Epilogue – Happy Independence day!

Happy Independence Day, everyone (in the USA, at least)! Here’s a preview of my novel/novella.

This scene is currently the epilogue to the story. Some brief notes:

Hodran: Raccoon-people
Horos: Fox-people
Madchildren: Psychic constructs with incredible psychic power
Copai: Slave race to the Horos. Not sure what they look like yet, but I’m leaning towards either humans, or cat-people.

I’m scheduling this on June 23rd, since I won’t be at home for this update. Enjoy anyway! 😛

Spires of steel and glass raked into the skies outside her window, jutting out over the horizon for as far as she could see. Lightning arced regularly from building to building, an eldritch storm in a jungle of steel. Sometimes she could notice a building shifting into a new position, to better send or receive the great bolts of energy. There was a palpable sense that the city itself was thinking, feeling with every burst of lightning. More importantly, however, was the sense that every last inch of it was dangerous. This was a city of conquerors, and it looked the part of a dangerous weapon.

At the same time, however, the city was a sensory assault. Bright, vibrant colors that inferior races may call ‘garish’ covered the city below. A neon green building here, a deep scarlet tapestry there. She liked that the most about this city – there was some new decadent delight for her senses everywhere she cast her eyes.

Lucia sipped from her wine, smiling as the arcs of lightning continued to strike outside her window. Divinity itself and nothing less.

She continued to watch the sight for a time before turning back to her room. It took up an entire floor of the building on its own. Gold was inlaid on the marble floor in a whorled pattern. Tapestries depicting various debaucheries adorned the walls, and a mosaic depicting the planet in a hand of steel was at the other end of the room.

A slight tingle ran down her spine, but she ignored it as she strode to her bed. It was long enough for two of her and wide enough for five, and the deep violet of royalty. The frame itself was gold. Real gold, appropriately.

How vain.

“I deserve far better.” She smirked. “So which is it? Am I speaking to a piece of you, or the whole?”

“Cryptic as ever, madchild.” She muttered, grabbing a bottle and an empty glass from her nightstand. She poured it a glass before immediately pouring the wine on the tile. It never hit the ground. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” She growled dryly.

Capric is dead.

“Good.” She growled, sipping her own drink again. “The fool wouldn’t know knowledge if the lady herself explained it. Why do you care?”

We don’t. We killed him.

She cocked an eyebrow at that. “Didn’t know you cared that much about incompetence.”

We don’t.

“Why are you wasting my time with this?” She said coldly. “I was having a delightful evening.”

Watching lightning storms, yes, how riveting.

Sarcastic bits of an elder gods’ consciousness. Now I’ve heard everything.

Not yet you haven’t. One of the Hodran managed to harm a piece of me.

She stopped drinking. “…Really.”

It turned the piece’s psychic power against it, and wielded it as its own strength. Such a thing should not have been possible.

“The Hodran have a god of their own. Perhaps he intervened? Rewrote the rules?”

…There was… a touch of him, yes. But the Lady or the Madgod would surely have intervened in such a case.

“I am not in the habit of understanding the motivations of our divines.” Lucia responded, her eyes glazing over again. “Perhaps there was something more precious to them. Last I checked, the lady’s stance amongst her peers was… less than perfect.” She shrugged and stood.

Whatever the case, we’re afraid this has become too complicated to delegate to lesser beings.

“Agreed.” The Horos smirked, rolling up her sleeves. “I shall go personally.”

She stopped, her smirk instantly gone. “Excuse me?”

The Hodran have found a way to come here. They will attack this city, soon.

She stood stock still for a moment, thinking.

You shall deal with them here. I shall handle Hodra.

“It’s the Horos’ mess, we’ll clean it up.”

The Madchild didn’t leave. She waited a few moments before her laughter rang through the cavernous room. “Very well, you may handle Hodra yourself if you’re bored.”

Boredom is an emotion for lesser beings.

“If you like.”

