Teaser Tuesday: Darwin’s First Spell

Monster Hat!

So, I’m going to do more Slumberlord Chronicles: Darwin & the Fate Bracelet excerpts through the summer.  I was thinking about stuff that would make things interesting, which is tough since I didn’t have my usual type of action.  I was worried about spoilers too.  Still, I think it’s safe to show Darwin’s first spell since everyone knows he’s a caster.  Enjoy.

*****

Chuckling and nodding his head, the dwarf puts a meaty hand on Arlinger’s shoulder and gives a tight squeeze. “Why are you in a rush? Bandits wouldn’t stand a chance against us, so we can protect you. Then, you can work off the debt that you owe. With two of you, it shouldn’t take more than a month. Maybe less if you turn out to be more capable than you look. Kind of strange that you didn’t try to ride through the night though. I’d be too scared to stop until either dawn or I reached a village like our own, which has lights on at all times. Those poles may stop animals, but bandits would walk right through, especially since you can see the rotten space from far away.”

“I said we forgot what they did.”

“Guess fear can do that.”

“Exactly.”

“I’d still recommend staying for a day or two.”

“But we’re in a rush.”

“Why if you’re just running from bandits?”

“Well, I feel like we should complete our town’s last delivery in its honor.”

“The vegetables you’re so quick to give us.”

“A delivery is a delivery.”

“Then, you wouldn’t be in a rush anymore.”

“We all grieve in our own ways.”

Arlinger grins at the red-faced dwarf, whose grip on the pitchfork is gradually tightening until his knuckles turn white. A whistle draws the other villagers towards the halfling, so he scrambles back into the wagon where Darwin is waiting. With the vehicle surrounded, he draws his shortsword and buckler, but has no idea how he can fight the angry mob. Famous for their strength and endurance, he knows dwarves are an impossible feat for a self-trained halfling to defeat alone. A loud creaking causes him to turn around and he finds two of the farmers have climbed into the front seat. They keep their scythes ready, but it is clear that their plan is to corner and capture the pair. Arlinger is mildly relieved to hear manacles being brought over, but he remains nervous enough to stay alert. Reaching down, he awkwardly slips his arms through a backpack’s straps and stares at the dwarf at the bottom of the wagon ramp. Licking his lips and nudging his cousin with his foot, he lets out a slow breath and prepares to charge with the hopes of getting through the line of farmers.

“Sleep!” Darwin abruptly screams at the top of his lungs.

A distorted wave of sparkling energy explodes off the halfling’s body and the startled dwarves collapse in snoring heaps. All of the flies stop buzzing and drop to the ground, their legs twitching in the air. Arlinger feels his eyelids get heavy and his vision blurs, but he musters enough focus to fight against the magic. A familiar voice in his mind whispers about him not being the target, which helps him keep the drowsiness at bay. Giving the side of his neck a pinch and twist, he shocks himself into staying fully awake. Leaping onto the nearest crate, he stares at the slumbering dwarves, all of whom continue to clutch their tools.

“Did you just cast a spell?” Arlinger asks as he jumps down. Seeing tears forming in his cousin’s eyes, he grabs him by the shoulders and smiles. “Don’t get upset. This is amazing and the lucky break we needed. You saved us, Darwin! You put all of them to sleep, so now we can escape. It’s a long walk to Soltis, but at least we aren’t stuck here. See what happens when you strike out on your own?”

“I didn’t do something bad?” Darwin counters while he peeks around the wagon. He is about to scream at the sight of the dwarves, but notices they are breathing before his panic gets too strong. “I don’t know what happened. I was really scared and thought they were going to kill us. The word came to my mind, so I shouted it as loud as I could. Then, I felt tingly like when you don’t move for a very long time. Only it was all over my body and jumped out of my skin. I don’t know if I can do it again.”

“We’ll figure that out after we get away because it’s time to escape,” his cousin states before clambering out of the wagon. He begins running towards the road, but skids to a stop when he realizes nobody is running with him. “Darwin? Where did you go? I saw you going down the ramp. Wait. Come this way! You’re running towards the village! Wrong way! Oh, this isn’t going to be fun at all.”

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Happy 4th of July/Independence Day/Illegal Fireworks Day

As the title says, it’s July 4th, which is Independence Day in the USA.  So, here are some funnies.  For those who celebrate, please be safe and careful.  Think of those around you before you act too.  I know the explosions part can be difficult for a lot of groups, so here’s hoping those are minimal in your area.  (All images found by Google Image Search.)

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Covid Memes: Because I Need to Laugh at My Pain

For anyone who paid attention to yesterday’s post or my Facebook page since Wednesday, I tested positive for Covid. I know, that’s very 2020 and I’m behind the trends. Apparently, the virus doesn’t care.  This is my last day on the meds and I should be okay to be around people once more by tomorrow.  Still, as I said, it’s been emotionally rough.  So, I need to laugh a bit.  Finding memes that were funny and not angrily political was an act that took more energy than expected.  Hope people enjoy.  God knows, I needed some chuckles with this week.

First one I found

I expected this

I wish

LIES!!!!! (Irony is that I ordered a new pillow the day before testing positive, so I can’t use it until I’m clear.)

Rodent has a point

This is what hurts the most

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Goal Post: Monkey Wrenches Aplenty

This week didn’t go as planned.  Zoo trip, family outing, shopping, and fireworks show last night were effectively cancelled.  Only finished through Chapter 7 of Darwin & the Halfling Hunt instead of into 9.  So, what went wrong?

I got COVID.

That was actually on Wednesday when I headed up in the morning and realized that something didn’t feel right.  It was a mild case, but it meant I had to quarantine in my room.  My family were all negative, so they were fine.  My son and I spent time together with him sitting in the hallway with the wireless controller and me far in the bedroom directing him in ‘Pokemon Legends: Arceus’.  Not ideal, but it meant we could still interact from a distance.

Prior to this, I lost Monday and Tuesday as writing days because I got my son.  There was a scheduling issue, which required juggling.  At least, we got to hang out and have fun those days before I got quarantined.  So, it was an unexpected gift.  Got a nice sunburn on the back of my neck during one of those outings too.  Got to write at night, which helped me get through Chapter 7.

Going back to Covid, I had really mild symptoms to the point where I thought it was a cold.  I got tested simply on a ‘might as well’ whim.  By Friday, I didn’t feel any symptoms beyond a small cough and a little fatigue.  Those could have been caused by anxiety too, so who knows?  I took a home test yesterday morning too.  Very faint positive line.  The meds I’m on through Sunday are doing their work.  Means I should be able to spend real time with my son on Monday before he starts camp on Tuesday.

I have to say that the hardest hitting part of Covid was the sense of isolation.  I was immediately isolated from my family even though we were in the same house.  I cleared all of my oral hygiene things out of the bathroom after soaping all of them.  This way, they wouldn’t accidentally touch my son’s toothbrush.  Kept my towel in my room as well unless it was really damp.  Needed to make sure the downstairs was clear if I went for food, which wasn’t easy.  I joked with a friend about feeling like a ‘plague rat’, but it really felt that way.  Being sick and avoided hurts even if you understand why.  Probably why I cried in the car after getting the meds.

Just to recap: I got a bad sunburn then Covid and then . . . I passed a kidney stone yesterday morning . . . Really not my week in terms of health.

Of course, I don’t know what to say about next week.  My son starts camp and I could very well get a good amount of writing done.  Two books over the course of the summer might have been pushing it.  Maybe 1.5?  We’ll have to see what happens.  I can still finish Darwin & the Halfling Hunt before the end of July.  So, you never know.  I need to find out about other projects too.  My head is having trouble focusing lately.  Next week should go smoother.

The obligatory television paragraph is that I haven’t been watching much.  I stared my son on ‘The Tick’ and we have our usual nighttime stuff.  I’m rewatching ‘Soul Eater’, which is an anime and I can zone out a bit on it.  Whether I’m done with it by next Friday night or not, I’ll be starting ‘The Boys Season 3’ next weekend.  I’m both curious and cautious since a friend saw it and warned me against eating during a few episodes.  Maybe I’ll put another anime between this show and ‘Umbrella Academy Season 3’ to make sure I don’t do a mental comparison.  People keep telling me to watch ‘Stranger Things’ too, but I’m not sure.  It doesn’t feel like my kind of show.  At least, not right now.  Maybe down the road or if I get over a specific mental block.

Well, what are goals?

  1. Writing!
  2. Recover from Covid!
  3. Time with son!
  4. Biking!
  5. Hydrate!
  6. Car needs gas.
  7. Really want some pizza.
  8. Appointments!
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Special Teaser: Not the Type of Hero I Want to Be

The Hobbit

It’s not Tuesday, but I wanted to put up a Darwin teaser to get people ready for more down the road.  A while back, I did his first appearance, which was a little goofy.  This is a better look at how he starts out.  As you can tell, Darwin isn’t exactly bounding into adventure with excitement and has some issues with change.  Need to decide if I want to show him using his first spell here as well.  It isn’t like it’s a secret that he’s going to have magic at some point.

*****

The pony stomps its foot and stares at Darwin, who is quietly sitting in the wagon with the reins held loosely in his hands. Thinking the animal wants him to leave, he slips out of the seat and places the straps on a small hook. A loud snort draws his attention to a large basket of carrots and he takes one for himself. The moment he takes a bite, the pony spits at his boots and tenses its muscles in preparation of kicking him if he gets within range. Realizing his mistake, Darwin rummages through a second basket to pull out an apple and hurries to give their ride a snack. A few of the gathered halflings laugh behind their hands at the befuddled expression on the animal’s face before it accepts the offer. A small whinny and whip of its tail shows it is happy once more. Proud of his victory, Darwin lifts himself onto his and walks away from the wagon while chewing on the carrot. Stopping next to Arlinger, he grins at Mayor Shellup and swiftly imitates his cousin’s stance.

“Where are my parents?” Darwin asks, his happy expression abruptly changing to one of worry. He hurries to the wagon and climbs onto the crates to scan the crowd, but he cannot see anyone from his family. “They told us to go ahead while they finish work. I thought they were going to say good-bye. I haven’t said good-bye yet. We can’t leave until I say good-bye to my parents and sisters and brothers and grandfather and the cows. That’s bad manners and rude and disrespectful. Right, Arlinger? You feel the same way.”

“I do, but I don’t think we can wait,” the blonde halfling answers with a sigh. He watches the mayor while tightening the straps of his buckler and adjusting the dented shortsword on his belt. “You said this food has to reach Soltis in two days, which means we have to leave now. The pony is going to get tired pretty quickly with all of those crates, so we’re going to have to make plenty of stops along the way. The village is depending on us to get this job right. Besides, we said good-bye when we left the house, Darwin.”

“That was regular good-bye. Not long-time good-bye,” he says while bouncing on his toes. He jumps to the ground and falls on his face, which gives several villagers an excuse to turn away and hide the shame in their eyes. “This isn’t fair. I know Goldmeadow needs us to do this because everyone else is busy. I want to help, but I want to say good-bye. That’s what people are supposed to do when they go away. Otherwise, they might not come back and everyone will be sad that they didn’t get that thing my parents told me about. Kind of like when you shut a door and feel satisfied . . . Closure!”

Mayor Shellup hands Darwin the map and gives the younger halfling’s shoulder a tight squeeze in the hopes of calming him down. “I know this is difficult since neither of you have ever left the village, but we need your help. Urian Coy has promised us valuable seeds in exchange for food. With his payment, we can set up new farms and improve our chances of surviving the harsh months. Think of this as an adventure, so you can return to tell your family and friends stories of your time away. You enjoy stories, Darwin. You’ve loved those since you were a small child. Now, you can be the hero in the tales we all share.”

“I don’t want to be a hero who doesn’t say good-bye,” Darwin whimpers before he trudges back to the wagon.

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Poetry Day: Blame a Generation

Peacock that got right next to me. Sadly, a bunch of kids chased the poor thing away soon after the picture.

(Picture has nothing to do with this.  Pretty sure this may ruffle feathers though.  The generation war has gotten worse since I wrote the poem in 2011.  Though, I still stand by a big part of it.  Feel like my generation was promised success if we simply worked hard, went to college, and followed the rules.  Many of us have debt, depression, anxiety, and a sense that we wasted a big chunk of our lives following rules that no longer applied to reality.  I’ll be writing over here when the comments come in.)

They call us lazy

Untested brats

We do not deserve

That which we want

Because we never work

*

Maybe they are right

We seek pleasure

More than toiling sweat

But who is true to blame

If this is how we grew

*

We are a generation

Composed of fostered dreamers

Raised on hopes and promises

Told to grab the stars

We can be whatever we wish to be

*

Then the world will turn

We hit the age

Where dreams have not been met

And we refuse to give release

Accepting failure as our fate

*

The elders change their sides

Yelling for us to sway

Expecting us

To recognize defeat

And join the toiling masses

*

They misunderstand us

And we do the same to them

Battles will ensue

As we grip the dreams

That gave our life a purpose

*

Who can you blame?

The stubborn dreamers

Preparing to self-destruct

Or the angry elders

Who helped to forge our fervor?

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Start of Summer Memes

I’m being lazy.  Enjoying the start of summer break here.  Have some laughs and we’ll meet up tomorrow for a rough poem.  All images found with a Google Image Search.

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Check This Out: Coming Up Short

With me on the blog today is the fabulous Laurie Morrison, who is here to talk about her latest middle grade novel, Coming Up Short, released on June…

Check This Out: Coming Up Short
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WRITING AND PRE-RELEASE DAY CHECKLIST

Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about an exciting and stressful time, getting a book ready for release. After you receive your book back from beta …

WRITING AND PRE-RELEASE DAY CHECKLIST
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The Knuckleheads Tour with Dan Antion #Newbook

Today I am very excited to welcome Dan Antion to Fiction Favorites. Dan is a blogging buddy with one of the most successful blogs, No Facilities. He …

The Knuckleheads Tour with Dan Antion #Newbook
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