Nariel’s Station Files – Amberwoods Station Part 4

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Anila leads you down another corridor to a pair of double doors. “This is our biggest lift,” she says. “It can hold up to one hundred people. We can get as many as five hundred visitors on the days the station is in full swing, so they’re usually in demand.” She glances over her shoulder at you. “There’s only about a dozen of you, but none of our other lifts are big enough to get all of you to where we need to go.”

“Where are we going now?” the woman who was missing her daughter’s wedding asks.

“To the next level,” Anila says. “You need to see the whole station, not just the docking level.” She presses her hand with its long, delicate fingers against a panel set into the bulkhead. The panel lights up and you hear a faint whoosh. The doors slide open and Anila gestures for you to precede her into the lift.

You do as she says, though you hear a few of your traveling companions whimper. Apparently they don’t care for elevators. “Is there no other way down?” the teenage girl with the fascination with Twilight asks. “I don’t like elevators.”

“Sorry sweetie,” Anila says gently. “We don’t have stairs and the teleporters are broken again. We’ve asked the repair techs from Multiverse 23 to fix them, but they’re swamped. The central core’s processors have degraded and she’s really upset. She has a deadline and she isn’t able to work. So they’re trying to figure out what’s going on with them.”

“Child, you should be grateful we’ve been granted this opportunity by God to experience such a momentous journey,” the priest says pompously. “Fear nothing. Embrace everything.”

Anila snorts. “Your god doesn’t exist on this station, priest. I’m not entire sure he exists in any of the Multiverses either. He might exist in Multiverse 243, but Khey Lan and Khyle don’t believe in him and those two have been around long enough to know if he exists or not.” She pauses. “The core doesn’t believe in him either. She’s closer to the gods and goddesses of the Multiverses than the god she was raised to believe in.”

“Is she your god?” the priest asks with a sneer.

Anila’s eyes turn solidly black. “My god is pure death, mortal,” she says in a voice that echoes eerily. “His touch withers. His breath freezes. His very presence draws the life essence from everything.” A moment later the blue returns to her eyes and she smiles cheerfully. “The station core isn’t our goddess. She’s our creator. She’s the one who brought us into existence. Of course, our Multiverses have creation myths. It’s only natural she’d put them in there. But in reality she’s the whole reason we exist.”

“She sounds interesting,” you hear yourself saying.

Anila turns that sparkling smile on you, though you can’t shake the feeling you just had when she channeled whatever it was that turned her eyes black. “Oh, she is. I think you’ll like her. And if you like it here on the station, she might even put you in one of her Multiverses. Or even create a new one for you to inhabit.”

“Can’t she send us back to our own?” the woman whose daughter was getting married asked. “I want to be there to see my grandchildren be born.”

Anila smiles sheepishly. “I, uh, I don’t know. I don’t remember this ever happening. Then again, I’m not the usual greeter. It used to be done by a woman named Liliana, but she got written out of her primary story and moved to another part of the Multiverse so there was a personnel shift. We’re kind of short handed at the moment even though the station core is trying to get all of her new creations placed here.” There is a wry quirk to her lips as she adds, “Personality conflicts are a real problem, along with those from fantasy realms coming in contact with technology from the technologically advanced realms and this station.”

“This station isn’t like any I’ve ever seen or read about,” a young man says. He’s one of those who has, up until now, remained silent. You glance at him. He’s wearing a D20 t-shirt and a pair of ratty jeans. His tennis shoes are Pink Floyd themed Chuck Taylor All-Stars that are in better condition than the rest of clothes. “And I’ve seen just about every sci fi movie and read just about every sci fi book out there.”

Anila laughs as she makes sure everyone is accounted for before pressing a button on a panel in the lift. “I’m not surprised. This station is a mixture of magic and science. After all, the station core doesn’t create one over the other. She plays with both technology and magic quite freely. In fact, there are a few worlds she’s created that mix them both. Those are Multiverses that many of us try to avoid. They’re…not pleasant.” Anila shudders. “To be honest, there are Multiverses that she’s created that scare everyone but her. She revels in playing in them when she’s in the mood. Those are the days where no one goes into her rooms. It means something’s going on that’s got her to the point where – if she’s disturbed by any of us – she’ll kill us in our Multiverse. If she does that, and doesn’t bring us back right away, we fade and disappear. Our existence will only be remembered by Nariel and the station core.”

