Bit of backstory, this was the story I wrote in my mock exam, the brief was "Write a story in which an obsession dominates a character's life."

It sat on a shelf on a wall, in the middle of a nondescript flat, in the middle of yet another city with a man who had yet another job working the regular seven until five shift. He was average height, presentable in most echelons of society (or at least those in those that he would have resided in) and looked... average. He would leave in the morning and return in the evening, and from that point on the people on the floors above and below would hear nothing of him, except for the occasional bang or cry of frustration. They would often wonder what occurred in there, what were the harsh clangs. The flat below remembered a time when they thought the roof was about to fall in; they were halfway up the stairs to complain when they decided better and returned to their flat. The banging had continued and so had the cries of anguish; their roof still occasionally vibrated and they wondered what occurred in that room. Of course they had never seen the inside of his flat; he lived alone and had not invited anyone around in the time he had been a resident in his apartment. From the few glimpses they could garner, he had a small, nondescript TV sitting in the corner, however, a remote was nowhere to be seen and neither were any chairs. The walls were regulatory beige; if you wished to have them changed you had to ask the permission of the landlord, yet since his moving in neither of them had spoken anyway.
The landlord could, in fact, only ever remember one conversation with the man, which was that he had requested to install a shelf. Nothing else had ever been delivered there and the landlord had often been curious to take a look, yet he never did, more out of respect for the privacy of his tenants than anything else. The man paid his rent and that was that as far as the landlord was concerned.
The man, meanwhile, sat on the floor of his apartment with It sitting opposite him. There were nine dials numbering zero to nine, which made a possible nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine combinations. It also had a keyhole. He could not find the key. He was not sure if there was a key. He had taken it to a locksmith once, and they had said they could not make a key for it. There probably was not a key. That did not, however, stop him from trying. Any time he got a key, or anything that looked like a key, or anything that could be mistaken for a key or anything key related, he tried it. Of course none had worked so far... but that was not to say that they would not.
Of the possible combinations, he was at five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty two. He had also tried a sledgehammer, but had rejected that idea after it cracked one of the floor boards. He was now on combination five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty three. He could not find a handle to open It, so he was merely left to assume that it would open upon him finding the right combination. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty four.

He had taken it to a specialist once and the specialist had attempted to open It, but to no avail. The specialist had attempted to open It with explosives, but to no avail. The specialist had attempted to take some shavings off of It for analysis, but to no avail. The specialist had offered him a refund and then given up. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty five.
He picked It up with a sigh and brought it over to the table. In all of these years this part had never accomplished anything, never a dent or scratch in it. His finger flicked absently. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty six. He opened the toolbox on the table and pulled out a new hacksaw, his finger still flicking. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty seven. He started at the base with the hacksaw; the pattern was pre-determined by now, an art refined over many a year, however, today he slipped and It fell off of the table; putting the hack down he stooped to pick It up. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty eight. The table, like everything else in the flat, was cheap, bought at a local store, he couldn't remember which. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and thirty nine. It had served him well for the past however many years, but it was heading rapidly towards the end of its lifespan. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty. Once it collapsed he would attempt to find the store and purchase another, if they still sold this model. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty one. If not, he supposed he would merely have to find another. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty two.
The hacksaw had done nothing, though at this point he would have been more surprised if it had done something than if not. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty three. He had also tried yet another 'skeleton' key, two wrenches and a grinder before giving up on that path, It had sat there unmoved as always. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty four.
He put It on its shelf. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty five. It stayed there during the day as well, whilst he was at work, earning the money to pay the rent for the flat and buy the various tools he had acquired over the years. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty six. Of course, after they had failed him, he sold the tools on to second hand shops and the like, he had no use for them after all. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty seven. He walked out of the main room, down his hall. A couple of the lights weren't working properly which meant that the hallway was only dimly lit at points. He stepped inside the bathroom and took a shower before changing into nightclothes and stepping outside again. Before going to bed, he took one last look at It. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty eight. No luck. As was custom, he did it one more time. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and forty nine. Then he went back down the hallway and clambered over a pile of paperwork of some sort into bed. He flicked the light switch off, rolled over onto his side and then proceeded to go to sleep.

It was there, in front of him, he'd finally found the right number. The door had popped open at last, no need for a key after all. He reached forward to touch it, and the box felt unusual. Usually it was cold, just slightly below room temperature, but enough to be noticeable. It was now hot though, it was burning hot, red hot. The metal lit up as it glowed, he tried to pull his hands off it but he could not as the skin charred and fused with the burning metal, as he desperately tried to pull away from the box he awoke with a cry of anguish. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and fifty.
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You're going to get a 7/10 for that from me. It was well-written, but that's definitely what earned you most of the points from me. As much as I realise that you were trying to convey the fact that he had an obsession (Don't get me wrong, I do feel that you got that across well.), I found the constant number count to be a little distracting. Once I realised that the numbers were a pattern, I found myself anticipating the next one, which distracted from the story, and thus caused me to have to refocus again, which isn't I feel something that you want to be doing if you're trying to engage the reader.

The ending was a little too strange for my liking, but overall it was well-written, and you did very well to get across the fact that this man has a serious obsession. The introduction was also well done, as it really did well to explain that something definitely was unusual about the man. Your use of the 'cries of frustration' piqued my curiosity, and it was that phrase that made me want to learn what the cries were for...

So yes, 7/10.


I like to call this one "One more Cigarette"

Tonight I met the most beautiful girl in the world. That is not hyperbole. I met the most beautiful girl in the world.I was standing outside McGee's Tavern, where you can find me almost every night, chain smoking cigarettes when I saw her coming. She was about a block away when I first saw her, and I had trouble looking away for the fifteen seconds it took for her to reach the overhang where I was standing avoiding the rain.
She is reckless. I could tell by looking at her. The dead giveaway was that it was pouring rain and she didn't have an umbrella. Or maybe she is forgetful or maybe the weather app on her phone doesn't work or maybe she just likes being sopping wet. Regardless, I knew I had to get her attention. Somehow, some way, she was going to notice me.
3... 2... 1... and there she went. Right past me. I had already destroyed something that I was too scared to even begin creating. "Ten seconds of courage" I told myself, and off I ran into the rain to catch up.
"Excuse me ma'am, do you need an umbrella?"
"No thank you. I like the rain."
I knew it. "Well good. Because I don't have an umbrella. Do you want a cigarette?"
"Thanks for the offer but it's pouring rain."
I looked up at the sky seemingly just realizing that fact, myself.
"Bit tough to smoke a wet cigarette"
"Oh. Right. Well it's not raining over there. There's an overhang at McGee's. We can stay dry there."
"Okay. Fine."
She quickly brushed past me back towards McGee's. Was this really happening? This woman was ten times more beautiful than any other woman that has ever given me the time of day. Maybe she was just humoring me. But I didn't care. I was on top of the world.
We got to the overhang where we could stay dry -- or stay wet, I guess. I handed her a cigarette.
"What's your name?"
"That's a very pretty name."
She blew a cloud of smoke right in my face as if to say "I've heard that line a million times. Try harder".
We talked for about five minutes about the weather, because that's all that my brain would allow me to think about. Well other than the subtle curve of her lips and the deep green of her eyes, but I wasn't going to bring that up. She knows those things already. She has to.
Our cigarettes were starting to get stubby and I was starting to feel pressure to entertain her. That's when she spoke words that I'll never forget.
"So we've been talking for close to ten minutes now and you still haven't told me what your name is."
"She cares what my name is. Progress" I thought to myself. I must have been thinking a bit longer than I thought because she asked me again.
"What is your name?"
At this point both of our cigarettes had gone out.
"My name.. my name is Micky."
"Can I have another cigarette Micky?"
She wanted another cigarette. To me, this could only mean two things; she either enjoyed my company, or what was waiting for her at the end of her walk was even worse than an awkward man-child talking about the weather for ten minutes. I chose to believe the former, for morale's sake.
"Of course you can have another cigarette."
I handed her a cigarette and the lighter. She lit up her cig and kissed me on the cheek. Before I had time to recover from the sudden lack of oxygen in my brain and lack of functionality in my knees, she began walking away.
"It was very nice to meet you, Micky. I live right down the street here. Maybe if you're lucky we'll meet again."
With that, she was on her way.
"Wait -- how are you gonna smoke that cig in the rain!?"
Just then, without turning around, she pulled out an umbrella from her bag. I would do anything to see the smug look that she undoubtedly had on her face.
She told me she lives nearby. That's good news. I practically live at McGee's, so we are practically neighbors. I'm going to go find her. Should I go find her? What if she gets to know me better and doesn't like me? I should do it.
Maybe after one more cigarette.


