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Character Story Preliminary Poll - Blood Orange


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Poll: Character Poll - Blood Orange (10 member(s) have cast votes)

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#1 Offline Velox

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Posted Jul 02 2013 - 02:21 AM

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Vote here for your favorite Character story; entries have been randomized. Please MAKE SURE YOU READ ALL ENTRIES BEFORE VOTING.Voting begins now and will end on July 3rd at 11:59 PM EST. Entries that do well will move on to the Character Final Poll, which will be posted at the conclusion of the 10th round preliminary poll.

 

 

Choice #1:

 

"My Little Angel"

 

It was days like these I always missed him the most. My father had always been by my side, always calling me his little Angel and while I couldn’t quite rationalize why someone would believe in something like Angels, I must admit it felt good.

 

We’d come down to our spot on the beach, skipping pebbles along the water, it had always been our little thing, and he’d always beaten me at it. I’d always try and calculate the best angle to throw with, and he’d always beat me, just by throwing it without a care in the world. Whenever I got frustrated, he’d always laugh and say.

 

“My little Angel, brains are good and all, but sometimes you just need a little fate and a little gut.”

 

This of course would only serve to make me angrier and I’d call him a fool, but even still we both cherished our time together. Even as the sun began to set, we’d only sit there marveling as the sky and sea turned a shade of blood orange. Under the beautiful, fading rays of sunlight, we’d slowly begin our walk back home, along the way my father would brag to anyone he knew about how his little girl was the most precious thing in the world.

 

Back then I’d feel mortified, what kind nincompoop has to brag about someone else so much, however now all I could do was tightly clutch a pebble, much like the ones we used to throw, and cry at the memory. Why’d you have to leave me dad.

 

The night it happened a storm was supposed to be coming our way; I had gotten fed up with the constant bullying at school, the kids always calling me out for being smarter than them. So I ran, I ran to our special spot and cried my heart out, I never wanted to go back, what was the point of me being smarter than everyone else if it only brought me so much pain.

 

Then I had felt a hand at my shoulder, my dad’s grinning face was looking down at me. His smile was so warm that night, yet his eyes were filled with a deep sadness at seeing his little Angel crying like this. “Your mother’s been crying her heart out dear. Won’t you come home already?”

 

I only shook my head, muttering about not ever wanting to go back anywhere, that everywhere was terrible. Still my dad only laughed and asked if that included our special spot. The words hit me, deeper than I could have imagined, and I replied that in that case I’d stay here.

 

Once again he laughed and said, “Angel, you’re a smart girl, smarter than your old man. Do the math; if the world is so big, what are the odds that the only good place in this whole big world exists only here? Pretty darn lousy I’d say, of course I’m no genius, but I’d think you’d agree.”

 

He then lifted my sobbing face out of my arms and knelt down in front of me so our eyes met. “Now look, the world can be scary place at times and yes there are some bad people out there, but for every bad person there’s a hundred good people out there waiting to be met, so do your old man a favor and keep your head up high to find them. After all Angels like you came from above, not below.”

 

Sure I found his words irrational at the time, but they managed to cheer me up a bit. So when he asked if I was ready to go home I just nodded my head, unfortunately that was when the storm decided to rear its ugly head. My dad picked me into his two arms and ran as fast as he could towards a nearby shelter, throwing me in and then, my tears began to flow freely down my face as the memories came back, he knew there wasn’t enough time to get in, so he, well, he... shut the door.

 

That was the last time I saw him, and even then he’d been grinning like a maniac. That next morning I awoke to find the storm had died down. The moment my mind started working I rushed out the door, but all I found were some pebbles my dad used to carry when we came to the beach. I’m sorry dad, I’ll hold my head up high from now on.

 

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Choice #2:

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Laughing, Beatrice ran into the forest after her parents. Finally a holiday from research studies. Plus, she was proud to see the forests her work had helped save.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Then Beatrice stopped short as she lost sight of her parents. And caught sight of another girl glowering at her.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The girl’s hair flew about her face, dried mud and sunburns caked her arms and her clothes were ragged. The overall contrast between her and Beatrice’s immaculate hair, skin and clothes was stark. Pity welled up in Beatrice’s eyes for an impoverished girl – for such she assumed the interloper to be.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]She was about to offer some little charity when the girl spoke.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“What are you doing in my forest?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Your forest?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Yes, mine. You don’t live here.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Beatrice drew herself up – she had every right to be there. More than this ragamuffin did anyway.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“No, but you- what’s your name?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Serafina. You’re Beatrice, I assume.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“How did you know?” Beatrice gaped.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Serafina shook her head impatiently. “Your parents woke the whole forest calling your name. Typical city-dwellers, coming and disturbing our peace.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Disturbing?” Beatrice spluttered. “We just saved your forest.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“From what?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“The men in the village were going to cut it down for wood and the paper mill wanted to plant pine trees instead.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Serafina laughed. “So city-dwellers ‘saved’ a forest from other city-dwellers. Brilliant people, cutting a rainforest down for paper.” The mockery in her voice was obvious.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“We’re not all like that!” Beatrice felt rather defensive. “I just spent months working on cheap, cellulose-free paper. I’m an environmentalist.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Those people who come asking us to sign bits of paper saying the government isn’t doing enough for rainforests?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Well, yeah, those are environmentalists too.” Beatrice bit her lip – it was obvious Serafina considered the term a poor recommendation. The girl turned her back and began playing with a dark orange stone that she carried in her pocket.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Hey, that’s a nice stone.” Beatrice pulled a similar one from her pocket. “Where’d you find it?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Serafina shrugged. “Mountains. Was following a loro. You?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“I, uh, bought this one. It reminded me of my cat’s eyes.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“You have a cat? How do you keep him?” Finally, Beatrice thought, as a glimmer of respect came into the other girl’s eyes.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Oh, it’s not hard at all.” Beatrice pulled a photo from her wallet.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Oh. That cat. The small one. I thought you meant a puma.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Beatrice laughed. “You can’t keep a puma in a city. Why do you carry the rock?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Colour like Hawk eyes. Most magnificent beast of prey there is. King of the skies.” Serafina sighed with admiration, looking at a bird circling far above. “What wouldn’t I give to fly like that...”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Me too. The forest must look so amazing up there, so colourful and bright.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“You like it here?” Serafina’s voice held a note of surprise.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Of course. It’s so pure and beautiful.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Serafina glanced at the other girl and laughed slightly. “You’re different from the others. They were so busy talking about climate change and some such, I wondered if they’d ever looked at the forest they said they were protecting. I guess you’re alright.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Beatrice brightened at her words. Clearly this uneducated girl didn’t understand environmental science. Here was a chance for her to teach her.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“You don’t know what climate change is?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Never needed to. I know how to find anything in this forest without book learning.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Yes, but you see-“[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Beatrice spoke for five minutes, explaining about climate change and its dangers to the rainforest (the only part Serafina seemed to listen to).[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"] “So it could flood if the outsiders cut more trees. No. I won’t let that happen.” Serafina’s eyes glittered dangerously.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“You can’t stop it yourself. That’s why the environmentalists are working to save the planet.” Pride suffused Beatrice’s voice.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Give me a break!” Serafina laughed. “You’re not saving the planet.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Excuse me?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“This climate change? It’ll kill city-dwellers first, because you don’t have trees. You’re only saving yourselves from a problem you created.”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“No, we didn’t, well, industrialization did but it was necessary for world economy. You wouldn’t understand the money involved, you’re just a village-”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Can you eat money?”[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The question silenced Beatrice. The scales fell from her eyes with the exceptional clarity of Serafina’s question, cutting through  familiar political rhetoric.[/font]

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Beatrice!”[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Beatrice started, seeing her parents in the distance. She rushed forward. Then the brilliant girl stopped, looking back at the uneducated Serafina with respect at last.[/font]

 

--------------------------------

 

Choice #3:

 

Kylie was a genius, yes. But she was always taken as just another dumb blonde. She saw the nature of rocks, and how they were related to Blood-Oranges (Blood-Orange is her favorite color, so why not her favorite fruit?). When you look past the obvious, everything is connected. Especially rocks and Blood-Oranges. Kylie always carried her favorite rock, Bob, around with her for no apparent reason. She h He was just so smooth, and a little soft, and he also tasted a little like Blood-Orange when you licked him. He was also tinted a little orange-ish, rather than gray. "Oh, Bob, I love you. You're the perfect rock." Kylie said. "Are you the offspring of a Blood-Orange and a regular, everyday rock?" She asked as she sat him down onto a picnic table.

 

"Why yes, I am." A voice said.

 

"Wait, Bob, you talk?" Kylie said.

 

"Well of course I talk, you talk to me, why can't I talk to you?" The voice said, a stifled giggle was heard shortly after.

 

"I've been talking to you for hours and you never talked back." Kylie said.

 

"Oh come on." The voice said. "How thick are you?" Kylie's old frienemy, Katy, said as she stood up from under the table. "Bob is just a Blood-Orange that was painted gray." Katy said as she ground Bob underfoot. "I just proved that you're not a genius, you're just another dumb blonde." Katy said as she walked away laughing.

 

Kylie was now in tears, after being insulted and fooled, what else was she to do?

 

"Kylie..." A voice moaned.

 

"Stop making fun of me, Katy." Kylie said, upset.

 

"I'm... Not... Katy... I'm Bob..." The voice moaned again.

 

Kylie looked around, but no one was in hearing range. She had to believe that it really was Bob who was talking.

 

"Don't believe what others say to you... You really are a genius..." Bob said on his final note.

 

With her self-esteem replenished, Kylie walked back to her flat and found another Blood-Orange to talk to. And even though it didn't talk back to Kylie, it mouthed off to Katy whenever Kylie saw her.

 

--------------------------------

 

Choice #4:

 

"The Elixir of Youth"

 

The life of an alchemist was not for the weak of heart. But when it worked, when you could take a series of ingredients, focus it through the catalyst and burn it into that sweet-smelling blood orange elixir of youth, it was all worth it. 
 
Hanabelle had trained since she was a young girl, when she started on the alchemist’s path by cooking up explosive firepowder using her mother’s common cleaning powders, and burned down her house. She was kicked out of the village for it, but found by a master alchemist. She toiled under him as an apprentice until it was obvious that she outgrew him, that she was grasping concepts faster than he could , that she was making improvements on his formulas, she left him to make her fortune in the larger world, to find herbs and metals from all across the three continents. And when the King of Talisia asked her to become his court alchemist, well, how could she refuse his library? There she studied for the elusive elixir of youth, which alchemists from ages past had dreamed of finding.
 
And all the while she carried the same catalyst she made on the first day she was apprenticed to a proper alchemist. That was always the first thing an alchemist made, a catalyst, which appeared to be a small stone to uneducated eyes, which imbued the mundane of the natural world with the magic that made the alchemist’s trade possible.
 
And she had finally perfected it, the legendary elixir, the secret of immortality, here in her old age. The liquid bubbled and seethed and turned completely clear of all impurities when she dipped her catalyst into the muddy mixture by its chain. She knew all the old books, all her research, all her studies. It was by them that she knew she had reached her goal.
 
She took a sniff of it. It looked and smelled sweet as oranges and was the consistency of blood. But she now had to test it. She had no intention of testing it on herself. She had already tested on the rabbits she captured outside the castle, but it was difficult to tell the age of rabbits. But when they turned into small infant rabbits when she fed it to them in their water, she knew it was working. She’d have to get more tests to perfect it, but she had a good working start.
 
She asked for an audience with the king, and when she told him that she had found the elixir of youth, he was thrilled. He knew long ago not to be skeptical of her abilities. He promised to increase her funding tenfold. She walked away happy, wondering what new possibilities she could follow with all that money.
 
The next time she woke up to go to her laboratory, she found it locked and guarded.
 
“What is this madness?” she asked the guard “This is my lab! Get out before you spill something toxic in your eyes! You’re not even wearing proper protective gear!”
 
“Sorry ma’am,” the guard said. “King’s orders.”
 
The king came out of the laboratory, looking ten years younger, his grey hairs gone and his wrinkles smoothed out. “I had to try it for myself, you know, dear mistress alchemist.”
 
“You scum!” she said. “It’s not complete yet!”
 
“Your little discovery could make this kingdom a target,”  he said. “Word gets out, everyone’ll want it, and it belongs to the king. And besides, is that a way to talk to your king? If I wasn’t in such a generous mood I’d have your head chopped off right here for disrespect. But for now, your funding.”
 
“I don’t care about the funding! Only about my work!”
 
“And your work has done great things. But it belongs to me. It always has. Now, I suggest keeping quiet about your little discovery and maybe I’ll let you have some of it.”
 
“Never! You’ll regret this, I swear!”
 
She left that night with nothing but her catalyst and the money he gave her, not knowing where she was to go, now that her greatest work had been stolen from her.
 
But nothing brought joy to Hanabelle’s heart like hearing that the court was in a tizzy, now that the king who had reigned without an heir was now inexplicably an infant babe.
 
--------------------------------
 
Choice #5:
 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]"Uthina"[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]A young woman stood high in a tree upon a wooden platform built upon a thick branch. Her red-orange hair waved in the slight breeze. Her stocky frame was covered with an animal skin dress of similar color to her tresses, with intermittent black stripes.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Off in the distance, the sun was setting, casting a plethora of similitude colors that radiated across the heavens. Clouds of pinks and heliotropes drew sluggishly across the vista, in no particular hurry to get anywhere. A small herd of mammoths ambled along across the horizon.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The woman slid her hand into a fold in her dress, her fingers lightly enfolding a small stone in their warm embrace. She did this habitually, just to be sure it was still there. Her father, Tiberius, had given her this stone two years ago, just before he had set off on a long journey.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]"Uthina," he had said. "Our people need to find a new home, but we can't all go traipsing off at once. A few of the other men and myself are off to find this home, and while I'm gone I need you to be brave, to take care of your mother and younger brothers. Here, I want you to have this, so you will never forget to keep watch for our return." He had smiled at her and handed her a small stone, even as the tears were streaming down her face.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Uthina now withdrew the stone from the fold for a moment to look at it. It was dark ocher in color, like a stone cast right out of the impact of a sunset, and its ovoid surface was perfectly smooth and symmetrical, though tendrils of various shades of the staple color ran in veins and streaks that criss-crossed across its surface. Somehow just looking at it made her feel warm and safe. When she was feeling particularly imaginative, she would think of it as an egg and wonder what kind of terrible beast had lain it.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Ever since her father had left, she had often come to this tree of hers, where she would tinker with her materials and keep watch for his return. Other watchmen were posted farther on, but she had promised her father she would watch, and she intended to keep her promise. Since then the color of the stone had been her favorite of all hues. It was the color of her dress, it was the color of the ferocious striped cat. It was the color of her hair, of the sunset, of her precious stone. It was the color of her father's smile.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]She gently set the stone back into its fold and returned her gaze to the sunset. Then suddenly her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. A streaking ball of fire was flying high in the sky, heading towards the soil. She watched, motionless, mesmerized. When it landed it made a noise like thunder, and up into the air spread a great fiery cloud. The color of the cloud seemed to speak to her, calling her by name.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]When the smoke and dust settled, a big hole was left in the ground, and her insatiable curiosity was piqued. Turning from the wooden platform, she stepped onto a smaller one and pulled a lever. A system of ropes and pulleys activated and the platform lowered many feet to the ground. There she stepped off and ran past much of her collection of oddments and inventions, from a wooden wheel to a stick-and-rope device she called a fish-catcher, and out into the grass.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]On she went, until she finally reached the hole. It formed a broad crater, and at the bottom sat a great silver rock. She marveled at the rock, a perfect symmetrical circle. Its surface was almost completely smooth, sparkling and reflecting in the fading light, more like the surface of a pond than a great rock. In the center protruded a smaller stone, like a great shimmering orange gemstone. With a gasp she retrieved her own small stone. They were nearly the same color, except the gemstone was of a solid color, whereas hers was veined.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]She started when the great gem suddenly twitched and moved, and a cloud of reddish smoke rose from it as something emerged. . .[/font]

 

--------------------------------


Edited by Velox, Jul 02 2013 - 02:22 AM.

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#2 Offline Excelsior

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Posted Jul 02 2013 - 12:05 PM

I voted for #4.

 

May the best story win!

 

-Excelsior


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#3 Offline Takuaka: Toa of Time

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Posted Jul 03 2013 - 04:56 PM

Wow, these are all really good. The one about Bob made me laugh. It was a tough choice, but ultimately I chose #1. Good luck to all!


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This is where I'm supposed to have a signature, right? Alright, then.


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#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Jul 04 2013 - 02:18 AM

[color=rgb(0,0,128);font-family:'times new roman', times, serif;]Polling period over; topic closed. [/color]


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