Destiny: Divinity’s Finale Chapter 1

Book 1

A Simple Dream

I

Normandy 1601

The sound of loud church bells drove Melisande from her bed in the residence cells of Mont Saint Michel. She stood up, slid her feet into her wooden sandals and opened her window to let the sun in. This day was special for her as it was one of the few really warm days in Northern France.

The sea breeze caressed her face as the gentle sound of waves crashing on the shore filled her cell. It was high tide, which meant that the abbey was completely surrounded by water. Only a small bridge in the water connected the massive building to the mainland.

Melisande was a little disappointed as she enjoyed sneaking outside of the walls to run along the sandbars and marshes when the tide was out. It appeared that she would be stuck within the abbey’s walls at the mercy of her caretakers for the day.

Ever the optimist, she shrugged it off in the hopes of seeing a ship on the horizon. It was a common occurance to see the small sail of a fishing vessel or courior on the horizon, but every now and then, she would be treated to something larger. The height of her mornings were when she caught sight of a large merchant vessel or, every once in a while, a warship.

This would not be one of those mornings as her tranquility was quickly interrupted by a harsh knock at her door, “Melisande? Melisande, are you still in bed at this hour?”

Melisande let out a startled yelp as she raced for the robe hanging next to her bed, “I’m up, I’m awake!”

A deep sigh could be heard from the other side of the door, “Have you at least made yourself decent?”

Melisande quickly tied the sash to her robe, “Yes, you may enter.”

The door burst open revealing an old nun with her arms crossed on the other side. The nun was very heavy footed and her steps could be heard throughout the abbey when she walked. Upon seeing Melisande’s appearance, her lips formed a scowl, “Young lady, it is not becoming to stay in bed all day. You have studies and chores to perform.”

Melisande frowned, “I finished my studies yesterday and this is supposed to be my day to rest. Please Sister Mary, it has been a long time since I went exploring. Might I have a few hours to myself?”

Sister Mary rolled her eyes, “I have watched over you since you were a baby, I have taken care of you, and I have put up with your nonsense. Exploration and adventure are for soldiers and sailors. What you desire is not all it appears to be, believe me. That is the path of pain and loss. You need to learn to be a lady. Find yourself a calling and perhaps a husband. Especially since you’ve decided that you did not want to join a holy order.”

“I’m sorry Sister,” Melisande replied honestly, “I am grateful for your care… but becoming a nun never had any appeal for me. I have spent my whole life thus far behind these walls. I don’t wish to be behind them forever. Something out there calls to me, I can feel its pull.”

She looked over at the two stained swords that she had mounted over her bed, “Something bigger awaits me and I need to find out what it is.”

Sister Mary followed her gaze to the swords and shook her head, “I never wanted you to receive those things, but your father insisted, and I was not about to deny someone their dying wish.”

Her gaze then returned to Melisande, “Your path is your own to choose, though you may find yourself regretting such a decision if you go searching for answers. I hope that I don’t live to see that day.”

“You don’t know that.” Melisande replied. “These swords belonged to my family… and I don’t even know who they are. I need to find answers if I’m ever to be able to live with myself.”

The elderly nun touched one of the swords near the hilt, “A few generations of your family were protected by them, this is true, but where are they now? You are the last of your family.”

Melisande stood next to Sister Mary as she looked at the swords, “But I don’t even know them… I don’t even know what my family’s name is. Will you finally tell me about them, please? Who were they, what were they like, and what is my full name?”

The nun turned away from the swords and looked Melisande in the eyes for a few moments. She saw the stormy blue eyes that never looked the same from one moment to the next. It was as though an entire sky scene passed through her pupils as she stared.

Finally the nun sighed and turned to leave the room, “I told you that I forgot your family’s name. I did not know your family well, so I can’t provide you with any information. I only met them once when they released you into my care. I’m an old woman. My memory fails sometimes”

Melisande rolled her eyes and became angry, “You’re lying. I don’t know what you think you’re protecting me from, but I deserve to know. If you truly don’t know the answrs, then you know someone that does!”

Sister Mary stopped dead in her tracks, but did not turn around, “Two demerits for your tone. It’ll be three more if you don’t begin your chores soon.”

The door closed behind her as Melisande sat down on the bed and began to sulk. She had been confined to the abbey all of her life. Often times if a ship passed by, she would try to convince one of the soldiers on guard to let her use their looking glass. Most of the time, she was successful and Melisande spent the day watching as the ships passed.

The guards didn’t make life any easier for her as they were full of stories about wars past. Melisande loved to sit and listen to the old veterans talking about past glories from long ago, even though she knew that many of them were blatantly made up or exaggerated. It made her yearn even more to free herself from the protection of the abbey walls.

Melisande had often dreamt of a life at sea, but that life was restricted to men. However she was certain that she could make it work if only she could get away from the abbey. Such things were little more than pipe dreams as she knew that she was kept there for a reason. If she tried to escape on foot, the guards would catch her in no time.

Still, in many ways, Melisande could hear the sea calling to her. It was as though an unseen spirit of the sea was pulling at her arms, but Mont Saint Michel would not release her feet. She balled a fist and hit the stone wall as tears formed in her eyes. She could barely stand it anymore.

**

It took Melisande an hour to get cleaned up and get ready for her chores. She brushed her long blonde hair back behind her left ear and allowed the right bangs hang down to her cheek. Her hair flowed half way down her back as she worked. When she was finished tending to her appearance, she left her room and made her way down the tower’s winding staircase. She then proceeded through the abbey to the main kitchen as the residents and clergy finished their meals and began to clear out.

Melisande was seated over in the far corner and given a small bowl of wheat. She ate it down slowly, resenting the flavorless mush. She never sat with anyone and was mostly ignored by the other people in the room. When she was certain that no one was looking in her direction, she dumped the wheat into a nearby bucket that she would later use for cleaning.

Sister Mary came over to her a few minutes later with an emotionless expression on her face, “Well Melisande, I am glad that you are finally up and about. Are you ready to begin your chores?”

Melisande nodded unenthusiastically, “Yes sister, I finished breakfast, so I’ll get started.”

“Good,” she replied, “I believe Mr. Clement could use some help in the kitchen. You’ll start there today.”

“Yes sister,” Melisande replied respectfully.

Without another word to the old nun, she obediently turned and entered the kitchen at the back of the room. The kitchen was little more than a stone closet with a single oven carved into the back wall. Two tables were the only furniture and they were covered with dirty utensils.

