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End of Year News (December 2017)

Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:57 am by Adrian

(It's been one year since I made a news thread, oops)

Merry Christmas/Festivus/whatever holiday you do or do not celebrate!

2017 was a pretty busy year IRL for most of us - according to forum statistics, our busiest month was in June with 1671 total posts, meaning our post rate has been a little …

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Forum Bug

Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 am by Adrian

Hi all,

We're aware of a peculiar forum glitch that's causing some subforums to be locked.

Due to the lateness at this time, it might be a while before the glitch can be remedied, because despite my best efforts and as far as I can tell, everything seems to be working fine admin-side. It may have …

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Discord News/Update Test

Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:35 am by Adrian

Just a news, update test. Trying to get this thing to work.

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Anaphora: Pariah

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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Athena Lionheart on Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:29 pm

Here it is in .png xD But I'm glad you like it! Very Happy
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Wishie on Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:54 pm

Dang, that's a great banner :O

I was briefly inspired to write a bit about Lynn's past, but it violates forum rules soooo
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by WritingBookworm on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:11 pm

Put it up on Wattpad. That wouldn't violate forum rules, would it?
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Wishie on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:20 pm

Ooh, good point. I'm going to go write the rest of it now.
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by WritingBookworm on Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:26 am

So I lied when I said this chapter will be the climax. The chapter was getting long, so I split it in two. That means there's still two more to go after this! Very Happy

Chapter 6: Cruelty

In a way, the blackness is bliss.

Occasionally, I'll crack open my eyes only to close them again and sink back into the welcome dark. Faint, muffled sounds will trickle into my ears, and then they'll fade away when I make no effort to make out what they're saying. After all, there's no pain here. No fear. I'm falling down into this abyss, and I'm content to fall forever.

But I don't, because I sharply rise back to the surface when I feel my body crudely tossed to the ground.

My eyes bolt open at the impact only for me to close them again as I grimace. I concentrate on inhaling through my nose when I find out something's blocking me from doing it through my mouth, and I draw my knees closer to my chest as though to protect myself.

Blearily, I open my eyes again. Everything's hazy at first, but gradually a faint glow sharpens into a campfire, a long curtain of black boldens into the starless night sky, and faint gray shapes morph into tents pitched all around us.

My groan comes out muffled, and for the first time I can really feel something thick clogging up my mouth. I try to push myself up with my hands, and I'm confused when I fail to move them.

That's when I remember. The encounter, the chase, and my ultimate loss.

I pull myself up with my torso and look over my shoulders to see my hands cuffed behind my back. I try to spit out the gag only for it to be blocked by another piece of cloth wrapped around my mouth.

My eyes dart around the campsite, trying to assemble a path to escape -- or at least try to figure out where exactly I am.

I already know one thing, however. I'm on my way back to Poena.

The thought brings nothing but pure horror. They're taking me back to Poena. Back to my father. Back to torture and pain and eventual execution, and my mother's death will have been for nothing. I can't go back --

"Ah, you're awake."

I snap my head up. Abraxas's face doesn't seem particularly twisted or vicious. Instead he simply cocks his head to the side, almost like he's inspecting me out of simple curiosity.

I can barely hold up under the weight of his gaze. Every nerve in my body is screaming at me to get away, get away, get away as fast as I possibly can, but all of my limbs are as immovable as stone.

I quickly look down. I hold my breath, trying to stop my shaking, but it doesn't work.

"Now, don't be like that," Abraxas says. "Look at me."

I don't.

Abraxas's voice comes again, more insistent this time. "Look at me."

I drill my eyes into the ground.

I hear a sigh blown through the nose. Then footsteps, and the sound of a sword being liberated from its sheathe.

There's no time to think of what Abraxas could be using it for when the tip of the flat of the blade lodges under my chin and jerks my head up.

Abraxas looks a bit less than amused. "I did tell you to look at me."

My breathing becomes ragged. Even the action of him removing his sword from my chin doesn't bring me comfort, and I am utterly paralyzed.

But then, somehow . . . something inside me hardens, forged within the blaze of a harsh fire. This strength surges through the rest of my body, eradicating fear.

My eyes narrow slightly. Abraxas wants me to look at him, so I do. And I do that by giving him the biggest glare I can manage.

To this, Abraxas lifts his eyebrows. "Oh?"

For a moment there, I actually do feel pretty proud of myself.

Then Abraxas turns and nods at the men beside him. He points his head at me. Needing no further instruction, the men cross over to me.

Just like that, the confidence is gone as the men come to either side of me. They each seize an elbow and force me up to my feet. All at once I begin trying to break free, bucking and thrashing wildly so I can get out of here, get out before they can kill me and --

I stop when I feel the metal cuffs removed from my wrists.

The gag is untied a moment later, leaving me free to spit out the wad of cloth. I gasp in an inhale.

Dazed with confusion, I look up at Abraxas wearily. "Why did you just do that?"

Abraxas lifts his eyebrows. "Because I would like to hear you scream, of course."

Fear punches into my chest.

That fear leaves me paralyzed. My exhales are shallow. "I thought you were taking me to Poena."

"Oh, I am," he assures. "My liege specifically ordered anyone who encountered you to bring you back alive, for the sake of public execution."

He begins to smile. I don't like it when he smiles.

"However . . . he never said you had to be sane."

He lifts his arm. Aims his palm at me.

I do my best. I really do. My nerves flare up in defense, and I remember the round of pain Therese inflicted on me during my escape. I brace myself for something similar.

I realize a second too late that, for as much potential as she has, Therese was still only a fledgling Cruelty Bearer.

Abraxas is second only to Vandor.

And so I'm completely unprepared for when the pain strikes. My body erupts in sheer agony. I gasp, and find myself sinking to the ground before the men restraining me force me upright.

An exhale tears out of my mouth as soon as the pain dies down, leaving me breathless and staring at the ground --

The pain reignites sharply.

I completely reel over. I grit my teeth hard, like I'm trying to crush them with the force.

I know I can't fight back in this position. But I also know that Abraxas is just doing this to hear me scream. The least I can do is refuse to give him what he wants.

So that's what I do. The pain still comes, and it just keeps coming and coming with no end in sight. But no matter what, I stay silent. After all, my silence is my defiance.

Don't think about how much it hurts, I tell myself. Think of Jezebel. Think of Mother.

A fresh wave of the pain smashes into me. Instinctively I recoil back before funneling the agony and how much it hurts (because by the skies, does it hurt) away to the back of my mind. I close my eyes.

And then . . .

They appear.

I see Mom's scarlet hair draped on her shoulders, sitting as she look toward the sun. In her arms is little Jezebel, face aglow with innocence and eyes liberated from cruelty or sorrow. Neither of them are a part of this world; they are a part of something much better.

Somehow, I can see us being happy again . . .

The image vanishes when something hard slams into my cheek so hard that it sends my head spinning to the other side.

I wince, and I can already taste sharp metallic blood in my mouth. That was going to leave a bruise for sure.

When I look at Abraxas, I see a light of amusement twisting around in his eyes.

"That's a surprisingly strong will you've got there," he says. "Let's see whose is stronger -- yours? Or mine?"

Newfound pain bursts inside my body. I grimace, but still make no sound. Abraxas laughs at my obvious pain.

"You're nothing," he says. "Absolutely nothing. Actually . . . hmm. Maybe you do have a smidgen of worth. After all delivering you is all it will take to restore honor to me and my children ever since my loathsome, Trait Bearer of a wife brought shame upon our name."

I take a deep breath.

"I feel sorry for your children," I say. "After all, I'd hate to be known as your spawn, too."

For as much satisfaction as saying those words gave me, I learn very quickly that saying that was not smart.

I have one second to see the raw fury on Abraxas’s face before pain comes back, ten times stronger than ever before.

I draw in another gasp, all of the muscles in my back going rigid as the pain infiltrates every last nerve in my body --

It stops. I pant for breath, savoring this one moment that I do not have to endure any pain . . .

But that one taste of respite makes it that much harder to endure the electrifying pain that follows. I open my mouth, as though to yell, only to shut it and bite back a powerful scream.

I bend my head and smash my eyes shut. Don't scream don't scream don't scream. The torture will only get worse if you scream.

I try opening my eyes and attempt to distinguish my surroundings. Everything is blurry, and Abraxas looks like nothing more than a black haze. I blink, and then I blink again, attempting to reorient myself as I resign myself to the agony --

It digs in deeper than ever before, making itself excruciatingly loud and clear.

