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Fiction Digitized Stash of Paradoxical Short Stories

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Paradoxical Pacifism, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Fun little poem I thought of while listening to the legendary Nujabes. It's about a lizard pondering on the futility of life. It also poses a question I think about from time to time: Do lizards not have any memories of their spawning much like us humans not having any recollections of our own births?

    Funny Life


    memory of my Spawning flees me
    water Thrashing all that is left
    much like my little fellow fish
    Fighting with such bravery
    memory of my Spawning flees me
    water Thrashing all that is left
    lying dead the fish
    its ending in Peace
     
    Imrahil, Nazqua and Lizards of Renown like this.
  2. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Around the time the theme for the short story contest was announced, I was indulging in The Witcher. Not the books nor the Netflix series, but the video game trilogy. More specifically, the first game released in 2007. Its graphics remind me of the PS2 days and its game engine makes it feel like it was literally made in the 90s, especially with the way it rendered npcs at long ranges. But despite these visual faults and a combat system more frustrating than unique, It was one of the most engaging and immersive games to play through. Most of the immersion could probably be chalked up to an amazing OST which fit the grimdark and somber tone so well, but also many of the story's themes. One of them is the constant persecution of minorities by a dominant society. In the Witcher, it's the Elves, dwarfs, gnomes, and other fantasy demi humans we all love that are of the minority and oppressed. It's interesting to me that it isn't the other way around since building a world in which humans are persecuted would be more relatable, but placing awe-inspiring, exotic races such as the elves and dwarfs in this role instead is a nice twist imo. Anyway, I really loved this aspect of the game, because many of the ideas, messages, and themes pertaining to race found in this world of sorcery and horrific monsters aren't so different from what I see from my window. The relatability is strong with the Witcher's worldbuilding, and i'll probably provide more details/examples later as to why because I haven't even talked about my story yet :confused: .

    The idea of writing the lizardmen, an awe-inspiring, exotic race, as a persecuted minority came to me because of playing The Witcher. But also because of Killer Angel's theme, which made writing my idea a bit easier imo. The possibility of the Empire and other states having the necessary logistics to not only win over the lizardmen, but also maintain rule over them is next to zero. So this implausibility was what motivated me to base the story off it anyway :D . Another important idea in my brainstorming was the concept of cultural appropriation. I'm probably pulling the pin of a grenade and guessing whether it'll explode in my hands talons by bringing up this topic, but please, I only bring it up because it was important in the brainstorming of my story. It always interested me how African American culture had permeated the United States despite the harsh amounts of oppression and racial hatred they experienced, especially during the early decades of the 20th century. Native American cultures have continued to be used in commercialism, and nomenclature in the military despite many genocides done against them. This paper does this controversial topic much justice, and reading it among some others made me realize culture in general is considerably more abstract and fickle than I ever thought.

    This abstractness made me wonder what aspects of lizardmen culture would look like if the Empire of man was in continual contact with the lizzies through subjugation. What purpose would the Cult of Sotek have in the Empire of Man in which religious zealotry against the ratmen was a valued virtue? How would the imperial colleges of magic appreciate the lizardmen’s incredible command of the winds of magic?

    I wanted to write a perspective from a lizard in which they experience in their view the degradation of their own culture. And because of the contest’s theme, writing all of it in First-Person was satisfactory too since I haven’t done that point of view before. I also really, REALLY, wanted a scene depicting a saurus getting beaten up, but not fighting back. I was thinking it would represent the lizardmen’s hopelessness but also their resiliency. Not to mention it’d be pretty shocking to see a saurus not fighting back in a story on LO.

    I Also intended there to be many side characters, all having about the same depth as the main character, just like The Witcher. Unfortunately, this didn’t pan out the way I wanted. It all seemed a very tough challenge, so I removed the side characters, and made the main character’s role in the story more personal. This first person story among others provided a nice basis for me on how i can write in first-person.

    The necklace part of the story represented the myriad of ideas I originally wanted to write about pertaining to cultural appropriation, leading the main character to a personal reckoning on the worth of his life, finally ending in a firm belief in rebellion despite it largely doomed to fail.

    When i finished writing the story, I thought it was ridiculous none of the mercenaries would notice a hulking saurus hiding under a cloak, but i was too lazy to rectify this with some in-story reason :rolleyes:

    Lustrian Redemption


    Am I sane? Traveling amidst an armed band of men would elicit some form of fear from anyone sane. Perhaps a fear of getting ambushed, or simply a fear of betrayal in the depths of the jungles where honor and truth has no meaning. Though I can remember a distant time when they did abundantly.

    But no, I have none of this fear. It has escaped me, blown away with the winds into someone more deserving, for I have done this for countless years. Always hiding and always waiting, I lived alongside all manner of strange creatures in search of a purpose buried so long ago.

    My only savior - a cloak concealing my every being, like scales onto a lizard.

    “How many shillings we get for this job again?”

    “All too little.”

    “Shootin’ orcs should make our pouches fatter and fatter.”

    “We only guns for hire. We the shamed and dammed of society!”

    “Damn straight.”

    The concept of money and man’s constant struggle for prosperity confused me. Most wallowed in dirt and mud, dreaming of a morsel to eat. Life of a man was like a great chase. A hunt for a prey fast and stealthy beyond compare.

    “You guys scared? It’s so dark and lonely. What if them orcs are the black ones instead? That be insane!”

    “Why you afraid? We’ll scrape ‘em! We’re mercenaries for Sigmar’s sake!”

    “I bagged this big guy too. Only wanted to come aboard for killing orcs, not one care for the pay. Haha. I bet he could tear an orc in half like a stick!”

    All of them turned their heads towards me with faces filled with wonder and bemusement.

    “What are them eyes? They glowing yellow like crazy.”

    “They like eyes of gold!”

    “Met a traveler like that in the taverns of New Averheim, all innocent and kind. Turns out she slaughtered an entire fledgling rat clan all by herself with the winds of magic.”

    “How many people you killed?”

    “How many rat bastards you killed?”

    “How many orc rat bastards you killed?”

    I simply nodded.

    “Not exactly the talkative type I see, haha.”

    We continued marching until a familiar scent wafted into my nose. It was the characteristic stench of the barbaric spore men. Could smell them miles away as if fire was rampaging through the jungles. The men were still talking and joking amidst themselves, completely unaware they were closing in on their hunt. I gestured towards them and they prepared for a fight.

    Ten orcs were up ahead foraging, some beating each other up. The gunners lined up and fired, dropping half of them with loud bangs. The rest of the green barbarians tried rushing, but three more met their fate. The last ones tried using trees and the myriad amounts of cover to flank. I cut them down effortlessly with spear.

    The men rejoiced and shouted cheers of the pay to come from their masters. I could’ve joined them, for the urge arose in my blood which had seen centuries of warfare and servitude to my gods. I never did, however. Cries from a throat like mine would’ve been too recognizable.

    Every man searched each bloodied orc corpse for sign of treasure. One of them found a gold encrusted necklace. I thought it meaningless orc spoils of raiding, until examining it further. I saw glyphs honoring the Old Ones Tlazcotl and Rigg. The necklace was granted as a blessing of good omen to saurus warriors who’ve proven themselves against impossible odds. Among my faintest of memories, I was to be given one.

    “Lookey at this strange thing! Gold!”

    “Eh not so fast. ‘Member what the boss said?”

    “To hell with him! He’s not here with us risking his life. We need only concern ourselves with who has rights to the treasure, and how it can be evenly divided up…”

    “Drop it,” I growled.

    “What in Sigmar’s name does that mean?”

    “Leave alone! It sacred valuables to the lizardmen!”

    The mercenaries looked on with confused faces. Some laughed jovially as they took turns toying with the necklace. I felt uncontrollable rage whenever someone mocked the Old Ones’ traditions. Whenever they flaunted and wore the aspirations of my long dead brethren!

    “What are you? Some kind of lizard? The lizard people have been conquered for centuries. Let us all enjoy their riches which are rightfully ours to take. Sigmar wills it, and our needy families depend on us.”

    “I’m your DEATHS!”

