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Thread: Tale of the Week 291: Renewal - Submissions thread

  1. #1
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
    Content Director Citizen

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    the British Isles

    Default Tale of the Week 291: Renewal - Submissions thread

    Creative Workshop Competitions - Check out our sister competitions here on TWC! << Picture of the Week | Tale of the Week | Writers' Study General Competitions | Graphics Workshop Monthly Competition >>


    by domeckopol, from Pixabay.


    Rules - PLEASE READ
    • The title and picture are there simply for inspiration, you do not have to use them if you don't want to - besides the keywords everything else is up to you!
    • Each theme will have a number of keywords that have to be used in your submission. They can be used in any way, but please place these words in bold so they can easily be seen by the competition organiser(s).
    • When using the keywords you may change singular nouns into plurals and vice versa; and you may change the tenses of verbs. No other changes are permitted.
    • The submission must have a minimum of 200 words. The title counts towards this minimum, but footnotes, explanatory notes, and other supplementary texts do not. The submission must also have a maximum of 500 words INCLUDING all titles, footnotes etc.
    • The submission must be placed in a spoiler.
    • The submission period will last at least two weeks. If we have three entries after two weeks, voting will begin. The submission period may be extended at the discretion of the competition organiser(s).
    • If you are a contestant you are honour bound to not read other contestants' writings until you have submitted yours.
    • If your entry is found to be substantially similar to another entry your submission will be disqualified. This is at the discretion of the competition organiser(s).
    • Contestants are not allowed to directly advertise their stories or ask for votes. If this is discovered you will be disqualified. Posting "Please vote for my entry in TotW" is NOT allowed. However, posting "Please vote for your favourite entry in TotW" is not only allowed, it is encouraged!
    • This thread is for submissions only. If you have any comments or questions then please post them in the commentary thread.
    • Please note that all rules including word count and key words will be strictly enforced. Rule breakers will be disqualified from the vote.

    AwardsEach winning story will receive 1 Writers' Study Competition point. This point will be added to the total number of points you have won from TotW and other Writers' Study competitions, and recorded in the Writers' Study Hall of Fame. When you have accumulated enough points, you will be awarded the appropriate Writers' Study Competition Medal.

    • 6 points - bronze medal
    • 12 points - silver medal
    • 24 points - gold medal

    Under the patronage of Shankbot de Bodemloze

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tale of the Week 291: Renewal - Submissions thread

    500 words
    Karl took a deep breath, letting the fresh air fill his lungs. He savoured the life-giving oxygen for a moment, before exhaling in a loud sigh. It was early morning and the wind was still chilly. The sun, newly risen from its nightly slumber, had only just conquered the horizon and reclaimed dominance over the earth. Standing in its light, stretching every tired muscle, Karl could feel the lingering weariness of a long and harsh winter begin to fade. He shielded his eyes with the palm of his hand and gazed at the eternal sky above. Dotted across the pale blue canvas were large clouds moving slowly in the light breeze, like formless creatures swimming majestically through a heavenly ocean. Were the people at home watching the same sky he wondered.

    Home. He had not been home since last summer. It seemed so far away now, so alien. Almost like the dim remnants of a dream struggling to stay alive as the mind wakes up. Sometimes he was not sure if it was real at all. His only clear memories were of the last farewell. He had shaken his father’s hand. Kissed his mother good bye. Then he left. Now, he lived in another place, another world, so far removed from anything he had ever experienced before. So different, it could not be accurately described in words. Yet, there were some things that still connected him with life as he knew it. With the withering away of the last vestiges of the cold season came the rebirth of nature. Free of snow and ice, the ground gave way to tiny blades of green grass, pushing their way through the dirt with tireless effort. Birds, chirping happily nearby, were building nests in which to raise their offspring. Everywhere there were signs of renewal.

    Karl smiled as he spotted a small, yellow flower growing defiantly by itself. Although the name of it escaped him, he knew it was his mother’s favourite. He was about to pick it up when the word was passed along; it was time to go. The new reality asserted itself ruthlessly. The beauty of a blooming flower, the gay song of a bird, these things had no meaning anymore. They were hollow. Karl, and millions like him, lived by the steel now. He took a step forward, grabbed the ladder in front of him and put his foot on the bottom rung. With rifle in hand, he prepared to go over the top. The spurious promises of the early days had long since passed into obscurity. This was the spring of 1918, and he had no illusion of survival. Glancing over at the flower one last time, he took heart from the fact that new life could still rise from the manufactured devastation of a world gone mad. As the officer’s whistle sounded and Karl left the thrench, his mind’s eye saw lush fields cover the mud and craters through which the men of his battalion trod.
    Last edited by IneptCmdr; April 10, 2019 at 04:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Schoten, België

    Default Re: Tale of the Week 291: Renewal - Submissions thread

    Feels good to be back after a small hiatus!

    Submission for TotW 291: Renewal - 432 words
    As I walk on the forested hills of my homeland, I see the first green leaves on the trees waving in the soft breeze. They are the first to appear, young and light of colour, the first sign that spring has come to the land and all rejoice the receding of winter. The season of renewal replaces that of serenity and stagnation, the season where all things sleep and die. The once bleak rays of the sun now shine bright and joyeus on my face, bringing warmth and life to body and mind. With each breath I feel the fresh, chilly air fill my lungs and send a tingling sensation through my body, invigorating me after what seems like a long slumber. With a sudden surge of energy I descend the hill and stop near a large weeping willow tree where I seat myself, its dreary branches shielding me from the sun leaving me rather cold. Despite this, I sigh in contentment and observe my surroundings. The tree I'm sitting under stands on the edge of a small pond surrounded by more willow trees, its waters fed by a dark stream coming from a hill further north. I hunch over to stare into its dark and cold waters and am presented with my own reflection, a battered and dirty face I don't recognize but know it to be mine. Confusion grips me and my clarity begins to fail and I'm overcome by a sudden nauseating dizziness, my vision starts to fade. I slowly wake from my spurious dream and find myself sitting hunched over in my dark cell, the place I've been for the past 3 years. The pond I'd been looking into was nothing more than a dirty puddle in front of me. Dreaming again are we, I chuckle at my own foolishness and misery, a strange croaking sound emanating from my dry throat. My mind has been playing many tricks on me for a long time now, with torture and malnourishment taking its toll. Imaginations of spring while in the Emperor's dungeons where winter was everlasting, you have to see the humour in that don't you. I bring forth my croaky laughter once more, echoing in the small room. I shiver as I reposition my scrawny bare back against the cold, damp stones, my spine rattling against the wall and close my eyes once more hoping to be drifted back into one of my hallucinations. Winter might reign in my cell but it did not reign within me where the memory of spring still lingered waiting to be set free.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tale of the Week 291: Renewal - Submissions thread

    I had fun with this one! I'll be looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!

    500 words exactly!

    The shattered stones above creaked and groaned, their tortuous whispers accompanied by an ever-present drip, drip, drip, as the lichen and green slimes let loose their watery weights. However, under and behind these unpleasantly organic tones ran a sonorous melody from deeper into the passage. There were words, or at least the shape of words, words filled with longing and regret and half-remembered malice. They were words to forget, but also words to begin.

    Six of them stood, two to the left, two to the right, one at the heart, and one at the head. To the left, their hair was golden, a mark of summer and dew. To the right, their hair was a ruddy red, the colors of autumn and the hunt and blood. At the feet was a maiden of raven locks, darkness entwined amongst her fingers. And at the stone slab’s top, where the cracked skull grinned in disbelief, stood the crone, gray and white her mantle, the colors of winter and old age abiding. However, wound into the braids and matted manes of each was a sprig of early blossom, some taken from the mountaintops, some from places yet more remote. Fresh hemlock, upland sage, tundra cotton, white as snow, and the spring petals of the Levantine rose. These were their marks and their power.

    The witches stood around the table of rock and rebirth, their fingers resting upon runes and artefacts older than history. They whispered and chanted and moaned their words of reckoning, calling out to small gods and indentured demons, creatures whom mankind had long ago forgot, but who never forgot man, nor his long unpaid debts. They would answer. The women were sure of that.

    The bones upon the slab lay at odd angles, the fleshless wrists bound with the reedy shoots of young hazel. For now the shackles held little sense, but soon enough the desiccated remains would stand again, slave to an alien will, and there was never any telling what would come back with the summoned spirits.

    The witches redoubled their efforts, swaying and wailing across the void, calling to the darkness and the light, but more than that, to the place between. From inside and across the stone seeped a soft glow, emerald at its core, but a sickly and pallid hue where it dissipated into the surrounding gloom. Its rays revealed and concealed the spurious mockery of life that was gathering upon the slab.

    As the being there began to take shape a muffled range of voices began to near, coming down the dripping vaults that led to the world above. The crone looked up, her white eyes seeing the heroes on their journey toward her, and with a flick of her wrist she cut the hazel cords that bound their awoken champion and spat the final words of their curse.

    Then all went dark. The only sound to be heard was the slow approach of doomed men. Doomed fools. And then there were only screams.
    Last edited by Kilo11; April 10, 2019 at 10:24 AM. Reason: Formatting issue
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