Philosophical title, eh?

It’s been a while and I thought I’d make a change to my old style of just posting excerpts from whatever story I happen to be working on. Blogs are supposed to be more about the person, not just what they do.

I’m not very good at being a normal person though, so this is gonna take some getting used to.

Well, here goes…

I’ve been writing for a good number of years now, around five or six of which have been spent writing a novel. Said novel went through a few iterations before I finally settled on what I wanted and, eventually, I finished writing it – the feeling was fantastic. But the idea of editing it just made me bury my head in the sand, so it sits unedited to this day. I kept telling myself I’d go back to it, but other ideas would come along and I’d start writing those instead, and now it’s got to the point where other ideas mean that huge changes need to be made to the story, for it to tie into what I have planned next.

I even started to wonder if being a writer was really who I am, really what I want to do. Often I’d question myself because (and I realise how silly this is now) so-called experts/professionals on social media would say things like, “if you don’t write every day, you aren’t a writer,” or something to that effect. It got me down, so much so that I questioned my own future, and nobody worth anything would cause someone to think like that.

So, I took a look inside myself (not literally, that would be decidedly fatal) and I realised that I’m in a job that I’ve grown to hate, I’d taken to spending most of my time alone and would even refuse to go out with friends, because I’m no good at talking to people and I didn’t want my friends to see that.

Ask me to write a conversation between fictional characters and I can write pages of dialogue, to a reasonably decent and realistic standard. Ask me to have a conversation with real people? Words fail me.

What can I say? I’m a writer, not a talker.

Having said all that, I’m taking steps to improve things. I’ve given myself six months to leave my current job and find a way into the writing career I want. I’m going to genuinely make changes to the novel and, once ready, I’ll edit it or at least release it to beta readers.

I’ve even started reviewing games with a view to a career in games journalism, and now have around ten published reviews online.

Hell, I’m also actively being more social with friends and colleagues.

None of this is easy, and all of it will take time, but it’s a start.

A sorely needed, fresh start.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve not written much fiction lately, so this challenge has come along at an unusual time. That said, it could be a great time, as I’ve decided to share a piece of my novel in an attempt to push myself into getting it edited.

The challenge has been set for me by the lovely Paige Randall. Despite having only ever met her in the digital sense (via Twitter) she’s been a positive influence on my writing and this, I suspect, is why she chose to nominate me for the 7-7-7 challenge.

The idea is to take a work-in-progress (WIP), jump to the seventh line of the seventh page, then share the next seven lines. It’s a nice idea, hopefully showcasing something interesting from the early stages of whatever you’re working on and letting others decide if the writing is doing its job.

And so, you’ll meet Niiko in the middle of a fight scene, but she isn’t all that she seems…

– – – – – – – – – – –

Niiko noticed the beauty of the blade in a fleeting moment of clarity, the fine detail of the ancient Athrinian runes etched into one edge, the dim blue glow of the circular crest above the hilt and how the sword’s softly-curving blade resembled a desert snake’s body.

An intense pain racked her body, shattering the peaceful clarity before quickly dissipating, leaving her numb once more.

The demon would not release her without a fight.

* * *

The cloaked ranger heard the familiar hum of Shadowfell, its thirst for blood finally sated. Using the black cape of the downed assassin, he wiped the excess gore from the blade’s edges and turned toward the girl.

Her slender fist broke his nose, blood spraying as his head snapped back and he thundered into the dirt.

“Fool,” the voice hissed unnaturally from the girl’s lips, “you think I would fall so easily?”

– – – – – – – – – – –

Now, I don’t really have anyone to nominate for the 7-7-7 challenge myself, but I will at least urge you to visit my friend, Andy Flood, and read his wonderful variety of writing at Words Beyond.

The council meeting had not gone well. They had lost all hope, heedless of Darus’ own belief. “Misplaced,” they had called it. “A fool’s hope,” they said.

 

He stood on the balcony outside the now empty council chambers, overlooking the deserted gardens outside the city walls. Flowers had already begun to wilt, shrubbery withered and the grass grew taller by the day.

 

The girl sat at the edge of the garden, looking out across the plains. She had been there for days, silently guarding the city gates. Whatever drove her, he would likely never know, but he had seen what she could do and it had given him the hope that the council had so easily dismissed.

 

His wife, Orla, appeared at his side, clad in armour.

 

“What are you doing in that?” He demanded.

 

“They are coming, Darus. She is coming. I am not going to stand by and do nothing.”

 

“You shouldn’t-“

 

“This is no time for misguided chivalry, my love.” She turned to face him now, laying a hand on his cheek. “I will not wait to die in here, I won’t let you die alone out there. If the world falls, I will be right beside you.”

The following story was inspired by this image.

The following story was inspired by this image.

 

The Four ruled here once, many lifetimes ago. Their Towers stand vacant at the four corners of the world, locked by powerful magicks that no mortal can dispel.

A generation has passed since all trace of The Four’s presence disappeared from historical records, by the emperor’s decree. His fear of the prophecy blinds him, and in his madness he leaves the world to fall into ruin.

I left the world behind, choosing to live in solitude by the sea. I refused to destroy the historical texts, instead hiding them away in a library secreted away beneath my home.

The ignorant tyrant can keep his empire.

I still believe in The Four.

*

*

Photo provided by http://helenfloodphotography.wordpress.com/

She was small, maybe five feet or so, with the cutest little hint of fat peeking over the waist of her underwear. This belied her agility, as she soon showed by leaping into the branches of the trees above, swinging up and perching overhead, bare feet curling round the branch. Her yellow eyes, like a wild cat’s, looked down on Kym from the trees, watching with a mix of curiosity, fear and mild recognition.

How long had she been living out here in the forest? Kym wondered. She must have been born out here, those eyes weren’t human, must’ve developed over time. But how had she grown to adult size, what creature had protected the girl through childhood?

At length, the wild girl slowly clambered, insect-like, down the tree trunk. She tilted her head, brown hair hanging lank down one side of her face, loose strands clinging to her sweaty, dirt-streaked face in the humid atmosphere.

Those yellow eyes fixed Kym with their primal stare.

“Friend?” The wild girl asked.

Kym smiled. “Friend.”

It was too easy. No traps, no guards. Just a simple cave, the flame of the torch sending shadows scuttling into crevices and behind rocks, illuminating no magical runes or trick floor panels.

      Arriah wondered if he had read the maps wrong, maybe been off in his estimations. Maybe he had read it just fine and the map itself was wrong? The possibilities ran through his head, driving him a little mad as he scoured the cave for any sign of life.

      Or unlife, in this case. Or perhaps it should be death?

      Too many questions and not a single answer presenting itself.

      He followed the cave for what felt like hours, its bland walls revealing nothing more than sandy rock and the odd drop of moisture that fell from above. But there was a feeling in the air, like he was being watched, like hundreds of eyes gazed upon him with disdain, maybe even lustful hunger for his life force.

      Perhaps he had read the maps right, after all.

      At length Arriah came upon an arch set into the rock, an ancient dialect carved in its now mossy stone, something so ancient that even he could not read it.

      “Turn back.” Arriah almost leapt out of his skin as the voice whispered in his ear.

      But there was nobody in sight.

      “Leave this place,” another voice rasped.

      “You are not welcome here.” Soon a cacophony of voices arose, repeated the same phrases again and again.

      The young magi regained his composure, the fleeting fright already forgotten, and studied the arch’s text in closer detail. Raising his torch, the runes became clearer in sight, if not in mind. This was a gap in his knowledge that he would have to fill another time, once his task here was completed. A ladder was needed anyway, he thought to himself.

      Passing under the arch, the cave walls opened out suddenly and enveloped Arriah in darkness. He uttered a minor incantation and the torch’s flame flickered and spat, a growing light spilling forth in all directions, illuminating everything within a mile as if it were bathed in noonday sun.

      The ruins of old Vún, the underground city of the long dead dragon people, stretched out into the inky blackness beyond the magi’s orb of daylight. Once great golden spires were now grey with age, covered with lichen fed by the dank conditions. Intricate statues of the Old Ones, great dragons that had supposedly ruled Silentil before Man was born, had eroded over time leaving them disfigured and grotesque.

      At least that’s what a lesser mind would believe, Arriah thought knowingly.

      Monuments, shrines, forges and living districts were all equally decayed or worse, with walls crumbled and broken, spilling out into the streets. Arriah passed them all as he journeyed further into the ruined and abandoned city, a specific destination in mind.

      “Where are you going?” Another voice, this one familiar, asked. A female figure appeared at Arriah’s side, matching his pace.

      “Death has no business here, Ina,” the magi replied with casual disdain.

      Ina was a spirit, usually sent by one of The Order to spy on Arriah. They were blind old men, still trying to convince the world that magic was dead instead of embracing their power. Ina was once of The Order, a bold young woman who would pry in every affair.

      Little wonder she was killed in her sleep.

      “Death watches all of you,” Ina hissed. “She knows you’re here and she is not happy. This place was sealed for a reason, Arriah. This place was cursed for a reason.

      “If she is so concerned,” he smirked, “then why did she send The Order’s puppet, instead of coming herself?”

      The spirit had no answer. Her surprise evident.

      “Oh, she has no idea why I’m here, does she?” Arriah laughed. “The all powerful Nirsa, Spirit of Death, hasn’t a clue why a lowly mortal enters the Dead City of Dragons?”

      He was positively gleeful. All these years of being dogged by The Order, by Ina, by Death herself, and none of them had any idea what was coming.

      “Don’t be so sure of yourself, Arriah. If you anger Death, she will come for you.

      Arriah stopped, looking up. Ina followed suit, her mouth agape.

      A cathedral stood before them, its golden towers so huge that they even escaped the magi’s light source. Massive windows decorated the front of the building, painted glass depicting dragons and flame and strange men on their knees, worshipping the chaos. The Dragon People of Vún.

      Arriah stepped forward, scaling the steps before the entrance. He turned back to the stunned spirit of Ina.

      “You and I both know that Death has no power here.”

