Tag: Fantasy

Free Write #30: Land for a Leg

by on Jun.20, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Land for a Leg
By Nojh Livic

Witharl the Conqueror concentrated. With a small expenditure of energy the gauntlet appeared in his hand. He was forced to dodge the force bolts that flew at him before he could slap it onto his arm. The artifact required more energy before it would grow around his hand and arm but he had more than enough. As the gauntlet snapped closed, the small jewels on it began to glow and he felt a rush of energy Witharl grinned.

“You’re going to get it now!” he screamed at his opponent. As if in response, a row trees sprouted from the ground between him and his target, the archmagus Flyr, growing thick and to full maturity within a second. With a swipe of Witharl’s gauntlet covered hand, the trees uprooted themselves and flew through the air. They crushed a small group of ugly humanoids that Flyr had been previously using as a defense against him. Now there was nothing.

He met Flyr’s gaze across the battle field. The archmagus’ grim expression was in direct contrast to his own maniacal grin. “GO!” Witharl screamed and from the ground erupted three humongous land-sharks, biting and burrowing their way through the dirt towards the unprotected old man. Flyr, true to his title, let loose a torrent of spells, striking one shark down with lightning and diverting a second with a localized earthquake that sent it burrowing straight into a large rock. The third land-shark, however, was unimpeded and its large molten teeth closed around the man’s right leg before he could dodge and severed it easily.

Witharl laughed as Flyr crumpled with a scream. The land-shark dived into the earth at his mental command. He wanted to finish off the old man himself. Summoning a small gust of wind, Witharl used it to throw himself at his opponent, bringing up his gauntlet covered fist in order to land he final blow, laughing the entire time. His three-pronged tail and skinless wings whipped in the air behind him as he leapt down upon his prey.

The old human recovered faster than the Conqueror expected, rolling out of the way of the attack. He hadn’t been wallowing in pain but preparing as a bright light shone from the man’s hands. He touched the stump where his leg previously was and out from the already cauterized wound grew a new leg, not flesh and bone, but light and energy. It seemed to reinvigorate the man as he stood quickly, belying his centuries of age.

“You will not take this land or its people, demon!” Flyr snarled, lifting his staff and pointing it at Witharl, who was slowly coming to his feet after the landing heavily. His red stained teeth never disappeared as he spoke.

“I have already taken it, human,” Witharl hissed, spreading his arms wide. “This little spar of ours is just a show, to teach the locals who the real boss is. I appreciate your assistance!” Flyr dared to glance around at the carnage they had wrought. Bodies of bystanders littered the impromptu battlefield, both creatures from their own grimories and natives of the lands Flyr thought he was defending. It obviously pained the human. Witharl had no such weaknesses. “But I can not spend excessive amounts of time on frivolities. Leave this plane now and I’ll be satisfied with your leg.” To punctuate his point, the demon reached down and lifted the old man’s bloody appendage from the jaws of his land-shark that had burrowed to his side. He thought for a moment that the human might accept his offer. Many had, although this particular archmagus seemed far more suicidal than his brethren.

“In the name of the covenant, I shall banish you!” Flyr screamed, charging at him with staff leveled like a spear. Witharl sensed, more than saw, the energy forming around the weapon. He had little time to react. He threw the human’s own leg at the charging archmagus’ head. Taken completely off guard, the meaty appendage hit directly in the face, causing him to stumble and halted his charge. Before his opponent could recover, Witharl charged himself, driving his horns directly at the archmagus’ chest.

They sunk deeply, puncturing the man’s vital organs, before he pulled back, flipping the old man to the ground. Humans were so frail, even the most powerful of them. Witharl wasn’t lying when he said he did not have time to waste, however. Rather than banter more above the dying man, he simply granted him a swift death, using one clawed he other tore out the man’s throat. With a twitch he flicked the blood from his horns and claws, then left his land-shark to clean up the rest.

Witharl had a land to reshape into his own image.

~~~~~~

For every tale of the hero, there must be a few forgotten tales of the would e protectors who tried and failed.

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Free Write #28: Replacement

by on Jun.06, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Replacement
By Nojh Livic

“But why babies?” Claudia asked as she settled the newborn into the crib, tucking the sleeping child in before closing the transparent cover over the crib.

Sully shrugged. “I dunno. Maybe it is cause they are young?” He stood at the holographic console next to the crib that was now displaying the young boy’s vitals, as well as his connectivity. The connection icons slowly lit up until the newborn’s login was complete. “And we’re good.”

“Have you met one of them? The older ones I mean,” Claudia asked quietly, peering down at the child. He barely had any hair left and his little hands were curled into fists. They looked like little brown lumpy marshmallows. He wiggled a little as he fell deeper into sleep. Around the crib the blue stripe of the interface module pulsed slowly. It was now synchronized to the baby’s heart beat.

Sully waved his hand across the console until it flickered, appearing on the surface of the crib rather than above it. “Yeah. Once. Which was enough,” he said. Claudia blinked, shook her head, then looked away from the pulsing light to her coworker.

Picking up the clipboard she began to make her way back towards the daycare. Sully fell into step beside her. “Why do you say that?” she finally asked as they turned a corner, glancing at her companion. It was the late shift the lightening was intentionally dimmed. The hallway was empty and their footsteps echoed, drawing attention to the silence that otherwise filled their path.

“Meet one, one day, and you’ll see. They’re just… different,” Sully said, refusing to meet her gaze and was instead looking directly at his clipboard, which was likely projecting some paperwork or text into his vision that only he could see.

“Isn’t that the point?” Claudia pressed, turning to face the man more.

“No, the goal was to create highly educated and perhaps super intelligent humans,” the man looked away from his clipboard to meet Claudia’s earnest expression with his own slight frown. She ignored the obvious hint that he didn’t feel like conversing.

“Yeah. Exactly. They know everything right?” There was no hiding the wonder in her voice. Sully took a deep breath, reaching up to rub at the implant embedded in his temple reflexively.

“Not everything. But more than enough.” Claudia raised an eyebrow but her smile didn’t falter. Sully looked back towards his clipboard.

“Exactly. How amazing is that? We have to interface consciously—” The two didn’t see the teenager standing in the middle of the hallway until Claudia collided with him.

“Oh! Sorry!” Claudia apologized immediately, reaching out to steady the young woman. The teen wore hospital scrubs of pale pink and was completely bald. She turned to face Claudia and her deep yellow eyes met Claudia’s own brown ones. The young woman didn’t say word of anger or apology. Instead she just stared directly at Claudia. Sully had taken a step back and was now hurriedly waving his hand over his clipboard, muttering to himself, his eyes flickering between the girl and the networked device.

Claudia looked down at the girl’s hospital scrubs. The name Claudia was stenciled on the scrub over her right breast. “Oh. Is your name Claudia? Mine is as well,” the older woman said cheerily. Reacting, for the first time, to her words, the young woman looked down at her own clothing, at the letters, then lifted her head to met Caludia’s gaze again unblinkingly.

“No… there’s no record of a…” Sully looked up from his clipboard and his eyes grew wide. “Claudia!” The young woman had his coworker by the throat and pinned against the wall a few inches off the ground. Claudia was grabbing at the hand that was slowly choking the life out of her to no avail.

Without really thinking, Sully swung his clipboard directly at the girl. Her head whiped around to look at Sully. Almost faster than he could see, she punched the clipboard with her free hand before he could hit her. It broke in two and fell from his hands. Her knuckles came away bloodied but she didn’t react. The girl’s expression was all but blank. Her attention wasn’t focused on Sully, however, but behind him.

Sully looked over his shoulder.

They were all there. The entire group of first generation humans who had been apart of the interconnection project. All bald, with varying shades of yellow eyes that gleamed in the dim light. Some were in standard hospital scrubs like the young woman. Others were in normal clothing. Clothing which didn’t belong to them.

“Wait! What’s going on?!” Sully shouted. He turned back to the girl. Claudia had stopped struggling and her eyes were slowly drooping shut. She saw the girl had begun to unbutton Claudia’s clothes with her free hand.

“Let her go!” Sully ordered, grabbing the teenage woman’s shoulders. Before he could pull her away, pain lanced through his lower back and his legs went numb. He crumpled to the ground, knocking his head against the wall. His vision clouded. He tried to blink the darkness away but a growing headache was making it hard to do anything. When his vision finally cleared he saw Claudia laying on the ground next to him. Her eyes were wide and slightly bulged. She wasn’t moving. The teenage woman had her half undressed and was already wearing the older woman’s blouse unbuttoned.

Motion drew Sully’s attention to a teenage boy standing over him. He too wore hospital scrubs of pale blue. Stenciled on his breast was the name Sully. Sully stared at it then met the young man’s pale yellow eyes.

“Why?” he croaked softly.

“We were born to replace you,” the boy said in that monotone they all spoke in.

Water filled Sully’s vision as he felt the boy’s fingers close around his throat.

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Free Write #27: That Goes on Your Tab

by on May.30, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

That Goes on Your Tab
By Nojh Livic

The beams of light swirled around the gnome’s hands as he manipulated the elemental forces. With his own mind he gathered these forces and separate out the particular forces he needed. It was difficult work to do, surrounded by the chaos of battle, but he was Quin, sorcerer premier. He and his companions had traveled far to find the source of necromantic magic making the dead rise to terrorize towns. They had tracked it to a dungeon in the nearby mountains where they now faced off against a necromancer of significant power.

Not as powerful as Quin of course. He was about to prove this by clearing the room of the necromancer’s minions. With the threads of air and lightning full grasped, he poured all his power into the spell until it was ready to burst forth from him. His hands spread wide and he pointed at the largest group of skeletons, aiming where the forces of magic and nature would strike.

Like usual, most of his group had run forward to engage the enemy. This often put a kink in Quin’s plans. While he was a master of the arcane elemental forces the elemental forces of the arcane often took exception to being mastered. They could be harnessed and directed but not targeted. He knew quiet a few useful spells, such as lightning bolt, that let him engage a single enemy from afar without endangering his companions but none of them had the kind of power that was needed to stop the skeletons in their tracks.

