February 17th- Writing Prompt

‘Design a scene where tranquillity is unnerving. What makes it eerie? Can you impart the feeling without using the words unnerving eerie or their synonyms?’

OK, gonna use GW2 RP character to try this. 

The silence was complete.

The forest was never quiet. There was always something making noise. Maguuma was alive in a very real sense. Even the chasms in the ground contained vines that were shifting and slithering.

Birds called out in the day, a myriad of rainbow colours. Wild boar and other rooting animals shuffled through the undergrowth. The peoples of the forest were a reflection of the environment. Despite the nightly assaults they found time to sing, dance, play.

The remaining Pact forces in the jungle worked tirelessly during lulls in the fighting to repair weapons and defences. Varicose swarms of pocket raptors brought down screaming prey. Tigers growled and roared to affirm territory and ward off any that might stray near them.

At night, the minions came. Gaining strength in the darkness. The jungle rang with battle cries and fleeing animals caught in the crossfire.

The dragon whispered…

It was all gone… silence, total and utter.

It was wrong.

The tall blue sylvari, hidden in the foliage, edged out of cover. It was night and she was swathed in black and green, hiding her glow from those that may target her. Her footfalls sounded over loud in the night. Her ears twitched and she froze, waiting for the inevitable attack that must come, yet it did not. Her eyes swept over the tree line then scanned the ground.

Nothing stirred, nothing moved. Senses strained. Nothing, oppressive and thick nothing. There should have been relief, but she felt only tension and stain. The jungle was holding it’s breath. Every creature waiting for a monumental- something to happen.

Her nerves began to fray. Pulled taut, they unravelled. The silence in her mind was the most disturbing. What was keeping the dragon so occupied?  The lack of sound pressed round her ears. She could hear her own sap pulsing through her body.

She bolted. Instinct born from hard lessons in Orr pushed her on. Her magic came in a rush, she jumped, blinked and even vanished utterly at times. Anything to get her back to camp as swiftly as possible.

Something was coming and she did not want to be in the open when it-

The roar that echoed through her mind made her fall to her knees. Momentum carried her on, skidding across moss and slamming into a tree.

She screamed, so did everything else around her. The noise thrummed through her, then it came. Wave after wave of wild, raw magic.

Barriers, so carefully constructed round the needy and gaping maw within her, shattered. She remained still, mouth open, now not even able to scream as the reservoir within her was filled and overflowed. She was found insensible and burbling nonsense just outside base camp.

It took a long time for her to come back to herself. Weeks. When she was told the dragon was dead she began to weep. The world was changed for her. The threat was gone but had been replaced by something far more personal, even vindictive. When would she stop having to pay for a mistake made four years past?

A gnarled hand, strong and twisted with age took hers and she looked up at the rugged bark of her dearheart. He had a patch over his eye. When had that happened? She would later learn that the patch was her fault also. More consequences from the death of the dragon.

“Do not cry,” he told her in his gruff tone. “While you live there is hope.” He sounded unsure, was he panicking at seeing her cry?  

Perhaps, but his words, as usual, held wisdom. She was too stubborn to give in. Though it was clear she could no longer serve the order as she once had. Was she useless now? What of her half remembered hunt? Her pride stung.

As if sensing her thoughts, she was abruptly pulled into a lingering hug.
He had never needed words to get his point across. She would endure, for his sake if for no other reason.    

Advertisements

Update- me

So…

Not posted up here in a while. Why? WORK ATE MY LIFE!

Not had much time to do anything but eat, sleep and work. Even my family have seen little of me. RP, writing and life in general have had to take a back seat.

However, I have lunch times, that golden 45 min of the day that I can close the door and do something not work related. I have even stopped eating lunch to squeeze out a few extra minutes so I can write.

Been picking at my novel for weeks, there is also another chapter of Indebted ready to go I just need to correct it.

I came to a decision on my novel. I am going to take the plunge and approach an agent… or twenty.

Am I scared? Bloody terrified. I write for fun not for the marketable value. To have a labour of love boiled down to cold hard economics… I can already visualise the multiple rejection letters. Still, something in me won’t drop the idea. Until I see ‘No, this is shit,’ in print then I guess it won’t go away.

