Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
If you have any questions about the competition then read our awesome FAQ!
||You are on Week 388
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Three Hundred Eighty Eight Ends Friday, October 17
"And that's where I shattered the Bringer of Night with a stone from my slingshot," Armin told the small Bori at his side, pointing to the corner of the cave where the Heart of the Mountain had once glowed.
"Wow, Armin, you must've been so scared," Sarra, the younger Bori, breathed, her eyes wide.
"I was, Sarra, but I knew I had to be brave for the Bori who were trapped here and for Hannah."
"What happened to the Bringer after he shattered?" Sarra asked, peering into the dark corner of the cave. She tried to imagine what it must have been like -- the small icy cave filled with thieves, the Bringer's frozen army, and the mighty Bringer himself, all bathed in the red glow of the Heart of the Mountain.
Armin paused. "I--I don't really know, Sarra. He broke into pieces, of course, and his remains were strewn all over the cave. But Kanrik and I were more concerned with rushing Hannah to the Snow Faerie for healing, so I don't know what happened after that..."
"Maybe he's still here," Sarra murmured to herself, "under all that snow..."
She swallowed hard, trying to calm the little itches of fear that she felt, and walked deeper into the cave. At the place where Armin had said the Bringer once stood, she dropped to her knees and started rooting around in the snow.
"Sarra, what are you doing?" Armin asked.
"Looking for the Bringer of Night."
"But why?!" Armin exclaimed. Why would a young Bori want to uncover the remains of her species' oldest enemy?
The little Bori shrugged and kept digging in the snow. "Hey, Armin, I think I've found something!" She dusted a small heap of snow off the object in her hand and held it up. Clutched in the young Bori's claws was a bone, but it wasn't just any regular bone -- it was glowing...
Author: Let Sleeping Moehogs Lie|
Date: Oct 13th
Armin stared at the bone with horror.
It was as black as fresh ash, as night; a gleaming piece of ebony darkness moulded into a curved, long shard. And it was glowing; a soft, red, malevolent light that fell across the snowy ice like a bloody shadow. And the piece of bone seemed to tremble slightly in Sarra's claws, filling her ears with a strange, unearthly hum.
Armin choked. "I... I thought he was gone."
Sarra's claws tightened, almost as if she were trying to smother the bone's vibration. They gleamed in the reddish light with an eerie sheen. "But... isn't he? You destroyed the Bringer."
Armin blinked, then shook his head. "We need to tell the elders about this. Now."
"What?" With a great effort, Sarra tore her eyes away from the remnant of the once great monster who had attempted to obliterate her race. It seemed to have a strange pull to it. "Armin, it's just a bone."
The yellow Bori looked at her gravely. "I don't think the Bringer of Night is as gone as we thought."
"What do you mean?"
"I heard," Armin said slowly, "that the Bringer wasn't exactly alive when the thieves unleashed him upon us. They'd summoned him, right? Using some ritual. What if they could do it ag --"
"Wait," Sarra interrupted. Her eyes were trained over Armin's shoulder.
"Shush. Do you hear that?" Sarra's ears were perked, leaning forward intently. Listening to the distant but growing-ever-closer crunch of pawsteps on hard snow, and the muted whispers of a hushed conversation...
Date: Oct 13th
Half a dozen heavily cloaked figures made their way into the cave. Armin and Sarra hurriedly dashed into a dark crevice and held their breath.
"Finally, we're here," said a high female voice. "Keep watch, boys. You and you, come with me. We have some bones to collect."
Three silhouettes detached themselves from the group as Armin and Sarra watched with bated breath. The first figure moved swiftly, sinuously, into the cave proper, and came to a standstill.
"There's a piece of bone..." -- and then a sudden silence. Armin felt Sarra trembling beside him.
"Look here, you great oafs," spoke the lead figure to her two attendants. With a quick paw she threw back her hood, and the distinct outline of her head against the light outside showed her to be an Acara. She crouched. "The snow is freshly disturbed."
With a thrill of horror, Armin realised that he and Sarra had left prints all over the cavern -- prints that led right to where they were hidden.
The Acara came to the same realisation. Her piercing blue eyes travelled over the snow until she saw the double line of footprints leading toward a shadowy triangle in the cave's icy walls. She stood and moved swiftly toward the trembling Bori in their hopelessly inadequate hiding place.
"Over here," she said imperiously, and her companions, one Kyrii and one chubby Bruce, crowded behind her.
Armin gasped as the Acara made her slow, cautious approach: he recognised Masila, her beautiful features twisted with malice.
"Well, this is a nice surprise," said Masila when she came close enough to make them out, "two little Bori. How appropriate, wouldn't you say, Quint?"
The one-eyed Kyrii beside her nodded stupidly. "Yes, Masila, for the Bringer --"
"Silence, you raving imbecile," said Masila sharply. "Take them both."
Armin prepared to sell his freedom dearly as Masila's thugs approached...
Date: Oct 14th
Next to him, Sarra tensed, her fists taking a defensive position in front of her chest. Her eyes were slanted in an intense glare toward the three villainous figures that stood before her. "They're not taking me alive," she whispered, words audible only to Armin.
"Are you crazy?" the older Bori hissed back as the Kyrii and Bruce continued to advance. "You shouldn't waste your energy fighting them off now -- you have to be patient to escape."
Sarra looked with surprise over at her companion, frowning in dismay. "But you said that when the moment comes, we have to be brave!" she argued. The conversation was still quiet enough so that the guards couldn't hear.
"Move faster, dimwits! They're probably formulating a plan of escape while you two are just inching forward!" Masila's voice echoed across the cave, ringing for a few seconds as she pushed her assistants to the side and shot forward toward the two near-captives.
"This isn't the moment!" Armin shot back. "You've got to trust me here -- let them take you. We can escape later!"
"For some reason, I don't think there is a later," Sarra responded, and with that she rushed forward. Masila seemed surprised, and took a delayed dive toward the young Bori. Sarra barely managed to outstep the flailing body, and shook a straggling hand off her ankle. The Kyrii -- Quint -- and the Bruce were just as startled as their boss, and were unable to catch Sarra as she flew past them and into the depths of the cave.
"Oh, Masila, Miss, should we go after her?" the Bruce asked, obviously confused.
"Yes! Well, no. Well..." As the Acara rose, she took a wary glance at Armin, who still held fast to his patient theory. "Let's take him first. Then we can figure out what to do." Making sure to waste no time, Masila fished a rope out from her coat pocket and wove it behind the Bori's arms, capturing him in a knot. "Maybe we can offer a little incentive to our friend here, as long as his little companion is lost out in the cave." A dark smile crept onto her face. "Morris, help me! Our captive has packed on a few pounds since our last encounter."
"Yes, Masila, of course." The Bruce scrambled to help his master push the Bori out of the cave.
When they reached the bright end of the long tunnel, Masila breathed a sigh of relief. "Now I can stop pushing," she said as Quint and Morris shoved the Bori into an open metal cage on top of a huge wooden sleigh, probably brought along just in case they encountered any trouble. The bars were frozen solid, and so was the bottom of the cage. Had it not been for his fur coat, Armin would have been much more uncomfortable than he already was.
"I've concocted a plan. Our captive is obviously too smart for you two numbskulls," Masila noted, "so I'll stay here and guard him. You two go back into the cave and look for the girl."
"Back into the cave?" Quint groaned, slumping over.
"Yes, back into the cave! You know better than to contradict me, even in the slightest!" the Acara snapped, slapping the Kyrii across the head.
Both of Masila's minions disappeared into the cave's mouth once again. The Acara turned around, and she had that same menacing smile on her face again. "Now, Armin, I think it's time we had a little chat..."
* * * * *
It had been about a half hour before Sarra finally let up her light jog and allowed herself to rest. The Bori was sore from running for such a long period of time, and she needed to catch her breath.
"Well... I... hope Armin... got out of... there okay," she managed to pant, sitting down against an icy wall. She had no idea where she was, or how she had gotten there. The only thing she knew was that she was far away from those villains.
She sat for a few minutes and her breathing slowed. "I'm c-cold," she stammered, noticing just how freezing she was. She stood up and began to pace, hoping that it would warm her up a little bit.
