Saturday, October 31, 2015

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Five

Regis’ twin swords were out in a second. The metal glinted from the light of the snow. “Who are you?”
The figure didn’t answer. The wind became a gale.
Snow came up in a wave. Regis ducked his head and held an arm out. The snow coated him, and worked its way into gaps. Pricks of cold spread until he was nearly numb.
He squinted, trying to see through the wall of white. Something cold and hard smacked his face. He stumbled back, wiping his eyes.
Suddenly, the wind stopped. The lifted snow fell in a silent scatter.
Regis swiped the last of the snow from his vision. The figure was directly in front of him, a puff of white coming from the blackness of the hood.
“Who are you?”
“You don’t remember me?”
Regis swung his swords, one at the neck and the other at the midriff. They clanged against gauntlets.
“You dare attack me with inferior metals?” The man sounded offended. And his middle was wide-open for a quick thrust.
Regis pulled one sword back. Or, tried to. It stuck to the gauntlet. He planned to let go and draw a dagger. His gloves were frozen to the sword hilts. He cursed.
The man cocked his head. Another puff of white. “I expected better.” The man drew his hands down in an arc.
Regis plowed into the snow, face-first.
“I know you are better. Why don’t you fight?” The back of Regis’ neck was grabbed, and he was placed back on his feet. The man was several feet away. How was he not sinking into the snow?
Regis growled. “Fine.”
“Excellent.” Slick-black hands ducked back into the cloak. They emerged, holding two metal disks. The man flicked, and the edges glowed; a dull grey that matched the sky.
They charged each other, Regis going slower than he would have wished because of his snow shoes.
The ring of blows shook the snow from the tops of nearby trees.
The man kept his strikes short and deliberate; Regis blocked and followed them back with his own force. The man caught the strike with his gauntlets. He grunted, and a power struggle began.
Regis twisted to the side and swung. His gloves were torn free, some skin with it. He gritted his teeth and flexed his fingers.
The man skidded across the snow. He looked up. Wisps of white air curled back and gave Regis a glimpse of a smile. “Good,” the man said. “But you’d better luck next time.”
Warmth exploded down his leg. Regis’ vision blurred. He collapsed. The snow beneath him was red.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sweater Weather Tag

I was tagged by Sarah over at Dreams and Dragons for this. So, here I go!

Favorite Candle Scent?
Pumpkin-anything, apple spice, vanilla…anything that reminds me of cookies and home. 
Slightly off topic, did you know that there's such thing as a Denim scented candle? It's weird....

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
All three at once! It’s really good; pumpkin spice and apple spice tea, steeped in hot chocolate, with a small scoop of instant coffee. Tastes like Starbucks, but better (and cheaper).

What's your best fall memory?
Uh…I don’t think I have one…wait, I’ve got it. I don’t know how old I was, but our grandma took us trick-or-treating around her neighborhood. I remember being excited because one of my little bros had been born recently. I couldn’t wait to show him all the candy we got. :)

Best fragrance for fall?
Hmmm…the way it smells after/during/before the first rainfall of the season: cold, rain, and dying flowers. Sounds kind of morbid, now that I think about it… :P

Favorite Thanksgiving food?
Turkey stuffing. And pie. Ooh, and Pecan Tassies.

Most worn sweater?
Let’s see…either a sturdy blue one that my mom used to wear, or a knitted brown one.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
No, no football. “THROW THE ANIMAL SKIN! Yes, haha! DIE OPPOSING TEAM (or home team, depending on how they’re doing)!!” That’s all I see…
And I’ve only jumped in a leaf pile once, so long ago I can hardly remember it. I liked it because of the crunching noise. :)

Skinny jeans or leggings?
Between the two, leggings. They have such cool weaves out around this time of year. And they’re thick and warm. Skinny jeans are way too tight for me (and cold in the mornings).

Combat boots or Uggs?

I hear Uggs are nice, but I wouldn’t know. And I’m not sure if the boots I usually wear are combat boots or not... 
Whatever keeps my feet warm and dry.

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

Yeeeessss. Well, not the spice by itself…that’s pretty nasty. But mixed in coffee, tea, desserts and whatnot, it’s delicious.

Favorite fall movie?
Fall movie? Uh, let’s see, superheroes, documentaries, adventure…oh, Hotel Transylvania.

What do you want to be for Halloween?

I really don’t like origin of the holiday, and so I feel really uncomfortable celebrating it in any way. Even though the modern celebration is drained down to the point where the original purpose is essentially lost.
However, I will dress up if the opportunity arises. Just not because I’m trying to disguise myself as a goblin/devil so I don’t get stolen by said ilk (that’s part of the origin). :P

I’d want to cosplay as Maid Imraldera from Goldstone Wood, or one of my own characters.

Hats or scarves?
Hats, and hoods. Hoods are awesome. Scarves make me feel like I’m being strangled or Force-choked. :P

What's your #1 favorite thing about fall?

The weather. It’s amazing, it’s crisp, and the colors are explosive. Oh, and it’s a time to break out the soup recipes!

You read this, right? You're thinking about your own answers to the questions?
Then I tag you! :D

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Four

Regis woke a little while later. He grimaced when he realized that he’d fallen asleep fully dressed, and atop the sheets. At least he’d taken off his pack and shield.
A small fireplace had been stoked at some point. Regis eyed the sparking embers from a distance. The elf couldn’t have come in; he would have heard. Magic?
He shuddered and fingered the clasp of his belt. The embers dimmed. He relaxed. So the tinkerer hadn’t been lying.
It was quiet.
Regis went to the window across the room. The shutter creaked slightly when he opened it. Cold air blasted into his face from the glass. Everything was white, and bright enough to make him squint. Snow sprinkled to the ground from the roof, and rested just a foot below the window sill. Nothing else moved.
Something wasn’t right again.
Regis refastened the shutters. From his pack, he removed a pair of snowshoes. That cyborg wasn’t going to get away without revealing who he worked for.
He walked to the cyborg’s room, feeling his way around settling boards.
The door was shut. He tried the handle. Locked.
With a dagger, Regis felt for the bolt. There.
The door opened. And the window across the room had been cut. A thin layer of snow covered the floor in front of it.
Regis glanced around the room. Nothing obvious. But of course, it wouldn’t be.
He went to a corner of the room, and let his eyes follow a seemingly random pattern. It had to be somewhere…
Regis set the snowshoes on the ground and removed his gloves. He crouched, and leaped. His hand outstretched, he grabbed onto a beam. His fingers brushed against something.
Regis swung his other hand up and plied metal from the wood.
He let go, and landed in a crouch to lessen the noise. As it was, the boards groaned.
He went to the window and held the metal out into the brightness. Small, half-oval, with a thin screen displaying four red squares. One of the squares blipped out. A timed bomb.
He turned it over. There were no lines, buttons, or anything to mar the dull grey metal. A Trickster bomb, then. A bomb that only the maker knew how to disable. There were three or four more around the room, he was sure.
Regis clipped the bomb to his belt and put on the snowshoes. Snow crunched beneath his shoes. Beside him were footprints, light but unmistakable. He smirked. No matter how fast it ran, the cyborg was bound to fall into the snow soon.
Going as fast as he dared, he followed the prints. When he was among the tree tops, he tilted the bomb so he could see the display. Still three squares. He had time.
He took a few more steps, and nearly fell into a hole. He braced himself and slid back. Sure enough, Darius was down there.
It hacked at the sides of the hole, cursing whenever its arms locked up.
Regis tossed the bomb down. It clipped Darius on the head and landed in slush. “That wasn’t very smart.”
Darius glared up at him. “Could you help?”
“Disable it first.” A breeze knocked snow from some of the trees.
“I didn’t make it.”
“Who did?” The breeze increased, and whistled. Regis shivered.
An emotionless half-smile spread on Darius’ face. “Him.”

Regis turned, sliding his legs so that he stood defensive. A cloaked figure, black against the white, stood a few feet away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Character Encounters

October Character Encounter!
The air is crisp, smelling faintly of winter. My sweater keeps me from facing serious harm at the hands of the wind. I sit in the backyard, and hammer at the keyboard. “No, no, no, why are youdoingthistome?!”
Characters. Such a bunch…especially now, when their story is supposed to be on hold!
“So that was your plan, eh? No you don’t, you won’t—ah, carp…”
I run to the front yard, and onto the street. It’s quiet. And there’s a dragon standing in the middle of the road. A huge blue dragon, with a satisfied smirk on his face, and talons just breaking the surface of the tarmac.
“Look, I have to have something publishable, or at least readable, by December. Two months! Not even, since this month is just about over. I don’t have time to work on your story right now.”
The dragon, Richard, shrinks to about the size of a small car and slinks over to me. His hot breath cracks my lips. “But you have time to completely redraft, revisit and rewrite a different story? Not to mention the POV change, and plot focus.”
“Yes. Because it’s a story I don’t have to spend too much time world-building on. Get back in your story and stop wreaking havoc, please.”
“Maybe.” He settles on his haunches and looks down at me. “Oh, what do I do with this? I don’t think I want to eat it…” He curls his tail back. When he lowers it in front of my face, a squealing, squeaking guinea pig is wriggling in his grasp.
I scramble to free it before it gets hurt. It settles in my arms and tries to shove its head into my sweater. “Richard!” I fairly scream. “You…did not…manipulate the timelines and get this from Shade.”
“I didn’t?” He raises a scaly brow and clicks his talons together.
With the little piggy trying to taste a piece of my flesh, I groan. “Why? Why is it just you?”
“Just me?” Richard tilts his head to the side and flicks his tail nervously.
“Yes. Well, you and the vampire. You two. Just…two. Out of a whole cast. Driving me nuts.” I grind out the last few words. “I haven’t abandoned your story, so why are you trying to make it fall apart?”
“You haven’t?” Richard frowns, and his tail falls still. Just in time, too. It nearly sliced off part of our neighbor’s rose bush.
“Nope.” The guinea pig finally holds still and trills softly. I stroke it, feeling oddly like an evil mastermind for no apparent reason. “It’s just on hold.”
Richard lowers his head. “Well, I just assumed that, uh, to say…sorry.”
“I’d appreciate it if you showed me rather than just say it. You’re acting oddly in RPs, too.”
“That…may be because…”
I put a hand on my hip, a suspicion finally raising itself in my mind.
A smooth voice interrupts. “Excuse me.” The villain, Shade, from the future of Richard’s timeline is standing behind him, seemingly from nowhere. His purple outfit looks insufficient to provide much protection from the cold. “I believe that is mine.”
The guinea pig leaps into Shade’s arms. He coos at it and wiggles his finger behind one of its ears.
“All him,” I say, pointing at Richard.
Even though Shade wears a mask, I can tell he’s glaring. “Hmm. I will have to devise a suitable punishment.”
Richard snarls at him. “I’d like to see—”

“Nope, no, he doesn’t.” I nudge one of Richard’s forelegs. “How about we just get you all back into your stories? Then maybe I can finish my project…”

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventures, Part Three

The orb darkened, and a white dot in the center contracted. “Surprise. Can you get off of me?”
Regis held the dagger to Darius’ solar plexus. The cyborg seemed to gulp.
“Unless you want your AI to taste steel, I suggest telling me why you’re here.”
“Shelter.” The human-looking half of Darius’ face drew together in a scowl. “I have no wish to freeze. Release me, or I holler.”
Regis slowly backed away, still holding his knife out. He tossed the half torn mask onto the floor between them. “Who are you working for?”
Darius replaced the mask, pressing together the tears. They melded, and his expression became blank. He began straightening his jacket. “No one.”
“Your kind always works for someone.”
“You’re disturbing me.” Darius sat on the bed.
Regis scowled. “You’re not going to hurt anybody.”
“I have no intention of doing so tonight. Leave now.”
Cloudwillow’s high-pitched voice rattled up from downstairs. “Hey, is everything alright?”
“Fine,” Regis called out. “We’re talking.”
Cloudwillow came up the stairs and stood in the doorway. “Some talking. Since when have knives been used for that?”
Regis sheathed the blade. “Since when have innkeepers meddled in customers’ business?”
“Oh, always. We just don’t always make it obvious.” She winked. “Everything okay, Mister Darius?”
The cyborg nodded. “Fine.”
“If you say so…” Cloudwillow tugged on Regis’ sleeve. “May I have a word with you, Mister Regis?”
Regis sidled past her. “No.” As he went to his room, he heard the elf follow. He blocked the doorway, and waited.
Cloudwillow cocked her head. “You’re not like I expected.”
“You were expecting me?”
Cloudwillow smiled strangely. “Yeah, of course.”
A chill crept up Regis’ spine. “How?”
The girl’s smile became smug. In sing-song, she said, “Books.” When Regis didn’t respond, she threw her hands in the air. “Nothing at all like I expected. Well, I’ll leave you now.”
Regis went into his room feeling very disoriented.
It didn’t help matters when the elf opened the door just enough for Regis to see her eyes. “Oh, I almost forgot. I want to show you something tomorrow. Can you read? At all?”
Regis slowly shook his head. “No. Nothing except status reports.”
“Okay, that’s fine. Have a good rest, Mister Regis.” She smiled, then closed the door.
Regis lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. What did she know about him?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Serial Story Saturday: Unexpected Adventure

Unexpected Adventure, Part Two

A man, slim and doubled over, stumbled through the door. He was young, with dark brown hair and unfocused eyes. He wore thick pants, thin jacket, tall boots, and a rumpled cap that pulled down to his chin.
The man mumbled.
Cloudwillow greeted him much the same way she had Regis.
He mumbled again, and Cloudwillow pointed upstairs. The man stumbled up, clutching the side rails.
Something was off about him.
Regis finished his stew.
Cloudwillow bounded up. “Is there anything else I can get you?”
“No, thank you.”
“Alright. Holler if you need anything, otherwise I won’t hear you.”
Regis frowned. “Why’s that?”
“I’ll be reading.”
Regis made a sound of disgust and stood. “I’ll go to my room.”
Cloudwillow crossed her arms and pouted. “What do you have against reading?”
“It’s pointless.” So saying, he went upstairs and ignored whatever the small elf retorted. He’d heard it all before. His opinion wasn’t changing.
At the top of the stairs, he paused. One of the doors was ajar. The stranger’s. Now, to see what had made him wary.
He crept forward and slowly unsheathed his dagger. When he came to the room, he paused. There was no noise. Not even breathing.
But he saw the man, standing at the foot of the bed, his back to the door. He was like a statue.
Regis kept his dagger ready to throw. He went inside, letting the door creak.
The man whirled around. While his voice was calm, his stance wasn’t. Feet apart, arms tense. “Hello. Nice weather we’re having.”
A fresh gale banged against the shuttered window behind the man.
Regis narrowed his eyes. “Take it off.”
The man blinked. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Your face. Take it off.”
The man raised his arms. “My name’s Darius. How are you?”
“Take. It. Off.”
“I can’t.” The man gripped his cheek with his fingertips and gave a small tug. “What’s your name?”
“Fine.” In a rush, he charged the man. They grappled. Regis smacked the side of the other’s head, and the man fell onto the bed. Regis pinned the man’s arms down, dug his fingers into the other’s cheekbones, and pulled.
There was the sound of tearing. Shining, intricate bits of metal, a single red orb, and a facsimile smile stared at him.

“Cyborg,” he growled.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Serial Story Saturday: Unexpected Adventure

This is the first part of a serial I'm going to be doing (hopefully) every Saturday. When it runs out, I'll take a couple weeks of break and start another.
Enjoy! :)
Unexpected Adventure, Part One

In an unnamed world, an adventure was about to begin.
Regis didn’t know it. If he had, he would have been better prepared. As it was, he carried his shield strapped to his back, and his two short swords in a cylindrical sheath across his shoulders. Two daggers rested against his hips.
His pack lay limp against his shield. Regis frowned, and hoped that he would come across a house on the mountain trail. He’d been traveling for two weeks without seeing anyone.
He looked to the sky. Grey, and heralding a snowstorm.
Teeth grinding, he slid one of his daggers from its sheath. Without changing his pace, he threw overhand. The dagger whistled through the air.
He paused when he reached a split sapling. The dagger was embedded in the ground several inches away. He retrieved it. Bits of dirt clung to his wool gloves. He sighed and sheathed the weapon.
After several more miles of sameness and pine, a curl of smoke wafted up through the trees.
Regis brushed chilling white flakes from his thick clothing. He adjusted the kerchief over his mouth and sucked in a breath. His lungs burned. With a growl, he sprinted.
The trees and trail faded in his vision. His only focus was ahead.
A door, bound to be locked against intruders. He lowered his shoulder.
There was the sound of hinges turning, but he couldn’t stop his momentum. It carried him into warmth, over a table, and onto the floor.
The door shut. Regis lay on his back, gasping.
A small, square-ish face peeked over the table. A blond ponytail dangled down and brushed against his propped up boots. “Are…you alright?”
Regis nodded. He managed to work himself into a sitting position. His boots caught on a shelf, and something clattered to the floor.
“Ee-ya-ha! Don’t touch.”
An elven girl dashed around and lifted the thing—a squat, black container—and slowly put it back on its shelf. “That’s the ink bottle. Mom and dad won’t be able to get another one for a few months, so I have to be careful.”
The girl stood and shifted a few things on the top of the counter.
Regis grunted and stood. “Sorry.”
“It’s alright.” The girl didn’t turn around. She asked his name, and after a burst of suspicion from Regis, wrote it down in the registry.
She turned around and grinned. “My name’s Cloudwillow, and I’ll be your host.”
She then showed him the inn, though he didn’t pay much attention to her chatter. The rooms were cozy, the kitchen stocked food (did she say something about…mountain dog?), and there was a fireplace along the left wall.
He ordered a warm meal and dropped a handful of coppers into Cloudwillow’s hand. The girl vanished behind a thick curtain of fabric.
He went to the long window on the far wall. Snow fell in earnest and left streaks of frost against the pane.
With a grateful shudder, he stood in front of the fireplace and removed his gloves. As his fingers thawed, they tingled and twitched.
Cloudwillow came out of the kitchen bearing a tray. She smiled at him and set it on the table nearest the fireplace. “Here you go.”
Regis was halfway through the stew when he realized that there was meat in it. He stared into the creamy liquid and poked at a chunk.
Cloudwillow—she was still standing there?—giggled. “Don’t worry, it’s chicken.”
Regis swallowed and crumbled his bread into the stew. “Can’t a man eat in peace?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m not a man.” Before he could answer, she whirled and ran to the door. “Oh, another customer! These storms always seem to bring in the best work.”