Saturday, April 26, 2014

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Horror Short Story

My first encounter with the supernatural were visions of the future hidden within my dreams. I didn't foresee any world-shattering events, just places that I had never seen and conversation that I never could have had, but that's beside the point. The fact that I was able to see anything at all should be evidence enough that there's more to this world than meets the eye.
If that doesn't convince you then please read on, because something far more sinister awaited me in the future―something that I couldn't foresee as my gift has mostly faded away. It only rears its head once a year, if at all.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hello guys, girls and whoever might read this!
I just wanted to give you a little status update on the newest chapter of Mortaevum, since I barely post anything else on here. But I'm also busy writing reviews on my german blog, so that does get in the way of any meaningful updates. I do post these on Twitter quite often, though. I switch from German to English all the time, but it's mostly English now.
So if you're interested in these updates it would be good to follow me on Twitter.

Anyway, since chapter 11, which is titled "Defying the Prophecy", is the finale of the current story arc I want to make it the best I can, although there will certainly be changes when I get around to rewriting the draft. The chapter is a bit over 10K words now and since the final battle is still not in progress it might turn out to be the longest chapter yet. Nothing wrong with that, of course, especially for the finale.

The one after that will be shorter, though, although I'm not sure if it will be very short or just normal. Depends on how much I want to set up the next story arc. But I'm already looking forward to the reactions for these final chapters, although there won't be many of those yet.

That's it, for now. The next posting will most likely be the chapter itself.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 10: Calm Before The Storm

They scoured the smoldering crater for about an hour to retrieve Drake's sword. It would have taken much longer if the shadows inside the blade hadn't served as a beacon that engulfed the surrounding area in darkness. The moment Drake laid his hands upon the hilt something deep within him welled to the surface. The shadows wailed in agony as they were forced back into the obsidian blade, which lost its unique form in exchange. Now it was just a normal looking weapon, albeit one filled with immense power.
I hope you didn't accidentally trap Dorr'n Selkesch within. I can do without a rematch.”
Don't worry. All I seem to have captured is raw power. That might be just what we need to take down Modera.”
He raised the sword, which vibrated visibly. Small shadowy tendrils emerged from within and tried to wrap themselves around his hand. He swung the sword just once and carved a scar several meters thick into the crater.
Although I'm not sure if I can contain this much power for long. We should go to Modera's tower as soon as possible!”
Maximilian put a hand onto his companion's shoulder. “I know that you're worried about your girlfriend, but we can't be hasty! We need new supplies and clothes. And confronting Modera all by ourselves would be stupid.”
And who's supposed to help us? I doubt a couple of soldiers will make much of a difference.”
Well, I have to admit that Pagan's military is somewhat lacking, at least when it comes to fighting real monsters. I would never have been able to confront Dorr'n Selkesch without this sword”—he raised the “Heavenly Blade”—“and a vampire of Modera's caliber would certainly defeat our soldiers in the blink of an eye. But there are others in Pagan who might be able to help. It just depends on their availability.”
And with those words they finally moved on. It took longer than expected as the crater got quite steep at the edges and after that came an even steeper descend. Drake offered to jump all the way to the bottom, but Maximilian declined as he had had enough excitement for the day. Therefore they descended at a leisurely pace and arrived at the bottom shortly before noon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Despicable Friend Zone

Short Story

*J0hnNimal signed in
<J0hnN1mal> Still no one online? Have you all gone dark or what?
*Fr4nzi5ka signed in
<J0hnN1mal> Franzi ^_^ Finally back from the convention?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Hi John :) I've been back since Friday, but I didn't find the time to go online.
<J0hnN1mal> Why?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I spent the weekend with Michael. Playing games, watching movies and stuff.
<J0hnN1mal> Wasn't he also at the con?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Yeah. It was great to finally meet him in person. Talking online is nice and all, but you never know if the person on the other end isn't putting on an act to get closer to you.
<J0hnN1mal> I suppose Michael wasn't a creep?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Do you think I'd spend the weekend with a creepy guy?
<J0hnN1mal> No.
<Fr4nzi5ka> There you have it :)
<J0hnN1mal> So...I guess you like him?
*Fr4nzi5ka signed out
<J0hnN1mal> Hey, why are you leaving?
<J0hnN1mal> Come back!
<J0hnN1mal> Hello?
*4rg0s4x signed in
<4rg0s4x> Hey, what's up?
*J0hnN1mal kicked 4rg0s4x
*J0hnN1mal banned 4rg0s4x
*Fr4nzi5ka signed in
<J0hnN1mal> You didn't have to leave so suddenly :/
<Fr4nzi5ka> Sorry, my connection collapsed. Must have been the storm. Has it reached you too?
<J0hnN1mal> Yeah, it's been raining all day long.
<J0hnN1mal> But don't change the topic, please...
<Fr4nzi5ka> What was the topic again?
<J0hnN1mal> Do you like him?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Michael? Oh...
<Fr4nzi5ka> I'm not sure. He's a sweet guy and he's always trying to help me.
<Fr4nzi5ka> But you know that I broke up only recently. I'm not sure if I'm ready for a new relationship.
<J0hnN1mal> And yet you spent an entire weekend with him while you never visit me ;_;
<Fr4nzi5ka> What are you saying?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Wait...don't tell love me?
*Fr4nzi5ka signed out
<J0hnN1mal> Yes, I do love you! I have since before you broke up with your boyfriend. You're the only person I can talk to about my problems. The only one who knows how much I've suffered...
*Fr4nzi5ka signed in
<Fr4nzi5ka> Stupid connection!
<Fr4nzi5ka> You still there?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Talk to me!
<J0hnN1mal> There's no point in hiding it, is there? Yes, I do love you, but what does it matter? You'll never like me anyway!
<Fr4nzi5ka> Stop pitying yourself! You'll never get a girlfriend if you behave like this!
<J0hnN1mal> See?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Come on! What do you expect me to do? I like a friend. A really good friend. But that's all there is to it.
<J0hnN1mal> Why do I even try to be nice when it always ends like this? -___-
<Fr4nzi5ka> Stop it! Or do you want me to leave?
<J0hnN1mal> No...
<Fr4nzi5ka> Hey, I think I heard glass shatter below...
<J0hnN1mal> You've got to be kidding me! Already changing the subject?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I'm not joking! Wait a moment...
<J0hnN1mal> Fine, don't love me! But don't play games with me either!
<J0hnN1mal> Helloooo?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Great, the storm uprooted the tree in front of our house and one of its branches crashed through the window. Perfect time to be alone o_o
<Fr4nzi5ka> And why would I make that up?
<J0hnN1mal> To get rid of me?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I can log out if I wanted to do that...
<Fr4nzi5ka> Can't we just be friends? I don't want to hurt you, but I simply can reciprocate your feelings...
<Fr4nzi5ka> John?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Answer me...please...
<Fr4nzi5ka> God, what is this? I think I heard another window shatter...
<Fr4nzi5ka> Wait a moment...if you're still there...

*Fr4nzi5ka signed out
*Fr4nzi5ka signed in
<Fr4nzi5ka> John? Please tell me that you're still online!
<Fr4nzi5ka> JOHN?!
<J0hnN1mal> What is it?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I think someone's in the house with me!
<J0hnN1mal> You sure?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Yes! Another window is broken and there are muddy footprints next to it!
<J0hnN1mal> Did you call the police?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I can't get through. Must be due to the storm. I'm surprised that I still have an internet connection.
<J0hnN1mal> Don't tell me you went back into your room!
<Fr4nzi5ka> Oh god, I tink the guy just kicked on of the doors in
<Fr4nzi5ka> And no Im not that stupd! Im inside a small sidechamber in attic.
<J0hnN1mal> Did you turn off your computer?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I didnt have time for that!
<J0hnN1mal> That means the chat-window is still open?
<Fr4nzi5ka> I supp
<Fr4nzi5ka> Oh god I just told tat guy were I am
<Fr4nzi5ka> I need to get outt here!
*Fr4nzi5ka signed out

*Fr4nzi5ka signed in
<Fr4nzi5ka> That was close...
<J0hnN1mal> Are you safe?
<Fr4nzi5ka> Relatively. I couldn't get out of the house, though. I saw a shadow moving round the corner and had to go somewhere else.
<Fr4nzi5ka> I managed to reach the cops btw. They'll be here any minute now!
<J0hnN1mal> That's great. I wish I could help you..
<Fr4nzi5ka> I do too...
<J0hnN1mal> But you still wouldn't love me?
<Fr4nzi5ka> John, please...
<Fr4nzi5ka> Hav to stp writing brb
*Fr4nzi5ka signed out

*Fr4nzi5ka signed in
<J0hnN1mal> What happened?
<Fr4nzi5ka> The guy sems to b lookn fo me had to rn
<J0hnN1mal> Calm down! I can barely understand your sentences.
<Fr4nzi5ka> How amI supposd to calm don?
<Fr4nzi5ka> What if he wanst to rape me?
<J0hnN1mal> No one wants to rape you! You're too beautiful to do such a cruel thing to you.
<Fr4nzi5ka> I dubt the intrudr tinks lik yu
<Fr4nzi5ka> And pls dont call me beatiful
<J0hnN1mal> Am I not allowed to speak the truth just because I like you?
<Fr4nzi5ka> It makes me feel uncomfortable...
<J0hnN1mal> What if I wanted to hug you?
<Fr4nzi5ka> That too...sorry...but can we talk about this later?
<J0hnN1mal> What's the point?
<Fr4nzi5ka> John I cant del witthis rigt now
<Fr4nzi5ka> o no
<Fr4nzi5ka> can hear im breathn
<J0hnN1mal> Stay where you are!
<Fr4nzi5ka> think hes right ouside
<Fr4nzi5ka> im ded if he finds me
<Fr4nzi5ka> maybe I can knok him out
<J0hnN1mal> Don't do it!
<Fr4nzi5ka> have to cu
<J0hnN1mal> Why'd you have to do that?
*Chatlog deleted
*J0hnNimal signed out

