Writer’s Workshop Submissions. Cycle 1, Week 2 - The story of Mer Burlyhands

Here we are for week two of the Writer’s Workshop, and the theme for this week, thanks to @naturalnuke, is The story of Mer Burlyhands.

Take this in any direction you prefer. Who is Mer? Where did he come from? Why is he considered “burly”? :smile:

So, go for it. You can submit any story related to the theme.

Just to go over the rules once more:

  • You can only submit one story per week. And in the interest of making this manageable (for the community to read and review), we’re asking for submissions to be no more than 500 words.

  • Vote for as many stories as you want - simply ‘like’ the associated post by clicking the heart at the bottom of the submission.

  • Keep all discussion of this week over here, as anything in this thread that isn’t a story will be moved or deleted.

Story submissions will close on the Wednesday July 24th, and the winners of this cycle will be announced alongside the following weeks new theme.

We want to see all stories regardless of ability as we’re thinking about the possibility of having future awards such as ‘most improved writer’, so don’t feel like you can’t submit!

p.s. Don’t forget to stop by the Qubicle Competition, Week 3, and vote on your favorite!

This is my first limerick written in English, so please have mercy and I hope all the rhymes are working. And as the rhyme scheme is wrong… Ladies and Getlemen, let me introduce the first “Stonarick” ever written :tongue::

The true story of Mer Burlyhands

In a distant kingdom faraway there,
was a cute little guy called Burlyhands Mer.
With dark brown eyes and also some hair.
Didn't countless maids surrendered to him,
in the days before he turned so grim?
Sometimes life is neither beautiful, nor fair.

The powers that be decided one day,
to send Mer along a very different way.
Now it was fighting, not cropping the hay.
A Goblin here, an Alpaca there,
do you remember the dauntless Mer?
First peasant than hero, history will say.

After some moons Burlyhands started to swear,
to no longer harm a creatures on land or in air.
He suffered from guilt, which was heavy to bear.
So it happen during a rainy, cold May,
people around his grave started to pray.
Mer was falling of his own wooden rocking chair.

The following is best consumed after this, the prequel. Hopefully not having read that doesn’t take away from this story though. Enjoy :blush:

Sweat dripped from his furrowed brow as Mer strained under the tremendous weight of the fully loaded cart. “Almoooost…there!” he exclaimed as he lifted the carts wheel out of the mud pit. “Been awhile since I’ve had to do that, the locals know to steer clear of this, it’s not just a little puddle like it seems.”

"Many thanks sir, " The stranger replied “do you often get travelers around these parts?”

“You’d be the first in…I don’t know how many years.”

"Well then, " The stranger began with a thoughtful tug on his beard “perhaps I have come to the wrong place”

“You looking for something in particular?” Mer replied cautiously, suddenly wary of this man he’d never seen before.

“Not something, someone. I’m looking to venture out beyond the great mountains, to land yet unclaimed by any king or earthly ruler. I’m looking for a few strong men to start a city.” The stranger explained with a twinkle in his eye.

Mer was quietly thoughtful, as he recalled the dreams of his youth, the nights spent imagining building great cities.

“Ah, I see adventure in your eyes sir. And you’ve a strong back I’ve seen…perhaps you can be persuaded to join me in this? Ah! How rude! I haven’t even told you my name. Godric Greenskin, pleasure to have made your acquaintance.” He said as he extended a hand.

“Mer, Mer Burlyhands.” Mer said as he shook Godric’s hand.

“A fitting name, you’ve a strong grip Mer. Are you interested in coming with me on this…quest?”

“Years as a carpenter will do that to you.” Mer mumbled almost without meaning too, deep in thought. “You said you’re looking for a few men, do you already have anyone with you?” Mer inquired intently.

"A blacksmith by the name of Samson Moonstoke has accompanied me. As well as Illowyn Farstrider, a hunter.”

“And what is it you do?” Mer asked.

“I’m a shepherd. Not that a shepherd without a flock is much good. Although I suppose we’ll all be without the tools of our trade soon.” Godric answered.

“I’ve nothing left for me here, I’ll join your little band. How many more do you plan to recruit before we set out across the pass?”

“Just one, I believe five will be plenty for us to found a city. The others can all carry their own weight and then some, so I believe we’ll have what it takes to get the job done. Or survive at the very least.”

“I pray you’re right. Where do you plan to recruit the 5th?”

“We’ll be getting our 5th from the city Cannon, not far from here. Then, once we’ve got this 5th from Cannon, we’ll set off with enough food to cross the pass, and not much else. Few have crossed and lived to tell. But I imagine since we don’t need to come back, we can manage if we don’t bring much. We’ve booked rooms at the tavern…well not exactly rooms. Repurposed broom closets more like. In the morning I’ll introduce you all before we set out.”

Mer nodded once and began the walk back to his home, noting how quickly it had gotten dark. That night Mer hardly slept, but when he did, he dreamt a familiar dream…


Story starts at refugee camp outside the city of Trias
"Mer Burlyhands, nice to meet ya’."

My names Caal, but that’s not really important, I myself am not much more than a speck in history, but the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard will never cease to amaze me. One such story, by a man named Mer Burlyhands, is quite amazing in that, how he made it here, should have killed him ages ago. Back to the story at hand.

Caal- "nice to meet you, you in the same boat as everyone else?"
Mer- “No, but I’m here all the same.”
"Mind if you tell me, it’s gonna be awhile till we’re allowed in the city, and there isn’t much to pass the time wi-"
Mer- “Alright, alright, I’ll tell you, but know this, it isn’t a tale of milk and honey.”

Mer- "About two years ago I was but a carpenter, working at a little town called Mraith, and this might surprise you but this little town, was nothing more than a few
wooden shacks that had been set up in the forsaken heat of a desert. We didn’t even have enough money to afford Yet the goblins had still found a reason to burn it
the ground. I had made it out alive with the town physician and a few of of the towns watchmen. One of those watchmen had been wounded, and hadn’t even made it out of
the desert, the others however had died not too long before I got here. The two watchmen were with us until a bandit party, who had decided I was not worth finishing
off, had found us and made of with the life of Triton and the leg of Troy, while I myself had gotten an arrow in my arm. After laying there bleeding, I swore I saw the
physician who had dissappeared during the battle, slit the dying Troys throat. I awoke what must have been hours later to find myself alone, with only a map and a
canteen. Atleast the bandits weren’t heartless. I had-“
Caal-” Frontier parties? What do you suppose they mean by that?"
Mer-“No idea, but I have a feeling my journeys still just begun. Well it was nice meeting you, I hope we can meet again.”

I’m not completely satisfied with this story but writers block and all.

A thick veil of fog rolled into the valley, blotting out the sun and darkening the forest below. The trees, dead and rotting, creaked and groaned as the footsteps grew and faded. The ground was sickly and damp, covered in decaying leaves. Nothing stirred in the dark forest.

As he continued down the cobble path, moss slickening his steps, Mer Burlyhands couldn't help but feel watched. He passed by the ruins of a once great kingdom. Reduced to rubble and dust by long forgotten evils. Mer read about this ancient kingdom in a history book once. Proud, glorious... forgotten.

The silent woods yielded a sound just then, a sound that came from no human. Mer saw it in the distance then, the Death of a once great civilization. A behemoth of death, of dark experiments gone awry in the dungeons of those who had power, but could do nothing but lust for more.

The giant winged demon, the Behemoth of Alder, moved ever so closer. A good eight times larger than Mer, it dwarfed the ruins and trees around it. As it got closer to Mer, it's eyes lit up in a firey anger. It knew someone was here to challenge it, to ruin it, to end the legend stewed from mother's mouths to children's ears.

Mer Burlyhands grabbed his massive warhammer from it's sheath on his back, and drew it forward slowly, both hands gripping the massive handle. They don't call him Burlyhands for nothing.

The Behemoth roared, shaking the ground all around it, decaying tree's falling to the earth and massive ruins collapsing all around it as it charged towards Mer.

    Mer raised his hammer, and readied to take on the creature that ended the glory of thousands.

    So much for being a simple carpenter.

“But papa you have got to understand!” the agitated Mer had a slight pitch in his voice.

“No son. You have to accept that we are bound by tradition! It already was a mistake that I let you go to the smith for the last week. Tell me Mer, were you not met with contempt?”

“Yes papa, but I don’t care about that. I got so many ideas what new things to try now.”

“Mer, what new things could we possibly need for our work? We are stonemasons since generations. Look at us, the name Burlyhands is not a family or clan name anymore, we changed!”

“I know that papa, but I already know everything there is to know about stonemasonry and I just have to learn more. Can’t you accept that I just don’t want to become a stonemason?”

Mer’s parents were Seb and Magda Burlyhands and still of the true line, which in a way meant that they were as close to what could be called stonemason aristocrats as was possible.
It was expected from the 14 year old Mer that he should take an apprenticeship as stonemason, as tradition dictated.
The exchange we just witnessed, takes place right after Mer was on a one week internship that his father arranged with the smith. This only happened because Magda convinced Seb that the contempt the young blacksmiths would show towards Mer, would surely discourage him.
But it did not happen and Seb stood helpless before the situation, Mer would just not see reason and so anger took over Seb.

I will spare you the details, but after the yellfest and sent to his room Mer did not speak to anyone anymore for a whole week and then he was gone.

It was Magda that found his parting letter in his room.
The letter was placed exactly aligned in the middle of his desk, the whole room was neatly cleaned and in the past week it appeared Mer had given away nearly everything.

But even as the story does not end well right now and even though Seb fled into his work and the fissures within the family ran ever deeper, I can tell you already that the day Mer returned he would make everything alright.

Often both parents would read the letter.

"Dear mama and papa,

it hurts me very much that I have to leave you to follow my passion,
but you cannot understand that I really dont want to become a stonemason.
In fact now I know that I am not happy with any single craft.

I must learn more and because of that I have given away everything and only kept what I need.
First I will learn carpentry and then I will also learn smithery.
Maybe I will also learn other crafts, but I promise I will return to show you what I have accomplished.

I will always be a Burlyhands no matter what trade I chose in the end.

Your loving son

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Out of the glorious majestic sprawling citadel a lone traveller emerged, wreathed in a cloak of the finest dark velvet the traveller began to sing in husky striking tones:

Hear Hear all around of great Burlyhands Mer,
Once a simple and plain carpenter,
Our brave defender strong and stalwart,
Fighter of monsters few others had the heart,
Stories of legendary Mer stretch back through time,
Sagas of him remembered with rhyme,

Striding out from his home monsters he sought,
Many the foul demons he had fought,
But more beasts came,
To add to his fame,
But at his great home the monsters did strike,
All they destroyed even the dike,
The entire great townsfolk did flee,
Only in groups of two plus three,

Hear Hear all around of great Burlyhands Mer,
Once a simple and plain carpenter,
Our brave defender strong and stalwart,
Fighter of monsters few others had the heart,
Stories of legendary Mer stretch back through time,
Sagas of him remembered with rhyme,

When the mighty warrior did return,
In place of his home he found naught but a burn,
In a great and beserk rage Mer fought,
Leaving the number of foul monsters only nought,
Mers’ mighty war-hammer cleaved monsters in two,
Even mighty titans seeing him withdrew,
Avenging all his family and friends,
Making even great titans meet their ends,

Hear Hear all around of great Burlyhands Mer,
Once a simple and plain carpenter,
Our brave defender strong and stalwart,
Fighter of monsters few others had the heart,
Stories of legendary Mer stretch back through time,
Sagas of him remembered with rhyme,

Ever restless he roams these lands,
Gripping his war-hammer in his burly hands,
Protecting weak and defenceless towns,
When the O.A.E saw they did frown,
An age of unity he has created,
Most monsters that see him have fainted,
The death of his hometown many have mourned,
But due to him a golden era has dawned,

As the epic saga of Mer died off the lone wandering traveller stopped, before him in the dark forest monsters and Titans leapt out, bloodlust in their the minds the monsters attacked…Two giant burly hands gripping a hammer swung down cleaving beasts in two, voxels sprayed everywhere, Burlyhands had struck…

(edit, Mer’s name spelt wrong a couple of times corrected BTW the middle bits a song)

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reminder: voting concludes at 12 noon GMT / 6AM CST…

This week has now finished. Another fantastic effort from everyone involved. :smiley:

The three people (we had a tie) who have earned themselves a position in the 4th week of this cycle are:

@RoseyNineOneOne with this submission

and tying for second place this week, @voxel_pirate with this piece, and @cablex17 with this submission

So congratulations to each of you! Enjoy your well earned new titles… :smile:

The threads for the next challenge will be up soon, so keep an eye out!