Tag Archives: Brass Automaton



I asked a very talented young lady to help get this story finished. I still think there’ll be some plot holes and some unresolved story threads that’ll need to be fixed. We’ll need to do some rewrites so the chapters are a uniform length. I don’t have to worry about this chapter, it’s 1094 words already.

* * *

It was quiet in the brightly lit room so much that one could hear the dust shuffle in the stale air. An interrupting sun glided inside through a narrow row of windows and cascaded down a large, round mirror, which didn’t reflect anything back. In truth, the room gazed into the mirror, but the mirror didn’t gaze back – it was matte, an ashy fog draping over its smooth surface. A blue jay flew past the windows and descended toward one, landing on its stone ledge. It pecked its feathers clean bathing in the weak warmth of the sun and then began a low chirp. A sudden gust of wind overpowered the serenity of the rotund room and a tall construction in the middle of it, huffing and puffing, releasing clouds of vapor began rotating its seven circles, clicking them into a positing secured by brass locks. The wind swept the blue jay from its ledge and into the room. It chirped frantically batting its wings against the ominous current existing solemnly inside the transcendental stone area. A purple glow pierced by blood-red thorns began to swirl in the middle of the Portal as it burst open.

As Jarvis, Ceridwen and the Automaton stumbled through, the brass man falling to the ground in a spillage of blood and banged, old parts, the blue jay was sucked into the carnivorous whirlpool.

Ceridwen pulled herself away from Jarvis and stood above the Automaton. Malformed it was, but yet it was also a mirror image of her current visage – older, but the same heavy, brass vessel which she resided inside. She brought an automated hand to caress an automated face without any love or gentleness.

Jarvis sat upon a brass chair, ornamented as would fit a king. He stroked his white stricken beard, gazing into himself more than into the real world and the room.

“What happened there Jarvis, why did we flee? Snow was in my hands!”

“What happened there indeed, Ceridwen and no that is not a rhetorical question. How did Snow know where to look?”

Ceridwen was lost for words.

“Someone must have told her.”

“Someone?” Jarvis cocked his eyebrow.  “Might it be you my Queen of Evil that did speak of our plans?”

“Why would I?”

“Sky would,” Jarvis hissed at her.

“What would I have to do with a silly little girl?” Ceridwen remembered the face of the young blond, a pretty face, though still pretty common, smeared, with the blood of her Tenyks.

Jarvis stood from his self-made throne and walked in front of the mirror, a second beholding himself before calling upon it.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall show me the Sky before them all.”
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It has been a while since anything was written for Brass Automaton. It’s time for an epic 7-day conclusion. This chapter is a touch over 500 words, and will need a little more meat added to it:

* * *

“I don’t understand. I see what’s before me, but I don’t –”

King Odc, panting heavily, held onto Sky’s elbow for support. He too looked upon the mangled artifice that was neither machine nor human.

“It is the Queen you look upon.”

“It is me I look upon,” Sky argued.

“Where do you hail from Sky?” Odc asked her.

Sky didn’t have time or strength for this. She wanted to run and tell Snow that the Automaton was defeated, run before her blood ran out, but she felt the eager pull on her hand; the still powerful grasp of the dwarf king made her sigh.

“I’m from Oossah; I was born there.”

“So was the Evil Queen.”

“That doesn’t prove anything.”

“What did you do when you were a young maiden?”

“I helped my father at the brewery.”

“You were a common girl?”

Sky looked down at Odc. “I guess I was. We all were until the day Ceridwen took the kingdom and our men.”

“Yes, yes, but what after that? Were you married; did you have children; did you continue brewing?”

“I…” Sky started to reply, but then stopped, the words dead in her throat. “I cannot remember”, she confessed.

“What do you remember?”

“Fighting,” Sky answered. “I remember fighting beside Snow as one of her Sisters.” A blush crept across her cheeks. “I remember falling in love with Reese and making love to her; I remember the day she went away and the day she died and the day we fought Ceridwen before she fled.”

“These are weak memories, frail and small. It was when you were re-created that day that memories began to form. Before that, this you,” Odc tapped his gnarled finger on Sky’s chest. “and this,” he waved his hand to encompass all that they could see. “did not exist.” Odc twined his fingers and stretched, his knuckles making a soft popping sound.

If what he dwarf had said was true, then Sky didn’t want to speak, unless her words unravel more of how unreal she was.

“You must ride and fetch Snow. The portal will be ready soon, but you must seek her and call her here for we, I am afraid will be dead soon. I cannot say more now Sky, but soon you will know more. Run now, do your duty.”
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Dark New World


[1000 words – #3WW, Word-A-Week, The Reading Writer, Inspiration Monday]It’s been a while. I’ve been keeping up a decent front, but I’ve been pretty down lately. I haven’t been getting words down this month, and I’ve been struggling to get my shit together. I’m not 100% happy with this iteration, but I’m thinking these words are better than no words. Let’s see what Paul can do with the next two chapters.

* * *

Pistons moved, each thrust accompanied with a pulse of steam. The constant chuf-chuf and the sound of metal against metal was felt as well as heard. The constant vibrations radiated from ahead, as the behemoth dragged metal, glass, and leather along lines predetermined long ago by engineers long since retired. Heat from flame barely contained boiled water – also barely contained – forced through channels and tubes to harness immense pressure.

John looked out the window at the scenery that flew by. Endless plains leading to black mountains in the distance. John was still amazed at the progress his people had accomplished. Magick was a power rising in the west, but John had seen the marriage of Magick and steam for himself, and he was admittedly apprehensive. The night terrors only occasionally invaded his restless nights.

He reached over to his wife, and smiled. The jab of emotion he felt in his heart could result in nothing else. That she could sleep so peacefully with the noisy train jostling and occasionally releasing pressure via steam whistle was a testament to her clear conscience. He reached tentatively to her belly, and the next generation of rulers. He felt the calm rise and fall as Snow breathed. He thought he felt a kick or punch from fists and feet still forming, but he was never sure. Snow repeatedly would grab his hand and place it here or there, and declare that the baby was doing summersaults. The mental image always made him smile.

They were returning from a diplomatic meeting with the neighboring kingdom, Rookskye. The King of the Rook had a new advisor, and in a display of forward thinking, this advisor was a woman. She claimed to have future sight, and her dire warnings of armies marching across the lands, soldiers more brass than men had brought images back from the depths. In fact, he thought he had seen his old tutor, Reese, in the Rookskye castle.

He closed his eyes and watched her die that day on the mountain. In his waking hours, he felt a twinge of shame that the memories of his tutor and savior had faded so. Snow shifted under his hand, a quiet snore escaping her lips. He smiled at the thought of the most beautiful woman in all the land doing something so pedestrian as snoring.
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Tendrils of Time


I started writing a scene, and had a decent one done at the 500-word count, then didn’t know where to go from there. I scrapped what I wrote after reading the first six chapters and wrote these 1,025 words. I used prompts from Inspiration Monday, Word-a-Week, #3WW and SM Cadman. This is also a switch back to present tense. Do you like past tense, or present tense?

* * *

Reese’s eyes snap open at day break, and she disentangles herself from her bedfellow. She silently dresses in her cloth uniform, and her hand caresses the leather armor draped over the back of a chair.

“Sneaking off?” a voice calls from the bed.

Reese spins and takes in the view. Sky walks toward her slowly, her hands fussing with her curly blonde hair. With Reese’s help, Sky washed the blood from her hair. After their night together, Sky stood unashamed of her nakedness. A flush had risen on Reese’s cheeks, and Sky smiled at the younger woman’s embarrassment.

“As often as we bed, I would think you would be familiar with my body.” Sky winks, and retrieves her uniform from the floor.

A sharp knock on the door interrupted Reese’s response. “Enter!” Sky shouts, continuing to dress.

“Mi’Lady,” a runner speaks, his blind eyes failing to discern the potentially embarrassing scene before him. “The chamber has been located.”

Sky smiles. “Tell the elder sisters I will be there shortly.”

The runner nods, and turns to leave. Reese let out the breath she had held. “Sky…” she starts, but Sky holds up a finger to silence her.

“Speak not of it, Reese.”

“But, mother…”

“Your mother is not just your mother!” Sky shouts before regaining her composure. “The Queen has too much to worry about,” she finishes her sentence with a whisper.

Reese couldn’t meet Sky’s eyes, and they suited up in silence.

“Snow will be at the chamber,” Sky declared, grasping Reese by the shoulders. “We can talk to her then if that is what you want.”

Reese nods and follows her commander out the door, certain of the events to come. Continue reading

Frozen in Time

Brass Automaton cover - version4

[1005 words – Writing Reader]Tobias pushed his wooden three-wheeled cart along the uneven floor of the cavern the motley crew passed through. He was grateful for the expansive void, and relatively smooth ground. The Dwarven Guard had to stop repeatedly to allow Tobias to rest, as the woman he rescued failed to regain consciousness. King Odc examined his encumbrance with his pair of spectacles, before announcing she was in a cursed sleep, and even Zesnye’s vast knowledge of the occult was not enough to break the spell.

Eventually, the dwarf without a beard discovered the wooden cart by stumbling against a rock wall, and it when he fell through, the canvas covering the entrance to a cart maintenance room dropped, covering the group in dirt and other particulates.

Zesnye sneezed, as was expected; Prymgu scowled at the beardless dwarf; Pypha laughed heartily and shook the grime from his brown tunic like a beast. He finished the display by slapping his blue trousers clean, a chuckle accompanying each movement.

Although Lubfash was soft-spoken, and preferred to work alone, his prowess with tools was made evident by his disassembling several carts to create one usable one. His brown outfit disguised the grease, but his green coif revealed the streaks of grime and oil. Tobias was impressed by the shy dwarf’s prowess.

