Teaser Tuesday: Thief on the Loose #fantasy #adventure

Here’s a fun little piece of Legends of Windemere: Family of the Tri-Rune!  Finding it harder to put action pieces up than I expected, so I don’t think I’ll be able to stick to that idea every time.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

“You sure the thief went this way?”

“As sure as I can be.”

“This’ll be the tenth time we cornered him.”

“I don’t think it’s a him.”

“I don’t care what’s between the thief’s legs. I’m tired of this one making fools of us all week.”

The seven guards slowly step into the crate-filled alley, their swords drawn and their shields held out. The rising sun casts some light into the mouth of the alley, but it is not enough to destroy all of the shadows. A shaggy cat screeches and scampers out from its hiding place as the guards continue their cautious advance. They stare at every shadow, each guard looking in a different direction. After ten minutes, they reach the back of the alley where the white brick of a house blocks their path.

“At least you guys are persistent!” shouts a deep, baritone voice from behind them. “The guards in Rodillen usually give up the chase after three days.”

The guards spin around to see a muscular shadow stepping out from behind a nearby stack of wooden crates. They are about to charge when the shadow holds up its fist and casually waves with its other hand. A nervous murmur passes through the squad of guards before the mysterious thief turns to run out of the alley. They start to follow, but the swaying towers of crates begin crashing to the ground as the thief runs by them. Before they can get out, the guards are trapped under a heavy pile of crates filled with pillows, empty bottles, and other random trash.

Racing across the street and ducking into another alley, the muscular thief weaves his way through the shadows. Eventually, the shadowy figure leaps onto a low ledge and proceeds to gracefully bounce between the two closely set buildings. Grabbing the edge of the roof, the thief flips out of sight and rolls into a crouch. The sun washes the muscular figure away, leaving a slender form clad in a full-body leather suit. She casually tucks her short, blonde hair behind her pointy ears before stretching her arms over her head.

“Come home, Flitter,” the elf whispers into the wind. She sits down on the roof to count the money she stole during the night while a young barn owl swoops out of the sky. The small beast lands on her head, leaning forward to stare into her golden eyes. She pulls a dead mouse out of one of her belt pouches and hands it to the hungry owl.

“You did a good job finding marks,” the thief says, dropping her new wealth into an empty pouch. “Still, we should find a way to gather more attention. It’s been a week and the guild has been quiet. In Rodillen, I would have been threatened or recruited by now. These guys seem to be pickier.”

The barn owl begins making noises as it excitedly hops along the far edge of the rooftop. The thief creeps over to the bird and peeks over the edge to see the seven guards standing in the street. In the middle of the guards is a large knight with orange hair and a pronounced lower jaw. A fancy war hammer is strapped to his waist, but his hand is gripped on its handle in case he needs to draw it quickly. He begins pointing around the street, sending the guards to search the surrounding area for something or someone. The thief grins as she realizes that she has gained the attention of a fully-armored knight. After watching the knight for a few minutes, she notices that his left gauntlet is a lot thicker than his right gauntlet.

“I think I found a way to get some attention,” the thief whispers, licking her ruby lips in anticipation. “I need you to draw the guards away, Flitter. The knight won’t move until they call for his help. Get them about ten blocks away and fly high to look for me because I’ll probably be on the run.”

The owl hoots at her and walks to the center of the roof before taking to the air. Its shadow transforms into a faint, humanoid silhouette bounding over the rooftops. She patiently waits for the sound of the guards shouting that they see something. Using her ears to track the differing footsteps, she listens for all of the guards leave the area. To her relief, she never hears the heavy steps of the knight. Reaching into her dark velvet and leather boots, she pulls out a vial of thick, red liquid and a strap of flesh-colored adhesive cloth with a horizontal slit through the middle. Still listening for movement from the knight, she sticks the cloth to her neck and covers the entire area with the red liquid. The liquid starts to shimmer and flow down her chest as if it is seeping out of a wound. To anyone who takes a quick look at the thief, it would appear that somebody has slit her throat.

“Time for a performance,” she chuckles, stepping off the roof over the alley and drifting down to the ground. As soon as she hits the ground, she slams herself against a stack of boxes and screams at the top of her lungs. The scream cuts off with a horrifying gurgle as she stumbles and trips her way to the mouth of the alley. She pitches forward, landing face first on the ground and sending the fake blood splattering ahead of her.

“Help me,” she whispers, reaching toward the towering knight, who is swiftly approaching. Her other hand squeezes her neck, squirting some of the fake blood through her fingers.

“Hold this to your throat,” the knight urges her. He presses a soft, yellow handkerchief to her wound to stop the bleeding. “I will get you a healer immediately.”

The thief grabs the knight by his left wrist when she feels him attempt to move. “Please don’t leave me. It’s getting cold and dark.”

“You need a healer if you are going to survive,” the knight insists. He looks around the street to see if there is anyone he can call to for help.

“You’re very kind, but the wound is too deep and I’ve lost too much blood,” she says, her voice getting so low that the knight has to lean in to hear her. “Just don’t let me die here alone, sir.”

“My name is Lord Highrider,” the knight says, gently stroking the elf’s head. “I promise to stay with you until the end. Can you tell me who did this to you?”

“I was attacked from behind,” she answers with a weak, trembling voice. Her eyes suddenly go wide and she tries to point across the street. “Him . . . that guy has my blood on him. I can see it on his arm.”

Lord Highrider tries to hold the panicky elf down without causing her pain while he turns his head to look across the street. A few people have left their homes to go to work or get some early shopping done, but he doesn’t see a man with blood on his arm. In fact, it is only women on the street and all of them have stopped to stare at the gory scene. A suspicious feeling washes over the knight before he suddenly notices that he no longer feels the dying elf in his arms. He looks down to see that his gauntlet compartment has been pried open, the hidden money pouch no longer inside.

“Guards!” the knight shouts, his voice echoing along the street.

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The Future of Nytefall . . . And Other Projects

Well, War of Nytefall: Eradication has been out for a while and it means I have to look to the future.  Wow . . . Those clouds are pretty dark.  Is that a clown waving a blood-soaked weed whacker around?  Okay, there shouldn’t be that many spiders along one path, especially when it’s clear that the trees are carnivorous.  Maybe I should stay here and wait for all of that to blow over.

Seriously though, I’ve now published half of War of Nytefall and only have one of the other books written.  My plan is to publish it after the summer and maybe the next volume in December if I can get it written in time.  That leaves me two for next year, which will end the adventures of Clyde and the Dawn Fangs.  Guess that’s pretty simple as far as the future goes.

I have another Ichabod Brooks collection and ‘So, You Want to Write Fantasy?’ that I’m aiming to work on a bit over the summer too.  Those will get published whenever I can get them ready to go and cover art.  I’m finding that I can’t do any long term predictions even when it comes to writing.  The second project will be more noticeable because I plan on using some beta readers.  Might on the first one too like I did before, but I’m going to see how things are going with time.

Overall, I want to put a lot more irons in the fire than I had before.  Part of me really wants to reclaim the old days when I could write more often, especially since I can see myself beginning to write ‘Tales of the Slumberlord’ in 2021.  That’s Darwin and I think writing a happy, friendly, innocent main character will do me some good.  He’ll be kind of like Fizzle in a way, but different type of magic and standing in the spotlight.  At least, both of the characters have this sense of innocence and naivete, which stems more from a really low level of common sense with Darwin.  He’s a helpful and straightforward fool . . . I might start doing the outlines for his series later this year.

Anyway, that’s what the future is holding.  A lot of hopes and guessing unless something explodes in terms of book success.  That’d be nice.

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Kind of a Room Tour (Revival of the Florida and College Decor!)

I don’t do many pictures of my room because it’s fairly dull.  Large rack of DVDs, TV on a dresser, nightstand, bed, large bookcase that was never given a coat of finish, hat rack, exercise bike, smaller bookcase, and desk.  That sounds like a lot, but you have to realize that it’s fairly basic.  Nothing exciting or worth noting.  That is until this quarantine when I decided it was time to unpack the one box that has remained fairly untouched since we moved back from Florida almost 11 years ago.  It was opened to hand over whatever belonged to the ex-wife, but these were mostly my things.  Here we go with the swords and wall scrolls!  (Ignore the messy bed please).

This is a two-handed broadsword that my dad picked up when he was in the navy during Vietnam.  When I got into fencing and started collecting swords, he gave me this one.  It’s in the corner between my dresser and nightstand.

Yes, those are Poptarts on the shelf.  This sword might have a story?  I don’t remember where I got this one exactly.  I have a faint memory of it being thrown out by either a friend or a store that was closing.  It was a pain to set up though.  I was missing a piece of the stand that kept the back part off.  The tip and the entry decoration of the scabbard needed to be super glued back on too.

The far right and middle one were bought during college when a store opened up in town with a sword section.  Don’t remember the names of them, but I really liked the middle because of the pommel and hilt.  I think the one on the right was similar to one that my ex-wife was buying at the time.  The far left is a ninjato (supposedly) that I got for $60 while visiting my ex-wife during our first summer as a couple.  Had to get it back to Long Island from Buffalo, but it’s the first non-fencing sword I ever bought.

I’ll get back to the bigger blades, but these are part of my small blade collection.  These are kept in a dresser drawer now, but they were usually in the closet.  The one on the far left is another one my dad bought while in the navy.  The one next to it, the far right one, and the one above that were bought in Israel in 1998.  The one with the hooked tip is from a Walmart hunting section.  The one with the chain was bought at a New Age store and a friend bought a matching one since they had two.  Yellow scabbard dagger was bought at another New Age store I believe.  That tiny keychain was given to me by the sword store owner after he opened up and bought the white-pommeled sword.  Ex-wife had one too, but she lost it.  Somehow, she ended up on a plane with hers one time.  She got through security without a problem while I was pulled aside because the standing stapler in my backpack was oddly shaped.  Go figure.

These are the oddities.  The sais were a birthday gift in college from a few people.  The Tomahawk in the middle was bought when I was a kid and went to a Shinnecock Indian Powwow.  Not sure why they still have that second word in there.  So, the throwing axe I bought off a friend before he moved to Florida.  Now for the really strange ones.  The top ‘sword’ is a gimmick one with no edge or point.  The blade can be folded into the hilt and you simply swing it to make it coming out again.  Useless and ridiculous, but I thought it was hilarious.  Then there’s the . . . I remember it was called a hunting dagger, so I assume it’s for human.  Thing always looked nasty and mean, so I was happy to get it and have it hidden my dorm room.

Yes, those are Pringles.  We have a katana, wakizashi, and tanto set that were another birthday gift.  I want to say this one was in or just after college.  The thing on the bull stand is the spinning weapon (called a glaive) from the movie ‘Blade’ and the sword on the other stand is the Sword the Daywalker.  No, it doesn’t countdown to releasing blades from the hilt if I don’t flip the switch.  Want to say I got the one in the front in Chinatown, but I can’t say for sure where or what it’s called.  Finally, you see a saber sitting there.  You knew I had to have one to signify Luke Callindor’s weapons.  Was hoping to get a second one and put them crossed on a plaque, but the store closed before I could get it.

Last of the real swords and it’s the biggest.  This would be the second version of Zangetsu, which is Ichigo Kurosaki’s sword/zanpakuto from ‘Bleach’.  You can kind of see the stand in the back right, but I don’t have anywhere to put it besides on the floor the closet.  Technically, it could go on my headboard, but that thing is wobbly and I don’t want to wake up decapitated.  This was a second year anniversary present from the ex-wife . . . She wasn’t the ex-wife at that point obviously.  Can’t figure out the proper phrasing.

These aren’t real weapons.  The wooden ones were bought in Chinatown and we were told they were for sparring.  Never used them for that.  The middle one is made of rubber and it was something the ex-wife got me a few years back.  My son got a wooden sword, she got a metal one, and I got the rubber thing.  Maybe that was a sign?  These three are propped in the corner behind my desk.

Beyond weapons, I also found three wall scrolls in the box.  The first two went to my son’s room while I kept the third for obvious reasons.  There is kind of a little suggested nudity in the third one.  All of them are from animes, which are: Yugioh, Dragonball Z, and Outlaw Star.  In that order:

Hope everyone enjoyed this rare tour.

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Goal Post: Sleep. I Definitely Need Sleep (Took me 4 tries to spell ‘Goal’ correctly)

Not even going to beat around the bush . . . I AM EXHAUSTED!

Monday through Thursday went the same.  I woke up around 7 AM to let myself wake up and then got my son moving.  We had breakfast and then off to school, which was the desktop and dining room table.  The basement was the gymnasium.  I bounced among the following roles:

  • Teacher
  • Parent
  • TA (Both for my son and when messaging with coworkers)
  • PE Teacher
  • Cafeteria worker
  • Tech guy

I might be missing some things in there.  Typically, we would be doing schoolwork from about 8:15 AM to 1:45 or 2 PM.  The afternoon would be either video games, cartoons, or some form of well-earned play.  Night went the same as usual to keep him on schedule and then I jumped onto a Google Meet or Zoom meeting with coworkers.  Going over ways to help the students and checking in with each other.  Had to learn Flipgrid this week and a few other things.  Needless to say, I ended every day tired, but wanting a little quiet time, so I stayed up an extra half hour for TV time.  At least it was only four days . . . Nope!

Thursday afternoon is when my son goes to his mom’s, so she’s in charge of school stuff on Friday.  I can still watch what’s going on from here and I have some packets he’s ahead in that I scan and send to her.  Technical issues made it so that I had to keep an eye on his progress and double check.  That meant no resting in the morning.  Can’t even figure out where the time went, so no outlining for War of Nytefall: Savagery happened.  I had a department meeting in the afternoon and then another webcam appointment 2 hours after that.  It totaled 6 webcam meetings in one week, so I’m about to drop as I write this Friday night.  Next week might be the same.  We’ll see what happens after that since the New York schools are closed until April 15th now.

Can’t say I wasn’t productive though.  I finished War of Nytefall: Ravenous last weekend and began the next outline.  That’s the plan for this weekend.  My original goal was to do the outline during the week and start writing today.  Didn’t happen and I’m sleepy.  So, I’m going to take my time outlining and work more on the fantasy tip book then start writing Savagery next weekend.  We’ll see how things go with that in terms of timing, especially since I’ll need to to edit Ravenous at some point.  My hope is to still release that one in September and the next in December, which may be super lofty goals considering my bad luck.

That’s as good a segue as any.  With everything going on, my birthday is really just another day.  Whatever.  I’m annoyed that I can’t do some of my favorite activities.  I would normally go to a bar with one friend and wander NYC with another.  Neither of those are going to happen.  Nobody is coming out for the day either, so it’ll be a small affair.  I enter my 40’s with very little fanfare.  Guess the plus side is that I made it this far int he first place.

Back to successes . . . I finished another puzzle.  Got a bunch of posts scheduled for June, so I don’t have to worry about that.  Unpacked my sword collection and decorated my room with them.  Moved a lot around.  You’ll see pictures of the collection for tomorrow’s post.  That’s really it for victories since it was such a busy week.  Barely had time to breathe most days.

Jumped around a few animes too.  Started ‘Overlord’, but gave up because I got bored with it.  The hero was untouchable and didn’t even have an emotional/mental weakness.  The fights got boring with him and his people simply showing off how much stronger they were than the villains.  Watched another called ‘Monster Musume’, which was more adult and goofy than I expected.  Heard it was a harem story with monster girls . . . I think I stuck it out because it was only 12 episodes and it was plain weird.  Now, I’m working on Season 2 of ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’, which is fun and totally corny.  I have a bunch of shorter series that I can tackle when that one is out.  10-12 episode things that I can toss on while I outline.

That’s really all I’ve got this week.  I’m struggling a bit with my outline to make sure I touch on the three stories.  Clyde is on a journey, two others are on a quest, and the rest are handling the big threat.  I’m trying to jump around without leaving too much time between the sections.  I can’t leave Clyde alone for too long because he’s the main character.  The two on their own are important and can be spread out, but I worry that ignoring the third thing means the villain is going to fall flat.  The person made a massive impact at the beginning and is forced to stop his initial plan because it involves them knowing where Clyde is.  Hoping this works out since it’s a rough one.  Having them cause death and destruction in every appearance should help even if those are limited.  I should have it fixed up by the end of the weekend.  Maybe I’ll have a title for the fantasy tip book too . . . Doubt that one.

So, what are the goals?

  1. SLEEP!
  2. School with the munchkin.
  3. Be long distance TA for my school.
  4. Fun in the afternoon
  5. Get outline ready and then start writing War of Nytefall: Savagery
  6. Probably some webcam meetings
  7. Stay inside
  8. Venture out for fast food once or twice.  Need some fresh air.
  9. Watch anime
  10. SLEEP!
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Questions 3: The Runaway or Elusive Idea

Old Man Yoda

I’ve spent the week writing tips and my own thoughts on how to handle a twisting idea.  I admit that it isn’t my area of expertise.  My character bios, plot summaries, outlines, and other world building write-ups put me in the plotter camp.  I venture into pantser territory at times, which is when I face a twisting idea like I did with War of Nytefall: Eradication.  This was also hard because of my emotional state, but I can’t make that the only excuse.  I didn’t lock down a real plan for one of the plot points and it had me guessing during the writing.  Ended every session with a fear that I had made a fatal mistake.  Editing only took the edge off and didn’t remove the terror entirely, but there wasn’t else I could do . . .

Anyway, that’s enough about me because I want to hear from you.

Questions 3!

  1. Have you ever had to deal with an idea that wouldn’t solidify until the very end of writing?
  2. What advice would you give to a plotter or new author when it comes to this type of writing?
  3. What is the craziest twist that you have done in a story without it being pre-planned?
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What Happened to Latin After the Fall of Rome?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Readers of this blog will be aware of my fascination with all things linguistic. So, I just had to share Susanna Viljanen’s and Dan Toler’s answers on Quora on what happened to Latin once Rome was no more.

It may surprise many to realize that Latin is alive and well over fifteen centuries later. Latin never disappeared. It simply evolved. But it evolved differently in different places, and that’s how we ended up with the diverse set of modern Romance languages.

What Happened to Latin After the Fall of Rome (476 AD)?

After the Western Empire’s collapse, Latin continued to exist just as ever. People from Lusitania to Dacia continued to speak Vulgar Latin as their everyday language and to write Classical Latin in their letters.

But languages are living things. While many modern people think of Latin as a single, standard language, that wasn’t the case. Ecclesiastical…

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Immortal Wars: The Summoning Part 12 #fiction #throwback

(Previously on Immortal Wars.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!

Back at the Mandervale Mansion, Solix is busy trying to talk his way out of explaining too much to the new guardians.  So far, he has only mentioned what they are the guardians of and some things about the Sun Base.

“Answer me, Solix.  What happened to the original guardians?  If we’re the new ones then something had to have happened to the ones that you were a part of.  So tell us what happened,” orders Ed as he stands right in the face of Solix.  The others are sitting on a nearby couch trying to figure out what all of this means.

“They decided to quit.  When we exiled the evil immortals, my allies had decided to retire.  The work was getting too much for them and they wanted to leave.  I had no choice but to let them leave.  I may have lead them in battle, but I did not lead their lives,” explains Solix as beads of sweat form on his forehead.

“It doesn’t matter, Blondie.  They’re gone and we’re the ones that will get the glory.  Now, let’s just get going,” states Delila.

“I just want all of us to be careful.  We don’t have any idea what we’re getting ourselves into.  We should be careful.”

“You shouldn’t talk about being careful.  Need I remind you of the time you talked my boyfriend into sneaking onto that Air Force Base.  And also that little incident last weekend at the High School.  You were caught drinking on the roof of the High School and spent the better part of the night dodging the cops.  Now that is really being careful, Slane.”

Kelly suddenly stands up and says, “What?  You said that you went out for a midnight jog around town and that you tripped into a thornbush.  Instead, you were being chased around town by the police.”

“Calm down, Kelly.  You know that Eddie is a little bit of a misfit.  He’s done worse.  Like the time he stole the motorcycle from the gang leader.  Oops.  You didn’t know about that one.  Sorry, Ed,” says Steve.  Kelly suddenly slaps Ed across the face and gives him one of the most evil glares that he has ever seen.

“She’s probably just mad that he didn’t share the alcohol with him.  Both of you are criminals in my mind,” mentions Delila as she gets to her feet.

Kelly turns around to face Delila while the two guys shake their heads and sit down on the couch.  Solix watches to see what will happen between the women.

“I’m a criminal?  Aren’t you the one who stole my boyfriend?  You stab me, your best friend, in the back over a guy.  And he wasn’t even that good a guy.”

“He was to me. I guess you just didn’t know how to act around men.  They don’t like the tough girl that threatens people and likes to prove that whatever a guy can do, she can do even better.  He wasn’t looking for that, Tomboy.  He wanted me.”

“That’s because you’re nothing more than a filthy rich slut that wanted what everyone else had.  I can’t understand how I was ever friends with you.”  Delila walks right into Kelly’s face and spits on her forehead.  Kelly simply smiles before punching Delila in the nose and shattering it.

“How do you like that one?” asks Kelly as she grabs Delila’s red hair.  Suddenly, Delila grabs Kelly’s waist and flips the other girl over her.  Kelly lands on a glass table and the shards cut her arms.  Both of them get up and square off before they realize the wounds are starting to heal themselves.

“Enough!  Will all of you calm down and forget about what happened in your mortal lives?  Now that I have revealed the truth to you, you’re powers are starting to awaken.  We must go back to the Sun Base and start on your training,” says Solix.  Without another thought, Solix begins to teleport and takes the four teenagers with him.

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