Demon Realm

May 2017 Featured RPG

SWEETDREAMUR'S SHORT STORY

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Posted | 03-31-2018, 07:04 PM

SWEETDREAMUR'S SHORT STORY



Welcome to the short story writing quest adventure! Please pick any one of your characters and write a story based on the following prompt:

Follow the fox, they said. The damn thing led me straight to a pit!


Quest Mechanics!


— This story requires the writer to reach a minimum of 2,500 words. That is equal to six (6) posts of 4 point status.

— You may post multiple times to break up the story into parts and give your mind a break!

— Twice though out the event you may DM LADY KYO and have me come in and read what you have so far and give you feedback, advice, or prompt help if you feel you are getting stuck. Please do not hesitate! I'd rather help you out then have anyone get discouraged and stop writing!

— You may have others look at your work and offer advice as well but do so in discord or through private messages. Only the writer of the story may post in this thread!


WRITING STARTS SUNDAY APRIL 1ST AT 12:00AMCST AND ENDS MONDAY APRIL 30TH AT 12:00AM CST

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This post was last modified: 04-15-2018, 12:52 PM by SweetDreamur Posted | 04-08-2018, 04:56 PM

Samuel is in the greatest amusement park in the world, and he is bored as all fuck.

Maybe it’s his own fault. Westworld is supposed to be a place of endless possibilities, the ultimate video game; you’re decked out better than an obsessive cosplayer at a comic-con, sent out into a real life wild wild west, even accompanied by the most life-like npcs in the universe- but the only possibilities he’s been exploring so far are the ones between woman’s legs.

To be fair. They’re some fucking good legs, if you ask him. If you ask anyone. But to be honest, even he’s getting bored of it. Which leaves the quests, because in Westworld, if you aren’t fucking anyone or shooting anything, you’re going on a quest. Which may still involve doing those two things but. You know. With a pretense of adventure behind it.

But what grand adventure would he even send himself on? Capture a loose bandit? Lame. Join one of the armies? Boring. They all sound perfectly fine, but a little cut and dry, and he wants something other than a shootout or random band of cannibals. Something with mystery. Something with intrigue. Something that doesn’t require him to shoot a gun, because he’s unfortunately the worst fucking shot anyone has ever seen. Alas, all the quests fitting those descriptions apparently take place way out from the town, and he sure doesn’t want to go out there alone. Not without a guide. And a couple other humans. But his friends seem to be even lazier than he is, and have been more than happy to stay stuck in Sweetwater.

Back to being bored it is. Bored as all fuck. Bored in the greatest amusement park in the world.

So bored, that while trotting around the outskirts of Sweetwater, when he catches sight of a woman with half her body in the ground and her ass in the air, Samuel just stops and stares for a good five minutes.

The ass itself may or may not have something to do with that. But the better question is what it’s doing there. In the air.

The man deftly swings his legs around his horse and manages to not even remotely fuck up dismounting. Go him! The woman in question seems to be stuck, feet twitching about; it seems like she’s reaching for something down there, but in that position she’s more likely to fall down head first. Being the gentleman that he is, Samuel wraps his arms around her waist and hoists her up just before she loses her balance. “Whoa there, little lady,” Samuel says with the best charm he can muster. “What were you doing down there?”

The woman blinks bewilderedly, some strands of her bob sent astray. She brushes the dirt out of her hair nonchalantly, shaking it out as she goes. “My name is Ananke,” is the first thing out of her mouth. Guess she doesn’t like being called ‘little lady’. Eh, fair enough. “And I’m looking for a fox.” She’s got a southern twinge, meaning she’s actually southern or is just really into the roleplaying aspect of the game.

Samuel raises an eyebrow. Is this what he thinks it is? “A fox?”

The woman nods. “Find the silver fox, get led to the treasure. There was a man back in town who told me that.”

It is. A quest! And not just any quest, a quest Samuel’s only heard being talked about in whispers and gossip. The silver fox isn’t part of any of the park’s official storylines, but it’s not a myth either. Urban legend, more like, a secret game no one even knows how to play, and that’s what makes this all the more interesting. “You’ve heard of it?” Samuel leans in, excited, his voice lowering into a conspiratorial whisper. The woman, not happy with how close their faces are together, leans back a bit. “I thought it was just a thing that some assholes made up to make it look like they knew more than the rest of the other guests. So you saw it? It’s real?”

“...I did, and it is.”

“Well, where did it run off to? Down that hole you were trying to crawl into?”

That’s when Ananke stiffens. Not a lot, but enough for him to pick up on it. “I’m not sure if I should be telling you that.” And Samuel starts to see exactly what’s what; she’s the type that likes to fly solo, take the glory for herself. Well, not this time. This time Samuel wants in. And then he’ll be able to show his mates who got up to more fun this time around.

More determined than ever, the man shoots her a knowing look. “Not even if I can help you? Because I could be incredibly helpful. Look, I’ve even figured out the next part of the quest: Do you know what this pit is?”

“It’s angled upwards and I couldn’t shine a light to the bottom. Which means it’s a tunnel.” She’s still looking apprehensive but still talks, which means she’s willing.

“Aha.” With a smirk, Samuel taps his temple with a finger. “What you don’t know is that this tunnel runs underneath the brothel, which I… know only by coincidence.” His confidence deflates as he looks at the expression on Ananke’s face.

“By coincidence,” she echoes. Her face remains flat and yet somehow manages to become ten times more judgemental looking.

“Y-yes.”

Ananke nods. “I believe you,” she says in a way that implies that she absolutely does not believe him. Oh god she’s onto him.

Samuel clears his throat with increasing panic and continues. “Anyways. The tunnel is there as an escape route. You know, when people have to bolt before their spouses find them in the brothel. They go down to the cellar and climb through until they come out here; it’s way easier to go up and out than down and in- which I also know solely by coincidence-“ he makes sure to stress, a finger raised in his defense, even though Ananke is still shooting him that unconvinced look of hers. He swears he’s telling the truth this time. He swears. “Point is, we go back to brothel, we find the fox. Worth a shot, right?”

Now he really has her attention. “Go back, and find the fox,” she mulls aloud. “Okay. Let’s try it.”

Samuel laughs. “Aha, it’s ‘let’s’ now, is it? Well, since you were so kind as to invite me-“

“I’m sure they’ll be happy to talk to a familiar face.”

“Oh, come on!”

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Posted | 04-15-2018, 07:25 PM

The prostitute that greets them, much to Samuel’s chagrin, does in fact recognize the man, but after quickly steering the conversation away how much of a rind she has on her, Ananke eventually manages to suss out the general location of the fox. It had long since left the brothel, having burst out from cellar and scampered away amidst panicked guests and hosts alike, but Clementine had seen the direction in which it had went- south-west, in the direction of Las Mudas.

The fox itself, she had also remarked, had been curiously adorned, with a leather cord attached to its neck, something silver hanging off the end. “So, west,” Samuel declares as Ananke strides over to her horse, patiently waiting after all this time with its oats and water. The way he says it makes it sounds like he intends to come.

Ananke still isn’t so sure. “I still don’t think you should come with me.”

“Oh come on,” Samuel insists, persistent again. “This is the first quest I’ve seen that looks interesting to me, and I mean really interesting. Let me come! Besides, if the fox really went out that far west, you definitely won’t want to go out alone.”

This last part confuses Ananke. “Why?”

The man stares at her a little. “Uh, because there’s a serial killer on the loose?”
“…oh.” She’d forgotten.

Samual balks. “Did you- did you really not remember?!” His arms begin to flail in a very undignified manner. “Why do you think I haven’t left Sweetwater alone? People have died. That’s serious shit. Even if the only reason I’ve been able to come here is because the ticket sales dropped so low…” Lower than United Airlines. Lower than Malaysia Airlines, after they had a plane crash. Twice. If it hadn’t been for Delos gutting their own management, the place would had long since been shut down. As it is, they’d claimed the killer had been caught, but the rumors say otherwise, and Samuel always keeps his ears close to the ground.

“Well,” Ananke says slowly, “I think I can take care of myself.” She doesn’t carry much belief in rumors, and while Samuel may believe the whispers of guests hunting other guests, she doesn’t buy into it. And if she dies- well, this is how she dies. This is how her life plays out. She’s alarmingly at peace with the idea at this point.

There’s a look of surprise on Samuel’s face, the kind people get when they encounter something that isn’t necessarily strange, but against their expectations. A little twist in reality that makes you squint and wonder if the world had always really been the way it appears. “I’m coming with you anyways,” he says quickly before running off to the nearest horse and following.

The woman sighs, a deep breath and deflates her lungs entirely before she rubs the bridge of her nose. Every word she’d said had simply passed into one ear and out the other. Well, that’s his decision; Ananke isn’t responsible for happens to anyone but himself. She’d warned him. Let him come, if he wants.

………………………………


Ananke, as it turns out, is relatively good at tracking. Samuel says relatively good because she’s got a good enough eye to follow footprints and has some knowledge of animal behaviour, but he feels like if she were really a savant about it, like those Native American trackers you see on television (or is that racist? He feels that might be a little racist to talk about) they would had long since caught the blasted animal. As it is, tracking is really just a lot of riding horses and stopping every so often to make sure that the tracks are still correct. It’s apparently much easier to follow a fox with clear footprints and a lack of trees.

Even so, it’s awfully boring, and Samuel can’t help but try and strike up a few conversations. Ananke’s not the only knowledgeable one, and he takes great pleasure in detailing the long, intriguing history of Westworld and Delos. “To tell you the truth, I think the place when to shit a bit when they pushed Ford out.” But in a way it’s a good thing for him, since that’s how admission prices managed to lower from forty thousand fucking dollars a day. Even if reviews have… waned since them. Ananke doesn’t seem to be listening, but he keeps talking anyways. “What about you? Did you get to see this place in its prime?”

It takes a while for her to answer. He’s surprised she even does it at all. “I’ve been here a lot. For what feels like forever,” she explains, the rhythm of her words catching on every bump in the road as their horses trot along. “Since… the last couple months, I suppose? Before Ford’s retirement. Done every quest. Except one. The silver fox.”

Good lord, how rich must her parents be that she’s been able to stay for so long? That’s ‘fuck you’ money right there, and a girl her age definitely wouldn’t be able to afford it on her own. Samuel whistles. Or tries to, anyways, when Ananke shushes him sharply. “I hear something,” she declares, a hand held up in his direction even if her eyes aren’t looking his way as well. After a couple seconds, he starts to hear it to. Or, not so much hear it as it is sense it, some tremor in the ground like mother earth had suddenly discovered the joys of vibrators.

Alright, bad image. Perhaps inappropriate, because as he looks on the horizon he sees several black horses and riders coming in their direction and OH GOD THEY’RE HEADED THEIR WAY-

“I think they’re trying to kill us!” Samuel says loudly, with dignity, in a way that doesn’t at all resemble a girlish scream. A bullet whizzes somewhere past him, and he briefly feels like an idiot for pointing out the obvious. Obviously, it’s some kind of event they’ve triggered, maybe competing treasure hunters that are looking for the same thing. Probably just hosts trying to give them a run for their money. So there’s no need to panic. No siree. Nope that’s not him shrieking as his horse starts to buck upwards, nooooooope-

His partner hisses, trying to calm her own startled horse. “Calm down!” Ananke orders, and Samuel can’t tell whether she’s talking to her horse or to him. “They’re hosts. They can’t hurt you, right?”

Oh, okay, she’s probably right. “I guess so?” He answers, bewildered. The realization is a little easier to grab hold of now that he’s said it out loud; maybe all he’d really needed was for someone else to drill the answer into him.

Ananke stops her horse, puts a hand on the pistol sheathed at her waist. “Then all you have to do is keep screaming and ride as fast as you can. Make a distraction. I’ll take care of the rest.” She spins her gun around her finger like they do in the movies (it’s admittedly super cool), and suddenly snaps her reigns with her free hand, her horse suddenly diverging in path from him and the approaching mob. Oh bitch, is she trying to ditch h-

More bullets, and suddenly Samuel feels that screaming and running is maybe the best course of action for now. He can chew Ananke out later.