    I leaped at the man and tore through his neck. Sweet, warm blood gushed through my teeth as my cloak came loose. Screams filled the air upon seeing one of their own tackled on the ground a lifeless corpse. All of them trembled with a fear so intense, I could feel it as much as the liberating gusts of wind crashing upon my scales.

    “W-Wh-What is that!?”

    “A bloody lizard!”

    “Kill it! Kill it! There is more of us than it!”

    Every thrust of the spear, every embrace of my jaws with human flesh sprung forth memories of why slaughtering the arrogant humans was so enjoyable! Their numbers whittled down little by little until only a couple were left. They threw their weapons away and ran off crying for mercy.

    I bellowed out a roar not only for victory’s sake, but for the crushed and vanquished voices of all lizardmen. A reminder their spirits live on with the land! I buried the necklace before setting off.

    A place far from the slaughter was preferable, but I didn’t know how further my tired legs would go. It was always like this. Help the locals with monsters and other pests. Get discovered. Kill them and escape the clutches of death or a fate worse like slavery. It was the sorry state of what has now become of the lizardmen - a mere shadow of glories left far behind.

    But my own memories harken back to moments aplenty both disgraceful and miserable. Running away from unwinnable battles which claimed the lives of many brethren were among them. For this I earned the brand of a coward - often meaning mandatory execution or banishment. I thought what was the point of dying a needless death if I could serve the Slann and the Great Plan another day, until even those were taken away. The temple cities were overrun, and the Slann all slain.

    And so the prodigal races - the ones we’ve sworn to protect and guide - enslaved us all as if we were nothing more than their steeds. Skinks were to be lead to the slaughterhouse for their skin, saurus were to fight each other for entertainment, and the mighty kroxigor were to work until they no longer could.

    The blood of lizards awash the jungles for centuries, and today, none of it is dried. Why has the Old Ones not answered our cries? Have we failed them? Is my continued living a testament to that failure? I pleaded to the abyss that was the starry night.

    “IS MY DEATH WHAT YOU DESIRE!?”

    Silence pervaded over me as my chest rose and fell. Suddenly, I heard the cracks of branches from behind. Several men camouflaged with the jungle’s plants stood from their hiding spots and aimed their rifles at me.

    “Stay away!”

    “Oh, a lizard that talks! You’d fetch a good price shippin’ up to the Altdorf Imperial Zoo. Make me plump n’ round from the gold crowns alone.”

    The gunners were evenly spaced apart in a semi-circle. Every man was covered by another’s field of fire. Rushing them was useless. They intended this spot to be my death.

    “That was just a jest. Though you got a hefty bounty for slaughtering Audrick’s mercenaries. I know your kin lives only to fight. My great-great-great grandfather gunned down you lizards rank by rank. So come on and die the death your kin desires so much!”

    Was this what the Old Ones ordained for me? Death by weak warmbloods? A startling realization came to me. No. Today wasn’t to be my death, for there were still my memories reminding me of the joys and sorrows of yore. Of lizardmen who’ve risen above the tides and cemented themselves in history. Their legacies still endure through me and all lizard kin suffering now.

    So with my leg’s last bit of strength, I ran away. Ferns and bushes alike covered me as I thrashed on.

    “By Sigmar! It’s running away!”

    “Sir, perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to taunt–”

    “Shut up and shoot, damn it!”

    I’m shameful. I’m cowardly. I’m… alive. As the bullets flew, I finally found out what my purpose was. I’ll gather all the sick, starving and enslaved lizardmen. We will rebel against the invaders and occupiers, and remind the world of Lustria’s greatness. We will Let go of a past so hardened in our minds, yet isn’t here for claws to caress, and forge a new future. A new future of glorious redemption!
     
    Aginor, Scalenex, Kblock and 3 others like this.
  3. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure why, but all of the sudden, I got really interested in Scalenex's Westhammer World. I guess because of the world's context, it makes writing strange relationships so much easier. I was thinking... skinkxelf, dwarfxsaurus, or even skinkxhuman. All of these would've been for fun and laughs, so i looked forward to that very much. I created a list of characters and their motivations for living in the westhammer world to make brainstorming easier, but despite that, It was really hard to structure the story. I'll post the character list, since I think I could've used some ideas I had but didn't use that could've fitted the theme of the contest so much more than what I went for. I'll probably use some in the future because some of them were genuinely that cool imo :cool:

    Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy my ridiculous foray into the Westhammer world. I'll also be posting another story that takes place in the same setting. It's called "Pennies by the Railway."

    Mika Acif - A wood elf. She was raised by albion immigrants. Usually loves to make harsh jokes and comparisons of her neighbors, but loves them deep down for their company. She fears loneliness.


    Moyu - A saurus. He unusually ascribes to a lifestyle of inner-peace and harmony. When his bid to join the temple guards failed, he fled and eventually found himself under the mantle of a dwarven blacksmith. He lives his life smithing guns and other armaments with a rather comedic dwarfish temperament he usually doesn’t notice.


    Kalkstein - A human hailing from the city of marienburg. Inquisitive and curious, he travels the world’s corners in a thirst for knowledge. However, he’s nonetheless wrong most of the time in his convictions and often misses the mark on historical realities important to other people.


    Sraudhum - A dwarf. He was a master blacksmith reveled all throughout his native hold. When it was destroyed, he migrated to one of the many human dominated cities of the empire. His trade was well respected, however his living was diminished due to constant harassment and racism. He migrated once more to the burgeoning towns of the west in a bid to take advantage of the increased demand for weaponry there. Along the way, he educated a saurus on his ways, and employed it as his pupil.


    Dithlithlac - An elf. Though young for elf standards, his sense of justice and conviction were nonetheless as hardy as rock. He earned many scars and wounds from battling dark elf separatists, and used them on his travels as justifications as to why he should become a sheriff in many of the burgeoning towns. Though his physical wounds may have healed, his mental ones still etch clearly in his mind, for the horrors of war left him deeply disturbed. This has led to a rather poor self-esteem others don’t really mind exploiting for humor.


    Oahpapch - A skilled bestiary skink. He lived life tending to the various beasts for it was his duty ordained upon him. In a ritual commonplace in the templecity he lived in, wherein a pair of lizards are sent out into a journey to find their inner-selves, he went out to follow the famous or perhaps infamous examples of Yuqal'Cho-ax and Kai’ax. Though foolhardy and obtuse, he was very motivated by the fame and glory that could possibly follow by meeting them.


    Qozo - A kroxigor. This big beast follows the lead and example of Oahpapach as his partner, or rather superior. Despite his clumsiness and low intelligence, he’s unusually personable around others, and is good at reading peoples’ emotions, fears, and motivations.

    Muddied Legend


    “You want Yuqal'Cho-ax and Kai’ax?”

    “O, yes! I hear they lingered in this town of New Haven and I intend to offer my services in return for their companionship. I imagine we’d make a fine team out there.”

    There were two rangos in the darkness. There was only one source of light - the molten form of a gun barrel. One of the rangos, a saurus, was working on it as he bellowed out a deep sigh.

    “So you want fame and glory.”

    “What? I never said that!”

    “Then what do you want?”

    “I want to be a protector of the weak. A good lizard. Like a purveyor of justice in a wild, wild land.”

    “Ahh. So you want fame and glory.”

    The other rango, a skink named Qozo, was licked mad. “Just give me directions, damn it. From one rango to another, eh?”

    “I guess they headed north.”

    “To where?”

    “To where you ask? Beats me. Could be anywhere when they rode in weeks past,” the larger rango said with a shrug.

    Only a few seconds passed before the skink ran out the door in a cloud of dust.

    “Yeash. What has his tail caught in a stampede?”

    Near the outskirts of town, Qozo was overtaken with ecstasy. Weeks were spent riding upon the endless sands, battling bandits and evading coyote-headed apisi beastmen. But finally, the trail towards the names that traveled so often among his tribe seemingly neared its end. Scenes of boisterous cheers and flying hats filled his mind. It was a fantasy. Another world. But it felt so real! As if his very claws could manipulate the very air before him and create a celebration of an act only he alone could achieve.

    “Watch it you lil’ liz’un!”

