Friday Fic

I haven’t cleaned it up, but I doubt I’m going to have the chance to before the day is over.  It’s something I wrote for my WoW people.  I’m just fulfilling my obligations to put one bit of “real creative work” once a week….

“There is no fucking princess this far fucking north!”

Charles Andor dressed in old, ratty furs that belonged to a man twice his size.  His armor was discarded mail, but his prized possession was a heavy double bladed axe in the Vargul style.  His companions, while similarly dressed carried nothing so spectacular.  This axe allowed him to boss around the other two men, left overs from a failed campaign, even against their better judgment.

“Ballacks.” Charles said, “there sure as hell is. I found her fucking hole in the ground.”

“Charles, how much gobo weed are you on these days?”  Trevor Templeton was rail thin.  He fancied himself an archer, but he only managed to wound at a distance.  He always had to finish up close.  For an archer, he never complained about the up close work.  “Ain’t no fuckin’ royalty this far.  Only military.  Old posts, watchin’ for scourge or Leylines.”

“An’ the big wigs moved back to their next big fight.” Elias Trulio, the third of Charlie’s crew, leaned on his staff.  “We’re up here scavenging.  Anyone left here is scavenging.  I’m telling you, we could find better work in Dalaran…”

“Fuck Dalaran!”  Charles screamed.  “No good work there these days, but all the fucking Tor have rules, regulations and restrictions.  Not worth our time Elias.  No.  You’ve all heard about it.  There are places up here that the big wigs forgot about. Caches.  Hidey holes.  All sorts of wonderful things we can find and sell.  Now then.”  Charles stared at Trevor, “Speaking of Gobos, I found one who had a place up here.”

“Gobo?  Really?  Gobo’s always scavenge the best…” Trevor said, interrupting Charles.  Charles responded with a slap that sent Trevor spinning to the ground.  “Shut your fuckin’ mouth  Trevor.  I’ve got the lead on the goods.  I make the call!”

“Right, Right.”  Trevor said.
“Now then.  This way, to the coast.”

Charles walked east from New Westfall.  Elias stepped over Trevor, following him step by step.


They walked for the better part of two days till the reached their destination.  Azeroth’s moon gave them just enough light to prevent them from stumbling over their feet.  Trevor carried their torches.  “Princess’ Palace,” as Charles called it, “Was built by a gobo for his treasure horde.  His prized possession, some sort of dwarven artifact is inside. Ain’t too many Gobo’s south of K3.  This one, a darker fellow, was singing and making a ruckus before I lost him in the woods.  But I found this place…and I’d bet my eye teeth this is it.”

The men emerged from the woods to the edge of the Grizzly Hills.  Off in the distance they could see the trollish ruins.  To the north ran the Frenzyheart River.  To the south the could see more of the cliffs and hills that gave this part of Northrend its reputation.  “Nice view.”  Said Elias, “but where’s the fucking palace?”

“You’re standing on it,” Charles said.  He pointed to the the field below.  “That’s a fallow field.  They’re getting ready to plant. That rock?  It looks like a rock because its dark.  Watch.”  He shouldered his rusted musket and fired it at the rock.  IT shattered like glass.  “See?  Glass.  We’re standing on that gobo’s palace.”

“Uther’s balls Charlie!”  Trevor said, “What if he’s home.”

“Then he’s scared to death.  Elias, see if you remember anything formal in the way of fire.  Failing that, hit him with your stick.”

Elias muttered an incantation and a rune appeared over his head.  “Proceed Charles.  I will protect us.”

The three men carefully made their way down the cliff said, finding a well worn road that led to a stout oak door.  Trevor finessed the lock in a few minutes, while Elias watched.  Charles leaned on his axe and dreamed of what he’d find inside.  He was not disappointed.  With the door open, Charles walked down, into the hillside itself, into a well stocked store room.  “See!  Gold keeps this place running!  and he’s got food to ast a lifetime,” he whispered.   It was colder here than it was outside, as this is where the Goblin kept his food.  There were slabs of meat and wheels of  cheese from all over Northrend.  Connected to the store room was a kitchen, complete with two ovens, a large counter top and more cookware than either man had ever seen.

Another oak door led to a long hallway that opened into a beautiful fromal dining room. In the middle of the room was a long dining table, made from some exotic hard wood from Sholazar.  The table was on an exquisite rug, full of geometric patterns and warm colors.  The floor wasn’t the same cold stone floor.  More wood flooring, probably an hardwood from Elwynn.  They could hear the northern winds blowing through the shattered ceiling.  Charles began walking straight through, but Trevor grabbed his arm.

“Charlie, we should go.  This isn’t…”

Charlie swung his axe at Trevor, stopping inches from his neck,  “Another word and I don’t stop my swing.”

Trevor nodded,careful not to scrape his adam’s apple on the axe’s blade.  Elias, smiling smugly, clucked in satisfaction.

Charlie turned to his left, and continued through a short hallway two more rooms.  The door to his right opened to to a privy.  On the left was a study, with leather chairs and a smokeless hearth.  “For later.”  Charlie said as he shut the door. He lead them back, through the ruined dining room, to the doors opposite the hallway to the library.  At the end of the hall, the again hit two doors.  Elias opened the door nearest him to another privy, while across from hall they opened to a bedroom, complete with a four post Featherbed.  Tapestries showing scenes from Shattrath City covered the walls.

Elias let out a low whistle. “Prince Gobbo moved from there?  He must have enough gold to fund the next war.”

“Much less when we’re through my friend.  Much less.”  They ransacked the room, taking the decorative items–figurines made of semi-precious gems–but nothing else.  The returned to the dining hall, and walked down the last hallway. The end of this hallway expanded into a large, beautifully decorated room. IT was akin to the Gilded Rose of Stormwind, with similar woodwork on the molding, tables and chars.  It was heated with two small, but not smokeless, hearths.  Neither of the men paid attention to the room, or the armor and weapons hanging on the walls.  Their attention was drawn to the center of the room, where a red headed child, a toddler really, was sitting next to the biggest dog any of them had ever seen.  It was as big as any orc’s worg, with brown and white fur and giant paws.  She sat in the middle of the room, licking up toddler’s spilt milk.

The toddler, a cute girl with red hair and blue grey eyes, was obviously crying.  The giant dog had put one paw out over her, as if to comfort her.  The toddler was petting the dog’s coat.

“What the fuck is that?”  screeched trevor.  Charles answered by swinging his Axe.  Elias yelled for him to stop.  The giant dog barked at the yell, and the toddler started crying.

“OI!  No swearin’ when me princess is cryin’ yeh feckin’ morons!”  Bricu said.  He was standing flush with the wall, behind and to the right of Charles. Slung over his back was the two handed sword he had salvaged from Medivh’s tower years before.  Elias jumped when Bricu shouted, but Charles froze in midswing, his eyes glazed.  Trevor rolled forward, underneath the swing, and as far away from the dog and the child as possible. He drew an arrow and pointed it at Bricu.

“Och.  Better me than her.”  Bricu said, “But yer in way too bloody deep now squire.”  He called upon the light again, and Elias was stopped while starting to speak.

“Put the bow down an’ yeh’ll walk away from this.”  Bricu said, staring at Trevor. The archer was steady, but his breathing was rapid and shallow.  His fear was palpable.  For the third time that night, Bricu called up on the light.  A soft white glow encircled his daughter.  “Emer! Bedtime!” He yelled.  The giant dog picked shifted her weight and started to get up.  Trevor fired at her.  The arrow slammed into her flank.  Emer looked back at trevor, snarling.  The toddler screamed.  So did Bricu.

“EMER BED TIME NOW!”  Hobbling though she was, the giant dog scooped up the toddler by the back of her shirt and trotted off down the hallway awayt from Trevor.

Trevor dropped the bow.  He screamed an apology, but it was too late. Bricu rushed at him, calling upon the light to guide his blade.  He sliced into Trevor at the collar bone, not so neatly cutting into him.  Trevor fell to the ground, sobbing in pain.  Charles recovered by then, as did elias.  Charles charged while Elias summoned purple spheres that hurled themselves at Bricu.  Charles’ attack pushed Bricu backwards, and his axe splintered the wood floor.  The spheres slammed into Bricu, but Elias saw thet were drawn into a ring he wore on his right hand.

“Me ceilin’, me dog, swearin’ in front o’me daughter an’ now me floors?”  Bricu said as Charles tried to pry the axe from the floor.  “When I’m done with yeh, I’m gonna have yer ghosts clean me fuckin’ house for the rest o’eternity.”  Bricu engaged Charles, stepping on the haft of his axe, and cutting through the mail with one wild stroke.  He kept moving towards Elias.  Elias prepared another spell, but Bricu called upon the light again.  His blade cut through Elias like a hot knife through butter.  Charles, still standing, yanked at the axe one more time.  Bricu spun around another time, ending Charles life with flashy, if not fluid, sword play.

Trevor, barely alive, was sobbing.  He muttered incomprehensible things.  Bricu kneeled next to him. He layed his hands on him and called upon the light to heal his wounds.

“Get out.  Run away wee man ‘fore I change my mind.”  Trevor did not bother to stand.  He scrambled on all fours, eventually running on both feet, as he fled the house.  He ran as fast as he could up the stairs and out into the Hills.

He stumbled head first into the goblin.

“Sweet light, save me! Save me! The red head and his beat are going to kill me!”

“Och, what be this here then, eh? ” the Goblin clucked with good humor.
Wot yeh doin’ in me woods, near me house?”

“I shot the dog. Near the princess…  the red head let me run..oh gods, save me! Save Me!”

The goblin stopped chuckling.  “Yeh shot at the princess then?”

“I aimed for the dog!”

“Yeh shot at Emer?”

“OH Sweet light, yes, help me! Please, before he changes his mind!”  Trevor screamed.

“She’s not just his princess.”  Trevor watched as the goblin started to grow.  He was getting taller, wings and a tail poked from his back. “Or Threnn’s.”  His neck extended. “She’s every Rider’s little girl.”  His face flattened. “Even my parents said hullo to her.”  Trevor stoped shrieking as the goblin’s transformation drew to a close.  “And Emer’s such a sweet thing.”  The dragon buffeted his wings.  “It was my fault for being careless.  At least I get to take it out on you.”  The dragon reached one large claw out and grabbed Trevor by the waist. As Obaden
soared into the night sky, Trevor screamed to be let go.
“When we’re out by the bitter sea, that’s the plan.  Our princess enjoys this flight.  You should too–just worry about your landing.”

Friday Fiction: First Toastmasters Speech

Wednesday I presented my first speech at Toastmasters–the public speaking group. Today, I present it here. Please leave constructive criticism. I apologize for the sound quality: handheld USB recorders aren’t necessarily the most high tech of recording options.

I will probably upgrade the storage here so can actually podcast later… If, of course, I get enough feedback.

First Friday: Didn’t finish

My first Friday Writing. I didn’t finish it.

I only worked with him for a year or so, and I was never his primary.  When I had started at my first job, we’ll call it The Home, I was assigned to the Gangbanger Unit.  He, we’ll call him Steven Smith, was assigned to the Psychiatric Needs ward.  I had heard about him–IQ of over 200, 60+ hands on victims by 16–during training.  During out training class, we were always encouraged to look past our clients histories and offenses and see them for the kids that they were.  Of course, The Home tried to train us to keep the the offenses in the back of our heads, but not keep in mind that our clents were still children. 

Steven made that damn near impossible. 

The rumors surrounding Steven were terrifying. He was rumored to have a safety plan for every member of the staff:  He was allegedly fantasizing about raping or murdering (or both) every member of the staff.  He was alleged to have created his own language where he kept his notes on how he was to accomplish his assaults.  He was also supposed to have manipulated all of the clients on his floor into sexual activity with him.  I didn’t pay most of it any attention.  The staff member who told me these rumors was, to be generous, a lying asshole who couldn’t be trusted to clock in on time.  Eventually, Steven was transferred to my unit.  Without going into great detail, the psychiatric ward was completely mismanaged, and a number of clients who were difficult to work with were transferred to our unit (we had the greatest success rate of any unit in the facility).  I was looking forward to working with, if only to try my hand at more difficult clients. 

I wasn’t made his primary caregiver. That task was assigned to another male staff member.  Steven was not allowed to have any female staff.  His primary and therapist had to be male.  Steven had manipulated staff before.  I was also told that his fantasies had been to violent to allow him to alone with any of the female staff.  All of our clients had to keep fantasy logs.  We were encouraged to read them to helfp facilitate our client’s treatment. I read some of Steven’s older ones–but he started putting odd symbols on them–and I couldn’t find his newer ones. His therapist, the agencies second doctor, was the only one who was allowed to read them.  If I remember right, we were told, “It was just too weird” to read. By this point in my career, I had read fantasies involving all sorts of terrible things.  Being told I couldn’t read his logs let my imagination run wild.  We did get emails from this therapist notifying us of new fantasies–typically “heads up, Steven doesn’t like you right now,” or “Steve is having sexual fantasies about you”–but nothing more detailed than that.  At this point, I had read fantasies involving rape and murder.  We still couldn’t read Steve’s. 

Without the documents, all I had left was Steve’s behaviors.  To introduce myself, I played him in chess.  My brother is surprisingly good at chess, and I’ve known how to play since junior high. I’m not terrible at it.  But Steve beat me faster than any computer program I’ve ever played.  I figured he would.  Residents at phase one would get to play board games, and the agency had a chess team.  Given half a chance, Steve would play chess against anyone.  The only real challenge for him was Speed Chess.  I knew this going into the game, but i used it to get a chance to talk to him. 

I told Steve right away that he woudl be able to beat me.  The rest of the staff talked me up–I was supposed to be the smart guy on the unit–but by my first move, Steve knew the truth.  I wasn’t a match for him.  He beat in fifteen moves over three games.  What he told me, however, was even better.

Steve bragged about how smart he was.  How good his memory for moves was.  He admitted he thought “at least ten moves ahead.”  When I pushed him on he thought outside of chess, he smiled and said, “yeah.  I tend to plan out everything.”

Let me tell you about STeve’s smile.  “A smile that doesn’t reach the eyes,” is often used in fiction to describe someone who was lying.  There are other implications, especially if you think that the eyes give a special insight into the soul.  Steve’s smile wasn’t something he had developed naturally.  When he smiled, it looked like he was trying to remember how to smile per the proper occasion. 

Writing Project #1: The Kid Who Scares Me

At the end of the workday on Friday, I found my hand written notes on my writing projects. Some of them are nerd based, some are work related, but a few are the ones for the “Friday Workshop” day. Up first is something on the kid who scares me to this day.

As a general rule, I am not afraid of my clients. I worry about what they will do if they don’t get the treatment they need or how their lives will turn out, but I have never been threatened by a kid I worked with on a long term basis. Even the kid who scares me (I guess now he’s a full grown adult) never threatened me directly.

So I want to write about this client examine why this one–this brilliant, scary and thoroughly damaged youth–affected me so much.

Anyone have any advice, or direction, on how to approach this matter?

If

I know writers, professional and aspiring, and I have said many times that I envy their ability to write. Recently, I’ve started looking into more ideas on writing, including GRR Martin’s podcast and Cory Doctorow’s Locus article. I’m starting to think of writing more seriously.

I dabble in writing. Occasionally I write something I’m proud of on the blog. I frequently fill in story gaps in WoW, but I only share that outside of the guild when I’m drunk. If given the chance to write, I have no idea what I would write. Furthermore, I lack the discipline required to sit down and write something.

Part of the blog (impending) redesign was to help me get focus. I am going to stop using certain categories, use more tags, drudge up a few old features and add a new one.

This means I need your help. I need questions for Ask a Bastard. If I don’t get your questions, I’ll either scour the internet for a good one or invent one and link them to random people on the blog roll. On Friday, I’m going to post some sort of writing. Initially I thought “Fiction Friday” but I have no idea what that would be. All I know is that I will write something between 1,024 characters and 700 words. The only requirement of said post will be that I worked on it during the week AND it is not just an edit.

Feel free to give me advice, encouragement or a reality check.

Axiom

The Writer’s axiom, “write what you know,” led me to the question: What are the Blogger Axioms? If the rule was, “blog what you know,” then I think there would be far fewer blogs posts. One axiom I did read was, “don’t blog anything that would embarrass a potential employer.” This axiom has no flair. I recognize that an axiom is supposed to be self-evident, but it does not have to be bland.

There is something provocative about writing what one knows about. It implies that the writer has some sort of special knowledge, or a gift, that they are imparting to the world. Ignore the potential for pretension in this. Instead, think of some kind of writing–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, whatever–that made you sit up and say, “Holy shit. This is good.” Writing that set your brain on fire. You don’t have to actually share the list you come up with (although I’d appreciate it if you did in the comments), just recognize what makes those particular stories so fantastic.

Even a good research paper, or journal article, can have that effect. These scholarly works aim to inform the world with some new bit (or twist) of information, including HOW they came across this new knowledge. In essence, this is just the story of how the knowledge was discovered. The best of the papers, in my opinion, share this information and bring you into that research.Granted, it has been a long time since I read a journal article, but I do seem to remember being blown away by Field Theory and Cognitive Dissonance papers.

When one writes what they know about, they can impart some of their own experiences. They can create, or recreate, their story in a method that makes the reader a participant, not an observer.

Good blogs should be able to do this as well.

So what do I know? Not much. I know a lot about juveniles and delinquency. I know a little about music. I know more about scifi/fantasy than I care to admit, and I pretend to know more about Irish history than I really do. I don’t know nearly enough about Chicago to write novels about–but I do know enough to post about my city.

There is another interesting facet about this idea: The more one writes, the more one learns. Part of this has to do with reading and researching a topic; however, when writing a story, or a scene, characters begin to develop their own sense of self. What a writer starts with begins to morph into something else. The same holds true for blogs. Blogs change over time, especially if the writer blogs about what they know about.

There are books that I need to read–books on writing, specifically–that I think supplement my point. However, I’d rather hear from readers about their experiences with reading and writing.