Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rule of Three - Fourth post

Here's the fourth and final entry for the Rule of Three blogfest, the rules for which you can find here.

You can find my first entry here, the second one here, and the third one here.

The prompts for this week are:
1. The misfortune is resolved/accepted.
2. Relationships are mended/are torn asunder.
3. The final event becomes another secret for generations to come.
4. There is a new arrival in town.

I only managed to pull the first one off, which was logical that the misfortune be resolved. I tried to put the others in, but I failed :(

Wordcount is 599 - first time during REN3 that I didn't have to cut anything out, I think I got the feel for how much is 600 words :D

Here it is, the final instalment:

The shield Gray raised with the last morsel of energy started to fade. Curled together on the ground, they waited for the beasts to strike.

Instead, a hand grabbed Gray by the upper arm and lifted her off the ground. She found herself staring at deep green eyes.

"I though you were dying," Hade snarled at her, then spun around to cut down an incoming bat.

"Sorry to disappoint," Gray smirked. "The day is still young, though."

Adrien was helping Lisbeth get on her feet. When their eyes met, he froze, lost, but then quickly turned away.

"Couldn't you stay in bed for five minutes?" he snapped at Gray.

"Who would save your butts then?" she grinned.

"It looks more like we're saving yours," he thrust his sword into another monster.

"I've already done my part. We took care of the one who summoned them."

"Really? Doesn't look like they're leaving," he slew another bat with much greater force than necessary.

"Now that the spell is broken, we actually have a chance of chasing them away."

"And just how do you expect we do that?"

"You'll see," she grinned, pulling two bottles from her pocket. "I have here Fox Grass..." she shook the content of the bottle – mashed herbs swirled inside it - "... and Ladydew," she shook the other one. "When you put these two together and set them on fire, they create the most incredible stench."

"Great. All we need now is fire."

"Take off your tunic," Hade turned to Adrien.

"What?" he blinked at her.

"Hade, I don't think now is the time for that sort of thing," Gray smirked.

"Just take it off. It's ruined anyway."

Adrien sighed. He caught a moment between two attacks to pull the tunic off and toss it to Hade.

Gray snickered as she noticed both Hade and Lisbeth eying his well defined torso. "Girls, concentrate."

Hade handed her the tunic. "Wrap the herbs in it. It should burn nicely."

Gray spread the tunic on the ground and poured the content of both bottles onto it, then wrapped it in a bundle. Conjuring a small fireball, she set it on fire. Milky white smoke arose from the burning bundle.

"Gods mercy, how it stinks!" Hade cried out.

"Lets hope bats feel the same way about it. The shirt won't be enough," Gray frowned. "We need a proper fire."

"I'm on it," Adrien said as he placed his hand on Lisbeth's shoulder, avoiding looking at her. "Come with me, there's a woman in there that needs your skills."

He took her towards the house they were hiding at. She let out a cry as he cut down a bat that was coming at her as they ran.

He emerged from the house a moment later, wielding a chair in each arm. By the time he reached the fire, the chairs were battered enough from bat smashing that it was easy to dismember them and throw them in the fire.

The smoke grew thicker. Gray bent the wind to spread it in all directions.

First the bats stopped attacking them, distancing themselves from the fire, then small groups rose to the air. Larger groups followed until the entire swarm was flying back towards the mountain.

"Victory!" Hade leaped into the air.

"Great," Gray replied with a weary voice. "That means I can collapse now."

Only Adrien's sharp reflexes saved her from hitting the ground. He swooped her in his arms and carried her off to the house.

"Maybe I should get wounded next time," Hade grumbled as she followed them in.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rule of Three - Third Post

Here's the third entry for the Rule of Three blogfest, the rules for which you can find here.

You can find my first entry here, and the second one here.

Here I am again, posting at the last second. It's becoming a tradition. I spent twice as much time on editing then on actual writing, trying to fit a 1200 word scene into 600 words limit. The result is so cut out that even I have trouble following what's going on. Serves me right for having much bigger ideas than needed. Please tell me if it's too confusing, maybe I can tweak it up a bit after the blogfest is over.

Gray staggered when she got up. Understandable, considering the blood loss.

"You shouldn't be standing!" the healer rushed in.

"Tell that to the beasties."

"There's no beasties here, you're just-"

"Not delirious. Look out the window, sweetie."

As soon as she neared the window a fanged snout slammed into it, screaming. She screamed back.

"What is that thing?"

"A ridiculously overgrown bat," Gray opened the cupboard and selected a few bottles.

"What... Why- wait, don't drink all of that! That could keep a horse up for days!"

"Great," Gray passed her the empty bottle. "Should keep me up for an hour or two." She pocketed the rest and walked out.

"Wait! I told your boyfriend I'd watch over you!"

"Adrien? He's not my boyfriend." She frowned, "I'd watch out for Hade, though."

"He's her boyfriend?"

"Not yet. She doesn't like the effect you have on him. You're half-Lamia, aren't you?"

Her face turned white. "I, I'm-"

"Don't worry, I won't tell. You didn't choose your parents. Do you leave every man speechless?"

"Pretty much," her lips curved.

Gray giggled. "Must be quite a conversation killer. What's your name?"


"I'm Lingrayel. Gray." She opened the doors and stepped outside. "Coming?"

Lisbeth hesitated.

"Don't worry, I cast a spell, they can't sense us. Come."

They dashed across the street.

"Aren't you going to help them?" she pointed down the street, where Adrien and Hade were fighting the bats.

"They can handle it," she smirked. "They fought worse." Just then Adrien smashed the door and they dragged the wounded woman inside. "See?"

Inwardly, Gray let out a sigh.

She led Lisbeth deeper into the heart of town.

"Here," she placed her palm on a house wall. "Feel it."

Lisbeth flinched when she touched it.

"That's what I felt when we arrived," she opened the door and slid inside. In the corridor, another door was ajar. The stairs swirled downwards.

They halted at the bottom, the wall separating them from the room ahead.

"Come out! I know you're there!" a voice came.

Motioning Lisbeth to stay, Gray stepped forward.

An eerie site greeted her. Diagrams and drawings adorned the floor, candles by the dozens, firestones everywhere. In the center of it, a man sat holding a candle. No, not a man yet, a boy.

"Not another step or I light the firestones and we all go kaboom," his hand edged towards the nearest stone.

"You're playing with fire," she replied. "Break that spell before more people get hurt."

"You're not from Renaissance," he remarked. "My ancestors founded this town, you know. Miners they were, mining the Gauches. Until one day they dug too deep, where monsters slept. They told no-one. My great-great-great-grandfather, a wizard, learned to control them. My legacy," he glanced at a spellbook before him. "Renaissance is also my legacy. I should be running it, not some conceited traders."

"You don't deserve it. A true leader protects his people, he doesn't terrorize them."

"They all deserve to die, for how they treated me!"

"I too deserve to die, Torrin?" Lisbeth stepped into the light.

He gawked at her, tongue-tied.

Good girl.

Distracted, he couldn't even register the energy bolt that smashed him into the wall, knocking him unconscious.

Gray swayed. Her bandages were turning crimson. Lisbeth jumped to catch her.

Gray pushed her away. "It's not over yet."

The stairs seemed fewer going down.

They almost reached Adrien's hiding place when her legs buckled, landing her on her knees.

"I was wrong," she gasped. "It won't keep me up for an hour. The protection spell collapsed too. We're sitting ducks now."

Word count: 600, according to Open Office.

Prompts for this week:
  1. The impending misfortune foreshadowed in the 1st prompt comes to pass, but one or more characters laugh at it. 
  2. Betrayal is in the air.  
  3. Relationships unravel or strengthen.
  4. A long-kept secret is revealed.

I only managed to do the long kept secret one, but I managed to put it twice, once for the healer and the second time for the guy in the basement. Everyone has a secret in Renaissance :D I spent an entire day googling for a mythical creature that has a mesmerizing effect on men, without trying to eat them, drown them or have sex with them while they sleep. I found none. So I went for something close, which was a Lamia. Not exactly the happiest solution, since a lot of people will probably have to google it, I just hope I managed to show the nature of the "creature" well.

Oh, in case anybody is interested in reading more about these characters, there are two short stories here, and I could be persuaded to post a few more here on the blog ^_^

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rule of Three: Second Post

Even though I wrote the second part days ago, I'm still posting it last second. It's been a busy day yesterday. And a crappy day today, caused by something I ate yesterday. Before I miss the deadline, lets get down to business.

This is the second entry for the Rule of Three blogfest, the rules for which you can find here.
You can find my first entry here.

The prompts for this week were:
  • Someone is killed or almost killed
  • One of the characters is revealed to be not who or she is
  • A relationship becomes complicated
  • A character lies to another on an important matter
The word count is 598 words. I could have used a few hundred more for descriptions and dialogue, I guess the story ran away from me a bit. I just hope I could fit the next two parts of where I have planned to take this inside the word count and the incoming prompts. Anyway, here it is, hope you enjoy it.

Adrien moved a stray lock of damp, black hair from Gray's forehead. Seeing her like this, all broken and helpless, made his stomach clench.

"There," the healer woman fastened the bandages. "Now we can only wait."

He wanted to thank her, but as soon as she looked at him, his mind went blank. He was never shy around women, so why was he tongue-tied all of a sudden? She was a beautiful woman, but still-

Hade burst into the room.

"Come with me," she grabbed him by the hand, dragging him towards the door.

"Hade, please," he sighed, pulling his hand free. This constant animosity between the two was wearing him down. "This is serious, she could die. Could you give her a break?"

"I don't care about Gray!" she blurted, then sighed, pressing her palm over her eyes. "That came out wrong. I meant to say that it has nothing to do with her. There's something outside you need to see."

"Go..." Gray's voice was hoarse.

"I'll watch over her," the healer's smile was reassuring.

He turned back to Hadelaide. "This better be important."

"I'm rather hoping it's not," she mumbled as she dragged him towards the doors again.

The few people in the street stood still, staring and pointing somewhere to the north. That was never a good sign.

He followed their gaze. What he saw sent chills down his spine.

"What is that?"

"I have no idea, but it's twice as closer now then when I went to get you."

"Are those... birds?"

It wasn't a cloud, that much was clear. He could make out a multitude of dots forming this giant shadow.

"Everybody inside!" he screamed, turning towards the town folk. "Get inside the houses and barricade yourselves. Now!"

They hesitated, staring at him, non-comprehension written all over their faces. A woman with a small child regained her senses first. Grabbing the little girl by the hand, she ran down the street.

"Over here!" Someone at the other side of the street was holding the house doors open, beckoning them in.

"Move it, people!" Hade yelled at them, pushing the reluctant ones in the right direction.

When everyone was safely inside, Adrien pulled Hade back towards the healer's place. He wasn't about to leave Gray alone and unprotected.

They barred the doors behind them. With their noses pressed to the window, they waited.

The sound came first, unbearable shrills of thousands of voices. As they moved closer, it became obvious those weren't birds.

"Bats!" Hade gasped. "Giant bats!"

Great. Just what they needed. And Gray was incapacitated.

They watched as they descended upon the town, landing on rooftops and streets, crashing into windows in an attempt to get inside.

"Merciful Gods! Adrien, look!"

Down the street, the woman with the child was desperately trying to open the house doors. The beasts swarmed them like bees.

As soon as he stepped out, a bat swooped down at him, claws ready. In a single motion he drew his sword and sliced the beast's abdomen, not even slowing down. He took down a dozen or so monsters before reaching his target.

They were curled up on the ground, the woman shielding the child with her body. As he kneeled down to inspect them, he heard flapping of wings coming at him. He braced for impact.

Instead, the fiend shrieked in pain. Hade stood above him, her sword ready for the next monstrosity.

"She's hurt bad. We have to get her inside."

"I don't think we're going anywhere," Hade uttered.

The entire swarm was coming straight at them.

I took an easy way out of this one, I took just the "Someone is killed or almost killed" one, that one is always easy :D. Although, you could stretch "One of the characters is revealed to be not who or she is" to the healer, but that's more of a hint than a reveal. Unless an ominous cloud could be considered a character, that one turned out not to be a cloud at all :) Or a flock of birds.

I'm off to read the other entries. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rule of Three: First Post

If there's one thing you'll learn about me is that I have a bad habit of leaving everything for the last minute. Of course I did the same here with this Rule of Three Blogfest entry, I finished it just a few hours before deadline, even though the prompts were out for weeks, and of course, I didn't have much time to edit it properly. Still, here it is, an entry for the Rule of Three Blogfest, the rules for which you can find here. The rules say the entry must be based on one or more of these prompts:
  • There is an argument 
  • There is fear of an impending misfortune 
  • There is a humorous circumstance 
  • Someone might fall in love 
I think I managed to use three of them more or less successfully, all four if you find the situation where a guy freezes when he sees a pretty girl funny, which is not really written to be funny (thinking about it now, I probably missed a great chance for some humour. That's what happens when I don't give myself enough time for editing). Another rule says it has to be 600 words max, which forced me to throw out most of the description, which is a pity. I finally ended up with 610 words. I hope these extra 10 words won't be held against me, I really couldn't bring myself to cut out anything more.

To quit all the jibber-jabber, here it is: 

It was late afternoon when they caught site of a town in the distance. Hadelaide was relieved; they were walking since early morning. A sight of a place that promised rest, water, perhaps even food put some spring into her step.

At least she only had herself to carry. She couldn't imagine how tired Adrien must be, carrying Gray in his arms the whole way. It wouldn't have surprised Hadelaide if the little fiend got injured just so she wouldn't have to walk. The scrawny mage couldn't have weighted much, but carrying her in the hot desert sun was surely no picnic. Not that Adrien complained. That wouldn't be like him. His blue tunic was soaked in blood - that's one piece of clothing ruined beyond saving.

They reached the first of the houses. The few people in the street stared at them.

"Do you have a healer in this town?" Adrien asked a kid passing by.

The child pointed to a house further down the road.

A moment later they were knocking at the door. The door creaked open and a delicate young woman stood at the door frame.

"Yes?" she blinked at them.

Adrien didn't reply - he just ogled at her.

Hadelaide rolled her eyes and stepped up.

"Are you the healer?" she asked.

"Not a healer by magic, but I do have some knowledge of herbs and potions."

"Better than nothing," Hadelaide shrugged. "May we?"

"Yes, of course," it seamed that only now she noticed the bundle in Adrien's arms. "This way."

She took them into a large, sparsely furnished room. A bed leaned against the far wall, while an old cupboard and a fireplace shared the side one.

Adrien gently placed Gray on the bed. Their hostess pushed pass him to remove Gray's clothing, revealing a deep gash along her abdomen.

"When did it happen?" she asked.

Adrien was still looking for his voice, so Hadelaide had to jump in again.

"Early this morning. She overestimated herself. Again."

"You brought her just in time. A little longer and there would be nothing I could do."

She called for a maid to bring some hot water and clean towels. Acquiring a few bottles of balms and potions from the cupboard, she commenced cleaning and swathing the wound.

Gray stirred. "Adrien..." her voice was barely audible.

"I'm here," he took her hand.

"Darkness... Falling... He's calling them..." she mumbled.

"What?" Adrien frowned. "I don't understand."

"Beneath us... Calling them..." she went on.

"There's nothing to understand," Hadelaide sighed. "She's delirious."

"She lost a lot of blood," the healer concurred.

"Listen..." the muttering continued. "It's getting closer..."

Hadelaide frowned. He was holding her hand, looking more desperate by the minute. She couldn't bear watching him like that.

"Why don't we leave the healer to do her work in peace and go find something to eat. She's in good hands here."

He shook his head. "She needs me."

"There's nothing you can do here. You need rest," she pushed on.

"Hade, for Gods' sake!" he snapped at her. "You may not care about her, but I do. Go if you want, I'm not leaving her side."

"Fine!" she snapped back and stormed out of the room. "See if I care," she mumbled to herself as she opened the front door.

As soon as she stepped out, she realized something was wrong. There were mountains north of the town, or at least they were there when they arrived. Now, the only thing visible there was an enormous dark cloud, like an approaching storm. Only, she'd never seen a storm cloud like that.

"What in seven pits of hell is that?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Dazzling Imago

“Hello, Thadeus.”

Thadeus froze. He never heard her come in. He turned around, slowly.

He resisted the urge to oscitate when he saw her. When the Red Guard took her five years ago, she was but a squirt, a caterpillar becoming a chrysalis. Now, a full grown woman stood in front of him -- a dazzling butterfly.

“I was waiting for you,” he said.

“I know.”

Even after so long apart, their minds still worked in strange synchronicity. He knew why she was here. He was her graduation project. The Lacuna mission, trainees called it. A mission where they had to tear out their past like pages out of a book. Failing this final test meant death.

Her face was emotionless, but Thadeus knew better. He knew her. Or did he? There was a miasma around her he never felt before. She had changed. They both have. His image stared at him from the mirror on the opposite wall. Was he really that old?

“Do it quickly,” the calmness of his voice surprised even him.

“Of course.”

Did her voice just tremble?

He looked away. It was easier. “I love you.”

“Goodbye, father,” she whispered as the blade fell down.

Second Campaign Challenge: The Dazzling Imago

Rach's Second Campaign Challenge is really challenging! It goes like this:

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
  • include the word "imago" in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
I love all the crazy words. When I first saw it, I had no idea how I could get a story out of it :) I had to wait a few days for the inspiration to hit me.

Firstly, I noticed it says "Write a blog post in 200 words or less". I don't know if Rach just worded it wrong, or is it a trick, but just to be on the safe side, I'll be posting the story itself in a separate blog post, unlike the first challenge. I just want to say a few words first.

The included words, according to the dictionaries, all have more than one meaning, so I'll note here the meaning I used, just in case someone thought the character was yawning instead of gaping :D

imago: an insect in its sexually mature adult stage after metamorphosis.
miasma: a noxious atmosphere or influence.
lacuna: a gap or space, especially in a book or manuscript
oscitate: to gape
synchronicity:  the state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism.
Because of the word shortage, some of the sentences and thoughts are half-finished, so I'm not completely sure is it clear what's going on. There's a rule that you shouldn't underestimate the reader, but there's always the danger that you're not giving enough information, assuming it can be deduced, or because you simply already know what's going on so it looks logical to you. It's a fine line to walk, and I'm still not sure if I found the right balance between too much information and too little. So tell me, what do you think it's going on?

Here's the actual post, 200 words and a reference to a mirror:
If you liked it, please click "like" on Rach's post, it's number 122 on the linky list. Don't forget to vote!

On the other notes, it's been a busy week. I still haven't gotten around to visiting all the blogs from my groups, really sorry about that. Also too many blog posts in my google reader I still haven't gotten around to reading :( Still stories from the first challenge I'd like to get to. There are two awards that I need to pass on, but there is always less important stuff that gets in the way, like work or sleep. There's just not enough time in a day for everything. I really want a Tardis for Christmas :(

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"The Enchantress" is up on Smashwords!

I've finally gotten around to putting my short story "The Enchantress" up on Smashwords. All of you that liked the characters from my Challenge entry, you can read more about them right here for free! I hope you will not be disappointed. There's also a bonus story at the end.

If you take the time to read it, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a review. Even a negative one would be useful, at least I'd know what I'm doing wrong :). It would be great getting some feedback from people. If this one goes well I have a few more short stories involving these characters just waiting to see the light of day.

Thank you all for dropping by!