“She sounds awful,” the teenage girl says.

“She’s a creator, and sometimes a creator must kill their creations,” Anila says. “You don’t want to know how many incarnations I’ve been through before she came to my present character.” She laughs. “My original format was a human noblewoman named Anne who was rescued by her childhood playmate – who happened to be the Prince of Vassa – from a most Cinderella like fate. That was my form, hm, 19 – maybe 20 – years ago.” She gestures to what you now see is form fitting leather armor and her petite form. “This is what I am now. I’ve been a mostly blind elf, a human, a half elf, even a Majiin.” She shudders at that last. “Hope we don’t run into any of those meandering around the station. I can’t do anything against them and even the station core has issues controlling them. If one of those – creatures – should take an interest in you, you’ll disappear and the core might be able to save you. Then again, she might not.”

“If they’re her creations, she should be able to control them better,” the priest says.

“She doesn’t control any of us,” Anila says. “She lets us know what she wants, but we don’t always listen. She loves it when we take her places she didn’t expect, though she often gets frustrated along the way. That’s half the fun of being her, well, I suppose you could say we’re her children. We give her the excitement of getting to know us while leading her down paths she never expects. Sometimes we’ll do what she wants though because it makes the most sense. We’re not idiots. We do know what’s in our best interest.”

The doors open and you step out onto the next level. The corridors are much broader than the previous floor and the ceiling higher. As you start walking forward, a creature you’ve only seen in movies and storybooks appears. Now you see why everything is so much bigger here. “Anila, these aren’t the guests we were expecting,” the dragon says, her dark red head lowering to where she can look at the short elf with greater ease.

to be continued…

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Amberwoods Station – Part 3

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Anila leads you down the hall to a door. You hear a few gasps at the Gothic style wooden aperture. “I told you he’s a vampire,” she says. “But this is more for show than anything else. He’s actually a lot older even than the stories of Dracula. I don’t know how old he is, though a few of the people from his Multiverse do.” She knocks on the door.

“Come in Anila,” a deep, rich voice says.

Anila sighs and pushes open the door. “Maverick and Wyld Kard did come remind you of the rules, right?” she asks.

“Yes they did. I’m rather displeased that Nariel felt it necessary to send those pests to harass me, but I suppose I do have a tendency to ignore the directives of the station’s central core.”

The speaker is probably one of the most gorgeous men you’ve ever seen. His black hair is short and neatly trimmed. The beard on his face looks a little rough but is still well kept. He’s sitting with his shirt open showing off a magnificently well built body.

Anila sighs again. “Khey Lan, you know you look a little silly, right?”

Khey Lan grins, flashing a set of fangs. “I’d say our unexpected guests are pleased by what they see.”

Anila glances over her shoulder. She rolls her eyes. “Don’t get too enamored with him. If you’re not careful he will put you on his dinner menu.”

“You’ll ruin my fun if you keep this up, elf girl,” Khey Lan growls. Even that sounds sexy, and it goes deep into your soul.

“Get on with it, Khey Lan. I need to show the rest of the station to our guests and they need security clearance,” Anila says. “I also want to introduce them to the station’s core.”

“She’ll just love them. She always loves visitors to her domain,” Khey Lan says, his smile back. “Now then, let me see here. Which Multiverse are you from?”

“Nariel says they’re from 218,” Anila says.

Khey Lan raises an eyebrow. “A Multiverse where no magic exists? Where creatures such as us don’t exist as anything but stories?”

“Yes, and some rather poor ones at that,” Anila says. “I hope this will wake up their imaginations a bit more. I’m sure the station core would appreciate it.”

“You talk about this station core like it’s alive,” the priest says.

Khey Lan growls, this time without the sense of amusement in the last one. “She is alive. She is the creator of this station, and our Multiverses. You’ll be respectful or, rules be damned, I’ll tear your throat out.”

