Title: A Competition Suggestion
Pyroriffic - October 12, 2010 05:23 PM (GMT)
Because it's something that's come up a lot recently, I thought I would throw this idea into the competition mix.
A WHF only Competition, along the lines of RiaR where there's a prompt word or similar.
I think it'd be nice to give the Fantasy world a bit of love and there's enough good writers on the Bolthole to do it justice.
With the holiday season rapidly coming upon us, I might even make it a prize-winning competition again, like the Rainbow Warriors one.
What do people think?
Raziel4707 - October 12, 2010 05:36 PM (GMT)
I am thoroughly up for it, if I can be forgiven my actual lack of knowledge of the carefully thought out background material.
Pyroriffic - October 12, 2010 05:44 PM (GMT)
It's a good excuse to do some research.
J D Dunsany - October 12, 2010 06:12 PM (GMT)
Do you need to ask?
Of course I'd be up for it!
schaferwhat‽ - October 12, 2010 06:34 PM (GMT)
I should be game, I like fantasy and know much of it.
greywulf - October 12, 2010 08:58 PM (GMT)
I should also be game. I like fantasy but know considerably less about it then Schafe.
Raziel4707 - October 12, 2010 09:25 PM (GMT)
Point taken. Name your subject, I will do my best to impress.
Mossy Toes - October 13, 2010 12:51 AM (GMT)
I would welcome such a competition. When I first came to the boards, I wrote virtually only fantasy. Not for want of 40k enthusiasm...but rather, for merely having had better fantasy ideas. I do prefer 40k a bit more, perhaps, but fantasy is very engrossing and deserves more of a presence in the forum than it has.
Pyroriffic - October 14, 2010 06:33 AM (GMT)
OK, having repeatedly kicked a couple of people in the face until they caved in to my bleating, this competition looks like it could be a go!
All that's needed now is a good topic.
Anybody have any thoughts?
Raziel4707 - October 14, 2010 07:21 AM (GMT)
No, this isn't a dig at the book and movie franchise either, but in a fantasy setting what has more possibility than the no-man's land between light and darkness?
Raziel4707 - October 14, 2010 01:50 PM (GMT)
Or "A hero's welcome".
no other suggestions, so I'll keep throwing them until one sticks or you ask me to stop.
schaferwhat‽ - October 15, 2010 02:02 AM (GMT)
a distant land.
I could discus the merits of each suggestion but I think they speak for themselves.
Pyroriffic - October 28, 2010 06:27 AM (GMT)
This idea has legs, then.
I would like to propose it as the November competition.
Raziel4707 - October 28, 2010 07:34 AM (GMT)
schaferwhat‽ - October 28, 2010 07:44 AM (GMT)
schaferwhat‽ - October 28, 2010 09:42 AM (GMT)
who'll be choosing the prompt word?
Pyroriffic - November 1, 2010 05:00 PM (GMT)
After consulting with Small Son, he has said he would like the prompt to be THE FOREST.
Usual RiaR-type rules apply, although I offer this challenge out at 1,500 words maximum (with a bit of leeway, of course).
Key rule is... FANTASY WORLD ONLY!
Eremite - November 1, 2010 05:09 PM (GMT)
Hmm. I can only find a few tangential mention of Werewolves in WHF literature and the Lexi. Can any carefully thought out background material-experts help? I'm aware the word I used will be censored, but damnit I can't resist a pun.
squiggle - November 1, 2010 05:27 PM (GMT)
The forest? Fantasy only? I cant write fantasy!
Pelskwig - November 1, 2010 07:39 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Eremite @ Nov 1 2010, 05:09 PM)|
| I can only find a few tangential mention of Werewolves in WHF literature and the Lexi. Can any carefully thought out background material-experts help? |
The norsemen are known to have Werewolves, and Werebears etc. The latter has even had tabletop models so canon as far as that goes.
Were's living in the forests surely makes sense to me.
Mossy Toes - November 1, 2010 09:17 PM (GMT)
Unfortunately, the Norse definition of "Were" is "touched by the gods," so basically a mutation to make you stronger and more powerful. It's not the type of thing that toggles on and off, but is permanent.
Priests of Ulric have been known to turn into wolves and back occasionally, and similarly, priests of Ursun in Kislev have been known to turn into bears and back. The best resource you'll find though, I think, is a short story in Trollslayer/Gotrek and Felix: the First Omnibus. A sorceror and a mercenary captain have taken a young woman captive, Gotrek has gone haring off on his own, there are wolves in the snowy woods, and most of all, nothing is as it seems...
schaferwhat‽ - November 1, 2010 10:07 PM (GMT)
werewolves exist in a variety of guises, wizards using the lore of beasts (forget the specific wind and can't be bothered to look it up just now) can use the wind to transfigure themselves into a more beastial form. Others are mutants, born to look like a wolf and thus abandoned into the wilderness at birth. Others may be beastmen who are wolfish rather than oxish and then you have the werefolk of the north whom are touched by the gods though typically display their blessings with horrific beastlike appearences and abilities.
Oh also some Vampires can use magic to turn into wolves and then they look pretty scary normally with the fangs and what not so some folk could get confused.
Really with Werewolves anything goes.
Pelskwig - November 6, 2010 08:26 PM (GMT)
Beorg of Beorg's bearmen, the Norse Dogs of War was a Were-bear. He were'd out before battle. I think in the last ed of WFRP it mentions Were's too among Ulric followers as well as Norsemen.
|Beorg is a were-bear of extraordinary power. When he enters battle he turns into a savage bear of immense size. This is a great and marvelous thing even amongst the tribes of the north, many of whose people spontaneously develop were-shapes in|
battle. Amongst Beorg's folk, the tribe of the Bear, it is common for warriors to sprout claws, snarling teeth, mane-like fur, and bear-shaped muzzles. But alone of all his people, Beorg carries the full shape of the Bear within him. Only he is Bearstruck the mark of lordship amongst his people! Beorg was soon acknowledged as the chieftain of his tribe, the Ursfjordings or Bearmen.
J D Dunsany - November 13, 2010 10:25 AM (GMT)
Has this comp actually started yet? Do we have an end date in mind? I've got a couple of ideas, but a deadline would be useful.
Pyroriffic - November 13, 2010 10:58 AM (GMT)
As it's a relatively casual competition (in that I'm not about as much as I used to be and am not very good at being here to oversee it...) How about 17th December as a deadline? From now. Go. Write, my flying monkey minions. Go.
schaferwhat‽ - November 13, 2010 10:18 PM (GMT)
Gundi da Grot - November 17, 2010 06:52 AM (GMT)
Well, I don't really know much about Warhammer Fantasy, but I'm willing to fake it (so please forgive me if I've made a hash of it).
Into the Wildwood
Dahlin held the bright red feather between his thumb and forefinger. It had come from a red-tailed kite, probably scavenged from a nest. He held it up to his nose and caught the familiar stink. There was no question that the goblins had passed this way, probably within the last day or so.
It had been nearly a week since the raiders had attacked his farmstead, but Dahlin would follow them beyond the mountains and across the breadth of the world if that was what it took. He swore by Taal and Ulric that he would not rest until he had driven a blade into the heart of the thing that had butchered his wife and child – he would water the earth with its black blood.
The trail of his prey had more or less followed the course of the Brienne, passing steadily upstream along the southern bank of the river and plunging deep into the forbidding Forest of Loren. The stories of the ghosts and dark spirits that haunted the wood were of little concern to Dahlin, for he had grown up in its shadow and spent most of his life under its eaves. He had hunted stag under its green canopy and traded from time to time with the wood elves of the forest. His mother even claimed that an ancestor of theirs had come from the fey court, though Dahlin suspected this was merely a tale.
Be that as it may, Dahlin was an expert woodsman and had no trouble following the goblins, who made no effort to hide their tracks. Yet as fast and light as he was travelling – impelled by burning anguish and his desire for revenge – Dahlin had yet to catch his prey, and with each passing day, he was drawn deeper and deeper into the forest.
It was noon-time on the sixth day of his pursuit and a plenary quiet had descended on the forest when he caught sight of it – a tall grey menhir, or standing stone, carved with strange runes he didn’t recognize. Dahlin wondered why it had been placed here, in the middle of forest. What purpose did it serve? Surely it must have been a great undertaking to drag the stone through the dense woods, merely to stand it upright where none would see it. It made no sense, and yet there it stood.
Gingerly, Dahlin touched the stone; it was warm and almost seemed to pulse beneath his fingers. He quickly pulled his hand back and took a step away from the menhir. Whatever it was and whatever its purpose, Dahlin wanted no part of it. Nor did he intend to let it deter him from his quest. Skirting around the weird monolith, he pressed on into the forest, determined to have his revenge.
Beyond the stone, the foliage seemed to grow denser, and the trees were more tangled as the trail he followed veered away from the bubbling stream of the Brienne. The air seemed thicker, and a listless, solemn quiet seemed to pervade the very atmosphere. Dahlin soon became aware that the only sounds were his own laboured breathing and rustle of the leaves beneath his feet; the birdsong had completely ceased, and not even the creak of branches or whisper of leaves broke consummate silence.
Dahlin drew his bow and notched an arrow as he moved stealthily through the thick forest, keeping to the obvious trail left by the passage of the goblins. He was wary of an ambush, but as the day wore on, the trail merely plunged deeper into the grim woods with no sign of the goblins save the trampled ferns that marked their passage. As night descended, Dahlin grew weary, his limbs ached and he knew he would need to stop soon to rest.
Not daring to kindle a fire, he spent a fitful night in the lee of a gnarled old tulip tree, until the sun at last peeked through the cracks in the leafy canopy and banished the pitch black of night, bathing the woods in a gloomy half-light. Dahlin rose, stiff and sore, and pressed on, following the path of the goblins though the eerily quiet forest.
All day he trudged on, and as the light again began to fade, Dahlin stumbled into a small glade. In the centre of the clearing stood an ancient yew, lonely and aloof, as though the other trees of the forest dared not intrude on its solitude. Its thick trunk and limbs were covered in corded, knotty black bark, and its roots seemed to spread out like a sea of serpents, erupting from the earth only to plunge back in elsewhere. And much to Dahlin's surprise and dismay, arrayed around the base of the tree like some macabre tableau were the broken and mutilated bodies of at least a dozen goblins.
Dahlin was about to scream in rage, having been cheated of his vengeance, when a figure stepped from the behind the tree and stole his breath away: it was his wife, whom he had buried in the cold ground days before. He raised his bow, fearing witchery, but his wife merely smiled and, picking her way through the tangle of roots and twisted corpses, approached him with outstretched arms.
“Is it really…you,” Dahlin said, wanting desperately to believe that the apparition before him was no ghost or unclean spirit.
She put her arms around him, and he collapsed in her warm embrace, his bow falling from his hands. Lost in the exultation of being reunited with her, Dahlin barely noticed the subtle change as her supple flesh grew hard and her golden hair became dark and bristly, like a tangle of thorny vines. By the time he discerned the change that had come over his ersatz wife, it was too late; she had him entangled in her unyielding arms, and try as he might, he could not break free of her grip.
The dryad (for Dahlin now recognised her as such) dragged him towards the bole of the great yew tree, contemptuously kicking aside the mangled corpses of goblins as she did so. To his utter horror, the giant, gnarly tree seemed to shudder, and the knots and protrusions on its bark reformed into a hideous visage. It was a face from a nightmare, misshapen and deformed, it features overly large and asymmetric, and its eyes were rotted, maggot-filled holes. A massive limb of the tree bent down of its own accord, its branches catching Dahlin up as if in a giant's hand, and snatched him from the grip of the dryad.
The ancient tree's roots began to writhe and churn the soil, and several reached up out of the ground, boring slowly and painfully into Dahlin's chest and stomach. The agony of it was unbearable; the seeking roots crept through his innards and organs, separating muscle from bone and slithering around veins and arteries. And yet, he remained alive and conscious, as the tree's roots invaded his body.
Then he heard the voice – a voice that didn't speak with words, but rather with the rustle of leaves and the creaking of branches, which he nevertheless understood.
“You were right, Drycha,” the voice whispered in a voice like distant thunder. “The blood-sap of Isha's children flows in this one. But it is weak, diluted.”
Another voice, like but unlike that of the great tree, spoke: “Great One, this creature is but a taste. I used the greenskins to lure it here. I will bring you more. Creatures with purer blood-sap. Blood-sap of the children of Isha. And when you have drunk your fill and it flows through your mighty limbs, when it fills your every stem and root, the waystones will no longer hold you here. You will be free of this prison, free to wreak your revenge on those who imprisoned you here.”
Dahlin felt the roots entwined through his body constrict and he could literally feel his life's blood flow from his veins. Through the agony, Dahlin thought of his wife and baby, and of how he had failed them.
“Vengeance,” said the voice of the ancient treeman. It was the last thing Dahlin ever heard.
J D Dunsany - November 17, 2010 10:32 PM (GMT)
Excellent stuff. Really enjoyed that, Gundi! Loved your description of the dryad and Dahlin's horror at realising just what it is.
Gundi da Grot - November 18, 2010 12:05 AM (GMT)
Phew! Thanks, JDD! I was worried I might have butchered a sacred cow, so I'm glad to read that I didn't. And I'm doubly glad that you liked it to boot. :D
J D Dunsany - December 12, 2010 01:07 PM (GMT)
Just a reminder that this comp ends on 17th December. We've only got one entry so far. It would be a shame not to take this opportunity to strut your writing stuff!
LordLucan - December 12, 2010 03:24 PM (GMT)
I tihnk it might be because it is Whf only.
I'll have a go getting something up before the 17th though.
Pyroriffic - December 12, 2010 04:23 PM (GMT)
That was the whole point.
We were trying to give WHF some much-needed love.
LordLucan - December 12, 2010 04:28 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Pyroriffic @ Dec 12 2010, 04:23 PM)|
| That was the whole point.|
We were trying to give WHF some much-needed love.
Unfortunately, it appears that there remains little Whf love...
Mossy Toes - December 12, 2010 06:43 PM (GMT)
I would love to show some love for the little-loved Lovehammer Fantasy, but my love of "wrestling" (the sport. Really. I'm on my school's team) has started eating up...oh, about 20 hours a week of my free time.
J D Dunsany - December 12, 2010 07:04 PM (GMT)
I'm with mossy. Well, not on the wrestling front obviously. I started an entry for this but I'm having trouble getting it done inside the word count. I'll try again, but might I suggest, oh gracious Pyro, that we have an extension to Sunday evening?
Pyroriffic - December 12, 2010 07:12 PM (GMT)
Have an extension for as long as you like. I feel totally benevolent today. I am a kindly deity.
J D Dunsany - December 12, 2010 07:14 PM (GMT)
My thanks, wise Lady!
(Now, how damned obsequious was that?)
Can I amend the competition deadline to Midnight on Sunday 19th December?
Pyroriffic - December 12, 2010 07:14 PM (GMT)
You certainly can, my loyal minion.
Raziel4707 - December 12, 2010 07:21 PM (GMT)
Well, for what it's worth, my entry will be up tonight or tomorrow. :)
Raziel4707 - December 13, 2010 02:33 PM (GMT)
The forest guardian. 1595 including title.
The reek of sweat seemed to be all around him, mingled with the tang of a potent alcohol often used by the clans of the northern wastes to stave off the cold and to aid their descent into the berserk fury for which they were so renowned.
“I am coming for you, beast,” the elf muttered, sickened by presence of the foul energies that shrouded his enemy.
It had been no difficult task to track the Norscan this far. The warrior had carved a path of slashed tree-trunks and ruined undergrowth, leaving in his wake a track that even the most dull-sensed human child could have followed. For an elf of Loren, it could hardly have been simpler.
The trail of weeping vegetation and the soft cries of the injured forest had lead Variel deep into its tangled centre, his mood souring with every drop of leaking sap he witnessed, every sundered branch, every silent groan of agony from the ancient flora.
The path lead Variel to an area of the woodland where even he had never set foot, pausing at a white marker stone that was partially obscured by a fallen branch, its severed end evidently sliced by blade rather than by the natural onset of time.
Dropping to one knee he lifted the broken limb, turning and laying it reverently on the loamy earth to his side, whispering a soothing incantation for the spirit of the tree as he did.
The stone sent a chill up his spine as he ran his fingers over its surface, feeling the hum of an ancient power through the marker laid down by his forebears as a warning to those who would stray unwarily into the danger beyond.
Set into it was a symbol that looked at first like a spiral, until the eye settled and it began to move, revealing a serrated maw at one end and a tail bearing two great spines of aged bone. Its single eye glinted with reflected sunlight before the magic withdrew and the carving was still, its warning imparted to the wayward traveller.
“Be still, ancient one,” Variel said, taking up his bow once more and rising lightly to his feet. “I fear I must ignore your warning, for I must not risk that some trick of the fates might allow this murderous creature to flee beyond our borders. I rest my life before your mercy.”
That said he strode over the invisible line and was swallowed by the whispering trees, his dappled cloak of green and ochre allowing him to blend almost perfectly with his surroundings, its surface seeming to mimic the movement of the tree-limbs, disturbed by the draughts that haunted the forest floor.
At once the path became less clear. The damaged to the trees was less frequent, almost as if something had robbed the Norscan of his confidence, a deep inhalation of his scent proving to Variel that some of the chaotic influence had abandoned him.
He increased his pace as the path began to curve to the west, heading for the centre of this most dangerous part of the forest.
Here the trees were peaceful and did not call out to him in their slow, creaking voices, so content were they under the protection of Galbereth, he who had born mighty elf lords into battle against the ravening hordes of chaos in times long passed.
