The Novel, Natasha

Any aspiring writer probably has a novel they’re working on. I’m no different. Mine is currently under the codename Natasha. A frequent reader might recognize that name as the fifth prince of the Solune, Natasha Rhye, captain of the Murdock guard. That’s who I’m talking about.

Natasha is actually an unusual character to write about. She doesn’t have a lot of motivation, and she’s not a particularly interesting person. But, she has a drive for order, and an openness to change. She’s the one who recruited Setzer.

I’ll get to the main point of this post. I’m working on a book, and it’s an interesting experience. I’d like to document my trials and travesty in my endeavour, maybe it’ll keep me motivated because to be honest I haven’t written in my notebook in over a week now and it’s starting to call to me. And it’s getting louder each day.

Why did I stop writing anyway? Well, I used to log my pages written per day, so let’s see. I stopped writing on the 11th, and wrote one more time on the 14th. What happened on the 11th? Oh right, I started this blog! So the blog ended up taking up a lot of my time, but I’ll admit it only takes about two hours to make a 1000-2000 word post, so I have loads of time to do some writing. I think I’ll be finishing this book.

So, today I’m posting about all that I’ve done so far. Here are some cool numbers:

  • 5 Chapters done
  • 91 Pages written
  • 19 days of writing

Those numbers might seem pretty big, but to me it’s a little disappointing. I mean, imagine if I had been keeping up with it in those seventeen days between the 11th and today, the 27th? Well, the past is the past, I can’t change it.

But I can change the future. I’m going to write tonight, and tomorrow I’ll write up a post on what the plot is and where it’s going. For now I’ll leave you with this, Natasha gets a promotion to City Captain, and her first task is to find out who stole two cudgels of iron, and why…

See you then,

Daniel Triumph.

Astore Lungeblade

Grey Ooze part 1 link

“Oh, so I’m being tested too? Shouldn’t I get an exemption though, since I’m already a Solune Agent?”

Astore asked Janna.

“Yeah, well, you’d think that, eh. But it turns out dad, er, the King wants to test you in a group combat environment. You’ve been working primarily as a stealth unit, so it’s not entirely unreasonable.”

Astore was a short man. All Riley are short, but Astore was particularly short, only three and one fifths cubits. [For those unfamiliar with Dawngale/biblical units, a cubit is 17.5 inches. Astore is 4’8″]. His height stands out further in the Solune capital, as the Solune people average at four cubits [6 foot]. Like all Riley, he had shaggy black hair and darker skin around his eyes. The eyes themselves were a pale brown.

Astore nodded to her, “Okay. That makes sense actually.”

So, Astore waited. He had a few days before enough people had submitted to the King’s call, so he busied himself with personal tasks.

Astore was a very particular young man. He liked everything to be in their place, and his sword, a Riley Lungeblade, was starting to get damaged. He usually kept it sharp but at this point it was accumulating so many chips and cuts that he would need it repaired, or replaced.

He took the sword to a smith, Sarah and Jheffrey’s. He usually got his work done in Baracus, but he wasn’t planning on leaving town when he might be needed.

“You sure put a lot of use into this blade, huh.” Jheffrey said.

Astore nodded.

“Sarah can fix it for sure, but are you sure you don’t want a new one?” He asked.

Astore said, “I’ve been using this sword for a long time, it has never failed me.”

“Well, at least consider a new blade. Or, if you really have emotional attachment, we can reforge this one, maybe give you a bronze edge.” Jeffrey offered.

“What? Why bronze? What’s wrong with iron?” Astore asked.

“Bronze is a more expensive material for a reason. Well, I guess that reason is that copper is harder to find, but hey. Bronze keeps it’s edge better, it’s not as easy to bend.”

Jeffrey pointed to the warped blade.

“It looks like yours bends sometimes. I’m guessing, as it is a lungeblade, that you use it for thrusts quite a bit, right? Well look, a bronze edge would help, but I think a bronze core would be better. Or even go full bronze!”

“Hang on,” Astore didn’t just buy into anything, “What are the downsides to bronze?”

“Well, you can’t really repair it as easily. You basically have to melt it down and reforge the blade.”

Astore didn’t like this, it sounded unreliable. But bronze still interested him. He came up with an unusual idea. This happened frequently, Astore would come up with something that didn’t seem to make sense, but sometimes it would work out and be ‘awesome’ as he put it.

“Okay. Fix this one, thin it down, but keep the edge as sharp as you can, then put a bronze edge on top. That way I still have something I can repair in the field if the bronze breaks or whatever.” Astor explained. “Can you do that?”

“Umm, I think so.” Jheffrey said. “I’ll ask. In reality, Sarah does all the technical stuff, I’m just learning from her.”

He discussed the idea with Sarah, and she nodded a few times and laughed, then came to Astore at the counter.

“Yeah kid, we can do that. It’ll cost you though.” Sarah told him.

“How much are we talking?” Astore had saved about three hundred Solune from all of his missions as an Agent.

“Eighty.”

“Easy.” Astore handed over the blade and the money. “When will it be done?”

“Well, you’re basically asking for two swords worth of work, so eight hours maybe. Come back tomorrow.”

Jheffrey took the money and began processing the request. Sarah took the sword and headed for the stock room to get copper and tin.

Astore said goodbye and then left himself. He wondered what the new weapon would look like. What would he call it? It wasn’t really a Riley Lungeblade anymore.

Then, the perfect name came to him. The Astore Lungeblade! Of course, Astore didn’t realize or care that it sounded cheesy. He liked the name, so he used it.

I don’t know where I was going with this one. Ended up as a flash fiction about a sword. Astore, if you’re reading this, I hope I got him down pat, and I hope you see a bit of yourself in the character.

The information on bronze vs iron is accurate according to my historical research.

Daniel Triumph.

Inck

Inck Alice Dawngale made her way through the dim snowy wood. She wasn’t sure where to go. The south was barren. She would find no resources, no food there. She had survived on nothing but snow melted in hand for eight weeks, rationing the only food she had to her young child. For the most part, the child stayed on her back, wearing Inck’s only shirt in addition to her own clothes to stay warm.

Inck had followed the base of the cliff west for two weeks, then east for six. She knew she didn’t have enough energy to double back again. She didn’t have enough energy to continue much longer either. Her bare shoulders were developing frostbite, her fingers spared only because she kept them crossed and under her arms. The trees stopped most of the wind, but she found little solace in this.

As she had followed the cliff, the ridge had become higher and higher, and then suddenly it spiked. She was sidling a nearly vertical mountain at this point. On her back, the child Alice woke up. She slept a lot, lacking the energy to stay awake.

Inck said, “My Alice, my Alice, what shall we do? I’ve walked to the edge of my vision, and again I see but the same. We will not make it farther than the naught I see now if we continue straight.”

“Ah, and we can’t go that way right?” She pointed to the forest, “And we can’t go back! So we have to go… there.”

She pointed up the mountain.

Inck stared at the summit. She could not tell for sure, but she doubted anyone lived at the top. She took her hands out of her armpits and stared at them. The Plainkind kept their clawlike fingernails long enough to be effective. In the past month and a half they had continued to grow unbitten, unused.

Inck looked at the sky. She had a lot of time left, but she knew it still wouldn’t be enough.

Inck dug her fingers into the stone, satisfied that it was soft enough. She began to pull herself up, limb by limb, cubit by cubit. Alice watched as they climbed with amazement.

Higher, higher, higher. Inck made it halfway up before her sleep reserves gave out. Her arms began to shake, her legs tremored, but still she climbed, not looking back, her eyes ahead.

Alice could feel the shaking, “Are you okay mum?”

“Yes. Just… Tell me about home.” She could use the distraction.

“Home? The Plainkind desert? It’s warmer there. My dad is there. My friend, umm, Marisa. She’s there too.” Alice’s voice was wistful, but still held much joy.

“And,” Inck huffed, “What happened?”

“To get us here? Oh, well, we got lost in the sandstorm… We got stuck below the cliff. You tried to climb it, right? Yeah. It didn’t, well it, yeah. It didn’t, wasn’t soft enough. So we tried to go around, both ways. It’s cold down here. Snow is cool! But… Only for a while.”

Inck nodded as Alice continued.

“And now we’re hungry all the time. And now we’re climbing a mountain. And I haven’t seen, we haven’t seen anyone, anyone in so long…”

Alice got sad and so she stopped.

“It has been very… long.” Inck agreed.

Time passed as silence fell between them. The sun began to set, and soon night was upon them. Inck could see well in the dark, but it was cloudy, and her night vision was still inferior to her dayvision. She climbed primarily by feel.

Some time in the night, she reached the top. In the dark she could see that it plateaued.

“Ah.”

Alice said nothing, she must have been asleep. Inck could see the edge of the summit in the far reaches of her vision. She wasn’t sure if she should rest or continue. She decided to continue. However, upon her first step, her exhaustion and starvation caught up with her. She sneered at her own condition as she fell forward, catching herself with her arms as not to wake Alice.

There was only a thin veil of snow here. Inck lay awake for the minutes required to melt it with her heat, and then she allowed herself to drift away.

She awoke before morning, trembling from the cold. Usually this was the time she made real sleeping quarters, but the resources on the flat summit were limited, and so was her time. Instead, Inck stood and began to walk.

Her only goal was crossing the mountain to the other side. She would be able to see all that lay before her to the north; to see where her home was. Right now she was focused only on moving forward.

When she reached the other edge, the sun had risen. She looked out over the lands in amazement. The warm rays woke Alice up, and she too gazed, excited.

“Wah! Look!”

Inck nodded, “There is our home, the desert. In front of us appears to be the world beyond the eastern walls. And look, another group of settlements lies yet further east.”

“All we have to do is get down!” Alice was excited.

Inck knew immediately that she would likely never again have the energy to make the climb. Her energy reserves were at their limit. One frightening solution rang out in her mind. She stared down at the plummet. She could survive the landing. The injuries would undoubtedly be her undoing, but she would have the strength to protect her daughter from the fall.

As a mother, this idea was quickly pushed down to a secondary plan. Inck dug into the ground for a couple of stones. She was familiar with rocks and found two, a softer and harder stone. She copied something in Plainkind Script and then began her descent. On her back, Alice excitedly twisted around, looking at the world below. She wanted to go back home, but had a severe interest in the new kingdom they were now descending into.

This downward climb was the most difficult thing Inck had done in her lifetime. Her muscles ached and shuddered. As they went further, Alice became more and more worried about her mother’s shaking.

One third of the way down, Inck had to stop. She steadied herself. Aside from her tremors, she could not move. Physically she could not continue. She looked down and wished upon her ancestors that she’d had the strength to continue just a little further. Inck closed her eyes. She wished she hadn’t headed west for so long. She held onto the regret for but a moment.

Then she thought of Alice, who was doubtlessly concerned clinging to her back. Inck was certain that one of them would survive the fall. She channelled her life, her reserves. She shed her regrets. And then, she pushed away from the mountain.

Alice screamed out of shock. She couldn’t comprehend what was happening. She clung to her mother as tightly as her small body let her. It was tight enough. The fall ended sooner than expected, and Inck took the landing as hard as she could. Nearly all the force went into her leg muscles, and then into her bones. Her shins and thighs crumpled under the force. Both of her spines had broken.

Her daughter felt the force of multiple gravities, but was unhurt overall. Alice dropped off of her mother’s back and ran around to her front.

“Mum! Ah!” She didn’t know what to do.

She looked at her mother with a pleading expression.

“Dear Alice… Alice May Dawngale…”

Inck looked at her lower half, damaged beyond conventional healing. She watched blood ooze slower and slower as her superficial outer wounds healed. Still she did not let go.

She said, “When I stop moving, wait but a day. Then, bury me in front of that boulder.”

Inck pointed with her long damaged fingernail to the stone. It must have been part of the mountain at some point, as it stood out starkly from the surrounding forest.

“Copy this onto it.”

She handed the stone to Alice. She could not read it. She couldn’t read anything yet.

I am your Mother,

Inck Alice Dawngale.

They spoke together, of home, of the sandstorm and their perilous journey, but most of all Inck focused on Alice’s future.

“You must find a home. Any home, even if it is not our old home. You must live a happy life for me, for yourself.” Inck shed a tear, as deep a red as her eyes, “You needn’t even be productive. Simply happy.”

Alice nodded, and embraced the parts of her mother that were still alive. She too cried ruby tears. Though it was only morning, the two, exhausted, slept together for the last time.

Leagues away, Inck’s partner still grieved, having lost his whole family into the sand sea.

The next evening, Alice felt her mother. She was warm, it seemed to no longer be the warmth of life. Alice scavenged for food and found many fruits. She returned and fed some to the mouth of her mother.

“…” Inck exhaled and gave Alice one final look, a look of hope. And then she died.

Alice looked at Inck for a long time, frozen, staring at the vacant expression of hope for many moments. And then, when she felt she had absorbed all she could from this last mortal message, the final emotion from her mother, Alice moved. She reached forward and closed the eyes. She took the fruit and ate it. Then, she began to dig.

Inck’s story draws to a close, and the mission of life is passed to Alice. Continue the story.

Any regular reader will notice that this is almost identical to a previous submission (which I’ve subsequently moved to my secondary blog.) This is the third draft, the last one was the second. I hope you enjoy,

Daniel Triumph.

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Grey Ooze

This is the second entry in the Dawngale RP Series.

Foreword:

Okay, cool, first time doing a foreword. So, this one will be a bit of a mess, but it’ll also be pretty awesome, and all the major loose ends get tied up too. So, for background, my first Dungeons and Dragons campaign was Edition 3.5, and I ran out of a module (a pre-built campaign.) I had three players, called themselves the tres hombres back then. They fought some goblins, explored a cave, and then attacked a dragon. One of them got smart and started pushing it over. I didn’t know all the rules at the time, so I let it go through. What a fight. Poor dragon.

So after that, I figured I knew the ropes. I started my own campaign. I had 3.0 books (weird, I know) and I came up with a campaign hook for the first session. I’ll talk more on later submissions, but let’s just say it was a mess, but also a whole lot of fun. Also, it was fairly cohesive, so no worries.

Also, this campaign was crafted nearly three years ago, in 2014. I can’t remember it perfectly, and I’ll be taking huge sweeping liberties with the story. Let it begin!

“Oh Tendrils, what is that?” Janna sneered. This was why she didn’t like running errands for her younger sister.

She wasn’t a skittish young woman, so instead of recoiling or leaving the archives, she poked it. The grey ooze made her finger tingle, but not much else. She sighed and stood, then investigated further, brushing her blonde hair from her face. She always wondered why she kept it so long if all it did was get in the way.

Janna followed the ooze. It went clean through a hole in the stone basement. She wondered if that hole had been there already, or if the grey gel had made it. It didn’t matter right now. She went through the door and circled around to the other side of the wall. Looks like it ignored the tomes and texts and just went straight for the walls. Janna was convinced now that the gel had made the hole in the wall. In fact, she was fairly certain that it was actively trying to eat the stone in the archive.

She sighed. It didn’t seem to be moving at the moment, but it had come out of the floor, and eaten through a wall. Janna knelt down and looked through the light grey gel coming out of the ground. It looked pretty deep. She wondered where it lead, where the goo creature had come from. Too small to really check though.

Janna decided to leave the archive. She assumed Chloe would know what was going on and have a solution. She was the genius after all.

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Janna Rhye, fifth Prince of the Solune

The trip into town wasn’t very long, but it was kind of a pain. She followed the castle wall that surrounded the city until she reached the front gate, which was on the other side.

“Man, dad sure likes walls.” Janna commented.

She was right, the castle town Murdock was walled off, the kingdom was walled off, the giant city of Hannibal was walled off… Even a couple of the kingdom entrances had extra walls. It’s like he was paranoid about something.

She passed the main gate then went to the castle doors and let herself in. She went upstairs and then to the room next to her sisters. The castle had two libraries now, one in the basement, and one here. Next to Chloe’s room. It was Chloe’s library.

“Oh, hello.” Chloe said as Janna entered.

Chloe looked a lot like her sister, but she had a slightly larger face, and her teeth were more prominent. She also had more peaceful eyes and much much longer hair. Excessively long, wavy hair. She was also taller.

“Hey, uh…” Janna trailed off.

“Did you get the book?” Chloe asked.

“No, there was a goo thing in the archive.”

“…” Chloe looked around, “What?”

“A grey ooze or something.”

“Huh?”

“It ate it’s way in through the ground, and then through one of the walls.” Janna continued.

“Ah!”

Janna was beginning to notice that Chloe said “ah!” a lot. It was becoming a sort of odd catchphrase.

“Did it eat any of the books?” She asked.

“No. I was wondering if you knew anything about it.”

“Well… I heard the King, I mean, I heard our father talking about something like that.” Chloe replied.

“Oh.” Janna said, waiting for her to continue.

“Yeah… to the east.” Chloe trailed off.

Janna waited, mostly to see what she would do.

“Ah… I don’t know anything else really. It’s too bad you didn’t get the book.”

“Yeah, well, more important matters right now than studying. What book did you want again?”

“Father said I should read about the Strossmadoss of the Underside.” Chloe said.

“I don’t understand, but really, a lot of what you say goes above my head when you get technical.” Janna replied.

She left then, and went to the throne room. Obviously the King wasn’t there all the time, but he was there more frequently than one would expect. The Solune King replied to a lot of requests, and had thorough and frequent communication with his people. That’s probably why people liked him so much.

He was there, and so was a lot of Janna’s other family. All immediate relatives that lived within the kingdom save Chloe were there, in fact. The king was standing in front of his throne, at the bottom of the steps that lead up to it. He was talking to Janna’s older sister Natasha. Their mother Gwenhime was on the adjacent throne, leaning on her arm, bored.

“Yes, I believe that we should send aid, but I am unsure as to whom we should send. I think that we will send the young new recruits from the Solune Agents.” the King said.

“The Agents are more equipped and capable of extra-kingdom missions than the guard anyway, so I have no objections” Natasha said.

Watching those two talk was like watching the King talk to himself. Janna always had trouble keeping up. It seemed that they were going to send some of the Agents out of the kingdom for something. Natasha was the leader of the city guard, that was why she brought them up.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Janna asked them.

“Well,” Natasha said, “The East Metch Kingdom is having some issues with some sort of grey goo. It’s appearing in their catacombs and they want help with it before it gets to the surface.”

“Oh wow, we got those things too in the underground archives!” Janna said.

“What?” The King’s reply was swift and stern.

“Yeah, it ate through the floor, and a wall, but not any of the books. Weird. I poked it too and nothing happened.”

“Why would you…” The King trailed off, he knew his daughter well enough by now.

He gave a deep sigh. The King was very tall, five and a half cubits. [For those who don’t know cubits, that’s eight feet flat.] He had shaggy, poorly cut hair, and his face seemed to be stuck in a scowl despite his good nature. Worse, his irises and pupils had drained down his face, staining it permanently. He was nearly blind, seeing only colours, shapes, and things very close to his face.

“I’ve come up with a solution. Make a call for adventurers of virtue. Have them challenge the new Agents, Marcus and his little group. The group that can stand a chance against Marcus will be sent out of town with an Agent to keep them in line. Marcus and his company will stay here and help us with our own issues.”

The King sat in his throne and sighed. “Natasha, I trust you with this mission. And Janna, can you please tell those outside who have been waiting so patiently that I’m now accepting visitors?”

The three women left the room on their various tasks.

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Janna wondered which Agent would be sent with the new group. She and Natasha were Solune Agents, and so Janna wondered if she was going to be sent with them. Likely not. Thinking about it now, Janna had an idea of who her father would send. A young Riley by the name of Astore.

Janna let the citizens into the throne room and then left the castle to go find her boyfriend. She didn’t have much left to do at this point, and he was always fussing over something.

That was pretty fun to be honest. All that was prelude to the first session. I know not a lot happened, but Janna is a fun character to write. She’s an edgy teen, like me. Except I’m not really a teen anymore.

The next part of the Goo Campaign will be from Astore’s perspective. This is the first time I’ll be writing from a player character’s perspective, and I really wanted to avoid doing that. But, I don’t know that many other Dawngale characters were with the party at the beginning, so for now it’s him, until they meet up with the East Metch Prince anyway.

Daniel Triumph.

P.S. I think I’ll do these when I can’t really think of something. Luckily in making this story, I ended up coming up with a good piece for later.