artwork, avengers, camp nanowrimo, camp nanowrimo july 2015, captain america, cats, doctor who, dogs, jack harkness is licking all over the doctor because he can, marvel, nanowrimo, national novel writing month, original fiction, star wars
artwork, avengers, camp nanowrimo, camp nanowrimo july 2015, captain america, cats, doctor who, dogs, jack harkness is licking all over the doctor because he can, marvel, nanowrimo, national novel writing month, original fiction, star wars
bbc merlin, bbc sherlock, camp nanowrimo, camp nanowrimo april 2015, captain america, captain america: the winter soldier, colorblind, connor rawleigh, marvel, national novel writing month, novels, selay'uu, sir arthur conan doyle, star wars, writing
Clearly, it is one of those days.
I woke up this morning after a sleepover in heaven. I was actually nice and warm, which is not very usual post-sleepover. And comfortable, which is even less common.
It turns out that at some point while still asleep, I had snuggled up to Steve’s back, and Bucky was tucked close up against mine, and somehow we’d shared all our blankets.
Who knew the Winter Soldier was a closet cuddler?
Anyway, it was heavenly. They both have a slightly-higher-than-usual body temperature, so I was warm. Chaste cuddle pile. It’s a wonderful way to wake up.
Unfortunately, the moment Bucky rolled over and kicked me in the shoulder (without waking up), I knew it was going to be one of those days.
Before I had even finished the thought, Bucky’s kick had rolled me entirely over Steve’s shoulder, which woke him up, and I ended up nose to nose with Captain America. Talk about awkward. Also, did I mention my hair was in his face? Which prompted a rather ill-timed sneeze.
And suddenly Bucky started to snore. Which, normally, our resident supersoldiers do not (in case you didn’t know, snoring tends to be linked to health problems. Like allergies, but more often obesity.) I think Bucky’s irregular way of getting the serum means that it actually prompted an allergy or something… but I’m not a scientist. Anyway, later that morning, we were dealing with a huffy, sulking former Soviet assassin. But we made pancakes!
He got better.
But then things got crazy.
I put on an Owl City CD in while I was working on my Easter dress, and Connor was, apparently, bored while I was trying to figure out his backstory and the one character who’d already been killed off. So, naturally, he started dancing to it, and Obi-Wan joined in with him (when he’s a teenager–especially a slightly-insane one–he’s really… um. I think I should probably just explain what happened.) So, they were trying to do a swing step, but somehow Obi-Wan got a hand tangled up in Connor’s gear harness (I don’t know why, but they were both in combat black as well as tactical gear…) and they ended up in a pile on the floor. Of course Bucky had to join in, trying to teach Steve to dance, but Steve was tripping over all four of their feet. I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but he managed to do it. Gaius was trying to untangle the Jedi and assassin, but at one point he ended up holding both of Obi-Wan’s wrists, and that triggered a panic attack (for reasons that should be pretty obvious–poor lad.) So that led us all on a manhunt through the entire mansion, trying to catch Obi-Wan and bring him back to the land of the living before he could hurt himself or anyone else. I decided to work on the latest story with Obi-Wan to try and get things under control, and then Anakin wandered around. Turns out he’d had a bit too much of the Unicorn Cider from the Camp Nanowrimo Cafe and as a result he was loopy. He was singing the Unicorn Song and insisting that Siri’s middle name was Meredith. Siri was not amused and brained him with the Travelling Shovel of Death. Of course, Anakin wasn’t dead, but then he had to go and pick on Merlin, who turned him purple. Which Padme liked, but Anakin did not.
Anyway, along came Moriarty, who was drunk in the normal way. He was flirting with everything and rambling about flying cheetahs and generally creeping me out, so I whacked him in the kidney with a mop, then bashed him in the head with the Captain’s shield.
Just another one of those days.
It absolutely has to be March.
archives, archivist, bbc merlin, c.s. lewis, camelot, camp nanowrimo, camp nanowrimo july 2014, desks, editing, editor, kysherin, muse, nanowrimo, national novel writing month, paperwork, selay'uu, star wars, the chronicles of narnia
It has taken me a while to write, once more, and I apologize. I have had college to apply for, and Nanowrimo (which, by the way, I WON! 😀 ) to finish, and job applications to work on. Fortunately, there is a “schedule” function on WordPress, and I have lots of random things handy to post. My drafts folder is like my mind; full of partially-completed work, and extremely cluttered and mixed-up.
Once again, I find myself wondering just how my life got this crazy. And I respond to it in exactly the same way as always: I mull over the question for a while, then I decide it’s all Kysherin’s fault. And when I look in the mirror and see my reflection–messy chestnut/auburn curls, dark eyes, square jawline–I decide it’s really not worth it to try and look more impressive. Or put on makeup. I don’t understand why most girls my age wear it.
This morning, I was looking at my books again–my personal books, not the ones in the library/archives–and found a proposal I had begun only recently, but had also recently forgotten. It was a proposal for me to visit Camelot and explore my new-found magical abilities and study with Merlin, Alice, and Gaius. Unfortunately, it had gotten rather crinkled (paper tends to do that when it is lying on a shelf under Anakin’s rock collection–why it was on my shelf may some day be explained–or not…) in its time in hiatus. I groaned and got out a new sheet of paper, picking up Anakin’s rock collection and shoving it under the leg of my desk. Perhaps I should explain. My desk is rather old-fashioned. It is large, with several drawers, full to the brim with stuff. Most of it is orderly (my pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, mechanical pencil refill leads and erasers, vinyl erasers, etc. are sorted in a valet tray in one drawer,) but the one largest drawer–which, by rights, should contain electronics, but instead holds a bunch of old three-ring-binders, each shedding pieces of plastic from their covers, which are held together with duct tape and most of which are mislabeled–is decidedly untidy. I should get around to overhauling it some time. Anyway, my desk is very old. In fact, it’s an exact duplicate of one my father brought home when he was switching jobs when I was very small (just without the same contents.) It is dark, mahogany-colored wood, but the stain and varnish are wearing off in places, and if you scratch the varnish with your fingernail it starts to flake off in an unpleasant-feeling powder. The “legs” of the desk, which, I suspect, have been extended upwards to accommodate my father’s height (he’s a tall man, and I take after him,) are mostly drawers, and the desk is clearly designed to go right up against a wall (I should get Jay to help me with that…) but there is a space in between the bottom drawer on the “leg” and the actual foot of the desk, that rests on the floor. It was covered by a piece of wood, originally, but due to mishandling by the movers and mistreatment by us kids, the pins or staples holding the cover in place gave way, leaving me with a compartment that I can hide things in by pulling the piece of wood off, shove stuff I want to hide into, and then push the pins lightly back into their holes. It’s very convenient.
Anyway, so I pushed Anakin’s rock collection into my hidden compartment (which was, at the moment, empty, though much of the time it’s as full of random stuff as a first draft that needs editing, or a G.A. Henty novel sprung up, grown wild, and gone to seed.) and found two pieces of loose paper and went to work, copying my proposal neatly out twice and completing it. I thought about email, but something of this importance required El’ye’s permission (I still have not figured out why), and she didn’t like modern innovations, though Merlin would have been comfortable with a simple email with the proposal attached. Immortality necessitates being very adaptable, I believe. Which is a bit of a paradox, since I think El’ye is at least a pretender to immortality.
Anyway, after checking my drafts over, I went to my window (living in a tower is quite delightful, by the way, though the people on laundry duty always complain about the stairs) and shouted for Kilgarrah. He was not very happy at being shouted for, and still more annoyed about carrying my mail (“I am not a mail horse, young recorder!”), but as I am on good terms with Merlin (who is currently spending what remains of the summer in Camelot), he condescended to carry my message to the young warlock with a bad grace. That done, I whistled for Glimfeather, who came much more briskly and cheerfully than Kilgarrah had. I was politer to him than I had been with the dragon (Kilgarrah doesn’t like me much, and the feeling is mutual; the dragon is too self-centered and survival-centered and Machiavellian for my taste), and Glimfeather kindly agreed to carry my message to El’ye. So far, so good.
With a much heavier heart, I returned to my piles upon piles of paperwork. At least, hopefully, by the end of the summer I would be serving an internship in Camelot for the term (though I would be in and out of the Selay’uu chateau all the time.) I can hardly wait!
angels' reflections, camp nanowrimo, camp nanowrimo april 2014, characters, creative writing, jay wallace, nanowrimo, nanowrimo 2013, novels, selay'uu (sort of), stories in progress, story dynamics, writer, writing
Recently, I received a prompt on the Nanowrimo forums, that sounded too good to pass up to me, and I thought the readers of my blog would also like to see it!
Prompt: How did you first meet your main character? How did you come up with the character?
I first met Jay Wallace when I was washing dishes. Granted, I was pretty annoyed with my Dad at the time–after all, washing dishes is a job that was relegated to my younger brother and later my younger sister after I started college–but that’s not really a true block to inspiration. So there I was, with suds on my hands, when in saunters a young man five or six years my junior. He’s dark haired, with hazel eyes that are exceptionally clear and piercing, high cheekbones, a somewhat prominent, straight nose, firm mouth… He’s smallish, slender, slight build, looks underfed, is wearing a ragged shirt and a tattered pair of pants that barely reach down to his calves, is barefoot, and over everything else is a threadbare, worn, yet still presentable and thick woolen cloak with no hood and an attached capelet. “I’m going to be in the resistance, won’t I?” he asks, and then I realize I’m cheating–he is the Elayatar incarnation of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but then, who needs to know that? After all, he’ll soon be a character all his own.
bound to the flame, camp nanowrimo, camp nanowrimo july 2014, college, confusing nonsense, insanity, john flanagan, life, nanowrimo, national novel writing month, philosophy, rambling musings, ranger's apprentice, secret life, small rants, stories in progress, story dynamics
It’s been awhile–sorry about that. I had college applications, Iris moving, and Nanowrimo to worry about. (I’m behind on my novel, but this will take only a few minutes so I AM NOT WORRYING ABOUT IT. Studiously. :-P)
In other news, I read the first book of the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan, The Ruins of Gorlan, and I LOVED it. The humor in the book was very unexpected, and the main character respects his mentor… I can’t think of anything morally objectionable in the book. (On the downside, there was one extraneous plot point that was not as well incorporated as it might be, but I’ll leave that until I can do a proper book review.) I won’t keep you any longer. Enjoy the chapter! 🙂
Warnings: Lots and lots of philosophy, maybe a little theory. Nothing too strenuous, unless you don’t like exercising your brain. ;-P
Bound to the Flame
Rowan fell silent again. Margery bit her lip. “Some of my father’s men were defending our coasts against Sea Raiders last winter, and two of them failed to report back in, and were presumed lost. They finally turned up in the springtime. One of them had lost a leg and two fingers. The other one had stayed with him all winter, helping him to survive and nursing him back to health. But when they came back, both of them had changed. The injured man was morose; the other was tired and worn-down. It took the combined efforts of all the men-at-arms as well as my father and brothers to get them back on their proverbial feet. Neither of them was ever quite the same, though.” Margery paused, looking sidelong at Rowan, unsure of how to continue. Without looking at her, Rowan slowly guided Obsidian onwards.
“And you’re trying to figure out if there’s some subtle way of helping me.” Rowan said. “You pity me.” He paused for a moment, biting his cheek. “I’m sorry. I’m afraid that, as far as this goes, this is the best way that you can help.” He sighed. “Activity helps, even if I’m exhausted and sore for hours afterwards.” There was a long time in which they simply rode in silence.
“It’s so quiet here,” Margery said, after a while. Rowan looked up.
“It is,” he said, without offering any explanation. Margery tilted her head on one side.
“Are they setting a trap for us, do you think?”
“Unlikely. I don’t feel any warning that might indicate on. If the silence troubles you, though, what about a walking song? Our enemies are nowhere nearby, I think, and there is no one to hear us.”
“All right…” Margery said. “You sing.” Rowan chuckled.
“O’er the hills and far away
Out from a rising sun
From my door I heard Mother say,
‘I pray that soon back you’ll come.’
Among the woodlands dark and gray
While leaves all fall around
And squirrels among campfire ashes play
There comes the marching sound.
“O’er the plains so wide and far
O’er the moors so dreary
While at night a shooting star
Falls at our feet weary.
By the cliffsides steep and high
Marching to a song
When the morning dawn draws nigh
Again we pass along.
“O’er the mountains at break of day
When we rise to travel on,
In the dawning cold and gray,
We march over that browning lawn.
In the rain and in the spray
Flying from a stormy sea
Marching far, far away
We’ll come flying homeward free.
“O’er the hills and far away
Into a setting sun
Until the darkness ends the day
And stars now out have come.
O’er the fells and low green tors
Turning fast to gray,
Far from home and hearth and door
We march, far, far, away.”
Rowan had a good voice, clear and strong, but at the same time soft and melodious; it was almost subdued, but it made the glades reverberate with sound, the earth beneath them trembling in unison with the melody. For a long while after the song had concluded, they rode along in affable silence. At last, contrary to all Margery’s expectations, Rowan broke it.
“Margery, if we are to be able to continue to evade our enemy, there is something that I must do.”
“Then do it,” Margery said, shrugging, not quite comprehending.
“No…” Rowan said. “What I meant is, I would like to—I should ask your permission first.”
“Why?” Margery asked.
“Well, if we are to remain undetected… I need to mute your presence and ground the loose magic that has gathered around you.” Margery gave him a blank gaze. “You can be sensed by magic,” Rowan explained. “But it’s harder for whoever might sense you to do if there isn’t loose magic pooled around you.”
“I don’t understand,” Margery said.
“Well,” Rowan began, apparently trying to think out the best way to explain it, “loose magic—magic that has been already drawn from the warp—”
“Start at the beginning, please,” Margery said. “You’ve explained elemental magic, but not this branch of theory.” Rowan inclined his head.
“Very well. This has to do more with the origins of magic than with the theory of magic,” he said. “Most magic remains hidden, like the warp threads under the weft of a tapestry, holding together the tapestry of life on this world. You can think of the visible world as the weft threads—magic holds them together, just like warp. Magic can be drawn up out of the warp in order to be used. But magic can not be used up, like material goods can. It simply returns to its energy phase. It tries to get back into the warp, but it takes effort or time—even both in some cases—to return. Naturally, it always seeks the path of least resistance—and living things, especially people with an innate magical talent, are like bridges straight to the warp. Thus, ‘loose’ magic tends to gather around magic users, and other living things. The easier a Wielder can connect with the warp, the more magic will tend to pool around them. Most naturally-gifted wizards have the ability to sense large ‘drifts’ of loose magic, which means that they could potentially sense all living things around them. So, if we want to go unnoticed, the wisest course would be to ‘dim’ our presence by returning the loose magic that has gathered around us to the warp.”
Margery shrugged. “Well, go ahead. You didn’t have to ask permission for that. I’m not a magic user, anyway.”
“I don’t like the idea of doing it without asking,” Rowan said. “Just… be warned. This may make you feel vulnerable, tired, weak, perhaps even ill. Everyone can sense magic on some level or other; potentially anyone could become a Wielder, but it would take time and energy. You have a slight magical ability, and that could exacerbate the effect.” Margery shrugged again.
“Well, forewarned is forearmed, I guess. Go ahead.”
Margery had expected to feel any of the sensations Rowan had described—or perhaps she hadn’t known what to expect—but she certainly had not expected the strange draining sensation that flowed through her and left her limbs feeling heavy and her head slightly dizzy. She focused on relaxing and not fighting the dizzy feeling, taking deep breaths. As the off-balanced sensation passed, Margery gave a sigh of relief.
“You responded well,” Rowan said encouragingly. He seemed dimmed, muted, diminished somehow—though it was not in his physical appearance. As far as looks went, he was just a fraction paler than before; that was all. “I may have to repeat this, periodically. Loose magic tends to build up, over time. It makes spell-casting easier. I only grounded enough so that we can blend in with nature.”
“This is more complex than I ever imagined,” Margery murmured. Rowan offered her a sympathetic look.
“Most things are that way,” he remarked. “They seem simple on the surface, but look deeper and they’re inescapably complex, yet beautifully simple at the same time.”
“Can you teach me?” Margery asked, suddenly, impulsively.
“I don’t think so,” Rowan replied pensively. “You’re more intuitive; you use magic instinctively, if at all. I don’t think I could teach you to use it in the way I do, and certainly not in this short a time. Not with any degree of safety. It takes a lifetime to learn properly. Magic is not a plaything; it’s a tool, and like all tools it can be dangerous if abused, or misused. It should not be used by the unskilled. Ever.” Margery bowed her head, chastened. “However,” Rowan continued, I can teach you more about it and help you to understand the gift.” Margery looked at him, grateful.
“Please,” she said softly. Rowan gazed on ahead, thoughtful.
“If you wanted to become a Wielder and were really, honestly serious about it, you could become a scholar, focusing on knowledge, discovery, and research. You would need to find a partner who specialized in focused or applied Wielding, to work with, of course, but wisdom and those who seek it are sorely needed.” Margery smiled. Rowan turned toward her, an unrecognized expression twinkling in tawny hazel eyes. “Besides, there’s another reason why I can’t teach you more than just theory.”
“What would that be?” Margery asked, ducking under a tree branch as she rode.
“Whatever would your parents say?” Rowan asked. Margery suddenly realized what the sly twinkle in the young man’s eyes was—mischief. She moved to swat him, but Rowan moved much more quickly. She missed him completely as he swiftly ducked. “There are some things you should know beforehand,” Rowan said, turning serious. “There are certain laws which should be followed, when it comes to magic. These are not merely the laws of Ertraia, but the laws of righteous Wielders everywhere. Some laws are punishable by imprisonment; others by banishment, or instant death. To seek refuge in Ertraia is to put yourself under Ertraia’s justice. First of all, magic should never be used to take a life by any means, except in the defense of life. There are certain prayers and meditations that should be undertaken subsequent to the taking of a life in self-defense. Attempting to summon spirits is most certainly forbidden. If one of the saints speaks to you in a dream or vision, that’s a different thing entirely; but you must be cautious and examine the message of such a dream, analyzing it to decide if it truly comes from God or His saints. There is almost nothing in the world that is more dangerous than a magician under the influence of a demon; you must guard yourself carefully against the mental interference of such evil forces. Magic can not defend against evil spirits; only reverent prayer can do that. Using magic to compel someone against their free will is also forbidden. Magic should never be used for personal gain. Changing the appearance—the accidents, or circumstances—of some object is possible, but only our Lord—” he bowed his head, respectfully—“can change their substance or essence. To attempt to do so would be blasphemy. It is not permissible to attempt to create life, though imitating it is allowed, under certain dire circumstances. Only God can create life, give it and take it. Saving lives, however, is most certainly permissible and praiseworthy. Creating a bond with someone and then throwing them aside without a thought is unthinkable; bonds should not be created in the first place, unless it is absolutely necessary. Bonding with an animal and then forcing it off on its own is punishable by a fine. Courting dreams and visions is not necessarily culpable, but it is generally considered to be a stupid thing to do, as it can leave you open to suggestion by outside forces that might not be benign. Some forms of knowledge are better left alone; we do not believe that the enemy is best fought with his own weapons. That makes us worse than him, because we actually know better, and yet we still allow ourselves to be provoked. Not his own, no, but with equal and opposite ones.”
Margery looked solemnly at Rowan. “So, the gift comes with responsibilities.”
“As all true gifts do,” Rowan nodded solemnly. “All true gifts are given to us so that we may serve others. We are nothing on our own. It is folly to take our gifts for granted, though this is more a matter for personal guidance, rather than for the law. We walk similar lines in magic that we do in our everyday lives. We fall in similar ways; we make similar errors. The punishments are more severe because a rogue magician can cause more harm than an average man in the same plight. The only man who might cause more damage would be one in a position of power or influence. The more we are entrusted with, the higher the expectations. We must be on our guard at all times so that our power does not corrupt us, and take safeguards against greed.” Margery nodded, seriously.
“So, are all the stories about magic true? Not the ones that say all magicians are evil, of course, but the stories about what magic can do.”
“Some of them, but probably not all,” Rowan said. “Even magic has its rules and its limitations. And there are things that should not be attempted, not merely because they can cause physical harm, but because they are morally destructive to the Wielder as well.”
“What about the stories where someone is healed of a wound that should have been fatal?” Margery asked.
“Those are more likely to be true,” Rowan replied, looking down. Margery could not help it; her eyes were drawn to the ugly old scar on one cheek. How had that come about, if…? “Ertraia’s healers are the best in Scotland,” Rowan carried on, “perhaps the best in the world. Normal wounds are easy enough to heal. Magical wounds—those dealt by direct magical means—are more difficult. Some of our healers have traveled abroad to heal the wounds dealt in war and to aid the sick, but due to the persecution of magic users and other knowledge that seems to them of magic, they have had to keep their true abilities secret, and they have grown rarer. Some of our healers have gone out and never returned, and no word came back to us of their fate. We can only hope that they yet live, and are safe and well.”
“What’s the difference—I mean, how do you tell which magic is dark and which is light?”
“No. Don’t say ‘dark’ or ‘light,’” Rowan said. “Perhaps they are, as you use them, mere metaphors, but they are not quite perfect. To use ‘light’ to imply ‘good’ and ‘dark’ to imply ‘evil’ is not quite accurate. We must remember that they are mere metaphors and not innately good or evil of themselves. Darkness predates sin; it is not evil of itself. Even the light, in this broken world of ours, is flawed. Only the Light of Christ shines perfect. Furthermore, some people use ‘light’ to equate truth, and ‘dark’ for ignorance. But this is flawed as well; truth alone, on its own, without the light of grace and divine revelation, can point people in the wrong direction. A few scattered truths do not add up to a full picture. Truth can be colored by perspective, and twisted to the selfish ends of men. Reason unguided by faith can lead down a dark path indeed. Light illuminates, but it does not always guide.” Rowan fell silent; Margery sat, overawed, perfectly still in her saddle. Rowan cocked his head to one side. “What was the question again?”
Margery couldn’t help but laugh. With his philosophical dissertation, he had obviously forgotten entirely about the question that had prompted it. “I asked how I could tell the good from the bad. Or, maybe, a right use of magic from a wrong one?”
“Much the same way as you can tell a good action from a bad one on a purely ordinary level,” Rowan said. “If either the end or the action is not morally permissible on a completely material, natural, and spiritual standpoint, you can be sure it’s wrong no matter the means, ordinary or magical. Natural law. Conscience. Both apply in any situation.”
“By natural law, you mean the moral guidelines ingrained into us, almost instinct?” Margery clarified.
They continued to travel, Margery struggling to remember as much philosophy as she could, until nightfall.
Once again, it’s time for Camp Nanowrimo! Yaaaay! 😀
Ironic, because all the Nano events I’ve ever finished were always Camps. 😛 Anyway…
Unnamed (working title) is the story of Gervaise (Baeltyr) Eredhen, son of the most influential Baron in the wealthy South Kingdom, and Iris, a petty thief and survivor. However, Gervaise is not your typical rebellious son. Rather, he is forced to chose between his father’s worldview, and his mother’s. Rejecting his father’s strangely twisted utopia, he embraces his mother’s more stoic philosophy. He has not yet discovered the depths of true hypocrisy, though; in the South Kingdom, politics is hypocrisy.
Iris, also, is not your typical thief. She may bear a dislike for the nobles and have a shady past, but there’s much more to her than meets the eye. All that she needs to join the rebellion is someone to follow, someone other than that half-wit, Gervaise.
Added to that, Gervaise hasn’t told Iris who he really is, a rebellion is in order, another rebellion with a motive not so altruistic is also on the move, and Gervaise is far more politically strategic than he ever realized.
(If you want an excerpt, I can always post one. 😉 ) Thanks for reading, and God Bless!