The Gauntlet 2021 4: What I Lost

Challenge 4: Quoth the Raven: “Encore” (700 words, exactly): Dig up your inner (so not the actual) E.A. Poe and write some gorgeous Gothic fiction with notions of inevitable death! Romance! Mental anguish! … where the narrator gets visited by a talking animal which may or may not have been (but most definitely is; the judges will notice) Megalosaurus bucklandii. For added difficulty, our dinosaur only knows words with ‘e’ in them. For contrast, your narrator can’t use any e’s in their own dialogue. Include in this story four kinds of tea, no two of which are in the same sentence!

My (a good word) Liz,

First of all, I am sorry for my unforgivably bad writing. You will know why it is that way soon.

I pray that you stay in good condition. I, I’m afraid, am not. I told you about magic that could grant I what I look for: a right body, a right… status. You know what I imply. I found a magician who can do that kind of magic.

I was too caught up in my joy of finding it that I got into a trap. This magician did not inform I about cost of his magic until I was… what I am now.

This magic cost I a lot of my vocabulary. I cannot say or work with a… I cannot say it right. It is past D and prior to F.

Doing this hurts I so much. I got what I wish but lost an important tool. I cannot say a drink I want if it’s not akin to Chai.

I’m sorry, my fantastic Tulip. My trip brought us a calamity I had not thought to occur.

I’m coming back now, partly finally full and partly in parts again.

Yours always,

…I cannot say who I am now, so call I…


P.S. I am sorry for moist on this. This hurts I so much that I cry a lot nowadays.


My (a word) Liz,

I don’t know what to say, only that I’m ill. I’ll stay in town of Cards until I’m not sick. I pray that Oolong will aid my condition.

This magic on I adds to my hurt day past day. I’m afraid that I’ll turn out bad.

Pray for my condition, my fantastic Tulip.

Yours always,



My Liz,

I don’t know what’s actually going on. I’m trying coming back although I’m still ill without a stop to it. During my trip to Light City, I found a giant, scaly animal who talks in words I lost, and only in words I lost. It has two giant foots, short arms and awfully long tooths. It said to I that I’ll pass away without coming back to you.

I don’t know if it was a hallucination or if it actually was with I. I don’t know much nowadays, I’m afraid.

My fantastic Tulip… I’m afraid of a lot nowadays. This magic on I adds to my hurt day past day still. I’m afraid I might actually pass away as this giant said. I cannot say if any of this is actually going on or just a bunch of hallucinations. I’m afraid that this magic has costs I’m only starting to pay, costs that I cannot pay.

Still, I’ll try coming back to you. I’m giving my word for it. I’ll bring you Matcha with I, as I told you I would prior to starting this trip that I now wish I hadn’t thought about at all any day.

Yours always,



My (a fantastic word) Liz,

I may not coming back to you. A man I bought Po Cha from will bring my things to you if I pass away too soon. This man’ll accompany I to you and knows your location if I pass away.

My fantastic Tulip… I’m so, so, so sorry about all of this pain that I’m bringing to you that words cannot show it. Words could not show how sorry I’m about all of this if I still had all words on my lips.

I’m so sorry for so much. I’m sorry that this will add to your pain, but I ask you to know that this might find you only past my own passing, so I want to say as much as I can with my lacking words so that nothing will follow I to what is past this living world.

I want you to know, my fantastic Tulip, that you lit my world up. I wouldn’t swap you to anything. I’m thankful for what I got and although our paths may go apart now. I’m thankful for having you.

If this is my last to you, know that you lit my world, my fantastic, brightly shining Tulip Star.

Yours till all is lost,


The Gauntlet 2021 3: Chosen By The Mirai

Challenge 3: It’s Your Destiny, Eh (Between 700 and 1400 words): In this fantastic Sword&Sorcery story, you explore the Chosen One trope… but your Chosen can be neither young, pure, or lucky! Include an animal helper that sides with whichever character last said something, and a strong, boozing character with a heavy accent and an axe who is NOT a dwarf.

All objects used for the offensive are named after the sound they make, and your story resolves itself in an explosion that is not of the Chosen One’s doing. For added difficulty, include four different eighteen-letter words, which must appear at the beginning of a sentence.

Eandris had no idea why she was kneeling in front of the four Sages of Mirai. She sure as hell had not been promised coin for humbling — that is, disgracing — herself in front of them.

And with Pishlak, it was going to be even more embarrassing… If only she had invested in either a portable silencer spell or an old-fashioned muzzle.

In any case, there was no going back. The Sages were in front of her and she now had to endure both this and the humiliation that ensued.

Sage Asos spoke first, “Absentmindedness invites disaster.”

“Exactly!” Pishlak exclaimed.

Someone please put me out o’ mah misery. Eandris sighed without a sound.

Sage Brosir spoke next, their voice not betraying the break in their serenity, “Bloodthirstiness is a pathway to the pain of a thousand villages.”

“Yup!” Pishlak noted.

Eandris let out another silent sigh, knowing without seeing that the Sages were glaring at the raven perched on her headdress.

Sage Chanteth continued as if nothing had happened, “Counteraccusations solve no conflict.”

“Indeed!” Pishlak said.

If only Eandris had been allowed to move just enough to pinch the damn bird’s beak shut.

Sage Dhos finished the customary lines of wisdom, irritation clear in their voice, “Disacknowledgement of the truth does not make it disappear.”

“True!” Pishlak crowed.

Eandris wanted to just sink into the cold stone floor and never resurface.

The lights dimmed, indicating that the kneeling wanderer could raise her eyes. Knowing that it could not save this wagon wreck, she spoke up to ease her mind, “Me apologize fo’ mah mate’s lack o’… silence.”

“Sorry!” Pishlak apologized. Eandris knew better than to believe it was anything more than a customary word; the raven was a pathological turncoat unlike anyone else she had ever met. Had he not been a valuable scout, she would have turned him into a roast years ago.

Sage Brosir waved their hand. “We apologize for the sudden summoning, Eandris the Chosen.”

Eandris’s eyebrows shot up. What?

“The Mirai has spoken. A calamity is coming,” Sage Dhos explained.

The eyebrows descended into a frown. So what?

“We need a hero to face this calamity, one chosen by the Mirai to combat the haze that is coming,” Sage Asos continued.

Where do me come in? Eandris could not help wondering why Pishlak was so silent all of a sudden, not that she minded.

“The Mirai chose you,” Sage Chanteth told.

“Wha? No. No. Nonononono.” Eandris stood up, shaking her head. “No, me won’t be a damn hero. No, me and mah whoom don’t do that kinda stuff.”

“You saved the village of Northeen from the ghouls,” Sage Asos noted.

“They paid handsome coin.”

“And apprehended the vampire of Gereth.”

“Again, coin. D’ya have coin fo’ me fo’ this gig?”

Sage Asos continued as if they had not heard the question. “And stopped the false Sage that eluded us in the empire of Miraldel.”

“Tha’ guy just got on mah nerves.” Eandris was already so done. So. Done. “Listen up, ya relics. Me ain’t doin’ any ‘hero’ stuff unless me get coin fo’ it, got it? Now, unless ya have coin fo’ me fo’ this, me is leavin’, effective immediately.”

There was a pause as the dumbfounded Sages, unused to such behavior as they was, sputtered for something to say. Concluding their imminent answer, Eandris turned on her heels and headed towards the exit. “If ya change yer minds and treasuries, me shall be in the nearest boozer.”

“You cannot leave,” Sage Dros noted. “The doors are far too heavy for a person to open. They must be opened with magic.”

Maybe fo’ a frail mage like ya. Eandris smirked as she leaned against the thick wood and pushed. The doors groaned but moved nevertheless.

Buoyed by the immense pleasure of proving the “all-knowing” Sages wrong, Eandris trooped away. She eyed the disciples she passed by, surprised that some of those poor fools were half as muscled as she was. That would not last if they followed their Sages’ lead, though; magic was known to make its users lazy enough to lose as much muscle mass as possible.

To the wanderer’s joy and amusement, the nearest tavern was right next to the temple she had found herself in. It was small, especially in height, but if it served booze, she would be content.

The clientele fell quiet when Eandris sat down at the counter, her chair of choice groaning under her weight.

“Continue yer discussions. Don’ mind me.” Eandris slid some coins onto the counter. “Yer cheapest ale, please.”

“C-coming right up, ma’am,” the bartender sputtered, eyeing the stranger who dwarfed him while getting a pint ready.

Once the pint was in front of her, Eandris took it, glanced over her shoulder and proclaimed, “To the Sages’ bullshit!”

With that pint, the journey towards the next hangover began.

Three and a half downed pints later, a lanky rogue on Eandris’s right screamed half straight into her ear, “Bomb spell!”

“Dun’ shou’ in ma-” Eandris slurred before the aforementioned spell went off.

The Sages of Mirai looked at the fire from their chamber. They did not need the Mirai to tell what had happened.

Sage Chanteth looked at the incoming haze in the horizon. Now, there was nothing that could stop it. They turned to their colleagues. “Prepare your horses, dear siblings. Our haven is lost.”

The Gauntlet 2021 2: Krash

Challenge 2: Supersonik, Elektronik (1500 words or less): The year is 2000-something and human colonisation of space is well underway. Sadly, the aesthetic has evolved backwards to resemble something like this clip by Zlad!. Space is still pretty much a dangerous place however, and so your story will tell an adventurous, musical and oh, so very sexy tale of getting stranded on a hostile planet. Replace all your hard c’s by k’s and have the main kharakter all their verbs in kompletely wrong places say.

Given we had a good khase for the Intergalaktik Polike. Was our engine shot now, and headed was our kourse deeper into this odd planet’s atmosphere. Was at its end this adventure of money and fame of ours. Forgotten would be we after our impending deaths.

Try I did to save everyone on board nevertheless, just so that have we kould some hope. “For krash-landing prepare!”


When wake up I did, bounked light off the shining silver klothes of my friends’ immobile, bloodied bodies. Played still my musik player musik; must it have rekeived sunlight all this time for power.

Was I where? Know not I did. Hear I did skratkhing, feel I did heat. Alive anyone else was? Know not I did.

Look I did out of the window. A nike planet. Look it does good for an adventure, although frighten me did the gigantik kreatures in the horizon. Appear the planet did dangerous.

Was there something else as well: pretty humanoids, throwing rokks all at our ship. Have not they did mukh klothing, yet all blakk and shiny silver like ours. Very pretty. Very relatable.

Very mukh ours?

Hold they did very dangerous rifles in their hands.


Turn I did towards the sound. Were they inside now, at me brandishing rifles. Aktivate I did the defense systems in response. Think I did that now was I safe.


Was at its end, my adventure.

And keep playing musik did my musik player throughout all this.

Hear I did Supersonik at my last moments.