It was gone. Lucia clapped her hands twice and two Copai servants entered, their eyes wide and fearful.

“Fetch my coat. I have raccoons to skin.”

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Book Update

It’s been a while since I’ve provided you with an update on my book, so I thought I should give you all a quick update. I have an excel spreadsheet that marks how complete each scene is within the current draft. The scenes are marked as follows:

Unneccessary? : 2 (These scenes serve no real purpose and will probably end up either being cut from the final version or heavily revised)
Unmarked/Not begun: 7 (These scenes ARE planned out, but I haven’t started writing them yet)
Complete: 2 (These scenes are scenes I’m perfectly happy with at this point. They’re not necessarily the scene that will make it to the book, but they’re pretty close)
Complete, needs work: 4 (These scenes require some work before they’re ready, but still manage to go all the way through without TOO bad of a screw-up.)
Partially written: 7 (These scenes are not done yet and require not only completion but editing work to be done. These all have what needs to be done marked next to them, but are too varied to mention)

So roughly a third done, a third not yet begun and a third that needs work in this current draft.

One other announcement: I’m going on a trip with my family over the next week, during which I won’t be able to get much writing done for this blog. I’m planning on scheduling one of the two completed scenes above for Friday, and the Friday after I’ll be home to complete another short story for all y’all.

I’m mostly letting you know so I can be open with you guys. You’re all awesome, and I’m glad all 2 of you read this when it comes out.

*tilts hat* See y’all later.

Apprentice and Inquiry

This is a post I wrote up for a roleplay I’m taking part in called Godhood 3. Julius is one of our player’s big villains, and this post leads up to said villain’s trial and butt-kicking at the hands of my main character, the goddess Onore.

It’s all for a game, has not been touched since the original post (beyond some quick grammar and spellchecking that I wasn’t even that thorough on), and it’s about 1600 words.

Enjoy!

Alucio was used to getting strange looks from passerby. Even back home in Lampide, there were many who did not trust the Inquisition. He couldn’t say he blamed them – after all, the Inquisition had very near absolute power. It was human nature to be wary of something that you could not stop. This, however, was much darker and foreboding. This didn’t look like the unease of someone whose entire livelihood and well-being could be upended by the words of another. This looked like a pack of wolves, circling and waiting for a moment to tear you apart. They were not welcome here. He doubted they would even be tolerated as foreign visitors if they made too much of a ruckus.

“Oh sweet!” Lukas exclaimed, pressing his hands against the shop’s window, green eyes wide with excitement. “This lamp is Qalistani! And… is that Dancer pottery?! It is! This is awesome! Can we get it?! It’d look great in the chapel back home!”

His apprentice seemed blissfully unaware.

“Lukas,” Alucio said evenly, stroking his beard, “I realize you have a passion for art, but we are not here to sightsee.” He glanced. “And that is not Dancer ‘pottery’. I’ve been to Ilen. Dancer work is… very distinct.”

“…… Killjoy.” Lukas pouted and pulled away from the window. The young man had been a Lightbringer before the Inquisition had found him. He had a real passion for artwork of all kinds, especially paintings and songs. His dusty brown hair was messy and unkempt, as if he’d never taken a comb to it in his life. He was not quite as tanned as his master, having lived most of his life in a studio, but his training had bronzed him before too long. He wore the large hat and black longcoat that was the mark of his office, but Alucio could see some paint marks on it.

Alucio had not changed much since the battle of Lampide(1). He still had that gas mask and his beard was a bit more gray, but he was showing few other signs of his age. “We’re not here to sightsee.” He repeated, pointing to a sign in the door.

Solars not accepted, it read.

Lukas stared at it for a few seconds, then sighed and pulled back. “Right.”

Alucio looked down the street at the people milling about, “The locals don’t really care about us one way or another. The warlord here – Maximillian Eustace Fotheringham, he calls himself – is, however, a little execution happy.” His eyes narrowed at Lukas. “Especially where we’re involved. We’re just lucky to have secured an appointment so he knows we’re coming.”

