Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Character Encounter

I may be "cheating" a bit, but I really haven't been to any event like this in a very long time, so it's basically just me and my charrie...

Character Encounter: AWANA (or Sunday/Wednesday night program)

“So…” I sit in a local pizza shop, nibbling at a slice of combo. “Are you satisfied now?”
Richard pokes at his pizza, head down. “Yeah. I’m satisfied.”
“Why?” Not that I particularly care. Which I do; I just want to make sure he’s not planning anything.
“Well, I like the fact that I’m going to have a literal heart of fire.” He looks up, grins, then takes a bite of his meat-lovers pizza (a whole pizza, not just a slice). “That’s going to open a whole slew of doors for me,” he says around the mouthful of food.
“Uh-huh.” I grin, too. Because I personally think the world is going to be crazy-awesome when I’m finished. I daydream about a few of the changes I’m planning—the world being split into three parts is one of them—but am jerked out of my reverie by Richard’s actions. I hiss his name. “Don’t re-heat your pizza.”
“Why? It’s not like they can see it, anyways,” he laughs.
I glance over at the youth-group seated with the church’s pastors over at a nearby table. “I actually have no idea whether or not they can. Sometimes they can, sometimes not.”
He extinguishes the flame he had burning in his hands.
I roll my eyes. “You know, I’m just going to treat you like my brother now.”
“Howwzat?” he says, a quarter of the pizza halfway in his mouth.
“Like this.” I lean over and tousle his hair, knowing I won’t see him like this again. Playful and child-like despite being more than a few hundred years old (and despite his oddly biker-gang attire). I sigh again. “It’s been a blast.”
“Can’t wait to see what you’re like in the new world.”
“Just don’t make me a suck-up.”
“As if I could.”
Richard grins. “Nah, you couldn’t.”
He finishes his pizza and stands. “Later.”
“See you on the flip side.”
My character walks out, ready to be re-drafted. I wonder what he’ll choose to fight for next. First it was getting his way, but now…I have no idea.
I rejoin the youth-group, just in time to hear a snippet of conversation that gives me a plot bunny. It’s totally out of context, but it gives me an idea for a Romeo and Juliet retelling. Just perfect for Convoluted Chronicles.

A post


  • I recently did a post on Tales From a Modern Bard, for the Song to Story challenge. Here it is, though I apologize for the vagueness and hasty has since been going through world-building and is (I think) clearer. Hoping to get around to posting that sometime...
  • Also hoping to get a Character Encounters post written up, possibly before the end of the day. It'll be short, but it'll be done. :P
  • As always, check out here for updates on TiB.
  • Hoping to participate in the next challenge on Tales From a Modern Bard: Winter Writing Challenge.
  • Oh, and Nanowrimo. Almost forgot about that...again, hoping/longing to participate, but as of now I have no idea what story I'd want to try to hash out that month. Because, you know, I've got a million and one...
  • Convoluted Chronicles, if any readers remember, is undergoing some serious worldbuilding revamp. A few things have changed, some of which I'm going to include in the above-mentioned Character Encounter.
Pets and life
  • Not much new with Liberty and Zia; Liberty tries to steal the bird food, and Zia either watches or tries to bite Liberty's legs. :P
  • My uncle is staying with us for a week. We play board games, share our favorite Youtube videos with him (can't wait to introduce him to Studio C! XD), and generally have fun.
  • I'm settling in to work, and there's this one Norse guy who likes to talk about myths and legends and things, so that's cool. And another guy has an electric unicycle. What even. It's pretty cool, and I tried riding it, but couldn't even stand without almost face-planting, so... XD
  • Oh, just watched Captain America: Civil War. It was okay, I guess, but it didn't live up to my expectations. The beginning was like, "Bang! Pow! EXPLOSIONS. Whoa, camera guy, what are we...oh, we're over, there, wait, what...oh, they're still fighting..." And what was up with the scene transitions??? There's all the cool (sometimes overboard) CGI, then it was, "Copy/paste basic font over sky scene" instead of smooth transitions. There were a few other things (WHY DID THEY RUIN AUNT MAY??!), but this bullet point is getting kind of long. So I'll just say one last thing: The feels at the end. They nailed that.
  • A Kindle Fire. I got one. *is totally calm, cool, collected and not at all squealing because of all the books I can now finish reading* I must write a thank-you note to the person I got it from (whom I hardly know, btw; this is just crazy-awesome).
  • Erm, I haven't had time for much else.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Miscellany happenings

What's been happening lately...
I've been terrible at presenting an organized format of updates, so here we go: first attempt. :)

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  • Check out this post for an update on Trouble in Bookland
  • I've been attempting an entry for the Song to Story Challenge (the song I'm using: Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler)
  • I had about 20 parts of "Scarlet Experiment" done, then went through to edit. A few scene rearrangements turned into a major overhaul. The major overhaul may also include POV change from Scarlet (the female MC) to a character that is [highlight for spoiler] the social equivalent of her husband. *makes faces at difficult characters*
Pets and Life
  • Our guinea pigs...fluffy and adorable to the passed a couple months ago (I suspect it was URI), and the other a couple weeks ago (possibly a combo of malocclusion and intestinal problems) :'(
  • Dog just had her 12th birthday! :D
  • The bird...well, she's had one or two concussions over the years. I guess she's doing as well as she can be.
  • Hoo, boy, visits, attempted renovation of a part of the house...
  • My first job interview. I'll know in a week if I get the job. 0_0 EDIT: Uh, never mind, I got the job, I'm to show up on Monday for some things, and ugh I just told my future boss "ditto" over the phone... *headdesk*
  • Family birthdays! Dad and I are this month. I'll be nineteen. *realizes what I just said* I'M ALMOST TWENTY AGGGGGGGGHHHHH.
  • Assignment from sensei: take two or three techniques and put them together smoothly. It's a lot harder than it sounds.
  • You Write Fiction. It has a series called, "The Writer's Life According to..." and they're hilarious. XD My favorite is the Toy Story one. There are also periodical tips and general observations about writerly things that I have been finding helpful.
  • I'm kicking around the idea of getting things for my family instead of them getting something for me for my birthday (Hobbit-style ;)). In accordance with that, it's my plan to offer both parts of Trouble in Bookland (with the extended ending for Pt. 2) for free from the 14th-20th.
  • Little brother has read more in the past 2 weeks than he has his whole life. He's devouring the Wingfeather Saga. Next step...Redwall. *bookworm cackle*
  • I have a notebook I carry around with me for the purpose of collecting plot bunnies, names, titles, and new words. I've had it for less than a year. I'm utilizing both sides (one for names, etc., the other for the bunnehs), and it's almost full.
  • My sibs watched The Fellowship of the Ring, and they don't want to watch the rest of the trilogy until we can watch them all at once. So now we have to pick a date and have a marathon. XD
  • Animal Crossing. You get to decorate your house, work your way out of debt, talk with animals, design your own clothing, color cat's faces...they need more games like that.
  • I'm hoping to get my driver's license in the near future. And assuage mom's fears about my driving (I totally freaked out the one time she rode with me... :P).
So that's what I've been up to lately. Oh, and I just realized I've never given our pet's names.
Guinea Pigs <3: Sunny and Brownie.
Doggy: Liberty.
Bird: Zia.
What've you been up to? Any exciting plans for the year? Let me know in the comments! :D

Saturday, June 4, 2016


You know it’s summer (or spring, depending on where you live) when you start finding spiders in the hallway and in closets. And on walls. Behind drapes. On the counter… ;)

I’m going to be postponing the blog (*sigh* again) for a little while due to my summer schedule. I’m hoping to start back up again within the next month or so, but for now, I’m going to hold off on posting a serial.

That being said, I have a couple more ideas in mind for the next serial. Let me know which synopsis interests you most!

Scarlet Experiment (tentative title):
An amnesiac girl struggles to find what part she plays in the familiar workings of her world.

Queen of the Owls:
A young boy tries to escape his problems, and only finds more.

The Shard:
A fairy and a young boy travel away from the only home they’ve ever known to reach the Wizard’s Tower.

