I've decided to bring them back as a series of posts since many of my followers now, weren't back then. Here is the first in the series...
They were just a couple of bandits. No one special. Not even marauders. Just run of the mill bandits. I didn't care. I could have avoided them. I was loaded with valuable loot. I was weary. I had just recovered the Skeleton Key. The air was cold, and I was ready for a little peace. I had used a calming shout to avoid having to kill a great, lumbering, cave bear. I walked around an ice wraith. But then I noticed a nearby cave. I decided to at least learn its location and add it to my map. Cartography is a bit of a hobby, you see.
I was high atop the rim of a river valley. Broken flows of ice hid most of the water from me, but here and there I could see the unfrozen current playing with the edges of its frozen counterpart. It was as I surveyed this scene below me that I saw the yellow glow of their fire. It bathed the front of the cave I was curious about with a soft yellow aura that beckoned me the way the salty taste of the ocean upon the wind might beckon a sailor.
I saw movement below. In the distance, I could still see the blue ethereal glow of a large cat that had felt the magic of my shout just moments ago. But there below me was the greatest of all game. My fellow man. Even as I watched him tend his fire, I felt that familiar twitch in my hand. The Mace of Molag Bal was still dripping the fresh but rapidly cooling blood of a traitor onto the snow at my feet. The scent of his blood, where it had splattered on my black armor, filled my nostrils with lust. My arm was heavy with the mace, but that weariness was beginning to ebb.
Something caught my eye and I drew my bow and notched an arrow, but only to magnify my vision so that I might recognize the form of another man, sleeping in his bedroll near the fire, his lean-to behind him, reflecting the heat of the fire back onto his body. Putting my bow away, I reached again for the bane of my enemies, a soul reaping mace of immense power. I wasn't even sure if I had any empty black soul gems available to fill. But my weapon didn't care. I didn't care.
I slipped down the side of the gorge into the middle of their camp. Before his sleeping companion had stirred, I removed the head of the man tending the fire. It was so quick, so sudden, I wonder what went through his mind as his fading eyes looked up to see his own headless body laying another branch upon the coals. Did he feel the heat of the fire suddenly catching? Did he smell his own burning flesh and hair before his soul was ripped from him?
His companion never woke, so swift was my fury. My lust for the blood and soul of my fellow man quickens me, you see. What would the sleeping fool think when he did awaken to find the headless body of his once friend lying next to the dead coals of their fire? What would be his horror when he realized the lump in the middle of the still warm firestones was his friend's head? What would his terror be?
I sheathed my blood reddened mace and continued my journey. After all, I still had to sell the loot.
Things like cassareep and garlic and thyme are going to be filling the house with their aromas for the next two days, because if your going make a Guyanese pepper pot, take the time to do it right.
What I do do (hehe) is tell a story. I don't even know the story as I write it down. I wait for my characters to tell it to me, then I relate the story to my readers. In between those last two steps, the editor rips her hair out and curses the gods, but eventually the story does get to the reader. And if the reader's mind is just twisted enough to understand what I wrote, then someone else knows the story too.
I don't write for my readers. I write for me. Readers have encouraged me, criticized me, and pushed me forward, but when it comes to what I write, they don't matter. What does matter is getting the story out of my head. Getting the words onto the screen, and clearing them from my mind to make room for more words
Once my mind is clear, all sorts of good things happen. I sleep better, my concentration is better, and my imagination has more room to run around. Consequently, the Keep app is my best friend. At any given time I have between 50 and 100 notes in Keep, because every time something crosses my mind, I put it in the cross-platform app, generally at the rate of about 10 notes a day. Every couple of days, I move the notes to where they belong in their stories and keep going.
That's how I do it. I never have to stare at a blank page. I never have to look for an idea. I just open Keep, scroll to the right note and let it grow on the screen.
“Sir, we're at a standstill,” Dave said to Cort over the comm system. “As long as we have ammunition and they don't storm the colony, we are good. Their armor does not appear to be as good as ours, but they have numbers. All their vehicles have been destroyed. Right now, we estimate thirty targets still active. But only the railguns have been really effective. Rhodes has taken out nearly two hundred of their suits, but he cannot target the remainder because they have moved too close to the colony. The only one we've gotten was when we missed and hit a rock behind it. The suit was crushed. In the mean time, I told the FALCONs to evacuate the outer modules and load them up with Claymores. It won't stop them if they get past us, but it might slow them down.”
“Okay, if their suits are like ours, the power source is on the back. That’s their primary weakness. Can you get behind them? Also, what kind of rounds are they firing?” Cort asked.
“Ballistic rounds. Nothing special. But we cannot get around them. It would leave a hole in our defenses. They can’t get around us either, though.”
“Don’t compromise your defenses,” Cort commanded. He thought about the CONDORs strengths and weaknesses. “Okay. Do you have double-coverage on any targets?”
“What do you mean?” Dave asked Cort.
“Are there any targets that two of you can see? Specifically, that two of you can hit.”
“Yes, sir. Maybe five or six.”
“Okay, show me. Send your tactical map to me. Rhodes, are you listening?”
“Yes, Cort.” Rhodes was at the console, where he had been for five hours, since the assault began.
“Look at the tactical map. Start firing railguns behind the bad guys. Push them to areas where there is double coverage. Try not to damage modules, but if you have to that’s okay. Dave, link your targeting computers. Then pick one target at a time and aim for the suit joints. Preferably where the legs meet the torso, but shoulders might work too. Try a charged round combined with an explosive round at the same joint. If that doesn’t work, double up on explosive rounds. The idea is to incapacitate the suits. When this is over, we need to come up with a grenade of some sort, but this is our best option for now. I’m two hours away. You have to hold on that long.”
“Yes, sir. Gaines out.”
“Dave, wait. Are you still there?” Cort asked.
“Yes, sir. I am here.”
“Don’t forget. Our family is in there. You can overload your suit. Do you follow me?” Cort left his true meaning unspoken.
“Yes, sir. I understand.” There was silence for fifteen seconds before Dave Gaines spoke again. “If it comes to that sir, well, it has been an honor.”
“The honor’s been mine, Dave. You’ve done me proud,” Cort said.
- The Warrior ChroniclesAuthorYou know those worlds that appear when a Kindle fires up? I create those.
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