Author’s Advice Pt. 8

How difficult is it?

Heh, unbelievably if you go the traditional route! Even if you go the indie route, it’s difficult…

Okay, that’s the short -literal- answer. Here’s the real one:

So you’ve got an idea in your head. You’ve got a story you want to write, now you want to write it and get it published… awesome!
So how do you do it? How do you make yourself stand out and accomplish such a goal when everyone and his mother wants to get something in print.

First of all, put the thought of everyone else out of your head. You’re not competing with the literally billions of people who want to get something published, you’re not. Why do I say that? Take enormous number of people, now cut that number down by the amount of people who actually have ideas that can be put to paper, creative stories, recipes, historical reference, etc. Suddenly that Billions drops to a few Billion.Good, that’s a start.
Next cut out the number of people don’t actually WANT to write something like that down and/or who don’t have the time/drive/determination to do it. That brings the number down into the millions.
Finally, cut down the number of people capable of writing length manuscripts. I know it sounds like I am taking a stab at the intelligence of people and I’m trying not to… but we all knew those people in college that struggled to write a ten page term paper. Heck, I had people drop out of one of my advanced history classes when they found out that our final grade was a 30 page paper.

Now you are down in the thousands. Next, cut out all the people who don’t have the drive/time/determination after getting the book written to take the time to submit it to agents and keep getting rejection after rejection until one finally says yes. What does that narrow it down to?

Well, I can’t say, because I honestly don’t know. The truth of the matter is that there are an uncountable number of agents out there and each are looking for the next Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. Are you willing to keep at it? Are you willing to continuously send out, re-evaluate, and rewrite hooks and presentations to agents?

If you decide to go the indie route, are you willing to take the time to advertise and submit your book for purchase?

So I realize at this point, that I haven’t answered the question. How do you compete with the rest of the world? Well… you don’t. See after subtracting all those people and answering the above questions, the remaining number is 1. That’s right, you’re competing with 1 person; yourself.

You will be fighting the urge to give up, fighting frustration, fighting your own tendencies and shortcomings, and in the end, whether or not you’re able to get published lies completely with you and no one else.

Sound easy? It’s not. Facing down yourself is arguable one of the hardest things a person can do, which brings me back to why I said it was unbelievably hard. You’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to get depressed, and you’re going get discouraged and question whether or not it’s even worth the effort. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I got rejection after rejection before I put Divinity on the back burner to work on Magnifica, but I think my cousin said it best, “You can get a million ‘no’s’ but who cares? All it takes is one yes. You get that yes, and all of those no’s are completely meaningless.”
Very true!

At this point, you may be expecting some sort of pep talk out of me, telling you to keep at it, to never give up, and never quit.
Be prepared to be disappointed. Honestly, I’m not going to say that to anyone because I am not going to lead you down a primrose path. Getting published is not for everyone and many would consider it not worth it. Even after you do get published, where does that leave you? Do you think Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John Carpenter, and the like get rich of their book sales? Think again.

The truth is, authors get closed to nothing for their books, it’s a very small %. The few that do make it big, do so because their book sells millions of copies and then get’s turned into a movie. At that point, the author’s income comes from going to conventions and giving talks at schools and such, as well as their share of the proceeds from the movie.

Most authors will never see that kind of money within the pages of what they write. So all I am saying is be realistic. If you are prepared for all of the above, then have at it and good luck to you!

If not, stop, put the pen down. Tell your story to your children as a bedtime thing or as an anecdote at a party. Writing isn’t for you and it’ll just cause you to neglect what matters most.

To steal a phrase from the NeverEnding Story…

“Kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men find out that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away, screaming!”
The same can be said for when you’re writing. The hardest enemy you’ll ever face is yourself. Think about that before starting this monumental task.

Anyway, that is it for this one. Catch you on the flip side,

-Jim

// // //

Author’s Advice Pt. 6

Leave the politics at the door.

I was initially hesitant about writing this one, running the risk of being ironic, so I’ll apologize in advance if any of my own political beliefs make their way into this post (I am trying hard to prevent it!)

Now what do I mean by this? Well put it this way… have you ever gone to see a musical artist or comedian who stops right in the middle of their act and starts talking to you about how they hate (insert politician) and how people who don’t agree with/like the candidate they do are (insert misogynist/racist/lacking in nationalism/or is some other way prejudice)?

Sadly I have… a couple of times and it happens whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle. I remember the entire time thinking ‘Shut up and play! I didn’t pay to listen to this crap!’).

Another good example is the Cracked.com Facebook page. For a few years now, I have tagged that page so that it shows up on my Facebook news feed… however I’ve been considering changing that recently given the large level of one-sided political viewpoints that have begun to show up on the page (which claims to be Comedy with a college education.) since it’s popularity picked up.

To me, this is like buying an awesome book about dragons, reading a few chapters, getting hooked, and then seeing that right in the middle, the author stopped writing the story in order to voice their opinion on a specific issue having NOTHING to do with the story.

Now does that mean we can’t put our personal/political beliefs in a story? No, not at all! If writing politics is your medium, or if your songs/jokes are about politics, all power to you. The rest of us who write on specific topics also include our personal beliefs in their books, but we do it in a different way.
Example:
Magnifica tackles racism and violence against women in a few chapters, but it does so by including those themes into the story and I made a special effort not to sound preachy when I wrote it.
The stories of the X-Men deal with prejudice and they do it in a very clever way as well. Marvel is famous for its low-key political commentary.

My point is, if you want to put your opinions and beliefs in your medium, please do so, but do it in a way that incorporates it into your medium. People who go and listen to you sing about love and life don’t care who you vote for, people who come to hear your comedy routine about crazy Sci-Fi themes don’t care about who you think they should vote for, people who buy your book about dragons REALLY could care less about your opinions on Bush or Obama.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion or voice it. Anyone who knows me and is a Facebook friend, knows that I am very outspoken when it comes to politics, but would you know that by looking at my book’s Facebook page, or this blog (before now)? Nope. Why? Because people don’t come to my blog or page to read about that. They come to read about elves, romance, angels, and other fantasy.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Take them for what they’re worth.

As always, I’d like to encourage discussion on blog, so please feel free to post a rebuttal, or a reinforcement, etc.

Catch you all on the flip side,

-Jim

Author’s Advice Pt. 6

Leave the politics at the door.

I was initially hesitant about writing this one, running the risk of being ironic, so I’ll apologize in advance if any of my own political beliefs make their way into this post (I am trying hard to prevent it!)

Now what do I mean by this? Well put it this way… have you ever gone to see a musical artist or comedian who stops right in the middle of their act and starts talking to you about how they hate (insert politician) and how people who don’t agree with/like the candidate they do are (insert misogynist/racist/lacking in nationalism/or is some other way prejudice)?

Sadly I have… a couple of times and it happens whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle. I remember the entire time thinking ‘Shut up and play! I didn’t pay to listen to this crap!’).

