CCC #97 - Voting Thread

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Get out, by Deborah Lee, on Inprnt.com
Get out, by Deborah Lee, on Inprnt.com

Hi, everyone. It's that time once again. The idea this time was to create an OC (male or female) based on the person in the bottom left of the picture. That picture by the way, is Get out, by Deborah Lee, on Inprnt.com. Writers had to name that person, name the three tigers, and name the sword. There were four entries this time, so let's get right to it.

The voting rules:

  • READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
  • If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
  • No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
  • The voting deadline is Sunday, April 26, 2020, @11:59PM New York time (click the link if you're unsure).
  • Remember: All are welcome to vote, and the winner gets to pick the next contest.

The stories:

.

Wildvine - (Untitled) [Peepants]

*Record scratch*

Yeah, that's me. I bet you're wondering just how I got in to this unique situation? I am heartened that you would inspire to such heights of interrogative discovery. You see a human being-- (or that is-- being, not being, eh, words are hard) besieged by (at least) three tigers, any one of which is more than capable of disseminating a fleshy human.

Oh eww,! Maybe that was not the best word use for the moment. Really conjures some interestingly grotesque imagery, does it not? Allow a rephrase on my part. Ahem, a mere singular individual of this most bizarre troupe of tigers being capable by right of nature for the visiting of unpleasant carnage upon said unfortunate human. I feel better about that, thank you for your input on the subject of my narration.

Being the intrepid junior detective that I know you to be, you have no doubt noticed my irreverent indifference towards the gender-to-be-questioned human being-- that is being not being. Damn you English! I should be recounting this all in Spanish. That would save us a lot of addendum-- Anyhoo, human of unknown gender and tigers of the no-one-cares-gender. The answer is very simple and concise. I am the sword. Now I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the story of the situation or situations that I will not be recounting. As a third person observer you may have an interest in our nameless human-oid. Lets call this person "Peepants." Bloke in some weird forest, about to be mugged by someone's future fursonna with a sword like a nightmare situation in a parking lot of a joint furry/anime convention. Or so I've been told of such things, you know. I'd say the given situation is pretty interesting (The tiger tree mugging, not the furry bit. Blast you time number next, English!)

Or you might be curious about the apex land-shark armed quite literally to the teeth. Now there is a story, where did they get that sword? From an undiscovered temple? From a fallen explorer? From eBay? Why does it have friends with it? And most importantly, why is it harassing a lost civilized fellow, that most natural and beautiful of forest dwellers? All valid and no doubt intriguing avenues of thought to pursue.

On your own time, that is. This is my story.

Now where was I... Hm? Name? The tiger? Now you're just being silly! If you name it you'll get attached and then later on when it dies you'll be sad. Okay, alright now, don't go getting the pouty face my darling little stinkbug, I'll name the kitties if that'll make you happy for the fleeting moments we'll share in the eldritch and icy stare of eternity. Lessee'... the main one we'll name Hungry Maneater. The second one is Not as Hungry, and the third is Not Hungry at all Just Here for the Emotional Support. *Whispers* He's my favorite.

Say, you know what would have been a good story? A Three Little Pigs remake, but with tigers, and a human and instead of a morality story about preparation and good planning its a revenge story about a roving gang of giant felines who mess with the wrong human. Kind of like 'I Spit on Your Grave' but more meta and less awkwardly turning the volume down on the TV because its midnight and your roommates are sleeping down the hall. Know what I'm saying?

Ooh! Or Hungry Maneater is arming the human because he's a good kitty, and the two are about the fight back to back against the other tigers, even though in reality a human with a sword vs a tiger would still just be a human with a sword vs a tiger. That is to say, very soon to be very dead. But what do I know about reality? I'm just a talking sword with ADHD or something.

