Wednesday, November 7, 2012

LBP: Stormfall...y'all ready for this?

He awoke to cold dampness. He wondered if perhaps he had drooled on his pillow while he slept. Eyes still closed, he slid his head to the side a bit, but did not feel the silk texture, nor any dry spot for that matter. His eyes opened reluctantly, heavily, to find his vision mostly blocked by mud and leaves. He was on the ground of a forest, his face planted firmly in the wet ground and his limbs sprawled haphazardly in the roots and dead leaves that covered the forest floor. Why was he here, he wondered. Only a moment or so before he was sitting before a fire, the voice of his sister whispering stories of dragons and knights in his ear. Or was he at the Fist, laughing and dining with the other trainees? His thoughts were hazy and indistinct, running into each other and melding oddly into dreamy concoctions of his mind. It took him a few moments to sort out the processes of his mind and focus his thoughts enough to remember. What had happened? Why did he feel so alone? What was this sinking feeling in the center of his chest, this…overwhelming sadness? At first the memories were vague, hazy and indistinct. Then he remembered, the sensations and memories coming back in a flood; his father was dead, his brothers dead, and, after last night, Serys, his men, his friends…They were all gone.
                He moaned in pain as he tried to push up from the ground with burning sore arms. His arms shook and his armor creaked in protest as he put all of his energy into extricating himself from the mud, his sword clattering against his hip loudly, the sound seeming to bounce around the inside of his skull, banging, amplified. He hoisted himself up onto his knees awkwardly and twisted his torso enough to set himself down at the spongy, mossy base of the closest tree. He rested his sore back against the mossy trunk, and let his arms go limp at his sides. He knocked the back of his head against the scaly trunk. Then again and again and again until the skin at the back of his head went  numb, and he felt a warm liquid on the nape of his neck.  He could not cry out, wail, scream as he so badly wanted to. He would not. He would not stain their memories by getting himself killed wailing for them like a babe. So many were already lost. He stopped hitting his head against the trunk and chastised himself for acting like a child, his head now throbbing even more violently from his emotional stupidity.
                He eventually came to the realization that he had no idea where he was, although in his current state, that fact did not really register too terribly much emotionally. He began looking about, searching for an indicator of where he was on the island, although he had little hope for anything. He had lived in the central islands of Talias all of his life. The Durstan islands, including this one he currently sat upon, were utterly foreign to him. Hell, he thought, was it not for the him-sized indent in the mud that he had found himself in when he woke, he would not even know what direction he came from. Above him, massive trees seemed to go on endlessly into the sky, which was so obstructed from clear view by a thick canopy of broad leaves and reaching branches that he could not tell what time of day it was, if it even was day anymore. The branches of the trees intertwined and weaved to the point where no one, save the trees themselves, could tell where one tree ended and the next began. At his level, the trunks were massive, equivalent to six men thick at the smallest, covered in moss and fungus that varied in color from sea green to a blinding orange that seemed to glow in the shadows. The one he was resting against had a blood-red color, which he dearly hoped was the true color of the moss and not the true color of his insides spilling out from a wound. He was so tired, but, he thought, he was alive, and he would prefer to stay that way for at least a little longer. He calmed his mind, and closed his eyes.
                Pentos Mairi had taught him this. He blocked that thought from his mind with some effort, the memory of the stick-thin old man stubbornly swimming through his head until he forced it out. His mind was empty but for the sound of his own breathing. He focused on his breath, then on his own heartbeat, the rhythm of blood pulsing through his body. He turned his mind inward, to the rhythms and sensations of his inner organs.
                His heartbeat was as strong as ever, if a bit fast. His muscle tissues were overly fatigued and his sternum was aching from hard breathing, which he had known already, but he felt what could be a sprain in his right ankle. His right hip was badly bruised, and the bone had chipped a little bit from a blow he had received during the battle.  It would impede his walking for a while, but might heal by itself if he held the leg straight for a few days, even after running on it as much as he had. That would prove to be a difficult task, he thought, considering how far into enemy territory he was. Besides those injuries, he only had a few cuts on his left calf from a close call with the business end of a mace, and a few cuts on his face from running through low tree branches. Then of course, there was the self –inflicted bruise and cut on the back of his head now, but that had not caused any damage beyond the purely cosmetic, fortunately.
                He took a deep breath, then turned his senses outward, ignoring his own body now, and experiencing the outer world. He heard the rustle of leaves in the upper canopy from a thin breeze, and the faint chirping of birds that must be far above him. So it was day, he thought absently. He searched for a cricket in the forest’s orchestra, and sure enough there was one. The chirps were quick and faint, but he could tell from the speed of them that it was nearing twilight. The chirps stopped abruptly, and he heard a faint hiss and a crunch. A tarantula. Closer to him there was a skittering sound, probably from one of the closer trees from his estimation. A squirrel, although the lack of chatter from it was worrisome.  He searched for the culprit with his ears. Ants scurried underfoot, large enough to move the leaves and dirt just slightly as they went, and he heard the faint flutter of bird wings in the upper canopy. Then he caught the scent of blood not his own. And from what he could tell, it was not animal either. It had a human tang to it. Then he heard the crunching of leaves and twigs, and the clink of metal on metal, although it was faint. Someone was coming.
