Story snippets!

Chatterbox: Inkwell

Story snippets!

Story snippets!

What's up y'all, Star here! After getting some interest on my birthday thread, I've decided to start posting parts of my work back up on the CB. Some of you older CBers have seen my novel, and those characters will be featured heavily in my short stories. But if you haven't read it, no worries! I'll always provide a quick explanation of the background and characters before I post something. Depending on the popularity, about half of the stuff I post will be from my re-written novel (more info can be found on the super-long reply to Kitten on my birthday thread), and the other half will be short stories, some related to my novel and some not. (I also have some short screenplays, though I won't post those unless I get a special request from someone to read them, since they have a weird format.) I thought I'd start with the short stories, and give you guys a chance to put in some input! I have three short stories to pick from, and I'd like you to vote on which one you'd like me to post first. I'll post increments every Tuesday and Friday, since all of my work is handwritten and I need to have time to type it up (which I hate doing, hence the staggered updates). Here are the options as they stand now:

1. "Crow's Coffee"; A fully completed short story featuring never before seen characters, Angel and Roman. It's a coffee-shop romance with a magical twist! Genre: romance; trigger warnings: someone gets beat up (there is also a gun in that scene, though it is never used), a sexist boss, and there's also a kiss or two. (I'm calling it a trigger warning, but all of my work is appropriate for the CB. I'm just letting you know what's in it that people may not like.)

2. "Pirates"; An unfinished AU of my novel where Zoey is a mermaid, and the Eagles are a pirate ship crew, captained by Sterling. Genre: action/adventure; trigger warnings: unfinished, but so far the most daring thing is someone gets treated for a stab wound, Zoey transforms into a human without clothing on (and there is an ensuing search for an appropriately sized pair of pants, though again, everything is CB-rated. There is just a mention of her lack of clothing before someone gives her a coat).  

3. "Kismet"; an unfinished red-string soulmate modern day AU (wow adjectives) featuring Feroc and Tyrian. The official-ish synopsis is "Feroc and Tyrian are trying to find their mysterious soulmates by following the red string of fate. The catch? Feroc's colorblind." Genre: romance (though more like comedy if I'm being honest); trigger warnings: unfinished (like. really unfinished), the main relationship is between two guys (though all of my stories feature LGBTQ+ characters, so you probably shouldn't read any of them if you're not a fan), and someone will probably get beat up eventually, but I haven't written it yet.

Uh, yeah! Those are the short stories. Tell me which one you'd like to see! I'll tally up the votes in three days (so on Friday of this week) and then post the first section of the selected short story. Once the story is finished (or once I run out of content, or when I feel like it) I'll also post bits from my re-written novel. I'll include background for those, but probably not for the short stories (or screenplays, but again, those are only by request). Hopefully I covered everything, but feel free to ask if you have any questions!


submitted by Starseeker, age on hiatus, y'all can call me Star
(July 14, 2020 - 10:14 pm)

What's up y'all! To my endless surprise (because every day seems the same to me), today is Tuesday. Now, I didn't *actually* have anything written, so I wrote the second half of Chapter 5 in between classes and then when I was supposed to be doing my math homework. So it's kind of edited? Sorta? If you see a mistake, feel free to point it out to me. We do get some Zoey backstory in this (because I realized I never really explained it, haha) but this chapter is basically just biding time and building relationships until the real action begins in Chapter 6. That's when the Aerie and its crew will reach the first test of Lydianzaa! Hopefully. If that's the way my writing actually goes. Or, I may just skip all of that and go straight to the action... hmm. WE'LL SEE!

@Quill, ahhh I'm so glad you're liking it! Yes, I would literally love it if you drew my characters. As a PSA to everyone, I will literally never say no to fanart! If you want to do something else with my characters-- give them a cameo in your writing or something like that, I don't know-- odds are I'll say yes, but just ask first. Fanart is an automatic "yes" though.

@Peregrine, I'm actually surprised you like her character? I kept changing the way I wanted her to be. She was all rude and flighty, then down to earth and laughing... I have like 8 different versions of Sterling in my head and I've never settled on one. There are clues dropped through this story to things I won't say overtly about her, so if anyone picks those up, props to you! After the story ends, I need to remind myself to ask if anyone picked up anything about her. Her character arc was meant to be more in the second novel than the first, and since this story is based off the first novel, it's still not been revealed. So. Also, recommendations! How old/what age range are you? The ones I'm thinking of off the top of my head are definitely for like 14+, so I won't recommend them unless I know you're in that age range. I do have recommendations for all ages, though, just not off the top of my head.

@DG, I really did just fumble my way through it, huh? I suddenly realized that I'm only like 90% sure that you were a girl/used she/her/hers pronouns, and I didn't want to accidentally offend you, so I just started rambling. Also, I really like the way you drew their expressions! The way you draw faces is just so cute and stylized, I love it. And Sterling's hair looks so sleek!

ALRIGHT, after that super long intro (that I think is actually longer than the section... oops), here's part 2 of Chapter 5!


That quickly, the adrenaline of meeting the crew fades away and I’m reminded of why they want me on board the Aerie in the first place. Not noticing my discomfort, Sterling continues.

“Why don’t you go talk to Jas and Feroc until we reach Lydianzaa,” she says. “I have a few last-minute things to take care of.”

