Weekly-ish challenge #20 - Luck



Hello forum!

Today I'm trying a broader topic to try to get more of you hooked. Really this ones easy. Just write a paragraph about the tpic below! Excise your muse! Be creative and have FUUUUUN! [/stock phrases]

This week's challenge: A stroke of luck.
[This is a story introducing two original characters. There's Alarice, my space pirate namesake, and then there's the man she's with. He was created by Gibs but Gibs allowed me to use him. They're basically at this casino to hunt down Sleek, the owner. Who he is and why she's after him is another story. XD]

The casino was crowded. The tables were full, the dealers were busy. Scantily clad waitresses balanced silver trays on their upraised hands, stopping to give full glasses, take empty ones. People shouted bets and there was the loud clink! of chips and credits and all manner of currency being handled, exchanged, cashed in.

Alarice stepped through the doors in her long, evening gown and looked around. "I'd rather just crash the party and bring Sleek running to me."

The man towering over her looked around. "You want Sleek or do you want his goons to kill us first?"

She huffed. "You sure know how to spoil a girl's fun. Fine. I'll go and mingle. Kill some time." She got three steps away before the man called back to her.

"Hey. No cheating."

Alarice smirked. "I don't cheat." She turned and walked away. "I just give Lady Luck a nudge in the right direction."
A picture is worth a thousand words as they say. A picture, a faint object that captured a moment in time when life was simple, where excitement was daily, and surprises were abound. Flash photography was the epitome of must have technology back in the day. Gerald Eddington, a painter, often used pictures to inspire him and his art. He would find the most interesting pictures and use them for ideas, the very essence of his work required him to be inspired, he yearned for fresh creative flux. Lately everything in his mind has been the same, every picture he eye balled online, seemed to scream the same. Disaster, anguish, depression, he was in a constant fog, a battle of finding the joy in life, rather than finding the chaos of a single image.

No image was happy to him, even the smiling faces of his own children made him empty inside, because he constantly found reasoning for a fakeness....a whackness, even. He wanted different, he wanted unique. Enraged and aggravated Gerald one day goes to grab a new sheet of canvas to paint in his secluded basement in hopes to finally strike inspiration. He sat for hours blank minded, scanning dozens of pictures that said nothing to him. He hears a tapping on his window, and opens it.

His cat, Ronald, that he hasn't seen in at least a week makes his presence known as he jumps down and crashes around the room with a fresh mouse between his teeth. Ronald topples over towards Gerald's canvas crashing into it with his paws as he struggles with the mouse, Gerald grows red faced and chases Ronald off with the mouse still between his jaws. Sighing, Gerald sits down in front of his canvas, looks up, and suddenly his face brightens! The mess his cat has made on the canvas, has inspired a masterpiece in his mind, a whole portrait of the animal kingdom came from a few messy paws. It turns out this whole day for Gerald was simply;

"A stroke of luck."
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It was a temple unlike any I had laid eyes upon. Or at least it was what I would interpret to be a temple of sorts. We approached the great dome like building, its surface like a muddled mirror, reflecting the surreal velvet skies and the rolling emerald colored plains. High in the sky a magnificent red sun struck down all shadows in its glorious wake. But I did not have time to spectate, nor did my cybernetic comrade LUH-8891. For we had searched the Horse-head Nebula now for over a century, not that time mattered in this day in age, but the search was well beyond my ancestors lifetimes. You see, this temple or what I believe to be a temple holds the answer. To what I cannot definitively say, but I have had visions of this moment, as if a cosmic destiny aligned some years ago when I looked to the distant stars from my now distant home.

We were passing by a small solar system, on the tale of an obscure rumor which pointed to my dreams, my visions, my ultimate pursuit. On the whim of fate and chance was I passing through this infinite space when something caught my attention. I cannot say what it truly was, as any of the visions preceding, but I veered my craft toward an uncharted sun which had yet to be recorded into the annals of history during the Frontier Expeditions. It was then my cybernetic counterpart, a being comprised of my very thought spoke. But of course, this was a remarkable moment, as it rarely spoke at all. One would imagine a being who's mind mimics ones own would have much to say, but for LUH, I could not be to surprised. I have peered into LUL's deeper workings and have seen what was once mine manipulated, folded, calculated and observed a billion times over. As if it were a riddle which would unfold with no finite end, a thought to be a fractal of the universe perhaps?

"Destination." But a single word escaped LUH's prosthetic lips and it pointed to the local galaxy map and it zoomed in to an unexplored world. We made haste, jumping through folds of space, watching as time forgot us for lapses as we hid ourselves from space, manipulating the very fabric of our craft and therefor ourselves. With each jump I felt it, like the warm hum of mother those many years ago or the soft cool of a summer dip in a familiar pond. Distant memories drawn forth by this desire. Yet, here we are at the steps of a place unlike anything I'd seen. Was it something greater than myself which brought us here? Or but a stroke of luck cast about into the whimsical fabric of space?
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He stared down in silent anticipation, waiting, watching, and hoping. They were picked up. Rolled tantalizing in the man's fingers. Hidden in a palm, and...and..! The die hit the table with a clatter, and Roland lunged forward in excitement to see what had happened, his mind running through all the possibilities in that split second. A stroke of luck would benefit him greatly, if only that was something that could happen.


With a frustrated groan, he slumped back in his chair and pushed his money over to the winner begrudgingly.

His gambling addiction was getting worse.
Jeanie was painting a lovely serene landscape with a pond and ducks and even a majestic stag dipping its head for a soothing sip of the cool water. her gallery was nothing extravagant or lofty, but it was hers and she was able to make a living off of her paintings and sculptures. Basically every dream she'd ever had growing up was finally fulfilled in this one space.

She had started painting during open hours a few years ago, and found that her patrons liked watching her create. So she brought her gallery and studio together and married the two worlds together. She was about to put the last shadows and a soaring duck onto the canvas when a crash was heard behind her and startled her so badly that her brush flashed across the canvas in an ugly almost violent way.

She set down her things and went to see what had happened, and found a man lying in a crumbled pile of rubble that she could tell was her angel statue. She rushed over and helped him up. "Are you alright?"

"I am so very sorry," he said brushing himself off, "I was admiring the goddess painting and backed into the sculpture. I will pay for it of course. I am terribly sorry...so sor..." He stopped as his eyes fixed on something behind her. He moved toward it and was transfixed by it.

She followed him to the ruined canvas and stifled a sigh.

"This is magnificent! I must have it. Such a commentary on the state of our world. Idyll ruined by man's thoughtless actions. it's genius!"

Jeanie smiled, "Thank you." But she was thinking, what a literal stroke of luck.
As a gambler, you would think me a man who would grovel at Lady Fortuna's feet and lick her soles, just for her to smile upon me. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, dear friend, but that is not the way I operate, with either a lady or a goddess. No - Lady Luck is a fickle woman, like most of her kind, and enticing her can be as much a matter of luck as gaining luck itself. I have found she shares many characteristics with my cat, Lucille - she appears only, only when she deems she can be bothered, but that is not to say that getting her to be bothered isn't possible. No, I have found that Lady Luck sometimes needs a little something to grab her attention, a 'hedging of bets' so to speak.

So, as a gambler, I've never visited her temple to prostrate myself before her massive statue, raining down gifts and flowers and material things to grab her eye. After all, she's a goddess - these are somewhat run of the mill, easy to get, low-effort and largely unimpressive. No, I have found that the best way to gain Lady Luck's favor is to cheat her out of it. Not with loaded dice, so much, as increasing your likelihoods and feeling out the numbers. Lady Luck loves a mathematician who speaks her language.

But, sometimes, even that doesn't work. Sometimes, the math doesn't work out. And sometimes, Lady Luck finds a way to punish you for entering her realm. And that is how I ended up groveling to her anyways in a jail cell.