Only Fools Prevail

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Digital drawing. A composite image of two faces with a soft diagonal border between them, cutting from bottom left to top right. At top seen in left profile is a face looking down and having a pleasant almost smiling expression, short curly hair, and a high loose collar with edges curling down. At bottom is a face in three-quarters profile facing right, looking forward with a distant almost dreamy expression, short wavy hair, and a straight collar.

Once, there was a realm where scholarship was much admired and much desired.  A trickster fairy appeared one day and kidnapped the king, leaving behind a riddle that even the youngest child in the castle could solve before sundown.  The king’s highest advisor presented the answer.  The fairy, being bound by his own promise, had no choice but to return the king.  But he tried again, and again was thwarted by the learned and agile minds of the king’s subjects.  Yet he tried again…

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A Realm Without Rain

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Digital drawing. Silhouette of a hooded figure seen from the back and from waist up, standing in front of a large window with twelve panes. Two glowing translucent wings, delicate like a fly’s, emerge from the figure’s back. The window is framed with dark fuzzy curtains. Outside, gray clouds loom overhead. A few spots of light and hazy shapes are visible past a haze of rain, falling at an angle. A few drops and trickles of water appear on the window glass.

“Tell me of your wanderings,” my sovereign said, as I bowed before them.

“I bring gifts and I bring tidings,” I said.  I gestured to the pallet of goods from the land I had recently visited. 

“Have you found a worthy place?” my sovereign asked, ignoring my gifts.

I raised my head, but kept my eyes lowered.  “Yes, sovereign.  Worthy, but…I encountered a great challenge.”

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Storyfeather Year 8

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Year Eight is finished! As always, thank you to everyone who read even a single story. Thank to you everyone who liked or commented. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Eight.

This was the Year of Revisitation, in which I went back to a story I’d already written and wrote a new standalone story based on a character, object, continuation of events, or some other (sometimes flimsy) link to the earlier story.

A lot happens in the eighth year stories.  While investigating a murder, a single-celled detective is led into a world full of bacterial filaments, proto-multicellular colonies, and a new concept called “love.” The most popular wrestling show in five galaxies is somehow in danger of being shut down, but then the wrestlers—including the show’s first human—jump into action to save it. In the 400th story, six kids explore the possibility that dogs have been trying to warn humanity about a terrible enemy in their midst…the vacuum machines. And a kitchen mishap leads to the accidental invention of the most powerful ice cream in the world.

I did something new and made a year-end trailer for The Year of Revisitation. It’s posted here, and it’ll be on the Trailers page for a few weeks.

Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov

I’ve written over 400 stories now, and produced over 200 podcast episodes. And yes, I do feel mighty. I do wonder if I’m repeating myself sometimes (I probably am, but maybe it’s okay if it turns out to be fun). It was more challenging than I expected to revisit older stories. Part of the challenge was that when I first started writing, I often added too many elements to a story. I still sometimes do that, but I believe I’ve gotten better at recognizing and streamlining. There were times when I wanted to revisit a previous story, or some element from the story, but in a longer work. Perhaps, in the future…

This year, I launched a few new features in the hopes of making it easier and more fun to navigate through all those hundreds of stories, and find the ones you’re most likely to enjoy.

  • Trailers page: The trailers for the most recent stories and podcast episodes, and links to older trailers.
  • Portals page: Buttons with images and taglines for recent stories. The buttons (portals) lead to the introductory pages for each story, which contain the trailer and more information. My hope is that I can add to these introductory pages in the future (more trailers, behind-the-scenes info, etc.).
  • You can also listen to the three most recent podcast episodes from either the Trailers or the Portals pages.
  • Hub pages for the current story year and podcast season, to make it easier to scroll through and read the titles and taglines of the stories, and either go directly to the story, or go visit the introductory page.

    In case you didn’t know about all these pages, or just haven’t checked them out, the buttons are at the bottom of this post. I also ran a couple of showcase campaigns to highlight stories that shared a theme. I plan to continue this effort with more navigation tools in the next year. So if anyone has any suggestions or other feedback, please feel free to reach out.

Expanding beyond this site, I also launched a new online course to help anyone who wants to write short fiction, and I’ll soon be launching a new online store with merchandise that features artwork from the Storyfeather stories.

All of these new things are exciting (sometimes grueling) but the stories are still the core of this endeavor.

Storytelling is still my true love, still my destiny, still my path.  Stories have been my hope and my haven all my life. First, the stories of others, and then my own stories as well. This year, stories and storytelling have also been my anchor.

Year Nine is coming.  The Wheel of Fiction. The theme is a continuation of Year Eight’s theme, but with a twist (pun intended). Season Five of the podcast is coming soon. The journey continues! I hope you’ll come along.

I have stories to tell you.
Nila


Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 8" and below it in larger font, "Revisitation."
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 4" and below it in larger font, "Creatures."

[Summarized Video Description: Trailer. Duration, 96 seconds. Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov. Title card with the Storyfeather main logo and “Year 8” and the story title are displayed in front of the image from the story “The Union of the Spyglass.”  The logo and title card fade. A watermark of the word “Storyfeather” appears at bottom right. Images from various other Year 8 stories appear and disappear in a series of wipes and animations. The following words appear and disappear, “Galactic! Microscopic. Hand pies! Aliens! Quests. Mischief. The 400th story” The video slows down as the image from the four hundredth story appears, “Attack of the Vacuum Machine Army.”  More images and words appear and disappear, “Dreams. Visions. Other Realms. Horror. Magic. Myth.” The video slows again as the final image appears. The watermark fades as the logo reappears at center, and above it, the words “The Year of Revisitation.”]

Lucinda of the Ashes

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Digital drawing. Two hands seen from above, as if they were the viewer’s hands. The left hand at bottom left is holding a glass container, like a beaker with a funnel top. The right hand at top right holds a glass rod. The index finger is held away from the rod. A drop of liquid hangs from the end of the glass rod, right above the opening of the beaker. A small figure with dragonfly wings hovers over the left hand. The beaker contains a vaporous liquid. A bright cloudy swirl begins at center behind the hands and darkens as it moves outward to the edges of the image.

Lucinda held her breath, as she raised the glass rod above the vial and tapped the rod to release the single drop of liquid that clung to its end.

The drop fell in the vial, joining the muddy liquid within.  The liquid turned ruddy, then clear.  And it stayed clear. 

Lucinda dared to exhale just as the liquid began to swirl and turn ruddy, then muddy.  She ducked under the table just before the vial shattered, spraying red flames and charred bits of glass in every direction.

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Castle, Cave, or Cloud

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Digital drawing. A castle at center with three main spires flying pennants, battlements, and flanking symmetrical towers. The castle stands in front of a cave opening through which light pours. Moss grows along the cave walls. In front of the castle is a bank of clouds.

She remembered darkness.  And she remembered her name.  That was all.

Spark zoomed into a heap of advancing clouds, grinning and gasping at the sensations of cold and wet, reaching out to touch what could not quite be grasped.  She emerged on the other side, and spotted a colossal formation of rock and stone with three spires so high they topped the clouds.  A mountain!

Maybe there, she thought. 

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Noctemfaere

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Digital drawing. Center, a winged horse facing viewer, seen from chest up, mane falling to its right. Partly extended right wing is shadowy and hazy. The left wing is raised and stretched out, and the feathers are defined. Emerging from the horse’s sides under its wings are two more flying horses whose forms are translucent. The horse on the left flank extends a wing and raise a leg. The horse on the right flank extends a wing and raise’s two legs. A glowing mist streams down from center top.

When I was child, I wanted them to be real.  But even as a child, I knew they were not. Not in this world.  And so far as I knew, this world was the only world there was.  The only real world.  But for someone who’s never been anywhere near a real horse, I had a keen yearning for their mythical counterparts to be real.  And for me to find them, meet them, be accepted by them, and in my deepest desires, be favored by them.

I learned all their stories. 

And the stories were more vivid to me than the dry and distant history of my own kind.

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Why Beauty Sought the Beast

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Digital drawing of a collage with four panels in two rows. Top left panel, a person’s sneering mouth with the canine teeth extended slightly. Top right panel, larger than the left, close-up of a person’s left eye wide open as if in surprise. Bottom left panel, a repeat of the top right panel image, except now the eye is a different color, red and gold, and the skin around it has sprouted small hairs. Bottom right panel, a growling mouth with long canines and a hairy face.

She did nothing to earn her beauty.  It was given to her.  And as with many such gifts, beauty was both a boon and a burden to the girl whose name was Imelda.

She was doted on by some, guarded by others, coveted by still others.

Imelda’s mother, who both loved and feared for her girl, spent many sleepless nights wondering when her child would grow old enough to be passed into the protection of another.  For she and her husband were humble folk, as their child too would have been.  But Imelda’s beauty—while it may not have impressed in a city or even a large town—was quite surpassing in their little village.  Surpassing enough to catch the eye of those with greater means.  The girl wished to be learned.  She wished to explore. 

Perhaps her beauty could make it so could do what she dreamed of doing.

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Six Days of Love

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Greetings! I highlight six stories about romantic love in this post.
Here’s a quick trailer. (I’ve moved my goofy intro video to the bottom).

Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Fable

Artwork Copyright © 2017 “Six Fools and the Dragon” by Sanjay Patel (all other artwork is mine)

Music: “Casual Arcade Track #2 (looped)” from GameDev Market

Scroll down for details and separate trailers for each story. Or click the button to jump to the bottom of the page where you can get quick summaries at a glance, and go straight to the stories.

[Video description: Trailer. Duration 31 seconds. Music plays: Casual Arcade Track #2 (looped) from GameDev Market. No sound effects. Eight slides appear. Between each is a blur transition. First, center image of a medieval-looking bard playing a string instrument and singing. The image is framed by a soft circle.  The Six Days of Love banner sits in center before the image. Second, Title “The Ogre and the Elf Go To Honeymoon City” appears at top. Image is an elf and ogre sitting across from each other under a chandelier. Third, Title “The Everwalker” appears at bottom. Silhouette of a tall woman with a staff midstride. Fourth, Title “ The Merchant and the Magician” appears at bottom. Centered candle with a rainbow flame. Fifth, Title “The Prisoner Under the Sea” appear at top. Humanoid face with fin-like ears, scaly skin, and large irises. Sixth, Title “The Bard of Trilenkary” appears at bottom. Silhouette of a tree with bar branches and a man playing a fiddle sitting at its base. Seventh, Title “Six Fools and the Dragon” appears at the bottom. Six characters are running away from a dragon breathing fire at them. Website URL appears at bottom until the very end where it fades as eighth slide appears. “Storyfeather.com” swipes up from the bottom and stays near the bottom. Behind it, the Storyfeather bard logo floats up to middle, and “Find these short stories and more at” fades in at the top.]

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Portals and Trailers Are Here

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Hello,

First, thank you for your interest in Storyfeather!

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled storytelling to present a couple new Pages I’ve just added, to help navigate through the (perhaps daunting) waves of stories crashing all around us.

The Portals page and the Trailers page will present more information about the stories, both new and old.

You can find the links at the top of this post, and on the main menu (to the left on desktop view and at the top of the page on mobile view).

PORTALS

You’ll find buttons that link to the latest podcast episode and the latest short story. Coming soon, you’ll also find links to some combination of the following:

  • Older short stories and podcast episodes showcasing a specific theme (a holiday, a season, a profession, most popular, least popular, my faves, etc.)
  • Random Button results—I’ll click the Random button, see where it leads me, and talk about that story or page
  • About and other

I’ll be adding an update to my About page soon, and have a few plans for…other stuff (she said, cryptically).

TRAILERS
You’ll find trailers of the most recent short stories and podcast episodes. The trailers for the short stories will reveal the genre and tagline. In future, I may add quotes from the story. The trailers for the podcast episodes will include an audio excerpt from the episode set against the episode art. And many of the trailers will include animations, transitions, or other minor visual effects.

Why am I making two different pages, instead of putting all of this onto one page?

The Portals page will serve as a landing page for people who find me from other places on the internet where I’ll be posting my trailers.

For some strange reason, I’ve only been posting trailers on Instagram, instead of posting them here first. Well, partly it’s because I didn’t know how or where to put the trailers on my site until now. I’m also trying out embedding a podcast player at the bottom of both Pages, which will allow visitors to listen to the three most recent episodes directly from the Page.

So, I invite you to take a look at the Portals and Trailers pages. And please let me know what you think.

You can comment below, DM me on IG at @storyfeather or reach out to me through email at nila@storyfeather.com.

Thanks!
Nila