Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eragon(er)


Not my world, and mostly not my characters. This time we’re preying on Eragon, I’d say about ¾ of the way through book three. This takes place after the (spoiler) is (spoiled) but before (spoiler) is (spoiled). Vagueness intentional for my own amusement, because this is going to be spoilerific for anyone that hasn’t read the books already.

Aethon and Blue

            “Does it ever bother you that our leader is a ticking time bomb with no sense of self-preservation and a glutton for punishment?” Though Aethon could not see Blue, the winding path of foot prints in the sand betrayed her movement as she made her way back to his position underneath the golden dune.

            Once sheltered from the sun, and the possible gaze of the soldiers camping nearby, Blue resumed visibility. She fired off a quick text to the others from her Blackberry before settling into the awaiting folding chair with a sigh of exasperation.

            “Once you come to the conclusion that he’ll always find a way in and out of trouble with little to no consequences, it’s not a bad source of entertainment. He’s rigged the deck so that he’ll be the one to jump on the grenade should things blow up. Hero or villain, he’s determined to be the star of the show that is his life.” Aethon’s scowl was unseen beneath his cowl as he brushed off the offending grit off his shoulder. The climate there was too hot to accommodate his usual dark armament, and he never felt quite as comfortable in white. It was just too hard to keep things clean when dealing with the taintless color.
           
            “He can’t be na├»ve enough to think we’d let be the one to fall on his sword if…when things out of control. Anyway, the runes are ready. We know what to do next.” Blue hesitated, shifting in the chair to cross her legs and fiddling with her watch idly.

            “That we do.” Aethon resisted the palpable urge to fidget as well, but the tension was clear even underneath the armor he must have been boiling in. They were sitting on a shatterpoint, and both could feel the weight of their options bearing down. “I was never much for listening when Rani talked.” The white knight added finally, the pressure evaporating as suddenly as it had formed.

            “Me neither.” With that, Blue muttered something in a language that shouldn’t have been real from a land that wasn’t. The camp near them began to rumble the instant she finished her utterances, and they both stood to see a departing cloud of dust stampeding away from them. When the vibration no longer reverberated through them, the pair looked to each other and nodded.

              “Nap time is over. Time to kill a dragon.”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Quality Control: Tense Transition.


            And the adventures of literacy police continue. Usual disclaimer applies, albeit to a lesser extent with this as one as it’s mostly a transition arc. Oh, and language in this one is pretty rough – as per a request on behalf of Salem for more realism to the character. This one isn’t for the faint of heart or the easily offended.

            “That’s Mrs. Tart to you, Sally.” The rebuttal had no venom in it, having sprang forth out of reflex more than malevolent design. Ara didn’t even look in the drunkard’s direction as she uttered the reply, her gaze instead digging into the darkness for sights unseen.

            “To bloody hell with your stage name. Save that fecking Shortcake shit for the pole. I’d ask you to put on a show but I doubt you have change for a soddy pound -” 

“That’s what she told Rani.” The Scot appeared to building up the momentum to launch a particularly vindictive rant when Aethon interjected with his own quip.

            “Speak of the devil shagging nancy-boy, where is Ranster and why is the soul-less vixen wearing the man’s clothes? Maybe her’s don’t fit her because her balls finally dropped. The bloody bitch has the nerve to call bullshit on the Destructo-disc, can you believe that? Trick doesn’t appreciate true art; that was damn good work, lad.” Salem refused to look at the target of his tormenting, and instead directed his rant in the general direction of Donut. That turned out to be a poor choice, as Donut bursts into erratic laughter under the combined pressure of Salem’s diatribe and his casual refusal to acknowledge Aralie any further.

            “Tell William Wallace over here that Boba Fett wants his armor back and Drew McIntrye wants his accent back. I took Rai’s clothes to slow him down. The mock suckers must’ve infected him with a vagina, because he is PMS-ing like Braveheart here when he runs out of rum and the porn sites won’t load. Rani sent Shemo to get the other kids; you girls should get back to base so he can yell at me and get it over with.” Without waiting for a response from the trio, Ara settled against the nearest tree and began smoothing out the tangles in her hair while muttering under breath. “Honestly. Grown ass men pining over anime references, it’s almost as bad as a gargoyle running around in Ninja Turtle boxers. Nothing against the turtles, but he knows I like boxer briefs better. How am I going to keep a straight face while a man in cartoon boxers is yelling at me? You can’t write this shit.”

