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January Myst Writings Challenge

#1 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:20 AM

It's been a while, but a new writing challenge is here at last! :cheesy: Write, submit your entry in this thread, vote in February, and the winner gets to come up with the idea for the next challenge.

Challenge: One of the themes of Myst is the uncovering of hidden truths. In keeping with this, write a story about a shattered illusion, set in the Myst universe of course.

Focus: The contrast between reality and illusion.

Length: Reasonable: not too long.

Submission Deadline: January 31, 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: "January Challenge WiP".

EDIT: And I forgot to mention that discussion traditionally goes in its own thread, not this one.

JAN 31 EDIT: Okay, I'm not going to close this with only one entry. I know there are WIPs out there, so hurry up and post!

FINAL EDIT: The challenge is now closed.
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#2 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:17 PM

Oh, I was just going to start one of these (the contests, not the stories). Well, if the winner of the contest needs an idea, he/she can PM me (I might submit something, but will probably focus on Kahzee and other work - I'm too slow a writer).

Good luck to all writers.
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#3 User is offline   mysteria13 

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 05:08 PM

Way to give me another reason not to finish LE13...

*Already has an idea*
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#4 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 08:54 PM

*has a few ideas, but school is destroying her time, unfortunately X(*
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#5 User is offline   Menelmacar 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 08:14 AM

Curses. I have an idea that fits this perfectly in the weirdest way possible, but it's not likely to meet the criteria for "not too long"... and probably won't be done in time for the same reason.

CM
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#6 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 10:49 AM

View PostMenelmacar, on Jan 16 2009, 06:14 AM, said:

Curses. I have an idea that fits this perfectly in the weirdest way possible,

Are you sure?

Because I actually got an idea and am working on a little something, and your idea will have to be really crazy to be weirder than it. :cheesy:
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#7 User is offline   Menelmacar 

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:30 PM

View PostGehn, lord of ages, on Jan 16 2009, 11:49 AM, said:

View PostMenelmacar, on Jan 16 2009, 06:14 AM, said:

Curses. I have an idea that fits this perfectly in the weirdest way possible,

Are you sure?

Because I actually got an idea and am working on a little something, and your idea will have to be really crazy to be weirder than it. :cheesy:


"You give me your name, horse-master, and I shall give you mine..." :D

CM
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#8 User is offline   laughingpineapple 

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:01 AM

Great prompt for a challenge, very appropriate. Good luck to all the participants, I will be eagerly awaiting entries! (while imposing my own convoluted Myst stuff on unsuspecting Italian judges, poor things :cheesy: )
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#9 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 01:30 PM

View PostMenelmacar, on Jan 16 2009, 12:30 PM, said:

View PostGehn, lord of ages, on Jan 16 2009, 11:49 AM, said:

View PostMenelmacar, on Jan 16 2009, 06:14 AM, said:

Curses. I have an idea that fits this perfectly in the weirdest way possible,

Are you sure?

Because I actually got an idea and am working on a little something, and your idea will have to be really crazy to be weirder than it. :cheesy:


"You give me your name, horse-master, and I shall give you mine..." :D

CM
well?
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#10 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 12:49 PM

Well, it looks like I'll be the first to submit an entry. Enjoy.

RealMyst

My homework was finished - I rushed to my room
Where the light of my Macbook shone bright through the gloom
My parents had bought me a realMyst CD!
And I was the happiest kid there could be
I had read through the forums, I knew what to do
As the Myst book fell out of the sky just on cue
I raced through the Ages, found all the clues
Gathered the pages, the reds and the blues
Sirrus was creepy, Achenar mad
The only one good in the family was dad
(I knew this already from forums, of course
And an internet walkthrough, a valuable source)
I heard with no pity the brother's last tries
To sway me with promises, sweet talk and lies
The fireplace opened the green book to see
"Who the devil are you? Don't come to D'ni!
My sons trapped me here - they will trap you in too
Find the last Myst page and bring it with you"
I followed instructions in an old forum post
And I got the last page for my kindly old host
I took it to D'ni. "My friend, you've returned
I'm glad that my warnings were not by you spurned
You've done the right thing. Now I've something to do
I'm afraid that your help you might someday quite rue."
Then he pulled from behind a rock covered in mold
And summarily used it to knock me out cold
When I awoke later, the book was in ashes
And my poor head was ringing with clashes and bashes
"I'm sorry my friend, that after all you've gone through
You're left here like this, but my plans aren't for two"
(This all I heard from a screen in the air
It sounds quite insane but I swear it was there)
"Welcome to Dunny, you will live here forever
The bathroom's behind you, the kitchen's... wherever
I see that you've not helped my wonderful kids
Did you not like their offers or distrust their bids?
Or perhaps this destruction, you think that they did it?
Perhaps I give not my words enough credit
You see, there's some history that I think you should know
I'll go through it once for you, simple and slow
These ages, you see, were all penned by my sons
Yet they never would teach me - tell me how it was done
How I pined for this knowledge! How it burned in my heart
How I would do just anything for this new Art!
I told both the brothers to make me a trap
- A book which you'd go in and then it would *snap*!
You're stuck in the Age, not a thing you can do -
That the other was making the same neither knew
I told each of them, 'Hey your brother's quite bold
Since he's making an Age filled with treasure and gold
He's hiding it now, wanting never to share
Then I tricked each to link to his brother's own snare
I was doubled in joy - oh the glory and glee
But in a moment I thought 'what if someone should see?'
Then I thought, 'Since the rest of the people are Strangers
There is nothing to lose with a slight rearranger'
So I took all my weapons and all of my toys
And I put them in all of the rooms of my boys
And the wonderful thing is: you fell for that stuff
I'm really quite thankful; you did... well enough
And now with the secrets of art in my hand
Unlimited Ages are mine to command!
You're trapped there, you know, no exits exist
That Age is your prison, and you will be Myst."
And as static closed in, I could just barely hear
"...The reception is failing - You're really not clear."
I turned of my computer and pulled out the disk
And now I'm content playing Checkers and Risk
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#11 User is offline   JeniOctavia 

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:21 PM

I... feel kind of dumb. I posted my entry in the forum with the subtitle showing it as my WIP entry, but was I supposed to submit it somewhere else?
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#12 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 11:38 AM

View PostJeniOctavia, on Feb 3 2009, 09:21 PM, said:

I... feel kind of dumb. I posted my entry in the forum with the subtitle showing it as my WIP entry, but was I supposed to submit it somewhere else?

No, that was good. However, that's just for Works in Progress. "finished" works have to be posted on this thread (so people aren't voting on a previous draft of your story). That help?
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#13 User is offline   JeniOctavia 

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:31 PM

Yeah. Though in that sense I have to wonder if I should enter it. My beta is still MIA from the internet and I haven't gotten anything further than the first chapter...
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#14 User is offline   Cactus Wren 

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:40 AM

Is it too late?
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#15 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:14 PM

View PostCactus Wren, on Feb 7 2009, 03:40 AM, said:

Is it too late?

It's past the deadline, but I think you can still turn them in (since there is only one, and it's no fun to just vote for one thing). So no, it is not too late.
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#16 User is offline   Cactus Wren 

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:55 PM

Good. If it is, disregard this:

(Editing to add: warning, mature themes ahead.)

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Anlage

Construction on the library is nearly complete. I am doing most of the roofing work myself: Grandmother doesn’t move around as easily as she once did, and Catherine’s heavy pregnancy is interfering a little with her activities. We’ve also added a second room to the cabin and are sleeping there, she and I.

It was hard for both of us, at first. The pain she’s been through I can’t even begin to imagine. But she is healing. I think the breakthrough came a few weeks ago: to my lasting shame, I became so eager that I didn’t realize she was only accepting – I must be honest, and write the word “submitting” – because of my need. Some part of her mind had flown back to that evil time on Riven, and in her consciousness, the arms holding her weren’t mine.

It wasn’t until she fell completely still in my arms that I realized something was wrong. I caressed her face, and spoke to her, until she was with me once more. And finally I had to show her the truth: that my need ...


Achenar shoved the journal away, violently. “What makes you think I want to read this?” he demanded.

“Read it,” Sirrus said harshly. “I didn’t want to either. I wish I’d never found it. Just ... read the damned thing.”

Achenar stared at him for a moment, then turned back to the book:

... that my need is tied inextricably to hers, that I was (and, I think, always will be) physically incapable unless her desire is as great as mine. I can never forgive Gehn for what he did to her, and she carries the fruit of that violence within her, but her mind and soul will be whole again. I can find no words to express the depth of my admiration for her strength.

My only choice is to dismiss Gehn from my mind completely, and to help her do the same.


He turned over several pages.

Catherine’s convinced this will be another boy. Grandmother laughs and says there’s no way to be certain, but Catherine only says, “I was right before, wasn’t I?” I haven’t said so, but I hope a little bit that it’s a girl.

If it is a boy – I must be careful always to treat them in the same way. I have tried with all that is in me to believe, to know, that every child Catherine bears is my child. But sometimes I wonder, as much as I love Achenar – my son Achenar – have I truly been able to treat him fairly? Will I be able to


The entry broke off there. On the next page, he read:

Catherine was right, it is another boy! He’s much smaller than his brother was at birth, with a great shock of black hair (which Grandmother says is likely to fall out) and a very red face.

God help me. Will I always look at them and compare them? They’re different people, individuals. Will I look at every difference between them and wonder, is it because of the circumstances of their coming into being?

I don’t know whether Grandmother knows the truth. Catherine and I don’t often speak of it any more, but we’ve agreed on one thing: Achenar and the newcomer must never be told. They must never know anything but that they are brothers.

We’re naming him Sirrus.


Achenar realized his hands were trembling a little as he closed the book. Sirrus was watching him, silently.

It took a moment to find his voice. “Can you put this back so they’ll never know it was gone?”

Sirrus nodded. “I think so.”

Achenar searched for words. There were none. Abruptly he shoved the book at Sirrus and got to his feet. Numb, he made his way down the corridor to the lift, and then outdoors.

* * * * *

They met later, on the causeway, as the sunset’s glow faded.

“The question is,” Sirrus said after a time, “now that we know this, how much of what we’ve always been told can we believe?”

“Mother and Father wouldn’t – ” Achenar broke off. “I was going to say, they wouldn’t lie to us. But they always have, haven’t they?”

“Exactly.” Sirrus heard the heaviness in his own voice. “How many lies have they told us? It’s for your own sake that I won’t teach you the Art – truth? You’re not ready, it must wait until you’re older – lie? What can we believe?”

“Father says he doesn’t make the Ages – that they already exist, and the writing only makes a bridge to them. But can we even believe that?” Achenar was holding a twig between his huge hands, breaking tiny bits off it and dropping them one by one into the water. “If it’s not true – if the writing does make the Ages – then how real are they? Are they any more real than the stories Mother used to tell us when we were small? Pran, Corrin, Emmit, Kathala, Nyrus – all of them – are they any more real than Enja who ate the sunner, or Tarrik with his giant kite? Perhaps they’re all sort of … make-believe. A product of Father’s imagination.”

Sirrus nodded slowly. “The Ages themselves,” he murmured. “What are they for? Why shouldn’t they be used? There’s so much in some of them, going to waste, with no one to use it but a few barbarians – why shouldn’t someone make good use of it?”

“Imaginary barbarians,” Achenar said in the tone of a reminder. “Like the bark dolls Mother used to make for her story-shows.”

He tugged another fragment of the twig free and let it fall. Suddenly Sirrus realized it wasn’t a twig at all, but a live insect, nearly as long as Achenar’s hand. He was pulling segments of its legs off and dropping them into the water.

In the distance they heard the high sharp sound of the dinner horn.

“We can’t tell them we know,” Sirrus said

Achenar shrugged and tossed the insect’s body into the water. “A secret to match a secret.”

* * * * *

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “anlage” as “the foundation of a subsequent development”. The American Heritage Dictionary offers three definitions: “The initial clustering of embryonic cells from which a part or an organ develops”; “A genetic predisposition to a given trait or personality characteristic”; and “A fundamental principle; the foundation for a future development”.


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