Lukas cocked an eyebrow, putting hands behind his head as they started to walk towards the center of town. “Then why haven’t the Legions come down on him? It’s not like our Lady would take such a thing lieing down.”

“No,” He agreed, “But Fotheringham would put his people in harm’s way rather than face Her wrath.”

“Probably.” Lukas admitted. “Warlords aren’t known for being peace-loving and kind to their subjects.”

“So we’re here to attempt a peaceful transfer of power, rather than to simply crush him underfoot.”

“‘Peaceful’.” Lukas said dryly, looking down at the two matched swords his master had asked him to bring. “Riiiiight.”

“Or persuade him to be a good neighbor and to stop arresting or executing our citizens.” Alucio pointed to a stone building at the end of the road, the only stone construct in the entire village. “We simply need to persuade him that working with Lampide is smarter and more profitable than working against it. I’ve done my research, the man is arrogant, not crazy.”

It was at that exact moment than someone’s leg came flying out of the stone building and plopped down in front of the two Inquisitors. “THERE! ONLY ONE LEFT FOOT NOW!!! THE NEXT BITCH BETTER KNOW HOW TO F$#%ING DANCE!!!”

Lukas stared at the leg. “You sure about that, Master?”

Alucio sighed. “Less than I was.”

“I love a lady’s who’s touchy, really I do,” Lukas brushed off a servant who was reaching for him. “But the hat stays on.”

“Was reaching for weapons.”

“You were reachin’ a little high for my swords.” He muttered, handing them over. “I’m gonna want those back.”

“Is fine. Just for meeting with master.” The servant said before bowing and allowing them entrance to Fotheringham’s “throne room”.

Fotheringham had originally been a simple mercenary in the countryside, like any other in the Lampidan grasslands. The village he now ruled had once been considered ripe for conversion to worship of Onore. Many of the villages here had, in fact – strangely most of them had some belief system that appeared distantly related to the sun goddess’, and in some cases outright identical. Others, it seemed, had ancient prophecies that told of their coming, perhaps delivered by a masked man, or a doctor(2).

This village, however, had been hit hard by Restless attacks, and had no desire to be ‘grouped together for the slaughter’ or some nonsense, Lukas didn’t remember. In order to preserve themselves during the mistbourne invasion, they had refused Lampidan aid and requested the aid of a brilliant mercenary tactician by the name of Volkan Brighteyes. Brighteyes had successfully defended the village, but in time his subordinate poisoned him and took his place as leader of the band. The band had then settled into the village permanently, declaring the village as permanently under their protection.
That was not the official story, of course. But only a fool completely believes the ‘official’ story.

The man before him now looked like he had enjoyed the benefits of being ruler of a village for far too long. The man was slovenly and unkempt, his beard a tangle and his belly rotund. He had a pair of attractive women to each side, each with their expression neutral. Lukas doubted they were much more than arm candy.

“You will not kneel in the presence of Lord Fotheringham?”

“No, my lord. I’m afraid we kneel only to our mistress, and you are not she.”

The warlord’s eyes burned. “You will speak to me with respect, sun-kisser!! You are here at my pleasure.”

“My lord, with all due respect, your pleasure would have both I and my apprentice strung up by our intestines. We’re in this place because you do not want the Legions to come down on your head and talking to a pair of Inquisitors is more likely to get you something out of this arrangement.”

Lukas didn’t know much about diplomacy but he was beginning to think ‘all due respect’ actually meant ‘go **** yourself’.

Lord Fotheringham (Lukas was also fighting the urge not to snicker) raised an eyebrow at that, but something in the Inquisitor’s tone made him drop the matter. “I already told Julius I’m not interested in being a slave to Onore’s whims. I’ve sent him troops, but I demand more if he wishes more.”

Alucio nodded. “Which is why we are here from Lampide itself to offer a direct partnership with our lady instead.”

