[Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
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Matope

[Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« on: December 02, 2020, 06:12:00 PM »

The turning of the seasons spawns many myths -- stories that explain why sometimes it's warm, and sometimes it's cold, and why these things come in waves. There is one story in particular that has always perked peoples' interest: that of a kidnapping, the spirit of spring, death, and a piece of fruit...

Matope

Rules & Forms
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2020, 06:17:49 PM »
This is a long form writing contest based on the myth of Persephone and hades that will run from December 2nd until 10pm on December 8th! In order to participate, you need to put a Matope Spin on the classic myth of the Kidnapping of Persephone and her trapping in the underworld. Your take on this story can be true to the original or it can be completely different; the only requirements are that it must contain:

  • Kin-appropriate plotline
  • A kidnapping
  • A spirit of spring
  • Death
  • A piece of fruit
Your story should be at least 500 words, but doesn't need to be much longer.
If you include a short bit of RP that makes one of your kin tell the story, this can count as your RP Storytelling requirement!

Each entry will get one ticket toward the prizes above, with extra tickets for entries we really love.
Boxes/bags won in this contest can either be kept or given away.

Once your story is completed, please submit it using the following form:
Code: [Select]
[b][size=20pt][color=red]A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....[/color][/size][/b]
[b]Your Username:[/b]
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[b]Entry:[/b]

Scaramouche Fandango

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 01:21:01 AM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username: Scaramouche Fandango
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Entry: “I’ve got a tale,” said Strange Creature. “And it’s not about lizards. It’s about… bad decisions. And self-sacrifice. And worms. Well, a worm.” Clearing her throat, she began.

“Long, long ago, when the world was very young, the plants and the animals went to war.

For the animals, this was a war of survival. Many of them needed to eat the plants. They were just plants, after all; they could grow back. The animals needed them, and they were selfish not to submit to this!

For the plants, this was a war of attrition. They were tired of being looked down upon as less than the animals, and furthermore, they knew how greatly they outnumbered the animals. They grew thorns and poisons, traps and defenses. They coated their seeds with slick, thick toxins; they made their vines and runners sticky and barbed to snag and snarl their predators. Their plan was to wait out the animals. Soon enough they would admit that the plants were superior, and perhaps would respect them more.

The animals, of course, wanted nothing to do with surrender. So they all got together and the boldest of them (if not necessarily the smartest), suggested that they needed to hurt the plants where it counted. Plants died in the winter, so if they were able to stop spring from coming, the plants wouldn’t have the energy to grow new defenses. It was decided that Kin, so clever with their words, would be the one to trap Spring when she came around.

Kin and the animals knew that they couldn’t hide Spring from the world anywhere they tried to trap her, so they decided that they would all go beneath the world, down deep into the caves that were freed of the seasons’ changes. So while Kin laid the trap, the other animals gathered all the fruits, seeds, grains, and nuts that they could- and prepared to kidnap Spring.

Spring came into the world, dancing merrily on the heels of Winter. She was a beautiful thing, Spring; she was the east and west wind, the pollen on the breeze. She was the green of newly-furled leaves, and the white of sweet blossoms. She was laughter and merriment and a fresh breath of air- she was wide-eyed innocence with the knocking knees of a newborn foal.

“Spring!” said Kin, greeting her as an old friend. “It’s so wonderful to see you in the world again. It’s such a shame, though…” and here Kin hung their head.

Spring looked around. Something was off. “Where are the other animals?”

“Oh Spring,” said Kin. “They have traveled to the world beneath to escape Winter.”

“The world beneath…?” Spring waited for Kin to finish their explanation.

“We are at war with the plants, and there was so little to eat, and we were all cold, so we fled into the world beneath, where it is always the same. There is no night, no day, no cold, no heat. But we are sad. There are no seasons there, none at all. Wouldn’t you come visit, Oh Spring? Bring some green to the darkness beneath the world.

Spring knew something was up, but part of being the youngest of the seasons means that one is expected to at least feign a certain naivety, so Spring followed Kin. Once the two were in the cave, the rest of the animals sealed it up with a big boulder.

For the most part, the animals were thrilled. Their plan worked! They had successfully kidnapped Spring and held her there. And sure enough, the plants were dying off. Winter, much to her surprise, had not been chased off by Spring; she was still wandering the surface, bringing cold to everything she looked at. The animals didn’t suffer from this, as they were all cozy in the unwavering temperature of the world below. But when they went to release Spring back into the world, once they’d given the plants enough time to die, she looked at them and laughed. “No, I like it here,” she said.

Without Spring, it was true that the plants were dormant- but so too was everything else. The Birds didn’t have energy to sing, the Reptiles were too cold to really enjoy themselves, and although Spring was a delight, it was also true that she could be cruel. She could be stormy and moody when it took her, although more frequently she was found laughing and smiling with the animals, insisting that they played with her when they had no energy to do so. Even when they unsealed the cave, she refused to go out.

They had to convince Spring to leave, but how? One look into her eyes and the animals all fell to her charms- they couldn’t muster up the will to simply ask her to go. Even though they were technically her captors, she had enchanted all of them and truly was the one holding them- as long as Spring was in the caves, the animals found they couldn’t leave, either.

Perhaps they could become poor hosts. One by one, the animals took it upon themselves to convince Spring to leave. First, Bear slept next to her, snoring as loud as they could- but she snored louder. Then, Owlcat was remarkably rude- but she laughed and shrugged it off. Crane snubbed her; Eagle refused to allow her into the communal preen. Boar and Pig told rude jokes about her behind her back, but none of the bad behavior seemed to work. Tegu even started stealing her possessions, but she just giggled about misplacing them. The problem with Spring was that she was so charming, so delightful, and so wonderfully graceful that it was impossible for anyone to truly hurt her feelings or be outright cruel to her. But Spring was voracious as she was loquacious, and soon the animals realized they were out of food. Without the plants growing, there was nothing new to replenish their stocks.

All that was left was a single piece of fruit- a withered pomegranate. The animals looked at it sadly- it was the last thing any of them had to eat.

“I know what to do,” came a quiet voice. “I can make her leave,” said Worm.

“You?” said the animals in disbelief. “What can you do? One look at you and she’ll probably start kissing you or cooing over how cute you are.”

“I am cute,” said Worm. “But I am also powerful. I am the most powerful of all of us, for I have power over death. I can turn bones into soil. I can make Spring leave. It will take all of my power over death- but tonight, around the fire, serve her the pomegranate. Tell her it’s all you have.”

That night, at the fire, Spring laughed and danced and made merry. The animals tried to keep up with her, but they were so very hungry and tired. Finally, Kin served her the pomegranate. “It’s not much, but it’s the last of what we have.” Spring fluttered her eyelashes and bit into it, revealing Worm, hidden inside. Or, to be more specific, half of Worm. The animals watched silently to see what she would do next. Would she scream? Would she shout? Would she think it hilarious?

None of them expected her to cry. The stub of Worm’s body writhed in the spaces between the withered arils, and as Worm’s wiggling waned, Spring saw what she had done.

“I meant to punish you all,” she said. “You cannot disrupt the cycle of the seasons, and it’s unwise to solve your problems by kidnapping someone. But I see now that I have gone too far. All you had left- and the body of one of your own within- their home! I have taken a life!”

And with that, Spring fled into the cold, tears streaming behind her. This is why it rains so much at the end of spring- it is Spring, weeping for poor, dead Worm as she runs past the place in the year when they were killed.

The animals mourned Worm, but not for long. With a tiny “pop!” Worm’s head re-emerged from their severed body. Worm had known all along that for them, death was not permanent. They’d known from the beginning that extreme measures would have to be taken to correct the animals’ error, because Worm, being bound to Death, had deep knowledge of the way the world worked. They knew that all things, plants and animals alike, had to die; the animals ate the plants, and the plants took nourishment from the animals. It was Worm and their colleagues who facilitated this. Worm didn’t blame the animals for their bad decisions. The world, after all, was very young in those days. Very few creatures had time to grow wise. Indebted to Worm, the animals agreed to let them lead the pack out into the sunlight. In their weakened states, the plants and the animals agreed to peace, each recognizing each others’ importance- but most importantly, their relative powerlessness in comparison to the seasons and the cycle of the world. Worm, of course, knew this all along- but it was the sort of lesson the plants and animals had to learn for themselves.

And this is why you see so many worms in springtime- they have to make sure that nobody tries to do anything so silly as stopping the seasons ever again."

Nashawryn

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 07:57:04 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username: Nashawryn
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Entry: “I’ve got a tale to tell. A tale of greed and horrible choices.” Hidden Beauty looks around as she says this. She waits a moment for everyone to settle in place before she begins her story.

“Once there was a very beautiful and kind doe. All the bucks that knew her tried to capture her attention as much as possible in hopes that she’d choose one of them to pass her time with. All the doe wanted to do however, was to grow her flowers in peace and quiet in her garden. She delighted in every aspect of her garden, from the scents of the flowers to the feel of digging a spot for a new seedling herself and watching each flower bloom. As each season passed by she planted, tended and watched over her flowers while ignoring the bucks that were showing off outside her garden. The season she was closest to was Spring, the time when new blooms appear.

One particular buck greedily wanted her all for his own, jealous of any other buck that approached her. He thought for a long time on how to steal her away for himself, each day his possessive need for her growing as he watched other bucks try to win her over. He left her garden for some months to make a secret shelter to hide her away in. He knew someone he could ask a favor of. Death was friendly with him, as he helped take care of those animals that had passed, caring for their bodily shells and burying them. Death told him of a clearing located near Death’s realm that he could build a shelter at. His greedy need for her pressed on him day in and day out but he persevered long enough to create a heavily protected and hidden away home to keep her in. He also created a small garden with flowers that wouldn’t grow where her garden located at, to help convince her to willingly stay there. By the end of fall he was finished and headed back to her garden.

