Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Our Christmas was busy and interesting, with some family drama in a family that usually has no drama at all. Overall it was good, and overall I'm happy. Strangely enough, I'm happy its over with as well and looking forward to using the dull drum months of winter to good effect towards project work. I'm fairly excited to see what the new year brings.

It's a new Century you know, whatever that means for you (it actually means nothing, but sometimes just the thought that it should is enough to inspire people) and I, for one, am excited.

Some of it is personal, like the prospect of being able to move into a larger dwelling which will allow me a proper office, something I've never really had. My current workspace is in a small area between our kitchen and our living room, where I have to turn my music down and be interupted by things on TV if my wife is home.

My bold vison for an office sees a loft above the house with desks for working and shelves for comics and books and enough space to properly display my vast collection of Mechwarrior minatures as well as a work bench for painting Warmachine minatures (something I've always wanted to try). Also a proper gaming machine to replace my aging six your old tower. It has heating problems. This is my dream, I'm not sure if it will be realized, but I'm straining to make it so.

For writing projects, I really feel as if I have a solid editing method now, an editing method that I've been applying to Mynfield Mysteries and seems to be working. I plan on also applying this method to One Thousand One, a process that I've already begun.

I achieved my Nano goals, something I'm pretty proud of. Unfortunately it wasn't until the end of the month that I looked back and saw how much of the story was actually usable. I might say half, but that could be very generous. The good, amazing, thing is that I have a much better understanding of the story now and the editing process will proceed nicely with that in mind. Unfortunately some of the chapters need to be re-written completely, but I'm ok with that. Some chapters need to be deleted since they don't progress the story in any measurable way. I'll get through it. My goal is to have a full second draft that has continuity by the end of the year. With what I already have, I think that is very doable. I understand it will be alot of work.

Mynfield Mysteries is progressing nicely as well, and since the story is simpler, I think it's actually turning out better than One Thousand One. So far anyway.

Anyway, that's project news and life news. I'll get back to my 1 or 2 chapter of Mynfield Mystery posting's a month pretty soon. I just need to figure out where I left off.

Have a safe and Enjoyable New Years!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I understand the nature of Halloween, it's origins and how they run contrary to Christian faith. But, like most holidays, I feel it's been degraded to a point of comerciallization that I don't think spending 20$ and putting together an interesting costume once a year means anything. How else would my wife put up with me creating authentic Samuarai armor out of cardboard? (last year's masterpiece) Or this year my mummy costume? I hope that by the time I die I'll have a venerable stable of costumes to dress in and that they'll be improved upon by future generations and worn for years. Next year I want to make a verion of my armor that allows me to sit. Not sure if real samurai had that problem, but metal has alot less give than cardboard so I have to imagine so.

November is upon me, so I must put a temporary stop on all things Mynfield and Mysterious. My good internet friend Bekah has asked that I revisit my first Nano story, and I am planning on complying. Thus 1001 will get the rewrite it so richly deserves. I'm a more mature writer with a much more mature story idea this time around filled with a desire to complete this project at least to its first installment. I think it will go well.

I know it has been a while since I last posted, but my hands have not been idle, I assure you. Chapter four is finished and most of chapter five. I've done extensive editing to a few previous chapters in order to bring everything more in line with how I want the finsihed story to read and went back and did some world building so that I have few continuity problems. Reading through a discworld artbook, Terry Prachette talked about having teh same problem with his city, Ank-morpork.

In the first few books the city was a city, a blob in the imagination that was used to hold events that happened and give venue for plot. As his stories progressed the city became more and more fleshed out until actual minatures of the city could be created down to how many steps it would take (or minutes) for a character to travel from one location to the next. I'm not that far along yet, but it is good practice that if Adder Street crosses Python Street at some point, it should always do so and the historic Statue at that juncture should stay static and not drift listlessly.

I'm posting chapter 4 now, because I'm happy with it and have chapter 5 in the pipe for the end of November. I won't be posting much 1001, unless it is requested.

Wish me luck in the 50K marathon, I have a good outline, I'm fairly sure I will succeed given a good start and some inspiration. Until then

John, the Writer.

