Tag: Fantasy

Free Write #49: Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Street – Carlos

by on Dec.05, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

We’re continuing the last window: Walking down Rodeo Drive! Except that we’re in Everlasting and Rodeo drive doesn’t exist. Instead we have Roal Street, which is the city of Qual’s equivalent. We’ve already seen the street in the prior windows, so this will be more or less a re-hash, except the characters will be focused more on the street itself rather than the theater that resides on it.

Today’s piece is Carlos walking down Roal Street. To read Carlos’ prior windows click here.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Street – Carlos
By Nojh Livic

Carlos was forced to step into the roads by a small group of women who were talking animatedly to each other and not paying attention to how they were forcing the rest of the populace to avoid them. Their chaperons followed up behind them, carrying various bags and boxes, offering apologetic looks to some of the more disgruntled civilians. He was afforded one of these looks and nodded politely to the servant before resuming his pace.

Roal street was not one for much transport traffic which left the street empty for most civilians to walk through, so Carlos remained in the street, keeping close to the sidewalk in case a buggy or carriage decided to co-occupy his route. He diverted his attention between his path and the various shops he passed. Roal street was not one he was very familiar with. The contents of most of the shops appeared to be clothing or personal effects of a high pay-scale then his own. The people, as well, were not the type he would normally rub elbows with. Families, particularly daughters and sons, of officers, rather than the officers themselves. He recognized a few faces as he made his way down the street but none recognized him, which was just as well. He had a mission.

He passed a theater which he remembered visiting once with Sergeant Tricks. That evening was difficult to forget as the entertainment was decidedly not to Carlos’ taste, although the company had been far more pleasant than expected. He hurried past it to avoid any crowds.

Shops that specialized in foods he slowed his cadence slightly. It was just past second pop and he had time to visit the mess before he was asked to deliver a message by a colonel. It was urgent so he had made his way immediately. This left his stomach almost painfully hungry and his steps a little slower than usual after his morning workout. A pastry shop almost made him fully stop before he had to shake his head and keep going.

He wondered, not for the first time, about the idea of sending a knight to deliver a message. He understood the representative was a visiting warlord, and therefore respect should be accorded but if an officer rank was required, he knew of at least two squires that could be tasked for such a mission, and one captain in particular who would love to brown his nose on a warlord. Carlos ultimately surmised that he had either been in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they had specifically selected him in order to avoid selecting the captain. He couldn’t decide which.

He was beginning to think he had mistaken the order when he spied the location’s banner. Rudy’s was proudly etched into a wooden banner half his height and hung by two metal lamp posts. There seemed to be a slight wait as couples and groups were gathered outside the establishment, chatting amongst themselves. Carlos ignored them and stepped up to the entrance briskly. A host stepped in his way before he could enter and Carlos stopped himself. He wasn’t wearing full armor but he was in uniform, and was slightly taller than the young man. He felt confidant he could muscle his way through but he didn’t feel it would be necessary.

“Good day, Sir,” the man said quickly. “Can I help you?”

“Yes. I have a message for one of your guests,” Carlos said, reaching into a hip pouch and pulling from it a scroll case.

“Very good, sir. I can have it delivered-” the man began before Carlos cut him off.

“I’m sorry but it is official military business. I can’t hand it off to a civilian. You may conduct me to him however,” Carlos said, feeling that would be a simple compromise. The man, however, did not seem to think so as his expression darkened slightly.

“I”m afraid that is unacceptable, sir,” the man placed emphasis on the last word for some reason Carlos couldn’t’ fathom. “The seating area is for patrons only. I can have a waitress take-” The man reached for the scroll and Carlos had to pull it away, surprised by the young man’s gumption. For a brief moment the two locked eyes. To his credit the young man didn’t flinch.

“Be advised, you are impeding an officer of the army in his duties. More specifically you are disrupting military communications. This is not something you should do lightly. I may suggest you contact your superior now,” Carlos said. He kept his tone even and level but he did not whisper. The pair had garnered the attention of a few of the waiting patrons who had tired of their own personal conversations. This was not lost on the young man, who gave them a glance before speaking.

“I’m afraid that-” he began to state again and it was becoming obvious the man considered himself something of a Golden Eyed Penguin. Luckily for him a hostess who had walked up behind him saw the storm brewing and dashed off. Carlos let the man make up some flimsy excuse and instead waited for the woman to return, his arms crossed. She did rather promptly with an older woman.

“What seems to be the problem?” she asked, directing her attention to Carlos rather than the host. When he began to speak she lifted up a hand and pinched her fingers shut without looking at him. He held his breath. Carlos was immediately impressed.

“My apologies for disturbing you. I have an urgent message for one of your patrons that I must deliver,” Carlos explained.

The woman nodded slightly. “May I ask who it is for?” she asked.

“War- Archduke Riley,” Carlos stated quietly, correcting himself and using the man’s civilian title rather than his current military one, in order to be less confusing. This seemed to catch the staff, both the host, his manager, and the hostess who had returned, by surprised. Carlos inwardly sighed. “It may be an error but I was informed he would be eating at this establishment. If I may I would like to search for the duke.”

“But of course. We would not wish a knight to feel unwelcome,” the woman said, recovering and offering a smile and a wave of her hand. “Allow me to escort you, sir…?” Few people recognized a knight’s rank outside of full armor. The armor’s rank insignia was somewhat famous in fiber serials but out of armor and in standard field uniform, they were most indistinguishable from normal rank.

“Knight Silverman, at your service,” Carlos said, half bowing.

“Charmed. I am Serise Yuve, owner of Rudy’s. Please follow me,” she said.

Finding the duke actually proved to be incredibly easy. He had settled himself near the common room with a few of his friends and was enjoying various food and drinks. Carlos surmised he was a fan of the establishment. He had not declared himself a duke an indeed wasn’t really dressed for the part. Rudy’s seemed to an establishment that catered to all types as it was not simply nobles and officer families but also soldiers, guildsmen, and workers, albeit somewhat segregated by section, which explained why they did not want him simply wandering about on his own.

To her credit, Serise made no real fuss over having an archduke in her establishment. She actually stood back as Carlos delivered the scroll. The archduke paused in his revelry to open the scroll and read over it, thanked him, and then excused himself from the table and his friends. The stopped to politely thank Serise, who he obviously knew was the owner, for the meal, before exiting. Carlos stood attentively until the duke had left, his attention mostly focused on attempting to determine what might have been the contents of the tube. However, even over the pleasant music being piped through sounding tubes, his stomach growled audibly.

“Care for some refreshment, Sir Silverman?” Serise asked coyly, startling him out of his thoughts. He felt his cheeks heat slightly.

“I- actually yes. Thank you. And you may call me Carlos,” he said graciously as she lead him to a table in a quiet corner.

