The start of another idea…maybe

With two strangely curved blades at my throat, I reluctantly kneeled looking up at my pale-faced enemy. His coal black eyes were staring down at me, as a curved grin spread across his face. Showing the rows of pointed predatory blood-stained red teeth. “Given how well you fought against me, you are no ordinary soldier. Yet, I doubt there is any noble blood in you,” noticing something around my neck. “Provided your men forfeit, there will a more private discussion about that strange gold pendant that rests around your neck after this battle is done. For now, get off your knees and follow me to the turret. I wouldn’t recommend trying to grab weapons from your fallen soldiers as you move. I may appear to be alone, but I can promise you I’m not.”

Not seeing much choice, I waited for the blades at my throat to moved from my neck before standing. Without saying a word, I followed my pale-faced enemy. Stepping over the bodies of fallen friends and foes alike. Hearing the battle was still being fought as boulders impacted against a nearby stone wall. This strange enemy seemed unnerved by the fight going on around him. Even his armor appeared to be different than the soldiers I had killed.

He led me towards a high turret, that had a shattered wooden roof on it. The sun was beginning to set on the back, casting an orange glow over the castle ground. Grabbing the bannerman’s brass horn from his corpse. Forcing a loud blast to emit from it as he blew into it. The blow was loud enough to create a temporary pause in the battle.

With a thunderous voice, he commanded “This battle is over. I have captured your brazen commander. Throw down your arms and leave my castle grounds. Tell your king, that I will not be merciful if you attack my castle again without reason,” blowing bannerman’s horn again. Grinning back at me, remaining silent as he led back into the castle.

Once both of us were in the throne room, several towering guards popped out of the shadows. Each guard dressed in black full plate armor. Their faces were hidden under a matching black helm with a flat look. Heavy looking black-handled curved blades rested at their waist. Vicious crescent-shaped long axes with ebony iron handles were carried in by all of them. The edge of each ax stained red with fresh blood. Even if I had any weapons, I was smart enough to know these men were killers. Taking a reluctant spot several large footsteps from the throne, I kneeled. Waiting for the leader of these monstrous men to take his seat on the throne. Wondering what my fate would be if I answered his questions.

There is another idea…

On the cusp of war, the high-pitched trumpets of Dorill blared at the gates. The royal family of Dorill having arrived, to seal and bind a marriage of peace. Thier horse-drawn carriages being escorted by living sapphire wall of armored soldiers. Bannerman with still white and blue banners stood at the forefront and back of the caravan. Each flag bearing a dagger forced into a blacksmiths anvil in blue, with a six-pointed star on the pommel of the blade.

Looking over to my late father’s guard captain, I ordered “Send a battalion of guardsmen to fetch the Dorril royal family. Tell them to be careful escorting them back to castle. Make sure there are at least a dozen bowmen in the battalion. I know this marriage has some degree of ill favor upon the serfs and some noblemen. If the royal family has complaints regarding the escort by our soldiers, they can augment the battalion with a small group of their own countrymen if they wish,” knowing how crucial this day would be if tensions continued to rise among the nine kingdoms.

Captain Ordo respectively bowed before leaving to follow my order. Leaving me on the balcony with two other guards. The twin moons beginning to appear in the sky, as the sunset on the horizon. It seems meeting the woman who would rule beside me, would have to wait until the morrow.

 

Preview of Death’s legion (title pending)

I’m not really sure where this idea came from. Yet, given how death exists (in some way) in every genre of fiction it was something I can build on.  Twisting and shaping it to something both strange and plot building. Without diminishing the power that death could wield in a fantasy environment.



Raising the visor of my battle damaged helmet, I attempted to wipe the blood away from on a battlefield that had fallen mostly silent. Only the caw of crows and the ramblings and moans of those who death has yet to take were the only thing heard. Keeping a tight grip on my sword I began to step away. Prepared to be merciful to the fallen, ally and enemy alike.

Stopping completely when I heard a strange almost inhuman groan from behind me. Turning around I raised my sword. Only to see the fallen general of the Tisthan forces, had begun to raise. Bloodied arrows still through what remained of his eyes.

Trying to hide my fear, I asked “You are dead, I watched you fall. What in god’s name are you,” raising my sword to defend myself if needed. Still struggling to understand what I was seeing.

The general’s corpse chuckled before responding “What or who I am is not your concern mortal,” as his flesh began to change. Becoming rapidly darker as it tightened around his bones. “All you truly need to know,” being cut off as a sword with a body of fire decapitated him.

Sensing I was going to be killed by the blade’s unknown wielder, I struggled to pull a dented, muddied shield from the ground below me. Hoping I would manage to die with honor, as my ancestors have. Raising the shield I readied myself to die. Glancing over my shield I saw the wielder of the strange flaming sword. A tall warrior clad in ebony plate armor. Yet somehow the flame the sword possessed was within its body. The strange blade sheathed at the left side of his waist. Cautiously lowering my shield, I watched this strange warrior. Trying to understand any of what was happening. This shouldn’t be happening, it went against everything the Kuorkizin.

Rapidly reciting a quick prayer softly, I began to step backward. Keeping my gaze focused on the strange warrior, as I attempted to flee. Ignoring the screams of the wounded as I passed over them. This place was no longer a battlefield but, a place of damnation. I may have killed today in defense of my homeland, but I felt no desire to be damned.

Managing to reach the outskirts of this unholy battlefield, I turned myself. Breaking into a run, trying to escape all of this like a coward. Believing it was better to be branded a coward, then to die in a fight against a warrior of unholy origin. There was no honor in that.

Being stopped by a forceful tap of something hard, as I ran around a tree. Grunting, I looked up to see what had hit me. Only to see the same strange warrior from the battle-field. Holding a bloodied iron halberd where my chest would have been if I hadn’t stopped. How he managed to get ahead of me was beyond me.

I shouted “I don’t know what you are, but I beg you to leave me alone. Please,” trying to get up. “My family will not ransom me, there is no reason to follow me,” managing to get to my feet. Looking past this strange warrior, at the area behind him. Remembering an old monastery of the Iquarthi monks was nearby. Hoping they knew a way to stop this thing from following me.

This strange knight barely reacted to me getting on my feet. Moving the halberd out of my way, keeping its gaze on me. Without hesitation, I broke into a run. Ignoring the pain in my chest, and legs. Keeping a slight gaze over my shoulder as I ran. Only to see him standing there still, watching me.

Following the dirt road, I attempted to flee once more. Keeping a close eye on the nearby forest in the process. The monastery was protected by the forest that surrounded it, according to my mother. I never knew what she meant by that.

Starting to alter my direction some, I ran towards the forest. Feeling the dirt give way to stone, before quickly being replaced by dirt once more. Continuing to push my body, as I saw the twisting spires on the horizon. The setting sun casting its light on it from behind.

With relief, I slowed down. Noticing the monks inside had begun placing candles in the spires’ peaks. Creating the illusion of a circular ring around the sun. The monastery appeared to change much since my childhood visit. A wall of trees of various shapes, sizes and types formed a defensive wall around the structure. Two watchtowers rested above the treeline. Watching for pilgrims try to get through the only iron gate into the monastery. A lone torch rested in the middle of the gate. Watching silently for pilgrims arriving at this late hour.

As the sun fell away, I reached the gate. Finding it locked, as I attempted to pull it open. In frustration I pounded on the gate, considering trying to force my way in. Yet, that would only add more blasphemy to my arrival. Assuming they would listen to the strange tale I would tell them, at this late hour.

A monk shouted from somewhere nearby, “Stop that infernal pounding soldier it’s late,” as t torch began to make its way into view from the left side of the door. Revealing a hooded monk in brown robes. Keeping their face hidden, the monk asked “The time of darkness begins, and a weary soldier pounds on the door. What blasphemous actions could you have done that couldn’t have waited until morning?”

Continue reading

Sleep deprivation brings strange muses

This is one of these strange ideas brought about by sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and perhaps small cup of cold medicine. Hard to tell, the creative muses are sometimes unpredictable, elusive, and strange. Than again you could say the same thing about inspiration at times. I only have a little bit written up so far, since I’m torn on if I want to make this a short story or novel yet. Each would have pros and cons, to it given the odd blend of genres this is becoming.  However I will offer a brief, preview.

“To this day, I still remember the people I killed. The bodies I buried, or burned for my country,” taking a puff from my cigarette. “Sometimes I was hero, other times I was villain but, I was always a killer.  There was always two perks of the job, world travel, and exotic women,” tapping the ash off of my dying cigarette.  Blowing smoke I stood up from my seat, walking to the window.  A heavy downpour seemed to dominate the day, turning back around to face the mysterious women who sat in my office. “Except that was before this,” pointing back to the window. “Before the cold war thawed.”

The client crossed her legs, adjusting the hemline of her bright red dress. She looked up, running manicured fingers through her straightened white hair. Revealing the slight point on her ears. She didn’t look up she spoke with a thick, accent like nothing I had ever heard;” Yes, yes I know what you did, before the veils of reality merged. The people I represent, along with myself know you have no problem with killing, or disposal in discreet manners. After all, I would hope you earned the nick name Death’s Ghost. Now, I also know that when the veils shattered, you were incredibly close to one of the epicenters.  Close enough to be marked, and altered by the energy release. Even if you hide them from the world, under that ridiculous black trench coat. I can feel the energy they emit,” falling silent as my dark grey eyes locked on her.

I kept my shotgun on my desk for this reason, when people were a little to knowing for their own good. It was within my reach, it would be easy enough to use it and kill her. Business had been slow for the past few months, and it was making my go broke. Strapped for cash, I forced myself to calm down and listen to her.

 

Mantras, restrictive guidelines or not?

Codes of honor, or mantras are common in both fiction,  and real world history. Are they useful in fiction, or do they limit the actions of your characters?

Personally, I would say there are cons and pros to using one, or not using one. Creating one can be simple in some parts, and other parts can be more complicated.  While you could take inspiration from famous historical code like the Code of Chivalry, the Samurai Bushido code, or the virtues of the Vikings.  On the other hand you could take inspiration from fictional warrior codes, like the Jedi or Sith, or even the Gunslinger Code from Stephan King’s Dark Tower. Most of those I mentioned can be seen in the pictures below.

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While I was writing my short story, that I’m still working on I realized something. That my character would benefit from it, since the world I was building has a post-apocalyptic atmosphere. That allowed me in a sense to create a mantra from scratch, or relatively close to it. The “Bladeslinger,” mantra I made is below:

“One is not a destroyer, one is a peacekeeper

We don’t seek vengeance, we seek justice

One is loyal to the order of steel and lead

Our second loyalty lies to the people

We serve by choice, not by force

A bastion of hope in a broken world

Clad in leather and steel, we walk

Steel, lead, and iron at our hips

One hand on the gun,

The other on the sword

Remembering our ancestors,

Along with our brothers and sisters

Bonds sealed in blood, iron, lead and tested by steel

Doing out best to keep the world just

From abuse of power, and technology of the old world

We roam, as agents of order.”

I’m curious to see how much ingrained code will change my writing, and character building, or if it will limit his actions. What are my fellow writers, and followers thoughts are warrior code? Useful, or limiting? Please post your comments below, I’m curious to see what you think. If you any thoughts on the Bladeslinger mantra, feel free to comment as well.

An Overdue update

Okay, I know it has been awhile since my last post. Of course that is partly because I have been fighting a strong sinus problem, caused by up and down weather. All that really made me want to do is sleep. That did manage to slow down some of writing, but I have been able to write on, and off at work. Even though it has made me realize I seem to write more, if I write by hand using a pen. I will admit, I’m curious as to why that is? Anyone seem to have an easier time being creative on paper, than by using digital means?

while in that oddly rapid spurts of writing I have been focusing on two short story ideas. One is a traditional science fiction idea, about humanities’ first contact with an extraterrestrial race, and the after-effects. The other is more of expansion on one of my six sentence stories. With some degree of altering, I have manged to build a post-apocalyptic style world focusing on the journey of the last surviving soldier after a devastating slaughter of a battle. Honestly, that has been an oddly exhilarating blast to write. Downside, I don’t have a title yet for either piece, but that is something I can always work on later. A short preview of it is below (formatting to distinguish only):

Crows encircled me, as I stood the last man standing in a field of  corpses. The stench of gunpowder, still lingered instill, wet, and silent air..  Bodies of friends and foes, rested around me in silent death. A forceful breeze carried the distant sound of horses, galloping could be heard through the wind. Scavengers, no doubt come to steal from the dead. Blasts of agony and sorrow echoed through my body, as stood up letting the cleansing rain fall over me.

The Scavengers were the one thing both the Bladeslingers and the Technos Communion despised completely. While thief original aims to rebuild civilization were noble, they had greatly deviated from that over the past few decades. Now they were nothing more than organized animals, that pillaged from both the dead, the living, and the remains of the old world. Sometimes taking ideas, weapons, and technology that was best left in the hands of the past.

Using the last injection of synthetic adrenaline, I walked checking the what remained of my supplies after the battle. My MK-9R energy pistols, had enough power cells left over to give me about one-hundred shots. I had to limit their use if use if I wanted to head back to the small base we had, about six days away from where I was. The standard Curveous saber for Bladeslingers, was still sharp, with a viable edge. With remorse I searched the remains of my comrades that were nearby, looking for anything I could remove quickly.

After a few minutes a loud, singular beep broke the silence, hanging in the air from an unknown source. It took me a short while to find the source of the unexpected noise. A wrist based device of some kind, attached to a fallen Technos Communion commander, judging the three stars etched onto plate around his right shoulder. The screen of the thing was glowing from underneath, for some reason. Six unmarked bronze colored knobs were around the encased screen. Four directly below it, and the other two were on the upper right side. I moved each knob individually until the beep stopped.

The beep was replaced by a thick, throaty voice demanding, “Report now, Commander Newton, report? How does the battle go? Do you need reinforcements?”

With reluctance I responded, “Your commander is dead, whoever you are. This wasn’t a battle, it was a slaughter. Only I remain alive, for reasons I do not know.”

The voice went silent for five minutes before returning inquiring,”Than who are you? A fellow Technos brother, a Bladeslinger, or have you arrived with the dreadful, monstrous bastards the Scavengers?”

I proudly answered “Bladeslinger, fourth class Orion of the Black Dragon Battalion.”

A long overdue update, and a brief preview of Rise

As the title suggests, I’m massively behind between trying to balance work and my novel. Along with trying to post updates when I can. Outside of that, Everything is going relatively well. I have five chapters left to update and revise. Downside that is still about 60 pages. Even though I have realized two things as I do this. The first being I have underestimated the importance of coffee/caffeine in this process. While the second is much cheaper. I need to invest in large, heavy duty paperclips/binder clips. If only to keep what I have done, and what isn’t done separated.

First Chapter preview  below (ignore the indent problem, it is how WordPress set it up):

I saw my fallen comrades rise from their snow covered graves. Their bodies still clad in battle damaged armor, their weapons still held in place by in their dead hands. Snow clung to their bodies as they moved,seeming to have little effect on my proud fallen brothers. The few of us that remained alive after the battle with bandits, dealt with them as swiftly as we could still dealing with the surprise of our fallen rising. By the end my steel sword was clad with equal mix snow and dried blood. Something told me, deep in my bones that whatever was happening here, this was just the beginning.
That night we sat around a fire as the snow and night fell around us. My eyes scanned the area, ever vigilant for the dead. I pondered silently “How could Disoth do this? Why would a god of death raise the dead?” My eyes moved to the faces of my three remaining comrades, they seemed to be having the same thought. As the night wore on the cold intensified until I felt it in my bones, despite the warmth of the fire. I scanned the area as night dragged on, getting colder as the snow calmed to almost nothing. Something was walking through the snow, making it crunch heavily underfoot. The louder the crunch got the tighter the grip on the handle on my sword got. As the moon started to fall I spotted a solitary figure, standing in the snow. The figure was leaning on,what looked like a wooden staff at this distance. I watched the figure in silence pulling my sword from it’s leather sheath. The man slowly approached leaning on his staff to support himself as he struggled against the thick snow. Slowly and as silently as I could I made my men alert to the strangers presence. They all glared at me but spotted the solitary figured realizing why I woke them from their sleep. I made sure they kept their weapons sheathed, watching the solitary figure in silence. Within moments the figure noticed our state of alert,and approached faster. The tip of his his staff glowing a faint white in the process.
I shouted “Ready your swords now.”
They didn’t question my command, as they removed their swords ready to fight to the fast approaching stranger. The stranger noticed our weapons, pointing his staff towards us releasing what ever he was gathering. In a instant I felt bound by unseen forces, stronger than steel.
The stranger appeared to be grinning, under his white beard as he remarked “Better. If I wanted your group dead I would of done it from afar. Now tell me what are you doing here?”
Silently my eyes darted over this mysterious stranger. The man wore a dark blue robe, that must have been warmer then it looked. In his right hand he carried a staff, that was taller then he was. The staff was empty of color, outside of gemstones that seemed to run up the entirety of the staff. Whatever material contained the stones must have been transparent, and much stronger then it looked from where I was bound. Then it hit me, the man was a wizard. He was a far from Arcania. A hood that was attached to the robe covered his face, outside of a white beard that poked through.
I felt the gaze of my comrades on me, waiting for me to answer this strangers questions since the position of command, was thrust onto me after our leader’s demise. With a growl I answered “Chasing bandits, and burying our risen fallen. Now you answer my questions. Why did our fallen rise? Who are you?”
The stranger responded “My name is Aegis the Wise, Sorcerer of the Forgotten Kings. I may have a theory on why your fallen have risen, but it is grave news if it’s true. You killed them right?”
I nodded before asking “What is your theory Aegis?”
Aegis answered “I hope I’m wrong but, one of the sons of the Forgotten Kings was a skilled and powerful Necromancer. Which is why he and his family banished centuries ago. He vowed his family would get revenge before he left, in a swift, and violent revenge. If not by him, then by his line. His line is still going like some of the Forgotten Kings families. They have just been have been replaced by their sons, and their son’s sons, and the son’s of their son’s sons. Now introduce yourselves,” as I felt the unseen bonds on us release.
I looked at Aegis as I put away my blade back in its sheath. He seemed harmless enough for now, and partly because I was curious as to why he was out here. Out of the corner of my eyes I saw my men do the same following my lead. I spoke my name is “Nicholas Ironheart, leader of what remains of this group since the skirmish with a group of bandits killed our leader, breaking the unspoken peace. Now the anthropomorphic white wolf at my right, is named Arngir Lupaninan. Harm us and, he will rip out your throat,” as he flashed his fangs at Aegis. “The man beside Arngir is Lucas Ings, our groups bowmen and chief scout. His protege Ian Ophile is the young man on my left. We had a few others but, the bandits killed them. We were poorly informed as to the bandits numbers, causing the skirmish to become a slaughter. ”
Aegis’ gaze looked us all over. Noticing our black and red leather armor that we were all wearing, custom fitted for each of us. He studied Arngir more carefully than the rest of us as if he saw someone or something familiar within him. Arngir seemed unconcerned by Aegis’s lengthy gaze.
Aegis queried “You have come here from the mountain kingdom, of Raifare correct?”
Lucas answered “We did,” his fingers running over the cross-guard of the small curved dagger he kept at his waist. His unease was obvious to me.
Aegis smiled as he asked “Are the old dwarven ruins still buried deep inside the mountain? Still locked by a method long since forgotten?”
I answered with a question of my own, “They are, but why does that matter?”
Aegis responded “The dwarves built many powerful magical artifacts with help from the elves. Along with a vast library of scrolls and books holding the secrets of magics only remembered now by the elves and the Great Order of Magi. We should go see the bandits you killed. What is dead should stay dead.”
Arngir asked “Why should we care? Bandits are nothing more than criminals to broke or too stupid to live by the law. They deserve what cursed fate death deals them.”
Aegis seemed unphased by Arngir’s blunt statement before responding “You should care, all of you. The more recent the death the easier it is for a necromancer to raise them ,nd use them to augment their army of the dead. Now unless you burned them to ash ,they can still be brought back until their bodies are burned to ash.”
I restrained Arngir as he growled in his throat at Aegis.
With haste I commanded “Restrain yourself Arngir, we have seen our fallen comrades rise and fall again by our blades. Now keep your anger and grief in check. We have to work out what to do outside of informing our king about this problem.”
Arngir glared and growled at me, briefly flashing his fangs at me. He quickly regained his composure staring at Aegis.
I commanded “We should move once the snow lets up, it will more difficult to move now.”
Aegis remarked “I agree, if I wasn’t a sorcerer, I would of had difficulty spotting you in this falling snow. This blizzard hopefully will end soon, if I didn’t know any better someone is manipulating this blizzard, augmenting the storm’s raw power. We need to find a more permanent shelter I think. We can talk once more when we are out of the cold.”
Lucas said “I agree Nicholas, this storm doesn’t feel natural. I’m starting to feel the cold in my bones. There should be a Grayhok Clan outpost station nearby, we can take shelter there, until the storm dies away.”
Arngir sniffed at the air, as the snow around crunched with the sound of footsteps, rushing through the snow. Aegis scanned the area toward the sound. His staff glowing with arcane energies,using his staff he was able to project a pale blue light over the landscape. Watching some I placed my hand on the hilt of my sword, readying myself for a fight should it come to that. There had been strange things spotted of late from what I was told.
Arngir growled “Trolls. Their scent is heavy in the air, like rotting flesh. Large numbers, I think otherwise the odor would be less noticeable,” as he removed his twin curved, double edged blades from their sheaths.
I looked and saw Lucas, along with his squire Ian ready their long-bows. Arrows already knocked and ready to fire. Aegis turned and looked at the pitiful remains on the fire. Somehow he called the flame to his staff. Readying for a fight or preparing a plan it was difficult to tell. I glanced down at the handle of my sword, before quickly switching to my battle axe. It would have a sharp edge since, I hadn’t had the time to freshen the edge of the blade. The scent got heavier in the air as the footsteps increased in both volume and speed, as if they were running from something bigger. Aegis seemed to notice this as well and projected the flame in a large burst of heat towards the rapidly encroaching footsteps. Multiple deep, piercing scream like sounds started to emanate from the area. They blended into a murderous sound, that broke the still silence of the storm. The ground started to shake beneath our feet as the screams of pain increased in volume. Aegis cut the flame that was erupting from his staff, peering back at us. The screams fell silent, as the snow continued to fall around us. Lucas shivered his breath visible as his eyes moved upwards, close to the top of the treeline.
I demanded “Aegis can you cut a path from through the storm. I would rather not see what could get a large number of trolls from their cave hideaways.”
Aegis nodded in agreement and chanted in a language I didn’t understand filling the air with strange rune like symbols, each symbol glowing with energy as it was made. The symbols grew brighter and brighter before, fading.
Aegis commanded “We can navigate towards the outpost Lucas mentioned earlier. The spell won’t last long, we should move quickly.”
We all kept a constant vigil as Lucas led the way towards the outpost. With Aegis and the rest of us moving behind him quickly, doing our best to stay warm. The snow never let up. It felt like it was intensifying with each step.