“Okay, thank you,” I reply, my voice a little shaky with nerves. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. I can’t—can’t— bring these humans to Lydianzaa, but I can’t let them die, either. They’re… not what I expected from humans, really. Especially not what I expected from pirates. I’ve never met a human before yesterday— never even left the capital. Never been allowed to. But when Silvyre led half of the mercreatures on a whale hunt two days ago, leaving me behind as usual, I decided to sneak out. Unfortunately for me, I only made it a few miles before being picked up by the Aerie and its crew. Silvyre would be back in the capital by now— would have noticed that I’m missing. Is she worried? Does she care? 

Once more oblivious to my inner turmoil, Sterling pats me on the shoulder and goes up to the upper deck. I drift over to where Feroc and Jasak are talking. They pause their conversation once I get close.

“Heya Zo, how are you?” Feroc asks me, smiling hugely. He seems to do that a lot—smile, I mean. It’s… nice.

“I’m alright,” I tell him. Then I turn to Jasak and start taking off his coat. “Here you go,” I say, struggling to pull my arm out of the sleeve. “I appreciate you lending it to me, and for putting it over me last night.”

Jasak, too, simply smiles at me. “Oh, you don’t need to thank me! I was happy to help.” I finally get my arm out of the sleeve and slip the garment off. Immediately, the wind shifts and I can feel it on my collarbones, where the shirt gapes open. I shiver a little, and Jasak pauses, halfway to taking the jacket back. “Why don’t you keep it for now,” he adds, referencing my shiver. “I think you need it more than I do.”

“Th—thank you,” I say, stuttering a little in surprise. It’s his— why wouldn’t he want what’s rightfully his back, as soon as I’m able to give it? That’s the way it works in the merkingdom. Favors are never for free.

“You’re perfectly welcome, again,” Jasak chuckles. “Hey, Feroc and I were just chatting about what we should ask Ty to have for dinner tonight— what are your thoughts, fish or dried jerky?” The two of them draw me into conversation, letting me tag along with them as they go about their daily duties, and I almost don’t notice the passing of the sun in the sky until Jasak starts to shade his eyes with his hand. 

“We’re nearly there,” Feroc comments, squinting up at the position of the sun. 

“About another ten minutes, yeah,” a new voice says, and we all look left to see Tyrian. He points to the navigation wheel, where a familiar blonde-braided figure stands, intently gazing at the horizon and adjusting the wheel accordingly. “Cap’s taken over my position for the moment. She wanted full control for the moment we reach official Lydianzaan waters.”

Jasak leans over the railing of the boat. “Looks the same as any other water to me.”

“That’s because we’re not there yet,” I interject, nausea boiling in the pit of my stomach at our proximity to Lydianzaa. The three men turn to look at me.

“How do you just… know that off the top of your head?” Tyrian asks me curiously. “Even Maylene couldn’t say exactly when we’d arrive, only give us a rough estimate of a few more minutes.”

“You’ll see,” I say vaguely. 

And barely a moment later, they do see.

Or rather, they don’t— we’ve now entered a thick fog, making it impossible to see more than a few feet all around us. 

“What the—“ Jasak breathes, at the same moment Sterling yells from the top deck, “Lanterns out!”

Feroc, Tyrian, and Jasak all move across the deck with purpose, leaving me standing awkwardly by the rail. I think for a second about jumping overboard, but then Jasak is by my side once more, holding my elbow gently. 

“Come stand over here, you’ll be out of the way,” he tells me, guiding me to stand by Maylene’s cabin. I put my back to the wall and watch the crew work— each crew member, the ones I’ve met and the ones I haven’t, are each at a different part of the deck, doing the same actions. They strike a match and put it inside a glass box, lighting a small fire that casts away some of the gloom of the fog. Slowly but surely, our vision improves until we can see twice the amount of sea around us than we could before.

“You came prepared,” I marvel. “You knew about the fog.”

“In theory, yes,” Jasak admits. “That’s one of the only pieces of concrete evidence we could gather about Lydianzaa— that there was a thick shroud of fog covering the whole ocean. I just didn’t think it would come upon us so suddenly.”

Sterling comes down the steps to join us, trading her place at the navigation wheel with Tyrian. “Well, Zoey,” she says, “It’s your time to shine. What should we expect?”

At this point, the nervous butterflies in my stomach are more like dragons than anything else. 

“Well… there are three concentric rings around Lydianzaa,” I say slowly. “One for each pillar of the mercreature kingdom. One is a test of strength; one of sight; and one of faith. The fog shrouds each of the rings. If I’m not mistaken, the test of faith is first.”

“What do you mean ‘test of faith’?” Sterling asks, but my attention is drawn to something in the water, and my eyes widen.

Stop this ship right now!” I yell.


And there we have it! What do you think Zoey saw? Can you guess what the three tests are going to be? Two of them are related to the original "hero tests" in my novel! This is, after all, meant to be an AU. I think Chapter 6 will contain at least one, if not all, of the tests; this story should be over by Chapter 10! Isn't this exciting? I'm excited. (Now I just have to get my other stories edited... ahaha...) Also, some appearances! 