I gulp. Just think of Mom, think of Jezebel --

The pain amplifies, lancing up from my core all the way to the top of my skull. I arc my back and tilt my head up, gasping as though to inhale the entire starless night sky . . .

And then I double over and blare a hollar into my shut mouth. Without opening my lips, I scream and yell and plead and beg, now at the utter mercy of a god who will laugh as I suffer. Agony fills every cell in my body and fills every crevice in my skull, overriding anything I ever knew.

I try to think of Mom and Jezebel. I really do.

But in this electrical storm of pain, I can't even remember what they look like.

And finally, when I receive the sensation of a thousand white-hot knives infiltrating my pores --

I scream until my lungs shrivel.

Multiple men laugh. The sound is initially distant, but it becomes much sharper and clearer when the pain vanishes all at once. I sag in my captors' grips, shuddering violently.

I can hear the sound of a blade being unsheathed -- something smaller than a sword. Footsteps come close.

“Surely you wish that is the end,” Abraxas says.

I say nothing.

The two men restraining me lift me up higher, forcing me to look at Abraxas again.

“It is merely the beginning.”

That seems to be my captors' cue. I feel the grip on one of my arms vanish only for it to be seized again, forced in front of me and toward Abraxas in a straight, unbendable line.

Abraxas advances with a fine knife in hand. The blade doesn't look sturdy enough to be used as a weapon; it's far more thin and precise. It's not a knife that's made for combat.

It's made for torture.

He comes to my forcibly outstretched hand. He places the edge of the knife upon the base of my pinkie finger.

I suddenly realize what he's about to do.

“No,” I say in horror. I renew my efforts to get away. I try to pull my arm out of my captor’s grasp, get it away from Abraxas's knife, but it isn't working, and their grips are stronger than any restraint they could put on me. “No no no. Please, no, no, NO!”

The knife's blade begins to saw into my skin, drawing a line of shining crimson blood --

And that's exactly when the military campsite bursts into flames.

Last edited by WritingBookworm on Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Salphirix on Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:53 am


Omg OMG OMG omg
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Mythie on Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:20 am

Writing pls......

Anyways I thought that it was interesting that Luke would think of Jezebel in addition to his Mom. I guess it's because Jezebel is so young that she's kind of a blank slate not neccisarily 'good' but not 'bad' yet. Anyways great chapter, poor Luke, and I'm sure there's a good reason why we don't see Abratrax anymore (aka he's dead) so I'm excited to see that as well.
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Athena Lionheart on Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:47 am

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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by WritingBookworm on Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:08 am

Chapter 7: Sacrifice

And that's when the military campsite bursts into flames.

Abraxas turns sharply, the job of cutting off my finger left unfinished. Out in the distance, three of the tents are consumed by a fire so powerful that I can feel the heat from here. Shouting fills the air, and several black-clad men race toward the fire, but it just continues to spread to the next tent.

Abraxas mutters something to himself, his dark eyes flickering back and forth like he's vaguely unsure of what's going on. A second passes, and then they widen with understanding before they thinning back into dangerous slits.

He turns to the men restraining me. "You two. Go."

The two men release me. Too exhausted to support my own weight, I collapse and fall to the ground in a heap as the two men race toward the fire.

I really don't want to get up. Yet I lift my head, blearily attempting to make sense of my surroundings. What's going on? Why had a fire just suddenly ignited in the campsite? No one in the Acritudoni military would be so careless as to accidentally torch two or three entire tents.

Which means it wasn't an accident, I realize. It was completely intentional, it had to have been planned by someone with a distaste for Acritudo --

And I can only think of one another person in the area who isn't fond of the military.

I inhale sharply, my heart stopping. Shakily, and grabbing onto a local tree for support, I stand up.

What's Quintus doing here? How did he find out where I am? The more I think of it, the more I bet that fire was a distraction, one meant to attract the vast majority of Abraxas’s men. In the meantime, he heard me scream, he knows where I am --

And I'm not the only one who's realized that.

Just as Abraxas turns his head to look at me, I whirl around and make a run for it.

I don't make it very far. Within five seconds, a rough hand seizes my shoulder and slams me against a tree. I blink past the starbursts of pain and attempt to squirm out of Abraxas's grip --

The barrel of a pistol presses icily into my back.

"Walk," Abraxas says lowly. "Call out, and you're dead."