Another good example is the Cracked.com Facebook page. For a few years now, I have tagged that page so that it shows up on my Facebook news feed… however I’ve been considering changing that recently given the large level of one-sided political viewpoints that have begun to show up on the page (which claims to be Comedy with a college education.) since it’s popularity picked up.

To me, this is like buying an awesome book about dragons, reading a few chapters, getting hooked, and then seeing that right in the middle, the author stopped writing the story in order to voice their opinion on a specific issue having NOTHING to do with the story.

Now does that mean we can’t put our personal/political beliefs in a story? No, not at all! If writing politics is your medium, or if your songs/jokes are about politics, all power to you. The rest of us who write on specific topics also include our personal beliefs in their books, but we do it in a different way.
Example:
Magnifica tackles racism and violence against women in a few chapters, but it does so by including those themes into the story and I made a special effort not to sound preachy when I wrote it.
The stories of the X-Men deal with prejudice and they do it in a very clever way as well. Marvel is famous for its low-key political commentary.

My point is, if you want to put your opinions and beliefs in your medium, please do so, but do it in a way that incorporates it into your medium. People who go and listen to you sing about love and life don’t care who you vote for, people who come to hear your comedy routine about crazy Sci-Fi themes don’t care about who you think they should vote for, people who buy your book about dragons REALLY could care less about your opinions on Bush or Obama.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion or voice it. Anyone who knows me and is a Facebook friend, knows that I am very outspoken when it comes to politics, but would you know that by looking at my book’s Facebook page, or this blog (before now)? Nope. Why? Because people don’t come to my blog or page to read about that. They come to read about elves, romance, angels, and other fantasy.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Take them for what they’re worth.

As always, I’d like to encourage discussion on blog, so please feel free to post a rebuttal, or a reinforcement, etc.

Catch you all on the flip side,

-Jim

Author Advice Pt. 5

One thing I’ve had to continuously tell myself over and over again is not to write with a bad attitude. I’m not kidding, if it’s time for you to write and you’re mad, annoyed, or just upset about something it’s not a good time to strike the keys. Stop, put the laptop down, and go do something else.

The problem with writing while angry is that unless it’s a seen that calls for anger or sadness, such as a character dying or a loss another character suffers, it is unlikely that any good will come from writing.

It’s tough to put the pen down, believe me I know, but once a bad attitude enters someone’s writing, it can be hard to continue or complete it. Writing can become a chore at that point and no longer something the writer is enthusiastic about.

Author Advice Pt 4

Rules of grammar and spelling…

I have a feeling that this one will get me a few rolled eyes, but we all remember or… partially recall studying where to place comma’s, how to punctuate, and how to spell. This is all stuff we know.

However, are those rules solid? Must they always be followed? Absolutely not!

You’re going to find in your writing that, when building a sentence to describe something that is ongoing that a rule or two may need to be bent or twisted. Maybe there is a scene that requires you to create a word like ‘deindustrialization’ or something like that. Dialogue is a perfect example of this. Nowhere else will you see more run-on’s, sentence fragments, or words misspelled. Why? Because that’s how some people talk.

Now, does this mean that the rules can be ignored completely? God no. Bad spelling and grammar will turn your reader off quicker than a poor plot ever could.

It’s important to know the rules, but it’s almost important to know that there are gray areas. A good example of the gray areas is when you’re writing in the past tense and trying to figure out when to use the words laid, lay, lied, lie. If you google one of those words and look at any grammar site, you’ll notice a good deal of discussion and disagreement on when to use each.

So I guess what I’m saying is follow the rules, but be conscience of when you can’t follow the rules and find a way to work around them that doesn’t degrade your writing.

Thanks all for me. Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Author Advice Pt. 3

Rewrites are our friends.

I know, it’s hard. You’ve just spent days, if not weeks getting your story down on a piece of paper or into a Word file. You’ve worked hard on it, but something just isn’t right. It doesn’t flow and no matter how many times you change things in the story, it still doesn’t work.

Now you’re thinking, maybe I should just scrap the whole thing and start over.

Well let me save you the debating… DO IT! Close out of that file, put the paper aside and start anew. I know it may seem like the first draft was a waste of time, but trust me, nothing a person creates with their own two hands is ever a waste of time. Maybe there is a theme or a scene from that first draft that you can use.

The second time through, your writing will be more polished and everything will look  better on paper.

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 4, Chapter 2

II

 

Melisande and the group returned to the Black Vengeance. Worn out, she took to the cabin and closed the door. More than anything at that moment, she just wanted to be alone.

Baltazar watched her and shook his head, “Poor girl, this just doesn’t seem right somehow. We came all this way just to discover that her family had been horribly murdered, it’s not fair.”

“Aye,” Morgan agreed, “but she knew the risks, sometimes when ye go searching for answers, ye find out things ye may not be wanting to know.”

“Too true, my friend.” Baltazar sighed.

Gilles turned from the wheel to face Baltazar, “Captain, we’re ready to move out. Would we be heading back to Spanish waters?”

“Nay,” Baltazar replied, “our mission here isn’t complete. We’ve uncovered some of the mystery, but there are still pieces missing.”

Baltazar took one last look at the old Patrisi home and turned back to his crew, “Take us out of this cove and then steer us a course directly south. We make for Night Island.”

Gilles shuddered at the name, “But Captain, you heard what the fisherman said about that place.”

“Yes I remember,” he replied, “but I think that there might be more to the story then simply a creature going insane and living there in solitude. Carry out your orders, Mr. Gilles.”

“Aye Captain,” Gilles replied hesitantly.

It took a few minutes, but the crew managed to get the sails down quickly. The ship slowly pulled out of the cove back into Laguna Veneta. They sailed south for about an hour until they reached Night Island.

A large black cloud hovered over the island that was little more than a jagged rock formation protruding from the ocean. Baltazar nodded when they got close enough to lower the boat, “This is as close as we go, I don’t know how deep the water is around that island, and I don’t intend on finding out the hard way. Drop anchor and lower the longboat.”

As the crew ran to carry out his orders, Baltazar made his way to the cabin. He slowly knocked on the door, before opening it. Melisande looked up from her tear soaked pillow, “Yes?”

“We’ve arrived at Night Island.” Baltazar replied, hesitantly. “Are you sure that you want to do this?”

Melisande nodded, “Whatever that creature is, it either knows about what happened to my family, or it is responsible for their deaths. I have to go.”

Baltazar nodded and stood aside so she could walk out on deck, “As you wish.”

Within minutes, Baltazar and his three friends were back in the longboat. This time, Melisande had one of her family’s swords with her. Baltazar still didn’t understand their significance or why she insisted on carrying worn out old weapons, but they made her feel safer, so he didn’t question it. The boat pulled away from the Black Vengeance as Morgan and Baltazar rowed for the shore.

Melisande sat at the front of the boat, staring transfixed at the island. Baltazar kept one eye on her as best he could while he tended to his oar, “You’re not going to fall overboard again on me are you?”

“No.” She replied softly. “I’m sorry about that… but this time, I’m full aware of my surroundings, that won’t happen again.”

Baltazar nodded as he kept rowing. Though he trusted her word, he couldn’t help but keep one eye on her, knowing that there were still circumstances beyond her control. He was still trying to figure out what he’d see in Melisande’s eye when she collapsed at her family’s home.

Finally, the boat struck solid rock. Baltazar and Morgan jumped out and pulled it onto the rocky beach. Melisande jumped out and began having the flashbacks again. This time, she heard agonizing screams coming from a single person.

Just as before, the voice was familiar to her. Then there was a flash of charred feathers and crystal tears. Melisande gasped as she opened her eyes. Baltazar grabbed her in case she was about to fall, “Again?”

Melisande nodded, “Yes… but it’s different…”

“How so?” He asked.

“I can’t explain it,” she replied, “but I don’t think we’re dealing with any ordinary creature here.”

Baltazar nodded, “Be on your guard all the same.”

She grinned as she rested her sword against her shoulder, “Worried about me?”

“Always.” Baltazar replied.

She smiled, “Just stay close to me.”

Papi and Morgan joined them and began climbing the rocky hill. The cloud overhead choked out all sunlight. Small stones rolled down the rocky cliff causing nearby formations to collapse as the group continued higher.

As they reached the dark cloud, Melisande discovered the entrance to a massive cave overlooking the island. The darkness had shrouded it from the view of any passing ship. No one would be able to tell what was there.

Baltazar grabbed a pistol from his belt while Morgan pulled a pair of short cutlasses off of his back. Once everyone was ready, Baltazar beckoned them forward, “All right men, be on your guard. After what we’ve seen, anything could be in here, and I mean anything.”

Melisande brought her sword close to her chest as she kept up with the group. The sound of deep, hollow breathing could be heard from the back of the cave. Skeletons of birds, rats, and other small animals littered the cave floor.

Melisande grimaced at the thought of eating something like that. Suddenly, a high pitched scream came from the back of the cave. It almost deafened the group as they continued walking and they were forced to cover their ears.

Baltazar shook his head, “I’d say it’s fair to assume that whatever lies ahead, already knows we’re here.”

Chills traveled down Melisande’s back as she took a few more cautious steps forward, “That scream… I heard it in one of my visions…”

The blade in Melisande’s hand began to pulse. What everyone thought was dark tarnish stains on the blade glowed green with every pulse. Melisande moved to the head of the group and pushed on deeper into the darkness, “Something tells me that we’re going to need this sword.

As it became too dark to see, Baltazar pulled a second, unloaded, pistol from his belt, grabbed a large stick off the ground, and wrapped it in cloth. Once he was done, he added a small amount of black powder, and used the flint on the pistol to ignite it.

There was a small spark and a flame followed that lit up the whole cave. Melisande turned to him as a horrified look came over her, “Baltazar watch out!”

Something with red eyes was standing right next to him. As he turned to his side, the creature screamed and took flight. Startled, Baltazar fell on his back. He gripped his pistol and fired it at the creature, missing by only a few inches, “To arms, everyone, defend yourselves!”

The creature danced around on the ceiling for a few minutes. It almost sounded like a woman laughing as it darted back and forth, dodging the shots fired at it. Finally, when the group had fired every pistol and was trying to reload, the creature jumped down from the ceiling and landed in front of Melisande.

Frightened, Melisande brandished her sword and pointed it directly at the creature. As she thrust it forward, the blade glowed bright green in color, “Back you demon, you’re not hurting anyone!”

The creature fell back, startled, “H… how… how…”

It seemed as though she was struggling to remember how to speak, “How d… do you…”

Melisande narrowed her eyes, “What?”

Finally, it came to her, “How do you come to own that sword?”

Melisande clenched her jaw, “This sword belonged to my parents, demon! Mama and Papa Patrisi, you know that. You killed them long ago!”

“Demon?” The creature scoffed in an enraged tone. “I am no demon, and I did not kill anyone!”

Melisande clenched her jaw, “How can I believe you? Your screams were there the night my parents died. I heard them in my visions! I saw you!”

The creature frowned, “Think girl, and look at me. Do I look like any demon that you’ve heard of?”

“I don’t know what a demon is supposed to look like.” Melisande shot back. “All I know is that they behave the way you have!”

The creature took a deep breath and calmed down enough to speak in a more relaxed voice, “Just look at me… please.”

The green light from the blade illuminated the creature’s features. She was beautiful, but filthy. Her hair was a tangled mess and looked as though it hadn’t been tended to in years, her clothes were in no better shape, and her face was covered in dirt. Her arms, legs, and one of her cheeks were badly scarred. It looked like they had been burned at some point. The most alarming thing was her wings. They looked badly scarred and were missing feathers.

Melisande realized, she didn’t land because she wanted to, her wings couldn’t possibly keep her in the air for long. Her eyes glowed even brighter as the red flame was slowly replaced by the same blue that Melisande’s eyes had. A hurt look formed in the creatures eyes. At this point, Melisande remember some of the pictures in the bible she used to read from.

She looked at the creature for a second and realized what was addressing her, “You’re… an angel?”

“Yes.” The creature replied.

“Who are you,” Melisande asked, “and what were you doing at my family’s home?”

“The Most High named me Lailah.” The angel replied. “Tell me, what house do you claim as your family? You mentioned the Patrisis.”

“I claim no house as my own as I have never known my family.” Melisande replied. “However… my mother and father were Patrisis.”

Melisande looked down at the sword she was holding, “This sword and its sister protected generations of my family! They were given to me when I was old enough to understand and wield them.”

The creature took a step back with a look of shock in her eyes. The air in the room suddenly became a lot less heavy. Torches mounted on the walls spontaneously ignited and the entire room was illuminated in bright flame.

With the room properly illuminated, Lailah stepped forward with a look of sadness on her face as she touched Melisande’s cheek, “I don’t believe it… I always had a feeling you’d come, but I admit that I had lost faith.”

“Lailah…” Melisande repeated, “I… I know you, don’t I?”

“Yes you do.” She replied with a smile. “Child, I was there for your birth. I watched over your mother as you lay dormant in her womb and I helped bring you into the world.”

“Aralyn…” She said looking Melisande over. “I see Sister Mary did a good job looking after you. You look exactly like your great great grandmother.”

Melisande stepped back, “Aralyn… you must be mistaken. My name is Melisande.”

Lailah nodded, “That would most likely be the name that the Sister gave you to protect you from the truth, but it is no more yours than whatever history the church may have fabricated about your family.”

She placed her hand on Melisande’s shoulder, “Your name… your true name is Aralyn Patrisi. You were named as such to honor your ancestor, Adaline. Your mother and father were Cecca and Federico Patrisi. I knew them well.”

Melisande’s mouth dropped open. The missing pieces of her past were finally coming together. She needed to understand more, “Lailah, I have waited years for this. I need to know more!”

Lailah nodded, “I am sure you must have more questions than there are stars in the sky, but I can’t answer them in this wretched place. Please, take me with you. Get me off of this wretched island, and I will tell you everything you want to know.”

