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I Did My Best · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Necromance Like No One's Watching
Hello, there. I am a soul without a body, and this is my first ever attempt at telling a story.

Before I get started, however, I have a slight suspicion that you will be lost if I don't give you a preface. So get ready for some basic ground rules, and some seriously heavy-handed exposition.

This story does not take place in your world, which, if you pay attention, you will notice rather quickly. This story takes place in an imaginary land, far, far away. How can something be imaginary and far away? Please don’t ask me such tricky questions. I just told you this was my first time.

The important thing to know is that this is a world with kings and queens; a world with dragons, the undead, and undead dragons; a world where magic is all the rage.

This distantly unreal land is known as Everwhore. Some of you may notice that this name is rather unfortunate. Well done. Your name is going up on the wall. I will notify the historians of your accomplishment immediately.

But do not laugh at Everwhore, for it is not at fault. Like every boy called ‘Eugene,’ Everwhore is a victim of not being able to choose its own name. But while the Eugenes of the world have the opportunity to change their fate at their local government offices, Everwhore is locked in. See, dialects change over time, and words take on new meanings faster than legislators can agree on how to adapt to said meanings. The current solution is to add an umlaut to the ‘o’ (like sö), but polls show that this is not a popular fix, except among those who happen to think Ever-who-re sounds funnier.

This story follows the adventure of two unlikely protagonists, who will take turns sharing the perspective in a way that I promise will not damage the experience. And now that I’ve pointed it out, you cannot say it did damage your experience. I’m told this is called landscaping, or something, and that it is a foolproof writing tool.

The names of our two protagonists are Aldor the Abhorrent, and Elmere the Untitled. One of them is a necromancer, and the other is a teenage girl. One of them will begin the story with a deadly weapon in their hand, while the other will be holding a plunger. You have probably deduced which name belongs to which character, but their respective implements may surprise you.

Four shadows. Another foolproof writing tool. I am, how you say, on a roll.

Who am I? An excellent question, but one whose answer adds absolutely nothing to the story, so I’m not going to tell you. Just know that my disembodied spirit follows the necromancer around and can read everyone’s thoughts. Convenient, yes? No. It is awful, but if this story garners any popularity, I might be able to make a living from it. Tell your friends.

But fine, if it will help you sleep at night, I’ll give you a hint about my identity: Our necromancer protagonist is going to mention me in the final scene of this story, in an attempt to make a point. He will mention me in such a way that makes him out to be a good person.

Do not be fooled by the necromancer.

Ready? Off we pop.

Aldor the Abhorrent rifled through the kitchen chest with one hand, clenching and unclenching his plunger in the other. He tossed out skulls, recipe books, curses written on ancient paper, and voodoo dolls wrapped in ancient doilies.

“It’s in here somewhere,” he told the universe. “I know full well it’s in here somewhere.”

There was a sound at the door. Not a knock, and not the chime of a doorbell, but the sound of an incredibly taut wire being pulled even more taut.

Aldor stopped what he was doing. “That almost sounded like a crossbow,” he said.

He approached the front door and stared through the peephole. It was a young girl, quite possibly even teenaged, covered in much-buckled armor, and with her long blonde hair effectively out of the way in a ponytail. She was crouched out there, marveling quietly at the sheer audacity of the place’s stench. If pressed, she would say it smelled like a stink bomb baked into a rotten quiche that was then fed to a man who promptly died and was left to rot for fourteen days. But she never did care for metaphors, so she simply held her breath until she was finished loading her crossbow, and reapplied her finger and thumb to her nose.

Absolute stealth,” she muttered to herself.

Aldor, his eyeball nearly touching the glass of the peephole, decided he had better go ahead and rip off the bandage now, so he opened the door.

“The pleasure’s all mine,” he shouted.

Elmere said nothing, entering the house crossbow-first.

Geh!” Aldor squeaked, feeling the point of the bolt against his Aldor’s apple. “What gives?” he asked.

“Stopper your egregious maw, villain!” Elmere demanded, the effect being lost a little because she was still plugging her nose. “One wrong move and I’ll install in your throat a second windpipe!”

Aldor threw up his hands. “Sheesh! You solicitors are getting so pushy these days.”


“What is it today? Spellbook subscription? Earl Guide cookies? Undead insurance?”

Elmere repositioned herself on the front porch, trying to ascertain if this strange man was living or dead. He was whore-skinny, wearing a black cloak with sleeves that were far too big for his shriveled gray arms. His eyes were sunken, and his face was covered in ash. His hair was okay, though. Silver and short and shiny. He clearly used product.

“Who are you? And what have you done with my uncle?” Elmere asked, glaring intensely.

Aldor rolled his shoulders to keep his hands from falling asleep. “Lady, I’m a necromancer. The worst thing I could have done to him is bring him back to life.”

Silence. Glare.

