Friday Fragment

It’s been a while…  This is just something I whipped up when I wasn’t doing anything else.  It’s probably awful. I’ll decide later.

With a slight pressure from his left knee, Jason signaled his mount; the dragon dipped it’s left wing and banked over San Francisco, the bay gleaming blue to his right, the ruins of the city’s old Financial District on his left.  He paid particular attention to the pyramidal shape of the Transamerica Building; the last time he’d flown by it, one of the scavengers that inhabited the old building had tried to snipe him off his dragon.

The building was little more than a shell; the financial district had been hit hardest by the earthquakes that attended the Return, and many of the city’s workers had died in the privations afterward, when the bridges into the city had been destroyed in the War and the peninsula to the south had become a wasteland due to the predations of the Returned.  Only San Francisco survived relatively intact, and even then, that was largely due to the Dragons.

The beast on which he rode turned to regard him with a baleful eye.  “Well, it was only right we help the City”he rumbled, the deep bass of his voice traveling up Jason’s legs and into his core.  “After all, it was our opening of the way that allowed the shik’aragh to return as well.”  Jason patted his neck.  The dragons still felt guilt over that; they’d tried to limit the species that returned from exile to those who could coexist with humanity, but they’d failed.  The deaths caused by vengeful creatures angry for their centuries of exile still haunted them.  

“Karg, it wasn’t your fault.  My father told me how you tried to save the cities south of the Wall.  But the War decimated your people, too.”

“All well and good, and I’m glad your father regarded me so highly as he did.  But that does not change the facts.  Had we stayed in the Shadowlands, none of this would have occurred, and your people would still number in the billions.”

Friday Fragment, brought to you today by WordPress losing my post.

I had a long post about Serious Business.  But WordPress ate it.  Damn it.  So here’s a fragment, Chapter 2 of The War for Earth The Remembrance War book one, which has as working titles Pathfinder and The Finder, neither of which I like.  As usual, it’s a work in progress, and I’m not entirely happy with it–there are some edits and adjustments to be made. But it’s not, I hope, unreadable.

Chapter one can be found here.

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Friday Fragment

This week’s fragment is from a piece of in-game writing I did when I ran a superhero game a few years back.  The game was a sort of “quantum pulp” game, where the tropes of pulp are applied to 21st century science rather than 19th century science.

The game didn’t last, sadly.  This was to set the stage, starring an NPC who would have eventually either walked away from the story or been killed.  The story had the usual RPG mix of sturm und drang, but didn’t work out for a lot of reasons.  Anyway, on with the story…

I’m sorry.

In a dark room, a lone man sits alone, his hands steepled under his chin. He stares out the window at the growing storm, his face lit only by the lightning that cracks the sky every few moments.

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry it’s over.

Once, he’d been a lone crusader. A member of the Shou Ling Brotherhood, the scion of the order’s Founder, he was raised in the temple, steeped in the martial arts of his people. He learned, also, the ways of Taoist sorcery. He was forged by the Brotherhood to be the purest expression of their art – to be the Wujen, whose life’s work is to protect the world from the Dark.

Tai Han went to America, and there fought the Dark alone for years, before he was approached by a blind man who fought as if he could see, and controlled forces even the Wujen did not understand. He told Tai Han of the League, a group of men and women possessed of extraordinary powers, who banded together to protect the world – who fought the Dark in the shadows, away from mortal eyes. And he offered Wujen a place among them. And the Wujen accepted.

For ten years, he fought alongside them. He was their colleague, but he was also their friend.  Angela, whose gentle nature belied the ferocity with which she fought; Adam, who remembered Eden, and fought a futile war to get it back; Jeremiah, who left his beloved cornfields to fight Mr. Scratch, and lost his sight to the Sisters of Pain; and Thomas … Thomas, who every day lived with the knowledge that he would die screaming, who knew the moment it would happen, and did nothing to escape it.

Now they’re all gone, he thinks, and he remembers the end. Not more than a week since he watched them all torn apart, killed by the demonic horde summoned by the sorceror they sought.  Only the Wujen had escaped, and that barely – his ribs cracked, his left arm broken, his side bleeding.  The Librarian had tended to his body’s wounds, but only time would have a chance at healing the wound in his soul.

But he would find others. The Librarian had given him a list of possibilities. Now he would track them each down, and make them the offer he had been made so many years ago. It was time for a new League. Time for new heroes.

Saturday, now with 100% more Friday Fragment!

I’d meant to post this Friday, but life got hectic. It’s another fragment.  Originally it was just a brainwave that came to me as the death of Alex, the character in last week’s Friday Fragment.  This will likely become the final scene of a novella I’m planning to write, because somewhere along the line, Alex stopped being the protagonist of his own story and became, instead, the catalyst of a totally separate story; a sort of prequel to that world.  The other day it came to me that Alex’s story could be told better in a novella than a novel, so I’m going to give it a shot as a stand-alone work.

The Death of Alex Blaine

Maggie sighed with relief and sagged back against the wall, only years of training keeping her gun from falling to the floor.   A uniformed officer came up to her and nodded.  “Good job, Blue.  Gunderson’s daughter is fine; the paramedics just took her to County for a better exam, but they said she seems ok.  For this, you’ll be able to take any job in the city just for asking — hell, you could probably be chief.”

Maggie eyed him like she was a hawk and he was a particularly fat mouse running through a field below her. “Yeah, great.  We lose anyone?”

“Nah. Your friend got tagged, but he just got winged.”

Alex?!” Maggie pushed herself back upright and, holstering her weapon, ran towards the back of the warehouse, where she’d last seen her oldest friend. I’ll never forgive myself if he’s been hurt. He shouldn’t even be here. The fact that Alex could protect himself from anything man could throw at him didn’t even occur to her; despite his mystical abilities, she still had a sisterly protective feeling for the man.

She rounded the corner and found him standing alone, looking down at the floor.  His left arm hung limply; his right hand fingered a new hole in his trademark black coat.  “Alex, are you ok? Where are the paramedics?”

“I’m … as I should be,” he said. “And I made the paramedics go away. They weren’t needed.”

“How’s the wound?” she asked as she pushed his hand away from the shoulder wound and looked for herself.  What she saw shocked her.

“I don’t . . . I don’t understand,” she said, looking in mixed horror and wonder at the wound, a simple gunshot to the left shoulder . . . except that it bled light, not blood. Light that began to shine radiantly enough to blind her temporarily.

“It’s very simple, Maggie,” Alex said, looking into her eyes, sadness in his.  “It’s time.”

“Time for what?”

He smiled ruefully at her, the sorrow in his eyes morphing into something akin to pity.  “I was never meant to live forever, old friend.”

She looked at him in horror.  “No …”

“Yes.” He smiled. “Don’t worry, it’s ok. It’s what had to happen. I’m too powerful, Maggie.  No human was meant to carry this much power, certainly not forever.  Whatever happened, something would eventually get me.  Now the storm will rage.  And it will change everything.”

She was used to his penchant for pretentious phrasing and parsed what he said even as the winds began to whip his coat and hair about.  Fighting the sudden gusts, she shouted “Are you doing this?”

“Not on purpose,” he shouted back.  “The power is trying to escape.  When it does — when I can’t control it anymore — it’ll pass across the world.  When it does, it’s going to touch people … some good, some bad … it’s gonna be a whole new world, Mags.  And only you will know where it began.”

“Alex, there’s got to be–”

He shook his head at her as he cut her off.  “Nothing to be done.  But don’t worry … I’ve left you a present!” It was getting harder to talk now above the wind, but Alex shouted his remaining words at her.  “He won’t be of my blood, but he’ll be mine! You’ll understand when you see his eyes!”  He pushed her away, and then wind took over, flinging her across the empty warehouse, where she tumbled to a stop against the wall.  She heard Alex laugh, and then there was a flash of light and sound enough to wake the dead … and Alex was gone, only the empty silence of the building to keep her company.

Two Years Later…

Maggie looked down at her new baby boy with tenderness, and glanced at her wife.  “He’s going to be amazing.”

Sam smiled.  “Probably, but let’s not put too much pressure on him, hon. He’s only six hours old.”

Maggie looked down at Xander’s eyes.  Alex’s eyes.  “No pressure.  Just a hunch.”

Friday Fragment! This week: Chapter 1

I decided to start a tradition of posting a fragment of writing each Friday.  Sometimes it’ll be flash fiction, sometimes it’ll be a poem, other times a piece of non-fiction and sometimes even a chapter, finished or in-progress.   Some weeks they’ll be new, other weeks they’ll be from my personal archive, which means some weeks they’ll be examples of REALLY BAD WRITING. 

Today it’s chapter 1 of The Finder, which is book one (of three) of The Remembrance War.  The titles may change, of course. 

I’m not a pro.  Even if I was, the following would be true:  Feel free to comment.  I think I can take it, and if I can’t, what’s the worst that will happen? 

It probably goes without saying, but the following is mine.  If I find it online somewhere, lawyers will be mobilized. I’m pretty sure it’s not so wonderful that anyone would do that, but I’m covering my bases, here.

And so, it begins:

Chapter 1

The thing the books, vids, and hologames don’t tell you about space travel is that, generally speaking, it’s boring as hell. Sure, there’s the occasional fight–but that’s rare, unless you’re in the military, and I’d left the service years ago.

Well… it was rare.  Before the war.  Before humanity discovered just how much we’d been lied to. 

It all started with a distress signal…

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