“And you may call me Serise,” she said as she settled into the seat next to his.

 ~~~

So Carlos is a military man. So I noticed my diction changed slightly. I tried using words like cadence and civilian. The conflict in this story is a little weak. I already know how I would change it but since this is a free write, no major editing is allowed. But I’d introduce the hostess and have Carlos non-verbally interact with her more, so that he was doing a more active role in resolving the conflict, rather than just standing his ground and letting someone else resolve it. I was also pressed for time so the last paragraph might have been expanded. Anyway we didn’t really learn anything new about Carlos other than he associates higher class people with “the families of officers” which since most officers are nobility, makes sense.

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Free Write #48: Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Drive – Marla

by on Oct.31, 2012, under Announcements, Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

We’re continuing the last window: Walking down Rodeo Drive! Except that we’re in Everlasting and Rodeo drive doesn’t exist. Instead we have Roal Street, which is the city of Qual’s equivalent. We’ve already seen the street in the prior windows, so this will be more or less a re-hash, except the characters will be focused more on the street itself rather than the theater that resides on it.

Today’s piece is Marla walking down Roal Street. To read Marla’s prior windows click here. Also check below for an announcement regarding Free Writes.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Drive* – Marla
By Nojh Livic 

“Excuse me,” Marla murmured quietly. The nicely dressed man, who was looking over the contents of a scroll pad lifted his hand halfway to stall her before he must have realized he didn’t recognize her voice. He spared her a glance, then looked back to the scroll pad.

“Yes?” he asked simply. There was no annoyance in his voice but he obviously considered the contents of his message more important that directly addressing her. Marla was used to it.

“My compatriot purchased these tickets earlier today. We were planning to attend the performance this evening but it appears that the theater has a policy that will not allow us both to attend. Since I wouldn’t wish to deprive anyone of a chance to view the performance, I was hoping to perhaps pass along my tickets to someone at the theater so that they might be re-distributed. You see we are visiting and know very few people in town who could attend to gift the tickets to…” Marla’s voice trailed off. The man she had approached had been off to the side of the theater. He was dressed in a fine coat and slacks, with a ascot that was perhaps slightly out of style enough to suggest that he was likely someone important to the theater, which was why she had approached him. When she started speaking she had extended the tickets Lee had purchased earlier that day for them both out towards the man, in an effort to forestall any protest that she might be hoodwinking him.

Instead of protesting, as she explained her situation, the man had slowly lifted his head away from his scroll pad to peer curiously at Marla. This too was not really unsettling to the automata as she received looks from those who had never seen a humanoid mecha of her particular design or sophistication on an almost regular basis for as long as she cared to recall the memory. What made her trail off was instead how he continued to look at her questioningly as she spoke, like he was fixated on her and not her words. Marla often found it best to simply stop speaking when someone had decided she was more interesting than her intent. It saved effort.

“You wish to see the performance this evening?” the man asked suspiciously, his brows furrowing. He was looking her up and down now, likely only now noting how she had taken the time to wear her finest gown that she had packed for the trip and even some of the new jewelry she had been gifted earlier that day.

Marla quelled a slight laugh, remembering how she had all but pleaded for Lee to purchase tickets. Instead she smiled and nodded her head. “Of course. The is The Operetta. The name says it all, of course. And it is by Leons Swalari. The theater sections of the Parchen Parchment have been raving about it for issues. I was ecstatic to learn there would be a performance while I happened to be in town.” Marla halted herself to keep from gushing information she was sure the man already knew. Marla looked down at the tickets in her gloved hands and her smile turned rather wistful. “But it is not to be.”

The man followed her gaze to the tickets, then looked back up. “And you said theater policy is keeping you from seeing it?” Marla raised an eyebrow. She had assumed the man was some kind of manager but if he didn’t know their policy then perhaps he was just some would be attendee as well.

“Well um, yes. The theater does not allow automata in general seating,” Marla murmured. “I’m sorry but are you apart of the theater staff? I don’t mean to be rude but the show will start soon and I do want to turn these tickets in to them.”

The man smiled for the first time and it evened out the wrinkles in his face in a pleasant fashion. “No please, let me apologize. No I am not theater staff, however I am associated with the performance tonight. I do believe I will be able to help you. Perchance is your compatriot somewhere near by?” Marla hesitated a moment, then nodded, deciding to trust the man. He hadn’t asked for her tickets after-all.

“Yes. One moment,” she said and turned. There was a slowly growing line of people waiting to enter the theater for the ground seats, while a meandering stream of guild-ed and nobility entered the lobby to lounge before ascending to theirs. Lee was hanging out near the line conspicuously, talking animatedly with a few of them, looking out-of-place in the jacket and slacks she had selected for him. He glanced over in her direction after the group began laughing and she made a small wave to him. It took him only a few hips to wander over.

“Hello,” Lee said in greeting to the man, who half bowed. Lee, caught off guard, half bowed as well, offering Marla several side glances.

“Good evening. The lady says you were hoping to escort her to see the show this evening but there are some troubles with the theater. If that is true, I believe I can help you. Please follow me.” Without really waiting for either of them to respond, the man smiled to both of them, turned, and started walking away from the main entrance around the theater. Marla hesitated for a moment, caught off guard by the stranger calling her a lady, then shrugged and motioned to Lee. Lee took her arm almost automatically and they began following.

They turned down a wide alley, which in the darkening sky might have made Marla reconsider had it not been Roal drive and had there not already been several other people in obvious staff uniforms bustling about carrying boxes from an awaiting transport into a pair of doors. The staff paused and gave the man a respectable bow, if able, when he passed them, and continued to hold it as Marla and Lee trailed after him. The act had her bewildered. She now had no idea who she had randomly approached and started to slowly work up the urge to ask as he lead them through the back passages of the theater. They arrived at an usher just as Marla thought to interrupt their passage. The usher stood attentively but did not say anything.

“Please escort these two to my seats. I will not be needing them tonight. Also have some complimentary refreshments and utilities sent up while they wait for the performance. Oh also-” he paused and turned, smiling again to Marla and motioned to her. Marla gave him a quizzical look, then remembered the tickets. She held them out. “Please take these to the ticketmaster and with my expressed wish that they be re-circulated tonight.”

Lee gave Marla his hundredth side long glance but Marla had no answer for the unasked question. There was a small chance that he was some noble that she was not familiar with but that seemed unlikely given his age. Yet he obviously commanded some authority as the usher agreed respectively, took the tickets, and waited for them to step forward. Marla made Lee wait to address the man instead.

“Thank you,” she said but the man waved his hand slightly.

“No thanks needed. We shall see each other after the performance, I would hope. Please let me know your thoughts and feelings then? I have a few other things to attend to now, however. So enjoy yourselves. Madam. Sir.” He turned on his heels and strode back the way he came. Left with nothing else to do, Marla and Lee were escorted to the man’s seats, which turned out, much to her astonishment, to be a private viewing balcony. Lee gaped slightly, letting go of Marla to walk to the lip of the balcony and look over it, then began to marvel at the optics attached which hung from the wall to allow for a better viewing of the stage area. When he discovered the sounding tubes in the walls, he began babbling excitedly, climbing down to his hands and knees to examine them. Thankfully the usher took this all in stride, letting Marla save face by ignoring him.

“Will there be anything else?” the usher asked politely.

“Um. Yes. A question. Who was that man? The one who asked you to escort us?” Marla decided to ask.

The usher managed not to not even raise an eyebrow but answered calmly. “Mister Leons Swalari, lady.”

Marla paused, nodded to dismiss the usher, then settled herself into a chair to relax. She smiled to herself as she waited for the performance to begin.

~~~

Okay so you might have noticed that the title didn’t really fit. That is because this window is a catch up of Marla’s prior window, which you can read here. It is actually the equivalent of Marla buying a theater ticket, while the prior story is Marla’s walking down Roal street. They keep continuity with each other so you might want to read the prior window before reading this one. Which might be too late. Sorry. So in regards to this window I felt like I learned a little bit about Marla but I was swept up a bit more in the story I think. We see a bit of contrast between Marla and Lee here. For example Marla is the more out-going character, being the one who wants to return the tickets. She isn’t asking for her money back either. We also see she takes a very passive stance to discrimination. I’ll likely have to develop that further in some way.

Announcement! Free writes will be suspended for the month of November as I focus on NaNoWriMo. You should be getting nearly daily updates from me in regards to NaNoWriMo, plus Weird Words will continue to post every friday, so I don’t think you guys will be starving for content. Free Writes should resume in December however, assuming NaNo doesn’t kill me. Wish me luck!

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Free Write #47: Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Drive – Lee

by on Oct.24, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

We’re starting a new window. Walking down Rodeo Drive! Except that we’re in Everlasting and Rodeo drive doesn’t exist. Instead we have Roal Street, which is the city of Qual’s equivalent. We’ve already seen the street in the prior windows, so this will be more or less a re-hash, except the characters will be focused more on the street itself rather than the theater that resides on it.

Today’s piece is Lee walking down Roal Street. To read Lee’s prior windows click here.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Street – Leonard
By Nojh Livic 

Lee kept to the sidewalk. Strangely enough it seemed that the was less likely to run into anybody, or anything on the sidewalk than if he walked in the street. He remembered Qual from his childhood but he did not remember it being this busy or this crowded. Horses, carriages, and even the occasional transport, which had slowed Lee’s progress down the still pedestrian heavy street as he stopped to examine each of them as they drove by.

It was early morning and Lee had awoken to a note saying Marla had opted for a day of shopping. The meeting with the count had gone well. He now had operating cache to continue his research, as well as buy food and supplies to take back to the house. He had expected that was what Marla meant when she left her note, however her instructions had said he could meet her at Rudy’s around second pop. He vaguely remembered where Rudy’s was and had to ask one of the hotel staff for directions. It had apparently moved to some place called Roal Street.

As Lee made his way on foot to this new location, he began to notice how the architecture changed as he neared the street. Simple shops changed into elaborate storefronts. Above them lofts began to show extra attention to decor and one almost never saw laundry hanging out the windows. Cart vendors slowly thinned, as did the street traffic, although not enough to let him use the street with ease. By the time Lee was on Roal Street proper he realized Marla’s intent was less practical and more commercial.

Roal Street, it turned out, was a place where most shoppers were just as concerned at being seen as doing the seeing. This made Lee uncomfortable and for a moment he considered circumnavigating the entire street and approaching Rudy’s from another direction. However a nearby pop candle’s quiet single pop told him he didn’t have the time to get himself lost in the city, which he would almost certainly do.

He was only uncomfortable for about ten steps before a style of transport huffed its way down the street and came to a rest only a few paces away from him. He was captivated almost immediately, halting in his tracks, much to the surprise of the shoppers behind him who bumped into him. He murmured a half-hearted apology as he watched a servant climb down from atop the transport, then help a lady out of it, then several children. The man waited by the transport as his former passengers wandered into a shop.

Lee wandered closer to the mobility machine. It was supported by wheels and obviously directed by controls from the top forward part of the machine, not unlike a four-wheeled stagecoach save there were no horses pulling it. The carriage sat behind and below the operator and was completely enclosed. He noted the back of the machine held shelving which already had several shopping bags and boxes strapped in it. The majority of the mechanics needed to propel the device appeared to be under the carriage. Lee could see signs of large steam chambers but he would need to crawl under the transport to get a good look at how the suspension and steering worked. He half considered asking the servant save that the man was already giving him odd glances. With a sigh Lee moved on.

The buildings were almost as extravagant as the transport. Window displays were common, showing the types of wares each shop offered. Most offered some style of clothing although there were others that offered more mundane items that appeared of either better quality or more audacious. He stopped in front of a window to a shop that apparent sold luggage of a type. His own luggage for the strip had to be more than ten cycles old and he vaguely considered going inside. The samples provided by the windows proved daunting however. Garish and somewhat offending colors and odd shapes covered shelves. Although they had a basic automata in the far window that was showing off how to open and close one of the more irregular shaped pieces of baggage, he still opted to keep moving.

Lee wondered if Marla would actually buy anything from any of the shops here. She had equal access to their funds, mostly because she handled more of the logistics of the laboratory than he did. He wouldn’t begrudge her if she did but he didn’t think anything here was really her style. Then again, he mused, she had pointed out more than once that he had no real sense of style, at least when it came to fashion.

Art, on the other hand, he could appreciate. There was a small art gallery tucked in between two rather large emporiums that Lee almost missed, save that man exited from it quickly and almost blindly walked into him. Quick apologies exchanged, Lee glanced around for a candle and discovered an actual clock hanging inside the doorway. He moved to examine it both to determine if he had some time to look around and to see how it worked.

