Spring Ceramic DM™: WINNER POSTED! - Page 17
  1. #161

    Good Luck!

    A little late, but I wanted to wish MacBeth and Bardstephenfox goodluck. Good thing we aren't playing this week so your brains will be fresh for those...er, pictures. Yikes!

  2. #162
    Quote Originally Posted by Eeralai
    A little late, but I wanted to wish MacBeth and Bardstephenfox goodluck. Good thing we aren't playing this week so your brains will be fresh for those...er, pictures. Yikes!
    Well, it may be a bit late, but thanks a ton. Encouragement is always welcome.

  3. #163
    I rather like these pics. I'm not sure how I'm going to work them all together, but I like them.

    Thank goodness the migraine cleared up. Imagine the story you'd have gotten if I were still on about 5 different over the counter meds.

  4. #164
    Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mythago
    You really haven't forgiven me for the pangolin, have you?
    No, my friend. I loved the pangolin. I haven't forgiven you for the photo of a granite driveway sphere -- and all of those photos of peoples' hands.

    I thought I was being more subtle than that, though. Dang.

  5. #165
    Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

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    About six hours to go for Alsih2o.

    And it's time for Match 1-5: Tzor vs. Zhaneel. Entries are due 72 hours from this time stamp. Please label the top of your entry with your match information, and make sure you flag your illustrations in some way.
    Attached Files Attached Files     

  6. #166
    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    About six hours to go for Alsih2o.

    And it's time for Match 1-5: Tzor vs. Zhaneel. Entries are due 72 hours from this time stamp. Please label the top of your entry with your match information, and make sure you flag your illustrations in some way.

    Interesting... well I've at least got a throw-away story forming. What I get for looking at these while on sleep depravation (6:50 AM here, up earlier than my alarm)


  7. #167
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    What can I say, those pictures are fascinating! My mind is already into overdrive working on something that is worthy of the contest.

  8. #168
    round 1 Cool hand luke vs alsih2o

    The Grain


    My name is Yun Soo Lee and I am a doctor. Well, I used to be a doctor. Now I am just another nobody with some paperwork saying she is a doctor. Well, I used to be a nobody….

    Three years ago I was working as a doctor in the severe burn unit of the largest hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. I spent most of my time treating people in terrible pain. I have seen strong men beg for mercy without shame at the touch of a cotton swab coated in healing ointment. I have watched children who cry without ceasing until we took their pain chemically, leaving nothing but the husk of a person. These small innocent lives and bodies are not fully formed and are already being rebuilt. Reborn. In pain.


    Nashville is an awfully small big town- small enough that my salary from the hospital left me with enough money to indulge my tastes for American plantation culture.

    “Why would you want a place so large? Seven families could live here!” my mother complained on her first visit. “Come back to the coast, there are many good Asian men still looking for wives.”

    My mother had always found my taste for American culture inappropriate. She spent 14 years working on a plan and filling out forms to come to this country and has spent the rest of her life trying to make sure I didn’t become a part of it. Add that to the men I have had to work with who naturally assume that since I am Asian I must be dying to fulfill some geisha fantasy of theirs and I start to feel like an island.

    “Well, I have always liked Japanese women.” They say.

    “I am not Japanese, I was born in Oakland, California.” I would say.

    “Yeah, but your, you know, Japanese blooded.” They would retort. That or some other piece of droll insight that could be summed up with a friendly “Well, you all look alike.”

    Most I would just let slide, some I actually explained it to. My mother is Thai and my father is Cambodian. I quickly found out that this leads most men right into a drooling look teamed with the word “exotic.”

    But my new home gave me respite from all of that. 285 gloriously planted acres with a big, white, columned house straight out of the ‘Gone with the Wind’ courtesy of a broken down country singer who managed to snort 6 gold albums up his nose. Wisteria grows in thick clumps on the old barn at the edge of the pond and graceful, slightly arching trees grace the driveway with a soft green light and a cool breeze 9 months of the year.

    I have filled the house door to door with an eclectic collection of handmade furniture- Federalist, Louis the Fourteenth, Regency, Victorian, and even some Shaker pieces. All of this, of course, drives my mother crazy.

    Mentioning my mother again should take me back to the story I guess. She came to visit for the second time in a month. This time with a man, if you want to call him that. I first heard her coming in my front door, jabbering as loud as she could in Thai about witches and Americans and how bad the rental car smelled.

    I was a little too stunned by mother walking in with a strange man to find out what it was that had upset her enough to call someone a witch. I just stood on the balcony, probably with my mouth hanging open, as she proceeded to tell the new prospect to make himself at home. After staring disapprovingly about the place for a few minutes he finally saw me above them and waved.

    “I love how you have brought this style together!” he said, sweeping his hand out over the furniture jammed all around the entry hall.

    It was one thing to lie, I mean the place was a mess, but to make the grand gesture at all of the new deliveries, some still in crates, some at odd angles where the movers had set them, that was too much.

    “It’s 12 styles.” I said with enough chill in my voice to let him know that 6 hours on a plane with my mother had been a waste of his time.

    “Do you, um, do you know there is a…vigil…outside?” he asked.

    “I wouldn’t call it that, just a crazy old woman. She has been there since I first looked at the place.” I always forgot her till a guest mentioned her. The mother of the aforementioned country singer- a country woman from deep in Louisiana. She had been camped out front when I first came to meet the realtor.

    I had remained in my car, her appearance made me uncomfortable. She had just stood there, staring at the house over the low stone wall that sits around the grounds. She caught me staring at her and a chill went down my spine. A chill- how appropriate. The realtor showed just after I locked eyes with the old lady and honked his horn. It dragged me back to my visit and when I looked back she was gone.

    I fell in love with the place instantly but tried to play it cool. I asked questions, I talked history and when I could not take it anymore I asked about the old woman outside.

    “She is just an old woman, harmless really.” Said the realtor. “She is the mother of the dust-hound who owned this place,”

    “His mother? Aren’t all dead country stars mothers driving pink Cadillacs through trailer parks somewhere?” I asked, thrill with my own sense of humor.

    “Be careful,” he warned “I know you don’t mean any harm, but you are…different and that can be taken wrong around here.”

    Right when he said “different” was when I first noticed the Grain. He was speaking to me from just around the corner as I was examining the wood grain on the cabinet doors. I leaned in to get a closer look at the swirling tones and realized, much to my amazement, that they were closer to me!

    At first I assumed that the door had somehow come open but when I moved to close it I fully realized that the door had warped. What I could have sworn was a perfectly flat cabinet door when I entered the room was now a sweeping curve leaning towards me. I was unsettled, my sense of reality felt violated.

    I quickly changed the subject moving away from the room. “Let’s talk about the offer.” I said moving briskly out of the pantry and through the kitchen. The realtor was quick to follow, I am sure he was counting up his commission the whole walk.

    And then it was mine. The house and the grounds and the barn and the tree-lined drive and the stone fences and, well…and her. She always stayed near the property. I would see her sometimes, never actually on the property mind you but near it. Twice I saw her digging in my trash and both times I called the police but apparently that is legal. I worried about identity theft but when I checked nothing was missing from the main trash. She had dug deep and opened the bag from the bathroom. Lord knows what she wanted in there.

    One of my neighbors warned me she was a witch. She seemed genuinely offended when I laughed. I thought it was a…euphemism.

    She stared at me hard and leaned closer, lowering her voice in a way that made her twang even more exaggerated. “You folks from outside never believe it but there’s witches in the south, same as there is God.”

    “Do you mean to tell me she is a real, honest to goodness, cast a spell in the dark over a boiling cauldron witch?” I asked.

    “There is magic in some folks dearie, there is magic in ‘em as sure as there is corn liquor in the sheriff.” She said with a conspiratorial tone.

    I didn’t take her seriously, of course. I actually spent most of my time trying to figure out why my neighbors, who had so much money, still dressed in gold trimmed sweats like trailer trash and talked like

    “Hillbillies” She said, jarring me from my thought. “Hillbillies, everyone comes in from around and thinks you have to be stupid, lump us all as snake handlers and share croppers. But trust me missie, this is life.” She turned her nose up and began to scoot away. “Don’t let that swamp witch get a focus on you darlin’, you be in for a world of hurt.”

    Late that night, enjoying a nice Merlot on my new shaker bench I was staring at my newly upholstered Chippendale chair. White silk with trefoils on a medium oak.

    And it moved.

    Just a flinch at first, just a nearly imperceptible lean to the right where the light didn’t interfere with the grain. The Grain.

    Now that I know about it it seems so natural, but at that moment I was shocked. Remember earlier, when I said my sense of reality felt violated? This was different. This time it felt too real. Like I had peeled back the onion skin and found an orange.

    So I decided to try. Some doctor. I immediately mistrusted all my training and tried to make the chair move. I concentrated as hard as I could; trying with what I taught was my mind to move it back just an inch.

    Nothing. And then a leg bent. The Grain. It made sense to me. Not in the rational use of the word sense but more of an intuitive feel. It was The Grain.

    I giggled. I giggled like a schoolgirl. I hooted and snorted and laughed at the top of my lungs. I wasn’t even sure what I was laughing at. And somehow, somehow it made sense to let The Grain know and I did. I told the grain I wanted the ball from its eternally grasped ball and claw foot.

    And it gave the ball to me. http://www.enworld.org/forums/attach...chmentid=13627 Just a short roll across the carpet. I sat like an idiot with my mouth open, staring at the freed ball. I remember distinctly looking up at all of the furniture packed in at odd angle, the long slow curve of the walnut banister…the floor.

    And then I heard the cries- loud enough and clear enough to find their way up my drive and into the house. Wails of pain that I recognized, not in the way that you recognize a persons voice, but in the way you recognize the sharp snap of a quickly closed trap.

    I ran down the drive to find the boy right in front of my gate. His skin was still smoking, and I am a doctor again. The Grain fell away and I checked the boy’s signs. He was breathing, but I wouldn’t have bet on him seeing the sun rise. In the dark and the misting rain I was unsure of his age, he was short, but awfully heavy. And, and those ears.

    I got him into my garage and tried to lay him down but he kept springing back up to a seated position.

    “Sawatdee khrab” he said. “Sawatdee khrab.”

    Heat witch. My mother would be proud. All my various attempts at trying not to learn Thai and here I was translating the moans of a…boy? He was amazingly calm. I have seen this calm descend over patients before. It isn’t a good sign.

    What was even stranger was what he did next. He blinked. Now this may not seem an amazing feat, but when you have spent as much time as I have with burn victims this became a shocking act. His eyes should have been sealed close, his ears- his ears shouldn’t be that big.

    I began to brush a glycerin based cream on his back http://www.enworld.org/forums/attach...chmentid=13625 and watched as his hands, held aloft stiffly before him, began to grow new, healthy skin.

    The “boys” lips began to heal and much to my surprise he began to speak directly to me.

    “She will burn you.” He said, betraying no real emotion.

    “Who?” I wondered

    He turned to meet my eyes with a slow plaintive stare. “Sawatdee khrab, the heat witch. You have taken what she sees as hers.”

    “How, how can you talk so soon?” I asked. “And I haven’t taken anything from anybody.” I added

    “It was only a year in the fires.” He answered, as if a year in a fire should make some sense to me. “And you took this home.”

    “I bought this home!” I retorted, lessening on my indignity toward the end, when I realized I was having a conversation with what appeared to be a rapidly healing…goblin?

    If you ever find yourself on your garage floor arguing real estate law with a goblin returned fresh from hell, pause to have a drink. It may keep you from doing something stupid.

    I went outside.

    Now, in the newspaper accounts of the story I bravely stepped out to do combat with the witch. Between you and I- I just had to get away from the last hour, the realization that this woman WAS a witch and apparently hated me and the idea that my mother could walk into the room any minute with my intended paramour to find me rubbing glycerin on a crispy goblin freshly returned from some kind of yearlong trip to hell.

    The television and newspaper accounts also built up a long series of incidents between the witch and myself. Practically none of it is true. Yes, I did call the police on her. But none of the other things are true. I had not buried the deed swearing she could never have the property, I had not exhumed her family members buried behind the barn and stacked them in a cheap gravesite across state lines and I definitely did not attack her. But I did see her.

    She was moving up the driveway at me, slowly, deliberately.

    “Save yourself, Bouno.” I turned to find the little creature staggering out of my garage.

    “Bouno?” I said, inquisitively.

    “Bouno, you are a mover, yes?” he must have known he was right by the look that washed across my face. “Which is it for you? Earth? Air? Stone?”

    “Wood.” I responded

    “Great, just back from a year in hell and I have to face my former master, the heatwitch with a WoodBouno.” He sighed “Where are the WaterBounos when you need one?”

    “Get back inside” I said “Get back inside and call for help if you can.”

