Archive for March, 2013

May I just say how delighted I was to learn the etymologies of the word “hoser”?

It’s such an incredibly Canadian word (basically meaning “loser”), and it has the most Canadian etymology of any word I can think of.

Basically: the losers of hockey games, back in the days when hockey was played on frozen lakes and rivers, had to hose off the ice in order to make it all smooth again. IT IS A CANADIAN SLANG WORD THAT COMES DIRECTLY FROM HOCKEY. YOU CANNOT GET MORE CANADIAN THAN THAT.

Now if only we could throw in poutine, Rush, and Scott Pilgrim into the mix, I think that there would be a singularity of Canucktitude.

Ojalá que tu sabado sea excelente,

~ Ian

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lotus_cover_pulp

So. I thought that I’d talk to you guys some about what’s been going on with my book.

Or, rather, books. Because I have two of them now.

That’s right. I’m working the first draft of a second novel, entitled Daughter of Flame, which is the book that I mentioned in this post. It’s a YA fantasy novel set in sort of semi-quasi-modern times. It’s basically the story of Fiona Lyesmith (American Gods reference intentional), who is the half-mortal bastard daughter of Loki. It’s got a lot of stuff in it. I’m only at the beginning now, but I’m planning on including lots and lots of things: Kitsune assassins, and elves, and dungeon crawling, and chaos magick, and the Fates, and flying goats, and all kinds of other awesome stuff.

And there’s music. Fiona Lyesmith is a singer, and music is a key part of her life, just like writing is a key part of mine. So I’ve sprinkled liberal references to Fiona’s favorite bands throughout the book, which include some of my favorites as well. Of course, I’m not a musician, so I’m mostly making stuff up here, but in the case of fiction, verisimilitude beats realism nearly every time. Besides, I feel like all creative people have the same feelings about their work, whether they’re writers or musicians, game designers or bakers.

In any case: Daughter of Flame is coming along. I’m still at the stage where I’m getting to know the characters, but I like them, and I’m getting to know them better. The novel is YA (young adult), so I have to have a different mindset when it comes to writing it. I’m not as comfortable with including explicit violence or sexual content as I am with some of my other work. In addition, I can’t swear, which feels kind of uncomfortable. I’m a sailor-mouth. I prefer it when I’m able to cuss. The fact that I’m pretty much reduced to using “crap” and “damn” when it comes to swearing feels like a weight around my neck sometimes. (Even so, I’ve kind of fallen in love with the phrase “Jesus Christ on a stick!” which my characters use, and which I’ve found myself saying sometimes.

I’ve also come to realize that Daughter of Flame is sharply different from most YA these days, which I dignify with the term “smoldering magical teen boy with abs abstinence porn”, or SMTBWAAP, for short. (It’s pronounced sumtubwhap, so you know.) You know the kind. It’s the kind of chaste paranormal high-school romance that has been burning up the charts because of Twilight and its ilk. Daughter of Flame is not that. It’s kind of the opposite. It’s heavy-action, slightly intellectual mythological portal fantasy with a kickass soundtrack. I could never imagine Fiona Lyesmith listening to Linkin Park, Maroon 5, or Justin Bieber. She likes to rock out to Lacuna Coil blasting a hole through her eardrums. If she met Justin Bieber, she’d probably pants him.

So, yes. Good music, Norse gods, and cool characters: that’s how I think of Daughter of Flame.

As for Baby #1? It’s coming along nicely. I’ve written six chapters of Draft 2, with a total wordcount of around 25,000 words (basically, this means that it’s a fifth of the length of d1). I’m not looking forward to the massive cuts that I’m going to have to make. I’m probably going to have to get rid of around 50,000 words before I sent Lotus out to agents and publishers. Line edits won’t be enough. I’m going to have to cut whole scenes. Which is bad, because I love what I’ve written. I love the characters and the world that I’ve created. It’s going to be hard to lose some of that.

Oh well. I can put some of the deleted scenes up on Axolotl Ceviche when that happens. (By the way, this summer I’m probably going to migrate everything over to axolotlceviche.com, which I own. Just a heads up.) There’s a lot of work to be done before Lotus is going to be of publication quality, but I can get it done. Finishing d1 has given me a huge burst of confidence when it comes to writing.

Speaking of which: Remember “Cassandra”, that story I wrote WAY back in April of 2012? Well, it’s going to be a screenplay.

More on that soon.

~ Ian

 

 

  1.  “Pull Me Under”, Dream Theater
  2. ‘Wish You Were Here”, Pink Floyd
  3. “Have a Cigar”, Pink Floyd
  4. “Knights of Cydonia”, Muse
  5. “Pigs (Three Different Ones), Pink Floyd
  6. “Welcome to the Machine”, Pink Floyd
  7. “Under a Glass Moon”, Dream Theater
  8. “Starlight”, Muse
  9. “Money”, Pink Floyd
  10. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)”, Pink Floyd
  11. “Another Day”, Dream Theater
  12. “Take the Time”, Dream Theater
  13. “Dogs”, Pink Floyd
  14. “Sheep”, Pink Floyd
  15. “Echoes”, Pink Floyd
  16. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (Parts VI-IX), Pink Floyd
  17. “Supermassive Black Hole”, Muse
  18. “Surrounded”, Dream Theater
  19. “Take a Bow”, Muse
  20. “City of Delusion”, Muse
  21. “One of These Days”, Pink Floyd
  22. “Pigs on the Wing (Part One)”, Pink Floyd
  23. “Stylo” (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)”, Gorillaz
  24. “Code Monkey”, Jonathan Coulton
  25. “Skullcrusher Mountain”, Jonathan Coulton

Actually, my musical tastes are broader than this list seems to indicate. I just like to listen to Pink Floyd.

A lot.

~ Ian

Okay. Silence.

Not a good thing, I suppose.

Noting my recent blogging activity, I can see that there are times where I write every day for a few days, and then leave a silence of about a week. I laugh this away, saying that I’ve been “sporadic” or “random” with my updates, but there’s actually a reason for why I haven’t been writing a lot lately, and it’s kind of personal and kind of painful.

On Axolotl Ceviche, I typically don’t write about personal stuff. Sure, I write about things that happen to me, writing things and that sort of stuff, but I don’t talk about what’s really going on in my head. Partially because I don’t want to bore you guys, but mostly because I’m scared to.

So.

I’m often public about the fact that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autistic spectrum disorder. Basically, what it means is that I have a lot of the symptoms of autism, just without linguistic impairment. I’m sure you can tell that I can communicate just fine, which isn’t what most people assume of autism, so people just assume that I’m another neurotypical. This isn’t the case.

One thing that comes with the whole “autism package” is anxiety, and to a lesser extent, depression.

I’ve dealt with this all my life. There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t been anxious or depressed. (Note that when I say “anxious”, I don’t mean it like most people say it. I mean I’m in a constant state of nervousness for no discernible reason other than the chemicals in my brain don’t work right.) Every day, I had moments when it felt like the walls of my throat were closing in and my heart was pounding like I was dropping into a fifteen-foot cornice, when I felt trapped in my body and I couldn’t do anything but wait it out. It was a terrible feeling, and it happened all the time. It was only recently that I realized that I was having the symptoms of a panic attack.

These feelings have triggers, of course, but it’s stupid to look at my childhood or crap like that in order to determine why I have them. The reason isn’t psychological, but neurochemical. I don’t have panic attacks because I was abused as a child (which I decidedly was not). I have panic attacks because my brain does not work correctly.

Recently, they’ve been getting worse.

A week or so ago, I tried counting off the number of times that I had a panic attack that day. I lost count at about ten. I’ve been living basically on the ragged edge of collapse for about a month now. Even writing about it now, I’m feeling those symptoms. And it’s terrible.

I feel so out of my comfort zone even talking about this in public, even though nobody reads this blog. Meh. Fuck the comfort zone.

Going in public, riding the bus, knocking on the door to a friend’s house… every time this happens I feel like I’m about to die. Even just sitting at home and thinking about nothing will bring an attack on. A couple months ago, I had my first ever suicidal thoughts. I just wanted to take the easy way out, and not have to worry about anything again.

Do you know how scary that is? To sit in your Syntax class and be afraid to even move, to even blink, because all you can think about is your own goddamn death? I’d never had those thoughts before, and I was terrified. And looking back even further, back to last year, when I was so angry at times that I wanted to punch the wall until my fingers bled… suffice to say that I’ve been feeling like shit for years, and it’s not getting better.

I can see into my future and it seems terrible. I’m worried that I’ll turn into a complete agoraphobe. Even interacting with the world is hard, and I’m so scared of people and change that it’s just going to get harder and harder. And you know what the worst thing is? I can’t even imagine being in a world where I don’t feel like this. The idea of being happy terrifies me even more than the idea of being dead. Because I can’t imagine a world where I’m not constantly anxious. To me, happiness seems as impossible as surviving a head-on collision with a black hole.

I can see the future, and all I can imagine from it is pain.

I’m not writing this to be angry, or get attention, or because I’m worried I’ll kill myself, or anything like that. I just needed a place to express myself, and considering that Axolotl Ceviche is mine and mine alone, it’s as good a place as any. Likely this post probably won’t even be read, the same as all my other posts. But that’s not the point. I need a place to say this. It’s like the story of King Midas’ barber. I’m whispering all this into the reeds, because I need to tell someone that the king has ass’s ears.

That’s all.

Nothing more.

~ Ian

(Thrice, “Stare at the Sun”)

So, after I turned in my Phonology final today, I headed to the Stevenson coffee shop to take a nap, as is my wont.

I dozed off for about fifteen minutes. When I woke up, the coffee shop was playing a Pandora station that was basically a Top 40 station– if the year were 1998. They had it all– Destiny’s Child, Chumbawumba, Britney Spears, and other spectacular examples of late-nineties badness.

For a moment, I panicked. My mind was not making of the thinkings particularly well (I repeat: I’d just woken up), and because of that, I thought that I had spontaneously traveled through time fifteen years into the past. 

I turned to a nearby citizen, and trying not to sound too crazy, I cried, “wHAt yEar iS It?????” So, I pretty much failed spectacularly.

She gave me a puzzled look. “2013,” she said.

“Oh,” I replied. “Good.”

Satisfied that I had not gone all Billy Pilgrim, I went back to sleep, where I had a dream in which the full lineups of N*Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and One Direction did the Gangnam Style dance to Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”.

Pity me, netizens, for I have seen the true face of horror.

I’ma go soak my brain in shoegazer and alt metal to get the stains out.

~ Ian

Well, this post might be a day late, but we’ve got a new Pope.

I say “we”, but I mean “Catholics”. Since I am a heathen, I do not care for such things.

However! According to the Prophecy of Popes, supposedly written by St. Malachy in the 11th century, there will be 112 Popes between the days of St. Malachy and the Apocalypse.

New Pope McPoperson (also known as Frankie G) is the 112th pope since then.

You know what that means:

endoftheworld

Of course, we could have another false alarm, like in 2012. And 2011. And pretty much every year before that.

In which case, the Prophecy of Popes must just be another…

inscrutableprophecy…Why yes. I do have fun amusing myself.

~ Ian

PS. In case you didn’t waste your youth looking at terrible internet memes, then the title comes from the hilarious “End of Ze World” video.

I’m gonna mosey off now. There’s a badger, a mushroom, and a snake that demand my attention.

 

 

I’ve had quite a lot of blog posts that I’ve been meaning to do. However, none of them are particularly long, definitely not long enough for a full blog post. So, I’ve decided to make a hodgelany of all of them together. (Hodgelany is a word coined by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s just what it sounds like: a combination of a hodgepodge and a miscellany.)

 

People often say that California has no seasons. Even people from California say this (as with my dad’s saying, “California has two seasons. One where it sometimes rains and one where it never rains.”). But this isn’t true. California has four seasons, just like anywhere else in the temperate zone. Our seasons are just subtle. The people who think that California doesn’t have seasons are just confused because there isn’t snow covering everything for five months out of the year (and, in fact, it does snow a lot in California, just not in the parts that people think of when they hear the word “California”: basically, everything south of Pasadena).

Right now, it’s springtime in the area around Santa Cruz. The hills around the city are bright green, so green that it feels like I’m in Ireland (well, sort of: Ireland doesn’t have eucalyptus or live oaks). When I take the bus home from class, it drives out along Empire Grade from the western entrance of campus, with the afternoon sun shining on the ocean. I hate the light– I often joke that I’m a vampire, since two of my favorite things are darkness and incredibly rare meat– but I can see why people like it, when it’s as pretty as it is on the bus rides home.

 

I got the first two Assassin’s Creed games for Christmas. They are INCREDIBLE.

Let me just put this out there: if Ubisoft were ever to make an Assassin’s Creed game set in 1600s Japan, that would be it. I would need no other games. Game development, as a science and art, would be over.

BALL’S IN YOUR COURT, UBISOFT MONTREAL.

 

It makes me feel like a traitor to my state every time I say it, but I’ll say it anyway: Five Guys Burgers and Fries is better than In-N-Out Burger.

I know, I know. In-N-Out Burger is a California landmark, and I should be proud to eat there. But honestly, their burgers just aren’t as good as Five Guys’ In-N-Out’s burgers feel too perfect. They’re neat and tidy and all pretty much the same. Whereas Five Guys’ burgers are enormous, drooling things that ooze grease and can be contained by no bun: just like a burger should be. Plus their fries are better. Plus they give you free peanuts.

Seriously: if there were a Five Guys in Santa Cruz, then my life would end. My arteries would turn into nothing more than tubes of grease, and I would die, fat and happy, with my face down in an enormous basket of Cajun fries.

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

If you don’t feel your brain exploding at the sight of this picture, I’m sorry. We can’t be friends.

 

Interestingly enough, I’ve gotten back into Magic: The Gathering.

What happened is that Gabby’s brother Julian and Calum’s friend Forrest came over for dinner last week, and they brought their Magic cards, because as you can imagine, they are huge goddamn nerds, as am I. Well, Calum and I have a box of Magic cards dating back to 2003 (yes, I haven’t played Magic seriously since Seventh Edition), so Calum brought it down so that Julian and Forrest could look through them, things continued to happen, I made a deck, and now Calum and I have been playing Magic regularly.

In fact, I’ve taken to making my own cards:

ianjohnsonmagic

 

I believe that if I ever need to make business cards, they will look something like this.

 

That’s all for now. Keep your stick on the ice.

~ Ian

Hey, remember on January 22, 2013, when I said this?

I’ll try and post the third part of this chapter sometime soon. Sooner, at least: there was quite a while between the first part and this one.

And remember when that didn’t happen?

Yeah… good times.

For the record, I’ve been meaning to post the rest of this chapter for a while now; I just haven’t been thinking about it (after all, it’s a story that I’d abandoned a year and a half ago). But since I remembered it, and was like, “Crap. I need to get on this,” you get the rest of the chapter. Which, you know, awesome.

If you’d like to see any more of the stuff that I wrote in this story, then leave a comment. Otherwise, I’m probably just going to leave it at this.

~ Ian

 

PAGE 75– SPLASH PAGE

ASH and FARADOR are riding on the side of the river, ASH in front, FARADOR behind. Above them, the winged lizards swoop and fly, and even higher above, a rock bridge, a massive rainbow arch, bridges the river about five hundred feet up. ASH is smiling as she leans forward on the mountbird, her face split in a huge grin. In the river, fish jump and splash.

CAPTION: The bottom of the canyon was incredible– and it was warm! It must have been about sixty-five degrees out. You have to understand– sixty-five degrees after being out on the freezing cold Outer Wastes was like a sauna. It felt perfect.

CAPTION: That morning, we didn’t encounter anything strange. I was beginning to wonder whether Farador’s claims of unquiet dead spirits in Kamora’s Kerf were just stories.

CAPTION: However, in the afternoon, my preconceived notions weren’t just challenged– they were shattered.

Page 76 has three panels– a big panel on the top and two smaller panels towards the bottom.

PAGE 76 PANEL 1

Big panel across the top of the page. ASH and FARADOR are looking out towards a city, built on terraces on the cliffs on the left side of the riverbank. They have a slightly Minas Tirith look to them (although maybe I’m just picturing them that way ‘cause I’m listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack). They’re not made of white stone, though, but the same reddish stratified stone as the canyon walls. They’re also in complete ruins. Buildings are broken down, towers have crumbled, and there’s a general feeling of entropy there. Think of it as a combination of Minas Tirith and the Anasazi cliff dwellings on the sides of mesas in the Southwest USA. Half the city is in shadow: the cliff overhangs it, and obscures the city in darkness.

ASH: Wow…

FARADOR: This place… it must have been a city of the old days, when the sun was yellow. Its builders must have come into the Kerf, in ages past.

PAGE 76 PANEL 2

Shot of ASH and FARADOR’s astonished faces as they look at the city.

ASH: Why would they live here? Here, in the canyon?

FARADOR: I do not know… The canyon was once inhabited, though. By those who failed to listen to the Lore, who built their homes here.

PAGE 76 PANEL 3

FARADOR: We must… tread carefully here, Ash Campos. This is a place of evil.

Page 77 has seven panels.

PAGE 77 PANEL 1

ASH and FARADOR pass down the main street of the ruined city, with buildings like broken teeth rising up on either side, ruins of ornate stonework all around. Think of the stonework as looking like a fusion between Mesoamerican and Cycladic sculpture. The road through the city is made of cobblestone, and it’s broken and shattered. Moss and lichen grow everywhere, and everything has a thick sense of decay all around it. ASH and FARADOR are both riding the mountbird.

PAGE 77 PANEL 2

A shot of ASH and FARADOR’s shadow on the side of a wall. The wall is broken and ruined. Words in some strange long-forgotten alphabet are written on the tops of the wall. Water drips down the side of the building, forming a puddle on the road. The water has carved itself a channel over the years, and the wall is worn down and grooved where the water has passed.

SFX: drip drip drip

PAGE 77 PANEL 3

Shot of a pile of refuse off to the side of the road. A strange mammal, like an elongated rat with sharp tusks, is perched atop the pile of refuse, standing like a meerkat on its hind legs, ears perked for sounds of danger.

SFX: *kkik*

PAGE 77 PANEL 4

The rat-thing darts off into the shadows. Whatever made the noise in the last panel startled it, and so it’s gone, down the pile of refuse and turning tail.

PAGE 77 PANEL 5

Shot of a skinny, emaciated creature. It looks humanoid, but has gray mottled skin and no hair. It is wearing a hooded robe that is dark brown in color, thrown over its head and obscuring its eyes. This creature has no name, or if it ever did, it is forgotten. Let’s just call it the KERF-WIGHT.

PAGE 77 PANEL 6

The KERF-WIGHT lifts an emaciated palm. The palm of its hand has seven fingers, wide and spreading like tree roots. It snaps its fingers, and a small cloud of silvery mist appears around its fingers as it snaps them. It lifts its head, and we can see its eyes: they are small and red, like small dying stars in its face.

SFX: *snap*

PAGE 77 PANEL 7

The KERF-WIGHT is now obscured by the cloud of mist. All we can see is its faint, shadowy outline, and its glowing red eyes.

Page 78 has eight panels.

PAGE 78 PANEL 1

ASH looks up at the sky. There is a cloud of obscuring mist over everything now, and it’s as foggy as an early summer morning in San Francisco. Visibility has decreased to about ten feet ahead. FARADOR, behind her, has a dizzy, queasy expression on his face.

ASH: What the–

FARADOR: I feel… strange…

PAGE 78 PANEL 2

FARADOR falls sideways off the mountbird and down onto the pavement of the city’s stones. ASH turns around in shock as FARADOR falls down beside her.

FARADOR: …unngh…

ASH: Farador!

PAGE 78 PANEL 3

ASH dismounts the mountbird…

PAGE 78 PANEL 4

…and kneels down besides FARADOR. His face is contorted in an expression of fear, and his eyes are wide open. His helmet has fallen off, and lies off to the side.

ASH: Dammit… don’t be dead.

PAGE 78 PANEL 5

Closeup shot of the mountbird’s head, its toothy mouth going wide. It screams in panic.

MOUNTBIRD: KREEEEEE!

PAGE 78 PANEL 6

The mountbird runs off. We have a shot of ASH looking back at the retreating back of the mountbird as it flees.

ASH: What the…

PAGE 78 PANEL 7

A humanoid shadow falls over ASH, and she turns her head, looking up at the shadowy figure of the KERF-WIGHT.

PAGE 78 PANEL 8

A shot of the shadowy, robed figure of the KERF-WIGHT. We can’t see anything of the wight’s face. All we can see are its two glowing red eyes.

KERF-WIGHT: …Mortal flesh…

Page 79 has four panels: a big one up top, and three smaller ones towards the bottom.

PAGE 79 PANEL 1

The KERF-WIGHT reaches out its claws towards ASH, its claws wide as it looms over her. ASH is standing up, and reaching for her staff which FARADOR has made. FARADOR is still unconscious. We can see the KERF-WIGHT’s face, a shrunken skull with skin stretched over it, as it comes closer to the ASH, showing through the fog.

KW:

Mortal flesh and mortal bone, 

I’ll take ye back to be mine own. 

I’ll take ye to my darkened lair, 

I’ll lay ye down upon my chair, 

I’ll watch your eyes go dim and gray,

while your minds do waste away,

while dreams and nightmares eat ye whole. 

I’ll kill you, then I’ll take your souls.

PAGE 79 PANEL 2

ASH has risen to her feet, and is holding her quarterstaff in a defensive position. Fear shows in her eyes, but her expression and stance are still defiant.

ASH: What kind of monster are you? You put people to sleep and then recite poetry to them?

PAGE 79 PANEL 3

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s shrunken, skin-tight skull.

KW: You’re a willful one, aren’t you? You don’t seem to have gone to sleep. No matter, dreams shall come to you, as do all in the end.

PAGE 79 PANEL 4

ASH: What are you doing? What have you done to Farador?

Page 80 has six panels.

PAGE 80 PANEL 1

Shot of FARADOR’s frightened face. His eyes are wide with terror, and beads of sweat are forming on his forehead.

KW (off-panel): I have given him nightmares, mortal flesh. I have given him terrifying dreams, and they are eating his mind from the inside.

ASH (off-panel): And this’ll kill him?

PAGE 80 PANEL 2

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s grinning face.

KW: Yes. Not while the day lasts. But come nightfall, his mind will be jelly, and his soul will be mine.

PAGE 80 PANEL 3

ASH is brandishing her staff, trying to look more menacing than she feels.

ASH: That’s not gonna happen. You try to take him, and I’ll smash your head in.

PAGE 80 PANEL 4

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s face. Its mouth is open in what might be a grin or a grimace.

KW: Hehh.

PAGE 80 PANEL 5

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT standing over FARADOR. It seems to be taller now, about nine feet tall, looming over ASH and FARADOR. ASH is still in ready position, prepared to do anything to defend FARADOR.

KW: You amuse me, mortal flesh. But it seems I must be stronger than I usually am to overcome your mind. 

PAGE 80 PANEL 6

And the KERF-WIGHT snaps its bony fingers a second time…

SFX: *snap*

 

Page 81 has eight panels.

PAGE 81 PANEL 1

A black psychic pierces ASH’s forehead. Her head snaps back, her jaw drops open.

ASH: Ungh!

PAGE 81 PANEL 2

A shot of the planet Earth from space.

CAPTION: And then I realized that it was reading my mind, my memories, trying to find the one thing that would frighten me most.

PAGE 81 PANEL 3

A memory of ASH splashing in the lake behind the house in Sequoia, way back in Chapter 1, playing a game of splash-fight with KRISH and BRIAN. ANITA, dressed in a bikini top and trunks, is playing guitar and smiling on the beach.

CAPTION: But I knew that it wouldn’t work, somehow. I knew that whatever I was, in this world I was an alien.

PAGE 81 PANEL 4

Close-up shot of ASH’s smiling face.

CAPTION: And that was my strength. And that frightened it.

PAGE 81 PANEL 5

Shot of the KERF-WIGHT’s eyes going wide and astonished. Its mouth falls slightly open.

PAGE 81 PANEL 6

ASH reassumes the ready position, holding out her quarterstaff out in front of her and squatting slightly. The KERF-WIGHT, across from her, is now frightened, backing away.

KW: You… you are a Walker! You have come here from another world!

ASH: Yeah, I have.

PAGE 81 PANEL 7

KW: But this explains why I am not able to touch your mind! You are from a different universe!

PAGE 81 PANEL 8

ASH: Oh, really? Then that means it’ll be easier for me to kick your ass!

 

Page 82 has three panels.

PAGE 82 PANEL 1

ASH swings her quarterstaff hard, and strikes the KERF-WIGHT in the side of the skull. Yellowed teeth go flying from the KERF-WIGHT’s jaw as ASH swings.

KW: Uurk!

PAGE 82 PANEL 2

The KERF-WIGHT falls to the ground, knocking its head on the rough cobblestones.

KW: huff… huff… huff…

PAGE 82 PANEL 3

The butt of ASH’s staff comes down onto the KERF-WIGHT’s skull, cracking it open where the creature lies.

KW: Gaaah!

SFX: *KRAK*

Page 83 has four panels.

PAGE 83 PANEL 1

ASH bends over, her mouth going wide in astonishment.

ASH: Oh my god… I can’t believe I did that…

PAGE 83 PANEL 2

ASH turns to look at FARADOR.

PAGE 83 PANEL 3

ASH kneels down next to FARADOR, and puts a hand over his forehead.

ASH: Okay. Let’s get the hell out of this ruin.

PAGE 83 PANEL 4

ASH grabs FARADOR under the armpits, and drags him backwards down the street.

ASH: I don’t see where that mountbird’s gone off to, so I guess I get to drag you. Yay. Go me.

Page 84 has five panels.

PAGE 84 PANEL 1

A shot of FARADOR lying next to a waterfall. His eyes are closed and his mouth slightly open.

PAGE 84 PANEL 2

Close-up shot of FARADOR’s face.

PAGE 84 PANEL 3

FARADOR opens his eyes slightly.

FARADOR: Unnngh…

PAGE 84 PANEL 4

FARADOR sits up, and puts his head in his hands.

FARADOR: …What happened?

FARADOR: I was lost in nightmare…

PAGE 84 PANEL 5

Shot of ASH sitting on a rock nearby, watching FARADOR as he slowly wakes up and smiling.

ASH: We were attacked in that city. You were right: that city was someplace evil.

 

Page 85 has six panels.

PAGE 85 PANEL 1

FARADOR looks at ASH in sudden shock.

FARADOR: We were attacked?

PAGE 85 PANEL 2

ASH: Yeah. By some monster who could create nightmares. I was able to fight it off, though.

PAGE 85 PANEL 3

FARADOR leans forward, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.

FARADOR: You fought it off?

ASH: Well, you were a good teacher.

PAGE 85 PANEL 4

FARADOR: By the gods… Ash Campos, you saved my life.

PAGE 85 PANEL 5

Shot of ASH grinning widely, a sort of smug, playful smile.

ASH: Yeah, and you know what that means…

ASH: You’re beholden to me, Farador. I can make you do whatever I want. That’s your custom in Forn, right?

 

Page 86 has eight panels.

PAGE 86 PANEL 1

FARADOR: Yes. That is our custom.

PAGE 82 PANEL 2

ASH: Then you have to give up your claim to me. You have to give up the idea that I’m going to marry you.

ASH: I’m telling you to not pursue me romantically. And because I saved your life, I know you’ll obey me.

PAGE 82 PANEL 3

Shot of FARADOR’s startled, shocked face.

PAGE 82 PANEL 4

FARADOR bursts out in a great peal of laughter, throwing his head back and closing his eyes, his mouth open and smiling.

FARADOR: Ha ha ha ha ha!

PAGE 82 PANEL 5

FARADOR wipes a tear from the corner of his eye, as his laughter winds down.

FARADOR: Heh heh heh… You are a remarkable woman, Ash Campos. Very well. I will not marry you. I will respectfully keep my distance.

PAGE 82 PANEL 6

FARADOR looks at ASH, giving a friendly smile.

FARADOR: But tell me, Ash Campos– how did you defeat whatever it was in the city? How did you avoid the nightmares?

PAGE 82 PANEL 7

Shot of ASH, smiling somewhat self-consciously.

ASH: I had a good teacher. That’s all.

PAGE 82 PANEL 8

Shot of the canyon from far away, as the red sun begins to set over the Outer Wastes.

END CHAPTER 3

That date being: The day that I started on my first post-Lotus project. 

I don’t feel like talking about it that much, in case it all crashes and burns, but it’s a YA novel that deals with the Norse Gods, rock and roll, and all kinds of different things. And it’s very different from Lotus, in a way that I’ll talk to you about later. 

But yes. You heard it from me first.

The amount of writing that I did on the first day? 3,066 words. And I still had time to do homework, go to class, and fill out a job application.

Not going to lie to you guys: I feel like a complete BOSS.

~ Ian

FUCK YOU, ITUNES.

FUCK.

kathleenbird

 

 

YOU.
octopusnope

 

Love,

bullshit

~ Ian

PS: Fuck you, iTunes.