Wednesday, November 14, 2018

QueerBlogWed: Shades and Shadows

On October 17, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving lost keys, a pillow, and sunlight turned to clouds.

Damian Ashelocke told me this particular Tale of the Navel: The Shadow Forest in response...

Beams of sunshine peeked through the clouds, turning purple streaked with beams of gold, releasing a riot of rose across the sky. 

“The clouds remind me of your eyes.” It was only to easy to imagine Christopher at my side, murmuring this comment while I applied my brush to a canvas. “Your spirit seems to leap there, yet I know it’s right here with me.”

“You can only be sure of these things in the real world.” By replying, by acknowledging this shade of Christopher, I only made it more real. “I might actually be up there, or part of me.”

“Putting yourself in the heavens where you can look down at us all?” It was no longer Christopher, my memories of the wind speaking. 

This sharp, sardonic tone belong to someone solid enough to possess an individual voice. “If you can spare a moment to stomp contemplating your grandeur above and look below? I need help finding my keys.”

“Peter.” I turned to face my scowling rival for Christopher’s affection. A frown didn’t suit his generous lips, rounded cheeks, and colorful attire, but what can I say? I’m special to him. “Weren’t you supposed to return to Omphalos and Gabrielle to wait for Christopher?”

“Which Omphalos? There are so many.” He turned, full burgundy vest flapping around his red tunic, kicking up pebbles as he twirled around, pointing at the distant hill. 

Sometimes it had one tower with a crown which appeared and disappeared in a cloud of lightning. Sometimes it had two, one of bleached bone white stone and shimmering black rock. Sometimes it had a ring of standing stones, a giant’s jagged teeth. 

I turned away from the hill, not wishing to look closer. My chest constricted every time I saw it. 

“Don’t you like our masterpiece, the culmination of so many versions of Omphalos, reflected in this dreamscape?” Peter flipped his hair, allowing his auburn curls to bounce. “Don’t be sure I’m here. The real me might be lying in my warm bed, crying into my pillow because I abandoned Christopher as you did.”

“I didn’t abandon him.” The words tasted foul in my mouth, making me want to spit them out. “I gave him my life in exchange for the Shadow Forest.”

“Yes, you were upfront about your intentions. You’re such an upstanding individual, you perfect prick.” Peter wagged a finger at me. “Maybe Christopher didn’t want your life. Did you ever stop to consider that?” He raised his hand to push an auburn curl out of a fierce dark eyes. “Perhaps I can’t leave you alone since I’m just another part of you, abandoned in your quest for power. Alone and forgotten, I’m unable to forget you, much as I might wish to.”

I recoiled at this. Impossible. There was nothing familar about this foppish youth with his clean shaven face and russet locks. The velvet vest he wore brought back unpleasant memories of the garden…

…and dressing in such garments myself on the orders of my Aunt Duessa.

“Ah, your vanity is the one thing I can count on.” Peter took a step back, waving a hand in a dismissive fashion over my head, torso, and heads. “You actually believe that might be true. That I’m nothing more than a lost fragment of yourself.” He put his hands on his hips in a fashion which reminded me of my aunt or Van, only Peter had but two arms. “It never crossed your mind that you might be a lost fragment of myself?” A yellow glint glittered in his brown irises, turning them golden. “All the anger, arrogance, and memories I no longer desired I might have pushed into a form I lost all delight in.”

“That’s not possible.” In truth, I wasn’t sure. I had memories as Damian Ashelocke, but who was to say they were truly mine?

Somewhere out there, a boy with green eyes was walking around with some of my lost memories along with the light I’d abandoned. 

“Relax. I’m only teasing you.” Peter dropped to his knees, searching a lump of grass. “I’m just trying to find my lost keys. I can’t return home without them.”

“What lost keys?” I knelt, facing him. I studied the small mound of grass between us, covered with flowers. 

Here in the Shadow Forest, if you wished for something, it came to you. Sure enough, there were tiny petals in the shape of keys, red, purple, blue, and rose. 

“Juno. Hebe. Gryluxx. Those were my keys’s names.” He reached out to touch a pinkish violet petal with a trembling finger. “Christopher.” He met my eyes. “Damian. We came here to find you.”

“Did you?” I glanced at the purple, key-shaped blooms. “Only you and Christopher found me. Everyone else must have wanted something else.”

“Their paths took them in directions different than mine. I guess this means I’m free of them, the bindings they set upon me.” Peter rose to his feet, towering over my crouching form. “Juno was your aunt’s spy. Perhaps you guessed that.”

“I did.” I stood up on unsteady legs, looking him in the eye. “How is Aunt Duessa?” 

Peter had the look of one who’d been kissed by Duessa Ashelocke. It was there in his dreamy expression which spread over his face at her name. I could see it in the way his shoulders slumped, the hint of liquid yearning in his eyes. 

“Dangerous, hungry, and seductive.” Peter brushed his face with his sleeve. “She almost had me as one of her valentines. She would have if Christopher hadn’t saved me.”

“It sounds like she hasn’t changed any more than Christopher has.” I glanced up at the sky, those twisting, multicolored clouds, reflecting lost colors in the pools and ponds of this place. “She’d better watch herself.”

“For you’re coming for her with all of the power of the Shadow Forest?” Peter smirked, not bothering to hide his contempt. “Ooo, you’re so terrifying, Damian Ashelocke.”

“Maybe I’m not, but Dyvian is.” I started walking down my path, a path I’d been careful not leave when I examined the grass. “He’s much more willing than I ever was to work with and sacrifice others to achieve his goals, to create a utopia.” I cocked my head back to offer Peter a smirk of my own. “Much like Duessa herself.”

“What do you mean?” Peter trotted along the path, catching up to me. The road widened beneath our feet to accomodate both of us. 


“He’s discovered that faith, will, and hope can be the keys to making shadows and dreams a reality. Through Christopher and those pretty twins of yours, he’s learned how to anchor them in a solid form beyond the Door.” Damian glanced at his companion. “Of course you knew that already, Peter. Or should I call you Seraphix?”

“Well, well.” Peter/Seraphix stopped to rumple his auburn curls in a fussy way. “What gave my identity away?”

“Only a creature made of fragments of myself could walk my path through the Shadow Forest at my side.” I glanced down at the pebbles beneath my shoes and his boots. “You weren’t lying when you said I was a part of you.”

“You may be a prick, Damian Ashelocke, but you’re a clever prick.” Peter/Seraphix clapped his hands together with boyish glee. “I can see why you made my Christopher swoon.”

“He’s not your Christopher.” I studied his smiling face, his bright, hungry eyes. “Tell me, was Peter ever a real person? Or was a mask you assumed to get close to Gabrielle and Christopher.”

“Oh, Peter was quite real. Along with his attachment to your ‘Brie and Christopher, which created quite the indignation over the way you abandoned them.” He wagged a finger at me in reproval. “He was right, too. They were splendid individuals. You were a fool not to appreciate them.”

“You, I suppose, don’t intend to make the same mistake.” I clenched my hands into fists. 

“Of course not.” Peter/Seraphix tossed his head. “For me, they’re my ultimate goal, my Happily Ever After. Particularly Christopher.”

“What do you mean?” Damian took a step closer to the creature who wore a human face and played a godling. 

He reached up to finger a coin hanging on a cord around his wrist. Only it wasn’t there. 

Why would it be? Damian had never worn such a thing. “What are you going to do with them?”

“Guess you’ll just have to wait and find out.” Peter stepped off the road. “It may require you leaving your path to do so. Are you brave enough for that, Damian Ashelocke?” The godling made a mocking bow. “Lord Stefan never was, nor your aunt for all their vaunted power within their realms. Only Christopher had the courage to do so.”

With those words, Seraphix vanished from sight. His, no, their voice remained, ringing in the air. “He’s stolen himself from the shadows. Are you bold enough to steal him back?”

Peter laughed, Dyvian joining him, along with a host of other voices. They cackled as one, delighting in a joke I wasn’t part of. 

“This is what is happening.” A quieter voice, like my own, only softer, whispered within his own dreams, floating through the air. “Please, I’m begging you. Save him, Damian.” The dreamer turned in his sleep. I could feel his movement on the other side of the Door, a barrier which disappeared in slumber. He murmured his plea into his pillow, which carried through a crack in reality. “Save my little brothers.”

The voice vanished when Leiwell awoke, severing the connection between us. 

“You’re still part of me, Leiwell, even across worlds.” Something raw and savage stirred within me, twisting my lips into a smile. “It looks like I haven’t abandoned reality after all, even if I’m no longer in it.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Blanche

On October 10, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a teenager, a clock, and a map.

This Fairest freebie story from Quartz's perspective was the result...

That blasted cuckoo let from behind the wooden door of the clock to let out its usual annoying chirp.

It was loud enough to awaken the girl, even though Garnet and I’d managed to get her settled in the spare bedroom.

I’d often wondered why Nimmie Not had housed my brothers and I in such a large cottage, much larger inside than it appeared from the front door. This wasn’t a time to question the availability of an additional bed, especially one big enough for a wayward human. 

The girl’s eyes fluttered open, revealing dark blue eyes, shadowed by sorrow and regret. 

She was so blasted young, not yet in her twentieth year, I’d wager. This was young even for a human. What had marked someone still barely a child with such regret?

Who had marked her?

“Where am I?” Her voice was low, tremulous, deeper than I’d expected, yet higher than any dwarf’s. 

“Let’s see! I’ll see if I can explain it to you.” Garnet hurried over to his side of her bed, Jasper following closely after him. 

My sixth youngest brother stopped, nearly stumbling over his feet to gape at the human. Garnet squatted down on the ground and began to trace a picture in the dust. 

“What are you doing?” I demanded, trying to make sense of lines, squiggles, and curves he traced. 

The girl leaned over the bed to blink in confusion at my youngest brother, playing in the dirt. 

I had to admit, it was dirt. Our floor was filthy. Embarrassing how I hadn’t noticed this until Garnet drew attention to it in front of a visitor. 

“We live, that is us seven brothers, well, you might think of us as seven dwarves.” Garnet looked up at the girl, only to duck his head and point at an uneven square. “Whatever you think of us, ahem, we live right here in the center of the Forest of Tears.”

“The Forest of Tears.” The girl smoothed back a tress of raven hair falling into her face with an unsteady hand. “That seems like an apt name for the wood I passed through.”

“Right, although there’s no need to be afraid of the wood.” Jasper ducked his head over his brother’s, moving closer to the bed. “Many a tear is wept here, yet the only sorrow is what you bring with you.” 

“Or so it’s said.” I didn’t want my brother or this girl for that matter to take my word as unquestionable fact. Yes, I might have said such a thing to reassure Garnet and Jasper once, but this bit of lore came from Nimmie Not. I didn’t think our kobold benefactor would outright lie to me, however, there might be all sorts of holes in his truth which things could slither through. I didn’t want any of those things coming back to bite us, because we were too trusting in the sanctuary of this forest. 

“Just so you know we’re just south of the mountains.” He stuck a finger into the dirt, disturbing a badly drawn triangle. “They can be dangerous, filled with every goblin, gnome, kobold, or dwarf dig up or steal every bit of gold, silver, or diamond they can find.” He drew his thick digit down. “We tend to mine in a little more south, where there’s less trouble and plenty of beautiful, underated stones. Like Quartz.” He raised his head and waved a dirty hand at me. “Our oldest brother has an especial affinity with his name stone.”

“Right, Garnet, Jasper.” I glanced over at our visitor, whose blue eyes glazed over with the information. “You’re confusing our guest.” I gave my brothers a sharp nod. 

“Thank you…Garnet, Jasper.” The girl tried to sit up and smile at my brothers. “Don’t worry, Quartz.” She glanced at me. “At least I know I’m still in the Forest of Tears.” Her smile crumpled at her own word. 

“Don’t take the wicked tales about the Forest of Tears too seriously.” I tried to gentle my tone. “It’s true that most of the evil folks babble about flitting through the trees they brought here in their own hearts.”

“Their own hearts.” The human girl closed her eyes, uttered a choked laugh which was half sob. “I guess it was the Forest which stopped her. Not me.”

“Stopped who?” Garnet asked. 

Jasper leaned closer, eyes wide. 

“Boys, why don’t you get some porridge for our guest?” I raised and lowered my eyebrows several times at my two youngest siblings, hoping they’d take the hint. 

Garnet rose to his feet with some reluctance. He laid a hand on Jasper’s shoulder and nodded to the door. 

The two of them shuffled out of the guest room, leaving footprints in the dust. 

This room truly needed to be cleaned. 

“My apologies.” I cleared my throat with an awkward harrumph. “We don’t mean to pry if you’re not ready to explain.”

“Forgive me for being so mysterious. I’m still a bit addled.” The girl opened her eyes again, fixing those soulful sapphire orbs upon me. “Thank you for giving me shelter and err, clothing, sir.”

