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Author Topic: Dark and Delicate Tales for the Telling [F for Story-Driven M]  (Read 5889 times)

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Offline cupofteaTopic starter

Dark and Delicate Tales for the Telling [F for Story-Driven M]
« on: January 30, 2014, 12:26:07 am »

Some important links:

Note: If you are interested in any of these plots/pairings/settings, please PM me. Please and thank you!

Hello, and welcome! Thank you for stopping by. Before we get too far into things, I wanted to give you a little bit of background on myself and how I function in the land of RP. Ultimately, I have a real variety of interests. I can delve into dark and manipulative characters, as well as romantic and affectionate ones. For me, characters with authentic motivations and truly developed stories are the essential elements of roleplay. I want to see a character's thought process, the development of ideas, and the unfolding of emotions (whatever they might be), within a setting that allows that process to happen organically. All of the other elements listed below are simply ingredients for flavor in an already wonderful recipe.

I am looking for an assertive, smart, and strong male identifying partner, who knows how to handle a female character who might be strong-willed and feisty, but enjoys nothing more than being controlled by a strong hand and mind (usually in the bedroom, sometimes out of it), whether she knows it yet or not. I'd also prefer to consistently play the younger character. While I enjoy age-gaps, it's not something I engage in at all times. Small differences are fine, and all I care about is that the ages are authentic to the story and agreed upon beforehand.

I try to post a reply at least within 1-5 days of receiving your post, at the very least once a week. However, real life loves to throw me for loops (which I wouldn't trade for anything), so if I foresee a long delay between posts, you'll be the first to know. I'll try to do my best to keep you updated as much as possible. I hope you will do the same for me! All you have to do is let me know via message that you're swamped, and I'll wait for you. I will consider our story abandoned if you do not contact me or return any of my messages. Also, while this shouldn't have to be stated: my time is my own. I am terrible at saying "no" when it comes to my extra-curricular activities, and I fill my life with the things I love. Sometimes when I'm crunched for time, certain stories will take precedence, whether it's because they are itching my muse more than others, or perhaps because they require less headspace for me that particular moment. Either way, I do not have to justify those choices. If you feel that you are owed my time, we aren't going to do well as partners, or as friends. /rant.

For all my other kinks and preferences, see my Ons and Offs page.

  • Historical: If you have an idea for a different time period, by all means suggest it!
    • Victorian/Edwardian England
    • WWI
    • WWII
    • Ancient Mesopotamia (Babylon, Hittites, Sumeria, Egypt, etc.)
    • Colonial America
    • Civil War Era America
    • The Crusades
    • Regency England
    • The Celts, the Scots, the Irish, and all of the British Isles
    • Ancient Rome/Greece
    • The Feudal Era (Europe, less so Japan)
    • The Roaring 20s
    • The glory of the Russian Empire
    • Alternate History and World Building: If you want to develop a world in which to set our stage, I would love to hear about it.
  • Low-Fantasy: I'm not against the use of magic in an RP, I just tend to stick to low-fantasy settings. I love scenarios based in a ancient Celtic-like setting, or in Kingdoms shrouded in mystery. I don't do fan-based RP, but think Game of Thrones, if you're looking for a specific reference.
  • New Takes on Fairytales: I really love playing with preexisting stories, either examining them from a new angle, or blending them in some way with a different story, setting, etc. You'll see this in a lot of my stories below, and I would love to hear your suggestions if you have a good idea for one!
  • Military: I include this not because I enjoy playing a military character, but because the historical/low-fantasy settings I play often take place during a time of war. There's something about it that really holds a plot together, hence why I'm including it.
  • Romance: I enjoy a romance when there has been tension building and building between the two characters until it finally implodes on itself. I don't want mush. Save that for Disney movies (which I adore, I just don't want to roleplay them).
  • Incest: This does not mean I want to write a smutty incestuous one-shot with you. Pairings like father x daughter, siblings, etc. often provide a good backdrop for emotional turmoil and tragedy that can further other relationships. If you have questions about this, please message me!
  • Age-gap: make a scenario that I think is convincing, please!
  • Occasional Non-Con: This really depends on the story, and it has to be more complicated than just forcing my character to do what you want. I have a lot of opinions on this, so see my Ons/Offs for my manifesto.
  • Rough Sex: Passion, passion, passion, passion. Passion. Please?

For all of my Kinks, please see my Ons and Offs page.

If they're hidden, I'm not feeling super inspired by them at the moment. However, feel free to inquire regardless!

The Widow's Vow (Less Interested At Present)
The Widow's Vow: Betrayal, Greed, and Corporate Drug Companies

Jen Myers was now a widow.

It had only been two weeks ago when the policemen had arrived on her doorstep and torn her world apart. Their words were meant for someone else's life, not her own. She and Adam had only been married for four years. Widows had their husbands for decades, not years in the single digits.

Jen's loving husband, Adam Myers, had been involved in an unforgiving single-car accident, and nothing she could wish differently would change that. The police believed that he'd fallen asleep at the wheel and driven straight off the road and into a tree. The car had been torched, and Adam had been killed on impact. There was no evidence to suspect anything differently, and Jen's own observations supported the explanation. Adam had seemed jittery all week, and no amount of coffee or tenderness on her part seemed to do the trick, despite all of her efforts. Adam had always been involved and perhaps too dedicated to his work at the successful stock trading company where he had worked for five years since the days after college, but he had been particularly invested and concerned the last few weeks. It had taken its toll on his sanity, but Jen never guessed it would lead to this. Jen would never forgive herself for not seeing the turmoil in his work that could've resulted in something so disastrous, but she was just as furious at his company for allowing him to be so overworked when it was so blatantly obvious. He had given everything, and now his life, to his job. They'd delayed having a family because Adam was determined to be secure in his position at Drogen Corporation. Jen had argued that they were more than secure, using their house, their cars, their opulent lifestyle as evidence, but he had not relented. And now she would never have the joy of a family with him. No child who would bear his face to drive away the loneliness. She was a widow, and he'd left her alone. None of the wealth he'd gained meant anything now, and as her grief overtook her, she latched onto an unhealthy determination to make his company feel responsible for the death of her husband.

However, things were nowhere near what Jen believed them to be. In reality, there was no Drogen Corporation. No stocks. No high society gambles. Adam Myers was involved in the business end of a large underground drug ring that had been rooted to the city since the late 1930s. Adam never touched the product, but he was just as dirty as the hands that did. It was easy for Adam to masquerade as a corporate man in front of his wife, who easily believed that was why they could afford to live in luxury. He loved the man she could make him believe that he was, even though it was all a lie. Part of him wanted to be that man. But it wasn't to be.

Adam's college roommate, and soon fast friend, Derek, had been the son and heir to the Drogen sham, and it was high class money at that; these were not men of substance, for they were not the lowlifes that did the dirty work. Adam had seen the money, the luxury, the high life, and the life he could have, and had immediately wanted in. From then on, Adam's whole life was sucked into the mess, as well as his unknowing college sweetheart, Jen. Their wedding had been attended by many a drug lord, and they were all so clean cut and charming that Jen had not noticed a thing. If she were to know the truth, she wouldn't believe it, for these men were not what the movies portrayed them to be.

Things were working perfectly for Adam: he had worked his way up the ranks, far beyond the initial "in" that his friendship with Derek had provided, his wife was the envy of many of the men in the office, he was successful beyond his wildest dreams, and he fit in so well....until he got greedy. Adam began to look for ways to profit on the side, unsatisfied with the large cut he was already receiving, partly due to pressure from Jen to start a family. She had a right to want that. After all, he was gone for such long hours, and he had made her quit her job in a local marketing firm, arguing that he had more than enough to support them. She had to bored, and he had to admit that being a mother would suit her. And she was 27, so it was a good age. But he was so paranoid, greedy, and completely invested in preserving the mirage that he'd built Jen into that he made his fatal mistake.

Through number crunching and backhanded deals, Adam was isolating parts of drug shipments and arranging their independent sale with other buyers for his sole profit. If Adam thought he was getting away with it, he was terribly mistaken. His betrayal was discovered, and the group's revenge was underway. Derek, his supposed best friend, was responsible for Adam's capture and torture. Did Adam really think they trusted him entirely? Derek felt responsible for Adam's idiocy because he had brought him into the world of his family, and now he was furious, burning with white hot betrayal. Adam pleaded for Derek to reconsider, to understand the pressure he was under at home, but there was nothing to reconsider.

Adam's car was found the next day...but what no one could've predicted is that it wasn't Adam's burnt corpse within it. For Derek, that would have been too easy. The truth was, Derek had something more sinister planned, something that he wanted Adam to be alive to witness for himself: taking Adam's wife, Jen, for himself.

Your Character: I've obviously named your character "Derek", but it was just to fill the space of a name, so that the summary made sense. I'd love to know as we go through whether or not you're interested in my character for temporary use, or whether you want her for the long term. This one is obviously a bit more maniacal, but I love how manipulative it is. I normally don't like to define your character for you, but it was kind of necessary to describe this plot. If you'd like to make changes, by all means, let's talk about it!

Darling, Never Grow Up: Hooking a Wendy Bird

Wendy Darling had just finished her evening tale to Michael and John. Peter Pan had bested Hook again, for when did he not? The boys were laughing and jumping between the beds, wooden swords flying. Yet Wendy wasn't as amused as usual. She sank back into her bed, pillows catching her head, full of unusual thoughts.

She had always told such wonderful stories of the boy who would never grow up, vanquishing evil in the form of piracy. Yet the last few nights, she had begun to question what it was that made the ever-persistant Captain Hook so evil. There was a story she was missing, and yet every time she attempted to invent one, there were too many holes left unfilled in the plot. True, he was eager to enlist the lost boys to piracy, but there didn't seem anything worse about piracy than being a lost boy. Both occupations were full of rebellion, and one did not seem to rise above the other on her scale of Victorian morality.

And then there was the deep-seated revenge ingrained in everything Hook did. It was more than a lost hand; that was just a small detail. There was bad blood between Pan and Hook, and for the life of her, Wendy could not figure it out. It wounded her pride as a story-teller, but it also intrigued her. If every story unfolded without effort, that would be boring, and Wendy abhorred boredom. She had enough of that in her daily life, stitching, making potpourri, attending galas, preparing to enter society as a lady and be married off. She knew her mother was planning it; she was not naive to that. But she craved adventure, of darkness, of good and evil, of anything but frivolity.

Click to Continue Reading
She released a heavy sigh and that drew the attention of her brothers. With a unified laugh, they jumped onto her bed and dragged her to her feet. "Weepy Wendy, Weepy Wendy, why are you so sad?" They chanted, circling their arms around her waist and jumping about her in a strange little dance. Wendy could not help but laugh, shaking her head. "Why I don't want to grow up, of course." She grinned, reaching out to stop their circle dance, hugging them to her.

