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About Traditional Art / Student Jaya LakshmiFemale/United States Groups :iconmericcup: mericcup
the princess and the viking
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Deviant for 8 Years
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Newest Deviations

Literature
FFM Finale: Curtain Call
When I go to a musical, I often let the music wash me away. I want to escape to another world. I don't go to plays as often because while dialogue can entrance, music is what truly brings a person away from this sordid reality. For my birthday, my siblings had gotten me a seasonal pass to the local theater, and this show I was looking forward to immensely.
Earlier shows had included an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, a remake of Hello Dolly, and The Book of Mormon. It made me uncomfortable to watch a musical where the Mormons were clean and innocent, and the country of Uganda was shown as a place of constant misery. I knew nothing about Uganda, and I knew that this was nonsense.
This show was different. It took place entirely in a large tank, meant more for an aquarium. There were no people inside the tank.  Instead, strange sea creatures danced: little sea dragons that glowed between the bubbles, jellyfish with six-foot long tentacles, and seals with humanoid voices who sang in
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Literature
FFM Challenge: Letters From In A Space Capsule
Dear Charlotte:
By the time you read this, I will be up in the sky, away from the lawyers. Make sure that you travel to an estate far outside their jurisdiction. They will do all they can to break you.
Your Brother,
Father Price
Dear Charlotte:
Did you cash that winning Monopoly shoe? Be sure to follow the procedure and call it in. You know, go to a new apartment, and make sure to give the address to that. Sweet-talk the local diner into saying you're a regular.
I know this is ridiculous. You won't read this because this capsule won't be open for thousands of years. But I'd like to think that in the future, someone will remember us. And that you will remember the instructions I've repeated day after day.
Your Brother,
Father Price
Dear Charlotte:
Space isn't cold. Not all the time at least. Sometimes it can be blazing hot.
Monopoly never released toys in space that I remember. Maybe they did. It's hard to keep track of the days.
When I invested my money into going out here and living m
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Literature
FFM 30: A Bad Review for NICE MAN BRIDALS
I feel that this review will be deleted in a few hours, because this tacky website believes that we have to focus only on our personal experience and not the experience of others. And this website doesn't understand that if we only focused on our own experiences, than no place would get a  bad review. Moderator Jim, I am watching out for you and I have not forgiven you for deleting my live review of the dragon rampage at Colosseum Pets. If you don't watch yourself, I will be reporting you for biased moderating.
Do not visit this shop if you wish for a pleasurable bride gown experience. Nice Man Bridals is anything but nice. You will wish that you were in the bridal shop from hell. 
The owner of the shop disgusts me. Grome Niceman is a terrible human being. He makes your fingers want to plug your ears with cotton and duct tape until he stops talking and moving around. 
We went bridal gown shopping for my friend Oli, who is a sweet girl that has trouble finding clothes tha
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Literature
FFM 29: A New Sword (Steven Universe Spoilers)
It always gave Bismuth pride to see her weapons being used. Being at this wedding, being welcomed back, it meant that she could enjoy the party and meet all the new recruits. She and Steven's friend Connie were talking, and eating the together breakfast cake. 
"You know, I never thought we'd live to see this day," Bismuth say. "We were fighting for so long, and I was making so many weapons, I thought we'd never be able to sit back and enjoy a perfect moment."
"I can't imagine what it's like," Connie said. "Pearl when she was training me told me a lot about the war. She said she was Rose's knight."
Bismuth took a bite of cake. With the recent revelations, it made more sense why Pearl would protect Rose in such a fashion, even if she was made to stand around and look pretty. 
"I've been using your sword for fighting," Connie offered. "Steven's sword I means. It's become a part of me."
"How can you carry it? That thing is heavy!" Bismuth said. Connie shrugged. 
"I don't kno
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Literature
FFM Challenge: The Language of Fear
Dr. Merkel looked up from his paperwork. Commander Il had brought in a new patient. It was a small girl with curly brown hair. Her eyes were vacant. She struggled against Commander Il.
"Her name is Nina," Il said without preamble. "Her brother Elodi worked in our army and defected to the enemy. He tried to betray the resistance, and used his sister as a bargaining chip. When we caught up to them, Elodi abandoned her. She hasn't spoken a word since."
"And what is the purpose of my treating her?" Dr. Merkel asked. "To actually heal her mind, or to interrogate her about her brother's whereabouts?"
"You are a doctor," Commander Il said. "You must treat people."
Good Hem, the man was right. Dr. Merkel stood.
"She has to give consent," he said. "That's the look of a girl who has been through the Unholy Sewers. How old is she? Four? Five?"
"How can she give consent when she can't even talk?" Commander Il said irritably.
Dr. Merkel knelt and looked Nina in the eye. She looked terrified and vac
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Literature
FFM 27: Immortal Scientists
The jellies in the ocean seem harmless, and brainless, if one keeps a distance. They float in the currents. Some float similarly in aquariums, or in people's tubs. White and pink blobs seem to have no worries.
Experienced divers and biologists will tell you to look more carefully. Watch for the stinging tentacles, especially the long pink ones that can kill a man. See how jellyfish can reverse aging to their medusa state. They may hold the key to immortality, if one can understand them.
A jellyfish would be able to look the closest. If a polyp were to attach itself to a diver lying among the reef, clinging to their brains, perhaps the diver would fight the panic and let the tentacles connect to their nerves. Perhaps the poison from the stings wouldn't drown them.
The jellies have spent their lifetimes observing. They record eons despite having no eyes, ears, or memory. If only we knew what they conclude about us, about the other sea creatures.
Regardless, don't get too close to the jel
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Literature
FFM Challenge: All the Buses
"So how do these field trips work?" Aura asked. She was studying the controls, and the unlabeled buttons.
"It's pretty simple," the redheaded woman next to her said. "The trick is to keep an eye on the mesmerglobber because it tends to act up and has short warranties, and make sure the shrinkascope doesn't decide to blow a gasket. But really the trick is that the bus knows. If we go to the ocean, it creates enough scuba suits for the class. If we go into space, it learns how to go faster than the speed of light."
"Can I give it a try?" Aura asked.
"Be my guest."
Aura pressed a button. The bus rattled. Nothing happened.
"It knows we aren't going on a field trip," her supervisor said with a smile. "But once the bus knows you, you can take the class anywhere you like, as long as you can take chances, make mistakes-"
Inside the large garage, a rattling sound came from outside. Both women looked up.
"Oh don't worry," her supervisor said, still smiling. "Press the button again."
Aura did. A
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Literature
FFM 25: The Cat and the Goose
There was once a cat that crossed rivers. It didn't mind the water, but it certainly didn't like it. The cat could paddle away, until it reached the other side. 
One day, a goose loitered by the bank. The cat paced back and forth. 
"Where are you headed?" the goose asked.
"To the other side," the cat replied. 
"Can I ferry you?" the goose asked. 
"That will not work," The cat said. "You are a goose. You will tear me to pieces with your beak."
"You are a cat. You will pounce on me and claw me." 
They considered each other. Then the cat, with wounded dignity, climbed onto the goose's back. 
"Why are you offering rides anyway?" the cat asked. 
"You don't want to know," the goose replied. "Why do you cross rivers?"
"It's a long story," the cat replied. 
He curled on the feathery back, and glared at the current.
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Literature
FFM Challenge: Ink
They tell us that the sky is green. All we can see is green. No, it's not because of the glasses we wear, they say. It's because the sky is green. Just like the hungry people vanish because the hungry people vanish. 
I have meals. I have a warm bed. And yet, despite knowing that I won't vanish into the night, I am afraid. And so I write. It starts as a few words on a page, scribbled out in elegant handwriting. Then it becomes a full letter. 
It's a joke piece, a letter about the state of affairs. The news doesn't write of the mundane affairs. But I pretend that I an an upper crust Parliament member. My words are a scorching defense of libraries, a rebuttal to one the Parliament member had actually written the day before. He claimed the libraries were not worth the ten pounds he paid in taxes a year. Never mind that he made hundreds of pounds by sitting around and complaining about the poor. So I wrote an apology, a satire on how one day he forgot where all his purchased books
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Literature
FFM 23: Amber
We don't often think of how we want to live. We focus more on how we want to be remembered. And yet we don't know how mere bones can tell our story. A skeleton only tells us which femur attaches to which fibula and tibia. Any muscles are lost to scorching hot sands and seas that bury corpses. 
This creature was long and had no legs, but rather a pair of scaly wings. Examine each of its triceps. It was a flier, and those wisps of blue and yellow fluff seem to be feathers. Inside this giant mound of dried sap, it decided to cling against a tree that would survive the flaming asteroids. If not for the hooded face and lack of a beak, I would call it a parrot. 
Should we open up the amber, and ask for a story to tell? Don't be ridiculous. This creature was meant to stay in the amber. The way that its fangs shoot out, that murderous look in its eyes, we aren't ready to learn how it ended up in the amber. 
Oh dear God. The eyes are moving. And the amber is cracking. 
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Literature
FFM 22: Why You Don't Text At Comedy Clubs
"So I'm sitting here, going out to the club," Rory Cullens was telling the audience. "We're lucky here because you were all told to put your phones away. Can't send those sexts of how your boobs are slipping out of your secret sexy lingerie."
The laughs are uncomfortable at first. I don't recognize most of the audience members, having just been attending this club once every few months. It shows how much I know about this atmosphere. But I figure we need more laughs, and maybe a bit more love for humor. 
"So here is what I do," Rory says. "I'm just casually taking out my phone and checking the time, because my watch is half-busted. Don't ask why I wear a watch. Wore a watch rather; all that shit is smashed up."
I don't know why I found this funny. But I was laughing. Rory went on. 
"This is a rude thing to do. The woman on stage turns. She glares at me. Then she marches off the stage. She tells me not to text. I tell her, 'Woman, I'm not texting. I'm Googling you.' And she sa
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Literature
FFM Challenge: The King of Bees
A solitary candle sat in the center of the room. It was thick, dark-golden, and waxy.
Peggy had come in to walk the dead, that is to take effigies of the family and let them watch the sunset. No one came into this room. But someone did. She knew who he was. He always appeared when you didn't want him to appear.
"Good evening," the figure said, sitting on a throne made of twenty thousand people.
"The Bee King is a fairy tale," she said, trembling. "There are only queen bees, workers, and drones."
"And yet I am here." The figure waved his large hands. He had fluffy golden hair, dark eyes, and a swishing cloak. "Also it's King Bees. Not Bee. Not Bee King. Kings. There are more of me."
"You're a figment, a nightmare to scare us away from the wild hives," Peggy responded.
"Oh?" He scratched his chin. "Can a figment do this?"
He waved his hand. The clock moved forward. It spun like a busy dial. Peggy saw her hair going grey before her eyes.
"Please," Peggy said. "I like this life."
"But I de
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Literature
FFM 20: An Invitation
You often wish you didn't open your mouth so much. You wish that people would understand that you hate them because they betrayed you.
You flee to the fairies, because they get it. Fairies are upfront about their lack of a soul. They deceive as well as a rock can: they can be shiny, but hard and indifferent.
They offer to take you to fairyland. You consider. A day there is a thousand years here. If you eat the food, you can never return. Your world seems doomed to become a wasteland anyway.
"In a minute," you tell them. "I should pay my taxes first."
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Literature
FFM Challenge: Experiments with Flying
The portal stood on the top of the hill. It was dark grey stone, the color of washed out storms, and at times it sparked.
"Still here after it was built thousands of years ago," Shep grunted. "Like we all dreamed."
"We wouldn't have been born if it didn't exist in the first place," Mauveine pointed out. "I like being here."
They gathered around it. Ginger's hair-snakes were biting her nails, and she sucked at a lollipop the size of her Velcro sneakers. Mauveine slithered back and forth, with worry. Her scales had started to go grey. Chiffon, the sheep with wings, did somersaults in the air but his "baa"s were mournful. Shep the shepherd pressed his hawthorn staff against the portal's outline. 
"Okay," Shep said. "Let me see what I can do."
They were standing in front of the portal. Shep was using a handful of Chiffon's sparkly white wool, carded and combed, to turn into yarn. He pressed at a spinning wheel so that the yarn spun into thin wool. He kept spinning. 
"I can't beli
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Literature
FFM 18: The Language of Gharials
Clay sediment stained the river red, so that it looked like watery blood flowing. People claimed that cows had once been slaughtered en masse, and as a result no one could settle in the land without decades of blood corrupting them. They shied away, and headed for the fertile hills. 
The gharials bobbed in the water, the fathers holding the little babies on their back. They had long narrow snouts and tails. Little babies make "pip" sounds to their mothers and fathers. 
A few years back, a hundred had floated onto then riverbanks, eyes glazed over in death. Humans did come then, to try and figure out why the deaths had happened. They took the dead to slice them apart. They measured the pollutants in the decaying blood.
But there are things that we cannot understand, because we do not speak to the animals. We do not sing their songs, or ask for their stories. We can only watch, and listen. 
If we had understood the gharials' pips and growls, we would have seen a night with
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Literature
FFM Challenge: The Wisdom of the River
The sage's grandfather had forsaken a crown to find a river. Asuman the Determined had told his son Dilipad to rule while Asuman traveled into the mountains to pray. The reason involved Asuman's uncles being burned alive while searching for a horse, and they needed their ashes purified in death.
Bhagiratha promised that he would not take the throne until he brought the river Ganga from heaven to the Earth. He whispered it into his father's wrinkled palm as it grew cold with death. Then he whispered prayers to the Creator, and the Destroyer. The Destroyer Shiva escorted Ganga down from heaven. She brought waterfalls and rainstorms, for a river does not tame easily. 
Bhagiratha said he could handle her. He merely asked her if she could walk with him to his great-uncles' ashes. She agreed, the water flowing behind her. So they strolled, Bhagiratha listening to the river, and the woman who brought it. He watched as she brought water to the fields, and peace to the dead.
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Favourites

Literature
Unmakening
His Supremacy the Dark Lord Malefacorum was the undisputed tyrant of Pyrexia and the one and only wielder of the one and only Dread Pistol of Unmakening, which ran on Quasihyperfantasium and therefore had a vast number of unbelievable abilities. He was, undeniably, powerful. He was also--
“--a complete and utter tit, but you never heard it from me.”
“But…you’re one of his personal guards?”
“Yeah, and so are you. Doesn’t make him any less of a long brown streak on the underpants of humanity, just also demotes the likes of us to toilet paper…or something. All right, the comparing-whatsit-thingy got away from me there, but you get the general picture, right? Come on, keep up!”
The young man, moving awkwardly in his ill-fitting armor, stopped trying to adjust the breastplate to hang more over his breast and less over his stomach in favor of catching up with the older man pacing easily ahead.
“I don’t understand, though
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Literature
Ode to Birds
The birds found Ode early in his life. A crow perched outside the window and cawed to him as he cried in his cradle, until he calmed and began to caw back. A wren danced in the branches above his head as he waved his fists in the air, following its movements with bright, dark eyes while his mother worked nearby. A dove nestled in his blankets and cooed him to sleep without fear.
They found him too early. If they had waited longer, he might have understood how strange it was when he spoke to them and listened as intently as though they were speaking back.
He grew up known as the Bird Boy, and the more the other children teased and shunned him, the more he turned to his feathered friends for companionship, and the more he avoided his peers the stranger they thought him. When he became old enough to work he turned away from the fields and farms around him and toward the trees, saying, “the birds tell me there is more there than I will ever find here, so I will go and search it out.&
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Literature
Reconciliation
“That’ll be five-thirty-two, ma’am.”
Valerie put down six and dropped the change into the donation jar, then continued to watch the door from the pickup counter, fidgeting with the strap on her purse. She was early, perhaps too early, but she couldn’t risk being late. She was already years overdue.
They called her name, correctly this time. She took her drink to a round table with two chairs, one with a good view of both the café’s wall clock and the main entrance, and sat down to wait.
Her cup was half empty and the whipped cream all but melted when her sister finally walked in. It had been years, but Valerie recognized her instantly; the vitiligo spread in patches down the side of her face was impossible to mistake. She started to raise her hand to catch her attention, but Emma had already spotted her in turn and, after a moment of hesitation, marched herself across the room to take the opposite seat.
“Aren’t…do you want anyt
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Literature
Bottled Spirits
The sage was probably overkill, but enough was enough. Three bottles in the last week alone, and that wasn’t counting the months beforehand. It wasn’t her stuff, but her roommate believed it was her doing. Purchasing replacements was getting expensive, and the looks Tanya kept throwing Emily’s way had bypassed ‘mildly embarrassing’ and were fast approaching ‘grating.’
Emily couldn’t even share her own suspicions about the vanishing alcohol, not without making those looks even worse. As far as Tanya - and most of the world - was concerned, the mysterious disappearance of bottled liquor typically had one or two basic possible causes: either the bottle leaked (unlikely when spread across multiple bottles like this), or someone was drinking it, and barring the bizarre outlying possibility of trespassers who left no sign of their entrance or exit and took nothing except the drink itself, it could only be one of the usual inhabitants.
Tanya kne
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I'm so sorry by Tenshi-Inverse I'm so sorry :icontenshi-inverse:Tenshi-Inverse 410 41 Sorrows and regrets by Tenshi-Inverse Sorrows and regrets :icontenshi-inverse:Tenshi-Inverse 301 14
Literature
The Quest of Stones
It was drizzly in this part of Munsalvasche today; grey and miserable enough that not many people were on the streets, but without enough static charge to inhibit air travel. Peri watched yet another humanoid - indistinct beneath their layers of clothing - pass by the window outside. Her fingers tapped an unconscious rhythm against her hip, just below the snug weight of her concealed holster.
A hiss of air, and the Munsalva proprietor appeared through the back doorway, pushing a crate on a humming hoverpad in front of them.
“You’ll find it all there,” they promised, popping the lid on the crate open with a keytab from their belt. “Take a look.”
Galeas and Borden shuffled closer and peered inside, humming and nodding for the Munsalva’s sake. Peri mostly kept her eyes on the windows and outside door, but she did sneak a quick look between her squadmates. Round grey lumps of stone surrounded by black synthetic padding sat in their box. She’d seen
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Literature
Flash Fiction Day 2017
I.
Once she wielded sword and bow in battle: strong, steadfast, side by side with her brothers in arms. Now she wields a quill and words of power she was not born to: direct, sufficient, alone surrounded by her peers in name.
The warrior’s weapons hang on the wall, and her spirit is with them.
--
II.
A young man dangles hundreds of feet above a stream of lava, one foot tangled in a fraying rope anchored high over the chasm ledge he swings beneath. A dark-robed figure catches his eye; it is floating in midair, a scythe balanced against the crook of its shoulder.
“Huh. I didn’t think I was that close,” the dangling one says.
“The situation was dire enough to alert me,” replies the other.
“I hardly have a scratch on me, though. Usually I’m practically on your doorstep before you show up.”
“I don’t have a doorstep.”
“Expression.”
“I don’t have those, either.”
The human thinks about it, shr
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Lunagirl Depowered pg 7 by ElijahPink
Mature content
Lunagirl Depowered pg 7 :iconelijahpink:ElijahPink 282 36
Jo (+ Friends) in the Institute 13 by ElijahPink
Mature content
Jo (+ Friends) in the Institute 13 :iconelijahpink:ElijahPink 730 88
Video preview #3 by BettinaLevy Video preview #3 :iconbettinalevy:BettinaLevy 5 1 Toothless, be quiet! by PaintSplatKat Toothless, be quiet! :iconpaintsplatkat:PaintSplatKat 7 10 YoI mouths by AvannaK YoI mouths :iconavannak:AvannaK 28 0 Jingle, Jingle, Jingle by The-BlackCat Jingle, Jingle, Jingle :iconthe-blackcat:The-BlackCat 262 47 The Witch, Exellinor by PaintSplatKat The Witch, Exellinor :iconpaintsplatkat:PaintSplatKat 8 5 Lefty Trio of Awesomeness by Zarakoda Lefty Trio of Awesomeness :iconzarakoda:Zarakoda 10 10

Critiques

by YFYeung

When I say dramatic, I mean dramatic in a good way, a very good way. I like watercolors that tackle social and personal issues close to...


Wow, this is too adorable! It's good to see your new artwork, and done with such cuteness! What I like: The gesture- For characters tha...


Wow, milady, you have aided me in remembering the most emotional part What I like: Use of line weights and gray tones- Without a single...


There is nothing more reassuring on a Saturday morning than to see a semi-moody watercolor, especially a semi-moody Batman watercolor. ...

Activity


When I go to a musical, I often let the music wash me away. I want to escape to another world. I don't go to plays as often because while dialogue can entrance, music is what truly brings a person away from this sordid reality. For my birthday, my siblings had gotten me a seasonal pass to the local theater, and this show I was looking forward to immensely.

Earlier shows had included an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, a remake of Hello Dolly, and The Book of Mormon. It made me uncomfortable to watch a musical where the Mormons were clean and innocent, and the country of Uganda was shown as a place of constant misery. I knew nothing about Uganda, and I knew that this was nonsense.

This show was different. It took place entirely in a large tank, meant more for an aquarium. There were no people inside the tank.  Instead, strange sea creatures danced: little sea dragons that glowed between the bubbles, jellyfish with six-foot long tentacles, and seals with humanoid voices who sang into waterproof microphones taped to their heads. They wore silk cloths that draped around their body and drifted in the water.

The songs haunted me. A screen provided subtitles: we were seeing a tale about how the world was made, and how the ocean was life's first home. How lava mixed with salty water, and how the first creatures crawled into existence. A few sparks entered, and suddenly they were there, drifting in the water. Life fought life, however. War broke out, terribly. And in the middle of war, selkies had to learn how to love and live, without destroying their homes. 

Selkies sang music into existence, the songs claimed. The selkies on stage sang into the microphones. I had read that they did use Twitter, but only one of them at a time could handle the constant posts and likes and dislikes.

And I was sad, because I knew that after this, I would never hear such a show. Selkies didn't do Bandcamp or Itunes, or even CD recordings. Someone would be videotaping this drama, but a bootleg wouldn't be the same. I felt blessed and saddened to see them live. 

We all gave a standing ovation as the creatures in the tank spun and tried to bow. The lead selkie, who wore pure white silk, came to the surface and let her skin slip.

"Thank you all, for this one performance. We hope you will remember us."  
       
FFM Finale: Curtain Call
One last piece for Flash Fiction Month. Enjoy!
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Dear Charlotte:

By the time you read this, I will be up in the sky, away from the lawyers. Make sure that you travel to an estate far outside their jurisdiction. They will do all they can to break you.
Your Brother,
Father Price


Dear Charlotte:
Did you cash that winning Monopoly shoe? Be sure to follow the procedure and call it in. You know, go to a new apartment, and make sure to give the address to that. Sweet-talk the local diner into saying you're a regular.
I know this is ridiculous. You won't read this because this capsule won't be open for thousands of years. But I'd like to think that in the future, someone will remember us. And that you will remember the instructions I've repeated day after day.
Your Brother,
Father Price

Dear Charlotte:
Space isn't cold. Not all the time at least. Sometimes it can be blazing hot.
Monopoly never released toys in space that I remember. Maybe they did. It's hard to keep track of the days.
When I invested my money into going out here and living my days as a space fugitive, I didn't factor in how lonely it would be. I bribed the trainers to look the other way, just like I bribed God with the fancy church we built.
Well, God has had the last laugh. He won't appear for me here. And it seems fitting.
Your Brother,
Father Price
FFM Challenge: Letters From In A Space Capsule
Another inspiration from a news story, this time a Monopoly scam.

Bullet; Blue ELEMENT ONE: Your story cannot take place on dry land (feel free to interpret that however you wish). ;) (Wink)

Bullet; Blue ELEMENT TWO: One of your characters must be a criminal, or otherwise operating outside the laws by which their society is governed.

Bullet; Blue ELEMENT THREE: And last but not least, your story must be written using a particular format. Choose from the list below (or roll a die for it, if you think that fate is on your side):
  1. Bullet; Purple 369er - A 369er is three stories of exactly 69 words each, that are connected by a common theme, and are meant to be read together
  2. Bullet; Purple Epistolary - A story that is told through a series of documents - such as letters, journal entries, ship logs, newspaper clippings, video/audio recordings, etc.
  3. Bullet; Purple Interactive Fiction - Write an interactive story in the tradition of the CYOA series, including simple text instructions such as <Go to Part II> or <Turn to page 2> to help direct the reader through the narrative. (See our previous 2016 CYOA Challenge for a more in depth description of the format + examples: over here) Just don't forget that wordcount!
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I feel that this review will be deleted in a few hours, because this tacky website believes that we have to focus only on our personal experience and not the experience of others. And this website doesn't understand that if we only focused on our own experiences, than no place would get a  bad review. Moderator Jim, I am watching out for you and I have not forgiven you for deleting my live review of the dragon rampage at Colosseum Pets. If you don't watch yourself, I will be reporting you for biased moderating.

Do not visit this shop if you wish for a pleasurable bride gown experience. Nice Man Bridals is anything but nice. You will wish that you were in the bridal shop from hell. 

The owner of the shop disgusts me. Grome Niceman is a terrible human being. He makes your fingers want to plug your ears with cotton and duct tape until he stops talking and moving around. 

We went bridal gown shopping for my friend Oli, who is a sweet girl that has trouble finding clothes that fit her. I had offered to make her gown for her because I know her body type, but her mother is old-fashioned and wants at least one traditional dress. So to humor her mother, we went shopping. Oli has a lot of body image issues, and she has given me permission to write this because the experience has traumatized her. She refuses to do bridal shopping anymore, and so I am making a lovely green ballgown for her. And no, my items are not for sale. 

We were just perusing the on-rack dresses, because Oli believes that any dress that costs more than a few hundred dollars is daylight robbery and she was putting off wearing the more expensive brands, when we heard sobbing. Upon closer look, we found little dolls crying in the middle of the silk and satin. At first we were going to pull away, but one of them sneaked into Oli's purse, and we didn't discover her until we left and were in the car.

For the record, none of the dresses in the shop fit Oli's body. She has a remarkable hourglass figure and is no taller than four feet. We could have told her mother that the industry isn't for short women, and I say this as someone who is four foot five. Grome tried to sell us on a ten thousand number that was embroidered with white and blue crystals. It made her look more like a chandelier than a bride. He was very grumpy when we -- Oli, I, Cass and Tula -- explained that we weren't going to buy a dress just because it had precious stones and bling. 

The doll's name was Claire. She told us that Grome had purchased her from a Living Doll convention and expected her to work for nothing because she was technically not human. She begged us not to give her away Of course we know that the ridiculous loophole in the What Is Humanity law leads to such abuses. But we didn't expect our own city to have scum. 

We didn't return Claire to the bridal shop. We are not monsters. She is living with Oli now, who forwarded two hundred of her mother's bridal dress money to pay for Claire. Grome had called us, because we were his only customers that day and he put tracking chips on all of his dolls. Oli forked over the cash, wiring it to his personal account. She was crying, but she said it was the right thing to do, so that Claire wouldn't be returned in doll-sized handcuffs. Grome refused to sell her the rest of the dolls, and he said Oli was banned from his shop for stealing from him. 

If you do go to Grome Bridal, buy all of his dolls, and then rip him apart on this website. This was not my personal experience, but I was a part of it. We need to be better than our ancestors were. Stamp out the monsters, like Grome Niceman.
FFM 30: A Bad Review for NICE MAN BRIDALS
Some recent news made me angry. For the record, it didn't involve a bridal shop.
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It always gave Bismuth pride to see her weapons being used. Being at this wedding, being welcomed back, it meant that she could enjoy the party and meet all the new recruits. She and Steven's friend Connie were talking, and eating the together breakfast cake. 

"You know, I never thought we'd live to see this day," Bismuth say. "We were fighting for so long, and I was making so many weapons, I thought we'd never be able to sit back and enjoy a perfect moment."

"I can't imagine what it's like," Connie said. "Pearl when she was training me told me a lot about the war. She said she was Rose's knight."

Bismuth took a bite of cake. With the recent revelations, it made more sense why Pearl would protect Rose in such a fashion, even if she was made to stand around and look pretty. 

"I've been using your sword for fighting," Connie offered. "Steven's sword I means. It's become a part of me."

"How can you carry it? That thing is heavy!" Bismuth said. Connie shrugged. 

"I don't know, I've never really thought of it," she said. 

"You need something better suited to your weight," Bismuth said. "That sword is meant for a Quartz, and you're a human. Have you ever visited the forge? Maybe after the wedding, I can make something new for you." 

"That's really nice, but I don't need another sword," Connie said. "I've been using Steven's sword for so long that I can't imagine using any other blade."

Bismuth nodded. She had plenty of time now, to make a new sword. Forging took time, either with metal or with family. 

#

While the despair cloud hit her, and sunk her, Bismuth heard a sword shatter into pieces. She didn't have to look up to know which one it was. It made her heart sink even more. 

#

They had a few hours before the long trip. Connie showed up, dressed in a thick leather jacket and a backpack. Her parents did as well, being worried.  They kept asking her if she had everything. 

Bismuth wasn't coming. She hadn't escaped Homeworld thousands of years ago only to return with Diamonds in tow. But that didn't mean she wasn't prepared. She had insisted that Pearl, Garnet and Amethyst take the upgrades she had made for them. Steven didn't need any weapons, so instead she gave him fighting words, and her promise to watch over Lapis and Peridot's gems. 

"Hey, meatball - I mean, Connie," she said. "I heard your, um, mom was asking where your sword was. Did you tell her what happened to the blade?"

"It's okay," Connie told her. "I don't think we should be bringing weapons to a diplomatic mission anyway. It's a terrible idea if everyone is armed and arguing."

Bismuth shook her head ruefully. It was like the Gems, under Rose, to believe fighting wasn't necessary. But you always had to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Bismuth had picked 

"Just the same, I have something for you." She handed a small handle to Connie. "This should be light enough, and it has two purposes. Give it a try."

Connie pressed the first button on the handle. A tiny, straight sword, which was pink but smaller, came out of the hilt. Connie's eyes widened. 

"I reforged it from Rose's broken blades," Bismuth said. "I collected the pieces while everyone was getting ready. It's the best I could do in a few hours, but it should keep you alive."

"Thank you," Connie said, delighted and bemused. "What is the other purpose?"

"Press the other button."

Connie did. A shield came out, replacing the blade. 

"It's similar to Steven's," Bismuth said. "It should be able to deflect most light attacks, and sword blades. Come back and tell me how it worked, and I'll make adjustments."

"Okay." Connie pressed the button and the shield disappeared. "I hope we don't need this. The Diamonds came close to defeating us."

"But we're here, and we're still alive," Bismuth said. "Take care of yourself, okay? I don't want to lose any more friends."

Connie nodded. She gave Bismuth a small hug.  

"You won't lose any of us," she promised. 

Dr. Merkel looked up from his paperwork. Commander Il had brought in a new patient. It was a small girl with curly brown hair. Her eyes were vacant. She struggled against Commander Il.


"Her name is Nina," Il said without preamble. "Her brother Elodi worked in our army and defected to the enemy. He tried to betray the resistance, and used his sister as a bargaining chip. When we caught up to them, Elodi abandoned her. She hasn't spoken a word since."


"And what is the purpose of my treating her?" Dr. Merkel asked. "To actually heal her mind, or to interrogate her about her brother's whereabouts?"


"You are a doctor," Commander Il said. "You must treat people."


Good Hem, the man was right. Dr. Merkel stood.


"She has to give consent," he said. "That's the look of a girl who has been through the Unholy Sewers. How old is she? Four? Five?"


"How can she give consent when she can't even talk?" Commander Il said irritably.


Dr. Merkel knelt and looked Nina in the eye. She looked terrified and vacant.


"Nina, my name is Dr. Merkel," he said. "How are you feeling?"


She put her thumb in her mouth.  


"This man says that you are sick," he went on. "I make people feel better. Can you understand me?"


Nina's eyes became less vacant. She spoke words that didn’t sound like words. They sounded like jibs and jabs of sound. Dr. Merkel sighed. He stood.


"If you want to come, you can follow me," he said. "You can also stay."


He opened the door to his patient room. Then he walked in, slowly, deliberately. He waited.


Small footsteps. Nina was walking. She wanted to come. Or maybe she wanted to get away from Commander Il.  


#


All worshiped the great serpent, in the beginning. The snake Hem had woven the world from his scales, and had then curled his great body around the fragile weaving. It was up to his devotees to make the world stronger.


Some of his devotees began to question what "strength" was. They asked if spreading the word of Hem was what Hem had wanted. The orthodox Hemmites took children earlier from their parents. Anyone who wanted to question the meaning of strength was said to be a reincarnation of the Rebel Serpents from the Unholy Sewers.


Dr. Merkel had always believed the world of Hem, until he went abroad to study for medicine. Then he saw that making the world stronger meant tents of people begging for water and not to be stabbed through the stomach. Commander Il then found him, and asked if he truly wanted to help people. Commander Il was a protector of Hem, according to his lapel badges. He also had people meeting underground at night.  


#


Dr. Merkel tried various means to bring the girl out of her silence; even if he couldn't understand her. He offered her the toys in the playroom. He offered her crayons. She would take the crayons and draw. They were stick figures, playing with orange suns that had sunglasses.


Nina was always hungry, it seemed, and she wrapped food in napkins to take to the small room that served as her cot. She wanted the door locked, and for her to hold the key. Dr. Merkel always let her lock herself in at night. He focused on his other patients, the ones whose parents brought them in for various fevers. Some needed to see specialists.


Then she acted out a story with several of the toys. Two elephants, part of a matched set, running off towards the toy chest. An army chasing after them. One elephant, being dragged away by a large crocodile with felt teeth. The other taken by a tiny green plastic soldier. The plastic green soldier put the smaller elephant under a blanket, keeping her in darkness for a long time. The green soldier danced around and made the smaller elephant repeat after him, to lie on the ground and beg for water. In time the smaller elephant would stop moving.


#


Commander Il came a few days later. Dr. Merkel waited for him outside his office.


"You said she started talking," he said. "And you can understand her-"


Hitting a military officer was a hanging offense. Dr. Merkel kept his thumb outside of his fist so that he didn't sprain it. The force of his blow knocked Commander Il back but didn't knock him to the ground.


"You tortured a little girl!" Dr. Merkel said. "And you lied to me. You said her brother abandoned her. Is that what you told her as well, when you kept her in the dark?"


Commander Il recovered. He rubbed the spot on his cheek where the blow had hit. Dr. Merkel had aimed for his nose.


"I'm not proud of it," he said. "But her brother, he won't say what he knows or how he planned to betray the Resistance. We only found out he was a spy by a lucky chance."


"That doesn't make what you did right." Dr. Merkel stood tall. "You will not be getting any information from her. She did used to speak our language, she can understand every word we are saying. After what you did, after what she acted out, I can see why she forgot."


Commander Il pulled out a medi-pack from his pocket. He ripped open the plastic and pressed it to his cheek. His expression hadn't changed.  


"Get out," Dr. Merkel said. "You are not allowed to be near her again. I will ask if she wishes for a foster family. And if you threaten your way in, I will give my life for the Hemmites to learn how the Resistance has survived for years."


"At ease, Dr. Merkel," Commander Il said. "We need men like you after this war is over."


He turned on his heel and marched. Dr. Merkel glared at the Commander's receding figure. Then he turned, unlocked the office, and went inside.





FFM Challenge: The Language of Fear
I've been having this idea for a few years, .The names Nina and Elodi come from the novel AMONG THE BETRAYED, which featured this scenario and it angered me so much when I read it. The challenge here is the perfect opportunity. 
 Bullet; Red CREATE A RELIGION -  This challenge requires you to create an entirely new religion or mythology to be referenced in the story. The mythos may be implied, or it may be delved into as deeply as you want, so long as it is clear that it is a theme.

 Bullet; Red 
MORAL QUANDARY -  There must be a scene depicting a moral quandary of some sort that can be resolved, or not, by the end of the fic. 

 Bullet; Red
 
LANGUAGE BARRIER - What's that you say? Within your fic there must be a foreign language present in some way that the protagonist cannot understand. This language can be real or made up, it's up to you, you brilliant soul, so long as it is clear that it cannot be understood by your hero.

Bullet; Red
 
CRISIS OF FAITH - FINALLY, please incorporate a crisis of faith; it should be clear that someone (or someones) are clearly and seriously questioning deeply held beliefs and commitments.
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JayaLaw's Profile Picture
JayaLaw
Jaya Lakshmi
Artist | Student | Traditional Art
United States
I draw comics to make people laugh, including myself. The world is an absurd place, filled with crazy kids, crazier adults, and the craziest current events. If we can't laugh at these absurdities, then we reinforce them as normal parts of life.

My webcomic A La Mode is about a bakery that sells talking pretzels to pay the rent. I post it at alamode.smackjeeves.com as well as here on Deviantart.

Open for commissions, by the way; just send me a private message with visual references. My rates are as follows:

Sketch - $10 for one character, +$8 for each additional character

Linework (Brush pen or quill) - $15 for one character, +10 for each additional.

Full watercolor- $25 for one character, +10 for each additional

Watercolor comic- $50 for single-size (three panel minimum), $60 for double-size (five-panel minimum)


Fiction (Fan or original):

Microfiction (under 100 words): $1, or 20 points.

Flash fiction (100-1000 words): $5-10, depending on subject matter, or 200 points.

Original fiction only, OCs included:

Short story (1000-10,000 words): $20-50, depending on subject matter, or 2000 points.


Novellete (10,000 to 20,000 words): $50-250, depending on subject matter

Send me a note about any longer work, or serials!

Current Residence: Miami
Favourite genre of music: Broadway. Science-fiction bluegrass, classical
Favourite style of art: Impressionist
Favourite cartoon character: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third
Interests

A week ago, I was having an emotional meltdown over the start of school, a disastrous job interview that messed up the family schedule for a day, and about being unable to write. The idea of watching more of Race to the Edge unnerved me, and still does, with fear that the new episodes would disappoint or yank at our chains. My attempts to douse my mood with chocolate and weeding a planter didn’t help.

Several of my friends recommended that I vent it on paper. So I did, writing a fanfiction of Hiccup suffering my mood swings based on the spoilers I had heard (and honestly I don’t care about RTTE spoilers), and I posted it after midnight last Sunday. I was worried that people would find it OOC of Hiccup, too angry mayhap.

That’s not what happened.

Instead, a week later, the deviation had six favorites and several lovely comments. My mood swing eventually passed, though I still felt emotional with a power outage on Wednesday, job updating and catching my younger brother’s cold. One person on deviantart asked how I was feeling, and the friends who read along said that I had done a good job.

Thank you. It means a lot when something is born out of pain, and acknowledged.

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:icontherealtwilightstar:
therealtwilightstar Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy b-day. ^^
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:iconjayalaw:
JayaLaw Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:icon35096:
35096 Featured By Owner May 5, 2017
Remember me
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:iconjayalaw:
JayaLaw Featured By Owner May 6, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Yes, I do
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:icon35096:
35096 Featured By Owner May 6, 2017
Do you seen my Q and A
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:icon8tothe8th:
8tothe8th Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Jay, Twilight did NOT post the chain mail below. \/

This message was sent to me, along with several of her other friends at the same exact time. You might also note that the same thing is happening on Panda's account.

I advise changing your password and hiding the comment just in case.
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:iconjayalaw:
JayaLaw Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks! Will do!
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:icontherealtwilightstar:
therealtwilightstar Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday!
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:iconjayalaw:
JayaLaw Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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