She touched the thin robe of purple, red, and yellow, which was a bit too short for her. Happily she was a slender creature or Nimmie Not’s robe would never fit her. 

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. I still turn red every time I think of the time I opened my wardrobe, only to find that garment hanging there. I think that kobold left it there for me as a prank. 

Much as it might make me blush, right now I wasn’t looking a gift robe in the mouth any more than a gift room. 

“No need to call me sir.” I fussed with my beard and ducked my head, hoping she didn’t notice how red my nose was turning. By good fortune, my brothers and I all had ruddy complexions. “I’m naught but a dwarf, m’dear, which is quite spectacular in some circumstances but not here. Quartz is my name and you’re welcome to use it.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Quartz.” The girl started to smile, only to stop, studying the ceiling, the floor, and my face. “I shan’t be a burden to you and your brothers. You have my word.”

“There’s no need to be concerned-“ I began. 

“I’d be happy to earn my keep by doing some sweeping if that’s agreeable.” She glanced down at the ill drawn map my brother had sketched in the dust. “Begging your pardon, but your floor seems in want of a broom.”

I couldn’t argue with that. 

“Once I’m rested I’ll started working on it.” She closed her eyes.

“That’s very decent of you, but you don’t need to concern yourself with our floor.” I patted her hand in an awkward gesture. 

“Of course I do.” A tiny wrinkle appeared in the middle of her smooth forehead. “I’ve just given you my word. I shan’t be a burden.”

“You’re not a burden.” I withdrew my hand to stroke my beard. “This is quite the large cottage, big enough for you as well as the seven of us.” 

I still wondered at a cottage containing nine bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen, a dining hall capable of seating ten people where the cuckoo clock could be heard in every room, yet gave no sign of being so large outside. Inside, this cottage was more like a palace, although you’d never guess it from the front room. You had to wander the halls to see how big it was. 

It still made me uneasy, wondering how Nimmie Not had managed to come by such a ‘cottage’ and whom he’d gotten it from. Our kobold benefactor had intended to give it to my brothers and me as a gift. I’d tricked him into trading it to me as a favor. Even so, I still wondered if I hadn’t played into our tricky sprite’s hands by doing so. 

This was just one more thing to worry among many. Right now, the ‘cottage’ was a sanctuary. For myself, my brothers, and now this girl. 

“I’m still here, taking up one of your rooms, one of your beds, and I’m about to eat your food.” The girl looked at me from under lowered lashes. “You’re very kind to offer these things to me, but I’m still imposing.” A stubborn glint shone within the darkness of her pupil. “The least I can do is help clean your cottage in return for staying here.” 

She could have simply accepted our hospitality. Judging from her manner, she was a gently born maiden used to having her way. Another might have felt it was her due, to take a room or a bed if she needed one for the night. 

Not this one. She was too generous…and to wary to accept such a thing. 

I recalled how I’d first met Nimmie Not. He’d been all flowery speeches about my destiny in his book, only to ready to give me a gift, while turning my brothers into his puppets, marching to his tune. 

I hadn’t trusted him. I still didn’t. I’d tricked him into trading the cottage to me rather than accept it as a gift. I’d refused to put my faith in a kobold, particularly one who turned my family into toys for his amusement. 

I was a dwarf, not a kobold, a much handsomer creature, not that most humans knew the difference. As a race, though, I couldn’t say we dwarves were exceptionally trustworthy. Not more than anyone else. Some of us were downright greedy, ready rob you of your last gold piece or sell you in return for treasure. 

I could see from that glint that this girl had trusted, only to be betrayed. The betrayal was still fresh. It hurt. She wasn’t about to accept charity from a strange dwarf. 

Perhaps she was wise not to. I certainly wouldn’t have. 

“What’s your name?” I asked before catching myself. Yes, she was a human, but names weren’t without power among them. It was a dangerously rude question. “Ah, my apologies, m’dear. What should I call you?”

“My name was Blanche.” The girl wrinkled her nose at “Blanche” as if the word tasted foul. “Please don’t call me that. I’ve always hated the name.” She closed her eyes. “I was only just beginning to find it tolerable when…no, I’m trying to make a fresh start.” The girl lifted an unsteady white hand to her brow. “I’d like to have a new name to go with my new life.”

With skin like hers, the name Blanche seemed to aptly suit her. Still this was her to decide. Not me.

“All right, m’dear.” I leaned back. “You can start sweeping whenever you’re ready. We’ll try to think of a name you’ll find more satisfying while we work, right?”

“Right.” The girl smiled, lips trembling with tentative sweetness. “Thank you.” She released a deep breath and closed her eyes.

“Sleep well, m’dear.” I gave her one more awkward pat before leaving the room, allowing her the privacy of her dreams. 

Only when I was outside did the full impact of letting this strange girl in strike me. What sort of trouble left a maiden with torn clothes and scratched skin, knocking on a stranger’s door? How might this trouble come back to haunt my brothers and myself?

I had a terrible feeling we were all about to find out. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompt

On October 3, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted a prompt involving a deserted street, a flickering light, and a man in a cape.

I've had vampires on my mind a lot lately, plus, it's Halloween. This story was the result...

Christian could see Richard, spreading his cape like the wings of a bat before allowing them to fall, concealing the contours of his body beneath the flickering light overhead. 

No one else stood on the street. It was deserted except for Richard and himself. Very likely by design. 

Christian drew his own high necked coat closer, allowing the night’s chill to kiss his cheeks. This was as close as he would ever allow the night to get to him. 

For him, the night and Richard would always be one at some fundamental level. 

He reached up to squeeze the pentacle around his neck, allowing its angles to bite into his palm. It was a more reassuring holy symbol than a cross, not that he was sure he believed in either one of them. 

Don’t come closer. His spine tingled with the nearness of the man watching him in the intimacy of the fog. Don’t look into my eyes. 


He didn’t stop advancing toward the street light. It was after all, on his way home. 

Perhaps this was just another excuse. 

Fog rose around his legs, their feet. It enshrouded Richard like a halo, giving him the glamour that his kind always evoked in cinema. 

It was just an illusion, a trick. It still made his hairs on the back of Christian’s neck tingle, tightening other parts of his body into knots, kindling an excitement he’d never been able to resist. 

This was one of the reasons he’d fallen under Richard’s thrall in the first place. 

Just don’t look into his eyes. 

In spite of himself, Christian allowed his own to flicker to the black folds of the cape, enshrouding Richard. He huddled within, almost like he was shielding himself. 

The man lifted his head, allowing the dim light to illuminate his high cheekbones, clean shaven jaw, and a mouth equally inclined toward amusement or sensuality. 

Christian found himself examing the curve of those lips, the cleft of his chin before he pulled his attention away. Rouge reddened Richard’s mouth, making it fuller, emphasizing their pouting suggestiveness. 

Unless it was blood. It could be blood. 

“Poor little lost soul, so alone, so bewildered.” Musical, playful, yet not nearly as malicious as Christian had expected, Richard’s voice caught him, making his entire body tingle. “Why do you wander alone in the night?” He turned his head toward Christian, fixing his silvery grey eyes upon him. “Why won’t you look at me?”

“Excuse me.” Meaningless courtesy came automatically to Christian around his former mentor and teacher. He shouldn’t linger. He shouldn’t stop, let alone talk to him. “This isn’t a good time.”

“You’re always in a hurry.” Richard slumped against the post. “Always rushing off, trying to avoid me.” 

“Why shouldn’t I?” The words burst from his lips before he could think better of them. “I don’t truly know you, Dick. I never did.” Fear and desire warred with each other, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. 

Christian reached up to touch his scarf. It hid the marks on his neck, the signs of Richard’s claim to him. They itched with a yearning which never left him. 

Richard never killed the ones he claimed, the ones who satisfied his hunger. He strove not to take life. He left marks, though, on everyone who crossed his path. No one he tasted ever got over him. He became an addiction his victims couldn’t escape.

Christian was no exception. Richard’s kiss sang through his entire body, making him yearn for more. Even now he longed to pull off the scarf and throw himself into his master’s arms. 

“No.” Christian turned his head, refusing to look at his master. “Not now. Please. Give me time.” 

He closed his eyes, half hoping Richard would refuse, that the vampire’s will would envelop him like rich velvet, allowing him to sink into his embrace, weightless and uncaring. 

“All right.” Richard backed away, gave Christian a little bow. “You may not believe it, but I love you.” The vampire pressed his fingers to his lips. “You were never simply a meal to me.”

“And I wouldn’t keep crossing your path if I wasn’t interested.” Christian opened his eyes, not looking at his master directly. He studied the tips of his shoes. “Please. Just give me some time to find myself again.”

