Monday, November 18, 2013

Part IV – The Peach and the Butterfly

The Power Array Saga

Tales of the Sword and the Peach

            Escaping the floating elven city had been easy but trying to flee the main land of the United Elven Kingdom was another issue entirely since all ports were under heavy guard. The best bet to escape U.E.K would be to travel from the main city of Aver and go to the second largest city in the region, Duke which sat to the North West. From Duke they could hop on a ship and travel along the Amis River which fed into the North Mizuki Ocean.
Arif Zahur needed to find a branch of the Alchemist Guild and the closest one was located in Duke. They were chased out of the last small town they stopped in to refill water bottles. After almost missing the Electro-Mag-Lift High Speed Train, Arif assured Momotaru the tracking spell long ago placed on one of the Alchemist Guild’s members was getting stronger as they sped towards Duke.
These were reassurances Momotaru long ago stopped relying on.
Traveling for another few hours, they exited the EML train. The pair gradually made their way up a steadily inclining hill forming a plateau. Once they reached the top and the terrain flattened out, Zahur practically jumped with joy. A three story dome shaped building with dark, hollow windows was set against the horizon surrounded by a barren landscape as if it were the last egg in the carton. This was a typical Alchemist Guild building. They were currently on the outskirts of Duke, only a few kilometers from the main city center.
“Once inside let me do all the talking,” said Zahur, picking up his pace. “They should remember me despite…,”
Momotaru swiftly clapped his hand over Zahur’s mouth to silence his chatty little friend. He rested his right hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw the weapon at a moment’s notice. With his warrior senses attuned to the energy vibrations of his surroundings and despite these alchemists having the reputation of hermits, he knew something was out of place; it was quiet, too quiet. Momotaru led the way through the abandoned complex.
The first floor had several rooms with discarded items dropped haphazardly; Bunsen burners smashed to bits, glass beakers broken, chairs overturned. After briefly searching the first and second floor in silence, they ascended the spiral stairwell located in the center of the complex. On the top floor of the building, the ceiling was caved in. At the back of the room they saw the person responsible for the deserted complex. The culprit sat with her back to the staircase, staring out the collapsed hole in the building at the light blue sky and white clouds in the distance. Momotaru gritted his teeth in recognition of the long crimson hair tied into a pony tail, falling past her shoulder blades. The left side of her kimono hung loose down her back showing her signature tattoo of a large butterfly.
Iris Longwing stood slowly, using her sword to support her weight. Standing amongst the rubble that she had caused which lay at her feet along with dead alchemist. Iris turned around slow and deliberate, face an unreadable mask with eyes hidden behind dark shades.
“It is so very good to see you again Momo,” said Iris in her slow and seductive southern drawl. “Judging by the half-finished enchant on your lovely sword you probably figured these here alchemist could give you the missing ingredients to finish it, hmmm.” She wore a small, devious smile.
Momotaru instinctively tightened the grip on his sword handle and ground his teeth in aggravation.
“How can you see my enchantment?” asked Arif Zahur in shocked tones. “The only way to see that is with the Arco Eyes? How did you obtain those?”
Iris laughed to herself and removed her sunglasses. Revealing her new Arco Eyes where the pupil continuously changed between every color in the rainbow at random intervals.
Arif Zahur also knew the disadvantages of having those eyes. Tiny dark lines continuously exited her pupils and spread across the yellowish-white of her iris before disappearing into her body. The Arco Eyes provided the user with great advantages but would cause the white of her iris to slowly turn a dark yellow until becoming completely black and render its owner blind.
The consistently changing colorful liquid pools that stared into Momotaru’s soul seemed to read the messages contained in his heart. He gradually pulled his blade from its scabbard, exposing a meter of razor sharp, black adamantite.
Iris Longwing replaced her glasses and threw back her head laughing. “Oh, come on now Momo, sweety,” said Iris seductively licking her plump lips. “Is that any way to treat an old friend that you have not seen in ages?”
“Now that I know what is underneath those glasses I will surely finish the job and cut you down this time,” said Momotaru. “What are you doing here?”
“There is no need to bring up our last encounter,” said Iris. “I was hired to track you down but we can talk business later. I prefer to think of the good old days when we longed for each other at every waking moment and snuck away from sensei’s dojo to steal kisses.” Iris gave him a wink and a giggle. “Rumor has it you obtained The Void. I always knew you had it in you sweety.” She clapped, slow and sarcastic.
“Call me that again and I will cut those pretty new eyes from your skull,” said Momotaru.
“Oh, come now, you could never harm little ol’ me,” said Iris securing her weapon across her back.
“The Arco Eyes will kill you eventually. You must know that,” said Arif Zahur. “I can save you from them. I can help you if you help us with something.”
“Who says I need to be saved,” said Iris, words filled with scorn. “I am getting sick of your little friend Momo. You better shut him up before I cut out his tongue.” A deep scowl creased her lightly tanned face. She pulled her broadsword that was strapped across the small of her back and walked forward menacingly. The unique blade had a curved sharpened edge with ancient, mystic runes carved into the blunt edge of the metal.
Zahur found himself giving ground under the intense stare of Iris Longwing. He could recognize some of the runes on the blade and understand that the weapon was infused with magic properties.
Momotaru reacted quickly and sprang into action. He rushed forward to meet his adversary before she could perform any tricks and put her blade through the annoying little mage’s belly. Momotaru could not afford to let his personal enchanter be skewered. For the countless time, he and Iris let their blades do the talking. His weapon became a blur of light blue and silver as it spun in his hand, glowing and pulsating while reacting to the vibes of its handler. He hacked and slashed at his old nemesis. Yet every slash and cut was blocked or parried. The two dualist speed and style meshed into a deadly waltz of action and reaction, their blades provided the chorus. Momotaru, to his utter surprise, began to give ground. He could tell that the new Arco Eyes were beginning to guide Iris’ wild and unpredictable movements, keeping Momotaru off balance.
The Arco Eyes directed Iris’ blade in combinations almost inhuman.
Momotaru was backed into a corner, blocking at a furious pace. He had no choice; it was either: lose to his oldest adversary or to lose himself in The Void. He chose The Void. His eyes rolled to the back of his head; the all-white of his iris turned pitch black. He let The Void take him and guide his movements. Momotaru was now on auto-pilot, letting his instincts guide his hand. He let himself lose control, let The Void take over and where his mind went, scared even him.  

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writers Can Be Artist Too

As a novel writer, I believe that it is a good idea to draw pictures. Any author would be well served to have a defined mental picture of your characters that you can refer to while writing. It is also a good idea because you can do as I do and occasionally release them as promotional material. If you are a science fiction and fantasy writer and have created an entirely new world for you characters to inhabit then it is a good idea to draw pictures of those created worlds. That way you have a visual image that you can refer to when discussing that world in your novel.

Even if you are not good at drawing, it is a good idea to have some form of picture of your characters and your setting. Whether you take inspiration for you character from a television show or movie, it is a good idea to keep a picture of that person readily available. When the referring to that character or location while on the third or fourth book in the series and the details begin to get a little fuzzy, you always have a solid picture to rely on. Because, let’s face it, when you write a lot then not every detail will be remembered with complete accuracy over the course of a long series. The last thing you need is for your main character to start the series with blue eyes and then by the fifth book have green eyes, for example. That is a detail that the reader will pick up on and violently jar them out of your story and possibly cause them to fall out of love with your book and with you as a writer.