    “A lot of good that is going to do.” He said, turning back into the garage.

    She was closer now, coming down my beautiful tree lined drive at a deliberate pace. I could see that her face was ever so slightly illuminated.

    I concentrated and called to my furniture. Now, that may seem a silly proposition, but what was a woman like me to do? I called it, I willed it, I demanded it listen to me. And it did.

    The front doors ached and splintered off of their hinges and my beautiful collection ushered out and down the drive. My beautiful Windsor breakfront shuffled ahead, like some stiff soldier just remembering his youth. My Piedmont dining set scurried up behind my newly embroidered Chippendale chair. There are no words sufficient to describe this.

    The old woman waddled closer and I could see now that she held several candles in her hand. She spat on her fingertips and passed them through the flames, gesturing in my direction, our direction. Flames licked up in rotund, swirling balls engulfing my babies. The smell of burning hardwood and boiling stains filled the air.

    I urge them on. They continued. My Rococo hall tree withered under a deluge of orange flame. My collection was turning to cinders, floating away in ashy clouds.

    Those few moments are very hard to remember. It all happened so fast, so furiously- and then I was out of allies. My entire collection had been turned to waste in less than 3 minutes. My beautiful tree lined drive had been decimated by the heat, the burnt, dark branches stretched out above us, filtering the moonlight.

    The old woman held the stubs of her candles aloft for me to see. http://www.enworld.org/forums/attach...chmentid=13624 “I still have enough left for you, dearie.” She said in her cracked, husk of a voice. “And you see to be short a bit on helpers. Pity, pity, girl.”

    That is when I heard the tissue-like voice of my mother “Pity yourself bitch!”

    She held her cane aloft and moaned, a sound not unfamiliar, a sound I had heard form many people, struggling to control themselves.

    The old witch hurled her hands high above her thick shoulders, her deep-set eyes falling into complete shadow, and the flame began to grow anew.

    It was like a ship, that unceasing groan in the background of pirate movies. The Grain itself was warping to my mothers command. She had called the trees to my defense and they moved with grace of a willow sloughing off a high wind. The small whorl of flame swung up out of the witch’s hand as she left the ground. She was aloft for no more than a second, her blockish weight swaying from her shoulders, when the branches descended on her. She was torn beyond recognition in less than a second more. Her candles fell slowly tumbling through the blacked scene, swirling the smoke filled air behind them, finally stopping with a slightly sickening thud wick-end down on the drive.


    Three years have passed. The drive approaching the house has been reborn in full lush growth http://www.enworld.org/forums/attach...chmentid=13626 and my mother walks it every day. I realize now that she can hear them, and speak to them. Not the clumsy shouts of my first night, not even a conversation, more like a constant agreement.

    HeMsHeut, my goblin, live under the wisteria by the barn. My mother has explained that he was just bait. The old witch couldn’t enter the property without reason so she called back this little minion of hers from his current punishment for a slight against her. When I brought him onto the property she had the right to follow him on, as she owned him.

    My mother also says he is mine now. She has shown me where it says so in the Mages Law but I don’t care much for the formal rules. I got enough of that form medicine and trust me; Mage Law makes medicine look clear, simple and easy!

    I am married now to Suk, the potential suitor I was so rude to. It turns out he is a Water Bouno, and a sound sleeper as well! We all stay here together on the farm. Eventually ‘the incident’ was left to the tabloids. It is amazing the capacity people have to not see the magic before them everyday. My mother complains about HeMsHeut but when I am up late I sometimes hear them having tea together in the summer kitchen. Being an immortal he knows all languages and I think she likes having someone to talk to in her native tongue. They mostly talk about life here in America and I think my other is the one being reborn.

    Last month she came back from the antique market with a small Tudor stool. She seems to think it was made by the Menonites up the road. I don’t think I will tell her any different.

  9. #169
    Well, best of luck to cool hand luke. I am off now to read his story after a little more standing around making that face that the folks make when they cross the ironman triathalon finish line.

    WHEW! that was hard!

  10. #170
    Quote Originally Posted by alsih2o
    Well, best of luck to cool hand luke. I am off now to read his story after a little more standing around making that face that the folks make when they cross the ironman triathalon finish line.

    WHEW! that was hard!
    Breathe well, friend. I am glad you made it across the finish line before the race ended.

    Anything else I could possibly say would be one of those biasing comments.

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