Interesting story Zemelci. Makes me wanna know more - how did the guy get the remote? What happened after it started burning and fusing to his skin? Did he catch on fire and die? If so, why is that interesting (what happened previously that that becomes an interesting denouement to the story?) Or does his body slowly turn to red hot metal, and he's like a superhero? Or cursed? Does the obsession end now he's got his answer? How did the obsession start? What's the character himself's back-story?...
You've got an intriguing germ of a longer story there :)


mrnnh I think you missed an important bit at the end:
as he desperately tried to pull away from the box he awoke with a cry of anguish. Five hundred and twenty three thousand, two hundred and fifty.

The point is that he doesn't open the box. That final paragraph (and here's the reason as to why it's seperated) is a dream. He goes to bed and dreams that he's opened the box, but he hasn't actually and so he wakes up and his life continues on, with no sign of release as implied by the continuation in counting.
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Ok as threatened here its the Non-Cannon and as yet unamed Tiran story. If you've never read Tiran before then it'll probably make no sense to you in truth I wrote it more for me and Regal to have a giggle at :D so no need for ratings out 10

They moved like shadows through the packed plaza, their faces veiled against the heat and the dust of the Jehennan afternoon; a heat that would normally have driven many including themselves inside their homes and the relative cool had it not been for the small line of people stood upon the raised wooden platform before them.
They were traitors; charged with treason and condemned to hang; a large man in a black hood placing a noose about the necks of the two hard faced men before proceeding to do the same to the terrified young woman beside them, her main crime being that of foolishness as opposed to die hard traitors beside her.
Finding a position near the front of the baying crowd the two veiled figures listened as the charges were read out against them; treason, murder, theft...the list went on and on “We shouldn’t be here Izzy” the slightly taller of the two figures whispered into his companions ear so as to be heard over the noise of the crowd “I know we shouldn’t, but we are and you know what has to be done!” she hissed back irritably sinking her hand deep into the pocket of her grey breeches to clasp hold of something.
It was at this point that a hand descended heavily upon their shoulders causing their breath to catch in their throats and hearts to hammer in their chests “you two, with me now!” the voice growled from behind them; his grip tightening as he led them back out of the unresisting crowd and into a nearby alley just as the trapdoor of the gallows was released.
Feeling the veil ripped away from her face, the young girl stared up in horror at the man that had accosted her, half believing it to be her father and finding herself nowhere near relieved to find it wasn’t the case “Ismaire Jehan, I believe you and you’re brother were forbidden to come here? Is that not so?” the man growled at her angrily “Yes uncle Sync, But...”
“No buts! Empty your pockets don’t even think of lying to me, men and women far better than you two have tried” he continued, over riding her protest at being caught in the plaza, not that it stopped her from trying “Uncle Sync, please! Let me explain!”
“Pockets! Now!” he roared causing her to jump with shock at finding the man nowhere near as forgiving as childhood memories had had her believe before digging into her pocket and placing the small cloth wrapped package into his waiting hand.
Unwrapping what he’d been given Sync gives his niece and nephew a confused look as he found himself holding a fil of blood soaked bread crumbs “Ismaire...what are you doing?” he asks giving the girl a concerned look as she squirmed under his gaze “I am sorry uncle Sync, I know she’s a traitor and...and she deserves what she got but...but she was still my friend” suddenly their presence in this place all made sense and he had to commend their loyalty even if it was entirely misplaced. It was an old practice, throwing breadcrumbs beneath the feet of a hanged friend or loved one in order to stop the ravens from attacking the body or more accurately the eyes “Go home you two, I’ll see that these are scattered beneath her and we’ll keep this between us, ok?” he said with a weary sigh; pocketing the breadcrumbs as he did so, wondering quietly to himself whether Glasya was right and that he was growing soft now that the war was over “oh and time you decide to sneak out... don’t wear a pair of boots that cost the same as a villa” he said with chuckle as he disappeared into the crowded plaza leaving Ismaire to guiltily gaze down at the boots in question.
“What was that about you joining Uncle Sync’s inquisitors?”
“Oh shut up Kay! You didn’t exactly blend in either” She retorted to her brothers teasing as the pair of them started moving down the alley in the opposite direction to that of their uncle; fixing her veil as she went so as to avoid being recognised by anybody else “Don’t worry Kay there will loads of people there you said, we’ll just wear veils and headscarves no one will recognise us you said, not even uncle Sync would be able to...”
“Ok, ok I get it!” she said more to get him to shut than admit that she’d been mistaken about how easy it would be to sneak out of the palace undetected “Now come on, before mother realises we’re gone and makes us do sword forms all afternoon”
“Izzy, you like doing sword forms and mother knows it...she’d make you do embroidery” Kaidan replied with grin finding the idea of his tomboy of a sister doing embroidery highly amusing even if it meant he’d have to stand in the practise yard by himself for hours on end “I can just see it sat there in that pretty dress mother likes sewing an entire bouquet of flowers” he said chuckling as he imagined the grimace going on beneath her veil “Please Kay, it’s bad enough I have to wear that stupid dress tonight without that! you think the Lady Glasya will be there?”
“I hope so...seeing her and mother argue like a pair of kids is always worth a giggle”

