Martinus_XIV t1_je6fgqe wrote

When I was first alerted to the plot unfolding in the mundane world, the villain trying to unmake both his world and mine, I was amused more than anything. These puny humans think of something every few centuries, don't they? It was then that my father came to me, informing me of the hero who had risen up to oppose this maniacal human. She was his chosen one, he said. The successor to the one he had chosen last time, and I had to admit, she looked very similar. This meant it was time for us, his children, to walk among humans once more as a showcase of her power. I was honestly looking forward to it. My body looks and feels so different in the mundane world. The different gravity does strange things to me.

When the foolish human trying to undo my father's creation in the temple ruins attempted to bring his plan to fruïtion, I was called forth by the Lake Guardians, who share the minds and hearts of humans, and I interfered. I tore open a portal in space and time and saw my siblings, shackled by a crimson chain. The same chain that was used last time something like this happened. It was a good effort, but not good enough. To his credit, the villain stood his ground and did not seem frightened by my shadowy appearance. He seemed to study me for a moment, but then proceeded to blather on about the Lake Guardians' "rash and foolish effort" to stop him.

"I, Cyrus," he proclaimed haughtily as I spread my claws to snatch him, "won't have any more interferererererere...!" I relished in his screams as I dragged him back to my realm.

I dropped the villain off on a desolate rock, and watched as he studied his new surroundings. I would love to have imprisoned him here, but my father had different ideas. In the distance, I saw that his chosen one had crossed over into my domain as well, guided by the Lake Guardians, and accompanied by a blonde-haired human who looked very similar to one who had attempted to abuse my power a few centuries ago. I waited patiently, lurking in the ever-present shadow of my realm, observing this human child progress downwards through it, towards the villain. As they met, I couldn't help but overhear their conversation.

"It abandoned me here, then disappeared somewhere farther down... Was it content to merely interfere with my plan...?" the villain spoke, before addressing my father's chosen, "Incidentally, do you understand the concept of genes?"

"I do!" she said, and I could sense that she spoke the truth. What a precocious child!

"...If it's true, you've impressed me," the villain spoke, "genes can be considered the blueprints of all life-forms, and are contained in a DNA strand. A DNA strand consists of 2 chains of opposing characteristics in a spiral. If one of the chains were to be broken, the other could replicate it. One or the other cannot exist without its opposite. Do you understand where I am going with this? This world is the opposite of our world-- our world I wish to change. It is like the two chains composing the strand of DNA. The two worlds must be balancing each other to remain in existence."

I chuckled. How incomplete the human understanding of my father's creation was! Their conversation petered out quickly, however, as both the villain and my father's chosen sent out the monsters they had tamed. Looking into the heart of the hero's team, I could sense their trust and loyalty to her. Before long, the villain was defeated, leaving but one loose end to tie up.

As the hero approached the ledge of the desolate rock, I rose from the shadows, appearing before her in my full glory, ready to do battle. Instead, she hurled a small, purple orb at me. I could sense that it was an intricate machine, and it would certainly be enough to capture and contain any of my father's creations, but as it tried to do the same to me, I immediately felt how inadequate its design was. I could have smashed it to bits with the least amount of effort. I could have atomized it with but a thought. I could have altered the natural laws of my realm and caused it to fly off into the distance, never to be seen again. But I let it contain me. It was going to be fun, being this kid's Pokémon for a while. As I sat inside of this new kind of Pokéball, I reached out and tore a hole through time and space again, a small one to let these humans back to their world.

"Giratina seems to have understood us!" the blonde-haired human spoke. Of course I did. These silly humans do something like this every few centuries, don't they?


Martinus_XIV t1_jdjswy4 wrote

"Say, Goog..." I approached the new member of our team hesitantly, "I hope I don't come across as rude..."

"No, I don't drink from the skulls of my enemies. They make for impractical cups, what with the eye holes." she said without looking up from her work. I was amazed by how deftly her fingers navigated her comparatively tiny keyboard. Sensing that she hadn't answered my actual question, she stopped and turned to me, her tusked mouth smiling warmly. "I generally don't turn my enemies' body parts into trophies. Looks bad on the resumé. You don't have to walk on eggshells around me."

Those rippling muscles, barely contained by her sharp business-casual attire, told me otherwise. Still, I mustered up the courage to ask: "how did you learn to code so well?"

"How does an orc learn to code so well, you mean." My heart sank as she saw through the question, and I was terribly afriad that I had offended her. To my surprise, however, she continued smiling. "Let me ask you a question in return: when was the last time you vanquished an enemy in single combat?"

"I uh... what?"

"When was the last time you vanquished an enemy in single combat?" she repeated, matter-of-factly, "when was the last time you achieved glorious victory in war? When was the last time you came home from work blood-stained and still riding the high from the thrill of battle?"

"I have never done any of those things..."

"Exactly. Neither have most orcs nowadays. Berserker warriors aren't all that employable in today's society, but orc culture still demands we prove our honour and valor somehow. As children, many of us turn to video games."

I started to see what she was getting at. "And some orcs aren't quite satisfied with human-made video games."

"Exactly!" she laughed. "I'm completely self-taught. I first learned to code by modding Heavenedge. I was actually surprised I got this job without any official credentials. I've heard rumours that it was a clerical error, but I'm not complaining..."

