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About Literature / Hobbyist Member Ian Chisholm26/Male/United States Group :icongrammarnazicritiques: GrammarNaziCritiques
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Basics of Show Don't Tell

If I wanted to Tell you that I had a coin, I would say, “I have a coin.” You have no proof, but I said it and hopefully you trust me. If I wanted to Show you that I had a coin, I would reach into my back pocket, pull out my eel skin wallet, open up this annoying little pocket inside, and slide a round piece of metal out. Finally I hold that coin up in the light for you to see; now you have proof, unless you doubt what you see. Or I could Show you by buying something with that coin; maybe I walk away, you see me talking to a salesman, and I come back with something I just purchased. Obviously I had a coin, even if you never saw it, because I just used it to buy something.

Notice the different degrees of Showing in those examples. I can Show you the coin in all its glory, or I can Show that I had a coin by using it. You never saw the coin in the latter example but you should be able to intuit that I had it. I consider Showing without being obvious an advanced form of Showing, but both are good uses. And what you are Showing might get missed or misunderstood if you get too subtle, so it's important to keep a balance between subtlety and clarity. If you thought I didn't have any money and then you see the thing I got from spending the coin, maybe you'll assume I stole the thing. Make sure the audience understands what you wanted them to understand, and if not find a different way to be subtle, or get slightly less subtle.

But that's Show Don't Tell in real life. Show Don't Tell in writing is similar. For example you can Tell the reader that a character is mad, “Jack was mad!” Or you can Show the reader, “Jack screamed and pounded his fists against the wall.” This example avoids the word “mad” but also uses old and well-known cliches of anger, that of screaming and hitting things. It's better, but still pretty obvious. Or you can Show the reader in a more subtle way; let's say that when Jack gets mad he has a habit of tapping his foot, and then in one scene Jack starts tapping his foot right when a specific character appears. Now you're Showing that Jack is mad at this other character, without actually Telling the reader so. The reader may not understand what the foot tapping means the first time it happens, but you're going to Show them soon when he starts punching things. Word choice and pattern repetition will help make the point.

Why should you practice Show Don't Tell? Because the reader does not start out believing in you and your story, and you have to earn and reinforce their belief with every word you write. Remember how Telling you “I have a coin” might not work if you don't believe me? As a writer, you need to be like the person holding the coin up, or like the person spending the coin. If you write “Jack was mad!” the reader believes you less than if you were to write “Jack screamed and punched the wall” or “Jack tapped his foot, making a sound like rapid thunder; his friends backed away from him.” Leaving something for the reader to intuit makes them feel like they came to some great personal revelation: “The author didn't say Jack was mad, but I can tell he's mad!” When the reader realizes something for themselves, your story will be truly convincing.

Why Avoid Telling?

Why shouldn't you Tell and be obvious though? Because humans don't like to be told things. We like making sudden connections and clever intuitions; doing so simply feels good to our brains. (Even when those connections and intuitions happen to be wrong!) Your writing needs to feel good to the reader's brain, by allowing them to realize things and make connections. I just Told you “Humans don't like to be told things.” Did you believe me? If you did, it was either because a) I am super convincing, or b) you already knew it and me saying so only agreed with what you already believed.

Have you ever gotten in a heated argument with someone? One where you knew with all your heart that you were right, and yet that other person you were arguing with seemed to think the same for their point. So you said your point, and that other person said theirs, but it just went on like that until one or both of you gave up and walked away. The problem was this: you were Telling them something but they didn't believe you, and they were Telling you something but you didn't believe them. Humans don't like to be told things. Instead, one of you should have Shown the other what was correct, but because you were both angry you resorted to Telling. I use this example to try and Show that humans don't like to be told things, because many people have gotten in arguments before and we remember what it was like to be completely unconvinced.

Humans don't like to be told things. Humans like to learn things, and then we like to see what we learned proven true again and again and again. That's why “Jack was mad!” feels wrong; there's nothing left for us to intuit, we are simply being told what to think or feel. On the other hand, “Jack tapped his foot, making a sound like rapid thunder; his friends backed away from him” feels right. I didn't use the word “mad” or any word that means mad, but can't you sense that Jack is mad? Using “rapid thunder” to describe the sound his foot makes Shows anger, because thunder just feels angrier than if I had used “like ocean waves” or “like a woodpecker.” His friends backing away Shows the reader that Jack is angry; they  know from past experience how he expresses anger - and soon the reader will know too.

Show Don't Tell in Writing

In first person POV, everything should be internal thoughts of the narrator, with the world around only revealed as they experience it. So Jack might think, “I was so mad!” If that's truly what Jack's thoughts look like (perhaps Jack is simple-minded) then it's fine. But you definitely can't Tell the reader what is going on in the heads of other characters, unless you're using loose first person. And still try to find things to Show as well: Jack might think, “I was madder than a barrel of bees on the back of a truck speeding down a highway.” This gives Jack a strong voice and Shows us what he might be like to talk to. Or Jack might think, “I wasn't angry. Not after I punched the wall a few times. I was calm and emotionless, staring down at my bloody knuckles.” This Shows that Jack is the type to deny his own feelings, and perhaps the type to lose control. Or Jack might think, “I thought punching the wall a few times would help. It didn't.” This Shows that Jack is mad without even using the word.

In third person POV, there shouldn't be internal thoughts from any character. So if you write, “Jack is mad” or “Jack felt mad,” then the reader doesn't have any reason to believe you. Some authors instead write, “Jack was acting like someone who is mad” or “Jack looked mad.” But even then the reader can't see what Jack is doing because no description is being given, only a broad overview of what the reader would see for themselves if a good description was present. The third person POV description of Jack must avoid simply Telling how he feels, and also can't leave his actions up for the reader to decide or imagine. This is where an understanding of human emotions and behaviors is most important for the writer. An author must know what a person like Jack might do when mad - or even make it up and stay consistent, such as foot tapping.

In exposition, not Telling can help avoid boring info dumps. Sure you could Tell the reader how a utopian government operates in a few paragraphs, but why not Show it instead? Find some reason for Jack to experience the government's workings first hand, perhaps running afoul of their judicial system or working for the government as a receptionist. If some character still wants to Tell Jack how the government works, maybe Jack doesn't want to listen to them or the person is interrupted. Or maybe the person is lying, and Jack will later experience the truth. Or maybe the story isn't about the background utopian government at all and so you don't need to Tell anything, it could just be going on in the background. You know how it all works, but resist the urge to share if there isn't some good reason and way to Show it.

