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Thread: (Bi)Monthly Don't-Create-A-Servant Contest

  1. #221
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Voting will begin 7th of December 1:00 am PST.
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  2. #222
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Section the Forward, First Came the Word


    Tack-Tack. Tack-Tack-Tack-Tack-Tack.

    Sutter Luthais Seine tapped his fingers against a reading room sofa, in rhythm to the distant sound of a typewriter. He did his best to ignore the crows perched atop the broken window sills. The Witch was keeping an eye on him, ready to pick up any racket that would risk disrupting her work.

    Thankfully for Sutter, the soft tapping was soundless against the sofa’s wooden arm. The crows will hear nothing, and he gets to live for another day. In the meantime, the magus diverted his attention to the surrounding carnage. Wallpaper peeled off by shrapnel or claw. Entire bookshelves were destroyed, their contents scattered in shredded pages. The chandelier lay broken between two decorated pillars. All in all, a right mess was made in the reading room again.

    Sutter stifled a groan. Whoever they were, they made the grave mistake of attacking the Witch’s domain on a deadline. She was far less lenient then.

    Tack-Tack-Tack. Tack-Tack-Tack-Tack—- Creeaaak, click. Clack. Clack. Clack…

    A new beat introduced itself to the rhythm, footsteps from deep within the manor. The marred door before him opened, revealing the lady of the house with a stack of pages held to her chest. Cast in an all-black ensemble and a solemn bearing, it was as if she were in perpetual mourning. There she was, The Manuscript Witch. Walking past the disheveled chaos, The black-clad Witch calmly sat on a slightly less tattered sofa across from him.

    “The Witch Eamhair has the works ready for the Lord’s use.” Matching her appearance, the Witch’s voice was humorless. “One for publishing, and one for recital.”

    Sutter could only nod. Unlike the courtly formality he was familiar with back in the Clock Tower, the Manuscript Witch carried herself with a complete detachment. Even now, he is still unused to this palpable apathy. The Witch placed the manuscript onto the table between them, gently sliding them over. The magus took the papers, before leafing through the pages with care.

    “Good, good.” Satisfied, Sutter had the manuscript placed in a briefcase. “Expect the tithe to arrive by fortnight. The Archelots thank you for your work once more, Lady Witch.”

    The Witch named Eamhair merely turned her head aside, as if looking elsewhere. “Naturally. The supply of pages nearly ran dry. Do not return until they are delivered.”

    Tack-Tack-Tack. Tack-Tack. Tack-Tack-Tack-Tack-Tack.

    Nodding, Sutter set the suitcase beside his lap. Normally, this was when he would quickly make his leave before the Witch’s patience wore thin. But in seeing the manor’s front state, one last subject needed addressing.

    The magus looked around the reading room. “Another attack?”

    “Two nights prior, yes. From the so-called Rose Princess’ subjects, no less.” The Manuscript Witch replied was terse, as if expecting the question beforehand. “Try as she might, her thralls will never reach the Witch Eamhair.”

    “Would it hurt you to have them dealt with in the outer grounds? Hiring workers who accomodate to your demands is troublesome enough.”

    The Witch shook her head. “The brood proved more numerous this time. And so, their efforts must be met with the appropriate progress before cutting it short.”

    The magus’ brow furrowed. This nonsense again.“...Right. Wouldn’t be fair otherwise.” Glancing at the wilted petals, Sutter chuckled. “Judging from this mess, I assume you found something worthwhile in them?”

    At this, a thin line curved up from the Witch’s lips. A smile. The sight alone sent chills down the magus’ spine.
    “Oh yes. The current attempt proved inspiring indeed. In spite of the Apostle’s timing, the Witch Eamhair appreciates her constant originality.”

    Tack-Tack-Tack-Tack. Tack. Tack-Tack-Tack.

    “If that is all, then you best head off. The Witch Eamhair’s attention is needed elsewhere.”

    Standing from their sofa, the Manuscript Witch began walking back into the manor’s undamaged halls.

    “Wait.”

    The Witch paused, before looking back towards Sutter. Her reply was hushed, but with faint traces of venom.

    “What is it.”

    It was an inquiry, true; but one laced with a quiet demand, to caution Sutter in weighing his words with care. For one wrong word, one poorly phrased answer could spell an unfortunate fate shared by the vanquished undead. The magus was well aware of his predicament, it was not the first time he had found himself in it either. So in spite of his instincts, he asked:

    “Will you ever deliver these papers in person? It is unlike you to treat your impassioned works with such distance.”

    Silence. A deafening quietness covered the entire manor like a burial shroud. It was a mere moment, but the silence stretched to what seemed to be eternity.

    And in this moment, the sound of the typewriter was nowhere to be heard.

    “Unlikely. A writer must never leave her room. Not until the Work is done.”

    Sutter bowed deeply in reply.

    “Of course. Forgive this impudence, Lady Witch. I look forward to your newest work.”

    The Witch stared into Sutter, before wordlessly turning away.

    —-And in the briefest flash, the Witch disappeared without a trace. The avatar’s purpose fulfilled, she was gone.

    Sutter sagged his shoulders before taking his leave.
    “Busybody as always...”

    With the manor gates closing behind him, Sutter finally allowed himself to sigh. In relief or in exasperation, he wasn’t sure. But with the Witch’s side of the work done, it now falls onto him to find the right bookstores to bribe and distribute.

    Being a Witch’s editor-slash-literary agent had its own share of troubles.




    Name: Eamhair Islay NicEamhair
    Alias/Nickname: The Manuscript Witch; Witch of the Word; Assorted Pen-Names (too many to count)
    Age: Unknown
    Height/Weight: 168cm/56kg
    Birthplace: Islay,Scotland
    Alignment: True Neutral
    Image CV: Sekiguchi Risa

    Forte/Likes:Detailed work, Well-lit forests, A work complete, Black coffee
    Weakness/Dislikes: Lucid dreams, Commissions, Romance novels, Writer’s Block
    Natural Talents: Plot outlining, Literary discernment
    Natural Enemies: Hans Christian Andersen, Slumps
    Decisive Battle: Passing of the Penhand

    Affiliations: Independent, nominal alliance to the Clock Tower (Botany)
    Origin: Inscription
    Elemental Alignment: Wind & Earth
    Circuit Quantity/Quality: A+ / B++ / Abnormal (Ladies of Eternity)
    Thaumaturgy: Witchcraft; Druidism
    Favored Attributes: Chronicle and Prophecy

    One of the last “pure” Witches, never once straying from her mantle.
    Carrying out her duties even when its nature should easily doom her to degradation. For all her weaknesses, Eamhair followed her responsibilities well. Though one can argue she followed them too well.

    Section the Prelude - Profile

    To the mundane readership, an enigmatic author. To the world of Mystery, the Manuscript Witch — bearer of the ink and quill, all the same.

    Eamhair Islay NicEamhair is the current incarnation of the Manuscript Witch, one of the original hands in founding the Faculty of Botany alongside her fellow Witches. During those fledgling days, she was credited with imparting the wisdom of trees as repositories of experience, among the ideal land to divine the future. There were also tales of her collaborating with the Faculty of Creation as well, but those claims remain unfounded.

    Though parted ways with the Clock Tower as mankind grew, Eamhair was a rare exception to have regained contact, albeit distantly. Reconnected during the 16th Century, The acting Lord of Botany was said to have brokered an accord with her. In exchange for choice tithes and a branch family, the Witch would lend her craft to whatever they ask of. Fast-forward to the 21st Century, this oath remained; even if the title of Lordship changed hands to the Archelots, her duty remain unchanged.

    —-On another note, those in the literary world speak of mysterious novellas in hushed tones. No one ever knew who wrote them, having always labeled under multiple pen-names. What distinguishes them would be their overarching themes regardless of genre: the use of animals as spectators, the focus on atmosphere and the indifference to its cast and their world. Each book would only have 20 copies in the world, all stemming from an unknown publishing house in Scotland. Quite the strange set of books, for certain.

    But what is stranger still, according to the most silent of whispers, are the legends of tragedies mimicking the books’ contents. And furthermore, the same elements could be seen in works from as far as the 15th Century…


    Section the First - Background

    Once upon a time, there was a Witch.
    A Witch who regaled stories to those who were willing to listen.

    Residing in the land of Gaels, this Witch was gifted with a talent for spinning tales in times of peace and bestowing prophecies in times of war. And in either instance, the words that left her lips would inevitably become reality. For this, she was known to the natives and magi as The Storied Witch.

