Runaways · Short Stories · Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Into the Night

It’s a fun exercise to find motifs that appear often in a writer’s work, and I recently noticed that I have an attachment to the describing nighttime scenes in my stories. I’ve compiled a bunch of short excerpts from these WIPs to compare the different worlds in which they take place. Feel free to peruse the tags and categories if any of these catch your attention!

From Runaways:

A million twinkling stars hang in the dark sky. A galaxy of fireflies spots the clearing with dancing lights. The stone path continues before them, lined by late-seasoned wildflowers that grow as high as her waist. Garlands holding golden lanterns are spaced evenly along the way and draw the attention of diaphanous gossamer moths.

(later) They emerge into a glittering courtyard, paved with mother-of-pearl and reflecting the light of the waltzing stars. Garlands drape over the fluted stone pillars and drip with gemstones. Fountains spring from the center of the square, throwing fractal rainbows and silvery iridescent gleams to play off the walls. Hannah’s breath catches in her throat as she gazes at the spectacular sight, mesmerized by the moonlight.

From Storge:

The light of Illara filtered silver and violet through the Aral rings, illuminating the city with a soft hue. Clear skies let the starlight form spirals as it entered Laoche’s atmosphere, and Acheran spotted the constellation Chorer through the buildings. The “Crown of Heaven” and his sister’s namesake. Acheran made an armoe to it before soaring off. A cool wind carried him around the canyon effortlessly, and soon he reached sight of the Laine’s new home. A moment later, magic shocked through his wings, and he recognized a small figure huddled on the ledge next to the door.

From a Laoche Drabble:

The silhouette already sitting on the outlook nearly gave her a heart attack. The magic in Madelyn’s hand flared from a dim glow to a phosphorescent flash and she snapped into a fighting stance. “Who goes there?!”

The person whirled around, hands in the air. “Ighst, Madelyn! It’s just me!” Seth exclaimed. He put a finger to his lips. “Put that away before you wake up Radien. He’ll grouch at us for being up an about. 

Madelyn relaxed and let the magic fall away before joining him where he sat, legs dangling over the edge. “What are you doing up?”

“Stargazing.”

Madelyn hadn’t even noticed the sky. She looked up now, and her breath caught as she beheld the sight of the inky black coat of night speckled with hundreds of thousands of stars. The moon was gone tonight, leaving the sky scattered with the shining specks, like glitter spilled across a tablecloth. She’d read some astronomy books at school.

“…It’s amazing,” she whispered eventually.

“I’ve only seen a sky like this a few times before,” Seth said quietly. “Stephan took me on a sailing trip when we were younger. We couldn’t stray too far from the ports so people could keep an eye on us, but we snuck out one night on a small fishing boat and…”

His voice trailed off. He shook his head to forget the bittersweet memory, pointed into the air, and traced a constellation shaped like a group of pointy triangles.  “That one is Kaaran, the mountain maker.”

Madelyn searched the heavens, trying to find the picture he pointed out, with not much luck. “Did he teach you to sail and navigate?”

Seth nodded slightly but said nothing for fear of his voice cracking. Madelyn dropped her eyes and twisted the fabric of her skirts in her hands.

“I miss him,” she said softly. “He was a good friend.”

“The worst part is not knowing what happened to him.”

“We’ll find him,” Madelyn said, with a sudden intensity he’d never seen before. “I swear it on the stars.”

Seth gave her a soft smile and that was enough.

From Matter:

The Traveller’s grin drops, and for the first time, they look up, and see the spiraling endless universe in all of its warping, mirroring, orbiting. Their breath catches in their throat and the Keeper glows with a smug sense of satisfaction as they experience the wonder. The bottom of a black hole enjoys a beautiful view. Now silence hangs awkwardly between them, as the music of the orbits becomes audible again in the absence of the screams

(Matter is available on my mailing list and you can read it by signing up here)

To Light and To Guard

Marcia squinted into the fog and cursed the night. Roiling storm clouds obscured the clear light of the full moon, casting shimmering beams and warping shadows over the bog. Wind whipped her short, straight hair across her face. It stuck in the corners of her mouth whenever she took a panting breath and flicked into her stinging eyes. For the dozenth time in half as many minutes, she swiped it behind her ears, frustratingly aware that it was a futile effort. The sky hadn’t opened into a downpour yet, but the freezing mist clung to her clothes, her clammy hands, her eyelashes. Any other night, she could hear frogs croaking, birds crying, and the water rippling as turtles breached, but now, only the howling gale filled her ears. She gritted her teeth and stomped forward aimlessly.

