering to the potter*
    So many games, so little time!

  • #169
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    Arwink Vs Speaker

    Lost, Found, Forgotten

    If you buy me a wine, I’ll offer you a story. I know it’s not much, especially not around here, but I offer it anyway. There was a time, in the past, when my memories were more valuable than gold. Those that remain should be worth at least a little wine and a moment of your time. Interested? Yes? Then pour, and I shall begin.

    *

    “Dawn comes late to Chalice. It’s because of the vortex, the way it messes up space and time. Makes it pliable, you know?”

    I smile when I hear this, glance across the café to spot the speaker. He’s short, stocky, with the dark skin of a native. Not that means anything these days, with the exchange drawing in brokers from across the world. What he’s saying is a common enough theory about the shadows that creep across the city, but it’s wrong. Chalice is shrouded in shadows because it’s built in the heart of the rift, emerging from the vortex at its heart. Sun-blasted mountains loom on all sides, higher than any of the modern high-rise buildings we’ve adopted to house the visitors and the rich. Dawn comes late to chalice, because it takes hours for the sun to rise high enough to crest the peaks. The stranger’s theory is plausible enough, I suppose, but it’s still wrong. The vehemence with which people defend this idea tells you a lot about their origins, whether they’re visitors who have failed to notice the obvious or locals who simply trade their thoughts and memories on the street corners to make rich visitors feel more at home.

    I don’t know why I choose to start the story here. I remember the moment clearly, which should be enough to throw it into doubt. Anything I remember clearly these days is probably quality merchandise, purchased of someone else during the period when my own experiences were inflated by a touch of infamy. I have sold so much of the tale, potentially lost so many parts of the story that it may not qualify as such anymore. Perhaps all I have is the impression of a story, the after-taste of an experience I no longer posses. Who left in Chalice can claim to be a storyteller, can validate the authenticity of their claims. It is the nature of the city, and none know it as well as I, so forgive me if the tale is awkward or there are parts no longer remembered. I offer it freely, a morsel of what could yet exist for profit on my death. It may not be the story, but it is something. Cheaper here than you’d get it at the exchange.

    *

    This next part comes later, I think, although it’s part of the same day. The memory has faded a little with time, enough that it’s touched with sepia like an old photograph, but it’s still close to exact. I know enough to remember what happened. At the very least, it is the true beginning. I know, because I remember vowing not to sell it no matter what, and it’s the kind of thing I stick too.

    I was sitting in my office, in the private sale booths above the exchange. There was a time, long past, when I was given respect for my position and my knowledge, in the days of old. At the time, I was doing my best to live up for the prestige. My smock was always snowy and pure, unstreaked by the sweat stains and dust that often marked the pit-traders who favored dealing in bulk – those who sold memories of first kisses, moments of birth, spiritual awakenenings or the deflowering of virgins. I had moved beyond such bulk amusements, worked towards the unique and the extraordinary. I dealt with the rich and powerful, those who came to the city from the outside world with expectations and traded moments of such value that wealth ran through my fingers like water.

    The appointment book was vague, his name written in smudged ink. It was listed as a private conference, a speculative gesture that may or may not pay off. The knock on the door was soft, hesitant, and I asked him in with a voice as confident and loud as a dukes. He slunk into the room, followed by a faint air of deja vu that I couldn’t place. His eyes held recognition, though, a desire to greet me as an old friend. Such things are not unusual in chalice. I wondered if I’d sold my memory of him, or if he’d bought a memory of me. Either was plausible.

    “Gregor Mustapha, yes?” I asked, glancing at the appointment book. He nodded, scratched at a fuzzy mustache. He wore a trader’s smock, but it was grubby and bare – a forgery or a long unused right. “What do you want, Mr. Mustapha, I’m a busy man.”

    “I came across something,” he said. “Something you may be able to use.”
    His tongue flicked over his lips, wetted them slightly. Fingers fished around in his pocket, pulled for a silver orb of light, wrapped in a layer of glass. He held it forward, an offering. The first I’d seen in such archaic casing, and a rarity simply in its physical presence in my office instead of a notion, an idea, a barrel of stock held in a downtown warehouse.

    “Touch it,” he urged, “You’ll see.”

    I hesitated. I’m wary of unknown orbs, untested material. Have been since my youth, when my parents first brought me to this city. My first experience was when my cousin played a prank, slipped me the memory of a Frankish knights last ride. I can still recall the fringes of the experience, even after my uncle had removed it from my soul. The hours of aching agony, holding at an arrow wound in my side while a friend held my upright. For an unprotected soul, a ten year old still at an age when such things are horrifying and untainted by the exoticism the Coil-infatuates seem to give such experiences, it was a harrowing experience. My uncle had beaten my cousin for his impudence, for venturing to far into the world we were forbidden until our sixteenth years. A few years back, during the period of infamacy, my cousin sold that beating for several thousand dollars. A stroke of luck and timing.

    Mustapha knew none of this, offered me an untested orb like a child would offer candy. Excitement was writ on his face, his features shining softly in the light.

    “What is it?” I asked.
    “Two hours of swimming,” Mustapha said softly. “With a mermaid.”
    “Is there kissing?”
    “Some.”
    “Any drowning -, accidental or intentional?”
    Mustapha shook his head.

    I stared at him for a few minutes, let him sweat. I feigned indifference, tried to project an illusion of civility and boredom at his find. Two hours of an exotic dream can be a good find, as long as he wasn’t over-pricing it.
    “What’s the origin,” I said. “What kind of dream – Delusion? Archetypal? REM?”
    His teeth appeared beneath the mustache, wide and sharp as a sharks.
    “It’s real,” he said. “Sane. Fully awake. Completely tested and signed off as an individual meme-pattern.”
    I hid my surprise well. Such things are my job, after all, but the caution of my childhood left me. My hand reached out to touch the orb, to live for a moment in the memory of a mermaids embrace. It washed over me like a wave, for but a moment, until my hand drew back from the glass. It was true. There was none of the disbelief, the eagerness or the haziness of a dream origin.

    “What kind of money are we talking,” I asked, and the eagerness creeping into my voice. He named a figure, but I no longer remember it. I think I sold it some time ago, to a pauper who wanted to know the feeling of becoming suddenly rich.

    *

    My first time on the floor as in the early sixties, just as the market was dying for memories of sex or exotic dreams induced by drugs. I was sixteen, already aware of the value of what we traded due to my cousins little joke. I can remember walking onto the floor, my white smock pale and fresh as I pressed into the throng of people who gathered in the central chamber. My first sale was in mundanities, the moments when nothing extraordinarily happens. I was one of the first to see that trend, to notice the winds of change that swept through the world. When real life became tumultuous and wild, while the music started shifting towards rock and roll, the demand for placid memories of home and hearth grew exponentially. I grew in wealth quickly, trading smart and hard. I kept hundreds of sex-memories on the back burner, sold to me at phenomenally low prices that garnered an enormous profit in the conservatism in later decades. I traded primarily in Nostalgia for seven years, walking the trade floor built around the nexus with fists full of memory markers that I bandied around like they were nothing. I build new markets before I graduated, moved into the upper offices, to deal with the exotic and the new.

    For a time, I held several private collections that were held in high regard. My favorite were the remnants of explorers minds, often snatched at the last minute while they died fevered from malaria or exotic poisons. Of all I once had, only one remains. A memory of being in the Amazon, standing behind a row of pygmy’s while they sang and danced songs that no westerner had heard for an age. Even now, in my times of turmoil, I can’t bring myself to part with it. There’s a clarity to the memory, a purity that makes it recognizably not my own. To give up something so pure, so clearly vivid, is abhorrent to me. At times I shaved moments off, seconds of either end, but that core image is still with me. Fresh and new as the day it happened.

    *

    The mermaid was bid on by rock stars and actors, by wealthy men who had a taste of the exotic. I was offered wild memories by one of the Rolling Stones for the experience, offered untold years of knowledge by professors of anthropology of lore. The mermaid went to none of them, simply sat on my desk waiting for someone capable of finding my price.

    It was a peculiarity, I admit. One of those magical moments that the Vortex seems to spit out every now and again, like the memory of a planets birth that Kladdich Omerhyter sold a decade ago. No-one knows where they come from, but it’s thought that it’s a peculiarity of the Vortex’s power that makes it so. That same ability to segregate a person’s life into moments, to suck it into a physical form where it can be sold in the Exchange of Experience, leads to random moments stolen from unknown worlds or universes. The Mermaid was a gift from the gods, whichever gods I once worshipped. Faith was fetching a good price a year ago, and I sought a way to get back into the game. I’m sure I thanked someone the memory had made its way into my life, but that thought is long gone.

    Mustapha came back time and again, always bringing something exotic and new. The memory if a phoenix’s death, of floating in the abyss of space without dying, the thoughts of a whale as it sang to the stars. I bought them all, time and again, paying him top dollar for the privilege.

    I remember few details of his visits. They were valuable, once, and I thought there were enough to go around. I remember his hands, however, large and pale. Hands that offered things forward like gifts, jewels of heaven that were priceless in their perfection. I remember the pale scar he had on one knuckle, the soft touch he had despite the callused fingers.

    *

    My fall was swift, violent, probably deadly. I have sold much of it, although the profit was not great. I remember shadows, fragments. The men from another government, dropping in through the penthouse that sat in the heaven above Chalice’s streets. I remember seeing Mustapha shot, a bullet lodged in his chest. I remember seeing the man I sold the Mermaid too, pointing a finger at me and wailing. I think, perhaps, I even remember the faintest sheen of scales over his flesh, or the crease of gills as he heaved the air. I’m no longer sure.

    If you ask around, I’m sure someone can tell you the charge. Trading in dangerous memories is popular, or unknown thoughts. Perhaps there was no charge, they were just people from another place, another time, seeking to reclaim what was theirs. Such things happen here, rarely, and the vortex is often to blame. Who is going to stop it, though, when the vortex is what makes Chalice what she is. Without it, we would be a backwater town in the heart of the mountains. With it, we can be the center of the world.

    I remember walking through the exchange, shut down by whatever force had stripped me of wealth and power. The entire place was empty, for the first time since the white-smocked throngs that sold thought and feeling had entered the place. It felt unreal, like a dream. Perhaps it is. Who is to say such thoughts are mine, rather than some rarity I picked up in the distant past. Perhaps this is the memory of a construction worker, who laid the pale tiles of the trading floor and then walked home after a day’s hard work.

    *

    It isn’t much of a story, I know. When times are hard, the stories are the first things to go. Chalice is the city of stories, but none of them are permanent. Nothing is as it was meant to be. The vortex makes as greedy, makes us dream of having been something different then peruse it as men possessed. It isn’t much of a story, I know, but there may be a lesson there among the scabby patches and long-forgotten sales. If you are interested, I may sell it to you. You can have any part, any experience foreign or intriguing to you, for a cup of wine.

    Pic 1 – The Exchange of Human Experience
    Pic 2 – The Memory of the Mermaid
    Pic 3 – The memory slipped by his cousin at age ten
    Pic 4 – The city of Chalice
    Pic 5 – The last memory from the Explorer collection.
    Peter M. Ball

  • #170
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    Not necessarily the story I wanted to post on a round when I'm up against Speaker, but time and other commitments were against me
    Peter M. Ball

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