Character Vignette: Hollis

“Secure airlocks and prep for takeoff sequence. Authorization: Yelejna Eldorova Todorov, Second Princess of the Crown.”

The king of Somnersil scratched his chin thoughtfully as he watched his daughter on the the surveilance feed. She had boarded, and was attempting to comandeer one of the ships of his merchant fleet. He huffed a quiet laugh at the striking similarity to his own youth. Her mother had always claimed that she was more her father’s daughter than either of the other two.

Continue reading Character Vignette: Hollis

Character Vignette: Ferdie

The door chimed quietly.

Ferdinand drew deeply on the pipe of his shishe, letting smoke trail lazily from his nostrils as he called for the visitor to enter. Yelejna strode in, brisk but calm. She glanced at him and his smokey, bespectacled muzzle, and her eyes went immediately to the command panel on the far side of the room where Ferdinand had manually shut off the reactive fire safety protocols for the room.

Continue reading Character Vignette: Ferdie

One Word: Loft

The ball left his fingers, winging its way across the field. Had he thrown too hard? Too high? Would someone catch it when it arched down on the other side?The ball left his fingers, winging its way across the field. Had he thrown too hard? Too high? Would someone catch it when it arched down on the other side?

One Word
One Word. Sixty seconds.
Don’t think. Just write.

One Word: Bleak

The canyon stretched out below his feet, its depths lost in the blizzard. It disappeared into the snow to the north and south. There was nowhere else to go, nothing else to do but turn around and face the hunter.

One Word
One Word. Sixty seconds.
Don’t think. Just write.

New Blog — Not actually an intro

Dec 13, 2010: Updated to organize a little and add one or two things. | Note: Entries before this one were posted here from various of my other websites/blogs for archival purposes.

I was going to write a “Hi guys! This blog is about…” sort of intro post, but screw it. You’ll catch on eventually, or you’re probably in the wrong place. (And that’s what the “About” page is for anyway, right?) I’m still working on the site itself, but I’m tired of letting that keep me from posting. So on with the content!

Well, sort of. We’re starting out with a bullet list or sorts. Recorded and summarized here (in no particular order) for my own records, and for your general enjoyment, are notes on at least a few of the ideas that have been kicking around my head for the last few years. I’ll try to keep them brief, but it’s likely I’ll fail miserably.

Projects in Development

LONG-FORM
The Current War (tag: Greenpunk)
My NaNoWriMo project for 2010. Almost 33k words written as of the end of that November. Originally conceived as a means of exploring an electrified world populated by sentient trees and what we might call elves (but don’t let them hear you call them that), through the eyes of its people. Politics, eco-terrorism, secrets, a smart-mouthed heroine and a dash of romance.
Legend of the Mahuizoh (tag: Mahuizoh)
Setting inspired by/based very loosely on the civilizations of ancient Central-America. Inspired by a dream a friend had (hey, inspiration everywhere, right?). Mahuizoh is the man-given title of the world-emperor Centehua, who is the god of the earth, child of the Sun and Moon. When he was an infant, they created mankind to keep him company and generally be his playthings, but he came to love them as he grew older. His parents wanted to destroy them, telling him that he could not let himself become attached to such finite beings. To protect them, he bound himself to the world, and to life in a mortal shell. But a god-spirit still, he must rest for many, many years, or his power will destroy his mortal form, breaking his connection to the world and it’s people, leaving them vulnerable to his parents’ wrath. The story follows his awakening after a millennium of sleep to a world that has nearly forgotten him.
Parthia Answered (tag: Parthia Answered)
The full-length version of “How Mortals Gave Justice to the Gods,” the story I started (but didn’t complete :p) for NaNoWriMo 2009. A dark fantasy about a former-priestess betrayed by her goddess and hellbent on vengeance. She learns from another immortal wronged by this goddess that not all gods are born; some are made, and a made-god could have their power taken from them if someone were clever enough to find their fetishes and claim their power for themselves.
Warrior of Shea (tag: Warrior of Shea)
This one has been brewing for almost a decade at this point, and may be too fargone to rekindle the original enthusiasm I had for it. Another of those Joan of Arc-type stories, where the main character disguises herself as a man to fight in the war that killed her father. Unbeknownst to her, she was born to be the living embodiment of her people’s god of eternal flame/light, and it’s a good thing too, because the enemy’s army has found an avatar of Shadow and won’t hesitate to use it. She learns her true nature after her decision to leave home, when she receives a vision in a temple. But first, she must prove herself worthy to bear the Flame.
SHORT-FORM
Bowman Vance [Series] (tag: Bowman Vance)
Asian-inspired setting. A short story collection with an overarching storyline, following a man who is being framed/accused of betraying his liege who is trying to regain a bit of honor before he returns to face the charges. Told from the POV of a young boy who found out the plot and followed him to avoid being hurt. Story/character/setting/etc concepts based on interesting words and phrases seen while driving. First story: “Bowman Vance and the Lightkeepers’ Village”
Saddle Brother
A vignette-turned-short-story I’ve been picking at, about a war hero. Inspired by some Wikipedia reading I was doing recently. Told from an unusual point of view.
Tochtli’s Gamble With Teoxihuatl of the Moon
A folktale from the world of the Mahuizoh, telling how the moon got it’s rabbit-shaped mark. A cunning young rabbit dares to wager against a goddess to win the heart of his beloved. [Other stories from Mahuizoh’s world: “The Star That Followed” (telling of the star who loved Centehua and followed him into the mortal world).]

