Winter Ceramic DMô: THE WINNER! - Page 17
  1. #161
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    Round 4 pics, Cedric vs. Kesh

    72 hours...scribble away...
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  2. #162
    Hmm...I had been thinking about doing EN World's first Ceramic DM Limerick...

    But since i couldn't come up with a limerick that could fit in all of the photo's...I'll just write a story!

    Cedric - scribbling away

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    OK, just about ready to post mine up.

    Whew! The process of looking at the pics, coming up with a story and then trying to figure out how to tell that story so it is interesting is difficult.

    I hope mine is an interesting read. I am going to run it through the spellcheck again and then see if I can post up the story with the links to the pics.

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    Duty

    The Hands of the Queen: The symbol of Hope and Prosperity for my nation. The hands of the Sorceress Queen that threw down Vittorio the Tyrant nearly 80 winters past. Her hands, held in the form of her Arcane symbol, ward us from the ambitions of those that would subjugate our fair realm. It is only fitting that we use it as our symbol on Standards and coin. So I have been told all of my life, and thus have I believed.

    As all the children in our realm know, Anatola the Sorceress came from the East in the time when my grandfather was a child, entered the palace of Vittorio and defeated the Tyrant in his own bedchamber, having braved the guards and bypassing incantations that protected the Tyrant from harm. Freeing the women seized for Vittorio's pleasure and releasing the men laboring in Vittorio's mines, our realm quickly embraced her as our savior. Before night had again fallen, we had declared Anatola our Queen, though none had yet seen her face. Instead of her countenance, we were allowed to see her hands and the symbol of her magic. As part of her vows to the spirits that do her bidding, she can only show her face to the one that is worthy of being King and ruling at her side.

    In the time since Queen Anatola saved my people, we have again risen to prominence as a wealthy nation. Her magic and the Royal Army protect us from the aggressions of our neighbors who are jealous of our wealth and abundance of food. Since Vittorio was overthrown, people no longer worry for the welfare of their sons and daughters. We till the land, we create beautiful music and poetry and our sculpting is second to none. Merchants from around the world journey to our capital, Larina, to purchase the work of the Royal Sculptors. Statues grace the city, and the rest of the realm. The workmanship is extraordinary and it is said that Queen Anatola sometimes takes up the hammer and chisel. Such is the true nobility of our Queen that she has skills as a sculptor as well as a Sorceress. Yet, she is also skilled in diplomacy as well as war. Every invader has been driven back and then forced to concede tribute to our people.

    My brother and I grew up under Queen Anatola's rule. The queen has never found a suitable mate and, as children, my brother and I would pretend that each of us had proven ourselves to be worthy of Queen Anatola's Love. We would engage in contests trying to better the other. I was always superior in the footrace, or wrestling, or any number of other physical challenges. However, my brother was the better at music, poetry and the rest of the gentler arts. We encouraged each other to excel in our strengths and good-naturedly teased each other about our desire to win Queen Anatola's heart. We had a rivalry of sorts, but we loved each other and if anyone besides I were to win Queen Anatola's interest, I would want it to be my brother. I was devastated to learn that he had disappeared.

    When I reached adulthood, I entered the Royal Army. I have spent most of my adult life protecting our frontiers. As I have proven myself, I have even been sent on special missions to other lands. At times, as a guard for one emissary or another, at other times, I have retrieved certain items from forgotten towers and tombs. As it is, I spend far more of my time exploring musty ruins seeking powerful items of ensorcellment for our Queen. These missions have won me a certain amount of renown and there are few in our land that outrank me. In contrast, my brother strove to become a minstrel. He knew the songs and the lore of the land. He understood our people and our art. While I excelled in my service, he became a near legend for his ability to capture mood and to convey a message through his music. While I fought to defend our land, he embodied all that I was defending. On the few occasions when I would return home, he and I would debate for hours. Always, he had a better command of what made our people unique. I learned much from him. In his words, I found the meaning of my Duty. The Duty, to the people, to protect them so that they may flourish. The Duty of the Queen to serve the people. True Nobility doesn't simply take from the people in the manner of Vittorio the Tyrant. My brother taught me how I serve the land. He made me a better soldier because of my understanding of what I fight for. In every way, I felt that my brother was much more suitable to be Queen Anatola's mate than I could ever be. The few rumors that I heard, made me think that the Queen had noticed my brother as well. I was devastated when I learned he had disappeared.

    He disappeared on the evening that he was to have had dinner at the Palace. Of course, I heard none of the details until a half year later, when I returned home. The reasons for his disappearance were never discovered. The Queen commissioned a statue to be made of him and placed in the city market. My parents tearfully broke the news to me. It was three days before I could bear to travel to the market and see the statue myself. Fresh flowers had been placed at the base of the statue and I marveled at it's quality. Even for our city, it was well done. It was certainly among the dozen or so exquisite statues that are in the city. The sculptor had even created a violin out of Iella wood, with it's distinctive pink hue, to grace the statue. Looking at the statue, I couldn't help but think that it was too perfect, too detailed. The skill was too good to be a mere statue. Of course, if I spent more time in the city, I might have heard the whispers in the taverns and alleys. The best statues are always of those most loved by the people.

