Tag Archives: Inspiration Monday

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.

“Please…”

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.

“Help…”

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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14 – Menace

newYAproject

[1000 words – Inspiration Monday]

SHIELD: THE PAST

Shield swam along with the current. He had done this most of his young life. The current embraced him. If he just let it do what it wanted to, he wouldn’t have to accept responsibility. If everything was predestined, then the Light of Joy was supposed to be damaged, and couldn’t have happened any other way.

He liked to think the same way the acolytes who worshiped the moon did. The idea of a celestial being being responsible for all the problems he had was equally as appealing as destiny. But he had never seen the moon. He believed the teachings, and he could see the results of the moon in the ebb and flow of his world, but to see it for himself…

But if everything was guided by the invisible hand of the moon, what was the purpose of existence? Shield scowled at his predicament. The acolytes could answer his questions, but was he even welcome to return to the city? Would his brethren accept him back into the fold after the destruction he had caused?

His eyes scanned the depths, and he felt, more than saw someone slowly descend through the dark world that matched his thoughts. He twisted and kicked a harsh angle against the current, propelling him toward the sinking figure.

As she came into view, Shield locked his eyes with strange woman. She had black hair, it seemed to be tied at one end, and the rest formed tight tendrils, attempting to escape with the current. She smiled, and tilted her head to one side as she studied him. Her skin wasn’t translucent like the rest of his people, but was a bronze color.

“Hello.”

Shield felt the words in his head. Such power was limited to the Acolytes and the Dons. He knew he lacked the fortitude to reply to the stranger, so he tried to convey that thought with his eyes.

The woman kicked her feet to slow her decent. She twisted elegantly, and matched his trajectory. She reached hesitantly for his neck, and the apprehension was clear on her face. Shield nodded, and bowed his head slightly to signal acquiescence.

She held him tenderly by the back of his head, and he couldn’t help but stare at her dark skin. When their foreheads made contact, he was able to talk with her.

“Greetings,” he replied.

“What is your name child?”

“I’m not a child,” he retorted, “I’m a Shield.”
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Stone Rain

newYAproject

Another installment of the YA project. I worked in prompts from Inspiration Monday, Word-A-Week, and #3WW. I’m breaking from writing this project. I’ve got the first 8k and the last 8k done, and I’ve passes the MS on to a trusted friend to see if she can direct me on the middle. If she gets back to me this week, I’ll have the long weekend to perhaps finish the rough draft. Anyway, enjoy another 1000 words:

SHIELD: THE PAST

Shield swam in tight circles, finding time to dwell on his actions.

He had drawn guard duty. The theater of fools. Usually he had arranged for someone else to do it for him. In the last three years as a Shield, he had amassed favors. He peddled these favors, trading two or three small ones for a larger one. A few of those larger favors, and they bought him a respite from boring guard duty.

He was quite resourceful, and he knew he’d have to do minimal guard duty in the remaining two years he had left on his apprenticeship. Or so he thought.

Shield was summoned to the Don’s chamber. He traversed the corridor calmly, thinking of how he would spend his extra free time. The favor he cashed in to avoid guard duty was a tough sell. The other Shield tried excuse after excuse to wiggle out of his obligation, but a deal was a deal. He had mentally made a note to devalue this particular Shield’s favor in the future.

As he drifted into the Don’s chamber, he was shocked to see his favor floating in front of the Don. He should be on duty, he thought, my duty.

Don of the Shield only glared as Shield floated beside the favor.

After a few terse moments of staring, the Don finally spoke: “Why do you perform guard duty?”

“To protect the city and my people,” Shield responded.

The Don leaned forward. “How can you protect your people if they don’t trust you?”

Shield ran a hand along one of the scars on his face. “They trust me,” he insisted, nervous.

“They do not!” the Don bellowed. “They see you as arrogant.” The Don floated nose to nose with Shield. “They see a malingerer, shucking his duties.”

Shield stood, his back rigid, his shoulders squared. He worked his jaw, but said nothing – a lump in his throat.

“You will perform you guard duty, and I’m moving you to protect the Light of Joy.”

“Don?” Shield, puzzled. Crystal duty was for amateurs. At least on guard duty, he would get the occasional interloper. But crystal duty?

“I have commanded it, it will be done.”

Shield cast a sneer to his favor and swam quickly out of the Don’s chambers and into the corridor. He raced to the armory to retrieve his spear, and swam to the great arch to relieve the sentry already there.
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Life in Caveae

newYAproject

The future Joy chapter really worked, and I had ideas for the Shield one, but this feels more like an epilogue. I’m still having issues with my tenses, and these posts are still out of order. It’s gonna be crazy reordering all these chapters when I put these all together for a rough draft. This will put me at 2k into my weekend goal of 10k. I’m basically writing the third act now, so I think I’ll host two more first act chapters on Sunday. The family is going to see the new Pixar movie tomorrow, so there’ll be a three hour dent in my wringing time. I’m confident I can still make it. For these 1000 words, I used prompts from Inspiration Monday, The Victorious Writer, Sunday Scribblings 2 & The Writing Reader.

SHIELD: THE FUTURE

The last time I felt this way…

Shield watches everyone around him through half-closed eyes. When no one is looking his way, he shifts uncomfortably in the clothing they make him wear. It’s as if I can’t breathe wrapped in cloth, he thought.

Joy had taught him skills he wished he could utilize. Breathing air as a skill wasn’t useful in and around the Sunken City, but in the shallows, he would be unstoppable. Well, unstoppable if he could leave this place.

He rolled onto his side and stared straight up. The blue sky was breathtaking. And this wasn’t even the best sky there was to see! Joy told him about the sky where she lived in preparation of the changing ceremony. This sky was blue, but there was a grey overcast permeated with white wisps.

Clouds. He remembers the word Joy used. She told him they were wisps of water floating in the sky. It had even rained a few times during his stay with the Sky People. If he had learned anything during the encounter with Menace, it was that he needed to protect his gills from the rain. The rain was corrosive; it wasn’t suitable to breath, so he wrapped his clothes around his neck when he felt the electric jolts splay across the sky.

A slight wind blew through the metal bars, and with it a dingy feather. The presence of something so alien forced his charade of sleep. The cell next to him houses a sky person; his wings were mottled with dust and grime as his they dragged on the floor.

Shield sat up and rubbed his feet on the filthy stone floor. Tiny stones stuck to the webs between his toes. He reached for the feather and twisted it in front of his eyes. He didn’t really look at it, but studied the political prisoner next to him. When Altair was first imprisoned, he held his head and plumage high. It added beautifully to his height. His wings never touched the ground.

But now… Altair rocked back and forth on the floor, tearing out untamed feathers and flinging them toward the barred ceiling. It was sad, the man was so proud, and it didn’t matter that Shield wasn’t a Sky Person.

Altair, Shield thought. He allowed the name to float around in his brain. Unlike his people, the Sky People had unique names. Names that didn’t even tell who they were! It took a week for Shield to figure out Altair was akin to a cleric, but his acumen in politics was lacking. When he and Joy acted, they damned the Sky People. And they weren’t happy about it.
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Path and Fruition

newYAproject

As you already know I’m not writing this in chronological order. I’m gonna go with this sequence: Joy POV, Shield POV, Joy Flashback/forward, Shield Flashback/forward. I’m thinking this flash forward and the next come somewhere after the story last weekend, but before some story I’ve written, and haven’t seen yet. This’ll be the first 1k of my weekend goal of 10k. I’ve edited the other story chunks already revealed to indicate where in the sequence it falls. I’ve worked in prompts from Word-A-Week, Inspiration Monday, #3WW and went over the word count for #WOW555.

JOY: THE FUTURE

Where is he?

Joy’s head and shoulders breach the surface. She looked elegant, water lapping against her smooth skin. The scene, had anyone seen it, would’ve been serine. The sun appeared to perch on her shoulder, casting long rippled reflections on the water. The moon was just piercing the flat horizon. It was as if the sun’s reflection pointed to the sliver of the moon for any interested to behold its birth.

It may have looked serine from the surface, but below her legs kicked to maintain her position. Her fingers fluttered to keep her facing the moon. She shook her head, spraying water from her hair as she watched the moon slowly rise. She could feel the warmth of the sun wane as the two heavenly bodies performed their dance of death and birth.

The last five years were peaceful. She was able to bask in all that she and Shield had accomplished. Where is he? she thought again as her gaze shifted to the only other thing in the sky.

When she visited the Sky People a little more than five years ago, the spires gleamed in the sunlight. Brilliant white stonework adorned with intricate carvings astounded her. Winged people flittered from tower to the ground, and groups of young men and women fell toward the water before flying great arcs back to the floating city.

Then, she had lived with Shield not seeing it for himself. The glory of the Sky People was not something she felt he could not comprehend.

He barely accepted me, she thought. And I was only away from the Sunken City for four years.

The city she saw now made her sad. She knew the path she set in motion only five years ago had only a single conclusion. She now witnessed that path in fruition.

No longer did the towers gleam. No longer did the spires contrast, adorned with colors unseen below the surface of her world. Rust streaked the heavy chains linking the skyways from one floor to the next. Those who deigned to walk on the ground dodged a fusillade of debris. The massive base the city sprung from listed to one side. A pool, larger than the great arch, looking over the edge of the city now formed a lazy waterfall as the city continually pumped in replacement water. Hoses and other apparatus skimmed the sea replenishing the city’s water supply. The roots of the trees that decorated the city poked out of the bottom of the flotilla. It was all roots and wings, she thought, with sudden odium. It was as if the Sky People had given up. They needed the fresh influx of young women to maintain the construct, and without the promise…
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