Monday, December 30, 2013


Welcome back! We have our last contest of the year! It seems fitting that the contest should close as the ball drops in NYC...I don't know why, but that just seems cool. My Festive Challenge should be easier to incorporate this week. In the spirit of the new year, I'd like you to use any form of the word "resolution" or "resolve" anywhere in your piece. Have fun with it, and, as always, this is optional. I'm looking forward to reading your entries this week! Go write!

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Patrick Stahl also known as @patrickjstahl. Check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #26 is:

[I] thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Make the protagonist non-human



  1. Mostly 'armless" [500 words]
    by @DoctorMikeReddy

    I thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns. Not as graceful or fast, but generally more useful for heavy ordinance, according to our goblin boffins. However, some snafu at Central meant Supplies shipped us the fish-tailed legless variety. Great for the Navy, but useless as Infantry support. No limbs would mean our alchemical weapons would stay on Terra Firma for the time being. So much for the Surprise Conclusive Strike…

    "Sir," a lieutenant interrupted. "We have Central on the horn."

    Sure enough it was glowing. I stared at it, cross-eyed, then levelly fixed the Lieutenant with a stern look. "Do you think I can't see that? You are dismissed, soldier!"

    Suitably admonished, he stood to attention and slid away quietly. I hadn't noticed the glow, of course, but it would not be good to shake the chain of command. However, Central would not be happy with a significant delay.

    "Colonel Dobbins, Sir. Sorry for not responding sooner."

    The General cleared his throat pointedly. "Ahem… Central are aware of the supply issue, Dobbins. The Big Hats…" He paused for effect. This was going to be bad news. "… You are to proceed with Operation Quicksilver as per…"

    I couldn't help but a stamp of hoof. Nostril flared, I started to object, but the General interrupted, anticipating my response. "There are no more mounts available. You will have to be… er… creative. That IS what you are good at, isn't it?"

    "Yes Sir. Orders understood. Out" The horn faded. Big Hats! Bloody wizards. Arrogant pricks. It almost made me want to show them the horn's other more traditional use, back from the early days of the Ever After War. Times were simple then. I missed actual combat, but I had been suitable cursed to figurehead status by my early successes.



    "Fetch the wood elves… no, the water sprites."

    "All of them?"

    "No, just those with flight training. Prioritise the ocean bred ones. We're going to need an edge if Quicksilver is going to succeed."

    "Yes Sir," the lieutenant said, already sliming himself towards the camp, but respectfully keeping my gaze with his remaining eyestalks. I returned his salute, snorting my satisfaction that the earlier put down had been successful. When he came out of his shell he was a good aide. Slow but effective.

    Now to the problem of carrying the Quicksilver devices to the enemy lines with inadequate forces. Magic was out. Their defence spells required physical intervention. The dwarf mines ruled out a ground-based assault. Flight was the only way.

    A human approached from the camp. What now? Judging from his garb he was one of the alchemist johnnies Central had co-opted for Quicksilver. He saluted by doffing his pointed floppy hat. Bloody civilians. "Yes?"

    "Sir, if I may." I nodded approval. "We may have solved the delivery problem. The sea-wyverns breathe fire don't they. Lots of Sulphur. Cinnabar! We get them to drink the stuff!"

  2. Erin McCabe


    500 words

    Dark Swarm

    I thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns.

    The pegasi roamed freely over a large section of the valley, grounded by the electrified sky fence the soldiers had installed. For us, the fact they could only fly to around 50 feet before being forced back down by shock signalling sparks was a definite advantage, but it still took equal measures of strength and skill to clutch on as they fought desperately to rid themselves of us.

    Their blood was warm and pure, providing unparalleled sustenance; as the largest colony in the South we extracted only what was necessary for survival and propagation. Their removal from the valley was both unexpected and sudden; we were unprepared for the loss of our primary food source and so, within days, we were dangerously delirious with hunger. Our shrunken stomachs churned and growled as the pains and pangs became unbearable; two of my Brothers, twisted by yearning became demented and idiotically attempted an attack on one of the men. Unsurprisingly they were obliterated by gun fire within a few seconds; a number of my cousins, nestled in the rafters of the same tent were also taken out; too weak to flee.

    By the time the wyverns arrived, we were starved almost to extinction; we watched, expectantly as huge boxes, secured by chains were unloaded from trucks, apprehensively hoping that they did not contain more bloodless machinery. The soldiers seemed to share our excitement and began cheering and dancing as they slowly released the animals. Some of us had seen wyverns before, but never so many or in such close proximity; they seemed slow and disorientated, very different to the ones I had previously encountered. That night we descended and fed until our thirst was quenched, our stomachs obscenely bloated and distended; heaving with rich, nourishing wet red.

    The following night we awoke and gathered for another frenzied feast. The scene before us was terrifying different; the wyverns, now walking on two muscular legs, were alarmingly alert and frighteningly formidable. My Father attempted an approach; swooping from the rear he settled on the backside of the beast, which seemed oddly undisturbed by this intrusion. Sliding his fangs between the creatures’ shimmering scales, he was immediately and violently bucked into the trunk of a nearby tree. I believe he would have survived the encounter had he not been fire-blasted into vapour an instant later. The noise of this attack unfortunately alerted the men; filled with ale and furnished with an open armoury they made short work of my colony, reducing our numbers by three quarters.

    That night as I watched the soldiers feed the cadavers of my kin to the winged brutes; I resolved never to feed upon man or wyverns again, that night I rose to lead my colony to new…”

    “Why are you telling me this?”

    “You asked why we travelled to the Eastern planes, why we seek out other colonies, like yours.”


    “To dine.”

  3. "Drums of War"
    Special Challenge: Accepted
    Festive Award Challenge: Accepted (although it is not very festive)
    Word Count: 487
    No Twitter. email:

    "I thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns," Flaxx groused while swallowing his braised nightworm. It wiggled down his throat in a pleasant manner.

    "Tell me about it," Anteraxx commiserated. "We've been using the damnable things in the Flotilla for a while now. 'They're better armored' the pols caw at us. 'Greater survivability when facing the featherless demon-fire.'" His throat-feathers rose in disgust. "Bah. I don't see them diving into a clutch of humans while trying to bank a beast with the maneuverability of an out-nest."

    Flaxx tweeted his agreement around the regurgitated remains of his meal. The nest-brothers strode the streets of Teryx, capitol of the Aviar Empire. Merchants hawked their wares while bright-plumed citizens bustled about their business, many harrying their dull-feathered slaves.

    Anteraxx chirped as one such slave, smaller than he by half and blinded by her master's purchases, bumped into him. His talons clenched and his fist lashed out, sending her sprawling. "Mind your betters!"

    "My apologies," she screeched. "I abase myself before you and beg forgiveness!"

    Flaxx shot his sibling a quelling glare. "Easy, brother. Act befitting your station." He knelt and gathered up some of the scattered packages. "We serve to protect all the Aviar Empire, even the slave-caste." He handed the fledgling's burden back to her. "Run along, little one, but mind where you're going."

    She bowed and backed away four paces before stepping aside to let them pass. Anteraxx waited until she was out of listening distance, then turned to Flaxx. "What was that all about? Helping one of them! Have you taken leave of your senses, brother?"

    Flaxx craned his head to and fro before answering. "There are rumors, Anteraxx," he began quietly.

    "What rumors?"

    Flaxx nodded at a slave auction occurring in the park nearby. "That some of the slaves are leaving the nest to join with the human interlopers. I hear there was a riot down in Alandra not two weeks ago."

    Anteraxx spat on the ground. "Bah. They can have the worthless seed-eaters."

    Flaxx fell silent as they neared a flock gathered around a raised platform holding an orating senator. "...the human interlopers profess to want peace, but their actions brand them as liars! They take our lands, our slaves, our very livelihood!" The senator twisted his neck to gaze at those behind him. "We must resolve ourselves to fight this barbarian menace 'til the last feather falls! Our very way of life depends on it!" His neck snapped back to its normal position. "Are you with me!"

    A chorus of chirps and tweets greeted his pronouncement. The senator shook his head as if dismayed. "I asked you, people of Teryx, height of civilization, ARE YOU WITH ME?"

    The cheeps turned to a cacophony of screeches, none louder than Anteraxx's cry. Flaxx bowed his head. "I guess it is to be a full war then," he muttered.

  4. The Saving

    “I thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns,” said Grandpa, his belly rolling in a gentle canter up and down his chest as he laughed. “You should have seen those boys tumbling off left and right every time they forgot to watch for barbs. Kept the medics hopping for a good six months, it did.”

    We kids rolled our eyes. The story was funny the first time. Even the second or third, the uproarious way he told it. Still. A hundred? For every time we visited, it went the same.

    “Grandpa, we’re here!” we’d say cheerfully, piling him with whatever handmade crafts or cookies we’d scrounged from home.

    “Children!? In MY kingdom? An outrage!” he would cry, grabbing his cane and waving it wildly. “Guards! Seize them!”

    In our early years, before the madness’ hold strengthened irrevocably, he might leap at us, tickling each in turn till we shrieked our submission.

    Nowadays he would only punch the cane at us in fake anger. We still giggled dutifully. We owed him that much, our mothers informed us weekly, adding threats far more terrifying than any we’d ever heard from the crazy old man at Sunrise Acres.

    Pegasi and wyverns were his obsession. The day the wyverns came were the lynchpin of his life, it would seem, for he returned to that event more than any other, ancient passions rousing him briefly out of his cobwebbed mind into storytelling glory. It was an odd story his disease chose to torment him with, given the real life adventures he’d experienced. King of the Skies, our mothers said he’d been called, commander of a hundred planes during the war, time and again singlehandedly saving dozens of farms and villages of people he’d never meet.

    “The wyverns were magnificent,” said Grandpa, his mottled, wrinkly skin making him appear most un-kinglike, “with spikes sharp enough to impale a man. Clever, too; after a year, officers started forgetting who was serving whom. Saved the day, they did. Saved our people. Saved me,” he would add, his voicing trailing off: our cue to leave.

    We would smile and kiss his cheek.

    “Say thank you to the doctor!” Grandpa would call.

    “Thank you, Doctor,” we would chorus.

    And the doctor, his white lab coat as smooth and flawless as his dark hair, would grin widely in return. “Say hello to your mothers for me.”

    How Dr. Mordred could know our mothers, plain old housewives Gwen and Morgan on Glastonbury Lane who didn’t know anybody and never went anywhere, mystified us, but we never dared ask. Something in Grandpa’s face stopped us every time, a fierce, inexplicable—noble?—sadness.

    So we would nod, tripping over each other on our way to the exit, gasping for freedom.

    Maybe the wyverns had saved him once, who knows. Maybe he’d even been a king of sorts ages ago, like our mothers claimed.

    But as we could all clearly see—he never would be again.

    499 words
    Apologies, no challenges added (though the Judge's Special Challenge may be up for discussion, depending on one's reading of the story...)

  5. In The Dark
    490 Words
    Special Challenges accepted

    October 7, 1916

    "I thought pegasi were tough to ride until the Army got their first shipment of wyverns. They passed the box onto me, of course, and insisted I poke and prod until I uncover their secrets. Unlike the pegasi, the wyverns have shape and move. Their black coats ooze and wriggle inside their glass jars as if they are trying to climb out. With a pair of electrical probes, I was able to mount one for 3 seconds."

    Ares paused mid-sentence, a slight smirk teasing the corner of his lips. ‘The Army will love decoding this entry,’ he thought to himself. The Army is what he called his employer, a spindly man of mediocre height with a dusting of silver atop his round head, and his demonic cult. Pegasi was a nickname for the first ethereal substance he had been given to study in his lab. Wyvern alluded to this new element the Army had sent his way to analyze. It was Ares’ way since his imprisonment to jot down discoveries in code based off of medieval alchemy phrases. Not that he was a prisoner for the Army, oh no. Ares had locked himself away within his alchemy lab, deep in the recesses of the old manor on 8th Street. It wasn’t wise to go out, especially after faking his death only a few months before.

    The smirk finally eased itself onto his thin lips. Oh how everyone had wept at his funeral. Even the sky had shed tears and bellowed its grief. Little did they know he was alive and well, chasing his dream of immortality with his new-found freedom. His pen dropped to the lined paper again and Ares continued to write.

    "I suspect these wyvern are of similar build to the pegasi, but whether or not they hold the key to the fountain, I do not know. They suggest a deeper mystery and magic than their counterparts. Since it took me a fortnight to tap into the power of the pegasi, I gather it will take me thrice as long to master the wyvern. However, I am resolved to perfect my formula and succeed in extracting the necessary ingredients for the second phase of transformation."

    Running his tongue along a sharply pointed fang, Ares contemplated what to write next. The potion he concocted from the pegasi had stripped him of his humanity. Ares glanced at his cracked reflection in the cobwebbed baroque mirror hanging on the wall across from his mahogany desk. He was a shadow of his former self, almost vampiric in appearance except for the elongated ears. A few more answers, nay, one more discovery, and he would unleash the power to be able to transform his ghostly body into human flesh like the Army could. But what price was he willing to pay for immortality? If the potion of the pegasi had sold his body, would a wyvern potion sell his soul?