Amidst the chaos, the cook looked up and smiled at Melisande as she began her work, “Top of the morning to you, Messy.”

Melisande smiled as she picked up the water bucket next to the fireplace, “Good morning, Papi.”

Papi was a stout man that, despite his imposing size, held himself the way a soldier would. Though he never talked about his past, Melisande was certain that he’d been a military man at some point. She didn’t know his real name and always referred to him as Papi or Papi Clement.

Though Papi was somewhat of an enigma to her, she still looked at him as a father figure. He was also the only man who got away with calling her by the nickname ‘Messy,’ which he gave her as a joke about how she cleaned. It always seemed to get a rise out of her which was something he enjoyed greatly.

Melisande’s attachment to him went back to when she was three years old and he would set aside some dough to make a cookie for her whenever he was cooking. As the years passed, she would periodically sneak off to the kitchen to see him whenever Sister Mary’s back was turned. He always enjoyed the company.

Papi was not a priest or a clergyman, but he was the best cook in town and was often hired at the abbey. He also had a reputation for disappearing for a few months at a time. His absence was always upsetting to Melisande and each time, she wondered if she would ever see him again.

Papi watched Melisande as she got down on her knees to clean the floors and noticed the sad look on her face, “What troubles you, Messy, why the sour look?”

Melisande stopped for a moment, “Have you ever felt that you were destined for more then you are, or ever asked the question whether or not this is all that’s out there for you?”

The chef chuckled as he thought back to his younger years, “Oh when I was younger, sure. We all have those feelings at one point or another. Fortunately, in my time, I have seen much of the world and had my share of adventure. After all that, a little peace and quiet is a welcomed change.”

“That’s what I want!” She blurted out. “I’ve often thought about getting out of here and seeing the world. I want adventure, but moreover, I want to know who I am and where I come from.”

She touched her cheek right below her eyes, “I know I’m different, I just would like to know how and why.”

“Different?” Papi asked. “What would make you think so?”

Melisande chose her words carefully as she responded, not wanting to cause alarm, “Well my eyes for one. I’ve not seen another pair quite like them in my years, and…”

Melisande stopped for a moment, wondering if he should tell Papi this part. She trusted him, but it was quite personal. Still, he had never given her a reason not to believe that he would keep her words quiet, “When I close my eyes at night, I see things.”

The old cook stopped tending to the mess, “Things, Messy? What sort of things?”

“I… I don’t know…” She replied. “I think they might be angels. I close my eyes and I see these beautiful people dressed in white robes, dresses, or in silvery armored plates. They all have wings, but many are different shapes and sizes. Other times, it’s just one angel with her eyes bandaged.”

Papi looked nervously at her, “Messy, I’d be very careful about who you tell about those dreams, especially here.”

“I know,” she said with a nod, “don’t worry, I am not so naive that I don’t know what they might think.”

Papi turned back to cleaning off his table, “So what do you think these dreams mean?”

Melisande shrugged, “If only I knew, but I think it has to do with who I am. These dreams don’t feel like dreams at all. They’re more like what you’d expect from memories, if that even makes sense.”

She looked over at the small window which had been cut into the wall, “I want to find out, but I can’t do that as long as I’m stuck here.”

“You are probably better off not knowing.” Papi replied. “The world out there is a treacherous place. Even the strongest have trouble just getting by.”

Melisande glumly nodded continued her work, “Yes, that’s what everyone says. It’s too dangerous… I should just stay here and become a nun… forever… You sound like Sister Mary.”

Papi bit his lip as he looked at her, “Messy, I have some bad news for you.”

Melisande usually knew what this meant. Papi was going to be disappearing again. She closed her eyes as she responded, “You’re leaving again, aren’t you?”

Papi nodded, “Yeah, tomorrow.”

“For how long?” She asked.

“I can’t say.” Papi replied. “Hopefully not for too long.”

Melisande frowned, “I’ll miss you…”

“I’ll miss you too, little Messy,” Papi replied, “but no more frowning. I’ll be back!”

“You promise?” She demanded.

“Have I ever lied to you before?” Papi asked. “Of course I promise.”

“You better.” Melisande replied.

Melisande was meticulous in her cleaning. She made sure that no crack in the floor went unattended to. An hour went by as Papi and Melisande worked. They were just finishing wiping everything dry when Sister Mary appeared at the door and looked around.

Melisande smiled, “I’ve finished cleaning, what do you think?”

Sister Mary surveyed the room, as usual, without a hint of emotion and nodded, “Satisfactory work… ok, you have done your chores for the day.”

“Satisfactory?” Melisande scoffed with a surprised expression. “I scrubbed everything until it was spotless.”

Papi nodded, “I saw how hard she was working, madam, she scrubbed the entire kitchen down.”

Sister Mary gave Papi a stern look before turning back to Melisande, “Don’t ask one’s opinion, if you don’t honestly want it. Now be gone with you.”

An exasperated Melisande stared at her for a moment in disbelief. The nun returned her stare and clapped her hands, “Come now, move it!”

Still in disbelief, Melisande shook her head and stormed past the old nun up the stone steps, heading back to her room. She was angry, upset, and frustrated all at once. It never seemed like anything she did was good enough. Just once, a’ good job,’ or a ‘thank you for working so hard,’ would be appreciated. She thought to herself. Not from Sister Mary, no way, that would be too much to ask!

Melisande was years ahead of other people in her studies and she always did a good job on her chores. Though she credited being so far ahead in studies with the fact that she simply had nothing better to do with her time. In her heart, she would have made the trade to have experienced some of what the outside world offered.

**

Papi shook his head as Melisande disappeared. Sister Mary turned back to him, “You disapprove of the way I’ve raised Melisande, do you?”

“Not at all madam,” he replied, “she’s a strong-willed, but polite and hard working young woman. You’ve done as fine a job with her. As good as anyone could hope to.”

Sister Mary’s stoic expression didn’t change, “Don’t hold back. Say what’s on your mind, Mr. Clement.”

Papi looked at the stone stairs where Melisande had been standing, “However, I don’t know about how you treat her sometimes. It seems a little cold. I may not know much about her case, but she is still young. I doubt her being here is her own fault.”

Sister Mary glared at him once again, “You think I’m hard on her because I blame her for being here?”

“I can only judge based on what I’ve seen.” Papi replied. “It does look like you’re hard on her for something even she doesn’t understand.”

“Then perhaps you should watch more closely.” Sister Mary hissed. “It has been my charge to care for her since she was born. I have raised her within the church and protected her.”

“Protected her?” Papi said suspiciously, “Protected her from what?”

