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)

Amazing, as usual! I think I know what's in the maze, but I can't for the life of me remember what they're called!

submitted by Quill
(October 19, 2020 - 5:00 pm)

Ooh, cool! I love Sterling's sarcasm. She reminds me a bit of Halt from Ranger's Apprentice in the hard on the outside, soft on the inside characteristic, which I do always love. :)

Um, were there creatures in the mirrors that attacked them or something? I don't remember much of the original book, but I have a vague memory of something along those lines.

Poor Zoey, having to navigate through the corpses that she thought were all her fault. I hope they weren't! I wonder if Jasak figured out that she was a mercreature... it seems like he's going down that path...

submitted by Kitten, age too young, to vote
(October 19, 2020 - 8:12 pm)

@Aza, that's totally cool! It's a direct reference from my novel, which I don't think you've ever read. I've never done an AU quite like this before, so I'm trying to reference the original "trials" that Zoey goes through as closely as possible. And it's not a purposeful reference, but it totally should have been! I will always welcome character picturings, and it's totally fine that Icantre's isn't totally canon. I like seeing your interpretations of my characters!

@Quill, I don't know if I'm ever going to give them a name in this story, but they're called lanbai. When I update later this week, you'll see if you're right on your guess or not! ;)

@Kitten, omc I love Ranger's Apprentice! It was the first book series that I ever bought the entire thing. I haven't read it in a while but those books will always hold a special place in my heart. Looking at it from that perspective, Sterling is a lot like Halt! You're pretty right on the mirror creatures; those are the lanbai. They're a little more interesting than simply creatures who live in the mirror, but that's the basis. As for if the corpses are her fault... I mean, kind of, not really, but Silvyre (the mercreature queen) is a little off the bend, so to speak. I'll go into it more in... 2 chapters from next? 3 chapters? The Eagles, including Jasak, definitely know something's up, but what their suspicions are is yet to be revealed. They're more focusing on the here-and-now, trying not to die, rather than figuring out what's so weird about their new passenger. (Also, your age/location is iconic and I love it.)

I should have the chapter up... sometime? By Sunday night? I dunno really. My schoolwork is just getting piled on top of all the other stuff I have to do, but I'm still holding to one chapter a week. Have a good day/night, y'all!


submitted by Starseeker, age whomst, spilling tea with a queen
(October 21, 2020 - 11:04 am)

EyyyyYYYYYYyyyyy hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? I'd like to apologize for the long wait; obviously the once-a-week schedule isn't a great vibe right now. Instead of making excuses, I'm just going to jump right into the story!



Gosh dang it’s really another chapter huh


The water around the ship foams and splashes with the writing tails of the creatures below. Jasak and I watch in horror as they crawl their way onto the ship. Jasak makes to go down, but I hold him back.

“Wait!” I shout. “The more of us there are, the more of them there they are!”

“What?” He shouts back. “Literally what the heck! What are those!”

“They’re lanbai,” I tell him. “They live in the mirrors of the test of sight. They’re, like, test of sight part 2.”

I point down to where Sterling is battling one of the creatures. “See? She’s already figured it out.”

Sterling uses her staff to hack and bat at her opponent. As she executes a flawless strike to the lanbai’s head, the lanbai is knocked onto its back and we can see its face.

“What the heck,” Jasak breathes out again.

The lanbai’s face is an exact copy of Sterling’s.

“You can’t trust anyone but yourself,” I tell him. “You might think you’re fighting an enemy, only to find that you’ve struck down your friend.” Our attention returns to Sterling just as she raises her staff and drives the blade at the bottom through the lanbai’s neck, turning it into wisps of black smoke. Sterling shouts orders that we’re too far away to hear, and the fighting on the deck changes focus as each of the crew members searches out the lanbai wearing their own face. One by one, the lanbai fall to the skilled sweeps of the Eagles’ swords. When the deck is clear once more, Jasak and I descend the ladder to the main deck.

“Any injuries?” I ask Sterling.

“Just a few minor ones. We got it sorted out.” She snorts and sarcastically adds, “Thanks for the warning.”