“Khey Lan, security clearances,” Anila says. “I’ll deal with this.”

“Fine.” Khey Lan presses something on his desk. Where he touches lights up, as if he were typing on a keyboard built into the surface. “They’re set. Go ahead and finish your tour. Watch out for Vixen. She’s on the warpath again. I think someone just killed one of her children.”

“Another one? How many does that she-wolf have?” Anila asks.

“I’m not sure,” Khey Lan says. “Last count was nineteen, but you know she’s virtually immortal. It doesn’t help that she’s one of the core’s first discoveries.”

Anila nods. “She is rather overpowered compared to the rest of us.” She turns and looks at all of you. “Let’s go. I can take you around safely now.” She leads you back out the door.

“Who is Vixen?” another passenger asks. “And why did you call her a she-wolf?”

“Do any of you know what a dire wolf is?” Anila asks. Several of your companions say yes. “She’s a shapeshifter from a multiverse named Dykaithra. She goes from a rather tall woman to a dire wolf. She’s extremely powerful and not easily killed. So far she’s ‘died’ twenty three times and has managed to return each time.” She shrugs. “That’s the core’s gift to her, though I’m wondering if it’s more of a curse these days. She’s watched three husbands die and, as you heard, multiple children. Also her best friend abandoned her several years ago so she’s really testy.”

“I am not testy.” A heavily accented voice echoes down the hall. A Japanese woman who looks like she easily stands over six feet tall stalks towards Anila. “I am angry. I am bitter. I am cynical. I am jaded. But I am not testy.”

“I was being polite, Vixen. I didn’t want to call you a raging bitch from hell, but if you want me to I can,” Anila says.

“That fits better anyway,” Vixen says. Emerald green eyes fix on you and you see your death in them. You shudder and swallow hard. “Who are these people?”

“Guests,” Anila said. “I just got them security clearance.”

“Well, keep them out of my way,” Vixen says as she continues past you. As you turn to watch her go, you see a katana and a wakazashi strapped to her back, and two more blades that look like long knives attached to her belt.

“Before you ask, she’s a ninja trained by two very elite ninja clans,” Anila says. “I’m not going to give you her whole history. It’s in the archives if you want to see it. Now, let’s keep moving. The station is huge and we have a long way to go before we get to the core.” She starts moving forward again and you have no choice but to follow her.

to be continued…

Amberwoods Station – Part 2

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As you follow after the petite young woman, you hear one of your traveling companions squeak, as if she’s choking off a scream. You look over at her and feel your blood run cold. There’s a window right next to you. As you look out it, you see what you would swear is a bridge leading to Mars. Yet the sky doesn’t look quite right.

Anila comes up and looks out with you. “Oh for…” She pulls a tarnished silver mirror off of her belt. “So glad these things became so much useless junk a long time ago,” she mutters. She rubs her finger across it in what might be a pattern, if only you could wrap your mind around the view you’re seeing.

“Anila, I thought you were on guide duty,” a soft, lilting feminine voice says.

“I am,” Anila says. “But we have a problem.”

“What kind of problem?” The soft voice grows sharp.

“Bridge 273 came disconnected from Multiverse 14 again,” Anila says.

The voice, still quite soft, swears just as fluently as anyone you know – yet none of the words are familiar. “Who’s on maintenance in that sector? Do you know?”

“No,” Anila says. “I asked Donnevon who the security commander for this sector is and he suggests the Silver Wolf and Crimson, but I don’t know if that’s true either.”

“Give me a moment. I’ll be right there,” the soft voice says.

Anila grins. “You’re going to love this,” she says. “I hope you’re not afraid of ghosts.”

“They don’t exist,” one of your traveling companions says with a sniff. A quick glance shows he’s a priest of some sort. “I should know. I deal with the dead every day.”

“You deal with the corporeal dead,” the same soft feminine voice says from just behind you all. “You do not deal with those who pass on the Net.”

When you turn, you’re confronted by a beautiful Romani woman. She smiles sadly at you. “Anila, Donnevon was wrong, as usual. I swear Lia needs to keep a closer eye on him. His memory is going.”

