Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A respond to a comment :)

So it doesn't get lost in the down-flow of stories, here is a response to my first follower aside from Jikoniau/Ani! (Who is my sister, so does that count?)

Hajimemashite Eden-san!

Pleased to meet you, and thanks for posting on my blog!
So Australia, that's cool, I love the way internet lets us interact with people around the world. I looked up Brisbane, looks like a pretty place (but I can't tell a lot from google images). Are you really close to the ocean? Have you been to New Zealand? My sisters and I were trying to convince our parents to take us to Australia and New Zealand last fall, but they didn't go for it (I think they've both been already, years ago).

I'm glad to hear you like the Nihonashi projects, they are fun to do, and I shall certainly like to do more. (I'll write up the next one today, yes!)
This blog can be multi-purpose, the more the merrier.

Thanks also for your comments about my writing.

Ok, here's my stab at Japanese :)

(I also like things like anime, manga, and ramen. What kind of anime do you like? I live in the American state Utah. Over the weekend I went to a Japanese festival in my town. I saw taiko and karate, it was cool. I think I'll talk about that in Nihonashi. Let's do our best with Japanese!)

Here are some useful resources (which you may know already):
My favorite dictionary: www.jisho.org (also has a helpful forum)
Great quizzes: http://www.manythings.org/japanese/news/npw1.htm
The best Japanese podcasts: http://www.japanesepod101.com/ (I recommend getting a free account, then downloading a bunch of audio while it's still free, and then if you really like it you can sign up. I have too much to do and too many other Japanese resources I'm using now, but I think I will sign up in the future, because their podcasts are excellent.)
Free podcasts that are pretty well done: http://learnjapanesepod.com/

Thanks again, I look forward to talking and hopefully practicing Japanese,

The Marbles of Patchwork Mt. (2008?)

[This story is based on a dream. When I wrote it down I probably didn't have any idea of the overall plot, or I would've written myself a note. I like the idea though, so someday I hope to develop the plot.]

I reached with all my might, straining my will to believe there was nothing I wanted more in the world than to get to that point one foot above where I was. For three or four feet this will held, and I entertained the thought that, finally, I was going to rise a good distance above the ground. I could use this power!
...Or not. My will failed, my eagle wings started to fail, to blink out as their absence sent me plummeting toward the ground. It was all right, I knew; I summoned the wind to my command so that it blew me sideways, making my fall less abrupt. What I didn’t count for, stupidly, was the patchwork cliff. My wind sent me right to the edge of it. I screamed, suddenly afraid of falling. What a joke. Me, the manipulator of air, fire, and my own pair of beautiful golden-white eagle wings, was afraid of falling. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t use any of these skills. My will lessened even more in despair. My wind wasn’t strong enough to catch me if I fell off the cliff, I could never use my eagle wings while I was falling, and my fire wings weren’t strong enough to hold me in the air. My legs slipped off the edge of the cliff.
“Help me!” I screamed in an inhumanly loud voice as my fingers frantically grabbed the black felt strands on the edge of the cliff.
“Hmm?” I faintly heard an interested tone from one of my sisters.
“I’m falling!” I was crying now, too afraid to even think of anything more to say that would convince them to rescue me.
Inaar, user of water, and my youngest sister, crept to my side. She was drenched, telling me she had been playing in Button Lake, almost 40 yards from where I was. Unlike me, Inaar was getting good with her power; she must have used the water to propel her over here. One of my elder sisters, Yimi, who controlled fire and earth, let out a long sigh as she held a hand out to me. Together my sisters pulled me back over the edge of the cliff, until I was comfortable enough to scramble away from the edge on all fours.
“You’re the one with wings,” I was reminded by a quiet voice. Nernul, who had chosen the single silver marble, with power over the metals of the earth.
“Thank you,” I said, ashamed that I’d had to ask them for help.
Yimi had taken two balls just as I did, but I was the one who’d ended up with a greater power of fire than she, and the eagle wings. I hadn’t known, when I took a blue and golden ball, what they meant. Neither had my sisters. But when Inaar started causing water to shoot up from the glasses we figured blue was water. Only when we went off to practice our new powers for ourselves did I find that my ball was actually indigo. Inside the blue ball was a tiny red one; air and fire. The golden ball was brighter than the one Yimi had chosen; she got earth, I got wings. Why I ended up with the two special marbles we don’t know, just dumb luck, but it made my sisters feel bitterly towards me. Neither Hinle, Caivu, or Jorba ended up with air or wings either.
“We’ll just have to find some more marbles,” Caivu insisted, refusing to speak to me.
“And this time, you don’t get any,” Jorba said angrily, glaring at me. Jorba glares at everyone, but this time I felt she was using her fire to burn my very skin. I knew she would never do such a thing — we sisters were sworn in our search for power to help each other gain as much as we could, until it was enough for us to band together in order to accomplish our goal. Still... sometimes, it seems they’re beginning to forget our goal, concentrating more and more on gaining power. I love the power I have, that makes me feel the most amazing things, but this can’t continue forever. I decided that, while my sisters were practicing, I would find them more marbles. I didn’t want any more, really, I just wanted them to feel better so we could work together equally. If I could have given them my marbles, I would have... but that was impossible. We gradually learned that at first we needed the marbles physically, to hold them in our hands our mouths, to use the power. Once we figured out the basics, had gained the knowledge of how our power flowed and where it was coming from, the marbles began to disintegrate, like they were getting very old very fast. Inaar swallowed hers right as it began to flake, reasoning she’d have it with her always that way. She was just being funny, not careful. Hinle forbid the rest of us from swallowing our marbles, but we saved the dust. When nothing bad happened to Inaar, except a stomachache, the rest of us swallowed the dust anyhow. It was at that point I not only got a stomachache but a great pain in my back, and the next day my sisters told me they saw the outline of wings behind me. I knew I hadn’t been able to manipulate earth, and had put the golden marble down as a dud, but I’d swallowed the dust of it anyhow. Maybe this made me feel more powerful, strengthening my will, or maybe it was whatever was inside the marble that I needed for the wings. We don’t know. We really don’t know anything. The cause of what sent us searching for power, where the marbles came from, what they were, how long our powers will last... we have no idea. All we know is that my powers are different from the others, and I hate it. I love the powers, but I hate the seclusion. If Inaar had been even near a cliff, all my sisters would have come rushing to her aid at once. Oh... that’s unfair, I suppose, as she is the youngest and cutest of all of us. Everyone loves her best. Me... whatever chance I had of being loved disappeared.
I’ve decided to combine my powers. What if I use the fire wings, my eagle wings, and the wind all together? I might be able to rise higher that way. But I’m scared to practice, especially because of what just happened. My sisters are still standing around me, looking rather like they disapprove of me. Three of my sisters didn’t even listen to my plea for help.
“Thank you,” I repeated, and we all walked our different ways once again.
We’d been practicing on Patchwork Mt. for a long time now, and no one was willing to stop. We were supposed to stop when we were ready, when we’d learned to use our powers, but what did that mean? We all knew how to use them, and could use them pretty well. I think I know... we all want to be as powerful as we can be, but we will continue to believe we’re getting more powerful because around us our sisters are. No sister will stop first. I fear we’ll continue until we all die of old age... or just die, I don’t know. Playing with water and fire around cliffs isn’t the most surefire way to long life. Especially when every moment we sit here is another moment for them to gain power. They might find us first.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Scaled Down (...or something) (2008?)

(Note: This story comes after a story I've already finished, it's kind of a side story to a plot that comes after. Jerald Dinian is a prominent character in most of my Ignolopi stories. If you look to the map included in the blog, Istoti is the red, Ignolopi the brown, Jarismel the black. Vrigle lies east and south of Istoti. Jarismel consists of a bunch of warring clans loosely ruled by a royal family.)

“My life wass polluted by a human scaled Jareld Dinian.”
I froze in my seat at that awful voice rising from directly behind me. I turned around slowly, dreading what I might see. The Wisle stared up at me from under a thick hood, and I shivered despite myself.
“I’ve been told you’ll pull in any job that iss offered to you,” it said in its slippery hissing voice.
I struggled with myself. Usually I do, but I also try to avoid taking jobs from part-fish-part-dog[-part-whatever-else] creatures. Wisles used to be extremely rare, residing only in the small mystical land of Vrigle, but during the last few years they’ve spread throughout the lakes and rivers of Istoti, consequently streaming into neighboring Ignolopi. It wouldn’t be long before they ebbed into Jarismel, and I shuddered as I wondered who would come off worse in the land of my mother’s people.
I opened my mouth with a sigh. “For how much?”
“60 trecavs.”
I almost couldn’t stop my grin from growing or my eyes glinting with sudden interest. “80 trecavs.”
The Wisles shook its head. “60 or nothing. There are more mercenaries in this bar alone.”
I nodded, then struggled some more. Servicing a variety of cliental had thus far put me well ahead of my competition. Finally I was decided. “All right. You want me to kill this guy?”
“Yess. I will give you 20 trecavs now, and the rest when he iss hooked. Undersstood?”
I held out my hand. “You have a — wait.” I pulled my hand away hastily. “Suddenly that name sounds awfully familiar.”
“You would never be able to carry this job out on your own. That iss why I will accompany you.”
I thought hard. “No,” I decided. “I’ve heard that this former Scribe is learned in magic, and he has many friends. In high places.”
“120 trecavs. I am learned in some magic myself.”
He knew from the beginning he’d be paying me more than 60, and there I almost fell for it. I really, really hate taking assassination jobs, I just as much hate having anything to do with important people, but this sum was giving me hallucinations of grandeur. “A job’s a job, I guess,” I said, holding out my hand.
We shook on it. For some clouded reason, I felt as though I had added a layer of danger to my life, a layer that was looking like it would leak. Now I’m not a superstitious person, but it was a prominent feeling of unease that rippled over me. The Wisle smiled, showing his many pointy teeth. That didn’t do anything to dispel my little pool of doom, and I very much wished I hadn’t ever gotten out of my bed that morning.
I took a swig of my ale, turning back to my table. The Wisle stood from its seat on the nearby table and sat again, this time by me. It only stood for a second, but that was all I needed to see it was easily 7 feet tall, a foot of that going towards its tall head. I felt very small. I don’t like feeling small.
“Ssince we are to be migrating together, we sshould exchange scales,” it said. The other patrons edged away from us.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I sighed, resigning myself to the fact I was stuck with it.
“I am Keyper.”
“Charmed,” I said tonelessly. “Call me Stheno. That’s my name. But I don’t think you’ll help my job. I can’t exactly travel inconspicuously when I’ve got a 7-foot fish with me.”
“That iss not a problem,” he said, and in a moment I was looking at a pale, dark-haired man; older than myself, but twice as ugly.
I wrinkled my nose. “No, take off the illusion, you’re less ugly that way.”
He looked surprised.
“Never mind,” I grumbled, “it was a joke. Just — stop staring at me.”
He looked away obediently. Suddenly my mood rose. I might have some fun with this. It wasn’t wildly known, but female Wisles are the ones who rule, even though their ‘king’ plays the part. As a result, it seemed being female gave me an unexpected influence.
“It must’ve taken a load of guts for you to work up the courage to get me for the job,” I said, grinning.
“It has been 9 yearss, 4 moonss, and 3 tidess since Jareld Dinian desstroyed my home and sspeared many of my comradess. I had time enough to think of revenge.”
Not exactly quick, are they. “This one guy took out a bunch of you guys?” I asked. “I’m impressed. He’s not supposed to be much of a warrior. More of a scholarly type.”
“He used a spell.”
I could tell Keyper wasn’t keen on giving me his life’s story, so I let it go.
“I’m ready to go with the glow,” I declared, standing up. “The sun isn’t up all the way yet. Let’s get an early start.”
He stood, too, this time coming only to my chin. Jarismelians tend to be tall, and everything felt right again.
“He was lasst sspotted in Isstoti, to my knowledge,” Keyper told me as I put my pack on my back.
“You don’t know where he is?” I asked, moaning inwardly. I wanted this to be a fast job, please.
“We will find him.” He sounded convinced, but I kept on moaning. Call me a hypocrite, but I hate working with monsters.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Earth Angel (2008?)

When the little girl came to our town, no one knew what to make of her. Her dark complexion, brown skin and black hair, was so unlike us that we could only stare in wonder. She rode no horse, and had no companions. Her only possessions were her little knee-length frock and a small bag around her neck. She wore no shoes, and did not wince as she walked the beaten road. After our first initial shock, whispers arose with theories quicker than the wind arose with leaves.
The elderly people, from the generation who worshipped the Immortal Snifle, were convinced she was one of his Earth Angels. The next generation down, who had worshipped many Immortals, thought she was a dark angel, or a demon. The new adults of the town, who worshipped no Immortal, thought demons and angels were poppy-cock, and called her a witch. The younger apprentices were frightened of her, and the children were half-frightened and half-delighted of her. Us older apprentices, however, thought nothing of her at all. We were at the stage where we knew that strange things never happened, but were struggling with the varied beliefs of our elders. So we contented ourselves with joking about the ‘little sprite,’ though we didn’t believe she was any type of faerie.
By the time the little girl had traveled through town, opinions were firmly based. It was almost a disappointment when it seemed she wasn’t going to stay at all. But then she purchased a room at the smallest inn — which belonged to an elderly couple — and took a stroll about town. Although whispers followed her and her green eyes everywhere, no one was willing to talk to her. She didn’t seem to mind, but took everything in with those walnut-shaped eyes. Mothers drew children inside, and dogs growled — the useless things — but the cats (our rats of the town) were quite content to let her pet and scratch them. The purring could almost be heard by me across the street, where I sat watching the horse-shoes cool as my master hammered away at a new plough piece for farmer Willens. The cats tended to gather in front of the blacksmith shop anyhow, because they were used to the noise, and I often fed them parts of my meals. My two fellow apprentices started whispering about the quiet little girl — again — and finally I was tired of it.
“If you think she’s a witch,” I sighed, “go and ask her yourselves.”
They laughed at me, and in a moment had dared me to go and ask her. So I did. I left the horseshoes in their change and strolled out of the workshop.
The little girl did not look up when I approached, nor acknowledge me at all. Now, I had quite a reputation in town for being the most daring lad, so curious eyes followed and watched me, and a few windows opened.
“Hello, little girl,” I said bravely, “I have here a question to ask you.”
“If asking me question, I am listen.” Her voice was quiet and calm, though her speaking pattern strange, and she looked up from her cats. How funny, that even then I thought of them as her cats; how little I really suspected.
“What is your name?” I asked, blundering.
People began to trickle around, gaining courage now that I’d made the first move.
“That question all you ask I?” she said, eyes twinkling. “Then am, I, Vivesnesh.” She spoke the word in an old accent, and struggling to say it I pronounced it “Viv-nish?” for I did not have the quick tongue needed to say the almost-silent ‘es’. She smiled, her face a heart, and nodded. Caught in the wonder of her sudden adorableness, I for a moment forgot what I was there for. “Go on!” I heard one of my mates call.
In remembering I again squared my shoulders and said, “Vivesnesh, are you a witch?”
Now we had a full-fledged audience. The little girl slowly rose to her feet, her head coming to my chest and looking at me appraisingly. Then she grinned. I was completely taken-aback, and almost stepped away from her. The rest of the townsfolk were of the same mind.
“Answer his question, girl!” a voice — sounding suspiciously like the baker — from the crowd cried.
Vivesnesh turned towards the voice, and then spoke. “I not deny being witch — but — nor I say I am one. Before I tell which one is, you tell me what is wrong about being witch.”
“Poppy-cock, just tell us!” someone said. “Who cares about that?”
“Because if you are convincing enough in reasons against witches, then I shall not want be one at all. But if you are not convincing, then I shall be one just to spite you.”
This declaration was met with silence, but after a length Mary Enton — the old carpenter’s wife — stepped forward. “Witches hold Keys to the Hells of this world,” she said harshly, “and they, in darkness, strive to bring others into these fiery pits. Witches are evil.” Mummers of ascent went through the crowd, and I found myself being pushed back.
Vivesnesh shook her head, her grin not faltering. “Then definition you of witch is evil thing who which wears of ring keys around her waist?”
Mary grew red as a few scattered chitters arose, and opened her mouth again. “Witches are women — or girls — who behave strangely and seek to drive us from our ways,” someone tried.
“Your ways strange,” Vivesnesh said. “Paths you don’t really follows. You drive yourselves from your ways, why a witch do for you?”
This caused many angry mutters, but again a few laughs.
“Witches mingle in magic,” someone finally said, “and magic is evil in its corrupting ways.”
“Magic? Evil?” Vivesnesh said, her grin finally wearing down to a shadowy smile. “Why do you so say?”
“Things of abnormal degree are for the Immortals,” the person — Edme the tanner, I think — said, “for mortals to mingle in the abilities of the Immortals is in that the mortal is greedy for power.”
Vivesnesh appraised the tanner with a curious eye. “Reason, finally,” she said quietly, “and you have points. Truths many are your statements, but twisting truths. Those greedy for power are evil. But because one can something do, not means he sought to do it.”
“Even if you are born with the power, you are evil,” Edme insisted.
Vivesnesh bowed her head. “You make wonderful things,” she told him, “your skill is great. But you were born not with. Was it a crime for you to obtain and nurture yours skill?”
“Tanning is no magic,” Edme scowled.
Vivesnesh shook her head. “Ah. If were I give you sweets, you would make sick on them, and blame me for upset stomach.” Then she laughed, again startling us. “Silly people,” she said. “If the Immortals give you gifts, why no use them? Magic can be used for evil, but so can everything else! A cook can poison foods, or get people addicted them without notice. A candle-maker can make faulty candles cheat to his customers. A noble can order death at snap of a finger, but never have I heard of fire-burning for nobles.” Her statement was met with another silence, as people absorbed her words and tried to puzzle them out.
“Enough with this nonsense!” a guard commanded gruffly. “A witch is a witch. Burn her!” The chant almost started, but Vivesnesh was not finished.
“I never said was I witch,” she exclaimed quite calmly.
“You don’t deny it!” came a response.
“Because I couldn’t know I was,” she said sweetly, “because I might have been born with magic and know not. Any of you could have!”
Edme had said so, and even the pig-headed could see she was right.
“If you wish, test me for a witch,” Vivesnesh said cheerfully.
“Do you think you are a witch?” I asked.
She laughed. “No, I don’t! If but you treat all your strangers way this, I must easier make for them, or you would them burn!”
I finally laughed at her cleverness, but I was one of few who did. It looked like the little girl was in for a burning, but the couple who owned the small inn intervened.
“She has paid us to stay at our inn,” the husband said, “and we will keep our side of the bargain!”
“Shame on you, terrorizing this poor little one,” his wife scolded, taking Vivesnesh’s hand. The crowd did not bother them, and we did not see Vivesnesh until the morning, when she came by to pet the cats. People were afraid of her, so they stayed away, and our master forbade us to even look at her. My fellow apprentices joked about her some more. I joined in a little, but my mind kept wandering back to her gabble with the crowd. Who was Vivesnesh, really? When she made to leave, my master was too busy to notice, so I slipped away to her.
“Viv-nesh,” I called softly, “where are you going?”
“Another place,” she said, shrugging, “tell, more things, to.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
She smiled again. “Curiosity not always a virtue,” she said, echoing some of the few of my mother’s words I remembered.
“My father always said elusiveness is worse,” I challenged.
She shrugged. “I am Vivesnesh. Good-by, boy.”
“My name is Pietter,” I blurted.
She looked back at me. “Good-by, Pietter.”
I stared after her, thoughts running through my head. “Wait!” I finally called, running to catch up with her. She kept walking.
“I want to come with you,” I said quickly.
She stopped. “You what?” she asked, finally startled.
“My apprenticeship is almost over,” I said bravely, “and I have always wanted to go on an adventure.”
“Life is an adventure,” she said, “go home. The road no easier.”
“I don’t want easy, I want a challenge!” I cried.
She paused and bit her lip. “Oh, all right,” she sighed, “but you are never to complain.” “Of course not,” I said bravely, but that promise would be a hard one to keep, and it would be a long time before I understood why she so easily allowed my coming.