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Literary Maneuvers DECEMBER 2020: The Frost Lands (1 Viewer)


Staff member
Senior Mentor
Literary Maneuvers Competition
for December 2020

"The Frost Lands"

Word limit: 650
Begins Tuesday, December 2
Closes Tuesday, December 15
2359hrs GMT
Critiques from judges due to SueC via PM
(please and thank you)
by Thursday, December 31


This month you will be prompted:

The Frost Lands

Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, as long as it fits the prompt.

If you win, you'll get a badge pinned to your profile, plus the chance to write
for our yearly Grand Fiction Challenge which carries cash prizes. Pretty neat, eh?

The Awesome
December 2020 Judges

Thank you all!

If you wish to know more about scoring,
take a look at the NEW JUDGING GUIDE
which also includes a template to use for your scoring.

Please use this template for consistency.​


All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in the LM WORKSHOP THREAD.

All anonymous entries should be sent to SueC by private message and please note in
the PM if you want your entry posted in the workshop thread, not visible to the public

Lastly, why not check out this ancient text on how to best approach this task.

Click HERE for the Rules

There are a few ways to post your entry:

If you aren't too concerned about your first rights,
then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.

You can opt to have your entry posted in the Workshop
which is a special thread just for LM entries.
You would put your story there if you wish to protect your first rights,
in case you wish to have the story published one day.
Note: If you do post it in the workshop thread, you must post a link
to it here in this thread otherwise your story may not be counted.

You may post your story anonymously.
To do so, send your story to the host (SueC) of the competition.
If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then say so.
Your name will be revealed upon the release of the score.

Everyone is welcome to participate, including judges. A judge's entry will receive a review by their fellow judges, but it will not receive a score, though some judges are happy to let you know their score for you privately. Please refrain from 'like'-ing or 'lol'-ing an entry until the scores are posted.

Judges: In the tradition of LM competitions of yore, if you could send the scores no later than
December 31st, it will ensure a timely release of results. Much later than that and I will have to post with what I have. Again, please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

This competition will close on:
Wednesday December 16 at 2359hrs, GMT (not BST), on the dot.
Please note any time differences where you
are and be mindful of daylight savings time.​


Senior Member
Where the River meets the Mountains

“How much further?”

“No idea. We’ll know when we see it.”

Spader squinted at the instructions, scrawled out on paper that somehow always felt ready to disintegrate. They had a date - 2020-12-04 - and a set of directions. The only clear advice was the starting point.

‘Where the river meets the mountains.’

The tiny nation of Pierreia was bordered by forest to the north and east, mountains to the south, and a virtually impassable river to the west. Entry and exit were possible only for the truly committed, with generations of travellers having set out to visit the isolated land - then known as Zeboim -- never to be seen again.

In 2018, the unrecognised state of Zeboim faced a coup sponsored by the Spirit Science Research Institute, who swiftly renamed the nation Pierreia in honour of their founder Clyde Pierre.

The coup led to a mass airlift of Institute supporters into the isolated country, eager to defend their promised land, a Dark Zion drawing in Amoralists from around the world. In the upheaval, critics of the Institute managed to sneak in under the radar, preparing to fight from the belly of the beast.

Yet the opening of borders following the 2018 coup was now little more than memory. Spader and Kosh had to enter the old fashioned way, on foot, aided by the map sent by the Children - the semi-mythical movement carrying out resistance to the Institute from within Pierreia itself.

Or so they claimed, Spader thought to himself. For all he knew, this could all be a hoax - or worse, a trap, Institute agents hiding behind every rock and up every tree. He shook his head, as if to dislodge the thought. Onwards and upwards - up the steep, treacherous mountains that bordered Pierreia, navigating via a map littered with indecipherable occult symbols.

They walked in silence, occasionally stopping to consult the map before carrying on. Spader’s mind drifted to England, to the Manor and those he loved still held captive there, to the unexplained map that appeared in the post a few days ago.

“Stop!” Kosh’s voice yanked Spader out of his reverie. He snapped round. Behind them, a drone hovered, weaving up and down, side to side as if analysing them. Spader stared at it, slowly stepping forward.

“I said stop!” yelled Kosh again, his voice urgent.

Spader looked back. “Why?”

“If you don’t move maybe it’ll just ignore us."

Spader rolled his eyes. “It’s a drone. It’s not a fucking T-Rex.”

“But the Institute -” said Kosh in protest.

“It’s not Institute technology. Everything of theirs is stuck with that damned snake symbol. Pretty sure the SSRI aren’t that into Hello Kitty.” Spader gestured at the base of the drone.

Kosh shrugged. Before he could respond, the drone opened up, and a package on a string popped out. Spader took it and opened it up.

“Two Mars Bars, couple of heat packs, flask of coffee. And a note.”

“What’s the note?” asked Kosh.

“‘Sorry’” said Spader.

“I said, what’s the - “

“I heard you,” said Spader. “The note says -”

Suddenly, the ground disappeared from under them, the patch of frost on which they stood suddenly opening up into empty space. Kosh and Spader fell for what felt like an eternity, finally landing on a large crash mat. The flask came falling after them, smacking Kosh on the head with a resounding clang.

They were in an underground cave, walls lined with computer monitors. It was empty save for one woman, seated in a large chair. Her hair was bright red with eyes to match, skin a pale cream. She drank hot chocolate from a large porcelain mug, steam rising to obscure her face.

“What the -” Spader started to say. Kosh just lay moaning softly.

“You can call me Omega,” said the woman. She smiled apologetically. “Like I said. Sorry.”