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  • Entry 1 - Attrition

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  • Entry 2 - Diversity of Winter

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  • Entry 3 - Assorted Tales for Children: The Little Green Dinosaur

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  • Entry 4 - Night's King

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  • Entry 5 - A Problem With Vetting Our Refugees (and a terrible lesson from history)

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Thread: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

  1. #1
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Here are the finalists. Please vote for your favorite one.

    Also, please bear in mind that anonymity is still required here. Authors of any works below may not declare what submission may be theirs, or in any other way ruin the anonymity of theirs or another member's submission. Those found to be doing so here or anywhere else will be punished with extreme prejudice by the resident knights and rightly so. The same rules apply to other members as well. Authors may vote for their own entry if they wish.

    The thread is for discussion of the articles at hand and voting, NOTHING ELSE.

    The Refugee Vetting and Night's King entries both finished second with the same number of votes so they have both made it to the finals.

    Polls last until 5th of March 2018 at this hour (march 6th if ye be Aussy)
    Last edited by Settra; February 19, 2018 at 06:32 PM.
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  2. #2
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Entry 1 - Attrition

    Mistral, be my witness,
    Ice lake be my tomb.
    I can march no longer,
    Legs gave place to doom.

    Remote, unknown objective,
    Past mountains, rivers, seas.
    Forgotten the directive,
    The thrill of summer flees.

    Men have fallen trailing,
    Fallen more has snow.
    Shrill winds are wailing,
    Wail is sure and slow.

    Waters frozen to a sheet,
    Bechilled condemned traverse.
    Crusted rags, frostbitten feet,
    Lost souls, mirrored inverse.

    Mistral, be my witness,
    Ice lake be my tomb.
    I can march no longer,
    Legs gave place to doom.

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  3. #3
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Entry 2 - The Diversity of Winter

    Thew Diversity of winter

    They were the best of friends. One born of high family and name; the other of no family or name. One waggish and restive; the other rigid of character and discipline. Their relationship began as water and oil. They stood apart and in conflict with each other. Despite the intrinsic factors that would drive these two apart it seemed fate brought them together. Like the eclipse when they joined together they were a wonder to behold. A phenomenon brought on by the whim of god, the gods, or whatever else one believed in. They were bred to be military commanders in the way of their Academy. It was in winter they parted from each other for their posts.
    It was both a seasonal and figurative winter that drew them together again. Sitting as a Junior Commander for the East was Lyss. Sitting as an Advisor to Senior Command for the West was Spade. So cold it was that the wind made ones skin feel like shattered glass. Many a mans ears and noses were red to an unhealthy degree. At least one man would develop frostbite that night. It was in this hard freeze and by the side of their venue that the friends met.

    “Good thing this old barn is here to bar the wind. Good to see you Spade,” mused the clean faced Junior Commander as he wrapped his friend in warm embrace.

    “May it stand long enough to conclude our business here. Lyss, my old friend,” returned Spade through a heavy beard. They released each other, at the cost of warmth, and for a moment both peered at the stables.

    “You know, we could both leave and hope this barn falls on them all. It would be the end of the conflict,” Lyss voiced nonchalantly. It was true that aside from puppet leaders all the pivotal personnel in the conflict were making their way into the barn. It was a conflict that promised to divide friends and destroy families.

    “Others would take up the cause. Do not wish such ill upon those men. The greatest military minds and Commanders will be in that barn tonight. It is as much an honor to be in their presence as it may be treason for us to be meeting.” Spade scolded while he swayed slightly with the gusts of wind.

    “Those military minds and Commanders will manufacture the death and despair of thousands. Yet our friendship is frowned upon. You don’t see the problem? Neither of us believe in our region’s cause so why are we fighting?” Lyss reasoned. He was wearing a substantially heavier coat than Spade yet still trembling at the cold.

    “If no accord can be made we will go our separate ways as peacefully as we came.” Spade countered curtly. The snow was picking up now. Thicker turned the once-upon-a-time flurries into curtains of snowfall. The friends could barely see each other through the white divide now.

    “Peace did not bring us here and peace will not be resultant of this meeting. There is a thirst for this conflict. All but you and I are afflicted,” Lyss pleaded for understanding.

    “Let us hope you and I are good enough then.” Spade placed his hand on his friends shoulder and ushered him in to the barn. Walking into the freezing barn was nothing short of a chore. Each muscle movement was strained and worked for. Lyss took his place next to his Commanders and Spade next to his. Commanders of both parties introduced themselves in a manner befitting their environment: frigid and stale. Thirty minutes pass and the only agreement arrived at was that there would be none. Spade interrupted the West in its arguments as Lyss followed in similar suit. Passionately they spoke of negotiations and concessions. They spoke their truths and, for the first time all night, East and West shared a truth aside from damp shivery.

    Breeching the verbal model being constructed by Spade and Lyss was Samson Copperhead, “One more word, and I’ll hang you for treason,” seethed the Commander of the West. With that sentence the final cold front swept away all remnants of fall and prospects of an early spring. Spade offered no rebuttal as to do so was a low form of treason in its own right. As Lyss prepared his argument to Samson his eyes met those of his commander and the condemnation was clear.
    Without care to consequence, Lyss offered to Samson, “When we meet in battle, I will savage you and yours.”

    Lyss began to stalk off to his space when the barn called the meeting to an end. The joints began to groan in a disconcerting manner thus sending the regions in their respective directions. Lyss and Spade saddled their horses and met one last time.
    “You threatened my Commander. Not wise,” Spade shook his head and let a fog filled exhale go, “but we tried.”

    “Yes well the pair of us were alone in the room as far as good sense goes. Will we let these so called men wield us like tools? Like they are the hammer and we mere nails? And you? For all your consternation concerning equality you still keep faith with the West?” Lyss argued perplexed and frustrated. The temperature may have been below freezing but oh did his blood boil and burn.

    “I am of the West. Those that sponsored me in the Academy are of the West. It is a part of me that I can not betray. No matter how wrong it is.” Spade’s words were slow and painted. With a final embrace they turned meet their contemporaries on the wintery roads home. Behind them they could hear the old barn groan and finally give way under the blizzard winds.
    And so the last meeting place of peace, was laid low by the elements.

    It was two years later and it seemed that winter had never ended. The cold despair that hung over the heads of soldiers and civilians alike never left. The Old Man lead his army in a disciplined and steadfast manner. Wise beyond his years and crafty on horseback, The Old Man rose through the Western ranks faster than any man in history. He led the West as part of a two-headed hydra and was clearly the more dangerous. A confident lieutenant to lead where he cannot had also manifested within his ranks earning himself the name The Bull. His opponent he could only he half certain of. A General who had been bestowed the nickname of The Butcher. Having decimated Commander Samson Copperhead just months ago he solidified himself as the Wests greatest threat. Consequently, The Butcher also solidified himself as the Easts greatest hope. He was using less men to gain the upper hand on the West in battle by luring them into a series of small retreats before swallowing them like rocks on a riverbank at height of a swell.

    The next battlefield was perfectly laid out in The Old Mans mind. His plan confidently constructed with the river and forest to his advantage and supply lines close by. The valley before him would be a victory he was sure of it. These withstanding The Butcher made his own plans with the wind and winter behind him. The wind blew hard at the back of The Butcher. This he knew would slow the advance of the infantry troops and give his projectiles extra distance. Fighting with a handicap never bothered The Butcher before but he had never fought The Old Man directly. Hundreds died the first day of battle before retreat. Given the degree of barbarism experienced this day both sides yielded early. The second day The Bull fell to The Butcher while The Old Man was coordinating the assault on the valley. Upon The Bulls death, The Old Man called for a parlay. He had yet to loose his riverfront assault but know he may need it to secure victory. Or at least stave off his defeat. He had not had a battle fought so closely nor one lasting this long so he wanted to meet his opposition in person. He marched out to the center of the valley encircled by six of his guards. This he was taught in Academy. His approach was mirrored from across the valley up until he sat upon his horse face to face with The Butcher.

    “Butcher,” The Old Man closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head.
    “The Marble Man,” The Butcher rubbed his beard with his gloved hand.
    “You killed and disgraced Samson Copperhead. He was like a father to me.” The Old Man sat resolute.
    “I told him I would savage him and I did. Might be I wasn’t the most disciplined youth Spade but I have always been one of my word.”
    “You always said you didn’t want any part of the conflict Lyss.” Spade sat atop his horse, so still one might think he had frozen from the cold.
    “You always said ambivalence is self-appointed slavery,” Lyss fired back, “besides that I am good at war it seems.”

    “You think this a game? From your ivory tower you looked to find something worth your time. From my pig pen we looked to find a way to survive. This cold isn’t just weather to me. It is sad remembrance of when my friends would cease to wake from their sleep. The dead that adorn the battlefield today are not just friends of now but friends from my youth. It is sad remembrance of when my brother lost his foot to frostbite. When my sister was beaten for taking extra soup from the shelter. I do not play at war. I do not revel in it. I respect it.” Spade shook subtly in anger. This was the argument. This was the epitomization of everything that divided them.

    “Aye, and I respect you though I will not apologize for my hearth and home as a youth. We stand in the same place now as we did in the academy. Except by now my second contingent has taken your supply line. That was your draw yes, supplies to outlast me? Now they are mine and the river will not avail you either. My men are better than yours. My men fight for a cause. They fight to free the oppressed that your region will not release. You are not better than me Spade. We are equals.” Lyss’ would have been betrayed by his emotions if the blistering cold wind had not dried his eyes for him.
    “We will never be equals, Butcher, you will know that soon enough.” The Old Man turned his horse and sped it away back to his camp.

    As the snow kicked up into a mist behind the gallop of The Old Man and company, The Butcher turned around himself and slowly plodded back to his camp. When he arrived back he looked to his lieutenants, “The river, it will be his next strategy.” The men around him laughed and a rider was sent from the camp. Looking out on the valley, death was apparent all around. The stench of death was delayed by the cold. It protected the bodies from rot and decay for a short while. As he looked upon the valley he felt a hand on his shoulder, “Just as you predicted,” said the smiling nobody. The Butcher turned on his heel and grabbed the man by his neck. Releasing him almost instantly he snarled, “Have some respect. Many have, and will, die here.”
    They were the best of friends, but in that valley friendship was laid low.

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  4. #4
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Entry 3 - Assorted Tales For Children: The Little Green Dinosaur

    Assorted tales
    Assorted Tales for Children
    The Little Green Dinosaur

    Once upon a time, there lived a little green dinosaur.
    This dinosaur lived in a big house, in a big town.
    The dinosaur did not have any friends though,
    because his mummy and daddy and he were new to town.

    One day the little green dinosaur was running all around his house. "Wheeee! Wheeeeeeee! Look mummy!"
    His mother loved the little green dinosaur, but she grew awfully tired sometimes,
    "Go outside and play, and make new friends" said his mother.
    "But make sure you don't go over the big hill!"

    So the little green dinosaur went outside, and he explored the neighbourhood.
    He went next door, and he saw Mr T-Rex who lived there and sometimes scared the little green dinosaur with his big teeth.
    He went to the shops, and he saw Mrs Triceratops the greengrocer who had a lettuce stuck to one of her horns and looked funny.
    He went to the main road, and he saw Mr Brachiosaurus the policeman who had such a long neck that he could see everyone.

    But the little green dinosaur couldn't see any other little dinosaurs who he could be friends with.
    "Oh bother" said the little green dinosaur. "I wish I had some friends! We could play hopscotch, and tag and all sorts of games."
    "I'll go for a walk", he said to himself. "I'm sure to meet someone, somewhere."
    And so the little green dinosaur went for a walk, and he walked and he walked and he walked.

    Eventually the little green dinosaur realised that he had walked so far, he couldn't see the town anymore.
    A big hill was in front of him though, so he thought to himself,
    "If I go on top of that hill, I'll be higher than Mr Brachiosaurus the policeman, and I'll be able to see my house".
    So the little green dinosaur set out for the hill, completely forgetting his mother's warning not to go near it.

    As he grew closer though, he could hear strange sounds from the other side of the hill.
    "Oh dear oh dear oh dear, what is that scary noise?" the little green dinosaur thought.
    The noise got closer and closer, it reverberated through the little dinosaur's body like firecrackers on New Years.

    Suddenly the very earth roared, and a shape flew over the hill towards the little green dinosaur,
    With a big WHUMP the shape landed the ground. "Oh boy, that was fun! I want to do it again" said the shape.
    "Wha... wha... What are you?" asked the little green dinosaur.

    "What am I?" asked the shape. "What are you?! You're green, thats silly!"
    "I'm silly? Well at least I'm not red like you, because everyone knows red is really silly!" cried the little green dinosaur.
    "I'm really silly? Well at least I don't have short little arms and a stubby tail you like, because thats super silly!" shouted the shape.
    "I'm super silly? Well at least I don't have big fat wheels and a big stinky engine, because thats super duper silly!".

    The little green dinosaur and the shape stared and stared at each other for a long time.
    "Well I'm super duper silly, the little red monster truck!" said the shape, and it blared its horn and span around in a circle.
    The little green dinosaur had never heard of a monster truck before, but his mummy and daddy had raised him politely so he replied
    "Well I'm super silly, the little green dinosaur!" and he bared his teeth and wiggled his little arms.

    "Would you like to be my friend?" asked the little green dinosaur. "I don't have any friends, because I'm new".
    "Ok little green dinosaur, I'll be your friend" replied the little red monster truck. "Where do you live?"
    The little green dinosaur suddenly remembered his mother's warning not to go over the hill, which he had done!
    "Oh no oh no oh no, my mummy said not to go over the hill, and I have! Oh she'll be in a bother if she finds out!" he cried.

    "Oh dear oh dear oh dear" replied the little red monster truck. "My mummy said the same thing!".
    The little green dinosaur and the little red monster truck looked quite distraught as they imagined the terrible things their mothers would do if they found out.
    "I've got a good idea!" yelled the little green dinosaur. "I won't tell your mummy if you don't tell my mummy, and then we won't get in trouble."
    "Oh wow thats a great idea! Now we can play hopscotch, and tag and all sorts of games together!" replied the little red monster truck.

    And so the little green dinosaur and the little red monster truck played and played and played, until the sky grew dark.
    "I guess I'd better go home now" said the little green dinosaur. "Will I see you tomorrow?" asked the little red monster truck.
    "Oh yes, I'll be here tomorrow, and the day after and the day after that and the day after that. We'll be very best friends!".
    The little green dinosaur turned around and went down his side of the hill, whilst the little red monster truck turned around and went down his side of the hill and they both went home.

    The next morning the little green dinosaur woke up and raced out of his bedroom, excited to see his friend again.
    "Ho-ho, where do you think you're going little green dinosaur? You were out very late last night" said mother dinosaur.
    "Oh mummy, I made a friend yesterday!" replied the little green dinosaur. "That's wonderful news little green dinosaur, who is your friend?"
    "Oh mummy, he's so cool. He has great big wheels which he can go VROOO-"

    "GREAT BIG WHEELS??? FATHER DINOSAUR COME IN HERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!" shrieked mother dinosaur, clasping her hands to her breast.
    Father dinosaur harrumphed and he clumped down the hall, grumbling about hysterical women. "Whats the matter dearest?" he enquired.
    "Our little boy! Our little green dinosaur! He's been playing with a great dirty MONSTER TRUCK!!!"
    "A monster truck?! Those lazy good-for-nothings! They don't do a honest days work in their lives, and breed like rabbits!" exclaimed father dinosaur.

    Mother and father dinosaur made such a ruckus that all of the townsfolk gathered around to see what the trouble was.
    "I say I say" cried Mrs Tricaeratops the greengrocer, "whatever is the matter?" "Monster trucks!" wailed mother dinosaur!
    "Monster trucks?! Why they'd sooner blow diesel smoke all over you than tell you the time of day! Those rascals, coming over the hill and terrorising innocent folk" growled Mr T-Rex.
    Commotion ensued amongst the townsfolk and they ran hither and thither in confusion and bewilderment.

    At last Mr Brachiosaurus the policeman plodded his way onto the scene and he scanned the crowd from high up in the air until he saw the little green dinosaur.
    "What do you have to say for yourself hmmm? Been fraternizing with enemy have you lad?" He boomed right in the little green dinosaur's face.
    "N... n... no! No sir, I just been playing with the little red monster, no fratnerizing or nothing like that sir" squeaked the little green dinosaur in terror.
    "Well we'll just have to see about that won't we. Everyone, we will go to the hill and we will see what the dastardly monster trucks have to say!"

    With a great grumbling and muttering and murmuring of the dangers of monster trucks, the entire town set out for the big hill.
    The little green dinosaur followed along discontently, already mourning the loss of his only friendship in this new town.
    "Oh this is tiresome! I found a friend and these blasted busy bodies are going to ruin it. How I wish a great big rock would land on their heads!"
    As the hill hove into view, a great big honking and whistling and revving could be heard, amidst yells warning of the dangers of dinosaurs.

    "Those stinky dirty dinosaurs, they don't even polish their hide! They just sit down in a pile of muck and call it home!"
    Gasps arose from the entire town as these foul words were heard. Mother dinosaur quickly covered the little green dinosaurs ears.
    "I heard dinosaurs just lay eggs" cried one voice from over the hill to a chorus of gasps, "they don't even have factories over there."
    By this stage Mr T-Rex had been getting angrier and angrier until he roared as loud as he could, and ran towards the top of the hill waving his stubby arms.

    With a CRASH! and a BOOM! and a KA-BLAAM! the dinosaurs and the monster trucks charged into each other and started fighting.
    Mr T-Rex bit off a big yellow monster truck's side mirror, and stomped on it. The monster truck responded by rolling over his feet.
    A big scary black monster truck, with fire painted on the side came charging down the hill and hit into Mr Brontosaurus the policeman who fell to the ground with a mighty THUD!
    Mrs Triceratops the greengrocer lowered her head and gored an onrushing monster truck, spilling petrol everywhere.

    "Oh no! Oh bother! Oh dear!" wailed the little green dinosaur. "Stop! Don't do that! What's happening?" cried the little red monster truck.
    "Somebody do something!" "Anything! Anything at all to stop this!" they cried in unison, unable to bear the carnage unveiling before their eyes.
    Suddenly the little green dinosaur, and the little red monster truck spied something speeding towards them in the sky.
    All around them, the fighting continued and no-one listened to their desperate cries that danger was approaching and they must run and hide.


    A meteorite plummetted to earth, and crushed dinosaur and monster truck alike beneath it as it bored towards the center of the Earth.
    A shower of debris followed closely, and peppered the little green dinosaur and the little red monster truck as they ran for safety.
    "Everyone I know is d... d... dead!" cried the little red monster truck. "Everyone I know is crushed!" wailed the little green dinosaur.
    "This is all your fault!" "My fault? This is your fault!" they screamed and roared at each other, thrashing around in the undergrowth.

    The little green dinosaur drew himself up to his full height, and he roared "If I ever see you again, I'll rip off your tires and smash your headlights!"
    "If I ever see YOU again, I'll drive over your tail and choke you on diesel smoke!" honked the little red monster truck.
    These two friends of purest innocence were turned to evil by their surroundings. They only wanted to play, but hatred and bigotry subverted them.
    In time their rivalry grew even more fierce and violent than that of the generation before, and nevermore did a little green dinosaur play hopscotch, and tag and all sorts of games with a little red monster truck.

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  5. #5
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Entry 4 - A problem with vetting our refugees (and a terrible lesson from history)

    A problem with vetting
    I was about to write a tale for the creative writing. Perhaps maybe even to have a competitive entry to a weekly or monthly competition. Then, I saw a similarity between the final solution of the Cathers and our problems today with vetting millions of refugees or even handfuls of people at a time attempting to illegally enter a country no matter what the underlying reasons are. The European Union has wrestled with the problem. The USA has also wrestled with the problem with their own southern border with Mexico. Even the smaller nations such as Jordan are wrestling with the problem. Solutions are not yet really settled. People are still caught in the middle with uncertain futures.
    A government has many options when refugees are at the door. They can grant them sanctuary, they can force them to return from that which they fled, they can be imprisioned pending future political decisions, or they can be simply put to death as a convenient means to settle the problem of vetting who is really a refugee and who is the enemy. When it is a question of religious differences between the factions and not just government authority, it is even more complicated. It is also complicated when a local church gives sanctuary with the blessing of the local town council. It is also complicated when family is involved with brother against brother, son against mother, cousin against cousin. Who are the refugges? Who are the warriors? Who are the legal residients?
    Today we have issues with refugees fleeing the Syrian carnage mixed in with defeated warriors and others of suspect motives. How do we tell the good from the bad? About 800 years ago an abbot had this same problem as well as a local town council. The abbot was leading an army backed with the authority of the pope to punish heritical beliefs. The town had raised a small ragtag force to defend the town. Defeated, the army fled back into the town followed by the army of the abbot. The heritics are called Cathers. The town is Beziers.
    The abbott did not know how many were heritics. He did not care. When asked by a Crusader how to tell the heritics from the faithful, he thought it best to let God make that determination and ordered all to be put to death simply because they were within the town walls.
    This was a town of only a few thousand that had swollen with refugees to maybe 20,000 or even many more. Refugees that may or may not have been heritics. Refugees that fled in front of an advancing Crusading army in fear of what may happen They fled to the nearest town for refuge. Some ended up making the fateful decision to enter Beziers. Refugees and the town's own people that included the aged, women, and children who were clearly not a part of a defeated army or even of an age to be a warrior. So who were those with the heritical beliefs? So who were those that fought and lost in the open fields?
    We believe that at least 20,000 were put to the sword, because that was the boast of the abbot when reporting the results of burning the town to ground as he reported back to the Pope. They were put to the sword simply because the abbot did not care to vet who were heritical to the teachings of Rome and who were simply fleeing the chaos of an army on the move. The abbot was not even concerned with whether the defeated army was simply defending the town against a threat or were believers in the ideas that the Pope had declared heretical.

    I offer you this short tale of two people caught in the chaos 800 years ago:
    The infinished tale of Pierre and Marie
    It was late in the evening. Word had just reached the town that a battle had just defeated the town's militia in the open fields who were now fleeing as a broken force back into the safety of the town. It was hoped that the walls and the town gate were strong enough to resist the large force bent on seizing all who opposed the official Papal teachings.
    The local church was already filled with thousands of refugees. Just like the biblical story of Mary and Joseph, there was no longer any more room in the church to take even two more. So Pierre and his daughter Marie had to settle in an empty hut near the church but not even on the church grounds. It was not sanctuary, but it was shelter. After the long journey and knowing nobody within the town, this hovel of a hut was so much better than nothing.
    The hut did not really have a door, nor any realy protection from the cold. Holes in the walls were sufficient to let in daylight, but did not keep out the cold nor the sounds of the town. There was a space for a fire, but no fire was lit. There was no wood nor coal. In any case, Peirre and his daughter were hiding and a fire seemed too much of an announcment to the world that the hut was occupied.
    Pierre could hear that all was not well. With the quiet that comes with the darkness of night he could hear that the gate had been breached. The Pope's army was now everywhere. The sound of soldieers running were now coming from all corners of this small town. He could hear cries as people were obviously dieing in the streets. Then he heard the doors to the church were being smashed open. Even the sacred church was no longer sanctuary for the thousands inside.
    The cries of the anguish of the dying were growing louder. Could this be because the sounds of death were coming closer? Could this be because of the huge numbers within the church were now being put to death? Pierre did not know. He hugged his daughter both to give her some assurance that he was there and also to remind himself that he was her only protecter.
    Marie awakened in her father's arms. "Father, I am scared." She hugged Pierre even tighter than Pierre was hugging her.
    Pierre responded, "That is okay my daughter. You should be concerned, but I am here with you. Together we can see this night thru."
    The cries of death and the dying were becoming even louder. Not because they were now closer. The cries were louder because the aggregate number of the dying was now much larger.
    The sounds of soldiers running was now not just some sounds within the the various town streets, but sounds of their running up the very lane that connected the hut to the church. This meant that whatever was being done at the church needed fewer soliders. They were now spreading out from the church.
    I did not finish the story of Pierre and his daughter. How it would end should seem obvious to the reader. We do not know if there were survivors of the carnage. We do know this was considered a final solution to the problem of the Cathers and Rome. We do know that many who died were innocents.
    We have heard most recently the phrase "Never Again" referring to the Nazi holocaust of millions including an attempted final solution of the Jews. But history is filled with many such stories and many have stated "Never Again". Variations on a theme is technically not repetition. But it seems the phrase "Never Again" rings a bit hallow. Just as hollow as the phrase "The war to end all wars."
    Today we have refugees. Today we have war. Tommorrow both will still be with us. The places will change. The people will be differant. There will still be many Pierres and Maries though. How do we vet the unvetable? In many a western traditon, we believe that it is better to let some of the guilty to go free rather than punish an innocent in error. With refugees we seem to be telling the world that it is better to punish many innocents than to let a single enemy go free. Yes, this is a reversal of our deepest beliefs about justice. I find the abbot's solution on the problem of vetting very much against my personal beliefs. Are we simply following the same path today? I hope for the best and know that we have a tendancy for history to repeat itself with minor variations of the theme. I can only repeat the phrase "Never Again."