    The Storied Witch held no desire beyond her role. When the task of establishing the Clock Tower came to an end, she was among the first to part ways. Returning to her island home, the Storied Witch hid herself beneath a great hill by the sea; not truly disappearing to the earth, but separating from most of the world. Stories of the “Fairy Hill” would attract people of all sorts, hoping to see the “sage” who lived within it. Many would only hear her voice, to be told their fate. Even if she would retell no longer, another “her” would rise and carry on her duties. Throughout the passing centuries, this perfect loop remained unchanged.

    Across this eternal seclusion, only three souls had truly met the Storied Witch.

    The first was a Bard.
    A man of song and verse journeyed to the seaside hill, compelled by the legend like others before him.
    “Speak to me of your tales and past portents, so I can turn them to song and spread them far and wide!”
    Unlike those who came before, the Bard only sought the stories she used to regale. And in this, the Witch named Eamhairpeered from beneath the hill for the first time.
    First it was ballads and poems, past tales reworked to prose. Passed off to the Bard, he would regale them to the lands beyond her isle. With little in the way of gifts, he left her the parchments of poetry to remember him by. Eamhair accepted them.
    This would be the Witch’s first taste of creation, one truly shared with another person of similar pursuits.

    The second was a Playwright.
    He too was drawn in by distant legends, but the wordsmith proved bolder than the Bard.
    “It would be a waste of your talents to be holed in this lonely hill. Come, let us pen a drama or two!”
    Unlike even the Bard, the Playwright sought out the Witch herself. Struck by audacity, the Witch Eamhair peeked from the hill the second time.
    Second are the conducting of plays, grand performances penned to scripts and stage. Having little in material wealth, the Playwright offered her books in compensation. Ones of tragedy, drama and satire, popular tales from the world outside. Eamhair accepted them.
    This would be the Witch’s venture into creation, discovering a world where tales were immortalized in words.

    The third was a Lord from the Clock Tower.
    A legacy of the Faculty she helped raise, a former student of Yumina would seek out the Fairy Hill.
    With certain poems and plays manifesting as truth, it did not take long for the Lord to track their source.
    As it was not a violation to the concealment of Mystery in the truest sense, an offer was made: in exchange of protection and controlled spread of her work, she would help steer the Faculty towards the right path through her writing.

    And so, an accord was struck. One between Lord and Witch, forever serving the Faculty’s interests. Such insurance proved all the more vital with the Industrial Revolution, and the Archelots’ ascension onto Lordship. With their dabbling into modern humanity, Eamhair’s services proved fruitful in ironing out any mishaps in the Soot Witches’ adaptation to the modernizing world. From here, the Storied Witch became the Manuscript Witch.

    Before, it was poems and plays penned by quill. Mediums popular in their times, easily spread and beheld by an eager audience. But in the 19th Century, it was Tabloid Sheets and Penny Dreadfuls. Both of these forms of sensationalized tales and media were the ideal grounds for — and perfect for gathering witnesses. Shocking happenings, scandalous revelations, and dreadful tragedies; humans proved keen on the newest happenings, and these heart-stopping tales spun from Eamhair’s typewriter proved all the more effective at garnering attention — and letting any unexplainable mysteries be swept under the rug. It was no surprise that the world of media was the first domain dominated by the Archelots.

    All the while, Eamhair continued to write. Through Archelots’ contacts, her published works are only met with quiet acclaim, but creation alone was enough. She was content.

    And yet, it was in this exceptional rise that problems arose; Eamhair found herself overly fascinated with the cultures of the world beyond. The hill she used to hide beneath was built over by a handsome manor. Her incensed reaction from the words of critics about her works. Eamhair could no longer ignore this uncomfortable truth: She was becoming more human.

    Oh folly. From the start The act of writing itself had been the catalyst that accelerated the process. Although the act of creation is also inherent to creatures of the Planet, the concept of stories itself was fundamentally a human one. In engaging with it to such an extent, it was inevitable that her nature would begin to stray from her role as a Witch. Whether Eamhair liked it or not, she was facing replacement after over 300 years.

    But what then? What of the Witch who would take her place? Would she take up her accord with the Faculty? Would she even share her vision? No, to entertain such notions was abhorrent enough. Eamhair decided: If the world demands the cycle of succession to continue, then she will comply on her own terms. Paper and pen in hand, the Manuscript Witch began her life-defying work; to engrave herself as the next inheritor, with all of her traits and quirks, but without the humanity and attachment. A clear slate, to begin creating again to her heart’s content.

    Unbeknownst to the Witch, the cycle became a loop.

    Nothing seemed amiss, at first. Works came in, stories came out. The Manuscript Witch did her duty. It was by the 20th Century where Eamhair could not ignore the gaps. Pages of stories she did not remember writing. Meetings with the magi passed by without recollection. Plots and pacing slipping out of mind. She was losing herself.

    Was Eamhair fading away again? This cannot be tolerated, her work was not yet finished. If the world tries to drag her away once more, then another “Eamhair” shall pick up where she left off. And if the succeeding Eamhair falters, then the next will follow. And if she too strays…

    And so the typewriter continued typing, the pen continued writing. More stories, more portents, more steps towards that magnum opus. And with every work is made, another piece of herself is lost in the words.

    Once upon a time, there was something that had been a Witch.
    Entombed in her room, separated from all, she endlessly wrote for an ever-murkier ideal.


    Section the Second - Thaumaturgy

    Shift Chronicle ~ Notched Phantasm

    Original Form: Pages of written manuscript
    Components: Varies with page quantity, Witness
    Manifestation: Inscribed phenomena
    Effect: Varies on use
    Weaknesses: Genre, Past precedence, “Plot holes”

    The trespassers realized too late -- the Witch’s true monster is the story itself.

    Proficient in Witchcraft as would her nature, Eamhair’s particular attribute seems to revolve around narrative and stories. Dubbed Notched Phantasm, her manuscripts become the catalyst to etch fantasy into reality. With the striking of keys, the world and its happenings are molded according to the Witch's aims. Festering tension boils into conflict; lurking monsters hounding after victims; bright stars destined to be felled -- the scale of its application only limited to her imagination.

    This is a specialty of a Witch, the few who witnessed the First’s ascension. If the Magic’s nature is the “Denial of Nothingness,” then Eamhair’s specific glint lies in the denial of absent cause. One action or event must lead to another, such are the essence of stories. As a dictation of fate and causality, one can say stories are a form of curses imposed on the “characters” and “setting” — in that regard, Shift Chronicle is a cursecraft beyond the purview of magecraft.

    Naturally, even a Witch’s fantasy operates under a strict set of rules. The specific limitations varies on its use, but there are three consistent truths throughout:

    One: Shift Chronicle cannot manifest what that has no basis. It can only co-opt existing factors into the story.
    Two: Shift Chronicle cannot influence past occurrences. What has passed has passed, and thus beyond the grasp of causality.
    Three: Shift Chronicle must not stray from the logic of the story’s genre. Contradictions and inconsistency are the bane of a clear narrative.

    Naturally, the application of Shift Chronicle also depends on Eamhair’s prior knowledge of who or what she intends to write. For that reason, an extensive archive of the land and people is required to weave a story free of inconsistencies.
    —-With such stringent rules, perhaps this is the root of Eamhair’s irrational proclivity towards “fairness.”

    Though a singular Fantasy, Shift Chronicle possesses multiple methods of use, each distinct yet originates from the concept of stories. Below are some examples:

    [ . . . . . ]

    Shift Locus ~ Notched Theater

    Components: Manuscript, Setting
    Manifestation: Marking a Bounded Field
    Effect: Story Containment
    Weakness: Sensible scale

    The cast assembled, the stage set. Within these walls, the story begins.

    One of Shift Chronicle’s many sub-functions, and arguably a crucial one. The reason for its importance lies in laying the boundary for the rest of Shift Chronicle by establishing the setting. Simply put, Shift Locus set the “stage” for the story to manifest.

    From small as a room to encompassing an entire province, the range of Shift Locus depends on what is required for the story to be fully realized. Separating the "story" from the rest of the world, those that are designated as its "characters" are unable to leave its bounds until they fulfilled their role or the story concludes.

    That said, it can only be used once per story; once decided, the setting's scale remains fixed until the story's completion or the plot's unraveling. If there is a true limit to Shift Locus’ reach, then it would be its inability to encompass the world entirely. Beyond the planet’s very will itself, no living creature can truly comprehend on such a scale. Not even Witches are exempt from this limitation in perspective.


    [ . . . . . ]

    Shift Eyeframe ~ Notched Viewpoint

    Components: Manuscript, Perspective, Hair or feather of the animal/subject
    Manifestation:A Knowing Murder
    Effect: Overlooking view

    Circling from atop the vast empty, the ravens paid witness to their every actions and steps.

    Another sub-function of Shift Chronicle, serving as the eyes of the writer. Stories must be recorded from a set perspective, and so following Shift Locus, a proper set of eyes must be established before the story starts in earnest.

    As the envoys of omnipotent divinities and associated with grand portents, it was natural that crows would be Shift Eyeframe’s manifested form. These spectral avians surround the skies of the territories marked by Shift Locus, acting as Eamhair’s eyes and ears. Combating them through force will prove futile — for these ravens are not true animals are thus endless in number, and an omnipresent view cannot be limited.

    Alternate mediums of sight include deers, hares and eagles, but as they lack the versatility or conceptual weight of the crow, are not so often used. Perhaps due to a sense of style, but never has Eamhair procured a perspective from that of a human. Perhaps too limiting and biased in their view to properly take advantage of, or being too immersed in human elements for her liking, the truth remains obscured.

    [ . . . . . ]

    Shift Empower ~ Notched Coup

    Components: Manuscript, Action
    Manifestation: Extraordinary surge
    Effect: Overlooking view

    Be pure fortune, an opportunity showed itself. They hoped, perhaps foolishly, they could turn this around.

    Simplest of the sub-functions, an "light enchantment" to grant the story the extra emphasis and weight. Rather than imparting effects onto items, Shift Empower bestows conceptual or strengthened functions onto events or actions. An “Amplification” onto a momentary piece of the story via slight exaggeration.

    Landing an impossible shot, or a stroke of genius insight; an chronic illness flaring at the last moment, or the throes of fear consuming all reason. Regardless of its nature, Shift Empower is responsible for their timeliness.

    Theoretically speaking, prolonged or repeated application onto the same subject would naturally elevate the recipient to something beyond the limits of modern humanity. Thankfully(?), Eamhair has rarely deigned to use this sub-function so freely; such endowments are best used sparingly to punctuate the story, and tales of heroic epics are hardly her favored genre of choice.

    [ . . . . . ]

    Shift Avatar ~ Notched Surrogate

    Components: Manuscript (or biography), Witch’s blood
    Manifestation: Alter ego
    Effect: Remote action

    “Enough.” A hushed voice sent the chaos to a standstill. “This transgression has gone long enough. And the Witch Eamhair abhors further commotions.”

    A peculiar sub-functions most straightforward in its nature, allowing Eamhair to manifest a surrogate body to remotely control. Used whenever something required direct interference or her presence.

    Rather than a Familiar, the double created by Shift Avatar is an existence shared but separate — a temporary placement to act in the host’s stead, not unlike the Dead Apostles’ false bodies. And unlike the tailored bodies of homunculi and vampiric proxies, doubles manifested by Shift Avatar are no more or less durable than their original. The prospects of her doubles’ demises concerns Eamhair little; if anything, the Witch is more miffed at the impulsiveness of her assailants — surely they realize the futility of such attempts at rebellion.

    Although surrogates could be of different visages or names, Eamhair could only create duplicates of herself. Perhaps because of her existence as a Witch, there was little chance of her seeing herself among humanity.

    [ . . . . . ]

    Shift Overlap ~ Notched Echo

    Components: Manuscript, Past history or legends
    Manifestation: Conceptual Altercation, Deja Vu
    Effect: Past syncing with present
    Weakness: Narrative and Setting

    In choice actions, choice events, a story retold again and again — it is through this overlap where past phenomena live once more.

    One of Shift Chronicle’s most potent sub-functions, reinforcement of the story through elements of the past. Although the Notched Phantasm cannot influence past events, it can easily draw upon them to empower current ones. An offshoot of Shift Empower, Shift Overlap allows repeating history through the lens of recurring motifs. And through this repetition, past Mysteries are manifested in this instance.

    It can be the echoes of past tragedies, or the tall tales of fae haunting the locale; from past happenings or small-time legends, it matters not. The details need not to be exact, as long as core factors are replicated. And in those moments, the everyman becomes murderer and victim, and even a lingering specter dons the mantle of nature spirits. In that sense, its function is not entirely different from TATARI’s malignant materialization.

    = = = =

    Study Hill ~ Buried Repose


    Components: Knife, Room with a hatch on top
    Manifestation: A remote sanctuary
    Effect:Separated, but adjacent territory
    Weakness: A rooster’s morning call

    A self-isolating sanctuary, created by a distant incarnation now modified by Eamhair.

    Originally to manifest a Workshop beneath the current texture through a fairy hill, the current form allows her to separate a chosen room from the material plane. Unless explicitly permitted by the caster, any attempt to enter the room will only yield an empty residence. Safely separated from the existing axis, the marked room resides in a pseudo-pocket dimension, removed from all bother and troubles. The perfect environment to continue her work.

    = = = =

    Honeymoon Dye ~ Etcher’s Ink

    Original Form: Inkwell
    Components: Raven’s carbon, Mead, Witch’s saliva
    Manifestation: Intent onto recital
    Effect:Enforcement of the word

    The first creation of the Witch Eamhair, the crux of her craft as the Manuscript Witch.

    Drawing inspiration from a tale from Northeastern lands, it creates a salve of ink that imprints the intent of the writer upon the written words, and thus compels the content upon anyone who reads them. In the hands of an average magi, a useful addition of self-hypnosis for following a ritual to the letter. For the Manuscript Witch, the means to engrave her prophecies into physical form. Although unimpressive to the rest of her works, Honeymoon Dye is what allows her true craft to be “adapted” into Shift Chronicle.

    On another note, a less potent version of Honeymoon Dye using the maker’s own saliva was submitted as a patent to the Clock Tower. Although more specialized inks were later introduced, the Etcher’s Ink still remains a reliable choice among the Clock Tower’s analog-oriented majority.

    = = = =

    Devise Record ~ Grand Prophecy

    The source of the stories, the original manifestation of events and narrative. The act of bringing the impending to reality, to bind the sprawling future to one certain possibility. The power of Prophecy.

    However, the nuances of “Prophecy” under Celtic and popular context are mutually exclusive. Not amenable to organization or placement, the former is an occurrence no different from passing weather. Perhaps it is for that reason existences closest to nature were able to tap into it — be it the Druids, the Fae, or the Divine. As this was her true domain as a Witch, Eamhair’s power over prophecy is exceptional enough to be in control of it. The ultimate dictation of fate and causality, her great craft in its undiluted form.

    Should the Witch be cornered and bereft of pen and ink, Devise Record serves as the trump card to continue her “story.” Eamhair’s very voice and tongue becomes catalyst for realization, befitting the oracular tradition of prophetic unraveling. Incanting as would a narrator over the events before her, every spoken action a predestined occurrence taken by the “characters.”

    In terms of weaknesses, Devise Record shares the same limitations as Shift Chronicle due to it being the original manifestation. However, there is one additional caveat: without the permanence of written medium, any interruption to Eamhair’s narration will suspend the effects of Devise Record until she resumes the incant.

    —- An academic digression: while similar to the effect of Unified Language and Divine Words, they are ultimately superficial; Devise Record is a Witchcraft that warps the world around her, and thus cannot be wholly compared to words that resonate with the soul or the planet itself.


    Section the Third - Character

    At the start of an Age, the students of the Storied Witch remembered her to be dispassionate but possessed with a sense for grand displays. Though it was simply her duty, she nevertheless had a particular pride in carrying out her prophecies. And yet, they could never truly reach her, for the Witch of Stories embodied a contradictory self-certainty befitting her domain. As would an artist confident in her craft, nothing can ever affect this Lady of Eternity. This incarnation no longer exists.

    The three souls recalled the Witch Eamhair in past centuries as a curious and impassioned maiden. No longer regaling tales and portents with detachment, she carries her work with an overt fire that rivals the artists of Valuay. For their extensive collaborations, they could never reach her, for Eamhair set her eyes on the next work, aspiring to be greater than the last. Even if burdened by obligation, this Writer-Witch remains undaunted. This incarnation no longer exists.

    Now, her editor-slash-agent can only see an inhuman existence. An unseen entity endlessly slaving away somewhere in the hillside manor, endlessly writing and re-writing for a “great work” his predecessors never lived to see. The “Eamhairs” he speaks to only puppets held by the unseen writer. He can never reach her, for the Manuscript Witch is swallowed up by her own story. This is all that remains of the Manuscript Witch.