He asked her to meet him, just the two of them alone. The doe, none the wiser and curious about where he’d been the last few months, agreed. The buck served her some water that he’d put some leaves and petals into for flavor, he’d hidden a root in it that he knew would make her fall asleep. He talked of things that he knew the other bucks had also already said to her, about how he’d like them to become a couple. She listened half heartedly as she drank the flavored water and looked longingly back at her garden, her only true thought that of her flowers waiting for her. Slowly she nodded off and the buck looked around quickly to make sure that none were nearby before he pushed her onto a sled he’d made of logs and vines. He took off with the doe.

Unknown to him, the doe was actually being watched over, by a spirit called Spring that loved watching the doe work in her garden. Spring came every year to watch the doe with her flowers, amused and pleased by e doe’s gardening. The spirit followed the buck and doe as he moved her to his secret shelter where he planned to keep her forever. The spirit wept silent tears of sorrow, knowing the doe wouldn’t be able to garden outside again anymore if she was locked away in his home. Spring waited until the doe woke up in her new locked shelter and approached her. “I am Spring and I will help you leave here. You must listen to me though. Wait a while and I will bargain with him to release you.” The doe agreed and waited there while the spirit left.

The doe looked around at the inside of the shelter, swiftly spotting a small garden of rare flowers that she immediately wanted to care for. She started to tend to the flowers, tempted to remain by them no matter what happened with the buck and the spirit. Meanwhile, the spirit tried to confront the buck about releasing her. “Let her go back to her garden and to nature, she pleases me. I will promise that she will never look at another buck while she’s in her garden.” The buck shook his head, “You cannot promise that to me, for I know how those bucks act around her. I took her to protect her and keep her safe by my side. She will not leave me until Death comes for us both. This is by His land and I have already spoken to Death about her and He has agreed to let us stay here together after we both pass.”

The spirit, distraught over this said, “Please give me one chance to return her to her garden. I am Spring and I wish to see her flowers bloom during my season.” Spring looked sorrowfully at the buck. Meanwhile the doe, having gotten hungry, briefly left the flowers to meander over to the side of the shelter she’d woken up at. She remembered seeing a pile of fruits on a leaf nearby. Sniffing at them, she nudged one away from the others and started munching on it.

The buck, feeling a small sliver of sympathy for the spirit, says this “Take her then. I must warn you though, Death has told me if she eats anything from this land of his, she will not be able to leave at all. If she has not yet eaten, you may try to remove her from here. However, if she has eaten while you’ve been here with me, you will be too late and she must stay.” The spirit nodded and rushed off to find the doe in the heavily protected shelter. Upon finding the doe, the spirit told her all of what had happened and urged her to leave. Spring, in her rush, forgot to say anything about fruit to the doe. She started to leave the place with the doe following behind her.

They reached the edge of the clearing but the doe couldn’t step any further without an aching coming over her, one so bad that her body locked up and refused to move. The buck, upon seeing this, smiled. He’d placed the fruit there on purpose, in the very hopes of this happening. Spring started crying and glared at the buck. His greed knows no end, she thought. “Very well. I see that she cannot leave here any further without pain. As I am Spring, I declare that you will not see spring here any longer. No flowers will blossom here and even though you have won her, your doe will ever want for the flowers she can no longer have. Unless you free her.” As this was spoken, the flowers in the area as well as the ones inside the shelter faded and died.

The doe, hearing what Spring had said, looked over at the buck with tears eyes. “Please, will you not let me go? I promise I will come back. But I need to be around flowers.” The buck shook his head, “Never for I fear another will try to steal you from me. You will remain here with me until we both pass.” The doe began to weep. She stayed with the buck but she was never the same, always grieving for what she had lost. The buck, in return, even as the greed in his heart was satisfied with her capture, quietly regretted what he had done to the doe.

And that is why we should always think before we make choices we might regret  or give in to our greed.” Hidden Beauty nodded as she finished her story.

Gl!tch~

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2020, 12:13:58 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username: Gl!tch~
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Entry: Like many before her, How Quaint had a story to share.

It went something like this.

Generations ago, the zikwa receded from the swamp to the caverns below. Most know this, yes. The zikwa went into the caverns to learn and to love, and in fact they learned to love so devotedly that even the spirits were moved when tragedy struck.

As the zikwa got used to the darkness, they began to be reliant on each other. What they could not ask of one another, they could ask of the bat. A zikwa could not ask to fly, but they could ask that of a bat. A zikwa could not ask to see in the dark, but they could ask that of a bat. That bat, too, could ask of a zikwa warmth and companionship that their own flocks could not grant.

One season, a great famine came. The cave fruits and mushrooms were rotted, and the bats that seeked the food for themselves and their zikwa friends were infected by the sickness.

And with that, the zikwa began to starve.

The rites, usually joyous, became somber. Going this way wasn't right, and there were too many losses to bring more zikwa into the world. And without more zikwa, there would not be anyone joining The Oneness.

One may compare it to a dark winter, if one may like.

Amid the hushed concerns, a young zikwa spoke up. Plentiful-Berries asked of his peers, "Is there nothing we can do?"

And an elder replied, "There are rumors that a cure may be above, as there had been for many ailments in the past."

Another scoffed and added, "But the way is dark and there are no bats! It would be impossible."

The murmurs of the many grew louder among each other.

Plentiful-Berries stamped a hoof and claimed, "It's worth trying! Anything is better than this!" As he, too, had lost brood siblings too early in their time, as well as his own lifelong bat companion.

"But Plentiful-Berries," the first elder said with some hesitation. "You have sacs over your eyes, and nothing glows on the path you must take."

He did not cower at that detail. "Show me where I must go!"

It took a little more mumbling, but in the end he was led away to the edge of the zikwa caverns.

Now, it was already a legend among the zikwa that they could only return to the surface as the Motherfather wished. For death rites over a battle above, usually. That was the usual calling. It would not be until a few more generations until zikwa were supposed to begin leaving to live on the surface once more. To go so soon was considered hubris, and it was assumed that zikwa who left when they were not supposed to were swallowed by that hubris. That, and the great dark between the caverns and the above.

With as much bravado as Plentiful-Berries had, within a few minutes, even he was sure that he would die. He had never gone into such lonely darkness before, with no sound or light to guide his way.

What felt like days passed as he pushed himself to find some way, any way, out.

As he lost hope, a glow swooped into what passed for his sight. It flapped like a bat, and squeaked like one, too. Startled and amazed, he followed the creature as it continued on its way.

His legs ached. His mouth cried for water. But he followed what he thought would be the last bat he would ever see. Maybe the last thing ever he would see.

Better than to die alone.

Even as he stumbled more and more, he did not seem to lose chase on the bat.

The only time he did, was when it got swallowed in a pit of light that he then ran through as well.

As he fell over, the light overwhelmed him. He felt something soft all around him. Grainy. Nothing like the caves he grew up in.

When he woke up again, it was cool. He could hear water, and he felt the wind.

"There is water to your right and fruit to your left," a voice said, making him jump. The voice then laughed. In the bright light, he could barely make out the outline of another kin. Small, with tall horns. "You're a strange one! Where did you come from, you little wrinkly thing?"

Plentiful-Berries first drank his fill and ate some fruit before speaking of his plight.

"Ah," the voice responded after some deep thought. "I don't know how to fix your rot, but I have used roots to cure ailment before. But it sounds like it would be better to stay here, no? There's food and water and no sickness!"

Plentiful-Berries shook his head. "I need to return to my people. If you can help me with that root, and maybe if I could take some food with me..."

The voice snorted. "Ah, but you have such interesting stories! And I haven't had any company in moons. Do you even know how to get back where you came from?"

He didn't, and so he stayed, trapped with the doe who saved his life. He refused to eat further, or drink, even though the gifts of the oasis were so tempting.

"You're very stubborn," she said one night as he stared up at the great glow in the sky. The 'moon', she had called it. And the smaller glints were 'stars'. "Rotting corpses smell and aren't very nice to look at. And you give me no choice. If you won't appreciate my spring, I will let you go back to your winter."

"With the cure?" he asked, voice cracking.

A moment passed.

"I suppose," she sighed.

That night, he returned to the cave mouth, carrying food and cure in leaves.

"This is as far as I go," the voice said. "Good luck, I guess."

With a nod, he stepped back into the darkness.

Plentiful-Berries had as much of a plan for his return as he did for the journey to begin with. Still, after his ordeal above, he would rather die in the caverns almost home than so far away from it.

The greatest challenge came when he once again lost his way, and hunger gnawed at his belly. He could not eat the food that his peers needed more than himself.

As if noticing how resolute he was this time around, a bat squeaked again. The glowing returned. With no other options, Plentiful-Berries followed it. He ran, steadier than before, even when his legs burned and he wanted to collapse.

Eventually, familiar voices called his name from afar. Other zikwa had heard him running through the caves, and came out to bring him home.

He brought food to share, pieces shared among his kin. More importantly, the roots helped bring the bats and others to better health. They would have to find new food sources, but progress was progress.

He shared great tales of his experiences above, but the elders took issue with one part.

"Bats do not glow," they agreed.

Plentiful-Berries chose not to argue. He had wasted enough words in his time on petty arguments.

But because of Plentiful-Berries's journey, the zikwa greater understood sacrifice. And because of it, they kept the notion of spring and winter in their hearts until they could experience it again.