Aldor rolled his eyes. He tried to put his hands on his hips, but Elmere made a panicked sound and pushed her crossbow harder against him.

“I don’t ask everybody I meet for their family trees,” Aldor said. “You’ll have to give me a name.”

“His name is Aldor!”

Aldor’s eyes fell half-closed. “Honey,” he said.


“You’re lookin’ at him.”

The crossbow lowered to chest level.


Feeling the momentum of the situation swing in his favor, Aldor lowered his hands to his hips and pushed them to one side, striking a pose that was equal parts threatening and sassy.

“You know, Niece,” he said. “The problem with leading with the crossbow is that it makes you think you’ve won too early.”

He winked, stuck out his tongue, and Elmere fell through the floor into darkness. She looked up in shock at the face of this ashen demon waving down at her.

“Sweet dreams!”

Elmere fired her crossbow at the disappearing world. Aldor’s shriek was the last thing she heard.

…for the next few seconds, anyways. For at the bottom of this world of darkness was Aldor’s kitchen chair, which she landed in like a sack of bricks. A shock flew up her spine and and she tilted from side to side in the chair, the world coming back into light. She looked around. She had somehow teleported inside the house, and had no time to ponder the philosophical ramifications of this, for her crossbow was nowhere to be found.

Wait, no, there it was. On the front porch, right where she left it, smashed to pieces.

This wasnt your average teleportation spell, however, for some time had passed. The fiend was now wandering around his water-damaged kitchen in a tizzy. He went from cupboard to water-damaged cupboard, opening, swearing, and closing. He looked a little less shocking now, but only because his chin was covered with a bandaid adorned with cartoon bears. Elmere nodded proudly.

“Did it hurt?” she asked with a smirk.

“When I fell from heaven?” replied Aldor. “Don’t be trite, Elmere. Hey, I don’t suppose you have a Drano scroll on you?” he asked.

Elmere refused to answer on principle. “Why is my uncle a necromancer?” she asked.

“I have my reasons.”

Aldor strolled up to her and put his face right in front of hers, as if trying to read something written in tiny letters on her eyeballs. Elmere tried not to gag at the smell of death. She noticed his eyes were different colors, though she couldn’t quite tell which colors they were. One of them was silver, and the other was… silver. But, no, the first one wasn’t silver, it was… back to silver again.

“Optical illusion,” Aldor told her. He smiled. “Tough spell to hold, but it’s worth it. Eye contact used to make me uncomfortable. Now it makes everyone else uncomfortable.”

“I thought you said you were a necromancer. How are you performing such tricks?”

“I minored in illusionry.”

Aldor frowned, seemingly having not found what he was looking for in Elmere’s acne-ridden face. So he went back to searching the same cupboards, in the same order, with the same result.

“I am the king’s daughter,” Elmere threatened. “If you—”

“And how is my brother doing these days?” Aldor asked, still searching. “Has he implemented fascism yet?”

Elmere seethed. She attempted to struggle against her restraints, but she didn’t have any, so she just flailed her arms for half a second. Blushing, she brought them in and crossed them. Her next words, she chose carefully.

“I won’t participate in your games, you, you… slimy… farcical… cretin who layeth with maggots!”

Aldor stopped what he was doing and put on a hurt expression. “Oh, yeah?” he retorted. “Well, your parents don’t love you.”

“My mother is dead,” Elmere said, as if this were a point in her favor.

“Oh.” Aldor dropped his arms to his side, looking away from her. “I apologize.” He approached Elmere again and clarified, “Just your father, then.”

Elmere roared in the necromancer’s face, but he merely smiled and closed his eyes, enjoying a breeze.

“Think about it, little Niece. In all your 17 years of life, he never told you about your uncle the necromancer, and he sent you to see him anyways. Why? In the hopes that he’d kill you by accident, of course.”

“Sixteen,” Elmere corrected on instinct.

“Uh-huh,” Aldor said. He resumed searching the cupboards, humming a dark, gurgling tune. Elmere watched him waltz around his room, his forearms vertical and his hands limp, swinging from side to side. She had seen maids walk this way.

“Say, how did Elaine go?” he asked suddenly.

Elmere swallowed. “It was two years ago,” she said quietly. “She and I were out on the barracks, and she fell to her death.”

Aldor gave a whistle, descending in tone. “Foul play?”

“No. It was an accident, despite the accusations that were launched against my character. She simply had poor footing, is all. I was fortunate that a guard saw it happen, and I was absolved, but the grief I have carried…”

“Did your dad take extra convincing?”

Elmere looked up. “What?”

“Nothing. Say, about that Drano spell. Have a scroll on you?”

“Drano? The plumbing spell? Why would you…” Elmere shivered in horror. “You plan to use it on one of your victims, don’t you?”

“Shitter’s clogged,” Aldor informed her, grabbing a pair of keys out of a water-logged wooden bowl. “And it looks like I’m going to have to go to town to get a new scroll. Luckily, I’ll be passing there anyways, because I have to take a teenager back to her father and yell at him for involving me in his woeful parenting.”

Elmere frowned. As Aldor watched her, both his eyebrows raised, she considered the recent turn of events. He decided to give her a second. Things had been moving pretty fast.

One thing was for sure for Elmere. Blood relative or no, this necromancer was up to something…

“I’m not up to something,” Aldor said. “I see that look on your face.”

…and her father sending her to his house was no accident. It must be a mission to take down the necromancer and bring him to justice. But with her crossbow dismantled, all she could do was arrest him, and the best way to do that was to lead him back to the castle, where she would have the support of the guardsmen.

“Alright,” Elmere said. “I will accompany you to acquire your spell, and to drop me off at the castle.”

“Splendid news,” Aldor said. “But I wasn’t asking.”

The adventure of Aldor and Elmere started the way every good adventure starts: With some debate, and with an untrustworthy appearance that the adventure may not happen after all.

They couldn’t decide on the best mode of transportation.

In Aldor’s backyard was a miniature zoo filled with dead animals. They were standing upright, most of them, wandering around their pens, bonking their heads on posts, and looking very bemused with being alive again. Their eyes were either missing, hanging out, or staring at the sky.

There was also a dragon corpse, whom Aldor had named Jebediah, not understanding it was a female dragon corpse. She was in the back of the little zoo of horrors. As big as his house, and just as derelict, her scales were black and falling apart. Green mucus slid out of her nose and coated two of her jagged teeth. But Jeb was less of an option than the other animals, as she was dead. As in, dead dead. Re-dead.

“The second death isn’t when everybody forgets about you,” Aldor said, kicking one of the dragon’s teeth and breaking it into its mouth. “The second death is when I’ve revived you and you die again.” He looked down and clasped his hands together, as if praying. “No coming back from that.”

“We’ll take my horse,” Elmere decided.

Pami was a lovely mare. They found her where Elmere left her, tied to a tree a good hundred paces away from the first signs of stench. She was, as always, looking around the dirt for little bugs and plants to investigate and make friends with. She accepted the extra weight of the necromancer(although in truth he didn’t weigh much) and they were off to the shops on a beautiful day, the grass quietly dying in their wake. Elmere pretended she didn’t see it.

By the end of the trip, Pami had changed. As Aldor went into the spellstore, sleeves rolled up and forearms vertical, Elmere cupped the horse’s muzzle in her hands and tried to lock eyes with her. But Pami’s gaze was elsewhere now.

Elmere stormed inside and found Uncle Aldor by a large mirror, where customers could try on appearance spells. He ran a hand through his short hair and came away with more than a little dandruff. He smirked.

“I look good today,” he said.

“Hey.” Elmere snapped her fingers between Aldor and the mirror. “What have you done to Pami?”

“She’ll get over it.”

“Answer the question, Uncle.”

Aldor thought for a moment. “You know how animals don’t realize they’re going to die?”

“…I guess?”

“Well, now she knows. A side effect from being around me; but don’t worry, it’s a good thing! That kind of knowledge makes you run faster, I find.”

He winked at her, and she wished she could unsee it.

The shopkeeper, a plump and exceedingly old man wearing a cartoonish wizard’s robe, came to greet them, saying, “Can I help… you.”

“Good tidings,” Aldor said with a wave. “Just a Drano scroll today.”

“Oh, no,” the shopkeeper said. “Not a chance. I’ve heard of you, Aldor the Abhorrent.”

Aldor tensed immediately, throwing a finger in the shopkeeper’s face. “Hey, I only have that title because I don’t dontae any money to the historians.”

The shopkeeper threw up his own finger. “Either way,” he replied. “I don’t barter with terrorists.”

Aldor scoffed, and assumed his hands-on-hips power stance again. “I’m not a terrorist. I’m a man with coinage who would like to clear out some drainage.” He withdrew a handful of coins from his pocket to support his argument.

“As far as I know you’re gonna use it on a person for some sick joke.”

“I’m the only one who hasn’t thought of that today!”

“Either way! I’m not selling to a killer.”

Aldor groaned. “Do you know how many people I’ve brought back to life? I’m in the black!”

“Okay!” Elmere said, stepping between them. “Let’s not do this. May I purchase the spell, sir?”

The shopkeeper looked her up and down. “Are you with him?”


“Fine. Seventeen coins, please.”

Elmere patted her front pockets. “Seventeen.” She patted her back pockets. “No problem, um…”

Aldor sidled up beside her and nudged her in the ribs. “Absolute stealth,” he whispered, proffering the coins behind their backs. Elmere put on an inconspicuous expression and started fumbling for them.

“Get out!”

And they did. If the shopkeeper’s spittle-laced shout wasn’t convincing enough, his throwing arm would not be denied. He started with his shoes, nailing both runners in the head, then moved on to his merchandise, throwing potions, axes, and even some scrolls that he froze with a spell and hurled like snowballs.

Fun fact: One of those scrolls he threw was a Drano scroll, but Aldor and Elmere were too busy untying Pami and running away to notice that the story could have been cut short, right then and there! Lucky us.

When they were out of the shopkeeper’s sight (and his range), they took a moment to catch their breath. They were in a small alleyway, just wide enough to fit Pami, her shoulders rubbing up against the walls. Elmere noticed Aldor wheezing particularly hard, a rattling coming from his chest.

“Are you okay?” she asked, just about recovered.

The necromancer raised his hand and extended one finger. “You know what?” he said, swallowing tightly. “I’m gonna say it. I would have never gone through with the Rite of Undying if I’d known these things would start happening.”

A silence settled between the pair. Elmere leaned against the wall and crossed her arms, staring at the gray man. “You mean you chose to be like this?” she asked.

Aldor straightened up. He thought he liked Elmere’s stance, so he took it on the opposite wall. “You can’t become a necromancer by accident. Well, not anymore. The underworld hasn’t really heard the end of the twins incident.”

“But why?”

Aldor shrugged. “I wanted to revive my dead parents. The usual schtick.”

“And did you succeed?”

“No. Turns out it costs you an arm and a leg to do a full revival. Skeletons and rotting bodies are easier to animate, but it’s not something you want to subject your parents to.”

Elmere nodded, paying her uncle a sympathetic frown. Pami, too, looked at him sympathetically, but she was likely more concerned about her own well-being at the time.

“Still,” Elmere said. “It must be nice having magic.”

Aldor eyed her carefully, his upper lip being pulled by an invisible string. “You really are sheltered,” he said. “Anyone can use magic.”

“…But my dad told me I couldn’t.”

“Did you not notice the shopkeeper with the wicked throwing arm use an ice spell? Did he look like a chosen one? I mean, you need training to use the specialties, but still, levitation, telekinesis… Even the Drano spell if you have a scroll, which we still don’t, by the way.” Aldor’s mood suddenly soured. “I’ll have to take one from your castle.”

Elmere stared at her shoes, thinking.

Aldor looked to the end of the alley and saw only a brick wall. He looked at Pami, gazing far, far past him.

“Do you have a reverse function?” Aldor asked the horse.

Borta and Gerbert are two names you probably aren’t familiar with. That’s because they are two guards at Castle Everwhöre, where you’ve never been, and where our story takes us next. It’s a lovely institution, really, all stone walls and imposing gargoyles. It’s got the works. A proper man’s castle all around.

Borta was, at the time of our heroes’ arrival, guarding the interior janitor’s room. Gerbert, meanwhile, has the hots for Borta. This is irrelevant, but I want to try out a writing tool my friend showed me. He called it ‘dramatic ironing’ I believe, which is where I give you information to which the characters aren’t privy. This friend, unlike me, a soul without a body, is a body without a soul. A soulless husk, if you will. And I’m planning on proving to him that his favorite writing tool sucks.

So, let’s give it a whirl.

It was astonishing, Borta decided. Absolutely astonishing. Here he was, on his birthday, guarding the least important room in the entire castle. All it had were cleaning supplies, some of them magic, some of them otherwise. If anyone attacked the castle, he’d just be called to the walls anyhow. Where it was sunny. But no matter how much of a stink he made, his boss would never get rid of the position. Freaking unions. The only thing that could make this day worse would be if Gerbert were to show up.

“Hey!” Gerbert shouted from around the corner. “Hey, Borta! Can I show you something?”

Perfect, Borta thought. Just undeniably perfect.

Gerbert bumbled down the hall towards him, armor clanking. He was oblivious to Borta’s social cues. Not acknowledging him, staring at the wall instead of him, these things meant nothing to Gerbert. He nudged Borta on the shoulder.

“Check it out,” he said. “I got my hair done.”

Borta raised an eyebrow. “Oh, wow,” he said. “It’s so metallic and shiny.”

“It is?”

Borta thwacked Gerbert, right in the side of his helmet. “You wanna take this off first, ya dumpling?”

Borta waited for Gerbert to unleash his locks on the corridor. Unbelievable. Completely unbelievable.

“Have a look!”

Borta had a look, and he saw snakes. They were all over Gerbert’s scalp, dancing and twirling, biting each other in the throat and kissing each other on the mouth. Gerbert’s face melted like candlewax, cracked and burned like firewood. A crowd, somewhere distant, screamed.

“Darn,” the horror said. “That bad?”

Borta fainted.

“Gah!” Gerbert yelped, putting his helmet back on. “Don’t worry, boss! I’ll get help!” And with that he was off.

Our heroes came out from around the corner. Aldor first, wiping his hands, and Elmere second, her arms crossed.

“You know I live here,” Elmere said. “I could have just asked them to let us in.”