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 9: Maze Of Shadows

After the swamp had vanished on the horizon Drake and Maximilian came to their senses and began to struggle in a vain attempt to break free, although that in itself might have been a sign of madness as they were located hundreds of meters above the ground. Drake might have survived such a fall but regenerating from a flattened heap of flesh was far from pleasant. And the worst case scenario would leave him trapped in a state between life and death for an eternity.
They didn't seem to consider such scenarios, however, and continued their struggle till fatigue caught up to them, which forced them to accept their inability to escape the claws of the winged beast.
It doesn't look like we'll get out of here anytime soon. We should preserve our energy and try to rest for a while. It has to drop us down eventually,” yelled Maximilian towards his companion, only to receive a quizzical expression in response. “Do you understand me?” he screamed louder this time.
No matter how much Drake concentrated, he couldn't pick up words that were carried away in an instant. Maximilian gave up after a couple more attempts and made himself as comfortable as possible before he closed his eyes and fell into a deep slumber. Drake's expression turned into one of incredulity at this absurd sight. Don't tell me he actually fell asleep in that position...
You might want to follow his example,” came a sinister sounding voice from above.
Drake's eyes followed their captors black and red-streaked skin all the way to its snout. Human-sized fangs protruded from its sides and some kind of slimy substance was running down its flesh.
You understand my thoughts?
How else could I have answered your question? But you can also talk to me. I can understand your words and language just fine.”
Who are you?”
I am Voluere, destroyer of dreams, although some records denote me as the fulfiller of dreams. Everyone with that misconception has been eradicated, though, unless I managed to twist their dream into a nightmare instead. ”
The demon roared with laughter and his gooey spit covered the entire upper half of Drake's body, which is all that protruded from its claws. Without access to his hands the vampire could only shake his head and try to spit and blow the substance in front of his mouth away.
And what do you want from us? We didn't summon you!”
I came to a repay a favor to a mutual 'friend' of ours. She gave you the gift of eternal life and you chose to repay her by fleeing from her grasp!”
Modera!” Drake remarked in disgust. “Why didn't she talk to me? I would have returned eventually. We just ran into a little problem.”
His eyes wandered to the pillar of darkness. Something seemed to be slithering along its edges but it blurred together with the background, making it impossible to confirm if the movement was real or not.
No one would return to that crazy hag unless they had a good reason to,” the creature laughed jovially before it continued, “And she couldn't talk to you. Don't you remember severing the connection?”
I did no such thing! How would that even work?”
Don't ask me. I'm not a vampire. It's irrelevant anyway. You'll be reunited soon enough. If only you could have seen what a mess you left behind. The last time I've seen her like this was when her husband died. She even blabbered some idiocy about a savior. I hope she wasn't talking about you.”
In the flesh...”
Splitting laughter cut through the air and the creature moved as if it was drunk, almost letting go of his captives in the process. Drake utilized that opportunity in an attempt to free his limbs, but the demon reacted too rapidly, only allowing him to raise one arm above its claw. “I knew that she was insane but this is just too hilarious! Does she actually expect you to succeed where she failed?”
Don't ask me. All I know is that she wants to turn Maximilian into a vampire too.”
He certainly seems like a much more reasonable choice!”
Drake didn't bother to respond. The pillar of darkness was rapidly approaching and he didn't know if he should warn Voluere or not. The prospect of facing Modera in their current state didn't seem very appealing. But there was no telling what would happen when the demon came within reach of Dorr'n Selkesch's power.
What about the pillar? Do you think such an outburst of magic could stop me? I can simply fly around it, you know?”
To emphasize his words he did exactly that. Drake's gaze was still focused on the darkness ahead, which seemed to pulse in a steadily increasing rhythm the further they got away from it.
Give it back!” demanded a familiar voice that cut through the air like a knife.
The pillar fell apart, revealing that it was made out of hundreds of thousands of tentacles. Every single one of them lunged forward, covering all possible escape routes the demon could take.
Not so fast!” Voluere roared.
He came to a halt in midair and opened his jaws as wide as possible. A crimson energy beam shot forward, severing the tentacles from right to left. The remnants evaporated in mid-air while the intact parts regenerated within seconds.
What did you say about it not being able to stop you?” remarked Maximilian who had finally woken up, if he had even slept in the first place.
Shut it, human!”
The demon covered its body by closing its wing and whirled upwards, engulfing himself in a barrier of wind. It shredded the approaching tentacles like a sawing machine. Voluere shot through the wriggling mass of darkness above him and continued to ascend long after leaving the tentacles behind.
Maximilian felt like his body was being flattened and it got increasingly harder to breath. Neither breathing in deeply nor breathing fast made much of a difference. The demon made it even worse by unknowingly pressing onto his captives. The royal knight's heart raced and he had to pull all of his willpower together to utter a single sentence as his body began to convulse: “Stop...i...t!”
Voluere ceased spinning and opened his wings, exposing his prisoners to the chilly air far above the earth. “Why do you humans have to be so fragile? But now it's time to rejoice! Only a few more hours till your transformation into a supreme being!”
