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Author Topic: Writing event #5: New Year  (Read 950 times)

Offline Chipster-roo

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Writing event #5: New Year
« on: December 10, 2019, 08:54:51 PM »
Another year is drawing to a close, and a new decade is upon us.  To mark this special occasions, let's have another writing event, the first since May!

As with previous writing events, all types of fiction are allowed.  You can post an original story, a Watership Down fanfiction, a fanfic for another fandom, or a poem.

Here are some promprs that you can use in your entries (thanks to @Alderab for the suggestions!): endings, reflections, renewal, Northern Lights.

Technical details:
  • The deadline is 15 January 2020.
  • This is not a contest; no prizes will be given out.
  • You may submit more than one entry.
  • There are no word count restrictions; entries may be as long or as short as you wish.
  • Stories in languages other than English are allowed; a staff member will post a translation afterwards.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask :buttercup And most importantly, have fun! :bluebell
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!!


Offline MeadowRabbit

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Re: Writing event #5: New Year
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2019, 07:37:15 PM »
I'm glad we've got until the 15th of January! Might actually have some time to work on something once the busy Christmas period is over. :)
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Re: Writing event #5: New Year
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2019, 09:17:24 AM »
I'm hoping I can write a new WSD themed story for this event but for now I decided I might as well post this old drabble here since it fits the theme to a T.

Some Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Spiritshipping (Judai/Johan I watched GX in Japanese so I use the original names):
On AO3
On FF.NET

Wow I first posted this in 2012 and it's actually even older than that  :hawkbit
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Offline Alderab

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Re: Writing event #5: New Year
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2020, 06:24:27 PM »
Hi all!  I thought I'd serialize my entry into a few parts to give me a bit more time to write it, but feel free to let me know what you think in the mean time!  Hopefully I'll get the next part done later this week, and all in by the deadline.  My entry might steer a bit more Christmasy if your familiar with the movie reference, but they sing Auld Lang Syne at the end, and that is definitely a New Years song.

What a Wonderful Ranker

Part I
Spoiler: ShowHide
It was cold in the burrow, with that special kind of chill that seeped into the skin and froze to the very bone.  It was the kind of cold that deadened both the nerves and the soul, to the point where neither could recall the warmth of a sunny day.  All was winter, all was lifeless.  His nervous shivering had long since stopped, the spasms only manifesting themselves in a rare weak twitch as the night loomed long.  Or had Frith risen?  There was no rabbit to say.  She had been here with him through the whole of his suffering, so she couldn't know either.

“We brought you silflay, Haystack.  How is he?” a buck’s voice cut through the darkness. 

As the rabbit next to him stirred, a second buck spoke up.  “Ah, he’ll be as right as rain and bright as Frith!  I’d wager flayrah to a worm he’ll be a bounding buck by ni’Inle!”

“It’s...worse than that, Speedwell.  As long as I have laid with him, he has yet to warm at all,” the doe beside him finally spoke, her already quiet voice tapering to little more than a whisper.

“He needs more rabbits with him.  If he was in the deep burrow with the rest of us, he’d feel like Frith in summer,” the first buck spoke again.

“Try telling that to Flyairth, Hawkbit.  She’s got the warren convinced he has the white blindness, we try to bring him down there, they’ll kill him.  And us for our trouble,” said Haystack again, an edge in her voice.

“This is ridiculous, a doe who is a walking case of tharn will let die the very rabbit who found this burrow.  We still have Bigwig and Hazel with us, we should throw her out in the snow!” Hawkbit snarled,

“It’s Bigwig and Hazel keeping them from throwing us out in the snow, Hawkbit.  They think we’re fools for even breathing Acorn’s air.” sighed Haystack.

“Well, I’d rather smell an acorn than this silflay, it’s as rotten as a frog in the-”

Acorn groaned, cutting short Speedwell off before he could make a proper joke.  His head ached, which was the only part of his body that didn’t feel utterly numb.  He no longer felt the pain in his joints or the hunger in his belly, he only felt weak.  Acorn could hear his friends shifting perceptively, straining to hear what profound passing words he might be called upon to say.  He didn’t have any.  He didn't deserve such inspiration.  Great last words belonged to the great rabbits who stopped running, not rankers like him.

“There will be more silflay for the rest of you when I stop running,” Acorn finally spoke, his voice dry and strained.

“Acorn!  Don’t speak nonsense like that!” Haystack scolded, having taken a moment to process what he was saying.

“It’s not nonsense,” Acorn continued, “I take more than I give.  Always have.  The sooner I’m gone the more you all will have.”

“Don’t be daft, Acorn!  You’ve always been needed in the warren!” Hawkbit started.  By this time he had shifted to the other side of the sick buck so that he could address him head-on.

“And you’re not going anywhere.” Haystack added quietly.

“What have I done?  Huh?” said Acorn, voice noticeably hardening.  “I didn’t lead us here.  I didn't rescue a single doe.  I’m not fast, I’m not clever, I’m not even particularly pleasant to talk to.  Sure I may have helped when Efrafans attacked, but who didn’t do their bit to save their own fur?”  It was becoming clear to the others that this wasn’t some passing moment of fatalistic depression.  He had been thinking this through for some time.

"You did help us plenty with these fine accommodations.  This winter warren was your find." said Speedwell, ever quick to try and raise his friends spirits.

"Hardly a contribution.  One of you would have hopped upon it eventually."

"You were plenty brave to come escort back the Efrafan does." Hawkbit countered.

"With a whole warren with me?  Hardly brave.  Holly who was the brave one, staying up here to keep the Honeycomb safe."

"We were never in as much danger up here as you were," Haystack responded firmly.  "I doubt any doe down there could forget you were there."

Acorn snorted.  "You think so?  I've yet to hear Dandelion even mention me once in any telling of his 'greatest story ever'.  Don't think I'll be remembered even by spring."

"You're a valuable part of our lives, Acorn.  Stop telling yourself otherwise!" said Haystack.

Acorn snorted.  "The others certainly don't seem to think so.  They kicked me out of the deep burrow at the first sign of sickness.  I've probably already infected you all with the white blindness."

"You don't have white blindness, for the last time!"  Hawkbit interjected angerly. "You know why? Because you can see me telling you that!  You are not blind!  Flyairth is as mad as a march hare!"

There was a brief pause before Acorn answered, a tangible tension in the still air of the burrow.  "Well, you will still be better off when I stop running," he said finally.  "But I've probably already infected you.  A whole life with nothing to show for it beside getting his few friends sick."

"Acorn!" Haystack exclaimed, her voice loud in his ear.

"Just leave me, Haystack.  Just leave me, and I'll soon leave you all alone."

"But can't you see we care about you?" the doe replied, her voice cracking.

"Then you are stupid enough to care for something no rabbit should.  A tick, a leech, a worm.  That's all I've been.  All take and no give.  You are foolish to care about me."

"Don't get your tail in a tuft old-"

"Shut up, Speedwell!  If he wants us to leave him alone, then fine!" Haystack suddenly exploded, jostling Acorn violently as she suddenly stood up.  Instantly the little warmth Acorn had felt from her had vanished.  "If you insist on leaving us alone, before ni'Inle, then I'll let you.  I won't lay here for you to criticize me for caring about you!"

The doe quickly left the burrow, her gasps audible with emotion.  It was not long before Hawkbit and Speedwell departed after her, unwilling or unable to talk Acorn out of his doldrums.  It was better this way.  They could go and finally get warm with the others.  Perhaps in his last moments he could find absolution.  He wouldn't live off of Speedwell's silflay, or steal Haystack's heat.  He could stop running without burdening any rabbit else.  It was a shame he hadn't been taken earlier.  He should have never left Sandleford.  But even then, he hadn't had any special talents or purpose.  He was just an outskirter, nameless, surplus buck.  Always taking, with nothing to give.

"It would have been better if I had never run at all," he spoke finally, quietly, into the dark.

But then the darkness spoke back.  "Oh, would it?"

Part II
Spoiler: ShowHide
“Haystack?” Acorn responded to the voice that was distinctly not hers.  It wasn’t even a doe’s.

“Not quite.  It’s such a shame you chased your friends away.  They make life so worth-” the low voice started.

“Speedwell?  Stop playing,” Acorn tried, but the voice continued as if there had been no interruption.

“-but then I suppose they already know about all this.  They were there.”

“Where?  Who are you?  Hawkbit?  HAWKBIT!  There’s a hlessi in the warren!” Acorn croaked, but there was no sound coming from up the run.  His friend was not there.

“You were there too.  But your eyes were not open,” the stranger continued, as if nothing had happened.

“What are you talking about?  A blind rabbit is a dead rabbit," Acorn replied, finally acknowledging the voice directly.

“Which you soon will be.  Yet you were blind to how wonderful you’ve made the lives of others.”

“What are you getting on about?" said Acorn with more than a note of confusion. He returned to the comfort of his familiar talking points, having little mind for anything else.  "I’ve clearly done nothing grand in my life.  You’re in the wrong burrow.”

“Nothing grand, yes.  But few rabbits do.  It is the small acts, made Frith-by-Frith, taken in sum, that add up to a life of greatness.”

“Greatness, huh?  Heh, well, no one remembers the small acts.  Can you imagine Dandelion telling a story about the time I found Haystack some clover?  Very thrilling,” Acorn scoffed.

“You may think that.  But you would certainly recognize their absence.”

“No one would recognize MY absence.  They’re better off without me.  Why do you think no other rabbit in my burrow, save a mud-brained stranger who is trying to weave a story about a rabbit who has none?”

"No one is the protagonist of every story, but everyone is the lead role in the story that matters most: their own."

"Huh, well, I'm mine own antagonist I suppose.  It would have been better if my story weren't written"

"You must stop speaking like that.  Your story is the greatest gift Frith has given you."

"Well I didn't ask for it!  He can have it back for all I care!" Acorn shouted, before a coughing fit forced him to quiet down.

“You are unconvinced by words alone.  That your life was worth living, for others and yourself.  In that case, I will show you.”

“Show me?  Show me what?  In case you've forgotten, I’m dying and can hardly go any-”

“I will grant you your request.  Your life will have never begun.  You will never start running.”

"Sure, thanks El-ahrairah.  I'm sure that...huh?"

A great wind WHOOSHED its way into the warren, down the run and into his burrow.  But instead of a shiver, Acorn felt something else.  In the merest of moments, Acorn felt the constant chill which had wracked his bones for so many Inle melt away.  It was as if he had swallowed a little bit of Frith, and now his entire body felt warm and light.  His muscles felt renewed with a sudden strength, his sinews snapping into place with a vigor he had not known since he was a youth.  His body didn't feel like his, for his was broken and dying.  This one was easy and light, as free as a whisper in the wind.

Whoever this body belonged to, Acorn happy to borrow it.  "What is all this then?" he asked, remembering the stranger.  Despite the sudden renewal of his senses, he found it difficult to catch the scent of the hlessi.

"You've gotten your wish.  You never started running," said the stranger.

"What are you talking about?  I feel like I could run to Sandleford and back again now...Yeouch!" Acorn exclaimed, rising to his paws.  He had bumped his head on a root that had run its way across the top of the burrow.  He hadn't remembered that being there.

"Not you.  You weren't born, remember?" the voice replied.

"Like hraka I wasn't.  I feel more alive than I've ever been!"

"And was that you bumped into just now?  A root that had never been chewed away, because no rabbit tidied up your sick burrow."

"It is funny that Hawkbit missed that, then again he was always a little scatterbrained," Acorn mused.

"Feel the earth.  You may find the mark of where you had just laid, but not the impression of the doe who had spent three Inle caring for you," the voice continued, an edge of impatience barely perceptible behind the dry officiousness.

"Well how about that, Haystack is a light sleeper," Acorn admitted, although he was more focused that he could feel his paws again than what he felt with them.  "But what I'm really feeling is famished.  Where is Speedwell's grass?"

"He never brought it, because you were never here to bring to."

"Bah, I've had enough of your word games...mate.

"Borealis, the Color of Inle," the stranger replied.

"Bory, right.  I've heard enough puzzles from Blackberry to last a lifetime.  Now I don't know what happened to the grass Speedwell brought, but I certainly know where to get more.  I'm going out to silflay, snow or no," said Acorn, hopping out of the burrow for the first time since his illness.  Gaining speed as he exited in the run, he tumbled over a thicket growing over the mouth of the warren.  He landed on his back with a grunt, sinking good way into the crisp snow.  He had forgotten how cold winter was.

Still, he knew of a few spots on the top of the down that he knew he could dig up winter wheat.  Steam billowing forth in whisps from his snout, Acorn righted himself and set off up the slope.  It was a gloomy enough day, Frith hidden behind a gray moras of cloud covered the sky as far as could be seen, which was not far owing to a thick wet fog that hugged the hill like a wet leaf on a river rock.  Still, Acorn knew his way up, and he had soon tramped a trail to the top.

As the down leveled off to its gentle top, Acorn hopped his way over to where the beech hanger grew.  Winter wheat he knew grew not far from the base, and if he could just find where Speedwell had dug up his portion he'd be all set to silflay.  He began to puruse the ground, look for where his friend had overturned the snow.  It was hard enough finding the other rabbit's tracks, not to mention where he had silflayed.  The snow was not new enough to have covered the other rabbit's trail already, so where was it?

"Who're you?" a voice grumbled behind Acorn, which immediately ceased his pondering.

As Acorn made an about face, he was able to see the speaker.  A large grey rabbit, who would easily outweigh Acorn despite how his current leanness.  Recognition suddenly dawned on Acorn.  "Silver?"

"That's right.  But who are you, hlessi?"

"Silver!  It's me, Acorn.  I'm not dead yet you know!" Acorn exclaimed, feeling a bit miffed at the other rabbit's strange sense of humor.  Which he couldn't recall Silver every really having, to be honest.

"Acorn?  Why would you be dead?  You look as fed as a rat a silo.  But I don't know you from El-ahrairah," said Silver with a sniff.

It took Acorn another moment to realize the buck was being serious.  "I don't know what you're on about, Silver.  We've been together since Sandleford."

"Sandleford?  Haven't heard of that warren in a while.  That's three Frith's away.  How do you know about that?" the big buck replied, sounding more confused than suspicious.

"Because I was born there, same as you."

"But why are you here then?"

"Because I came from there, to here, with you.  What do you want a chap to do, tell you our whole story, from Nuthanger to Efrafa?" said Acorn with clear exasperation.

"I don't know about no Efrafa, but if you know anything about Nuthanger you'd best shove off.  Brought this place nothing but trouble," Silver sighed heavily.

Acorn didn't know what to make of his companion's apparent lunacy, but he decided to switch the subject before they both froze out in the snow. "Why aren't you at silflay?  There's no other reason to be out in this ilk."

"Huh, if you can find anywhere to silflay up here, hlessi, your welcome to it.  Only reason I'm out is because I heard you coming, and thought you were some rabbit else."

"Heard me coming?  From where?"

"Our warren, of course.  We called it the Honeycomb," Silver replied, gesturing behind him towards the Beech hanger.

Acorn had already begun to dig away a layer of snow in search of the elusive winter wheat.  "Can't see why you're still up here, Silver.  Efrafans gave it a gaping new view of Frith through the ceiling.  I know the winter burrow is crowded, but it's better than freezing your fur off up here."

"Winter burrow?  Hole?  Your not one of those brained vision rabbits, are you Alder?"

"Acorn.  And you've spent too long staring at the moon, mate.  I think you're struck.  I'll tell Bigwig to come get you when I'm done with silflay,"  Acorn said dismissively, sinking his head into the hole he dug to search for grass.  A snarl from the other buck caused Acorn to rip it right back out.

"BIGWIG? That disgraceful shrub headed elil?  If you've seen that buck, you're walking tharn," Silver said, eyeing him cooly.

"Thalayli is your first rate mate Silver!  Why's it so crazy to have seen him?" Acorn started, taken aback by the buck's sudden viciousness.

"Because Thalayli stopped running.  I killed him myself."
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 06:31:04 AM by Alderab »
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Offline Chibiscuit

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Re: Writing event #5: New Year
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2020, 06:09:49 PM »
@Alderab That was a lot darker than I had expected but I like it so far! You have a lovely writing style and I love how you're featuring some very underused characters.

Spoiler: ShowHide

I can't think of the actual film but that ending makes me think it will be a 'Bofi shows Acorn hat life would have been like had he never been born' kinda deal? :glowingfiver

Oh and
Quote
Acorn snorted.  "You think so?  I've yet to here Dandelion even mention me once in any telling of his 'greatest story ever'.
is this a poke at every single WSD adaptation forgetting about Acorn? Because if not it should be. :hannah4

And bonus! I learned a new word today: doldrum!



----

I actually had an idea for this event but I'd afraid I haven't gotten around to writing it out.... :nettle
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 06:11:45 PM by Chibiscuit »
"You can come here, the land of warm days, grassy fields, and pleasant evenings, where even the shadow of war cannot darken the love at home." -Alderab

Offline Alderab

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Re: Writing event #5: New Year
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 06:40:24 AM »
Part II is up!  Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to finish this up by the deadline (yesterday...) due to limited time and scope creep, but the best stories always end on awkward cliffhangers, right?  What could Acorn possibly have done that saved Bigwig?

I'll probably try to do a part a week until its finished up.  Possibilities aren't endless.

@Alderab That was a lot darker than I had expected but I like it so far! You have a lovely writing style and I love how you're featuring some very underused characters.

Spoiler: ShowHide

I can't think of the actual film but that ending makes me think it will be a 'Bofi shows Acorn hat life would have been like had he never been born' kinda deal? :glowingfiver

Oh and
Quote
Acorn snorted.  "You think so?  I've yet to here Dandelion even mention me once in any telling of his 'greatest story ever'.
is this a poke at every single WSD adaptation forgetting about Acorn? Because if not it should be. :hannah4

And bonus! I learned a new word today: doldrum!



----

I actually had an idea for this event but I'd afraid I haven't gotten around to writing it out.... :nettle

Thanks Chibiscuit!

Spoiler: ShowHide
You're probably thinking of "It's a Wonderful Life," because it's what I was thinking of!  It's the film that popularized the premise, I thought I'd have a crack at seeing how I could apply it to a WSD setting with the odd twist.

And yes.  You said it most eloquently.  Poor Alder Acorn doesn't get any screen time.

Glad you learned something from my rather purple prose!


« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 06:50:04 AM by Alderab »
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Offline Chibiscuit

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Re: Writing event #5: New Year
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2020, 06:58:50 PM »
Quote
"No one is the protagonist of every story, but everyone is the lead role in the story that matters most: their own."
queue To Zanarkand
This is my story

Quote
“Nothing grand, yes.  But few rabbits do.  It is the small acts, made Frith-by-Frith, taken in sum, that add up to a life of greatness.”
This is very nice. I really love this  :prince-rainbow

My upper arm strength is not that great so I don't like hanging on this cliff!  :orchis2
"You can come here, the land of warm days, grassy fields, and pleasant evenings, where even the shadow of war cannot darken the love at home." -Alderab