Friday, December 28, 2012

The King Reigns.... And His son!

The Kingdom Series has been one of my absolute favorite fantasy series' since I was twelve years old. We recieved the first editions of the series one Christmas from our friends, and I read each book aloud to Percy and Seph for the next few months. Now, we have both the Kingdom Series, the Knights of Arrethtrae series, and all the audio books.

The author, Chuck Black, has gotten better at writing with each book, and while Arrethtrae may not be comparable to Middle Earth (I'm told not much is), I love it. Not because I'm cheap or have no taste -- which would be a cruel thing to say considering Mr. Black has worked so hard -- but because I fully appreciate the kind of stories he has written. Chuck Black has been an amazing inspiration to my own writing. My very first, and ongoing, role model as an author. If you haven't read the Kingdom Series or the Knights series, go read them.

Recently there was a video contest. Entrants were required to choose a scene from one of the Kingdom Series' books, and make it into a short film. Here I'm posting the first placer's entry because it's quite good. I was impressed. And that takes some doing.

Not only are these two fairly good actors -- something hard to find in ametuer short films of this sort -- but good cinematographers, as well.

If you have a short film you've made, put a link in the comments! I love watching the work of aspiring filmmakers or writers. Maybe someday I'll post some of the movies PenKnights Studios has made. We shall see.

Dia duit,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Farewell to Florida

Farewell to Florida, farewell to the sea;
Farewell to winter weather averaging 65 degrees....

Farewell to the sunsets, the birds, breeze, and sand.
Our stay with you has been truly grand.

Now you see why I write novels and not poetry.

For the whole two years that we lived here, I've wanted to get to the beach and watch the sunset. Usually the whole family would drive out to one beach or another during the daytime, and leave before supper. Yesterday after church, however, we drove to Indian Rock Beach near Tampa just before dinner and watched the sun go down over the water. We collected seashells, sand, saltwater, and took a few last pictures of the state we've called home since 2010. It was quite a surprise that my father got stationed here, and it's been everything I imagined it would be. I'm going to miss it.

I know it may sound a little silly, but I adored the weather. Really. When it gets cold outside, my body gets cold right along with it, and I have a hard time keeping warm during the winter. But with Florida, it never got too cold. Even when things became a bit chilly, I could throw on some socks and a cardigan and be just fine. It was very pleasant.

And on the good days, the sun and the breeze and the lovely clouds made for a cheerful atmosphere that often lifted my spirits. I was able to take my dog for a walk whenever I wanted to, no matter the season, instead of having to suffer through sporadic winter walks in the snow and ice.

The people of Florida are fascinating. There is a wide variety of ethnic roots here because of the snow birds, the proximity to the various islands and Mexico, and those native born to Florida itself. To say the least it's a fascinating place. We also haven't lived near a good honest American metropolis for years. Every visit to the city of Tampa was captivating.

Then there are the people we've come to know that have been a true blessing. Our neighbors, our church, and the family we have nearby. Leaving them is the hardest part about moving. Truly, they have been some of the most beautiful people we've had the pleasure of living near. I couldn't even go into what it was like saying goodbye the church here without tearing up.

But now the time has come. Tomorrow, we shall be gone for good. While we will assuredly visit when we can, this life we had here will be gone forever. A tiny part of history, the course of the lives of a few, will die from reality and become affixed in memory, never to return.

But that's what makes life so precious, isn't it? If we never lost anything, nothing would be worth gaining.

Dia duit,

Monday, December 10, 2012

For The Greatest Good -- History and Special Features

'Cause I feel silly for not posting anything worthwhile, even though we're ridiculously busy and I'm tired and my teeth hurt.......

I have a first draft of a paper Dana wrote about his history in the Realms (the story world for FtGG). I might even pull some emails I wrote with Siani talking about the various gifts of the Knights.

I'm afraid my mind isn't in the most organized state at the moment, so this post could very well end up being rather haphazard. I may attempt to edit it later on if I have time, but then I again I might not. Blogging is going to be very touch and go for at least the next month or so.

So. Random FtGG stuffs.

