View Full Version : Writer's Haven

2006-08-09, 04:45 PM
Here, post your stories, novels, chapters, novellas, quips, anything. Share your thoughts, and critique. All in all, have fun. ;D

The Prince of Cats
2006-08-10, 02:29 PM
My site at http://tales.dragonstalon.co.uk/ currently has the first two chapters and a little background stuff. I have a desire to make a setting in which other people could join with me but I think that idea can wait.

2006-08-10, 03:40 PM
Here's the first chapter and prologue of my book I'm writing, An Evil Wind.

An Evil Wind

A foul stench wafted across his nose as he stirred, his makeshift bed crinkling as he rolled over. Getting up, the beggar continued his life, as he had always done. The nearby marketplace offered rich pickings, as it was busy, therefore poorly guarded. No one noticed the miserable old man as he slunk from stall to stall taking little at each, but ended up with a nigh-bountiful meal. Hiding in a darkened alleyway, he began to gorge himself upon the meal, not knowing how much time he would have to finish it.

Suddenly, a harsh scream ran out, and the beggar snapped his head around, to assure safety. A rough grip was on his jacket, and he was hauled up. The precious food was snatched out of his hand and given back to the vendors. He was pushed down, hunched over on his knees. The enforcer raised his arms, a slender rope in it, and brought it down with all his might upon the beggar’s back, over and over again, he whipped the poor man, until he was slumped over in a heap, his clothes tattered and bloody. He crawled pitifully off to his ‘house’, and got into the bed, huddling over, and waiting for night. Soon, night came, and relief ran up his bloody back. Out of this terrible place, the beggar went, along the path that led out of town.

As he walked the darkened path, the beggar glanced a glittering object out of the corner of his eye, lying in the dirt and gravel. He walked over to pick it up, and the air went still, the night birds stopped their chatter, and the universe leaned in to watch, as if waiting to see what would happen. The man leaned down, despite his bad back, groaning in pain, to pick it up. Gold was on his mind, as normal for a beggar, though he widened his eyes in surprise to see a longsword in his outreached hand, glinting in the moonlight. Rubbing his eyes, he squinted at the darkened blade, at the peculiar letters on its long, silvery blade. “Qualmë Ana Ilya, Ar Ilya Ana Qualmë.”

Watching it sitting there, he smiled, as his eyes grew red, red as a ruby. The sword went black. Darkness crept up his arm. The poor beggar, now naught but a shadow, watched in horror as his body transformed. Screaming, he fell to his knees, writhing in the agony of pure Evil. All of his former thoughts were crushed below that steel blade, his soul, had been vanquished by a black curtain, enveloping him, destroying him. Clenching the blade between his hands, he leapt forward into the night. The world will never be the same…

Chapter One
A Day’s Task

Seldon rubbed his eyes as he woke, yawning as he straightened up in bed. “Mother, it’s too early to get up!” he exclaimed as he stretched his arms, hiding under the covers.

“Well, I guess you’ll just have to learn to deal with it,” Amillie sighed as she tore the covers off of his bed.

“Uhhh, fine, I’ll get up in a bit! Just leave me alone for a while.” Seldon yawned once more, then shrugged off the blankets and got up, casually looking around his simple room. It was a simple room, yet it was special to him; he had lived here his whole life, and had never known anything different. He always felt a strange feeling of calm when he was in his room, maybe from the familiar sights that covered his walls.

Still not fully woken up, he strolled over to the sink, and washed his face. Squinting in the mirror, his blue and brown eyes stood out, something he had always disliked, and it made him look strange, like he didn’t belong.

Done with the morning necessities, he met his family at the table, where breakfast was being served. His father, burly in form, compassionate in nature, grinned at him as he noticed his son, “Did you sleep well?” he asked, smiling.

“Somewhat,” came the reply, “though I had to be woken up a bit too early for my liking,” looking jokingly at his mother, he smiled cheerfully.

The somewhat simple breakfast of fried eggs and bread served it’s purpose, and Seldon got up anticipating towards the long day ahead. Saying goodbye to his sister, mother, and father, he headed out the door towards the nearby town, where he worked.

Apprenticed as a magic-user, Seldon had learned of his talent quite early in life, and was immediately sent to old Maekrix, the local sorcerer.

As he got there, Maekrix greeted him with the usual gruff hello, then handed him his task for the day. Everyday Seldon was given a new task, which he had to complete before the day was up. Such tasks were usually simple to solve, but the problem was figuring out how to solve them. Today’s was to retrieve a golden ring out of a pool, without getting wet. “And how do you propose I do that?” Seldon asked haughtily.

“I haven’t the faintest idea, come back in time for lunch,” Maekrix explained sarcastically.

“Fine, I’ll just go waste my day then…” Seldon muttered as he strolled off.

Seldon walked down to the edge of the woods, and proceeded to walk the path to the pool. The pool was often used as a swimming hole in summertime, but in the spring it was deserted. Stripping off his shirt, he walked to the side of the pool, unhindered hands allowed him to formulate the hand gestures needed for many spells, and he didn’t know what he would need for the spell he apparently needed to cast. Stretching his arms and cracking his knuckles, Seldon blinked his eyes and looked into the pool.
Focusing his mind on a previously learned spell, he completed a few deft hand movements, “Poica Rinca!” he exclaimed as the water before him began to clear, allowing him to view the pool with more ease. Below him, the now visible ring glinted on the rock on which it lay. “Now, how do I get it out?” he thought to himself, “Maybe a levitation spell of some sort? But I don’t know any of those…” Shaking his head to clear his mind, he set to work.

He pulled out a slender tome form his pocket, and flipped through a few pages before finding the one he was searching for. The words on the thin paper glimmered slightly at a touch, and were written in a strange language known only to sorcerers. Looking around in the book, he attempted piecing together words to see if they would work. “Orta I Corma!” he tried, but to no avail. Seldon flipped through the tome some more, hoping to unlock some previously unseen secret. “Maybe I don’t need to raise it at all,” he thought, pondering the idea. He decided to try it, and turned a couple pages to find the words he needed.

After having found the correct page, he set to work preparing the spell in his head. Ready to cast, he firmly stated “Ranta Nen!” and was amazed to see the waters around the ring before him, part slowly to reveal dry rock, and the golden ring perched on top. Seldon grabbed the ring quickly, not sure how long the spell would last and looked it over.

The ring, gold in color, had small blue markings Seldon had not noticed before. The glimmered in the dappled sunlight, and Seldon felt himself strangely immersed in it. Rubbing his eyes, he dropped the ring into his pocket and continued on back to Maekrix’s hut. On his way back, he looked up at the sun and noticed how late it was. “Wow, it’s already three, I better hurry back,” He thought, and started into a run, readying an apology for being late.

The hut was empty as he arrived back, a lonely whisper of a building. Looking around, Seldon noticed a note on the messy table, and picked it up. The note read “Back at three, meal’s in the cupboard” in Maekrix’s scrawled writing. Sheldon walked over to the cupboard, a wooden box at the other end of the room, and opened it to find a piece of meat, some bread, and a bowl of broth. Sheldon proceeded to eat the meat, dipping his bread into the broth for added flavor. After lunch, he sat down at the table, and waited for his master’s return.

A quarter of an hour later, judging by the water clock on the corner, the door burst open, and a very grumpy Maekrix strode in. “Stupid… no good…” he muttered then stopped himself upon seeing Seldon, “Oh, hello, how nice of you to be late. I see you had your meal.”

“Yes, thank you. What happened?”

“None of your business, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“But… maybe if you told me I could help!”

“It’s no matter you could help in, boy. Leave me be.”

“Fine, I won’t help then,” Sheldon muttered, and looked over at his master,

“Is there anything else for me to do today? Or should I just go home?”

“I said go away and leave me be!”

Seldon rolled his eyes at his master and strolled out the door, happy to be going home. His house was on the outskirts of town, and it was a mile or two of a walk. He loved this walk because of the apple and peach trees on the side of the road, and as he walked by he grabbed an apple to munch on.
He walked into his house to find his mother there, cleaning some dishes and humming a simple tune. “Where’d Annabelle go?” he asked.

“Oh, your sister went off to get some mushrooms for dinner. She went to the North Forest, there’s a lot of mushrooms by the stream there,” his mother replied. “She’s been gone for a while though, would you mind going to check on her? Just make sure she’s ok?”

“Sure, I’ll go right out.”

Seldon headed out of the house, and past the family garden. The garden was lush this time of year, and there were many vegetables growing plentifully. Past the garden was the road that leads to the North Forest, which was just to the west of his house, north of the Ambergreen Forest. The dark woods ahead always made him queasy, and he had no idea why. He walked under the evergreen boughs of the trees on either side of the road, and entered the forest.

The forest path split off into many different directions, so there were signs at every fork. He was heading to the Hulman’s River, which was on the left fork. He followed the road a bit longer, and was able to hear the roar of the rocky river. The river was a sight to behold, and its moss-covered rocks were the essence of beauty. Seldon used to love to come here and sit on a rock, watching the water for hours on end. Now, he had other things to do.

Looking for his sister, he went up the river a while longer. She was nowhere to be seen. Bored from looking, and certain she would turn up, Seldon went over to his favorite rock and sat down, gazing at the water flow by.
At the bottom of the river, he noticed a small glint of metal. Seldon jumped off of the rock, and waded into the water, reaching down to grab it. The object, a necklace, lay in his hand, shining in the sun. He recognized it at once. His sister’s necklace, somehow in the river, was now in his hand. Thoughts of mixed panic, fear, and wonder raced through his mind. He quickly ran off back home, not stopping once until he got there.

(Tabs don't work, so I just broke it up)

2006-08-10, 04:00 PM
I'll give you a preview of a book I'm writing, translated to english by me.

A man walked into the marketplace, his cloak was long with white stripes along the blue lines. His armor was barely visible underneath the cloak but seemed strong. He walked to a stall selling swords and looked around. The girl behind the stall saw his battle hardened face with the scar on his left cheek. His dark eyes looked around the stall until something caught his eye, a long sword with intricate designs of snakes and a dragon. “Mind if I try that sword young lady?” he said. “Of course not sir knight.” the man picked up the sword and felt the energy within as he swung the sword. He turned back to the girl and smiled. “A fine sword young lady, what will it cost?” “That sword costs 52 Silver wings sir knight” The knight reached into has bag and picked 11 large golden coins out of his pocket. “Keep the change” The knight said as he picked up the sword and walked away.

2006-08-11, 10:47 PM
The first two paragraphs of what I'm working on:

The driver squinted through his bug-flecked windscreen, looking down on the road ahead of him from the height of his truck’s cabin. It was hard to be sure, but he thought he could see a dark figure on the road, a few hundred yards ahead on the road. Thinking it was better to be safe than sorry, he eased on his brakes, slowing enough to stop in time if there was indeed someone in front of him. He was nervous enough about drawing police attention, even with his employers’ assurances, without risking hitting someone, even if they were stupid enough to stand out on the road in the snow.
The truck stopped with a jolt. It was fortunate for the driver than he had slowed down; instead of flying through the windscreen he merely jolted forwards, the impact with the steering wheel winding him. Dazed, he sat back, blinking and staring blankly at the dashboard. The digital clock was blank, and all the dials had shut off. The engine continued to grumble for a second, then choked and died. As his head cleared, he became aware that the wind was blowing into his cabin. Turning his gaze, he saw that his door was hanging wide open. Did the stop jolt it open? He wondered, staring at it.

2006-08-13, 12:39 PM
It was raining outside, in the horribly clichéd way it always seems to do when something bad is happening. Lightning flashed across the sky, reminiscent of many low budget bad horror movies.
In a small house in the town of Darnton, a light turned on in the upstairs window of James McCoy’s house. It was unrelated to any other events in this story, but was later speculated upon that the light was caused by aliens.
A small figure tumbled across the street, stopping as it hit into a bush. A vague meowing sound came from the depths of the shrub. A tiny, sopping wet feline figure stumbled out of the rose bush, fur matted with blood and dirt. It promptly fell over onto the street and passed out.

* * *

The syringe loomed closer as the kitten squirmed on the mattress, tied down with strong bands of metal. Suddenly it stopped moving, giving up, whimpering slightly as the syringe plunged into its flesh. It gave out an earsplitting scream (with a heavy dose of meow) and suddenly started thrashing uncontrollably, rattling the many bottles and books on the shelves.
The man took the needle out of the body and it went limp. He looked at the cat and sighed.
“Hmmm…Bukkie?” A small black and white Siamese kitten came running up, padding across hallways carpeted with luxurious runners.
“Ah, good. Bukkie, please bring me the scalpel.”
Suddenly, lightning split across the night sky, rumbling, as it always seems to do when the villain first makes an appearance.
The man started laughing uncontrollably, maniacally even. Abruptly, he stopped.
“I’ve got to practice my evil laugh…Bukkie? Where’s the scalpel!”