    Qozo was broken out of his trance, and saw two humans. One of them held a revolver, while the other had a knife. They were holding a frightened dwarf.

    “What are you two fine gentlemen doing with that there fine dwarf on this fine afternoon?” The skink questioned with a smirk as he reached into his pockets.

    “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” The revolver pressed against the beardy’s head, “Reaching into your pockets as if you’re a god of the draw. Pah!”

    “Don’t need no god to take out trash.”

    “Valaya’s bread! Your shooting form is wrong and incorrect! I say you miss even with-”

    Two gunshots rang out. The skink’s pants were punctured by two smoking holes. The men didn’t move until they scanned their chests and legs for gunshot wounds before casting confused looks at each other.

    Both of the men’s pants fell with only a breeze. They dropped their weapons, running away screaming towards the skies for mercy.

    “Silly, silly humans! Your pants are completely unnecessary!”

    The dwarf slapped his knee and laughed hysterically. “Splendid pocket advantage! You had ‘em running tail between leg with nary a sliver of my wares!”

    “Indeed. Now imagine if all that happened in the town’s center. Everyone would’ve been swooned over!”

    “And for savin' my noggin, I say you deserve a 15% discount and one year extended warranty on all in-store purchases,” The dwarf said, revealing a wide array of handguns under his coat.

    “Thanks, but I seek names instead. Yuqal'Cho-ax and Kai’ax.”

    “Ooo, those two. I’ve given one of them heaps load of ammo. I guess they headed north.”

    “Anything more specific?”

    The arms dealer raised a finger, pointing far off into the distance to his side. He told Qozo an elven huntress lived there, capable of tracking anything alive to the ends of the world. The rango knew those mountains were infamous around these parts, for it was often given the name ‘Ace high morgue,’ because many rich, important people never returned from visiting there.

    Qozo went on, wondering if this was all a stupid trap to walk into. If his life was worth more than the jagged rock of mountains. A few minutes later, a raven landed on his shoulder. It spoke to him in a surprisingly clear voice.

    “Have you seen two humans running around screaming like hooligans?”

    “What’s a random bird got to do with that?”

    “Funny you should ask when you’ve never been around here. You banal reptile.”

    “I’m sorry, but I never seen a bird land on someone’s shoulder out of nowhere and question the everyday happenings of these wild lands as if it’s a person messing with you.”

    “Then you shouldn’t be surprised by the unexpected.”

    The bird leapt forward from Qozo’s shoulder. It exploded into a ball of crackling energies until only a large smoke remained. Out of this smoke came out an elf.

    “Whaa…? How?”

    “Everyone who dabbles in magic knows that trick. Child’s play. Well, at least in olden times.”

    The bemused rango gazed on at the sight before him, until he put two and two together and realized this elf was what he was looking for all along.

    “Ahha! You’re that elven huntress that dwarf was talking about. You have something I want.”

    “And you have something I want.”

    “Hm?”

    “Those running and screaming hooligans. They’re a part of a local gang, well known around here for kidnapping people for ransom. I want to rescue someone. Someone important that has money to throw around for his saviors, by the way.”

    “So hostage rescue. Reminds me of those damsel and distress stories so popular in the lands of Bretonnia. Should we fancy ourselves as knights?”

    “So much pride in you to think that!” The elf chuckled, holding her stomach. “I wonder if your will to live ends once your pride does.”

    “Just a casual expression of heroism is all.”

    “Whatever. We ride in three hours. I’m bringing the stunty.”

    The elf told the arms dealer her wishes and plans and he agreed in exchange for all of the gang’s weaponry once they’re defeated. After preparations were made, the three rode out - white horse, grey mountain goat, and culchan in tow. Underneath the searing sun, they rode between canyons, past trickling ravines, and up sand dunes until it was dusk. They set up camp three-fourths the way to their objective and cooked the dwarf’s suggestion - beef sirloin with potatoes and gravy.

    Qozo looked upon his dish with complete disgust. The meat was stringy and stretchy. The potatoes were bland; the gravy too salty. All in all, the dish was completely unbalanced, with neither of its qualities supporting the other. Absolute rubbish.

    Meanwhile, the dwarf and elf were deep in conversation. Their stomachs full, their mood melancholic.

    “Why did you come to this wild land elgi?”

    “That’s an awfully unprovoked question.”

    “I know, I know. But you and me lived together, survivin’ off the town’s outskirts for years. Makes me think all we been living were sorry lives.”

    “So what? We go on survivin’ all the same. That’s good enough in these parts.”

    “It’d be bad choice if living out here is worse than home.”

    “Funny, considering I never had a choice. I was brought on over by people I never really knew, but still loved.”

    “What people?”

    The elf lifted her head, exhaled, and closed her eyes as memories washed on. “I was nothing ‘ore than an acorn when I came into this world. Nothing ‘ore than the winds that made me fall from my tree. Then I was dropped and picked up. Dropped and picked up again. Dropped and picked up another time. Eventually, I was grasped with such a warmth, I wanted to forget my troubles, until that was taken away. Then I ended up here.”

    “The life of an orphan, eh?” The dwarf remarked, getting teary eyed. Eventually, he burst into tears and hugged the elf’s leg.

    “Alright, alright. It’s been 400 years since then. Countless human generations. You cotton-skinned oaf.”

    “But it’s the experience of so, so many…”

    The sight of the two bemused Qozo, and yet he wanted to be a part of it. Something about the perseverance of a person to go on despite the world’s persistent attempts at erasing them made his dreams slightly change. Made him reflect, if only for a little.

    The three slept before waking up just before sun rise. They rode out once more, stopping near the fringes of their objective.

    They dismounted and discussed tactics. It was eventually decided it would be best for the dwarf to pick them off from a distance with his long range rifle and suppress them. Meanwhile, the elf would flank them from their sides and kill more with bow and arrow. In amidst all this chaos, Qozo would rush into the tunnels where the bandits were keeping their hostage, clearing them out with his derringers in close quarters combat.

    With a raised hand signal, the plan was put into action. It was well-executed. The combination of attacking with the element of surprise and combined-arms worked well. Qozo already smoked a few in the tunnels. He checked every room until he found a man sitting on the floor with his mouth and hands tightened with rope.

    “If it's not my damsel in distress. Here, let me help you out.”

    The skink slowly and carefully cut the rope piece by piece until the man was freed.

    “Gahhhh! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

    “No problem.”

    A few seconds later, the elf and dwarf barged in, weapons drawn. They holstered once they saw the lizard and the freed human.

    “We meet again!” The man exclaimed, pointing towards the elf, “I’m thoroughly pleased! Though not as much to be rotting here like a dried up leaf. I have to say, I don’t really understand the appeal of these wild, wild lands wherein infrastructure is rarer than gold. Looking over the statistics of this region, there appears to be a correlation between those living in poverty and a higher propensity to commit-”

    Please. Stop. Yapping,” everyone in the room said all at once.

    “Oh, right. Sorry. By the way, I have the records you requested.”

    “You do?”

    “Indeed. The records of a certain Bernhard Hahn and Felda Hahn?”

    The elf’s face instantly lit up at the sound of those names. She hugged him with all her strength.

    “Because of people like you, I still have a lil’ hope left in this world. Thanks.”

    ***

    The sun was high up in the sky. Near the outskirts of New Haven, Qozo watered and fed his culchan. He was already given the locations to where he’ll find what he had sought after for so long. But something held him back. The blacksmith saurus was with him.

    “I heard what you did for that dwarf,” The larger rango said.

    “Was he important to you? Is that why you work a dwarf’s trade?”

    “He was the only thing there was, besides the harsh winds and endless sands. A long time ago.”

    “I see. In all fairness, I was hoping you’d be the type taking .50 bullets to the chest, or wrestling apisi beastmen to the ground like it was nothing.”

    “Alas, I’m not a lizard of fame and glory.”

    Qozo smirked. He wanted to go, but couldn’t. It wasn't until he realized he simply didn’t want to anymore.

    “I haven’t told anyone this yet, but I guess I will spill the beans on you now. In my first weeks of living on this world, I lived in the shadow of greater beings… my understanding of life was completely made by their image. When they left, this understanding of mine never did. So I was stuck trying to make sense of it all. So I was a fool trying to find this sense in others. I finally learned this sense can only come from within one place. Yourself.”
     