Muffinsbaby

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2020, 08:02:36 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username: Muffinsbaby
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Entry:
{alt}
Star Dasher grinned as he looked into the night's sky once more before turning to his young audience.

"Do you see that star, up there? the bright blue one at the end of a hook curve? That's the Death constellation with his sharp, curved horns. And the constellation that he's facing, the small zig-zag of red, white, blue, and yellow stars? Yeah, the colorful one. That's Spring laying in her new flowers."

He took a moment to admire them further before continuing, "I'm going to tell you the story of Death taking Spring for himself."

"Spring used to reside next to her mother, that large cluster of white stars aaaaaall the way over there, but Death admired Spring so much, he moved the stars to have her nearer. Now sometimes the stars come down to the swamp, and this is where Death saw Spring for the first time.

Spring's mother was just as protective of her as she is within the stars and took her everywhere she went. However, Spring was allowed to play, by herself, in one clearing that her mother could keep an eye on.

This is where Death comes in. See, Death had been watching Spring. For a long time. He saw her optimism, fresh beauty, and her delicate creations and he admired her and them. However, he also saw how lonely she was; an emotion he was very familiar with. He became covetous of Spring and wanted to have her by his side. He couldn't just go to her directly, though, with her mother so watchful, so he hatched a plan. He set a trap using a single fruit, placed enticingly for her to find and eat. The fruit was a seductive red, with many small, juicy seeds.

As usual, Spring and her mother came down to the Swamp, and Spring was left in her meadow. She ran and played, created her flowers and watched butterflies scatter as she flopped down to lay within them. She paused, however, finally noticing the fruit left for her. She sniffed at it and found its scent to be sweet so she cautiously took a bite of a few of its seeds. The sweet and tart flavor exploded within her senses and was soon eating all of the delicious seeds with enthusiasm. She ate so quickly that some of the red juices stained her chin and the ground beneath her."

Star Dasher paused momentarily to star up to the stars again, eyes sparkling as if in answer to the shining points as he sighed wistfully.

"Soon Spring's eyes grew heavy and she laid once more within her small garden creation to sleep. She slipped deeper into her slumber and began to dream.

She dreamt of being back in her meadow, alone, but there was a path of small, blue, glowing mushrooms. She inspected them curiously but carefully for these were not her creation. She found herself following this path, not sparing her meadow a second glance. She marveled at the trees and marsh around her as she delved deeper into the swamp. The tree grew more gnarled and dense, the light dimming, as she ventured further but she did not feel afraid. The glow of the small mushrooms guiding her filled her with an odd sense of safety.

The mushrooms led her to the base of a large tree with massive twisting roots. They stopped at and lined the base of an opening large enough for her to enter and, looking in, could see the faint blue glow of more mushrooms inside. It was here that she hesitated, fear managing to creep in, but at that moment she was also surrounded by the sweet smell of the fruit she'd eaten. The smell compelled her to enter the cave. A few steps in, the entrance moved closed behind her. making her gasp and really fear for what was happening. She had no choice but to venture further into the darkness.

Just when she couldn't bear the inability to see any longer, tears stinging her eyes, the cave came to life. Those mushrooms that lead her hear emitted their glow and she was delighted to find that more colors joined their blue sibling. Not only were their now colors, but also new shapes and sizes, ones she'd never seen or dreamed of until now. She also found that she could grow flowers here - but they were different. Some glowed and what grew seemed to be capable of surviving in the darkness.

She grew sleepy again and felt it time to return to the skies and she had no choice but to lay there in the cave to sleep in order to wake in the meadow with her mother to lead her back. She didn't awake in her meadow, however, nor did she hear the call of her mother. When she ascended to the stars, she found herself in a new place but not by herself. Death stood next to her, his stars watching over and shielding her from the watchful, searching eye of her mother. Instead of feeling sad or afraid of her new place, Spring felt relieved, though she did not know what this meant."

With one final, wistful glance, as if he too wished to be kidnapped and taken to the stars, he tore his gaze away from the constellations and smiled at his young one.

"And that is where Spring resides now. In the sky she is by Death, with her watching over her. If you look closely, you can see the affection in his eye as he looks at her. When she comes to the Swamp, however, she is restrained to the Cave. Death's domain. You see, Death refuses to give Spring back to her mother, now that he has her. Spring doesn't feel lonely anymore, though."

Jynk

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2020, 10:23:40 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
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Entry:

{alt}
There And Back Again settled down on the soft moss bed near his brother's children. He had come to visit and spend time with the family members he rarely saw since he'd taken up the life of a transient explorer. His nephews and nieces crowded close, asking for stories of his adventures and wanting to hear about strange kin he'd met. As the night wore on and dinner had been eaten, the younger kin begged for one last story in which to fall asleep to. The buck nodded, happy to oblige, and motioned with a nod of his head for the young ones to lie down and get comfortable.

"This is not a story of one of my adventures, but one that was told to me and now I pass it on to you," There And Back Again began, getting more comfortable himself. "It started as most stories do on a day like any other. The sun hung high overhead to help melt the snow from the retreating winter. Spring was on the way and helping it along was a young doe called Walks Among Flowers. She had been born with a special purpose in life and when the winter time fled from the warming temperatures, it was Walks Among Flowers who was first to wake and where she stepped, the snow withdrew and plants sprang up. It was whispered that the very spirit of Spring lived within her, and watching her dance flowers and grass into seeming existence, it was hard to deny the rumors.

Many a buck tried to woo her, for she was as lovely as the blooming roses which were her favorite. Her long yellow hair and soft pink-toned fur shined in the warming sun, making her quite the vision of beauty. She rebuked all advances, though, finding none of the bucks that pursued her to her liking. She longed for a buck that was her equal and there were none in her tribe that met her standards. Many thought that she wished to find a mate that could also bring about life as she did. Walks Among Flowers was not sure, herself, what she wanted, but she knew the bucks of her tribe did not appeal to her.

One night, Walks Among Flowers awoke to the sound of sweet singing drifting through the swamp from somewhere beyond her tribe's territory. What could it possibly be, the doe pondered, walking toward the singing, straining her ears to listen more to the voice. Who could it be out in the night? None of the tribe were known to wonder in the dark, especially beyond their borders. As much as Walks Among Flowers wanted to follow the voice, feeling the lure of it coaxing her into the swamp. The doe took a few hesitant steps toward the edge of her tribe's land before shrugging it off and returning to her den for the night.

The following day, the doe headed back to the very spot she had stood in the night to see if she could once again hear the singing. Nothing but the melodies of birds drifted through the air this time. Dare she go the direction the voice had pulled her toward? Walks Among Flowers had never been known for cowardice before, and so she walked toward where she'd heard the singing, her steps marked by flowers and other plants as she headed deeper and deeper into the swamp in search of the owner of the beautiful singing she had heard in the night. Walking for some distance, she came upon a strange sight. Before her lay an owlcat, very old and near the end of its days, and nearby was a doe of dark fur and jagged antlers. The strange doe had white markings upon her face like a skull and wore the dark skin of some unknown animal across her shoulders. Walks Among Flowers watched quietly, listening as the dark doe sang to the owlcat, the same sweet singing she had heard the pervious night.

A strange feeling came over Walks Among Flowers, a compulsion to follow the dark doe wherever she went. She watched as the owlcat breathed its last and as its spirit rose up from its body. It shook itself and looked up at the dark doe before following her as she led the spirit away. Walks Among Flowers could not help but be suddenly afraid, realizing that this dark doe was none other than the spirit of Death and she had just intruded upon a sacred duty. Carefully Walks Among Flowers backed away, trying to be very silent so as not to be caught by the dark doe. Her hoof came down on a twig, snapping the dry wood underfoot. At the small sound, the singing stopped and the dark doe looked about, finally locking eyes with Walks Among Flowers. What passed between them is hard to say, but some spark of recognition was there. Soon the dark doe resumed her song and led the spirit of the owlcat away to whatever awaited it in the spirit realm. Once she was gone, Walks Among Flowers let out a soft breath she hadn't realized she was holding, and turned to run back to her tribe.

That night, Walk Among Flowers stayed hidden in her den, half scared and half hoping to hear the singing again. Eventually exhaustion set in and she drifted into sleep. It did not seem as if she'd been asleep long before she awakened to the sound of sweet singing, luring her out to the swamp. Walks Among Flowers resisted, but the lull was too strong and she soon found herself walking out into the dark swamp, far beyond her tribe's borders. She walked for what seemed like most of the night, following the voice drifting along the winds. Eventually, she arrived in front of a cave that went deep down into the earth. Was this the entrance to the spirit realm? She had barely a chance to ponder the thought before the singing drew her in once more and she was compelled to follow it, entering the cave and following the path far, far down into its depths. The darkness within eventually swallowed all light and Walks Among Flowers was left to follow the ground her hooves set upon and the sound of singing somewhere ahead.

When Walks Among Flowers felt she could walk no more, she found herself in a cavern lit by glowing moss and insects. She had never seen anything like it before and, there, standing in the middle of the cavern was the dark doe, still singing sweetly, luring her ever closer. Walks Among Flowers cautiously approached, unsure as to what the other doe wanted. As she drew close, the dark doe's singing quieted and she smiled at her surprisingly with warmth.

'I found you at last,' the dark doe said, her voice raspy like a hoarse whisper, though not unpleasant. 'I am called Eternal Sleep, the spirit of Death. It is my lot in life to usher spirits across to the other side. I have never in all my nights met a living being that heard my song calling to them. Who are you?'

Walks Among Flowers faltered bit before finding her own voice, 'My naming dream revealed me to be Walks Among Flowers. I, too, am a spirt, but for Spring, bringing life back after long winters.' She gave an uneasy smile. 'Your song is very beautiful.'