“She says it’s just fine in their part of the Multiverse,” Anila says.

“That’s because he has access to the central cores of all their ships through that armor of his,” the woman mutters. She looks at you. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I always forget this part. My name is Nariel.”

“Who – what – are you?” the priest asks.

Nariel smiles. “That’s something you’ll have to visit my little piece of the Multiverse to find out. I wouldn’t recommend coming if you’re a technophobe though. It won’t be for you.”

“Nariel, focus. Do you know who’s in maintenance so we can get that fixed?” Anila says, pointing out the window. “Or who’s in charge of security on this level so I can get these poor people cleared?”

Nariel blinks. “Oh, no wonder I’m confused. These aren’t the visitors from Multiverse 618, are they?”

“No. 618’s guests got crossed with this group’s plane. I’m guessing 618’s passengers landed on whichever 21st century Earth this group came from,” Anila says.

Nariel looks at you, but it’s almost as if her eyes aren’t seeing you. Then she blinks. “Maverick says they’re from Multiverse 218.”

Anila cringes. She looks at you. “You might be better off staying with us. I’ve seen all of the news reports from your Earth. So many governments in chaos, war looming in so many places. At least this place is sometimes peaceful.”

“Don’t poach, Anila. You know we’re not allowed to do that,” Nariel says with a grin. She blinks again. “Maverick says our resident security manager for this area is…” She pauses with obvious glee. “Your favorite vampire.”

“You expect me to take them to see him?” Anila shrieks. “Every time I get anywhere near him he starts talking about how good I smell.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve sent the other two ahead to remind him of the rules. You’re off the menu,” Nariel says. She sees a few frightened looks and the priest starts fingering his cross. “First, my friends are taking care of the whole ‘if they walk they’re food’ thing with him and second, that cross won’t work, priest. When here, forget everything you think you know about vampires. Not all worlds in the Multiverse work that way, and if you try to act like they do you’ll get killed.” With that cheerful bit of news, Nariel waves and vanishes.

Anila sighs. “Well then, let’s get moving.”

“What’s so wrong with vampires?” a teenage girl asks. You look over and have to keep from groaning out loud. She has a copy of a certain book in her hands. It’s obvious it’s well read judging from the broken spine and well worn pages. “Vampires are cool.”

Anila looks at her, sees the book, and starts laughing. “That book doesn’t even have its own Multiverse, it’s so bad,” she says, still laughing. “Little girl, if you believe that tripe, you too will be in for a rude shock. No vampire anywhere in any of the multiverses that connect to the Amberwoods Station are like that. If you even try to compare them to those things in those books? I’ll let them eat you.” She skips a little before resuming her brisk pace. “This way, please. I’ve got a lot to do today and I need to make sure you’re all settled before I can do any of it.”

You hear the teenage girl sniffle as she tucks her book back in her bag. The others are all looking at you and each other, confusion obvious. A few steal glances out the window at the free floating bridge. You decide that all you can do is follow along and see where this goes. Perhaps you’re all dead in a plane crash and this is a delusion brought on by your brain starving for oxygen. Or, just maybe, this is going to be far more interesting than that boring conference on index card manufacturing your significant other finally got you to agree to meet them at.
to be continued…

It’s been a while…

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Hey everyone. So it’s been a while since I posted here. Let me assure you it’s not because I’ve been meaning to neglect all of you. Life just seems to keep getting in my way – that and I’ve got one hell of a crunch to get my novel done in time for my June publication date.

As you can see, the blog got another overhaul. I’ve decided to incorporate both my fantasy and my science fiction into one place. That place is Amberwoods Station. As the tagline says, it’s the “waystation for the characters from all the worlds created by Alison Guynes.” And Alison Guynes is, well, ME.

I have so many stories knocking about in my head that I decided I wanted a collective umbrella to put them under and – ultimately – publish them under. So Amberwoods Station now exists. It exists on Facebook as both a business page as well as a group. My DeviantArt page, as soon as I figure out how to change things up a bit, will reflect this as well. And the website I abandoned working on several months ago will also bear the Amberwoods Station name.

