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.

No comments: