Jan 24, 2011

Epic Music for Monday

*zaps glaring snow and looming clouds into vibrant green grass and beaming sunshine*

*sigh* ... I wish.

So, I'm feeling the need for a little bit of cheering up, and this song does the trick almost every time.

Composer/Artist: Immediate Music
Album: Trailerhead
Impressions: Galloping across the plains; soaring aerial view over mountains; eagle's flight; a life progression; a planet whirling through space; elapsed time shot of a forest coming to life in the spring; dungeon locks breaking; candle piercing the darkness; ship sailing into sight around the edge of a bay; unsheathing of a magical sword; softly glowing crystals in a glittering cave; dragon hatching.

Share your own impressions. :D

Jan 16, 2011

My Adventure in the Dark, Pt 1

I'd never much liked unfamiliar places at night. True, I'd been along this road hundreds of times, but not usually alone and never after dark. I shifted my bike one gear higher and felt sweat slip between my hands and the handlebars. My dad had once bet me five dollars that I couldn't go out alone to the pole barn behind our house at night. Ever since the age of four I'd been too proud to admit defeat to anything, whether it was a race against someone five feet taller than me or my own (incorrect) choice of key that would open the garage door. I'd taken him up on the bet. Getting to the barn at a reasonable pace wasn't the problem. Turning my back to it on the return trip was.

I'd received my five dollars and never turned my back on the dark since. Willingly.

But I couldn't stay at Wednesday night youth group forever. So. That meant at some point I would have to turn around and go home. I'd never been a particularly irrational person, so I knew not to be afraid of the bug-eyed boogeymen every normal person (probably) imagined in the shadows. But those terrible rabbits along the road, just waiting to grab me and --

I grunted in frustration, suddenly reminded of a very cheesy Monty Python clip. The handlebars were getting slick. I felt rather than saw the steep, deep ditch next to me and considered the possibility of paying it a visit if I tried to wipe off that sweat...

I shouldn't have seen it. The moon was a faint, pathetic blotch of light behind soupy clouds and there was no one else on the highway besides mosquitoes, and they aren't known for generating any sort of light to glint off anything. But glint something did. My hands forgot their job of steering and flew up to my mouth as I stared into the blackness of the trees beyond the ditch. And, as any bicycle veteran knows; where you look, you generally go. I had a very bad habit of looking in the wrong places.

I had often imagined what it would be like to fall into one of those ditches. It would be nice to say that my imagination was right and more, but all I really remember is a lot of "Oof" and mouthful after mouthful of grass and assorted insects. As I landed at the bottom and began the customary procedure of gasping, groaning, and searching for whatever limbs had gone missing, the sharp, cold tip of the glint rested at the hollow in my collarbone.

"Light, please?" said an oddly familiar voice, sharp, accented, and distinctly male. My heart went ker-thlunk.
"Blast the light," growled someone else to my right. "Can't."
I edged my hand downward toward my pocket and grasped a tiny flashlight with a texture like snake scales. The thought didn't help much at that particular moment, lying in the rather squishy grass at the bottom of the ditch, but I had more pressing things to worry about at the moment.
"Hold still," said the first voice, sounding oddly frightened. "Don't try anyth --"
I flicked my light on and beamed it upward.
The shiny blade of a broadsword angled from my collarbone to the hand of the man who held it. "Um," I said, feeling the light slip in my shaking hand, and shone it where I guessed his face would be. I almost fainted.

He winced and moved backward. I flicked the light to the side, where it came to rest on a young, fair-haired girl shifting nervously from foot to foot, then a broad-shouldered man leaning against a tree and trying to look nonchalant. I didn't fall for it.
I knew him too well.
The light landed back on the man holding the sword. He squinted into it. I swept my gaze over his face, once, twice. It didn't change. High, proud features, untidy black hair, and four scars across his left cheek.

"You might get that out of my eyes," he grumbled.
"That hurts," he said patiently, glowering. "Get it off me."
"Oh," I said, still eyeballing the sword. "You might let me up."
"Might I?"
"Give it up, Aaron," said the other, shifting from his stance against the tree. His entire body radiated tension.
"I wish Smoky was here," whimpered the girl.
"That's it," I said, dropping the flashlight. "I'm dead. Maybe unconscious. Lord, help me, I want to wake up now."
"What makes you say that?" said the shape in the darkness.
"You. You can't be here. You're in Carseld, chasing whats-his-name."
Silence from the unlikely trio.

"Iri," I said mechanically. "Irivel Fairbrow, only son of Fairivel Fairbrow and Varia Moonchild. Forty-one, birthday June 23, height 6 feet 1 ½ inches. Gold ring on the third finger of your left hand. Am I right?"
"Um," said Iri.
"Thought so. Aaron. Naryn Darkstar, firstborn son of Kherin and Vialyn Darkstar. Forty, birthday March 5, height 6 feet 2 inches. Rider pendant with red stones around the rim. Wyn. Arionwyn Genevieve, raised by -- "
"Enough," Aaron snapped, the sword trembling in his grip. "Who are you?"
"Dead," I responded, close to tears or hysterical laughter, I couldn't tell which. "Or dreaming."
"She's not ... I mean, she can't be the Auth --" Wyn began.
"If I had a notebook I'd prove it. But I don't. Fresh out of pencils too." I began to giggle.

Aaron sheathed his sword, evidently deciding I was too insane to be much of a threat, which was probably true. "Is this Carseld?" he said slowly, clearly.
"Um ... no," I supplied, helpfully. "This is the United States ..."
"The wha --"
"Look," I said, sitting up carefully and checking for broken bones, "I think you'd better come home with me. If I'm not dead, we'll need somewhere brighter to sort his out -- please?"
"Lead the way," said Iri grimly.

Jan 3, 2011

Lesson 2: Grammar is Everything

When I was very (very) small, when I'd finished anything I would shout very (very) loudly to whomever was in the house at the moment, "III'MM DOOOONNEE!"

My dutiful father instructed me on the basics of grammar. He bent down on a level with me, his lips quirking in an attempt not to smile. "You aren't something cooking. You are a person, and you finished something. Ok?"


"A little quieter, muffin."

So on an afternoon not long before the New Year, I sat, pen in hand, on my bed with the shades closed and a dramatic aura of determination surrounding me. I was supposed to be doing my chores, but this was too epic to interrupt.

(I might mention that this is around ten years AFTER said incident.)

I wasn't in any particular hurry. I didn't feel especially ready to laugh or cry or even gasp in relief as my pencil scratched out the final words:

I placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't lose hope."
The dark elf turned to me, pulled me closer, holding me as if he would do so forever. "I never have."

I sat up and rolled my pencil to rest in the crook of the pages. I glanced around the room, mildly surprised to see that nothing had exploded. Then I pulled in a deep breath and bellowed: "IIII'MM FIIIINNIISHEEED!"

This is how my new year came in. Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to yell that while the entire family was asleep at midnight on January 1, but this was good enough. Mom was looking at me funny by the time I came in to where she was sitting. "What?"

"Hey! Hey! Hey guess what I did!!"

She rolled her eyes. "What?"

I held up the bright purple notebook to give her a clue.

"You didn't."

"I did!"

She jumped up, smile as wide as ever. "I wanna read it!!"

Whatever else I have, I can count on devoted fans. Little did I know my father's well-meaning instruction would inspire a lifetime of fussiness over grammar. And spelling. And other various aspects of writing.

If only he knew what he started.