J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

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Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Comic Con

Ok, so if everything keeps going alright, I'll be going to San Diego with my fiance' and two munchkins. *Fingers and toes crossed*. IF that happens (and I'm pretty certain it will -- Thanks to a great and amazing friend!) I'm really wanting to go visit several authors (Cindy, I'm coming for you first!) and artists. There's also this little thing called a "Portfolio Review" where you can have your artwork checked out by big-name places. Last year, they had Wizards of the Coast, Lucas films, Dark Horse, and plenty more. So, if a writer can query agents, then an artist can 'pitch' to these places. Meaning I'll be able to finally find out if my art is 'good', 'okay', or 'please-get-this-crap-away-from-me terrible'. So, somehow I need to get at least six portfolios done so I can 'shop' them around. What the heck, right? Sure can't hurt! (well, can't hurt anything but my ego, lol) Wish me luck!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Controversial Scene...

Previously on "The Shiftless" : In the prior chapter, Akiela has been escorted by her protector guardian uncle, the Warlord General Giada to discuss her next assignment. Members of the Merchant League known as the Protectors are being killed off one by one in gruesome ways. Ilario Vedette is the one in charge of the Protectors and is also a good friend to Giada. Akiela is introduced to the pair and discovers that though Giada doesn't want her to go and is concerned (perhaps too much so) for her safety, he acquieses to Ilario's request. Giada also threatens Ilario that if harm befalls Akiela, Giada will be seeking Ilario out and he'll find himself skinned alive. Literally. The following takes place after Akiela leaves with Ilario for dinner, much to Giada's disapproval.
Chapter Three
A piercing shriek cut the evening air and Akiela swirled around, searching for its source. Beside her, Ilario dropped his hand to the leather-wrapped hilt of his sword. They had just left the Silk Slipper, where Ilario had treated her to a wonderful meal complete with dessert. Being a proper lady, and far from foolish, she had allowed him to buy the meal as well as suggest the dishes and wine. Surprisingly, he had chosen her favorite dishes and wine. If she wasn’t suspicious of him already, his actions at the Silk Slipper would have raised questions. She still hadn't decided if Giada had told him what to order or if he had been spying on her for some time. Akiela paused, stilling her breath as she listened intently for another scream or shout. Sniffing the air, she frowned as her brows furrowed. Nothing unsual drifted on the slight breeze. Taking a step towards an alley, she felt an iron-grip on her arm. Turning her head slowly toward Ilario, she found him shaking his head, a frown of his own on his face. Just as she was about to speak, another ear-piercing shriek broke the stillness. “We must go, now,” Ilario said softly, pulling her away from the dark alley. “Twilight has fallen, child, we need to leave.” “I’m not leaving until I learn what that is,” Akiela countered, trying to jerk away from Ilario to no avail. Ilario glowered at her, his eyes narrowing dangerously. “Do you always walk into the unknown without thinking of the consequences? I swore to protect you, girl, and that’s what I’ll do even if it means throwing you across my shoulder and carrying you away.” “You wouldn’t dare,” she growled, turning slightly away from the alley. Whatever was shattering the approaching night air certainly wasn’t friendly, but she also felt as though it was her duty to investigate. A single dark brow rose in response and Akiela countered it with one of her own. “I have a duty to uphold as a spy to Warlord Giada.” Turning, she took two steps before being whisked up into the air and thrown over the broad shoulders of Ilario. Too shocked to even screech a protest at first, she quickly discovered kicking was pointless as he kept his grip tightened around her knees and, as she tried to push herself up in an effort to twist around, his hands pushed her hips upwards dumping her further backwards. Short of pummeling his back, which she doubted would be very useful given his long strides were carrying her quickly from the alley, she decided to let him have this round. The next time, however, would be different. Despite her irritation and growing ire at her predicament, she was all too aware that his arm was wrapped firmly around her thighs, his hand warm even through the layered skirt. Her head was close to her captor’s hips and she could easily have pulled his sword and threatened him with it; if it weren’t for the fact she was actually starting to enjoy being carried. Even Tiernay hadn’t dared anything like this and she had pushed Tiernay farther than Ilario! I wonder if he keeps all his threats? Akiela pondered, trying not to giggle. If anyone saw her, gods alone knew what they would think! She rarely let any man touch her in any fashion, let alone carry her like a sack of grain! Oh, she’d had the threats and jests thrown at her, but no one ever carried through, despite her occasional wish for them to do so. Until now. A pity Tiernay had never done this. She glanced down at the hips beneath her and was tempted to swat them, just to see what he would do. “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you,” Ilario’s voice carried to her, and she knew he was