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Summoned from its eldritch sea, the Hydra reared its heads, unfurling, silhouetted against the moon. The first head approached with a vicious twinkle in its yellow eye, its needle teeth bared in a deadly grin. Moist acid breath stung my eyes like ethanol.

“Tell me a ssstory,” it hissed.

I swallowed. “Once upon a time-”

“A sstory about a barbarian. And forgiveness. And a carrot.”

“Once upon a time there was an orcish barbarian called Raknar. A legend in his own time, the tales of his exploits are many, but this one is perhaps the greatest of all. Raknar journeyed the length and breadth of fiction, and no foe could offer him a sufficient challenge. Ennui set in, but as he travelled, he heard tales of one place all monsters feared to tread. One day he found himself at its gates, and it was anticipation, not fear that filled his heart. This was where the greatest monster of all dwelt. This was his ultimate quarry. Dauntless in the face of certain death, Raknar entered the realm of Mr McGregor.”

“Make it funnier,” demanded the second head, “and it has to include the word 'skank'.”

I was flabbergasted. I couldn't think of a way to make that last bit fit. Thinking fast, I invented an objection.

“Funny I can do,” I said. “But the word 'skank' is offensive to women. I refuse.”

The head raised imperiously, lit in chiaroscuro by the stark white moonlight. Yellow eyes squinted in judgement. “Fine,” it said eventually. “We're nothing if not progressssive.”

I sighed with relief, and continued.

“Raknar passed through a forest of towering green leaves. He'd never seen anything like it before. Looking closely he saw that they belonged to giant vegetables, grown bigger than they had any right to grow. Using his prodigious strength, he wrenched a massive carrot from the earth, twice as tall as he was.

“That's when Mr McGregor's boot crashed down. Raknar's skin was striped with the pale marks of the jabberwock. He proudly wore the helm of the Paddington bear. He'd fashioned a cloak from the pelt of the lasagne cat, and a codpiece from the leather of the purple dinosaur. He had fought and defeated many beasts, but none so big as this.

“Raknar danced around the pitchfork tines, hacking Mr McGregor's ankles with his rainbow axe, but he was gaining no ground. He couldn't cut through the gardener's thick leather boots, and he couldn't dodge the pitchfork forever.”

“I ssaid it hasss to be funny.”

“This isn't open-mic night at the fucking Excelsior,” I snapped, facetiously. “There's a limit to how funny I can be when my audience is a set of massive carnivorous snake heads. Haven't you given me enough challenges? I swear, it wasn't like this when Celery was in charge.”

Elemental magics flickered at the corners of the hydra's mouth, illuminating its cicatrised scales. A low growl rumbled deep in several of its throats. I was playing with fire. I wouldn't be the first writer to be crushed by one of the hydra's challenges.

“You have to include each of thessse three words,” hissed the third head, gleefully. “Amorphous. Pulchritudinous. Defenestrate.”

All of the heads were slowly surrounding me, and growing closer. We were at a terminus. Either I cobbled together an ending, or the hydra took care of that for me in a rather more permanent way. Fear was the catalyst of invention in this case, luckily, and I was struck by a sudden moment of anagnorisis.

“That's when Mr McGregor's boot kicked Raknar back into the vegetable patch. He heard a pop as his rib snapped, and he struck his skull on a boulder-sized pebble. The world swam, amorphous and blurry, as the bearded giant loomed above.”

“Fasssster.”

“Just give me a second to google some fucking synonyms! Jesus Christ.” I closed my eyes and caught my breath. “In the trickling time of impending death,” I continued, “a glowing angel floated down to Raknar. Pulchritudinous by orcish standards, she took his hand and kissed the blood away from his mouth. 'Victory lies within your grasp', she whispered. As she faded, Raknar realised his hand lay on the carrot.

"With renewed fighting spirit, Raknar jumped up and hurled the carrot as hard and high as he was able. It sunk deep into the gardener's eye. Mr McGregor screamed, stumbling backwards, and reverse defenestrated himself through the shed window.”

The Hydra's fourth head raised an eyebrow at the dubious use of 'reverse defenestrated'.

“Raknar tried to think of a pun along the line of 'always eat your greens', or 'carrots help you see in the dark when you've been half blinded by another projectile carrot', but he passed out instead.

Perhaps it's time to head home he thought as consciousness left him. The end.”

The hydra heads conferred and nodded. “Passsssable,” they agreed. “Wait. Where was the bit about forgivenesssss?”

Oh, shit.
Fight the Unfightable
FFM day 31! Wordcount 837. For clarification, the Hydra is Flash Fiction Month, and 'Celery' refers to Celareon who used to be the head honcho (pun intended)

Today's challenge:
  • Celery
  • Moon
  • Forgiveness
  • Excelsior!
  • Judgment
  • Dauntless
  • Terminus
  • Amorphous
  • Barbarian
  • Flabbergasted
  • Pulchritudinous
  • Twinkle
  • Ennui
  • Anagnorisis
  • Ethanol
  • Skank
  • Defenestrate
  • Moist
  • Summoned
  • Chiaroscuro
  • Legend
  • Elemental
  • Eldritch
  • Unfurling
  • Ending
  • Cicatrize
  • Catalyst
  • Codpiece
  • Facetious
  • Carrot
  • Google

You're drooling a little now, I know.  There are some gorgeous words there.

I know what you're thinking, right?  You're thinking "don't go there."

We're going there.

Your challenge is to write a story incorporating every 31 of the daily one word prompts1.  EVIL Laughter!  

ADDITIONALLY your story must feature a multi headed entity, because everyone needs to think about good hydration. It's up to you how loosely you interpret this one.

ADDITIONALLY ADDITIONALLY your story must have a word count which is DIVISIBLE BY 31.  Zomg Maths!
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The Melinoë club was rife with chauvinism and prejudice. This was in no small part due to the high proportion of ghosts among the clientele. Ghosts are nothing if not traditionalists, and that goes doubly for rich, white businessmen ghosts.

Ulysses Pierson was one of the relatively few living members. The living were as welcome here as the dead, but given that members' souls belonged to the club in perpetuity, the scales had begun to unbalance somewhat. Less welcome was his progressive attitude.

“I'm not necessarily saying the system should be dismantled. Not entirely. I'm just saying there's a moral component that nobody is discussing.”

“Because it's fruitless,” said Lord Foswick M. Furlong, ghost. “There is no fruit to be had. If the halflings weren't in the mines and the trolls weren't in the fields, they'd be causing chaos in the streets and everything we've built would come crashing down spectacularly.”

“Have you seen how they live? Does what we've built really justify that?”

“They have a purpose. That's more than they would have otherwise.” Furlong gestured at the fountain in the centre of the gardens, a globe upon the back of four elephants that stood on a great half-submerged turtle. Water sprayed from their upturned trunks, crisscrossing over the globe and splashing into the pool.

“Consider the world elephants. Virupaksha, Mahapadma, Saumahadna, and... uh. Blitzen. They work hard, and ask for nothing in return, because they are part of something bigger. Their purpose gives them worth.”

“I see. Without them, we'd be nothing. They bear the weight of the entire world.”

“Now you understand.”

“And you couldn't even remember their names.”

Ulysses turned and left, leaving the ghost of Foswick Furlong alone in the sun-dappled garden among all the other relics.
Relics
FFM day 30! Challenge:

In homage to yet another amazing writer, we invite you to honor Terry Pratchett by looking at your own world through the mirror of the fantastical. You must write a piece of flash fiction that:

Bullet; Red is of the fantistorical genre.  While that link references George R.R. Martin, we refer to any fantasy series that is written with an eye towards real-world politics, historical relevance and social matters.

Bullet; Blue utilizes elements of satire.

Bullet; Purple includes four elephants and a turtle.
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The church bells ring angelic, and white blossoms rain down as my husband and I make our way through the sea of smiling faces. His golden ring is uncomfortable on my finger.

He asks me what is wrong as our carriage pulls away, and I kiss him and say nothing as my mind stays behind in the churchyard, borne to your grave on a tide of longing. I remember your gentle touch, and the way you would softly kiss my brow. I miss that most of all.

When they found you in the mud of the battlefield, he spoke comforting words to me, and held my hand, and kissed my brow. I was far away when he asked me to marry him. That's how the words were spoken, how I earned this blighted ring that twists now around my finger, a reminder that I can never, will never be yours. My mind was in the churchyard, and he was not the man I saw when I said 'yes'.

My lord, he loves me well, and I hoped my heart might eventually mend, but when he spoke his vows I heard them in your voice, and a great dark pit opened in my breast. Even now as our carriage passes through the church gates and I rest my head on his shoulder, I am falling, falling into myself, and I pray to God that you're at peace, because I fear that I am haunted.
Churchyard
FFM day 29! A prose interpretation of Edgar Allen Poe's Bridal Ballad.
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He'd travelled over the hills and far away, off the edge of the map to the furthest reaches of fiction. He'd slain every beast, and bested every challenger. With no lands left to conquer, he began to thirst for his throne.

Now was the hour of Raknar's return.

He hadn't expected to find himself deposed.

“Who art thou?” demanded Raknar.

The goblin king stammered, his eyes unable to break from Raknar's magical lollipop axe.

“I- I- I'm the goblin king,” he managed eventually.

“You dare sit on that throne before Raknar the Ruthless? I who left these halls a king and return now as a GOD?”

“W- Well, goblin king is j- just my name, I'm actually a democratically elected-”

“SILENCE, FOOL! I have matched wits with the red wyrm of the lonely mountain and won. I have sung the songs of the purple dinosaur, and torn out his tongue so that I am their sole master. Your words are the inarticulate noise of a squalling child, and nothing more.”

The goblin king shrank back on the throne of skulls as Raknar advanced, his eyes wide with terror.

“Guards!” he squealed.

The guards stayed out of it. Some of them actually shuffled slightly further away from the confrontation.

“You think to cling to my throne through force?” Raknar sneered. “You seek to subdue me, who brought low the dire bear of Paddington, unmade the infernal tank engine known as Thomas, and cut his way out from the belly of the very hungry caterpillar? I, who disintegrated the little prince of asteroid B-612 when he and his rock fell to earth? I, who exterminated the men of many shapes and colours, who plagued the land with their transparently didactic adventures? I, who braved the sterile grasslands where the androids live underground, and ripped the antennae from their skulls, and smashed the screens in their stomachs, and left them to bleed in primary colours as they brokenly cried 'again, again, again,' while nightmares played out across the field in an endless cycle of utter futility and the decapitated head of a human baby crossed the sky aflame...”

Raknar continued in this vein for some time while the guards and goblin king listened in horror. For all of Raknar's victories across the realm of fiction, the land of the teletubbies had taken from him something that he would never truly be able to get back.

“No. You are not worthy to sit that throne, but neither are you worthy to die blunting the blade of my prized munchkin axe.”

The goblin king cowered and grovelled in supplication, crawling away from the throne on his hands and knees.

“Thank you,” he warbled. “Thank you my liege, for sparing me...”

Raknar wrinkled his snout and shot the goblin king with a ray gun. He'd found a great many unusual weapons on his travels, and he hadn't been able to try them all out yet. This one seemed to reduce the target to a pile of ash, which was a bit disappointing for a trophy hunter like Raknar. The goblin king wouldn't have made for much of a trophy anyway though.

Raknar sat on the throne and made himself comfortable, removing his orange pelt and adding the skull of Garfield to the skull pile.

“It's good to be back,” he said.
Raknar Returns
FFM day 28! Bowie Challenge. I'm pretty sure this story scored exactly 150 Bowie points, because why do more than the bare minimum?
A sequel to this well-received piece from last year: fav.me/d7qzpua
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Do you have any shirtless nerds you need to cover up? I've just started up a store at Neatoshop, and I have one free shirt to give away! If you want to be in with a chance, check out the Facebook post for the competition here
Let me know which design is your favourite in the comments, and a winner will be announced next week!

On the writing side of things, I'm gearing up for Flash Fiction day on June 22nd! It promises to be a day packed to the gills with fun and desperate scribbling, so if you're interested you can register said interest here!

E3 is also looming out of the mist, blinding all the peasants with the acid neon glow of concentrated hype. Are you guys looking forward to seeing anything in particular? I'm hoping for a release date for No Man's Sky and some gameplay footage of the new Mass Effect.
  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Super Best Friendcast
  • Watching: Springwatch
  • Playing: Bloodborne NG+

deviantID

joe-wright

Artist | Varied
United Kingdom
Joe is basically Charlie Brown only instead of a dog he has social anxiety issues.
He spends most of his time thinking about etymology and looking like a startled owl.
Interests

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:iconmuhugle:
Muhugle Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Happy birthday
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner 6 days ago   General Artist
Thank you! =)
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:iconvocable:
Vocable Featured By Owner 6 days ago   Writer
Happy Birthday, guy! I hope you have a good one.
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner 6 days ago   General Artist
Thank you! =D
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:iconshiryuo:
ShiryuO Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
For some reason, my computer doesn't allow me to load the "Note" page, so I have to post this here. 
I don't know whether you'll like it or not, but I had to do this hahaha

 fav.me/d91syox
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2015   General Artist
Haha that's certainly something! Thanks for making art based on my writing, that's very flattering =)
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:iconshiryuo:
ShiryuO Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
:hug:
You're welcome!
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:iconsimeberg:
simeberg Featured By Owner Edited Jul 6, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for the :+fav: Joe!
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:iconprofessor068-skitty:
Professor068-Skitty Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015
Hey, I am an ethnobotanist for now. Clap Geography and language amazes me.
Sweating a little... 
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:iconprofessor068-skitty:
Professor068-Skitty Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015
However, I cannot find books on Latin.
Believe it or not,  Latin helps a lot in the medical and taxonomy communities.
So how did you find these books?
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