Original article posted by ravenpaine:

Number 1

The Jumpers

In a dark post industrial world society has adopted a feudal system to control an ever increasing population. Under the rule of The High King the feudal system rewards bravery, courage, and chivalry. As time passes crime drops and the quality of life grows. The High King then disappears leaving control of the populace under the care of the Church.

Under the rule of the Papal branch the populace splits into an intensely stratified class system consisting of 24 levels. With no established way of gaining rank and status the citizens at the bottom are forced to work generation after generation in governmental farms and factories. The wealthy ascend on sky towers above the dense layer of smog and filth. Slowly a class of merchants and skilled craftsman is allowed to develop to appease tensions within society. As the wealthy become more and more detached from society they grow bored. Eventually they become detached altogether from their fellow humans in the lower levels and take to the streets in automobiles. It becomes a sport to run down peasants in the streets of the Lower and wealthy citizens gain fame and fortune through their bloody exploits.

Our tale follows a man who has come into the isolated society after traveling afar. This man, known only by the strange title “The Grill Man” begins to reform society by setting up a series of competitions in which an armed peasant confronts a noble’s vehicle in an unbalanced form of jousting. These peasants, known as “Jumpers,” square off against the noble “Hitters” to gain reputation and allow members of the lower society to better themselves and their families.

Championing the Jumpers is The Grill Man who wields a mighty sword, and his group of fellow Knights, known as the King’s Knights…

Number 2

The Lady Avalon

A story set in an alternate Victorian London. The story follows the path of a revolutionary and gentleman named (pending). (pending) is a master of disguise and an excellent actor and impersonator. He gathers the support of his powerful and bored friend (not thought of) to make changes in the Crown.

London is full of people who breathe filth and thousands of prisoners whose only crime is that the (general of the policing body) does not like them. Hundreds of people are imprisoned each weak and all of them are innocent.

(pending) uses a disguise to become arrested to attest to the horror of the legal system. After behind imprisoned he arranges for the prisoners food and water to be cut off (yet secretly provided at night by a group of fisherman that operate near the prison). He then proceeds to get regular beatings given to the prisoners. He makes sure plentiful supplies of certain soothing balms are regularly delivered to the prison.

He arranges a meeting with the (general of the policing body) through his friend (not yet). While walking around an exquisitely beautiful part of the city the three gentlemen run across a certain prestigious and attractive woman, The Lady Avalon. A direct descendent of Arthur Pendragon she is a member of the royal family but used only as a figurehead and holds no real power even though she is rightfully the Queen. (Nobody knows this except the King who isn’t going to mention it, duh.)

The three gentlemen enter into a strange contest throwing their hats around a fountain, the object to see who can make their hat go the farthest around the fountain. The lady watches with earnest as (not yet) blows the contest out of disinterest. (general of the policing body) then tosses his hat around 270 degrees of the fountain before it scuttles to the ground. At this point the lady has warmed to the image of the charming, bold, and occasionally juvenile (pending). (pending) throws his hat (actually borrowed from his ennui friend) a brown hat, he tosses it straight up and a small atmospheric wind hurls it completely around the fountain where he gingerly catches it back upon his head.

The lady approaches the group and the go to a marvelous little outdoor cafe where they eat, Issac Asimov serves them. They then proceed to leave. While leaving (pending) makes a series of jokes and comments, coupled with the apparent growing like of the Lady (general of the policing body) grants (pending) request of fair trials for the masses of prisoners. One such joke:

GotPB: So, you must have some Australian in you.
P: I would wouldn’t I?
GotPB: Did you travel abroad?
P: No. Actually the woman that is referred to in that line was my mother.
GotPB: Sir!
P: Quite, yes I have a little of everything in me, Swedish, French, German, and Russian.

Anyway during this conversation the Lady falls and lands in a small pool of tepid water. Within minutes she is suffering from an illness (probably water flukes, actually she had poisoned herself and went into the city to die, no longer a prisoner of the society that bred her). (pending) carries her to (not yet) home where they place her in a bed and take care of her.

P: Could I have that brown hat I borrowed?
NY: Why?
P: I would just like to keep the article that helped me save 10,000 lives in a single toss.
NY: Fine. *stares longingly at Lady*

This is the beginning of (pending), (not yet), and the Lady’s love triangle. While both (pending) and the Lady want each other, they are trapped by the revelation that pending is a street person, son of a prostitute. Also (not yet) threatens to cancel any of (pending) efforts to improve the throne and country.

In the end the Lady actually kills (not yet) to unify the country and marry the unaware and grief stricken (pending).

Number 3

(To Respectfully Offer)

I sit upon a raft made of oiled leather and prepare for death. Gou Jian, the King of Yue, set me adrift three days ago. Father Sun looms above and I drink too deeply of its light. The life giver will be my end.

I caress the remains of clothing. The once beautiful silks hang limply. A fish jumps in the coming darkness signifying that soon the cold will come. It will dry up flesh and hair, chill bones and make me long for the warmth. The warmth that will be the end.

I am too dangerous to let live, you see. My beauty and charm have already brought ruin to one king, fate will not allow a second.