The creature's attempt to laugh turned into a scream of surprise when a giant tentacle appeared from below, entangled his legs and pulled him downwards with breath-taking speed. The demon opened its jaws but it would have had to cut off its own legs to hit the shadowy tendril.
The moment they broke through the clouds they saw a giant maw of darkness above the mountain range—a maw that was once known as the abyss of Gana Borodem. It permeated the ground the land of shadows was built on and swallowed thousands of soldiers partaking in the final assault on Dorr'n Selkesch's castle. Even after Gana Borodem fell the land remained uninhabitable. It's as if the maw knew that its master would return from beyond the veil. Only after his second defeat did it finally fade away.
Let them go and I'll end your existence in a heartbeat!
A compelling offer but I'll have to decline!”
Rather than continue his futile efforts to escape the demon shot downwards instead, his jaw aimed directly at the center of the maw. The red lines edged into its body began to glow, encasing the creature in a billowing layer of air that flowed towards its head.
Maximilian's body had a hard time coping with all of these rapid changes in pressure and he snapped his eyes shut in a desperate attempt to ignore the blood that was now flowing into his head. Drake, on the other hand, was just a bit nauseous. He was more worried about what would happen next. Escaping would prove somewhat difficult if they died on impact.
The point of impact was rapidly approaching and the darkness was stretching as far as the eye could see, but Voluere didn't seem close to unleashing any kind of attack.
Don't you worry! The demon's voice echoed through Drake's head. I'm just waiting for an opportune moment.
That moment came when Drake spotted a swirling orb of darkness in the center of the maw. A sphere of crimson light appeared in front of Voluere's jaws and the darkness reacted by pulling its tentacles inwards, defending the orb with multiple layers of tendrils.
The beam of light shot downwards, filling the sky with a loud sizzling sound and creating just enough pressure to keep Voluere in place while the orb's barriers were shredded one after another. The air vibrated with power and what remained of the mountain range was slowly obliterated.
In ages past Dorr'n Selkesch had been powerful enough to rival the armies of an entire world but his imprisonment had reduced him to a mere shadow of his former self. A demon might be nothing to laugh at but getting defeated by one would have shattered the legend of the lord of shadows. Voluere got cocky, though, and ignored everything around him.
A fist made of darkness smashed into his back, pulverizing his spine. A roaring scream of agony thundered over the land while the beam of energy fizzled out of existence. The shadowy mass split apart, revealing two smaller hands that grabbed onto the demon's wings and plucked them right off, as if he was nothing but a victim to a child's curiosity. Voluere's screams became blood-curdling but were muffled as soon as he plunged into the darkness. The vampire tried to clamber out of his claws but the demon's grasp didn't weaken in the slightest.
From where he lay Drake had a relatively clear view of the orb but Maximilian was nowhere in sight. If I could at least pull my sword out! And then what? Your puny powers cannot compare to the might of Dorr'n Selkesch! But you wounded him in the caves! Yes, but not by using darkness! I still need my sword to use a different power! Are you really that stupid? The sword might be a perfect conduit for dark magic but it's irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You didn't need it to blow up the swamp and you didn't need it to jump several feet into the air. Just concentrate and imagine what kind of power you want to manifest. Or stop resisting and accept me already!
Ignoring the last remark Drake closed his eyes, remembering the feeling from when he had redirected his energy into his feet. Since that would have been pointless under the current circumstances he focused on his hand instead. Imagine what kind of power I want... Something compact but powerful would be perfect. Something that contains the same kind of power I unleashed in the swamp. And lo and behold, when he opened his eyes he was holding onto a bright ball of fire. But he was also within inches of getting swallowed by the darkness, hence why he just hoped for the best and threw it into the general direction of the orb. It turned towards him, exposing different layers of gray resembling an eyeball. It grew as if in shock and extended small tentacles towards the magic missile, but it was already too late.
The world was bathed in an explosion of light.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a free editing offer by Jim Rion on Reddit, and since real editing is quite expensive I decided to try it out. Since Mortaevum is too long and still in its draft phase I decided to send him a copy of Carcerus instead.

His feedback was quite interesting to look at. He added missing words, removed superfluous ones and told me when another word would have been more fitting. He also highlighted a few sections where the tone of the narration didn't fit into the overall picture.
One example would be that he replaced "connecting the dots" with "realized", since the first phrase seemed too casual.

Fixing the grammar and style is certainly a worthwile endeavor, but most people might be able to overlook these mistakes as long as they don't get out of hand. However, Jim also called attention to a few passages that weren't clear enough or made no sense, like the fact that it took a whole week for the protagonist to realize that he had nothing to drink. That's something I will have to look out for in my next stories, which is one of the reasons everyone should have at least a few beta-readers, especially if they can't afford a professional editor.

Overall I'm very satisfied with the results and would recommend Jim Rion to anyone. He did make a couple of mistakes, but they were negligible as I still knew what he was getting at. Even an editor is allowed ot make a few mistakes here and there.

I'm going to fix Carcerus after I'm done with the next Mortaevum chapter, which shouldn't take too long now. But I will not post the revised edition on this blog! It will be published in an anthology when I've got enough short stories to fill it with.