Ceramic Dm (final judgement posted, New Champion announced!) - Page 57
  1. #561
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    Hmm, these could either be easy, or deliciously difficult to work around. But I will wait for the stories before I make any comments on that.

    Alsih2o - Email on the way with the updated menu. Along with some other stuff.

  2. #562
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    Quote Originally Posted by orchid blossom
    Damn it, you all beat me to the picutre comments. Damn people not at work and not getting ready for gaming tonight.
    I'm doing both! But I missed the early picture comments because I was running around the older Ceramic DM threads.

  3. #563
    Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

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    Is it just me, or should that last picture REALLY have been a pie?

  4. #564
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

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    I Defended The Walls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodrigo Istalindir
    and for the finals we have pictures that could illustrate any fantasy work ever written? And not even any action shots; they're all portraits!
    Bingo. Give me pianos and stone spheres any day of the week.

    Making an original, enticing story with those pics, now, that's hard.

  5. #565
    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    Is it just me, or should that last picture REALLY have been a pie?
    I could so do something with pie......pie is important.

  6. #566
    I'm just posting to give orchid blossom a little shock

    I'm done with the first draft, and it's clocking in at ~5.500 words. I hope al2isho (I can't spell that damn name!) Clay can read that much.

    Now, I'm going to take a break, and then I'm off editing. (Wow, I finished a story and still have time to take a break before editing/posting. That feels good!)

  7. #567
    Wanna know a secret? I just sat down to start.

    That's not really unusual for me though.

  8. #568
    Yeah, well, it's 10 am for you, but 7 pm for me. So I started at 10 am, as well

    I had to mull the story over first, so that I knew where - and how - it was headed.

  9. #569
    Exactly. I tend to spend the first day and a half getting things worked out in my head, then just sit down and write the thing. There's just no point in staring at a blank screen when you don't know what you're going to write yet.

    Actually, it's going on 2:00pm here. So I'm a bit late starting today.
    Last edited by orchid blossom; Sunday, 22nd August, 2004 at 07:56 PM.

  10. #570
    The Puppet Master

    By: orchid blossom

    Nigel grinned and tossed another silver to the barman. “Another for the lady.”

    Sophia nodded her thanks and held out her glass. Bits of dark hair had escaped from under the scarf she wore and curled around her pierced ears. She even had a delicate ring through the pointed end of each ear. Elven heritage, those points. Nigel liked them though. Even the scars on the right side of her face seemed to enhance her beauty rather than detract from it. “You didn’t come by those working in a brothel, did you?” he asked suddenly.

    “What, these?” she asked, tilting her head a bit. “I haven’t always worked in a brothel, you know. And some men like a girl who’s seen a little action. Some even want a girl to give them a bit of violence before the other.”

    “To each his own.” Nigel lifted his glass to the lady and took another long swig, dribbling a bit down the front of his clean, white shirt. “’Scuse me. I seem to have gone empty. Barman, another.” He reached blindly into his belt pouch and tossed whatever coin came to hand. “Keep it full till that runs out.”

    “You’re pretty free with your coin there,” Sophia said.

    Nigel leaned closed. “I’ve had a streak of extremely good luck,” he whispered loudly. “I’ve been winning at cards, betting on horses, and local security’s been pretty lax lately, if you know what I mean.” He paused for another drink. “I got myself a nice little hoard. Too bad I didn’t bring it with me, I got some real pretty jewelry would have suited you.”

    She looked at him over the top of her glass. “Well, I’m not going anywhere for quite a while, you could always come back.”

    He laughed. “I just might at that. Of course, that’ll depend on how good a time I have tonight.”

    “Oh, I can guarantee you a good time, Nigel,” Sophia whispered, laying her hand on his arm. “I have a very comfortable room upstairs. We could have a glass of wine and you can tell me all about your good luck.”

    * * *

    Nigel turned over and hid his eyes from the late morning light that flooded the room. His head felt stuffed with cotton, and he seriously considered going back to sleep. But he had things to do. He sat up and carefully put his feet down on the floor. Sophia’s side of the bed way icy; she must have left hours ago. Not that it was a surprise. She was a working girl after all, and he hadn’t paid her for a whole night.

    He coughed and rubbed his eyes, keeping them carefully closed until his head settled. Sophia had surprised him in one way last night; she’d been willing to spend a lot of time just listening to him. He’d had at least three more glasses of wine before he stopped talking. The only thing he liked better than pulling off a good scam was talking about it. It had been a good night, all in all.

    Nigel kept up with his morning after ritual. He stood up, feeling a bit too tall, as if his head was up near the ceiling. His hands ran up and down his arms to get the circulation going. The skin was extra sensitive this morning, each old scar and flaw obvious. Nigel ran his hand down his arm again. Something felt wrong. Sure, he’d gotten a few scars in his time, but this skin didn’t even feel like his own. He bit the bullet and opened his eyes.

    Maybe it was a rash? Even his alcohol-dulled brain knew better. The skin on his arms was darker, and a lot hairier. He flexed his fingers, watching the muscles of his forearm ripple. Those were definitely different. Step by careful step he crossed the room and stood in front of the mirror.

    Everything was larger. Everything. The skin all over his body was darker and tougher, just like his arms. He examined his body, starting with his feet and moving slowly up until he raised his head and looked at his face. “What did that woman do to me?” he growled through his mouth full of pointed teeth.

    He’d done an awful lot of talking last night, and he really couldn’t remember what he said. “Keys, keys, keys,” he muttered and grabbed his bag. His huge hand rifled until he found a small wooden box. It was hard to manipulate the latch with his sausage fingers, but he managed at last.

    The box was empty. It hadn’t held much, only a couple gems in case of emergency and the keys to his little hoard. Even if he hadn’t told Sophia everything, he must have told her enough. She’d taken his keys and there was no reason to do that unless she knew where it was.

    Nigel grabbed his robe and threw it over his distended shoulders. There was no hope for any of his actual clothes. As it was the robe was uncomfortably short and tight and barely covering what needed to be covered. He threw his few belongings in his bag and headed downstairs.

    There was no back door. He’d checked the place over last night, as he did was every place he ever stayed. More than a few nights of sleep had been interrupted by fists pounding on inn doors. This was a brothel and it was late in the morning. If he was lucky, any patrons who’d stayed overnight would still be asleep in their rooms.

    Nigel’s extra large body didn’t seem to affect his ability to be quiet. He padded softly down the stairs and peeked through the door. The room wasn’t nearly full, but it was full enough. He briefly considered just sauntering through, tossing some coin on the bar, and leaving. Orcs weren’t common in these parts though, and there were probably those in that room who would shoot first and ask questions later. Getting out of there unnoticed was not going to happen. There was going to be a ruckus no matter what.

    He took a couple deep breaths and plowed into the common room screaming. For a few seconds nothing happened as the dazed patrons stared at the huge monstrosity dashing across the room. He made it almost halfway across the room before the first arrow whizzed past his head. Nigel tried to duck and roll, but this body wasn’t as supple as his own. Chairs scattered across the room as he slammed into a table and knocked it over. Two more arrows thunked into the thick wood as he dragged himself to his feet and made a dash for the door. He stopped to upend another table near the door and then dove out.

    For a moment he considered running to the stable for his horse, but the poor animal probably wouldn’t be able to carry him, even if it let him near it. His hiding place wasn’t that far; if he hustled he could make it by mid-afternoon. It would take Sophia longer to find it. She would stick to roads, but he could cut straight across country. If he was lucky he would beat her there, or she would at least stop there to rest before moving on.

    There was screaming coming from inside the brothel as Nigel continued to move as fast as he could. Another arrow flew by his ear before he was out of sight and into the woods. They might follow him they might not. They’d been shocked when he charged the room, but he hadn’t actually attacked anyone. He threw a bit of extra effort into his strides just in case.

    * * *

    Things really were not going as Nigel had planned. He made good time toward the little forest cottage where he’d hidden his stash, and after hearing no sounds of pursuit thought he’d made a clean getaway. By the time he’d heard the horse behind him he was so close to the cottage that he had a good chance to make it inside before his pursuer even saw him.

    He hadn’t expected be standing just inside the clearing with Sophia’s sword at this throat. He tried to grin, but the teeth got in the way. “Come on, Sophia, whoever’s coming is looking for an orc. Change me back and I won’t give you a hard time about stealing my stuff. We can split the money. Hell, I’ll give you 60 percent.”

    “It’ll wear off eventually,” she assured him. “And I rather like you this way. Firstly, it makes it harder for you to talk. Plus, whoever is chasing you through the forest is going to want to save my sweet little self from you. Seems everything works better for me with you in the orc suit.”

    “We could be partners. Between you and I we could do very well. What I can’t steal you could seduce.”

    Sophia laughed and kicked open the lid of the chest at her feet. “Like the previous owner of that skull, hmm? You really shouldn’t write things down, you know. I knew you were a braggart, but I had pegged you for a bit more intelligence. Still, I’d rather overestimate an opponent than underestimate them.” Sophia paused and looked toward the crashing noises. She cast a quick spell, still keeping her blade pointed toward Nigel, and the chest shrank into a small piece of cloth. She picked it up and tucked it into her pocket. “We may be partners yet, but my ride is here.”

    A blood-curdling scream hit the air as Sophia dropped her sword and cringed. Nigel spun around just in time to see the fully armored knight bearing down on him. “Stand back, Lady!” the armored figured shouted as he charged.

    Nigel dove to the left and scrambled back to his feet. The knight spun his mount and charged again. Nigel stood his ground and waited. Just as the sword was coming down he punched the knight in the side as hard as he could. It was just enough to change the course of the blow. He didn’t have to fake letting the blow take him down. Nigel laid still as he could, eyes wide open. The knight trotted back over. “Please, let’s go,” Sophia shouted, her voice convincingly shrill. He lay completely still, holding his breath and forcing his eyes to stay open as he listened to the knight trot over to Sophia. A few minutes later everything was quiet.

    * * *

    “You’re lucky I was out here today. Care to explain how you go this?” Darien asked as he carefully unwrapped Nigel’s makeshift bandage.

    Nigel smiled. “You’ve always said someone would scam me someday. You were right.” He quickly sketched in the encounter with Sophia and the Knight outside the cottage. “You going to give me a lecture now?”

    Darien laughed and pulled his holy symbol from beneath his tunic. “I’ve given you enough lectures to last you a lifetime. I think I started when we were still children. I’ve given up. As long as you keep making donations to the temple for healing, I’ll keep fixing you up.” He laid his hands against the wound and muttered the now familiar incantation.

    Nigel tried to stay still as he felt his muscles and skin knit themselves back together. “That always feels so strange.”

    “If you don’t like it, quit making people angry enough to stick swords in you.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind. Come on, I’ll walk back to the temple with you and make my donation.”

    A heavy mist had set in while Darien was at Nigel’s cottage, and the sky looked threatening. They walked mostly in silence except for the occasional joke at Nigel’s expense. Darien was just about the only man of god Nigel could stand. He didn’t preach or nag, just fixed you up and sent you on your way. Nigel didn’t even resent the donations anymore. He even said a prayer now and then, although he’d never admit it to Darien.

    They eventually left the forest and walked along a farmer’s fence line toward the village proper. Nigel kept a keen eye out. He wasn’t an orc anymore, but Sophia knew what he looked like, and he didn’t like how she said they might be partners someday. Stealing someone’s stuff, that he could understand, but she seemed to have a personal dislike for him.

    There were more people around now, and Darien stopped to answer a question from on of his parishioners. It was then that Nigel saw the bright flash moving behind his friend. Without thinking, Nigel jumped and tackled Darien to the ground. The bright ball of energy flashed by them and slammed into the earth just where Nigel had been standing.

    “It’s her, damn it.” Nigel got up and jumped over the fence. He didn’t get it. Why would she attack him from so far away? She’d gotten away with the goods fair and square, and he would have had a lot of trouble tracking her down.

    His uneasiness only grew when he found her waiting for him, the skull from his treasure chest in her hand. “Took you long enough,” she said quietly.

    “A big slice through your shoulder will slow you down.” He waited for a moment, but she was quiet. “I don’t get it Sophia. You got me. Scammed me good. What more can you want?”

    “A replacement. You stole something from me a long time ago.” By reflex he caught the skull that came flying at him. His fingers seemed to weld to it and stiffen. A moment later it fell out of his hands and rolled away. His fingers were still flesh, but they felt stiff. He couldn’t move them. The feeling quickly spread to his arms, then his shoulders.

    “I had a partner once,” Sophia said. “Then one day she met you. Why she loved you, I don’t know. I know you didn’t love her anymore than you loved me last night. I know you gave her up to save your own skin. So, I need a new partner. But I don’t like having a partner I can’t trust, so I’ve arranged it so I can.”

    Nigel felt his shoulder lifting up and watched as his arm moved forward. A smile spread across his face that he couldn’t erase. He had no control over any of his movements. Sophia smiled. “See? Now I can trust you.”

    * * *

    The King's court was decked out for the holiday. Blinding colors flashed everywhere. Sophia was in her element, meeting and greeting. Nigel kept tumbling, each step sure, each flip and summersault perfect. A smile was plastered on his face. No matter how tired he got, that smile wouldn't slip.

    Occasionally beautifully dressed people passed by and tossed coins at his feet. He had been tumbling for about a half hour when a little girl and her nanny approached. The little girl tossed a silver coin. The nanny smiled. "Another for the Lady."

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