“Hold it.” Baltazar cut in, still not convinced. “We’re taught that the devil can appear in many forms. This creature attacked us and appeared in your mind at a very dark time. How do we know that it’s telling us the truth? How can we possibly believe this?”

Lailah sighed, “That was a survival instinct. I didn’t know who you were. Look at me, look at how I’ve had to live for the better part of two decades. How would you have responded?”

“And had you not found out who we were?” Baltazar asked in an accusing tone.

Lailah stepped forward and looked at him, “If I’d wanted to kill you, you would have been dead before you had a chance to light that torch. Unlike you, the darkness does not impede me.”

Melisande turned to Baltazar with a pleading look, “Baltazar, please. I believe her. Let’s get her out of here.”

“You’re sure?” Baltazar asked.

Melisande nodded, “Yes, it’ll be fine. You have to trust me.”

“I do trust you.” Baltazar replied, not taking his gaze away from Lailah.

Melisande nodded, “I’ll take responsibility for her. It’ll be okay.”

Baltazar sighed, “Very well… let’s go back to the ship. I want to see this whole mystery solved too.”

The group made their way back to the entrance of the cave and carefully helped each other down the hillside. They minded their footing as they made their way to the boat as a fall could be fatal on the hill.

Melisande was anxious to get Lailah back aboard the Black Vengeance. She helped the angel into the boat and climbed in behind her. The three men pushed the boat into the water and climbed in as well.

It was a silent and very uncomfortable trip back to the ship. No one said a word to anyone else. Melisande was guarding her tongue until she got back to the ship, Baltazar wanted to know the answers to Melisande’s past as much as she did. He was also suspicious of just how much Papi knew before they set sail on this entire voyage.



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

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 4, Chapter 4

IV

 

Melisande ran to the forecastle and leaned over the side. It was getting dark and most of the crew wasn’t paying attention to her. She suddenly began to vomit as tears fell out of her eyes. Her lungs ached as she tried to draw breath and regain her composure. She continued to lean over the side until her lung cooperated. When she was finally able to take in breath again, she cried out, “Why?”

A voice appeared behind her, “I asked myself that very same question long ago.”

She turned to see Baltazar looking at her sympathetically, “When I was told that I was the bastard of a family that had caused unspeakable suffering, imprisoned thousands, and even laid waste to the city of Rome.”

“How did you handle it?” She asked with tears in her eyes. “How could you?”

Baltazar pointed at her, “The same way you are. I was angry, sad, and confused all at the same time. Every fiber of my being hurt and I couldn’t escape what my blood line was responsible for. That’s when I abandoned everything I knew and took to the sea.”

“I don’t think I have the choice to run away.” Melisande said sorrowfully.

“Says who?” Baltazar asked. “You belong here with us, if running away is what you want to do, the Black Vengeance will be your chariot to the ends of the Earth. If you want to cast this aside, then stay with us and we’ll go back to plundering.”

She forced an appreciative smile, “No, Baltazar, it’s not that simple. Legion will find me eventually. He almost took me at my family’s home. If it weren’t for you…”

She lowered her eyes. Baltazar put his arms around her and held on, “You’re welcome.”

“Baltazar,” she said slowly, “I… I need you. I would never have made it this far without you. I know I’ve been rough around the edges, but now I am asking for your help. I need you at my side. You helped pull me back from the edge once… I may need you to do it again.”

Baltazar’s heart skipped a beat, “My lady… my ship, my sword… and my heart, are at your disposal… if you can do one thing for me.”

“What is that?” She asked.

He smiled, “Tell me, who are you.”

“Huh,” she asked in a confused tone, “what are you talking about?”

“Do you remember what I told you?” He asked, “What you are…”

She nodded, “… is not nearly as important as who you are, I remember.”

“Right,” he replied, “well now you know what you are. You know where you come from and you know about your past… so the question is, now that you know what you are, who are you?”

“I…” She struggled to find the words as her mind raced to answer the question. “I am Aralyn Patrisi, I am the descendant of a great angel, I am the heir to a good family, but I am also my own person… and I care for you deeply… Baltazar De La Fuente!”

Without another word, she raised her face to his and kissed him. Baltazar was surprised by this, but he closed his eyes and held her as they kissed. The eyes of the entire crew watched the scene play out on the forecastle. Cheers and applauding could be heard from the masts and deck.

Papi and Lailah exited the cabin and saw the two of them. Lailah remained emotionless, but Papi had tears in his eyes, “My little girl is grown up.”

When the two of them released one another, Baltazar smiled, “I care for you too, Melis… um…”

She smiled, “Aralyn… Aralyn is my birth name, please call me by it.”

Baltazar nodded, “As you wish… Aralyn Patrisi.”

Aralyn smiled as Baltazar stepped away from her to call to Morgan on the aft castle, “Morgan, call all hands on deck, we have much to discuss.”

Morgan nodded and rang the bell next to the helm, signaling all men to report on deck. Sounds of clamoring footsteps could be heard from below as the men scrambled to the deck. They grouped together on the main deck and turned to face the forecastle when they noticed that Baltazar was standing there.

As soon as all of the men were assembled, Baltazar addressed them, “Brave crew of the Black Vengeance, our mission is over. Melisande has discovered her past and thus her true identity has revealed itself. Three cheers for Aralyn Patrisi, the finest cabin server and healer this ship has ever seen.”

The crew responded in unison, “Huzzah… huzzah… huzzah!”

Aralyn smiled and bowed to the men appreciatively. As they finished, Gilles spoke up, “So how be it then Captain? Are we going back to pillaging and plundering Spanish ships?”

Baltazar sighed, “I wish I could say yes, as I’ve already asked so much of you men, and you have delivered in every way.”

He lowered his eyes, “Men… there is an evil out there hunting Aralyn. It threatens to destroy everything we hold dear. If it finds her, the effects will spell doom for us all. At this moment, the only thing standing between that evil, and her, is us.”

The crew looked at each other with worried expressions. Baltazar saw it and nodded, “This is a very heavy burden for any man to bear… too heavy for me to order it. Therefore, I once again offer you a way out. Any man, who does not wish to stay, will be set ashore in Ravenna and can make their way home from there. I won’t blame anyone who chooses to leave.”

“Make a liar out of me, will ye Captain?” One of the men yelled. “I told ye that I’d follow Captain La Fuente to hell and back… looks like we be putting that to the test!”

Gilles nodded, “Aye, no one knows how to handle the ship like I do, I’m staying on too.”

The men cheered as they all agreed unanimously that they weren’t going anywhere. Aralyn had tears in her eyes as she listened to them, “I don’t know what to say… thank you all!”

“Half of us wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for you,” Morgan yelled back.

“Hail young Aralyn.” Another man called, “We’ll follow Captain Del La Fuente into the gates of hell, and follow her back out!”

Aralyn smiled and laughed as she realized that, although she had lost her birth family, she had found a new one in this gang of ruffians. She realized that at long last she had found what she was truly looking for.



