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May Myst Writings Challenge

#1 User is offline   J'ohn 

  • oglahnth (ancient one)
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Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:17 PM

Talashalicious challenge number two! ;)

Challenge: A major theme in the Myst series is the difference between appearance and reality. Write a story dealing with an illusion or deception of some sort.

Focus: Description

Length: 900 words or less

Submission deadline: May 31st, Midnight GMT

Additional guidelines: All entries must be your own original work, no plagiarism and should follow the tenets of MystCommunity's family rated language. WiP's (Works in Progress) are allowed if you would like to submit your work for feedback and suggestions prior to submitting your final entry. Please label all WIP's threads as: "May Challenge WiP"

Have fun! ;)

SBS :)
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#2 User is offline   Korora 

  • oglahnth (ancient one)
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Posted 27 April 2006 - 05:03 PM

Disclaimer: I am not trying to claim special knowledge about what happens between death and judgment.

Sirrus

I implore the Guildsman to let me go. Achenar implores him not to. The Guildsman heeds my brother and pulls the amber lever. How could he not have fallen for my ruse! “No, you fool, my performance was perfect!” I yell. Achenar thanks the Guildsman, but I assure them that it's not over. Then I am ripped from Yeesha's body.

My old Spirit Guide meets me in what appears to be Dream. “Oh, it's no use,” he says.
“What?” I ask.
“You, Sirrus. We were using you all along. I guided you and encouraged you to look out for Number One even when you'd written us off as a cheap trick. We would have made you ruler of all the Ronê lands only to rule you. Now you are useless. We will pretend that I'm not here; my purported absence will explain your death. Yes, you are dead already. We have just scrambled your own brain. For some reason, one of us is restoring Yeesha to her body. I don't know why; we were under strict orders to destroy her.”
“I never knew you to joke around like this.”
“We don't. Oh, and as for how he knew you were to blame? You left your journals lying around.”

But for my one mistake, I'd have triumphed, And yet my triumph would have been hollow. I search my life for even one decent memory. I have none! Even the “good” times were full of misery! Oh, woe is me! Oh my! Is that FIRE!?
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#3 User is offline   maruca 

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 05:51 AM

I am not a native English speaker please forgive my spelling errors!

The Aspermere fiasco - where it all began

Atrus

I was a patient parent. but that day in Summer I felt tired and sad. I had visited Aspermere with my sons and while Sirrus seemed rather interested in the world Achenar used the first oppurtunity to wander off.

When I found him he had entered a small cave by the sea and to my horror he was siting between statues made of gold. I had told the boys about it, and had warned them, never to enter THAT particular cave without one of the people living here. If in comnpany of the people of Asperemere they could enter the cave for a prayer. Only a prayer, never to touch any of the ancient god statues made of gold.

Alltough I never believed in the gods the people of Aspermere believed in, I was deeply ashamed when I saw my 15 year old son sitting between the statues, hugging one of a small ape-like creature. made of gold. He looked strangely like a child, his eyes didn't focus he seemed strangely absent. "Achenar", I said, my voice dying. "Daddy." "You just ran off. What are you doing here? I told you never..." The Aspermerian (I'm just going to call him that) following Sirrus and me had seen us and filled me with his strange dialect. He was hurt and angry. He didn't understand. "Didn't you tell your sons.? This is holy ground. These are our god. All this years of friendship Atrus..." I felt ashame. "Achenar, come here, leave the god there." Why, it's pretty." "ACHENAR!!" "He's right, it's a nice monkey. why are they praying to them anyway?! One could make better things with the gold." Sirrus had spoken and it gave me the chills. It was the OLDER of the two who was behaving like a small child while the younger of them sounded emotionless and like an adult, analyzing possible profits. He sounded like my father. I tried to push that thought aside. I would never compare one of my sons to my father (I thought then)! But both ways of their behaving hurt me deeply. Both were irritating and both were disrespectful. I was glad the Aspermerian had'nt understood. I apoplogized and quickly linked us back to Myst Island.

In the evening, Catherine and I tried to make both of them clear how disrespectful they had acted." Achenar started to cry and said that the god had looked like the linen made Mangarees Catherine had once made for them. "we lost them on a trip remember?" I nodded. I was in a hurry and I declined them to look for them. "Mum had made it from a drawing of one of her ancestors. We loved those", my older one cried. Sirrus nodded from the doorway he was standing by. "I always wished we had looked for them." Achenar was fifteen and Sirrus was twelve, Both of them didn't need the linen-mangarees to cuddle and find sleep anymore , but I felt sorry for them. I know how bad childhood memories can be. Hugging Achenar tightly I looked at Sirrus. "I am so sorry father. I am so ashamed of myself. I'll never forgive myself", he said silently but then he cried too. I waved him to join us and we shared a family hug and a few tears.

