Thursday, December 31, 2009
My marketing director (that's fun to say) suggests getting ready for my book release by having character interviews. I would need to research it to get more in depth on the subject, but I'm fairly sure I know what that is; running an interview of my character.
And it really drove home the observations I've had lately.
My characters live, sure, but not in the way some authors suggest. It really seems like people treat their characters as if they're a living, breathing person, completely separate from themselves.
But it's not like that for me. These characters I create are extensions of myself, and of the story I want to tell. I don't have characters jumping up and down, begging me to let them take control. It's never been like that.
It's always been more like a little kid playing with their GI Joes or stuffed animals; you're in complete control, and you make the figure go where you want. I make the stories, and I make them dance to my whims. They're puppets, not human beings.
So, while I never grew out of that childhood play phase, I just found better toys. And it deeply amuses me to think about holding up my little doll and talking from behind her. *high pitched voice* "Hi, I'm Keila!"
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Although, today, I did get ahead a little. Things are going better.
Taking an author photo is a lot harder than I ever thought.
And I was in a strange place today. I was overwhelmed by what seems like a lot of stuff to do about my book, and I was in a nonsense little tizzy. Asked my old man what I'd do if I actually got fans and stuff, and he just laughed. Not at me, but this joyous happy little laugh. I asked him why he was laughing, and he said: writing is your dream, and I'm just so happy for you.
And then I realized how silly I am. Nothing else matters.
Because. I'm. A. Writer.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
and its bouncers. "What are you on about?"
~Lower your voice,~ he whispered, forging a link so tight it was
painful. ~One of us needs to be the pet, and that's not me.~
~I don't get a choice in the matter?~ We had to wait for a caravan
to rumble along the street.
~Not really. You want to find Steven, and this is the best shot we
have. Now quit arguing and just look pretty. I'll try to keep anyone
you find distasteful from using you.~ His voice was slightly
possessive as we crossed the street.
~So, you can refuse people?~ I was strangely curious about the sex
den, but not enough to want to participate.
~Yes. You're my pet, and I get the final say so.~ Almost to the bouncers.
~If you know how this place works, why didn't you say that about
Tessa?~ I tensed my arm, letting him know how upset I was.
Rhaelgyr stopped at the entrance, keeping me close, staring down his
nose at the bouncers. "Prince Rhaelgyr and one guest."
"Bondage night," the beefy guy on the left said. "She needs a leash."
I started to struggle, but the dragon squeezed my elbow until it went
numb. "Of course. Just a moment." He pulled us to the side to allow
another couple to pass by. Suppressing the urge to yell at him, I held
still as Rhaelgyr wrapped soft fingers around my throat.
Chaos magic tingled across my skin, and suddenly I was wearing a
leather collar and leash of barbed wire. Rhaelgyr wrapped the metal
strand around his fist, his other hand tracing my collarbone and arm.
Our breaths mingled, and I stared at him, anger boiling in my veins.
~So why couldn't you bring Tessa? You could have kept her from being
a meat puppet.~
Magic continued to tease my nerves, and I felt my simple shirt and
jeans changing. I started to repeat my question when Rhaelgyr jerked
me close, choking me briefly, his mouth just above mine. ~Because
we're going to need to put on a good show, and I refuse to touch that
animal in such a way.~ His forked tongue darted out briefly to trace
my lower lip.
I shuddered, struggling against the collar. The dragon hissed, and I
saw metal barbs digging into his silvery skin. Blood began to well,
outlining a fine network of scales. ~So you're taking me in just for
a chance to bed me?~
~Hardly.~ He ran his free hand up my side, barely touching my
breast, then through my hair. ~You're not unpleasant to the eyes,
but you are too delicate to be with a dragon. I would hurt you, and
you would find none of it pleasurable.~
The tingle of Chaos faded, leaving me properly dressed for a stint in
a bondage sex den. Rhaelgyr still wore his black silks and leather,
but I now wore black leather pants and knee boots, a corseted leather
bustier, and my hair in a ponytail. Lace covered flesh, exposing me
up the sides, but revealing nothing.
Lost in Rhaelgyr's possessive aura, I realized I was on display
without giving easy access. Bare shoulders and deep cleavage were
nothing compared to the outfit I saw another woman entering the club
~So nothing I don't want?~ I was still shaking, wondering just how
violent dragon sex got.
~Nothing. But we may have to play a little to. find your Steven.~
An image flicked across our bond; Rhaelgyr flaying my back with his
claws, making me scream as he filled me.
~No permanent wounds,~ I said hurriedly. Making out with the dragon
was one thing. Sleeping with this enticing elven form would be
another. But maiming and crippling were unacceptable.