What are some things you’d expect from these stories? What are some tropes that annoy you? What are some things you'd like to see?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

And here is the longer post I wanted to give y'all. :D

Unexpected Adventure, Part Thirty-one


Destiny got right to work. Regis and Peter leapt and jumped and spun in attempts to keep their footing. Columns went up, valleys suddenly formed, the ground twisted like a towel being wrung. And all the while they were trying to hack at each other with their no-longer-pastry-fied weapons.
Destiny flicked her hands. Wave-like ripples tossed Regis and Peter in the air. Before they had fallen far, columns shot up. Regis caught himself neatly, landing in a cat crouch. Peter fumbled and spun like a ballerina before he regained his balance.
Fate tutted. “Loss of three points, don’t you think?”
Destiny didn’t answer, just kept manipulating the field. She looked like she was having as much fun as I would. “So what’s the score?” I asked.
“Fifty to ten,” and “C to fifty,” they said simultaneously.
Fate shot Destiny an askance look. “What does the C stand for?”
“One hundred, and it’s for my player.”
“Now see here, Regis is getting points for style!”
“This is a battle, not a beauty pageant.”
“It’s for my throne! I think I should have a say…”
While they went at it, I slipped around the seats to the other side of Fate. One particular bauble on her caught my eye. A magic lamp, rimmed in sparkles. I swiped it and mentally thanked daddy for allowing me to spend lots of time with my cousins.
Destiny shouted, “Enough!”
Fate crossed her arms. “I’m only saying—”
“On to the next round,” Destiny said with finality.
I leaned forward and tucked the lamp in my flowing sleeves. “What’s the next challenge?”
Destiny grinned. “Animal attack.”
“Ooh, what kind?” Phoenixes would be fun to watch, or maybe giant wolves. Bears, elephants, a camel or two…
Then I saw the lion-like animals lurking among the sand dunes. Suddenly I wasn’t so happy about the arrangement. “Bloodlions?!”
Fate grimaced. “She’s right, darling. That’s a bit excessive.”
“They’re the ultimate test.” Destiny let out a villain-worthy cackle. “Ferocious when unprovoked, virtually unstoppable when they scent weakness. And both combatants are rather tired about now.”
She was right; Regis and Peter were flagging. I rubbed the lamp with my finger. A wispy voice grumbled in my mind.
Who do you want me to torture now?
I just want to use one wish. I wish that Peter and Regis—as unobtrusively as I could, I angled my arms so that the spout of the lamp pointed towards the battle field—would be re-energized.
The voice perked up. Okay.
Peter and Regis wielded their weapons with renewed vigor, but turned it to the approaching bloodlions instead of each other. I was glad the genie wasn’t one of the ones that would do what you told it to in the smallest extent possible.
I bit my lip. How long could they hold out? How long until Peter decided to—
I bolted to my feet and cupped my hands to my mouth. “Watch out, Regis!”
Peter dodged his pair of charging bloodlions, and they charged straight into Regis. He went down.
I shouted in dismay. Fate tapped my shoulder. “What is this, now?” She held the lamp. I must have dropped it.
“Uh…I was making things interesting.”
Fate patted my head. Destiny glared. “Let’s see what good that’s done you.”
With shiver-inducing howls, the bloodlions bounded back to the dunes. Destiny lowered her arms, a triumphant smile on her face. “I don’t think your Regis is getting up any time soon.”
But he had to. I stared at the prone body, just thinking, “Please get up, please get up.” I couldn’t even bring myself to protest that they were supposed to be fighting on a point system.
Peter swaggered up to the stands. “Am I the winner?” he asked.
Fate opened her mouth, but Destiny spoke before she. “Yes, you are.”
“That’s a relief.” He swiped at his forehead.
Fate sighed. “Destiny, dear, you really need to pay more attention to your charges.”
“They’re both beacons, yes? And if you look at the field, you can see Regis’ amulet lying in the dust.”
“So, that’s not Peter. At least, not his spirit.”
Destiny’s jaw dropped. After a moment I realized mine was hanging, as well.
Peter—Regis?—chuckled. It was Peter’s voice, but when I looked in his eyes, I saw Regis.
I flopped back onto a seat. “That was…unexpected. But it makes sense.” I looked over at Fate, who was sitting with a sad expression on her face. “So Regis won. I think. Technically.” Fate nodded.
I scooted closer to her. “Where does that leave you?”
“Oh, just without a job for a time. More importantly, it leaves this world without a leader.”
I looked to Pe—Regis. “Yeah, what were you going to do about that?”
Regis shrugged. “Without Fate controlling things, one thought was adventures for the sake of adventuring. Another was dissolution of prophecies.”
I rolled my eyes. “You can’t just start stuff like that after ages of Fate’s rule.”
“Which was why I was going to ask for her help.”
Fate cocked her head. “Of course, I’d be glad to. You still have to deal with my relatives, you know.”
I looked around for Destiny. She was gone.
Peter—Regis licked his lips. “I…hadn’t thought of that.”
I groaned. “Of course you didn’t.” But I had. I don’t know why, or when, but I had. Sort of. “Why don’t you let them keep doing their jobs, but instead of being ruled by Fate, they have to form a council. And do their jobs by vote.” Like I said, I’d only sort of thought it through.
Fate laughed. “That would be a sight! Everyone gathered under one roof, at one time, trying to decide on something. It could work, of course, if I was given a say. I’m the eldest, you know.”
Regis scowled. “Won’t that be the same as…”
As they hashed out the details, I sighed. This was going to take a while. And even though I hadn’t gotten to play a very big part in this adventure—I hadn’t even gotten to skewer anything—there was always the next adventure to look forward to.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

I almost didn't have time again...
Thankfully, I did, but it didn't turn out like I expected. Like, at all. Let me know what you think. XD

Unexpected Adventure, Part Thirty


With another snap of her fingers, Fate transported all of us. I sat in a grandstand the color of sand. Regis stood below in semi-circle of sand dunes. Destiny sat on one side of me, Fate on another.
Peter, still decked in his black clothing—he was probably going to regret that; it was hot in that place—appeared a few feet away from Regis. He drew his twin metal disks.
Fate waved a white kerchief. “Well, now, let the battle begin!”
Regis parried Peter’s first blows. His sword wavered a bit. He still wasn’t used to using just one hand, I guessed.
After about thirty seconds, I started to lose interest. It was all the same: strike, parry, almost hit or get hit, and the periodic attempt of Peter’s to kick sand in Regis’ face.
Fate looked as bored as I was. Destiny filed her nails.
“Are either of you allowed to…change things?” I asked innocently, swinging my legs.
Fate sighed. “Normally I could, but like I said earlier, I don’t have much control here. Destiny guides those in barren places, not me.”
Destiny tucked her file into her hair. “What did you have in mind?”
I told them my first idea to make things interesting.
Fate giggled, but Destiny wrinkled her nose. “The way it works is that I control the area around them, not…not…nonsense.”
Fate leaned over me to plead with her sister. “Oh, but dear, think of it. One of them is about to land the killing blow, but lo! Instead of blood and gore, their opponent is splattered in confections. It would be more entertaining.”
We all glanced down at the battlefield. Regis charged Peter. Peter dipped low, smacked up some dirt, and dodged. Regis swung low and just missed cutting into Peter’s leg.
Destiny winced. “I suppose it would be.”
“Oh, goody.” Fate rubbed her hands together. “What should we do first?”
I hopped in my seat. “Desserts!”
Fate clapped instead of snapping her fingers. Just in time: Peter threw his disk, it ricocheted off the bottom of the grandstand, and would have embedded itself in Regis’ head—if it hadn’t turned into an apple pie.
Regis stumbled to the side. Peter stared at him, then at his hands. The remaining disk promptly turned into a rainbow cupcake. “What is this?!” he yelled up at us.
Fate waved. “Things were too simple, dearie. We’re livening things up a bit. Carry on!”
Regis wiped the pie from his face. His sword changed into a stick of gingerbread.
Peter half-squished the cupcake in his hands. “How am I supposed to—argh!”
Regis landed a blow on Peter’s back. Peter flung the cupcake at him. It exploded, pushed them apart, and covered them both in glittery frosting.
Peter spat and tried to clean his face. Regis shrugged and flung his club. It cracked against Peter’s skull, and he fell sideways.
Fate made a tsk-ing sound. “You know, we should have decided beforehand if the winner is determined by knock-out or kill.”
“Knock-out,” I blurted.
Destiny shook her head. “It should be kill. Besides, it’s only been a minute. It would be anti-climatic for it to end like this.”
I wouldn’t mind seeing Peter beaten, but I wasn’t fond of the idea of one of them dying. I waved my hands between the conversing sisters. “Or maybe by a point basis, and each strike gives them a certain number of points!”
They agreed, thankfully. Destiny waved her hand. Below, the ground slid like a blanket so that Regis and Peter were separated. Peter got up after a few moments, shaking his head.
“My turn to change things up,” Destiny said.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Serial Story Saturday (and announcements)