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, Book 4, Chapter 3

III

 

As the longboat neared the ship, Lailah’s eyes scanned the ship suspiciously and focused on the black and red flag on the back. She quickly turned to Melisande, “Pirates? That’s who you’ve cast your lot with?”

Melisande looked Lailah in the eye as responded sternly, “They are finer people than any I have ever known. They brought me out here without being asked to, and without any thought of reward.”

The longboat bumped alongside the Black Vengeance as Baltazar guided it to the ladder. He called up to his ship, “Ahoy, Gilles!”

Gilles appeared on the side, “Captain, ye’ve returned and…”

He saw the angel in the boat and nearly fell overboard, “Blessed Mother of God…”

Melisande helped Lailah climb up the side. As she got on deck, Lailah turned to Gilles, “Not Mother, just a servant.”

The rest of the shore party climbed onboard as well. Every eye in the place focused on the angel. They were no strangers to the supernatural after meeting Melisande, but encountering a real flesh and blood angel was a little more than they expected. No matter which way Baltazar looked, he could see curious stares, “I understand this is new and unusual, but you all have work to do, so get to it. I promise that I’ll bring you up to speed later.”

The men quickly responded and returned to their duties. Melisande guided Lailah to the main cabin. Baltazar followed close behind while Papi went below decks.

Baltazar turned to Morgan, “Do the best you can to quell the men’s’ curiosity, and get the ship combat ready. I have a feeling we’re going to need it.”

Morgan saluted, “Aye sir… what should I tell them?”

“The truth.” Baltazar replied in nearly a whisper. “I’m not keeping this from them. They need to know what we’re dealing with.”

Morgan nodded in approval, “Very good, sir.”

Baltazar turned back and entered the cabin. Melisande and Lailah were behind a privacy blinder. When he realized what they were doing, he quickly turned his back and stood near the door.

Melisande peeked out over the top of the blinder, “Just a few more minutes.”

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Melisande and Lailah appeared from behind the blinder. Melisande had helped Lailah clean herself, put her into a white maid’s dress, and combed her hair. The angel was stunning now that she had been cleaned.

A knock came at the door and Papi entered the room carrying a tray, “I thought Lailah might appreciate some decent food.”

Lailah’s eyes lit up at the smell of actual cooked food. When the tray was placed in front of her, she quickly grabbed everything she could and stuffed her mouth. Within minutes, everything that was on the plate was gone with the exception of some of the fat from the salted pork.

Lailah licked her lips, cleaned her hands and looked up. Everyone was staring at her wide eyed. She lowered her eyes, “Forgive my lack of manners, but so many years of eating nothing but what I could forage for or catch left me famished. Too long have I dwelt in that dark cavern.”

Melisande nodded, “It’s okay, I’m just glad you’re doing better now.”

“Yes, thank you.” Lailah replied. “Now I expect you want me to tell you about your past?”

“More than anything.” Melisande insisted.

“Are you sure?” Lailah asked in a serious tone. “I will share with you what I know, but once you hear the truth, there is no way of going back. Once you know who and what you are, your destiny will be forever altered and your life will never be the same. Are you sure this is what you want?”

Melisande looked over at Baltazar as though asking his opinion. Baltazar smiled and nodded to her. She smiled and turned back to Lailah, “The abbey I lived at has been destroyed in an attack. All those people who helped raise me are dead.”

She pointed to Papi and Baltazar, “These two are all that remains of that time.”

Lailah’s eyes widened, “Mont Saint Michel was destroyed? Sister Mary… I can’t believe that…”

“Believe it,” Baltazar replied, “and we’ve been blamed for it. A French warship has been hunting us for over a week.”

“I see…” Lailah said sadly. “I can’t believe he’d be that brazen…”

“Who?” Melisande insisted. “Who would do something like that?”

Lailah hesitated for a moment, “The only being that could… it’s the same being who murdered your family… the same being who did this to me. The one that is many… Legion.”

Lailah showed them her torn and scarred wings, and the burns on her skin, “I was unable to stop him, and now he’s running rampant.”

“Lailah, please speak plainly.” Melisande pleaded. “I need to know!”

Lailah nodded and closed her eyes as though it were painful to remember, “Everything that is happening now, everything currently in play, is the direct result of the Celestial War.”

Baltazar’s eyes narrowed, “Celestial War… you mean a war in Heaven?”

“Exactly.” Lailah replied. “I was there… it was before humankind even walked the Earth. A young revolutionary known as Lucifer sought to free all of us angels from bondage. The lord Most High had spoken of creating a child race in his image. To that race he would give his love, his affection, and his unending forgiveness. Lucifer thought this to be unfair as angels were created first and had served for immeasureable ages, but we received no such care. We were servants and nothing more as far as he was concerned.”

“What happened,” Papi asked.

“Lucifer recruited one of our top strategists and soldiers… Xaphan.” She replied. “Together, with the legions of angels they managed to recruit, they attacked the Celestial Temple and almost completely destroyed it. The attack caused our forces to scatter. We were forced to pull angels back from other duties, including one that was to serve as a guiding light for damned souls. This young angel helped lead a mission that helped end the war after eons of fighting.”

Baltazar’s eyes were wide and he was having trouble believing what he was hearing. Lailah continued on with the story, “After Lucifer and Xaphan were captured, they were exiled… unfortunately something the Most High didn’t count on happened. They found Sheol…”

“What’s Sheol,” Baltazar asked.

Lailah turned to him, “Sheol is a place where the Most High imprisoned the darkest parts of his mind. Like humans, even he had anger and hatred, but he managed to cast them off… something that humans have never been able to do. Those parts formed their own personas over time… one especially wicked part became so powerful that it took over Sheol, that was Legion. He lay in wait to get back at his master for many years… then Lucifer arrived.”

Papi leaned forward attentively like a child listening to an interesting bed time story, “What did Lucifer do?”

“He ruined Sheol.” Lailah said through clenched teeth. “He perverted the land into a wicked place that attracted evil souls after they died. He turned it into his kingdom. Legion was nowhere near powerful enough to stop this perversion and hid in a dark corner of the underworld. He’s laid in wait for a very long time to strike. His mission above all else is to retake the underworld and lay waste to everything else.”

“But what does that have to do with me?” Melisande asked.

“I’m getting to that.” Lailah replied. “Ages passed and things settled down, or so we thought. The truth is that Lucifer was waiting for the opportunity to strike. No one knows how, but he was able to convince Michael, the Most High’s most trusted general, to join his cause. The young angel responsible for helping to end the war uncovered his plot, but was betrayed by Michael, stripped of her powers, and kicked out of the Celestial world. She was sent here to the mortal realm to die.”

“Who was this angel?” Melisande asked.

“Her name was Adaline,” Lailah replied, “and she is your ancestor.”

“How is that possible,” Melisande demanded.