Sea of Savage Stars

“The god placed the cycle in the sky as a warning and a memorial. To this day, the people of Sainha look at their constellations and describe it as a sea of savage stars.”

With that, Boreas extinguished the fire. Notos looked to the sky, letting their eyes adjust to the lack of light from the campfire. The dilation happened almost instantly, as if on command from their dragon’s physiology. Their rider felt their attention drawn by their dragon’s sense of direction and both looked into the depths of space. Delicate white lines formed in their vision, connecting distant solar systems into constellations, and outlining the skeletons of the doomed creatures.

“We must be careful flying through their battle tomorrow. It still rages in its new form,” Boreas said solemnly. “Now get some rest. You’ll need it.”


Thanks for reading! What time of day is your favorite? I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip or buying stickers on my Kofi. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Construction and Camaraderie

This is a 4101 word long excerpt from Storge Draft 2.5, in chapter 9. At this point in the story, Luca has earned a job with Acheran, displayed his magic in the arena, and practiced controlling his magic after his family goes into hiding in the Avian city. Meanwhile, Lyss, queen of the Atilan, has imposed city-wide curfews, manipulated the Avians into joining her side, and placed a ransom for Luca, while the Anarchists plot their next move. All the links go to those excerpts I’ve previously shared, if you want to catch up, but hopefully that summary should give you enough context for this snippet! If you aren’t familiar with the story, you should first check out the WIP page. I hope you enjoy reading!


Acheran solved his puzzle for the seventh time as the moon slid past the rings to mark the second half of the night. Only a lunatic should know how to tell the time by the slant of the beams through the ceiling door, but Acheran was all too familiar with this hour. He laid on his stomach so his wings formed a shadowy tent over him. Nimble fingers assembled the ball out of carved stone pieces and dropped it to the cushions in exasperation. In any other circumstance, the night would be a relief, a time when the world was quiet, and he had time to think and create in peace, briefly unrestrained from the demands of the day. He treasured the opportunity to fly in wide circles over the city and wander through the clouds as moonlight sliced through the moisture.

Stupid Atilan curfew.

Continue reading “Construction and Camaraderie”
Storge

After the Arena

This scene comes from Chapter 4 and shows the fallout from the attacks in chapter 2 from the villain’s subplots. Keenan is a unique side character who bridges the gap between the Atilan court and the ordinary Debilan that make up most of the city and poses a foil to Luca when they meet later in the book. This scene is his introduction! If you aren’t familiar with the story, you should first check out the WIP page. I hope you enjoy reading!


The guards stumbled on the battlefield as their targets vanished from behind their spears and attackers disappeared mid-blow. Keenan tripped over another guard and hit the ground with a grunt. On instinct, he pulled his shield over his head, but when no attack came, he cautiously lowered it again. The fallen soldier beside him groaned and pulled himself to his feet before extending an arm to his squad leader.

“Where’d they go?”

Keenan searched the area. The anarchists left glassy patches on the sandy floor of the arena where they stood. Scorch marks from their spells. What magic let them vanish without burning alive? No matter. They left. The fight ended. Now he had bigger problems to face. Spectators trampled each other to escape and piled against the locked gates. Dead bodies littered the two sections where the Atilan sat.

“It doesn’t matter! Get those doors open!”

The soldier armoed and ran. How many soldiers did he have left? Two unlocked the gates. The others recovered from the shock and made their way to him. At first glance, four fallen. Among the carnage stood Atala Lyss—one of the council and the highest-ranking lady among the Atilan and the city. Blood splashed her white dress, but whether it was hers or someone else’s, Keenan couldn’t tell.

“Captain!”

He spun to face her and made an armoe. “Are you injured?!”

“The others are. Remove the council to the palace infirmary. Where are the anarchists?”

