Last year I wrote “The Abomination of Corvintown” as backstory for a D&D character, but held it in the hope that I’d get to tell the story in-game. That didn’t happen, so now I’m making it public. It’s pulpy and grim, and I think it came out very close to how I intended it. Go read it.
I was in the Duke’s army for a year, didn’t like it. Shitty food, pay was only a promise, and the officers were all stuck-up bastards. I had to see out my year, and a little more from the stockade. Then I went looking for my brother in the Greymark.
I’ve been blogging regularly since 01 August 2006: every day for that first year, five times per week for four years after that, and at least once per week since 01 August 2011. Now it’s time for a break.
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, free speech
It’s not that I don’t want to listen carefully. I do. I’m interested. I care about you. I’m trying to pay attention, to be present, to not have my mind wander, to not give in to distraction.
There had been rumors of war, fears that the conflict raging to the south and east would reach out for us, but we didn’t expect anything to happen soon. As I went to bed that night, I felt a mild unease, a concern about what the next months would bring.
The shovels made steady progress. Sern and Jerym, the two locals I’d hired to dig, grumbled at my not helping, but digging is what I was paying them coin for. I needed to be free to keep an eye on them both, as they wouldn’t have been there with me if they’d been trustworthy. The lanterns I’d brought provided enough light, and the pile of dirt to one side grew until there was a solid noise, wood struck by metal.
I stood. They looked back at me, and I told them to clear off all the dirt first. More grumbling, but they did it, and when I nodded they levered the wood apart, ripping it up and revealing the body inside.
In the pantheon of old Athrai, still one of the dominant Q’Resti faiths, Afuegan, brother to the god of war Atargan, is the god of archers. Afuegan is also the god of accuracy, the pursuit of excellence for its own sake, and monomania.
His singularity of focus, and his occasional blindness to larger concerns, are both represented by the fact that he is missing an eye. This is one account of how he lost it.
This longsword is the same blade referred to in older Issilanth texts as “The Firedemon’s Tooth”, as can be seen by comparing descriptions from historical sources.
This is a description from private letters during its possession by the Kelera family:
My visit to Yeemn’s chambers did not go as well; his response to the absence of my maid was to play a trick upon me wherein he took his family’s sword (a prized possession, apparently) directly from the fire, where it had been since before my entrance, and against my will pressed it to my fist—there is no injury, for the sword was somehow cool to the touch. He laughed and told me that it “likes the fire”, and that its sheen was whiter than that of a normal sword, and showed me the glow from letters near the hilt. I could not make them out, but thought they spelled a name beginning with “W”. I did not care for his trick, which frightened me badly and made it ever clearer that unlike his brother Yeemn remains a boy, but conceded that the blade was an excellent one and remarkably sharp—particularly if it was, as he claimed, hundreds of years old.
—Private letters of Seev Denina, 1082 IY.
Bethany couldn’t believe they would actually kill her. For what? In some kind of insane ritual? They looked like cheap horror extras, with a cramped basement for their stage and an altar that was despite its appearance certainly not solid stone.
Afternoon, a sunny suburban backyard. In the background, fluttering like clothes on a line, is a large sheet of white paper. Unintelligible writings in blue and black cover it. In the foreground, white-shirted Benedict Cumberbatch drinks from a beer bottle, talking to unseen others.
Caroline gestured, and the two acolytes came forward, hustling Bethany between them. She was gagged and her arms bound behind her, but she tried to struggle anyway, her eyes wide and wild. While they tied her to the slab, Caroline began lighting the candles in sequence, waiting for them to finish and step outside the circle before she lit the final one.
Agent Gastusky reversed fast, too fast, out of the driveway. 20 minutes of sneaking around, 10 minutes of brandishing a gun and threatening, and finally the realization that someone had transposed numbers on the address. Someone along the chain, or him, he couldn’t swear it wasn’t his mistake. He yanked the wheel around and shifted into first, flooring it. The delay likely meant the girl’s death, and if she died he knew he’d have to account for it in his report—and that no-one would likely own up to the address mistake.
At Clay and Gough, after I crossed the street, there was something. No cars in sight, no car sounds, not even from Franklin. No people in sight. No people sounds, until a man in Lafayette Park broke the spell by speaking to his workout partner.
Until then, however, I had felt as if I were alone.
She couldn’t hear the evacuation sirens, but her retina display told her they were sounding. The crew of Circus Catch should be rushing around, following their evac drill, and the command staff should be preparing to abandon and scuttle.
She, however, had to remain still, reining in her adrenaline, clinging to the outside of the hull.
Yikoon did not announce his presence, and his skill was sufficient to evade the wards set by the Temple Elders. He hid himself in disused spaces, and waited patiently before moving from one to another. For weeks he used his sorceries to blunt his hunger, and watched. Dedication to his goal kept him silent, observant, and still. Finally he had knowledge and confidence enough, and he made his way into the compound of the Temple’s child sorcerers.
The mind wanders around and around. It might be in a maze, for often the spaces look eerily familiar. The paths seem different, the distinction between path and destination murky.
I made a WordPress page containing a list of all the fiction I’ve published on this blog. I had to do this by hand, because it appears difficult to get a reasonable list using various WordPress approaches (such as tags). The page I created is hardly a masterpiece of user interface design (I hope to improve it significantly over time), but it’s better than what was there previously.
I don’t really know what this is, apart from looking like the start of a fantasy story, but it fell into my head, more or less in one piece, this morning:
I finished the second draft nine days behind schedule, which in the overall scheme of things isn’t that bad a slip. It turned out to be extremely difficult to maintain a steady approach to the editing, unlike either the micronovel version or the first 35 episodes of AFBH, two projects of similar duration that I completed successfully (and on time) last year.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.
I’ll do my best to finish over the next two days.