Lailah struggled as she continued the story, “She was blinded and near death when another ancestor of yours, Giovanni Patrisi, found her and cared for her. Eventually, with Giovanni’s help, she was able to uncover Michael’s treason and defeat him, but the cost of victory proved very high.”

Lailah lowered her eyes, “Adaline was murdered and Giovanni was left in a deep state of depression. No one thought he would pull through. However, because of her heroics, the Most High restored her to life and transformed her into a seraph as a reward.”

Lailah smiled, “I’ll never forget her words… ‘The voice of the one I hold most dear cries out to me from beyond our realm…’ She rejected the Most High’s gift and asked instead to trade her wings for a mortal heart. It was… an unusual request to say the least. The Most High granted it, and sent her back to the Mortal Realm. She sought out Giovanni and they lived out a long life together, giving birth to two children, only one of which ever had another child.”

“Those people,” Lailah said as she looked up at Melisande, “are your ancestors. The angel that is reveered as a hero in the Celestial World looks exactly like you. You were named Aralyn Patrisi in her honor.”

“But I don’t understand,” Baltazar cut in, “if Adaline was transformed into a human, how is it that Melisa… I mean Aralyn… or… whatever, how is it she has these powers?”

Lailah shook her head, “That’s not easy to answer. Long after Adaline died, it was discovered that a fraction of her powers had not been removed. They were hidden deep within her soul and were passed on to her children. By the time it was recognized, it was too late to fix. Those powers lay dormant within the Patrisi bloodline for generations, but they needed someone with the right traits in order to access them. They continued to lay dormant, gaining strength for years. We informed the Patrisis and they agreed to allow us to be present for the births of their children.”

She looked Melisande in the eyes, “Then you were born… you have the right combination of your ancestor’s heredity, and you are the only daughter born to the Patrisis. Your are also the only one to bear the make of divinity.”

“My eyes…” Melisande replied, touching her cheek.

Lailah nodded, “Correct.”

“I… I…” Melisande stumbled over her words. “How is this possible? I am nobody…”

“You are the heir to Adaline’s blood line.” Lailah replied. “Like it or not, all of that power is within you and will soon come to light.”

“Is that why Legion wants her so bad?” Baltazar asked.

“It is.” Lailah replied. “Angels aren’t easily manipulated… but a human/angel hybrid… such a thing has never existed before. Aralyn basically has all the powers of an angel… if not more… but she also has the fallibility of a human. So now all three entities are vying to get to her. Our side, the Choirs of Angels wants to protect her, as well as the rest of the mortal world, Lucifer believes that he could manipulate her to defeat Legion and maintain his tenuous hold on the underworld, and Legion wants to steal her powers to gain more for himself and retake what he views as his while laying waste to all of existence…”

Melisande shook her head, “I don’t want this… I can’t deal with this…”

Lailah looked at her sympathetically, “I’m sorry, if I could take it away from you, I would, but that’s not possible. Like it or not, your destiny is yours. You must learn to accept it.”

“No,” she replied, “no, I have to get out of her.”

She jumped up and ran out of the cabin. Lailah stood up, “Aralyn!”

“Don’t call me that!” Melisande replied as she slammed the door behind her. “It’s not my name!”

Papi clasped his hands together, “Little Messy… All these years… I never knew… I cared for her like she was my own daughter.”

Baltazar placed a hand on his shoulder, “There was nothing you could have done to prevent this. It was not in your power.”

He turned and looked at Lailah, “I will talk to her.”

Lailah nodded, “I am sorry to place such a heavy burden on you.”

“Can’t be helped I guess,” Baltazar replied, “But there is one thing that I don’t understand.”

Lailah nodded, “Then ask.”

“Why were you in that cave? Why didn’t your people come for you?” Baltazar asked.

Lailah reached back and touched her wings, “My confrontation with Legion left me horribly scarred as you can see. I was forced to experience pure agony which damaged my mind. My wings were also badly damaged, making prolonged flight impossible. What’s more, an angel’s wings are where most of her power rests. Their removal would mean that she would become mortal… damaging them… “

She paused for a moment to collect her thoughts before continuing, “I… lost my connection to my Kingdom. Given how badly wounded I was, I hid myself from all eyes until I could find a safe haven. Unfortunately, by then, I had no way to contact my people.”

Baltazar nodded, “So you lived in solitude in that cave, hoping against hope that either Melisande or your own people would eventually find you?”

“Yes…” Lailah admitted. “Though I had already resigned myself to an eternity of madness by the time you came along.”

Baltazar lowered his eyes, “I am sorry for you…”

“Thank you,” Lailah replied, “but I don’t need your sympathy… someone else does.”

Baltazar looked at the door and nodded as he turned his attention to Melisande.



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, Book 4, Chapter 1

Book 4

Dark Revelations

I

The next morning, Melisande woke up on the forecastle, once again sleeping on Baltazar’s shoulder. The last time this happened, her heart jumped and she panicked. This time, she didn’t move. She was comfortable and more relaxed. Baltazar was roused by her movements and smiled, “Good morning.”

“Good morning, though I wish it wasn’t so overcast.” she replied without moving.

Baltazar moved his legs as though he were preparing to stand up, “Forgive me, my lady… I should have put you back in the cabin last night. I’ll leave you be.”

“If you want,” Melisande replied softly, “but you don’t have to…”

Baltazar looked down at her, “You sure?”

She nodded, “I’m more relaxed right now than I have been in days. I know this has to end, but I would like it to last a little while longer… if you don’t mind of course.”

“I’m happy to oblige.” Baltazar replied. “Rest as long as you need to.”

As she nestled her head on Baltazar’s chest, she could hear the heart in his chest race when she closed her eyes. She was warm and completely at peace. It only lasted a few minutes, but it was all the time she needed.

The two were jolted awake by the grunting sounds of hung-over sailors returning from their night of debauchery. Baltazar stood up and smiled, “On deck you drunken pigs! We shove off at eight bells.”

Gilles put a hand to his head, “Please keep your voice down, Captain! My head be hurtin bad.”

Baltazar gave him a devious look, “Your ass is going to hurt a lot worse if you don’t man your station, Mr. Gilles!”

Gilles gave a sloppy salute as he headed for the helm, “Aye aye Captain…”

The rest of the men slowly boarded and headed to their posts. Baltazar shook his head, “No rest for the weary, men! All available hands to the braces, set top sails until we clear the harbor!”

The crew sluggishly came to life and got the ship moving. Within a few minutes, the cool sea breeze sobered them up and they worked like real seamen. The ship pulled out of the harbor and back into the Adriatic Sea. Baltazar nodded, “Full sail!”

He then turned to Gilles, “Thirty degrees to port, steer us north, northwest.”

Gilles nodded, “Aye sir!”

Gilles turned the wheel and the ship slowly responded by coming about. The wind hit the crimson sails hard as the ship pushed northwest. A few more hours passed as Baltazar watched Melisande up at the bow. If he didn’t have to worry about his ship, he would have been up there with her. There was an eerie silence covering the ship as they sailed closer to their destination.

Every eye on the ship was open, searching for some sign of the place they were looking for. Suddenly, the lookout called down to Baltazar from his post, “Land ho, directly ahead!”

Baltazar opened up his spyglass inspected the land that had appeared on the horizon. Papi had heard the signal and came up on deck. He saw Baltazar heading forward and followed behind, “Sir, I’ve sailed these waters before, a long time ago.”

Baltazar nodded, “Can you tell me anything about the land ahead?”

“Yes sir,” he replied, “It’s a narrow inlet, which runs all the way to the capital city. You might say it’s a barrier between the Adriatic Sea and the Laguna Veneta.”

“What do you suggest?” Baltazar asked inquisitively.

Papi took the spyglass from Baltazar and looked at the specific piece of land, “I would hold your course and pass through the barrier at the opening just south of that inlet. From there, navigate north, three degrees to starboard.”

Baltazar nodded and called to the back of the ship, “Gilles, hold your course. Get us through the pass into the Laguna Veneta.”

Gilles nodded, “Understood sir.”

Gilles held the ship steady on as she passed by the narrow inlet. Once they had cleared it and were safely into the Laguna Veneta, Baltazar looked back to Gilles, “Get us on a course, three degrees east.”

The wheel moved slowly as Gilles pushed it into position. The Black Vengeance turned and proceeded northeast. They held their course for another half an hour until the large island where the capital city was located appeared. Several small ships, mostly fishermen, could be seen on either side as they sailed into Venetian waters.

Baltazar stood next to Melisande on the forecastle and put his arm around her, “Welcome to the Kingdom of Venice.”

She smiled and was about to say something when they heard a cry from someone off the starboard bow. It appeared that one of the fishing boats was in distress. The man was calling out in Veneto, which no one onboard spoke, “You there, please, we need assistance! Please save us, our boat is taking on water.”

Baltazar shrugged, “Does anyone here speak Veneto?”

The crew all looked at each other sheepishly. Suddenly, Baltazar heard Melisande’s voice speaking it fluently, “We hear you, please be patient, we’ll come alongside!”

Both Papi and Baltazar looked at her strangely. She turned to him, “They need help. Their boat is sinking.”

Baltazar nodded, “Strike the sails, and bring us alongside.”

The Black Vengeance circled around them a few times to slow down before coming alongside the distressed fishing boat. Quickly, the crew pulled two waterlogged fishermen, including an elderly man, from the water. The first man nodded, “Thank God, you stopped. We could have drowned out here.”

Baltazar looked at Melisande, “What did they say?”

She nodded, “He said thank you.”

She turned back to the fisherman, “What happened to your boat?”

I regret,” the man replied, “Our boat has seen much neglect. The fishing around here has been somewhat poor for a while now.”

Baltazar noticed the old man staring at her oddly, “Melisande…”

When she turned her attention to him, Baltazar gestured toward the old man. Melisande noticed it and nodded. She turned back to the first fisherman, “Who is this elderly man out here with you?”

“Oh, he is my grandfather,” the fisherman replied, “His name is Venerio and he’s been out this way for years and no matter how old he gets, refuses to stop fishing.”

Melisande turned to Venerio and knelt down next to him, “Is there something wrong, good sir? Do you know me?”

Venerio looked at her with his aged brown eyes and fought out one word, “Adaline…”

Baltazar’s eyes narrowed, “Melisande, what is going on, who is Adaline?”

“These two fishermen didn’t have the money to fix their boat, which is why it was taking on water,” she replied, “and I have no idea who Adaline is…”

She turned her attention back to the old man, “Who is Adaline, good sir?”

“Forgive me,” he replied, “you look exactly like someone I knew when I was a boy.”

“Who,” she asked, “Who was it?”

The man hesitated for a moment before responding, “Just south of the capital city, there is a small fishing village, where I grew up. It was a fairly poor area, but we all got by. I remember there was this one family… beautiful people they were. Always willing to give whatever they could and then some to help those around them. The woman of the house, Adaline, she looked exactly like you. I probably wouldn’t have even remembered until I saw your eyes. She had the exact same ones.”

Baltazar had a confused look on his face, “What is he saying?”

“Shh,” Melisande responded sternly, “I think I may be on to something here.”

“Please Venerio,” she replied pleadingly, “Whoever these people are, they may hold the key to answering questions about my past. Who was this family?”

The man thought for a moment, “The family name was Patrice… no, it was Patrisi, I’m certain of it.”

Baltazar recognized the one word ‘Patrisi’ and turned to Melisande as she sat back, “Do they know them? Do they know the Patrisis?”

“Yes…” she replied, “he knows them…”

“Well that’s great,” Baltazar said, “will they help us find it?”

Melisande turned to him, “Offer a spare longboat.”

“What?” Baltazar scoffed, “That’s a high price for a seaman.”

“These people are in distress!” She insisted. “If we just bring them ashore, they won’t be able to fend for themselves.”

She looked Baltazar in the eye, “You keep saying you want to repay the damage your family has done. Please don’t disappoint me by stopping at words.”

Baltazar sighed, “Fine, make them the offer.”

Melisande’s eyes lit up and kissed him on the cheek, “Thank you!”

She then turned back to the two fishermen, “We’re prepared to offer you safe passage to land, as well as a boat in exchange for guiding us to their home.”

The two fishermen looked at each other and then back at her, “We would be fools to reject such an offer. We would have taken you there for a lot less, but we are grateful for your aid.”

The two men stood on the aft castle with Melisande and Baltazar as they guided them to the small community on the southern tip of the island. The Black Vengeance rounded a rocky cliff. On the other side, a small harbor came into view. There were multiple small personal docks, as well as a large one for the town.

The elderly man pointed to a rundown looking one far to west, “There… that is where you will find the Patrisi home…”

Melisande nodded, “Thank you… I am grateful for your help.”

Before they left, Melisande remembered one last thing, “Forgive me, but might I trouble you for a little more information?”

“Of course, milady.” The younger fisherman replied. “What do you need to know?”

“Have you ever heard of Night Island?” She asked.

Baltazar thought he recognized the words ‘Night Island’ but he wasn’t sure. The fisherman nodded, “I don’t know why you would want to go there, but it’s directly south from this cove… be wary of that place.”

“Why?” she insisted.

The fisherman hesitated for a moment, but responded, “The sun never shines on that island, hence its name. There are also rumors that an insane monster lives there.”

Melisande nodded, “Thank you for your help.”

“Farewell,” the fisherman replied, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

The men jumped into the boat that had been readied for them as it was lowered over the side. Once, the fishermen were clear, Baltazar turned to his men, “Bring up all sails except the top sails. This is a rocky area, I don’t want us running aground.”

Melisande joined him, “They told us how to get to Night Island too. It really is good fortune that we found such helpful people.”

“Good fortune…” Baltazar sighed. “I’ve always been told to be careful of such things. Often, they turn sour very quickly.”

Melisande frowned, “Don’t be such a cynic.”