“I don’t get out very often,” replied Aldor.

The janitor’s room had scrolls for days. They were in little metal racks on the wall, stuffed inside skinny drawers, and piled up to the ceiling. Aldor had never seen so much magic in his life.

He asked, “What do you think would happen if I set them all off at once? Would the castle explode?”

“No, but it would certainly leave this room sterile.”

But Aldor was no longer listening. He gasped, rubbed his hands together with glee, and plucked a scroll from off the wall. Drano.

Elmere picked up her own copy and stared at it.

“So I simply… speak the word ‘Drano’, and the spell will activate?”

She frowned, realizing she had just disproven her own theory the moment she said it.

“Sort of,” Aldor replied. “But you have to mean it, and you gotta have oomph. It’ll do nothing without the oomph.”


Neither of our heroes said this, and in fact they weren’t expecting it. But a troupe of guards had appeared at the door, and I don’t have names for these guys, so let’s assume they all look the same, and that their eyes are all covered by their visors.

Elmere remembered her original goal, to have her uncle arrested, but she found she didn’t want to anymore. What had changed? She chalked it up to tiredness, but only because it was her first time feeling compassionate.

She walked up to the guards, her hands raised. “It’s okay, guys,” she said. “He’s with me.”

One of them shouted, “Lady Elmere, you are under arrest for conspiring with a necromancer!”

And then they were on her, aiming their gripping hands for her wrists and ankles. She thrashed, and she got one or two good hits in, but the guards were well-trained, and there were seven of them.

As they dragged her down the hall, she let out one last scream.

“Why aren’t you arresting HIM?!”

This was enough to wake up Aldor, who had been staring at his scroll with starry eyes.

“Huh, what? Elmere?” he said to the empty room. “Hellooo?”

He peered around the doorframe and saw the last glimpse of his niece’s boots as they were dragged around the corner, kicking.

His first reaction was to smile. “Well, then,” he said. “Well, well, well.”

The next words didn’t come to him, so he decided that was enough talking for one day. He went down the corridor, away from all the ensuing trouble, and got all the way to the end before he gave into the urge to kick the wall as hard as he could. He yelped and hopped around for a few seconds, then sat back on a large windowsill overlooking the kingdom. He massaged his foot, and understood it was broken. It’s very easy to break the foot of a necromancer. They don’t make a lot of visits to the gym.

He let out a long, petulant sigh. He couldn’t identify this strange force he felt inside his heart. He chalked it up to guilt. Again, though. Compassion.

He sniffed, and he recoiled. The necromancer himself was rank, of course, but he could never pick up his own scent. Whatever he was smelling now was much, much worse. He peered out the window and saw the kingdom, and in front of it, he saw something else.

But let’s pretend I didn’t say that, because the story reads better that way. Don’t like it? Well, then, I’d like to politely remind you that I am in charge.

By the by, it occurs to me that I may have implied, when we first met, that I am forever attached to Aldor. This is not the case. I simply spend most of my time near him. I’m still learning how to haunt people, see, and when I do get the hang of it, I want him to be my first hauntee.

For now, let me tell you about King Everwhöre; and yes, that is his name. You may now be catching on to why this country is struggling to rebrand itself.

He is a large and muscular man, with dashing brown locks and a soft, yet imperial chin. His looks aren’t the result of a healthy lifestyle or good genes, however, but of a regular morning makeover in front of the mirror, complete with many an appearance spell. His position, or rather Elmere’s position, at the beginning of this scene is the perfect indicator of his unique approach to parenting.

Elmere was on her knees, roughed up and aching, at the bottom of the steps leading to King Everwhöre’s throne, so that even her head was beneath his feet.

She was in chains. He, meanwhile, was rather freely moving, pacing back and forth in front of his chair, and wandering very close to the guards in the room so that, without him needing to say anything, they would shuffle out of his way.

“I knew we closed that investigation too soon,” the king announced. “I knew you were responsible for the death of my beloved Elaine. Your own mother…”

Elmere tried to move. It was challenging. “Father, why have you been lying to me? About magic, and my uncle. What are you hiding?”


The king raised his hand, as if wanting to send Elmere flying with willpower alone. It worked. It was just a few feet back, off of her knees and onto her arms, chained up behind her back. It hurt enough to cause an epiphany.

“You,” she said.


Elmere squirmed to get back to her knees. A couple guards put the points of their spears at her throat, but she paid them no mind.

“YOU pushed her. And YOU tried to frame me!”

The guards turned to their king, not sure what to think. To his credit, he didn’t falter. After a moment’s thought, he sneered at her.

“Prove it,” said Everwhöre.

Elmere roared, but found herself in a roaring contest between herself and whatever the hell was outside. She didn’t stand a chance.

Every guard in the room ran towards the windows. And, like any army who has been well-trained, they had collectively made the wrong decision.

