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A Blighted Pox Tree
Concept, will, reality. The process went on and on in the Realm of Chaos as the gods bent all to their image. Perfect freedom, held in check only by the freedom of only three others that shared this plan of existence. Perhaps that is why the mortal universe was so enticing, the desire to live by rules, to live where there were boundaries. After all, those who had security desired freedom, and those who had freedom desired security.
Concept of a seedling, the will to have it so, and then becoming reality. From soil moist and wet, tiny tendrils of yellow-green emerged from the ground, coiling upwards. The vines turned upon themselves, forming a pulpy mass, growing larger and larger, taking its nourishment not from minerals or sunlight, but from thought, the one endless, and most important resource in that plane of existence.
A single, milky eye opened up and looked all around it. Its pupil darted around, taking in the other plants towering high above, the tiny vermin that circled around it looking for a snack. Insects, carrion birds, and things too far away to see flooded its vision. Greens, browns, yellows, and off-whites and tiny speckles of other more vibrant colors presented itself before the growing plant. Tiny openings formed around its body. Sound. Glorious sound popping, snapping, spewing, belching, snorting, gurgling sounds. And… smell. Too many to count, too diverse and exotic to put a name to them. It was blissful, the sour foulness in all its many scents.
The plant was danger. Predators, scavengers were closing in. A bulbous rodent with seven eyes and thick molars clacked its jaws as he neared closer. Tiny whip-like appendages spewed forth from the plant. A harsh squeal emanated from the tiny herbivore as it was pulled into the pulpy mass, become one with the plant.
Then consciousness came.
The plant was itself, and it was Nurgle, but Nurgle was not the plant. The would-be eater of the plant was not the plant a moment ago, but now it was, but no longer the animal. That was the secret of death, one so many could not understand, but with consciousness the plant did. In time it would die, and like the small, insignificant garden fiend, be a part of something else, or a part of multiple things. In this way it was only by death that it could reach immortality because consciousness would fade, and body would deteriorate, but with death it would continue within another. But now though, it would grow.
The outer layer of the pulpy mass began to solidify, and branches began sprouting from its top, curling upwards and outwards, each branch breaking off into several smaller branches . The thinnest branches at the tip began to shed, revealing slippery grey tentacles underneath, red sores covering them. The feel of the humid air made the growing tree shiver at the touch, popping a pair of sores, black ichor oozing from them. It smelled like blood. The tree’s eye gazed all around, flowing across the surface of its skin to see high above. There was a burning sky it could not reach. It turned its eye to look ahead, but it still could not see in the distance, not tall enough to gaze over its neighbors. It was then the tree realized that it was not only one of many, but it was smaller, more fragile than others, and it had no freedom, rooted in place to one single spot in the earth.
And it despaired.
If only plant could open a maw and call out to Father Nurgle! To sing its praises and offer its thanks, but to ask for more, so much more. It wanted to move, to walk, to run, to fly so high. Give it a hundred legs, a thousand wings, fins, and muscles to help to slither. Its eye began to weep yellow pus, in part from frustration, but in part because it was aware of its own envy, an envy that was anathema to the followers of Nurgle. It began to gain a lavender hew with a hint of green in it. Its outer layer softened, and its branches sagged, and its single eye sobbed in silence.
Then there was… singing. A wonderful melody sung in the Black Tongue. What was it that was praising Nurgle in sharp, wild notes? Thwack, thwack. The song was accompanied by a strange sound as it drew nearer, until finally a Plaguebearer can into view, a rusty hoe in its hand. Thwack, thwack against the other trees haphazardly. Its own eye caught the sight of the sad tree, tilting its head to the side until its spine popped twice.
The gardener walked up to the tree, instinctively stopped just out of reach, less it become the tree’s next meal. “Why do you weep?” He waited for an answer. “No maw, no tongue? I see. Do not feel sorrow though, for you are in Nurgle’s realm! Praise Grandfather and be at ease.” The Plaguebearer walked up right up to the tree’s eye, and held an unclean vial to catch some of oozing tears. “See? Now this will go to the Great Unclean Ones, and they will use it to make pox, which will create death, which will spawn new life in his name. So feel joyous on this day.” The plaguebearer turned around and began to walk off, continuing its guttural song, with an occasional thwack breaking up the tune.
The tree began to consider what was said. Yes, it had done its part this day. It was a part of Nurgle, and it existed, even understood its own existence. Yes, it had an eye and could see, it had holes where it could hear and smell. Perhaps in time it would speak, walk, and fly, and it would wait. After all, anything was possible in Nurgle’s Garden praise its name.