 

This is from a new story that I started last week, one that started (as usual) as a short story and ended up bringing forth ideas of something much bigger.

I got lost in the setting, the new characters, the mystery of Arriah’s purpose and motives, and I got absolutely sucked into discovering this new story.

Please leave any feedback in the comments below, or even via Twitter (@BlueFury47) if you’d prefer.

Nobody knew his name.

A giant, he towered over everyone. Over seven feet tall, bare chested and bedraggled, blood lust in his eyes and a man-sized broadsword in one meaty fist. His men stood apart from him, afraid of both the creature himself and the havoc he would create once battle commenced.
Known only as “War” because people were convinced he was one of the Worldenders, the barbarian feared nothing. Destruction was his birthright and he revelled in it.
He looked out over the plain, beyond the dirt and dead grass, surveying the enemy host lining up opposite them. Numbering nearly a thousand, they would have been even in number if it weren’t for him.

 

 

 

It has been a long time since my last post here. For one reason or another, writing had become difficult for me and my confidence waned. Now that I have dealt with that and am becoming happier in my writing beliefs, I hope to write more.

I have many ideas rattling around in this brain of mine, one of which is seen above, at least the beginning of it anyway.

Fear Itself came from an initial attempt at writing a 750 word story for submission to a competition but ultimately grew into something much larger, something that I may develop into a much longer story.

I have started a new short story, again finding that it has already grown into something much larger. I will post an excerpt of that too, in the very near future.

 

Make no mistake, this is a resurrection for both my writing and this blog.

The night had been uneventful. Perhaps they had finally learned to fear him, the way it should be.

He stalked the rooftops anyway, watching the humans scuttle about like insects on the street below. Scared shadows darted through circles of light beneath street lamps, knowing their place at the bottom of the food chain.

A lone truck headed toward town, bright headlights preceding its speedy arrival.

 Too speedy.

The ground began to shake, shockwaves causing the buildings to tremble and knock him off balance. Steadying himself, he watched as showers of dirt and concrete spat from the earth behind the speeding truck, concealing some terrible form, its colossal shape lunging in and out of the ground in the ever-expanding storm of debris.

Another explosion of dirt detonated behind the truck, causing the driver to lose control. Tyres squealing, rubber grinding uselessly against uneven ground, it jackknifed.

From the shower of asphalt and earth, a screaming beast emerged. A wyrm, its maw unfolding like toothed wings in an unholy shriek, reared out of the ground. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the monster arced through the air, its snake-like body a skyscraper in length and girth. With impossible quickness, it crashed through the concrete road, the truck obliterated by the cataclysmic force.

Watching the spectacle unfold below, he grinned. Breaking into a run, then a sprint, he calculated where the wyrm would emerge. Sure enough, it shattered the asphalt below, the violent quake almost obliterating the structures around it.

Pulling the barbed metal whip from his belt, he leapt from the crumbling rooftop.

Aiming for the beast’s gaping maw.
The night was about to get interesting, after all.

 

 

Once again, I’d like to apologise for the poor formatting. No matter what I do, WordPress makes a mess of the formatting, creating odd spacing between lines and often completely ignoring indentations and the like.

Hopefully you’ll forgive these issues and just enjoy the story.

Protector

 

 

The shadow towered over them, a monster in the doorway at the end of the hall. It bore down on them, a steady and inexorable approach, the threat of harm thick in the air.

His friend, sword clutched tight and staring defiantly at the blackness that poured into the archway, was no match for this beast. He was brave but young, innocent to the ways of battle.

Heedless to the danger, he leapt between the young boy and the onrushing beast, baring his teeth and snarling a warning to the monster as it approached the door arch…

 

* * *

 

The letterbox rattled, mail dropping harmlessly to the floor.

“It’s okay, boy,” his owner whispered, bending down to softly stroke the puppy’s head. “It’s just the postman.”

Accepting the affection, the young dog watched the shadow recede from the doorway before turning to his young friend, the baby boy running to him, smiling wide and embracing him lovingly.

Brent sat on his bed, trying to wake up and start his day. Rubbing his eyes, he stood and opened the curtains lazily to flood his bedroom with the hazy light of the spring morning.

    As usual the view was somewhat spoiled by the junk yard behind his house.

    “What the hell’s that?” he wondered aloud.

    Atop one of the many piles of rusting metal and assorted timbers, a shape lay slumped over the remains of a car door. Wrapped in plastic, whatever-it-was resembled a body, its head twisted back at an unnatural angle.

    He dismissed it as his imagination, hauled himself to the bathroom to wash up. Upon his return to the bedroom, curiosity getting the better of him, he looked over to the junk yard once more.

    His blood ran cold.

    The plastic-wrapped body was sitting up, head lolling painfully to one side, its gaze locked on to Brent’s wide eyes. He had to believe this was a nightmare, closing his eyes and wishing for it to end. Opening them again, he let out a sigh of relief as the body had disappeared.

    Think it’s time to lay off the sauce, he thought.

    Brent froze again, the sound of rustling plastic wrap coming from behind him…

September 2016
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