    My thoughts carried back through the years. My brother's violin had been a gift from our Aunt. Our Aunt was an adventurer of sorts. Her few visits were always a treat for the two of us, for she seemed to understand us better than our parents did. One day, a wooden box arrived at our modest manor. The note on the box simply said, "Make good use of these gifts, if you can figure out how to open the box." The note also held the sigil of our Aunt. We excitedly dragged the box through the woods to a small clearing where we liked to go after our chores. It was large and I did most of the work, but I think that is what our Aunt intended. The top of the box was a puzzle lock of some sort and I could not understand it's complexities. It took several days for my brother to understand the mechanism, but even then he could not move the lock without my help. Our Aunt was clever and I am sure she intended the lock to be opened through both of our efforts. Once the lid slid back, we peered inside. Two wrapped bundles were all that we could find. Mine was a rune engraved sword that felt light to my 14 year old frame. To this day, I use the sword. My brother's bundle covered his Iella wood violin. I laughed at the color, but when he stroked the bow across the strings, my taunts were immediately quieted. The music was like magic flowing from my brother's heart.

    The violin on the statue was too well done to be a replica. The carving was too detailed with the flow of the clothing and the expression on my brother's face. My suspicions were aroused by such detail. But, I am a patient man and it does not do well to rush into things. The people in the market were surreptitiously watching me. I bowed my head and left for home.

    My mother would not look me in the eye as I asked her about my brother. My father would not answer my questions. Looking about the manor, it seemed that this was the first time I had opened my eyes. My parentsí clothes were patched. The fields had too many weeds. Thinking back, we had never been able to afford as many servants as we should have been able to support. I searched my brother's room but found nothing useful to explain why somebody might wish him harmed. Why had he disappeared? Why was that statue so detailed? It was winter and snow had fallen, but I did not care. I left for the clearing in the woods. That is where my brother and I had always spoken. As I entered the clearing, I could see the box. It was still sitting there after all these years. Indeed, my brother often used it as a seat as he played his violin when he and I were deep in discussion. Rushing forward, I could see that the top had been left opened. This puzzled me as my brother and I had only ever opened the box when we had something we wished to hide for a time. Realization came to my mind and I knelt in the snow and felt inside the box. After a moment, I grasped a bundle of books and notes. Pulling them forth, I recognized my brother's penmanship. In the snow, I sat down to see what my brother had tried to hide.

    It was near dark before I stuffed the bundle into my tunic and stumbled home. It was impossible! The things my brother had written were ludicrous. My mind was swimming in the implications, the lies. I found my father drunk in my brother's bedroom. It seems my questions were not welcome. I pulled my father to his feet and demanded answers. Slowly at first, my father told me of the taxes; the taxes that were always rising. Then he told me of the demands for gifts to the Royal Treasury. The implied threats from the tax collectors. The people that had disappeared as my brother had, and the exquisitely detailed statues that always appeared soon thereafter. After all these years, I realized how much our parents had tried to shield us. The worries were different, but Queen Anatola was just as much a Tyrant as Vittorio had been.

    My brother's notes told of people that had disappeared but had never had a statue erected of them. My brother's notes told his inability to ever locate a single person that worked as a Royal Sculptor. My brother's notes told of the oppressive conditions in the city and how the people lived in fear that the Royal Army could just as easily be used in the city as it was on the frontier. I thought back to all the conversations we had over the years. Debates on the Duty and how True Nobility doesn't simply take from the people. All those years, my brother was trying to tell me something and I was too self-sure to understand. Reading through my brother's notes, I realized that he kept pondering why nobody had ever seen the Queen's countenance. He had a theory. He had once heard a legend of a creature that lived on an island far to the East. In his notes, I found a map, of sorts, as to where the island might be.

    That night, I put on a cloak that made me blend into the shadows. I had recovered it just last winter on a mission for our Queen to recover a rune-covered staff. I passed through the alleys of the city as a wraith and none noticed as I passed. Reaching the market, I waited for the watch to pass. Creeping up to the statue, I brought forth a candle. I had to know for myself. On the back of my brother's neck was a scar. I knew exactly what the scar looked like for it was my fault that he had it. Climbing up the pedestal, I searched just above the collar. In the flickering light of the candle, I could barely see the raised V. Why would any craftsman go to that much detail? How could a craftsman do that from memory? My hands were shaking as I checked for my second piece of evidence. When he was young, he thought that if he scratched Anatolaís name into his violin, she would eventually take notice of him. A tear rolled down my cheek as I saw the scratches of her name. My brother never disappeared, he was right here in front of the entire city.

    I was always the patient one between my brother and I. It took me two years to arrange for a passage on a ship to the East on another special mission for the Queen. My brother had researched his tale and created a map of the island where an abomination might come from. I managed to convince the captain that the map I provided was our true destination. It was a small island and it took me hours to find the entrance to the cave. I had brought along many ensorcelled stones and I was able to light the largest chamber so that I might search it. It was difficult with all the statues of animals and men. Each statue was exquisitely detailed and this similarity was not lost upon me. I also found signs that somebody had lived here for a very long time. The island was far from land. It would be rare that anybody would visit this place, so it would serve as a good spot to banish somebody, or something. Near the back of the cave, I found the entrance to a smaller chamber. The walls were covered in writing. I am a poor translator, but I was finally able to discern that the writing told the tale of a beautiful young woman who defied the gods themselves. In punishment, they turned her golden locks of hair to serpents and her once beautiful countenance was changed so that any that met her gaze would be petrified. After hours of my halting translation, I came to the end of the tale and found the Arcane symbol of this once beautiful woman. A cry escaped my lips. I recognized the symbol; it was the same as the one on the tabard I wore. Next to the symbol was a name, but that name was not Anatola.

    Returning to the ship, I reported the mission as a failure. It wasn't the first time that information had been wrong. Upon returning to Larina, I also requested a change in assignment. I am no longer as young as I once was. I would prefer to work in the city and help however I may in that capacity. Such was the clumsy request I made, but it was successful enough. I have spent the past year uncovering corrupt government officials and other small things. The people of the city adore me. Whenever I am in public, they request speeches. They say I am almost as gifted as my brother is. That is, of course, blind flattery. Without my brother, my eyes would have never been opened. I simply take my brother's words to heart. My Duty is to protect the people. I do my duty well and my plans approach fruition. Tonight, I have received a summons to the Palace. I am to dine with our Queen. She has sent a new set of clothing for me. It is beautiful and would be the perfect accouterments for a statue in my honor.

    The Queen's Duty is to serve the people, not to hold them in terror.
    My Duty is to protect the people so they may flourish.
    She does not fulfill her duty, but I shall fulfill mine.

    Years ago, I was trained in the art of fighting in complete darkness. It was a useful skill in darkened tombs when the dead rise up to contest your presence. My eyes have been opened, but they must be closed before I see the Queen. Two pins in my sash will assure that my eyes cannot see. I know her True name so her sorcery cannot harm me and I will call out Medusa as my sword, the gift from my Aunt, brings about the end of the reign of Anatola the Tyrant.

  5. #165
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    Doh! Copy-paste between revisions killed me in one little spot. *sigh* Proofreading your own work is always trying. Oh well. Maybe the story will still carry through despite the error?

    OK Sialia, we have 6 hours left. I am hoping your story is coming in shortly.

  6. #166
    Quote Originally Posted by BardStephenFox
    Doh! Copy-paste between revisions killed me in one little spot. *sigh* Proofreading your own work is always trying. Oh well. Maybe the story will still carry through despite the error?

    OK Sialia, we have 6 hours left. I am hoping your story is coming in shortly.
    Well, it's ready now, but I'm afraid "shortly" is not a term anybody is going to be able to apply to this monstrosity.

    I can only humbly apologize for letting it get this badly out of control, and for disregarding the instructions about not submitting it as an attachment.

    It's too monstrously long for a post, and I don't like not knowing what the obscenity filter is going to do to my opening paragraph when I'm not allowed to edit. Per Bandeeto's insistance, I have self obscenity filtered it somewhat to avoid being thrown off the boards altogether. It guts an otherwise effective opening, but I yield to censorship in this case for the benefit of the delicate sensibilities of the viewing audience. Feel free to type back in any words you feel are missing.

    I've done no formatting, and used Mythago style footnotes.
    I am including the exact same text as both a .doc and a .pdf, just to be on the safe side.

    Aas soon as I have uploaded this, I will go back and read your story, which I have been eagerly awaiting BSF. Can't tell you how much fun it has been writing with you in mind.

    Looking forward to seeing yours,

    Sialia
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  7. #167
    Fine, fine work, BardStephenFox. You inspire me.

  8. #168
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    Oh my, that looks long. I'm checking it out now. I will reserve comment on my story as I tend to be hypercritical of myself. Hopefully, I am my worst critic on this one.

    Heh, I am about halfway through your story. It's fun so far. Professor Volpe is funny. It took me a little bit longer than I would have liked to catch the reference. You honor me and I am thus humbled.

    It has certainly been fun, frantic but fun. It has been worth it just to have a chance to read your story!

  9. #169
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    My comments have been sent. Good luck, folks

  10. #170
    wow!

    10k words! from here on out i shall be refering to you as "siala the brief"

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