~Sorry,~ he responded. ~That came from nowhere.~ Rhaelgyr led us
back to the entrance. He held the leash with some slack, letting me
walk comfortably beside him. Spicy dragon scent reached me over the
market smells, laced with a hint of blood.
I kept my face schooled, but gave him a mental smile. ~It's okay.
You can just say I'm hot.~
We strode past the bouncers, and the dragon let out a deep laugh.
Entering the sex club, I was distracted by the room, missing what he
might have said.
Friday, December 25, 2009
I perked up and started searching for the sandy blond head. "Where?"
Desperation laced my voice, and I pulled against Rhaelgyr's hold. The
crowd was thickening, flowing faster, and I could barely pick out
individuals before they were gone.
The dragon started sniffing the air, slowly turning to a tall building
behind us. "He's just gone inside, with two others."
"The slaver?" I grabbed Tessa, ready to head over as soon as Rhaelgyr moved.
"I would assume so. Only one female, and she reeks of human." He
opened his eyes, staring at me. "I believe that's a sex den."
My mouth went dry, a blush rising to my cheeks. "Like a brothel?"
His wicked smile framed his pointed teeth again. If he latched on,
there'd be no getting free without being torn up. "More like a big
orgy. Everyone brings their pets, and put them through various sexual
scenarios, and trade them amongst owners. Steven may not come back
out of there." Blue eyes darted toward Tessa. "If she goes in, she
will be assumed to be a party favor."
The human stiffened, clinging to my arm. I kept myself between her
and Rhaelgyr, though he hadn't directly threatened her. Thinking
about Tessa being passed around and used wasn't appealing, and
incensed me deeply. "But she can't be left unattended."
"You could just leave her if she's holding you back." Rhaelgyr's
voice was low, his eyes boring into mine; he meant it.
Tessa whimpered, but I didn't take my eyes off the dragon. He was
challenging me, testing my resolve, and I couldn't show weakness. "I
promised to get her out of Between if she showed me the troll market.
I intend to follow through." Hopefully compassion wasn't weak in
Letting go of my arm, Rhaelgyr's aura loomed over me again. I felt
how small I was compared to him. One dagger-sharp talon was almost as
long as I was tall. His venom would burn me to a crisp in a matter of
heartbeats. I was nothing compared to him.
Clenching my teeth, I stepped close to him, glaring. He couldn't
overwhelm me; I wouldn't let him. "I'm going to help Tessa, as well
as Steven." Rhaelgyr started to speak, and I carried on right over
him. "I tell you again; if you don't like it, you can piss off."
He burst out laughing, his aura dying down. "You're very spunky,
Setian. Maybe you're part dragon."
"Not hardly." I was still miffed, couldn't see the humor in the
situation. Tessa was trembling again, but I still didn't want to turn
my back on Rhaelgyr. Just because he was smiling now didn't mean he
wasn't dangerous, wasn't about to tear me up.
Rhaelgyr suddenly barked out a command, and the proprietor waddled
over. They spoke in a language I didn't know, the shorter man of
mixed heritage staring at Tessa, then finally nodding.
The dragon gestured at the bar. "Tessa will stay here, and work for
Gerther. Once we finish retrieving Steven, we will pick her back up."
"I don't want ti be left here," Tessa whispered. I finally turned to
face her, and found tears in her eyes once more. I wondered if all
humans faced their problems by crying. "It's either that, or you get
fucked by anyone that takes a fancy to you." Maybe a little vulgar
language would get her mind working.
"You're coming back?" She was growing more plaintive, and I fought
back my frustration. A little voice taunted me that it was compassion
that had me in this predicament, and I told it to shut up.
"Of course I am." I smiled brightly, ruffling her hair. "I'm just
going to get my friend, and then we go home. Can you wait that long?"
Tessa modded, chewing her lip, and shuffled toward Gerther. Sighing,
I followed Rhaelgyr toward the sex den. What the hell had I gotten
The dragon linked his ark with mine, and leaned over to whisper in my
ear. "You do realize you're going as my pet?"
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Then my mom died, and I pretty much severed all ties with her family. I'd long since severed ties with my dad's family. So it's been my made-up, cabbled together family for the last decade. Still a time of love and celebrating, with the people I really truly care about.
And now that I'm getting older, I'm beginning to really hate the holiday. Not the sentiment of being with family, and being halfway through the winter. That's still there.
I hate the commercialism of it. Something I never really paid attention to when I was younger, but now I see nothing but that. The crazy people rushing to get things they don't need. People blowing entire paychecks to buy stuff for people they barely know. The need to have the bigger badder toys, and the latest gadgets, and things things things.