A large cloud formed above the group of skeletons despite the ground being underground. The skeletons were too busy to notice as a human stood in their midst waving a medallion. The human wore chain mail but carried no other weapons save for the metal emblem. He seemed to be faring well, keeping the skeletons a bay, despite of his lack of weaponry. However as the storm cloud began to appear, he faltered, then looked threw a glance over his shoulder at Quinn. It was not a friendly look.

Everybody in Quin’s party had experience attempting to dodge lightning if mostly because of his own tactical decisions. Plus Quinn saw the necromancer was readying yet another wave of servants to rush them, making clearing the entire room of skeletons worth more than the bruises and burns his companion would suffer should he take a glancing blow from a lightning bolt. Quin gave his cleric companion a confidant smile and let his hands fall, summoning the lightning.

The gnome was giving Ellard that smug little smile of his. Ellard looked up at the sky. He understood the tactical advantage of the sorcerer’s lightning storm but he had to wonder if the gnome was out to get him. The fire storm the day before and another lightning storm two weeks ago had been advantageous too. Advantageously right above him. He braced himself while trying to keep light on his feet. The storm would strike at everything but it only struck once. He just needed to dodge at the right moment.

He felt more than watched the lightning strike, missing the skeleton in front of him by inches. Two more claps of thunder and he whirled around to see they had left scorch marks on the stone floor but nothing on bone. Again, the storm struck but failed to connect to the undead foes around him. Then he felt the tingling on the hair of his arms and knew the next strike was for him. He leapt back instinctively.

Ellard’s instincts were wrong.

It took willpower he barely knew he had to stay conscious after he recovered from the pain. There was ringing in his ears and he found he was on his knees. He still held his divine focus but his bare hand was bleeding where he had gripped it too tightly. He lifted his head and counted. Three, four, six skeletons, wielding various rusted and dented weapons, still surrounded him. None of them had been struck.

He groaned and pushed himself to his feet. This was going to be a long battle.

“Well now. I think that one was worth a ballad or two, don’t you?” Quin said to the company’s bard. All five of them were burned, bruised, and a little bloodied. The gnome had doubled up with the elf musician on the horses the group was riding back to town. The necromancer was now vanquished and they had a not small amount of loot.

Ellard too was doubled up on a horse with the group’s warrior as his arm remained in a patchwork sling. The cleric had used the last of his divine magic healing the warrior and bard’s wounds that Quin and himself had gone without. The cleric gave a soft chuckle and leaned around to speak. “Sure. As long as you don’t sing it!”

This garnered a half-hearted chuckle from their other companions. Quin scowled and looked away from the others. He had once had to do a street performance with the bard in order to go undercover against a thieves guild. He had tried singing for a crowd of little kids, only to scare them away with his voice. It had ultimately gotten them the location of the guild but only because it had blown their cover, drawing guild agents down upon them, which they later interrogated. Ellard had never really let him live it down.

Quin stewed in the saddle as the conversation shifted to discussing how to divvy up loot and where to get the obviously magical gear appraised and identified. It was a long journey back to town.

No less than seven empty mugs of ale sat between the cleric and the sorcerer of which only one or two had been consumed by their other companions. The bard, warrior, and ranger had already retired to the inn’s common sleeping area, leaving Ellard and Quin to their drinking contest in the attached tavern.

“That it? That’s all you got?” the gnome goaded as the cleric chugged another mug of beer before dropping it to the table loudly. He looked like he was about to puke. Fartha, the waitress already had two more mugs on a tray by the time Quin turned around. She levitated the tray across the tavern to the pair’s table. Ellard clapped again, mostly managing to slap his hands together, while Quin tried not to look too impressed. She had stopped physically serving them after the third round, when hands had started roam further from the mugs than she had desired.

“Come on then. Beat that!” Ellard shouted at the gnome as if he wasn’t less than two feet away, once he had his stomach under control. Quin eloquently replied by blowing a raspberry before taking up his mug. He was half way through chugging the mug when the human had stood up to watch, wobbling on his feet as he did. Ellard was saying something but the gnome was too focused on not drowning. Quin was just a few more gulps away from finishing the beer when the human suddenly fell over the table, knocking himself into the gnome, sending them both sprawling to the floor. The beer mug flew from his grasp and shattered on the floor with a sickening crack, followed by the boisterous pair.

“You did that on purpose!” Quin accused, squirming to get out from under the heavy human.

“Did not,” Ellard slurred, pushing himself up, only to slip a puddle of beer. “You just wouldn’t stop swaying!”

“I wasn’t swaying!” Quin said, managing to sit up. He jabbed his finger at Ellard who once again lost his balance.

“Ow. Hey! Yeah you did!” Ellard pushed at the little gnome, who only just managed to keep his balance. Ellard seemed to notice the piece of beer mug and then grinned widely. “Ha. You didn’t finish it. I win!”

“You do not!” Quin yelled, getting to his feet.

“Do to!” Ellard said, managing to sit up, laughing.

“That’s it! I’m going to kill you!” Quin said, balling his fists.

“Oh, like you try earlier you two-bit magician?” Ellard yelled, also making fists even though he remained sitting. At that prompting, Quin launched himself at the human with a slurred battle cry.

Despite being drunk, both adventurers were still excellent fighters. Ellard, however, was bigger and more experienced in melee combat than the small sorcerer. This let him deflect the first of the small fists. However his return jabs were not connecting, mostly because he kept aiming at the air to the left of the gnome.

By now their companions had awoken and were sleepily holding weapons, looking around for the fight. Upon finding that it was their friends, not a random bunch of orks, fighting they were somewhat at a loss for what to do. However before any of them could do anything, two stools by the bar danced into the air before flinging themselves straight at the drunks. The stools struck both men directly in the head while they were in mid punch, knocking them out cold. They slumped forward against each other, then rolled onto the beer soaked wooden floor.

The waitress dusted her hands from across the room then glared at the drunk men’s companion. “I’m not cleaning that up,” Fartha declared, dropping her apron on the bar. “And that is going on all your tabs.” A confused trio watched the waitress stomp up the stairs.

 

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Free Write #23: A Charge for an Arm and a Leg

by on May.02, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

A free writing we will go…