                He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. Suddenly everything seemed so bright, but then again, it was always like that when he came out of his Focus. Now, he thought, I can get up and fight them with the slight chance that I may die fighting, or sit here and wait for them and hope they don’t notice me in my bright gold armor, sitting like a child’s target practice dummy. Choices, choices…
He slowly eased himself up, pushing against the tree as ache in his hip and sternum threatened to topple him. He forced himself to ignore his screaming muscles, instead searching for that sound again to judge how much time he had to prepare for this possible threat. He steadied himself against the thick trunk, and wiped the mud from his brow to clear his vision. His normally golden hair stuck stubbornly to his face in a mass of mud and leaves.
He caught the sound again, now much closer and more distinct, but slightly slower now, and the rhythm of steps told him enough to prepare accordingly. From the pattern of steps, he knew that only two unburdened and lightly armored people were coming. He heard only minimal clinking of metal; probably a belt and sword, some buckles at the most. He cursed his armor. He could not move without making a sound. Now they were close enough that they might be alerted by the sound of him raising his arm, let alone unsheathing a sword. The weight was no object; he had worn heavier suits in his endurance training at the Fist. This armor was simply noisy. When his brothers in arms had insisted he wear this armor as a symbol of authority; he had blindly accepted. Yet another blunder of his, but who could blame him, he thought. Who would say no to a mob of advisers fussing and pleading and demanding that he take on another useless mark of his rank. Not only did the gilded steel clang noisily at the joints, but it creaked mightily where a second-rate blacksmith had “adjusted” the armor to fit him better. He would have been happy with the mail by itself, a chainmail so fine that it felt like cold silk at times. Unfortunately, mail was only an underlayer for royalty and it simply would not have done for a member of the royal family to run about in underwear, no matter how useless the plate was or how good those underclothes were.
                The footsteps continued to come ever closer, until he was certain that they were only on the other side of the tree. He gripped the hilt of his sword, and began to go back into Focus. He slowed his breathing, closed his eyes, and cleared his mind. He focused only on the footsteps for a moment, then he opened his thoughts to the Red. Memories flooded back, taking over his thoughts and senses. Blood and pain and screaming. His mouth tasted that echo of the sickly sweet coppery taste on the tip of his tongue, and it brought his focus to a sharp, bloody point. His eyes snapped open, his aches and pains gone. The footsteps came closer. He heard them approach on his right, and he tensed his now warm muscles. His senses had not lied. In one heartbeat, the tip of an exposed blade peeked around the trunk of the tree, cold steel that shone even in the shadow of this dark forest. In the next heartbeat, the face of the swords owner appeared in profile from behind the tree, and he moved his muscles into action.
                He swung down, knocking the blade out of the way, and in the next beat he swung back up with all of his strength, aiming directly for the unprotected head. All he saw in his Red haze was a target, not a man.. He saw a meatsack to be ripped open. The meatsacks sharp features contorted into a shocked, silent scream as the blade came at it, faster than its muscles could move.
                Then, from nowhere, a blade swung out, swinging faster than man or meatsack could register, and his blade met it with a clash and a jolt through his amrs. The force knocked his blade high, making it skim over the meatsacks head instead of through his neck. The second assailant, he saw, was hooded and helmed. And the hood was quick. The hood darted backward, sword at the ready, a fearsome black blade with a curve to it. The meatsack dropped to the ground and rolled backward, away from his and the hood’s reach, finding refuge behind the closest tree, where it would no doubt regain its composure and change its pants. He grinned, holding his sword at the ready, pointed directly at the hood.
                He lunged. The hood parried, leaped gracefully to the side, and returned a quick jab. He blocked. He attacked, the hood blocked. They met each other blow for blow, barely escaping injury until he made contact. The hood grunted as his sword slashed through the leather armor on the hoods arm, leaving a gash and a growing stain. The hood looked from its new wound to him, and then back. He smiled, and the hood grinned back, a new fierceness behind the helm.
   That marked a turn in the fight. The hood slashed, rolled, dealt sweeping attacks, and as he dodged and blocked frantically, he began to realize that their “fight” had only been play for the hood: it had been toying with him. His rage reignited and the Red grew stronger as he increased the strength of his blows, and the speed.
                He faintly heard a noise in the background, and he could see in his periphery the meatsack, now out from behind its tree, waving its hands at he and the hood, shouting loudly, urgently. He could tell that the hood was listening, turning its head toward the meatsack and then looking back at him, face unreadable. The hood was still easily meeting his blows, but the hoods attacks slowed and hit with less force. He forced the Red to fade slightly, enough that he could hear what the meatsack was saying.
                “No! Alistair stop! It’s me! Dammit, Logan, don’t…He doesn’t realize-!”
                That was all he heard. Suddenly, the hood spun, and he lost sight of it. Looking about, he did not see the hilt of the black sword until just before it met with his head.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introducing, Alistair Stromwell