That day maybe showed me the future, Both of them had showed for the first time all the disrespect for foreign cultures and the greed that would soon consume both of them.

But that evening they were just my children who were overwhelmed by curiosity and by the effect of finding something in the wilderness that reminded them of a childhood that was over.

Edit: I wrote it the other way first: That Achenar would be the one to say very adult-like "you could make better with that gold", but I think it would be more an Achenar thing to behave like a little child and more Sirrus like to be the analyzing cruel one. So I changed him. Atrus already notices that Sirrus behaved to "adult-like" next to his crying older brother. I also thought the tactic of saying very very fast that he was sorry would fit Sirrus better then Achenar, ashe is the one who can express himself better.
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#4 User is offline   oscar77 

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 03:15 PM

Gateway

T’ahrenal jostled against the man in brown, as they both tried to enter. Annoyed, he stepped back as the man pushed in, eager to precede him. The cavern had been far too crowded of late. In fact, as far as he could tell, the population problem in the city had increased for the last hundred hahr. It was about time someone did something about it.

The sign above the door read, “Gateway to Freedom”, chiseled in neat letters of medium height. These had surfaced periodically, creating a ripple of excitement in the populace for the last few hahr. No one knew where they came from, and no one knew where they went when they disappeared. The Guild of Maintainers had been unable, so far, to stop them from opening, or capture those responsible. They were open long enough to gain a clientele of citizens who were interested in a new life. And there were many who were so interested, times being as they were.

Since the explosion on the Age of Meanas, ten hahr before, King Yableshan had been reticent to allow free access to Ages until it had been determined whether the cause was related to the influence of “outsiders” to D’ni. The King’s reign had been plagued by conflict since the death of his son early in his reign, and he tended to react strongly to unrest. His choice to limit travel and emigration to other Ages at a time when population pressures within the cavern were high was unpopular. The appearance of these “Gateways” seemed anointed by Yahvo to T’ahrenal. His desire to leave the cavern, and walk on strange Ages, had become stronger as the hahr passed. And he was not alone. The throng that pushed to enter the doorway was evidence of that passion. He wondered if there would be enough people to do essential work in the city, if enough of these “Gateways” emerged. Two vai-lee ago, nearly an entire neighborhood, that of Aretala, had emptied when one of the “Gateways” had made its customary appearance and disappearance. It had created a terrible furor among the ruling classes, which had lost many of their cooks and day-servants. It was even harder now to find a “Gateway”, as a new location was passed only by word of mouth, and they were open for only a yahr-tee, at most. He had missed the last one by less than a gahr-ta-vo , and determined that he would surely make the next one.

He entered the anteroom, crowded with eager travelers, looking for some indication of order. He was rewarded by the sight of a woman ushering the would-be colonists into an adjoining room one by one. His turn came, and upon entering, he encountered several tables, behind each of which was a well-dressed man with a box and a book of receipts.

“Have you the entry fee?” he was asked by his interviewer, a short grey-haired man, who named a rather high sum.

“I had heard that there would be one, so I came prepared,” he responded, giving it to the man. He received a receipt in return.

“You will give this to the Master of Housing on Recitoyah, and in return you will be given your basic kit,” the man said. “You may enter the Book Room now.”

T’ahrenal entered the next room, seeing a large leather-bound book on a pedestal, with a line of colonists momentarily gazing at the panel, smiling, then disappearing as they lay their hands on it. He could hardly wait. He found himself behind the man in brown, and their progress toward the Linking Book was slow. He could not stand the bumping, the crowding, the lines, the aggravation of living in such conditions. And he did not trust that the rest of the Ages would ever be open to such as he. Not while he was young enough to enjoy the adventure.

At last, the man before him was at the Book. T’ahrenal could look over his shoulder, and smiled as he saw the beautiful picture of wooded hills, high mountains, lush vegetation, and a large stone platform, checkered with dark and light stones of inlay. The man sighed, but before he could link, a commotion could be heard in the front room. The characteristic sounds of linking came one after the other.

“Stop, in the name of the King!” a loud voice demanded, accompanied by the clinking of Maintainer’s armaments. “Cease all linking right now! All here are under arrest! No one may leave this room!”

The man in brown looked desperate, shook his head, and lay his hand upon the panel, disappearing into the Age. T’ahrenal would have followed him, but the nearest Maintainer had burst into the room, sprinted to the Book, and knocked him to the floor.

**
On the Forest Age of Recitoyah, a man in brown appeared on one of the dark blocks of inlay, and immediately disappeared. Another appeared at the side of the platform, sprinted to the center, and removed an open linking book from the very block upon which travelers materialized. Its panel had a very different view – that of lava fields and poisonous gasses, spewing geysers of boiling fluid. He pulled another linking book from his pocket, held it over a deep crevasse nearby, lay his hand on its panel, and disappeared. The linking book tumbled into the blackness.
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#5 User is offline   Nisan 

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 02:49 PM

My apologies to Oscar77 for writing another story about pre-Kerath D'ni.

Midnight in Shamathen

It was the middle of the night in the cavern of D'ni, and the streets of Shamathen were quiet. Shops were closed and windows were dark. The city was mostly asleep, but here and there a few people still walked the streets on late errands or restless jaunts. Now and then two strangers would pass each other without a word, receding into the gloom.

One of these was a pudgy man wearing a merchant's robe. Passing by a tavern he noticed a beggar resting against the wall -- an unusual sight on the Island. The beggar wore little more than rags, yet he seemed to have a commanding presence. As the man walked on, he found it hard to shake the memory of the beggar's eyes -- calm, responsible, wise.

He then ran into a burly man in the uniform of the Royal Guard, who addressed the merchant in a gruff voice.

"'Scuse me, sir, have you seen a beggar 'round here, by any chance?"

"Well, yes, actually. I saw such a man next to the tavern back there."

The guard relaxed visibly. "Ah, good, I know where that is." He squinted over the merchant's shoulder, trying to see through the midnight gloom.

"Er, is he a criminal you're trying to catch?"

"Eh, no." The guard glanced left and right, as if there were any passersby to overhear. He leaned casually against the wall, facing the merchant. "Maybe you've heard that sometimes King Lemashal likes to wander the city at night, disguised as a commoner."

"I -- I've heard that, yes." The merchant looked back the way he had come and swallowed.

"Yeah, that's him all right. My job is to follow him around, at a distance you see, to make sure nothing happens to him. It's not a fun job, let me tell you."

"You don't say ..." The merchant still seemed overwhelmed. "Why does he disguise himself as a beggar?"

The guard shrugged. "He likes to know what people are really like. How they treat him when he's not wearing a crown. I've heard sometimes he goes back in the morning and rewards people for being generous." He shrugged again. "That's what I hear. Myself, I work nights."

"Wow. King Lemashal. Could I ... go and talk to him?"

"I can't stop you."

The merchant retraced his steps and caught up with the lean, tattered figure, who was now walking slowly down the road. He noticed again the striking sagacity and nobility of those gray eyes.

As they came side-by-side, a bowl was produced from within the beggar's rags. "Would you help a man in need, brother?"

This beggar did not beg; behind his words there was pride, yet not condescension. And despite his efforts to mask it, his accent showed traces of nobility. The merchant put two generous coins in the bowl; he received a nod of thanks in return; and then the beggar walked on, vanishing into the night.

The merchant stood pensively for a moment, and then raced away, heading for home.

* * *

Later that night, a burly guard and a lean man dressed in rags met in a small apartment in Shamathen. "So, how'd we do tonight?" asked the guard.

"I only ran into one person. A local merchant, by the look of him," said the other. "But he was quite generous." With a grin he pulled out the two large coins he had received.

The guards eyes widened. "By the Maker, you must have made quite an impression on him, Ahsel."

The other chuckled and tossed him one of the coins. "Thanks to you, Jerran. You've always been good at picking out the fat wallets."

Jerran peered out the window. "It's getting light. I'd better get back to the barracks." He moved to the door. "I've got another night off in four days. Does that work for you?"

"It does. I'll see you then, Jerran."

* * *

Exactly four days later, Jerran and Ahsel were shoved into a minor audience chamber in the palace complex, their arms bound behind them. As soon as they entered they sank dumbly to their knees, for standing before them was King Lemashal himself. They quickly lowered their eyes in an attempt at obeisance.

The King reached down and lifted Ahsel's chin. "Look at me," he commanded. Those deep eyes stared back, terrified now, but still perceptive. They suddenly widened with recognition.

The King smiled gleefully. "Ah, I was wondering how long it would take you to recognize me."

Jerran looked up and couldn't believe his eyes. The man was wearing royal garb instead of a simple merchant's robe, and he spoke D'ni like a king, but that round-featured face was unmistakable.

The King continued his study of Ahsel's face. "You've got it all wrong, of course. You look nothing like me. Still, your acting skill is remarkable."

"My lord--" Ahsel began, but the King did not let him continue. "If I recall correctly, the punishment for impersonating the King -- and for abetting an impersonator -- is lifetime imprisonment. You may both begin serving your sentences immediately. Guards, see to it."

The guards dragged the two away, ignoring their protests and pleas. "Feel free to continue your act on your Prison Age," the King called after them cheerfully. "Although I doubt the other prisoners will be as generous with you as I was."
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#6 User is offline   J'ohn 

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:57 AM

Growing Pains

Katran added some sliced potatoes to the casserole. "Daddy told me that he's very pleased with your progress, Yeesha," she said while stirring the pot. Behind her, Sirrus was arranging the spoons on the table.

"Thank you, mommy," Sirrus answered with a grin. "I want to learn lots about the D'ni, and it's so nice that you and daddy know so much about their language... and their Books." He held a bowl to her, and she poured some of the stew inside.

"Your dad and I have talked about it," Katran continued, "and we also asked some teachers in Releeshahn. We'll talk about it when daddy gets home, but we think that you can start learning how Books are Written if you'd like that."

Sirrus brimmed with satisfaction; that had, after all, been his goal from the very beginning. "That is great, mother... mom! I hope I'll be as good with Books as you and dad are!" he said aloud, feigning childish exhilaration.

Katran patted him on the head. "All in good time, my desert bird." She set the last bowl on the table. "I'm going to call daddy for lunch. Don't start eating without us, all right?"

Sirrus nodded gravely. "I'll wait for you," he said.

As soon as Katran took the elevator, Sirrus took a small phial out of his breast pocket; it contained a diaphanous green fluid. Gingerly, he uncorked it and added two drops on each of his parents' bowls. He melanged the contents with a devious grin, then sat still and waited.

~*~

Sirrus found himself unable to sleep. His nightgown felt too stifling, and the never-ending sound of rushing water was jabbing at his mind. Restless, he got on his feet and paced to the balcony.

Tomahna was very beautiful at night, although Sirrus felt that its beauty did not reach his standards of appreciation. He placed his forehead on the cool railing of the balcony, looking down at the churning waters below. After decades of living in a world of rocks and echoes, a water current would take some time to get used to. "I'll need to make some earplugs for the time being," he said aloud.

Atrus appeared at the kitchen door, squinting at the darkness. "Yeesha?" he asked. "I thought I heard your voice. Are you still awake?"

"I obviously am," Sirrus replied. "...daddy," he added in a mellow voice, as an afterthought. "I wanted to look at the moon," he said, pointing to the thin crescent. "Isn't it pretty?"

Atrus knelt next to him. He looked concerned. "Yeesha, it has been one week since we returned from Serenia. If you want to talk to us about anything..." he let the sentence trail off.

Sirrus assumed as sullen a composure as his inner laughted would allow. "I'll be alright, dad," he said in a low voice. "I just... want to forget all the mean things that Sirrus did to me. I hope that the Ancients will punish his bad mind for ever!

Atrus looked at him doubtfully, and Sirrus wondered if he had overperformed. "Yeesha," he started, "as mommy and I have told you, it is not nice to wish bad to anybody. Sirrus did some very... weird things; he brought tears to this cheerful girl, and daddy did not like that." He caressed her cheek and smiled meekly. "But it's not only his fault that he did those things," he continued. "It's also daddy's fault for not teaching him better. Sirrus just wanted to be like you, free and innocent with your mom and dad to teach you and love you. Don't you like all those things?"

Sirrus nodded. "I like being me," he said non-commitantly.

Atrus smiled and hugged him. "You're a very smart and brave girl, Yeesha. And I promise that we'll be better parents to you than we were to your brothers" He lifted himself up. "I'm going to bed now. You'd better go to sleep yourself. Sweet dreams, honey."

"Goodnight, daddy."

As he headed to the parents' bedroom, Atrus had a fit of cough. Sirrus immediately reached to the phial in his pocket. He took it out, and peered at it under the moonlight.

~*~

Atrus carefully took the leather-bound Book in his hands. "Are you sure that it is finished?" he asked. "It can't be more than two weeks since you began Writing in it..."

"I've been... inspired," Yeesha replied. "I have nothing more to add to it, at least for the time being. If I think of something, I'll just add some more pages in." She winked at her own joke.

Atrus turned to the page bearing the Linking Panel. The Gateway Image was still filled with static. "You haven't forged the first Link?" he inquired.

"I want you to be first to see it," she said, caressing his writing hand. "I think that it will seem somewhat familiar to you."

He nodded and smiled. If he thought of anything in particular, he did not say it aloud at that time.

As he reached to the Panel, he made a last question. "So, what is the name of the Age?"

"I'll name it 'Relto'," Yeesha proclaimed. "'The high place'."

SBS ;)
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