Tag Archives: once-upon-a-shuffle

once upon a shuffle: 0: elise

Last May, a friend of mine accidentally gave me this idea while kicking off a project of his own. I sat down that evening with grand intentions but a combination of wordpress problems and work promptly beat things back down. I’ve decided now to resume the project. I am going to start writing faerie tales of a sort, and I am going to write as many of them as I can. Hopefully one a week, maybe two. We’ll see. These stories will be seeded by a shuffling of prompt cards from Atlas Games’ Once Upon a Time. My rules for the exercise are as follows:

  1. I draw between 5 and 12 regular cards and one ending
  2. I have to use all of the prompts in a coherent manner
  3. I must finish the story within 72 real hours of starting it – minimal time “wasted” in editing or rewriting
  4. Cards that I have used are not eligible for reuse until I have consumed the entire deck
  5. Bonus points for referencing previous stories in the set

The goal here is to spend time writing every couple of days and publish something every week. Call my deadline Wednesday evening. Just to keep my brain from shriveling up and blowing away.

The first story used 7 cards, and was written over two evenings in May of 2011.

once upon a shuffle: 0: elise

Once upon a time in a forgotten corner of a forgotten kingdom, a small village was tucked away in the shadow of a great mountain. The village saw neither peddler nor tax collector, so far away from the rest of the kingdom were they situated, and over time, the mapmakers and historians forgot it even existed. The village didn’t have a name, people just called it “The Village”. Because, honestly, what other village was there? They had similarly creative names for the mountain and the forest. The people lived a simple but happy life, away from news from the outside world. They raised goats and grew a remarkable variety of potato – and cared for little else.

It was here that Jens was born to a pair of happy parents. He grew to adulthood never questioning their way of life, happy with his dinners of goat cheese and potato soup. He had many friends among the other village youths – though there were only a handful. His best friend was the lovely Elise, a girl with rich chestnut hair to her waist and eyes the color of a frozen pond. Almost from birth, the two were inseparable and got into every sort of mischief together. It was assumed by the entire village, and the kids themselves, that they would eventually be married.

One autumn day, Jens and Elise climbed the mountain behind the village a ways to a secret spot where they had been building a cottage together, very slowly. The place had three walls, no door, 3/4 of of a roof, and an empty window frame overlooking the valley below. After their climb, they didn’t feel much like building. It was often this way, which is why the place was taking so long to put together. They would escape to their cottage two or three times a week and might put in an hour’s work one of those trips. Mostly, they just enjoyed the view and the quiet away from the bustle of the village below.
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