May 1st, 2017

Me 2012

Before the Storm (63/80)

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They hung in the overcast sky above the Moon Etherium. The clouds drizzled; this close to the edge of the aether no one bothered to conceal the true weather of the world behind enchantment and glamour. Automatically, Ardent put a shield against the rain around them along with a privacy bubble, as she hauled Miro out by the scruff. “Sunder it, Miro! What was that all about? Why, Justice lose us all, did you let her know you were still with me, after she told us she’s Fallen’s catspaw?”    

“Because I needed her to know I don’t blame her, and I may not have another chance to tell her,” Miro said, too calmly. “Did you get the coordinates? Are we near?” He tried to twist his little head around, mouse form dangling between her thumb and forefinger.

“Yes, and no, we’re on the other side of the Etherium. I needed to do a little prep first and I didn’t want her to see it.” Ardent dropped Miro on a cushion of aether, then thought better of it and put him on her shoulder instead. She took off her main locket to get out her bag, and then the wardbreaker wand from it.

“You should send the lockets away,” Miro said. “And restore me to my trueshift shape. Everything that takes aether to maintain – unless we’re going to need it to get the phoenix rose or to fight Fallen, get rid of it.”

She knew what he meant: if it came to a confrontation with Fallen, every scrap of aether might matter. Even though it replenished quickly, every second could make the difference. She sent both lockets away, back to her room at the Underground. “You’re staying a mouse,” she told Miro. “I can protect you better that way. And not give away to Fallen that you’re still here. Assuming Rain didn’t tell her the second we left.”

“Ardent.” He rose to his hindpaws on her shoulder. “Please. Whether or not she knows, the last thing she’d expect is that you would have me be recognizable. Her first thought will be to assume that it’s a ruse to make her wary. And I should prefer to face my fate as a man, and not a mouse.”

Ardent clenched her fist around the wardbreaker rod. “Fine,” she growled. She set him down in the air and handed over his homunculus. As soon as he’d turned back, Ardent pulled him hard against her side. “I’m going to teleport us as close as I can to the coordinates for the ivory and alabaster. Then I’ll use this wand to break her wards, and port to the exact coordinates. If the phoenix rose is there, I’ll grab it and we’ll get out. If not, we improvise. Fallen still has a trace on me, so she’s going to try to stop me as soon as I get there. I don’t think she’ll move the phoenix rose, though. She won’t want to start over with that extractor.”

“Agreed. Ardent – whatever power you may need from me, you have to take it. No matter what. No more being cautious, or holding back.”

She glared at him, furious. “I am not going to risk killing you.”

Miro swallowed. “Believe me, I appreciate that. But getting the phoenix rose away from her is more important than my life. It’s more important than your life. You saw how terrified Rain is of her, and that’s when she doesn’t have her own personal source of power that can potentially destroy an entire Etherium. That was used to Sunder the world and kill tens of thousands of fey, and Divine only knows how many mortals. I do not wish to die, my lady. But if my life is what it takes, then know this: I give it gladly.”

“Shut up,” Ardent said, and hauled him up in both arms to kiss him, hard. “Stop being crazy.”

“I can’t,” he whispered, and she realized she’d given him an order, two orders, and didn’t know what it must have cost him to argue with her anyway. “Not yet. Please, my lady. Ardent. Promise me you will do everything in your power.”

She kissed him again, crushing him in her embrace. Miro answered her passion with his own, cradling her head in both hands, wrapping his legs around her waist as they floated together in the sky. When she broke the kiss at last, tears pricked at the back of her eyelids. “I will.”

Then Ardent opened her eyes, and teleported them both to the battle.



Don't want to wait until the next post to read more? Buy The Moon Etherium now! Or check out the author's other books: A Rational Arrangement and Further Arrangements.
Me 2012

Poll RPG: Look at the Time!

By this time, even Blackwood had finished eating, and the waitstaff had surreptitiously placed a ticket on the table. Smoke splayed their ears at the question, the insides reddening. "Oh, um, well." They picked up the ticket; it only tallied their meal and Licorice's, since Blackwood had an account. "I didn't realize it had gotten so late! I didn't mean to make you fly back in the dark, Blackwood. I should let you go." They scooted out of their seat and headed for the counter to pay.

Blackwood exchanged a glance with Licorice, who gave an exaggerated shrug. The two headed after Smoke. "I apologize for my impertinent question, Smoke," Blackwood said. "I did not mean to presume."

Smoke turned and gave him a dazzling smile. "What? Oh, no, not at all." They touched his hand in reassurance. "I just know how early you had to rise this morning, and of course I have that meeting with Master Corydalis. And I've already made both of you work so hard today -- "

Licorice licked sauce from the corner of her mouth. "I've worked a lot harder, believe me."

The kith enby smiled at both of them. "You're very kind. But I should get checked in to my hotel." Smoke turned back to pay for the ticket, stifling a yawn.

Blackwood offered them a ride, which both accepted. Smoke's hotel was closest, so he dropped them off first. Licorice claimed a good-night hug from the enchanter. Blackwood felt too self-conscious to shift to humanlike form when he still had to drop Licorice off, and envied her that hug. "Good night, master enchanter," he said, subdued, long neck snaked to bring his draconic head level with them.


[Yes, this is the outcome only one person voted for. Die roll came up with their number anyway. Sigh.]

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studious

April in Review

I wrote this back in early May and forgot to post it. Weird.

Health/Fitness

I did pretty well at exercising for much of the month. I took the last weekend off, for no particular reason except that I had a rental car and couldn't motivate myself to go use the exercise bike. And I missed a few days while on my staycation, because I got sick. Otherwise, I was exercising 6-7 days a week.

I was definitely sick for three or four days, and then had a couple of weeks of "my throat is still a little scratchy and I'm sneezing more than usual" sort of stuff, where I wasn't really sick but didn't feel exactly well. It started on the Tuesday of the Monday-Friday that I had off. So, on the one hand: I guess I was going to take that time off anyway so might as well have it scheduled? (My bank has just "Paid Time Off" in one big pool, instead of separate vacation and sick days. I have been there for twenty years and I get five weeks of PTO a year, so I'm not really hurting for paid time off, though.) On the other hand, it was not a very relaxing vacation.

I am still eating lots of junk food. The bank had a bake sale while I was on vacation, so at least I missed that. But we're having another one on Monday and my willpower is weak versus bake sale, so.

:9

Writing

I beat my CampNano goal for Demon's Hunter! I lost most of my will to work on it by the time I hit goal last week, but I'm still poking away at it.

Also, I started the Poll RPG, which has been pretty fun and also kind of weird, especially the Twitter version. One thing I wanted to do with the story was write short installments, of no more than a few hundred words each, so there'd be frequent polls on what Smoke did next.

It turns out that it's harder for me to write a short installment that actually accomplishes anything than it is to write several hundred words. Especially if I'm trying to establish relationships between characters. Once the Twitter fork got to a character Smoke could flirt with, daily installments started running 20 or more tweets each again. I'm still trying to keep the daily updates for the Twitter version shorter than the Dreamwidth ones, but I decided not to angst over making it short.

I did make Google Doc files of the story-to-date for each version, because it wasn't a lot of effort and the Twitter one is already totally unnavigable. Tweet chains of 50 or so tweets work fine on the webpage, but hundreds of tweets in one chain don't work well in-browser, and they break some of the client programs. So. My plan now is to start a new thread each day and link to the doc in the opening tweet.

Demon's Hunter: 28,000 (CampNano goal was 25,000. Total )

Poll RPG Notes: 3,800

Poll RPG: 11,700

And a bunch more words for LJ posts and notes for Birthright and suchlike that I'm not going to bother parsing out.

The Business of Writing

I read another book for research purposes, and browsed about on the web for info, and made thousands of words of notes, and also fell into a pit of black despair.

I'm about 20% through on my first editing pass of Birthright. Most of the actual editing was done in the last seven days. Before that was research and despair. I will try to finish the first pass in May. I'm going to try getting more editing done from work by putting 10-page chunks of book into separate Google docs so they're small enough to edit on phone. This works for sections that just need some continuity clean-up or the like, but not on sections that need to be totally re-written, or when I need to rearrange the order of scenes.

Wish me luck.

Art/Other

Oh hey I drew some pictures this month! The Poll RPG game made me want to do pictures. So I drew a portrait of the protagonist and a picture of Blackwood and some sketches of Corydalis. I have yet to make a decent colored pic of Corydalis, and I still want to.

Anyway, that was a nice change of pace.

I did do my taxes in April!

I have poked at my credit card company and the rental car company a few times in an effort to get them to get each other the documents they need.

Socializing

I crit-failed my planning roll for my vacation in April and didn't go anywhere. If we assume I was going to get sick that week anyway, that's probably just as well.

I am going to see Terry and Alinsa in Seattle next weekend, though! And assuming I don't mess up on buying tickets, I'll see my parents and brother in June, and hopefully my NC friends as well.

Happiness

April was not been a good month for happiness. I was depressed and dragging for most of it. I'm glad it's over now.

Goals for May

Yay new month! Yay 4thewords.com is not running time-limited events that will make me feel like I need to write thousands of words every day to complete them!

4thewords.com backfired for me in April, because I was so determined to finish all the CampNano quests that I spent less time on editing than I would have otherwise. Also, I am to the point of "I don't really want to do any new writing any more, I'd rather just be editing."

Editing on my phone is still awful, but I'm going to make an effort to do it anyway. When I can make it work, I can get an extra 10-20 pages a day edited that way.

* Finish first-pass edits on Birthright
* Keep up with PollRPG for fun & to keep 4thewords streak
* Do some more art for PollRPG
* Other writing as desired
* Poke rental car & card benefits to get them to give each other the info and money they need. (Fixing this is not within my control, so it's just staying as a goal of 'poke them' until they actually do what they need to do.)

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