This is the third year I've taken part in Inktober. Briefly: it's a challenge where you draw something in ink every day. There's a list of single word prompts for each day you can follow and use to get inspiration, but you don't have to. Some people work in actual ink on paper (very much in the spirit of the challenge) and others (me included) work digitally (which is totally fine also). This year to help keep the momentum going I made up a weird little story to connect all the words in the official prompt list. I find fairy stories fascinating so that explains the world here, and lets me get away with some of the weirdness. I hope it does anyway. The individual prompt words are in bold below, in case you wondered.

Prompt: Ring

We start with a group of sprites in a ring around a flower in a clearing, doing some kind of incantation.

The incantation hasn't worked as they hoped and they've now got a large tuber in a mindless rage, so they nominate one of their kind to act as bait and draw the beast into the open.

That worked pretty well! They use a spell to freeze the beast.

And now for that woodfolk sprite crafting skill to build a cage for it.

The cage is put on a cart and with stag beetles each acting like a husky dog, they head off to the enchanted castle, hoping for a fix.

Unfortunately the bridge to the castle is incredibly frail and it looks like they're doomed. Doomed I tell you.

As the bridge collapses the sprite grabs a rope, the tuber grabs the sprite and the cage falls to bits as they swing towards a ledge. Stag beetles can fly, you know.

Ah. Not so great. The rope snaps. Here they are with the intricate pattern of fields and rivers far below. They surely can't survive such a fall?

Not so fast! They were swinging on a rope, remember, so moving sideways and towards the snow-covered ledge. Here they are reaching 'safety'.

Of course yes, there would have to be a dragon in that cave, and it's not pleased to see them. Off they run, finding a river to leap into just as the dragon turns everything to ash around them.

The river eventually slows enough for them to climb out into an overgrown valley full of enormous plants and dark shadows.

Exploring the undergrowth we get an insight into the spiritual life of a tuber, the great flower legend, a portal to a wild unspoiled land of floral bliss.

Intoxicated by the floral perfume they ornament themselves in glowing vines of flowers, but just like the tuber, these aren't inert passive plants.

Once again, the locals aren't pleased to see them. Who knew flowers could be bigoted? The tuber with its round petals is a misfit here.

The vines sling them so hard they leave the wild realm and land back in the snow, where a heavy footprint tread leads to a crumbling building.

Not learning from everything so far, they go inside and find a great pile of treasure.

As they go to look closer, the treasure rises up to form a threatening figure as a ghost appears, followed by several more.

They run away through the ancient halls, until the excitement (and lack of food) catches up with sprite who falls over dizzy. But what's this, the ghosts aren't threatening at all, they've been using eternity to improve on their baking skills, offering heaps of tasty food!

Now safe and fed, they explore the dark palace.

And thoroughly worn out, they fall asleep. A ghost brings a coat to keep them warm as they sleep. In the morning, the ghosts arrange a ride home. Being ghosts, they've forgotten about things like weight and structural integrity.

Predictably, the ride falls apart and the tuber gets injured. But what's that familiar shape in the distance?

It's another tuber! And more sprites! The sprites safely catch our intrepid explorer from up in the branch and the tuber finds a catch of its own.

And some time later, after a bit of hot flower-on-flower action there's a healthy crop of ripe sprite babies. Now there's a reproductive life cycle no one was expecting. Makes day 1 a bit clearer, and shit, was that some kind of group sex thing going on?