30 Day SFFH Writing Challenge

il_570xN_858552710_ik89The following is a list of 30 custom-made writing prompts, designed to invoke principles of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror in their creation.  There is no hard and fast length requirement, but I recommend a minimum of 300 words per entry.  Any prompt designating “you” as the protagonist is not necessarily restricted to the first-person and can be headed by any character of your choice.  Preferably one of your own design, of course.

  1. Write a story in which horticulture could be destructive or abused on a global or personal level.
  2. You wake up and suddenly you have a new twin!  Umm…where did they come from?  Also, why are they so angry?
  3. Using omniscient POV, write a story in which you must escape from the Roman Space Coliseum.
  4. A new culture of people is discovered hidden literally underneath America.  Facial hair is a big deal to them.  Why?  What does it mean for the women?
  5. What is that thing looking at you from the bottom of the basement stairs?
  6. A powerful mage has caused it to rain acid.  In a medieval setting, you must talk down a character who has lost hope and is threatening to take their own life.
  7. Three (in)famous writers will grant your wish to bring their characters into your world for the day.  Write the conversation you have with the writers, detailing the vehicle of your decision-making.  Use dialogue to navigate most of the story.
  8. A woman with full control over her mental faculties decides to kill her daughter.  You must write why we should empathize with this person, post-offense.
  9. The main character of your last story (whether from #8 or something else altogether) is now a witch/wizard.  They want to save the world, but should they?  Run them through a strict Q&A about their aptitude for world-saving.
  10. The world was legitimately supposed to end yesterday.  It didn’t.  Write the aftermath of people now acclimating to the fact that their lives are not over and that they must now return to their usual work day.
  11. You’ve inherited Tony Stark’s standard “Ironman” suit.  What’s the first thing you do with your newfound abilities?
  12. Oh my god, you’re in a hotel and something wants to kill you.
  13. You might have just stolen the Philosopher’s Stone from the tomb of Nicholas Flamel.  Now, with immortality in your hands, you are able to live forever.  Describe what you are doing four hundred years from now.
  14. Camping with your friends in the woods, your sleep is interrupted by the sound of someone or something trying to unzip your tent.  Who/what is trying to get inside, and why?
  15. You witness the destruction of an internationally renown zeppelin.  The next day, you are arrested as primary suspect in the crime.  How do you plead?  Do you even stick around to find out, or do you try to run?
  16. Onboard a space voyaging ship, your crew prepares to celebrate the birthday of the captain.  You’re in the void of the universe and haven’t made a stop in weeks, but he’s disappeared and there’s no sign of him on the ship.  What happened to him?
  17. You’ve been invited to Mt. Olympus to cheer up Zeus, who has officially been friend-zoned by all of the goddesses.  Can you help him set up a date, or will you take another course of action?
  18. In a city of perpetual night, you are assigned by your team leader to do a dead drop for the new recruit.  You must decide what goes wrong and how it plays out accordingly.
  19. Congratulations!  For whatever reason, you’re in the crowd when Oprah decides to give everybody a pet dragon.  Write about your first day together.
  20. You know that one celebrity you have a huge crush on?  Well, they died.  Except now their soul lives on as a sentient app for your cellphone.  In 30 days, they will disappear forever.  What do you do with this time?
  21. It has been scientifically, spiritually, and physically proven that our reality is a simulation and is going to shut down at the end of the year.  What happens to the world now that the masses are aware of this approaching, ultimate conclusion?
  22. You broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  They took it pretty hard.  Sucks for you, because they are a ninja and you must figure out some way to resolve this problem before they take you out.
  23. You are locked in a toy store for the night.  The toys are alive.  Write a story about what happens until the sun rises.
  24. A professional, virtual-reality, video game team has recruited you.  Describe your first tournament match in the virtual-reality arena.  How do you feel?  How do you perform?  What opinions do others form of you?
  25. Cupid needs a day off and you’re the fill-in.  You need to make at least three new couples by the end of the day, or by the time you’re done you will never be able to fall in love again.
  26. You’re running a daycare when seven new kids are dropped off into your care.  Each of them represents and perpetuates the characteristics of one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  You already have five kids in your care before this development and you are entirely on your own.  Survive.
  27. A supernatural virus has doomed your body.  Describe its influence on your mind and flesh as you slowly become consumed by its corrupting power.  Bonus points if the entire story takes place in one room.
  28. North Korea has created a giant robot (science-fiction for multiple reasons, clearly).  How does the world respond to this?
  29. You possess a special kind of magic in which whomever you paint a portrait of, you trap their soul inside of it.  Addicted to your power, you’ve become a novelty-person’s collector.  Who do you collect?  Write a story in which you explore this idea.
  30. Begin a story with the words “I will not die the monster.”

Challenge Month, Day 5

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Day 5: Write a conversation (in tumblr “chat format”) about a man who calls a wrong number, and ends up talking to an angry woman.  Go through the conversation, ending with the line: “Well, I suppose so.”

Note: I will not be doing this in Tumblr format, as that seems like nothing more than an infuriating gimmick.

“Hello?”

“Yeah, is this Sauce n’ Toss Pizza and do you still deliver?”

“No.  You have the wrong number.”

“I must have called Uncle Ben’s Pizza Parlor on accident.  Oh well.”

“No, boy.  This is Margaret Taylor.  You have the wrong number.”

“Margaret Taylor?  Never heard of you guys.  Oh well, I’m adaptable.  How much is your medium pepperoni?”

“Did your mom drop you as a child?”

“Weirdly personal question, but yes.  I’ll take two medium pepperonis, a twelve-piece breadstick, and some marinara on the side  How long does it take for you to make it to 1239 Penny Drive?”

“What’s your name?  I want to know your name.”

“My name is Donald, ma’am.”

“I am not a ma’am.”

“Sorry, didn’t realize Margaret had become a dude’s name.”

“I am a woman, you brat!”

“Sorry, but could we get back on track, mister Taylor?  I’m looking at your website and it says you have a special where I can get a personal dessert pizza with your two-for-one medium pizza deal.  That offer hasn’t expired, has it?”

“I don’t have a website.  You need to stop now.”

“Sorry, I lost you there for a second.  What was that last part?  I was driving through a tunnel.”

“Driving and talking on the phone?  Now you are threatening the lives of others.  Shame on your parents for not spanking these habits out of you as a kid.”

“My parents were good parents, mister Taylor.  They did not beat me.  Believed that it was a tranference of bad energies from one person to another.”

“That’s nonsense.  My parents spanked me all of the time.”

“And look how remarkably polite you turned out.  Can we return to my order?”

“We may not!  You must put away that phone right away before you get into an accident and kill somebody!”

“What about the laptop?”

“Laptop?”

“Yeah, it’s sitting right here in front of me.  How else do you think I was talking to you and on your website at the same time?  I’m not a wizard.”

“Put them both away!”

“Look, I’m cruising South on Highway 1 right now.  Haulin’ around 75 miles an hour so I can make it home in time for the game.  I’d really appreciate if we could minimize the distractions and get back to my order.”

“Oh my god.  Okay okay, what do you want?”

“Ha! I knew you were a pizza place, mister Taylor.  Playing coy with me.”

I am a woman.  Margaret it a woman’s name.

“Alright, I want the chicken parmesan for eight, with three Dr. Pepper’s and-”

“I thought you wanted pizza!”

“What good pizza place doesn’t double as an Italian restaurant?  Ask Subway, they know what’s up.  They started with sandwiches and now they’re getting pizza.  What a time to be alive.”

“Fine, fine!  Just keep your eyes on the road.  That’ll be a chicken parmesan for eight, three Dr. Pepper’s.  Anything else?”

“Fries and a taco.”

“Okay.  Fries and a taco.”

“What’s my total?”

“29.99 plus tax.”

“What kind of criminal price is that?  Your website says that if I get a taco the whole order is fifty-percent off.  That was the point of the taco.”

Fine.  14.99 plus tax.”

“See, was that so hard mister Taylor?  I look forward to picking up my order.”

“No problem, Don.  What was that address again?”

“Um, it was 1616 Quarter Avenue.  The house on the corner.”

“Thank you for your cooperation, Donald. I’m going to call the police and have them meet you at your house.  I’ll let them know all about what you’ve been doing here and how you’ve compromised the safety of our roads.”

“That’s fine, as long as they bring me my pizza.”

“You ordered chicken parmesan!”

“You know, Margaret.  The correct thing to do in this situation would have been to just hang up like, three minutes ago.  Instead, you’ve enabled me to be a potentially dangerous driver.”

*click*

    “Actually, the polite response would have been ‘I suppose so, mister Donald.  Well, I suppose so.’  But my parents didn’t spank me, so what do I know.”

Challenge Month, Day 4

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Day 4: Write 250 words starting with the next piece of dialogue you hear.

“I hear ya,” Jordan ran his hand over his face, sweat sliding against oil.  “Chief was last in B-wing helping one of the scrubs.”

Trista licked her lips and set the procedural ledger on the counter.  She shuffled in place and smoothed out her pink nursing uniform.  “I don’t know how to help this guy, then.  I’ve never set a femur.”

“I don’t think you can just set a femur.  Isn’t that a little outside our weight class?”

Trista looked away.

“Sorry,” Jordan apologized.  With deftness he’d only barely learned to control, he slid a needle into the soft notch of Miss Ortega’s arm.  He landed the vein on his first try in spite of himself.  He only learned how to do it last week.  “Look, it’s not like anybody is making it your responsibility.  That’s the perk of being interns.”

“But everyone else is preoccupied,” Trista snapped.

“Make one of them preoccupied,” Jordan took the lash in stride, “I don’t know.  It’s not our job.”

“It is our job.”

“It will be our job,” Jordan lassoed the IV cord around the backside of Miss Ortega’s bed and flicked the apparatus a few times until he was certain no wandering air bubbles would compromise his patient’s safety.  “I can’t help you.  I want to, but I can’t.”

But Trista didn’t seem to receive Jordan’s rebuffing very well.  She did not leer at him, but the look cutting through her eyes definitely meant something.  Without further discussion, she yanked her ledger off the counter and hiked down the hall towards B-wing, evading orderlies and otherwise doing a fine job of showing how panicked she’d become.

“Sorry girl,” Jordan said beneath his tongue, “I’m not a hero.  Doubt I ever will be.”

Challenge Month, Day 3

procrastinate

Write a 15-step list titled “How to be____”

How to be an expert procrastinator:

  1. Determine the thing which has both the most importance and least personal appeal on your schedule.
  2. Figure out a formulaic approach on how said thing will be accomplished.
  3. Build a timeline for its completion, include pie graphs if necessary.
  4. Return every single call and message you’ve neglected for the past two weeks.
  5. Begin working on thing.  Stop after twenty seconds.  You need to do laundry, remember?
  6. Dang.  Now you have to wait twelve minutes for the washer to be done.  No point continuing work on the thing with so little time to dedicate.
  7. Facebook hasn’t been checked in seven minutes.  Get on that.
  8. We need food to survive.  Only one cupboard is full of stuff.  Time to go to the store.
  9. And the bank, and the gas station and everything else you can think of for the love of god.
  10. Think about how you’re really going to buckle down on the thing when you get home.
  11. None of the food you bought sounds good.  Stop at Arby’s.
  12. Okay, time to get to work.  Frick, forgot about laundry.  Need to switch that over.
  13. Your productivity mojo just got axed.  Might as well take a nap to recalibrate your energies.
  14. Nap lasted seven-and-a-half hours.  No point doing the thing now.  It’s okay, we’ll compensate by being productive in every other conceivable way.
  15. Write a 15-step list because there’s nothing better to do.

Challenge Month, Day 2

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Day 2: Write 250 words inspired by the color of the walls of the room that you’re in.

 

It was in that box Danny first heard the words of the voice she’d later come to call “Itsy.”  Itsy, because the prompts and suggestions were small, only noticeable if she were looking to find them, and the voice had a spindly quality, like a spider.  Friendly, composed, welcoming like a nursery rhyme, but a spider all the same.  Not many stories cast spiders in a very good light.  Charlotte’s Web did, but then that maternal arachnid didn’t even make it to the end, so she doesn’t count.

The box was just that, a box.  Danny could not leave the box, because The Tall Man told her she must stay until he got back.  The box had walls like a banana’s dream of maturity, a perfectly ripened, earthy color.  A stiff wind could compromise the box’s durability, but as long as Danny stayed inside like The Tall Man said, it wouldn’t blow away.  It was her responsibility to keep the box safe.  Itsy thought so, too.

Itsy thought The Tall Man was a liar.  Itsy was young, but she seemed smart enough.  Danny believed Itsy when she said The Tall Man would not be coming back.  This was Danny’s box now, she didn’t need to share.  It was only big enough for her and Itsy, anyways.

That’s it.  Screw The Tall Man.  Danny figured he’d be gone a while, but hours.  He could find his own box.

He’d better hurry, too, Danny snickered to herself.  A grey storm was stirring over the city pillars, high-fiving the sky.  He’d want a box before it started to rain.  Rain?  Danny grimaced.  She’d have to make sure Itsy didn’t get washed away.

If that happened, then she’d only have the box left for company.

    Boxes weren’t very talkative.

Challenge Month, Day 1

character-names

Day 1: Put your iPod or iTunes on shuffle.  Write 250 words inspired by the first and last lines of the very next song that plays.

“You were just a small bump unborn, four months then brought to life.–Maybe you were needed up there, but we’re still unaware of why” – “Small Bump” by Ed Sheeran

We’d only just learned your name.  Mmm.  “Learned” might be the wrong word.  Maybe not.  We gave it to you, I suppose, but it was more like we discovered the sounds which were made to fit your soul.  Letters and noises which had always been paired to who you are, but were unknown to us until some wandering thought deceived us into believing we came up with them on our own.

I don’t know about your mother, but I dreamed about the day you’d arrive long before we had that word.  In my quest and ache to shovel up the correct name, I carved my way through most others. Maria, Priscilla, Anne, Roxie, Sarah, Margaret, Amanda, Victoria, Carol.  Not that any of those were bad, of course.  They just weren’t you.  I couldn’t bare to give you a name which wasn’t yours.

See, she knew, your mother.  Every time I’d throw something new at the wall, she would shoot it down immediately.  I’d think I finally had it, then in one burning sweep, I’d realize I wasn’t even close.  You were quickly approaching and still neither of us could give you the inheritance which God had commissioned us to give.

How were we to prepare your room without such a vital detail of its resident?  The name of somebody says a lot.  Were pink or blue walls more appropriate, or should we go with something a little more neutral?  Would you like a white crib, or one of polished wood?  When the lights were out, would you want space ships overhead, or a stuffed birdie by your side?

I suppose it does not matter much.  When finally we excavated that part of your soul, that testament of who you were supposed to be remembered as to the world, we learned the truth in the form of a doctor’s reluctant, clearing throat.

You would not be here any time soon.  Actually, you would not be here at all.  Common enough complication, sure.  I suppose God gave us the name only for the stone which would substitute for your pillow.

Well, I look forward to the day I might be able to say it to your face in the heavenlies.  I’m not a patient man, but I’ll do my best not to go mad before I meet you.  In the meantime, please wait and please smile.  That’s what you would have done best.

   

“Leave ‘Em Laughing” – An Exercise in Myth-Crafting

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I recently did an exercise in which I needed to create a group of powerful characters who marked the history of their world. So I created this small lore-driven narrative with an enthusiastic amount of my imagination. It was tremendous fun, even if I did just throw words at the wall in some spots to see what stuck. Who knows, I might use some of this in the future, ’cause I think it turned out pretty solid.  Hope you enjoy.

We are in the business of playing god.  It pays well.

When first we began, there were only a humble two in our party, those being my brother and I.  We didn’t have much, but perhaps that’s what we needed most.  I’m not sure the Red Father would have given us urchins any mind if we’d been pampered or acquainted with fortune.  He was not one to lust for the weak of will.

The King of All saw the plight of us brothers, how we sacrificed our meat for small triumphs.  I broke my leg once chasing a dog, but we caught him in the end.  I didn’t even care, he tasted as good as a mutt could taste.  Besides, on the deadroads, nobody cared about the life of a curr, even if it belonged to them.  So we killed, we thieved, we learned the dramatic and infinite art of destruction.

My brother in particular was a deity with the craft of arsony, knowing exact measurements, exact tones for the making of brilliant flame.  His skill lead to obsession, and in years, that obsession warped into pathology, something defined by empathizing with the inferno’s anxious craving to eat anything and all.  He could hear the whisper of the embers, see the suffering of their soul.  What’s more, he kept more company with fire than even I, his kin.  Dejian even went so far as to speak with the fire, to prostrate himself before its majesty.  Some say the blaze, untameable and unfettering as we’d always believed it to be, heard his voice and loved him like a son.  So Dejian has been heralded as the second coming of the Pyromath, for his innate knowledge of the Tongue of the Flame and religious commitment to the inferno itself.

It wasn’t until years later, after we’d grown into men, we would meet the others.  Already us brothers had conspired the fall of one of the most powerful economic cities in the Northeastern dominance, we’d set fire to the Chalice of Quickening, and it was by our hands that both the King of Viga and all of his heirs met their passing.  Twice we’d seen the walls of prison, twice we left them in shambles.

Perhaps is was only natural that the Father would see our efforts and show us His love.

To be invited into His pool of world-changers was a dream fulfilled for which I didn’t even know I’d longed.  Back then, it was just about becoming something.  All of the violence, the power, the sex, the narcotics, the revolutions.  They were a coming-of-age prerequisite for what The King of All had forever intended to be our true purpose.  An insidious criteria we’d fulfilled on accident.

We came together all at once.  I’d heard some of their names before, but others operated with so much precaution and covertness that they may as well not have existed.  In total, there were ten, with my brother and I.  A force of unrequited and indomitable power, forged and united under the singular goal of representing our Father.

History has many names for us.  Lately, we’ve been known as The Carnival, but we’ve carried other titles.  The Duke of Chaos, whom we waged war against for thirty-one hundred years, hails us as The Oppression.  For two millennia in the Southern dominance, we were heralded as either The Unkind Hand or Sha’Ju, which was basically their tongue for the same thing.  After we assassinated the Four Corners of Creation, we were forever engraved as The Bastard Children.  Once, a great warrior managed to seal us into the temporal deadzone known as Tiqtokk.  Most records of Tiqtokk were forgotten even before we’d found ourselves in its clutches, and that’s ages past now.  Once we killed that place’s infernal gatekeeper and found our way back to reality, we found we’d taken yet another name.  The Undying.  But still, my personal favorite, and I think most would agree, was the name given to us by a clergyman.

Seeking refuge after our perilous encounter with The Abstraction (an abysmal creature the likes of which even I would rather not recall), we landed in a nowhere village on the Western-most skirt of the mapped world.  There, we bunkered down in the local church, which we’d falsely assumed had been abandoned.  If you’d seen its decadence, you would have understood our reasoning.  Yet, the morning after we’d had time to heal, the head priest found us resting beneath the mural of his lord and savior, its outstretched wings giving us sanctuary.  When his eyes befell us, he toppled over himself in terror.  At first we were stunned and confused, but that man, he must have had something sharp in his spirit, for his perception was better than most under mortal jurisdiction.  His words, they tumbled from his mouth like vomit, but through repetition, we were able to understand.

“Red,” he stuttered, the stink of urine soiling between his thighs, “The Ten Reds.  The Ten Reds.”

Turns out, we were prophesied in their holy book.  We were the ones who would come to be the conclusion of all things outside eternity.  It was appropriate, since our Father, the King of All, whose true name I would not blemish, was red itself.  It was his identity and being.  That there were, in fact, ten of us in his army, was a delicious coincidence.

We promptly killed that man.  More specifically, I ate him.  He tasted better than most.  An incorrigible fate for one so dutiful to their faith.  I feared he’d been praying to the wrong god.

Still, we had identities unto ourselves.  That was bound to happen, even to the most discreet of us.  Time, action, and mortal fascination were doomed to bare names and characters to us eventually.  A century ago, we tallied how many religions we’d been featured in, either as a group, or as separate beings.  Some of those religions formed around us, others crafted themselves specifically to our motives and actions.  As blasphemic as it was, they couldn’t have known better.  They couldn’t have known they worshipped the disciples of god rather than god himself.  For the record, we stopped counting after we hit two-hundred and eighty.

As for our members, I’ll do a brief, and I stress that word, detail of who we are.

I am Yaro, the Scribe, the Cannibal, the Slavekeeper.  I am most notorious for feeding on the Queen of Guile and her family, all of whom are consequently stored in my Book for safekeeping.  There is not much to be said of my accomplishments.  Among my peers, I am perhaps of the least impressionable substance.

My brother as I’ve named him, is Dejian.  He is a mute, save for his Tongue of the Flame affinity.  Mythos herald Dejian as a vengeful, hateful spirit that steals children from their beds and drags them into hell.  That only happened once, and suddenly it’s what he’s best known for, which is a shame.  He’s done far worse things.

Hell isn’t even that bad.  They should see Tiqtokk or Silas’s Chamber.  Those places deserve to be Hell more than Hell does.  Trust me, I’ve spent a fair time in all three.

Quinika the Wing is our youngest member.  When she joined, she was only twelve.  Of course, that was circa five-thousand years ago, so age doesn’t mean much anymore.  Quinika is a centerpiece in many religions as a goddess of beauty, which was a fair assessment, because that’s basically what she has become.  With the exception of her single-handed destruction of the navy of the north kingdom back in the first years (it doesn’t really count for technical reasons), her most renown achievement reflects the time she was publically challenged by the ten-time champion of the Immortal Tournament.  She did not win, but she held her own for over twenty-five minutes, which is five times longer than I lasted.  What’s more, she managed to wound him, a feat that only one other member of our party has ever managed.  She did this at the ripe age of eighty, which basically made her an infant in relative terms.  Her primary title was also granted by that champion, when he reverently dubbed her “The Unyielding Bitch.”

Brand is our team’s muscle.  I mean, we are all pretty bloody strong, but he in particular was set for doing the heavy lifting.  It’s literally what history has given him for a legacy.  I cannot tell you how many statues we have passed where Brand is on a knee, holding up the world with one arm, cradling his famous Starborn Axe in the other.  Brand the Impenetrable.  The Severance.  The One in Seven, which he got according to some old Illiaric folklore.  Though he hates to admit it, he’s probably our most important member, because he’s basically the punching bag in most fights.  He just does not go down.  While we’ve had a hard time figuring out which of his actions has made the deepest scar in history, it’s probably when The King of All tasked him with holding open the Gate of Sirens, so that we might have enough time to arrive and do battle with The Hero’s champions.  That gate, for the record, is heavier than the world, apparently.  Or so Brand has crowed on about endlessly for the last several centuries.

Ori is the second of our three female members and my god is she an animal.  I cannot handle Ori’s energy half the time.  I don’t know how, after all these years, she still manages to be as relentlessly enthusiastic as the day we met.  Believe it or not, Ori’s greatest testament and gift to this world is a sport, one of her own design.  After three-thousand years, she’d managed to become the most mechanically proficient player of nearly any physical activity she put her mind to, even when she limited herself for the sake of competition.  Finding this boring, she created Ori Disking, after being inspired by flinging the Spiked Angel’s shield at him like a disk and rending him in half.  She was the Barefoot Princess, the Lust of the Wild, and many other colorful, decorative names, so many in count that we’ve failed to keep up.  If any of our party were to be loved by the world, it was Ori.  And that’s amazing, because she once cut the sky in half with a kick, incidentally allowing sunlight to burn tens of thousands of people to death.  You’d think that would have killed her good name, but it didn’t.

Damn Ori.  She was one of the most beautiful women precluding eternity.

Our sixth member doesn’t even really have an actual name.  If he does, I still don’t know it.  I call him Tomiro, after the ancient Nigona’s traditional naming process for children.  Each parent takes one suffix from either of their own parents, and they merge the suffix into one new, generational helix. “To” could be transcribed as “thorn” or “nettle,” while “miro” was often meant as a compliment in “warrior,” but could also mean “suffering.”  This is to say, when I explained the name to my contemporaries, I gave it the appropriate fanfare, claiming the name basically summed up to “Thorn warrior” because Tomiro was a pain the sides of our adversaries, but in truth I preferred to think of him as an insufferable nettle in my life.

Tomiro is the only other member of our party to damage the champion of the Immortal Tournament.  It required him to unseal the fifth hydra emblem on his chest though, which he’d been prohibited to do by his clansman father, the one who reared him in the baptism of assassination and merciless abandon.  Doing so caused all living members of Tomiro’s clan to forfeit their lives to provide the power necessary to fight an otherwise insurmountable opponent.  It was a gesture reserved only for killing their longtime nemesis, the Comet.  Well, together we took out that witch only two-hundred years into our pilgrimage, so he didn’t really need it for that anymore.  Because of this action, we’ve unabashedly labelled Tomiro as the most selfish among us, since it shows exactly how far he was willing to go just for a decent fight.  And truly, that’s all he cares about.  Tomiro is a vain, narcissistic, cruel brat who even after so long on our team, still prefers to do everything on his own.  It’s for this that he’s known as the Finger of God, single-handedly crippling both armies during the Battle of Trimerton.  This, after saying he didn’t need our help.  And he didn’t.  Other names include The Breathing Shadow, Prince of Papercuts, and my personal favorite, because it came to pass coincidentally and without my help, the Thorn Child.

In the deepest mines of the South providence is a village forsaken by fortune, a place where the nefarious “Bloodforge” resurrected against the will of the natives.  From this Bloodforge came Mallory, the third daughter of our Red Father.  Mallory scares the most unholy of hells out of me.  The Blood Visage, Her Dreadfulness, Stari’na (named after the occultic sanguine goddess as popular in the Eastern underground), and She Who Is are only a few of the loving titles Mallory has met over the millennias passed.  While she is historically most known for breaking the Six Crystals of the floating kingdom Extormica and bringing the whole thing down, it’s really her little quirks that scare the piss out of people.  Even among our strange and demented company (this is coming from a cannibal, remember), Mallory is fond of pushing the boundaries of convention.  Men, women, children, pregnant women, doesn’t matter, Mallory would indiscriminately drain them of all their life blood, assimilating it into a deep well of…something inside her core.  With the remaining bones, organs, sinew, and god knows what else, she would form clothing and small appliances for herself.

Mallory is the only among us who seems to hold no regard for revering our Red Father.  Instead, she deliberately promotes the sacrilegious worship of herself within many cultures.  She enjoys being a goddess.  How the King of All tolerates such behavior is still beyond me.

Coming in at number eight is Suga.  Suga could be known for many things.  Instead, he is almost uniformly, without fail, regarded as the legend with the idiotically massive sword.  Suga is of arbitrary significance in light of the fact that he wields this weapon, the notorious Vindra Kai, created from the bonemeal of the last demon king of Silas’s Chamber.  He stole the damn thing from Silas himself, which I’ll have you know, is one of the most blatantly retarded and reckless things in our entire history of existing as a species inside and outside of mankind.  For perspective, this is tantamount to making a heist of Satan’s father’s most prized possession.  You’re basically demanding to get dragged into Hell and tormented until time burns away.

If it were not for Silas being trapped in the chamber, I have no doubt he would have already come, ripped out our eyes, and wrung our necks with our own optic nerves.  Suga is actually fairly gentle compared to the rest of our troupe, and prefers diplomatic resolution wherever possible.  Naturally, this makes him one of the only people I can actually stomach.  Not that I’m altruistic, mind you, but after what feels like a million years of violence, it’s nice to have alternatives every once in awhile.  Suga can fight hard, though, when the need arises.  He’s naturally protective, and at a point, even spawned a child in the early years.  Mallory killed both child and mother, so needless to say, those two do not get along well.

Ninth.  Wallace.  He was technically the final installment in our roster of ten, but it wasn’t always like that.  For the longest time, he simply followed us.  He followed and followed.  For some reason, we could not shake him, and when we inevitably tried to kill him, we found we could not.  Apparently he’s cursed to be unable to take intentional harm.  Only accidental damage can hurt Wallace, which is harder to accomplish than you’d think.  Eventually, he blended in with us until the Red Father took a liking to the kid and made him a permanent member.

Wallace is a bit mentally absent, and not in your typical daydreamer’s sort of way.  He mutters a lot to himself, usually chanting about physical features of people he’s killed in the past.  Wallace also seems to possess some degree of precognition, making him that much more difficult to kill.  All of his names seem to stem from his aloofness or psychic admonition and not his inclination for being one of the most powerful men in history.  The Sloth, Drift, the Perfect Harmony, the Eye of Tempari, whatever.  Those people were fools.  Wallace was unbelievably dangerous, as I’ve witnessed first-hand.

I mean, how many people could boast that they’d walked through literal Hell and came out the other side completely unfazed.  Nobody.  Not any of us.  Except Wallace.  Except freaking Wallace.  Damn, he actually made friends while we were there.  Like, what?

Then there’s the tenth member, Asher.  This man is a tempest if ever there was one.  Asher has many names, perhaps more than any other member of our troupe, but there is always one that roots up in every culture, in every religion, in every ghost story.  Perhaps you’ve heard the title, as it echoes with force throughout all histories.  “Yggdrassil.”  It is a name that was specifically given by the Red Father himself.  None of us know where Asher came from.  Asher does not know where he came from.  By birth and nature, he has two sides to his existential coin.  There’s the natural, already immensely powerful man on the surface, who wields a lethal brand of charisma with as much proficiency as his mastery over all material weapons.  Then, should this fail him, he is able to resurrect the “Broken Man,” a transformative ability which dyes his body black and red, fills his eyes with uncured white, and drowns him in strength.  I have never seen Asher lose while in this form, and it is my personal theory that, should he ever face the Immortal Champion with his transformation in full swing, it would likely cripple at least one dimensional plane under the weight of their struggle.

So, yes, we are all strong.  We have done many things and are commissioned to do many more before our time is done.  We are loved, hated, revered, feared, and all else in the spectrums between.  We have fun with it sometimes, but our work is not a joke, even if sometimes our victims are reduced to cackling fools as we cut them down.  What can I say?  It’s what people do.  Take away everything, steal all of their hope, and you can do nothing but chuckle at your own plight.

    We take a sick pride in this.  We love to leave ‘em laughing.