Wildvine stared at the alien salad of sentence gibberish her high functioning mental disorder had spewed out. It rambled, it was only vaguely coherent, and it probably had some punctuation issues that she wasn't going to bother re-reading for. However they had achieved their true goal. They had participated in a CC Contest for the first time in over a year. Wildvine consoled herself with the knowledge that sometimes you can't write the story someone wants to read. Sometimes you can't even write the story you want to write because you spend your day working over time, and draining all your creativity at work so it a wonder you can write anything when you get home. Sometimes you have to be happy with just placing in the race, even if it is a rather evocative image prompt.

"Good enough, you sexy idiot." Wv self-congratulated herself, about to hit post when she realized. "Oh heckmuffins!" I forgot to name the sword! Ah. Um... Sir Shank. Ha! Annnnnnnnd... post."

TommytheHitman - Shoto and the Darkness [Shoto]

Shoto and the Darkness

Shoto was a Seeker.

That was the sole thing that gave him comfort as he stood before the forest. It was not the first forest that his profession had forced him to venture into in the dead of night, but it still felt like it was his first. He looked at the dark shadows that lingered in-between the trees and the shapes of birds watching him from the branches and his hand moved to the sword that hung proudly from his belt.

He had been given the blade by his father upon achieving the rank of Seeker and had named it Sun Sword. It had been a proud day, but one with a great deal of sadness. Upon becoming a Seeker, the person in that role was forbidden from returning to civilisation until their job was done, and in the hundred years since the Seeker organisation had first been formed not one Seeker had successfully completed their mission.

Shoto sighed. He gripped Sun Sword and in an almost casual manner drew it from its hilt out into the open air. The Seeker took one last look at the field he’d been standing in. It hadn’t been anything special, dead grass and the corpses of flowers that hadn’t seen sunlight in one hundred years yet still tried to grow, but Shoto had a sneaking suspicion that this might be the last thing he sees. He stared at the field for a few long seconds… and then he stepped in.

Shoto’s goal was the same as any other Seeker. He sought gods.

Just over one hundred years ago humanity had faced an invasion unlike any it had before. Their astronomers had noticed the warning signs first. In the black sky that surrounded everything the stars that filled this dark blanket had started to slowly disappear and fade. It had only been the odd couple at first, but in the next decade astronomers noted that during those years over half of the stars visible from the Earth had completely vanished. What was worse, the disappearing stars had started to get closer.

With no idea what they would be facing, Humanity had prepared itself for the worst it could think of and found its imagination sorely lacking.

It had been the darkness itself that had turned against the universe. Space itself had decided to remove the tumours and boils of life that had spread across its back, and the Earth was merely another target in its billion-year war.

When this darkness had arrived, Humanity had turned to its gods to protect them and they had answered.

Their names were Karskan, Brika and Lurve. Collectively they had been known as The Three, and collectively they fell in a matter of minutes. Their thousand-year long religion crumbling almost immediately as humanity had been forced to face the vast darkness that surrounded it alone.

Considering what it was they were facing Humanity hadn’t done a bad job.

Yet there were rumours that the Three had survived their brief battle with the darkness, that they had fallen back to the planet in their wounded states and gone into hiding in order to recover. Following their battle people had seen three bright sparks thousands of miles away, three objects burning through the atmosphere, and following that there had been rumours of three giant, orange tigers stalking their way through the forest.

It was just as justifiable a lead as any, and it was Shoto’s task as a Seeker to find the Three and bring them back to civilisation. For what? He did not know. In truth the young boy imagined it was some sort of punishment. Humanity had suffered many losses to the vast eternal blackness that surrounded their little world, if the Three were still alive it would mean they had fled the battle like cowards and as such were due harsh punishment the same as any man.

Shoto sighed and averted his eyes from the darkness of the forest. In his heart he knew that he could only put it off for so long, and as such he took a deep breath, closed his eyes and began to march forward in a crisp, smart walk just as his training had taught him. The whole time that he walked he kept a hand on Sun Sword as it hung at his side, he tried to ignore the fact that his whole body was shaking.

As he stepped into the forest – its branches and tall trees quickly engulfing him – he couldn’t help but notice that the light from the clearing behind him had been quickly snuffed out.

This was far from the first forest that Shoto had entered, far from the first batch of darkness he’d willingly entered, but it still felt like the first. Having stepped into his enemy’s territory, Shoto opened his eyes and they quickly darted in-between the trees, searching for movement. There was no wind, so thankfully if anything were to shift or move, Shoto would know for a fact that it was either friend or foe. Though that lack of wind had the unfortunate effect of giving the forest an unnaturally quiet feeling.

Suddenly, a bright lightbulb seemed to flash in the recesses of Shoto’s mind and he cursed himself for a fool! He reached into the satchel that hung around his back, and from it pulled out a small, tar black lantern that easily fitted into the palm of his hand. For a moment Shoto closed his eyes and simply focused all of his mind into lighting the lantern as he’d been taught.

‘” Keep your thoughts pure. And they shall lead you through the dark.”’ He had been told many times during his younger years, and as he’d grown older, he had learned that those words were in fact true.

When his eyes opened again, Shoto found a pale green light emanating from the lantern that was engulfing the surrounding area. The Seeker smiled to himself – satisfied – and quickly began to continue his journey further into the trees.

His smile quickly faded once he saw what was waiting for him.

The creature standing before Shoto stepped out from between the trees. It was a thin yet tall figure that seemed to be constructed entirely out of shadows, save for the creature’s face which resembled that of a round, white fleshy egg.

In surprise Shoto went to ready his sword. Though in his panic the boy’s hands seemed uncoordinated and fumbled with the blade. A feeling of shame filled Shoto as he watched his treasured Sun Sword clatter to the ground as if it were no more than a tool and not some sort of holy relic. The boy’s eyes darted up from his sword on the ground and back to his quarry.

Even though the creature had no eyes it seemed to be staring at him.

‘That’s no way to treat your weapon, kid!’ The creature said in an unearned friendly tone. ‘You need to treat your sword with more respect! Darkness knows what you’ll run into in this place!’

Shoto grimaced. The voice from the creature seemed to be coming from a tiny slit in the centre of its “face” and the creature’s cheek bones were protruding as if the terror was smiling… like the smile a cat would have as it cornered a mouse, if a cat were capable of smiling.

‘G… get back!’ Shoto said, unable to hide the fear in his voice. He went to reach for his blade but before he could grab the hilt, the creature’s foot landed atop it and kept it pinned to the ground. ‘You don’t scare me, monster!’ The Seeker lied.

‘You’re brave coming in here, boy.’ The Darkness said. It took a step forward towards Shoto and the boy instinctively backed away. ‘But you’re not the first.’ As the Darkness spoke several large talons began to grow from its right hand. The talons were quite long, almost touching the ground as the Darkness took another step forward… and another… and another.

‘But I’ll be the last!’ Shoto snapped. A brief surge of bravery filled his chest and in an act of pure defiance he raised the green lantern that he had admittedly forgotten about until this point. The green light covered the creature, but it just stared at the lantern completely unaffected.

It actually seemed somewhat amused by the attempt on its life, and (still smiling) gently brushed the lantern out of the way using one of its talons.

You’ve got heart, kid!’ The Darkness said. ‘Too bad I’ve gotta rip it outta ya!’ It gripped Shoto by the neck with a single, lightning fast movement and the boy found himself completely at this foul creature’s mercy.

‘Stay away from me!’ Shoto yelled in vain, his eyes were locked desperately on the blade lying just behind the creature’s foot. So focused was he that his foot knocked a branch lying upon the ground and he fell backwards, landing upon the ground in a heap of pain and embarrassment.

The Darkness paused its approach to watch this. Its head cocked to the side in a display of amusement, and something foul that resembled chuckling echoed through the forest.

‘Come on. You know you can do better than that!’ It said, crouching down to Shoto’s eye level. One of its talons dangled precariously over the artery in Shoto’s leg. ‘Hang on.’ It turned around, black body shielding its actions from Shoto’s view and when it turned back around it was carrying the Sun Sword. The Darkness stared at the sword for a moment, the blade was grasped in its black talons, then its head twitched and Shoto felt the creature’s hidden eyes upon him again. ‘Shame you’re nothing without it.’ It said, nodding to the sword.

The Darkness gripped the sword with its other hand and, upon applying pressure, effortlessly snapped the blade in two. The metal portions of the sword fell to the ground, severed and snapped.

‘Now. What shall I do with you?’ The Darkness placed a strong hand on Shoto’s shoulder, and the boy could do nothing but stare at the creature in horror. The creature’s talons were so sharp that they were actually digging into the young Seeker’s back, drawing cool blood that dripped down his flesh and chilled him to the core. With its free hand the Darkness placed a talon to its chin as if it were thinking. ‘Hmm! Well. I’ve never turned anyone into a wishbone before!’ It placed its free hand upon Shoto’s other shoulder and slowly, began to dig in.

A terrible heat began to fill Shoto. His skin began to burn, he turned bright red and a mixture of blood and sweat began to drip as the Darkness’ talons gripped into his flesh from both sides. It was a terrible, terrible pain and the only thing that filled Shoto’s vision as he screamed was the white shape of the Darkness’ face. The Darkness’ cheeks still seemed as if they were smiling.

‘Oh, come on!’ It said. ‘You can scream louder then that!’ Somehow its talons dug even deeper into Shoto’s back, and the boy’s voice cracked as his vocal cords suffered similar damage.

The Darkness just watched, finding some sick amusement in the torture it dished out. For a moment it unclenched its talons from its prey’s back, and let the young man fall to the ground, blood oozing from the scars that he would bear for the rest of his life.

Somehow the creature was still smiling. Yet that smile quickly faded.

Shoto heard it first, somehow over his sobs he heard it. From the darkness of a forest came the roar of a great beast, and from in between the trees came the beast itself. It was a beautiful creature, a four-legged golden tiger that somehow seemed to shine in the shadows that encircled it. Its green eyes turned to Shoto who’s tears had briefly stopped, and without speaking somehow the tiger managed to say: “Everything will be alright.”

The Darkness turned towards the golden tiger, Shoto had – for the moment – been forgotten in favour of a much more menacing opponent.

‘Not you!’ It snapped, growing larger in height as it did so. ‘I thought we killed you!’

The Tiger did nothing, instead it simply sat between the tree line. From it came a soft purring sound, and as it did this a soft wind began to rise through the forest. Shoto lay upon the ground. His back, his whole body was in agony yet despite this he managed to smile.

The Tiger’s eyes remained locked on the Darkness. Its purr had started to grow deeper, and as the Darkness stared at it, uncertain what to do the tiger began to rise up to its feet.

‘Stay back!’ The Darkness warned. It raised its bloody talons in a futile gesture, but this did nothing to deter the tiger. The Tiger snarled, its teeth were on clear display and they were pointed and sharp. ‘Stay back!’ The Darkness repeated, but once again the Tiger did not listen. It once again let out a mighty roar and this followed it through.

The Darkness screamed as 300 pounds of fur, meat and rage leaped upon it. Shoto watched from his bloody heap and upon hearing the screams slowly began to get back to his feet. He saw the Tiger clawing at the Darkness it had landed upon, it tore chunks of shadow from the creature’s flesh and flung them behind it in a fit of animalistic rage. When the Tiger turned to face Shoto, it had the Darkness’ egg like skull in its mouth.

Shoto stared uneasily at the animal. He was unsure what the creature wanted, though he had his suspicions. His eyes passed from the beast to the remains of his sword lying upon the ground by his feet, he felt a terrible pang of regret in his heart and found that the Tiger was not alone.

He glanced to his right upon seeing movement in the trees and saw not one but two other tigers emerging from the trees!

There were three… three tigers!

One of them moved towards Shoto in a calm manner. It placed a paw on the severed blade of the Sun Sword and almost immediately scooped up the blade in its mouth. It stared at Shoto and waited patiently for the young boy to hold out his hand.

Shoto did as the beast desired, and as the Tiger released its mouth the reforged Sun Sword fell into the young Seeker’s hand. It was as if the incident with the Darkness had never happened, and Shoto gave his blade a practice swing for good measure.

Shoto stared at the Three.

His mission was complete.

Batkevin74 - (Untitled) [Shuvam]

Shuvam had been told nearly every single day of his life, often three times per day, that he was never to touch the sword on the mantlepiece. “It is razor sharp!” his mother would bark. “It was a gift to our family from the Emperor of Japan so DON’T TOUCH IT!”

But since there were armed men entering the house; some dragging his father towards a waiting van and others menacing his mother, he thought this rule could be broken. Shuvam stepped up onto the edge of the fireplace and reached up just as a menacing voice yelled at him.

“I bid you greetings, Lord of Maai,” growled the tiger with the sword in its mouth. “I live to serve.”

“What?” Shuvam looked around as he was standing in a misty forest. “Where?”

“You are in the Grove of Calm Tiding,” the tiger muttered as it dropped the sword on the manicured grass. “The Lord of Maai rules this place. You are the new Lord. I live to serve.”

“You can talk?”

“Yes…” the tiger replied. “Is this strange?”

“YES!” Shuvam snapped. “I was trying to get the sword to protect my mother and father and…”

“Is everything well, Maldonado?” asked a second tiger as it moved in through the mists.

“It is, Passage,” it replied. “The new Lord of Maai is adjusting.”

“I bid you greetings, Lord of Maai,” called another tiger as it came through the opaque veil. “I live to serve.”

“WHAT IS GOING ON?” Shuvam cried.

“Is there something wrong?”

“He is a little confused, Baskin,” said Maldonado to the third tiger. “It is possibly because he is very young. But still, he is the new Lord of Maai.”

All three tigers bowed their heads and lay prone on the ground before the scared little boy. Shuvam looked at them and around in despair. “ENOUGH!! WHAT IS GOING ON?”

“You are the Lord of Maai.” They said in unison. “We live to serve!”

“Then help me…” Shuvam cried as he fell to his knees. “Please.”

The trio of tigers looked at each other in silent conference before Baskin inched forward. “You must take up the Blade of Ryek to confirm your acceptance as the Lord of Maai.”

Shuvam snatched up the sword from the ground. “Like this?”

Baskin sighed. “Other Lords of Maai have been more dramatic, but each their own.”

“Now what? Can I go home now? My family is being attacked.”

The tigers looked around in confusion. “No, Lord of Maai, we are not.”

“NO!” Shuvam screamed. “My mother and father! At home! Not here in the jungle.”

Baskin shrugged. “The Lord of Maai has no family.”

“All hail the Lord of Maai!” roared Passage as he reared up to full height. He was joined by Baskin and Maldonado and in turn several dozen more tigers appeared in the Garden of Calm Tiding to pledge their loyalty to the young ruler. Shuvam screamed….

__

“Anything?” yelled the doctor as the nurse hit the boy with the defibrillator. The nurse was quiet which meant only one thing. “God dammit! Where are his parents?”

“In the hallway, Dr Bishop.”

“I now have to tell them their son didn’t make it…” The doctor tore off his hair net and stormed from the room.

There were about 226 million cases of significant accidental falls that occurred globally in 2015. From that they were around 527,000 deaths. GBD 2015 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators

Cbishop - The Origin of the Paper Tiger [Armand Hammer]

The Origin of the Paper Tiger

Maharashtra, India

Armand Hammer had heard of Waghia, The Lord of Tigers, many times in his years of martial arts training, and he had spent a great deal of money and time to attempt to track him down. That search now had him traipsing through a jungle, hoping for his long-awaited audience with a god. As he neared a clearing, it appeared that his hopes were being rewarded.

A tiger approached him with a second one trailing behind, and a third trailing behind that one. The lead tiger carried a sword in its mouth, and its eyes trailed a low-hanging smoke; enough to make it appear that the other two cats stalked through fog. As it got within pouncing distance, Armand bowed to the beast, but held out a fist, ready to defend himself if he must. The sword still between its teeth, the great cat growled, "Get out!"

From behind, the other two cats echoed, "Get out! Get out!" There seemed to be a muffled chorus of like cries following them, but he could not tell if anything else was out there.

In a low fighting stance, Armand answered, "With respect, I cannot. I seek an audience with Waghia."

"And why should Waghia want to speak with you?" asked the second tiger as it came up and sat on its haunches, just behind the first tiger.

"I have trained many years," replied Hammer. "I wish to hunt men, like the tiger itself, and seek his blessing, in the form of whatever boon he is inclined to give me."

"Tigers do not hunt men," purred the third tiger, now reaching the group. It was her voice that had provided the echoes, as "hunt men" whispered in the air several times at the end of her sentence. Her tail wagged in short flits, and seemed to leave afterimages as it did so. She teased, "Unless they have tasted of man, and become maneaters. Are you a maneater then?" As she spoke, she dipped her head and rolled it upwards, leaving more afterimages, like her tail. A smile, a roar, a yawn, a snarl, a wink and a licking of her lips. "Are you?... Are you?... Are you?" drifted on the wind.

"I misspoke," said the human. "I will hunt men with or without your gift. However, as the tiger is the mightiest of hunters, what I wish is to learn the way of the hunt from the Lord of Tigers."

The first tiger chuckled, lowered its head, and let the sword drop softly to the ground in front of him. "Oh ho. I think you flatter us, manhunter. Do not humans call lions the king of the beasts?"

Armand gave a look of disgust, and waved off his accusation. "Bah! Lions let their lionesses do their hunting for them!"

"Careful," whispered the third tiger with a low growl, and all of her afterimages seemed to agree, as "Careful... Careful... Careful," echoed from each.

"I'm only saying that their males are lazy," retorted Hammer. "By what right do they call their groups 'prides?' What do they know of hunting? I wish to stalk my own prey, not have my meals brought to me by another."

The second tiger nodded slightly. "You are right to come to us for what you wish. We are hunters. Our groups are even called an 'ambush.'"

"Or a streak," added the third tiger, "streak" repeating all around them. "As in 'fast' and 'number of victories.'" And again, the afterimages echoed, "Victories... Victories... Victories."

"Oh ho," laughed Armand, imitating the first tiger. "Have I come to you then? I've come seeking Waghia."

"And you've found him," said the first tiger. "Blake called me 'Tyger Tyger, burning bright.' I am Fyyr; Waghia Today. I can give you this sword- the Baagh Nakh; the Tiger Claw- a weapon that can cut through nearly anything. And with it, the gifts of strategy and stealthiness; the best weapons of a hunter."

The second tiger stepped forward, coming alongside Waghia Today, and said, "I am Wotyr; Waghia Yesterday. I can give you the gifts of the tiger's reflexes and grace, and not carrying the wounds of past battles; an ability to heal quicker than most any man on Earth."

The third tiger stepped forward, past her compatriots, and circled Armand. Her afterimages circled with her, just out of sync; all of them looking him over from head-to-toe. "I am Wynnnd; Waghia Tomorrow." The jungle whispered, "Wynnnd. Wynnnd. Wynnnd." She seemed to smirk.

"Why do you leave afterimages when you move?" asked Armand.

"Because the future is not set," answered Wynnnd. "There are always multiple possibilities for tomorrow." She seemed to consider Armand for a few moments. Then she offered, "I can give you the ability to read your prey; to know their moves almost before they do."

"And why are you female when Fyyr and Wotyr are not?"

Wynnnd tossed her head back and laughed, her afterimages doing the same one-after-the-other just behind her. "I am a god! I can be whatever I like!" She seemed to grin, and licked one side of her mouth.

Wotyr spoke up. "Are these the boons that you have sought from us, Armand Hammer?" When Armand was visibly shocked to hear his name, Waghia Yesterday added, "We are gods."

Armand nodded slightly, and recovered himself. "These gifts are very generous, Lord of Tigers. Even more than I'd dared hope for."

"It's good that they are more than you'd hoped for," answered Fyyr, "because you may only choose the gifts from one of us. Not all."

The three Waghias could see that the man was clearly torn. They waited a long minute while he considered, but finally he answered, "I choose the Baagh Nakh, with your strategy and stealth."

Fyyr nodded, picked the sword back up in his mouth, and offered it to Armand, who took it reverently. He looked it over, and pointing at some etchings on the blade, he asked, "What are these?"

"Baagh Nakh."

Wotyr answered, "It's Hindi- the name of the sword- Baagh Nakh. Tiger Claw will serve you well."

Armand turned the sword over, back-and-forth, admiring it as the light played over the blade. He ran his fingers over the etching, and asked, "Waghia Yesterday, Waghia Today, and Waghia Tomorrow, right?"

"That is correct," answered Wotyr.

"But you are all Waghia? In all my searching, I had been led to believe that there was only one 'Lord of Tigers.' Not three."

"There is only one," answered Fyyr. "We are Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, but we are all the same Waghia. What are you not understanding?" the tiger asked patiently.

"I am merely wondering," began Armand. "If I could only choose the gifts from one of you, and you are all the same Waghia, and now I have the Baagh Nakh, what is to stop me from taking all that you have offered?"

The three tigers all perked up in alarm. "You would dare?" growled Wynnnd.

"I dared to come all this way. I will not shrink back now!" shouted Armand. With that he launched himself forward, swinging the sword in attack against the Waghias.

They reacted swiftly, defending themselves with tooth and claw, their roars declaring their outrage. It was for naught. In seconds, the fight was over. Baagh Nakh had cleaved the tigers into pieces, and they were strewn across the jungle floor.

Armand had not gone without his injuries. His legs. His arms. His torso and back. His face. He was carved with claw and bite marks all over his body. He was on his knees before the bodies of the fallen god, leaning on the sword which he had stuck in the ground before him. He breathed heavily, considering each and every pain. As he sat there, he was astonished to see his wounds begin to close themselves. His pain subsided to nothing, and finally only the blood on his clothes showed that he had endured any wounds at all. He would have laughed, but his body was still recovering the blood loss, and he was simply too tired for it.

Instead, he said to the destroyed bodies before him, "Strategy was not unknown to me before I came here, but then you offered me yours. I knew if I could take that gift first, I could figure out how to get the others." Warily, he gripped the sword's hilt, and pulled against it to help himself up. Pulling it out of the ground, and wiping the dirt and blood from the blade on the sleeve of his shirt, he said, "Thank you, Waghia, for these boons. I will use them as the mightiest hunter men have ever known." He touched the tip of the sword to his forehead, and swiped out slightly, saluting the fallen tigers. Then he turned and walked towards the clearing, still full of the smoke from Fyyr's eyes.

As he was approaching the far side of the clearing, the pieces of the Waghias began to twitch. The hunks of meat evaporated into tendrils of smoke, and as the tendrils coalesced into bigger clouds, the bodies of Fyyr, Wotyr, and Wynnnd reformed, whole and unscathed.

Watching him reach the treeline on the far side of the clearing, Wotyr said, "Bold."

As he re-entered the jungle, Fyyr's eyes smoldered. He growled, "Brazen!"

As he melted into the shadows of the trees, Wynnnd purred loudly, and whispered, "Beautiful." The breeze seemed to echo, "Beautiful... Beautiful... Beautiful."

Remember: Votes due by Sunday, April 26, 2020, @11:59PM New York time (click the link if you're unsure).

I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and see you on the 26th! In the meantime, Happy Easter, everyone. Stay safe, stay home if possible, and let's beat the hell out of this Coronavirus. -cb :^D

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cbishop

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#1  Edited By cbishop

Voting Table:

Writer:Votes:
Wildvine
  1. batkevin74
TommytheHitman
  1. cbishop
Batkevin74
  1. wildvine
  2. The Impersonator
Cbishop
  1. TommytheHitman
  2. Donnieboy16
  3. Oscuro
  4. amazing_webhead

I'll add 'em as I see 'em.

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cbishop

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#2  Edited By cbishop

@nordok or @wildvine: Will you pin this, and unpin the CCC #97 contest thread, please? Thank you.

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wildvine

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(Untitled) (Peepants)

Somebody put that on my headstone please

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cbishop

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@wildvine said:

(Untitled) (Peepants)

Somebody put that on my headstone please

Tell me where I'll be able to find it, and I promise to add it in a questionably yellow spraypaint.

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wildvine

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@cbishop:

Lets split the difference. After I'm confirmed dead you find an unmarked grave and pour one out for your homey

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batkevin74

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I am voting for @wildvine for a few reasons

1) The meta narrative blending story and hyper real life together. The self doubt and self depreciation are all too familiar

2) Not Hungry at all Just Here for the Emotional Support genuinely made me laugh

3) "about to be mugged by someone's future fursonna with a sword like a nightmare situation in a parking lot of a joint furry/anime convention" There is SO MUCH in that sentence

4) Because I can :)

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wildvine

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All good entries (minus mine, obvi) but I like the twist in @batkevin74's so, there's my vote

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cbishop

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@wildvine: Yours kind of reminded me of watching a Commander McBragg story, but it lost me at some point. Something just didn't click for me.

@batkevin74: Unlike Wildvine, I actually didn't like the turn at the end. You had a good story going, then threw in the ABC After School Special message at the end. I can see where you set it up at the beginning, but eh, I just didn't like it.

@tommythehitman: That leaves you. I actually hadn't read yours until just now, because it was longer. Surprised to see that we both went with gods as part of the story. I enjoyed it, although there's a point where the Darkness has Shoto in its grip, but then Shoto manages to fall backwards, not in the thing's grip. Despite that, I liked this story. You've got the vote.

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wildvine

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batkevin74

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TommytheHitman

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I'm going to give my vote to @cbishop. I quite liked the worldbuilding and the characters.

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cbishop

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@tommythehitman: Thank you, sir. I had a lot of fun writing this one.

As we've all now gotten a vote apiece, it's now going to be up to the forum who wins. :)

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batkevin74

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deactivated-5ebcd5ad9fb95

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Everyone just voted for each other rolf.

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cbishop

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Everyone just voted for each other rolf.

It happens. We have the rules that a) if you wrote, you should vote, and 2) you can't vote for yourself. ...Sometimes, those votes pile up with one story, and sometimes, they're all over the place. So now, we wait. :)

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Donnieboy16

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Origin of the Paper Tiger.

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cbishop

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batkevin74

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Void_Reborn

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I see there are quite a few stories to go plow through. I'll read them later and give you my opinion.

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batkevin74

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The Impersonator

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Pretty good entries. I liked Shuvam the most, so I'll give it a vote.

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cbishop

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Votes due by Sunday night peeps

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wildvine

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Getting close

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cbishop

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About 19.5 hours left, folks. Votes due by 11:59pm tonight! Please read the stories, and pick your favorite! Thanks. -cb

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cbishop

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amazing_webhead

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tough call, but i vote for The Origin of the Paper Tiger

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cbishop

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And that's time, peeps. I'll have the new contest up soon-ish. -cb

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amazing_webhead

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batkevin74

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CURSES! Foiled again!

Rack'em up, let's go again :)