My Writing Playlist. #Music #Metal #Writing

 

I love the original, and this is… actually pretty hysterical!

When to listen Easy, when you’re having trouble writing, frustrated, or just suffering from fatigue. A little comedy is a good way to power down.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Damnation Sample Chapter

SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ DIVINITY!!!


“The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

– Revelation 12:9



Book I
     Hell Hath No Fury

I

There was a cold breeze in the air as Michael stood at the podium. In front of him, the Choirs of Angels filed into the main meeting hall little by little. The bitter chill complimented the rather dismal scene in front of him. The general of the Most High’s armies had seen worse over the years and did the best he could to ignore it.

Seated on either side of him, were the other 6 great Archangels, leaders of the Celestial World. The large council hall seated thousands of angels, all of whom listened intently waiting for Michael to speak. The last of them had taken their seats sucked in a deep breath.

The long war had dragged on for eons, costing uncountable angel lives. For years, the angels fought against the armies of Lucifer to no avail. It seemed as though the war would continue until the angels were all but extinct, but a daring campaign carried out by a small group of angels had turned the tide of the war.

The thousands of occupied seats were dwarfed by the seats that no longer had an owner. Those empty seats had lost their occupant either to war or treason. The scene was a sad reminder of everything that the war had cost them.

Michael had taken his rightful place as the leader of the Nine Choirs of Angels. It was a job, some thought, he had let go to his head. Not that he cared, others could have criticized him all they wanted, but in the end, he was still the leader.

Michael stood in front of the choirs and looked out on the chamber that had been carved of Ivory and marble. Like all else, it had been badly damaged during the war and needed to be rebuilt. Large craters had shattered the marble floor tiles. The holes in the ceilings were singed black from firebomb damage.

Michael did the best he could to ignore the dismal scene as he addressed the Choirs, “Brothers and sisters, you all have good reason to rejoice. For after years of watching our brothers and sisters being cut down in ruthless combat, the war is mercifully over. Our little gambit, paid off and four of our bravest warriors breached Lucifer‘s position, forcing him to surrender. He has since been driven out of the Celestial World by the Most High and punished for his crimes.”

Michael sighed before he continued, “However, peace is not yet ours to enjoy. There are still those out there that remain loyal to Lucifer and his cause. It is true that the bulk of his force has been disbanded, but we believe that there are still some creatures in our midst that remain hidden. I can assure you all that they are being hunted down and will be brought to justice.”

A deafening applause erupted from the Choirs as now peace was actually within their grasp and the Most High could continue his plans to create a child race in his own image. Michael smiled and nodded as he too joined in the celebration. He allowed the angels to rejoice for a few moments before raising his hand again to regain their attention. The large chamber immediately quieted down at the sight of Michael’s gesture.

The smile never left Michael’s face as he spoke, “Thank you, brothers and sisters, this is truly a day to rejoice, but I regret that such celebration may be shadowed by business that we still must to attend to.”

Michael’s gaze left the choirs and turned to the entry way next to his podium. A guardian, who was just standing at the door waiting for a signal, returned his look. Michael nodded to the guardian, which prompted him to exit the chambers.

Minutes passed and the specter of curiosity loomed in the chambers. What did Michael want the Choirs to see? Could he have captured another traitor?

Suddenly, the sound of clanking chains could be heard from outside the room. It sounded as though someone was struggling against heavy metal bonds. The noise served to elevate the curiosity of everyone in the room as they waited to see who it was.

A moment later, the guard reappeared followed by an angel covered in blood that was practically being dragged in by her chains. She was shackled at the arms, legs, and neck.  Her wings were weighted down to prevent her from being able to take flight and the look on her face was indicative of pure hatred.

The guard pulled her forward onto the main stage. She defiantly refused to move, making the guard’s job even harder. If anyone was going to publicly humiliate her, then they were going to have to work for it.

Michael shook his head and looked back up to the Choirs, “My friends, I must inform you that we have captured one of these agents and not just any one either…”

As the archangel spoke, the young angel refused to look at anyone and instead kept her eyes fixated on the massive walls of the Choir Chamber. She had always been amazed by the sheer size and intricacy of this hall. It had somehow been hand carved almost completely out of marble and ivory. Murals on the wall told the stories of angel’s deeds throughout their history. She smiled to see one of the divine temples being set to flames. She appreciated that someone had seen fit to immortalize her work.

The entire design of the chamber was beyond anything anyone could image, but something about it was different than the last time she had seen it. The burn marks and blast craters in the walls almost ruined the tranquil view. She remembered the battle early in the war that had caused this damage. It was the first battle that she had been a part of.

Not a day went by that she had not regretted Lucifer’s decision to fall back rather than risk heavier casualties. Being Lucifer’s military strategist and general, she was certain that they could have occupied the Celestial Temple in one swift stroke had they continued to press forward. It just didn’t make sense, yes her forces were being bled, but they had inflicted far more casualties than they had taken. Falling back was a critical error on Lucifer’s part, and it would prove to be one that would cost them everything.

Her thoughts were broken as Michael spoke directly to her, attempting to get her attention, “General Xaphan, step forward, please.”

Xaphan moved defiantly closer to the podium where the Archangel stood. Michael watched her every move, waiting for her to try to break free of her bonds. She made no such attempt and kept her hands tucked away behind her.

Many of the angels were dismayed by the sorry state she was in. Xaphan was at one time a respected soldier in the armies of the Most High, even Michael was sorry to see how things had turned out. It definitely was not helping morale.

Xaphan wore a tattered black outfit that flowed below her knees. It was all she was allowed to keep after being stripped of her sword and armor. Her pale white skin was filthy and scarred. Her wings were missing feathers and covered in blood, most of which was not her own. Her black hair was a mangled mess from weeks of her being too busy to tend to it. She breathed in deeply as her pale blue eyes looked up scornfully at Michael.

Xaphan’s glare pierced right through Michael’s presence and it was as though she wasn’t looking at him at all. She didn’t even acknowledge his presence. To her, it appeared that Michael was little more than an obstruction standing in the way of what she was really looking at.

Uriel followed Xaphan’s gaze and noticed that her eyes were fixated on the Celestial Temple and the chambers of the Most High. A partial smile appeared on her face when she saw that much of its damage had not yet been repaired.

Michael noticed where her attention was too, but dismissed it as he began speaking. Almost to spite Xaphan’s gaze, Michael spoke in a tone that wasn’t speaking to her at all. It was more like he was dictating to her for all to see, “General, I assume you know why you are here.”

Xaphan gave a defiantly unenthusiastic nod and spoke through her teeth, “I do.”

“You have been charged with treason, espionage, wanton destruction, and plotting against the Most High,” Michael said in an accusing tone. “The evidence against you is absolute. We have examined everything in great detail and have found you guilty on all counts. Have you anything you wish to say before your sentence is carried out?”

Xaphan quickly turned to the other angels in the hall, “I fought for you… all of you. It was Lucifer’s wish to see you all freed from your bondage. The world that the Most High is now creating… it should have been for us! It is ours by right, but he would give it to some child race that would only scorn him! Ours was an eternity of servitude… I wanted something better than that for you! I am not the monster that many have you have been led to believe I am. That monster stands in front of you in the form of an Archangel!”

Xaphan pointed an accusing finger at Michael, “He would see you remain in bondage!”

Screams of support for Michael and angry cursing was spewed in Xaphan’s direction, but she ignored it and continued speaking, “I wish I’d never given you fair warning to evacuate the temple before we attacked! I would willingly give up my wings to see all of you burn for this!”

The words hurt Xaphan as much as she was certain they angered the Choirs. She didn’t mean much of what she had said and still cared about the friends that she had betrayed, but they were words that she felt they needed to hear. She still desired to see them free, above all else, and if she was to be a martyr for this cause, so be it.

As the yelling got louder, Uriel stood up, “Enough!”

Michael shook his head as he looked down at Xaphan. He felt a twinge of anger himself as the room quieted down, but as he was about to speak, another voice spoke up.

“Excuse me…”

The voice cut in from the back of the chambers. “I request to be heard.”

The room fell silent as every eye turned to where the voice had come from. Michael smiled, “Ah, one of our local heroes. If anyone here has earned the right to speak before the council, she certainly has. The floor yields to you, Adalyn.”

Adalyn immediately flapped her wings to elevate herself off the ground and gently glided down to the main floor of the chamber. She touched down gracefully and brushed the hair out of her face. As though defending Xaphan from attack, Adalyn stood in front of her, blocking Michael’s gaze, “Brothers and sisters of the Nine Choirs of Angels, I have come before you to plead for mercy on behalf of my sister.”