I was doing my grocery shopping, and felt the overwhelming tide of greed and vaccuous commercialism, and it sickened me. I blamed Christmas and I hated it.
And that's when I realized I'm getting old. 8P I'm one of those people complaining about how it used to be better. Not that I really think the season was better when I was a kid; I was just young and naive and could enjoy it for what it was.
In other notes, go to You Tube and look up Van Canto. They're a metal cover band...that does it a capella. Yes, a capella metal songs. I lolled. They're awesome, and the lead singer has gorgeous eyes.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
"Kurlog said something along those lines. What do you two mean?"
Tessa was relaxing, her drink three quarters gone, and she watched us
silently. I wondered if my easy-going conversation with Rhaelgyr was
lessening her fear of the carnivore.
The dragon quirked one eyebrow, eyes glittering with surprise. He
stared at me for several moments, studying me, and I kept my
impatience at bay. "You truly don't know?"
An exasperated sigh fell from my lips. "Obviously not, or I'd know
what the hell you were talking about. Kurlog called Steven my little
boyfriend, and I don't think he meant it just because we were
Rhaelgyr extended his hand, moving around the table until he was at my
side. His elven form was well-muscled, just taller than me, but his
presence was enormous. It felt like he was looming over me, all scale
and claw and teeth. My heart skipped a beat. Knowing about dragons
hadn't prepared me for being eye-to-eye with one.
"May I try something?" he asked, breaking me from my reverie.
"What?" I slipped my hand into his, and his scent intensified.
His dark blue gaze bored into my head. The market noises slipped
away, the world becoming just him. "I want to check your memories."
Putting my hand in his must have counted as permission, because the
dragon was suddenly rooting around in my head.
The sensation of another being dwelling in my skull made me cringe and
try to pull away. Rhaelgyr's fingers tightened over mine. ~Shhhh,
little one. I won't hurt you.~ His words calmed me, and I relaxed.
Memories danced in front of my eyes as Rhaelgyr searched through them.
Meeting the dragon, sleeping with Kurlog, having Steven heal me.
Then travelling through dimensions with him, and Vara hitting me, and
the little boy Steven had been. Martel helping me, looking up to me,
feeding on me. Stumbling into the dark world of the vampires.
Then nothing. Just a blank wall.
Rhaelgyr growled, and I sighed as the connection broke. "What has
been done to you?"
"I don't know what you mean." A headache was forming, and I clutched
my brow. "I don't know what that wall is."
Tessa touched my side, comforting me through my distress. I touched
her hand, showing that I appreciated it. Rhaelgyr squeezed my
shoulder on the other side, confusing me. Why was the dragon being so
"Someone has blocked your memories," he said. Well, that explained
him comforting me.
"No one's blocked my memories. They're just a little screwy from
Vara's attack." Suddenly remembering that moment felt a little
screwy. These were brand new memories that felt like I'd had them the
whole time. It wasn't like having someone jog your memory, nor was it
like when I accessed knowledge from the Gray Lords. "My masters would
let me know if something like that happened."
"Are you certain?"
Rhaelgyr's lowered voice was highly effective. It cut through my
surety, seeking only the doubt. _Was_ I that sure? What did I have,
other than memories, to prove I had done all I thought I'd done in the
name of Balance. The wall we'd encountered went no further back than
when I'd stepped into the night realm. There must be a reason the
block was at that spot
"So what do I do?" came my a soft question. The market suddenly
seemed sinister and oppressive, and I wanted to be gone. But I had
Rhaelgyr at my side, and he genuinely wanted to help.
Or was really good at acting like it.
"We find Steven. I'm sure he knows why you are in this position."
Damn it all.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
And certainly, there will be more half naked men.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
So, in no particular order, these are my beloved pets.
This is my yellow-nape Amazon parrot, Aleister Growley. Yes, named after THAT Aleister. And he does growl. He's going on 10, and is an absolute charmer, and an absolute devil. I have a scar on my chin from him. That scar came from the last time he bit me hard enough to really draw blood. While he's given me some love bites, none have been that bad again.
I've had him since he was about five months old, and he only loves me. He likes my roommates, and is starting to lvoe my fiance, but he is my little boy.
And then there's Flash. My weird little snake who seems to be half-blind, and doesn't like eating frozen food anymore. Although, I'm proud of how much she likes to eat live and squirming food, it's expensive to get her live feeders.
Find her head here on the right.
Friday, December 18, 2009
So, I shall update my site with just the little news and updates, and put it in feed. Then I don't have to use the blog to announce things like this 8P
He beamed at me, revealing pointy white teeth. Some things apparently remained draconic. "It spooks the prey too much if I stay in my natural form."
