July 5, 2013

Clockworks on the Island II

Hello! If you're reading this during July 2013, then I'm busy writing for NaNoWriMo! I'm also busy taking a class over this month, so I will be harder to reach. However, I have written a short story to be published over this month for you to enjoy. You'll find an update on things twice this month. Enjoy!

Backstory: Brecken is sent to Skull Island to fight in the resistance against the invading Armada. She meets Errol and does not want to befriend him.

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Brecken hated the sounds of war she didn't fight. She had been surrounded by them in Marleybone already, doomed to cringe at the screams of valiant soldiers nearing their demises. It was tempting to trot back and light a cannon's fuse, and it seemed like others had already lost willpower and manned the stations. It would be to no avail, Brecken knew, for Armada-origin rifles were twice as strong. As she turned back, Brecken realized that the scraggly pirate was still following her.
"Look," Brecken sighed, halting, "Who are you, and what can I do to get you out of my hair?" The small pirate turned away, sighing. Brecken merely raised an eyebrow.
"I'm Errol Vane," the swashbuckler scowled, "Don't know how to fight with these." Brecken cast an icy glare down on Errol, her alert green eye analyzing him, as the other was patched.
"You're a scurvy one," Brecken sighed, "Go eat some Yum-Yum. Come back when you can't infect me." Errol growled and stood on his toes.
"Listen," he snarled, "There's a shortage of everything around here. If I could get some Yum-Yum, I'd be eating it. Just show me how to fight so we can win this war." Brecken glanced around the island beaches. Polluted waters replaced teeming crab colonies, and the skies had been stained with an inky gray. Perhaps another hand would win the war.
"Come on," Brecken sighed, "I have to check in with a few others first." Errol nearly clicked his heels together, running after Brecken .
"Thank you, Mr. Harker," Brecken mumbled, paying the games man a smal sum of gold to hold her horse.
"What's her name?" The bearded man asked.
"What?" Brecken , riding horses till their final days, hadn't ever been fond of naming.
"Her auburn coat is well-groomed," Errol noted, "How about Red?" Brecken shrugged and waved Mr. Harker off. She stepped into a crowd of pirates right outside of Avery's office. Some looked at her, and Brecken waved her letter in return. In time, a small parting had formed in the crowd, letting Brecken through. She leaned on the door; it was locked. Brecken took her hat off and put it over the handle and her right fist. Brecken closed her eyes and felt small wisps of poisonous energy flow from her fingertips, tampering with the door and unlocking the latch. Brecken slid into the office and locked the deadbolt behind her. Errol looked to the sides and leaned on the doorframe, waiting for Brecken to return.
"You needed me," Brecken sighed, stepping towards Avery's desk. Captain Avery was sitting at his desk, signing papers and staring motionless at the words he had written. In the air, Avery's cockatoo hovered above Brecken 's head, staring down as if to ponder her presence. Brecken stared up at the birds and whispered old Grizzleheimian insults. Avery looked up.
"That got my attention," he mumbled, "Quite a vocabulary you've got, there."
"E'glost umeo paoh," Brecken shook her head and sat down in a sofa a little farther off from Avery's desk. She ran her fingers over the wax seal, "Listen, Avery. I don't want to be here."
"Errol's looking in," Avery murmured, "He'll want you to fight. You should show him to fence." Brecken stood and walked calmly to Avery's desk, slamming her letter on the hard wood. Avery's inkbottle shook and nearly toppled. He raised it with his quill.
"I left everything behind because I thought you'd be more intimidating," Brecken snarled, "I'll just leave." Avery stood, reaching for a wide dagger on his belt. Brecken stood straighter and backed up, her hand fingering the trigger on her sparkshooter.
"You said you didn't want to fight here?" Avery questioned, unsheathing his dagger. Brecken narrowed her eyes and drew her sparkshooter, "Aren't we?"
"I'm not buying any of it," Brecken snapped, "You forced me to abandon my crew, then left me with the scraggly fencer. What more?"
"I could leave you dead in an instant," Avery twirled his dagger.
"Okay, okay," Brecken sighed, motioning her hands downwards in surrender, "I'll fight. I'll train the fencer, too."
"Good," Avery nodded. His skin was yellowing with age, mottled and grimy from lack of sunlight in his office. Brecken wondered if he ever went outside. The cockatoo had landed on the doorframe, watching Brecken 's every move like a surveillance mechanism. Brecken aimed her gun at the bird, and it flew away. Avery stared back in disgust.
"You scare me, sometimes," he noted, "Go and fight." Brecken made her way through the door, leaving the paper behind. Avery picked it up.
"So?" Errol asked, walking by Brecken 's horse as she rode sidesaddle out towards the small water mole village on the island, "Things get sorted out?"
"More or less," Brecken said monotonously, "Stop here." Brecken and Errol stood on a small sandbar, "Now, the water is acid. If you touch it, you fall and die." Brecken raised her hand and poisonous tendrils grew out from the water.
"What about the Armada --" As Errol pointed the sky warfare out, Brecken raised a hand to block it.
"Don't look," she warned, lifting her dagger and placing it on Errol's shoulder, "If my blade is coming down on your shoulder, what do you do?" Errol ducked. Brecken swept the side of her dagger around to touch his ear, "You catch my wrist," she corrected. "That way, I drop the weapon and you can get me in the neck." Errol thought for a moment and acted the actions out. Brecken pushed Errol around and caught the ruff of his collar. He was just leaning over the tendrils. They snaked up towards him a little. Errol leaned back and landed on his rump, rolling back to a stand. Brecken repeated actions and started using new ones until she and Errol sparred consistently. If he moved wrong, then Brecken would correct and repeat the attack. In time, Errol fought. The skies grew darker, and Brecken stalked into the darkness with her horse.

"The tavern has a small inn," Brecken said, "Put it on my tab."


A poem submitted for Secrets of the Spiral's contest:

Thoughts Preceding an Impossible Rescue

It is I, the hunted,
Setting foot on what docks
Laced with bronze screws and mildew
Have beckoned my name since I took to the skies.
What defeat is it
that I endure? Simply the thought of my sister-in-arms
Scratching the iron bars out of the madness engulfing her
Is enough to make me try.
Is this defeat at all?, I wonder,
kicking a gear aside and into the wind.
It is only a show that mustn't take intermission
for golden coins or bottles of Yum.
My defeat, at all
is the hilarity of getting away once more.


  1. These are great! I... Can't really think of much else to say. Just wondering, is the whole story written already or are you doing it as we go? Sorry, don't know much about the writer world ;)

  2. Hi! Because of Camp NaNo, I prepared the entire 5,000-word piece in the five days before the event began. That's why there were fewer posts that week, too. Most other quickwrite posts are prepared on the spot. My 5k pieces and ASW have been prepared ahead of time.

    This piece in particular was prepared ahead of time, but if I prepared it on the spot here and now, it wouldn't be much different. I had the entire idea for this one planned out. I just needed to give life to a few characters. I really love Brecken in this one. Thanks for reading!


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