“What are you doing?” Xaphan whispered in a demanding tone. “I don’t want your help, get out of here.”

“You are my sister. No matter what you have done, I still love you and don’t wish to see you harmed.”

Xaphan sneered and turned her back on her defender as archangels looked at each other oddly. The room suddenly erupted in quiet whispers and gasps. They were intended to be low, but there were enough of them to make a ruckus. Michael raised his hand to silence the noise, “You have earned the right to speak, but judgment has already been passed against her.”

“I realize that Master, and I’m sure that whatever you have decided to charge her with, is more than appropriate, given the magnitude of her crimes.”

Adalyn lowered her eyes as her tone became pleading, “However… I would like to point out that while she is responsible for the initial attack on the faithful, and responsible for the damage to the Celestial Temple, she did not shed a single drop of innocent blood by her own hand. Lucifer was the architect of the massacre. I also happen to know that you have proof that she gave us sufficient warning before burning the temple to allow our people to evacuate.”

Uriel rolled his eyes, “Please make your point, young one.”

“My point sir is that despite her attacks, despite the fact that she sided against us, and despite whom she cast her lot with, she has been an honorable foe since the first days of the conflict. Even as it dragged on, she still maintained a strict code of honor. I should know, because I fought against her on several occasions. That honor is the only reason that many of us now stand here in judgment of her.”

Michael nodded, “I am aware of that, Adalyn. However, being an honorable thief does not make someone any less a thief. I would think that after all the time and effort you put into catching her, that you would understand this.”

“I do understand it, Michael, but there is a difference between understanding and agreeing.”

“That is something you will have to come to terms with. I’m sure your sister appreciates your efforts on her behalf and you have secured your honor, but the decision has already been made and there is no further room for debate.”

“Still not willing to listen to reason?” Xaphan scoffed. “It’s nice to see that nothing has changed in eons. You would think…”

Uriel stood up, “Silence you!”

Xaphan turned back to face Uriel with a malicious grin on her face. He snorted at her defiance, “General Xaphan, for your crimes you are hereby banished from the Celestial World. Personally, I would have preferred it had you been removed from existence, but ironically enough, the Most High still cares about you and has decided to show you mercy. We are therefore sending you down to be with your mentor, Lucifer.”

Xaphan hissed as she suddenly shook off her shackles, revealing that she had broken free of them earlier, and was waiting for the chance to escape. She dodged around the guard when he tried to grab her. Before anyone could react, she spread her wings and launched herself into the air. It looked as though she had a clear path to the exit when Adalyn suddenly appeared in her way.

Having no way out, Xaphan landed a few steps away from the door with her fists clenched. Her eyes met her old friend with contempt and worry, “Get out of my way, Adalyn. Don’t make me hurt you.”

Adalyn moved her arm downward in a thrusting motion. A blade appeared in her hand which she pointed it directly at Xaphan’s throat, “I’m sorry sister that is not going to happen and I don’t think you’d hurt me even if you could. Stand down; I don’t want to have to fight you again.”

“And if I dont, are you going to kill me, Adalyn?” Xaphan asked in a malicious tone.

“I don’t want to. Please don’t push it that far… sister.”

The two glared at each other for a moment. Xaphan could see the tears in Adalyn’s eyes as she stood, ready to strike. Though a loyal servant of the Most High, Adalyn would have preferred to allow Xaphan to get away. She knew what fate lay ahead for her sister and had to resist the urge to stand aside.

Adalyn knew the consequences of making such a decision and held firm. Xaphan sighed, she hated her sister for getting in her way, but at the same time, didn’t like seeing her in pain, “Very well my dear sister, you win, but this is not over between us. Someday, our positions will be reversed and you will be staring at the end of my blade. Don’t expect me to show you anymore mercy than you have shown me. I will kill you.”

“I know that, sister… I know…”

Xaphan raised her hands and turned back to Michael, “So it is damnation for me then?” She hissed. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather suffer there than serve here!”

Michael sighed, “After a few eons in the world of shadows, you may find yourself regretting those words General.”

“I don’t plan on being there that long. I will return with an army… and the temple will be consumed in flames once more.”

Not wanting to argue further with Xaphan, Michael snapped his fingers. There was a sound of glass shattering in the distance and suddenly Xaphan noticed the feathers on her wings beginning to look odd. She watched as the roots of her feathers slowly turned black and then each bristle of each feather also slowly began to turn.

Within moments, her wings looked very much different from those of her brothers and sisters. Her feathers were blacker than even the largest void. They quickly began to match her dress and hair.

Xaphan looked at her wings with disgust and began to feel unsettled. As their color changed, she began to notice that her wings were getting extremely heavy. Each feather began to weigh her down more and more. It became much harder for her to remain standing. Her breathing became labored as she struggled to hold herself up. Though she did not want to show weakness, eventually the weight became too much for her, causing her knees to buckle, and give out from under her.

As Xaphan collapsed, her defender stepped forward. Before Adalyn could do anything, Xaphan raised her hand and signaled Adalyn to stay away. She then turned back to Michael, “What… have you done to me?”

Michael’s expression did not change, “You are being banished, and your wings will never allow you to fly here again. This will ensure that you can never return.”

“Is this really necessary?” Adalyn demanded. “She’s struggling and can’t stand or even move. Your sentence was banishment, but this is more of a horrific death sentence, how will she survive without her wings?”

Michael sighed, “Her wings are too heavy for her to fly here, but when she reaches the Netherworld, she should be fine. They should not be such a burden to her there.”

“Master, I beseech you, reconsider this! There must be another way! Such punishment does not befit angels. This is far too cruel for…”

“Silence!”

Adalyn turned away from Michael and looked down at Xaphan. The intense pressure from the weight of Xaphan’s wings felt as though it would crush her. She looked up weakly, “Michael… please…”

Adalyn felt the tears began to fall down her cheeks and rushed to her sister’s side. She grabbed one of Xaphan’s wings in a futile attempt to take the pressure off her back, “Sister, forgive me… Had I known that this would happen…”

Michael thrust his hand forward at the two angels. Adalyn lost her grip on Xaphan’s wing, went flying backwards, and landed on one knee a few feet away. She glared at the archangels as she got back to her feet, “Michael!”

“Adalyn… It’s time for you to leave. Your intentions are honorable and so they shall be noted, but you are getting in the way and allowing your emotions to bleed through. This can no longer be tolerated from the floor. You are compromised, leave now.”

“Under protest, Michael! I want that on the record too!”

“So noted.”

Adalyn stood up and reluctantly walked to the doorway. Her eyes were locked on Michael as she disappeared from view. She looked back only once at her sister with tears in her eyes.

As Adalyn disappeared from the watchful eyes of the Choirs, Michael turned his back on Xaphan and raised his chin, “Be gone.”

The mist beneath Xaphan could no longer handle her weight and gave out. She quickly began to sink through the cool surface as the weight of her wings pulled her down through space and time. Just before she disappeared from view, Xaphan raised her fist into the air and uttered one last cry, “Forever freedom!”

As Xaphan fell, she began to notice that the further she plummeted, the less her wings weighed. Much to her relief, she was quickly able to slow her decent by spreading her wings as far as she could. They caught the air, allowing her to hover as she proceeded downward.

Moments later, there was a bright light and a flash of energy. She was temporarily blinded by the light and did the best she could to remain hovering while her eyes adjusted. This was it; the light was her path out of the Celestial World.


Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. The rest of the book can be purchased here.

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692499059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692499054

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

STOP Blaming the Audience #Writing #Author #Advice #Movies #BirdsofPrey

So this is going to be an op-ed more than an advice piece, so feel free to skip if you’re not up for that.

Recently in Hollywood, the Comic Book world, and even the literary world, we’ve seen a trend where a new piece of material is put out and bombs. Instead of going back to writer’s table to figure out what went wrong, doing any sort of soul searching, or asking the question why, we see the creators do one of two things… either A, throw a temper tantrum online, or B, Insult/Blame/Slander their audience.

I cannot say this enough, STOP IT! This is not going to solve anything except push people away form you and your work!

We first really started to see this trend with Ghostbusters 2016 where literally anyone who said the film wasn’t good, myself included, was slandered as woman-hating. You literally had Melissa McCarthy go on TV and mock people who took issue with the trailer of Ghostbusters as basement dwelling man-babies.

This trend has continued with everything from DC and Marvel, to various Hollywood titles, even to video games.

Full disclosure, all I said about Ghostbuster 2016 was that the CGI looked like something out of Eddie Murphy’s haunted mansion and I didn’t care for Melissa McCarthy’s brand of comedy as she always seemed to play the same loud, crass, woman in every role. If that’s sexism… people pushing for traditional gender roles must make heads explode.

Anyway, I recently came across an article talking about one of the new Punisher’s creators doing exactly what I said above…

Capture

Okay, for the record, I’m sure that there are some people who are guilty of what they’re saying, lord knows there were a some during the GB2016 controversy too, but is that really the majority? That strains credulity at best. This is coming from someone who writes strong female leads in most of his stories, get’s fan mail from predominantly male readers, and even get’s angry responses from said males when I kill off one of those characters…

(Seriously people, I loved Qira too, but it was her time to go!)

Look, I understand if these are passion projects for you that you take personally, but if that’s the case, you need to understand that few people hold the exact same values as you do, not everyone is going to like what you do, and most importantly not everyone has the same goals. While you might want to send a political message, many people just go to the movies to see something they enjoy and experience a good story FOR PLEASURE! If they didn’t get what they wanted from your work, that doesn’t make them hateful people in general.

I actually get questions from readers on this subject from time to time as well asking me why their audience wouldn’t accept or like a character, why they were a bunch of sexists, etc.

I refuse to post those here because I don’t feel it’s appropriate, nor will I shame anyone who emails me asking for help. Instead, my response to them is always the same thing…

If you get comments from people that are hateful, do one of two things;

  1. Report them.
  2. Ignore them.

You should not engage with them or let them know that they bothered you because all that does is give them power to continue doing it. You won’t help your cause that way or take the intellectual high ground by wasting brainpower on those types of people.

The other thing you should ABSOLUTELY never ever do is assume that this is the majority of your base (it’s not) and make blanket statements about them. You want to lose your reader base? Call them all sexist/racist/homophobic or whatever else is in your playbook. That is a sure fire way to keep not only people who aren’t in your ideological camp away, but the majority of people in general.

Somewhere out there, I guarantee you that there are people out there who read what Gerry wrote and thought, “Well… I don’t think I want to look through any of this guy’s work. He sounds kind of angry and I don’t want to be called something that could badly damage my reputation and career if I don’t like his work.”

That’s certainly my attitude when it comes to any medium, but I try to stay out of whatever this culture war is that we currently have going on.

Look, I don’t want to spend too much time on this, so I’ll just put it plainly. If you are unable to handle criticism or failure, and/or convince yourself that you are never wrong, perhaps the writing world isn’t the place for you. We all have our flops and some critics who don’t like what we write or how we write it and that’s fine. It doesn’t give us the high ground to go around erroneous and irresponsible accusations like that. We take the criticism, learn from it, grow from it, or ignore it. That’s called being an adult and wanting to keep an audience who enjoys the things we write.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. People, don’t insult your audience. It will only hurt YOU in the end and it’s really a childish way of handling things. I personally hope people like this and those that have emailed me learn that before it’s too late and I mean that genuinely. I hate to see talent get overshadowed by this kind of thing.

YOU CANNOT SHAME PEOPLE INTO LIKING YOUR PROJECT!!!

Please share this around, there are too many people who need to read this…



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, The Story of Raiya Sample Chapter #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

 

Drakin: The Story of Raiya


Book Synopsis:
‘ “Abomination, freak, monster…”  You get used to names like these when you have yellow eyes, horns, and scales, but Raiya could have really cared less.

After being forced into exile because of her appearance, Raiya’s mind has been focused on one goal; hunting down the dragon lord that killed her parents. For over thirty years, humanity has been locked in a struggle for survival against a race of dragons that had fallen from the heavens. They took everything from her and consumed the planet in a fierce war. Humanity’s numbers are quickly dwindling, leaving her few options in the way of allies.

What she doesn’t know is that her journey will strike at the very heart of the Red War and uncover truths about her past that she may not want to know. Can she finish what she started while coming to terms with the truths of her origin? ‘


SAMPLE CHAPTER

Chapter I

“Unbelievable… thirty years of this shit…  wonder how we’ve been able to keep this up for so long.”

As Jagger pulled his jeep onto what was once Route 9, he reached over to the dash and turned the radio on. A tired-sounding voice appeared over the speaker, “This Matt Lowry, WPR hourly news. Today the Second Battalion, Eastern division, rendezvoused with the Third Battalion outside of New Washington beneath the third parallel in district 5. They were successful at warding off the dragon advance. Casualties were estimated at 30%. However, initial reports estimate that at least six dragons were downed in the fight…”

Jagger sighed. Why do I even bother listening to this? It’s never good news, just a constant reminder that we’re all fucked. Every time those beasts attack, we’re pushed a little closer to extinction.

“In other news, Captain Suen Luli of the Eastern Coalition Air Corps was awarded for…”

Click.

Jagger turned the radio off. He knew the typical song and dance of the news source. They’d tell the bad news first and then deliver some good news which would be played up to be more important. He understood why things were done this way. Morale was very important… especially when it was hidden from no one that humanity was losing the war quite badly.

The jeep drove under the remains of an old overpass that had long since collapsed. It maneuvered gently around the piles of debris. Jagger had spent a lot of time rebuilding and refurbishing his truck. He wasn’t about to get it banged up. Once it cleared the debris, he pressed the gas and picked up speed.

A sign on the side read ‘Now Entering Natick.’ Jagger had been told stories about how that whole area used to be lively with stores and restaurants for people to enjoy. He was too young to remember any of this.

The Red War had been going on for years before his birth, and Natick had been laid to waste while he was still a young child. Now all that remained was rubbed and maybe some salvageable equipment buried in the dirt.

The jeep rounded a large piece concrete that, at one time had been the side of a storefront. This was usually Jagger’s marker to find his way back home. As the jeep hit the open road, a loud noise cut through the air. Shreeeee!

Jagger hit the brakes, “Wyverns… shit! One of those days…”

Jagger quickly put the car in park before reaching behind the passenger seat and grabbing a large bolt rifle. A dark shadow passed overhead as he checked the cartridge battery. The indicator light jumped from red to blue, showing a full charge. Good… let’s do this!

Jagger jumped out of the jeep, brushed a few strands of his long, brown hair out of his face and aimed the rifle. The first wyvern he saw was flying low overhead. He ducked down behind the large piece of rubble that he has passed a moment ago. His gray eyes followed the target. He watched and waited… waited until he had lined up a clean shot, and pulled the trigger. Three large, positively-charged bolts flew from the barrel. Two shots hit the large beast, sending it falling from the sky. I’ve gotten too used to taking down drakes. I used to be able to hit with all three shots!

Sparks of blue electricity flashed through its body as it hit the barrel ground. The wyvern’s skin was too thick for the bolts to do any real damage. They only stunned it, but it was enough to give Jagger the advantage.

He quickly ran to the wyvern, pulled a large machete from his belt, and jabbed it into the only vulnerable part of a dragon’s body; the eyes.

The blade destroyed the creature’s left eye and plunged into its brain. The dying wyvern let out a painful cry as it tried to dislodge the blade. It was a gruesome sight that Jagger had grown used to. He’d been trained for a long time to show no mercy.

Every time he had to watch this scene, he remembered back to the first one he’d killed during his training. He remembered that it had made him sick to his stomach. Seeing a creature suffer like that seemed cruel, but every time he was about to look away his drill sergeant would stop him and force him to watch, “They’re lethal to the very end. Turning your back on one now could be the biggest mistake you ever make.”

‘The biggest mistake.’ It was something that he’d never forgotten.

The wounded beast slowly ceased movement as death overtook it. Jagger placed his foot over the beast’s snout and pulled his blade from its head. Greenish-purple blood spewed from the wound as Jagger wiped the blade off.

As Jagger finished cleaning the blade, he turned to head back to his jeep and grab a few supplies. The snout of a second wyvern was in his path. Oh shit…

Somehow the beast had used its partner’s death screams as a cover to hold Jagger’s attention long enough for it to sneak up on him. The beast smiled, “Hope you taste good!”

Jagger frowned, “This is one meal you’re going to have to work for.”

Jagger gripped the blade at his side, knowing he’d never raise it in time. He waited for the wyvern to lunge. This was likely it, “Bring it on… you ugly freak!”

As the wyvern took a step towards him, a black blur appeared in its path. It shrieked in surprise upon realizing that it had become outnumbered.

Jagger blinked as his eyes adjusted to the new player. They were completely clad in black robes from head to toe, making identification impossible. A gray backpack was strapped tightly to their back. Whoever this was, they moved with lightning speed.

The wyvern snapped at the robed figure, only to have the figure dodge out of the way and grab it by the neck. The stranger held the wyvern in a headlock as it struggled to get out. Jagger watched as it hissed and roared, “Damn… this guy is good!”

“Let go, bitch or I’ll tear your heart out!” The wyvern snarled.

Female… okay, well that’s a start. Jagger thought as he quickly moved to grab his bolt gun.

No amount of thrashing could shake this stranger lose. Her hands were locked tightly around the wyvern’s neck. She spoke in a voice that was barely more than a whisper, “No… you won’t…”

To Jagger’s utter shock, she jerked her arms, causing the wyvern’s neck to sharply turn to the side. The sound of a loud snap caused the wyvern to go limp.

The skeletal structure and bone mass of even the youngest dragons were considerably thicker than humans. Their muscle tissue was also incredibly strong. No human being should posess that strength. It was a physical impossibility.

Jagger watched in amazement as she let go of the beast, tossed its head to the side, and turned to confront him. He put on a friendly smile and nodded nervously. Careful Jagger, she looks like she’s ready to kill you. “Thanks.”

He couldn’t see most of her face under the hood, but her yellow eyes almost looked like they were glowing. Her voice was deep and very quiet when she spoke. It was almost a whisper and difficult to hear, “It was stupid of you to leave your car. A jeep can outrun those beasts and they always hunt in pairs, at least.”

Yup… definitely a woman. “It didn’t seem that dangerous. Wyverns can’t breathe fire, so its easier to fight on foot, especially if there’s only one. I didn’t see the second, and I’m usually not caught off guard like that.”

“One stupid move… all it takes.”

“Words of Wisdom.”

“Why did you fight?”

“Instinct I guess.”

“I see…”

The figure stared at him for a moment. To Jagger, it felt like he was in the middle of drill inspection back at WesCon command. Her eyes darted up and down for a moment before she abruptly turned and began walking away.

Jagger called after her, “Wait!”

The figure stopped but did not turn and did not respond. Jagger took a few cautious steps towards it, “I owe you one for helping me. Do you need anything?”

“No.”

“Really? Nothing?”

“No… not unless…”

“Yeah?”

The figure paused for a moment. Jagger waited as she slowly turned around. Her hood was down as though she were looking at her stomach, “I haven’t eaten in a few days…  I could use of some supplies. Do you have any?”

Jagger smiled, “No, but my town is nearby. Hop in, I’m heading for New Framingham. There are plenty of shops there.”

“A… town?”

“Yeah, you’ll be able to find anything you want there.”

“I… I’m not sure…” The figure replied in a nervous whisper. “I don’t typically do well around large groups of people.”

Jagger looked at her oddly, “Well… It’s the only major hub in this part of old New England after Boston and Worcester were destroyed. The survivors moved out here and established a fortified city in the only nearby area with buildings left standing.”

“Boston and Worcester… they were both destroyed?”

Really? How could she not know about this? “Yeah, for almost ten years now, where have you been?”

“Away…”

“Away?”

The robed woman climbed into the jeep and rested her hands on her lap. She turned to watch as Jagger grabbed a saw out of the back, “Yes… I’ve been wandering the country since my grandparents were killed by an elder dragon. I don’t have access to a radio so…”

Her eyes narrowed as Jagger walked over to one of the fallen wyverns, “Wait… what are you doing?”

Jagger looked down at the saw, “I’m going to get their teeth.”

“Why?”

“Dragon teeth are flame-resistant. They can be melted down and used to make armor, weapons, walls… all kinds of different things. They’re worth a fortune if you can get them.”

He placed the saw on the nearest wyvern’s mouth and began to run the blade across its gums. Blood stained his hands as he struggled to make conversation, “So… you’re a nomad?”

“There a better way to live beyond city walls?”

“Not really…” Jagger chuckled as he removed the upper jaw. “Okay… well let’s see, ten years huh?”

“Yeah.”

“All right so I can fill you in on the Red War, but what do you know so far?”

The girl shrugged, “Not much… From what my grandparents told me, the dragons first appeared in New York… After decimating Manhattan, they flew east and were seen weeks later heading towards Siberia. The five of them disappeared for about five years. When they reappeared, there were many… many more of them and they continued to multiply.”

She leaned on the roll bar of the old jeep as Jagger threw the teeth into the back. He then quickly wiped his hands and went to work on the second wyvern, “They were immune to conventional weapons and were too fast for nukes to work… not for a lack of trying… obviously.”

Jagger looked around the barren wasteland that used to be Wellesley, Massachusetts and nodded, “Obviously… is that it?”

“No.” The woman replied stoically. “I heard that countries were toppled by the onslaught of the dragons… Even the U.S. Government retreated. I heard the president’s speech, vowing to return and retake the land lost to the dragons… That was three days before he and his chiefs of staff were all killed. The remaining world leaders set aside their differences and formed into two governing bodies; the Eastern and Western Coalitions. They established regional governors, but the cities and settlements themselves are largely self-governed… That’s all I know.”

Jagger nodded as he removed the second wyvern’s jaw, “Sounds like you’ve heard most of it. The problem was that most weapons couldn’t penetrate a dragon’s scales. Missiles didn’t work, bullets didn’t… some armor piercers did, but they’re rare. Eventually we developed electrostatic shock weapons and super-focused lasers that could burn a hole through them, but by then…

Jagger let out a deep sigh as he spoke,”… by then, it was almost too late. Humanity had been reduced to nearly 2 billion people.”

“You’re losing the war…” The woman said in a whisper.

Jagger grabbed a bottle of water from behind his seat and poured some over his hands. The cool water rinsed away the dragon’s blood and soothed his skin, “Don’t you mean we’re losing?”

“Sure…”

Jagger got behind the wheel of the jeep and started it up. The engine came to life and caused the entire car to vibrate. He pulled back on the break and allowed the car to wheel forward.

The stranger eyed the dash, “Your car’s engine sounds different. They’re usually louder.”

Jagger smiled, “They’re usually falling apart. I spent years working on this one.”

“Impressive.”

Jagger kept his eyes on the road, though he occasionally looked up to make sure that the sky was clear, “By the way, I’m Lieutenant Jagger Bishop, WesCon Security.”

No response.

“What, you don’t have a name?”

“…”

“All right then…”

Jagger couldn’t be certain, but he thought he detect and annoyed sigh before she spoke, “… Raiya if you must know.”

“Raiya, that’s an unusual name.”

“I’m an unusual person.”

Jagger nodded, “Yeah I believe that, just from watching you.”

“Whatever you say.” Raiya said in a disinterested tone.

Jagger released a deep breath as he watched the debris pass, “So… those were some nice moves you pulled back there. You must be pretty jacked to snap the neck of a dragon. That was amazing.”

“It’s not that hard if you know where the joint is.”

“Maybe you could show me?”

“Doubtful, you also have to be really fast…”

“Oh… too bad.”

As the jeep picked up speed, Raiya struggled to keep her hood up. It acted like a sail, catching the wind that blew past her face. As it was pushed back, small flashes of her skin appeared. She grabbed the sides and forced them forward, holding the hood down over her face.

Jagger had his eyes on the road and could only see her out of the corner of his right, but what he saw left him with more questions than answers. Her skin was tanned, but her pigment appeared to have an almost greenish hue to it. The strands of hair he saw looked like it was a dark olive color. Maybe she dyed it somehow? Yeah right, where would she get dye out here? You’re probably just seeing things.

It was a reasonable thought. He never really had great lateral vision. However, as the hood flew back a second time, he quickly glanced over to confirm what he initially saw. His eyes caught sight of the odd complexion of her skin. There was no doubt that something was off with her. Who or what was this girl? Dragon’s Bane? There hasn’t been a confirmed case of it in a few years…

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“I’m fine… why?”

“Your skin… it’s… pale.”

“So what…? It’s just how I look.”

“All right.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist #Metal #Music #Inspiration #Writing

Yeah, no Heavy Metal playlist is complete without at least 5 songs by Dragonforce. This song is pure adrenaline. It makes you feel good, it’s upbeat, and I love it.

When to Listen: Well, it’s on my general playlist and I like to listen to it whenever, but if you’re looking for a specific time to listen to it… burnout. I’m not kidding. Are you tired of writing? Take some time off and before going back to it, listen to this song.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.  I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim