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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Belated (I took a random holiday!) so here we go! I hope you get as enthusiastic as I do about this!

This weeks prompt is: ritual
This could be a ritual of religious meaning, a ceremony, something someone does as a habit, or even a custom, etc.

What is this about?
The idea behind these week prompts is to keep the mind flowing in an informal manner. To produce a piece of work in a short period of time that you can either leave as is (and possibly have it posted to non-canon), or work on in your own time to produce a full piece for Torn World.

How long can I take?
Anything up to 30 mins to produce your piece. It does not (and probably won't be) perfect.

How many can I do?
As many as you want, for as many characters/situations/adventures you want. As long as they all have a base theme of Torn World.

Is this a competition? Is there a winner?
Nope! This is for fun and enjoyment.

You have until Sunday to post them here! Comments welcome by readers also.

Enjoy!

_________________
Lorna.
There is hardly anything in the world that cannot be solved by the eating of cake.
*flails around*
Owner of: Lenarai, Areluu, Olarali Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ


Last edited by Comtessa on Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: The Morning Ritual
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Olarali thought about her day ahead, her fingers deftly working a jar of soft paste until it became almost liquid. She knew she had a meeting after lunch, so she made a mental note not to each too much. I wouldn't become her to bloat after all.

Carefully she applied the thin paste over her skin, blending the pale-toned concealer over her cheekbones to remove their natural blush, being careful not to mar her work with the sharp tips of her nails. This was part of her daily ritual she enjoyed. Every day she awoke and checked her dairy, looking over her appointments and reading her own hand-written notes about what to wear and how to do her makeup. She had planned those well in advance, so all she had to do was simply enjoy the day.

Today she was meeting with a man who appreciated a paler beauty, one who had skin like the finest of porcelain, and unfortunately after a day in the gardens, the sun had caught across her cheeks and nose so she had to tone down the healthy colour. She shook her head as she carefully fanned her skin dry and eyed herself critically in the mirror.

Licking the tip of a fine brush, she swirled the end within a tin pot of black, coating the hairs with the ground charcoal until it was loaded enough to frame an eye. With careful precision she traced a line along her upper lid, adding a flick to enhance the curve of her lashes. Being pale didn't mean she couldn't enhance her eyes, that and she would feel naked without her 'armour' on.

Giggling quietly to herself, she repeated the process with her other eye before batting her lashes. Although it was obvious they were lined, it still had a natural look about them to draw in admiration to their beautiful, emerald hues. Her lashes needed no attention, which pleased her, and she smiled as she smudged only a whisper of rose-coloured stain to her lips for the perfect pout.

Once she was done, she spent a good while looking over her features for any imperfections or wrinkles. She had noticed recently that a slightly lighter touch to the corners of her eyes would hide the beginnings of those pesky laughter lines. She had been told that they added character, but all she thought they did was show how short her career was. It was true that there were a selection of men who preferred dallying with a mature male, but the audience was much wider for someone who was fresh in the face and limber of limbs and she was <i>not</i> going to be a test subject for the time crystal experiments to return youth to a body. Not a chance!

Carefully taking up a pair of earrings, she slid the silver posts through her lobes, letting the exquisite cut diamonds sparkle gently. They matched the three that held her hair in place in a natural bun on top of her head, lose enough to allow several strands of hair to float freely about her features yet held tightly enough so she could move and play with it whilst she talked. With that she nodded to herself and rose to her feet.

Her outfit was ready for her to done and she slipped her robe free, quickly sliding her arms into a white shirt and doing up the pearlised buttons before wriggling into a formal skirt, the hem just brushing past her knees. It was a little tight for the desired effect, but Olarali felt especially proud of her rounded rear today that she didn't care. Smirking, she slipped on a simple waistcoat in a soft, mustard colour, the yellow emphasising her now pale complexion, the three buttons softening the fabric to embrace her breasts rather than hide them.

After stepping into a pair of low-heeled shoes, she once more looked over her reflection, shaking her head sadly.

“I have to speak to Bai about this soon...” Her voice was quiet, only for her and the empty room. “I can't always fulfil his wildest dreams as his <i>Ressa</i> much longer. She is so darned boring!” With a snort, she grabbed her plain licence pouch and was out the door, her ritual complete.

_________________
Lorna.
There is hardly anything in the world that cannot be solved by the eating of cake.
*flails around*
Owner of: Lenarai, Areluu, Olarali Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:21 pm 
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The Strands of Her Necklace

[1512.07.01]

Fala sits on her bunk and spreads out a scarf. She lays out a knife, some fresh leather thongs, and her wooden knot-pick. Then she unties her necklace and drapes it over the center of the scarf. Her hands move through the familiar ritual with grace and deliberation.

One section at a time, Fala dismantles her necklace. The beads from each section stay together, carefully settled into little hollows on the scarf. The used thongs are set aside. She cuts fresh thongs and reassembles her necklace.

The farthest right section holds the oldest beads. A piece of multicolored rainshell represents her age-set. A small white spiral, nearly spherical, stands for the village of Itadesh where she grew up; and a cylinder of teal ceramic stands for Itrelir, where she lives now. A wooden bead carved to resemble a blackberry commemorates her childhood skill in ranger work, given by Beqash.

The near right section holds her memories. A ball of yarn carved from ivory represents her mother Inama, while a polished copper disc represents her father Alvardu. Here, too, lies the first month-bead she ever received, faceted green ashaakarg from Baarjan. The rutilated quartz point capped in gold recalls her recent adventure with Dareg, destroying the Other on Scarred Mountain.

The center space holds a single bead, a tumbled honey topaz from Dareg to claim her month. Its color reminds Fala of his warm hazel eyes.

The near left section recognizes her friends. At the moment it holds a wooden sphere painted to resemble a felt bead for Brem and Treg, who are the closest thing she has to age-mates here in Itrelir; and a ceramic sphere glazed in blue and green with a red spot, standing for Karavai and Tekura and Ularki.

The far left announces her occupation. It holds a miniature metal spearhead, its edges and point blunted for comfort, hinting at the spear she carries in the wilderness and the direction symbol found on Ancient maps.

At last the necklace lies finished. Fala picks it up, holding her life in her cupped hands, so full of memories and promise. Then she ties the necklace around her throat. She pins her dark braid high on her head to show off the new display. Quickly putting her supplies away, she hastens outside.

Dareg is waiting for her. The wind teases his black hair and Fala can hardly wait to run her fingers through it. His fair skin flushes and his hazel eyes light up as he looks at her, gaze snagging on the topaz hanging heavy in the center of her necklace.

"Let's walk to your house," Fala says, "so we can show people whose bead I'm wearing."

That is, whoever happens to be along the most direct route between here and there.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:33 am 
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That is such a sweet story, Ysabet, and also informs people how important the necklaces are! I loved it.

_________________
Lorna.
There is hardly anything in the world that cannot be solved by the eating of cake.
*flails around*
Owner of: Lenarai, Areluu, Olarali Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:01 am 
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*slides in sideways* I'm a little late with this, but it was FUN.



The bell above the door to the Haze of the Moon jangled cheerfully as Ressa came in, stomping snow off of her feet on the thick rug.

The cheerfully lit room that greeted her was warm, after the winter evening, and invited cozy conversation in every quiet corner. It smelled like spiced drinks - a specialty of the women's club - and slightly of mingled smoke. Plush chairs in alcoves were half-filled with customers, chatting to each other with social abandon. Most of the fringed tapestry curtains were pulled back, but a few were down, giving those customers a private place to converse and take in the specialty food and drinks of the club. A brightly-dressed server took her coat, and Ressa ordered her usual.

Ressa was tempted by several tables where it was apparent hot gossip was being shared, and smiled and nodded at the other customers with friendly promise before proceeding back to one of the two public rooms that opened off of the lobby, marked with a crescent moon. There was a double-entrance, an airlock of sorts, to keep the smoke from the back room from overwhelming the front. Within, the cozy atmosphere became almost sultry, with lower light that was hazed in smoke. This room, unlike its mirror companion (which was marked with a star) had a gentle scent, and Ressa could breathe without fearing for her self-control. This was the moonflower room, a social place for a ritual for women alone. The other was for smoking hazeweed, a mild psychotropic that was wildly licensed in the Empire. Ressa didn't care for the relaxing effects of the drug, or the visual 'haze' that came with it. Moonflower, on the other hand, had no side-effects - and one very excellent principle property: birth control.

Ressa took an open seat at one of the round tables, greeting the other women, who greeted her back in familiar fashion. They chatted easily about the latest local gossip, and smiled widely at a mother who entered after Ressa with a young woman - clearly just entering puberty - shyly at her heels. Ressa accepted her mouthpiece and spiced cider from the server as the newcomer to their table took an empty seat next to her and scooted herself in. She took more care in attaching her mouthpiece to the central hooka than she usually did, aware of the girl watching her curiously, and her mother explained the process with a great deal of cheerful assistance from the other women.

A swift inhalation of the filtered smoke, a roll over the tongue, and Ressa held it for a short count, as timed by a mellow little bell. Three such patterns, keenly aware of the scrutiny, and Ressa had her medical license checksheet initialed by the server to show that she had received her dose of the drug for the tenday. (check!) The spiced cider took the slightly chalky taste from her mouth, and the young woman nodded and clumsily installed her own mouthpiece to the tube of the hooka as Resla unscrewed her own.

She couldn't help but recall her own first time in a moonflower circle - new to all the mysteries of puberty and prevention that had been no more than theory before - and she smiled as she left the smoky room, rich in ritual and nostalgia.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:40 pm 
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I really like "Haze of the Moon" -- it's charming and gives a good look at the Empire.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Warm Milk and Snowies

Jrilii lay on a pile of thick furs at the back of the lean-to, more furs piled on top of her. The two snowy foals sprawled on more furs, crowded into the space between her and their mother. Outside, snow fell, the tiny flakes shining amber and green in the light of the aurora above.

Starflower sniffed her foals’ heads, crowded almost into the lean-to by the other mares in the corral. She started to lick one tiny nose, and the baby woke. It bleated weakly, and lifted its head. The sound woke its sibling, who started complaining with more vigor, struggling to its feet and butting its head against the mare’s udders.

Immediately, Jrilii’s eyes opened. She rose, reaching for the bag of milk, already topped with a fresh, hand-sewn nipple. She kneeled over the baby snow-unicorn, and it looked up at her with trusting brown eyes. “I’m here, Ash, you don’t have to wait,” she murmured.

Ember was suckling eagerly from her mother, though her spindly legs trembled.

Jrilii yawned hugely. She was tired—she was always tired since the twins were born—and she had just fallen asleep. But she grinned at the snowy foals—this was the first time Ember had suckled from her mother without Jrilii sliding a stuffed saddle bag under her to help her stand. The twins had been born underweight and weak.

Beneath her, Ash pushed up onto his forefeet and butted his head against her chest. Jrilii wasn’t expecting that, and lost her balance, landing on her back in the snow just outside the lean-to.

Her hood flipped back, letting her brown hair escape, and a sleepy foal—one of the two healthy foals born that season—bent its head to sniff first her hair, then the milk skin. Laughing, Jrilii pushed it away. “Your Mom is taking good care of you, Foamy.” The plump foal blinked at her, then walked over to butt against her own mother’s belly.

She rolled to her feet and approached Ash again, who was now standing on his feet. This time, when Ash butted against her, Jrilii was braced for him. “Yeah, yeah. Here.” She thrust the new nipple into the baby’s mouth, and soon he was happily suckling.

It wasn’t long before the mares were dozing again, but Jrilii had to stand there, holding the heavy bag of milk, until Ash had emptied it.

Belly round, he sprawled back against the furs. His sister wobbled over and joined him.

“They’re looking stronger!”

Jrilii jumped at Orla’s voice, then she set the empty milk skin down. “They are.” She smiled. “I know that they are still weak, that even healthy snowy babies can die before summer, but—“

Orla ducked into the lean-to, being careful not to tip the stiff fur-covered container she held. “Hey, you don’t have to convince me! I brought some warm milk and sweet mittens.”

The two girls sat on the furs and started to eat. “So, have you named them yet?”

“Oh, we can’t name them until the breeders say they’re strong enough—”

Orla looked over her steaming food—a mitten of bread stuffed with stewed dried fruit—and Jrilii looked down.

“Ash and Ember. But don’t tell anyone.”

Orla laughed. “I know, I know. Not until you can name them publicly. But those are good names.”

The food was good, but Jrilii was yawning the whole time they ate. “Now go on, Jrilii. I can do the milking and keep an eye on—“ she paused, dramatically, “the babies—until you’ve gotten some sleep.” She pushed Jrilii out of the lean-to.

“I can sleep here!”

“They’ll be fine for a few hours without you!”

“I know.” Jrilii yawned again. “I just—“

Orla smiled. “I know. Go on and get some real sleep, inside, before Ortein shows up and drags you there!”

“He wouldn’t!”

“I’ve seen him carving courting beads—you bet he would. For your own good, of course.”

Jrilii laughed, but she headed off to bed.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:11 pm 
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I know I'm tardy commenting! I wanted to catch up on writing stuff for these before commenting. But with my own computer in the shop, I need to do some low-creativity stuff to get used to this keyboard. So, comments!

I really like all of these.

If these are to be submitted (not necessary, I know, but they're so nice, I'd love to see that happen) Ellen's and Ysabet's don't present any issues I noticed--they're both sweet and nice vingettes showing parts of Torn World in nice detail.

Comtessa's now--I'm wondering at what point in time Olarali figures out Bai's interest in Ressa, and how much he realizes she's "playing Ressa" for him, since he doesn't seem very conscious of his obvious (to us) attraction to his assistant. I wasn't even sure Olarali had figured it out, but it's totally in character for her to use that kind of insight to keep her clients thoroughly focused on her.

Besides cleaning up the typos--if you want to make it a canon piece--my main suggestion for this piece would be to rewrite the final lines to keep this in alignment with the main story, which has Olarali manipulating Bai for her own purposes, and Bai pretty oblivious to his own forbidden desires. Or to put it another way, I'd like to see a little more scheming, and a little less boredom!

But even so, I really liked this piece too!

Maybe tomorrow I can type up the "dance" piece I have in mind...


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