            “Speaking of writing shit – I need to talk to Rani about his script for us. All the good lines are wasted on you two going at it like high school exes.” Aethon faded into the darkness without further commentary or waiting for response. Donut caught his breath and regained his composure before shaking his head wistfully and vanishing in a flash of retina searing light.

            “No one can run men off like a blight stricken tavern wench. Better dead than red, my gran always –“

            “You were just leaving.” Rani interrupted in a guttural growl, the darkness solidifying to form his monstrous outline around twin turquoise orbs shining defiantly in the somber night.

            “Fucking hell I was. I wouldn’t miss Rani’s wrath descending upon the Scarlet Serpent for all the tosh in the Captain’s personal stash. Let’s see you slither your way out of this one, Claptrap.” Salem deliberately ignored the withering glares that tore through the rescinding darkness to bear down upon him ruthlessly as he emptied yet another flask with a prolonged draught. He complemented the drink with a belch that ricocheted off the trees even moments after he vanished in the wake of the Donut and Aethon.

              “You know you can’t slow me down.  I had to deal with the source of this disaster. ” Despite the fact that he was slowly shrinking to resume his human form, Rani’s voice lost none of its edge in the process. Ara found herself thinking she was wrong to underestimate how imposing her partner was – even in eccentric underwear.

             “I hope you take longer with me.” The pyromancer rose to her full height, which wasn’t much at just over five feet, and refused to back down from the waves of anger rolling off of Rani in furious torrents.

            “Sal’s version is the comedy; your comments won’t help you here.”

            “And your’s is the drama. You want to be tragic hero? Too damn bad. I knew what I was doing, and you can’t tell me what to do in this story or any other when it comes to this. You’ll find a way to punish me, I’m sure. Let’s celebrate our progress here; we’re already making a difference.” Ara’s smirk was contagious, though they both knew Rani was not going to forget about the incident so easily. But Rani was a male, after all, and he knew all too well what a good fight did to Ara’s appetite.

            “I want you out of my clothes.”  

            “You first.”

            “Quit projecting us, Salem.” Rani commanded, his voice ringing clear in the budding dawn.

            (Bastard. I’ll remember this in my version.) Though no longer present, Sal’s voice echoed in both their heads in response.

            “You know he’s going to have you die by violent Gungan rape.” Rani stated calmly, easing his cloak off Ara as if he were commenting on the waning darkness.

            “He wouldn’t.” The she-dragon answered, tracing the glyph on Rani’s chest with her finger idly.

            “You’re right; he doesn’t hate Gungans enough to do that to them.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

TwiBlight - See Spot Die


            Yet again, these are not my toys. I’m just breaking them. All credit (and/or blame) goes to Stephanie Meyer. 



“You blokes think that if I let one of the pups slip past me, it’ll kindly repay the favor by ripping Ara’s throat out?” Sal leaned against the looming birch beside him and pulled a deep draught from his flask while he awaited an answer. Donut snickered and settled in the lee of a towering redwood. Seeing that the other two were content to stop, Aethon simply knelt by the game trail that wound downhill.

            “So are you team Pinky, then?” Donut asked with a chuckle, using the reflective surface of his axe in the moonlight to ensure that his carefully arranged crown of spiked hair hadn’t been disturbed. Salem did a double take, realizing that there was no moonlight. Such a thing was a rarity in the vampire infested area. That was what drew the shoddy sparklers, after all.

            “Nifty trick with the light, but turn it off before you give our locations to the mutt-men. I’m team Don’t-Be-a-Tart. ‘Tleast Pinky gives him something for his trouble and she doesn’t set chaps on fire.” Sal stiffened, appearing to stare attentively in the darkness, before muttering to himself and activating the visor in his helmet. Whatever happened within the confines of his head piece seemed to pacify him, and he sank to sit against the tree.

            “I don’t think that last part is the case anymore. Anyway, in all fairness, he lets them do it to him and she set you on fire for calling her a tart.” Aethon pointed out without conviction, the adjustment of his cowl to keep the pests of the night at bay seeming to be a higher priority than yet another conversation about Rani’s thrice-accursed love life.

            “Twasn’t a tart I called her, lad. Twas a tw…point taken.” If the others hadn’t realized Sal was drunk by this point, the revelation came when he casually tossed aside his now empty flask and produced another one from a compartment within his armor.

            “I don’t get it. I thought Ara was giving it to him. I’m lost.” To punctuate his confusion, Donut conjured an orb of water from the puddle formed from a hollow scoop below them and manipulated it into the shape of a question mark before letting it dissipate and fall back to the hollow.

             “Tis a complicated affair that, and I’m too toshed to explain it now how these different stories work. Rani’s little joke, in his story I become increasingly British with every drink. I’m a freaking Scot, man, a Scot! But bugger if he can be arsed to know the difference, and he’s one to make any comment on holding his liquor like a teetotaler. At least the bloody wanker has the decency to let me insult him and the ginger-devil in his story, though it’d be a snore of a lie if he didn’t.” Donut nodded very slowly, his eyes wide in blatant lack of comprehension of anything the armored drunkard was spouting. The vacant stare weighed little upon Salem as he tilted the visor back and rewarded his own speech with a foundation of amber poison.

            “Was that Gaelic? I don’t speak drunken Scottish, I speak drunken –“
            “Scooby scouts!” Aethon interrupted in a fierce whisper, his slashing hand gesture unseen in the darkness. A moment later the sensual scrapes of metal on leather announced the assassin’s twin black blades being freed of their scabbards to taste the mountain air.

            “Rani-boy’s been mentagrammed; let’s spade and neuter some pets.” Salem announced and leapt to his feet with surprising grace for one with his blood alcohol level.

            “Is that even an international thing?” Aethon wondered aloud as he dashed through the darkness to appear directly in the path of the nearest wolf with his sword extended. The canine’s momentum betrayed it and the beast crashed into the blade with a quick and agonized yelp.

            “Rani doesn’t know, so neither do I.”  

            “So, uh, does anyone how many mutts there are in the books?” Donut called out,  idly adjusting his hair again as a wolf writhed and jerked erratically at his feet. Despite the beast’s violent thrashing, its head remained entombed in a globe of water held together by the youth’s narcissistic will.

            “We’ll stop when there’s nothing left to kill.” Aethon paused to bring his blades up in a cross guard. The tan pelted wolf caught the cross section of the blades in its jaws. With an expert motion from the darkly clad killer, the offending jaws were removed and the monster’s head soon followed in their journey down the slope. “That’s all we need to know.”  He punctuated his statement by shifting on his hill and opening up the throat of a large black wolf as it charged past. The shadow beast collapsed in a heap of fur and blood at Salem’s boots.

            “Much obliged.” Salem dealt the corpse a vindictive kick before focusing on the nearest living wolf. The Scot held up his index and pointer finger together, and made a sudden swiping motion with the two digits. Fur, flesh and bone peeled away as if Sal’s motion directed an obscenely sharp razor, and the top of the canine’s skull was cleaved off cleanly. The drunkard probed the exposed grey matter for a month before reducing it to a gory mess with the hell of his boot.

            “Brights!” Aethon shouted, raising a gauntleted fist to the dark heavens. Donut opened his mouth to question the outburst, but found himself buried in fur when Salem used his telekinetic powers to hurl the midnight wolf at the new recruit. Blinding lightning lanced in serpentine bolts from the cloud laced sky to converge on Aethon’s outstretched hand. The mage extended his other shrouded hand and released the channeled energy in the direction of a tight formation of wolves. A symphony of anguished howls answered his light show from the surviving foe in sharp contrast to the silence and singed fur of those struck.

            “Oh, those brights.” Donut shoved the carcass off of him and continued muttering increasingly dark profanities. He conjured an orb of light in his hand, holding it up to survey the damage. Seeing that he remaining wolves were beginning to recover from the stun of the lightning bursts, Donut concentrated on the luminance until it formed a spinning disc of brilliant radiance.

            “Brights.” Donut added mockingly, unleashing the focused light on the persistant prey. A moment later the three were alone again.

            “Destructo-disc? Are we being serious right now? I call bullshit on that.” Ara challenged, dropping in wearing Rani’s cloak.

            “Oh grand, the strawberry tart is here.”