  4. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Pennies by the Railway


    Whenever I lie my eyes upon the monstrous sight before me, scenes in my mind begin singing and dancing, playing out an act etched in my memory. I remember my ears twitch as bells and whistles roar their chorus, my fur swaying along with what seemed an avalanche of wind swallowing me and everyone else alive whole. And my body! It was trembling as if my very blood boiled. I only drew breath for six months when I saw the interconnected line of carts and wagons following an engine billowing smoke. It was really called a train, and it rode through the newly laid tracks striking through our town. My respect for this monster of moving metal and steel parts only grew as I gained more years of experience drawing breath in this world. What was an immense fear of the monstrous soon turned into an indomitable ambition to conquer it.

    Now, hundreds of kilometers away, I lie behind a few rocks, spotting beyond the wooden fences, a train and all its carts and wagons interconnected with each other from behind. It’s silent and stationary, while the air tasted of a toasted humidity—overcooked and hard on the mouth. And as I grab my canteen for a drop to drink, the train erupts with a deafening whistle. All of it including the engine, its carts, and wagons springs into action.

    I jolt my legs into a run, desperate to catch and overcome it. Getting closer, I remember years ago when I felt like nothing more than a coin when that train came. I imagined I’d be swept up and carried away easily, not chasing one like its prey. But the allure of becoming a part of it, complete with a purpose and destination, make me want to run faster. I didn’t have much to lose after all.

    I was within a claw’s distance of grabbing one of the wagon’s access rails, but they were neither moving closer nor further away. The train is slow, but I know it could soon accelerate into the horizon in seconds. I jump, barely grasping the railings with my claws. My heart raced with reckless abandon as I try climbing away from the wagon’s wheels that would’ve spelled my death. Finally atop with wind peeling back my whiskers onto my face, I fall safely into the wagon’s contents.

    Landing, I feel pain but it’s nothing too serious. Charred flakes litter the floor, their smell twisting my stomach. It’s all dirty trash, but so was I with my unclipped tail and torn clothes. The walls of the wagon are thick, but I could still hunch over and see how fast I’m going. And fast it is. The station from which I jumped the train is now a part of the horizon behind me in mere seconds.

    I sit on the ledge of the wagon, and see many of the other connected masses of steel moving along in the same direction I’m heading. I see towns in all their loudness and peacefulness before they become one with the sand. I see pointyear-things, stunty-things, and breeder-things smile and frown their lives away before they are nothing more but a spec. I hoard every breath of the charred flakes—like I conquered not just this train, but the whole world.

    In my moment of complete joy and happiness where everything seemed so small and insignificant, I retrieve a bag. Inside this bag is a heap of things representing the entirety of me. Without them, I don't know who I would be, or what I would become. I first grab a warpstone ornamented wedding ring. It was my mother’s and she died shortly after she birthed me. Next I grab a worn out revolver. It was my father’s and he died of lynching for killing a murderer. Then I grabbed a cheese-shaped chewing toy. It was my older brother’s, who threw himself off a cliff because he thought I killed his mother. I hold all three close to my chest and sit in silence.

    Out of nowhere, there is a terrible bump. I didn't fall to my death, but I lost grip of the worn out revolver. I try catching it, but in doing so, I lose the other two. All three of them tumble upon the sand before disappearing without a trace.

    I remain there without anything to say or do, except faint upon the charred flakes—the only thing I have left.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  5. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    and rightly so! it's a fascinating setting.
     
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  6. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I'm sorry I didn't notice your Westhammer story later.

    I really like the character interactions in "Muddied Legend" but I'm still not sure why the protagonist is so single-minded towards finding Yuqal'Cho-ax and Kai’ax.

    I wish the story had a bit more traditional structure, but I guess infrastructure is rare than gold in the wild west. ;)

    It read as an introduction to a larger saga more than a short story which I am okay with as long as I can read the larger saga and it has a satisfying build up and conclusion.

    "Pennies by the Railway" was well structured and made me really sad for a filthy skaven. Who knew that was possible?

    By contrast with "Muddied Legend," this was concise and self-contained. PP, you are always good at writing sad reflective protagonists and you did not disappoint here.

    If you have a World Anvil Account or are thinking of getting one, I think you should become a co-author for Westhammer's World Anvil page.

    EDIT: Muddied Waters had a lot of western slang. I like that a lot. I think Westhammer stories should be stuffed to the gills with western style slang and that's something I think other people writing in Westhammer have all too often skimped on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  7. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    ^ I felt like that after reading reviews for my story from Aginor and Imrahil, lol.

    I was inspired to write it after reading Killer Angel's comment on how inner-conflict in stories should be 'showed' rather than 'debated,' and i completely agreed and noticed some of my stories usually follow the latter format.

    I was also inspired by this russian dude's videos:





    He usually travels around the world jumping freight trains for adventure. His stuff usually feature lots of nice scenery, and he meets some of the most extreme people i've ever seen (from strange to sad to awesome to crazy). But i guess that's the resilience of the human psyche.
     
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  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Yeah, Padme is right. Almost all of your stories have this. That's not a terrible place to be.

    I would rather read about interesting characters meandering around than read about dull card board cut out characters in a perfectly paced story. I think it's easier to study plotting then to try to study characterization.

    You have enough plot in place to keep me reading updates of Psyche of War, so your weakness is not crippling, it's just inconvenient.
     
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  9. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Scars and Handwriting


    In the halls of a Belkov inn, during a snowy Kislev afternoon, a gathering of humans, high elves, and dwarfs cheered and danced, drowning their throats with vodka. They were drunk of their victory over the Chaos hordes lying lifelessly strewn across the snowy fields. Many came from faraway places offering a hand and blade.

    “What are you doing with that thing again, Zeckai?”

    There were two skinks named Zeckai and Khazlat. They were adorned with colorful feathers and ornaments. The former held a piece of parchment and inked quill.

    “What? You’ve got to do something in this dreadfully boring place. I’m brainstorming ideas for my next magnificent tale. It’s about a runaway skink traveling the world in search of the Old Ones’ answers to his questions, never knowing those answers reside… in himself!”

    Khazlat replied with a half-genuine smirk. Ever since they came to the realm of man, Zeckai’s discovery of their writing instruments focused his mind on fantasies instead of duty. But Khazlat didn’t mind too much, for even in Lustria, Zeckai behaved so self-absorbed.

    As vodka flew off tables, and jests resonated around the Inn, a massive figure appeared in the doorway. It was entirely cladded in white scales and scars of many shapes and sizes struck all over. Many of the guests could still see blood dripping from many of its wounds. But despite the injuries that would’ve meant death for any human, elf, or dwarf, the creature still stood, glowering at everything as if the vodka were swords, and the jesting were commands to kill. It was Gor-Rok. Zeckai and Khazlat kneeled before joining his side. Many others reached for their weapons.

    “Why the long faces, friends?” A Kislev senior general named Rokossovsky asked, spilling his vodka. “That big large beast over there slaughtered hundreds of thousand Chaos Warriors all by himself! He held off entire contingents of the barbarians off, so dwarven artillery and elven magic could smash them!”

    Gasps of shock and surprise filled the air. Many cheered on the massive lizard, shouting that his scars bore proof of immense courage. There were murmurs on whether the lizard should be honored in some manner, however strange and alien it is. Some yearned for those scars which ran so deep upon his scales if it meant they could cajole more prestige, money, and respect from their peers. And yet despite all of this praise heaped onto Gor-Rok’s shoulders, his expression never changed.

    “He bashes in the skulls of Chaos. Good enough for an ally.” Rokossovksy said as he chugged his wooden cup. “In a few hours, all of us should meet upstairs to discuss whatever compensations any of you have in mind for your troubles, costs, and spilled blood. Celebrate now, for we have defied death!”

    More cheers erupted as the two skinks carefully led Gor-Rok to a table. They hefted his Shield of Aeons and Mace of Ulumak aside. As they stood in silence, Zeckai grasped parchment and quill. He gestured to Gor-Rok.