Sister Mary turned to leave the kitchen, “You are paid to cook, not investigate. Keep your opinions to yourself and let me decide what is best for her.”

Papi shook his head with a slight grin, “Don’t ask one’s opinion, if you don’t honestly want it.”

Sister Mary paused for a moment before turning and giving the cook an angry stare as she walked away. She didn’t appreciate her words being used against her.

Papi smiled, knowing that this was one of those rare times where he actually won an argument against her.



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

Escapism Exists For a Reason!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know how I feel about things like preaching in your story, out of context political diatribe, breaking the 4th well, inappropriately clashing reality with fantasy, and so on.

Well… today I wanted to touch on a subject that I think is getting constantly overlooked and deals with pretty much all of the above. It’s a little-known term called escapism.

First, let’s look at the definition:

es·cap·ism
əˈskāpˌizəm/
noun
  1. the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.
    synonyms: fantasy, fantasizing, daydreaming, daydreams, reverie;

    imagination, flight(s) of fancy, pipe dreams, wishful thinking, woolgathering;
    informalpie in the sky
    “romance novels offer a form of escapism that many people thoroughly enjoy”

So over the long weekend, I went to see a movie with my wife. Because she asked me not to, I’m not going to bring up what movie, but it was one with some singing and dancing, a lot of it seemed very dated and the whole thing was kind of giving the feel of a very fantastical world.

Honestly, though not my type of movie, I was getting into it. The actors were great, you could really feel the chemistry from the main cast, and really… though the singing musical numbers sucked, the soundtrack as a whole was pretty good.

Then for some reason, the writers had to smack us across the face with a dose of reality. After all the boosting the main hero did, after everything he did, and how wonderful things went… In the end, he’s not with the leading lady. They split up and went their separate ways, despite all of the build-up and development of the two characters.

Of course I understand that there is such a thing as a tragic romance and stories that surround tragic events, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing that.

When you set the stage that this is going to be a certain type of story, a certain type of light-hearted fantasy story, then bashing your audience over the head with a sudden dose of reality is both unwelcome and inappropriate.

And the excuse is always the same thing…

Per one of the creators of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ a show that is credited by many as having the worst finale in TV history:

Ugh… no matter how many times I hear a writer justify that choice, it never ceases to piss me off. ‘Well I wrote it that way because that’s how it is in real life, and real life isn’t always the cookie-cutter Happy Ending.’

Yes, we know that. We LIVE in the real world. We’re quite familiar with how harsh the real world is. We do not need a reminder of that.

I’ve always been a big proponent of people writing things the way they want. As a writer myself, I’ve always told people to write what makes you happy and your readers will pick up on that. As always, that’s fine. My issue comes in when a writer feels the need to either insert a ‘shock’ element because they think that this will stir up controversy and bring in more ratings, or feel like their story is getting too far away from reality due to some unwritten rule and thus smack their readers with a dose of it right at the end.

RED FLAG.

This is why I have such an issue with dropping soapbox politics, unsolicited opinions on political topics that a character should in no way, shape or form, have any concern or even knowledge of, and why characters shouldn’t be coming out of character and breaking the 4th wall for no reason.

This is especially crucial in this day and age with the political climate being extremely hostile to anyone with an opinion on anything. Regardless of what that opinion is. As human beings with a measurable tolerance for every day stresses, we need an escape from politics, an escape from the real world, an escape from harsh reality and that’s what fantasy is supposed to provide. It’s a coping mechanism.

Think about it. When my kids get home from school their tired, they’ve worked hard at school all day, came home and did their homework, and then they want to hear Daddy tell them a story. So every night, it’s on me to come up with something good. Could you imagine what would happen if I ended one of my stories with ‘And the princess had to miss the ball because she had WAY too much homework to do. Her fairy Godmother told her that unless she finished her multiplication tables, she wouldn’t be going out all weekend.’

Mommy would be replacing Daddy as the go to storyteller.

It’s a crude example, but a valid one, none the less. Why do some of us, as writers, feel the need to do this to our readers? Are we really so worried that their heads will go so high into the clouds as to not be able to come back down?

So Jim, what would be your opinion of an appropriate dose of reality?

Well… though I despise this movie for its gross historical inaccuracies… Titanic.

Yeah I know, the portrayal of Ismay was way off. Captain Smith and Mr. Murdoch was way off, but the overall story is one that I think was done correctly. Think about it… a rich girl has a fling with a poor guy on the Titanic who helped her realize that there was more to life then what she knew and more out there than what she had seen. He was the needle she so needed to burst the bubble that she was unable to fight her way out of.

However we’re on the Titanic, so we all knew what was going to happen. The ship was going to sink and most of the people onboard were going to die. Thus what happened to Jack wasn’t outside the realm of possibility in this fantasy retelling. This teetered right on the edge of realism to the point of it credibility.

 

Would their romance have survived had they gotten off the ship together? Even in that world, I’d say it would have been unlikely. Even in the context of their universe, just by looking at their personalities and character archetypes.

Honestly, this video came out a while back detailing what likely would have happened:

I know that this kinds of seems like the same type of dose of reality, but its not. The Titanic story has no supernatural elements, no reality-freezing dance numbers, nothing other than a few poor character portrayals.

Honestly for that reason, I think a ‘What if’ story would be pretty good… even if it did wind up damaging people’s view of the original source material.

Anyway, in the end, I understand if you want to keep people’s feet on the ground in your story. Honestly, there are ways of doing this… a piece here and a piece there will keep your audience engaged. A major plot-bomb at the end of the story will turn readers and viewers off.

In my opinion, keeping people’s feet firmly planted on the ground when they’re looking for an escape isn’t going to gain you many fans, at least not in my opinion.

Let me know what you think below.



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

From My Writing Playlist #Writing #Author #Advice

 

 

Yeah it should be no surprise to anyone when I add this song to the list. Written for Lord of the Rings, this is perhaps the best rendition of it that I’ve ever heard. Peter Hollens is an amazing vocalist who knows how to respect the material he’s working with.

When to Listen: … … well to be honest, I’m not really sure. I used it when one of my characters made a fateful decision; SPOILER ALERT!!! When Adalyn used the last drop of her angelic powers to set off fireworks at the end of Divinity, thus completing her transformation from an angel into a human and when Toby revealed to Lia’na that he’d used the last of his powers and magic was then and forever gone from the world.

So I guess use this if and when writing a story about the end of the mystical/fantastic and beginning of the modern time when such things were no longer relevant?