    Someone whose duties had warped into obsession. Eroded by the years, Eamhair’s existence is now entirely defined by her work. With so much of herself lost, every waking moment must focus on writing stories. Every wasted second risks a page lost to the void of memory, and this writer does not take these losses kindly.

    Perhaps the greatest sign of deviation is her perspective on humans. Rather than the inherent disdain towards mankind, Eamhair views them with complete and utter indifference — neither genuine antipathy nor empathy, simply factors that could benefit her obsession. Ironically, one can regard this mindset as that of a heartless author. A detached “spectator” who sees only material for her work.

    That said, this obsession being all that remains of Eamhair is not necessarily true. The Manuscript Witch may no longer recognize it, but the crux of her endless writings is still fuelled by that earnest desire to create. Because Eamhair wishes to keep telling stories and prophecies, she willingly reached out to “tainted” humanity. Because she wanted to keep telling stories and prophecies, she willingly defied the way of things to preserve her “self” across her future incarnations.
    It may fly in the face of her duties as a Witch, but as the Storied Witch, she was still following them well and true.

    While not sullied by wretched love, Eamhair’s spirit was inadvertently corrupted by the human desire for continuation. Indeed, a no better doom for a Witch of stories.


    Section the After - The Spiral

    I’m lost. I’m lost in the words.

    Drowning. I’m drowning. I’m drowning.

    No way out. There’s no way out.

    Sinking deeper. Deeper and deeper and deeper

    This is agony. I’m in agony



    What was it. What was the word.

    The start of a life, back to the beginning.

    A return to the start. Wipe the blemishes clean.

    There is still time. Time making things right on my terms.

    What was it again. What was it.

    …Yes. Yes, that was it. A proper start of a story, as any other:

    ‘Once upon a time, there was a Witch—-’



    = = =

    AN

    TLDR: Look what you've done to a perfectly good Witch, she’s now a tortured writer with self-inflicted soul decay.
    FC Reference: Necrologist from Reverse: 1999
    Last edited by SleepMode; February 23rd, 2024 at 01:15 AM.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

  3. #223
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    Eamhair Islay NicEamhair: What an utterly fascinating entry, hopefully made just in the nick of time! The character, the Magecraft, the literary allusions, the flow of the sheet itself, it all works together marvelously! Great work!

  4. #224
    後継者 Successor Bugs's Avatar
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    12 hours after the opening of the voting period, so here we go.

    1 Point

    Illicia Gothel Trionfi
    The Feeder-on-Dreams

    I really appreciate bringing witches back to their somewhat original, child-eating, monstrous roots. Even if it’s just the dreams of children, the brief glimpse of how Illicia sees others shines enough of a light on her motivations. But a brief glimpse is all we get. I’d have really appreciated a bit more on her day-to-day life, especially since genuine Witches aren’t a factor in the Clock Tower anymore. There are a few more little nitpicks like that scattered throughout, but to be honest they’re forgivable.

    The meat of the sheet lies in the abilities. I was definitely a little hesitant to see that Illicia is straight up ripping off Ploys, but maybe she has some Meinster in her, who knows. It’s clear the most work was put into her sugar-Ploys, and it pays off. Her toolkit has a single goal in mind, that of putting others to sleep, and every one of her Gezuckerte Märchen helps to ensure this goal or otherwise benefits from it. I think my favorite bit is that the sleep isn’t necessarily enforced. Allowing humans the chance to tempt themselves with an eternal dream is the perfect way to keep Illicia’s hands clean.

    2 Points

    Kay Hugues Boissieu
    Sovereign of a Wilted Garden

    This sheet says a lot about Kay, yet it also says very little about Kay. But what isn’t said about Kay tells us everything else about Kay. Confused? So am I, but I like what I see.

    In canon narratives, we get very little on the males that interact with/love the Witches. Beryl’s dad is a mystery, and Alice’s father largely doesn’t matter. The only “worth” we’re presented as these men having is being the vehicles for a Witch’s eventual destruction.

    Then there’s Kay. He is not a man who loved a Witch. Or did he? The Witch was used like a tool, but her wishes were still respected as though she were human. That’s a kind of respect an unsuspecting magus could appreciate as love, twisted as their feelings are. Maybe he feels differently for Alraune, now that she’s truly his property? Or maybe there will always be that space of what-if left between them, which is beautiful in its own right.

    I don’t know how to feel about the Devil’s Mirror/Snow Queen. I think a small format change to clearly differentiate them as belonging to Alraune rather than Kay might help, at least for me. Although it does make me wonder, are these two genuinely the abilities of the Boissieu Witch? Calamities solved by love, the very thing guaranteed to rot a Witch’s soul. Perhaps they’re filtered through Kay’s perspective, as the one who gave the Witch’s blood a new container.

    3 Points

    Eamhair Islay NicEamhair
    Voyager Upon Egoic Waves of Ink

    Truly a photo finish.

    Of the true Witches, and of all the ways that a Witch may fall to a human, Eamhair’s dedication to her craft is the most appealing to me. Maybe it’s a bit of a bias towards the art of storytelling as a whole, but if that’s the case I don’t think I’m alone in that regard.

    Eamhair took that first, incontrovertible step away from a being that merely relates stories as prognosticated to one with ownership over something that could legitimately be called an art over the bodily function of a Witch. That development of a very human ego in the abyss of a Witch’s mainly intact–if actively crumbling–mindset, can only lead to a hikkikomori outcome like with Eamhair. An extension of the planet can only know perfection, but humans must define perfection themselves or go mad. The creative process is a scary thing.

    There are a few things I wish could have been embellished. The Druidic concept of trees being repositories of knowledge is a clear establishment of Ogham (or maybe pseudo-Ogham) as a foundation, but it seems to serve mainly as connective tissue to Shift Chronicle’s relationship to the First–which I think is much more fascinating anyway, but it does still leave me curious.

    Of course the identities of the three humans who played a major part in Eamhair’s downfall/development are meant to be vague, but I wonder if there’s intention behind their identities?

    All in all, what I believe to be the best of the bunch. Meeting the second half of the prompt by being a consultant to the Archelots to tie Eamhair to the history of Botany was already exceptionally creative.

  5. #225
    不死 Undead PA270's Avatar
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    Feedback was given during the contest process, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

    1 Point: Azaela Ashtyn Solander
    2 Points: Eamhair Isay NicEamhair
    3 Points: Dee Roxbrough

    Honorable Mentions: Everyone else!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugs View Post
    1 Point

    Illicia Gothel Trionfi
    The Feeder-on-Dreams
    Thank you so much for the feedback! And yeah, given another chance I would definitely flesh out her background more. Something to think about if I decide to come back to her!

  6. #226
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    1 Point
    Kay Hugues Boissieu

    I like the simple but effective imagery with the Witch-Flower mandrake. Given the human form of the mandrake is in the roots, perhaps it is only fitting that Kay has metaphorically “buried” Alraune to insulate her from all human experience and keeping her as a emotionless and docile familiar, in his attempt to nurture a pure Witch.

    It’s been said before, but I also found it neat that the profile was of Kay, with the “Witch” of the prompt being Alraune. The dark fairytale-like ambience painted by this succinct profile, overall, felt to me fitting for the prompt. In a good way—reading this profile felt like inferring a story from a dust-covered cryptic oil painting you might find in the corner room of an old manor somewhere.


    2 Points
    Dee Roxbrough

    I found the sense of limbo occupied by Dee’s existence compelling, and that her face blindness is in some sense a sacrifice paid without true fulfillment—the act of an attempted recreation without bearing fruit—was striking to me as something that was rarely portrayed in the magical world. After all, magi don’t always always see or acknowledge the soot and residue that accrete along the path of their pursuit of impossible dreams.

    Dee’s Revenant Phantasms blend a Witch’s folktalesy framing with the conceptual purity and “absoluteness” of Witchcraft in a way I personally found to be convincing. The history of the harvest witches and the Roxbroughs are thoughtfully portrayed and include a lot of charming details that made it a lively read. It does also make me wonder how the Roxbroughs must be faring with the recent emphasis on green conservation taken in recent years in the UK, which is fun to think about.

    Lastly, the contradictions of Dee’s idiosyncratic personality undershot with the unrealized undertone of what might be called wistfulness—very nice.