I also took on another project for the experience. I am one of the writers on a Skyrim mod. Never written scripts before but I am getting used to the format. Recently had one of the quests I worked on voiced. I can’t quite describe it, hearing your words not only read but acted… I had to sit down for a moment, then get a strong cup of tea.

Four of the 11 main quests in so far and we are getting into the swing of things. I say “we” as there are three others like me and a lead writer who coordinates all our efforts and ensures we don’t screw up the lore or the characterisation.

Working with other writers is also very odd. I am so used to going my own way, getting directed and then have to edit and even delete something I have spent precious time putting together- GAH!

Keeps me humble however and it is very interesting getting almost instant feedback on an idea or proposed dialogue. It’s also very much a case of quality over quantity. Every sentence needs to advance the questline. Every word spoken has purpose.

So, that’s me for the time being. Busy busy.    

Lodge and Lenewe

She sighed as she cleaned the bar, the sharp smell of beeswax thick in her nostrils

She had been so happy these last few weeks. So… content. She should have known it would not last.

He had been so angry. She did not understand why. All she had wanted to do was protect him. He was important to her. Would he do any less for her?

She was growing used to the chill in his aura, it was part of him. Nothing to fear. She had felt accepted… he was affectionate… wanted nothing from her. He was part guide, part friend. He also needed her, craved contact with her just as she had with him.

So unlike the other in her life. He was… afraid… did not understand, or perhaps want to understand.

She was being patient with him. Had been patient, her heart ripped to shreds over him and gathered back together by a sheer act of will. It was not his fault. She had never blamed him. Still, she craved closeness and Len had filled that gap nicely while she waited for her love to comprehend his own feelings.

Now Len was angry and had possibly compromised himself.

Omni had been in the bar. She remembered what she had felt from him in the Silverwastes. The same chill.

Then the other she met in the Flagon. They all spoke to her, seemed so reasonable. Wanted to befriend her. It was if the universe was laughing at her. She would have put a blade through them without a second thought a year ago.

Her dream, was it becoming a reality? Would she become what she feared without having any say in the matter?

Another thought haunted her. The ones she had killed in the mother’s name. What if they had not needed to die?

She finished polishing the bar and went down into the “Safe room” in the cellar. The real reason she worked in this bar. Her former wardens and associates had scoffed to find her working here. Oh how the Valiant had fallen. She cared little. She did what she had to. Those that criticised did not understand. Those she now worked for had resources. Resources she needed to access. She was still learning but she did have a natural feel for the work. Even enjoyed it.

She availed herself of pen and paper and wrote her request down. She needed help, help to see what should have been hers from the beginning. Her employers must know someone who could help. She sealed it in a steel tube and fixed it to the leg of dove from the cage in the corner. Cooing to the little bird and stroking it’s head she moved out of the cellar and back into the now very clean bar. She released the dove from behind the Lodge, watching it flap away.

So, her future in the hands of strangers. She hoped they valued her enough to help. She shook off her bleak mood and headed down the path after locking the door. She could wallow in self-pity or do something productive.

She did not go home that night, or the next. She had someone to find and the Reach was a big city.

Anime review- Lovely Complex and added ramble

So, as a detox to Guilty Crown I again went against my tastes and stepped into the strange world of pure Shoujo. Again I am not one for cute and cuddly but I was recommended this one on twitter and gave it a whirl.

Story is simple enough. Tall girl Riza has love/hate relationship with her school pal, short boy Ootani. They start out hating each other, earning instant celebrity around the school as a real life comedy double act. Finally Riza matures enough to realise… she fancies the pants off Ootani. Enter a string of comic episodes that had me laughing so much I choked.

Anime humour does not always translate well, but this I found cringe-worthy but very funny. Riza, our freakishly tall heroine is a typically dippy shoujo girl, but brash and prickly rather than cute and demure so I did not mind her dizzy character. The object of her affections also falls into the same tired role. Ootani has a temper but is nice under it all. The show livens things up by throwing the odd serious bit in and this gives a nice balance to the comedy. At times I actually said “awwww” at the screen as Riza tries to awkwardly grapple with her hormones and her wholly inappropriate crush. I also squealed like a sixteen year old over certain sweet moments. I felt absolutely no guilt for enjoying the show. It is well written and takes time to build character.

The anime does not rush the plot either and takes the time necessary to cultivate the relationship between the oddball couple and throws in plenty of obstacles. Riza and Ootani are well matched and their friends constantly push for them to get together, just like in any other high school around the world. (Seriously why do people do that? Never match make people it can all go so very wrong!)

So, a nice 24 ep light relief from the blood and guts, but it was not really anything deeper. 3/5.

The reason I unashamedly enjoyed something so far removed from my taste is because it struck a chord with me. OK, I was not a cry baby as a teen. I would not be caught dead crying at school… the rest of the story however is fairly close to my own experience.

I was Riza once and watching Lovely Complex brought it all back. So I am going to tell you a story, about me and how life can imitate anime . (Clichés are clichés for a reason.) Yes this is self-indulgent but its good practice to write about yourself instead of fictional characters all the time. I am going to use a little creative license to shorten things and avoid personal details. Apart from that the story is mostly true and the anime inspired me to write this tonight. Besides, this is my blog, if you don’t like it then click the little X and be gone.

You may know that there is a step between school and university in England and Wales (not so much in Scotland.) It’s called 6th form. Most large schools have a 6th form or separate college entirely for the A level students. These are the exams you need to get into university. It’s an intense two years of study. You have to be incredibly bright to take more than 3 subjects over the two years.

So, a large group of young adults all under pressure and yet at that age pupils are considered responsible enough to have their own common room to hang out in between classes. Some schools even give you the freedom to drop in and out of school between classes. It’s an interesting period of any teenagers life and it was no different for me.

I was a transfer student! (How cliché can we get people!) I’d already done a term in a much smaller school in the back of beyond. Suddenly I was in a much larger school and even had to change a subject which meant I had some serious catching up to do. On day one my fellow pupils introduced themselves to the strange country bumpkin that was now among them. (We are British we do that sort of thing. I met 150 people that day, some of which I never spoke to again in the two years I was there.)

I met my version of Ootani that day. He was short, no higher than my shoulder, had untidy short dark hair, dark eyes that were far too knowing and a cocky grin. I hated him on sight. I hid my dislike quite well, for me. I was not the most even tempered girl back then and I was well out of my comfort zone. Also, my fragile teenaged heart was bruised from an attachment at my old school, but that is a story for another time.

Anyway, it was a week before me and my Ootani locked horns. I was slaving over my first history essay. No word processing allowed back then people. 1500 words on Stalin’s rise to power. I had never written a history essay before and I had 4 days. I was on my third draft and lost in concentration, studiously ignoring some of my peers dancing on the tables to Itchycoo Park… (we were going through a retro phase on the CD player. It was either that or the starwars soundtrack.)

A shadow fell over my work.

“Bloody hell your handwriting is awful Welsh girl,” droned a voice in a mocking parody of my accent.

I looked up to see the cocky grin I had not liked last week. He had just made me lose my place among the purges damit!

I kicked him in the shin… hard… He yelped, clearly not expecting my reaction. We glowered at each other for a moment until I politely told him to piss off.

Things fell into a pattern after that. He would pick a fight, I would react with my legendary Celtic temper. We would practically be in each other’s faces, snarling at each other. ( Although I had to bend down a bit to achieve this.) Oh I hated him.

Yep I was far too stupid to realise I fancied the pants off him, just like Riza.

Also, just like the anime we became a source of entertainment for the whole 6th form. People would goad us into an argument and watch the sparks fly while they drank coffee and placed bets on who would win.

My new so called friends tried to shove us together, using very obvious strategies to get us to notice what was blindingly clear to them.

“Don’t you think he was sweet helping you with your history homework?”

“He only did that because I bribed him! I have to buy his coffee all week as compensation!”

“Don’t you think she has a lovely accent?”

“Her? She cackles when she laughs, sounds like an old woman.”

