[BROWTOBER] Browtober #17, 20, 22, 23, 26, 30
“Aren’t they cute?!”
His scowl deepened as he looked towards the browbird, and then towards the small, demonic looking creature in her hands. Its fur was entirely black and in place of a face was a skull. Normally these creatures roamed around without clothing, but this one was sporting a very high quality pink suit. He didn’t even have to question where the suit came from - he knew Amara had gotten it somehow.
“Why are you dressing up my familiars,” Red hissed, narrowing his eyes. “They look ridiculous.”
There was a long pause as the princess looked back at him before her expression, too, became a scowl. She set the familiar down, ignoring as it stood upright awkwardly from being clothed. Her arms crossed, feathers puffing up as her irritation became very clear.
“Just because they’re familiars can’t mean they have to walk around naked all the time! You hardly tend to them - they work hard, and if anyone is to be a servant of mine they must be properly dressed!”
Red’s disgruntled face shifted into one of a sneer, and he puffed his chest as he loomed over the other browbird.
“I’m not dressed. Guess that doesn’t make me a servant, huh?”
Where Red expected Amara to get more flustered and her feathers more ruffled, she suddenly stopped, smiling at him calmly as she smoothed her clothes and blinked slow and sweet. The gesture, harmless as it seemed, did a great deal to unnerve him, and he leaned back slightly with a concerned flick of his tail. An eyebrow raised as Amara lifted her hands and clapped, immediately causing the familiar nearest to her to scuttle off.
“What, did you think you were an exception?”
Before he could speak a word the familiar, along with several others, returned quickly, holding up what appeared to be some kind of coat rack. Hanging neatly from it was a bright pink suit, in the exact size catered to fit a very grumpy browbird like Red. And, before Amara could speak, Red had already run out of the room.
#20. Dark Fairytale (Words: 456) | King
Once upon a time, in the far reaches of space, there lived a teacher and two very enthusiastic students.
The place was not somewhere closed off from the world, and others often came to study under this well practiced and versed wizard. And he, delighted to share his wealth of knowledge for a better universe, took to the habit of mentoring those who showed not only passion, but heart.
The two students were opposites - while one was regal and well spoken, the other was quiet and awkward. Still, despite their differences, they shared a bond unlike any other and a common goal to help anyone and everyone they could. Over the years, as their own prowess grew, so did their friendship. This made the mentor very proud, and it made his students even prouder.
All seemed well until a fateful day, one that no one could have expected. A great darkness threatened the universe, spawning malevolent creatures and beasts that threatened those ill equipped to protect themselves. And the two students and their mentor, having trained for this moment, responded in kind. It was during one of these moments that the younger of the pair had gone off to face a piece of the great evil himself. His training had paid off, and he overcame it, but at a terrible cost. The creature, with its dying breath, cursed him with a slow and painful end.
His bones began to grow uncontrollably, piercing through his skin and sprouting out of it. So terrible was his pain that he began to hide from the others, trying to find a cure as he did not wish to worry any of them. When the pain grew too great, he left without a word, desperately traversing the stars for a cure. It was only when his time was nearing that he stopped and the shadow that had been following him caught up.
“What an unfortunate fate,” the shadow said as it watched the bones continue to grow. “How desperately do you wish to live?”
“I would do anything,” cried the student, his words weak and strained. “Please, please save me. I don’t want to die.”
“Then you will give me everything. Everything, and you shall live.”
The shadow overtook him, ending him swiftly, but he rose anew. A shell of himself without a memory of his past, forced to follow the whispers of the shadow until it faded. It’s said that, to this day, the husk of the student wanders the woods mindlessly, freed from one curse only to be trapped by another. And some even say that he captures students who meet grisly fates because it reminds him of what he once was, and what he never will be again.
#22. Shattered (Word Count: 255) | Midas
Things always happened the same way. He would try to help, to do good. Someone would be in need, desperate for aid, and against his better judgment he would step in. And then, as always, the gloves came off.
Midas stared forward, expression stoic as he stared out at the sea of forms before him. It was silent, so quiet a pin dropping could be heard, and he was surrounded by what appeared to be statues. To the unknowing, it might appear more peaceful than it was eerie. But for Midas, he knew very well what this was. All of these statues, these people - they were once alive and full of life. But now, they paid homage to the past, gilded shapes glittering of gold in the sunlight. All by his doing.
Then, one by one, the statues would fall, smashing into the ground and breaking into a million, billion glittering pieces. A beautiful destruction, one that filled him with horror and dread as he was unable to stop it. As the pieces spilled over the floor, he looked to them and could see his own reflection, one with the massive, gaping hole in his face uncovered. He was shattered, just like all of them.
The dream always started and ended the same way. And when it ended, Midas would sit up quickly, one hand clutching his chest as he gasped for air and checked his hands and face. The golden curse was still there, as was his cracked visage. It was always the same.
#23. Mask (Words: 282) | Wolf
It was immaculately made. Carved from the wood of a starwood tree, sanded down with an extreme level of care before being dyed and hand painted. Whomever had brought it to life knew exactly what they wanted this mask to resemble, and that it did. It was, without a doubt, a mask of a wolf skull.
But how did it come into his possession? That was completely beyond him, and no matter how hard he tried to remember he simply couldn’t. All he knew was that he had awoken with a mask and a purpose, and that this mask felt comfortable to wear when he was in his other state of mind. For a reason he couldn’t explain, it was harder to look at himself without it. Peering at his own reflection when he was that way was unfamiliar and confusing, though truthfully everything about his situation was at this point.
Maybe it was the mask that made him this way. A silly thought, he told himself, but it was harder to ignore. There was a time he tried to throw it away, only to desperately find it again and hold it close. It may have been an omen, but it also was the only hint he had towards anything happening, and until that was solved he just couldn’t bear to part with it.
It was the reason for his namesake, after all. Wolf. When he had not even known his name, the mask provided one for him. When he had an overwhelming urge to hide, the mask provided a small level of solace. It was a part of him, now, and in its own way, he was a part of it.
It was a sickening crunch. A sort of sound that would be, for most people, quite unfamiliar, yet at the same time extremely familiar. One where, if heard. It could be easily recognized, but the knowledge of just what that sound meant would bring fear or concern to the norm. Luckily for Korelon, she was not the norm.
“You have to do this how often?”
“Too often!” Came the grumpy, snippy reply. His long fingers and claws gripped at the trimmers again as he gripped them, this time affixing the blades around a piece of bone sticking out of his thigh. It was, for all intensive purposes, a rather gruesome sight. Odd sized pieces of bones littered the ground under him, twisted and jagged from being cut haphazardly.
“You know… I feel like there’s probably a better way to do this than… Um. Hedge trimmers…”
King lifted his head, glaring, and bared his teeth.
“Oh? Is there then? What would YOU suggest, since clearly you’ve dealt with a bone curse before!”
“Well I mean. Don’t you have bone aspect? Can’t you just, you know…” Korelon wiggled her fingers, because somehow that meant exactly what she was implying. King squinted, a sharp exhale leaving his nose.
“They’re cursed bones!” He squawked. “I can’t just control them! That’s the whole issue, they’re out of my control! And it drives me crazy!”
There was another disgusting cracking sound as he squeezed the trimmers, brows furrowing in a display of an emotion even Korelon couldn’t seem to understand. Whether or not it actually hurt was beyond her, but she got the feeling he was simply being dramatic as always. Theatrics was a specialty of King’s.
“Sometimes, I dream of it.”
Her voice was soft and calm, a hand gently running down the top of the grumb sitting in her lap. Around the pair was a sense of peace, something that seemed rare to find for the two these days.
“I hear a voice. Not a bad voice, just a voice. Of something else, something close, and yet, something far. Something just beyond the veil, reaching out to me. And the voice… it doesn’t even always say words. I just… hear it, and I know. I know more than I knew before.”
The candles near Masika flickered in the night breeze. If someone was listening, they didn’t respond.
“I think… The abyss isn’t that scary, maybe. Sometimes… when I dream. I find myself there, with it. In it. I don’t know how to explain it. But I hear it’s thoughts and feelings, or maybe that’s just the thoughts and feelings of others that are there. It just. Feels like somewhere I belong. Maybe somewhere I once was. I don’t really know how I got here, yanno. I just kind of woke up one day.”
Her hand moved off of Ka, now touching the fur around her own neck. Underneath it, the roughness of a scar could be felt.
“A lot of people fear what they don’t understand. And that’s okay. There’s a lot to be scared of. Sometimes I get scared, too. But it’s not the unknown I’m scared of. If anything, the unknown helps me to understand what I don’t know. And I think that, maybe, if I ever got the chance to enter it, even for a moment… I might be able to understand who I really am. And… I’m not gonna lie… That’s a little scary! But also… It’s not like I have to be whoever I was before. It would just be nice to know. There’s closure in knowing that kind of thing.”
The woods around her remained silent, but the heaviness emanating from the inkwell only continued to grow. Sensing this, Masika finally stood up, looking towards it for a moment before slowly stepping forward.
It was time.
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