    “You? You write?” he asked with a toothy smile.

    Gor-rok angrily rumbled under his breath before turning away. Khazlat looked on in complete shock. He accused Zeckai of disrupting their mission objective. He in turn accused Khazlat of demoralization. Soon, insults flew so regularly, Gor-Rok’s rumbling turned into a harsh growl, silencing the two skinks. But the silence didn’t last long. Zeckai still held up the piece of parchment at his leader’s side, begging like a Huagerdon.

    Gor-Rok roared loudly as he bared his razor sharp teeth. His claws positioned themselves like daggers, ready to maim and kill. And yet despite the revered warrior’s ferocious display, Zeckai never moved away. The skink grasped those claws which dwarfed his own, and spoke with a shuttering voice.

    “P-please, my-my-my… master! T-This will calm nerves! Yours! It-It-It focuses your mind! It increases your effectiveness in battle! Maybe…”

    There were echoes of giggles and laughter. Most wondered how a savage, emotionless beast could write with a poet’s soul. Gor-Rok wouldn’t have any problems snapping the annoying skink in half, but he hesitated. His breaths calmed, rising and falling like his tail.

    “Does that mean you will do it?” Zeckai questioned, his smile widening. “Brilliant!” The little skink placed down the parchment upon the table in front of Gor-Rok, and gave him the feathery quill. It broke apart seconds after he held it. Zeckai scrambled for another one, but it met the same fate. One after another came until the Inn’s stock of quills laid scattered and mangled before the three lizards. Zeckai dragged his partner with him.

    “What now? We only have one left.”

    “I assume if we were in Lustria, we would be boiled into talisaurus stew,” Khazlat muttered.

    “Wouldn’t you already be turned into stew if every lizard knew it was you who convinced Gor-Rok to retreat from a battle early on in this campaign?”

    “That was done out of concern for our lizards! We would have suffered horrendous losses!”

    Gor-Rok growled when he heard that. Zeckai smirked. In his moment of arguing, he finally came to an answer. He should let the mighty warrior not grasp the quill, but let the quill grasp him. Like what the scribing master Loqtokate once said: ‘let your soul take control of your claws, and leave your worries to the wind.’

    Zeckai told Gor-Rok this, and seconds later, the quill didn’t fall apart. Those massive claws never moved an inch as the inked feather hugged them. Gor-Rok stared at it not knowing what to think. Zeckai tried instructing the greatly revered leader saurian glyphs and their meanings as the bloodied saurus dragged quill across parchment.

    Eventually, Gor-Rok stopped. Zeckai grabbed the parchment to see what was written. But the glyphs were barely recognizable. He pinned the parchment to the wall and corrected many of the uncompleted glyphs. When his work finally finished, he deciphered the text:

    Blood never stops. It keeps on flowing like a river, and always pouring from wounds. One would ask: ‘When will it run dry? When will it leave me a lifeless mess? When will the pain stop?’ I don’t care about these, for I would be reduced to a heap of flesh and bone if it meant I could meet the Old Ones in peace.

    “Hm. Nice.” Zeckai said with a uninterested voice as he handed it over to his skink partner. “You want to read it?”

    Khazlat read the parchment. He embraced it with a smile gleaming across.

    “You never hugged my stories like that.” Zeckai looked at him with an accusatory glance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
  10. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

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    Always nice to see sauri do anything other than fighting in stories.
     
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  11. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    You are a Saurus


    You are a saurus. Shoulder to shoulder, you march with your spawn brethren under the banner of the 29th Assault Cohort of Itza. You smell the pungent odor of the enemies so far away, yet their faces pull frequently at your mind. It’s the Dro’ka’khanx, or Dwarfs. They’re settled in the mountainous region of the Spine of Sotek, and it’s your task to wipe them out. You feel every heartbeat thump faster and faster as the tails of your brethren swerve side-to-side. Each tail moves distinctly from another, and yet unites towards a singular purpose greater than every saurus.

    Hours of marching passed. In the distance, high up in the mountains, you see black tubes with dwarfs surrounding them. When they fire, clouds of smoke rise above them, and seconds later, large clumps of earth launch into the air. The explosions are so intense, you taste bits of dirt and bugs in your mouth. But that doesn’t affect you. You clench your macahuitl harder and raise your shield. Many of your spawn mates do the same as they charge the dwarven lines. Battlecries of both dwarfs and sauri resonate across your scales, the two lines clashing. Immediately, you overwhelm a dwarf and kill it. More takes its place, rushing with their stubby feet. You face them with your shield and block their strikes. Stepping back, you raise your macahuitl before thrusting downwards. They can’t compete with your superior height and range. They join their bloodied comrades lying upon the dirt.

    You look around. The dwarfs were crushed, not a single saurus lie with them. You and your sauri brethren roar prayers to the Old Ones. You expect a volley of fire from the mountains. But there is only silence; chameleon skinks swarming them now.

    A large circle of sauri formed—all of them staring down. You go up to it, and see a saurus lying in a pool of blood. You learn the saurus was Gehac-hex, and he played with his wounded prey when it unexpectedly charged at him, severing a vital artery of his. You remember he always lived life carefree and joyfully. You and the rest of the sauri move on emotionlessly.

    Your cohort and others climb the mountains until following a narrow pathway leading throughout shadows of the peaks. The objective was seizing a major communication and travel hub providing wide roads to other settlements the dwarfs hold.

    You expect the smell of dwarfs and their fiery weapons overwhelming your nostrils the further you march. But their odor is non-existent, its presence replaced by a wilder one. Other sauri notice as their tails freeze in apprehension.

    Few steps later, a shower of arrows blot out the sky. All the sauri raise their shields and the arrows harmlessly bounce off. Or so you think. You look to the left and see a saurus gurgling blood; an arrow planted in his neck. You recognize he is Maqalpu, who you remember was always afraid to act in case he’d screw things up or disobey simple orders. You don’t let his struggle affect you as your cohort continues on without him.

    As more arrows rain down, you see figures crest over a hill ahead from where the cohort was receiving fire. You see they’re beastmen, their heads sporting horns. They charge, unleashing an onslaught of attacks. Your muscles tremble with every strike from your opponent as you push them away with your shield. You feel it’s difficult retaliating due to the beastman’s constant attacking, and the arrows raining from the skies. Nonetheless, you try swinging at your foe, but it ducks underneath, slashing your arm. You fall to the ground and narrowly avoid a second blow. You prepare defending yourself, but from the corner of your eye, you see three sauri rushing at the beastman. You shout at them to stop, but it’s too late. Your foe easily dodges between their lunges, and cuts them down. You roar angrily as you get up and charge with your shield. You tackle the horned beast and decapitate its head.

    The beastmen lines begin their retreat as screeching terradons bombard the hill with rocks. You look around and see the three bloody and motionless sauri who charged at your ferocious beastman foe. You recognize they are Ca'uxyi, Tlulchoch, and Gulnauin. You remember all three lived life stuck together like petals of a flower, and always breathed, drank, and ate with excitement when others would simply stare. You try your hardest to forget, and move on with your surviving sauri brethren. You’re content with not feeling any pain, even as your arm is dripping blood.

    When the skies turn dark, and the stars flicker, your cohort stops to rest for the night. You succumb to a world of darkness as you close your eyes, and finally surrender yourself to peace.

    But it doesn’t last long. Darkness turns into a jumble of colors; everything a blurry mess. When your eyes open up, you see you’re in a jungle. You feel tight rope running around your neck, and your body swaying side-to-side as you dangle from a tree’s branch. You see ratmen pointing at you and laughing. You see Gehac-hex, Maqalpu, Ca'uxyi, Tlulchoch, and Gulnauin thrashing their arms in a river. You hear them yell and beg for help as they struggle in the water. You try freeing yourself, but the more you try, the weaker you become, and the louder the ratmen’s laughter echo.

    You jolt yourself out of sleep, your heart racing with abandon. The jungle and rope and ratmen are all gone. But what’s left are those drowning sauri. They can’t escape your mind, no matter how hard you try.
     
