Author Topic: Hibernation Creative Competition - The Showcase!  (Read 654 times)

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 35695
  • Karma: 140
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Hibernation Creative Competition - The Showcase!
« on: April 20, 2024, 03:08:51 PM »
HIBERNATION: COMPETITION SHOWCASE
 

We're now well into spring in the northern hemisphere and that means it's time for our Hibernation themed winter competition to be complete. Thus, it's time to share our showcase of results, which you can read below. We've got a lovely cosy little set of five miscellaneous project on the Hibernation theme with some lovely bits of work for you to look at, and the most important thing as ever is adding more to this great showcase collection. There can, however, only be one winner (at least, there is only one winner in this case).

And that winner is... Spritelady with her fiction writing piece '6 of Telochi, in the year 647'!

The judges called this one a "psychologically smart first-person narrative " and "suspenseful, well-crafted writing" - you can read the result below! Spritelady wins a copy of Priory Games' medieval life sim Under the Yoke, which follows a peasant family through the subsistence needs, tithes, and village life of the high middle ages, and a copy of Jubal's RPG book Rockpool, which is a mini tabletop RPG system for being tiny little weird creatures that live around the eponymous rockpools and must content with the tide, dangerous whelks, and other such perils.

Thanks also go to our judges, Yvonne and Daniel, and to Owen of Priory Game for sponsoring the competition. But more important than the winning is the creativity, as ever, and we're delighted to be able to share with you below the full showcase of all five contributions, from computing puns to poetry to photography. Do leave a comment and let us know what you think!



Entry Showcase

WINNER: 6 of Telochi, in the year 647 - Spritelady

Quote
6 of Telochi, in the year 647

I have returned to face the beast. This is my third attempt to defeat the creature, and the first that I have made in the cold season. I hope that what I have learnt will be enough. I pray that I have the strength to destroy it.

~

When I first learned of people going missing in the Forest, I thought perhaps it was a Tiyanak, maybe a Wendigo. When I arrived at the logging base, the woodsmen told me that they had been there since the cold season, and had seen no trouble in those first months. But then members of their group began to vanish. There was no trail that could be followed, and their belongings remained in camp. The woodsmen began to fear walking among the trees, but they were stubborn. They needed to work.

In my experience, the patterns they had described suggested a creature that hunted those foolish enough to walk alone. Or perhaps that was capable of luring its victims away from the safety of numbers. This would hardly be my first encounter with such creatures, and I approached the job with confidence. Arrogance, I later realised.

I went to begin my hunt, as I had so many times before. The creature tore through me in moments, left me clinging to life. I never saw it, had not even known it was there as I began looking for its trail in the woods. But it had seen me looking. And it had not cared to be hunted.

Why it left me alive, I had no idea. I should have died from my injuries, but was saved by the grace of the Lady and the kindness of those woodsmen. I left their camp, promising to return to kill the creature, knowing that my advice to move camp would not be heeded. These people needed work, and there was little else to be found.

~

I returned as the harvest season began. I had spent my time away recovering, regaining my strength, training until I was twice the hunter that I had been before. I was deadly in the woods, but my arrogance had been curbed. I knew not to underestimate my quarry. I knew it would take all my skill to hunt and kill this beast.

   There were fewer woodsmen than when I had left. Their numbers had dwindled as the attacks had grown more frequent. Even travelling in groups did not seem to deter the creature; it took its prey nonetheless. But they stayed and I admired their stubbornness. I felt responsible for ensuring that they could remain, that the threat would be dealt with. And once more, I entered the woods.

   At first, my hunt went well. Or at least, it lasted more than the brief seconds of my first attempt. I found traces of a trail and followed them deep beneath the canopy of the Forest. I tracked for hours, following hints and signs of its presence. The woodsmen had told me they had begun to see signs, trees scraped bare of bark where the creature had passed, gouge marks left in the dirt of the forest floor. At times, I lost the trail, searching before I found another sign, could continue moving further into the Forest.

I was stupid not to realise what was happening. The creature had been aware of me from the moment I entered the woods. It had toyed with me, leading me closer and closer to its lair. In the seconds before it struck, as I beheld its massive form for the first time, I knew I had made a crucial mistake.

I reflected on it later, as I recovered from the wounds it dealt me. It had taken all my considerable skill to escape, and even then I somehow knew, I could sense, I only lived because it had grown bored of me. Before I faced it again, I would need to be smarter. Need to understand more. To truly face this creature, to kill it, I needed to know everything I could about it.

   I left the woodsmen again, felt their sullen, resentful stares as I walked away, when their friends and comrades could not have. I knew they were losing their faith that I would handle this creature, as I had so many others. My reputation would only last through so many failures.

~
   
I returned home, and gathered every scrap of knowledge I could find about creatures that dwelled in the Forest. Last time, as I recovered, I had strengthened my body, my physical prowess, and had thought that would be enough. I had underestimated the creature’s intelligence, its awareness. I would not make that mistake now.

   I read every piece of lore I could find, scoured libraries and archives for mentions of the creature. I compiled the best collection of ancient and forgotten tomes that had been seen in years, all in my attempt to learn something, anything I could use to fight this creature and survive.

Finally, after months of learning, I found something I thought I could use. I had forgotten the woodsmen’s first stories. That they had lived and worked through the cold season undisturbed, before the creature had begun its attacks. At the time, I assumed that the creature had simply wandered into new territory, found the woodsmen’s camp and begun its attacks. But as I read, as I learnt about the denizens of the Forest and those that came from its deepest recesses, I found a common thread.

   Hibernation. Almost all the creatures we knew of in the deep woods followed an annual cycle. They would hide themselves away throughout the coldest months, when food became scarcer, and wait until the rainfalls to emerge. Perhaps that was why the woodsmen had seen nothing of this creature in their first months at camp. Why they had become settled enough in their lives and their work not to be able to move on when it began to strike. It would almost have been funny, the irony of that terrible timing, had it not been so disastrous.

   If this creature did indeed hibernate, maybe that would allow me to approach. Other accounts described creatures that sleep deeply, barely alive as they wait out the coldest months. I could find my way back to the beast’s lair, that I had been led to so foolishly. Perhaps I could remain unnoticed for long enough to dispatch it. I have prayed to the Lady that this will work.

~

I have returned to the woodsmen’s camp. I can see they no longer believe I will be successful, though some seem to admire my resilience. I think they respect that I have returned, despite twice being left on the brink of death. They do not realise it is the same resilience that I admire in them. The same stubbornness.

Tomorrow, I will go into the woods for the third time. And if I should not return, if my guesses are wrong, my newfound knowledge is not enough, I ask whoever reads this to deliver my account to the collection of lore that I have built. Add to the knowledge I have hoarded of the monsters that roam the deep woods. Let someone else learn from my mistakes, and perhaps one day return to kill this creature.




Overslept - A Microfiction by Tusky

Quote
“Woah, 2235? I overslept. Where is everyone?”

“Dinner time was many cat-naps ago. You snoozed through tuna surprise time. Displeased.”

“Wait, a talking cat! Am I dreaming?”

“Meow, please. You have awakened in a PAW-some future run by cats! Now, scritches behind
the ears, then can opener. Chop-chop, human.”

“Huh. OK, dinner time it is then! Just don’t judge the sleep wrinkles, your royal purrness.”

“Wrinkles are beneath me. Tuna, however, is not. Now move it, hairless servant. The sunbeam won’t wait.”

Editorial note: the entry was submitted with an illustration, which can be viewed here. The illustration, however, was AI generated and so the entry was judged and included only on the original element, the text-microfiction above.


Hibernation Database - A Database of Hibernating Creatures by Jafeth (Who is Also Here)

What it is
The Hibernation Database is a Java application that offers a simple interface to a database containing a table of animals that hibernate. It can be called to create new animal entries, and modify or delete existing ones.

How it works
The application uses the Spring Boot framework to provide REST functionality as well as database connectivity. Internally Spring Boot uses the framework Hibernate to do this. (Yes, Jafeth made this entire thing for that joke. You're welcome.) The programme is built to run in a Docker Container, which is a small virtual machine containing only what is necessary for the programme to run. It connects to a PostgreSQL database which can be hosted anywhere but is most easily run as another Docker container. (See the deployment.yaml file for an example).

How to access it
There are github repositories available for the frontend and backend parts of the system. Those who want to run a copy of the database will find relevant instructions on those pages: Jafeth kindly self-hosted an instance for the judges, but this is no longer operational.


Thawing - A Poem by Jubal

Quote
And if there is a dream that is called spring,
Then we must intend to dream it:
Holding in a suspended mind’s eye
A simulation, an imaginary of what was and could yet be,
For there are dreams, dear one, that enclose the dormant buds of truth -
Dreams that are a promise of the sun’s return.

What spring brings we can only imagine -
That is, after all, what dreams are for,
The thaw, the rolling waves of blue sky after grey,
The bursting of each blossom in a cascade of trees
In patterns and patchworks that we cannot intend
Or know
Or guide
For if there is one thing that is true about the unimaginable seasons’ turn,
It is that spring comes only with creation and the shape of new impossibilities
With old songs sung from new trees
By voices that know not how they know the tune
Only that they dreamed it, once
When the world was a dream
And beyond the dream was wintertide.

But there is a dream that is called spring,
As long as you intend to dream it:
As long as you intend to speak and to sing it,
As long as you come to know and to love it,
For the hibernation of hope is the stepless path through dormant time
That will end not with rage and crashing ice,
Or the creation in fire of a world burned into newness,
But with the slow revelation of spring-water
Of bough and breeze and the creeping hope of dreams
And, always, with life.

Editorial note: this entry was excluded from judging as it was created by a competition organiser.


Crow - A Photo by Jubal

In that moment, Crow realised what Hedgehog had meant by “hibernation".
It seemed, all of a sudden, like a very good idea indeed.

Editorial note: this entry was excluded from judging as it was created by a competition organiser.





And that's our Hibernation set done and it's time to wake up for spring - and for Exilian's newsletters, articles and events in the coming months, where we're hoping to have more exciting and fun things to do as a community. Hope to see you for those, and that you enjoyed this hibernatory showcase!
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

indiekid

  • Citizens
    Voting Member
  • Posts: 153
  • Karma: 5
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Hibernation Creative Competition - The Showcase!
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2024, 06:18:52 PM »
Great stuff! The crow does look a little perplexed by the snow

Spritelady

  • Tribounos
    Site Magistrate
  • Posts: 150
  • Karma: 12
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Hibernation Creative Competition - The Showcase!
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2024, 10:07:12 AM »
Really really pleased by the news and the lovely comments from the judges, thank you! I love the wide range of types of entry this year - the entrants certainly embraced the flexible nature of a creative competition!

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 35695
  • Karma: 140
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Hibernation Creative Competition - The Showcase!
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2024, 11:55:46 PM »
Great stuff! The crow does look a little perplexed by the snow
Yes, I took the picture in Vienna in December, it was a very deep snowy day indeed!
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...