Thursday’s blog post is called Word Works, though I considered other names for it that may be more clearly descriptive.
I considered “First Fifteen” because the exercise I share is me starting a flash-fiction story and typing on it for 15 minutes.
I considered “Random Work” because the exercise is generally based on random prompts from the internet.
So, for today I went to seventh sanctum’s website, hit the random generator a couple times, then generated a character concept from their quick character generator.
Finally, I picked two genres to blend and named my main character as well as a couple other terms. I also decided to avoid guns and swords as operative weapons because of the direction my prompts took me and picked a replacement term for that as well.
What I generated today didn’t figure much into the story, but I used them as jumping off points. This is not a challenge to write anything in particular, not even based on the prompts I got.
That said, my pre-notes sheet looked more or less like this before writing:
Random Elements: HowlSting = Magical School House, Temple Terrier = Dogbreed. Character: A pious, heroic lawman.
World type/genre: Fantasy with western flavor.
-Magekeeper = Lawman
-Lanteb = Protagonist Name
-Oathwarpers = Not gun or sword (weapon)
Finally, I noted I wanted to include another character’s name. Then, I began.
When I started writing I used cold turkey writer pro, a nice little program that blocked access to everything else for 15 minutes. I got about 600 words, which is a lot for me in 15 minutes, maybe even a personal best. Here they are, rough as anything, if you’re curious.
Magekeeper Lanteb walked the old battle line, heading west. He carried his oathwarper at his hip and a sword on his back. His outer coat shimmered with reflected heat from the scorching sun as he entered the desert. Here the troops once fought their war. Here the bones of countless lives, both mage and mortal, lay buried beneath the sand. No animals would approach the line after what happened there.
Hard to believe it had been fifty years and not five. Derelict structures stood as obelisks of magical combat. Each one, its black side scarred with warp strains and marked by cuts and cracks looked as ancient as any structure know to humans, but Lanteb knew better.
Here the war had left its mark the surest. No life would last here for long. A nagging doubt and fear crawled into his mind as he turned to cross the line. On one side, the nation of Catwan ruled. On the other, the old enemies reigned. Neither human nor animal, these things could be deadly as any warp blast even unarmed. Yet, here they had perished surely as their human foes. The strike must have been terrifying to witness from a distance. No one could report from the midst of the fray, on what the soldiers had seen, felt, thought before the end.
Lanteb stepped over the line and into the territory of devils. His steps kicked up dust as he walked further into the realm of unknowable evil. Even mages, real mages, not magekeepers, would not stray here, lest their spirits be ripped from them by the infernal inhabitants of this cursed place. A magekeeper might be as wary as Lanteb, bedecked in charms and talismans to hide his presence. A true mage knew better, Lanteb thought. A true mage never would have come to this place.
He pressed forward over dust and earth until he reached a rise perhaps a mile and a half from the line. There, he set down the bag he carried and set to work unpacking the devices and monitoring enchantments constructed by Miria. No, a mage would never cross the line, and no other mage would have thought to help Lanteb in his mission to scout the region of devils.
He wished for a moment, Miria had seen fit to deny him aid. After all, without the mechanical spells she had devised he would be safe walking some other path, some other place. She made this possible, and possibly doomed him as as result.
He saw no choice, given the opportunity. His fault, he acknowledged inwardly. No blame remained for Miria.
Lanteb finished with the compass, the sensor spells, and the alarm enchantments. He positioned the emitter rod, then plunged it into a spot of soft earth so it stood like a small flagpole without colors to fly. Lanteb collected the pack, then turned and started toward the line.
Shadows followed him, creeping and sliding between rocks. He quickened his pace with only a glance behind. The fear of devils swirled in his mind, fluid in this heat, despite the icy chill it gave him.
Less than a quarter mile to the line, they caught up with him. Lanteb drew his oathkeeper in a smooth motion, taking time. He aimed at the first of the shapes materializing from the shadowside of the desert. The devil loomed, claws extending. Breath of pure heat flared, feeling like dead wind on Lanteb’s face.
His impulse triggered the oathwarper. Venomous light split the demon into fragments. Spirals of energy dispersed into the air overhead.
Lanteb ran for the line.