LaF Audition: Page FiveAeja pauses at a clearing.
Behind her lies the forest,
dark and devoid of light.
She faces a tall inn
built of old wood
and cracked bricks.
It rises up high into the air
yet looks perilously frail.
Peeling paint and rusty gutters
adorn its walls.
Lights shine through
its thick-framed windows.
A crow swoops into an open window,
then departs a moment later.
A second circles overhead,
riding the currents of warm air.
Aeja stares coldly,
certain that it watches her.
stumbling upon a path unmarked.
The inn's doors lie open,
swinging gently in the breeze.
As she watches, a gaunt creature
with the head of a canine
and a clockwork hand
crossing the threshold.
Several peculiar glowing orbs shine,
flooding the atrium with light.
An atrium it hardly is-
its wooden rafters glisten with mold.
Several others stand inside,
all clutching their maps.
Her hands tremble faintly
as she crosses the room.
The orbs shine brightly-
so very brightly-
and fill her eyes w
LO Finale: The End"Oh, no," said Vulcan, "you're the one who doesn't understand. I slew the gray wolf. I killed the dogs. I tore apart the lion. I cut down the hyena. I ended the white wolf."
He paused and growled.
"And through all of it, I didn't give a single measly, worthless, pitiful damn. I never have and I never will. And I'm especially not about to start giving one about you and your precious advice."
Jeth frowned and backed down the steps, flexing the claws of his right hand. Sparks of electricity jumped between the metal talons.
"You're insane," he spat.
"Not insane. Greater."
Jeth backed down the steps.
"You just won't accept perfection. You can't. You're afraid to."
"You say the same thing. Is that not insanity? You're afraid. You can't deal with it."
Jeth stepped further. His mangled arm hung at his side.
"Go on," taunted Vulcan. "Run away."
He watched intently as the sock puppet slowly disappeared from his sight.
The apartments lay silent.
Nameless crept into
LaF Audition: Page FourHe lets out a giggle,
shaking and shivering.
Before the eyes
of Aeja and Avonna
he changes his form.
His body molds
as if made of clay.
Then, in no time at all,
he sets the keen talons
of a falcon
on the ground.
"What can I do with a book?
Nothing, it's no use for a crook.
You can have it- really, you can.
For this thing, I had no plan."
Aeja steps forward cautiously,
snatching the book up in her hands.
She pries open its pages,
turning to the first of many.
It lies blank.
The falcon laughs a peculiar laugh
as it flaps its wings and takes flight.
"Words are worth more than their page,
whether they're of knowledge, love, or rage.
I think I'll keep them with glee,
unless you come to take them from me."
He darts into a cluster of trees,
disappearing from sight.
Avonna watched closely,
nervously tapping her fingers.
"He are a strange thing.
Always talking with words
that sound the same."
He takes me for a fool
who doesn't know her way.
I'll show him."
She carefully closes the jou
LaF Audition: Page ThreeAeja walks along,
gazing about in wonder.
Although the land feels the same,
its air does not.
It smells faintly
of burning ash.
She frowns and squints,
trying to see the horizon.
Tall buildings rise up
in one direction,
reaching to touch the sky.
Thin spires jut from the ground
like spikes of steel,
strung together with lengths of wire.
Paths of sun-bleached stone
course across the land,
traversed by machines of metal.
Overhead, a bird
with unmoving wings
She pauses, confused by the sight.
This is not the world I know.
She looks back down
to her map.
Its detail is impeccable.
It shows every tree,
and every path.
It directs her into the unknown-
a thicket of forest.
Yet it shows no roads
leading to the forest.
Nothing but a single building
In an uneven yet flowing handwriting
lies a message.
"Come, if you dare
for a game far from fair."
Her slitted eyes
run along the page.
The route is clear.
She advances, feeling a strange sort of anger within
LO Finale Pg.8Six lay dead.
Zipper Freak had been the first to fall, struck down by a flurry of claws and fangs. His mangled eye gleamed from among his bloodied fur and torn flesh. One unnatural creature brought an end to another.
Rahk came second. He died by the fangs of one at the will of another. The hunter had truly become the hunted.
Luik followed next, meeting the same fate as his tempered companion. The greenhorn never stood a chance.
Ga'Har fell soon after, brought down by his own agent of death. The might of dark magic crumbled beneath the might of pure darkness. Yet he truly was the last to die, for his hardy constitution weathered his grievous wounds.
In turn came Archaic's demise. His last moment of life had been his greatest- filled with revenge and pride. He couldn't possibly see his death coming.
Then came Star Shine, wounded by one and slain by a second. His end completed the maelstrom of death. His end brought an end to all.
Vulcan emerged from the apartments a quarter-hour after th
LO Finale Pg.7Glowing-Eyes roared,
filled with a sinister passion
could only whimper.
His fangs tore flesh
and drew blood
from the tender neck
of the white wolf.
Kane sensed death.
It reeked of bile and blood.
He recoiled from the monster,
darting towards the door.
His demonic master
sensed her chance.
She reached for his mind,
snatching it away
like a purse
in the hands of a thief.
The weasel shuddered,
then ran faster.
Despite his betrayal,
he had to live.
but remained still.
It looked down,
peering at the white wolf.
Scarlet blood stained its fur.
It poked his flesh,
waiting for a sign
It laughed and turned,
approaching the lion.
A wispy figure stood nearby,
keening with pain
It looked up at him and screeched,
fleeing into the halls.
The Glowing-Eyes stared at the lion,
sensing breath in his chest.
It lashed out with fangs of death,
putting the breaths to rest.
LO Finale Pg.6Outside of the apartments, little but the sounds of barks and roars disturbed the stillness. No creatures prowled the streets. None skittered across the vines.
A red lizard yawned loudly and peered down at the scene. Its eyes remained fixed upon the apartments, although it did not seem particularly concerned. A blue songbird flitted out through a window in the row of residences, swooping across the cracked street. It alighted beside the dragon-like creature, tucking its wings against its sides.
"So what's going on?" asked the lizard.
"There're at least half a dozen in there. Half of 'em are dead already."
"Two of these weird two-headed dog things."
"I saw them wandering around yesterday. Two, you said?"
"Two. I think the lion's dead, too. That gray wolf wasn't looking too good either."
"Damn. They've really gone full-tilt."
"What're you going to do, Tenebre?"
"It all depends on who walks out of there alive."
Star Shine swatted at Kane's face, scoring a glancing blow. The wispy f
LO Finale Pg.5Ga'Har growled, backing away from the doorway to face both of his foes at once. Star Shine stared him down no more than ten feet away. The teeth running down his chest rippled and trembled with nervous energy. His fire burned brighter still, filling the hall with a peculiar blue glow. Vulcan scrambled to regain his footing as the shock of Ga'Har's blow continued to build. He muttered words of fury beneath his heavy breath.
They remained still for a short while, all waiting for the first move. Ga'Har eyed Star Shine. Star Shine returned the glare. Vulcan tried to watch them both. Archaic giggled madly. Somewhere outside, the piercing cry of a bone-cracker rung out. The scent of blood hovered in the air, wafting from the corpses of the two-headed dogs.
Star Shine howled and lunged for Ga'Har's throat, instead clamping his fangs around the lion's leg. He retaliated, swatting at the white wolf's face with a paw. It had little effect; if anything it made the blue flames burn brighter. They