The Glass Menagerie



  • I love that, Kat, it's stunning! I think you nailed it on making it cooler than the game's Ayrit with still a Seldane feel : ****D It also reminds me of the time Yomu got stuck in a tree on the ceiling of the tyrant's tomb (am I remembering that right?).

    This post has been edited by BreadWorldMercy453 : 12 August 2014 - 09:58 AM



  • ^_^ I tried using the colours from the game but it looked terrible, so I based it off Avatara's description instead. I like to think the people are K and Av, wandering back to look at the obelisk and talk in private at some point.



  • Oh, I thought they were Sage and Scry, waiting for everyone to show up.



  • You can think that too. They're ambiguous for a reason and the reason is not just laziness



  • Love the concept art, Kat. Should have used that as my setting haha. And you're right 453, I actually thought that when I first saw it too.



  • A long time ago, Tyry gave me the idea of making alt-Ayrit into a haunted house. I was very slow in writing this :x

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    What happens to TS heroes when they retire from saving the world? In Cythera, perhaps they live out their days silently in the Tavern, where they are always welcome but never needed. In Alt-Cythera, however, Saltwax Inc took over the Tavern, leaving no safe place for citizens to gather in any of the towns of Alt-Cythera. Instead, the retired heroes went into hiding in the old Seldane city of Ayrit, where they made their living by running a spooky haunted house.

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    All was calm in the Alt-Ayrit Abandoned Area of Alarming Atrocities break room - as usual. It had been months since any customers had patronized their establishment, and as such, the "scarers" were somewhat out-of-practice.

    "Check mate," said Death King, as he cornered Fanatic's Grandpa's king yet again. Fanatic's Grandpa sighed. "Wanna go for 366 out of 731?" asked Death King.

    "Not today, sonny," replied Fanatic's Grandpa. "I think I'm going to go find a drink..."

    As Fanatic's Grandpa wandered off to the fridge, Menexes approached the Death King. "Pardon me," he said politely, "I've been studying your games with Fanatic's Grandpa, and I believe I can beat you."

    "Ha! Such confidence!" scoffed Death King. He motioned to the seat Fanatic's Grandpa had vacated. Menexes sat, and they returned all the chess pieces to their starting positions. Menexes then made a very wise opening move that made the Death King gulp.

    Elsewhere in the break room, the other Scarers occupied themselves with their own activities. Rogan and Talryn were having a drinking contest. Renae was playing with Talm's pet de-fanged wolflizard. Brink was enjoying a cup of coffee. Talos, the owner of the Alt-Ayrit Abandoned Area of Alarming Atrocities , was at a desk in the corner, punching numbers into a calculator and frowning. And of course, Desert Fox was practicing some sparring moves, which was endangering the lives of everyone else in the room. Suddenly the door was thrown open, and the general manager, Slayer, burst in.

    "Brink, put down your coffee!" he exclaimed. "Some kids are walking in!"

    "Ehh, they can scare themselves," said Brink, sipping his coffee.

    Most of the scarers murmured agreement with Brink (except for Death King, whose response was "sweet, I love terrorizing people!"), but Talos jumped up urgently. "Get to your scaring positions everyone, NOW!" he shouted.

    With a bit of grumbling, everyone started rushing around to put on their creepy fake-blood makeup, or get out their scary props. Rogan got out his pet swamp gator, Snapper, and promptly Rogan and Talm were occupied trying to hold onto their pets, who were trying to get at each other. Fanatic's Grandpa was rooting through the closet, muttering "now where did I put that beer elemental?" Menexes ran off to the cafeteria to prepare some overpriced hot dogs. Desert Fox was in meditation, summoning a zombie army that he had taken over and presumably controlled completely. Slayer turned on the video surveillance system, and a girl with a sash over her eyes appeared on the TV screen.

    "Hey, it's just a blind girl," Talryn pointed out. "We could put on our "best of Alt-Ayrit " audio-recording, and she'd never know any difference!"

    "A tempting suggestion..." admitted Slayer. But as Scry continued on, another person came onto the screen, and they realized that the two people were together (and the second didn't seem to have any ocular impairment).

    "Give it your all, everyone!" said Talos, and Slayer rushed off to greet the guests.

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    "Good evening, and welcome to the Alt-Ayrit Abandoned Area of Alarming Atrocities ," said Slayer to Sage and Scry, trying to sound spooky. "Admission is 25 oboloi per person, and we cannot guarantee that you'll make it out in one piece."

    "Oh, brother," said Scry in a tone that made Slayer think she was rolling her eyes. He wondered if she had eyes. If not, she'd be a great addition to the scare-team.

    "We are here to meet some associates of ours," explained Sage. "My apologies, I did not realize there was a tourist attraction here."

    "Wouldn't you like to explore the horrors of Alt-Ayrit while you wait?" persisted Slayer.

    "It might be kind of fun," admitted Scry. "Don't you like creepy things, Sage?"

    "Not of this variety, no," said Sage.

    "Oh well," said Scry. "Knowing exactly when everything will jump out at me ruins haunted houses anyway."

    Slayer's face fell. "Well, would you like a bite to eat in our cafeteria? Meals only fifteen oboloi a person!"

    "I feed only on human souls," commented Sage.

    "Is your kitchen gluten-free?" asked Scry. "I have Celiac disease."

    "Sorry, no," said Slayer sadly. "Would you guys like to browse our gift shop while you wait for your friends? We've got some really cool merchandise for sale."

    Sage turned away from Slayer. "I think we should wait closer to the entrance," he said.

    Scry shrugged. "Thanks anyway," she told Slayer.

    As Sage & Scry wandered off, Slayer heavily went back to the haunted house and made an announcement over the PA system. "False alarm everyone, they're not customers."

    Unhappily, everyone came out of their hiding places, grumbling about the wasted time & effort. Talos came out of his office too. "Alright guys," he said, "I was hoping it wouldn't come to this, but we need to have a staff meeting."

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Everyone gathered in the break room again, and Talos stood before them.

    "As we all know, we haven't generated any income in months, and, well-"

    "Hey, did someone's demon get loose?" someone interrupted, pointing to the video surveillance. Everyone glanced at the screen, which showed a particularly creepy-looking demon with an ornately-shaped double-sided blade weapon wandering around. After a moment, he set off in the direction Sage and Scry left.

    "Probably one of DF's," commented Talm.

    Desert Fox shrugged. "I'm not going to go count all my demons right now. I'll check later."

    "Anyway," said Talos, "we need money - now."

    "Maybe we should try advertising our attraction?" suggested Renae.

    "It would help if people knew we existed," agreed Talos, "but then Saltwax would know too, and they'd probably destroy us all."

    "Oh, yeah," murmured Renae.

    "What about those Ronin guys who were always hanging out here?" asked Talm. "They promised to tell their friends about us."

    "That was years ago," Slayer pointed out, "they have since disappeared off the face of the world, seemingly without telling anyone about our attraction."

    "Do you think they're okay?" wondered Rogan.

    "Probably not," said Slayer, "but no one seems to care enough to investigate what happened to them."

    "Yeah, we've got our own problems," said Talos. "To be honest, I was planning to declare bankruptcy, but apparently Saltwax's new policy on bankruptcy is for the debtor's soul to be enslaved and tortured for 10,000 years..."

    Most of the haunted house staff shuddered.

    "But then I received an offer to buy the business," continued Talos.

    There was a nervous but hopeful general murmuring at this announcement.

    "Looks like I'll have to accept it," said Talos. "I don't know what this will mean for the company or for your jobs, we'll just have to wait and see."

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The next morning, the haunted house staff was gathered again, this time to welcome the new owners.

    "Everyone," said Talos, "this is 4Kids Entertainment. 4Kids, this is the Alt-Ayrit Abandoned Area of Alarming Atrocities."

    Three businesswomen in suits were representing 4Kids and having their first tour of the haunted house. They happened to be the three daughters of Alt-Canachus Comana: Maya, Naxette, and Daria.

    "Pleased to meet you," said Maya. "We're eager to see the establishment, but unfortunately, we're in a hurry. We're speaking at a school at 11:00. Perhaps we could split up?"

    "Certainly," Slayer obliged, assigning Rogan to show Naxette the cafeteria, DF to show Daria the undead armies, and taking Maya himself through the haunted house.

    As Rogan was walking Naxette to the cafeteria, he got bored and felt around his tunic for his flask. Naxette gave him a questioning look, and Rogan, having found it, held out his flask. "Care for a drink?"

    Naxette stared steadily at him. "Is that juice?" she asked.

    "Of course," said Rogan. "Only the finest North Shore Red fermented grape juice!"

    Naxette looked shocked. "Wine? But that's alcoholic! You can't expose the children to that!"

    "Oh, we don't serve alcohol in the cafeteria. We'd love to add a hard cider option, but too much trouble to get a liquor license..."

    Naxette took the flask from Rogan, dumped its contents on the ground, and put it in her purse. Then she rummaged around her purse for a moment and with an "ah ha" pulled out a juice box and handed it to Rogan. "There we go," she said. "All better."

    Rogan looked at the juice box in dismay. "But... what's the point of drinking this?"

    Meanwhile, Daria and Desert Fox were in a large unused space of Ayrit, where DF had summoned his undead army. The grotesque zombies stood in formation, still as statues.

    "Impressive, yes?" asked Desert Fox proudly.

    "Revolting," corrected Daria. "First of all, what happened to their clothing?"

    DF shrugged. "They've been dead a while, it probably deteriorated."

    "It's indecent!" announced Daria. She wrapped her shawl around the nearest zombie. "Mm, that's better. Get proper clothing for all of them ASAP, okay?"

    "Uhh, you don't think that shawl detracts from the scary factor? I mean, if I saw a zombie in a nice shawl, I wouldn't think "AHH!" I'd think "huh?""

    "Well, it's more important to be modest," insisted Daria.

    DF scowled. "I'll try to come up with something," he said.

    Daria hesitated. "Actually, I don't trust you. I'll bring by a new zombie wardrobe tomorrow."

    "Fine," said DF.

    "Furthermore, I'm not sure the concept of 'zombies' is appropriate. 'Zombies' implies that they are dead-"

    "-They are dead," cut in DF.

    "-And that they, by means of brain-eating or somesuch, will cause the visiting children to become dead too."

    "I assure you I've got complete control over them and will never let them actually harm anyone! We just want them to scare them."

    "A child should never think about death," said Daria. "A child shouldn't even know that death exists, or that anyone ever dies."

    "Um...."

    "So instead of undead zombies, how about we make them into Shadow Realm Recruiters? Soldiers from the Shadow Realm who have the ability to take people to the Shadow Realm just by touching them!"

    "That's ridiculous," said DF in exasperation.

    "No, it's brilliant," decided Daria. "And I hope you fix your attitude so I don't have to find someone else to control the Shadow Realm Recruiters."

    DF's eyes were starting to glow red as he imagined Daria coming to the same end as Menelaus. "Must not lose control..." he muttered.

    "I'll see you tomorrow with the new outfits!" said Daria happily, and went back to meet her sisters.

    While Daria was inspecting the zombie army, Maya was critiquing the haunted house.

    "Now, this is our best room," said Slayer excitedly as they approached the Animatronics Room. "The undead are nice, the swamp gator and the beer elemental are nice, but this is where we really freak people out. This is where the screams of terror get to a dangerous volume, this is where customers wet their pants in fear. This is awesome." He lead Maya through a curtain, and immediately on the other side, she came face-to-face with an early-edition Chuck E. Cheese animatronic. Chuck E.'s eyes sprang open. Maya gasped and grabbed Slayer's arm.

    Chuck E.'s eyes and mouth were moving, up and down, back and forth, while his cheeks remained completely stationary. His head and body began to move in big, jerky movements.

    Maya clung to Slayer's arm as they walked through the room, passing other animatronics who were moving in similar ways. None of them were in very good condition, with patches of fur or material missing, stains, and sometimes even missing pieces.

    "Isn't it amazing?" said Slayer excitedly. "We got all of this stuff from an old ShowBiz Pizza auction! It has definitely taken our haunted house to a whole 'nother level of terror!"

    Maya attempted to speak but ended up just whimpering. At the end of the room, a door suddenly opened, and a first-generation Pasqually burst out, wielding a serrated pizza cutter and announcing that their pizza was served.

    With a small scream, Maya jumped back. Then, determined, she stepped forward again, holding the door open so that Pasqually couldn't retreat back inside.

    "That blade is absolutely crossing the line," declared Maya. "Do you want to encourage violence in children?" with that, she wrenched the pizza cutter out of Pasqually's hand.

    Slayer shifted uncomfortably. "His hand looks funny now, grasping nothing..."

    "I'm sure we can improvise something," said Maya confidently. She opened her purse and dug through it a bit. "Let's see... lipstick? No, disturbing... He's not getting my wallet... Ooh, hairbrush! No wait, health code violation... Certainly not sanitary napkins... Ah ha! Perfect!"

    Slayer watched with interest as Maya withdrew an umbrella from her purse. "In case it rains in the haunted house in the cave?" he asked.

    "Exactly! The possibility of rain will scare the kids, won't it?" Maya chuckled mischievously. "And now he can protect the pizza from the rain!"

    "I see..." said Slayer. "You're the boss."

    Maya nodded in satisfaction. They finished the tour and met everyone else back in the front.

    "We've got a lot of work to do," said Maya. "We'll be back tomorrow to start implementing changes to make this attraction age-appropriate. See you then."

    With that, Maya, Naxette, and Daria departed.

    Everyone sighed. Slayer said, "well, looks like our alarming atrocities are going to become less alarming and less atrocious."

    "At least they didn't mention any lay-offs," pointed out Talos.

    "What about you?" asked Renae. "What are you going to do?"

    "I think I'll settle down..." said Talos. "Become a stay-at-home father. Someone else can deal with all the world's troubles."

    "Wait, you have kids?!" asked Talm.

    "I heard rumours about an illegitimate son somewhere... I'd better go look for him. Byebye!" Talos departed.

    "So we've got the rest of the day off, right?" asked Death King.

    "Let's party!" announced Fanatic's Grandpa.

    "We've got to consume all of our alcohol before 4Kids comes back!" said Rogan.

    Everyone cheered and headed for the break room, but Slayer stopped them. "Wait," he said. "Someone's coming."

    They could hear the sound of a crowd of people approaching through the cave.

    "Customers!" said Menexes.

    "It sounds like a lot of them," commented Talryn.

    "Should we get into scaring positions?" asked DF.

    Slayer nodded. "Hurry."

    The crowd came into view, and it seemed to be a group of schoolchildren and one grown-up lady.

    "Hello!" called out the lady when they were in distance. "I'm Mrs. Jewls, and these are my pupils. We're looking for some representatives of 4Kids Entertainment. Have you seen them?"

    "They just left," said Slayer.

    "Oh dear!" said Mrs. Jewls. "What shall we do? They were supposed to speak at our school, but under the circumstances that will be quite impossible. I was really hoping we'd catch them here."

    "I'm afraid I don't have any way to contact them," said Slayer regretfully. "What has happened to your school?"

    Mrs. Jewls looked very upset. "A terrible disaster... It was overrun by 1,153 cows."

    The children behind her nodded and babbled about all the cows.

    "Alas!" lamented Slayer, "what a tragedy! Perhaps, seeing as how going back to school is not possible, you'd like see Alt-Ayrit's Abandoned Area of Alarming Atrocities? Tickets are only 25 oboloi per person, and we cannot guarantee you'll come threw in one piece..."

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Half an hour later, Mrs. Jewl's class burst out of the haunted house, screaming and running for the cave exit as fast as they could.

    "Run! Run!" the kids screamed. "It's going to rain!"

    "If a single rain drop touches you, you'll be stuck in Shadow Realm FOREVER!"

    "AHHHH!"

    As the schoolkids & their teacher ran out of the cave, the scarers emerged from the haunted house, high-fiving each other.

    "Excellent!" said Death King.

    "I've got to hand it to them," DF admitted. "4Kids really knows what they're doing."

    This post has been edited by BreadWorldMercy453 : 05 October 2014 - 07:07 AM



  • ...well, that was interesting...

    I think you have too much time on your hands :p .



  • I never get tired of BMW's parodies. ^_^



  • Haha, nice on, 453. Quite silly.



  • @ikaterei_bot, on 04 October 2014 - 08:19 PM, said in The Glass Menagerie:

    I never get tired of BMW's parodies. ^_^

    +1

    (How long do you think until she writes a Sail parody?)



  • Ooh, I hope she does, that'd be awesome! There might need to be more plot development first though.



  • It's a good idea! ^ ___^



  • Avatara wanted to know what Katerei wore back when she was 15 and living alone in the woods. Drawing trees didn't work out, so I drew her in a Cademia alleyway. :V This is not long after she arrived in Cythera, so she hasn't adopted her trademark violet dress yet.

    City Drifting (Katerei)

    Posted Image



  • Beautifully done, Kat! I especially love her boots and the texture of the wall, but the whole picture is amazing. It may be a problem when you want to improve it in five years, because there's nothing to improve ^_ __^



  • Thanks! But I'm sure in five years I'll be able to find plenty of things wrong with it. :rolleyes:



  • The idea behind this story was an attempt to start a flame war to raise activity on the forum. I realized upon writing it, that it's unlikely to start a flame war and much more likely to provoke Sely to kill me, so I was scared to post it. However, Sely assures me that he's busy this week, so I should be save until at least Wednesday... Also, in my defense, I really do like Selax, but alt-Selax is kind of a jerk : __P

    - - - - - - - -

    The day started like any other. Selax woke up - well, not really woke up , as though he were sleeping. Can you imagine, Selax, sleeping? Anyone could come along and drop a bomb next to him! Haha, no, he didn't wake up , but he shifted from being in a quiet meditative state to a more social state in which he was willing to talk to select few persons about select few subjects.

    In this case, Selax approached Evil Wizard to exchange notes on how world domination was going.

    "Good morning," greeted Evil Wizard. As usual, he spoke in a foreign language as a precaution to prevent eavesdroppers. Today, the language was Klingon.

    "Any news?" asked Selax.

    "All is well," said Wizard peacefully. (This is a rough translation, as the literal Klingon would be something like "all is ripped carcasses," etc.) "The "heroes" of this world are just puttering around exploring various ruins; and Avatara, Katerei, and Rapierian have gone back to our world. Unfortunately, it's the wrong Rapierian who went back, but that's a minor detail."

    "You sound as though you have become complacent," commented Selax. "Have you no concerns?"

    "Well, have you considered if this holiday will have any effect on our plans?"

    "Have I considered it? Of course I have considered every possible complication that could be caused by All Groundhogs' Eve, and have prepared counter-plans for every potential complication; but I don't anticipate any hinderance."

    "Oh, uh, good for you," said alt-Wizard. "I meant, have you planned a party or anything? I know our minions would love a good costume party. I'm thinking we could have a haunted house, a maze, a costume contest, some disco dancing, maybe watch a scary movie... It would be a lot of fun."

    Selax stared blankly at Wizard. "I do not have fun," he said simply, "and I will not permit any of my minions to do so either. Please prepare some form of punishment for anyone who attempts to "have fun" today."

    "Uh oh," said Wizard.

    "What?" demanded Selax.

    "Er... most of the minions have already headed down to town square to watch the Groundhog Ceremony. That could potentially be fun."

    "I don't follow."

    "The Groundhog Ceremony is an annual tradition where people gather to see whether or not the famous Groundhoglizard sees its ghost. If it does, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, which indicates that the rampant evil spirits will haunt us for a full six weeks. If the groundhoglizard does not see its ghost, that indicates that the evil spirits will return to their own realm in the morning," Wizard explained. "The Groundhoglizard has been proven to be accurate in such matters to an impressive 39% of the time," he added.

    "I know all that," said Selax. "But I don't see how this ceremony would be "fun.""

    "There's an open bar."

    "Curses!" said Selax in fury. In case you're wondering what in sounds like when Selax curses furiously, it sounds kind of like how you or I might say "nice weather we're having" (except with less emotion).

    "I must go down to the ceremony before the minions get drinks," said Selax, and promptly departed.

    Shortly, Selax arrived at the town square, just in time to see the groundhoglizard hiss in fear as it saw its ghost and run back into its hole. All the spectators promptly cheered and chugged mugs of beer. Selax wasn't sure if they were cheering because the evil spirits were supposedly staying an extra six weeks, or because of the groundhoglizard's poor accuracy in predicting so; but he suspected it was merely because they wanted to drink and so didn't bother coming up with a plausible reason why they were cheering.

    He had arrived too late, Selax noted, seeing that his minions were among those drinking and cheering. Some were even eating hot dogs, which were apparently being handed out nearby.

    "Impressive costume!" said a man whom Selax had never met. He was, apparently, talking to him. Selax glanced down at himself. (He wasn't wearing a costume.) "What are you?" the man continued.

    "An... air elemental," said Selax.

    "Oh... uh cool. Hey - want a hot dog?" The man held a hot dog out to Selax.

    Selax considered killing the man, or simply not dignifying him with a response, but the hot dog did look yummy. "Thank you," said Selax finally, taking the hot dog and biting into it. It had been a long time since Selax had bothered eating food, and it was delightful. The flavour in his mouth, the satisfying full feeling in his stomach, the intense thirst and agonizing pain...

    Wait, what? Selax felt dizzy and sick, his vision becoming blotched over with black spots. He was falling, he tried to catch himself but he couldn't move his limbs. He fell. The hot dog was poisoned! he realized as he died.


    The day started like any other. Selax emerged from his meditative state, and met with Wizard to discuss their world domination. As usual, they spoke to each other in languages unused in Cythera in case of eavesdroppers. Wizard began speaking to Selax in Klingon.

    A thought nagged at Selax's mind. Didn't Wizard use Klingon in their last conversation? Wizard never uses the same language twice. Something's wrong. Wizard must be going senile. A shame, but then again, it's to be expected, given his age.

    As Selax considered this, he wasn't really listening to Wizard, who seemed to be waiting for an answer. "What?" Selax asked.

    "I said, do you have any All Groundhogs' Eve plans for today?" asked Wizard.

    "Of course not," said Selax. "We will pursue our goals as usual. I will not permit any sort of "holiday celebrations" - please ensure that none of our minions participate in such debauchery."

    "Oh, uh... Would that include watching the Groundhog Ceremony and likely consuming alcoholic beverages? Because they're already doing that."

    "Curses!" said Selax, and quickly departed.

    Selax moved quickly toward Town Square, when he saw his counterpart Beorn on the road in front of him. Beorn waved.

    "Good morning, evil counterpart!" Beorn said cheerfully. "I was just thinking about you and how we got off on the wrong foot. I want to make it up to you! As you probably know, I'm a master artist. Come to my house, and I'll paint a portrait of you, free of charge!"

    "You're an artist?" asked Selax. "Actually, I did not know that."

    Beorn laughed nervously. "Uh yeah, after you took away my super-powers, I had little to do with my time. So I've taken up painting! I'm very good at it, you won't be disappointed. Then you'll have a grand terrifying painting to terrify your subjects when you're not around!"

    "Hmm," considered Selax. "That does sound useful. Okay."

    So Selax followed Beorn to his house. "Are you sure this is your house?" asked Selax, as they approached what could be described as a small metal cell. "I thought you lived in a cabin in the woods?"

    "Oh, uh," Beorn sounded nervous again. "I moved last week. My art has been so successful that I was able to upgrade..."

    "Oh, cool," said Selax (who agreed that a metal cell was a step up from a forest cabin).

    "So why don't you go inside and make yourself at home. I'll just grab my paints and I'll be right there."

    "Okay," said Selax. "I must say, it's nice that you hold no grudge against me, and aren't at all acting suspicious."

    Beorn laughed nervously.

    "So... go on inside," Beorn coaxed.

    Selax shrugged and went in. Immediately Beorn slammed the door shut behind him and locked it.

    "Uh, Beorn?" Selax called. "Why does your house lock from the outside? That doesn't seem very secure."

    "Well, um... I keep my paints outside my house, so I lock the outside instead of the inside." The sound of Beorn's reply was faint through the metal walls, but Selax had excellent hearing.

    "I see," said Selax. Speaking of his excellent hearing, he could also hear a ticking sound. It was a bit too fast to be the ticking of a clock.

    "Say, what's that ticking sound?" called out Selax.

    "Uh... That's my metronome... for my painting," answered Beorn. His voice was really faint now, and panting for breath. It sounded as though he was running away.

    That's weird, why would Beorn be running away? And why would he need a metronome for painting?

    BOOM


    The day started like any other. Through conversation with his affiliate Wizard, Selax learned that some of minions were celebrating All Groundhogs' Eve, and went to stop them.

    On his way to town square, a large anvil fell from the sky and crushed Selax.


    The day started like any other. Selax was conversing with his affiliate Wizard, who had started the conversation in Klingon. Wizard must really like that language, since he had used it four conversations in a row now.

    Four conversations in a row , thought Selax. What were the other three conversations? He couldn't quite remember.

    "Many of our minions have already gone to the Groundhog Ceremony," Wizard was saying, "where I expect there will be drinking and celebrating."

    Selax paused. "That sounds familiar. Did they do that yesterday?"

    Wizard gave him an odd look. "No... the last Groundhog Ceremony was a year ago."

    "No, this definitely happened yesterday," said Selax, deep in thought. "I went to the ceremony and ate a poisoned hot dog-"

    Wizard choked. "You ate poisoned food?!" he snickered.

    "And then Beorn trapped me and exploded me with a bomb, and then an anvil fell on my head!"

    Wizard slapped his leg and roared in laughter. Selax glared at him. "This is serious," he said. "What is going on?"

    "The Groundhog Ceremony, where our minions are currently getting drunk and enjoying themselves," Wizard reminded him.

    "Curses!" said Selax, and left. As he traveled, he had two things on his mind: 1) stopping the minions from having fun, and 2) figuring out why he appeared to be living (& dying) the same day over & over.

    Selax arrived at town square too late to prevent his minions from drinking, so he settled for having a drink himself.

    And another drink...

    And another...

    By the end of the ceremony, Selax had laughed more than he had in his entire life (by which I mean, he laughed once). He didn't feel much like walking home, so when he saw a titan-drawn carriage parked at the edge of town, he decided to confiscate it for himself.

    Driving along the shore, Selax couldn't remember how to get home, but he urged the titans on faster and faster. A Scylla emerged from the water and swam to the shore, roaring and hissing as it tried to get at Selax's carriage; but it couldn't climb onto the land.

    "Why are there so many dumb rules in life?" Selax asked. "Brush your teeth, don't have fun, no driving on the Scylla..."

    "Uh, Master, you make the rules."

    Selax glanced at the minion beside him. He had forgotten that he was giving the minion a ride home. "Well, not any more!" he answered. Suddenly he veered the titans toward the water, straight at the scylla.

    Running full speed, the titans crashed into the scylla, the carriage broke apart into little pieces; and the passengers sank into the water before they were promptly eaten by the scylla.


    The day started like any other.

    No, wait. What happened last night? thought Selax.

    Then Selax's memories came back. The poisoned hot dog, the bomb, the anvil, and... he was drinking and driving?

    "Oh come on!" said Selax. "This is getting ridiculous! I would never eat food offered to me by a stranger, much less consume alcohol!"

    The Wizard heard him. "What's wrong?" he asked Selax in Klingon.

    "What day is it?" asked Selax.

    "All Groundhogs' Eve, of course."

    "That's what I thought. This is the fifth time I've started this day, and each time I somehow lose my better judgment and die."

    Wizard raised his eyebrows. "That is most strange," he commented. "And very concerning."

    "What could explain it?" wondered Selax.

    "Hmm," said Wizard. "I may have heard of this concept before, once, a long time ago..."

    "Yes?" asked Selax. "What is it, what causes it?"

    "I don't remember the details, but I'm pretty sure it was the Prophet Therac who spoke of it. Maybe you could try reading his book?"

    "But the only copy of the book in existence is currently possessed by the mad necromancer, Rapierian... The notion of talking to him does not appeal to me."

    Wizard shrugged. "I guess you could just keep dying repeatedly?"

    Rapierian was having fun tormenting his companions. This job included randomly disappearing and leaving the others do deal with various things on their own.

    So it happened that when Selax approached Rapierian, he was on his own. Selax cleared his throat.

    "Ah, Selax," said Rapierian. "To what do you owe this pleasure?"

    "Silence," said Selax. "I require a book that you currently possess. Give it to me, or I will kill you and take it anyway."

    "Not my Chronicles of Therac? asked Rapierian innocently. "It's my favourite book! I can't fall asleep at night without it."

    "That is of no concern to me."

    "Perhaps we could compromise," suggested Rapierian. "I could give you information from the Chronicles of Therac if you agree to send me an even more interesting book to read."

    "Fine," said Selax, who didn't really feel like killing Rapierian anyway. "What does Therac say about one reliving and re-dying the same day over and over?"

    "Ah, you must be talking about the Groundhog Effect. It is caused by selfishness and apathy. The only cure is to truly love someone, and be loved in return."

    "You must be kidding," stated Selax.

    Rapierian laughed and laughed. Then he fished out his book, found the appropriate page, and showed it to Selax to prove he wasn't lying.

    "Isn't it hilarious?" asked Rapierian. "I think I'd rather die repeatedly, wouldn't you?"

    Selax was silent.


    (Many, many death-cycles later, the following programme was broadcast.)

    Sage: Welcome to The Immortal Bachelor. I'm your host, Sage. Tonight, we've got a very special show for you. For thousands of years, he's lived alone, heart breaking each year that he fails to find love-

    Selax: What?

    Sage: Tonight, immortal air elemental Selax joins us in once last dramatic attempt to find love. If he does not fall in love in the next few hours, he will die a violent and gruesome death. Will he find a wife to rule beside him in his global domination, or is he doomed to die lonely?

    Selax: That is not an accurate description of the situation. I am not lonely, and I have no interest in finding love or sharing my throne.

    Adriana: Hey, why are we even here?

    Sage: Without further ado, let's meet our ten beautiful contestants! Palaestra, a retired Alchemy teacher with a fiery personality!

    Palaestra: I was told I'd be getting some kind of award. What are you going on about? I have doubts that you're even in the right place.

    Sage: (ignoring Palaestra) Shi'nayne, a one-foot-tall Phaerie who loves to have fun!

    Shi: (Doing air-somersaults) Whee!

    Sage: Alcestris, renown cook of the Cademia castle for the past 80 years!

    Alcestris: Could you speak up a bit? It's rude to speak so I can't hear you.

    Sage: Callie, the amazing magic-casting calico cat!

    Callie: Meow.

    Sage: Seqedher, a mysterious Seldane woman!

    Seqedher: Peti try xertk.

    Sage: Adriana, a nurse magess who's haunted by her past.

    Adriana: I'll haunt you, mouseboy.

    Sage: Nili, a young Viirelei woman with a big heart.

    Nili: Does anyone know what's going on here?

    Adriana: I thought it was an awards ceremony with a free dinner?

    Sage: Scyrillia, a ferocious dragon looking for a tenderhearted man to cool her down!

    Scyrillia: ROAR!

    Sage: Satori, an explosive hothead who likes to kill people with her mind!

    Satori: (Glare)

    Sage: And last but not least, a nameless marionette!

    Marionette: (sits motionlessly)

    Sage: Over the next few hours, these ten beautiful women will be competing for Selax's love. Selax, you've got quite the decision to make!

    Selax: Indeed... Slim pickings.

    (The girls gasp in shock and offense. Satori explodes part of the building that they occupy, Callie attempts to claw Selax's eyes out (he easily dodges), and Scyrillia breathes fire at him (which he also dodges, though the wall behind him ignites).)

    Sage: Er.. Why don't you try to get to know these ladies better? In ten minutes, you'll need to eliminate half of them!

    Selax: Can I just play eenie-meenie-miney-moe?

    Sage: No. Go talk to them!

    Selax: (Sighs, approaches Alcestris) So, what do you like to do besides cook?

    Alcestris: Eh? You'll need to speak up...

    Selax: Do you enjoy taking over worlds?

    Alcestris: Huh? Could you speak up?

    Selax: Nevermind... (approaches Seqedher) Oh hey, I know you - I killed your counterpart.

    Seqedher: The Watcher of Truth sees you. (Walks away)

    Selax: Okay... (approaches Adriana)

    (Adriana sees Selax, tosses her hair over her shoulder, and walks in the opposite direction.)

    (Selax shrugs and approaches Callie instead.)

    Selax: I have always preferred cats to humans.

    (Callie twitches her tail and turns away from Selax, casting a Rune of Blocking behind her. Selax wanders off to Nili.)

    Selax: Do you desire to take over the world?

    Nili: Uh... no. I'm just here because my best friend totally abandoned me; she said she'd take me to another tribe to get married six years ago, then she disappeared and I never saw her again. So, if this doesn't work, I'll have to become an old spinster. Or marry Fendul. Yeah, I'd become an old spinster.

    Selax: I have no interest in any of this.

    (Nili tosses her drink at Selax, who ducks and manages to miss most of it.)

    Sage: Ding-Dong! It's time for our first Elimination!

    Selax: Get rid of the five lesser beings whom I've already attempted to speak to.

    Sage: (Sternly) That's not how it works, you have to offer roses to the contestants whom you'd like to stay. (Hands Selax five roses.)

    Selax: This is ridiculous.

    Sage: If you don't follow the rules, I'm canceling the show and you'll never find true love.

    (Selax emotionlessly hands roses to Satori, Shi, the marionette, Scyrillia, and Palaestra.)

    Palaestra: This is my award? This is a disgrace! You have no idea how to host an award ceremony, young man! (Turns on her heel and leaves.)

    Sage: Whoa! Dramatic! With Palaestra's refusal to accept Selax's affections, only Scyrillia, Shi, Satori, and the Marionette remain! Who will be eliminated in the next round, in five minutes? Stay tuned for more Immortal Bachelor!

    (Outside, in a departing limousine, the eliminated contestants cry together.)

    Nili: Look, I hate to play the racism card, but none of the blue-skinned ladies (motions to Seqedher) made it through to the second round. Coincidence? I think not. Selax is obviously racist.

    (Back inside, Shi is bursting with excitement over her rose.)

    Shi: I've got a flower! It's so pretty! (Flies over to the marionette) Look how pretty my flower is!

    (The marionette smiles and holds up her own rose.)

    Shi: Whee! Can I go home now that I've got a flower?

    Selax: Go ahead.

    Sage: Oh my! Another lady quit the show! Can you handle the intensity?!

    Selax: Yes.

    Sage: Psst, you're supposed to cry about how much you cared about Shi and how disappointed you are that she decided to go.

    Selax: I did not care at all about Shi and I am somewhat relieved that she's no longer buzzing around in here.

    Sage: (Annoyed) Just go talk to the other contestants. With only three women left, we'll move straight into the final round!

    Selax: (Approaching Scyrillia) Aren't you already in a relationship?

    Scyrillia: I've had it with Vashnij's temper! I dumped his scaly butt.

    Selax: I see... Do you have any children?

    Scyrillia: Yes, I've got a dozen dragonlings at home. I think you'll make a good step-father.

    Selax: Do you know who I am?

    Scyrillia: No idea.

    Selax: I see. A small dragon horde may be useful, but also volatile. (Moves on to Satori) Speaking of volatile...

    Satori: The voices! Make them stop! (Collapses on the floor as the room crumbles around her.)

    Selax: That's nice. I really shouldn't have eliminated the cat. (Moves on to the marionette.)

    Marionette: Your will is my command.

    Selax: Naturally. How do you feel about taking over the world?

    Marionette: It is the most noble purpose of life.

    Selax: (Nods) Now go leave me alone.

    Marionette: As you command. (Wanders off)

    Selax: Hmm... I could tolerate this.

    Sage: (Gasps) Did you hear that, everyone?! He said he could tolerate the marionette! That's the Selax version of true love!

    Selax: Does that mean I'm done?

    Sage: Hold on, we need to see if she loves you back. Marionette!

    Marionette: (Approaches) Yes?

    Sage: Do you love Selax? Truly, unendingly, with all your heart?

    Marionette: Sure?

    Sage: Success! With that, Selax is saved from violent death and eternal loneliness!

    Marionette: Um, is it okay that I don't have a heart?

    Sage: Of course! Selax doesn't either.

    (End credits.)


    And that is the end of our story. Did Selax's tolerance of the marionette really save him from the endless loop of certain death? Stay tuned to Out of Reflection, Into Reality to find out!



  • YES. It's everything I hoped for. ^_^ I hope Selax lives a long(er) fulfilling life with his marionette.

    Let's have a poll on our favourite Selax deaths. Mine was probably the anvil. Old-fashioned but effective, just like Selax.

    Quote

    Adriana: I'll haunt you, mouseboy.

    :D



  • I'd write a story about killing off Retsy, but I already kind of did that :p ...I suppose I'll have to think of something else to contribute here.

    Regarding the various deaths, I don't think I'll vote on favorites, but I'd be happy to analyze the feasibility of each, if anyone were curious.

    @ikaterei_bot, on 30 October 2014 - 09:03 PM, said in The Glass Menagerie:

    YES. It's everything I hoped for. ^_^ I hope Selax lives a long(er) fulfilling life with his marionette.

    Actually, I'd say that Selax's lifespan probably makes a living fulfilling life harder, since pretty much everyone he knows dies (in what is an eyeblink to him) and most everything he accomplishes ultimately crumbles with time.

    @ikaterei_bot, on 30 October 2014 - 09:03 PM, said in The Glass Menagerie:

    Old-fashioned but effective, just like Selax.

    I'll take that as a compliment.

    Thank you :) .



  • A poem about colonialism and architecture popped into my head a couple days ago related to the research I've been doing for Sail. It's structured to be readable from two viewpoints: Kateiko as an indigenous person in her land, and myself as the descendant of immigrants (and a recent immigrant myself.)

    Stanza one references the Colonnium which I based on the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, BC (the capital of my home province) and stanza two references Nen Divinus based on St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, Victoria (where I currently live), though the colours wound up getting switched.

    "Pyrrhic Victoria"

    logroll downriver into the cream-stone loggia
    on water that runs thicker than blood because
    swirled cream can no longer claim white purity

    make port in the shelter of the ash-grey portico
    on flagstones at the foot of our divinity where
    white flags herald grave stones and stonings

    indiginent, immigrant
    --we are both indignant



  • ~~~* Meanwhile, in the Secret Cow Dimension...~~*~

    MOOOOOooooooooooooo. The cow whispered.


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