Sync didn’t so much push his way through the crowd as let it pass around him, the dark clad man managing to make his way through without so much as being jostled.
Briefly pausing by the now vacated gallows he casually throws the breadcrumbs beneath the dead girls feet “I told you to find service should have listened to me” he whispered bitterly, glancing up at her bloated, discoloured face as he did so and feeling little remorse over her fate. He wouldn’t be losing any sleep over what had happened to her or over the fact that he was the one that had sent her to the gallows. He’d told her in no uncertain terms to leave the palace after suspicions about her had been raised; a foolish risk to have taken, but considering her relationship with Ismaire and Kaidan a risk he had willingly taken in order to avoid them discovering what she was getting herself mixed up in the hard way. She hadn’t listened to him and so when the proof was discovered he hadn’t hesitated in sending her and her accomplices to their deaths.
By the time he’d left the plaza she was all but forgotten; just another threat to the Kingdom of Jehenna he’d found and dealt with. That was what he did, he found threats and dealt with them which considering how he had come to meet the current King and Queen was kind of ironic, then again maybe it wasn’t? After all who better to catch and kill traitors than the man that had very nearly been one himself had he not had a change of heart and an identity crisis that had resulted in him becoming the king’s half brother.
Dressed in nondescript dark clothing it was hard to believe that he was one of the most powerful men in the kingdom; his position earned through years of tireless service and more than a few sinister plots of his own, how many men had he and Glasya had killed over the years in order to cement their own positions? He didn’t know. All he knew for sure was that people no longer spoke about his relationship with the mysterious Jehennan woman or the grisly methods she used to remain looking so youthful. What vivid imaginations some people had for instance Sync knew for a fact that Glasya was extremely precious when it came to her long rope of silky black hair and so the idea that she would bath in anything other than sweetly scented water was laughable.
At the mere thought of her Sync found himself absently running his thumb around the ring on his finger with a smile on his face. The ring had been a gift from Glasya and one that he truly treasured above all others, more for the memory of how he’d received the gift than for the actual ring itself which was a simple gold band unless you heated it over a candle to reveal the flowing script hidden within. Even to this day she refused to tell him what that strange flowing text said but judging from the flush that arose in her cheeks it wasn’t anything bad. One day he would get her to tell him the meaning of those words but until then it would be closest they would ever get to the marriage that could never happen. Friends and Lovers yes, marriage and children, no or at least... not yet.


Needs more Brahmoth. 0/10 :p

(Very nice story, well done)

EDIT: I like the characterisations and the sort of in jokes and everything since Regal-Sama will probably require this non-review to have substance. 'twas fun. Then we laughed and was sick. Maybe I should write my own story about Daner and Lucy....

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
hah, well, I asked and you most certainly delivered. Gotta say, I'm almost sad we won't see that come to pass… *starts coming up with ways to extend Tiran past the distant goal we're already working towards*…I'm biased to love it so take it with a grain of salt, but YES. Loved it.
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You can't post in Storybook and expect for it to not be rated, Braet heh... Having read Tiran since I joined the section here, I'm aware of the backstory, etc... I liked the story, and the way you referred back to the events of the Tiran RP itself. It was nicely written too.

I'll give you an 8/10 for it.


Enjoyable, good characters, though not a lot happens and a fair bit got bogged down in Sync flashing back.

I'd give it an 8.5/10.


Yeah its not so much a story as "Chapter 1" and as I said it was more for a giggle than anything serious, though I do have an idea for a section featuring some of the other characters so I may stick another section up at some point


Feel free to write one about Daner and Lucy. You have my full permission. I would, in fact, encourage you to do so.


One by one, the preacher and the handful of mourners drifted away with their words of kindness and admiration for my father. "So sorry for your loss, Jacob", "He was a good man", and all the other vacuous words people use in these situations. Some did offer to return in the morning to help with the horses, for which I was grateful. Tomorrow I would head off into town 20 miles away to deal with lawyers and banks and the signing of papers. I went back into the house, stopping just inside the door, and looked around.
Other than the obvious recent addition of the platters of homemade comfort foods brought by the visitors, the house reminded me of the restored homes in the ghost towns just down the road in Alder Gulch. The trappings of daily life were displayed where one could imagine the occupants going about their business. A newspaper folded on the table next to the well-worn chair in the living room with a pair of spectacles carefully placed upon it brought to my mind the countless evenings my father had read to me the tales of the world beyond our acreage. The beanbag-bottomed ashtray still perched on the arm of the chair next to that, a tiny box of wooden matches staged in its center, as if after thirty years gone, my mother might return at any moment to sit for a smoke. The dark wooden bookshelves were dusted and arranged by some unknown caretaker, to keep time from creeping in.
Through the door of the bedroom, I could see the same patterned quilt, faded now from when, as a child, I'd seen my mother lying there, a mess of red hair strewn across the pillow and stuck to the sweat on her forehead, struggling for breath with ravaged lungs, telling my father to take care of their son and the horses and my father pleading "Sadie, don't go!" I was too young to ever know him as anything other than a tired, broken old man. My only other memory of my mother, aside from the rare occasions my father would talk about the spirited young woman that had stolen his heart and convinced him to build a horse ranch, was her singing. "Bet my money on a bobtail nag, somebody bet on the bay." She loved horses. She loved him. I suppose she had loved me, too.
Not wanting to be in the silent house with all the ghosts of my past, I took a couple cans of Coke, grabbed up the keys to the mud-brown Dodge pickup, and headed out, screen door banging behind me. Setting the truck to its granny low gear to get up the long dirt driveway, I set my sights on the Beartooth Mountains off in the distance and headed towards town. I figured I might find some of my old buddies still on the same barstools where I had left them a decade ago. As I turned on to the paved road, I saw a figure sitting on a boulder near the row of mailboxes that served the various ranchers in this neck of the county. She wore the timeless gear of a wrangler: denims and leather riding boots, a brown fur-blend-felt western hat, long-sleeved chambray shirt. She leaned on one hand, the elbow perched on her knee, and smoked a cigarette. I pulled up with the open passenger window even with her and stopped.
"Mail hasn't come yet," she offered.
"You waitin' on the mail, then?" I assumed.
She stood up, sauntered over to the window. "Nope. You headin' into town?"
"Yeah, you need a lift?"
She gestured toward the haybale in the bed of the truck. "You want me to ride the the back, in case I'm some deranged murderer?" No hint of a smile.
"You might want to sit back there in case I'm a deranged murderer," I grinned.
She dropped her cigarette, ground it out under her heel, opened the truck door and climbed in. "I'll take my chances."
I could tell she was a local by the ease with which she sat in silence. Out of the corner of my eye, I sensed that she was sizing me up, eyes narrowed, head tilted to one side, thick red braid dropping down her back from under her hat. I glanced at her and thought she looked like she wanted to ask me something. "You shore look like Joe Murrow," she finally concluded with a nod.
"He was my dad. I'm told I take after him," I confirmed.
"Was? Hmm..., I'm sorry. He was a good man."
She thankfully didn't press for details. I offered her one of the Cokes that I had brought. She shook her head emphatically, saying "Nah, I don't touch it. That stuff'll kill ya." Then without skipping a beat, and without any indication of catching the irony, she asked "Mind if I smoke?" Probably in response to my raised eyebrows and sideways look, she shrugged and added, "Gotta die of somethin'." She reached inside her vest and pulled out a rolling paper and a small pouch. She tapped a bit of the tobacco into the paper and tucking the pouch back into her pocket, she deftly rolled up the cigarette with her rough, nicotine stained fingers. Reaching into another pocket, she produced a small box of wooden matches to light it.
Blowing out the smoke, she asked if I was married.
"Well...yes," I replied.
"You don't sound too shore about that," she mused.
"She's in Cody. She... We... Well, It's complicated."
"Do ya love her?" she demanded.
I nodded slowly. "More'n anything."
"Well then it ain't that complicated." She spoke with finality. "Just do right by her. Be the man your daddy taught you to be and it'll all work out in the end."
I sighed and nodded my agreement.
We drove along a ways in silence, each lost in our own thoughts, I suppose, watching the colors of the fading light, though I could feel that she was looking at me rather intently from time to time. As we approached the lights of the town she said, "Just pull over here and let me out. This is as far as I go."
I thought it strange, but I did as she asked, pulling up under the first street light. She opened the truck door, stuck one foot on the ground, and paused to roll another cigarette. As she closed the door behind her, she leaned into the window and smiled, "Thanks for the ride. It was nice meeting you." Then she turned and began walking away from town.
"Wait!..." I leaned over to call out the passenger window. "I never got your name."
"Name's Sadie," she called back over her shoulder, then she began to sing. "Camptown Racetrack's five miles long..."
I froze for a moment, then snatched the truck door open and jumped out.
"Sadie, don't go!"
But she was already gone. I could still smell the tobacco smoke lingering in the air. I thought I could still hear her singing.


Well-Known Member
An interesting story, and I did ultimately enjoy reading through it. My own complaint is the length of the introduction. The long description of the home, combined with the "flashbacks" seemed to me to drag on too long for a story of this length. Of course, others might disagree with me. This is just my take.

I will give you a 6/10 though. It was well-written, and aside from the introduction it flowed well and had a good ending.


Thank you for your feedback. I felt that almost all the description in the beginning was necessary to set up clues for the ending. What part(s) do you think could be left out?
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While I can definitely see how you tied certain parts of the introduction to the ending (I did like the connection.), it just felt a tad long-winded. I won't name specific parts which you could take out, but I would just shorten it a bit.

I am being very picky here though. Don't feel pressed to change anything at all if you don't want to.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Joshua found himself in an arena. He had no clue how he’d gotten there, but here he was. It was silent; no fans filled the seats. Something was very wrong…how had he gotten here? Was this a dream? What was going on? As he peered around, he saw that he wasn’t alone…a rather…ridiculously dressed…man was on the opposing end. What was with that color scheme, and who did that kind of thing with their hair? Still, he was the only other person there…perhaps he’d have some answers.

Giles saw the other figure in the arena before he was spotted. He surmised from this that the gray clad man wasn’t the reason he was here…last he remembered…wait, why couldn’t he remember? That was concerning, and just a little eerie. He moved to join the only other living person in the middle, waving calmly as he got close. Now that they were near each other he could see that the redhead’s dress was old…archaic, even, in style. He looked like he could’ve been pulled from the middle ages. Well now, this was interesting…the sword at his hip too seemed old, even for the person wearing it. “Well, hello there…I don’t suppose you know where we are?” he inquired of the other person.