The other doe considered her words before speaking again. 'If you are a spirit, then your place is here, with me.'

'I cannot stay,' Walks Among Flowers replied. 'I have to help the new plants grow and wake up the animals who sleep through winter. I cannot do that from your realm.'

'Very well,' Eternal Sleep said, 'but at least allow me to be hospitable. I shall give you a place to rest and a food to sate your hunger.' She gestured to a soft looking mound of animal furs before walking away into the cavern's recesses. Walks Among Flowers was dubious, but could not help admitting that she was, indeed, tired and hungry from the long night of walking. She gave in a lay upon the furs, trying not to think of where they might have come from, and did her best to relax. Soon the dark doe returned carrying a small branch laden with fruit. She set it down before Walks Among Flowers.

'Eat this. It will make you feel better,' Eternal Sleep rasped and then stepped back to sit on her haunches, watching the brighter doe. Walk Among Flowers sniffed at the fruit. It smelled divine and she was awfully hungry. She took a bite of one fruit, the sweet juice dribbling down her chin, and then soon gorged herself on the delicious fruit under the watchful eye of the darker doe, not noticing the small smily creeping across her face. 'Yes, it's good isn't it? You've eaten the fruit of the spirit realm. You can never leave now and will remain here with me.'

The fruit fell from Walk Among Flowers' mouth in shock as she looked at the darker doe. 'No. I cannot stay. I told you this. I must return to see the Spring arrive.'

Eternal Sleep seemed to be considering this, though she was unwilling to release Walks Among Flowers, and finally sighed. 'I get lonely here in this place. I will release you to bring about new life for Spring, but you are bound to me and must return.' She stood and came to where Walk Among Flowers lay and lowered her head to rest her forehead against the brighter doe's own. 'I feel as if you are my other half and I wish for you to be at my side.'

'I promise to return,' Walks Among Flowers replied, standing up. It was true, she did feel as if her other half had finally been found as well. 'When Spring has run her course and Summer begins, I will return and stay until the next Spring, and the next, and so forth.' The darker doe nodded and stepped back, allowing Walks Among Flowers to leave. Perhaps it was from eating the fruit and becoming part of this realm, but Walks Among Flowers found she could easily navigate the cave system, finding her way back to the surface and into the daylight.

The doe made her way back to her tribe, determined to fulfill her destiny of aiding the Spring's arrival, counting the days until Summer came and she could return to the spirit realm to rejoin her other half. This is why flowers only bloom during the Spring. The rest of the seasons, the Spirit of Spring stays below with the Spirit of Death, keeping each other company, Life and Death intertwined," There And Back Again concluded softly, smiling at the sleepy yet still interested faces of his nieces and nephews. "I think that will conclude storytelling for tonight. It's late and time for young kin to sleep. Probably wouldn't hurt for us old kin to sleep, either." He let out a chuckle, moving to get more comfortable and resting his chin on his rump. The youngsters took the hint and went to their own sleeping areas, leaving the buck alone with his thoughts. He wondered if the does were still together. Most likely as the harmony between Life and Death still stood strong. Perhaps he would find someone that completed him as well as the Spirits of Spring and Death completed each other. With that thought, he drifted off to sleep.

(1936 words)
{alt}

CelestialRequiem

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2020, 01:51:47 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
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Entry:

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Drowned- along with his brother, Seeking a Name -stood under a large fig tree, one of many in what appeared to be an orchard. Both staring at the base of the tree, staring at the tangled roots. Neatly wrapped up in them, half-buried beneath the earth, were the bones of two kin. They knew it was two because, despite having clearly been there for a very long time, the skulls were still completely intact. One, an acha. The other, a totoma.

“I don’t know if I’d call it beautiful. But it is interesting.” Nameless didn’t share the same view of death as his brother did.

“I asked around a bit and there’s a rather poetic legend about these two.

There was a time when Summer and Winter were the only seasons. And rather than the two fluctuating with time, they existed eternally in their own domains. At the edges of the swamp grew a great orchard and at its center stood the oldest fig tree- this fig tree. This was Summer’s domain. Flowers bloomed perpetually in these fields and the branches of these trees were always heavy with fruit. It was in this little grove Summer spent most of her days, frolicking around in the shape of a beautiful acha doe. All of the creatures that flourished in her domain would bask in her warmth as she laughed and played with them all. She especially laughed and played with a very particular totoma.

Because, you see, Summer was infatuated with this totoma. She loved their tough, stoic demeanor that hid a soft and affectionate side. She loved the way they meticulously cared for the plants and animals of her realm. And she loved their soft, warm fur. And the totoma loved her too. They loved her carefree way of living and how she was able to find joy in the smallest of things. They loved the heat she constantly radiated, even if it was a bit too hot at times.

But in contrast to Summer’s domain, Winter’s domain was cold and harsh and lonely. The creatures struggled to survive and spent most of their time hiding from the frigid temperature. There were no colorful blooms or nourishing fruits and it all left Winter feeling bitter and jealous. They wanted what Summer had and thus devised a plan to make it theirs.

They crept into Summer’s domain, leaving a trail of biting cold in their wake. All of the creatures cowered as Winter passed, all except the bold totoma. They stood before Winter as the spirit sought to steal away Summer. But they were just a totoma. They couldn’t hold their own against blistering winds or stinging frosts. And Summer was taken away, into the deepest parts of Winter’s domain. Beaten, but not defeated, the totoma pursued Winter with little regard for what dangers awaited them in this unknown territory. Even if they couldn’t withstand Winter directly, the totoma still had some defense against Winter’s fearsome domain. They had sturdy hooves to cut through the snow. And they had that soft, warm fur that Summer loved so much to ward off the snow.

But without Summer, her domain began to wither. The flowers died, the trees lost their leaves, and the animals went hungry. Cold crept into the once warm and lively realm and left it barren and unforgiving. Even Summer herself, trapped in Winter’s world, felt her life waning. She grew weaker with every day that passed.

And so did the totoma. As built for the cold as they were, there was only so much they could endure. Only so many days they could go without food. But they refused to give up until Summer was safely returned to her home. Their tenacity was rewarded when they finally reached the center of Winter’s domain where Summer was being held captive. Winter, however, was not so willing to give her up, even if she was clearly on the brink of death. They did not want to be alone any more...

The totoma explained to Winter that if they did not let Summer go then all of the plants and animals would die with her, and then they would truly be alone. With great reluctance, Winter conceded to this fact and finally relinquished Summer. She was unresponsive, but the totoma could still feel the warmth of life in her somewhere. They carried her back to her domain, though the journey took its toll on their already weakened body. At the base of the old fig tree, they collapsed, their mission complete.

Returned to her domain, Summer felt life flow back into her and she roused from unconsciousness. But the sight that greeted her was a horrible one. Her beautiful grove was grey and lifeless and her beloved totoma was dying. She was distraught. Much like Winter, she also did not want to exist in this world alone. She had to do something.

On the branches of the old fig tree remained one last fruit. Desperate, Summer knocked the fruit from the tree and nudged it towards the totoma. She poured all of her life, and all of her love, into the fig and begged the totoma to eat it. A single bite was all they could manage. Knowing that she had just sacrificed herself in the hopes of saving her love, Summer laid down next to the totoma and prayed it was enough.

It wasn’t enough. Among the roots of the fig tree, both Summer and the totoma died. Or, at least their bodies did. Because you can never truly kill a spirit, and Summer’s love did something even greater than she had hoped. The totoma became a spirit themself. They became Spring. The barrier between Winter and Summer. A being that could withstand the terrible cold of Winter and the unrelenting heat of Summer. Life returned to Summer’s domain. Leaves sprouted from the trees once again, flowers popped open their bright blooms, and the animals emerged from their hollows. And as overjoyed as the newly realized Spring was to be able to live eternally with beautiful Summer, there was something they had to do.

They made the journey back into the center of Winter’s treacherous domain where the other spirit sat, somber and lonesome. There, Spring made a promise. They would go between the two realms, spending time with both Summer and Winter so that Winter would no longer be alone. And that’s why the seasons change. Or, so the story says.”

At last finished with his story, Drowned looked to his brother for a reaction. He was not expecting the one he got.

“So, what about Fall?”

There was a moment of silence.

“That’s a very good question…”

Jun

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2020, 08:17:24 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
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Entry:

You won't remember this, because you all are practically eggs who know nothing, but there was a time, when the world was very young, that we were almost plunged into eternal darkness.

But we weren't.

Which is why you're all still here.

Nevertheless, it was very close. The Motherfather had just created our good Swamp in those days, put the Acha in the desert, the Kiokote in the plains, so on, so forth, and everything was shiny and wonderful. We had bright, marvellous days of warm sunlight, and long, soothing nights of cool moonshine. Plants flourished, strong and green; animals proliferated, numbers growing by leaps and bounds in this nice, new world; Kin lived, and thrived, and were happy. The Motherfather was rather pleased - very pleased, with Her work indeed.

And then, one day, the Motherfather woke up from a cool, soothing night to find - more night.

Because the Sun - had vanished.

Now, as everyone knows - except, perhaps you mightn't, being the ignorant rapscallions you are - the Sun and the Moon are two gleaming ticks, shaken from Her venerable ears to light our days, and light our nights. Very luminous ticks they are - and very important. The radiant sun not only lit our earth, but gave us warmth, and if you've ever frozen your little tail off in the slushy snow - plenty of chances, these days - you'll know how very much us pathetic, feeble creatures must have it. But we weren't the only ones: the little foxbuns that scampered in the brush, the trampling boars that crashed between the trees - they all needed warmth too, and their friends. The very brush they scampered in, and the trees they crashed between: they needed warmth, and light, and our very Swamp would start to wither, without the Sun.