Chapter four

All in all the day had so far went ok. There was a prospect of iminent death, to be sure, and the day had already held the means for an early demise, but any day where death is cheated was counted as a good day in the books of Jonas Mynfield. He also felt much wealthier, having the bars in his vault, coins from betting on himself and a small amount coming from Juris labs. Jonas frowned as he made his way back to his offices; that was the small dark spot on the day. He had met briefly with the men on the ship after they had sufficently contained their monster, and they had been less than happy. Things could have gone wrong, they said, and there would be property damage to contain. Jonas had pointed out that he doubted that anyone else would have done as well or worse and that, really, Mynfield Investigations wasn't equiped to deal with their type of problem. The three men, all short birdlike creatures with ruffled feathers and a way of holding thier short yellow beaks higher than needed had scatched thier feet in anger and Jonas had sighed, settling on half of what they had promised to begin with. The rest would go to the watch and the the Royals to smooth over any damages. Jonas couldn't argue that, at least they had agreed to deal with fairweather.
With the coins in his pocket, Jonas had decided to walk the long way back to his offices, by way of bachlor street so named for its many taverns. The close street wound it's way from the South East corner of the docks in a serpatine way all the way to the edge of the business core. It was a walkable distance from the low town businesses, the docks as well as the university and as such was populated by sailors, laborours, students as well as middle class businessmen, all with mouths close to drinks and spilling out of teh many taverns and intot eh street. the hour was half past business close and the next tram out to Green Way housing development would not leave for another forty minutes; a convient amount of time for any who not naught but a nagging wife and screaming childern at home. Moving into the press of bodies fromteh docks, Jonas closed his eyes and let the turbulance and noise wash over him with a deep breath.
"I do so miss this." He murmured to himself and set off to find a corner in a pub with room. Past the street opening layered with ladies of the night come out a little early dressed in an assortment of lace, leather and in some cases moss was the Bended Knee, it's patrons crowding out not only the front door but the second and thrid floor windows as well. Jonas stopped and chatted pleasantly with the women but skirted the Bended Knee along wth everyone else with sense. The bar was owned by a family of Horizian Royals and it was well known that the Knee was a good place to go if you wanted yours broken. Similararly Jonas passed by the Body Market, Headstone and Silvertounge until he came to a smallish building only two stories among it's taller cousins. there was a squat looking man with a squarish head and several stitching scars across his brow and a nose that looked lik it had been broken several times and set back by a cross eyed man. he broke into a wide grin when he saw Jonas approach.
"Its been a spell since I've seen teh likes of you down this fair alley, son." He said, tapping his left arm. "I still haven't thanked you properly for helping out me and the misus this spring. I owe you a drink, that I do, and you should have come to get a long while back!"
Jonas smiled, "I have been busy Tony and, I must confess, I'm here more on business than on pleasure. I've come into a spot of coin you see and..."
"Well Hilda will be right happy to hear that." Tony nodded, "she's in the back, like she is most times. Its good crowd tonight, don't take too much of her time, you hear?"
Jonas smiled and tugged at his colar, "I wouldn't dream of it."
"See that you don't." Tony said grimmly, "a man with no head makes a dismal drinking companion and I still mean to buy you a flagon or two. You're months behind on the rent, you know."
"I know." Jonas' smile fell a touch, but he stood up straight and made his way into the smallish building with the tall door, over which a side was hung with a picture of a mounted man with a bow and arrow. It had been a long while since Jonas dared show his face in the Huntsman.
Inside was heavy air and the smell of close bodies. Students from teh university frequented the Huntsman, the founder of the pub eighty-three years ago had been a retired Professor that had fallen out of line with his royal family over his theories and been forced to find other means of income. Hence the Huntsman always had a fond nostolgic smile for any student that entered her doors; extra smiles on wendsday between four and eight where studnets drank for half price. Ownership of the Huntsman had passed from the original owner's hands since it's founding, and through theivery, gambling and murder the deed had found it's way into the large hands of Hilda. Jonas saw her as soon as stepped through the door; it wasn't hard, she stood three feet taller than any other and her blonde head peered over the deviding wall that separated the back room and kitchen from the common room. She saw him as soon as he walked in the door. Pulling a thick cigar out of her mouth she gestured for him to come into her office. Jonas shivered and then complied.
Hilda was a giant woman, dressed in a dark brown suit with teh arms of teh shirt and jacket ripped off. It wasn't a fashion statement; her arms would not fit. Despite her bulging muscles, her face was pretty, and she had yards of golden blonde hair that she kept tied up in a long braid. A bat the size of a sappling was leaning in the corner in arms reach, she was rumored to have hit an unruly man over the alley with that bat. Jonas believed that truthfully the man had flown much farther.
"Sit down Jonas." Hilda said, pointing to a chair across from a long wide desk that was filled with papers. A monkey wearing an accountants visor was pounding away happily on mechanical typewriter at the other end, it hardly looked up from it's work as he ran the figures through his method.
"Of course." Jonas sat. "It's been a while since I last frequented this particular local."
"You're due." Hilda said, "of course, thats nothign new, you're always due." She shuffled the papers on her desk, following on column of numbers with a massive finger. "lucky for you, I like you. Not why most of teh girls like you, but I lilke you. You're likable."
"I try my very best."
"Also business is good. the betting, the rings all the tenants, its all been very good this year." She continued, for the most part ignoring JOnas in his chair, "I don't need your money. I have all kinds of money, some of it's even legitamate money. The young royals, they're mad for gambling. They'll give you money for anything. Cards, dice, fights, races, they don't care. And most of them are stupid, so I keep their money and they dip a little further into the trust fund."
"I'm familure with their kind, unfortunately." Jonas said, images of the Taras childern coming unbidden into his mind. He doubted that Randal gambled with anything so trival as money, but he must be intoxicated by the risk in his acesension to power.
"You're not like that though. You don't hae anything and whatever it is you do happen to have, well thats something you've earned." She finally looked up at him, "I heard about your romp near teh docks. Giant turtle was it?"
"Red tortiose, actually. Mutant." He had almsot said 'gaint' but thought better of it. This visit was going rather well.
"They look the same." Hilda said, "I heard you got some coin as well, betting. We're in the same business it seems, only I bet on people losing their money and you always bet on yourself."
"Seems the logical choice, in my expierence if you bet on others, you're setting yourself up to fail."
"Logic. thats you. You were smart to come here first. I hear alot. I'll take it all, you don't charge enough rent on that collapsed building of yours to pay me the morgage. I don't know why that is."
"It is a problem for me." Jonas said carefully. A larger problem for his tenants that, without him, would be on teh streets for the Urchins to find. The thought of Mrs Harp and her children at the mercies of the street people was not one that gave him pleasant dreams.
Hilda squinted her eyes, "maybe you're a saint?"
"I very much doubt that." Jonas said. He handed her the bag of coin. Hilda hefted it without ceremony and threw it in the direction of her accountant who looked up sharply and caught the bag with quick reflexes.
"It's garbage currancy, about six hundred. It helps on your tab, gets one of your quick little feet out of the hole you've dug around yourself. Here." She leaned under the desk and pulled out a glass tumbler that looked small in her hands and unscrewed the top of a glass bottle, pouring some brown liquid into teh cup. "On teh house. It's for your trip."
"Er... trip?" Jonas said, "I wasn't aware I was going anywhere."
"Oh you're going. Expedition later, and a coach ride now." She gestured to the back door, "I like you because of the other business you give me too, you help me make money so I'm not so concerned that you're so behind on your bills. You're going out the back, there's a car waiting for you there. I wouldn't try running." She tapped the bat. "Have a good day Jonas Mynfield."
Dumbfounded Jonas took the tumbler and nodded a thanks. "I should go now then?"
The monkey stopped his tapping long enough to look up and raise an eyebrow, then went back to his work.
"Er.. right."
The back door opened to an alley with the normal garbage bins, refuge and rats. Standing out like a parka in the middle of the desert was a white and silver coach, the driver holding open one of the back doors. There was elegant wood inserts on the door and a at the crest of the hood, a silver bull stood proudly, horns curling up and out. The Taras family mascot. The driver was dressed in a long overcoat and smart black hat with an easy smile.
"If you'll just step right this way Mr Mynfield, there we go. You need't have brought your own liquor there's a cabinet in the back, fully stocked." He said amiably, "there we go, and then we'll be off."
The inside of the car was unnaturally dark, even after the shadows of the alley. Jonas squinted a little and shuffled over into the middle of the bench seat, unconsciously admiring the luxury of the car despite its probably hostile nature. It has a large truck, Jonas said to himself, I'm sure large enough to hold your dead body. But these were royals and though they often had people killed, they rarely bothered to bloody their own hands. Jonas was safe enough, so long as the car did not open it's doors in some abandoned quay populated by undesirable men. Slowly Jonas' eyes adjusted.
The man sitting across from him was small, olive skinned and had memories of black in his white hair. The piercing eyes, the curl to his white locks and the face were familure, Jonas had seen them all earlier that day. The wore an incredibly handsome white suit with a red flower blooming from his front pocket and though his face was creased with thin lines, Jonas knew he wouldn't have any trouble attracting younger, beautiful women. His smile was that of a fox, a quick upturn at the corner of the mouth and nothing else.
"Hello Mr. Mynfield."
"Hello Rupert Taras." Jonas said confidently. The man nodded.
"You are clever, maybe even half as clever as they say you are. That's good. But you're a royal, or so they say, so I'm wondering how clever you really are?" He leaned forward and tapped a long thick cane on the glass between the driver and passanger compartments and the car slid down the alley, smooth as silk. "I'll drive you back to your little apartment complex, if you don't mind entertaining an old man a few moments."
"Not at all." Jonas said, taking a small sip from his drink, "I find there is much wisdom to gain from those of superior years. So long as you don't mind me drinking .. whatever this is, we'll get along smashingly. In so far it has been a long day and I could use a little numbing."
"Hilda's drinks will do that." Rupert Taras said, keeping his eyes fixed tightly on Jonas.
A slience descended until Jonas broke it with an uncomfortable throat clearing. The car had already made it's way half way through the alley and was nearing the turn that would take them past the Markets and into Steph Downing. Past Steph Downing it is was minutes to Starfields and Myfield Manors. Rupert's gaze continued to be unforgiving until sudenly, as if he had reached a decision, he turned and gazed out the window.
"It wasn't always like this you know. The fighting used to be civilized, there was a certain art to it; a flair." Rupert told the window. Jonas felt nearly guilty listening in, but gulped down some more his tumbler. A small fire was building in the pit of his stomache. Whatever Hilda had poured him was not what she fed the Students on the cheap night.
"Family was sacred, you didn't touch them, no matter what they did, how they moved to stop you. And at every turn they would try to stop you, every turn. It's a hard life, a royal's life, they say it's the assasine's knife that kills a Royal, but it's the politics that does. Gets in your bllod, works it's slow poison. Family was different, it was all teh same blood afterall. You never liked your family, but you always loved them." He turned his eyes back to Jonas, "I love my family, Mr Mynfield, but things don't work the way they used to work."
"I thought this might have something to do with your ... family." Jonas said carefully. The man might have been old, but he had danced with assasins, royals and politicians and was still breathing to tell about it. However grim and obtuse his son had been, surrounded as he was with guards and his stewart, Jonas felt more ill at ease here with this old man. Outside a butcher shop passed by, the bulbous man under the awning swinging his cleaver hard. The market district passed by. "I had the pleasure of meeting your family recently, your childern, but I think you know that already."
"Still being clever I see? Yes, of course I know, its why you're here. I won't ask what it is you're doing for them, I have suspicions that will be confirmed very soon. I know Randal doesn't trust you. Likely as not he'll kill you after your contract is complete. It's how he's opperated in the past." Rupert shook his head.
"I suspected that as well." Jonas admitted.
"His mind he got from me, but I'm afraid my late wife filled him with ruthlessness. That's how he thinks, if you use something, you use it all, every ounce of it, and discard it afterwards." Rupert said with the same fox smile, "He'll use you in the same way, though I doubt he's smart enough to use all your resourcefulness."
"I will take that as a compliment." Jonas said returning the smile and taking a sip.
"I should, I'm sparing with my compliments." Rupert said.
Jonas nodded, beleiving him, "A question, if I may?"
"Of course."
"I have the feeling of being a pawn, currently. Two kings moving a piece across a board. In my expierence, a pawn can not be governed by two kings."
"It can happen, but it rarely lasts." Rupert said, "and that was not a question."
"Ahh.. yes. The question would be, how do you differ from your son? Are your assets so easily discarded?"
"Ahh, they tell stories about you, about how you can talk. A silver tonuge they say." The old Taras smiled, "entertaining. No, I reward those deserving of it. If I kill you, there will be a good reason. If I pay you, you will have earned it."
"Good to hear Sir."
"Sir? Respect, I like that." Rupert said, then leaned forward a little with his fox grin, "of course you knew that and that is why you said it. Honestly Mynfield, do I frighten you?"
"Honestly, Sir, this drink was full of something out of Hilda's own stock when I sat, and now all I have is a trembling tumbler that wants to be filled again." Jonas said slowly.
"Good, good. I think you are clever. Only a clever royal would survie as long as you have without wealth or power. Usually there is one or the other, sometimes both. It is difficult without either."
"I like to think ability comes into play, and cunning." Jonas said, allowing a small smile of his own, "that's how I've always been. Though it usually works better in business than in romance."
"Hah!" the old man chuckled, then slapped his knee, "Hah! I heard this, you sent letters to my dear daughter, asking her to a meeting. I know how you would have liked to have met her. She wouldn't even consider it, though, she's clever as well. Even if your family were still around. Careful of her, she's dangerous."
"Dangerous... I thought Randal..."
"No. Randal has his plans, his ambitions, he has powers and influence in his own right, but do not turn your back on my dear, sweet Samantha." Rupert's smile turned blank, "She will play her part to whatever tune she needs to, but at the end of it all, even in the midst of the battlefield with the world ruined she will be there, standing in a white gown, perfect, untouched and ahead of everyone else. She is the deadlier of the two, be warned."
"I... thanks for the warning." Jonas said, falling quiet for a time. The car was passing through Steph Downing and soon he would be home.
"I have certain... well, expectations of my clients. Confidentiallity and all that." Jonas said finally, "It's part of why I've been able to survive. I'm trusted and deemed a toothless threat, useful but not dangerous. It is a dificult line to tred upon. As much respect and fear as I have for you, I have a contract."
"I know." Rupert leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, "as quiet as they think they are, I still hear my little mice scribbling around. It's my birthday fast approaching and I think they mean to surprise me. They mean to take control of the entire family through my death, it would happen too. All that keeps royals in line are stronger royals, and the two of them one day will have what it takes, but not yet. It isn't that I'm not ready to step down, its that they aren't ready to step up. One day I will leave this dance, but it will be on my own terms. Do you understand Mynfield?"
"I think I do Mr Taras." Jonas nodded. His tumbler wasn't trembling anymore and the car slid smoothly to a stop at the drive by Mynfield Manor. "It has been a pleasure talking to you Sir."
"Likewise." Rupert Taras tapped his nose, "just remember what I told you, and don't die Mr Mynfield, I should like to have another conversation with you. Take care to bundle up when you leave tomorrow, the Frillda Uplands are frightfully cold this time of year."
The driver opened the door for Jonas and gave him another big smile, wishing him well and hoping that his good health continued. The car pulled away near silent and left Jonas standing somewhat bewildered on the curb with an empty tumbler in his hand. It took a moment to fully appreciate what had just happened to him.
"The old Bull is playing the game with them. He thinks its a game, like it used to be." He muttered, almost astonded. "They think they're being brutal and smart, trying to kill him but he knows their every move. And now I know he knows and if I tell the other Taras, he'll know and probably have my head cut off. But if I don't and follow through with what I'm being paid to do, Randal will undoubtedly find a way to put me at the bottom of the bay just so I won't be a lose end."
Jonas stood another moment, "Hung if I do, hung if I don't... hung many different ways by many different people." He looked down at the glass in his hand, then to teh street curb where he realized that there were two police cars pulled up next to the manor. His shoulders slumped and he let out a long sigh.
"I'm going need to fill this up." He muttered and then he went inside. "Probably twice."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I actually have something to post here today! I don't think I'll have another something to post by the end of the month, but at long last I am done chapter 3's first draft. Woot! Not much more to say. Spent the last weekend in Calgary statisfying my wife's dire need for horse things. The Master's show jumping tournament ran all weekend, so we went to that. The whole time I was there I was writing this blog entry in my head, but I think I'll stay my hand. I will say this though; the riders and their horses make what they do look effortless. And there in lies the rub. To an uneducated man, one outside the realm of horsecraft, the necessary details are lost. Most don't know the difference between a lead change, the proper amount of paces between jumps or the benifits of a bitless versus a bitful bridal. The decades of work some of these athletes have put in to be the best in the world are so a part of how they preform that they are invisible to the untrained eye. Similar to golf, bowling or darts, the prize is given to the most consistant participant. The perfect round they strive for is, arguably, the most unremarkable round to watch. At least in bowling you get to watch the pins crash.

That's my rant on that :) Next year I think I'm going to the ZOO! Cause, you know, monkeys.

Chapter three, as promised. I didn't even do my normal edit of this fellow, so we'll see how that goes. The next installment, I suspect, will be at least two weeks hence, thus breaking my goal of two per month. We shall see, as I have the chapter formed in my mind, it just needs to be exhaled. Enjoy, till we meet again!

Chapter three

"I find it opputune at this time to point out that I said we would both handle this situation when I returned. I beleive I put emphasis on the when I returned part." Jonas said angrily, "Imagine my surprise when I see you through the window of a premier cafe wrestling that brute by yourself. Exactly what part of my request did you think that I meant for you to come and handle the job by yourself?"
"When they called back and doubled their offer." Paddy said.
"Oh, well then, job to be done." Jonas said, his mind suddenly filling up with possibilities to spend their new found wealth. They only needed to catch a 30 ton monster withough hurting it.
The two of them were hunched behind the wreckage of a produce cart while the escaped creature was running happily amok in Tacturn square some three blocks south of Cafe L'Oriet. Jonas had collected Paddy from broken counter that stopped her flight and the two of them had chased the creature as far as the square which, up until the hungry tortoise had arrived, had been in the middle of a lively farmers market. Now the market had turned into something of a buffet and the monster was munching happily on a wagon heaped tall with cabbage having already depleted a similar wagon full of patatoes. A few of the more valiant and fool hardy city watch were attempting to bring the monster down with small arms fire and a slightly more creative watchman was hurridly requesting heavy backup. If the heavies were dropped in, Mynfield Investigators could kiss their commission good bye. Jonas tapped his chin, deep in thought.
"Its a red tortoise, they live mainly in lava fields. They love the heat, their bodies are built to withstand all kinds of heat and pressure. It actually makes the perfect digger, which is probably what Juris labs was commissioned for."
"What does that mean?" Paddy asked impatiently.
"It means to stop it we'll need to get it cold or wet, or both." Jonas said. He tapped the gun that Paddy was carrying, a heavy looking cannon with a glowing blue sphere near the business end. "Whats that do?"
"Super heated plasma..."
"Right, won't even make a scratch on that fellow. It'll do about as much as those idiots out there with their carbines." Jonas said, "we need a way to lure it closer to the bay. Do you have a way to contact Juris?"
"They gave me a line..."
"Ok good, good. Give that here. Good, good" Jonas said, head bent and quickly thinking. "What I need you to do is head over to the front of the alley and shoot that thing."
"I thought you said it would be resistant to this weapon?"
"Oh it is, you'd do more damage if you threw it at it." Jonas said, "it'll heat it up though, and maybe, just maybe, we can use the charge to lure it away. Maybe to somewhere less populated."
"You have a plan?"
"Of sorts." Jonas waved his hands, "if it follows, head for the bay. I'll tell Juris to meet us there. Assuming they have something that can transport that monster. Honestly, if you're going to make a super creature thats incredibly reistant to damage AND heat, you better make sure you have a way to catch it if it runs away. We are NOT equiped to handle this kind of thing!"
"If it doesn't follow?" Paddy said skeptically.
"Well then I am open for suggestions!" Jonas said, "given that you have already accepted the job, I would be loathe to back out on it now. Working with royals is like dancing with an elephant; it leads, and you better follow else you're losing a foot."
"The Paloscia family will take more than a foot."
"Precisely why this must work, scuttle along now, I've got a call to make."
Paddy growled then hefted her gun and loped off into out of view. Jonas sighed, took a deep breath and activated teh direct line to Juris labs.
"Hello, this is Jonas Mynfield of Mynfield Investigations." Jonas said brightly. There was a stream of demanding and angry words from the other end and Jonas reacted by moving the ear piece away until they had subsided. Hesitantly he put the ear piece back within hearing range and continued. Victory favored the bold, so they said.
"Right right, I understand you have a rather large... er, project that has disappeared from your labs. Yes, yes... right. I also understand that you may have understated the size of said project when you were speaking with my associate. No, I'm not being difficult, I am trying to clarify. No, I am also not being coy. Yes this is a business call." Jonas rubbed his forehead with a hand. "What I would like to know is if, in fact, you are able to transport your project. Right of course you can. But you can't capture it yourself? No I thought not... Right."
From out in the square there was a loud whine followed by the sounds of city watchmen yelling and diving for cover. Jonas didn't quite close his eyes soon enough as the square was lit up like the surface of a star for a brief second, and had to blink away the spots that resulted. There was a loud rumbling and what Jonas hoped was a happy roar. The cobblestones under him shook as teh creature lumbered off in teh direction that Paddy had been told to head. Jonas breathed a little sigh of relief. He turned his thoughts back to the nattering voice on teh other end of the line.
"Yes, ok, I understand. Now you need to listen to me, we are working ahead of the city watch and hope to have the creature in a transportable position before heavy reinforcements arive to deal with it." Jonas had to stop for more nattering.
"Yes the army has been called, it is the only way the watch has of dealing with a threat of this size. We are currently working ahead of them, and will continue to do so. What we need from you is to be ready to collect your project near the bay. A large boat or drigible would probably be best. Do you understand? Good. We will see you presently."
Jonas stood, brushed the dust of his pants and storlled over to help up a watchman who happened to be a Serian woman, large with red skin and think black hair.
"Are you alright miss?"
"I be ok. Thank you." she grunted, accepting his hand. Jonas had to brace himself to help her back up onto her hippo like feet, holding teh wide palm in both hands. Her comrades were shouting things and trying to find their guns, even though they'd proved ineffective so far.
"Seems quite teh ruckus, has the army been called?" Jonas asked inocently, bending to retrieve a lost belt as the Serian checked teh actions on her gun.
"Ja, we call them quick." She said, "they sending a mystical response team, be here soon. You not worry. Thank you again." She accepted the belt and looped it around her wide waist.
"Goodness, its that big a problem? I hope they do get here soon." Jonas said, smiling big and plucking at his pocket hankerchief. "I have a meeting soon in this quarter."
"They give time, five minutes. No worry, we take care of it." The watch-woman tried patting Jonas' hand sympathetically, but ended up leaving a bruise. Her unit was running off and she followed the path of destruction down what was once a sleepy little street. Jonas waited until they had turned the corner and sprinted off at an opposing angle. The beauty of knowing where something was going to be is that you'll likely get there first. Paddy was making her winding way with the monster in tow down the widest streets she could find, Jonas had no such restictions and vaulted back yard fences to race down blind alleys. By the time he reached teh bay, he was a good five minutes ahead of Paddy and her monster. He could still hear the whining of her gun, and see the bright white light over teh roof tops, but they were still blocks away. He slouched down and caught his breath a moment before looking out and down to teh water, trying to find something that would serve his purposes. There was quite alot to sort through.
Where Jonas now stood was a merchant district full of markets and people of all nationalities and colors. What functioned as the docks doubled as an airship port as well, the actual water of the bay being some three or four levels down from street level with several layers of berths in between. All manner of craft were now docked there, from Mayon flying beasts perched on roosts to dull grey Ka' submersibles bobbing darkly down below. The wide open avenue between the docks and the city line was filled with men and women, some plying their craft as merchants, labourers, artisans prefromers and beggars. Still more were there on business, buying and selling merchandise from their ships, from carts from the backs of pack animals and mechanicals. As exciting and busy as it was, it was about to get more so. Jonas glanced to teh skyline of buildings that rose up behind teh bay, spied teh tell tale cloud of dust and debris rising up into the air and cupped his hands to his mouth.
"Attention, attention!" He yelled as loudly as he could. No one paid him any mind. Grumbling Jonas pulled a small cylinder out a hidden belt pocket and pressed one end to his throat.
"Attention everyone who can hear this!" His voice now boomed, drowning out the cries of the loudest hawkers. All eyes turned to see what the noise was and a large number of those eyes came to rest on Jonas. Jonas tucked the cylinder back in his pocket and jumped up onto the back of a truck that was mostly sold out of Ginish Greens.
"Thank you. There is a large and dangerous animal coming this way. It should be here any minute. I am not with teh watch, I only want to make sure that no one gets hurt while we attempt to restrain it." Jonas said as clearly as he could. "We are planning to drop it into the bay, off this empty berth. If anyone has ships beneath this area, they would be very wise to move them."
The immediant time following his space was quickly filled up with laughter and jeers.
"He musta lost a pig and 'e's scared someone will catch it before him!"
"No worries little fancy man, we'll catch your creature, it won't be too big for us." Three burly Natac Roughers standing nearly double Jonas' wiry height laughed.
"He's drunk! Or high on some other substance." A lady dressed in black decalred, waving a book fluttering with ribbons, "this is the path of folly! See him! The path of temperance is one of clear head!"
"Oi, maybe you can tell us where you found your folly, I've got a craving for folly!"
Jonas shook his head and hopped down from the truck box, "I tried, heavens help me I tried." He muttered. Louder he called out, "fine don't beleive me, beleive it." He pointed to the wide alley where Paddy was running out of, screaming people streaming away from her like the advance waves of a flood. The monster's head soon appeared, dripping whole cabbage from it's mouth and was soon followed by it's massive shell. It gave another roar and the the crowd that had surrounded Jonas broke into a cheering section that suddenly was betting on the survival of the monster versus the survival of the immediant area. Arconis was like that.
"Excuse me," Jonas asked one sailor, "what are the odds on me winning?"
The grizzled looking man squinted hard, "yer one of those adventuring types aren't cha? Are you with that scaly girly with the scary gun?"
Jonas sniffed, "as it so happens I am."
"I'll give you five to one in the monster's favor." The old man said after a moment of beard scratching, "seems fair seeing as you've got a fair amount of competition now."
"Competition...? Oh, hmm, I was wondering when they would show up." Jonas muttered, following the grizzled man's nod. "Their response time is getting better. A hundred on me then."
Jonas took off running towards where a small airship marked with Arconis City Watch crest with the words 'Special Response Team' was setting down onto stone of the docks. A great barrel chested man with short legs and a crisp blue uniform stepped woodenly out of the airship first and was followed by scurrying men and women in full tactical gear, crouched low and guns held out at the ready. Two more men and a woman emerged slower, each wearing a blue smock in the design of the watch's mystic division. Two of them Jonas didn't recognize, but the young blue man with the crooked nose he knew as Jamison Nook, a foul tempered man with a quick temper. The large man in front was none other than Chief Ronald Fairweather, a general that had refused to retire and so had taken up the position of Arconis city chief where he preformed mundane tasks with maximum force. Jonas had worked with him before; he was an animable old soldier. Fairweather spied Jonas in the crowd and waved him over with a hand the size of a scoop shovel.
