Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Iron Writer Challenge #79 Dellani Oakes

And here we are again. Another week, and another TIW challenge. This time, it’s C79, christened the Dellani Oakes Challenge, since it was she who supplied the four elements for this challenge rather than Brian, who supplies the elements usually.

(Oh yes, the Mathew Weaver Challenge is coming soon, too. Stay tuned!)

The back story for this one… I wanted in on the Autumn Open, the second quarterly tournament for the year. Since Jordan scraped ahead of me in C77, I had to win in some other challenge before the tournament (which happens to be on the 25th of September, in case you wanted to know).

My dilemma: all challenges till then were filled, and the only empty slots available were the ones after the Autumn Tournament. Just as I was about to give up hope, I asked DL Zwissler if she would switch with me for one of her challenges, since she had already been in a few others

Thankfully, she graciously let me step in for her for C79, and so here I am. The elements, as we were given them:

                                    Genetically Enhanced Garden Gnomes


                                                 Halitosis (bad breath)

                                             Stratego (the board game)

Gotta love these ones. Within an hour, the story was already in my head, and it was a good thing, too, since I asked DL if she would switch with me just the day before it was due. Strangely enough, I didn’t get delayed sending it in this time. Goes to show what good inspiration can do for you.

And here is what I came up with. Enjoy:

The Siege of Camelot’s Keep

The building shook again, and clouds of dust billowed around us.

“We can’t take much more of this!” someone yelled. I nodded. There’s never any motivation in hearing your commanding officer’s voice squeak, not at the best of times. And this was well south of the worst of times.

“Accursed dwarves!” Sir Kurzalot swore, leaning back against the wooden door as it shuddered.

“Told you before, they’re gnomes,” Sir Aquerat muttered, “And grouchy ones, too.”

“They’ve run out of boulders to throw!” the lookout cried. Seconds later, I heard the crack of shattering stone as the floor shook again.

“What was that, then?!” I demanded. My shrill tone was thankfully lost in the cacophony around us. I tried again, and my voice came out better. Marginally.

“You’re not going to believe this, Sir Wievar,” the lookout called, “But they’re climbing into the catapult buckets and rolling into balls. They’re lobbing themselves at the walls!”

As if to punctuate his terrifying words, two more heavy impacts thudded against the outer wall of the Keep, and I heard laughs of glee amid the falling stones. I didn’t have to ask whether the gnomes were hurt; injured beings, gnomes or otherwise, did not laugh after climbing out of a two foot crater in an eight foot thick stone wall.

“Camelot is doomed this day,” the ever gloomy Sir Myseri moaned.

Light exploded out of nowhere in the center of the wrecked hallway.

“Oh, good, you’re still alive,” Merlin said, dusting himself off.

“Do you have it?!” I demanded, limping over to him, Sir Erdgent and Sir Muwran behind me.

“Behold!” Merlin said, flinging aside his cloak, “Our salvation!”

We halted and stared at the oblong box. Two more thumps made the walls shudder, and the ground trembled. Still, we stood in silence.

There was one question to be asked, and I, commanding officer, asked it.

“The heck is that?!”

“This…” Merlin said, “Is Stratego, the only means we have to destroy these genetically enhanced gnomes of Morgana’s before too late.”

“Genna-what?” Sir Muwron scratched under his helmet.

“This enchanted board could do without your halitosis mucking up the magic,” Merlin muttered, clearing room on the floor, “I’ve altered the pieces to reflect the images of us and our enemies. Using this, we should be able to defeat them from inside here,”

He waved a hand, letting the board unfold as miniature figures began to scurry over it, “It is imperative that no piece is taken off the board. The consequences…”

“What’s this?” Ser Muwron interrupted, reaching down and plucking a figurine. The one glimpse I got showed me a small man, intricately carved with white robes, beard, and a pointy hat.

“No, don’t touch that!!” Merlin cried.

The floor lurched again, and Ser Muwron stumbled. The figurine dropped from his hand, bounced once, and vanished.

“Merlin…” he began.

Merlin wasn’t there anymore.

I looked down at the board as glowing red cracks began to run along its surface. The walls and floor began to vibrate, and dust fell in clouds from above.

There was only one thing to be said, and I, commanding officer, said it.

“Oh cr…”

Reading that again a few more times, I have to admit that I feel that out of all seven TIW challenges I have done to date, this has to be the best one of the lot.

These elements just seemed to fit in with each other like pieces of a jigsaw. If only I get as lucky with my future challenges later on… sigh.

If you liked it, I would really appreciate your vote on the site (click here to jump to it). There are other good stories there as well, so if you see one you think is better than mine, go ahead and vote for that. After all, it’s the best writer who deserves to win.

My part has been played, and I await the results. Here’s to victory!


  1. Really admire yr writing surprised im the first to comment though. Rushing over to read the rest and thats awfully nice of u to not be greedy and hog all the votes ;)
    SERENA-Typo is my kiddle name- Grey

    1. Aw...

      I didn't publicize this as much as I could have, Had a lot of things on my mind lately. You know.

      And as for the votes, well, be nice and niceness will follow ^_^

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you :) You know, you're welcome to join, too, if you're interested