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Posted | 04-15-2018, 08:21 PM

Loose sand under her horse’s feet. Hot sun beating down on her brow. There’s a thrum from her pursuers, a cacophony of distant shouts and whoops and gunshots, as the crowd starts to close in. Enemies, obvious, though their nature is unclear so far.

Not that this is enough to stop her.

Ananke swerves away from her tagalong, dust billowing in her wake from the sharp turn, gun held in her right hand. Several of the other riders (Bandits? Bounty hunters? Some other kind of criminal profession?) try to take shots at her, but there’s only one of her and plenty of them, so while their shots miss, some close, some far, but misses all the same, she aims in the general direction of the crowd and unloads her entire gun’s ammo. Two are hit, and they immediately fall, red blooming from their chests. So they’re hosts, and therefore can be killed. Good.

She needs to reload, but by now some of the group has broken off and is trying to follow her; it seems Samuel’s distracting can only do so much. It’s difficult to fight on horseback, and she has to time every movement to the bumps and jostles that threaten to throw her off entirely. Slip the bullets into her gun, one at a time, arithmetically, stopping on occasion to duck low and close to the saddle to take cover from the assault.

When her gun clicks shut once more Ananke pops up, this time onto her feet as the divots between the heels and balls of her boots catch on the stirrups. It’s risky to balance so precariously, but she’s done this a thousand times (and fallen a few thousand more). Three more shots, taking down another two of the four following her, before the woman gets close enough to the third and launches herself at him, tackling the both of them into the ground.

A barrel presses to his head and a shot, louder now that the gun is closer to her ears, rings with a mighty tremor. So much red and white, bone peeking out from the blood- but he’s definitely dead.

And then there is one, circling around her and the corpse that Ananke pulls up against her as a shield. A series of bullets pierce the body, but not her, as she quickly swivels around to protect herself from the last man riding. Two shots left, and she aims it carefully from over the shoulder of her corpse, gritting her teeth as the horse spirals closer. Closer. Closer. Closer. The body jerks with impact as it is hit again. Closer. Closer.

Now.

She does not aim for the man, but the horse, and as it is shot in the flank the beast rears up on its hind legs with a pained whinny, thrashing against its bit and reigns. Its rider falls, back first, onto the sand, stunned by the rush of breath leaving him. One shot left, and it is far to easy to aim from the ground, at a target that can no longer move.

When Ananke is certain that they are all dead, she rifles with a sense of urgency through each dead man’s clothes. Coin. Bullets. Guns. Useful for later, so she takes them before whistling for her horse again.

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Posted | 04-25-2018, 11:19 PM

“Mother. Fucker.”

Man. Samuel would have thought he had more eloquence than that.

One high-octane horse chase later, and they had gotten back on track. No more mysterious men on horses chasing them. Ananke had gotten a hold of the fox tracks again. But despite the peace and quiet that returned after the fighting was done, the man can’t help but look back every few minutes, looking at the corpses in the sand while they slowly shrink out of sight.

They somehow manage to track the animal, and eventually find their way to a town, fully formed but strangely deserted. It looks like one day everyone just decided to close shop and move somewhere else… Samuel can even see the drinks left on tables, overturned chairs like everyone left in a hurry.

There is one man still there. Older than the two of them, but not too old- late fifties at most. He has salt and peppered hair and leans back in his seat like he owns the whole place. For a second Samuel can’t tell if he’s a host or another player- but he has to be, right? It’s not normal for a park-goer to just hang around in the middle of bumfuck nowhere by himself. Even though it’s weird enough for an NPC to do that too. “Hey,” he calls out as he and Ananke approach, ready to make a fool of himself. “You seen a silver fox around here?”

The man chews something and then spits it deftly out of the corner of his mouth. He grins. It’s a grin like he knows something they don’t, and he knows that they know that he knows that they don’t. You get what he means. “I have. You’ve found him.”

“…him?” Too confusing. Context needed.

The man nods and rises out of his seat like a tsunami. As he does, something above his left breast catches the light of the setting sun, a silver brooch shaped like a jumping fox. Well, that’s a kind of set piece you don’t see every day; that’s when you know you’ve stumbled onto something exciting. “You are looking at one Beryl Wagner, also known as the silver fox,” he reveals, the gusto clearly fitting an epic plot twist.

Ananke pipes up for the first time in ages. “The silver fox. Is a man,” she clarifies, sounding way more skeptical than Samuel.

Beryl doesn’t seem all that caught off guard, and just smiles and keeps talking like hosts sometimes do when you say something a little off script. “That’s right, little lady. A long time ago, a friend entrusted a great treasure to me along with his pet fox, and he told me, ‘Beryl, when the fox brings you someone worthy of it, you’ve got to lead them to what I’ve left for them.’ I never looked in the box itself, but it’s buried just a day’s ride away and it’s mighty big. Been waiting all this time for Silver to bring someone to take to it. Old gal never did, until today.” It’s a nice touch, claiming this is the first time anyone’s ever gotten this far in this quest, but Samuel’s willing to bet his entire inventory that there’s probably a few more obstacles in the way. Probably to make guests feel special about it. He knows those writing tricks those writers us.

Not that it’ll stop it from working. “That’s great!” Finally, they’re getting the show on the road!

………………………………


Ananke doesn’t agree with the sentiment. “It’s too strange,” she tries to whisper to Samuel on the way to the first ‘checkpoint’, the man had called in his own words. “There was no one else there. He says it’s only a day away. How could it be that easy?”

Her riding partner is far less concerned about being heard than she is, and talks a loudly as ever. “Well, from what I’ve read, this is supposed to be some kind of easter egg quest, so obscure even some of the employees didn’t know about it. Maybe it was just unfinished. Which, you know, could mean that there might be no prize, but it might be fun to poke around, right?” He isn’t even remotely concerned, content to sight see and point out every little curiosity as they ride, explaining backstories behind the design choices.

“Pariah has the best brothel in the game, by the way,” he says while veering onto some verbal tangent. “It’s Greek themed and everything-“ by this point he’s thrown off the pretense of pretending that he has not in fact very occupied with fucking prostitutes. “You ever been there?” He says it as a joke.

“No,” Ananke says, just a little too quickly.

Samuel raises an eye. “No?” He echoes.

“No.”

Samuel nods. “Okay. I believe you,” he says in a way that implies that he absolutely does not believe her. Oh god he’s onto her.

When Beryl finally stops, the sun disappearing by the mountains, and advises they camp for the night, Ananke does so with relief and sullen silence.

………………………………


Despite the warmth of the fire, the crackle of the flames trying to lull her to sleep, she finds herself unable to do so. She keeps hearing things. Not the wood burning in its quiet smoulder, not Beryl snoring peacefully from under the cover of his hat, not Samuel rustling intermittently as he tries to shift into a comfortable place. Something else. Something like gravel on gravel, and the sound is vaguely reminiscent of a shovel being embedded into sand.

The noise continues. Not a natural noise. Not a trick of the winds. But if someone else is close to them, why haven’t they approached the fire yet?

When the curiosity becomes too much, the girl peels back her blanket, slowly sliding her body outwards until she can stand without causing too much noise. Creeping carefully to the fire, she picks out a piece of kindle, lit but not completely burnt.

The sound is coming a little bit behind her, a several paces away from the fire. She would have to walk a while to arrive there. Calling out into the night would be foolish. Ananke says nothing instead. Just walks slowly, letting her shoes sink into the sand with each step. The noises continue. Sand shifted in little spurts of sound. They grow louder. She steps forward. The light of the fire is meager but it illuminates the way ahead. More noises. More steps.

And then, eyes.

Not human eyes, animal ones, glowing with red/yellow disks in the light of the flame. Ananke blinks, the sleep clouding her eyes, but when her vision settles she sees silver fur, the fox staring at her wide eyed, and the mound of dirt it had been digging. It scampers away as she approaches, but by now something else has caught her attention: the little hill of dirt, with something sticking out of it.

A human hand.

A heat floods her veins, prickling at her skin. Ananke digs a hand into the dirt and tries to uncover the body. Under the sand, the sand that fox had been trying to bury the corpse in, she finds a man, silver haired, clean shaven. A tear in his shirt just above the left breast.

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