FEROC: tall, but slightly shorter than Jasak. He's still the second tallest character though. He teaches weaponry to the crew, so he's pretty muscular. He has a scar through his left (our right) eyebrow, tanned skin (between Jasak and Sterling's skin tones), dark brown eyes, and medium brown hair (lighter than Jasak's) in an undercut/man bun. His face is wide, and his nose is crooked from being broken. In this story, I don't have a particular picture of what he wears. He's either shirtless or wears a white shirt, with tan pants, maybe. And tall boots.

TYRIAN: man, for the record he was a complete side character at first, but then he became really popular with you guys and my irl readers, so... I've been writing him in to more stuff! He has fluffy blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, and Caucasian tanned skin. He's in between muscular and skinny, about average height I guess, and wears a white shirt and black pants, maybe? I don't really know. 

(bonus, because this is a short update) MAYLENE: curly/wavy light brown hair cut to be just above her shoulders, often half of it is pulled up into a bun; pale skin, freckles, hazel eyes. Her right (our left) arm was burned off below the elbow and replaced by a hook; she also has burn scars sretching up that arm and on some of the right side of her body, but none that can be seen under her clothes. She wears a tan leather apron. She's also on the heavier side of weight, I'm not sure if I've mentioned that before. 

(also a bonus) MELISE: shoulder-blade-length chestnut-colored curls sometimes pulled back in a rawhide tie, startling dark orange eyes, Caucasian skin, wears layers of mismatched clothing and jewelry. Honestly I mix her and Maylene up a lot, so if I mess up their names in the story I do apologize. Melise is one of the older characters, around Feroc's age. She's pretty short, though. She's very flighty, very odd, but means well. The only story where she has an actual personality besides "weird" is the sci-fi rewrite, so oops. 

Stay safe and healthy, everyone, and I'll hopefully have a full chapter up on Friday! <3 


submitted by Starseeker-TueUpdate, age on hiatus?, maybe not
(September 22, 2020 - 4:37 pm)


submitted by Top, age Top, Top
(September 23, 2020 - 2:43 pm)
submitted by Top!
(September 29, 2020 - 2:30 pm)

*appears in a cloud of smoke* What's up, y'all! As you can see, posting has become a little more difficult now that I'm back in the thick of school. I'm a junior in high school and I'm taking 5 college level (AP) courses, as well as 2 high school ones. I'm getting about 5-7 hours of sleep at night, meaning that I'm chronically exhausted, and I also don't have half as much time to write. From now on, I'll be updating once a week, on EITHER Friday or Tuesday. I don't have the next portion of Pirates written yet, so here's (part of) the next part of the sci-fi cyberpunk rewrite of my novel. This one picks up right where the last one left off; I said I was going to split future chapters in half, which is why this one is shorter than the last one. Fun facts, this chapter was actually written before the last one; so if there are any inconsistencies, feel free to point them out to me. The next Pirates chapter should be up next week or this one, if I'm feeling particularly ambitious (spoiler alert: I'm not). Anyway! I really do read and reply to everything you say; thanks to you two toppers trying to futiley push this thread up despite my lack of updating.





After I found the live Parallel, it’s a bit of a blur. I marked her location in the lab for the medical team that Melise called in. The whole cryo tube was moved into our medical wing, and our team was told that the Parallel we found was considered classified information. We continued on with life as usual, and that’s how I found myself in the cafeteria, watching Blaiyre balance haphazardly on one of the countertops.

“Blaiyre, you probably shouldn’t be doing that,” I say worriedly. She rolls her eyes at me, adjusting her balance to get a better look at the busted light she’s trying to fix. 

“I’ll be fine, Jasak. Stop being such a worrywart,” she retorts, fixing the wire with a snap and jumping off the counter. She spreads her arms out mockingly. “See? Fine. And now the light’s fixed, too.”

“It wasn’t broken in the first place!” I argue. She opens her mouth to argue back, but she’s interrupted by the beeping of my com watch. 1 new message, the display reads. I double-tap the screen to send the message into my earpiece.

“Jasak, your presence has been requested by High Command,” Sterling’s voice sounds into my ear.

I sigh as the message ends. My team may be relatively well-respected in HQ, but even I can’t ignore a direct summons from High Command. 

“What’s the problem?” Blaiyre asks me, picking at one of her nails. “They need you to go talk down a patient in the med wing again?”

I frown at her. “No, I’ve been summoned by High Command, actually.”

Blaiyre raises an eyebrow. “Dang, bro. Why are you still here and talking to me then? Go on, go! Go find out what special, classified mission they wanna send you on this time.”

I roll my eyes. “Blaiyre, it’s not like that.”

She waves her hand. “Whatever, big bro. Go talk to the bigwigs while I keep fixing these lights.”

“Goodbye, Blaiyre!” I toss over my shoulder as I leave. 

As I walk down the halls of HQ, I type out a new message to Sterling on my com watch.

Jasak: any idea what it’s about?

She responds just as quickly. 

Sterling: I don’t know. Sorry man, you’re on your own. 

Jasak: that’s not reassuring :(

Sterling: Wish I could help, but I have to help some new cadets in 5 minutes. Sorry, gotta go. Good luck!

I close the messages and sigh, running through everything I’ve done in the past week or so. As far as I know, I haven’t done anything wrong. I stole some of Icantre’s rations, sure, but that was just a joke! And I gave it back later, so it’s probably not that. My mind flashes back to the last mission my team was on— the one where we found a ValCorp Parallel. But if it was about that, surely the whole team would have been summoned…?

Far too soon, I’m standing in front of the High Command doors. The two guards in front open the doors for me, but not before scanning me with their sensors. As the doors creak open, I step inside and face the High Command.

There’s five people sitting at a raised table in front of me— five faces that anyone in Verasola would know.

On the far left sits Yenner Tenzi, the quintessential mathematics man. Beside him is Falkor Pratt, the muscle of the group. On the other side of the table sit Taclya Amarrod and Erou Wicass, the best-friends-turned-lovers that everyone envies. They’re probably holding hands under the table, let’s be real. In the middle of them all, fixing me with a clear turquoise gaze, sits Adrienne Griffon. The leader of the Verasolan rebellion-turned-government, face of our new nation, hope for the hopeless.

Oh, and also, Sterling’s older sister— and therefore, sort of mine as well. 

Adrienne leans forward in her chair, setting her chin on her hands as she looks at me.

“Jasak,” she says in her calm voice. “It’s good to see you, even in these strange circumstances.” She gestures for me to sit in a chair in front of their grand table. I do sit, suddenly feeling more nervous without the advantage of my tall height.

“Circumstances?” I question.

“The Parallel,” Adrienne answers. “We’re going to wake it up.”

When she doesn’t offer anything else, I shrug slightly in confusion. “Okay? Cool, that’s… super great. Congratulations. Good for you.”

Falkor snorts under his breath. “He’ll be perfect,” he says, leaning further onto the table to look at me closer. 

I start to panic a little bit. “Perfect for… what? What’s going on?”

Erou seems to take pity on me, shooting me a smile. “We want you there when we wake it—her—up.”

Taclya continues seamlessly from where he left off. “You have a very calming presence, Jasak. You set people at ease.”

“Which is why you often help out in the med wing with patients, correct?” Erou finishes.

“Er, yes?” I reply, a bit distracted by their back-and-forth commentary. Thank goodness they’re sitting next to each other instead of across the room, because I would have looked like a chicken moving my head back and forth to track their words.

“So, you’ll do it,” Falkor says. It’s not really a question.

“What exactly will this entail?” I ask the table as a whole. “I really don’t have very much medical experience, only slightly more than basic field training. So if you’re hoping for me to assist in the medical procedure of brining her out of cryo…”

Adrienne shakes her head. “No. We’re aware of your medical training. What we need from you is your personality. Once the Parallel wakes up, it might be confused and disoriented. We also don’t know what sort of training it may have received before it was put into cryo. You will be in the room to help calm it down.” Again, it’s not really a question, but I answer anyway.

“Alright. Yes, I can do that. When should I report to the med wing?”

Yenner glances at his com watch and speaks for the first time in this little meeting. “It’s in medical room C, actually. And about 5 minutes.”

I jump out of my chair, startling not only myself but Erou and Taclya as well when it tips over. “Shoot! I need to get going then. Thank you!” I wave awkwardly before bursting out of the room, unsure what I’m thanking them for but figuring it’s polite since they’re figures of authority. I careen down the hallways, and some people call out to me concernedly as I pass, but I ignore them in favor of continuing to high-tail it to medical room C. I burst through the door, and Maylene rises from the chair she’s sitting in. 

“What’s the emergency? Why are you running? Who’s hurt?” She says hurriedly.

“No one, I hope. High Command sent me to assist with the Parallel wake-up?”

Maylene claps her hands together, the prosthetic making a dull slapping sound against her flesh and blood fingers. “Excellent! You’re right on time.” She gestures for me to follow her and moves towards the back of the room.

“For the sheer uncertainty of the situation,” she tells me as she closes the door behind us. “We don’t know what the Parallel is going to be like.”

“Which is what I’m doing here,” someone else chimes in, and I look up to see Fehnein Dhunne, a man I know vaguely from seeing him around the building. His team and mine have never worked in close quarters. 

He flexes his arm dramatically, and I look at him, unimpressed. Feroc is twice his size.

“It’s Feroc’s lunch hour off with Tyrian,” Maylene reminds me, beginning to move around the room, preparing pieces of shiny medical equipment that I have no idea what it does. “Fehnein so kindly offered to step in.” Fehnein grins again, but something remains hidden behind his eyes. I shudder internally. Not even 5 minutes with the guy, and I don’t like him. I’ll have to remember to ask my team what they know about him. Between the 5 of us, we know most everyone in the building, from teaching cadets and from just having been here for a while. 

“Before you try to manhandle the Parallel, make sure Jasak gets to speak to it,” Maylene says before I do. I flash her a grateful smile.


This update marks the introduction of some new characters; the High Command is actually mainly based off the character creation thread I made a while back (like circa 2018) for my novel. Taclya and Erou are Vyolette's creations; Yenner is by Spring Flower (unsuspectingstrytllr?), and Falkor is my irl friend (The Teenage Dragon on NaNo)'s character. Adrienne is one of the first characters I ever made for the novel; I've never gotten far enough in the story to get to her arc, but yes, she's Sterling and Zoey's older sister. They're all about 2 years apart, in honor of my own sister. That makes Adrienne roughly 20, if Sterling's 18 and Zoey is 16. I don't really like those ages, though, so they're definitely inaccurate, but it gets the point across. If you remember that character creation thread I made, there are more characters from it in Kismet! Most notably, Meryn Felle, created by Quill. Speaking of Kismet, I've actually also made the decision not to post it on here. It contains themes of romance and violent homophobia that just simply aren't suitable for the age range on the CB (still under PG-13, though) and I don't want to edit those parts out because they're integral to the story. I'm currently converting it to a play format for my local playwriting group, so that'll have to suffice. If you really want to read it, you can message me on NaNo.

That's all for today! I'll see you next week sometime! (I'll probably reply to comments sooner than that, though, just for ease.) 


submitted by Starseeker-Update, age olddddd, what's up y'all
(September 29, 2020 - 9:29 pm)

Aaaaaa it's so good!! Reading your writing is honestly the highlight of my week. We all understand life and school take up tons of time; your health is the most important thing, so make sure you get sleep, stay hydrated, and take care of yourself!

submitted by Quill
(September 30, 2020 - 2:33 pm)

Omc, that means so much to me! <3 I am... definitely not getting enough sleep, but that's fine. And I've figured out how to, like, Pavloc myself into staying hydrated-- I don't have enough time or energy to go up and get myself a glass of water, but if I put a cup with a straw on my desk, I'll just absentmindedly drink it throughout the day. Before I know it, I've drained an entire water bottle!


submitted by Starseeker, age haha what, spilling tea with a queen
(October 1, 2020 - 9:20 am)

I love it! I especially liked the little interaction you worked in with Jasak and Blaiyre. It was short and sweet and really awesome character development! One question I have is, how does Jasak know the High Command leaders? It sounded like there was some interesting backstory there...

Hope you're managing your courseload okay! It sounds tough!

submitted by Summer, age tau, Nowhere at all
(September 30, 2020 - 8:18 pm)

Oh, I'm glad you like them! Blaiyre becomes influential later in the story, so I'm trying to give her some sort of context instead of just throwing her in there later. Especially since she appeared, like maybe once in the original story. Jasak knows the High Command leaders because they're like his bosses, basically? I don't have the exact plot worked out yet, but similar to how Sterling/Jasak/Feroc/Melise/Icantre were in charge of the Eagles in the original story, Adrienne/Yenner/Erou/Taclya/Falkor are in charge of this... finished rebellion. Thing. (Again, I'm not quite sure of the plot.) Running with that analogy, Sterling's team woud be one of the convocations in the Aerie, while Adrienne's team would take Sterling's old place. Does that make sense? I hope so. Basically, Sterling's team is still well-respected, but they're not in charge of the whole shebang anymore. 

Also, Jasak knows them personally because he's been in this rebellion (what even is a plot) for a long time, and as such has a decently high position, and works with High Command a lot. Adrienne is also Sterling's sister, and Sterling and Jasak have a pretty close bond, so therefore Adrienne and Jasak are comfortable and close with each other. There probably is some interesting backstory there, but I'll work it all in later.



submitted by Starseeker, age what am i, even doing with my life
(October 1, 2020 - 9:35 am)

Here's Jasak and Sterling! Their designs in this story are so cool, and pirates in general are just awesome. This was fun to draw!

submitted by Quill
(October 3, 2020 - 3:57 pm)

*screams* Thank you so much!! I seriously love them!! I love the pose you put Sterling in and Jasak's sword is absolutely 10/10. It seriously means so much to me that you would take the time to draw them! <3


submitted by Starseeker, age whomst, what
(October 4, 2020 - 10:11 pm)

Hey, what's up y'all! Star here with the weekly update. I, uh, actually *just* remembered that I was supposed to post this, so sorry about that. I played at my school's homecoming football game tonight, and I just got home a little bit ago! I was also in classes all day and working on Inktober, so it's been busy. 

This is chapter 6 of Pirates, and it's been a while, so you might want to go take a look at chapter 5 part 1 and 2! We're really getting into the meat of the plot here; I know I make estimations of how much more there is to go every week, but I'm almost positive that there will be 4-5 more after this (test #2, test #3, climax, finish, and maybe an epilogue, we'll see).  

Also, trigger warning for this chapter: there are some dead bodies. I took pains to avoid describing them in great detail, but they are a prevalent focus of the story. 



In Which Something Clever Happens idk


To her credit, Sterling hesitates only for a second before she shouts the order to her crew. 

“Stop the ship!” She yells, her voice booming over the deck. The crew scrambles to do what she says, but I’m not paying attention. I rush over to the rail, my attention on the water. Or more specifically, the rock jutting out of the water— the rock with a mercreature corpse staked on top of it.

“Holy claws,” Jasak whispers as he joins me at the rail. “Is that— a mercreature?”

“It is,” I confirm. As the ship shudders to a stop, we drift close enough that I can make out her face.


It’s Peony, one of the palace guards who had been on duty when I made my escape. And her corpse looks fresh— there’s still blood, barely dried, streaking her sides and neck. Her head lolls to the side and I’m almost glad I can’t see her face properly. This… this is my fault. If I hadn’t left, if I had been smart enough not to be caught by these Eagles and had made it back before Silvyre, Peony would still be alive. And not just Peony— as I look up, I see more and more mercreatures staked out to dry in the hot sun, all the guards who had been on duty. My stomach churns.

