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The Offering

Pleasing the Master

By Hannah MoorePublished 10 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - September 2023
The Offering
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

There appears, of late, to have been a bloom. A bright, beautiful blossoming of community challenges that taste like honey on my tongue and spark lightening flashes of curiosity in my mind. This is my submission for Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge.

But I am time poor and stimulus rich. And though I said to myself I must make choices, I am greedy. So this is also my submission to Mother Combs Twisted Endings.

And to L.C. Schafer's moonlighting prompt.

And to Jazzy Goncalves' Perfect challenge, a little.

This challenge to myslef, to have my cake and eat it, proved tricky, and I very much hope that I have sufficiently met each brief. This was made harder by a word count of 500 or over for one, and 500 or under for another! There are 500, of course. But most of all, I wanted to enjoy the story, and I did. So thank you community fellows. Who says we cant have it all?

*

In The End, Death knelt on the shifting sands of the great throne room, Destruction to his left, Disorder to his right, the rest of D troop assembled behind in supplication to their master. Beneath formless pillars in the fading beyond, the lesser troops knelt in ranked masses, the crackling of thwarted thunder fizzing in the spaces between them. Only Time knelt closer to where the amorphous Lord of The End raged in nebulous shades of black and red upon his throne.

“It is taking too long”, snarled Entropy. “I do not understand, with all the power I have granted you, why they persist. Time, have you grown too lenient? Disorder, have they bettered you? Death, what of you, who promised to visit them all?”

“My Lord”, Death spoke, his voice like the cracking heart of a mother bereaved, or as soft as that mother’s breast to those who heard it that way. “I visit more each day in your name, and yet more come. Disease and Conflict are collaborating on a support plan, it has been done before to great effect. We will prevail.”

“Inevitably. But I grow impatient” sighed Entropy, and every entity in the room felt he whispered into their ear alone. “Now go.”

Death stretched in the warmth of the sun. The summons had cost him time, and Time rarely bent the rules. He stood now above an Elvish settlement strung between great trees clustered near a gentle river. He had work here this day, and he smiled as he mounted the ladders. Fire would take all this at once, he thought, and Disease would have a field day. But Death was a perfectionist.

Sight fades without fear

Then hear a soft sigh,

For loves all held near,

Taste pleasures gone by.

This was his mantra, but often as not pain, regret, or just plain desire got in the way and despite the individual attention he gave, Death was often frustrated with how his visits went. Besides the plants, Elves were his favourite though. He would have liked to get the human done first, but it made more sense, geographically, this way.

Death waved at an older elf squatting outside her home in the shade of the higher branches as he passed on one of the wooden bridges which swagged between the trees. Smiling, she returned his gesture, and went on waiting. Two trees down, Death stooped to enter a room in which a woman lay warm in her bed, her family gathered round. Their time together was brief, but he felt with relief Entropy’s quiver of satisfaction as he took the woman’s fragment of Life.

Outside, Conception waited, disguised beneath an elvish cloak. Death let the fragment fall from his robe into her basket. “You honour my mistress,” she muttered, “who spreads herself to clothe the world.”

Death nodded his acknowledgement, for though he knelt in Entropy’s hall, even there he was not alone in his duplicitousness. His loyalty, always, was to his sister, Life.

Fantasy

About the Creator

Hannah Moore

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Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (24)

  • Marie Sinadjan9 months ago

    Oh, wow. I love stories with those kind of characters, and this was very well written too!

  • Veronica Coldiron9 months ago

    This was a very stirring read, and very cleverly written. Beautiful story! Congratulations!

  • Thavien Yliaster9 months ago

    Wow... such a tender and patient story. I'm at a loss for words. Entropy, disorder or energy lost to the universe often in the form of heat. Yet, heat is also the form of energy that allows us to continue Life. Without warm or cool enough temperatures, life is incapable of surviving. Well, at least currently to our known understanding. If there is one thing I find odd, why does death refer to Life, his sister, as his mistress? If I'm reading this wrong and his mistress is conception, then please feel free to correct me. Cause if not then it would make sense for Life and Death to be siblings and partners as many old gods were in various cultures like Zeus and Hera. Death, Destruction, Disorder, Disarray, Disease, Disrespect(?), Danger, Deviousness (Dastardly?), Decay, Deranged, Defeat, etc. I wonder who all is there or considered to be there when it comes to terms of the D group. Okay, so they're in the hall of Lord of the End, but is there a Lord of the Beginning? Is there an Alpha to this Omega? There is a Conception, a precursor, to Life as Life is to Death. Then if there is an End and a Beginning is there an Existence, and on the other side of the veil/scales of this realm is there a non-existence in which even the End and Entropy all must bow to in subservience?

  • Stephanie Hoogstad9 months ago

    You did very well in building the character of Death and the world in which he lives. Congrats on the honorable mention in Matthew’s challenge.

  • Ruby Red10 months ago

    Wow. This is amazing. I love this idea that all these... things kneel before one main... thing? i know that sounds weird but you know, the personification of all these elements of our world is really interesting and inspiring. :)

  • I've entered to a couple of those but glad you got your reward with this excellent piece

  • Matthew Fromm10 months ago

    love it and congrats on the top story, this has been entered into the challenge.

  • Babs Iverson10 months ago

    Spectacular!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Nice, 🎉Congratulations on Your Top Story🎉✌️🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

  • Alex H Mittelman 10 months ago

    Wow! Fantastic!

  • Mackenzie Davis10 months ago

    Goddamn, this is top notch, Hannah. High fantasy, indeed; that setting is vivid and inviting as ever. I love what you did with Death and every other character too; each felt real and tangible, despite their immaterial realities. A truly successful allegory. Damn! One of my favorite reads this week!

  • JBaz10 months ago

    Well done, moving story and congratulations on top story

  • Cathy holmes10 months ago

    Great story. Congrats on the TS.

  • Test10 months ago

    Woop, woop! This was so good! Congratulations of TS 🤍🤍🤍

  • Whoaaaa, I was not expecting that! I kept thinking what the twist could be as I was reading but never saw this coming! Fantastic job!

  • Mother Combs10 months ago

    Great twist. Thoroughly enjoyed this entry.

  • Jazzy 10 months ago

    How amazing that you combined the challenges in such a beautiful way! 😩🔥

  • Lamar Wiggins10 months ago

    I have to say that this was Very clever and inventive. You challenged yourself and it paid off. I loved how the character names represents everyday words. Very expansive!

  • L.C. Schäfer10 months ago

    This is quite the achievement, to take on all those challenges at once! Your Death has the proper gravitas. I thought of mine as almost a cockney 😂

  • Teresa Renton10 months ago

    A wonderful imagination showcased here Hannah 😍

  • Test10 months ago

    Love this! Your personification is wonderful! And the ending is perfect! 🤍

  • Novel Allen10 months ago

    Ouch. Entropy, death, life. I am kind of lost in the complete combination of stories of which you speak, such an array of delights. Yet, the message is one of such beauty, one has to stop and savor the combined fragrance of it all.

  • Rachel Deeming10 months ago

    Well, I liked this! I was very much in the story from the outset. This definitely has legs for more.

Hannah MooreWritten by Hannah Moore

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