Satisfied, the boys scampered away, resuming their swashbuckling sword match, clacks of wood echoing about the room. Wendy adjusted her cotton shift, perching on the edge of her bed, watching them, humming "A Pirate's Life for Me" with a playful smile on her face.

Late that night, they would have a visitor. And that much would be history. A happy thought, a journey past the second start to the right and straight on 'til morning, and the Darling siblings would find themselves in Neverland. What Wendy could never predict is that she would soon be caught in the snares of Captain James Hook...and suddenly the story she always thought she knew, her creation, was more real that she could've ever predicted, in a way she never could have guessed.

Your Character/Story Direction: So! This is obviously a variation on Peter Pan. To be clear, I'm not attempting to give a nod to the show Once Upon a Time. The inspiration for this story was the picture I've included with this description. I'd like Wendy to discover the truth about the bad blood between Pan and Hook, and discover that perhaps Hook wasn't who she thought he was. He's older and enticing, and he offers her the adventure that she has craved her entire life, and in a way she never expected. Wendy is not the insipid girl she is often portrayed to be, and she soon proves herself spirited, intelligent, and daring. I'd love to hear your ideas as to what exactly happened before Pan and Hook found Neverland, and how they came to hate each other so ardently.

The Manor: Murder, Mystery, and Mystique at the Dawn of WWII

Lena Graven would be the lady of the hour this evening. As she sat at her vanity, she allowed it to be true to its name, her fingers tousling the ringlets of her long dark hair, enabling it to trail a path down her back to the exposed dip of skin that the golden ivory fabric revealed. Then, artfully she twisted the curls about her head, pinning them in place and allowing one long spiral to trail down her collar bone. Tonight was her night to be divine. After all, it was her birthday, and it was the dinner party to decide her future. Carefully crafted with her mother, the Graven's were hosting an evening of frivolity and feasting, which perhaps in another time could be called a ball. 1938 had been a good year for the family, despite the lasting effects of the Depression that had crippled the world earlier that decade. Her father had secured their industrial holdings and had kept the age-old family afloat, which was a feat as many other families of the aristocracy were forced to sell their centuries old manor homes when the agriculture of the old era could no longer support the dwelling.

Lena, while she was aware of the doings of goings on of the world, did her best to stay out of politics. That's why, as Father and Mother had planned the guest list with her, she hadn't understood why some families and potential suitors had been removed from the list. She'd heard Papa say, "Hilter would love a man like him to marry his daughter," regarding Gregory Hessex, resulting with a violent slash of a pen across his name. There was turmoil in Europe, for certain, but she thought it silly that the British would squabble over one another's allegiances when there was a party to be had, and a war had not yet begun. Lena had been born in 1916, and tonight would celebrate her 22nd birthday. She had no memory of the war that had ravaged Europe in the years of her infancy, only the stories that had left her ears ringing with sadness. Because of that, she approached the inevitable war with an ignorant enthusiasm that was common of the youths of her age. Tonight was no different.

They'd established the guest list and Lena was satisfied, although there were still a select few that her father was not too keen on. But for Lena, there were multiple men in attendance that she'd been acquainted with when she'd last visited London society. Tonight she had every intention of discovering her husband, not a thought given to the nearing war or the tension it brought to any social setting. Or to the fact that when politics mingled with passion, someone was bound to lose their head.

Click to Continue Reading
Concept/Your Character: I'd really like for a murder to happen during the course of the evening. The family wouldn't want to bring the police into things until they had a better understanding of what had happened. I want Lena to be the first to discover the body, making her a prime suspect, hence the delayed police involvement. We'll play a variety of characters, but I imagine your primary character would be one of the suitors. You can be the murderer, or not. You can also be a good or bad character. Just because he's a murderer doesn't mean that he's bad. Perhaps the man he murdered was a sympathizer with the Third Reich and had every intention of selling information on Britain's intelligence. Or perhaps that's you, and you plan to take my character for yourself as a bride before fleeing the country and going to Germany. Or you could simply be a secondary suitor who helps her discover the truth about the intrigue. I'm looking forward to developing our plot with you :)

The Mermaid's Return: Forgotten Memories

She lay upon a rock, the sun of the clearing sky shining down upon her skin, drying it, allowing it to warm. To any observer, she could be sleeping, but she was instead tugging at the strands of consciousness. Slowly, her eyes fluttered open to meet the light of day, and her vision was blurry. Her mouth tasted of the sea and there was sand in her hair around her temples. Slowly she rose, looking around her, unable to grasp where she was…her mind grappled with her memories, and she came up empty, grasping at straws. It was then that she felt the breeze touch her toes, and her eyes drifted to her legs. There was a thin material wrapped around her waist, but legs were visible beneath it…and she watched as she wiggled her toes. Hers. There was something significant about that, but she couldn't remember what.

As she sat up further, her whole body ached. It felt like she'd been tossed about and deposited on this rock. For all she knew, she could have. She tried to remember what had happened, but once again, she discovered nothing. Then she tried to remember who she was…and more disturbingly, she remembered nothing. Not where, not who, and not why. Her mind was blank and it sent her reeling back to lay on the rock. Her arms tucked to her bare chest, and her hair spilled over the side of the rock. Perhaps the sea had made her: deposited her here on its shore, given her sea wind for breath, sunshine for hair, salt water for tears. She could taste them now, and she did not take the energy to wipe them away. She didn't remember her name, but the sea called it to her. White Wave. Genevieve.

Click to Continue Reading
Brief explanation: I am imagining that Genevieve is a victim of shipwreck, and in her state of amnesia, she latched onto the sea as her home, imagining herself as a mermaid. Slowly regaining memories that aren't real, but imagined, made to fill the missing holes that she has left. It could also be played in reverse, that she is in fact a mermaid, and those memories are real and toying at the edge of consciousness.

Your character: This is really up to where you see the story heading. You could be a wayfaring fisherman, discovering her on the rocks. She could be discovered by women in a local village and taken to you, the town doctor. Or you could go the obvious route and play it similarly to the Little Mermaid, and be a prince. While it's cliché, if you can spin it in a different way, I'm all ears. I imagine this takes place in a seaside village or kingdom in the 1800s.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 10:23:02 pm by cupoftea »

Offline cupofteaTopic starter

Re: Looking for a Story Teller! [Female looking for Assertive Male]
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 01:02:18 pm »

I thought it best that I include plots that I'm involved in currently that were either my idea, collaborative, or my partner's initial concept. Below you will find a list of those stories, basic plots, and then the link to those threads.

The Damsel of the Castle  (Geraint)
The Damsel of the Castle: Love Lost. Love Found. (with Geraint)
Read it here!

Nestled between the rise of two hills, away from the call of Dublin and the coasts in each direction, was Castle Cleary. Its stone stood solid, weathered by rain and time, but proud all the same. It stood sentinel to the passing of the years and the ruin of the land, a silent witness of ghosts and joys long forgotten.

Castle Cleary belonged to the Delaney family, as it had since its construction in the 12th century, and while the nature of its existence had changed a great deal since then, there had only been short stretches when it had lay abandoned or without a Delaney to reside within it. Nora Delaney was now most recent of the family to reside within its stone walls, although there had been a time when she had run from the legacy of ancestors long rotting beneath the earth…

Now that it was autumn, the summer high season was over, and the Castle was quiet once again. While Nora could never describe it as bustling, the summer months yielded filled rooms and a dining room full of laughter. But with the current state of Nora's personal life, she was eager to see the laughter go, if only for a short while. By the next high season, when she was officially free of Thomas, perhaps her humors would change.

At the moment, she only had one booking approaching, beginning the last week of September, and so she had made certain to settle him in a room off of the central courtyard, close enough to not feel as if he was being banished to the far corner of the castle, but far enough away from her own living space to give the two of them respectable privacy.

As his car pulled up the drive, Nora slipped through the wide door of the walled entrance and waved, ushering him in once he had parked and exited. He was certainly not the first man who had traveled alone to stay in Castle Cleary, but Nora did admit to herself that he was certainly the best looking. Yet the young woman had a business to run, and she was nothing but professional as she smiled and shook his hand, ignoring the small flutter of her heart as they touched. She could not remember the last time Thomas had touched her.

"Mr. Endicott, I hope you had a lovely drive in and our beloved roads didn't lead you too astray." She smiled knowingly, for the roads were more maze than path. "My name is Nora...Brey," her voice caught on her name, fiddling with her wedding band, knowing she would soon find herself a Delaney once again, " and we spoke on the phone some time ago when you made your booking."

She turned then to lead him through the wide gate and through the front courtyard. Yet as she stepped across the threshold and glanced behind her to ensure he was following, her heart throbbed painfully in her chest, and she grimaced, her vision dimming for a moment. Whispers flooded her ears, and all she could see was his eyes, the same ones she'd glanced at a moment before and seen nothing particularly out of the ordinary…

The Masque  (Geraint)
The Masque (with Geraint)
Read it here!

The first time she saw him, it was barely a glimpse from across the room. Yet even still, her heart fluttered against her ribs, and she had to stifle her soft intake of breath. How had she never seen him before? These Masques rarely included new visitors, and yet, there he was: unknown. Yet in a whirlwind of silk and taffeta, he was gone, like a summer shower. Clarissa Monette turned to her friends, the curve of her mask hiding the soft blush that spread across her milky white skin, and smiled, carrying on as if nothing had occurred.

Had he seen her too? Perhaps he had...after all, they had lingered in each others' gaze for a moment, even if it was only a moment. Despite the mask he wore, she had seen the firm line of his jaw and the shape of his lips and the intensity of his eyes, even from across the room. But no matter how hard she looked, she could not spy him again. Perhaps he was a ghost, there to torment the poor young woman, as if to say, "there is no one new. You must pick someone already." She could not run from an arrangement forever, but the memory of his visage gave her foolish hope.

She danced with those that asked, and there were rarely those who did not, for she was the Count's daughter, and a valuable prize to be won. With each twirl, she searched for him, only to see no one. Yet towards the end of the evening, as the dance rotated them between partners, suddenly he appeared at her side, his hand on the small of her back, nearly engulfing her in his touch. Her lips parted in surprise, and the moment the dance had finished, he had whisked her from the ballroom to the small balcony overlooking the gardens. The moon was high and full, casting them in its silvery light, and he kissed her there without restraint.

Yet when midnight came, he left her there, breathless and pining for him. She did not knew who he was, but she knew she must be his. Little did she know that he was the one person she could not have, and the one person she would never expect.

Péché de Famille: Family Sin  (Sabre)
Péché de Famille: Family Sin in Medieval Europe (with Sabre)
Read it here!

Charles de Sourdeval, Duke of Normandy, was no politician. He knew how to win wars and spend money, despite his kindhearted ways. He was too direct to succeed in politics, only war, but politics was waiting for him upon his return whether he liked it or not.

Charles had but one daughter to continue his line, his beloved daughter Nicole. He had taught her well, for he had doted on her like a son in many ways, teaching her strategy and tactics between needlepoint lessons from her mother. Nicole's mother, Jaqueline, had died of fever in the year prior to the most holy Crusade. While Nicole was not oblivious to the lack of romantic love between her parents, her mother had been a confidante and partner for her father, and when he lost her, he was shaken. Perhaps he was even reminded of his own mortality. And he was certainly reminded that his line had died with her, unless he intended to remarry. For Nicole was the Duke of Normandy's only child, and despite her intellect and leadership, she could never be his heir. Rather than face the reality of his rapidly declining state, the money drained after a domestic dispute with a neighboring Dukedom, he had fled to the Saracen deserts to fight for God.

And he'd left his daughter alone to fend for herself. She had been a girl when he left all of those years ago, but he was returning to a young woman at war with herself.

Nicole was soon to be a bride, although if she had any say in the matter, she would rather die alone than greet her future husband before God. The poor girl had done everything in her power to prevent the match, but with her father away fighting for the Lord instead of for her, and the financials in ruins, she had been cornered. The Count of Flanders, Edmond Corbière, was every bit the politician her father was not. The man might look like a soldier, albeit softer about the edges, but his mind was that of a rat, and so he fit into the political undertow that surged throughout France. Her father's debts were widely known, especially to Edmond, and he was eager to lay his claim on her fertile prospects. The day she learned of the match was the day it was settled. The Duke's advisors had run out of prospects, and when the Count approached them with his wealth and political prowess in exchange for Nicole, they saw no better options. Without any aid from the father she adored, the King sanctioned the match, and Nicole was sold to the highest bidder.

The King had ordered that no marriage take place until they had heard from Duke de Sourdeval, however, and in the weeks that came, his letter finally arrived. He revealed that he would be detained in Jerusalem for an unforeseeable amount of time, and it both broke and strengthened Nicole's heart. He requested that the wedding be postponed until he could return home to give his daughter away properly. The King saw no qualms in this, as the Count had already been given his dowry and was paying off the most taxing debts de Sourdeval had amounted. If the Count was bitter about the request, he did not show it at the time. But the months had turned into years, and still the Duke had not returned.

Count Corbière had moved into the keep with his bride to be. He was growing impatient, for she was less than amiable towards him, and he was tired of it. She was his, despite the official seal of approval, and it was nothing short of vexing to be rejected by what was already his, legality aside.

To add insult to injury, the English had begun to drum up trouble on the other side of the channel, and offenses were being made against lands in Normandy.  With her father gone, Nicole relied on the respect of her father's knights, those that were remaining at least, to quiet the movement. Edmond had demanded that she withhold any military movement until he could negotiate with their English fellows, pad the right pockets, and slit the right throats, yet she had defied him. She was a calm and intelligent woman, with military prowess, and those small movements had been silenced. Embarrassed by her success, and furious with her defiance, Edmond had demanded the King sanction their wedding now, for the Duke had been gone long enough. Nicole wrote to her father, begging him to return home, for her sake, and for the sake of his people. The English had been quieted, but they were not done. She needed his guidance, and she needed to know that he even cared.

She knew he was returning long before she received word that he was. And so she spent every moment she could spare at her window, watching, waiting for him to come home. The Count had worn her down, and she was a shadow compared to what she once was. Yet she shared her father's fiery spirit, and she hoped his presence would rekindle what Edmond had worked to snuff. The Count was currently at his estate in Flanders, preparing for the upcoming marriage, and she was so grateful for it. She prayed every day that her father would return home before Edmond, so that she could rejoice in his return before the cloud of disappointment interrupted their reunion.

It was then that Nicole saw the banner flying above the ferry as it rounded the curve of the river. It stopped at the docks, and then there were knights disembarking. Her heart stopped. And then she remembered to breathe and she almost burst into tears. She was no longer a girl, but in that moment, she felt like one. Without a moment's hesitation, she rose, her dark blue dress swishing at her ankles as she hastened down the stairs. She shared not only her father's fiery spirit, but the red of his hair. Hers was plaited into braids and pinned to the crown of her head, and they stayed in place despite the speed of her gait. The dark green of her eyes belonged to her mother, and they flashed in the low light of the tower as she ran. She made her way down so many stairs, the journey feeling so much longer despite her haste. Her cheeks were flushed with the cold and the exertion, small blossoms of pink against alabaster. She reached the main hall, heard a shout of surprise as she wrenched open the large wooden door, disappearing out into the courtyard. She ran through it, through the gates, and then suddenly she stopped. She could hear the horses approaching, and suddenly she wanted to disappear. Her heart thudded against her ribs, and the cold of the exposed air numbed her extremities. And there she waited, and she did not know for what. She did not know what war had done to him. But soon she would learn.

Her father had come home.

Inkscape (EternityWaits)
Inkscape (with EternityWaits)
Read it here!

Alexandra Tinte was the living heir to Tinte Publishers. Her parents, Beth and Eric Tinte, had met in college, and formed the very beginnings of the company even then. It began small at a local bookshop, working with local authors and startups to publish truly quality and often overlooked literature. Gradually the success of the company grew, and yet the couple did not compromise their standards and beliefs for the wheel of corporate publishing companies. They worked hard to ensure that every man and woman had equal chance at publication, regardless of connection or education. Alex had grown up in this world of stories and business, and despite their dedication to their work, Beth and Eric had been loving and wonderful parents.

When Alex was 14, her parents were killed in a tragic car accident while attending the International Book Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. The girl had been lost for a very long time. Instead of shying away from her studies, she poured herself into school, much to the concern of her teachers. But she would not seek help, and she graduated a year early from high school. She was obviously too young to take over the company, and after the loss of her parents, she did not want to. In fact, she didn't want anything to do with it...until now.

Bruce Carlyle had been Alex's parents' best friend in college, and had come on to work with them once the company had seen some success. He'd been there for the bad and the good, and he had taken the lead after their deaths. Alex knew that he had done a lot of work to widen the scope of the company, to add in more mainstream pursuits, but she had no reason to believe that he had abandoned the work of her parents. When she arrived in his office and presented him her book, she was so hopeful that it would not only be her connection as heir but the work itself that would lend itself to publishing. Bruce and Alex had not been close, despite the fact that he was her parents' best friend, but she did trust him. As they shook hands and she left her manuscript in his care, she was encouraged. That was a mistake.

Two weeks later, Alex got a package notification. She nearly ran home to her apartment, ripping open the paper, and finding her manuscript with a letter attached.  So that was how this ended. After toiling over her notebooks and laptop and library for the last three years, she was rejected by the company her parents had died to improve. In a letter. No phone call, no meeting, no nothing.

Silently Alex set her coffee down on her nightstand and she held her manuscript in her hands. She couldn't bear to open it, to read it, and so she just held it. When one writes a story, so much of who they are is included within the pages. They breathe life into it, incorporate their heart, and channel their hopes and fears. This story, Inkscape, was Alex's escape. But all it was to her now was a nightmare. She cried until she had no energy left to continue.

At some point, she began to doze. The sun sunk low in the sky, casting a warm glow throughout her fifth floor apartment. In another world, it might have been the time between times. Softly Inkscape slipped from her arms and landed with a soft thud on the wood floors. It stirred Alexandra from her weak doze, and quietly her eyes searched for the source of the noise. Sleepily she reached out, her fingers finding the binding. But her grip was not what it needed to be, and she leaned slightly too far over the edge of the bed. She slipped and then she was falling, her body finding the hard ground much too quickly.

But her room was no longer silent. She squeezed her eyes shut, her head spinning slightly as she reached under her to find the book, noticing that she was hearing voices, laughter, the clank of glassware, the scraping of wood benches on wood floor. The smell was wrong too. Her room had a candle that smelled of soft lilies...but here she smelled straw, alcohol, men, and the stale smell of the past.

She pushed her long ashen blonde hair from her eyes, lifting herself up slightly to look around her. The air was suddenly colder, and the white peasant blouse and khaki shorts she wore were suddenly inadequate. But then she realized that she was no longer in her bedroom. Her light eyes struggled in the low light of a nearby fire and candles, and discovered that she was being stared at by a confused circle of at least a dozen men, the odd woman peppered in among them. Suddenly she turned frantic, her eyes darting back and forth among them, to her surroundings. Was she in a tavern? The clothing was wrong, the smells were wrong, the place was wrong...and yet as Alex looked around, she realized that the only thing wrong was her.

The Magician's War: The New Argonauts  (stormwyrm)
The Magician's War: The New Argonauts (with stormwyrm)
Read it here!

Bletchley Park, May 8, 1941

Alan Mathison Turing stood in one of the bunkers, behind a group of rather tall women whom he directed to wire up the pegboards behind one of these noisy electro-mechanical monstrosities that he designed, one of the Bombes, and this particular one had been given the code name Agnus Dei, or “Agnes” for short. It was not an incarnation of the universal computation machine that he had proposed in a paper a few years ago, which was a pity, but had one purpose and one purpose only: breaking the ciphers that the Germans used to protect their communications. Today he was supervising the wiring of Agnes to break a message that had been intercepted by a listening station somewhere in the Aegean Sea.

Soon enough the wiring was finished, and one of the women gave a signal that would get the machine to start working based on Turing’s settings, and the machine whirred to life, the rotors that tested the the cipher against Turing’s educated guesses as to what the message might say turning and twisting. He moved to the other side of the huge machine, which looked like a massive metal bookcase, and it seemed that it had worked. A teletype machine attached to Agnes began printing out what seemed to be the correct decryption of the intercept.

Turing was not part of the group that was supposed to analyse and evaluate the intelligence obtained from these decoded intercepts, but he knew instantly that this message was one of the strange ones that would likely be classified not just ULTRA but ULTRA MERLIN. These sorts of messages, he had learned, were sent to a department so secret that it made his own installation at Bletchley Park look exposed to German scrutiny. Why would the Germans be talking about the Golden Fleece? he thought idly, as he handed the printout to an aide, who would pass it on to where it needed to go.

London, May 9, 1941

Jason Ellis Goldwyn got out of the car to a strange mansion in the middle of the city. To the uninitiated it would appear as just an ordinary old manor house probably built in some time in the late 18th century, owned by some reclusive and eccentric wealthy people, similar to many such buildings in the city, but to initiates such as him, this was the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Hermetic Order of the Empyrean Light. He had rarely been summoned here from his office in Cambridge as he was a research magician whose speciality was magical archaeology, but this time, the Grand Master had actually sent a motorcar to pick him up.

He entered the Lodge, and in the Great Hall, he saw it. A great sword glowing with a golden light stood floating in mid-air, spinning in various directions, even as a group of twelve magicians in snow-white robes raised their hands and chanted the words of the great spell. This was Excalibur, the sword of Britain’s legendary king, and it was being used once again in the defence of the land. Soon after the war began it was learned that the Thule Society had obtained a powerful artefact, the Lance of Longinus, and were using it to aid Hitler in building his Thousand-Year Reich. A magical battle was thus taking place even then between the wizards of the Empyrean Light, and those of the Thule Society, and from what he knew, it was in a stalemate. The spell could not defend Britain from attack by air, and so the Luftwaffe was conducting its Blitz, and their main target was actually this one building.

Jason was a relatively young man by the standards of the Order, only 36 years old, with a head of curly, dark hair, high cheekbones in a strong, angular face. He was not dressed in the ceremonial robes of the Order but in an ordinary suit and tie as there had been no time to change and it wasn’t necessary anyway. He arrived at the Grand Master’s office, and was ushered inside.

Grand Master Basil Grundon was an elderly man, perhaps in his seventies, with a bald head and a long beard that went all the way down to his chest. “Ah, Professor Goldwyn, thank you for coming. Please, have a seat.”

Falkirk, Scotland, May 1, 1941

The moon had risen high during the celebration of Là Bealltainn, Beltane. As the bonfires had crackled and roared with life to celebrate the dawning of the first day of May, the historical first day of summer for the pagans, the air had hummed with some new threat that hovered just beyond the perception of all of the witches gathered. Blair Darrow had found her gaze transfixed by the flames, and the light had danced off of her eyes, capturing her overtly perceptive mind. No laughter from men or women gathered, nor the dull call of the cattle which circled about the flames according to tradition, could startle the young woman back to reality.

Blair's third eye was wide open, and when another young witch had reached for her, the girl had found her hand slapped away by Mòrag Darrow, Blair's agéd and keen grandmother. Despite Blair's silence and distance, the elder Darrow knew what was happening: Blair was being granted a glimpse into the future, an acknowledgment of Blair's gifts from Mother Nature herself. On festivals such as Beltane, when the boundaries of the forces of nature were so near, those with true gifts could simply step beyond the realities of humanity and into the realm of mysticism.

The night had stretched onward, and still Blair had stared. Slowly light had begun to fill the sky, and in the distant and dim light of dawn, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter had appeared in the heavens, low on the horizon. A small collection of the Torwood Coven stood gathered behind Blair, waiting for the spell of night to fade into morning, and surrender the young woman back to her natural plane. Death to Rebirth. Air to Water. Dark to Light.

Morning had come, and Blair had turned to those behind her, blinking slowly and lifting a hand to her head, as if it stop the spinning. No one had needed ask, for moments later, Blair's voice had come in a low whisper. "A week. They will learn of the German interest in the Fleece in a week, and we must be there to ensure our inclusion in this task. If we are not there, England will never win this war. We must see Churchill."

The Glass Armonica (EnglishMaster)
The Glass Armonica (with EnglishMaster)
Read it here!

It was late in the Spring of 1793 that the Frenchman came to Andover Massachusetts.  There was something of a stir during his two nights in the Andover Inn when his manservant allegedly made a pass, not at a maidservant but at a local woman of a respectable reputation.  The manservant fled.

The Frenchman rented a place on the outskirts of Andover, out on Franklin Street, a muddy track on the edge of wilderness.  The houses there were timber, and pretty much just one enormous room with spaces partitioned off for bathing and food preparation and sleeping, and a privy at the back, but he was satisfied enough.  He seemed particularly drawn to the half-derelict one-pony stable in the backyard.  Soon he was working out there, putting it back together in some way, when his neighbour Thomas Midgeley looked over the fence that wasn’t there, as it were, between their properties.  They exchanged pleasantries.  The Frenchman, a handsome man of 50 or so gone slightly to seed, said his name was Olivier Dacourt, that he had come to the land of the free in flight from his own family, who had turned against him because of his Republican sympathies.  He spoke good English, albeit with a strong accent that meant he rolled his r’s and made his vowel sounds nasal.

All this Thomas reported a little later to his wife Mary, who couldn’t get out of the house at present owing to a female indisposition, which was all she was prepared to disclose to her husband.  ‘He’s looking for a woman to come clean and bring him meals.  Who do we know who might oblige?  For appropriate recompense, of course?’

Which, in turn, was how Mary-Anne Resplain, one of the Mayflower Resplains, who had however never been married and had fallen on hard times, came to be employed by Olivier Dacourt, a man, she reported to her family, of considerable means. But he had a most peculiar idea of where he was, she also reported.  He kept asking her about an Anne Bradstreet, and she told him there had been Bradstreets, reprobates who had sided with English and Indians in 1776, but there were none here now.  At which point he relapsed into French, perhaps to insult her, for all she knew; nevertheless he paid a good wage and complimented her on her good food, so perhaps she had nothing to complain of.

As a woman of limited means, and a well-known spinster, Mary-Anne Resplain ate a great many of her meals in the home of her brother, John Resplain. Apart from being her eldest brother, John was also the reverend of the North Parish. He maintained an open home, and certainly open to his own flesh and blood. In truth, John had always pitied Mary-Anne, but he would not shame her by telling her so. Instead he had a meal set anytime she wished, for she did not deserve a silent meal alone to herself each night.

That said, John did wish Mary-Anne could control her idle gossip in front of his daughter. Virginia Resplain, known to all those who loved her as Ginny, played the part of a shy and reserved lady of good upbringing, but she held a spark that she hid with expert care and attention, a spark that burned brightly when she thought no one was looking. It was bad enough that John had encouraged Ginny's reading so often as a girl, for now she was so painfully curious about anything in the world that he feared she might simply disappear one day into the very midst of it without a backward glance.

Ginny, too, loved the work of Anne Bradstreet.


Dacourt, a stranger in all matter of speaking, orders all sorts of strange materials - metal, glass especially - and creates a workshop in his backyard.  Reading of Benjamin Franklin's death, he has decided to re-create a glass armonica, an instrument he knew when he was a student of Mesmer's in the 1770s, an instrument invented by Franklin.

Ginny Resplain secretly and slowly befriends him.  She has heard of his interest in poetry and no-one else in town cares about verses.  They find a place where they can read poetry to each other.  That's all it is at first.

But for both of them, a passion is building.  Of course, the Frenchman's history is not as he has portrayed it.  Who knows if someone will reveal it?  What the young woman also doesn't know is that the glass armonica can be used to mesmerize a woman, so that she will do the bidding of the mesmerizer.  What will happen, then, when the instrument is finished?

These are the stories that are waiting for fresh life. I might wait for them forever....

The Wolf: Thief of the Wood  (arkhos)
The Wolf: Thief in the Wood
Read it here! (with arkhos)

They had always said to be fearful of the woods, as was rightfully so. Men disappeared on their journeys home, livestock went missing, and the unmistakable howl of wolves haunted the dreams of children. Rowan Feld knew of all the stories just like all of the town, particularly the warnings to women. Yet as the daughter of a rich merchant, she had grown up on the forest road, bounding too and fro, but never out of sight of the traveling party. If she disappeared too far a field, she'd hear the bark of her father's fearful command for her to return. That had been the early days, when the rumors were just beginning. As things got more and more troublesome, and when the scent of blood became far too common along the forest road, her father had commanded her to stay home.

But for an adventurous girl like Rowan, home was boring. The market was always the same--unless her father had returned with some unusual and interesting object from another land--and the men never changed, and the clock always ticked, and sometimes the weather was fair, and sometimes it wasn't. She missed the days that she could travel with her father to trade exotic spices and fabrics and foods. There were clearly men in the village who wanted to wed someone as fair as she, but she would have none of it. She wanted to leave the village to see the world.

Then one day her father did not come home. Her mother worried endlessly, and Rowan had comforted her as best as she could. But the wolves had sounded that night, and Rowan knew he would likely never return. Yet with only a daughter, and no income, it would only be a matter of time before mother and daughter lost their home. So the next morning, after her mother had fallen into a fitful sleep, Rowan crept from the house, and wrapped herself in her beautiful red cape; she could not afford to be ignored on this journey. Slipping onto the back of her horse, she departed for the woods to find her father.

Knowing full well that The Wolf would find her first.
Blue Blood  (Lrrr)
Blue Blood
Read it here! (with Lrrr)
Previously attempted, but unfinished. Read the original here! (With TheBlackRider)

After the attack on Fort Sumter, men from across Virginia rallied to support that golden Confederate cause which had been solidifying itself over the last century, coming to a head with the election of Abraham Lincoln. Of the first to join ranks and don the grey was Gerald Stevens. He had raised his family in the same plantation he was born in, and he would be damned if some Yank president thought he could take away the sole support of his industry. Little did he know that one member of his family was less than supportive of his Confederate zeal. Anne Stevens was Gerald's eldest daughter. She was a spirited woman, with strong opinions that she worked very hard to guard, particularly on her family's plantation. On the day her father and her older brother left to join ranks, she joined her family and sent the two of them off with enthusiasm and regards for General Lee. That night, however, she sheered her hair short enough to be hidden beneath a cap, stole some trousers from her brother's now empty bedroom, and fled, with regards for Abraham Lincoln. She had a new name, and that was Will Samuel, and a new color to wear: blue.

Anne ran through the night, not daring to stop until she was well beyond her county borders. Her lungs were stinging, and her face was bright red with exhaustion when she reached the train station in the neighboring county. She half expected that she would've been accidentally shot as a runaway slave by a hunter with a quick hand and an inflamed sense of patriotism, but somehow she'd managed to run through the night unseen.

After her body stopped protesting against her, she'd regained her composure, her plan racing through her mind. She was unaware what the opinion of her fellow Virginian's to the north were, so she wondered if it would be best to venture even further north to Maryland. Granted, those Virginians who decided to fight for the Union wouldn't want to stay; there was too much southern hate that was just waiting to be tapped into. If she was to have any hope of success, she needed to get as far away from home as possible, and so she boarded her train north to Maryland. She had been terrified that the trains would've stopped their travel northward, but the fight was still in its earliest stages, and the battle ground had not clearly been drawn yet.

She barely slept that night despite the weariness of her body stowed in the cargo department. The next morning, light filtered in and woke her, but they were still moving. It was at least another day before she dared check her location. They had stopped in western Virginia to pick up a shipment of coal, and were currently in Cumberland, unloading another shipment of cotton. If her intuition was right, as well as her ability to eavesdrop, they were stopping in Hub City next: Hagerstown, Maryland. That's where she'd get off, and that's where she'd find a recruitment center.

With her plan secure and her journey soon complete, she slipped free of her hiding place as they pulled into the loading bay in Hub City. She knew how bedraggled she must have looked, but if anything it was better. No southern woman would've dared to be seen like this, so no one would even look twice. She adjusted her cap and drifted into town, surprised by the huge amount of men sitting about, waiting to be given supplies. Those who had uniforms looked like they were from all over. Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, even New York....she listened, and the rumor was that they were being moved close to the capital, knowing the fight would begin in Virginia.

She finally found the recruitment site and executed her lies beautifully: Her name was Will Samuel, son of Bernard and Elizabeth Samuel, a farmer from the border of western Virginia, near Berkeley Springs. The willowy boy had his papers, as if they really needed them; he was a set of hands, albeit unusually smooth and delicate hands for a farmer, but a set of hands nonetheless. They shoved a uniform in Anne's arms and sent her on her way to the regiment, a joint Maryland/Pennsylvania company. She'd forgotten the numbers already....her head was spinning. This was working!

« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 01:16:51 am by cupoftea »

Offline cupofteaTopic starter

Re: Looking for a Story Teller! [Female looking for Assertive Male]
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2014, 09:28:32 am »

These are stories that have now been completed! While I don't want to use these plots again, I would be happy to work out a similar concept if you really enjoy these.

Phantom of Delight  (EnglishMaster)
Phantom of Delight: a Dark Romance on the Moors of Yorkshire at the Turn of the Century (FINISHED)
(with EnglishMaster)

Read it here!

Edward Heaton is the town's school master, an educated man with two children of his own, whose wife died in childbirth. When he lost her, he lost a great deal of his self-control, slowly slipping into the darkness that her presence held in check.

Lucy Claxton is the spirited heiress of the industrial fortune her father's Mill in Yorkshire has produced. Because the family's money is new, she is expected to adhere to the Victorian moral code even more strictly than others. She is a smart and sharp girl who isn't afraid to think beyond her social definition.

When Lucy was 13, Mr. Heaton saved her and her father from two boys attempting rob them out on the Moor. Lucy had tried to stop them too, but instead of being rewarded for her bravery, was punished by her father. The next day, she ran away to Mr. Heaton, who had treated her with kindness, not with annoyance. She was desperate to learn and study and not be trapped in needlework and sociability, but Mr. Heaton knew she couldn't stay with him, and he was afraid of what her father could do to his struggling financials. So he taught her a poem by Wordsworth, sparking in her a passion for literature and poetry, before sending her home.

5 years later, Lucy is now 18 and as intelligent and sure of herself as ever, her self-acquired literature collection serving as the backbone of her own education. In a chance meeting, she and Edward meet again by Lucy's favorite hideaway near the stream closer to town. Edward had just acquired a dog, hoping to replace the absence of his children, now both grown and moved away, and the unruly dog charges down to the place where Lucy is reading, unaware of its master's desire to stay away from her. After the meeting, Lucy's desire to speak of learning, share it, and grow is reignited. After all, every thought she's ever had about her readings has had to stay her own. She wants to share them, her dreams, her thoughts, her questions, and when she meets Edward again, she knows he can't send her away again. Little does she know the darkness in him...

Libération: WWII  (Lrrr)
Libération: WWII (FINISHED)
See Thread Here (With Lrrr)

The year 1945 could not have come sooner for the citizens of war-torn France. The British, Americans, and Russians had begun their invasion of Europe, and were liberating various towns and villages throughout France on the way to Berlin. However, as tanks entered towns, some of those tanks still belonged to the German army. Despite the rumors of the retreat, now was not the time to assume anything. Claire Dupris was a spirited young woman living on the land of her family's vineyards. Their home sat on a hillside overlooking the small village in the valley below, the lines of grapes strung up and down that same hillside. With her father gone, one of the many that this bitter conflict had claimed, Claire had been left to care for her family alone. That morning, she had seen warning smoke from the village below, and soon after heard the clatter of slow-moving tanks. She quickly hid her fragile mother and young brother in the large cellar below and had gone upstairs to the kitchen to retrieve some last minute supplies. Their home had managed to remain relatively untouched by the war, something that Claire was more than aware of. As it was drawing to a close, it would've been wrong to assume that they would stay that way.

Ever since her mother had been diagnosed with the weakness of the heart, Claire had done her best not to exacerbate it. The town doctor had said it was likely a chronic condition that had been lurking under the skin since her youth, but hadn't taken root until they received news of the death of her father. The news had left the entire family staggering, and apparently had changed the rhythm of her mother's heart. If not for the tragedy of it, Claire would've thought it poetic.

Her father had been the pillar of the family, full of love and life, working the fields of the vineyard that had been cultivated since the days of his forefathers. Bernard's enthusiasm for every bit of his life made him the envy of the village, and made his children grow up to be the warm and quick witted rascals he knew they'd be. When he'd left for the front, Claire had known without a doubt that he would return. After all, a flame that burned as brightly as her father's was not so easily snuffed out. When the news had arrived, a piece of Claire had died with him. Part of her joy would never be rekindled through the bitterness lurking at the edges of her mind, despite her best efforts.

Her brother, Remi, had taken the loss hard. With her mother's sickness coupled with her brother's grief, Claire alone was left to find the edges of their lives left tattered, and slowly stitch them back together with a sound hand and mind. She channeled her father's spirit into her work, and found the life he'd left behind even in death. She was only 19 years old.

Your character: I'd like to leave that largely up to you. I imagine you'll play a soldier, whether American, British, Russian, or even German. This plot can run the gambit from tender to forceful, so I'd be interested to see the direction you'd like to take it.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 12:21:46 pm by cupoftea »

Offline cupofteaTopic starter

Re: Looking for a Story Teller! [Female seeking Male]
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2015, 02:22:10 pm »

These are the stories that were started but went to an early grave for one reason or another. The links are still included, and I'd definitely be willing to revamp them. Just let me know if you're interested in any of these. There were a few I really loved, so feel free to check them out! There are far too many of these abandoned stories for my liking, so please help me remedy the story graveyard!

Prosperity and Particularity
Prosperity and Particularity: A Regency Romance (with Sure)
Read it here!

Cecilia Vaughn was hiding in the library. She could hear the blathering and the prattle of her mother from where she sat curled in her father's favorite chair, the thick oaken door only so impregnable. There was truly nothing in the world that could silence her mother, and Cecilia sighed, willing the silence to triumph. The girl had wondered on many an occasion whether she was descended from geese, for the way her mother chattered on, the birds outside on their estate's small pond seemed more familiar.

Dorothea Vaughn had ventured into town that morning, and Cecilia had hoped that her mother would remain there for a good length of the day. Perhaps Mrs. Benruth would invite her to tea, or Mrs. Tillingsworth would have a good piece of gossip that would occupy her for a good spell of time. Yet based on the ruckus echoing up the hallway, nothing had captured Mrs. Vaughn's attentions enough to interfere with her obvious arrival back at Selbourne Manor.

The Vaughn family was a rather unique clan. Cecilia’s father, Mr. Henry Vaughn, was an established gentleman, but while he inherited the estate and the fortune from his father many, many years ago, he lacked the enterprising mind to truly make the fortune survive his tenure. Henry was a kind man, but was truly at a disadvantage because of it. Cecilia was his only child with his wife Dorothea, and unfortunately for Cecilia, that meant that she could not be his heir. The house, the gardens, the grounds, and the fortune (what was left of it, if any), would go to a male cousin or an uncle, whomever survived the longest. Cecilia had long accepted this fact, although it was not borne well, and she was quite bitter to this day.

At one-and-twenty, Cecilia was becoming an old maid. However, it was not for want of beauty or wit, for she had both in prosperity. However, with her father’s floundering finances, her dowry was not a competitive one, and her wit and tongue had been known to get the young woman into trouble, much to the woe of her goose of a mother.

Mrs. Vaughn was the town busybody, for she was eager to bury her nose in other people’s business in order to forget her own. In the early days of her marriage, Mrs. Vaughn had been extravagant, gaudy, and absolutely ostentatious. But as the days had gone by, the money had dried up, her daughter had grown older, she had not borne a son, and suddenly she was exposed to a world that did not revolve about her. And so the woman invented chaos at every turn, just to insert spice back into the pages of her now lackluster life. She was frustrated with her daughter, for Cecilia seemed unconcerned about the comings and goings of the local gentlemen, or the occasional tenure of the militia, or Mrs. Tillingsworth’s terrible choice of frock.

From what Cecilia could determine from the rapid flow of her mother’s chatter, today’s excitement was revolving around news that Mrs. Vaughn had learned from Mr. Asher. Well, from Mrs. Livingston, who had learned it from Mrs. Yowell, who had overhead Mr. Asher discussing it with Mr. Wates. It seemed that the Albertson’s were finally selling the estate and relocating to Yorkshire. However, what was really titillating about the sale was who the house was being let to. Isaac Kingston was to be the newest tenant of the estate, wealthy and statused according to Mrs. Yowell, but yet unmarried, and apparently—rather seriously—estranged from his father.

Cecilia nodded and hummed her ascent where it was required, but she could not see how this was particularly enlightening. He was another single gentleman, no different than any others. He was simply new. In a matter of months, he would be old news, and his name would likely never grace the air of their parlor again. Perhaps it was interesting that he was at odds with his father, but it was not, much to her mother’s disagreement, her business.

She Who Claims the Prize
She Who Claims the Prize (with Dariusfallenstar)
Read it here!

In the early morning light that was filtering into her room, Catherine Mastwick was shedding the light cotton fabric of her sleeping gown, letting it slip over her shoulders and slide to her waist, where she held it aloft as she cast a glance over her shoulder into the full length mirror on the other side of her chambers. It was still there. Three days ago, Catherine had celebrated her 18th birthday, and had woken with a black mark on the skin of her left shoulder blade. The next day, it had begun to spread, forming a shape, and moving to rest between her shoulder blades. Today as she craned to look at it, she saw the line of wings and the flick of a tail. It was a dragon. A dragon had appeared on her back.

The girl's dark green eyes followed her body as it twisted this way and that, attempting to get a better look. It was not a large mark, but it filled the space between her shoulders, and appeared to show no sign of fading. She watched it with concern, trying to see if it would move. It hadn't appeared solid and complete that first day; it had developed and grown, revealing itself to her. She drew her night dress back to her shoulders, hiding it from prying eyes and her own thoughts.

Catherine did not need any more confirmation that she was different, for her entire life had been confirmation of that fact. She had been raised in the home she now resided, but she hadn't been born there. Catherine's birth mother had died in childbirth, leaving the child to be cared for by the village nuns. She would have remained there if not for the Mastwick family.

George and Winifred Mastwick had failed to conceive a child, despite years of trying, and their ill fate led them to Catherine. She was young enough to be a child, but old enough to remember, the day they'd come to take her home with them. She had been adopted in the proper manner, and had come to take the name of Mastwick. She didn't remember what her surname had been prior to that. Perhaps she hadn't had one. All she had that belonged to her mother was a small pendant, gold, with a small emerald at the very center. The nuns hadn't the heart to sell it after her mother's passing, and so now it belong to Catherine. She wore it every day.

From the time she as a small girl, she was imaginative and bright, spending hours of her day roaming about the nearby woods, feeling more in touch with the trees than the boys and girls her age in the town. She was a quiet girl, but she found she did not need her voice to persuade others to conceded to what she wanted. She was a beautiful creature to behold, even in her younger years, skin the texture and hue of buttermilk, hair the shade of burnt honey, and eyes like the emerald she wore about her neck. In the years she was allowed in the school house, she simply had to ask if she could be permitted to leave and finish her readings in the woods, and the school master would release her, watching her leave with a dumbfounded expression, unable to find it in himself to call her back to him and the classroom, because he could not find the words to do so.

Catherine had left a trail of broken hearts behind her, and at 18, she was receiving pressure from her parents to marry. Yet each of the potential fools tumbled over each other to win her affection, and the harder they tried, the more she wanted to be rid of them. She couldn't help how she looked; she certainly didn't dress in a revealing manner. There was simply something about her aura that drew men in, and Catherine wished more than anything to be rid of it. She could not disappear in a crowd, no matter how hard she tried. She was a reserved personality, masking the vibrancy of her spirit for those worthy enough to see it, and many a man thought that her beauty and intelligence construed the opposite, that she wanted the attention. She had been very adamant when she had ensured them that she didn't.

The young lady went about shedding her sleep wear, finding a cotton shift, a padded bustle for around her hips, and a dress to wear. She was headed into town today, so brown and grey were appropriate colors for day wear. If she attempted to wear a color, the whole town would be in a tizzy. But she couldn't afford that, not when she was out for information. Last night, her father had brought home rumors of men who had ridden in from the northern forest, who'd seen a castle rising out of the mists, before disappearing. With the new appearance of the dragon on her back, she was curious as to the connection between the two, even though she was likely just inventing one. She wanted to speak to the men herself, finding out what she could, before she ran off on a wild goose chase.

The Homecoming
The Homecoming: A Father and Daughter Succumb to Tragedy in the Wake of WWII (with shooter6806)
Read it here!

Major Allan Lawson had left four years ago for the war in the Pacific, leaving behind his career as an engineer in a building and design company in San Jose. The crimes of war had been horrendous, particularly when compared to the family life he'd left behind: a loving wife and a beautiful daughter. The behavior of the Japanese was horrifying, and it made him hungry for home. It was then that he'd gotten the letter.

His wife, Anne, had been killed in an accident with a streetcar in San Francisco. His daughter Sophie was all alone. It broke him, and his commanding officers knew it, and so he was transferred back. The war was over now, it was 1946, and he needed to go home. Now, four years later, he was coming home to a daughter that was a grown woman, who blamed herself for her mother’s death.

Sophie Lawson was 15 when her father left for war. He missed her years in grade school, wasn't there to defend her from boys, or there to comfort her when she had her heart broken. Her spirits had been low since the day he left, and she had selfishly ignored the fact that her mother was just as heartbroken and worried. Despite growing up during the Depression, their family had been warm and happy. Her parents loved each other very much, and their love flowed into Sophie, raising her to be a kind and gentle girl. While it might have been unorthodox for the time, her mother had taught her to think for herself, and so Sophie always had, being independent and free thinking. It had even gotten her into some trouble the years that her father had been gone.

In order to cheer Sophie up, Anne had taken her to San Francisco for a day off, just the two of them. It was there that it had happened. She'd fallen, trying to cross the street after Sophie, who had gone against the light. The street trolley hadn't stopped.

In the months after her father's departure, and even more so after her mother's death, Sophie lost her way. It didn't make sense that it would be her family that would be targeted for such tragedy. And because it didn't make sense, she had to find someone to blame. But she was alone in the house, day in and day out, and so the blame fell to her.

Now, Allan has come home to his daughter, and they can share their grief. But he's haunted by the horrors of war, the wife that died without him there to protect her, a daughter he can't help but blame, who has now grown into the spitting image of the wife he no longer has: it pushes him over the edge. He resists for a long time, but soon he knows he'll take her, his desire coupled with his grief, confusion, and blame.

In Winter's Wake
In Winter's Wake: the Rape of Persephone
Read it here! (with Google)

The day was her mother's creation, and it was beautiful. Demeter had known that her beautiful daughter, Persephone, had intended to venture out to the meadows of Nysion to gather flowers with Artemis, Athena, and the Oceanids, and she intended to gift her daughter with a beauty worth of her.

Demeter was slowly reintroducing her daughter to the realm of the Olympus. After both Hermes and Apollo had wooed Persephone, she had removed her from contact with the Olympians, keeping her hidden away with nature as her closest companion. Zeus was an absent father, but that was to be expected for he was far better at creating children than rearing them. But Demeter was a devoted mother, which was also to be expected from Mother Earth. Persophone wanted for nothing, but she never had what she perhaps longed for most.

She was not oblivious to her beauty, or to the reason her mother had taken her from Olympus. She longed for companionship, for the presence of flowers could not stave her obvious loneliness. Even still, she did not seek the companionship of the gods, for they were dull and predictable, meddling too often in their own antics and shallow beyond measure. Persephone held an innocence comparable to the water lily: it floated above the churning of the lake beneath it, unblemished, and pale as moonlight with skyward eyes.

What she did not know is that while she was purposely evading the attention of the gods, she had attracted the attention of one who was unlike any of the others. Her Uncle, the King of the Underworld. Yet the gods were immortal, and beautiful, and despite his confinement to the depths of the Earth, he was hauntingly striking. Persephone had never encountered him before, yet he had been observing her in secret, and had grown covetous of something so pure, something he could never understand. He was conflicted between the idea of sheltering such a unimpeachable being, or ruining her.

Artemis and Athena had gone ahead, Athena intent on gathering the charriot before returning Persephone home, and the Oceanids returning to the sea. Persephone walked along on her own, lingering to collect a few more flowers when there was a shattering crack and she looked up in alarm as the birds fled in panic. And then he was there, descending from his charriot, standing before her, and despite the fact that she had never met the man, she knew immediately who he was. Hades.

Story/Your Character: This is obviously a variation on the "Rape of Persephone". For those of you don't know, Hades takes the girl to the Underworld, making her Queen of the Underworld. Zeus allows Hades to take Persephone because the god is obviously hopelessly in love with the girl, yet no one reveals to Demeter where her daughter has gone. Demeter's despair at her missing daughter turns the Earth barren, and Helios (the Sun) finally reveals that it was Hades that took her. Zeus, pressed by the cries of the hungry mortals in the wake of the barren drought has no choice but to order Hades to return Persephone to her mother. However, before she does so, he tricks her into eating a pomegranate, the fruit of the underworld, and after Hermes takes her back to the surface, it is discovered that she must return to the Underworld for the third of the year. Thus winter was born, for Demeter's loneliness at the absence of her daughter returns for that same third of the year.

For us, I obviously want more than just the basic story. Persephone, despite her innocence, is an intelligent girl, who longs for more in life besides the selfish larks of the gods. Hades is dark, and he is her foil in every way, yet she is drawn to him for his is nothing like the others. He both scares her and entices her, for the conflict that he feels causes him to be both captivated and harsh towards her. I'd really love to hear your take on Hades' character, since he'll be your creation. I just wanted to give you a feel for the basic juxtaposition between the two lovers.

Enthroned in Sin: The Fall of King Casamir
Enthroned in Sin: The Fall of King Casamir
Read it here! (with Kamakaze)

The King was a shadowy figure, a myth, a legend even among those who had met him. None would claim to know him, that would imply a friendship that King Casamir offered to no man, and though it was rumored he did occasionally take women to his bed, these ladies were themselves often strange, ethereal beauties, the daughter's of lords, foreign ambassadors, oracles and sometimes even servants. His tastes were undefinable, and clearly he saw things other men did not, both within the shadows which surrounded him and seemed always to draw his attention, and within the hearts of those who came before him.

Fastidious in diet, he was nonetheless a powerful figure, tale and lean-built, his skin was pale and his hair dark as the blackest night. He had a severe, sharp look and a sharper tone of voice which spoke of an intellect which had little patience for foolishness or ignorance. However, despite the severity of his appearance, and the fact that he always seemed from expression to be torn between rage and isolation, he was undeniably handsome. There was something striking, unique in his features which meant that whoever he was focused on would find it nigh-on impossible to draw their gaze from him.

Casamir was possessed of an overwhelming presence, a power of attraction and dominance which brought men to their knees, and women to his bed. At forty-five, he showed little signs of age, and indeed, had the look of a man who has simply matured and grown more experienced, rather than diminished as youth has begun to fade away. Eyes the color of cold grey slate regarded those who supplicated themselves with calculated precision, though rarely was he entertained or even truly roused by the words of his courtiers.

This day, as the petals strewn about the roads of the city in adulation of the army's heroic return began to tumble in the rising winds, and the storms began to engulf the plains beyond Vyrra, the King sat enthroned, hearing the words of those who had traveled from far and near to have an audience with him. It was insufferable...

On the edge of the southern border, where mountainous crags leveled into sloping plains, and violent storms turned to summer rains, Hyllun Abbey stood. It had not always stood on the site it now occupied, having been built nearly two centuries before in the village of Tolnner, just beyond the great walls of the capital. It was in those times that Morsylonne had seen the worst storm season it had yet known, and would know for many a century. The Priestess of Hyllun had foreseen a great flood, water pouring from between the Iron Fangs beyond, and transforming the sturdy village into nothing but a body of water. The capital would be spared, but the Priestess foresaw in her heart of hearts that there would be nothing left of Tolnner save its name.

The people of Tolnner had sprung into action, many fleeing the town. Yet other remained, rooted in stubbornness and tradition. The storm season would come, and it would be difficult, but it would pass without grave damage as every storm season before, they said. They watched as the monastery had been disassembled to its very foundation, and carted off to be built elsewhere, watched as men and women and families departed to a calmer land, or to the capital itself. They scoffed and chided and even laughed. And then they died, for the waters came as the priestess had promised they would.

From then on, in storm season, Tolnner stood as a wide lake, as big as an ocean, with no trace of the village that had once occupied the site. But in the dry and wretched months of summer, the water would recede, the ground crack, and the wooden and ivory bones of homes and residents could once again be seen. With every passing year, less and less remained, until there was no trace of what had once been.

But Hyllun Abbey remained, rebuilt and anew in the south. There were few who could recall the stories now of where it had once been, but it was written in the histories of this land, where anyone might stumble upon it. It was a lonely place, a place to forget or to be forgotten, but it was peaceful. The women of the halls were covered, educated, and kind, and it smelled of age and incense. And this is where Eliška, daughter of King Casamir, had grown up, forgotten and alone.

A long time before, in a time many could not remember, or chose not to remember, Casamir had wed a Lady. The men and women of his court, and the servants below it, dare not speak of her, for fear of their King's wrath. All that was widely known was that she had born him a child, a girl, and then soon died. The girl had been born in the early years of the Great Campaign, and when it had been clear that it would stretch far longer than predicted, she was sent away. She left the arms of her wet nurse as no more than a babe, and was taken to Hyllun Abbey. It was there that she would be taught arithmetic and verse, and all that would be expected of her when she reached an age of marriage.

The Sisters of the abbey had all been like mothers to her. They had been strict, yet kind, and they had raised Eliška well. She had been but a child as she flourished in this new environment, so far removed from the storm clouds and rocky crags of the home she could not remember. She was bright, and had the same intensity of eye as the father she did not know. They did not seek to tame her at the Abbey, but to hone her, to shape her wild edges and bring her to terms with who she was and what she would be.

The girl spent many nights staring at the ceiling of her well-worn room, wondering what she had done to anger her father so. For what other reason did he have to send her away? It was true that he was out, winning lands and conquests, but she might have stayed in Vyrra even in spite of this. Tutors could be hired, Nannies sent for. But he had not wanted her in his home, casting her out, an orphan in all but name. Eliška had seen the eyes and heard the whispers of the sisters of the Abbey, and understood how they expected her to turn bitter towards her father, to turn a dark eye to whatever plans he might have for her. But while she could not say that she loved him for what he had done for her, her abandonment resulted not in bitterness, but in a fierce desire to achieve. Yet instead of quelling the free spirit within Eliška, the Sisters taught her how to use it, and when to hide it.

Now, at 19, she was well past the age that she should be married, and yet her father's unfinished campaign had made it impossible to send her home. Eliška was not oblivious to the discourtesy of the situation. The Sisters of the Good Work had promised to keep her and raise her, but had been promised in return that she would return to the seat of her father after her marriage years arrived. Those years had come and gone, and no one had come to claim her and take her home. A few sisters had even asked her if she was interested in taking her vows and joining them at the Abbey to do the Good Work, but the Priestess had chided them. Eliška was far too beautiful, far too noble, and far too bright to waste away in the halls of their great Abbey. But now the campaign was over, and the time for waiting had passed. High Sister Yingrit had been sent to Vyrra to seek an audience with the King, to remind him of his kith and kin, and the promises made almost a decade previous.

The Succession of the Thanes
The Succession of the Thanes: Honor and Cunning, Crown and Blood
Read it here! (with Davikk)

In the year 1136 A.D, King Lothar's son and only heir, Prince Edmund, was killed. No father should see the sun set on his child's life before that of his own, and that horrible reality had found King Lothar, ailing his heart. Ever since Prince Edmund had been placed in the burial mound of his forefathers, King Lothar had given up on life. His heart grew bitter, and the cold of his grief overtook his health. His Queen watched with a sense of helplessness, hiding her own grief, seeing her husband retreat into himself and let his age claim the fiery spirit of his youth. The vultures had begun to circle, and the King's advisors willed him to seek council: the Thanes must be summoned. But he was weak, and his mind was going, so the decision fell to his wife. With little choice, and with little knowledge of another solution, the summons was signed, and the proclamation carried to the land holdings of the amalgamated kingdom. There were still those among the King's court that had not learned of the Prince's demise in the conquest against the Danes, but they were few and far between. The rest were eager to seek the throne, and had done what they could to prepare for the task.

Kingship was not only genetic, but based on merit. As the King had no sons living, the crown could be passed to anyone who had a trace of royal lineage who had the worth to support it. The court was gathered along with the Thanes for the council that would determine how to proceed.

Wives and daughters were at hand as well. They were included to ease the tension that men are so eager to create as they put their reputations on the line, as well as to allow Queen Ânna from feeling isolated because of her gender. One such attendant was Katherine Deverough, the only niece of Queen Ânna, the beloved daughter of the Queen's sister, Gwendolyn. After the murder of Katherine's parents in a Danish raid, she had come to live with her Aunt and Uncle. She had spent the latter half of her teenage years growing up with Prince Edmund, and had felt like a daughter to the King and Queen. She knew her Aunt would be looking for her advice in the coming days, whether the men in the room were keen enough to realize that.

Two of the attending Thanes were brothers, both ambitious and worthy, but in different ways. One leaned towards the light of honor and virtue, but held an arrogance towards most. The other swayed towards cunning and unscrupulousness, yet was clever and perceptive. They were both qualified to take the throne, among a handful of others, and knew that Katherine was likely a key to the sovereignty. Which would succeed? Would either?

Your Character/Story: Obviously the two brothers are the two I'd like you to focus on. However, you can decide whether you'd like to play both equally, or whether you'd like to select one as your primary and make the other a NPC. I'm leaning towards the latter, but it doesn't matter to me! This story can go many different directions, so I'd love to see what you think!
Treaty Defied (Uninterested in Reviving)
Treaty Defied (with BennyQ)
Read it here!

Eileánóir Rian, Princess of Banrayn, and future Queen of Tryn, had always been a captive. From the moment she was born, it was understood that her ownership would pass from her father to a husband, as her birthright dictated. Despite this knowledge, Eileánóir was a kind young woman, noble not just in birth but in the way she advocated for her people. She was bright, sharp-tongued, and had beauty that rivaled her wit. As the eldest daughter of only sisters, she was the King’s favorite. The Queen had never had the fortune to bless the King with a son, and so the future of the Kingdom fell to the prospects of Eileánóir's future husband. Eileánóir remained unwed largely due to the King's fondness for her, and his reluctance to trade her away to anyone unworthy.

But there would come a day when both King and daughter would regret his procrastination and idle ways, for the new King of the land to the north, Tryn, saw in her an opportunity that could not be missed. Banrayn was not a warring kingdom; the majority of its people were simple folk, and farmers were as abundant as the land they worked. The rolling farmlands made way to a wide forest to the south, and it was a land of peace and plenty. The army the King maintained was purely for defensive strategies, for they did not have the numbers that many warring kingdoms had. Between the agricultural defensive holdings and the unwed eldest daughter of the King, the newly coronated King of Tryn forged a plan to secure not only his own holdings, but the holdings of Banrayn as well.

Tryn lured Banrayn into a battle the aging King could never hope to win. Despite his clear advantage, and the knowledge that he could annihilate these inadequate armies, this new King had no true desire to send a single man into battle if he did not have to, for what man takes honor in slaughter? The lack of sons in the King's line left his eldest daughter as the key to his throne. Whoever would wed Eileánóir would become King, and this young upstart, full of ambition and pride, longed for nothing more than to conquer the lands of his neighbor without notching a single arrow.

And so it came to pass. King Lorgren was presented with terms of surrender, in which his daughter would be sent to Tryn within a fortnight to be wed and bonded to this young King. And as such, Banrayn would belong to him the moment King Lorgren died. No matter how much King Lorgren loved his daughter, and prepared her to be his heir, he had no true choice but to allow her to go.

All of Eileánóir's hopes were lost, and she forgot what it meant to belong to herself. For how could she be selfish? To deny the King of Tryn, or her father, would be certain death for so many. The only thing Eileánóir loved more than her father was Banrayn.

With no choice remaining, she was sold in all but name to become the Queen of Two Kingdoms. She had left her family, her two frivolous sisters, her weeping mother, and her regretful and stoic father, to journey northward to meet her fate. But little did she know that she would never arrive in Tryn.

Baltasar Deligos was the eldest son of the Great Khan of Cornealia, Kochi Deligos. Cornealia was an entirely different world to the likes of Banrayn and Tryn. It stretched far to the southeast, where the border forest of Banrayn transformed into large and barren steppes that led into rocky mountain passes. The seasons were harsh, but the Cornealians were harsher. They did not build cities of stone and mortar, but of skins and tapestries and stolen commodities from each of the four corners that surrounded them. They were a people of both horse and bow, and they were feared for the swift and savage nature of their attacks.

Each year when the seasons relinquished their hold, they would ride out en force to raid and pillage where they could, securing honor and wealth to those lucky enough to survive the clang of battle or the stench of disease. In the late days of summer, their raiding season was coming to a close. While most of Cornealian raids took place to the south, this year had been different. Baltasar had led a retinue of nearly 500 mounted raiders to the shared border with Banrayn and Tryn, eager to sample these new lands, and test their defenses, and to prove himself to his ever-unsatisfied father.

And that is how it came to be that Eileánóir found herself under Baltasar’s possession. On that fateful day, when she rode out in her carriage with only a small retinue of soldiers, they were ambushed, and all were killed…save her. Now she truly was a captive.
The Blood of the Second: Vikingar (Uninterested in Reviving)
The Blood of the Second: Vikingar
Read it here! (with BennyQ)

The village of Leira lay nestled at the end of a valley, wedged between two mountains. It sat astride the dark, cold waters of the Baltic, its waters foamy as it splashed against the pale beaches of hard sand and rock. It was not a large settlement, possessing perhaps a few hundred huts centered on a great longhouse perched upon a jutting cliff, but it did possess a measure of prosperity despite its remoteness. The run off from the mountains caused the soil to be rich and fertile where it was flat enough to be cultivated, stretching back along the valley floor or in tiers on the mountainside, which also brimmed with amber and iron ore. Ships of many sizes sat at harbour, while the hubbub of traders, craftsmen, farmers, and swaggering warriors congregated in the market square. The town was the seat of power for the Earldom of Kollavik.

Kollavik had been the legendary founder, having laid the foundations for the town perhaps a century or more ago, though there were smaller villages and hamlets far older which were ruled by his descendants. Four generations descended from the man, upon which the current ruler Asbrand Hasteinson now sat upon the bone and antler hewed chair that was the throne of the Earls of Kollavik. Like his family, Asbrand had the light hazel hair and the dark blue eyes of his kin, thick of arm and chest (and unfortunately belly), but also impressive in strength. When his father ruled, he had joined in the many expeditions to Britain or Frankia, earning renown and loot. Just a year ago, his father had died of old age at last and finally Asbrand ascend to the chair.

And that’s when everything began to fall apart.

Hastein Amundison, grandson of Kollavik himself, had ruled Leira and its fiefs with a firm, sturdy hand. His rule was centralized and the local Jarls paid him respect and homage without trouble. But when Asbrand ascended, he left such matters to his Steward, a woefully inadequate and incompetent man while he turned his attentions solely to the enjoyment and leisure of rule. Drink and women became his prerogative, leaving diplomacy to his mother, Hilde of Holmgard, and other positions to his equally slothful friends and associates, whom earned their status only by matching Asbrand in his depravity. The longhouse, once a place of business and seriousness, became reduced to a bawdyhouse. Song and the laughter of woman replaced the stern talk of raid and war.

Little by little, the folk of Kollavik began to turn their noses up at the Earl. With organization lacking, the young men (and women) began to drift to the settlements of other raiding villages and Earls, who could promise them greater glory with going abroad then the softer pleasures of a rich, fat home life. Wealth and skill began to flow outwards rather than in and the luxuries of the town decreased without an eye batted by its new rulers. Hilde of Holmgard, a stern matron still strong and capable in her late years, attempted to reverse or at least delay the process of degradation of her husband’s legacy and rule. Despite Asbrand’s reputation of whoring, she managed to secure a strong martial alliance with one of the influential landowning families of Leira, their youngest to be wed to the early middle aged Earl.

What other hope was there? The only other descendant of Hastein was his young daughter Vigdis, a girl only in her late teens and concerned with the hunt and sport of it. And there was Hilde’s other son, for whom no one thought would ever return. The fortunes of the family did not look well as summer came to a close.

The sky was overcast as usual, just as Rurik Hasteinson remembered. His bright hazel hair, two braided lengths on either side of his lean face with the rest free and wild, blew with the cool wind as the shallow draft hull carried him home. Just ahead, the various wharf's and docks of his home of Leira loomed greater and greater as they neared, more than he remembered when he had departed over a decade ago. Six months of journey from Miklagard, the Grand City of the Greeks, had nearly stolen the life of this adventuring Viking, though time and time again he had survived only by his skill with the axe. His body had many trophies to prove it, crisscrossed with battle scars, arrow scabs, and cuts. But that time was over. He was home.

The longhouse of Leira was very quiet this day. Freya Ahlgren sat silently on one of the long benches that ran the length of the firm wooden tables that lined the length of the hall, imagining the ghosts of the previous gatherings, bawdy and loud, relishing a victory or a season or a hunt. She had decided to escape for a few moments, to some place quiet, and had ventured here before she knew where her feet were taking her. There were few places within the ring fortress that were void of people after word had traveled regarding the unexpected change of festivities this day, and somehow Freya knew that she could be alone here. There would not be merrymaking in these halls tonight, and it was a silent sentinel to her own grief.

Truth be told, Freya had not volunteered to be Asbrand’s wife out of duty to her family or to her sisters, but because she knew how terrible things had grown to become in their village. Leira was, and would always be, her home, and she nursed a silent anger for the way that Asbrand had misused it and the relationships his great grandfather had forged. She was a quick girl, despite her young age. At 18, she knew little about the world beyond the village, but she knew more than anyone about the world within, and she knew she could manage and renew what had been lost. Perhaps she was naïve, but she had such high hopes for the future, that no one could stop her. Her father had been optimistic about the match, and she had nursed his mind for some time to allow it. Her ideas had become his own, and so it had been done.

But now, as she sat in her green linen frock, and pulled the bridal crown from her loose red curls, she knew she could do nothing now to change the future. There was no Earl to wed, and the Hastein family was suddenly vulnerable to all the wolves of nearby powers. Her home would fall to ruin, and the only one to blame was the drunken fool of a man who had off and dropped dead on the morning of his wedding. She did not mourn him, only the future she might have known, and the change she might have forged.

Cry Witch!
Cry Witch! (with Velasterian)
Read it here!
Previously attempted. Read the original here! (with msa24680)

Hana Aislin's fingers were numb as she carried her basket of herbs through the soft layer of snow that coated the forest floor, slowly making her way home in the dim light of early afternoon. The snow had begun to fall the night previous, and Hana had readied herself to venture out the moment it stopped. With the first snow, she knew she was likely to find snowdrop blossoms scattered between the trees, and her stores had grown very low indeed through the fall. The village near her own home was thriving; while disease and pestilence might plague neighboring hamlets, it was Hana's gift with the woods and her knowledge of healing that had encouraged the growth and longevity of life in her village. After years of work, Hana was able to store many of the herbal remedies that she had used tirelessly in her early years as a healer under the guidance of the woman of the wood, Linir. However, one unfortunate side effect of longevity was age, and it was true that the men and women of her village were aging. Many had begun to suffer from sluggish memory, or lapses in spark. With the snowdrop petals and bulbs, Hana could brew a tea that would assist with strengthening the mind, even in the face of an enemy such as age. Along her way, she had collected winterberries and camellias as well, for what good was a forage in winter if she could not acquire all that was useful and available?

Linir had disappeared five years ago, and left Hana alone with her home and her occupation. There had been a time when Hana had despaired at her absence, but the girl had learned very early on that no one could be relied on to remain present in anyone's life. Her own parents had been killed by a bear as they journeyed home from a wedding in the neighboring country. A child of seven, she had waited very patiently for her family to return, sore at the fact that she had been left behind, while her parents' blood seeped into the earth, never to return again. Much had been done to discover the remainder of her family, but no one dared take on another mouth to feed, not with winter fast approaching, and a difficult one at that. One day, Linir had appeared, wispy and pale in her doorway, and had claimed the child has her responsibility. With no one else to claim her, Hana had been whisked away to the forest, finding a home nestled into bed between moth eaten quilts and blankets. Linir had never been a mother, or a grandmother, but a kind and strict force in Hana's life. She loved her as much as she had ever loved her parents, and yet it was not the same love. Hana's heart had been broken when Linir had left one day and never returned.

So the girl had buried herself in work. She'd built relationships among the people in her village, and done her best to ignore their pity and scorn through the years. She was already 17, and not yet married. Even more shameful, she earned income independently of any husband she might acquire. And yet people did not shun her, for they needed her, and many of them whispered that she was herself more talented than the previous Woman of the Wood. Perhaps Linir had not disappeared, but been made to disappear by a jealous apprentice. Maybe it was not herbs that she worked with, but magic.

Hana could not pretend that she was not wary of the whispers of witchcraft that drifted through the village now and again. She knew what she did was often a mystery to the people she treated, and people were often afraid of what they did not understand. But what she did not know is that there lived one within the village who would seek to win her for himself, and if she refused him, he would have no choice but to inflame the already present whispers into shouts.

Aphrodite's Day
Aphrodite's Day: Enslaved by Birth in Ancient Greece (with DaggerMouth)
Read it here!

Eteocles had returned to Athens in ruin.

404 BC had seen the uproot of power in Greece. The Athenian navy had fallen with the addition of the Persian force in the great Peloponnesian War, and soon the city of Athens itself was near starvation, its people desperate and at the end of their ropes. There had been no other option but for Athens to turn tail and run, seceding victory to the Spartan forces and ending the war after over 30 years of sporadic and inconsistent battle. Peace suited Athens better, but they would never see the glory of the time before the war, making many question what had caused the Gods to remove their favor so. They were fickle in their favors, the Gods, and the Athenians had been naïve to assume they would retain that favor. And so they scrambled to find roots in a world that no longer favored them.

Treaties were drawn and alliances broken in the wake of the war. Men who were once great had been brought down to earth, and men that had been nothing rose to great heights. Such is the way of war. Eteocles had been a naval champion and senator, his feats and his family the pride of Athens. No longer. In the wake of the war, he realized he had to act drastically in order to secure footing and remain aloft during this storm. A council had been drawn to discuss terms of surrender, and it had been there that the idea had struck Eteocles: he had three daughters, only one of which was of marrying age. He could offer her hand and dowry to a worthy Spartan, and so link the two city-states, and therefore himself with a powerful nation. Symbolism was much loved by the Greeks, and he knew the men of council would accept the offer. And so they did.

The match was made with King Agis II, one of the two Spartan kings, for his son Nikanor, and Eteocles and the wedding party had journeyed to Sparta to deliver the girl to her new husband. Eteocles' eldest daughter was the intelligent and king girl, Rhea. She had sacrificed herself to spare her sisters this fate, sensing the determination of her father to follow through in his plan, regardless of marrying ages. And so she stood tall, determined to make her family--and nation--proud, despite the doubts in her mind.

It was no secret that the King's son, Nikanor, was an unlikely soldier and an unlikelier bridegroom. If the rumors were true, the wedding was just the latest in a series of the king's ill-fated attempts to make a man of his son. His father was a successful general, respected by citizens, freemen and Helots alike for his military prowess. Nikanor, known to his familiars as 'Niko', was just an adolescent, ungainly and long-limbed, and with none of his father's stature. He was smart and sullen, a manipulator. One day he would surely make a fine politician, but in his youth he was status-hungry and unpredictable, compensating for his physical failings with bluster and subtle cruelties. By playing politics and taking favorites he had also made enemies, and he was rarely seen without his shadow, a taciturn helot soldier who had the dubious honor of playing bodyguard. The older man was Demon of Arcadia.

Demon counseled the son of Sparta carefully about his marriage, tried to teach him to treat Rhea well, for she was worthy of her birthright in so many ways. But Demon was a slave in a world of emperors, and he could not protect her from every horror. Rhea and Demon were both slaves, despite their difference in status. It began as a forbidden affection, a respect and a gratitude, but soon neither Demon nor Rhea could hide their desire to stand alone on Aphrodite's Day.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 12:24:48 am by cupoftea »

Offline cupofteaTopic starter

Re: Dark or Delicate Tales for the Telling [F for Story Loving M]
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2016, 10:58:18 pm »

Adding some inspirational pictures not yet assigned to stories! Let me know if any pique your interest!

« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 05:20:22 pm by cupoftea »

Offline cupofteaTopic starter

Re: Dark and Delicate Tales for the Telling [F for Story-Driven M]
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2020, 01:28:01 am »
4/21: Updated current stories and shifted some stories around based on replies from partners. While I don't have bandwidth for a whole lot more right now, I'd definitely be interested in something Mummy-esque. And I mean the 1990s Mummy with Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser, aka one of the best films ever made. The story could be set from turn-of-the-century through pre-WW2, and feature Archaeology/Egyptology/etc. I'm not wanting to rehash the plot of The Mummy, I just want to try a story in that setting/era. Doesn't have to be Egypt! Turkey also comes to mind (I love the ancient cultures such as the Hittites, Babylonians, etc.)

« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 01:29:19 am by cupoftea »