Thursday, February 24, 2005


Just to let you know, the now unamed dragon story has reach 24 pages long in the word file backup, and at 11,000 odd words is just over a fifth of the way to being classified as a short novel. It's quite firmly out of "short story" and into "Novella" though. I'm considering it's future, but like most novels originally published serially, that most likely looks like so much revision it will be hard to recognize (see the magazine version of "Ender's game").
In the mean time, I've been catching up on some much needed backstory, some of which required cursory amounts of actual research. I'm as amazed as you are.

In other news, I'm considering a career as a professional Dramaterg.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Chapter 17: The Big Decision

I looked blankly at Quentin, then at Teresa. I guess I was sort of in shock; I was still getting around being part of the MLF, and now I was supposed to be their leader or something? It was a lot to take in.
Teresa didn't seem to get this; in fact it seemed like she was in a bit of a hurry to bring me up to speed. She started talking, though I wasn't really tuned in completely.
"After your mother was captured," she said, "Thadius took control of the NA and her place as president of the council was taken by the leader of the New England faction, a man named Fintan O'Connell. Fintan doesn't think very highly of the Brimmers, and he's trying to have the charter modified to keep you from coming back into power. He has some support, but not enough - too many of the council members have personal ties to the Brimmers. But the O'Connells are the second most powerful family in the order, and -"
Quentin cut in again. "Basically," he said, "All thou needst to know is that thou art probably the rightful leader of the MLF, but thou art not likely to be reinstated anytime soon. Just the same, even Fintan can't deny that we need people - especially Draconics. So Thadius cut a deal with him - we'll continue to extend protection to thee, in the form of at least one operative at all times, until thou completest thy training. Since no other silvers are available, Teresa, being a gold and the closest available, will serve as thy mentor,"
"Wait a minute," I answered, still somewhat lost, "Training for what?"
"To go Draconic, of course," answered Teresa. She seemed surprised I'd had to ask the question.
"Hold on," I said. I was taken aback by all this. "Who said anything about me turning Draconic?"
They were both silent for a moment.
"Well," began Teresa, "We'd just assumed, I mean, the heir to the Brimmer dynasty and all, who wouldn't want -"
I stopped her.
"Look," I said, "I don't want to be heir to anything! Until a week ago, I didn't even know I was Draconic, much less their king or something. All I want is to live a normal life not being attacked by vampires. Now, as it is, I haven't done anything illegal. I feel for you guys, but I don't want to subject myself to that sort of thing,"
Another stunned silence. This time it was Quentin who jumped in.
"I can't believe mine ears," he began, indignantly. "Skyler Woods Brimmer, not wanting to fight for the disenfranchised? Not wanting to stand up for those with no voice? That doesn't sound like a Silver Dragon at all. Perhaps a red or a green could show such cowardice, but not a Silver. Thy Grandfather must be rolling over in his grave with shame,"
"I'm sorry," I said, "Really, I am, but you'll just have to find a new savior. At least until I'm out of high school. What about my sister? She's got to have the same genes I do"
"Catherine has already agreed to join the NA in a few years," answered Teresa, matter-of-factly.
This surprised me. Probably more than anything else I'd heard that night. Catherine was a pacifist. Not declared or anything, but she just a generally peaceful, level-headed manner. She'd never agree to go fight anyone.
"Look," continued Teresa, "You don't really have much of a choice. The Vampires are after you, and their sphere of influence extends over most of the world. If you don't agree to be trained, we can't have someone keep protecting you, which means we leave you to fend for yourself. So if you don't fancy moving to the Netherlands or Southern Asia, I'd accept. Since you're going to have the bad parts of being a Draconic anyway, you might as well take the good. Besides," she added, "Don't you want to help us rescue your mother?"
I thought about this for a few minutes, and realized it was true. There was no escaping it now. I could learn how to defend myself, or be killed. And getting to meet my mother would be good too. I had so much to ask her...
"Alright," I said. "I'm in. When do we start?"

A note about titles

You may have noticed the latest chapters have not said "Revival" - this is because it is no longer the title. It may become the title of part two. Part one, as of now, is title-less.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Chapter 16: Once Upon a Time

"As thou knowest," Quentin began, "Thousands of years ago the Necromancer and his forces of darkness wiped the elves from the earth. Towards the end of this purge, some of the remaining elves sought refuge across the sea. Piling into hastily put together ships with almost no means of navigation, they set off for the New World. Almost none of these elvish explorers made it across the sea, and those who did had perished long before humans started crossing the ocean. But at least one passenger did survive - a silver dragon egg, quite possibly the last of it's kind.
Of course, there were no dragons native to North America, so this one was quite alone. He eventually settled in the Appalatian mountains. As European settlers began to arrive, he was at first quite friendly to him, as they reminded him of the elves he had known as a wyrmling. But the humans didn't return his kindness. They had heard stories of the dragons of the old world eating young maidens and burning villages. So they feared him and avoided him where possible.'
"On one side of the mountain lived a tribe of natives. They lived far enough away they had little contact with the dragon, but they often saw him flying above them. They began to call him the Skylord.
"The trees on the other side of the mountain were prone to occasional forest fires - these were neccesary to help the trees grow and they were a natural part of the ecosystem. But the settlers immediately assumed they were caused by the dragon, and began to call him the Woods-Burner.
"The dragon grew and developed, living a life of solitude, cut off from his kin. Then the dragon hunters came. Dragons were nearly extinct in the old world by then, and thousands of disenfranchised dragon hunters, having no quarry, came to America, hearing rumors of new bounties there. One of them nearly caught the dragon, and he decided he needed to hide. He took human form and chose as a human name a clever permutation of the only two names he'd ever been known by - Skyler Woods Brimmer.
"Eventually Skyler had a son. some time later he went off to war, where he apparenlty died. His son, however, Skyler Woods Brimmer Jr. , survived. He moved to the city of St. Louis, at the time one of the largest in the nation, and it was there that he began developing his powers. Being fully half dragon, it took him a lot less work to develop them than it does draconics these days. As he got older it became apparent to him that half-dragons were not the most popular people, and he soon learned to keep his powers secret. He still used them though - whenever he saw someone being oppressed or taken advantage of, he would transform, save them, and turn back into that harmless street man. Slowly, stories of this urban reptilian superhero started to circulate. Other Americans with dragon blood, rare at the time, began to flock to St. Louis in hopes of learning more about this man. It was there, in 1891, that the MLF, or Magical Liberation Front, was founded, by a collection of disgruntled draconics, elvishes, and other arcane relics, supported by quite a few nonmagical workers, mostly Chinese immigrants. The Chinese, as you know, revere dragons, and were somewhat upset at how draconics were being treated by the government, especially after the Draconic Registration Act of 1901.
Skyler Woods Brimmer was installed as its first president. And, until the eighties, a Skyler Woods Brimmer headed the organization for it's entire existence, accept for a brief period between III and IV. About that time the MLF absorbed HOUND - the Holy Order of UNdead Defenders. A group of Vampire hunters, HOUND had become aware that the chief Justice of the supreme court had been bitten by a vampire,and feared they would use this to gain control of the government. During World War II, the employment of dark magic by the Japanese inspired Americans to even greater anti-magic sentiment. The order was driven completely underground by ensuing legislation. Since then we've kept a low profile, focusing mainly on keeping the undead in check, but also trying to fight further anti-magic legislation.
Lisa Brimmer rather controversially accepted the presidency in '84. When she was captured a few years later, you were only a baby - we resolved to keep an eye on you and let you live a normal life, then ask you to accept the post when you came of age. Unfortunately, there's been some dissention on that point lately - which is what we came to discuss with thee,"

Chapter 15: Finally Some Answers

I'd been alone at my house for nearly an hour when I got the phone call. It was Teresa.
"Come outside, Skyler," she said.
"You sure?" I asked, "I thought I wasn't supposed to be out after dark,"
"We've swept the area," she answered, "You're safe. Besides, it's only a few meters,"
Outside the house was a large, rather broken down-looking black and brown Corvair van. As I approached, the door opened. Teresa was sitting in the middle seat farthest from the door.
"Skyler," she said as she saw me coming out, "Get in. We have much to discuss,"
I climbed into the vehicle and sat down next to her. I tried to close the door, but it stuck badly.
"Thou has to push in at the same time," said an unfamiliar voice from the seat in front of me. It was gruff, but friendly, and I couldn't help but notice his word choice.
"Uh, thanks," I muttered. After a few more embarrassing seconds, I finally got the door shut. I looked around. I couldn't see the man in the front seat especially well, but the shotgun seat appeared to be occupied by a bulky looking piece of equipment. The back seats were full of garbage bags. Teresa had a laptop computer on her lab, which appeared to be displaying a back view of my house. The van smelled heavily of garlic.
The man in the front seat turned around. He was old, but not decrepid - his face was showed a determination that said he didn't plan on leaving any time soon. He was wearing thick-rimmed, round glasses and a wide-brimmed black hat, and had a short, white beard over most of his face. From what I could see of his clothing, his seemed to simply be wearing a black liturgical robe, the kind you often see on Catholic priests.
"Skyler," said Teresa, "This is Quentin. Quentin, Skyler Woods Brimmer VI,"
"A pleasure," said the old man, "I've lived through three Brimmers, and none has disappointed me yet. I'm sure thou wilt be no different,"
"Is he the increased protection you offered?" I asked, wondering exactly how much good this guy would actually be in a combat situation.
"Actually," answered Teresa, "The Council declined my request. Quentin decided to come anyway,"
"Skyler Woods Brimmer V saved my life three times," said Quentin, "And Lisa has once as well. I still owe thy family a great debt,"
I really wasn't sure what to say. Luckily, Teresa cut in again.
"Pretty much everyone in the Northern Alliance still supports you and your mother," She began, "But in the Council as a whole, a lot of people are saying it's about time the Brimmer dynasty ended, and that it's backwards to be clinging to a hundred and fifty year old monarchy when we're in the state we're in. They very nearly pulled me off of watching you entirely. You can thank Quentin and Thadius for pulling some strings and getting you the deal you did get,"
This was way over my head. I understood a tiny fraction of what she was saying, and I got the feeling they expected me to know a lot more. That would explain some things.
"Teresa!" said the old man, "Slow down. The boy's barely absorbed that there is a Northern Alliance, he hardly needs to be struggling to understand their internal politics. Now Skyler," He said, turning to me, "How much dost thou know about thy great, great, great, great, grandfather?"

Monday, February 14, 2005

Chapter 14: Sparring partners

Jason and Faye came over later that afternoon. Jason was bursting with energy. I soon found myself involved in a three way sword fight using dowel rods of varying length.
Faye was using the longer, thicker rod like a quarter staff, and effectively holding us both at bay. She was fast and acrobatic, and it was harder to get in a hit on her. She also obviously knew how distracting she was - she was used to using it to get the upper hand when she fought guys. She picked out her outfits to take your eyes away from her weapon, so you'd forget to defend yourself.
Her brother, her constant sparring partner, was obviously immune to this tactic, so their fights tended to last longer. As Faye ducked to avoid one of Jason's swings, she very nearly broke a vase. We stopped to take a breather.
"We should go outside," said Jason, "We don't want to endanger any more of your stuff,"
It was already starting to get dark. I remembered what Teresa had said last night, and I didn't want to take any chances.
"I'd rather not," I answered, "Hey, did you ever find out about that armor?" I asked, wanting to change the subject.
"Yeah, it's from my Grandpa," he answered, "but I don't know anything else about it,"
"Weird," I said, "He never mentioned it in his letters?"
"Not that I remember," Faye cut in, "But I was gonna look over them again to check,"
"Well, keep me posted," I said, "I'm very curios,"
"Me too," she answered, "You're sure you don't want to go outside?"
"I can't," I replied.
She looked somewhat downcast. I wished I could tell them why I was held to this new restriction. I wished, in fact that I did noty have it. But somehow I doubted even Faye's skills with the dowel rod could stand up to a couple of those vampires.
We went to play some video games, but my heart wasn't in it. Somehow, when you've been dealing with real vampires and dragons, computer-animated ones just don't seem as threatening. In a little while it was time for the Andersons to go home. As she was leaving, Faye asked me if everything was ok.
"You seemed kinda distant today," she said.
I felt distant. Until a few days, I'd felt like I could tell Jason and Faye anything and they'd understand. Now it felt like I was in a different world than them. BUt things were just getting started; it was going to get worse before it got better.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Here's something to tide you over until my next post - a sneak preview of a character who has yet to be introduced, by my brilliant illustrator, the beautiful Amy Langdon, blue tint and conversion to electronic format by Jonah. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Revival - Chapter 13: Plans and Phone Calls

The next day was Saturday, so I slept until noon. It felt good, one of those deep, dreamless sleeps that you wake up from feeling like it never happened at all. I came down stairs and mom was sitting at the table, eating lunch. I guess technically she's my step mom, but she's the only mother I knew as a child, so that's what I'm gonna call her.
"You're finally up," she commented. "Jason called you several times. Seemed excited,"
After I had some breakfast, I called him back.
"Hey," he said, "Where you been? I've called like, five times,"
"I had a long night," I answered, "So I slept in,"
"Oh," he said, "Well, Harvey worked spectacularly,"
"Good to hear," I answered, "Would have been quite a waste if he'd stalled or you couldn't get him to start,"
"No," said my friend irritably, "I mean on Marissa. She totally changed her attitude towards me,"
"Umm.. not to burst your bubble or anything," I replied, "But is a girl who changes her opinion of you because of simple material things really such a great find?"
There was a longish pause.
"I don't think that was it," said Jason after a while. "I think it's more about the ritual than the actual motorcycle. Sort of the twentieth century equivolent of riding up on a white stallion, you know?"
"Or maybe you just look really good in leather," I suggested.
He laughed. "You know I do. So look, I want to tell you guys all about it. Can we hang at your place tonight?"
"Probably," I answered, "I'll ask. Hey, did you ever find out about that armor?"
"Nope," he said, "Haven't even thought about it. I'll tell you tonight though, ok?"
"Ok," I answered.
I asked my mother, who said it was ok. I told Jason and hung up.
So much had happened in the last few days. It felt like I was on the verge of something; like I could feel how my life was about to change. I needed someone to unload all this on. I wished I knew if it was safe to say this kind of thing over the phone. Catherine always knew what to do about stuff like this. Plus I was wondering if she'd figured any of this out. Doubtless whoever was so intent on either killing me or keeping me alive had a similar interest in her. I hoped I hadn't somehow helped them find her with my carelessness.
I needed to know more. For one thing, I needed to know how far away Teresa's superiors were and how long it would take her to contact them; she had promised me answers as soon as she'd cleared them through them. I decided to try and call her.
I dialed the number. There was a beep.
"Hello," said the familiar voice, somewhat peppier than he'd heard it last night. "It's Teresa. I'm not here. If you'd like to leave a message, press two. If you'd like to die painfully, press one. Bye!"
There was another beep. I hung up. I hadn't really expected it to work. I needed to talk to someone about this though. And there was only one person who I thought I could trust; or if I couldn't it wouldn't matter, since she already knew. I decided to take Zhong up on her offer. I called her up next.
"Hello," said her mother's heavily accented voice.
"Can I speak to Zhong?" I asked.
"Ohyes," she answered, as if they were the same word, "Onemomentplease,"
At least I think that's what she said. I've never been very good at interpreting Mrs. Hua.
"Hello?" asked Zhong, now on the other end.
"Hey," I answered, "It's Skyler,"
"Oh, what's up?" she asked.
"We're getting together at my house tonight," I started, "I was wondering if you'd like to come,"
"Oh, I can't," she answered, "Lot's of work to do. Sorry,"
"It's ok. I just..."
I'd known Zhong for more than a year - I'd never had trouble talking to her before. Somehow it felt wierd though- I mean, I only wanted to talk to someone who knew what I was going through, but at that moment the request seemed so much heavier. I decided to let it drop.
"Yes?" she asked, expectantly.
"Never mind," I told her,"I'll see you Monday,"
I hung up the phone, and went to find something to do for the next hour or so.

Chapter 12 - version 2

It wasn't a fair fight. The guy was bigger, stronger, and had the element of surprise. I ducked out of the way just in time to avoid being bitten, then sort of spun out of his grip. Whatever I did, it worked. I managed to get away for a moment. I ran towards the house. I wasn't sure what I'd do when I got there, but I figured I'd decide that later. Unfortunately, it didn't come to that. I got maybe five feet before he grabbed me again. He didn't have to chase me; he just sort of glided over to me. I wrestled with him as best I could, moving my neck around as he tried to bite it, but there was no way I could last very long like that. I thought I was done for.
I stuggled as hard as I could to get out of his grip. I used one of my legs to kick his leg out from under him, trying to knock him off balance. He didn't seem to notice. I was out of tricks. I could feel his cold hands on my shoulder and arm, as he pulled me in towards his mouth. I had all but stopped fighting it.
Then suddenly I heard a roar coming from behind him. Two golden, scaly claws grabbed him and pulled him rather forcefully off of me. I broke free, and ran the opposite direction as fast as I could. I turned to look and saw the battle.
My rescuer was about the size and shape of a human, but the resemblance ended there. It was covered in bright, golden scales, with a reptilian head and rows of sharp teeth. Oddly enough, it was wearing human clothing - a blue halter top and jean shorts. It had a lizard-like head with a mane like a lion, except made of very thick strands of hair - almost like tentacles. Two large, leathery wings were folded on its back, and a long tail trailed behind it.
The guy who had attacked me turned to try and escape, but it was too late. The creature opened it's mouth and unleashed a stream of fire on my attacker. The flaming man took off and drifted very quickly away towards the moon.
The creature walked towards me. It moved very gracefully, in a feline sort of way. As it moved, it transformed. The wings sunk into the back, the leather scales flattened themselves into the skin, and the head seemed to morph itself inward. Standing before me, by the time she arrived, was a perfectly normal looking human woman, probably in her mid-twenties. Well, not perfectly normal. Exceptionally beautiful. Her ethnicity was hard to pinpoint - there was definately some Asian, but also hints of Hispanic. She had shoulder-length brown hair, round, full cheeks and a very well-formed body. She was not smiling- in fact, she looked rather upset - but I was so happy to be dealing with an attractive young woman instead of a scaly monster that it didn't seem to matter.
"Umm... thanks?" I offered.
"I warned you not to do any exploring, Skyler," she said contemptuosly. "The enemy doesn't waste time. Now that he knows you're under protection, he'll be sending a more powerful force soon. And I might not be there to help,"
Suddenly it dawned on me to whom I was speaking. "So you're Dragon girl," I said, "It fits,"
"The name's Teresa Willard," she said, holding out her hand, "No 'H'"
"Skyler Woods Brimmer the sixth," I said, then added after a moment, "Although I suspect you already know that,"
"Yes," said Teresa, "I've had my share of dealings with the Brimmer family. Believe me, this was not my first choice of assignment,"
"Who assigned you here?" I asked.
"All in good time," said the woman, "You'll find out soon enough. Right now I have to figure out what to do about you,"
She started walking through the woods. I followed.
"What do you mean?" I asked, when I caught up with her.
"The enemy now knows your location, and probably suspects you're trying to develop your powers," she answered. "Furthermore, he knows you have a fully trained draconic protecting you. Next time it's not gonna be single vampire. It's probably going to be a dragon humter to deal with me and four or five tougher vampires or just general thugs, to make sure you get taken out of the picture. You may have to get away for a while. Is that managable?"
I thought about it. Leaving right now would be darn inconvenient; it was the beginning of a new semester, I'd probably have to make up a bunch of school, and if I didn't take the test soon, my driver's ed credit would expire. In retrospect all that seems pretty insignificant, but at the time, It mattered a lot more.
"I'd rather not," I answered.
"Well, It may prove unavoidable," said Teresa, "But I'll see if I can get you increased protection. Stay on your guard, and try not to be out after dark. And I'd start carrying a wooden stake. A cross necklace wouldn't be a bad idea, either. You go to church?"
This might seem really slow of me, but it wasn't until that moment that I realized I'd been dealing with a vampire. You have to remember, though, that back then we still thought they were extinct - the last vampire was supposed to have perished sixty years ago in the war.
"Usually," I said, "But my dad owns a funeral parlor. There's religious stuff all over the place,"
We came out of the woods by a road. A small blue Mazda was parked on the shoulder.
"Need a ride home?" she asked.
I told her it would be nice, and I climbed in. Teresa reached over, picked up a large trash bag, and threw it in the back. The cars interior smelled heavily of garlic.
"There's some extra stakes in the back," she told me, "I'll get you one before I go. Not that I'm going far,"
"How long have you been following me?" I asked her.
"Since you typed 'Lisa Brimmer' into a search engine and set off our alarms," she answered.
"Why am I important enough to assign someone to watch me?" I asked. "For that matter, why am I important enough to send someone to kill me?"
"Your name makes you important enough," she answered, "There has never been a 'Skyler Woods Brimmer' who didn't cause they enemy major problems. I suspect the thought of getting the next one before he could defend himself would be quite tempting,"
"So my grandfather -" I began, but she cut me off.
"No more questions," she said, "I've already told you more than I'm authorized to. I'll answer your questions once I've cleared them through my superiors,"
"Okay," I said. There was a long silence.
"So what are you allowed to tell me?" I asked.
"Strictly speaking," she answered, "I've already told you too much. You like Journey?"
"What?" I asked, thinking I'd be going on some mystical trip.
"The band," she answered, "Journey. Most of what I have in here is either either techno-punk or Broadway, but you seem like more of an eighties music type to me,"
So there was no more talk of draconics or vampires. The rest of the trip was spent listening to "Don't Stop Believing," and, on Teresa's part, singing along. I got out of the car holding a wooden tent stake and a small bag of garlic, along with a small piece of paper containing her cell phone number. I had had enough excitement for one night, so I crawled into my bed, and went to sleep.