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Consistency: 08/15/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 16, 2022
“Damn witches meddling with the damn weather again. It’s unusual, isn’t it?” Police Officer Lingam chided, skipping down the cobblestone street. “Aiyo! That’s such a rude thing to say! Don’t forget, I’m a magicless-witch. This weather is unusual, yes, but there isn’t a magic tingle. And you’d have to give a lot of your essence to create a rain that powers literally half the continent.” It was the rainy season, too. “The way you say witches makes it sound like you’re talking about a million year old germ.” “Yes. I am. Witches killed my family, you know that? It was a few decades ago, I was a wee baby. You know the time when this anti-human witch organization tried to kill a village? Aye, that was mine. I even know their names. Heard them whispering when I was hiding in the closet. Aarthi. The damn witch is still kicking. I am 102 years old now. Probably could arrest her but under what law? ‘Oh! 41 years ago they were a Forever Witch-er.’ Yeah, know one will believe me.” He took a deep breath. “Love me some trauma dumping.” The way he said all this so randomly stopped me in my tracks. No wonder for all these years he’d pinned every case on witches. Pit pocket? Mind controlling spell. Murder? Forever Witch. Unusually strong storm? ‘Damn witches.’ “You know why we’re here, in this killing weather? To investigate this rain. Got a message from the meteorologist department saying it wasn’t supposed to rain today. Guessed it was magic. Now we’re going to the Taulau Stronghold. Witch queen’s most important ‘embassy’.” Taulau? Dear gods. “Lingam! You do know what you’re talking about right? Taulau! The guards have a kill on sight law! Even the queen approves of it!” Queen Bavani was only merely tolerating the witches, but after her husband’s death, she hated them. But an act of aggression against witches meant war with many states. “Only way to find out if it’s true is by entering their grounds. We’ll show them our warrant. Tonight’s going to be a long night, Ratri.”
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Consistency: 08/14/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 15, 2022
The Temple of a Thousand Pillars and a Hundred Crowns is the oldest temple in the world. It is in the heart of the Langai Forest, hidden among mulberry and hawthorn trees. Carbon dating dates it back to around 4000 years, during the Kal Ages. It is a temple built in the honor of the Goddess Kali, locally called Kali Thaiye, Goddess of Time, Death, Sexuality and Doomsday. She is associated with divine feminine energy and the mother of all mothers. The temple has four entrances, all leading to the center chamber with the statue of the goddess. There are tall walls around the temple, and inside are 99 little chambers dedicated to each deity. The Kali Chamber is the crown piece. The temple is also shaped as a chariot. The Kali chamber has eight 10 feet stallions in a battle motion. It is estimated that in today’s value, it would take billions of gold marks. The architect of the temple, Rajendra Rama Lingamurthy, was commissioned by King Kaniyan of Eelam. The king thought of this temple as the home of the Goddess. It is rumored that there is a secret tunnel connecting the royal palace and the temple, but it is yet to be confirmed. Architect Rajendra Rama Lingamurthy’s descendants still pursue his art and live among the highest of the high society. They are also one of the oldest families of Eelam and closest to the royals. Rajendra Rama Lingamurthy was paid so handsomely that at one point a tenth of the land in the entire kingdom belonged to him. There is even a law, passed on a few centuries after the temple was built, that when publishing works that would name the Architect, it is illegal not to use his full name. Any book, movie or journal posts like this would be taken down and a fine of 300 gold marks will be given. That’s all for this week's bit of ancient facts. Chime in next week for the blog post on the Yelangoan Quarry and its controversies.
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Consistency: 08/13/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 13, 2022
When the city was asleep, I was awake. Waiting for him. The beautiful, enchanting man with those blue green eyes and long silky hair. Who could forget him? He even won in my own game. It was the first time I lost ever since I got into this business of scamming. As I sat in the barely lit alley, rethinking our brief meeting yesterday. Now that I remember, I think I felt magic. Magic has a unique tingle. For example, when there is a rune that’s activated in a place, it feels like small waves of energy are lapping at you. When someone is casting a spell, major spells especially, you’d feel warmth, the closer you are to the spell caster. But this tingle I felt with him yesterday… It was like walking through a blizzard in the Koolir Desert. I wouldn’t claim to be a witchologist, but that was a very unique tingle. I’m broken from my reverie when I feel that tingle. I shiver. “Akavan! I see you’re here as you promised. Love the shirt behind that robe. Did you… practice?” There it was again, that sweet voice and beautiful smile. I felt heat rushing to my face and thanked the gods for my dark skin. “I did! No more magic. I know you’re a witch. I have one of those rare genetics when you can sense magic’s tingles.” I don’t know why I said that. It was a secret I harbored my entire life. It felt weirdly nice to tell it to someone I met only yesterday. Nevertheless, my comment made him smile. Wait, smile? “I know. I have one of those rare genetics where I can sense magical-non-magical humans. Yeah, that’s what you’re called among witches. Regardless, handsome, I promise to not use magic. You can do your magic.” He said with a pat on my shoulder. Standing this close to him, I realized he was a few centimeters taller. Why did I feel embarrassed? I pull my cards from the crack between on the left wall and shuffle them. I thought he would move farther when I shuffled the cards but he came closer. I quickly finished shuffling the cards and fanned them out. He tapped the card I wanted him to tap. This time, I didn’t feel the magic. I reshuffle the cards and pull the card out from the deck. “Is it this?” I asked, displaying the Two of Hearts. Instead of nodding or saying yes, he tips my chin up and our lips connected. He tasted of summer and river water. He was slow, giving me time to pull away but I kissed him back. We kiss for a few more seconds before pulling away to draw breath. He slips a new card into my hand and walks out of the alley. “That’s my name and number. Call me sometime?” That was all I heard before he slipped into the dark shadows of the sleeping market. Dear gods, did I fall in love?
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Consistency: 08/12/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 13, 2022
He was a trickster, a scammer. Games were his specialty. He could lure anyone foolish enough to challenge him. This could make him bold, confident even. But when he saw the man with the long, silky black hair with those innocent eyes, he knew tonight would be a feast. He quickened his pace and made it to the market’s center. Straightening his robe and smoothing his hair, he tapped the man’s shoulder. “My, beautiful sir, would you perhaps be interested in a game of chance? I shuffle the cards, you pick one and I guess what it is. If I win, I get to keep that gorgeous ruby ring, and if you win I’ll give you this”—he pulled out a bronze locket attached to a golden chain—”family heirloom of mine. Deal?” It was difficult to talk without looking into his eyes. A swirly mix of blue and green. A blue-y green. A green-y blue. “Oh? You must think of me as—” He started, sounding almost angry. But he breathed and smiled—I would never forget that smile. “Fine, handsome. Let’s see what you can do. Frankly speaking, I’m excited. No one has asked me such a thing. Alright, do your magic.” He folded his hands and smirked. I pull out the pack of cards and pretend to put a spell on them. My unofficial apprentice was an official apprentice and mentee of the witch Vaishnavi. I even spoke a few spells he told me. Perhaps the man knew I wasn’t a witch, but my pretending brought a laugh out of him, which reminded me of wind blowing through a paddy field. I proceed to shuffle the cards and make them dance with my fingers. The market was getting too crowded. It had only been a few mere days after the king died but it seemed markets ran regardless. “Pretty boy, let’s go there. It’s more quiet, hm?” I tug on his shirt. He nods and we both rush to the dark corner, a sort of alley. I finished shuffling the cards and spread them out for him. “Pick one, I promise not to look.” I felt him tap a card and I knew I was going home with the ruby ring. I shuffled the cards and said this with an air of ominosity: “And your card is—!” I pull a card out, only to gasp so loud that someone from the market looks in. The card he’d picked was a Queen of Hearts. But this card, it wasn’t even a proper card. It was a Knight of… Pentagons? My eyes shoot up to a smirking, handsome face. “You- How?- Huh?-'' I stutter, trying to sum my questions whilst battling my embarrassment. “Is this your card?” He twirled his finger and from an empty hand emerged the Queen of Hearts. He flicked the card at me and walked out of the alley backwards. “Here, tomorrow, after the market’s closed. I’ll show you more tricks. Win against me, and I’ll tell you my name, Akavan!” He blended into the crowd and by the time I snapped out of that trance of humiliation, he was gone. So a challenge, was it? I will be waiting. After all, it was only a mere twenty four hours.
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Consistency: 08/10/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 11, 2022
“Breaking news: King Rajathas has been assassinated. The king was found with a jewelled dagger in his heart by his maids last night. Empress Bavani arrived only a few hours later. She revealed that it had been a visit to the Sphinx and that the Sphinx herself warned her something was happening. The entire nation mourns the loss of its benevolent king. ‘#peacesummitwasalie’ has been trending all over social media, claiming it was a Vina’adian assassin. King Jeyethas has given a public statement that this was a lie. Regardless, the hashtag is going viral as we speak. Now, a message from our sponsors—” I watch the TV keenly but am interrupted by the voice of my mother. “Kanna, didn’t you say you have a rune class today with your mentor? I remember it’s… in five minutes. Oh, kanna, you’re going to be late!” I whip my head around and look at the clock. Five minutes to five. It would take ten minutes even on a bike. Oh, Miss Vaishnavi is going to kill me. I dash to my room and pack my bag. A quick “Bye, ma!” and I’m out into the busy streets. It’s so crowded I can’t see anything but people. If only these magicless bags of meat would move. I could use a rune paper I have, but it would more or less be disastrous. Hazardously so. Taking shortcuts, I’m standing at the front door of the scariest house, sweating and panting. I’d actually made it twenty seconds early. The door opens even before I knock. “You’re late.” The sternest voice booms from inside. “Sorry, Miss Vaishnavi. You know, the king died, so I was looking at the news because the king died. The news was… newsing it?” I start to mutter, speaking randomly. “Coherent, my boy. Regardless, we have no class today. The kingdom mourns, and it would be disrespectful when two witches are magicking without care. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have homework. Your homework is to write your own rune. You know the basic shapes and steps. Now, go home. Go to the public funeral. Honour your king.” She speaks without giving me a break even to say anything. Before I know it, the door slams shut. Great. I ran like I was running from a monster just to be sent away. But you couldn’t argue with witches. Next to the doorbell, I draw a rune. The most simple, but profit-yielding rune. It turns the electricity off for an hour. I know I will be yelled at next week but how else would I express my disappointment? I run away just as I hear a loud groan.
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Consistency: 08/09/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 09, 2022
“Sisters! Brother! How… lovely it is to connect with you on this fine… well, it’s night for me, don’t know about y’all.” I put on an excited facade, screaming and crying inside. The downside of being seemingly immortal is being stuck with other immortals. “Yalini, Malini, Athi, long time no see!” Although we were Sphinxes and hated mortal technology, we couldn’t talk to each other. Humans refer to us as the Sphinxes of the and add a cardinal direction. I’m the Sphinx of the East, the revered, feared and loved. Weird combination. Unlike my siblings, I wasn’t an oracle. I specialized in potions and charms. My mentor was a witch, who only knew of these things. “You know, Athava, you should really brighten up that wretched cavern you’re in. I seriously can’t see your face. I don’t know if you're in your true form or if that mane-looking thing is your hair.” That’s my brother, Athi, Sphinx of the West. Unlike the rest of us, he lives in a large mansion in the heart of a city built for him. Humans think of him as a king, a god even. “Or you can move in with me. It’s not like anyone is going to miss you. Maybe your new lover will, hm?” He smirked, as if to say I know all your dirty little secrets, thambi. “Also, it was my birthday yesterday! You all forgot to wish me!” Malini, Sphinx of the North, presumably the youngest of us chirps in. “Oh wait, all of us have it on the same day. Happy birthday to us! We turned 48,271! I think maybe I lost count.” She was the most beautiful of us, high cheekbones, hips and all. The digital laptop screen didn’t show her true beauty at all. And, the most naive. She specializes in the arts, all from dance to painting. “We should seriously stop calling it that. It’s the earliest day we remember, and that doesn’t mean we were born that day, we were full fledged adults.” I finally speak up, unmuting myself. The four of us woke up in a grove far from the early humans. We had no memory of who we were, what we were or even where we were from. Soon we realized we only had each other and grew together, before separating ways to make a name for ourselves. And make a name we did. “You know, if all you’re all going to do is bicker like idiots, I’m leaving.” The quietest and most powerful of us, Yalini, Sphinx of the South, spoke. She rarely even joined these calls. And it was rarer still that she had her camera on. Obviously, Athi and Malini still spoke over each other and fought over what was a mystery. “No, you guys, shut up for once! I want to tell you something. Not about my new lover, I know you’re smirking behind the camera, Athi. I… wanted to ask if we could meet up sometime? I know you guys are too cool for that or whatever, but it’s been centuries. I miss our walks along the Kadal Beach, our hikes along mountains and sleepovers at Athi’s. I miss all of you, and call me emotional all you want. I know even you do, you just bury it deep. Just… please think about it. We could go to the Visumbi Bazaar. I heard there’s a new restaurant taking over social media.” I tried to make it sound as genuine as possible. Don’t get me wrong, it was an earnest moment but with them I had this habit of sounding fake. “Fine” “Sure, anna!” “Whatever, just tell me when” Was all I got as a response but I knew this was going to be an amazing sibling get together.
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Consistency: 08/08/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 08, 2022
I knew the Sphinx of the East, or any of the Sphinxes, hated electronics. They hate all the technological advancements humanity has made. In the old times, we were dependent on their race and their brethren, from sprites to witches, but now technology is its own god. Regardless, I hid a phone in my left sock, which was cloaked by my sari. Praying to all the gods who heed, I stepped into the grove. One moment it was empty with a few night-blooming flowers but now, it looked like I was in a cave, lit by crystals and candles. It smelled of incense, candle wax and wet earth. In the center of the cave, was who I came for — The Sphinx of the East, Yalini. “My favorite human descendant! I knew you would come in search of me. We have a lot to catch up on! Oh, and leave your phone on the pedestal with the red crystal. It matters not if you refuse my request, this grove is warded from that pest called technology. Take a seat here. By the way, I love your sari’s shade.” She had her eyes closed but seemed to know everything. Typical. She was in her human form, which was rare but I didn’t think too much of it. “Grandmother… I am not here for useless chatter. I need to know something. Will you Read for me? Your answer will help save millions.” Buttering up to Sphinxes never worked. They would only Read if they wanted. “You know, when the first king, your very great grandfather, came, he did exactly what you’re doing. But he was braver, when I refused, he threatened me. He attacked, I defended, he lost. But he was humble. I Read to him and he stayed the night. You know what happens after that. Also, I heard your daughter married a commoner clockmaker’s granddaughter. Give her my congratulations.” My very great grandmother was born and then the royal line went down, carrying a trickle of the Sphinx’s power. Glowing eyes, ethereal grace, Reading. “Anyway, tell me, Empress Bavani, what must I Read for you?” “I’m sure you know about the Trade Road, from the southern beach to the northern ice mountains and all that. The Republic of Eelam has disrupted the trade flow, and now the taxes and export/imports are going through as they were. The royal treasury is being milked, and within a few years, it will be empty. Please Read and give me a solution. I am willing to pay the price.” Each of the four Sphinxes has a unique price. An emotion, gold, blood and Yalini works through memories. “Very well. Give me your hand.” I place my palm on the table and she clasps it. I feel a surge of power rushing through my veins. “Lovely nail polish shade. The underground market still thrives. Use it for profit. After you think it’s enough, put that new idea from your accountant into mass production. It’s going to be flood season in Haagaram. The Emperor will depend on you to help him. People are going to rush into your country for refuge, don’t close the border. The Emperor is going to pay you handsomely. Within a few months, you'll be ruling the Trade Road.” The coolness of magic is suddenly expelled from my body. “Now, for the price.” She doesn’t let go of my hand. Memories flash before my eyes. My daughter taking her first steps, the peace summit, my daughter’s wedding, my wedding, my coronation. Yalini lets go of my hand and gives me her feline smile. “Thank you. You should go now, you don’t want to be in a Sphinx’s cave at twilight. You’ll also not want to miss what’s happening at the royal palace now.” A wave of unease rushes through me. I ran out of the cave’s mouth, grabbing my phone. What was she talking about?
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Consistency: 08/07/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 07, 2022
“You, over there! What are you here for, do you have an appointment?” A guard called out for me. Hastily searching for my phone, I drop my bag. It clangs loud, loud enough that other guards look my way. My face turns red. Praying to every god that’s out there, I pull my phone out and open the invitation. The guard looks at it skeptically, frowns and sends me in. I stumble through the luxurious hallways, filled with Maruthan tapestries, Eelam-styled murals of the gods and Nilae’s infamous carpets. It felt illegal to even walk on them. It took me too much time to follow the map on the invitation. The palace was bigger than the temple in the city’s center. Soon enough, I find myself in front of large doors. I knock tentatively. “Come in, clockmaker!” A commanding voice calls from inside the room. Without making haste, I open the doors and step in. I realized too late that this was Her Majesty’s personal office chamber. A revolving throne was perched behind a table filled with papers and documents. “Your-your Majesty, I apologize, I am not the clockmaker you wished for. I am his granddaughter, Gayathri. Please don’t be offended, my grandfather couldn’t make the journey, he’s fallen sick.” I say careful, assessing each word. “You’re not the only one. I’m not the Queen, either. I’m the Princess.” The chair turns around, revealing the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I feel my face go red and quickly bow. “Don’t worry, I care about these formalities. The clock is there. It struck true for millennia until last week. It simply stopped! See what you can do, please.” I knew how clumsy my tongue gets around beautiful women, so I nod rigidly and rush to the clock. I open the lower door and remove the pendulum. It comes off loser than it should. Flipping it over, I see the obvious signs of carelessness — rust. “Your Maj- I mean Princess, who cares for this clock? Because it seems they’re not doing a good job. There’s rust behind the pendulum, the weights. Gods know how bad it is.” “You're telling me the Commander is doing a bad job? Do you suggest I fire him? Because it sure does sound like you do.” A chill crawls down my spine. Oh, what have I done? “My Princess, that is not what I—” “I was joking! The clock’s caretaker has been on vacation for a few months, which is not the commander, mind you. You seem to know a lot about clocks, that’s cute.” The last part almost slips past me. WhatdidshejustsayohmygodIneedsomewate— I start to panic-think, but the Princess changes the topic. “Do you think you can fix it now? Mother wants it done as soon as possible and doesn’t mind paying for the damaged parts, if necessary.” Putting my work mask back on, I answer without any hitch. “Yes, my Princess, I’ll send for the list and return tomorrow. If that's alright with you?” From my periphery, I notice the princess smirk. “Yes, of course. I’ll have it all bought tomorrow. You know, there’s also a broken clock in my chambers. Check it out tomorrow, as well. I’ll pay for both.” “Of course, my Princess, if that is all, may I leave?” Thank the gods, the redness on my face disappeared by the time I stood up. The Princess was short, I realized. She nods and I bow before quickly rushing out. Before I close the door, I hear the Princess say something to herself: “She really doesn’t remember me, huh?”
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Consistency: 08/06/2022
In Discord Challenges
Ethereal Syb, Hannie
Aug 06, 2022
This was it. Decades of meaningless death were coming to an end. The Battle of Valubeht has officially ended. The peace summit was taking place in the Middle Lands, specifically the island of Hulcola. The natives of the land approved for the summit to happen there. Were they threatened, no one knows. But it mattered not. “Natrin! They just went online!” A beautiful voice called for me, shaking me from my thoughts. My husband, Lahlik, is a veteran, who was sent away from the frontlines because he’d become a liability. For that, the gods will always have my faith. Without wasting a moment, I headed for the living room, hearing the clustered voices of many people and an annoying amount of reporters. I hear bits of all languages but know enough to understand what they are saying. “Empress Bavani just docked her ship in the Easter Port. Listen closely! You can hear her palanquin-styled car. And— Just in! King Jeyethas’ ship docked as well, although he doesn’t seem to be on board. In his stead, Prince Prithivi stands proud.” The constant talking becomes a distant buzz in my head. I swipe the remote from the table and turn the TV off. “Babe! What are you doing? This is a historic moment, we can't miss this!” Lahlik protests, reaching for the remote. “Lalu, the Peace Parades are commencing now, and you want to look at some boring summit? You know how these things are, they’re going to say there’s a technical issue and not show the summit. Look on the bright side, we could go outside, have fun, and be proud that this fool’s war is ending. This could be a fresh start for us! We could start that exotic animal store we’ve always wanted. We could adopt kids, and send them off to the most prestigious schools. Let’s let the royals worry about the summit. Please.” This summit would open thousands of opportunities for us. If the war had never happened, we’d have children by now. If this war never happened, Lahlik would have been a teacher. Lahlik sighs and gets up. He goes to get his coat and wallet. “Well, you’re not going to give me the remote, so I might as well get ready. What are you waiting for?” Within minutes, we are out on the cobblestone street, along with hundreds of others. There is music and laughter. Laughter had become a rarity, but now it is abundant. The Parade begins. It is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. The temple bell rings and a voice booms through the public speakers. “Peace has set its hand on this land! May the gods bless us!” Screams erupt all around. The end of something cruel and the start of something beautiful.
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Ethereal Syb, Hannie

Ethereal Syb, Hannie

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