"That makes sense. But how did you find me?" Tessa was pressed against my side, shaking. Apparently human instincts were sharp enough to recognize a dragon.
Rhaelgyr motioned me away from the lane, deeper into the stall. With a nod from thr dragon, the proprietor set three cups of his brew on a small table next to us. "Your smell stands out. And I knew you're little Chaos Lord was caught by slavers." He lifted the cup to his mouth, and I saw nail shaped like claws. Despite the nice clothes, Rhaelgyr was barely civilized.
I took a sip of my own drink, and relished the fruit drink. There was the barest kind of alcohol, and I set it aside, resolving not to finish it. I'd already learned my lesson about drinking around good looking men. Not that Rhaelgyr seemed likely to have his way with me in an open air market.
"Why are you helping me?" I asked, watching Tessa sip at her drink. Maybe the alcohol would still her nerves, make this easier for her to deal with.
"I have my reasons." He took a hearty drink.
Grinding my teeth, I glared at Rhaelgyr. "I'm not in the mood for this mystery bullshit. Tell me why you're helping, or piss off."
He started chuckling. I continued glaring as he escalated to a full bodied laugh, making heads turn toward us. "You really would refuse my assistance over a little obfuscation?"
"Yes." I tried to sound strong, but I was a little intimidated by the dragon, even in his elven form.
"You're so charming. No wonder Kurlog and Steven are smitten by you."
I rolled my eyes. "Whatever. You act like I'm someone special."
"If those two are to be believed, you are." Rhaelgyr's voice dropped to a reverential tone.
"Start talking," I demanded, tired of not knowing what was going on.
"As the lady wishes," he said, voice humorless. "Where shall I start?"
"Try the beginning." Irritated, I could barely remain civil. Rhaelgyr was too polite to bring it up.
"You and Steven made quite an entrance," the dragon started, finishing his drink. "I felt the pair of you nearly break the walls, and I thought someone else was trying to claim the place. Angered, I came to investigate. I smelled you in the area, but found only Steven.
"He was frantic, deperate to find you. He didn't fear me, and was actually quite rude when he told me to leave him alone. I suggested that Kurlog had kidnapped you, but he wouldn't listen. The humans attacked then, activating Kurlog's defenses. I protected myself, Steven was wounded and drug off, then you showed up."
"It felt like I spent hours with Kurlog." I shook my head.
"Time is funny like that around that failed Chaos Lord."
I couldn't help but laugh. "You two despise each other big time."
Rhaelgyr smiled, forked tongue poking between his teeth. Damn creepy. "I do not despise him. I just see him as a fool and an idiot, and hate the he can thwart me. I will win eventually, so that is all that matters."
"Men," I said. "All that testosterone just goes to your head."
"You're lucky it's not a female draong here," Rhaelgyr replied. "They're far more fearsome when it comes to claiming new territory."
I waved my hand, cutting off that conversation. "So what did these two say about me?"
Rhaelgyr narrowed his eyes. "I'm beginning to suspect that Lady Morgan isn't entirely herself. Don't you know that Steven loves you?"
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Now I'm a little nervous about it.
How silly is that, being nervous of a photo? I mean, it's just a photo.
But it's the face I'm now going to be presenting to the world. And I'm going out this weekend to do so.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The troll was ugly, more brutish than the rest of his kind, and blind in one eye. He was hunched, like most trolls, so was only a little taller than myself. But he was twice my width in the shoulders, with arms nearly four feet long. If I were just a mortal human, I'd have hidden too.
Apparently the heavy brow and thick features came with a serious dose of stupidity, because he lifted his hand, staring and blinking at me.
I sighed, keeping up my disdainful act. "Is there a reason you stopped me?" Shoppers continued to shuffle in behind us, ignoring our little conflict. Cocking my hip, I continued to stare down the guard. "Well?"
"You...um...have human." His good was watering, out of focus.
"Yes. My slave. What's your point?" My nostrils flared, and he began to cower. I felt a brief flare of pity; this troll would probably be punished, all because he was too stupid to stand up to me.
Shaking his head in confusion, the guard stepped back. "Welcome market." I nodded, kept Tessa close, and entered the insanity that was the aisles of the troll market.
It was much louder amidst the press of bodies, everyone trying to out shout someone else. The scents all blended together, forming something almost neutral. Tessa wrapped herself around my arm, and I strengthened my hold on her hand. I'd been in markets before, but nothing quite like this. This was almost too much for me.
The din had an odd effect; the area was loud, near painful, but I didn't have to shout for Tessa to hear me. "Do you know the name of the slaver Georgie uses?"
She shook her head, unfocused eyes looking through me. Tessa was too overwhelmed to be of any use to me now. At least she'd gotten me this far. And it wasn't fair to blame her for her reactions.