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  6. #6
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Entry 5 - The Night's King

    The Night's King
    "Night gathers," he remembered the words now clearer than he'd ever done before and spoke them aloud for some unspoken reason, on the edge of what would surely be his death, it somehow felt only right. It was his oath. It was his duty. "and now my watch begins." The old words rang in his head like so many bells, echoing from ear to ear, threatening to burst open his skull if they screamed but louder. Still he did not cease, determined to reach his final goal...

    "It shall not end until my death." The cold winds bit at his heels, snow to his knees and a blizzard in his eyes. His death was here.

    "I shall take no wife," he muttered the words still, jaw locked shut from the cold as he raised an arm to shield his eyes in what was a desperate attempt. "hold no lands, father no children." Why he tried was beginning to test his mind, frozen as it was, why he wanted to live; no lands to rule nor sons to pass them to. He kept muttering the words, bells still ringing. "I shall wear no crowns and win no glory." He'd worn no crown in life although his pride spoke true of glory, however small...

    "I shall live and die at my post." The blizzard seemed unending and wholly without mercy, cutting through frostbitten fingers to bite at his cheeks. "I am the sword in the darkness!" He cried at the night as if to an old enemy, as he would in life against so many wildling bands. Without pause. Without fear. "I am the watcher on the walls!", He cried louder at the raging snows. "I am the fire that burns against the cold!" He raged still, stubborn to his last. "The light that brings the dawn!"

    His hand had lowered, numb and useless as the world grew colder still; darker and darker and blue and... blue...

    The man mustered a smile with what little life he clung to, that too frozen, a drowning man in a sea of snow and ice and winter. A stark contrast to his black attire, tattered and torn as it was, coated in snow and near brittle as ice from the cold. He brought his eyes high and beheld his goal. So... very... blue... blue... blu- eautiful…

    The Wall was built on the backs of men and magic and beasts to haul the great structure high. To protect the realms of men and more. Whatever old magic was woven into the cold walls of his little kingdom, he did not know it's name, only that it existed to protect them against the dark things. Men were dark, true, darker than beasts in his unfortunate experience... but there were darker things still. He knew. His father had taught him and his brother. They were taught to rule. To protect. To serve.

    He was born a second son. The spare. The replacement, if needed. It was a role he'd taken gladly, loving his brother so, too loyal to ever dream of more and so when father asked... he obeyed... like a good son should. Or at least that's what he'd thought at the time. So many years of blood had tested him fiercely.
    The courtyard rang to the song of swords. He stood watching new recruits spar with some others, eyeing one in particular that showed great promise, ducking under one swing and countering with a sweeping blow that crunched against the back of the other boy's leg and sent him staggering. Another lads uppercut was answered by an overhand that dented his helm. When he tired a side swing, the lad with promise swept aside his blade and slammed a mailed forearm into his chest, causing his opponent to lose his footing and fall down hard in the snow. The promising one knocked the sword from his fellow recruits fingers with a slash to his wrist that brought a cry of pain.

    "Enough!" One of the brothers cut the air, a voice with an edge of valyrian steel.

    A recruit on his arse cradled his hand. "He broke my wrist!"

    "He hamstrung you, opened your empty skull, and cut off your hand. Or would have, if these blades had an edge. It's fortunate for you that we need stable boys as well as rangers." The brother gestured at the two other recruits. "Get that one on his feet, he has funeral arrangements to make."

    The spare son watched from a raised walkway above, smirk on his lips, dressed in crisp black leathers that whispered faintly as he moved. He was a man of some forty years by his looks, spare and hard, black hair and eyes like chips of ice. "You did well!" He offered the promising recruit, taking steps down, the courtyard turning to him cautiously. It was a rare sight for him to show interest. He eyed the recruit with a smirk on his lips, hand absently scratching the black stubble on his chin.

    "L- Lord-" One of the less interesting recruits stuttered like a fool.

    "Lord Commander." The promising one offered, head slowed in a slight nod, sword to his hip, back held straight and a look in his eyes that told the Commander the boy was afraid yet trying his utmost to hide the fact. "Thank you, my lord!" The recruit bowed his head lower now, diverting his eyes away from the mans.

    "A nobles lad are you?" The spare asked, now the commander to the recruits.

    "Yes my lord." The recruit confirmed with obvious pride on his tongue. He made no attempt to hide it.

    He failed to note the looks of jealousy from the lowborn recruits.

    "A name won't get you a free pass here lad," The commander explained with an edge of his own. "but your a natural."

    "Thank you m-"

    "Fight me." The commander offered, to the boys muted stuttering surprise...

    "I-" Came the words. "I could-"

    "You could?!" The commander snapped, smirking still.


    He brought one hand up as one of his brothers tossed a blunted tourney blade into the air for him to catch with surprising grace. He made it look easy, but he always did like to show off. "Come then," the commander teased playfully as if speaking to a child far younger. "let's dance, little lord."

    The little lords eyes darted about, seeking some form of help. He found only the smirking faces of every brother in attendance.

    "Come boy," The commander swung his blunted steel, testing the balance in his hand. "before winter comes."

    After several minutes of attempting to lure the commander into allowing his defensive stance, the boy lost his temper and adopted a style more akin to free folk than a nobles son, not that the commander minded. The world was kill or be killed. Still, he had a test to complete and the boy needed his lessons...

    "That's the spirit!" The command offered, smacking the boy on the head with the blades tip when the praise distracted him for a brief glance.

    The crowd, who had chattered and cheered, became completely silent, and the air rang with the tintinnabulation of traded blows and the hoarse rasp of one young recruits breathes; starved and tiring. "Very well done." The commander offered, circling slowly. "Yet, how's your footwork?"

    The boys eyes narrowed, expecting some trick.

    "If I move here..."

    The boy moved.

    "Good!" The commander gave a nod. "And... you mov-"

    Again, the boy moved as desired. The commander was pleased.

    "Whoever trained you did a fine job lad," he offered simply, tossing the blunted steel to a nearby brother to catch it with far less grace than the commander boasted. "who taught you to fight? Your footwork is impressive for one still so young." Not that he knew how old the recruit was, exactly. "How old are-"

    "Ten-and-four." The recruit answered quickly.

    The commander scowled. "Here," he offered the lad a cup of water. "drink. And don't interrupt when others speak."

    That earned a scoff from the crowd of brothers.

    "Do what I say," he eyed the brothers. "not what I do."

    A horn sounded. "Harooooooooooooooooooooo," it cried, it's voice as long and low and chilling as a cold wind from the north.

    "One for Rangers." The commander thought, his eyes and those of every brother having snapped to the Wall and the steps of ice that were carved into its side, leading high, having claimed the lives of one or two green boys too eager. The commander remembered the first time he'd seen a boy slip... not a pretty end...

    They waited for the second with baited breath. Two for Wildlings. Three for something not seen in hundred of years.

    The second never came and gods praised, neither did a third. "Rangers returning!" The call came, announcing the arrival followed by the great gates opening. Should the worst ever happen, old gods forbid it, the commander new his duty. Those tall black steel gates would be sealed with ice and rock. Then they'd pray.

    He snapped out of it quickly, moving feet to stone and quickened to the gates. A ranger approached. He was frozen near death at first glance, black covered a fine white hunched over his horse; beast near collapse. The ranger had ridden hard and fast without rest. It was he that was first first to fall...

    With a thud the man slipped from his saddle and onto the ground, steel clanging to his side as the commander rushed over.

    "Will!" He knew the mans face, his First Ranger. "Will! Answer me brother!"

    Will managed only a shiver and little more, alive, but only just.

    "Commander," the voice of the forts maester called. "we must bring him inside to warm hi-"

    "Yes!" The commander interrupted. "Quickly!"

    Inside the great hall the frozen ranger was tossed besides the largest of the orders fires, fed more wood to burn brighter and hotter against the cold now in the hope of saving the First Ranger so that he may speak. "W-" He managed. "Wal-"

    "Wall?" The commander assumed. "Yes, your home brother. We're he-"

    "Walker." Will managed, a hoarse whisper that only the commander heard.

    That word froze even the commander as the light began to fade from Will's eyes.

    "Walker!" The word echoed through his head from ear to ear as Will grasped his arm with what little strength remained. Walker. Walker. Walker. The words rang as a warming. Will's grip lessened and all the light faded from his eyes. He'd been a friend, once. One of the few men the commander had counted on. One of his best.

    "Commander?" Another ranger asked, eyes darting to the former First Rangers corpse.

    "Burn him." The commander whispered to himself if not to the others.

    "I'm sorry." The ranger offered. "Did you say-"

    "Burn him!" He snapped, loud as a thunder clap.

    "I-" The ranger seemed confused. Burning was not the normal rest of a ranger.

    "See to it!" He commanded. "That's an order, brothers..."

    None questioned that. They all knew better than to disobey orders.

    The commander stayed put as Will's frozen corpse was taken away for a pier. He watched the fire in it's place as they left, enchanted by it, dancing and spitting as it did. "Walker" Will's last word echoed in his mind, as if he'd forgotten. The ramblings of a dead man.. surely? Madness. They were dead. They couldn't be back. And yet...

    It an instant he found himself atop the wall. Up the icy steps that were carved into its face so long ago by Brandon the Builder.

    "Walker." The word kept nagging at him, unrelenting as it was.

    He reached the top with relative ease and brothers parted as he passed them by with stony silence.

    "Commander?" One builder asked as he walked.

    He ignored the man. Walker. Walker. Walker.

    "Winter is Coming." He remember those words now, and the lesson that followed before he'd departed for the Wall; off to serve his father's realm against the Wildling hordes and... apparently... so much more than that. It seemed so very long ago now, looking back at it. How time flew for the frozen guards of the night.

    The land Beyond stretched out before his eyes as far reaching as the lands of his birth and yet so more untamed. The trees were some leagues from the wall, cut down as regularly as the order could manage by it's builders, all the better to sight the so called Free Folk. He however was not here for them...

    Something called to him. It was out there, although he couldn't explain how he knew that.

    "Walker." The word whispered now, almost smoothing and sweet as honey...

    Something glinted in the distance as a sapphire shun in the darkness. "There!" His mind screamed at him.

    He had to seek it out, whatever it was. It had killed his friend. It was a danger to his order. To his brothers. To the realm he served so many years. What choice was there? "Yes." The commander muttered to the cold, accepting. He would call for a ranging. He would see the truth of things with his own eyes.

    It was a small order that none fought to question, gathering three hundred brothers of the watch to ride out and avenge the First Ranger. Will had been popular with the men that served under him and many were eager to avenge the man's death. Wildlings were the assumed culprits. The commander knew better.

    The ride from the Wall to the Haunted Forrest's edge was a short one shrouded in silence and snow.

    "No sign of them." One ranger spoke to his friend, the commander riding out ahead of the party.

    "Just wait," a second replied. "you'll see. The commanders never led us astray, and Will didn't die for nothing..."

    They hoped. They rode through snow and winter itself. They kept the complaints hushed. The commander pushed them on.

    "It's close." He muttered to himself absently as the winds blew through his hair. The cold never fazed him as it did others. It was in his blood.

    "We make camp here for the night!" He came the order, to the grumbling of his men.

    "Commander?" A ranger asked, eyeing the surroundings. A small opening in an otherwise wooded hell. Too good a position for an ambush should anyone come across the camp... and the commander should've known that better than anyone. The ranger began to feel uneasy.

    "Set camp!" The commander snapped at the man, unfazed by his look. It was close now. So very close...

    The brothers went about the orders and prepared tents of thick furs to combat the bitter winds of the north. The clearing was near wide enough to host them without much effort, while each builder overlooked ten rangers as they prepared small defenses on the outskirts encase of ambush. Nothing major, but it was something.

    "Commander." A voice spoke, but he didn't hear it. His eyes darting to the trees. Looking for som-

    "Commander?" Louder now, as it caught his attention with a snap. "Are you alright, my lord?"

    "Fine." He replied with an edge.

    "You-" The man hesitated, a steward by the looks of him. "Your arm..."

    "My arm?" The commander asked, brow raised and curious now. He looked. There was nothing on his arm, the idea was- no, wait...

    "Did you trip on the steps my-"

    "No!" The commander growled, more wolf than man.

    Trip? Him? What nonsense. And yet not far from his wrist stood a bruise, ugly and shaded a blue so dark it appeared almost black. It was where Will had grabbed him, or so it seemed. It didn't matter. The maesters could see to it upon his return, no mere bruise from a dead man's grip would stop him in this. He scoffed.

    "It's nothing!" The commander insisted. "Return to your post brother."

    The steward offered no complaint, giving a respectful nod before leaving his commander.

    He entered his tent and out of the winter winds, into the relative safety of his commanders tent, twice the size of the others and twice the comfort. Not that it bosted much by any means but while the others slept on hay he would sleep on feathers. There were indeed some perks to his position.

    "Close." He muttered, finding his way abed with a heavy head filled with worries. "I'm so close."

    Sleep took him. In his dreams was home again, with no great wall of ice in sight and no brothers or oaths to keep him confined. In his dream he was young again, a boy no older than four-and-ten sparring in the courtyard of his houses castle. He watched himself swing a sword. He laughed as his brother fell...

    "I'm king now!" His younger self cheered, playing a game he recalled well as the two fought with wooden swords. He'd played the Red King of House Boltons days. His brother the Winter King, recreating an old war between great houses. They'd take turns as the Stark, this turn his brothers it seemed.

    "Well struck." His brother smiled up at his younger self, raising an arm for help.

    The commander watched with a grin. This was a dream he'd had before and by the gods did he miss those days of inno-

    "Arrrggghhh!" His brother screamed. The voice seeming to ring out across the whole of existence.

    This wasn't right. His younger self had brought down his sword, now steel, freeing his brothers hand at the wrist in a spray of crimson.

    "Brandon!" The commander wailed, but found himself frozen in place and unable to help.

    His brother cried as blood flowed, looking up at his younger self with pleading eyes. "Why?" His brother cried. "WHY!?"

    "I'm king now!" The boy raised his sword high and swung, ending the heirs life and claiming the castle for himself.

    "No!" The commander fell to his knees. "This is a dream," he whispered and refused to look up. "nothing can harm me. Just a dream..."

    He'd lifted his brother up in life. This was a dream, nothing more. He'd wake up now and everything would be fine.

    "WAKE UP!" The commander screamed, looking up. His younger self smiled down at him, sword bloodied at his side with eyes that shun a pale blue.

    "You were jealous." The boy spoke, his voice cracking like ice.

    "No." The commander denied. "Never!"

    "You were." The thing continued, taking a step forward. "You can't lie to me, Stark."

    "Lies!" He denied again. "Your nothing but lies!"

    The boy smiled wide. He brought his sword up and swung true as the commander held his arm aloft to shield himself.

    "NO!" He screamed and awoke in an instant to shield himself from the blade. The bruise from earlier was the first thing to demand his attention, breathing heavily as he was, the tents flap wide open as it let in the winter snows; bruise burning like nothing he'd quite felt before.

    "Close." His mind's voice called him outward, into the snow, out to the cold and dark. "Close."

    Holding his arm in a vise-like grip, he lifted himself from his feathered bedroll and ventured to the tents flap that flew about freely in the blizzard winds. "Come." The voice called him and he felt powerless to refuse. It felt akin to the dream, frozen in place and unable to act. Closer and closer he went, until he stood in the snows alone.

    The camp was shouldered in white, tents covered in a layer thick enough to have been here for a month or more despite only a night having passed. "Come closer." The voice seemed to call to him, closer than before and twice as sweet. "Here." The honied words snapped his attention outside his head now, not in...

    There it stood, with eyes that shun like sapphires and skin like pale milk. It seemed to... smile at him...

    "Awake!" The commander cried out to his men, hand moving to his sword only to find it absent.

    "Sleep." The creature spoke, it's voice like cracking ice. It still smiled.

    "Witch!" The man accused and held his ground, refusing to turn and flee. He was brave. He'd always been brave. "Demon!"

    "Neither." The demon's smile turned, amused. It stood at some five foot with bare skin and white flowing hair. If it was indeed a demon, it was surely one sent to trick the hearts of men; unlike anything he'd seen. He struggled to keep his eyes from wandering, the demon undeniably attra-

    Gods. What was he thinking? "Get out of my head, demon!"

    It smiled wider, motioning to its body.

    "Like?" It laughed, a sound like a cracking lake of ice.

    It also seemed completely without shame.

    "Follow!" It continued it's laugh, fading into the snows as it fled.

    "Come back!" The commander demanded, eyes darting to his tent and back to the trees where the creature fled.

    "Catch!" The voice was in his head again, pleading sweetly. It begged to be heard. Obeyed...

    He broke into a sprint and decided in an instant without truly thinking that there was for whatever reason no time to turn back and grab his sword, nor wake his men. The demon had to be stopped! It was a danger to his brothers! He had no choice in this! It was his his duty! His decision to make!

    The snows gathered quicker than he'd expected. The blizzard picking up tenfold, his camp behind no longer in sight.

    "Face me!" He cried out into the winter winds.

    The demon offered nothing but a chuckle, ice cracking upon the wind and echoing around him. The blizzard continued to rage and the demons voice seemed to cling to every flake of snow, it's almost girly and delighted chuckle taunting him. He'd be red with anger if not near blue from the cold. Closer. Closer. Closer.

    "Night gathers," the voice spoke sweetly, willing him forward, taunting him with it's words. He offered no reply. "and now my watch begins." The words rang in his head like so many bells, echoing from ear to ear, threatening to burst open his skull if they screamed but louder. Still he did not cease, determined to...

    "It shall not end until my death." He wasn't sure what he was so determined to do now, oddly enough. He knew only that he wished to live.

    "I shall take no wife," the voice muttered the words still. He raised an arm to reach out, almost pleading. "hold no lands, father no children." He'd always secretly wanted lands, with a wife and family to call his own. He'd told no one. The voice sung the words, soft as silk. "I shall wear no crowns and win no glory."

    He'd earned his glory. What was a in a crown? Was he not worthy? Had he not bled enough for such a thing? He deserved more...

    "I shall live and die at my post." The blizzard no longer fazed him as it cut through his frostbitten fingers. "I am the sword in the darkness." He said the words himself now. The voice asked it of him and he gave it freely. "I am the watcher on the walls." He called louder at the raging snows, to the beauty of winter that wished to see him. "I am the fire that burns against the cold." He called still, numb to the pain as the mark on his arm glowed an eerie blue. "The light that brings the dawn!"

    He lowered his hand as his purpose drew closer; darker and darker and blue and... blue...

    What was once the commander smiled, a drowned man in a sea of snow and ice and winter. A fallen Stark in tattered black, coated in snow and near brittle as ice from the cold. He brought his eyes high and beheld his goal. It was beautiful. She was beautiful. Skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars...

    "Mine." She spoke, her voice sickeningly sweet. She offered her hand to the once Commander of the Watch.

    The fallen took her hand, softer than silk and cold as ice as only a single word came to him. It was the last he'd ever speak. "Love."

    She brought his hands to her cheek, caressing, wrapping an arm around the fallen commander and embracing him in the snow. They stayed there for hours and nothing remained of him by the end, the man once known as the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch died in the snows Beyond the Wall in the arms of death. What returned to the Nightfort to rule as King was nothing but a puppet, used to confuse the magics of the Wall after giving the creature what it sought, a child to fool old magics... for nothing wholly dead could pass... but the the living passed freely. No brother questioned the Commanders return.

    History would not be kind to the man as his true name was removed from all records. The stories named him traitor. The truth was far sadder, bewitched by a creature beyond him and used for it's ends, cut down by his own brother when King Brandon the Breaker lead his army to the Wall in the hopes of freeing his brother; only to free him with cold steel. Brandon ordered his name removed from history, never to be uttered upon pain of death. His brother died. That's all anyone would know.

    Brandon Stark had been a warrior, like is brother, but he stood now on the edge of tears in doorway of the highest tower in the Nightfort. A cold demon stood before him, snarling like a wolf, bare skin white with hair like snow. It's eyes shun as he charged. The demon seemed unfazed, as if nothing could ever harm it.

    "For my brother!" The king growled, his sword Ice having sliced into the creatures chest with great ease.

    It screamed as it died, wide blues eyes, the sound causing Brandon to stumble and near drop his sword as his ear threatened to bleed under the sheer pressure of the demons wail. It shattered like ice in an instant and the terrible noise ceased, falling to a hundred thousand pieces before him.

    "Your Grace!" A voice came from the doorway, it's concern obvious.

    "I'm fine." Brandon waved the man off. "What of the others?"

    "The brothers-"

    "Well?" Brandon's patience was long since gone. "Speak, or bloody well find me a man who will!"

    "T- They've stopped. The brothers, they just... stopped fighting..."

    Brandon eyed the melted remains of the demons thousand chunks of shattered ice. It was the cause. That thing had done all this.

    A cry caught his attention, moving from anger to confusion.

    "A babe?" The man asked, the wailing of a child coming from the room.

    It was Brandon to see it first. A cradle behind where the demon had stood. Inside was a pale skinned child barely a year of age, it's wailing ceasing as Brandon moved closer and it's eyes opened to reveal a haunting blue. "A child." Brandon muttered, thinking hard now, all reports having spoken of how the demon was his brothers queen...

    "It's the monsters!" The man all but shouted upon seeing the babe.

    It seemed unfazed by the loud man, eyeing Brandon curiously before appearing to almost smile.

    "Brother." The king whispered, eyeing the child. It had black hair. It's fathers hair.

    "We must destroy it before-"

    The man choked on his words. Ice was there now, sticking through his stomach and out his back.

    "He's my blood." Brandon said sadly, removing the valyrian steel with a single motion as the man dropped dead.

    The child laughed. An all too human laugh that filled Brandon with some hope that his brothers son was more Stark than demon. "Winter is Coming." He spoke to the child now, picking him up in his arms. "I'm your uncle," he informed the blue-eyed babe. "and nobody is going to hurt you. I promise."

    He held his finger out for the boy to grasp, that he did gladly and with surprising strength for one so very young.

    "Beron." The king named him. "Beron the Blue. You carry your fathers name now my boy, so best do him proud..."

    Under the patronage of Pie the Inkster Click here to find a hidden gem on the forum!

  7. #7
    Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar The Ecstasy of Potatoes
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Voted, good luck guys.

  8. #8
    Flinn's Avatar May the Forza (Italia) be with you!
    Patrician Citizen Content Emeritus Gaming Director

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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    as above
    Under the patronage of Finlander, patron of Lugotorix & Lifthrasir & joerock22 & Socrates1984 & Kilo11 & Vladyvid & Dick Cheney & phazer of the Imperial House of Hader

  9. #9
    Axis Sunsoar's Avatar Domesticus
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    All along the Watchtower

    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Voted, congrats finalists!

  10. #10

  11. #11
    Darkan's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Voted! Also, in the poll, entries 4 & 5 are 5 & 4. Small issue though.
    [DLV 6.2 AAR] - The Danish House of Hen - updated 20/08/18 - on hold
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  12. #12
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Voted! Congratulations to the writers who reached the final, good luck!

  13. #13
    Commissar Caligula_'s Avatar The Ecstasy of Potatoes
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Its a shame there were only 10 voters.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    thank you

  15. #15
    ♔Greek Strategos♔'s Avatar BEARDED MODERATION
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    Default Re: Scriptorium 2017 writing competition - Final Voting

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar Caligula_ View Post
    Its a shame there were only 10 voters.
    Oh I missed this one.

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