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

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



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

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale

Hello All,

So for those of you that have read Divinity and/or Damnation, first off, THANK YOU and I hope you enjoyed it! Well… you may be interested to know that there is a third novel that’s been on the back burner for a very long time. I’ve been going back and forth on putting it through editing and publishing, but never really came to a final conclusion.

This book is one I don’t think I’ll ever publish. I just don’t think there’s enough of a market for it, so instead, I’m posting it here for all of you to enjoy!

Keep in mind, this is a very rough draft. So what you’re seeing isn’t a complete and final product like my other novels!

Thanks friends appreciate your feedback, critiques, and criticisms!

Jim



 

Destiny

A Novel by James Harrington

Printed and Bound in the USA

Copyright © 2015 by James Harrington

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual living persons is purely coincidental.

 

A note from the author:

Hello and welcome! I hope that you will enjoy your journey our characters as they embark on their adventure. Before you begin, I just wanted to clarify a few things.

You encounter many characters, both fictional and historical. The fictional characters are just that; fictional. Any resemblance they bear to real people is purely coincidental.

As for the historical figures that appear in the pages ahead, I have done the best I can to portray the historical characters as accurately as possible, based on the information availavle on each. However, please understand that I am exposing them to fictional situations. It is impossible to predict definitively how one might have actually reacted in these events, so again, this is based on what information is available.

Lastly, I would just like to note that this story in no way should be taken as a criticism of the beliefs of any denomination of Christianity. As a catholic, I acknowledge that the leaders of several denominations weren’t always the most upstanding of people and that is what is reflected in my writing, but that does not invalidate anyone’s belief in God or the teachings they follow.

I hope that you will enjoy this work of fiction for what it is; a work of fiction. Thank you and God bless!

Jim H.

 

Prologue

Venice 1585

Black clouds choked out all light from the sun as a dark, ominous, day turned into a black and violent night. As the remaining light vanished from the skies of Venice, the water became extremely choppy and rain hammered down on any poor fool still outside at that late hour. Boats tugged at their moorings as the wind beat down on them. It was as though the world had transformed into something malicious.

The small fishing village was no stranger to rough weather, but this night was different. The wind coming in off of the water bore ill tidings from afar. Even people possessing little to no awareness could feel the evil around them. Many instinctively closed the shutters on their windows as though the town were about to fall under attack.

Federico watched from the safety of his house near the harbor, as the waves picked up. The water poured over his private dock, and he wondered how long his boat would last. It was his livelihood and had been in the family for generations.

At the moment, however, this was the least of Federico’s worries. He knew what was approaching, and what this meant for his family. As he peered out the window, his vision was obscured by the amount of rain water pouring down the glass. It was as though he was standing behind a small waterfall trying to peer through, but he still had enough clarity to see the black carriage with lanterns on either side break through the night.

Two mighty brown horses pulled the old carriage right to the door of the house. Federico breathed a sigh of relief as the carriage stopped just outside of his door. The waterlogged driver jumped out of his seat and pulled the carriage door opened, allowing three people in black robes to step out.

The fire in the stove fought to stay alive as the door opened and a gust heavy wind penetrated the room. It was as though opening the door had allowed something evil into the house. The three cloaked figures entered the room and, once sheltered from the rain, removed the drenched cloaks that they had been wearing.

Federico fought against the heavy wind to get the door closed. Once it finally connected to the lock, he breathed a sigh of relief before turning to his guests. As the cloaks came off, they revealed two young priests and a nun. The priests wore red and black robes and each had swords sheathed on their belts.

“Welcome to my home,” Federico said with a relieved look, “I appreciate your quick response to my letter. I take it that you know what is going on?”

The nun turned to Federico and nodded. Her face had deep creases, indicative of someone who had lived a hard life. Her face was twisted into a scowl as she spoke, “We came as soon as we heard. I am Sister Mary, where is she?”

There was a sudden flash of light and a winged woman appeared behind them. Federico brushed back his light brown hair and nodded, “Lailah will take you to her.”

Sister Mary bowed, “Blessed Angel, we are here to carry out the Lord’s bidding as you commanded.”

Lailah returned the gesture with a smile, “Please follow me, Sister. It won’t be long now.”

The two women disappeared into the next room and closed the door behind them. Federico shook his head as he turned to the priests, “I had prayed that this night would never come. I was told about the prophecy from childhood, but had hoped it would pass my generation by.”

The older priest placed his hand on Federico’s shoulder, “No one who faces these dark times would choose to bring it on themselves or the ones they love, my son.”

“But how could God let this happen?” Federico asked. “If he knew… it was possible.”

The priest shook his head, “I somehow don’t think that even he foresaw this during certain events in your family’s history.”

Federico lowered his eyes and spoke in a defeated tone, “Padre…  just promise me that she will be safe. Don’t let this all be for nothing.”

“On my life,” the priest replied as he touched his sword, “she will be safe and she will live comfortable life. That is our mandate and it will be carried out as long as we draw breath.”

Federico was satasfied with the priest’s promise. It appeared that everything was going according to how it had been spelled out in the prophecy. It was little comfort to him though as he could feel danger approaching.

“Padre…” Federico finally said softly with tears in his eyes, “Would you be so kind as to give me my last rights?”

The priest’s eye’s narrowed, “Of course my son, but why?”

“Please Padre,” Federico insisted, “I have a very bad feeling that our time is growing short.”

The priest didn’t understand what Federico meant, but he had not been given all the details of what was about to transpire. Sister Mary was in charge in this case, by official order of the bishop. His job was simply to see to her saftey. Having no other choice, he finally agreed, “Very well, my son.”

**

In the next room over, Sister Mary, led by the angel Lailah, encountered a woman lying in a small bed. She was covered in sweat and breathing rapidly. Her dark brown hair was matted to her head and she was clearly in pain. Sister Mary spoke in an emotionless voice as lighting struck outside, “It has begun.”

The woman’s stomach was bulging as Sister Mary took a seat at the edge of the bed. The old nun adjusted her robes to prevent them from being soiled and spoke in an emotionless voice, “Cecca, I’m Sister Mary. I am here to help. It is almost time, are you ready to start pushing?”

Cecca struggled to brush her matted hair back from her face and nodded. She was in so much pain that she could not move anything else. Lailah folded her wings, tied back her curly, light brown, hair and knelt down near Cecca’s head to wipe the sweat from her brow, “You can rest easy. I will be here with you to the end.”

“Bless you, angel.” Cecca forced out between breaths. “Bless you.”

Sister Mary took hold of Cecca’s legs and bent them up at the knee. She watched and waited patiently for a few minutes. Cecca’s breathing was becoming eratic as her whole body shifted.

Finally, when Sister Mary decided that the time was right, she looked up at Cecca, “It is time, pray to Almighty God and push.”

Cecca closed her eyes and screamed as she pushed with her entire body. Sister Mary nodded as the woman’s arms and legs quivered, “Good, good, again.”

Federico listened desperately as his wife struggled in the other room. He wanted to be there with her, but the elderly nun would not have allowed it. This was one time that he needed to remain out of the way. An hour went by as the young man listened helplessly as his wife’s agonizing screams shot through the house. Her voice suddenly fell silent and a new one appeared.

The scream of a newborn child shattered the dark aura in the room. Federico’s faced lightened up as he turned away from the door and back to the priest, “Do you hear that? Do you, it’s clear as day!”

Both priests nodded as the older one smiled, “Congratulations my son. The baby sounds healthy.”

A short time later, Sister Mary came to the door, pale white, with a look of fear in her eyes. She stood for a moment looking at Federico, and then over to her escorts, “Our worst fears have become reality.”

The two priests stepped past Federico and into the room where Lailah was holding the child. Lailah looked at them both solemnly and nodded, “As the Most High feared, the prophecy has come true, look.”

She held the child out to them and uncovered its face. Miraculously, the newborn’s eyes were wide open. Her pupils looked almost identical to those of Lailah. She giggled as she looked up at the priests.

Cecca sighed as her eyes began to close, “Little Aralyn…”

The younger priest’s lips twisted, “I still don’t understand, blessed angel, would you not be better suited to keep her safe?”

Lailah shook her head, “That is outside of my mandate. I have already done more than I am supposed to.  Priests travelling hallowed grounds will have a better chance of keeping her hidden and safe from the dark one’s eyes than a lone angel flying around. The dark ones will not be able to trace you like they can me.”

The priest sighed as Lailah handed the mystical child to them, “Very well.”

At that moment, one of the windows crashed open, shattering the glass. The wind ripped through the room like an invisible wildfire. The thunder became even louder as Federico struggled to put a plank of wood over the opening.

Sister Mary turned quickly to the preists, “The storm is getting worse, we must go now or we will be trapped here!”

At that moment, Cecca came to life on the bed, “Wait, please, just a few minutes… won’t you please let me hold her?”

Sister Mary looked at the child stoically and shook her head, “I’m sorry, there is no time.”

“Please, no, you can’t take her, please!” Cecca pleaded with the old nun as she tried to get up. “My baby!”

Federico heard Cecca’s frantic cries and ran into the room to confort her, “I’m so sorry my love…”

Cecca buried her head in Francesco’s arms, “No… It’s not fair… why us?”

Federico looked up at Sister Mary, “Is there no way?”

For the first time in years, a look of sympathy came over Sister Mary’s features as she shook her head, “If there were, I would allow it. As it stands, there is not. We must leave if there is to be any chance.”

Federico sighed and closed his eyes, “Then go, now! Leave this place… keep her safe…”

The priests obediently turned and began to leave. The older priest looked back sympathetically, “Peace be with you, my children. For what it’s worth… I am sorry.”

Federico, remembering a promise he had made to Cecca, suddenly shot to his feet, “Wait, Padre!”

“My son, we have no time!” The old priest responded sternly.

“I know,” Federico replied apologetically, “but I have something for you.”

He quickly went to the closet and came back with a staff-like object draped in a red cloth. The priest saw that the cloth was protecting two very old swords. He looked at them oddly for a moment and then back at Federico, “My son?”

“Please take them.” Federico insisted. “They belonged to my great grandparents. Make sure she receives them when she is old enough… “

“You want us to give your daughter weapons?” The priest asked in disbelief.

“I understand that it may not make much sense to you Padre,” Federico replied, “but these swords have protected my family for generations. Please take them.”

The priest eyed him oddly for a moment. Federico’s expression became despirate under the priests eyes, “Consider it the last wish of a dying man.”

The priest sighed and took the swords before turning back to his party, “Oh very well.”

Once they were ready, the group bid farewell to Federico and left him to tend to his emotionally shattered wife. The group exited the house and boarded their carriage with the child in their care. They knew that they had to move quickly in order to get her to saftey.

Lailah followed behind them, “Keep that child safe, at all costs.”

The elder priest turned back to her, “Blessed Angel, what will happen to them now?”

Lailah turned back and looked at the house. She brushed her long brown hair from her eyes and let out a defeated sigh, “I did the best I could to shield the family from the evil that is hunting them… but it proved to be too much for me. They aren’t safe anywhere now.”

She turned back to the priest with a reassuring look on her face, “Don’t worry Padre, my sister has seen to it that her kin will be taken care of. You need to focus on your own part.”

“What hope do we have against such power?” The younger priest demanded.

“Leave that to me.” Lailah replied. “Just go while you still can.”

The driver took his seat without another word and snapped the rains. The horses whinnied as they charged forward. The priest looked back as the carriage sped away, “Peace be with you, blessed Angel.”

Lailah closed her eyes for a moment and muttered a prayer under her breath. At that moment, a white aura appeared around the carriage and then vanished. She nodded, confident that they were now safe from harm.

A moment later, Federico came to the door with a look of sorrow on his face as the carriage disappeared from view. Lailah turned to him, “They will be safe now.”

When Federico’s expression didn’t change, she became worried, “Federico, what is it?”

“My wife…” Federico replied. “The stress of the pregnancy was too much for her.”

Lailah closed her eyes for a few moments. When she reopened them, a sharp pain entered her heart as tears fell down her cheeks, “Federico, I am so sorry…”

Federico’s jaw tightened up as he stepped away from the house and stood beside Lailah, “Tell me that this has all been worth it. Tell me that she’ll survive.”

Lailah nodded, “Your daughter has a long struggle ahead of her, she will not know who she is and may never know her family, but she will survive to adulthood.”

“What about after that?” Federico demanded.

Lailah closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head, “I don’t know. Her future is clouded even from my eyes.”

Suddenly, out in the distance, an unearthly moan emanated over the waves. Lailah began breathing heavily, “They are coming…”

Federico ran back inside his house, grabbed his sword from behind the door, and rejoined Lailah out front, “I’ll kill him myself.”

Lailah smiled, “You have your ancestor’s heart, but that won’t protect you this time. You are no match for this creature.  I would suggest you go back inside.”