“I’ve never seen one before,” Feroc remarks, also joining me by the rail. “Not a live one, anyway.”

I made a noise, somewhere between a groan and a whimper. “They’re not alive.”

Sterling, too, steps forward to join us as the ship rocks slowly in the waves. She studies the corpse. “Smaller than I expected,” she says finally, and that’s that.

I force myself to look away from Peony and refocus on the deck. Jasak is watching me, a myriad of emotions flickering across his face. Pain, is the most prevalent one. Pity, anger, distress… they all play out, like a show for my own personal viewing.

I look away.

“Welcome to the test of faith,” I say, my choked-up throat making it difficult to speak for a moment.

“…Of faith?” Feroc repeats. “What, we’ve gotta… pray to whatever gods we believe in? That’s not going to work for me.”

“Not that sort of faith,” I say. It’s easier— easier to focus on my words, on his face, on the deck of the ship— than to look up, remember that Peony is dead, dead

“Trust,” Sterling says, breaking into my thoughts. “That sort of faith, then?”

Jasak steps up behind me and puts a hand on my shoulder, squeezing gently. I lean into his touch, just a little bit. Just enough to keep me grounded. 

“Yes, trust,” I reply, struggling a little less with the words. “Trust in me, specifically. You see all these rocks?” I sweep my arm out, not moving my head, not wanting to see—

“Yes,” Sterling replies. Jasak puts a little more pressure on my shoulder. I lean a little farther into him.

“Half of them are just illusions,” I tell her. “And half of the real ones, you wouldn’t see until you were right on top of them, your ship run aground and your sailors drowning.”

“So, we trust you, and you, what— you use your magical spooky powers to tell us which ones are real, and which ones aren’t?” Sterling says sarcastically. “Great. That sounds like a fantastic plan that couldn’t go wrong at all.”

Jasak reaches out his other hand and places it on her shoulder, and she melts a little.

“Ignoring the sarcasm, yes, that’s basically it,” I tell her. “Except no magical spooky powers for me, thank you very much. Just a good old-fashioned pair of eyes.”

“How can we know that you won’t run us aground on purpose?” Feroc asks me, smiling slightly so that I know it’s a genuine question, not an accusation.

“You can’t, really,” I tell him, a wry smile twisting my lips. “You’ve just got to trust me. That’s why it’s a test of faith.”

Sterling blows out a breath. “We don’t really have much choice, do we? Either we trust her or we don’t.”

“There’s not great odds of making it through without someone who can see the illusions,” I add cheerfully. “You’re welcome to try, though, as long as you put me in a lifeboat first so I don’t die with the rest of you.”

Jasak’s hand squeezes my shoulder and I think he’s holding in a laugh, not from my words themselves but from their jaunty delivery.

Sterling sighs again. “Alright. Fine. But no funny business, you hear me?” She points a finger at me.

I raise my hands non-threateningly. “No funny business. Honestly. I’m not particularly fond of the idea of dying, and to tell the truth, I’m not particularly fond of the idea of you guys dying, either.” I offer a small smile. “You’re all kind of nice when you’re not frog-marching me around deck and yelling at me to wake up.”

“Does that mean I’m nice all the time?” Feroc jokes. “Because I haven’t done either of those things. That’s all Cap.”

I laugh a bit. “Sure, you’re nice enough.”

Sterling tries to scowl, but I can see the hint of a smile poking through. “Fine. Do your thing, I guess,” she says, waving her hand out in front of us. 

I snort. “A ringing endorsement, truly. Turn the ship… that-a-way.” I point to where one of the rocks has a particular shimmer that marks it as being an illusion.

“Very specific,” Sterling comments dryly, but relays the order nonetheless. The ship begins moving again, the sails catching the wind and aided by the crewmembers rowing from belowdecks.

We sail straight towards what, to them, looks like a very large, and very solid, rock, the face of it studded with jagged points and abrasions. Staked on the top is another mercreature, except this one does not wear the face of any real member of the kingdom. To me, it’s a dead giveaway, even without the shimmer. I swallow down my revulsion of looking at another mercreature corpse— dead, dead because of you, because of what you did— even if it is fake. I shiver a little, and Jasak’s hand drops from my shoulder. I catch myself mourning the loss and quickly shake it off, only for him to move closer and press his body behind mine, lending me his strength and solid presence.

“This okay?” He asks me softly, resting his head on top of mine. Scales, he’s tall.*

“Okay. Thank you,” I tell him. It’s silly, but I do feel better with him near me. He’s… solid. Grounding. 

The Aerie slips closer and closer to the rock illusion; in my eyes, it’s barely there anymore, but I know it’s just as strong to everyone else. Someone across the deck shouts; I can feel Jasak tense up behind me; Feroc reaches out and takes Tyrian’s hand, pulling him into his arms and holding him tight; the rock comes closer and closer until—

The illusion dissipates, and we’re through.

The tension in Jasak’s body fades, and Feroc laughs a bit, kissing Ty quickly. 

“That wasn’t— too bad,” Sterling says, rubbing her hands together. “Not an altogether pleasant experience, driving my ship into a rock, but not too bad.”

I laugh a little too. “I hope it wasn’t too bad, because now we have to do it another, like, dozen times. Did you think we were done? Turn more to the left. Aim for that rock.”

I navigate the Eagles through the illusion rock field. Jasak stays behind me, grounding me, giving me his calming presence when I flinch at the too-familiar faces on the corpses on the rocks around us. With every one we pass, my horror grows; I always knew Silvyre had to make choices, but this— this is excessive. Every guard? 

I mean, I could be overreacting. There could be a perfectly logical explanation for this, besides the fact that I left the capital without Silvyre’s consent. But deep down, I know that this is because of me. This is my fault.

But even if you did cause this, another voice in my head argues, Silvyre killing all the guards on duty is still an overreaction. You say you know her, but how well do you really know her? How can you trust that it won’t be you spiked on a rock next?

Great, now I’m having arguments in my head. I’ve officially passed the point of crazy.

Jasak brushes the bottom of his chin across the top of my head again. “You all right?” He asks me. “You’ve gone all stiff.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I tell him unconvincingly. “Just— focusing.”

Jasak makes a small noise and I’m certain he doesn’t believe me, but he lets the matter drop. I direct the Aerie through another rock illusion, then start looking around for the next one. Ahead of us, there is only open ocean; we’ve passed the ring of jagged rocks.

“We’re through,” I announce, and the crew lets out an audible sigh of relief.

“One down, two to go,” Sterling says. “What’s next?”

Almost in answer, we enter a fog again, much like the one we were in before the last test.

“The test of sight,” I reply. “We begin now.”


*I recently remembered that Jasak is about 6’3” to 6’7”, and Zoey is about 5’4” and 5’6”. I’m obsessed with their height difference now.



Aaaand that's it! I'll probably think of something witty I should have put here, but for now I'm drawing a blank. (It's 10:55 pm and I've been up since 6:55 am. Have mercy.)


And I'm also curious, the last time I updated Pirates y'all said you liked Sterling's character a lot. My question is: why?? To me, she's one of the most changing and underdeveloped characters in the story. I have like 13 different versions of her that I'm trying to mash all into one and I'm not super happy with the result yet. So what about her makes y'all like her? I'm genuinely curious.  



submitted by Starseeker-FriUpdate, age on hiatus?, spilling tea with a queen
(October 9, 2020 - 11:02 pm)

Another great post!  I can't wait to figure out what the test of sight is.

I had to think about how to explain why I like Sterling for a bit.  I like her because she can be gruff and seem a little mean, but she is really very kind and cares for her crew.  Hard on the outside and soft on the inside.  There's another reason I like her but I can't find the words to pin it down.  Once I do I'll tell you! 

submitted by Peregrine
(October 15, 2020 - 10:29 am)
submitted by Top!
(October 16, 2020 - 9:09 am)


School has gotten super crazy for me lately-- I'm still aiming for a chapter a week but I literally can't promise which day I'll update on. Thanks to whoever topped this; there's some weird glitch with my computer that I can't top my own threads, so it's legitimately up to you all to help me out. 

@Peregrine, I'm glad you liked the chapter and thanks for telling me why you like Sterling! I think that's the way I'll try to write her from now on; hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

Speaking of writing, today's update is a little shorter than usual. I wrote it all last night at midnight and also like 5 minutes before I post this; it's completely unedited so let me know if you find any errors! I welcome feedback, as always.



I should probably just give up on title names now since I haven’t had one in 3 chapters oops


“What do you mean, ‘we begin now’?” Sterling demands. “That’s, like, really ominous, not going to lie.”

“We’re in a freaky fog heading towards a freaky mercreature capital and a turn of phrase is what’s bothering you?” Feroc retorts. “You need to get your priorities examined."

“Guys!” I shout, effectively gaining their attention. “As entertaining as this is, you all need to get your priorities in order, or you’re going to be wandering around in here forever.”

“In here?” Tyrian asks. “What do you mean?”

“We’re in a labyrinth,” I tell him. “The walls are mirrored, and the fog only adds to the confusion.”

“Great, fantastic. So we just, what, sail our way through?” Sterling asks.

“Yeah, I mean, basically. Except you can’t see where you’re going, and the labyrinth is a circle, so if you don’t know the right path you’ll just end up going around in circles until you inevitably starve and die,” I say.

“Cheerful,” Sterling mutters.

“So how do we get out? What’s the right path?” Feroc asks, ignoring Sterling.

I shrug. “I, uh, I’m actually not sure.”

The four of them stare at me— honey, emerald, turquoise, and chocolate eyes all staring at me in disbelief.

“You don’t know,” Sterling repeats incredulously. “You’ve just directed my crew into an endless mirror maze and you don’t know the way out?”

I raise my hands helplessly. “It’s not my fault! The last time I went to Lydianzaa, I went in a different way. Underwater.”

Tyrian is studying me, and I don’t like how perceptive he looks, so I turn away and face Jasak.

“I do think I can reason it out, though,” I tell him. “With the fog and the mirrors, everything looks the same on this level. But, if we could go a little higher, get a birds’ eye view…”

“The Crow’s Nest,” Jasak finishes my sentence. “Brilliant.”

Feroc snorts. “I’m not going up there. No way. That ladder seems like it’ll collapse any second.”

Tyrian punches his arm playfully. “With your muscles, it just might, you oaf.”

Feroc picks him up and holds him, squirming, above the ground. “You’ve never seemed to complain about my muscles before. Maybe I should stop training so much if you think they’re such a problem.”

Tyrian squirms even more. “No! I take it back. I like your muscles!”

Sterling clears her throat. “Guys. Labyrinth. Endless circles. Ring a bell?”

Feroc sets Tyrian back down with a sheepish smile. “Sorry Cap, got distracted. Off to the Crow’s Nest?”

“Probably just Zo and I should head on up,” Jasak says. “Any more and it’d be overly full. Feroc doesn’t like the ladder, and who am I to deprive Feroc of his daily dose of Tyrian? Ster needs to stay down here and oversee the crew. That leaves me and Zo.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Sterling confirms. “I’ll wait at the bottom of the mast and relay your instructions to the crew.”

Jasak and I head over to the middle of the deck, where the mast containing the Crow’s Nest is. Jasak climbs up first again, and Feroc is kind enough to hold the ladder steady as I climb up after him. Jasak helps me up the last few steps and then we’re both crammed into the one-person space. We fit a little better last night because we were sitting down and curled up, but now that we’re standing and it’s light out, it’s clear just how small the Crow’s Nest is. Jasak moves to the edge of the wooden platform, putting his hands on the low railing for balance. I follow behind him, looking out over the mirror labyrinth.

It looks like a ring, stretching almost farther than we can see; when I look behind us, I can see the rocks of the illusion field dotting the waters, and when I look farther ahead, I can see the churning waters of the test of strength. The labyrinth itself is made of what looks like walls of fog, reflecting our own image back at us in increasingly distorted ways. But from up here, it’s clear that there’s a pattern to the madness— and a way through.

“There’s the exit,” Jasak says, grabbing my arm and pointing to a break in the maze, closest to the inner side of the ring. Sure enough, there’s a gap in the fog. Jasak and I trace a path back through the fog, marking it in our heads. It takes a few tries, but then we have a way through that we can both agree on.

“Left!” Jasak calls down to Sterling, and she relays the order to the crew. In that fashion, Jasak and I direct the Aerie through the maze, re-checking our route periodically. Something in the back of my mind tickles a bit, as if I’ve forgotten something, but I don’t remember what it is. The closer we get to the end of the maze, the stronger the feeling grows.

Jasak catches me rubbing at me head and asks, “Are you alright?”

I grunt in answer. “Fine, I think. Just feel like I’m forgetting something.”

“Is there anything else besides the maze?” Jasak offers. “Like the third test?”

“Yeah, but I know what the third test is,” I tell him. “Test of strength. It’s a giant whirlpool, yada yada. So that can’t be what I’m forgetting.”

“Did you leave the stove on?” He says jokingly. I stare him down, unamused.

“Fine, fine. Let me know if you figure out what it is, alright?” He says, raising his hands.

A screech sounds out below us, and there’s a flash beneath the waves.

“Oh shoot,” I breathe out. “That’s it!”

“What’s it?” Jasak asks, and chaos erupts across the ship.


And there you have it! Short chapters and big cliffhangers for the win. I actually have an idea of what the next scene will be so hopefully that means I'll write it at some point. If you read the original novel, you might know what's coming up next! (Hint-- what's in the mirror maze?) Any guesses? Also bonus points to you if when it says the eye colors of the characters looking at Zoey (honey, emerald, turquoise, and chocolate) you know which character goes to which color. Some eye colors I've said, some I haven't. And speaking of character descriptions!

ZOEY: huh, I probably should have provided some physical description of my main character at some point, but I never did, so here we go! In human form, she's average height (5'6" maybe) and has very pale skin, wolfish pale blue eyes, and raven blue-black hair cut choppily to about her shoulders. In this story she wears Jasak's green coat, along with Maylene's white lace-up shirt and Icantre's brown leather pants. Uh, just realized she's probably barefoot. In her mercreature form, her whole body length is closer to 20 feet-- her tail is realllllyyyy long. Her tail is also a dark blue-black, same as her hair, with lighter blue fins on the end and sides. Her hands become webbed with claws on the ends of her fingers, she gets gills, and fins appear along her forearms and ears. Small patches of light/dark blue scales appear along her skin, and the whites of her eyes turn black (still with light blue irises/black pupils though). Her teeth become long and pointed. 

ICANTRE: decently tall (5'10" ish), slender, decently muscular. Long black hair braided down her back, elongated and upturned green or dark brown eyes, tanned skin (she's not Caucasian). Maybe an armband tattoo around her bicep, a little sharper canine teeth than usual. She's been described as 'catlike' before. She's pretty standoffish, not very nice, but loyal. She will fight you (for fun), and make no mistake, she will win.

Until next time,


submitted by Starseeker-Update, age whooooo, y'all i finally did it
(October 18, 2020 - 8:37 pm)

Ooh, I love cliffhangers! I have no ideas as to what's in the maze, sorry. At the beginning of the chapter, is what Feroc said a reference to Harry Potter? Because I couldn't help reading it in a Ron Weasley voice XD

Anyway, sorry about the whole school thing, I hope your workload gets better. I might draw more of your characters sometime (sorry about drawing Icantre without knowing her full appearance, I just had a very clear picture in my head and wanted to draw it).

submitted by Azalea, age 13, Earth
(October 19, 2020 - 8:51 am)