This brand new world was in very big trouble indeed.

The first few days, no one was especially fussed. It was true, the night went on interminably, and we lived in darkness, with only the cool moonshine to show us the way, but, again, the world was very new, and so were all the Kin, and nobody knew if this was just how things were to go now and then, with a little period of interminable nights, before the sun popped up again.

But the sun did not pop up again. Days passed, then more days, then the Moon tick slowly turned its back, and turned around once more. Still, the sun did not appear. The interminable nights, it seemed, were truly interminable.

And that was when we all got very worried, because everything started to die.

It began slowly, so that we hadn't yet noticed till then, but from the first, the tenderest sprouts had already started to wilt. Flowers languished, and crumpled. The trees shrank down into themselves, and curled away their leaves. Even the sweet, strong grass slumped down after a time, and turned ashen in our mouths. The twitter of the chirping birds grew urgent, and then weaker, and weaker, and we barely heard a peep anymore. There was nary the snap of a caiman's teeth, nary the growl of a wolf.

Newborn foals wailed into the dark, then cried, then whimpered, then lapsed into soundless stretching of their tiny jaws. But the grass turned ashen, and the leaves curled away, and their desperate mothers could scarce make milk, and so they did not grow.

The oldest amongst us were the first to lay down, as the earth grew colder, and colder, the kind of cold that crept into your bones. It crept into their hearts, and they lay down, no more with the will to keep moving in the dark, to mouth the ashen grass, to coddle and coax silent, ungrowing foals. We started dying, the oldest amongst us first, then more and more, the once strong does and bucks, and even the ignorant fillies and colts like you. The dark was eternal, the grass but ash, and the cold - ah, the cold! It bled into our hearts. We started dying, so we lay down to die.

And yet…nobody died.

We laid down for death, but could not die.

Shrunken, feeble, cold as dust, we laid unmoving, in a dreamless slumber eternal as the dark, but could not die. And the Swampmother saw this, and the Swampmother drew herself up in all of her terrible glory, and said:

Death.

It was a hiss, it was a whisper, it was a soundless roar, and it was a summons.

At first there was nothing. And then the ashen grass stirred. It stirred like a sigh, and slumped again - and then it blackened, and withered, and crumbled to dust. And then, like a sigh - like a shadow, a cloud; a caiman, a wolf, a foxbun, a strangling tree, a buck, a foal, a breath of air, for death comes in all forms, and no form at all; like a shadow, at last, there was Death.

The Motherfather had been searching, of course, all this time for the missing Sun. She had sent Her fireflies hither and thither, all over the Swamp, into the Desert, the Mountains - where the Totoma had fared somewhat better than us, being already used to the cold, but were fed up, nonetheless - to the Plains, even the seas, and to who knows what lay beyond.

But Her fireflies had not seen it, for, of course, it had been with Death, whose dark domain lay far, far down, into the earth, far down where the fireflies did not flit.

It was probably somewhere in the Zikwa caves.

At first Death was silent. And then Death hemmed. And then Death hawed. But the Motherfather was unrelenting, and the Motherfather was furious, and at last, Death spread its dark wings and -

But first, let us turn back the tale to the last day of the Sun.

After another long day of diligent shining, the Sun had leapt back down the sky for a night of well-deserved rest. But before the industrious tick could settle down, it was greeted by a mysterious, shadowy mantis. The shadowy mantis spread its dark wings and -

- bloodberries rained. Lots and lots of bloodberries.

If there was one thing a tick, however diligent, could not resist…it was blood.

And now to turn the tale back to Death's dark wings.

Death spread its dark wings and…

…out bounced the fattest tick you could possibly imagine.

Yes.

The Sun had made short work of all those bloodberries.

Death had really put us through a lot of trouble. The many days without the Sun might well have ended all Kin, and the Swamp, and world, with that. It would have been quite the tragedy, for Death to have destroyed this beautiful new world that the Motherfather had just designed. There was much the Motherfather could have done to Death.

But the Motherfather made all things. And Death, too, was one of Her children.

Death, who met only those about to cease existence, and flow back into the vastness of the Swamp; who could know no one, talk to none, was the loneliest of Her children. And Death, whose dark domain lay far, far down, into the earth, away from the light, was the coldest of us all.

Was it any wonder that cold, lonely Death yearned for the warmth of the Sun?

The Motherfather was displeased, and the Motherfather was stern, but the Motherfather is kind, and so the Motherfather listened. For Death, too, was Her child, the coldest and loneliest of us all.

The process took quite some time, because the Sun was too round and fat to jump back up into the sky. It took quite a few more turns of the Moon for the bloodberry weight to slowly wane from the big, round tick, till it was once again a more reasonably-sized Sun, that could leap - or at least hop - back into the sky to industriously shine.

And then, when the Sun was back in the sky once more, casting its light and warm across the Swampmother's world - then, did the leaves uncurl, the grass stand strong, the twitter of birds drip back into the air, and we, the Kin, wake from our unmoving, dreamless slumber, to finally live again.

Of course, that was also when Death got back to work, and many of the oldest did die, and some of the newborns too, for we had really gone much too long without the sun, but thankfully there were plenty of us left, and that's how you're still here.

Well, the Motherfather had listened, and some changes were made, though the world was new enough that we didn't know them as changes, just how it all turned out. The Sun shone high and strong each day for six turns of the Moon, and then it shone shorter and lower, as it grew rounder and rounder on the bloodberries Death earnestly plucked, till it was spending much of the last Moon's turn, glowing soft and happily, with Death in its underground domain.

Cold and dark as it may be for all of us above the ground during this time, never again did we despair the way we had when we first lost the light, for we knew the Sun would before long rise again to hop into the sky.

We would watch for this, the satisfied tick's return, that gentle glowing roundness on the horizon. At first just a little, then stronger and higher each day, uncurling the leaves little by little, coaxing the grass into standing sturdier, the birds to chirping louder, the foals to once more frolic - till it was no longer too round on bloodberries, and could once more shine high and strong.

This, we called Spring, for the Sun finally springs back into the sky.

Death, much less cold and lonely, was content. The fuller, rounder, Sun was content. The Motherfather was generally satisfied. And that is how us Kin got seasons, without which you wouldn't get all the games and goodies at the Winter Market. So it was a relatively happy ending all round.

The end."

Distant Tidings had barely articulated the last word before the Totoma colt drew a deep breath, and said:

"Aaactually, a bloodberry is a fruit. Ticks only drink real blood, they wouldn’t want it."

"You really are a very joyless child," Tidings said.

"He's right," the Kimeti sister said, "I don't think you really know anything about how we got seasons at all. You don't look like you're old enough to have been there."

"Of course I am," Tidings said, "I'm older than you can imagine.

The children regarded him solemnly.

"Yes," the filly finally nodded, "you do look older than I can imagine."

Somehow, this irritated him greatly.

"I've seen Death," her brother said, "he doesn't change shape. He's tall, and dark, and very handsome, not like you."

"This isn't that Death," Tidings snapped, "that Death is just some buck."

The colt only sniffed, as if he'd already known someone who wasn't tall, dark, and very handsome like Death wouldn't understand.

"This one is boring," the filly said, "the wolf story was better."

"You hated the wolf story!" Tidings said.

"Yeah," the colt said, "and we hate this one more!"

"It wasn't believable at all," the Totoma said.

"It wasn't," the filly agreed, "and it was soooo-oooo-oooo long. It was at least twice as long as the wolf one, but nothing really happened."

"Lots of Kin died!"

"But you didn't really tell it, did you?" the colt said, "that doesn't count. You just wasted our time."

"You just wasted our time!" the filly repeated, stomping to her hooves, "we could've been eating drumsticks an' catching chameleons and we just sat here listening to your stupid story where nothing happens!"

"Yeah!" the colt, too, stomped to his hooves, "I'm gonna stop wasting my time and go steal some acorns right now!"

"I wanna get my fortune told," the filly said as she followed her brother.

"Divination isn't real," the Totoma called as he followed them both.

Well.

Tidings should, at least, be somewhat relieved he hadn't actually opened up a story-telling booth. The criticism was downright scathing.

"I really ought to stop telling stories to children," he sighed, getting to his hooves as well, "or, at least, find a nicer group of children to tell them to."

There was always next year.

But, this year, maybe he'd just go flip some shells instead.

The End

purplerosesbeauty

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 10:32:33 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username: purplerosesbeauty
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Ward rested with his daughter, Teach Me How To Sing. When Canary begged him for a story, he told a favorite of his from the Mother's club. Slowly, and with the practiced air of an oft retold story, he spoke.

"This is a story about a mother, and her child. Not all mothers are so involved in their daughters' lives, but for some, their children are their world. For this particular seed-protecting doe, her tribe and her family were the most important things to her. They were a small, close-knit group, dedicated to life and plants and celebration. A mother called Winter, her only daughter, known as Spring, and her sons, cousins and siblings.

"But nearby, another tribe lived. They were dark, gloomy folk, who found their way to a cave system which led far far away. The leader was a handsome buck known as Death, and he rarely, if ever left his homelands to look at the surface world.

"One day, while he had made an unusual trip to the surface, he spotted Spring. When Death spied her among the flowers, he fell in love and begged her to come and stay with him in his tribe, in the deep caves he hailed from. Spring refused at first, wanting to say farewell to her family before she left. Winter was distraught and demanded he stay away from her and her family, fearing the loss of her only daughter to this strange and far-away tribe. She would not allow Spring to leave, under any circumstance.