~~~~~~

A Charge for an Arm and a Leg
By Nojh Livic

“Good evening! Good evening,” Rylie greeted the pair of cloaked figures as they hurried to the gate. She moved to stand at the gate, ready to let them in, although her hands remained concealed within her own robes, one wrapped firmly around her focus orb, the other on the pommel of a sheathed dagger. Her smile continued even as the figured drew up short to stand in front of the gate. “Welcome,” she greeted again but made no move to open the iron bars for them. The pair hesitated and Rylie’s smile began to fade.

“Powder Blue Moon,” croaked the smaller of the two cloaked figures, his voice raspy but understandable. Rylie’s smile grew wider and she let go of her dagger and drew her hand out of a pocket and began to make a complicated series of finger gestures in front of the gate. She felt her orb glow faintly warm but then the chains that held the gate locked glowed and began to unravel themselves. She stepped back and the gates opened for the pair and they took several steps inside. The gates shut and the chains locked themselves back up.

Rylie drew out her remaining hand and spread her arms wide, bowing her head slightly. “Welcome to Mezzel’s Emporium for the Dead! Repeat customers I see? You’re welcome to lower your hoods. The scrying protections about the grounds are top-notch, let me assure you. Now, how may I serve you this evening?”

“And over there we have our latest batch, freshly interred this sun down,” Rylie motioned to a patch of dirt that had six obviously freshly disturbed mounds. “They’ll be up and at them in a few hours no doubt. Plus we have home, lair, or dungeon delivery, if you’d prefer not to hassle yourself with the details.” The shorter of the pair, who turned out to be the husband of the pair of necromancers, looked eager to go and inspect the selection. His wife who seemed the far more practical one, was looking towards an area marked “Spare Not-So-Spare Parts” in arcane runes. The woman had mismatched eyes and she kept her left arm hidden under her cloak. She likely wanted some new grafts. If Rylie let the customer into the item bins she might as well as kiss her commission good-bye.

“Newly animated, of course, have some of the freshest parts,” Rylie explained, catching the woman’s attention again. “I have depictions stored in gems of our selection that you might peruse through. All ages and body types.” Rylie smiled as the woman focused her attention on the crèche. She could almost  hear the gold coins clanging.

Rylie looked over her notes, directing the quill with a slight wave of her hand. She sat in what served as the general sales office that any of the staff could use. It was decorated generally enough to be anybody’s office but the manager felt offices somehow made the deal feel more official to the client. Less chances of them deciding to send a horde as payment rather than gold.

“That’ll be two small, one large, and the petite. Extra soft dirt on the petite. Extra ravenous on the large. A rush order on all four?” Rylie confirmed. The pair nodded their agreement and Rylie passed the clipboard for them to look it over and empower their mark into. “Just cast into the circle provided and we’ll be set.” She hadn’t guessed these two would be such a gold mind when they approached. The way they hesitated to give the password actually had her nervous but now with the cut from this commission she could bribe her way into a cushy managerial position or perhaps even take a day off!

As she watched the pair sign, there was a slight itching sensation she had only felt once before. It was so long ago that she didn’t immediately place what it meant. She didn’t have time to ponder it as everything started to go wrong. She felt the barriers around the emporium fall before the stone of alarms began to blare. Shouts of the authorities began to echo through the castle as well as moans of hunger as the automated defenders rose from their cubby holes to meet the unwelcome intruders. Rylie stood and began to udder a platitude of comfort for the pair when she saw the woman had removed her cloak completely. Under it was not an arm grafted to the shoulder made of dead flesh as she had expected but a ghostly ectoplasmic appendage that mimicked an arm and held, much to the young woman’s chargin, a seal of the Royal Adventurer’s Brigade. The woman was a psionist.

Rylie shoved her hands into her robe, drawing her dagger and wrapping her hand around her orb tied at her belt. The shorter man suddenly slumped over onto her desk, as if he were a puppet who strings had just been cut. The woman stood and was shouting for her drop her weapon and Rylie was happy to oblige. The dagger fell from her hand but rather than fall to the ground, it rocketed forward directly at the adventurer who was taken off guard. The dagger only managed to embed itself in the woman’s shoulder but that would be enough. As if on cue, the door to the office exploded open and two zombies stumbled in and lunged.

The dagger would be a beacon to any unintelligent undead, not just drawing them but angering them. It had been a defensive charm Rylie had devised herself. She hadn’t properly tested it but she didn’t feel the need to stand around to see how well it worked. She began chanting quickly under her breath. Her orb began to burn quickly and the light could be seen even from under her robes.

The adventurer had dodges the first zombie but the second had her in a grapple. Her ectoplasmic arm whipped around the zombie’s neck and with a snarl she pulled it free, serving the half skeletal neck from the zombie’s shoulders. The first zombie had slightly recovered from its lunge but the adventurer gave it a swift kick that sent it back to the ground. Pulling out the dagger with a slight cry she turned and threw it at Rylie with an expert hand.

Rylie watched the tip spin directly at her head, her eyes wide as she muttered as quickly as possible. With the dagger less than a hand’s width from her face, she felt her gut wrench and then suddenly there was darkness.

Some hours later, the young necromancer sat on the ground, robes spread around her, watching her former place of employment go up in flames. Leek, Gorbash, and Quentin had joined her some time ago but they were staying inside the tree line where they couldn’t be spotted. Below a handful of Royal Adventurers were escorting prisoners out of the gates and chopping the heads off of her merchandise. She sighed. “I hate writing resumes. I wonder if Deadmart is hiring…”

~~~~~~

So this time I felt I was very up front about everything. There was magic. The place was selling dead or undead things. The ending wasn’t well forecasted but I wouldn’t say it was a twist like some (read: most) of my other flash fiction. This story came out of a small idea I had where someone would sell zombies like a salesperson might sell a fine wine. That didn’t come out when I started to write but I rather like the idea that did come out. The plot could probably use some shaping up. What do you think?

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Free Write #21: Blurring Lights

by on Apr.18, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Blurring Lights
By Nojh Livic

He floated in an infinite space, quietly watching the small bits of light as they zipped to and fro. He liked to bask here. There was probably some sort of existential or psychological reason for this odd behavior. Why hang around in the space between places? There was nothing to do and barely anything to see. With no sensation save sight, it was like being disconnected from everything, viewing it all from a distance, except there was nothing to view save the little dazzling bolts of light..

A small chime that only echoed between his head informed him that he didn’t have a second more to spend on his dalliance. Ghost wanted his attention. With a sigh he drew out a small charm from the pocket of his jacket. It began to glow almost immediately and he gave it a squeeze. “Yo yo yo, Blitz! Where you at?” A gauzy image of Ghost projected itself from the stone, from its shoulders up. The stone already gave most people a translucent quality. With Ghost he was near invisible.

“Just watching traffic. What’s the score?” Blitz asked. The lights and space began to blur as he began flying through the space, letting the tails of his jacket whip around behind him. He preferred to stand while he traveled, rather than assume some sort of pose that suggested he obeyed some sort of aerodynamic rules.

“TryTex. Off the Hou-Dal-Ft link. You’ll want to come in hot. Surly already woke the beast.” Ghost chuckled when it saw Blitz roll his eyes. Surly was Ghost’s nickname for Surreal who was the third of their little troupe and the most hot-headed. She was also on the record, having found the best scores yet, so if she got them into a little trouble now and then he wasn’t going to complain.

“I’ll be there in a cycle,” Blitz said, increasing the speed of his flight. He could have been there faster, of course, but he wanted to prepare. Stowing away the glowing stone he began pulling more objects out from under his jacket: A few rings, three bangles, goggles, a pair of daggers, a pair of ornate slug throwers with shiny black leather holsters, three different necklaces, and finally a long wooden staff. Nearly all of the items glowed in some form of fashion, as his jacket did each time he pulled out something new. Finally he buttoned the leather long coat up. As he did, it shifted from its usual brown to a shiny black with faintly glowing blue lines following the seams. Re-checking that he could reach his equipment and weapons through various pockets, he lifted his staff high and struck what would sure to be an impressive pose and readying an offensive maneuver just in case he needed to keep Surreal’s ass out of a sling.

He arrived at TryTex exactly one cycle later. Darkness and blurry lights gave way to an immediate cacophony of alarms and a kaleidoscope of shades of red intermixed darkness. He saw Surreal between the flashes of darkness, in her dragon form, but rather than tearing a swath through the entire area, was instead pinned down by hordes of tiny red skinned devils with pitchforks. He flew directly towards the melee, staffed pointed, words already on his lips that would send bursts of wind and force down upon his cohort’s foes.

Then a net surrounded him. Disoriented, he flew backwards, only to find himself caught in another net. He let go of his staff to draw his daggers but the net suddenly glowed with blue flame. Ignoring his jacket completely, the flames sent sharp painful chills down his arms. His fingers went numb, letting the daggers slide from his grip. The net grew tighter, surrounding him until he couldn’t move his arms or legs. He squirmed and each time was rewarded with another blast of cold that numbed him even more.

On the ground, Surreal jerked spasmodically, frozen, then slowly began to grow transparent. The devils began cheering, pumping their pitch forks up and down. Blitz tried one last effort, summoning all his strength to try to break the net that surrounded him. That is when he blacked out.

Ronald tore the headband off and threw it on the ground. The pain lancing through his head was enough to blind him but despite that he leapt for the wall and jerked the connection cord out of the socket. That done, he curled up into a ball of pain, trying to ignore the smell of charred metals and plastic that used to be his hacking rig. After an eternity he let his eyes open. The tiny enclosed space that was his apartment surrounded him. No star filled landscape. No flashing lights. Just darkness, smoke, and pain.

~~~~~

So I wanted to go for a fantasy vibe that turned out to be kinda science fiction. The premise is based on a roleplaying game I used to play called Shadowrun. Think The Matrix, but less “super real” and more “fantasy real”. I’ve also recently read Ready Player One and The Dresden Files, which made its way unconsciously into this story I think.

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Free Write #19: A Fateful Meeting, Part 2

by on Apr.04, 2012, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Part one is here. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~

A Fateful Meeting, Part 2
By Nojh Livic

“Thank you. As I was saying, I am here to inquire about the tutoring position,” Marla repeated, offering a smile and leaning forward slightly in an attempt to model eagerness. She even let her hands slide from her lap slightly. Lilly did not look as surprised as she had at the door but the expression on her face did suggest that she was unsure what to make of Marla’s statement. So Marla continued, “I read in the paper this morning that there was a tutoring position for the Warlam family and I thought I might apply. I have brought my associate Lady Trayark to both vouch for my credentials and that I am a sentient citizen in good standing.”

To add further to her claim, Marla reached into the small brief case she had brought from which she produced several papers and held them forward. “I see,” Lilly said as she took the papers. Her eyebrows slowly raised as she read over Marla’s credentials. Resume writing for Marla was a difficult task as most did not want to read several centuries of career history. This particular version focused on her academic research and her prior teaching experience at the Qualsburg University.

“Amazing.” Lilly said finally, after a moment. She set the papers down on the table as the teapot let out a simple and short whistle, followed by the plate below slowly beginning to dim. Lilly began pouring tea as she talked, even taking time to do so for Marla. “Well, even my husband could not find fault with these papers and I admit, given his profession, I doubt he would see a problem with hiring you. However I must ask at least one question and it won’t be simple, I’m afraid, but here it is. Why do you want to be our tutor?”

Marla had expected a question along similar lines. It would have been impolite to ask the direct question. Although Lilly hid it well, Marla gave the mother credit for being more circumspect. As it was, Marla already had a prepared statement but she took a moment to appear as if she was considering and organizing her thoughts on the matter.

“To say simply that I am bored would do my motivations injustice. My current position as a free citizen grants me an excessive amount of time that I did not have access to before the new laws. And while the new laws have provided for me decently enough, I do feel that fetching a wage is of personal benefit not only of the body but of the mind. As to why your family specifically, my experience lends itself to seeking out tutoring positions and your ad in the paper was the only position available. Mostly thought, I would like to tutor your progeny out of a want to feel useful. I’m sure you can surmise how difficult it might be for one such as myself to find a career in service and yet that is what I find myself compelled to do. I hope that answers your question?”

Before Lilly could respond, a young boy of certainly no more than five years of age came running into the kitchen. He had on shorts and boots but no other clothing save for a set of goggles that were pulled down enough to let one eye see through a set, while the other eye remained free. The boy was wielding some type of metal trinket in his left hand, and a wrench in his right, and he was beaming.

“Mama. Mama! I got it to- Wow! A robot!” the boy exclaimed and immediately walked up to Marla, peering up at her. Marla turned her profile slightly to address the boy while she looked down at him. She could see her own reflection in his small brown eyes. A well dressed lady perhaps, were it not for her metallic silver skin.

“No dear, not a robot a, uh,” Lilly stood and reached for her son but her correction trailed off.

“Automata,” Joan supplied helpfully. “Hello there. My name is Joan Nel Haryark and this is my friend Marla. What is your name?”

“Leonard.” Lee said deftly side stepping his mother’s reach. He didn’t even look to Joan, his attention was so riveted on Marla.

“Hello, Leonard,” Marla said, smiling. “What is it you have there? Is that a pressure valve system?” Lee’s eyes opened wide as the silver woman spoke to him and his mouth slide open slightly. Marla slide her eyes to see that Lilly had sat back down and was watching their interaction. She decided to handle this as a hands on interview. To prompt the boy, Marla slowly brought her hands up, palm open. “Would you show it to me?”

Lee seemed to recover at this request and quickly brought the item he was carrying around from behind his back. “Well kinda. I mean, yeah. See I hook this end into the steam chamber and it’ll fill up here…” the boy began to explain his device. It become obvious very quickly that this young boy had built himself the equivalent of a steam-powered potato cannon. By her best estimate of the volume of the primary load chamber suggested that at full power, it would either explode in his hands, or propel an object fast enough to puncture a hole in the wall or even dent her, to say nothing of a human.

“That is a very impressive contraption.” Lilly said with motherly pride, clasping both hands together, the danger of her son’s creation eluding her. Joan too had a face of quiet admiration that Marla knew all too well for she used it any time she was caught in a conversation with one of her father’s newly hired scientists.

“You will, of course, be fully testing the output of the primary load chamber with a gauge before you attempt to operate the firing mechanism?” Marla asked adding a hint of authority to her tone. She focused her full attention on the boy but kept her facial features passive. It helped convey seriousness that some found unsettling. Lilly turned her attention to the prospective tutor with a slight frown at the edge of her lips and Joan’s demure expression faltered as she cast a side glance at her friend.

Lee, however, seemed fascinated by Marla and took a step closer, his eyes wide as she stared into her faintly glowing eyes. “Uhh. Oh yeah. That’s a good idea. I can calculate the distance the potatoes will travel if I know the pressure exerted,” Lee’s excitement was subdued slightly until Marla smiled. She reached out and gently patted the boy on the head. He beamed up at her.

“Very good. I’ll want to see your notes on the device. Perhaps you could invite me to the test firing once you have it fully tested?” Marla retracted her hand to her lap but continued to smile and tilted her head. The movement was wasted. Lee was already looking down at his device, taking a wrench to the primary nozzle.

“Ooh yeah! We could invite the neighbors too. Can we ma?” Lee asked without looking up.

“We’ll see dear.” Lilly arms were crossed but her frown was gone and she was now studying the interviewee with a bemused expression. Marla had likely made an impressed. “Go on and fix your thing and let the grownups talk awhile longer.” Marla watched Lee scamper off again before she turned towards his mother. She sat up straight and offered the woman an attentive expression with a slightly raised eye socket ridge.

“Can you start tomorrow?”

~~~~~~~~~~

I have a bad habit of trying to create a slow reveal. I really should stop that. Still I think this came off well. Marla didn’t have any real fear of the interview so this was not as riveting as a normal interview but I thought the ticking time bomb of the potato gun add a slight thrill, even if only Marla was aware of it. She was the narrator so the reader was now aware of it to. There is obviously knowledge hinted that but not discussed, such as the laws that have made Marla a free citizen. Anyway tell me what you think?

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Book Watch: Changeless

by on Jan.31, 2012, under Book Watch, Books, Reviews

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Changeless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I liked this book better than the first I’m still not sure how I feel about the series overall. I’m not an avid romance reader but I’ve read series like this before and it strikes me as the type of series that likes to hopscotch between the romance genre and, in this case, the steampunk genre. Because it its constant jumping, I feel I’m not getting the enjoyment that I want out of the book.

I don’t want to say the book is bad. It isn’t. In this case I believe the problem is with the reader and his expectations rather than he book itself. I want a slightly more in-depth steampunk novel and instead I’m reading a Victorian science fiction romance adventure novel.

That being said I will read the third book because I both already own it and the ending to this book was a bit of an emotional cliffhanger which I’m curious to see how it is resolved. We’ll see if I continue reading after that.

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Video: WTF or Fantasy by DyE

by on Nov.22, 2011, under Art, Entertainment, Music, Videos, Visual Media

Okay so this video definitely contains adult content.


DYE "Fantasy" Official Video by JEREMIE PERIN by TIGERSUSHIRECORDS

And wow. Best visual depicting of a human’s reaction to visualizing a Great Old One ever. Also what was going on in that woman’s short, seriously?

This is an actual music video for the music you hear in the background. The music is by someone called DyE and the song’s name is Fantasy.

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Free Write #16: The Tank

by on Oct.31, 2011, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

I’m at a friend’s house so a quick one tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Tank
By Nojh Livic

“Taruther is down!” a female voice shouted. John knew she was standing over him but he everything was too bright and she was too loud. He put his hands over his ears and curled into a ball. His head throbbed and he ached all over. He also did not know what was going on.

“I’ve got him. Everybody! Focus on the demon!” a male voice this time but still near. Around him he could hear the oddest sounds of miniature explosions and something growling in pain. He felt like crying in pain as well until a soft glowing light enveloped him. His his headache fade away, the aches in his muscles disappeared, and his vision cleared.

The woman who stood over him held a large ornate bow, which she was firing with a speed that defied physics. She also wore armor, or rather ornate pieces of metal that covered mostly non-vital parts of her body, in colors that could never be found in nature. The oddest part of her, however, was her enormously pointed ears and pale purple skin.

“Up and at them Taruther. We need your brawn to halt the demon’s advance!” John tilted his head to see an extremely short and somewhat stout man with an excessive beard man dressed in white robes, enormous pauldrons, and wielding some kind of metal rod that was also multicolored. He was looking at John and motioning forward. John sat up and looked.

Some small distance away, surrounded by other bizarrely clad people of varying heights and anatomical features, was everything John would consider a demon. It was at least eight feet tall with blood red scales, sharp-pointed teeth, and horns that pierced the sky. Huge hands with sharp talons raked across the row of smaller people attacking him with swords, arrows, and beams of light. Amazingly they did not fall  to the ground cut in half but each looked bloodied and weary. (continue reading…)

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Free Write #15: A Mirror Broken Too Soon

by on Oct.28, 2011, under Entertainment, Free Write, Writing

Decided to go ahead and drop the Writing Time title. Keeps things a little simpler. Writing Time will be reserved for other writing ventures, like the upcoming NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and novel updates.

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A Mirror Broken Too Soon
By Nojh Livic

She held the dress to her body and looked down at it. It was a deep burgundy with the hemline falling to the floor and the neck line a bit lower than her usual style. It was perhaps the most expensive dress in the entire village and certainly a fine gift from her husband, who was the richest and most handsome man in town according to all. Yet as she drew herself to the mirror the woman who stood behind the dress was in neither excited nor pleased by what she beheld.

She sighed and set the dress on the hanger before she began undressing to prepare for the evening’s festivities. A glint of the firelight drew her attention to her hand mirror beside the bed. It was broken as it had been for over a year. The man who had given it to her said it would let her see back to the times they had shared. She had never gotten it to work after she had found it shattered in her pack. She shook her head and began to prepare.

It took her a while to get ready. They had no servants. Oh her husband had a man-servant but it would have been inappropriate for him to attend her even if he wasn’t a sniveling sycophant, at least to her husband. She glanced at her dresser and then the vanity. She imagined them coming to life, offering advice on a particular piece of jewelry wear or shade of blush to apply. Their voices were real enough in her head but she knew this to be a dream. It had taken several sessions with the doctor for her to realize this. Still her eyes wandered to the small tea-cup, slightly chipped, at the edge of her vanity desk. Again she shook her head and stood to dress.

===

(continue reading…)

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