“I heard that you prick!”

“Yeah? I don’t care if you did!”

*Slagging match across the room …*

This went on for months and I actually looked forward to the arguments. I got a little thrill out of them that became addictive and the volatility between us increased. The big arguments also seemed to coincide to when either of us showed interest in anyone else. Little petite blonde eyes him up at a party.  He drove her home after. Monumental name calling by me on Monday. Me dancing with a lovely Irish lad on Saturday.  Monday he wiped chalk dust on my new jumper.

Of course, I was too dense to add all this up at the time, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Two months before final exams things finally came to a head. I was wandering up the corridor to the common room and I heard my name called. Without thinking I turned. My face was slavered in wet warm cloth. I pulled it off my face and realised it was a towel. The perpetrator was running up the corridor in his gym shorts and shirt laughing like the idiot he was. I frowned; it was not much of a prank. That was when I realised that the towel was soaked in his sweat, not water… I was half disgusted half impressed he would go that far… my mascara and black lipstick were now smudged to hell and I smelt of boy. (It was the 90’s don’t judge the make-up. I went through a mild grunge phase. I recovered I’m pleased to say.)

I ran after the little bugger swearing revenge. He was on the tennis team, so he was much faster than I was but he could only go so far.  I remember people laughing as I passed them, they all knew who I was after. Tracked the swine down to an empty biology classroom. Threw the towel back at him and made all sorts of threats of bodily harm. He let me rant for a bit then finally shrugging and glared at me with those cursed molten chocolate eyes…

“Oh come on,” he said as if talking to a child. “You love me really.”

That brought me up short. I knew he was being sarcastic but it made me think… what was I covering up with all this bravado?

I got angry. This was not fair; this was not the way things were supposed to be between us. We could not hold a conversation without insults, but I went out and got him cold meds so he could take his maths test last month without fainting of a fever. He was the one who stayed with me and talked me down when I had an asthma attack last year, but he told me on a daily basis that I was an idiot. I was comfortable with that. We could be nice, but preferred to be nasty. He was not allowed to see through the act. He was not allowed to change the rules! They had served us well for nearly two years why change now?

I decided to be cruel. In my revenge I went for total humiliation. Next time he picked on me in the common room and got in my face I did not just shove him away, my normal response… I used the skills only a welsh farm girl picks up. I got the little swine in a head lock as if I was about to shear the fleece off him and watched him struggle. He gave up fighting me quickly and retaliated by saying he did not fight girls and I was too freakishly tall to argue with anyway. I remember the smug grin that crossed my face.

I kissed him… right there in full view of the entire sixth form.

*shudder*

You’ve never seen a boy more shocked in all your life. I seriously thought he was going to cry! This was not right! He was supposed to be angry not look as if I’d ripped his heart out and stomped on it! With reflection I suppose I knew then that I had over stepped the mark, I flounced away apparently proud of myself. The guilt hit me about five minutes later. I knew I should apologise… I had embarrassed him… but I couldn’t. Pride would not let me. I wanted to humiliate him and I had. One sloppy kiss and a headlock equated to a sweaty towel in the face and smudged make-up right? Somehow I think perhaps it didn’t.

A month later we could laugh about it, but relations were strained. We did not even argue anymore. He wrote in my leaving book that it was two years he would never forget and a kiss he would never forget… right next to a picture of a sheep.

That was it. He went off to some English uni I can’t recall the name of and I went north 600 miles to bonny Scotland and have never left.

So, sad pathetic story. Well I actually don’t see it that way. I learnt a lot about myself from my relationship with my own Ootani. I realised I was not a nice person. I covered up my insecurities with anger and bluster. I also realised I did not like myself very much at that point in my life and that was something I needed to change. So I did just that.

I should thank my 6th form nemesis if I ever see him again. He made me take a good look at who I was and made me decide who I wanted to be. I would probably stamp on his toes too, just for old times’ sake. XD.

So off I went to university to start a new chapter of my life with a new found perspective.

In my first year I met a really freakishly tall Scottish lad with a pretty face and copper hair… the rest, as they say, is history 😉