Friday, April 29, 2016

Feidlimid MacSwinith, Immortal Entertainer

Hijacking my own blog to post a quickly-devised character for the Katanas & Trenchcoats system, which is currently in the last few days of a successful Kickstarter campaign. What? You haven't backed it yet? Go check it out now! Both myself and Corey Reid are going to be writing for it, along with a host of others. 

Anyway, here's my verrrrrrry long intro story. Notes at the bottom if you don't have the time.

Even back here in her dressing room she could hear the crowd chanting her name, calling for her with a hunger they weren’t even aware of. Different monikers, different stages, different eras – it didn’t matter. Many sought the spotlight. Some were able to cast a brief shadow. A lucky few remained long enough to bask in the glow, to feel the kiss of adoration, even for just a moment in the grand scheme of things.

Feidlimid MacSwinith was the damn spotlight. She always had been and damn well planned to continue to be so, although that was becoming . . . tricky. Right now all was well, as evidenced by those screaming her name. Faith . . . Faith . . . Faith. Not as catchy as some of her previous identities, but far less likely to get her burned at the stake again. Sure, faking religious visions and leading the French against the English at Orleans may have seemed to be the role of a lifetime, but she’d only agreed to do it because (XX) had insisted. While she preferred to follow her own path one did not refuse a direct order from the head of House Orphis without fear of retribution. Being burned alive had hurt, though, and her relationship with her house - her former House – had become strained, to put it mildly. Nothing that having (XX)’s head on a platter wouldn’t mend, though. Not that she hadn’t tried. Staying in the public eye appealed to her for many reasons, not the least of which was that her continued existence was undoubtedly sticking in (XX)’s craw. Sooner or later it would be too much to ignore and scores would be settled, once and for all. In the meantime – spotlight.

Faith Eternal examined herself in the massive mirror before her, the harsh lights failing to uncover much in the way of flaws. She looked good for someone born in the ‘70s – 874 B.C., to be exact. Dabbing on rouge always reminded her of war paint instead. Blood, too. A brief chuckle surfaced at the thought of herself as a ‘Milesian,’ the ignorant fiction of those determined to insert their god into her narrative. Aye, but there’s a grain of or two of truth sprinkled in among the dung, is there not?

She bit her lip and took a deep breath, willing back the tears that threatened to make an appearance. She would not think about them. She would not dwell on her, on the lilt of her laugh, on the mischief in her eyes, on the ballad she closes every show with that’s an homage, an invitation. She will not brood on him, on his scent in the morning, on his grace and agility, on his betrayal, on his expression, the final one, the look of incredulity he bore as she separated his head from his neck. A twitch of her hand brought the weapon guilty of the deed to her hand. Not a pretty blade, in no way elegant, dinted and scarred yet bearing edges so sharp they could make the very air bleed. Hers since the day she woke up at the bottom of a cliff with a ringing headache and a hunger for vengeance. His first husband had thought the rough side of her tongue was the most cutting thing about her. Learned the hard way, that one did.

They always underestimated her. It was something she had learned to depend on, to use to her advantage. The banshee who didn’t think Faith could sing her down, couldn’t show her what real keening was? Her power still flowed through Faith’s veins, the prize from a combat Faith hadn’t really understood but had won anyway. A battle so epic it required a recuperative nap spanning the better part of a decade – but what was time to her? A construct that didn’t matter, an abstract without meaning. These brief mortals, so eager to sip from the glory of experiencing her. Had she not given some of the greatest performances in history? Trod the boards of the Globe – that fool who wrote Shakespeare in Love may have benefitted by stumbling over one of her lost journals but at least had the common sense – or raving ego – to claim the idea as one of his own creation. Those within her House were aware that another Orphite had been behind the whole Jesus Christ thing, but it would have been her role if there wasn’t going to be so many topless moments. Bloody Romans and their crucifixions. She’d been there as an apostle, though, her disguise solid to the end. 

She paused while drawing in laugh lines, the rare entertainer trying to add years, to take out a tattered remnant of a blanket, the fabric all but a ghost by now. The wool was coarse and crude, yet softened by time and memory. Made in a simpler time, part of a dowry for a bed that needed no extra warming in the beginning. After a moment she tucked it away again, making sure there was nobody else around to see it. All these damn cameras, at first a blessing and now a plague. The speed and accuracy with which information was gathered and shared these days was a major concern, especially since her test had confirmed what she feared – face-altering plastic surgery was ineffective, her body ‘healing’ the changes much as it would any other damage. How long would she be able to be in the world’s eye before someone noticed that Faith Eternal didn’t age? Even if she went away and managed to stay out of the public eye for ten years, twenty years, even a hundred, no matter how much she changed her look, dyed her hair, sang opera instead of pop – it wouldn’t matter. They’d know her and there would be questions. Besides, she could no sooner dampen her artistic flame than pull the very Sun from the sky. No, this was a problem, a serious problem . . .

