The Tenner

Since we’re in the Land of the Shut-Ins right now, I propose an on-line storytelling game.

Ten players, ten days. Each day gets a different Monarch to pick a theme. One player is a joker.

Each day, each of the players tell a story to fit the theme (except the joker, who does what they like because they’re a joker). The story does not have to be original, or long, but it does have to be in your own words. There are no prizes: you all deserve a palm.

Anyone interested?

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Like the Decameron?

You have smoked me out, sir. :wink:

Bonus points if the players take on flowery pseudonyms.

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I’m in! :smiley:

And what the hell, I’ll give it a go (though I suspect I’m terrible at writing fiction)

That makes three, counting me. A good start!

Sounds good.

I’m keen :smiley:

I will definately try a thing.

Coolness.

I’ll wait a couple more days to see if we can fill out the ranks, and start on the weekend.

I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to things like this, but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot!

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All of us are newbies, or none. Welcome aboard :slight_smile:

We’ll start with what we have, with room for people to join later. Okay!

You have gathered in the home of Lady Yekaterina von Schwartzweald, in her manor of rough-hewn stone and ancient stacked logs, set among the whispering dark trees of her ancestral lands.

Despite the barbaric splendour of the outer building, the hall she keeps for… guests is comfortably appointed - the flagstones of the hall lined with sweet rushes and warm underfoot, the tapestries hung on the wall vivid, the three hunting panthers which roam without check or hindrance most amiable and affectionate to their human companions. After a pleasing supper of cold meats, sharp cheese, and the finest of rare fruits, Lady Yekaterina gathers you by a hearth capable of roasting a bison. Staring pensively at the roaring flames, she proposes a game, of fables and hearth-tales. She turns, smiling, and with her absinthe-green eyes catching the light, sets tomorrow’s theme:

Chrysalis.

[You can fill any time tomorrow. The current order of Monarchs is:

Catherine (Lady Yekaterina von Schwartzweald) - chrysalis
IdiotSavant (Count Nicolo Alberti) - sacrifice
u_ne_korn - the long way
RobotPie (Lady Mariah Fell) - Joker, so no theme
lesbiancobra ( Lady Seraphina Trideska) - Before the storm
TheTimCrow (Tzar Boyanov Dimitri Nikolayevich) - The Gift of Betrayal
BlackDragonRaider (Amar Lukmanl Rashad bin Hameed)
Stephanie (Edward Farthing)

The Joker, picked through the ancient and honourable method of rolling a die, is RobotPie. (You don’t have to stick to the theme if you don’t want to. Your day is a free day.)

Cheers, all!

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I’ve made that post wiki so people can edit their names in.

Thanks, Malcolm. :slight_smile:

I’m up for it. (But will typically post late in the day, because my kids figure if there’s a computer keyboard in my hands then I’m Not Sharing!)

Welcome aboard. :slight_smile:

Edward Farthing leaned forward in his chair, his eyes intent behind spectacles that shone like moons. He pulled from his suit pocket a fine silken handkerchief, a lady’s handkerchief with delicate lace around the edges, and smirked slightly at the question in the eyes of the audience.

The Red Butterfly

“I tell a story of ancient China,” he said. "Long ago, long before the Silk Road travelled both ways, before Xuanzang brought the great texts from India, before the ways of Christ were known in the Far East, long before any of that, the Empire of China was the centre of the world and they knew it. Barbarians would come to the Middle Kingdom and bring gifts of tribute: furs and silver and grain and meat from the howling winds of the north; in return the Emperor would gift them with the fruits of being civilised. Tea that they might drink, eternal jade, and great rolls of cloth that rippled in the breeze: silk. The barbarians, who did not rightly know how to speak, would often ask for the secrets of these things, and always they would be denied. They would offer the Emperor’s advisors great bribes - and the corruption of the Emperor’s court was legendary, but to no avail.

"But then a day came, when another Emperor, the ruler of mountainous Khotan did not send a messenger, he came to the middle earth himself. He showed the Emperor of China how they might be as brothers or as a father to a son, how traders might travel through the mountains under his own protection. It wanted nothing more than a family arrangement to seal the deal. The Emperor of China liked this arrangement, for how better might the glory of this kingdom be known, and selected his favourite daughter to trade off. But he made a mistake - he let his son-in-law-to be converse with the girl, and the Emperor of Khotan said that he needed no gold or jewels for her dowry, nor tea, nor jade. But should she bring the secret of silk with her, why then she would be first of his wives until the end of time.

“Whether this girl, this princess, acted solely to bring herself some softnesses in her mountain home - or whether she felt some spite towards her father for selling her away from the Middle Kingdom, who can say? But she hid the silk worms in her hair, and the mulberry seeds in her medicine chest, and the knowledge of how to spin silk in the person of her maidservant and thus the world received the gift that is silk.”

Farthing held the handkerchief against the flickering light of the fire and watched the flames shine through the translucent cloth. With one sharp gesture he tossed it into the hearth. “And so it goes.”

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Oh, lovely!

“This is a true story,” Lady Yekaterina murmurs, dipping her fingertips into her glass of wine and flicking drops of it into the fire so that it fizzes and sparks, “I got it from one of the participants…”

The Briar Wood

Long ago, but not so long as that, there was a briar wood grown sudden and strange. After the magic of its making it stood there a hundred years and more, the prickles and brambles and dark twisted branches providing a shelter and food for the travelling birds, the small furry creatures, the little snakes of silver throat… The briar wood was a place of song and blossoming greenery for much of its life, and beautiful, too.

In the centre of it, the heart, silent as a tree stump absorbing into the earth, was a little castle of dressed stone, and inside the castle were many sleepers, and in the highest tower, the isolate, the bare, was a room draped in silk. The silken banners that announced royalty, the silken hangings on the wall, the silken drapery around the bed and the silken nightrail of a sleeping princess wrapped up against the wind and snug as a sleeper in a chrysalis.

It was not a prince who cut his way to the heart of the briar wood at the end of it all, nor even a nobleman, but Phillip was a gentleman - the son of a country squire, and his character was equal parts gentle and practical. He took his time cutting through the wood with saw and clippers, wrapped in a good leather coat and carting the waste wood away for other use. Weeks he was in there, in the dark and the bird song, before his booted feet sounded echoes in the stone halls, the winding spiral stairs of the little castle.

Long and long had the princess slept, a hundred years and more she dreamed the dreams of the briar wood. When Phillip found her tucked away, he brushed aside layer after layer of winding silk and beheld her, and loved her - for who could not? And the gentle, practical man kissed her, very politely, on the cheek, and caught his breath as her eyes opened - eyes as bright and fierce as the morning. For Aurora had slept a hundred years and more swaddled safe in the brambles and she could not help but change, into a creature beautiful, and winged.

She loved him. Who could not love a man like Phillip? What passed between them that night is not for me to share - the secrets, the stories, the soft touches under the blanket of darkness.

But in the morning she ate him, and flew away over the briar wood.

“I got it from Aurora, of course,” murmurs Lady Yekaterina. “Wonderful woman, and an excellent partner at Bridge.” She smiles cheerfully. “Who’s next?”

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Tzar Boyanov clapped his hands once, loundly as to draw attention. He stood and walked to the hall, and back with his winter coat. "This coat is light for these lands are warm, but imagine the heavy wool and furs needed at the northern most reaches of the world. It’s important, for it is at the heart of the tale.

The Watchers

They say, that if you head north from Rus, by cart and sled, until lights dance in the sky and land turns to ice, you may find find the old road. It gleams in pearlescent turquoise, and the path is hard, for the stones are old and far spread. If you come in a party you will surely lose your way, for the road does not want to be hard trodden. One person may walk the road, wrapped tight against the gleaming shards of ice in the air.

The road heads to the pole star, and if you walk it long enough, you may go there. The road starts to wind through stones upthrust from beneath the ice crust, and yet, strangely shaped, as if totems or markers, purpose long forgotten. These long still monoliths have forms which hint, after years of smoothing, of some kind of figure, yet no details remain to remark upon. Continue walking.

Here the road judges you. Not through your actions, not through your coin, but a simple decision of when you chose to travel it. In summer, the sun is high, and the air chill. but clear. In winter, the land is dark with not a hint sun. The sky howls with hateful cold, but when the storms clear and the cold of space is lit by the northern lights you sill see two people, tall and strong, standing by the road in the thicket furs and heaviest wool. The snow drifts at their feet and ice rimes their furs.

They will walk away, follow.

They will take you up a ridge, keep climbing.

They will show you a plateau, observe.

They will speak. They will ask you questions, and this is the second judgement. Answer as fully as you can, with no falsehood, no manipulation, and no deciet. If the watchers judge you to have satisfied them, they will call a wind that scours the snow from the plateau.

A lid of ice, clear and perfect imprisons a valley of most verdant green, with mystical lights of blue, red and yellow dancing through it. What is in there? Where did it come from? Explainations are not given. The watchers will tell you nothing, and as the beauty overcomes you, you may weep frozen tears.

You are now changed. Do not place too much importance upon yourself. You were not the first and there will be others. There is something under the ice, changing, waiting, and when the world is right, it will emerge, like a butterfly from the chrysalis.

“Of course”, Tzar Boyanov concluded, “you might think this fantastical. And it is. It is a beautiful story. But not as beautiful as what had me picking tears from my beard.” He smiles, wistfully, lined face creasing easily. “Now, who is next?”

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