After the pacing failed, she sat down again, only to find that the wall was incredibly warm. She let out a contented sigh and felt the heat of a light on her back. All of a sudden, however, the wall grew too hot, and she jerked up from her position, tumbling over in the snow. "Ouch," she grunted, rubbing her burnt back.
Sarra picked herself up from the snow and turned around. She closed her eyes for a few seconds to try and ease the pain, but it didn't help. Finally she opened them, and they widened. She took a cautious step back.
The wall was glowing the same color red that she had seen before. It was the same crimson that the bone had been. "The Bringer of Night," she whispered, for that was all she could say...
Date: Oct 14th
...before she was completely enclosed in darkness.
Sarra screamed. She screamed and screamed and screamed. But no sound escaped her lips. The darkness muted her, silenced her...
Gradually, she calmed down. Breathing hard, Sarra looked around, blinking her eyes rapidly, willing them to adjust to the dark. But she saw nothing but endless, endless ebony.
Sarra yawned. It was so warm here, in this darkness...
The Bori's eyes snapped open again and she nearly choked on the scream that ripped at her throat. In a single, horrifying moment, she knew exactly where she was.
The wall had somehow grabbed her.
In fact, it had never been a wall at all, but rather a night-coloured bone glowing faint crimson like the embers of a dying fire. She was trapped in the hand of the Bringer, his fingers like prison bars around her.
Sarra screamed and cried and pounded against the darkness, her fists randomly missing and hitting, creating an offbeat percussion.
I've got to get out of here, she thought wildly. But nothing happened. She started to get dizzy... lack of air..?
That's when she heard the voices.
They were faint, far away. She could barely hear them. But they were angry sounds, the owners of the two voices seemed to be arguing.
As the voices drifted closer, Sarra frowned. They seemed familiar. Like a forgotten element of a dream she had a long, long time ago.
Closer still, and Sarra realised with a start that those voices weren't a part of a dream, but belonged to a nightmare instead.
The voices were so close now, no longer as muffled. Sarra recognised them all too well. The Bruce and the Kyrii from the cave.
She curled up, trying to keep as silent as possible. Were they looking for her? She couldn't let them find her. She didn't want to go back.
A sudden crack of light appeared and Sarra flinched. After being in the dark so long, even the faintest glimmer of light was painful. She cautiously leaned forward and stared outside. Amongst the blinding snow, she could see two cloaked figures melting away into the distance. She was safe.
Or was she? She was still in the Bringer's grasp...
She was warm, not searing with molten heat. She was comfortable, cradled in a gentle hand...
Funny. Wasn't the Bringer of Night supposed to be the enemy of Bori?
Because he was doing the exact opposite -- he was protecting her...
Date: Oct 15th
Sarra held her head in her thickly mittened paws: her brain hurt, she was confused -- she had seen the Bringer's bones herself, had held one of them herself -- and yet at the same time the Bringer was here, somehow, his spirit was inhabiting this cave, sentient and aware. How was this possible? What bizarre, uncanny magic was sustaining him?
Masila had mentioned collecting the bones. For what purpose? To piece the Bringer back together, to better control this force, which was clearly still hot, powerful and alive, here in the frigid mountain's core?
As she clutched at her head, Sarra felt a pressure against her cheek where the soft palm of her mitten should have been. She looked down and realised with a gasp that she was still clutching the bone she had found in the cave.
It pulsed and glowed in her palm, and Sarra came to realise that perhaps, perhaps she was controlling the Bringer somehow through this artefact of his former shape. Or perhaps -- perhaps it was controlling her? An unearthly hum began to fill the young Bori's ears again, as it had when she had first clutched the black fragment. Only this time, she was hearing a voice, low, weak, and yearning, yearning to be pieced together and then put to rest, please, I need this rest, a body whole, not in shards, a tomb of earth, not a crypt of ice, the quiet earth not these echoing caves, please, I need the peace...
In the high-ceilinged cave that had once held the Heart of the Mountain, Masila was having her little chat with the shivering Armin.
As it turned out, it was a rather one-sided chat: Masila launched into a monologue through which she attempted to impress upon Armin how exceptionally brilliant, beautiful, and witty she was, and Armin ignored her determinedly.
After the conversation (such as it was) petered out, Masila began to roam the cave, kicking up snow and bending down every so often to pick up what appeared to be further remains of the Bringer and place them in a satchel at her waist. She held each shiny black piece of bone expectantly, rubbing, pressing the points, but seemed disappointed every time to find the bone inert and cold in her paws.
Armin watched her mannerisms with great interest: Masila seemed to be waiting for something to happen, expecting some reaction from the Bringer's bones that was not forthcoming.
As Masila's satchel filled with lifeless bones, Armin's spirits filled with hope: he had seen a bone react, and react strongly and hotly, that bone was no longer in the cave: it was in the paws of Sarra.
"Clever Sarra," murmured Armin ruefully to himself from within his cage. "If there's magic to be worked here, it's in your hands."
At this point, Masila completed her inspection of the cave. She kicked up the final untouched pile of snow, and uncovered the Bringer's immense skull, eyeless and grinning blackly at her.
"Finally!" she thought, "this must be the special bone..." Her glee upon finding the skull was transformed into a strangled scream of rage upon her touching it: no reaction! Where was the glow, where was the magic of which she had been told?
Masila whipped around and flew toward Armin's cage with frightening speed. "There is a bone missing here, Bori!" In her rage, she gave the cage's bars such a powerful shake that Armin's teeth rattled. "Where is the last bone? The bone that controls the Bringer?"
Armin stared at the spitting, wrathful Acara in front of him wide, grave eyes. "I know where it is, Masila... but first..."
Date: Oct 15th
Armin's mind was reeling with an anxious dread. Finally, he decided that the only way to deal with Masila was to speak with her in her own language -- the language of thieves.
"But first," he continued, "I propose a deal. If I lead you to the final bone, I want my share. A finder's fee, let’s call it." Armin spoke with a cool confidence that belied the uneasy tension he felt deep within himself.
Masila narrowed her eyes at the Bori and, tauntingly shaking the bars of his cage, hissed, "I don't think you're in a position to make demands."
Pointing at Masila's satchel of lifeless bones, Armin replied, "And I don't think you're in the position you expected, either." Armin folded his arms across his chest and thumped to a relaxed position in the corner of the cage. "I wonder what will happen," Armin mused, "if your flunkies find the bone without you. You must really trust them."
Masila let loose a roar of frustration and stomped her feet with puerile petulance. "Listen, Bori, what I do trust my minions to do is to find and deal with your little friend in whatever manner is necessary to achieve my goals."
Armin tightened every muscle in his body to control a sudden onslaught of nervous tremors, and with a forced brashness stated, "My friend? That little Bori is not my friend; she's a child, a pawn. I work alone." Swallowing hard, he added, "Do with her as you will, but she has nothing to do with the bone you seek." Armin held a steady gaze with the Acara, hoping that she wouldn't call his bluff.
Finally, Masila snorted contemptuously and reached for the key in her pocket to unlock Armin's cage.
Sarra felt herself swaying to the numinous humming coming from the presence surrounding her. Her movements were involuntary but soothing and brought to her mind the image of a Cobrall under the influence of Jub Zambra and his Charmers. This impression briefly flashed with an accompanying flicker of alarm -- Am I in control or is this Lost Desert magic? -- but the soothing effects of the humming and swaying, constant and insistent, washed her mind of all conscious thought. The voice -- the yearning, plaintive voice of the cave itself -- became a part of the young Bori, became her imperative. Nodding her head, Sarra intoned flatly, "I know what I must do."
Armin led Masila deeper into the labyrinthine cave system that he knew so well. Sarra must have headed for a secret exit. She should be home safe by now, telling everyone about the thieves. If I can just delay here long enough, help will be on its way. "It's this way," Armin said with confidence as he advanced into an enormous cavern -- a cavern, as it turned out, he had never before explored.
As Masila entered the grotto, her satchel of bones began to vibrate and buzz. When she threw open the clasps, a stream of red light shot out, illuminating the walls of the cavern, walls that were encrusted with ruby-red jewels. These jewels began to hum and whine in a sympathetic harmony with the bag of bones, creating the effect of a sepulchral and cheerless pipe organ.
Armin turned in a confused circle, beholding the awesome symphony, when a movement on the periphery of his vision grabbed his attention. "No..." he whispered as he watched his friend Sarra enter the cave from the far side, holding the last of the bones in front of her like a mace-bearer heralding the entrance of a sovereign. He turned to the Acara, who was also watching the young Bori, and pleaded, "There are more jewels here than you can spend in a lifetime. Let her go, and it's all yours."
Masila turned on him with spiteful venom. "Jewels? You think small like Galem. What use are jewels when the ultimate prize is ultimate power?" Just as the awful truth was dawning on Armin, Masila shoved him roughly into a pile of rocks and ice shards, which he hit hard and rolled behind. Briefly stunned, he watched as Masila began a predatory, circling approach to Sarra.
As he started to rise, he felt himself grabbed from behind as a mittened hand was placed over his mouth. Turning in fear, he eyes grew wide with startled recognition.
Date: Oct 16th
The Usul gave him a tight smile, her eyes going back to Sarra and Masila.
Armin leaned forward, putting his mouth practically inside her ear to avoid being overheard. Hannah probably had a decent idea what Masila was up to; most likely, he guessed, she had been following the thief. So he told her the one thing she might not have been able to put together: "Sarra picked up a bone from the Bringer of Night."
Hannah clicked her teeth together. "Last piece of the puzzle," she murmured back.
Sarra's eyes were focused only straight ahead on the bone, but she was not walking blindly. She was not thinking, exactly, but she was aware. The hum spreading through her own bones told her where Masila was, even where the thieves somewhere in the caves behind her were.
She was not afraid of them. It didn't occur to her to be. She was distantly aware, without forming any thought about it, that ordinarily she would be afraid, that she had run from them a little while ago. But they couldn't touch her now.
She was too strong for them.
Masila's contracting spiral brought her behind the slowly advancing young Bori, and she lunged. Armin gasped and surged up from his hiding place, but Hannah, wide-eyed, pulled him back down.
Masila grabbed Sarra by one shoulder, trying to pull her around and grab at the bone; instead, she herself swung around Sarra, and when she reached for the bone she somehow lost her grip on both. She stumbled and fell, as if she'd slipped on the ice; Sarra, despite not appearing to speed up at all, was a few steps away.
Bewildered, Masila stalked up behind Sarra and took a firm grip on her sleeve.
Sarra blinked once, turned, and tapped Masila softly with the glowing bone.
The light -- from the bone, from the bag, from the jewels -- pulsed the red of sunset.
Masila soared backward through the air and out the opening where Sarra had come in.
The red of sunset.
The red of the Bringer's Eyes?
The singular, brilliant, soul-warming red of the Heart of the Mountain...
Date: Oct 16th
"The Heart of the Mountain?" Armin asked Hannah. "How could that be? I saw it destroyed."
The Usul, while never taking her eyes off of Sarra's progress through the cavern, unzipped and then shrugged off her parka. Rolling up her right sleeve, she revealed an ugly red tattoo that sizzled like the freshly seared stamp of a branding iron -- the Mark of Ta-Kutep. The preternatural red glow that pulsed around them was echoed in her imprint, throbbing in sync with the vibrations of the mountain itself. "I don't know how, but I do know that your friend is playing with some very dangerous magic there. She has awakened the Curse."
Armin spun his gaze from Hannah to Sarra. The young Bori was slowly but confidently marching toward a circular outcropping of crimson minerals, and the nearer she drew to them, the quicker they reverberated. The shock waves sent out from this reaction shook the ceiling of the cave, sending shards of ice and ruby-red crystals shattering to the floor, but avoiding her and the direct pathway to her destination.
The hum and whine of the stones and bones rose in pitch and volume, and Armin now had to shout to be heard. "Quickly, tell me about the Curse. I thought that the Heart of the Mountain was the protector of the Bori."
"It is -- or it was," Hannah yelled back as she laboriously put her coat back on. "I have spent the last several years in the Lost Desert, studying what tablets and scrolls I could find that related to the Bringer and the Heart of the Mountain. These are arcane and ancient examples of Lost Desert Magic, put in place in the time of Sutek, and protected by a powerful Curse." As Hannah spoke, Armin could see that the Usul was losing energy. "I thought that the Bringer and the Heart of the Mountain died, I thought that without the Keystone, the Heart would cease to exist... but... I... was... wrong..." Hannah struggled to keep her eyes open, and Armin helplessly watched as she slipped in and out of consciousness. "The Keystone," she managed before finally passing out. "You must destroy the new Keystone."
Armin turned from the Usul's insensate form to survey Sarra's progress.
Sarra continued, inexorably marching, forward, forward, aware only of the voice inside her head that urged her on, the voice she mistook for her own will. Immortality interrupted but not forsaken, a few more steps and Sutek's Curse will be my Blessing, the Heart of the Mountain will beat once more, within my chest, forevermore. A frown crossed Sarra's brow, a flash of awareness, soon erased. She was nearly at the circle of stones, holding the bone in front of her with a careful reverence, numb to her environment.
The plaintive whine of the sympathetic vibrations rose again in pitch until Armin could hardly bear its impact on his ears; the bloody red glow of the jewels and bones intensified to the white-hot light and heat of a bomb blast; and the tremors in the crystals now shook the cavern with an earthquake force, loosening the stalactites in a hailstorm of glass and stone.
As Armin averted his eyes from the centre of the heat and light, he saw that Masila was re-entering the cave with her two minions behind her.
With a heightened sense of urgency and duty, Armin reeled from Hannah to Sarra to the thieves. The new Keystone, he thought to himself. What new Keystone?
Surveying the scene again, Armin suddenly knew what to do. Standing up, he withdrew his slingshot from his back pocket...
Date: Oct 17th
...and everything took on a new form, became knife-edge clear. Masila and the thieves, mere shapes in the cave, were moving toward Sarra. Sarra was moving mechanically toward the circle of stones, the bone aglow in her paw. Hannah was limp, her final request floating above her lips. And shards were falling, like rain, drop, drop, drop.
But nothing mattered except the bone in Sarra's paw. It pulsed, yearning to rejoin with the huge pool of raw, ancient power. It reached toward the curse, the completion.
Armin released his slingshot.
The small stone flew through the air, through the twirling, falling crystals. It sailed past the glazed eyes of Sarra, past the outreached hands of Masila. And it struck the bone, seconds before it touched the circle of stones.
Armin shut his eyes.
There was sound. The bone was clattering to the ground, hollow and lifeless as the other bones... Masila was screeching, "No! The power... it can’'t be leaving!" The minions' footsteps were rustling about... Sarra was murmuring, "Armin?" And Hannah was stirring...
Beyond the sound there was colour. Red. It seeped through everything, like the sighs of thousands of mummies, flowing and ebbing away. As it brushed past Armin, it seemed to say, Thank you... thank you. I can finally return to my proper place of rest...
Someone touched Armin's shoulder. He looked up into the beautiful eyes of little Sarra.
"You saved me," she said. "You saved me."
And there, in the centre of the great ice mountain, she gave him a big hug.
Sarra sat by the table in the cosy warmth, nibbling at a fruitcake. Nearby, Armin and Hannah talked together, reliving stories of their adventures, marvelling at how far they had come.
Sarra felt only rather sleepy. It had been a long day, and the part with Masila and the thieves had been quite frightening. The bone, too... its pulse and its grip still haunted her a little. But luckily it was all over now, Masila and company had left for other desires, and the power was safely put away.
Everything was all right again.
The Bringer's story was over; it had been over for a long, long time. The Moehog had done much evil in the days of his life, fighting against the Bori, seeking treasure which was not to be sought. In the end he had been sealed into a tomb of ice by the Heart of the Mountain. His soul had been imprisoned, crying silently, for years and years... until at last he simply grew weary, not wanting, not seeking any more.
Until finally he needed only rest.
And a little Bori named Sarra, coming dangerously close to the source of all the power, released his soul and gave him rest.
Smiling, he faded softly away into eternity.
Date: Oct 17th
IMPORTANT - SUBMISSION POLICY! By
uploading or otherwise submitting any materials to Neopets, you (and your parents) are
automatically granting us permission to use those materials for free in any manner we can think
of forever throughout the universe. These materials must be created ONLY by the person
submitting them - you cannot submit someone else's work. Also, if you're under age 18, ALWAYS
check with your parents before you submit anything to us!