“All right, my dear.” Richard backed away into the mist. “Time is after all something I have plenty of.” Sorrowful silver eyes fixed themselves upon Christian. “I just wish the same was true of you.”

The mist surrounded the vampire, swallowing him, leaving Christian alone. 

Christian shivered in the emptiness which remained, half wanting to cry out, to beg his master to return.

No. He’d been the bedazzled victim for too long. It was true that he needed time to find himself again, to discover the person he’d been before he’d met Richard, or the person he could be after the overwhelming experience of the vampire’s kiss. 

If only it didn’t get so lonely at times, trying to find him. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz and Matt

Quartz: Right, your story. You started out a secondary character in Fated to Darkness, but the story in which you play a central role, your scrib, eh, writer hasn’t given a title yet, eh? 

Matt: Well, technically, she has the title figured out for the first and third book in this series thus far. The first being Fated to Darkness obviously. I stay secondary until that third book comes along, which she actually has tentatively decided on a title for just a little while ago: Tainted Light. Originally, I was supposed to become primary in the second book. However, upon her completion of the first book she realized it was way too long and still needed some expansion for flow and impact and understanding purposes so now it's been broken up into Book 1 and Book 2, which is why I don't become primary until Book 3 now. *Frowns slightly*  

Daelyn: *Cringes behind curtain, muttering to self* Sorry... Naming and titling is hard and I don't know the meaning to short and sweet...

Quartz: About that writer of you…what does she do that’s truly annoying? Got any ideas on how to make her stop? (mutters) No, I’m not fishing. Not at all.

(There’s a sigh from backstage coming from K.S.…)

Matt: *Thinks for a second* Something she does that's totally annoying? I don't think she does anything that actually annoys me. Although, she does sometimes have trouble keeping my voice from sounding too similar to one of the main character's voices; that does annoy me to a degree. I'm not certain how I could stop that from happening. Maybe if I talk more in her head it would do some good, remind her who she's writing. 

Quartz:  It’s always good to make your voice heard. Don’t let your writer forget you…ever. (glares at the backstage) Ahem. Back to the questions. There’s a main character in your previous story, acting like that center stage belong to them. What irritates you most about them? What would you fix if you could?

Matt: There's actually two main characters in the first two books. Which one do you want me to talk about? Both? 

Quartz: Aye, by all means both. This is your time to speak out. Do it, lad. 

Matt: Alright then. The first would be Kailyn, my friend. She's young, has a stubborn streak thicker than a bull, and also has a tendency to dive headlong into trouble all by herself thanks to her hotheadedness. As you can probably guess it never ends well. If I could fix anything with her it would be to make her realize she doesn't have to do everything alone and that she doesn't always have to be this strong, unbreakable individual, even if that's how she was raised. The second one... *Huffs angrily and frowns, leaning over on his knees with grey eyes darkening, hands clasped* Her name is Ciara and she's about as evil a witch... *pauses* bitch as they come. Everything she does irritates and angers me. The woman has no heart, no shred of decency in her. She's cruel and vile and manipulative. If I could do anything to fix her for good it would be to drop her in Lucifer's lap and watch her suffer for once.

Daelyn: *Whisper-hissing from backstage* Psst! Matt! Secrets! Shhh!   

Quartz: Aye, there are some witches who can be true misery on two legs. I cannot count the ways I detest Oriana…(scowls) Right. We’re talking about you. What do you like about Kailyn since Ciara seems to be an overall pain in the arse…unless she has a few good points she’s felt like sharing. 

Matt: Ciara is a general pain in the ass; there's nothing at all I like about that woman and nothing I ever will like. Nothing to like about her unless you're as cruel as her. Kailyn, on the other hand... *Leans back in his chair again, relaxing* There's a lot to like about her. Kailyn became a little sister to me. She's got a big heart despite the hand she was dealt in life. She's kind and caring, loyal as a dog to those she lets into her life. While she may not believe it or realize it she's the strongest person I've ever met, capable of pushing forward even when she doesn't think she can go on anymore. *Frowns sadly* There's a lot of good in her to like, I just wish she could see it past the darkness.  

Quartz: Aye, I get where you’re coming from, lad, only too keenly. Hopefully Kailyn will find a little happiness in the darkness. It is possible, even if heartbreakingly difficult. Now this writer of yours is working on a book in which you get a bigger part. If you could change something in it, what would it be? While you’re at it, what would you go back and fix in The Dark Heir, what would it be?