I have a good friend who’s working on my logo for me, so right now the images you see on this site are placeholders until I can get the full work up done. Also, as my publication date gets closer, you’ll be seeing more hints of my cover art, snippets of The Tiger’s Keeper (aka Tiger, Tiger), and other fun stuff tied into everything I’m doing.

So watch this space closely!

You never know who or what will show up. 😀

Amberwoods Station – Part 1

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(I know I said no more novels. Believe me, this won’t be one. I hope. XD Amberwoods Station is the name of the online store that will be centered around me and my books that I plan on eventually starting. I may even do a couple more little stories from it once I finish this one. Who knows?)

“Welcome to Amberwoods Station!” As you debark from what you THOUGHT was an ordinary airplane, you’re greeted by a cheerful young woman with almond shaped blue eyes flecked with black who stands at around the height of an average woman’s shoulder. Her blond hair is pulled back in two braids so you can see the elegantly pointed ears adorned with some very ornate gold jewelry.
“Anila, make sure you show them around this time,” someone calls. He’s tall, taller than anyone you’ve ever seen. His hair is the color of ink, and he is blessed with one amber eye and one green. His distinctly Asian look is at odds with his muscular build, and the military uniform he’s wearing doesn’t look like any you’ve ever seen.
The girl he called Anila sticks her tongue out at his back before turning back to you. She’s still smiling, but there’s something more in those blue eyes. The black seems more prominent and there’s a lot of pain and sorrow there that wasn’t there a moment before.
“Oh, you want to know who that was?” Anila asks, and the pain is gone. “That’s Commander Kuen Nakano. He’s part of the Sector Military Strategic Command.” She tilts her head and smiles. “If you want to know which Sector, you’ll have to wait to enter his universe.”
]
Universe? What the hell is going on here?
Anila smacks her forehead with the heel of her palm. On her wrists you can see odd marks, almost like writing but not in any language you’ve ever seen. “I really hate when the multiverse shifts like this. I wonder where the poor sods who were in the transport that was supposed to come here ended up. I hope they’re having a better day than you are.” Anila takes a deep breath. “Guests, you’d better follow me. There’s a lot for you to learn, and you’re going to be here for a while.”
“Anila, you were told to show them around.” The man who’s speaking now is shorter than Anila, but he appears to be built like a rock wall. He’s wearing some kind of high tech armor that looks well used. As you look, the armor moves as if it’s alive. You take a step back and his head snaps around. “Are they a threat? Do I need to eliminate them?” The armor begins to creep up his neck.
“Donnevon, stand down,” Anila says firmly. The man’s eyes go blank, and then his armor settles back into its old position. “There was some kind of error with the transportation system. I need to report this and have our new arrivals cleared for further exploration of the station.” She pauses. “I’ve never had this happen before. Who do I talk to?”
Donnevon looks at her. “I would say your best bet will be the Silver Wolf and his breeding partner,” he says. “I believe they are the security commanders of this level.” He pauses as well. “Or there is always…her.”
Anila blanches. “I’m not taking them to her unless I have to,” she says. She turns back to you. “I’ll take you to Gar and Lira. He’s one of the Wolves, and she’s a Wilding. It’s really funny. They’re both extremely low tech people. I mean, they come from a land even more primitive than mine. At least our magic is capable of making our lives simpler, much like your technology. In their home, magic is still very much a frightening thing and only a very few are allowed by law to use it. Lira’s one of those. Gar is her husband. Ignore the whole ‘breeding partner’ thing from Donnevon. There are no actual marriages in his world, or so he claims.” Anila shrugs. “His world is way more high tech and bloody than I can handle. So I only peek through the gate when it opens as someone travels through.”
Finally, one of your traveling companions gets the courage to speak. “Young lady, this game has gone on long enough. I’m going to be late for my daughter’s wedding,” she says.
Anila raises an eyebrow. “If your daughter lives in the mundane reality of 21st century Earth that I’m guessing you’re all from? You’ve most likely already missed it. Time here is, um, tricky. I think it’s only been a day or two since your vehicle disappeared, but I could be wrong. That’s something someone in Multiversal Space and Time Management should be able to figure that out for us.” She turns and starts down towards what you swear is a corridor in a space station. “Come on, this way!” She beckons and slowly all of you follow her.

Writing & publishing schedule update

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Hi everyone! Normally I publish at 8 AM. I know this. And I’ll get back to publishing at that time soon. I’m just trying to sort out my daily schedule right now so bear with me. I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done during the day so I need to work out how I’m going to do it all.

As the title suggests, I’m altering a few things with my writing projects for this year. First, before I start working on any of my serious novel work, I’m going to do little fifteen minute writing exercises. Just random little drabbles, maybe set in the worlds of the stories and maybe not. But they will be in the genres I write – fantasy and science fiction. I’ll be posting those here on the blog, very similar to what I was posting before I started putting Tiger, Tiger up here.

Now, I do still plan on self publishing a book in June and one in December. Tiger, Tiger will be published in June and Into the Flames will be published in December. I was trying to work on the two stories in alternate months, but it’s just not working. So I’m devoting all my time and attention during my writing times – except for the writing warm up exercises of course – to Lilavati and Manas. I’ve got a lot of work to do and five and a half weeks to do it in. I know I can do it in, but I’m going to be working really hard.

Once I’m happy with Tiger, Tiger – and get it beta read and edited – I’ll get back to work on Into the Flames. I’m struggling with it right now anyway, so restarting it probably isn’t a bad idea.

I’ve also decided to work as a plantser for Tiger, Tiger. I’m going to read through what I’ve got, pick out the main plot and the subplots and post index cards on my wall. Once I do that, I’m going to figure out how I want to address each plot point and just set up some vague notes on how I want to work those points in and weave them together. I’m also going to keep notes on the foreign words I use and the names of places/the meanings of the words because I kept forgetting the name of Lilavati’s home. 😀

So keep your eyes open here for further updates, and watch for Wattpad links. I’d like feedback on the new format and chapters as I post them there, so please leave me comments when I do a link post here.

Everyone have a wonderful day and I’ll see you when I get the next post written. (Hopefully tomorrow…and hopefully it’ll post at 8. XD)

Snippet time! (Into the Flames reborn!)

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Photo via VisualHunt

I don’t have a lot of time this morning. I want to get a little writing time in before I have to go deal with fixing breakfast. So you get a snippet of a VERY rough draft of the newly reborn version of Into the Flames.

The new blurb (so far – I know it’s long, I’ll shrink it later):

Fifty  years ago, the Core struck the weakened Colonies and won a war that they’d started over their need to conquer. Now, the Colonies were ready to strike back.

The Eleven have decreed they need a spy to watch the Core, to make sure they see nothing as the colonies prepare for a new war, one the Core will never forget. Eire Rezouac, a man born to the Core but now Colony through and through, asks his eldest daughter Fiera to take up the challenge. She agrees.

Given a new name, wealth beyond what she could ever imagine to place her among those who would know the doings of the Assembly, and the chance to go to the most prestigious university in the solar system, she accepts the danger and heads into Bouarus, unaware that she will encounter the person behind the current animosity for the Colonies and have to match wits with her.

Kuen Nakano didn’t want to leave the private academy he was attending, but when his mother called him home, he couldn’t refuse. Born to the wealthiest house in the solar system, he knew nothing of the social caste he was a part of or how to live a life outside the rigid structure of the world he’d existed in since he was three years old.

Thrust into the chaotic world of politics, university life, and social maneuverings, he does not expect to encounter a fiery woman who challenges his beliefs, his intelligence, and his physical prowess. He wants to defeat her in the beginning, but as time goes on, he wants more. When war rears it’s ugly head, and he discovers the truth about the woman he loves, he risks everything to save her and will come face to face with his mother’s obsession.

Fiera sighed. “I don’t know if I can do this. I still have the colony accent. You and Jacin have been pounding that into me for the past month.” Jacin Andreasan, one of her father’s oldest friends and the second most powerful man in the colonies that wasn’t a core worlder, had joined them on Sorus three months earlier just for the sole purpose of making certain Fiera was ready for her mission.

It’s not that pronounced unless you get angry, and you’ve learned to compensate for it even then,” Eire said. “Stop stalling. The Lusitania will be boarding in just a few minutes.”

Fiera rubbed sweaty palms on the elegant lemon colored pantsuit she was wearing. “Are you sending anyone with me? I’m going to look odd without a servant.”

No, I’m not sending you with a servant,” Eire said. “I thought about it, but you don’t need another liability to be used against you. Besides, do you really want to treat another colonist the way you’d be forced to?”

Fiera thought of the way she’d seen the wealthy core worlders act with their servants and shook her head. “I couldn’t do it. The first time I tried hitting one I’d be on the floor next to them asking them if they were okay and telling them I was sorry.”

This is why I decided that going alone was the best option for you,” Eire said. He glanced around to make sure no one was watching them closely and squeezed her hand. “You’ll be fine, Fury.”

Fiera managed a smile at the use of her familiar nickname. It was probably going to be the last time she heard it from her father’s lips. Neither of them spoke of the possibility of Fiera being caught, of her being killed. It was an instant death sentence for a colonist if they were found impersonating a core worlder. They both knew the risk was there and the longer Fiera was on Bouarus, the likelier it was she’d get caught.

Fiera blinked back tears. This was something she’d agreed to knowing full well what her fate was most likely going to be. She reached up and fingered the pendant hanging just above her collarbone. It was the final gift her mother gave her before she left Sorus. “This won’t look out of place, as such exotic treasures are valued in the core,” Alena said as she fastened it around Fiera’s neck. “It is something of home, to remind you of us and to help keep you safe.”

It was a tiny figurine, carved by hand instead of by machine, of a strange bird. Even Fiera hadn’t known what it was until her mother told her it was a raven. “I’ve never heard of those before,” Fiera said as she put her luggage into the skimmer. “What planet are they from?”

It is said they came from our world of origin,” Alena said. “Some people thought of them as ill omens, while others saw them as tricksters. They were intelligent and wise, if you knew how to speak to one in the right fashion. Or so the story goes in my family.”

Your mother and I are very proud of you,” Eire whispered, drawing her attention back to the space station.

First call, all those boarding the G.S.S. Lusitania please make your way to gateway four,” a woman’s voice said over the public address system. A few people broke off from their groups and drifted in the general direction of the named gate.

You need to go,” Eire said. “Be a good girl and don’t look back.” Fiera took hold of the handle on her grav pallet and hesitated. “Don’t look back.”

Fiera closed her eyes for a moment and then took opened them again. She took a single step forward. Then another. Then another. She let herself get caught up in the flow of visitors to the station. She didn’t look back.

 

Focus on the blood

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Photo via Visualhunt.com

“Focus.”

“Focus.”

“Focus.”

I hear that every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second. My teachers are forever chastising me for my inability to perform even the simplest spells. They don’t understand me. No one does.

That doesn’t surprise me. My parents and my sisters never understood me either. They considered me less than human because I wasn’t as powerful as them. At least, that’s what they thought. They didn’t know what I could do. But they learned. As my teachers and the students who ridiculed me would learn.

I waited until after the last bed check of the night before I got up and pulled on my clothes. A silence spell, simple and one I was forever pretending to flub, kept the other young men in the dormitory from hearing me. I slid out the door and moved down the corridor. I heard voices and quickly cast an invisibility spell.

Two teachers walked past, discussing their love lives. I had to keep from snickering. Their petty complaints would soon be insignificant to what they were going to face. I let myself out through the kitchen door, ignoring the sleeping cook and her helpers.

I went out to the forest and the makeshift altar I’d set up three days after arriving at school. I shed the spells and used a small fire spell to light the candles and a small blaze under my cauldron.

I summoned a water sprite and made it pour magical water into my cauldron before sending it away. Sprites were difficult to keep bound and I didn’t want to waste any of my power. I was going to need it all for this spell.

I waited for the water to come to a boil. I tossed several roots, insects, and a dried lizard in. I stirred it as the ingredients dissolved. I ground up some desiccated bones and poured that in. There was a puff of acrid smoke and the potion turned blue. I smiled. I only needed one more ingredient. I heard footsteps approaching. My smile got bigger.

“You’re a witch,” someone gasped.

I turned around. My discoverer was one of my worst tormentors. She was the eldest daughter in one of the First Families, and a powerful mage in her own right. “Warlock, actually,” I said calmly. “You chose an interesting time to follow me. May I ask why tonight?”

“I saw you get up. I was going to say something but then I watched you cast the silence spell. And then I saw you do the invisibility spell when the teachers went by. You’ve never been able to perform those so I knew something was different. So I followed you. Now I’m going to tell the headmaster. You’ll be burned at the stake,” she said.

I crooked my finger and she started walking forward. Judging from the shocked look on her face, she hadn’t expected to have the control over her body taken from her. “No, I won’t. And you will disappear, never to be seen again.”

She tried to open her mouth, but my spell bound it shut. I led her to a black stone stained with dried blood. I forced her to lay down on it and strapped her into place. There were grooves in it and it was obvious she’d figured out what I meant to do. I released her from my control spell, but cast another one to keep her from screaming.

“Why are you doing this?” she whispered, though I could tell she wanted to scream.

“Revenge, of course. All of you high and mighty mages, thinking we sorcerers are worth less than the mud on your boots just because we don’t use wands and fancy magic words,” I said. “This will show all of you just what we’re capable of.” I pulled out an obsidian knife. “Of course, you’ll miss the whole show. I hope you’ve made peace with your gods.” I drew the razor sharp blade across her throat.

It was deep enough she died instantly. I hated making my sacrifices suffer. The living deserved it. The dying did not. Her blood filled the channels and I gathered it in a chalice. When I had what I wanted, I went over and poured it into the cauldron.

The potion exploded into a swirling crimson whirlwind with glowing white eyes. “What do you wish of me, Master?” it asked in a grating voice.

I smiled at the blood demon. “Devour this girl’s body, and then spread a blood born pestilence to all who reside in this school but me. Make it something that can kill, but isn’t necessarily fatal. Let it scar those who survive. Steal their ability to father children. Destroy the females’ wombs so they can never pass on their bloodlines. Curse them with the same curse that I felt at the hands of my family.”

The blood demon bowed. “As you wish, Master.” It turned towards my sacrifice’s body and started eating. I turned away to face the school. Retribution would be mine.

Rewrite hell…but I’m having fun!!!

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So…I think I’m making more work for myself with Into the Flames now.

While I was working on baking snickerdoodles this morning (this was at 4:30 AM, mind you) I let my mind wander. I’ve been struggling with the rewrite, finding the characters stiff and not willing to comply with what I’m trying to get them to do. They’re resisting like nothing else and since I’m a pantser, uncooperative characters make it really difficult to do anything.

As far as I’m concerned, Fury & Co. are sadistic assholes. They’re demanding several new major plot points (and one character is asking me to write her out and put a new character in – she could have her own book in the series, she’s so fascinating to me) which would require so many character changes, plot detail changes, and massive dialogue changes that it would take forever to get it done.

The current rewrite is only 5 chapters in, so it’s not like I’d lose that much – just around 30k words. Given that this thing is over 400k right now, that’s not a bad thing. And if it improves the story, it’s not such a bad idea. But what if it is a bad idea? What if my characters are guiding me down the wrong path?

I save all my drafts. No matter how many I make, I save them. I have emailed copies of each version in my sent folder (I email them to my husband, who stores them in a folder on his email as a form of backup for me) as well as storing them in Google drive. As soon as I figure out where it went (again) I’ll be saving them on a thumb drive too. So if this doesn’t work I won’t lose everything I’ve already done and can pick up where I’m leaving off.

But what if I don’t want to? What if I like the new version? Well then, we’ll go from there. Let’s see what happens. Fury and Kuen haven’t done much to lead me astray so far. We’ve had some instances where I’ve had to pester them until I got the whole situation from them, but we’ll see what happens.

*waves and wanders off to do farm work and some writing*

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