• The Writers' Study Bonfire and Fireworks Celebration

    The Writers' Study Bonfire and Fireworks Celebration
    by Caillagh de Bodemloze

    All over the world, people light bonfires and fireworks for celebrations, or festivals, or just because they want to. As the Writers' Study, by the nature of literature, exists simultaneously at all times and in all places, it therefore has its share of bonfires, and today is one of our Bonfire and Fireworks Celebrations. Welcome to all our readers!

    In the interests of fire safety (the Writers' Study contains a great number of words, which are notoriously flammable), we only have one bonfire, even though we are celebrating many different things in many different seasons. It is, however, a very large bonfire. The Writers' Study imps have been collecting wood (at least, I hope it's all wood - well, perhaps most of it's wood) for several months, and they have insisted we use all of it. You'll probably want to stand well back from the flames; Turkanfinwë almost had his eyebrows singed off earlier, and he was a good 10 metres away from the fire at the time.

    You seem to be smouldering a little - perhaps you might like to move over here for a moment and look at our firework display showing recent Writers' Study competition winners...

    The Monthly After Action Report Competition
    MAARC LXXVI was won by Written in Sand by Kilo11.
    MAARC LXXVII was won by Tales After the Crusade by NorseThing.

    The Monthly Creative Writing Competition
    MCWC XVIII was won by Swords Made of Letters by Basileos Leandros I.

    Written in Sand and Swords Made of Letters are both included in these fireworks festivities, while Tales After the Crusade was described briefly in our All-Seasons Fair.

    Tale of the Week has been won by the following people since our last celebration:
    276 - The Path Within - Van Zandt
    277 - Teachings - Kilo11
    278 - Fencing - Kilo11
    279 - The Magic Sword - Kilo11
    280 - The Flowers of Evil - NorseThing
    281 - The Hero of Legends - C-Beams
    282 - The Sculptor's Dream - C-Beams
    283 - Starship Down - C-Beams
    284 - "It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly" - Big War Bird

    Oooh... That was pretty. Those imps certainly know how to design fireworks - I wonder how they did that trophy-shaped one?

    I see the imps are bringing round food and drink. What's this? Ah... mugs of the imps' very own Alphabet Soup. It's a special recipe, they tell me. They can make the letters float, and spell anything they like... and these mugs seem to show some of the recent Creative Writing in the Writers' Study! Naturally, only the short pieces of Creative Writing can be mentioned within the confines of a trayful of mugs...

    We begin with two stories by C-Beams: A Fatal Rookie Mistake, which is a S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-based short fanfic, and The Hero of Outpost Delta, a Starship Troopers fanfic. These two stories, in two different universes, are both worth a read. Another of our authors, mad orc, has also provided us with two short stories: The robber lanes of Cowloon street and The lake of St James. Mysteriously, these two stories may be connected - or perhaps not... In the next mug, we see The Hit and Run - a Dragnet Parody by NorseThing. This began life as a Tale of the Week entry, but could not be abbreviated enough to fit within the word limit. Tale of the Week's loss is Creative Writing's gain! We then come to The stir by that master of the art of flash fiction, Kyriakos. As always with such a short story, any information at all would be a spoiler, so I can only suggest you read this one for yourself. Happily, poetry is also represented here, with Salah ad Din Yusuf's Eternal City. This is merely the most recent in a long catalogue of poetry written by Salah ad Din Yusuf, so if you enjoy this, do read his other poems as well.

    The final mug lists our one non-fiction piece of Creative Writing on this occasion - The Lens of an RN, by Zeus Almighty. Only the preface to this has been posted so far, but we hope to see it grow in future.

    I'm not sure it's appropriate to eat soup other people might want to read. I see the imps have set up stalls distributing shaved ice and okonomiyaki over there. Let's go and see what they've got...

    Menu of Longer Creative Writing
    War in Caribbean Sea by Captain Jupiter. This is a fictionalised account of the history of the Taino, the native people of Puerto Rico, and since Captain Jupiter has Taino ancestors, this story is in his blood. It's a fascinating and entertaining read.

    Swords Made of Letters by Basileos Leandros I is one of our longer-running Creative Writing pieces. This atmospheric story is set in the run up to World War II, and there's enough intrigue and skulduggery to satisfy anyone.

    Pax Res Publica by isa0005 has been revived, with a recent new chapter beginning the story of Marcus Aquilius Corvus and his men, sent to hunt down a group of escaped slaves.

    The Jouneyman's World by San Felipe is a tale on a grand scale, of magic, and gods, and wisdom, and peril, and a man cursed with immortality for his sins.

    The Fool and His Keeper by Kilo11. This thread contains not one, but two treasures - a series of short stories about Matt and Morn, and a longer story about the same characters. Matt is a man; Morn is a sword - and their adventures are beautifully and humorously written.

    Genesis of Empires, begun by m_1512, is a group writing project. Everyone is encouraged to participate, and create a universe with m_1512. So far, m_1512 and Kilo11 have posted war-songs, Hitai de Bodemloze has given us the biography of a poetess and dowager-magistrate, and Salah ad Din Yusuf has given us another of his inimitable poems. What could you add to this world?

    ...hang on, this isn't a menu, it's a list of works of Creative Writing!

    Let me just ask this imp for a menu... thank you... do you see anything you think you'd like?

    Well, that was excellent. It's probably best not to worry too much about the exact ingredients. I think the imps are getting better at knowing which things are poisonous to humans... Oh, look over there! The imps are performing a lion dance! Well... a... lion-drinking-a-cup-of-coffee dance. You know, I have a feeling the Writers' Study Director might have been involved in this...

    What next? Oh, right, yes. Perhaps we should watch the imps fire-walking. The imps assure me that if you look closely, the glowing parts of the embers will spell out some of the AARs that have been updated recently. Let's see...

    Thrones of Britannia
    The Holmkell Sagas by Mercenary2479 tells the story of Holmkell, a man who feels his destiny has been stripped from him, and who serves a king he despises. What will be the fortune of his house?

    The History of Vindonius by TheBigCheddar presents the story of Vindonius set out as if it were real history. Regrettably, there is so far only one chapter, but we hope for additions to this new AAR.

    Rome II
    War Athens vs Baktria is the account of a multiplayer Divide et Impera campaign told - unusually - by both players. It is fascinating to be able to read exactly what each player intended, instead of hearing only one side's version of events.

    Reclaiming the Lion's Glory by Caledoni is the tale of a Macedon campaign. It's told through videos, but there are also handy text summaries if you don't have enough time to watch the videos.

    The Last Chariots of the Tarquins by Skotos of Sinope tells us of the life of Avle Spurinna - and of the family curse, which may or may not be connected to the racing chariot of Tarquin the Proud.

    Bringing down Prometheus by Sirlion is, as the subtitle tells us, an account of Prussia's largest rebellion. This is an atmospheric story, with glorious screenshots from a campaign using Sirlion's own Realism Core submod for La Monteé de l'Empire.

    I admit I wasn't expecting to see a tower of five imps fire-walking. Especially not with the imp at the top performing somersaults! I wonder when they find the time to train for these things?

    Medieval II
    The Last Eagles by Knight of the Blue Rose. Beginning in 1100, it relates the history of the Eastern Roman Empire, with mutinies and rebellions adding to the excitement right from the start.

    The Restoration of the Empire by Caesar16 was started in May, and is, happily, still running. Its latest chapter, "Conspiracies and Campaigns", lives up to its name, and leaves us with many questions unanswered.

    The Saga of Haraldr Yngling and the Nordmanna by theSilentKiller was, coincidentally, also started in May! This is a tale of Norsemen, told as if by one of their own skalds, with fighting, mead, gods, poetry, and cunning woven through it.

    Written in Sand by Kilo11 puts us in much warmer surroundings - the Arabian desert. The story begins when Mun'at Ha'Qadri, a commander of men, receives a messenger from his king...

    Born anew by HuliganFish has recently been revived. This AAR shows us the politics and personalities of Poland and her rivals in the late 13th century.

    God's Justice by Swaeft is a Crusader States AAR, told mainly from the point of view of Lord Jean, First Prince of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

    Of Wolves and Prey by Cookiegod is one of the longer-running AARs in the Writers' Study. It's always good to see these continue. This one began with a young man being told he was going the wrong way, and is continuing with warfare and intriguing bad dreams.

    Quick! Out of the way! Here comes theSilentKiller, with his assistants, all carrying lighted tar barrels on their heads! Very picturesque, but a trifle dangerous if one of them trips over, so let's move a bit further away. The imps over there seem to be converting one end of the fire-pit into a low bonfire for people to jump over. That must mean the celebration is almost over. There's still a little more to read in the glowing embers, though...

    Saviours of Roma by Kaiser_Alex is a fairly new AAR. The Emperor, Constantinus, begins the AAR besieged in Arelate. He hopes one of his generals will be able to break the siege, but the general will have to fight his way to Arelate first...

    Derc Plays Through World History is an unusual AAR, as it will eventually use all the Total War Historical Titles to tell a story covering many eras and many lands, mostly through the use of images.

    Non-Total War AARs
    A Sword for the Nine by KnightOfDay is another long-running AAR. It is the tale of Tertius Valerius Colovians, and his quest across Skyrim to reclaim his birthright. It's a story full of supernatural events and people - and a fair share of cold weather, as you'd expect in Skyrim.

    The embers seem to be dying now, and there's a queue of people waiting to leap over the fire. But what's that group of imps doing over there? They seem to be waving something. Oh! They're waving sparklers to make words:

    Thank you for joining us; we hope you enjoyed our celebration.
    We are never able to include everything we would like to in these lists, but many more AARs and pieces of Creative Writing can be found in the Writers' Study -
    please go and look!
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Jake Armitage's Avatar
      Jake Armitage -
      Congrats to winners and other writers, this winter I'll spend some evenings reading them
    1. Kilo11's Avatar
      Kilo11 -
      Very nice update Caillagh! I knew many of these things already, but some are completely new to me and I'll be glad to have a look at them one by one, rather than doing the work that I by rights should be more focused on
    1. Welsh Dragon's Avatar
      Welsh Dragon -
      I always enjoy reading these round ups of the many and varied tales on offer at TWC. Many a great story and worthy winner, all presented in narrative framework that is a fun story in its own right. Congratulations to everyone and thank you for continuing to make this such a fun community.

      All the Best, Welsh Dragon.
    1. Admiral Van Tromp's Avatar
      Admiral Van Tromp -
      A nice and well written "catalogue", as usual Caillagh! I see I have a lot to catch up on once I have some time.
    1. Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar
      Caillagh de Bodemloze -
      Thank you.

      Without all the people who write the AARs, Creative Writing, Tales of the Week and all the supportive and helpful comments in the Writers' Study, these updates would be completely impossible, of course...

      ...and the imp tugging at my elbow as I type this wants me to say that these updates would be nothing without the Writers' Study imps.* Which is obviously true.

      So thank you to the people commenting here, thank you to the Writers' Study community (both writers and readers), and thank you to the Writers' Study imps.
    1. Swaeft's Avatar
      Swaeft -
      This is a rather humorous post, bravo! I love the style and how it advertises the Writer's Study. Late, but well done!
    1. RonaldJacobs's Avatar
      RonaldJacobs -