Ruins of the Empire

So, little update on my plans for the future – I’m currently in the planning stages of a fantasy novel. I hope to have 20,000 words of it done by the end of November – it’s optimistic, but I think I can do it. Anyway, it’s a story about the return of magic to a world that, for a very long time, has only had the remnants of it. Here’s the prologue:


Once, long ago, there was a wizard. He was one of many wizards across the world, and had no special talent to distinguish himself from the rest of them. He lived a long and uninteresting life, but for one thing: that he discovered an unusual reaction between two spells, and dutifully noted it down in one of his journals.

Once, long ago, there was a wizard’s apprentice. She was one of three apprentices to her master, and was the most inquisitive and impulsive of the three. She lived a short and eventful life, but our story only concerns one thing which she did: that she was the one to inherit her master’s journals, and that upon finding this reaction she began using it in battle.

Once, long ago, there was a war. It was one of many wars between two countries, or perhaps merely the latest flaring of a single, very long war. It, too, is only related in small part to our story: that the wizard’s apprentice joined the war, and used her master’s discovery in it, and that this discovery quickly spread throughout all the battle-mages of her country.

Once, long ago, there was a mighty empire. It has more relevance to our story, but the main part of it is that it existed. That it existed, and it fell. For once, long ago, there was magic throughout the world, and now there is not.

Gotham Radio

I won’t let myself be discouraged! Instead, let me share my progress on one of the other, non-writing things I’m doing right now. To make a long story (that’s not entirely mine to tell) short, I have a script for a radio play framed as an episode of a Gotham City broadcasting network, which I wrote with the intention of recording with friends several years ago. Back then, it was never actually finished, but now I’m redoing it with other friends. I’m still editing it all together, but all the lines have been recorded and I’m making good progress, so it ought to be finished in a few weeks. For now, here’s a preview of it: one of Harvey Dent’s campaign ads as he runs for mayor.

Batman and all associated characters and settings, including but not limited to Harvey Dent and Gotham City, are the property of DC Comics.

The voice of Harvey Dent is Christian Menza. The voice of Bruce Wayne is Matt Peters. The voice of Commissioner Gordon is Chris Melka. Thanks to the residents of Keefe Hall for providing miscellaneous voices.

Family Trade Gone

You may notice that the Family Trade is no longer present on this site. Sadly, this is not due to any happy news, like it being slated for publication. Rather, I’ve taken it down in deference to wildbow, author of the incomparable Worm, who emailed me earlier today to complain about it being derivative. As I do have a Patreon (even though it hasn’t yet earned me any money) it could be seen as attempting to make money off of someone else’s work, and thus he was forced to ask me to take it down, lest he file a suit against me.

I make no attempt to deny Worm’s influence on me. It inspired me to actually take the half-formed ideas I had for Lunarstadt’s setting and characters and turn them into an actual story. It inspired me to use the web-serial format. It certainly inspired me with its Endbringers, which I have never denied were the inspiration for my Harbringers. However, I certainly didn’t mean to plagiarize anything. I feel absolutely terrible about the situation, and had therefore taken the Family Trade down.

I currently have no plans to rework the story as far as I’d have to in order to avoid being derivative. Therefore, I will summarize in brief the plot points that were to come:

