Friday, December 28, 2012

The Fourth Princess of Bengal: Chapter 1

The Fourth Princess of Bengal

Part 1
The Beast King

Chapter 1 : The Beast King

Once upon a time in the beautiful country of Bengal there was a great warrior king known as the Beast King. He was so called because legend had it he was raised by giant cats and that was why he was so fierce and so wise.
To the people of his palace he was no less great and wise, only less mystical, for many of them had served his parents and knew that he had been raised by them and was a real man whose real name was Buthraman Satti.

Buthraman Satti was born under the North Star and named heir by his father who expected him to carry out the expansion of the then small country of Telano. Satti exceeded all expectations by leading his father's armies to conquer Danna, then Indis, then Crea, and when his father died, King Buthraman Satti renamed his country Bengal and under a new flag led his own army to overcome Hanna and Minos and Pirish. It was then people began whispering about the Beast King.

Satti's victories so far had been over small kingdoms barely considered countries, like a schoolmaster calming a crowd of unruly children and setting them to productive studies. But Satti was not content with the number of cities flying his flag, and continued to wage war with his neighbors, though not all resisted and not all did he march against. Satti's allies grew, only his enemies grew faster.

Satti outwitted them all.

At last it came to be that the countries posing a threat to Bengal were but three: Jarma, Tha'Jun, and Laumphon. Beyond these old kingdoms was a vast desert, beyond the desert an even vaster land of foreign people and unknown cities. The kings of Jarma, Tha'Jun, and Laumphon met together in conference regarding the army of the Beast King, an army that was getting larger by the hour and would surely march to the ruin of these last three countries. They were strong, this 3-headed dragon, and would not allow the Beast King to conquer them, but they could see the toll would be too great. Already they had skirmished with his armies and already their people were growing tired of the costs of war. Thus the Northern Alliance -- so recently formed -- was dismissed, with one last oath, and that oath was to appease the Beast King.

Friday, December 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo & New Site

So November was NaNoWriMo (again) and I completed 50,000 words (again) but didn't finish the book (again). Another 3 Minutes is the sequel to About 3 Minutes, which I wrote for NaNo two years ago.

The reason you haven't heard from me in a while is I've been developing a blog on WordPress. Why? I wanted to try it out, and thought it might be easier to do what I wanted with WordPress rather than Blogspot. So here is the blog .

Also... before NaNoWriMo I hadn't really written anything since January. Sad. This year I will do better -- I have goals in mind, my friends.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beginning of 'WitchLyre' (2010)

An arrow flew past just over the left ear and thunked in the dirt behind mercenary battle witch Polypoloy Castle. The brown eye, which had been through many close calls regarding arrows this afternoon, barely twitched before traveling to look to her right. Too many soldiers on her side lacked shields tough enough to withstand the thick Kan shafts. She sidestepped to avoid another arrow, then was forced to bring up her staff to knock a couple more away. Smiling, she waved to the enemy archers as the barrage ended and the armies crashed together. Pol crouched deep, then sprang over the heads of several soldiers to bring her closer to the edge of the battle, where the Kan army was starting to surround them. A broadsword sliced toward her left ribs as she landed, another coming down over her collarbone, sending her rolling backward to avoid the blades. Springing to her feet, she jabbed her staff straight into the man’s nose, crushing the front of his skull and spraying her with blood. His companions attacked her ferociously, most of them also wielding double broadswords, honed to fingernail-thin sharpness, thick enough to make her stay well away. Years ago she’d made the mistake of thinking Kan broadswords would snap like any other sword when applied sufficient pressure — that blunder had cost her a good staff and several gold bullets to pay for stitches. Nowadays when she knew she was fighting Kan soldiers she carried a spell or two to weaken their blades, and her staff was covered in several layers of strength spells. It wasn’t always necessary to fall back to destroying weapons, however; a well-timed flame always served Pol well. She spun her staff clockwise, keeping the enemy away in front, and waited for the men behind her to make a move. They stepped in, and she spun gracefully around on her toes, the staff clanging against their swords.
Time to fly.
She sprung off the ground, bringing her knees to her sides, and plucked a packet from the inside pocket of her shorts before she started her descent. Too late, she noticed a soldier who thought to impale her on his sword as she landed. Twisting sideways, she brought her staff around for balance, the sole of her boot catching on the tip of the sword. The staff dropped as she brought her arm down to catch her, and with the other she threw the packet. It exploded a few feet away, and the soldiers around her burst into flames. The warmth licked her cheeks and played around her fingers, now lightly clutching her staff, warning her not to be so careless. Her lips, pressed tightly together in the stress of the fight, now spread into an exuberant grin, and she leapt to her feet, running back into the battle with a loud cry. Soldiers fell around her, and soon her boots were sinking in blood mud, her legs and stomach spattered red. The shirt, ending above her belly button, originally a light blue, was now purple and would have to go.
A quick survey of the battlefield showed that, although she’d killed a fair number of Kan, the majority of bodies in sight were Golian. They’d attacked with roughly 500 against 230, which should have been strongly in their favor. Pol’s face, light with the thrill of battle, began to distort to a displeased frown. She took off through the fray until she could spring from the ground and land on the highest point of the battlefield. First she reapplied fire spells to her staff and coated her boots with another shield spell, then she dug out some mildly spelled lotion to cover the scratches on her shoulders. Anyone who saw her before a fight suggested she wear armor, but ruining her cute outfit wasn’t worth it. She bore several light scars all over her body because of this, but those only added to her impressive figure. Prepared to fight once again, the mercenary had to decide which side to fight for. What she saw did not please her.
I think I’m on the losing side again. Damn.

There, that unedited passage is the start of my 2010 Nanowrimo project. I made the 50,000 words for the contest, but only got about halfway through the book, so now (at a slower pace) I'm finishing it (current word count = 85k). I'm really challenging myself with WitchLyre for 2 main reasons: I've always avoided writing battle scenes before, so that one ^ up there ^ is really my first one; and the main character, Pol, is kind of evil. Not evil evil, she's just not nice. Very unlike any character -- especially a main character -- I've written, I'm having a lot of trouble keeping her the way I want her. Anyway, if you have any opinions on the above passage, I'd love to hear them.
Confession: The only battle scenes I actually like to read are those by Brandon Sanderson (esp. Mistborn). Most of the time I skim battle/fight scenes if they're longer than a page. I should probably change that if I'm going to be writing them...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Excerpts from the beginning of CAUTION: This is a Book (2007-2009)

    In the yellow mountains of Promanganjubule there are tunnels leading deep into the ground, where short little men with armor dig with hammers to uncover useless sparkly things. The tunnels are small as the little men, sometimes smaller, forcing them to crawl toward their destinations, which are either a) jewels, b) food, c) battles, d) jewels, or e) jewels. It is rumored these little men don’t reproduce by the standard method, simply popping out of the ground and into existence. They are called by most others who can talk ‘dwarves’, which comes from phrases describing the characteristics of the little men, ‘do war’ and ‘dig for jewels’. Other have been known to call them ‘ugly people’, ‘mountain shorties’, ‘weird little mountain guys that wear armor even when underground how do they survive the heat?’ or simply ‘little men’, though in fact they share few characteristics of men, point-in-fact they don’t seem to have any women. It’s further said they’ve evolved out of having eyes from spending so long underground. Dwarves exist in mountains besides yellow ones, but the ones in Promanganjubule are particularly special to this story. The dwarf king at this time, meaning the one dwarf whom the others actually pay attention to, had Thoughts. Bad, bad, thing to do. His evil little mind got a-whirling, devising an evil plan. One dark and stormy night, unfelt by the dwarves in their tunnels, this dwarf king Ramajuju stood in a grand chamber, behind him a giant mirror twenty times his size and a huge lever two times his size.
    “My dwarves!” he called, pounding his breastplate with his calloused hands, “I have a plan!”
    “A plan…”
    “A plan…” the words echoed around the chamber.
    “Tonight, with this Lever-and-Mirror Thingy--“ he pointed dramatically “—we will conquer the world!”
    “Conquer…” echoed his statement.
    “We dwarves have always been stuck underground, away from the sun and treasures of the upper world. Why should other creatures have these things that we do not? Even the mighty dragon gets treasure, caves, and the outside world! Spurred by this indignation, this travesty, this injustice, I have built this mirror to reflect upon the world. When I pull the lever, it will open for us!”
    “Open…” came the calls, lacking any outcry against the use of mercury.
    Ramajuju placed his gauntleted hand on the lever, taking in a deep breath through his beard. “See the glory of the dwarves, and rejoice!”
    He pressed down on the lever.
    … Undaunted, he put both hands on and pushed with all his might. “See the glory of the dwarves!”
    … Still undaunted, he hung from the lever to the satisfaction of it giving a slight creak. “See the glory!”
    The lever came down still more, while “Glory…” sounded through the empty chamber.
    “See the--“ he managed once more to say before the whole thing smashed to the ground, throwing him away with a flash of brilliant light. It was done; this evil could never again be removed from the world, this evil of the Mirror….
Caution: This is a Book.
    I woke up screaming in my bed, sheets wound around my legs, streamy sweat on my brow from thrashing in my sleep. The screams died as coughing prevailed, remnant of the cold I was just getting over. Breathing heavily, not sure how I ended up with any sheets on my bed at all, I kicked them off. I distinctly remember turning on the fan, stripping the bed, going to sleep in nothing but my underclothes. The summer had been brutal, but the last couple days had been the highest temperatures the state ever faced. I was still in my underclothes, which was weird to me and made me feel uncomfortably exposed, but I couldn’t hear the fan. I looked at the clock and read through the sweat dripping in my eyes that it was just past dawn. Dammit. Getting to sleep in this heat wave was near impossible. It was a miracle I’d done it, I’d never be able to do it again....

    Logically the only solution left to me is to watch TV, wasting away on the couch with chips and soda watching worthless shows my mind doesn't even have to process they're so lame. I devised a plan to steal Marn's, it sounded so appealing to me. Unfortunately he's been keeping close guard on the thing, I suspect he could almost hear my motives through the walls. Port and Gina don't have TVs either, which makes me stuck. Already the second day of vacation, and I've done nothing fun. I tried walking around the first day in town, willing my body to not melt, to no avail. That's how I led myself to wasting the first day of vacation: I saw an ugly bookstore and sort of oozed inside, feeling my parts reform as the AC hit me. Holding my hands to the vent in thanks I didn't at first notice the old man sitting at the desk.
    "Whacha read?"
    I jumped about two feet in the air, his voice sounded so much like a bird's squawk.
    "Nothing," I said quickly, only realizing what he'd asked when he fixed his piercing eyes on me.
    I squirmed. "Um... comics and fantasy? But I never have any time," I blurted. "School, you know."
    His narrow eyes got narrower. I strode confidently over to a shelf.
    "But it's summer break." There were worse things than flipping through old books... like going back outside. "Don't you have anything new? All this stuff stinks. It smells like my grandma's old attic."
    Lips pursed in silence, he got down from his stool and stared up at me. In middle school, Kindergartners were taller than me. This old guy was like a dried up bean. I edged away from him, as if his tiny gnarly hands would suddenly shoot out. Instead he reached into his long coat and pulled out a dusty paperback. "This."
    I wrinkled my nose. "Do normal people keep books hidden in their coats?"
    His mouth opened showing perfect teeth... like a hyena.
    I took the book, my tongue sticking out. "It's still old, though not as much as you."
    He didn't change his grin. I looked at the title. "Cookies? What type of title is that? I'm not a baby."
    I pushed the book back into his hands, whence he returned it to his coat. His other hand slid into the same spot and pulled out a different book. This one looked like it had just come off the presses. I snatched it and flipped through. It even smelled new.
    "This is more like it."
    His lips closed, but he was still grinning. It felt like he would growl any moment. Eeew! I had a bad feeling about the whole thing.
    "Ok, I'll take it."

[Wallowing in self-pity, t]he tears kept flowing out of me, cooling my cheeks, cooling my neck, cooling my back... they died down as I felt wonderfully cool, like I was floating in water.... My eyes sprang open to see the floorboards level with my nose. I flailed, trying to grab onto something. All my hands found was that stupid book.
    "What the hell!" I screamed as I slipped through the floor, still in my underclothes.

Don’t try to tell me I could’ve figured it out, that ‘Book’ is an acronym standing for something stupid like ‘Bring Over to Other Kreality’ or whatever word you can think of that starts with K. It can’t be the book’s got anything to do with how I ended up sinking through a silvery substance and landing heels over head at the top of a hill and rolling the way down painfully. Grass is cushy, boney legs aren’t. I’m the kind of person who, by right, should be fat. But I don’t like shopping, cooking, or spending money, so it’s not like I’m thin ‘pretty figure’ thin, probably just malnourished.
    After figuring out how to put myself right up, finding I was still holding the book, I threw it to vent my frustration and confusion. It helped little. Whimpering slightly, I wondered if I’d broken anything.
    “What the hell?” I repeated, rubbing my side and viewing my surroundings. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any hidden plains of grass under my apartment. It was pitch black, the formerly rising sun nowhere to be seen. I looked up, half-expecting to see a ceiling, half not surprised to see stars. For the first time in my life I wished, for a brief moment, I knew some constellations. Ah, that would be too much work. There were too many stars to distinguish anything anyway.
    Around me wasn’t much of anything else helpful. “Grass, grass, darkness, and yes, grass. Just kill me now!” I screamed, falling over on the grass. At least it was nice and cool. So nice and cool, in fact, that I closed my eyes in appreciation and promptly fell asleep.

I started CAUTION in 2007 on a school computer, and continued writing sections here and there until in 2009 I finally sat down, completed the book, edited it a little, and sent it into a publisher (first EVER). It was rejected 4 months later, no surprise. It's just so fun to write! I can't sacrifice that for solid plot and intricate characters, right?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unnamed (2004?)

(I've realized a lot of these are probably older than I realized.)

It wasn’t morning. It wasn’t even dawn. In fact, only a Nitera could claim it was time for anyone to be moving about the forest. Iela thus felt she had quite the right to be annoyed with whatever it was that had woken her in the middle of this cold winter night. Pulling her cloak around her with a cool expression over her dark-skinned face, she slid herself out of her tree hole and landed lightly upon the frozen ground. Crouching, she listened again for the racket. There it was, that strangely familiar sound. An uneasy feeling stirred in her chest, moving her to slowly open her eyes and blink at the sparkling snow. Light was somewhere near, crackling — fire!
Her panic hit for only a moment before ebbing. It was not a forest fire. Curiosity replaced annoyance, and she crept towards the light and the strange voices around it. Peering through the branches her heart gave a thud. Humans! She drew back with a sharp breath, memories flying through her mind. She had seen her own reflection many times in ponds and lakes, and knew she was different from the forest creatures who had raised her, but she never accepted her own oddity until she saw these beings here. Her eyes flashed. What were they doing in the forest, her forest? In all her years — somewhere more than 10, somewhere less than 20 — she had never seen one. She now recognized the language... her own. Perhaps she had not been in the forest as long as she believed.
“But my prince,” one human was saying, “your stepsister will surely send soldiers after us. We should go—”
“We’ll be safe in the forest for a time,” another one interrupted. This one dressed in clothing frilly like vines and sparkly things. “She won’t expect us to come in here,” he added.
“For good reason,” another grumbled.
Iela drew away again. No, they were humans. She was not — not anymore. Her forest was her home, its creatures her family. Contentment reigned here, settled like a warm fox on her chest. And yet... she bit her lip. Could this be my chance for change? She drew a breath swiftly and turned away. There was time left to rest before her day was to start. Back to her tree hole she would go. The humans would pass, tomorrow she would watch the wolves assemble for their winter snow dance. That thought brightened her eyes as she crept back to her sleep hole.

Errin stuck his head out into the corridor and quickly looked both ways. It was empty. He quietly tiptoed out, shutting the door behind him. His back to the wall, he crept down the hall until he came to a corner. Just as he was about to turn, he heard voices. Uh oh! He would likely get in trouble for being out of his room, so being caught was not an option. He ducked into the room next to him, fervently hoping it was empty. Luck was with him, as there were no people or furniture. He listened at the door until the voices passed, when he snuck again into the corridor. This time he made it to his destination without mishap. He sighed and relaxed against one of the enormous bookshelves. Hardly anyone ever came into the library, and when they did, they only stayed long enough to select a book. Errin knew every inch of the library, and almost every book. It was his goal to read them all before his 13th birthday. He still wasn’t sure if this was a reasonable goal, as he was already 10, in the 4 years since he’d learnt to read he’d made his way through slightly less than half the library, and new books were added all the time. His father collected books, but hardly ever had time to read any of them. Now that Errin was getting older, his father was assigning him more tutors and more responsibility, which left less time for reading. Errin was very determined, though, and lately he’d taken to giving his tutors the slip, and even blackmailing one to tell Errin’s father that he was doing all his lessons when Errin had in fact missed all but one. Errin felt only very little guilt about it. It wasn’t a very important lesson anyway. All the same, he grimaced as he thought of the test his father was likely to conjure up for him. As he moved to a different shelf, a thought struck him. His test, if on schedule, would’ve been held yesterday. His father had missed before, certainly, but only for good reason. He would have to ask him tonight.
Having skipped lunch to learn that oak leaves were edible if cooked in oil — useless information, he grumbled — Errin was quite famished once dinner came around. As he usually did, he took dinner with his father in the king’s chambers. Errin wondered how to broach the subject of the test without bringing it down on himself right then. He was saved, though not in the words he would have preferred.
“We are having company tomorrow night. I hope you will be prepared.”
Errin nodded. “Of course. Who is it coming?”
“The Countess Laina dy Welan, lately widowed, and her daughter Fy’ona. You might recall the Countess’s husband, Count Welan.”
Errin shook his head.
“No matter,” his father went on, “he was a good man, a friend. His wife was young for him, though. How went your studies today?”
Errin started at this abrupt change of subject, then mumbled something about oaks. The king looked unamused, but fell lost in thought and talked no more.
The countess was lovely and charming. Her daughter was rather quiet, but her piercing eyes took in everything. Dinner went delightfully, and Errin was pleased by his fine performance. He was less pleased when, the next day, his father assigned him a new teacher, this time on etiquette. Errin was very much put out, especially when he could find no way of worming himself out of the lessons. After a month, he realized he truly despised his new tutor. The man was a demon sent from the underworld, it must be. Anger grew in him, and a dark hatred of all his lessons began to form. The anger gradually gave way to annoyance, and then to rebellion. He skipped his classes, and after a time he realized no one was punishing him. His father was too occupied with matters of state, and Errin was free to roam. What joy! What glee! He did, however, attend a few etiquette classes, especially when the Countess dy Welan was invited more often for dinner.

Curled up in her trunk, the forest girl tried to sleep, but only managed a half-sleep. Creeping through her usual thoughts of the forest were visions of the things she had seen earlier. It wasn’t long before she saw only the fire-light dancing on the faces of the sparklies. What things were these, that reminded her of sunlight on water? Finally she shot out of her tree in frustration, and plunged her sweating face into the snow... which was stupid. She wiped the snow from her face, wincing at the cuts the ice gave her. It was no use — she’d never been so curious about anything in her life, she had to look at those sparkling ornaments. She crept back to the fire site, to see it only burning embers. The humans were sleeping around it, some of them making horrid snorting noises worse than a horse. The one who was wearing the ornaments was the only one with a cloth to warm him. Iela sat there the whole night watching the sparklies, and she was absolutely hooked on the beauty and mystery they held. When the humans awoke, ate, and departed, Iela found herself staring longingly after them. What were the sparklies? How were they made? Where did they come from? She also wondered who the people were who wore the sparklies, but that wasn’t as important. Could she, dare she go after them? The forest animals never minded her wanderings, in fact they encouraged them. She’d never wandered far before, though nothing physically kept her here. Curiosity was only natural, and seldom fatal. With much less thought that should be given to the start of life adventures, Iela rolled to her feet and sprang to follow the horses.

After following them the whole day, Iela was ready to collapse in slumber. While they were eating their own supper, however, she saw fit to gather herself some roots to chew for her empty stomach. While she chewed and watched, the younger human, the one with the sparklies, took off the jewels to put in a soft bag. Longing to stare at them more, once the humans were asleep, Iela crept into their camp with muffled footfalls. She just wanted to look at the sparklies spilling out on the ground after she’d upturned the bag, which was satisfying, but temptation grabbed her. I’ll just take one. The red one was lovely as fire, the white like a river, the blue as the sky, the green as leaves. After some time she decided on the forest color, and started placing the rest back in the bag. They chimed softly, she glanced at the humans but they still seemed deep in slumber. A moment later, a hand closed about her wrist. Caught green-handed!

I don't know what comes next. Part of me wants to figure that out right now, but I'll resist doing that until I can devote the proper time to it.