In dialogue, consider whether something would actually be said by the person speaking, or if you (the writer) are just speaking through their mouth. Most people don't say everything they are thinking, and tend to keep some things to themselves. No one knows everything about everything, and what they do know should be believable based on what the reader knows (or is about to learn) about them. And sometimes people lie or tell less than the truth, for good or bad reasons. Characters who Tell everything the reader might want to know, who seem to know everything and will divulge that information without lying, can seem like a mouthpiece of the writer. Characters should speak based only on what they know, not on what the writer knows.

Practicing Show Don't Tell

First of all, don't be afraid to use Telling in your rough draft writing. If necessary write the story first, and then consider how to Show various things instead of Tell them. Maybe in your first draft you always Tell Jack's emotional state, but then somewhere in the writing process you use foot tapping or even just think of it as an interesting character quirk. In the next draft, use foot tapping whenever he is mad. If you try to make the story perfect in its first draft, you'll never get it written.

Instead of using the word you want (Telling) in your writing, use words that reveal the word you want (Showing). If you want to write about Jack being angry, avoid using the word anger or any word that means anger; use foot tapping and rapid thunder and his friends backing away. If you want to write about the ocean, avoid using the word ocean or any word that means ocean; use phrases like “the blue expanse” and “water reaching to the horizon.” If you want to write about an alien, avoid using the word alien or any word that means alien; describe something so extraordinary and alien-like that it must be an alien, and then have people treat it like an alien, and then have it act in alien ways.

Try reading a novel written by a professional author to find instances of Showing and Telling. For example, there should be times when you as the reader realize, “Oh, this character is feeling mad.” Did the author use the word mad or any word that means mad? Examine any bits of Telling you find that seem acceptable; maybe it was done well, but why? Is something else being Shown with it? Examine any bits of really great Showing that you find; steal them to use in your own writing!
The Story - Show Don't Tell

I hope this piece helps you understand the concept of Show Don't Tell. Writers sometimes struggle to put the concept into practice, but the concept itself is pretty easy to understand. And once you understand you'll be seeing examples everywhere, even outside of writing. The world is filled with examples of Show Don't Tell, because the concept comes from innate human psychology. Humans don't like to be Told what to think, and this truth carries across the many forms of storytelling. Pay attention to the world around you and to your own writing; soon you will start using Show Don't Tell consciously, not just by accident. We all write well on accident sometimes.

The Trainer-stay room in the back of the Pokecenter is quiet. Clay rests in his bed, still wearing the neck brace and propped up on several pillows. His gaze lingers on the room's one window, watching the clear blue sky. Cotton is curled up at his side, tiny waves of electricity running back through its fluffy fur as the Mareep sleeps. Clay's hat rests on Cotton's head.

Seated on the edge of another bunk-bed, the pimple-faced Trainer pulls on fingerless gloves and nods, “Gonna snap me a Staryu today.” He slaps his cheeks and growls.

Clay coughs, “Yeah? Sounds exciting I reckon.”

The other Trainer shrugs, “Some people say it's the most difficult. The Staryu only appears on screen for two and half seconds.”

Clay's eyebrows raise, “On screen?” He sighs. “Oh. Yer talking about that arcade game.”

The pimple-faced Trainer nods, “Yeah. Now for my Pokedollars, the Articuno is the best snap in the game. I got a really good one the other day, when the wings are spread and there's like this ring around it that looks like ice or something. I saved that to my Poketool. And the Gyarados is pretty tough to snap, I'm not ashamed that I had to ask around for how to get that one. I could have spent days playing that level and never figured it out. It's a good level too, neat music, super-detailed landscape.”

Clay's eyes glaze over as the Trainer talks about dancing Gravelers and flying Pikachu and singing Jigglypuff. Then the pimple-faced Trainer walks over to ask, “Wanna see my high scores?”

Clay snorts, “No thanks. So is there a Mareep in the game?”

The other Trainer shakes his head.

Clay lays a hand on Cotton's back, “I don't reckon it's my kind a thing. But good luck snapping that one guy ya wanted. I'll be here rooting for ya.”

When the pimple-faced Trainer has left, Clay pulls out his Poketool. He checks the time – a little past noon – and the signal strength – four Elekid head-prongs out of six – and opens the phone app. His contacts list is long enough that he needs to scroll to reach the bottom: Rider, Ranger HQ, Ma, Pa, Stormy, Stone, Mica, Zack, Lana, Rae's brother Rome. Clay taps on the last one and waits. A Meowth dances across the screen as the other end rings.

The whole screen turns black, except for a few words in the middle, 'No Visual Available.' The voice that comes through is deep and gruff, “Yeah? Who is this?”

Clay's eyebrow raises. “Rae asked me to call, she said yer her brother?” He grunts before asking, “Or do I have a wrong number?”

The voice on the other end chuckles, and the black screen is replaced by a video feed of a young man in his early twenties. A mark on his forehead, tear shaped and the color of blood, stares at Clay like a third eye. The video tilts and swings to show the sky for a moment as the young man sits down against a tree. “Sorry about that.” His voice is no longer deep and gruff, but a dry monotone. “Security precaution for unknown numbers. Completely necessary, I assure you.”

“Ah.” Clay's head wiggles as he tries to nod in the neck brace. “I reckon it must be. So the girl, yer sister, asked me ta call. She said ya needed someone ta keep track a her?”

“That's correct. I can't exactly give Regola a Poketool device, so I need the number of someone she's with. In the future I may need to contact her on short notice. In other words, I need a go-between for emergencies or when I need to find her.”

Clay runs a hand through his hair, “Huh, and Rae is Regola?”

The Trainer looks away, “Uh, yeah. Regola is … what I call her. Rae is what she prefers to call herself.”

“Huh?” Clay squints, “Well which is her name?”

“The one her parents gave her you mean?” The older Trainer sighs and looks back at Clay, “It'll get complicated very quickly if I try to explain in depth. Short version is, I don't know her parents or what they named her. My father worked out a deal with them and I got a sister.” The corner of his mouth turns up for a moment, but he soon gains control of it. “So she and I aren't related by blood, but it's my job to look after her. Or something like that, but sometimes it's the other way around.” The Trainer lets out a sigh. “Is that simple enough?”

“Yeah, I reckon.” Clay shrugs, “I have a younger sister myself. Real talkative, and gets herself in trouble with it on occasion. It ain't ma job ta look out for her, but I do. That's the way it is with siblings.”

The older Trainer nods, “Sure, okay. So you know what I mean. Normally I would keep Regola close, but she wanted to go west with those two guys and I was going north-east for the upper-caliber tournaments. I don't mind letting her to hang out with someone besides her brother.”

Clay interrupts him, “And ya let her go? Those two boys are decent sorts, but I reckon I wouldn't leave ma little sister with strangers.”

“When Regola says she's going somewhere, I let her.” The Trainer shrugs, then he stares at Clay through the screen. “And she can more than take care of herself. I hope she wasn't the one who put you in that neck brace.”

“No, that was the other girl.” Clay sighs. “An a bad fall 'gainst a chair. Doc says I'll be up in no time.”

“Good, good. So what has Regola been up to? I don't know when you joined their group,” the Trainer stops and blinks. “Or your name. Could I get that?”

“Name's Clay.” He looks up at the ceiling, “Let's see … When I met them I was going in the same direction so we all walked west together. In the city a rocks we all split up, for good I thought. I don't know what she got up ta there. The boys weren't with her when they found me later, at a Gym where we met,” Clay grunts and stops. He squints and reaches up to wipe at his eyes.

“And then there was that mess,” he continues with a shrug. “The boys said yer girl was off chasing the other girl, an we didn't see either of 'em until we arrived in this town. That was yesterday, when I got injured from the girls roughhousing a bit, but they were just playing. I think. And today everyone's out trying their hands at rock climbing.”

The older Trainer nods, “Regola is getting along with the others in your group?”

Clay takes his time answering, “Hmm. No problems there, far as I can tell. She an the other girl seem ta have some odd understanding now, and I doubt anyone else would have unkind words for her. She's a good kid I reckon. Yer parents raised her well.”

The Trainer shakes his head, “My father had nothing to do with the way she turned out – well, not that I'm trying to take credit. Regola would be a good if she were raised by a wild Mightyena.”

“Now I don't know about that.” Clay runs a hand through Cotton's fur, allowing the electricity to spark along his arm. “My Pa made me the man I am, I have no doubt about that.”

“Wait, how old are you? You look sixteen,” the Trainer tips his head to the side, “if that.”

Clay's eyes narrow as he frowns, “Fifteen. You don't think that's old enough ta be a man?”

The older Trainer replies with a cold stare, “No. There's a reason we call that being a teenager. I would define adulthood as - .”

“I reckon you'll define adulthood as whatever makes ya an adult and not me,” Clay snaps back. “I have a grown man's strength. I can care for ma self an others. I know ma strengths and ma weaknesses. All I ask is people acknowledge that.”

“Uh huh?” The Trainer keeps his face neutral. “Okay. Name the first artificial Pokemon deliberately made by humans.”

“What?” Clay blinks and takes a breath. “That'd be the pink and blue guy … uh, Porygon.”

“What color is Forretress's shell?”

“Purple, an some a them are gold.”

“What is five times sixty-four?”

“Why on Arceus's blue world are you asking a math question? Why are you asking questions at all?”

The Trainer smirks, “Answer and find out.”

Clay closes his eyes and mumbles, “Five is, divide by half, multiply by ten.” He opens his eyes to glare at the Trainer, “Three-hundred and twenty. I ain't a dunce.”

“Good. And now that I have the attention of your upper brain, I will explain.” The older Trainer points to his head, “A human's brain flushes with various chemicals during puberty. Some humans learn to manage the resulting wild emotions and train them toward more productive uses; this is what I call maturity. Over time the flow of chemicals tends to slow down; this is what I call adulthood.”

He nods to Clay, “You've shown only partial control of your emotions, even if you present yourself as a mature adult. And at fifteen your brain is only a year or two in to that chemical deluge I mentioned. You've started the process of becoming an adult, but you've got a long ways to go; the sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can start being mature. As for being an adult, there's no making that happen sooner.” He sighs and looks up. “And honestly you don't want it to.”

Clay stares at the Trainer, unblinking and eyes wide, his face held rigid by the neck brace. His mouth opens and closes several times before speaking, “Yeah, but … Like I said, yer definition of adulthood is made ta make ya an adult an not me.”

“Not at all,” the Trainer comments, looking back to the screen and Clay. “I have several more years of youth in me. Then it's all downhill from there once I hit true adulthood, or that's what Dave tells me anyway. The chemicals can be annoying, but having them slowly decrease feels worse.”

“Yeah, well ... yer definition is all wrong. I reckon adulthood is something decided by people, not brain chemicals.”

The Trainer smirks, “Okay. People in which part of the world? Which section of society? Which culture? Humans are all the same wherever you go, but people are different everywhere. You might be called an adult in some places, but not in others; in that case, you're just saying one subgroup is truer than another.” He points at Clay, “You're the one picking the definition you like best. I'm describing human biological reality.”

“Yeah, well,” Clay grimaces and pokes the Poketool screen with his finger.

The image freezes for a moment, and then zooms in on the Trainer's mouth. Clay grunts and starts tapping the screen, but the image only goes back and forth between zoomed and normal.

The older Trainer sighs, “What are you doing?”

“I'm trying ta hang up on ya.” Clay slides his finger around on the screen, causing the zoomed image to slide from side to side across the Trainer's face. “But this newfangled device won't let me. How do I hang up on ya?”

“That's easy.” The Trainer twirls his finger around, “Just spin around in a circle, on one leg, while holding the Poketool up in the air. That will remove any curses on the device too, which is pretty handy.”

Clay squints at the Trainer, “I reckon you're lying ta me.”

The Trainer sighs and rolls his eyes, “Oh no, what could ever make you think I'm lying.” He points up and to Clay's right, “Hold your finger a little above the screen. That's called hovering, and most of the time it opens a menu. Hover over the top right corner and you should see an option to end the call.”

Clay's face turns red. He brings his finger close to the screen, almost touching but not quite, and a semi-transparent menu appears: 'Zoom/Unzoom' 'Snap Image' 'Rotate Image' 'Voice Chat Only' 'Video And Graphics Options.'

“There are plenty of people who hate me. You can join the club for all I care.” The Trainer shrugs with half a scowl, and turns his gaze away. The red mark on his forehead seems to glow in the reflected sunlight. “I don't care what other people think. I do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said.” With a glance at Clay he adds, “But I need a way to contact Regola. If you won't do it, I'll find someone who will.”

Clay snorts, “I'll do it, ya have ma word. I told the girl I would, and so I will. But keep them things ya think need ta be said ta yerself, where they belong. Everyone can get along just fine without 'em.”

The older Trainer smirks. “Okay. So I'll call you if I need to speak to Regola, and you can call me if she needs anything. And for your trouble, I could pay a small wage if you want it. Think of it as a day care fee.”

Clay attempts to shake his head, but can't in the neck brace. “No thanks, I'm gainfully employed. I'll do it because the girl needs me ta.” He hovers his finger over the top right corner of the screen, where a smaller menu appears: 'Minimize Call' 'Open Contacts' 'End Call.'

The Trainer shrugs, “I'll owe you a favor then.”

Tapping his finger against the third menu option, Clay watches as the screen goes dull. He turns the Poketool off with a switch on the side and stores the device under his bed, next to his clothes and traveling gear. Then he takes his hat from Cotton's head and places it over his face.
Pokemon: the Game - Chapter 21

What? It's a recap phone conversation chapter? Lame~ To give the scene a fun ending I went with that old chestnut, “Rome isn't nice and everyone eventually hates him” … because as you may or may not know, Rome is based on me. And I got to do some references (anybody know who Dave is?) and show how Poketools work! Not my favorite chapter, but next chapter should be rock climbing! And after that, a Pokemon Tower!

This is part of my Risen Saga, a Pokémon story with blood and violence and occasionally even death. There may at some point be nudity, sexual themes, strong language and material that is almost certainly ideologically sensitive ... but I rarely put up the mature content filter because I don't want to restrict anyone from reading this story. If you feel strongly that I should for a specific piece, please say so, I would appreciate that! Oh, and if you go here you can check out a map I made of the Leogre Region, complete with routes and location information. Pokémon belongs to the Pokémon people and not to me; thank goodness, I'd probably do this to it.


Next … soon

Several seconds afterward the door opens. A wave of turquoise water issues forth to drain through a grate in the floor. Sorrow and Zander step through, drenched from head to toe.

“I hate this whole shitty trial kid,” Zander grunts, shaking water from his arms. He runs a hand across his head to slick back his hair and sighs.

Sorrow blinks and wipes water from his eyes. “I suppose my burns will be soothed now.”

Zander stops and smiles as he looks around the room, “Make that hated. See what I mean kid? Danger means treasure.”

Sorrow nods and reaches down to pick up the crystal key from the floor.

Torches line the walls of this room, their ends glowing with a dancing yellow light but no actual flame. They reveal a grand vault of a ceiling, frescoes of mountains and rivers adorning all four walls, and a floor flecked in jewel-like glass of every rainbow color. The whole room shines in their reflections like a rainbow. Before them is another small, flat-topped obelisk with a message chiseled in the top.

A practice dummy is propped up in the middle of the room, beyond the obelisk and atop a raised dais. The practice dummy wears a oaken shield, a cloak of white feathers, and a thin platinum circlet. Instead of a sword the dummy is holding a woven picnic basket, though a war pickaxe leans against the dummy's side. Zander takes out his disc of amber and begins checking the entire room, a grin stuck to his face.

Sorrow walks to the obelisk, which reads: “Hail and well met true adventurers! We are glad that someone made it through our halls. Did you enjoy the wall scythes? That one is a personal favorite. We hope you don’t feel too bad about getting wet in that last room, and our illusionist hopes his work wasn’t too difficult. To reward your efforts, please accept these items favored by our guild's ancient founder Oduur the Helpful. And you should already have that stupid key.”

“Well kid?” Zander walks to the dummy and pulls the shield off its arm, speaking without looking at Sorrow. “What did the trap creators say this time?”

“We are to take these items as our reward Zander. They are gifts for passing through the Gauntlet.” Sorrow looks down at the crystal key in his hand as he adds, “And I believe I have acquired the necessary key. We must only return to the Count with it now.”

“The Count? I'll let you do that kid. Fame and glory are really not my thing.”

Sorrow walks around the obelisk to stand on the other side of the dummy from the human, “I think I understand Zander. Fame would make life difficult for your wife and children.”

Zander nods as he puts the oaken shield down on the ground and reaches for the pickaxe, “Sure, them.” His fingers close around the handle but struggle to hold the old leather grip; his hand shakes and his eyes cross. Grimacing, he pulls his hand back with a swift jerk and mutters, “Whoa. Careful of that one kid, there's potent magic in it. Dangerous stuff.”

“This has a smell pleasant to the nose,” Sorrow says, standing with his face over the basket. He looks up at the human, “Please tell me what you mean by potent magic Zander.”

Zander reaches over and snatches the basket from the dummy's hand, “That's a conjuring basket. I've heard the ones that smell good always,” he stops talking and reaches in. His hand emerges with a steamed bun, and when he takes a bite his eyes roll up. “Oh Damn that's good. The basket is my first pick. Now you pick something.” And without further comment he takes another bite of the bun - filled with chopped, juicy brown meat - and hands Sorrow his amber disc.

Holding the disc up to his eye, Sorrow gazes at the war pickaxe. He blinks and then comments, “I do not understand Zander. Please tell me what these words mean.”

“Sure kid.” Zander reaches into the basket and pulls out an apple. He explains, while inspecting the cherry-red fruit, “Unbound means it has its own internal source of magic, so it won't drain you or the original enchanter. Those would be binding or bound, respectively. Morphic means it can change shape or size or something, which is pretty neat in a weapon.” Zander takes a bite of the apple and his eyes almost glaze over. “Oh Damn! Ah, so, the question marks means my amber disc can't tell what the last thing is. It sucks, but it can't be helped.”

“I was told that magic lenses could be improved to identify anything Zander.” Sorrow drapes his belt of knives over his shoulder and reaches out a hand toward the pickaxe. “Please tell me if you have not done so.”

“Don't rub it in kid! I'm not made of geld.” Zander considers the pickaxe out of the corner of his eye. “Though I could wrap that up in some cloth and sell it, then upgrade a few of my things. Hey kid, I said that was - !”

Sorrow takes a firm grip on the pickaxe's handle. His hand doesn't shake, though his dusky skin flushes with a silver sheen. His eyes don't cross, but their color turns dark as midnight. His mouth flexes up into a small smile, then a grin that stretches from ear to ear. The war pickaxe changes color and shape as well, the wood and leather handle turning several shades lighter as the picks flatten to become more like curving blades.

“ - dangerous!” Zander remains silent for a moment, watching the teen. “Kid, are you okay? How do you feel?”

The teen turns to the human, “I feel happy Zander!” He laughs, his face nodding with each side-splitting guffaw as he looks down at the pickaxe. With a soft tremble to his voice he exclaims at last, “I feel so many things! I feel better than I ever have! This is great, this is wonderful! I am Joyous!”

“Uh, okay.” Zander takes a step away and tries to smile as well, “That's good kid, but if that - .”

The teen shakes his head, “No, better than good Zander!” He closes his eyes and hugs the pickaxe to his chest, “Wonderful! Superb! Excellent!”

“Right, right okay.” Zander shrugs, “Eh, you're not my responsibility. Tell your dad I warned you and I had nothing to do with this.”

The teen laughs, rocking back and forth, “My dad would be so angry if you met him. He would yell and scream and roar!” He opens his eyes and grins at the human, “You're lucky he can't get to you Zander, he's pretty good at being angry. But then again maybe you could beat him up. That would be pretty funny too! My mom would cry if you beat him up, or if he beat you up. She's very good at being sad!”

“Um, sure kid. And you got something going on with your,” he points to his own eye but then shakes his head. “Never mind. So the, uh, happy pickaxe is your pick Sorrow?”

“Yes it is Zander! And I would be even happier if you called me Joyous!” The teen dances on the spot, tapping his feet and bouncing from side to side, “My name is Joyous! Happy happy Joyous!”

Zander grunts with a small frown and turns back to the combat dummy.

Sorrow stands motionless in a sea of gray nothingness, his open eyes pure white with no pupils. Perhaps he is reclining, as there is no floor or sense of direction in this place. Perhaps he is hanging upside-down by his feet. The gray sea around is calm, and he blinks once.

“Please tell me where I am. Someone. Anyone.” His head turns from side to side. “If there is anyone. I cannot see.” His hands move up to his face, but slow as if moving through water. “I cannot hear. I cannot smell. Tell me if there is anything here to smell or hear or see. Someone. Anyone.” He blinks again, and the corners of his mouth twitch. “This may be what death is like. Tell me if I have died. Someone. Anyone.”

His own voice comes back, but without any apparent source and a little fast, “I am here Twin Brother! You have not died! But you're correct, there's nothing there to smell or hear or see.”

The teen nods, “Thank you Sir. Please tell me what I may call you. And also please tell me if you are in fact related to me.”

“My name is Joyous! And I'd really, really, really love to call you my Twin Brother, since we were born on the same day from the same mom!”

“Thank you Twin Brother Joyous. My name is Sorrow. I did not think there was anyone born on the same day from the same mom.”

“Yes! We were born of the same body and the same mind Twin Brother Sorrow! But the Damned God took me away and put me in a Reaper's Scythe where I waited for you to find me until at last today you did! You're a Reaper now! You must be so happy! I know I am!”

Sorrow pauses, blinking several times, “I have never experienced the feeling known as happy Twin Brother Joyous. I do not believe that I am doing so now.”

“Of course not Twin Brother Sorrow! But trust me, you should be really happy now, and proud of yourself, and so many other emotions! You get to be a Reaper without even dying first!”

Sorrow shakes his head, “No Twin Brother Joyous. A Shade must die before they can become a Reaper in service to the Damned God. This goes against what dad taught me.”

“Well obviously Twin Brother Sorrow! But you're not going to be a normal Reaper!” The voice chuckles, “I don't think anyone has ever been a Reaper like you before, and as far as I know you won't have any of the normal duties. But the Damned God told me that you have a special duty, and I'm going to help you complete it! It's going to be so much fun working together Twin Brother Sorrow!”

“I have never experienced fun either Twin Brother Joyous. Though if you say so, perhaps this will be fun.” Sorrow reaches out and moves, turning over and around in the gray sea, though nothing changes. “Twin Brother Joyous, please tell me where my body is and when I will be returned to it.”

The voice laughs again, “You're right here Twin Brother Sorrow! In our hand!”

“You suck at negotiation kid.” Zander speaks over his shoulder as he walks in to the three keys room. The gargoyle heads along the ceiling stare down at him, some of them still dripping. The human wears the cloak of feathers and the platinum circlet, with the oaken shield carried in one hand and the picnic basket in his other. “And I'm saying that as a friend. I'm happy you made the trade, but you could buy a better one after selling any of these.”

“I'm happy if you're happy Zander!” Joyous has the pickaxe in one hand, never letting go of the handle. He taps the weapon against the floor, but his attention is on the disc of amber in his other hand. With one eye closed and the disc held in front of his other dark orb, he check the room. “Wow! I can see all the enchantments! This is the coolest thing ever!”

Zander shrugs. There is a slight rumble in the earth and he looks up, “Was that an earth shake?”

“Probably someone dying Zander!” Joyous laughs and points the pickaxe up at the ceiling, “They've been doing that for a while now, above us. Each life ending feels like,” he pauses for a second as his eyes flash, “yeah, like popping a grape in your hand! It must be a very busy day of war!”

Zander looks back. The human's eyes are wide as he asks, “Like a grape?”

Joyous nods, “Like a grape! Now I really, really, really want to eat some grapes!”

A gurgling comes from the gargoyles above, and both Joyous and Zander look up. A clear, bubbling slime is frothing out from the gargoyle's mouths, and starting to drip down to the floor. The goo collects in streams swirling toward the middle of the room. Joyous and Zander dash through the exit as the ooze forms a puddle in the middle of the room.

The next room is a large, rectangular hallway. Crystals provide the room's light but they are jagged and uneven, throwing some areas of the room into shadow. Thin gaps in the walls are camouflaged by the dark areas, and without looking carefully it would be easy to miss them. A stone lever above the door Joyous and Zander just ran through waits for someone to pull. On the ground is a small pile of cinders and bone fragments.

Looking back through the door at the pool of ooze, Zander gasps, “What is that?” The room is filling up with the stuff, but the ooze stops short of pouring through the doorways. The pool reaches the walls and begins to climb.

Joyous laughs, “I don't know! Isn't this exciting Zander? I haven't had this much fun in,” his eyes dart from side to side and he bites his lip before smiling, “forever!”

The earth rumbles and the roof collapses at the other end of the hallway. Joyous and Zander turn to stare as a four-legged MEK drops down through the hole, its mouth burning as it munches on fragments of rock and stone.

Zander shouts, “Damn it, now what is that?”

Joyous doubles over in gut-busting laughs, “I don't know! I'm pretty useless at naming things, huh?”

“I don't care about naming it.” Zander looks at his full hands, and then at Joyous, “It's between us and the door. Kill it!” He glances up at the stone lever, “Use the trap!”

“The trap?” His eyes flash and Joyous smiles, “Oh, the trap!” Joyous points his pickaxe at the lever above; the handle extends as one pick becomes a hook. Using both hands to steady the poleaxe, Joyous settles the hook on the stone lever and waits, “Ready!”

Across the room, the MEK clashes its jaw together and takes a step towards the two. Joyous pulls down on the stone lever; down the length of the hallway, giant blades slash out from the thin gaps and cross the room from one side to the other. The farthest wall blade slams against the MEK and bashes it against the wall, but then the blade shatters and the MEK stands on wobbling legs. Zander lets out a low moan and Joyous howls with laughter.

The MEK's eye focuses on the two and it gallops forward. Joyous pulls the stone lever again and again, the wall blades flashing out each time, but each blade smashes or bends or goes flying upon hitting the MEK. Its mouth opens wide as the rotating teeth inside screech and whine. The MEK's body bends low, ready to scoop up Zander in its maw as the human stares.

“Zander!” Joyous shouts, “Move!”

He starts to, but long tentacles from the key room reach out and grab him by the ankles. Zander turns and looks back, as an ooze MEK gushes through the doorway to envelope him in a wave. Joyous tumbles to the side, the pickaxe now back to normal in his hand. The four-legged MEK slams to a halt against the doorway, both Zander and the ooze MEK disappearing into its gaping jaws.

His face frozen in the rictus of an unhappy grin, Joyous screams, “Zander!”

In the large cavern, the Drunk sits up from his nap. “Boy?” He looks around at the crowds of people. Some of them mill about, aimless, while others are standing in front of the large crates. The Count and Sudo are standing atop a crate, and the Count is giving a speech. The Drunk shakes his head and stands. “Boy, where have ya gone?” He cups a hand to the side of his head, listening. His eyes go wide and he turns to the mouth of the Gauntlet. “Boy!”
High War - Chapter 16.3

Well it took a month and a half (I blame the holidays) but here's the next piece of High War. I thought it was going to be the finale of chapter 16, but it turns out the big fight against the MEKs will be the next piece. Today though, we meet Joyous! Such a happy guy. He is what Sorrow would have been, if the Damned God had not gotten involved. All Shades feel emotions very strongly, as an evolutionary mental defense against the effects of their plane, but the Damned God took away Sorrow's emotions right after he was born. That piece of him (Joyous would refer to himself as Sorrow's soul, but that's his opinion) was placed in a Reaper's Scythe (all Reapers keep their soul inside their Scythe) for when Sorrow would become an adult. And now they're back together!

This is a part of my High War project, a story about people in a D&D-inspired world that I have tried very hard to make my own. I really don't want to step on anyone's copyright toes here, which to some degree is not easy at all. I have no idea where the background of my preview image comes from, as far as I know it came from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences, there will be occasional violence, language and adult themes. Thanks for understanding, and if you don't then I would be happy to discuss with you my thoughts on the issue.


Next: soon ...

WILL and PAT walk into the break room and sit. They are both young men in their early twenties. Pat wears a short-sleeve button-down shirt and Will wears a long sleeve t-shirt. The break room is white walls and cabinets, with a number of cheap folding tables and chairs. A coffee machine sits on a nearby counter-top, between a fridge and a coat rack.

- Pat
Finally. Painting’s my least favorite job.

- Will
Really? I think it’s kind of relaxing.

CARLA walks in and heads for the coffee machine. She is a short, middle-aged woman with tired eyes, who wears an old flower-pattern blouse and sweatpants.

- Carla
Finally, time to smell the coffee and wake up!

Will shivers, making a sour face, and Pat turns to him.

- Pat
You don’t like coffee?

- Will
Not at all.

- Pat (smiling)
You know what that says about you?

- Will
What do you mean?

- Pat
I got this chain letter, supposedly from the Dalai Lama. It said that how you view coffee is the same as how you view sex.

- Will
Weird. Isn’t the Dalai Lama celibate?

- Pat
Uh huh.

- Will
I wonder what he thinks about coffee?

- Pat
The letter said no one must ever know. He loves coffee.

Carla sits at a nearby table with her coffee, and looks over at the two.

- Carla
What are you two jabbering about?

- Will

- Pat

- Carla

RICK enters the break room, and begins pouring some coffee. He is an older man with white hair and plenty of wrinkles. The ironed creases on his plain white shirt and gray slacks are still rigid.

- Carla
Rick, those two are teasing me!

Rick ignores her as everyone waits for him to speak. Carla throws up her arms.

- Carla
Fine, be that way!

Rick sips coffee, sets it down at Carla's table and slowly sits down across from her.

- Rick (grumbling)
You know I’m not talkative until I’ve had my coffee.

Carla rolls her eyes, as Will and Pat snigger. LILY walks in, pours coffee, then sits beside Carla. Lily is a tall, wiry woman who wears flannel and cargo pants.

- Pat
Hey, Lily, what do you like most about coffee?

- Lily
Hmm … probably that burst of flavor when it first hits my tongue.

Will and Pat LAUGH. Lily looks at them, then begins discussing the recent lay-offs with Rick. Their conversation becomes unheard background, as Will and Pat talk.

- Will
So, what else does the Dalai Lama say in this e-mail?

- Pat
Well … what do you think of cats?

- Will
Cats? Fluffy I guess.

- Pat
That describes your ideal sex partner.

- Will
So my ideal partner is a furry? That explains the coffee thing.

- Pat
Oh come on, you’ve probably never even been in a fur-pile.

- Will
Of course not! Wait, have you?

- Pat
No, but I would if I could. I think it’s a good idea to try everything once.

- Will (laughing, whispers)
Okay, even murder?

- Pat
Weren’t you the one who loved Grand Theft Auto?

- Will
Bah! Although, there’s nothing quite like a perfect headshot.

Nearby, the other conversation between Rick, Carla and Lily is becoming heated.

- Rick
I tell ya, this company doesn’t give a damn about us! My son gets five floating sick days across the street, and better medical!

The conversation continues in the background.

- Pat (whispers)
That guy is always complaining.

- Will
I know! If he loves that plant where his son works, why doesn’t he just get a job there?

- Pat
He’s probably in line for a retirement package, he’s about old enough. At least he isn’t complaining about “the younger generation.”

- Will
Oh, just wait. As soon as they turn on the news at third break and some story about “the youth” comes on, he’ll rant just like usual.

- Pat (uses old man voice)
“Oh those kids, this younger generation is just so violent. Why, in my day, we just beat the misbehavers!”

- Will (sarcastic)
Yeah, because that's how you stop violence, beatings.

- Pat
And the way he goes on and on about it. All while we’re just sitting a couple of yards from him.

- Will
Maybe he doesn’t think of us as the younger generation. He could be including us in the older crowd because we work with him. And I certainly know my younger brother is a little … moody, I guess. So, does the Dalai Lama have anything else to say about me?

- Pat
Well, those are the only two I remember at the moment. There was more, give me a moment.

- Will
So for you, coffee is really memorable?

- Pat
And cats are wild in the sack.

- Will
That’s … really weird.

- Pat
Well, when you put a cat into a sack, they get really wild.

- Will
Until you throw them in a river and they drown of course.

- Pat
Of course. Oh, that reminds me of another one. What do you think of the ocean?

- Will
Hmm … big?

- Pat
That’s your life.

- Will
Wait, is that what I think of my life, or what my life will be? Or is this something about sex again?

- Pat
I don’t know. He's the Dalai Lama, he probably means all three.

- Will
How would you respond?

- Pat

- Will
Your life is wet?

- Pat
Hey, it was a chain-letter, I never said it would be great.

- Will
Oh well, what does the Dalai Lama know anyways.

- Pat
How to reincarnate.

- Will
He should take his turn as a fly like the rest of his followers.

- Pat
No, he would become a cow.

- Will
And then a farmer could sell milk from that cow and it would be branded Dalai Juice!

- Pat
I’d drink that.

- Will
Do you think the Dalai Lama just did a study and found that everyone who liked coffee also liked sex?

- Pat
That wouldn’t be much of a study.

- Will
It would be awesome if the Dalai Lama walked up to you and said, “Do you like coffee, and also, do you like sex?”

- Pat
That would truly be an interesting Dalai Lama. I’d vote for that guy.
Sketch - Chain Letter
It's that time again, for another installment of embarrassing things I wrote a long time ago, because I didn't get this week's actual piece done in time! Even more embarrassing, this is my first piece of the year! ... Anyway, this was written for a third year college class and was taken as best as I could remember from a conversation I had with someone while working over the summer at a soda-bottling plant. It was mainly cleaning / custodial work, and we had breaks at certain times every day, during which we talked about all sorts of stuff, such as this little gem.
ALEK stands in the middle of the almost-dark stage, in front of a large full-length mirror. He is a young boy wearing overalls and a striped t-shirt covered in dirt and grass stains.

- Alek
That’s a big mirror. Wonder why Grandma leaves it up here like this?

Alek slowly touches the mirror. Stage goes black, Alek gives a YELP of surprise. When the lights come back on, Alek is in a forest clearing with the mirror in front of him.

- Alek (looking in various directions, lastly up)
What in the? Where am I? How did I get into a forest? And why does that bird keep getting bigger?

The shadow of a large bird crosses the stage as Alek cringes in fear. After a moment ENIGMA, a large shaggy bird the size of a human, hops onto the stage.

- Enigma
Welcome Alek. Nice to meet you, or have we already met?

- Alek (surprise)
You can talk!

- Enigma (nods)
Ah, so our first meeting. Well then, many rising winds to you. I believe I see you again soon.

Enigma hops off stage. Alek holds out a hand toward it.

- Alek
What? Wait, I need help! Help me crazy giant talking bird … Well, this is just grand.

He touches the mirror again, but nothing happens.

- Alek (complaining, then a big smile)
Now I’m stuck in the middle of a stupid forest with a stupid giant talking bird and … Hey! This is like an adventure story! There’ll be swords and dragons and princesses. This’ll be great. Everyone knows that when you appear in forests with giant talking animals, you’re about to have an amazing adventure.

Alek picks up a stick from the ground and starts swinging it around.

- Alek
This’ll have to do for now until I get a real sword. Too bad I don’t know how to fight. But some old guy will train me. It’ll take forever and probably be boring, but then I’ll be able to kick dragon butt!

Alek jumps forward for a big lunge and the stage goes black with another YELP from Alek. When the lights come back on the forest is gone, Alek is now is a dimly lit cave atop a large mushroom.

- Alek
Oww. Why was there a hole in the ground? Stupid hole. Now I’m in a cave? Lucky thing this mushroom was here. But that kind of stuff always happens to heroes, falling into holes and landing safely, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Where’d my stick go?

Alek looks around but doesn't see the stick. He SIGHS and crosses his arms.

- Alek
Well, now what?

Alek gets off the large mushroom and searches the area. Under the mushroom he finds a top hat and holds it up for inspection.

- Alek
Well it may not be much, but this is my first loot! Maybe it has magical properties?

Alek dusts the hat off and puts it on. The hat falls over his eyes and the lights go out. When they come on again he is standing in the middle of another forest, much shadier than the previous one, but this time everything is made of candy. Alek takes the hat off his head.

- Alek
What a worthless magic item, it just … wow, takes me to Wonka-land?! This is the greatest adventure ever!

Alek drops the hat and begins eating candy off the trees, loudly enjoying it. LATE, a human-sized bunny wearing a vest and gripping a very large pocket watch hops into the clearing, looking around anxiously. Alek looks over and waves.

- Alek (mouth full)

- Late
Have you seen it, have you? Is it here?

- Alek

- Late
My hat of course, I can’t go without it.

- Alek (swallows mouthful, picks up the hat again)
You mean this?

- Late (happy)
Yes! Please, give it here!

- Alek
What will you give me for it?

- Late
I beg your pardon?

- Alek
I found it so it belongs to me. If you want it back, you have to give me something good for it.

- Late (frowns)
I have no time for this, I am Late, I am quite late.

Late snatches the hat from Alek and hops away quickly, glancing at a watch.

- Late
I’m so late, I’m Late, I’m very, very late …

- Alek (angry)
You Bogart!

Alek shrugs and goes back to eating candy. A shadow crosses the stage.

- Enigma (from off-stage)
Too much of that and you will brighten your teeth.

Enigma hops on stage. Alek looks over once and then goes back to the candy.

- Alek
Oh, you again. Wait, brighten my teeth? Best magic candy ever!

- Enigma (worried)
No no, bright teeth means the Grue can see you!

- Alek
The Grue?

- Enigma
Yes, he lives in these woods. He hunts at night when your teeth shine in the moonlight.

- Alek
Well I don’t have to worry about that. I’m probably supposed to defeat this Grue thing, I’m a hero after all. My name’s Alek, what’s yours?

- Enigma
Enigma, they call me. So, is this our first meeting? No, wait, that’s when you’re surprised that I can speak.

- Alek
Whatever. So who’s the evil king that I have to defeat?

- Enigma
Evil king? We have no evil king. Are you not friends with our monarch? Oh, no, that was when you were older. Never mind!

- Alek (confused)
What? Older? … So, what about a dragon? Is there a dragon I have to fight?

- Enigma
Why in the world would you fight a dragon? They’re so tiny and weak!

- Alek (exasperated)
So what do I have to fight? Where’s the evil villain?

- Enigma
There won’t be a villain for some time now. Why would you? … Oh, now I remember. You came as a boy, then as a man. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Or should I say ahead of you, ha ha! Well then, remember this: train hard with your instructors back on your world! I’ll see you again in 10 years!

Enigma hops off stage. Alek shrugs.

- Alek
That bird is cracked.

Alek considers the candy and grabs a few more pieces to stuff in his pockets.

- Alek (looking around)
Well, best get my bearings. I’ll head for that giant tree. I bet I can climb it and see for miles!

Alek begins walking and leaves the stage. The lights slowly dim. GRUE, a green haired, pasty skinned man, peeps out from behind a tree as Alek returns to the stage.

- Alek (tired, then notices Grue)
It’s getting late, I better look for shelter. … Hey, who are you?

Grue hides behind the tree.

- Grue
Oh no, you must quickly go. When the moon comes out, I will surely grow.

- Alek (confused)

- Grue
You don’t understand, do you? I am the much feared Grue!

- Alek
Really? You don’t look dangerous.

- Grue
At night my true self comes out, at that time you better not be about.

- Alek (starts backing away)
You seem fine now.

- Grue
Quick, run, the time is nigh, you must escape before I - !

The Grue convulses and falls into a bush. Low GROWLS begin emanating from there.

- Alek (worried)
Oh bugger, and me without a sword.

Alek runs off stage and the lights go out. When the lights come back on they are bright and Alek is hiding behind a tree in a non-candy wooded clearing. Late hops on stage.

- Late
Well, what a good party, Lord Duane was looking splendid … What have we here?

- Alek
Have you seen it, have you? Is it gone?

- Late

- Alek
The Grue!

- Late
Of course, the sun is up isn’t it?

- Alek (more confident)
Well, yeah … So I totally defeated the Grue by the way.

- Late
Pish posh and poppycock! As if a child like you! Such exaggerations! Anyways, I must be off, I’m late for tea, ta!

Late begins hopping away. Alek holds out a hand.

- Alek
Wait! Stupid rabbit, don’t leave without helping me!

Alek throws a rock and hits Late. Late turns around and stomps his rabbit feet.

- Late
Well, I never! Rude little snicklefritz, you have arisen the ire of Late! Go back to way before you met me and learn some manners before our meeting be!

Late raises his large pocket watch, which glows bright. The lights go out. When the lights come back on, ALEK is standing in front of the mirror again, about to touch it. He quickly pulls back his hand.

- Alek
Um … Ten years it is then. Or never.

Alek turns and walks away.
Sketch - Alek in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is such a cool story, but even better is the sort of madness-inducing fantasy world it takes place in. So back in my third year or so of college (2009 perhaps) I wrote this as a sort of parody ... apparently there is something vitally important about being a math whiz for doing so, because mine wasn't very good. Also the assignment was to do a five-page scene, which is why it ends rather abruptly. Still, world?


Ian Chisholm
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Personal Quote: “I like making mistakes. They prove I'm not perfect.”

I'm here to tell my stories; I love Anime and I'm aiming at a career writing animation scripts, but for now I'm a writer-in-training creating worlds and characters and telling stories with them for my amusement. I'm also searching for a visual artist to collaborate with; if you read something here that inspires you and you can make dem perdy picture things, I would be interested in enlisting you for a creative partnership with the goal of collaborating on something awesome. And I'm here to learn; I want advice on how I can improve, I gladly work with, co-author or even take on requests to sharpen my writing skills, and if you'd like a critique or some proofreading you only have to ask.

I upload something new every week, either part of an ongoing story I am writing, or something more random like a character piece or personal opinion paper. I also try to do prose critiques every week, and I write webcomic reviews semi-regularly for my Journal section and collect them in archived compilations of ten. Occasionally I look back at something I have uploaded to DA (at minimum a year old) in the hopes that I can glean something useful from it, and when I'm bored I hang out in the Philosophy forum. Of course the busier my life gets, the less of all that I do.

My 2015 avatar is me, writing down by the lake! Of course you can't see much of me, especially not the sweet hat I'm wearing, and this image is from forever ago, like high school or something, and I'm writing data findings on the water for science, some project my Grandpa gave me to help his fishing club ... but it's me!

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Add a Comment:
ColorCosmosFlurry Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
thank for the fav!
(1 Reply)
alexthetyger Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Do you do critique trades?
(1 Reply)
Bclement117 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014
Have you checked out the next chapter yet?
(1 Reply)
mydlas Featured By Owner Edited Nov 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
thanks a lot for the comments, I came in and checked your gallery ^v^
decided to add you and give you a llama as well, you deserve it!
(1 Reply)
GTS978 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome. =)
(1 Reply)
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