Prompt: The Purge

(On Paladin and Demon: I ran into some issues with the story, not the least of which being the inability to write it while out of town, so I need to push it back. I don’t want to say Tuesday for certain, but I’ll put it up Tuesday if it’s done by then. If not, I’ll post the next part of my Warcraft 3 LP. Thank you for your patience, all 2 followers of mine)

Many people hate even the concept behind the series of movies known as ‘The Purge’. Many others see it as wasted potential. Imagine you were the writer of the next Purge movie. What would you pitch as the concept? (You may submit multiple)

Okay. The purge is an absurdly stupid concept that relies on its viewer knowing nothing about how crime and evil work. But hey, they made a movie about Battleship, why not?

Here we go.

1) A young man kills a politician during the Purge for doing something bad. Let’s say, causing the death of his younger brother, or hitting his father with a car. Whatever it was, he is arrested for it due to a law that makes it illegal to murder government officials in high office (basically, the President and Congressmen) during the Purge. However, the case goes to the supreme court, since it brings up the question of whether or not politicians can be killed during the purge. The protagonist is a lawyer who wants the purge gone entirely, but sees the best way of defeating it as chipping away at the legality of it bit by bit. She argues that because the Purge makes ALL crime legal, the murderer should be let off, and that the purge is invalid if the defendant cannot commit murder against anyone. The Purge is upheld, but the law that allowed the defendant to be arrested is struck down. So now politicians can be killed during the purge.

However, the Defendant is killed before the next purge can take place, and the lawyer’s reputation is destroyed by tying her to the murder despite her innocence.

2) A scientist, in a bid to cure cancer, kidnaps and experiments directly on humans during the purge, ignoring all ethical concerns in his race. He does so for decades, and our movie’s protagonist is his latest victim/subject. At the end, the protagonist dies, but the doctor has indeed found the cure and distributes it. The fact that the cure is found is critical, as it shows why anyone would ever tolerate something like the Purge and makes that line about ‘all the good the purge does’ actually MEAN something. Statistics about crime and unemployment are too abstract to pose a legitimate question regarding morality in the viewer’s mind.

3) Show us the man credited for starting the purge getting involved in the wrong end of the purge itself. This would be something incredibly interesting if done correctly. Show us why he instituted it, any guilt he might feel. Ya know, psychological character study type thing. It could work.

4) What kind of militia or guerilla groups would operate during that 12 hour time frame? Like, would the KKK and the Black Panthers wage their bloodiest wars when they can’t be arrested for them? Perhaps against each other? Perhaps with magic ninja laser powers and giant robots?! … COME ON, WORK WITH ME HERE!

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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.”

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.

Prompt: HarsH ReaLiTy Flash Fiction Challenge Part 2 of 2 – Destroy your City

“Take the city you built in part 1 and destroy it in whatever manner you please.” –HarsH ReaLiTy

CRACK

The frozen city’s only warning.

The ice that surrounded and encased the city began to shatter and break as the enemy’s magic willed. In the senate, hundreds of empty balconies snapped from their resting places and tumbled down, crushing and shattering the others. Decadent old men in scarlet robes began to blame each other for the disaster as ice buried and killed them. Those with sense tried to flee, only to be crushed in the city’s collapsing tunnels.

The warehouse district’s frozen ground fell apart beneath it, and all of the city’s supplies collapsed inward. Underneath the district lay a lake forgotten by time, where the supplies fell and the people froze. Supplies were ruined beyond repair and food would come to spoil, not that anyone would be alive to try to claim the ruined goods in any case.

The market took the longest to collapse, and so the people within were foolish enough to try to flee. But the tunnels that led out collapsed upon the peoples, and their blood seeped from their now caved-in entrances before the walls came down as well and crushed those who tried to flee. Those still in the market would soon die as well, however, for the market’s structures both wood and brick and stone were brought down to pile on the poor citizens of the city of ice.

The military district sounded the alarm, and gathered as many as it could to save. However, the tunnels to the other districts collapsed too quickly for their efforts to save the city. The ice on the outer walls fell and crushed the outer buildings. Those in the atrium gathered in the center and waited for their inevitable demises, trying not to listen to the screams.

The Housing section had the worst of it. Filled to the brim with icy spires and pathways, what didn’t shatter like glass was broken apart by what did. Thousands died in an instant as their homes collapsed around them. Still thousands more fell to their deaths as the pathways they walked across crumbled beneath them. A great spire fell and crashed into the ice wall of the atrium.

At the end of the horrible day, only three dozen citizens remained to carve an exit, and only 14 lived long enough to leave.

And through it all, Gioco, god of order and ice and the supposed protector of the city, was nowhere to be seen.

Prompt: HarsH ReaLiTy Flash Fiction Challenge Part 1 of 2 – Create a City

“The challenge is to create a city in 1000 words or less. It can be a city in any time or place, real or fantasy, and as much of the city should be revealed in those 1000 words as possible.” –HarsH ReaLiTy

Wish I’d found out about this a week ago.

The city was carved within a colossal block of ice, once a mighty glacier frozen by the powers of Gioco himself. Within the ice, tunnels and passageways twisted and wound their way through like an anthill. Strangely, the ice did not melt, and so did not provide as slippery a surface as one would imagine. At the center lay five massive atriums, one at each compass point and the center. At the southern position, the first was covered in housing. Bridges and pathways honeycombed throughout this atrium to the various dwellings carved into the walls and the homes in many of the massive spires of ice. The citizens of Liraheim went about their daily business here in their strange, exotic animal skin clothing that seemed to cover far too little for the climate, simply chatting and living their lives.

The second was the senate seat, in the northern position, and this was perhaps the most grand of the five atriums. On the walls were small balconies with the seats for each of the empires 20 territories, and room for several thousand more. At the center was a massive throne, on which rested the king, with his crown of ice. Old men in rich, dark red robes bickered and yelled in this room at all hours of the day, some leaving in the middle of a speech or debate and coming back later through the pathways behind the seats. On the center of the throne sat Gioco, god of ice and order, who would occasionally decree his will and force the senators’ silence.

The third atrium, in the eastern position, contained a bustling marketplace, and was one of the few chambers not entirely composed of ice. The people of the city bustled about with their purchased goods as merchants shouted out their wares. Most of the stalls were selling some sort of food, but there were goods from all across the world in this place.

The fourth atrium was the military district, in the central position. The entire structure was placed into a grid pattern, with the four largest roads going to each of the other four atriums. They were the only way into the atrium, and each was both gated and guarded. The district was arranged into a mighty castrum, with the district laid out into a grid. The final atrium, at the western position, was a massive warehouse district used for storage.

The people here are grimy and rough, but also friendly and warm. They have nothing to fear from you here, and so they do not. Drunken brawls in the street are common, and occasionally there is even a church. There are altars in every alley, but no actual churches for dedicated worship. The city sparkles in the daylight like a cavern made of stars, and at night it shines the silver of the moonlight.

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.