Vir's Archive

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Precipice Part 8: Bad News Travels Fast

Jarious walked downstairs from his room into the common area of the inn.  The tables were barely filled, and only by the most die-hard drunks.  The room stank of stale beer and sweat, the two scents competing with each other to be just offensive enough to force the patrons to another establishment.  The room was dark, even though it was mid-day.  The restaurant of the inn seemed to thrive in the long shadows that dominated the edges and corer spaces – a perfect environment for those who didn’t want to be seen, identified, or forced to deal with the real world.

All in all, it was the perfect environment for the wolfling unit to relax. 

Torrain sat at a table on his own, three wooden cups that had once been filled with some horrid alcohol were each haphazardly on their sides on the table, like fallen chess pieces.  Torrain slumped in the chair, eyes closed and feet propped against a pushed-over chair.  While Torrain looked like he had retreated into a drunken stupor, Jarious knew better.  Torrain was a predator, and he was always aware of his environment – threats and prey alike.

Jarious stopped at the chair that held Torrain’s feet.  He unceremoniously pushed Torrain’s feet off and in one smooth motion, sat the chair back up and took a seat.  By the time Torrain had opened his eyes and sat straighter, Jarious was already leaning back into his seat.

“What gives?” Torrain moaned.

Jarious looked over to Fovreh and Morrow, who were sitting at a nearby table.  They both stood up and walked over to Torrain.  Fovreh sat down across the way from Jarious.  Morrow, who remained standing, squared up just behind Torrain.  Neither of them said anything. 

Torrain jerked his head to the left and then right, looking at Fovreh and Jarious with increasing alarm.  “Really, guys, what gives?”

“Karsh is dead.”  Jarious had run through this scenario more than two dozen times, trying to conjure of the right words to lessen the emotional blow to Torrain and, hopefully, keep him calm as he digested the reality that his friend… their friend… was gone for good. 

Jarious put the bloodstained dagger that Arrious had used to pierce Karsh’s heart on the table with a loud thud.  Torrain’s eye went wide with recognition. 

Jarious stared hard at Torrain.  “Arrious did me a great service.  My soul is stained and my sense of duty is battered.  Karsh was a good friend and great sword.  I’m… I’m sorry Torrain.  It had to be done.”    
Torrain’s jaw clinched.  His eyes unfocused.  He grabbed the edges of the table and shoved himself up violently, pushing his chair backwards. 

The chair stopped sliding when it came to a stop against Morrow.  Morrow’s hands came down like 20-pound weights on Torrain’s shoulders, pushing him down and unceremoniously back onto the edge of his chair.  Torrain was tough and strong like a willow tree, but the shaman was an oak – and in this case, the oak had the initiative.  Torrain wasn’t going to get back up. 

Torrain didn’t hesitate.  His right hand, the dominant hand, leaped like a hunting cat as he tried for the crimson-stained dagger that rested on the table in front of him.  Fovreh was ready.  Halfway through the motion Forvreh’s left hand grabbed Torrain’s and stopped the hand a few centimeters before it got to the dagger’s hilt by using Torrain’s momentum to slam his hand on to the table.  Fovreh pushed the dagger out of Torrain’s reach with his free hand.  Jarious had already grabbed Torrain’s left forearm and pinned it to the armrest.  Torrain kicked like a temperamental toddler, but succeeded only in upending the table and adding to the mess other patrons had made earlier.  His legs continued to flail as he tried to dislodge himself from the grip of Morrow, Fovreh and Jarious, but there simply was too much weight against him.  Torrain snarled like a feral cat at Jarious. 

After a few seconds of futile physical protests, Torrain finally calmed down.  Jarious kept his face zen-like calm, showing Torrain that his outburst hadn’t had any effect on his commander. 

“You done?” Jarious asked.

Torrain breathed heavily through his nose.  Jarious could see Torrain grinding his teeth and thinking about his next move.  Through a furled brow, Torrain met Jarious’ stare.

“No, but it don’t look like I got a choice.” Torrain spat on the table.

“You need to calm down.  Get ahold of yourself.  Take a deep breath.”  Jarious waited.

Heartbeats later, Torrain took Jarious’ advice and took a single deep breath through his mouth.  Torrain’s head slowly moved backwards until he was staring up at the ceiling.

“Tyrant’s balls, why?  WHY?!?”  Torrain let the emotion he was fighting slip through his voice.  There were no tears, but there was no doubt he was in pain and crying.  Torrain made anguished sounds from deep in his chest. 

“Arrious did the rite.  Mother blessed the bed.  I made the chant.”  Jarious paused to make sure Torrain was listening.  Torrain needed to listen and not just hear. 

Fovreh interjected, “It was as he wanted; legal and conducted according to the old Car’had ritual.”
Torrain’s head rolled to the right so that he could look at Fovreh.  Jarious immediately tensed up, and gripped Torrain’s left forearm a bit tighter, allowing his fingernails to dig into Torrain’s skin.  It was a subtle warning to Torrain.  Fovreh and Torrain’s relationship had never been the greatest.  Torrain was a simple man, mostly uneducated.  Fovreh was highly educated due to the forced catechism of his former Elvish masters.  The only thing to two could agree on was their respect for Karsh and their wantonly love of destroying all things Imperial. 

“You weren’t there either, were you?” Torrain accused.

“No, I was not.  Jarious told me about the event just a small time ago.  It pains me, but he did the right thing.  He even passed the responsibility to Arrious.”  Fovreh looked down his nose at Jarious.  “It was a fool thing to do, the responsibility for the poisoned arrow was on no one but the Thrall who shot Karshik…”

“But it was the right thing if Jarious felt it was his failing.”  Fovreh looked down at the table, “Jarious did right by our sword-mate and the Company’s rituals.  In fact, he did more than right.”

“True?” Torrain swiveled his had lethargically to look at Jarious.

“Yes.”  Jarious couldn’t meet Torrain’s eyes, and took a gamble by releasing his grip on Torrain.  Torrain didn’t react to his suddenly free arm.  Seeing that Torrain wasn’t going to be a danger to himself or others, Jarious stood up to get some physical and metaphorical space between him and his men. 

“Karsh’s spirit dagger is yours, Torrain.  Don’t dishonor him or Arrious by doing something stupid with it.”  Jarious turned to go back to his room.   Morrow released his vice-like grip on Torrain’s shoulders.  Fovreh did the same.  Torrain slumped further into his chair. 

The time for Jarious to mourn was over, but his unit of wolflings still needed to deal with the death of their friend, and they needed to do so with each other.  Mourning was healthy, but allowing it to fester and become grief was not.  Boundaries needed to be set, and focus reapplied.  Without looking at his men, Jarious set the boundaries for their sorrow, “We meet here tomorrow, same time.  There is planning to do.” 

Before leaving the room, Jarious put a small purse of coins on the bar to capture the barkeep’s attention.  Jarious pointed behind him with his thumb, “Those three drink until they pass out.” 

He then walked away.   There was planning to do.  Blood for blood.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Precipice Posting Schedule

Sundays are the day I normally post a new proto-chapter for comments and criticism.

Thursdays I usually post my reflections on the previous post.

Irregularly I post some art or extraneous thoughts about the development of the Ecumene World.

Reflections on Pt 7

I am going to break my posting schedule.  Apologies.  I haven't written much this week - I was out of town for most of it in a hotel you have to pay for internet in your room.  I could charge that to the government, but it seemed like a waste.  So, no laptop and no internet through much of the week - which meant some sketching and event diagramming on paper -- but no writing.

That said, I need to talk about Part Seven before I go on.  So, bottom like up front -- I will post another chapter later this week.

Droppin' Wisdom
Okay, Part 7.  I consider this a bit of a watershed moment for Precipice,  I have been waiting and waiting to get to post this chapter.  There is a lot of me in that chapter.  Frankly, I have seen a lot of death in my life.  Not the type of violent death too many soldiers or servicemen must see - but the "run of the mill" death of a loved one.  I tried to put a lot of those emotions and thoughts into Karsh's death.

Now, truth be told, there is another half to that chapter in my noted -- about 1k extra words that go into the ritual that kills Karsh.  It was a great section, with lots of background intertwined with the ritual itself.  It needs some editing (probably more than usual) - but its there.

This blog will likely never see those words posted.
Why?  Because in an effort to keep away from a wall of text I found a convenient part of Part 7 and cut it off there.  I figured I would post the second half of Part 7 this week.

The problem?  Now that I look at it, I think Part 7 works a lot better without the details the second part would have included.  The moment where Jarious puts the kill-dagger into Arrious' hands?  Yeah, that works as a great ending.  It tells the reader almost everything they need to know.  Its a powerful moment for everyone involved, and if the chapter continued I think it takes away from the gravity of that moment.

So, no.  No second part.

The tricky thing for me is the world-building I wove into that part.  I don't want to discard it outright (its some hints about the Gods -- finally).  So, I am starting to (re)work the important sections from the part of the chapter I didn't post into other chapters.  I am also thinking about trying to do a flashback later -- thats a pretty advanced technique and difficult to pull off correctly -- which is exactly why I am doing this.

So, stay tuned.

And again, for those of you sending me feedback -- thanks so much.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Precipice Part 7: Good Friends

Jarious stood near the foot of the bed, arms crossed in front of his chest.  His chin angled down, pulled by the frown that dominated his face.  His eyes focused into the distance, towards his compatriot Karshik who rested in the bed, but not really at the Mongrel.  Jarious slowly chewed on his bottom lip, helping him concentrate through the little nervous habit, but also because the sharp pains gave him momentary distractions. 

Arrious sat next to Karsh, in a wooden chair that he balanced on its back legs as he rocked back and forth.  Arrious was in the throes of his own nervous ticks – he held his hands together and his thumbs rubbed at the other fingers and nearby skin.  Arrious’ head hung low, forcing him to stare at the floor.

Karsh laid on the bed, a ghost of his former self.  He was once the bruiser of the group, a huge monstrous Mongrel and physically dominated any room he walked into.  His personality was just as large and combative as his body.  He was big, vibrant, and quick to anger.


The Karsh on the bed in front of them was different.  His eyes were sunk deep into his skull and ringed by moats of discolored skin.  His flesh was taut against his bones and flabby elsewhere.  His olive-green complexion was ashen.  The coarse hair that dominated his arms and back had fallen out leaving him balding in unsightly patches.  He moved slowly.  He breathed deliberately.  He blinked consciously. 

There was no doubt that Karsh was dying. 

Neither of the brothers could look the Mongrel in the eye.

Karsh refused to let them off easy.  “The bar fight with Torrain and Morrow.  You ah-member that?  Was a good time.  Killed a dorf, yes?”

Arrious looked up slowly.  “Yeah.  Yes you did.  We still can’t step foot in the Pony because of that night.  Jarious tried to stop you.  You punched him in the gut.”

Karsh rolled his head towards Jarious.  Jarious refocused his eyes to look at Karsh and smiled mirthlessly but said nothing. 

“How does it feel?” Arrious asked slowly.  Jarious twitched.

“Not good,” Karsh said in his slow drawl.   “Weak.  Tired.  Yours mother is good to me.  Her is patient.  Her is kind, but her can’t stop the sick.  The sick is too deep.”  Karsh stopped and took a few very slow and thoughtful breaths.  “I miss mine axe.  How was the run?  You kill Elf again, boss?”

“No,” Jarious said.  Moments uncomfortably ticked away.  “We got a few thralls, though.  Liberated a bunch of humans.  Stole a lot of goodies from Villandalaril.  It was a good run.

“No one was hurt.”  Jarious broke eye contact with Karsh and looked at the landscape painting over the headboard. 

“Was one small arrow.  Small poison, too.”  Karsh tried to console the brothers.  “Makes sense.  Theys can’t kill me with swords and axes.  Arrows?” He chuckled.  “Arrows are for Arrious.  For small ones.  They no stop me.  But poison?  Poison like magic.  It works without seeing it.  It works inside me.  Elves cheat to kill me.”

“Yeah,” Arrious squinted as he pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed.

Tangean, the brothers’ mother and owner of the house, walked in.  She carried a small towel, a cup of water, and a dirty piece of paper.  She acknowledged the boys with a simple nod, having already shared long hugs when they first arrived and out of sight from Karsh.  It was then Tangean told Jarious and Arrious of Karsh’s terminally deteriorating condition.  They all were playing at being strong for the skeletal Orman Mongrel.  They were all stalling for time. 

She handed Karsh the towel, which he unwrapped carefully.  Inside was a charcoal pencil.  Karsh grinned comfortably.  He took the paper and began to frantically color large sections, clearly continuing a process he had begun earlier.

“Karsh have no babies.  Family is a bunch of ugly humans and a stuntie.  Karsh want to leave you all something.  You ah-member.  Okay?”

Arrious, stone faced, nodded.  “Yes, Karsh.  How about we give it to Torrain for safekeeping?

“Good idea.”  Karsh stopped coloring and leaned back into his pillows, exhausted.  “Is done.”  Tangean took the pencil and helped prop him up so that he could drink the water comfortably and with dignity in front of his friends cum family.  When Karsh made a small gesture with his right hand, Tangean gently allowed Karsh to rest on his back. 

Arrious reached out and gently took Karsh’s hand.  Karsh, who normally hated being touched, did not resist.  The brother then leaned forward, placed his elbows on the bed-side and held Karsh’s hands with both of his.  Neither said anything.  Neither looked at the other. 

Arrious looked over to Jarious, who walked over to Karsh and took the paper.  Jarious held the paper reverently as if it would deteriorate in his hands.  He forced a smile to Karsh and began to carefully roll the paper up doing his best to not smudge the black dust.  Karsh leaned back after sipping the water and let out a long sigh which trailed off into uncomfortable-sounding gurgling.  Karsh, too tired to cough out whatever fluid had collected in his throat or lungs, just patiently let his breathing gradually open up his airway. 

“You ah-member.  Okay?”  Wheezing.  “You ah-member me and what I do.  For your people.  For mine.  For Grawfn people.  We did good. Yes?”

“Yes.”  Arrious’ forearms tensed, but did not put any pressure on Karsh’s bony fingers.  “We saved many lives.  They live free now because of you.” 

“You tell Torrain not be sad.  Okay?”

“Of course.” Arrious responded flatly.

Karsh paused.  “Torrain come?”

“You want him to?” Jarious asked.

“No.  No think so.”

Jarious smiled out of the side of his mouth.  “Probably for the best.”

It was time.  No more delays.

Jarious looked at his mother, who met his gaze.  Without comment, Tangean took a candle and lighted some nearby incense sticks.  She walked over to the bed and waved the smoldering sticks over Karsh, covering the bed in the sickly-sweet scent of incense.

Arrious stood up and took a step back.  He looked at Jarious who was making his way to the bedside.  Next to the bed Karsh coughed, struggling with the thick, smoky air.  Jarious stood motionless for a few moments, and then untied the flap that secured the dagger on his belt.  The weight of the dagger was significant.  He willed his arms to move.  He could feel his emotions in turmoil.  His stomach roiled. 
He pushed his thoughts and feelings away, into the deep recesses of his mind.  He acted on instinct, relying on route maneuver to guide his hands. 

He held the dagger out to Arrious.  Jarious stared at his brother.

Arrious looked into Jarious’ unfeeling eyes, then down to the dagger.  He looked back at Jarious, and held up his hands defensively, waving them back and forth.

“No Jarious.  Not me.”

“Yes, you.” Jarious responded before Arrious could utter a further objection.  “It will be you.” 
Arrious shook his head rapidly back and forth.  

“This is not for me this time, Arrious.  The old laws forbid it.”  Jarious reached out and took Arrious’ right hand in his own.  Arrious did not resist and allowed the hilt of the dagger to be placed in his opened palm.

“Do Karsh this honor.” Jarious said.  He closed Arrious’ hand around the dagger.

“Honor,” Karsh responded in one labored breath.  He looked at Arrious with desperation in his eyes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Morrow Final

Can Eric Quiqley beat the shit out of an e-illo?

Yes. Yes he can.  Testify:  

Thats Morrow, being all noble savage and stuff.  He's a badass.

You are welcome, Aileen.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reflections on Pts 1 - 6


Okay, a couple interesting things have been happening with Precipice.  One, Part Six's readership exploded (well, for varying values of "exploded").  A proto-chapter usually gets about 10 discreet viewers over the week it is posted -- with a much higher number of viewers who look at the blog's entry portal (who aren't always captured in the discreet value).  For Part Six, that number started high (within the first few hours it shot up to six discreet viewers - which is good for this little blog) and kept going up.  We are now past 20 viewers for Part Six, and overall viewership of the blog rocketed past 75 for yesterday alone.  Thats a LOT of viewers for my dark corner of the Internet.

Thing is... I don't know why it went up so dramatically.  I like what I saw, but don't know the causality.  Looking at the number of views per hour, there was one visitor that made 30 views of the blog (likely checking in on various posts), but that accounts for less than 50% of the viewership yesterday.  Better yet, it looks like a lot of those viewers came from Google searches.  So, maybe something in Part Six got picked up by Google's search process and dumped people here?  Perhaps.  Whatever the reason, it certainly felt good seeing the viewership go up like that.

[[If you are one of those lost souls that got dumped here by Google, Welcome!]]

I've been holding off broadcasting my work (on Facebook and forums I frequent) until after Part Eight -- which is an arbitrary number I have in my head as a good benchmark for new readers to be introduced to the story.  Eight parts means there is a good backlog of fiction to work through, but not so much it is intimidating.

If you are reading Precipice, and you are enjoying it, please encourage a friend to start reading.  I am posting my work here so I can keep getting feedback.  The more readers/feedback I get, the more I am energized to push out wordcount.

Feedback - Good or Bad

On feedback, things are pretty good, but I need more.  I have a couple of regular readers who are letting me know if they like like the way things are going.  This is great.  If this includes you, please know that you have my gratitude.  Even the couple of notes I have received which have been very critical are invaluable for me when I got back and revise my work.  Knowing people hate something is actually more useful at this point than if they like something.  Like it or hate it, please let me know.


...and building on the feedback note, I should underscore that the master document I am working on is increasingly different than what you have read so far.  Thats a good thing.  Feedback on Part One and Three has been particularly useful and forced me to re-evaluate a number of my writing tendencies.  This is a list of things I have done or need to do:

- Improved the distinctiveness of the speech patterns of the characters.  So, when Jarious or Torrain or whoever speaks, it is easier to identify who they are.

- Added a bit more color description, especially focusing on non-visual cues.  Sound and smell is what I have really been working on.

- Beefed up some of Tangean's thoughts in relation to her family.

- Improved some of the physical descriptions of the characters.

- I am looking to revisit the opening torture scene to make it more tense.

- I am also exploring my presentation of time -- I have now had two people tell me that the time jumps between chapters is difficult to keep up with.

As you read on and new proto-chapters are posted, hopefully you will see a bit of refinement of my writing.  The above points have all been inserted into the master document as well as influenced all future posts.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Precipice Part 6: To Kill a Thief

Jarious saw a small crowd in the middle of the street gathered in a loose circle.  He was sure Torrain was the center of that circle.

Indeed, he was.

Torrain was in a combat stance; legs bent and fists held forward near his head like a pugilist.  In each hand were his fighting daggers.  Torrain’s left hand, the one closest to the thief, held the dagger outward, with the blade closest to the pinkie finger.  In his right hand he held the dagger with the blade close to the thumb.  
Jarious knew that Torrain had maneuvered his hands and the daggers so that both points naturally gravitated towards the thief.  Torrain’s stance wasn’t his preferred one, though.  The daggers were in his hands to press an attack, while he normally started a fight defensively until he could gauge the skill of his opponent.   Clearly, Torrain was on the offensive and the fight had already seen a number of swings. 

The thief was armed with a short sword that had been sheathed on his back as he ran.  The thief inched backwards, keeping Torrain at sword point and, from the thief’s perspective, safely away from Torrain’s smaller daggers. 

The thief underestimated Torrain’s speed and agility.  

As Jarious quickly closed the gap between him and the fight, Torrain pressed the attack.  He dodged left, away from the sword and then pushed his right hand forward, getting within and beyond the sword’s natural arc.  Closer to his prey, Torrain instinctively followed the thief’s feint backwards with the daggers. 
Torrain was faster.  He now held the initiative.  He pressed his advantage. 

Torrain used the natural motion of his arm and gravity to carry the dagger in his left hand forward, and then away from his body in a long slashing motion that his opponent couldn’t avoid.  The dagger made contact, slicing into the skin and further unbalancing the thief.  The thief made a noise somewhere between a yell and a grunt.  Torrain recovered from his attack and closed quickly, getting within the thief’s natural arm extension to make it difficult for anything but small and awkward thrusting attacks against Torrain.

Jarious arrived at the fight but held off entering the fray, concerned his introduction to the combat would distract Torrain.  Instead, Jarious drew a long woodsman’s knife and held it at the ready, prepared to intervene should Torrain make a mistake or the battle turn against him. 

A flurry of obscured arm movements told Jarious that Torrain was in complete control as he repeatedly stabbed the thief.  Pressure, momentum and pain drove the thief to his knees, his arms up by his face to fend off attacks that were no longer coming.  Torrain stepped backwards and adopted a balanced, defensive stance.  The thief, defeated and bleeding out and still on his knees, lurched forward.  He caught himself on board-straight arms, using his rapidly diminishing strength to hold himself up.  He was coughing blood onto the street in coin-sized globs.

Torrain kicked the arms out from under the thief.  The dying man collapsed face first onto the street.


The woman caught up to Torrain and Jarious as they stood over the body of the thief.  Both men caught their breath and looked around at the crowd that had gathered to watch the fight.  The crowd was large and growing.  Torrain kicked the body and got no response.  He leaned over to pick up the stolen bag.

“This is yours.”  Torrain reached out to hand the bag off without looking at the woman, trusting she would grab the bag without him having to move.  He concentrated on the body, making sure the man was well and truly dead. 

The woman stared for the briefest of seconds at Torrain, her breath held for a heartbeat longer, her eyes just a little wider than normal.  Quietly she muttered, a single word, “serendipity.”

She took the bag and checked its contents.

The woman, now only a few steps away from Torrain, reached out and tried to touch his face.  He flinched backwards and took a step away before she could touch him.  Before he turned away, the woman began to speak.

“So many thanks upon you.  That man… that man took, and killed.  He took what was not his.  These are very sentimental and valuable to our family.  They could not have been replaced.  You did us a great service, Torrain.”

Torrain caught his breath and stood a bit straighter.

“You know my name?” He studied the woman, but clearly couldn’t place her from any of his memories.  She was older than him, probably in her thirties.  Her blue eyes dominated her features, making everything else bland by comparison.  She was dressed simply, long sleeves and skirt.  On her blouse was an intricate design of a sword with a rose intertwined together.  Jarious quite liked the design – elegant and forceful. 

“Yes, I know your name.  Many of us do.  It’s serendipity.  You are Torrain, of the Car’had Hadad.  Shield of the folk, are you not?” Her voice was both wistful and deep.  She clutched the bag in front of her, but focused on Torrain and, with sidelong glances, on Jarious as well.

“I am.  Uh, we are,” he acknowledged.  “If you know so much, how about you buy me a beer?” Torrain winked.

The woman was nonplussed.  “That’s not for me to do.”  She looked down at the bag in her hand. “Here, take this as a token of gratitude from our family, she dug into the bag and held out a fist-sized piece of metal. 

Torrain took the metal and looked it front to back.  “It’s light.  Really light.  What do you think Jarious, Elven?”  He held up the metal.  While it was clearly a broken shard of a larger piece, it was beautiful it its simplicity, silver with a tinge of blue or gold depending on how the sunlight hit it.  When it had the gold hue, Jarious’ sharp eyes could see intricate elven lettering etched along one edge. 

“Yeah, it’s Elven-wrought.  No doubt.  Arrious could probably identify the base metals.”  Jarious admired the piece.  “I bet it would command a nice price on the market.”

The woman looked horrified at Jarious’ last statement.  “No.  Breath of the Mystery,” she cursed.  “No, you can’t do that.  This is precious to our family.  I give this to you as a thank-you.  There are more, but this one is yours on the condition that you promise to keep it -- to do something suitably noble with it.”

Torrain snorted and flashed a derisive smile, “’Noble?’ Really?  You clearly don’t know me very well.” 

The woman stared at him before responding.  “Yes.”  He voice trailed away melodically. 

With the situation getting more awkward by the second, Jarious interjected.  “I’ll make sure Torrain does something with it that your family would consider appropriate.  Use it in a weapon or a crest or somesuch.  Okay?”

“Yes.  I know you will.”  There was no hint of doubt in her voice.  She continued to look at Torrain, making sure he knew her words were meant for him.  When Torrain lost his nerve and finally looked away, she turned to Jarious.

“It’s our family.  It’s sacred to our family.”

“Okay.  Yes.  I understand.”  He didn’t.

She nodded her approval.

The crowd, which had been quiescent while the gathered people took in the events of the last few minutes, was steadily talking louder and louder amongst themselves.  Increasingly, men and women were pointing to Torrain, the woman, and the body.  Jarious could hear worrying words being bandied about, words like “danger,”  “outsider,” and “murder.”  The crowd was quickly turning against them. 

“Time to go, Torrain.”  He grabbed Torrain by the arm and pulled him away from the woman and the body.  “The guard will be here soon, I don’t want to deal with them.  Lady?  Happy to help and we are grateful for the payment.  You know his name so the best thing you could do to pay us back is pretend you don’t know who he… we… are.  Will you do that for us?”

“Of course I will.  You are the blood of the Car’had Hadad.  You protect the folk.  It is on my honor I do no less for you,” her voice had a distant and distracted that made Jarious even more nervous.  She kneeled down next to the body of the thief and gently closed his eyes.  She began to rock back and forth and quietly chant a funeral poem over the deceased thief as the two wolflings hastily retreated back the way they arrived. 

Jarious and Torrain double-timed it down the road towards the Red Banner Inn their footsteps kicked up dust and dirt as they navigated the city’s residents.  It was a careful balance – not too fast to draw unnecessary attention and not too slow to allow anything but a concerted look recognize them.

On the way to the inn, Jarious slowed their escape and grabbed Torrain’s attention.  “Did you know that lady?  What about her name?”

Torrain didn’t answer and just shook his head in the negative.  He gripped the bag with the shard tightly as they walked on.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wootable: 15,000 Words!

Thats a snazzy table.  
I got home from a work thing (you may have seen it in the news) and to detox, decided to do some cleanup on to-be posted proto-chapters.  Thats when I discovered I have pushed past 15,0000 words.  Thats a big deal for me -- who has a bad tendency to start a project and not finish.  I find myself looking forward to writing every night, even when I am exhausted.  Right now, the only thing keeping me from doing 1,000 words (at least) per night is the occasional work-trip or official dinner.

There are stacks of books I want to read, and a not-insignificant list of games I want to play (video, rpg, and board) -- but I find myself each night using my time to write about the exploits of Jarious and his buddies.

The best part is that I still have a lot I want to write about -- the plot is (mostly) formed in my head, and I am always thinking two or three chapters ahead.  That means I still have a lot of story to tell - and 15k isn't an end, its very much a beginning.  I hope.

C'mon, Chris.  Don't screw this up.

Still a lot of work to do...