Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Sketch

They look similar, but these are not the same dragons.

Just more head shots, playing around with horns. Wanted to see a little color too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Morgan Chronicles

He locked the door, and the metallic click made my skin crawl. It felt like a death knell for the man I'd left behind. I was certain he wasn't what I was hear for, and I made myself forget about him as the vampire guided me through the halls.

Sometimes neutrality sucks.

The vampire grabbed me by the upper arm, dragging me along the hall. "Hey," I barked. "I'm not going to try anything funny." I bit my lip as I stumbled. He jerked me closer, and I lost my balance. "I can walk on my own."

We stopped, and I stared at him. He glared back, his mouth a tense line. "Humans always attempt escape."

My arm was starting to go numb, and I might bruise if he kept gripping me like that. I said nothing, trying to show him how docile I could be. "You'll just catch me again. I wouldn't know where to go even if I did get free. I'm yours, I know it, so let's just get along." Straightening my shoulders, smiling brightly, I introduced myself. "I'm Morgan Grey. From what my cellmate said , I'm guessing you're Martel."

He said nothing, just turned and continued down the hall. "The mistress will be pleased by your compliance." Martel still spoke in that flat voice, but there was just a bit of curiosity in it. Not often that the cow offered to go up the slaughterhouse ramp.

We walked for a while, up stairs and through halls. The complex was huge, and seemed to have been built all at once, not added on to as her brood grew. It was opulent, and the richness of everything appealed to me. Given a choice, I might enjoy vacationing here. Especially if everyone was as good looking as Martel.

Eventually we stepped into a solar. I smiled to myself, wondering why I was calling it a solar; vampires don't need sun rooms, so maybe it was a lunar. I stifled a giggle, and Martel shot me a dirty look. I apologized, then followed him to the woman in the middle of the room.

She was petite, pale, lounging on a rose-colored divan, dressed in only her auburn hair. Not knowing she was a vamp, I'd have placed her in her late teens. No way of knowing how old she really was, but my implanted memories said she'd ruled this area for at least two centuries.

Martel stopped us a few feet from her divan. She studied me with languid eyes, and I tried to look non-threatening. I wasn't sure how I'd accomplish that when I was nearly a foot taller than her, but she was also under the impression I was merely human. I needed to work that to my advantage.

We all remained quiet, and I surreptitiously studied the rest of the room. Doors led to other parts of the estate, tall windows overlooked lantern-lit gardens, and a fountain splashed and burbled in a corner.

On a table beside the mistress, I saw my music player, my necklace, and my wallet. I reached to my throat, impressed that I hadn't realized the moonsilver balance scale was missing.

She saw the direction of my gaze, and smiled softly. "Are you surprised that we searched a stranger before bringing her in?"

"Not really," I said softly, dropping my hand. I met her eyes briefly, then dropped my gaze. Must remain docile. Must lay low until I discovered my goal.

"We know you're not from around here. You don't even smell like the natives." The mistress sat up, hair falling away from tiny breasts. "Who are you, and why are you here?"

I chewed my lower lip, wondering how much I could tell her. I didn't normally have to explain myself. Not that many realms actually knew of the Grey Lords, or would understand my duties to Balance. I wasn't fast enough to lie, and hated when I was forced to.

Someone entered the room, bare feet padding across the stone floor. My nerves all raced with electricity, my breath catching in my throat. I looked up, my eyes wide, and I watched as a small boy came to the mistress's side. Gunmetal blue eyes met mine, and he beamed a smile at me.

The pit of my stomach dropped. This kid was why I was here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Sketch

A plethora of dragon sketches. I like doing headshots, since there's so much to their crowns, and the scales around the eyes, and the way they tilt their head.

A lot of dragon body language is actually based around their head, and which angle they tilt to.

In the upper right, you'll also see a drake. A drake is a cousin to the dragon. Both are sentient, magical beings, but dragons are more violent, and drakes are slightly more peaceful and contemplative. It's not to say drakes won't fight, and they're still meat eaters; they just prefer to solve their problems through debate rather than duels.

Because drakes are not as violent as their dragon cousins, they haven't developed some of the same physical displays as dragons. Dragons have bristly spikes and scales, and they look intimidating. Drakes tend to have spiral horns and smooth scales. To make up for this, they were more jewelry and armor. It's a combination of beautiful jewelry and violent display, meaning they have jewels and chains on sharp edges.