Once the woman was secured in the cart, their journey continued, but now instead of stopping for Tobias to rest, they waited patiently as Tobias muscled the cart over obstacles.

* * *

On the third day of their journey, Pelyse awoke with a shout that would’ve made Prymgu proud. “Danger, Odc!”

King Odc rolled off his rucksack, and looked to Prymgu, who was already up, and wielding his hammer, one eye closed, peering into the darkness beyond their fire that burnt down to cinders.

“Stay your weapons, Dwarven Guard,” a voice echoed off the stone walls.

“King John,” whispered Pelyse.

“Show yourself, John,” declared Odc.

A stately man appeared from the enveloping darkness. Is frock coat and black trousers barely distinguishable in the low light. His waistcoat was a brilliant pinstriped purple, and instead of a silk puff tie, he wore a pair of goggles over his white collar. If his collar wasn’t detached as it caught on his goggles, or his boots scuffed, betraying the oil used to maintain its color, he would’ve appeared regal.
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The Rocks Above

Brass Automaton cover - version4

I wasn’t kidding – my comment on part XII has been set up, but only in such a way if Paul runs with it. I reviewed the previous twelve parts, and I noticed that some of them are written in the present tense, and some are in the past tense. We’ll need to figure that out during the rewrite. I incorporated prompts from #WOW555, Inspiration Monday, #3WW & although I didn’t use one of SM Cadman’s prompts, I was inspired by the photo she used in her prompt post. I also turned yesterday’s prompt from The Writing Reader. Finally, I used Dustin Miller’s line from Chuck Wendig’s title challenge. Here’s chapter thirteen of Brass Automaton at 1050 words:

* * *

“I cannot…”

The guard rushed to the barred wall, and examined the scene within.


Ceridwen writhed on the dusty floor, her hands clawing at her throat. Her gasps for breath and help were not lost on the guard, but he had been warned that the old crone was not to be trifled with.


Her bulging eyes, and lips of blue convinced the guard that she was not faking her injury. He withdrew a brass key, and placed it slowly into the receptacle. When the door was opened, Ceridwen gasped her last, and lie still at his feet. He withdrew his cutlass, and prodded her limp form. When he received no reaction, he lifted her frail body gently with his arms and supported her head with his shoulder.

Her woozy eyes opened slowly, and she spoke. “Save me,” she coughed.

The guard’s eyes widened with the realization that when the crone spoke, her lips made no movement. He laid her on the bed, and his fingers probed her withered jaw. His fingertips found purchase, but his eyes couldn’t reconcile the difference his fingers felt.

“Magick…” he whispered, and took a step back, thoughtless to the potential danger.

He watched her chest rise and fall in ragged breaths. He only considered his actions for a moment, before procuring a talisman hidden in the folds of his tunic. He held it aloft, and passed the chained crystal over the sleeping Ceridwen. The magick aura waned as the crystal showed the guard her true form.
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Etching Gullies

Brass Automaton cover - version3

[1025 words | Word-A-Week]

“Who has eaten my bread?”

“Those are my vegetables, wench!”

Odc picked up his displaced brass mug. “Boys,” he said to the rabble stomping around the room. When no one heeded his words, he bellowed, “boys!”

His six companions looked to their leader. “The oracle has foretold this moment.” Odc looked to the young woman peeking out from behind an immense wardrobe. “Come out, girl.”

Seven pairs of eyes followed Snow as she stepped away from the wardrobe. She smoothed the front of her dress and curtseyed to the gathered faithful. The silence was palatable, and could’ve used a side dish. Unfortunately, Snow ate the hoarded bread and vegetables.

“Master dwarf,” Snow knelt at Odc’s feet.

“The Tenyks are advancing on us, Highness.”

Snow blinked at the words that didn’t belong. “Master dwarf?” she asked.

“Snow,” an urgent voice penetrated her dream.

Snow woke with a start, and her grip tightened on the lance that lay across her lap.

“They’re almost upon us,” Sky hissed in her ear.

Snow peeked out from her hidden vantage, the dream faded into the recesses of her memory. “Now!” shouted Sky as the roof of their hiding spot sprang open and the sisters followed.

Sky rebounded off the hatch, her twin brass scimitars brandished with the tips brushing her elegant elbows. Her strike with the pommel missed her first target, only to have the scimitar slash across the throat of the missed target as her fist struck home against the Tenyk beside. A fountain of blood erupted from the first Tenyk, and it drenched the tips of Sky’s blond hair strawberry.

Willow rose high enough for her clockwork crossbow to clear the blind. The twang of the brass line was a language only she knew. Recoiling, the stock reset and a brass cylinder rotated another bolt, knocked into position. Steam hissed from her matching brass forearm braces as each bow loosed death into the advancing horde. She waded into the bodies, her braided hair swung to and fro with each duck and weave.
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