Okay, so this one isn’t long as I’d hoped, because I did not have as much time as I’d hoped…
Things that have had me occupied:

1. Driving. Gah. Renewed my permit, got a car (it’s old, but in good shape, and we got it for free from someone mom and dad are friends with), and there has been talk of driving out of state to rack up some hours. O_O And I am now required to drive me and my siblings to karate class. Thankfully, they understand that I am a very stressed driver and so do their best to keep the noise down and refrain from making faces in the rear-view. (^.^’)

2. Homeschooling. Mom has trouble working up energy in the morn’, so that’s when I work with my little sister. She is not liking reading thus far…which is kind of hard for me to deal with, being a book worm. ;)
Headway is being made, though; she read to me this morning with minimal argument. :D

3. Family things. Trying to integrate into a new church, guests coming over, cooking, music practice, and other things.

4. Writing (kind of). Writing as in characters from other stories have begun to talk, so I have conversations in my head then scramble to write them down before bed. Also jotting down entries in my plot bunny notebook and outlining TiB 3. I tried multi-writing at one point, but my Brainkeeper wasn’t happy with me… XD :P

Why things seem to happen all at once, and then either pile up or stay constant for a while, I don’t know. Hmm... *gathers plot bunnies and character torture devices ;)*

Anyways, here’s part 29. :)

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-nine

Regis cleared his throat. “It seems that you have penned your own demise.”
“Oh?” Fate daintily sipped her tea. “How so?”
“If you’ll look with me…”
Cloudwillow obediently handed Regis the Book of Prophecy. He thumbed through it and showed Fate the same passages Cloudwillow had shown him.
“Yes, it does look that way, doesn’t it?” Fate frowned and smoothed her white dress. “How does it hold, though? Destiny!” she called.
A door appeared a few feet away. Someone knocked. Fate laughed. “Lose a bet with Opportunity again, my dear?”
Destiny, a shorter woman wearing a severe grey dress, entered. “He always cheats.” She tightened the folds of her elbow-length gloves. “What do you want?”
“I seem to have written myself into a bit of a pickle.” Fate gestured at the Book of Prophecy. “Tell me if these are yours.” She held her hands out as if she was offering something long and heavy. Regis and Cloudwillow could see nothing.
Destiny strode over. “They look sturdy enough.” She tapped the air above Fate’s hands. Fire flared from her fingertips and revealed a thick chain coming from the Book of Prophecy. Destiny nodded; the flames died off. “Yes, these are mine.” She smirked and rubbed her hands together. “I can’t wait to see you try to get out of this.”
Fate sniffed. “Is there any way out?” She said it in a way that implied she knew the answer, and didn’t like it.
“Nope.” Destiny smiled. “You are bound not only by your words, but by the chains you’ve had me give heroes and such.”
“That was inevitable, really. But…these chains are hideous. They clash so much.”
“They’re supposed to.” Destiny rolled her eyes. “Let’s not start this again. It would be rude to your guests.”
“C’est la vie,” Fate said with a wave of her hands. She stood. Regis and Cloudwillow did the same. The table, chairs, and food vanished.
“Regis, you are the challenger. Where would you like to fight?”
Regis tapped the pommel of his sword. “The plains.”
Fate grimaced. “That dusty place? Clever of you, though, choosing a place where I have almost no control. I’ve never liked the desert. You look like you have something else to say. Spit it out, darling.”
“Peter’s still bound by Destiny. You said you and Destiny are close. If she consents, I’ll fight him in your place.”
“Oh, two birds with one stone.” Fate patted Regis’ head. “What do you say, sister?”
Destiny put her hands out to the side. “I say, yes.” She turned to Regis and grinned. “I know my sister is prepared. I hope you are, too. Otherwise this will be for nothing.”

Saturday, April 30, 2016


I would like to apologize for the lack of an Unexpected Adventure part last Saturday. And, unfortunately, this Saturday. :(
Time has been hard to manage, important things keep coming up that claim my thought and attention, and I haven’t had an opportunity to write up a part as thoroughly as I would like.
I will make this up with an extra-long post, to be out between this coming Wednesday and Saturday (gotta give Time some leg-room, after all. Maybe then he’ll give me some slack… ;) )
Thanks for understanding. See you next week! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-eight

Fate’s castle. I cooed and ran my fingers along the dark, old wood of the drawbridge. “I’m not even inside yet and I’m freaking out,” I whispered to Regis. “I can’t believe we’re here, I just can’t—”
I’m not sure how long I babbled, but it was long enough for a gold-armored guard to fetch us and lead us inside. Then I really freaked out. A massive hall showcased enchanted swords, daggers, vases, cases, flowers, jewelry, and stones. I named most of them, and stared at the ones I didn’t recognize. The guard wasn’t at all helpful; he just shrugged when I asked what they were.
“Hello, dears!”
Fate herself, shrouded in a white dress, translucent black veil, and bangles of gold—I recognized several other artifacts—stepped from thin air a few feet away. She smiled. “Ah, I see you’ve taken an interest in the Pirate’s Treasure.”
I gaped. “This is…”
I was almost sorry that we had to overthrow her.
“Overthrow me? That is new news.” Fate laughed. “The tea and sandwiches are ready, so come along.”
She led us down the hall, to the end. Then, she walked straight through the wall. I followed more eagerly than Regis.
There was a swish like a curtain, and I stood in a small garden. Daisies, tulips, and other decidedly plain flowers growing in bunches surrounded a simple white table. Fate snapped her fingers, and three chairs glittered into existence.
Regis appeared beside me after a few moments.
Fate sat down, and three sets of food showed up on the table.
I took a seat and fingered the highly decorated handle of a teacup. Then I sat back and watched Regis.

Regis, after downing a sandwich in one bite, withdrew the Pocket-watch. “You like bargains. I came to bargain.”
Fate chuckled. “If I really wanted it, I would have it. What makes you think it has any value to me?”
“I think you want more control than you already have over the world.”
“I have all the control I need. What I don’t exact, Destiny does. And we’re so close it hardly matters who gets what. We share everything.” Fate stirred her tea and ran the spoon along the rim. “For example, she received this from a late king who had bargained with one of her fairies. Oh, and she’s currently borrowing a few weapons of mine to give to various heroes.”
“Do all heroes receive known weapons?”
“Of course.”
“Am I a hero?” Regis leaned back casually.
Fate frowned. “You are to save a part of our little world from your brother, yes. But you’ve been running from that for quite some time. So, here’s the deal. In return for the Pocket-watch—”
“No, Fate. I make the terms this time.”
Fate pursed her lips. “Highly unusual.”
Cloudwillow giggled. “You just described him in two words.”
Regis leaned forward, stalling further chatter. “In return for the Pocket-watch, you let me and Peter go.”
Fate matched his pose, nodding slowly. “For your final battle, yes?” She grinned. “You want to be somewhere out of the way where no one can see, and you don’t want interference from any of us? Done.” She leaned back and slapped her hand on the table. The Pocket-watch vanished from Regis’ hand.
With a satisfied sigh, she stirred her tea. “Now, what’s this about overthrowing me?”

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-seven

“It’s a bargain chip,” I repeated flatly. Regis nodded. I pressed my fingers against my forehead. “How is an insanely evil object a bargaining chip?”
“I’m betting that Fate will want it,” Regis said. He began walking, away from the coffee town.
“But she’s Fate! If she doesn’t have it, she can’t want it. And why would she want an insanely evil object?”
“Because she’s Fate.” Regis took my hand in his left and started walking. I didn’t resist.
My mind struggled with impossibilities. Fate wasn’t evil. At least, I didn’t think so. She was just…there. In the same way the sun was. We might be able to dethrone her—which we would, I was sure—but that wouldn’t change the fact that…that…
I jostled Regis’ arm. “Auuugh, my brain hurts.”
“Adventure will do that to you.”
That cheered me up a bit. “Yeah, adventure. Speaking of which.” I let go of Regis’ hand and clambered onto his back. I hugged his torso with my legs, then pushed myself up so that I sat on his shoulders. “I want to see it before we get to it.”

Regis considered tipping the elf onto the ground. He thought better of it and let her be.
He fingered the amulet in his pocket. At least, he felt like he was; it took him a minute to remember that his other hand was gone.
With a shiver, he rubbed the stump on his right arm.
A faint presence—Peter—brushed against his mind. The amulet he’d gotten from Skong worked perfectly; Peter couldn’t get a hold on him.
Then, another presence joined Peter’s. Just as familiar, it was cold, bubbly, and excited. It completely bypassed the protection the amulet provided.
Oh, you’re finally coming to me.
“Fate,” he said aloud.
Cloudwillow leaned so that her head hung in front of his. She gaped. “Oh my gosh, you’re actually talking to her?!”
Do you know how worried it makes me, darling, when my people run away? It very nearly drives me sick. Or mad, depending on how you look at things.
Cloudwillow cocked her head. “She’s talkative.”
“You can hear her?”
No she can’t. She just sees an impression of my voice through your eyes. She’s a doll. You should have seen her when—
“Don’t tell him!” Cloudwillow squealed.
Regis cocked his eyebrow. “You look like you’re going to fall.”
“I will if she tells you!”
Oh, hush-hush, I remember. She doesn’t want anyone knowing about her fifteenth birthday bash. It made quite a stir among the elves for a while.
Regis was curious, but had no wish to hear gossip. He brought to mind the Pocket-watch of Et’ena.
Fate’s voice went quiet, a shocked sort of quiet.
I see. Well, I can’t keep you waiting, can I? Come inside, and we can talk over lunch.
Abruptly, the area changed. They were no longer in a forest, but on a black drawbridge. In front loomed a white-and-black castle, with guards dressed in gold patrolling the walls.
Cloudwillow tumbled from Regis' shoulders and landed in a sitting position. While she gaped, Regis said, "Welcome to Fate's castle."

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-Six

I gulped down my latte and stared at Skong. There was a very unpleasant sensation coming from him. My stomach twisted a bit.
I spotted a symbol etched on his belt buckle; two bent metal stakes crossed over a stylized eye. He was a Twister, someone that could embed magic—usually of the darker sort—into metal. They couldn’t use those abilities for their own motives, due to a magic contract between the elves and goblins a couple centuries ago, but that didn’t mean they hadn’t managed to find a way around that clause. And they still reeked of dark magic.
With a gulp, I scooted away. “Um, Regis?”
Skong grinned at me. His pointed teeth were very, very dirty. To Regis he said, “You lost the last one.”
“Yes. I need another one, with a few modifications.”
I had no idea why Regis was speaking so calmly. I crawled along the cushioned seats until I was right by his ear. “You know what he is, right?”
Regis totally ignored me and kept talking to Skong. “Can you give me something to knock out Fate’s guards?”
Skong chuckled. “It’ll cost extra.”
“Of course.”
They continued their conversation, which was mostly vague haggling. They ended with a customary two-handed cross-shake. When the goblin left, Regis slid something foul smelling into his pocket.
So maybe he knew what he was doing. I crossed my arms. “What’d you get?”

Regis smiled. If the elf was as big of a bookworm as she made out to be, she’d be drooling when he showed her. He stood and left his empty mug on the table. “Let’s get going.”
Cloudwillow hastily slurped down the last of her drink. “C’mon, tell me.”
When they were outside and away from most people, Regis stopped. He pulled Cloudwillow into a thin line of trees. “This.”
He removed the silver disk he’d received earlier. Cloudwillow’s eyes went wide. She squealed, “Why and how did you get the Pernicious Pocket-watch of Et’ena?!”
Regis raised his eyebrows. “It’s a replica.”
“What are you going to do with that…thing?” Cloudwillow cocked her head sideways. Then, she straightened and shook her head. “No, we’re not using it. I know in the legends it could do some amazing things—”
“Like teleportation and instantaneous mind control,” Regis broke in. “Which is exactly what we need to get inside Fate’s castle.”
“But it’s evil! Whenever evil artifacts like that come into the picture, you destroy it, plain and simple.”
Regis shrugged. “Suit yourself.” With that, he turned and hurled the device into the underbrush.
Cloudwillow squeaked and dove after it. She held it like a hot potato. “You’re not supposed to throw it away either! Don’t you know anything about evil items of power?” She tossed it back at Regis, then stuck her fingers in her mouth. “Ow, it burns it burns…”
Regis winced. He picked up the Pocket-watch. “You know—”
Cloudwillow rolled her eyes. “If you use it against Peter or Fate, bad things will happen, and even if Peter gets a hold of it, it’d be better if he did than you. Because you’re the hero, and heroes don’t use evil objects of power.”
Regis smirked. “Don’t worry. It’s a bargaining chip.”

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-five

The air in the town definitely smelled like coffee. Lots of it. And everyone—the old people on their porches, the farmers lounging by the fence, the beautifully ragged children playing—had some variation of it. There was tea, alcohol, honey…
Regis nudged me down a turn in the dirt street. More houses—all stained wood, glass, and metal window bindings—and their occupants watched us half-heartedly. There was a general feeling of ease everywhere. It all seemed to be emanating from a building with long windows and a gold-lettered sign. I stifled a laugh. “ ‘Monkey Place’? What do monkeys have to do with their slogan?”
“It’s memorable. Do elves drink milk?”
I shrugged. “We can, but we generally don’t like it. It gives us stomach aches.” I dashed ahead and pressed my face against a window. The occupants were mostly human, but there were also some goblins, a night elf, and a couple half-breeds. Lanky twins with pale hair, narrow noses, small eyes, and fuzzy arms manned the shining counter.
I followed Regis inside.

Regis inhaled deeply. It had been a few months since he’d been here last; nothing had changed. The lacquered redwood, shining steel equipment—a perfect blend of home and advancement.
The baristas waved.
Cloudwillow hopped up and down. “What are your names?”
They grinned. “Monkey,” they said together.
Cloudwillow looked to Regis. He nodded. “Monkey,” he said firmly.
One of the twins rubbed his hands together. “Good to see ya back. A regular?”
Regis nodded. “And a—”
“Ooh, ooh, can I order mine?”
Regis glanced down at the elf. She squinted up at the menu, mouthing flavors and sizes. He turned back to the counter. “And a small, single shot soy decaf hazelnut latte for here.”
Cloudwillow put her hands on her hips. “That’s not what I wanted.”
“I’m not ordering you a large, caffeinated anything.”
Cloudwillow pouted. “Please?”
“No.” Regis led her to a booth. Their drinks arrived within a few moments. Cloudwillow cooed over the swirling design in the foam and cradled the mug in both hands. Before Monkey returned to the counter, she nodded approvingly. "Nice time magic."
Monkey bowed. "It comes with practice."
Regis watched, amused as Cloudwillow noisily sipped. She put down her mug and giggled. A thick foam mustache curled around her mouth.
An impulse to mimic the elf gripped him. He brushed it aside and drank slowly. Savoring the rich caramel flavor, he closed his eyes.
“I was wondering when you’d be back.”
Regis knew what he would see if he opened his eyes. A small goblin, with rocky skin and a pack filled with wares. Without opening his eyes, he took another sip. “Hello again, Skong.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-four

After Fate’s magic wore off and I exhausted myself, I found a spot to rest and sat watching Regis for the longest time. The glow around him shook from time to time. I tried reading him, but found that I can’t really read people when they’re unconscious.
So I waited in the snow. And waited. And fidgeted. And finally couldn’t resist playing with his still, malleable looking face. I pinched his cheeks, stretched them out as far as they would go, nudged his nose every-which way, and decorated his eyes with some berry juice.
Satisfied, I licked the remains of berry off my fingers. “Take that.”
He still didn’t wake up. I threw my hands in the air. “Oh, come on, Fate. What’d you do? Put him in an eternal sleep? Or maybe he just sleeps that heavily. Whadd’ya say, Regis?”
I moved his lips with my fingers and mimicked his low voice. “ ‘You’re a pest.’ Aw, thanks! ‘Go away.’ Nope. You threatened my family, and I’m gonna make sure you do what you’re supposed to do. Because I’m mature.”
Regis’ lips moved on their own. “Why are you mocking yourself?”
I sat back primly, acting as if nothing had happened. “Because I was mocking you.”
Regis blinked and looked around. I grinned and crossed my arms. “Surprised I was able to carry you all that way?”
“What happened?”
He genuinely didn’t remember. It showed in his eyes. I wilted a bit. “I didn’t think I hit you that hard.”
“You hit me?” Regis frowned and leaned forward. To my surprise, he leaned forward and took both my hands. “What did you break?”
“I didn’t break…” I just stared at him. He was joking. A smile shone in his eyes, and he was joking. “Okay, I’m worried.”
Regis made an obvious effort to shove his mirth down and stood. He noticed the pack I’d brought and began rifling through it. “Where’s my amulet?”
“It’s been gone for a little while.”
“There’s a town about three miles out. I’ll get another one there.”
I stared at him. “How do you know where we are?”
Regis hefted the pack. “How do you know where you live?”
“Finally.” His voice dropped back to something of its normal grumpiness. “Speechless. That’ll last an hour, maybe.” He walked off. Towards the wildlands and Fate’s castle.
“I think I need an explanation.” I scurried ahead of him, then turned and walked backwards. There was one word obvious in his eyes. I made a face. “ ‘Latte’?”
Regis nodded. “The town has a spectacular coffee house.” A shadow settled in his face. “About the only good thing that’s happened so far,” he muttered.
I clapped. “There’s the familiar Regis. What else has happened to you? Besides me, of course.”
“Fate. She sent Destiny after me. I’ve been avoiding her for some time.”
“Oh, and you thought you lost her? Heh, you can’t avoid Destiny any more than Fate.”
“I’m finding that out.”

And he was. His hand gone, his amulet lost, and Peter. How could he have missed that?
“What happened with you and Peter?”
Regis glanced at the little elf walking alongside him. Her head was tilted up, and her hands laced behind her back. She was reading him. He purposely let his thoughts drift so she couldn’t pick anything up. In answer to her question, he grunted.
“That’s not very helpful.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.” Regis flinched inwardly at the disappointment that flitted across her face. It was as bad as a begging puppy. He sighed. “We raised ourselves, traveled from town to town. Peter started stealing and almost got caught, so we ran.”
“He said something about leaving him,” Cloudwillow prompted.
“The enforcers of a fringe group caught us. They wanted what Peter had stolen. He didn’t want to let it go. Last I saw, he was stabbed, bruised, and thrown off a cliff.”
Cloudwillow nodded slowly. “I can see why you’d think he was dead. What about threatening my family?” She glared at him with sudden ferocity.
Regis shook his head. “That wasn’t me. That was Peter.” He held his hand up before Cloudwillow could say anything. “We’re both beacons. We can control each other. I believe in ghosts, and I was afraid that Peter’s would try to do something. My amulet kept him from doing anything.”
“Oooooooh.” Cloudwillow skipped over tangled roots. “Guess that makes sense.” After a moment, she added, “Sorry.”
Regis nodded in acceptance. There was a tension in the air that told him the elf thought he would keep talking. He didn’t.
Cloudwillow gave an exasperated sigh. “Soooo,” she said pointedly, “why are you willing to go to Fate now?”
“If I can’t run from her, I may as well fight her.” Regis picked up his pace and tried to keep his thoughts vague.
“And the lattes don’t hurt either, right?” Cloudwillow giggled. “I can’t believe you. Willing to face the ruling force of our world, and stop running, for a latte.”
Regis couldn’t keep his face from twitching. “Their motto is, ‘So strong it’ll turn you into a hero.’”
Cloudwillow snorted. “Seriously?”
Regis didn’t answer, just kept walking. He sped up his pace. The lattes were good enough to lay siege to Fate's castle.
Cloudwillow laughed. "If they're so good that you smile like that just thinking about them, I have to try them."
Regis hadn't meant for the thought to be that obvious. He grunted and covered it up with angst. He had plenty of that.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday (update)

Apologies for not having a serial story part today, but things have been a bit busy. The main item of time-consummation has been writing Trouble in Bookland, Part 2! :D
For an update about that, go ahead and head over to my new blog (the more official one I was talking about in the last update) here.
I'll be keeping this blog for serial stories, fangirling, fanfiction, and assorted fun things like that.

I will make the delay up to you by writing a longer part of Unexpected Adventure for next week. :) I would do it today, since I have more time than I originally thought I would, but my brain is somewhat blown out from writing around 3K words in one day. :P

For now, I'd like to ask you:
What do you think of Unexpected Adventure so far? Are you enjoying it? Or do you find it lacking in some areas? Which characters do you like? Dislike? 
Let me know in the comments! :)

Friday, March 11, 2016


So, I came across this...

And this...

And needless to say, the bookworm in me started jumping up and down. :D This is a bit late, but I'll go ahead and answer up to today. So this may run a little long... X)

Fantasy currently reading:
I'm between fantasy books right now; I just finished reading Scorpion Mountain by John A. Flanagan.
I'm hoping to start a couple new books soon: People of the Longhouse by Michael W. Gear (though I may wait, because I've skimmed the reviews and there are a couple mentions of graphic scenes) and The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead (though that's more sci-fi).

Fave fantasy series:
Gaaaaaahhh, the killer question. That's like asking, "What do you like more, coffee or chocolate?" (I love both, in case you didn't know.)
If I'm going for classic, then I have to say Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. If I'm going for more recent series, then Ilyon Chronicles would be my next pick. (I want so badly to continue this list with my favorites for different sub-genres, but that would take forever.)
And I have to say that I'm anticipating both The Staff and the Sword and Blood of Kings trilogies to be added to the favorites shelf soon. Just as soon as I manage to read the entire series. :)

Fave fantasy quote:
This is the first quote that came to mind. I love it. Loveitloveitloveit.


Fave fantasy hero(ine):
Wait, no. This is the killer question. There are so, so many...but, on second thought, this one's not that hard. Janner Igiby. Especially after reading The Warden and the Wolf King. (Speaking of The Wingfeather Saga, check out this kickstarter campaign. What's it about? Animating the Saga.)

Janner - Wingfeather Saga, Andrew Peterson:

Fave fantasy book cover:
I have quite a few (duh), but as soon as I saw this one, I loved it. It's (okay, they're) different, attention-catching, and they show the prime moment in the book perfectly. The newer covers are cool too, but personally, I like these better.

Fave fantasy map:
Well, there's the Lord of the Rings map, there's the Wingfeather Saga map, the map of Amara, the map of...Okay, I'll stop cheating.
I'm going to pick this map as my current favorite. Why? Because it's amazing, stylish, and it technically counts because it's laid out like a fantasy map.

Fave fantasy sidekick:
Samwise Gamgee, hands down. He's steadfast, simple (but smart as a tack when it comes down to it), and just...have you read the book? Or seen the movie? He's awesome.

I'm coming with you!:

Movie better than book:
I can go on for quite a while about movies that are way worse than the books, but I can't think of any movies that are better than the book/s. The only movie (okay, movies really) that might qualify for this is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Those movies differ a bit from the books, but they made it work. It was different in essence, but that essence was still there. It wasn't totally obliterated, and the main characters weren't metaphorically thrown out of their homes by their shirttails then dragged through the dust...
*cough* The Hobbit *cough*

Epic fantasy fave:
The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. They have the perfect old-style feel to them, the length is perfect (thick enough to feel the weight, but it's not Pride and Prejudice), and the characters...quite a few of them were very close to being my picks for favorite hero/ine.
All the characters are amazing and alive. Each time you open the books, there's something new to find!

Fave fantasy book title:
The title? Just the title? Erm...I'll go with Reapers. It's short, succinct, and it's the MC's job title. The cover's amazing, too. :D

Fave fantasy animal/beastie:
Dragons. Definitely dragons. They're amazing, scaly, fire-breathing mountains of destruction. Or amazing, shining, wonderful steeds/friends who are with you to the end. Depends on where you look. ;)

How about you? Any questions on here you'd like to answer? Comment below, or write your own blog post! :D

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-three

Regis was a beacon. A signal of magic that could be tracked and, possibly, manipulated from a distance. Dread tightened my throat. “Who’s tracking you?”
Regis shrugged. “Probably my brother.”
My dread mixed with anger. Sure, the villain’s name was Peter, but he could do some scary stuff. I balled up the front of Regis’ shirt in my fists and shook. “When were you planning on saying something?!”
“Why should I? You elves have been nothing but trouble for me. This way, I get rest, and restitution.”
I sat back and examined Regis. He was serious. He was calm, collected, and serious. He slowly sat up, the white aura around him making me squint.
“Time for an interview,” I said. I crossed my legs and sat up straighter. “What are you trying to accomplish?”
“I don’t want anything to do with Fate.”
“Not even overthrow her?”
“No. Nothing. I just want to live my life without her fingers in anything.”
“That’s like trying to live without breathing.”
“Go back to bed, Cloudwillow. He won’t be here for—”
Suddenly—it was Fate, probably—I felt older and stronger. Shaking, I stood. “No one, no one, no one leads elemental villains to my family, friends, my life.” I slapped him. There was no need for any more force than that; I probably could’ve biffed him with a pillow and it would’ve had the same effect. He blinked, looked surprised, and slumped.
I thought a thanks to whatever magic things Fate had put in place to ensure the fulfilling of Prophecy and picked him up. Again, though I shouldn’t have been able to, I could. I would’ve used magic, but that would’ve woken daddy up.
Funny; I could jump, scream, cry, and bang pots, and he wouldn’t turn over, but if I so much as tried to grow a plant with magic, he would leap out of bed and be at my side. To help more often than not, but I didn’t want to drag him into it. Not when mommy was so close to having a baby.
Besides, the defeat of Fate was prophesied by her own pen, and nothing she prophesied could go wrong. What was the worst that could happen?
I froze. “I think I just jinxed myself,” I whispered. Thinking dark thoughts, I made sure to take the Book of Prophecy, some basic provisions, then carted Regis outside.
I made my way out of the forest. Very few people were up, and I managed to avoid those who were. I traveled so that when I got out of the forest—which wouldn’t be for a day at least—I would emerge in the wild-lands, where Fate’s castle was.
My dark mood lifted as I went. This was turning out to be a fun adventure, even if it wasn't with a dashing hero as I'd once hoped. I grinned to myself. "I might change that," I said to the unconscious behemoth on my back. "I just might change that."

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-Two

The air was a mess of noise, and from all ten sets of bleachers—each set could hold around fifty people—arms waved. On the field, at the bottom of a depression between four hills, four teams ran. They dodged and flipped off of moving stone slabs that hung from massive supports. All of them were trying to get to the cranks that swung the slabs, while simultaneously keep the other teams from knocking the large ball into their goals—holes bored into the sides of the hills.
I made my way around the bleachers until I came up to the fifth set. It had, as far as I could tell, the best view. Daddy was thumping Regis—who looked amazingly like a hero with his night-sky cape—on the back and shouting. It had nothing to do with Foosball.
“So that is why you are reluctant around elves!”
Regis sidled as far as he could. “I told you, I’m not—”
“Daddy!” I interrupted, hopping over a few seats and shoving aside some spectators. “Mommy said you’d need this.”
“And so I do!” Daddy swept the book from my arms, flipped to a page, then triumphantly jabbed his finger down. “Right here, this proves it!”
Regis turned red. I stood on tiptoe to see the page. It was genealogy, and I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.
Daddy flipped the book around and held it beneath Regis’ nose. “You are the great-great-grandson of Morning. You have elvish blood in you. Don’t deny it!”
“I am.”
“Well, that explains all the troubles you’ve been having, yes?” Daddy clapped the book shut. “Come, great-great-grandnephew, we had best rest for our journey. Cloudwillow, did mother say anything else?”
I nodded. “Yeah, but maybe we should…” I pointed out at the woods. He watched the game. Rolling my eyes, I waved my hands in front of his face. He cleared his throat and tucked the book of Prophecy under his arm.
“Right. Off we go.” He still watched the game out of the corner of his eye. Then Regis blocked the view. Knowingly, based on the grin that tried to sprout.
I sidled up to him. “So you’re part elf? And you have magic in you?” His face tightened. With a tilt of my head I added, “You’ve been trying to avoid magic this whole time. So-o-o-o-o, that means you probably have some crazy magic ability that makes you powerful, is embarrassing, or otherwise marks you as abnormal.” Regis picked me up by my shoulder—expertly, because it didn’t hurt—and plopped me onto daddy’s back.
Daddy didn’t break his stride. Giggling, I hung on to his neck. “I’m right, aren’t I?” Daddy turned his head slightly, smiled, and said, “Indubitably.”
The rest of the ride home, I was silent. My mind busied itself in guessing what Regis’ abilities were. Fire control? He had the temper and the simmering glare for it. Elemental manipulation was a possibility, since Peter—ugh, what kind of villain name was that?—was able to do it. Maybe he could direct lightning with the sword.
Regis frowned. “Why are you staring at me like that?”
“Like what?” I gave him a crazy smile and widened my eyes. It was then that I noticed a strange glow coming from him. It was thickest around the cape, a dark shade of white, but it was around his entire body, too. I jumped off of daddy and latched onto Regis’ hand. “You generate energy!  Does your face get all puffy and it’s embarrassing when you use it? Is that why you’re trying to hide it? Did you blow up at one point? Can you control it, does it—”
Regis looked like he wanted to be a million miles away from me. He opened his mouth, shut it, then said, “You’ll find out.” He was more tense than he had been a moment before.
It puzzled me for the rest of the day, and I thought about it when we ate, when we were talking, and when we went to bed. Then, I had a terrible suspicion. I crept slowly out of my room and to the living room where Regis was sleeping.
His eyes were closed, and I poked his face. He twitched. “Go away.”
“You’re a beacon, aren’t you?”
He cracked an eye open. “Yes.”

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-one

“But there can’t be!” I shook my head at my mother, refusing to believe. “I’ve read that whole book, forwards and back—literally! There’s no more mention of him or the Prophecy he’s in. What else is he going to do?”
Mommy chuckled like a sage and stroked my head. “He’s going to free us from Fate.” Fate, the current ruler of the continent—our side, at least—and forever penning the future of the land. She also controlled everything so that nothing contradicted her Prophecies.
Any dizzying disbelief I had vanished instantly. I snorted. “Where’d you get a crazy idea like that?”
“It’s all in there.” She pointed to the pack I still clung to.
I shook it. “Nuh-uh.”
“Here, I’ll show you.” And she did. Regis most definitely wasn’t mentioned anywhere else by name, but he was implied in other passages. Lots of them. It all made sense when she pointed it out.
I held the book out at an angle, looking at Regis’ picture. Him standing tall, with a mysterious blue cloak and the recently acquired sword. If I tilted it just right, the page’s surface warped and he looked like a clown. “But Fate wrote this! Right?”
“She did. But even she does not know the entirety of what she pens.” Mommy rubbed her enlarged belly. “She also penned a note telling me the book would be needed by your father soon. Get going.” She playfully pushed me to the door. I couldn’t tell if she was joking about the note.
“Okay, okay. Love you.” I hopped, kissed her on the cheek, and bolted outside. A few well-wishers ducked aside as I ran past. “Sorry,” I called over my shoulder.
I felt like I was flying, with my long sleeves flapping behind like wings. Dark trees, snow, faces I’ve seen for most of my life, all passed by in a wonderful blur. When the path branched off in a slope, I went down it. Daddy was probably done at the tailor’s by now and at the Foosball field.
I slowed. As soon as I did, the branches above me shook—it was the guards. Bits of snow fell on me. I shielded my eyes with one hand and hugged the book close. I probably shouldn’t have left the sack at the house. To the yet-unseen guards I asked, “Did daddy pass by here?”
“Yes, and he’s in set five, row three.”
“Thank you!” I jogged, and the trees soon thinned out. A barrier of magic was ahead; I could smell it. I passed it. Deafening cheers rattled my teeth. Lights flashed, food steamed, and fists were in the air.
The Foosball field.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty

I ran into the house, through the living room, and up a short flight of stairs.
Mommy sat in a rocking chair, reading, her back to the door. The green walls and gauzy curtains over the arching windows made everything look surreal. I tiptoed up behind her.
She started, and turned. Well, sort of. She seemed to have trouble, and when I came around in front of her, I saw it was from the large size of her belly.
I couldn’t hold in my happy shout, and hugged her. As well as I could with the book and belly in the way, that is.
“Oh, you’re home! Where’s your father? The baby started kicking—here, feel.” Her largish teeth and straight lips beamed in the best smile ever.
We talked for a little bit, even though all I wanted to do was dance in the trees. I would be a big sister in a couple weeks. Or months. I wasn’t exactly sure how everything worked.
It wasn’t until mom and I went downstairs that I remembered Regis. “Mommy, we found the fulfiller of the Prophecy!”
She cocked her head. Her brown curls hung prettily over her shoulder. I stroked my own straight hair, wishing I could get it like hers. “Which one?” she asked.
So we sat down on the couch and I explained. Just as I finished, daddy and Regis came from the left entryway. Daddy waved, his eyes lingering on mommy’s belly.
I glanced at Regis. He looked uncomfortable, and it wasn’t just the elvish clothing he wore. I whispered, “Daddy, don’t embarrass me.”
He rolled his eyes. “I would do no such thing.” I was afraid he was going to anyways, but he just kissed mommy as well as he could while still standing, then pulled back. “I will return shortly after dark. I’m off to take Regis to the tailor’s.”
Mommy stood, smiling. “You need to, and not only for the cloak.” She went up and kissed him on both cheeks. “The young man needs proper attire for where he’s going.”
Regis’ face scrunched up. “What do you mean?”
For once, I was in total agreement with his question. I couldn’t let him know, though. I would be a disgrace to innkeepers and bookworms everywhere if I did. So I giggled. “You’ll see.”
As soon as he and daddy—him arguing, daddy dodging questions—left, I turned to mom. “What did you mean?”
She smiled. “There’s more to the prophecy than just that page.”

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Nineteen

Regis met some of the boarders, a large group of rich, outdoors-y humans. He even traded his weird back scabbard and twin swords with an enthusiastic teenager. Then, we continued on.
The forest was exactly the way I remember—thick, dark, and most importantly, alive, even in the winter. Regis kept his hand on his sword. When we got to the city, he blinked, then his arms went limp.
I smiled. This—a collection of maybe a hundred elves and assorted humans, living in a variety of houses scattered among the trees—probably wasn’t what he had expected. But then, neither were the boarders (he’d been expecting savages). I asked, “Do you like it?”
Regis looked around. “It’s…not what I was expecting.”
I nodded. “Lots of stuff isn’t. Daddy, can I show him the statue?”
Daddy clapped Regis on the shoulder. “We can. I don’t want you scaring him off.”
“I’m not that bad, am I?” I pouted, then laughed and skipped down the packed path. It hadn’t changed, either, and I could admire the view as we went on. The different patterns in the tree trunks, the frost, and the cracked rocks. Then, I came to a small clearing.
Hoar trees—thin, white, with crackly leaves, and dotted in purple berries—surrounded a statue of our founder, Prince Day. His eyes and face were mostly left up to interpretation—the carver hadn’t gone into detail—but I could see the nobleness in his firm chin and braced stance. Brushing some snow off one of his boots, I sighed. “Daddy, when can I start courting?”
“Not until I trust your judgment.”
I hefted myself onto the statue’s pedestal. “But you trust me now!”
“On matters like business and housekeeping, yes. That is not quite the same as knowing you will not run off with the first dashing young man you meet.” Daddy joined me on the pedestal and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “I want to be sure you won’t give your heart away to someone who would misuse it.”
“Aw, thanks.” We hugged.
Regis cleared his throat, shifting his feet.
Daddy hopped down. “So sorry about that; I forgot what we came here for. The tailor’s shop is just a few trails down.”
Regis frowned. “The tailor’s shop? The cape isn’t made?”
“Oh, it is. The tailor's is simply the safest place to keep it.” Daddy started off. I gazed longingly at the statue. When Regis walked past, I scraped snow from the pedestal, jumped, and managed to shove the snow down his jacket.
He flailed and made inarticulate noises.
“Can’t catch me!” But, he did, eventually. That was only because daddy tripped me, then they both pelted me with snowballs. It was fun.
When the laughing died down, I looked up at them from my position on the ground. “We’re going past our house soon. Can we show Regis?”
“Yes, of course. I’m certain he would like to freshen up.”
I looked at Regis and realized that, in addition to being wet, his outfit was several days old. And he hadn’t washed for at least as long; his hair was oily. I shrugged. “Okay.”
When we got to our tree, I paused. Something was different. The coniferous leaves were the same, the sleeping pods higher up in the tree, the carved door, and the smaller tree stump next to the door…had a woven metal basket stuffed with moss, down, vials, berries, and a bundle of cloth.
I couldn’t keep a smile from spreading across my face. Slyly, I asked, “Daddy, why is there a birth basket in front of our house?” I looked over my shoulder. Daddy had a silly grin on his face, and he nodded.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Eighteen

The next day, Regis trained with his sword. We  found out that the sword was enchanted to vibrate and jerk at the presence of large game, and we had to leave camp in the middle of his practice because we were in the territory of a buck. On the hike, daddy found out that I had faked my death at the inn. He was disappointed that I did it just because I wanted to see the look on Regis’ face, and I had to apologize.
After that, we went on in silence. I alternately skipped, sang to the birds, and climbed on slick rocks. Daddy laughed and said I was getting better at navigating in the cold. Regis looked surprised that daddy didn’t yell at me.
We traveled like this for a few days (I managed to coax a few deer in close when Regis was practicing), until we saw the beginnings of another forest, this one darker and ominous looking in the sunset. I jumped up and down. “We’re almost home!”
Regis looked at us dubiously. “That’s where the elven city is?”
Daddy nodded. “Adequate forest, few travelers, and peace—unless someone happens to let slip the date for our weekly Foosball match.” He and I began setting up camp.
Regis glanced from the forest to us. “We’re not going in?”
“No, dear fellow. No one is allowed past the boarders after dark.”
“Common courtesy.”
Regis looked confused. “So if a friendly ran past the borders…”
Daddy frowned. “They would probably be shot. The boarders don’t take kindly to their sleep being interrupted.”
“The borders?”
I stifled a guffaw and tugged daddy’s sleeve. “He thinks you mean boundaries.”
Daddy chuckled. “Oh, no. The boarders, people that pay us rent for living in the forest.”
Regis looked blank. After a second, he said, “That makes perfect sense.” I could hear the sarcasm in his voice, and laughed quietly. 
I waited until Regis was in his sleeping bag with his eyes closed before whispering, “Just wait until you see the city.” I dove into my sleeping bag and turned around before Regis could say anything. His breath caught, and he sounded like he was going to get up.
I snored—fake, of course—as loud as I could. Regis grumbled something about elves and turned over.
I couldn’t wait for tomorrow.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

I had some trouble writing the next few scenes because of POV problems, so I started reading articles on POV. Two pieces of advice that stood out to me (in this article by K.M. Weiland) were, “Choose the POV of the Character Who Has the Most at Stake,” and “Choose the POV of the Character With the Most Interesting Voice.”
Cloudwillow took over from there. As an added bonus, instead of using close third, she went straight into first person. :P
Let me know what you think!

Unexpected Adventure, Part Seventeen

We sat around the campfire, me and dad together, Regis across from us, eating bread, melted down snow, and dried meat—fresh is so much better, especially with butter, spices, veggies, pastry wraps…
I looked at what remained of my portion in distaste. Daddy noticed, and whispered something about being grateful. I said that I was, and I'd be even more grateful if we had some of mom’s mountain goat flambĂ©. 
He chuckled and hugged me. “Wouldn’t we all,” he said.
I sighed, fingered the stick of meat, and continued gnawing at it. A fantasy of it being venison instead of cow—cow was much tougher than venison, in my opinion—didn’t help my watering mouth and suddenly dissatisfied stomach.
I looked up. Something was bothering daddy. His eyes twitched whenever he looked at Regis. After a minute, he shook his head. “Regis, why do you insist on keeping that ridiculous back scabbard?”
Regis leaned back and looked at the stars. “It’s mine.” 
He said it as if that was a perfect and understandable reason for everything. I made a face. Daddy must have agreed with me, because he said, “That’s no reason to give yourself further injury.”
Regis and I gave him blank looks. Mine changed, though, because I saw what daddy was going to do. A giggle bubbled up in my chest. I clapped my hands over my mouth to stifle it.
Regis didn’t move his gaze from daddy. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, since now you are unlikely to have both swords out during a battle, it’s an unnecessary risk.” Daddy stood, gesturing. “Go on, draw one.”
Regis did, and I couldn’t help it. I laughed. Regis’ face was confused for a second, but daddy was already moving. He got behind Regis, drew the sword from the back scabbard, and laid it against the side of Regis’ throat.
“That, my friend, is what I mean.” Daddy smiled and walked in front of Regis, moving the blade so that the point pressed against the jugular. “I’m surprised this hasn’t been done to you before.”
Regis blinked. “So am I.” Normally, I could tell if he was annoyed, usually because he said something sarcastic or terse. Right now, though, I couldn’t.
I skipped over to him, then patted his shoulder. “Good job. You’re learning about our ears.”
Regis raised his eyebrows. Daddy agreed with me and added, “Tomorrow, we will see if you learn about your sword as easily.”
Regis didn’t moan, but I saw it. His shoulders shifted and his eyes darted to the cover of the forest around us.
I tugged at his sleeve. “You’re not getting away from this.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
But he did. He slept across from me, on the other side of the fire. His eyes were half open and—
Daddy nudged me. “Stop reading him, darling. You will have plenty of opportunity for that later.”
“Okay.” I gave him a kiss on the forehead, said, “Night, daddy,” then wriggled deeper into our shared sleeping bag. With pranks filling most of my mind, I fell asleep.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Sixteen

Dr. Rune sat in the cave, again with the kits, Regis, and Cloudwillow. He examined Regis’ tight expression. “On a scale of one to ten, how badly does it hurt?”
“Oh, good; that means the medicine is working.” Dr. Rune leaned forward and dabbed a fresh concoction onto the wound. “Focus on something else. Talk, rant, or lose yourself in thought.”
Cloudwillow, who was fondling a kit, paused. She looked to Dr. Rune. When he nodded, she scooted closer to Regis, avoiding the sword that rested to his left. “What made you change your mind?”
Regis grimaced. “A memory. I acted the same then, and look what happened.”
“With your brother?”
After a pause, Regis nodded. “We were on a trip, and…it didn’t end well.”
Cloudwillow leaned close to him and whispered, “This is called progress.” She received a glare in reply.
Dr. Rune patted stone. “Sit over here and leave the man alone. He just had his hand bit off.”
“Aw, alright.”
Regis relaxed. “What does the sword do?”
“On its own? Nothing. In your hands? Well…” Dr. Rune grinned. “…we’ve been waiting a while to find out.”
“How long?”
“Let’s see…two hundred years, give or take. I always forget if this was forged before or after the Rising of Foosball.” He trailed off near the end, rubbing his chin and frowning.
“The what?”
Dr. Rune glanced up. Regis looked like he’d just been asked to swallow a roach. Dr. Rune waved his hand. “Never mind. It will be in your interest to note the presence of runes on the sword.” He leaned forward and took up the sword, then ran Regis’ fingers over the cross-guard.
Regis groaned. “What am I cursed with?”
“It’s not a curse, it’s a poem.” Dr. Rune set the sword to the side. “You have trust issues with elves, I see.”
“It’s not elves. It’s magic.”
“The two are inextricably linked, so it makes no difference.”
Cloudwillow jumped between them and waved her hand. “I know what the poem is! It says, ‘The sword bearer/shall forever be in memory/for deeds accomplished.’ ”
“Very good. It was written by the honorable Terrance of Remnant. This was one of his better works in Poetry: rhyme, reason and other forms of expression.
Regis opened his mouth. Before he could say anything, Cloudwillow put her fingers on his lips. “Don’t ask how he knows, or daddy will never stop.”
Dr. Rune chuckled. “Ah, you know me so well.” He rubbed Cloudwillow’s shoulder, then stood. “You will meet him yourself when we get to the elven city. No arguing, or you’ll likely lose an entire limb in your next endeavor to avoid following the Prophecy.”

Regis accepted aid in standing. While leaning against Dr. Rune, he sighed. “Lead the way.”

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Fifteen

Dr. Rune hid in a small enclosure, watching Regis battle. The formidable man charged, swung, drew blood from the creature—an overgrown insect by the layman called the Gigus. Dr. Rune shook his head. “Why must you be so obstinate? Your damage will not last.”
Soon after each wound Regis inflicted, the malleable exoskeleton of the Gigus dropped over it—and healed it. Regis didn’t seem to realize this for several strokes. When he slipped in the thing’s blood and it had pinned him to the ground, he noticed.
Regis cursed, but did not call for aid. He tried grabbing the Gigus’ mandibles and wrenching the bulbous head to the side. Something snapped, but the creature was by no means finished.
Dr. Rune adjusted ear muffs just before the creature squealed. Regis fell still, momentarily paralyzed. The sword in the stone was a mere inch away from Regis’ fingers. Still, he would not draw it.
Dr. Rune whispered to himself. “I’m sorry, my boy, but this consequence is on your hands alone.” As much as he wanted to help, he’d been told not to interfere until the end. Orders from an Oracle were not to be gainsaid.
Regis stirred, and beat the Gigus’ eyes.
“Well, hand,” Dr. Rune amended.
The Gigus jerked its head, and Regis’ right hand vanished into its fizzing maw. Regis cried out and flailed.
“I believe that constitutes the end of this fight.” Dr. Rune leapt from the ledge where he’d been watching and landed on the bulbous insect’s back. It thrashed and tried to dislodge him.
He drove his fingers into pressure points at the base of its neck. It fell, away from Regis. Dr. Rune brushed his hands together. “You have a habit of ignoring orders that would have saved you a great deal of trouble.”
Regis stayed where he was, mouth open.
Dr. Rune made a quick tourniquet on the remnants of Regis’ forearm, then withdrew a vial from inside of his coat. He tilted the contents into Regis’ mouth. “Congratulations on surviving the attack of a Magnus corporosus. Up you go.” He lifted Regis up, supporting most of the weight. It would be slow going, but most of the Gigus would be gone by now, drawn to the collective flight of the Lux beetles.
Before calling Cloudwillow from the cave, he shuffled a few steps to the sword. He maneuvered Regis’ left hand to the pommel and cocked his head. “Now would be an excellent time to stop defying Prophetic words, don’t you think?”
For a second, he thought Regis was going to snarl and say something to the extent of, “Over my dead body.”
Instead, Regis clenched his fingers around the hilt.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Fourteen

The walls reflected the light, a dim amber color. Before him, where he’d felt the empty space, was a chasm. Regis got on his stomach and leaned out over it. At the bottom, something glinted. His shield?
Regis examined the sides of the chasm and tried to see the bottom. It looked safe enough. There was nothing crawling or slithering, and the sides weren’t slick or jagged enough to cut rope.
He stood, holding the lightstick high. A low droning sound reached his ears. Regis glanced up. The ceiling—no, something on the ceiling—moved.
So, the elf hadn’t just been trying to scare him. Regis tucked the stick in his coat. To his surprise, the walls immediately around him remained lit. He readied his weapons.
The things on the ceiling fell like leaves. They ignored Regis, seeming to be content to wander on the floor. He picked one up. It was a beetle, with a dull exoskeleton and too many legs to count.
Regis flicked it away and began taking basic equipment from his pack. He kept an eye on the beetles. With a sudden storm of clacking wings, they attached themselves to the walls. Everything went dark for a moment. Then, the glow returned. This time, it was the beetles that provided illumination. Were they…eating the light? Absorbing it?
Regis wondered what would happen if they ever made their way out of the caves. He shook his head and focused on making it down the chasm before the light went out.
When he reached the bottom, where the illumination was too faint to see by, he relit his lightstick. A short distance away was his shield. Next to his shield was a sword, embedded in the ground up to the hilt.
Regis stared at it blankly. “No,” he muttered. He cautiously retrieved his shield, half suspecting that voices would start whispering in his head. When nothing happened, he growled, “Why?”
The droning of the beetles increased suddenly, and the illumination from above scattered into fragments. Regis looked up. The beetles flitted about haphazardly. Many of them blinked out, and Regis soon saw silhouettes against the dim light.
One dove towards him, and let out a screech. Regis threw the lightstick away from himself. The thing changed course and snatched it up. Regis caught a glimpse of mandibles and bulging eyes. Then the light vanished, and a disappointed squeal echoed in the chasm.

Regis pulled out one of his own swords, mentally sneering at the one embedded in rock. “I'm my own master,” he growled. With that, he charged the creature.