Joshua frowned…he didn’t recognize the language that the ridiculously dressed man had spoken. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak that…” he tried in all three of the languages he knew how to speak, but without a helpful reaction from the other man. Well, this was a problem. How could they communicate without a common language? He decided to resort to gesturing, pointing around at the arena. A shrug from the shockingly green and white figure told the Swordmaster that he wasn’t alone in not knowing where they were. This was frustrating…he had a feeling that he needed to do something to leave, and though he’d established he couldn’t remember what he’d done to get here he knew he didn’t want to stay…he needed to get back to those he cared about. However…an idea was coming to his mind, and he didn’t really like it…

Giles’ brow furrowed into a frown as the redheaded medieval man took a step back before drawing his sword. It was indeed old…almost to the point the former aristocrat wondered if it would hold up in a fight…and was it glowing? As he watched, the swordsman gestured to the arena, then to his sword. Ahh…perhaps they were here to fight each other, only being allowed to leave if they did so. Neither of them wanted to stay, that was obvious from the fact neither of them seemed to know where they were in the first place, but if they actually fought…just as Giles was trying to figure out how to voice his concerns, the other man seemed to understand and made a negating gesture before miming slicing his own throat. Good, he didn’t want to kill either. Nodding in acceptance of the terms, the former aristocrat hopped back a couple paces and summoned his swords. Bowing, he took up a stance as the redhead did the same…then charged.

Joshua had been caught aback as two emerald blades had flashed into being…it seemed that his designated opponent wasn’t just moronic in appearance…and if he could use magic, that would be bad news for the Swordmaster. He did show off some lack of formal training by charging almost immediately after they bowed though. If the man were a true dual wielder Joshua would need to be particularly careful…he could overpower him just with sheer versatility. He caught the first strike relatively easy, jumping back as the sword’s twin came in from the side. His eyes narrowed as he tried to press a slight advantage left in the overeager swing, only to be met by a flash of emerald. Kraem this man was fast…he’d reacted with unnatural speed to the reversal in direction. He took a step back before darting in for a feint at the green man’s left shoulder, reversing for his other hip. Sparks flew as Audhulma struck whatever the emerald swords were made of. How…he couldn’t figure out how this man with his ridiculous hair and clothing could be so precise!

Giles had been momentarily thrown by how quick the redhead had moved…even with his reaction times sped up, he didn’t get much of an advantage against him. Still, he seemed to be keeping to experimental strikes at the moment, which allowed both of them to learn about the other. Speed was clearly this man’s biggest strength, his reversals and parries flowing into a beautiful form. He’d had training, extensive if the former aristocrat had to guess. Still, no matter how fast he was, he didn’t have the advantage of the world around him slowing. As the fight progressed, Giles found himself slowly pushing the medieval man back, his two blades keeping him on the defensive. He was almost disappointed…as wonderful a swordsman his opponent was, he never had a chance…and of course that was when things changed.

Joshua had grown somewhat desperate. His various attempts to gain the upper hand had been almost dispassionately halted in their tracks, and if this kept up he’d eventually make an error and lose. He didn’t know if there was a penalty in this place for failing, but he didn’t want to take the risk, and his opponent was successfully blocking even his most complex and dangerous maneuvers. That meant…coming to a quick decision, he knocked aside both of the green man’s swords before jumping back. He’d only succeeded at this once before, but he figured there was no harm in trying…he spun around slowly, sinking into a crouch. He saw Audhulma’s glow brighten in response…it knew what he was trying to do, and seemed to agree. He felt the energy build, build…and then he was gone.

As Giles watched, the redhead had gained four copies of himself, all floating behind the original in various strike positions. Something was very wrong…was it the man himself…was he a Savant, perhaps? Or was it the sword, which had increased its constant gleaming? Without warning the clones pushed back into the original, who simply…vanished. On instinct the former aristocrat raised a sword behind him, staggering as it caught a blow. What…the…hell…how had he gotten there? A flurry of blows, almost simultaneously, came roaring down at Giles, who was pushed to the very edges of his endurance as he managed to block or dodge them all. Why hadn’t the man led with this? This was goddamn insane! Just when he figured the next blow would end the battle as he couldn’t keep up the pace any longer, the redhead blinked back into vision, sword flying for a spot Giles knew he wouldn’t be able to cover in time. Instead, he threw himself down, rolling and coming back up underneath his opponent, his emerald blades trying to hit him as he passed overhead. This was blocked fairly easily, and the two faced each other again.

This green monster had somehow managed to block every piece of the multi strike move…kraemen kale that was impossible! The man was wearing a fierce grin, and upon paying more attention to his face Joshua found he was too. It wasn’t every day you got to face such an unusually skilled opponent. Still, both of them were tired now…the multi strike took a lot of energy out of him, and he figured it had to have been horribly draining to block it…someone had to slip up, and soon. He knew now too that whatever he could dish out within the normal realm of possibility would ultimately be blocked…the green man was too quick for him, faster than even the Shinobi had been. Maybe if he could coax something more out of Audhulma…as the two reengaged, the Swordmaster waited for a brief respite in strikes from his opponent before willing the sword to do something…anything.

Oh come on, this wasn’t fair anymore. The redhead’s stamina was impressive, rivaling Giles’ own…something had to give, and soon…and just as he’d thought he had an advantage, the guy had disappeared again! Leaping backwards, he listened for the sound of a sword swinging and was disappointed…this was something different. Had he simply gone invisible? In that case…the former aristocrat began paying very close attention to the floor of the arena, looking for any change in the dirt. A sigh of wind, however, was the only warning he got as something behind him swung at his neck. Hissing in irritation, Giles rolled again, though as he came up he leapt back the way he’d came, slamming into something he couldn’t perceive. The redhead came back into focus as they fell to the ground in a heap, Giles quickly pinning the glowing blade under a knee as he brought his twin blades to the man’s throat. He held them there for a moment, then slumped off him, spent.

Joshua groaned as his opponent let him loose…he’d lost…the man’s speed and reaction times were simply superior to his…which was doubly impressive as his own reflexes bordered on the cap of what humanity could manage on their own. “Were you…using…magic?” he gasped, forgetting momentarily that they didn’t speak a common language. They both lay on the ground, panting as they recovered. The green man rose first, his swords vanishing, confirming that magic had been in play somehow. He helped the Swordmaster to his feet, both of them still breathing hard. The magician kept his hand clasped for a moment, shaking it warmly. “Giles” he said, probably a name. Smiling a bit more earnestly, Joshua gave his own name…there was something about sharing a fight with someone else…something invigorating, something powerful. It was a shame that this Giles wasn’t real…that he wouldn’t be able to recruit him into helping free Tiran from the magi. A force that could beat the magic of Audhulma in an almost fair fight…that was a fighting force to be reckoned with.

Giles grinned tiredly at Joshua…there wasn’t any animosity there, that was clear, and that was good…he liked the man’s style. He didn’t know where this guy was from, but it was clear from his dress they wouldn’t ever meet outside this arena. As they released grips, Joshua became somewhat see-through, and judging from the way his eyes bulged, Giles had done so as well. It appeared whatever force had dragged them together was satisfied with the performance…they were departing. The redhead bowed, eyes sparkling with mirth. The former aristocrat gave a two-finger salute in response, grinning broadly as the scene faded from his eyes…

[spoil]A little something I whipped up after a conversation with Autumn about which of them would win in a fight…ultimately it came down to an agreement that Giles had the upper hand unless Audhulma pulled something big enough to get the better of him…and since Joshua still doesn't get how to use it (and I've not really come up with everything it's capable of) he couldn't quite pull it off.[/spoil]


8/10 would read again.

It lacked a reason for them to be fighting (which is kinda important for me personally) and I'd be surprised if Joshua of all people decided that the first answer here was combat. Still, the thoughts and methods for combat with the characters were realistic and worked quite well and the thought that they wouldn't share a common language was a good one. Wouldn't mind another crossover scene like this.


I'm not really sure I could rate this but it's quite a nice piece of fiction. If I feel inspired, I might write a short story which would serve as backstory for Jokir based on an idea I've got in my head.


Around 7/10 seems about right, its well written and an interesting read but like Aut said it's kind of lacking a "why". Also Joshua needs to bring Mei with him next time as he'd get a +2 combat bonus and immunity to all fire damage ;)