“I don’t think so.” Federico replied adamantly. “You have watched over me and my family as we waited for this day. There is no escaping now and I’ll never see the two people I love the most again. I have nothing left and you are the closest thing I still have to family. My soul is prepared Lailah. You’re not facing him alone.”

Lailah nodded, “Very well…”

The two looked at each other hopelessly as a deep moan emanated from the black water. Lailah went pale and took a step forward, “He approaches.”

There was another flash of light from the sky as a formless black entity appeared in front of them. It was little more than a cloud that quickly took the shape of a human, but had no features at all. It was little more than a silhouette in the darkness.

Two bright yellow eyes appeared on its head. It stepped forward and spoke in a dark, inhuman, voice, “So many years since we’ve been able to walk the lands of this world… Where is she?”

Lailah stared into the creature’s malice-filled yellow eyes, “Safe.”

The creature’s eyes began burning bright as they took a menacing shape, “We are giving you one chance to give us what we want. Do this, and we’ll let you live… for now.”

Lailah shook her head, “The Most High won’t negotiate with the likes of you.”

“The Most High is a part of us!” The creature shot back.

“Why resist us?” It asked. “We only wish to take back what is rightfully ours from that deceptor, Lucifer.”

“Because Lucifer isn’t a threat to us,” Lailah replied, “you are.”

The yellow eyes narrowed, “If you won’t help us willingly, then we will rip the answer from your corpse!”

“Never!” Federico shouted as he stepped forward. “You will die first!”

Before he could say anything else, a sharp object burst through Federico’s chest and he was elevated off of the ground. A small imp appeared behind Federico as his body fell limp. Lailah was unable to react in time, “No!”

The entity cackled, “We think not. We did not wait eons to be stopped by a child race.”

The imp pulled the blade from Federico’s back as he fell to the ground. Blood mixed with the puddles of water that had pooled on the beach. Federico lay on his side as his eyes began to flutter. He looked up at the sky and reached out with all his strength, “Cecca…”

Within moments, Federico’s body went limp and his eyes closed. Lailah spoke through a clenched jaw, “Federico was an innocent! He never hurt anyone and he was of no threat to you! If you want to retake the underworld, then by all means do so, but leave these people out of…”

Lailah stopped mid-sentence and found herself unable to draw breath. She grabbed her neck as the entity raised a clenched fist from its side. Lailah’s body began to levitate off the ground as though she were being hanged.

The entity moved even closer until Lailah could feel its hot breath on her face. Its eyes suddenly went from yellow to red, “We do not take orders from you! Be gone, pathetic insect!”

The creature flicked its wrist and released its grip on Lailah. In response to its hand motion, the helpless angel shot backwards through a window. The glass shattered all around her, ripping into her skin as she landed in Federico’s kitchen. The entity began laughing hysterically as it waved its arm.

At that moment, the entire house burst into flame as though obeying his command. The flames filled the dark sky and lit up the town like it was daylight. The heat inside was so intense that any human would have been horribly burned had they been too close.

Inside, Lailah tried to protect herself from the inferno by covering herself with her wings. When the flame hit her, it incinerated her feathers. She screamed out in pain as the skin of her wings seared and began to blister.

There was nothing Lailah could do now. Knowing that she was near death, she closed her eyes and began to pray, “Oh Lord Most High, let this fate pass me by. Take me into thy loving hands. Spare your loyal servant this pain…”

Lailah received no answer as the skin of her wings began to turn black. She clenched her eyes shut and tried to fight the pain, but she was losing control of her mind as the agony took over. Looking at her wings, she knew she wouldn’t be able to fly again, if she survived.

Outside, the entity raised its hand again and squeezed its fist. Lailah was elevated by her neck once more and tossed through another window. Her clothing was scorched and all but burned away, her skin was badly scarred, and her wings were completely crippled. She landed on the beach away from the burning house.

Steam poured off her skin and the agony was destroying her mental stability. She trembled as her memories and reason gave way to madness. She rolled on her back as the remains of her clothing disintegrated.

The entity slowly made its way down to her to avoid being seen by the crowd of people coming out to fight the flame. Lailah saw it coming and didn’t even bother to try to cover herself. Her mind was almost gone and she barely even knew who she was.

The creature looked down at her, “You are now powerless and no one is coming to save you. There is no escape, tell us what we want to know and we’ll grant you a quick death!”

Lailah breathed in as deeply as she could, but refused to speak. Even in her state, she was not about to give the creature any satasfaction. The entity saw this and nodded, “We understand… despite the fate which lies ahead of you, you still protect such pitiful creatures. We admit that we did not think his servants had such iron.”

From her hands and knees, Lailah looked up at the entity with a defiant yet fearful look in her eyes. Her mind was scrambled and she had a hard time just putting words together, “Wh… what you go… do with me?”

The entity laughed at her broken speech, “Nothing I can do to you would compare to the horror that awaits you at the hands of these creatures… or your own mind. We are going to leave you here for them to find. What happens to you will be up to them.”

Lailah gasped as the entity turned away from her. She closed her eyes and rested her head on the cold sand as her sight left her. The rain and the damp ground were her only comfort as she waited for death. The imp that had accompanied the entity landed nearby, “I live to serve you my lord!”

The entity clenched its fist, barely paying attention to the small creature, “Where did they take the child?”

“I don’t know my lord.” The Imp responded nervously. “The humans appear to have been protected from our site, we couldn’t track them.”

The entity clenched its fists as it turned away, “It would appear that even in her weakened state, the angel’s powers were more than enough to help them evade you… you’ve failed us yet again… We want you and your minions to begin searching everywhere! Search for a lifetime if you have to, but we want that child found! Fail, and it will be your last!”

The imp bowed, “My life is to server you, Legion.”


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

Offsetting Off-screen Plot Points #Writing #Author #Advice

I really don’t know what else to call this, but it applies to writing as well as film making. I’ve always found it quite vexing when something happens off screen like during the plot or between stories.

Too often, we see characters killed off between a movie and its sequel with little to no explanation. Usually in movies, this is done because either the actor who played the character died, or there were budgetary concerns, etc. I wouldn’t mind so much, but we see this happen in books as well. Too often there is a character or a major plot point that happens between the stories and we never get to hear the how or why.

It the book is intended to take the reader back in time to see how things got the way they did in a sort of flashback manner, that’s one thing. I get that, but too often that is not what we get. In other cases in movies as well, we see characters who solved mysteries, identified people, or came up with some new idea off-screen, and its never explained how that happened.