* * *

The kitten woke up, thrashing and muttering. Suddenly it broke off, sitting up.
“I don’t like scalpels…”

And thus the adventures of Catman began. A humble, clichéd beginning, a riveting tale of scalpels, romance, betrayal, friendship, and the meaning of life and love.
…Well, scalpels, anyway. And probably hairballs.

The Prince of Cats
2006-08-13, 02:09 PM
One thing I have to say about the snippets posted here; they seem a little short. I mean, my manuscripts average 12 sides of A4 per chapter (Times New Roman, 10pt) and that seems a little short but some of these...

It is not meant as a criticism, just something I saw.

2006-08-13, 02:11 PM
That's just the thing. They're snippets.


Main Entry: snip·pet
Pronunciation: 'sni-p&t
Function: noun
Etymology: 1snip
: a small part, piece, or thing; especially : a brief quotable passage

To clarify a bit.

2006-08-13, 02:22 PM
I once read a book with chapters of on average one and a half page, and of course they made every chapter on a new page so about 1/4 of the books was just white.

The Prince of Cats
2006-08-13, 02:39 PM
That's just the thing. They're snippets.
Well I gave the first two chapters (originally one chapter but the reading group suggested that they preferred it as two chapters) so ner... :P (why is there no smiley blowing a raspberry?)

2006-08-13, 07:31 PM
I find that it's easier to read things in one or two paragraphs and italics.

He leaned over to shut the door, and found himself hurtling out of the cabin. He hadn’t fallen, and he was sure nothing had grabbed him; it felt as though gravity had suddenly altered direction and had pulled him from the cabin. He hit a snowdrift headfirst, and was buried up to his elbows in it.
Before he had a chance to rise, he felt strong hands grab his ankles and pull him from the drift. He brushed the snow from his face and opened his mouth to thank his rescuers. The words never left his mouth. Just in front of his face was the barrel of a rifle, not the hunting rifles that he had some familiarity with, but a large, plastic and metal military rifle, pointing into his face and taking up most of his vision.

Lord Iames Osari
2006-08-14, 09:16 AM
@ Vaynor: That's not bad. A great intro, really grabbed my attention, though now I'm trying to figure out what the blade said in Quenya (yes, I recognized it).

Here's the prologue and 1st chapter of my Epic Fantasy Novel :P. (Yes, the emoticon is mandatory.)

The Tapestry of Fate: A Heart Divided


A TALL MAN, an elf, gaunt and stern in aspect, sat at a loom, weaving. On the loom was an unfinished tapestry of exquisite quality, its millions of threads, no two the same color, forming ornately detailed patterns in the finished portion. The elf paused in His work and pulled a gleaming, iridescent thread from the air and began weaving it into the tapestry. It soon split into three threads, one green, one violet, one yellow, all three braided together into a single strand woven through the tapestry. Other threads were added, and then the elf stood back from the loom while the tapestry wove itself. Turning, Scitayr, God of Fate, left the loom to its weaving and went away. Behind him, the Tapestry of Fate continued to take shape.

76th day of Harvest, 7621 Elven Date, a cave network somewhere in Centaur Forest, just off the Enkidu-Krafdeubh Trade Road

"By Maia's will, be thee returned to death!" Akiko cried, her green eyes fiercely ablaze and her blonde hair, white robe and brown cloak all billowing as if blown about by a breeze as she channeled the Goddess's power. In her left hand, she held aloft the overflowing cornucopia which was the symbol of the Lady of the Healing Hands; in her right, she gripped a bloodied sickle, the Goddess's favored weapon. The six animated skeletons fell apart at her words, bones clattering to the chamber's stone floor. The fire left Akiko's eyes and her hair and clothes once again obeyed the law of gravity. "Filthy perversions of life," the elven cleric muttered darkly, looking down on the skull at her sandaled feet.
"Well done, Akiko!" a black-haired young human with green eyes congratulated her. He was an inch taller than she, and beneath their common brown, hooded cloak, he was clad in simply cut clothes of black silk: shirt, trousers, sash. His boots were black leather. Trained in kazejutsu, the Way of the Wind, by its most famous Master, Sensei Hitomi, Iames could hold his own in combat.
"Thank you, Iames," she smiled, pronouncing the name Yah-mace, with emphasis on the first syllable.
Iames smiled back and surveyed the other two members of Team Two. Akuai, the brown-haired elven mage, rapier in hand and feathered hat on his head, was, at six feet and five inches tall, far and away the tallest of the four, topping Iames, the next tallest, by three inches. His eyes, like the eyes of most elves, were green.
Hojyn, in contrast, was 5'6". Trained in locksmithing and trapsmithing, the black-haired, dark-eyed human possessed all the skills of a cat burglar and a pick-pocket. His only other mark of distinction was the pistol he carried. It was an older model than the new gnomish revolvers, but it was a powerful weapon, and Hojyn treasured it.
The four of them were on a mission to eliminate a group of goblins which had been threatening a nearby trade road. The tunnels of the goblins' lair had led them to this chamber, where the six skeletons had ambushed them, rising from six otherwise empty stone sarcophagi.
"Only the chieftain is left," Iames said. "We've chased her into the room just through that doorway over there. How are we doing?"
"I'm drained of all my spells for today," Akiko said. “I can no longer draw on the flows of magic without risking my death.”
"Nor can I," Akuai declared.
"I've got plenty of shot and powder left, though," Hojyn announced.
Iames hesitated. "It's only one goblin. I'm sure we can deal with her, even spent as we are. But still, it's best to have a plan. Hojyn and I will go in first on the right, and you two will circle around the big pool in the center of the room to flank her. Sound good?"
"Indeed. Let us proceed to complete our task," Akuai said.
"Let's go." Iames led the way through the archway into the poolroom, Hojyn close behind. The room was an octagon about 60 feet across; double doors were set into the far wall. The central pool, ten feet in diameter, was contained by walls that rose from the floor. There were alcoves in the walls on either side; the alcove to Iames’s left was partially collapsed. While his gaze was focused on the she-goblin, out of the corner of his eye he saw the skeleton of a dragon rising from the depths of the pool. The undead creature lashed out with its bony tail; Iames tumbled out of harm's way and looked up to see Hojyn slam into the wall, propelled by the sweeping tail Iames had so nimbly evaded. The skeletal dragon then turned its attention to the two elves, opposite Iames on the far side of the pool, and smote them to the floor with two mighty blows from its wings.
No! My friends! Iames thought, shocked. They're dead…
High-pitched cackles began to echo around the chamber. Iames looked across to the partially caved-in alcove to see a tiny imp laughing at him.
You killed my friends… Iames was vaguely aware of the she-goblin drawing her pick and coming closer to him. The sorrow touched something deep within him, and his grief began to give way to cold, sadistic hatred.
You killed my friends, he thought, the irises of his eyes taking on a yellow tinge.
You… His irises were the virulent yellow of an infected wound.
Will… He felt a surge of power he had never known existed fill him as hatred drove away his sorrow.
Pay. Iames stood, his eyes alight with a venomously yellow luminescence. Reaching out with the power filling him, he touched the mind of the she-goblin and struck, the power of his mind cruelly torturing her very essence. Then her essence faded away. She was dead.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. You died too quickly. I had not yet had my fill of your exquisite pain. Do you mean to deny me vengeance for my friends?" Iames said calmly. A malevolent chuckle escaped his mouth. "Still, no matter. Perhaps the imp will afford me more satisfaction." And he turned his power loose on the little devil, who was no longer cackling. A corona of poisonously yellow light appeared around the imp's head, and the fiend writhed in agony as a cruel smile touched Iames's lips.
Again, it was over all too quickly. Turning to the skeletal dragon, Iames extended a hand. No mind for me to torture… I suppose I'll have to burn it. A thin beam of flame sprang from his fingers and engulfed the draconic bones. With a crash, the skeleton fell into the pool, producing a billowing cloud of hot steam.
As the steam billowed around him, Iames's eyes reverted from a luminous yellow hue to their normal jewel-like green. Horrified, Iames gazed at his hand, looking up when the steam cleared to stare at the charred skeleton and the twisted bodies of the goblin and the imp. What… What sort of monster am I? he wondered fearfully.
Hojyn groaned. Whirling around, Iames went to his fallen comrade and knelt by his side.
"Hojyn! You're alive!" Iames gasped joyfully, all horrible revelations about himself momentarily forgotten. His eyes were violet.
"N-not for long," Hojyn croaked, and coughed up blood. "Here, take my pistol. You'll need it to get back to the school."
"But I don't know how to use it!" Iames protested.
"They'll teach you." The light of life in Hojyn's eyes began to fade. "Take it."
Iames hesitated a moment longer. "Very well," he said at last.
"See to it that we get a proper burial," Hojyn rasped. "I don't want my corpse desecrated by some carrion crawler." He closed his eyes, but Iames could tell that he was still alive- barely. On impulse, Iames touched his fingers to Hojyn’s forehead and reached inside himself for the power. He sent feelers into Hojyn's fading mind, found what he sought, and took it into his own mind just as Hojyn's went away into darkness. In your knowledge of how to use your treasured pistol, my friend, Iames thought, you shall live on.
Iames took the pistol, the powderhorn, and the ammunition from his friend's corpse. I can't go back to Seven Paths, he thought. I'm far too dangerous. What if my cruel side gets loose and hurts--or kills--my fellow students? Or Aerin? The thought of Aerin, writhing in silent agony, a yellow corona about her head, utterly terrified him, and as his thoughts touched on Aerin, his irises turned violet. I cannot risk harming her, or the others. Perhaps… perhaps I can spend my cruelty away. I must seek a place where I can spend it away from those I care for, Iames thought. Until then, I cannot go back.
But where shall I go?

"Your Eminence, are you sure that it would be wise to recruit this boy, Iames?" Lady Ariaj, the commander of the Dark Lord's armies, asked. She had once been human, but was now a vampire, her athletic mortal prettiness overlaid with the lean, hard, lethal grace of that species of undead predator.
"My dear Lady Ariaj, I have shown you the Prophecy of the Child of Passion, and my divinations and spy networks together have given me enough information to confirm it: Iames is the Child of Passion. I, of course, am the Dark One; remember the tenth verse," Xarakh Nam replied.
"Of course, Your Eminence. Forgive my hesitancy."
The Dark Lord smiled. "Forgiveness is unnecessary. Your caution is one of the many qualities that make you valuable to me."
"Thank you, Your Eminence."
"You are welcome. And now, I go to extend my patronage to young Iames." The Dark Lord disappeared with a quiet pop.

Iames wiped sweat from his brow as he pushed the stone lid of the final sarcophagus into place and burned Hojyn's name into it. Suddenly detecting a presence behind him, Iames wheeled around to face a tall, slim figure, 6'5", shrouded in a light gray cloak with the hood up. "Who are you?" Iames asked.
"Who am I? I am one who can give you the opportunity to spend away the cruelty within you." The figure's voice, masculine, conveyed a sense of knowledge and power. Whoever this being was, he sounded like knew what he was talking about.
Seizing upon the hope of getting rid of the festering hatred in his heart, Iames repeated, "Who are you?"
"I am an old acquaintance of the Seven. They would vouch for my character as firmly as they would vouch for yours, Iames Osari. I know you are an honorable young man. Will you serve me? I give my word to you that you will only be required to serve as long as there is darkness in your soul, and I will honor any other conditions you wish to put on your service.
"Will you serve me?"
Persuaded by the other's mesmerizing voice, Iames hesitated only for a moment. "Yes," he said.
"Then come, Iames," said Xarakh Nam, the Dark Lord, placing a hand on Iames's shoulder. "Come to my fortress and let us exchange Oaths with each other." They disappeared with a quiet pop, and the chamber with the pool was empty except for the bodies of an imp, a she-goblin, and the bones of a dragon.

81st day of Harvest, 7621 Elven Date

Aerin Hitomi straightened from her slightly hunched posture as she entered what appeared to be a crypt. At six-foot-one, the five-foot-high tunnel had been cramped for her. There were six stone sarcophagi; three of them had their lids on. Into the top of each lid were burned words. As the tall, red-haired young woman drew closer to the first sarcophagus, she recognized the name burnt into the stone lid: Akuai. She looked over her shoulder at the other members of Team One who were emerging from the tunnel. "I've found them," she declared. "Three of them, at least."
"Let's see," said Kira Nakaza. The brunette, 4 inches shorter than Aerin despite her part-elven heritage, moved past the redheaded martial artist to examine the lid of the second sarcophagus. "Akiko," she announced, then glanced at the lid of the third. "And Hojyn."
Bellantin stepped out of the tunnel. "What is in the next room?" he asked. The three of them went to the archway and looked around the room. In the center of the room was a pool of water.
"Dead bodies," Kira said. "A female goblin, the charred skeleton of a dragon, and… something."
"It is an imp," Bellantin said. "A small, irritating breed of devil."
Aerin knelt by the goblin's corpse and examined it. "Strange," she said. "I would have expected Iames to have used kazejutsu techniques, but there aren't any wounds, not even bruises, on the body."
"The imp's body is the same. No wounds. Just an expression of extreme pain," Bellantin reported.
"How do you think Iames did it?" Kira asked, her blue eyes troubled.
"I don't know," Aerin answered. "Tin," she said, addressing Bellantin by his nickname, "let me see your copy of the Prophecy, would you?"
Bellantin pulled his journal from his haversack and handed it to Aerin, who opened it. There on the page, in Bellantin's writing, was the Prophecy of the Child of Passion:

Child of Passion,
His Destiny Great,
Trains in the Halls
Of the Wind and his mate.

The Wind and his mate,
A daughter have they,
A daughter In aer,
And they teach her their way.

Together, the daughter
And the Child are trained;
Together, they are taught
By the Wind and the Flame.

The Child of Passion
Loves Wind’s daughter In aer,
For they trained side-by-side
And He deems her fair.

The Child and the daughter
Sent on two different quests;
One’s challenge is slaughter,
The other’s are best.

Having failed in His mission,
He discovers His Hate,
Dividing His heart
And setting His Fate.

He flees to the Dark One
And His service He swears
As long as unharmed
Is Wind’s daughter In aer.

The First and the best
Must give up their name,
Abandon their childhood,
Leave behind children’s games.

The First and the best,
Their own selves must re-form;
Thus the Children of Destiny
From In aer are reborn.

While the Child of Passion
By the Dark One’s side stands,
All Tyrath shall turn ashen
As Evil spreads o’er the lands.

The Children of Destiny
To the Craven Ones flee;
For a half-score of years,
They in exile shall be.

For a half-score of years
Shall the Dark rule the land;
For the Seven have hidden
From the Dark One's dread hand.

When the Hour draws nigh,
In aer shall return
With Dragons and Craven,
And allies unheard.

When the Hour draws nigh,
In aer shall return
All hope shall be high,
Yet her love she shall spurn.

Emerge shall the Seven
To rally the lands
To o'erthrow the Dark One
Or die at His hands.

The Children of Destiny
Hunt down the Dark's thralls;
Every pawn they destroy
Brings them nearer his Halls.

When In aer is struck down
By the Foe of the Light,
The Child of Passion
Shall awaken His might.

Child of Passion,
Of Love and of Hate,
Of Cruelty and Kindness,
Of Darkness and Light.

Which path shall be chosen?
Which path will He take?
That of Love and of Kindness
Or of Cruelty and Hate?

-- the Prophecy of the Child of Passion, given by the High Seer Palanya in 5937 Elven Date

Looking at the book, Aerin thought, Unless our interpretation of the prophecy is incorrect, I'm afraid there is no doubt. I am 'In aer'; In-aer, Aer-in. And Iames has loved me ever since we trained together under my father, who is known throughout the region as 'the Wind' for his mastery of kazejutsu. Iames and I were sent on different missions. We, Team One, bested our challenges, while Team Two, Iames's team, was slaughtered almost to a man.
She looked significantly at her companions. "The events foretold by the prophecy are coming to pass."

A black-cloaked, hooded figure knelt before a throne, face toward the floor, intoning, "I hereby swear myself to the service of Xarakh Nam, the Dark Lord, until such time as he release me. Yet should death or harm come to Aerin Hitomi by his deed or by his order, I shall be released from his service. This I swear by Vala, Rectarren, Maleth, and Merx, Goddess and Gods of Law, Enforcers of Oaths. Should I break this Oath, I invite their damnation upon me."
"And I hereby swear that I shall do no harm to Aerin Hitomi, by my deed or by my order, lest my now newest servant be released from my service. This I swear by Vala, Rectarren, Maleth, and Merx, Goddess and Gods of Law, Enforcers of Oaths. Should I break this Oath, I invite their damnation upon me," the Dark Lord replied solemnly, rising from his throne. "Rise, Lord Iames, my lieutenant. There are tasks to which I would have you attend."
"Yes, Your Eminence," Iames answered, raising his face and getting to his feet. "How might I serve you?"

Lord Iames Osari
2006-08-14, 10:21 AM
Chapter I

22nd day of Winter, 7621 Elven Date, the dojo in Seven Paths to Power Academy, just outside the Enkidu City walls by the Trade Road

"OKAY, GUYS." Kira Nakaza was sitting on the plain wooden floor of the dojo and addressing her friends, "Now that we've graduated from Seven Paths, we can't call ourselves Team One anymore, so we need to choose a new name for ourselves. Any ideas?"
"Children of Destiny," Aerin suggested, sitting in the lotus position, her eyes closed.
"Like from the prophecy we found? Why?" Kael asked, lounging in a surly way against one wall.
"It just... feels right," Aerin answered, opening her eyes. “We’re obviously part of it, so we’ll probably be fulfilling another piece of it by doing so.”
“We will be, I think,” Aramoro said, the elven sorcerer, pulling out his copy of the prophecy. “Here, verses eight and nine: The First and the best/ Must give up their name,/ Abandon their childhood,/ Leave behind children's games.// The First and the best,/ Their own selves must re-form,/ Thus the Children of Destiny/ From In aer are reborn. We were Team One, the first and best team. We had to rename ourselves after graduating to distinguish ourselves, 'our own selves must re-form'. And the whole thing was Aerin's idea: 'from In aer are reborn'."
"By Rectarren's Forge, you are correct," Bellantin murmured, "… for once.”
"Yeah, you’re right," Kira said, after examining the prophecy herself.
"All in favor of naming ourselves the 'Children of Destiny,' say 'aye,' " Aerin declared. “Aye.”
“Aye,” Kira said.
"Aye," said Aramoro.
"I have no objections," Bellantin commented. "Aye."
Kael nodded curtly.
Kira looked from her brother to Aerin. "Should we count that?" she asked.
"He knew he had to say 'aye,'" Aerin grinned. "Besides, it's not as if his vote really makes a difference. Four out of the five of us have voted in favor of it. We are now the Children of Destiny."
Kira clambered to her feet. "I'll go tell the instructors," she volunteered.
Bellantin interrupted, "Kira, I am thinking that you should also inform the instructors of the fact that another part of the prophecy has been fulfilled."
"Right," the lithe young woman replied, and left the room in search of her parents.

Aboard the pirate ship Bloody Wake

"Very well, Captain Khoshen. Since you have asked, I will explain why my master desires your services," said the tall, imposing figure in the black cloak. The hood of the cloak was up, and the cloak was secured at the neck by silver clasps reminiscent of arcane sigils. The figure continued, "At some point in the near future, my master will require a fleet of ships. However, it is his wish that this fleet be assembled without undue attention from... certain parties, shall we say, and he therefore does not wish to risk arousing suspicion by commissioning the construction of a new fleet. Because of this, and because of the abilities of you and your crew, I have been sent to work out a deal. You will attack and enslave as many ships as you deem wise. An emissary of my master will be provided to you to inform you if there is a particular ship he wishes you to attack or let pass and to give you assistance in your attacks. The emissary may also dictate that certain individuals aboard the ships you attack must be taken prisoner rather than... used for your usual practice. Regarding which ships to attack, whether to take prisoners, and what to do with any prisoners taken, the emissary's word is final, and if his orders in this regard are disobeyed, he may, can, and shall punish the violators appropriately.
"In exchange for the assistance provided by the emissary, you need only to be ready to provide my master with his fleet immediately upon his request. Do you understand?" The cloaked figure waited.
"Yes, Lord Iames. I accept the deal. Will you be serving us as emissary?" Captain Khoshen inquired, his red eyes glinting in the light streaming through the frosted glass of the windows of his cabin, his pale skin seeming almost transparent.
"Indeed I will be, Captain Khoshen. For a time."

The dojo at Seven Paths to Power Academy

When Kira returned, she was followed into the dojo by the founders of the school. They were the Seven, the legendary heroes who had vanquished Xarakh Nam a little over sixteen years earlier. The first to enter, immediately following Kira, was Kenji Hitomi, headmaster of the school, sensei of kazejutsu, and father of Aerin, known far and wide simply as "the Wind" because of his mastery of kazejutsu, the Way of the Wind. At a height of six feet and three inches, with bright green eyes and a head and neatly trimmed beard of brown hair, he was nothing like the short, balding old monk enshrined by past legend. In fact, he had actually ceased to physically age around the time of the defeat of Xarakh Nam.
After Sensei Hitomi came his wife, Mariko Hitomi, who was shorter than her husband by four inches. Originally, she had been a Soulfire Knight in the service of the Goddess of Valor, to whom she still swore fealty. Impressed by her future husband's art, she became his student, ultimately developing her own fighting style using two warfans as her preferred weapons. After an encounter with an elder fire elemental, she began to exhibit a variety of fire-based sorcerous powers; thus while her husband was called "the Wind," the black-haired, violet-eyed crusader was known as "the Flame".
Following her into the room was the elf Nokatsu Ryuzumo, who instructed students at Seven Paths in the arts of stealth, lockpicking, and the like. He had been a thief before joining the Seven, and still retained much, if not all, of his acquisitive nature, not to mention his sarcastic wit. Had the blond elf not wished to remain as anonymous as possible, his alias would likely have been "the Shadow," but in any case that title had already been claimed by Moraan, fallen deity of slaughter and undeath.
Instructor Karaniko Nakaza, priestess of Karan, raised from birth to serve the Lady of the Deadly Dance, entered next. At five feet and eleven inches, the blue-eyed, blonde battle-dancer shared with Mariko the status of the shortest of the group. Her dark-haired half-elven husband, Instructor Jujiro Nakaza, on the other hand, who came in at the same time, was among the tallest and largest of the Seven. At six feet and four inches, his broad and well-muscled frame projected an imposing presence, which was only magnified by his renowned prowess in combat.
Last to enter were Instructors Nintari and Kamoko Goju. Nintari, a dark elf with pale, silvery-blue eyes and white hair, topped Jujiro's own towering height by a single inch, though the full-blooded elf was naturally far less bulky than his half-human counterpart. His wife, Kamoko, was a nymph, a fey creature of the forest, possessing the appearance of an elf and wielding influence over the natural world. In addition, she had an in-born command of arcane magic, and her preternatural beauty could literally be blinding when she wished it to be. She was gracefully tall and slender, with hazel eyes and long auburn hair, and her six feet and three inches of stunning beauty drew many eyes, some desiring, some jealous, whenever she went out in public.
The Seven, assembled, lowered themselves to the wooden floor of the dojo.
"So you have named yourselves the Children of Destiny," said Sensei Hitomi, as the headmaster of the school, "and thus fulfilled another part of the Prophecy of the Child of Passion. This is momentous news, and we will do our best to bring this matter to the attention of Elector Nishiko Mifune and the High Council; we can only hope that they heed our warnings.
"Though you are no longer students here," he continued, "you are nonetheless still members of the Seven Paths Guild. Just yesterday, we received a request from House Kimura that we send a team to investigate the lack of pearl shipments from Margerei, in the Province across the Mehrune Strait. As you know, House Kimura is a prominent merchant family, and one with whom we have had dealings in the past. Will you accept this assignment, Children of Destiny?"
"How much are we getting paid?" Bellantin asked.
"6000 Enkiduan dollars, plus seven and a half percent of the value of the next four pearl shipments to arrive," Instructor Nintari Goju replied, referring to the gold coins which were the dominant currency in the region. "If previous shipments are any indication, the percentage per shipment should come to at least six thousand, which, once the final shipment comes in, will amount to a group total of $30,000."
"I shall be able to tithe much to Rectarren's temple, then," Bellantin nodded to himself, but the short, broad human (he was only 5'8") had another question. "How are we getting there?"
This time, it was Kamoko who answered: "You will set out this afternoon aboard the armed merchant ship EMS-K Caravan, bound for the port at Adaun. From there, House Kimura has arranged for you to travel to Margerei."
"That sounds good to me," Aerin said. "Could we get some more cheques? I'm afraid we've all rather exhausted our supply of them over the last five weeks."
"You will be provided with cheques before you leave," Instructor Goju replied, and Aerin nodded gratefully. Cheques were a surprisingly recent development in the financial community of the Mehrune region. The introduction of the cheque ten years before had ended the past limitation on spending based on how much gold one could carry around in one's pockets, and also greatly simplified the process of paying the soldiers then embroiled in the long and bitter Yuan-ti War. "If you have no more questions... ?" the dark elf trailed off.
"We'll take the job," Kael said.

23rd day of Winter, 7621 Elven Date, the Mehrune Strait

The early evening sky was clouded gray and the air chilled. Captain Khoshen stood amidships beside Lord Iames, the emissary of his new, mysterious, unnamed patron. The two of them were standing between the two ballistae which made up the Bloody Wake's port and starboard broadsides. Iames's breath rose in puffs of vapor, but neither Khoshen nor any of his crew were breathing at all.
"Sail ho!" The shout rang from the crow's nest. Khoshen and Iames looked up. A pirate, his skin pale, his eyes red, came clambering down the rigging and stood before them. "Captain, M'Lord, we've sighted a ship running Enkiduan and House Kimura colors two thousand feet off the port side, bearing thirty degrees," he announced.
"I see." Captain Khoshen glanced to his right at the black-cloaked emissary. "What size is she?"
"She looks to be a frigate, Sir."
Khoshen nodded, considering. He walked up onto the forecastle and extended his telescope to take a closer look. He grunted, collapsed it, and went back amidships. "I make it one of their escort frigates. Probably mounts a ballista at least in the bow, possibly on some sort of turret," he told the emissary.
"Is it possible that they might be carrying a gnomish cannon?" Iames inquired.
Khoshen barked a laugh. "Hah! Jiro Kimura wishes it were so! But no. The gnomes haven't yet figured out how to keep a shipboard cannon from either ripping up the deck every time it's fired or from rolling all over the deck, or even off the ship entirely."
"Ah," Lord Iames said. "Can we overhaul?" he asked.
"Easily, My Lord. I've no way to be certain, but at a guess I'd say they're headed to Anaud from Enkidu City, so we'll be approaching them from perhaps 120, 130 degrees off their port side."
"Make it so."
Khoshen turned and began issuing orders to pursue the merchant ship.

Wearing a cloak over her orange clothes to protect her from the cold, Aerin walked along the port side of the EMS-K Caravan, heading aft to speak with Captain Tetsuko Laccennor. She had struck up a friendship with the older woman from almost the moment she'd stepped aboard Tetsuko's ship. When Aerin reached Tetsuko, however, she found the normally convivial captain of the Caravan gazing somberly out over the water through her telescope, oblivious to all else. Aerin cleared her throat quietly.
Tetsuko jumped slightly and turned to fix Aerin with a reproving glare.
"What is it?" the redhead asked.
"I think I saw a ship over there," the brunette said, waving her hand. Aerin towered over Tetsuko, who was 5'6" and one of the shortest humans Aerin had ever met.
Aerin peered out into the darkening northwestern sky. "There?" She pointed at the rapidly growing square of white sailcloth.
"That's the one," Tetsuko said. "It could be perfectly innocent, but something about it makes me uneasy." She smiled at the sound of her dwarven boatswain leading the crew in sea chanties. "Go tell Hrolf to have the ballista loaded and crewed, would you?"
"Sure thing," Aerin answered, moving back toward the fore of the ship.

"Lord Iames, I can see the name of the ship," Khoshen said, his telescope once again trained on the vessel they were approaching. "She's the EMS-K Caravan."
"The Caravan?" Iames repeated.
"That's right," Khoshen replied, turning and seeing the thoughtful look on the emissary's face. "Do you want us to call off the attack, My Lord?"
Iames shook his head slowly. "No. There are, however, five people aboard her whom I wish you to take prisoner rather than enslave." Iames proceeded to describe the Children of Destiny. "My master has use for them, as part of his plan, and so..."
"I understand, My Lord," Khoshen said, baring his pointed teeth in a feral grin. "We'll take your prisoners. I trust we will be permitted to injure them, should need arise?"
Iames hesitated. "In the course of capturing them only," he said at last, "and the redhead is not to be harmed at all if it can be avoided. See to it that your crew knows that they are not to be harmed once taken prisoner. Tell them that it is by my authority, also."
"Of course, My Lord." Khoshen called to one of his crew, "Make ready to haul up the colors!"

"She's armed," Tetsuko said, indicating the unmistakable shape of a ballista on the approaching ship's port side.
"That she is, Skip, but-" Boatswain Hrolf Rechammer was cut off in midsentence as flag unfurled at the top of the other ship's mainmast: the skull and crossed daggers of a pirate ship. Wheeling around, the dwarf bellowed, "Fire the ballista! By Bella's sword, fire now!" He did not notice the two bats hanging in the rigging above his head.
The ballista fired, and its massive quarrel shot out, ripping holes in several of the Bloody Wake's sails. "Return fire! Return..." the pirate boatswain was shouting at the portside ballista crew, Captain Khoshen and his first mate both conspicuously absent. Standing in the bow, Iames calmly raised a hand and concentrated, his eyes glowing yellow, and a fiery beam thicker than his arm lanced forth and struck the Caravan's ballista, which promptly burst into flame.
Bellantin rushed to the blaze, gesturing and chanting an incantation. Out of nowhere, a dozen gallons of water appeared over the flaming wreckage and doused the fire before it could spread.
"Good work, Tin-" Aerin was cut off as a pale-skinned man with red eyes suddenly dropped down in front of her. He gazed into her eyes, and she could feel the strength of his personality as her will failed her and she fell under his power.
"Stay here," he whispered, "and do not fight." Turning, Captain Khoshen disarmed Tetsuko with a flick of his cutlass, stepped in toward her, and sank his teeth into her neck. Beside him, his first mate was doing likewise to Hrolf. Aerin stood numbly, unable to act, as grapples flew from the pirate ship and more vampires swarmed over the lines.

"Lord Iames, I am pleased to present you with these prisoners," Khoshen said, throwing the Children of Destiny at Iames's feet.
"Traitor," Bellantin hissed venomously.
"Imprison them below," Iames said, ignoring him. "What of the Caravan?"
"We have made vampire thralls of all the crew, save the four crewing the ballista, who burned," Khoshen reported. "We're sending it back to our friends on Vaynai to have the ballista replaced."
"Excellent. Let us head to Adaun. Agents of my master will take the prisoners off our hands there."
"Of course, My Lord."

Several hours later, when the vampiric pirates were drinking, rowdily celebrating their latest victory, Aerin "awoke" from Captain Khoshen's dominating gaze. She realized that she and the other Children of Destiny were locked up in separate cages scattered around the room, which was perhaps thirty feet wide and 40 feet long. Bellantin, Kael, and Aramoro looked as if they had been beaten into near-unconsciousness, but she and Kira seemed untouched.
A pirate opened her cage, just as another pirate was doing at Kira's. She saw Kira meet the vampire's eyes and take on a glazed expression.
"What are you going to do?" she asked the one who had opened her cage and was now ushering her out.
"We're jusht gonna have shome fun," the pirate slurred, pushing her into a crowd of his friends. Their hands began tugging at her clothes, and Aerin felt a fiery rage fill her as she realized what they were trying to do. With a great shout, she struck at her assailants, pushing them away with every ounce of strength and skill she possessed. Their grasping hands refused to let go of her clothing, which ripped in many places. Heedless, she kept them at bay, furiously fighting her way to where Kira was undergoing a similar treatment, but offering no resistance, her will crushed by the vampire's gaze.
Finally she reached her comrade, the best friend who was almost her sister. Breathing heavily, she fought the lustful pirates off her friend's nude body and guarded her fiercely.
But they kept coming, even after she sent them sprawling time and time again, and she began to be worn down, until she no longer had the strength to push them away. She felt their hands touching her and closed her eyes, praying to the Three Goddesses to give her the strength to endure what was coming...
The hatch to the upper deck opened with a slam. "STOP WHERE YOU ARE!" Iames's voice rang out commandingly. Everyone in the room froze, and Iames's eyes took in the scene. "Unhand them," he ordered coldly, his eyes shining with harsh, golden-yellow light. The pirates immediately stepped away from both Aerin and Kira. Aerin helped Kira to her feet as Iames approached. His black cloak whirled as he removed it from his own body and settled it on Aerin's shoulders, wrapping it around both young women. Then he turned to survey the vampires.
"I believe that I gave orders that the prisoners were not to be harmed," he said, his voice calm and conversational. "Since you have seen fit to disobey those orders, I shall now punish you appropriately.
"Die," he said gloatingly, and coronas of yellow light appeared around the heads of each of the many vampires, who fell to the floor, writhing in silent agony. Iames stood and watched until their bodies evaporated under the mental onslaught. He then turned to face Aerin and Kira, wrapped in his cloak. The irises of his eyes were a gentle violet. "Are you hurt?" he asked, his voice concerned.
Fearful, Aerin nodded. "Kira is still under the effects of the vampire's gaze," she said.
Iames nodded in answer. "I see. You needn't be afraid of me, you know. The Dark cannot hurt you. I, the Light, will not allow it.
"Come with me to my cabin," he said. "I want to make sure that this incident does not repeat itself before I can inform the rest of the crew of the consequences in the morning."

Aerin finished putting Kira into the cabin's large and luxurious bed, as the lithe brunette was still incapable of independent action. She turned to where Iames was sitting in an overstuffed armchair, his eyes closed. "Why does this cabin have such a large bed?" she asked.
Iames opened his eyes, saw that Aerin was allowing the cloak to hang slightly open, heedless of the revealing rags she was barely wearing, blushed slightly, and fixed his eyes on hers. "I truthfully don't know," he answered. "Captain Khoshen tells me that before he became a vampire and turned pirate, he ran a passenger service. I assume this is a leftover stateroom."
"Hm," Aerin commented, walking slowly toward him. "Why didn't you return to the school after your teammates died?"
Iames hesitated, partly because of the distraction her body offered, partly in order to organize his thoughts. "I had just discovered the Dark, which you witnessed belowdecks just now," he said. "As you might guess, the Dark loves to torture and destroy things, to taste their fear and pain before their lives are snuffed out. I was afraid that the Dark would go on a rampage and... kill you." He laughed bitterly. "As it happens, it turns out I was wrong to fear that possibility. The Dark was at its height when I turned to face you, but the Light immediately came to the fore. In seeking to protect you, I have given the Dark Lord an extremely potent weapon."
“The Dark Lord?” Aerin repeated in surprise. So he’s alive... but how...? "Do you know the Dark Lord's plans?"
"Some of them," Iames answered cautiously.
"Has he forbidden you to discuss them?" She stopped directly in front of him.
"... Not precisely," Iames said, "though it's clear he wishes them as secret as possible."
Aerin smiled at him. "Then why don't we exchange some... information?" she suggested, her voice enticing, as her shoulders shrugged out of the cloak she had deliberately let hang loosely open. The only things keeping the cloak on her body were her arms, which she now had crossed beneath her breasts. The binding that usually kept them from interfering with her movements had been ripped off during the fray below, freeing her to use them as a potent part of her arsenal.
Iames's eyes widened at both her tone and her actions, staring in disbelief. Then they narrowed, his eyes glowing slits of soft violet light, and he snorted quietly. "No. I can sense your emotions. I could read your thoughts if I wanted to, but I want to leave you some measure of privacy.
"But the point is that I know what you're feeling. Gratitude, affection, trust mixed with fear, curiosity, a desire to repay me, and others," Iames continued. "But love for me is not among them. Nor has it ever been. Until it is, I refuse." He smiled, looking up at her. "Besides, I can also tell that you don't intend to follow through."
Aerin shrugged. It was worth a try, she thought. She pulled the cloak closed and over her shoulders. "Better?" she asked.
"Yes," Iames confirmed. "And if you really want to repay me, how about telling me whatever information you think I'd like to have?"
"Of course," Aerin said, sliding onto his lap, her eyes mischievous and teasing. She waited for him to object, but he said nothing, so she got right to the point. "At the end of our first mission, we found this prophecy..."

When Aerin had finished telling him of the prophecy, she fell asleep almost at once, still sitting on Iames's lap. Iames smiled softly, with a hint of sadness, or perhaps longing, and cradled her head against his shoulder, humming a little tune of only seven notes, before going to sleep himself.

"Y'know, it's funny," Aerin murmured the next morning, her head resting on Iames's shoulder, "you were right that I never actually intended to sleep with you. And yet, that's exactly what I ended up doing."
"For somewhat substantially different meanings of the word 'sleep,' " Iames pointed out, one arm around her cloaked shoulders.
"True," Aerin agreed, extricating herself from his embrace and standing up. "You wouldn't happen to have any spare clothes, would you?"
"As a matter of fact, I do. In the trunk." Iames closed his eyes while Aerin dressed.
"Done," she said, and he opened them. She had chosen the fancy outfit with the silver embroidery on the collar, chest, and cuffs. Iames thought she looked stunning, despite the fact that the clothes had been made for someone an inch taller.
"Huh? Wha's goin' on?" Kira awoke. Aerin threw one of Iames's spare cloaks at her as she sat up.
"Sorry, Kira. Iames doesn't have anything your size, so you'll be stuck with a cloak again until we can find you some real clothes."
"At least I'm not bald this time," Kira muttered.
"What?" Iames said, confused.
"Don't ask," the two young women chorused.

25th day of Winter, 7621 Elven Date, Adaun, the Province

Aerin looked over her shoulder toward the docking district. Iames had discreetly managed to help them escape, and they had even recovered all of their equipment.
"Do you think Iames's master will kill him when he finds out that we escaped?" Aramoro asked.
"I doubt it," Aerin replied. "If we know about the prophecy, then I'm sure Iames's master does, and he'll know that as long as he keeps Iames around, he'll win."
"So shouldn't we have killed him while we had the chance?" Bellantin said.
Aerin raised a quizzical eyebrow at him. "Are you crazy? There's still more of the prophecy to fulfill. He would've wiped the floor with our butts. Well," she amended, "your butts, anyway." Her teammates rolled their eyes. "And now, let's get Kira some clothes and then get on to Margerei."

2006-08-16, 01:18 AM
@ Vaynor: That's not bad. A great intro, really grabbed my attention, though now I'm trying to figure out what the blade said in Quenya (yes, I recognized it).
Damn. It's one of his little known languages, so I figured I could get away with the

"Wow, you made up a language for your book? That's amazing!"

"Umm, suuuuureee.... *shifty ninja eyes*"

act. :P

Anyways, thanks! Oh, and I'll never tell! ;D

Lord Iames Osari
2006-08-17, 01:51 PM
Already figured out a rough translation. I'll PM it to you so I can see how close I got.

2006-08-20, 02:26 AM
Looking up, he saw the rifle’s wieldier, a bulky looking man with a grim expression. The two men who had grabbed his ankles had straightened and raised their own weapons, observing him with similarly grim expressions. On the other side of him from the first man was a woman, the only person not pointing a weapon at him. Instead, she held a portable video recorder, trained on his face. Somehow this was even more threatening than the rifles, even more so when she turned away and began to look over his truck.
He heard the roar of engines, and the crushing sound of tyres on snow. Then the sound of doors opening and slamming shut, and at least half a dozen more armed figures came from behind him, wearing white camouflage gear like the others. One climbed into his truck and the rest spread out, erecting brightly coloured signs along the road to either side. What the hell are they doing? He wondered fearfully

2006-08-21, 04:57 AM
Do poems qualify? Note: I wrote this after three cups of straight plunger coffee; I'm at my most productive when on a high.

Feet scuff on concrete
Grunts in the twilight
Smack of flesh striking flesh

One down, one up

Up looks down
Metal gleams

Down moves like silk
Metal gleams

Up screams
Metal gleams

Shrieks and cries
Blood runs

Sobbing and crying
Blood runs

Glazed and still
Blood runs

Life leaves
One dies

One dies
One stands

Cheater lives
No matter
To the dead one’s cares

Father, mother, brother, sister
Will grieve
Grief springs from
A fight
And a

Gleaming so bright so dark
In the twilight.

2006-08-22, 02:44 PM
Is it okay for me to be extremely disturbed?

2006-08-27, 05:38 PM
Iames. You are an awesome friggin' writer. I'm enjoy fantasy writing as an enthusiast, but I also greatly enjoy a good combination of action and suspense as well as a dash of psychology. Your story is the best thing since LotR as far as fanatsy writing goes in my book. Is there more than you've shown us here? and if so, where can I find it?

Lord Iames Osari
2006-08-29, 07:42 AM
Iames. You are an awesome friggin' writer. I'm enjoy fantasy writing as an enthusiast, but I also greatly enjoy a good combination of action and suspense as well as a dash of psychology. Your story is the best thing since LotR as far as fanatsy writing goes in my book. Is there more than you've shown us here? and if so, where can I find it?

:-[... :) Wow. I'm flattered. I didn't expect such high praise, and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure I deserve it.

Um, there're the second and third chapters finished, but the 4th one is still in progress. They aren't anywhere online. I could email 2 + 3 to you... if I could see your email address. Anyone else who's interested in the further adventures of Aerin, Iames, & Co., PM me your email address and I'll send what I've got along for your perusal and enjoyment.

2006-09-04, 04:00 AM
Here's the first part of the first chapter of a story I'm writing, not sure how long it'll be yet, we'll find out...

Streets of Sorrow
Chapter One

A foul stench wafted across his nose as he stirred, his makeshift bed crinkling as he rolled over. Getting up, the beggar continued his life, as he had always done. The nearby marketplace offered rich pickings, as it was busy, therefore poorly guarded. No one noticed the miserable old man as he slunk from stall to stall taking little at each, but ended up with a nigh-bountiful meal. Hiding in a darkened alleyway, he began to gorge himself upon the food, not knowing how much time he would have to finish it.

Suddenly, a harsh shout ran out, and the beggar snapped his head around, to assure safety. A rough grip was on his jacket, and he was hauled up. The precious food was snatched out of his hand and given back to the vendors. He was pushed down, hunched over on his knees. The enforcer raised his arms, a slender rope in it, and brought it down with all his might upon the beggar’s back, over and over again, he whipped the poor man, until he was slumped over in a heap, his clothes tattered and bloody. He crawled pitifully off to his ‘house’, and got into the bed, huddling over, and waiting for night. Soon, night came, and relief ran up his bloody back. Out of this terrible place, the beggar went, along the path that led out of town.

He quickened his step, and continued down the path. Darker and darker, his breathing became stuttered, and his footfalls softened. The ever-looming darkness, slowly crept, following him. A small hut, hid in the darkness, came within sight. The beggar quickened his pace, and within five quick minutes he was there. He knocked on the door, a thin piece of wood, and waited.

The door opened a crack, and the tip of a head peaked out, eyes twitching to and fro nervously.

“Oh, it’s you. Well, come in then,” the head said, and the door swung open.

“Thank you,” the beggar said in a gruff voice, nodding his head in greeting.

The beggar peered into the room as he entered, and then proceeded to walk into the simple room. A large chair adorned one side, and a bed on the other. A small fire crackled in the fireplace, next to a small table, furnished with a pot of wildflowers. Above the fireplace were many rows of knives, swords, and other implements of death. The man, a gruff, lithe being, bore a rough black beard, and was clothed in dark leather. He motioned his hand to invite the beggar to come in, and sit down on the chair.

“So,” the beggar asked, “what do you want of me?”

“It’s not you, it’s someone you know.”

“And who would that be,” the beggar responded.

“You know exactly who that would be. Tell her she must deliver the goods before dusk tomorrow, or he will die. Got it?”

“Of course.”

The door closed shut, and the beggar breathed a sigh of relief. The meeting had gone well, but he was more worried about the next part of his orders.

To be continued…

2006-09-04, 08:21 AM
Cool story. I don't really get the "busy equals poorly guarded" thing—after all, it seems likely that busy places would be MORE heavily guarded—but that's just a minor thing. Overall, a good, solid, nice story.

2006-09-05, 02:45 AM
Here's the second installment of the first chapter...

Streets of Sorrow
Chapter One
Part II

The black of the night closed around him like a blanket, filling the cool air on the path back to town. A cool breeze fluttered in from the west, and the night air became chilly. Tugging his jacket closer to his body, the beggar quickened his pace. Looking up at the sky, the moons glittered brightly, like a pair of diamonds thrown into the sky. Soon enough, the gate was near. Having no good reason to come in for the guards, he cleared a spot among the tall grass, and curled up to sleep. He was used to this kind of night, and had in fact slept on worse before.

Morning came, not soon enough, and the beggar straightened out, and stretched. He got up, still having an hour before the gates opened, and went to find something to eat. He passed plants, trees, bushes and vines in the forest just outside the city until he came upon a peach tree. Harvesting its juicy crop, the beggar smiled hungrily. He had not eaten since the morning before, and was voracious.

After breaking his fast, the beggar took out his knife and started whittling a piece of the peach tree to pass the time. Not really looking at what he was making, he whittled on for about twenty minutes. Then, a loud rumbling noise came from about a mile away. He started walking back towards the newly opened gates, awaiting his meeting with Gil’s client.

* * * * *

Sara inspected the kitchen. Shining to every last niche, she put her dishtowel away in its drawer. She was nervous about the meeting, and had to make sure everything was perfect. Last of all, she checked the box of goods, making sure everything there was in order. She hid the box under the washbasin, just in case a guard picked her house for inspection. Her small room glittered, but that was usual in this house. She glanced at the sundial on the porch and breathed nervously. Only half an hour…

* * * * *

The beggar pulled out a piece of paper from one of his sewed on pockets, and glanced at the number, 146. He followed the numbers down the road until he got to the one hundred forties, and climbed up the stairs leading to the small apartment. Arriving at one hundred forty-six, he knocked on the door and waited for an answer.

Don Beegles
2006-09-05, 05:37 PM
Ok, here's the first page or so of the prologue to a story I'm writing. It doesn't say much, but it's taken my a while to write so I'll present it as a teaser while I do the rest.

The chill autumn wind swirled around the historian as he trotted his horse down the long tree-lined path. Crisp leaves in shades of red and brown whirled beneath his horse’s hooves, making the poor creature falter momentarily, and the historian’s breath caught in his throat. He didn’t particularly want to die at this time, on this satellite colony of an island that was once itself a colony of his own home. He couldn’t help thinking that most of its inhabitants had never seen any one from Corsen, across the sea, and they’d probably be surprised to know that the Viceroy, their head of government, was just the title for an official who controlled a colony too sedentary and placid to warrant a military governor. Though the time when Askania was anything but its own free state was ancient history. He smiled wryly. Of course, the thought, it’s not their business to remember it. It’s mine.
The thought brought him back to the mission at hand. He had been sent by Master Brualt of Journeymen to speak to an old man who was said to be the sole surviving person who had been involved in the corruption in the Azure Sky forty years ago. Because the College’s purpose was to record the whole history of Corsen and its surrounding islands for posterity, they needed someone to collect his story and summarize it for the Record of the Times. That was where the historian came in. As the assignment was fairly simple-talk to the man and get the details of a situation the whole of which could already be clearly defined-they had sent their most novice journeyman. He was eager to do well, because he knew that if he did anything less, his future with the College would be bleak.
He was an average young man, with neither the scars and rugged physique of a treasure-seeker nor the sickly pallor and thin arms of a librarian. His strong green eyes were muted by the thumbprints on his horn-rim glasses, and the intelligent frown he wore was not an improvement on the innocent smile his full lips would naturally have taken. He wore his badge of office proudly on the left breast of his cloak in an effort to steal some of its dignity for his own. In reality, the overly polished symbol of his duty accomplished exactly the opposite effect: it drew all attention towards itself, and proved to the canny eye that this young man still had not truly earned the right to wear it and would not have that right until he learned that it is the carriage of the knight that intimidates, not his gleaming shield.

2006-09-06, 09:54 AM
Sorry for the longish post, but I hadn't a good place to put this.
Just a random short story for your entertainment/enjoyment/whatever.

Rain poured in endless streams, hammering the dingy, decrepit shelter at the bus stop. A woman stood within the tiny, but dry, area. She often furtively glanced at the man who waited for the bus outside. He stood like a pillar of rock, unmoved by the rain, not knowing or seeing the world around him. Water streamed off his trench coat in tiny rivulets, but he paid it no heed, if indeed he knew the flow was there. Instead, he stared out into the void of his mind, seeking for something hidden in the storm of his wild imagination.
The woman spoke tentatively, “Would you like to come out of the rain, sir?” Her poise revealed her uncertainty, and her tone shyness. She seemed a swan tensed for flight; any sudden change might send her zipping for safety.
Her question went unanswered for a good length of time, but finally, just when she expected that she would not get an answer, one came.
“There is no rain.”
The woman started, and her confusion made her seem even more vulnerable. She blinked and stared at the cloudy sky, as if to assure herself that it was still raining. She then turned her head back to the person outside.
“Sir?” She asked, unable to comprehend what he had meant by his outrageous statement.
“Does it need to be explained? There is no rain, but yet…” He paused as if he was only considering this for the first time, “yes, it is rain.”
The woman looked even more lost than before, and almost frightened. She opened her mouth speak, but the man spoke first.
“But the rain is so much more than what you see. Raindrops fall like shining, elusive diamonds. Liquid pearls, priceless treasures are drops of rain, but that is compared to what they really are. No vessel can contain what the rain symbolizes, and no purity can veil it.
“If you look at the drops of rain, you can see the memories of the people in the world. Each drop falls and breaks on the ground as men die, destroying the contents within their delicate mortal shells.” He watched rain drops shatter as they met their ends on the unyielding cement and took off his hat and placed it over his heart.
“Raindrops are also the tears of mourners, each an exquisite lament for the person who sheds it. A single drop contains sorrow spun into a fragile case that is beautiful, yet tragic.” The man began to cry, but his grief did not decrease the power of his voice. If anything, his tears enhanced the image being created, adding reality to his metaphor.
“In each drop you may glimpse a mighty and powerful dream, one which might have come to pass if time had flowed into the right channels. Yet it too is destroyed, not escaping the destruction that all things face in the end, no matter whether it come swiftly, with a sudden conclusion, or crawling, prolonging the inevitable.”
After this last outburst, the man fell silent, staring into the clouds, heart pounding in grief and sorrow at the sight of the rain. As for the woman, her eyes were wide with fear and doubt. She now regretted having broken the silence with her offer of shelter. However, as one cannot recall an arrow that has been fired, one cannot withdraw a spoken word. She had tossed a pebble into a still pond and now wished that she had not made the ripples.
The man fell to his knees, overcome with despair and torment. He cried out in heartfelt anguish, “Is there no hope for man? Is he ever to escape the fate which awaits him?”
The man cast a weary eye at the roiling sky and searched the blackened clouds above him. Suddenly, his vacant eyes filled with a radiance that shone like a star.
“Look!” He shouted, leaping to his feet and gesturing to a break in the clouds, “Hope descends to us in the midst of despair! Rejoice men of dust! Sing aloud, all those in misery! A shield of mighty strength has been given to us, take it and defend yourselves from the shroud of darkness that covers the earth!
“And there!” He thrust a finger at a far off rainbow, a burst of color in the dreary gray mists. “A path to happiness for all who seek it. Let none claim that he cannot rejoice, saying ‘there is no good thing in my life’. There is always joy for those who want it.”
As the man stared a little longer into the sky, the woman shrank into the farthest corner of the shelter. The one who had spoken so eloquently before slumped into reality as he realized what had happened. He turned to the woman, who cowered in the bus stop. He spoke to her as if trying to coax an animal into the open.
“But no one sees things as I do. I feel…” He trailed off, searching for words, “I feel like one who stands in the midst of riddles, a lens that puts everything into its proper perspective. I am alone, unsupported, and unheeded.” He dropped his head sadly, “I am alone in the midst of a crowd, unable to identify with anyone.”
The screeching wail of the bus’s brakes caught the woman’s attention. She boarded the bus and looked to see if the man was following, but he merely stood on the sidewalk, once again staring out into nothing, seeking answers no one else sought. The bus driver honked his horn impatiently, and then, after receiving no response, drove on to his next destination.
Ann stared out the window until she could no longer see the strange man who comprehended the meanings of the world. She looked intensely at the rain, trying to see things as he did, but the insight he had somehow conjured would not come. Sighing, she stared out the window, not really seeing things passing by, but neither was she in her own world as the man was. Then something caught her eye, just barely a flicker of something different than usual. She set her gaze on the sun, and saw, not a ball of brilliant light, but a sphere of perfect glass, filled with truth in its purest form.

2006-09-06, 11:35 AM
My Stories! (http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~mlamar/Storiesmain.html) well, ok, so it's really only bits and pieces....more to come I promise!

2006-09-16, 08:23 AM
This is a short comedy story I did for school called
A day in the life of a pidgeon
“Wake up you lazy sky-rats! We’ve got to get out before the sonic attacks starts up!” Once again I woke up to the sound of our squad commander. I ruffled my feathers lazily.
“The humans won’t use their ‘Clangers’ for another 23 minutes,” Someone complained.
That was the funny thing about humans. They always start their attacks at exactly the same time every day. 7am in the morning.
None of us can figure out why. Maybe it is some strange human ritual or something because they would have to have figured out by now that we’re on to them. Only the most incredibly stupid of our ranks are deafened by them.
Our squadron began to slowly wake up. Fanning our feathers to get the blood circulating in them again.
“Hurry up!” Our commander yelled at us, “We’re on bombing duty today!”
15 seconds later we were all assembled in ranks ready to take-off.
Bombing duty is the best thing a soldier can possibly do. There are insanely few bombing casualties and bombers are allowed to access the best food in the storage supplies.
We all took off and headed towards the feeding grounds. A place where delicious seeds and pieces of bread seemed to grow out of the pavement after every night.
We arrived and we found we were very lucky. There were no humans around. I dropped to the ground, heading for the food.
“PRIVATE MIERDA CABEZA! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” Our commander yelled at me, I realized that I had forgotten to do a compulsory scout before eating, “DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT A HUMAN CAN POP OUT OF NOWHERE ANY SECOND! THAT’S IT! YOU DO 25 PRACTICE DIVES NOOOWW!”
I flew labouredly into the air before performing the drills.
THEN, I dived and began feasting. I stuffed my face. Overloaded my belly. Before returning to a hideout with my squad to wait for the bombs to prepare.
3 hours of waiting later I began to feel the rumble. The bombs where in position.
I said to my commander, “I’m loaded sir.”
15 minutes of waiting later. So was everyone else.
We all took off and our commander began to brief us.
“We are going to the dolphin place today. It’s a human holiday so it should be packed with people. Remember to aim for the little humans as those are our biggest threats,”
We flew over the human fences. Like they were going to stop us. Our commander said, “Look there’s a good one. One of those really small humans! Get it!”
He flew ahead of us and released. We circled and watched as the bomb fell out of the sky and landed directly on the humans head! 3 seconds later the human noticed and began to make the strange wailing sound that shows that they’re beginning to submit. Instantly 20 more missiles where thrown towards it. I watched in satisfaction as my missile hit the human’s eye and it began to scream and writhe in pain.
I fired off 20 more bombs before going back to the feeding ground to reload and repeat the round.
As my squad approached the feeding ground another squad approached us. We slowed down and the two commanders of the squads began to talk in hushed tones.
“Troops,” our commander exclaimed, “humans have taken over our feeding grounds.
We have no choice but to assemble as many squads as we can and go into melee with the humans.
We assembled 15 metres from the feeding grounds and began the offence.
“Squadron 259 DIIIVE!” A corporal yelled.
I flew downwards towards the enemy.
THUMP! I slammed into my enemies face and began scratching before my opponent swung his hand wildly towards me. I squawked in pain as his open palm slammed into my side and I was flung across the ground. I quickly began to flap my wings and saved myself from hitting the ground. I went back towards him and released my reserve bomb. Into his mouth went my weapon. Out of his mouth came a gush of greenish slime before he began to run from the grounds. Batting away my allies.
After the battle finished and the area was cleared we began to feast. It was an excellent fight. We managed to clear out the entire area with only 5 casualties. And we actually managed to kill one of the humans! This was a thing that happened insanely rarely for us.
I flew back to my waiting post after eating and after 4.7 hours of waiting I was reloaded again.
Our squad took off and prepared for the third major assault of the day.
We flew over the park and released our missiles before night began to fall so after reporting to my commander, I flew to my roosting spot so I could sleep and get ready to fight the next day.
As I settled down to sleep I contemplated the success or the day.
I had done extremely well.
I had only missed a shot once that day. I had 15 head shots, 7 eye shots of those and one of my shots had even landed in a human’s mouth!
And finally, I drifted off to sleep.

And a poem called
Battle is Glorious

The ships land as hordes of soldiers pour out of them.
Battle is glorious.
They charge blindly towards the source
Of furious gunfire on the top of the beach.
Battle is glorious.
Men fall in swaths, cut to pieces
By machine guns like scythes harvesting grain.
Battle is glorious.
Good men slip and fall as they try to climb the slopes
Of the blood soaked beaches.
Battle is glorious.
The enemy flees before the huge number of soldiers
As the hot lead of bullets slam into their backs
Battle is glorious.
The beach is taken. Tents set up and trenches dug
For protection against the enemy.
Battle is glorious.
At home, letters are sent out to tell families
of their losses. Children cry.
Battle is glorious?

2006-09-16, 11:56 AM
That pigeon story is awesome. :P

2006-09-17, 02:07 AM
This would be better as a song, but I can't write music.

I went down to the river
Looking for a war
I found a piece of mine own hell
And took it back as well

River Hell, River Hell
Running blood and sweat and tears
River Hell, River Hell
A name to sound throughout the years

The dead, they rest, they sleep, they dream
Each night my mind returns
Always I wake with dread and scream
As their blood, it pools and runs

River Hell, River Hell
The water shakes with sound
River Hell, River Hell
New weapons shake the ground

Old now, I watch and see
Young men, fools, and boys
They will not stop, no not for me
Like my children's toys

River Hell, River Hell
The plants that bloom are rife
River Hell, River Hell
Grown from blood and bone and life.

2006-09-17, 08:50 PM
The short story at the start of a book I'm writing:

2006-09-18, 05:13 PM
That pigeon story is awesome. :P
Thanks alot!
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

((oh wait, I've jut realised I'm on the wrong account))

2006-09-23, 05:17 PM
Iames. You are an awesome friggin' writer. I'm enjoy fantasy writing as an enthusiast, but I also greatly enjoy a good combination of action and suspense as well as a dash of psychology. Your story is the best thing since LotR as far as fanatsy writing goes in my book. Is there more than you've shown us here? and if so, where can I find it?

2006-09-24, 01:09 PM
Death in a Coffee Shop

Parts One & Two
“I don’t think anybody gets it; most of the people I deal with want things that seem to make sense. You spend pages creating believable characters, show them interacting with their environment, get the reader to feel empathy for them, and then you abruptly kill them off in ways that usually have no meaningful connection to the ways the audience expects the character to develop. Readers want the chain smoker to die in a fire or from lung cancer, not from drowning.”

Death sighed loudly and put down his cup of cafe latte. “But that’s the way it is! People want realism and I show them the world exactly the way things happen. I should know; I spent the better part of every day dealing with the people I write about.”

On his off-hours he wrote prose, lots of it. And he painted. I’m the lucky guy stuck as his agent and critic.

“I’m not saying it’s not believable. The readers live in this world and they know how it goes. Perhaps it’s a bit too much reality and that's what people don't like. Reality doesn't always make for a good story.”

“Fine, fine. Well, what about my paintings, then? Do you think I could get them displayed somewhere, maybe make a few bucks?”

“Listen, I know you’ve told me that there’s 47 shades of the color black. The problem is that the human eye can only recognize a few of them. Black mostly looks like black to us. Maybe if you tried to get them sold as minimalist compositions.”

Death’s mandible dropped. “I am not a minimalist!”

“I know, I know! But everyone else just looks at me funny and asks if you are.” I had been showing Death’s paintings around for a couple months now, under the assumed name “Big D” and precious few of his paintings seemed to invoke any sort of response except questions about his accused state as a minimalist.

“Philistines, all of them,” Big D said, “I guess I should have expected as much. They’ll never appreciate the work of a true artist like myself.”

“Well, it’s been said that the great ones are only recognized after they’re dead.”

My companion shot me a glance from his eye sockets; a small spark gleamed within them. I looked down and took a drink of my iced mocha. We both knew that, being the Grim Reaper, Big D could never die.

“Basically what you’re telling me,” He said, “is that my work will never be appreciated.”

“I appreciate it.” It was true. Besides that, in any circumstance, Big D probably isn’t someone you want pissed at you.

“You’d think that I’d be able to get at least something published or purchased. I have met all the great authors and artists. Every last one of them.”

“I guess talent isn’t contagious. The majority of them had spent most of their lifetimes working before they become famous or struck it rich. I think a lot of them never lived to see their work succeed. You can’t expect success overnight, you know.”

Big D shot me another glance. I was being preachy: I do that sometimes.


He waved it off with a skeletal hand. “I suppose that it’s not your fault. My genius is simply misunderstood, ahead of its time. We could let it sit for a while and then show some of it off in a couple decades. Maybe say that I died or something to attract attention. Or fake my death.”

I shrugged. “Sounds like a plan. Say, though, have you thought about expanding into other media? Maybe use some other colors, or try your luck with sculpture.” Too late, I realized how horrible the idea was. Something told me that a dark red would be his color of choice. And figures twisted in the agony of death would be exactly the type of sculpture he would take a stab at. Big D couldn’t help but be morbid - He had been conditioned by an eternity of reaping souls. It would probably be a requirement in his formal job description, if he had one.

“No thanks,” Death said, much to my relief. “I’ll just stick to what I know for now, maybe take a break to recharge and come up with some new ideas. I don’t know.”

I shrugged helplessly.

After a while he downed the remainder of his latte and then stood. “Well, I suppose it’s time to go. Same time Thursday?”

“Sure thing,” I replied, wondering for the billionth time where the stuff he drank went. He wasn’t saying and I was afraid to ask.

With our next meeting scheduled, the reaper of souls hefted his scythe and headed for the door.


How I came to be Death’s friend, critic, and would-be agent is still confusing to me. There was no dramatic, life-changing event. No fireworks or trauma. He just showed up one day at one of the coffee shops I frequented and asked if the seat across from me was taken. I have to admit I was a bit startled by this, but decided it would probably be good policy to just let the robed skeleton with the scythe do whatever made it happy. If it could even be happy.

So he sat down across from me and ordered a cafe latte. Surprisingly, the waitress was apparently unaffected by the fact that Death was here on her shift. Maybe she thought he was a Goth or something.

“You’re Death, right?” I finally asked.

"Yes.” He replied.

I decided that he would eventually explain what he wanted, jab me with that scythe, or simply finish his drink and leave. Even mythological figures could enjoy a cup of cappuccino every once in a while, I figured.

Eventually, though, I cracked.

“So,” I started but couldn’t really think of anything to say. What kind of conversation does one have with the reaper? Reap anyone interesting lately? How many children died in Africa today? For some reason, questions about the departed seemed kind of off-limits, taboo, or even rude. Finally, I settled on what I figured would be a somewhat safe question: “What do you do with your free time?”

He looked up at me, his lip-less jaws seeming to grin. “I was wondering how long I’d have to sit here before you asked.”

That’s how I was introduced to mountains of prose and narrative poetry written by the Being most deserving of the pen name "Grim." The angel of death has a computer and Microsoft Word. That’s what he uses to write his stories, anymore. It’s a lot easier than writing everything longhand with a quill pen or a typewriter, especially when it came to revision. His keyboard skills could still use a bit of work, but he doesn’t have to worry about carpal tunnel syndrome. After all, he doesn’t even have a carpal tunnel. His prose was grammatically perfect, honest, insightful, and utterly gruesome. His scenes and images were vivid and picturesque. It was unsettling.

Later, he revealed his painting skills, letting me get adjusted to the idea that Death thinks of himself as an artist, a creator. Fortunately for my stomach, most of his paintings were nighttime landscapes or supposedly elaborate paintings of shadows. To me at first, and to everyone else who saw them, the paintings simply looked like black and dark gray canvases. Eventually, though, my eyes adjusted to the myriad shades of black and gray until I could clearly decipher the forms captured on his canvases. I considered seeing a therapist.

I tried to get some of his work sold and published, as he requested, but I continually met opposition. Magazine editors turned down his short stories because they felt the stories would upset readers. Book companies didn’t see a market for a small collection of death scenes, let alone multiple books of such stories. I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell Stephen King got started.

Painters and art critics, or course, just thought he was a minimalist. He utterly despised this.

2006-09-25, 05:41 PM
Death in a Coffee Shop

Parts Three & Four
Big D didn’t show for our appointment on Thursday. It was the first time this had happened, leaving me to sitting alone and feeling awkward. Eventually, I decided to have a chat with a dark-haired waitress in the otherwise empty coffee shop.

“Where’s you friend?” She asked.

“Search me, I haven’t the slightest. This is the first time he’s skipped out on me.”

“Yeah, you guys are always here together.”

I raised an eyebrow and looked at her curiously. I thought she could have been the same waitress who had served us for some of our other meetings, but I didn’t know for sure. I also didn’t figure that we stood out that much. I guess that sounds kind of stupid, though: Death is sitting in a coffee shop and no one’s supposed to notice?

“You’ve been keeping tabs on us?” I asked, finally.

A slight grin crossed her lips and she glanced quickly at the tabletop. “I guess so. You two always order the same drinks, sit at the same table, and talk about stories and paintings.”

“So, you’ve been listening in, too?”

Her grin turned into a full smile. “I have been listening in a little, I guess.”

I didn’t figure this could come to any possible good.

“So his pen-name’s Big D?” She asked.

“Yeah,” I said, deciding there was nothing I could do to dissuade the somewhat nosy waitress so I may as well answer her questions. Besides, she was pretty and the place was empty anyway, so what could it hurt? Maybe she’d buy something.

“I haven’t seen any of his stuff around, where does he show it?”

“In all honesty, he doesn’t do a whole lot of showing. No one seems to like it much. It requires specific, acquired tastes.”

“Does he write horror or gore or something like that?”

“You could say that, I guess.”

“I think I’d like to read some of it and see some of his paintings.”

I looked at her, trying to see if she was for real. She stared back at me looking totally serious.

“Um, am I changing colors or something?” She asked after I’d stared too long.

“No, I’m just a little shocked. I suppose there's no harm in it if you want to see some of his work.” I decided there was a chance she’d like Big D’s stuff, but it wasn't something I was counting on.

“My shift is over in two hours, why don’t we go and look at some of it when I’m done. My name’s Larissa.”

“I’m Cory. I’ll be here.”

“Good, it’s a date,” she said.


“How long have you been his agent?” Larissa asked me, lightly running her fingers across a stack of his papers. The stack was at least a foot tall off my coffee table, with several stacks like it in various places around the room. My meager apartment was full of Big D’s literature, as well as a few canvases. With no one to thin my collection things kept piling up.

“I’ve been meeting with him for a little over two months now, about once each week. But I guess you already knew that. He’s a decent enough guy. Doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends, though.” As if I was Mr. Popularity.

“He sure writes enough, prolific. Is this one of his paintings?” She asked, indicating one of two portraits that hung on the walls of my sitting room.

“Yeah, it’s my favorite.” I replied.

“Likes black doesn’t he? Is he a minimalist?”

“No, it just seems that way at first. And don't let him catch you saying that, he hates it! There’s actually more there, you just have to get adjusted to it. Like those 3-D picture that you have to get your eyes out of focus to see the image. It takes a while, but eventually you can sort things out.”

I was proud of my diligence; I had puzzled out the forms buried within the black. No one else had been able to do that. Strangely enough, though, I found myself wishing that someone else would eventually see the images. I could compare thoughts, argue meanings, and pick favorites with another person for once.

“Interesting, I haven’t heard of many people burying their images quite like that. Some painters seem just a little too anxious to make it all obvious. Maybe they do it so other people will get it, feel smart for figuring it out, and maybe buy the painting.”

I nodded. My recent experiences in the art world and trying to sell the paintings seemed pretty much as she had explained it. Not all artists were like that, but there were more than a few.

“I can’t see whatever it is he’s hiding in there,” she said, “but I’m sure it must be intriguing. I hope I’ll figure it out someday.” She moved back to the stack of stories and pulled one off the top. It was about a gardener, I remembered.

Sitting down in my sofa and getting comfortable, she pulled a small, black-rimmed pair of reading glasses out of her purse. They made her look more like a librarian than a coffee shop waitress. I clicked on the reading lamp. “You want something to drink?”

“What do you have?” She asked, looking up from the story.

“In truth, I’ve got some cottage cheese that used to be milk, eggnog from last Christmas, and coffee.”

“Coffee.” She didn’t hesitate.

“What kind?”

“What do you have?”

“Name it.” My collection of instant coffee mixes was a matter of pride for me. Whenever I found a new taste I hurriedly bought and tried it, adding its small, rectangular container to many more just like it in my cupboard. I even alphabetized them every month or so and checked that there was no unwanted fungi amongst the granules.

Larissa finally decided upon French Vanilla and I headed for my kitchen.

After a few minutes, she came into the kitchen behind me, carrying the gardener story. I couldn’t blame her, no matter how great the author, the smell of coffee brewing grabs the attention in ways words simply can’t. I’m sure it wasn’t a conscious decision for her to follow me into the kitchen. Much more likely it was some primitive, instinctual reflex. “That smells great,” she said.

I couldn’t help but grin at her.

“What on earth?” She nudged open the cupboard door, which was permanently ajar, and admired my coffee collection. “Where did you get all these?”

“Grocery stores, convenience stores, specialty shops, new age bookstores; pretty much you name it. I have a contact that’s in good with a manufacturer and he tells me when to watch for something new. That hand-painted tin I got from a Romany family I met while touring Europe back in college. The one that’s wrapped in fur I got from a South American trader I met a few years back. That’s real llama fur.”

She looked at me through her scholar glasses and laughed. “If you have all of these coffees, why do you come to the store at all? And why always get the same thing?”

“The environment. It’s different drinking a cup in a shop than in your house. Each shop has it’s own feel, its own energy. I try to go with that energy to strengthen the experience. Everybody who comes interprets the energy a little different. The shop you work at feels like iced mocha to me, cafe latte to Big D. The reason there’s so many variations of tastes in coffee is because so many people interpret the energies in different ways. It ruins the whole experience if a place sets you up for pecan and you get hazelnut. Businesses can fail because they don’t have the flavors to match their energies.”

She laughed again. “Where did you come up with that?”

“About two in the morning over at Gengo’s All-Night Coffee.”

“You sure get around, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I’ve been in the coffee circuit since early high school.”

“Where do you get the money to support your fix?” She was grinning broadly.

“I majored in art education at college and ended up a talent scout and critic for the museum and gallery. They charge a pretty steep commission to the artists for what gets sold. It’s harsh, but it keeps the agents employed and none of the artists are complaining, not with the pretty hefty checks that get handed around over there when something does sell. I guess the thrill of being marketed for big cash every once in a while is enough to keep them from forming a union and striking.”

“That’s it?”

“Well, no actually. I have to admit that I’ve got an investment in Coffee Quickie and I’ve got some stock in the franchise that supports the place you work. It all keeps me comfortable.”

With that, she smiled and went back to the couch, sipping as she went.

2006-09-25, 11:27 PM
Death in a Coffee Shop

Parts Five & Six
“Where were you last week?” I asked the skeleton in the robes.

“Oh, it was horrible, a complete mess. A boat of about forty refugees tipped over out in the Atlantic. I had to sort out the drowning victims from the shark attacks, and then some of them weren’t due yet. I had to be careful, there are rules about this sort of thing, after all. Destinies to consider.”

We stared at each other, both aware that the boundary had been crossed.

“Anyway,” He said at last, “I’ve decided something.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I’m taking a break, going on sabbatical.”

“What? What happens then? Do people just not die or something?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know, never done it before. I would assume so, I haven’t worked in a couple days and that’s how things seem to be going.”

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing. What are you doing instead, then?”

“I’m doing like you said, trying my hand at some other media. Sculpture seems quite nice so far and I’ve grown a bit fond of ceramics.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

He wasn’t.


As it turned out, Larissa had actually liked Big D’s prose and started spending a substantial amount of time at my apartment. She would come over, I’d make her coffee, and then she’d read. When she was finished with a story we would joke around for awhile, lighten the mood. It was a little odd, though. I wasn’t used to visitors.

She said that the stories made her cry, though, and I made her laugh. I didn’t know how to take that but it was nice to have someone friendly stopping by. Someone who actually enjoyed the same literature as I did.

She was smart, as much as her glasses made her seem. When she read the stories she didn’t need to look up the words that were unfamiliar to me. Against my better judgment, I started feeling attracted to Larissa and looking forward to her visits.

During my meetings with Death she kept herself as faceless and silent as before. She didn’t intrude on us and I commonly caught myself forgetting she was even around, like I had before we met. When we were alone, however, her glasses caught my attention and I loved to watch her read. I knew the stories so well that I could gauge her place in any of them by her facial expressions: a grin during a humorous section, a frown when trouble was brewing. I always had tissues waiting to catch her tears at the end.

It went like that for the next couple weeks, Death was taking his time off and I was falling for our waitress. Whenever Big D finished his latest creation he would bring it to me and I would keep it on display in my apartment to be admired by Larissa.

To my surprise, Death’s pottery resembled tribal relics more than it did the twisted and tortured souls I had imagined. The sculpture, however, met my expectations and I finally decided to drape a towel over a particular piece rather than face any more nightmares.

2006-09-25, 11:40 PM

This was just completed, and I must say, I am in a good deal of awe...of myself. Which is awkward, to say the least. :P

Yes, it is based off another fiction.


Break swift and carry her away
in the night. Empty her kiss
into the deep, the keep of the spray

painted feint. With a past-sized fey
on the winglets of your toes;
break swift and carry her away.

Turn to the desperate side-street way,
as your heart beats the frantic footfalls
to the deep, the keep of the spray

and rumbling. Intent to stay
the bloodless fight, yet Nardo kills:
break swift and carry him away.

Cry! Cry for her, wear the lover’s fray
and pant–and shocked, she kneels
into the deep, the keep of the spray.

Break swift and carry me away
From this deep, this keep of the spray

...but I tell you, villanelles are THE DEVIL. ;)

2006-09-26, 02:42 PM
'Goodmorning, ser Erion.' Astra said as she walked into the common room. 'How are you doing today?'

'I'm fine, Astra. Have you finished my meal?'

'Not yet, but I'm working on it. How is your research going on?'

'Great, absolutely perfect, I managed to summon a fiendish toad today. It's easy once you know how.'

'Be carefull, summoning is, like all magic, a field we know relatively nothing about.'

'But Astra, if you don't try things out you'll never learn anything.'

'But what if it attacked you? You have absolutely no defenses against fiendish creatures.'

'It didn't, so it's a worry about nothing.'

'Still, you should be more carefull, what would you have done if it did attack you?'

'I guess I would flee, but you're worrying to much, as always.'

'I just don't want anyone of our village to die, is that to much to ask?'

'Death is a new and recent discovery, it's normal to be afraid yet we know absolutely nothing about it.'

'But Fera never returned, her body went limp and performed none of the signs like breathing or a heartbeat, and it was because of a fiendish creature.'

'I know, and it is a fearsome sight but fear should not stop the quest for knowledge, if we wish to be save from those creatures we need to have the means to fight them.'

'But why summon them, won't spells of fire or similar be safer to use?'

'Magic is difficult and we have yet to grasp the basics, for the moment all we do is try things out and hope it has some effect, I'm hoping there is a deeper system yet I do not know it yet.'

The start of my newest story

2006-09-26, 04:49 PM
Ghost_Warlock, may I just say... WOW!

Keep em coming!

2006-09-26, 06:09 PM
Death in a Coffee Shop

Parts Seven & Eight
“Cory!” Larissa called from the couch.

“Yeah?” I asked as I stepped out of the kitchen. She was standing in front of the painting we had admired the first evening she came to visit, Big D’s latest prose tragedy in her hands. I walked over and stood beside her.

“I can see it! I can see it! There’s a rocky beach with crashing waves,” she explained, “There’s a large spire of rock shooting straight up from the water towards the sky like Devil’s Tower at sea. There are trees and all kinds of plants growing on top of it. It’s all painted in shades of black like everything is late at night when there’s no moon or stars. I can’t believe it, is this a real place?”

I didn’t know, but I showed her some of the other paintings I had stored away. Buildings, trees, lakes, marshes; she saw them all and was shocked by the details. “It’s like he's training our eyes to see in complete darkness,” she said, gazing at the landscapes in awe.

That night she didn’t leave my apartment.


“I take it that your sabbatical’s over.”

Big D nodded, seeming especially grim.

It was Thursday again and I was sitting in the coffee shop with Death for what I had decided would be the last time. There was no iced mocha in my hands and some skinny, red-haired boy was waiting tables.

“I guess I should have expected it,” I said, “I’ve read enough to know how it happens: just like that.”

“I never completely stopped working, it would have been hell coming back with it all piling up.”

An image of stacked corpses, like in holocaust pictures, invaded my mind.

“Anyway,” I said, brushing the thought away, “I can’t keep up this partnership. It’s personal, now.”

Death nodded his skull. “I expected this.”

Larissa had not awakened after spending the night at my apartment. Death had taken her in her sleep, for reasons unknown to me. I didn’t want to read what words he would write about her. I told myself that I probably shouldn’t be angry with him but I was furious anyway, and hurt. After reading all of his stories I knew that the scythe had to be a heavy burden to bear. But it was his duty, I knew. “I want out, you’ll have find someone else.” I stood and started to leave.

“Actually, I have a proposition for you. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.”

I turned and looked at him, puzzled.

“You are aware that I have become somewhat listless, perhaps unreliable or sporadic, in my duties.”

No kidding.

“When mortals die it’s obvious that they cross over to a different place, you know that. Sometimes I can visit them. That’s how I learned to write and to paint.”

"Yeah, so?" I was still pissed, but curious, too.

“In reality, Cory, your time was up months ago. You see, I first visited you a few days before I was supposed to reap you. Do you remember when you could first see the images in my paintings?”

"Yes, look..." I started.

“You were supposed to die that day. Instead, I broke the rules and recruited you as my representative. Larissa was to be taken the day before she stayed in your apartment. That is why she could see the images in my paintings. I altered circumstances for you. Twice. Your time was up but you continued on because I allowed you to. The only reason either of you could see the images in my paintings was because you were already, technically, dead. You simply hadn’t left your bodies yet.”

Completely at a loss, I gaped, trying to put my feelings into words; trying to figure out just how I felt. "Why are you telling me this?"

"I thought you should know," he replied. “If I hadn’t done what I did, the two of you would never have met."

I glanced at the scythe, resting against the wall. I could only come up with one question. “How was she supposed to go?”

“Car accident,” he said casually. “All of her relatives are out of town and, like you, she didn’t have much in the way of friends. She would have died alone, with only busy hospital orderlies nearby. Instead, she passed on painlessly in her sleep without so much as a nightmare. And all the while you were there, holding her in your sleep.”

Death giveth, and Death taketh way. I sat back down and stared at the table. "So, what now, then?"

“Now that you know how things could have gone, perhaps my offer will be more interesting to you. I have grown tired of the scythe, so I am offering you the job. It has occurred before, you see. A single soul can’t handle the burden of being the reaper for all of eternity. I myself am not even among the first hundred. I think you are more than qualified to be my replacement. You take over the job and I gain another chance at life until my time’s up. Meanwhile, you are free to visit Larissa, or any other amongst the deceased. That’s one of the perks.”

“How will I find her? How do I know who to take, when to do it, and where they are?”

“The scythe imparts the knowledge upon its owner,” he said, “It’s actually fairly simple, most deaths occur without you needing to be there. Just show up for the ones the scythe tells you; keep the ball rolling.”

“How long do I have to do it?”

“Until you get tired of it and find an appropriate replacement. After that, you can live again for a while, even though you should have died weeks ago. It’s part of the bargain – probably meant to re-humanize you or something. Eventually, though, you’ll die and pass on to the next world, too. I’ll be there by then, and so will Larissa.”

I felt like a toy played with and cast away, but I nodded anyway. Now that I understood the nature of Death’s game it’d be hard to continue life as usual. And I could see Larissa again. Even at the cost of my life, it was a bargain Death offered.

“So, what do I do?” I asked.

He held out the scythe to me and I grasped it. I felt the smooth, worn wood of the handle for a split-second before I felt the quick, searing pain of my flesh being torn from my bones and transplanted onto him. And then I felt absolutely nothing - the sensuality of nada.

“Ah, to be human again!” Big D/Cory said, smiling with what used to be my lips. He sucked down the remainder of his cafe latte and made a face. “You know, I’ve never been able to taste these. I don’t think coffee's for me.”

I shrugged a skeletal shoulder, uninteresed.

"Well, I hope I don't see you for a while," he said with what used to be my voice.

"Yes, have a nice life, Cory." I said, heading for the door. After I met with Larissa there was much work to be done and I'd have to freshen up on my writing skills: I had a story in mind that was simply dying to be told.


2006-09-26, 11:01 PM
Reflection of My Father
I never knew my father; it’s likely I never will. He left before I was born.

I can only assume he’s in prison – it seems to fit with what I know of him. He didn’t leave me much of a legacy to trace – no footsteps of family to question. He just skipped town when he found out what he’d done; left my mother to bear a swelling burden alone. Still, when I look in the mirror, I wonder what features he’s passed on to me. I imagine him the only way I know how – behind the visitation glass at some prison.

My mother hated it when I grew my ponytail. Looking at the man on the other side of the glass, I can see why. My father bears the same ponytail. Its blonde has somewhat turned to gray. His hair is pulled back tight against his scalp, pulled into a ponytail that drapes down over his shoulder, white-gray against the orange jumpsuit. His shoulders are broad – more so than mine. I was always a slight child and I’ve grown into a slight adult. My shirts never fit right. I’ve got too-narrow shoulders and too-long arms – my father fills his shirt, the breadth of his shoulders match the length of his arms.

His forearms are tattooed, the confederate flag and a serpent of thirteen parts on his left. It strikes me odd to consider him a patriot – even if it’s a patriot of revolutions, successful or not. I remember growing up watching The Dukes, that orange car with the red, white, and blue flag. That car is now etched into the flesh of my father’s right forearm. Why would someone get a tattoo of a car from an ‘80’s sitcom? But my imagination tells me it must be true.

In my reverie I skip back up to his face; his grayish-blonde beard doesn’t grow quite right, places on his face where hair simply won’t grow. I’ve got a few patches like that myself, a courtesy of his genes – a thin line on either side of my chin that stays smooth and never gets stubble-rough.

His eyes are hazel, just like mine. His irises dark spots in the white and pink of his eyes, bits of green and brown dotted and swirled together like a poorly kept lawn. In my mind’s eye, the eyes are watery and bloodshot. Is it because of this, our first father-son moment? Or is it because of some narcotic he managed to score behind the bars and glass? I don’t know, and I can’t figure out, why.

The wrinkles on his forehead look like years-faint remnants of stitches-scars. They run parallel to each other but, occasionally, one breaks the trend and heads upwards, cutting across and through the others. I raise my eyebrows; creating ridges across my brow, deepening the trenches that I imagine are wrinkles on my father’s forehead. In the mirror, I trace the wrinkles through the reflection of my own face.

But the cold feel of the glass brings me out of my daydream, dispels my father and brings me back solely to my reflection in the mirror. And it’s just as well – he didn’t care enough to wait and find out who I would be, who I now am. Why shouldn’t I also abandon him?

Tracing the glass at the edge of the mirror, I let my hand fall away from it. My fingers smudge the glass.

2006-09-27, 02:03 PM
Looking for an Angel

“How wonderful life is”
And “Love is a many splendid thing”
Are just a small selection,
Of the songs we would sing,
With a face from the heavens,
And a complexion like snow,
The purest creation,
I shall ever know,
She would be my angel,
One of God’s greatest creations,
My one and my only,
The centre of my affections,
My stars and my heavens,
My sun and my moon,
But first I must find her,
And that can’t come too soon,
I don’t have much money,
I’m not the best looking man,
But she’ll be my angel,
And I won’t give a damn,
I’ll run round the Earth,
Over mountain and sea,
If it will bring my angel,
Any closer to me,
I’ll beg to the Lord,
That he’ll answer my prayer,
By my angel’s side no matter what,
I want to be there,
I’ll laugh with the good,
And I’ll cry with the bad,
I’ll celebrate the successes,
I’ll comfort her when she’s sad,
But first I must find her,
She’s out beyond my sight,
But through the blinding darkness,
She’ll be my guiding light,
But perhaps she’s closer than I think,
Sitting beside me,
But how can I be certain,
I’m willing to wait and see,
So wait for me my angel,
And whatever you may do,
Never leave me angel,
Because I love you.