1st place (3pts): Warhawk "Those Who Count"
2nd place (2pts): Mossy Toes "Memory And Vengeance"
I really liked both of these stories, well written and evocative.
However, I didn't get much (if any) sense of wealth from either of them.
@ Warhawk: Loads of thanks for your comments - always good to get a fresh pair of eyes on things.
Yes, time-constraints played a factor [my fault, nobody else's] and I was trying to be mindful of hoping to make them the same tense -and thought I had- but this obviously wasn't the case
I am 100% not 'making excuses' or 'going for the sympathy vote', just thought you all should know:
The way I write isn't what I'd call writing (in the way I was taught at school + college to "go and write about subject x")...it's almost 100% transcribing in that I can't sit and think about a subject and write about it.
Instead, I keep my mind open to sights, sounds, smells, situations, dreams, traits/characteristics, maybe a face or a place or two here and there.
Sometimes they relate to each other, at other points they're dissimilar or disjointed.
If I get a few of these and they seem like they go together, I try to ask & make sense out of them (eg "Does Personality A live in Place B?" etc).
Some of the time they get stored away and see if they make sense at a later date, but a lot of it gets discarded. Occasionally, the same things keep recurring.
Having been given these visions, I try to use my language to make sense of them.
But a lot of the time, they aren't continuous, because I don't actually know what story they're trying to tell, either.
I have put stories down before which have gaps, but then later tales look like they might fill in some (but probably not all) of those gaps.
I happily accept that any failings of the tales are my own fault, not those of the inspirations I get.
Having been diagnosed with suicidal depression some months ago, this was my first attempt at writing pretty much anything since then. The medication I'm on cut me off from the inspirations which fuel whatever passes for my creativity (even though the tales aren't really "mine" as such, because they come from somewhere else).
I've always had a 'busy mind' with loads of stuff going on, so it's been really worrying for me as a person to just be able to sit and have no thoughts at all for hours at a time.
Thankfully, my dosage is coming down, so it's helped me to try to unlock the doors to inspiration which were previously closed.
In terms of the actual tale:
I had the impression that there were 3 people talking, so I was struggling to figure out how to differentiate them (hence the use of the ++ as I've seen novels which use them not as a time reference, but as speech/quotation marks).
I did wonder myself if the setting was 40K or fantasy.
If I decide that it's 40K, then you/I may have the impression that it's more of what I usually put into words and that it could be a continuation of other 40K stuff, at which point it's judged against other works ("cos it has to fit in somewhere"), not as a depiction of a potentially separate scenario.
However, if I say it's fantasy, then this is just a divergence from this, an understandable ''going against the grain'' and me putting it into a sword&sorcery setting (which it may not be).
So I leave it up to the reader to choose for themselves.
The "tongues" came from a dream of a mentor disfiguring/enhancing himself to have more than one (maybe one split down the middle to make a bifurcated one? or maybe several/numerous separate ones?) and where he could even taste emotions in the air (maybe a hint at a slaaneshi minion like Fiends & Steeds who can taste the air to track their prey?).
I didn't think of him as talking at that point in time at all. If he can (or thinks he can) tell someone's truthfulness from the tastes and scents in their voice, then he probably doesn't need to say very much.
I'd welcome any editor's ideas about how to have set this out better (so that it would have been easier for people to read).
Hoping to take part in the next one.