Nearly a fourth of a pop later Lee exited carrying a small package and made his way quickly down the sidewalk in the direction of Rudy’s. The clock was no longer hanging on the wall of the art gallery and he now had no ground to stand upon if he wanted to chide Marla about buying out an entire dress shop.

~~~

Lee likes art! Kinda!  I always knew I wanted Lee to be a little absent-minded. I made a conscious decision to have Lee pay less attention to the people of Roal Street than the buildings or the mechanical wonders that might have been on display there. I felt it fit in more with his character. Others will likely pay more attention to people in general, or certain  types of people, or the types of goods in the stores. We’ll just have to see who!

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Free Write #45: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Tyla

by on Oct.10, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

Today’s piece is Tyla buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Tyla
By Nojh Livic

“Father, please. The maiden flight is tomorrow. I want to be rested, not attending some theatrical performance,” Tyla whispered to her father as he escorted her to the line. She did not wish to offend the others who were obviously very intent on purchasing tickets for the performance. It was mid-afternoon and the canopy in front of the theater ticket lines provided some relief against the mid-afternoon heat. She and her father had just finished lunch and were out for a stroll when her father had spied an advertisement for a show that evening.

“It is a special engagement dear. It is The Operreta by Leons Swalari,” Silven said emphatically, smiling at her. She was a sucker for his smiles. He had an innocent look about him when he was excited, which manifested in slight wrinkles at the edge of his lips.

Tyla remembered someone mentioning that name in the distant past. Perhaps one of the workers back at the shipyards had been discussing it. She couldn’t remember the details but they were animated about how much they enjoyed it. She sighed slightly and her father patted the hand she had in his arm. “Thank you, dear. Don’t worry we won’t stay to long. Besides I’ll be too excited to sleep.”

She nodded and smiled. “Me too,” Tyla admitted. She’d barely been sleeping the last week helping keep track of all the final pieces of work on the new ship. Tomorrow would be its maiden liftoff. She realized she had thoughts of almost nothing else for several days now. “Perhaps you’re right. A small distraction might help put the mind in order,” she thought aloud.

“Exactly! Shall we make it just the two of us? We wouldn’t want your mother snoring and disturbing the actors,” Silven whispered with a mischievous grin, covering his mouth and leaning over to speak in her ear. Tyla found herself giggling a the idea, which drew looks from a few of the others in line.

The line was short, relatively compared to a longer line on the other side of the small plaza. This particular line seemed to be for more expensive seats, easily surmised by the comparing the clothing styles of the occupants. Mostly servants on an errand with the occasional shopper like father and herself. The other line, much longer, was filled with men and women in work clothing. It was a testament to the show’s popularity that so many would take a break from their jobs to stand in a line for the performance in the afternoon heat.

Tyla found herself looking over the individuals of the other line, guessing at their profession, mood, or some other tidbit, while she waited in line patiently. One individual in overalls was obviously a tinkerer. He was fidgety and his hat was oil stained. A woman two people behind him wore a similar outfit, which her mother would have found scandalous but then her mother found it scandalous whenever she wore pants as well, which is why she had taken to changing at the shipyards. This woman, had dark smudges on her clothes and gloves, suggesting she was likely a Steam engineer. There was a automata standing in line next to its owner. It towered the rest of the line by a nearly a head’s height and its brass exterior was thankfully brushed metal, not reflecting the sunlight too brightly. It was vaguely humanoid but didn’t wear any clothes. It’s primary locomotion were wheels upon small four leg-like appendages. It seemed to be carrying large boxes for its owner, a short plump man well dressed but obviously a guildsman.

“How many?” asked the ticketmaster, who broke Tyla’s attention on the crowed. She released her father’s arm to let him step forward and speak to the man. He wore a uniform and sat upon a stool next to a large contraption that was likely a printing press combined with counting apparatus. This idea was confirmed when her father ordered two tickets and the ticketmaster began adjusting various knobs and buttons on the device. She surmised the dials selected a particular grouping of tickets while the buttons denoted how many tickets. The machine hummed and a tray extended with two freshly printed tickets. There were slots for at least three other tickets. They were ornately decorated, denoting the name of the theater, the show, time, and seat numbers. Tyla assumed then the untouched controls might have changed the time or show. She wondered how printing plates might have been loaded into the machine and was about to rise to her tiptoes to try to see the top of the machine when her fathered offered her arm again.

“Shall we then, dear?” Silven smiled brightly, showing off the tickets.

“Yes, Father,” Tyla said automatically, smiling back to him as they made their way back to the shipyard.

~~~

So Tyla was a character that grew out of a narrative need half way through the novel. I’m still not sure if she is a main character or not but I’m still writing windows for her. What this means is that as far as my main characters are concerned, she is my most undeveloped character, despite having a background that fits into the plot far better than the other characters. So I got to learn more about Tyla from this than any other character. Particularly her people watching and deconstruction of machines. I’m not sure if those qualities will stay or not. We’ll see.

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Free Write #44: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Tigh

by on Oct.03, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

Today’s piece is Tigh buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Tigh
By Nojh Livic 

Tigh whistled as he wandered down Roal drive, hands in his pockets. He nodded in a friendly manner to the cart vendors he passed as he walked, particularly any who tried to catch his eyes with trinkets or wares, but he didn’t break his stride for any of them. He kept up his tune and kept walking.

The mid-afternoon heat was settling upon Qual City and most were finding a spot to rest it away or at least keep to the shade. Tigh welcomed the heat. It helped stave off the chill he always seemed to feel in anything but direct sunlight. Despite his friendly nods to those around him, most of his attention was focused on the tune he was whistling. It was an old tune that he didn’t quite know and one part in particular kept escaping him. So focused on finding the lost verse of the music that he bumped right into a man standing in the middle of the street.

“Whoops. Sorry there,” Tigh said immediately, reaching out to steady the man who had to stumble to keep from falling. The man muttered a half-hearted neutral response, then moved back to join the line of people that was stretching several storefronts down the road. Tigh found himself inadvertently standing at the end of the line and before he could step away, two more moved up to stand next to him, a small boy and what was likely either his mother or governess.

“Nanny! Nanny. Are we going to see it now?!” the boy shouted excitedly, tugging on the woman’s skirt, earning some grumpy heat inspired looks . She leaned down, shushed him, then smiled apologetically to Tigh, who simply smiled back forgivingly.

Curious, Tigh turned back and peered down the line. With so many people of obviously different backgrounds willing to stand in the heat to purchase it, obviously whatever was at the end of the line was important. From his position, however, Tigh couldn’t see what it might be. Three more people had joined the line when Tigh glanced back to the child and nanny again. He wasn’t about to leave the line to go see.

So Tigh waited.

Eventually Tigh went back to whistling his tune. This earned him a glance or two but since the tune wasn’t unpleasant to the ears, nobody asked him to stop. He moved forward when the man in front of him did and mostly just enjoyed the heat and focused on his song. So it was that by the time he remembered the last verse of the song, he was only a few people away from a ticketmaster.

“Oh. This line is for some kind of show,” Tigh said out loud without thinking, earning more curious looks from the people around him that he normally did. He smiled brightly back at them.

“Yes!” the boy behind him pipped up, forcing him to turn to look at the boy. “It is for the opera etta. Mom really wants to see it because it has a Swalari in it,” the boy explained very seriously.

“An opera etta?” Tigh asked the boy seriously. The boy simply nodded, smiling up at the pale man. “With a Swalari? No wonder so many people were standing in line!” Tigh laughed and the boy grinned back at him. He twirled around to face a ticketmaster sitting in a booth, no one between them.

“How many?” the woman asked, not even looking in his direction.