Faith . . . Faith . . . Faith . . .

A problem for another day. Banishing her weapon, Feidlimid MacSwinith rose from her chair and headed off to meet her adoring masses. The spotlight was waiting for her, as is always had, as it always would.

Teel Deer version:
Rebirth: 870 BC
House: Orphis, currently estranged. It’s complicated. No, wait, it isn’t. She wants to kill the head of the House for what he did, but she can’t find him.
Personal Tragedy: A long, long history of Bad Relationships. Her first husband pushed her off a cliff. Her former best friend and her lover conspired to try to permakill her. She’s not quite self-aware enough yet to consider that maybe, just maybe, it’s her.

Badass Rep: She outsang/outwailed a banshee and stole its power for herself. She hacked the head off a lover who crossed her. Her sword looks like a fencepost pounded straight yet it cuts through steel like butter. Men and women crawl at her feet in hopes of having her gaze at them. She’s pure charisma in Immortal form.

Inner Deal: She needs to be in front of others, being admired, being worshipped. She craves the attention like a flower needs sunlight and without it she fears she’ll wither and fade. Also she’s not the easiest person to be involved with, you know?

Historical Influence: Adept at hiding in plain sight. Joan of Arc. A performer for Shakespeare in a time when women weren’t allowed to act. One of the apostles (she’s not saying which). Currently one of the biggest pop stars/actors in the world.

Throne of Comfort: The threadbare remains of her first marriage blanket, now just a handspan in size

Unyielding Yearning: To be immortal artistically as well, to pay back those who have wronged her, to find a lover that is the right one. And who doesn’t try to kill her, because that keeps happening

Friday, April 22, 2016

You Just Keep on Trying 'Til You Run Out of Cake

Whoa. Look at all the dust. Place looks like a haunted house. SPOOOOOOKY. Let's do some spring cleaning, shall we?

Writing/Editing: Staying busy here. Still dragging my feet on finding an agent for Boneyard Gods, but mainly because I'm busy elsewhere. I want to (I know, I know) tweak the opening chapter a bit to give it more teeth. In the meantime the goofy lark I was going to write a chapter of as a joke is now beyond 40k words with my goal being 50k, so that's uhm, almost done. What is it? Out of my comfort zone to be sure, but it seems not so horrible so who knows. I've been chosen to be one of the (many) writers for the Katanas and Trenchcoats RPG, although I don't yet know how large of small my role will be. In any case it felt good to pass the audition and get my foot in the gaming world, so to speak. I have a character coming out affiliated with TimeWatch but that was a patron perk as opposed to being hired to to something. Editing-wise I've been doing some work for an SAT prep company and will hopefully be able to finish up the book I'd been working on for two friends that hit a hiatus, albeit for a very good reason.
Short stories have been a little frustrating lately, although Stupefying Stories looks like they've started publishing again and so hopefully we'll see the story of mine they've been sitting on for a while soon. One of my other ones has been heartbreaking - first it was kept by a mag for 6 months before they told me more-or-less that it was the final story cut from the anthology, and now it was just rejected by MZB's Sword and Sorceress book with the personal note, "This is a perfectly good story, but it doesn't quite have the feel I want for Sword and Sorceress. Try this on another market." I mean, yay, I know it's good, but was hoping for a win in a major market. Semipros, here I come. I also have an idea for a different novel and something for a graphic novel howling to get out as well. Moar tyme pleeze.

Life in general: Is bonkers, really. My Google calendar looks like a rainbow barfed on it. The Boy gave up on karate and it didn't take much prodding from Lola for me to slip back into my gi. In addition to hockey and gaming I'm coaching both baseball and softball, and Zack's doing dance, Becky's skating and just finished her play . . . there's a lot going on. Too much, at times, and too many things I can't do because of demands. Basically my weekends are shot until . . . July, maybe? Plus I have another night of hockey starting up in June. BECAUSE I WASN'T BUSY ENOUGH YET. Plus I have to cook for an upcoming con, and prep a game for said con, and write some adventures for a friend's LARP, and do a million things around the house, and win Hamilton lottery tickets, and . . . busy times, my friends, busy times.