Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Now that I've calmed down, I guess I'll explain what the problem is.

When I copy and paste my stories from Open Office into a post, it triples all the line spacing. So this:
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Becomes this:
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Now, that completely ruins the story, because it turns a ten page story into a twenty page story. It doesn't look like I want it to, and it's just plain annoying. And to make matters even worse, if I delete two of the lines, so that in the post it looks like I want it to, it could just end up with no lines at all between the two paragraphs when it shows up on the blog, which means I have to go back and fix it again. I'm basically telling the interface to give me a preview every two paragraphs so that I know what it looks like before I've done too much. All in all, it translates into anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour of work, just to get one post on here.

This has been going on since I started this blog, but before the last update I could at least predict how many lines I needed to delete to have it look good. Now it seems to be completely random. It definitely changes depending on how long the paragraph is, I know that for sure.

So, I'm leaving blogger, and starting a blog with some other service. I hate to do that, because it took me a week to get this one looking the way I wanted it to, but I just can't keep doing this. I'd wanted to finish and post AFV War in it's entirety on the one year anniversary of this blog, but with the way this has been going, there's no way in hell I'm spending three to five hours editing forty to fifty pages of triple spaces.

Maybe I'll come back in a few months to see if it's been fixed, but until then I'm going to try some other service. I'll post a link to the new blog when I have it up.


EDIT: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ton of censoring...

I'm not even posting the second and third endings to the last story I posted. I'm not trying again. When I spend half an hour, twice, deleting all the extra spacings, only to have the damn browser crash when I'm not even halfway done both times, there's got to be some special agenda against me. I'm finding a new provider, and I'm transferring everything over to a new blog.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Struggles 1: Xadian and Fenix: Ending 1

Something I've been working on in my spare time. This is ending one, the shortest version of this story. Call it the pacifistic ending.

Contestants: Xadian Night-Shade and Fenix Fire-Slayer.

The room was thirty feet square, with half of it in darkness and the other half lit by burning torches. Xadian was standing in the darkness, which was shifting around him, as if happy to be with him. His pitch black eyes and hair offset Fenix's own, which were a deep red. As they stared each other down, the flames and shadows jumped, dancing and spinning. The torches did nothing to penetrate the darkness around Xadian, which simply grew darker as the tension between him and Fenix rose. They seemed to be fighting an internal war, the expressions on their faces growing darker and darker. Neither one wanted to make the first move.

Finally, Fenix's hand leaped to the side, hanging over one of the torches. He grasped something in the fire, pulling it out. A sword slowly emerged from the flames, which were still dancing on the blade. It was a scottish claymore, and was six feet long, almost as long as Fenix was tall, and a good inch taller than Xadian. It couldn't have weighed less than fifteen pounds. The flames crawled up the blade until they were centered around the tip, so that a trail of fire was left when it was swung through the air.

Xadian's sword, which had materialized in his hand from the darkness around him, was a more reasonable four feet long, and was a typical katana,with a slightly curved blade and an engraved disk separating the hilt from the blade. It was engraved with vague shapes that suggested shadows within darkness. There were shadows dancing along the blade itself, so that there was almost more shadow than metal. There was also a black diamond set in the blade, which was engraved with runes in some ancient language that the world had forgotten. It was known as a ShadeSword.

Both weapons enhanced their wielder's powers, almost to the point of insanity. The arcane magic in them acted as a focusing lens, projecting their power more fully onto this world than they would have been able to alone. The weapons had been forged by the Ancient Makers at the beginning of time, then requisitioned when Troso the Great had formed the Vampire council. Now, with almost all the Ancients and Old Ones dead, they were all that remained of an eon where power flowed like water throughout the world. There was one for every position on the Vampire Council, and were the ultimate symbol of power.

Xadian attacked, leaping towards Fenix with his sword thrust out to skewer him. Xadian was fast, mortal eyes wouldn't have been able to follow him. Fenix, however, sidestepped and his hand flew out to catch Xadian's. He threw Xadian into the wall and slammed the blade of his sword into Xadian's shoulder, pinning him to the wall. He stepped back for a second. Xadian tried to grab the hilt of the sword to pull it out but it remained just out of his reach.

Fenix backed up a step or two to get a running start, then kicked the hilt of his sword, embedding it deeper in Xadian's shoulder, almost to the handguard. He stepped back again, raising his hands. He moved them through the air and a series of fireballs formed in the air around him. They started spiraling through the air, forming a cone of fire with the tip directed towards Xadian.

Despite the sword embedded in his shoulder, Xadian didn't scream. He never screamed, he just came up with more inventive ways to kill people. Keeping in step with this, he jerked forward, tearing himself from the wall, the sword still embedded in his shoulder. He grabbed the hilt and pushed it away from his body, until the sword fell to the ground. He didn't pick it up. It was linked to Fenix's position as a Lord, and if anyone other than him tried to pick it up, the fail-safes would activate. At best, it would burn the offender. At worst, it would kill them.

Instead, Xadian held out his hand and his sword appeared in it. Fenix's cone of fire began to fly through the air, still spinning. Xadian raised a wall of shadow in front of himself, blocking the cone. The cone hit the wall and stuck there. Xadian stepped back, leaving the wall standing for a minute. He began to prepare a ball of shadows, but a noise interrupted him. The wall started to vibrate and break apart. The cone was still spinning.

On the other side of the wall Fenix had retrieved his sword and was moving it through the air. The ball of fire on the tip left lines in the air. He traced a circle and then geometric shapes inside. It was a mandala, a circle with magical power. He stepped back and jumped through the circle. When he came out he was on Xadian's side of the wall. His sword already coming down on Xadian's neck.

Xadian reared back, his sword flying to parry. The force from the connecting strikes almost threw him to the ground, knocking him off balance as it was. With his sword down and him teetering on his feet, nothing stopped Fenix from punching him, so hard that he flew into the wall and knocked his head into it. It was hard to daze a vampire, and Xadian was known for being able to take hits, he was a descendant of Troso after all. But he slammed into the wall at what seemed like a hundred miles an hour, and it would be hard for even him to come back from that. He stayed on his knees for a few seconds, trying to glare the spots circling his vision into going away.

Fenix, as opposed to his usual, “if they're down, kill them”, attitude, let Xadian rise to his feet again. They stared at each other for a second, like they had at the beginning of the fight. Then, Xadian relaxed. In an instant, the shadow wall separating them from the rest of the arena disappeared, and the fire cone,which had been acting as more of a drill for the last minute, zoomed through the air and into Fenix. It didn't hurt him, of course. He was the Lord of Intense Fire. But it still surprised him, and opened him up for Xadian to punch him. Fenix was big, and he was strong. But his punch seemed like nothing compared to Xadian's. There was a sound like a gunshot and Fenix flew all the way across the thirty foot room and into the wall, almost going right through it. As it was, he left a dent in it the size of a car. He was out for about as long as Xadian had been, but Xadian returned Fenix's favor by waiting for him to get up. Then, the black orb of shadow that had been orbiting his hand flew across the room. It was the size of a marble and went so fast Fenix's eyes could barely follow it. He threw himself to the side and it, unlike Fenix, drilled right through the wall, leaving a hole clean through. The wall was a lot thicker than it looked, at least a foot.

Sand started to drift in through the hole, bright yellow sand. From where he was standing, Xadian could see outside. What he saw started him thinking. How the hell did they get here?

Fenix picked himself up, surreptitiously drawing a knife from his shoe as he did so. Xadian approached him, fully aware of the knife, but not letting on that he was.

They circled each other warily, brandishing their swords. Xadian caught a look in Fenix's eye and brought up his sword, even as Fenix leaped towards him, sword outstretched. Their blades clashed and they held there for a second, blades grinding against each other. Fenix brought his knife up towards Xadian's ribs, trying to slide it in under his guard.

Xadian twirled in place, caught Fenix's knife arm, and twirled again, throwing Fenix into the wall. He pressed his knee to the center of Fenix's back, pinning him as he twisted his knife arm.

“Fenix, you know me. Why would you think I'd fall for that?” Xadian said as Fenix's knife dropped from his hand.

“Maybe, because that wasn't the trap.” Fenix smiled into the wall.

Fenix slapped his free hand against the wall, and flames exploded outward from it. Xadian was forced to let go of Fenix and step back to avoid being burned. Fenix twisted around and picked up his sword again. His plan had been reckless, but worth it. Now he had the initiative in the battle, and he wasn't let go of it again.

Xadian was still stepping back when Fenix started swinging, aiming high for Xadian's head. Xadian managed to get his sword up just in time, blocking the strike. But the impact almost jarred his sword out of his hand, and he had to keep moving backwards to get room to attack. He adjusted the way he was holding his sword, switching to a defensive stance. He moved his legs farther apart and held his sword out beside his head in a classic stance, one hand out in front of himself and his legs braced against the ground.

Fenix swung again, a savage blow that would have shattered any weaker blade. But Xadian's sword caught the strike, and he moved in closer, turning as he moved and bringing his elbow up. He slammed his elbow into Fenix's ribs, knocking him back a step. He completed the turn and punched him right in the center of his chest. Another few steps back.

Finally, Xadian brought his sword up and traced twin cuts up and down Fenix's arms, each slice flying faster than a mortal would have been able to follow. Blood started to drip onto the ground.

Fenix moved back again, yelling out a curse. He'd had the momentum in this battle, if only for a minute. And now he was on his back foot again, trying to parry every strike Xadian sent his way. He spotted his knife, still lying on the other side of the room. No help there. He felt his power, growing inside him, and felt the focal point on the tip of his sword, like an extension of his mind. He concentrated and the point grew to envelope the entire sword. He wouldn't have long before the effort drained his energy, but it might be enough. He concentrated.

Xadian swung again. He was swinging so fast he almost couldn't follow the blows, but Fenix's sword was long enough that he could use it almost like a staff, tilting it one way or the other to meet his strikes. Then, almost as their swords met, Fenix's burst into flame. The fire grew until it's tendrils reached the roof. Xadian jumped back ten feet. Even so he could feel the heat, as if the room was an oven. He couldn't imagine how much this must be tiring Fenix, but it didn't matter. If that sword came within three feet of him, it would bake him alive. He'd probably burst into flames himself.

Fenix resisted the urge to drop to his knees. He lumbered forward, his sword dragging on the ground behind him. He reckoned he had about fifteen seconds before the effort of keeping his sword alight left him helpless. He took another step, then another, building up speed until he was running. Xadian kept moving back, but he was already coming up to a wall. Fenix got within seven feet of him, then swung.

Xadian ducked the blow, rolling away. Just coming within two feet of the sword had made him break out in a sweat for the first time in more than a century. If it had touched him, he'd be dead. He moved a bit closer and swung his sword straight up, hitting the underside of Fenix's sword and flinging it upwards. The momentum and weight of the sword took it in a full circle and Fenix, in his drained state, couldn't keep his balance, falling backwards. He hit his head and the flames on his sword immediately went out.

Fenix blinked slowly, trying to regain his senses. He was dimly aware of Xadian standing over him, his sword pointing straight down. Straight at his heart. He feebly tried to move his legs, his arms, anything. He managed to twitch a finger. He sighed and waited for the end.

Xadian held his sword in both hands, the tip wavering slightly. He watched Fenix, wary of any attempts to attack. One of his fingers moved and Xadian raised his sword a little higher, ready to strike. But nothing happened.

For a brief second Xadian flashed on his relationship with Fenix. They had always had each others backs in any fights they'd gotten involve in. They'd been in the same class at the Academy. They hadn't been close at first, Fenix had been a typical bully. But they'd worked out an understanding. It was Xadian who had submitted the recommendation that Fenix be inducted into the Council. He made his decision.

He stepped back, sheathing his sword. He gave Fenix a second to recover before grabbing his arm and pulling him, unsteadily, to his feet.

“Thanks, Dian.”

“One thing. How the hell did this get started?”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nightmare Runner

This is what I've been doing for the last two weeks. I've been doing this, bit by bit, on my newgrounds account.

It's set in this. If you go to my newgrounds account there's commentary.
Nightmare Runner, the game, is by Javier Lazaro.

There is a sequel to Nightmare Runner, the game, in the works. I'm not sure if I'll do a sequel story. I'm not sure if I can make it different enough from the first to justify it.

MAY 18, 2012

I wish I could write my name. As it is, all that comes to mind is Runner. I have no memories to speak of, but I know enough to see what is wrong with this world. To start off, what strange, eldritch universe have I awakened in? Islands, entire miles of land, floating in midair, can be seen to the horizon in every direction. As I look over the edge of my own, I cannot see any land below me. I can see strange, hideous beasts on distant islands. Overhead, a series of flying squid can be seen passing by. Could this world have ever been imagined by a human mind? Impossible, unimaginable. It is too alien. Islands, floating in a cloudless sky. And the creatures. More squids, the color of pale flesh, giants, easily twenty times my own height. They are flying through the air as if they were birds, none coming within five hundred feet of my island.

The gun. Aside from this book and this pen, it is all I woke up with. Other than my clothes, of course. The gun is a strange one. A cord of bullets stretches out of the chamber, but when I fire none go in. It never runs out of bullets. It is a pistol, that much I can tell. It feels oddly right in my hands, as if made just for me. I aim it into the sky, thinking to fire at a squid. But first I notice something strange about them. They are flying in a definitive direction. As I follow their path with my eyes, I see a beam of light, far in the distance. It must be massive, to be seen from this far. I give a start. There is a line of islands, each within jumping distance, which leads to the light. I feel I must have been placed here on purpose. I feel I must go to the light. But it is an impossible journey.

There are innumerable dangers between here and there. Wolf-like animals with giant teeth and spiny protrusions on their back. Squids cluster in the air over the islands, and I feel certain that they will all attack should I get close, or even step foot on their islands. And the gaps between the islands, while only four or five feet here close to my island, get slowly, but surely, longer.

Even so, as certain as death seems, it appears a better fate than to simply sit and wait. I do not feel hunger or thirst, and wonder if it is possible for me to starve. Would I wait here for all eternity? And aside from this all, the light. I feel it is meant for me to go to. As if it is my only fate.

I have decided. Tomorrow. I will set out tomorrow.

MAY 19, 2012

I have just woken. I still am not hungry or thirsty, which only serves to further convince me that even death is better than a prolonged existence here. I am about to start my journey. I shall take this notebook with me and write when I can.


Failure. Utter failure.

I did not make it even a mile. As I was jumping across a gap not two islands away, a loud squawk from above startled me, and I jumped too soon. As I fell below the line of islands and into the sky, my vision went dark. Surprisingly, I awoke, back here on the island I started from. I had not lost even the gun.

I now know that I cannot die, even if I fall into the abyss below me. I can attempt the journey again without worry of death. I shall try again right now.


Failure again. I made it farther this time, much farther. Ten islands away from where I stand right now, all manner of creatures started to descend on me. I hesitated as I raised my gun, thoughts of pacifism running through my head. The split second that I waited cost me my life, as they continued to approach. Finally, I fired, but it was too late. Even as I killed several, the others had surrounded me. The wolves pulled me down, as the squids still hovered ten feet above, simply watching. As they tore into me, my vision faded.

And so I awoke here again. Again, my gun and notebook, even my pen, are all by my side.

It is growing dark again, and though I do not grow hungry, I do grow tired. I shall set out again tomorrow.

MAY 20, 2012
Failure again. But I have new hope. By itself, my pistol does little to protect me. But I have found strange stones lying on the ground every couple of islands. They fit precisely into a hollow in the grip of my gun. As soon as I push one in, my gun undergoes a remarkable transformation. The barrel elongates, until it has gone from the length of my hand to the length of my arm. It now fires a spread of bullets, like a shotgun. This allows me to tear through my obstacles easily. One pull of the trigger kills a small squid immediately. Unfortunately, this transformation does not last long, only thirty shots or so.

I have also found a stone, much rarer than the other, that projects a small force-field around me, protecting me from a single blow. This kind of stone appears only once every dozen islands or so.

As I cross island after island, I can begin to see the massive beam of light more clearly, as well as something beyond it that I cannot quite make out. But I still have not come even halfway to the light.

Maybe not even a quarter of the distance.

I tire again. The several hours that I feel nothing after each death do not refresh me. I must sleep, and shall set out again tomorrow.

MAY 23, 2012

In the last week I have come to realize my name as Runner is appropriate. I feel as though I am meant for nothing but playing this cruel otherworldly game for all eternity.

However, simply being in this world seems to be making me healthier and fitter. My jumping ability has slowly increased. Whereas before I could jump the longer gaps only with difficulty, now they are as easy to me as if simply stepping over a crack. I can run faster, and for longer distances. Even my gun is performing better, firing faster and more accurately.

I have not written in days. I am now because of a new development that I discovered yesterday. I have made it further than ever, to what I judge to be halfway between my island and the beam of light. As I passed the halfway point, a giant squid, easily five times my height, descended from the sky behind me. For a split second all I could do was stare, my mouth agape. That split second spelled my doom. As I turned and ran, firing behind myself, it reached out with a giant tentacle and took hold of me.

Even as I fired into its eyes, in a last ditch effort to save myself, the Lovecraftian monster lifted me into its mouth. It all went black not long after.

It seems this monster dwells over the halfway point, as a sort of guardian. This only serves to make me wonder, why is it guarding the path?

MAY 24, 2012

Success. I have come halfway again, and managed to kill the Cthulhu-like creature. It took eight islands, and two of the shotgun stones, but I managed to kill, after which, it promptly fell into a gap in the path. I am now almost exactly halfway to the beam of light. However, night is coming, and I am tired. I shall camp here tonight, and traverse the last half tomorrow.

MAY 25, 2012



Damn it. God damn it. I woke, strangely, as twilight turned to dawn. As the sky lightened, the clouds flashed, and my mind went blank for a brief moment. When my senses returned, I was back on this infernal island. Back where I began.

An entire day's work, gone. It seems that each dawn, if I am still on this course, I am returned to the start. Apparently I must complete it in one day. I am depressed now, as it does not seem possible to run this course in just one day. I ran for an entire day, and still only made it halfway to the end. Damn it.

I will not be setting out again tomorrow.

JUNE 1, 2012
I have not written in days. I have not done anything except sit here, unmoving, watching the path. The path. It runs on into infinity. Or so it seems. As with everything else, my eye sight has improved. I can see everything more clearly. The beam of light seems bigger, brighter. I can pick out individual creatures on islands thousands of feet away. The gun is easily three inches longer now. It grows with my power. My power.

I discovered it during my rage-induced mope. For a split second, I concentrated on a stone ten feet away. It immediately shot into the distance, clear off the island. I am confident that I could kill with this power alone. My gun feels impossibly impotent now, increased size and, hopefully, power aside.

Despite its size, I can still easily lift it with one hand. Everything is improved.

On a whim, I picked up a stone. I clenched my fist, and it turned to powder. Easy.

I can run across the hundred feet of the island in less than ten seconds. I can do so a dozen times before I must catch my breath.

I took aim, and fired. My bullet killed a single, specific squid easily three hundred feet away. I am beginning to scare myself.

I concentrated with all my will, and the very island beneath me trembled. I must stop.

A giant squid flies overhead. I concentrate again. It shudders, then falls from the air. I MUST STOP!

I feel it. I must set out tomorrow. And I SHALL make it to the end.

JUNE 2, 2012

I am here. About three quarters of the way to the end. The sky is lightening behind me. But I will make it. The beam is so brilliant, it drowns out the stars, these alien, yet beautiful stars. And behind the beam I can see... No. It's too harrowing to think of right now, too... Shocking.

I have become death incarnate. This journey, this journey has been a study in epicness. At one point, I was surrounded by the wolf creatures, and the sky was blotted out by the squids flocking over me. As

I flipped over a wolf, I shot and mowed down thirty more. At the same time, I concentrated on the sky above me, and a ceiling of squids fell to the ground, all killed in the same instant. I do not know how I'm doing this, my movements don't feel like they're my own. Some power is flowing through me.

I can see a giant squid hovering over the next island. Watching me. It shall fall shortly, and I will reach the light. I must. I have come too far. I must set out again, to finish this.

And finish it I shall.

JUNE 3, 2012

It's so beautiful.

It blasts into the sky, and further. It emanates from far, far beneath this island, deep in the mist below.

The beam. Pure light. My goal.

The sun is rising behind me, I have at best fifteen minutes, so I must make this quick.

My memories are returning, but now, as I begin to recall, I wish I did not. My memories are truth. They are pain.

What I saw before, what I saw beyond this beam of light. I can see it so clearly now. And I am shocked.

There are more. More beams of light. And more paths leading to them. None of them are connected to mine. They are all free-standing. Free-floating.

I am certain now. Certain that there are more people here. More Runners. More contestants in this game. All trapped, like I have been. I can even pick one out from here. He's about halfway to his beam, but he's surrounded by wolves. He will not make it this time.

I will remove the final ten pages from this book. I will take them with me and leave the book itself here. Here, for the next Runner to find. Maybe he will find some further truth in these pages.

I am about to do it. About to step into the light. I hope it takes me somewhere other than death.


???, 2012

I remember everything now. I remember that my name is John Airen. I remember growing up in Tennessee, on a little backwoods farm with a pig and a goat and a cow. Strangely, my accent's gone now.

I remember the invasion. The invasion by the elder and outer gods. Who'd have thought Lovecraft was on to something?

I remember the day they freed Cthulhu from his watery prison, the day he destroyed a small country. On a whim. I remember them razing the cities of the world to the ground. Killing millions. I remember the rest of us being enslaved, forced to compete for the "right" to entertain them. I remember being picked for their sick "eternal" game. A game where we were transported to "their" dimension. An eldritch plane of existence, where our only fate was to run that insane "course" over and over again, while they watch from this dimension. It seems I am the first to succeed. The first to come back.

They were waiting at the exit. Too many for me to fight, and besides, I doubt I'm still immortal. They took my gun. Threw me in this stinking prison, guarded by that thing, that squid faced humanoid. But it's not enough. I can still see my gun. It's lying right there. They either don't know about my powers, or don't care. After all, what's one man against a council of gods?

I'm going to do it. I'm going to kill that thing, get my gun, and escape this prison. And I will continue to fight.

Just as I did in that eldritch world.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Picture of Arex

So yeah, a while ago I found a perfect picture for Arex.


AFV War, Parts Two and Three

Yep, finally done. I split part two into two seperate parts because it helped the continuity. I'm gonna work on something else for a bit before coming back to this. I'

Meadows of Heaven

Xadian and Alida rushed through the city. It took them ten minutes to walk the half mile through the winding streets. When they got to the edge of the disc, there was already a Night-Wing waiting for them. They stood next to him as he unlocked a platform from the city-disc. They fell through the air much faster than they had risen three days before. In a little less than a minute they were already below the clouds. The only one on the disc not scared by the speed was the new Night-Wing, who kept his eyes on his feet as if he could see through the floor. He obviously saw something, as all of a sudden he banged his staff on the platform and they started slowing down. Xadian crawled to the edge of the disc, partly to throw up the stigma he'd drank ten minutes before and partly to see how close they were to death. The ground was rushing towards him, still much faster than he'd like. The new Night-Wing banged his staff again, and they came to a complete stop, hovering three feet above the ground. Xadian didn't even get up, he just rolled off the platform, landing on his back with a thump. He looked up at Alida's face hovering over him. She looked almost like an angel with her face framed by the sky. He pushed the thought from his mind, still afraid of what Okeana would do to him.

She rolled off the platform and would have landed on him if he hadn't stood up. She gave him a dirty look, getting up herself.

“Whenever you two are done, I need to get back to Cielo.” The Night-Wing standing on the platform called out.

Alida tapped the platform and dismissed him. They watched him rise into the sky. Xadian looked around to get his bearings, then grabbed Alida. They needed to get to Whitefall, but first he had to return to the Council and tell them that the Night-Wings wouldn't be any trouble. They started walking.

Xadian sat in his throne. It had taken a bit of work but he'd managed to get Alida into the Lord's Hall. Much to the dismay of Okeana Water-Shifter. His throne was a little cramped. Okeana was sitting on one armrest and Alida, not to be outdone, was on the other. They were glaring at each other over Xadian's head. Arcanus was attempting to ask for a report but his attention was being usurped by the constant sniggering of the other Lords.

“As I was saying.” He began again, casting a withering glance in the direction of the snickers. “Do we have their-, WOULD YOU STOP THAT?!” Everyone shrank back in their thrones, sure that they were the ones doing something wrong. Alida almost fell off her armrest.

“Just tell me what the damn pigeons said.” He finally got out.

“They'll stay out of our way.”

Arcanus was silent for a moment. “They sent the child with you... why?”

“As their assurance that they wouldn't interfere. Or maybe because they don't like me.” Okeana brightened up a bit.

“Fenix, how'd it go with the humans?” Xadian changed the subject.

While Xadian had been in the sky talking to the Night-Wings, Fenix had handled the negotiations with the humans. They all knew that the humans would most likely be the deciding factor in the war. The humans didn't like the vampires very much, what with the constant oppression and feeding. If they decided to join the werewolves, than the war just got that much harder to win.

“There was a bit of trouble, but they agreed eventually.” Fenix Fire-Slayer replied. Xadian wondered how he'd handled the trouble. Fenix had a habit of talking with his sword.

Lucian reported that he couldn't find any phantoms. Their cities were empty, and the surrounding areas were strangely devoid of the ghostly beings. Xadian had expected as much. Vampires and phantoms had long had problems with each other. Over the centuries they'd been enslaved, released and then enslaved again. It was somewhat of a joke in vampire society that whenever the vampires needed something they just needed to 'fetch the phantoms'. The phantoms had never really recovered from the last bout of enslavement. Xadian suspected that Lucian had actually managed to find the Otherworld Council, but was lying to Arcanus to protect them. Something that Xadian, in this case, supported. No one had bothered with any of the other races, most being too insignificant to do any good.

“Xadian.” It was Kun Earth-Breaker. He was the only Lord who was higher ranking than Xadian, and that was only because Kun was also the highest general in the entire command structure. Arcanus might have been in charge but everyone knew Kun had all the power in times of war. “I want you to go check out Whitefall. Then you're going straight to the front lines. Crale was the first one in but he's not making much progress. Grab a squad. I'll let you pick whoever.”

Xadian wished he had more time with Okeana, but he agreed anyway. As he left to pick his squad, he was thinking he knew exactly who to choose.

A day later he was picking through the rubble of Whitefall. His squad was spread out around the city. The attack had happened a week ago but they were still under a lot of pressure from the humans to find survivors. Xadian didn't hold out much hope. The attack had been vicious, but he could see the planning behind it. The werewolves had picked their target carefully.

Whitefall wasn't a large city, not even a city really. It was more of a glorified town. That didn't change the fact that pretty much every road in all of the land met up at Whitefall at some point. It was the largest trading center in the land, with a giant trade fair every six months. It was one of the largest events in the world, with new technology and art from all over the world. Even certain werewolves were granted passes to attend. Whitefall was also within ten miles of the border between vampire country and werewolf land. The population was mostly human, with a small colony of phantoms. There had been almost no vampire presence, as the next fair had been a good four months away. He picked his way through a building that had collapsed. He came across an arm sticking out of the rubble. He picked it up, expecting resistance from the rest of the body. But the arm came free in his hand. There was nothing attached. Disgusted and a little enraged, he threw the arm away. There had been talk of this war for a year now, but this was the first time he felt like there was a reason for it. The barbarism of this attack struck him, filling him with anger. Then he thought of how, soon, the werewolves would be doing the same thing he was doing right now, picking through the rubble of their own cities, looking at their own dead. The anger drained from him, leaving him empty.

He turned around and saw his second in command, Senka Shade-Singer, watching him, leaning in a doorway with her arms crossed over her chest. She looked young, about thirteen, even after the period of advanced aging that follows being turned. She must have been turned a good four or five years before the normal age. Even so, she was powerful, and if she had been six inches taller she would have been able to take him in a straight fight. Most humans would laugh at the idea of someone who looked so young being in a position of power. But Xadian had worked with her before, and he trusted her judgment.

She uncrossed her arms and walked over to him.

Xadian began. “I can't stop thinking. Can we do this? Go out and destroy their cities? Kill them? All of them?”

Senka thought for a moment.”Of course we can. There's no way they can win. We're too powerful.”

“That's not what I mean.”

“I know what you mean. It's not up to us Xadian. We didn't ask for this war. But it's here. It's either us or them.”

“You're right.”

She looked at him with admiration. All of his fighters respected him. There were some who might say that Senka's admiration was less than professional, and he'd voiced his concerns to her in the past. She'd assured him that her feelings never interfered with her work. He trusted her on that.

Their thoughts were broken by another of his squad, Arex of the Dark. He was carrying what looked like a sword wrapped in cloth. Xadian viewed Arex with contempt. His ambitions were too high, and he was too ready to fight for rank. And besides that, he found the whole Council of the Elements to be a laughable attempt to gain imaginary rank. The members went so far as to drop their descriptive and clan names in favor of self imposed titles. If Arex hadn't been just as powerful as Senka he wouldn't be in Xadian's squad at all.

“Package came in for you Xadian. It's from Tresoir.” He'd done it again. Dropped the 'sir' that only Senka was allowed to omit. Xadian was tempted to punish Arex for pretending at power, but it would have to wait. “Guy said not to touch the sword itself.

Xadian took the sword, taking care to hold it through the cloth. Tresoir, pronounced Tress-Wah, was the main laboratory where they made and tested new magic technology. They'd made incredibly dangerous weapons, bombs that shot silver dust, to fight werewolves, and swords imbued with sunlight to fight vampires, to name a few. They'd caught hell for those when vampires in general found out. He couldn't imagine what new hell they'd made for him. He removed the cloth from the blade. The blade didn't gleam, even in the moonlight. It simply absorbed the light. Hesitantly, he ran a finger along the blade. He dropped the sword. He'd barely touched it, not even the sharp edge, but it still cut him, a long slash along his index finger. At the same time, the blade had turned transparent, and he could see a dark shape writhing inside. When his blood touched the blade, the darkness jumped, compressing into a point where his blood was running down the sword. The blood slowly disappeared into the sword. He got the feeling that if he hadn't dropped it, it might have gone on to suck his soul out.

He left the sword on the ground, instead picking up a note that had fallen out of the cloth.

'Xadian, this is something the kids over at Tresoir cooked up. It's called a reaver. I thought you could use something a bit more powerful than your ShadeSword. Be careful with it. Three scientists died while making it, just had their souls sucked straight into the sword. -Kun'

It already made sense. His ShadeSword, one of the weapons that a vampire receives when being inducted into the Lords, acted as an focusing lens, letting him bring his power out more easily. It did this because it had a shard of someone's soul trapped in it, lending its own power to him. Just a shard. The reaver clearly never stopped taking in more souls, theoretically becoming more and more powerful as he used it. It already had at least three FULL souls trapped inside. He looked at it in disgust. It was a brutal weapon, not even killing his enemy, simply trapping his soul for eternity. He vowed that he wouldn't use it. His ShadeSword already made him the most powerful shadowmancer alive. No need to exacerbate it. And besides, he was afraid that he might lose his soul just by wielding the sword.

Senka watched the sword as if it were trying to kill her. She clearly felt the same way he did. For a second he entertained the thought the if they both focused their power they might be able to destroy the thing, then he pushed it from his mind. Arex reached for the sword, moving a little too quickly. Xadian and Senka both hissed at him, and he stepped back, the message clear. This sword was not meant for him, so eager for the power it held. Xadian wove a glove out of shadow and picked up the sword, careful not to let it touch his skin. He wasn't sure he'd be able to use it anyway. One wrong move and not only would he cut himself, he'd suffer for it. He started to ask Senka if she could carry it, but she shook her head before he even got a word out. He ran through a list of the men in his squad, settling on Rance, a vampire who, like him, was wary of power. He called out to him, and a head poked out from behind a building thirty feet away. Rance came over, saluting and, notably, not forgetting the sir. Xadian gave a meaningful glance to Arex and filled Rance in on the sword.

“Can I trust you with it?” He finished.

“Of course sir. But, sir, if we're so worried about it, why take it at all? We could leave it here, or even destroy it.”

“Like Kun said, I might need it. And if we leave it here, I don't know who might find it.” Rance understood the last comment, glancing at Arex. Xadian handed him the sword, noting the cool detachment that Rance handled it with. He wouldn't use it, even though Xadian could already see him stiffening with the power flowing from it. It was an addicting power. One use called for another, then another, until you were consumed by it. Xadian wondered if there were only vampire souls trapped in there, and not a demon or some other monstrosity. It wasn't above the fools over at Tresoir to summon some eldritch entity and bind it to a weapon or tool.

He glanced into the sky, looking for the bird that had been following him. It was there, a hundred feet in the air, it's long black wings somehow supporting its body. He'd told her to stay out of the squad's way, and like this she'd been able to help out. He motioned her closer, adamant that this was the last sweep of the town. Her wings folded and she dropped like a stone. He watched calmly. He'd stopped worrying about her the third time she'd done it. Sure enough, thirty feet above the ground her wings snapped out and she slowed until she, calmly, landed lightly on the ground. She never stopped trying to impress him, and Senka loathed her for it. It was visible in her face, along with the strange longing that vampires experienced when they saw a Night-Wing in the sky. When asked they would always say they preferred their feet on the ground, but whenever they watched, you could see they wanted the freedom of flight.

“Anything?” He asked Alida. She shook her head. He nodded. It was time to go. He fired a shadow shot into the air. The ball of darkness flew into the sky until it exploded in an uncharacteristic flash of light. In response his squad appeared out of the rubble and buildings. It took a minute for them all to assemble, giving him time to think. They'd been searching for six hours, since the sun went down. If there had been any survivors, they'd already cleared out of the town before his team got there. Now it was almost dawn, and the nearest vampire settlement was an hour's march. They could spend the day in Whitefall, but the werewolves had been in control of the town for three days. They had a nasty habit of laying traps in strange places, and Xadian didn't fancy the idea of laying on a bed that had a bomb under it.They would have to weave cloaks out of the shadows before they disappeared, to protect themselves from the sunlight. He would also have to send a runner out to Kun asking for orders. He smiled at the thought of receiving orders. He normally didn't have to follow orders. Rance was usually his runner, but he was carrying the reaver at the moment. He didn't want to send Senka, and he didn't trust Arex to do it. He glanced over at his men and a smile broke on his face.

“Ah, Alida, could you come here?” He called. He was almost giddy at the thought of getting rid of her for a few hours. Besides that, she could get to Kun and back faster than any of his men. She walked over from where she had been talking with his squad. They were paying a lot of attention to her. Xadian normally wouldn't mind. If he could hook her up with one of them it might get her to stop flirting with him. Might. But now, as they were going into battle in the next few days, he wanted his men's minds on the fight.

“You called, master?” She grinned.

“Fly to Arondite and ask Kun where I'm going. He says he's the smartest vampire alive but he sucks at giving directions.”

The next night they were at the line marking the start of the wastelands. It was a surreal place. It looked like any other stretch of ground, until you got to the werewolves' side. Then the grass and trees suddenly died off, almost in a straight line stretching into the horizon. The ground went from brown to pale almost immediately. Even the sky seemed different, with more clouds crowding around the wolf side of the border. It had been getting colder over the last mile, not enough to encourage the vampires to bundle up, but the chill in the air was noticeable. The few breaths that they took created mist in the air, making Rance wipe his glasses every few minutes. They'd stood there for a few minutes, for some reason afraid to step across the border, as if that would be the real beginning of the war and simply staying put would stop it.

Finally Xadian broke the revery and stepped across the border. Encouraged, the rest of the vampires stepped across as well. Xadian set them into a hard march. He wanted to find shelter before daybreak.

As they walked Xadian thought about the legend explaining why the wastes of the north were so different from the mainland. He'd never heard it until Alida had recited it out loud on the way to the border.

“Long ago.” She'd began with the look of a practiced story teller. “When the gods were young and the Ancients still lived, the world was immaterial. Shape and energy flowed like water, called upon by the gods for their fancies and whims. The Ancients were at their most powerful at that time, using the endless power to create weapons and tools for the gods. No one knows what happened, or who made the first transgression, but a war broke out between the Ancients and their makers. The gods were immortal, but the Ancients, after so much practice, were the more adept at shaping traps and weapons, and were not easily beaten. The Ancients fought hard, even trapping Adetheus, the God of gods, deep in the center of the earth. Finally, the gods tired of the war, which had raged for a thousand years. In a final act, they bound the matter of the universe, and trapped the energies away from the Ancients. The Ancients were not helpless, but they were weakened, to the point that they were forced to submit to the gods, or face extinction. Many Ancients died during their punishment, and most that remain are still locked in their jails. However, the gods looked upon the earth, and were disgusted. With the shape and substance bound in place, there was no more beauty. So, they tasked the Ancients one last time. Together, they walked across the earth, and as their feet touched the ground it became green with life. And so they bestowed upon the earth life to replace what beauty had been lost in the war, creating oceans and forests across the lands. But as they reached the far north, they stopped. This was where Adetheus, God of gods, and Aracame, the Lord of the Ancients, had buried themselves in the molten ground, still fighting. They hadn't been seen since that battle. The Ancients revered this ground as a monument, and the gods, exhausted from the war, did not wish to inflame the matter. So, they left the north as a wasteland, a monument to the two strongest beings to exist. And that,” She grinned. “Is why the north is a wasteland.”

As they walked, Xadian contemplated the legend. It had taken a thousand years for the gods to tire of war, and afterward they were too exhausted to fight again. How long would it take for the vampires and werewolves to stop fighting? And what would remain?


Midnight Hands

They kept to the outskirts of the city, creeping through side streets. Xadian didn't like it. He'd met up with Crale's squad two villages ago. Crale was practically carrying an army with him, unlike Xadian and his single squad of about fifteen fighters. Crale had been trying for this city, Krendae, for a week and a half. He'd somehow botched the first attempt, losing twenty fighters in the process despite having the advantage of surprise. He'd had to withdraw for a day, giving the werewolves time to reinforce the city. Now it was up to him and his squad.

He didn't even know why they were trying to take this city, it wasn't near anything valuable and it wasn't part of a supply line. Nonetheless, Kun wanted it, for whatever reason. Which was why Xadian was now stealing through the streets with Senka and three more fighters. Not Arex, he'd been left with the others and Alida back with Crale. Xadian felt that Arex's abilities would be best used in the second part of his plan.

They rounded a corner and found themselves in a large open area. It was a town square of sorts.

“Okay everyone, once we've completed the objective we'll return here for the battle. Arian, stay here and fire the second flare when I give the signal.” Xadian said. The vampire he'd given the order to, a girl who appeared to be about seventeen, snapped a salute and started laying out her weapons in the middle of the square. Xadian and the rest of the squad moved off. Two turns later they stopped to consult a map. Over the course of the three failed raids Crale had led, his forces had been able to piece together a plausible map from their memories. The scale was all wrong but it was easy enough to make it work. They turned another corner and arrived at their target.

It was a large building, which looked quickly put together. It had been built rapidly after Crale's first strike. It was a barracks, housing two hundred werewolf soldiers that had been sent to guard the city. These soldiers were the main reason Crale's second and third attempts had failed. It was up to Xadian and his squad to make sure they wouldn't do it again.

They split up, moving around the building and each staying at a corner. Xadian crouched at his, darkness bubbling over from where the buildings cast shadows in the moonlight. It laid at his feet, covering something he'd placed on the ground. He crouched and patted the shade, making sure it was solid. He stood up and held his hand out in the air. A ball of shadow formed in his palm before flying out into the sky. It flew thirty feet and exploded, making the sky darker for a brief moment. Nothing anyone would notice, unless they were looking for it. Arian knew to wait two minutes and then fire another flare, this one to alert Crale's army. Xadian heard footsteps and turned, expecting to see Senka. Instead, he found himself face to muzzle with a seven foot monster. A werewolf, already morphed into its wolf form.

Xadian cursed and went for his sword. The werewolf raised his back, letting out a howl. The howl was cut short as Xadian lopped its head off, but the damage was done. He heard a ruckus in the barracks, and already men were starting to pour out of the doors. He yelled to his squad.

“Let's go guys!” He started running back the way he came.

Senka and the other two met up with him as he got to the opening to the streets. They kept running, chased by the werewolves.

“You three, the plan's starting now!” He yelled as they ran.

“Are we far enough away?” Senka yelled back.

“Doesn't matter!” They all clenched their fists, and the pockets of shadow that they'd left at the building moved. There was a sound of glass breaking, and then it all went to hell.

Inside the pockets of shadow lay glass bottles, one for each pocket. Inside the bottles, trapped by enchantments, were fire elementals, naturally occurring half demons that, when angered, were known to cause huge explosions, sometimes even destroying entire cities. Kun had warned them that they needed to be at least a hundred feet away before breaking the bottles. It didn't matter, they needed the explosion now. The shadows contracted, putting more and more pressure on the bottles. Until finally, they broke.

The building exploded, killing anyone left inside. Its explosion was so powerful that the buildings around the barracks were destroyed as well, simply toppling outward, the walls closest to the explosion just gone. A shockwave raced through the street, followed closely by a wave of flame. Any werewolves within fifty feet of the building were flung to the ground and then killed in the fire. The wave of fire flew through the street, chasing Xadian and his crew. They ran, leaping right over buildings in their attempts to get away from the fire. It still chased them, leaping through gaps between buildings in it's pursuit of them. One of the vampires, Clane, tripped as he jumped over a small cottage, catching his foot on a shingle. The fire consumed him in less than a second, scorching him from the earth. Looking back, Xadian cursed. He'd need every fighter he had if he expected to take this city. Finally, as if taking Clane had sated it, the fire fell back. Xadian looked ahead. The fire had followed them almost the entire two hundred feet back to the square. Running the final thirty feet through the entrance, they burst into the square just in time to see Arian fire her flare into the sky. Which meant they were also just in time to see a werewolf leap off a nearby building. And land on her.

Xadian fired a shadow shot, a ball of darkness accelerated to hundreds of miles an hour. It hit the werewolf in the chest and penetrated, killing him. But Arian was already dead, her head torn off. As Xadian ran to her, her flare lit up the sky above them. Crale and his army had better get there fast, otherwise Xadian and the two vampires he had left would be overrun. Already werewolves were lining the tops of the houses around the square, getting ready to jump down and annihilate them. They all had their heads turned slightly, as if watching something. Xadian followed their gazes and saw another werewolf, larger than the rest. Xadian ground his teeth, realizing the leader of the soldiers wouldn't sleep in the same barracks as the rest of them. He was high ranking, a commander, at least, or maybe even higher. Xadian could tell that much by his size and the way he held himself.

The werewolf held his hand above his head. Waited a beat. Brought it down. The werewolves lining the houses jumped down in two groups, one behind Xadian and one in front. Xadian stepped back, waving Senka and his last fighter behind him. As the werewolves leaped down, a wall of shadow burst from the ground, a simple wall about a foot thick that separated the two groups of werewolves. Xadian had effectively halved the number of werewolves he had to fight. Thirty were infinitely more manageable than sixty. He spun, his hands already moving to fire a barrage of shadow shots. He flung his hands out to the sides and a storm of dark spheres flew through the air, bouncing off walls and embedding themselves in werewolves. Seven went down immediately, as the rest dove for what little cover there was. By the time they had gotten back to their feet, the three vampires were already attacking. Senka rushed to a group of six and Xadian had to grin. She was always growing more ambitious in her fights. He and the last vampire he had, Aulis, went to work on the rest together. This was why Xadian had picked Aulis, he worked well with anyone.

Xadian ducked under a werewolf's sword, and Aulis vaulted over his back and punched the werewolf to the ground, allowing Xadian to stab him while Aulis rolled under another werewolf's sword. They both brought their swords out at the same time, both cutting into its chest. Another popped up behind them and grabbed Aulis, but Xadian popped it in the head with a shadow shot before spinning and taking out another with his sword. Only five minutes had passed since the battle had begun, but already they had taken out half of their opponents. For a second Xadian thought they might actually have a chance of winning this themselves. And then the wolves started racing in through the side streets.

They ran low to the ground, sprinting towards the battle. They leaped at the vampires. Aulis was knocked to the ground by one and, before Xadian could stop it, it took a bite out of Aulis's chest. Aulis screamed, and Xadian ran for him. But three more,walking on their hind legs now, stopped him, swinging their swords with a passion. He was forced back, keeping one eye on Aulis the entire way. There was no way he could get to him, and Aulis's sword was out of his reach. There was no way he could help. Then, the werewolf jerked back its head. It lunged forward, its teeth bared to strike. It bit.

Aulis waited for death. Waited a little too long. He opened his eyes, one at a time. The werewolf was still on top of him, its teeth millimeters from his face, saliva still dripping down its lips. Then it reared back again, this time raising its paws to its throat,clutching at something. Aulis sat up, throwing the werewolf off him. He saw Senka walking towards him, clutching something in her hand and pulling on it. She jerked on it again and the werewolf tipped over backwards. Now Aulis could see what was around its throat. A rope made of shadow, stretched taut from Senka pulling on the other end. She leaped the last few feet to land on its chest, and suddenly Aulis was gripped by how strange the scenario looked, this little girl straddling a seven foot beast. Then things started to happen very fast.

First, Senka stabbed the werewolf in the chest. At the same time, Aulis was grabbed from behind by another werewolf and he spun. He parried a strike with his hands, grabbing the beast's wrists. Behind the werewolf he could see Xadian still fighting his own battle, beset by three werewolves at the same time. His own werewolf launched itself at him, trying to get its teeth into his neck. He kneed it in the stomach and brought his hand straight up to meet its face as it doubled over. It reared back, clutching its snout as it spat blood. He didn't give it a chance to recover, he jumped in the air and planted both feet on its chest and pushed. It flew back several feet and landed on its back as Aulis turned over in mid air so he landed on his feet. He turned around and called up a bit of darkness from the ground. He ran through it in his head again. The darkness formed a sphere, centered in his palm. He held his arm straight out and waited, as the werewolf got to its feet. He let it glance up at him before he fired. In an instant, the darkness decided it really didn't like Aulis, and it sped away from his palm, his hand jerking back with the force of it. The werewolf dropped back to the ground, a neat hole drilled into its forehead. He looked past its body, at Xadian fighting three at the same time. He hurried to help.

Halfway to the fight, Senka screamed at him and Xadian to duck. He dropped to the ground,wondering what kind of hell she was planning. He saw something fly over his head, bowling over one of the werewolves Xadian had been fighting. He glanced over at Senka. She was still holding the shadow rope, and had just swung the werewolf it was attached to across the battlefield and into Xadian's fight. Xadian sprang to his feet and fired a quick shadow shot into the werewolf that had been downed before parrying a strike from another werewolf. He let loose with a lightning quick flurry of blows, half of which Aulis couldn't even follow with his eyes. The werewolf somehow managed to block all but the last two, which removed one of its arms and opened up a wound on its belly. Xadian spun on his heel and sliced his sword across its neck, decapitating it. Aulis picked up his sword from where he'd dropped and ran on towards the fight.

Xadian jumped ten feet straight up, flipping over the last werewolf's head and landing on his feet, his sword already flying through the air. The werewolf dropped to the ground, dead. He glanced around, looking for his next opponents. There were none left. Easily half of the dead werewolves lay on Senka's half of the battlefield, which irked him a bit. It occurred to him that if she had half a mind to, she could easily overtake him. Even gain his position. Something caught his eye by the shadow wall.

There was a paw reaching through it, clenched tight. It disappeared back through the wall, which immediately broke into pieces, revealing what looked like the entire town gathered in the square. Xadian was surprised. It was rare to find a werewolf with some power. He locked his eyes on the one who had broken his wall. It was the one he'd picked out as the leader when the battle began. Xadian raised his hand and fired a shadow shot, taking out a werewolf coming at him without taking his eyes off the leader. The werewolf cast it's eyes over the vampires, resting it's own gaze on Xadian. They started walking toward each other while their fighters engaged around them. Out of the corner of his eye Xadian saw Senka pull a particularly daring move that ended with three dead enemies all around her. Then the leader moved and he only had eyes for him.

Their swords met in a flurry of strikes and parries that most vampires wouldn't even be able to see. Xadian parried his opponents moves easily. Fast as their swords were flying, Xadian's eyes still followed them as if they were moving at a snail's pace. In all his time alive, he had met only three people, human, vampire, or otherwise, who could match his speed and skill. This werewolf wasn't one of them.

Xadian swung his sword again, this time so fast that his opponent didn't even have time to lift his sword. Xadian's sword flew through the air, disconnecting the werewolf's hand from his arm. Another lightning fast swing and the rest of the werewolf's arm came off. It was over quickly after that. It's head rolled from it's shoulders before the first drop of blood hit the ground.

He heard a whistling sound behind him and he spun on his heel, blocking the sword that had been coming towards his head. He heard footsteps behind him and he punched the werewolf away before spinning around and blocking another sword strike from the foe behind him. Another whistle and he flung his sword arm out to the side, blocking yet another strike from an unseen opponent. He was starting to get worried. There was a limit to how many enemies he could take on at a time. He dropped to his knees, driving his sword into the ground. A field of spikes burst out of the ground, radiating outward from him and impaling two of the werewolves. The last one jumped back to avoid the spikes. Xadian drew his sword out of the ground and the spikes receded. He raised his hand and dropped the last werewolf with a shadow shot. Another whistle came from behind him and he ducked, letting a knife fly over his head and into the darkness. He spun around.

Senka heard a shout and glanced over to see what trouble Xadian had gotten himself into this time. She stared so long the werewolf she'd been fighting almost took her head off. She killed him with a shadow shot and turned back to look at Xadian. He had about twenty werewolves staring him down. Senka couldn't imagine how he'd gotten himself into that mess. She started towards, but then she saw something behind him and stopped. She smiled.

Xadian swept his sword out in front of himself, blocking three attacks at the same time. He kept stepping back, blocking whatever strikes came his way. He thought fast. He wondered why they didn't just charge at him. There was no way he could take them all. Then he noticed one of the looking past his shoulder and it fell into place. He spun around, sword first. But it didn't stop the fist from flying into the side of his head, knocking him over. In an instant, the rest of the werewolves flocked around him. They picked him up, one of them holding his arms from behind while another pointed it's sword at him. It wound up. Swung.

Just then there was a loud bang and the werewolf holding Xadian's arms jerked back as its head exploded. They all glanced towards the source of the bang. It was Arex, his palm still smoking from the unbelievable force of his shadow shot. The reinforcements had arrived.

Arex cursed himself for showing off. His palm was all but dead to him, and his arm was numb from jerking back so hard. Nonetheless, he raised his hand again. He summoned up his power and sent it coursing through the ground. It exploded into the air as a wave of darkness that enveloped fifteen werwolves. When the shadow receded back into the ground, the werewolves were nowhere to be seen.

He'd been pissed off when Xadian had left him behind for phase two. But now he understood. People looked at him and saw an idiot, but he used his power in ways most people didn't even know were possible. He specialized in mass destruction. He spun in place and a crescent of shadow flew through the air, slicing through several more werewolves, even cutting off a corner of a house, sending it crashing to the ground. He'd already destroyed twenty werewolves, and the army hadn't even entered the battle yet. He drew his sword and flung himself into the fight, running to help Xadian.

Xadian dropped his sword and raised both hands. A rapid fire stream of shadow shots burst from his palms, dropping everything in front of him. He was content to let Senka appear better than him, but he drew the line at Arex. He turned and threw his arm out to the side and the shadow covering a wall behind him formed into sharp lances, flying out into the battle and skewering werewolf after werewolf. Arex grinned. He held out his own hand and a pillar of shadow erupted out of the center of the square. It broke into dozens of smaller columns that raced through the field, chasing down every werewolf in sight and enveloping them. Xadian scowled. Arex was smarter than he had thought.

There were about three werewolves left, and they weren't going quietly. They were as good as any of the lower ranking vampires. But they were vastly outnumbered, and within a minute they were dead on the ground. Xadian sighed. They had taken Krendae. But he didn't like what they had lost. Fifty vampires over the course of three attempts. And thinking about how they had killed six times as many werewolves in the last battle alone didn't make him feel better.

Not stopping to mourn the dead, he set the rest of his squad to setting up a perimeter and searching the houses in the town.

“Senka, you take the western section of the town. Take Rance, Vera, Derynn, and Grale. Arex, take everyone else and cover the western section. If they fight, kill them. I'd rather, though, that you take prisoners.” He glanced pointedly at Arex for that last comment. Arex might have done well in the last battle, but Xadian still didn't trust him.

Xadian sighed. Sunrise would be in three hours, even though the sun had set only two hours ago. This far north nights were short. He'd heard tales of scouts being sent even farther north and returning with stories of a sun that never set. He sighed again, and called over a random soldier. He ordered him to stay in the square until his squad got back, then tell them to meet him outside the town to bury Arian. Clane was going to be harder...

“Where's her head?” Senka asked.

“Couldn't find it.” Xadian said.

They were standing around a hole in the ground. Arian had been lain inside, on her back. Xadian had his hand held out. He was keeping a cylinder of darkness hovering over Arian, directly above her heart. It was the vampire custom to have a “sun” burial. The dead were buried with a hole in the ground leading down to their body, and when the sun shone down the hole, their body would be consumed by it, turning to ash.

“Should we say something?” Rance asked. He pushed his glasses back up his nose as he waited for Xadian to answer.

“Vampire girl, died brave in war, may she rest in peace.” Senka stated boldly. “That good?” She asked.

“You got the number of syllables wrong, but that sounds good.” Xadian replied. He added to it. “A holy symbol, sign of faith, she died well.” He'd gotten the number wrong too, but it sounded good. The rest of the squad, Senka excluded, looked confused though. He didn't bother explaining. If they wanted to know, they'd ask later. He picked up a shovel and they started digging.

Two freakishly long days later, they were leaving Krendae, at the head of a portion of Crale's army. Xadian had his squad set out thirty feet from the main segment, acting as a sort of scouting party. It made no difference, there was no way anyone would be able to sneak up to them. The land was completely barren, save for a few rocks here and there. They could see for miles. Which was why they weren't surprised when the werewolf hunting party came within two miles of them. Xadian had spotted them half an hour before, and alerted his team immediately.

The werewolf party was too small for them to have been looking for vampires. It was no more than a fang, about twelve fighters. More likely than not they were out hunting for food. Xadian set a new course, heading away from the hunting party. Which was why they were so close to the huge rock, when suddenly, a hundred werewolves charged out from behind it.

In an instant, the sounds of war filled the air. Swords clashed and howls and screams filled the air. In the midst of fighting Xadian cursed himself. Of course the hunting party had been a diversion. There was no way a hunting party with so few would come so close to vampire territory. While Xadian and his men had been looking at them, a much larger force had been sneaking closer behind them. Even so, it was amazing that they hadn't been noticed.

Either by sheer bad luck or by amazing planning, the werewolf force had emerged in between Xadian's squad and Crale's men. They were cut off from the main force, and were being pushed back. The werewolves charged again, forcing them back step by step. Finally, as one of Xadian's men, Derynn, went down, crushed under an onslaught of beasts, Xadian ordered his men to retreat. He, Senka, and Arex held their ground, letting the rest of the squad get away before retreating themselves. As Xadian ran for his life, watching the battle shrink away while being chased by fifty-odd werewolves, it struck him. He was on his own, with no one to help him except the twelve remaining members of his squad.

And he was behind enemy lines.

Commentary: So yeah, I have the story planned out pretty much all the way to the end. I both love and hate the way I'm going to end it. Expect the story to be about three or four more chapters long. I'm also unbelievably happy with how it's turned out so far. Halfway into the story, and it's already longer than Tournament of the Clans. Epic.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


This is the sequel to Achievements of a Fallen Vampire that I started. The original's not finished yet but it doesn't matter because this one has no real bearing on the first. It's basically just an alternate storyline where Xadian wasn't banished and the war between vampires and werwolves actually takes place. This is also the second time I've tried to post it. The first time I took out all the extra spaces and it was still screwed up in the preview. Anyway, here it is.

Xadian walked above the clouds, standing on a platform fifteen feet in diameter. He was five hundred feet above the ground and the platform was still rising. There was only one person on the platform with him, a vampire. Well, sort of a vampire. She was actually a Night-Wing, a vampire with wings. A thousand years ago a sect of vampires had given up their powers for the ability to fly. Over the centuries they had become more and more removed from vampire society, until they had found a way to create floating cities, which flew through the skies. They were kept in the air by the magic that the Night-Wings had acquired to replace their normal powers. This magic was also what was lifting Xadian into the sky at this moment, cast from minute to minute by the Night-Wing that was accompanying him. This was another reason vampires, and most races, avoided the Night-Wings. Most couldn't handle the journey into the sky. Seriously, the Night-Wings didn't even put railings on the platforms. More than one traveler had gotten height-sick and taken one too many steps in a wrong direction. It was a long way down. Not to mention a one way trip.

Xadian himself was a little put out by the height, trying to stay calm by pacing around the platform. It didn't help that the Night-Wing accompanying him, who would also serve as his tour guide, hadn't said one word to him since telling him her name. Alida. She was small for a vampire, only five and a half feet tall. She had black hair, like Xadian. Like most vampires of the winged variety she forewent the usual sword that most carried, instead opting to wield a metal staff, with a spike on the end. It was forged in the usual vampire way though, quenched in vampire blood to make it almost indestructible. She wore her wings proudly, stretched out to either side. They were black, seeming to almost absorb the light. With Alida standing in the middle of the platform, her wings stretched out to cover more than half the platform, both easily five feet long. Every now and then the feathers rippled, moving like a wave down the length of her wings. She almost seemed to be flirting with him. Understandable, vampires, even flying vampires, loved power, and he was one of the most powerful vampires in the world. Okeana would kill him though. And besides that, he had more pressing matters to think of than Alida's attempts to seduce him. The reasons for his journey into these damn skies for one.

In the last hour, his destination had arrived in view. It was the Capitol of the Night-Wing state cities. Ciudades del Cielo. It meant City of the Sky in one of the many languages that the Night-Wings spoke. And its name fit. It was a giant circle, at least two miles in diameter. Again, there seemed to be a distinct lack of hand rails, frustrating Xadian. But more than that, the city stretched into the sky another hundred feet above the circle itself. There was also a large bump in the middle of the bottom of the disc. Alida noticed him looking and informed him that that was where the vampires currently casting magic to keep the city in the sky were. As they got closer he saw that there was a series of windows in the bump, and hands were poking out of each. The sky keepers casting the magic.

The city had apparently moved in the hours since Alida had left to meet him, as instead of rising straight up to the city, they instead floated a little to the left of it. They'd have to move horizontally to meet up with a hole in the disc, which was where Alida's disc platform had disembarked from. It was made even more complicated by the fact the the city-disc was rotating. He hoped Alida knew what she was doing, or else they could be crushed between their disc and that of the city. Or, if the edge of the disc caught on the edge of the hole, it could flip the disc, sending them both falling to the earth two thousand feet below. She would survive of course, but he would have quite a bit of time to contemplate his hate of flying before he hit the ground.

Alida caught him looking over the edge and poked him with the tip of her wing.

“Vertigo?” She smiled. He glared at her, wondering if dying would be worth pushing her over the edge. Probably not. She looked upwards and her smile disappeared. They were getting closer to the city-disc. She tensed and the disc tilted a little as it moved to line up with the hole. The tilt, small as it was, almost threw Xadian off his feet. They lined up, and Alida tensed again. The disc flew a little faster, knocking Xadian off balance again. Luckily, before he fell, the disc flew to the right a little more and met up with the hole in the city-disc. A perfect fit. They had arrived in Ciudades del Cielo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

New story

Got a new story that I literally just wrote. Completely spontaneous and it took like five minutes to research. It's set in MineCraft, which I have never played. I've known about the Endermen for a while but never really thought about writing a story about them. Until about half an hour ago that is. So, here's Attack of the EnderMan.

Attack of the EnderMan
So I was in The End with a buddy, mining and building a house. Two blocks high cause, you know. I had hit a good bit of steel and was about to call my buddy over to come help. I turned around, and there was this huge black THING. It was was so tall that I was looking at its legs. It was an effing Enderman. And in the daylight too. Must be a bug, I think. Then I look down and my building buddy's lying on the ground, the blocks around him turning red. Huh, don’t remember them ever doing THAT before.

Well, I turn around and walk away, cause you know the things only attack you if you look 'em in the eyes. I got a bad feeling, like a stomach ache, so I turned around, and it was FOLLOWING me. I mean, it was a couple steps away, and coming closer. So, I open the menu, and build a tower. Four blocks high like they're supposed to be, then I climb it. I turn around and it's still following me, even though I haven't looked it in the eye. Yet.

So, I look it in the eye, just to make it mad. Bad idea. Y'know, they aren't supposed to be able to reach that high, but its arms like stretched out, and PULLED me off the tower. Then, it holds me down, its mouth opening. Scary, right? Well, I pull out my trusty diamond sword, and give it a few whacks. NOTHING. And, it's just holding me there, and the textures around its mouth and eyes are changing. It almost looks like it's smiling. Wtf is this?

I'm still whacking it, and it's still not dying like the good Enderman it's supposed to be. I better get a great item for this, not one of those damn Ender Pearls. So, it finally lets me up, but it's still not dead. So, I'm scared. I run for my house, or at least what I have finished. I mean seriously, I haven't even started on the second story or the pool. I walk in, and I think, “Whew, I'm safe.” You know, they can't fit anywhere that's less than three blocks high. Or so I thought. It SHRINKS, so that it's only two high. It tears the door off, and walks right in. Now, I'm really scared. I'm desperately looking down at its legs, trying not to make it even madder. No dice. It picks me up and holds me. I hit the menu, desperate. I spawn some water, and THROW it at the Enderman. Nothing. Nada. It didn't even flinch. That's when I think, “I'm dead.” It turns around with me, and throws me out the door.

I'm still alive, somehow. Not even a bit of damage. That's when I look over and there's this little block of wood with a rope hanging from it, and my friends got his neck in a little circle. What. The. Hell. Then, like a prayer, this little purple bar pops up at the top of my vision. The Enderdragon! I switch to my bow, look around for the Enderman, and wait. They're both getting closer, and then I shoot the Enderdragon. It divebombs for me, and I run behind the Enderman. There's no way it could survive this.

It grabbed it. The effing Enderman grabbed the Enderdragon. It opened its mouth, and it bit the Enderdragon's head off. The purple bar disappears, and this portal pops up like three hundred feet away. THE PORTAL! A way out of this. I start running for it.

You know how, if you get an Enderman mad, and then a mob gets it mad, it'll kill the mob and leave you alone? Not here. It came right after me. There we were, Him right behind me, and both of us racing for the portal. A hundred feet, then fifty. I'm thinking, I might make it out of here. Then, this purple sparkle pops up in front of me. And I know I'm dead.

It teleported in front of me. Right in front of me. I literally ran into it. It picked me up, and it threw me aaaaaallllll the way back to my house. I landed on my stomach and lost about half my health. It came after me, its hands held in front of it. It had a rock the size of me.

I tried to get up, but it was like my character was stuck to the ground. Or maybe my key was broken. Either way, I couldn't stop it from getting closer. Finally, it was standing over me. It held the rock above me. It dropped it.

I respawned in the Overworld. I didn't go back to The End for a few days, and whenever I saw an Enderman, I ran right the hell away. Who knows where the thing will pop up next time. Finally, I had to go back to The End. My house was still there. The bastard had turned it pink.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nothing really....

Got my computer back a week ago. This is the first time I've both remembered and had the time to post. I have three stories planned out. One of them is the sequel to Tournament of the Clans I mentioned in the last post, the second is the sequel to the sequel, and the third is one of the sequels to Achievements of a Fallen Vampire, which I still have to finish. I'm working on the sequel to Tournament of the Clans right now, it should be done within the month or so. Then I'll finally finish off Xadian's storyline. And then I'll finish Fallen Vampire and start work on the sequel, which has the potential to be at least twice the size of Tournament of the Clans, depending on how I play it out and how long I can keep going on it. Whenever I finish the two sequels to Tournament of the Clans, I'm probably going to make a seperate blog for the entire series, then throw anything that is canon to Xadian's storyline in there.