A Sapling Stumped
Yrileth was perched on a small mossy stump, watching the sapling in front of her, it was a small, slender plant overshadowed by the great trees surrounding it, blotting out the sky and starving the young thing of light. Yrileth felt sorry for it, she felt connected with this struggling abor, she was recently praised for her connection to Athel Loren and was able to demonstrate some measure of magical talent, she was put into the care of a weaver who would educate her further but he was very strict.
She stumbled upon her abilities under stress, she had been with a few other children just playing together when they found themselves lost. Some of them were crying others wanted to run to find home, they were all incredibly frightened and it was beginning to get dark, Yrileth herself was leaning against one of the larger trees when she called out for help, her voice caught in her throat as she pressed her hand against the tree, it was like opening her eyes and seeing for the first time how so alive the forest was, she could feel the spirit within the tree watching her, the rustling of leaves like cryptic whispers she only just understood, it was late Summer but before her very eyes some of the trees leaves turned red and curled, falling off the trees in an almost casual manner as they rested on the forest floor, leaving a trail of crisp, auburn leaves in an unmistakeable trail through the woods. The children gasped once they realised what was happening, yet apprehensive, the forest was full of spirits that would just love a century with a small child, let alone a whole group – how could they be sure this was safe? Yrileth tried her best but some of the children insisted on staying behind in the clearing and waiting for rescue.
Following the trail seemed almost like a dream, it twisted gently and sometimes seemed to double back, yet it led Yrileth and her friends back to the settlement and into the arms of concerned parents. A group of scouts were sent to follow the trail but it stopped at an empty clearing, the few who remained behind were gone. The parents were devastated, Yrileth was almost glad to be taken away again, she felt the stares, she heard the complaints that she should have done more, if she was truly a spellsinger in the making then she was destined to be a diplomat for other races in the future – if she could not assist a small group of children how would she handle foreigners?
She sighed, sat on her mossy seat and the trees around her sighed also, she stood up and idly brushed the small clods of dirt from her smock and stepped towards one of the larger trees, she remembered her sorrow for the loss of her friends, for the misery the parents of the lost children felt and rested her forehead on the elderly bark, she remembered the gratitude she felt as she saw the path home and her heart skipped a beat as she heard the groaning in the branches above her, she looked up to the leaves, curling and dying on the branches, just a few patches here and there breaking up the darkness with sparse patches of nourishing sunshine that landed on the desperate leaves of the struggling sapling. Turning back to sit on her stump she gave pause, there was a thorny little man sat there, his grin taking up most of his face and his limbs gnarled like old sticks. He smiled revealing rows of thorns and a tongue like a long leaf.
“Don't be afraid, elfling, I'm here to help you. I know you miss your friends terribly and I know where they are.”
“Where!?” Yrileth couldn't hide her excitement, every day she came to here and asked the trees to give her friends back.She could go home to her family and not have to do all work, reading and writing that her mentor demanded. She could be free! The man shook his head though
“No, not yet, first I need something from you; A simple promise. You will help me and my people and I will give you back your people. One for many. A fair trade is it not?” Yrileth sobbed
“I just want to go home. I just want my friends safe. I want to see them again.”
“Not part of the deal.” He stood up from the stump, impossibly tall he rose up, thorns covering him, his body weaved of dead branches and vines.
“You will come with me one way or the other, elfling!” The forest felt like it was closing in around her, the trees seemed to laugh as she cowered away from spirit before her
“You think you can kill our leaves and decide which of us deserves to grow and avoid us forever? We are Athel Loren, we are the fey who are the weave of magic, you are a part of us now. Just like every tree. Just like every Spite. Just like every spirit.” He reached forward to grab at her and Yrileth screamed, there was a popping sound and the spirit burst into a spray of mold and rotted wood, lowering his bow was her mentor looking on with a stern expression.
Yrileth stood up slowly, her mentor held out his hand to her and she walked towards him, she paused as she stood next to the sapling she had given the light to and delicately brushed her fingers over the sunbathing leaves, within moments they had withered along with the rest of the plant, tears covered her cheeks as she took her mentors hand, she sniffed
“I don't think I want to sing to the trees anymore.”
“I know.” He said “You will still grow into a strong weaver for us yet though.”
Alright, voting for round2 will end on Feb 5th, at 4pm GMT. Remember to give each writer a score between 1 and 5. You don't have to be participating to cast a vote!
Hmm, difficult to judge. Both are excellent, so I'm giving 4/5 to both.
Daelrog's is, to me, very original and an excellent take on Nurgle. But it's weakened by a few errors like missing words, so it's not a perfect score.
8people's is also excellent, and maybe I'm being harsh here, but it didn't really stand out enough to get a perfect score either.
Both works are really good, tough call.
I really like the idea of Nurgle's garden for fluff, and I like that you had a go at exploring the metaphysics and philosophy of existence (in the realm of chaos as well). But I think you got a little caught up in that, and focused less upon the daemon-plant. For me at least, fluff is about characters and armies, about creating a reason for a battle or an event. While you did focus on the "youth" aspect in an original, I think it should have been introduced as relevant towards its later life, before a battle, or just sometime in the future. You have a real talent with writing, the descriptions felt alive, and definitely added to the piece.
And there are five chaos gods, Malal is indeed displeased.
Your piece definitely had relevance to your character, and you gave depth to them, but I wanted to know more! My only real problem lay with that I felt you should have shown what the characters were thinking a little bit more, but you ended up fitting a lot into 1000 words, and I know that that can happen. Well written, and the title cracked me up, and I really liked that you displayed both the kind and cruel aspects of Athel Loren. Nice job.
If someone helps you, rep them.
In a votewar you don't vote on a single match, you vote on the entire round. Got that?
I really like the Wood Elf story- it displays the capricious nature of teh fey spirits perfectly in my view.
8People. Again tone and pace may have been a little off, and I'd see this story from the PoV of the child...
Daelrog, beautifully written, but I don;t know if it met the breief? Circling back to a Demon Prince or other entity telling a tale of its progression to a group of garulous nurglings might make it a bit more relevant. Its a great concept, execution probably doesn't stad up to the high concept story line i teh cold light of day..(I know I suffered exactly this - my story looked great on screen on Sunday night but not so greta today!)
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Not quite sure what to make of this one. A tremendously interesting idea, and a quite intriguing piece. It didn't quite grab me, though, not sure why. Hard for me to relate to a tree, maybe?
Having just read Daelrog's, I come and find another story about trees! Well, not quite, but it does involve them a lot. I like the idea behing your entry, 8people, but the way you wrote it... There just seems to be too many sentences that run together, too many awkwards turns of phrase for me to really get in to the story.
Both quite interesting stories, but I think I have to give this one to Daelrog for the more creative entry.
Daelrog - 4/5
8people - 3/5
As voting seems to be about over, I'll go ahead and comment.
@8people : The main thing I was lost on was the motivations of the forest spirit. At first I thought it was going to kill/eat the elfling, but then it was about helping the forest. Also, like other stories this round, I really wanted to see some more inner thoughts, and how the characters felt. This didn't necessarily have to be a direct description of 'the child was afraid', but maybe more trembling, more eyes darting around the woods trying to see what monsters lurked in the shadows. More immersion.
As to my story: Definately was out of my elemnt on this one. It wasn't until a couple days before the deadline when I even came up with a topic. Still, that's part of the competition, and I'll see what I can do to improve and learn from it.
I am heading off to the Peace Corps. It is bery likely I will not be back. Good luck to all of you endeavors.
Scores and tallied, and Daelrog has this one buy 2 points, final scores 15/13.
This was actually a pairing that I was really looking forward to. I was stuck going up against the considerable talents of ms. 8people not once, but multiple times in the last Fluffwar, and Daelrog and his arenas have always been something of an inspiration to me. When I paired you guys together as having the closest scores from last round, I knew it would get interesting.
definitely had it up hill with this one. When I checked last, Daemons don't really age. But the idea of the story was definitely original. Two things I noticed is that the tree's concept of death is very Buddhist in nature, and that it reminded me of an old story that I liked as a kid, called 'The Giving Tree'. Very smoothly written and a neat, non-violent view into the world of Chaos.
one thing that I enjoy about your writing, is that you usually view things a little differently from the other barbarians around here. Your story was a lot more motherly than the others (even though I was convinced that the Spirit was about to eat the hapless elfling). I remember that there were points of contention with the 'Love' theme last round, where mine was the reckless manly 'chivalrous' love, and yours was the more honest and unrequited love. Very much the same in this round. My only regret to pairing the two of you up together, is that one of you would have to lose.