 Okay guys, I'm kind of letting my inner fangirl out on this character, but it needed to be done. This is going to be one of the primary three characters in the LBP series, and the primary protagonist of Stormfall.

I introduce to you Alistair Stromwell.

The idea behind this character (as the pictures would suggest) is a combination of Alistair Theirin (one of the protagonists of DragonAge: Origins and the DragonAge series in general) and Dean Winchester (of Supernatural). Although LBPs Alistair is much taller than either of these characters, the facial and body type is much the same; blonde, strong, blue eyed, handsome, etc. As for the personality, the character is a combination of these (oddly similar) characters, with a sarcastically morbid sense of humor to protect themselves from emotional harm and to hide a painful past, a fierce loyalty that takes a lot to be earned, and a very black and white concept of right and wrong that often classifies the magical and supernatural on the "wrong" side.

Alistair was born to the family Stromwell, the Royal family of the cold and stormy northern island system of Talias. Born to the Storm King, Erik Stromwell III, and Castrella Stromwell (originally of the Morgaine clan of the eastern Durstan Islands), Alistair was the youngest of 5 children, and the only child Erik had by Castrella. Castrella was 17 when Alistair was born, and died when he was just over a year old, lost to a fever that took both her and the baby she was carrying. As a result, Alistair was raised by his older sister, Aisling. Aisling and he had a great relationship, as they both excelled in academic pursuits and the combative arts. This desire to excel mostly stemmed from the rejection they experienced from their father; Aisling for being a girl (and not a lady-like one at that), Alistair for being the offspring of his least favorite wife. After a minor sparring accident, however, in which Aisling's arm was broken, permanently crippling her right arm, Alistair was sent off to the Aldean Fist, a warrior monk's monastery, in the eastern portion of the Talias island system. He was 9 at the time.

At the Fist, Alistair mastered a number of combative arts, as well as languages and healing arts. His goal was to be both the "sword and the shield, the cut and the salve, the warrior and the healer," as was taught to him by Pentos (High Priest) Maren. At the fist he learned all forms of weaponry, especially the sword, as well as anatomy, basic physiology, and methods of healing wounds. He became an avid reader and made a hobby out of observing people and their behaviors. He especially became interested in legends told by the various island people, their various remedies to diseases, and their cultures.
He also learned their fears, especially a resounding fear of the unknown, specifically "sensitives", or people with supernatural abilities or senses. Alistair's experiences with these cultural fears, as well as his religious training at the Fist, made him very wary toward "sensitives" in general, although he had doubts regarding the validity of some stories he heard.

His time around these people, as well as his time around the dead, dying, or wounded, made Alistair develop a sarcastic, morbid sense of humor that often irked the Penti (priests) of the Fist, so much so that when he applied to become one of the warrior monk initiates (Uni) at the age of 15, they rejected him, stating that he was "destined for another path." Before he could reapply at the age of 17, a rebellion started in the Talias island system between the "Stormborn", those loyal to the Stromwell clan and the ruling families of Talias, and the "Durstans", a rebel group loyal to Margrave Grewt of the Durstan islands East of the main islands of Talias. In the attempt to make peace with the Durstans, Alistairs second oldest brother, Morren, was murdered. Soon after, the eldest brother, Fallon, was killed in the Battle of Amos. What was thought to be a short-lived rebellion turned into a full-out war when the Durstans began attacking Stromwell-loyal islands and, surprisingly, coastal cities of the main continent belonging to the forest kingdom of Shaddard.

In the second year of the rebellion, Alistair joined the fight along with other trainees at the Fist. Due to both his success and his talent at healing, he was placed as one of the leaders of a ground battalion, alongside his brother-in-law, Serys Laefell, one of the heirs to Shaddard and husband to Aisling. During their time in the battalion, Alistair and Serys became good friends, more so when Aisling died giving birth to her only daughter, Rhea. In the same year, King Erik was lost at sea after joining the battle in his legendary ship, the Bastards Steel.

In the third year of the war, Alistair and Serys led their group to one of the inner Durstan islands, blinded by their past successes. Of their 56 soldiers, only 7 survived, including Alistair and Serys. They were trapped behind enemy lines, and some were captured. Serys and Alistair managed to find each other, infiltrate a few key positions on the island for information, and escape, along with a woman who called herself Logan. Alistair fell in love with Logan over the months that they were trapped behind enemy lines, but she disappeared soon after they escaped from the island. The information that they collected while on the island ended up being key to winning the war, but Alistair always considered it a loss.

At the point in time this story takes place, Alistair has been on the throne for just over a year, after his brother Liam died. He is a reluctant ruler, and although his position is largely as a figurehead while the marches essentially rule themselves,  he hates the social obligations his position warrants, not wanting the responsability. Most of his time is spent training with his knights, studying in his family's vast library, or volunteering his time to to the local Palmery (church).

Virtues: Strong sense of honor, charitable with his time and talents, and slow to anger. Loyal to those who have earned it in his eyes
Flaws: Slow to trust anyone, especially those in authority, reluctant to take responsibility that he does not want, often seems childish or rude at inappropriate times, talks too much at times, too little at others. Can be overconfident in his abilities, to the point where he overestimates himself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Introducing LBP: Stormfall

For those of you who have followed SBF over the past year, you know that the Legend of the Bastard Prince is not a new idea. LBP has been a pet project of mine for over 3 years, as have some of the characters. However, the world of LBP has undergone a great deal of development over those 3 years. As a preview to what you all will be looking at over the next month, here is the summary that I have written for the NaNoWriMo website.

In a world long ago forgotten, conflict sets the stage for war when a number of high profile warriors and scholars begin to go missing in  the dark forests and deep seas of New Eden, and the increasingly tyrannical High King of the continental domains orders mysterious executions of "treasonous" individuals while the winged Gaels begin "cleansing" within their own borders.
In the middle of this conflict stand the family Ink, a group of orphans and misfits of various origins and species taken in  by the odd traveling artist Irvin Ink, who seem to have members in every corner of New Eden.
In this ongoing tale, set a century after the attempted takeover of New Eden by a legendary warrior, a reluctant king, a disgraced noblewoman, and an orphaned bastard must determine where their allegiances, and their hearts, lie when faced with an inconceivable truth.

The Book Fiend Returns! Along with NaNo...

Hello my fine fuzzy (and not-so-fuzzy) friends!

The time has come again for National Novel Writing Month to begin, and I have decided to do an overhaul on Sincerely, Book Fiend!

1) Sincerely, Book Fiend will now post regular updates, featuring characters from my upcoming NaNo novel, The Legend of the Bastard Prince: Stormfall. LBP has been my pet project for the past 3 years, being an on-and-off work since my last two years of high school. Last year I tried to do LBP for NaNo, but soon realized that the characters I had developed in 2009 were ones that I had outgrown. Turin and Lyna were not as developed as I had once thought, and now new characters would be needed to inhabit a much darker world than existed in 2009.

2) Book Fiend will also be splitting into two separate blogs. The second blog will be called Sincerely, Bug Fiend and post regular updates and comments on new findings in the scientific community, as well as tidbits that Book Fiend and her Fiendish Friends decide to share!

3) Book Fiend will also be posting regular updates on life events (such as the wedding coming up for Book Fiend and her Mischievous Metal Man) and findings that may prove interesting to the passing geek or nerd!

Thanks my fiendlings! Hope you enjoy the coming months of fiendishness!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

10,000 Words and...Behind

So, I am currently counting 10,950 words on the Legacy of the Bastard Prince. Although I am really pleased with the progress i have made so far, I am currently over 10,000 words behind schedule, and need to make up that word count by the 15th. If anything, I need to make up my word count by the 22nd so that I am not stuck back at home for Thanksgiving Vacation feverishly typing while my mother worries for my sanity.

NaNoWriMo, I love you, but you are KILLING me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sorry Everybody

Sorry for leaving you guys hanging. Haven't had much time to write posts.

For a brief catchu-up, my art professor hated my animation, hated the first copy of my t-shirt project, and kind of hated my final product for the t-shirt project. In every other class, everything is going well.

On a personal note, my boyfriend and I have made the decision to go on a break. Very dramatic. Facebook statuses were changed. It is something that I feel has been coming for a while now, but I think that we both need to discover our individual paths first before we can even consider being a couple again.

Anyway, to assure you all that I am okay, I just want to keep you up to date on what I am currently reading. As a continuation of the short story binge, I am currently reading Ancient Enchantresses edited by Kathleen M. Massie-Ferch, Martin H. Greenberg, and Richard Gilliam.

The book is a collection of short stories written about and from the viewpoints of 19 sorceresses and enchantresses from around the world. These powerful women include Echo from the tale of Narcissus, and Nimue from the Arthurian legends. Each is written in a different style and from a slightly different viewpoint. These women are wonderful, powerful, and sassy in their own right, and are wonderful examples of strong women.

I will give you all a full review when I have finished the book. Looking forward to it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Androgyny Pt.2

This is a follow-up on the Androgyny video and my teachers' less-than-pleased response to it. As far as I can tell, the professor hated the video. Honestly that should not be an enormous surprise to me, but it still was quite unpleasant. Of course, this rejection was emotionally compounded by the fact that I had gone to bed at 5 in the morning because of this project and was artistically wiped out.

Anyway, please tell me that I am amazing, because my self-esteem needs it right now.