**

Once the Black Vengeance disappeared from view, the younger fisherman turned to his grandfather, “You have done well old man, and I thank you!”

Venerio buried his face in his hands and wept. The younger fisherman smiled, “Thanks to you, my friend is getting closer to her destiny. Soon there will be no turning back.”

Slowly, the man knelt down behind Venerio, “Unfortunately, you’ve outlived your usefulness…”

Quickly, the young fisherman pulled a dagger out of his jacket, grabbed Venerio by the chin and stretched out his neck. In a quick flash, the man stabbed the knife into Venerio’s neck and cut along his throat. Blood spewed out in every direction as the old man fell limp.

The younger fisherman looked up, revealing bright red eyes that glowed as he looked towards the Patrisi home, “Soon my young friend… soon.”

Without another word, he vanished in a thick cloud of smoke.

**

The Black Vengeance rounded another formation of rocks. At the center of the small port the fishermen had sent them to, was a large rock formation poking up out of the sea. To their horror, when they got closer, Baltazar pointed out what appeared to be the wreckage of a large fishing boat. The hull had been smashed against the rocks and all that remained was a portion of the aft cabin.

At seeing the wreckage, Baltazar made up his mind, “No further, I won’t risk the ship, we row in from here. Drop anchor and lower the longboat.”

The crew went to work quickly to lower both the anchor and the boat. The sails were quickly tied up and the ship slowed to a halt. The crew got the longboat in position and lowered it into the water.

Baltazar climbed down the side taking Papi, Melisande, and Morgan with him. As they shoved off, Baltazar called back to the ship, “Take over, Mr. Gilles, you’re in charge until I get back.”

Gilles nodded, “Aye Captain.”

The men rowed slowly towards the shore. Melisande watched the boat on the rocks until the shore came into view. There was an old rickety pier that looked like it would collapse any day, at the end of which stood what looked like a lot of rubble. The overcast weather added a drery tone to the scene in front of her. She felt like she knew this place. It was something familiar to her, but it was also a source of sorrow. Waves of anguish rolled over her and she couldn’t figure out why.

As the boat neared the beach, she blacked out. Images flew through her head and shot in front of her eyes the moment the world disappeared from view. There was an angel with bandages wrapped over her eyes being questioned by a group of well-dressed men who were heavily armed. The tense scene was then replaced by an elderly priest, and a second angel with black wings.

More and more images flooded her mind. Images of people, who looked familiar to her, until suddenly she saw a large house that was in exactly the same place that they were approaching, explode into flame. She could hear the screams of at least two people echo in her mind and it finally brought her out of her trance, “No!”

Melisande fell over the side of the boat into the water. Her feet barely touched the ground as she pushed herself towards the shore. Baltazar jumped in the water after her, “Melisande!”

She continued to push with her arms and legs until she emerged from the water with a big splash. Not thinking, feeling, or hearing anyone, she ran towards the rubble. The look on her face was of complete panic.

Baltazar struggled to reach the shore and get to her. He could see her running frantically around the rubble, unable to make any sense of it. Tears were falling from her eyes as though she had just seen someone she loved get cut down right in front of her eyes.

Baltazar ran out of the surf and grabbed her, “Melisande!”

She fought back, kicking and trying to beat her way out of his grasp. The look on her face was of sheer panic, “No, mama, papa… please! God… please… not this.”

She collapsed in the sand crying. Her screams of agony were unlike anything he’d experienced before. He quickly dropped to his knees and held on to her as tightly as he could.

When Melisande finally regained control of her senses, she grasped a hold of Baltazar and would not let go. Baltazar could feel her fingernails digging into his flesh, but he did not care, “What is it Melisande?”

She sobbed for a few more moments before looking up at Baltazar. Papi and Morgan pulled the boat up on the shore and then Papi ran to her side, “Messy, are you okay?”

Both Papi and Baltazar were shocked to see her eyes turning bright red, “I… I can feel myself slipping away… the darkness is taking over. Stop it… please help me!”

Baltazar turned to Papi, “What is this, what is happening to her?”

Papi shook his head, “I don’t know… I’ve never seen her like this before.”

Melisande began to foam at the mouth as her eyes glowed brighter red. Baltazar shook his head, “She’s burning up!”

Desperate, he took off his wet shirt and dabbed her forehead to cool her down. She began shaking and the foam continued to drip from her mouth. Without thinking, Baltazar wiped her mouth and glared at her, “Melisande, stop this!”

He quickly crossed himself and kissed her. Her eyes closed and she stopped shaking. Her body temperature began to drop and her breathing returned to normal. She reached up and grasped the back of his neck, holding him in place.

Papi watched the whole thing and waiting with his heart in his throat. God…

Finally, the two released each other, allowing Melisande to take in a deep breath. When she opened her eyes, they were their original bright blue, but there were still tears falling. Baltazar took another breath and looked at her, “Are you okay?”

She grabbed a hold of Baltazar again, “I… I was born here. I saw the whole thing play out in my mind.”

“What happened?” He asked.

“Something…” She said with a shudder. “Something that can only be described as the physical embodiment of evil appeared and did this…”

Morgan looked over the rubble, “Whatever did this was thorough, ye wouldn’t be knowing this was a house just by looking at it. It be so badly demolished that no one bothered to rebuild it.”

“There was no one left to rebuild it.” Melisande replied. “It killed Mama and Papa… they were all that was left… it killed my family.”

Baltazar looked over at Papi, “Did you know anything about this?”

“No.” Papi insisted.

“Mr. Clement,” Baltazar replied sternly, “I’ll ask you one more time…”

Papi glared at him, “On my life, I had no idea that the church knew about this. I never would have kept it from her if I had. I was a simple cook at the abbey! Sister Mary never told me anything.”

“Enough,” Melisande yelled, “no one knew about this with the exception of Sister Mary and other people from the church. Most of whom are probably dead now, so there is no point in fighting about it!”

Baltazar helped Melisande to her feet, “Now there can be no doubt about it… I am the last of the Patrisis… that is my family name.”

Baltazar nodded, “Nice to meet you, Lady Patrisi.”

Melisande forced a half smile and looked up to Baltazar with a pleading look in her eyes, “I want to leave… there is nothing left for me here. I want to go and never come back…”

“Not a problem.” Baltazar replied. “Where do you want to go?”

“I… I don’t know.” She replied. “The fishermen warned me of an insane monster living on Night Island. It could be the one that killed my family. Would I be foolish to want to avenge them? Would it be wrong to risk subjecting myself to further tormet?”

“It is totally up to you.” Baltazar said in a calm tone. “If you want to go back to raiding ships, we can. If you want to go to Night Island, I will take you there, and no matter what you find, no matter what you have to confront, I will remain by your side.”

Melisande was touched by his words, “You really mean that, don’t you?”

Baltazar looked her straight in the eye and nodded, “Yes.”

Melisande threw her arms around Baltazar and kissed him. When she finally let him out of her grip, she smiled widely, “That, Baltazar, is what works for me.”



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:
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Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim