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    [Results] December 2018 Writing Contest
    • The Zelda Universe Writing Contest, December 2018:

      It's a new year, according to my Gregorian calendar, so it's about time we put 2018's line of ZU Writing Contests behind us! The last one of the year saw a slight but significant change in premise: instead of a super-broad, one-word theme, we had a complete phrase as a writing prompt, which our writers seemed to eat up like a bunch of termites on a Victorian-style porch! The prompt was a little masochistic on my part—"Something in the snow"—because I blimming hate snow with a burning passion, but it seemed to serve as a good spark for our entrants' brain-fire-storming—what the hell, self.

      We had a record* five entries in December, and a whole lot of you came out and cast your votes for your favorites, too! Let's keep this enthusiasm up in the future, and we'll have some jolly-good, friendly competitions!

      The winner of the December 2018 Writing Contest is Forum Gamer and first-time writing contest entrant @Luffy, whose powerful myth, "Soft Teardrops," took the voting thread by storm with its gorgeous imagery and emotional weight, earning it five out of the nine total votes cast! Very beautiful tale, Luffy; thank you for gracing us with your art!

      December's runner-up is contest veteran @Ruki, who gave us a decidedly (i.e. characteristically) darker tale in "Revelations," whose group of journalist protagonists stumbles upon something really creepy in the snow. I really enjoyed the mystery here, and the revelation—hurr hurr—at the end really packs a punch. Thanks, as always, for unsettling us with your writing, Ruki!

      And thanks to all of our entrants this month! Without your participation, this would not have been nearly as fun, so we hope you'll all get involved next time, too! If you missed the other entries, please check them out in the voting thread because they're all great!

      Look out for the information thread for the January contest in the Creative Corner by the end of the week!

      @Luffy for "Soft Teardrops"
      Display Spoiler
      Soft Teardrops:
      It was said that the tree had been there as long as the clouds had been traveling overhead, storing the secrets of the humans that gazed at them and forging them into stars inside their cores of silver. To call it a tree hardly made sense, for its branches scraped at the very heavens, and in each of its deep, dark, rich branches, its caretakers could fit comfortably. It was here these people made their homes, these scions of the Earth itself, embraced by the grand tree’s bounty of fruit and flowers. It was said these people were as soft and light as flowers, drifting between heaven and Earth. Or maybe they were just seeds of a greater civilization yet to come. On one of those days where the clouds seemed to spin in circles, led by the Sun glowing a bit more gently than ever, where you want to do nothing more than sleep beneath the sky’s silent dance, one such flower drifted up, and up… and up. Perhaps the child wanted to reach the Sun, and join in the conducting of the clouds’ grand dance. Or maybe it was the green of the leaves, an entrancing emerald blanket that could only be found in the foliage that was the very closest to the sky. She drifted up and up, further than anyone had dared to, further than she knew in her heart she was told not to go, her peculiar blue cloak swaying behind her, flapping quicker and quicker as she climbed and climbed. Then blue melted into white, and the Sun stood still, and the birds’ songs grew silent, and she knew she had reached the top. And as she stood there, the clouds embraced her and flew her into their palace of pure white. The cloud-people murmured to her, singing songs of ancient love, and of eternity. It softened her heart, and in return, she spoke back. Not in the calming whisper if the cloud-people, but in a steady, confident voice that had never been heard so far above the ground. She spoke of hate, of pain, and of loss. These thoughts were heavy, and sat in the hearts of the clouds, weighing them down. But when she told them of forgiveness, of recovery, and of acceptance, these doubts could fade away. The weights in their hearts shed their layers, falling as tears to the world below. The clouds cried and cried, for the humans and their pain, but also for their lives that could be fuller because they knew pain. These pure tears fell to the ground as the first snowfall. The pure, soft tears coated the world in a blanket of cold, but also painted it in white, renewing it until it was touched by humans again. Once the tears of these thoughts were shed, and only their cores remained, the cloud-people cast them into the sky. The cores of these hopeful yet tragic thoughts stuck in the sky, dotting the world above with glowing lights that could guide humans in the dark of night. The darkness that seemed all-encompassing was now filled with dots of hope. And the final sacrifice of the sky people was to feel the hate and pain and loss of humans themselves. They released the girl, sending her back down to the world below, giving up the one who had given them everything. Once she descended back to the world below, carried by feathery wings of silk, she landed on a field of open snow. Her bare foot sank into the clouds’ tears, tears she forged, tears she shed with them, leaving the world’s first imprint, a single step in the snow.

      @Ruki for "Revelations"

      (Note: contains strong language)
      Display Spoiler

      “Ya know, when they said dead body over the scanner, this wasn’t what I was expecting.”

      Perched on top of the once grassy knoll overlooking the Erie Canal, Erin slid down the rocks leading to the old tow pass, incredibly thankful she wore her boots even though the six feet of snow which blanketed the landscape on the way here was conspicuously missing, coming up next to where Gut was standing, camera cradled in his hand. Next to him was Liam and Kelsey - Liam’s camera shutter constantly clicking while Kelsey was setting up her video camera tripod on what stable ground remained.

      “No fucking kidding,” Erin agreed, carefully edging next to her co-worker and quickly greeting the blogger and freelancer, the two older reporters waving back. “What the hell happened?”

      “Dunno,” Gut shrugged, raising the viewfinder to his eye and snapped a photo of the first responders working inside what remained of this section of the canal before turning his lens to the half melted lift bridge about 500 feet away. If she didn't know better, Erin would think she was at the site of a meteorite impact. “Police haven’t talked to us, but I can safely say when I came down here I thought it was gonna be, ya know, human. I don't even know what I'm looking at right now.”

      Erin nodded in agreement, taking her phone out - and even though 7:06 p.m. flashed on the screen, the entire area was lit up like the Fourth of July despite being in the dead of winter - and snapped a photo. This was gonna be hell of a story to tell later. After all, it wasn’t every day the bones of what appeared to be a literal fucking giant just destroyed a national landmark with fire and brimstone. Erin couldn’t wait to hear what the actual fuck was going on. Even if she couldn't get closer to the edge of the canal to get a better look without facing the danger of falling in or having the cops yell at her to stay back, she could see the skeleton was huge; something which looked like a femur bone (her crime show binge watching had to be good for something) seemed to be the same size as a grade schooler and if Liam, Gut and Kelsey sat on each other’s shoulders and layed down next to the remains, it would still be bigger. Not to mention the bones were charred a deep black and looked like they would break apart, their ashes floating to the wind, if they were simply brushed against. It was hard, however, to look at them for too long though considering they were still on fire and the way the skeletal arm reached toward the sky made Erin's stomach turn.

      “To be fair, they look human enough and it is a dead body,” Kelsey said, jumping into the conversation. “But check this out.”

      The other three journalists didn’t need to be told twice, carefully making their way over to the ruins of the Erie Canal the video freelancer set up at, her camera pointed into the nearby hole and the middle-aged woman using the light from her phone to chase away the shadows. Squinting, it took a moment to see what Kelsey was pointing at.

      “Are those feathers?!” Liam exclaimed, leaning further over the side only to backpedal when the ground underneath his feet began to cave in.

      Yet sure enough, embedded in the bedrock was the intricate imprint of feathers in explicit detail. Swallowing a lump in her throat, Erin raised her head and noted five other cave-ins around the skeleton - two toward the head, two around the torso and the remaining two by the feet where the four of them were currently gathered.

      “Is …” Erin licked her lips and turned to the other three. “Are any of you thinking 'angel' or is it, ya know, just me?”

      “Well I was thinking aliens, but yeah, no, that’s a much better guess,” Gut said, before dropping his voice. “Although if this is a fallen angel, we should probably get a priest down here instead. Have them bring some holy water. Maybe that will put out the fire.”

      “I know you’re joking, but I think that’s a good idea to be honest,” Liam said, pulling out his phone, before his brow furrowed and a frown overtook his face. “What the-“ Bringing his face closer to his screen he pulled back with a scream.

      “What the fuck Plakn?” Gut swore only for Liam to shove the phone in the other man’s face, Erin joining Kelsey in looking over the photographer’s shoulder.

      It didn’t take long to see what freaked the blogger out. If the small news outlets thought they were going to break the story of a lifetime they were 10 minutes too late; on Liam’s Facebook newsfeed was a single drone picture of the Grand Canyon and inside it was a towering figure which the photo caption said was three stories tall. Surrounding it?

      Six pair of wings.

      Honorable Mentions
      @Guinea for "Blood Upon the Snow"
      @Fallyn Darkheart for "Our Joy"
      @TingleMakesMeTingle for "A Snowy Day on Pellon Pekko Ranch"

      *This only applies to the latest incarnation of the ZU Writing Contest, which started in April 2018.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by EzloSpirit: let me fix my tiny typos, ok? ().