Only those who had felt the cold touch of impure steel made any noise at all it seemed, the sound more closely acquainted with laughter than it was with pain, as if their amusement at the fate that lay before the barbarian far outweighed their discomfort.
The trees here were closer together, their branches interwoven, yet not once did any of them so much as brush against Variel’s face, such was the skill that was his to command. His keen vision revealed splashes of crimson blood here and there where barbed fronds had caught the legs of his quarry, though he noted that these were placed on either side of the path at a distance far exceeding the width of the human’s stride. He realised then that his easy passage was not only due to his own skill, but also by the grace of the forest itself, and that the path had been rather different only minutes before when the human had come this way.
As the breeze changed direction he caught the scent much more strongly, placing the barbarian a short distance ahead of him on the other side of a mound of earth, curving away to the north and the south as it formed a great circle around the dragon’s domain.
Slowing his pace he drew his bow, nocking an arrow and drawing back the bowstring in one fluid movement. The mound bore the impressions of the Norscan’s heavy boots and Variel chose these as his path, leaving no mark as he journeyed upwards, the stench flowing around him like smoke from a tobacco pipe.
He was soon peering over the mound, turning his bow sideways so as to allow him to sweep the area for his target. But there was no-one there. Only a flattened clearing of compacted earth, dotted with the tarnished relics of heavily corroded armour, some of it unpleasantly elven in appearance.
Variel swallowed hard, fear breathing a cold chill against the back of his neck that whispered to him to turn back and to be gone from this place, where only those worthy to ride such a creature could hope to walk with impunity. He forced the treacherous whispers from his mind, stepping onto the crest and sweeping his bow from one side of the clearing to the other, settling for a moment on a gaping cave entrance wherein the dragon was surely lurking.
Steeling himself he walked into the open, silently praying to Isha that fate would look kindly upon him this day as he sought to rid the forest of the hated interloper.
As soon as he stepped clear of the mound a great cry of rage cut through the silence as the Norscan attacked, having managed to circle around him and attack him from the trees to his left. Only his elven reflexes saved him. He turned rapidly and shot his arrow, burying it deep in the human’s left shoulder before casting the bow aside and drawing his long knives from their sheaths at his waist. Dodging the hacking broadsword he slashed along his enemies ribs as he circled, severing the trapezius muscle of his left arm with the other blade before kicking him sprawling with a blow to his rump.
Variel leapt forward to deal a killing blow, but before he could land it the warrior rolled onto his back and lashed out with both feet, catching the elf hard in the stomach and sending him to the floor in a gasping heap.
The Norscan’s left arm hung limply at his side, but this seemed to concern the human little. With his right hand he drew an axe from a leather strap across his back and approached, his eyes crazed with bloodlust and his teeth bared in fury.
Variel’s strength deserted him as he struggled to fill his lungs, but the blow did not fall. After a few seconds the elf raised his head, gasping in horror as he looked down the slender muzzle and into the cold grey eyes of Galbereth, its nostrils flaring as it sniffed the two foolish creatures that had wandered into its presence.
The fell creature growled sonorously, shaking the ground as its rage mounted, spreading its reptilian jaws wide. It inhaled deeply, filling its lungs in readiness to obliterate the elf and man both, watching as Variel forced himself to stand, determined to die on his feet rather than cowering on the floor like a frightened child.
Variel closed his eyes as the dragon exhaled, the heat and stench of the caustic breath rocking him on his feet as the potent acid blasted forth from Galbereth’s maw, melting flesh and peeling away skin, destroying all that had incurred the wrath of the great forest guardian.
A few moments later a pitiful corpse fell to the ground, its every muscle and sinew eaten away, leaving nought but a glistening skeleton that collapsed in a disgusting heap, then dissolved as it too was consumed by the dragon’s breath.
Variel opened his eyes and blinked in shock, finding himself completely unharmed, though the human behind him had been utterly destroyed.
All that he saw of the dragon was the barbed tail disappearing back into the gloom of its lair, the reason for its sparing his life a secret that he was never to be told.
Swallowing hard he turned and walked away, careful not to tread in the oily puddle that was all that remained of the human warrior.
He did not stop until he reached the marker once again, placing his forehead against the coiled symbol and closing his eyes.
“I give you my thanks, oh ancient Galbereth. Long may you remain in peace, for this forest is truly yours to claim as your own.”
He put the marker behind him and returned to his people, never uttering a word of what had happened to anyone, telling them only that he had slain the Norscan and left his corpse for the birds.
Deep within the forest in his lair of rock and yellowing bone, Galbereth would slumber forever, until the fire in his breast finally guttered and went out.