“They’re not in the arena anymore. We don’t know how they escaped. A flash of magic and then-“

“Send someone for the investages so they can figure out what this means. What about the rogue fighter?”

“The one with wild magic? A Debilan boy, I think.”

“Where did he go?”

“I didn’t see. I was across the arena in spear formation with my squad. He probably escaped with the crowd after the anarchists disappeared and we opened the gates. I apologize, I thought it was for the best if- “

“No matter, you chose right. We will find him. Bring the injured Atilan to the temple for healing. They will receive treatment after the council. Later, we will send officials to identify the murdered Debilan.”

“Velis.” Keenan made his acknowledgment of her requests with another armoe and hurried to direct his squad.

Medics came with stretchers soon after, and he moved with them into the temple, where enormous statues of Daza and Nymbi glared down upon their worshipers.

What is this? Their eyes asked. A new sacrifice? We want more.

Continue reading “After the Arena”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Meet the Storge Side Characters!

I’ve done introductions for the main cast of Storge, links on the WIP page, but a year and a half into having this blog, finishing the draft, half rewriting the story, and re-writing half the story, it occurred to me you’ve never met the rest of the cast! It wouldn’t be an epic without a glossary of people to keep track of, right? Never fear, here’s a quick color coded reference: Gold characters are allies of my protagonists, friends and family members who don’t get their own POV. Purple characters are Atilan – the ruling class that oppresses the Laine’s religion and the Debilan population. Red characters are anarchists – rebels who seek to overthrow the Atilan and often hurt the Debilan in the crossfire. Blue characters are avians, usually the neutral party, who are unfairly pulled into the conflict. My goal was to create a believable world with realistic background actors who still felt like real people, and I hope you enjoy getting to know them today. So attempting to avoid spoilers, it’s high time I introduced you to the side characters of my high fantasy novel! (If you’re curious, my good friend Katie Koontz, who’s appeared on this blog before in an interview and in the gallery, drew the header image for today’s article)

Continue reading “Meet the Storge Side Characters!”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Sparring and Scheming

This scene comes from the 2nd draft of my epic fantasy book, Storge. This is a villain POV chapter from the middle of the book, when the anarchists are planning their next strike against the Atilan government. I thought it would be interesting to explore a dynamic in which an antagonist wasn’t just a lofty individual manipulating others, but truly believed in a twisted ideology with a group of trusted friends. As an introduction: Esil is one of two main villains and the ringleader of the group. Amika is their tank, Samoth is the logistics guy, and Divad is the spy. They’re best friends who commit arson and terrorism! If you aren’t familiar with the story, you should first check out the WIP page. I wanted to share a different fight this month, but realized I already posted it, so if you want to read The Arena, you can also find that here! I hope you enjoy the scene!


Two days after their greatest victory and greatest defeat, the new Master of the Anarchists fought for his life. At least, that’s how it always felt when he sparred with Amika. Esil ducked under a crescent kick, dodged the spinning backfist strike, and danced away from hook punch just before it collided with his temple. Shifting his footing, he countered with a strike to her ribs, and she flinched back as his palm made impact. He retreated to reassess. There was his opening.

Master, I wish you would focus.” Samoth’s exasperated admonishment dripped with sarcasm. If Esil wasn’t so focused on making this shot, he’d have rolled his eyes. He cocked his leg up and-

Crashed to the ground as pain cracked through his shin. Across from him, Amika hopped on one leg, rubbing her own shin where it clashed against his.

Continue reading “Sparring and Scheming”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Magic Practice

This scene is from Storge’s second draft, in chapter 9. The Laine family is hiding after Luca and Grace revealed their powers during The Arena Attack, which you can read here. 1100 words, no content warnings. I hope you enjoy this look into my magic system!


“Luca, what in all of Laoche’s Lands do you think you’re doing?” Grace asked, flinging open the door of the apartment. Luca jumped, dropping a metal knot with a clatter.

“Um.” He fumbled for the puzzle and tried to hide it behind his back, but she snatched the still-glowing object before he could pull it from her reach. It buzzed with the magic, warm to the touch, and she clamped her hands around it as if silencing a bell. The feeling transferred into her fingertips and arms, pins and needles that danced along her skin, a surge of life. Then it dissipated, and the metal cooled again.

“Enne noticed your practice,” she said, handing it back to him.

“Only Enne can hear the magic,” Luca protested.

“We don’t know that. Besides, Acheran feels magic with his wings. What’s stopping others from noticing too?”

Luca sighed. “There’s nothing else I can help with, and mom and dad won’t let me come find work with them. I’m bored out of my mind and I just thought…” He trailed off. He let his fingers idly dance over the puzzle’s edges, but didn’t release his power. “It was a stupid thought. I’m sorry. That could have put us in danger. I’ve worried Enne, haven’t I.”

“Annoyed, yes, worried, maybe. I don’t see any guards banging on the front door, do you?” Luca gave her a half-smile at that, and she sat cross-legged next to him. “What were you trying to do?”

Continue reading “Magic Practice”
Chatting · Storge · The Laoche Chronicles · Writing Advice

How I Make a Magic System

Today’s post is an in-depth break down of how I worldbuild the magic systems in my fantasy stories. I talked a little about Laoche’s magic in an earlier post about my process in general, which you can read here. But at request from @abalonetea (a good friend of mine who’s been on this blog a few times before, once in an interview, and once requesting a Trope Talk), I wanted to do a breakdown on how I come up with the idea for a magic system, how I develop it from the first concept, and how I go about breaking all the rules. I’m not going to pretend my method is the best or most efficient way to create a magic system, since it’s taken me nearly six years to piece together, but for what it’s worth, I hope you find this breakdown useful and interesting!

Continue reading “How I Make a Magic System”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

The Arena Attack

This month brings you a scene from the second draft of Storge, specifically the inciting incident in chapter 2. It is a fight scene, so content warnings for blood and two “on screen” minor character deaths. It’s 1470 words, so nothing tooo long. I’m super excited to share this with you since it’s one of my favorites and I’ve only ever shared isolated lines before, so please let me know what you think!


Every butcher, baker, farmer, tailor, merchant, laborer and beggar packed themselves into the cramped arena stands to experience the spectacle. Seldom did they see bloodshed beside their own, and they would not waste the opportunity for entertainment. Stuck as they were, Grace strained to see over the crowd. They held their breath against the stench of body odor and fish that baked into the air under the hot evening sun. Luca fought the urge to take off his long-sleeved shirt to cool off, but the sight of the Atilan viewing boxes made him think twice. He tugged the edges down over his wrists instead.

Venders hawked their wares to the crowd, hoping to make some extra money off the event by selling the oily, salty snacks of dried meat. The advertising cries drowned when the crowd rose in a sea of shouting as guards dragged the rebel Master onto the sand. He didn’t take arrest easily. Blood and sweat shone on his bald head and dripped down his bare, lash-scarred back. They chained his hands behind his back, but it didn’t stop him from straining against his bonds. It took three soldiers to force him to move. Jeers sounded as the people of the city unleashed their pent-up frustrations and anger.

The High Atil strode onto the raised dais that stood in the exact center of the arena and raised his hands for silence. Gradually, the crowd hushed and anticipation replaced the fervor. He sneered at the rebel leader and slowly stretched out his arm, pointing his index finger towards the ground.

Kneel.

Continue reading “The Arena Attack”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Storge’s First Scene

It was far too lovely a day for a riot, but not even the cool breeze flapping the fabric of the trader’s multicolored tents could prevent Luca from taking advantage the fact that there was, in fact, a riot. No one was quite sure who noticed the Atilan erasing and inscribing the new tax decree onto the massive slab of sandstone that served as the city’s news board. No one was really sure who started shouting obscenities first. No one was entirely sure when the Atilan threw magic into the gathering crowd. No one was completely sure how many Debilan they had injured. 

It mattered little now. The body of the Atilan messenger lay motionless in the street.

Luca ducked and dodged through the throng. Red-faced shop keeps chanted curses against their rulers for this new grievance. He fixed his eyes on the ground, searching for valuables dropped in the scuffle. A dull gleam of polished stone caught his eye. He snatched the prize and stuffed it into his satchel without stopping to check what he had found. 

