I guess now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially Winter Wonderland Time (no hard feelings, but you know who you are or to whom I’m referring). I am a summer person and the thought of winter makes me want to hibernate. I am also an artist, and autumn is one of my favorite landscapes to capture. In some places it is already snowing, but down here in the South it is still in the mid 60’s (Fahrenheit). The leaves are still clinging to their trees, like I’m clinging to my flip flops. So in spite of all the Christmas trees and winter holiday decorations, I am sharing more autumn scenes.
If you have any landscapes you would like to see captured in chalk pastels, drop them in the comments or send them to our email at email@example.com and make sure to add your name so we can give you a shout out!
Sorry for the missing and/or late contents lately. The holidays combined with NaNoWriMo have certainly taken their toll on us. We were having trouble narrowing down a genre for this week’s writing prompts, so we brought back our random category! We hope you enjoy! If there’s any genres you would like to see more of in the future, let us know!
It is Thanksgiving week and I sincerely wish everyone a peaceful meal with family and friends. I will try to keep this light hearted, rather than rant about the history of this “holiday” unraveling in North Dakota, and all the people of this country who are without homes, warm meals, or families. This is about art, and even though art does not fill our bellies with delicious food or provide shelter, it can warm the heart and soothe the soul. No matter what this world comes to, art is the beauty we all need.
For all your characters in need of a location, we offer settings for this week’s writing prompts. Instead of colored backgrounds, Leslie thought she would try adding stock photos to coordinate with the writing prompts. Let us know what you think for future writing prompts! Happy writing, everyone!
Today’s art is dedicated to my husband’s friend/ former co-worker, Dave, and the memory of his beloved wife, Nell.
This week I have been focusing on chalk pastels. This is my favorite medium to work with. I enjoy blending the colors with my fingers and getting dirty, like kids outside on the sidewalk. Except this is an adult inside the house with paper, hot tea, and mood music on an internet radio. Landscapes are my preferred reference images. The chalk provides a hazy finished product that has the appearance of something from a dream or distant memory.
As I said before, I started Tipsy Scribbles as practice to let go of details and focus on the over-all picture. Although I was not tipsy for these creations, chalk does not allow fine detail, at least not with landscapes on a small surface area. This forces me to work with the chalk, the grain of the paper, and the viewer’s perspective to add detail.
I would like to thank WetCanvas for the reference photographs. I hope you enjoyed today’s artwork, and I invite you on my journey to improve my skills and grow as an artist.
Ayda Orcbane rolled her dwarven war ax in her rough, callused hands. Her father’s family crest, engraved on the blade, gleamed at her. As gently as she could, she placed it on the stained table and eyed the empty chairs around her before noticing that she was being watched.
The innkeeper glared at her intently with one good eye, the other concealed behind a faded eye patch. She wasn’t sure why the innkeeper was staring at her. She had paid. She had cleaned her weapons before she placed them on display. This was a common practice among mercenaries who were in search of work.
She had recently fulfilled a contract that she had accepted from a shady man and his army of usurpers; she was spending her measly share on the first inn that allowed Dwelves, let alone mercenaries. Hailing from both a proud, ancient dwarven clan and of highly viewed elves wasn’t enough to shake the negative view of mixed races in most parts of the world. With a name like Crushed Skull Inn, there wasn’t much room for judgment and most of the people around Wanderer’s Stop hadn’t spared her a second glance. Until now.
She was ready to get back out on the road and join a cause. A good one this time. Since leaving the Orcbane clan to find her own way in the world, she had hoped to find something worth her training and effort. Instead, all she found were various jobs all amounting to being everyone’s grunt. She drank through another pint of Rumm Scum, longing for something worth putting in a flagon.
The inn’s door flew open and thumped loudly against the wall filling the poorly lit room with the afternoon sun. In unison, the patrons turned to see who or what felt the need to announce their entrance in such a fashion. All seventeen eyes sank towards the floor. Ayda was more than a head taller than the newcomer, and she had certainly inherited her height from her father’s dwarven bloodline. The commotion was brought on by a Halfling, standing and hardly blocking the entrance of the Crushed Skull. This particular Halfling donned a full set of armor and was holding a mace in his right hand. The Halfling had already scanned the room before the nine occupants had laid eyes upon him. His left index finger was aimed directly at Ayda, his eyes on her war ax.
“Pick it up and assist me,” the halfling’s commanding voice was deeper than Ayda had expected. “Orcs approach and I could use your—“. Orcs knocked the Halfling aside as they burst through the doorway. Four of them, armed and ugly.
The smell hit Ayda nearly as hard as the orcs had hit the Halfling. Her muscles tensed as she took up her ax. As she found her feet, the realization of how much alcohol she had drank sank in. She swayed as she closed on the orc party. Two had taken an interest in her while the other two made for the Halfling. One of the orcs swung a crude club at Ayda. Her handicapped reflexes denied her the block and the club caught her across her chest and launched her backwards into a table that gave way beneath her and the room went dark.
The Halfling recovered almost instantly from the surprise assault. The orc’s knee crunched beneath the mace’s first strike. Wailing in pain, the orc doubled over for his knee. The creature’s pain ended abruptly with the second, ironically, skull-crushing strike. The Halfling glanced across the room to find a middle-aged man tending to the injured Dwelf. As he saw her eyes open, a makeshift axe caught the Halfling across the chest. He stumbled back several steps, uninjured, into the arms of another orc that had presumed the Dwelf was dead. The Halfling buried his heel into the orc’s foot as he swung the mace over his head. The mace killed the orc before it could express any of its pain.
Ayda grabbed her bow and readied an arrow as the orc noticed she was not out of the fight. The slightly blurred figure raised its club for an overhead strike. The arrow worked better than she had hoped. It penetrated the orc’s blackened mouth, exited out the neck and lodged in the last remaining orc’s left temple. She rolled to her right as the putrid orc landed where she had been. The last orc slumped to the floor and the room fell silent. Ayda searched the room for the man that had saved her but could not find him. She stood on shaky legs. The hit had sobered her somewhat but she was still unsteady.
“Very nice shot indeed,” the approaching Halfling complimented Ayda. “Not often that you see a dwarven archer.” His eyes fell on her ears. “I suppose that would be from your elf-kin then,” he added with a broad smile.
“Perhaps. The clan was always impressed with my shots,” Ayda replied hesitantly.
“What clan would that be?”
“I’ve heard wonderful things but until now have never met an Orcbane. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Lady Orcbane. I am Korvias Belfire of Bellshore.” The Halfling stood as tall and proud as any three foot tall being could.
“Please, just Ayda.” She looked about the room at the four fetid bodies that lay across the floor and the table that had broke her fall. “The least we can do is dispose of the bodies from this place. These people have showed me some measure of tolerance.” With a nod, Korvias managed, despite the size difference, to heft the nearest dead orc over his shoulders. An orc leg in one hand and an arm in the other, the Halfling sidestepped through the front door of the inn. With a heavy sigh, Ayda shook her head and knelt to grab an orc by the foot and followed Korvias outside.
A few hours later, as the sun descended near the horizon, the orc bodies were providing a small bonfire for the people of Wander’s Stop and the inn had been returned to its previous state. One couldn’t quite say clean, and although it was short one table now, the scraps provided good kindling for the bonfire. The cycloptic innkeeper thanked Korvias and Ayda again for their help. “Most folk that end up fighting in a small town’s inn aren’t the type to be cleaning up afterwards. I truly thank you for your help. It’s getting late,” the innkeeper nodded to the fading light outside the door. “You two are welcome to stay the night. No need to fret over the usual fee.”
“Thank you kindly, sir,” Korvias said with a toothy smile. He turned to Ayda, “I still have work that needs doing in the days to come. If you’re interested.”
Korvias’s constant smiling unnerved Ayda. It was suspicious. In her experience, people weren’t nice unless they were looking to manipulate others. She certainly needed the work however. “We can talk out the details tomorrow. I’m exhausted.” Without waiting for a response–she didn’t want to see the halfling’s smile again this day–she asked the innkeeper for a room key.
It has been a couple of months since we lasted visited the romance genre. Most of the projects have been suffering from major writer’s block as I steadily pour everything I have into the big first draft I started for NaNoWriMo. It’s been a bumpy start so far, but every day seems to make the project a little more clear and easier to write. I very highly doubt the first draft will be anywhere near complete by December, but I’m determined to get this one done. The piles of notes on the other two novels are staring in a jealous-filled rage, I’m sure.
But, anyway, these writing prompts are brought to you by Leslie. She very clearly told me to not give her credit for these and to just share them as if I wrote them. Obviously, I’m not good at that kind of thing. I hope you enjoy her romance themed writing prompts. Perhaps you’re starting your own NANoWriMo project a bit late or need some romantic inspiration. Please share your creations with us! Happy writing!
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This week’s Tipsy Scribbles is brought to you by my best friends Elizabeth and Sara (and Jessica!). The candelabra was borrowed from Elizabeth for our Harry Potter party (I am currently still working on the article for said party) and the sangria responsible for the tipsiness was a present from my long time friend Sara and her beautiful wife Jessica. The scribble session started off pretty rough. I shredded some things, I said some words, and I had some more sangria. I repeated this process until FINALLY I found the “I don’t care anymore” portion of the evening and: voilà! A finished product I didn’t want to torch. That’s really what art and life is about, creating something you are proud to show the world. So if you find yourself struggling with your craft, be it a painting, a dance move, a note in a song, a paragraph in a book, or just a part in your life that did not go well, remember:
The Sword of Unquenchable Thirst is a +5 Chaotic (+2d6 damage against Lawful) longsword. The sword is intelligent and cursed. Yesterday’s fantasy writing prompts feature just such a sword; Leslie suggested that I use the sword for today’s roleplaying homebrewed weapon.
Charisma: 18 (+4)
Intelligence: 14 (+2)
Wisdom: 11 (+1)
The Sword of Unquenchable Thirst possess the soul of a Chaotic Evil entity that seeks to defeat and slay all things it encounters. However, it is aware that it needs a wielder and will safeguard the wielder to ensure that the cursed blade can continue to taste blood. In doing so, the sword grants the wielder certain privileges. These include the Improved Initiative feat, the ability to see Invisible at will, and as long as (s)he is wielding the sword, the PC does not have to breathe and is therefore unaffected by any such condition of drowning, suffocation, etc.
As the sword is cursed, the privileges bestowed are but one side of the coin. Anonymity comes to the wielder of the Sword of Unquenchable Thirst. No one knows the PC’s name or recognizes him/her. If the Player Character wishes to defy the blade’s thirst for blood, they must succeed on a Willpower Save of DC 20. The frequency of such checks is at the Dungeon Master’s discretion.
The Sword of Unquenchable Thirst speaks three languages: Common, Dwarven, and Abyssal.
After a month of Halloween themed prompts, it’s actually rather nice to return to fantasy. It’s like coming home from a vacation. You had a great time but there is simple comfort in home. These four fantasy writing prompts all have a common element: enchanted items. Magically imbued trinkets and weapons are staple of fantasy and for good reason. Such a simple mechanic can spawn intricate and vast stories. Just look to Lord of the Rings, one of my favorites. As you might guess, there is a ring among these prompts. You will also find links to two of our flash fictions below. We hope you enjoy. Happy writing!