“At least one I imagine,” Tigh said. He stepped up to the window and peered around at the booth. It wasn’t small but most of the room was taken up by a large machine, likely some kind of ticket making device. The woman’s attention was mostly focused on the knobs and buttons attached to the machine. However Tigh gained her attention with his answer and he continued speaking. “But first I would like the know the name of the show for which I am purchasing admittance.”

The woman, perhaps the young niece or cousin of one of the managers of the established, stared at Tigh for a moment before she pointed to an advertisement. It was sketched upon paper and hung in front of the glass. It explained that there was only one engagement for the evening. A play entitled The Operetta by a Leons Swalari.

“The Operetta?” Tigh asked, putting emphasis on the first word. “A strange name. I mean there are many aren’t there? A bit pretentious to claim to be the one operetta.” He rubbed at his chin thoughtfully.

“Hey buddy. It’s hot out. Do you mind?” called a voice from the still rather long line behind Tigh. Tigh glanced behind him and gave the man a polite wave.

“Sorry, sorry! Yes I think I will purchase one ticket.” Tigh said to the ticketmaster. She quickly dialed a knob and pressed two buttons. The machine whirled to life, much to Tigh’s pleasure.

“That will be fifty-one in Qual Script,” the woman said. Tigh blinked in surprise, then looked down at the hand she hand extended past the glass.

“Oh. Really? Hmmm,” Tigh said. At least one person behind him groaned. However without too much hesitation he reached into his pocket and pulled out a single one hundred Qual script and passed it over. The girl took it and fed it into a slot in the machine, which quickly printed out some more script out another slot. A tray slide forward exposing a ticket. Both pieces of paper were handed to Tigh.

“Thank you,” Tigh said exuberantly before stepping away from the window. He gave the boy and his nanny a wide smile before making his way back out into the sun, stuffing the pieces of paper into his pocket.

~~~

I like Tigh. He is one part comic relief, one part mystery, and one part something else I’ve yet to define. I love that he ends up buying a ticket simply due to curiosity and that he is (so far) the only character to call out the weirdly pretentious title of the play. I learned a few things about Tigh here. He whistles. He is far more jovial when he isn’t fleeing for his life, and he likes the sun (which is odd but I can’t explain why).

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Free Write #43: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Sylvia

by on Sep.26, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

Today’s piece is Sylvia buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Sylvia
By Nojh Livic 

“Oh really? We could just send Robert around-” Sylvia’s mother chided quietly as Sylvia drew her towards the line of the ticket counter. It was a short line composed mostly of servants, by her estimation. It wouldn’t take a fourth to buy some tickets.

“Mother. This is the Operreta. By Leons Swalari. You think by the time you are done shopping and we find a carriage home, there will be any seats of sufficient quality to appease Father?” Sylvia chided back quietly. She understood her mother well. The advertisement board Sylvia had spied earlier, while her mother attempted to talk her into purchasing a completely impractical black and silver dress, had said it was a single engagement. Since it hadn’t made the Qual Times, the paper her parents scoured religiously for social events of sufficient quality, the event would be exclusive enough for her parent’s taste. Claiming that her father might refuse their attendance were they forced to purchase seats that did not sufficiently communicate their status as family of a brother of a Count Johnson would appeal to her mother, who despite being a social climber knew her daughter disapproved how overly concerned her family was with status.

“You might have a point there…” Sylvia’s mother admitted. She made a show of thinking about it, although Sylvia suspected she was actually covertly looking for any peerage who might recognize her.

“If you prefer, mother, you could go on ahead to the next shop and I will purchase the tickets myself,” Sylvia suggested. She was showing plainly how much she wished to go, not that being this upfront would persuade her mother. She had heard some patients talking about the Operreta several weeks ago and it had sounded like an excellent piece of modern entertainment that she would very much enjoy. After the last few family outings to the theater, she had grown tired of the small variations of the flight from The Old World to Salvation or the poetic renditions of the Commoner Clash. Something completely new and original sounded exactly like what she was looking for. And after her last week dealing with a new chief medical offer, she needed something relaxing and entertaining.

“I wouldn’t want to leave you here unescorted…” Her mother replied. Of course it would be unthinkable to leave Susilla, the maid they had brought along to carry packages, with her as a chaperon, not that Sylvia needed or wanted one. She was a grown woman and she could purchase tickets to an event and walk down Roal Street unescorted. She was Sylvia nel Johnson Pulmer after-all. It would hardly cause a scandal.

“I’ll be fine mother. I’ll catch you up. Go on.” Sylvia waved with her hand but her mother hardly needed encouragement. She wandered off to the next boutique, leaving Sylvia to face the line and ticketmaster. It wasn’t particularly arduous. The line moved quickly and while she made no conversation with the men and women in line, neither was she made to feel uncomfortable. She spent her time waiting thinking over some of the medical journals she had recently read on new techniques for increasing the survival rate of full limb replacement patients.

“Yes, Miss?” the ticketmaster asked, breaking Sylvia out of her thoughts. She blinked in surprised, then smiled at the man. “Good day. Sylvia nel Johnson Pulmer. I would like to request five tickets for tonight’s performance, please.” The man offered a faint smile back and glanced at a sheet, made a note on it with one hand while he absently flicked several knobs on the ticket machine.

“Yes, Ma’am,” the ticket master said finally, taking five pieces of paper from the machine. “Would you like to take them now or have them delivered?”

Sylvia considered for a moment, then idly waved at the tickets. “Please deliver them, if you would. With a small note informing Mister Pulmer as to the time and place of the event. Also please mention that it is a special engagement.”

The ticketmaster’s pleasant smile didn’t falter. He simply nodded. “Very good, Ma’am,” he said.

“Excellent. Thank you very much.” Sylvia said brightly, then made her way from the line back towards the street. The crowds were thinning thanks to the late afternoon heat. She made her way quickly towards the boutique she was sure her mother was patronizing. It was the one with several people making their escape from it.

 ~~~

The character actually bought a ticket this time! Yes I’m making fun of my prior window with Marla not actually buying a theater ticket. I thought about writing an actual window for her but I decided to go with a new character this time. This window seemed to focus less on her buying the ticket and more on her family background and how she might go about purchasing at ticket or what she wanted to go to the theater. I think this was productive none the less. Nothing was particularly surprising or new, other than I learned Sylvia likes to talk with her hands. This makes sense, since she is a surgeon. I also need to come up with a good name for replacing people’s limbs with mechanical versions. A name for the procedure or something. Perhaps based off a dead language from The Old World? Preferably a formulaic language like Latin, Arabic, or Esperanto.

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Free Write #42: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Marla

by on Sep.19, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

Today’s piece is Carlos buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Marla*

Marla drew a few more stares than usual. In a metropolis like Qual her kind were less uncommon than the countryside but, ironically, the people of the country side were less likely the gawk. It helped that Lee was escorting her although it likely did not help that he was escorting her by the arm, or that she was wearing her finest travel dress, hat, and shoes. Not that she was out of sorts with her companion’s clothing. She had made a point of telling Lee to wear his nicer clothing. They were visiting Qual and meeting his very first patron. Looking presentable was expected.

The train that had brought them was several pops early allowing them time to walk the city. The pair were walking down one of the busiest streets of Qual, the main street between Qual Plaza and Qual Castle. This was not a mistake. Lee had led them there, knowing Marla would like to window shop the vendors and boutiques, and she appreciated it because she knew Lee disliked the public attention.

“Oh, Lee. Look!” Marla said quickly, tugging on his arm. Lee was not very swift to glance in the direction she pointed. It was not the first time she had uttered the phrase and the prior subjects had mostly been displays of clothing or accessories that she felt would have been an excellent purchase for him. This time, however, she was pointing at an advertisement board.

Leons Swalari’s The Operetta. A special engagement this evening only! Come here the play everybody will be singing tomorrow! Don’t miss this chance! The advertisement board was painted garishly to attract the eye but not without skill, the man and woman who were no doubt the leading cast members were well drawn even if their attempt to stare into each others eyes lacked the passion she assumed the advertisement was going for. The man’s eyes needed to be smaller and the woman’s mouth parted slightly. That might have improved it. Not that she faulted the artist. The advert had done it’s work.

“Tonight only. Three-seventy five by the candle. That is pretty late…” Lee started to say then looked at Marla. She decided to go for humor, adopting the somewhat vacant expression the woman on the advertisement was making, although Marla made a point of parting her lips. She enjoyed facial expressions. It was one of her unique qualities. Lee almost laughed immediately but managed to hold it in, pressing his lips together and breathing out of his nose. “Fine. I suppose I shall go get the tickets then?”

Marla smiled brightly and gently gripped Lee’s arm before letting go. “I’ll be up the drive aways. Perhaps near Rudy’s?” Lee smiled faintly at that and nodded.

“I’m sure I’ll catch you up,” Lee said and gave a little wave before briskly walking down the road. It was too crowded a street. The mid-afternoon sun was still something to avoid even in the city and most shoppers had retired to home or a cafe. Still Marla lost sight of Lee almost immediately. Unlike her, he didn’t shine slightly in direct sunlight. Marla continued her window shopping, splitting her attention between the dress shops and the inventor shops. Fashion had changed, as it always does, since she last visited Qual and she found herself appreciating some of the latest patterns, even if they favored exposing more back and arm than she appreciated. The subtle form-fitting nature of the dresses intrigued Marla and she stopped in front of one window to study a silver and black colored one through a window for several moments.

“You are a wonder, if I might say,” said a woman from behind Marla. Marla turned, offering a smile to the stranger. She was an old woman standing a few feet away next to a stall that held various jewelry and accessories. She was obviously tending it.

“Why thank you,” Marla said. She quickly scanned the woman’s wares. They were of excellent quality on first impression, although she would have to look closer to be sure. “Is this your stand?”

“Yup. Make half the items with my own two hands,” the woman said proudly, sitting up straighter and motioning to the jewelry section of her cart.

“They are very beautiful.” Marla said, still smiling. She stepped away from the window to the cart. Other shoppers were taking notice of their conversation but, as usual, Marla ignored them. The stall tender did not, however, giving a few pointed side glances and then even an outright glare at one man who had simply stopped to stare. Once traffic had resumed somewhat, the woman sat back down on her stool and smiled at Marla.

“Thank you very much, ma’am,” she said, then leaned forward, peering at Marla’s hair under her hat. “This might be too personal a question but, is that a wig?”

Marla shook her head slightly. “Yes and no. It is obviously not my hair but it is indeed hair. Not is it hair that simply sits atop my head. It is attached to my head and takes time to replace.” She lifted her hand and carefully pulled some of the locks of her blond hair forward over her shoulder and leaned forward, offering to let the old woman examine it. The woman nodded appreciatively then as if caught with an idea, slipped to her feet from her stool and walked around her cart.

Marla peered at the old woman. She had a slight odd gate to her walk. She listened intently and heard the faint sound of hydraulics. The woman had a limb replaced, likely her leg. That helped explain why she was being so friendly. Veterans with mechanical limbs were more accepting of her type. Marla waited patiently until the woman returned. She held a decorative hair clip in her hand which she offered out. Marla smiled at it. Was it beautifully crafted of stained wood with metal of various colors, cut into the form of a flower. It was dominantly blue and black, which contrasted nicely with the colors of her outfit.

“I’m afraid I’m simply a window shopper today-” Marla began to explain before she was cut off.

“A gift. You’re obviously a person of taste. Were I several decades younger, I would have been eying that outfit in the window myself, especially if I had your skin tone.” The stall tender said without a hint of insincerity and a fair amount of grandmotherly affection. “Here. Turn around.”

Marla found herself turning around as instructed without really thinking about it. The older woman gathered up Marla’s hair, separated a lock, then clipped the piece of jewelry to half way up the lock so that is rested near the nape of her neck. She then fanned out of the rest of her hair. “There. Give them something else to stare as you walk away besides your skin, eh?”

Marla might have been offended except that the old woman had her rather pegged there. No other women on the street were wearing a long-sleeved dress and gloves. That had been out of fashion for cycles. Instead she smiled and turned back around. “Thank you. May I asked your name?” she said, wanting to know who this kind shopkeeper was.

“Olivia Wicker of Jewelry and Stuffed Animals, at your service.” Olivia said brightly.

“Well it was nice to meet you, Mrs. Wicker. My name is Marla. Thank you again for the gift but I should be going. I’ll be sure to tell of your generosity, however.”

Olivia smiled and waved her hand dismissively once, then turned it into a small wave and Marla began to walk away. She wasn’t far before she spotted Lee waiting in front of Rudy’s. She strolled up to him, smiling brightly.

“Had a nice time shopping?” Lee asked. “Got those tickets. We should probably start heading over to the count’s now if we want to wrap up the meeting in time to go see it.”

“An excellent time.” Marla said happily and took Lee’s offered arm. “And Lee? Thank you for buying the tickets.” Lee just shook his head and began leading her towards a coach parked not too far away. She caught the slight smile on his lips, however.

~~~

Okay I cheated here, hence the asterisk.  Marla didn’t actually buy a theater ticket. I did another window one that was actually Marla handling the purchase of a ticket, sorta. You can read it here. This just fit in well with Lee’s buying of a ticket because well, it was mentioned in his story that he was buying a ticket for her. Plus we got to meet Olivia, who is a side character in Everlasting and one of my favorite side characters. I think this helped flesh out Marla’s character some more but I mostly tread over familiar ground. If you’re curious what is so odd about Marla’s skin or who she is, you might read this previous Free Writing: A Fateful Meeting. If your curious, yes, this is the same Marla and the same Lee. Just… later. :) I’m not sure if these are cannon to the Everlasting story or not but I may try to work them in.

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Free Write #41: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Carlos

by on Sep.12, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

Today’s piece is Carlos buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Carlos

“Let me assure you that you’ll highly enjoy it, sir.” Sergeant Tricks, that was to say Ellen, said as she pulled on Carlos’ arm towards a line. There were two lines to purchase tickets for the evening’s theater. One was considerably longer than the other but Tricks was pulling him towards that one.

“Why are we not just standing in the shorter line?” Carlos asked attempting to hide the indignation. He had allowed himself a slight indulgence, playing cards with his squad. As knight he was welcome at the officer table but rarely partook because he had found his earnings disappeared far quicker than he liked when playing with them. His squad, on the other hand, played for on a tally system rather actual money and he also happened to know most of their tells better than they did. Except, it seemed, for Sergeant Tricks. He would have sworn in front of the king himself that she was bluffing her hand until the reveal of the cards. So a week later Sergeant Tricks collected her tally. She wanted the evening off and an escort to a theater showing. Carlos had been confused by the second request, since he knew full well the Sergeant could not only protect herself against any unsavory elements of Qual City’s nightlife but could throughly punish them for the idea as well.

She had to explain to him that she wanted a date.

Honor bound to accept, Carlos found himself in line for an operetta by someone named Leons Swalari, obviously someone from the northern provinces.

“Because that is the line for the nobility and while I’m sure you qualify, Sir, tally won’t cover the kind of cash that window requires,” Tricks said. Carlos glanced at the line and only then noticed that the majority of those in line appeared to be servants of some kind, likely fetching tickets for their employers. Carlos grunted in response and settled in to wait. Tricks was also content to simply wait for the line to move, rather than make small talk.

The line moved slowly and others in the line spoke infrequently as well. Carlos kept his attention more on the street than the line itself. It was a little past mid afternoon but there was plenty of cloud cover. The theater was located centrally in Qual City, on the main drive just east of Qual Plaza. Shoppers mixed with vendors, messengers, and even a few tourists. After while his mind wandered to the reports he would need to file by next week regarding their last mission…

“How many tickets?” the ticketmaster asked, startling Carlos back to the present. The last of the people in front of him in line had vacated and Tricks had moved up to the woman behind the counter but was looking back at Carlos expectantly. Carlos nodded and stepped forward.

“Two please for-” Carlos began.

“That’ll be ninety-three in Qual script,” the girl interrupted, already pressing several knobs on the ticket machine next to her. Carlos hesitated before reaching into his pockets and pulling out a wallet. He was glad they had just recently been paid. He did not normally carry that much money around on him. He counted out the script to himself before he passed it to the ticketmaster. Looked at him pointedly as he did so and all but snatched the money, feeding it into a slot in the ticket machine before she pushed the final button and out printed two tickets. Tricks snatched them up and began walking away immediately.

“Thank you.” Carlos said but was met with an impatience glance. He turned away, shrugging, to follow after Tricks.

~~~

So I am thinking 250 words is far too short to make an effective window. It seems somewhere near 700 is a good number. This one was shorter than the last. I think I’ve learned a few things about Carlos but not as much as I did about Lee. I didn’t focus on as many mannerisms this time so I might revisit this one later. We’ll see. I think I learned more about Sergeant Tricks, the sniper of Carlos’ squad, than I did Carlos! BUt then I’ve been writing Carlos fora while now. I think he might be my second most established character.

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Free Write #40: Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Leonard

by on Sep.05, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters  for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.

Today’s piece is Leonard buying a theater ticket.

~~~

Everlasting Window –  Buying a theater ticket – Leonard

Lee stood in line for the ticket counter with his hands in his pockets. There were only two people ahead of him in line. When Lee arrived there had been five and that felt like an hour ago. It had been three minutes. He slowly leaned back and forth, putting pressure one foot, then the other, letting his attention wander up and down the street outside the theater house. It was mid afternoon in Qual and Marla had heard that Leons Swalari was directing an operetta, or rather his operetta, as a special engagement.

So she had blackmailed him into buying tickets while she found them some appropriate attire.

Lee took a step forward as the line moved forward and idly reached up to scratch his face and pull the tip of his hat down against the sun. He looked somewhat out-of-place if only because he was in a line composed of mostly servants. This didn’t bother him so much as the looks they gave him for it was obvious to them with their trained eyes that he was not. There were other lines for ticket purchases but Lee had chosen this particular one for two reasons. First the line was shorter. Secondly because this line was reserved for some of the best seats in the theater. While he may have grumbled about the idea of going, if Marla was interested in seeing it, it was worth seeing from the best vantage point he could afford.

And since he had recently received his first stipend from Count Williams, he could afford a good amount.

“Yes. Um. Two please,” Lee said as he stepped up to the window. The ticket master almost imperceptibly raised an eyebrow.

“Two what, sir?” the ticketmaster said.

“Tickets. For the operetta tonight. Leons Swalari…” Lee had thought this obvious but the man still continued to give him a passively disapproving look.

“Yes, Sir. And your mode of payment?” the ticketmaster asked. Lee reached into his coat and pulled out a billfold. He held it for a second, still amazed at its new-found weight, then opened it and selected a check. Most of his money was held in trust in the Qual City bank. Count Williams simply issued him checks to write debts against the account setup. Easier to pay for large orders of lab equipment than having to pay by hand.

At the sight of the noble crest upon the check, the ticketmaster blinked, then schooled his features again. Lee didn’t bother to hide a smirk. “Very good, Sir. What type of seats would you prefer?” Lee’s smirk vanished replaced by slight look of hopeless annoyance. He knew, of course, that there were different types of seats but he had no experience in the matter.

“Do you have a map?” Lee asked simply. He had no experience so he simply would have to learn. It was now the ticketmaster’s turn to frown.

“I’m sorry, Sir. We do not-” he began. Lee, as well as the servants behind him, was growing a little impatient. He places his hands on the counter and leaned forward.

“Then I’ll describe what I need. Two seats, together, with an unobstructed and excellent view of the stage but not too close to the sound amplifiers as to be deafening. In comfortable seats, obviously.”

The ticketmaster leveled an even gaze at Lee for a moment, then gave a curt nod. “I believe we can accommodate you, Sir. One moment.” He turned and began depressing knobs on the ticket machine next to him. A moment later freshly pressed tickets were delivered on a tray. The ticketmaster passed them towards Lee.

“Thank you!” Lee said, picking them up and putting them safely in his billfold.

“That will be three thousand prupe,” the Ticketmaster stated. Lee lifted an eyebrow, suddenly suspicious. He glanced behind him, knowing the other servants were listening in even if they pretended to be paying attention to various signs of upcoming attractions. The one immediately behind him, perhaps eager to purchase his own tickets, gave Lee a small and curt nod.

“Sounds good.” Lee said. He wrote the amount onto the check, signed it, and handed it over to the ticketmaster. Giving him a smile, Lee turned and walked briskly away. When he was a small distance away, he let out of huge sigh of relief. Now to find Marla.

~~~

This one ran a little long. I was aiming for 250 words. This one is 750. But it’s my first window. And I think it works? We’ll see. Maybe I’ll get to know Lee a bit better. He seems the kind of person to push through pressure, despite being obviously uncomfortable around it. We’ll see if he evolves more over the span of these windows.

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Free Write #31: Sun Flair

by on Jun.27, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Sun Flair
By Nojh Livic

“They’re gaining, Captain!” shouted Rata, the lookout. Captain Brail of the Marukaze cursed quietly to herself as she held the wheel and glanced over her shoulder. The other ship coasted out of the cloud-bank on the same trajectory as the Marukaze. She had hoped to lose their pursuers in the fluffy moist clouds. The Marukaze was one of the fastest ships in the air yet this unknown ship, flying interceptor colors, was at least as fast and had the devil’s own luck.

“Turbines to full and steam to the ready. We’ll rise up!” she ordered, pulling on several levers net to the giant steering wheel.

“That’ll slow us down captain,” her first mate, Wock, advised calmly. Unlike her, he was keeping his eyes forward, both on the air and crew. It often took several eyes to keep a ship on course. While his calm logic was often infuriating during most circumstances, he proved his worth every time they got into scraps like this, which was becoming far to frequent for Brail’s tastes.

“Aye. Direct to sun!” she shouted to the crew. This earned a few glances from the crew, but to their credit they all ran to stations. She was ordering a particularly hazardous maneuver but it was the perfect time for it. Late afternoon and the sun’s angle just fallen far enough off the zenith that the ship could rise high and fly straight into it. If they were quick enough, they could put the Marukaze between the sun and the intercepting ship. With the other ship temporarily blinded, they’d drop into yet another cloud-bank, a fast unpowered drop usually reserved for steam skiffs, not full-sized chopper craft like the Marukaze.

Word of the order spread quickly. The crew, and everything else, needed to be strapped down. Even as they began to rise, preparations were sill underway. They would cut it close. “You’re tied down Captain,” Wock said. She didn’t bother to thank him. If they lived, she would thank him then.

“Navigation!” Brail called out.

“Ten ticks, Captain… Mark!” shouted her second officer, Rata, who was tied to the rigging, his optical equipment strapped to face, back, and arms. The deck had a significant slope now as the Marukaze rose towards the sun. Brail silently counted down the ticks, trusting her crew to be ready and trusting her ship to get them through this. It was an all or nothing maneuver. If the choppers didn’t re-engage after the hard drop, they’d be pancakes.

“GO!” Brail shouted, and pulled back on the steering wheel hard. The deck tipped further, bringing the ship directly in line with the sun. It was blinding to her and the crew, despite the specialized goggles they all wore against the biting wind and glare. A small box, not tied down, crashed into the railing beside officer Wock. Brail ignored it.

“Five, four, three-” Wock had begun the count as soon as she began the maneuver. They would hard drop when he counted to one.

“Captain! They aren’t following!” Rata yelled. His equipment mostly shielded him from the sun’s effect. “They’ve kept course. They’re… they’ll intercept!” Wock finished his count and for a split-second Capitan Brail, premier interceptor of the Red Region skies, was unsure of what to do. If her navigator was right, a hard drop would cause them to collide directly into the other ship. If she pulled out, they’d capture them in under twenty ticks, regardless.

“Captain.” Wock said murmured.

Brail pulled the lever.

~~~

From a distance, the Marukaze appeared to deflate. Its primary buoyancy tubes retracted. Primary chopper blades slowed to a still. Navigation sails were pulled flush against the hull of the ship. The ship’s bow, weighted by strapped down equipment, tipped forward. The Marukaze began diving towards the ground.

Almost directly below it, the mystery craft performed the exact same maneuver, its own flight systems retracting or shutting down, save for its rear buoyancy tubes and navigation sails. This tipped it’s own bow down mimicking the Marukaze but made it dived with a slower accelerations. The Marukaze’s captain had failed to predict this outcome. Rather than collide the second ship matched the Marukaze’s uncontrolled dive falling together like two nose diving birds, performing some ancient aeronautical, and idiotic, game of chicken against the ground.

The ground, however, was never known to chicken out.

~~~

“Reengage damn you!” Brail growled, pulling the lever for the third ineffectual time. The Marukaze had failed them. The flight systems were not reengaging. The aft flotation tubes had re-inflated but the pressure on the forward tubes was too powerful. It would be a mere tock before they crashed into the ground. The fear on the ship was palpable. Even Wock looked ashen.

Brail had gambled and lost.

“Ahoy! Need a rope!?” a strangely familiar voice called out. Looking up, or sideways if one was oriented ground-ward, Brail saw the occupants of the other ship. Her eyes locked upon a familiar pair of emerald-green she saw regularly, but only when she looked in the mirror.

“Abandon ship!” captain Brail called to her crew without thinking. The other captain called out an order that was mostly lost in the sudden scramble but it conjured weighted cast-lines throw from the other ship. With the ground rushing at both ships, the crew of the Marukaze, captain and all, cut their security lines and scurried over to their former pursers’ ship. The escape was not without peril. Brail heard more than one scream as a crew-member was lost to the merciless sky. Each scream stabbed her heart.

“GO!” Brail heard herself shout, although she knew she hadn’t spoken the words. Around her familiar faces went to work as the unidentified ship’s flight system engaged. Slowly they began to fall under their own power rather than that of gravity.

“Err… damn it,” the other captain was pulling hard on the steering wheeling. The ship was beginning to pull out of its dive but she didn’t have the leverage to sustain the battle against the winds. Brail leapt to the wheel and began to pull with the captain, grunting in effort. Together they got the ship level, missing the ground by a scant tree length. Below them the Marukaze drove itself into the ground, shattering into a pile of wood, metal, and plastics.

There were cheers among both crews as death was once again defied. For a moment they were unified in their relief over not dying. Then, as if someone gave some silent command, the former crew of the Marukaze drew their swords. Yet they were the only ones to do so. What was worse, they found no real targets for the point ends of their weapons, for everyone that surrounded them were friends and allies.

“You can tell your crew to stand down, captain. We mean you no harm,” the other captain suggested. Brail looked up at the captain and saw herself staring back. A little older, perhaps, but definitely captain Brail of the Marukaze. “Welcome to the Sarukame. I’m captain Brail. I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I did too when I was you. So let’s get this bird on a course, brew some tea, and I’ll explain everything. Wock! Take the wheel. I have to go talk to myself for a bit!”

—-

This one is a little clunky I admit it but practice makes perfect and I have a few airship chase scenes in Everlasting I need to gear up for.

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