Frothingham scowled, rivulets of sweat trickling down his ugly mug. “Call it watcha want, Inquisitor. I ain’t blind, you’s types always talk about protection and pardnership. But I seen through it!” He jabbed an accusatory finger into Alucio’s face. “You’s gonna put your taxes and your soldiers out here in mah village to take it from me!”

“Firstly, taxes are necessary for the maintenance of the roads and our legions, we do not do them for fun.” Alucio said evenly. “Secondly, Initiates and foreign powers do not pay taxes, only cities that have officially joined our nation.”

“They also can’t earn Solars in your cities.” Fatteningham snapped. “I dun my homework.”

“You don’t let anyone in this town use Solars anyway, what do you care?” Alucio pointed out. “If anything it encourages your citizens to stay here, away from the cities.”

“I-”

Lukas tuned out his master and the annoying warlord as his mind began to wander a tad. As he did so he winked to one of the lady bodyguards, who simply returned a glance of cold stone.

He knew how this would play out: Farting-in-ham would eventually promise to lift the ban on Solars so that the people could trade properly with Lampide for food and supplies, in exchange for having no Inquisitorial or Legion interference. He’d seen his master’s work often enough.

Moreover, though, this would signal the end for Fotheringham.

The economics and culture of Lampide would become the dominant force in this town. Lampide was a powerhouse, and anyone in their right mind would want to trade with them. A vase here, a story there, a happy wedded couple over there… Slowly but surely Lampide’s culture would begin to subsume this village’s. Brighteyes was a great hero worth remembering, and the people would remember his greatness, and find Fotheringham’s wanting. There would be no trust left for the old mercenary, but plenty for Brighteyes and Onore.

After all, Lukas thought as Fotheringham laughed uproariously… The Sun burned the wicked away.

“Master, who is Julius?” Lukas asked as they left town.

“Our next target.”

“…Wait, you didn’t know who he was when we were in there, did you?”

Alucio turned his eyes to glare at his student. “I assure you, Lukas, that that is a temporary arrangement. For now, I simply needed Fotheringham to believe I was there in opposition to a man he didn’t like.”

“…Neat.” Lukas tilted his hat. “I’ll write a song about that trick.”

“I thought you were a painter?”

“I can do both!”

(1) The Battle of Lampide was one of the largest events in the game up to this point. It consisted of a massive invasion on the city of Lampide by mist-zombies and monsters born from the corrupted heart of the planet (long story). Lampide called in all of her allies, from the magical Dancers to the mysterious Joybringers. Ultimately Lampide was victorius, but at great cost. Alucio was a man with a long gray beard and a deep tan.

(2) This isn’t just plot convenience, by the way, the events leading up to those belief systems and prophecies were actually planned by myself and another player.

Soldier and Slave, Part 1

I did a dumb and forgot to prepare a post ahead of time for today again, so I had to dig through some stuff I previously wrote. I doubt it’ll make sense out of context, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

“The Housemen are not trusted anymore.”

Idalia looked up from her greatsword, her whetstone pausing. Solange was looking at her caste’s necklace, a setting sun inlaid with the numerals of a clock. Solange had remained scrawny, and though she wore chainmail it didn’t make her any larger or more imposing, nor did it take a trained soldier like Idalia to notice that she would far prefer to be out of it. Her black hair was oily and unkempt, and the equally black tattoos on her face stood out against her pale skin. Her armor was emerald, as was her cape. It was probably important to her Legion, somehow.

Idalia’s armor was silver with blood-red trim, her own legion’s colors. Her armor was half-plate, and while her hair was messy and black as well, hers was cropped short. She smiled at her sister. “Speak your mind, Solange.”

Solange’s expression was unreadable. “Ever since Ilos decided to stay within the House, there’s been talk circulating that our caste should have gone with him. We continued to visit to get the tattoos, and… well. Some doubt our loyalty.”

“Like who?”

Solange laughed and looked to her sister, her smile back. “I appreciate you’re trying to keep me all sheltered still, Idalia, but I’m not deaf. I hear the things people say. ‘Iceskin’, ‘Deadeyes’, and other such idiocy.”

“If such things bother you, then pretend they don’t exist.” Idalia ran her whetstone along her blade again.

“It’s just sad there are people who think like that here in the capital, is all.”

Idalia shrugged. “I guess it’s a little worrying.”

Solange slid her necklace back under her chainmail and turned back to her table. She was drawing up designs for some new weapon for the Inquisition, Idalia knew. She smirked and placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder. “Mother has you sweating up a storm, I see.” She snickered. “So much hard work in a drawing. Don’t strain your fingers, now, you might break a nail. Then who will draw the prettiest art for the Inquisition?”

Solange smirked as she drew in another line, a long barrel taking shape on the weapon. “I’m surprised you can properly pronounce ‘Inquisition’, dear sister. Have you been practicing?”

Idalia feigned a gasp and backed up. “Me talk good much!”

Solange laughed.

Idalia ruffled her hair. “Stay safe, kid.”

“You too, sis. It’s a rough forest.”

Idalia left her sister’s room and shut the door behind her.

Eliana was even less light-hearted when she went to visit. She was already waiting at the door to their small home, a slight scowl on her overtly pale face. Her hair was bright white and draped down to her waist, and she had a bow as tall as she was strapped to her back. “Idalia, this is really something I should be doing.” She said without preamble.

Idalia shrugged. “There’s a monster out there that needs destroying, so I’m gonna go destroy it.”

“Because mother told you to.”

“Yes. And?”

“Onore is our leader, that does not mean she is infallible.” Eliana replied, folding her arms.

Idalia had her own frown now, her eyebrow cocking.

“Fine, she’s closer to it than I am,” Eliana relented, “but this still feels like a mistake.”

“Lampide needs me, Elly.” Idalia said coldly. “Nothing else matters.”

Eliana sighed and started to walk away.

“Elly.”

She stopped.

“When I get back, we’re gettin’ mead, alright?”

She was quiet for a moment, then nodded. “As you wish.”

Idalia pulled experimentally on the saddle strap, making sure that it was tight and secure. Satisfied that it was, she placed one foot in the stirrup and pulled herself on. She turned to her fellows, eyes cold and bleak.

“Let’s move out.”

The thunderous sound of a dozen horses galloping through the gate was like a furious prelude to a storm.

Prototype Scene: The Aurora Wood

[This is a scene from my current rough draft for Chronicles of Hodra. This is one of several scenes to occur in the Aurora Wood from last time. In it, the Hodran are just about to attack the Horos main base. The Horos have been driven back quite a bit at this point, and are starting to lose faith in their commander, and rightly so. He’s an idiot.

I’m not sure if this scene will stay in the book, or if it will play out exactly in this manner.]

Where had it all gone so wrong?

Sagia remembered when they had first come here. The excitement, the confidence, the assurance of victory had long ago passed, to be replaced by fear, uncertainty and paranoia.  The Copai she had under her command were restless, and she understood perfectly well why. An animal will jump at every shadow, and a Nightworld had many shadows to jump at, even for Horos.

“What if we collapse that tree?” Copai 7 suggested. “It could block the path off, or maybe we could try and collapse it on the Hodran?”

Sagia looked to ‘that tree’ and bristled with irritation. There wasn’t enough room to place one of their Zodia mechs in the area they were guarding, so two watch towers and a small patrol had been set up. Normally they just would have leveled the crystals, but supposedly the Hodran considered it a sacred grove or something and wouldn’t attack it. She understood, but having a logical reason why you’re open to attack isn’t even remotely comforting.

At least she had twelve Copai with her. Perhaps they could be her meat shield.

“Wouldn’t work.” Copai 4 replied, pointing to the trunk. “We’d only be able to collapse it from the trunk. They’re small, quick, and live in these trees. Block the path, they’ll just climb over it or go around, and the metal men will be slowed down. Try to collapse it on them, and they’ll be inside before it lands.”

The Horos were on the run now, and everyone seemed to know it. The Hodran were animals like the Copai, and yet the Horos had been driven back. Foul sorcerey could explain quite a bit of their setbacks, but not all. It was fairly evident to her and the rest of the Horos on-base that Capric was simply incompetent.

“Well what about-”

“Would you animals cease your innane prattle?!” Sagia snarled. “You exist to serve, not to think.”

The Copai bowed their heads. “Yes, mistress.”

Sagia was quiet, trembling as she looked away. “Set up the tree to collapse anyway. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”

The planet wasn’t cold enough to make her tremble.

Sagia was beginning to doubt the mission. She would never question the Lady, of course, but she questioned how her commanders had chosen to follow Her instructions. Capric seemed the bumbling fool. Their forces were constantly thwarted and outmaneuvered, like children trying to build a particle accelerator (granted, not much room to talk, she didn’t manage it until 7) and there was absolutely no reason for it. Capric had grown eccentric, too, talking to himself in empty rooms, yelling at his aides for no apparent reason, and generally growing more unstable by the minute.

…Who was in command after Capric, again? Was it Taura? Her hand unconsciously dropped to her crossbow. Perhaps she would do a better job than this miserable-

There was a slight hum, two loud cracks, and darkness swallowed her.

She pulled out her weapon, snarling at the sudden change. The Copai were scrambling as well. She could hear them grabbing their daggers and clubs. She could hear thumps as her charges hit the ground. She fired at the minute sounds of paws on grass, but was disappointed to hear Copai 2 yell out in pain.

She had just enough time to wonder how they had turned the trees off before consciousness left her.

Story update: Aurora Wood

A week ago

Maybe I should type up my next blog post early… Midterms this week, after all.

Two days ago

I should at least START, the only things I have left are a partner letter that my partner offered to finish and a presentation on x86 computer systems…

Yesterday afternoon

Welp! Midterms are done. Should probably get on that blog post now.

Yesterday evening

Yup. Definitely something I should be doing right now… Just wish I could remember what

1:52pm Today

What was I supposed to have done by ten this mor- …SHIT!

Everything below is subject to change. In particular the name ‘Hodran’ will probably change.

A grove of crystal trees in the planet’s southern hemisphere, the Aurora Wood is a sacred place to the Hodran species. It is the only location on Hodra (outside of its volcanoes) where light shines. When a Hodran dies, their spirit wanders the surface of Hodra for a time. However, spirits eventually travel to the wood to rest. The crystalline trees of the Aurora Wood hold countless spirits within, and shaman can learn much through communicating with them. It is the final resting place of all Hodran.

During the First Contact (the Hodran’s name for their first war with the Horos) the Aurora Wood was occupied by the Horos as their main base of operations. General Capric believed that because the grove was both intact and uninhabited before their arrival, the Hodran would not attack the base with anything larger than a strike force for fear of damaging the trees. In addition, the trees gave off a bright glow that would allow his soldiers to see more clearly while keeping the Hodran wary.

AuroraWood

The Aurora wood features prominently in the first part of the Chronicles of Hodra, and I got stuck during a scene i was writing on it. So I decided to sketch it out, get a general feel for where everything is in the story. And then I realized I was late on writing a blog post and owed you guys a story update.

The tiny circles are the crystal trees mentioned above. The bigger circles with giant lines coming out of them (that look kind of like broken lightbulbs) are the regular trees… the ‘regular trees’ for Hodra, anyway, which are more like skyscrapers than trees. The things that look like corn feeders are watch towers. (There’s probably a few more than are sketched here), but the ones that are sketched here have spotlights). The boxes with Zs on them are mechs (stands for Zodia).

In the scene I’m stuck on, the Hodran are leading an assault on the Horos base. The story is told partly through the eyes of a Horos soldier, but I had no idea how the space the Horos was in related to the Hodran or where their patrol would be. I decided eventually that the Hodran would go in in a way that they were sure would avoid the mechs – namely, a cluster of crystal trees too close together for the mechs to maneuver properly. See those triangles in the bottom left? Those are Horos and Copai, on patrol. They’re a bigger force than usual since A) [redacted for spoilers] and B) they can’t get mechs in there.

In the center is a massive crystal tree (I’ve got a role in mind for it, but I haven’t decided if it’ll serve a role in this particular book) and a Horos Gate, a rather advanced piece of tech that plays a heavy role in the story

Hope this bit of world-building was worth the minute or two it took to read =) Yes, I am fully aware it’s odd to call it the ‘Aurora wood’ when the trees are crystal, not wood.

(oh, and the text you see there on the right is from the back of the page. They’re notes on the forest itself.)

An open intervention letter to Doctor Who

Dear Doctor Who,

We need to talk.

I’m writing this now because the 50th anniversary is behind us, and we’ve begun the Doctor’s twelfth incarnation. The show is now free to start fresh and go in a new direction with this doctor, and I wish I could say I was thoroughly excited to see this. But… I’m not. I’m really not. More than anything, I’m just tired of watching you, thinking you’ll get better.

I first noticed some of the problems you were having in Asylum of the Daleks, but when I look back, I can see them going back all the way through Moffat’s run on the series. No, I’m not going to spend this letter bashing Moffat – that’s been done often enough on the internet, and Moffat is a good writer. I want to talk about some more systemic problems that run throughout the entire series. Now, I haven’t watched classic who, so this is purely the experience of someone new to the show.

My first actual episode of Doctor Who was the 11th hour, which was recommended to me since it was Matt Smith’s first episode (at the time he was a new doctor), and almost instantly I loved this series. I had looked up some wiki pages and stuff, seen some clips, gotten some general background on the series, but this was my first exposure to an actual episode. I loved Matt Smith’s Doctor with his whimsical behavior, unbridled confidence and sheer brilliance in equal measure. I loved that the episode changed direction at least twice in it’s run (three or four times, really, but who’s counting?) which kept me surprised and on my toes. I loved that it was funny, serious, dramatic, even scary when it had to be. And this continued when I watched the series onward.

When I hit a hiatus, I went back to the ninth doctor and started watching from there. Still loved it (though Rose’s constant presence in the series started to tick me off by the time we got to her THIRD comeback) but something about the villians in the series gave me pause. While their stories were often stupid and nonsensical, there was something about them I liked much more than the villians portrayed in the Moffat era. Exhibit A: The Daleks.

‘Dalek’ is one of the best episodes of New Who in my humble opinion, and anyone who’s seen it can tell you why. The modern update to the iconic monster in this story is incredible and horrifying in equal measure. It’s not easy to make a sliding trash can with a plunger on it scary, but this thing goes on an unstoppable rampage and murders so many so quickly and takes so little damage you can’t help but be intimidated. MrTardisReviews said it best, I think: “This is the Chuck Norris of Daleks.” And this wasn’t the last time they would show up, either. Throughout the RTD era, the Daleks were present at least once a season. And every time, their relationship with the Doctor – the one who wiped out their entire species, and whose species they tried to wipe out – is handled perfectly. They’re used repeatedly throughout the series – some say too much. Despite that, however, their presence always felt significant and important.

That last bit is something that really gets me. See, this is an aspect of the series that the Russel T. Davies era had in spades. While the Doctor is the main character (hence the title) the villains are just as important, if not moreso, in the same vein as Batman. Say what you like about the actual stories, but not once do I recall thinking ‘Why are the daleks even here?!’ or ‘Why is this a cybermen story?’ Not once do I remember an episode where the villains were completely unutilized.

And then we had Asylum of the Daleks. Hey kids, guess what this episode needed more of? THE FRIGGEN DALEKS! The idea of the human-sleeper-agent-daleks was admittedly a pretty cool update to the monsters, but the Daleks are only there at the beginning and end of the episode. And no, I don’t mean that they’re physically gone, I mean that they have no real presence in the story. The focus is entirely on Clara, the Doctor and Amy/Rory’s relationship. Imagine, if you will, a story where Darth Vader showed up only to give a brief bit of exposition at the end, when the story is titled ‘Vader’s Choice’ or something that implies Vader is an actual focus for the story.

This isn’t the first time a villian’s utilization has been poor either. The Cybermen story (whose name escapes me at the moment) that occurs right before 11 goes off to die at Lake Silencio, for instance. The Cybermen’s presence is almost negligible. There’s such little substance to them, I am honestly surprised this story even needed to be told. Sure, I didn’t hate the episode, but the Cybermen are so poorly utilized it actually shocked me. The story of the Daleks in WW2 London (i’m really bad with episode names, sorry) had a conclusion that I thought could probably have worked better as a Cybermen story.

You should never be able to think that about a story with villains as iconic as the Cybermen and Daleks.

The Weeping Angels, however, are by far the most egregious example. The Weeping Angels have had 3 stories which actually focus on them (and really only 1 was great all the way through) but appear in 6 or 7. Once as an illusion, granted, but why did they need to be the illusion in question? Or in the snow in the most recent christmas special?

Second, continuity. Moffat loves to play fast and loose with continuity, and sometimes that’s okay. Doctor Who’s version of A Christmas Carol (I really need to start looking these names up) is pretty good in my humble opinion, and it’s only even possible because of how loosely it plays with how time travel in Doctor Who is supposed to work. In other cases, however, the retcons become so blatant and pointless I have to wonder what the point of even trying to follow the story is if everything in it can be changed on a whim. The example I’m about to show you ties into the third point, however: the mystery box.

So, Clara. The impossible girl that dies twice in front of the Doctor’s eyes. Then he meets her again in modern times. We find out over the course of his time with her that the reason he’s met her twice is because she steps into his unravelled time stream/grave (not really clear on what exactly that was) at Trenzalore, a grave made for him there after his final battle. So, what’s wrong with this you ask? The Doctor lives when he goes to the aforementioned battle of Trenzalore. So his grave can’t be there. And before that, it was a fixed point that he would die at Lake Silencio. Except he lived through that. (this one, the audience actually got to see both times) The entire series is full of retcons and changes like that that utterly remove any tension. Everything is going to be alright, everything’s fine, no reprecussions for anything.

As for the mystery box… Moffat likes to put mystery boxes inside mystery boxes. You learn there’s a mystery, find the answer to the mystery, as well as a new mystery. Thing is, the new mysteries start to contradict the old ones. Okay. So Silence will fall when the Pandorica opens? Holy shit the universe just vanished, that’s-… Oh wait, the Silence are aliens invading the earth that have been manipulating us for millenia to get a speacsuit, what do they need it for?… oh wait, no, they’re a church run by humans (then why did they do millennia of manipulation?) that are waging war on the doctor… Now they’re a rogue sect within that church…

That’s one example, but it’s hardly the only one.

And then there’s the blockbuster format. I’ll be blunt: It’s not working. Doing one big episode just doesn’t work for every story. Some need to be longer than the 45 minutes or so allotted for each episode. So many stories since you began this format have just felt underdeveloped and in serious need of expansion. Sure, some work great for a single episode, but to do so for all your episodes… well, there’s a reason we have different size shirts: some need bigger, some need smaller.

Look, I love Doctor Who. But you’re really messed up right now, and you need help. This new series is a chance for you to start clean. Make it count, please. I’ll be here for ya.

-A concerned fan

PS. Sorry if this feels a little rambly. I think I got incoherent at the end there.