In Time: Challenged

This picks up where Pride left off with Viola in Obediah’s care.

“There’s time for that later.” He pushed her in front of him, this time supporting her enough that she could maneuver across the deck without tripping. He pushed her roughly down a set of steps, then pushed her into a cell and slide the door closed before she could protest. A resounding click and the cell door was locked. Obediah licked the key as Viola watched. “Now, if you will come closer to the bars, I will untie you. There’s nowhere for you to go and you’ll have to attend to yourself.”

“Why don’t you come inside and untie me?” She challenged again. Obediah just laughed.

“It’s your choice, lassie. You can come closer and I’ll undo your knots, or you can stay in the cell as you are.” He lured at Viola. She did not like her choices, but Jonas had not been able to loosen her knots so she could break free. She moved carefully towards the bars of the cell, turning her back to Obediah at the last minute. Just as she expected, he took liberties with her, touching her body in places he should not, just because he could. When the knots had been loosened she gave a mighty shiver and the rope fell loose. She spun around swiftly and brought her arm up, her hand catching Obediah’s chin in her palm. She carefully let enough anger consume her so the adrenaline would rise up—not enough to kill him, but enough to scare him. She squeezed until his fat lips took on the appearance of a fish’s mouth and squeezed some more. She used her other to grab his genitalia and gave it a good squeeze. He grunted, his face turned purple as she squeezed him harder. He tried to pull his head away, but only succeeded in wounding himself with her nail.

“Now it’s your choice, captain. Whatever schemes you have in your head that involve me best be forgotten. If you so much as touch me again,” she pulled her nose to his and looked deep into his telescopic eye, “you will not live to see the moon rise.” She curled her lips back slightly, just enough for him to see her extended eyeteeth. Satisfaction filled her when she saw the tremble in his eyes. She squeezed him once more and pinched her fingers together as she released his chin, causing him to smash his face against the bar. She moved away from the bars with such speed, Obediah could do nothing but swallow.

Obediah broke the spell she was casting over him and spit into her cell. “I knew there was something hooky about this when he lost. A vampire! Bah! It will take more than a vampire to defeat me, but the risk to my crew is too great. All I want is the magnet. Give me that, and I will set you free.”

She reached into her pocket and pulled the magnet out. She looked at it carefully, turning it over and over, wondering what was so important about it that men were dying over it. Her eyes roamed to Obediah’s again. She saw something in them she could not trust. She moved the magnet to another hand and watched as his metal fingers moved in the same direction. She moved it back to the original hand and watched as, again, his metal fingers followed the magnet. She raised it out between her thumb and index finger, extended her arm, and pointed it towards Obediah. Her eyes never left his and she saw another tremble in them, and realized this time it was fear. Viola took two steps forward, still remaining out of Obediah’s reach. His steel fingers stretched their full length and she saw his normal hand rise to his metal wrist and try to force it down. Her lips curved deviously. Her eyes squinted together as she turned her head, taking in the scene as fully as she could. He wanted this magnet, yet he is afraid of it.

“Interesting,” she said, dropping her arm and putting the magnet back in her pocket. Immediately, Obediah seemed to gain control of his metal hand. “Very interesting, indeed.” She paused and made as if to sit, but turned back to him at the last moment. “No, I think I’ll keep the magnet, but you will still set me free.”

The captain looked her incredulously. “Haha.” There was no trace of the fear he had felt only moments before. “Why would I do that? You are twice as valuable with the magnet. You’ll fetch me a pretty penny at the auction.” A look of mock-pity replaced his laughter and all joviality left his face. “No, lass. There will be no freedom for you. Not for a very long time.”

A small, wiry crewman came flying down the steps. “Captain, captain! You must come quickly!” his breathless words startled Obediah.

“I will be there in just a moment, Ollie.” Anger laced his voiced.

“Captain, my apologies, but it can’t wait. You must come now!”

Obediah grumbled as he followed Ollie to the deck. His entire crew stood there frozen, facing the starboard side looking at something in the distance. “What is it?” His telescope extended from his eye socket and he looked in the direction his crew faced. In the distance was an airship and it was closing distance fast. He could see smoke coming from the sides and knew they were preparing for battle.

“Man your positions!” Obediah yelled, spurning his crew into action. “Quickly, quickly. Battle is upon us!”

Viola heard the shouts from the deck and raced to the porthole in her cell. Small enough for only her head to fit, her view of the outside was dimmed. She saw they were airborne, but other than a few puffy, white clouds and the light blue sky, there was nothing to see. Her fingers twisted around the black fabric bracelet in her pocket. She had learned quickly how to control the demon flowing through her blood, though unleashing it seemed to come far too easy. If this be friend pursuing them, it would be wiser to put the bracelet on. If it be foe, more specifically, Father Lee, she would rather not. What do I do? Do I let the beast go or do I contain it? How many more people will it destroy if I let it take over? Will I get myself back when it’s over or will I forever be changed? Will I be able to resist it next time if I let it go this time? What do I do? I need answers! Again the black face rose to her memory. Viola knew this woman was responsible for the changes made in her body, yet she held no ill will towards her for it. She wished that this woman could answer her questions. She had no idea where to get answers from. Up to this point, decisions had been made for her. Father Lee had dictated what she would do, when she would do it, and even her imprisonment within this ship had been his decision, whether it was direct or indirect. Now, faced with the opportunity to make her own decision, she did not know what to do.

“Ahoy! All hands on deck!” Obediah shouted. “To the stern, to the stern!”

Her cell was stern-side. She ran to the window again, clamoring to see what was out there. The helm of another airborne ship came into view, its black skull and crossbones flag revealing piracy. She pressed her face to the window hoping to see more. It was The Painted Mary!

To be continued…

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VW-InMonPromoI’m linking this up with Inspiration Monday, under the theme “Confined to Quarters.” She may not be in “quarters” but she’s definitely confined  to a small space.

As always, I’m craving feedback, so won’t you please share your thoughts in a comment?

Thanks for stopping in!

In Time: Pride Goes Before a Fall

This continues where Undefeated left off…

“It was never a choice, Jonas. I would have taken her one way or another. You lived to see another day. Wise decision.”

Viola’s eyes pleaded with Jonas, but he just shrugged his shoulders and remained standing in the same spot watching them as they flew away. Another ship, dark and forbidding looking, loomed into sight. It was docked not far from The Painted Mary. A cloud of dust surrounded this ship even as it remained still. Obediah landed smoothly on the deck and set Viola down.

“Don’t even think about, lassie,” he said. His telescopic eye slid out from his socket until it was full length. He looked out over the deck in the direction they had just come from. “What a fool. He still hasn’t moved. I expected more from Jonas.” The spyglass retracted as he turned back to Viola once more. “Well, that’s that, lass. We now must wait.” He picked her up roughly and pushed her forward, not caring that her legs were secured in rope. She fell to the deck and he laughed. “So clumsy! And you thought you could best me?”

Venom flung from Viola’s eyes. “Patience is a virtue,” she hissed.

“Oh, I agree!” He laughed heartily as he picked her up. “Patience landed me YOU! Now, let’s see that magnet.” The cold metal of his steel hand poked through the rope, groping her body parts in search of whatever he could find.

“I daresay Father Lee would approve,” she spat. She tried to wriggle out of his grasp.

“Ah, but Father Lee is not here now, is he? And that fool captain believed every word. Father Lee is not coming. He gambled with the wrong pirate and lost. You, and that magnet, are my payment. I intend to make full use of both.”

“You would be unwise to untie me.”

“No doubt. However, you must be warned that Captain Obediah Jeremiah always, always gets what he wants.” He touched his hand to his pelvis and grabbed his genitalia. “I may be filled with metal, but I assure you that this is all man, and well-endowed at that. You shall see for yourself soon enough.”

Viola spat again with as much force as she could muster. “You would be wise not to do that.”

“Haha! And what are you going to do about it? When I’m through with you, my crew won’t even want you!” He shook her gruffly.

“Underestimating me will be your folly.” She smiled wickedly, bearing the tiniest bit of fang. “You shall see for yourself soon enough.”

“It will take more than your feminine wiles and smart talk to defeat me, lass. Men mightier than you have tried and failed. What makes you think you are better than the king’s men and burly, old sea cronies?”

“Untie me and find out.” Viola challenged.

To be continued…

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I’m linking up with #FridayFlash this week.

I’d really appreciate your feedback. This is straight from the Scrivener, and 100% unedited so any suggestions you have to make it 200% better, feel free to share in a comment.

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in Time: Let There Be Pirates

I’ve slowly been plugging away at NaNo this year. After 3 years of victory, I’m not convinced that I will actually meet the 50K by Sunday at this point. I’m okay with that, however, as the story I’m working on has developed and fleshed itself out, and even brought in a couple of new characters. Once upon a time, before I created The Elven Games, the most popular story on my blog was this one. I chose to complete this story for NaNo, because Viola deserves an ending. You won’t find the Time Keeper in this segment, as this takes place after he is thrown from the train, however, over the next few days, as I share a little more, you will meet interesting new characters. Please, share your thoughts in the comments because when the story is finished being written, I will have to begin editing and I really want to know what works.

Click image for source

Red swam before Viola’s eyes and she became afraid. Her fury was trying to take over, and if she let it, none would be left alive on the airship. She also feared what would become of her if she gave in to the rage. The circumstances justified her rage, however, so she let it stew, and brew, until she learned to control it. Wicked thirst overpowered the rage too often, however, and she grew discouraged. The airship needed to touch the ground so she could unleash what was eating her inside. The captain, Jonas Dedlock, came by often enough to taunt her, always checking her ropes to ensure there would be no escape.

If only he really knew what I am, she thought, he would be afraid, very afraid. His face pirouetted through her mind. His neck hung at an odd angle and blood flowed freely from two punctures on his jugular. She shivered the image away. Such power, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why they chose me! The dark skinned woman’s face floated in front of Viola’s eyes. She still did not understand who this woman was or why she was important. She sensed the woman was a good, yet evil, person and her warnings should be taken seriously. She warned against Father Lee, but Viola had no choice. She felt less trapped here on the airship than she had with Father Lee. The boiling of her vampyric blood within her gave her a sense of more freedom than Father Lee had. Father Lee would pay. She knew not when or how, only that he would, and by her hand. She turned her rage toward Father Lee and took pity on the air pirates. Perhaps, like she, they were only pawns doing Father Lee’s bidding as well.

“Aye, lass. How you be?” The captain poked his head down the stairs, a strange smile glistening on his scruffy surface. Viola noticed his dimples for the first time. “Twon’t be much longer before we land.” The rest of his body emerged behind his head. He stepped close enough she could smell the rum on his breath. An instinctive snarl curled her lips, but she fought it and smiled instead.

“I’m okay. I would be better if I were untied.”

“Nay. I can’t do that. I was warned what would happen if we let you roam the ship loose.” He put a dirty finger to her lips and traced them. His own lips curled into a snarl. “Such beauty wasted.” His hands disappeared behind her back and she felt him tighten the knots securing her.

“I won’t hurt anyone. It’s not you that I have a taste for.”

His soft brown eyes sparkled for a moment. “Never trust a woman with fire in her eyes, I tell my men all the time. What kind of captain would I be if I didn’t follow my own advice, hmm?” He leaned in close again and traced her cheek this time. She could smell the spice of his natural musk. Gold rimmed goggles decorated his forehead, and his chestnut brown curls fell over the sides of the gold headband that secured them. A small, thin strap of leather held his hair off his shoulders. The curls that framed his face as a result revealed a sensitivity his gruffness tried to hide. He lifted his face slightly and buried his nose in her hair. He was so close his saber poked her shin and she could feel the outline of his pistol baldric against her back. He inhaled deeply before he stepped away.

“Perhaps in another lifetime,” he said, releasing the lock of her hair he discovered in his fingers, “your bewitching beauty would be my demise, but today, you belong to the great Desmond Lee, whom, as much as I despise, I dare not cross. My apologies, lass, but bound you will remain– for your safety as well as ours.” Viola let her eyes roam up and down his body, slowly taking in as much of his appearance as she could. Strange black markings decorated the arm not hidden under an arm bracer and disappeared under the lace-edged sleeve of his white linen shirt, which revealed a few wisps of brown curls peeking out from the large half-moon that had been left untied on his chest. Her fingers itched with the desire to caress and twirl them. Heat rose to her cheeks and she dropped her eyes to the skull and crossbones that topped his black cavalier boots.

“Never have I seen such a pirate as you,” she whispered, “as handsome and dashing as he is deadly. Tell me, what hold does Father Lee have on you that you would kill for him?”

“Such is the life of a pirate; we are mercenaries for hire. We live for the gold and the violence. We care not who pays as long as we get paid.” He shook his head. Whatever his history was, he did not want to share. He leaned in close once more, just close enough that she could smell his blood pumping through his jugular, but not close enough for her to bite, not that she wanted to anymore. “Beautiful women,” he whispered, “come with price tags of their own.”

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Thanks for stopping by and reading. Writing is only half as fun without an audience so I thank you.

Please, please share your thoughts as the story progresses, good or bad. It will make the editing process much easier.

The Elven Games 14

If this is your first time reading this story, you can start here. This continues from yesterday’s installment….

Art by Zindy Zone (click image to go to artist’s page)

Tribba stood and raised her arms over her head. Ignoring the high grass tickling her nose, she spun in a joyful circle as the butterflies flew in and landed on her. She laughed in delight, feeling like a child again in a well-tended field as butterflies every color of the rainbow flocked around her. She had danced then, too, knowing they were a gift from the fairies who watched over her despite being taken in by a Dwarven couple. Her new parents looked on as she laughed before turning to greet the visitor slowly making his way up the path to their simple, square house. Her childhood became happy once more, though she never forgot the fairies that saved her, nor the daily dance with the butterflies she enjoyed until she came of age. She laughed heartier when she noticed fairies had come out of hiding and joined her. It took her a moment to realize they did not have the bejeweled colors she was accustomed to, but rather their wings were colored like the butterflies she had just been dancing with. She stopped spinning and gasped.

“I thought butterfly fairies were only legend!” she said to the small red and black one hovering in front of her.

“We are!” the little fairy returned. She came closer and kissed Tribba on the cheek. Tribba closed her eyes and let the rush of a thousand feathers tickle her nerves from her cheek all the way to her toes. A giggle burst from her throat. She tried to catch it, but it floated on the wind and pinged off each fairy. A great tittering filled the air and Tribba blushed.

Another fairy flew in and caressed Tribba’s rosy cheek. “We like you. We will help you,” she said. She flittered over Tribba’s fingers. “Do you have a garden?”

“Yes, I do,” Tribba answered.

“Do you have blue bonnets and purple irises in your garden?” She asked.

Another voice piped in behind her. “And lilacs and roses, too?”

Tribba laughed. “I do. I have lots of flowers!”

The three fairies joined hands. “Take us there!” They said in unison. “Take us there!”

“I would love to!” Tribba agreed and headed towards the woods with the fairies following behind her. A scowl soon marred her complexion and she stopped just short of the treeline. “Is it safe for you to come to my garden?”

Tinkling filled the air. They tucked their legs in and buried their chins to their chests and flit around Tribba. “What do you see, dear Tribba?” They asked.

“I see butterflies,” she answered with delight.

“No one can see us but you. We are safe and will continue to be safe as long as you need us. Hurry up all ready! We want to see your garden!”

A wide smile replaced the scowl on Tribba’s face. She nodded and continued making her way out of the woods. As she passed through her back gate, the fairies gasped as one.

“Here?” They sang.

“Yes,” Tribba said.

“It’s wonderful,” they said with awe in their voices. They fluttered away and danced with the flowers looking like nothing more than regular butterflies as they went. Larss opened the back door and sighed in relief when he saw Tribba standing there.

“Tribba, darling, I am so glad to see you. I was beginning to get worried!” he said. Edgar appeared behind him, worry written in the lines on his forehead.

“Oh, frosh, Larss! Why did you not tell him? Look how the worry ages him!” Tribba moved to Edgar’s side and began fretting over him. Edgar pulled her hands away and clicked his tongue.

“Tribba, stop! Larss did tell me. It is not his fault that I worry. My, you are such the mother hen!” Edgar ended with a chuckle as Tribba smacked his hands away from hers.

“And you, sir, should be in bed! You have a game to play tomorrow!” She leaned over for a kiss from Larss as she pushed Edgar into the house. The stew she had started earlier filled the house with the warm smells of coriander and sage. Her stomach growled in appreciation.

“Come,” she called to the men, “Let us eat. Tomorrow will be here with a swiftness!”

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I always appreciate and welcome honest feedback. Please share your thoughts in a comment!

I’m so excited to start writing the games! I hope you are as excited as I am.

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In Time: Untimely Demise

This is another segment of my WIP, In Time. It picks up where Swing Life Away  left off.

A single shot was fired and Viola Grace slumped to the ground.

“It doesn’t have to be like this,” she whispered,  the pleading in her eyes disappearing behind the lids as they closed.

The Time Keeper caught Viola in his arms. His eyes caught the villain who’d fired the shot hovering fifty feet in the distance. It was the man with the metal face again. This time The Time Keeper could smell the evil coursing through his lethal veins. He laid Viola gently on the ground and stood his full height. His hand reached up and pulled his cowboy hat down so the shade would cover his eyes. He’d had enough trouble out of this guy, and he was ready for more. With one hand on his holster, he stepped forward, blocking Viola from the man’s path.

Their eyes met and challenged each other. Roderick pulled his second pistol from its holster, aiming them both at the Time Keeper. “I won’t be so nice this time, Old Man, if you don’t get out of my way,” he said.

“Out of your way? This is my land. None shall pass without my saying so.”

Roderick released the hinge that kept the safeties intact. “Look, I really mean you no harm, but if you don’t move, I’ll have no choice but to kill you. What happens to time when you die?” The Time Keeper remained where he was, amused as Roderick’s eyes lowered, becoming barely noticeable slits on his face. His eyes followed Roderick’s as they found Viola’s discarded pendant.  His eyes never left Roderick’s face as he bent down and scooped it up, letting the wind swing it as Viola had done only moment ago. He caught the snarl that curled Roderick’s lower lip in response to his actions.

“This is my land. None shall pass without my saying so,” the Time Keeper repeated.

“And yet, in a flash of light and shake of hand, I did exactly that last time I was here.” Roderick turned his face just enough for the sun to catch on the metal of his cheek. The Time Keeper laughed.

“Your attempts to blind me have failed. I see more than I have ever seen before.” The Time Keeper raised his pistol, preparing to fire. Roderick raised his in return. “I am prepared to die to keep you from taking what you need.”

Roderick’s wicked smile exposed more of the metal on his face as he fired. The Time Keeper fired in retaliation. Both men slumped, the Time Keeper taking to the ground with one knee. More shots fired. Some went wild, missing both men, but more made contact. They both collapsed to the ground as bullets entered their bodies. The gunfight continued in a swirl of dust until the Time Keeper lay still on the ground, a puddle forming beneath him.

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For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Michael gave me this prompt: “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” – Samuel Johnson.

I gave Eric Storch this prompt: Pitter patter, / Lightning spree / People of the mist / I summon thee!

The 3 Word Wednesday challenge this week was: hinge, lethal, need.

I welcome and appreciate constructive criticism. Please share your thoughts and reactions in a comment.

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