Saturday, October 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Entrant!

Starting on Monday, the first of November, I will be attmepting to write a 50,000 word novel.  The deadline is the end of November.  Considering my past problems with deadlines, I expect to find this extremely challenging.  That said, I'm going to give it my all and will be spending much of the weekend trying to think of a topic.  I haven't decided if I'm going to post it here as I go, so if I don't just understand that its because I am writing something really, really big and don't have time to spare writing something here. 

This is a link to the 'what is..?' page for the contest. The idea, for those of you who don't like links, is that an awful lot of people all sign up and spend their month writing a novel, not using anything they've already written just things written in the given month, and try to reach a hundred and seventy five pages(50,000 words). 
I will probably set it in the same universe as the rest of my writings, but it will be about different characters, events, and using different combinations of the words in my vocabulary(mostly, it's hard to not use things like 'He said' or 'I'm sorry' every now and then). 

There's probably a prize, but I could care less.  Wish me luck, and ask me how it's going some time. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart; Two Admirals

Credits; Krell, Rea,
"Admiral, We've found the cultists on Haranthor.  Your information was spot on, but it seems the cult has its fingers deeper than we'd realized."
Admiral Elizabeth Casat, fourth commander of the line and de facto ruler of its constituent worlds and citizenry, was..well she was not normally the most expressive person so it was hard to tell how she was actually taking the news. 
"And how is that any of my concern?  You think I have time to worry about a cult with the quarantine regulations and the labor restrictions and all these visits to parties thrown by local aristocrats?"
"Haranthor's military is under the thumb of the death cult!  If you don't act then none of it will matter and your great-grandfather's work will have been in vain.  You must act before they do, or it will be to late."
She curled over her desk, tracing the grain of the wood absentmindedly.  She was thinking, and doing so in such a way as to make it clear she wasn't thinking hard.  "Very well Master Bladeheart, I will consider your analysis with the utmost deliberation.  How long do you think we have?"
"Months, maybe a year if we're lucky."
"Come back in two months, I will have my men gather as much information as I can in that time and if I find the threat sufficent you shall stand at the head of my men in battle.  In the meantime there is a matter of some local importance I'd be much obliged if you'd attend to."
"Will it make you more likely to act?"
"It will free up some of my men at the very least, and some of them may feel grateful enough to help you regardless of my verdict on the situation on Haranthor."
"What's the job?"
"I hired some workers to fix up the eastern portion of the base a few months ago.  It turns out that someone in personel buggered up the screening process and I've got a bunch of Secloran troops running around my base.  They've got mages and have been teleporting reinforcements in.  My men have been able to contain them easily enough, but if someone could eliminate the mages we'd be able to wipe them out.  It would be a vaulable service to the empire if you would be that someone."
"Say no more, by her majesty's honor, I will defeat these foul magicians."
Kelvin charged off without another word.  The Admiral turned to her secretary. 
"Jennen, make sure to direct him into the simulation chamber.  The men know the program, have them run it on it full drill."
"Yes Sir."
"Ma'am, Jennen, Ma'am."
"I'm not hitting you."
"Yes Ma'am."
Jennen left to attend to his responsibilities.  Krell and Rea watched as the door locked itself behind him, a series of enchantments activated as soon as it clicked.  Clearly Lizzie had every intention of keeping their conversation private. 

"Pervert.  Father, and forgive me for assuming, Miss?"
"Miss Rea, young maid for a very long time."
"Could have fooled me, I don't think I've ever met a tight-moraled assassin before."
"What makes you think I'm an assassin?"
"I've killed a few before, you learn to recognize a Ukown when you see one."
Rea laughed.  "Trained and equipped yes, but never a member.  Dad saw to that."
"If you insist, I'll make no move against you unless you move first.  After all, playing host to interesting travellers is one of the few pleasures I have around here.  So what is Kelvin going on about this time?"
Krell spoke up first, not that Rea's determined stare would have been broken long enough for her to answer anyways. 
"I ran into a relative of an old enemy and fullfilled an old oath.  I justified it to Kelvin by telling him that General Tange was a member of the cult he thinks he's pursuing, instead of just being a student of the philosophy he's actually pursuing."
"So you finally caught up with the last of them?  Good for you old man, nice to know it didn't take you a full thousand years."
"When a man swears an oath, he better be ready to do whatever it takes to fulfill it.  Not like its the worst thing I've done anyways."
"What is the worst thing you've done?"  Rea piped in.  She may have jested with Lizzie, but ever since he'd killed the General she'd been giving him this look.  It was hard to describe, something between curiosity and disdain, but with a definite non-violence that made him worry.  Hatred, being despised, those he was used to; having someone want to not-hurt him, now that was reason to fear. 
"He killed a lot of people, got his soul burnt out by the Empress, and had to kill even more people for her to prevent her from doing the same to his family.  At any moment the Emperor could choose to call him back into the service and do it again, and because they use his soul for a seat cushion he has no choice but to do it for the rest of his unnattural life.  Why do you think he became a priest?  He feels genuinely bad about having to live forever and being an unstoppable weapon of death and destruction."
"Why Father, you never told me you were a Lich."
"Just lich actually, the last Lich rules a nice little settlement/colony/space station thing called Star's Rest with Katrina, his wife.  They have several children and most of them have gone on to lead prominent and succesful lives.  I'm just a lich, a being with his soul bound to a physical object to prevent its own death.  If my body is destroyed I regenerate at that object and get to go try whatever it was again.  Its not fun, it hurts like you won't believe..."
"I would."
"...And frankly I didn't know it could even be done to you against your will until my best friend's 'whatever it takes' daughter went and plucked me out of a happy retirement and sent me back out into the field."
"That would explain Lizzie then, Admiral Krell Casat of the Last Living Fleets."
"Sod off you runty little immortal.  At least I knew better than to try and live forever, messes with the natural balance of things."
"Well, at least your heart is still in the right place.  Maybe one day it can invite your soul over for tea and scones, wouldn't that be luverly?"
Before Krell could come up with a witty retort Rea had left.  She probably headed to the ship, if not to her room here on base.  Lizzie had already arranged quarters for all of them.  He felt bad for having lashed out at her like that, but she was being disrespectful.  Besides that, he'd been going out of his way to keep people from knowing who he was, and it was aggravating to know that she had figured it out so quickly.  He went ahead and took his leave of his Great-Granddaughter and headed to his own room, contemplating how he could either get back at Rea or make it up to her.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart; The Downside of Bullet Time

Credits; Krell, Rea,
"Tell me who sold you this!"
"What the H**l man?  I never did anything to you."
"Tell me or I'll gut you like a stuck pig!"
"I'm calling the cops dude, you can't just barge into my house and start waving a book around making threats at people.  It's like, against the law."

Krell and Rea stood a safe ten feet away from Kelvin.  He'd found one of the books that Vionnelle must have told him to look for and tracked down its owner, who he was now intimidating. 
"He does know that's the dumbed down version of the Essential Generalization Theory, right?"
"Probably not, from what I know of Kelvin he wouldn't know the Essential Generalization Theory if it  introduced itself with a flashing neon sign and a personalized telepathic broadcast." 
"At least he means well."
"Chaotic Good might save the empire today, but it makes us hated for the next ten years."
"Eh, to each their own."
"True, I'll take Chaotic Good over Lawful Evil any day."
"Freeze!  Put your hands in the air."
Nobody put their hands in the air.  Krell stepped to the side of the hall, leaned his head on the wall, and laced his fingers behind him.  Rea chuckled and followed suit.  Kelvin didn't even notice the arrival of the, what was it that humans called them?  Police?
"You there, put that man down and get down on the ground."
Kelvin noticed them.  He didn't listen to them, but he did notice them.  You could tell because he made a sort of agitated grunt. 
"Put down the hostage, and get down on the ground, or we will stun you."

"Stun him?"
"It's like shooting someone only they don't die.  Humans use it when they want to take prisoners."
"Oh, you mean shoot him in the feet, hands, and then hit him a few times for good measure."
"No, the effect is simmilar only they use a lower power setting instead of careful aiming."
"But that'll just get on his nerves."
"Why do you think I'm got out of the way?"
"Alright buddy, you asked for this."

Older energy weapons always sounded kind of funny.  And on the lower power setting, the police blasters made a sort of angry burping sound.  The blasts weren't particularly accurate, rolling through the air as they flew.  They were probably moving pretty fast, but as powerful as he was Krell could feel the way time stretched itself for him.  FOr Kelvin, this was probably pretty fast, but he could have probably picked up one of the policemen and used them to block both shots, then set him back down exactly where he'd started in the time it was taking for them to hit Kelvin.  He glanced right to see if Rea was feeling as bored as he was.  She had somehow managed to procure one of the magazines she'd left on the ship, and had brought a chair in from the kitchen to sit in while she watched.  And judging by the speed she was flipping pages, she'd probably be able to meander back to the ship and put it back before the shots hit. 

Sure enough, she did.  He wasn't certain when she left, but she had drawn a mustache and a a full anatomical diagram on each of the policemen on her way back.  Darn good diagrams too, not that Kelvin would know what half of them were.  Although she must have thought of it since all the essential organs were given labels like 'stab here and cut to point B) for maximum effectiveness' or still worse 'kick me, I'm a spleen'.  Not that he could prove it was her, since he had seen her go from sitting in a chair with a magazine to leaning against a wall without so much as blinking.  Must be why she kept all those magazines, it probably really sucked to get into a combat situation and have your ability to percieve and react enhanced so significantly.  Useful if you were facing a few hundred men maybe, but against two police officers it meant a lot of extra time. 
Actually, that led to an interesting idea.  He'd never really experienced this time slowing until the war, maybe this was a side effect of immortality.  He'd never heard of it happening to mortals.  And it would certainly explain a lot of the stories he'd heard about them defeating entire armies, besides the vast magical capacity that came with being unable to die.  Assuming of course that Rea was immortal. 

The shots finally hit, Kelvin grunted and threw his hapless victim across the room at them.  He whipped his sword from beneath his ribs, which because of his armor and empty chest cavity sounded worse than it looked.  He roared and lept over the half wall that seperated the kitchen from the living room and upturned a sofa as he charged the, now rather wisely panicing, police.  It was a shame to see officers of the law disembowled so efficently, but he wasn't about to get in Kelvin's way. 
"I think the cultists must have subverted the local government.  These men were equipped like local guards."
"They were local guards."
"We should find the local magistrate and find out how deep this conspiracy goes."  Kelvin thrust his sword back into his chest and took off down the street.
Rea turned to him, acting as though it had all happened in an instant.  "I have the feeling we're about to destabalize the governement in this region.  Want to bet this 'cult' has made it into the military?"
"If it does, will we be required to intervene or can we just go back to the Casat line and ask them to look into it?"
"Intervene of course Father, what's the fun in getting those fuddy-duddies in the navy involved?"
"Those fuddy-duddies in the navy, as you so politely refer to them, have military grade weaponry, combat training, and salaries."
"Exactly, more fun for us if we get to do it without those things.  Come, the dour ditz will need his audience."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Short Story; The Great Yaputcha, part two

Credits; Rea,
"Oh for the love of..." Yuri knew to tune out his cousin Masne whenever anything bad happened.  Not to say she was always the nicest thing to listen to the rest of the time, just that she swore with a complexity and fury that would confuse most sailors and make scholars cry and he had no intent to waste his time trying to figure out what she was actually saying. 
Setting that issue aside they had the more important issue of what to do now that Professor Zinksfeld had left them here, alone. 

"Whelp, I'm heading up to the caves.  No point letting a great big ol' beastie go to waste just sitting here in a gift shop, hold these two and I'll take a meat stick, a pop, and one of those amulets over their that keeps your legs from falling asleep when you cross them."  The new girl slid two magazines across the counter with a small pile of gold coins.  "Keep the change, I don't have pockets."
"Is this...Gold?"
"Yep, totally worthless to me.  Magically conductive and all, great for spell channeling, but no real use beyond that.  Looks pretty enough I suppose, but I prefer silver, much more potent and only marginally less conductive."
"This is worth," the man paused as he calculated, blinked twice as the math confused him, and then paused again as he decided on a sufficently realistic seeming number, "at least four hundred bucks a coin."
"Really?  Make it two meat sticks and a large pop then."
"Of course!  Whatever you want."
Her entire person seemed to darken as she leaned over the counter.  "Your firstborn son's afterbirth, in a stasis tube at the barren crossroad east of town.  On the 19th of Febuary, five years from now; the moon will be full and the street light over the crossroad will be out, have it there by midnight or pay the price."
It was an empty threat.  Yuri had recieved similar ones before, 'the price' was usually just an angry letter with a curse of hives on it.  She stuck the landing though, didn't forget her groceries as she exited, cakling madly.  He looked over at Vestine, who had been staying quiet the whole trip.  She shrugged and motioned for them to follow.

They left the town, walking up a side path on the mountain side towards the caves. There was an open field in front of the cliff face. 
"So, these are the caves of Argetiam, home of the rare Yaputcha, and of the Arget gemstones." 
"I hear it's beautiful.  Sparkling in every color and then reflected in the pools, stalagmites that hang from the ceiling deep into caverns within the heart of the mountain, and there are even said to be mysterious and magical beings that hide in its depths.  Shall we explore?"
"We should wait for Masne and the others."
The ground rumbled and they watched the new girl run out of the farthest mouth of the cave, diving aside as a Yaputcha charged into the field behind her.  They finally got their first glance at the creature.  It was dark blue, but vividly so.  Every scale was a spike, and even at distance he could make out the serrated edges.  It's teeth were massive and numerous, tipped in red and yellowed at the base.  It lumbered on legs thick as boulders and shorter than door frames. 
They watched her darting back and forth, the beast growing frustrated as she avoided it's reach.  She peppered it with blasts of energy and slashed futily at its armored hide.  He stepped towards it to offer help, forming a plan as he moved.  He stopped sharply as he heard Vestine trip behind him. 
"What happened?"
"My legs fell asleep."
"Why didn't it do anything to me?"
"You're undead, it may not even know you exist.  I could be wrong, but I think the Yaputcha are grade two psionics with a telepathic primary sense perception.  I think I can shut it down, but you'll still have to kill it."
"What if I shut it down and you kill it?"
"Poison wouldn't effect you, and you'll recover from any injuries a lot faster."
"Poison wouldn't effect you either."
Vestine grabbed her staff and transfigured it into a longsword.  "Sweetheart, just go kill it." 
"Yes ma'am."
The beast roared as Vestine crushed its limited, bestial mind.  He could only imagine what it must feel like, having every sense stripped from you by an adversary you were no longer able to find.  But he still had to kill it or risk its killing someone else. 
"I'd really prefer you stayed out of the way, this is going to get messy."
"Like I'm just going to let you try to kill it on your own."
"No seriously, stay where you are while I try this."
She clutched the ground and pulled a rifle from the rock.  She knelt and leaned back, taking aim at the beast.  She aimed for one knee, carefully lining up shots not simply to wound it but to loosen scales.  With each shot she left it more open to injury, and with the fifth she crippled it.  The beast roared and tripped as it charged, without its senses it hadn't even realized that it was wounded. 
"That worked nicely, but lets make sure." She spun the rifle in her hands, converting it into a war hammer as she did.  She charged it, ducking left as it bit wildly about.  Whe brought the hammer down on its other knee, shattering scale and bone alike.  Without missing a beat she turned the weapon into a hooked rope and threw it into the throat of the Yaputcha, catching it on the beast's teeth.  She walked up the rope, holding it taut and winding it as she went up.  How she was doing it he couldn't tell, but somehow she managed to climb a swaying vertical rope to a living creature's mouth.  She reached the top, unhooked the rope and backfliped off of it.  As she did, she transformed the rope into a bomb and tossed it down the Yaputcha's throat.  She rolled and shielded herself as she landed, preventing any of the beast's ostensibly poisoned scales or massive teeth from striking her. 
"Well, that wasn't so hard.  Way easier than killing a, I hate those guys.  What with the spinning and the wind, impossible to get to."  She pulled the second meat stick out of her vest and took a bite. 
"I was just going to run up and stab it in the head.  You made that look hard kid."
"Why make it easy?  Going for an easy kill is a waste of an oppurtunity to practice."
"I suppose that's one way to think of it.  But why not just throw the bomb in to start with, its mouth was open half the time."
"Too easy, I like to put a little more work into a kill."
He shook his head.  And went to join Vestine in exploring the caves. 

"So then, what did you learn?"
"Never make light of the silliness of myths or simplicity of defensive techniques.  Even making your leg fall asleep can be effective at stalling an enemy."
"Good, good, but what did you particularly learn?"
"The new girl is really dangerous and slightly crazy."
"Good, most immortals never learn that until its too late.  The new girl, as you call her, calls herself 'Rea' or 'Reaper Girl'.  Even I don't know her real name, or how old she really is.  I know she lived on Anatolia for a while, and she's mentioned fighting there.  She was a witch, but her liscense is expired and the coven has no records older than four hundred years.  No mention is made of Rea, or any other girl fitting her description.  I know she's Nielda, and I know she's stronger than I am."
"Stronger than you?  But you've punched dragons!"
"She's a mage hunter.  Murderer, assassin, killer, she's probably the oldest immortal and the only way I know what I do about her is from accounts of the deaths she's inflicted.  She can even kill immortals, and seems to do so almost exclusively.  I punch dragons, but she knees demons in the crotch and plucks their eyes out with her thoughts."
"I saw her climb up a rope to the Yaputcha's mouth."
"I reccomend learning how to do that some day, reverse rapelling is actually quite useful.  It's not nearly as tough as it looks.  Seems to be kind of her MO actually, she makes her kills more complicated than they should be, just so she can practice the techniques needed to kill things that really are hard to kill."
"I'll keep my eyes out then."
"As will I., now run along Yuri.  And tell your Father I said hi."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Short Story: The Great Yaputcha, part one

Credits; Rea,
"They say there is a great beast who lurks in the caves."
"It has the ability to start fires with its mind, and can strike with swiftness like the raven."
"I hear it has poison scales and teeth like a kris."
"I've heard it eats dragons, and then picks it's teeth with basilisk teeth."
"And you've all heard right, which is why I am going to take you to meet with the elder of the tribe that dwells nearest to the caves of Argetiam.  He will tell you the way in which his ancestor slew one of the beasts many centuries ago."

Yuri knew that nothing was ever as it seemed with Professor Zinksfeld.  Especially not when she had full reign, an infinite budget, and a large number of willing volunteers.  Not that there was any real danger, word had it she'd released a demon that had been bound near the end of the last age and slain it, just because she wanted to see what sort of uses its corporeal form's organs and fluids would have.  And even if that story wasn't true he had personally watched her punch out a dragon, twice.  No one had ever died on her watch unless she killed them herself, so he felt rather safe in spite of the mysterious beast's legendary status. 
Nonetheless, it was still pretty scary.  Everyone was afraid, save himself, Professor Zinksfeld, and the new girl; who he only assumed wasn't afraid because she was quiet, had no perceivable indication of fear, and was reading a tabloid with the title 'new evidence shows that Emperor Altright keeps birds, official statement claims small, feathered, bipedal, beaked, flameless, herbivorous dragons'.  Anyone who'd read something like that in public without heckling it loudly must have nerves of Kraj, or blood stone, or whatever mysterious, black substance or substances Professor Zinksfeld had made her sword out of. 

"And blink, and here.  Swords away, this is going to be an eyes and ears exercise only today."
A small village surrounded them, canvas tents shaped like cones just outside of town, adobe houses shaped like cones around the central park, rubber orange cones shaped like cones on the streets, someone in this town had really liked cones. 
"Greetings, you have come to hear the Elder tell the tale?"
Professor Zinksfeld bowed to the newcomer, a tall, middle aged man wearing a very colorful and decorative cone.  "Yes, these are my students.  I want them to hear the tale so that they can learn from the lessons of your ancestors."
"And then they will perhaps stop in our gift shop?"
"Do you carry the reagents for teleportation?"
"Then yes, I'm sure they will."
"Follow me, I will show you to the elder."

They walked across the park, which Yuri noted as they crossed was round with the largest trees in the middle and the smallest on the edges.  Before them rose a very large cone, with many lashing lights and a sign reading 'Village Elder and other curiosities".  It came as no surprise when they found the elder sitting cross-legged on a mat in front of a large(and rather conical) statue.  The humming, combined with his minor levitation charm, gave the impression he was meditating; the picture-in-lens sunglasses and earbud headphones said otherwise. 
"What!"  The old man removed his earbuds and sunglasses and spun himself around to face them.  "OH!  Touris...pilgrims come to hear of our illustrious ancestor.  Sit, and I shall pass on the story of the great warrior."

Forty generations ago, there lived a young warrior.  He was ambitious, fast, strong, and good looking as all young warriors were in those days.  He travelled across the world, saving the weak and the poor from fates equal to or slightly less than death.  And all knew that he was good and strong.

One day, he came to this village.  Now the village had been beset for many years by a great beast that dwelled in the caves in the hills.  It would come in the night and take a sheep, unless a virgin, a girl between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two(blonde hair preferable), was offered to him on new year's day.  If she was offered than the flocks would be safe that year, but if she was not, or if she was deemed unsuitable, then the flocks would be devoured. 
The warrior, happened upon our village on new year's eve.  He saw the girl who was to be sacrificed and as their gaze met, and their eyes locked, they fell deeply in love.   On learning of her fate, he vowed to slay the beast and that for the price of her hand the village would never again fear the loss of their flocks. 

He went up into the hills that very hour.  Through the night the sound of his battle with the fearsome creature drove terror into the villagers hearts.  As the dawn broke they saw the shadow of the beast on the horizon, and they fled for their homes.  But lo!  The warrior bore it's carcass to the edge of town as proof that he had fulfilled his oath.  And on new year's day he married the maid and lived in the village from that time on, happy as can be. 

The whole class held still, disappointed by the lack of details on the fight itself.  They had come for a fairy tale story about a warrior helping a village?  What did this..
"Elder, perhaps you could tell my students how you fight the beast.  You seem to have left that bit out."
"On purpose, most people laugh and leave when I tell that bit."
Professor Zinksfeld leaned in, her eyes narrowing and her voice gaining a sharpness even demons would fear.  "I think you should tell them anyways, or else I might have to demonstrate the technique.  And my demonstrations have been known to...screw it."  She pressed her index finger to the bottom of his jaw and lifted him into the air.  "I can do this all day or you can spare the time to tell the tale properly, got it you finite being of conceivable and negligible power?"  The fabric of space seemed to run from her, several students..most of them actually fell over themselves trying to take cover.  Yuri didn't bother, he'd seen her do worse and she never hurt anyone by accident.
"Yes ma'am, I'll tell them,"
"Thank you."  Her voice softened in an instant, and the sudden containment of power caused everything to sort of bounce back into place.  The only damage done was mental. 

When the warrior returned, the villagers asked him how they too might defeat the beast.  He looked at them and said, and I swear I'm not kidding, 'to defeat the beast, you must put your right foot into the shadows of your cave.  Then you must take it out, or he will drag you in.  Then you must repeat it, and be prepared because he will cause your nerves to feel as though they are struck by lightening.  The feeling in your foot can be stopped by shaking it all about.  Incant the spell of destruction, the great Hokey-Pokey.  Then you must quickly turn yourself about, because the flash of light and roar of thunder as the spell impacts will blind and deafen you if you stare at it.  I did this several times, alternating feet, and using both feet even; so that my balance would remain even and no foot would be stronger than the other.  It took much time, for the beast's hide was as strong as its unwillingness to move.  But my blade would not dent its armor, and I know of no stronger spell.  Patience and precision, that's what it's all about.

"Hold on."  Masne, ever the voice of skepticism, spoke up.  "So you're telling us that the way to defeat the beast is, and correct me if I'm wrong; put your right foot in, take your right foot out, put your right foot in, and shake it all about.  Then do the Hokey-Pokey and turn yourself about?  That's what its all about?"
The Elder nodded, clearly to afraid of Professor Zinksfeld to lie or to avoid the question but nonetheless embarrassed and perturbed. 
"You have got to be kidding me.  Professor, this is clearly just a scam."
"Oh really?  Well then, why don't you just head up to the cave and find out for yourself."
"It's a sham, there's no beast, there's no monster, there's probably not even caves."
"That'd be a shame, I'd hate for you to have to spend the whole day in the gift shop.  Toodles!"
Professor Zinksfeld held up her hand and flicked it to one side just as she vanished in a small puff of white smoke.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart; Deep Space

Credits; Krell, Rea,
"This is your ship?"
"She's a beauty, isn't she."

Normally that line would have been a dead giveaway that the ship was a piece of crap.  But their new companion wasn't kidding, the thing was brand new, shiny as a fresh deca, and in spite of her apparent taste and personality it wasn't hot pink.  He didn't know much about small craft but it looked to him like...
"The latest in interstellar travel, Cystech Systems latest in personal transportation.  A customized Phastocruise mark V intergalactic yacht, fully out fitted with jump drive, star drive, gravity manipulation field, full spectrum energy dispersal field capable of resisting temperatures more than a half million outside of the livable range and direct hits from energy weapons up to forty million kilojoules, a responsive defense AI-guided missile system with self replenishing enchantments, an on-board waitstaff including personal masseuse, pilot drone, four-star chef, and two waiters, and best of all, it has heated seats!"

...Took the steam right out of his analysis.  He'd have guessed it was a four-year old MrocoMotors Type-Eight.  He'd been right about the heated seats though. 

"Come on, it's even bigger on the inside thanks to the 'Hull of Holding' enchantech."
Kelvin leaned in and whispered, "Looks like a MrocoMotors Type Eight to me, and not this years model either."
"I'm still wondering why it needed the missile system.  With shields that strong you'd need a battle station to scratch the paint."
"Would you rather I make it look like something else?  I'd be quite happy to make it look like a HrowLaine Mark CIX, or a Cresteil LV Nova; maybe a telephone booth would be more to your liking?  It can do that you know." 
"Does it do police boxes?"
"No, Cyssie said something about licensing issues."
"With who?"
"Yea, that's what I figured."

Krell looked at Kelvin, who simply shrugged and ascended the ramp into the ship.  He shook his head, crossed himself, and followed suite. 
She was right, it was bigger on the inside.  No real surprise there though, against the backdrop of the Gascan mountains any personal yacht looked small.  Despite the size it still felt somewhat cramped, the sides of the halls tended to be messy with stacks of crates and random articles of clothing lying around.  It smelled bad, and from the looks of things the only droids that hadn't been included were maids.  Otherwise, it looked like the ship was mechanical...was that a shoe sticking out of a crate of canned soup?  He stepped over and picked up a lone red, high heeled shoe.  Sure enough a number of dented cans of soup were underneath, sitting on top of several rather tawdry magazines.  How in the world had he gone from his nice, clean little chapel in the country to this...pig stye!
He backed up slowly.  And then spun about just in time to watch the ramp seal behind him. 
"Are you coming Father?  You need to be seated for takeoff."
By Kevand's whiskers, what had he gotten himself into?

He ran up the hall to the cockpit, found an empty chair and strapped himself in. 
"Mind explaining the mess in the halls?"
"What mess?  Sit back and relax, Neimath ho!"
The ship rose, accelerating quickly as it rose.  A brief rumble as they hit the atmosphere and then the vastness of space rolled out before them. 
"Why did I have to be seated for this?"
"For that?  We've got inertial dampeners and energy shielding to deal with the atmosphere, this is the part you want to be seated for."
She pushed a lever forward, and the ship lurched through space.  The stars faded as the entered the plane of travel, and the windows tinted to block out the black speckled white that took its place. 
"Well, that gives us four days to wander about and enjoy the ship.  Have fun."

Kelvin wandered off without a word.  Krell stayed, mesmerized by the slowly moving black pinpoints in the plane of travel. 
"What, never been off world before?"
"Not with a window, not for a long time anyways." 
"Trust me, it's much more fun this way.  Ex-military?"
"God needed me to serve my people in a different way, the Emperor understood."
"You know, my father once told me that the greatest heroes are the ones who know to stop fighting when the war ends."
"And you?  From the looks of it you've seen a fight or two in your time."
"I prefer to avoid fights, they get messy.  But I can hold my own."
"Witch-Errant, first class; my liscense is long expired though.  Spent more than a few years at the Arcane Academy too, that diploma is still valid though."
"Well, the academy weapons program was a complete waste.  But I did a stint fighting on Anatolia for a while, a very nice man showed me how to use a sword and my father taught me how to fight properly soon afterward."
"What's your name?"
"Call me Rea, it's short for reaper girl.  It's a nickname, and it's all anyone living knows.  Pray you never know more."
"Then Anonymity is the name of the game Ms. Rea.  Call me Father Krell, no one's called me anything more in nearly four hundred years." 
"Forgive the mess, I'm still moving in.  My last ship had a bit of an on-purpose."
"I know the feeling, done it a few times myself."
Complete silence, she wasn't kidding.  Admittedly he wasn't either, but something about the silence seemed to express a much greater seriousness.  Rea was a lot deeper than she let on, other than her cleaning habits anyways.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nieldic Armor

The Nielda don't do heavy armor.  Just wanted to start with that.  Plate is unheard of, only a few use it and they're all huge(which for a Nielda is around 7'6"- 8'+, 3-4 hundred pounds of muscle, and broad). 

For most Nielda sturdy leather is standard.  Generally just a single layer of leather is as much as they'll have.  A full suit of armor will be greaves, legguards, bracers/gauntlets, a breastplate, and a helmet.  Upper arms might get a bt of armor, but it's rarely actually worn because of the inconvenience of putting it on. 
Later generations will use what is known as 'tech-plate'.  Tech-plate is a layer of lightweight alloys over a set of electronics that increase speed and strength, as well as producing an energy dispersing shield.  While it includes all of the same armor pieces as the older leather sets, it tends to be worn as a complete set because of self sealing pieces.  It also physically covers more than the leather did.  However, tech plate is used only by the military, who gets it dirt cheap.  The only downside to tech plate is that the alloys inhibit magic usage, making it a liability to mages. 

For those who have money on the other hand, there's composite leather and steelsil. 
Steelsil is a product of magical tampering with spiders.  A long time ago, a mage realized that spider webs had greater tensile strength than iron.  So he developed a method by which to harvest great quantities of spider web and made clothing out of it.  It didn't work quite how he expected, and died as a result. 
Another mage took up where he left off and began working on breeding spiders to produce large quantities of the strongest spider web.  At a certain point, he managed to make it good enough and cheap enough to sell it as 'spider silk'.  The clothing made of it remains much beloved by the nobility for its ability to hold enchantements and dyes.
A third mage took up from there.  Using alchemy, enchantments, and the bones of several enemies, he transmuted the properties of Kraj into the spider silk.  The result was steelsil, fundamentally the mithril of the Nieldic world.  Light as silk(and as open to enchantments and dye), and strong as kraj; making it capable of withstanding direct hits from energy weapons, spells, and swords.  Steelsil is much beloved by mages, and is surprisingly affordable to those able to provide the kraj. 

Composite leather combines all the strength of steelsil, with the padding of leather.  It's made by compacting several layers of leather around and between layers of steelsil.  It's the prefered armor of the nobility, as it allows them to fight in melee with greatly reduced threat of injury and no inhibition to magical ability. 

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart; Flight Plans and Fangirls

Credits; Krell, Rea,
"Alright, so I get the impression we're going offworld.  Why?"
"Vion informed me that the cult responsible for our deaths has been reforming.  Using a set of illegal books they are spreading their beliefs and building their numbers.  Soon they will have the strength to attack once again, we are going into human space to find the books, kill the publishers, and decimate the cult once and for all."
"This is the same cult that Admiral Casat led the last living fleets against five hundred years ago, exterminating them, destroying their every asset, and enchanting the blood of their fallen into hunter golems dedicated to hunting down all hundred of them that escaped?  And Vion thinks they're reforming?"
"It has been a few hundred years, I suppose that the humans could have forgotten about the blood hunter golems, the dead regions of space, the Casat Line, or the ongoing war between us and the Seclorans.  It does sound like the sort of thing they'd forget."
"Wait, what is this'Casat Line'?"
"You mean the buffer region that Admiral Casat and the Last Living fleets established after they crushed the perpetrators of our undeath?  It's a region of planets along the eastern border that were caught in the crossfire and were left a zombie wasteland.  They cleaned up the zombies and built a militarized zone of living Nielda, still loyal to the Empire but self-governed.  They've been working to undo the damage, halt future invasions, and keep some vestige of the Empire alive."
"Loyalty, a sense of Honor; they could have just left.  They could have settled in the Upper North of space, many survivors did.  They could have joined the Seclorans and worked to purge us for our new undeath, a lot did.  But they chose to stay, and we're all quite glad they did."
"We should start there then.  If these 'blood hunter Golems' are mage's craft, then someone will have to know where they are and what they've seen.  With their magical senses they'd be the most effective way to tell if someone is a member of the cult or not."
"Ok, but I doubt we have the..."

He'd walked off again.  Krell glanced around the crowded transit station, Tala of Gasca Royal Spacport.  Somehow the tall, gray haired warrior had managed to vanish into the throng.  He muttered a few choice words, and then chose another to give him enough height to see Kelvin amongst the crowds.  He began to hover a few feet off the ground, brown sneakers dangling from under his robe.  It quickly became unnecesary when he heard his companion's voice from the ticket counter. 
"I'm an agent of the Queen, and I need two tickets to wherever the Casat Line is comanded from."
But before he could hear the response, probably an underwhelmed counter attendant asking for his ID, he felt someone tug at his robe.  His concentration interrupted, he collapsed to the ground. 
"Sorry father, are you ok?"
"Yes, yes, fine, never better."
Krell stood back up, brushing what he hoped was only spilled soup from his robes.  He glanced around, looking for his shoe, which had fallen off while he'd been hovering. 
"Here."  His shoe was thrust out in front of him, a thin gray glove holding it delicately by its toe.  "You'd dropped this, I wanted to make sure you didn' lose it."
He followed the glove up to the woman wearing it.  Not an inch of skin showing, she'd bound every inch of herself in gray cloth, as though it were a single bloodless wound.  From the way the cloth conformed around her..torso she probably wore armor under the cloth.  Even her head was bound, with a pair of metal goggles over her eyes and a few patches of auburn hair sticking out between the wrapings. 
"Thank you."
"I saw you with the warrior.  Was that Kelvin Bladeheart?"
"Yes, you know him?"
"I know of him, Do you know where he's going?"
"We are headed to the Casat Line, we're investigating something and he wants to start there."
"Take me with you!"
"Take me with you!  I've always wanted to go on an adventure with a hero like Kelvin, ever since Mom told me the story of his duel with Archos, the scourge of Aquitae.  And here he is, on an adventure."
"I don't know, he doesn't seem like the sort to travel with women.  I bet he gets really chivalrous and ultra defensive, you could be a liability."
She dangled a set of keys.  "I have a ship."
"Sold!  Kelvin, I found us a ship."
"Just as well, I think the attendant fainted when she realized the magnitude of the threat we face.  You must be our ride, it's an honor to make your aquaintence."  Kelvin knelt in front of her and kissed her hand with the full flare normally reserved for a court noble.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Short Story; 'Not another zombie movie'

"For the last time child, we're not there yet."
"Just practicing, I mean we're about to get dropped out of a low flying aircraft into a city that's experiencing a class three solanium outbreak.  I feel like I ought to have a decent scream."
"Kid you do realize that zombie movies tend to invert the usual rules of survival.  The more you characterize yourself, the more likely it is one of us has to shoot you."
"Oh, now I am scared.  I mean you guys all call me by my first name, its written on my breastplate, you call me kid I'm doomed!"
"I'm obligated to tell you that you won't die on my watch, but you probably will.  I trust your papers are in order?"
"Yes sir.  Are you obligated to tell me that by the part you're playing in all this, because the gristled captain rarely lives either."
"No, government mandated."
"Ah, so then AAGGGggghhhhhh!"
The door below them opened.  A repulsor field slowed them as they hurtled to the ground, allowing most of them to land on their feet.  He watched the kid, Janis, since she was doomed anyways her name made no difference now, land flat on her back, the wind knocked out of her.  Sure enough a nearby zombie lept on top of her before anyone could react and started trying to rip her armor off.  He lifted his rifle to shoot it off of her, but then spotted a crowd of them sprinting at him, the kid would have to wait.  The rest of his men followed his lead, leaving Janis to deal with the zombie on her own.
Kid was doomed anyways. 

Forty against ten, at this range it was even odds.  They took lines and opened fire, slaughtering the crowd in seconds.  He turned and heard a shufling behind them.  Kid hadn't stood a chance.  He pulled his pistol and spun to finish her killer.  Instead he saw her pulling herself up, holding a fragment of the thing's skull.  Her breastplate was shattered, most of it falling off just from the shifting of her movements.  The armor on her right arm had shared its fate, as had the helm and legguards.  He quickly revised his opinions of her, between the somehow aesthetically pleasing battle damage of her armor and the way her hair was somehow blowing in the nonexistant wind, she was clearly now the heroine. 
"Janis, I'm revising the plan.  You're in charge for the duration of this op.  Lead on kid."
"Alright, first order of buisness.  I'm imposing a fourth wall on this affair, from now on keep your opinions about who's going to die and why to yourselves.  Not like we're in the plot cult here, we run things based on the way the government tells us to run things."
She didn't let him finish, a sharp glance made it clear how she'd be dealing with idiocy. 
"From now on, this is live; not another zombie movie."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Short Story; Thalia's Good Day

Credits; Thalia,

"This is fantastic news!  At last I shall have the Edge of Sanity, all shall bow before my power."  Thalia, Queen of Gravaga, delivered one of her famous evil laughs.  It was needlessly long and somehow managed to keep getting louder steadily despite lasting nearly ten straight minutes, more astonishing still was that she managed to do it without stopping to breathe. 
"Out of principle I'm required to shoot you, which of your feet do you tend to prefer?"
"What?"  The messenger was new at this, clearly he was a new hire.  Everyone knew that the villain always shot the messenger, everyone Nielda anyways.  Thalia was the best villain in the universe, and she knew it.  As such, she had to serve as a good example to all the younger, less able villains.  After all, what kind of world would it be if the villains just ran around randomly committing acts of evil with utter disregard for the rules?  She'd grown up in a world like that, every kid with a minion and a cape ran around taking candy from babies and kidnapping determined young reporters.  But she'd put a stop to that, candy was easy enough to get from stores and determined young reporters tended to be dating equally determined young heroes.  Now villains knew to kidnap the determined young reporter's nerdy looking boyfriend first and to rob the generally undefended candy stores instead of the equally undefended and noticeably less wealthy orphanages. 
Sadly in order to do that she had to occasionally shoot a few messengers. 
"My right foot I suppose, do you really have to shoot me?"
"No."  She snapped, one of her crystalline attendants stretched out a hand and blasted his left foot with a bolt of cold flame.  The young messenger collapsed, clutching the shattered appendage and howling in pain.
"But it reminds me of why I became a villain in the first place.  Take him down to the healer, give him time and a half while he recovers, and put his children on the Christmas mailing list if he has any."
"Yes creator"
"I prefer 'your ladyship', I'm not god you know."
"But you are the creator, we are your creation.  Without you there would be no us."
"Poppycock, I'm sure someone would have thought of you eventually.  It's not like no one has ever hypothesized a silicon based life form with a frost-fire nature and a logical personality type before, I just happen to be possessed of the incredible magical power needed to put it into effect.  I didn't create you, I just realized you."
She flicked on the galaxy map and keyed in the new information. 
"Besides, I've met you grandparents.  You're quite natural, they were my creation."
"I am aware of..."
"This discussion bores me, send for Cyssie; I am going to need a particular device for this mission."
"Yes creator"

Yes, she had worked quite hard to get to were she was.  The constant scheming, the needless shooting of innocents, theft of candy, corruption of heroes had drained her.  She'd managed to avoid a few of the worse sort of villainy though, dogs had nothing to fear from her and most of her children got along with her just fine even if they didn't all follow in her path. 
Cyssie was her youngest.  She was about as neutral as it got, sold to anyone for dirt cheap.  Spent every waking moment, and several sleeping ones, working on inventing new ways of doing things other people hadn't even thought of needing.  Not the prettiest thing in the world, but she was about as good of a daughter as a Mom could ever want, called weekly, showed up for dinner monthly, never brought home a weird boyfriend.  Admittedly she never brought any sort of boyfriend but no one was perfect. 
She heard the telltale pop of an incoming teleport. 
"Hey mom!  I've got the Kierothaumatic Illusory Disruptofier you wanted!"
Right, and she had the communication skills of a child comic relief sidekick.  There was that too. 
"I'm going to assume that it does what I need, which button turns it on and how can I tell it's working?"
Cyssie sighed.  She was used to it, and most people were probably interested in how things worked.   Or for that matter, what Kierothamatic meant.  But Thalia had always made it clear that she trusted it would work and didn't need to know how. 
"This switch turns it on, and this light flashes when it's on."
"And how do I know when to turn it on?"
Cyssie took it back from her and switched it on. 
"There Mom, it has an repeating internalized power supply.  It won't stop working so there's no reason to turn it off." 
"Any side effects I should know about?"
"Yea, staring at the blinking light to long will give you a killer headache, so I designed it to emit a periodic pulsing pain relief field.  And the field may cause you and your enemies to be unaware of injuries they've taken for slightly longer than is healthy."
"You built a device that suppresses pain into a device that disrupts enchantments?"
"Yeah, maxed out the power supply too, and it has a self-shield, fragmentation armor, and a big red self destruct button for when the hero inevitably stops you."
"Cyssie, when was the last time a hero stopped me?"
"Well, the family is getting together for dinner on Friday, so I figure Dad shows up in the nick of time midday Thursday to stop you."
Right, Hal would show up and stop her as always.  God she loved that man, he was the only thing standing between her and having to rule the universe.  Ever since he'd first showed up in her throne room and commanded her to let his girlfriend of the time go, a request which she had happily complied with, no one else had foiled her plans.  Over time they'd gotten quite close, and they'd eventually decided to go steady, he only foiled her plans and she never let anyone else foil her.  When he finally captured her after he foiled her plan to use the artifact from the temple of Kasun, they'd gotten married.  Soon afterward she had to postpone her plot to blackmail the King of Rhinsla while she was carrying their eldest daughter, Katherine.  Sure they'd had their fights every other month, and they were both quite determined to cause the other humiliating defeat, but as far as relationships went, few immortals could claim better. 

"Your payment will arrive in the usual manner.  So are you going to bring someone to dinner one of these days or am I going to need to start inviting nice young men over for you?"
"Actualy Mom, I met someone at the artificer's conference last week.  He's very eager to meet you, he's a big fan of your work with low decay reanimation."
"Really?  Always nice to meet a fellow necromancer, does this young lad have a name?"
"Dr. Igor, he used to work with the count back in the day."
"Isn't he a henchman?"
"Popular misconception, he's brilliant!  I was giving a lecture on the effects of high output power emitters on artificial reanimation and he came up to me afterwards to discuss it.  Apparently he's been working on the same thing for ages!  And yesterday he came over and we tried steady effect xyphonoids, made out for a while, and then calibrated some of the twitch-guided missiles I've been working on for the Pythens.  It was amazing, and we even had time for dinner!"

And she thought Hal and her had weird dates.  She couldn't help but feel like there was something in that statement that sounded normal for a date, but Cyssie always talked too fast for her to tell.  But it was good to hear that her daughter was actually doing something normal-ish for once. 
She sat back in her throne and relaxed.  It was a good day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart: The Hall of Vion

Credits; Krell,
"VION!"  Kelvin struck an accusatory pose in the middle of the hall, blade directed at the seated figure at the other end.  Krell glanced about and saw no additional drones, no windows, and no other ways out of the room.  They were trapped together if the door behind him were to be cut off, every sensible part of him screamed to leave before another fight started. 
"What, dying again?  When did this happen?"
"I was hoping you'd tell me."
"Well, when did you notice that people were dead?"
"About three hours ago when this priest informed me of it."

The figure on the throne stared drectly at him.  He watched the black robe rise and come down the stairs to him, it was only as it drew close that he realized that it was a rather unflateringly garbed woman.  Save her hair, which in the dim light of the hall didn't even shine enough to distinguish it from the fabric of the robe. 
"Tell me what you told him."
"I told him that he was dead.  He informed me that someone had put a sword through his heart and then put the sword on my desk, his heart still on it."
"Then he really just now found out about the whole undead thing?"
"Doesn't surprise me, he thinks I'm a very old man who uses youth potions and wears a black robe with the hood up."
"And what are you exactly?"
"Dame Viondelle Yellsdana, ambassador to the court of Gasca, appointed by the countess herself some five or six hundred years ago."  She somehow managed to roll her eyes seductively as she said it, a gesture Krell found both confusing and deeply unnattural.  Only a vampire could manage to pull it off without looking stupid, so it seemed she was telling the truth. 
"Well, milady, perhaps he'd be willing to listen to you if you told him, he doesn't seem willing to stand still long enough for me to explain it."
"Very well, on the condition that youfollow him around for the next decade or so and not come back unless its something truly important.  It's been positively ages since I've seen him and I already want him to leave." 
"Yes yes, just tell him that we're all undead and the government took care of it already."

She ignored him and turned back to Kelvin, who hadn't even seemed to notice that she'd moved across the room. 
"Well Kelvin, it appears that there has been some misunderstanding."
Kelvin snapped around to face her.  "Misunderstanding?  You mean the priest lied to me?"
"No, he just didn't explain it very well.  You see, we've all been dead for around five hundred years or so now."
"That's impossible, I'd have noticed."
"There was some very tricky spellwork involved, the people responsible wanted to make sure no one knew about it.  In fact, most people still don't.  It would be best if you didn't mention it to them, they would refuse to accept it and might think you're a bit crazy."
Kelvin nodded knowingly.  Krell couldn't help but admire the way she handled her words.  And the more he listened to her tailor the tale of the plague's arrival the more he began to notice the way that her robes actualy fit rather nicely. 

"And so you understand what must be done?"
"Of course, these cultists must be destroyed.  Any threat to the Empire is a threat to her Majesty the Queen, and anyone who threatens her had best be ready to suffer the wrath of Kelvin.  Come Father, we must make haste to find the source of these foul publications."
"But I was just..."
The vampire gently spun him about to follow the mad warrior back out of the castle.  "Yes Father, you should make haste lest those wandering eyes of yours be noticed by an unintended audience.  And we wouldn't want the good warrior thinking you were interested in young men, now would you?"
"Tricky vixen."
"Lecherous dead, run along."

He glanced back and saw her wearing a low-cut black gown with matching gloves.  As he followed Kelvin's widely spaced footsteps he couldn't help but wonder if the robe or the gown was the illusion.
Kelvin Bladeheart; he took death pretty well, eh? They say that under his beard there is only another blade(technicaly they're wrong, it's all mustache)

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart: A Cold Welcome

Credits; Krell,
"Where are we going?" called Father Krell as he stumbled along, habit still firmly in the grasp of the warrior Kelvin.  Since the warrior had pulled him over his desk an hour ago he had barely touched the ground.  The man may be thick as a fortress, but he moved like the wind. 
"The usual, lots of people are dead, and I know a guy who might know where to start."
He looked forward, to try and see where they were going.  His hood inflated but stayed in place, and he could feel the wind moving over his eyes.  It blurred his vision, but a muttered word diverted the wind away.  As his vision renewed he spotted their destination.  At the top of a hill there was a castle; a small one, but still a castle. 
"Up there is a man called Jaive.  No better man in the empire when it comes to information.  He has contacts all over the universe, from South Seclora to the Dwarves of the Far Up."
"Oh, then he definitely knows who killed us all."

The door was guarded, a set of basic watch drones.  Light armor, a few blades built into the arms, probably had a small blaster mounted in the forearms nothing much as far as threat level. 
"Say Kelvin, does this guy know your coming?"
The warrior had already vanished from his side.  He saw the two drones in a pile to the side of the door, which had already been ripped from its hinges. 
"I'll take that as a no."  The priest muttered as he pulled up the hem of his robe and followed the trail of destruction into the castle.  Bits of drone littered the floor, and sections of the floor had been cut, gouged even.  He heard a small explosion and the room ahead illuminated briefly. He ran in just in time to watch Kelvin kick the next door off its hinges, as a rather larger, better armored drone began sliding apart along several diagonal cuts.  Apparently he fought as fast as he ran.  He pulled himself through the splintered remains of the door and got his first look at the warrior in action.  Kelvin was charging a trio of well-armed mercenaries with nothing but his sword.  One shot after another glanced off of his ragged chainmail, and still more simply tore through the gaps in his armor and continued into his surroundings.  Nothing stopped him, the closest mercenary had only enough time to bring his gun up to block the warrior's blow.  It availed him not, for the sword tore through the weapon as easily as a grain of rice and the armor fared little better.  The second mercenary fled at once as the black blood of his undead brother oozed from his headless trunk.  But the third drew his own sword and took a defensive stance, preparing himself for the fight ahead. 

Krell began to consider which of his spells would most benefit the swift warrior in the fight.  But before he could fortify his apparent companion, Kelvin unleashed a spell of his own.  With his hand outstretched he incanted a call for the doom of rime.  A powerful blast of wind, humid with a glacial cool, flowed forth from his hand and left only the man's imprint upon the door ahead unfrozen.  Even safely behind Kelvin and his frigid gale, Father Krell could feel the deathly chill.  He muttered the last rites for the fallen mercenaries as Kelvin stepped through the arctic aftermath and into the chamber of the mysterious man they sought.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Kelvin Bladeheart; Everyone's Dead

Credits: Krell,
"Help!  I have a sword in my heart."
Father Krell looked over his glasses at the long bearded warrior that had barged into his office uninvited. 
"Lets see it then."
The man set a sword down on the desk, sure enough there was a heart at the junction of the hilt and blade.  How it could have taken him so long to notice this he had no idea. 
"Well Mister...?"
"Well Mister Kelvin, i hate to be the one to break it to you but it would appear your heart has been impaled.  there's nothing I can do."
"But it's still beating, look at it."
The middle aged priest took a pen out of his desk and poked the heart cautiously. 
"No Mister Kelvin, this heart has probably been stopped for quite some time.  I'm afraid the owner of this heart is dead."
"But..But that's MY heart."
"Then it is my unfortunate responsibility to inform you that you are dead."

Krell stared at the howling warrior.  Torn chain tunic, beard seemed to go from the bottom of his nose to the base of his neck, and a single short braid on his back all indicated that he was almost certainly from one of the high mountain towns.  But the mark he bore was that of the Royal House of Gasca, the only mountain folk who'd wear that mark were the Queen's bodyguards.  If this was who was guarding the Queen's life then...Oh right, that explained a lot. 

"Well this won't do at all.  Doctor, which way to the nearest priest or witch?"
"I am the priest."
"Really?  Well then, I need an imediate resurection.  I'll pay you double your regular fee."
"Why would you need to be ressurected?  Everyone's dead."
"Everyone's dead!  What monster is responsible for this?"
"Well actually we've all been dead for quite some time.  I'm surprised that you haven't.."
"Come Father, we must avenge our people."
A chain-backed glove shot up and grabbed him by his hood and yanked him over the desk.  Next thing he knew he was flying through the pews carried at an almost imposible speed.  His last thought before the door hit him on the way out was that he'd just been sucked into a pointless adventure with a complete idiot.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beyond; follow-up

Just a few background bits and tie-ins. 

One, Collin married Hamren, son of Hamaf.  She also became the first Queen of Tara, although in all fairness he did most of the management.  She and Emperor Kevand had become quite close after the crash, and she was a driving force behind colonization. 
She also found out, shortly after arriving in the colony, that she was a werewolf.  The palace was designed around the hope that having secret passages and very thick doors would help keep other people from figuring it out.  It didn't work so well, and it can be safely assumed that anyone inside the palace of Tara, to this day, is either a Lycan, or sleeping in the extraordinarily well fortified guest quarters.  The number of moons that Tara possesses means that it is always a full moon, and often more than one.  All of Taran architecture has since been designed around the mentality of 'small windows, and lots of thick, metal doors'.  Over the last several millennia, Nieldic scientists have noticed that people from Tara can operate at full efficiency at only four hours of sleep spread over seventy-two hours.  People often fail to notice that they sleep at all. 

Two, Emperor Kevand  is generally considered to be one of the greatest Emperors of all time.  He managed to almost single handedly restructure the government, and appointed many non-nobles to rule the new colonies.  A further restructuring of the tax codes allowed him to impoverish most of the standing nobility,  rendering them powerless.  That tax code, with minor adjustments, is actually still used by the Danielandish.  Oddly enough, the system is designed less to tax the citizens and businesses of the empire and more to place the Empire in control of several critical and profitable industries, particularly mining.  He spent most of his reign working on that code, and managed to get it to work out in such a way as to make most of the Empire's raw materials very inexpensive while still offering a rather good wage to all the workers; taxes on the middle and lower classes dropped to a pittance.  The nobility however, was forced to shoulder much of the burden.  They took it surprisingly well, and only a few thousand of them had to be executed.  The rest followed his example and took over other critical industries, food production being one of the most popular. 

Jor became captain of the Rangers, and that unit was permanently assigned to guarding research facilities and testing new devices in combat.  They were expanded, and made a permanent division of the army.  He married Polly, but her family disowned her for it.  She enlisted with the Rangers and served as his second in command until they retired.  They had one son, Haelvan, who followed in their footsteps as commander of the Rangers.  He married one of Collin and Hamren's daughters and had several children prior to the Ga-Vok raid on Tara during the Ga-Vok war. 

Hamaf died(clearly). 

Jeanine fell in with a guild of thieves and thugs known as 'the Ukown'.  They never really accepted her, as a result of her obvious pursuit of a personal agenda.  However, she did manage to turn most of the guild towards the goal of cleansing the empire of the worse sort of nobles.  She had a son who followed in her footsteps as an assassin intent on justice, Gar. 

And lastly; the ship was later determined(much, much later) to have been human in origin.  An event of supernatural(and keep in mind that both magic and demons are considered a part of the natural universe to the Nielda) origins struck quite suddenly at precisely the moment of the crash and effected nearly the entire universe.  All civilizations prior to that point seem to have suffered debilitating catastrophes at the exact same time.  Ten years later the Nielda launched their first interstellar ship and established their first colony on another planet, Tara(or as it was originally known 'holy crap this place is dark fifty percent of the day!', or more officially 'world of the many dark islands'. 

Chapter Thirty; Epilogue

"Milady, the captain of the rangers is here to see you."
Collin looked at her handmaid in surprise.  It had been years since she'd been with the rangers.  With the chaos going on in the colonies she was surprised that her old unit could have been assigned to the palace out of all the units in the army. 
But not quite as surprising as who was there to meet her. 

"Your highness, Captain Jor of the Rangers."
"Greetings your majesty, could we speak in private?"
She gestured for Cyrsten, her handmaid, to close the doors.  "Anything that you can tell me you can tell her, it's in her job description to keep my secrets."
"These are not words for Guardsmen.  Total privacy Collin, no one else."
"No Jor,  she stays."
"Fine, your highness.  I suppose I can tell her what the Captain gave me direct orders to reveal to you alone."
"Crysten, could you?"
"Absolutely not, that death is an ongoing investi..."
Collin touched a finger to her bracelet.  The runes on it activated to paralyze Crysten, binding her nervous system and suspending her thoughts.  She stood in a standing faint, unaware she'd even been paralyzed.
It was a useful trinket, Hamren had given it to her after the engagement.  'Just in case' he said, he was always good with the prep work. 

"Trinket, I can barely use alchemy.  What were you saying about the Captain?"
Jor drew a yellowed envelope from one of the deeper pockets on his trench coat.  He'd carried the fifth letter for nearly twenty years waiting until he found some trace of Collin, never setting it down for fear that he'd lose it or worse, that the Captain's secrets would be revealed and his name besmirched by its contents. 
"He gave me this the day he died.  One for his wife, one for me, one for Jor, and one for Jeanine all delivered."
"You've met Jeanine then?  After what she did to him, to her own father?"
"I was there Collin, I saw it happen."
"And you met with her anyways?"
"She was crying."
"She smiled!"
"No, I watched the fight.  The recording devices didn't come on until after she stabbed him, I watched the feed.  He told her a joke and she smiled for the camera, it was planned Collin.  He knew he was going to die and he walked into it on purpose, I think he may have even ordered her to do it."
"You think the captain committed suicide using his daughter?"
"I think he commuted Martyrdom using his daughter.  I've read the letters, I know the things he'd been worried about the last few months of his life.  He wanted to change the system from within.  Jeanine can remove players, but she can't pick their successors.  I think that's what this letter is for.  He wants you to put the right people in play."
"Like Polly?"
"Leave her out of this, we never asked for all those murders."
"So the Captain's plan was for Jeanine to open up critical positions in the nobility and for me to see to it that the right people would take their place.  Genius, but it doesn't work that way.  The system has changed now, the Emperor is making decisions about who has power."
"And His Majesty is doing a fine job of it.  Put you in charge here didn't he?"
"I did actually, turns out the legal expertise I picked up trying to blackmail my dad prepared me perfectly for dealing with Kevand the Just.  Because my land was lost in the crash I was able to convince him that the next available land was mine by right."
"Makes sense.  So what does this mean for the Captain's plan?"
"It means he meant well, but he had no idea what was about to happen."
"None of us did Collin, none of us did."

And the moons rose over Tara, first colony of the Daniellandish Empire.