I love the idea of leaving some things up to the reader to figure out, but there’s a difference between pinholes and black holes. Don’t over explain, but don’t leave something in a way that it comes out of the blue with no precedence.



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 multiple 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

 

Drakin, An Empire of Ashes Sample Chapter #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

Synopsis:

Two hundred years have passed, and the Red War has become a distant memory for most. Dragons and humans now live together in peace… but one powerful woman who has been deranged by her own history unleashes her vengeance on a helpless population.

Now, the world’s only hope for survival rests with Kaori, a naïve and wayward princess of the Eastern Empire. Having been disillusioned with her mother’s rule, she discovers a dark secret about her family that will change the course of history forever. She soon crosses paths with Nayeli and Joaquim, a pair of rogues living within her borders.

Their fight for survival takes an unexpected turn as a shadow of from the past reveals that the situation is more dangerous than they know. The fate of billions of lives rests on these three unlikely companions putting aside their differences to stand against the world.


DRAKIN: An Empire of Ashes


Chapter 1

So few of us left… No matter where we go, no matter how far we run… death always follows. The fires of Old London burned brightly in the distance. They engulfed the buildings in a veil of yellow and orange. They were miles away, but their smoke choked out the stars in the night sky. A dim orange hue added a sinister touch. The pungent odor from the decaying corpses added to the dark scene.Nayeli could hear the crackle of the massive flame like a million pieces of paper being crumpled in the distance. She ignored it and scraped through the rubble, looking for something, anything of value that could be traded for food or supplies. Bodies of dragons, EastCon, and Imperial soldiers littered the ruins. Many of them had been there for years.You would think that with all these bodies, at least one bolt pistol would have been overlooked! Nayeli was familiar with the scene, she’d lived in that horror for years in almost every city along the outskirts of the Imperial Territory. This was the fate of those who dared oppose the Eastern Empire.She kept her head close to the ground as she quickly turned over another body. A relieved sigh escaped her lips as she looked at his belt, “Yes!”Her eyes flared as they focused on a black holster that had been hidden under the fallen soldier’s hip. Unlike the others she’d seen that day, this holster wasn’t empty.Nayeli’s hands shook as she quickly unsnapped the flap that was holding the bolt pistol in place. She paused as a light flashed in the corner of her eye. A massive silhouette loomed in the distance, letting off a menacing hum. Her spine stiffened as a feeling of dread overtook her. An Imperial Hunter-killer… Shit, I need to get out of here.Her left hand wrapped around the pistol and pulled it from its holster. She had no time to check out her prize. The distant hum grew louder as the silhouette approached. She quickly hid the gun under her filthy red cloak and dove behind some rubble as the patrol ship passed overhead. A blue energy beam carefully scanned each piece of rubble.Nayeli pressed herself against the remains of a concrete wall. Like everything else in the area, it was covered in black soot. Small metal pipes protruded from the sides. Where ever it came from, something powerful must have dislodged it.As the hunter-killer passed overhead, her hand clenched her own gun as she held her breath. The ground shook, dislodging small pieces of rock and dust, sending them flying. Her lungs began to ache, but she refused to breathe as she waited.She pressed her back hard against the rough concrete and waited for fate to pass its judgment. If the hunter-killer found her, it was all over. There was no way to escape one of these things. They were fast, maneuverable, and almost completely impervious to ground attack. The curved armor covering the thrusters made shooting it down a difficult task.The ship cruised overhead as though it was ignoring her completely. The debris had blocked her from its field of vision. She was safe for the moment.Her lungs felt like they were about to explode when she finally released her breath. She pulled the dead soldier’s pistol from under her cloak. Though filthy, it looked intact. She pressed the safety in and waited to see what happened. Come on… give me something.The lights on the side flickered off and on a few times. It took a moment for the indicator on the side to come to life. The meter rose out of the red, passed through the yellow bar and stopped with barely a sliver of green illuminated. Yes, plenty of power left!She carefully inspected the markings, using the little rays light that peeked over the concrete, “Mauser T-21… with half a cartridge left. Not a bad piece…”Guns had been a valuable commodity for dissidents since the UPW was forced to withdraw from Europe. If anyone had any hopes of survival, they carried one, but that’s not why Nayeli was looking for it.The right buyer would pay handsomely for a gun. Even a small pistol like the Mauser was worth a small fortune. She quickly returned it to her pocket and focused her situation.The hunter-killer she’d seen in the distance was now passing over another large piece of debris. The sophisticated trackers could sense even the slightest movement from the ground. Even something as gentle as a heartbeat could give someone away.The sleek, black, cone-shaped vehicle passed quietly over the rubble. The blue thrusters glowed as they held the craft a few hundred feet off the ground.Scree! Scree! Scree!“Shit!”Had she been detected? No, it was too far away for the sensors to have caught her movements. The craft immediately turned and headed towards another pile of rubble where a second hunter-killer was hovering.At that moment, Nayeli saw what it was going after. A female dragon and two lings had tried to take refuge in a collapsed building. They raised their hands with terrified looks on their faces.Even at a distance, Nayeli could make out the sheer horror. The eyes of the dragonlings were soaked with tears. The older one trembled with fear while trying to hide it. They were fully aware of the fate that was likely waiting for them, Nayeli was sure of it.The older one threw her hands in the air, “No, wait, plea…”The terrible robotic sound of a rapid-fire pulse cannon cut off her screams. Nayeli immediately turned away and closed her eyes. She knew what was happening. The body of the female dragon hit the ground with a loud thud.A second later, the firing ceased and was replaced by the screams and sobs of the juvenile dragons. Nayeli closed her eyes, waiting for the next shots that would end their lives, but to her surprise, it never came. The pilot had apparently decided to spare the lings, but why?Their voices were quickly overpowered by an older, far more intense one, “Don’t move or we’ll open fire!”Nayeli turned back to see that two soldiers had apparently been winched down from the hunter-killer. They were dressed in heavy black armor and brandished massive rifles. Their masks made them look like fearsome monsters.The children obeyed the commands, likely more out of terror than obedience. Nayeli reached into a second pocket in her cloak and withdrew a larger pistol with a scope and significantly larger muzzle.The rubble crumbled as she rested her stomach against it and peered into the scope on the pistol. She steadied her grip and slowly moved the crosshairs so that they lined up with one of the primary thrusters on the hunter-killer. It was a narrow slit between the armor and the thruster itself.She sucked down a deep breath, waiting until she was ready. It was nearly an impossible shot, but she had to try. A scream from one of the dragonlings prompted her into action, “Let’s see how you like this, Imp scum!”She squeezed the trigger, unleashing three blasts from the pistol. The blue bolts screamed through the air, striking the hunter-killer on the port side primary thruster. The engine sputtered and died out, causing the ship to lose altitude and pull away. Yes, got it! Oh man, Joaquim will never believe that!The startled soldiers turned their attention to the rubble where the gunshot had come from. One of them raised his rifle, “We’re under attack, take cover!”Not happening! Nayeli grabbed something under her cloak. It was a smooth, round, device with red lights on it. She depressed a small button on top. The light changed to blue as it released a high-pitched sound. Here we go!She quickly stood up and threw it. Her body was only exposed for a moment, but it was all the soldiers needed. One of them took aim and opened fire, hitting her in the shoulder before the small orb exploded in a flash of light.She yelped and collapsed behind the rubble again, nursing her shoulder. She only had moments to deal with the pain and did her best to ignore it. It’s okay… it’s just pain… just pain… it’s not bad.Her hand squeezed the wound as she turned and looked back over to see what had happened. Both soldiers had been knocked out by the concussion grenade, while the dragonlings were sobbing a few feet away. They were both shaking, afraid to move from their spot.Nayeli sucked down a deep breath before moving over to the soldiers. She quickly grabbed their rifles and sidearms and threw them in her pack.A small flicker of light caught her eye from the side pouch on one of the soldier’s hips. He was carrying four replacement power cells for the guns. She grabbed the cartridges and tucked them away. Jackpot! Having grabbed everything she could carry, Nayeli turned to leave. The sobbing of the dragonlings stopped her in her path. She looked back at them with an indifferent stare, “You should get out of here. They’ve only been knocked out.”The two dragonlings curled up together but refused to speak. Nayeli frowned, “Don’t you have someplace to take refuge? A home somewhere?”One of them shook its head.“Nowhere?” She demanded.The dragonling again shook its head, “No.”Nayeli looked at the dead dragonkin a few feet away, “Was that your mother?”The tears in the dragonlings’ eyes answered the question for her, “Oh… I see…”“They came for us in the night… they killed our daddy! He never even…”The dragonling lowered its eyes, too upset to say anything else. Nayeli clenched her fists as she looked back at the two soldiers she’d knocked out, “I’m sorry…”This was nothing new. Several dragon refugees at her camp had similar stories to tell. She had slowly become numb to them over time. However, she couldn’t leave these babies where they were.She reached out her hand to the nearest dragonling, “Come on, I’ll take you somewhere safe.”The dragonlings looked up at her in fear. They looked at her hand but didn’t take it. The smaller of the two recoiled nervously.Nayeli sighed, “What’s your name?”The larger of the two blinked as it timidly looked up at her, “Eutera, and this is Ixen…”“Eutera, those people are going to come back. If they catch you, they’ll take you somewhere that will not be pleasant. I can’t stick around and make you feel better. I’m really sorry about your mother, but she gave her life to try to save you. I can help take you somewhere safe, but you have to come with me now.”In the distance, she could hear the smooth engine of a hunter-killer. Ixen sucked down a deep breath and quivered, “They’re… they’re coming back?”Nayeli looked into out towards the crumbling buildings as a shadow passed by. The damaged ship must have sent out a distress call, “It won’t be long now.”Nayeli turned back to the dragonlings, “You have to trust me! We don’t have any time, you’ve seen what these people will do! Now, are you coming or not?”Her eyes flared as she spoke. The dragonlings looked at her oddly for a moment before Ixen grabbed Eutera’s hand and then reached out for Nayeli’s.She smiled, “Okay, good. Let’s get out of here!”Readers,Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.jimthewritingwizard@gmail.comI’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/B00P7FBXTUNote:
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 #Writing #Author #Advice

 

So I’m going to do something different today… It has recently been brought to my attention that a new Amaranthe album came out. So far I’ve only listened to part of it, but from what I’ve listened to, it’s pretty good.
I’ve added the entire CD to my playlist, so I’m passing it around for your enjoyment.

 

When to Listen: Honestly these be fightin words. Any major battle would suit most of these songs.



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

Copyright Infringement Imminent #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I don’t know what to do. I saw your blog recently and thought I’d ask here. Recently, I’ve seen some of my work appearing on a site where someone blogged it. I was planning on publishing that work on Amazon and this person appears to be giving it away for free while making AD revenue. What should I do?

Thanks,
Lillian


 

Hi Lillian,

First things first, remain calm. There is a lot here that needs to be considered. I am an attorney, so I can only give you a high-level overview here. Please don’t take what I say as legitimate legal advice.
First, do they just have your work in its entirety published on their site or are the putting snip-its of it up and doing commentary?

If its the latter, there may not be anything you can do. That may fall under fair use if they’re doing a parody or reviewing your work.

So what is fair use?

In short, per US copyright law, the doctrine of fair use allows that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

You’ll want to see if what they’ve done falls under that. If so, you can (politely) ask them to remove it. Most ethical writers will do so without argument… however they aren’t really under any obligation to. So do not be surprised if they refuse or do not respond.

Now if we’re talking about just stealing your story in its entirety and posting it, that’s something different all together. They are profiting off your work, hurting your profits, and they should not get away with that. One question I have is whether or not you have your work registered with the U.S Copyright Office?

This isn’t mandatory, but I usually tell people it is a good idea for a plethora of reasons.  Copyright protection technically exists from the moment the work is created in a tangible medium. However, registration provides a few important benefits, such as proof of ownership. Likely no court will hear your case, no will any site owner act on a claim without proof of ownership. So you’re likely going to need to do that first.

That said, before doing anything else… please, please, please, CONTACT A LAWYER!!! Get someone professional who knows the nuances of the law working for you. Do not do anything until you do. I cannot stress this enough. Any action, including contacting the perpetrator, could jeopardize your chances in court.

I hope this helps in some small way. Readers, do you have any further advice for Lillian? Let her know in the comments!



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 multiple 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

 

From My Writing Playlist

Had enough of Edguy yet? Too bad.

Well today I’m going to introduce everyone to another band. This album ‘The Unforgiving’ is a major departure from their old style, but remains today… in my opinion, the best album they ever put out. Nearly every song on it is incredibly bad ass and really memorable. Faster is one of the album covers and it does not disappoint.

When to Listen: Burnout.  This song is pure energy and will help you get back to writing. I’d also say that its a good struggle song for your main character as they deal with the changes to their life that make up your story.



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