NaNoWriMo Supporter

AggroChat Episode 28

Last night we once again rallied the troops and recorded another episode of AggroChat.  This week Kodra was saddled with the dual burdens of illness and family…  and as such could not attend.  However we had Ashgar, Rae and Tam.  The number one thing on all of our minds was experiencing the 2.4 patch content in Final Fantasy XIV which landed last Monday/Tuesday.  During that time Tam has pushed up a rogue from level 1 to 50 and is now gearing it for raiding purposes.  I have mostly spent my time running Syrcus Tower trying to get bits to gear out my warrior and dragoon.  All of us have been slowly working our way through the brand new dungeon content.  Yesterday shortly before the show Ash, Tam and myself finished the last of the three new hardmodes and I have to say I am really damned impressed.

ffxiv 2014-11-01 20-20-47-557 Even more impressive is where the main storyline seems to be going.  This is one of the aspects I find the coolest about FFXIV is that the story just keeps evolving and not in an artificial way.  The problem with Star Wars the Old Republic is that when you reached 50… especially as a Jedi Knight or Jedi Counselor you had solved the galaxies greatest threat.  There was nowhere to go but down from there.  In FFXIV when you finish the main story, it is just the beginning and everything about the game tells you… you didn’t solve shit.  You took out one pawn in a far greater game.  So every three months or so when we get a major patch, I am always amped to see where exactly the story is going to go.  Right now I am only a couple of hours into the new story content, and already they have thrown out some allusions to past Final Fantasy games that have me spooked as to where we might be going with this.

NaNoWriMo Supporter

At this point hopefully all of this years participants have at least broken ground on their new novel.  Throughout the month of October I mulled around the notion of doing NaNoWriMo 2014, but in the end I have decided not to.  Last year if you recall I essentially live blogged my novel and used each days writing as the next days posting on my blog.  In the intervening year I have done absolutely nothing with it.  I’ve not even cracked the original drive document to even begin editing it.  This more than anything else tells me I am not quite ready to undergo the challenge again.  Last year I won, and by winning I mean I actually finished my 50,000+ words by the end of the month.  The problem is I have a chrysalis for a novel and not really something worth publishing.  I need to put at least as much effort as I did writing it into editing it.  At least once a week I think about digging into it and ripping things to shreds as I sort bits out that I slammed together in a rush.  It just seems so damned daunting to unravel what I was only able to pull together through sheer will.

The other reason why I have decided to skip NaNoWriMo this year is that it took a hell of a lot out of me.  My world for the month of November revolved around making sure I got my words done for the day.  In the end nothing else mattered, and I pretty much abandoned everything else that I enjoyed.  It was during the month of November that I faded away from FFXIV in the first place, because the game required too much effort from me to keep playing it while pouring out 1500 to 2000 words a day.  Additionally my blog suffered because I could not keep up my daily blogging AND write that many words a day… was just not something I could juggle.  This was the point that I got back into World of Warcraft, because WoW was a game I could play entirely on auto pilot.  Nothing about the game made me think, and I could live in this blissful muscle memory zone where I got enjoyment without having to acknowledge the world going on around me.  NaNoWriMo was all consuming, and while I think it is something that everyone should complete at least once…  I have done that.  I completed the competition last year, and wrote a novel… something that I can check off my bucket list.  I don’t feel the need for a repeat performance…  at least not quite yet.

What I plan on doing is being a cheerleader for the folks who ARE planning on doing the struggle this year.  The folks that need inspiration or support as they struggle to keep up with the waterfall of words that NaNoWriMo is.  Be it a word of encouragement or a swift kick in the ass when I see they haven’t done their words for the day…  I will try and be there.  So while I am not a participant I am very much a supporter of the process.  Having actually gotten my novel finished on time last year I might even be able to provide a source of advice.  I would never have finished last year were it not for the other people struggled through the process with me.  They were a source of inspiration and I am hoping some of them will be taking up the challenge this year as well.  It is an awesome thing, and hopefully I can play match maker between groups of friends entering the fray together.

I realize this is the second of November and not the first, but we are going to temporarily ignore that fact as I introduce a new thing that I am going to do all this month.  In truth it was not until yesterdays post that I was made aware that this was a thing.  My wife usually skims my posts each day to see if I have written anything about “us” in the blog, and after doing this yesterday she turned to me and said “you should have done a month of thankfulness post”.  So yeah… I kind of wish I had thought about that before making my post yesterday.  So this morning I pulled together a logo and am setting forth on this adventure.  I’ve always liked Thanksgiving the best of all of the holidays because it isn’t about commercialization or how much you can spend to show your love… it is just about a simple thanks for the awesome things in your life.  I am not going to make this out to be a big thing like Blaugust was, but I think it would be awesome if it spread a little bit around our community.

My Wife

I figured I would start off my series of posts with a post about my wife.  Not only did she give me this idea but she is pretty much a constant source of support in my life.  More important than that she keeps me grounded.  I get absolutely engrossed in the things I am into, be it my blog, the podcast, streaming or whatever the latest video game I am obsessing over.  She has a way of pulling me outside of all of this and focusing me on the real world outside of my computer and consoles.  There are a lot of couples that game together, and I have always thought this would be a cool thing…  but I also know it would never actually fly for me.  If I had a gamer spouse  the bills would never get paid, the chores would never get done… and I would ultimately end up losing my job.  My wife helps me keep one foot firmly planted in reality, and keep from slipping down that slippery slope.

More than this we compliment each other nicely.  She is all of the things I am not.  She is a creature of logic and I am a creature of passion, and together we make this awesome pair.  I can’t necessarily say that we are opposites, because we have just enough in common to make it work, but we definitely complement each other.  The other strange thing is that we rarely actually fight.  I mean we bicker back and forth, but there is rarely any spat that isn’t resolved by bed time.  We are in fact an old married couple, and have been able to complete each others sentences for years.  There are so many times we will just say a word or two before the other person agrees… because after almost two decades we know exactly what the other is thinking.  Without having a place of love and stability, I wouldn’t have the courage each day to put myself out here in front of you all.  For all of this and more I am very thankful for my wife.

NaNoWriMo 29 – New Beginnings

NaNoWriMo 29

Today was a significant day.  Firstly it was the last day of my family thanksgivings for the year.  Secondly I came home and wrote the final chapter to the novel.  The other night when I wrote the last bit to get over the finish line, I simply was not in the right frame of mind to write the closing chapter.  Today however after spending the day with family, I decided it was as good a time as any to write the “happy ending”.  The novel has come to a conclusion, but the story is far from over.

If you are feeling like you want to catch up, here is the story that has gone before.  I have edited nothing.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning
  23. Best Laid Plans
  24. The Siege
  25. Serendipity
  26. Betrayed
  27. Rising Light
  28. The Puppeteer

29 – New Beginnings

Bethilda stepped through the threshold of the waygate station deep below the streets of avalon.  Stepping out into the platform she joined Pico and Berrol who were saying goodbye to Bemel.  In the weeks after her rescue she had watched as Bemel took a shining to the young boy, much the same as Pico had apparently done not long beforehand.  The boy was very special, and in him rested the hopes of better times.  Bethilda had reached out to her connections in Brittagus but the news was not good at all.  It seems as though shortly after her escape from the island city, Astanax was publicly beheaded as a warning to any other dissenters.  With him died the access to the hidden waygate, as well as the hopes of the Order of Merlin.

Pico had confessed that she was the creator of the weapons that the humans used to attack the members of the Elfen court.  There were a few shouts and harsh words back and forth, but they had all come to a point of understanding.  Things were changing in the shadowlands and Bethilda felt that new and greater threats were on the rise from the forces of winter.  As a result she had proposed the founding of the Summer Alliance, and with Pico representing humanity they worked through the details of a treaty.  The Ward Watch, now would protect not only humanity but the forces of good in the shadowlands.

After the events leading to Pico’s rapid exit, no one was really certain where Brittagus stood on these matters.  They remained as isolated and xenophobic as ever, and in the past weeks managed to close the borders to even the Valkore traders who freely entered and exited the ports before.  Battle lines were being drawn, but Bethilda was not concerned.  The combined forces of the Elfen, Valkore, Wildfae and Sasquatch came back from the fields of battle victorious.  With the addition of the humans, she knew they were as strong as any standing alliance had ever been in the nightlands.

As Bethilda stepped forward towards the trio they turned to face her, stopping their conversation.  “No need to stop on my accord.”  She said with a smile on her face.  “It is nothing, Bemel was just saying goodbye” Pico said reaching down and ruffling Berrol’s hair.  “I do hate to see you leaving, I feel there is much we can learn from each other.”  Bethilda responded reaching out her hand to the shorter human.  “Commander Farragut will be wanting a debriefing, and I am sure he will scold me for entering into this agreement without his consent.  I am sure after he has heard all the details, and especially after you provided me my sample of dragon bone…”  she said while lifting up the metal case at her side “.. I am sure he will come to see it my way as well.”

“You are welcome in Avalon at any time, and I look forward to reading your reports.” Bethilda knelt down “You too are welcome anytime you wish to come back Berrol.”  The little boy ran over and gave her a hug turning around to look at Pico “We can come back to visit Aunt Beth can’t we Pico?”  Pico shook her head “I am sure we can, I will want to study their library for information about the original Order of Merlin and scour it for any information about the wards after all”  she said winking at Bemel.  Was it Bethilda’s imagination or were the two of them flirting?  Bemel was afterall a handsome man, but had never really shown interest in a particular woman.  She thought to herself that it was probably good for him after recent events.

Pico took Berrol in hands, and Bemel walked over to the wall, placing his palm on a cyan stone embedded there.  There was a purple mist that formed in the center of the chamber and within seconds it had condensed into a crack.  From the edges of the crack poured a bright purple light before it finally opened into a oval shape, showing the corresponding chamber in the other world.  Standing there was a man who Bethilda assumed was Commander Farragut.  Pico said her final goodbyes and together she stepped with Berrol through the opening.  The fissure sparkled and then she was standing on the other side conversing with the man.  Bemel removed his hand and the way began to close eventually sputtering out in a puff of purple mist.

“I never took you for the ambassador Bemel” she said as she winked at him.  Bemel blushed brightly for a moment and then simply responded “I have no idea what you are talking about, I was just showing Pico around our fair city.”  Beth nodded as she grabbed his arm and proceeded down the corridor, and back into the main palace complex.  The walked through a long shaft with Elfen Pikemen posted in pairs every few feet.  As they passed the pair would straighten up and bring their spear across their chest in a salute.  Bethilda realized that it would be disrespectful for them to not do it, but she always found the pomp of being the Queen intolerable.  She missed the times she would sneak away to visit Jace at the farm, but she realized that the danger it posed would no longer be allowed.

Similarly it was no longer safe for Jace to return to the world of the humans either.  Now that it was known he was the prince, others would be trying to get to him as well… and that was something she simply could not allow.  The events had brought more than a few harsh realities to bear.  She was however thankful that Kayle had decided to stay with him here in Avalon.  Over the weeks spent rescuing her, it seems as though their friendship had blossomed into something more.  For as brutish and unrefined as Kale could be, the girl had a softness to her, especially when it came to Jace or Dimcy.  As far as the firesprite was concerned they were not inseparable as Kale had a permanent resident of her shoulder.

As they walked together through the corridor she turned to look at Bemel.  “I will not be joining you in the audience chamber, I am stopping off at the infirmary first.”  Bemel looked at Bethilda and nodded.  “I assumed you might, do you want me to come with you?”  He said grasping his sisters arm, giving it a gentle squeeze.  “No I will be fine”  Bemel shoot her a look of incredulity for a moment but Bethilda shook her head.  “No really, I will be fine…  I just need to see him.”  Bemel nodded again letting go of her arm.  They passed through an archway, and to the left the path split, and Bethilda turned down it.  Bemel continued on towards the audience chamber hoping she would find some peace.

Bethilda walked down a dim corridor, there were no guards along this one, and she was actually thankful for the quiet.  It seemed as though almost everyone was doing better after the events at Fort Kraken, but there was one glaring exception.  While she had been rushed out of the Fort in an attempt to protect her and her son, the Summer Alliance crawled over the keep leaving no stone unturned.  Deep within the basement they found a chamber filled with a myriad of cruel instruments, all designed to torture both the body and the mind.  It was within this chamber that they found him, half dead, slumping against the chains that bound him to the wall.  The best healers the court had to offer tried their best to bring him back.  Even the Sasquatch shaman healer Torklah failed to improve his condition.

Bethilda had ordered a room for him here in the infirmary, and she tried to make it as comfortable as she could.  As she stood at the doorway to the chamber she looked at the once proud man now laying broken on the bed.  She felt a tear sliding down her cheek as walked through through the doorway.  She took a seat on the bed beside him as he lie there perfectly still other than the slow labored breaths.  She took his hand in hers and squeezed it tight.  “Benj my love, I am here…  can you hear me?”  she pleaded as she peered down into his glassy stare.  She began to weep softly as she waited as always for a response, only to hear nothing but his ragged breaths.

She laid down across his chest, wrapping her arms around him.  “Please come back to me…” she said softly.  She had always regretted their decision, and never did more than now.  She wanted to protect her son, and she felt the only way to do this was to disguise who he was.  While she would work to repair the relationship between them, she could never buy back the days she lost with her beloved.  “You just have to come back…   I need you”  she wept into his chest. She laid there like this for a good amount of time sobbing when she felt something she did not expect.  She looked down to her side to see Benj’s hand had moved up slightly to rest upon her, with his fingertips spread out grasping her.

She exclaimed “You are still in there aren’t you!”  She reached down grasping the hand and slowly his fingers grasped around hers.  He was recovering slowly, she was certain of it.  Benj had always been resilient, and he was trying desperately to come back to her.  She looked up at his face and his eyes were closed with his mouth fixed in an expression of determination.  “I will wait however long it takes” she said softly as his expression relaxed a bit and his hand fell loose at his side.  She lay there listening to his heart beat with renewed strength.  She would wait for eternity for him to be back at her side.  They could be a real family this time, like she had always wanted them to be.  Even if it meant war, she would do anything to protect them and keep him safe.

NaNoWriMo 28 – The Puppeteer

NaNoWriMo 28

I am so thankful that I pushed on forward and finished up before yesterday.  After coming home from the holiday madness I was not in any state to write.  I still have one more chapter to finish, so hopefully today I will find some peace of mind to do just that.  This is the next to last chapter and I still have yet to write the one that ties the pieces up and talks about what the folks are doing after the events.  As always nothing has been edited, and I plan on sitting down to do that after the new year.  Here is a rundown of the story so far.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning
  23. Best Laid Plans
  24. The Siege
  25. Serendipity
  26. Betrayed
  27. Rising Light

28 – The Puppeteer

The night sky looked angry, it was as though it knew what was in his mind.  He reached into the folds of his thick red and gold robe, retrieving a small circle.  Numbers flashed across its surface swirling in and out of view.  The hour was getting late and there was still no sign of the assassin.  It was unlike Shandor to not be punctual, and this was a trait he had come to expect from him.  The master would not tolerate such a delay, so why should he.  As the indignant rage built up inside of him he heard a noise behind him.  The assassin had slipped into the room without opening the door or breaching the window.  Betweeners as their accursed sidestepping he thought as he turned to meet the man.

“Do you have it” the robed man asked impatiently looking at the pack on the back of the assassin.  The other slowly took the pack down producing a pouch handing it to the robed man.  Slowly he opened the pouch and the room was filled with the soft glow of orange abbreviated by brief flashes of blue.  The stormfire crystal was complete and as he held it in his hands he could feel the power coursing from it.  With such power came great temptation with a mere touch of his fingers and a short incantation… all of that power could be his.  He quickly closed the bag, knowing the master would flay him for even thinking such thoughts.

He placed the pouch in a pocket buried within the folds of his robe.  No that distinct honor would be that of the Master, and he would never know of the moment of weakness just felt.  He slightly to face the assassin looking him directly in the eyes “Do you have the other?”.  The assassin walked over to a table, placing down his pack and lifting out a great brass cylinder.  The construction was delicate of ancient dwarven make.  The assassin removed a clip from the top of the container pulling up on it, removing the brass shroud.

There within a glass tube filled with a slightly glowing greenish ichor sat the head of Baigan Derrow, traitor to the courts of Avalon.  “Are you quite certain it is fresh?”  the robed man asked looking over the face of the fallen shade.  “Yes, I slipped it into the casing moments after removing it.  The flesh was still quite warm as I flooded the chamber with the conductive liquid.”  The assassin replied stepping back from the container.  The master would be pleased, he knew that he would want to read the thoughts of the traitor to determine if there was anything he kept hidden away in that brain.

“Sir there is the matter of my payment.”  The assassin spoke up making a gesture with his hands to indicate the expected currency.  Shandor was a loyal contractor and could be trusted to execute all instructions to the letter.  This was a hard thing to find, and of course was worth quite a lot.  The robed man crossed to his desk pulling out a fat sack that jingled as he crossed the room again, placing it in the hands of the assassin.  “I am certain you will find this more than you requested.  Just think of it as a bonus for the length of time spent in the company of that fool.”  The assassin took the coins placing it down in the bottom of his pack and slinging the satchel across his back once more.

“Just as you had said, the Elfen and the human showed up moments after I had taken the head.”  Shandor remarked while walking towards the door.  “If there is nothing else, I will be going.”  The robed man shook his head slowly “No that will be all, you are as always a faithful and honorable assassin.  Should we need your services again, I know how to reach you.”  The other nodded as he disappeared from sight silently in a puff of purple smoke.  No matter how many times he saw a betweener shift like that, he could never really get used to the sight.  Things had gone according to the masters plan.

He moved to the table, picking the brass shroud up and sliding it back down over the glass chamber.  Taking the pin he refastened it and lifted the entire apparatus from the table.  Slowly and carefully he walked holding the container out beside him as though afraid it would somehow taint him through its mere presence.  He moved down the carved stone hallway entering a small room on the left with a dim green glow.  There were a series of containers just like the one he carried in his hand.  Each one sat down on a shaft with a series of cables leading up from it into the ceiling.  He sat down the container and it seated in the slot making a distinct click as it finally locked into place.

The robed man unfastened to pins on either side of the container and the front panel of the brass shroud slid away revealing the face of Baigan once more.  Reaching up he took a bundle of cables down from the ceiling, fastening each clamp onto one of the bolts sticking out from the top of the brass tube.  After each clamp had been fastened  the liquid in the container began to churn making bubbling noises as he sloshed and swished about the head. Baigan took a permanent place in the machine as the heads eyes began to open and mouth move in slight motions.  The master would not be able to access his every thought and desire.

He looked to the container to the left,. to the head of Astanax the traitor to the Order.  The robed man was giddy thinking about the secrets he must have told the master.  The Order of Merlin hiding right under their noses and the library of knowledge that was now theirs to plunder.  There was still one thing that did not make sense to him.  Why had the master bid for him to help the girl escape.  Would it not have been better to dispose of her and the son of Astanax?  “it is not my place to question the master.  The master is all knowing, all seeing.  The master will lead the way.”  He chanted the mantra pushing away the thoughts from his head, letting the rhythm of the words purify him.

He turned away from the containers and the moving faces contained within them, to a desk set into the far wall.  Sitting down at it he drew towards him a large crystal on a pedestal.  Placing his hands on the base he closed his eyes reaching out through the crystal to someplace else, someplace dark and powerful.  The crystal flickered to life and within its many facets there displayed was a shadow shrouded figure seated on on a throne.  “Is it complete Karrek?” the voice in the crystal demanded.  “Yes master, the traitor Baigan has been connected to your machine.  The assassin has also delivered to me the stormfire crystal.”  Karrek smiled broadly as he delivered the good news.

“You are as always my faithful servant Karrek.  Keep the crystal safe until I come for it.”  The crystal dimmed and with it vanished the image of the master.  Karrek had pleased him, and this meant he would be rewarded.  Still he could not shake the feeling that there was more to the plan of the master than he could ever understand.  The human girl, Pico, had to play some key role in his greater symphony.  There were so many questions running through his head, but as he pushed them away he convinced himself that the time of the master was near.  The threads of fate were being stitched together one by one.

He left the small room and moved back out into the main chamber, crossing it to stand upon the balcony once again.  Karrek looked out upon Brittagus, the colony trapped in time, exiled from humanity.  The exile of the wizards was soon to end.  The Wards would fall and with them the Master would claim his place as the ruler of the new world.  Karrek his loyal servant would be rewarded at his right hand.  All of the death and pain would be worth it when the new glorious world rose like a phoenix from the ashes of this hollow one.  Karrek raised his hand to his cheek as a small tear of joy dripped down it and onto his hand. 

NaNoWriMo 27 – Rising Light

NaNoWriMo 27

Happy Thanksgiving to you guys, and as you can tell by the banner I managed to get over the 1200 words to “finish” the novel last night and win NaNoWriMo.  It has been a wild ride and at this point I am a mixture of happy and exhausted.  I got used to writing every single day with my blog experiment, but there is just something different about changing from writing freeform blog style posts to trying to write prose.  I am mostly just drained at this point.  While I am “done” with the contest goals I still have one more chapter to write.  Probably after the festivities of Thanksgiving I will sit down and knock it out.  There are still a few more chapters to post on the blog so stay tuned over the coming days for the official end.

If you are wanting to catch up, here is the rundown of the chapters so far.  Nothing at all has been edited.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning
  23. Best Laid Plans
  24. The Siege
  25. Serendipity
  26. Betrayed

27 – Rising Light

Bemel knocked an arrow drawing back his hand and aiming his bow carefully.  He let loose a battle cry as the arrow flew from his hand rushing off over his bow and flying across the battlefield striking the Ort general beneath the chin.  This sent the head of the arrow crushing up through his jaw and borrowing into his skull.  The great oaf stumbled a bit as though he could not comprehend what had just happened.  In the hundreds of years since the Winter War, the Orts had forgotten the precision of the elfen archers.  As the struck general tried helplessly to claw free the arrow, the finality of the act finally caught up with him and he toppled over like a great tree crashing down upon the ground.

At the sight of their fallen leader the Orts began to route, fear getting the better of them.  They charged off in all manner of directions, but the Valkore were quick on their tail hunting them down.  They had taken the battlefield but not at an insignificant cost.  Bemel looked to either side and there lay a few sasquatch and valkore who had felt the sting of death.  But where lie a relative few, there lay hundreds upon hundreds of Orts.  The enemy was unprepared for the resistance they posed, and their defenses crumbled under the three prong strike.

Looking across the field he saw that Morrow and Josah were advancing on the fort, and he decided to join them.  The Valkore and Sasquatch could get their revenge and track down the straggling backbreakers.  Bemel thought that it was time for them to rescue their queen.  Prepared for a fight they rushed the open porculus only to find the halls of the keep relatively quiet.  “This does not seem right.  There should be Ort here as well protecting Baigan.”  Bemel said looking over at Josah.  The other nodded “I don’t like the feeling of this.”

Morrow held her hammer out in front of her slightly, as if ready to swing at a moments notice.  She had a score to settle with Baigan and would not be denied her justice.  She lead the pack as they wound through the hallways that echoed with the sounds of battle still raging outside.  However oddly she heard no sounds emanating from within.  The trio wound down the main corridor leading to the audience chamber, where they assumed Baigan would have set up his makeshift throne room.  As they entered the chamber they heard the echo of footsteps coming down a hallway to the west of the chamber. 

They paused preparing for battle, as a group of figures came into sight.  She could not hardly believe her eyes as the group came into view.  She screamed in joy “Merowyn! You’re alive!!” as she saw her sister.  The big woman threw down her hammer and ran screaming across the room tackling her sister and wrapping her big arms around her.  “Jace, Kale.. you guys are alive too?”  She said when she noticed the rest of the group.  “I was afraid you two did not make it out safely, that Baigan had maybe finished you off.”  She let go of her sister letting her down to the ground.

Merowyn caught her breath panting slightly as she responded.  “We are fine, it is good to see you too sis.”  Jace ran over to Morrow giving her a big hug, and then noticed behind her standing with Josah as Bemel.  Where was Benj, was he not with them?  “It is good to see you guys too,  where is Benj?  Is he with you?”  Jace said eagerly.  Morrow shook her head slowly “We don’t know where he is, we were seperated at the farmhouse”  From behind Jace there came a loud scream.  It took them for a moment to realize it was Kale.  She had her hands to her sides staring up at the throne, screaming madly.

The entire room turned to look at the throne as well and a few other shrieks happened.  There in the throne slumped over to one side, was the headless corpse of a man.  Josah dared to walk up to the chair and examine him, and upon further inspection it appears to be Baigan.  The body looked drained, as though the life was sapped from it.  Josah looked around on the ground and behind the throne, but there was no sign of the mans head.  It was missing, but curiously his staff was just laying there topled to the floor.

“I am not sure what the meaning of this is.  He attacked us outside and then escaped.  We were pursuing him when we ran into you.”  Merowyn said with a shocked look upon her face.  “Who could have beheaded him in those few moments?”  She looked around the chamber expecting to see the attacker still there, but there was nothing.  The chamber was empty other than the group that had assembled at the same time.  She picked up the staff noticing the orange crystal still intact and shimmering brightly.  She carefully twisted the crystal and it slid out of the staff mooring easily.  “I believe this is why you all came here?”  Mero said holding the crystal carefully in her hands.

“In order to break the bond we need four”  She said looking at Morrow, Josah and Bemel.  “Lets free her before any more time has wasted.”  She held the crystal out in front of her, and slowly the others moved to array themselves with the four cardinal directions.  They each reached out holding onto the crystal.  “Now concentrate.”  She said as she reached out with her mind letting it flow through her body and out through her fingertips and into the crystal.  She pictured Queen Bethilda in all her glory, standing there in front of them.  Bethilda had a smile upon her face, like she was happy to see her.

Beth and her had always been friends, but she was afraid the other would judge her and her decision to leave the court of Avalon.  Instead all she felt from Bethilda was warmthy and happiness.  In her mind Bethilda ran over to Merowyn, wrapping her arms around her giving her a bright and warm hug.  It was as if the sheer power of summer was radiating from her hug, warming every inch of Merowyn.  As she opened her eyes she watched as the crystal pulsed violently.  The warmth radiating from it was almost painful as she withdrew her hand.

The crystal hovered there in the air as the others backed away from it.  It began to spin around on its axis. It twirled there like a top, as it began to enlarge in size slowly.  They stepped back again as the heat coming off of it was almost too much to bear.  As they moved away it began to expand rapidly quickly taking the size of a human twirling there on the stone floor.  In a flash of light, the crystal cracked along its facets sending a rain of shards down.  There in the center of this explosion stood Queen Bethilda with a warm smile upon her face.

“Mom!” cried Jace as he ran across the room wrapping his arms around the queen and squeezing her tight.  She returned his embrace collapsing against him.  She was weakened but he helped support her body keeping her upright.  She said in a weak voice “I’ve waited your entire life for you to call me that”  She closed her eyes for a moment, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks.  “I only tried to protect you from harm, I always loved you from a far.”  Jace found himself crying as well.  “I know, its okay, we are back together now”.  He squeezed her tighter, and within moments they were joined by Josah, Bemel and Morrow in one giant embrace.  It hurt not to have Benj here, but he had most of his family back.  Things really were going to be okay.

“We have to get you to safety my Queen.”  Josah finally said as they broke away from the embrace.  “We have taken the field, but it is not safe here for you.  We are on the far side of the Sunwall.  There is time for us to catch up once you are safe in Avalon.”  He said motioning to Bemel to begin preparing to leave the castle.  He turned to Merowyn “Please come with us, you don’t have to stay…  but please let us know you are safe.”  Merowyn looked at Josah and then again at Morrow “I…  I will come with you.  But I am needed by my people” she said motioning to the sprites arrayed around her.  “They can of course come too, we can talk about what happens next after the queen is safe.”  She nodded exchanging glances with Dobin and the rest of the sprites.

The fort would need to be searched, and information gathered.  But that would all wait for another day.  The Valkore were owed this justice, after being driven from their homelands by the Trogjan. Fort Kraken had been a Valkore outpost, a remnant of the final battles of the Winter War.  They should be the ones with the honor of securing the keep Josah thought as he made his way to the sunwall.  He had summoned a Hearthship, a much larger versions of hte skimmers designed for transporting a large number of troops.  He watched as Morrow and Jace helped Queen Belthilda on board.  They had managed to take the field, but he feared this was the opening volley in a new Winter War.  He would instead revel in the fact that he had both his sister and his wife back safe, and that would be good enough for today.

NaNoWriMo 26–Betrayed

NaNoWriMo 26

I had the grand goal of finishing up last night, but in the end I just did not quite have the steam to push across the finish line.  However I did manage to get to 48,723 word count.  This puts me roughly 1200 words away from 50,000 which I am certain I will make.  At this point there are two chapters left that I planned to write.  Even if I do make it over 50,000 I will go ahead and write the two chapters I feel need to be there to finish off the novel.  I am shocked at just how well overall the pacing has worked.  I honestly expected to be “done” and come up way short of the target goal.

Here is the story to date for those wanting to catch up.  Found out last night I have a contingency that is waiting for me to finish before starting.  Hopefully they all realize just how raw the novel is!

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning
  23. Best Laid Plans
  24. The Siege
  25. Serendipity

26 – Betrayed

The castle facade was hidden behind a wall of thick smoke streaming up from the strew carcasses of the metal machines that previously guarded it.  The skyship payloads had found their targets and sent a scattered mess of gobbley mechanics trying to vain to repair them.  Behind the black cloud Merowyn knew lay a portculus, and hopefully in the confusion they could slip into the castle proper relatively unnoticed.  She raised her hand waving the gathered group of valkore and her sprites ahead into the dense hanging smoke.  They moved along silently ajusting their course periodically to miss a frantic mechanic.

They could see the wall of the castle when the smoke began to break a bit.  From directly ahead of them there came a bolt of fire streamed with little rivulets of lightning coursing up and down its length.  The bolt missed Merowyn barely but she managed to react and raise a barrier spell moments before the next one would have struck her.  Instead it bounced off the barrier sending it careening into a gobbley warmachine causing another fury of sparks and even more black smoke to belch up from it.

Peering through the smoke she recognized her attacker as Baigan, son of Oakswurv and the Winter Prince.  Jace and Kale had told her about the events of the farmhouse, but until she saw him herself she had not quite believed that one of the councils children would betray them.  When the next of stormfire came, she pushed out on the shield and sent it deflecting back in his direction.  The bolt struck at his feet causing him to jump back slightly.  Seizing the opportunity of his momentary distraction she pushed the barrier harder sending it out in front of her like a wave of force.  The shield struck Baigan squarely in the chest knocking him back pressing him against the castle wall.

He tried in vain to hurl another bolt at Merowyn but she quickly raised another barrier sending it crashing down upon him.  How could this be, the power of stormfire was the most destructive magic known in the wildlands.  How could a simple barrier spell be getting the best of him.  He needed time to regroup.  He threw a bolt of stormfire at the ground beneath one of the crashed warmachines sending up an explosion of parts.  Reaching out with the power of the north wind he directed the cloud of machinery down upon Merowyn and the others.

“Get to me now!” Mero yelled already extending out a protective barrier and wrapping it around them.  The others managed to get inside the bubble moments before a stream of debris crashed down on the bubble trapping them under a dome of spent machinery.  Merowyn strained at the weight crushing down upon her bubble, sensing her struggle the sprites clamped around her just like they had done before.  She became a luminescent sculpture of green light as the little fae gave back some of the light she had given them.  Emboldened by the strength surging into her… she pushed with all her might upon the barrier and with an eruption of force the pile of machinery flew off in every direction raining down upon the frightened gobbley who were still hopelessly tending to their creations.

When the dust cleared Merowyn looked around frantically expecting another round of attacks from the traitor.  Instead she saw nothing, he had vanished, most likely into the castle.  She took a moment to catch her breath as the others made their way up to the portcullis.  The gate was down and no matter how much Kale tried she could not budge it.  When she finally gave up on lifting it she began pounding the door with her great big fists, each blow causing the door to echo like a drum.

Jace grabbed her arm trying to stop her, the knuckles of her hands already bloody and cracked from pouding against the dense wood.  “We will find another way Kale, you aren’t doing anything but hurting yourself”  Jace chided as he tried to think of another way.  Merowyn said he was a wood binder, and that was why he could change his staff into a sword.  She said he could also manipulate wood and other living and once living things.  He wondered if that included a wooden gate on a castle.  While he didn’t really understand the specifics of why he could do what he could do, he understood the basics and that was enough to try.

He managed to get Kale to stop, and moved in front of her placing his hands on the wood of the gate.  Reaching out with his mind he tried to meld with the wood, sense it, feel it moving behind his fingers.  He closed his eyes and imagined the wood of the door parting for him, peeling apart at the grain moving to one side and leaving a wide opening.  As he visualized the change in the door he heard a creaking noise and as he dared to open his eyes he watched the wood slowly bending to his will.  Cracking down the grain and slowly folding back until there was a warped opening in the door just big enough for them to pass through.

Kale looked at him dumbstruck “How did you do that?”  Jace shrugged slightly “Merowyn said Benj and I were woodbinders… I just took a leap of faith that it meant any kind of wood… not just my staff”  He was as confused by it as she was, and quite honestly completely surprised by the success.  Standing there it felt as though the ground was rushing up at him, and then moments later he realized that it was him falling to the ground.  Kale rushed to his side helping him back up.  “Are you okay?”  He nodded wearily feeling completely drained “I guess it took a bit out of me, I will be fine.”

His head was spinning but as he stood there assisted by Kale the world began to right itself and stopping moving around so violently.  Within a few moments the dizzyness had passed, but he felt as though he needed to stand completely still for a few minutes just to make sure.  He looked over at Merowyn and similar the Sprites were helping her up.  I guess these abilities they had, came with a bit of a price.  He was certain they would both be fine they just needed a moment to rest and recover before going further.  If they were to encounter Baigan in this state they would both likely end up dead.

Using the shower of machinery as cover Baigan had indeed escaped into the fort and was now streaming through the halls on his way to the throne room.  Passing Orts along the way he screamed “Get to the western facade, defend me you oafs!!!”  The magical exchange had drained him greatly as well and he needed to gather his strength.  Shooting down the skyships and then the exchange with Merowyn had tapped a good bit of his power.  He needed a moment to rest and then he could finish them off after the Orts were done with them.

He ascended the stairs leading to the throne and collapsed down into his chair.  How could this have gone so wrong he asked himself.  Did he not have the most powerful army at his command?  Was he not able to wield the most destructive magic?  How could these misfits be tearing his army apart at the seams.  The Orts were undisciplined brutes, that had to be it… they were not used to fighting without cheating.  The Trogjan never fought fair, and they rarely had to defend.  They were almost always the aggressor.  He had simply miscalculated their strengths.

He could still be the victor.  His superior magic would be the key.  He had to regain his strength so he could strike down these fools with his mighty storm fire.  As Baigan sat there trying to rationalize away his failure he felt a sensation unlike any he had ever experienced.  He felt a coldness against his neck and a pressure.  He found himself unable to speak, and there was a flurry of movement as at the last moment he finally realized it was a blade slicing into his neck.  

The assassin had been completely silent, and his aim true and steady.  In a single flash of motion Baigan the traitor was no more, and the other was sliding his head into a leather bag and dropping it into a pack on his back.  Reaching out to a pouch on his waist he removed a large crystal, one much larger than the one used to trap the queen, but relatively similar in design.  The assassin touched the crystal to the chest of Baigan’s lifeless and now slightly twitching corpse.  The room erupted in a cascade of lights that vacillated between a deep cyan and a warm glowing orange.

When the light had faded the assassin stood there holding a crystal that contained a deep fire within it and underneath the surface pulsed with jets of lightning.  The stormfire crystal was complete, and the master would be pleased.  The assassin slid the crystal back into the pouch at his waist.  He looked at the corpse of Baigan and frowned slightly.  It was troubling to see any shade die, even a pompous and arrogant one like him.  The masters plan however is absolute, and he would get the crystal to him before high night fell.  With that the silent shadow of a man slipped out of the throne room, and melded with the corridors rushing out of the castle and into the dim twilight.

NaNoWriMo 25–Serendipity

NaNoWriMo 25

I was a very bad person yesterday.  I ended up resting on the laurels of the weekends progress.  I do however intend to remedy that tonight and maybe make a push for the goal line.  It seems like each time I get too far ahead I let myself relax and skip a day.  I started off this two chapters ahead and over time that lead dwindled to nothing.  However at this point I am less than 5000 words away from the finish line and hopefully tonight I can buckle down and finish.

Here is the tale so far for those catching up, once again posted raw and unedited.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning
  23. Best Laid Plans
  24. The Siege

25 – Serendipity

Merowyn had been badly wounded from her act of sacrifice to free her wildfae children.  As a result Jace decided that they should spend the light in the keep and hopefully by morning she would be able to move on.  The sprites lovingly nursed her throughout the night, wrapping themselves around her, and in the morning she seemed invigorated.  Jace did not really understand what had happened, but he was happy to see that she was doing well and seeming in better spirits than he had seen her on the journey.  He was also happy to see that Dimcy more or less was doing well.

Her sacrifice the day before had also had consequences, but it seemed that she had been reborn as a child version of herself.  The younger Dimcy seemed to be quite a bit more playful than her previous self and delighted in buzzing around their heads as fast as she could making a little halo of flame.  Kale delighted in this and as they walked Dimcy spent most of her time resting on the large girls shoulder.  It was the love of Kale that rekindled the firesprite and the bond only seemed to grow stronger.

As they exited the keep Jace noticed that a large storm had appeared shrouding the Fort in the distance.  As they moved closer to it he began to hear sounds from within the mists.  It sounded as though a battle was waging.  He looked over to Merowyn and she returned his it with a worried glance.  “Someone is fighting at the Fort” Jace said feeling like he was stating the obvious.  “I sure hope they are friendly, and not an even worse army than the Orts.”  Merowyn could not imagine who would be striking against the keep.  The elfen armies were in a state of disarray after the Winter War, and no other standing army had the power to strike back against the keep.  The Valkore were powerful enough but they were scattered in individual clans, and seemed to lack the will to band together against anything after being driven out of their homelands.

The Sasquatch were also powerful enough, being able to wield the power of their earth where their shamanistic geomancy.  But they were scattered and tribal and once again lacked the force of will to join together to face anything head on like this.  Merowyn wondered who could possibly be behind the strike, and if they would be willing to help them achieve their own goals.  “We have to continue, and hope for the best.” She proclaimed as she pushed forward with her army of sprites in tow.  “Too much rests on us reclaiming the queen and protecting the summerwall.”

As they neared the keep they heard a great commotion from the western face as something erupted in fire sending great plumes of smoke rising up from the ground.  Jace could see what looked like a boat hovering over the fog bank.  “What is that? Some sort of airship?” he said pointing up at the shapes above the fog bank.  Mero looked at where the boy was pointing and sure enough it was a fleet of Valkore Skyships.  “I guess that answers the question, the those are Valkore skyships.  They are dropping fire down on something below them.”

Merowyn watched in horror was she saw a bolt strike out from the fort and hit the ship in its hull sending it crashing to the ground.  She was uncertain if she just saw what happened.  Another bolt came flying out catching another ship and sending it to the ground.  She watched the magic more closely this time.  She saw a plume of flame wrapped in lightning.  It made sense, but that meant that the traitor had managed to harness the power of the queen.  “They are using stormfire!” she yelled fear lacing her voice.

She had heard of it in legends but never thought that a person could actually wield such power.  “Baigan has harnessed the queen and is now using the most destructive of magics, the combined strength of summer and winter.  He is using stormfire and is destroying those ships.”  She watched as a group of ships broke off, diving down below the fog bank for cover.  They sped along the ground for a long ways and came to a stop on a flat spot just ahead of them.  “We need to go see if anyone is hurt” yelled Jace already breaking into a run heading towards the ship.

As Jace got to the ships, he saw a woman in leather and fur armor disembark the ship, sword drawn and held high as though she was rallying her crew.  Following closely behind her was another woman with black hair, bright pink highlights and dressed in a manner he was not expecting for the shadowlands.  She was from his world, there was no mistaking it… and the Doctor Who t-shirt if nothing else was a dead give away.  He waved his arms while running screaming “Is everyone alright?  We can give assistance!”

Pico watched as a boy and very tall girl closed in on their location.  Much to her shock she recognized both of them.  One of the dirty secrets of the watch was the fact that they kept files on all betweeners.  While they might not know the significance of each they cataloged their abilities.  The boy was Jace, he was a known woodbinder but had not really come into his own ability at the last the file was updated.  The girl was Kale, she was half ort and with it had all the powers of a small giant.  Her 6’10” stature tended to make her stand out as being something different.  She wondered what exactly they were doing, and why they were being followed closely by an Elfen woman and literally hundreds of forest sprites.

Barret stepped in front of Pico raising pointing her sword out in front of her and staring down at the oncomers.  “Who are you?  What side are you with?” she screamed making sure the others understood her clearly.  Jace slowed his pace and held his hands out to his sides showing he meant no harm “We didn’t know there were sides?  We are coming to save my mom…  err the Summer Queen.”  he motioned to the keep “We have to get in there and save her.  Can you help us?”  Jace looked at the captain pleadingly.

Barret lowered her sword and could not suppress a chuckle.  “It seems you are a bit behind the times boy.”  She motioned to the fog behind her “There is a battle waging, and we too have come to rescue this queen and save the summer wall.  We have a joint force of Valkore, Sasquatch, Elfen… “motioning to the army of sprites behind him “and it appears we have a whole slew of Wildfae as well, all trying to accomplish the same task.”  She looked at her crew, and they gazed to the other ship crews that had begun to assemble.  “We do have a few wounded, we would appreciate any assistance.  When everyone is bandaged up we can push to the fort and cover you.”

Merowyn motioned to her sprites and they spread out throughout the crowd mending those that could be mended and stabilizing those who could not.  Pico rushed up to Jace and held out her hand “Hi, I’m Pico”.  She gave a sheepish grin “I did not expect to see betweeners here.”  Jace thought for a moment, Kale had used the term before but he never really thought that he too was a betweener.  Kale had joined him and whispered in his ear “I think she is with the watch, be careful”  Jayce nodded and looked Pico over carefully.  He had also heard about the Ward Watch from Kale, and was a bit leery.

“How exactly did you get here Pico?” Jace questioned trying to make small talk as the sprites tended to their the Valkore.  “It’s a really long story, one we don’t really have time for right now.  Hopefully after this is over though Bemel will hold true to his word and get me back home.  If not I might need to beg one of you betweeners to shift me across.”  Jace looked dumbfounded and replied quickly “Did you say Bemel?  He’s okay?  He’s here?”  Pico nodded “He is leading up the strike from the south.  This entire alliance was his idea.”

Jace’s mind reeled, maybe they all made it out okay from the farmhouse.  “What about Benj, Josah and Morrow?”  He had watched Oaks fall to Baigan, but maybe the others were fine.  All this time he had expected the worst.  Maybe everything was going to be just fine.  “I’ve not heard the name Benj, but there are two other Elfen named Josah and Morrow.  They are leading up a force of Valkore striking from the east.”  She looked at Jace with a puzzled look on her face “Are they family of yours?”  Jace nodded with a wide smile “Yes they are, they are my aunts and uncles.”  Jace hoped that Benj was fine as well, surely we all ended up here at the same time for a reason.  For the first time in a long time he felt like maybe everything was going to be just fine.

NaNoWriMo 24–The Siege

NaNoWriMo 24

Really pleased with my progress yesterday.  In all I wrote three of my normal sized chapters and pushed it across the 45,000 word count line.  This should let me rather easily finish by Wednesday unless I start slacking again.  I am not sure why but I really want to finish before Thanksgiving.  If I can knock out another 2000 words or so this evening I will definitely be on track.  I think pacing wise I will be there as well.  The main event that has been leading up to is under way, and I have a few chapters dealing with the fallout but that should put me well over the 50,000 mark maybe even 55,000.

Here is the story to date for those that want to catch up, like always super raw and super unedited.  Even to the point of confusion at times.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning
  23. Best Laid Plans

24 – The Siege

“Are you sure this will work?” The short valkore man asked as he opened the tiny grey box to see an even smaller orb contained within.  Shaking her hands furiously Pico pleaded “Be careful with that please… it is very sensative.  As far as if it will work, definitely…  what it will do that is an entirely different matter.  It should detonate on impact and disintegrate a bunch of those big brutish things in the process.  The real question is are you going to be able to drop it successful in the fog?”  Captain Barret looked incredulous “Egan is the best munitions man we have, he will do his job just fine.”  With the vote of confidence Egan carefully loaded the payload into the bomb bay of the skyship.  Looking back and Pico and Captain Barret “We are ready to fire”.

The ship glided over the top of the sunwall and out onto what seemed to be an ocean of fog.  The valkore stormcallers had crossed the wall hours ago and worked up a great storm providing a foggy cover for their approach.  Pico thought to herself, if only this sort of thing worked in the real world.  Being able to control the weather was a massive stroke in their favor.  When she was first introduced to Valkore, Bemel said they were the “people of the storm”.  That moniker did not really have much meaning until this morning, but they very much earned every syllable. 

In the distance there appeared to be a parapet of a keep jutting up slightly above the fog bank.  To her relief there did not appear to be a spotter yet in the tower.  As they got closer to the keep she could see flashes of lightning within the fog.  The shaman were doing their job keeping the Orts confused and engaged as they slipped onto the battlefield.  Their mission was to drop the bomb on the keep below, and then rejoin with the rest of the skyships attacking to the west.  For whatever reason the enemy had chosen to protect the western facade of the keep with their war machines, and what better to take down a siege machine than another one from above.

Egan signalled to the captain “We are over the target zone captain, this is the area where we have calculated will have the highest concentration of Ort backbreakers.”  The captain stared down at the gunner with a steely gaze.  She thought about the actions and responded cautiously.  “Prepare to fire on my mark”  She looked out over the bow of the ship to the storm swirling below.  She could see large shapes half forced in the mists, and as they glided over a large mass of these she gave the order “Fire!”.  The gunner released the clutch that held the payload in its place screaming at the top of his lungs “Brace for shockwave!”

The little orb drifted down through the cloud bank plummeting towards the rocky earth below.  When it landed there was not much of a reaction at first, and then as though the boat had hit a giant wave it was pushed upwards and back riding the cloudbank.  Pico rushed to the front of the boat and watched as a ring of fog rose up away from the ground and then from the center there came a giant thrust upwards in the bank.  As the fog started to dissipate she saw a great empty void in the forces below.  As though they had simply been erased from existence.  On the edges of the blast radius she saw orts cut in half, missing limbs, as though the force of the tiny bomb had simply deleted parts of their bodies.  The weapon had worked better than she could have ever imagined.

On the ground the brutes were scrambling, completely confused by what had just happened.  No magic of the wildlands was capable of doing that.  It was all that Varus could do to keep the beasts from routing.  “Stay together!  We have to regroup, there are more things than that in the fog.”  The gorund general shouted as a peal of thunder shook the area and a lightning bolt struck an ort not two feet in front of him sending it to the ground in a sizzling pile.  He could not wrap his head around what had just happened but he fought hard to keep the meat beasts in line.  Baigan had clearly underestimated the level of resistance.  If they failed he hoped his assassin could dispatch the traitor quickly and they could make their escape.

Bemel heard the explosion of the bomb hitting and felt the wave of force rolling backwards towards his forces.  In the attack plan, he had been tasked at leading a force of Elfen archers to act as a protective cover for the Stormcallers striking out from behind him.  They had done an amazing job at confusing the Orts, and real resistance was crumbling around him.  To the left the Sasquatch warriors were advancing on the keep with Torklah and his rock shaman following behind.  The shaman gifted in the ways of earth were erecting physical obstacles to protect the charging warriors.  The way the two of them worked together was truly amazing to watch.

Bemel saw an Ort emerging from the mist charging towards his group.  He nocked an arrow, drawing it back slowly.  He stopped his breathing for a moment and let the arrow fly.  It soared over the battlefield trails of fog spinning off the fletchings behind it.  It struck the Ort squarely between the eyes sending it collapsing on its own weight, causing the one coming up behind it to trip and fall as well.  The Ortan were powerful, but they lacked any grace of battle.  His elfen brethren loosed their own arrows, each one finding home deep within an approaching ort.

To his right Bemel saw the Valkore approaching with Morrow and Josah leading the charge.  Morrow looked almost gleeful as she brought down her big hammer to bear against the kneecap of an Ort who had the misfortune to swing at her.  She followed up with a grace that should ahve been impossible given her girth, bringing down her hammer upon its skull silencing its growling.  Josah sliced a path in front of him, the flashes of lightning reflecting off the dual spinning blades.  Bemel thought that alone any one of these forces would have struggled to defeat the Ortan horde.  However together in this makeshift alliance we were mighty.

When the Barret’s skyship arrived on the western front, the other ships were already dropping whaleoil bombs down upon the machines below.  The battering engines were blazing sending black plumes of smoke up into the air.  Barret moved the ship into the fray and Egan dropped their own whaleoil bombs striking a ballista sending its crew scrambling off of it to avoid the flames.  Pico looked down at the carnage in amazement and dread.  If this force were ever turned on her world, what would they possibly do to stop it?  She had to marvel at the cooperation being shown from so many different groups.

Behind Pico there was a sudden and searing light, it struck one of the skyships in the hull causing it to errupt in a shower of light and list to the side before ultimately crashing down to the rocky ground.  She spun around to see that a figure was standing on top of the Keep Parapet above the mist firing these bolts of what looked to be fire braided with lightning.  She had never seen anything like it.  To her left Captain Barret screamed “Evasive maneuvers” as a bolt of the magic shot out striking another skyship.  Barret scanned the horizon finding a smooth flat spot in the rocky ground “Signal all skyships to land, we’ve done our part.  We need to hide in the fog.”

The ship lurched speeding up and dipping down into the cloud bank.  Another ship was taken down by the magic but two more joined them below the cover of the fog.  They watched as the ground sped past them finally slowly as they touched down on the desolate ground.  Barret screamed “What was that?” Pico only managed to shrug.  In all of her books she had not heard of anything like that.  Whatever it was, it was able to decimate these ships.  Maybe there was some fight left in the enemy after all.  “Everyone ready to disembark.  Prepare for battle.  We will fight on the ground.”  Barret said as she grabbed pulled her sword out of her scabbard raising it into the air.

NaNoWriMo 23 – Best Laid Plans

NaNoWriMo 23

I did not really end up writing much more yesterday after I crossed the 40,000 word line.  However this morning I have been up and writing for awhile now.  I just knocked out one chapter so I thought I would post it really quick.  My intent is to write another one here in a few minutes.  The final action is starting to play out and I think timing wise things are going to line up just fine.  Give me enough time for the conflict resolution and a chapter to hint at things to come.  The only problem I have is I have not been able to kill off any characters.  I like them too much…  I know the whole kill your darlings bit, but it seems cruel.  The more I think about the more I think I will probably remove the very limited cursing so I can target the young adult market.

Here is the story so far, for anyone wanting to catch up.  As always completely raw and unedited.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming
  22. Reckoning

23 – Best Laid Plans

“What do you mean they have an army?” screamed Baigan and the cowering gobbley advisor.  Firg visibly shaking at this point repeated the news.  “General the scouts report that there is a force amazing on the other side of the wall at Hagengarde.  It appears to be a combined force of Valkore, Sasquatch, and Eflen.  The group has coalesced  over the last few days starting only with the Valkore and quickly being joined by a large group of Sasquatch and Elfen.”  Baigan beyond livid screamed at the quivering Gobbley once more.  “How could this have happened and it went unnoticed?  This was not supposed to happen.  These races have no treaty or pact, they have no reason to fight together.”

“Oh but Baigan you are wrong, they have every reason to band together.”  Another voice spoke up from the corner of the room.  It was of the gorund advisor that Mogo has left here when he returned to House Bain in Tjorba.  As Mogo put it, it was his assurance that everything go smoothly.  Baigan thought the intruder was here to undermine him, but up until now he had remained quiet in his opposition.  “You have taken too long, and shown your intent.  Our forces have been in place for weeks letting everyone in the wildlands know our intent was to attack.  Now these people have done what any logical people would, band together against a common enemy.”

“Sir there is more..” the gobbley continued feeling a bit strengthened by the comments of Firg.  Baigan stared at the stammering advisor as though he was going to make him explode by the mere act.  “Well then? What is this more?  What other bad news do you have for me whelp?” Baigan had lowered his scream to somewhat but was no less frustrated.  “There is a keep to the west, that contained a Nightlord Assassin of Lord Bain.  A strike team has disabled the keep, and as far as I can tell has killed the Nightlord Khaloth.  They are heading this way now as well, bringing with them a small army of wildfae.”  The gobbley advisor finished waiting for the anger to return.

Baigan mulled this news over for a moment.  Why did Bain have a Nightlord waiting nearby and not tell him.  They were trying to undermine him, steal his glory for themselves.  Everyone was conspiring against him, he had to be careful now, he had to make sure the masters will was done.  He wanted to flay the gobbley and gorund with his stormfire, but he could not.  He needed the big dumb brutes to fight against this so called army.  “This is what you Trogjan are supposed to be good at right?  Waging war?  Then we will wage war on two fronts.”  Baigan said without delving into his suspicions.

“We will array our war machines to the west to face the smaller force, and bring the weight of our Ort Backbreakers down to bear on the larger force from the south.”  Baigan pronounced having decided this was the best course of action.  “I will ride out to give the machines support with my magics, and you Firg will command your Ortan army.”  The gorund admitted surprise, this was in fact the best course of action given the disparity in the sizes of the groups.  The machines were better suited for the west as it gives them the high ground to attack down from.  Maybe this impudent mage did know a thing or two about making war.

The gorund stepped forward from his chair in the corner.  “I agree with your assessment.  It is better for us to fight meat with meat and focus the bulk of our numbers to the south.”  He stepped around to face baigan, his long flowing royal blue cloak trailing behind him.  He was every vision of a general, broad shoulders encased in a rugged body armor.  “I will now go prepare the troops for the assault.  It could come at any time.  Your magic will be most useful supporting our gobbley machines.  I look forward to reporting our victory to Lord Bain.”  He gave a mock salute and walked out of the main chamber. 

Firg shuddered at the thought of the alternative.  He knew that if they were defeated, Lord Bain would expect Baigan’s head as tribute for his offenses.  The lord had expected him to fail, and in doing so he would finally be rid of the shades from his court.  He could use this act of Baigan as a greater sign of the weakness of the shades and purge the Trogjan empire of their spindly filth.  There was a time during the Winter war that they were needed, but that time has long passed and they add nothing that cannot be made up with machinery.  Firg made a mental note to assign one of his assassins to the western front.  In case of defeat he would need to capture Baigan’s head quickly and retreat with it to Tjorba.

The news about Khaloth was the most troubling as he walked out the castle to the southern front.  Who had the power to destroy a Nightlord?  They were beings of pure shadow, that resisted all known forms of attack.  This combined with their almost unique code of loyalty to complete a contract at all costs and never turn upon the contractor made them absolutely terrifying opponents.  Khaloth was their contingency plan, a way of getting through the sunwall if Baigan failed.  He was to find a weak point in the wall and slip through as the main battle was going on and strike them from behind.  He wondered if the Nightlord had in fact already breached the wall, but with the impending strike against Fort Kraken he could not risk sending someone out into the countryside to check.  Anyone who could have bested Khaloth and his reavewolf pets is someone to certainly be wary of.

“This is not going as planned, none of this was supposed to happen” Baigan thought to himself as he left the throne room and descended into the bowels of the keep.  The farmhouse had gone better than planned, how was he to know that this would not?  In all the centuries since the Summerwall was raised, never once had the Elfen lowered themselves to associate with the Sasquatch primates or these Valkore scum.  Someone was conspiring against him, that had to be it.  Someone wanted him to fail, wanted him to look bad in the eyes of the master.  Who could possibly be his rival, who would have the power to oppose him from behind the shadows.  The gorund was far too brutish to carry this level of deception out, someone would have to be working behind the scenes bringing together these forces against him.

“I will get my answers” Baigan thought as he strode into the dungeon.  He stopped in front of the cell of Benjanatos Waxwood, the Woodsblade protector of the queen.  If someone was conspiring against him, it would likely be one of his companions from the council of seasons.  As he entered the cell, Benj was slumped against his chains bound by his hands and feet to the wall.  “Benj my old friend.  You are going to give me some answers.”  Baigan said cloyingly as he crossed the room to stand in front of the slumped man.  “You… have never…  been my friend.  I have no answers for you”  Benj mustered with as much force as he could put behind his words in this current weakened state.

Baigan thrust his arm out grasping the mans neck and squeezing slightly as he stared into the other man’s eyes.  “Why are the Elfen cooperating with Sasquatch, Valkore and Wildfae?”  He squeezed a little tighter “Why have they raised an army to defy my will?” the loosened his grip letting the mans head fall back down.  “We have no army, but any free man would oppose you if given the chance.”  Benj gasped, his voice barely a whisper.  “They will retrieve the queen and free her, and destroy you in the process.”  Benj summoned his strength and lifted his head to stare at Baigan, and with as much strength as he could muster spat into the others face.

Baigan screamed madly coalescing his rage into his palm coating it with shimmering ice.  The pressed his palm into the other man’s bare chest and almost immediately there was a sizzling sound of flesh being burned by the cold.  Benj scowled in pain as he writhed against the chains trying to back away from the icy cold, only finding a wall pinning him in place.  Baigan sneered as his palm drove into the flesh of the other man, causing Benj to start panting as it applied pressure to his lungs cutting off his air supply.  Baigan removed his hand, and the other slumped against the chains once more.  On his chest a bright purplish scar began steaming as the flesh warmed to the temperature of the cell.

“No matter how badly I want to kill you.  You will live Benjanatos.”  Baigan said forcing himself to calm down.  “I want you to see how futile this little rebellion is.  I want you to watch as I take the heads of your alliance for trophies.  I want you to see as the summerwall falls and the wildlands are ours.”  Baigan leaned in close to the other who was now writhing in pain “Your suffering has only just begun”.  Baigan crossed the room, and strode out of the cell, leaving the other hanging there suffering.  He would crush this alliance, and in turn all of the races of the wildlands.  He would further the masters plan, and be elevated as his greatest champion.  Baigan Derrow would be a name feared everywhere.

NaNoWriMo 22 – Reckoning

NaNoWriMo 22

I did not end up writing at all last night.  I had a raid so I took the night off.  However I did manage to right with a vengeance this morning and just broke 40,000 words.  Since I wrote about 4,000 words today I am hoping that I can do the same if not a bit more tomorrow.  I would really like to leave the weekend sitting at 45,000 words so I can hopefully finish up by Thursday.  If not I guess I can write next weekend as well.  Things are starting to come together in my mind and I think the timing is going to work out just fine.  We are barreling towards the main conflict being resolved and I have about 10,000 words to go.

Here is the story so far if you want to catch up.  Once again… completely raw and unedited.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde
  21. Homecoming

22 – Reckoning

Merowyn knelt at the cliffside watching the sprites darting in and out of the keep below.  She thought to herself, something must be controlling them.  They all looked as though they had been drained of their light and where simply going through the motions like puppets.  She knew that they would have to rescue them, but she was not entirely certain how.  She had used the power of spring to inspire and empower the little pixies before, and she wondered if it would be enough to wake them from their present stupor.  The problem was that on this side of the wall there was simply not enough “life” to gain power from.  Her magic would be extremely weakened and as such she was hesitant to act without a backup plan.

Kale and Jace, they both had proven themselves to be more than competent fighters during the conflict with the reavewolves.  But she did not want to harm the spites, they were in essence her children.  They had adopted her as their “Lady” almost as a patron diety.  She felt needed and loved and everything she was missing when she ran away from Avalon.  She didn’t want harm to come to any of them, and how could she ask Kale and Jace to go into a situation like that with their hands tied.  There had to be another way to save the sprites.

She wondered if they rushed the keep, could they possibly take down whatever force had done this to them.  Maybe then the effects of this dark magic would reverse itself.  That was just speculation because really she had no idea what might have caused them to be in this present state.  They looked like they had been drained and turned into dark versions of themselves.  Hell for that matter she had no idea if she even could reverse the effects.  This indecision infuriated her almost more than the fact that someone had attacked her children.  She felt helpless for the first time in a really long time.  She was a woman of great power… how could she be paralyzed like this.

She heard someone walking up to her side and looked noticing it was Jace.  The boy had an excited look on his face and spoke in hushed words as he got close to her.  “I might have an answer…  Kale and I scouted around and found a pipe that leads into the keep.”  He said with determination “We can probably sneak into the keep through the sewer system.  It appears unguarded.”  Mero beamed “Great Work! This might just be the answer.  Lets ready everyone and get going then.”  She stood gathering her things.

At the news Jace closed his eyes and concentrated as his cloak morphed around him into the leafscale armor.  Picking up his lyre and staff the morphed them as well into the sword and shield.  He slung his pack onto his back and was as ready as he would ever be for the journey ahead.  He crossed the cliff to Kale who was doing the same.  She already had the great silver hammer slung across her back along with her pack.  He took her hand in his and squeezed it tight, and she returned his glance.  “We ready for this?” he queried and she nodded with a stoic look on her face.  “Lets save the sprites.”  Kale replied as she released his hand and began walking towards the path leading into the ravine below that lead to the drainage pipe.

As she walked she was met by Mero, Dobin and the other sprites all of which ready for battle.  They were storming the keep, and hopefully no one would notice until it was too late for them.  They would take the central chamber, either capture or destroy the enemy and hopefully save the sprites.  She was certain that the sewer was not left completely unguarded, but they wouldd deal with whatever came along the way.  Dimcy buzzed ahead of her lighting the way as they neared the drainage pipe.  Kale grabbed ahold of the iron bars and concentrating and summoning her strength she managed to dislodge a couple so that they could slip inside.

She noticed that it felt as though she was gaining strength on this side of the wall.  There as something about it, the desolation and cold seemed to feed her.  She found herself more restless, more hungry for battle.  When they first arrived at the cliffside and saw the keep below, it was everything she could do to keep from charging ahead and attacking the keep face on.  It was only Jace that had calmed her enough to start looking for another way in.  She secretly hoped there would be lots of things inside that she could fight.  She craved slamming the hammer down on her foes… and this scared her more than a little bit.

Kale hopped up into the pipe and helped both Jace and Merowyn into it as well.  The surroundings were much like you would expect of a drainage pipe.  Cold dampness made slick with little bits of a purple moss and slick patches of frost.  Thankfully the light of Dimcy warmed it up slighty, made her remember what the sun felt like.  They walked carefully along the slippery corridor and ahead to a junction where another pipe met it and began a slow ascent upwards.  The upwards pipe lead to a great stone cistern, and from there multiple hallways leading up into the keep.  The question is which Hallway would lead us to where we needed to go.

Merowyn stared around the cistern looking at each of the paths.  She could send a sprite down each to scout it out, or she could just make a decision.  The problem is she had no idea where they were going.  Mero’s ears perked up at a sudden sound, it seemed to be coming from each of the hallways.  As she strained to listen it was a rapid clicking sound, almost like a beast’s claws against a stone floor.  “Reavewo..” she started to say as one of the great beasts slammed into her knocking her off her feet.  From each of the hallways came a small group of the wolves quickly filling the cistern in snarling madness.

The wolf was pushing down on Merowyn trying to bite her, as she struggled to hold it at bay with one hand pushing up under its jaw.  With the other hand she desperately reached into a sheath at her waist.  After some effort she managed to retrieve a small silver dagger that had been hanging there hidden underneath her dress.  She brought the dagger up sliding it between her fingers and up into the beasts jaw, pushing hard as it slipped into its skull.  There was a muffled yelp as the beast began convulsing and then after one violent siezure fell silent.  She pushed the mass off of her and got back to her feet.

She looked across the room to see Kale pounding away at the beasts with her great silver hammer.  Seeing her like this reminded Mero of Morrow and her own weapon of choice.  The girl was amazing as she met the beasts mid flight as they charged at her, knocking them back to the ground with one powerful blow.  As a result she had gained a ring of beasts around her all cowering slightly, not certain if they wanted to charge in again only to be struck down.  Each battered and bruised from the strikes they had taken before, but still hungry for the meal that her and her companions represented.

Almost too late Merowyn noticed that another beast was charging, as she braced for the attack.  Jace rushed in from beside her bringing his shield between her and the beast and knocking it away.  He leapt with great precision bringing his sword down on the beasts skull in one quick motion. As the beast shook against the ground he turned to strike another reavewolf down with his shield only to repeat the leaping motion bringing his sword down to bear against it.  She stood dazed as the combat played out around her.  It felt like she was watching the entire scene in slow motion.  She was never the warrior that her sister was, she had always shied away from battle and preferred her magics instead. 

She felt like she had to save every drop of her energy however if she hoped to save the sprites.  She only had one big spell in her, the entire time they had been on this side of the wall she felt as though she was being drained of her power.  The elfen had made the summer wall and created a realm of eternal summer, and as such the Trogjan had done the same creating a desolate world of eternal winter.  On this side of the wall it was not her place or season and she was left near powerless.  She could not risk casting a spell on these assailants for fear it would drain her completely before she was able to save her children.

Thankfully it seemed that Kale, Jace and Dobin were more than capable of defending her.  The little sprite was making up with fervor what he lacked in raw power.  She watched as Dobin swooped down on a reavewolf landing on his back.  As the huge beast tried in vain to swat the sprite off dobin grabbed hold of its fur with one hand and with the other he began jabbing his pike into the wolf’s neck.  The creature yowled in pain as Dobin struck, his pike eventually severing the spinal cord causing the beast to collapse over on its own weight.  The little sprite released his furry hold and flittered off looking for the next fray.

Her defenders made short work of the slavering beasts and before long the room was filled with nothing but the heavy breaths of her companions and a myriad of odd gurgling sounds from the dying wolves.  During the fight standing back as she did, she noticed that more wolves seemed to be coming from the central hallway, so she surmised that it must lead to the main chambers of the keep.  She also surmised that the fact they were just attacked by the reavewolves meant that their entry into the keep did not go unnoticed and that more than likely other forces were on their way.  They had to move quickly to take advantage of the pause in action.

Merowyn motioned to the others and the group began moving up the hallway.  Jace had taken the point and Dobin and his wing of sprites taking up the back.  Kale had decided to stay close to her just in case something lept out of the shadows again.  Dimcy buzzed along to the other side of Kale, it seemed as though the little sprite was protecting the her and not Mero.  She had noticed in their time travelling that Dimcy seemed to be deeply bonded with Kale, even more so than she was with Jace.  The two of them were both extremely quiet by nature, and I think the little fire sprite found in Kale a kindred spirit.  It is not like Jace really needed much protecting as he had grown into quite the formidable warrior.

The hallway spilled out into a large circular room which seemed as though it must have been the central chamber of the keep.  At the far end of the room there were two curved staircases leading up to an upper chamber.  This keep looked to be originally of Elfen make, but it had been repurposed during the Winter war as a Trogjan outpost.  However the bones of the building and of the interior were still familiar to her.  The upper chamber would be the main audience chamber of the keep lord, and that was likely where they would find their quarry.  They would have to cross the staircases to get to that chamber, making them vulnerable.

“We have to go up there” Mero said pointing up at the upper chamber and the two staircases.  “I think it is best if we split sending a group each stair.  Hopefully we will flank whatever is up there and it will give us the upper hand.”  The others nodded in agreement and the group split with Dimcy, Kale and Merowyn going up the left stair and Jace, Dobin and the other sprites going up the right stair.  They pooled at the base and when Jace gave the signal they all began ascending together.  As they reached the top chamber they were shocked to see it mostly empty.  There were no torches lit, and the natural light spilling in from the keep windows case the chamber in shadow.  Across the room there was what would have been the throne of the keep lord, but it took was cast in deep shadows. 

For a moment Dimcy burned brighter bathing the room in a warm amber light.  It was then that Mero noticed that the throne was not in shadows… it had an unnatural shadow resting on it.  The shadow began to coalesce and move and raise up off the throne forming the rough aproximation of the shape of a man.  A Nightlord….  what in the nine hells is a nightlord doing here.  The shadow began to laugh, with a hollow laugh that sounded much like the rustling of dry leaves.  “Yoooou haaave noooo pooower heeere” it gasped in a scratchy and unnatural voice.  The shadows in the room began to move and pool into the Nightlord causing it to increase in size.

“Why are you here abomination?  Why did you harm my children?  Answer me!”  Screamed Merowyn in indignant fury.  She knew she should fear a Nightlord, but she was past the point of reason.  It would answer, and it would pay for what it had done.  The response came in the same raspy scratching as before.  “Chiiiildren feeeeed meeeeeee.  Wiiiinter loooord noooot truust Baaaigan traaitor.  Khaaaaaaloth breeeach waaaalll iiiinsteeead.  Noooow yooooou feeeed Khaaaaaloth aaaaalso.”  Khaloth gasped as the shadows began to swirl around the feet of Merowyn.

The shadows began covering Mero’s feet and she was unable to break free of them.  She could feel the power leaching from her.  Similarly the shadows had enveloped the other members of the party.  Kale was furiously fighting them but losing the battle quickly as the shadows surged up her torso and spreading out to her arms.  Jace was gasping for breath as the shadows wound over his throat choking him.  As the darkness passed over Merowyns face, for a moment she saw a blinding orange light.  From the edge of the room the light flared and the room was bathed in a glare so bright it seemed as though they were all staring directly into the sun.

The light flew across the room and into the body of the Nightlord.  The abomination made a piercing dizzying scream as the light began breaking through its body in shafts, causing the shadow to dissipate and shrink away from it.  The light however was relentless and continued burning brighter.  Merowyn closed her eyes tight against the onslaught of light.  She felt the shadow retreating from her, letting go of her body… she could move again but under the onslaught collapsed to the floor.  Then suddenly the room was dark again, and as her eyes adjusted to the sunspots and after images she saw that the shadowy shape of the nightlord had disappeared.

Kale feared what had happened and as she ran across the room she saw a small body laying there on the cold stone floor.  Gone was the bright fiery glow, but she immediately knew that it was Dimcy laying there smoking slightly.  “Noooooo!” she screamed dropping to the ground picking up the little firesprite.  “Dimcy why did you do that?”  the little sprite opened her eyes slightly and tried to speak “Is okay now…  Dimcy save Kale and Jace.”  Kale felt warm tears spilling out over her cheeks and driping down off her chin “But you burnt yourself out…  why…  you can’t go.”  The little sprite nuzzled into Kales big hands “Is okay…  Dimcy save Kale…”  Dimcy curled up into a ball and snuggled into the hand and was still.

Jace walked over to Kale kneeling beside her.  He reached down with his hand and laid it against the little sprite feeling a weak heartbeat.  He turned to look up at Merowyn “Is there nothing we can do?”  The spring lady looked down at the badly drained firesprite shaking her head slowly.  “She chose to burn all of her energy into the attack against the Nightlord.  She saved us all…  but she gave up her spark in doing so.”  Kale looked up at Mero with sad teary eyes “But why…  she can’t go?”  The other sprites had formed a ring around Kale staring down at the fallen Dimcy.

“She gave her life to save us Kale, to save you.  She loved you that much.  Honor her memory by letting her go.  She is in pain now, but holding on for you.”  Kale shook her head furiously not wanting to hear those words.  She could not let Dimcy go, she was her friend… she had lost so much in her life, been the victim of so much pain.  Why did she have to let her friend go too.  This just was not fair but as the tiny sprite nuzzled into her she noticed Dimcy shaking with the cold.  She placed her other hand on her pocketing her, bringing her up to her face and kissing the little sprites cheek.

She knew what she had to do, she knew it was the right thing, but she didn’t want to.  She closed her eyes trying desperately to calm the anger growing inside her.  She opened her hands slightly and whispered.  “Thank you for saving us Dimcy…  its okay you can sleep now.”  The little sprite opened her eyes slightly looking up at her “Dimcy love Kale” she said in a quiet shaky voice.  Kale felt another rush of tears as she furiously tried to blink them away.  “Kale love Dimcy too” she said quietly.  The firesprite closed her eyes nuzzling against her hand once more and slowly stopped breathing as though she were going to sleep forever. 

A faint glow began seeping from the fire sprites body, it started as soft amber and then increased rapidly until it was a piercing light.  Kale watched in shock as the little body disappeared turning to a white blaze in the palm of her hand.  She had to close her eyes against the brightness and when the glow had fade she opened it to see a tiny spark of flame resting on her hand.  As her eyes adjusted she saw within the blaze as a tiny girl.  The little girl smiled up at Kale “I said is okay, Dimcy Love Kale” said the child version of Dimcy.  Kale gasped with joy as she nuzzled the tiny firesprite child.

Merowyn looked down at the tiny Dimcy with shock and amazement.  She had heard legends that fire sprites if they burned themselves out for someone they loved, that the love would rekindle their fire.  She had always thought these were just childhood tales, because she had sadly watched more than one sprite fade into nothingness as their light was extinguished.  She wondered… if love could rekindle the fire of a sprite… could her love save her sprites?  She did love the sprites, they had given her purpose and meaning.  They had sheltered her and hidden her from the outside world.  The revered her as their mother, and she protected them with all of her might.  She would be truly lost without them.

Merowyn closed her eyes as she imagined each and every one of them.  She remembered the good times they had, the times they had laughed, the times they had cried.  She felt a warmth growing inside of her and as it grew a warm green light filled the room.  Kale and Jace turned to look at Mero who was now glowing much like a sprite.  The warmth and glow spreading until it filled the entire chamber.  Little jets of green began shooting out from Mero and out through the windows of the keep.  Happening slowly at first but quickly increasing like hundreds of green lasers firing at once.

As the glowing ceased Mero collapsed to the floor.  As quickly as the glow had stopped a stream of green sprite lights began streaming into the room.  Hundreds of tiny lights swarming the body of their fallen lady.  They lifted her still breathing body up into the air and placed her on the now vacant throne.  Merowyn sat there for a moment gathering her strength.  When she opened her eyes she saw all of her children swarming around her.  She gasped for air and a huge smile permeated her being.  She said softly “My children…  you are alright.”  The tiny chorus of sprite voices responded in unison “The Lady has saved us” which became a chant echoing through the chamber.

NaNoWroMo 21–Homecoming

NaNoWriMo 21

Yesterday was a pretty damned good day for me.  Firstly I actually went to work, which is a positive as far as the week went.  It was a good thing too since I was the only person in my group in the office and we had several crisis to deal with.  More important than that I wrote a lot for me at least, over 3500 words.  Some of that was in the morning and finishing up the chapter I was working on, but a lot of it was this new chapter.  This takes me to 37,364 wordcount.  Right now I am hoping I can get to over 45,000 this weekend which will put me on pace to hit 50k at or around Thanksgiving.  I am not sure why, but I really want to finish this up before the post holiday craziness sets in.

Here is the story so far, once again super raw and in unedited form.  The more I write the more I realize I will re-write.

  1. Shadowed Stone
  2. Little Giant Girl
  3. Birthday Wishes
  4. The Gifts
  5. The Incursion
  6. The Watch
  7. Rough Landing
  8. Dragon Bone
  9. People of the Storm
  10. The Lady
  11. Cambridge Beneath
  12. Prisoner of War
  13. Woodbinding
  14. Parting the Veil
  15. People of the Earth
  16. The Pack
  17. Brittagus Escape
  18. The Lightskimmer
  19. The Nightlords
  20. Hagengarde

21 – Homecoming

The lightskimmer glided on top of the sunwall in perfect silence, if not for the rush of wind Torklah would not have believed they were moving.  The pair had been riding for a little over a day when off the starboard bow of the ship appeared what he took to be Valkore settlements.  The majority were neat arrangements of wooden lodges around a larger central communal building.  The skimmer continued on without stop until on the horizon he could see a much larger arrangement of buildings along the coast.  The vessel began slowly just as gradually as it started, and once again Torklah would not have known it were not the speed of the trees passing lessening.

Josah had also sensed the slowing of the skimmer and crawled up from the galley with his and Toklah’s packs in hand.  “It seems as though we are here” Josah said handing the pack over to the elder sasquatch.  Moving to the bow of the boat, Josah slung his own pack and sent the ladder streaming down to the ground.  He descended to the ground below where a crowd of valkore was gathering.  He held the ladder steady as the shaman descended as well.  When they were both safely on the ground Josah gave the ladder a little tug and it zipped back up into the ship.

He watched as the skimmer started up slowly and before long had zipped out of sight silently along the sunwall.  Finally turning to face the gathering crowd he noticed an older man stepping forward from the pack.  “I am Elder Torgos, welcome to Hagengarde.  We are not used to seeing people arrive by sunwall, it has caused quite a commotion.”  He motioned for the townsfolk to disperse leaving only Torgos and a few guards.  “I assume you are of the Elfen courts?” the old man queried looking both Josah and Torklah over carefully.

“Yes, I’ve heard story of the Trogjan amazing a force here.  I believe they mean to destroy the sunwall”  Josah said while accepting the old mans handshake.  The old man nodded “Yes that is what we have heard as well.  I assume you will be joining the other Elfen then in preparations?”  Josah looked at Torgos with a shocked expression.  “Whato ther Elfen?”  Torgos took a moment surprised that he did not know about the others. “Some days ago a man and a wounded woman were found near Hagengarde.”

Josahs expression of confusion turned to one of desperation.  “Morrow?  She is here?  Please take me to her.”  Torgos nodded and began walking off away form the sunwell to a small lodge on the outskirts of the village.  There resting in a fur bed was a stocky woman dressed in flowing robes.  “Morrow my love!  You are alive!”  Josah exclaimed rushing to her side and kneeling down beside her bed.  The woman opened her eyes, her face slowly turning to one of recognition. She spoke a very weak “Josah, I was worried.”

“No my love it was I who was worried.  I had no idea if I would ever see you.  Who is here with you?”  It was around this time that another person appeared at the door of the cabin.  The man rushed in picking up Josah and giving him a huge hug lifting him up off the ground.  As he being squeezed Josah managed to give a very strained “It is good to see you too Bemel.  How long have you both been here?”  Letting him down off the ground he replied “I’ve lost track of the days, but several.  The weapon sent me here along the coast.  I roamed around aimlessly a bit when I found Morrow severely wounded.  I managed to flag down a Valkore skyship, and they have helped us since”

“Josah, there is something you have to know.  Baigan intends to attach the sunwall and is amassing a force at Fort Kraken.”  Josah nodded grimly “I had heard as much” he motioned to to the sasquatch “Torklah here saved me as well, and mentioned that the forces of winter were growing ever active in this area.  I realized what they intended to do.”  Looking at Elder Torgos “What is the intended plan?  Surely you mean to make a strike against them?”  The elder nodded “Yes we mean to lead a strike against the fort.  I fear the fate of all the wildlands rests in the balance.  If the summerwall falls, so will we all.”

“So it is true then?” the old sasquatch spoke up.  “Winter means to destroy the wall?  If that is so we do all stand to lose.  Once one village falls they will all begin to fall.  My warriors are needed for the harvest, but if we lose our lands there will be nothing left to harvest.”  Torklah said with a stern face.  “I will speak to the earth mother and have her summon our warriors.  They will heed her call.”  Bemel beamed brightly as if he had just received the best news ever.  “The elfen, people of the storm, and people of the earth all banding together.  We have the makings of a very powerful army.  I too have sent word to Avalon and expect to reinforcements to arrive on the sunwall.”

With the secret weapon Pico brought to the table, and the strong forces they were assembling they might just be able to pull through.  He knew that winter would be bringing to bear every backbreaker squad they could spare as well as all manner of other machinations of war.  Additionally there would be Baigan who had proved himself to be a more than capable wizard.  He never expected that the fates would bring all of them together, but still he was concerned about Jace, Benj and Kale.  He hoped that each of them was safe somewhere in the wildlands.  Bemel thought it best to leave out the part about Pico being the mastermind behind the weapons that had scattered them across the land.

Torklah moved slowly to the side of Morrow, he knelt on the ground near her.  “You too are a child of the earth.  I sense it in your nature.  The earth mother wants to heal you”  He got up and lifted her in his large arms, slowly making his way for the door of the hut.  At first Josah tried to stop him, but the old shaman simply gave him a stern look.  He carried Morrow out into the open air, laying her body down upon the dirt of the ground.  he uncovered each foot, and her hands laying them flat upon the ground.  Kneeling beside her he placed his own hands on the ground as well.

“Earth mother, your child is hurting.  Bless her with your bounty.”  The old shaman closed his eyes and dug his fingers into the earth.  With this the ground began to rumble much like it had when he summoned the rockling.  Instead of summoning a being, it began to coil around Morrow’s exposed limbs.  The earth slowly enshrouded her until she was completely encased in churning rock other than her head.  With this her eyes shot open and she gasped loudly as a gasy miasma began seeping up through the earth covering her and spilling out onto the ground in thick green pools.  Morrow closed her eyes again, and slowly the earthen covering began to retreat down off of her body and along her limbs.

“Thank you earth mother, you have purged your child of its corruption”  The old sasquatch reached down with his hand placing it on Morrows forehead.  “Awake child, you are free of your burden” and with that she opened her eyes and sat up, stretching.  She looked over at the sasquatch not really sure what had just happened.  The only thing she was certain of was that she hurt no more.  Where once was pain was replaced with only a glowing warmth.  She jumped up from the ground and cheered that she was free of the sickness.

“I am not sure who you are, or what you just did, but I thank you.”  Morrow said grasping the great shamans hands.  “It was not I, it was the Earth Mother.  She has heard your call for years, but only now realized it was you who did not know how to answer.”  Morrow looked at him with shock.  She had always felt close to the earth and felt empowered being out in the wilds, but she did not realize this was not a normal gift.  She was not a woodbinder like Benj or even like Jace would be, but she knew things almost as though she absorbed them from her surroundings.  She wondered if this was what the sasquatch meant.

She joined Josah and Bemel, now she felt as though she could actually help out in the effort.  The forces combined surely would be a match for that of the Trogjan.  She would make Baigan pay for all the pain he had caused.  She would make sure the wildlands and avalon were free from the influence of winter.  They had much planning to do, and an army to assemble.  They did not have long until the equinox, and she knew they had to strike before them. Morrow hoped that the powers they were assembling would be enough to win the day.