Thursday, February 18, 2016

By your powers combined chapter 23

Only one or two more of these cinematic POVs left in this section. They kind of throw my momentum off, plus everything else that's going on this week.

First chapter

Previous: Chapter 22

Chapter 23 (Stupidity)

            Aisa groaned as she plopped into the towering bed of the Yus-Market Inn, smiling. The bed was so soft, and when she rolled onto her side, it gave her a nice view out the window.
            Behind her in the six-person suite room, Iomat was still unconscious, and together, Rokki and Tesol lifted her up of the rock-forged stretcher and placed her on the bed beside Aisa.
            Regime Hunters roamed the streets just outside their window, but none of them seems to have noticed Aisa or her group. A sign on the lamppost across the street said why there were so many Regime Hunters in the streets and why there were so many guards to go along with the thick crowds: preliminary rounds for the Gladiatorium were being held in Jutzoran this year.
            “Good thing Tima and his group won’t be passing through this city,” Aisa said. “I would hate to see—”
            Tima, or at least someone who looked like him, strode down the street with someone who appeared to be Yalrein then disappeared into the crowd.
            Aisa rolled over onto her back and sat bolt upright. “Impossible.”
            “What?” Rokki asked.
            “By the One, Tima is here. In this city. And the others aren’t with him.”
            “That’s not good.”
            “And the mayor was only slightly crazy.”
            Rokki blinked. “Slightly? He released some monster and blew up the village.”
            “I was trying to match your understatement.” Aisa climbed down from the bed and stomped over to the door, grabbing her bracer and a piece of bread before stepping out into the hallway on the third floor of the inn. .
            Rokki stumbled out the door behind her, belting on a pair of daggers and checking his ring. He panted, and like her, his clothes were grimy and disheveled from their long rolling hike. But unlike her, dark bags decorated his eyes from constantly molding the tunnel and helping with the burden of travel. “You shouldn’t go alone.”
            “With this many guards and Regime Hunters about, I doubt anyone will give me trouble.” She started down the stairs.
            “They’re the ones I’m worrying about.”
            “With that secret weapon, I doubt our descriptions were sent ahead. At worst, they will be looking for someone coming from that direction. Like Tima. Which is why we have to get him out of here before fingers start pointing in his direction.”
            “I hope you’re right.”
            “I always am.” Aisa grinned back at him before hurrying out into the sunlight, Rokki on her heels like a jealous older brother.

Next: Chapter 24

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

By your powers combined chapter 22

So busy over the past few days that I've found it hard to even think about the BYPC, much less get motivated to get it done. Been thinking about the next story since part 1 of BYPC is coming to an end. Looking like it's going to be Romeo and Juliet meets ???? not sure yet. Got the magic system and the opening idea done. And some of the world as well. The two main characters are clear in my head right now, and the conflict between them, too. I'm trying to start closer to a normal life part with the character striving to do something, but not something major the upends his life at the very beginning. And as I write this, Goo is running around like a crazy cat.

First chapter

Previous: Chapter 21

Chapter 22 (False names)

            With Yalrein beside me, I waved goodbye for now to Wholt and Pentorse as we stepped out of the cheap inn’s stable by the western gate.
            There were so many people in this area it was hard to breathe. Like in Ayuhod, the stink of oil and burned hair permitted the air, but on a much thicker, smoke-like scale, mixed with the rotten grapefruit smell of the crowd’s body odor.
            Maybe that was the reason it was hard to breathe. That mixture of smells on top of the heat was atrocious.
            By ten steps away from the stable, my last good shirt had been soaked through with sweat. Too bad I hadn’t thought of training shirtless sooner. Though, I still had a bit of a rash from exercising in the armor without one.
            Yalrein grumbled something behind me as I used my grace to maneuver through the crowd, leaving him to shove his way forward.
            “Remember,” I said, glancing back at him, raising my voice, “we’re from a small mountain family, isolated from the world and apart of the same martial arts school.”
            Yalrein rolled his eyes, shoving his way next to me. “Tell everyone, why don’t you?”
            I inhaled sharply to do just that then stopped myself. “I still hate you.”
            “And today, I finally get to go all out on you.”
            “Shouldn’t that be my line?” I started forward again, stalking through the crowd and glaring at everyone I passed.
            The line outside the stadium stretched around the block and made me want to scream.
            How were there this many people who wanted to compete in the preliminaries?
            I stepped into the line by a bakery, and the mouth-watering scent of pie reminded me that we had trained this morning and burned through the last of our food. Deep breaths calmed my stomach and allowed me to focus on the fools around me—well, in front of me and Yalrein.
            The purple, metallic-skinned group directly in front of me were all at least as tall as me, two of them more than a foot taller. Their weapons were solid black, hung from hooks on their shoulders and belts, sable-forged steel bare.
            I turned away from the Wave Rider people, unsure why they were so far from their homeland, into Regime territory, but it couldn’t be anything good.
            Or, I reminded myself, they could just be here for the fame and price money.
            Despite how long the line was, it moved pretty quickly. The Wave Rider people in front of them each registered their names, though only one of their names stuck: Kkustt. Odd for a woman to have a name that didn’t start with a vowel, even odder than her being the tallest in the group. They were handed a letter, one for the entire group of four.
            Speaking of names, I hadn’t come up with any good ideas yet. Just reversing their names wouldn’t work. Well, it could work for Yalrein since his name ended in a consonant, but my name ended in a vowel.
            “How many in your group?” the gray-haired old man asked.
            “Group?” I asked.
            He narrowed his eyes then looked at me then Yalrein. “I’ll take it as two. Names?”
            “Wait.” I shook my head, and a wave of dizziness kicked me in the nose. “We’re not a group. We’re going to fight alone.”
            “If you make it past the first trial. Which is a group competition considering the number of participants.”
            “Oh.” I glanced at Yalrein, who nodded. “Okay. Markdown … Penta-Destroyer and The-Great-Spiderchicken.”
            I could feel Yalrein’s gaze boring into the back of my head.
            “Right …” The old man scribbled on a piece of paper then handed me a letter. “While it is alright to enter under an assumed name, the final records of this round will require your real name.”
            I swallowed.
            “For now, I’ll just put you down as--” He met my eyes. “—Penta-Destroyer and--” He glanced over at Yalrein. “—The-Great-Spiderchicken.” After scribbling a few more notes, including their descriptions, the old man handed me an envelope. “Open it when you get back to your room and follow the instructions exactly for your first trial.” He closed his book and stood, retreating into the {stadium} since we were the last in line.
            Thinking on that, we were lucky to make it on time.
            I stifled a sigh and turned to Yalrein. “Now, we just need to find a room. Any--”
            “Tima!” Aisa shouted as she skidded around the corner, stabbing a finger at me as if to shoot my eye out. “What in the One’s name do you think you’re doing?”

Next: Chapter 23

Saturday, February 13, 2016

By your powers combined chapter 21

Was a semi-productive day with pancakes

First chapter

Previous: Chapter 20

Chapter 21 (A new plan)

            Ekanli walked out of the healer’s room on the first floor of the in, curling and uncurling her toes with each step. Her heart still raced faster than they had to get inside the walls of the city.
            Modaj looked groggy sitting at the table in the center of the inn’s common room while Igu, across from him, shoveled food into her mouth. At this early hour, only the red-eyed, portly innkeeper was moving around. With his flabby cheeks and soft smile, he looked like he was saving up food for a large-scale battle.
            The smell of bacon made Ekanli’s stomach growl, so she made her way across the quiet inn common room and waved at the innkeeper before pointing at Igu’s plate.
            As if Ekanli was planning to steal her food, Igu leaned over her plate and wrapped her arms around it protectively. Paper rustled in her pocket.
            “I’m not going to eat your food.” Ekanli sat down then glanced over her shoulder.
            The innkeeper headed into the back.
            She scooted her seat closer to the table and whispered, “What are we going to do?”
            “Wait for Orshis and Weron,” Modaj said, voice sounding as unsteady as he looked.
            Ekanli shook her head. “Impossible. Not with that monster so close and the Regime Hunters probably knowing we’re here.”
            “Speaking of that monster.” Modaj’s hands trembled in his lap. “Did either of you get a good look at it?”
            Igu shook her head, still staring at her plate and putting small bites of food in her mouth. “Something knocked me out, the monster I guess, and the next thing I know, I’m waking up next to you with Ekanli running towards me.”
            “You’re lucky it didn’t kill you,” Ekanli said, voice cracking. “It. It was horrible.”
            Modaj swallowed. “What was it?”
            “I don’t know. Ekanli hugged herself to still the shivers rolling across her body. “But we broke the seal on the door, so whatever it is, it could come here next. Which is why we can’t wait.”
            “Well,” he said, shrugging, “what else can we do? There’s no way we can make it across the wastes without a map or someone to lead us.”
            Ekanli’s foot began tapping, and she placed her hands in her lap to stop it. “What else can we do?”
            Igu looked up, still trying to guard her food. “Find Tima. He has a map, right?”
            Ekanli opened her mouth then shut it. She blinked. “Well, that would be good if we knew where to start looking.”
            Igu bit into her lower lip as if she didn’t want to share something. After sighing, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a flyer. “I found this on the bar of the inn while waiting for you and Modaj to get healed.”
            “So?” Ekanli reached out for the paper.
            The bumping of doors announced the innkeeper coming out with her food, so Modaj took the chance to grab the paper. His brow scrunched.
            “What?” Ekanli asked, mouth full of grits and ham.
            “Why would a flyer for the Gladiatorium Preliminaries in Jutzoran let you think you know where Tima is?”
            Half-eaten chunks of ham fell from Ekanli’s mouth and plopped onto her plate. “The Gladiatorium. Or course.”
            Igu narrowed her eyes and scanned Modaj’s face. “Are you really Modaj?”
            “Yes?” he said.
            “And how long have you known Tima,” Igu asked.
            “Since we were both old enough to walk. Same as you and Ekanli.”
            Igu nodded as if Modaj were stupid. “And what has he always wanted more than anything else?”
            Igu flinched, Modaj’s words striking her.
            “Besides that, ass,” Ekanli said.
            “To compete in the …” Modaj’s eyes grew wide. “Oh. But Jutzoran is more than a week by horse from here, even if we ride hard.”
            “Good find, Igu.” Ekanli went back to eating.
            Igu stood. “I’ll ask the innkeeper to get us supplies and leave a message for Orshis and Weron if they follow after us.”
            “Be careful how you word that,” Modaj said, always the careful one.
            “I’m not stupid.” Igu spun on her heels and stalked off.
            Ekanli washed her food down with some cold water then burped. “Let’s check the route and make sure we know the fastest way there.” With that, she rose and moved towards the healer’s room, the old wind wielder seeming more knowledgeable about these sorts of things than the innkeeper.