With that, she cracked her knuckles and went back to typing. And just like that, I looked at Goog with different eyes. No longer this otherworldly monster, but a person, a coworker. A coworker that I was hugely impressed by. "You're a big fan of the Ancient Codices-series?" I asked.

"Some parts. Heavenedge is fine, but having gone back and played previous installments, I like The Ancient Codices III: Dawnstorm best."

And she just became the coolest person I knew. "Dawnstorm is my favourite as well! Hey, if you'd like, I would love to swap stories about our games sometime. Are you free on friday?"

"That depends..." she began, before suddenly bellowing "CAN YOU DODGE!?"

I narrowly avoided a ballpoint pen that she flung across our office. It embedded itself point-first an inch deep into a planner on the corkboard on the wall. Exactly on next friday. Goog ignored my hyperventilating and fist pumped. "Bullseye! It's a date!"


Martinus_XIV OP t1_ja7ydva wrote

At the risk of putting words into the author's mouth, I think this story is less about being OK with being overweight or about it being bad to want to change yourself, and more about not giving in to societal beauty standards. All of the characters kept the changes to themselves that they liked. The point is that they re-examined which changes they made to themselves because they wanted to, and what they did because of societal pressures.

Kenzie did away with what society told her was sexy and kept only what she herself needed to feel sexy.

Rod stopped caring about having to appear masculine and instead found a way to live out his power fantasy as a more authentic version of himself and have the long hair he always wanted.

It's implied that Zedd only gave his monstrous form a washboard because he felt he was supposed to. Perhaps he is an artist who learned to draw by imitating DBZ or something in a similar style.

Finally, Melissa is written as though she only feels that her freckles, her glasses and her figure are ugly because she has been told so by others - bullies, influencers, society in general. When she takes a step back to consider how she herself feels, she realizes that she likes these parts of herself.


Martinus_XIV OP t1_ja75qzw wrote

I absolutely love this. I intended to get people to think about what they or other people would change about themselves if they could, and this is a beautiful piece of commentary on that!


Martinus_XIV t1_ja4sj2v wrote

"I know!" I answer frustratedly, "do you think I don't recognize Ruin's neighing?" I pitied the red horse. It had been growing more and more restless, and I couldn't blame it. I went back inside to continue rummaging.

Plague stands in the doorway for a moment. "You're running-"

"I KNOW I'm running late!" I bark back, "just ride on without me! Ruin and I will catch up with you!"

"War..." Plague says, hesitating, "are you... are you OK?"

I stop rummaging through my house and look Plague straight in the eye. He is probably the smartest of my siblings, but he could be dense sometimes. "... do I look OK?" I slowly ask him.

"We checked the seals this time," Plague says reassuringly, "It's the genuine apocalypse. All seven have been broken. None of that business like with Abaddon back then."

I let out a scream to the heavens. "That's not what this is about!" How dense could he be to not notice? "Ride on, damn you! I will catch up!"

"War..." Plague hesitates, "where is your sword?"

Finally he notices! "I misplaced it." I grunt.

"You mean to say you lost it?" Plague asks incredulously.

I grunt.

"You lost your sword!?"

I grunt again, a little more annoyedly this time.

"You lost your sword?" he repeats, "the Chaoseater? The blade specifically forged to deliver judgment in the never-ending war between the kingdoms of Heaven and Hell that we are riding off to. That sword?"


"Well, where did you put it?"

"If I knew, I would stab you right now!"


Martinus_XIV t1_j6j4v9z wrote

The Battle of Argentshade, sometimes poëtically referred to as the Last March of the Black Tower or the Day of Stone Terror, is the final battle of the Alavonic Campaign, as well as the first and only time the superweapon known as the Doïnmarna or "Black Tower" was ever used. Through the use of the roughly 1500-kil tall Dwarven golem, Alavon Felsenkind was able to force the capitulation of the Five Kingdoms of the West.

On the 16th of Neverrime, 44 a.Al., the Fellenaren forces of Alavon, strengthened by Dwarven mercenaries from the confederacy of Kormos and Desraen swords for hire met the Artanen legion, which had been stationed at the city of Argentshade at the northern border of Artan to await them. Queen Fiora of Artan had correctly predicted that Alavon's forces would swing north and use the shadow of the overhanging Capriconen plateau to hide their approach from the east, hoping to launch a surprise attack. The armies appeared evenly matched until the late morning, when Alavon himself arrived piloting the Doïnmarna. Aiming the stone colossus' lumenic weapon at the city of Argentshade, which had been evacuated prior to the battle, he obliterated the heart of the city in a single blast. An hour later, Artan announced its unconditional surrender. Queen Fiora stepped down as ruler of Artan in the evening.

Though Alavon is typically said to have made his vow of nonviolence at his coronation as emperor of the Five Kingdoms, some sources state he made it, or a version of it, at queen Fiora's abdication, being horrified by the potential of the ancient Dwarven weapon he wielded. This account is considered dubious, however, as Alavon is noted as having made "grand threats in the name of peace" during the Conference of Everfall later that year.


Martinus_XIV t1_j5t0xii wrote

Would you rather have a drum of nuclear waste sitting in a bunker somewhere deep underground, isolated by layers upon layers of radiation-absorbing material, or floating above your head like a nuclear sword of damocles?