  • Alex would not remain a hero. As was hopefully hinted at in the last several chapters, his true motivation for becoming one was to fight and to be part of his father’s world. This would truly strike him when the next Harbringer (Leviathan, who is not a tall monster that trails water behind it but is rather an enormous shark/wolf monster) attacks San Fransisco in Earth-A, and he can’t bring himself to go fight it. He joins the Metadome briefly, but is unsatisfied by fighting with rules, and after a great deal of turmoil he makes the decision to travel back in time and become…
  • Whitehatch. The identity of Whitehatch was to remain a secret up until Alex traveled back in time to become him, using tech he developed with Phil’s help. Alex, having traveled back in time, changes the past significantly enough as Whitehatch that his past self finds new resolve and remains a hero.
  • Before that happened, though, there would be more plot to do with the League of Dark Earth. Anansi is discovered to actually be the former Cobalt Red. After Cobalt’s mind was replaced with an amalgam of Arcturus, Dire Bear, and Shuriel, he became genderfluid, as both male and female personalities went into making him. Anansi was sent by Dire Bear to spy on the Lunarstadt Heroes League as best as he could. However, he is turned good through his association with Molly, Alex, and Kaz. This plot, with occasional interruptions by Whitehatch, would have taken up most of the time until Alex travels back in time.
  • Once back in time, Alex begins to secretly associate with the LHL. He reveals that Anansi is a spy but can be saved, and the LHL send him to be their own spy in the LODE. As part of the LODE Alex manages to convince Shuriel to also turn sides in time for Leviathan’s attack in this new, altered timeline.
  • This second time that Leviathan would be shown attacking, Dire Bear (having had Alex’s assistance this time around, while in the previous timeline Whitehatch was independent) is prepared for its appearance, and, with the remaining members of the LODE (including Alex) in tow, tracks it back to where it appeared in the ocean. They find a drifting portal, which leads from Earth-A to a completely new Earth.
  • Here, Dire Bear reveals his past – he’s from a third Earth, an Earth with super-powers from the very beginning of its history, and which was incredibly technologically advanced. I hadn’t yet worked out the details as this wouldn’t have happened for a very long time yet, but basically they were very warlike, and during one such war they had destroyed their moon. They stole a replacement from Earth-C, and covered the theft by placing Earth-A’s moon into a parasite universe which connected to both Earth-A and Earth-C. Shortly after this, they realized that there was still a faint connection between the three worlds, and they began sending super-weapons (the Harbringers) through, to prepare it for their invasion by trying to wipe out it’s native denizens. The reason that the Harbringers focus on normal people over powered people is because the powered ones have connections to various other universes and don’t appear to be ‘native’. 

     

     

    Other ideas included the possibility of Dire Bear being stranded and unable to return home, and his plan to do so ending up crashing a bunch of different universes together to a much greater degree than Earth-A and Earth-C had previously been connected. Specifically, this would be a crossover with the universe briefly glimpsed in Motael’s Escape, which I would have continued showing snippets of leading up to this happening.
    And that’s as far as I’d gotten in the vaguest of my planning.

Patreon update

I’ve changed up the rewards on Patreon (not that I have any supporters anyway) to something that I’m more likely to be able to do, since I never remember to update the chapter previews there. Instead, $5 a month can get you a cameo in The Family Trade, and $15 a month lets you commission me to write a short story for you.

So yeah. If you’ve got some money to throw around, feel free to throw it my way.

The White Heist

A couple months ago, I started planning and writing a story. I have since abandoned it, at least for the foreseeable future. Therefore, I am putting its wreckage up here.

The idea behind the story was that, similar to Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, a legendary figure is telling the story behind him, which doesn’t necessarily live up to the legend. The White Heist would have been the story of how the greatest thief in the land gained his reputation, with each chapter covering roughly the same events or information from the perspective of both the thief and the person he stole from. The idea was for it to be ambiguous exactly what really happened and who was in the right.

I had come up with what I think is a pretty unique magic system for the story, and I had planned out how it was to go. But I think I planned it out too well – one problem when I write is that once I’ve planned something out fully, I lose interest in actually writing it out. I’m avoiding that with the Family Trade by not planning things.

Anyway, here’s links to download what I have of the White Heist as a:
.epub
.pdf
.mobi

Dave is Still a Normal Guy

This story was recorded by Kadeu on Soundcloud!


Dave was on his way to the post office to pick up a care package his mother had sent him, when a dragon suddenly appeared and roared at him.

Dave stared at it for a moment. “Do you have anything to say, or are you just going to roar at me?” he asked.

The dragon roared again, this time a little uncertainly. So Dave roared back. “Raar!” he shouted at it. “See, I can roar too,” he said calmly. “It’s not impressive. Find someone else to roar at.”

The dragon blinked, apparently quite confused by Dave, and began to growl. So he slapped it on the snout. “None of that,” he said sternly. “Bad dragon! No growling.”

Now it was definitely confused. Faced with Dave’s unending calm, the dragon flattened itself to the ground, and after a moment, rolled over to expose its belly.

“No, I’m not interested in being your boss either,” Dave told it. “Just go bother someone else, I’m busy.”

The dragon kept baring its vulnerable belly for a moment, almost hopefully, then seemed to resign itself that Dave wouldn’t be cooperating, and slunk across the street to roar at another passerby.

Dave, meanwhile, continued on to the post office, where he declined to accept delivery of an ancient magical artifact, ignored the pleas of the young woman who had taken the place of his reflection in the bathroom mirror, and convinced a mysterious old wizard that he was still looking for someone else.