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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.”
“Why?”
“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

Notice:
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?”
“Eight.”
“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.