Next: Chapter 22

By your powers combined chapter 20

So, part one of this story is almost complete. After chapter 21, there will be one or two more cinematic chapters with Igu's group and one or two more with Aisa's group before their all back together for the finally against the flame monster, sacrificing something major to bring out captain planet while kind of controlling him and heading off to the rebel capital. Maybe. I'm still discovery writing, so it may all change. That's just the idea I had today while eating pancakes. Not sure about part 2. When/if I'll go forward with it or not. This piece in the first draft form is probably only going to be about 40k to 50k words long. Maybe. If I get a good enough response, I'll see what I can do about a part 2. Or I may just start working on my next piece. I do have to write 2 more pieces and turn the openings into short stories this year. After that, who knows.

First chapter

Previous: Chapter 19

Chapter 20 (A haunting monster)

            Ekanli’s voice died, but the sickness in her belly didn’t, and she puked into the gore covered room.
            Everything smelled like the mountain river before the Regime’s companies had to stop dumping metal shavings from the stop floors into it. That, mixed with the lemon-sour gunk clinging to her mouth, gave the small entry room an expansive feel. The cramped walls with one door to the right and the stairwell to the left seemed to quiver as her voice echoed back into the room.
            Then something howled.
            Ekanli’s breath caught, and she stumbled to the side, bracing on the doorframe that led into the kitchen behind her.
            The howl came again, clearly from the room to the right.
            “No, no, no,” Ekanli said to herself before bolting into the stairwell. “Igu! Modaj! We have to—”
            A bald woman with the metallic tattoos of a Regime Hunter stepped in front of Ekanli. The woman’s clothes were singed, and several burn marks decorated her exposed skin. She gritted her teeth and pulled out a pair of daggers, lunging at Ekanli with the speed of a wind wielder.
            Ekanli pressed her back against the wall then danced around the woman into the open room by the stairwell. “Stop.”
            “You!” The woman righted her footwork and lashed out with a tendril of wind as she moved forward, but her hands shook, and the tendril shot low, knocking Ekanli from her feet instead.
            The wind adjusted and wrapped around Ekanli’s leg, digging into her flesh, and she let out a hoarse scream.
            “I don’t know what did,” the woman’s voice cracked, and her lips quivered, “but I’m going to put an end to it now.”
            “I didn’t do anything.” Ekanli pushed herself backwards with her hands. “But this tower is—”
            A malformed shadow appeared out of the stairwell behind the woman, its form roiling forward.
            Ekanli’s eyes bulged, and she pointed behind the woman. “Monster!” Ekanli scrambled to her feet despite the tendril still ripping away at her leg and took a step.
            “You think I’d just let you go?” the woman asked. “I—” She screamed, and hot blood splattered across Ekanli’s back.
            Heat filled the room, and sweat beaded Ekanli’s forehead as a howling gale rose up behind her. The floor shook, and the wind around her leg vanished while she hobbled out of the room. She moved from room to room, trying to find the stairwell down in this maze of a tower. Left, right, right, left.
            Ekanli had turned around so many times and moved through so many rooms everything started looking the same. She crossed through a room she had been in before and took a right.
            The stairwell down waited for her across the room.
            She started forward, heart pounding in her ears.
            A blood-curdling roar reverberated through the walls all around her. It came from the room she had just come from. From the stairwell. From the room to the left. It sounded so close.
            Tearing the tendons in her leg as she took the stairs down two at a time, Ekanli gritted her teeth and ignored the pain. She made her way towards the exit.
            In the room by the gaping front door, in a pool of blood and scorched clothing, Igu lay behind Modaj, both of them flat on their backs staring at the ceiling.
            “Get up; get up; get up!” Ekanli put her weight on her good leg and leaned over to shake Modaj first then Igu.
            Igu stirred, blinking up at Ekanli. “Terrible. Monster.”
            “I know.” Ekanli pointed at Modaj. “Help me get him to a horse.”
            Igu stumbled to her feet and helped Ekanli hoist Modaj, doing most of the work with her gift of fire. They started out the door, and Igu glanced down. “You’re hurt?”
            “Better than dead.” Ekanli gestured at the group of horses. “Can you lead a horse while you ride?”
            Igu nodded. “Probably.”
            Together, once again with Igu doing most of the work, they flopped Modaj over the saddle of one of the Regime Hunters’ horses then climbed into their own saddles and rode out of the tower then towards the city, not bothering to look back.

Next: Chapter 21