    3 Points
    Eamhair Islay NicEamhair

    One of those rare profiles that blend precise technique with a deep sense of personal feeling that resonates throughout it all.

    I think the profile largely speaks for itself, which leaves me somewhat at a loss for comments. So I’ll just talk about what I liked. One of my favorite points was that rather than tales themselves, her Magecraft is modeled after the structure inherent to tales—the kind of simple but elegant metafiction that I’m a huge sucker for and that feels completely appropriate to who she is, as a Witch and as a writer.

    And that’s why, the notable lack of any kind of “ending“ in her Thaumaturgy, something that surely no writer can ignore—truly illustrated in its omission the fate of a witch corrupted by the “human desire for continuation.”

    Sometimes the quietest art is also the most penetrating. There's nothing flashy here, and there doesn't need to be. I like it a lot. Last-minute though it may have been, I'm glad Eamhair was introduced to us.


    Honorable Mention
    Azalea Ashtyn Solander
    There were a lot of individual ideas I found neat; the “Ash Witch” pun, for one, and the discussion of mythology and fantasy.

    Normally, I’m hesitant to comment too directly on execution, but since this is a contest, here are some entirely subjective thoughts.

    Given the theme of her character, I think it makes perfect sense for her to be an all-powerful goddess in the fantasy world. However, I’m not sure if I was convinced of what her being a nigh perfect personification of Yggdrasil capable of using Marble Phantasm contributes to her character—although in some sense perhaps her power is necessary to her mysterious glamour. I think a sharper distinction between the fantasy world and reality in terms of her abilities and apparent omnipotence would have made the profile feel more coherent and thematic to me.

    What with the many degrees of removal between her and the World-Tree—from Solander, to Linnaeus, to Uppsala, to the Uppsala Yggdrasil, and then, finally, Yggdrasil—I think the leap of logic of the blood sacrifice felt a bit too much like instant coffee to me, personally. “Yggdrasil: just add a dead Witch.”

    To me that would still have been totally fine if Azalea and her lineage were only a pale shadow of the world-tree—the “ash” remnants of the ash tree. But as something close to the complete World-Tree incarnate in this world, without even one of the defining features of a tree that also serves as a handicap (namely, that it can’t move from where it grows)…while this is entirely subjective, I'm not sure the pieces fit together for me.

    That said, the anthropomorphization of the tree itself, while initially perplexing, I could see as working in conjunction with the Norse mythology of humanity emerging from trees, and the reemergence of humans from Yggdrasil after Ragnarok.

    Now, for what I liked. Azalea’s definitely a character. While it’s not explained where she could’ve come into contact with Japan’s isekai tropes, my headcanon for that is Wattpad. The idea of a fantasy tree and how that might relate to Yggdrasil is certainly interesting to think about in comparison to the "fantasy trees" of Lostbelt.

    All in all, an unexpected alternative take on the traditional image of the witch as a "wicked people-devourer."

  7. #227
    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    3Pts: Eamhair Islay NicEamhair
    2Pts: Kay Hugues Boissieu
    1Pt: Azaela Ashtyn Solander

  8. #228
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    When does voting end, please?

  9. #229
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    December 14th, 1:00 AM PST.
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  10. #230
    世はまさにパンテオン Comun's Avatar
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    Unscored: Kay Hughes Boisseiu: Intriguing take. Very emotionally sterile by design. Witches are inescapably shaped by emotions, with their hatred fueling their craft and their love rotting them, so it’s definitely expected that someone invested enough would arrive at the idea of mechanically sorting and instrumentalizing her emotions. I like how the procedure is arranged.

    Unscored: Dee Roxbrough: The author notes are humble about Bugs’ research, but the actual sheet is constantly dropping known tidbits about the witch species and how they apply to Dee specifically. She’s very clearly a new shape built from the Lego blocks of the Kuonjis and Ms. Gut. But while the idea of making a witch who found her love and chose not to pursue it, thus never rotting, does give her something to set her apart from her canon counterparts, kinda ends her story anticlimactically. Amazingly cool magecraft though.

    Unscored: Illicia Gothel Trionfi: It’s amazing how well the faceclaim meshes with the tone of the content. Something about her feels different from the other witches, but that’s perfectly fine since we only really ever saw human descendants instead of full-blooded witches.

    1 point: Seiryuu Fuyuno: Short, suspenseful, and flowy. Easily the one that touches the least on the technical side of things, and I think that plays only to the benefit of the story as delivered through Fuyuno’s confused perspective.

    2 points: Azalea Ashtyn Solander: This one is excessively long, so there are a lot of small bits I’d like to comment on, but for the sake of conciseness, I’ll just say it’s very authentic to Nasu. The mystifying allure of the initial presentation, the balls-to-the-wall silliness of the following section, the themes of inherited hatred and its inescapability. All parts show how much you’re inside the mushroom’s head. Reusing established terms to refer to things completely unrelated is one of Nasu’s less pleasant habits, but when I see it done like this in fan content, I can’t help but look at it from an angle of respect for how the source material is. Even the stupid isekai motif is met with a begrudging “Yeah, Nasu would” (that said, the idea still stands acceptably on its own due to elaborations on why and how she enjoys the genre and how she feels about her “protagonists”).

    3 points: Eamhair Islay NicEamhair: Same weaknesses (excessively long, although this one only specifically on the magecraft list) and same strengths (feeling of authenticity) as Azalea. While Azalea feels the most authentic in style, Eamhair feels the most authentic on the mechanical side of things. Witchcraft is mainly the practice of curses, and curses are manipulations of karma causing inescapable alterations to someone’s fate. Eamhair’s brand of “written curses” is a creative but natural and intuitive extension of both what witchcraft does and a witch’s relationship with human storytelling. Normally I’d favor Azalea’s tonal authenticity over Eamhair’s technical one, but the callback to The Room of the April Witch on the multiple visitors to the witch’s hill is everything I didn’t know I wanted, so she wins on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    Some pantheons are depicted as Tamamo, while others are only potentially Tamamo.

  11. #231
    Flying Fairy Sunny's Avatar
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    Let's see... I hope this makes sense.

    3 points: Dee Roxbrough


    This was a really hard one between first and second place for me. In the end, I went with my feelings, but I'd give both my choices three points if I could.

    I like the choice to deal with Witches from an askew angle, for starters - rather than a Pure witch, or a human descended from witches but firmly in humanity's camp, the weird limbo Dee was put in was enjoyable for me. "More than a magus, yet less than a Witch" was a fun way to put it, all in all, especially given she's firmly human but engineered to be in denial of that.

    That kind of thing tickles me, so this was my favorite of the batch, but it was a really tough choice this contest.

    The abilities came together nicely, despite being disparate, and capture a lot of the vibe that Alice had in their variety and depth, but it was the cutscene and the nature of her existence that won my vote.

    2 points: Eamhair Islay NicEamhair
    She felt almost, to me, a bit too consistently narrow in focus to the one theme - but that's what gives it the precision that makes it masterful, so I don't think that's a bad thing by any means. It's a very personal feeling dissertation on art, in particular on writing, and I do like the particular way in with humanity encroached on her - it's a moving tale, and no less full of love despite being internal and single-focused.

    That being said, if Dee's stuff was broad and harmonizing despite disparate origins, Eamhair's are very consistent and thread the same line elegantly, which fits her single-minded focus. But it's so focused that, at least to me, it felt almost more Servant than Witch, despite being more of a Witch than my first place choice.

    She's entirely an existence of a single through-line. Because of that, she's very powerfully done, but she spoke to me in the one area while my first place spoke to me in multiple.

    ...That's probably the deciding factor for me, at least, but it wasn't an easy choice. If I can be honest, I really believe this one excelled the most as a capital W Witch sheet, and the only reason it's not my first place choice is because I enjoyed the former slightly more. But it really could go either way and really this is entirely a battle of personal preference and the leanings of my own vibes. Both are excellent.

    1 point: Azalea Ashtyn Solander

    Mm... When I first started reading this, I was sure it'd be my first choice, but I felt more conflicted about it the longer I dwelled on it. In the end, there were things I felt didn't quite mesh together. Her intro debut was incredibly strong and gave a great atmosphere, and I enjoyed the history set-up which tied to that intro well. Both her family and conceptual history is thorough but well set-up. Where I feel like the sheet lost me a bit, as has been mentioned by others, were her skills.

    The concept of the nine realms as sekai and simulations she's running internally was a neat idea, but as others mentioned, the degree to which her lineage immediately became a full nearly-perfect replica doesn't quite ring true, even with the sacrifice, and there's a conflict between the external abilities and the internal ones that ends up making her feel not quite focused on either.