"Death, a clever buck, concocted a way to retrieve Spring without her mother's awareness, sneaking her away through the caves under the guise of several parting gifts to Winter and her tribe. He lies to Spring as he brings her home, saying that her mother Winter had relented and said she could leave, giving the two of them her blessing as well.

"Spring lived happily with Death for a while. However, when asking about her dear mother, Spring found out Death had lied to her. Winter never agreed to let her leave. Spring asked for a way to go home and show her mother that she was alright, and had not been taken forcefully. Death, fearing she will never return, refused at first. After his beloved's insistence, Death relents. He would not let his mate suffer alone in his tribe just for his own selfish desires.

"Trying to make things right, he acquired a pond apple, Spring and her mother Winter's favorite fruit, for them to share together. They shared fond memories and hopes for the future. Death apologized sincerely to his beloved, and bids farewell to her. Spring left the caves alone, in her own long journey home.

"While grappling with her anger at the lies she had been told, and her worry over her mother, Spring is visited by the Mother-Father, who assured Spring she will do what is right by her family. She is blessed, and is given the gift of growth, so that every step she takes brings life with her.

"Spring returned home and found her mother Winter had neglected her seeds and her gardens, having fallen into a deep depression and sorrow without her only daughter. Spring reunited tearfully with her mother, and Winter looked at Spring with tears in her eyes. Winter asked for only one thing from her daughter, for a simple promise that Spring will return to her once again. Spring smiled at her mother, and offered Winter the seeds of the pond apple she shared with Death. She told her mother that she will return each spring to help her mother with the crops and return to her beloved for the cold season.

"That was enough for Winter, just to know that her daughter was safe and happy, and would come to see her once again. And when you grow up and move on to your own tribe and mates, I'll ask the same of you. Be safe and happy, but please come to see me, even if it's only every once in a while."

Ward looked down at the sleeping doe, her chest rising and falling slowly. She'd fallen asleep long before the story had ended, but he was alright with that. He'd tell it again, someday.

Appeal

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Rotten Liar Tells a Story of Seasons
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2020, 12:29:59 AM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
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Entry:

Rotten Liar smiled at her audience with a mischievous smile. She absolutely loved telling stories, particularly tall tales, carving the worlds into something beautiful and entertaining. With the winter solstice approaching and the end of the bounty here, she knew just the tale to tell. Shifting her position into something particularly comfy, she leaned over and began her story.

"It all began on a day where the sun shone down on the beautiful apple blossom blooms as the wind gently shook the alluring scent of them free from their petals. The whole apple tree valley carried the aroma of the apple blossoms, luring everyone nearby to the source of it its intoxicating scent. The valley was wide, with a nest of trees surrounding another tree that sat in the center of the whole orchard.

One pale white zikwa with hair longer than her body and glowing purple eyes caught the scent of the apple blossoms and found herself drawn towards it. The scent seemed to carry more than a smell, something more like the echo of a melody that the zikwa couldn't place. Each step she took brought her closer to the source, and each step carried with it death. Under her hooves, the grass below her began wilting under her. The longer she stood in place, the more damage that occurred under her. She was out of place here in the lush green of springtime, belonging back underground in the darkness of her world.

The closer she walked to the center of the orchard, the easier it became for her to see the world around her. Apple trees with varying shades of pink and white covered the orchard, seemingly going on forever. At the center of it all, the melody became clear. It was a buck singing as he danced around in the center of the orchard. Growing out of the top of the buck's head, instead of horns, were what appeared to be the branches of a tree with apple blooms blooming out of every nook and cranny of the branch. Under each step of dance the buck took, flowers seemed to spring to life under his feet.

It was love at first sight for the zikwa. She watched him dance and sing, burning a spot underneath her as she stood there. Each day she returned to the same spot of grass that had been destroyed into nothing but the dirt the previous day but each day it was once again bustling with life. Every time she left, her heart cried out to her. Until she could no longer bear to leave, it was that following night that she put her plan into motion. With the help of her trusty bat familiars, she was able to bring the buck into the depths of the underground.

The zikwa was used to the darkness but each day the acha seemed to grow in his sorrows. He longed for the sun to touch his skin, and for the earth's bounty. Although the zikwa's heart was burdened by the thought of him leaving, it brought her no joy to see him like this. The prancing buck in the fields of flowers that she had fallen in love with was only a memory here. Unable to bear it, she returned with him to the surface.

Life seemed to return back to the acha,"

Rotten Liar paused dramatically before she continued, "and then he pranced away.

Of course.

The zikwa knew what the price of his happiness was, and began to retreat back into the underground when she heard his return. Under the soft light of the sun, she saw an apple branch between his teeth. Although out of season, an apple hung on the branch as he approached her. He set it down in front of her, taking a small bite before looking up with a smile and nudging the apple toward her. It didn't have to be one or the other.

And so the two stayed in the swamp during spring and summer when the acha could bless the swamp with fertile lands and retreated underground when the sun withdrew and the cold advanced during autumn and winter."

Rotten Liar stood up, and stretched, before making another comment to end her story.

"And that's why everything stops growing in autumn, and nothing seems to grow in winter."

Ruriska

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2020, 04:45:26 AM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
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Entry:

“I know of a story,” Journey began, sitting by the fireside, his legs weary from a long day of travelling. He smiled, turning his head to look at each member of his audience.

“It begins long, long ago before the world as we know it, before even kin. Then everything was different. There was no swamp or plains or mountains or swamps, instead the MotherFather had given four of her first children dominion over these lands.

The swamp was Autumn’s domain, ripe and ready for harvest; Winter ruled the mountain slopes and summoned the swirling snow at a whim; and the plains was where Summer ran, a place of warmth and endless fields.”

Journey’s mouth quirked with mirth. “You thought Summer would be the desert? Oh no, the desert was for Spring and it was not how it is now. Now the barest traces of her touch remain, in the small desert flowers and the blossoms that emerge after the rain.

Back then it was not a desert at all but endless fields of flowers and plenty, a place of joy and prosperity. Wherever Spring walked, the world sprouted. She was always laughing, as she danced through the fields, always with the scent of blossoms.

She was loved.

More than Autumn, or Summer, or Winter. None of them could compare to her. Even the MotherFather, who is equal in all things, favoured her greatly.

But we all know there is a fifth land, one below our hooves, that stretches beneath everything above. The underground. It is a place we all find eventually, if not in body, then in spirit.

And there something was waiting. They had named themselves The End, and they, like everyone else, came to love Spring. Their domain was a place of darkness, where things came to rest and fade away. Whereas Spring was full of life and love and nothing withered in her presence.

So it is unsurprising that The End chose a sinister path and they stole Spring away. Nothing could be done as she was taken down into the depth where the sun didn’t reach and the world stunk of rot. Because this was where things came to die. Though the very concept was new and strange.

Spring was unafraid. No one had ever brought her harm and she looked upon her captor with naive eyes. She only felt sadness and despair for the strange world she had found herself in. This was her first time witnessing death of any kind.

“Who are you?” She asked.

“I am The End,” they replied, their voice a multitude of whispers, a million lives moving from life into death.

They had hoped that by having Spring with them beneath the earth, their world would also be filled with flowers and beauty. But nothing grew here without the light and so there was only Spring, the one lovely thing for them to enjoy.

“Will you stay with me?” They asked with despair in their voice, and moved to pity Spring agreed.

Unbeknown to them, the world had gone awry.

All who knew her and adored her had noticed her missing and they sought her through the plains, the swamp and the fields. Across the world fruit grew fat and then rotted on the vine within moments; the sun withered the leaves from the trees, and the frost killed the delicate flowers.

But they could not find her.

And below, time passed.

Spring learnt many things during that fateful time. She learnt of death and decay, of spirits that moved on from one life to the next. She watched The End guide each soul onwards and knew how necessary such a job was.

How unfair that they were locked away below with nobody to talk to and nobody to support them. And for the very first time, she felt anger.

And strangely, it felt good.

It felt righteous.

“I wish to return to the surface,” she told them and though The End did not wish to see her go, they acquiesced. And to her fields, Spring was returned, except they were not her own anymore. They had been ravaged by her absence.

Her endless land of flowers was now a wasteland, trampled by her siblings in their desperate search.

She had come here to speak to the MotherFather on behalf of The End but now she was furious beyond words, and where she stepped the dry remains of grass and flowers crumpled away into dust. Her ire continued to spread and the earth turned to dust and sand. The ground cracked beneath her hooves and the world was parched of life.

And a crane descended with glowing eyes and swept her wings wide across the earth and blocked Spring’s advance.

“Enough, my daughter,” the MotherFather sighed. “I hid Death from you because the world was not ready but I see now that I was wrong. You must no longer be kept apart.”

A single plant grew in the lifeless soil and as it unfurled a fruit grew at the tip, a ripe berry of pure red that hung waiting.

“Eat this fruit and you shall be tied to death forever more. You and your siblings shall give up your earthly bodies but you will exist in cycles, tied together. You will give life to this world in a different way.”

And without hesitation, Spring devoured the fruit, the sweet taste tingling on her tongue.

And so her body died, sinking down with a final sigh.

The End came to her, gathering up her spirit in their loving embrace and in that moment their eternity began.”

Journey hummed thoughtfully.

“And that is how all the lands gained their seasons, with each spirit taking their turn. Never forget that there is death connected to all of them; the young born in the spring only to perish, in the summer heat taking its toll on the old, the autumn race to find enough food, and finally with the biting cold of winter.

As for the fields of Spring, they never quite recovered. It became the desert, a place where life struggled to survive and only pockets of green remained. But when the rains come, all those seeds that wait below the surface will bloom and that is Spring reminding us that it was once her domain.

As for The End, they still await us all but they do so patiently, for they are never alone.”

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2020, 10:14:51 AM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
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Entry:

"In the beginning," says Merry Go Round, settling herself quite comfortably on the mossy ground beneath, "there was spring.

"Spring is always such a lovely time of year, wouldn't you think? Full of the beginnings of new life, the smell of fresh flowers in the air, the soft grass beneath your hooves; all of it together like some magical, mystical time. It's beautiful.

"Or at least, that's what most think I suppose there are some who can't deal with the spring, and that is where the story of Below and Above comes from."

Merry smiles. It's a soft, but not altogether pleasant smile. She seems to be enjoying herself. (Maybe a little too much.)

"Those aren't their real names, I've forgotten them since the tales have long passed, but in the beginning, when spring was newly sprung, there was a buck. We'll call him Above. He loved the lands, and the swamp, and everything that came with breathing the air of the land. He spent much of his time carefully cultivating his many gardens in an attempt to bring color to the swamp, and because of this, there were rampant fields of glorious colors. Red, blue, magenta, pink, lush shades of green, sweet scented petals of yellow - anything that you can imagine. This is how Above thrived; his sense of purpose was far greater than many that live here."

Merry coughs delicately, clears her throat, and continues.

"Legend says that many considered Above's head to be in the clouds. That he was not really altogether...there, if you catch my drift. The other kin avoided him, circling far and wide, though he was never unkind to them. His love of the swamp and its inhabitants was not very well expressed, and so the others did not know how to deal with him. In failed attempts at communicating, Above took to leaving flowers at the resting places of many kin, but this was seen as alarming, especially to those who did not know him. Though, to be fair - none really tried."

The light flickers in Merry's eyes. For a moment, she lapses into silence, her gaze far away, not quite focused on anything in particular. Then, coming back to herself, she draws a breath and starts again.

"He was isolated, Above. Isolated and alone.

"And that is when she came for him.

"From the ground, from the shadowy recesses of a copse of trees that all avoided, she came from the darkness as though she had been made a part of it and it was breathing death into her with every step. It was a well known place, mind you; this particular hole in the ground, surrounded by a rocky cliff and a thicket of trees so dense that no light seemed to pass through at all. Legend has it that she dug herself into the ground, making tunnels beneath the surface, but no one had ever gotten close enough to confirm this.

"But Above was not afraid. He never had been.

" 'You left this,' said the doe, whose name is unknown but shall be called Below, 'at my door.'

"A cluster of dirt trodden flowers lay at her feet in several shades of blue. Above, it is told, looked at them with his head tilted a little to the side, then answered without hesitation, 'Yes. Did you not like them?'

"For a long moment, the doe did not speak. She merely watched. Above, away from his gardens, said nothing either, and the silence stretched between them, unbroken for quite some time.

"Inevitably, one of them had to speak, so Above said, 'I have heard rumors. They say that you take what you want without hesitation. That you are the spirit of the forest that grants curses, not wishes.'

"The doe's tail flicked once. 'And what do you grant?' she asked, her voice low. Rough, as though she hadn't used it in some time.

"Above poked at the ground with a hoof. 'I'm not quite sure. A meal, perhaps. Maybe a wish. I don't suppose I can fulfil many of them, but I can surely try. There are some berries here, if you would like to share with me.'

"He nudged a pile towards the doe. Below looked at them, then up at the buck, then down again. She stepped forward.

" 'Not here. And not anywhere near.' "

Merry lets out another breath. She seems tired, but her eyes are alight with a sort of brightness that stems from the thrill of telling a tale.

"It is said," she continues on, "That the doe, Below, took Above to her home. Some tell it as a willing tale. Others say that he was taken there without his approval, because Below would not grant him the chance to decline. That she wanted to know more of him, but was unable to say so in a way that would express herself properly, so she simply took him. That is, by the way," Merry adds, with a sudden sharp note, "not the way to go about things, mind you. But that is what the tale says, and so Above was taken.

"The flower gardens that he had tended so willingly began to crumble without his care and attentiveness. The once beautiful blossoms that he had striven to protect withered, crumpling into death, trampled by creatures and crushed by other kin who found relief in the knowledge that their strange neighbor was gone. Beneath their hooves, they took to rampaging his fields until none were left alive.

"And so, the seasons changed.

"And so, Above came back.

"He was not alone. Below came with him, and there was something different about the both of them. There was no one to see what changes had been made; the kin had gone and the cold air of winter meant that most animals had disappeared into hiding. Above stood in the destroyed lands of his fields, looking out with breath that frosted in the chilliness, a crown of berries and leaves atop his head, nestled in his hair, that had not been there before.

" 'They will grow again,' said Below, after a moment. She too wore a crown, of blackberries and thorns. 'You must not let this sadden you.'

"Above sighed. 'It is not that easy. I wish it were. These flowers are dead; it would take a lot to make them grow again.'

"Below turned her head to look at him. Her eyes did not seem quite to be all there, one nearly whited out. In the brightness of the snow around them, her dark coat seemed to glimmer.

" 'But that is why you exist,' she said. 'You and your spirit. You can make them live again. You have the heart to do so.'

"And, it is said - there was a smile on her face.

" 'Come now, Above,' said Below. 'Where is my gentle hearted spirit of spring? Is that not what you called yourself all this time? They will live again. All they need is some time and your love and your care and your spirit.

"Below looked at her. His eyes were bright.

" 'But will it be enough?' he asked, with slight uncertainty.

"Below touched her nose to his cheek.

" 'It is enough.' "

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2020, 03:12:30 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username: Dizzy_Kat
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Entry: “It’s sad when things die…” Fear Itself sighed from the shelter of their shared den, laying next to her youngest sibling, a foal only just emerged from her sack. Outside, rain dripped through the branches of the trees above and down to the muck of brown leaves and grasses on their island in the swamp.

Neither Nor was outside, shoving and twisting the branches supporting their shelter so they could start expanding it. Never had Neither Nor thought that they’d be building for multiples and the original design… was getting cramped with their daughters now deciding to take up residence with them for the time being. With winter’s arrival they wanted to make sure their den was large enough and warm enough to protect the three of them.

“It can be.” Neither Nor leaned against the opening of their den, shoving it aside as they wove a straight branch in place, shoving it deep into the earth to hold the original bush’s dead branches back. “For those who must watch. Death is only returning us to the MotherFather though. Eventually in time, the MotherFather returns us to the Swamp renewed to live again.”

The youngest, lifted her head with her blind eyes and turned unerringly towards Neither Nor. “Why?”

Neither Nor hated being questioned by adults but their foals were tolerated. Better to question and learn than to grow up not knowing their tails from their horns. “Because that is the way of the swamp. Like we sleep to renew us for the next day, so too must things die to be renewed when spring comes again. “ The doe looked unsatisfied. Neither Nor paused and thought a moment. They weren’t one for stories but…

“There’s a story.” Neither Nor began. “Of an acha as bright as the midday sun and dripping with flowers, and the zikwa, black as the moonless night, who wooed her. The only came together for one night far north from here, in the sandy land the acha’s call home. But of that union came a clutch. Four acha’s bright as their mother, and one zikwa, dark like their father, only the glowing crown of flowers sprouting from her brow to show her their mother’s daughter.

The home of the achas is hot and dry. Hills of sand crawl across the desert and reflect the light of the sun and the moon in equal measure. It is a place ill designed for zikwa, who’s sensitive eyes are blinded by the intense light. If not for the presence of the daughter, who called herself Life Renewed, the achas may have been able to forget the mysterious stranger who’d come and gone. Instead she was a constant reminder. And she suffered.

She could not play with the other foals. Blind and disoriented she spent her days pressed to her mother’s side. At night when the sun had set and before the moon rose were her only moments of respite from the teasing, the hushed comments when her protective mother wasn’t listening, and the mocking voices of the foals who did not care who heard. When she was young, she lay by her mother’s side just watching the sky and taking in the shapes of her sleeping herd members against the backdrop of the dunes. As she grew older she began to sneak off, walking carefully by herself and relishing the silence and privacy it afforded her.

In time her mother caught on to her nighttime wanderings and would scold her fearfully, laying on what punishments she could that might possibly act as a deterrent. She told stories of winged serpents and gryphons who would carry her off, of slot canyons and sink holes that would swallow her whole. Nothing ever worked.

And so her life went, day by day, moon by moon. Bound to her mother’s side in the blinding sun and running away to explore the desert after the herd was asleep. She grew. She aged. And nothing changed except the distance she roamed every night. Never though, did she have the courage to leave entirely, traveling back home long before the sun touched the sky.

One night though, when the moon was barely a sliver in the sky and she had explored as far as she dared, Life Renewed found herself being watched. The shape that stood on a dune was barely a shadow, a blot against the starry sky, but it glowed in a way she’d never seen. It’s whole body emanated with a dark light, outlining it against the night. Life Renewed watched it for a moment, wary of this stranger, before turning and running back towards home.

For the next moon cycle she went out warily, not willing to stop her routine, but for the first time afraid. She wouldn’t see them every night, but she could feel herself watched. The presence never coming close enough to be seen and try as she might to call out, or even approach, it would disappear into the shadows, gone somewhere she could not follow.

It happened one night, as the moon vanished yet again from the sky, that her visitor did not run when she approached. She called out, creeping closer than she ever had before, but received no answer. Not until she was close enough to see that whatever they were, they were solid, real and here and not a spectre as she’d begun to wonder. It was only then that she heard him speak. He did not answer her questions, only asked one of his own. “Are you happy?”