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  12. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    Never Ending Journey


    Yihgil didn’t come back from his journey. I sit by his favorite spot underneath a tree, overlooking a waterfall. Sometimes I see him in the corner of my eyes, looking at me and smiling. But when I reach out, I only touch air. Is he talking to me? A sign of his coming? My mind grows hazy every day, but memories of us enduring and surviving life comes to me clearer.

    I remember when I was the only one lifting chunks of stone out of a quarry—the other kroxigors sent away to fight. I was halfway done, but my muscles were so sore, I felt like fire was coursing throughout my body, and every breath of mine disappeared faster than they came. I eagerly wanted rest and platters full of meat. But the new skink overseeing my work, Yihgil, came up to me. I waited for those scolding chirps and clicks, their sounds sharp as ever. Instead, he went beside me, stretched out his thin arms, and tried helping me carry my chunk of stone. The stone didn’t feel any lighter with his help. But the sight of him struggling and puffing for air side by side made me push on further.

    I remember the day I accidentally dropped a massive pot of Itxi Grubs intended for lord Mazdamundi. I was put on top of a platform in front of hundreds of lizards. Three sauri stood behind me with blunt wooden clubs. My punishment was to be a public beating. All the lizards roared and bellowed and chirped their applause except for one. I heard Yihgil’s voice amidst them all, begging for forgiveness. His voice was drowned out amidst the roars and cries of others, but I was calmed with its faint presence. When every lizard had to leave for their duties, and when I couldn’t stand no more from the beatings, I saw Yihgil alone by himself. He was the only one left.

    I remember the aftermath of my first blessing of combat. Prickling sensations ran across my entire body. Arrows stuck out all over my scales, and I couldn’t move a muscle as tiredness gripped me wholly. In the battle, I was chasing an elf riding horse until it led me into an ambush. I lived, but only with Yihgil’s formation of terradons raining javelins upon them. As the skink healers put me to rest after the battle, he came up to my side. To my surprise he scolded and criticized me. When I wondered why, he said: “Embrace patience, my friend. Be like a hunter and strike when its least expected. Life is easier that way.”

    Well here I am now, waiting patiently by Yihgil’s favorite spot. I embrace a plaque dedicated to him showing the dates he spawned and disappeared along with his accomplishments. Many say he’ll never return, but I disagree! He’s a kind, brave, and strong skink! He must return! Right?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021
  13. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Nakai’s Fury


    Nakai plows through trees, his bulk falling them as he rushes forth. He senses disturbances in the geomantic web—a sure sign a temple city is under siege. It’s mainly coming from the direction of Tlaxtlan. Every thought of the lizards in danger empowers him to stomp faster and harder, shaking the entire jungle.

    Nakai increases his speed further still, but in doing so, unwittingly comes upon a carnosaur defending its nest. The apex predator roars towards the night sky and stays put, but blocks Nakai’s path. Charging forth, the ancient kroxigor tackles his foe. The two crash to the ground, and after dust clears from the massive impact, Nakai holds the carnosaur down. A struggle ensues, but it doesn’t last long, and the carnosaur awaits a fate it dished out many times before. But Nakai continues his stampede instead, leaving the shaken carnosaur alone.

    Nakai is halfway towards Tlaxtlan, but crosses the path of an entire beastmen warherd. Hordes of minotaurs, Chaos spawns, and gors surround him. Nakai roars and leaps into them all. Each attack of his smashes and crushes whatever dares challenge him. No arrow hoped penetrating his hide, nor were the largest minotaurs any match for him. Soon, what’s left of the warherd runs for their lives, leaving their bloodied comrades with the frenzied kroxigor.

    Nakai finally reaches Tlaxtlan. In the temple city’s outskirts, with prey in front of him, he opens his maw wide open, his humongous teeth bristling sharp, and chomps down on grilled antok meat. A bowl of volcanic beans is to his side, and he pushes fists full of them down his throat. Plates of Xlanhuapec sweet squash flank both of his sides, and he gorges on them with delight. All around him is a grand feast chock-full of food. He sees skinks dance and sing Old One praises to the skies, and lizards bringing forth more food, some kneeling and praying to him.

    The ancient kroxigor learns the disturbances he felt in the geomantic web were manufactured, so that the lizards of Tlaxtlan could lure him in and celebrate the temple city’s twelve-thousandth-sixty-fifth year of existing with him. Cheeky! But he enjoys the feast nonetheless.

    Nakai tries leaving, but can only stumble forth. Drowsiness overtakes him completely due to all the food he ate. He trips and falls in front of an assembly of skink artisans. They laugh uncontrollably, and Nakai couldn’t contain his laughter either.
     
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  14. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    Master Strategist


    Teclis wipes sweat off his forehead. The oppressive heat and humidity of the lustrian jungles bounded down upon his shoulders—his frail body doing no wonders. But of more concern to him is the army menacingly marching towards him. Negotiations have broken down far from repair, and now the lizardmen have sent an army to smite the elves of The Citadel of Dawn.

    He overlooks the raging battlefield. Lines of elves and lizards clash, with darts and arrows joining the fray. Teclis acknowledges the elven front lines are comparably weak against the lizards, and if they brake too fast, their only hope of winning, a firing line of Sisters of Avelorn and Lothern Sea Guard, would be jeopardized. Luckily, a dragon soars above, smothering the lizard lines with fire.

    But Teclis knows it’s not enough. He orders his archer units to separate from each other and form zones of crossfire. That way, if an archer unit is pursued or chased, others could support them easier, though this does reduce their weight of fire. He orders the dragon to not pursue or destroy routing units, lest it gets surrounded by skink skirmishers and picked apart. He instead leaves that job for the fast and agile Ellyrian Reavers positioned on the outer flanks whose responsibility also includes defending his archer units from fast movers. Teclis smirks and awaits the lizardmen’s next moves.

    Teclis sees the lines of sauri isn’t attempting a flank in order to shut down his archers, but rather attacks the elven front lines directly. Such a move would’ve been a death sentence under normal circumstances, but with the archers further apart, fewer sauri fall to the arrows than expected. No matter. The dragon shall massacre them with breaths of fire. Except the flying monster is busy defending itself from terradons. They’re no match for a dragon, but their poking javelins is tying up a vital air support asset the elven front line so desperately needs. And his Ellyrian Reavers chase a few exposed groups of chameleon skinks. They’re juicy targets, but the cavalry’s absence has left the flanks open for some of the sauri units to pressure his vital archer lines.

    Soon, the elves’ situation deteriorates too much, and they route. A dismayed Teclis curses himself as the lizardmen’s general suddenly appears in front of him.

    It was Kroq-Gar, and the lizard downed a bottle of Saphery blue wine all while roaring in celebration. Teclis takes a sip of some kind of spicy yet sweet drink hailing from western lustria, and when he was done, the elf closes his eyes and smiles. A large table sits in-between the two, and it’s filled to the brim with lustrian jungle foliage on one end, and a mock representation of the Citadel of Dawn on the other. Miniature models representing the lizardmen and high elven armies lie on their sides upon the table, though most of the models that still stood were of the lizardmen.

    Both Kroq-Gar and Teclis played a game of tabletop strategy in the halls of the high elven embassy in Hexoatl. Teclis thinks it’s all good fun—an opportunity to unwind from the laborious diplomatic talks with the lizards—but is quite annoyed with his foe’s 52-0 victory streak.

    “Hmph! Enjoy your 52 victories as much you can, Kroq-Gar. As you know, your victory streak can't last forever. It's mathematically impossible. You’ll soon let your guard down. You’ll soon be overconfident. And then I’ll get you!”

    “Only after the next 1,000 games.”
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
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  15. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    Welcome Back Home


    Lizards never shed tears.

    I am a simple skink. My daily life consisted of laboring as a crafter. What I crafted usually changed as often as the hectic weather here in Hexoatl. One day I could be crafting blowpipes for skinks who bring down Lustria’s enemies with poison, and on the next day, I’d be preparing roofing for many of Hexoatl’s structures. It’s very demanding work, but is nothing compared to my three friends. They’re all warriors. I often found myself looking up to them. Unlike me, they have names to strive for and legacies to build. I imagine in battle they’ll prove themselves worthy of the Old Ones’ blessings, while I count the passing days with my claws.

