Taker VI – Failed Attempt


5bd9c8dec0dd08094821c06af16a9e8c

Now, if I could paint this well, I would do my own art =P

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get this chapter out. You know when you hit one of those rough spots in your writing where you know what you have to write and you know what you want to write but you don’t really feel like it because you have other things you want to do? Well, that happened to me, thus the delay on this chapter. But it’s here now, so, enjoy. 🙂

Chapters: Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |  ToC

“So, I heard you’re pretty tough,” a large, muscular Aelve spat, slamming his fist down on the table.

The person he was speaking to, an unshaven Human, looked up blankly, then glanced around. No one even turned.

“You beat up some of the people in my gang a couple of dawnbreaks ago. Want to explain?”

The man rubbed the stubble on his chin, then shrugged his shoulders mildly. The Aelve stared in disbelief for a moment.

“You do not shrug your shoulders at me, Human. I’m Ta’vich, King of the Streets.”

Ta’vich waited expectantly for the customary look of fear. His addressee just gave him another blank stare.

“Alright, I’m done.” The gang leader picked up the table between them and flipped it towards the man. Before he could react, Ta’vich lunged forward, his fist coming into contact with the man’s jaw.

One punch sufficed to knock his opponent out, and Ta’vich stepped back, satisfaction on his face. “That’ll teach you to shrug your shoulders at me, Human.”

When he turned around and left, the Human opened his eyes and stood up, righting the table. He called for another drink and rubbed his jaw gently. Moments later, the barkeep hurried over with a frothing mug in hand.

“You should have beat him up, Asanthe. Now he will grow more arrogant. And he is a coward. One blow from you would have had him running,” the barkeep said quietly.

“‘Better an arrogant coward than a vengeful one.’ Philosopher Kylh, 601 A.E.” Asanthe took a swig of his drink. “Such words are not mere dribble, Clara. Where is your sister tonight?”

“You can tell?” Suddenly the barkeep became very shy.

Asanthe sipped his drink again.

“How can you tell?”

He grabbed her hand. “You wear a ring. It is so important to you that you wear it all the time, except for when you fill in for your sister. It leaves a distinct mark on your fingers. Your nails are not chipped and broken from years of manning the bar and dealing with unpleasant patrons. You may be twins, but you have a slimmer frame, and that outfit does not fit you as well as it fits Tara. And finally, unlike her, you have a decided predisposition to hang off every word I say.”

She stared at him, then hurried away to serve another customer. He sipped at his drink and let the bitter taste bite at his tongue and the sides of his mouth. Everybody reacted like that. Even in this modern era, knowing too much got you shunned and rejected by others. Still, better he remain rejected and unknown than his secret come to light. Already there were people who suspected him of being more than he claimed to be, and his claim was no light one at that.

Asanthe, wandering scholar and philosopher, studier of the arts and teachings of philosophers before him, that was what people knew him as. If they knew that he was really the last remaining shy-gyth — swordmaster — and the creator of the fifteenth sword art: sym-myth, there’s no telling how many he might have to kill to keep his secret safe; the last thing he wanted to do was kill more.

***

“It’s very rare that you come to see me, mother,” a tall, lanky man said placidly, addressing the hooded woman behind him.

“I need your help,” his mother replied.

“Another rare occurrence.” The man spoke in clipped tones. “Who is it this time?”

“You know who. He’s back.”

This elicited a reaction; his whole frame went taut. “Not even your best Purists can handle him.”

The Headmistress sighed. Her son had many faults, one of them being his insatiable desire to feel needed. She supposed that in part it had to do with the rough upbringing he had underwent. He had essentially been left in a state of total neglect for the entirety of his younger years. How she — who had willingly given her sickly son to the scientists to mutate — had become leader of an organization devoted to wiping out mutants from Cheridith was beyond her. Life certainly had its ironies.

She reached out and grabbed his arm, an unusual sign of affection from her. “Son, be careful. He was the best they made.”

He gave his mother a funny look of disbelief. “And you would mourn, if I died?” The laugh he let out was all air and no mirth. “Would you not instead rejoice that you wouldn’t have to send your Purists after me?”

She pursed her lips, then turned abruptly and left. He stood silently, brooding, watching her as she strode proudly away out of the small hut he lived in. He shook his head. She was the only person in his life who could exact any emotion from him, and he wasn’t sure if he hated or loved her.

***

The sun had sunk low by the time Ryke reentered the city. Most people had vacated the streets, and his footsteps echoed hollowly on the cobblestone. Except it wasn’t an echo. Someone was following him. He rounded a corner quickly then flattened himself against the wall of a hut. His shadow’s footsteps stopped, and he peered around the corner to see a cloaked figure hovering uncertainly.

Before he could do anything, the figure hissed, “Duck!”

Instinctively, he dropped. A crossbow bolt bounced off the brick wall, exactly where his head had been. He straightened and quickly scanned the area. Two cloaked figures now ran off in opposite directions. For a moment, uncertainty took the reins, then he threw caution to the wind and ran off after one of them.

Energy coursed through Ryke as he sped after his quarry, his speed giving him an edge. Aylya cast a quick glance over her shoulder and cursed when she realized Ryke was catching up. She could still stay ahead, though, just not by running in a straight line.

Without warning, she ducked around a corner into a side alley. Her pursuer had to slow somewhat before making the turn, giving her a few extra cords. It was all she needed. Springing into the air, she gripped a rafter tightly and pulled herself up. The muscle-up took longer than she’d thought— curse the newfangled heavy crossbows.

Ryke managed to catch up to her as she ascended. He jumped up and grabbed blindly, his fingers catching tightly on to fabric. It was her cloak, and it came tumbling down on his face as the clasp for it broke. He caught sight of a flash of red hair before his quarry disappeared across the rooftop. For a few minutes, he considered climbing up after her, but it would have been futile. Wrapping the cloak around his arm, he made his way back to the inn.

Tours yruly

 

Advertisements

Taker II – The Old Woman


img_0049

Fire is so unbelievably destructive…

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a few hours. But here’s chapter two! =D I’m trying to keep these chapters relatively short, so there’ll probably be more of them, and more frequently. Still gotta get to Mansion. XP Anyway, last chapter we got introduced to hour main character, learned he’s an amnesiac, etc. This chapter we see more developments in just exactly what he’s like, and we set ourselves up for a quest. Kind of. Maybe. Enjoy! 🙂

Chapters: Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 56 | 7 | 8ToC

Lying still in bed, Ryke waited patiently as the movement at his door continued. Then it creaked open slowly and four of the men he’d seen downstairs walked in, accompanied by the innkeeper himself. They carried no weapons, but all were burly, big, rough men.

“Quickly,” the innkeeper whispered. “Find his stuff. We don’t ‘ave much time.” He shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t like his kind.”

The group of men split up as they filed into different corners of the room. Clumsily, they did their best to search in silence but failed miserably. They soon found his only possessions were on him and gathered on the far end of the room, muttering nervously.

Ryke sat up. “Greetings, gentlemen.”

All five men whirled around.

Ryke raised a soothing hand. “Calm down– nothing to get worried about.” He stood up. Continuing smoothly, he said, “I assume you fine fellows are here for my money. I assure you, what you saw downstairs is all I have. Here, you can have it all.” Reaching into his pocket, he handed them all the money the old woman had given him.

They stood there, blinking dumbly at him in the moonlight. The asinine looks on their faces would have put a smile on his face had the matter come anywhere near being worth smiling about, but instead he just moved towards the door saying, “Alright, now that you have all my money, why don’t you head out?” He swung the door wide, and the light that streamed in temporarily blinded them.

Looking inanely at each other, they hesitated, then the innkeeper spoke up. “I don’t like this’ere business.  If this be all your money, then why give it up? It doesn’t make sense.”

With a sigh, Ryke closed the door, plunging them all into darkness. “You found me out.” He pulled a coin out of his pocket and flipped it up into the air.

The eyes of the men followed it as moonlight glinted off its edges, then Ryke caught it and sent it flying at hyper speed across the room. The innkeeper watched as the deadly missile flew towards him, and he wondered if he was going to die, and why he hadn’t shaved that morning. Then the gold coin hit him in the eye and his head jerked back from the force of impact.

He fell backwards through the air and landed with a heavy thud on the ground. His hand released the coins it held and flew to his wounded eye while he let out a cross between a bear’s roar of rage and a horse’s snort. The coins rolled from his hand along the floor before falling on their sides at the feet of the other men. They looked at the money for a second, then looked back up at Ryke, but he was long gone.

Slipping out from the shadows, Ryke wrapped his ropy arms around the thick neck of one of the men and snapped his neck. The man’s partner, seeing Ryke, quickly threw a roundhouse punch at Ryke’s head. Ducking under the wild punch, Ryke drove his shoulder deep into the man’s stomach. The thief doubled over. Another punch came swinging. Ryke blocked with his left, grabbed the back of his assailants head, and threw him into the other man. Both went tumbling.

Ryke whirled in time to dodge a grab from the final burglar. For a moment the two circled, then Ryke’s eyes flicked upwards to a rafter that spanned the ceiling. His opponent’s gaze followed, but lingered for a split-second too long. Ryke jumped up, grabbed the rafter, and used the swinging momentum to send himself flying at the man’s head. Essentially clotheslining the thug with the back of his knee, Ryke sent the man flying to the floor, where it took another quick twist to dispatch him.

In the silence that followed, Ryke recollected his scattered money and prepared to leave the room when he heard a shuffling noise. He spun around to find the innkeeper point to his eye.

“You forgot one.”

Ryke walked over, and instantly the innkeeper cowered.

“I should kill you,” he breathed. “You’re scum, stealing from your customers.”

The innkeeper blanched. Ryke blinked, and when he opened his eyes again, the innkeeper had turned into a black, scrawny monster. It took only one look at the creature’s dilated pupils and wide eyes for Ryke to reflexively strike out. The monster fell back, shivered, then morphed back into the innkeeper. Disturbed, Ryke stood up quickly and exited the room.

Nobody seemed to pay heed as Ryke started down the stairs, but as soon as he entered the barroom, everybody went silent. Resolutely ignoring the stares as they all looked at him, Ryke headed straight for the door. He swung it wide before slamming it violently shut behind him.

***

Aylya slid on a pair of gloves and strapped a quiver of crossbow bolts to her belt. Sheathing a pair of elegant daggers, she looked up at the polished bronze plate as she tightened the draw strings on her top. The feeling of her tight outfit was welcome. It gave her a sense of security and power, power which she was about to use to make the world a better place. She flipped the hood up over her head. Ryke doesn’t stand a chance.

***

The sun had risen, and it cast the soft, orange glow of morning on everything it touched. Dew on a bush shimmered as light rays shone through them, then fell to the ground as Ryke brushed past the shrub. He rounded a bend in the road, glanced to his right, then stopped short.

The house which he had just stopped by the day before now lay in ashes. Some of the rubble slid, and Ryke snapped to attention. He peered intently into the ruins. A shadow slipped between some of the still-standing supports. Soundlessly, Ryke made his way towards the house.

Digging through some of the rubble was a lithe Aelve wearing a pea green cloak. Ryke quietly approached. When Ryke had gotten close, the figure whirled around, a knife in hand. Reflexively, Ryke grabbed the looter’s wrist in a grip of iron. He easily forced the knife back against the stranger’s throat.

When the blade touched his throat, the looter broke. “Okay, okay! I’m sorry. Don’t kill me, please.”

“What did you do?” Ryke asked levelly.

The Aelve clamped his lips shut stubbornly. In response, Ryke pressed the knife harder into the flesh on the looter’s neck.

“Fine. You can tell my mom I went to church once last week. Only once okay? I felt like I needed to confess.”

“Church?” Ryke asked. “What the—”

Before Ryke could continue, the Aelve slipped out of his grip, threw ashes into his eyes, and kicked him back. Instead of fleeing, the looter just stood there rubbing his wrist with a pained expression.

“I think you bruised it,” he complained.

Ryke slammed him up against a still-standing wall. Pieces of masonry fell to the ground.

“Woah! Woah! Just relax, okay? Tell my mom I’ll visit her eventually, alright? She just needs to stop sending you mercs after me.”

“Is that what you think I am? Some mercenary?”

The Aelve gave a horrified whisper. “You didn’t accept the contract for free did you?”

“No, you idiot,” Ryke growled. “I don’t even know your mother. I want to know what happened here. What did you do to this place?”

“Me? I didn’t do anything. This place burned down years ago.”

Ryke released the looter, and his brow furrowed in frustration.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure! What did you think? That I’m some casual looter?”

Ryke eyed the large bag at the Aelve’s feet.

The stranger grew defensive. “I’m a professional looter.”

Ryke thought for a moment. “You have a name, kid?”

“Syrist Lysanther. Why?”

“If I was looking for somebody, what would be the best place to look?”

“Uh, uh. Money first. Talk later.”

Ryke glared.

“It’s business,” Syrist said, shrugging. “Gotta make an honest living here.”

“How about I don’t kill you?”

Syrist paled.

“Eastern Rock. The capital. Everybody is there. That’s where you’ll find whoever you’re looking for.”

“Thanks,” Ryke said, starting to walk off.

“What about my money?” Syrist called after him.

Ryke flipped a silver coin back over his shoulder. Syrist caught it eagerly, and his eyes grew wide when he saw it.

Staring at the money with the fascination only a looter knows, he spoke. “Hey, y’know, next time you want information, just come to me. I’ll give you anything you need to know at this kind of rate….” He looked up, but Ryke was gone.