Too terrified to speak, I can only nod.

Abraxas forces me forward and starts at a pace that I can barely keep up with. I stumble and nearly trip over my own feet in my haste, but quickly catch myself out of fear for my own life.

Within a short minute, the military campsite is out of sight. Abandoned by the glow of a campfire, we delve deeper into the dark forest, only able to perceive the way ahead by the moonlight descending from above.

My exhales are short and labored. My heart roars in my ears as Abraxas marches me onward. A primal, guttural urge to shout to Quintus claws its way to the surface, to tell him to get away, just get away while he still can because I'm already a lost cause. But I can't, because I know that if I so much as open my mouth, my life will be gone in one quick second.

Then, throughout the maelstrom of panic, a glimmer of logical sense is restored.

He can't kill me, I remember. If he wants to restore his honor, then he has to bring me alive. What he said about killing me could very well be a bluff.

I decide that I'm willing to test that bluff out.

I take a quick, sharp breath. "RUN!"

No sooner do I yell does Abraxas clamp a hand over my mouth. I try to say more, but it just comes out muffled. The pressure of the gun switches from my back to my shoulder.

The gun is cocked.

Abraxas's voice is dangerous. "I specifically remember telling you not to -- "

I act completely on instinct. I bite down on his hand and smash my heel onto the instep of his foot simultaneously.

Abraxas shouts in pain, placing his finger on the trigger just as I duck and ram my elbow into his arm. The impact forces his arm upward just as his gun goes off, letting a bullet fire up into the night sky.

I dive to the ground and roll before scrambling back up and breaking out into a desperate sprint. I run, run run run run run --

A burst of familiar pain explodes throughout my body. I stumble and bend over for one second before gritting my teeth. I push past the pain and continue to run. I'm not going to let anything stop me from getting away from Abraxas.

Again I duck when a bullet zips toward me.

I keep running. For all that I’m worth, I run. I weave around trees and duck under branches, and I keep my focus right ahead. I run faster, faster --

Only to run straight into someone.

I instinctively try to punch that person, only for my fist to miss. When he speaks, I’m glad I did.


The voice allows me to calm down for a second. I register the man in front of me. Staff, gray eyes, ponytailed gray hair . . .

I blink. Then I blink again, as though to see whether or not he was actually, physically, here. “Q-Quintus?” I say.

“Hey,” he says quietly. He runs his eyes up and down my body, horror blooming on his face as he sees the growing bruises on my face, the red wrists, the line of blood at the base of my finger. “Dear God. Are you alright?”

“Yeah.” My voice is husky, and I can’t really look at him in the eye. “I’m okay.”

“Are you? Are you really?”

“Yeah. I’m okay.”

Quintus doesn’t speak. He just looks at me softly.

But the two of us can’t simply remain here for long. With a jolt that makes my spine go rigid, I remember my warning to him. “Wait, you shouldn’t be here, I told you to run, please, you need to get out of here -- “

“That’s the intention.” He takes my hand and begins to lead me further away from Abraxas. “I’m just not leaving you in the hands of that madman in the process.”

I run after him, too desperate to get away to argue. “How did you even -- “

“Know you were here? You didn’t return within an hour of running off. I knew something had happened.”

“But I was angry at you. It could have easily been that -- “

“But it wasn’t. You were not angry so much as frustrated in the heat of the moment.” Quintus looks over his shoulder, meets my eyes with his. “I know you, Lucian. I know that you’re sorry. I know you truly didn’t mean what you said.”

A comforting chill sweeps down my skin. He knew. He had enough faith in me to know that those words I said weren’t true.

Both of us hear it -- the quickly approaching footsteps behind us.

Quintus pulls me forward and darts to the nearest tree. We both take cover against the thick trunk, and I let go of his hand.

With him, I wait into the stillness of the night, straining to hear any sound at all.

All I hear is emptiness.

I rotate my head to the right, and then to the left, searching for signs that Abraxas or any other Acritudoni soldier is here. There’s nothing to suggest that there is. And yet, I still can’t lower my guard. One of the reasons I got captured earlier is because I never saw Abraxas coming. To make the same mistake again would be --

I hear the hiss of a sword as it’s slowly, quietly, extracted from its sheathe.

The sound is so faint that I almost don’t even pick up on it. I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t really been trying to hear. But what matters is that I did.

So did Quintus. His face is turned to the side, carefully watching the forest floor for Abraxas. After all, we know he’s here. It’s just a matter of when he reveals himself.

Or when we reveal ourselves.

I see a slow awakening in Quintus’s eyes -- the dawn of a realization. He looks to the ground, searching it for a moment as though to somehow find other ideas there, before quickly looking back up.

I nudge Quintus, prompting him to turn his attention to me. I lift my eyebrows pointedly. If he has an idea as to how to get us out of this, then I’m all ears.

Quintus narrows his lip. Closes his eyes.

Then he bends down and whispers into my ear.

“Turn around and run as fast as you can. I’m going to buy you time. Put it to use.”

“What do you -- “ Dread seeps into my skin when I realize what he’s going to do. “Wait, no, you can’t! Abraxas is powerful, you’re not going to stand a chance in a straight fight -- “

“I’m a Strength Bearer. That’s going to count for something.”

I shake my head, again and again and again. “But -- “

“There’s no time to argue, if you want to survive,” Quintus says. “And you have to survive. Eventually, my time will be over, but yours is just beginning. I have faith that you and the other Trait Bearers of your generation can change the world. But you cannot do that if you’re dead, so go, Lucian, go.”

Quintus rises back up to his full height. In the moonlight, I see a clear moment of hesitation on his face. But then it’s gone, replaced by something I’ve never seen before on his face.

A smile. A very small smile, one meant to reassure.

“I will be fine,” he says.

I nod, stumbling a step back. Then another. And another. He’ll be fine. He’ll be fine.

I don’t bring myself to protest at all when Quintus steps out of cover --

And by the way he speaks, directly into Abraxas’s line of sight.

“Brutally torturing a twelve-year-old boy,” Quintus says. He narrows his eyes. “That’s very low even for you, General.”

The distance between Quintus and I grow with every step I take, but I don’t take my eyes off of him.

Even from here, I can hear Abraxas’s dark chuckle as his footsteps come closer to Quintus. “And why is it that you’re so surprised?”

“I’m not. That’s the unfortunate part.”

“Enough of this. Where is the boy?”

I have just enough time to hear Quintus say, “Gone,” before I turn right on my heels and pelt right away from the both of them.

I rip straight through the forest, prepared to duck the instant I hear a gunshot and readying myself should I ever feel a burst of pain. The thick tree trunks and silver fingers of moonlight all fade into a blur.

I don’t look back. It’s okay not to look back.

Already I overhear Abraxas’s steel sword crashing against Quintus’s wood staff.

I keep going. Quintus is going to be fine. I’ll just regroup with him afterwards.

My arms and legs pump as I dash away --

Quintus’s shout of pain makes me flinch. Still I run. Still I don’t look back. Still I force myself not to look back.

He’ll be fine. My throat tightens. He’s going to be fine. He’ll be just fine.

Except maybe not. He just said he was going to be fine.

I wince like I’ve just received another round of pain from Abraxas. I look down, pressing my chin to my chest, and then look right back up and make myself go onward.

The way he talked to me before confronting Abraxas . . . how he told me how I had to survive, that his time would eventually be over, and how he said my generation would change the world . . .

He’s not expecting to make it. He’s expecting to die.

Quintus intends to sacrifice his life for mine.

I slow to a stop and throw my head over my shoulder. Far in the distance, I’m able to make out Quintus’s lean form and Abraxas’s broader, black-clad body. Quintus ducks under a gleam that can only be Abraxas’s blade, retaliating with a strike of his own despite his slowing movements. Quintus takes two steps back before shooting a hardened clump of earth forward with his arm.

Completely exhausted and more than ready to fall over, my chest heaves up and down as I observe the fight. Abraxas deflects the earthen projectile with his blade and returns for a slash --

I let my shoulders deflate just a little when Quintus manages to parry it. He’s . . . actually doing well against Abraxas.

I was wrong when I told Quintus that he didn’t have a chance, I realize. He can survive this, maybe even --

It happens so fast that I almost miss it.

Quintus goes in for a strike, only to stop abruptly and reel over in the same kind of pain I was tortured with. He’s quick to recover, and straightens himself within a second.

But a second is all Abraxas needs to drive his blade right into Quintus’s chest.
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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

Post by Mythie on Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:14 am

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Re: Anaphora: Pariah

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