    Us four skinks usually drank and laughed to our hearts’ content in a discrete bar in the early morning hours. So much fun was regularly had during these fleeting hours when none of us had any responsibilities or duties to look after. But one day, the drums of war were beaten. My buddies heard them, and after the last drink was finished, and the last joke was told, they all spoke of farewells and well wishes. Each of the three warrior skinks marched off in different directions, their backs turned to each other. I was the only one left.

    Lizards never shed tears.

    One of my friends, Ganki, was a red-crested skink. She was an overgrown one with a ferocity to match, and could wrestle many sauri. She was part of a cohort tasked with assaulting a dark elf position in the dreary lands of Naggaroth. A fire raged inside her even when the biting winds attempted to cool her. But not many felt the same way. The position they were told to assault was superbly well defended, and most didn’t want to die that day. Ganki shouted at all of them, asking why they should sit idly by while other lizards fight for their lives. She rouses them all into action, and the cohort advances. Their objective is on top a steep hill from which elven artillery was raining down on other lizard units. When they reached there, the cohort was ambushed. Arrows flew wildly, and when the firing stopped, Ganki was the only one left standing.

    Lizards never shed tears.

    Another friend of mine, Nalop, was a chameleon skink. So patient and intelligent she was, one would think she’s a slann inside a skink’s body. She, along with a cohort of other chameleon skinks, was ordered to harass supply lines and other strategic targets in Norsca, deep in enemy territory. They donned feathery dresses to keep themselves warm in the coldness, but such clothing lessened their stealth. In a valley, they spotted an entire battery of Hellcannons below them. Nalop was excited with what seemed an easy ambush, but a bad feeling disturbed her. She looked up and saw a large purple projectile streak across the skies, speeding towards her. The chameleon skink dove and desperately tried burying herself with snow. An explosion shook her entire body, ringing in her ear holes. But she was amazed to have survived. With a relived smile, Nalop rose to find her comrades, but only found steaming piles of flesh and bone instead.

    Lizards never shed tears.

    And lastly, Huhcu was an old friend of mine who was a beast caste skink. She was as loud and boisterous as the stegadons she cared for, and could even lift the spirits of an annoyed saurus. She usually served on top a stegadon operating a ballista, but she found herself comforting an entire cohort of wounded skinks deep in the jungles, north of Itza. Huhcu was trying to find a good position so her stegadon crew could rain down shots upon masses of skaven troops. That’s when she found those wounded skinks who were coughing up blood and moaning for help. She whistled a signal for her stegadon crew to come and bring word to headquarters for assistance. In the meantime, Huhcu remained with the wounded skinks, singing tunes and laughing out jokes to calm their hearts. It worked, but she drew more than her fellow skinks’ attention. Rats swarmed them, swinging their blades. Huhcu managed to cut a lot of them down with her dagger in the ensuing mayhem, but when the swarm of vermin ran away, no one was left alive.

    Lizards never shed tears.

    All of these stories from my three friends were told to me by them after war ended. I expected glory. I expected my three friends to return home with legacies and names that dwarfed them. Instead what I got were three friends whose scars would take many years to heal, and most of those scars will remain open for the rest of their lives. We still drank and laughed to our hearts’ content in that discrete bar in the early morning hours, but the three were never the same. What surprised me the most, however, was their eagerness to learn crafting from me. They wanted to leave behind their warrior status and start their lives anew.

    Lizards never shed tears.
     
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  16. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    The Perfect Saurus


    Underneath the baking sun, in the outskirts of Hexoatl, rows upon rows of sauri train. They are recent spawnings of a new cohort, their scales still dripping water. With blunt objects, they swing and thrust, imitating fighting techniques that will serve them well in battle. In the meantime, the sauri’s overseers, those who have seen centuries of fighting and whose scales are all dry, applaud and curse based on the new spawnings’ performance. But one saurus stands out from the rest. That saurus was Cho’kar. In duels, he moves as light as a feather and strikes with the force of a raging kroxigor. All of his saurus peers fear him, while the overseers watch with amazement.

    One day, Cho’kar’s heart races wildly. He sees Kroq-Gar, the greatest saurus in living memory, in front of him along with a retinue of Old Bloods and Scar-Vets. Cho’kar learns they’re here to see a demonstration of his prowess. If he impresses them, his name will be etched in history for all lizard-kind to witness.

    Cho’kar stands upon a dirt field, the breezes from the sea blowing about him. One of the Old Bloods hands him a wooden pole, and the eyes of those ancient sauri who have seen so much are all on him. He feels like a blade of grass among mountains, but he reassures himself he has more to show than mere fear. Cho’kar decides performing an uppercut thrust—a move effective against mounted enemies.

    The newly spawned saurus takes a deep breath. He spreads his feet apart and tightens his grip on the wooden pole, his claws burning. His tail stops moving along with the world all around him. The rustling branches, the terradons soaring, and the insects buzzing all escape from his mind as he focus. Cho’kar straightens his back and flexes his shoulders. His blood rushes, his excitement oozing. With a burst of confidence, the saurus swings upwards, cutting through the air with all his might!

    He accidently smacks Kroq-Gar on the head.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  17. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    An Unlikely Friend


    Nakai was a unique kroxigor when he arose from the spawning pool. In Tlanxla, the temple city of the sky, his spawning was met with great reverence and excitement. His scales were thicker than any kroxigor spawned before him, and could turn away the sharpest of spears. He was albino—a coloration no lizard ever saw before—a sure sign he was a champion sent by the Old Ones themselves.

    Many were then surprised by Nakai’s behavior.

    The young kroxigor was sitting near a tree, shuddering and covering his eyes. He was submerged in bushes and thorns off the side of a road that ran from Tlanxla to Spektazuma. There were many lizards who walked the paved dirt-way throughout the early morning mist, and Nakai would always feel his heart pounding against his chest whenever he was looked at. Ever since his spawning, he didn’t like being around others. He found himself more at peace surrounded by nature. It was the only place nothing can ever judge him. The thought of not meeting the expectations of the slann, skink priests, and his peers clawed at his mind to no end, for what would happen if he—the champion of the Old Ones—failed them?

    A butterfly fluttered amidst the wind in front of Nakai. He marveled at its vibrant shine of purple until it landed atop his snout. He stared at the minuscule thing not knowing what to think. Few minutes passed of the tree branches rustling and the winds weaving throughout before Nakai smiled. Soon, he saw the little butterfly as a friend he doesn’t have anything to prove to, nor any expectation to satisfy in order to prove his worth. Just his presence is enough.

    Nakai felt gleeful, but the good feelings didn’t last long. He remembered he was late to work.

    Bursting with power, he shook the entire jungle floor; flocks of birds rising from tree tops. He got onto the road, stomping towards the direction of Spektazuma, and as a band of skinks looked with wide eyes at the humongous kroxigor charging past them, Nakai’s thoughts turn to the butterfly that graced his snout. It flew away as soon as he moved, but even though his hands dwarfed it, he felt it lifted an immense weight off his shoulders.
     
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  18. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    Adrift in the Snow


    Oksana slowly looked about. Dead bodies littered around her, their open mouths filled with snow. All of them were less fortunate than her for they couldn’t hide nor run from the dark ones who hunted them down like rabbits. If she kept staying with the dead bodies she looked up to when they were alive—those people she endured the freezing winds with—she’ll end up just like them. So she aimlessly wandered in search of a safer place, dragging a bloodied elven sword behind her. She could only think of memories that warmed her heart.

    Oksana was 10 years old when she visited Araby. Her family traveled all the way from Kislev to do business. She wasn’t aware of anything except for the dry air carrying the scent of spices. She was in a bustling marketplace with people wearing strange clothes and garments that made them more colorful than what she was normally used to. But what occupied her mind the most wasn’t her family, nor the endless possibilities in exploring a new world.

    “Found you, found you!”

    “Aw mannnnnnnnnnn!”

    Oksana found her prey behind a butcher’s shop, sandwiched between two vases. It was her new friend, Farah. Oksana had a grin that stretched from ear to ear, while Farah sat with a resigned look.

    “You are really good at this game. You play like a big scary hunter!” Farah remarked as she imitated a monster menacingly stomping with her fingers.

    “Hehehe. Now let me hide and you do the seeking. I never played as the one who hides.”

    “No way. You are too big. And too smelly! You can’t do it.”


    Oksana snapped back to reality. A bolt crashed into the snow in front of her. Up ahead, she saw an elf standing amidst the blowing mist. The elf was completely enshrouded by black plates of metal and cloth, and he grinned disturbingly towards her.

    “Like this little game, ape woman? Slaves like you are released into Naggaroth’s backwoods with freedom in your hearts, so us civilized elves can hunt you wild animals down,” The elf spoke in accented Kislevarin before breaking into uncontrollable laughter. “Isn’t this fun? Now die and make your screams pleasure me!”

    The clash of swords shook every muscle within Oksana. But the elf’s eyes shook her the most. They never blinked during the fighting. Eventually, she was knocked off her feet and crashed onto the freezing snow. The Kislevarin, with her heart racing, saw the elf laughing manically as he rushes towards her. She frantically pushed her sword into the snow and pulled it out. A pile of sparkling white flew into the elf’s face. It was just enough of a distraction for her to get up and drive her sword through him.

    The elf whose face brimmed with laughter now was shuddering in complete shock. He collapsed and colored the snow around him red. Oksana desperately drew breath and continued on. She still didn’t know where she was going, but there was nothing else to do but go forward. As she drew a bloody path behind her with the sword, her mind turned to memories of the person that meant the most to her.

    Oksana was 19 when it felt like the best day of her life. In the outskirts of Erengrad, her younger brother, Borya, came running towards her with a letter. It said he was now recognized as a full blown Kossar. The weather punctuated her feelings well, for not a single cloud obscured the skies above.

    “Check this out sis. I’m a warrior now. A man!”Borya danced so wildly with his letter, he almost fell.

    “Hopefully you won’t piss in front of other men when they expect courage.”

    “Me? Piss? Only in your crazy ass dreams.”

    “Really? I had to wash your bed sheets by the way. You smelt so strong, I think Chaos Warriors would run away from you in terror.” Oksana tried restraining her laughter, but couldn’t contain herself.

    But the sight of Borya’s face reddening stopped her. After a few seconds, her brother began shouting that in sparring rounds his comrades feared him, and how his superiors regarded him as the best soldier-in-training they’ve ever seen. Of course, Oksana thought these ramblings of his weren’t truthful in the slightest, but they still resonated with her. Deep down, she always wanted to be a ‘warrior.’ After all, two warriors in the family could make their debts go away quickly, and it wouldn’t be her first time swinging a blade around. When Oksana told Borya all her feelings, he laughed.

    “You serious? You’re a woman. It’s not a woman’s duty to fight in battle. You can’t do it.”


    Oksana flinched as screams echoed throughout the snowy expanse. It shattered her reverie she was so engrossed in, and after a few seconds of silence, she began running. She couldn’t look far ahead due to dense fog, but she soon saw the cause of those piercing screams.

    Oksana saw an elf woman who wore the same clothing and armor as those that forced chains upon her, and hunted her without mercy. Beneath the elf was a man lying upon the snow in a pool of blood. Smiling, the elf spoke to Oksana in barely understandable Kislevarin.

    “What a weak soul! Hmpf! But you… I don’t see a scratch upon your skin, human. Pain is eternal and none can escape it, so come and let us indulge in it together!”

    Oksana clenched her sword harder in response, anticipating the clash of blades as the elf charged her. But the elf didn’t bring out anything resembling a blade. It was a long winding whip that moved like a snake throughout the air. Before Oksana could even react, a pointy tip dug into her shoulder. It was shaped like a hook and it flew from the whip’s end. She cursed herself as she tried dodging and rolling away. But it was no use. After many desperate gasps for air, cuts and wounds sprawled across her skin, and she felt like a fire was scorching her in the midst of the blistering cold. As Oksana’s vision faded, the elf laughed harder.

    “Already dying? SO SAD! You were a strong one when I laid eyes on you. Let this enjoyable game go on forever!”

    Oksana now realized what the elf’s intentions were: to not kill her, but inflict torment as long as possible. She smiled, rage and fury in her eyes, and charged the elf. She didn’t try dodging the whip’s glistening hook which stabbed her stomach, but only lifted her sword. The elf whose face was stretched wide with laughter could only look on in shock as the Kislevarin pushed her to the icy snow and decapitated her.

    Oksana stared at the elf’s rolling head, a light chuckle escaping from her, and checked on the man. When it seemed he was long dead, she continued on with her trek, even though she could barely see anything. Pain consumed her and splotches of blood followed her every step. She wanted to stop so she could die, but she reminded herself why all of this was happening.

    Oksana was 31 years old when she stood in Erengrad’s harbor. There were many hailing from faraway lands who walked the wooden piers that made up the port city’s harbor. Ahead In the glittering water was a large ship gently sailing towards her. When she contemplated the future, an old man staggered up to her with desperation in his eyes.

    “What in gods name are you doing?”

    “Borya has fallen in battle and my father and mother live in destitution. I will travel to Marienburg and make money as a mercenary. That’s all.”

    Oksana knew this man as her uncle, Grigori. He was like a second father to her even though he normally lived far south. But here, in this rare moment, he was furious.

    “Think real long and think real good. The Sea of Claws is infested with dark elf pirates and slavers. Your life ain’t worth that risk, especially since your parents are nearing death. Please let them pass peacefully.”

    “But see, this isn’t just about them. It’s about Borya too. He was a brave, young man. I want to continue his legacy.”

    Grigori never responded as Oksana boarded the ship. The woman didn’t grieve for her long lost brother, but instead looked forward to what seemed to be a bright future. Her skills in swordsmanship and archery will earn her fat sacks of money, and she imagines Borya and her parents and Grigori will smile upon her.

    But when the ship set sail for voyaging across the Sea of Claws, Grigori snarled like a ferocious beast.

    “You Fool! Did you listen to anything I told you about the dark elves? You waste your life for salt water. You can’t do it!”


    Oksana’s mind returned to reality once more. Looking back on life, many of the things she yearned for seemed so completely out of her reach. And yet as her mind didn’t know where to go, as her vision faded to near blackness, as snow piled upon her shoulders, and as every step felt like climbing a mountain, she still marches on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
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  19. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    Waiting so Long


    I’m a skink who’ve seen rivers of blood flow freely. I should’ve been swept away in those rivers, but one lizard always kept me afloat and prevented me from drowning. Her name was Aqulkori. I can picture every detail about that kroxigor in front of me, even though she was long gone.

    I’m waiting so long…

    I sat by the butchers’ quarters when two columns of saurus warriors marched. They remind me of the many times in battles I desperately fought for my life until I hear the earth tremble with every stomp of her feet. Our enemies always flew when she swung that humongous maul around.

    I’m waiting so long…

    It endlessly perplexed me that, despite this awesome power, Aqulkori lowered her head to hear every word I spoke as if words carried more weight than she ever could. I spent many months, talking randomly and playing with my claws so I could share a piece of my soul with her.

    I’m waiting so long…

    I can’t tell for how long I haven’t seen her. 4 days? 7 weeks? 10 cycles around the sun? My mind can’t tell, but I feel like she faded into dust, and soon I’ll fade away into nothingness.

    I’m waiting so long…
    I’m waiting so long…
    I’m waiting so long…
    I’m waiting…


    For my food, Aqulkori! I’ve been starving and it’s been two hours, dammit!

    (The skink could see a certain kroxigor gobbling mounds of raw meat)
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
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  20. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

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    This poem was essentially supposed to be about about a chemeleon skink trash talking a red crested skink, but I couldn't find a way to include that detail without butchering the rhythm too much. Anyway, i hope everyone enjoys my amateurish poetry :D


    Sippin’ your Tea


    You say I’m not brave enough
    I’m not fighting tough
    But let everyone understand
    I bring down any who withstand

    Rats shriek, humans scream
    And I move on unseen
    While you drown in blood
    Pride filling you up like a flood

    Hah, guess it’s all good
    Your legacy forever rooted
    And I return home
    Sippin’ your tea
     
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