Tours yruly

Because I am not faithful to Cold Hands…


A WIP map which I've made for my story

A WIP map which I’ve made for my story

I’ll admit it. I’m not a faithful writer. XP I’m four chapters from finishing Cold Hands and I’m already plotting another featured novel to replace it. =P Don’t worry, I’m not so bad as to not finish it before starting this new story, however I’ve been so excited about this new story that it’s honestly choking my ability to write for Cold Hands, so I’m hoping doing this post will help. 

Anyway, this post is for the “Beautiful Books” post at paperfuryEssentially I answer a bunch of questions about a WIP (in this case a planned WIP). And no, while this post is mostly for NaNo writers, I will not be doing NaNo this year just because six APs, two dual-enrollment courses, and two self-study courses is too heavy to work through and write for NaNo. Sorry guys =/ That’s it though, so enjoy!

PAPERFURYLet the questions begin!

  • How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’ve had this idea for a while now actually. Probably since completion of chapter 18 of Cold Hands. Funnily enough, I actually came up with the idea after inspiration from my AP Psych class and a few YouTube videos. It then developed from there, especially upon watching a playthrough of The Witcher. Now I have thirteen fantasy novels all ready to read as “research” for my story. =P

  • Why are you excited to write this novel?

I’m super excited to write this novel because I’ve never actually finished a fantasy novel, and this is one with an idea that I’m soooooooo pumped about, and that I feel actually merits finishing. I’ve even gone to the point of creating a wiki for it. Probably overkill, but having an encyclopedia-type thing does help with this kind of story with a world that I’m creating from scratch.

I like this picture. =P

I like this picture. =P

  • What is your novel about, and what is the title?

My novel follows the story of a mentally troubled Taker, a human mutated specially for assassination. The title is… Drumroll please… Mental – Cheridith Chronicles #1. Yes, I do plan on making it a series, as with all (not actually all XD) my other stories.

  • Sum up your characters in one word each.

Blast… I don’t know all the characters that will be in the story. XP I’ll do the ones I do know though:

1. Ryke – Lost
2. Jayline – Impetuous

And believe it or not that is seriously all the characters I have thought of. =P

  • Which character(s) do you think will be your favorite to write? Tell us about them!

Honestly, this might be ridiculous, but I’ll enjoy writing Ryke, my main character. This is because (I won’t let you guys in on too much) something is wrong with his head, and so he can be irrational, he gets to look at things differently, and he’ll probably have the most hilarious interactions. =P

I’m also kinda excited about the characters who surround him though, because they’ll all act as mirrors at various angles, reflecting his personality in different ways, and it will be cool to see how each of them reacts.

Always that one, key piece

Always that one, key piece

  • What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

In this story (at least at the current stage of my planning), Ryke just wishes to sort his life out. After suffering a severe bout of amnesia, he awakes in an unknown land with unknown skills and unknown people. It doesn’t take him long to figure out his lust for killing, and he wrestles with it through the rest of the story.

  • Where is your novel set?

My novel is set in the world of Cheridith, and you can see a terrain map of it up there. I’m working on the political map right now. =P I’ll post it when I’m done, ’cause teasers. XD By the way, each of those little hexagons in the map has a diameter of fifty kilometers, to give you an idea of the scale. =P And yeah, most if not all of the map will be used in the story.

Silhouette stuff. How generic can I get? XP

Silhouette stuff. How generic can I get? XP

  • What is the most important relationship your character has?

His most important relationship is actually with Jayline, which is why she’s the only other character apart from Ryke that I have plans for. XP Through her he discovers a lot about himself, which helps him to come to terms with who and what he is.

  • How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

You know that word I used to describe Ryke? Lost? That changes by the end of the novel. =P

  • What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

Genre-wise, fantasy. However, the main theme behind the book is self-discovery and self-understanding. The book will also contain themes about standing up to the world when it cracks down on you for acting different. It also will cover things like love and relationships (of course. XP).

I want my readers to have thoroughly enjoyed the story. I want it to so entice them that they cannot put it down. And at the end of it I want them to want more. I want them to feel satisfied and hungry at the same time. But most of all, I want them to feel secure in themselves, because at its root this story tries to demonstrate that principle.

Memories...

Memories…

  • BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

Considering I did not actually finish, my ethos isn’t exactly the best is it? But, based on my failure, here’s my tips:

1. Make sure you have enough time.
2. Plan, plan, plan. Make sure it is all planned out so you’re never at a loss.
3. Know you’ll enjoy it. You need to know that you’re not going to get tired of your story, and that you can write for long stints at a go.

That’s it for this post guys. You can look forward to more teasers, but I really do need to finish Cold Hands first don’t I? XP Hope you enjoyed.

Tours yruly