    In addition, the light novel focus, while funny--and yeah, something that feels very Nasu to throw in--doesn't feel like it quite makes sense how she gets exposed to. Overall, this sheet was a lot of ideas I liked individually, but they felt like they lacked some connective tissue next to the very clear sense of character the intro gave.

    In the end, while it gives a great sense of her family and tragic history, it gives comparatively little - to me - of her life as an individual and how she ended up with the unusual focii she did. She feels subsumed by her past selves, rather than part of the chain, with differences that are informed rather than shown.
    Last edited by Sunny; December 14th, 2023 at 03:19 AM.

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  12. #232
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    It’s hard to precisely review at risk of repeating the same thing from others, so better to be concise.


    1pt - Illicia Gothel Trionfi
    Neat to see a “conventional” fairy-tale Witch among the roster, with the focus on sweets and dreams being fitting foundations for a Witch. Only thing that fully limits her case is the overt mystery of Illicia herself, but overall a solid entry.


    2pts - Kay Hugues Boisseu
    A strangely “Magus Tale-like” of the entires, one that enterwines with the late Evergreen Witch. The stalled inevitability of the Alarune’s emotional state and Kay’s resignation were the highlight of the entry, a natural result of the Boisseu’s gratitude and magus pragmatism mixing at the final moments of the Witch’s demise.


    3pts - Dee Roxbrough
    Very charming entry, a Witch Descendant whose artificial antipathy doesn’t bar her from the very human feelings. The Roxbrough repertoire of Revenant Phantasms are appropriately varied and storied of their involved origins as Harvest Witches, inhuman existences whose roles kept them close to mankind like the Archelots.

    Dee’s arrogance is also a charm factor, who doesn’t love a little ego?



    Honourable Mentions

    Azalea Ashtyn Solander

    A walking legacy of an ill-fated love between Man and Witch, distanced from humans but still human in her pettiness. A lengthy work like Cindy, thoroughly detailed in the Solander history and Daniel’s doomed romance to the succeeding chain of Ash Witches. Unlike Cindy, however, the connecting justifications over Azalea herself were too weak to carry this entry through.


    Seiryuu Fuyuno
    An unfortunate “Friend” of the Iwate Fae, thrust into a world she should not have been in. The unorthodox POV from Fuyuno is a refreshing angle, with the bits of from the World of Mystery only intruding upon her mundane lifestyle. Unfortunately, the incompleteness of this POV is also this entry’s greatest weakness; in particular, the absence of detail does make the connection to Botany feel too stretched for personal liking.

    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

  13. #233
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Voting period is over. I'm a bit busy today; hope to have an official tally up in a few hours.
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  14. #234
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Event Contestation Band​ = 6 possibilities







    REPRESENTATIVE OF MYSTERY HAS BEEN DESIGNATED:



    Eamhair Islay NicEamhair

    THE DREAM MUST CONTINUE
    Last edited by You; December 15th, 2023 at 01:52 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  15. #235
    不死 Undead PA270's Avatar
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    Congratulations to SleepMode on the well-deserved win! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the next contest!

  16. #236
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Due to the amount of time extensions given, the next contest will begin Jan 10th, 1:00 am PST
    Voting to veto or accept the next month's prompt will begin Jan 2nd and end on Jan 8th - the exact times will be in the poll when it is posted.
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  17. #237
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Here is the poll for this month's prompt.

    https://strawpoll.com/w4nWrAGN3yA
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  18. #238
    鬼 Ogre-like You's Avatar
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    Based on the current poll results, the prompt should pass without an issue.
    Submissions will be open as soon as the poll closes in two hours until Jan 31st 11:59 pm PST.
    Unless there is an extension, voting will automatically begin Feb 1st 12:01 am PST and finish Feb 7th 12:01 am PST.
    Quote Originally Posted by FSF 5, Chapter 14: Gold and Lions I
    Dumas flashed a fearless grin at Flat and Jack as he rattled off odd turns of phrase.
    "And most importantly, it's me who'll be doing the cooking."
    Though abandoned, forgotten, and scorned as out-of-date dolls, they continue to carry out their mission, unchanged from the time they were designed.
    Machines do not lose their worth when a newer model appears.
    Their worth (life) ends when humans can no longer bear that purity.


  19. #239
    夜属 Nightkin GilgameshKingOfMemes's Avatar
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    Tumbling down the bloody hills a man is left weak and feeble upon the stone. A beast continues to follow the scent of the puddles of flesh which stained the cavern's rocky jags. The atmosphere of mystery settled oppressively heavy upon his lungs which were barely fit to bear the weight. Red eyes innumerable all stared down to witness the approaching ravager and the inevitable fate of this meeting of man and beast.



    The phantasmal was instantly skewered. It was a clever beast surely, but too far ahead of the times for kin who cherished outdated values and operations. That’s to say, it’s really a pathetic mystery despite its ferocity. It was pretty optimistic that it thought it could depend on just jaws and claws when it lacked devotion.



    “Oh my, look at what I’ve found. A poor creature gagged and bound, trashed helplessly on the ground. A weak and meek little thing, the sacrificial bait of sinners who calculated a fellow to be of lesser worth. What tragedy, what travesty, this simply won’t do, and luckily we don’t do such underhanded discrimination. Let’s be straight forward, poignant, with nothing to hide. I have an offer for you, join my congregation, it’s nothing like your previous operations. It’s here we no longer strive for worth, no such cycle thrives here, children inscribed in the golden book tells of those for whom love is unconditional.”

    The strange woman calmly descended down to the man, though her body was cold her aura was warm. To death's door he had come a knocking, fallen to his lowest point in this ghastly pit, and down descended a pale angel to raise him. A savior which uplifts, by will power as much as strings, he couldn’t help but listen now enthralled by those eyes. He had been but mere bait to chase beasts away, but could his status finally change?

    “Coned by empty fables your life is bound to the nobility in ignoble prostration. Now look at where you fell, chasing scraps for the bolstering of their own selfish reign. Trapped in the depths of a dragon's tomb, could life not be anymore miserable? So why be the victim, why not take to the fight! To fix this world, there’s but one enemy we have to slay! Return to Magisfair freely to indulge a life of slavery as an underclass below the lord's heel, or join me, and correct the predicament which pulled you here.”

    Reaching out now free from their bounds with the flick of her wrist, eagerly she grasped his hand. Slowly as she spoke to his soul, her salvation became sermon. Words burned with a dark fire and ignited hearts in zealotry, souls following along on the seared strings, branded with her endless devotion. Before he knew, his life was of the faithful, and laying down upon the stones had shifted from blood spilled to blood given earnestly.

    “Though the dead in our wake might spoil, it’s the spoils of heaven all my servants are entitled! We till this soil to soil the name of this world's wretched Devil, for such toil proceeds a grave reaping. With your lives! With my devotion! We harvest a future for the generations which shall once more pick up your wills which tilled the soil! There is nothing else to give once your blood and toil have been expended! Our lives and wills are the last to offer the future charity of the gospel! We can’t afford to not spend when our patron waits to be released! So join me children, give this desire your all and eventually those devils the Barthomeloi shall fall!”



    The Black Crown of Devotion
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Knox Dow Royales



    “Whose neck is so trained to prayer that their faith shall never falter even if it’s their life which is placed upon the altar!? Surely your belief remains unshaken in our lord's ever touted gospel! Have our lives not been pledged to this ever higher pious purpose!? You all attended the service, so tell me! What has birthed your apprehension!?”

    Gender: Female
    Birthdate: February 17th
    Age: 356
    Height/Weight: 178cm/75kg
    Birthplace: London


    Magical Attributes

    Elemental Attribute: Fire

    Magic Circuits

    Circuit Quantity: C+
    Circuit Quality: B
    Circuit Composition: Standard

    Origin

    Keyword ~ Devotion

    -Religious Worship

    The faith the followers share in a single dream

    -The love and enthusiastic loyalty to a single cause. An unshakeable will which never shakes or deviates regardless of the storm on the path.

    The dream I have given them and the fate I have forged to pull the world to this end. Everything that has been built, the flow of the world. All things converge upon a single, all encompassing delusion.

    Background
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “A life given freely proceeds an even higher purpose, an eternity of true pious service. Their death can thus be followed by a truly civil service, society trembles, the world forever altered towards brighter pastures that end in lighter tunnels.”