“I forgot!” I protest. “I’ve never really done it this way before. It wasn’t intentional.”

Sterling studies me, finally letting out a “hmm”. But she continues anyway. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell us what the test of strength is, then. So that there’s no more surprises.”

“Well, to be honest, the test of strength is the most straightforward,” I tell her. “It’s really just what it sounds like: a test of physical strength. All in all, it’s a big whirlpool that you have to row your way through.”

“Oh. That sounds… simple,” Feroc says, walking up and joining the conversation. Ty trails behind him, a small scratch marring his cheek.

“I mean, it is. It’s difficult, but not mentally taxing like the others. The first two tests you need your mind to get out of; the last one, all you need is a good crew with strong arms.”

“Aye, and that we have,” Sterling comments, looking out over the deck. 

“Anyway, so, just like… keep sailing forward for a while. You’ll hear the whirlpool before you see it,” I say, addressing the entire gathered crew; Sterling, Jasak, Feroc, and Ty, of course, but Blaiyre, Icantre, and Melise have also come forward to listen. “Once you start to hear rushing water, like a great bucket of water being poured, you’ll know that you’re close.”

“Once we hit that point,” Sterling picks up, “I want a skeleton crew to lower the sails while everyone else heads belowdecks to man the oars. Double up on every bench— every crew member not in the rigging should be belowdecks.”

“Aye, Captain,” Feroc replies, saluting only half-sarcastically. Feroc begins relaying the orders to the crew as Sterling turns back to me.

“You’ve never manned an oar before, have you,” she says, and even though it’s not really a question, I reply, “No.”

“Then you’ll be above decks with me,” she decides. “We could use your eyes and your experience if anything happens.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I confirm. 

“Then the only thing left to do is wait,” Jasak adds. “Wait, and hope for the best.”

As the crew keeps making preparations for the coming trial, doing who-even-knows what with rope and rigging, I drift over to the rail and stare down at the water. I’m too far up to see my reflection, but I can picture how I must look: conflicted. Confused. One part of me is screaming that I shouldn’t be doing this, shouldn’t be ushering these humans into my people’s own sanctuary that we’ve worked hard to protect and keep secret all these years. But the other half is still swallowing down bile at the lingering sight of mercreature corpses.

In that moment, I know— that I cannot let these humans die. They’re humans, sure; they walk on two weird spindly legs and their voices are far too rough and they argue; but somehow, I prefer it to the quiet solitude of the mercreature capital. Something in my heart feels lighter around the Eagles than it ever has around my own kind; something that I didn’t know was missing until I found it. And I don’t know what it is; maybe it’s something in the way Sterling apologized when she didn’t have to, or how Maylene patched me up without a thought. Maybe it’s in the way Feroc and Tyrian are so obviously, deliriously in love with each other, or how Blaiyre hides her kindness behind a scowl; maybe it’s even something so simple as how Jasak lent me his coat without expecting anything in return. Whatever it is, I know that life will never be the same without it.

I lift my gaze from the waves and turn back to the lantern-bright deck of the ship, a small smile on my face.


So! A turning point for Zoey. I got really metaphorical and melancholic while I was writing this, and you can tell. This is kind of like a half-chapter; I miiiiight post more later but I really don't want to promise that since I clearly am not good at that. So! Thoughts? How's your week been? :D


submitted by Starseeker-Update, age on hiatus?, spilling tea with a queen
(October 27, 2020 - 1:36 pm)

Great job, Star! I really like the concept of the lanbai monsters.

My week? Oh, normal, except that I've been trying to scramble together omething to do/wear on Halloween, a bit last-minute. I think I'm gonna be a harvest fairy/elf, though, and if not I'll just wear my Harry Potter cloak again.

submitted by TOPzalea!
(October 28, 2020 - 2:13 pm)

Aw, I loved that ending! I bet Zoey will stay with the Eagles after their mission... and maybe she'll tell them she's a mercreature, and she'll be able to help out by swimming ahead and scouting or something.

My week was pretty good! I've been spending too much time reading (too much time? is that a thing?) and not enough time working on the things I need to be doing (which I'll hopefully fix this afternoon, since we have half-days on Wednesdays), but overall I've been feeling pretty good!

submitted by Kitten, age too young, to vote
(October 28, 2020 - 3:49 pm)

That was great! I absolutely loved the second-to-last paragraph, it was just so sweet and honest.

My week's been pretty good. It's gone by fairly quickly, and I'm super excited for Halloween. My uncle, who I haven't seen in a while, is in town, so we're going to be spending some time with him, and I get to see some of my friends on Friday! How has your week been?

submitted by Quill
(October 29, 2020 - 2:42 pm)

I just spent, like, half an hour reading Crow's Coffee. WHAT AMAZING WRITING SMISNDJDJEDSJ!!! You're such a good writer! It was an amazing story.

submitted by Honeybee
(October 29, 2020 - 3:03 pm)

What up y'all! At this point I'm not even going to pretend that I have an update schedule. I'm aiming for once a week, but I'm using the term 'week' very loosely. 

@Aza, I'm glad you like the lanbai! They're honestly one of my favourite creations. What did you end up being for Halloween?

@Kitten, well... one of those things is true. I'll let you wait and see which one. :) 'Too much time reading' is absolutely not a thing; what books have you lost yourself in lately?

@Quill, I'm glad you liked the melodramatic fEeLiNgS paragraph! I've actually had that drafted for like a month now, but I didn't know where I was going to fit it in. How was spending time with your uncle? And my week's been alright-- I got 2 projects turned in that are worth my entire semester grade, so that's... frightening. I also worked the polls on election day, which was really fun!

@Honeybee, I'm glad you liked Crow's Coffee! :D That story is near and dear to my heart. It's pretty much the only short story I've ever finished that was longer than one scene. (Pirates will be the second, if I CAN EVER FINISH WRITING IT OOPS)

This update is a little short, but it's better than nothing. As soon as I post this I'm going to go back to writing, so hopefully there will be less time in between this update and the next!



This title thing really isn’t working out anymore oops


Sterling joins me at the rail as the crew makes preparations for the upcoming whirlpool.

“We’re almost there,” she says. “Just one more test and we’re through.”

“Mmm,” I agree. 

Sterling pauses a little, laughs. “I suppose I haven’t thanked you yet, have I. For getting us even this far.”

“No, you haven’t,” I tell her. “But no thanks necessary.”

“Of course thanks are necessary!” She retorts. “We would never have made it past the first trial if it weren’t for you. My ship would be smashed to pieces on a rock somewhere, my crew dead and drowning. So thank you. For saving all our lives.”

“I really don’t—“ I start, but Sterling holds up a hand, stopping me.

“Just accept the thanks. Really. It’s the least I can do.”

“Well then, you’re welcome,” I reply, and we lapse into silence until Sterling breaks it.

“Did I ever tell you why I’m seeking Lydianzaa?” She asks.

“Uh, well, no. Jasak and Maylene said a little bit, but they also said that it wasn’t their story to tell, really.”

Sterling nods. “That was good of them. I suppose you must be curious, though, hmm? Why I bother braving the trials of Lydianzaa, facing near-certain death and terror, when surely there are greater and more easily attained treasures elsewhere.” Sterling hums and continues before I can reply, her eyes fixed on the horizon over the rail. “It’s because the treasure I seek comes not from gold nor silver, nor jewels nor glass, nor anything else that can be found in a market. No, my treasure is far greater than any mortal creation. The treasure that I seek is the greatest treasure of them all— love.”

“Love?” I ask her. “Can’t you find that, I dunno, in some nice lad or lady on the mainland? Why come all the way out here to seduce a mercreature?”

Sterling laughs. “You misunderstand. It’s not romantic love I seek; it’s familial love. My sister’s love, to be exact. Many years ago my sister was taken by the mercreature queen. I’m finally getting her back.”

All at once, it all falls into place. The story that Maylene told me about the king’s “newest treasure” and the disappearance of his youngest daughter; the way Sterling seemed almost fanatical in her desire to reach Lydianzaa…

“You’re the princess,” I breathe out. “Not the youngest, but the oldest.”

Sterling inclines her head. “Middle, but yes. With the death of my eldest sister and parents, that makes me the heir apparent to the throne. I am unfit to rule and have no desire to do so; I must find my lost sister so that she can take her place and dethrone the imposter king.” She spits out the word ‘imposter’ as if it’s a curse. ((wait for it))

“I’m sorry, but that seems like a fool’s errand to me. What makes you think she’s not dead? It’s been, what, years since then? Humans can’t survive underwater. What makes you think she’s among the mercreatures?” ((I had to make an Among Us joke I’m not sorry))

“I can… feel, each of my family,” she says slowly. “It feels like a string, in my head. The closer I am to them, the more it tugs at my mind. When the rest of my family was killed by the imposter king, their threads pulled tight and then snapped. But then I felt it: another thread. It’s weak, probably why I didn’t notice it until the other threads were gone. But it’s there. And I’m certain it’s leading me to my sister.” Sterling lifts her chin defiantly. “The moment you came on board, I felt it tighten. That’s how I knew you would be important. You are a definitive way into Lydianzaa; and therefore, a definitive way to get to my sister.”

“That’s… huh,” I say slowly. “Yeah, okay, that makes sense. So you’re sure she’s alive?”

“Positive,” Sterling confirms. 

“Then I wish you the best of luck in your search,” I reply. “I hope you find her.”

“Thank you,” Sterling says, smiling a bit. “That’s very kind of you.”

Before I can say anything else, a rushing sound fills our ears.

“That’s the signal— we’re coming up on the test of strength,” I tell her. “Might want to get your crew ready to rumble.”

Sterling bellows orders to her crew, and as the last stragglers head belowdecks to man the oars, Sterling hands me a length of rope and gestures towards the mast.

“Might want to strap yourself in,” she says. “Might be a bumpy ride.”

She helps me tie myself to the main mast, the rope looping under my arms and around the wooden beam. Then she ties a second rope to herself and ties the end onto the rope around me, so that she’s almost on a leash connected to the mast.

“I’ll need to yell orders belowdecks,” she tells me. “So I’ll probably need to get a little closer to the stairs. It’s just a precaution. Everything will be fine.”

Everything was not fine.


Fun fact for the original readers, the 'mental thread' thing was actually something I meant to include in the first book but never got around to it! It definitely did play a part in the epilogue and was supposed to be in the second book, but I never got to it.

A quick question for y'all, especially the original readers: do you remember Sterling? I suppose by posting Rain (that angsty one-shot) I've actually spoiled a lot of the plot twists for this story. Still, hopefully this is entertaining.

And another question, who's your favorite character/duo so far, and why? I do genuinely make an effort to include my readers' favorite characters (@Feroc and Ty being tiny side characters until I learned they were really popular... and they're so fun to write!) and I'm also just curious who you relate to. 


submitted by Starseeker, age whomst, spilling tea with a queen
(November 7, 2020 - 3:30 pm)
submitted by Starseeker-Update, age NUDGE, POKE
(November 8, 2020 - 10:36 pm)

Heyy, I'm here with another drawing, this time of Zoey in both human and mercreature form! I'm excited to see what happens in the story. Oh, and I was gonna be a sunflower fairy, but the wings (homemade) didnt work out, so I just wore a sunflower wreath in my hair and a yellow dress. Still fun to wear, though. Did you do anything for Halloween?

submitted by Azalea, age 13, Earth
(November 10, 2020 - 10:46 am)

Oops, I didn't see this until today! I don't remember what I was reading when I left my last comment, but most recently I've been immersed in a HP fanfic called The Arithmancer.

As for your other questions-- I do remember Sterling, but I'm not sure if that's because of the original book or whether I re-remembered her from Rain and Pirates. My favorite characters... hm, that's hard... maybe Maylene? Also definitely Feroc and Ty; they're really cute together. :)

submitted by Kitten, age too young, to vote
(November 10, 2020 - 11:57 pm)
submitted by Top!
(November 22, 2020 - 11:29 am)
submitted by Top!
(November 26, 2020 - 11:22 am)
submitted by Tippy top!
(November 29, 2020 - 9:10 am)