As the Atilan guards flocked to the scene, Luca glanced up at the brief distraction, and so did the wealthy-looking merchant standing to his side. The shouts rose to a roar as workers charged onto the platform. The smells of blood, sweat, and anger hung in the air as the bodies pressed together. Someone stumbled into the merchant. Coins tumbled from the purse that sat in his open hand. Luca stooped to pick them up before the man could stop him and mumbled an apology. Shoving the newfound loot into his knapsack, he flipped the cover shut, escaped the crowd, and hurried along a twisting side road. Luca ducked under the outside staircase of an old tenement building, searching for any onlookers. Satisfied that everyone else was off protesting, he sprinted up the stairs and onto the flat roof.

A girl waited for him in the shade of a makeshift canopy, focused on the brouhaha below them. She was young, with ruddy brown and freckled skin and curly dark brown hair in a braid that reached her waist. Her simple dress had long lost its creamy white color, and it was torn from an old fight. When she heard Luca mount the stairs, she tore her attention from the seething crowd to look up at her brother.

“They attacked the Atilan!” she hissed. “Did you see that!?”

“Kills the mood, huh?” Luca beckoned his sister towards him, away from the edge of the roof. “I thought I told you to stay out of sight.”

“If riots are distracting enough that you’re safe to go stealing, then I’m sure I’m safe aaalllll the way up here, watching your back.” She glanced down at the street before moving closer to him. “Find anything good?”

Luca nodded and flopped down next to her as he dumped out the bag, pushing back his hair as it fell into his face. They pocketed the coins first, before sorting through the rest of the oddities. Grace occasionally looked to the street. With mages conjuring a wall of magic, the guards pushed the rioters out of the plaza. A couple lingered to watch them collect the messenger who stumbled to his feet, disoriented but not wounded. The watchers scattered when the largest of the three guards pulled his seax knife from its sheath. 

Grace frowned and turned her attention back to their work. “Most of this stuff is junk. Enne would probably like this button. Pretty pattern, and you can feel the texture. Does it match the ones on the frock she’s making?” She held the button up to the early morning light, and the shiny metal glinted in the sun. 

Luca shrugged in reply before handing her the stone he had picked up, eyes gleaming with hope. “What about this?”

As Grace took the pebble, her eyes widened in surprise. Her fingers shocked with magic, and she dropped the thing back into Luca’s hands like a hot coal. “A charm! Not a powerful one, so don’t let me have it. Where did you find that?!”

“A few paces from the shops. My guess is that one of the Atilan dropped it in the scuffle.”

“Do you think they’ll come looking for it? If we’re caught-“

“No. Look, it’s so small. They won’t miss it.”

Grace nodded in agreement, when a sudden loud voice interrupted from behind them. “I don’t suppose you were planning to return that?”

The two kids jumped, spinning around to face the newcomer. Perched on the edge of the roof was an Avian. They were bird-like people who lived in the canyon cliffs along the river, and this one was taller than most, standing at seven feet tall. Four huge wings folded behind his torso – two at the shoulders and two at the waist. The reddish-brown plumage that covered nearly his entire body, save the palms of his hands and face, mirrored the color of the clay dirt of the desert. He wore a vest and loose breeches with several pockets that seemed stuffed with all sorts of strange things. Belted around his waist hung a stained artisan’s frock. Another harness strung over his shoulder, between his wings, and around his hip so that it could hold a large assortment of chisels, hammers, and knives. He wore no shoes; his taloned feet curled over the ledge of the roof to keep him balanced as he hunched over the two kids with his hand extended for the charm. Solid bronze eyes with sharp black pupils set deep in a human-like face, squinted in anger. The feather tufts at his ears pressed back against his head.

Luca clasped the charm to his chest as dread and panic mounted. He shifted his weight onto his feet and braced himself against the stairs, ready to run. He pulled Grace to his side, not for her own protection, but for restraint. She snapped into a fighting stance, and had her hands balled into fists, though they stayed by her sides. Neither answered the question.

The avian seemed to notice their discomfort. He forced a smile and lowered his wings, as if trying to appear nonthreatening. Luca, still threatened, forced himself to smile back. The avian repeated his question. “Are you going to return that?”

If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip on my Kofi or donating using the secure box below. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$3.00
$5.00
$10.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Thank you so much for supporting my writing and publishing endeavors!

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly