Just a brief update – there’s been almost no progress on Torrek’s Slumber (the title of which will likely change soon), as I have been busy editing Dark Aeons – and the first editing read-through has been completed! Additionally, “Dark Prophecy” has also been edited by Peter Merlin, and is finished now in its entirety! Waiting for his editing on the other stories and on Michael Ireland’s work on The Libel of Blood. I expect to make some progress in Torrek’s Slumber and a few short story projects soon though!
Monthly Archives: July 2011
My latest conquest, Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms, was possibly the second-best Pratchett book I’ve read (after Hogfather). It was very poignant, witty, and very much a social commentary on British social classes – particularly the nobility. It was also interesting in that we see Havelock Vetinari being vulnerable, and was mildly unsettling. All in all, very good and satisfying, even if Cuddy’s fate was sad and unnecessary. I was hoping his ghost would join the watch as an undead. But oh well! Onto George R. R. Martin’s Dance With Dragons! Finally.
I just finished watching J. Michael Straczynski’s Crusade, Babylon 5‘s spinoff, and was very impressed. I particularly liked the character of Galen, and appreciated the cameos of Babylon 5 actors. It’s another show I’m sad didn’t get to come to its completion, as it seemed to be like a combination of Firefly and Babylon 5, two of my favorite television shows. However, eventually the “long-dead civilization destroyed by an ancient menace” theme got old, however creative it was every time.
In other news, “Sally,” “What Walks Under Moonlight,” and the novella “Parallax” from Dark Aeons are edited!
I am pleased to announce that I have finished the initial writing of all of the short stories to appear in Dark Aeons! “Afflatus Divine” and “Ascenscion” have both been finished. I was happy with “Afflatus Divine” for the most part, but couldn’t get the feel of a good ending right. Parts one and two are better than three, I’m afraid to say. “Ascenscion” was just a fin little short piece, included in its entirety below.
And what now? Now I focus on Torrek’s Slumber mostly, and continue to slowly edit the short stories and send them off to their editor, Peter Merlin, while I wait for Michael Ireland to work on The Libel of Blood. Mr. Merlin is currently editing “The Winds of Madness,” “Dark Prophecy,” “The Silver Door,” and “The Wolf’s Key.”
The old priest smiled and raised his hands to the sky. “They come for me now, my followers! My chariot of fire, come to take me up to heaven!” The crowd gathered at the feet of the old man looked up at the sky in awe as a bright spot appeared and then grew, its light soaring through the sky to illuminate the priest’s balding head. He held his right arm up in benediction and smiled. “I leave you now, my flock, but you are in good hands! My altar boy will serve you well, and you now know all you need to know. I shall see you when heaven descends again to meet Earth!”
The priest closed his eyes and again lifted up his arms. The column of light struck him head on on, and the pillar of brightness soon became too much to look at. As the crowd shielded their eyes, the pillar expanded and then contracted. As the light began to dim, the crowd again turned their eyes to it. They all saw a dark patch in the center of the figure began to rise up along the column of light, gaining speed as it ascended higher and higher. Some even fancied they could see his hand raised in benediction.
The altar boy, though, standing to the side of the column, could see into its heart with eyes unclouded. He saw the light for what it truly was. The small bodies of millions of tiny, winged imps, glowing with a foul inner light, had soared down from the sky and surrounded his mentor, clawing at his limbs and tearing his clothes. He alone could see the terror reflected on his master’s face as he was dragged up into the sky, faster and faster, by those terrible winged things, up into a realm of eternal torment. As the crowd marveled at the priest’s ascension, the altar boy despaired. He had not ascended – he had been taken to the skies by foul daemons! But who would believe him?
And what fate awaited the new priest now?
My latest conquest! I said I was going to return to Lovecraft, but I needed something not-depressing to cheer me up. And Wyrd Sisters was a good choice – the combination of Magrat, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg were very fun. I am envious of Pratchett’s abilities to write characters. Ultimately, though, I prefer the wizards – simply because their personalities are just so utterly ridiculous – but I look forward to reading another witches book. The bits about the theater and the land and kings and destiny in the book also made it a fun read (not to mention Death’s cameo as himself). Highly recommended. Next, I will really try to turn back to Lovecraft – or maybe C. A. Smith. Then after that, onto Men at Arms!
I am very far behind already, but the prologue to Torrek’s Slumber is done!
The old being leaned back and sighed, his eyes flitting over the treetops below him, bathing in the last light of the dying day. He could feel the life seeping out of his body, and with it went the source of power. He bid farewell to the microorganisms departing his ailing shell, and wished them well in whatever ventures lay yet to come. The rock beneath him was covered in dense moss that cushioned his aching bones, and would provide his tenants with a most suitable place to rest.
In the distance, towards the setting star of the planet Tal’kan, a thin stream of smoke crossed the sky as the inhabitants of the distant village of Mantuun lit the communal fire in the town square. The old being’s lips curled upwards in a friendly smile as he imagined the scene: families from across the village gathered around the fire, the product of a long day of labor. The day’s catch would be roasted over the open flames, and the young men and women would boast of their daring feats in catching this yarin or that urynx, while the elders told tales of ancient glory to the children who would gather around them.
It was a good life for all. The Ittek peoples took from Tal’kan only what they needed to survive, and lived long, full lives with almost no worldly possessions. They respected Tal’kan and paid him his dues, and Tal’kan allowed them to live peacefully upon his skin. It all worked.
Deep within his failing heart, the old being knew that this harmony was not eternal. It was in the nature of any being with sentient intelligence and will to try to improve his material lot, and give himself more than he needed. And with that, came waste. And with waste came pollution. And with enough pollution – the slumbering giant would awaken.
It had happened before; a few isolated villages had managed to regain aspects of their technology, lost long ago in a terrible disaster. Three of these villages had risen during the being’s own lifetime, and he had been forced to destroy them all – man, woman, and child.
It was a hard task to bear, and the destruction of those villages – still so innocent, and yet full of such dangerous potential – had been the worst moments of the old being’s long life. But the Ittek were learning, and more and more villages were beginning to cluster together, forming what came very close to resembling cities, and the development of disturbing levels of technology in some of the larger clusters was becoming a more and more frequent occurrence.
Genocide on a massive scale would soon become necessary to hold the Ittek in restraint. They could not be allowed to venture beyond the continent of Itteros, and they could not disturb Tal’kan’s body to any great extent. Were his Order powerful enough, it would have been far easier to merely wipe the Ittek off the face of the planet and leave it at that. Even if the Order was that powerful, however, the old being could never have brought himself to do it. All life was sacred; the Order had taught him that. It was a cruel joke played by the Elders that all life also seemed hell-bent on destroying all that was not their kind.
The tendrils of smoke began to thicken, and the old being smiled once more, his dark thoughts broken. Still, that day was long off. It would certainly be longer off than his body would last.
Footsteps sounded on the path behind him, leading up to the ledge upon which the old being sat. A figure with dark skin and a growing black beard, clad in the traditional green and yellow cloak of the Order, rushed about the bend in the Cliffside path.
“Beastheart,” the old being said calmly. The newcomer stopped beside the being and knelt.
“I came when I felt your tor leaving you.”
“Very good, very good,” the old being said. The old being himself looked much like the younger one kneeling beside him, save with even darker skin and a long, flowing beard of glistening silver. “Tell me, what do you see out in the distance?”
The younger being turned. “Smoke, master. From the village of Mantuun. Likely preparing their meal for the evening. They are harmless.”
The old being coughed. “Yes, that is what you see. But there is more, Beastheart. There is life there. The souls that created the fire that gives off that smoke are no less important than yours, or mine, or those of the trees that surround us. Remember that always, Beastheart. For too long has the Order sneered at the Ittek living their humble lives under the light of Tal’kan’s star. They may have the dark potential in their souls to destroy this world, but until that potential is realized, they are more innocent than we are. Always remember that.”
“I will,” promised the younger being. He looked troubled. “Are you dying, master?”
“Passing on,” the older being replied. He smiled. “It’s about time, too. I have watched over the Order for three dateyns. I have seen those I love grow old and die around me, while I live on always. It is a cursed life, this long one that chose me. And now, Beastheart, it has chosen you. The tor have spoken. You shall lead the Order when I am gone.”
The young being looked speechless. “But master, surely there is a better-”
“There are none better, Beastheart,” the old being continued. “You understand the true goal of our Order better than any other. We are to keep the slumbering giant asleep, and not let him wake until the time is right. We are to protect Tal’kan and ensure that it is not wounded. We are to use whatever means necessary to keep the spirit of the planet safe, and to protect those creatures that cannot protect themselves from the dangers of civilization. The dangers of civilization, Beastheart – not from civilization itself. The Order, I fear, has lost the true meaning of those words over time…”
There was silence for a few moments. “Before my tor pass onto you, Beastheart, there are secrets that you must know. Things that only the warden of the Order can ever know.
“For all is not what it seems.”
That’s right! I sat down today and literally went through and edited one hundred and sixty (160!) pages of manuscript in one day, finishing the first edit of The Libel of Blood! I’ll be shipping it off to Mr. Ireland soon for his views on the matter, and while I wait, I have some other projects!
Firstly, Dark Aeons is also in the process of being edited, and I will be continuing to go through those tales, and finishing the last two I will be putting in there – “Afflatus Divine” and “Ascenscion.” Hopefully it will be released at about the same time as The Libel of Blood, but probably will come out a little bit later.
My other project is my next novel! For Camp NaNoWriMo in July and August, I will be working on a project tentatively titled Torrek’s Slumber, taking place in the Juxian Mythos world, involving (in the immortal words of my brother – TechnoDruids. I’ll keep you all up to date on things!