The wall burst and crumbled, stone and windows together, a shower of glass and masonry. A giant, black beast plowed into the throne room. The guards watched the unnamed beast in horror, squealing, careening towards the other wall. Elmere scurried behind a column to avoid the flying debris, and whispered to herself.



The deadly stench enveloped the throne room, and so did the dragon. Jebediah continued to careen, and nobody had yet noticed the necromancer wrapped around her neck, legs flying up in the air, his teeth baring and clenched. The decaying dragon crashed into the next wall, but she had less luck taking this one on, crumpling lifelessly to the ground.

Elmere took her head out from under her arms. Rocks and pebbles continued to fall to the ground, and there was suddenly a great dust cloud in the room, from which Aldor emerged, hobbling, and favoring one leg. When he saw Elmere, he gave her a wink.

Absolute stealth.”

“Uncle!” Elmere said, rushing to him. She noticed the limp. “Did you injure your foot in the crash?”

“Yes,” he said. “That’s how it happened. Now where’s—?”

King Everwhöre emerged from behind Aldor, clattering Aldor on the back of the head with both fists, sending him careening one last time. He crumpled against the floor, neatly mirroring his dead dragon.

“Uncle!” Elmere shouted.

Everwhöre began a speech. “And here I thought, after all your failures, you could do one thing for me, and destroy my nuisance of a daughter.”

The guards from where Jeb made her entrance, had been protected by their armor and the fact that the debris was entirely small pieces, and they were listening.

The king grabbed Elmere by her ponytail and resisted her swings. A protective glow emanated around his body. He had a triumphant stroll.

“Are you even listening to me?” he asked Aldor’s lifeless form. He held up Elmere by her hair and patiently tapped his foot. “I know it’s not that easy, Aldy.”

Sure enough, Aldor stirred. He groaned, struggled against his featherweight body, and rolled over onto his elbows. “Hey,” he said, his eyes unfocused. “Implemented fascism yet?”

“Always the witty one, brother. You know our parents never loved you, right?”

Aldor made a disbelieving smirk. “Come on, brother. It’ll take more than that to get under my skin.”

Everwhöre considered this, all the while ignoring Elmere’s struggles. “Look at me,” he said, becoming all nasal. “I’m Aldor the Asshole, I can’t even kill a defenseless little girl.”

Two retorts appeared in Aldor’s loopy brain. The first was takes one to know one. The second was she doesn’t look so defenseless to me. The second one was the better option, but they short circuited in his muddled brain and canceled each other out, so all he did was point at the king with a bony finger and go, “Haaaaaa, ha, haaaaaa.”

The king looked over at his daughter. She smiled, holding a crumpled piece of parchment in her hand. She kicked her father’s chin, shoved the scroll inside his mouth and clasped her hand over it.

She shouted, “DRANO!”

Little Elmere’s First Spell.

Everwhöre’s entire body buffeted. His eyes went wide. The glow disappeared from his body, and when Elmere removed her hand, a fresh aroma of ammonia came from his mouth, falling open. Elmere dropped to her feet and staggered, watching her father fall backwards onto a pile of rocks and slide limply to the floor. He came to rest just at the edge of a torn dragon wing.

Aldor, still laughing, passed out.

This is as good a time as any to take my leave. No doubt you will have many tricky questions ready for me at this stage. Why does it sound like I'm speaking to multiple of you at times? Did the antagonist really need to be so stereotypically evil? Why does Everwhöre have a legislative branch and a king? Listen. If this is how you treat amateurs, then I pity your children.

For now, I understand it's important for the storyteller to fulfill his promises to the audience. With that, I will leave you with the final scene, as promised.

Aldor the Abhorrent, more tired than he’d ever been, and even more dusty than usual, sat slouching on a flat rock outside Castle Everwhöre. He picked up stones from the ground and tossed them over to Jeb, who could eat just about anything, including stones. She gulped them with glee.

Aldor had figured out why he assumed she had died a second time. She was no longer breathing, back in his backyard. Even after all this time, he still made these rookie mistakes.

The undead don’t need to breathe. Magic gives them all the energy they need. It’s their breath, their food, their sleep, and their wine.

But Aldor was not dead, and he could certainly use a drink.

Footsteps approached from behind. Aldor’s nose was very acute, and he could pick out the absence of alcohol from fifty miles aways. He sighed.

From behind, Elmere said, “Going home?”

“Stop,” was Aldor’s response. “Stop what you’re doing.”

“…What did I do?”

“I know it seems like a good idea at the time, running away with me, becoming my apprentice. But you have a life here—”


Aldor twisted in his seat. Elmere was there, no less dirty than him, and still as tired and bruised as after the dust settled. There was one important difference, however—the golden crown atop her head.

“Did you steal that?” he asked.

“No. They weren’t sure about it at first, but I reminded them the only other family member my father didn’t murder is a necromancer.”


Elmere sat beside her uncle on the rock. “I did want to ask you, though… about the Rite of the… what did you call it?”

“It’s not worth it.”

“Hear me out.”


“You said it would cost you an arm and a leg to fully revive someone. I… just feel my mother is better suited to—”

“Stop,” Aldor interrupted. “Stop what you’re doing.”

“But she didn’t deserve—!”

Aldor quieted her with a look. He could do that with anyone. His face was shocking enough. When he was sure she would listen, he went back to picking up stones.

“Before I went digging up my parents’ graves,” he said, “I decided I would try to revive someone else first. Just a quick skeleton, you know, see how it works.”

Elmere hugged her legs, dreading the incoming lesson.

“You want to know what he said to me?”

“…The first man you ever revived?”



Aldor went to throw a stone, but Jeb wasn’t paying attention.

“He said… ‘Five more minutes.’ ”

Elmere’s chin dropped. Aldor sighed, shaking his head.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about how your mother feels, Elmere. She’s resting now. Trust me when I say, peace awaits us all.”

A cold wind blew between them. Elmere shivered, but Aldor didn’t.

“I ended up putting the guy back to sleep. Since then I’ve mostly stuck to animals. They’re more reliable.”

Jebediah noticed something on the wind. She lumbered up onto her legs and sniffed at the air, although she didn’t have a sense of smell. With a great flap of her wings, she leapt into the air and sailed away, pieces of her falling to the ground below. Her flight was somewhere between majestic and horrifying. Mystifying, perhaps.

Elmere watched the beast fly into the distance.

“Was that your ride?” she asked.

“…She is dead to me.”
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#1 · 2
· · >>Meridian_Prime
Quoth the raven “Everwhöre!”

I loved this story so much and it had me laughing the entire time. I’m a sucker for cliche adventure stories and this one did not disappoint.

“Elmere seethed. She attempted to struggle against her restraints, but she didn’t have any, so she just flailed her arms for half a second.”

I laughed so hard at that line. Just the imagery of her sitting in the middle of the room and then suddenly you see her flail for no damn reason then go back to normal is just... just amazing.
#2 · 1
Glorious. Utterly, utterly glorious.

There's so many great lines here, although I too am partial to >>Anon Y Mous's choice of flailing against non-existent restraints. I don't think I'm the person to pick this apart, I think I'd get too lost in going "look at this one! Isn't it great? Ooh, ooh, and this one too!". I'll leave that to others. I'm just going to say that this is great, and I love it.
#3 · 1
A generally fun and entertaining fantasy ride that really puts me in mind of early Discworld.

Of course, I'm a bit more of a fan of later Discworld. :o

Seriously though, it is fun and goofy, but it definitely is sitting pretty hard in that camp, which makes some of the more "serious" beats a bit tougher to deal with? Like, it is a bit of a harder tonal change to go from zany necromancer antics to my dad murdered my mom and and maybe she should be resurrected? Not that I am against heart in comedies (I am actually a big proponent), I just feel like it ends up coming a little out left field given the general zaniness preceding that?

I dunno. I might actually be offbase there. Zany can support heart. I think it is more that the heard just wasn't trying to really show before the end.

The framing device is a bit awkward. You definitely get some decent jokes and mileage out of it, but I think it ultimately kind of ends up being a distraction since it doesn't really factor into anything or have any real impact?

I am a little rusty on reading 3rd person omniscient, but I think this story struggles a bit with it early on, bouncing a bit too aggressively between viewpoints and voices. It smooths out a bit later on, but the intro of our two leads is especially jarring. Which reminds me that the plunger comment by the narrator at the beginning is a bit of a flub of joke since the inversion is obvious.

Ultimately, I think this ends up feeling a bit like the quintessential writeoff story. There's definitely some good stuff in here, the structure is pretty solid, but it does feel like it needs a bit more time to develop and have the pacing smoothed out.
#4 · 1
Again, a lot of fun:

I like the literal omniscient narrator, but he does seem to check out during the last scene--which is odd 'cause, if he's telling us the truth at the beginning, that's the one where he gets mentioned and all. The story itself seems like that, too, sort of tumbling to a stop rather than coming to an ending. I guess I wanted one more scene to give a little closure to Elmere and Aldor's relationship now that she's the queen and he's still a necromancer. And I'm scowling at the non-use of the pic it's supposed to be inspired by. One zombie dancing hippo in Aldor's backyard, and you woulda been there!

#5 · 1
It is very late in the night, and I should be doing work. Nonetheless, I feel obligated to give a review of this story, considering its author a person who is DEFINITELY not Miller Minus has decided to call me out directly. But more on that later.

There are many things to like about this story and in almost equal measures, things to be disappointed about. I would describe this piece as uneven; achieving great highs but also rather disappointing lows. The highs stem from good comedic chops, clever and sometimes outright guffaw worthy one-liners, as well as the affectionate parody tone that carries (most) of the piece. The lows on the other hand are a direct result of the number one issue for pretty much all write-off pieces that aren't entered by filthy, filthy cheaters: a lack of polish. Lack of polish in construction, delivery, pacing, and just sometimes, just poor organization of the prose.

This first and perhaps most serious misstep on the path to glory for this entry is its opener. I often decide which story I will read based on the first line of each entry. I will be honest about my initial reaction to the first couple lines, as this was the first entry I actually viewed. I opened the entry, saw those lines, thought, "Oh Christ on a cracker, some "story-within-a-story" overly complicated meta entry, great." I promptly closed this entry and went to go read Bartown, USA instead. I ended up wading back to this entry eventually, but it was with much reluctance.

Obviously, this is not the first impression you are trying to go for. My suggestion is to make the tongue-in-cheek tone apparent from the very beginning and start off strong, because you're not trying to be mistaken for a pensive, godawful, pretentious (insert negative adjective here) meta entry. You're trying to be Monty-Python or Blazing Saddles. Go watch those films again.

Sometimes the humor hits, and sometimes it doesn't. The most prominent example I can think of a joke very obviously not landing is the set-up in the first scene about the plunger and the deadly weapon, combined with the very obvious payoff that the necromancer had the plunger. I'm not even going to spoiler that because that's how obvious it was. I've discussed in the chat jokes that are that predictable need a third unexpected element to land.

I do feel that Aldor gets progressively less "flaming" as the story goes along. I enjoyed the initial characterization of Aldor being a fruity necromancer, and it humorous, but that seems to get dropped by the wayside as the story progresses. Additionally, if you're doing a subtle reference, DO IT ONLY ONCE. The Coco reference is a good example of a reference paired with an actual joke, but the double FMA reference where the joke is the reference is just pandering.

Structurally, some of the presentation is just off. There are paragraphs where the perspective shifts mid-paragraph, which is a big no-no. Sometimes it's a bit difficult to even figure out what the joke was. The pacing and organization of the prose seems to deteriorate as the story progresses. For example, pretty much every paragraph of the last scene is two lines or less. Also as is standard for this author, who I may remind the audience, is NOT MILLER MINUS, he abuses italics much like addict abuses crack.

So, now it is later. Later has happened. We must therefore, talk about the scene. What scene could I be referring to?

Borta was, at the time of our heroes’ arrival, guarding the interior janitor’s room. Gerbert, meanwhile, has the hots for Borta. This is irrelevant, but I want to try out a writing tool my friend showed me. He called it ‘dramatic ironing’ I believe, which is where I give you information to which the characters aren’t privy. This friend, unlike me, a soul without a body, is a body without a soul. A soulless husk, if you will. And I’m planning on proving to him that his favorite writing tool sucks.

For reference, I did actually get out of my seat while reading this and paced around my apartment, amusedly muttering "that son of bitch." BUT YOU DONE FUCKED UP.


And that's terrible.

So the problem with this scene is twofold:

1. It's really hard to tell what happened between Borta and Gerbert based on the narrative description alone. This is because it's hard to tell what the joke is. Is Gerbert a Medusa? Has he always looked this way or is just how has hair has been done? Should I be laughing because Gerbert is failing to impress Borta so badly that he makes Borta faint?
2. You completely cut off this scene by immediately and unexpectedly switching back to the perspective character with not even a soft break.
3. You fuck up by intentionally sandbagging the overall joke in this scene with the explanation of dramatic irony, but fail to follow up on it, and ironically make the the ghost's description about there being a guard with a crush on another guard the only memorable detail about that scene and the characters in it.
4. You fuck up dramatic irony. I don't know how you did this after receiving such a thorough and amazing explanation, but here you are. The fact that Borta hates the fuck out of Gerbert is dramatic irony, but it has nothing to do with the overall scene, story or joke. Gerbert knows that Gerbert likes Borta, and the unexpected effect of his terrible looks is not. For this alone, you should be summarily executed.

If this is how you treat amateurs, then I pity your children.

A lot of this reads like a metaphor of being a writeoff entrant, but nonetheless.

I don't think a lot of the other readers caught what the ghost man was getting at the beginning about the ending. But I did. Basically the reveal is:

At the end, Aldor is espousing a life lesson about how you shouldn't revive the dead, and how he did do the right thing by putting the first man he revived back to sleep. Unbeknownst to him, (DRAMATIC IRONY ALERT), the narrator is actually the ghost of the man he brought back, and he's implied to be a bit pissed about it, which negates the lesson Aldor is trying to impart and is why he talks about potentially haunting Aldor midway through the story.

Anyways, this was a good, if rushed and very imperfect, entry that got me to laugh. And that's why we're all here, right? To laugh. Mostly at No_Raisin. Sometimes at Monokeras. Good job.
#6 · 1
Delightful madness. Thank you for writing this.