Matt: *Sighs heavily* There's a lot of things I would go back and change or fix. My back story, for starters, I'm not proud of it. It makes for a gripping turn of events later down the line and brings along a major development and reveal for secrets, but I am not proud of it at all. It's a point of great shame and regret. If I could fix anything else in the series it would be giving Kailyn a greater confidence in herself. I would change all the shit Daelyn puts her through because she never deserved any of it. 

Quartz: Once again, I sympathize only too keenly, lad. Right. This question seems all wrong at this point in the interview, but the stupid scribbler is making me follow a script. (scowls) Any juicy stories about the other characters you’d like to share?

Matt: Juicy stories? *Looks perplexed* I don't think I follow what you mean by juicy. Stories aren't fruit.

Quartz: True, true…except when they are. Never mind if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Live in the head of a scribbler who writes ambient fantasy, kick down a fourth wall, you pick all sorts of odd…metaphors. (mutters) Maybe Christopher has been a bad influence on me…ahem. What do you planning on doing next? Aye, spoilers, we all know but maybe you could drop a hint?

Matt: Hmm... Next I plan on learning and teaching some new, lighter *gives a hint-filled glance up* lessons and skills. As to what kind of lessons or skills I mean, and with who, I'll leave you to ponder. There's lots of trouble to be gotten into. I can't give you a bigger hint than that I'm afraid. I also plan on collaborating with Kailyn to find a way to get our writer working more consistently on this series so it may see the light of day sooner.

Daelyn: *Nervously laughs* Oh shit... I'm doomed.

Quartz: Right, I tried asking Victor this. Maybe you’ll have some ideas you can share with both of us. How do you get that writer of yours to do something when she’s being distracted, stubborn, and uncooperative. Don’t tell me she’s not like that. They’re all like that. Except for Paula…Paula is almost as sweet a princess as my Fairest. 

Me: Would you mind not insulting every other author out there? They may not let you interview your characters if you’re rude.

Quartz: Bah. Courtesy gets you nowhere…except the hole of Forgotten Ideas lurking in so many authors’s head. The one you left poor Rhodry in, remember?

(There is a guilty silence behind the curtain. The rest we shall fill in, depending on Matt’s responses…) 

Matt: *Glancing between Quartz and you* Paula? I know that name somehow. 

Daelyn: *Snorts* Of course you do. You hear her name daily in my thoughts, or maybe you'll make the connection better if I call her mom instead. Either way, you better know her name. She's only the main reason yours and Kailyn's story ever took off as much as it did by getting me addicted to NaNoWriMo sessions. An addiction I am most certainly okay with... *Shakes head* Anywho, answer the question, Matt.

Matt: *Silently says a thank you to Paula then clears his throat and looks to Quartz* Okay, she's definitely like that. 

Daelyn: *Glares at Matt and huffs, crossing my arms*

Matt: To be painfully honest, I'm not good at getting Daelyn to do any writing when she's being stubborn. The ones capable of lighting a fire under her ass, sometimes literally, are Kailyn and Ciara. You can guess how Ciara might do that, all manners of threatening and cruel, although she rarely is the one to step in and force Daelyn along unless she's at a part that Ciara particularly enjoys in a twisted way. It's mainly Kailyn that manages to get her moving. This probably won't help you, I don't think, I don't know actually -- what are you? -- but being as the lot of us have magic there's numerous ways in which we can...motivate her, so to speak. Curses, bodily harm, all out brawling... Kailyn and Daelyn are known to bicker constantly up here. On occasion I have realized that making Daelyn envision the fantasy that encompasses the future of our series polished, published, and in her hands, and her hopeful success with it, is sometimes enough to bring the want and will back to writing and get her moving along excitedly again. I hope that helps in some way at the least.

Quartz: Aye, thank you, lad. If you’ve never seen a man as short as me or with so fine a beard, it’s because I’m one of seven dwarven brothers. I was unfortunate enough to be killed off in the backstory of Fairest (one of the fairy tales in Nine Star Press’s Once Upon a Rainbow), only to refuse to die in such a ridiculous manner. I’ll definitely take some of your advice in mind, hmm, give the scribbler some inspirational carrots instead of the stick. That might work, yes, it might…

K.S. (from backstage) So not a donkey…