Monday, January 14, 2008

On a Hot Summer Night...

This is a pencil drawing I did several years ago, inspired by an old Meat Loaf song. It's night, and the young mage hesitates before entering the cavern, oblivious to the figure watching her. He is not a man, yet not fully a beast. What are his intentions?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Welcome to the Underground.

Well met, traveller! Welcome to Jezla's Underground, a potpourri of fantasy fiction, poetry, and artwork. I, Jezla, will be your humble guide and dungeon master while you explore these caverns. You'll not only find my works here, but readers' pieces as well. If you have a tale to tell, then I'd like to hear it, and share it with the rest of the blogosphere. You'll get full credit, of course. The submission guidelines are in the sidebar to your left: just click to read them.

I welcome fantasy artwork, short stories, character sketches, and poems. In the future I may welcome reviews as well, but for now it will just be original content.

All submissions and tales will be organized by title and author. There is a list in the sidebar, so if you want to see all the works by a particular author, or all the parts of a particular story, all you have to do is click on the appropriate one.

I hope you'll enjoy your time spent here in my little escapist realm. When you tire of these depths and would like to re-emerge into the real world, then please visit my personal blog, Back Home Again. I look forward to telling you my tales, and hearing yours.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Bard.

All activity stopped when he strode into the village. The blacksmith put down his hammer and wiped his sooty hands, shaking his head. The greengrocer ceased his harangue long enough to eye the outlandish visitor, and the priest interrupted his duties long enough to pray. The prostitutes hanging out the upper windows of the taverns and pubs sized up the advancing figure favorably, and began cat-calling, begging for his company or the mention of their name in a song. More respectable young ladies blushed and smiled if he turned his charming glance their way.

All down High Street heads turned and eyes appraised the flamboyant costume. His boots, striding with purpose, were well-worn travellers' clogs - hard-soled, supple, the stains of the muddy road blending well with the brown leather. They were the kind of boots that the locals called "puddle-catchers;" folded down at the top so that any splash was caught, thereby keeping the breeches unsoiled. His breeches were unsoiled indeed, and as bright yellow as the midday sun. A sword belt hung low on his hips, the thin blade easily within his reach. He wore a deep purple tunic over a flowing white shirt, gathered at the wrists to allow his hands free play at whatever pursuit they chose. A simple grey cloak fell over his shoulders, strikingly plain in contrast to rest of him. Folk wondered at this, then winked and nodded knowingly at each other as they realized that the cloak's lack of stains indicated some hidden magic. This entire ensemble was topped by the most ridiculous hat the stunned villagers had ever seen - bright green, broad-brimmed, with an enormous white feather stuck into the band.

Oblivious to the stares yet craving the attention, this adventurer reached the town square and mounted the steps of the crier's rostrum. The villagers gathered around, repulsed by the apparition, yet unable to resist his charisma. The anticipation waxed as he slung the polished mandolin from his back and dexterously tuned it, strumming a few nonsensical notes to warm his fingers. Grinning widely, he turned to the gathered crowd and began a low melody,

"Come one, come all by field and dell

from flag and fen, march and wall,

Young and old, lads and lasses all-

I've a tale to tell..."

© Copyright Jezla 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Four Magic Items.

“Sir, the subject’s pulse is spiking again.”

“Switch to camera two.”

The assistant punched keys and a window on his desktop opened with a live feed of a room with steel walls and an airlock door. A woman with various wires connected to her was sitting at a rectangular table in the center of the room. She was pressing a golden seashell to her ear.

“She keeps using the shell, sir.”

“What’s her blood pressure?”

“That’s spiking too.”

The supervisor keyed an intercom unit and spoke into it, “Ms. Dodgson, we need to continue the secondary tests on the items. Please put down the shell.”

The subject, Ms. Dodgson, ignored the supervisor. If anything, she held the shell to here head even tighter. The supervisor looked at his notes on the other objects in the test. The first one Ms. Dodgson tested was a golden ring with a heart, a diamond, a club and a spade on it. When she put it on her finger she had vanished; first her feet, then her legs, then all the way up, her smile going last. She was invisible on the normal camera but the infrared said she was still there, the telemetry readings were still sending. The second item tested was a blue liquid. It had made her shrink in size and it went unchecked until she ate a piece of the third item, a small tart. With a little experimentation, she had equalized herself, though it looked like she might have stayed a little tall to stretch herself out. Women.

The fourth and final item was a gold seashell. When she described using it, she said she could hear almost everything no matter how far; the air moving in the duct work, mice moving inside the walls, even the ladies serving tea and turtle soup in the lab’s cafeteria two floors up. Now she just refused to put the shell down.

“Sir, I think she’s yelling at us,” the assistant said.

“Turn on the speaker. Let’s hear what she has to say.”

The assistant punched the keyboard again then turned a small volume dial. They were rewarded with sound to match the subject’s lips on the camera.

“She’s coming! Get me out of here! Please!” Ms. Dodgson yelled.

“Sir, her pulse is really going crazy now.”

With a loud bang, something heavy hit the door to the lab. Both men turned to look at the door. It was an airlock type door, the same as in the subject’s test room. Something was pounding on it, bending it inward. They could hear Ms. Dodgson still screaming at them through the speaker. She was near hysterical now.

They looked back to the monitor and were surprised to see here placing the ring on her finger. She was already steadily disappearing. Only her torso and head were visible now.

When they looked back at their own door, they saw that it was about to give. The seal was no longer flush, the metal rending. They saw gloved hands reach around the edge and a long piece of metal inserted through the gap. The door was soon pulled off the wall.

Through the airlock stepped soldiers in body armor and combat boots and big rifles with bayonets. They wore a red heart insignia on their chest and quickly secured the room as a tall beautiful woman followed them in.

“I want their heads. All of them. Off with their heads!”

© Copyright Jim Sullivan 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Submission Guidelines.

If you would like to share your creative works on Jezla's Underground, I welcome your submissions. Please observe the following guidelines:

1) The primary focus of this site is fantasy, so please try not to submit content that does not reflect this. I will consider non-fantasy or science fiction works based on quality.

2) You may submit short stories, poetry, and artwork.

3) Prose and Poetry should be sent in rich-text format. Artwork should be sent as a JPEG file at maximum compression. I may re-size artwork to reduce the size of the uploaded file, but I will otherwise make no alterations to the image. Please include appropriate copyright information on artwork.

4) Please include in all submissions your name, a return email address, and any pen name or alias by which you would like to be published.

5) All submissions will be considered amateur content, which means that you will receive no compensation in either money, goods, or services.

6) Please do not submit illegal or obscene content. I will allow a certain amount of mature content (language, theme), but no vulgar or pornographic content will be considered. This is entirely at my discretion, and I reserve the right to edit out objectionable content as I deem fit. This also includes work based on some one else's intellectual property, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter fan fiction. Content set in a role-playing game setting (such as Dungeons and Dragons) is acceptable as long as it does not infringe on the copyright of previously published works.

7) All submissions remain the property of the original author, however I reserve the right to edit written submissions for typographical errors and length (including, but not limited to breaking a piece into multiple posts). By submitting content you agree to release me of any liability related to your content and grant me a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable license to store, use, transmit, display, publish, reproduce, or otherwise distribute your comments without limitation, as well as to make such additional uses of them as may be needed by me. In short, the content remains yours, but you give me permission to use it for free.

8) Send all submissions attached to an email to: Jezla09 - at - gmail - dot - com. Please include the words "Jezla's Underground" in the subject line.