Father Sun dips to the horizon, shadows of the future and the past mingle upon the waves and ripples. Hunger comes but is pushed away to continue meditation. Death will come, and one must be prepared.

A wave slips over the edge to caress my leg. I shudder despite my concentration. It was not so long ago that I felt such a touch from Fuchai. My husband, my beloved, my second king. He had loved me honestly. Had taught me to read and write, had listened at nights to my counsel as I stroked his hair and he had caressed my thigh.

Fuchai, the King of Wu. I lived three years as his consort. He listened to my counsel and I set him to ruin at the hands of his enemy, Gou Jian. I convinced him to split his armies and sent them to their deaths in the Northern Territories. I was paraded through the villages of Yue and celebrated by her peoples. Placed in a room in the palace and made a royal advisor and concubine. Then Gou Jian ordered me taken to the sea and placed upon this raft.

My neck arches at the thought. My breath sharpens and my heart quickens. I give in further to the feeling of the memories. The night wind that came through the open chambers. The sharpness of wine; the rush of void that accompanied Fuchai’s departure.

The gardens in the palace of Wu were given to me. I planted a forest of flowers and vines within the walls. Many noble men walked through my garden and were pleased. Heads of state asked for my presence at teas and meals. They talked of beauty, of intelligence. They talked of their plans for war, and I told my king everything.

Daily Fuchai came to me. His army had been defeated by Gou Jian. His brilliant strategies were foiled, his every attack routed to the last man. Nightly he would meditate in his chambers, devising plans that would defeat the forces of Yue. Each morning as he told of his plans I would quietly listen and remember. I was not watched and given leave of the camp. I sent news of Fuchai’s plans to Gou Jian every morning. Every night I wept with Fuchai for the loss of his men.

Father Sun moves beneath the sea. Fire erupts at its edge as it descends. I listen to the water and hope for the people of Yue. I weep for the loss of Fuchai. The wind cools and I with it. The smell of salt comes on the wind. It stings my eyes and fills me. I sing silently and wait for the rising of Mother Moon.

I will join her tomorrow. I am parched and empty, yet I can feel each thing around and sense its whole. Life sparkles beneath the waves, jumping to say goodbye to Father Sun, swimming and playing in the coming darkness. The fish greet me and give their regrets.

My head is heavy but I dare not sleep. I must greet Mother Moon and give her a farewell. Sleep is a heavy sense it pulls one down like irons on the legs. My song carries out and passes to the other life where I pray Fuchai may hear it and know my sorrow.

On his last day Fuchai entered my chambers, bleeding. His men had been defeated at the last battle, only he remained of the once strong kingdom of Wu. He came and knelt telling of his loss and his sorrow at the deaths of his men. He asked to be forgiven. For failing. For what would happen when the men of Yue took me from this place. I wept with him and he passed on to the other life.

Gou Jian will not find his body. Will not desecrate his grave and take his bones from the land. My bones will not be found either. They will not rest and they will not be remembered. The creatures of the sea will remember me, they will tell each other my name and I will not be forgotten.

The cold pushes, nesting in flesh. I savor the sensation for a moment, aware of how different this feeling is from the one that I will feel tomorrow. Mother Moon stands full in the sky and I speak to her.

“Your daughter, Yuguang, will return to you soon Mother. She will stay with you for eternity in your palace in the sky. She will help you tend the stars and water Sister Earth.”

I bow my head and let sleep take hold. I wake suddenly when the light of day shines on my brow.

The water still stretches to all points and I cannot see the shore.

“I am sorry, Father Sun, but you shall not have me, I will join with the creatures of Brother Ocean and live in the palace of Mother Moon.”

I take a breath, savor it, the last in this life, the first of the next, and plunge into the ocean. My heavy heart pulls to the bottom and I smile to know that the sea is welcoming. Here I will not be condemned for my betrayal to Fuchai and in memory, he will not die.

Well, which of these projects needs to be bigger and when’s my deadline?

Orginal comments:

Nickname: Junpei
Re: What Project Should Rodney Work on Next?
1. The Jumpers – Sounds interesting enough. This has to do with that pipe you guys found, doesn’t it? Talk to me sometime. I had a similar story or concept once. Only they fought tanks with philosophical purpose, and they were damn good at it. Perhaps we can discuss tactics.

2. The Lady Avalon – The hat bit is interesting, but (pending) is far too perfect to be likable. His plan needs to be more cunning.

3. Tatematsuru – Yes. This one, right here. Your deadline is now; you’re fated to be late by taunting me with this much. I already want more.

Nickname: Minty
Re: What Project Should Rodney Work on Next?
I’d like to see Jumpers. Its got a sort of impossible appeal to it.

Nickname: Olorle
Re: What Project Should Rodney Work on Next?
I’m voting with Junpei on this one. I’m fond of your other projects, but Tatematsuru is just a beautifull piece. It could really benifit from being picked up again, especially in this post-Spencer era.

Nickname: thewendy
all of them.

but i have always been fond of the third one. i do think you should take a look at that one again.