    A life which birthed a deep devotion
    Barthomeloi

    The Barthomeloi have held a great hatred for the vampiric scourge which haunts the night comparable to the most zealous of the faithful, but there was no greater ire in the heart of man than what was found in a fraction of a millisecond of the hatred Knox felt for the Barthomeloi. The crown atop of the Clocktowers hierarchy was the source of all evil through which the Associations cruel corruption stems. The extermination of the family on a conceptual level was the essence of her devotion that is the center of existence itself.

    This cruel aristocracy was the shadow which blinded her early years, for it was her mother who so dutifully dedicated her being to their cause. A member of the Chelon Canticle Brigade, they were an elite servant of a family which coldly demanded their subservience as inferiors, thought they were at least amongst those who were at least worthy enough to be looked at for the strength of their blood. It was a heat sink, their icy hearts had stripped her parents of their own warm individuality as their heart was crushed and bent into the shape of a cog. A perfected, unchanging shape of mind and spirit which did not buckle or break and had no spark to love.

    Knox thought her mother had become a loser. She was devoted but that wasn’t her devotion, that was the devotion of the wicked Barthomeloi! The power and pride of the aristocratic hierarchy had made the weak minded its followers. This world it seemed was divided into real wills and puppets left downstream hanging by those threads. When she spoke from her individuality or failed to be perfect, the damned Barthomeloi held the right to cruelly abuse her in punishment while her empty puppet mother watched like it was none of her business. Everything they did merely marked them as the scum of the Earth.

    Oh those damned Barthomeloi! She truly hated everything they stood for and the world they built. These faded wounds and sunken holes of the soul are what compel her. Life could not be had by magi with such evil controlling the world. Happiness and warmth could not be felt when the devil had stolen the sun. This was her dream, her endless devotion greater than the pride of aristocracy and the structure of the nobility.

    The Royales

    A family with a history of over a 1000 years, though Knox had never fully inherited the family crest. Instead she was replaced when she departed on her own quest. The Royales family belongs to the department of Archeology and garners most of their research and fire power from the relics of the Age of Gods. Their magecraft is that of mystic forging, reverse engineering the techniques of producing mystic codes of old. Certain relics are thus of no value to them, as without the presence of Gods, only items forged of pure human ingenuity are worth studying.

    With over two thousand years of history, the Royales hold a unique position of being a Clocktower scholar, meaning they record and study the history of the Clocktower and the association itself. They are one of several families who carry the role, and oversee the exploration of the Dragons Tomb and Magisfair. One of their duties is preservation of mystery, securing things at risk of being lost, or burying those which shouldn’t be unearthed.

    A major responsibility a scholar must uphold is the evaluation of families who have declined out of existence or suddenly fallen due to other circumstances. Fulfilling the role of an appraiser they’re often called upon to determine the age and value of assets left behind whether they are mystical or not. Then, if they are deemed worthy of note, their existence is recorded with as many words as deemed equivalent to their value. Having worked in Magisfair, Knox was distinctly upset that at most many families were worth no more than last name.

    The process proves to encompass an extensive bureaucracy leading to much overlap with policies as patents, leylines, sacred lands and more all fall under this field of study. However the work can prove worthwhile as it funnels valuable assets back into their personal research. These items however been rendered useless in Knox's hands now that the label of her soul has changed.


    The Black Crown



    A Dead Apostle of Rank VII, rather being a magus who turned themselves into a vampire, they are magus who inherited this
    Curse
    magecraft
    from another magus. Centuries ago they were a vampire who controlled territory in France. They were famous for hosting The Red Congression, an exclusive party held once every ten years. It’s described to be a magical ritual as much as it’s a celebration, but one without any greater purpose other than chasing off the boredom. Upon the disappearance of this incarnation of the Black Crown it was confirmed that this ritual involved an artifact better suited for the Lore department, the event merely playing with the horrors it unleashed upon the country side every decade.


    Their personal castle is locked in a hidden territory marked by a blood red sky. It is a unique bounded field which was magus’s expertise when they were mortal. Compared to other hosts before them, they were the most talented by far. A magus of exceptional ability who only became more formidable as a Dead Apostle. A lord of worlds through their creation of territories, the crown they willing chose to bear would only serve to bolster their craft.

    For several centuries, longer than any host before, they ruled as a distant aristocracy, amusing themselves with whims and research. However their little kingdom would fall when they became the targets of the Barthomeloi.

    The Red Congression



    Even when the moon hung high over the banquet of vampires, the Barthomeloi did not fear the challenge of the hunt. They were the Almighty, it wouldn’t be too hard for the party to end here if they merely put their mind to it. However all is not as it seems, and though the Congression would end here, the prize and pride of the hunt would not be theirs….


    The task was not possible on my lonesome, even I could admit this. Yet luckily enough, the hard work of others is easy to take advantage of. Who needs to find a Dead Apostle or tear down their silly little walls, there’s more satisfaction in stealing the glory of a hunt no? Yes, these knaves just need a few clogs in their gears, their prideful minds can’t turn out solutions to futures they refuse to see. Such wisdom on foolishness applies to Dead Apostles as much as man, they’re both aristocrats, every mean thing I have to say should be implied by the term alone.

    “Accidents are par for the course when playing with the unfathomable, not that someone of your disposition could understand. Though I must admit though, while the tragedies are common your sins are truly original, sadly for you they’re not noble.”

    Seeing as it was a regular event, if you found a guest and discovered a language their body could understand, it wasn’t too hard to learn what festivities were held. I didn’t really know what an Angelic Artifact was, but these apes playing with holy fire was an easy way to be burned. I couldn’t kill this vampire on my own that easily, but as a mole for the Barthomeloi operation thanks to mother, it was possible to dig in seeing as the creature's boredom was a rather soft soil. Like little babies, that kind of scenario was like jingling keys. Yet my life would be shorter than their attention spans if I didn’t bite first. Like these foreign entities that didn’t follow the rules of others, but they similarly lacked Devotion.

    A few unexpected relics, including theirs, and there's enough chaos to lay claim to a vampire's life. That’s why, despite everything set against this weak blood, I could savor the weakened blood of the vampire upon the floor before me.

    “Ehehehe! What kind of game is this? Can I even be angry? I have to respect art when I see it. Though perhaps I don’t have an eye for meaning, what’s the meaning of this work?”

    The Black Crown was strong enough to vanquish the beings, but not without being brought to the brink. Even I could handle that, and they seemed quite amused with the results.

    “Well let's say that the wills of others congress as the devotion of those with the strongest dreams. In this life your actions are the essence of the greatest aspiration in your world. Do you see fate as absolute, is that what let us here in such perfect conditions? Nay! It’s the path of devotion! They merely walk the road I pave! And the meaning? The true end of the Barthomeloi! I need nothing more.”

    There was only one thing I wanted, which made The Black Crown throw their head back in a truly amused laughter.

    “There is hardly a better end to wish for, but is this the end we should take? There are far more interesting futures to be found when the game is played with more pieces. One way or another I can see, you will leave with the crown. So how about a coronation with my blessing?”

    Pits and Idols



    Knox is a woman willing to go to any ends to make goals reality. Upon stealing the Black Crown, she had certainly garnered the ire of the Barthomeloi in full force. That was an inevitability, but she still had a predicament. She wasn’t foolish enough to think she could step into the Clocktower again, but neither could she flee and simply leave her target out of her range. Instead, the next part of her scheme was to instead hide herself by falling straight into Hell.

    Spiritual Tomb Albion. Over 40 kilometers down, this Dead Apostle has carved out her own hazardous kingdom. A spider web which catches poor excavators which fall in. However not as sustenance, but prey of different varieties. The citizens of her communion, subjects of God in which she reigns supreme priest and lord. The downtrodden, the lost, the trash under heel of the Clocktower, with charismatic, zealous fervor she gathers their devotion. Her crown is bolstered and her advisor continues to expand her kingdom further.

    What is worshiped hardly matters, it’s an existence which must simply be feared. The desire to control what can’t be must be preyed upon, to place terror upon a pedestal so fools can imagine their prayer, devotion and sacrifice would place this mystery into anything they can actually comprehend. Enshrine a God in prayer in sacrifice to think you control it’s behavior, but it’s will is truly her will, and God's will is everyone’s will. Together, they shall take God to the surface and vanquish the Devil from which all the World's Evils spew. No matter how many centuries it takes, no matter how many generations the cause consumes.

    Nothing else in life matters. Your time is our time, your life is our life, kinder for a savior's fire. So to this God of the Pit, you shall make a worthy sacrifice.



    Abilities
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Give me your desires, your aspirations, and one day I can manifest this reality.”

    Manifesting Will


    Keter Ascension Ritual
    The Black Crown




    The Soul Dregs of a Dead Apostle harvested purely for the sake of spite. Once the target was set for execution by the hatred of the Barthomeloi, Knox carried out swift theft of the life to which these nobles felt so entitled. Knox was not a woman who walked more complex paths for the sake of ascension or perfection, but merely to further spit in the face of those who were in her heart the evil beasts worthy of ire. She could not destroy the spirit of her enemies if she was human. Nay, a noble who prides themselves on humanity should fall to something inhuman.

    The Crown is a work of magecraft which can be passed down from host to another, carrying with it the Soul Dreg and thus the abilities of the original vampire. It is a self perpetuating magecraft system using the dynamics of vampirism as a vector of transference. If the games of Dead Apostles is to build kingdoms in the shadows, then to bear this blackened crown is to be lord of a realm which does not exist. It can be considered a failed Idea Blood which was unable to become the Truth needed to rise to such a level, but still embodies the concept of Crown and carries the will of a
    World
    nation
    .


    In pursuit of the fount the Kingdom bears no name but rather is merely paradise, a perfect golden kingdom on the hill. An image and concept that doesn’t exist but as a fantasy must exists as a possibility at the root of everything. Rather than making an ideal place, instead the magecraft is focused on crowning oneself King of a Fantasy and inheriting the symbolic power of such noble designation. It is essentially an attempt to arrogantly crown oneself ruler of the world to the point it becomes Truth.

    The crown is inherently inheritable, to bequeath a crown onto the monarch which follows the first is the inherent nature of the creation so it always possessed a conceptual affinity to be placed upon the head of others. Yet this crown had been willingly passed on for the sake of cultivating a better vessel, a supreme king. Indeed, despite the immortality inherent to the Dead Apostle classification, like a proper magus the original creator still pursued the siring of proper human heirs. The crown was an inheritance which usurped the original magus’s crest, the blood of others would do just fine then, and only the will which rests inside the Crown matters.

    Thus the Black Crown has spread through a variety of hosts in hopes of locating or creating the genius vessel which can inherit the right to rule like a mythological King of old. However with time the path of the crown has deviated and faltered when placed upon the heads less interested in the will. The bold self assuredness is a trait which made for better candidates, but also meant they were less likely to follow the path of kingship specifically laid out for them. Thus the Black Crown had evolved which resembled something more like a regular Dead Apostle than a magus.

    The crown lords over all, the will of all is its will, but also a cog in the machine of its function. As such all wishes and desires of those before the crown are filtered back through the will of the monarch. It is no wish granter, instead reflecting back what enters in the form of fantasy. Such spells are called “
    Expression of Will
    Manifestation of Principle
    ” by the original creator who compares it to the shadow of an origin awakening. It is in practice however a means of changing a vampire's special ability to follow a concept pulled from another person.


    The crown with enough time can also store the wills within it, incorporating it into its kingdom. None more so than previous Dead Apostles who wore the crown, who might even linger as spirits when placed upon another host. Though the desire to reach the Root this way is carried by numerous generations carried in the past of The Black Crown, it failed to materialize as an Idea Blood, and the wish cannot truly become the fount of one's existence. Perhaps the original was simply not willful enough to cultivate such a strong desire on their own, and left the wish to others.

    Yet even this dream carried long into the future now bends to its current lord's self centered aspirations. Perhaps it’s because the will wasn’t strong enough to be an Idea Blood that it could bend to a host which was willed enough. Crowned the new king, Knox has no use for this long history or kingdom of heaven which they might inherit. There is only one thing left on this Earth worth their time. The purpose of this cult she has raised then is to have enough collected will to manifest her dream as a real fantasy.


    Fantasy Mirage
    Ideal Portrait




    The attempted solution to a lacking vessel is to instead cultivate an idealized image of the host instead. Just as the rulers of the past produced images of the self which symbolically lifted their name, the Ideal Portrait is a fantasy transformation which is meant to do that same. It’s body which can be seen as lacking the weakness of the original body, attempting to hide away the flaws of the truth behind an image conjured by the hosts' will.

    In sense it can more practically be considered a very straightforward transformation that makes one stronger on a physical and spiritual level. However this fantasy can be further influenced by the view of others.
    Primate Species
    The citizens
    which place their faith in this grand image can serve to only bolster the portrait and give a materialized shape to the user's will.




    Vassal



    A name for the ghouls The Black Crown sires. They are those who have been infected with the curse, imbued with authority but do not wear The Crown, merely a lesser one. Their form is mutated to be much like the Idealized Portrait and their will from when they were alive is bolstered and materialized as a fantasy of their own use. Only those with sufficient devotion to the cause which defines their Crown can ascend the ladder of vampiric growth to Stage V and be recognized as a true subordinate
    World
    nation
    .


    Due to the nature of the Crown, Dead Apostles made this way have a much stronger bond to The Black Crown. Those who deviate from the master are not merely weakened but outright extinguished. Knox’s prized Vassal is a former knight of the Church who holds a flaming relic of the Church. It was not her who made them, instead they are a minion inherited from the previous crown wearer, and for a time was essentially her muscle for getting her way. Even now though, it seems it was their unyielding faith in their cause which pulled them to a high enough stage.


    Knight




    A kind of familiar, a dredge of flesh not of this world. They are creatures designed to oversee the horrors which return to the world during The Red Congression and are partially inspired by the entities. Their primary purpose then is to gather blood and observe a situation from a distance like a drone. The Black Crown prefers to use them over the Dead even if they’re more complex to make.

    Knox uses them to form her own information network. They exist across Magisfair and even on the surface, serving as an essential means of keeping tabs on the world and her enemies. After so many centuries of making them, they have taken on the status of something of a Clocktower pest. A minor phantasmal rumor students sometimes spot at night or accidentally trigger defenses around London. However, as they don’t seem to cause much mischief as Knox doesn’t gather blood with them, their extermination is of low priority.

    God



    The God Knox had elected was simply the strongest beast in the local area. Inhabiting a massive lake, the untouchable terror of the excavators had become their deity of awe and horror. Knox knows nothing of its origin, simply that’s the most imposing thing around. The creature does seem quite adept at learning so it seems to have adapted to the behaviors of Knox's followers quite sufficiently. It can’t be controlled but it can be managed.

    The king has crowned the God, and it is God who crowns the king with Authority. They are merely a tool on which will is plastered upon.



    Ashes of Saint Sava



    A holy reliquary which enshrines the few lingering embers and ashes of Saint Sava’s relics which were burned and scattered by the Ottomans. It continues to burn eternally, as if the moment had been preserved in willful perseverance, fighting off the flame which threatens to make it ash. It was a holy item which blessed the hands of the Knight Captain stationed at the location where it was first made, only becoming lost when the knights were felled in battle.

    Now this Captain is the only one to protect the cross’s light, even as an abominable knight of the night. Fealty to the lord exceeds the sway of the Lord's pious service, but resistance of the heart always blazes in the blood even after it runs cold. Their pride and faith in people would not falter even as the undead, even if alone in the pit and all they can have is prayer. One day they dreamed, the relic they had spent these centuries preserving would one day return home.

    Though the item was now gone, the world still turns. The Knights have since rebuilt without it. They don’t need that dream to be there physically to keep going.

    Man's faith in themselves, to Knox, had hardly mattered. The will of Saint Sava was an idealized image that the people had placed their hopes and shared their dreams. To her, it was merely the last will her vassal served. Yet prayers are but a personal wish, an expression of genuine devotion. The missing relic being there or not wasn’t important, it was merely a symbol and dream. They had been burned before and that had failed to temper peoples wills. Whether or not it returns, life carries on. Perhaps what separates the saint from the devil, is that they allowed man the gift to stand on their own feet.




    ---------------------
    Fastest draw in the west. Will that speed screw me over? Maybe. But going first is like placing first in its own way.
    Last edited by GilgameshKingOfMemes; January 10th, 2024 at 01:21 AM.



  20. #240
    不死 Undead PA270's Avatar
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    Knox Dow Royales: Damn, you certainly work fast! And what a killer way to start off this contest! Knox is a wonderfully characterized individual, with a fascinating history and deeply disturbing abilities. You certainly captured the Dead Apostle vibe very nicely! All in all, a very nice entry indeed!

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