Conceptual Projects

LONG-FORM
Hollow/Hollow World (tag: Hollow)
A pet-project as of August 2010. Working through this fantasy worldbuilding FAQ on the SFWA website, to get the world and some background fixed in my mind before I start with the actual writing. A concept built around unique aspects of the planet itself. Part Little Mermaid, part Fern Gully, part post-apocalypse/second evolution sci-fi re/discovery adventure.
Suicide Kings & Bedpost Queens (tag: Royal Flush)
Possibly a romance, or political/war adventure. A world and its people based directly on the symbolism in the face cards of a standard playing deck.
SHORT-FORM
The Dreamer’s Journals [Collection] (tag: Dreamer’s Journals)
A travelogue of sorts, based on one person’s (“the Dreamer”) travels to other worlds through the dreamscape. Would be mostly the Dreamer’s thoughts on the people and cultures he encounters, with a smattering of more up-close encounters where the Dreamer gets pulled into dream events rather than simply observing. I’m actually considering turning this into a website of its own.
Mytho-religious Stories [Collection]
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. This one doesn’t even have a working title yet. A collection of short stories based on myths and legends from the various conceptual worlds in my head. Would probably contain stories such as “Ona & the Weaver,” the elemental “Advent,” “Tochtli’s Gamble With Teoxihuatl of the Moon,” and “How Mortals Gave Justice to the Gods” (the short fire-side version of the story I started writing for the 2009 NaNoWriMo), among others.
Runaway Space Princess Pirate [Series] (tag: Princess Space Pirate)
Uuuh. Yeah, exactly what it sounds like, and really it hasn’t gotten much farther than that. I wanted a concept and some characters I could just play with and occassionally be completely silly, and and this was what I got. Kind of an ensemble series. Main character is the headstrong middle (and thus least politically useful) daughter of a king from some far-flung world. Rather than be dumped into a political marriage to someone she’s never even seen, she steals a starship from her father’s merchant fleet and runs away for fun and adventure (and trouble) among the stars. She’s also her father’s favorite, being most like him, and guessing what she’s up to, he sends the son of the Sergeant of his personal guard to keep her out of too much trouble. Also on-ship are a furry, hookah-smoking dragon engineer, and at least one or two others.

Tag names are included where I think they’ll be necessary, and links where they’re actually applied. I’ll likely come back to this from time to time and add or update as I see fit.

If you could read any of these, which would you choose?

One Word: Aspect

So many aspects to every facet of life, the world. Like a fractal that starts with one thought and spreads outward connecting everything, everyone, everywhere, even though outside our perception. Find the connections and you have the keys to everything.

One Word
One Word. Sixty seconds.
Don’t think. Just write.

“The Gift of Mercy” by Anonymous

(As far as I’ve been able to find, this story is credited only to “Anonymous” anywhere on the internet, and has been claimed to be an “open source story” and free to share. It is archived here because most online sources are message boards, and I thought this would be a more reliable (and safe) way to share it. I make absolutely no claim of rights to this work, and will be happy to remove it at the author’s request.)

!MESSAGE BEGINS

We made a mistake. That is the simple, undeniable truth of the matter, however painful it might be. The flaw was not in our Observatories, for those machines were as perfect as we could make, and they showed us only the unfiltered light of truth. The flaw was not in the Predictor, for it is a device of pure, infallible logic, turning raw data into meaningful information without the taint of emotion or bias. No, the flaw was within us, the Orchestrators of this disaster, the sentients who thought themselves beyond such failings. We are responsible.

It began a short while ago, as these things are measured, less than 6^6 Deeli ago, though I suspect our systems of measure will mean very little by the time anyone receives this transmission. We detected faint radio signals from a blossoming intelligence 2^14 Deelis outward from the Galactic Core, as photons travel. At first crude and unstructured, these leaking broadcasts quickly grew in complexity and strength, as did the messages they carried. Through our Observatories we watched a world of strife and violence, populated by a barbaric race of short-lived, fast breeding vermin. They were brutal and uncultured things which stabbed and shot and burned each other with no regard for life or purpose. Even their concepts of Art spoke of conflict and pain. They divided themselves according to some bizarre cultural patterns and set their every industry to cause of death.

They terrified us, but we were older and wiser and so very far away, so we did not fret. Then we watched them split the atom and breach the heavens within the breadth of one of their single, short generations, and we began to worry. When they began actively transmitting messages and greetings into space, we felt fear and horror. Their transmissions promised peace and camaraderie to any who were listening, but we had watched them for too long to buy into such transparent deceptions. They knew we were out here, and they were coming for us.

The Orchestrators consulted the Predictor, and the output was dire. They would multiply and grow and flood out of their home system like some uncountable tide of Devourer worms, consuming all that lay in their path. It might take 6^8 Deelis, but they would destroy us if left unchecked. With aching carapaces we decided to act, and sealed our fate.

The Gift of Mercy was 8^4 strides long with a mouth 2/4 that in diameter, filled with many 4^4 weights of machinery, fuel, and ballast. It would push itself up to 2/8th of light speed with its onboard fuel, and then begin to consume interstellar Primary Element 2/2 to feed its unlimited acceleration. It would be traveling at nearly light speed when it hit. They would never see it coming. Its launch was a day of mourning, celebration, and reflection. The horror of the act we had committed weighted heavily upon us all; the necessity of our crime did little to comfort us.

The Gift had barely cleared the outer cometary halo when the mistake was realized, but it was too late. The Gift could not be caught, could not be recalled or diverted from its path. The architects and work crews, horrified at the awful power of the thing upon which they labored, had quietly self-terminated in droves, walking unshielded into radiation zones, neglecting proper null pressure safety or simple ceasing their nutrient consumption until their metabolic functions stopped. The appalling cost in lives had forced the Ochestrators to streamline the Gift’s design and construction. There had been no time for the design or implementation of anything beyond the simple, massive engines and the stabilizing systems. We could only watch in shame and horror as the light of genocide faded into infrared against the distant void.

They grew, and they changed, in a handful of lifetimes they abolished war, abandoned their violent tendencies and turned themselves to the grand purposes of life and Art. We watched them remake first themselves, and then their world. Their frail, soft bodies gave way to gleaming metals and plastics, they unified their people through an omnipresent communications grid and produced Art of such power and emotion, the likes of which the Galaxy has never seen before. Or again, because of us.

They converted their home world into a paradise (by their standards) and many 10^6s of them poured out into the surrounding system with a rapidity and vigor that we could only envy. With bodies built to survive every environment from the day lit surface of their innermost world, to the atmosphere of their largest gas giant and the cold void in-between, they set out to sculpt their system into something beautiful. At first we thought them simple miners, stripping the rocky planets and moons for vital resources, but then we began to see the purpose to their constructions, the artworks carved into every surface, and traced across the system in glittering lights and dancing fusion trails. And still, our terrible Gift approached.

They had less than 2^2 Deeli to see it, following so closely on the tail of its own light. In that time, oh so brief even by their fleeting lives, more than 10^10 sentients prepared for death. Lovers exchanged last words, separated by worlds and the tyranny of light speed. Their planet side engineers worked frantically to build sufficient transmission infrastructure to upload the countless masses with the necessary neural modifications, while those above dumped lifetimes of music and literature from their databanks to make room for passengers. Those lacking the required hardware or the time to acquire it consigned themselves to death, lashed out in fear and pain, or simply went about their lives as best they could under the circumstances.

The Gift arrived suddenly, the light of its impact visible in our skies, shining bright and cruel even to the unaugmented ocular receptor. We watched and we wept for our victims, dead so many Deelis before the light of their doom had even reached us. Many 6^4s of those who had been directly or even tangentially involved in the creation of the Gift sealed their spiracles with paste as a final penance for the small roles they had played in this atrocity. The light dimmed, the dust cleared, and our Observatories refocused upon the place where their shining blue world had once hung in the void, and found only dust and the pale gleam of an orphaned moon, wrapped in a thin, burning wisp of atmosphere that had once belonged to its parent.

Radiation and relativistic shrapnel had wiped out much of the inner system, and continent sized chunks of molten rock carried screaming ghosts outward at interstellar escape velocities, damned to wander the great void for an eternity. The damage was apocalyptic, but not complete, from the shadows of the outer worlds, tiny points of light emerged, thousands of fusion trails of single ships and world ships and everything in between, many 10^6s of survivors in flesh and steel and memory banks, ready to rebuild. For a few moments we felt relief, even joy, and we were filled with the hope that their culture and Art would survive the terrible blow we had dealt them. Then came the message, tightly focused at our star, transmitted simultaneously by hundreds of their ships.

“We know you are out there, and we are coming for you.”

!MESSAGE ENDS

(There are actually two more parts following this one, but this is by far the best of them, and it stands very well on its own. If you’re interested in reading parts 2 and 3, you should be able to find them fairly easily with a Google search.)

Reading, writing, art, and the occasional mad ramble