Ashe Elton Parker

Snippet from “The Regent’s Choice”

November 12, 2017 in User Posts

My creative mind has been in what for it this year is overdrive, and this is a snip from my most recent new project. I’m three scenes in, and this bit is from scene two, my favorite scene so far. I’m going to clean this up a bit in later edits when I’m further into the wip and probably sprinkle bits of the information dropped in this scene into appropriate spots later on. I’ll tell you this: One of the things I love writing is scenes of affection between characters, no matter their sexual orientation, and they almost always turn out to be my favorite scenes in any project of mine. This is one such scene for my point of view character, Alethea.


After the last wisps of the nightmare faded away, leaving the wisps of her angels drifting in the corners of her eyes, Alethea twisted to pick up her little clock and set it back down after disabling the alarm. Just before four in the morning. As good a time as any. Still, she gently prodded Odonnis with reluctance.

“Donnis. Wake up.”

Really, she shouldn’t have let him stay so long. Servants would be in the corridor at this hour. She’d probably have to put spells of invisibility and silence on him before he left. A “waste” of power, but, as usual, she didn’t care. Piar had taken so much, the least She could do was let Alethea have the little joy of sharing her bed with her lover all night. If the alarm hadn’t been about to ring, she’d have snuggled into the blankets and wrapped herself around Odonnis for a little morning happiness.

When he only made a soft groan—not awake at all—Alethea gave her lover a harder shake. “Donnis. If you don’t go now, you won’t be able to avoid people.”

Odonnis groaned again, this time more loudly, and rolled over to hook his right arm around her waist, his elbow dipping into the space she’d made in her lap. He nuzzled her thigh, his stubbly chin and cheeks gently scraping her skin, and murmured nonsense sounds of protest. Softened by his behavior, she combed her fingers through his mostly-grey hair, her fingers catching in his curls. One year away, two more separated from him by that awful indoctrination. How had she ever lived so long without his love in her life? She thanked—not Piar—but she thanked whatever higher power had brought them together again that second time. Oh, she’d never wish him through the pain and depression he’d experienced when his younger daughter died, but she was still glad, in a deep, secret part of her heart, that his wife had disregarded him so in her own grief. Ciriah Tiaser, in her grief, had given Odonnis and Alethea a greater happiness than either of them would ever have had if they’d been left to live their lives without one another. The woman hadn’t deserved to die so young. Only thirty-nine.

“You must return to your quarters, dear.” But Alethea continued combing her fingers in her lover’s hair.

He bit her. She slapped the back of his head in retaliation for the gentle bite, and he rolled his head so he faced her abdomen.

“Oh, must I?”

“It’ll be challenging enough for you to get to your bedroom without your daughter noticing as it is, even with my spells to aid you.”

He grunted, pressing his forehead against Alethea’s thigh. “You’re right. By the Eternal Balance, why must she rouse every cursed servant in our apartment?”

But Odonnis pushed away from Alethea and rolled over to sit up. She leaned over to press a kiss to his back and then shifted to put her own feet on the floor as he rose. While he dressed in his previous evening’s clothing—messily—she donned her robe and lit the lamps around the bedroom. Together, each holding a lamp, with their hands clasped between them, Alethea and her lover moved through her chambers’ main room and to the front door. After sharing a lingering kiss that promised more when a better opportunity arose, she quickly flicked her fingers in the Signs that cast her spells of invisibility and silence upon him. To her eyes, a pale white glow filled the space where he stood. He opened the door, left it hanging wide, and swiftly departed in utter silence, leaving his lamp on the table beside the door, placed there for just that purpose. Performing her half of this morning ritual, Alethea grabbed the edge of the door and poked her head out into the corridor. In the shadows, she couldn’t see her spell, and her partial appearance startled a young servant bearing a basket before the girl averted her eyes.

Snippet From “Heirs of the Crystal Throne”

June 30, 2017 in User Posts

This is a new story I’ve been working on recently. I started reading one of the books on my TBR list on Wattpad, and it inspired this new story. Some background: Joyon is the POV character in this scene, one of the MCs. He’s come to the City Guard post near where he lives in response to a friend’s warning that the Guard were looking for him. I must have read over the scene where this snippet is a dozen or more times since writing it, and this interaction between the two post guards always makes me laugh.  In the hierarchy of guards and policing forces of Esataria, the corporal outranks these two City Guards by virtue of his service in the Palace Guard; by the same virtue, a Royal Guard, even of lower rank, would outrank Corporal Zash. This isn’t official, but it’s how such things function for these people, and the reason behind why the corporal isn’t already there. There’s some mild profanity in this scene.


“Wait a moment.”

Dreading the immediate future, Joyon watched the guard rise and go to a little barred window in the wall opposite the entrance. A door hung in the same wall, also made of bars, but it seemed to block a corridor piercing deeper into the large round building. The guard rang a bell against two bars on the right side of the window. Silence. Not a sound except Joyon’s breathing and that of the guard, who rang the bell again. Another protracted period of breathing silence, then the guard, evidently fed up with the wait, inhaled a deep breath.

“Wath! I know you’re back there! I can see your hunching shadow peeking out on the floor. Get your ass up here, I need to verify the identity of that mage Lady Ivena wants!”

Somewhere in the depths of whatever chamber lay beyond the barred window, the feet of a wooden chair scraped against the slate floor. “I was in the middle of a spell!”

Clearly unperturbed by the speaker’s irritation, the watch guard only jangled the bell again, ringing out the pattern to a popular jig as he spoke in tandem, “Get-your-bot-tom-out-here! Im-por-tant-bus-i-ness! Do-you-want-the-King’s-own-guard-on-you? I-will-sum-mon-Cor-por-al-Zash!”

Joyon couldn’t determine just which portion of the watch guard’s reply worked so well, but another guard appeared with silent promptitude on the other side of the bar-window in response to it. Flicking an irate glance at Joyon, this new guard scowled.

“Did you bring the corporal’s missive?”

The new guard, apparently the post’s mage, thrust a balled up paper between two of the bars. “There! Now leave me alone!” One last angry glance at Joyon, and the guardsman disappeared into his chamber again.

“It’s against regulations to practice personal spells while on duty!”

“Stuff it up your ass!”

Chuckling, the watch guard returned to his desk as he unknotted the wadded pages. One page, which he set aside, was apparently just a note of some sort, written in script too perfect to be anything other than a scribe’s. Curious, Joyon edged closer to the desk to try and read it, but all he was able to quickly puzzle out was the name at the bottom: Lady Ivena Alamey. Though he didn’t quite recognize the first name, Joyon definitely recognized her last name. What did the royal family want with him?

As the finale of unknotting the other page, the watch guard pressed it as flat as possible against the surface of his desk. “Kneel here.”

Mystified, Joyon knelt where the guard pointed, directly opposite the guard in front of his desk.

“Lean forward.”

He did so, trying to see what was written on the wrinkled page, but the guard moved the lamp on his desk to stand between the page and Joyon’s view of it. For several breaths, he stared at the page, then he shifted the lamp to stand close to Joyon’s face, and stared. Raised to look directly into people’s eyes, Joyon tried to meet the guard’s gaze, but the man moved the lamp to the page again. This happened several times over the next short while as the guard’s brow furrowed.

“Blasted mage. Wath, come flatten this page!” The watch guard stood up and stepped back over to the window.

“No!”

“Practicing personal spells again?”

Flat silence.

“I’ll tell Corporal Zash that your actions directly impeded our task!”

Once again, Guardsman Wath just appeared at the barred window without making a sound. He plucked the wrinkled page from the watch guard, murmured a word as he snapped the page once as though it was a bit of fabric, then passed it back. “There. Happy?”

“Ecstatic.”

The mage disappeared as silently as he’d appeared as the watch guard sat down with the now perfect page. Not waiting to be asked again, Joyon held his chin over the top of the guard’s desk. This time the staring process went much more quickly—and successfully.

 

Snippet from “Brother Exile and Brother King”

December 2, 2016 in User Posts

One of my Nano wips is a new project, Brother Exile and Brother King. It’s set on a brand-spankin’-new world. I spent about a week or so on this project in Nano and it now comes in at around 31k. This is a little bit of MC Il Aleano’s first meeting with a representative from his estranged brother.


For the first short while, they gazed at each other over Pakyk’s desk; Il Aleano wasn’t willing to start this unwelcome conversation. The visitor had an unlined face, too young to be an official in his brother’s Court. So, quite possibly this was a mage come to speak to him. A steady grey-eyed gaze stared into his own dark eyes. Made rather untidy by the day, this stranger’s curls were flat and stretched so they hung around his head, the ends curling under his brow. His skin wasn’t the perfect pale golden-brown of someone who’d lived for a lifetime in a thickly-walled palace, but it wasn’t anywhere near as dark as Il Aleano’s own skin was. No cosmetics adorned this man’s face, though here in the Red Desert, sweat tended to make such decoration a mess after a few breaths under the blazing sun, and Il Aleano recalled quite clearly that this Court official from his home had stood for at least a good shift of the sun staring at him from an unshaded spot across the street from the brothel. Small silver earrings hung from the An Asri official’s lobes, made into the shapes of cats’ heads with bright green gems for eyes.

In attire, the official wore a stark black laruna, or over robe, with only a bit of red trimming the edges and shoulder seams. A black leather belt with a wrought-iron buckle, set with a faceted red gem—probably glass—cinched his robe to the man’s waist, and red cord knots-and-loops extending from spirals closed the front. The sleeve hems of his somehow still-white orale that covered the backs of his hands bore simple black stitches done in lines parallel to the edges; the under-robe’s collar matched. Rather austere, in Il Aleano’s opinion, who was accustomed to much more ornately decorated garments and accessories. Then again, they all couldn’t be nobles. Either this man didn’t wear any headdresses at all, or he’d abandoned them at some point on the journey. It probably would have been stark black, trimmed with just a little red, if he had worn one.

Finally, shifting as though made uncomfortable by Il Aleano’s steady gaze, the stranger spoke. “Your Highness, I am Vizier Ser Honu Itanther. Your brother has sent me to invite you to return home.”

Instead of replying, Il Aleano tipped back in the chair until he met its back. His heart suddenly hurt. There had to be some reason behind this. No matter what else, he couldn’t believe Ria Sul wished to reconcile with him. “What need could he have of me?”

“He regrets his parting words to you and longs to speak with you about the issue that has divided you these past almost twelve years.” A loud swallow punctuated Ser Honu’s statement as his gaze dropped to some unknown point on Pakyk’s desk.

This gave Il Aleano a marginal bit of privacy in which to recover. He took a few deep breaths, wishing his head would stop spinning without him. So his brother did wish to reconcile? Much as he longed to, he didn’t reach up to grip where his sash crossed over his chest, though his heart beat heavily. When the lightness faded a little, sense returned, and he eyed his visitor suspiciously.

“There’s more to this invitation than you’re telling me.”


I’ll leave you to ponder what more there might be to this invitation to reconcile.

First (Soft) SF Ideas in Over 20 Years

October 18, 2016 in User Posts

I’ve only ever written soft Science Fiction, when I have written it. I actually never expected to return to it beyond my world of Chraest which is essentially Fantasy set on an alien planet already inhabited with a native intelligence (things do not go well for humanity when they first arrive). But now I have a more “pure’ SF univese developing in my mind.

The basis of this new universe comes from a prompt from Justin’s Exercises on the FM board. It suggested presenting a random character with a drug that would allow them to see an accurate future, while making that drug highly addictive. I immediately expanded upon this and came up with a number of drugs that give humans various temporary “magical” abilities. It is addictive, and has debilitating side effects. Like any drug, consistent use causes the user to develop a kind of immunity to its positive effects–until all that’s left is death from overdose as the user swallows a fistful of the little pills in order to attempt to get even a hint of the positive effects and simply ODs as a result.

I have two character concepts. The first character I conceived was of a “status” called a Recruiter. This person actively hands out a free sample of the drug to hook a potential “client,” who of course then returns for more of the drug. Depending on the particular “magical” ability of the pill they choose, the Recruiter will then offer them unlimited access to the drug–for a price. Slavery. My Recruiter story, should I ever get enough behind it to write it, will follow one Recruiter from their initial acceptance of the job of Recruiter through undergoing a change of heart and stopping dealing–with consequences.

The second idea, which I’ve been working on a lot since starting work on this new SF universe, involves an Independent Investigator. An II is basically a PI with plenipotentiary powers provided by the local police force for assisting in investigating crimes the police either have had difficulty solving, or have no particular interest or drive to investigate. Mat’s story is a dark and grim one. Xe becomes hooked on the drug, generally called Boost, which a Recruiter (dealing drugs for their own money on the side) introduces xem to, in the first book. The series will follow Mat through a number of murder cases as xe gradually slips deeper and deeper into addiction and the difficulties that causes. Xyr only chance of survival is the husband xe abandoned ten years ago, who hunts xem down to rebuild their relationship. There are Reasons why Mat left xyr husband, and his presence only complicates xyr present as xe tries to hide xyr addiction from him. I’m looking forward to writing the first book!

It may even turn out to be my Nano novel this year, though I’m not hoping for that too hard. LOL

Backstory Brainstorming = New Story

September 24, 2016 in User Posts

Several days ago, @chaos helped me brainstorm the social “reforms” a country in my current wip institutes during a period of peace. All this brainstorming was background to a trilogy (Gossamer) that I’d like to write on this world, not necessarily meant for any use beyond giving a history of the peace and the reasons behind it. But, I distinctly recall saying at the time something along the lines of, “A story will come of this.”

The basics of what I brainstormed was that the God of the country went along with the peace treaty because his Wife nudged him to, but he was never really satisfied it. Over the duration of the peacetime (about 10 or so years), he restructures his society in hopes of making things easier on his people’s soldiers.

Only men can be soldiers in his land.

So what he does is lift some ideas from his Children’s land. He decides to heavily encourage polygamy, much as he dislikes it, in order to encourage his soldiers to marry and, more importantly, have offspring. What’s he lifted from his Children’s society? For widowed mothers, he offers, for the duration between their marriages (it is assumed they’ll remarry), a stipend and shelter. But he doesn’t want them remaining single–doesn’t want single mothers. Motherhood is highly honored among his people, always has been, but not single motherhood. Not sure what the penalty was before the changes, but I’m fairly certain they haven’t changed with the new social structure, if they haven’t been worsened.

Tonight, I got the beginnings of the story I expected from all this brainstorming. I have the MC and his situation as the story opens. But that’s it so far. I’m sure, over the next few days/weeks, I’ll figure more of it out. In the meantime, I’ve started a notes file for the story in Scrivener.

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