Drakes are weird like that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Morgan Chronicles

I came to all at once, grogginess falling from me, making me suddenly aware of my achy head. My breath caught in my throat at the blinding pain, and I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes.

"You're up early." The speaker was male, his voice soft, surprised. I heard a whisper of cloth as he approached, the air of his passage painful on my skin. I swore to myself, upset that my senses were working so hard; they were as much a disadvantage as an advantage like this.

He sat beside me, the thin mattress shifting beneath his weight. I groaned, dizzy, and tried to regain control. How hard had I been hit? A soft hand touched my shoulder, and yet it was painful to my hyper-nerves. I winced, concentration gone, and tried to pull away.

"What's wrong?" he asked, withdrawing his hand.

I shuddered, rolling onto my side, feeling like I was going to be sick. I couldn't answer him, was trying not to feel him. My heart was racing, pounding like a tympani behind my eyes. I focused on slowing my breath down, on making my senses go back to normal.

He must have noticed the tension leave me, because he was touching my shoulder again, offering me a glass of water. "Feeling better?"

"A little," I croaked, sitting up, opening my eyes for the first time. The room was dingy stone, lit by two dim gas light. It seemed just a step above a cell, but it was definitely that.

I was on the only cot, my legs tangled in a ratty blanket. Now that I wasn't so overwhelmed, I could smell a chamberpot, human sweat, and plenty of fear. Studying my cellmate, I took in his condition. He was used, broken, hair a mess, skin dirty, his clothes falling off his frame. I saw a plethora of bite marks at every major blood vessel, and knew who'd captured me. "How long have you been here?" I asked.

"Long enough," he said, shuddering with revulsion. When I finished my water, he took the glass to get me more. "They keep the ones they don't like down here in the kennels."

He wasn't sued to company, and he kept turning his eyes away from me. "And the ones they do like?"

"Upstairs. With the mistress." He whispered the last, fear pouring off him. From his mannerisms, it seemed he was afraid of everything. If I'd grown up hunted by vampires, I might be the same way.

I leaned against the wall, suddenly hungry. "How long have I been here?" I hoped our captors kept a feeding schedule.

"A few hours. Martel brought you in, told me to keep an eye on you. Said he'd be back for you." My celly trembled, facing the door as if he expected this Martel at any moment.

"Who are you?" Might as well make friendly with the natives when I couldn't do anything else.

"Doesn't matter."

I sighed, picking at loose threads on the blanket. This incarceration was going to be boring. The perverse part of me thought it would be more fun with the vampires than this defeatist.

That was uncharitable of me. He was a living buffet kept in a little room, with no means of escape. Of course he'd stopped caring. If I didn't know I'd be leaving this dimension when I finished my task, I'd be upset too.

I heard footsteps approaching, and turned to face the door. A key rattled in the lock, and my cell mate groaned in terror, shuffling to the back of the room. I swung my legs to the floor, but remained seated to greet my captor.

The man who stepped into the room was damn hot. Lithe, with broad shoulders, he wore only tight leather pants, tucked in black knee-high boots. A leather collar encircled his neck, and him slightly curly hair fell to his shoulders. Dark eyes met mine, and my skin crawled.

"You will come to the mistress." His voice was flat, inflectionless. He barely moved, and I'd have quickly figured out he wasn't human even if I hadn't been told.

"Well, let's not keep her waiting," I said, rising. The sooner I got all this done, the sooner I could go back to my vacation.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September Blog Chain

September's blog chain at Absolute Write is up and running. We're doing a writing exercise this time, getting the prompts from the person in front of us. Truelyana went before me, and I've been given the prompts Vera, killing, and gun.

So here I go.


Vera stared at my latest painting, a clove cigarette smoldering between her elegant fingers. I hated the smell of her cloves, had told her I hated them, hated how they made my studio smell for days after she visited, but she never listened to me. She never listened to me about anything.

"This is dark," she said finally. She dressed to match the cutting edge of the city's social circle, which this week meant hair purposely messed up and a pastel jogging suit. I hated it, hated that I had to kowtow to this bitch. I refused to believe she and her parasites knew what art was, but I knew I needed to sell my soul to them to get anywhere.

It was a savage circle that I couldn't break from.

Finally, she turned her soulless eyes to me. "What made you think of this?" She took a long drag from her cigarette, and I wanted to grind the ember into her face.

Killing those thoughts, I shrugged. "Dunno. It just came to me."

Lies. All of it was lies. I knew exactly what had inspired this painting. After Vera's last gallery opening, when one of her faggot friends attempted to lecture me on what art was, and what the pure angst of a soul was, I'd lost control. I'd wandered the streets for two days, unable to return home, growling and muttering to myself. Some asshole had pulled a gun on me, wanting to mug me, and I'd beaten him to death with my bare hands. Only after that could I come home.

I'd kept the gun. It was on my nightstand, the barrel pointed right at my pillow. I went to sleep staring at it, and it greeted me every morning. I liked it. It reminded me that humans needed trappings to feel powerful.

Except me. I needed no trappings. I created with these hands, and I destroyed with them. Since that mugging, I'd found three more lives to take. It was empowering, and I wanted more.

I wanted Vera to take me to one of her little groups again, so I could show them all my new power.

"Well, it's excellent, Darling. Everyone must see it. Can you bring it by the gallery tomorrow?"

"Of course." I kept my voice low, but I was excited. The single bullet that had been meant for me was going to blaze its way amongst the social elite.

And I would follow, and show them an artist's true angst.


Here's the Blog Chain, as it is now. Enjoy, and check out some other interesting pieces.

My prompts for LostWanderer are:
  • Jake
  • seeking
  • garden

Fokker Aeroplanbau
Claire Crossdale
Lady Cat
Tara McClendon

Sunday Sketch

This is already on my Deviant Art account, and in my sketchbook, but I wanted to repost it in the blog for those who watch me.

These were originally doodles for me to practice doing some gnarly mouths, all crocodile style. I worked more on the mouths in the doodle than on the rest of the beast. The heads came afterwards.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Morgan Chronicles

I stepped off the curb, absorbed in my music, and was carried to another dimension. The vertigo of planeshift passed in a heartbeat, and I swore violently. "I'm on vacation," I growled at my unseen bosses, knowing at least one of the Grey Lords had to be watching me still. "I'm not supposed to be on call." No one answered, and I gave a heavy sigh. So much for rest and relaxation. Putting my earbuds in my pocket, I took in my new surroundings.

It was dark, chilly, and a low mist covered the ground. The sky above held neither moon nor stars, and a single lamp a hundred yards to my left glowed brighter for having no competition. Gravel crunched beneath my feet as I approached the lamp, achingly loud even to my recently music-polluted ears. A wall of trees loomed on either side, the loam around their roots smelling of decay and dampness.

I shivered, getting a bad feeling.

Stepping into the creamy light of the lamp, I heard the soft hiss of gas. I groaned, hoping I wasn't in another pre-industrial realm. I hated trying to conform to odd taboos; I'd yet to meet a realm like that without something being uptight about religion or sexual roles. But I went where my masters told me.

However, they didn't always tell me what I was supposed to do when I got there. I'd gotten good at figuring things out.

"Ain't she beautiful?" whispered a rough voice behind me. I whirled, fists coming up in defense. My heart raced, and I wondered why I hadn't heard the guy approach. Two men stepped into the circle of light, and I took several steps back.

"Very," the second guy said with a leer. His eyes rolled closed, and I watched his nostrils flare. "She's clean, and warm."

"Mistress'll want her," the first said. They stared with hungry eyes, and I felt my senses working on figuring them out.

The second guy took a shifting step forward. He wasn't scared of me; the gleam in his eyes and set of his shoulders said he was used to people being scared of him. Taking another step backward, I understood.

It came to me out of the depths of my mind, like dredging up a fact for a test. I didn't understand how the Gray Lords had given me this ability, but I was able to remember anything about a dimension once I started interacting with it.

What I remembered now was that I was in a Gothic wet-dream: vampires ruled the world; the sun hid behind massive clouds most of the time; humans lived in colonies like cattle. Every tid-bit let me know I was in trouble if I let these two touch me.

"Mistress won't mind if we try her first." Second's voice lowered to a rasp, his fangs bright against flushed lips. First followed him, eyes glittering, licking his lips sloppily.

I drew in a deep breath, let it out slowly as I prepared to fight. There was no fear about these two hurting me; as an agent of Balance, I had been given the skills and strength to survive nearly anything. I'd never tested my limits, but fist fights with vampires fell well within them. After I defended myself, I'd find out what was going on.

They charged clumsily, and I easily dodged them. First rounded on me, and I shoved him into Second. They fell in a tangle of limbs, and I spent a heartbeat staring in disbelief, then I dashed off into the night.

