Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Table...of Contents??

Sovereign Night

Chapter One: Words For Binding

Chapter Two: In Shadow

Chapter Three: A Bloody End

Chapter Four: The Warmth of the Sun

Chapter Five: Alleyway Discovery

Chapter Five

Unfinished, but here you be. This chapter is narrated by Gwen, and follows chapter 2. Chapter five originally took place in the forest, but I felt like further showing Gwen escape was a bit pointless, so I jumped ahead a bit.

Chapter Five: Alleyway Discovery

“Come closer little fly.” I crooned as I leaned against a slanted brick wall thick with moss, a scorching June sun burning down from the sky above. The young man, a scrawny teen with scraggly facial hair, crept down the alley in what he doubtless considered stealth. The low skyline of Vespera, capital of Tarn, rose high above our heads, all red sandstone and shale.

My father’s man, come to bring me back home. I watched from around the corner with grim excitement as he took another step closer to my trap, like a bug unwittingly snaring itself in a web. I couldn’t keep the smirk off my face. My third little fly. A thin green moss ran up most of the buildings in this quarter of town, but in the alleyway my friend occupied the moss gave way abruptly for a few buildings to make way for a lattice of thick vines, vines that should have arisen suspicion, but clearly weren’t.

I resisted the urge to clap my hands. Just a bit further my dear, I thought, brushing a lock of dark hair from my face, waiting. Just two steps. Then one. I finally let myself laugh aloud as he stepped into the range of my vines. In an instant they sprang to life, stretching across both sides of the alley, in a thick mat, lifting him bodily into the air and leaving him hanging.

At last, all the lessons and lectures were paying off. If nothing else, I could sing to the walls and make these little webs to keep myself safe whenever someone started poking their nose into my business.

For three days, I’d wandered the streets of Tarn, looking for just the right people.

I wanted two, two men to accompany me into the mountains, and yet, it could not be just anyone. I didn’t know why. I’d engaged in over a dozen discreet interviews, trying to find just the right souls to bring along on my quest, but none of them had satisfied me. Every seedy tavern I’d explored held only the same manner of useless fools that hunted me. I wanted someone clever and passionate, someone unmotivated by money and greed, for I could pay not a cent.

I had known my father would send people to fetch me. As leader of the Mages and the only wizard alive, he had a myriad of poor louts at his disposal to bring me back. He always had, seven times I’d run away, and every time I’d been hauled back before too long. But this time would be different, I knew a few secrets I’d not known then, the means to escape.

And I was different.

If they only knew what I knew, what I had planned. I would change the world. Soon even my father would fear me. The mere thought made me tremble. I looked about me, at the walls surrounding me, the windows like glass eyes that glinted with sunlight. I was lost again. I simply adored wandering through the city, getting lost. The world here was a delight of rooftop gardens and strange shops, and incredible people. A labyrinth filled with beggars and thieves and merchants and street performers. By night lamps lit the sky, like stars lost themselves, waiting to be hurled back into the sky with the break of dawn.

I loved the city, a place I’d never been even as a child, trapped eternally in that stuffy old castle. I felt free now, and at home, even alone. I curled bare toes against the stone road, and then set off, feeling wild. I belonged here, and wished I could stay forever, but my new mission called, like a song carried aloft by the breeze.

It took me a fair bit of wandering and guesswork, but eventually I made it back to the district where I’d chosen to settle in, just as dusk began to seep through the sky, leeching out the blue. For the last few days I’d been living in a massive apartment complex, with perhaps hundreds of men and women. The building was riddled with tiny rooms. Some may have scoffed, but I loved my tiny, cozy room, with its lumpy old mattress and battered stove.

However, as I cheerily strode for the home, I caught something in the corner of my eye, down a nearby alley, one I’d yet to explore, and no wonder, it was filled with trash, piles and piles of refuse that spilled out into the lane proper. A boy lay in a bare patch between two mountains of garbage, looking somewhat battered. Curious, I took a step closer, and realized it was not a boy, but a man, perhaps a bit older than my own sixteen years.

I took another step closer, then several more. His chest was bare, I noted quickly, a latticework of scars striped his body, all moving as he breathed evenly in sleep. And his pants looked ratty, perhaps he was just a beggar, passed out from some whiskey too strong for a young lad.

And yet, he looked a bit stocky, well fed. I was watching him now from across the bustle that filled the road, clattering carts and stomping horses and yelling filled the air. No one seemed to take even the slightest notice of him, all too busy at their own work to care for another drunkard. His boots, they were what bothered me. Their black leather was too shiny and supple, their make too expensive. I was surprised they hadn’t been stolen yet.

Waiting for the right moment, I strode across the pavement, letting my curiosity pull me. As I always did.

As I neared, I noticed at once the man was a knight. The tattoo on his shoulder confirmed as much, marred though it was with some sort of wound. Not sure why I was doing what I was doing, I stalked into the alley without a hint of indecision, leaned forward, and attempted to rouse the young man with a vigorous shake of his good shoulder.

This, as it turned out, was a terribly bad idea.

In seconds I found myself pressed roughly against the wall of the building behind us, the man's forearm pressed to my throat. With one hand he restrained me, putting his weight into holding me back, and with the other he drew a sword. He pointed the blade at my throat, seeming to pull it out of the air itself.

"Tell me your name," he ordered with a hoarse rasp. "And what time is it?" The man's eyes darted to the right, then the left. They looked wild and bloodshot. Maybe I was wrong about him. Maybe he was just a common drunk.


I knew that wasn't true. Despite their slate gray color, his eyes had a certain quality to them I struggled to define. Depth, maybe. Innocence.

He's no killer. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I was certain of it. I let myself relax, no longer feeling endangered. He'd probably never killed a man in battle, much less a helpless female like myself.

Plus, despite the nox odors of garbage and sweat laying siege to my nasal passages, I did not detect even a hint of alcohol. He seemed to be analyzing me even as I studied him. The poor boy did look fairly dazed.

I was the first to speak. "Little too much to drink, eh?" I asked, despite knowing the truth. "You warrior type boys and your whiskey."

"No...I haven't been drinking. I was drugged." His voice was surprisingly steady, given the look in his eyes.

Chapter Four

It turns out I had finished Chapter four. I was happy enough with the way it turned out, so I present it now with only a few minor changes. Any and all comments appreciated.

Chapter Four: The Warmth of the Sun


Just like that, gone.

A little girl’s life snuffed out like a sandcastle on the shore, washed away as if it were nothing, meaningless. I ran through the night in torment, gasping for breath. The arrow wound in my shoulder seemed to cry like a living thing, sending shivers down my spine that were chased by long rivulets of blood. Poison, I realized quickly, my soldier’s mind neatly tucking the fact away even as everything in me wanted to drop to my knees in heartache and wait for death.

I’d failed.

An oath had been broken tonight even as an oath of vengeance had been born. I’d sworn to protect my brother and sister with my life, and I’d failed them. Injured, increasingly dizzy, and out of breath, I knew I had to think of something fast, or I was going to die. Men would be after me, were already after me. With dogs, and horses. I could outrun neither.

Maps flitted through my mind one by one as I deliberated briefly over what to do. There was a creek that flowed not far from here. If I could throw off the dogs and disguise my trail, it would buy me a little bit of time. I cut south, and increased my speed as much as I could manage.

The stream would save me. It was a slender offshoot of the Tarnle, a mighty river that ran south all the way to the Void. I all but crashed into the water when I finally made it, exhausted and sick. Every bone in my body trembled, every muscle ached. The heavy sedative at work in my system waged war with the shockingly icy water. It was all I could do it crawl through the smooth pebbles to the other side and collapse.

The need to sleep grew even stronger, making my limbs heavy. I staggered to a kneeling position and began to rip off my shirt with heavy, clumsy fingers. I slapped at my newly numbed arrow wound awkwardly, feeling for the tip still embedded in my flesh. As soon as my fingers were able to find purchase, I pulled. It did not come out easily. I bit my lip till it bled to keep from screaming. And finally, after ripping open the skin anew I was able to remove the cursed devil.

And then I collapsed again, and would surely have died, had the arrow not wound up beneath my tangled limbs, where it was able to dig slightly into my chest. I came to again, wrapping the tattered remains of my shirt around my shoulder in the best bandage I could muster. The forest spread before me. I wanted to get up and walk, where I could hide in its shelter, but I could only crawl. I made it no more than a few trees in before the sedative at last had its way with me, and I collapsed into a deep sleep. My last thought before I fell unconscious was that I had gone nowhere near far enough to escape.


Every time I slept for the last three years I had been afflicted with painful nightmares of death, my own. I always dreamed when I slept, and that horrible morning in the forest was no exception to that. But like my last nightmare, it was different.

I did not see myself dying, I instead saw myself standing before the Void, a massive wall of nothingness that traverses the curve of the entire planet, separating the world into two halves that do not meet. All was silent, I could see grass waving in a breeze, but I felt nothing. All was reduced to pallid gray monochrome, as if all color had been drained from the world. I felt as I stood there a sense of waiting, as if someone important were about to speak.

And then after a moment, everything changed, another gray image filling my head. A tall man with a face like an owl stood covered in blood, with an oddly shaped left arm that bent in an odd way, held to far from the body. And then another change. This time a strikingly beautiful sorceress lay in a deep bed of flowers, the gray color preventing me from seeing what sort of mage she was. Then another shift, another new picture. This time I was flying on the back of a long, skinny dragon. We seemed to be performing in some sort of circus.

Suddenly the images began to swing by faster and faster, more and more disorienting. I saw a war-torn field wet with blood, scattered bodies everywhere. A breathtaking tower the height of a mountain. A mighty three masted ship being hauled over mountains of ice, the Castle of Tarn in ruins, and finally a pit in the midst of a desert, a massive pit yawning wide to swallow me whole…

I woke up in a cold sweat yet again.


An enchantment seemed to lay heavily on the forest, making it seem as if I dreamed still. The air all about me had a shimmering quality to it, and my eyelids felt as heavy as anvils as I forced them open. The sedative seemed to be gone, but my body moved sluggishly, as if trapped in molasses. Scattered sunlight peeked through the trees, indicating I had slept far too long.

Long enough to be captured, long enough to be killed.

I could tell that somehow I was being kept safe, through unnatural means.

Through magic.

I lay alone slumped near the roots of an ancient Beech tree. As I began to rise, the world around me moved in a blur, shapes and colors flying by too fast to be seen. I could hear voices calling out, I heard my name, and even saw people walk right past me, with dogs. Yet I was not spotted. No one hauled me to my feet for a quick and brutal execution. I was left alone.


After a time, the world around me seemed to slow, and the blur faded, leaving me laying in the forest alone and free. I could move again, no longer slow and out of synchronization with the world.

Could it really have been magic? I thought as I stood. I didn’t know how, or what had just happened, but I knew some sort of being had just saved me. I stood, alert. All traces of the sedative were indeed gone. My shoulder was sore but otherwise ok, the bleeding seeming to be under control. I couldn’t believe it, there was no way anybody had that kind of luck.

And who would help a murderer escape anyways? The thought troubled me. Who or what had helped me escape from notice?

I sighed, wondering what I should do next. I had to look at the facts. I was a hunted man, wanted for murder. The Knights of Tarn have long had a traditional means of hunting down known killers. A group of six men called an execution force would be deployed immediately. They would hunt me wherever necessary by any means necessary until they killed me. And obviously, I could not count on some manner of strange magic to save me every time they came near.

I decided I would head to the capital for now, try to learn what I could. Perhaps this killer had a pattern, a record, anything that would be the talk of a big city.

For it was not evading capture that concerned me, that was secondary. My own life was secondary, for I had given myself up for dead.

First and foremost, I had one goal, one desire.

I would find my sister’s killer, and I would destroy him.


Setting out from the forest wound up being far easier said than done for two reasons.

The first was that I could not forgive myself. Grief continued to plague me as I wearily wandered through the woods. Tears streamed down my cheeks even as I forced myself to carry on. I had been trained all my life not to show emotion. I had learned as a child how to bury my feelings, or snuff them out completely. It was what I had done all day, but the same thoughts continued to haunt me, over and over again. Lorelei’s face as the life left her filled my vision, again and again my failure came back to me.

The second? I was lost.

My normally flawless internal sense of direction failed me, leaving me unable to find any kind of path or way out. The trees grew close together here, weaving together with the undergrowth to create a disorienting green maze that would not yield an exit to me. Worse, it appeared to be growing darker in a matter of mere minutes, meaning that soon I would be stranded by the sun and left to stumble around helplessly.

Finally as twilight fell, bathing the world in orange and pink, I fell to my knees in despair. As I knelt sobbing in the grass of a small clearing, a rustling in the nearby bushes set my senses on alert. I quickly hopped to my feet and drew my sword, taking a ready fighting stance.

An eerie sense of dread settled on me as I waited for something to emerge. A deep, terrifying sense that I was in the presence of something truly malevolent was overwhelming me. My knees wanted to buckle and my head to swim with fear but I forced it all down and stood resolute, ignoring the frosty chill that filled the air, able to focus again at last.

Lorelei’s killer is here, I realized quickly. This was the murderer I sought to kill. Without knowing how I knew, I knew. Not giving it a second thought, I crashed through the bushes into another clearing. A shadow in the shape of a man stood at the far edge. With a wordless scream, I swung my sword up to thrust and lunged forward, but I flew right through the shadow and somehow impossibly emerged where I’d been before, the first meadow.

Turning I dashed back, and there the shadow was again, waiting. The shadow man beckoned me with one hand, mockingly.

He’s toying with me. Whoever this being was, I wasn’t strong enough to defeat him, that much was certain. I couldn’t understand why he was letting me live, even helping me, but I would destroy him all the same, somehow I would become powerful enough.

Knowing it was futile, but unable to suffer the disgrace, I lifted my sword and charged again, giving vent to my frustration and impotence… and emerged outside the forest, stumbling over my boots into direct sunlight.

He was gone again. In my weakness I had failed, but I refused to despair. My head was clear, my emotions controlled. And yet somehow, despite the warmth of the sun, a chill rolled down my spine, and the air outside the forest was still cold.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In which I finally spit it out

So...I know people read this blog...even though comments tend to be few and far between. I had hoped the poll would be appealing because it is completely anonymous, but no takers so far.

Just to be's a brief description of each story.

Sovereign Night: A knight is framed for the murder of his younger sister, forcing him on the run. Despite being clueless as to the identity, he binds himself to an oath to kill the murderer. Eventually he falls in love with a mysterious sorceress on the run herself, who gets him to join her in a quest for four magical amulets. Together the two then convince a dragon to join them...a slightly alcoholic dragon who's also had some trouble, and also is convinced she can see ghosts. Good setup for an exciting read right??

The Unstoppable: Adam Blackpool, a computer programmer about to get married, is taking his fiance to meet his mother. Along the way, they get into a horrible car accident. He wakes up two years later to a seemingly different life...different name on his driver's license, different age, different city. Even stranger, he soon realizes he's developed a variety of superpowers...and he's not the only one...

Eden: A collection of short stories. Originally it was all focused on Adam, Eve, and Cain, but I've been considering expanding that more recently...widening the focus to cover more of the Bible, in order to get into more of a historical basis and less of a me making stuff up basis.

Also...I've mentioned these two before but they're further down the road:

The Sea of Forgetfulness: Escaping a country on the brink of devestating invasion and a king hideously transformed, a prince and a servant girl run away only to wind up tricked into getting themselves lured into another world...the world where all forgotten things go.

The Space Trilogy: It's 2777 AD. The whole human race has been wiped out save one man. The whole universe has been devastated save one small city on one small planet. A little place called Earth. Two robots are dispatched with a mission to save mankind by sending this one man back in time to change everything. There's only one catch...ok, there's like six. They're both broken, they sent him back to the wrong time, he keeps jumping through time randomly, and the past doesn't want to be changed. And time travel tends to ravage one's insides. And he's responsible for it all anyways. Yikes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So I've exhausted all that I already had written for Sovereign Night, meaning we'll now be flying into new territory now...I believe I've got some rough ideas jotted for chapter four someplace. Hopefully soon I will find them and whip them into shape, and create something wonderful.

In other news, I'm watching Julie and Julia. It's a pretty good movie so far. Also, I like Amy Adams. One of my favorite actresses. Do women really go out and eat power lunches in large groups?? I see it a lot in movies, I've noticed.

The last few days at work have been crazy...early mornings, late nights. I'm glad it's over. I have tomorrow off!! And with it I will do so much...I am getting excited about Christmas! It's just a few days away. I can't believe what a whirlwind the last few weeks have been...

Monday, December 21, 2009

The new John Reuben album came out today. I am downloading it now. I found a physical copy for $7 bucks (which came with his last CD free) and a digital for 5.99 (with bonus tracks) I bought them both.


I have to learn new JPRs.

JPR=Job Position Requirement

Basically what i get tested on for my fire academy practical, which is on January 16...!!!

I have three weeks to get myself ready for my second chance...better not blow it this time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009



It seems like there's been a lot going on in life I'm going to post a brief update.

First, I got braces.

Not enjoyable. My teeth have been sore since Thursday night. Yes, that long. It's difficult, also, because the back four braces chafe against the linings of my jaw. Also not enjoyable.


I went to a new church today. This is not necessarily news, since I've been to three new churches recently, but this one felt like a better fit. I guess because they seem very driven by the Great Commission. This was refreshing to me, because in my experience everyone acts like Jesus's last words to believers were to party it up. Strong words?? Maybe...maybe not. [looks knowingly into the camera]

Also, we put our Christmas tree up today. It smells very pine up in here. Very pine. No pun intended. Seriously, because it's a little too strong. And something's making me itch like crazy.

Right now, my family is all watching the Office and both my parents are slumped over dead asleep. Very funny.

Shush is a funny word. It's like slush, only it's shush. Shush me. Don't shush me. Buy me a slushy.

Also, I decided Elf is the best Christmas movie ever.

Blog complete, over and out. Roger that.

Scratch that. Copy. We don't say roger in the fire service. I've been corrected for that before.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chapter three!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, this chapter is still in rough draft phase...let me know what you think!

Chapter 3: A Bloody End

-As narrated by Charnil Esgilioth Perenefor Iskiil.

It was a deranged kind of night. Wild and breathless like a plunge into icy water. A contest was under way, like nothing any of us had ever seen.

Seven dragons.

Seven men.

In a roughly circular canyon that was all jagged heaps of rock scorched white by the minimal moonlight, we sat. Seven dragons. All waiting on our haunches for the word. I shivered with excitement, a ripple running down my body from snout to tail, every scale seeming to vibrate.

It was a near-primal contest that had stood the test of time for ages, despite being outlawed recently in the last thirty years. Seven men. Each of us flew with our Rider upon our back, linked by mental connection to weak men wrapped in frail pink flesh, little better than flowers exposed to winter’s frost. And yet, men had something strange inside, something they called heart, and cunning. Apart we were dull and unscrupulous, and they soft and vulnerable.

Together we were as gods.

The rules were simple. All we had to do was use our tail to knock the men off each others’ backs. On the surface, this meant nothing more than disgrace, but this was a deadlier game than appearances revealed. Accidents were common and usually fatal. A rider who came dislodged from his dragon had to be caught before he hit the rocks below, or both and he and his rider would die. Mistakes of judgment by mere millimeters could be fatal here.

My rider’s name was Matthias. From birth we had been closer than eggs in a nest, or twins in a womb. He was wiry and wild, a youth of incredible passion and energy. I could feel his body tense against my back, his knees tighten against my waist. I could feel the grim smile light up his narrow features. Sturdy callused palms pressed against my shoulders.

Are you ready? I whispered mentally.

His only reply was a wordless burst of eager, jubilant thought.

And then the word, just one. Almost too simple and monosyllabic to represent what felt like the most epic moment of our entire lives.


With the easy grace of a prizefighter I leapt into the air and spun lazily above the cliff for a moment. And then after a second of appraisal we were off like a shot, a burst of light, surely too fast to be seen. The fourteen of us wheeled and rolled in midair, searching for a weak point, a place to strike. Long muscular tails flashed in the moonlight, most strikes failing to land a blow, or else they harmlessly struck the dragon rather than the rider, accomplishing nothing. One great black dragon named Bellias struck at Matthias but I flew backwards in an arc, so that his strike hit my belly, barely stinging. My claws seemed to clutch at velvety, starstudded darkness for a moment as I flew upside down, the sky suddenly beneath me for one disorienting moment.

I flew downwards in a tight corkscrew, out of the mass of scaled bodies. I heard a cry pierce the night above me and watched as a rider plummeted for the bottom of the canyon. One down, six to go. As the fight spread further throughout the echoing walls of the canyon, I selected my first target, a slender silver colored beast whose name I couldn’t recall. For a beat I kept my body tilted towards her, as if we were locked in a game of chicken. I challenged her with my eyes as strongly as I could, urging her to see this as a test of bravery, till at the last possible second, I tilted left flew and flew right into the cliff wall behind her. I tilted my body and pressed my claws into the rock, springing back at her and knocking her rider off with a light, almost gentle smack.

A grin lit up Matthias’ face. Two pair down. Not taking more than a second to exalt, I prepared to soar back into what was left of the battle proper when a vicious strike nailed Matthias in the back, hurling him into my neck and nearly cracking his skull. Both of us began to fade in and out of consciousness as he struggled against the darkness threatening to pull him in. I flew downward erratically, all but falling. I didn’t need to look to know our attackers. Saul and Miran. Once the closest of friends, now the bitterest of rivals.

My eyelids seemed to grow heavier by the second, the tilt of my flight more pronounced, I tried to will Matthias awake, urge him to grab on and hold tight, but I was losing him. And worse, I was losing myself. My thoughts were transforming into a mixed perception jumble, to where I could barely tell what was me feebly attempting to regain control of our erratic descent, and what was Matthias, feebly attempting to hang on.

I knew two things. Miran was still there, in chase. Ready to strike again the second we showed any sign of regaining control.

And I knew the rocks were about to kill us.

Slowly, as if peeling a layer of lead off of my scales, I pushed back the dark of unconsciousness. And yet, I did not stop our fall just yet. It was going to take all our combined wits to beat these two.

I began to listen closely, and time seemed to slow. I heard Matthias pulling in deeper breaths as my clever rider subtly took a tighter grip on my neck. I heard the wind whistling quietly past Miran’s icy blue wings. I heard the sounds of battle far above as the contest ran on. I had just barely registered the eerie fact that I couldn’t hear Saul breathing when the time came to act.

In a matter of seconds I twisted my body around twice, once to strike at Saul with my tail and send him flying, and again to land on the rocks of a slender outcropping, safe and triumphant. In the seconds that followed those quick darting movements I soon realized that this was about more than the contest. As Miran swooped back to catch her rider before he fell father into the canyon, I caught a strange look she threw my way, filled with hatred.

It was not the first time I had seen her look at me that way, but it had a feeling of finality to it, like it would be the last.This was no friendly contest to them. It would be a duel. It saddened me that our friendship had fallen this far, but I was determined to stand and do whatever necessary.

When they returned, the battle above was over. There was no sign of the other dragons or riders, as if they’d sensed the violent storm threatening to break beneath their feet. Matthias and I stood tall on the cliff together, he perched high on my neck.

No more pretense.

“Where is it to be?” I called defiantly, already half suspecting I knew the answer.

A beat. Silence reigned.

“The Hollows,” Saul replied with his strange, raspy voice, no longer the timbre I remembered from our youth, nor what it seemed it should have grown into through adolesence.

But then, as if they simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to fight then and there, they struck. A quick darting attack centered on my rider. Matthias ducked low behind my neck and we swooped for the sky, into the air and over their heads. Despite their refusal to honor the standard code of conduct, I refused to give in so easily. Instead of turning and engaging, I kept flying, straight out of the canyon like a firework on New Year’s.

We must make for the Hollows, Matthias thought, putting a picture in my mind of the great mountain everyone simply called the Hollows, honeycombed as it was with hundreds of tunnels. I nodded without speaking, thinking only of flying faster than our would be attackers. The treacherous mountain terrain beneath us flew by in a blur. The mountains of Tarn had been our home for all our lives. I didn’t need to think about how to get there, I just flew.

The first gentle halo of pink shone on the horizon when we passed the dragon rider compound without slowing. An immense walled fortress, it was set into the face of a small mountain at the foot of a slender, treacherous pass that eventually led down into the endless plains of Tarn proper. Taller mountains, the tail end of a range of massive crags called the Taori Spine rose high above the fortress.

Draconian legend held that the spires were the remains of dragons who had grown too large to fly and fallen into a deep slumber, eventually transforming into mountains. It was well known that any dragon never paired with a rider would continue growing their entire lives, but it had been hundreds, if not thousands of years since such a dragon had existed. Although some believed there were massive dragons out there hidden in the mountains still.

Matthias sighed wistfully as we passed the castle far below, thoughts of hot cocoa and warm, clean blankets filling his mind. It was only June, but in the mountains the nights are always cold.

In due time, the Hollows were before us, growing larger with each passing second. This particular mountain was the last of the Spire, a sacred place to dragons and men alike, for it was where we went to die, and where we commemorated major events.

We flew close and landed in one of the tunnels. Miran and Saul were only a few beats behind, and soon the battle would begin, and our longstanding feud would come to its tragic, bloody end.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dilemma: When I post a new chapter of my book, it will go over top of the first chapter. This is counterintuitive to the way a book works.

Solution: I will alter the date of said new post, making it appear below the original post.

Therefore: Chapter 2 is going up soon, but it will be below chapter 1.

Also: In the future, I will post links to each new chapter after it arrives.

Lastly: Please read chapter one and review. If you want to make me happy.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sovereign Night, Chapter One

Chapter One: Words For Binding

(As narrated by Luke Orimar, a Knight of the King)

A chill bit through my body as I lay tossing and turning in restless, nightmare laden sleep. It would be the darkest night of my entire life, despite what awful moments my future held, and the unearthly cold that erased the last vestiges of summer heat was perhaps a warning of what time would reveal.

In my dream I sat a table. A simple wooden affair riddled with stains. My brother Logen and my sister Lorelai were there with me. They were both garbed in black, as was I, I noticed as I looked about. The walls were an incomprehensible blur. I noticed my siblings' faces only. I heard but could not see a door open, and a man with silver hair sat at the table with us.

His face was a blur.

He reached from nowhere and pulled out four tall, slender cups, and sat one before each of us. Their dingy glass was stained, the liquid within a noxious violet color. Blindly I reached with numb fingers and made to take a sip, but Lorelai beat me to it. Instantly her face became blurry, and then she dropped to the table, dead.

A moment later, Logen moved to take a drink, but I preempted him and drained my own glass, hoping somehow to stave off my brother’s death. The blackness at the bottom of my cup quickly swallowed me and I felt myself falling into a massive void that grew and grew.

With a start I awoke, my blankets tangled around my body in disarray.

That was different, I thought to myself, shifting on my mattress and glancing around the tiny dark room I called home. This dream was different. But why? Ever since the death of my parents six years ago, I had been haunted by nightmares of my death nightly. It had made sleep a difficult and frightening prospect, but this was worse in ways I could scarcely fathom. The thought of my baby sister Lorelai dying was much more difficult to accept. She was just six years old and had recently begun her training as a mage.

I rolled over again and mindlessly tried to straighten out my bedclothes, knowing I would never get back to sleep. Especially given what today was. The day of my shield ceremony. Every knight on their seventeenth birthday was given a shield, marking them as an adult, a man. The day would be especially painful with no parents to present me my shield. The captain of the guard would have to do it in their stead.

I sat up and reached for a match from my bedside table, flicking it against one of my boots that lay strewn on the floor. I lit a candle inside a lantern next to my bed, waiting as my eyes adjusted. I felt an uncharacteristic need to warm my hands against the softly flickering light. The hardwood floor, too, was strangely cold against my bare feet. I stood and slowly, mechanically got dressed, daydreaming about a hot cup of coffee and fresh milk swirling within.

And then I noticed with a mixture of horror and curiosity that my sword, most beloved and personal possession of all I owned, was missing. Kept within easy reach on the bureau near my bed, I had put it in the same place every night for ten years. A strange feeling of dread came over me as I stared at the place where it should have been, its lack puzzling. At once I raced for the door, heart pounding terrifically as I fumbled with my doorknob. It was this dread, and the chill that seemed to seep everywhere that led me to panic. June in Tarn was never cold.

At once as I hastily burst from my room I was sent sprawling, tangled with a very young boy. Some new recruit whose name I could not recall. The barracks of the knights are arranged around a courtyard, with my room being on the third and highest floor. I pushed the boy away without a thought and planted my palms on the guardrail, eyes searching for the thief.

It didn’t take long.

Illuminated in harsh white moonlight a cloaked shadow stood just twenty feet below. Pinned by some mysterious force, my sister Lorelai knelt before him. I made to scream but the words died in my throat. As I watched helplessly, my blade flashed through the air and pierced her abdomen. Once again I tried to yell, but my throat was sealed, to where I could barely breathe.

Finally finding my legs, I raced down the nearest stairs five at a time and leapt the last ten feet, nearly breaking my ankles. The shadow being was at the gate. Escaping. I had two options, I could go to Lorelai, or I could pursue him.

Yet there were no real options. Nothing in me could run while my sister lay bleeding to death at my feet. A haze of panic still flooded my mind. I knew I should be calling for help before he got away, but still I seemed incapable of words. My feet crunching in the dry grass seemed to be the only sound. My sword lay a few feet off, abandoned now that the deed had been done. I dropped to the ground and took Lorelai in my arms. The spell seemed to vanish. Only a moan escaped my lips.

She was still breathing, I could feel her ribcage as I hugged her to me. Her hands guarded a wound that was gushing blood all over both of us. I gasped. It felt like I could only gawk while I lost the precious being I’d sworn to protect above all else.

“Luke…” She murmured. I feebly attempted to occlude the massive wounds in her belly and back, but she moved in equally flimsy measures to stop me. Her voice nearly imperceptible, she began to whisper what sounded like nonsense.

“Between Saltwater and Cumulus Cloud…

The ocean is rolled back into the sky…”

“Shhhh,” I whispered, trying to lay her down so I could better dress her lacerations. “You don’t know what you’re saying. Relax…” She fought me, clutching weakly to my wrists.

“The Void Above the Horizon swallows all light,

Death crossed the Void to Strike…”

And then, just like that, as I stared into her eyes, they went flat. All the life within her vanished, like smoke escaping an open bottle.

I attempted to solemnly close her eyelids, but as I reached to pull them down, a sudden rage overtook me. Who could do such a thing? To kill an innocent child? And worse, I knew I’d been framed. She had died by my blade. There was no motive, not when I loved her the way I did, but there would be no evidence to suggest anything else. The Knight’s Barracks were supposed to be impenetrable. Dizzy with anger, the night seemed to press in on me, glaring through my skin. It suddenly became hot again. I rocked back on my heels and roared with such ferocity that my throat was instantly raw.

“I swear I’ll kill you!”
The words echoed off the walls around me, sure to bring knights running. I had mere seconds now to make my escape. As soon as I said the oath, I knew it was binding. I would kill this murderer no matter what it cost me, even if I myself died, that beast would know vengeance, and he would know it on the sword he’d killed with.

I swept up my blade and raced for the gate hoping to escape by whatever eerie fortune had allowed the killer to come and go. I didn’t even have time to clean myself of Lorelai’s blood, my sword still stained with it. I raced over the gate, climbing the crossbars, and once again nearly shattering my foot bones as I came down for a rough landing. In the guard tower I could hear a man fumbling with a bow, seeming to have just come out of some sort of stupor.

Bathed in milky moonlight, the world spilled out before me, like a river running into the sea. No trace of the fell murderer lurked in the shadows. I realized as I took off running that I would be hunting blind for someone I’d never seen.

I was twenty feet away when an arrow found me, hitting squarely in my left shoulder. I broke off the tail and kept going, adrenaline fueling my flight as knights assembled outside, ready to track me down. Murder was not a tried crime in the ranks of the Knights. There was no margin for error allowed in such areas. I would get beheaded immediately.

A shiver rolled down my spine as I contemplated my own head rolling across the dirt. I sped up, till I was going faster than I ever had in my life. I tried to force myself to think of escape plans, and remember every detail I could about the killer, but all I could see everytime I closed my eyes was the light vanishing from Lorelai’s big brown eyes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chapter Two: In Shadow

Chapter 2: In Shadow

(As narrated by Gwendolyn Aurreus, a greenery mage)

Like a thief I flitted through the halls of great castle Arxlin, scholarly home of Magery in Tarn. I slipped from shadow to shadow as quietly as bare feet will allow, the only sound in the darkness the subtle rustling that issued from my dress. The long, ancient rug that bore me to my destination in faded reds and golds brought to mind flying carpets from ancient legend, somehow making me feel even more like a criminal.

Like a thief I stopped before the immense double doors that led into the library. The library was a massive complex at the heart of the castle, filled with volume upon volume of dust laden tomes heavy with years, yellowed paper, and long forgotten wisdom. There were also hundreds of scrolls, some with ink practically still drying, and these were filled with younger ideas, fresh thoughts, and recent discoveries.

I wriggled my toes with anticipation and excitement, afraid to so much as breathe too loudly. And yet, I felt effortlessly at home here among the books, the place that had seen so much of my childhood spent. Part of my mind even now idly considered what books I was longing to read even as I strode with purpose on a mission that would change my life forever.

A greenery mage, I had trained under the eaves of this castle for as long as I could remember. My love of books was matched only by my taste for gardening, when there was only sun and soil and the simple joy of watching my efforts take literal root and grow.

Yet grander plans would bring my simple life to an end today. Once I stole the map I was here for, there would be no going back. Like shoving a giant boulder rolling downhill, once I set things in motion there would be no return to normalcy waiting at the end of it all.

Were it not for the moonlight cascading through the skylights, the features of the library would have been totally lost to sight. I nervously fingered the key I’d stolen as I silently strode past the front desk and into the room. Despite how well things were working in my favor I could not seem to help myself from feeling nervous. I’d been uncharacteristically flighty all day.

I’d almost blown it when I stole the key from the librarian, but I had gotten away despite my clumsy fingers. I’d chosen today after months of waiting for a reason.

Today was the king’s birthday.

Every year without fail all the mages able to bear travel and over age sixteen were called to the castle for some mysterious trouble. This was the first year I was old to go but I’d gotten out by faking an illness gained thanks to a special concoction I’d lovingly nurtured in my garden. I’d been left genuinely sick, but only for about half an hour.

And now the moment was upon me.

With breathless anticipation I stole through the shelves, illuminated starkly by the moonlight, everything harshely colored in blacks and whites and greys. At the far wall of the immense room I found a number of mysterious doors, of all different shaps, sizes and colors. After a moment’s thought I setled upon a small blueish door that was perfectly round with a knob set in the center rather than off to one side. I slid my ill-gotten key into the lock and was gratified by the audible click that followed as I turned it.

I pushed the door open quietly to find the most amazingly disordered room I had ever laid eyes on. Papers of all sorts were strewn everywhere. Books lay in stacks, rising imperiously above the piles of rubble like great towers. It seemed the head librarian was not as disciplined with his personal quarters as he was with the rest of the library. On any normal day the thought of the strict, onerously tidy little man wading through this office everyday would have had me doubled over laughing, but today was not a normal day.

Head librarian of the castle Arxlin meant head librarian of all Tarn, a prestigious position with a title, Dominus Clavis, or Keylord. In his possession were keys that enabled one to access just about anything, from ancient history to forbidden magics. Throughout the last several hundred years Tarnian history was filled with famous thefts, in which someone or other had stolen a key and used it for great mischief. But I was not here to steal a secret, but a promise of secrets.

A map.

Without delay I brushed off my shock over the appaling state of the room and began to search. I knew the Dominus had hidden them in here somewhere, I only needed to discover where. Despite the fact that I knew I had all night, my heart pounded in my chest as if all the king’s knights were mere moments away.

Just two days previous seven maps had been discovered in a secret safe that had been uncovered during renovations. I had only been able to weasel my way into five minutes of uninterrupted access, but it had been enough. Six of them were meaningless, even inaccurate, but for the seventh, I had chosen to put health, reputation, and position on the line to steal.

I didn’t bother searching through the sea of parchment at my feet. I strode straight for the desk and began to rifle through everything on it. I found the map in appalling straights. A tea mug had left its mark right dead center in the middle, and there was an assortment of small stains and crumbs all over it, even wax drippings from a candle. I sighed in disgust as I ducked out of the room, barely remembering to lock it behind me.

All but free, I thought to myself. I dashed across the library, faster than before, the walls a blur. The dark hall beyond somehow seemed even more foreboding now. I let my anxiety take hold as I ran for the passageway that exited into my garden. A cool June breeze greeted me as I stumbled out of the castle, nearly tripping over my own boots. I’d left them here along with a small satchel of belongings, in preparation for my flight from home. Both northern moons were out, the Hunter and the Dryad, making the night exceedingly bright. I saw it as a good omen, for my path of travel would be well-lit.

With a last sad look at my lovely little garden, I snatched up my boots in hand and slung my satchel over my shoulder and hopped the short wooden fence that enclosed the area. As the grass touched my feet, still warm from the heat of day, I felt my nerves calm. My uncharacteristic mood lifted, and I laughed aloud as I escaped into the night feeling as if the weight of the world had lifted from my shoulders.

Still wicked cool though.
I have no school.

It's weird.

So far, I've accomplished very little.

I am close to beating Dead Space though. So close. I've been...taking it a little easy for the first time in a long time, I will admit.

So. I still have to study, since I'm not finished. I haven't yet, but it's out there on the horizon somewhere. I also want to get some writing done, should the inspiration strike. But I need to reorganize myself on that front as its been awhile. Never did get around to writing much over the course of the semester.

Anyways, this is sort of a nonsense update...but I will hopefully post something of substance soon.


-Zelda: Spirit Tracks
-A Christmas Carol
-Subway breakfast
-Lemon tea
-Bear footstools
-Night at the Museum 2


-Ladders (bad luck for me apparently)
-Taylor Lautner (I have my reasons)
-Looking for a new job

-Putting away TVs
-Avatar (hopefully good)
-Flu shots
-Christmas shopping (Still got a little ways to go...)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finding promise in failure.

Today changed me.

I'm not sure how many days in my life I can say that about. Not many, certainly. You see, I failed today. It feels like one of the biggest failures of my life, even though I've tried to downplay it throughout the day...I really can't get around it.

You see, I failed my fire academy practical today, putting an end to a month and a half of nearly torturous studying. I only failed two stations, and I get to retest in a month, but I still can't get over it. It's hard to put into words exactly how it made me feel...but to work so hard, to put so much in to something I truly believed I could do, only to fall short, is incredibly painful to me.

It broke me. I held it together and kept my head up high as I walked away from the drillgrounds, but it really broke me. It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I sobbed the entire way home. I can't remember the last time I've ever cried that hard. And I'm usually pretty good at reigning in my emotions and keeping them in check.

I feel different, now that I'm a failure. It's an odd feeling to describe. I feel a bit odd trying to describe it, because I think it's a feeling only fellow failures can understand. I haven't told a soul how it all made me feel, because there's no way anyone will get it. Not my family or friends. Not my friend who went through the same academy, since he passed. Just the people who wound up like me, the ones who didn't measure up when it really mattered.

The failures.

It left me a little shellshocked. I haven't been able to decide what to do next. I feel like I'm at a little bit of a crossroads. Not to say I'm giving up, no. I intend to retest and give it all I've got it again. But now I've got this failure here. This game-changing failure that's always going to be a part of me. What do I do with it but learn?? Learn how to live better.

It may sound odd, but I feel more alive now than I have in a long time. I've barely been sleeping out of stress, barely noticing what I ate, what I did. Because I've been so singularly focused on this goal of mine to become a firefighter, to the point it almost made me sick. But then I'd freak out about getting sick and not being able to test, and I'd take vitamins and drink green tea and make sure I did what it took not to get sick.

Sorry, I know I'm starting to ramble. Short story long, I feel kind of liberated now. I don't know what I would have done if I'd passed. Celebrated, I suppose, but I would have stayed the same person. Because that's what I expected, to pass. But now I'm different.

I watched the new Night at the Museum movies tonight, and it was of course totally ridiculous, but something really struck me, something Amy Adams as Amelia Erhart said. "Have fun." What's the point of life if not to enjoy it, good or bad? I've been so stressed about this, and so busy carrying the world around on my shoulders, I haven't stopped to smell the roses in what feels like a long, long time.

And now in failure, I'm free.

Not to say there's no place in the world for responsibility, and doing good. But life is for enjoying. And I want to enjoy it. So that's all I wanted to share...there's been some brokenness and sadness today, but I think God turned it around into something beautiful, something I hope I never forget for all my life, whether I succeed or fail, whatever comes next.