Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Leavings of War

Here's the rough draft for the prologue to one of my bigger stories. I still plan to play around a bit and change some stuff, but let me know what you think. Too confusing? Awkward? Boring? Let me know. The intro is already set for the chopping block. I need to do things a little different...

The first few chapters are finished, so I will post chapter one soon.

Sovereign Night:

"The Leavings of War"

A whisper has carried itself throughout countless years that the fall of Tarn did not begin with the story of Luke Orimar as inked into the history books, but rather rumors speak quietly of another. There was a boy who lived seven hundred years earlier who chose not love or brotherhood but selfish gain and might untold, a power that would ultimately devour him from within, leaving a soulless shell at the bidding of an evil wizard.

This is the story of how the tainted boy died, and how one world became two. This is the true tale of how night fell upon the Kingdom of Tarn. When all the land was devoured by jackals, and vultures fell upon the people it was because of this child’s one choice. For one to understand the tragic story of Luke Orimar’s desperate thirst for power over life and death, one must understand he who came before him.

Long, long before the dark ages of Tarn began, many centuries before she fell to foreign invaders, there lived a boy steeped in an evil that worked in him like a merciless virus devouring its prey, leaving naught but a feverish husk.

He lived in the misty farm country of the East, a land of rolling hills, wide rivers and fertile soil. A beautiful country. And yet the tainted boy cared nothing for it. Indeed, he was wholly unaffected by any blessings in his life, least of all his home. And so it was one day that he drained the glass of lemonade his mother had given him and left the farmhouse he had grown up in never to return. It would be the last nourishment his body ever took in.

He did not say goodbye, he did not glance back and he did not pack a thing. A wicked enchantment was at work in his body, eroding him from the inside out. His compassion and innocence were gone, and his face, once flushed with youthfulness, had grown gaunt and shadowed, narrow as a sharpened hatchet.

He slipped out a side door as his mother tended the wash, hanging several white linen sheets out to dry on the opposite side of the house. She never saw him leave. His father had built the house ten years prior, shortly before his death. Legend would claim he had killed his father, a dark child even at three years old, but legends are often lies, and in this case they were falsehood.

One month later he would be dead.

Only his confused, bereaved mother would mourn him, left completely alone in the world. It had been on the tainted boy’s tenth birthday, three years prior when evil began to overtake him. It had been on a rare trip to the market of a nearby city when a wizard had pulled him inside, and offered him all he’d ever dreamed to have, and the poor farm boy, disliking his lot in life, had taken the bait and offered himself over heart, soul and flesh.

As the wickedness moved his mind, he began to walk. The darkness within shifted like shadows on the far side of the moon, darkness within darkness. The boy walked. He walked without rest, without food, without shelter, through rain and heat alike.

He left the farm country and its people behind and journeyed North to the great walled capital of Tarn, variously known as Kingdom City or Vespera, the evening jewel, a city of lights that could be seen from miles away.

In those days the capital was protected b an immense magic gate that opened only for those with pure intentions for the city. Vespera was a city all but free of crime, with neither beggars nor thieves walking its streets.

The tainted one was denied access.

Ignoring the shock and consternation of travelers on their way into the city, the boy gently placed one palm on the metal of the gate. It forcibly and loudly opened with a mighty clang. From that day on, only those with wicked designs in their heart could enter through the city gate. From that day on the kingdom was never the same, for no longer could its capital, its heart, effortlessly dispel criminals.

Largely unnoticed despite his thunderous entrance, the boy strode through crowds inside the city with singular purpose, neither turning his head side to side nor veering right or left. People simply moved out of his way without a second glance. He did not soak up the awe inspiring sight of the houses and businesses built into the walls of the city. He didn’t haggle or grow hungry when we walked through the market. Even when passersby bumped into him, he took no notice whatsoever. It wasn’t that there was nothing to see, it was that the boy simply did not care.

And likewise, no one ever seemed to notice him. Even those that jostled him took little notice despite his haggard, filthy appearance and kept on walking.

In this way he soon arrived at the immense castle of green stone that sits at the heart of the city. The private dwelling place of the king. A reclusive man, one did not obtain an audience with the king, one was summoned or never saw the man at all. Most citizens only saw the king at placement ceremonies. These were held at random once a year for any recently born children to be sorted into a class, a centuries old practice overseen by the king.

The tainted boy knew none of this, and wouldn’t have cared if you told him. Without a thought in his head, he walked right up to the gatehouse that guarded the drawbridge and shallow moat denying access to the king’s personal sanctum. The drawbridge being withdrawn as was custom, the boy was forced to speak. He stared into the little shanty’s one window and peeled his dry lips apart painfully. The boy’s voice was little more than a dry, raspy whisper.

“Let me in.”

The guard, a tired old man, did not even look up from the book he was reading until he took the time to mark his place, and when he did finally look at the boy, it was with a disapproving frown.

“Away with you, urchin,” he said simply, returning to his reading.

The next sentence he read would be the last thing his eyes ever saw. The boy would not be stopped so easily. With a blank face and expressionless eyes he cranked down the drawbridge himself and slowly, placidly walked across the ancient wooden planks, footsteps echoing down to the moat below.

Four men with dragons guard the king. Cupbearers by name, chosen at birth as royal guardians, they were trained not simply as knight, mage, or dragon rider, but all three. As such they are immensely skilled in fighting and magic.

Yet that day the king was in his private bedchambers alone, with two cupbearers off duty. The two that remained stood outside his door without their dragons. The boy strode through the halls mindlessly finding his way, mind and body a decayed mess. Little of what had once been remained. His youthful features had grown worn, lined with age and deeply weathered. His gait was crooked and slow, and his head held no human thoughts, only echoes of the murder, hatred and jealousy that had been implanted into it.

Eventually the boy found his way past every guard and into the king’s private sanctum, but he did not kill him. He made no noise and barely disturbed even the dust mites of the castle. For he wasn’t here to kill, but to steal a secret power. Four amulets, mere discs of glass that were reputed to hold a magic of untold power.

Ignoring room after room filled with intricate tapestries and rich furnishings, the boy stole into a storeroom, heavy with dust born of disuse. Taking no notice of the piles of abandoned chests and tools, the boy walked staight to a shelf on the far side of the room. He reached past and tapped a stone on the wall behind it, which opened a slender door on the adjacent wall, leading deep into the castle.

A secret room.

Here, he reached his destination at last. At the bottom of the stairs, a tiny, round room awaited. Nine glass cases stood in a circle. One held a sword, another a shield. Another three were empty. The last four held the amulets. One blue, one green, one red, and one yellow. Each wrapped around the neck of a faceless manequin, held in place by simple metal chains. It was these little discs the boy wanted, these were what he’d come for.

The boy walked forward and placed a palm upon the glass of one of the cases. After a moment, steam began to rise. When he pulled it away, a hand-shaped hole had formed in the glass. He reached through and removed his prize. Once he’d done this with all four, he slipped away. Out of the king’s chambers, out of his castle. And out of Vespera, as if he’d never been there. The king would later think he’d been robbed by a ghost, so unheard of was such a theft in the history of the city.

And now the boy strode South, for in the southern regions of Tarn a war was brewing. The boy walked for days, even further than he had the first time, still subsisting on enchantment alone, his body ravaged by lack of nourishment.

In this way, he eventually came to a battlefield. Two great armies lay ranged against each other. The mighty army of the king gathered to the northern edge, greater in numbers, in organization, and in skill.

An army of rebels gathered to the south. The distant crown seated in Vespera was seen as a joke. Too distant and far removed to care for people this far from the capital. Thus they fought for freedom.

Greater in passion.

But the king was unwilling to lose a veritable third of his kingdom to mere distance, and so a war had began. Many battles had already been waged, with success and failure for both sides, but now, it was all about to come grinding to a halt.

The tainted boy, now little more than a shuffling corpse, walked into the middle of the battlefield with the four magical amulets in his hand. Both armies looked on in shock. The King's knights had not even seen the boy slip past. Gathering all four of the glass discs in one hand, holding them by their chains, he raised them to the sky. He spoke four words, words which have been lost in history. Words never heard before or since.

In an instant, his body became a skeleton, and then even that fell to dust. His ashes scattered in the wind. The four amulets were sent flying, in each of the cardinal directions. They too became the object of fables and legends, but their history is another whole volume altogether.

All that was left after the boy raised his fist was a tiny black dot. The black dot did not stay tiny for long, however. It grew and grew, faster and faster, growing into a great band a mile across. The blackness spread across the entire planet, stretching into the sky and the dirt. In short, it halved the planet. And there it remained.

Thus the Void was born.

The people to the North of the Void never again saw the people to the South. Anyone with family on the wrong side of the Void never saw them again. Anyone with business there never accomplished it. In this way, the Void obtained a kind of immortality, because while three of the amulets remained in the Northern Realm, one flew to the South.

The people of both lands eventually learned to live with the black barrier. In time the area surrounding it became a place to be avoided at all costs. A land soaked in stories of dire curses, for it is true none who ever ventured too close came back. Until the day Luke Orimar and his dragon came along, that is...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It's almost that time of year again...

National novel writing month.

As per tradition, I hope to fly into a writing frenzy. Last year I made it...I think six chapters, a couple thousand wordsish. The goal, of course, is 10,000 words. I plan to build off a preexisting book, this time. I've posted excerpts of all three in the past, so you may be familiar with these stories. If not, I will post links soon...I am leaning towards SN. That is probably what I will work on. I intend to post chapter one soon.

Feel free to cast a vote:

-Sovereign Night, Book 1

-The Unstoppable


Friday, October 23, 2009


Here's a little something new I cooked up a few weeks ago.

I was teaching a few weeks ago and I found the story of Jonah very intriguing. I have my own take on what might have transpired during Jonah's three days in the belly of the beast, and I want to turn that idea into a short story. This is the introductory bit. Tell me what you think and mayhaps I will write more...


Infinite black swelled before my eyes, an eager darkness. I barely felt the air as it whirled past, so heavy was the fall of rain and the mighty heaving of the ocean's waves. Thunder crashed and roared as if the sky itself would split in two at any moment.

I tried to take a deep breath, but it was hopeless. The moment the wildly churning sea caught me in its endless grasp, I was utterly powerless. I barely managed to keep my mouth free of saltwater, let alone fill my lungs. I soon found myself ten feet under the surface, no sign of the ship I'd been tossed from.

No sign of any hope at all.

Silence reigned. All the great noise and flash of the storm above grew muffled. I could still hear it, but now as if from a distance. After a few seconds beneath, the world lit up, only to highlight the emptiness surrounding me.

Even so, moments after I hit the water, the storm abated, and the waves began to calm. I saw the lightning cease, and no longer heard the banging. I was so deep I barely saw the sunlight when it peered around a raincloud, but peer it did, reaching into the waters with weak fingers of light.

I knew what it meant. It wasn't the storm that had softened, it was God's wrath. Now that I'd been sacrificed, he had no call for anger upon the poor sailors above.

Out of air. How long had I been under already? I wasn't sure. Seconds? Minutes? It all seemed to be happening to fast. I kicked desperately for the surface, spots dancing before my eyes. My robes clung to my skin, weighing be down.

No matter how I struggled, the surface never seemed to get even a little bit closer. My limbs quickly turned to lead, starved from lack of breath.

Suddenly a great rumbling filled the water, coming not from above but beneath. I looked downward, certain my dizzy mind was playing tricks on me. An immense fish, the like of which I'd never seen and could scarcely describe was swimming towards me at a steady pace. It looked as big as a house. As big as the ship I'd been hurled from. I tried to paddle away, but it was useless.

I was dying.

Only seconds remained, if that, before I gulped in and flooded my lungs with saltwater. I was beginning to forget why I kept my mouth so tightly shut. Shouldn't I open it? I needed to breath! I needed to scream!

Mouth gaping wide, the fish came upon me like a monstrous angel of death. I soon found myself sliding past its great jaws. I fell into the deepest blackness imaginable.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doo doo doo doo doo doo


Still plugging away in fire academy. It's week... 8 now I guess?? We just had our midterm, so we're about halfway through. The class has dropped in size from 37 to about 24, 23. And by the end that number will certainly drop further. Possibly to as low as a dozen or less. But I'm determined to stick it out to the end.

We also had our evaluation on fire attack and our ability to walk through the steps of fighting a fire while properly wearing our SCBA(self contained breathing apparatus, SCUBA minus the underwater). AND EVERYONE PASSED. Do you know what this means, llamas?! WE BURN NEXT WEEK. That's right. We're going to actually FIGHT FIRE. I'm getting really excited!

In other news, not much going on, I guess. Lots of potential life changes are on the horizon for me, but not much to speak of yet. Except for one. I am on the market for a new job as of now. My hours got cut at Best Buy and I'm sick to death of working there anyhow, so I'm hoping to find something new. I also want to use my new found freedom to get a lot of writing done, so this post is me officially promising to post something new very soon.

I don't want to go on and on, so, later llamas.


-Where the Wild Things Are
-Green by Ted Dekker
-Paranormal Activity
-Relient K's new CD
-David Crowder Band's new CD.
-The soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are
-Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
-Losing my voice (it sounds sweet and raspy now)
-Super Smash Bros.
-Most of my instructors

-Not having all my JPRs memorized
-Getting sick and staying sick.
-Having to go to the bathroom AFTER putting on your bunker gear.
-Foreclosure scams
-A few of my instructors

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I suppose now is as good a time as any to give a brief update on my exploits in the world of fire service. I have been super busy lately, trying to get enough studying in, and working, plus normal stuff like church and sleep.

Basically, so far I have learned about...

-Bunker gear, all the equipment we have to wear on a call. I have to be able to put it on in less than a minute.

-SCBA. Self contained breathing apparatus. Basically a bottle of oxygen with a backpack a regulator. Also requires me to be ready to rock and roll in less than a minute.

-How to properly raise and place a ladder

-How to ventilate a building without killing myself

-How to deal with being blindfolded and out of air without panicking.

-How to tie knots and hoist tools

-Proper steps of fire attack, including setting up a hoseline, getting water from a hydrant, and advancing into a building to get to a fire

-Breaking down doors, getting past locks, knocking down walls, smashing in windows and various other means of forcible entry

-And lots more.

I've got a wee bit of new writing. Not going to promise anything, but sometime this month I'd like to post a little bit...chapter six hopefully in completed form, and a tidbit of a short story.

Laterz Llamaz.