"Ah, young Mynfield, here for the sport I see? I thought that was Paddy out there running around," Fairweather said in a booming voice. He held his hands behind his back and surveyed the square with a very critical eye, looking lastly on teh monster that was still plodding as fast as it could after Paddy as she threw shots of blue fire against it, the glare not even causing the old general to blink. "Looks to see that your Paddy is not doing such a bang up job, that weapon of her's is ineffective. You best step aside and let the watch handle this from now on."
"No sport, on the job, as it were. Just trying to draw the monster out of the city to where it wouldn't do so much damage Sir. We weren't trying to hurt it." Jonas said, "it likes heat, you see. Pady shooting it got her to follow her here."
"Heat eh? Well we'll give it plenty of that!" Fairweather chuckled, "now you watchmen, hop to! get those people back! You three, Jamison, Cawl, Nord, do whatever preparations you need to get rid of our friend there."
"Er, get rid of Sir?" Jonas asked carefully. His pocket where he'd stored the direct line was buzzing.
"Definately. Can't have a beast of that size running amok." The Chief said, hands still behind his back. Then he finally lowered his gaze and stared intently at Jonas. "Your job today isn't to capture that thing, is it? Highly inadvisable my boy, you'd be interfering with the Watch's business. And nobody interferes with the Watch's business while I'm watching over it."
"No, no of course not." Jonas said quickly, smiling broadly. "If you need anything from us Chief...?"
"We've got everything well in hand. Jamison there will cook that thing right in the shell with teh help of his two people. You can tell Paddy to quit running around like that. Best to just take a seat over there behind teh line and watch the show. Should be a bloody good one. Had roast turtle back in Neesee. Lads were starving for some meat and so they caught this turtle, cooked it up in a soup." Fairweather smacked his lips, "should think this one would taste well with a red Brazle Ale, eh Mynfield?"
"I fancy a clear Snaphle myself, but to each their own." Jonas bowed his head, "if you should need us..."
"We won't. Much appreciation for your assistance thus far," Fairweather said briskly, "if I had a medal on me I'd give you one."
"Right... right. Best of luck!" Jonas scurried away, grabbing the direct line from his pocket as he did so.
"Hello, who is this? Right, of course it's you... of course. Right. You're here? I don't see... ok, on the water? A boat? Great! How long? That's.. well there's a complication that has arisen such that I can not, in good coincience, given a time estimate." The voice ont eh other end started talking very loud and very fast. It was not happy. Jonas drummed his fingers on his chin, walking fast to the low wall that kept people from falling to their deaths below and scanned the water line. There! They'd even flown the Juris labs flag on three points of the broad hulled ship. There was a net and crane appuratus near the back that Jonas thought should suffice, granted they could get the monster down there before the Watch decided to call in heavier guns than the Mystics could muster. Jamison could summon all teh fires of the stars and Jonas doubted the tortois would be phased by it. As soon as Fairweather found that, he would have no qualms with calling in an air strike. Best to move fast, teh mystics had already started their chants, it wouldn't be long now before things would be heating up and Jonas couldn't do what needed to be done if he was talking to someone like this.
"That is an excellent point and I shall take it to heart! No, I am never sacastic, I am always scincere, but I shall have to work on that I suppose." Jonas said brightly, cutting off the stream of words coming to him from the ship below, "tell your captain to get ready, there's about to be a large splash!" Jonas cut off the call and slipped the phone back into his pelt pocket.
"I just have to figure out how..." Jonas muttered to himself. He caught Paddy's eye as quickly as he could and pointed over to where the Watchmen mystics were standing chanting in their small circle. She growled, fired one last shot for good measure, stunning the bystanders and then ran to where Jonas was waving.
"What now? I got it to the docks." She said, breathing hard.
"Right, well I wasn't counting on candlewick and the matchstick brigade over there..." Jonas rubbed his temples. "Think Mynfield, think! There has to be something else, something we can use... The red tortois lives in lava fields, and migrates with the warm winds, following the flow. They mate for life and generally lay a clutch of six to eight eggs once every ten years. they have an extremely long life time, over two hundred years. They come out of the lava fields to feed on vegetation but gain most of their nutrients by absorbing minerals from the lava in which they live. They... wait! that's it!" Jonas smacked his head and looked around fast, finding what he wanted in the form of a massive dock crane dangling a magnet. "The minerals in it's blood stream will make it magnetic! If we do it right..."
"Whatever you are doing, it should be fast. Look." Paddy pointed to the three huddled figures a geyser of fire was crawling up toward the sky and, as the two watched, it turned white hot and arced its way across the sky to strike the tortoise in the middle of it's shell. Jonas groaned.
"The hotter that fire makes mr tortoise there, the faster he's going to get. Heat jump starts his metabolism."
"You mean you had me firing at him, knowing that?" Paddy asked.
Jonas shrugged, "you're very fast and the amount of heat that boom stick can give that monster is very isolated. I doubt an increase over fifteen percent would be expected."
"It would have been good information to know." Paddy growled, "it almost caught me several times."
"Occupational hazard, now." Jonas tapped the gun in Paddy's hand. "We have got to get that thing nearer the crane, and he's not paying any attention to us right now. He won't pay attention to that thing now either. Why walk by the light of a star when there's a sun to use, right? Right. The mystics have pumped enough heat into that thing to last it for days and our employers are waiting."
Paddy nodded, "Operate the crane, leave the tortoise to me."
"How are you... ?"
"For once, don't think about it." Paddy said grimly, "it is not a solution you would have entertained. it is not smart. Be fast, it will be near the crane soon."
Paddy sprinted of again, towards the direction of the tortoise, leaving Jonas momentarily stunned. Whatever crazy stunt was being planned and put into motion, Jonas could only play his prescribed part and hope it was enough to reap whatever reward might come. He ran for the crane and breathed a sigh of relief when teh controls were not occupied. After a quick glance, he started the engine and brought the boom around. A few more testing pulls on the levers brought power to the magnet and lowered it. From his perch at the controls Jonas could look down to the water below where the Juris boat was bobbing slowly. Out in the square the monster was still being doused with fire, but Jonas could swear there was a tiny grin on it's massive mouth and that it was waving back and forth in content bliss. Paddy was advancing slowly towards teh flame engulfed turtle with what looked to be an abandoned power shovel gripped awkwardly in her hands.
"My word," Jonas muttered, "no, I wouldn't have considered that. I never consider suicide. Well, good luck girl."
As Paddy neared the blazing tortoise she raised the heavy shovel in over her head, triggered it's engine and threw it as hard as she could at the monster's head. The blow rang true and the shovel struck right where it was intended to strike, the softer tissue near the tortoise's eye and the shovel that was build to split solid rock dug in deep to the tortoise's flesh. A roar cascaded through the square as the tortoise felt it's first real pain and swung it's head heavily to see what had caused it's agony. It's one good eye came to rest on Paddy standing defiantly near teh creature, her clothes starting to smoke from the heat of the mystical blaze. She shouted something that was lost over the distance and started sprinting towards the crane. Fairweather was shouting too, and the mystics were wavering, their concentration breaking. The tortoise, however, had a very keen focus for it's attention and was now devoting all it's being to running very quickly after Paddy.
"You have to admire that, I suppose." Jonas muttered, bringing the cranes boom into position as a hundred tonnes of mutant tortoise bore down on his accomplice. Despite her best efforts to avoid being crushed, it looked as if she wouldn't make it much further. Thankfully, she wouldn't have to.
"Only got one try at this..." Jonas gritted his teeth and swung the crane boom a quarter turn before quickly flicking it back like a fisherman's pole, the heavy magnet casting out in front and striking the turtle across the side. The magnet stuck fast, but the raging fire was quickly turning the chain attached to it cherry red.
"better be quick, and over the side you." Jonas flicked the controls back as fast as he could, not even giving the creature enough time to slow down from it's charge. Redirected, the tortoise's charge was now pointing right over the edge and before it realized what was going on it had crashed through the containing wall and flipped over snapping the crane's chain before falling to eh water below. There was a gyser of steam and water that reached the specators still crowding around the square and th distinct smell of fish stew. Jonas striaghtened his collar and jumped off the crane. His pocket buzzed.
"Yes? Right, thats what I said we would do. It's your problem now, just wait until the water's cooled that fellow down enough, the colder he gets the slower he gets and then you can deal with him however you like. No, I'm not telling you how to do your job, I'm advising you. Call me helpful. I'm sorry you feel that way sir," Jonas said, "of course, yes, all damages you incurred can be deducted from our bill of service which will, incidently, be mailed out tomorrow. Yes, yes. Do as you may. Good day!" Jonas closed the line and threw it over the side of the bay wall, making it follow the same route as the tortoise moments ago. he hopped off the crane and started off through the crane. Paddy joined him.
"That went well." she was still breathing hard from outrunning the tortoise.
"As well as it could I suppose, our employer is still not pleased, of course I do not think they will ever be truly pleased. Apparently the monster clipped the side of their boat as it fell, damaging it."
"Tell him that is the least of the damages." Paddy cracked a rare smile and pointed out over the square, "the chief will not be pleased."
"Oh he'll be ok. All's fair in love and war, he'll say after he s finished fining us and yelling at us." Jonas sniffed, "in the end it will be lucky if we turn a profit." He was now elbowing his way throught he crowd. He could hear Watchmen behind him yelling, but he doubted they would make it through. Arconis crowds respected entertainers more than lawmen and were leting Jonas and Paddy through much more readily, with a few pats on the back even. Absently Jonas pulled the box that he'd recieved earlier from his belt pocket and handed it to Paddy.
"What's this?"
"Half payment from the Taras family for our next job. it is six bars of precious Adol alloy worth about half a million." Jonas said, rubbing his jaw in thought. Paddy's eyes went wide.
"That's more money than I have ever dreamed of."
"Precisely," Jonas said, "which is why I do not think the Taras plan on us keeping it. I beleive they plan on killing us both once the job is complete and taking back thier bars. I want you to take this back to the office and put it into the safe, for now."
"And where are you going?"
"To find a sailor about a bet I just won."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Potential Rant <- (play on words haha, there WILL be a rant)

I've always liked potential. A day with nothing planned might see anything happen, a talk with a stranger could become a long lasting friendship, taking a different route to work might show you a pleasant surprise. The trailers at the beginning of the movie are often better than the movie itself. Things like that. These are the things I love.

I guess that's why the Disney/ Marvel merger doesn't bother me in the accute, distressing ways voiced by some fans. Disney is not going to dominate Marvel like some back room leather clad woman. Marvel is a very, very powerful company valued at 4 billion US and they would not bend the knee unless they saw some very real potential to increase their profits and further their creative property. I'm optomistic.

The next post will have the next chapter of my Mynfield Mysteries. I'm pretty happy with how its coming along and suspect that I have enough creative material in my head for at least a novella. I looked it up, for the nebula awards a novella is classified as something under 40,000 words and a novel is usually over 40,000 words. NaNo, of course, says you need at least 50,000 words to get to a novel status. I'm going to shoot for 50,000 words and as of writing this, I have about 7500 words of content. Considering that this is about 3 chapters, I'll need about 15-17 more chapters to hit that magic 50,000 word mark. However it works out (wether a series of novellas or a series comprised of actual novels) I would like to pursue publishing with this story. With that in mind I'd like to hit my January 1st goal for having a draft one complete. It's doable, I've just never done it before.

Chapter three forthcoming, stay tuned!

John, the Writer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Those Summer days that are so fleet, those summer days that taste so sweet
Succumb in time to Winter's grace, whose fair, pale arms will embrace
Between the two we may find peace, and choose to linger in Autumn's streets.

Had lunch in the park, doodled that poem when I got back to work. A fair assesment of life in that particular moment.

Ok so this is rare, two blog posts in one month. Hopefully more to come next month as well. if I settle into an erratic twice a month schedule, then that might be ok. Thats two chapters of this current story a month... well we'll see :) Those drawing guys have it way easier. They can burp out a doodle in twenty minutes thats pretty rough but still works where as a writer's rough stuff is sometimes so incoherent that its really worth nothing. *sigh* Anyway, I think I got the second chapter kind of the way I want it. I cut a bunch of conversational stuff, so later I'll probably edit more information etc into it. Third part is easier since its alot of actiony things happening, and those tend to go quicker than plot heavy dialogue.

Other than that, I'm starting to give some thought to Nano this year. I made the word count last year even with starting over in the middle of the month. A couple 4000+ word days and I was back on track. That leads me to believe that I can hit the word count pretty easily, so this year my goal is to have something I'm relatively happy with at the end of it all. You know, a fairly complete story. With that in mind, here's my game plan.

I'll be writing on the same story as last year, basically. I say basically because I know know alot of what I did wrong in the first stab at it. For the scale of the story I had envisioned the story didn't move slowly enough and it moved in too many places. THis would be fine with an established arc, but not with a new idea. With that in mind, most of the first book will deal with people in one place and more or less deal with the same people. Last time I dealt with Palin in one part, Sabastian in another and Telin in another and so on. It was too many main characters. I'm focusing almost entirely on Matheus this time, and all the events that surround the summit where he's trying to form an alliance between pirate nations and the Arc to fortify the outworlds of Arc against the Harvest Duke who is growing more and more powerful. More info on that later :)

No more news for now. I'll post some comic related things when/if they happen.

for now enjoy part two of what I'm calling the Steampunk Mystery.

