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View Poll Results: Which short story
Journey to the Druids 5 41.67%
Serial Monogamy 7 58.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-23-2012, 08:18 PM View Post #1 (Link) #3 Monthly Short Story Contest - June
Julian (Offline)
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Voting ends at the 4th of July:


1) Journey to the Druids
Spoiler:
Triana stretched, reveling in the warm sun on her skin beneath her thin silk, dress. She opened her eyes; gazing up at the azure sky dotted with small, white clouds. She lay there, on the warm flagstones, in a kind of sleepy daze.
"Triana!" the voice was sharp with urgency, the voice of her servant.
Triana sighed and sat up, shaking off her contented trance. "I'm here, Grete." She stood and brushed a few dried leaves from her skirt. Absentmindedly, she ran a hand through her thick, curly hair. Ruefully she reflected that her servant would not be pleased with bedraggled appearance.
She was right. Grete was a large woman with red hair and a temper to match. She loomed over her mistress looking rather like an angry hen.
"Will ye just look at yourself, milady! And you've less than an hour! Holy saints and prophets! Today of all days!" still spluttering indignantly Grete herded Triana into the sprawling Welsh palace.
"Grete," Triana said interrupting Grete's flow of appeals to her saints. "Why today of all days?"
Grete shut her mouth her lips forming a hard line, obviously she had not meant to say so much. "Beg pardon, milady, but it's not my place to say." She began scrubbing Triana's face ferociously with a washcloth.
Triana ducked away and took the cloth. "I can wash my own face," she grumbled.
"I'm blessed if ye can!" Grete snapped. "Oh, Peter and Paul!"
Triana sighed. "Grete! What is happening today? Is my mother expecting a visitor?"
Grete swept over to the big, oak wardrobe and rummaged through the silks gowns within. Her broad back seemed to project a challenge.
"Grete!" Triana almost shouted.
"Will ye wear the green and gold gown, milady, it matches you're eyes and hair so well." Her voice shook ever so slightly.
"Grete, tell me now!"
Grete held the gown in front of her rather like a shield. "Milady, please, don't tell her ladyship I told ye!"
Triana sighed. "Of course I won't tell my mother. Now, will you please tell me what this is about?"
"You're-her ladyship is expecting a guest; you're-you're future husband."
"My future husband! Who!" Triana was staggered. She knew she was expected to marry, but still, she was only fourteen.
"It's lord Myrridon, milady."
"Myrridon! But he's over forty! Grete, surely my mother can't expect..." she could not complete her sentence. A vision of Myrridon's face floated before her; the large, beaklike nose, the hard, cruel jaw, and the icy eyes. She shuddered.
"Oh, Grete! Please, you have to help me! I cannot marry him, he's a cruel brute!" Triana felt a wave of panic which threatened to overwhelm her.
"Please, milady! Ye must get dressed! Her ladyship will be coming for ye soon!" Grete seemed near panic.
"No!" Triana's panic was clearing and a plan was slowly forming in her mind. "Get me my grey linen gown and my dark cloak. Hurry!" Triana hurriedly tied her hair back and slipped out of the silk gown. Swiftly she pulled on the grey dress and threw her cloak around her.
"Milady, ye cannot be thinking of running away!" Grete was near tears.
Triana grasped her shoulders, shaking her gently. "Grete, you have to understand! I've been to Myrridon's home, he beats his servants, and his last wife died! I'm sure he killed her! I can't marry him or he'll kill me too!"
"Oh milady!" Grete sobbed.
"If my mother asks you didn't see me, you couldn't find me!"
Triana turned away and slipped out the door. Silently she hurried through the chilly stone corridors and slipped out by the back way, near the stables.
"Get my horse!" she ordered a gawking stable boy. "Hurry!"
He hurried. In another moment she was galloping through the stable yard and out onto the hard packed road.
Triana felt an incredible sense of freedom as the wind ruffled through her streaming golden hair. She had always loved to ride fast out through the hills and down to the woods.
But now was different, now she was riding for her life and freedom. If she reached the forest she would be safe within its leafy depths.
Triana's horse was fast and spirited and the distance fell away behind her. Before her the green expanse of the forest stretched out to the horizon. She had nearly reached the forest when she heard a hoarse shout behind her and the rapid thudding of a horse's hooves.
She turned her head swiftly and caught a glimpse of a red roan horse being ridden hard. Fear closed around her. She knew that horse; her pursuer was Myrridon himself.
Something whistled past her head; an arrow shot by Myrridon. The forest was closer now; already a few oak trees were streaking past.
Triana felt something like a blow followed by a blinding pain in her shoulder. She bit back a terrified scream. One of Myrridon's arrows had struck her.
Then she was in the forest. Her horse showed no signs of tiring and raced between the shadowy tree trunks. Triana slumped forward over her horse's neck her shoulder throbbing and pulsing. She felt a line of blood trickle down her back.
Her head spun; she was more afraid than she had ever been before. She risked a glance back and could see no sign of Myrridon.
She slowed her horse slightly. She knew she must rest soon and bandage her shoulder, but her fear would not let her stop.
Triana looked back again and there was still no sign of Myrridon. At that moment her horse shied violently. A ring of men had stepped from behind the trees, surrounding her.
Triana's horse reared and she could no longer keep her seat. She fell hard on her wounded shoulder, and fainted.
When Triana woke she was laying wrapped in a blanket near a blazing fire. A man was bending over her, his expression one of deep concern.
"Lady Triana, long have we awaited your coming," his voice was mellow and pleasing, and Triana could not help but note the tone of respect in his voice.
Triana blinked trying to remember what had happened. It came back in a flash. She sat up swiftly.
"What-what happened? Who are you?"
The man who had spoken smiled gently at her. "We are the druids. We have waited your coming for so long. Have no fear my lady, you will be safe here."
And Triana could not help but believe him.


2 )Serial Monogamy

Spoiler:
Jasim
I covered the newborn boy with sand until he stopped struggling, and then I covered him some more. The wails I put an end to when the sand filled his mouth, choking him to death. This was the second boy that I've buried since we've been married, and there may be more to follow if she doesn't get the girl that she desires. Someone to continue the family lineage. I prayed the pink body entombed under my boots wasn't my own flesh and blood. Let him be Kamil's, or maybe even Jasim's. But not mine. Please God, let him not be mine. The afternoon sun glared at me, it's golden rays burning my eyes. I forced myself to turn around and head back home. Youmn would be expecting me. Plus, I still didn't sweep the yards and she wouldn't tolerate any kind of slacking with my duties. I thought it's why I fell for her in the first place. She had an air of command about her that was, well… attractive. But, did she have to make me do this? Murder her own child, and perhaps my own? Hunting for the key in my pockets, I pushed the door open and went inside. Home sweet home. Though there was nothing sweet about it. Not today. What with the stench of blood hanging about the house, and her screams as she gave birth to the dead lump of flesh now buried in the local graveyard still echoing in my ears. I needed to breathe, but my lungs refused to function properly. Every breath I took was laboured. I had to… 'Jasim, is that you?' called Hassan from the kitchen. 'Yeah,' I replied, watching as he rinsed the dishes the way he always does after meals. The kitchen was his domain. And he was good at it. 'She wants to see you.' He gave me a sympathetic look that I didn't acknowledge. The last thing I needed was his pity. I braced myself for the inevitable as I knocked on her bedroom door. At

least the screaming was over. I'd heard enough screams today to last me a lifetime. 'Come in,' she ordered.

Hassan

I was glad she never asked me to kill her children. I don't think I'll be able to do it even if she threatened to divorce me. We all knew how bad she wanted a girl before she was too old to have one. Adoption never was an option for Youmn. She wouldn't allow an outsider into her family. 'Need anything, Kamil?' I asked. 'No, I think I can get myself a cup of water without your help.' He stared daggers at me on his way out, his dark eyes narrowing in distaste. I shrugged and resumed washing the dishes. The guy hated everyone around him, and seldom did his duties properly. I wondered why she hasn't kicked him out already. 'You know what?' he smiled, coming back inside. 'You could wash this shirt for me; I have an important appointment today and I'd like to look good for it.' Tossing it on the table, he folded his arms and waited. 'I'll wash it once I'm done here,' I promised. 'No, I want you to do it now.' 'Okay.' I rinsed the soap from my hands, grabbed the shirt and headed to the yard. 'Do it quick, will you?' he sneered. 'I'd like it to be dry when I come back from the bakery.' 'Sure,' I huffed, turning the tap on to soak the shirt. 'What was that you just said?' he demanded, an angry edge creeping into his gruff voice, walking towards me. I took a deep breath, and answered in the sweetest voice that I could muster, 'It'll be dry by then.' 'That's better, chicken. See you later, then.' I scrubbed furiously at the shirt, wishing he wasn't so right.

Youmn

'O Luda, Queen of all who walk on your holy land. O blessed goddess, you aid in every birth and rejoice in every newborn girl. Luda, O Mother of all, grant me the daughter that I desire before I am too old to bear children, or else my family line shall perish. O gracious one, such is my fear on looking at all these women whom you've blessed with that gift.' I killed the candle and got up. Dinner should be ready by now. Swinging my bedroom door shut, I went to the dinning room. Jasim was more of a weakling than I had thought. The idiot couldn't bury a child without his damned conscience nagging at him. I'd have to give the job to Kamil from now onwards. He was the only one bold enough to do it. I allowed myself a fleeting smile at the thought of him in my bed tonight. Perhaps it'll work this time. I wanted a strong-minded daughter; a leader like her mother, and a fighter like Kamil. But I'm running out of time. Next week is my thirtieth birthday and I'm yet childless. 'Good evening, sweetheart,' cooed Hassan, a grin on his boyish face. The other two copied his example with varying degrees of affection. 'Good evening,' I replied indifferently, hiding a grimace. I still had the occasional pains in my belly, even though it had been a month since my labour. 'Did you like the soup?' 'It's delicious, Hassan,' I answered. 'Though, it could do with a little more cabbage.' He started to say something, but I cut him off. 'How much money did you make this month, Jasim?' 'The cows were gracious with me this week,' he smiled smugly. 'I made a 105 pounds from selling their milk.' 'Good.' I tucked the 80 pounds he offered me in my pocket and looked at Kamil. Leaning over, he handed me a dozen notes of ten-pound bills. 'The wool prices went up this month.' We shared a smile.

Kamil

I lowered my hand from my reddened cheek, staring at her heated face all the while. She truly was a beauty. Long eyelashes fanned her hazel eyes, and night-dark hair fell in waves to her hips, framing her delicate features into a more enchanting complexion. I couldn't decide which amused me more, the scowl on her lush lips or the look of death she was giving me. 'Don't you ever raise your voice when addressing me ever again,' she instructed, her breath coming in puffs. 'Do I make myself clear?' I nodded. Without another word, she turned and stalked out of the room. I knew she wanted me to submit to her like her other two husbands, but I won't. It wasn't in me. Besides, why should I be blamed if they were two pathetic weaklings who sought to kiss the ground she treaded on? Turning the kitchen tap on, I rinsed my face and went out. Time to meet my son. It was early morning and the streets were gradually filling with people on their way to the market. I passed several food stalls on my way and decided to buy a bag of candy. Today was a special day. A couple of villagers saluted me and I returned their greetings, my smile growing bigger with every step I took. I know she'd hate me for eternity if she figured out that I disobeyed her, but it was worth it. My son was worth it. 'Hey, Kamil,' he beamed, bounding up the path to meet me. I held him tight as I breathed in the childlike smell of him. What I'd do for him to call me Dad. 'Good morning, little devil,' I laughed, ruffling his hair. 'How's it going?' 'Pretty good, you?' I gave him the candy. 'I'm good as long as you are.' 'You remembered my birthday!' 'Remind me how old are you now?' He shook his head in mock annoyance. 'Six years, Kamil! Do you always have to ask this question on my birthday?' 'Your man is getting old, Omer,' I joked, carrying him towards his house. My expression darkened a little when two humble figures came out to

greet us, his "parents". 'Hello, Kamil,' said the woman. 'Nice of you to drop by.' 'Hello,' I replied, shoving fifty pounds into her hand when Omer wasn't looking.

***

'So, why are we gathered here, again?' I griped. 'Youmn has an announcement to make,' repeated Hassan. 'And when is she coming back?' 'No id-' Heads turned when all three of us heard the key turn inside it's lock before she ambled inside, holding hands with the son of the village's butcher. 'Good afternoon, men,' she smiled. 'These are my husbands: Hassan, Jasim and Kamil,' she told the man. As hard as I tried, I couldn't bring myself to recall his name. Was it Khalil? Mou'min? Amer?… 'Hello,' he whispered, examining the floor as soon as the words were out of his mouth. 'Meet my new husband,' she twinkled. 'Ali.'






Ok, starting this year, I will start holding a monthly competition.

There will be no physical prize, aside from being mentioned in the site, with your writing skills recognised. Ok, if someone wants to hand out a prize, whether it'd be an honorary title, or a sketch, then go ahead. Do note that I can't give titles, as I am not a moderator.



How it works


Every month there will be a contest pertaining a certain theme to be followed.You will have around two weeks and a half to submit your work.

The submissions will be then anonymously posted in this thread. I will also not post the names of the users who've participated until the end of the poll. I might also PM you a critique of your work, if it's needed.


The voting system

In this contest, there will be two different categories to be won:

One chosen by the judges
One through popular/user votes

By the end of the month, the works' authors will be revealed, as well as the results.
It is entirely possible for one user to win both categories.


3 possible themes for June:


So, this month will revolve around the creation of original and abstract settings. How we rate you would be greatly influenced by your world-building skills and how integrated your characters are to that particular world.


In summation, you can write a short story set in a

1) Original setting--taking elements from reality is allowed.

2) Alternate history setting. These are the 'what-if's if one event diverged. If this or that thing happened otherwise. If Germany won World War 2, or if religion didn't exist.

3) Futuristic setting. Self-explanatory.

Good luck!


Rating system :

Each work will be assessed through 5 different areas :
1) Plot (the storyline and the characters’ actions)
2) Characterisation (character development)
3) Tone/voice (how well the prose flows well)
4) Pace (succession of actions)
5) Manipulation of language (this collides with 3), and also involves the use of literary techniques)

Each area will be calculated on a 0/100 scale.

After this, the total sum will be added, and then divided by 5.

For example:

Plot: 85
Characterisation: 70
Tone/voice: 90
Pace: 50
Manipulation of language: 98
(85+70+90+50+98)/5= 78.6.†

This is the total score.


Ranking system:


There will be 3 winners in the judges’ pick and in the users’ pick, respectively.

1st place: 5 ‘Thank You’ points
2nd place: 4 ‘Thank You’ points
3rd place: 2 ‘Thank You’ points


Edit: In the judge's portion, only the 1st place winner will be given 'Thank You' points.

As I have said, it Is possible for a user to win twice.

Word limit: 100 to 5000 words
Deadline: 25th of June

Jcanlas94@hotmail.com

Good luck, guys!

Judges (Descending order):
ťan
Julian Jcanlas94@hotmail.com
Charlie
Infinity_Man

Send your submissions to them via PM or e-mail!†

------
What you can do
  1. You can have your works critiqued by anyone NOT of this website
  2. You can PM me for questions, such as to clarify the current theme


What you can't do
  1. Soliciting
  2. Revealing your work
  3. Posting your work in the Short Story Section
  4. Asking someone in YWO for help
  5. Ask someone to change your vote


This event is sponsored by: Pengulandia and Co.
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						Last edited by Julian; 07-01-2012 at 01:41 PM.
					
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:26 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Julian (Offline)
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Tips (sounds lame--bear with me)



Tip #1: Placing the readers in a state of cognitive estrangement is a great way to make your setting convincing.
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						Last edited by Julian; 05-23-2012 at 08:31 PM.
					
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:41 AM View Post #3 (Link)
Julian (Offline)
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Bitches and hoes, hurry.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:07 PM View Post #4 (Link)
lalodragon (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Julian View Post
Submitted Works:0
Seriously? you need to uppers your salesmanship.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:02 AM View Post #5 (Link)
Nevermore (Offline)
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Just for June eh? I'll see if I can whip something up. Maybe I'll be the only one...autowin!
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:42 PM View Post #6 (Link)
fr33f4llll (Offline)
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Will you extend it if no one submits?
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:03 AM View Post #7 (Link)
lango (Offline)
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No submissions yet? Come on guys, 3 days to go!
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2013 is the end of you idiots saying 2012 is the end.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:46 AM View Post #8 (Link)
lostbookworm (Offline)
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Three days, hey? I'll try pumping something out. Probably not.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:41 PM View Post #9 (Link)
Julian (Offline)
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Fhell. Participate or castration awaits you.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:55 PM View Post #10 (Link)
bookworm (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Julian View Post
Fhell. Participate or castration awaits you.
What if some of us have already been castrated?
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Originally Posted by Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
The void. Before the staring eyes. Stare where they may. Far and wide. High and low. That narrow field. Know no more. See no more. Say no more. That alone. That little much of void alone.
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