A trio of orcs bumped into us, jostling into a pillar. I winced, and realized my shoulder didn't hurt anymore. I frowned, trying to remember when it had last hurt. Right around when I'd first met the dragon, it had stopped. About time I finished healing.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to find where the slave pens are. She can't be far from there." I was talking to myself, not expecting Tessa to be familiar with the ins and outs of the market.
I heard animals, and figured human slaves were probably kept near the livestock. Nodding at the young woman, I ventured forth again.
The crowds lessened as we approached the animal pans. And there were pens galore. Scanning the expanse, I couldn't see the end of this area. There were pets, and beasts of burden, and food creatures. And, most importantly, there were humans.
Tessa began crying as we approached the slaves. Knowing her own brother had put some of these people here must be hurting her. Not that she could have done much to stop him. And she and her family needed to eat.
I wandered around the slave pens, looking for Steven. Dejected eyes looked away from me, a mere handful of the beings showing any life. I couldn't imagine what they were going through. Could anyone conceive of what it would be like to be just wares in a cage? I felt sorry for the person who could.
After just fifteen minutes, it already seemed to be a hopeless search. There were entirely too many humans, too much land to cover. and it finally occurred to me that the slaver would be unlikely to mistake Steven for a mortal.
I paused beside a drink stand, consumed by the futility of it all. Tessa was completely withdrawn, and I waited for her to collapse. This whole situation was crappy, and I hated that I couldn't figure it out.
Someone pressed against my back, laying hands on my shoulders, enveloping me in a spicy scent. I was immediately reminded of dragons, and turned with a frown. A pale-skinned elf stood behind me, face composed of good looking angles, eyes of midnight blue on a level with my own. My breath caught in my throat as I tried to figure out who this was.
~You'll never find him this way,~ Rhaelgyr whispered mentally.
Monday, December 14, 2009
2009 has been a year that's gone by incredibly fast for me. Unbelievably fast. I've been wondering where it's gone, puzzled by how each month has just disappeared. If I was the type of person to actually set goals, I'm not sure if I'd have accomplished them or not. That's just how time disappeared on me.
I survived depression and illness, though nothing was ever too bad. It just felt like it at the time. It affected my writing, but enough good things happened anyway that I can't consider it a detriment.
Absolute Write has been a fantastic place to hang out. I've made acquaintances with some really nifty people. I've learned a lot about writing, and recognized flaws in my own work that I wouldn't have otherwise. I still don't really put my stuff up for critiquing, though reading other posts has taught me.
Because CR Ward has her own serial blog, I decided to do that too. It's an interesting challenge that I'm having a lot of fun with. It's something I can always fall back on when I'm just feeling dried up of ideas.
This year was also when I started submitting my novel, All Hallows Blood, way back in March. I'm not a patient person, so while time was flying, it always felt like I should have had a response back from the publisher. But only a few weeks had passed, out of a listed 12 week wait time. Blech!
Half the year was easily taken up between waiting for two publishers. I knew responses could take a while, but I'd never actually conceptualized it, understood quite what it meant. I had to just mark the submission date on my calendar, and try to forget about it. I was driving myself crazy otherwise.
Two declines, one complete lack of answer, and I was a little depressed, but I was determined to go on. I had my nominal sister-in-law read through my manuscript, and from her suggestions, I went on a massive re-write. Probably a third of a 76k word manuscript was redone. It was fun, and shocking to see all the little things I'd done wrong. Like filtering my characters senses, rather than bringing the reader right in. And overuse of a few descriptors. And too much wussiness.
So, with a re-polished manuscript, I sent it in to Crescent Moon Press, and expected the response to take all the way to the end of their listed response time. Instead, two days later, I got an email requesting the first chapter, and then an offer two days after that.
In the span of one week, on my fourth submission, I landed the awesome Published Author. I'm still ecstatic, and that was a month ago.
On top of getting published, I finished and started polishing the second book in my series, and I finished the first draft of the third book. I ground out the third book's draft in probably six weeks, because I really liked the darkness and fun I got to have with my character. Haven't even started those rewrites.
Well, instead of a concise wrap-up of 2009, I rambled on about my success story. It's still in my mind, and one of the best things about this year. I hope everyone had a memorable 2009, and that 2010 is an even better year.
Don't forget to stop by Ralph Pines, who just so happens to be up next.
Looky looky, the usual suspects:
Lost Wanderer - http://www.lostwanderer5.blogspot.com
Claire Crossdale - http://theromanticqueryletter.blogspot.com/
coryleslie - http://corrinejackson.wordpress.com/
bsolah - http://benjaminsolah.com/blog
DavidZahir - http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/
RavenCorinnCarluk - http://ravencorinncarluk.blogspot.com
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/
shethinkstoomuch - http://shethinkstoomuch.wordpress.com
Lady Cat - http://www.randomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.com
truelyana - http://expressiveworld.com
misaditas - http://misaditas-novels.blogspot.com/
collectonian - http://collectonian.livejournal.com
laharrison - http://lesleyharrison.wordpress.com/
beawhiz - http://beawrites.wordpress.com
razibahmed - http://www.blogging37.com
FreshHell - http://freshhell.wordpress.com
AlissaC - http://alissacarleton.blogspot.com
Aimee - http://writing.aimeelaine.com
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Need to work on my links on my site, but I've been distracted.
My cats are getting cuter. And my snake still doesn't feel like eating frozen mice. Silly girl.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The limitless sky curved down, taking the shape of a bridge, meeting walls that suddenly rose steeply. Uniform, boring buildings melded together, taking on fantastical shapes. Banners and curtains and awnings added color everywhere, torches and lamps and mage globes lighting the seething mass.
Smoke rose from cooking fires, tankards clattered at ale stands, and animals called from their cages. People moved in constant flux, forming eddies around popular stalls, but inevitably moving through the sprawl.
Tessa shuddered, and took a step back. The market easily covered several miles in each direction, and there had to be a few thousand sentients there. I thought of them as people, and though they wore mostly humanoid shapes, they encompassed most every race from across the multiverse. Orcs, elves, trolls, sylphs, dryads, elementals, goblins, unicorns, and others I couldn't so easily recognize from this distance.
My heart swelled, and I was reminded of home. Not that I understood why; the halls of the Gray Lords were never this discordant or populous. Regardless, I was immediately drawn to the troll market.
I took a step forward, and realized Tessa was still frozen in place. Looking over my shoulder, I extended my hand. "You'll be safe with me."
Tessa edged forward, taking my hand. With those wide eyes, she looked much younger than I first suspected. "Georgie says our kind isn't welcome here."
I sighed, trying to find the words to explain it to her. "In my experience, most races think of humans the same way they think of pets and cattle. They think you're just talking animals."
Her hand grew clammy, and she shuffled her feet, holding back. "Is that what you think?"
I shrugged. "Sometimes. You seem pretty nice, but as an individual. As a race, humans are just mortals. They have their place, and their uses, but I never give them much thought."
"Is that why the trolls eat us?" Tessa was near tears again. Humans are so emotional.
"Them, and the orcs. Something about how tender your flesh is." She broke into a sob, balking, making me stop to stare at her. "But I'm not going to let anyone eat you. I've been to places like this, and I know how to keep you safe." Though, I had no idea what the rules of a troll market was like.
Tessa choked down a sob, her hand now sweating in mine. "What are you? You look human, but not quite."
"I'm Setian," I said easily enough, realizing it for truth. But I hadn't known that until now, and I understood that I'd never known. At least not while I worked for the Gray Lords.
There was something deeper going on that I didn't understand.
Tessa shook her head, casting her gaze down. "I've never heard of a Setian."
"We're an old race," I explained, moving once more toward the troll market. This wasn't knowledge the Gray Lords were feeding me, but I didn't have time to question. "We're lore keepers, and mystics, and we usually keep to ourselves."
"Sounds nice. I wish I were Setian."
"It's not all it's cracked up to be," I said with absolute certainty. We grew silent, and it was time to put my game face on.
Ahead of us was the stone arch that made up the main entrance. People were streaming in and out, most immediately disappearing through dimensional walls. I desperately wanted to learn that power for myself.
I sdtrode confidently forward, keeping Tessa close, stepping into the flow of bodies entering. The human shook at my side, but I ignored her, exusing an air of belonging. I was just another shopper with a mortal in tow.
A heavy hand landed on my right shoulder, halting me. "What business here?" asked a garbled troll voice.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I took another step, and she pulled back. "What are you?" Only enhanced senses allowed me to hear her scared question.
"Well, I'm not like the guys here." Rhaelgyr roared, and it sounded far away. I hoped he and Kurlog hurt each other. Not that either were likely to die; I just wanted them to hurt.
"What do you want here?" She started edging down the alley, and I bit my lip. I didn't want to lose my guide to the troll market. Whatever that was.
"I just want to find my friend and go home." Hopefully I sounded as distraught as I was trying to be. Seeming sweet and innocent might be my only chance.
She crept out of the alley, standing up. She was tiny, underfed, showing signs of the struggle to live Between. Humans were tiny things, so fragile, not meant to be outside of their dimensions.
"If I take you, will you help me get home?" The tears in her eyes finally fell, and I rushed forward to embrace the young woman.
Looks like the compassion that had been born with Martel was continuing to grow.
I held her, and felt sorry for her. She was stuck as I was, with even less chance of getting out on her own.
Once her tears subsides, I pushed her to arms length. "I'll do everything I can to get you back home, but I can't make any promises."
"Anywhere but here," she pled. "It's horrible, and empty, and my brother won't see that. He insists we're better here, that we can make our own life."
"Doesn't look like much of a life."
"it hasn't been. There's little to eat, we're always hiding from that dragon or stupid warrior, and we're always bickering. The gods were petty back home, but at least we had a home." She sniffled, shoulders tensing with bitterness.
I gave her a squeeze, then stepped back. "Well, young miss, let's get started so I can get you home. I'm Morgan," I offered, smiling.
"Tessa," she said, wiping at her tears and runny nose. "It's a bit of a walk to the troll market, so we should start." The dragon roared triumphantly, and every hair rose on my body. "And we should move beore he starts hunting again." We slipped into the alley, sticking to shadows like rodents hiding from a cat.
I didn't tell Tessa that dragons could see heat signatures. Shadows wouldn't help if Rhaelgyr wanted us.
We'd travelled for half an hour, and were taking a little break before I talked again. "So if the troll market's so bad, why would my friend have been taken there?"
"For money, of course. We can't go in without being in danger, but Georgie made a deal with one of the slavers. We bring her strays, and we get money."
"Georgie's your brother?"
"Yeah." We started walking again, less furtively this time. Neither of us had heard the dragon since the beginning of our trek.
"And he sells off other humans?"
"Or elves, or goblins, or dogs, or whatever we find lost here." Tessa sounded sad, but she kept her face straight ahead, moving at a fast pace.
"And he's taking my friend there?"
"Definitely. The slaver likes good looking boys, so he's probably fetching a hefty bounty."
"What a horrible way to live." Before she could reply, an incredible din reached my ears. I'd heard this kind of cacophony before; hundreds of voices in dozens of languages barking their wares. Various kinds of livestock complained, and the air was redolent with a melange of odors.
"This is the troll market," Tessa said as we stepped around a corner. I stood beside her, stunned, and simply stared.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
So, this is a sketch of what I want my next tat to be. It will be a full skull, rather than just one side, and I want it on my shoulder.
In case it's not obvious, this is supposed to be a dragon skull and crossbones.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
There's some cute games. I haven't started finding anyone yet. But I'll start toying around on it. It's still just...well...a thing. I'm so not entranced by it, but it exists.
So, that's something.
On other notes: it's totally awesome to have a kitty cat who gets all happy and races out to meet me. I've never known a cat that did that. I was late coming home the other day, and Mackey harassed my old man until I walked in the door. It was adorable.
Almost as adorable as surprise kitten. Go to youtube. Look him up.
Friday, December 4, 2009
The warrior was dwarfed by the dragon, barely half as long as Rhaelgyr's thigh. Yet he hung on tenaciously, fingers clutching the edge of a scale, feet dug in, his right arm repeatedly plunging a sword again and again into scaled flesh.
The dragon crashed into a building, hovering, roaring and growling as he tried to dislodge Kurlog. Flaming gobets landed all around, hissing and splattering. I dodged back into the alley, wincing as dragon venom splashed my hand and pants.
It didn't hurt at first, and I scrambled to get the clinging substance off my skin. It merely smeared, and then the flame started to burn. I gritted my teeth against the pain, and continued to rub my hand along the asphalt. Abrasions were preferable to becoming well done.
Kurlog and Rhaelgyr were still fighting. The dragon bashed himself against the building again, and Kurlog shouted something ridiculous. I finally got myself extinguished, and looked out into the street. It was pointless to head out there; debris tumbled around, flames crackled, and Rhaelgyr's tail lashed dangerously. I kept in the shadows, just watching, hating that events were keeping me so passive.
I'd spent this entire time just going along from encounter to encounter, winging it, letting other's decide what was going to happen. I'd spent my entire career with the Gray Lords behaving like that; they told me where to go, and I just went.
Kurlog had joked about killing people who didn't know to make a choice. It was a good thing he didn't actually do that, because I clearly didn't know how to make my own choices.
Gritting my teeth, I rose to my feet, and turned my back on the fight. I didn't care about either of the brutes battling over a meaningless stretch of Between. This little gap between dimesnaions might cease to exist at any time, depending on how the multiverse shifted, and Kurlog thought to claim dominion.
None of that mattered. I didn't know if finding Steven and getting out of here mattered. He was a Chaos Lord; he'd be better at traveling the dimensions than I.
I paused. Without Steven, and without Gray Lord intervention, I was stuck here. So maybe I should finish this mission before I have my life-changing epiphany.
So, find Steven, get out of Between, then re-evaluate my situation. It sounded so easy.
The alley lead me to another generic street. Dragon and warrior still battled, but the sounds were muted by distance. There were no signs of conflict here, but neither were there signs of Steven.
There was, however, a dirty face peering at me from an alley farther down the street.
I headed toward the young woman, hoping she'd give me a clue as to where Steven was. Her eyes widened in terror as I got closer, but she didn't move. "Hello there," I said, coming to a halt twenty yards from her. Let her spook and run now if she wanted.
"Hey yourself," she said, shyly. Grubby hands clutched at the corner of the building, wide eyes darting to the sky overhead. I'm sure she expected Rhaelgyr to come flying overhead at any moment.
"Were you with the group who attacked my friend? Young man, about my height."
She shook her head, and my heart fell. "But I know the gang who took him." Tears welled in her eyes.
"Can you show me where they took him?" I took a few steps closer, slowly, trying not to be threatening.
"You don't want to go there." I barely made out her whisper.
"Humans never come out of the troll market."
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I submitted a short story a couple of months ago, and just put it out
of my mind. Finally got response back, and it was rejected. Some
things he said were true, some were wrong.
But after the initial miff at being cliche (I'm not sending a dead
Viking anywhere but to Valhalla), I had no emotional reaction. I just
didn't care, because I've already made it. His opinion just doesn't
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Kurlog clenched his fists, looking up to find the dragon. "Stupid beast. Stop lighting my town on fire." I barely heard him as the roar continued.
My ears were ringing by the time the metallic sound ended. "Your other rival?"
The warrior was furious. "Stupid mongrel lizard." Kurlog wasn't listening to me, and started stalking down the street. "Come out where I can see you!"
"What are you trying to do?" a stranger hissed from a nearby alley. "Hasn't he done enough?"
Kurlog continued calling for the dragon, and another roar started. This call was louder, and made my chest resonate. Finding it hard to breathe, the pain in my shoulder increasing with the dragon cry, I stumbled to the new speaker.
The stranger saw me approaching, and darted into the street. He was a scrawny human, disheveled and soul stained, eyes red-rimmed from dragon fire. "Silly girl. Get under cover." He pulled me into the shadows, and I crouched amongst a half dozen other humans.
"Why would you stand in the middle of the street?" a young woman asked me. Her hair was singed short, a crispy burn covering most of her left arm. "Rhaelgyr would have eaten you if you waited."
I shrugged, my head throbbing. The spirit wound was not just an ache, was now a stabbing pain. It felt like broken teeth and rusted metal were churning around in my bones. I wanted to throw up.
I wanted to beat up Steven for bringing us here.
"She looks sick,' a boy commented.
"Maybe we should give her to Rhaelgyr to cover our escape." This from a young man, voice barely deepened to adulthood. He stood in the back of the group, bravado warring with cowardice in his voice.
I laughed bitterly, clutching at my shoulder. "Humans are so stupid. Dragons don't eat immortals." My laughter choked off at a fresh surge of pain.
"Bitch," the young man swore. He kicked me squarely between the shoulder blades, driving the air from my lungs. The rest of the group shoved and jostled me, and I fell forward onto the sidewalk. I kicked back, lashing out in anger, shoulder flaring in pain.
The jostling stopped, and a spicy eddy of wind surrounded me. The humans screamed, suddenly running, and I looked up. Hovering in the street, perched on one foot, hung a bulky dragon, scales nearly black in the might. Venom dripped from his snarling lips, igniting as it fell to the ground.
"You must be Rhaelgyr," I said, gingerly sitting up. I'd said dragons didn't eat immortals, but the big warrior beast before me looked pissed and hungry.
~You're not from around here.~ Rhaelgyr's voice was loud in my head, overwhelming and dangerous, his presence invading me. I'd been shocked by Kurlog's voice when he first spoke to me; the dragon left me quaking.
"No, I'm not." I didn't want to anger the dragon any further by playing coy.
~Yet you travel with Kurlog the Fool.~ With two sweeps of his enormous wings, the dragon settled to a sitting position. Even on the ground, he towered two stories above me.
"Random happenstance. I'm really just passing through." The pain in my shoulder made my teeth chatter, and I wanted to throw up.
~That's what the other one said.~ He turned his head, jewel-like eyes sparkling with reflections of the fire.
"Other one? That's the guy I'm really travelling with." Rhaelgyr had to be talking about Steven.
~That's too bad. He's-~
Rhaelgyr's statement was cut off as Kurlog came pouncing out of the shadows, swinging an obsidian-bladed axe.