The darkness quickly swallowed me, thick enough to cut. I ran for several minutes, listening for sounds of pursuit, trying to move lightly on the gravel. My attackers were either flying or weren't following, so I stopped, and moved to the treeline. I couldn't see anything except the vaguest shapes, but I could feel the looming trees. Grateful for a heightened sense of equilibrium and spatial awareness, I made headway into the forest without stumbling. I could feel the trees disrupting the flow of air, and let it guide me.

A change in air flow caught my attention. Stopping, I raised my fists, going on the defensive. I spun slowly, trying to find the vamp I knew was there. Wherever they were, they were holding still, hiding from me.

As I started to move on, something moved. I turned just as something struck the back of my head. Groaning, I fell.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My cats are gay

Very gay. Really gay. of them is really gay. The other is just a total hedonist.

Ginger (the spare cat) is really gay. He comes up to Mackey, and he snuggles him, and licks and cleans him, and gives him adoring attention. It was kinda cute at first, and it wasn't that often.

Now, it's all the time. Ginger will even call for Mackey if he can't find him. And they've started spooning. Mackey likes to cuddle his face against me, and be held; Mackey is now doing it to Ginger. I just watched Ginger holding Mackey close, Mackey in a little ball shoving his face against Ginger's chest.

It's adorable. But gay.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday sketch

Dragons are mean and violent, and they often wear the marks of their battles. For the most part, they heal their wounds, but sometimes they keep their battle scars.

The coloring on this is not as good as I wanted, but I was just trying to do it fast. Just enough color to define him. Which is why I left the scar over his eye so pink; I wanted to make sure it stood out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August blog chain

Woo-hoo! It's my turn for Absolute Write's August blog chain. It's been a long wait, and I've been excited about it. There's been a lot of great posts so far.

Here's the question posted to me from Angyl78:

You've mentioned an annoyance with people who butcher the English Language, your co-workers and your animals throughout your blog. How do they influence your writing, and do you use any of them as models for main or supporting characters?

I like this question. Fun fun.

I try to learn from everything I observe, so I can use it later when I'm writing. I don't necessarily let co-workers or stupid people influence my writing, other than as a goad to not fall to their level. I definitely don't want to write for the lowest common denominator.

And yes, I am fairly snobbish like that. 8P

However, I definitely use everything and everyone as models for my writing. I observe everything around me for just that reason. I never know when I may need it, and store everything away.

Sometimes I need a vapid girl, who just wants to collect shoes and notches in her lipstick case. Maybe I need to have someone with a peculiar accent, so I think about the people I talk to on the phone. I have definitely used my pet crows as models for corvid behavior in my stories.

I've even used my job as a basis for a short story. It's still unpublished, but I wrote about a witch working for Arcane Support: she answered calls for witches having problems with spells and their tools. It amused me, applying the problems I deal with to a different setting.

Mostly, I use the stress from my job, my loathing of ignorant speech, and my abiding love for animals to fuel my creativity. Even if I'm not writing about them specifically, all that emotion is crafted into what I'm working on. They are the steam that powers my writing train. As much as it irks me to be behind people who drive like jackasses, or to hear someone tell me they're mashing buttons, or to be surrounded by people I can't respect, I don't think I could work without them. They are my contrast; the worlds I craft are perfect, and the one I live in isn't. Every now and then I need to peek out of my hidey place to see why I spin these tales.

So, I conclude the August chain. Check out everyone else so far, and be sure to keep in touch for the September chain.


August blog chain participants:

Claire Crossdale
Lady Cat
Forbidden Snowflake

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Self improvement

So, I'm finally getting motivated to fix some of my problems. It started as my old man's idea, but I'm running with it. I'm just too impatient to do it at his pace.

In coming up with ideas on how to "fix" myself, I've decided to give myself a schedule of sorts. Part of my schedule is going to make me get back into painting and drawing, even though I'll never make it as a career. (I accepted this a while ago) While I'll never be much good at it, I have fun, and my family seems to appreciate the little painted gifts.

I also want to start a serial story, of sorts. I'm resurrecting an old RP character I had on a message board, and I'm going to continue her posts. That RP board was mostly everyone just telling a little story, post by post. There was no game, or overall story, or anything. I had done quite a bit with her, so I've got plenty of old material to rewrite. Need to take out other people's characters and stuff. 8P

Because of this, I'll be adding a couple of set posting days to my blog. Look forward to that. I'm just trying to build up a few posts worth of stuff, so if I fall behind, I still have something available.