Chapter two

Jonas picked at the plate of delicacies that had been ordered for him, selecting a morsel and chewing it slowly while he thought. The mood of Cafe L'Oreit was set by a soft and subtle blend of pipes and strings, currently one of Mokette's earlier sonnets, low lighting and the smells of a thousand wonderful dishes. The food was excellent, and the the cool interior of the place was a blessing after the heat of the streets below. He sat across from Samantha Taras at the Taras' private table, in full view of the splendor of her beauty. Her dark hair cascaded in ringlets to her bare shoulders, her smile was angelic and a man could lose himself for hours in the color of those perfect eyes. Jealous Goddesses had turned women into pigs for being less lovely, Jonas was sure, or perhaps this was the goddess come down to amuse herself among the mortals. There certainly seemed to be a some divine joke at work; Samantha Taras had not come alone. Jonas cleared his throat subtly and dared to speak.
"I must be honest, when I received your, er... letter of invite, this is not the lunch I expected."
Samantha Taras smiled brightly, holding a soup spoon delicately in one gloved hand. "Why Mr Mynfield, whatever did you expect?"
From her right hand Samantha's Stoic brother raised an eyebrow, "yes Mr. Mynfield, humor us, what did you expect?"
If Jonas had been wishing for a private affair, perhaps some candles and a nice wine, he had been terribly mistaken. Samantha had come, as the note had indicated she would, but with her she had brought her brother, a family Stewart who looked like he might have been a pirate in a former life, and six body guards all bearing the Tara's family crest. Jonas had no doubt that they were instructed to kill anyone who laid a hand on their young charge; whether it was a wanted hand or not. This perfect lunch date was turning into something much less perfect and no where near a date. For someone like Jonas who danced very lightly ont he edge of teh great powers, this was down right dangerous.
"I didn't expect it to be so formal." Jonas said quickly. "I might have taken the time to put on my good coat, if I'd have known."
"Hmm, yes. Your good coat." Randal Taras said blandly, cutting deep into the meat on his plate. "I wouldn't worry, I doubt we'd have noticed the improvement."
Jonas opened his mouth to remark, but instead wisely bit into a slice of roast quail. This was their territory, they were at the advantage and and if insults were all Jonas had to stomach, he could consider himself lucky. Randal Taras wanted something, that was evident, and if the man had used his sister's invite as a ruse for this meeting instead of calling using the red phone for an official request, then it was something he wanted to keep quiet. Royal matters that were to be hushed up were expensive and delicate matters and for that reason Jonas was glad that Paddy had stayed home. She was not very respectful when it came to dealing with royals.
"Don't worry Mr Mynfield, this, sadly, isn't a social call; we'll not judge you on the cut of your coat, however shabby it is." Samantha said brightly, sipping her soup with grace, "we're here on business!" She nodded in what she must have thought was a grave manner, but came off looking like a five year old trying to be serious while her puppy is licking at her knees. Samantha giggled. "You did come very highly recommended. Having been, what's that quaint expression, 'around the street'?"
"Around the block, dear sister." Randal corrected, leaning back a little as an attractive waitress set a basket of bread down to the side of his plate. Randal hardly noticed her.
Randal Taras had been appointed to the seat of Herring Town magistrate at the tender age of twenty two and had used the last five years to secure his power through clever politics and ruthless domination of any opposition. He wore the black sleeveless tunic of his office and a solid gold chain, no doubt of mystic origin. Like his sister his skin was a light brown tone and his hair was as black as pitch, cut close but still with a distinctive curl that no amount of barbering could erase. They might have been twins, but Jonas knew for a fact that Samantha was years younger than her brother. The two were as similar in appearance as they appeared to be different in every other way.
"It is true I seem to have acquired a very, ahh, diverse skill set that has rendered me useful to people such as yourself from time to time."
"A good thing too." Randal said, breaking bread with his hands, "this city has little need for more beggar nobility. Heaven knows how many fallen royals use their once good names to prey on the charity of those with better sense."
"Oh yes. I quite agree." Jonas muttered, "though even as a royal of repute I always found science and adventure more to my liking than politics and courting."
"And if the reports are true, you've had quite a number of adventures", Samantha said while the tables automatic brewer was busy refilling delicate cups and spinning them into place in front of all the patrons of the table. "Have you any stories to share with us?"
Her brother scoffed. "Come Samantha, such stories are beneath you. This man is little more than a commoner, his claim to royalty is a stretch, at best. I daresay any stories he has would not be fit for a lady's ears and he's not the kind of gentleman that censors his words." Randal's mouth curled in a sneer, "I've heard of some of your adventures. Damsels in distress; distressing damsels more like."
"Oh Randal, you're no fun. Always at work, never taking time for any play." Samantha pouted, "we have a seasoned glory seeker at our table and you have no want to hear, first hand, some recount of his travels?" The pout turned to a hungry smile, "besides, sometimes I just hunger for something that isn't censored. Life can be so..."
"Wonderful? Pampered? Beautiful?" Jonas offered.
"Boring." Samantha said. "I'm never allowed to have the kind of fun I read about in books."
"Those books, dear sister, are partly the reason why these wild fancies of yours have taken root." Randal said, "and those stories aren't true. Even real adventures aren't glamorous, they're full of hardship and pain. Isn't that so Mr Mynfield?" There was an edge to his voice that said he would not be disagreed with.
"Very true, actually. Danger and whatnot. Why, any number of times I can remember thinking that a nice book by a fire would be the way to go instead of slogging through some swamp in the pouring rain, or traversing sewers tracking some slime beast or being chased by cannibals through bug infested jungles just because you've managed to steal their tribal idol." Jonas said, plumb sauce from his mouth with his napkin. The sauce must have been sticky as as soon as Jonas put his elbow in it, the napkin stuck fast.
"Oh yes, adventure is often a messy business." Jonas nodded, glancing at Randal for approval. The man's face was expressionless. Jonas forged on. "And the people you meet. If I don't ever have to see another bush pilot of questionable hygiene again, I'll count myself very lucky."
"I think those are just the sort of people I'd like to meet." Samantha declared. "swamps dirt and all."
Jonas raised an eyebrow at the ravishing young woman with her pristine dress, perfect skin and impecable table manners. It was hard to envision her outside in the street, let alone tramping through some gods forsaken land swatting bugs and breaking nails. Whatever books she read, they probably had pictures of shirtless men holding tight to princesses while firing rounds into incoming hoards of necromatic soldiers. The man would always defeat his aggressor and the the woman would think him an awful sort until, perhaps, the fourth time he saved her life and then about the moment she caught him playing kick the cube with street orphans, she would realize she'd fallen madly in love with him. Samantha Taras lived in a very, very small world.
Randal finished the last piece of his roast and grunted, "since you insisted on coming today, you may well get your wish. We'll see how well you like your scoundrels and dirt when you see them close at hand. Mr Mynfield, if you're finished your quail, may we get down to business?"
"I'd like nothing better." Jonas said. He was rubbing his elbow against the table cloth gently, trying to dislodge the napkin, but to no avail. He ended up lowering his arm under the table, but kept his other hand firmly on his tea cup.
"Good." Randal said flatly, gesturing to his Stewart. The Stewart opened a black case and produced a sheaf of papers from it, passing them along to his master's hand. Randal flipped through them slowly, selected a few and slid them across the table. When Jonas reached for them, Randal kept his hand firmly in place, pinning them down for a moment. Their eyes met.
"This is strictly confidential. I'd like to keep things very discreet. If you breath a word of this to anyone, you shall find that my arms can reach you almost anywhere."
"I am a professional." Jonas said, "I shall keep your words close to my heart." With a smart tug, Jonas took the papers and quickly scanned through them.
The papers were mostly photographs of a device with a few shorthand notes written over top. It was an oblong sphere, decorated with brass waves and terrifying sea creatures. The brass was tarnished, and obviously in the middle of being carefully cleaned by the white coated technicians that surrounded it. The artifact's surface was broken by a series of crystals and small windows. Since the picture was not printed in color, Jonas could not tell exact details, however there was little doubt in his mind of what it was.
"This is a Von Eskhieser, isn't it?" Jonas asked without looking up from the photos. He flipped to the next page, the graphic showed the device from a different perspective.
"We suspect it is." Randal said grudgingly, "and if the tests the University preformed are correct, it may be the oldest device of his yet unearthed."
"The University hmm?" Jonas said, "you're storing it there?"
"No. It is still on site. We dare not move it until its full function can be discerned." Randal tapped his nose, "there have been other attempts to tamper with Von Eskhiesser's devices, most of those have ended... unfavorably."
"To say the very least, yes." Jonas muttered.
"At any rate the professors I've hired are at a loss and you have much experience with such devices, or so I'm told."
"More than I'd like, to be honest." Jonas pursed his lips. The last photograph in the set displayed the back plate where a simple engraving was etched in what might have been crystal. The engraving was of Mycalychin, a trickster figure in the folklore that Von Eskhieser had weaved into his science.
"Splendid! Then you will accompany us to the site and help us! It will be our adventure, and you shall be the chief of it." Samantha said, her eyes shining.
"Help you what?"
"Make it work." Randal said, "it's for our father. He is a collector of these devices and his sixty-fifth birthday approaches. We would make a present of this Von Eskhieser to him. When we can make it work, and understand its workings, we'll be able to move it."
"You realize this could be very dangerous work? Von Eskhieser pieces have been known to collapse time, turn flesh into lead, that sort of thing." Jonas said.
"I'm well aware of that. You payment will be proportionate, I assure you." Randal snapped his fingers and the Stewart drew a small box from the same case as he had produced the pictures. Samantha took it before Randal could and pressed her lips to it gently before passing it onwards to Jonas.
"For good luck." She said with a smile. "And our coming adventure!"
"Consider this a downpayment, to help make up your mind." Randal said.
Jonas took the box, opened it briefly. His eyes widened and he closed the lid very carefully again before staring out the window intently.
"You agree then?"
"Hmm oh yes. very agreed. I don't think I could afford to refuse to work with a Von Eskhieser artifact, or refuse the Taras family for that matter." Jonas said quickly, rising to his feet and striaghtening his jacket. The napkin finally fell from his coat and fell to the floor. "Now if you'll excuse me...?"
"Excuse you? Why, Mr Mynfield, we haven't had desert yet and the pastry chef here does an apple crumble that is simply devine." Samantha said, "you must stay."
"I do apologize for having to deny the request of such a beatuiful girl." Randal growled at that, but Jonas forged on, "but I must. It seems my time is demanded very ... ah, urgently elsewhere."
"What demand is so urgent that it risks insulting us?" Randal asked tartly.
"Er, that will become evident in a moment, I'm afraid," Jonas said, buttoning up his jacket and pulling a small thin cylinder from his pocket. "You see this morning my associate received a call on what I've called our red phone. It's red you see, and a private number for royal use only. It was a request for help from Jurrik Labs, they needed something returned. I told my companion not to fret, that we would handle it when I returned with this meeting. Based on what I'm seeing outside the window, I must assume that Jurrik Labs called back and were much, much more demanding the second time."
The cafe shuddered a little from a tremor, shaking the glassware gently agaisnt each other causing a pleasnt ringing. The patrons, usually so absorbed in their own petty conversation, all suddenly looked up to see what the disturbance was. The Tara's family all reached forward to steady their glasses while the bodyguards reached for weapons, looking around for any immediante threat. Jonas, unphased, continued.
"My companion is very strong willed. I think she must have agreed to help without bothering to inform me. This is the only reason I can think of that she is currently hanging onto the neck of what appears to be a Red Tortiose cross bred with a giant Baverian mole that is rampaging through the street outside. Although I would much rather not help her, I think she will be flying through the glass of the window directly behind you in about thirty seconds. I don't think it can be avoided." Jonas paused, "err... you should all probably move."
The tremors were now regular and in true Kinnel city fashion, the patrons of the cafe joined those in the lesser buildings next to it and ran to the windows to see what was happening. They were greeted with the sight of Paddy hanging tight to a rope and net that was wrapped tightly around a horn on the creature's shell. Obviously Jurrik Labs had been unspecific as to the size of the creature, else Paddy would have brought a bigger net.
The monster looked to be more tortoise than mole, with a hard beak and red shaded shell, spined with hard looking spikes. The paws were bow legged with monstrous claws made for spooning dirt out aside. Right now those claws were doing an excellent job of pushing aside street cars, vendor carts and the footings of various local business. With a final heave and buck, the monster sent Paddy whipping around on the end of her rope with enough force to break her grip on it and send her flying through a window five paces to the right of where Jonas had predicted. The patrons of the cafe panicked while the hostess tried clapping her hands briskly to get everyone to remain calm because, it had always worked before. Jonas donned his hat and tucked the box securely under his arm.
"I must be off, we'll be in contact to arrange details later. I might try the back stair for your exit from here." Jonas said tipping his hat, "farewell."
"Good bye brave adventurer," Samantha stood and held a hand to her heart, a move mimicked from watching a thousand actresses bid farewell to a thousand heroes. "Be careful."
Jonas grimaced before running off towards where Paddy had landed and the very large hole that . Be careful. As if a woman's wish could protect him from being crushed under foot a giant mutant turtle. It was women that were the problem, most of the time. In this case a very specific woman by the name of Padilla Nimmers-Sach. There would be a very stern talk with Paddy on their return to the office, a very stern talk indeed, providing they both survived the next few minutes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Last of Summer's days!

So for the first time in... well ever, I actually had a summer vacation. You have to understand that growing up on a farm, summer is actually more work than the rest of the year starting with seeding in the spring, haying and harvest with spraying and everything else in the middle. The idea of taking time off in the summer is almost completely foriegn to me. So here I am after the fact, and I can say that I enjoyed two weeks of camping with friends and inlaws.

Couple things to report. Josh Alves(of Araknid Kid Fame) and I are planning, nay, plotting a Zuda entry. The plot will be Mirror Mirror and the art thus far has been awesome. Working with Josh via web video conference has been one of the highlights of my year so far. I'll post more news as progress... progresses.

Over my vacation I've found that I had more time to write, which is kinda weird as we were camping. Since Mirror Mirror is getting my patended 'scripting' treatment, I won't be posting any more of the novel here. Suffice it to say that if a novel form of this story does surface, it will have been changed by the process of comic conversion. That leads me to a different project I started up thats just, well, fun. It's inspired by Girl Genius and fans of that series will hopefully see the simularities. If anyone is wondering, I'm modeling Jonas after The Doctor. Here's the starting Chapters to what I'm calling "SteamPunk Mysteries". Its a project that I've wanted to start / make for a while now and will likely be a series of Novellas.

Err.. a short Writers NOTE when reading; when I started this story my only inspiring thought was 'Steampunk PI' Through the course of writing the first two chapters, the story has solidified quite a bit. This means that the first chapter is less realized than the second chapter. What this means is this is a first draft. Comment gently and don't worry if you're too confused. The next verion will be clarified and extended. Heres Chapter one. I'll post Chapter two after the phase one editing. Please enjoy!

The air crackled with pent up energy, blue sparks arcing from conductor to conductor. Jonas Mynfield stood over a bench of bubbling glass work tubes and flickering dials, heavy black gloved hands po'sed over panels of switches and toggles. His goggled eyes watched the dials that, to the casual observer, were spinning madly and without restraint. The gurgling of the beakers was drowned by the hum of electricity through thick cables, here and there sparking where the cables had been nicked. The entire confusion of wiring came from different places in the room; from the walls, power boxes on the floor or other strange equipment but in the end through splices and joins they all made their way to a table stood up on it's side where the frame of a metal man was strapped.
"Just a little more... ah, whats this?" Jonas spun his gaze over to a slot was spitting out reams of paper where a pencil on an arm was scribbling madly. "Oh! Oh.. ho... hmmm."
Jonas snatched the paper out of the slot and read through the lines carefully.
"Oh... hmm I see, I see. Not today I guess, not today..." His shoulders slumped and he threw a row of toggle switches. The lights dimmed, the electricity stopped crackling and the angry liquid stopped its bubbling, slowing into a happier state.
"I told you didn't have the right combination lad, too much of that and you'll wear that battery of 'is right out." An older man with skin like pale leather hurmphed from a seat in the corner. He heaved himself to his feet and waddled his way over to where Jonas stood, two of his four arms using canes to hold himself up. "The mystical sciences are delicate. Its all about balances. Too much any one thing and you end up with nothing!"
"Bah, to victory goes the .. ah, well I hope victory goes to me, eventually." Jonas cracked a wide smile and pulled his lab apparatus off, discarding the paper ticker tape along with rubber gloves, bandanna and goggles on a nearby table already cluttered with tools, parts and an assortment of unidentifiable objects. "Time is what I need, and real parts to get this metal man up and on his feet!" Jonas slapped his hand down hard on the metal frame strapped into the table. "Parts means money, unless, perhaps Paddy will go see her friends hmmm... no, no I don't think she'd do that for me, not knowing it was for me anyway."
"You can't trick that girl, she's sly to your games." Carver said, picking up a diagram that was half crumpled and examining it, shaking his head, "you can't get her to shake down underside merchants for your little games."
"Hmm yes, maybe not. Oh! Oh ho!" Jonas took a pocket watch from his jacket pocket to consult before quick stepping to a mirror. He brushed back his brown hair so that it stuck flat to his head and curled up a bit at the back and replaced the lab coat with a proper brown suit jacket. He was a tall man, with very little excess about him. Jonas had been told he was a graceful dancer, but he liked to think he was graceful in life as well. "It seems I have lost track of time."
"Again." Carver said bluntly.
"And my presence is expected elsewhere. it would not due to keep a beautiful woman waiting." He smiled into the mirror and adjusted his collar's clasp. " A man of my upstanding reputation as a, er... well I have a reputation of being very upstanding."
"More like you have a reputation for standing people up!" Carver coughed into his hand.
"Never the less! I do try to be on time, it is not my fault that alot of the time situations arise that demand my attention!"
"I think if you had less things that demanded your time this little project of yours would be up and running around by now." Carver grumbled, "why back in my first years as a student the boys and me had a little dog that we set to do tricks at a girl's feet. That was an in, you see, they thought it was cute and broke the ice with us lads. Got us a B+ with the prof of Mystical Animation as well. Best you could do with this thing now is tie a chain to it and anchor down a boat! You really think you can take it to the field with you when it's done?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do." Jonas sniffed, plucking his handkerchief a little more out of jacket pocket until it sat there like a delicate rose, "There are many monstrous threats that we deal with from time to time and a mechanical man is just the ticket to help this agency combat them. This city needs defenders of the little man!" He punctuate with his finger, "Not just those who can afford to pay to be safe! And this agency is just the ticket for them! Top notch service for bargain prices!"
"Hrumph, no wonder you keep me on as tenant to help pay the rent." Carver said, making his way to a lift that sat in teh corner of the lab. "if I paid you lot more, do you think you could bring an old man up from the basement and give him a room with a view?"
Jonas finished with his reflection and joined Carver on the platform, "out of the question. The offices need to be ground level and open for all size of common man. Paddy 'requires' private rooms, it is part of her employee package and quite frankly I would be loath to lose her employment on such a simple thing as breach of contract."
"With all your comings and goings I wouldn't want shared quarters either." Carver coughed, "and I lived co-ed in the Thimble barracks years two through six. Those were good years, used to be in old Thimble that you couldn't turn around without staring a pretty lady in the face. Why there was a sisterhood of Qua'lee priestesses taking introduction to Tourism staying on campus that had tentacles halfway down their trunks!"
"Er, yes... I see."
"I tell you lad, four eyes are twice as good as two for staring into."
"Hmm well logically I suppose thats true..."
"And those Slven Forkil they wore."
"I'll tell you when you're older."
Carver sighed, "they don't grow them like that anymore, makes an old man reminisce, it does."
"Ah... hmm, indeed."
The lift bumped hard and then lowered swifly, both occupants swaying with the motion as they fell to the lower levels of the old housing complex that both called their home. The lab took up the top two stories, and could only be reached by the lift or, if one cared, the back stairwell that had been condemned by a building inspector two years ago. Jonas had not bothered to repair it. To the back of the building were two stories of windows, the private apartments of Padilla Nimmers-Sach and Jonas himself. To the front the space was open with several small partions to act as meeting rooms and offices. One even boasted a magical hush that distorted the air around it making those inside blurred and their words. Shelves along one wall housed tropheys from previous assignments; a large bucket shaped mechanical head, its red eyes lifeless, a vase from the Jordan Su collection, handkerchief's and tokens from dozens of damsels. Artifacts both technologically and magical filled teh shelves, even a small collection of shrunken heads that Jonas had won in a game of cards with a headhunter. Swords and glaives, pistols and rifles, the volume and selection was staggering. A sign announced the whole offices property of 'Mynfield Investigatory Services'. It was through the large open offices that the lift dropped, puttering white smoke while it's bottom glowed the healthy blue of gavity defying devices.
"Hey, boy!" A voice called out from one of the offices as the lift settled into it's main floor cradle. Jonas cringed and his collar popped out a little bit. Carver patted him on his shoulder, nodding with a sympathetic way that said 'well she's right mad at you, glad its you not me!' and hobbled off to the entrance of his basement suite. Jonas smoothed down his collar, put on a bright smile and turned to face his co-worker.
"My dear Paddy, you look well today! Did you polish your scales? No, wait, something with your spines?" Jonas said as cheerily as he could.
Padilla Nimmers-Sach was a tall woman, and looked even larger when she was angry. The dull green spines that ridged her head bristled and her eyes flashed red murder. It did indeed look as if she had shone the black scales that flecked the skin of her arms and ringed her flat stomach, but flattery did not earn anything with her. Jonas might have found her very attractive if she was not actually standing in front of him; Paddy's was the exotic beauty that one admires from the glossy pages of a magazine, not in a head to head confrontation.
"You will not leave this place, not yet! We have business to discuss, you and I. There was a call. A call on the red phone."
"A call? Oh I must have missed it, oh hmm. On the red phone? Royal red I always say, yes I must have missed it when I was... when I was..."
"Wasting time, yes you missed it. I took the call. They almost did not speak with me. You know how it is. They gave me a message for you. Our services are required."
"Required... yes of course, they never really ask, they always assume. It's their right I suppose. Er, details?"
"Something has gone missing. Something from a place called Jurrik Labs. They can not use their own assets, they deemed it a suitable task for us. They would like it handled quietly."
"Jurrik? Hmm Hmm Hmm, yes quietly?" Jonas tapped his chin, "the call must have come from the Paloscia family, they own all... well not all of Jurrik, but enough to be concerned by something that's gone missing. Or broke loose more like it, knowing that lab and some of it's lower levels."
"I'll be needing the big gun then?" Paddy said, a strange glint coming over her eye.
"Gun? What... oh! Haha, um, no." Jonas said patting her on the shoulder from what he hoped was out of arms reach. "You see I have a prior engagement and, though I'm sure this is a very critical job, I simply can not in good conscience put this meeting off."
"It is more important than a call from the red phone?"
"Much more so, yes."
"I will get my jacket."
"Err, you're going out too?" Jonas asked nervously. It was always a hassle trying to be delicate with Paddy. Any physical feat she executed with precision and finesse but her diplomatic skills were seriously lacking. Simply put, the same dense skull that made her resilient when wrestling a mutant wildebeest also made her impervious to subtle hints.
"I'm going with you. We are a partnership. This sounds important. Tell me where we are going so I may select the appropriate weapons."
Jonas rubbed his temples. "The truth will out." He muttered.
"Paddy, I must be honest with you. I am meeting a young lady. A royal young lady. I have been pursuing this certain lady for a meeting for several months and, after a period of time I thought indicated her complete refusal of me, she has suddenly agreed to lunch with myself. Now I know you do not fully understand the complexity of the Royals, but to refuse such an offer is to close doors of opportunity. I must make this rendezvous."
"Does not refusing a call on the red phone also close doors of opportunity?"
"Not at all! Frankly speaking, I'm sure whatever mutant animal is at this time rampaging through the city will still be doing so t slightly later today. At which point the Paloscia family will be even more interested in hiring our unique services and the price will go up." Jonas said pointedly, "simple economics, supply and demand."
"Won't people get hurt?" Paddy asked.
"Oh I doubt it. People in this city seem to have the mindset of ants when it comes to danger. As soon as they see a giant with a magnifying glass, they scurry for their holes. I am very sure everything will work out." Jonas glanced at his pocket watch again and snapped it shut with a very loud snick, "now that this is settled, I shall be seeing you in less than three hours hence and we will, together, face this new affront! Agreed?"
"You're sure you can handle this yourself?"
"Very sure."
"Three hours?" The red of her spines was lessening to a more comforting blue shade that Jonas found much more appealing and, above all, safe.
"No more my good partner."
"In three hours then." Paddy said abruptly turning and walking back through their office. "I shall improve my capacity with the NumKali Stick sword until you return."
"Brilliant, those Num-call ee, marvelous people with their sticks and... well cheerio!" Jonas ran from the office as soon as Paddy's back had disappeared around a corner.
"A woman will be the death of me." He muttered to himself, then the image of Samantha Taras entered his mind and he smiled, "of course a life without them would be a fate worse than death."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One year and Counting...

I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back a bit, 'cause me and my lovely Wife Kristina just celebrated our first year of marriage! Maybe its not that big a deal, but somehow there's a notion in Society that alot of marriages don't last that long (and not just celebrity ones) We still love each other more than we annoy each other (most days haha) so I'm counting one year up as a win! We checked out Saskatoon's Shakespeare on The Saskatchewan's presentation of 'Midsummer Night's Dream. It was excellent.

Now since I said I would, I will upload the modified Prologue for 'Mirror, Mirror'. I'm having trouble figuring out how the first few chapters should go, to get Dawn into the other world. I usually don't have trouble with the fantasy stuff, its the real world writing that gives me grief. Anyway here it is, for what it is:

It was past midnight when the guards brought Abe forcibly through the door, roughly pushing the small shaking man to his knees before a low stone table. A rough hand hard as stone pulled a thick bag from his head, leaving Abe blinded by the sudden light. Abe tried to stand but a boot from behind pushed him down again, and this time he stayed still, shaking from pain and fear as much as from the cold. They had kicked down his door, stolen him in the night. Abe had thought himself safe, safe at last. Safe was the last thing that he felt now. He was terrified and cold. The sleeping gown Abe wore did not do much to keep out the chill that the room was emerged in.
"Where am I?" He asked after several minutes. There was no response. He didn't bother to ask who they were; he knew who they were. He had always known his enemy and what they were capable of. Somewhere in his mind he knew this day would come, but he had always thought it would be tomorrow. He supposed that it was after midnight, he had heard the great clock tower chime, the sound muffled through the sack that had been on his head. Today was tomorrow and here he was. The only thing Abe could not puzzle out was why he was not dead. There could only be one reason for that, Abe decided, and that was because they needed him. For some reason, unfathomable by Abe himself, he had become useful again. That gave the small man hope and he pursed his lips. Perhaps the date of his death would continue to be tomorrow after all. Slowly, painstakingly Abe eased his head up and looked around. The more he knew, the better equipped he would be to be useful.
Under Abe the floor was hard and stone, unforgiving and cold. The walls that he saw were the same cut, impenetrable and solid. Shelves lined the walls and books filled the shelves. Ancient tomes old and musty lay piled on top of newer volumes and shared residence with narrow tubes of tightly rolled scrolls and loose paper alike. Stone tablets lay leaning against walls, too heavy for the wood of the book cases and had, themselves, become tasked with holding still more books and papers. There was a stone table as well, thick slab and polished to a black mirror finish, piled high with writing tools; quills, ink pots with different coloured inks, paper weights sculpted into frightening creatures and sharp knives and course thread for binding pages. A small lamp hanging on a stand by the desk provided light to the entire room. It was a library and though every part of it screamed chaos and disorder, Abe could see that everything was exactly where it was supposed to be. He had a knack for seeing patterns.
Finally, there was a door at the opposite side of the library, behind the black polished desk, and now it opened to reveal a very distinguished looking man in the robes of a Librarian. Abe narrowed his eyes, he hadn't seen a Librarian for a very long time, but he remembered them vividly. The man's face was different, a squarish shape of grey almost bark-like texture with eyes like golden amber, but nothing else had changed. White robes slipping to the floor, layered hundreds of times and written all over with words in a thousand different languages had lost no detail over time. The cold demeanor remained along with a detached view of life as if they were above them, demi-gods in their own right. Pretentious. Abe remembered well the Librarians; he remembered that he hated them. Suddenly his need to be useful to this man seemed much less important than it had been a minute ago. Abe spat on the floor by the desk. The Librarian actively ignored the gesture.
The Librarian did not at first speak, but settled himself into a chair on the other side of the table and took some time to arrange several items in front of himself. A quill and parchment, the paper weighed down by a gargoyle and a leopard. His hands made a flourish of pulling a small package from his robes and place it on the desk to his right. Only when everything had found it's proper place in front of the man, did he raise his amber eyes and stare down at Abe, still kneeling and shivering in his bed clothes in front of the black desk.
"Abe Capus," The Librarian started, "for a time we had believed you dead like the rest of your threader brethern."
Abe grunted, "good. I went to alot of trouble to give that ah... illusion. I trust you had a devil of a time finding me?" He chuckled but then grimaced, pain lancing up his side. One of the guards had struck him to stop Abe from running and the bruise was rising red and hot now, making movement painful.
"Hmm, indeed. Troublesome." The Librarian gestured and a rough hand brought Abe to his feet. "I am glad that your skill has not deserted you. It would be unfortunate for your life to be spared only to have lost your magic. Some might call that a sacrifice not worth making."
Abe's blue eyes burned with fury, "Sacrifice. Heh. What do you know of sacrifice? Were you there? Did you see the piles; burning. The flesh sacrifice your kind made of us made to your beautiful Queen? The ash rose to the ceiling, suffocating."
"I did not exist then, but I have read about it. I have committed every detail to memory. Every Librarian since has." The Librarian waved his hand again, dismissing the the topic with a finely boned hand. "I am more interested in the present, and how we can help each other now."
"That's the way it is. You're forgotten until someone decides that you're useful again." Abe glanced around warily, "might be I can help, though you've got a strange way of asking. Still, I most likely won't, you being who you are and me being who I am and all."
"There could be no room left for refusal." The Librarian said plainly, "your acceptance is not optional, you will help us."
"Heh. I think you might not have taken into account that I still remember how Librarian's helped kill my order. You books and Cloaks have alot of blood on your hands; blood I used to know. No amount of threats will change my mind about that." Abe said. "And I don't have much left to lose. Seems I'm already dead, it'd be aweful hard to threaten me with taking away something that I don't have anymore."
"Hmm. Yes, perceptive of you." A slight smile graced the Librarian's lips, a ghost on the pale face. "No I thought to offer you something that you'd lost. For what it is worth, I personally think the events at the end of the war were a waste, so much loss for so little gain. My ancestors thought it would bring eternal peace. Recent history has proved them wrong, very very wrong." There was almost a hint of sadness in the Librarian's voice, "I hope to remedy some of their past mistakes. Pay back some of what has been taken."
"Well let's hear your offer so I can refuse it." Abe said. Somewhere inside his head there was a voice telling him that he wasn't being careful, that this man in front of him could solve all the problems, fix all the wrongs. Another curious part of his brain was aching to see what this Librarian would offer him; Librarians were collectors and seekers of knowledge, it might be anything, depending on the task they would commission him for. There was, of course, the wary Abe Capus, the hand that had been burned, or so close to burned, that it was not likely to play with fire again. The memories of the burning piles stood out fresh in his mind, the smoke ever present.
"Do not be so quick to judge the son by the father," The Librarian reached into the his robes and withdrew an egg shaped device that glowed golden colors of fire. It was bound with silver chains and upon the chains hung seven locks each lock wrought from a different colored gem stone. The colors shone off Abe's face and his eyes opened wide in wonder, all thoughts of revenge and vengence slipping form his mind.
"A fate egg..." He shook his head, "it's a trick. They were destroyed in the Fire."
The Librarian smiled, not unkindly, "you of all people should know that a dragon's egg is not so easily consumed."
"The Queen..."
"The Queen slumbers. True, her angels always watch us but they are confined to their orders. THe eggs were destroyed, every one of them. Just the same as you died with all the threaders that day." The Librarian said, leaning forward and holding the egg out, the golden colors splashing across his pale hand. "One lock was opened when we claimed it, no doubt in service of your old master, one lock we require you to open for us. The other five are yours. So long as you use the egg to change one fate for us, I care not how you bind the others. That is the deal I offer you."
"A fate egg." Abe reached out with his hand and reverantly plucked the egg from the Librarian's hand. It was warm, as warm as the first time Abe had held one. His fingers still knew the way of them, the hidden patterns and secret lines. His mind raced back, before the War when there had been much peace. Master Oshi had led the youth through the labryths, them running and playing while he had walked crooked with age, cane in hand. At last they came to a door that only fate magic could open and he found the doors thread and pulled it so it would open. Into the vault he led the childern. Abe remembered stopping at his play, walking in reverence; even the childern could feel the power of this place. The eggs had been in the middle, on a wooden bench and Old Oshi had let them all touch it.
"One day," he had told them, "One day you will use one of these to great consequence." They had been warm that day too, the fate eggs.
Standing in the cold Library room, holding the egg, Abe felt suddenly warm.
"I'll do it."
The Librarian smiled, but there was no warmth in it, "I knew you would. How would you like to proceed?"
"With haste," a grin broke out on Abe Capus's face. The egg glowed warmer in his hands and seemed to drink all the other light in the room. Golden rays glinted off Abe's wide smile, his teeth gleaming wild. "You wanted a threader, you got him! Let's put this world on its ear!"
Abe lifted the egg above his head and the egg shone all the brighter. Shadows were cast, shadows that squirmed and wriggled like worms in a fire, snaking all through the room and trying to hide from the light. As the light increased, so did the depth of the shadows until it could be plainly seen by everyone in the room that the shadows were threads, some thick some thin.
"Blackest sorcery!" Muttered a guard behind Abe, but the Librarian said nothing, taking it all in with his amber eyes, a smile playing across his lips.
"No, its a magic that hasn't been seen for a hundred years... Fate magic." the Librarian breathed.
Carefully Abe carressed the egg and the one of the locks popped open with an audible 'BOOM' much too loud for such a small device. The sound echoed through stone and bones, reverbrating time itself. The fate threads twisted away from it. From the open lock out hissed a red thread, firey and thick. It's head twitched and snapped back and forth as it spooled out from the egg. Abe looked at it wild passion in his eyes.
"A neutral fate thread. Haven't seen one of those before eh? Its powerful enough to change any fate, any destiny. Now we have to be quick... it'll consume other threads if we let it, trying to find it's place in the world. What fate do you need changing?"
The Librarian passed his hand over the document that he had laid out on his desk. There was a fat solid looking thread attached to it and it ran out off and through the ceiling above them. "This prophesy. I need it to happen sooner than it is meant to."
Abe gritted his teeth. Prophesies were dangereous to meddle with. "How much sooner?"
"As soon as possible."
"You'll get it..." Abe reached out with his hand and gestured, the thread coming out of the scroll stiffened and then pulled itself closer to Abe. THe firey thread from the egg, looked at it hungrily and Abe muttered words under his breath. The two threads melded, twining together with a flash of light brighter than the glow from the egg. When the flash had subsided the scroll's thread was flecked with red, like dying embers. THere had been a moment of struggle, but the red thread was the stronger and overwealmed it's victim. Abe let his hands fall, still clutching the egg fiercly in his right.
"There, it's done. Whatever prophesy you wanted, it's going to happen sooner than later. Now, if its all right with you, sir, the sight of you sickens me. I'll be taking my leave." Abe started to turn, waiting for the command he knew would come. He held tight to the fate egg with it's two opened locks.
The Librarian consulted the prophesy on the table and smiled, noting the changed phrases, the accelerated dates of the occurrence. He nodded his head quietly and proceeded to roll the scroll back up and tuck it away into his sleeve.
"You know why your side lost, Abe Capus?" The Librarian said mildly, "Trust. To think you thought we would let a master of Fate magic keep one of the most powerful Fate artifacts ever created. You must be a fool!"
"No," Abe said grimly, "I'm not."
His fingers worked fast on the surface of the egg and of a sudden the threads were back, one to bind everything. The guards loomed forward, rough hands grasping but Abe's fingers were quicker, he plucked at their fate strings and sent them sprawling off balance. The Librarian roared, an unearthly sound coming from someone who looked so mild and fragile, and leapt from the floor onto the top of his desk in a flurry of white silk. Abe grabbed hold of the Librarian's thread and his face split in a wicked grin.
"Careful, that locked opened up alot of energy, seems I can do a few more things than when your men kicked down my door." Abe backed towards the exit and everyone in the room was powerless to stop him.
"Fate is a funny thing, it hates to be lied to. You said I'd be given this egg and my freedom. That was a lie, apparently, but I'm going to make it true. fate likes that, likes when things happen that are supposed to happen. Even though I changed your prophesy, Fate likes for what was supposed to have happened, to have happened. Remember that Librarian." Abe made a stiff little bow and vanished through the door.
the guards made to pursue, but the Librarian halted them with a wave of his hand.
"It's useless. He was won that game." The Librarian pulled out the scroll from his sleeve and tapped it against the desk, "or perhaps we've won after all." The Librarian smiled his thin pleasant smile again and retreated through the door he had entered through. The guards blew out the candle and the room was dark.