smirking. It carried through in his voice, as did the laughter. “Do what?” She asked innocently, pushing herself up slightly, so the blood wasn’t rushing to her head. Her cheeks were already burning, but he didn’t need to know why. Suddenly, she felt his grip loosen and she was sliding ever so slowly down his chest as his hands slid along her body, ensuring the skirt fell against her legs and they still kept her close to him. The smirk she knew would be on his face was, indeed, there, but the twinkle in his eyes hinted at something more than amusement. She wasn’t quite certain what it was, and she wasn’t certain she wanted to know. Ilario chuckled softly and a hand slid through her hair, brushing her bangs from her face. “You are indeed one of Vittore’s,” he answered. “How long have you been with him?” “How do you know Uncle Vittore so well?” She countered. “How long have you known him?” “I can see this is going to be a long assignment. I hope you’re a better spy than inquisitor.” Ilario sighed, releasing her and gesturing towards the row of houses and cottages that lined both sides of the street. She felt a stab of regret, but it vanished as quickly as it appeared. He continued as though nothing had occured between them, “Vittore offered me his guest house for the night and informed me you are only a short walk away from it. As for how long I have known him? Since childhood. While he was a spy for his predecessor, I was a merchant apprentice. We both worked our way to our current positions through hard work, long trials, and many a conspiracy. Now, what of you, little one? Why does our Warlord call you a little fox, hmm?”
Monday, May 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Ok, so I technically posted this on Monday, but... oh well! This is my current WIP and it doesn't involve any of the usual cast of characters. In fact, it's based on my signature picture. :-) The coppery tang of freshly spilled blood wafted to Akiela's nose, causing it to wrinkle in distaste. The ability to smell, hear, and see things with an uncanny acuteness had often frightened her as a child. Her mother had constantly warned her to keep silent about things she shouldn't have known, saying it would cause her trouble and grief. Considering she had ostracized by the villagers and neighboring townsfolk, Akiela had obeyed her mother's decree. The first and only time she had attempted to use her skills for a goodly cause she had been ridiculed and ignored. She may have watched in morbid delight and cruel humor as the village had been attacked by an invading army of orcs, had it not been for the fact her mother also perished in the fires that erupted. Akiela had been taken in by Urshad's army that fought against the orcs just outside her small village and given a home with them as they traveled back to Marzwin, the central city of Urshad. Her unique gifts had been useful along the long trip back to Marzwin and, once the Warlord General, Giada, had learned of her, he took her into his home, accepting her as a daughter. Now, Giada had sent her here, to Baron Altwuld's estate under the guise of a traveling noble seeking a place to stay for the night to spy. After several hours of being entertained by the lowly baron, she had managed to talk him into giving her a tour of his estate. Had she not been here on an assignment from Giada, she would have probably killed the man a dozen times over due to his ill-concealed innuendos and roving hands. Death might have been a quick method of venting her irritation and hatred for Altwuld, but it wasn't what she had been sent for. It had taken an hour of searching to find a simple locked door resembling a servant's entrance that opened onto a winding set of stone stairs. Beneath her simple black cotton garments and satin gloves, she shivered as she slinked silently down the steps. If she were caught... no, she refused to think that way. It was midnight and most, if not all, of the servants slept. Even the baron was asleep in his large, plush bed of nubile concubines. The noises from the room had ended two hours ago. The cold, darkened stairwell ended at yet another door. Deftly picking the lock of that door, also, she stepped into a large, circular room filled with tables, chairs, and cages. The stench of death, blood, and smoke filled her senses, causing her to nearly gag. Some vile odor she couldn't place stung her eyes. She presumed the source of the irritant was a fireplace where a large cauldron sat on a blackened, iron grate. Steam wafted from the cast iron container and she guessed it was some concoction to be used upon the dwarves or servants the baron trafficked or kept. A wide, stone bench curved around the room, filled with items used for mutilation or torture. A large, covered bin sat amidst the curving stone and she knew she didn't want to look in it; dried blood trickled down along the edges, destroying the innocent illusion of a mere trash bin. Two large double-doors sat positioned on the opposite side of the room and after one last intense glance around the room, she moved towards it. A peg with a large ring of keys hung beside the door and she grabbed them, uncertain if they would be needed. Best to be prepared, she thought as she opened the door.More darkness greeted Akiela as she crept along, searching for traps as she traversed the unlit corridor. The distant, broken sounds of whimpering, whispers, and shuffling teased her. A single scream pierced the silence and Akiela froze in her steps. Just as abruptly as it shattered the stillness, the scream vanished as though it had been a figment of her imagination. Steeling her nerves, and her resolve, she continued forward along the empty hallway towards the single door that light crept from beneath. Shadows passed before the door, and it was all Akiela could do to not slink backwards the way she came. Tilting her head to the side, she listened intently until the shuffling sounds and flickering shadows abated. The musty scent of a dog's fur teased her nose and she heaved a sigh of relief. Dogs she could handle easily. Humans or other mortals were a different problem altogether. Striding forward with careful, silent steps, she tried the door. It opened with a whisper revealing yet another smaller room with several doors leading off in separate directions. To the far left was a narrow hole in the wall large enough for two wolves to pass through side-by-side. The musky odor of wet fur and fresh blood bit at her nose and she quickly began to search the room. Gods, this man loves his tiny rooms, she thought in disgust and annoyance. Even if the wolves reappeared, she knew they wouldn't bother her. For some strange reason, anything canine loved her and everything feline ran from her as though she were a demon. It was rather amusing, unless it was a bobcat or mountain lion that she stumbled across. Then there were always problems. As she stood before each door, she bent slightly and pressed her ear to the keyhole, listening for anything slightly mortal. Nothing. She moved to the next and repeated the procedure. At the fourth door she heard the soft weeping of a child. Fury swelled within her and she slid a key into the lock and twisted. A soft click filled the room as she turned the key and opened the door. A single, long hallway dead-ended with cells on each side. Within the cages, behind rusted iron grates were dwarves. Surprise flashed across Akiela’s face for she had always thought of dwarves as having long beards and hair. Their ears pointed and features chiseled, as though from stone... and wrinkled. However, these dwarves were feminine with long braided hair of red, blond, and rich chestnut shades. Brilliant eyes set in pixyish faces were swollen from crying and beatings, many blackened and bruised. Fear flashed across their smooth, hairless faces and many of the women held babies that had human or elfish traits. From the torn dresses, scars from shackles and whips to their bruised bodies, she didn’t need to ask or be told how the children came to be born. "I am not here to harm you. I come as a friend," Akiela said in fluent, perfectly enunciated dwarven. The rough language was surprisingly easy for her to speak, unlike most. It rolled from her tongue as though she were part dwarf herself. She kept her voice low as she moved further into the corridor, searching each cell and mentally documenting each atrocity she saw. As she looked closer, she could see ears had been torn, faces slashed and bodies tortured. Several women were pregnant without other infants while others held babies along with their bulging bellies. It was disgusting to see them treated like animals and her heart bled for them. Akiela could only imagine what had been done to their men. One woman, barely in her twenties if Akiela had to guess at her age, stepped towards the bars, holding a pale, sickly infant in her arms. The child had pure, straight black hair with bright green eyes that stared unblinking at the ceiling. It had been wrapped in pieces of soiled cloth that must have come from its mother's underskirt. The mother stared at Akiela with pleading eyes. Surprisingly, the dwarven woman spoke in clear Common as she addressed Akiela. "If you are a friend, then take my infant with you. That monster who keeps us says he'll kill the infant, for she is sickly and cannot be sold. Take her, please!" Hesitatingly, Akiela went to the cell door where the mother slid the tiny child, miraculously, through the bars. Holding the infant close to her, Akiela smiled slightly at the baby. She had once, in her youth, considered having children, but those notions had vanished the older she grew. Children meant responsibility she wasn't ready for and she wasn't certain she wanted to curse a child with being forced to live a life alone as she had done. Well, that wasn't entirely true. She had plenty compatriots who enjoyed having her around and she had several she spent time with on a near-constant basis, but none had ever approached her with the desire to court her. Now, however, looking into the fragile face of the infant, she knew that some day she would have a child to covet and care for. Someday. "What of you, lady? How will you explain the missing child?" Akiela asked, forcing her gaze away from the child to the mother. "What is the child's name?" "Gisela," the mother promptly replied. "The Keeper will think it is dead and a servant took it away." "What of the rest of us?" Another dwarven maiden asked in dwarvish, holding her own child close to her chest. Akiela gazed around the multitude of women, knowing her proof of the atrocities of the baron rested in her arms. "Within the week all will be released," she replied in their language. "I must go, but I promise that in seven day's time you will be released and allowed to return to your homes and families." Blessings arose in whispers around her and Akiela smiled slightly as she stared at the tiny infant that was sucking a dirty thumb. Perhaps she could persuade Tiernay to begin the attack prior to the designated seven days. Perhaps.
Friday, May 15, 2009

Chapter One Redo

Ok, redid Chapter One, will probably end up tweaking it more later when we have more time. Enjoy!
Flames from the torches flickered along the corridor, casting eerie shadows against the floor, ceiling, and walls. Xandra gripped the silver sword tightly in her hands. The hilt was cold and comforting, yet it did nothing to abate her nerves. Even the fact that her great-grandfather, the lord of the manor, was walking alongside her did little to ease her tension. There was something about eradicating vesimyyras that didn’t bode well with her. It wasn’t the fact they were lycanthropic rat-like creatures as large as small dogs that were nothing short of childhood nightmares. Long incisors jutted from jaws that were long and crooked, as though they had been broken multiple times even before birth. Long, gray and white whiskers were sprinkled on the furless muzzles giving them an even more hideous appearance. Claws almost as long as short dirks and as sharp broken crystal could shred wood as easily as silk or skin. Despite the short, gray, matted fur that covered head and body, the tail was long, rope-like and bare. The scratching of claws against stone, snuffling, and hissing echoed around the hallway. Xandra glanced up at Xantos, only to find his expression as calm and emotionless as always. I'd give anything to be hunting with Mother or Father instead of hunting here, she thought bleakly, keeping her thoughts carefully hidden from her elder relative. She flexed her fingers, loosening them before tightening them once more around the hilt of her weapon. No gloves covered her hands, much to her irritation and regret. Great-Father insisted she be able to use her magic without the hindrance of a glove. Considering he carried no weapon in his hands reminded her that he was lord and owner here and the pests that had taken over his dungeons were barely worth his time. Certainly nothing he would fear. A shiver ran down her back as she carefully picked her way behind her great-grandfather. The ancient docelfar feared nothing and she loved him greatly, despite the fact he was always pushing her and encouraging her in ways her parents would object loudly to. Especially this little expedition in his dungeons hunting a lycanthropic creature that could tear me to shreds faster than a demon's talons, she added with a silent sigh. The hallway opened into a large room with several corridors leading into various directions. Empty chains and shackles were scattered about, hammered into the wall to keep the potential prisoners hanging anywhere between inches to feet off the floor. Three cages hung in the center of the room from the tall ceiling. Xandra hated this room for the feeling of death was as thick as a slaughterhouse during butchering season. This is only one of the rooms Great-Father uses, she mused silently, keeping her expression carefully schooled. She was very much aware that each hallway led to several more rooms and cells used for torture, inquisitions, and as simple prisons. If I become his heir, will I become like him? Xandra asked herself, crossing to one of the cages slowly and touching it with her free hand. The metal was rusted and rough against her skin, cold to the touch. The image of a prisoner in ragged, torn clothes grasping the cage with fresh, red welts covering his or her body sprang to life unbidden. She could envision the sunken cheeks and blackened, swollen eyes and bleeding ears. Snatching her hand back, she turned towards her great-grandfather. Hoping to rid herself of the image, and wondering if he had placed it in her thoughts, she asked, "Why did you bring me, Great-Father?" "I have personally supervised your learning in the ways of magic and weapons." Xantos replied with a casual tone that she did not believe in. "You are as learned in such as beings hope to be at twice your age. Did you think I have pushed you merely to impress your instructors at my guild, or those students you bother to socialize with?" His sarcasm came through, as well as the contempt he held for most beings that were not of the same race as he. Xandra had never felt this hateful compulsion that her great-grandfather lived by. Did living among the ruthless, self-absorbed peoples here or in the city of Fellhaven cause such? Xandra worried again that she would become more akin to Great-Father's worst behaviors the more time she spent with him. "Of course, not, Great-Father," Xandra replied quickly. She bit her lip uneasy about how to continue. She wasn't, yet, ready to proclaim her desire to be his heir. She wasn't entirely certain she wanted to be his heir if it meant being as cold, cruel, and heartless as him. "It's not as though I'm able to impress all your instructors, Great-Father and I don't 'socialize' with that many at the guild." She kept the smile that threatened from her lips. There was one whom she enjoyed spending every moment of her time with. Not to mention making certain she sat beside him in every class they shared. "No, but you do have a favored fellow student or two. Regardless, you must be prepared to conquer any task that befalls you." Xantos continued, still speaking in that maddening tone. "This is an unpleasant task, and not one that most of the guild students could take to. All the more reason you must show your ability to me." Xandra wrinkled her nose in ill-concealed contempt. "I don't even see any vesimyyras," she countered, the word rolling from her tongue fluidly. Most people called the wererats, finding their true name difficult to pronounce. She paused before narrowing her eyes and adding, "Why do I suspect you aren't referring just to hunting the wererats?" "Every lesson and test is a starting point for greater lessons and tests." This was a phrase that Xantos had told her many times, and she could almost say the words with the same inflections he used. She bit her lip from saying it with him this time. "Is the weapon too large for your hands, Xandra?" Xandra furrowed her brow in confusion. "No, it's not. Why do you ask?" "You continue to flex your fingers around the grip; suggesting you are either anxious to use it, or the weapon is uncomfortable in your grip." He reported. Shoulders slumping, Xandra consciously stopped flexing her fingers. "I'm nervous. I don't like hunting those wretched things." Another shiver raced through her and she was tempted to turn away from him. If she were to do that, an even worse fate would befall her: she'd be sent ahead without him. "I have a faint memory of one when I was younger. Three, perhaps?" "You were four years of age. I know that you have not told your parents or sibling about the event." Xantos said, and then he suddenly lunged to the left. A flicker of movement caused Xandra's instinct to step back and swing the heavy sword in a long, downward arc. There was an ear-piercing shriek a split second after the sound of metal parting flesh and muscle. Xandra felt the sword's blade impact against bone, and she suppressed a shudder as two wet halves of a vesimyyra hit the stone floor. "If you had, I am certain we would not be having this lesson, or precious time with each other." Xantos continued, as if there had been no true pause in the conversation. Xandra turned and backed towards her great-grandfather as the innards uncoiled onto the floor from both halves of the fresh corpse. A part of her wanted to turn and run into his robes and hide behind him as she had all those years ago. "How do you know I didn't tell my parents or Caritas?" Xandra asked, striving to keep her voice steady. The last thing she wanted was to show weakness in front of Xantos. "I barely remember what happened, myself." "Your father has not approached me." Xantos chuckled. "Even before he married Aly, he had little of what could be called 'respect for elders or betters.' Your mother would dare my wrath if she felt I was forcing you to experience danger too early in life. Caritas would not have kept such from either parent." Whirling around, Xandra stared in wide-eyed shock at her great-grandfather. "You're the reason behind that nightmare? Why? I was four!" "Why is it a nightmare? You defeated the creature." His tone had not changed, and Xandra's own ire threatened to rise. How could he dismiss these things? "Perhaps it was a nightmare because I had nightmares afterward!" Xandra snapped. She remembered her older brother comforting her, holding her close and asking what was wrong. Xantos was right: she had never told what the nightmares had been about. She gestured towards the dead vesimyyra with her blade. "I presume I'm here to overcome my childhood fear of those... things?" "You wonder why I consider you such a promising student," Xantos replied as he smiled. "I think I'd rather be patronized and humiliated by Budtrizz," she grumbled. "Which leads me to wonder why you have not handled the infidel's behavior in an appropriate manner." Xantos scolded. She winced, recognizing the subtle change in his smooth, silken voice.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Enter the Warlord

Previously on "Heiress": Xandra has managed to toast the seat of Budtrizz's robes prior to wrapping him in the vines of his beloved ivy plants. Xantos, her beloved great-grandfather, has now appeared to exact his own form of revenge upon the instructor, give Xandra a gruesome reminder of his power and position, as well as instill fear into her would-be suitor. Now... on to today's show!
Warning: Today's tease includes tasty torture of the instructor. Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Perhaps my senses have dulled over the millennia,” Xantos began in the silken, soft voice that he knew would make the skin at Xandra’s nape crawl, “Or perhaps intelligence is no longer a requirement for instructors. I will have to confront the Guild’s board members about their criteria for tenure.” His eyes locked onto Budtrizz. “More of my time wasted upon sniveling animals. There can be no doubt, however, that respect and wisdom are not applied within this room.” Xantos pressed his fingers against the surface of the teacher’s desk. Budtrizz kept his composure, despite the beads of sweat trickling from his hairline. Xantos could smell the man’s fear reagrdless, and cared not. “One teaches first by example. A student that surpasses expectation is a prize rarely seen by those that instruct. A foolish tongue cannot aid its mewling owner after it has been torn from the mouth it calls home. Perhaps you, oh great scholar, have heard these pillars of truth?” Budtrizz nodded nervously once before attempting to stiffen his spine further and hold his head a little higher in defiance. The smile on Xantos’s face widened. “Let us take the rest of today’s lesson to concentrate on those first two truths. The third may be presented in today’s instruction.” “This is my classroom-” Budtrizz began. “Perfect,” hissed Xantos, his left hand rising suddenly and sliding in the air above the teacher’s splayed fingers. “We begin.” Budtrizz yelped in pain. His right hand attempted to clutch his left, and then flew away in reflex. The man looked at the scorched areas on the right hand palm: Areas that were precisely spaced and sized to the rings adorning the left hand fingers of their teacher. The metal of each ring on both hands was now glowing. The smell of burning flesh, strong and pungent, would be later reported by students and teachers alike from several classrooms away. Xantos knew the students present at this lesson would need no such details; the smell sank into their nostrils immediately following the glow of the metal, and would stay with them for days. Xantos remained unaffected by the smell and throbbing heat emanating from the myriad rings Budtrizz had decorated his fingers. The docelfar sprang from the desk, holding his arms wide as if preparing to embrace each child, his voice now the boom of a vengeful tyrant. “Today’s example, good students: How one’s vanity and pride may be turned against him! See how a simple application of heat transforms petty decoration into a useful instrument of torture.” He turned back to observe the teacher’s “progress.” Tendrils of greasy smoke drifted from each finger. Budtrizz had thrown his hands wide apart in front of him. His head was tilted back, screams from his open mouth cutting the air. Xantos leaned towards Segav, who was too fixated on the spectacle to notice. Grabbing the boy at one shoulder, Xantos pulled him closer to the writhing, crying figure behind the desk. He held the boy in place, and spoke to him in the calm, instructive tone of a teacher. “What do you say, boy? Do you feel educated by this man’s example?” Segav nodded, making a choking sound deep in his throat. Xantos knew at this closer distance, the smell of cooking skin was worse, pouring down the boy’s throat and threatening his breakfast with promises of an early dismissal. “Excellent. What enlightenment can you share with the class?” Xantos prompted, still talking in the same, calm voice. “Do… do not display your weaknesses to others. An enemy more powerful than you will turn them into weapons against you!” Segav choked out. Gods be damned, Xantos wondered, I could learn to tolerate this boy. Xantos pulled Segav back and turned him around. The horrified and stunned faces of his classmates would now encompassed the boy’s vision. Xantos watched as Segav looked for Xandra. She was the only one watching him. All other eyes were cast above him towards their new instructor, or beyond, to the horror that suddenly had fallen silent. “Shall we see if the teacher has been educated? Will he now lead by example? Has he taught all of you,” Xantos gestured to the class, “as his example has taught this boy?” Almost the entire class was looking eagerly, frightfully, towards the desk to see what new macabre lesson might be forthcoming. Weeping in tiny, childish sobs, Budtrizz was staring at his hands, which were now less than a foot away from his face. The rings, his treasured tokens of success, the declarations of his supposedly deserved respect, were all twisted into ruin, and barely recognizable. Clumps of melted gold, platinum and silver ran down and disappeared into skin, and most of the precious metals had been polymorphed into iron. Jewels that had sparkled and dazzled were now clouded or cracked. Budtrizz’s fingers, the skilled tools of a thief’s trade, were in front of the teacher’s eyes and he gawked at them as though they were possessions of another body. The digits in front of him were withered, stripped of flesh in some places; two fingers on each hand were now almost completely black. When Xantos leaned over the desk towards him, Budtrizz shrieked and sank back into his chair. “What think you, students?” Xantos asked. “Will the teacher be able to lead you in an example of showing respect?” “You… you will be accountable for this… this… outrage!” Budtrizz croaked in a voice that betrayed the dryness of his mouth. The sigh that issued from Xantos was exaggerated, meant to sound tired, resolved to some unpleasant task. It was completely false and Xantos could sense that a part of Xandra dreaded what would come next while another part, the part that he had long nurtured and coveted, waited anxiously to see what new lesson he would teach her. It was like sweet nectar to him. “I will expand your education further, children. I have displayed the properties of fire, the heating of metal, the price of arrogance without ability. Now, the lesson turns to magnetism!” Xantos lunged over the desk and grabbed the charred right hand of Budtrizz, slapping the damaged fingers and remains of jewelry against the instructor’s neck. Budtrizz managed a startled, strangled gasp. “You understand the basics of magnetism, yes?” Xantos queried the class. He looked to a small girl with straight copper hair and a nervous smile. “You, child, tell me your name, and what you know.”
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

For my Purgie Friends... and anyone else who stumbles across this blog, lol. Teaser Tuesday: Xantos turned his attention to the instructor, who had insulted both his great-granddaughter and the race of docelfar. Worse yet, he had insulted the lessons that he had personally taught Alixandra, the sole child whom he planned on molding into his heir. Each student watched the docelfar. He was, obviously, a member of the elves whispered about and rarely seen. Masters of deceit, treachery, and intrigue, they were rarely seen anywhere but in the Underground beneath the city of Fellhaven and the Great Forest. It was said the Great Forest was their territory and only those invited could enter and leave with their lives. It was unbelievable to many, Xantos had learned, that one from such a race would be standing within the Guild halls interrupting the class with such authority. Denying any of that race anything they desired was as wise an idea as ordering a dragon about: It frequently ended in the debater’s death. Orange eyes slowly traveled over the students pausing only briefly upon Xandra. When his eyes fell upon Segav, they narrowed slightly and a small frown pulled at the corner of his lips. Segav met the elder elf’s stare and held it. Xantos bowed his head slightly and the frown vanished as he turned his attention towards the instructor. The boy shows potential. Perhaps I should test him- it may prove amusing to see just how far he will go to earn my permission to court Xandra. Xantos thought as he studied the man who was now attempting to make himself more presentable, despite the melted silk that now clung together in charred lumps. A cold, cruel smile curled his lips as he moved into the room. Xandra shows great potential... but she needs more guidance. “Perhaps my senses have dulled over the millennia,” Xantos began in the silken, soft voice that he knew would make the skin at Xandra’s nape crawl, “Or perhaps intelligence is no longer a requirement for instructors. I will have to confront the Guild’s board members about their criteria for tenure.” The orange eyes locked onto Budtrizz. “More of my time wasted upon sniveling animals. There can be no doubt, however, that respect and wisdom are not applied within this room.” The long fingered hands of Xantos pressed against the surface of the teacher’s desk. The face, resembling ebony stone that had, horrifically, become animated, leaned close. Budtrizz kept his composure, despite the beads of sweat trickling from his hairline. The soft, silken voice drifted from the dreadful, smiling mouth of the docelfar lord. “One teaches first by example. A student that surpasses expectation is a prize rarely seen by those that instruct. A foolish tongue cannot aid its mewling owner after it has been torn from the mouth it calls home. Perhaps you, oh great scholar, have heard these pillars of truth?” Budtrizz nodded once, nervously before attempting to stiffen his spine further, and hold his head a little higher in defiance. The cold smile on Xantos’s face grew wider, more grotesque. “Let us take the rest of today’s lesson to concentrate on those first two truths. The third…may be presented in today’s instruction.”