DragonCon Scrying

So, I know I’ve been pretty lazy on the blog — well, I’m going to DragonCon this weekend — so you can safely expect that to continue.

I’m going to be taking pictures of my adventures and posting them up on my Tumblr –feel free to check in on the shenanigans. I won’t get to the ‘Con until late Friday evening [EST] so don’t expect much before then, unless you’re into Chrono Trigger fanart.

[AND WHO ISN’T???]

Click on this picture of me MERGING WITH THE SPEED FORCE from a previous DragonCon to be teleported to my tumblr for picture goodness.

Gilead

The waters ripple, and Haskeer sees Gilead.

A gray city, made from simple stone. The towers and streets show signs of great age, and great wear. This is a place where it rains much, where the people must go to the walls to stand against an endless tide of dark. Yet in every eye, a fierce pride – a bright flame that burns against the dark. The people move about their day, and among them walk the men of the Legion. The Crusaders, the Swords of Iron – their cloaks white and blue. Their armor is brightly polished, but the paladin quickly sees the signs of steady use. Leather straps worn to fraying, dents in shields carefully beaten back to true, and burnished with care.

Pennants fly from the towers, each showing three swords bound in a circle, blue on a white field. In the streets Haskeer sees simple signs of nobility, peace and kindness. A young boy keeping his older brothers from harming a kitten, an old man doffing his cap for a passing milk maid, a portly baker giving barely stale bread to beggars in the church square. The quiet prayers at the temple of the Nameless God, the priests laying hands on their flock with the gentle touch of wise shepherds.

A king with a golden crown, white hair spilling down his collar – his family drawn close around a fine table. A plan is laid out before them, a bridge that needs building — the family laughs and argues good naturedly over the plan.

“This is Gilead.” the lady said. “The anvil where the hammer falls again and again, but the steel does not break.”

 

[Can you be sad about a place that never existed – a fictional place that you as the storyteller destroyed? I don’t know if you should be able to — but I am. I just wrote this, but I feel like an empty jug.]

The Same

“The servant does as the master wishes. The master desires bread, the servant plants grain. The master desires a keep, the servant lays stone. The master desires gold, and the servant bleeds steel. At the end of all things the servant is still a servant.” Oak replied.

Mercy

Mercy.

Have you ever thought about that word, Servant of Light?

What it really means?

It means you are greater than I. That you forgive me, that you spare me — that you deem me suitable to exist. That you alone are equipped to know what is Just, and Right. You are the arbiter of the universe, and anything that you do not understand, or fear is worthy of destruction, but through your infinite mercy you will allow me to draw another breath in this world. That anything that is not like you is wrong, is contemptible, is evil.

Is it any wonder we want to destroy you?

That you, a child in this world – given only a few spare years of thought and life, can stand there before a being that has known and experienced more time than you could dare to even conceive, and have the temerity to judge me?

Long ago, before we came to this world, before the world before that, and the world before that — when we were first created in the very cauldron of the Beginning. Each being was given a choice. Will you Serve, or will you Destroy?

I think you know what me and my brethren chose. We are the Hounds of Necessity, the Storm Undying. We are required, we are in the bones of creation — I serve a far greater purpose in this universe than you could possibly imagine, I am EVIL, Servant of Light. And I am old, and I forget nothing and regret nothing. Do you know what Hell is, little thing? Hell is never forgetting, Hell is enduring, and Hell is dreaming of the day when you can break every piece of your disgusting little world, and all of the self-righteous false mercy that it holds.

To prove you false, to show your true selves – stripped of all your lies and empty hopes.

You are all animals, and I will not be judged by the mouse who offers me a crumb of his precious cheese.

So, no. I don’t want your mercy. And I promise you, there will come a day when you will understand the deepest well of my heart.

You all will.

The King of Open and Shut

DragonCon

 

Once upon a time, I had certain delusions. Delusions that I would finish my book, and have nice shiny copies to hand out to random people at DragonCon. I had this really elaborate ARG I was going to set up, and it would become a viral sensation — securing my place in publishing, and I could quit my job and eat Hot Pockets on my couch forever.

So yeah, I’m still editing, so that isn’t going to happen.

But, I will be at DragonCon! Who else is going to be there?

If you can find me, and mention Spell/Sword I will be fucking shocked — and immediately anoint you as the first Slaughter Wizards of the nascent swordpunk fandom.

Bad Idea

The adventurers stood around in stunned silence, as the illusory image of the Red Wizard faded from view. The strange machine chuffed quietly, working it’s unknown program through the pipes and gears that extended into the stone ceiling out of view. The simple glass decanter sat on the desk, a third full of a blue liquid that glowed slightly – a shade of blue that no one could ever remember seeing before.

The words of Korthan Zul seemed to hang in the air, repeated in the stunned memory of the Lodestar crew.

“My disciples, how glad am I that you have made your way to my inner sanctum. Only

Artist – Killian Eng

you have proven worthy to glimpse the greatest expression of my power — my mastery over Time Itself.

I stand now on the brink of total domination of the world. The Scepter is in my hands, my armies are strong and vicious, and the pitiful forces of Good are a spineless rabble. But…there is always a but. Even I cannot plan for all the strange storms of the Future, so here I have prepared a doorway into the calm seas of the Past.

If the worst should occur, and I should fall – take this liquid that you see behind you. I have built a machine, that distills the very essence of Time. Drops stolen from the river. One swallow will take you anywhere in Time you choose. Go. Go back before the moment of my defeat, and bring the knowledge I will need to triumph.

Do not fail me. Evil never forgets. It Begins Again – It Endures Forever”

The loris, Mr. Wuzzles crawled down from his place on Carbunkle’s shoulder and wrapped himself around the gnome, pinning his arms with fuzzy insistence.

“Do. Not. Touch.” the loris said sternly

With friends like these…

Two more of my Alpha Readers gave me their criticism on the book, and I’m still picking the shrapnel out of my ego. I picked my first readers well — they’re good enough friends to call me on my shit. And called it was indeed. INDEED.

Beyond the psyche-bruising, all this feedback is making me really excited to get back to work on editing. So far, all of my readers have overall enjoyed the book — and the problems they’ve called my attention to are concrete. Maybe not easy to fix — but definitely doable. I can see multiple ways to change things to evade their criticism, but I’m going to let all of it settle a while longer. I’m still waiting on feedback from a third of my readers, and I don’t want to over-react to the first criticism I’ve received.

Admittedly, a fair amount of the criticism are ‘no-argument’ types. Grammar flubs, word repetition, confusing passages, jokes that didn’t work, etc. Those will be fixed — -it’s the things that deal more with overall structure and style that I’ll need to carefully ruminate on.

Sorry I can’t be more specific yet! Still drafts out in the wild.

Alpha Readers Responding: 4 out of 12