Life Renewed only had one answer for that. “Then, taste this and come with me.” From somewhere, the kin produced a small dome shaped fruit on a long stalk. She hesitated only a moment before taking the whole thing in her mouth. It was dry and squishy, unlike anything she’d ever tasted before. She had barely swallowed it seemed when the world shifted around her like the sands in a storm and she found herself drifting without thought into the void of sleep.

She woke sometime later surrounded by darkness. But it was a darkness in which she could see. Shapes, reflections of light emitted from clusters of growths on the walls around her, solidified into kin, similar to the one who had presumably brought her there. Life Renewed marveled, each glowed in their own way and she could tell immediately the individuals apart. The provided her with fresh cool water that tasted of earth in a pleasant way, and a harvest of greens more familiar to her palate than the strange fruit had been.

She was introduced finally to her visitor, a zikwa like herself she learned, who went by the name Death is the Beginning. He was black, solid with no individual markings like the other zikwa’s had, but still seemed to emanate a dark glow uniquely his own. She learned then that he was a legendary, touched by the MotherFather and blessed to ease the passage for those in the twilight of their lives. She learned too, that she had been brought underground, to a vast complex of caves that ran beneath the desert sands. It was the home of zikwa, and of her father, the stag that led the family unit she found herself within. Brothers and sisters, relations more distant than that, all of the zikwa she met were family and they welcomed her and taught her their ways as if she had been born among them instead of spending her entire life on the surface.

Life Renewed found herself blossoming below ground while above, her mother raged. After a search had revealed no signs of predators in the area she knew the girl must have been taken. Herd member’s questioned her fury, reluctant to put in the effort to retrieve a kin so unwilling to be a part of their group, but the acha was a force few could stand up against. She moved with a furious speed, organizing a party to travel to the place she had met the zikwa buck so long ago.

Deep into the slot canyons they marched till a still pool of water greeted them crystal clear beside a dark crevice in the canyon wall. Their arrival had been timed carefully, arriving midday with the sun illuminated the canyon floor. There she screamed out her challenge, her voice echoing, crying out for the return of her daughter. Silence swallowed her words as their echos died away. Slowly, almost as if emerging from the very wall itself, the stag stepped out of a lone shadow and into the sun. Without a word, one by one, zikwa followed from the crevice till their numbers were even greater than those of the acha party. Every creature of the dark stepped defiantly into the light until finally Life Renewed joined them, moving gracefully to the front and standing beside her father.

She would not return to the world of the achas. Life renewed was where she belonged in a world more suited to her needs and with a family that welcomed her differences.”


“Wow acha’s are really selfish.” Fear Itself wrinkled her nose. “But that story didn’t have anything to do with renewing or spring Nini.”

“Well! It’s an old story and.” Neither Nor sputtered. “Bah. You know I don’t tell stories. That was all I could come up with.”

“So It’s not an old story?” Fear itself grinned cheekily even as Neither Nor swatted at her with their tail.

“Brat Child.” Neither Nor watched their youngest carefully. The doe was quiet, looking introspective and it gave them concern. Her parentage was clear in her eyeless face and maybe… maybe that hadn’t been the best story for the young zikwa cross. Neither Nor would have to deal with that later.

Words: 1635

Shaddaling

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Re: [Pop-up Booth] Writing Contest - Dec 2nd - Dec 8
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2020, 07:40:55 PM »
A STORY OF LIFE AND DEATH....
Your Username:Shaddaling
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Entry:
Sheltered by the leaves looked out among the group that had gathered and cleared his throat, gesturing out with a hoof. "You are here tonight, to hear a tale, that is old, not as old as the MotherFather, but perhaps as old as the swamp." He closed his eyes, gathering his thoughts.

"Once, there was a doe, and we do not know her name, it has been lost. And the fact that it is lost tells us how old this tale is, but we know she was beautiful. She was beautiful enough that others inspired by her beauty did their best to preserve her in the swamp, they carved into woods, they stacked stones in roughness of her shape, they painted and they envied." He sighed softly, swaying slightly. "And to envy, can be a terrible, terrible thing. They desired her. Not such as lifemates or friends, but a dark, and terrible envy that ate at them, for they could not be as beautiful as she was."

"And perhaps, because of her beauty or perhaps it was just a secondary blessing of the MotherFather but when this doe walked, flora bloomed in her steps. Sometimes it was just a scattering of blooms, light and airy, scenting the world with the reminder of spring. Sometimes it was tangles of brambles, thorny and climbing. Other times it was trees, sometimes it was sprouts of leeks and green onions and other edibles. It was soft growth, useful growth, for during this time Spring was gentle and peaceful and what she bought with her was the same."

"Perhaps she actually was spring, given kimeti form by the MotherFather to spread the season. Who know or remembers what she truly was, but we know where she went, the blooms followed." He paused, gathering himself.

"And perhaps, that is why they had waited so very long to do what they did. Envy is a driving force but to kidnap one so blessed? It took them a while, to gather their nerve and their will and they waited when she was tired from a day of gaiety and they struck. They came as a mob," He snorted, shaking his head. "Finding power and comfort in their sheer number, and they chased her. They chased her through the swamp, and up stones, and plains, and deserts until she couldn't run anymore and then they dragged her to their chosen prison."

"The sea is a cold and hungry place, the shallows are warm but even they can drag an unexpecting kin under and drown them. They brought the doe to a dark and cold place, where the sea rocks rose like teeth and the water was cold and pulled, wanting to drag all beneath it into its depths. They forced her to slide down one of these teeth, the rock slippery under hoof until she was surrounded by sharp stone and cold hungry sea.”

“She spent the night there, exhausted, cold and shivering, water well above her fetlocks and damping her belly. She could not sleep and she found the rise of the sun, to be a shallow comfort.”
“She cried, mourning and broken. She could not find the energy to grow the plants and the very sea fought her. The stone teeth were slippery and she found no footing to get up their steep slopes or ws sure she had the energy to even attempt to climb them. So she cried, and she cried and eventually her cries were answered.”

“Now as we have spoken of one blessed by spring, there are of course those blessed by others… the one that answered her could be seen as her opposite but perhaps more they could be seen simply as loops. What grows must die and in doing so provides for what grows the next year.”

“They were cold and pale, fur soaked and draped limply over their body. Only their eyes glowed, red in their pale face. “What, are you doing here? Do you seek to take over my domain? This is mine, child of spring, not yours.” They were angry and harsh, taking her imprisonment as a mockery of theirself. For why else would such a creature that was the essence of spring be in their cold dark world.”

“She denied it, she spoke choked and desperate. “No, I was taken here. They hold me here and I do not know how to leave.” She motioned above the teeth to the cliffside that the tip just touched, and the sight form of the kin, watching her. “I… I do not desire to be here.”

“They laughed at her. It was sharp and nasty and harsh,” Sheltered paused and managed to choke out a harsh wheezing crackle. “And then he said. “Is that so? Why would they do such a thing?” And perhaps they were just attracted to her suffering, dragging their body closer to peer into the narrow opening of the stone teeth. “Perhaps you taunted them?”

“No,” She cried. “No I have not, I do not know why.” She weeped more. “Please, please help me.” She wailed. “I would do anything to not be here.”

“They paused, considering, because that was a promise. They wanted to make a deal, and deals are important in the world of spirit. “Is that so,” they said and they said no more. Sinking out of sight with a small ripple and the stench of rotting seaweed.”

“And she, she found herself angry.” Sheltered click his tongue, looking out at the audience. “They had left her, those she had thought to be her friends or at the very least harmless had imprisoned her. She screamed, and she screamed and she tossed herself at the teeth and she tossed herself at the foam, and she grew up all sorts of things, she grew sweet smelling flowers and succulent fruit, she grew what she knew and it failed her.”

“She went on till she physically could not, and it had did her no good, for she found herself with barely enough strength to keep her head above water and surrounded by the dying masses of her own powers, killed by the salt in the sea.”

“She was sure she was going to die when they returned. And they scoffed, harsh and hacking. “Did you have a pleasant fit?” They questioned, a burning eye peering at her, as if it could see into her and beyond. “If you truly meant what you said, then eat this.” And they pushed a fruit through the tight wall and to her.”

“Now, this was not your usual fruit. It was a dark thing, some say perhaps it was purple, some say red, but all agree it was dark and it ate the light and it was small like the pits in some fruit And it floated on the water till it was just in sight. And she ate it.”

“And I don’t know what it tasted like, though I guess it would be bitter but thirst quenching. And she found herself above her body. Gorgeous still, but light and brimming with energy, a new energy or perhaps it was just a change of her own energy and she was angry and she found herself rising above the stone teeth that imprisoned her and among those that had harmed her. And she set on that clift and grew. She became the first bramble vines, she became foxglove and deadly mushroom. She grew and she grew and she overtook those that had harmed her, and they became food for this growth.”

“All things are fueled by other things, and she tore into the flesh and bone of those that wished her harm till the MotherFather stopped her. For she might have destroyed us all, so was her anger.”

“And the MotherFather spoke to her, and they spoke to the spirit of death that had given her the fruit and they decreed that for the season of spring she would remain, bringing the flush of new growth but also the deadly things,things that itches and stung and brought death. Her revenge to those that had wronged her. And such they brought up her body from the depths and they mended her spirit and her flesh. And she is spring and she is wild, tangled growth. ”

“And they, well they walked beside her, whispering words in her ears, her consistent companion leaving the scent of rot and death underneath the bright colors of her flowers.”

“This is the end of our story, and as we enter the cold chill of this season and onto the warmth of spring, may we remember it.” He finished, and sunk slightly into the loam. “I hope you enjoyed it.

(wc 1454)