The Paladin and the Demon 1

Above is the working title for my sixth book. I’ve started it and am having a tough time getting going. Some of my books I was able to write twenty pages in a few days, others take months to get started. I have so many things that happened between books 5 and 6 that I have a tough time narrowing it down. I guess I’ll just try writing and then see what to keep. I want to be perfect when I do things but this isn’t the way writing works so I’ll just keep plugging slowly away.

Enchanting Family

The family had been in Hot Springs for only seventeen days when the two parents noticed that the twins were keeping to their selves instead of including their new sister. Stephanie had helped with blessing a few items and telling some prophecies when she received them but still she had been left alone much of time. She did have school lessons with her sisters and spent time with her new mother, learning to cook and take care of a home.

The main issue was that Dea and Carie would, without realizing it, leave Stephanie out. Their parents had to keep them aware of what they are doing and how they treat others. It took over a moon before the three youths changed, becoming more thoughtful and open to helping others. Both Dea and Carie came to understand that their positions required them to think of their charges first but Stephanie was not allowed to stay self centered. Even though she had spent her life serving, her gift lent her to pride. Her new parents guided her to understand that she needed to be humble since she was given a gift, not that she had grown a skill.

After one moon the enchanters decided to create a holy symbol of Eim to see if having their magic and the blessings of a paladin and seer would make it better able to focus faith. One of the things they had to figure out was how to create a tool to magically measure faith. The first thing they tested was Dea’s faith through her normal holy symbol. Only after the test was successful did they create the symbol, a side ways eight symbol, out of pure iron and had the seer and paladin bless the molten metal. Once the symbol was shaped, the two young ladies blessed the finished work of art again while the enchanters cast spells to boost magic and increase its absorption into the metal. They finally sealed all the magic and let it sit for a day to cool and finalize.

The next morning Dea took the symbol and prayed at their measuring instrument. It showed her faith output at twice what it was with her original symbol. She was given the symbol (since no one else could use it anyhow) and they made two more to refine the process. For her help they made Stephanie a necklace that could help protect her. Carie was given a ring to help her enchant better.

Character creation and development

Let me take a moment and review Thor’s myths. First there was the myth where he had to solve his problem by walking around a river. The rest of his myths are just variations on a single theme/solution: Thor hits the problem with his hammer until it stops being a problem.

It’s interesting to me that such an iconic character has almost no character. I thought about this for a while and have come to a conclusion about why this deity with very little personality has become so popular in both literature and movies, he is mostly a blank slate. You (the writer) can do nearly anything with him you want and it won’t really break the lore as long as he solves most of his issues with force. Even I have put him, tangentially, into my stories.

The Village

(This story occurs after the attack on Ralton in The Paladin and the Pirates)

The queen called Jay and Chell into her throne room only two days after Kalf and C left. She asked them to travel to the south west and see what happened to a small town. This was a special place, a small village dedicated to tournament games, where many citizens from all over the empire visited. She wanted to see if it had been spared destruction or if something had happened.The couple arrived the next day just before the sun reached its apex and rode into the small hamlet. Chell immediately noted that there was no one in the streets. Jay had not thought about it until then but acknowledged that she was right. The paladin pulled his holy symbol out of his clothes to protect them against hostile undead. They progressed more slowly into the town center.

Jay dismounted and helped his lady down to tie the horse up before they entered the center of the village. They visited each store, workshop, and tavern to see if they could find any clues. The pair found many sets of clothes laying around the ground when they entered each building. They started at a glass blower’s workshop, finding a half finished vase in the kiln. The bard found the artistry amazing but was very unnerved by the lack of any other people. They continued to the woodworkers, then the vintner’s, a clothier’s shop, a quilter’s, a few food shops, and finally a blacksmith shop. The metalworker’s shop had two smelters, three forges with anvils and tools, with a full etcher’s station to make the functional weapons and armor into true works of art. The pair even found a few taverns and inns, all empty except for some clothes and personal items on the floor.

By the end of the day they were exhausted, having been on their guard all day, so when they found the main house they were ready to sleep. They walked through the main doors into a massive hall, running both directions from the center of the building. Each room entrance was decorated for the season creating a path of beauty. The pair found a beautiful suite with two rooms out of the over two hundred guest rooms in the manor.

Jay setup holy symbols over the doors and windows in their room to protect them from any undead that might be in the building then allowed Chell to take the main bedroom. They slept fitfully, waking at any little noise, but nothing disturbed either of them all night long. The couple woke with the sun, dressed, met in the common area of the suite, packed everything into Jay’s backpack, then exited into a ghost in the hall. It looked at the pair but didn’t move to attack or even threaten them. She was a sad looking woman wearing a fancy dress, she appeared to have been a noble lady.

“Hello.” Chell said with a nervous smile.

“Hello. What are you doing here?” The spirit asked.

“The queen asked us to check on this village. She was worried that the evil monsters who attacked the capital may have destroyed multiple towns to gain undead soldiers.” Jay answered.

“We were hoping we might be able to help.” Chell added, elbowing her companion.

“There isn’t anything left for you to do. They destroyed everyone.”

“Can I ask your name? I’m Chell and this is Jay.”

“I am Sofinia. I am pleased to meet you.”

“How are you here and hadn’t been conscripted by the vampire mages?” Jay asked.

“This is my home. They couldn’t overcome my connection to this building. I’m now stuck here, I can’t leave at all.”

“Are you willing to move on? I can ask Eim to free you from being tied to this world, letting you move on if you want.” Jay replied.

“I can’t leave my home untended. I just can’t.” She fretted. “I would like to also check on the other places in the village however.”

“I’ll ask for you.” Jay prayed quickly, asking Eim to allow her to travel the village. “Let’s try to go outside now.”

They headed to the front door and headed outside. Jay exited first with Chell and Sofinia walking together. The ghost was able to cross the threshold and exit into the village. The three walked around the town, giving her their thoughts about what happened. It was heartbreaking for the spirit, silver translucent tears falling down her face and vanishing just a bit above the ground.

“Everyone’s gone. I hope most escaped.” Sofinia pined.

“So do we.” Chell agreed. “What will you do now?”

“This is my home. But can you please help me clean it up? Take all this stuff away.”

The couple agreed and began putting all the items left on the ground in the paladin’s backpack. They collected clothes of all styles, sizes, colors, and genders. They picked up multiple weapons, tools, purchases, and walking sticks. It took them most of the morning but the streets, shops, and halls were clean when they stopped for their mid day meal. They ate with Sofinia floating nearby, conversing pleasantly. They finished with an admonition.

“Sofinia, the Queen may send some people to live here, could you please let them?” Jay asked.

“Yes. I’d like to see my home filled with laughter and life again.”

The spirit then guided them to the upstairs library. They were amazed that the massive collections of books and scrolls existed outside of a royal castle or university. Sofinia then pointed toward a book called ‘The History of Whittling’ and told them to take it off the shelf. When Jay pulled it, the bookcase swung open to reveal a full apartment. The couple entered and looked around for a time until the ghost spoke again.

“This was my room. It’s yours now. You’re welcome to keep some clothes here if you would like or you can wear mine.”

“If I put them on, they will change. I have a curse on me.”

“It’s alright. They’re yours if you want them.”

“Thank you, that’s so kind.” Chell answered.

The rest of the day they relaxed in the apartment, talking with the spirit and each other. The three spoke of the past and even the possible futures until Jay and Chell left for the capital the next morning.

The Paladin and The Princess

I thought I might share a passage from my fourth book, The Paladin and The Princess. I hope you both enjoy it.

Chell woke with teary eyes, a heavy heart, and empty bed. The room was opulent and instantly reminded the bard she was in the queen’s castle and one of her oldest and best friends had been kidnapped. She wished Jay had stayed the night with her but he had to remain pure, so she was alone. Even though she had just woken, her hair was perfect, her face had no wrinkles and her hazel eyes were bright, in spite of her sorrow. Waking up ready for the day was the one blessing of the curse she had taken on herself to save her friends. She dressed quickly and went to find her fiance.

She didn’t have to go far since he was was outside her room, alert and sitting on the floor, patiently waiting for her to exit, to be there for her. He quickly stood when her door opened and she froze for a brief moment before hugging him and resting her head on his chest. He wrapped her in his arms, gently kissed her forehead, and held her until she pulled away. They stood in the hall for a while.

“Thank you.” She whispered.

“For what? I’m yours to the end, through the good and bad. I promise I will do everything I can to rescue Ivona. She’s my friend too.”

Chell kissed him deeply then took his hand and walked with him to the private royal dining room. The sun was only just beginning to peek over the horizon when they entered the room. The queen was already there with a plate of morning foods. She looked up, smiled weakly through puffy eyes, and motioned for them to sit with her. Plates were brought for the couple immediately.

“Thank you both again for agreeing to find my daughter.” She said kindly. “Is there anything you can think of that might help?”

Writer’s Block

This is, in truth, the first time I can say I’ve had true writer’s block. For me this looks like being able to envision the next step in my character’s travels but not being able to write it the way I want. I am trying to construct a fight scene, epic and massive, but am finding it hard to keep at it. I’m not sure I have ever written anything like this before and so it’s very new and very draining.

On the other hand new, hard tasks are often ways to build new skills and character. It forces me to expand my self to accomplish the goal. I hope it is worthy of my vision for the characters and story. It helps to type out my thoughts here.

Decisions, Decisions

I have two books I am working on now. The fourth book in my series, The Paladin and the Princess, is complete but needs to be edited. The fifth book, The Paladin and The Soul, is in progress. I also have another idea for a book based on the Japanese story concept of iseki, someone from one world being pulled into different one to save it from a threat (see the Rising of The Shield Hero if you want to understand the concept more). I’m torn between the three.

It’s difficult to decide because the fourth book has some scenes I really loved writing and enjoy reliving them. The fifth book is a far different setting, pulling together some elements from previous books while revealing new locations to their world. Finally, the new book would twist the normal concept of iseki, creating something unique. I don’t have a favorite or an answer but I’ll just go with what strikes me at the moment, probably pushing the new book off until later.

Four and counting.

I have been editing book four but it’s not going well. Mostly because I also am writing book five and everything tends to get muddled. I wish I had more organized thoughts but I’ve had times where I start thinking about how I want my story to progress and end up thinking about how I can find out which mattress would be best when we are ready to buy a new one. It seems to be a discipline problem but when I think back, I have always been a bit scattered.

There are times I’ve enjoyed it and used it, when helping to create plays and skits for example. As I grow older it seems to be more problem than blessing, but maybe that’s just the world’s view and I have learned to see more viewpoints. It reminds me of the phrase: The wise man always doubts, knowing he knows little, the fool is sure he knows it all. But that may just be more conceit too.

Another project – Garden Table

I found a long piece of treated 2×4 in my back yard the other day near a compost box made of flat 1×5 planks. I was going to burn the box and board with the vast quantity of sticks and branches that had fallen down over the years before we purchased the house. Don’t do this inside, they can give off toxic fumes but outside I figured it would be alright, but then inspiration struck.

I measured the boards and then designed a table 36″ high, 36″ wide, and 30″ deep. I wanted to add a lower shelf and backboard on the surface but I didn’t have enough wood. It didn’t take too long to assemble and I enjoyed doing it. My wife even thinks it looks better than she thought it could be (and so did I). It holds well and if I find more wood, I’ll use it to make my bottom shelf.