Siani's Questions, and my answers to them:

Siani: I was reading through your two latest FtGG posts this morning (I will scrawl down notes to send you about them, just btw) and then the wheels started whirring and now;
The gifts/abilities/whatever you call 'em: how are they gained? Are they a symbolic gift, as in a gift from Jesus, or a part of the knights of the order or whatsitcalledsy...
The knights: what's their role? What's their purpose? Who ARE they?
The order or whatever it was: what is its role? What is it fighting for? Who is included as their 'knights'?
Me: Okeydoke, I shall answer your questions to the best of my ability. As I've said (somewhere....), Dana and I are making up a lot of this story completely on the fly, and that includes most of the development, as well.
1. These abilities are genetic and hereditary. They are symbolic in their own way, but mostly they are literal.
2. The Order has existed in some form or other over the centuries of this land that called The Realms that we all reside in. However, at the point in time the story takes place, there hasn't been an organized Order around for at least several decades, maybe a century. A few years ago I started rounding up descendants of the last Order and formed a new one, the one that's in the story. It's well known that true members of the Order (Guardian Order, Guardian Knights, there are various nicknames) possess special gifts. That idea has become more of a legend, and there are divided views as to whether they ever really did, if they still do or if the genes have died off, or if there were never any special powers to begin with.
3. These powers are, as I say, genetic. But they remain dormant until activated, and if the person does not recognize that they have these powers, then it is very difficult to activate them. They are activated usually under extreme pressure, as part of an intense or sudden fight or flight reaction. That's also usually the time when the gift is first used and when the person becomes consciously aware of it. From there the use of that gift has to be practiced for the person to become good at it, but it comes naturally so it doesn't take long.
4. The pattern we've been using for these gifts is that they're subtle, easily ignored, and mysterious. As you've seen with Dana's power, it's a little difficult to grasp, but at the same time it's too coincidental to ignore. My gift is telepathy. Also slightly hard to grasp right off, but there nonetheless. Seph's gift is in having a certain amount of control over sound. He can harness it and move it around as he wishes, as well as absorb it so that it can't be heard to anyone but himself. He can throw it, concentrate it, and hear it very well from distances. Some of these gifts are inspired by the names of the allotted swords. For example, Dana's sword is named PathSeeker, mine is named RuneBinder (which goes well with telepathy, having to do with words and such). Seph's sword is called FableBlade, so that doesn't have much to do with his gift, but Percy's is MythForger. Percy's gift has to do with fire, so that fits. Either way is fine.
The Order
1. What they do. This is another aspect that Dana and I are still figuring out. I believe that The Order is doing a sort of Christian type thing where they are not bowing to the 'Lords of the Earth', as it were, which would also explain why all the villains have the title 'Lord' and not 'Duke' or 'Count'. We acknowledge the reign of a King that is not in the land at the moment but will be returning someday. This means that any land we hold is under his name and not the control of whoever happens to be nearby. Obviously this makes things irksome for some of the more greedy lords around, like Ross and Campbell. But what makes things worse is that we recruit others to come live on our land with us under our protection from other Lords. One could call it incredibly subversive insurrection. I believe we do some of this with story, or with our various talents in the arts, but also with other means.
2. Each member of the Order is considered a sort of guardian. If there is land to be held, one of us would be the ones to live in the castle and govern it in our King's name for as long as we should so be in that position, or until He returns, depending on which came first. Our job is to protect the people from the Lords of the Earth, and govern and serve them according to the King's precepts. Unlike the Lords of the Earth, we consider ourselves to be the greatest servants to the people rather than rulers over them. Placed in a position of authority in order to do them as much good as we can rather than to have them do us the good that would normally be considered due to a ruler. In our ruling positions, we refer to each other as Stewards rather than Lords.
3. What we're fighting for right now is, I believe, to get the land back that Ross took from under Percy, Seph, and I's protection. He found an excuse to attack us, as our little section of land was growing larger and more prosperous, drove us out, and took over our castle, lands, and people. Now I've gathered what members of the Order I can in order to retake that land. That's what this little dispute with Ross is about. Ross is trying to wipe us out or at least control us because he knows we're not going to just sit by and concede defeat.
1. The only people who can truly be members of the Order are people who are direct descendants of other Order members. This can be proven through credentials, or through the use of their gift. All Order members have a gift. If they don't, they're not direct descendants. Obviously this idea has been disputed -- as evidenced by my initial disbelief in the story -- but even with that it has always been that, gifts aside, only direct descendants can be a member. It's more like you're born a member, you're not made one. It's believed, I think, that the hereditary system is one the King put in place. Anyone can help the Order, and join them in their mission, but they can't be a member of the Order itself unless they're a descendant. Make sense?
2. If you are a member of the Order, it is considered your duty to fulfill that role. It's uncertain, now, as to how many members there are spread throughout the kingdom over the last century, but one of my goals in the story is to locate all of them and get them doing what they're meant to be doing. I think that this quest is what led me to all you guys (except my brothers, of course). That's how we all met in this story world. I'm constantly searching old records and following leads in search of new members, as well as travelling all over to check on the ones I've already found.
3. There is a certain hierarchy within the Order, but for the most part it's unofficial, and based more on the particular natural talents and Gifts of each individual. I'm the acknowledged founder, and as such I have a certain amount of authority, but this is more out of necessity to keep the Order running smoothly than much else. Since I travel a lot, I'm the one who's heard about the most, and as such I've earned leadership labels from various places, hence why Set (or Ross?) called me the 'Queen' of the Order.
4. Also, each member has the right to raise and command an army. Indeed, this is the only way armies get raised in the Order; there is no specific army that serves us. Each member must create one of their own to guard the areas under their protection. However, unless a member needs the army to protect a group of non-Guardians, they are not meant to have one. The armies are there to serve the people, not the members. An army is only allowed for good reason.
Hopefully that answers your questions. If you have any more, please feel free to toss them at me. ^.^
Siani: As for the questions, whilst just copy down what I've got and see where it goes from there.
Are there certain parameters for the gifts? Do they have to meet a specific requirement of non-weirdness or some such or is it whatever strikes one's fancy?
If you're a descendant of the Order, does that automatically throw you in a position of leadership or is there some choice on your pat?
Does the gift always have to feel like a gift or is there definite room for it to feel like a burden?
I'm thinking of basing Siani's (my?) gift on the major traits of an ISFJ. Specifically, the defender part. A) do you mind if I do this (assuming you're fine with my delving into everything in the first place)? and B) if it's fine with you, how much leeway is there when it comes to the function of the gifts?
Does it have to be all "for king and country" or can it have a more personal role? (I have no idea what I'm trying to ask with that.)
What role do the swords have? Are they specifically commissioned by the Order members as needed or are they passed down from generation to generation or both, perhaps?
Is the land ruled all by various lords or dukes or are there other kings besides The King?
Would you say there are some overly zealous to the point of corruption Order members or would her highness not allow for it?
Are all gifts easily ignored/vague or is it possible that a certain personality/character trait could make it stronger/amplify it somehow?
1. Parameters: The gifts are generally non-physical. As in, no mutations, or things requiring some physical alteration of one's body. No shape shifters or people with the ability to set themselves on fire or turn themselves into another substance, etc. Here are the three categories so far:
   1. Manipulation: Manipulating things that already exist in various manners. Examples: I manipulate
brainwaves for telepathy; Jos manipulates sound, either absorbing it to silence it to anyone
else's hearing, or throwing it to another location to give the appearance that the sound came
from a different direction. While he cannot enhance the individual volume of a sound, he can
concentrate sounds from various places into one place, combining them into one loud sound.
   2. Generation: Creating substances, with the ability to enhance or decrease it, not violating the
substance's natural makeup. Example: Timothy can generate fire, but only on flammable
   3. Enhanced Instinct: A keener ability with a certain natural instinct. Example: Bryan is able to
sense the right or wrongness of certain courses of action in relation to a chosen end goal.
Basically an enhancement of the "I've got a bad feeling about this" and the "This is right, I can
feel it in my bones" sensation.
Some other gifts we've come up with are these:
Induced Emotion through Song: A Manipulation gift. Rosie's ability. She can induce emotions in someone by singing, humming, or whistling tunes appropriate to the emotion she is trying to induce.
Lie Detector: An Enhanced Instinct gift. Open. The ability to sense when someone is lying by asking them a direct question.
2. Descendants of the Order are expected to step up and play their part in whatever way they believe the King is telling them to. One isn't given these wonderful gifts so that they can be squandered. A more leadership type role is common, as the Guardian Knights are considered the stewards of the King'd land while He's away, but that's not a requirement. The aim is just to put one's gift to good use in watching over the realms in the King's absence. Within those parameters, there are many options.
3. Gift or curse? Could go either way, depending on the person's perspective. The gifts are subtle enough to where they don't have a constant, draining effect, and they can be turned on and off/left unused, as well. They also tend to play to the individual's natural tendencies, so they're generally pretty inoffensive to one's self. Obviously gifts can be misused -- Set's an example of that -- so the gift could become a burden if the individual struggled to restrain urges to misuse their ability. Though that's more of a self control issue, which can apply to anything in life, rather than an issue of the power itself.
4. A) I don't mind at all, and B) define what you mean by 'leeway'. As long as the gift remains within the parameters described above, you have as much leeway as you could possibly want. One goal is to make sure that each gift isn't too powerful. They tend to be on a more subtle note. Something that helps, rather than the thing that defines, a Guardian Knight. While the Order is known for the special gifts each member has, that's not how the Order defines itself. It defines itself as a group of Knights serving the King first, and then as being given these gifts by the King in order that they may be aided in performing the unique tasks the King has laid out for them.
5. Not quite sure how to answer that.... The Guardian Knights are expected to work for the good of the King and the Realms He has placed in the care of mankind, but that mandate can be fulfilled in an infinite number of ways, so...
6. I'm not entirely certain about the swords. It's possible that they're both of the things you mentioned. Since the Order hasn't been around cohesively for some time before I revived it, there are probably several swords that survived as family heirlooms. However, I believe if there were any who did not possess such an heirloom, I had a sword made by the descendant of the Order's official swordsmith construct swords specifically for each member. He may have repurposed any heirlooms, as well, to strengthen them and tweak them a little to be more tailored to the owner. They're named by the swordsmith, who may have a hereditary gift of enhanced perception. Meaning he can guess as to a Knight's gift, and names the sword somewhat in conjunction with the gift.
7.  The Realms are ruled by Lords and Ladies. It's based off of feudalism, but the various medieval titles don't really carry over. A King is the equivalent of a god, in The Realms, while a Lord is the equivalent of a reigning monarch. It's got a symbolic aspect to it, which I think I mentioned briefly in my previous email.
8. Well, technically I'm not a queen in the Order, just the Order's Head. At the moment, though, I don't think there are any over-zealous members of the Order. If there were, I would do my best to calm them down, as being over-zealous can lead to obsession, gross imbalance of priorities, personal damage, recklessness, and insubordination. All of which are breaches of our code of conduct, and detrimental to our mission in The Realms. Although, the same is true in reverse of Knights who are extremely unzealous and apathetic to the cause, which can lead to laziness, selfishness, uselessness, depression, and bitter attitudes. In either case of imbalance, I as Head of the Order would be responsible for making an effort to rebalance the Knights involved.
9. The gifts come from a person's personality rather than their presence being the cause of certain personality quirks. With that in mind, I do believe having the gift gives the individual a noticeable quirk that wouldn't be as strong if the gift wasn't present. But these are still subtle enough to be considered just part of one's personality rather than some freakish tendency.
Okeydoke, hope that helps some. ^.^ Email me with more questions any time.

There, question thingies all done. And now here is a blog post done by Siani on her blog related to The Realms.

Last but not least, here's Dana's pre-story. Dana, if you read this and want it edited, just let me know and I'll repost the changes.

My name, Dana MacDonald. I was born on the Northern coasts, in a small fishing village of an equally small region. Our region had no official leader, but were led by guilds set up by representatives from each village, in place of the order, who once led us long ago. Our region were primarily believers in the legends of old, and sorrowed that such times seemed to be past. The only knight among us was Sir Thomas, a man far out of his prime, and thus unable to effectively travel as a knight would. His gift, of accumulating knowledge; he could not forget anything he looked upon or read, and had put this knowledge to good use. In our region alone, he had set up three libraries with a great store of the order’s history, and their works of writing, especially of their knowledge of the king. This knowledge he would speak of, but as he grew older, his ability to do so grew less. Our people sorrowed, again, for with him ,we feared any influence of the order would die, and our region would eventually darken, like much of the lands abroad.
However, that changed. One day, when I was ten years old, my father had taken me on a hunting trip during the winter months. A great storm came up, and we were separated. In my blind travel in an effort to stay moving, I came across a large building, in which I took shelter. I came to find that it was one of the libraries the old knight had once maintained in his younger years. The storm still raged outside, and I passed the time reading the closest book I came across. The story it told intrigued me, for it spoke in greater detail of the legends that I had been told of by my elders of time past, when the guardian order sent by the great King led the people in peace and justice.
When the storm abated, I realized the library was not far from our village, and I returned, to the relief of my parents. Now knowing the library’s location, however, I returned there frequently and in secret, for I did not know if my presence was allowed. After my fourth such visit, I was caught, or rather found, by Sir Thomas himself, who had traveled to inspect the old library. Amused and touched by my interest, he offered to teach me of the order’s history in my spare time, and I heartily agreed. At the same time, he also playfully sparred with me, to give life to what he would teach. After a month or so, out of curiosity, Sir Thomas pored over the records of our village to find my ancestry. To his surprise, or more his confirmation of a thought, he discovered that I was, indeed, descended of one of the order. And not only that, I was also of age to begin proper training. Sir Thomas spoke with my parents, and they in turn offered me the choice to remain home and live a normal life, or to depart with Sir Thomas to become a guardian knight. Even with the visions of knights and swords dancing in my mind, leaving my parents was enough to make me realize how important a choice this was. In the end, I chose to accompany Sir Thomas, and we left soon after. All this had transpired within my tenth year.
The next five years were devoted to many things. Sir Thomas and I traveled across the region from village to village. Though it was a small region, and few villages and towns to speak of, Sir Thomas’s age made our travel slow. It was worth it, though, for the time was spent heavily in training. Sir Thomas began to train me seriously with the sword of the ancient arts he recollected, and even as an old man, he was a worthy fighter, and taught me much. He taught me courtesy that was required of a knight, of leadership, and of our order’s history, especially of my family line. But most importantly, he taught me of the King, who he served, and who I would come to serve as he did. The years passed slowly; in that time, I saw what a guardian knight was meant to do through how my mentor acted and helped those around him as he could. In the middle of my fifth year with him, we were midway between two villages. A terrible storm, such as like in my youth, came upon us, and we could not see our hands in front of us, and could barely hear one another. I expressed my terror, for I knew how deadly these storms could be. The words that Sir Thomas spoke to me were mighty in their impact.

   “The King will be with us.”

I had heard the same words many times from his lips, but they never hit home as they did at that moment. And I believed him.

At that moment, I felt it for the first time. A path, in my mind’s eye, like a compass had just been placed within me. And that compass was guiding me, somewhere. I could not explain what I felt, not in that storm, but I could not remain idle, for I had no other choice. I gasped his arm, and followed where the compass guided me. The next thing I remember, we both woke up in a cave, sheltered from the elements, our horses patiently waiting for us to come to.

Upon explaining what had occurred , Sir Thomas realized what had happened. In that moment of faith, I had received my gift from the King. There and then, Sir Thomas knighted me, as a member of the Guardian order, as was proper.

That moment was one of joy to me, but it was tainted with... something. A shadow was on my heart for some reason, stilling the fullness of my joy, but I did not speak of it, merely shaking the feeling off, and it eventually passed.

Sir Thomas took me to the most skilled smith in our region, and had my sword crafted with a red jewel he had been preparing for this day placed in the pommel. From there, he sent me back to my village. I questioned his action, wondering why he was sending me away from his side. But as he explained, he deemed me ready, and told me that “the region needs us separate, not together. And the King has prepared you for this day.”
So I returned to my village. My people were amazed to see me again, for I had certainly grown since I had left. They were delighted to have me serve, and serve I did. For three years, I fulfilled the duty of a guardian knight. I used my gift of path-finding whenever it was needed among my people, served as defender if needed be. I was not lax in what Sir Thomas had stated was my greatest duty, however, in that I retrieved documents from the library near our village, and would read to my people the words of the King, and the history of the Guardian order, that knowledge of it might not pass on. Those times were wonderful, for I felt I was doing what I was meant to do, and it was immensely fulfilling. The people enjoyed the time, for with knowledge and law of the King came order, life and joy to their lives. But three years alone was how long this time of peace lasted.

Early in the fourth year, following my eighteenth birthday, a shadow of trouble again fell upon my heart. I tried to dissuade it as before, but it would not be shaken. For several days I endured it, until one day, I went out with several of our village folk to located a missing child, who had gotten lost a few hours before. All seemed to be going well, and despite my tinged mood, nothing seemed wrong. But things were worse than I ever could have imagined. My path I followed led us far, far out into the wilderness, until we were lost ourselves. Night fell, and snow fell. I tried to find the way back, but my skill seemed tainted. We gained no ground, and merely became more lost than we had been. One by one, the men of my company froze to death, and only my training kept me alive the longest, and somehow, I found my way back to our village, weary beyond sorrow. But the sight that greeted me instilled that sorrow I had lost. My village was burned to the ground, its inhabitants scattered in death across its grounds. As I beheld the site, agonized by it, I deduced they had been slain in battle, for many were armed, and our warriors were dead near the outskirts, as if in defense. But none had survived. Women, children, all were slain, even my own family. I was devastated. Not even the enemies of lands abroad were this cruel, and I could not guess who would have done such a deed. But I did not have to wait long to find out.

Staggering out the village, barely alive, I found myself surrounded by warriors  garbed in dark armor, bearing cruel weapons. I could not even stand, much less fight, but before I fell unconscious before them, I beheld a sight I would come to loath. My own face, staring down at me, a smile upon its features as the face, my own face, spoke, with my voice.

   “Greetings. Brother.”

And thus was how I met Set. He and his warriors brought me to Set’s fortress high in the mountains beyond the coasts, and there, I was tortured. At first, Set did so to discovered the limits of my gift, probing my mind with his own. But as time passed, it was merely for his own sport. Day by day, it passed. He would speak at length of how he personally slew my family, whispering doubt and seeking to undermine me faith, and it nearly worked, for I began to despair that the King could hear me where I was. But in one of my moments of reprieve, chained as I was, I recalled knowledge that I had read in the library near my village, the knowledge of the Shadow knights, the order’s dread enemy from ages past. I realized, Set was a Shadow Knight. But he was my own image. And he could not kill me. From then on, I realized his one ultimate weakness, and I used it to regain the hold on my mind. During his sessions, I began to fight back, learning to quell the probe of his mind and the suppression of my gift. It took time, and the knowledge was dearly bought in great pain, but I learned to fight his seeking, choking grasp, all the while keeping what knowledge I had gained a secret from him. I bided my time, until one day, I made my escape, retrieving my sword and fighting my way out. His warriors were no match for me, and for a short interval, Set, who had yet to develop his own gift fully, was cowed by my mastery, and fled before my fury, for above all, he feared his own demise.

I had escaped, but I knew I had little time to act. From what knowledge I knew, Set would seek out my own destruction, and of those I sought to protect. Therefore, I went abroad in my region, raising the countryside in a call to arms. With Sir Thomas’s help, the entire region flocked to our banner, to support us. It was then I realized what power the guardian knights must have wielded, for they were willing to die for us, believing that we did the King’s will. And such was so, for we did. We marched upon Set’s forces in open battle, outnumbering as well as outmatching them, for his followers did not know the land as well as we did, being natives. He fled to his fortress, and we pressed the attack. Many dear lives were lost, but we finally breached its walls, cleansing the evil within and destroying and resistance. But Set was not to be found. He had fled the battle in the last defense, taking with him what forces he could muster, and headed south, not to return.

The battle was won, and though we had lost many lives, our people rejoiced, for we had purged the land of a great evil. But I was disheartened, for I knew Set was out there, and would return, always hunting me. Therefore, I resolved to hunt him myself. I knew what it would mean, but upon remembering my fallen family, my village, I did not want any others to fall to his cruelty because of me. I would stop him, capture him, and kill him if need be.

Sir Thomas and our folk were sorrowful, but could not dissuade me. Taking my sword and supplies, I purposed to leave. Before I did, however, the village guild assembled and asked me to be present. Upon my coming, they informed me that they had elected me as their region’s steward, in accordance with the law of the King. While they could not stop my coming, they promised the aid of their swords, should ever the time occur for me to call, four cohorts strong. I was humbled, and promised to send word should I need it. The following day, I departed, following my inner compass, ever mindful of Set’s possible interference. I had heard rumors of trouble southwards, and I was certain Set would be involved somehow. I hoped to encounter other knights abroad, but Sir Thomas had warned against it, saying,

   “The world has changed much, Dana. Your sheltered life on the coasts is unique, for people here know your story, and the story you tell. Abroad, many will not know the story. Many will not want to hear it, some will even seek your death for it, for the story itself is power. But go you must, for you have been called.”

   “Are we alone in the world, then? Is the order fallen, save here?” I asked.

   “Never,” he replied. “The King always has his servants in the most likely, and unlikely of places. But these will be few, far between, and some... sadly... will not believe as you. It is both to them, and to those they serve, that you will go, for it is with the gifts we bear that the King is shown forth, for the gifts we bear are both His strength, and ours. Do not forget it, and do not forget that the King will always be with you, no matter what path you take.”
Well, hope you enjoyed this completely random, very long, and highly disorganized post about The Realms. I'll attempt to do something more logical at a later date....
Dia duit,

Saturday, December 1, 2012

For The Greatest Good -- Intermediate II

Intermediate II -- Compensation

As the last of the guards marched out of the throne room, Lord Ross clasped his hands behind his back. Behind him, Lord Campbell stepped forward.
  “Now, Ross,” The fair haired ruler’s tone commanded the attention of Ross and several of Ross’s men nearby. “About my compensation you promised.”
  Ross smiled, and abandoned his contemplations to face the castle’s owner, putting his hand on Campbell’s shoulder. “Of course. Do not worry, my friend, I had not forgotten.” He motioned to the guards. “Give him his compensation.”
  With a nod of gratitude and satisfaction, Campbell turned to the three soldiers. He paled in horror, just as the captain gave a savage thrust with a long knife into the lord’s chest. Campbell managed a strangled cry, eyes bulging, and he grasped the bloodied hilt. When Ross’s captain withdrew the weapon, stone faced, Campbell collapsed motionless on the ground, his expression of terror still etched on his face
  “My Lord, Campbell’s men are with us.” The captain reported, cleaning his blade on the edge of his victim’s cape before straightening again. “Those who disagreed were dealt with.”
  Ross smiled, eyes glinting in satisfaction as he walked towards his new throne. “Very good. I chose wisely when I promoted you, Wesley. Have one of your underlings send someone to clean up this mess here before something gets stained.”
  Captain Wesley bowed, then gestured to one of the other two men to do as Ross had said. “Thank you, my lord. If I have merited your trust to venture, might I question one of your recent decisions?”
  Settling into the simple, but commanding seat, Ross waved his hand in approval. “By all means.”
  “Thank you, my lord. It is about the hiring of the warrior Set.” Wesley said. “By our deductions, when we captured MacDonald in the halls, I believe his original intent had been to slay the lady Kearney. Besides that, though, I do not trust him; he is….difficult to fathom in his methods. I fear his intentions will not always mirror what my lord has in mind.”
  Ross steepled his fingers, tapping his chin in contemplation. “Why would he seek to kill Kearney? Why not MacDonald?”
  The captain frowned. “I….hadn’t thought of it, my lord. Set seems to enjoy inferring pain upon the Guardian Knight through life rather than death. There seems little other explanation to his hostility to him, and yet his reluctance to slay him outright. Macdonald’s death would damage our cause little, after all, his forces being destroyed.”
  “Indeed….” Ross fell silent for a few moments, then settled further into the throne. “Well, keep an eye on Set, if you wish. At present, he is a valuable asset against the Guardian Knights that we cannot afford to lose, or we will diminish our advantage. If he becomes more of a danger than a help, however, inform me, and we will decide how to deal with him. Does that satisfy you?”
  Wesley nodded. “It would give me pleasure to be the one to deal with him at his usefulness’s end, my lord. Thank you.” He bowed, and at Lord Ross’s dismissing gesture, he exited the throne room with his one remaining guard behind him.